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Iranian Strike on US Base Was Modeled After Trump’s Syria Strikes

By Paul Iddon – Offiziere.ch – February 4, 2020

In many ways, the Iranian ballistic missiles attack on U.S. forces in Iraq and the U.S. missile strikes against targets in Syria were strikingly similar in the way they sought to avoid bringing about any serious escalation that could have led to war.

On January 8, Iranian ballistic missiles simultaneously targeted the Al-Asad airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province (see image above) and Erbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan, where U.S. military personnel is housed. While Iran fired at least 22 ballistic missiles, the U.S. did not suffer any fatalities. Tehran said the attack was retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani on January 3. Washington did not retaliate and fears of a significant escalation, or the dire prospect of a direct US-Iran war, subsequently decreased.

Tehran launched the attack after giving plenty of forewarning. On January 5, Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s military advisor, told CNN that the then-upcoming attack would come directly from Iran, rather than from Tehran’s proxy militias, against U.S. “military sites” in the region. “Our reaction will be wise, well considered and in time, with decisive deterrent effect”, he said. His statement made it unequivocally clear that, rather than attack any U.S. bases or targets in the Gulf states, Iran’s retaliation would come in Iraq, giving U.S. forces based there about three days to prepare themselves.

Five days after the strike, Reuters cited two Iraqi officers based in Al-Asad as saying that American and Iraqi forces began moving troops and hardware to fortified bunkers eight hours before the strike. Reuters also cited another Iraqi intelligence source, who went so far as to say that the U.S. troops seemed “totally aware” that the attack would come “after midnight”. Consequently, the Iranian missiles simply hit “empty bunkers that had been evacuated hours before”. It was later revealed, despite U.S. President Donald Trump dismissing the symptoms as mere “headaches“, that Iran’s missile strike did wound 64 U.S. personnel by giving them traumatic brain injuries.

The way in which Tehran carried out this missile strike was not wholly dissimilar to the two past U.S. cruise missile strikes against Syrian regime targets in April 2017 and April 2018. For example, on the morning of April 7, 2017,  the U.S. responded to the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack [details] carried out three days earlier by hitting Syria’s Shayrat Airbase with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. It did so after giving prior warning to Russia, a major ally and backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow likely gave Damascus some prior warning, and it was also likely the regime knew that particular base would be hit. “Russian forces were notified in advance of the strike using the established deconfliction line”, said Navy Captain Jeff Davis at the time. “US military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield”. Despite that enormous strike package of 59 Tomahawk missiles raining down on the base, Syrian Armed Forces’ remaining Su-22s were able to land and take off from the base hours later. The situation did not escalate into any major confrontation with Damascus.

On April 14, 2018, the United States, this time in a coordinated strike with the United Kingdom and France, fired even more cruise missiles at three targets related to Syria’s chemical weapons program, in response to a [fake] chemical attack in Douma one week earlier. As with the Shayrat attack, the U.S. gave notice to ensure there were no serious casualties or subsequent escalation. The U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., published a statement on Facebook in which he explained that: “Before we took action, the U.S. communicated with the RF [Russian Federation] to reduce the danger of any Russian or civilian casualties”. Additionally, a pro-Syrian regime official confirmed that: “We had an early warning of the strike from the Russians… and all military bases were evacuated a few days ago”. These measures were clearly taken to avoid any significant escalation or war.

Later, Trump came close to bombing targets inside Iran following Tehran’s shooting down of a U.S. surveillance drone over the Gulf of Oman on June 20, 2019 (see image right). According to Trump, he approved strikes against three targets but then called it off a mere 10 minutes before it was set to commence. His decision came after the U.S. military gave him its prediction that at least 150 Iranians would have been killed, something Trump deemed wouldn’t have been “proportionate” to the destruction of an unmanned aircraft. Also, more likely than not, the U.S. military made clear to him that a limited strike similar to the previous ones against Syria would be much harder to carry out against Iran itself and escalation or major war would have, therefore, been far more likely.

Tensions between Iran and the United States remain high, and the prospect of war or a major escalation cannot be discounted. Nevertheless, de-escalation measures, however imperfect, taken by Tehran and Washington in these incidents indicate that neither side actually wants a full-blown war.

February 5, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Wallace sounds alarm bell on future UK-US defence ties

Press TV – January 12, 2020

Defence secretary, Ben Wallace, has warned that in future Britain may have to contemplate fighting wars without the United States.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Wallace made the extraordinary claim that the prospect of the United States retreating from a global leadership role under Donald Trump keeps him “awake at night”.

In comments that is bound to raise eyebrows in defence circles around the world, Wallace claimed that the UK needs to “rethink” military assumptions in place since 2010, which have centred on close partnership with US armed forces.

The defence secretary said that the government should use the “upcoming defence review” to purchase new kit to ensure that the British armed forces are less dependent on American air cover and spy planes in future wars.

According to Wallace, the UK is preparing to conduct the “deepest review” of the country’s defence, security and foreign policy since the “end of the Cold War”.

Wallace appears to be worried about Trump’s putative “isolationist” tendencies and its impact on Britain’s military and security posture going forward.

“Over the last year we’ve had the US pull out from Syria, the statement by Donald Trump on Iraq where he said NATO should take over and do more in the Middle East”, Wallace said.

Wallace’s sweeping prediction will strike many defence analysts as odd, at least in immediate terms, and in view of the fact that the UK has given every indication it is prepared to join the US in conducting military operations against Iran.

January 12, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , | 1 Comment

The Kerfuffle War – Trump’s Iran De-escalation Succeeds

By Joaquin Flores | Strategic Culture Foundation | January 9, 2020

Just like that, it was over. General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called it ‘a kerfuffle’. A letter was sent to their Iraqi peers that the U.S was repositioning troops out of Iraq in accordance with legislation from Iraq ending the U.S military presence in the war-torn country, and suddenly then it was retracted by higher-ups. Running interference, Mark Esper backed Milley and said it was ‘an honest mistake’. It all went down within a day of the irrational assassination of Iran’s Soleimani.

The immediate termination of Chewning and Sweeney, at the same time as the assassination of Soleimani and Iran’s response raises some big questions. In the near future it will be of critical importance to get to the bottom of any possible relationship that Esper and his subordinates Chewning and Sweeney – who both served as Defense Secretary Esper’s Chiefs of Staff – had to the assassination of Soleimani. The assassination and any number of possible Iranian responses, can push the U.S into a broad and open military conflict with Iran. Such a war would also be Trump’s undoing.

We might otherwise be led to believe that Chewning and Sweeney’s sudden departure has something to do with Ukraine and the recent release of unredacted emails relating to L3Harris Technologies and funding in Ukraine. These of course also relate to the case against Trump and any possible impeachment. But the timing and symbolism of these as concurrent with the provocation against Iran and the blowback, as well as Esper’s backing of the ‘Kerfuffle theory’, lends strong credence to an Iran connection.

