Sunday, December 30, 2018

Piquant situations

"Germany, France struggle with resurgent Russia" (Bhadrakumar):
". . . the best-laid plans under Obama have gone awry. To be sure, the Russian intervention in Syria in September 2015 would have been partly at least attributable to the tensions building up in Moscow’s ties with the West, with the Kremlin assessing that without a toehold in Syria, an effective Russian presence in the Mediterranean would be unsustainable. In turn, Russia forcefully reversed the tide of the Syrian conflict, weaned Turkey away from the western camp, forged a veritable alliance with Iran and established a permanent politico-military presence on the Middle Eastern landscape.

More importantly, Hillary Clinton failed to win the 2016 US presidential election to carry forward Obama’s Ukraine agenda to its logical conclusion of containment of Russia. Donald Trump, on the contrary, takes no real interest in a concerted Western strategy over Ukraine and it is even debatable whether he sees US interests at stake in Ukraine. Thus, despite the covert axis working actively – even proactively – between the Pentagon under James Mattis (who used to be a NATO commander himself) and the hardliners among the allies in Europe, Trump has remained disinterested in turning Ukraine into a flashpoint against Russia. Trump’s support for Kiev has been by far sub-optimal.

Conceivably, Mattis’ ouster as US defence secretary will demoralize the hardliners amongst the US’ European allies. Their sense of vulnerability vis-à-vis the resurgent Russia is only increasing. Indeed, Trump’s announcement on the withdrawal from Syria has also stunned them, as they fear the spectre of a triumphalist Russia on the march.

For both Germany and French, a piquant situation also arises because the US withdrawal from Syria will expose their own covert military intervention in Syria without any UN mandate, lacking legitimacy under international law. Ironically, there is danger that without Russian acquiescence, a cover-up of the war crimes committed by the German and French forces in Syria may get exposed in the coming period, causing huge discomfort to their carefully cultivated image as the paragon of the liberal international order. Reports in the Russian press have hinted that Moscow is in a position to expose the German and French war crimes in Syria."
"Trump Breaks Generals’ 50-Year War Record" (Porter):
". . . in early April 2018, Trump’s impatience with his advisors on Syria boiled over into a major confrontation at a National Security Council meeting, where he ordered them unequivocally to accept a fundamentally different Syria deployment policy.  
Trump opened the meeting with his public stance that the United States must end its intervention in Syria and the Middle East more broadly. He argued repeatedly that the U.S. had gotten “nothing” for its efforts, according to an account published by the Associated Press based on interviews with administration officials who had been briefed on the meeting. When Dunford asked him to state exactly what he wanted, Trump answered that he favored an immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces and an end to the “stabilization” program in Syria.
Mattis responded that an immediate withdrawal from Syria was impossible to carry out responsibly, would risk the return of Islamic State, and would play into the hands of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, whose interests ran counter to those of the United States.
Trump reportedly then relented and said they have could five or six months to destroy the Islamic State. But he also made it clear that he did not want them to come back to him in October and say that they had been unable to defeat ISIS and had to remain in Syria. When his advisors reiterated that they didn’t think America could withdraw responsibly, Trump told them to “just get it done.” 
Trump’s national security team had prepared carefully for the meeting in order to steer him away from an explicit timetable for withdrawal. They had brought papers that omitted any specific options for withdrawal timetables. Instead, as the detailed AP account shows, they framed the options as a binary choice—either an immediate pullout or an indefinite presence in order to ensure the complete and permanent defeat of Islamic State. The leave option was described as risking a return of ISIS and leaving a power vacuum for Russia and Iran to fill.
Such a binary strategy had worked in the past, according to administration sources. That would account for Trump’s long public silence on Syria during the early months of 2018 while then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson and Mattis were articulating detailed arguments for a long-term military commitment.
Another reason the approach had been so successful, however, was that Trump had made such a big issue out of Barack Obama giving the Pentagon a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. As a result, he was hesitant to go public with a similar request for a Syria timetable. As CNN reported, a DoD official who had been briefed on the meeting “rejected that any sort of timeline was discussed.” Furthermore the official asserted that Mattis “was not asked to draw up withdrawal options….” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, the director of the Joint Chiefs, also told reporters, “the president has actually been very good in not giving us a specific timeline.”
Nevertheless, without referring to a timeline, the White House issued a short statement saying that the U.S. role in Syria was coming to a “rapid end.”
Mattis and Dunford were consciously exploiting Trump’s defensiveness about a timeline to press ahead with their own strategy unless and until Trump publicly called them on it. That is what finally happened some weeks after Trump’s six month deadline had passed. The claim by Trump advisors that they were taken by surprise was indeed disingenuous. What happened last week was that Trump followed up on the clear policy he had laid down in April."
Good as far as it goes, but the AP is notoriously Zionist, and thus misses the (((elephant))) in the room.  Nobody actually believes this crap about 'fighting' ISIS (or, even more absurdly, looking out for the Kurds).  The only reason the US is in Syria is to Yinonize it, at the behest of the (((you-know-whos))).  That's why Trump pointedly raised the issue to the billions of gibs going to Israel every year - it was a pretty obvious threat to the (((people))) who are loudly whining to back off, as there are more options available to Trump should (((they))) not stop harassing him.  Trump seems to realize that MAGA is his garlic against vampires, whether they be (((neocons))), sore-loser Clintonistas, or Mueller and his enablers (much overlap in these groups).  The best defense for Trump is doing exactly what he campaigned on.

Starts out slowly, and, sadly, written by a Truther, but it raises a lot of issues, including speculating what Corbyn's plans might be (and why Britain needs to get out in order to do them):  "To whom was Her Majesty referring in her Christmas broadcast?" (Fantom).  See the comment by Estaugh on the unconsitutionality of the actions of the spectacularly blackmailable pedo Heath.

Tweet (Ivan Katchanovski) (superb thread!):
"Bombshell directly relevant to in : Ex-president & 3 other leaders of 1989 'revolution' are charged with crimes against humanity for using disinformation & diversion to provoke mass killings to legitimize their power"
Tweet (David Hamer):
"Forensic thread on Jordan Peterson."
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