America has been a discouraging landscape ever since the neoconservatives took over US foreign policy during the Clinton regime and started the two decades of war crimes that define 21st century America and ever since US corporations betrayed the US work force by moving American jobs to Asia. The outlook became darker when the Obama regime resurrected the Russian Threat and elevated the prospect of military conflict between the nuclear powers. As Europe is caught in the middle, in normal circumstances European countries would have insisted that Washington cease the gratuitous provocations of Russia. But normal circumstances have not existed. Since the end of WW2, European countries have been vassals without independent economic and foreign policies. Europe hosts US military bases that threaten Russia. Europe has backed Washington’s wars of aggression against Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Washington’s air attacks on provinces of Pakistan, and Washington’s use of Saudi Arabia to fight its proxy war against Yemen.
For the past few days, news outlets have been reporting on the Trump Administration and CIA’s announcement to end the controversial covert program to arm and train ‘moderate rebels’ fighting to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad. While many who want peace in Syria see this move as a step in the right direction, others still doubt that the underlying goal of ousting Assad has been abandoned completely. The decision may serve a number of purposes, but the long-term goals of the US and its close coalition allies do not change easily, and removing President Assad from power has a centerpiece their regional restructuring plan for a very long time. Does the announcement really mean that Trump is going to leave Assad alone? Is the US turning a corner in Syria and finally learning from the mistakes it made in Iraq and Libya? Is it really a concession to Russia? Is Trump finally actualizing his campaign rhetoric that seemed to reject America’s foreign wars? Not likely. Of course, it’s possible that Trump is at odds with other factions in the US government’s military and foreign policy establishment, possibly because he recognizes the danger of arming terrorists and the political damage this might do to his own reputation as a leader who is ‘tough on terror.’ Such a belief however, might be extremely generous to Trump, especially considering how under his authority the US military has dangerously escalated several wars, not just in Syria, but also in Yemen, and probably soon in Afghanistan. A more likely explanation is that the Trump administration and a complicit mainstream media are trying to manage public perceptions regarding six years of troublesome US involvement in Syria. In a bait-and-switch type PR deception, Washington might be attempting to generate the perception of de-escalation – even as the US increases its presence in Syria.
21st Century Wire says…. ‘This barbaric nation [Saudi Arabia] should not be getting our weapons, I am embarrassed that people are out here making money and making a buck, while 17 million are living on a starvation diet.’ ~ Senator Rand Paul ‘The United States has no business supporting a war that has only served to embolden our terrorist enemies, exacerbate a humanitarian crisis, and incite fear and anger among the Yemeni people toward the United States,’ ~ Senator Chris Murphy Yemen is a catastrophe we should all be taking personally. For two years and four months, the Saudi coalition, supported and armed by the UK, US and EU has been pounding 27 million Yemenis with all manner of heavyweight military hardware, including cluster bombs that have been illegally deployed against predominantly civilian targets.
Authored by Soeren Kern via The Gatestone Institute, A new report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the federal government’s central institution for monitoring and preventing diseases, confirms an across-the-board increase in disease since 2015, when Germany took in an unprecedented number of migrants. Some doctors say the actual number of cases of tuberculosis is far higher than the official figures suggest and have accused the RKI of downplaying the threat in an effort to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments. “Around 700,000 to 800,000 applications for asylum were submitted and 300,000 refugees have disappeared. Have they been checked? Do they come from the high-risk countries?” – Carsten Boos, orthopedic surgeon, interview with Focus magazine. A failed asylum seeker from Yemen who was given sanctuary at a church in northern Germany to prevent him from being deported has potentially infected more than 50 German children with a highly contagious strain of tuberculosis. The man, who was sheltered at a church in Bnsdorf between January and May 2017, was in frequent contact with the children, some as young as three, who were attending a day care center at the facility. He was admitted to a hospital in Rendsburg in June and subsequently diagnosed with tuberculosis – a disease which only recently has reentered the German consciousness.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 18, 2017.
Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Advisor to Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad. While flags fly and hearts beat in joy for the liberation of Mosul, one stands in awe to the magnitude of destruction inflicted by the American warplanes on one of the oldest and richest cities in history and its unique cultural and architectural heritage. One question springs to mind: Who is this invisible hidden force that follows one systematic method, which is the destruction of Arab historical monuments, laboratories, museums, universities, libraries, schools, research centers, bridges, temples, mosques, government buildings and other authentic landmarks in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq? These are the forces that seek to destroy the ruins of Queen Zenobia, Haroun al-Rashid Palace and Qasr al-Banat, which is the first women’s hospital in history, the Bosra theatre, the Hadaba minaret, the ruins of Babylon, Nimrod and Nineveh, the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo, and the unique mosaic museum in Ma’arat al-Nu’man. The list goes on and on, and we haven’t even began to list of the unique historic sites in Yemen that were destroyed. Is it mere coincidence that drives these terrorist forces alongside the bombing of US coalition planes, with the regimes of Wahhabism, which pay billions of dollars to support these groups?
With President Donald Trump safely out of the country, joining French President Emmanuel Macron at a Bastille Day parade in Paris, A federal judge in Hawaii has ordered a temporary loosening of the Trump administration’s travel ban after finding that the administration’s strict interpretation of the Supreme Court’s decision isn’t justified. The ruling was issued by US District Judge Derrick Watson – a longtime Obama ally and the same judge who blocked the second ‘watered down’ Trump travel ban back in March. The Wall Street Journal described Watson’s decision as ‘a fresh legal blow for the president just two weeks after a Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to implement its travel ban against refugees and foreign nationals from six countries who have no connection to the US.’ Trump’s March 6 executive order banned travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, as well as all refugees for 120 days. The Supreme Court ruled two weeks ago that a ‘narrower’ version of the Trump travel ban could take effect, but that anyone from the six countries with a “bona fide relationship” to a US person or entity could not be barred. The Supreme Court has promised to issue a final ruling on the ban in October. The Trump administration then limited a ‘bona fide’ relationship to spouses, parents, children, fiancs and siblings, barring grandparents and other family members – a measure that Trump said was necessary to prevent attacks.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 14, 2017.
Qatar has been known for years as a small peninsula nation that punches far above its weight. Its immense oil wealth and enormous influence, through its English- and Arabic-language Al Jazeera channels, have given it diplomatic clout across the Arab world. Its soft power has been felt in negotiations in Darfur, Tripoli, Sanaa and elsewhere. Everywhere it has been either admired or envied. Now Qatar is on its back feet, fighting off criticism from all sides. Qatar’s candidate to run UNESCO is now almost certain to lose; a few months earlier, he was the frontrunner. Activists are pressing FIFA to bar Qatar from hosting the World Cup. Pressure is mounting to close the U. S. air base in Qatar; U. S. Air Force general Charles Wald, who opened the base in 2001, is now, in retirement, publicly calling for its closure. A coalition of thirty-four thousand predominantly African American churches protested Qatar in Washington, DC, on June 28, citing Qatar’s persecution of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities. (Qatar bans crosses on the outside of churches and bars public prayer by Christians, even though there may be more Christians in the country than the three hundred thousand native Qataris.) The protest, outside Qatar’s embassy at Twenty-Fifth and M Streets, is the first-ever public demonstration against Qatar in Washington. It won’t be the last. Even more dramatically, Qatar’s neighbors and allies have turned against it. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and closed their air and sea ports to Qatar’s planes and ships. The Arab-language media is full of venom directed at Qatar. Now it is either pitied or feared. What happened? Qatar was found to be funding the enemies of America and its Arab allies. Washington policymakers are concerned that Qatar has funded, according to the U. S. State department, Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria as well as elements of ISIS – the very groups America is bombing in its campaign to liberate northern Iraq. It also supports Hamas, which both the United States and EU have designated as a terrorist organization. Bahrain believes that Qatar is supporting armed opposition groups against its royal family. The Saudis fault Qatar’s financial support to the Yemen-based Houthi rebels (opposed to the Saudi regime) as well as Qatar’s backing for violent opposition groups in the Saudi province of Al Qatif, which is mostly Shia.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jul 2, 2017.
