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91
News Items / The DPRK succeeded in its first H- bomb test
« Last post by Roger on January 08, 2016, 08:39:34 PM »
KCNA Commentary

    Pyongyang, January 8 (KCNA) -- The DPRK succeeded in its first H-bomb test.

    The H-bomb test conducted by the DPRK was a measure for self-defence to thoroughly protect the sovereignty of the country and vital rights of the nation from the daily-growing nuclear threat and blackmail by the hostile forces and reliably guarantee peace on the Korean Peninsula and security of the region.
    History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasured sword for frustrating outsiders' aggression moves and protecting peace and security of the country.
    When the U.S. desperately pursued the policy of the Cold War against the former Soviet Union after having access to nuclear weapons through the world's first test for explosion of A-bomb, the latter could stand up against the former because it had access to nuclear weapons without delay and conducted a H-bomb test in the year after the former carried
out H-bomb test, thus putting an end to the era of the U.S. monopoly of nukes.
    The then U.S. President Eisenhower in a press interview deplored that the Soviet Union's access to H-bomb caused new problems in the security of the U.S., reluctantly sending a message representing the U.S. intention not to fight a war with the Soviet Union.
    It was a bitter lesson drawn by the situation in the 21st century that a country should possess nuclear weapons without fail to protect its sovereignty and dignity under the present international political order in which a jungle law is in force.
    The Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq and the Gaddafi regime in Libya could not escape the fate of destruction after being deprived of their foundations for nuclear development and giving up nuclear programs of their own accord, yielding to the pressure of the U.S. and the West keen on their regime changes.
    The U.S. and other imperialist big powers are interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states and making weak countries their scapegoats through their high-handed military actions.
    The U.S. nuclear threat and blackmail against the DPRK have steadily increased since the 1950s.
    The U.S. has staged large-scale joint military drills every year. It has worked hard to ignite a nuclear war against the DPRK by amassing its nuclear strike means including nuclear carrier task force and nuclear strategic flying corps in south Korea and the vicinity of the Korean Peninsula.
    It is due right of the DPRK to cope with the moves of the U.S., chieftain of aggression, to start a nuclear war against the Korean nation.
    High-handed and arbitrary practices can never work on the DPRK. It is as foolish an act as wishing to see the sky fall to demand the DPRK scrap its nuclear program and halt its development, unless the U.S. rolls back its outrageous hostile policy toward the DPRK and imperialist aggression forces give up their infringement upon sovereignty by use of
force in the international arena.
    The DPRK is proud of having access to H-bomb of justice.

DPRK's Access to H-bomb Is Product of U.S. Hostile Policy: Russian Experts

    Moscow, January 7 (KCNA) -- Russian experts Wednesday were unanimous in saying that the DPRK's access to H-bomb is an inevitable product of the U.S. and its followers' hostile policy towards the DPRK.
    The chief of the Center for Political Study and Forecast of the Far Eastern Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences said, when interviewed by the newspaper Parllamentskaya Gazeta, that the DPRK was compelled to take a resolute measure to protect its security as it is facing economic difficulties at present due to the moves of the U.S.-led
hostile forces, stressing its access to H-bomb is an inevitable product of hostile policy pursued by the U.S., Japan and south Korea.
    Aleksandr Zhebin, chief of the Center for the Study of Modern Korea of the institute, said that the U.S. has ignored the existence of the DPRK in fact while denying dialogue with it. Therefore, the recent H-bomb test was conducted because of the U.S. hostile to those countries that pursue foreign policies which court its displeasure, he added.
    DR of History Valery Tymoshenko held that the DPRK regards its access to nuclear weapons as a guarantee for stability on the Korean Peninsula.
92
For Your Information / Turkish-ISIL Oil Trade
« Last post by nestopwar on January 06, 2016, 10:08:41 AM »
Turkish-ISIL Oil Trade

Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Russia All Accuse Turkey of Smuggling Oil

- Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya -

source: http://www.cpcml.ca/Tmlw2016/W46001.HTM#7

Because of the Turkish government's role in the multi-spectrum U.S.-led war against the Syrian Arab Republic, a war of words has ignited between Ankara and Moscow. Russia, however, is not alone in accusing Turkey of being involved in the theft of Syrian and Iraqi oil. Turkish opposition politicians, Turkish media, and various governments in the Middle East have also raised their voices about the role of Turkish officials in smuggling from the conflict zones in Syria and Iraq.

Russo-Turkish Tensions

A Russian Sukhoi Su-24M tactical bomber jet operating in Syrian airspace at the request of Damascus was shot down by two Turkish F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jets at 9:30 a.m. Moscow Standard Time (or, according to local time in the war theatre, 8:30 a.m. Eastern European Time) on November 24, 2015. The Kremlin reacted by asking for an explanation and apology. The Russian military quickly summoned the Turkish military attaché in Moscow and called the Su-24M's downing an unfriendly act by Ankara while Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking from Sochi during a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II, described it as a "stab in the back, carried out against us by accomplices of terrorists." Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of the Chechen Republic, would later describe the Turkish attack as an assault on the opponents of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/ISIS/IS/DAESH) by the Turkish government on behalf of the U.S..

On the day of the Russian jet's downing, Turkey would immediately call for consultations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to be held at 4:00 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time. It would get NATO's backing against Russia. In 2012, however, both the NATO and Turkish positions were the opposite. When a Turkish F-4 Phantom reconnaissance jet was shot down by the Syrians on June 22, the Turkish government and NATO said that such a short-term violation did not merit a military response by the Syrians.

The analysis of the Kremlin quickly concluded that the Turkish attack on the Su-24M was intentional. Russo-Turkish tensions began to mount. "We have serious doubts this was an unintended incident and believe this is a planned provocation," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced two days later, on November 26, after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

When Ankara refused to apologize, the Kremlin reacted by banning Turkish food imports and barring citizens of the Russian Federation from travelling to Turkey as tourists. Moscow also announced that it suspended negotiations for the construction of the Turk Stream gas pipeline crossing the Black Sea, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan counter-claimed that the Turkish government had already decided to end consultations on Turk Stream due to Russian non-compliance with Turkish demands. In an announcement that pleased Washington, Erdogan also threatened to turn away from Russia as an energy trading partner by finding and switching to new energy suppliers -- a point that should be kept in mind when Ankara's ties to the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Turkish military deployment to the Mosul District in Iraq are analyzed.

Despite Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's claims that an open line of communication was needed between Ankara and Moscow, the flight plans of the Russian bomber jet had been given to the Pentagon as a means of reducing the risk of collisions and accidents in the air between the Russian Federation and Washington's military cohort. The Turkish government, however, claimed that the Su-24M was shot down over its territory, but this was sharply rejected by the data provided by Russia and Syria. Even Turkish statements that the Su-24M was flying away from Turkey create doubts about the Turkish government's claims. By Ankara's own account the Russian bomber was only in Turkish airspace for a few seconds, but this is mathematically inconsistent with Turkish claims that ten warnings were issued to the Su-24M in a period of five minutes. It is also universally recognized that the Russian pilots parachuted inside Syrian territory. The only way the Turkish argument, which has been supported by the U.S. envoy at the North Atlantic Council, could even make sense is if Ankara's argument was deceptively formulated on an illegal assessment by Ankara under which the Turkish military operates as though the Turkish border has been extended by eight kilometers southward into Syrian territory.

The day after the Su-24M's downing, on November 25, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that the S-400 mobile air defense system was being deployed to Russia's Khmeimim (Hmeymim) Airbase in Latakia; the S-400s were then airlifted from Russia to Syria by means of the Antonov An-124 Ruslan strategic cargo jumbo jet on November 26. In an indirect message to Turkey and the U.S., the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces announced that Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers equipped with air-to-air missiles -- used for air combat -- were operating in Syria. The Russian Navy would also deploy the Moskva guided missile cruiser off the Levantine coast in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean. Putin took a vow a few weeks later, on December 11, during a meeting with Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff Valery Gerasimov that the Russian military will "immediately destroy" any hostile player threatening Russian operations in Syria.

Black Gold Rush: Looting Syrian and Iraqi Oil

Even more damning to Turkish officials, respectively on November 24 and December 2, Putin and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov publicly revealed that Turkey was buying oil from the ISIL terrorists and that President Erdogan and his family were personally profiting from the theft of oil from Syria. Russia had already presented evidence a few weeks earlier at the G-20 meeting in Antalya that some members of the forum were helping finance the ISIL. While Erdogan's government and Washington rejected this, the hard evidence, from witness statements and videos to oil shipment data from Turkey's own port of Ceyhan incriminate Turkey as the transit point for the oil that the ISIL has been stealing.

As early as June 2014, Turkish parliamentarian Ali Ediboglu, the Meclis representative of the Turkish border province of Hatay on the Syrian border, revealed that 800 million U.S. dollars worth of stolen Syrian oil was being sold to Turkey by the insurgents and terrorists in Syria. His statements were followed by similar accusations by the Turkish newspaper Taraf Gazetesi. The Wall Street Journal even casually revealed that the major political parties in Turkey had long accused Erdogan's government of being in bed with the terrorists by writing that "Moscow has resurrected accusations by rivals of Turkey's most powerful leaders that Ankara has covertly fueled the rise of Islamic State [IS/ISIL], deepening the diplomatic rift over last week's shootdown of a Russian bomber."

Mowaffak Al-Rubaie, who the U.S. had appointed as the national security advisor of Iraq in July 2003, would corroborate that Ankara was involved with the ISIL oil stealing operations on November 28, 2015. A few weeks later, on December 7, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi would add his voice to accusations by saying during a meeting with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier that most the oil that the ISIL was stealing from Iraq and Syria was being smuggled and sold via Turkey.

Referring to the theft of oil from his own country, Syrian Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi told RIA Novosti that Erdogan had personally ordered the Turkish military to shoot down the Sukhoi Su-24M as a reprisal for the Russian airstrikes against the ISIL oil smuggling business that was managed by his son, Necmettin Bilal Erdogan. A short time later, various reports surfaced about Bilal Erdogan's ownership of a BMZ Group-affiliated Maltese shipping business named the Oil Transportation and Shipping Company. It was also reported that over a hundred oil tankers belonged to the Turkish Bayrak Company owned by Berat Albayrak, who is Erdogan's son-in-law who was appointed Turkey's energy and natural resource minister by Prime Minister Davutoglu after the Turkish general elections on November 1, 2015.

In a similar context, Turkey has been accused of stealing industrial equipment from Aleppo and Syrian historical artifacts. Speaking to Reuters, the director-general of antiquities and museums in Syria, Maamoun Abdulkarim, has testified that over two thousand stolen Syrian artifacts are being kept in Turkey and that the Turkish government refused to document or return the historical artifacts that have been looted. These antiquities from places like the Roman ruins of Palmyra are being resold through Turkey on the international black market. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), historic sites in Syria have been looted "on an industrial scale" by the ISIL and other insurgent groups supported by Turkey.

The evidence provided by Russia was corroborated by Tehran. Iran had been complaining about Turkey's illegal oil smuggling operations in Syria and Iraq before the Kremlin even made its revelations. Laleh Eftekhari, an Iranian parliamentarian sent an open letter on December 2 to President Erdogan's wife, Emine Erdogan, asking her how she could remain silent about Bilal's criminal activities.

Erdogan reacted to the Iranian position by claiming in front of the Turkish public that he had demanded to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to halt criticism from the Iranian media and that Tehran stops supporting Russian revelations about his family's involvement in the illegal oil trade. On December 4, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hussein Jaber Ansari diplomatically responded by saying that the Turkish government should instead reverse its disastrous regional policies and support for terrorism, whereas other Iranian officials said that Erdogan was blatantly lying about his exchange with Rouhani. Mohsen Rezaie, the Iranian Expediency Discernment Council's secretary, responded by saying that "Iranian military advisors in Syria have taken photos and filmed all the routes used by ISIL's oil tankers to Turkey; these documents can be published."

Iran is unequivocally supportive of the Russian position in Syria. Despite the analyses arguing that the Russian military presence in Syria is marginalizing the Iranians in Syria, Moscow and Tehran are working closely together. Russian airstrikes in Syria have been coordinated with Iranian ground operations. Russian operations in Syria are believed to have been discussed when Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander fighting the ISIL in Syria and Iraq, visited Moscow in August 2015. Russia military jets have been using Iranian military bases to enter Syria, Iranian military jets are escorting Russian bombers to Syria through Iranian airspace, and Tehran has allowed the Russian Navy's Caspian Flotilla to use its waters and airspace. Even U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has complained that the two powers operate in tandem in regards to the conflict in Syria.

Russia is not alone, militarily or in its charges against Turkish officials. While NATO has backed Turkey, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Syria, Iraq, and Iran have backed the Russian position against Turkey. Like the Russian Federation, the major countries bordering Turkey, as well as politicians within Turkey, also accuse Erdogan's government of working with the ISIL and stealing oil from Iraq and Syria.

II

Ominous Timing: Turkish Dispatch to Mosul

Amidst the Russo-Turkish row, the Turkish government dispatched a Turkish battalion of twenty-five M-60 Patton tanks to the Mosul District of Iraq's Ninawa Governorate. The Turkish press even announced that Ankara had declared that it was establishing a permanent military base inside Iraq's Mosul District. The Iraqi federal government reacted immediately by calling the Turkish move a hostile act that violated international law and Iraqi sovereignty.

Ankara tried to justify its military deployment to the Iraqi town of Bashiqa, in the close proximity of 30 kilometers to the northeastern outskirts of the ISIL-controlled city of Mosul, by claiming that it was a routine rotation of military personnel. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claimed that the Turkish military had been dispatched to the area to train and reorganize Iraqi locals to fight the ISIL at the request of Baghdad. The Turkish deployment was presented as part of an ongoing process of security cooperation between Iraq and Turkey by Davutoglu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

At first the Turkish government claimed that the deployment was approved by the Iraqi federal government and military, but this was quickly rejected as untrue in Baghdad by President Mohammed Fouad Masum, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, and Defence Minister Khaled Al-Obeidi. Not only was the Turkish deployment rejected by the Iraqi government, it was also described as much too big for a training mission and Erdogan was derided as an outright liar by Iraqi authorities and parliamentarians. Then Ankara tried to defend its actions by absurdly claiming that it was approved by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government.






The Turkish-Kurdistan Regional Government Alliance: Dividing Iraq?

It turned out that the senior diplomat Feridun Sinirlioglu, who was Turkey's foreign minister at the time, in violation of international law had made an illegal agreement with the corrupt Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani for establishing the base in the Mosul District on November 4, 2015. As a regional government, the Kurdistan Regional Government has no constitutional authority to make defensive agreements without the Iraqi federal government in Baghdad. Nor does it have legal jurisdiction over the area the Turkish military deployed to. Bashiqa is in disputed territory in the Nineveh Governorate that Kurdistan Regional Government claims. Other territorial claims include Diyala Governorate, Kirkuk Governorate, and Saladin Governorate. In June 2014, Massoud Barzani took advantage of the ISIL offensive on Mosul to send his forces to take control over these territories while the Iraqi military was busy fighting. Thus, in parallel to the ISIL offensive against Iraq from Syria, the Kurdistan Regional Government opportunistically used the ISIL attacks to send its Peshmerga troops into the energy-rich Kirkuk Governorate, to gain control over part of the Mosul District, and unilaterally take control of the territory that the Iraqi federal government administrated.

The excuses from the Turkish government continued as tensions with Iraq increased. Instead of removing the Turkish military unit that was sent to Bashiqa, Ankara pledged not to send any more military reinforcements until Baghdad's concerns were placated. Indirectly meaning Iran and Russia, Davutoglu would write in a letter to Baghdad saying the governments "who are disturbed by the cooperation of Turkey and Iraq and who want to end it should not be allowed to attain their goal" on December 6, 2015.

Dragging his feet, Erdogan would add that it was "out of the question" and "impossible" to remove the Turkish military units and that the Turkish unit had been sent to Iraq to protect Turkish military trainers and advisors who he argued were posted 15 to 20 kilometers from the ISIL's positions. Interestingly, there has been no record of the Turkish forces ever facing a serious attack by the ISIL, during the zenith of the terrorist organization's full strength, before the Russian strikes in Syria commenced on September 30. Speaking on Turkish television, President Erdogan would blame Iran and Russia for engineering the crisis between Turkey and Iraq, and then ingenuously arguing that his government's soldiers had entered Iraq to defend Turkish security interests and that Ankara did not have the luxury of waiting for the invitation of the central Iraqi government while Turkey was under threat from the ISIL. Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim, the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations, would eventually deliver a letter from Baghdad to the UN Security Council on December 11 asking the UN to get Turkey to withdraw its military from Iraq.

Ankara's deployment to the outskirts of Mosul is a reaction to the successful campaigns by Iran, Russia, Syria, Iraq, and Hezbollah -- the security alliance also referred to as the "4+1" -- in weakening the ISIL. For the first time ever, the Turkish military had entered Iraq's northern region without the justification of fighting Kurds. Calculating that the Iraqi federal government will be able to refocus its attention on the territorial dispute with the Kurdistan Regional Government, the Turkish deployments are meant to help the Kurdistan Regional Government consolidate the territory and energy reserves it opportunistically annexed from the Iraqi federal government in 2014; it was also revealed by Ankara that it intended to dispatch Turkish soldiers and military equipment to the Soran and Qala Cholan districts near the Iranian border.

Iraqi parliamentarians, like Awatif Nima, have accused Turkey of entering Iraq to help the ISIL in Mosul and working to partition Iraq. Turkey has been cultivating ties with the clans of Mosul, particularly the Nujaifis. Turkish support for Iraqi Kurdistan's separate oil export capacity has also weakened the unity of Iraq and the finances of both Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Speaking to Al Jazeera in Orwellian language on December 9, Erdogan claimed that the governments in Iraq, Iran, and Syria were executing sectarian policies and then himself justified the Turkish deployment to the Mosul District in sectarian language. He told Al Jazeera that Turkey had elevated its military presence to protect Iraq's Arabs, Turkomans, and Kurds that are Sunni Muslims. He then added that the Sunni Muslims all need to be armed and trained to fight, which is the objective of Turkey's mission. In this regard, not only has Turkey been planning to train and arm the Kurdistan Regional Government's security forces, but it is also planning on doing the same with local volunteers in Zilkan that the Kurdistan Regional Government and Peshmerga Major-General Noorudeen Herki supportively claim are part of the Hashad Al-Watani in the Mosul District. Regardless of any affiliation to the Hashad Al-Watani, the "volunteers" in Mosul may end up being like the U.S. and its allies' trained and supported so-called "moderates" that later joined the ISIL in Syria.

Preparing for the Aftermath of the Future ISIL Defeat in Iraq?


Iraqis protest against Turkish troops in Mosul.
 

Despite Erdogan's assertions that the Turkish forces in the Mosul District could not leave, they were redeployed northward inside Iraq into territory administered by the Kurdistan Regional Government on December 14. Prime Minister Davutoglu's office commented that this was a part of a "new arrangement" where ten to twelve of the tanks were being relocated northwards. While Turkey attempted to get some legal backing from the Kurdistan Regional Government for its military presence, the redeployment from Bashiqa is an omission that both Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government understand that the latter has no jurisdiction to okay Ankara's deployment into the Mosul District.

The Turkish redeployment is the result of coordination between Ankara and the Kurdistan Regional Government. The Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani went to Turkey on December 9 for meetings with Erdogan and Davutoglu. Subliminal messages were being sent: very tellingly the Iraqi flag was absent and only the flag of Iraqi Kurdistan was put alongside the Turkish flag during the meetings. Ankara and Barzani are trying to salvage the situation and sidestep the Iraqi government in Baghdad. A few days earlier, in this context, Erdogan announced that a trilateral meeting between the Turkish government, the Kurdistan Regional Government, and the U.S. would take place on December 21.

The Turkish military movements inside Iraq are additionally tied to petro-politics and protection of energy supplies from Iraqi Kurdistan. The Turkish deployment to Bashiqa took place right after Russian airstrikes weakened the ISIL's oil smuggling infrastructure. Undoubtedly, the subject of oil was mentioned between Barzani and Turkish leaders, because of Bazani's involvement in Turkey's illegal oil exporting business.

III

Genel Energy PLC

Genel Energy PLC has its headquarters in the English Channel's Crown Dependency of the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is an offshore tax haven governed by Britain's monarchy as a separate entity from the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. With the involvement of Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Cazenove, the Jersey-based energy company surfaced in 2011 after a £2.5 billion reverse merger takeover of Genel Enerji International Limited by Vallares PLC, an investment company setup by former BP oil conglomerate executive Anthony ("Tony") Bryan Hayward, JNR Limited financier and banking dynasty scion Nathaniel ("Nat") Rothschild, Nat's financier cousin Thomas ("Tom") Daniel, and Dresdner Kleinwort and Goldman Sachs investment banker Julian Metherell. Vallares is modeled on the Jersey-incorporated predecessor of Asia Resource Minerals PLC, Vallar (later BUMI PLC), which in 2010 raised £707.2 million in initial public offering and was co-founded by Nat Rothschild and Tom Daniel.

In June 2011, Hayward, Rothschild, Daniel, and Metherell quickly raised £1.35 billion (or $2.2 billion) for the deal between Valleres and Genel Enerji. Half this money came from investors in the U.S. during the Jersey-based company's initial public offering and involved investments from firms like the British asset management company Schroders and the Lloyds Banking subsidiary Scottish Widows. Two of Turkey's richest men, billionaire business mogul and banker Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, who was appealing an eleven-year jail sentence for embezzlement at the time of the deal, and Genel Enerji CEO Mehmet Sepil, who was caught and fined for insider trading of shares from Heritage Oil by the British Financial Services Authority in February 2010, were given half of the new company by the quartet and issued a further £1.25 billion in equity from the deal.

It was agreed that Mehmet Karamehmet would be represented on Genel Energy's board by his daughter Gulsun Nazli Karamehmet Williams and Sepil would be represented by the lawyer Murat Yazici of Yazici Law Offices, who formerly represented Royal Dutch Shell, the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO), and Exxon from 1974 to 1989. Sepil was appointed president of Genel Energy PLC and given a "key executive role" as Metherell puts it, "a key member of the leadership" due to his "unique knowledge of Kurdistan." A former BP executive and chair of the Jersey-based Petrofac oilfield services corporation, Rodney Chase, and a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, Mark Parris, were reported as being part of the new company too.

War and Profit

This was a forecast in 2011 about Genel Energy's expected production: "Genel owns stakes in valuable oil fields in Kurdistan, currently producing 42,000 barrels per day for the Turkish market. The new management, led by former BP boss Mr Hayward as chief executive, is planning to double output. ‘We want to be producing 110,000 barrels per day by 2012 and by 2015 the expectation is 150,000 barrels,' Mr Metherell said."

Were escalated war and the plunder of Syrian oil foreseen and part of the equation? It is worth mentioning that the Anglo-Turkish energy company has been involved in illegal export of Iraqi oil to Israel, appeared to be working to integrate the energy infrastructure of the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel and Turkey, and was planning on announcing a deal to work with a "consortium responsible for oil and gas explorations in Lebanon" in 2012. This would all only be feasible if regime change in Damascus took place and compliant regimes were established in Syria and Lebanon. A noteworthy omission by Nat Rothschild to the British journalist Simon Goodley that certain locations in the world were outside of the limits of Genel Energy, including Venezuela and post-Soviet Central Asia, confirms that geopolitical rivalries are taken into consideration in the Anglo-Turkish company's operations.

According to the South African journalist Khareen Pech, these interlocked directorship and companies are part of a labyrinth of networks that profit off insecurity and war. In this context, an earlier merger deal between Genel Enerji and Heritage Oil, another English Channel-based offshore company founded by mercenaries connected to the British military, that collapsed in 2009 should be examined with scrutiny. Explaining about Heritage Oil and Gas, Pech states thus: "In London, a similar web of companies can be found at the Heritage Oil and Branch Energy offices at Plaza 107. Over fifteen companies operate from this suite, share the same telephone numbers and the same UK-based directors and personnel. This clandestine approach to business enables EO [South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes] and its British principals to operate and benefit from a hidden empire of corporate and military companies."

Funding Division: Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline

In 2009, Genel Energy's Turkish predecessor Genel Enerji began exporting oil from Iraqi Kurdistan to the Turkish coast with the opening of the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline. The port of Ceyhan is run by Botas International Limited, a Turkish state company that also operates the Turkish portions of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline that deliberately circumvents Russia and Iran exporting Caspian Sea oil from the Republic of Azerbaijan by going through Georgia and Turkey. According to Reuters, using sanitized language hiding the illegal nature of the operations, this "export route to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, designed to bypass Baghdad's federal pipeline system, has created a bitter dispute over oil sale rights" inside Iraq.


Since 2002, the Turkish company had been illegally making inroads into Iraqi Kurdistan and slowly working to integrate the area's energy infrastructure with Turkey through illegitimate trade agreements with local Kurdish chieftains that circumvented Iraq's government in Baghdad and the Iraqi State Organization for Marketing of Oil (SOMO). The Guardian also pointed this out in 2011, amidst similar circumstances involving a deal between Exxon Mobil and the Kurdistan Regional Government, by writing that with the British government's support Hayward, Rothschild, Daniel, and Metherell categorically threw their "money and efforts into drilling rights obtained in [Iraqi] Kurdistan which have never been ratified by the federal government in Iraq."

From an economic standpoint and in practice, Genel Energy is supporting the balkanization of the Middle East and Africa by providing revenues for breakaway republics and secessionist tendencies. The oil it is illegally exporting from Turkey is financing the Kurdistan Regional Government and helping Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani reject the constitutional authority of the Iraqi federal government. Genel Energy even calls itself "a partner for the Kurdistan Region" in its corporate literature. In 2012, in this regard, the Anglo-Turkish company secured an exploration license from the unrecognized government of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, which declared its independence from Somalia on May 18, 1991.

The Israeli Connection and the Port of Ceyhan

It is also no coincidence that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed Massoud Barzani's takeover of Kirkuk and other disputed territories in Iraq. Barzani and Netanyahu even called for the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan simultaneously in 2014. In fact, with the help of Turkey and Genel Energy, the Kurdistan Regional Government used its energy links to Turkey to transport oil through the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline to Israel. Large oil conglomerates, like BP and Exxon Mobile, were afraid to buy this oil publicly due to the threat it could pose to their existing deals in Iraq. Thus, according to Kurdistan Regional Government Natural Resource Minister Ashti Hawrami, Israel and Malta became key actors for avoiding detection of the smuggled oil from Iraq. Reuters reported the following on June 20, 2014: "A tanker delivered a cargo of disputed crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan's new pipeline for the first time on Friday in Israel, despite threats by Baghdad to take legal action against any buyer." Reuters also explained that the sale of oil from the Kirkuk-Ceyhan Pipeline that bypasses the network of energy pipelines controlled by the Iraqi federal government is crucial for the Kurdistan Regional Government's drive for "greater financial independence from war-torn Iraq."

