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American unilateralism & intervention is driving global instability, not Russian actions: Putin

RT | June 14, 2021

While Washington constantly talks of the need for international harmony, it has rarely played a positive role in it in recent years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, stressing that stability is vital in world politics.

Asked during an interview with NBC’s Keir Simmons, broadcast on Monday, whether he would support a call for predictability and stability from his US counterpart, Joe Biden, when the two leaders meet in Geneva on Wednesday, Putin said that it is the most important value… in international affairs.” However, he added, “on the part of our US partners, this is something that we haven’t seen in recent years.”

Simmons pointed out that Biden has previously accused Russia of causing “a lot of instability and unpredictability,” with Putin responding that Moscow is concerned about the impact of American foreign policy as well. The Russian president pointed to what he described as Washington’s role in destabilizing Libya in 2011, as well as across much of the Middle East.

Putin also said that, when he asked US officials about their views on Syria’s political trajectory in the event of President Bashar Assad’s departure from power, they said they had no clear picture of what might follow.

“If you don’t know what will happen next, why change what there is?” the Russian president asked, adding that Syria could “be a second Libya or another Afghanistan” if Washington and its allies had succeeded in removing Assad from power. Russia has supported the Syrian government in the conflict, following a request from Damascus in 2015.

Eventually, it is America’s unilateralism and Washington’s desire to impose its will on others that disrupts stability in the international arena, Putin claimed. “That’s not how stability is achieved,” he said, adding that only dialogue can ensure security and peace.

“Let us sit down together, talk, look for compromise solutions that are acceptable for all the parties. That is how stability is achieved,” the president urged.

Putin’s comments came ahead of his first meeting with Biden since the US leader took office in January. The Russian president has said that US-Russia relations are at their “lowest point in recent years” in the run-up to the summit.

Biden said he wants to use the session to help build a “stable and predictable relationship” with Moscow. Yet, at the G7 summit, held in England last week, he also insisted that the US “will respond in a robust and meaningful way” to any “harmful activities” by Russia.

June 14, 2021 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How the US and Great Britain Instigate Coups Nowadays

By Vladimir Danilov – New Eastern Outlook – 06.03.2021

Recently, the United States and Britain, actively using the propaganda tools that they possess, have increasingly begun to accuse Russia and China of interfering in their domestic affairs and election campaigns, and of effectively preparing coups in these countries. However, apart from making proclamatory statements, neither Washington nor London has presented any facts or documents that confirm these accusations, nor can they present them, since these accusations are false.

Along with that, documented information about complicity on the part of United States and Britain in various coups that were being set up has begun to appear more frequently in publicly accessible reports in various media outlets.

For example, according to the recent publication in the German newspaper Die Tageszeitung, UN investigators found out that in 2019 elite fighters from the American Erik Prince’s private military company Blackwater, infamous for their actions during the American occupation of Iraq and several other states, had to take action twice to eliminate the Government of National Accord, which is recognized by the international community. But this “Project Opus” failed…

A group of UN experts studying violations of the UN arms embargo against Libya learned that in the Libyan war in recent years there has been a second, secret front to directly get rid of officials and commanders of the Government of National Accord that rules in Tripoli. “Project Opus” specifically called for delivering 20 elite Blackwater fighters to sites near Tripoli in June 2019 to conduct operations. The officers contacted by the German newspaper in Benghazi confirmed the arrival of 20 fighters from England and South Africa, and one American, in June 2019. The second group, consisting of snipers and fighters trained to fight behind enemy lines, flew to Benghazi in April 2020 and then headed off to the front near Tripoli. On April 24, 2020, 13 French citizens reached the Libyan-Tunisian border and presented themselves as diplomats to the Tunisian border guards, even though they carried heavy weapons. They were arrested, but under diplomatic pressure from Paris they were allowed to leave for Tunisia.

In early May 2020, the world media exploded with reports: another attempt at a military invasion of Venezuela was thwarted, Washington’s mercenaries were captured by the Venezuelan authorities, the United States wanted to repeat the operation in Cochinos Bay (the so-called attempt by the US Central Intelligence Agency to land Cuban emigrants in the Bay of Pigs, something which was aimed at overthrowing Fidel Castro). It is worth remembering how on May 3 mercenaries from the American private military company Silvercorp tried to land on the coast of Venezuela near the city of La Guaira, which is located just 32 kilometers from Caracas. Sixty armed, well-equipped militants with satellite phones and fake documents planned to reach the capital and capture the Venezuelan president for his subsequent transfer to the United States. Two of those arrested, Airan Berry and Luke Denman, were US citizens that had served in Afghanistan and Iraq. On May 4, American media interviewed the former US special forces fighter and the head of the Silvercorp PMC, Jordan Goodrow, who trained these fighters in Colombia. Goodrow declared that the goal of “Operation Gideon” was to organize raids into Venezuela to fight “the regime”. The former special forces soldier showed an eight-page $213 million contract signed in October 2019 by Washington-backed self-proclaimed Venezuelan “president” Juan Guaido and Donald Trump’s political advisers. On March 23, the Colombian authorities confiscated an entire arsenal on their territory that was specifically meant for the mercenaries. The mercenaries were equipped fairly well.

The Washington Post also published a document according to which members of the Venezuelan opposition, following negotiations, in October 2019 entered into a deal with the American private military company Silvercorp, located in Florida. The PMC employees were supposed to infiltrate the territory of Venezuela to overthrow the country’s legitimate president, Nicolas Maduro.

These events in Venezuela were recently well assessed by Bloomberg :

“One would hope that the Central Intelligence Agency could do better than a farcical scheme that was disowned by the Venezuelan opposition, penetrated by regime security forces and disrupted as soon as it began. Yet this trivial episode invites us to think seriously about the role of covert intervention and regime change in US policy.”

Exposing these subversive activities by Blackwater and other US and British mercenaries shows that they are usually committed by former military personnel and criminals involved in a wide variety of activities around the world. They act as bodyguards, protecting people and businesses in “hot spots” (like oil-producing areas off the coast of Nigeria and Sudan), as well as convoys and freight shipments in war zones, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since from the very beginning of hostilities in the region both public opinion in the United States and Democrats in Congress viewed sending their own soldiers to hot spots extremely unfavorably, they had to look for replacements elsewhere.

American wars in the beginning of the 21st century have become a real gold mine for these organizations, which have turned from bands of thugs that toppled shaky “cannibalistic” regimes in Africa during the Cold War into real international corporations. They represent a significant benefit for the United States and its Western allies leading the war, since they consist of veterans that are already experienced – military professionals who have not found a niche for themselves in civilian life. In addition, these organizations are considered private enterprises, and therefore are not accountable to Congress, so the losses these soldiers incur are not included in the total number of casualties for a country’s conventional army, which makes it possible to give a more favorable representation of the situation in a war zone at home. Public opinion in the United States has long called for rejecting the services these companies provide, and reinforcing transparency in their activities. The UN has repeatedly raised the issue of revising the definition of “mercenary”, and banning organizations like Blackwater, over the past several years – but so far it has not yet achieved any significant results.

Besides these examples of Washington’s attempts to instigate a military coup in other countries, nowadays a number of documents have been raised for public review related to the period of the height of the US intervention in Syria in 2014, when Assad’s forces were growing weaker and Damascus was under the threat of capture by Islamists that the West nurtured and supported. For example, the Middle East Eye agency has shown quite convincingly – and with documentary evidence – how during a British-supported operation called Sarkha (Scream), the media tried to turn the Alawites against Assad, and by doing so accomplish a coup in Syria. The publication gives official documents that attest to the social media “protest movement” that was actually created under the authority of the British government.  The very same scenario for Operation Sarkha was developed by the American company Pechter Polls of Princeton (New Jersey, USA), which was working under a contract with the British government. The contract for subversive work in Syria was initially administered by the Military Strategic Effects department at the UK Department of Defense, and then by the British government-run The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, whose objective is to

“resolve conflicts that threaten the Great Britain’s interests.” The project’s budget was £600,000 ($746,000) per year. The published documents indicate that the goal of the operations was “supporting the activities of the Syrian opposition media to reach an audience in Syria… Platforms for this work were created jointly by the UK, USA, and Canada to strengthen popular resentment toward the Assad regime.”

In another issue of the Middle East Eye, documents obtained by the publication show how British contractors hired Syrian citizens who were journalists to promote “moderate opposition” – often without their knowledge. Contracts with these mercenaries were entered into by the British Foreign Office, and were managed by the country’s Ministry of Defense, sometimes by military intelligence officers, paying small amounts of money to the contractors.

After getting to know everything indicated above, the question naturally arises: who exactly is really interfering in the affairs of other states? And how objective is the propaganda coming from Washington and London, as well as their foreign policy as a whole?

March 6, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , , , , | 1 Comment

Killing Revolution in Bahrain, U.S.-UK Plotted Regime Change in Libya, Syria

By Finian Cunningham | Strategic Culture Foundation | February 19, 2021

Ten years ago this month, the Middle East and North Africa were convulsed by uprisings and subterfuges. The Arab Spring is generally thought of as a single wave of pro-democracy movements that swept the vast region. Far from it, however, the events were a mixed bag in which Western powers were not on the right side of history, as Western media would portray. Indeed, these powers played a nefarious role to ensure that the Arab Spring was kneecapped in order to cripple any progressive potential.