Most people inside and outside of the US believe that this country’s gun ownership rate is unique, but that’s not exactly true. Though America has the most privately owned guns per capita, there are other countries that aren’t too far behind us, such as Serbia, Yemen, Cyprus, and many Western nations like Finland and Switzerland. In most cases, these countries don’t have access to the same kind of firearms that we do, but nonetheless there are a ton of guns floating around in these places. What really separates the US from every other country in the world, is that we have the right to bear arms preserved in our constitution. Technically, Honduras and Mexico have the same right in their constitutions, but in both cases it comes with a lot of restrictions. Their right to bear arms doesn’t have any teeth. The Swiss are known for letting many of their citizens own guns, but gun ownership for most Swiss citizens is more of a duty than a right. America stands alone in this regard. We’re the only country with a constitution that gives civilians a clear and explicit right to own and carry firearms. In every other nation, civilians don’t own firearms unless their governments let them. That however, is about to change. While most EU governments are eyeing more restrictive gun laws, the Czech Republic is about to add the right to bear arms to its constitution. Czech Lawmakers have passed legislation in the lower parliament that would see the right to bear firearms enshrined in the country’s constitution in a move directed against tighter regulations from the European Union.
This post was published at shtfplan on June 29th, 2017.
What a scary week in the Mideast. The epicenter of the world’s energy resources and the land-bridge between Asia and Africa is spinning out of control as the danger of a shooting war between the US and Russia grows daily. A U.S. F-18 warplane shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22 ground attack aircraft over eastern Syria. This was a grave, reckless provocation clearly authorized by Washington. Russia, Syria’s ally, threatened to begin targeting its supposedly deadly S-300 missiles against U.S. warplanes over Syria. Another U.S. warplane shot down an Iranian drone over southeastern Syria as U.S. forces and U.S. mercenary Arab troops closed in on a worthless piece of ground on the Syrian-Iraq border. Russia is rushing ten more warships into the Mediterranean, though most are obsolescent or small. The U.S. Navy is challenging – or provoking – the Iranians in the Gulf. U.S. technicians and crews are keeping Saudi warplanes bombing Yemen, where half the population faces starvation. Just across the Red Sea, U.S. warplanes and special forces are attacking the Somalia nationalist resistance movement, Shebab. At least 4,000 more U.S. troops are headed for Afghanistan’s stalemated war. U.S. Marines are attacking ISIS positions near Mosul, al-Tanf and Raqaa and adding long-ranged HIMARS artillery rockets. American forces are using white phosphorus, a hideous chemical weapon, against Isis defenders. Iran may send more ‘volunteer’ troops into Syria and Iraq as U.S. warplanes probe Iran’s airspace. Turkey is reportedly moving against U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria. Some Mideast experts believe the U.S. may be set on partitioning Syria.
Just when geopolitical practitioners were betting on regime change in Qatar – orchestrated by a desperate House of Saud – regime change ended up happening in Riyadh, orchestrated by Warrior Prince, Destroyer of Yemen and Blockader of Qatar, Mohammad bin Salman (MBS). Considering the impenetrability of that desert petrodollar family oligarchy impersonating a nation it’s up to a few foreigners granted access to make sense of the latest Arabian Game of Thrones. It also does not help that the ‘largesse’ of Saudi – and Emirati – lobbies in Washington reduces virtually every think tank and hack in sight to abject sycophancy. A top Middle East source close to the House of Saud, and a de facto dissident of the Beltway consensus, minces no words; ‘The CIA is very displeased with the firing of Mohammad bin Nayef. Mohammad bin Salman is regarded as sponsoring terrorism. In April 2014 the entire royal families of the UAE and Saudi Arabia were to be ousted by the US over terrorism. A compromise was worked out that Nayef would take over running the Kingdom to stop it.’