According to the conclusions of a University of Greenwich study authored by George Kiourktsoglou and Alec D. Coutroubis, oil export from the port of Ceyhan includes oil smuggled from Iraq and Syria to Turkey. Since 2014, according to the study's analysis of the export data from Ceyhan, the "tanker charter rates from Ceyhan re-coupled up to a degree with the ones from the rest of the Middle East." While the authors of the report are inconclusive about the increased imports being "attributed to additional [Iraqi Kurdistan] crude, whose export via Ceyhan coincided with the rise of" the ISIL's oil smuggling or as a "result of boosted demand for ultra-cheap smuggled crude," it can be confidently assessed that it is a result of both. Kiourktsoglou and Coutroubis also point out that "through the concurrent study of the tanker charter rates from the port" of Ceyhan and the timeline of the fighting with the ISIL it "seems that whenever the Islamic State is fighting in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the exports from Ceyhan promptly spike" which "may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds, badly needed for the supply of ammunition and military equipment."

The oil that Turkey is selling for the ISIL is being camouflaged with the oil that the Kurdistan Regional Government is illegally selling from Iraq. In fact, the ISIL has been transporting stolen Syrian oil into Iraq's Ninawa Governorate and then from close proximity to the city of Mosul smuggling the oil into Turkey, where it is sent to Ceyhan for re-export. The Turkish military deployment in the Mosul District and its plans to establish a permanent military base are meant to protect these oil routes and dually maintain the flow of illegally sold Iraqi oil by the Kurdistan Regional Government and to secure the stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil taken by the ISIL.

IV

U.S. and NATO Culpability

On December 1, Alexander Grushko, the Russian permanent representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Headquarters, pointed out that the U.S. and NATO gave "political cover" to Turkey for its attack on Russia's Sukhoi Su-24M bomber jet in Syria. On the same day, Russian parliamentarian Irina Yarovaya pointed out that the military alliance is also involved in protecting ISIL and theft of Iraqi and Syrian oil. NATO's response to the Turkish incursion into Iraq was also muted, even after Iraq' Prime Minister Al-Abadi called NATO Secretariat on December 8 asking it to get NATO member Turkey to withdraw its forces.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the U.S. was even given the Su-24M's flight plans. Two days after Turkey shot down the Russian bomber, on November 26, Putin said that it appeared that Washington had given the Su-24's operational plans to Ankara ahead of the incident and that it was "precisely" when the flight plans were passed to the U.S. that Turkish military attacked the Russian jet. To deny culpability and avoid verification, U.S. officials would anonymously reject this.

The U.S. government is fully aware of all the oil smuggling and has deliberately pretended not to know. Both the U.S. and Turkey have violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2199 as Vitaly Churkin, the permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the UN, pointed out when he told RIA Novosti in an interview that the U.S. and Turkey are legally obliged to give any information they had collected on how ISIL was being financed. Holding a press conference on December 2 out of the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow, Russian military presented detailed evidence showing how Turkey was involved in stealing oil and trading with ISIL through three major smuggling routes. The response from Washington was to whitewash this by saying that the photographs provided by Russia were authentic, but that there was no evidence to show that Turkish checkpoints were being crossed. "What I have not seen is imagery of the border crossing with trucks crossing the border, and that's because I don't believe that exists," an unnamed senior U.S. Department of State official commented to Reuters on December 4 under the condition of anonymity.

Russian military released an important statement in English on its social media page. It explained that if the U.S. was not satisfied with Moscow's evidence, then it should watch the video footage collective by Washington's own drones that Russia had observed becoming increasingly active over Syrian-Turkish border and Syria's oil fields.

The Evidence Falls into Place with Turkey's Weapons Smuggling Pattern

Aside from photographs and satellite data, video evidence was presented by Russia where ISIL oil tankers could be seen being allowed to freely cross the Syrian-Turkish border by guards at Turkish checkpoints without being stopped like other vehicles. This is part of a pattern that corresponds to incidents in 2014 where trucks owned by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), which were disguised as humanitarian convoys, were caught sending weapons across the Syrian-Turkish border to the insurgents in Syria. Reports began to widely circulate that the head of the MIT, Hakan Fidan, was even reported by Turkey's own state media, the Anadolu Agency, to have said in October 2015 that ISIL is a political reality that needs to be accepted and protected from Russia. The Anadolu Agency would respond by taking legal measures to erase the story and releasing a statement saying that the reports were a fabrication on October 20, 2015.

On the same day that the Russian Sukhoi Su-24M was attacked by Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indirectly acknowledged the MIT's activities. He rhetorically asked his government's domestic critics what was their problem with the MIT sending weapon shipments across the border to Syria. "I believe that our people will not forgive those who sabotaged this support," he even told a room full of Turkish teachers in criticism of those who revealed that the MIT was sending weapons to the insurgents inside Syria.

The Turkish government's ties to ISIL are unambiguous. Due to the lack of communication between local authorities and the MIT, arms shipments were discovered in January 2014 by Colonel Ozkan Cokay, the commander of the Adana Provincial Gendarmerie Regiment, and his men. Despite the Turkish government's attempts to hide the facts and persecute the security officials who uncovered the MIT's links to the death squads in Syria, a report authored by the Gendarmerie General Command candidly stated that the MIT trucks were carrying weapons and supplies to Al-Qaeda.

Dividing and Conquering Eurasia

A Machiavellian game is at hand. While the U.S. has been behind a disinformation campaign saying that the Russian Federation has not been targeting ISIL in Syria, the truth is that Russia and its partners have heavily downgraded ISIL and its oil smuggling operations. This provoked the ire of Turkish officials, which, as Moscow believes, motivated the attack on its Su-24M bomber jet. The U.S. facilitated the attack by giving the coordinates of the Russian jet to Ankara.

After the December 2 press conference at the National Defense Control Centre in Moscow, a defiant Erdogan accused Russia itself of being behind the ISIL's illegal oil trade. On the other hand, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on December 9 began accusing Russia of being behind a campaign to "ethnically cleanse" the Turkoman in Syria, which Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova would dismiss as "groundless." The irony is that it is Turkey that supports the sectarian death squads that are deliberately trying to fragment Syria.

While Erdogan's greed and pettiness have helped fuel the Russo-Turkish tensions, the clash between Turkey and Russia serves Washington's interests of political and economical destabilization of Eurasia by using its own allies as cannon fodder against its rivals. Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of Iran's Expediency Discernment Council, has even warned that the Middle East has become a powder keg that could ignite a world war.

Despite the differences between Iran and the Turkish government and the reduction of Iranian winter gas supplies to Turkey, Tehran has publicly offered to mediate between Ankara and Moscow. Iranian First Vice-President Jahangiri even held a meeting with Erdogan on December 12 at the sidelines of an international conference in Turkmenistan. After speaking to Jahangiri and the Iranian delegation in Turkmenistan, Erdogan's tune mellowed down. Possibly looking for a way out, he returned from Ashgabat to Turkey blaming the dead Russian Su-24M pilot, Lieutenant-Colonel Oleg Peshkov, for Russo-Turkish tensions by saying that bilateral relations between Ankara and Moscow must not be affected by a "mistake of a pilot."

(Strategic Culture Foundation, December 17-20, 2015)
93
Weapon Used in November 13 Paris Attacks Came From CIA-linked Arms Dealer
 By Alex Lantier, World Socialist Web Site 
December 18, 2015
 
 At least one of the guns used in the November 13 terror attacks in Paris was purchased by Century International Arms and then re-exported to Europe. One of the largest arms dealers in the United States, Century Arms has close ties to the CIA and has faced charges in America and Europe of involvement in illegal arms deals.

The weapon, an M92 semiautomatic pistol, was produced at the Zastava arms factory in Kragujevac, Serbia. Last week, factory manager Milojko Brzakovic told AP he had checked its records on seven weapons that it manufactured that were used in the Paris attacks. It delivered several of the weapons inside Yugoslavia before that country dissolved amid capitalist restoration and civil war in the 1990s, but it delivered the pistol in May 2013 to Century Arms, based in Delray Beach, Florida.

Century Arms officials refused Palm Beach Post reporters' requests for comment, and it remains unclear how the M92 pistol was re-exported to Europe. Century Arms required US government approval to legally import the firearm into the United States, however, and whoever re-exported it to Europe would have had to submit a request to the US State Department in order to do so legally.

These reports further undermine the official presentation of the Paris attacks by governments, media, and pro-imperialist "left" parties. They insisted that the attacks were an act of Islamist terror in which the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) alone was involved and bore full responsibility.

This presentation was always a political fraud, insofar as the NATO powers were undoubtedly politically implicated. The attacks were led by Islamist fighters trained in Syria—where the CIA, European intelligence and Persian Gulf oil sheikdoms have given financial and military backing to such Islamist forces to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Though placed on watch lists and monitored by intelligence services, these fighters were somehow allowed to prepare highly complex, coordinated attacks in Paris.

Revelations of a concrete link between Century Arms and the Paris attacks, however, raise specifically whether elements in the intelligence services aided the attackers—either inadvertently, due to their reckless war policy, or deliberately, to shift the political atmosphere far to the right.

The ruling elite reacted to the November 13 attacks, predictably, by aligning policy on war and democratic rights with the views of the most aggressive sections of the military-intelligence complex. France is now preparing to impose a permanent state of emergency, effectively abrogating key democratic rights and boosting the political fortunes of the neo-fascist National Front (FN). NATO is ramping up support to its proxies in Syria, though this threatens to trigger an all-out military clash with nuclear-armed Russia.

While it remains unclear how the Paris attacks were organized, the link to Century Arms strongly suggests that elements acting for the intelligence agencies, in an official capacity or otherwise, were involved. Century Arms has had close ties to US foreign policy for decades.

In 1987, John Rugg, a former police officer and Century Arms employee, testified to the US Senate that the firm had run weapons to the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. This illegal operation, led by the CIA in defiance of the Boland Amendment passed by the US Congress cutting off aid to the Contras, had exploded in the Iran-Contra scandal.

In 2004, according to the Palm Beach Post, Italian authorities halted shipment of 7,500 AK-47 rifles to Century Arms from Romania, where the firm had developed commercial ties since before the restoration of capitalism in Eastern Europe.

In 2007, according to a US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, Century Arms worked with Israeli arms dealer Ori Zeller to illegally recover and sell off American M-1 rifles shipped by Washington to the bloody Guatemalan regime during that country's civil war. The cable also states that Zeller's associates were convicted of money laundering in Belgium in 2003, and suspected of laundering $20 million in Al Qaeda funds via West African diamonds.

Nonetheless, the cable called Zeller a "valuable source for the USG [US government] in Guatemala." It added that the US government used him to obtain information on Guatemala, Israel, Russian arms sales, and Mexican drug cartels.

Century Arms' relationship with Mexican narco-traffickers apparently goes beyond providing information. The US Center for Public Integrity reported in 2011 that Romanian WASR-10 rifles sold by Century Arms had "become a favorite of the Mexican drug cartels, and in recent years hundreds of them have been traced to crimes in Mexico."

This is not the first indication that connections existed between state forces and Islamist groups that carried out terror attacks in France.

On Wednesday, French police detained Claude Hermant, a former member of the FN's security detail who is active in far-right circles in northern France and serves as an informant for police and customs officials, for questioning over the January attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher. Officials confirmed that he was being held for questioning as to whether he had trafficked weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman at the Hyper Cacher.

This confirmed earlier reports that Lille prosecutors were investigating a linkbetween Hermant and the January attacks. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve subsequently invoked the state secrets privilege in an attempt toblock the investigation. However, this decision and more details of the investigation of Hermant were leaked to the press.

The Lille investigation is now apparently considering the possibility that Hermant himself was simply playing the role of middleman in a larger network involved in arming the gunmen. Officials close to the investigating team told La Voix du Nord, "In such trafficking, there is always one intermediary, or more. Claude Hermant did not necessarily know the final destination of the weapons. It would show, in any case, the links between certain Islamist circles and organized crime."

The paper also reported that a customs official had been placed under investigation in the Hermant affair.
94
News Items / Deliberate destruction of economic facilities in Syria
« Last post by nestopwar on December 18, 2015, 01:09:25 AM »
Foreign Ministry: Syria reserves its right in demanding US-led coalition to pay compensations for deliberate destruction of economic facilities
 SANA 
16 December? 2015

 Damascus, SANA-Syria affirmed that the US-led coalition's warplanes have launched tens of raids on the Syrian economic facilities instead of raiding the Islamic State (ISIS) organization and its tanks that transport the stolen Syrian oil into Turkey.

"The US-led coalition's shelling of the economic facilities and infrastructure, and the unilateral coercive measures adopted by some countries on the Syrian people are the reason behind the mounting difficult conditions Syria is passing through," Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in two identical letters sent Wednesday to the UN Secretary General and President of Security Council.

It added that in light of this deliberate destruction of the oil and economic establishments, the Syrian Arab Republic reserves its right in demanding the US-led coalition's countries to pay compensations to Syria in return for this destruction as it is a right guaranteed by the international law.

On December 8th and 13th, the international coalition shelled a number of oil and gas stations in Deir Ezzor under the pretext of hunting the ISIS, causing losses estimated at hundreds of millions USD.

"The US-led coalition has launched scores of raids on the Syrian economic installations instead of bombarding the ISIS tanks which transport the stolen Syrian petroleum and it didn't present any information about the shelling to the UN according to the UN charter," the two letters reiterated.

The letters added "In this regard, the armed terrorist organizations don't loot the Syrian oil directly from the stations, but they steal the oil from places neighboring the oil wells which spread in the Syrian oil fields, then they sell the petroleum through Turkish channels.
 
95
For Your Information / Deliberate destruction of economic facilities in Syria
« Last post by nestopwar on December 18, 2015, 01:05:42 AM »

Foreign Ministry: Syria reserves its right in demanding US-led coalition to pay compensations for deliberate destruction of economic facilities
 SANA 
16 December? 2015

 Damascus, SANA-Syria affirmed that the US-led coalition's warplanes have launched tens of raids on the Syrian economic facilities instead of raiding the Islamic State (ISIS) organization and its tanks that transport the stolen Syrian oil into Turkey.

"The US-led coalition's shelling of the economic facilities and infrastructure, and the unilateral coercive measures adopted by some countries on the Syrian people are the reason behind the mounting difficult conditions Syria is passing through," Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in two identical letters sent Wednesday to the UN Secretary General and President of Security Council.

It added that in light of this deliberate destruction of the oil and economic establishments, the Syrian Arab Republic reserves its right in demanding the US-led coalition's countries to pay compensations to Syria in return for this destruction as it is a right guaranteed by the international law.

On December 8th and 13th, the international coalition shelled a number of oil and gas stations in Deir Ezzor under the pretext of hunting the ISIS, causing losses estimated at hundreds of millions USD.

"The US-led coalition has launched scores of raids on the Syrian economic installations instead of bombarding the ISIS tanks which transport the stolen Syrian petroleum and it didn't present any information about the shelling to the UN according to the UN charter," the two letters reiterated.

The letters added "In this regard, the armed terrorist organizations don't loot the Syrian oil directly from the stations, but they steal the oil from places neighboring the oil wells which spread in the Syrian oil fields, then they sell the petroleum through Turkish channels.


 
96
The Anti-Assad Wahhabi Confab: The Saudi-Hosted "Opposition Talks" Fiasco
 By Mike Whitney, counterpunch.org 
Dec 11

 A Saudi-led plan to draw "moderate" Syrian opposition groups into a unified political front collapsed on Wednesday when a powerful Islamic militia refused to participate in the meetings after their demands were rejected. Ahrar al-Sham, a hardcore amalgam of Wahhabi extremists and fanatical jihadis, withdrew from the anti-Assad confab because, according to the Washington Post: "some of its comments and recommendations have been disregarded at the meeting."

Not surprisingly, the Post failed to explain exactly what those "comments and recommendations" were. The reason for this is easy to understand. The media doesn't want the American people to know that the so called "moderate" militias their government is backing are actually homicidal maniacs who are determined to topple a secular government and replace it with an Islamic Caliphate. Here are a few of the group's demands which have not appeared in any of the western media:

 1 All Iranian and Russian military personnel must leave Syria.

 2 The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) should be disbanded, along with their paramilitary units.

 3 Syria will become an Islamic state.

 4 No negotiations with the Syrian Government.

 5 Fighting ISIS is secondary because rebels have lost family members because of the war with the Syrian Army.

 6 A secular Syria will only empower ISIS

 ("Largest Rebel Group Calls for an Islamic State in Syria", Almasdarnews)

Ahrar al-Sham is anything but moderate. According to the Telegraph, "the group was established by Islamists and originally included internationally known jihadists with long-standing ties to al-Qaeda." The group receives significant financial support from Saudi Arabia which is a country that is vehemently opposed to democratic government, which has a long history of support for terrorist organizations, and where citizens convicted of sorcery can face beheading. The whole idea of holding these phony negotiations in the terrorist capital of the planet is laughable.

According to the New York Times: "All parties signed a final statement that called for maintaining the unity of Syria and building a civil, representative government that would take charge after a transitional period, at the start of which Mr. Assad and his associates would step down." ("Syrian rebels form bloc for new round of peace talks", New York Times)

That sounds impressive, but what the Times fails to mention is that all of these conditions were inserted into previous agreements (Geneva) and insisted upon by Russia and Iran. If democracy prevails in Syria, it will be because the Russian's and Iranians refused to accept anything less.

Here's more from the New York Times:

 In two days of meetings hosted by the Saudi government that ended Thursday, more than 100 opposition leaders created a new high commission to oversee negotiations with the government .The high commission contains 33 members, about one-third representing armed factions. It will select a negotiating team of 15 people to face the Assad government at talks that could begin in January .

 Mohammed Baerakdar, a representative of the Islam Army, one of the armed brigades, said that foreign military support had not been enough to ensure victory so the group had to pursue a political solution.

 "We did not take up arms to spill blood," he said. "We took up arms to spare blood." (New York Times)

The " high commission" is not going to have any impact on future negotiations because its leaders don't represent the most powerful groups of fighters on the ground. The most powerful groups are the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Jahbat al Nusra (and other al Qaida-linked militias), ISIS and the Kurdish People's Protection Units or YPG. None of these groups participated in the Saudi talks even though their delegates will eventually play a big role in determining the country's future.

As for Baerakdar's claim that, "We did not take up arms to spill blood. We took up arms to spare blood." That is transparently false. In fact, most of the fighters active in Syria today, are foreigners that are funded, armed, and trained by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US. Their job is to tear the country to shreds in order to topple Assad, replace him with a compliant stooge, and divide the state in a way that best serves the commercial and strategic interests of the three main perpetrators.

The idea that prominent western media like the New York Times and the Washington Post would take these Saudi-led meetings seriously is simply mindboggling. Does anyone need to be reminded that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9-11 were from Saudi Arabia, or that Saudi royals have been arming and funding terrorist organizations for the last 30 years or that Riyadh is presently backing many of the Sunni militants now prosecuting the proxy war in Syria today?

The Saudis are up to their eyeballs in terror, in fact, it seems to be the national pastime much like soccer in Brazil or baseball in the US. The problem is that– this time around– their terror tactics aren't working, in fact, their jihadi militias are getting beaten quite badly the by the Russian-led coalition, which is why they've moved on to Plan B, a political strategy for uniting the anti-Assad opposition to improve their chances for success in the next round of negotiations in Vienna.

But how do the Saudis measure success?

Here's a clip from the Washington Post which spells it out in black and white:

 Speaking at a news conference earlier on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Assad has two choices, "either to leave through negotiations" or be forcibly removed from power.

 ("Syria opposition groups set framework for proposed talks", Washington Post)

So nothing has changed, right? This whole fiasco about convening "talks" between opposition leaders is just a smokescreen to conceal the real objective which is regime change.

But does anyone really think the Russians and Iranians are going to be fooled by this "opposition conference" charade?

Not on your life. They're not going to let any of these foreign-born whackos from Chechnya, Libya or Saudi Arabia decide Syria's future. That has to be decided by the Syrian people themselves, which is what the Geneva Communique was all about: Self determination, sovereignty and free elections. Those are the foundation blocks that are needed to rebuild the Syrian state, but they can't be put in place until the foreign meddling stops and there's an honest dialogue between the various stakeholders about the way forward.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.
97
UN Security Council Rejects Russia-Proposed Statement on Homs Terror Attack
 Sputnik 
Dec 13

 UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) — According to the source, some of the members of the Security Council disagreed with certain provisions in the document.

"Russia has prepared a draft statement for the UN Security Council in connection with the attack in Homs. The proposal was rejected," the source said.

On Saturday, a group of terrorists detonated a car bomb near a hospital in the center of the Syrian Homs. At least 22 people have been killed and more than 70 injured, hospital staff told RIA Novosti.

Later on Saturday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council, saying that the international community's silence over the terror attack in Homs played into the hands of terrorists.
98
British strikes in Syria illegal, play into terrorists' hands, Assad

London's air operation against Islamic State in Syria is illegal and therefore will not be successful, like the bombing of the US-led coalition in the country over the last year, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper.

The support of the British parliament for the air operation in Syria advocated by Prime Minister David Cameron cannot change the fact that the presence of the Royal Air Force in Syrian airspace is unlawful since neither Damascus, nor the United Nations have given London the green light to bomb Syrian territory, Assad said.

“It will be harmful and illegal and it will support terrorism, as happened after the coalition started its operation a year or so [ago] because this is like a cancer,” Assad said, accusing British PM David Cameron of a farcical description of the so-called “moderate Syrian opposition” that is supposed to push Islamic State (former ISIS/ISIL) out from the territories it occupies in Syria.

“This is a new episode in a long series of 2David Cameron’s classical farce… Where are they? Where are the 70,000 moderates he is talking about?”

“Let me be frank and blunt about this,” Assad said. “There is no 70,000. There is no 7,000.”

Britain’s airstrikes cannot harm ISIS and only help to spread the cancer of terrorism further, because the West refused to combine its air power with Syrian forces to defeat ISIS, President Assad told the Sunday Times. “We know that they are not going to do so,” he said.

“It has to be from the air, from the ground, to have cooperation with troops on the ground — the national troops — for the intervention to be legal. So I would say they don’t have the will and don’t have the vision to defeat terrorism,” Assad said.

“You cannot cut out part of the cancer. You have to extract it. This kind of operation is like cutting out part of the cancer. That will make it spread in the body faster,” the Syrian leader said.

“How many extremist cells now exist in Europe? How many extremists did you export from Europe to Syria? This is where the danger lies. The danger is in the incubator,” he said.Hundreds of Russian citizens are fighting on the terrorists' side in Syria as well. Their installations specifically are among the multitude of targets for the Air Force bombing campaign Moscow launched in Syria.

Moscow has repeatedly stated it won’t let its homegrown extremists return home to instigate violence.

“The Russians can see this clearly. They want to protect Syria, Iraq, the region — and even Europe. I am not exaggerating by saying they are protecting Europe today,” Assad said.

The Syrian president stressed that the Russians entered the Syrian conflict “the legal way.”

“I made the request. I sent a letter to President Putin,” Assad said, adding that the Russian military presence “has had a significant impact on both the military and political arena in Syria.”

Only the intervention of the Russian airstrikes curbed the expansion of the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate, that has been feeling at home in Syria despite over a year of airstrikes by the US-led anti-ISIS coalition, Assad said.

As for the presence of the Russian ground troops in Syria, “We have not discussed that yet and I don’t think we need it now because things are moving in the right direction. The Russians may consider it with time or in different circumstances.”

Assad welcomed any counterterrorist cooperation with the West if it is “genuine,” adding that “it would take a matter of months” to accomplish the mission of defeating terrorism since various countries in the Middle East region “and the West in general” support these terrorist groups.

“As a government, our only countermeasure against terrorists is to fight them. We will not let them kill innocent civilians to satisfy the headline that we do not use force,” Assad said.

Speaking about the British airstrikes, Assad said that the UK “cannot defeat them [ISIS] through airstrikes alone.”

“You cannot defeat them without cooperation with forces on the ground. You cannot defeat them if you do not have buy-in from the general public and the government. They are going to fail again," Assad said.
 
99
At least three Syrian Arab Army personnel were killed in the airstrikes, according to reports.
December 7 Reuters News

U.S.-led coalition airstrikes struck a Syrian Arab Army military compound in the province of Dier al Zor on Monday morning, killing a reported four soldiers and injuring 16 others, Reuters reports.

The news was originally announced by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, who reported that the airstrike hit the Saeqa military camp near the western town of Ayyash.

Syria’s foreign ministry later confirmed that Western coalition forces fired nine missiles at the camp.

"Syria strongly condemns the act of aggression by the US-led coalition that contradicts the UN Charter on goals and principles. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent letters to the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council,” the foreign ministry told SANA.

RELATED: Bashar Assad Mocks David Cameron, Says UK’s ‘Illegal’ Strikes in Syria Will Fail   

It is the first time U.S-led coalition airstrikes have struck Syrian military targets since the conflict erupted in Mar. 2011, potentially opening up a new phase in the nearly five year conflict.

The attack comes as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad slammed Britain’s intervention into the Syrian conflict, branding the move “harmful” and “illegal” on Sunday.

Britain’s parliament voted to approve the bombing of Islamic State group targets on Wednesday, two years after Prime Minister David Cameron failed to win parliamentary support for intervention back in 2013.

Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, the U.S., the U.K., France and their regional allies have sided with opposition groups against the government in Damascus, providing support to rebel groups including extremist ones.
100
Cameron Wants Bombing and War – Not a Solution to the Terrorism He Helped Create
Leaflet distributed in South Shields on Saturday November 29 2015
David Cameron bombed Libya in 2011 for regime change and destroyed this sovereign country which had a modern infrastructure and caused  thousands of deaths so that now Libya has descended into mayhem and anarchy. His war on Libya is now destabilising Tunisia, Mali and the whole of north Africa.  Cameron is now planning to come back to Parliament next week with a motion to authorise British bombing in Syria.  Having failed to get Parliament to back him in 2013 Cameron is using the terrible atrocity in Paris as justification for yet more bombing.   Cameron claims: “We’ll solve this problem if we have a political strategy, a diplomatic strategy, a humanitarian strategy.” But they haven’t.

Yet again his aim is for regime change in Syria demanding the overthrow of Assad and supporting the “rebels” despite Daesh (ISIS) being his claimed target.  Cameron’s bombing of Iraq has made no difference to ISIS in Iraq and even they say it has become stronger as a result.  Already a NATO country, Turkey,  has shot down a Russian plane as NATO contends for power over Syria. Do you trust Cameron?  Everyone should take a stand in opposition to Britain's military intervention, as one with the anti-war movement which Corbyn represents in Parliament. Oppose the ruling elite’s destructive, violent, interventionist programme abroad which is the cause of terrorism. It is the cause of the massive refugee crisis, the cause of Islamophobia and the scape-goating of Muslims.     

Take a stand against Cameron and the ruling elite’s abuse of the victims of Paris by taking Britain into more disastrous wars.  Lobby your MP now. Send a message to your MP on the Stop The War website:
http://act.stopwar.org.uk/lobby/stopbombingsyria
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