Back to Back US Drone Crashes In Turkey Come Amidst Severe Strain Between NATO Allies

Two United States MQ-1 Predator drones have crashed in Turkey within four days, possibly cutting the Air Force’s operational fleet of drones at NATO’s main Turkish base down to half. This comes at a moment when the future of US drone operations in the region remain in question due to heightened political tensions with the Erdogan government and the uncertain future of the war in Syria. On Monday Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which hosts US and other NATO personnel conducting operations over Syria and Iraq, released a statement confirming the crash of the drone in southeast Turkey at around 11:50 a.m. (0850 GMT), with no further details given.
Incirlik had confirmed an earlier Predator drone crash just last Thursday (8/17) near the air base. Last week’s statement quoted a US military spokesman as saying:
‘At this time the safety of our host nation civilians and the recovery and security of our asset is paramount,’ said Col. David Eaglin, commander of the 39th Air Base Wing. ‘Our Airmen train continuously to respond to incidents such as this, and we are working closely with our host nation partners to ensure this is resolved without conflict.’

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

Watch Live: President Trump Unveils “New Path Forward” For Afghanistan

As we detailed last night, President Trump will unveil his long-awaited new strategy for Afghanistan tonight. Will he, as Ron Paul suggests, do the sensible thing and end the failed longest war in history? Or will he continue doing the same thing and expect that somehow he will “win” the war? Does America even know what “winning” looks like in Afghanistan?
Here’s Ron Paul’s preview (which may be a post-mortem)…
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With the anti-neocon Steve Bannon out, and nobody left in Trump’s inner circle to halt the simmering push for war, we suspect we know the answer, and as The Hill details, here’s what to look for in his speech…
How many more troops? The United States has about 8,400 troops in Afghanistan on a dual mission of training, advising and assisting Afghan forces in their fight against the Taliban and conducting counterterrorism missions against groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Trump gave Mattis the authority in June to send more troops there, but Mattis has held off deploying any more until Trump finalized a strategy. ‘I was not willing to make significant troop lifts until we made certain we knew what was the strategy, what was the commitment going in,’ Mattis told reporters traveling with him on Sunday. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U. S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has said he needs a ‘few thousand’ more troops to break the stalemate against the Taliban. That few thousand is said to equal about 4,000 U. S. troops. Those troops would be used to embed with conventional Afghan forces closer to combat – at the battalion level – and improve the capabilities of the Afghan air force and special operations forces. Nicholson assured the Afghans on Sunday that the U. S. commitment to the country will continue. ‘I assure you we are with you in this fight. We are with you, and we will stay with you,’ Nicholson said during a ceremony at Camp Morehead, a training base for Afghan commandos southeast of Kabul.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 21, 2017.

Erdogan Tells Turks in Germany to Vote Against Merkel

While the Democrats want to make a huge issue out of Russia hacking their files and releasing evidence that they were truly corrupt and how Clinton was just a liar blaming Russia rather than themselves, interference in the elections of other countries is par for the course. I have reported how Obama has interfered in Canada, Britain, and France. This is standard operational procedure. Now Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan publicly told all Turks living in Germany to vote against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats on September 24th.
For Erdogan to publicly try to influence the German elections as Obama did in Britain tell them to get to the ‘back of queue’ if they voted for BREXIT, demonstrates the lack of unity between the NATO allies and major trade partners.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Aug 21, 2017.

Urban Warfare: NATO Issues RFP For Training To Fight In Big Cities With “Dense, Interconnected Populations”

Throughout the 2016 campaigning cycle, then candidate Trump frequently criticized NATO as ‘obsolete’ and repeatedly knocked allies for not paying their ‘fair share.’
Then, in a shocking reversal, Trump hosted a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, just a few months after moving into the White House, in which he declared: “I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”
“The Secretary General and I had a productive discussion about what more NATO could do in the fight against terrorism. I complained about that a long time ago and they made a change. And now they do fight terrorism. I said it was obsolete. It’s no longer obsolete.”

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

Ukraine Hosts US Military To Be Permanently Stationed On Its Soil

United States Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees (C. B. – construction battalion), of the Naval Construction Force held a groundbreaking ceremony for a maritime operations center on Ochakov Naval Base, Ukraine, July 25. According to the Navy.mil, the official website of the US Navy, the maritime operations center is one of three projects that are currently planned to be executed by the Seabees in Ochakov and will serve as a major planning and operational hub during future military exercises hosted by Ukraine. The Seabees arrived in Ochakov in April to establish contracts, obtain construction permits and perform other logistical tasks for the maritime operations center project.
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Maritime operations centers are the operational-level warfare command and control organizations designed to deliver flexible maritime capabilities throughout the full range of military operations. The future Seabee projects in Ochakov include a boat maintenance facility and entry control points with perimeter fencing.
Our ability to maximize European reassurance initiatives in Ukraine holds strategic importance, and will ultimately improve host nation defense capacity and infrastructure, strengthen relations, and increase bilateral training capabilities, said Lt. j.g. Jason McGee, officer in charge of Det. Ukraine.
In July, several US missile warships, including the USS Hue City Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser and the USS Carney Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, a P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft and a Navy SEALs team took part in the 12-day Sea Breeze 2017 NATO naval exercise held in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, near the port city of Odessa. 17 nations took part in the training event.

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

NYT Shocking Report: US “Ally” Ukraine Is Source Of North Korean Missile Engines

When the US State Department supported Ukraine domestic forces and nationalist elements to stage a successful and deadly coup against then pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, the outcome was supposed to be a nation that is a undisputed US ally and persistent threat, distraction and non-NATO opponent to bordering Russia. Instead, it now appears that it has been Ukraine which was, as the NYT writes, the secret behind the success of North Korea’s ballistic missile program.
Specifically, in a blockbuster report this morning, the NYT alleges that North Korea has been making black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines from a Ukrainian factory citing “expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.”
The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
According to the report, analysts who studied photographs of Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. “The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.

Stolen Russian S-200 Missile Explodes After Being Sold For Scrap

A “stolen” 10 meter-long Soviet-era, anti-aircraft missile has exploded at a recycling centre in eastern Russia, killing two and injuring one, the Telegraph reports. Russian media were reportedly alerted to the explosion of the large-scale missile in the Siberian city of Chita after a YouTube user uploaded a car dashcam video showing the moment of the blast.

According to the Telegraph, a criminal investigation was opened into the “illegal acquisition and storage of explosive device” after two warheads from a S-200 Angara missile were found at the blast site. Local authorities said it appeared that the warhead had detonated while workers were cutting it down for scrap metal.
The exploded missile was an S-200 Angara, also known as the SA-5 “Gammon” in NATO countries, a long rage, medium-to-high altitude surface-to-air missile system. The SAM has been in service since 1967s, but has since been replaced by the S-300 and S-400 surface-to-air models. It is unknown how the missile came to be at a recycling plant. Local news website by24.org says that the seven tonne missile “had been stolen” from a military base by persons unknown and taken to the facility in exchange for cash. It had likely exploded while recycling workers were trying to dismantle it.


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

If War Comes, Don’t Blame The “Military-Industrial Complex” – It’s Much Worse Than You Think

As the drumbeat intensifies for what might turn out to be anything but a splendid little war against North Korea, it is appropriate to take stock of the ongoing, seemingly successful effort to strip President Donald Trump of his authority to make any foreign and national security policies that fly against the wishes of the so-called Military-Industrial Complex, or MIC. A Google search for Military-Industrial Complex (in quotation marks) with Trump yields almost 450,000 hits from all sources and almost 26,000 from just news sources.
During the 2016 campaign and into the initial weeks of his administration, Trump was sometimes described as a threat to the MIC. But over time, with the appointment to his administration of more generals and establishment figures (including some allegedly tied to George Soros) while purging Trump loyalists, it’s no surprise that his policies increasingly seem less a departure from those of previous administrations than a continuation of them (for example, welcoming Montenegro into NATO). Some now say that Trump is the MIC’s best friend and maybe always was.
There are those who deny that the MIC exists at all. One self-described conservative blogger writing in the pro-war, pro-intervention, and mostly neoconservative National Review refers to the very existence of the MIC as a myth peddled by the conspiracy-minded. Sure, it is conceded, it was appropriate to refer to such a concept back when President Dwight Eisenhower warned against it in 1961 upon his impending departure from the White House, because back then the military consumed some 10 percent of the American GDP. But now, when the percentage is nominally just 3.2 percent, less than $600 billion per year, the term supposedly is inapplicable. (There are those who argue that the real cost annually is over $1 trillion, but why quibble.)

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 12, 2017.

Vanessa Beeley: Syrian Army Battle for Liberation of Jobar and Ein Tarma, Damascus from Nusra Front Occupation

As we pulled into the gates of the REAL Syria Civil Defence in Damascus, 200 meters from the Ein Tarma frontlines in the eastern suburbs of Damascus, the battle raged.
After the liberation of Qaboun, Ein Tarma and Jobar remain, eerie lunar landscapes, scarred, looming buildings, crumbling into the ground that has been pounded by Syrian Arab Army (SAA) bombardments. As in East Aleppo, the various NATO member state and Gulf state brigades of extremists, led by Nusra Front go to ground, inhabiting the network of tunnels that run beneath Jobar and Ein Tarma and stretch as far as the Old City of Damascus. This fact alone, makes the cleansing of these areas particularly precarious. Any heavy duty bombing risks shock waves passing through the tunnels and damaging structures in the historic Old City of Damascus. A fact, explained to me by a volunteer ‘civilian’ solider in the Syrian Army.
Contrary to the western media propaganda, the REAL Syria Civil Defence is on the frontlines in Damascus and across Syria. Western media and the Al Qaeda affiliated White Helmets claim that the RSCD are safely tucked away in Syrian Government held areas. However, these headquarters are in the midst of the battles for the liberation of Ein Tarma and Jobar.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on AUGUST 9, 2017.

NATO Beefs Up Logistics Infrastructure For Offensive Operations

Some very important news is kept out of spotlight and undeservedly so. Bits of information pieced together indicate that very quietly the North Atlantic alliance is gearing up for large-scale combat operations. War preparations are not limited to weapon systems deployments and troop movements that hit headlines. No combat can be waged without logistics.
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The US Army official website informs that the US European Command (EUCOM) Logistics Directorate (ECJ4), other EUCOM directorates, NATO allies and partners, and the Joint Logistics Enterprise (JLEnt) are effecting an unprecedented security transformation. They are transitioning from being focused on assurance through engagement to being a warfighting command postured for deterrence and defense. Throughout fiscal year 2017, 28 joint and multinational exercises in 40 European countries, the buildup of four NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) multinational battlegroups in the Baltics, and overlapping deployments of rotating armored brigade combat teams and combat aviation brigades will test, validate, and offer proof of principle for these infrastructure and organic capability investments.
NATO Exercise Saber Guardian 17, a US Army Europe-led, multinational exercise, took place in Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania on July 11 – 20, 2017 with 25,000 troops and forces from 24 countries. The event demonstrated the increased scope and complexity of war games. The drills were conducted against the background of this year’s rotational deployment of more than 4,500 troops in the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as Poland. 2nd Cavalry Regiment soldiers are already operating as a deterrent force roughly 100 miles from Poland’s border with the Russian military enclave of Kaliningrad.

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

Fake News A US Media Speciality

The American media specializes in fake news. Indeed, since the Clinton regime the American media has produced nothing but fake news. Do you remember the illegal US bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia? Do you remember ‘war criminal’ Slobodan Milosevic, the Serbian president branded ‘the butcher of the Balkans,’ who was compared to Hitler until Hillary passed the title on to the President of Russia? Milosevic, not Bill Clinton, was arrested and placed on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal. He died in prison, some say murdered, before he was cleared of charges by the International Criminal Tribunal.
Do you remember the destruction of Iraq justified by the orchestrated propaganda, known by the criminal George W. Bush regime to be an outright lie, about Saddam Hussein’s ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ weapons that the UN arms inspectors verified did not exist? Iraq was destroyed. Millions of Iraqis were killed, orphaned, widowed, and displaced. Saddam Hussein was subjected to a show trial more transparent than Stalin’s trial of Bukharin and then murdered under the pretext of judicial execution.
Do you remember the destruction of Libya based entirely on Washington’s lies and the criminal misuse of the UN no-fly resolution by turning it into a NATO bombing of Iraq’s military so that the CIA-armed jihadists could overthrow and murder Muammar Gaddafi? Do you remember the killer bitch Hillary gloating, ‘we came, we saw, he died!’

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on August 5, 2017.

Summer Of “Mass Displacement” Continues: 1.3 Million Libyans In Need Of Emergency Assistance

Though Western media and much of the entire world have long forgotten about Libya, we never will. While the Nobel Peace Prize winning “humanitarian” minded architect of the 2011 US-NATO intervention (and author of Libya’s current hell) continues to pen his presidential memoir in the midst of an epic retirement tour of yachts, golf courses, and hidden celebrity islands, Libya still burns out of control.
As we’ve recently noted, the mass flow of migrants and asylum seeking refugees is not going away and remains a political flashpoint for European front line countries reeling from the immigrant wave. In an updated situation report on Libya issued earlier this summer, the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP) published some shocking numbers:
Civilians in Libya continue to suffer as a result of conflict, insecurity, political instability and a collapsing economy. According to the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan, 1.3 million people are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 3, 2017.

Two US Troops Killed In Afghanistan After Taliban Suicide Attack

Resolute Support can confirm that a NATO
convoy was attacked this afternoon in #Kandahar . pic.twitter.com/gwRfMGBjLq
— Resolute Support (@ResoluteSupport) August 2, 2017

Two U. S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday according to Reuters when a NATO convoy came under attack in Kandahar province, Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said, with NATO adding that the assault led to an unspecified number of casualties.
AFP reported earlier on Wednesday that a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the convoy near the Kandahar airport, home to a major military base for international troops helping Afghan security forces in their battle against the Taliban insurgency.
“At around noon a car bomb targeted a convoy of foreign forces in the Daman area of Kandahar,” he said.

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

MARKO GASIC: THE ‘RUSSIAN THREAT’ IS AN EXCUSE TO INCREASE MILITARY SPENDING

International affairs commentator Marko Gasic says that poking the Russian bear until it escalates into aggression is simply a way for the government to easily enlarge the military industrial complex and increase military spending. Scaring the population makes it easier to confiscate their money in the name of safety.
United States Vice President Mike Pence traveled to Estonia on Monday, where he reconfirmed Washington’s commitment to secure the Baltic States against the so-called ‘Russian threat.’ Pence is on a trip through Eastern Europe to show support to Washington’s NATO allies. During a news conference in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, he made it perfectly clear that the US is still committed to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which says, ‘An attack on one of us is an attack on us all.’
RT spoke to Marco Gasic, an international affairs commentator, who thinks Pence’s trip is part of a US strategy to provoke a Russian reaction. RT asked Gasic if Russia is the biggest security threat to the Baltic, as Pence claims. Gasic’s response was not alarming, but it definitely makes sense.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on AUGUST 2, 2017.

Erdogan moving Turkey Closer to Dictatorship

Germany is now pushing the EU towards a much more tougher policy in its relations with Turkey as Erdogan moves the country ever closer to a full-blown dictatorship. Erdogan has rejected democracy and the rule of law and since the strike of the Putsch, which is characterized by the dismissal of thousands of government officials, mass arrests without legal procedures, and the prosecution of independent media and critics, it is clear that he is not tolerating opposition. This implies a departure from the European model of democratic values -and principles of the rule of law and the actions of Turkey are at odds with the fundamental principles of membership in the EU and NATO.
Armstrong Economics

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Aug 2, 2017.

Russia, Belarus Joint Drills Used As Pretext For NATO War Preparations

Authored by Peter Korzun via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
Zapad-2017 is a joint strategic military exercise of Russia and Belarus scheduled for September 14-20, 2017. NATO, the United Nations, the OSCE and other countries have been invited to send their observers. In compliance with provisions of the Vienna Document, Russia presented detailed information about the exercise on July, 13. A special briefing is planned for the OSCE. Before the exercise starts there will be an extended briefing held in Moscow. NATO officials want Russia to abide by the Vienna Document. That is exactly what Moscow and Minsk are doing. But…the alliance believes that problems remain.
Despite the policy of transparency adopted by the organizers of the exercise, NATO officials express concern and make hostile statements to instigate tensions. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite views the upcoming event as demonstrative preparations for the war with the West. Russia’s ambassador to Lithuania, Aleksandr Udaltsov, said that the hullaballoo raised about the upcoming drills was nothing else but fearmongering. According to him, The hysteria which is being whipped up in Lithuania is meant to score political points and justify the militaristic psychosis.

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

Militarization Of Scandinavian Peninsula: Time To Ring Alarm Bells

Authored by Alex Gorka via The Stratgeic Culture Foundation,
Much has been said about NATO reinforcements in the Baltic States and Poland perceived in Moscow as provocative actions undermining security in Europe, while very little has been said about gradual but steady militarization of Scandinavia. The theme does not hit headlines and it is not in focus of public discourse but one step is taken after another to turn the region into a springboard for staging offensive actions against Russia.
rland in southern Norway is being expanded to become Norway’s main air force base hosting US-made F-35 Lightnings – the stealth aircraft to become the backbone of Norwegian air power. Norway has purchased 56 of such aircraft. F-35 is an offensive, not defensive, weapon. The nuclear capable platforms can strike deep into Russia’s territory.
Providing training to Norwegian pilots operating the planes carrying nuclear weapons, such as B61-12 glider warheads, constitutes a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. Article I of the NPT prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons from NWS (nuclear weapons states) to other states: Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices. Article II requires NNWS (non-nuclear weapons states) not to receive nuclear weapons: Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transfer or whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices. How can Russia be sure that these aircraft don’t carry nuclear weapons when there is no agreement of any kind in place to verify compliance with the NPT?

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 1, 2017.

The Powers That Be Have Started Their Culling Of The Herd: ‘Of That You Can Be Assured’

There are currently tens of thousands of NATO and Russian troops facing off against one another in the Baltic. NATO (and USAREUR, or U. S. Army in Europe) are conducting ‘exercises,’ entitled Operation Saber Guardian 2017. Meanwhile, RT News reported that Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands are sending vessels to ‘escort’ Chinese warships en route to the Baltic Sea. The Chinese will be conducting drills and exercises with Russia. Here’s an excerpt from that RT article:
‘A Chinese frigate, a supply ship and a destroyer are passing through Danish waters. We are escorting [them] as part of the normal surveillance we have in our territorial waters,’ Klaus Thing Rasmussen, senior duty officer at the Danish military operations center, told the DR broadcaster.
‘We sent one unit out to them last night, when they were approaching Danish waters. It will take around a day in total until they leave again near Bornholm, where they entered, and we will escort them the entire way,’ he said.
‘Our position is that there is free passage through the Baltic Sea, and the Danish Navy acts as a stopper in the gap. That means we accompany foreign state vessels as part of our surveillance of Danish waters,’ he added.
The Baltic phase of the Russian-Chinese exercise starts on Friday, and will involve about a dozen warships in addition to military aircraft and helicopters from both sides, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday.’

This post was published at shtfplan on July 21st, 2017.

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria: “Hard Not To See This As A F-You”

So much for NATO-alliance members working for the common good.
In a move that has angered the U. S. for obvious reason, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu Agency has leaked the precise locations of U. S. bases in northern Syria. The move – which exposes the exact locations of American soldiers on the front lines in the war-torn nation – has sent the ongoing feud between the two NATO allies to new lows. As Bloomberg details, in reports published in both Turkish and English on Tuesday, Anadolu provided detailed information about 10 U. S. bases in northern Syria, including troop counts and a map of the U. S. force presence in the Turkish version.
#AA'nn 'PKK/PYD'ye ABD destei' haberi uluslararas basnda yank uyandrd pic.twitter.com/svt4u9v5CD
— ANADOLU AJANSI (@anadoluajansi) July 19, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 19, 2017.