Update: It appears that Trump has been handed a ‘partial’ victory on his travel ban by the Supreme Court. While SCOTUS revived a “narrowed” ban, they found that it can not be applied to people with a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” SUPREME COURT TEMPORARILY NARROWS TRAVEL BAN SUPREME COURT LIFTS MOST OF INJUNCTION THAT BLOCKED TRUMP’S TRAVEL BAN ON SIX MUSLIM-MAJORITY NATIONS COURT SAYS BAN CAN APPLY TO PEOPLE WITHOUT U. S. RELATIONSHIP U. S. SUPREME COURT AGREES TO HEAR TRUMP APPEALS OF RULINGS BLOCKING TRAVEL BAN ON SIX MUSLIM-MAJORITY NATIONS The ban will exclude people visiting a close family member, students who have been admitted to a university or workers who have accepted an employment offer, the court said. But the court said people can’t avoid the travel ban by entering into a relationship solely to enter the U. S. The policy will suspend entry into the U. S. by people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for a period of 90 days and it will take effect in 72 hours. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said they would have let the entire ban take effect immediately. THOMAS, ALITO, GORSUCH ISSUE PARTIAL DISSENT ON TRAVEL BAN
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
Episode #191 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes this June 25th, 2017 as guest host Patrick Henningsen brings you this week’s LIVE broadcast on the Alternate Current Radio Network… LISTEN LIVE ON THIS PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULED SHOW TIMES: 5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12am PT (US)
This week we deliver another LIVE broadcast, this time from Britain’s former naval stronghold in Plymouth, as SUNDAY WIRE host Patrick Henningsen breaks down the biggest stories in the west and internationally, including a follow-up on the recent disaster in West London where we’ll speak to local resident Emma about the Grenfell Tower fire – the social and political fallout as well as questions about how many residents actually died in the fatal blaze. In the second hour, we’ll connect with geopolitical analyst Daniel Faraci from Grassroots Political Consulting in Washington DC to discuss how the recent fracture between Qatar and Turkey (and Iran) on one side – and the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the rest of Gulf, on the other. What will this mean for the region for Syria and for Yemen? In the final hour, we’ll try to connect with political pundit Basil Valentine to discuss the Queen’s top priority as Britain’s monarch; not government or Parliament – but horses, as well as a report from Glastonbury festival and the Corbynmania going on there. We’ll also get Basil’s thoughts on the Grenfell situation and how its thwarted the Tory plans to consolidate power. VOTE IN OUR NEWS POLL: What’s more important in modern warfare – a strong military, or a strong media?
SUPPORT 21WIRE – SUBSCRIBE & BECOME A MEMBER @21WIRE. TV Strap yourselves in and lower the blast shield – this is your brave new world… *NOTE: THIS EPISODE MAY CONTAIN STRONG LANGUAGE AND MATURE THEMES* PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN
This post was published at Spreaker on JUNE 25, 2017.
The following video was published by X22Report on Jun 25, 2017 CNN puts out fake news then deletes it because they had nothing backing the story. Nicaragua, Cuba and other nations are backing Venezuela. Iraq troops free more civilians in Mosul. US is now being blamed for torturing civilians in Yemen. Qatar sends a message and moves closer to Russia. US deep state is now in the process of breaking Syria apart, the Russian’s realize this is the plan. The Pentagon says it would work with Assad and Iran to fight terrorism in Syria. The deep state has one more trick up their sleeve, the big event. There are reports that Obama had cyber bombs inserted into Russian infrastructure.
The diplomatic crisis resulting from sanctions against Qatar raises fresh questions concerning the political and economic environment in the Gulf. A guest post by Anas Abdoun. Just a fortnight after President Trump’s visit to the Middle-East, many members of the GCC as well as Egypt, severed diplomatic, economic and security relations with Qatar. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, and Yemen, made this momentous decision, joined days later by Mauritania and the Maldives. These measures are particularly hard for Qatar as this is not merely a closing of embassies. In 2014, Qatar had a crisis with its neighbors, who shut down their embassies to protest against Doha’s foreign policy. The crisis was resolved with an agreement, which Saudi Arabia now claims has not been respected by Qatar. This time, in addition to cutting diplomatic ties, the five countries decided to enforce a major economic embargo against Qatar, which is financially powerful but geographically very small. The GCC is now caught up in the worst diplomatic crisis since its creation in 1981, dividing the organization which yields great power within the region and with the entire group of Arab countries.
Two days ago, when reporting on the surprising “terrorist attempt” by Iran’s National Guard on a major Saudi offshore oilfiled (at least according to Saudi media), we said that “if the Saudi account of events is accurate, and if Iran is indeed preparing to take out Saudi oil infrastructure in retaliation or otherwise, the simmering cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is about to get very hot.” This in turn followed an earlier analysis on the ongoing Syrian war in which we said that “the next major regional conflict appears set to be between Saudi Arabia and Iran. All it needs is a catalyst.” That catalyst, according to energy consultancy Petromatrix, may have been revealed overnight with the stunning Saudi royal shakeup in which the King announced he was stripping the current Crown Prince, his nephew Mohamed bin Nayef (MBF), of all titles and obligations, and replacing him with his son Mohamed bin Salman (MBS). Summarizing the event, Petromatrix analyst Olivier Jakob wrote that “the day starts with the Saudi Crown Prince sent to retirement and replaced by the deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). MBS was already the strong hand in Saudi Arabia, this latest development, and the purge that goes with it, confirms that he is the de-facto king of Saudi Arabia. Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies (Yemen, Qatar…) and he has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.” The punchline: “with MBS now having greater control of Saudi Arabia and with Jared Kushner having a large control of the White House it is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts.” Jakob wasn’t the only one to react strongly to the Saudi royal shakeup. Below, courtsy of Bloomberg, are several other notable reactions:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 21, 2017.
President Donald Trump has has given the Pentagon unilateral authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, the WSJ and Reuters reported overnight, clearing the way for the military to intensify its fight against the Taliban and opening the door for future troop increases requested by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. While no immediate decision had been made about the troop levels, which are now set at about 8,400, the Pentagon is currently weighing plans to send between 3,000 and 5,000 additional troops. The news comes after Mattis said in testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee that “We are not winning in Afghanistan right now. And we will correct this as soon as possible.” Mattis said the Taliban were “surging” at the moment, something he said he intended to address. The decision is similar to one announced in April that applied to U. S. troop levels in Iraq and Syria, and came as Mattis warned Congress the U. S.-backed Afghan forces were not beating the Taliban despite more than 15 years of war. After the official announcement control over troop decisions to the Pentagon, expected to be announced on Wednesday, sets the stage for U. S. commanders to decide to reverse course in Afghanistan and begin sending more forces to the country after years of reductions in the hope that Kabul could handle internal threats on its own, the WSJ notes. According to the WSJ, the White House decision to cede authority to Mr. Mattis is another reflection of Mr. Trump’s push to give the military wide latitude around the world. The White House has already given the Pentagon more power to carry out strikes in Yemen and Somalia. Mr. Trump removed a cap on troop levels in Iraq. And he approved Pentagon plans to send more U. S. troops and firepower into Syria to fight Islamic State.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 14, 2017.
The Middle East has been ablaze for many years now, but the Islamic Republic of Iran has so far largely escaped any direct harm. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has also become the victim of numerous terror attacks over the past years… but now, the whole dynamic seems to have undergone a radical shift, a shift endangering Iran, Qatar, Syria, and Yemen… with potential ripple effects also touching upon Turkey and Russia. All the while, the United States maintain a not-so hidden presence in the region that has the potential of even endangering the whole world… Setting the Scene in Tehran On Tuesday, 7 June 2017, the city of Tehran was rocked by simultaneous terror attacks: a ‘multi-prong terrorist attack has struck Iran’s capital city this morning. Gunmen and suicide bombers converged on three targets including Iran’s Parliament building and the mausoleum of Imam Khomeini, killing staff and members of the public.’
The quarrel between Saudi Arabia and Qatar which began on 5th June is taking unexpected twists and turns. Events are moving so fast that it is becoming difficult to foresee what will happen next week, let alone next month. Even so, some equations in the Gulf and the wider Middle East appear to have changed and need to be noted. But first, a brief recapitulation of the events since 5th June. On that day, Saudi Arabia announced that it was breaking diplomatic relations with Qatar because of the latter’s support to terrorist groups and her growing closeness to Iran. Saudi Arabia also takes a dim view of Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas; the activities of the Qatari news channel Al Jazeera; and Qatar’s position as the largest exporter of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) in the world. The Saudis closed their sea, air, and land borders to Qatar, and gave Qatari nationals in the Kingdom two weeks to leave the country. They also called on Saudi nationals to leave Qatar within two weeks. The Saudi action was quickly followed by the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Yemen, which announced similar measures against Qatar, on the same grounds. These developments took place within weeks of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh during which he, along with the Saudis, tried to mobilise Arab and Islamic countries against Iran, describing it as the ‘leading state sponsor of terrorism.’
Iran vowed to take revenge for Islamic State attacks in its capital on Wednesday and hinted that it may hold Saudi Arabia responsible, risking an escalation of the feud that’s divided the oil-rich Gulf region into increasingly hostile camps. Islamic State said it carried out the suicide-bomb and gun attacks that killed at least 12 people at Iran’s parliament and the shrine of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, a site of political and religious importance for Iran’s Shiite Muslim population. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps promised retribution for the ‘innocent blood spilled’ in the first such strike by the jihadists in Iran. And, the Guards said, Iranians won’t fail to note that the violence came soon after U.S. President Donald Trump met with ‘leaders of a reactionary government in the region which supports terrorists’ — an apparent reference to the Saudis. The contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the region’s main Sunni power, has helped fuel wars in Syria and Yemen. It spread to the heart of the Gulf this week as the Saudis led a drive to isolate Qatar, blaming their neighbor for ties with Iran and militant groups, and closing its land border. Trump, who endorsed the Saudi pressure while other U.S. officials appealed for calm, visited the kingdom last month and joined King Salman in calling for a united front against Iran and jihadism. ‘Today’s attack adds to cross-Gulf tensions that already had been elevated by the Trump trip — in which anti-Iranism was a principal theme — and by the Iran angle in the actions taken against Qatar,’ said Paul Pillar, a professor at Georgetown University in Washington and former CIA officer. Saudi and Iranian leaders blame each other for sponsoring militant groups. The Saudis point to Iranian support for Hezbollah and Hamas, while Iran says Saudi preachers and financial support aided the rise of al-Qaeda and Islamic State.
What’s going down in the Middle East right now is the perfect example of a black swan event. Out of nowhere, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Yemen, and the Maldives cut off diplomatic relations with the nation of Qatar several days ago. Saudi Arabia and the UAE (who are leading the charge against Qatar) have since placed a naval blockade on Qatar, and have cut air and land links with the nation as well. Keep in mind that Qatar is a fairly small nation, surrounded by larger neighbors that are basically threatening to completely cut them off from the rest of the world if they don’t comply with their demands, which are to cut ties with Iran, as well as radical organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The blockade is so serious, that the residents of Qatar have been stripping grocery stores bare in anticipation of food shortages. And on top of that, Saudi Arabia has just issued an ultimatum to Qatar, with conditions that the nation must comply with over the next 24 hours if they want diplomatic relations to normalize. According to a journalist with Al-Jazeera, the demands include the following:
This post was published at shtfplan on June 7th, 2017.