The connection to impeachment cannot be denied, but the necessity of uncovering its potential relation to Iran is tremendously important because it directly relates to larger constitutional and practical questions of the president’s ability to have a Department of Defense that works either for or against U.S strategy as formulated and executed by its democratically elected leadership, as opposed to its permanent bureaucratic administration. This is what Trump and his supporters quite rightfully refer to as the ‘Deep State’.

Were elements in the defense department working towards a heightened brinksmanship that the president did not really want? It would be far from the first time in history that such was the case.

Because the proverbial excrement rolls down-hill, was Esper involved in ordering Soleimani’s assassination which Trump was not informed of until it was too late, or until after? Chewning and Sweeney’s fate may be understood here. The ‘kerfuffle’ which was the withdrawal statement would then be a simple ruse to distract from the actual reasons that Chewning and Sweeney were terminated – acting without orders, insubordination, and even treason.

Trump’s Balancing Policy on Iran and America’s leadership crisis

One undeniable point is that a war with Iran works entirely against Trump’s middle-east policy and his prospects for re-election.

What the Trump administration seeks most now is a de-escalation with Iran. Given that Trump has fueled a rumor mill including the possible ending of sanctions if Iran doesn’t respond, or that there will be no further attacks if Iran’s response is ‘reasonable’, all exists in the unspoken framework that Trump inherently recognizes the ‘guilt’ of the U.S in its irrational act, while it is nevertheless politically impossible to frame it overtly as such.

Impeachment against Trump has now been used several times to push him to act aggressively in the middle-east, contrary to his policy and self-interest. On all the ‘impeachment threat – then strike’ occasions, Trump ordered strikes on predictable targets – targets so predictable and oddly executed, that Syrian and Iranian forces barely felt them. There appears to be at the very least an ‘unspoken communication’ at play, where strikes are made to assuage political needs but not to inflict serious damage. If Trump really wanted an excuse to strike Iran, he’s had it before.

There was precisely such an opportunity when subversives in government hatched a plan to push Trump into a war with Iran, when two planes were sent to violate Iranian airspace – one manned, the other unmanned – flying in close proximity. This created the chance that Iran’s downing of either plane could be used as a pretext for a major war-creating strike on Iran.

Despite Trump’s acting reasonably, government actors and media attempted to create a sensation where Trump was ridiculed for ‘calling off’ a planned retaliation in the aftermath of the downed drone. The same liberal media and Democratic Party establishment that attacked Trump’s de-escalation then from a hawkish perspective, today manifest as doves who suddenly oppose Trump’s reckless hawkishness.

Here, in the aftermath of the drone incident, a Trump policy was formulated – and it’s a policy that figures prominently in de-escalation in the aftermath of the assassination of Soleimani and Iran’s measured response.

The policy is this – if Iran kills Americans, then the U.S escalates. If the U.S does something provocative, then Iran is actually allowed to respond militarily, so long as American personnel are not killed.

Iran’s striking of the al-Asad airbase was predictable. That Trump has decided to officially declare that there were no U.S casualties has indicated his real stance. In all reality, the predictability of the target was such that American soldiers would have been repositioned out of that base, so that Iran could assuage its own popular-democratic needs in terms of legitimacy, without forcing the U.S. to respond again further.

Between an AIPAC rock and an Anti-War Hard-spot

A war with Iran would push the anti-war sentiments of independent voters away from Trump, and towards a more revitalized and mobilized Democrat Party anti-war base. Trump needs an anti-war base to be re-elected, and war with Iran pushes that base towards nearly any Democrat candidate.

At the same time, Trump also needs the continued support from America’s Christian Zionist evangelical ‘Israel Firsters’, as well as the infamous AIPAC, not only to be re-elected, but to maintain the support in the senate against impeachment.

That conflict between Trump’s two greatest populist strengths – between Trump’s anti-war base and his Christian Zionist base – largely defines his weakest political spot. That’s why it’s the best place to attack him.

Trump for his part, has a frenemy relationship with AIPAC, and has worked hard to build his profile with Christian Zionist voters even to the extent that this might limit AIPAC’s influence on them. He has purchased a lot of AIPAC support along the way by tearing up the JCPOA and recognizing the Golan Heights and Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. This is capital he will have to spend to maintain support in the Senate.

All together this means that while Trump may or may not have personally sought the assassination of Soleimani, he must take credit for it for any number of reasons. In brief, these relate again to the Zionist base and AIPAC, as well as needing to appear in control of the very country that he is nominally the president of. When Trump refused to go to war over the downing of the un-manned drone, the liberal media monopoly accused him of being soft on Iran and indecisive.

Israel for its part is not tremendously happy with either of the two competing U.S policies. They have been pushing a ‘bomb Iran’ line for years, so that Israel’s conquest of Iraq may come to be. They are also not happy that the U.S presence in the region will come to an end. Trump may or may not have green-lit Soleimani’s assassination, but in either event its result will be the purchase of political capital that he can use towards ending the anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq. The reality is that the U.S is being pushed out either way. Soleimani’s assassination has only strengthened that resolve.

Simultaneously, the anti-war sentiment in the U.S. is one that both led to Trump’s election and can lead to Trump’s undoing. Americans love sabre rattling and posturing. They also hate war.

To wit, in the immediate aftermath of the Soleimani assassination, the well-known American communist group – the PSL – and its anti-war front organization ‘ANSWER’ have already received incredible donations from deep-pocketed Democrat Party sponsors at the local party level, to stage the first significant anti-war demonstration since the Bush presidency. While PSL/ANSWER members and activists have been laudable in their consistent opposition to all American wars for capital and empire, they only seem to magically receive the funds for permits, advertising, organizing, and staging anti-war marches when a Republican is president. The secondary slogan of these mobilizations was ‘Dump Trump’. ‘Dump Obama’ was never a slogan seen at the non-existent mass mobilizations against the Libyan, Ukrainian, and Syrian wars.  Trump’s refusal to take the Democrat-laid war bait, means he can pull off an end-run around the Democrat and deep-state plot.

Democrats also don’t want war with Iran, they only want that Trump loses the anti-war vote. They can force him into these compromised positions by coordinating with the ‘permanent administrative military-intelligence bureaucracy’, by coordinating with AIPAC. The Democrat’s plan is therefore pretty simple: use impeachment to force him to strike at Iran (or get Trump to take credit for a strike that the deep-state pulled off), and then use that entanglement to tank his re-election prospects. Then Democrats ride in on an anti-war ticket, restart JCPOA, and move towards integrating Iranian elites into the EU economy. Israel could ultimately guarantee its piece of Iraq and its Greek pipeline deal in due course, with a reformed and EU friendly Iran, ready to make major compromises with Israel. Maybe this is what Biden means by ‘restorationist’ – restoring the traditional left/right political divide which has empowered the Atlanticist status quo.

A Backroom deal? Iran’s Measured Response and Trump’s face-saving

The successful attack on the US’s al-Asad airbase in Iraq was characterized by Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has characterized as a ‘slap’.

Interestingly, Khamenei’s language used is strategic, and uses a sleight of hand to take the steam from possible opponents. It is clear that Khamenei has said today that while the attack on the airbase is just a slap, and that Iran’s full response will come in the future, he has in fact set up that the solution will be political and diplomatic. He did so in a creative way which appeals to hardliners, saying that any solution could not simply be political and diplomatic, but rather more than this. This sort of double-speak does not reflect any moral lapsus, but is necessary for Iran’s greater geopolitical aims and serves the greater good.

De-escalation requires that both parties save face, and can come away with tangible minor victories and agree that the real underlying dispute is resolved in the future.

This reluctance to engage militarily is beyond the mere politics of justifying American casualties, but points to broader considerations of U.S power projection in the region in the aftermath of the failure of the Obama administration policy of overthrowing the government of Syria.

To understand the events at play requires a multi-dimensional and realist understanding of motivations and relationships, and how relationships work at the level of statecraft. And so in a way that would be popularly understood – as in Game of Thrones – just because you’re invited to the banquet or receive a high-honored appointment, doesn’t mean that are you indispensable or even a friend. Trump’s ‘GoT’ relationship with Israel and even his own cabinet, needless to say any number of Pentagon bosses, is precisely this. Bolton and Pompeo are such frenemies, as have been any number of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ members of the Trump administration, more or less foisted and forced upon the chief executive by Trump’s opponents in the permanent administration and his partisan opposition, and within the Republican Party itself.

Did Trump make a backroom deal with Iran? Probably not – there was a high public dimension to Trump’s offers, and a recent history where an unspoken language was developed. Iran has demonstrated a high level of intelligence, restraint, intuition, and strategic thinking in its several thousand year-old civilization. There is no reason to think that they wouldn’t have understood and inferred everything explained in this article, and much more, without needing a direct conversation with Trump which no doubt would have led to yet another impeachment fandango.

January 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Operation Kayfabe: How Trump and Iran avoided war while both claiming victory

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | January 8, 2020

For a moment there, as missiles were flying, it looked like a US-Iran war was inevitable. Then, just as suddenly, both sides walked away. What happened? The key to figuring it out might just lie in professional wrestling.

Last night, Iran launched two volleys of missiles at two bases in Iraq that house US troops and equipment, calling it revenge for the drone strike that killed General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. US President Donald Trump called him a “terrorist” and a “monster,” but Iranians considered him a beloved war hero, and there was no way the IRGC could let his death go unavenged.

Trump, however, threatened to strike 52 targets in Iran – the same as the number of US embassy staff taken hostage after the 1979 revolution – if any “Americans or American assets” were harmed. Throughout Tuesday, the US president kept oddly quiet on Twitter, choosing only to amplify the anti-Iran messaging of the most hawkish senators, and let the Pentagon and State Department chiefs take the lead in saying there will be no withdrawal from Iraq. It seemed like any Iranian action would guarantee a war.

Democrats, media talking heads and antiwar activists alike were absolutely convinced that Trump was getting into a war with Iran. Everything pointed to it. Any hope that the situation could de-escalate seemed like wishful thinking. Some Hollywood celebs were even pleading with Tehran “please do not kill us,” and asking the Iranian government to hold out till November so Trump can be voted out of office.

So when the US president walked up to the White House podium and addressed the nation on Wednesday – only to announce that his response will be more sanctions and calling for greater NATO involvement, rather than unleash the might of the US military – a lot of people were were left confused, to say the least.

That’s because the American chattering classes forgot what in retrospect seems like a very important detail from Trump’s biography: before he ran for president, before he had a hit reality TV show… he was a superstar of professional wrestling. That’s not surprising, because they believe themselves too elite and too educated for that lowbrow form of entertainment – but Trump’s base does not.

Unlike the internationally known sport, professional wrestling is a specifically North American form of performance art, in which everything is staged but everyone pretends it is real and true. There is even a specific term for maintaining this pretense before the general public: kayfabe.

What if Trump’s threats of bombing Iranian heritage sites or refusing to withdraw from Iraq – even though he campaigned on doing just that – were all part of kayfabe, an act intended to gull the gullible into believing it was all real? Moreover, what if Iran was in on the act and chose to launch the missiles at largely empty warehouses, while giving Americans ample warning via the Iraqis ahead of time, so as to avoid any deaths?

It sounds unbelievable, right? Yet there is no denying that it is precisely how events played themselves out.

Speaking on Wednesday, Trump used standard rhetoric about Iran to bury two very important points that pundits largely missed. One is that the US is now energy independent and therefore far less vulnerable to events in the Middle East than in the 1970s, during the Arab Oil Embargo or the Iran hostage crisis. The other was his direct repudiation of the ‘Albright doctrine’ of US interventionism established in the 1990s with a glib remark.

“The fact that we have this great military and equipment, however, does not mean that we have to use it,” Trump declared.

Those two things, I am fairly confident, were not kayfabe. Expect both to be largely ignored by the chattering classes, though, as they focus on who “caved” first and slowly get back to routine.

What matters at this moment is that the war that seemed inevitable did not actually happen. The IRGC got to tell the Iranian people that their brave soldiers avenged “martyr Soleimani” by smiting the “Great Satan.” Trump got to tell the American people that, since no lives were lost, he could shrug it off as insignificant and walk away. Both of them ended up looking triumphant, while their hysterical critics and doomsayers ended up looking like fools. And let’s remember, in politics and pro wrestling alike, perception is everything.

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative

By Craig Murray | January 2, 2020

The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.

No, the lesson they have learnt is never to admit they lied, never to admit they were wrong. They see the ghost-like waxen visage of Tony Blair wandering around, stinking rich but less popular than an Epstein birthday party, and realise that being widely recognised as a lying mass murderer is not a good career choice. They have learnt that the mistake is for the Establishment ever to admit the lies.

The Establishment had to do a certain amount of collective self-flagellation over the non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, over which they precipitated the death and maiming of millions of people. Only a very few outliers, like the strange Melanie Phillips, still claimed the WMD really did exist, and her motive was so obviously that she supported any excuse to kill Muslims that nobody paid any attention. Her permanent pass to appear on the BBC was upgraded. But by and large everyone accepted the Iraqi WMD had been a fiction. The mainstream media Blair/Bush acolytes like Cohen, Kamm and Aaronovitch switched to arguing that even if WMD did not exist, Iraq was in any case better off for having so many people killed and its infrastructure destroyed.