A look at the contemporaneous events in Bahrain, Libya and Syria shows the baleful role that the United States, Britain and other European NATO powers actually played. The Arab Spring certainly encompassed many more nations, but the specific events in those three mentioned Arab countries highlight the pernicious agenda of the Western powers which has left an ongoing legacy of misery, failure, conflict and terrorism for the entire Middle East and North Africa region.

As reported in a previous commentary, the American and British governments played an instrumental role in suppressing a popular revolution in Bahrain, which began on February 14, 2011, against a despotic but pro-Western monarchy – the Khalifa regime – which is also a surrogate for the richer and more powerful House of Saud regime in neighboring Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were given a green light by the Americans and British to invade the Persian Gulf island on March 14, 2011, to brutally put down a month-long uprising by a majority of Bahrainis who were demanding free and fair elections, human rights and independent rule of law.

The irony is that Washington and London were claiming to support these same democratic values in other Arab countries which were undergoing unrest.

On March 15, 2011, Western governments and media hailed what they called was the beginning of a “pro-democracy” uprising in Syria against the government of President Bashar al Assad. Then on March 19, the United States, Britain and other NATO powers began a military intervention in Libya said to be in the name of “protecting human rights” from the armed forces under control of the head of that state Muammar Gaddafi.

The Americans and British were compelled to move quickly to suppress the Bahraini revolt because it potentially threatened the entire chain of absolute Gulf Arab monarchies. If democracy were to emerge in Bahrain that would be destabilizing for the other oil-rich Gulf states whose authoritarian rule is vital for sustaining the global petrodollar system and Western imperial interests in the Middle East, not least of all lucrative military exports. Sacrificing Bahrain’s democratic aspirations was the price that Washington and London were all too willing to pay, without a qualm.

To this day, Bahrain’s democratic aspirations are violently repressed by the monarchy in league with Saudi rulers, as well as American and British complicity, including media silence.

When the Saudis received the green light for invading Bahrain on March 14, 2011, the quid quo pro, according to Pepe Escobar, was that American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got assurance from the Gulf monarchies that they would ensure no objection among the 22-nation Arab League for the imminent NATO military intervention in Libya. Thus the suppression in Bahrain paved the way five days later for the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya, a relentless eight-month aerial bombing campaign that culminated in the overthrow and murder of Gaddafi on October 20.

Subsequently, Libya would precipitously descend from the foremost developed nation in Africa into a war-torn failed state riven by civil war, jihadist warlords and human trafficking which has plagued Europe to this day. It is grotesque that the Americans, British and other NATO powers justified their criminal aggression on Libya in the name of protecting human rights and promoting democracy as part of the Arab Spring events.

What’s even more reprehensible, the failed state of Libya would soon become a supply route for the CIA and British MI6 to deploy jihadist mercenaries and weaponry for the NATO and Arab sponsored regime-change operation unfolding in Syria.

On March 15, 2011, one day after the Anglo-American sponsored operation to kill the democracy movement in Bahrain, events took on a sinister development in Syria. In the southern Syrian city Daraa on the border with Jordan, rooftop snipers killed security forces and anti-government protesters. The Western media immediately hailed the beginning of a pro-democracy movement in Syria against the central Assad government in Damascus. But scarcely reported then or since was that the snipers were covertly deployed by NATO powers in what would ignite a regime-change war. That war, which lasted for nearly 10 years and continues to destabilize Syria’s northern border, was cynically and disingenuously portrayed by Western media as a pro-democracy uprising when in reality it was a covert war of aggression by NATO powers, financed by Gulf Arab regimes and involving jihadist mercenaries recruited from dozens of countries.

Libya was a key link in the CIA and MI6 operation know as Timber Sycamore which funneled terrorist fighters and weapons to Syria to propagate the secret NATO war to overthrow President Assad. That operation eventually failed largely because of the military intervention in late 2015 by Russia in support of the Syrian government. Support from Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah was also vital in defeating the Western powers’ regime-change plan.

The legacy from events a decade ago still reverberate to this day. Several members of the current Biden administration bear responsibility for the destruction, including the present Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Libya is a divided nation racked by economic collapse despite its vast oil wealth. Syria is war-torn with a death toll of perhaps 500,000 and struggling with reconstruction because of American and European sanctions against the Assad government. The terrorism that was spawned in those countries for the Western objective of regime change continues to haunt the Middle East and beyond.

And, as for Bahrain, a long-suffering people who simply demanded democracy were and continue to be brutally suppressed by despotic Arab regimes at the behest of the United States and Britain – two nations that claim to be exemplars to the rest of the world for democracy, human right and rule of law.

February 22, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New frigates to project Canadian ‘power’ with cruise missiles

By Yves Engler · December 27, 2020

A recent report about the weapons on Canada’s new Navy frigates is frightening. Equally troubling is the lack of parliamentary opposition to expanding the federal government’s violent “maritime power projection” capacities.

Naval News recently reported on the likely arsenal of Canada’s new surface combatant vessels, which are expected to cost over $70 billion ($213-219 billion over their lifecycle). The largest single taxpayer expense in Canadian history,the 15 vessels “will be fitted with a wide range of weapons, both offensive and defensive, in a mix never seen before in any surface combatant.”

The 7,800 tonne vessels have space for a helicopter and remotely piloted systems. The frigates have electronic warfare capabilities, torpedo tubes and various high-powered guns. It will have a Naval Strike Missile harpoon that can launch missiles 185 kilometers. Most controversially, the surface combatants look set to be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of striking land targets up to 1,700 kilometres away. US-based Raytheon has only ever exported these Tomahawk missiles to the UK and if the Royal Canadian Navy acquires them it would be the only navy besides the US to deploy the missiles on surface vessels.

Canada’s New Frigate Will Be Brimming With Missiles,” is how The Drive recently described the surface combatant vessels. In the article War Zone reporter Joseph Trevithick concludes, “the ships now look set to offer Canada an entirely new form of maritime power projection.”

What has Canada’s “maritime power projection” looked like historically?

Over the past three years Canadian vessels have repeatedly been involved in belligerent “freedom of navigation” exercises through international waters that Beijing claims in the South China Sea, Strait of Taiwan and East China Sea. To “counter China’s” growing influence in Asia, Washington has sought to stoke longstanding territorial and maritime boundary disputes between China and the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and other nations. As part of efforts to rally regional opposition to China, the US Navy engages in regular “freedom of navigation” operations, which see warships travel through or near disputed waters.

A Canadian frigate has regularly patrolled the Black Sea, which borders Russia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine. In July 2019 HMCS Toronto led a four ship Standing NATO Maritime Group exercise in the Black Sea. Soon after, it participated with two-dozen other ships in a NATO exercise that included training in maritime interdiction, air defence, amphibious warfare and anti-submarine warfare as part of sending “a strong message of deterrence to Russia.”

During the 2011 war on Libya Canadian vessels patrolled the Libyan coast. Two rotations of Canadian warships enforced a naval blockade of Libya for six months with about 250 soldiers aboard each vessel. On May 19, 2011, HMCS Charlottetown joined an operation that destroyed eight Libyan naval vessels. After the hostilities the head of Canada’s navy, Paul Maddison, told Ottawa defence contractors that HMCS Charlottetown “played a key role in keeping the Port of Misrata open as a critical enabler of the anti-Gaddafi forces.”

A month before the commencement of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, Canada sent a command and control destroyer to the Persian Gulf to take charge of Taskforce 151 — the joint allied naval command. Opinion sought by the Liberal government concluded that taking command of Taskforce 151 could make Canada legally at war with Iraq. In 1998 HMCS Toronto was deployed to support US airstrikes and through the 1990s Canadian warships were part of US carrier battle groups enforcing brutal sanctions on Iraq. During the first Iraq war Canada dispatched destroyers HMCS Terra Nova and Athabaskan and supply vessel Protecteur to the Persian Gulf before a UN resolution was passed.

Historically the Canadian Navy’s influence has been greatest nearer to home. In a chapter of the 2000 book Canadian Gunboat Diplomacy titled “Maple Leaf Over the Caribbean: Gunboat Diplomacy Canadian Style” military historian Sean Maloney writes: “Since 1960, Canada has used its military forces at least 26 times in the Caribbean to support Canadian foreign policy. In addition, Canada planned three additional operations, including two unilateral interventions into Caribbean states.”

At the request of Grenada’s government Ottawa deployed a vessel to the tiny country during its 1974 independence celebration. In Revolution and Intervention in Grenada Kai Schoenhals and Richard Melanson write, “the United Kingdom and Canada also sent three armed vessels to St. George’s to shore up the [Eric] Gairy government”, which faced significant pressure from the left.

When 23,000 US troops invaded the Dominican Republic in April 1965 a Canadian warship was sent to Santo Domingo, noted Defence Minister Paul Theodore Hellyer, “to stand by in case it is required.” Two Canadian gunboats were deployed to Barbados’ independence celebration the next year in a bizarre diplomatic maneuver designed to demonstrate Canada’s military prowess. Maloney writes, “we can only speculate at who the ‘signal’ was directed towards, but given the fact that tensions were running high in the Caribbean over the Dominican Republic Affair [US invasion], it is likely that the targets were any outside force, probably Cuban, which might be tempted to interfere with Barbadian independence.” Of course, Canadian naval vessels were considered no threat to Barbadian independence.

