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.
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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.

China Resists US Push To Blacklist Ships Caught Trading With North Korea

After the US Treasury Department released satellite images purporting to show Chinese ships transferring oil to a North Korea-flagged vessel in blatant violation of UN Security Council sanctions, the US is pressing for 10 ships, several of them Chinese, to be added to the list of entities banned by the UN.
But there’s one problem: China, which like the US holds a permanent veto over UN Security Council decisions, is pushing back. It says it will only accept sanctions on four ships, according to the Wall Street Journal.
While there’s some skepticism about how well these rules are enforced, UN sanctions would require members to bar blacklisted ships from their ports.
A Security Council resolution passed last week gives member states more authority to seize the ships that have breached international sanctions and ban them from their ports. And the satellite images mentioned above have shown just how easily North Korea has managed to circumvent sanctions managed to restrict energy flowing into the country while also choking off its exports of North Korean coal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

TENSIONS FLARE AS US RECON SATELLITES EXPOSE CHINESE SHIPS ILLEGALLY SELLING OIL TO NORTH KOREA

According to South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo, U. S. recon satellites have photographed around 30 illegal transactions involving Chinese vessels selling oil to North Korea.
Washington, D. C. – United States reconnaissance satellites have allegedly caught Chinese ships violating UN sanctions by engaging in illegal oil trades with North Korean vessels nearly 30 times in October.
The images were captured in the West Sea on October 19, prior to the most recent round of sanctions on the DPRK, which caps oil product shipments at 500K barrels per year, going into effect.
The satellite footage reveals a North Korean ship, named Ryesonggang 1, connected with a Chinese ship in what was deemed a ship-to-ship oil transfer, which is prohibited and deemed illegal by U. S. authorities.
According to the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s official report on the incident:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

North Korea’s Grandstanding And US Inaction Will Likely Continue In 2018

Authored by Duane Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,
2017 has seen President Trump’s administration make a marked departure in how North Korea is ‘handled’ by the United States.
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Whereas past administrations were more predictable, waiting for North Korea to act bellicose before they acceded to relief from sanctions, the Trump administration has done no such thing, instead choosing to implement more sanctions on the North Korean regime following its weapons tests.

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

Erdoan Wants to Revise the Treaty of Lausanne

The War Cycle is in full swing upward since 2014. We have witnessed the invasion of Ukraine, the invasion of Syria, Rocketman in North Korea, and numerous civil uprisings. However, the war also comes with sharply declining economies as political leaders need to point the finger outside their domestic rule to distract their people.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan is also on a power trip and the sharply collapsing currency only puts more pressure on him to start conflicts. That basic incentive has played out with his visit to Greece in December. This was the first time a Turkish leader visited Greece in 65 years. As the Guardian reports, Erdoan shocked Greece by calling for a revision of the Lausanne Treaty of 1923. The Turkish president in Turkey has sharply criticized the opposition for this demand and as always there is the justification for protecting people of Turkish origin living in Greece. Hitler used the same excuse to invade neighbors to defend Germans living on foreign lands.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 28, 2017.

Russia Tests Powerful ICBM Capable Of Overcoming Missile-Defense Systems

As North Korea vociferously condemns the US and the United Nations after the Security Council passed yet another round of sanctionsagainst the restive regime, Russia is continuing to test ICBMs in preparation for a violent conflict on the neighboring Korean Peninsula while simultaneous calling for both sides to seek mediation.
Last night, Russia’s Strategic Missile Force tested the RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the Kapustin Yar practice range in the southern Astrakhan Region, the TASS News Agency reported Tuesday.
“On December 26, 2017, a combat team of the Strategic Missile Force test-fired an RS-12M Topol intercontinental ballistic missile from the Kapustin Yar state central combined arms training range in the Astrakhan Region,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.
“The launch was aimed at testing perspective armament for intercontinental ballistic missiles,” the ministry said.
“During the tests, specialists obtained experimental data that will be used in the interests of developing effective means of overcoming anti-ballistic missile defense and equipping the perspective grouping of Russian ballistic missiles with them,” the Defense Ministry said.

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.

Balloons & Flash Drives: How A Private Organization Is Trying To Incite Rebellion In North Korea

Authored by Anders Hagstrom via The Daily Caller,
The U. S.-based Human Rights Foundation (HSF) has worked with North Korean defectors to smuggle flash drives and other tools into their dictatorial homeland to counter the regime’s propaganda throughout 2017.
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HSF director Alex Gladstein claims that his organization has successfully smuggled up to 10,000 flash drives into the country containing documentaries countering state narratives, according to The Telegraph.

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

North Korea Declares New Sanctions An “Act Of War,” Refuses To Ever Abandon Its Nukes

North Korea strongly rejected the latest United Nations sanctions resolution, calling it an ‘act of war’ against the rogue regime.
The U. N. Security Council unanimously decided Friday to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea in response to the North’s test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts suggest can range the entire continental U. S.
Resolution 2397 bans nearly 90 percent of North Korea’s refined petroleum imports and sets new restrictions on other essential imports, such as heavy machinery.
The punitive resolution also demands the repatriation of North Korean workers generating funds for the regime abroad and puts greater pressure on North Korean shipping.
Pyongyang called on the U. S. and its international partners to ‘wake up from its pipe dream of our country giving up nuclear weapons’ and learn to ‘co-exist with the country that has nuclear weapons.’

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