These situations are now avoided by the realisation of the security services that in future they just have to brazen it out. The simple truth of the matter – and it is a truth – is this. If the Iraq WMD situation occurred today, and the security services decided to brazen it out and claim that WMD had indeed been found, there is not a mainstream media outlet that would contradict them.

The security services outlet Bellingcat would publish some photos of big missiles planted in the sand. The Washington Post, Guardian, New York Times, BBC and CNN would republish and amplify these pictures and copy and paste the official statements from government spokesmen. Robert Fisk would get to the scene and interview a few eye witnesses who saw the missiles being planted, and he would be derided as a senile old has-been. Seymour Hersh and Peter Hitchens would interview whistleblowers and be shunned by their colleagues and left off the airwaves. Bloggers like myself would be derided as mad conspiracy theorists or paid Russian agents if we cast any doubt on the Bellingcat “evidence”. Wikipedia would ruthlessly expunge any alternative narrative as being from unreliable sources. The Integrity Initiative, 77th Brigade, GCHQ and their US equivalents would be pumping out the “Iraqi WMD found” narrative all over social media. Mad Ben Nimmo of the Atlantic Council would be banning dissenting accounts all over the place in his role as Facebook Witchfinder-General.

Does anybody seriously wish to dispute this is how the absence of Iraqi WMD would be handled today, 16 years on?

If you do wish to doubt this could happen, look at the obviously fake narrative of the Syrian government chemical weapons attacks on Douma. The pictures published on Bellingcat of improvised chlorine gas missiles were always obviously fake. Remember this missile was supposed to have smashed through ten inches of solid, steel rebar reinforced concrete.

As I reported back in May last year, that the expert engineers sent to investigate by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) did not buy into this is hardly surprising.

That their findings were deliberately omitted from the OPCW report is very worrying indeed. What became still more worrying was the undeniable evidence that started to emerge from whistleblowers in the OPCW that the toxicology experts had unanimously agreed that those killed had not died from chlorine gas attack. The minutes of the OPCW toxicology meeting really do need to be read in full.

actual_toxicology_meeting_redacted

The highlights are:

“No nerve agents had been detected in environmental or bio samples”
“The experts were conclusive in their statements that there was no correlation between symptoms and chlorine exposure”

I really do urge you to click on the above link and read the entire minute. In particular, it is impossible to read that minute and not understand that the toxicology experts believed that the corpses had been brought and placed in position.

“The experts were also of the opinion that the victims were highly unlikely to have gathered in piles at the centre of the respective apartments, at such a short distance from an escape from any toxic chlorine gas to much cleaner air”.

So the toxicology experts plainly believed the corpse piles had been staged, and the engineering experts plainly believed the cylinder bombs had been staged. Yet, against the direct evidence of its own experts, the OPCW published a report managing to convey the opposite impression – or at least capable of being portrayed by the media of giving the opposite impression.

How then did the OPCW come to do this? Rather unusually for an international organisation, the OPCW Secretariat is firmly captured by the Western states, largely because it covers an area of activity which is not of enormous interest to the political elites of developing world states, and many positions require a high level of technical qualification. It was also undergoing a change of Director General at the time of the Douma investigation, with the firmly Francoist Spanish diplomat Fernando Arias taking over as Director General and the French diplomat Sebastian Braha effectively running the operation as the Director-General’s chef de cabinet, working in close conjunction with the US security services. Braha simply ordered the excision of the expert opinions on engineering and toxicology, and his high-handedness worked, at least until whistleblowers started to reveal the truth about Braha as a slimy, corrupt, lying war hawk.

FFM here stands for Fact Finding Mission and ODG for Office of the Director General. After a great deal of personal experience dealing with French diplomats, I would say that the obnoxious arrogance revealed in Braha’s instructions here is precisely what you would expect. French diplomats as a class are a remarkably horrible and entitled bunch. Braha has no compunction about simply throwing around the weight of the Office of the Director General and attempting to browbeat Henderson.

We see now how the OPCW managed to produce a report which was the opposite of the truth. Ian Henderson, the OPCW engineer who had visited the site and concluded that the “cylinder bombs” were fakes, had suddenly become excluded from the “fact finding mission” when it had been whittled down to a “core group” – excluding any engineers (and presumably toxicologists) who would seek to insert inconvenient facts into the report.

France of course participated, alongside the US and UK, in missile strikes against Syrian government positions in response to the non-existent chlorine gas attacks on Douma. I was amongst those who had argued from day one that the western Douma narrative was inherently improbable. The Douma enclave held by extreme jihadist, western and Saudi backed forces allied to ISIL, was about to fall anyway. The Syrian government had no possible military advantage to gain by attacking it with two small improvised chemical weapons, and a great deal to lose in terms of provoking international retaliation.

That the consequences of the fake Douma incident were much less far-reaching than they might have been, is entirely due (and I am sorry if you dislike this but it is true) to the good sense of Donald Trump. Trump is inclined to isolationism and the fake “Russiagate” narrative promoted by senior echelons of his security services had led him to be heavily sceptical of them. He therefore refused, against the united persuasion of the hawks, to respond to the Douma “attack” by more than quick and limited missile strikes. I have no doubt that the object of the intended false flag was to push the US into a full regime change operation, by falsifying a demonstration that a declared red line on chemical weapon use had been crossed.

There is no doubt that Douma was a false flag. The documentary and whistleblower evidence from the OPCW is overwhelming and irrefutable. In addition to the two whistleblowers reported extensively by Wikileaks and the Courage Foundation, the redoubtable Peter Hitchens has his own whistleblowers inside OPCW who may well be different persons. It is also great entertainment as well as enlightening to read Hitchens’ takedown of Bellingcat on the issue.

But there are much deeper questions about the Douma false flag. Did the jihadists themselves kill the “chlorine victims” for display or were these just bodies from the general fighting? The White Helmets were co-located with the jihadist headquarters in Douma, and involved in producing and spreading the fake evidence. How far were the UK and US governments, instrumental in preparing the false flag? That western governments, including through the White Helmets and their men at the OPCW, were plainly seeking to propagate this false flag, to massively publicise and to and make war capital out of it, is beyond dispute. But were they involved in the actual creation of the fake scene? Did MI6 or the CIA initiate this false flag through the White Helmets or the Saudi backed jihadists? That is unproven but seems to me very probable. It is also worth noting the coincidence in time of the revelation of the proof of the Douma false flag and the death of James Le Mesurier.

Now let me return to where I started. None of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, the Guardian nor CNN – all of which reported the Douma chemical attack very extensively as a real Syrian government atrocity, and used it to editorialise for western military intervention in Syria – none of them has admitted they were wrong. None has issued any substantive retraction or correction. None has reported in detail and without bias on the overwhelming evidence of foul play within the OPCW.

Those sources who do publish the truth – including the few outliers in mainstream media such as Peter Hitchens and Robert Fisk – continue to be further marginalised, attacked as at best eccentric and at worse Russian agents. Others like Wikileaks and myself are pariahs excluded from any mainstream exposure. The official UK, US, French and Spanish government line, and the line of the billionaire and state owned media, continues to be that Douma was a Syrian government chemical weapons attack on civilians. They intend, aided and abetted by their vast online propaganda operations, to brazen out the lie.

What we are seeing is the terrifying rise of the zombie state narrative in Western culture. It does not matter how definitively we can prove that something is a lie, the full spectrum dominance of the Establishment in media resources is such that the lie is impossible to kill off, and the state manages to implant that lie as the truth in the minds of a sufficient majority of the populace to ride roughshod over objective truth with great success. It follows in the state narrative that anybody who challenges the state’s version of truth is themselves dishonest or mad, and the state manages also to implant that notion into a sufficient majority of the populace.

These are truly chilling times.

In the next installment I shall consider how the Establishment is brazening out similar lies on the Russophobe agenda, and sticking to factually debunked narratives on the DNC and Podesta emails, on the Steele Dossier and on the Skripals.

January 2, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump: US military companies against bringing troops home from Syria

Press TV – October 22, 2019

US President Donald Trump says his plans to bring American troops home from Syria and other countries have been met with strong opposition from “military companies,” arguing that it is easier for him to let the soldiers get killed and sent back in coffins instead.

Trump said Monday that ending American military presence overseas was one of his two key campaign pledges — besides building a wall — and that he was intent to fulfill that promise despite facing opposition in Washington.

“We’re bringing our troops back home,” he told a cabinet meeting at the White House. “I got elected on bringing our soldiers back home. Now, it’s not very popular within the beltway because, you know, Lockheed doesn’t like it. And these great military companies don’t like it. It’s not very popular.”

Earlier this year, a report from the Security Assistance Monitor project of the Center for International Policy found that the Trump administration in coordination with US weapons manufacturers made $78.8 billion in arms deals in 2018 alone.

A quarter of those deals involved the production of American weapons overseas, the report stated.

Trump said bringing back the troops was what his supporters asked him when he appeared before a large crowd of 25,000 during a campaign rally in Dallas on Thursday.

“When I said we’re bringing our soldiers back home, the place went crazy,” the president said. “But within the beltway, you know, people don’t like it. It’s much tougher for me. Be much easier for me to let our soldiers be there, let them continue to die.”

He said “the most unpleasant thing” he has to do is meeting with the families of the soldiers who have been killed or sustained injuries while deployed abroad.

“I see that big cargo plane open and I see those coffins get rolled off,” he said.

He referred to his administration’s decision to redeploy forces from Syria to Iraq and said while he did not want to leave any soldiers behind, they should deploy elsewhere before returning to the United States.

“Well, they’re going to be sent initially to different parts and get prepared. Then ultimately we’re bringing them home,” Trump said.

In a major U-turn in the US military policy, the White House announced on October 6 that the US would be withdrawing its forces from northeastern Syria, clearing the path for an expected Turkish incursion into the region.

Three days later, Turkey launched the offensive with the aim of purging the northern Syrian regions near its border of US-backed Kurdish militants, whom it views as terrorists linked to local autonomy-seeking militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that the nearly 1,000 American troops pulling out of northeastern Syria following a military invasion of the area by Turkey would move to western Iraq.

News agencies reported that US troops had in fact crossed into Iraq from Syria through the Sahela border crossing in the northern province of Dohuk on Monday.

Footage was released of US armored vehicles carrying troops into Iraq, with Iraqi Kurdish sources confirming that American troops had crossed into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

Trump has announced similar troop withdrawal plans for Afghanistan but his administration has yet to take a step towards fulfilling that promise.

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

Trump on Offense

By William Stroock | October 17, 2019

Republican political guru Karl Rove, often derisively called ‘Bush’s Brain’, managed George W. Bush’s two successful presidential campaigns in the 2000s. Rove focused on defending the red, Republican leaning states and maximizing conservative turnout in battleground purple states like Florida and Ohio. However, the Bush-Rove brand of free-trade and open-borders conservatism was unpopular with white working-class voters in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, states no Republican presidential candidate had won since 1988. As such, Rove’s strategy was inherently defensive. The Rust Belt became the Democrat’s Blue Wall, invincible against Republicans. Republican nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney stood little chance in these states in 2008 and 2012. In 2008 McCain’s campaign publicly gave up on Michigan.

In the 1990’s and 2000’s defensiveness became the GOP’s default rhetorical setting. Under leaders like Rove and former House Speaker Paul Ryan, the GOP allowed the Democrats to set the terms of the debate, and were always fending off accusation of heartlessness and even racism. During the Valerie Plame scandal, where Plame said Bush Administration officials outed her covert CIA status in retaliation for her husband contesting Bush’s Iraqi WMD claims, Republicans simply said they respected the independent counsel’s investigation and wanted the process to play out. Meanwhile Democrats savaged Bush and the GOP.

In 2016 candidate Donald Trump did not campaign by Rove’s rules. Instead of defending red states, Trump made an aggressive play for the Rust Belt, breached the Blue Wall, and won Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. When NBC published a tape in which Trump made lewd remarks about women in 2005, Trump fought back. Instead of genuflecting, Trump pointed out Bill Clinton’s sexual foibles and even brought four of Clinton’s victims to the first debate with Hillary Clinton. A conventional, establishment candidate like Florida Governor Jeb Bush (!), whom Trump ran roughshod over in the Republican primaries, would have played by the Democrat’s rules.

Trump fights back against the Democrats impeachment inquiry. He routinely criticizes the head of the Democrat’s impeachment effort, House Judiciary chair Adam Schiff. He mocks Schiff at rallies calling him ‘pencil neck’ and ‘shifty Schiff’. In the wake of the Mueller independent council investigation, in which no collusion whatsoever was found between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump’s justice department is looking into the origins of the collusion hoax. As of this writing Inspector General John Durham ranges far and wide across the globe gathering evidence. His report is said to be, so far, the size of a phone book.

Already Trump is out on the campaign trail. In September Trump spoke to a packed stadium in Fayetteville, North Carolina the night before two special House elections. In a long, rambling pep-talk Trump defended his record, savaged the Democrats and declared, ‘With your support, tomorrow we take the first steps to firing Speaker Pelosi and winning back the House.’ The next day both Republican candidates won their races, one in a landslide, the other by a mere two points. Trump almost certainly dragged the latter candidate across the finish line. Last weekend he filled an arena in Lake Charles Louisiana for that state’s ‘jungle primary’ against Democrat incumbent governor John Bel Edwards. The end result was Edwards got only 46.6 percent of the vote, forcing a November runoff against Republican Eddie Rispone. Locally the GOP wiped out the Democrats, and won a super majority in the Louisiana state senate.

North Carolina and Louisiana are states Trump won in 2016. But he is also campaigning in states won by Hillary Clinton. In September Trump held a rally in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, a state with a large Hispanic population. Trump won 29% of the Hispanic vote in 2016, beating Romney by two points, actually. Increasing Trump’s share of the Hispanic vote is a top priority in 2020. At Rio Rancho he slammed the Democrats and touted the benefits of his economic record to New Mexico and Hispanics. Trump’s biggest target is Minnesota, which he lost by a mere point or 45,000 votes. Minnesota is also home to Representative Ilhan Omar, one of the members of the ‘Squad’ of leftist House members. Trump hopes to use Omar as a foil to turn Minnesota red and flip several of the state’s congressional districts. The GOP only needs to capture eighteen seats to retake the House of Representatives. The Trump campaign is opening up field offices and hiring campaign workers in both states.

In a contentious meeting at the White House this week, Nancy Pelosi told the president that she wished Trump were a politician. The truly gifted politicians have coattails, their victories win races down ticket. So far this year Trump has shown he can do that. In campaign 2020, Trump will be the Republican Party’s greatest weapon.

October 18, 2019 Posted by | Economics | , | 1 Comment

Trump unchained: How the ‘God-Emperor’ is ending American Empire with Syria gambit

By Nebojsa Malic | RT | October 16, 2019

US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of Syria is drawing fire from Democrats, media and some in his own party as well. He doesn’t seem to care, insisting on his 2016 campaign promise to end the endless wars.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Trump batted away every attempt at criticism – calling out the media for faking footage from Syria; describing the Kurdish militias that worked with US troops against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) as “no angels”; and demanding one good reason why the US should be involved in a centuries-long dispute between Syrians, Kurds and Turks when they could work that out themselves. None was forthcoming.

He even chided the US military-industrial complex that wants to “fight forever,” while making sure to note that he authorized a $2 trillion spending spree to rebuild the “depleted” US military. When reporters brought up the outspoken opposition by some Senate Republicans, Trump shot back that they ought to do their jobs, and he would do his. This was not a president worried about getting impeached, but someone confident in his position after 1,000 days in office.

While 2016 may seem like a long time ago, Candidate Trump did run on the platform of ending endless wars and entangling alliances. His daring to question the sacred cow of NATO, or the US presence in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq caused apoplexies across Washington.

After becoming president – and facing a coordinated effort from every quarter to block, sabotage and “resist” his agenda – he chose to go along with the military and political establishment. So the US did not withdraw from Afghanistan, and sent more troops to Iraq and Syria to fight IS. Trump even launched strikes against the Syrian government on two occasions – both prompted by alleged “chemical attacks” – in 2017 and 2018. Having hired neocon warmongers, he embraced their agenda for regime change in Cuba and Venezuela.

If this was done to appease his domestic critics, it obviously did not work. Neocons and establishment Republicans continued to denounce him and ally with the Democrats seeking Trump’s impeachment. So at some point recently – perhaps when he fired the hawkish adviser John Bolton? – Trump appears to have decided he might as well do what he wanted all along.

Declaring IS defeated, he ordered the pullout of US troops from northern Syria, setting in motion a chain of events that have transformed the situation in the region practically overnight, while his critics could only wail and gnash their teeth in impotent rage.

Trump has always had the uncanny ability to force his foes to defend the indefensible – see the curious case of Democrats and open borders, to name just one example. Now that talent has been leveraged in the area where US presidents have the most influence, and where his critics appear the weakest: foreign policy.

Turns out that getting the US out of Syria was easy, so long as Trump let others do all the hard work. Mainstream media said Trump gave Turkey the “green light” to invade Syria, when he clearly didn’t. They gleefully took up the cause of the “betrayed Kurds” until they got caught faking footage of the Turkish invasion. When it emerged that the “Turkish” troops involved were the very same “moderate rebels” they cheered on, back during the Obama administration – now denounced as “thugs and pirates” – the contortions they had to put themselves through were a sight to behold.

What if Barack Obama had called out the military-industrial complex, told off politicians who wanted to fight “endless wars,” or declared that American soldiers should not be injured or killed in centuries-old sectarian conflicts? It is no stretch to say that he would have been applauded by the same people that now vilify Trump.

Yet Obama didn’t do any of those things, even though he had the “hope and change” mandate. Instead, he allowed himself to be seduced by the promises of glory coming from his ambitious advisers. The result was the rise of IS, as Washington sponsored jihadists in Syria; the destruction of Libya and its transformation into a slave-market anarchy; the coup in Ukraine and the war in Donbass. The “geniuses” behind these fiascos are now shrieking that Trump’s cleanup of their mess is somehow hurting America!

During the 2016 campaign, some of his supporters jokingly referred to Trump as their “God-Emperor,” a science fiction reference that spawned a thousand memes. Yet here he is, single-handedly dismantling the American Empire because he believes it runs counter to the notion of the American Republic its founders had envisioned over two centuries ago.

Meanwhile, his critics are once again forced to defend the indefensible, and the only “argument” they have left is that all of this is somehow “helping Russia.” Trump is either lucky beyond all probability, or truly a “stable genius,” as he once put it himself. In the end, it doesn’t matter.

October 17, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

House of Representatives votes 354-60 against Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from Syria

RT | October 16, 2019

Democrats and 129 of the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to pass a non-binding resolution disapproving of President Donald Trump’s pullout of US troops from Syria – never authorized by Congress to be there.

The House Joint Resolution 77 describes the presence of US troops in northeastern Syria as “certain… efforts to prevent Turkish military operations against Syrian Kurdish forces,” and formally voices opposition to their withdrawal, but does not offer an alternative. Instead, it demands the White House present a “clear and specific plan for the enduring defeat” of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

The IS “capital” of Raqqa was liberated by US-allied Kurdish militias in October 2017, and the last IS enclave was declared secured in December 2018, but traces of the presence of the self-declared “caliphate” remain in both Syria and Iraq, weakened by years of war and sanctions.

The House resolution asks the White House to continue providing “humanitarian support” to the Kurds and ensure that Turkey “acts with restraint,” while also demanding of Ankara to stop its “unilateral military action” in Syria.

Trump has maintained he never gave the “green light” to Turkey to invade Syria, and defended the withdrawal as protecting the lives of American soldiers in a region where they had no business being anymore. He has also threatened to “destroy” Turkey’s economy with sanctions and tariffs over the invasion.

Congress has never voted to authorize the US troop presence in Syria, which is not sanctioned under international law and is based only tenuously on old resolutions allowing military action against Al-Qaeda terrorists following the 9/11 attacks. Damascus considers the US presence a violation of its sovereignty, unlike the Russian force that was invited back in 2015.

While the resolution does little to change the situation in Syria, the fact that so many Republicans chose to back Democrats against the sitting president from their party is being held up as a possible barometer for the Democrat-led impeachment process, even though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has repeatedly refused to hold an actual floor vote on the matter.

October 16, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , | 1 Comment

Trump Didn’t Start the War in Afghanistan, But He Owns It

By Thomas L. Knapp | Garrison Center | September 11, 2019

National Security Advisor John Bolton became the latest American casualty of Washington’s 18-year war in Afghanistan on September 10, fired by US president Donald Trump shortly after Trump announced that he had planned, but was canceling, a meeting with Taliban leaders at Camp David to ink a “peace deal.”

Firing Bolton is a good start. Nobody sane wants a guy who looks like Captain Kangaroo but talks like Dr. Strangelove whispering foreign policy advice in a president’s ear. The main effect of his departure from the White House is to shift perceived responsibility for America’s ongoing fiasco in Afghanistan back where it belongs: Squarely on the shoulders of Donald J. Trump.

Before Trump became a presidential candidate, his views on the war made sense. “We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives,” he tweeted on March 1, 2013. In November of that same year, he urged Americans to “not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024.”

Unfortunately his position on the war became “nuanced” (read: pandering and weaselly) as he became first a presidential candidate and then president.

As president, he increased US troop levels in Afghanistan and dragged out the war he once said he wanted to end. In fact, the notional Camp David “peace deal” would merely have reduced those troop levels back to about where they were as of his inauguration. Some “peace deal!”

Throughout Trump’s presidency, his non-interventionist supporters have continuously made excuses for his failure to end US military adventures in Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere.

It’s always John Bolton’s fault, or Mike Pompeo’s. It’s always this general, or that bureaucrat, or the “fake news media,” or the “deep state” undermining poor, powerless little Donny Trump, thwarting his sincere desire to do the right thing and bring the troops home.

Oddly, those same supporters would have us believe that Trump is a bold and commanding genius, scattering his opponents before him as he  maneuvers 5D chess pieces around their tiddlywinks with his abnormally small hands, Making America Great Again.

It can’t be both. Nor is it necessarily either of those things. Whatever it is, this is necessarily part of it:

“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States …” — Article II, Section 2, US Constitution

Trump can pick up his phone any time, call the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and order the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. If his order is disobeyed, he can relieve the generals who fail to follow it and replace them with others who’ll do their jobs.

John Bolton didn’t stop him from doing that. Mike Pompeo can’t stop him from doing that. The “fake news media” and the “deep state” don’t get to countermand presidential orders to the armed forces.

Donald Trump owns this war. If he doesn’t end it, that’s on him and no one else.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

September 11, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

Senate Approves Bill Opposing ‘Precipitous’ US Pullout From Afghanistan, Syria

Sputnik – 01.02.2019

WASHINGTON – The Senate has voted to advance legislation opposing any “precipitous withdrawal” of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan, following President Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be pulling all US troops out of the country.

The Senate voted 68-23 to limit debate on an amendment introduced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that calls on the United States to remain in Syria and Afghanistan until all terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the Daesh are defeated there.

McConnell’s move was backed by almost all Republicans in the Senate, with only three of them — John Kennedy, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz — voting against the motion to advance the amendment.

Trump is reportedly considering plans to withdraw around 7,000 of the 14,000 US troops deployed to Afghanistan after ordering the Defense Department to pull out all 2,000 US soldiers stationed in Syria.

However, Senator Bernie Sanders criticized Trump’s move and supported congressional intervention to help create a more gradual troop withdrawal plan in a statement on Thursday.

“Congress must play a role, consistent with its Constitutional authority over war, in developing a troop withdrawal plan that is coordinated with our allies, that continues to provide humanitarian aid and that supports political settlements in these countries”, Sanders said.

The amendment will be introduced to a wide-ranging Senate bill on the Middle East, the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act”. The sweeping legislation must still go up for a vote in the Senate, along with the US House.

If passed, the legislation would impose new sanctions against Syria, boost defense spending in the region and punish activists who call for economic boycotts of Israel to protest its policies in Palestine, among other measures.

The move marks a rare break between Senate majority Republicans and President Donald Trump who has said he plans to pull US troops out of both countries. The 68 votes in favor of the motion mean it could be re-passed with two-thirds of the 100 senators overriding any presidential veto by Trump.

On December 19, President Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing its troops from Syria over a period of several months. According to Trump, the US coalition’s mission, the defeat of Daesh (ISIS), had been secured.

The US and NATO initially launched military operations in Afghanistan in 2001 after the 9/11 terror attack. While most of the US troops had left the country by the end of 2014, NATO launched a new mission in 2015, called Resolute Support, to provide training and assistance to Afghan security forces.

January 31, 2019 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Making Sense of Trump’s Foreign Policy

By Federico PIERACCINI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.01.2019

As was to be expected, the announcement that the US was withdrawing troops from Syria has served to provoke numerous reactions in the Middle East and beyond. Following the removal of Mattis, Pompeo and Bolton embarked on a whirlwind Middle Eastern tour of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait to reassure regional allies.

The idea of withdrawing US troops from Syria was based on Trump wishing to fulfil one of his most important electoral promises. Trump knows that he needs to demonstrate to his electoral base that he has kept the most significant promises he made during his 2016 election campaign in order to have any chance of being reelected in 2020. People voted for change, and that includes preventing new wars and getting out of the ones the US is already embroiled in, especially in the Middle East.

If Trump betrays his constituents by not delivering on his campaign promises, then he would simply be like any other politician who, upon being elected, soon forgets about those who put him in office. Trump is aware that such a perception would cost him the possibility of a second term.

We live in a time where Western elites completely ignore the consequences of their actions, manipulate information, lie to their citizens and spread fake news. While we may not always believe what Trumps says in his bombastic remarks, we can rest assured that MSNBC/CNN are even less reliable in terms of facts and unbiased news. Keeping oneself correctly informed is a difficult and demanding task, involving the constant comparison and weighing up of a lot of different sources and constantly researching and learning through the process. Most people do not have the time for this and usually do not care, preferring to rely instead on the mainstream media. This obviously exposes such people to manipulation, lies and distorted facts, clouding the truth and making it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is fake. Alternative media — the real media — are riding to the rescue, but the overhauling process will require a full generation or even two.

This is why it little matters whether the wall will really built or whether it will only start to be built as a PR stunt or whether it even makes sense in the first place to build it or not. Democrats watching MSNBC/CNN will agree that it is a dumb idea and should not be funded. Republicans watching Fox News will call it a brilliant idea and demand a government shutdown (as Trumps is doing) to force the Democrats to concede. The point is that Democrats or Trump supporters, feeding on news sources based on propaganda and lies, will only have their respective biases confirmed without the need for any real debate.