Immediately after US forces invaded Korea in 1950, Ottawa sent three vessels to the region. Ultimately eight RCN destroyers completed 21 tours in Korea between 1950 and 1955.

Canadian ships transported troops and bombed the enemy ashore. They hurled 130,000 rounds at Korean targets. According to a Canadian War Museum exhibit, “during the war, Canadians became especially good at ‘train busting.’ This meant running in close to shore, usually at night, and risking damage from Chinese and North Korean artillery in order to destroy trains or tunnels on Korea’s coastal railway. Of the 28 trains destroyed by United Nations warships in Korea, Canadian vessels claimed eight.” Canadian Naval Operations in Korean Waters 1950-1955 details a slew of RCN attacks that would have likely killed civilians.

Canadian warships were also dispatched to force Costa Rica to negotiate with the Royal Bank in 1921, to protect British interests during the Mexican Revolution and to back a dictator massacring peasants in El Salvador in 1932.

Where do the political parties stand on new frigates “brimming with missiles”? The Stephen Harper Conservatives instigated the massive naval outlay and the Liberals have happily maintained course. The NDP has supported the initiative and the Bloc pressed for more shipyard work in Québec. The Greens have stayed silent.

Surely there must be at least one Member of Parliament who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to spend $200 billion to strengthen the federal government’s bullying naval capacities in support of the US Empire and Canadian corporations abroad.

December 27, 2020 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Informal British-Turkish-Ukrainian alliance is emerging in the Black Sea

By Paul Antonopoulos | November 30, 2020

Trade agreements between the UK and Turkey are “very close,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said during a visit to Britain in July. London’s endeavour to secure post-Brexit trade agreements reflects on the status of its economic relations with Turkey. A UK-Turkey trade agreement is important for both countries, not only commercially, but also geopolitically as it can extend into the Ukraine against Russia, particularly in the Black Sea.

The trade agreement is crucial because the EU’s relationship with Turkey and the UK have deteriorated. Brussels and Ankara clash over the erosion of democratic controls and balances in Turkey, and also because of its increasingly dynamic foreign policy in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean against Greece and Cyprus. Turkey’s relationship with the U.S. has also intensified, especially since Ankara bought the Russian S-400 missile defense system despite opposition from Washington and NATO. With it appearing imminent that Joe Biden will become the next U.S. President, relations between Washington and Ankara are set to deteriorate further.

This makes the UK one of Turkey’s few remaining friends in the West, and for Ankara a trade deal would signal a close economic and political relationship with a major European power that still wields international influence. For its part, the UK was willing to cultivate a good relationship with Ankara in the context of a “Global Britain” that it wants to build after Brexit.

When it was still a member of the EU, the UK was one of the leading supporters of Turkey’s membership into the bloc. London has also taken a much more discreet stance than other European capitals in condemning President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the deteriorating domestic situation. When Turkey launched a military operation in Syria in 2019, the UK was initially reluctant to condemn Ankara unlike other NATO members, just like what happened when Turkey intervened in Libya.

It was always inevitable that a post-Brexit UK would have strengthened relations with Turkey, especially as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson often boasts that his paternal great-grandfather, Ali Kemal, was a former Ottoman Minister of the Interior.

Johnson describes the Gülen movement, once allied to Erdoğan but now considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, as a “cult.” He also supports Turkey’s post-coup purges that resulted in the detainment of over half a million Turkish citizens, not only from the military, but also from education, media, politics and many other sectors.

It appears that Johnson’s post-Brexit “Global Britain” has Turkey as a lynchpin for its renewed international engagement with the world, and this poses immense security risks for Russia, especially in the Black Sea.

Erdoğan was outraged when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suspended arms shipments to Turkey because of its involvement in Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia. This was a major blow to the TB2 Bayraktar drones that are highly valued by Erdoğan as he uses them in his military adventures in not only Libya, Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh, but also in the Aegean in espionage acts against so-called NATO ally Greece. He has even set up a drone base in occupied northern Cyprus to oversee the Eastern Mediterranean.

The so-called “domestically produced” Bayraktar drones have been exposed for using parts from nine foreign companies, including a Canadian one. Although Erdoğan was outraged by Trudeau’s decision, he found a British company to replace Canadian parts. Britain’s decision to be involved in the Bayraktar drone program is all the more controversial considering five of the nine foreign companies involved have withdrawn their support because of Turkey’s role in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.

Although the growing unofficial alliance for now appears to be in the fields of economics and military technology, alarming reports are emerging that British troops will be stationed in Ukraine’s Mykolaiv Port on the Black Sea.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told the BBC that if British troops “land there and stay, we will not mind either. From the first day of the Russian aggression, Britain has been close and provided practical support, and not only militarily.”

Post-Brexit Britain will not weaken its maximum pressure against Russia, and rather it appears to be increasing its campaign. Britain, as a non-Arctic country, is attempting to bully its way into Arctic geopolitics by undermining Russian dominance in the region. However, Britain’s campaign of maximum pressure creates instability on Russia’s vast frontiers, including in Ukraine and the Black Sea.

With this we can see an informal tripartite alliance emerge between the UK, Turkey and Ukraine.

Kiev has formed a venture with Ankara to produce 48 Turkish Bayraktar drones in Ukraine. This also comes as Ukraine’s Ukrspetsexport and Turkey’s Baykar Makina established the Black Sea Shield in 2019 to develop drones, engine technologies, and guided munitions. In fact, Turkey will allow Ukraine to sell Bayraktar drones it produces, which will now contain British parts after several foreign companies withdrew from the drone program. It is not known whether Bayraktar drones can currently be produced because of the mass withdrawal of foreign companies, but we can expect Ukrainian and British companies to eventually fill the voids left behind.

Both Turkey and Ukraine cannot challenge Russian dominance in the Black Sea alone, and it is in their hope that by closely aligning and cooperating that they can tip the balance in their favor, especially if Britain will have a military presence in Mykolaiv Port. Ukraine still does not recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea, Britain maintains sanctions against Moscow because of the reunification, and Turkey continually alleges that Russia mistreats the Crimean Tatars.

Erdoğan uses Turkish minorities, whether they be in Syria, Greece or Cyprus, to justify interventions and/or involvement in other countries internal affairs. Erdoğan is now using the Tatar minority to force himself into the Crimean issue while simultaneously helping Ukraine arm itself militarily. With Turkish diplomatic and technological support, alongside British diplomatic, technological and perhaps limited military support, Ukraine might be emboldened to engage in a campaign against  Crimea or disrupt Russian trade in the Black Sea.

It certainly appears that an informal tripartite alliance is emerging between the UK, Turkey and Ukraine, and it is aimed against Russia in the Black Sea to end the status quo and insert their own security structure in the region on their own terms.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst. 

November 30, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey has perfected a new, deadly way to wage war, using militarized ‘drone swarms’

By Scott Ritter | RT | November 29, 2020

From Syria to Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh, this new method of military offense has been brutally effective. We are witnessing a revolution in the history of warfare, one that is causing panic, particularly in Europe.

In an analysis written for the European Council on Foreign Relations, Gustav Gressel, a senior policy fellow, argues that the extensive (and successful) use of military drones by Azerbaijan in its recent conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh holds “distinct lessons for how well Europe can defend itself.”

Gressel warns that Europe would be doing itself a disservice if it simply dismissed the Nagorno-Karabakh fighting as “a minor war between poor countries.” In this, Gressel is correct – the military defeat inflicted on Armenia by Azerbaijan was not a fluke, but rather a manifestation of the perfection of the art of drone warfare by Baku’s major ally in the fighting, Turkey. Gressel’s conclusion – that “most of the [European Union’s] armies… would do as miserably as the Armenian Army” when faced by such a threat – is spot on.

What happened to the Armenian Army in its short but brutal 44-day war with Azerbaijan goes beyond simply losing a war. It was more about the way Armenia lost and, more specifically, how it lost. What happened over the skies of Nagorno-Karabakh – where Azerbaijan employed a host of Turkish- and Israeli-made drones not only to surveil and target Armenian positions, but shape and dominate the battlefield throughout – can be likened to a revolution in military affairs. One akin to the arrival of tanks, mechanised armoured vehicles, and aircraft in the early 20th century, that eventually led to the demise of horse-mounted cavalry.

It’s not that the Armenian soldiers were not brave, or well-trained and equipped – they were. It was that they were fighting a kind of war which had been overtaken by technology, where no matter how resolute and courageous they were in the face of the enemy, the outcome was preordained – their inevitable death, and the destruction of their equipment; some 2,425 Armenian soldiers lost their lives in the fighting, and 185 T-72 tanks, 90 armored fighting vehicles, 182 artillery pieces, 73 multiple rocket launchers, and 26 surface-to-air missile systems were destroyed.

A new kind of warfare

What happened to Armenia was not an isolated moment in military history, but rather the culmination of a new kind of warfare, centered on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, or drones). Azerbaijan’s major ally in the war against Armenia – Turkey – has been perfecting the art of drone warfare for years, with extensive experience in full-scale modern conflict gained in recent fighting in Syria (February-March 2020) and Libya (May-June 2020.)

Over the course of the past decade, Turkey has taken advantage of arms embargoes imposed by America and others which restricted Ankara’s access to the kind of front-line drones used by the US around the world, to instead build from scratch an indigenous drone-manufacturing base. While Turkey has developed several drones in various configurations, two have stood out in particular – the Anka-S and Bayraktar.

While the popular term for the kind of drone-centric combat carried out by Turkey is “drone swarm,” the reality is that modern drone warfare, when conducted on a large scale, is a deliberate, highly coordinated process which integrates electronic warfare, reconnaissance and surveillance, and weapons delivery. Turkey’s drone war over Syria was managed from the Turkish Second Army Command Tactical Command Center, located some 400km away from the fighting in the city of Malatya in Turkey’s Hatay Province.

It was here that the Turkish drone operators sat, and where they oversaw the operation of an integrated electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) warfare capability designed to jam Syrian and Russia air-defense radars and collect signals of military value (such as cell phone conversations) which were used to target specific locations.

For every $1 in losses suffered by Turkey, Syria lost approximately $5

The major systems used by Turkey in this role are the KORAL jamming system and a specially configured Anka-S drone operating as an airborne intelligence collection platform. The Anka-S also operated as an airborne command and control system, relaying targeting intelligence to orbiting Bayraktar UAVs, which would then acquire the target visually before firing highly precise onboard air-to-surface rockets, destroying the target. When conducted in isolation, an integrated drone strike such as those carried out by Turkey can be deadly effective; when conducted simultaneously with four or more systems in action, each of which is capable of targeting multiple locations, the results are devastating and, from the perspective of those on the receiving end, might be likened to a deadly “swarm.”

The fighting in Syria illustrated another important factor regarding drone warfare – the disparity of costs between the drone and the military assets it can destroy. Turkish Bayraktar and Anka-S UAV’s cost approximately $2.5 million each. Over the course of fighting in Syria’s Idlib province, Turkey lost between six and eight UAVs, for a total replacement cost of around $20 million.

In the first night of fighting in Syria, Turkey claims (and Russia does not dispute) that it destroyed large numbers of heavy equipment belonging to the Syrian Army, including 23 tanks and 23 artillery pieces. Overall, Turkish drones are credited with killing 34 Syrian tanks and 36 artillery systems, along with a significant amount of other combat equipment. If one uses the average cost of a Russian-made tank at around $1.2 million, and an artillery system at around $500,000, the total damage done by Turkey’s drones amounts to some $57.3 million (and this number does not include the other considerable material losses suffered by the Syrian military, which in total could easily match or exceed that number.) From a cost perspective alone, for every $1 in losses suffered by Turkey, the Syrians lost approximately $5.

Turkey was able to take the lessons learned from the fighting in Idlib province and apply them to a different theater of war, in Libya, in May 2020. There, Turkey had sided with the beleaguered forces of the Government of National Accord (GNA), which was mounting what amounted to a last stand around the Libyan capital of Tripoli. The GNA was facing off against the forces of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), based out of Benghazi, which had launched a major offensive designed to capture the capital, eliminate the GNA, and take control of all of Libya.

How to capture half a country

The LNA was supported by the several foreign powers, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia (via Wagner Group, a private military contractor.) Turkey’s intervention placed a heavy emphasis on the integrated drone warfare it had perfected in Syria. In Libya, the results were even more lop-sided, with the Turkish-backed GNA able to drive the LNA forces back, capturing nearly half of Libya in the process.

Both the LNA and Turkish-backed GNA made extensive use of combat drones, but only Turkey brought with it an integrated approach to drone warfare. Observers have grown accustomed to the concept of individual US drones operating freely over places such as Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan, delivering precision strikes against terrorist targets. However, as Iran demonstrated this past May, drones are vulnerable to modern air-defense systems, and US drone tactics would not work over contested airspace.

Likewise, the LNA, which made extensive use of Chinese-made combat drones flown by UAE pilots, enjoyed great success until Turkey intervened. Its electronic warfare and integrated air-defense capabilities then made LNA drone operations impossible to conduct, and the inability of the LNA to field an effective defense against the Turkish drone operations resulted in the tide of battle rapidly shifting on the ground. If anything, the cost differential between the Turkish-backed GNA and the LNA was greater than the $1-to-$5 advantage enjoyed by Turkey in Syria.

The big players – the US, Russia & China – are playing catch-up

By the time Turkey began cooperating with Azerbaijan against Armenia in September 2020, Turkish drone warfare had reached its zenith, and the outcome in Nagorno-Karabakh was all but assured. One of the main lessons drawn from the Turkish drone experiences in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh is that these conflicts were not fought against so-called “poor countries.”

Rather, the Turks were facing off against well-equipped and well-trained forces operating equipment which closely parallels that found in most small- and medium-sized European countries. Indeed, in all three conflicts, Turkey was facing off against some of the best anti-aircraft missile defenses produced by Russia. The reality is that most nations, if confronted by a Turkish “drone swarm,” would not fare well.

And the multiple deployment of drones is only going to expand. The US Army is currently working on what it calls the “Armed, Fully-Autonomous Drone Swarm,” or AFADS. When employed, AFADS will – autonomously, without human intervention – locate, identify, and attack targets using what is known as a “Cluster Unmanned Airborne System Smart Munition,” which will dispense a swarm of small drones that fan out over the battlefield to locate and destroy targets.

China has likewise tested a system that deploys up to 200 “suicide drones” designed to saturate a battlespace and destroy targets by flying into them. And this past September, the Russian military integrated “drone-swarm” capabilities for the first time in a large-scale military exercise.

The face of modern warfare has been forever altered, and those nations that are not prepared or equipped to fight in a battlefield where drone technology is fully incorporated in every aspect of the fight can expect outcomes similar to that of Armenia: severe losses of men and equipment, defeat, humiliation and the likely loss of their territory. This is the reality of modern warfare which, as Gustav Gressel notes, should make any nation not fully vested in drone technology “think – and worry.”

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ‘SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.’ He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

November 29, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

The Truth Behind the Biggest Threat to the ‘War on Terror’ Narrative

By Cynthia Chung | Strategic Culture Foundation | October 27, 2020

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it.”

– Julius Caesar

The illegal invasion of Libya, in which Britain was complicit and a British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s report confirmed as an illegal act sanctioned by the UK government, over which Cameron stepped down as Prime Minister (weeks before the release of the UK parliament report), occurred from March – Oct, 2011.

Muammar al-Gaddafi was assassinated on Oct. 20th, 2011.

On Sept 11-12th, 2012, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyron Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at two U.S. government facilities in Benghazi.

It is officially denied to this date that al-Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization participated in the Benghazi attack. It is also officially denied that the attack was pre-meditated.

On the 6th year anniversary of the Benghazi attack, Barack Obama stated at a partisan speech on Sept 10th, 2018, delivered at the University of Illinois, that the outrage over the details concerning the Benghazi attack were the result of a “wild conspiracy theory” perpetrated by conservatives and Republican members of Congress.

However, according to an August 2012 Defense Intelligence Agency report  (only released to the public in May 2015), this is anything but the case. The report was critical of the policies of then President Obama as a direct igniter for the rise of ISIS and the creation of a “caliphate” by Syria-based radical Islamists and al-Qaeda. The report also identified that arms shipments in Libya had gone to radical Islamist “allies” of the United States and NATO in the overthrowing of Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi. These arms shipments were sent to Syria and became the arsenal that allowed ISIS and other radical rebels to grow.

The declassified DIA report states:

AQI [al-qaeda –iraq] SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA… WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS… THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…” [emphasis added]

Another DIA document from Oct 2012 (also released in May 2015), reported that Gaddafi’s vast arsenal was being shipped from Benghazi to two Syrian ports under the control of the Syrian rebel groups.

Essentially, the DIA documents were reporting that the Obama Administration was supporting Islamist extremism, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

When the watchdog group Judicial Watch received the series of DIA reports through Freedom of Information Act lawsuits (FOIA) in May 2015, the State Department, the Administration and various media outlets trashed the reports as insignificant and unreliable.

There was just one problem; Lt. Gen. Flynn was backing up the reliability of the released DIA reports.

Lt. Gen. Flynn as Director of the DIA from July 2012 – Aug. 2014, was responsible for acquiring accurate intelligence on ISIS’s and other extremist operations within the Middle East, but did not have any authority in shaping U.S. military policy in response to the Intel the DIA was acquiring.

In a July 2015 interview with Al-Jazeera, Flynn went so far as to state that the rise of ISIS was the result of a “willful decision,” not an intelligence failure, by the Obama Administration.

In the Al-Jazeera interview Flynn was asked:

Q: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

FLYNN: I think the Administration.

Q: So the Administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

FLYNN: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Q: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

FLYNN: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

Flynn was essentially stating (in the 47 minute interview) that the United States was fully aware that weapons trafficking from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels was occurring. In fact, the secret flow of arms from Libya to the Syrian opposition, via Turkey was CIA sponsored and had been underway shortly after Gaddafi’s death in Oct 2011. The operation was largely run out of a covert CIA annex in Benghazi, with State Department acquiescence.

This information was especially troubling in light of the fact that the Obama Administration’s policy, from mid-2011 on, was to overthrow the Assad government. The question of “who will replace Assad?” was never fully answered.

Perhaps the most troubling to Americans among the FOIA-released DIA documents was a report from Sept. 16, 2012, which provided a detailed account of the pre-meditated nature of the 9/11/12 attack in Benghazi, reporting that the attack had been planned ten days prior, detailing the groups involved.

The report revealed that it was in fact an al-Qaeda linked terrorist group that was responsible for the Benghazi attack. That despite this intelligence, the Obama Administration continued to permit arms-trafficking to the al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels even after the 9/11/12 attacks.

In August 2015, then President Obama ordered for U.S. forces to attack Syrian government forces if they interfered with the American “vetted, trained and armed” forces. This U.S. approved Division 30 Syrian rebel group “defected” almost immediately, with U.S. weapons in hand, to align with the Nusra Front, the formal al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria.

Obama’s Semantics War: Any Friend of Yours is a Friend of Mine

“Flynn incurred the wrath of the [Obama] White House by insisting on telling the truth about Syria… He thought truth was the best thing and they shoved him out.”

– Patrick Lang (retired army colonel, served for nearly a decade as the chief Middle East civilian intelligence officer for the Defense Intelligence Agency)

Before being named Director of the DIA, Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for the Joint Staff, as Director of Intelligence for the U.S. Central Command, and as Director of Intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command.

Flynn’s criticisms and opposition to the Obama Administration’s policies in his interview with Al-Jazeera in 2015 was nothing new. In August 2013, Flynn as Director of the DIA supported Gen. Dempsey’s intervention, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in forcing then President Obama to cancel orders to launch a massive bombing campaign against the Syrian government and armed forces. Flynn and Dempsey both argued that the overthrow of the Assad government would lead to a radical Islamist stronghold in Syria, much like what was then happening in Libya.

This account was also supported in Seymour Hersh’s paper “Military to Military” published in Jan 2016, to which he states:

“Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he [Flynn] said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’

[According to a former JCS adviser]’… To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It’s the “anybody else is better” issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.’ The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing U.S. intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State [ISIS].” [emphasis added]

According to Hersh’s sources, it was through the militaries of Germany, Israel and Russia, who were in contact with the Syrian army, that the U.S. intelligence on where the terrorist cells were located was shared, hence the “military to military”. There was no direct contact between the U.S. and the Syrian military.

Hersh states in his paper:

“The two countries [U.S. & Syria] collaborated against al-Qaida, their common enemy. A longtime consultant to the Joint Special Operations Command said that, after 9/11, ‘Bashar was, for years, extremely helpful to us while, in my view, we were churlish in return, and clumsy in our use of the gold he gave us. That quiet co-operation continued among some elements, even after the [Bush administration’s] decision to vilify him.’ In 2002 Assad authorised Syrian intelligence to turn over hundreds of internal files on the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria and Germany. Later that year, Syrian intelligence foiled an attack by al-Qaida on the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain, and Assad agreed to provide the CIA with the name of a vital al-Qaida informant. In violation of this agreement, the CIA contacted the informant directly; he rejected the approach, and broke off relations with his Syrian handlers.

… It was this history of co-operation that made it seem possible in 2013 that Damascus would agree to the new indirect intelligence-sharing arrangement with the U.S.”

However, as the Syrian army gained strength with the Dempsey-led-Joint Chiefs’ support, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey escalated their financing and arming of al-Nusra and ISIS. In fact, it was “later” discovered that the Erdogan government had been supporting al-Nusra and ISIS for years. In addition, after the June 30th, 2013 revolution in Egypt, Turkey became a regional hub for the Muslim Brotherhood’s International Organization.

In Sept. 2015, Russia came in and directly intervened militarily, upon invitation by the Syrian government, and effectively destroyed ISIS strongholds within Syrian territory. In response, Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 on Nov 24th, 2015 for allegedly entering Turkish airspace for 17 seconds. Days after the Russian fighter jet was shot down, Obama expressed support for Erdogan and stated at a Dec. 1st, 2015 press conference that his administration would remain “very much committed to Turkey’s security and its sovereignty”. Obama also said that as long as Russia remained allied with Assad, “a lot of Russian resources are still going to be targeted at opposition groups … that we support … So I don’t think we should be under any illusions that somehow Russia starts hitting only Isil targets. That’s not happening now. It was never happening. It’s not going to be happening in the next several weeks.”

Today, not one of those “opposition groups” has shown itself to have remained, or possibly ever been, anti-extremist. And neither the Joint Chiefs nor the DIA believed that there was ever such a thing as “moderate rebels.”

Rather, as remarked by a JCS adviser to Hersh, “Turkey is the problem.”

China’s “Uyghur Problem”

Imad Moustapha, was the Syrian Ambassador to the United States from 2004 to Dec. 2011, and has been the Syrian Ambassador to China for the past eight years.

In an interview with Seymour Hersh, Moustapha stated:

“‘China regards the Syrian crisis from three perspectives,’ he said: international law and legitimacy; global strategic positioning; and the activities of jihadist Uighurs, from Xinjiang province in China’s far west. Xinjiang borders eight nations – Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – and, in China’s view, serves as a funnel for terrorism around the world and within China. Many Uighur fighters now in Syria are known to be members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement – an often violent separatist organisation that seeks to establish an Islamist Uighur state in Xinjiang. ‘The fact that they have been aided by Turkish intelligence to move from China into Syria through Turkey has caused a tremendous amount of tension between the Chinese and Turkish intelligence,’ Moustapha said. ‘China is concerned that the Turkish role of supporting the Uighur fighters in Syria may be extended in the future to support Turkey’s agenda in Xinjiang. We are already providing the Chinese intelligence service with information regarding these terrorists and the routes they crossed from on travelling into Syria.’ ” [emphasis added]

This view was echoed by a Washington foreign affairs analyst whose views are routinely sought by senior government officials, informing Hersh that:

“Erdoğan has been bringing Uighurs into Syria by special transport while his government has been agitating in favour of their struggle in China. Uighur and Burmese Muslim terrorists who escape into Thailand somehow get Turkish passports and are then flown to Turkey for transit into Syria.”

China understands that the best way to combat the terrorist recruiting that is going on in these regions is to offer aid towards reconstruction and economic development projects. By 2016, China had allegedly committed more than $30 billion to postwar reconstruction in Syria.

The long-time consultant to the Joint Special Operations Command could not hide his contempt, according to Hersh, when he was asked for his view of the U.S. policy on Syria. “‘The solution in Syria is right before our nose,’ he said. ‘Our primary threat is Isis and all of us – the United States, Russia and China – need to work together.’“

The military’s indirect pathway to Assad disappeared with Dempsey’s retirement in September 25th, 2015. His replacement as chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Joseph Dunford, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in July 2015, two months before assuming office, “If you want to talk about a nation that could pose an existential threat to the United States, I’d have to point to Russia.”

Flynn’s Call for Development in the Middle East to Counter Terrorism

Not only was Flynn critical of the Obama Administration’s approach to countering terrorism in the Middle East, his proposed solution was to actually downgrade the emphasis on military counter-operations, and rather focus on economic development within these regions as the most effective and stable impediment to the growth of extremists.

Flynn stated in the July 2015 interview with Al-Jazeera:

“Frankly, an entire new economy is what this region needs. They need to take this 15-year old, to 25 to 30-year olds in Saudi Arabia, the largest segment of their population; in Egypt, the largest segment of their population, 15 to roughly 30 years old, mostly young men. You’ve got to give them something else to do. If you don’t, they’re going to turn on their own governments, and we can solve that problem.

So that is the conversation that we have to have with them, and we have to help them do that. And in the meantime, what we have is this continued investment in conflict. The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just fuels the conflict. Some of that has to be done, but I’m looking for other solutions. I’m looking for the other side of this argument, and we’re not having it; we’re not having it as the United States.” [emphasis added]

Flynn also stated in the interview that the U.S. cannot, and should not, deter the development of nuclear energy in the Middle East:

“It now equals nuclear development of some type in the Middle East, and now what we want… what I hope for is that we have nuclear [energy] development, because it also helps for projects like desalinization, getting water… nuclear energy is very clean, and it actually is so cost effective, much more cost effective for producing water from desalinization.”

Flynn was calling for a new strategic vision for the Middle East, and making it clear that “conflict only” policies were only going to add fuel to the fire, that cooperative economic policies are the true solution to attaining peace in the Middle East. Pivotal to this is the expansion of nuclear energy, while assuring non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, which Flynn states “has to be done in a very international, inspectable way.”

When In Doubt, Blame the Russians

How did the Obama Administration respond to Flynn’s views?

He was fired (forced resignation) from his post as Director of the DIA on April 30th, 2014. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who was briefed by Flynn on the intelligence reports and was also critical of the U.S. Administration’s strategy in the Middle East was also forced to resign in Feb. 2015.

With the election of Trump as President on Nov. 8 2016, Lt. Gen. Flynn was swiftly announced as Trump’s choice for National Security Adviser on Nov. 18th, 2016.

Just weeks later, Flynn was targeted by the FBI and there was a media sensation over Flynn being a suspected “Russian agent”. Flynn was taken out before he had a chance to even step into his office, prevented from doing any sort of overhaul with the intelligence bureaus and Joint Chiefs of Staff, which was most certainly going to happen. Instead Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13th, 2017 after incessant media attacks undermining the entire Trump Administration, accusing them of working for the Russians against the welfare of the American people.

Despite an ongoing investigation on the allegations against Flynn, there has been no evidence to this date that has justified any charge. In fact, volumes of exculpatory evidence have been presented to exonerate Flynn from any wrongdoing including perjury. At this point, the investigation of Flynn has been put into question as consciously disingenuous and as being stalled by the federal judge since May 2020, refusing to release Flynn it seems while a Trump Administration is still in effect.

The question thus stands; in whose best interest is it that no peace be permitted to occur in the Middle East and that U.S.-Russian relations remain verboten? And is such an interest a friend or foe to the American people?

October 27, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Anniversary of Gaddafi’s Death and the Current Reality in Libya

By Yuriy Zinin – New Eastern Outlook – 26.10.2020

“Security problems, political discord, oil blockades, corruption, and Libya’s foreign debt, which has reached 270% of its GDP, all torpedo economic life,” said Central Bank of Libya governor Sadiq al-Kabir. Oil revenues in Libya have plummeted, from $53 billion in 2012 to near zero this year, he added.

These words, spoken on the eve of another anniversary of the assassination of Libyan leader M. Gaddafi on October 20, 2011, do in fact serve to illustrate what the country has come to over the past nine years of its history, since the collapse of the previous regime.

Having come to rule with massive outside support from NATO, the new forces, although they inherited huge financial reserves and the potential following the era of the previous leader, became dependent on the various militias that brought them to power. Along with that, these “brothers-in-arms” soon turned into implacable enemies. The country fell into an abyss of civil strife and, since the summer of 2014, has been divided into two military and political camps, with one pole of power in Tripoli and the other in Tobruk. Because of this turmoil, Libya’s development has come to a standstill, and GDP is dropping. In comparison with previous times, it has slid backwards in many respects.

The oil sector has become hostage to conflicts in society, a source of funding for diverse groups that act in opposition to national interests. However, there is plainly a growing shadow economy, flourishing of currency fraud, the smuggling of goods, illegal emigrants, etc.

The dependence of the Libyan authorities on external forces, both regionally and globally, has increased. At the same time, the intra-Libyan conflict does not have a clearly defined bloc “tutelage”. The aspirations of the “stakeholder forces” have many different thrusts. Their desire to resolve their differences by taking to the Libyan field is often seen, and that, among other things, is fraught with the likelihood of collisions occurring between them.

Since 2015, the UN has been initiating efforts to reconcile the opposing poles in Libya. Delegates from the warring parties participate nonstop in different series of negotiations, sometimes under the auspices of the UN, sometimes hosted by major powers, or as part of the efforts put forth by various neighboring states and the African Union. These kinds of conferences and meetings, including those between the leaders of the two camps, were held in no less than a dozen cities on three continents, including Moscow.

The efforts by various mediators have not turned the tide, or yielded any decisive results. No new constitution has been adopted, and no presidential elections, or elections for a new parliament have been held.

It is encouraging that so far the opposing sides have been honoring the decision they made on August 21 this year for a ceasefire. A number of local and foreign observers have pinned their hopes on three tracks for the negotiation process, all of which are now going on simultaneously.

For example, at talks in the Moroccan city of Bouznika under the auspices of the UN Support Mission in Libya, they reached “a mutual understanding on the transparency of the standards and mechanisms” used to allocate key positions in the government, and throughout other echelons.

In the Swiss city of Montreux, the participants agreed that for the duration of a comprehensive resolution of the intra-Libyan crisis, Sirte, which effectively divides the North African country, will become the seat of the executive and legislative bodies.

In the Egyptian city of Hurghada, Libyan representatives talked about building on the peaceful respite, and restructuring the armed forces.

Libyan experts note that there is a long distance between the decisions that were announced, and the mutual understanding that was reached, to realizing them. From circles close to the governing bodies and military authorities in Tripoli and Tobruk, criticism is spilling forth about the agreements that are progressing on these tracks.

At the same time, it cannot be said that there is absolutely no ground for agreements or compromises. First, the balance of power in Libya does not allow either of the two poles to achieve final victory by military means.

Second, Libya today is divided by the parties into peculiar areas of responsibility, but along with that none of them is economically self-sufficient. For example, most of the fields, pipelines, and oil terminals are in the sphere of influence of the authorities in Tobruk. But normal operations for the entire economic infrastructure under its control are impossible without interacting with the other component present in the Libyan conflict. In matters concerning producing oil, selling it, and earning revenue from it, the key role is still played by the state acting as a rentier, and in which economics and politics are fused in a union of marriage.

These issues for the opposing sides can serve as a starting point for moving towards each other. Among everything else, the Libyan public is putting pressure on top officials. In August this year in Tripoli and Benghazi, the largest cities for both poles of power, there were demonstrations by residents who were tired of political instability and socioeconomic hardship.

Libya since the fall of Gaddafi represents a tragic example of how a country that used to be stable, and which is rich in oil reserves, can be bled dry not only by outside intervention, but from internal conflict as well.

Yury Zinin is a Leading Research Fellow at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

October 27, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 2 Comments

Why is the GNA defunding the Lockerbie case despite it being close to a verdict of innocence?

Dr Mustafa Fetouri | MEMO | September 3, 2020

The only Lockerbie bombing convict is one step closer to his guilty verdict being overturned, however, posthumously. Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi died at home in Tripoli on 21 May, 2012, while protesting his innocence until his last breath. The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC) allowed the family to proceed with an appeal to clear his name. The case was sent to the High Court of Justiciary, Scotland’s highest criminal court, and a date for the final hearing has been scheduled to start on 24 November.

His 27-year-old son Ali, who is leading the family’s long and arduous fight to clear his father’s name, is certain that justice will prevail this time and that his late father’s verdict will be reversed. During a telephone conversation in Tripoli last Monday, he assured me: “My father’s name will certainly be cleared this time.”

The family’s lawyer Aamer Anwar, a distinguished Scottish lawyer who volunteered to take the case, in a series of emails confidently communicated to me: “We have a robust appeal.”

Winning this time seems certain. Professor Robert Black, a Scottish law authority, and the mind behind the first Lockerbie court setup in the Netherlands in May 2000, agrees with this analysis. He believes the Scottish court will “overturn the verdict” against Al-Megrahi, however, on the “narrower ground” of the crown prosecutor “withholding materials” from the defence team that could have helped establish Al-Megrahi’s innocence from the outset. Professor Black is “disappointed” that the court might not go as far as “to find that no reasonable court would have convicted Al-Megrahi.” He added, “I hope I’m wrong about this” – which would restore some of the Scottish judiciary’s reputation tarnished by the Lockerbie case and its aftermath.

The Lockerbie bombing, since 1988, became negatively synonymous with Libya, Gaddafi and its entire population. Gaddafi, firmly believing in their innocence, refused to hand over his accused citizens, Lamin Fhimah and Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi, to stand trial in the UK. This led the United Nations (UN) to adopt a series of sanction resolutions, including Resolution 731, passed on 21 March, 1992, with harsh economic and political punitive measures that not only isolated Libya, but made life extremely difficult for its entire population.

The long-held belief that the late Gaddafi was behind the attack still echoes within Western mainstream media, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary emerging over the years.

Now, it can be disclosed that Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), the only UN-recognised authority in the country, wants the mud to keep sticking to Gaddafi, Libya and its people too. The GNA is not enthusiastic about this latest development. The GNA have, illegally, cut the funding for the case over the last three years.

Al-Megrahi’s son Ali and the family lawyer are puzzled as to why the GNA cut funding at this critical junction of the case – when winning seems all but certain.

Lawyer Anwar does not disqualify the assumption that the GNA came under pressure from both the UK and the US to steer away from the case. The British and American narrative of the Lockerbie tragedy has always been that Libya is responsible and “that narrative must be maintained”, Anwar informs me.

However, suspension of defanging goes much deeper within the GNA, where corruption is rampant. A Scottish consultant to the legal team, speaking on condition of anonymity, yesterday clarified: “I believe funding is still budgeted, but the money disappears before getting to its intended final destination.”

Despite writing several times to the GNA to resume funding to meet the substantial mounting legal fees, Anwar received no replies until a few months ago, when his consultant was told that the GNA did not receive any messages relating to the funding of the case.

However, the consultant strongly disputes this, asserting that she “personally” handed over the file to the “highest official in the GNA” in a December 2017 meeting in Tripoli. When asked if “the highest official” meant Fayez Al-Sarraj, the GNA’s prime minister, she replied: “You think about it.”

It is not wholly unusual for the GNA to take such a position. Part of the political legitimacy in new Libya rests on the claim that Gaddafi was a supporter of international terror, and the Lockerbie bombing must have been his evil work too.

In November of 2019, the GNA’s Minister of Justice Mohamed Lamlum, personally stood before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ask Saif Al-Islam, Gaddafi’s son, to face trial before the ICC, tarnishing the very judiciary he is supposed to protect and defend. Gaddafi Junior is wanted by the ICC for his – broadly disputed – role in quelling the 2011 troubles that ended his father’s rule over Libya.

According to different legal experts, the Libyan state is obliged to help its citizens abroad by all means necessary, including through funding in the event of legal issues. The Lockerbie case is much more than a petty case about a Libyan citizen, but it concerns the entire nation, its history and its reputation. This should elevate the case to a “national cause” for all Libyans, according to Anwar.

Indeed, Libyans across the political spectrum now consider the Lockerbie case a national issue and that Libya must continue funding the legal team, just as it did before 2011.

During the Gaddafi era, the government even established a consulate in Glasgow to closely monitor the case, and to help Al-Megrahi’s family who had to relocate to Scotland to be near their father while in jail.

It is not clear if the GNA will honour its legal obligations towards its own citizen, Al-Megrahi, albeit posthumously, but the legal team is not surrendering. They have already established a liaising team inside Libya to follow up with the chaotic authorities in Tripoli.

A group of volunteers inside and outside Libya are gearing up to explore other funding avenues if the GNA continues to reject meeting its legal obligations. In any eventuality, Al-Megrahi’s reputation, and that of Libya, will soon be restored.

September 3, 2020 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , | Leave a comment

The Incident at Benghazi

Tales of the American Empire | July 30, 2020

Chris Stevens was an ambitious US State Department employee who volunteered to participate in the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011. He covertly arrived in Libya in early 2011 aboard a Greek cargo ship with CIA personnel and set up operations in Benghazi to coordinate illegal shipments of weaponry into Libya and organized attacks on the Libyan army. After Africa’s most prosperous nation was in ruins, Stevens became the US Ambassador to Libya in Tripoli and was given a new mission of shipping tons of arms to Syria to destroy that nation. He traveled to Benghazi in September 2012 to check on progress and was attacked. Stevens was captured, beaten, and killed. The Obama administration hid these facts and proclaimed Chris Stevens an American hero who had traveled to Benghazi to mediate peace among warring factions when he was killed by terrorists.

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“Slain Ambassador Chris Stevens Slipped Into Libya on a Cargo Ship During Revolution”; Amy Bingham; ABC News; September 12, 2012; https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/…

Related Tale: The Destruction of Libya in 2011; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5Lh4…

“Operation Timber Sycamore”; the CIA’s semi-secret shipments of tons of weapons to terrorists in Syria; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_…

“CIA Gun—running, Qatar-Libya-Syria”; Phil Greaves; Global Research ; August 9, 2013; https://www.globalresearch.ca/cia-gun…

“The Arming of Benghazi”; Fox News; June 27, 2015; https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/…

Video report: Part I https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/43285…

Part II https://video.foxbusiness.com/v/43284…

“Arms for Libya 2.0”; Wikispooks; https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Arms_for_…

”Obama DOJ drops charges against alleged broker of Libyan weapons”; Ken Vogel; Politico ; October 5, 2016; https://www.politico.com/story/2016/1…

“Hillary’s Secret War”; Andrew Napolitano; July 2, 2015; Antiwar.com ; http://original.antiwar.com/andrew-p-…

July 30, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

“Woke” America is More Asleep to Injustice Than Ever

By Tony Cartalucci – New Eastern Outlook – 06.07.2020

To drive home just how superficial and empty recent protests in America are and how little besides further division and destruction will become of them – take the fate of two fictional characters recently put in the spotlight by baying activists – PepsiCo’s “Aunt Jemima” breakfast food brand and Mars Incorporated’s “Uncle Ben’s” rice products.

Both came into the crosshairs of “woke” America. Both fictional characters will now no longer be used.

It might appear like a huge victory for “woke” America.

CNN in their article, “The Aunt Jemima brand, acknowledging its racist past, will be retired,” would claim:

Quaker Oats is retiring the more than 130-year-old Aunt Jemima brand and logo, acknowledging its origins are based on a racial stereotype.

“As we work to make progress toward racial equality through several initiatives, we also must take a hard look at our portfolio of brands and ensure they reflect our values and meet our consumers’ expectations,” the Pepsi-owned company said in a statement provided to CNN Business.

And the London Guardian in their article, “Uncle Ben’s rice firm to scrap brand image of black farmer,” would claim:

The rice company Uncle Ben’s is to scrap the image of a black farmer the brand has used since the 1940s and could change its name, as companies react to growing concerns over racial bias and injustice.

The parent company, Mars, said Uncle Ben was a fictional character whose name was first used in 1946 as a reference to an African American Texan rice farmer.

While there is no doubt that both fictional characters represented stereotypes and are rooted in America’s racist past – “woke” America’s belief that somehow this was a priority or some form of victory begs belief. So does the fact that those opposed to expanding mobs and their “cancel culture” have crafted the most anemic counterpoints.

Some claim that the fictional characters were either inspired or portrayed by real African Americans who profited from the branding.

What neither side mentioned was the very real abuses both companies are guilty of – abuses that are both inhumane and rooted in extraordinary, inexcusable, and thus far utterly unaddressed racism.

PepsiCo and Mars Sponsor/Profit From Slavery and Mass Murder 

Both “woke” America as well as those trying to form opposition to it have entirely missed the fact that PepsiCo and Mars Inc. – two multi-billion dollar businesses – are literally engaged in modern day slavery to create their products while sponsoring policy think-tanks that have engineered wars targeting African nations, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands and open-air slave markets where black people – today – are sold into bondage.

This would seem to be a much greater transgression against black people than their crude depictions in company branding and demands much more serious action than merely adjusting marketing strategies – such as demanding boards of directors to resign or full-spectrum, permanent boycotts for these businesses and their many subsidiaries and brands.

Unfortunately for “woke” America, fictional characters are a priority taken head-on all while activists blissfully munch on chocolate bars made by cocoa harvested by African slave labor and sip on drinks made by a corporation which sponsors US wars abroad in which blacks are mass murdered and enslaved.

Your Mars Inc. Chocolate Comes from Slave Labor

If you enjoy chocolate snacks like 3 Musketeers, Snickers, Mars, and Milky Way bars, the chocolate you ate most likely came from a developing nation with dismal working conditions and in many cases, child and slave labor.

Mars Inc. along with Nestle, Hersey, and many other chocolate companies, source cocoa from Africa and especially the nations of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.

A Washington Post article published just last year titled, “Cocoa’s child laborers,” would note:

Mars, Nestlé and Hershey pledged nearly two decades ago to stop using cocoa harvested by children. Yet much of the chocolate you buy still starts with child labor.

The article elaborated, noting:

About two-thirds of the world’s cocoa supply comes from West Africa where, according to a 2015 U.S. Labor Department report, more than 2 million children were engaged in dangerous labor in cocoa-growing regions.

When asked this spring, representatives of some of the biggest and best-known brands — Hershey, Mars and Nestlé — could not guarantee that any of their chocolates were produced without child labor.

Black children used as labor and under conditions and for wages bordering slavery to produce cocoa Mars Inc. knowingly uses in its products – and makes billions of dollars off of – seems like a much bigger issue than what is undoubtedly offensive labelling practiced by Mars Inc. through its “Uncle Ben’s” brand.

Indicative of the carefully controlled nature of ongoing protests is how the Washington Post has reported on Mars Inc.’s genuinely offensive, even criminal predation on black labor in Africa in the past as well as Mars Inc.’s offensive branding more recently, but failed to link the two in its most recent reporting – thus artfully avoiding a genuinely “woke” readership and any genuine damage real protests and boycotts would have on Mars Inc. and other corporations whose interests Washington Post regularly serves as a voice for.

Big-Biz like PepsiCo and Mars Inc. are an Affront to All

Mars Inc. – alongside PepsiCo, Nestle, and Hersey – was also involved in funding anti-labelling campaigns to prevent legislation from passing that would force food manufacturers to inform consumers their products contained genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Corporations spending money to hide dangerous ingredients from consumers endangers everyone’s health – black and white, left and right.

Mars Inc., PepsiCo, and others defend such campaigning, claiming that such legislation would be “costly” – as would ensuring  all of their ingredients are ethically procured and free of child and/or slave labor.

Yet Mars Inc., PepsiCo, and others are multi-billion dollar businesses. The Mars family which owns Mars Inc. consists mostly of family members who are billionaires – not mere millionaires – but billionaires.

Their daily “concerns” include ensuring their sprawling 82,000 acre ranches have enough water and that they receive the most lenient penalties when crashing their Porsche SUV’s into vans carrying families.

Mars Inc. and other multi-billion dollar businesses can afford to do better, simply at the cost of being slightly less well-off billionaires or perhaps even being demoted to millionaires – yet they simply and deliberately choose to profit off the backs of poorly informed consumers at home and exploited/enslaved labor abroad.

If what Mars Inc. and PepsiCo contributed to was only limited to cultivating ignorant consumers at home and using slave labor abroad it would be bad enough. And if America’s “woke revolution” was serious about justice, Mars Inc. and PepsiCo would be on the chopping block for much more than their crude, racist marketing, and would have more demanded of them.

But that is not all Mars Inc. and PepsiCo are contributing to.

Sponsoring Warmongering and Mass Murder in Africa (and everywhere else)

Both PepsiCo and Mars Inc. are sponsors of policy think tanks like the Brookings Institution whose “scholars” and “fellows” churn out the blueprints for US wars which are then rubber stamped by the US Congress and sold to the public by the corporate media.

Brooking Institution’s 2019 annual report (PDF) lists both companies – PepsiCo and Mars Inc. – as sponsors as were both companies in 2011 (PDF).

Brookings and its corporate-sponsored staff worked diligently in 2011 to help sell the US military intervention in the North African nation of Libya. It was a key institution involved in creating and spreading the notion of “R2P” or the “responsibility to protect” used as flimsy cover for a long-planned US desire to effect regime change in Libya.

As early as February 2011, the Brookings Institution published articles and papers like, “United States Must Take Lead on Libya,” in which Brookings “Senior Fellows” – funded by the likes of PepsiCo and Mars Inc. – made the nascent calls for US military intervention that would eventually lead to the US arming militants openly and carrying out air strikes across the nation.

Indeed, the US armed militants in eastern Libya – a hotbed for racism and extremism and the epicenters of Al Qaeda in the country – as well as provided roving bands of armed gangs air support as they swept the nation.

When Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was violently swept from power later that year, the estimated 2.5 million Africans from across the continent he took in, providing housing and living wages to, found themselves being hunted by US-backed militants.

To explain the blatant and explosive racism that predictably swept Libya in the wake of the US-backed war, articles like the CS Monitor’s “How Qaddafi helped fuel fury toward Africans in Libya,” would claim:

Many experts – and African migrant workers themselves – say the animosity stems from anti-African racism found throughout the Arab world. But some say the anger has been made much worse by Mr. Qaddafi’s moves to buy the loyalty of black Libyans from the south of the country as well as his decades-long efforts to build Africa-wide patronage networks at great cost to the country’s Arab majority.

In other words – the CS Monitor and the Western “experts” it cited claim Qaddafi “fueled fury toward Africans” by merely spending resources to help them. It is an oblique attempt to justify the racism-driven genocide US-backed militants carried out during their “victory lap” in Libya.

Black Africans living in Libya were either driven out of the country, across the Mediterranean and into Europe to face hardship and racism there or either mass murdered in Libya or rounded up and enslaved.

The Western media – partners with institutions like Brookings – denied this at first – or attempted to excuse it like the CS Monitor – but eventually covered the fallout US military intervention in Libya and its long-planned regime change agenda triggered.

Reuters in their article, “African workers live in fear after Gaddafi overthrow,” would admit:

Tens of thousands of foreign workers have fled Libya since the armed revolt against Gaddafi’s 42-year-rule began in February, with Africans afraid they have become targets for fighters who accuse them of being mercenaries for Gaddafi.

This antipathy appears to have spread to all Africans, leaving them vulnerable to attacks, robbery and other abuse by the gun-toting, mostly young, fighters who ousted Gaddafi.

Identity cards of nationals from Chad, Niger, Mali, Sudan and other African states have been found on the bodies of gunmen who anti-Gaddafi fighters say were paid to confront them.

The BBC in its article, “Libya migrant ‘slave market’ footage sparks outrage,” would admit:

Migrants trying to reach Europe have spoken of being held by smugglers and forced to work for little or no money.

The footage released by CNN appears to show youths from Niger and other sub-Saharan countries being sold to buyers for about $400 (£300) at undisclosed locations in Libya.

While these media sources covered the fallout of the 2011 US military intervention, they were careful not to link the fallout directly to the intervention.

The US war against Libya was a humanitarian catastrophe deliberately engineered by Western think tanks funded by big-business like PepsiCo, Mars Inc., and many others, rubber stamped by politicians in Washington – both Democrat and Republican – and eagerly sold to the public by the corporate media.

And even as recently as 2016, Brookings “Senior Fellow” Shadi Hamid in a piece published on Brookings’ site titled, “Everyone says the Libya intervention was a failure. They’re wrong,” would remain insistent in defending the US-led war and the decimated, racist, and dysfunctional Libya left in its wake.

He argues that if the US didn’t intervene, Qaddafi would have successfully eliminated the racist extremists in eastern Libya and particularly in Benghazi who would eventually carry out genocide against Libya’s black population. Hamid simply omits any mention of this or who actually was based in Benghazi and instead refers to them merely as “protesters.”

Thus, PepsiCo and Mars Inc. – alongside oil corporations and weapons manufacturers – are funding an institution that not only engineers and eagerly promotes wars, they fund an institution that is utterly unapologetic about the calamity these wars cause – including wars like in Libya ending tragically for 2.5 million black Africans.

“Woke” America needs to be conscious enough to recognize the true injustice underpinning American society. It is very likely that as protesters in America and online around the globe rail against “Aunt Jemima” and “Uncle Ben’s” many activists are eagerly enjoying many of the other products produced by and profiting PepsiCo and Mars Inc. – oblivious to the fact that the ingredients are procured through child and slave labor in Africa and the profits are directed into promoting wars that leave blacks abroad dead, displaced, or enslaved. And as long as this is the case, nothing of any genuine substance will ever change in America or across the wider Western World.

If real justice is what Americans – all Americans – want, they need to truly wake up to this fact first.

July 6, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , | 3 Comments

Libyan war escalates as regional powers attempt to gain stronger influence

By Paul Antonopoulos | June 1, 2020

Alarms are sounding in Europe as Turkey, Russia and Arab states could potentially agree on shared influence in Libya, and therefore the entirety of the eastern Mediterranean, according to some experts. This comes as European states have no influence over the war in Libya despite it occurring on its southern doorstep and Turkey, Russia and Arab states continue to gain influence.

The direct intervention of Turkey in Libya, who has sent its own intelligence officers, military advisers and thousands of Syrian jihadists to support the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords (GNA), based in Tripoli and led by the ethnic Turk Fayez al-Sarraj, has limited further gains by the Libyan National Army (LNA). The mobilization of thousands of Turkish and Syrian jihadists and the massive shipment of weapons to Tripoli has slowed down the offensive of the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar. Haftar was proclaimed on April 27 as the only leader of the country, in which most of the international community found to be a provocative move as they believe it limited the likelihood of a political settlement to the conflict.

Confident of his past military superiority and assured in the determination that the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have to counter Turkey’s efforts to create hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean, Haftar continues to ignore calls for a political solution to the war. Sarraj also ignores such calls confident in the backing he has from Turkey.

Russia also condemned Haftar’s offensive and called for negotiations on peace. However, the U.S. claims that Russian fighter jets arrived in Libya to protect the withdrawal of volunteers from the Russian Wagner group in a decision agreed upon with Ankara, something that Moscow denies. Both Europe and the U.S. fear that Russia may obtain the use of a naval base in eastern Libya, that the LNA securely controls, in the future.

Despite these potentialities, it is unlikely the war between GNA-backed jihadists and the LNA will come to a conclusion anytime soon, unless there is a drastic change caused by external forces. Turkey in the midst of an economic crisis is unwilling to use the full force of its military in Libya and is rather acting as a conduit between the GNA and Qatari-funded but Turkish-trained Syrian jihadists. Egypt is contemplating using its military in Libya to “fight against Libyan extremists and terrorists supported by Turkey.” This too could be a game changer since Egypt has the means, logistics and capabilities to successfully intervene in Libya in favour of the LNA.

France has also not hidden away with its support for Haftar, finding him to be a leader that would advance French interests in the Mediterranean that is in direct conflict with Turkey. The GNA has also signed a memorandum with the Muslim Brotherhood government to cut through Greece’s maritime space for the exploitation of gas in that area of ​​the Mediterranean, forcing Greece to get embroiled in the Libyan mess. Meanwhile, Italy has backed the GNA while Germany is trying to act as referee, showing once again there is no common European position.

The European ‘Irini’ (meaning peace in Greek) operation is committed to prevent maritime-bound arms delivery to Libya, i.e. Turkish arms to Libya. This is a maritime surveillance operation to enforce the United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Libya, but in reality, it has not prevented Turkey’s deliveries to the GNA while Egypt continues to supply the LNA over the land border.

The situation shows that the European Union is unable to establish itself as a main actor in a conflict that brings together strategic political and economic interests a few nautical miles from its southern coast. With the U.S. realistically absent, Turkey backing the GNA and Russia and the Arab + Greece alliance backing the LNA, these are the main protagonists.

In Paris, and seeing the failure of his diplomacy parallel to the EU, the Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, warns about the “Syrianization of Libya,” while spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s gloats: “France and other European countries supporting Haftar are on the wrong side of history.” Seen in this light, the balancing role Russia can play in Libya to contain Ankara could even be positive for Europeans.

However, the main reason that shared influence will not be agreed upon is because the GNA-Turkish deal to steal Greece’s maritime space relies on a supposed share maritime space between Libya and Turkey. And therein lays the problem – it is the LNA, who has rejected the memorandum, that controls the eastern Libyan coast that supposedly shares a maritime border with Turkey. So long as the LNA controls eastern Libya, Turkey will always strive for a GNA victory to legitimize the memorandum. Once again, the European Union remains divided on Libya, despite the Muslim Brotherhood government aiming to carve out the maritime space of a member state.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

June 1, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment