Israeli Fighter Jets Launch Air Strike On Syrian Air Defense Battery Near Damascus

After years of undermining the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, an effort that has seen Israel countenance ISIS training camps near its borders and launch recurring missile strikes on Syrian territory and its army bases while threatening to bomb Assad’s palace, the simmering conflict between the two nations broke out into the open once again overnight.
The Israeli Defense Forces confirmed that Israeli Air Force fighters conducted a missile strike against a Syrian base after a missile was fired at Israeli jets on a routine aerial reconnaissance mission in Lebanese airspace, Russia’s news agency Sputnik reports. No people were in injured, and the Israeli jets returned safely, but not before attacking an anti-aircraft battery east of the Syrian capital of Damascus. As usual, The IDF blamed the Syrian government for the incident, however, presenting no proof to support the claim. Damascus has yet to comment on the situation.
Earlier today, an anti-aircraft missile was launched from Syria towards IDF aircraft during a routine flight over Lebanon. No hits confirmed
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) October 16, 2017

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

The True Danger Of The North Korea Crisis: It Could Cost America Its Allies

Tough North Korea rhetoric from the U. S. administration continues. Major South Korean media increasingly talk as if U. S. air strikes are likely, and theexpert community seems increasingly resigned to them as well. Despite constant criticism of his incendiary language, President Donald Trump continues to suggest that major action against North Korea is imminent – most recently by suggesting that we are now in a period of ‘calm before the storm.’
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I have argued in these pages that such strikes would be an enormous risk. We do not know what the North’s redlines for retaliation against such a strike are. We do not know if the strikes would so unnerve the North’s elites that war was next, that they would respond with enormous force, possibly including nuclear weapons. An expert study of this scenario suggests appalling casualty numbers. We also do not know what China’s thresholds are for intervention. China is treaty-bound to help North Korea if it is attacked. It may not, but if a U. S. air strike against North Korea spirals into a major conflict, then the likelihood of Chinese intervention rises.
It is also worth noting that even if the Chinese and North Koreans do not respond to air strikes, North Korea will almost certainly deploy human shields as soon as the bombs start to fall. And the North has so many targets that the United States would like to hit, that any ‘air strike’ would look a lot more like a major air campaign and not a quick ‘surgical strike,’ as in Syria earlier this year. An air campaign against sites with human shields means a high civilian death toll. The North Koreans will not make this easy for us at all.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 16, 2017.

The U.S. Owes UNESCO Half A Billion Dollars

This week, the U. S. and Israel announced that they would be withdrawing from UNESCO, citing ‘continuing anti-Israel bias’.
As Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes, the move comes as a major blow to the organization which is known for designating cultural sites around the world such as the Grand Canyon or ancient Palmyra in Syria.
The U. S. has been expected to pay the bulk of UNESCO’s budget for years and it cancelled its financial contributions back in 2011 in protest of Palestine’s admission as a full member.
In the years since, it has amassed significant arrears of over $500 million…

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

SYRIA: The Long East Ghouta War – Tim Anderson in Damascus

Just south of the Jabhat al Nusra held town of Ayn Tarma a Syrian Army colonel tells our small group that he is keen to attack the terrorists in Jobar. However army orders for the green belt east of Damascus (the East Ghouta) are currently more in the nature of a ‘holding brief’. Strategic considerations control any offensive. In the meantime large earth, concrete and metal barriers quarantine the terrorist held parts of the East Ghouta, and provide some protection from snipers. Of course the Army responds quickly to attacks, which are frequent.
When we visited Abbassiyeen Square, on the western perimeter of the quarantined area, a shell had landed 5 minutes earlier. It was still on the footpath, where it had injured a young girl. Already planes were in the air and the army was moving on the ground, for a quick response.
Abbassiyeen Square is one of several areas close to Jobar, a salient of the Nusra held East Ghouta which pokes into the east side of Damascus like a dagger. From Jobar rockets and mortars are launched into the eastern part of the historic old city. The suburb itself has been a wasteland for many years now. Why has the army not taken over Jobar, many Syrians ask? This is one of the puzzles of the East Ghouta war.

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

SYRIA: The Courage of the Syrian Arab Army and Allies against US Backed Terrorism

Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Advisor to Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad.
The announcement by the Russian Ministry of Defence that US support for terrorists is a major obstacle to the elimination of the terrorist organisation in Syria is not a simple or transitory declaration. It is an important and dangerous declaration that must be carefully looked at.
‘The successes of the Syrian army with the support of the Russian space air force in the rapid liberation of the Euphrates valley seem to contradict the plans of American colleagues,’ Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashinkov said, noting that US forces did not allow the Syrian army to pursue terrorists in the al-Tanf area.
It is understood, of course, that Russia does not want to initiate a conflict with the United States and to start a third world war, but such declarations and statements by the Russian Ministry of Defence, even if they are uttered in such de-escalatory terms such as ‘American colleagues,’ represent a clear and explicit link between ISIS and US plans in both Syria and Iraq. This at the international level undermines the credibility of the United States, and undermines the impact of any American statements bragging about the fight against terrorism. Especially as Russian forces announced that the ISIS offensive relied on aerial reconnaissance that cannot be attained by the group unless provided by American reconnaissance planes.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 15, 2017.

Syrian Government Condemns Turkish Military Invasion of Idlib Province

21st Century Wire says…
Turkish troops have been entering northwest Syria for the last few days. Some reports have detailed the apparent compliance of Tahrir Al Sham terrorists with this maneuver by the Turkish military. HTS is a rebrand of Nusra Front aka Al Qaeda in Syria and the group controls the majority of Idlib province.
al-Qaeda's Syria branch (HTS) escorts a group of Turkish troops as they enter Idlib via Atma border crossing. Looks like Turkey-AQ has a deal pic.twitter.com/pNgo8RUfvm
— Ersin Satlyck (@e_sklt) October 8, 2017

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

Trump Invites “Crushing” Response After Designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard As Terrorist Organization

While Trump’s just announced decision to decertify the Iranian nuclear deal, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to unwind Obama’s landmark deal, was widely leaked previously even though few can point to what terms of the agreement Iran has violated, one aspect of Trump’s Iran statement was unclear: whether he would designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, or IRGC, the elite wing of Iran’s army, a terrorist organization – a move which Iran vowed would prompt “decisive , crushing” retaliation.
Trump did just that, and the new, sweeping sanctions on the IRGC could affect conflicts in Iraq and Syria, where Tehran and Washington both support warring parties that oppose the Islamic State militant group.
This is what the Treasury’s OFAC unit posted on its sanctions website moments ago:
Treasury Designates the IRGC under Terrorism Authority and Targets IRGC and Military Supporters under Counter-Proliferation Authority WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) pursuant to the global terrorism Executive Order (E. O.) 13224 and consistent with the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. OFAC designated the IRGC today for its activities in support of the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), which was designated pursuant to E. O. 13224 on October 25, 2007, for providing support to a number of terrorist groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, as well as to the Taliban. The IRGC has provided material support to the IRGC-QF, including by providing training, personnel, and military equipment.

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

Israeli TV Shows Footage Of ISIS Training Camp On Israel’s Border

Last November Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country ‘won’t allow Islamic State figures or other enemy actors, under the cover of the war in Syria, to set up next to our borders,’ but it appears this has already happened, to the point that a sizable ISIS training camp has been set up just across the Golan Heights border with Israel. Though Syrian al-Qaeda has long been a mainstay in southern Syria along Israel’s border, this constitutes the first widespread public acknowledgement and confirmation of a significant ISIS base of operations in the Golan region.
Israeli media this week is reporting news of the base camp after Israel’s Channel 2 aired an extensive report with video and photographic evidence of what’s being described as a training and recruitment center which has already attracted hundreds of new terror recruits. Channel 2 is one of Israel’s most visible and established news broadcast channels and operates under “The Second Authority for Television and Radio” licensed by the Knesset and the Ministry of Communications. According to the Times of Israel:
Israel’s Channel 2 said the commanders have made their way to an Islamic State-controlled enclave ‘close to the border’ with Israel. They have set up a training camp to which they have recruited 300 local youths, said the report, which showed footage apparently of the camp and training sessions.
Among the commanders is one of Islamic State’s most notorious recruiters, Abu Hamam Jazrawi, the TV report said.
The commanders are also now running Islamic State internet propaganda campaigns from their new base, in place of the former campaign headquarters in Raqqa, the extremists’ former de facto capital in northwest Syria where the fight to oust them has entered what appear to be its final stages.

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

“This Is A Racket” Kucinich Warns “We Must Challenge The ‘Two-Party Duopoly’ Committed To War

Authored by Adam Dick via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,
In a new interview with host Jesse Ventura at RT, former United States presidential candidate and House of Representatives Member Dennis Kucinich stressed the importance of the American people challenging the ‘two-party duopoly that’s committed to war.’
In the interview, Kucinich discusses his work to expose the misinformation used to argue for US government interventions overseas before and during the Iraq War and, later, concerning the US effort to assist in the overthrow of the Syria government.
Regarding the Iraq War, Kucinich, who is an Advisory Board member for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, explains that his research showed that
‘Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, nothing to do with al-Qaeda’s role in 9/11, didn’t have any connection to the anthrax attack, didn’t have the intention or the capability of attacking the United States, and didn’t have the weapons of mass destruction that were being claimed.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.

Russia Accuses U.S. Of “Pretending To Fight ISIS”

Russia has once again accused the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria of facilitating the entry of Islamic State terrorists into Syria in order to hinder the advance of the Syrian Army and its allies. On Tuesday Russia’s defense ministry accused the US of merely “pretending” to fight ISIS in a way designed to put maximum pressure on Syrian and Russian front line defenses in Syria’s east. Russian military spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, ‘Everyone sees that the U. S.-led coalition is pretending to fight Islamic State, above all inIraq, but continuing to allegedly fight Islamic State in Syria actively for some reason.”
The accusation comes a little over two weeks after Russia released aerial images allegedly showing ISIS, the SDF (US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”), and US special forces working side-by-side on the battlefield against Syrian and Russian forces in Deir Ezzor, Syria. While the previous charges implied some level of close coordination between US-backed forces and ISIS in the region, the new claims point to coalition air power intentionally facilitating and utilizing ISIS movements to its advantage: ‘The actions of the Pentagon and the coalition demand an explanation. Is their change of tack a desire to complicate as much as they can the Syrian army’s operation, backed by the Russian air force, to take back Syrian territory to the east of the Euphrates?’ asked Konashenkov. He continued with, ‘Or is it an artful moveto drive Islamic State terrorists out of Iraq by forcing them into Syria and into the path of the Russian air force’s pinpoint bombing?’


This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 10, 2017.

Iran ‘Will Respond’ if US Moves to Designate Revolutionary Guard as ‘Terrorist Group’

Fresh off its humiliating six-year-long debacle in Syria, and with very few viable wars within its grasp, the Pentagon, along with the Israeli Lobby-led US Congress and Senate – are now trying to tighten to noose on Iran.
For the last 3 weeks, hawkish Republican Senators have been pressuring President Donald Trump to ‘decertify’ the Iran nuclear deal in October, and to reimpose harsh sanctions – despite the fact that Iran is in full compliance with the international P5+1 brokered nuclear containment agreement.
According to the terms of the deal as recognized by Congress, the President must re-certify the deal every 90 days.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 10, 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.

WHITE HELMETS: State Sanctioned Terrorism and Hollywood Poster Boys for War

The White Helmets. Who are they, who created them, and what purpose do they serve in Syria? These questions remain largely unanswered by the governments, corporate media and NATO member-aligned NGOs, including the UN, that have focused their efforts on regime change in Syria for the last seven years.
The White Helmets have achieved an almost cult-like status thanks to a diverse, well-oiled and multilaterally-funded support system. Their pictures adorn the front pages of most corporate media sites whenever Syria is mentioned. Their unprecedented success can be attributed to a top-drawer PR campaign – one that has been maintained to the highest standards ever since the White Helmets became the public face of ‘first responders’ in Syria following their establishment in March 2013.
Such a publicity coup would not have been possible without some heavyweight organizations working behind the scenes to create a brand that would eclipse all others in Western public perception.

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

A Mysterious Virus Has Infiltrated America’s Drone Program

There’s something deeply wrong at Creech Air Force Base, the notorious home of America’s drone program, where pilots remotely order US Reaper and Predator drones to unleash destructive missile strikes on unsuspecting villagers in Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other war zones.
Less than a week after the Department of Homeland Security advised all federal agencies using anti-virus software created by Kaspersky Labs to remove the programs from their systems immediately, Ars Technica reports that two weeks ago the Defense Information Systems Agency detected mysterious spyware embedded in the drone ‘cockpits’ – the control stations that pilots use to control the deadly machines.

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

REVEALED: FBI Aided, Abetted ‘ISIS’ Terrorist Attack at ‘Mohammed Cartoon Event’ in Garland, Texas

Just as ISIS is being routed in Deir Ezzor, Syria, and soon out of Raqqa, and driven from its remaining strongholds in Iraq – we discover how the US government has been busy keeping the organization thriving within its own shores.
What you are about to read is simply breathtaking, but should be of no surprise to our readers. These new court findings reaffirms much of what 21WIRE and the Daily Shooter column have been reporting for the last five years – that the FBI is responsible for the majority of so-called ‘terrorist’ attacks in the US.
According to a new legal case filed against the FBI, court filings have revealed how the agency allowed an alleged ‘home grown’ ISIS attack to take place in Garland, Texas on May 4, 2015. International criminal lawyer Jennifer Breedon shows the FBI was complicit in the attack, and even enticed the two terrorists to carry out the attack, and where agents had ‘pretended to be ISIS’ in order to keep their entrapment operation going. She explains:
‘Some of the facts are indicating that they had an undercover agent that was trying to get in with ISIS – trying to find out these ISIS groups, and he wanted to make himself higher up in ISIS ranks to know more of their fighters. Apparently, he stayed in the car behind them, which came out in another case filing with the FBI. They did not prevent it because if the attack had been carried out successfully, and people died, it was likely this undercover agent and his supervisors in the FBI felt that this would promote him up to high ranks within ISIS – the undercover agent would be promoted up, because the attack was then successful.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on OCTOBER 6, 2017.

Iran Threatens America: If New Sanctions Pass, US Military “Would Be At Risk”

In the coming days, president Trump is expected to announce that he will decertify the Iran Nuclear Deal, a step that potentially could cause the historic Obama-era accord to unravel. Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to limit its disputed nuclear program in return for the easing of economic sanctions. Realizing the dire threat that such a move presents for its economy – not to mention Iranian oil exports – Iran has escalated the rhetoric, and overnight it warned the United States that U. S. regional military bases “would be at risk” if further sanctions were passed or if the US designated its Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a terrorist group.
On Friday the Financial Times reported that Donald Trump is expected to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group, as part of a new hardline strategy against the Islamic republic.
Mr Trump is expected to announce new measures against Iran, including the prospect of additional targeted sanctions, the designation of the Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation and the adoption of a tougher stance on Iranian proxies in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, according to a person briefed on the matter.
‘It’s an integrated Iran strategy focused on neutralising and rolling back Iran’s malign activities regionally and globally,’ the person said.
Iran was not happy: “The Americans should know that the Trump government’s stupid behavior with the nuclear deal will be used by the Islamic Republic as an opportunity to move ahead with its missile, regional and conventional defense program,” Guards’ commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, quoted by Reuters. He then explicitly threatened US presence in the region, warning that ‘if America’s new law for sanctions is passed, this country will have to move their regional bases outside the 2,000 km range of Iran’s missiles.”

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

Syria Goes After the Snakeheads of Terrorism

21st Century Wire says…
The video in this report is the speech by Dr Bashar Ja’afari, Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations, in the Sixth Committee, 1st meeting, General Assembly, 72nd session, 2 Oct 2017.
‘These snakeheads are arming, financing and supporting the terrorist groups. Syria condemn states which promotes terrorism for hegemonic political aims and thus undermines sovereign states.’ ~ Dr Bashar Al Jaafari.
A few comments (from Facebook) on Al Jaafari’s powerful speech, presented, as always, with impeccable dignity and integrity:
‘The unfathomable horror that Syria has been subjected to by terrorist governments and their insane mercenary pawns is a disgrace to humanity and yet Ph. D Bashar Ja’afari conducts himself as a true man of substance and resolve, standing up to evil as a statesman of true merit and a fearless representative of the will and honor within the Syrian people.’

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on OCTOBER 5, 2017.

Russia Military Accuses U.S. Of Supporting ISIS

The aerial photos of ISIS' territory north of #Deir_ez_Zor where #USA special operation troops are seen pic.twitter.com/gjqlQubi9o
— (@mod_russia) September 24, 2017

Two week after Russia released a set of satellite photos from Syria, which allegedly showed US special ops located in immediate proximity to ISIS positions, the Russian defence ministry doubled down on Wednesday and again accused the United States of supporting Islamic State jihadists, enabling them to mount counter-offensive attacks in eastern Syria.
“The main thing preventing the final defeat of ISIS in Syria is not the terrorists’ military capability but support and pandering to them by American colleagues,” Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
Quoted by AFP, he said recent attacks on Syrian regime forces were all made “from a 50-kilometre zone around At-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordan border” where the US-led coalition is operating a garrison.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 4, 2017.

Whose Bright Idea Was RussiaGate?

The answer to the question in the title of this article is that Russiagate was created by CIA director John Brennan. The CIA started what is called Russiagate in order to prevent Trump from being able to normalize relations with Russia. The CIA and the military/security complex need an enemy in order to justify their huge budgets and unaccountable power. Russia has been assigned that role. The Democrats joined in as a way of attacking Trump. They hoped to have him tarnished as cooperating with Russia to steal the presidential election from Hillary and to have him impeached. I don’t think the Democrats have considered the consequence of further worsening the relations between the US and Russia.
Public Russia bashing pre-dates Trump. It has been going on privately in neoconservative circles for years, but appeared publicly during the Obama regime when Russia blocked Washington’s plans to invade Syria and to bomb Iran.
Russia bashing became more intense when Washington’s coup in Ukraine failed to deliver Crimea. Washington had intended for the new Ukrainian regime to evict the Russians from their naval base on the Black Sea. This goal was frustrated when Crimea voted to rejoin Russia.

This post was published at Paul Craig Roberts on October 3, 2017.