What is important for us to understand is how Trump operates in order to gain the support of his base. That is what guides him in domestic, foreign and economic affairs. In the case of the wall, Trump’s battle is against the Democrats, and the actions he has taken to fight his opponents is by using the government shutdown to provide himself with a win-win outcome. If the Democrats fund the wall, they lose in the eyes of their voters, as Trump ends up getting his wall. If the Democrats do not fund the wall, Trump will blame them and point to the government shutdown to demonstrate how he valiantly struggled against the Democrats in an effort to keep his promises.

The same is the case with the economic warfare employing the US dollar and imposing tariffs and duties on allies and enemies alike. MSNBC/CNN will tell you that this is damaging the American economy. The Democrats will say that it is a failed strategy, without admitting that they hate Trump’s “economic war” because it undermines US dollar hegemony and thereby their ability to prosecute the neoliberal imperialism to which they are so addicted.

Fox News, on the other hand, will spin the news to show how Trump is battling against Xi Jinping and China in the interests of American farmers. Self-proclaimed experts will go on about the success of the White House’s economic strategy, declaring it a brilliant idea. Trump voters will enjoy the coverage of Fox News and accordingly praise the “commercial war”. Democrats will love the coverage of MSNBC/CNN and will worry about how various policies will either restore or further diminish US global leadership.

The announcement of the withdrawal from Syria follows the same logic as the examples given above. Trump announced the withdrawal only in order to keep an electoral promise. The entire Washington foreign-policy establishment is opposed to Trump’s decision. The purpose of the announcement was to convey to his voters a simple but clear message: I am trying to do what I promised you, but I have everyone against me in Washington as well as in the media.

The same logic is employed with the government shutdown in order to fund the wall. Whenever Democrats, Republicans or talking heads condemn Trump’s withdrawal from Syria/Afghanistan, his effort to build the wall, his imposition of tariffs and duties, his sanctions on Iran, they reinforce the beliefs of Trump’s supporters, showing that Trump is really trying to keep his promises in the face of tremendous opposition.

Every time they bash him they provide free advertisement for Trump and his political line, and this has been going on from the first time he announced he would run in the primaries in 2015. It is a win-win situation for him, even if he does not really build the wall, pull out of Syria, or effectively reduce the trade imbalance between China and the US. If he succeeds, he can declare that he has kept his promises. If he fails, then he can lay be blame squarely at the feet of his political opponents. People elected him on the basis of his words and promises. If he can demonstrate that he at least tried to keep his promises (even if he never actually does), then that should be enough to give him a second term.

Trump understands very well how the media works and how much Washington detests him. He does not want to change the status quo and revolutionize Washington. He does not want to openly challenge the foreign-policy establishment by following a realist-isolationist policy. That was what he said in 2015/16 during the campaign trail, but his presidency has been much different from what he promised, especially in foreign policy. Nevertheless, Trump seeks re-election, and he cannot entirely break with the Washington establishment if he hopes to succeed. Indeed in 2016 he demonstrated this by appointing a staff of generals whose credo over the span of several decades has been that of American exceptionalism, the governing religion of Washington. He used the military to protect himself from the media-intelligence community, shielding himself with four generals (Kelly, McMaster, Mattis and Flynn), in the full knowledge that none of them would support a realist-isolationist policy.

For this reason, the ructions that have followed the announcement of the withdrawal from Syria are part of normal US political theater, such as was the case with the resignation/dismissal of Mattis. It is no surprise that the deep state immediately dispatched Bolton and Pompeo to sooth the concerns of dozens of US allies, in particular Israel and the Arab states. It was a PR exercise to reassure them of the real intentions of the US in the area (i.e., enduring imperialism).

In practice, it makes little difference whether the US has 2,000 or 200 men in Syria. They will not be able to change the course of the war of aggression against Damascus in their favor. It is therefore not surprising that Bolton was not fired for publicly contradicting Trump on the question of withdrawing troops from Syria. Such contradictions play in Trump’s favor. His supporters will say that Trump is so anti-establishment that even his closest collaborators are against him.

If Trump were to fire Bolton as he did Mattis, none of his faithful voters will remember the ill-considered choice to appoint him in the first place, and will be struck instead by Trump’s determination to stick to his guns and rid himself of internal saboteurs who stand in the way of his electoral mandate. As long as Trump, in our scenario, were not to name someone worse than Bolton, the imperialist wheel will continue to turn.

Just look at North Korea as an example. Trump threatened to destroy Pyongyang, even knowing the US could not really do so. Then he meet with Kim, did an epic PR exercise that presented Trump as solving a major international problem that had eluded all his predecessors. After conveying this triumph to his base, he simply forgot all about Kim, Pyongyang and Seoul. In the meantime, the two Koreas are nonetheless speaking, advancing reconciliation and preparing for historical changes. As for Trump, he has already moved on, North Korea no longer holding his interest, the drama having served its purpose for a certain time but no longer being of relevance. (This, thankfully, is to the benefit of the Korean people.)

It seems the same playbook is being employed in Syria. Trump announced the withdrawal, while leaving a few hundred soldiers behind who continue to be unable to change the situation on the ground; Bolton and Pompeo are dispatched to reassure allies/financiers, though Trump cannot wait to forget about Syria, proclaiming the falsehood that US, under his leadership, defeated ISIS (thereby fulfilling one of his electoral promises).

As I wrote following Trump’s election, The Donald’s victory only served to accelerate the transition to a multipolar world, as we saw in the first two years of his presidency, with Trump’s focus on his base translating into a perennial electoral campaign that uses all the tools at his disposal (domestic, foreign, economic, financial, and currency policy). This creates distrust and concern amongst historical allies and pushes Washington’s enemies closer together, serving in the process to smooth out any tensions that may have hitherto existed between these countries.

Just think of the Astana format of Turkey, Iran and Russia concerning Syria, Inter-Korean talks in Asia, a peace treaty to be signed between Russia and Japan, Indian-Iranian cooperation on trade in oil, a European stance against Iranian and Russian sanctions, and, to top it off, coordination between the Russians and the Chinese on almost everything. All this is in the name of opposing US imperialist policies or trying to directly score a political win against Donald Trump and his policies.

Trump’s enemies have learned to ignore US decisions, which have now become irrelevant in certain parts of the globe. America’s historical allies cling hopefully to the words of Bolton and Pompeo, well aware that the US will not soon change their basic neoliberal and imperialist approach towards the world. Nevertheless, Washington is losing military and economic influence due to the transition into a multipolar world order, where power is shared among multiple countries (China, Russia, Iran, India). The unipolar moment is over and is not coming back, especially not with Donald Trump as president. And that is a good thing for the rest of the world.

January 11, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment