Syria is ruled by a coalition of ill-repute, made up of Bashar Assad, the Iranian Quds Brigade, Hezbollah and Putin. The involvement of Russia has turned the Syrian war into a battle of international consequence. Syria is in the process of breaking up, and there is probably nothing anyone can do at this point to stop that from happening. The vast majority of Sunni Arabs, as well as the Syrian Kurds, will never submit to Damascus rule, so long as Bashar Assad is in power.
The United States, as the indispensable global power, still the sole world superpower in every respect, must take the lead in bringing the Syria war to an end. That means that the United States must support the creation of a safe-zone for refugees to remain inside Syrian territory or in a neighboring state. Turkey has nicely filled this role through its invasion, which will soon spread further south and encompass an area large enough for such a safe zone. But that is not enough. The United States must impose a no-fly zone over Syrian territory. It is costly, but can be done. The United States successfully established two no-fly zones over Iraq from the end of the first Gulf War through to the 2003 invasion. The Kurds in the north and the marsh Arabs in the south were protected. But that, too, is not enough. The Syrian Air Force must be grounded, and that can be accomplished by American sea-launch and air-launch cruise missiles strikes. At minimum, the Syrian Air Force runways can be cratered.
And the Syrian rebels must be armed with shoulder-held anti-tank and some anti-aircraft weapons. Perhaps Arab Special Forces from neighboring countries can manage and supervise these weapons deliveries.
Yes, this is complicated by the presence of the Russian military forces in Syria, but not to worry. Putin always stops, the moment he runs up against any immovable object. The actions proposed show appropriate firmness. They are not provocations.
"News on dispatching Egyptian military forces to Syria to combat terrorism
Iranian Tasnim News, 3 Nov 2016
Source: Mideastwire, copyright protected. Circulated with permission.
Media sources have been carrying news indicating that the Egyptian government has dispatched military forces to Syria in the context of fighting terrorism, and the military cooperation and coordination with the forces of President Bashar al-Assad’s government. “The sources said that Egypt is keen on offering military aid and dispatching forces to Syria in order to participate in the battles of the Syrian government against the terrorists now that major schisms emerged between [Egypt] and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The latter is offering support to the terrorists in Iraq and Syria in addition to the war it has launched against the unarmed innocent people of Yemen. The sources added that the Syrian and Egyptian governments will make an official announcement regarding this coordination, which will be based on combating terrorism, in the near future.
“A Syrian source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that spoke to Tasnim neither denied nor confirmed the piece of news carried by the media sources. He however indicated that, if this piece of news is confirmed, an official statement will be issued by the ministry of foreign affairs. “Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk, the head of the Syrian National Security Office, had visited Egypt some two weeks ago. This was the first announced visit to be carried out by an important Syrian official. Meetings were held with prominent Egyptian officials and the two sides could have agreed on increasing the military cooperation between them. “The visit came at a time when the Egyptian-Saudi relations are seeing differences over the discrepancy between the two countries’ positions regarding the Syrian crisis. Cairo believes that a political settlement involving all the different parties is the way to conclude the Syrian crisis, which has been ongoing for around six years. Meanwhile, Al-Riyadh believes that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power first. In addition, Egypt has recently voted in favor of a Russian draft resolution regarding Syria at the International Security Council. This step stirred the dismay of Saudi Arabia, the number one country in terms of aid provision to Cairo. “Egyptian President Abdul Fattah es-Sisi summarized, last August, the Egyptian position regarding the Syrian crisis. [The Egyptian position] is based on five principles: “Respecting the unity of the Syrian lands and the will of the Syrian people; coming up with a peaceful political settlement to the crisis; stripping the militias and radical groups from their weapons; re-building Syria; and enhancing the state’s institutions.””"
"According to Kapa, Russian veterans of the Ukraine fighting were recruited for ground combat in Syria when it became clear that Syrians would not be able to hold ground without help, despite Russian air support.
"The Arabs are not warriors by nature, but are thrown together and told to storm high ground. They don't know how to storm it let alone conquer their instincts and move towards the bullets. How can you make them do it? Only by setting yourself as an example," Kapa said. "That's why our guys reinforced their units."
Asked if fighters in the group coordinated with the Russian defence ministry, Kapa said: "Of course"." The Independent
@Mike Allen - Is it not obvious that the "volunteer" Russian Military contractors are a project sponsored by the Russian Government? They are transported to and from Syria in Russian government transport, are treated in Russian military medical facilities and are given Russian government decorations if KIA. IMO someone in Moscow agrees with my observation that the "R" in R+6 should be bigger. Don't get too bent out of shape over this. It is very reminiscent of the AVG in China before Pearl Harbor.
Egypt broke off relations with Syria while Mursi was president. He was, of course, an ally of the jihadis and the US State Department. I am not a big admirer of the Egyptian Army and would be pleasantly surprised if they showed up in Syria and showed some fight, but they could be useful in garrisoning quiet areas. pl
"The Race That Stops A Nation" isn't describing the Presidential race, its the Moniker of The Melbourne Cup, a horse race first held in 1861 on the first Tuesday in November. Cup Day is a state holiday and most people try and make it into a long weekend as the seemingly endless stream of SUVs towing boats and camper trailers past our front gate on Friday afternoon attested. Cup day is a day when non gamblers have a bet on the horses and non drinkers can be seen with a glass of champagne. Right across Victoria people hold parties and dress up in their Sunday best, praying that our spring weather won't collapse back into winter. Most of the rest of the country will stop to listen to the race, such is the interest, my father told me ,that during WWII Australian Army signals nets in the Pacific overloaded on race day and urgent operational traffic couldn't get through.
This year we enjoyed ourselves in a week long series of parties and revels that concluded yesterday which I think we thoroughly deserved after a winter of chemotherapy, mastectomy, radiotherapy and the wettest winter since 1905. We are now forswearing alcohol for a month and preparing for what lies ahead. For my partner it is a breast reconstruction now that her cancer appears to be in remittance. For me, it is farm work to make up for the time lost in endless hospital waiting rooms and doctors offices. It is not all bleak. I am now a grandfather to a baby girl who is cute as a button and I await the future with hope rather than sinful despair.
Part of that hope is the possibility that an end may be in sight for Americas self inflicted woes, but we shall see on Tuesday. I attach a link to John Michael Greers summary of the situation - that Trump at least offers hope of principled change for the better while Clinton does not seem to offer anything new.
"..Donald Trump, by contrast, has been arguing against several core elements of that consensus since the beginning of his run for office. Specifically, he’s calling for a reversal of federal policies that support offshoring of jobs, the enforcement of US immigration law, and a less rigidly confrontational stance toward Russia over the war in Syria. It’s been popular all through the current campaign for Clinton’s supporters to insist that nobody actually cares about these issues, and that Trump’s supporters must by definition be motivated by hateful values instead, but that rhetorical gimmick has been a standard thoughstopper on the left for many years now, and it simply won’t wash. The reason why Trump was able to sweep aside the other GOP candidates, and has a shot at winning next week’s election despite the unanimous opposition of this nation’s political class, is that he’s the first presidential candidate in a generation to admit that the issues just mentioned actually matter. "
The Democrats have it as an article of their faith that here is no voter fraud. Really? Here is an example of a man, an adult, who was hired by a voter registration organization and then invented voters, filled out the paperwork on them and submitted them to the government. He was caught doing this and is now arraigned on several felony charges. The group for which he worked has disavowed him, but, why would they not? The question remains - how many others were there or are there who have not been caught and who could get their "voters" in to vote with sympathetic election officials?
Then, there is the matter of Virginians in the far SW Mountain Kingdom whose livelihoods have been destroyed by people like HC who want to kill the coal mining industry to fulfill their ecological dreams. These people cannot pay or find basic medical and dental health care and the Republican controlled General Assembly in far away Richmond has refused to expand Medicaid to cover these people. IMO they have done that to spite Governor Terry McCauliffe, who is the worst kind of carpetbagger, but I do not understand how they could let their fellow Virginians live in squalor in the mountains without available care. pl
"Russia intends to escalate its military operations in Aleppo City and Damascus within the coming days in order to demonstrate its force projection capabilities and bolster flagging public appeal for its involvement in the conflict. Russia deployed its lone aircraft carrier - the Admiral Kuznetsov – to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea on or around October 17. The Kuznetsov is also carrying a contingent of Su-33 and MiG-29K/KUB fighter jets that Russian sources claim are equipped with precision-guided munitions, as well as Ka-52 attack helicopters armed with long-range anti-tank guided missiles.[i] The Kuznetsov is escorted by a battle group that includes as many as three submarines likely equipped with Kalibr long-range cruise missiles. The Kuznetsov reached the Mediterranean Sea on November 1 and is expected to arrive off the Syrian Coast in the coming days, where it will be joined by an additional frigate armed with Kalibr cruise missiles from the Black Sea Fleet.[ii] Once the battle group arrives, it will likely not remain idle. Russia will likely use these new assets to support pro-regime ground operations in Aleppo City or Damascus in an attempt to improve domestic support for its military intervention in the Syrian Civil War through a showcase of its naval and air capabilities. A recent poll by the Levada Center indicated that support for the intervention has begun to slip since 2015.[iii] Russians now doubt the Syrian Civil War as a route to improving Russia’s international image or finding common ground with the West.[iv] Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely attempt to reinvigorate these sentiments through a high-profile demonstration of military might and effectiveness." ISW
ISW is, of course, a Kaganesque neocon think tank, but some of their work is pretty good.
It is not at all clear to me that Russian public support for the expeditionary effort in Syria is flagging. Is it?
Russian air operations in Syria have been largely suspended the last couple of weeks. One explanatory theory is that Putin is being careful to not provide propaganda points to the Clinton campaign in the form of civilian casualties just before the US election.
Additional aerial firepower will be useful to the Russian command in Syria but I remain convinced that the R+6 ground troop strength is too small for achieving a decisive result in the western Syria region that is likely to become the de facto area of Syrian government control.
The evolving and emerging Russian Army does not have a lot of recent combat experience and little at all in expeditionary operation and logistics. I continue to think that a force of two MRD equivalents made up of volunteers would be advisable as reinforcements in Syria. pl
"3. If Clinton wins the election and is indicted before the inauguration
Here’s where it starts getting tricky.
As mentioned earlier, an indictment is far different from a conviction. An indictment does not disqualify a person from being eligible for the presidency (neither does a conviction, technically, but being in jail would probably get in the way). Should Clinton be indicted after winning the election but before officially taking office, she could try to play beat-the-clock and hope to take office before her case concludes. Once a person is in office as President, it gets even more complicated, as we’ll see later. Should Clinton be indicted and convicted prior to her inauguration, and end up in jail, she may be deemed incapacitated, in which case Section 3 of the 20th Amendment kicks in and the Vice President-Elect, in this case Tim Kaine, would become President. (though that seems unlikely as the wheels of justice do not turn that fast)" Dan Abrams
We might as well think about it. pl
" ... the decentralized nature of U.S. polling would make it extraordinarily difficult to subvert a nationwide race. Instead, U.S. officials said it is more likely that Russia would use hacking tools to expose or fabricate signs of vote-rigging, aiming to delegitimize an election outcome that Republican candidate Donald Trump has said he may refuse to accept if he does not win.
“I think it’s correct to say the Russians don’t think they can dictate the outcome,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. But even as votes are being tallied Tuesday, Schiff said, Russian intelligence services are likely to be “looking through their troves of hacked documents and seeing what they can release.”" Washpost
The truth in this piece is that the IC does not believe Russia has the power to disrupt a US election. pl
"Republican Donald Trump has a three-point lead in Rasmussen Reports’ White House Watch survey. Among voters who are certain how they will vote, Trump now has over 50% support.
The latest national telephone and online survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Trump leading Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton 45% to 42%. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has four percent (4%) support, and Green Party hopeful Jill Stein picks up just one percent (1%). Two percent (2%) like another candidate, and four percent (4%) are still undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)" Rasmussen Reports
"In years past, the booms of artillery, mortars and rockets exchanged between the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the rebels arrayed against his rule provided an ominous backbeat to city life. (“That one is outgoing,” residents would confidently say to flinching visitors.)
In their stead, all that could be heard in the Christian quarter of Bab Touma on Saturday night was the chatter of an early Halloween celebration. It was another sign of a resurgent Damascus that appears to have shuffled off the war weariness prevalent before the country’s Russian-backed military began making gains against rebel groups over the last year.
Women in high heels teetered on the narrow, decrepit sidewalks.
They joined gaggles of young people congregating in front of a popular shawarma joint, strategically nestled among a newly opened strip of bars on Mustaqim Street.
Inside the smallest of them, a bar called Abu George, the decor features kitschy lamps, “antique” baubles and posters of bikini-clad women. The walls are covered with thousands of scribbles, lurching from the joyful (“I’m so happy to be here. Wish I could stay forever in Damascus!”) to the defiant (“Only the God [sic] can judge me.”)
The mustachioed bartender, Abu Issam, held court near a tiny counter." LA Times
IMO West Aleppo would be a lot like this if the jihadis and FSA unicorns would stop shelling residential neighborhoods there. Even the UN has now complained of the indifference to civilian suffering involved. At the same time the RuAF has abstained from bombing in East Aleppo for the last two weeks in the probably futile belief on the part of "the evil Putin" that something can still be made of efforts to separate the jihadis from the unicorns. This reduction in operational tempo occurs just as the rebels (almost all jihadis) are making a desperate attempt to break the government siege of East Aleppo.
Down south in the Damascus region, there are still a few pockets of rebel controlled territory but they are shrinking steadily. The resurgence of ordinary life as described in this piece is reflective of the distance now existing between central Damascus and the places where the shells still fall in the suburbs.
Nevertheless, the aura of the place comes through strongly in this article. Damascus before the civil war was always a fun place. The hotels and restaurants were good. There was no pressure to conform to Islamic standards of dress or behavior, The Grand Bazaar and the "Street Called Straight" were endlessly entertaining. The secret police were discreetly unobtrusive most of the time. The women were Western in style. I remember hanging out in places very like the little bars and cafes described in this piece.
This was all before Robert Ford's War. BTW, Ford now lives somewhere in northern new England where people still have some common sense. He is reported to me to be somewhat reflective and perhaps repentant of the role he played in triggering this evil war when he was US ambassador in Syria. He said recently at a Washington conference that he has discovered in retirement that the mass of the American people whom he lives among reject neoconism and the very thought of another war waged as a result of a policy of overseas aggression.
So, maybe there is hope, pilgrims, maybe. pl
"Fifteen years ago this month, on Jan. 20, 2001, his last day in office, Bill Clinton issued a pardon for international fugitive Marc Rich. It would become perhaps the most condemned official act of Clinton’s political career. A New York Times editorial called it “a shocking abuse of presidential power.” The usually Clinton-friendly New Republic noted it “is often mentioned as Exhibit A of Clintonian sliminess.”
Congressman Barney Frank added, “It was a real betrayal by Bill Clinton of all who had been strongly supportive of him to do something this unjustified. It was contemptuous.”
Marc Rich was wanted for a list of charges going back decades. He had traded illegally with America’s enemies including Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, where he bought about $200 million worth of oil while revolutionaries allied with Khomeini held 53 American hostages in 1979.
Rich made a large part of his wealth, approximately $2 billion between 1979 and 1994, selling oil to the apartheid regime in South Africa when it faced a UN embargo. He did deals with Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea, Communist dictatorships in Cuba and the Soviet Union itself. Little surprise that he was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.
Facing prosecution by Rudy Giuliani in 1983, Rich fled to Switzerland and lived in exile.' NY Post
IMO Marc Rich was pardoned by Bill Clinton because the Israeli government pressed him repeatedly to do so. Why would they do that? At the time I was in the position of associating with quite a few international oil traders. They laughed when they talked about Rich as an oil trader and assured me that for an individual like Marc Rich to enter the oil futures and spot oil markets was a virtual impossibility. The amount of capital required was simply prohibitive. Their belief was that Rich's traffic in petroleum had to be backed with the money of a sovereign state that wished to trade for profit in this commodity. They insisted that the only state likely to have wanted to do this but inhibited by the state of its external relations was Israel.
If that was the case, then it is only logical that Rich's legal position with regard to his US taxes was badly compromised. Would the Israeli government have wanted him to pay US taxes on profits made with its money? I think not, but Israel would also not want it to be known that it had abandoned its agent. Such knowledge if spread around the Zionist community would reduce the willingness of others to take risks for Israel. It is for much the same reason that Israel pressed endlessly for Pollard to be released from prison.
Were there incentives offered to WJC other than the unrelenting political pressure from the Zionist community? Who knows?
And now the FBI has chosen to open at least some of their files on this matter to the public. Can this be other than a warning to their betters in the elected government? Is the sentiment "if you take action to stop our investigations or against us, what else will we release?" pl
"Researchers have continued their investigation into the site where the body of Jesus Christ is traditionally believed to have been buried, and their preliminary findings appear to confirm that portions of the tomb are still present today, having survived centuries of damage, destruction, and reconstruction of the surrounding Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City.
The most venerated site in the Christian world, the tomb today consists of a limestone shelf or burial bed that was hewn from the wall of a cave. Since at least 1555, and most likely centuries earlier, the burial bed has been covered in marble cladding, allegedly to prevent eager pilgrims from removing bits of the original rock as souvenirs.
When the marble cladding was first removed on the night of October 26, an initial inspection by the conservation team from the National Technical University of Athens showed only a layer of fill material underneath. However, as researchers continued their nonstop work over the course of 60 hours, another marble slab with a cross carved into its surface was exposed. By the night of October 28, just hours before the tomb was to be resealed, the original limestone burial bed was revealed intact." National Geographic Society
Having been in the edicule many times, including once on the company of a Chief of Staff of the IDF (Amnon Lipkin-Shahak), I find this very interesting.
The basilica of the Holy Sepulchre is a purpose built building constructed in the time of the Kingdom of Jerusalem to cover the sites of the rocky knob of Golgotha and the nearby site of the "rock cut tomb." There had earlier been a much larger church built in the time of Constantine the Great. This had been destroyed by the Fatimid Caliph Hakim the Mad who was the Shia ruler of Egypt and Palestine. Hakim had also destroyed a previous version of the edicule by having workmen break it down with sledge hammers. That being the case there was little expectation that anything would be left of the tomb itself. This is a massive surprise.
There is a rival tomb site outside the medieval walls of Jerusalem. Evangelical Christians find the basilica to be too medieval for their taste and prefer the other site. I find the archaeology that supports the basilica as the site of the crucifixion and entombment to be convincing. Much of it was done by very competent and well trained Franciscans of the Custody of the Holy Land. In recent years a lot of secular European scholars have been involved and they seem to be unanimous in accepting the basilica as the correct site.
At the time of Jesus the site was a quarry just outside the walls of the city. Several hillocks of stone had been left standing in the quarry because of the poor quality of the stone in them. Some of these had been made into stone tombs for well off Jews. There were also more tombs carved into the perimeter of the depressed area that was the quarry. Those are still there and I have explored a good many of them. One of the existing tombs is said to have been donated by a sympathizer for Jesus' burial. One of the stone hillocks was used by the Romans for crucifixions. For this purpose they cut square shafts in the top so that the butt of a cross could be put in them. Fifty years or so after the death of Jesus the walls of Jerusalem were expanded and the site was then within the walls. After the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity, Constantine built his immense church on the site. In the process, the stone walls of the tomb were trimmed back as was the hill of Golgotha. That was done to make the site more convenient architecturally. A small building was put up over what remained of the tomb. This was the first of four edicules.
The basilica was under the sole control of the RC Church and the Franciscans from the time of the Ayyubids until the Ottoman government decided in the 18th Century to divide control among its various Christian dhimmi populations.
I am a member of the papally protected order of chivalry that is entrusted with the welfare of the basilica and other Christian interests in Holy Land. pl
"The FBI has obtained a warrant to search the emails found on a computer used by former Congressman Anthony Weiner that may contain evidence relevant to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, according to law enforcement officials.
One official said the total number of emails recovered in the Weiner investigation is close to 650,000 — though that reflects many emails that are not in any way relevant to the Clinton investigation. Officials familiar with the case said, though, the messages include a significant amount of correspondence associated with Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin, Weiner’s estranged wife.
The agents investigating Clinton’s use of a private email server knew early this month that messages recovered in a separate probe might be germane to their case, but they waited weeks before briefing the FBI director, according to people familiar with the case.
FBI Director James B. Comey has written that he was informed of the development Thursday, and he sent a letter to legislators the next day letting them know that he thought the team should take “appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails.”" Washpost
"the messages include a significant amount of correspondence associated with Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin, "
I wonder from whom they obtained a warrant. This could be the crack of doom. I imagine that they will mine out the e-mails from/to Hillaryworld and look at them. pl
"The FBI is to scour 650,000 emails on the laptop of a former congressman connected to Hillary Clinton, it has been reported. The Wall Street Journal tweeted: "Thousands may be tied to Clinton's server." The Journal added that "metadata" on Anthony Weiner's laptop had suggested such "ties". Its article reported that a review lasting "weeks" would examine the emails' content, whether they were duplicates of messages already seen by the FBI, and whether they contained classified information." Skynews
Well, pilgrims... There is no way that the FBI can review this many e-mails in the time available. My sense is that the Democratic senators involved will probably demand Comey's resignation on Tuesday. IMO that would just make Clinton look worse in the eyes of many.
Let us assume for a moment that she will still be elected. IMO she would be the most wounded president ever to take the oath of office.
I cannot imagine how she could govern the country, pl
It seems to me that the Republican Party is destined to be the dominant political force outside the big cities and the northeast. A map similar to the one above for the 2008 election is quite similar in its distributions of the results by county.
The exceptions to the general position outside the big cities are easy to explain. African-Americans, American Indians, mining areas, Latinos along the Mexican border, retirees from the NE on the gold coast in Florida, these are the non big city populations that vote Democratic.
This would indicate to me that the chance of the GOP recovering control of the Executive Branch through a presidential victory is slim, and likely to remain that way ffor a long time.
The semi-rural base of the Republican Party does not wish to become the latest converts to "coastalism." Their representatives in the world pf professional politics want just that. They want to out-Democrat the Democrats. This makes them continuously vulnerable to primary challenges.
Try to imagine a Republican who could win the nomination in the primary process and then win the general election. I think Huntsman or Christie could win the general, but they are both very unlikely to win the nomination.
Nevertheless, the United States remains a federal republic. The GOP is very strong in many states. Most governors are Republicans. Most state legislatures are controlled by the GOP. The US House of Repersentatives has been re-districted by both parties in such a way as to "freeze" power in place.
Perhaps the GOP should accept a future in which it controls most of the states and the House of Representatives. Control of the US Senate may also be within reach from time to time. pl
Just a guess, but that "communal" laptop was probably a lot more communal when it was first purchased and the email client set up. It eventually became Wiener's laptop, but the email client was never changed. It probably received every email sent to Abedin's email address from any and all senders including Clinton emails that she thought she deleted. They just sat in the in box unread while Abedin dealt with them on her other devices. She didn't have a clue this was happening. TTG
I have been wondering how this mass of e-mails belonging to Abedin could have been found on Weiner's laptop. This would be an intriguing explanation. pl
By Patrick BAHZAD
This is it then. The battle for Mosul, which had first been announced (a bit hastily) by Iraqi government officials in mid-2015, has finally begun. An improbable alliance of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, Sunni tribesmen and Shia militias, some of them supported and trained by Western advisers, is now besieging IS' Iraqi capital, with Coalition aircraft ruling the skies over Northern Iraq. Considering the various forces involved, there is not much doubt left over the outcome of the battle. The combined might of Western air forces and Special Ops, regular Iraqi units and various ethnic and sectarian militias will prevail against the armies of the Caliphate, at least what is left of them inside Mosul. Yet, the careful optimism displayed by many in the media could be proven wrong somehow, especially with regardsto the prospects for long term survival of the "Islamic State".
The high plains of Northern Iraq have probably not seen anything like it since the Mongol armies arrived in the region and pretty much smashed anything that got in their way in their late 13th century. Back then, they destroyed Mosul after its ruler sided with their ennemies, the Egyptian based Mamluks. Now, in late 2016, tens of thousands of troops have gathered again in Nineveh, mostly to the East and South of Mosul, and have begun closing in on the defenses IS' has had two years to build up, both around and inside the city.
The Symbolism of Mosul
The highest priority for those involved in retaking Mosul will be to avoid the scenario that the Jihadis are probably bracing themselves for: a protracted siege dragging on for weeks or months, involving heavy civilian casualties and featuring the kind of doomsday narrative that IS used to prophesize for its Dabiq outpost in Northern Syria, now lost to Turkish sponsored groups.
The highly symbolic nature of the coming fight cannot be overstated. What is at stake, is not just the future of Mosul, not even the destruction of the territorial and economic base of the Caliphate in Iraq. It is actually the future of the whole country that will probably be shaped along the lines of the events to come. Actually, there is no lack of symbolism when it comes to Mosul's recent past and its significance for its immediate future.
Mosul is the city where Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday ("Ace of Hearts") and Qusay ("Ace of Clubs") were taken out by members of TF20 and the 101st Airborne, on July 22nd 2003. They did not go easy though and it took a four hour gunfight –with an A-10 and an OH-58 involved – to level their safehouse to the ground. But instead of Mosul turning into the place of death for the heirs to the Baathist "monarchy" of Iraq, the city became the place of birth to the "Caliphate" of Abubakr al-Baghdadi, a somewhat bizarre, yet not totally unlikely successor to Saddam Hussein.
"The FBI on Friday dropped a bombshell on Hillary Clinton’s campaign less than two weeks before Election Day, announcing that it is reviewing new evidence in its investigation into her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
In a letter to several congressional committee chairmen, FBI Director James Comey wrote that, “In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to this investigation.”
Comey said he was briefed on those emails on Thursday and that he “agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”
He did not specify where the additional emails came from.
Comey wrote that the FBI does not yet know if the new material is “significant” and did not provide a timeframe for investigating." Politico
I understand that Ryan has asked the DNI (Clapper) to stop giving classified briefings to Clinton based on her demonstrated untrustworthiness. What a joke!
The perjurer Clapper never saw a boss's ass he did not want to kiss. pl
The SAA is carving up rebel held neighborhoods in West and East Ghouta near Damascus. They have the upper hand and are going about their business in a workmanlike way while pushing rebels into surrender agreements that transport those who want to go to the killing ground in Idlib Province where they are conveniently grouped in targetable packages. I wonder if evidence will emerge in East Ghouta as to what actually happened there in the supposed government Sarin gas attack in 2011. No matter! No one in the media would believe anything contrary to the Borgian meme that "da guvmint done did it."
A couple of our brethren here are writing pieces on Mosul and Deir al-Zor. I will abstain from talking about those places so as to not "step on" their work.
At Aleppo the rebels (read jihadis) have staged yet another offensive to try to break the lines of circumvallation around East Aleppo. I agree with South Front that their effort will fail and only result in many more dead rebels. A basic fact of combat is that the side up and moving when contact is made, loses more people. The rebels are up and moving forward. More power to them! pl
"The stakes are especially high given that Richmond’s political and business establishment fear that Morrissey’s election would embarrass the city. Morrissey attained international notoriety several years ago because of his involvement with Myrna Warren, then his 17-year-old employee.
Morrissey, who was 55 at the time, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and spent three months in jail, during which he won reelection to the House of Delegates.
Morrissey married Myrna, now 20, four months ago, after she gave birth to the second of their two children.
His past misdeeds — he was disbarred and was twice convicted of assault — have become a rallying cry for his opponents. On Friday, Stoney sent out a mass mailing with the headline, “Joe Morrissey was indicted on a charge of bribery multiple times,” a reference to a case from which he was acquitted 23 years ago. The mailing’s tagline read: “Vote No to Joe Morrissey, Richmond Can’t Trust Him.” Mosby, who is black, aired a radio ad in which she addressed African American voters and said she would not trust Morrissey to be alone with her daughter." Washpost
And now for something different ...
The man in the picture is Stoney, now in third place for mayor and the beneficiary of Governor McCauliffe's devoted fundraising. His background seems to consist of having driven McCauliffe around the Commonwealth during the governor's successful run for office. McCauliffe's accession to power brought several appointed jobs for Stoney and then, this ...
The man in first place in the race for mayor is Joe Morrisey. He has what is sometimes described as a colorful past. As described he served some time for "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" after he impregnated his 17 year old secretary. They are now married and have two children. That is she in the picture.
Morrisey is probably going to win. This will be yet one more political defeat for McCauliffe. pl
"For Putin, his Syrian intervention has been an unambiguous win on the world stage. Its benefits exist on many levels, not least Russia’s reinforcing the potent message that Moscow, unlike Washington, stands by its friends. When his regime was collapsing in 2011, Hosni Mubarak, who had led Egypt for three decades as a loyal ally of America, was coldly abandoned by the White House. President Obama, against the advice of his own national security experts, cut Mubarak loose to the mob, refusing to take his panicked phone calls pleading for help.
That same year, when his regime was facing the abyss as civil war enveloped Syria, Bashar al-Assad got all the help he wanted from Moscow. Russia saved Assad and has not cared one whit about cries from the international community and NGOs about the brutal methods employed by the Syrian regime against rebels. This message has not been missed in the Middle East. It’s no wonder that even Israel has sought parley with Moscow, which has replaced Washington as the new regional kingmaker-cum-sheriff, while Egypt has renewed security ties with the Kremlin that Cairo abandoned more than four decades ago, in favor of the Americans. No more." Schindler in Observer
Trump's son in law is the publisher of Observer Media. Here we have a clear statement of what the change in tone would be like in a Trump Administration.
Well, pilgrims, decide. Do you want the Borg Queen and her neocon/R2P pals to run our relations with Russia? Do you want to gamble on the controllability of an escalatory ladder process if a Russia/US war breaks out in Syria, the Ukraine or the Baltic States?
General Buck Turgidson in "Doctor Strangelove" assures the president that US losses in a thermonuclear exchange with the USSR "will be 20 million, max!" Would that work for you if HC decides to discipline the naughty Russians? BTW, don't believe in any fairy tales concerning magic anti-missile defenses. People like me and my wife in the DC suburbs and Edward Amame on the Manhattan island would simply disappear, literally in a flash. The "rubes," as Amame calls them, or at least a lot of them would survive in misery.
If the Russians follow Soviet target planning they would put several warheads on each of their major aiming points.
Johnson and Weld are obviously not going to win.
The next president will probably be Hillary. That will be great for her. She can then order her AG to suppress the remaining ongoing investigation concerning her conduct and the Clintonworld Foundations. If the Democrats capture control of the Congress there will be no brake whatever on her power and plans for us all. pl
"The CIA’s own assessments of the program have been viewed with suspicion by some at the White House, officials said. “Does it make any sense that the people who are totally invested in this program . . . are the same people who are writing analyses of the Syrian opposition on which decisions are based on the future of that program?” the first U.S. official said.
Amid the setbacks in Syria in recent months, key figures in the administration have advocated prioritizing the fight against the Islamic State, rather than against the Assad government. But agency officials disagree with this rationale, saying that the Islamic State can’t be eradicated until a new government emerges capable of controlling the terrorist group’s territory in Raqqa and elsewhere."
Just to get things straight - the CIA is now by law the "National Clandestine Service." It pursues information using human agents (mostly by liaison) and it executes presidential policy in covert actions authorized by presidential "findings." All of this is accomplished by the Directorate of Operations (DO)
Since the US IC re-structuring during the Bush Administration, the CIA no longer has a significant internal analytic body independent of the Directorate of Operations (the spies and covert operators).
The independent analysts in the IC are in DIA and State-INR and the work products reflect that.
The analysts they do have at CIA all essentially work for the DO, the people who run covert action and presumably favor the programs.
Therefore, it can be seen that as the person quoted underlined above asserted, the CIA is essentially a "Self Licking Ice Cream Cone." (SLICC). pl
"Speaking during an opening ceremony for an educational institution in Bursa on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared the way that Syrians and Iraqis have been driven away from homes because of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS; ISIS/ISIL), to how Turkish people were once forced out from the same cities.
Erdogan added that the cities of Mosul and Aleppo belong to the Turkish people." AMN
If you know anything about the history of the Ottoman Empire you should not be surprised by this. These two cosmopolitan ME cities were among the most important in the empire. Baghdad was another but there was always a large Arab majority there, Mosul and Aleppo were much more diverse. It was only in the Kemalist consolidation of the Turkish Republic in the 1920s that Turkish sovereignty over these places was surrendered officially.
This statement makes clear what Erdogan's ultimate ambition is and ensures that no Iraqi government will ever acquiesce in the participation of Turkish troops in the liberation of Mosul or Kirkuk.
Only an ignorant neocon fool like Ashton Carter would think differently.
Perhaps the Clinton Administration's foreign policy team, Wolfowitz, Bolan, Petraeus, Keane et al will be able to bully the Iraqis into accepting this. I think not. pl
OK. Explain that to me. pl
Turkish air strikes pounded a group of Kurdish fighters allied to a U.S.-backed militia in northern Syria overnight, highlighting the conflicting agendas of NATO members Ankara and Washington in an increasingly complex battlefield. The jets targeted positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in three villages, northeast of the city of Aleppo, that the SDF had captured from Islamic State, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said late on Wednesday.
The Turkish military confirmed its warplanes had carried out 26 strikes on areas recently taken by the Kurdish YPG militia, the strongest force in the SDF, and that it had killed between 160 and 200 combatants.
The British-based Observatory monitoring group reported a much lower toll of at least 14 dead and dozens wounded. Officials of the Kurdish-led administration that controls much of northeastern Syria said dozens had been killed.
Complicating matters further, Syria's military called the strikes by Turkey an act of "blatant aggression" and said it would bring down any Turkish war planes entering Syrian air space. A senior U.S. defence official said the groups struck by Turkish jets were not themselves U.S.-backed but were "close to and friendly with" the fighters Washington is working with. (Reuters)
Looking deeper into this situation, we see the makings of a twisted telenovela plot. The Turks claimed they struck the Afrin YPG positions because Turkish positions were shelled from YPG held Afrin territory. Maybe this shelling happened. Maybe it didn’t. The more likely reason for the Turkish airstrikes is that the Afrin YPG was making headway towards al-Bab. The areas struck were recently taken from the IS by the Kurds.
Erdogan claims his goal is to seize al-Bab from IS to close off their supply lines. We all know that’s a crock. All that will do is move the IS crossing point into Turkey a few miles south. His real goal is to prevent the Kurds in Afrin from linking up with the Kurds from Kobane. That would truly close off the IS supply lines to Turkey and Erdogan cannot allow that to happen.
The U.S. made the distinction between the Afrin Kurdish YPG and the Kobane Kurdish YPG. How talmudic. They are all Rojava Kurds. An interesting assertion made by Jack Shahine, a long time reporter with the Rojava Kurds is that the ground operation on YPG positions around Tal-Rifaat on 21 Oct was run jointly by Turkish and American officers with the Liwa al-Moua'atasim fighters. These were the same fighters that jeered American advisors as infidels a short while ago. Shahine also reports that FSA ground attacks on YPG positions have largely failed. With heavy Turkish bombardment, only one farm has fallen to the FSA as of 21 Oct.
The Russians and the SAA have not intervened to help the YPG although they have warned Turkey that they will shoot down any attacking Turkish warplanes in the future. I’m sure they realize shooting down Turkish planes, especially with U.S. advisors in the area could open up a whole new can of worms. However I think they mean it. Their relationship with the Rojava Kurds continues to evolve. Again Shahine reports on this evolving relationship. He claims that in a meeting in mid-September between top Syrian officials and the Kurdish local administration under Russian supervision in Latakia's Himemim (perhaps he meant Qamislo-Himemim), there was an offer from the Russians to stop the fighting between the two sides in Northeast Syria, under terms of changing the official name of Syria to the Syrian Republic (rather than the Syrian Arab Republic). The terms called for the recognition of a federal system of Rojava and the recognition of national Kurdish people in Syria. They also called for recognition of the YPG as Syrian national forces. Although these terms were initially rejected by the Syrian Regime, the rejection was based on the need for these proposals to be discussed in Parliament. That’s a positive start. A start that is certainly anathema to Erdogan.
In addition to the ramifications of shooting down NATO warplanes and possibly killing NATO, including American, troops, the Russians and the SAA are in no position to divert their limited forces to assist the Kurds. The rebels are massing to launch a two pronged counteroffensive to lift the siege of East Aleppo. Jaysh Al-Fateh is preparing to strike towards both the al-Ramouseh district in the south and in the north they will attempt to reopen the al-Castillo Highway. The Russians and the SAA must be prepared to crush these offensives as they continue to reduce the East Aleppo pocket. That’s a tall order.
As complicated and as fraught with danger as this situation is, I have confidence that the R+6 will prevail. Once the Aleppo pocket is reduced, I don’t know if the R+6 will then seek to close the IS line to Turkey at al-Bab or further south at al-Tabqah or at any point in between. They may decide to first concentrate on the rebels in Idlib. I would prefer to see the IS lifeline to Turkey cut as soon as possible, but I think this decision will be very dependent on the timing of the liberation of Aleppo and the probable inauguration of Clinton.
" ... the activity reflects alarm over Trump’s calls for the United States to pull back from its traditional role as a global guarantor of security.
“The American-led international order that has been prevalent since World War II is now under threat,” said Martin Indyk, who oversees a team of top former officials from the administrations of Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton assembled by the Brookings Institution. “The question is how to restore and renovate it.” The Brookings report — a year in the making — is due out in December.
Taken together, the studies and reports call for more-aggressive American action to constrain Iran, rein in the chaos in the Middle East and check Russia in Europe.
The studies, which reflect Clinton’s stated views, break most forcefully with Obama on Syria. Virtually all these efforts, including a report released Wednesday by the liberal Center for American Progress, call for stepped-up military action to deter President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and Russian forces in Syria.
The proposed military measures include calls for safe zones to protect moderate rebels from Syrian and Russian forces. Most of the studies propose limited American airstrikes with cruise missiles to punish Assad if he continues to attack civilians with barrel bombs, as is happening in besieged Aleppo. Obama has staunchly resisted any military action against the Assad regime." Greg Jaffe
Yes, my fellow Canadian citizens, our time is approaching.
Brookings is hosting a gathering of the Borgist clan. Papers are being written, tentative personnel selections made, discussion are held as to which military officers are to be retired and which advanced.
These preparations will fit nicely into the Clinton transition team's preparations for inaugural day when Queenie will preside over an inaugural parade that should be a mighty spectacle of "stronger together." What a sight it will be as such marching units as Stonewall Inn Memorial Drill Team and Women Veterans for Promotion Equity pass in review.
I was in the Kennedy inaugural parade. I think this will be different. pl
"Jaish Al-Islam allegedly reached an agreement with the government and will surrender the strategic town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta. Reports appeared amid a series of setbacks by the militants in the region. The Syrian army is now deployed in a striking distance from the town. The situation with the alleged deal will become clear in coming days.
If the agreement is reached, some part of militants from the town will be transfered to the province of Idlib and another part (who wants) will receive a pardon from the Syrian government.
The fall of Douma into hands of the Syrian army will indicate the total collapse of the militants’ defenses in Damascus’ Eastern Ghouta region." South Front
John Kirby says that defeating the Nusra Front (by whatever name) is not a primary goal of the US. OK. In that context the R+6 is busy cleaning up pockets of resistance all over western Syria. The method seems to be to apply enough pressure on the surrounded forces to convince the defenders of the hopelessness of their position and then arrange a surrender and transport to Idlib Province west of Aleppo City for them and any civilians who want to go with them. There have been quite a few examples of this so far.
A major side benefit of this process is the re-commitment of these jihadi forces to combat in places like the western edge of the Aleppo encirclement and in northern Hama Province where the jihadis captured several villages last week.
These combats are a great opportunity to render these jihadis into martyrs. Why? It is because you know where they are when they are fighting you.
Well, boys and girls (pilgrims), I do believe that unless there is a yuuge hidden vote out there for him and/or against her, she will receive the post inaugural oath salute of all the armed forces in the traditional march past behind the capitol. A saluting battery will be there and the US Army Band, "Ruffles and Flourishes" will sound across capitol Hill, and there will be 21 guns for the Commander in Chief. The troops will grit their teeth and do eyes left as they and the 3rd Infantry Regiment's colors pass her. For those who do not know, this regiment is colloquially known as "The Old Guard" and is the ceremonial regiment of the Army. As he watched this regiment march into Mexico City, Winfield Scott told his staff "Hats off, gentlemen, this is the Old Guard of the United States." They have the singular privilege granted by Congress to pass in review with fixed bayonets. They had swept the field at Cerro Gordo and Churubusco with the bayonet.
This symbolic march past will go down hard for many. I remember that little Chelsea when required to accept a ride in General McCaffery's staff car stared at him and said "in my family we don't like the military." That's what McCaffery said afterward and who am I to doubt the story? He must have been shocked. C in C Hilly will have the power to send these deplorable deployables whom she despises out to some god awful place to fight other poor dumb bastards.
IMO her best chance in office will be a continued retention of control of both houses of Congress by the GOP.
The country is in a state in which the level of alienation between the coastals and the rest is as bad as any state of alienation seen since the 1850s.
Bahzad wrote here that France is protected from the scourge of internal strife (French on French) by the emotional and political safety valve offered by Marine Le Pen and the Front National. In this country civil strife can be avoided if Hilly has the ability to say to her sans culottes (including the coastal smarties) that she would have accomplished their Jacobin dreams if the nasty constitution and the GOP Congress had only let her.
Her actual backers in finance do not give a s--t at all about the sans culottes but as long as the money rolls in ...
Therefore she needs to win without much in the way of coattails. pl
"The Marine Battalion assigned to Scott's army numbered less than 400, but when it was employed in battle or used for other duties the Marines would earn the praise of the Army's highest officers." That's for you, Mike. pl
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced his "separation" from the United States on Thursday, declaring he had realigned with China as the two agreed to resolve their South China Sea dispute through talks. Duterte made his comments in Beijing, where he is visiting with at least 200 business people to pave the way for what he calls a new commercial alliance as relations with longtime ally Washington deteriorate. "In this venue, your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States," Duterte told Chinese and Philippine business people, to applause, at a forum in the Great Hall of the People attended by Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. "Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost."
Duterte's efforts to engage China, months after a tribunal in the Hague ruled that Beijing did not have historic rights to the South China Sea in a case brought by the previous administration in Manila, marks a reversal in foreign policy since the 71-year-old former mayor took office on June 30. His trade secretary, Ramon Lopez, said $13.5 billion in deals would be signed during the China trip. "I've realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to (President Vladimir) Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world - China, Philippines and Russia. It's the only way," Duterte told his Beijing audience. (Reuters)
I think it’s safe to say that we have been out-pivoted in the South China Sea. Yes, we are left luffing in the breeze as Xi and Duterte sail to the East on a broad reach. We can kiss off Subic Bay for good this time. I wonder how the business community of Olangapo will adjust to the inevitable future presence of the PRC Navy?
Duterte said he will stop joint military exercises with the US. He also opposes joint patrols of the South China Sea with the US. US officials insist the current treaty alliance, dating back to the Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951, remains in effect. Will the Filipino government go along with their President? How far will our government go to keep the treaty alliance and our hold on the Philippines alive?
I spent a couple of weeks in the Philippines back in 1978 during the first "Tempo Caper" joint exercise. We were based on the USS Cleveland in Subic Bay. I enjoyed it immensely, although I could have done without being knocked out of my hammock by a roaming carabao one stormy night. A year later I met my Filipino Army counterpart at my RECONDO school back in Hawaii. He greeted me like a long lost brother. I'm sure there are a lot of this kind of personal "mil to mil"relationships today. What will become of them?
"A Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Nusra) statement sent to the BBC pointed to similar initiatives in the central city of Homs in 2014 and the Damascus suburb of Darayya in August, where evacuations took place after years of siege and bombardment by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
It was "clear", the statement said, that Russia wanted to "cleanse" areas of Sunni Muslims - who form the majority in Syria and dominate the opposition to Mr Assad, a member of the Shia Alawite sect - and to "differentiate" between rebel factions in order to weaken them.
"We choose not to give up our people," the statement said. "We will not betray their blood and we will continue our jihad until we remove the regime and any plan against that is rejected."
The UN, which has designated Jabhat Fateh al-Sham a terrorist organisation, says there are no more than 900 fighters from the group inside Aleppo, out of a maximum of 8,000 rebels in total.
In a separate development on Wednesday, officials in the besieged Damascus suburb of Muadhamiya said hundreds of people, many of them fighters, were being evacuated to the northern province of Idlib as part of a deal struck with the government last month that would see it retaking control." BBC
The charge that the Syrian Government wants to "ethnically cleanse" Syria of Sunni Arabs is demonstrably false. There are many, many Sunni Muslims fighting on the government side against the coalition of Sunni jihadis and illusory "moderate" resistors in Syria. There are many Sunni Arab civilians living in Damascus and other government held parts of Syria.
Yes, the Syrian government, Russia and the US all agreed that Nusra (Jabhat fatah al-Sham) is a terrorist organization and that the supposed "moderates" should separate themselves from Nusra as a pre-condition for a political settlement.
Nusra has refused to allow civilians to leave East Aleppo.
900? Good, this is a nice round number. They have been offered a free passage to rebel held Idlib Province like other surrendedered rebel groups (including jihadis). They have declined, All that is missing from their statements is the reply "nuts!" given by BG McAuliffe to the German demand for the surrender of the 101st Airborne Division at Bastogne.
What should follow is a final battle of annhihilation in East Aleppo. pl
There has been much, much made of the conduct of Trump on that airplane ride from so long ago. It is certainly relevant now. Let's refresh our short term memories with a picture that is worth a thousand words:
Oopsy daisy, not the picture I was looking for. That is perfectly appropriate conduct when you see a capable woman who spent years developing skills being acknowledged by her peers.
BTW I’m with her.
Here we are. Look closely and you know exactly what Octoman is thinking:
BTW I’m with her, and her and her too. (A guy can dream, can’t he?) Ok, ok this reporting thing is hard. I’m not a professional like Judith Miller after all.
Phew. Here we go, that’s more like it. See how he looks at her? You know exactly what he’d like to do.
That’s really Deplorable.
Back to Haven Monahan and the War on Women (voters). What is really important about this event https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiIP_KDQmXs from years a https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh163n1lJ4M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiIP_KDQmXs go? No it is not “I’m not a crook”; No, it is not “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”. It’s not even a chapter from that book that sold 80 million copies: fifty shades of grey.
(classical references: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh163n1lJ4M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiIP_KDQmXs )
Haven Monahan? Well she never existed but other "war on women" outrages certainly did. http://dailycaller.com/2016/06/02/lawyers-for-uva-rape-hoaxer-admit-haven-monahan-never-existed
What do the Tawana Brawley case, the Duke Lacrosse case and the Rolling Stone UVA story have in common? The media did not do a fair and unbalanced investigation and report the facts. Not in any of them. Did anyone apologize for the abusive treatment of those who were innocent? Sure they did. Did they damage the people and institutions so attacked? You betcha. They damaged just about everyone involved, except the reporters and politicians. What else do they have in common? They did not save a failing presidential campaign (though one did launch a successful New York politician). This tale just might though. All it takes is a short attention span and a lack of critical thinking (a skill we used to teach in high schools and colleges). Keep this all in mind when we hear yet again some slam dunk evidence about what is going on in the election of 2016.
Now in prelude to Wednesday's gladiatorial fun fest and for your listening pleasure:
I'm sure that won't be anyone's campaign theme song but I do wonder what Trump would look like in bell bottoms.
Post by Fred
"Rasmussen Reports’ latest White House Watch survey finds Hillary Clinton with 42% support among Likely U.S. Voters and Donald Trump with 41%. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson picks up seven percent (7%), while Green Party nominee Jill Stein again has two percent (2%) of the vote, according to our latest national telephone and online survey. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.
Yesterday, Clinton took a two-point lead – 43% to 41% - after ending last week behind her Republican rival by an identical margin. She jumped ahead by seven at the beginning of last week following the airing of a video showing Trump making graphic sexual remarks, but the race evened out again following the candidates’ second debate. Their final debate is tomorrow night.
Eighty-five percent (85%) of voters say they are now sure how they are going to vote, and among these voters, Clinton and Trump are dead even at 47% apiece. Johnson gets five percent (5%) support, Stein two percent (2%). Among voters who still could change their minds, it’s Clinton 37%, Trump 30%, Johnson 26% and Stein seven percent (7%)." Rasmussen
Well, which is it? Is she ahead by 12% or is Rasmussen right?
(Patrick Calvar - Head of DGSI)
"France is 'on the verge of a civil war' which could be sparked by a mass sexual assault on women by migrants, intelligence chief warns
France is on the verge of 'civil war', the country's head of intelligence says
"For French President François Hollande, the enemy is an abstraction: "terrorism" or "fanatics".
Instead, the French president reaffirms his determination to military actions abroad: "We are going to reinforce our actions in Syria and Iraq," the president said after the Nice attack.
So confronted with this failure of our elite who were elected to guide the country across nationals and internationals dangers, how astonishing is it if paramilitary groups are organizing themselves to retaliate?
In France, the global elites made a choice. They decided that the "bad" voters in France were unreasonable people too stupid to see the beauties of a society open to people who often who do not want to assimilate, who want you to assimilate to them, and who threaten to kill you if you do not. The elite took the side against their own old and poor because those people did not want to vote for them any longer. They also made a choice not to fight Islamism because Muslims vote collectively for this global elite." Gatestone Institute
Calvar is the equivalent in France of Andrew Parker, head of MI-5 in the UK and James Comey, Director of the FBI in the US. This is not a voice crying in the wilderness. He is one of the big guys.
These articles stress the disdain with which the globalist Borg views the people of France. Calvar is particularly firm on this point and says that the French people are on the verge of taking up arms (hard to get there) to begin retaliatory raids into Muslim neighborhoods. I suppose the French here on SST will give us their opinions on this.
The US is not France. We are actually MORE violent. The US is saturated with small arms and ammunition. Trump is telling his Corps of Irredeemables (CoI) that the election is being stolen by the Borgist media. The CoI is evidently at least 35% of the population. That would be something over 100 million people. He is likely to launch a radio and TV network to continue to hold the attention of the CoI. The CoI is chanting "lock her up," and "Ryan sucks!"
Why would Calvar's concern not be equally applicable to the US? pl
This segment from this morning's show is just too good to pass up.
I must say that Mika is quite fetching in her new role as Joe's Consort, Morganatic wife, Jarriya or whatever it is that they think their relationship may be.
I understand the British Borg has frozen RT's bank accounts in London and a "government entity" has attempted to block Assange's communications presumably to halt the flow. Well, good luck boys and girls that horse left the barn some time ago and is now living well in a number of places. pl
Let's see-- -
54,000 Iraqi government forces,
40,000 odd Pesh Merga,
Various US Army and USMC artillery units firing in support,
Coalition air pounding the bejayzus out of the environs and approaches to the city.
3 to 8 thousand IS madmen in the city.
A million or so civilian inhabitants give or take 100k.
IMO this is going to be a near run and protracted thing.
The ISF clearly like to win battles without fighting.
IMO IS's most likely CoA (course of action) is to seek to make a prolonged and suicidal defense of the city taking advantage of the ISF's great sensitivity to its own casualties. A thousand man stay behind force, indifferent to their casualties, fighting from ruined buildings and also indifferent to civilian losses can make a prolonged and expensive fight.
It is sadly amusing to see how favorably the Borgist media gaze benignly at the approaching spectacle while howling in rage at the impending defeat of their jihadi friends at Aleppo. pl
Berlin Station is a contemporary spy series that follows Daniel Miller (Richard Armitage), an undercover agent who has just arrived at the CIA station in Berlin, Germany. Miller has a clandestine mission: to determine the identity of a now-famous whistleblower masquerading as "Thomas Shaw." Guided by jaded veteran Hector DeJean (Rhys Ifans) Daniel learns to contend with the rough-and-tumble world of the field officer - agent-running, deception, danger and moral compromises. As he dives deeper into the German capital's hall of mirrors and uncovers the threads of a conspiracy that leads back to Washington, Daniel wonders: Can anyone ever be the same after a posting to Berlin? (EPIX)
After reading this intro on a new espionage series on EPIX, I had my trepidations. How they could refer to a CIA case officer working under official cover in an American Embassy as an undercover agent is beyond me. That’s a beginner’s mistake. But seeing this was filmed on location in Berlin, I had to take a look.
I watched the first two episodes and was impressed. The action and intrigue is understandably compressed for TV. No one wants to watch case officers typing out the many clandestine operation proposals, contact reports and intelligence reports that are a large part of the job. Believe me, we case officers don’t like it either.
The characters were recognizable. I’ve seen them all and, admittedly, saw parts of myself in some of them. The filming in Berlin was familiar to the point of drawing me deeply into the action. I was never stationed there, but I spent six years working there… a lot.
This passage from an LA Times review hits the mark.
Apart from the cases at hand, the underlying thrust of the series seems to be that whichever side you work for — be you agent, double agent, lone wolf, acting on principle or just for the pay — espionage will mess you up. Steinhauer doesn't overplay the point — no one's clinically ill here, just navigating the emotional downsides of double-dealing as a daily grind. But we are never completely sure whom to trust and whom even to like, whether to root for the moles or the spooks.
Berlin, old and new, pristine and vandalized, streets bustling with life, still makes a fine setting for this kind of tale, even now that the wall is down, Germany is one and the Cold War, for the next 20 minutes at least, is over. (LA Times)
I heartedly recommend “Berlin Station.”
"Dabiq is considered a major ISIL stronghold with symbolic importance to the group, Dabiq, 10 kilometers from the Turkish border, is cited in apocalyptic Sunni prophecy as the site of an end-of-times battle between Christian forces and Muslims. Islamic State named its online magazine after the town in 2014. Every new edition of Dabiq opens with a quote by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the mentor of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, claiming, “The spark has been ignited in Iraq, and its flames will grow until they burn the Crusader armies in Dabiq.”
Graeme Wood wrote in March 2015 that "... much of what the group does looks nonsensical except in light of a sincere, carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.... The Islamic State differs from nearly every other current jihadist movement in believing that it is written into God’s script as a central character.... pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it."
William McCants wrote in February 2015 "Westerners are not used to encountering apocalyptic messages in Islamist propaganda. Al-Qaeda downplayed Islamic prophecies of the Day of Judgment, preferring more accessible political rhetoric and wary of stirring messianic fervor.... the Islamic State is different. While its tactics and strategies are practical, its goals and motivations are eschatological. The interplay has expanded the group’s territory and enlarged its ranks."" Global Security
What fun! The jihadi nuts are fighting each other for this mythologically significant little town on the plain of the Fertile Crescent.
What could be better! And to make this even sweeter the Sultan Tayyip's forces are going to help the non-IS jihadis fight Caliph Ibrahim's screwballs in this mayhem.
Just stand back and watch, folks. There are only so many jihadis available as potential semi-human wastage and this is a good opportunity to process as many of them as possible into used "humans."
A good side benefit of this is that while these characters are fighting each other they are effectively removed from the game board of the fight for Aleppo. pl
That is the badge worn by members of the Joint Staff. This staff is the central military planning organ of the US government. It should be understood that neither the Joint Chiefs themselves nor their staff decide anything other than when to go to lunch. Their function is to give advice to the civilian government, to do the detailed planning necessary for operations and to oversee the execution of the government's decisions by the Combatant Commands; CENTCOM, EUCOM, PACOM, etc. For any planning action a number of senior staff officers are designated as "The Planner." This person heads a team that works on the plan. I was the designated Planner for eight years for intelligence aspects of all JCS plans involving the ME and South Asia. I was in DIA but DIA was then the intelligence agency in direct support of the JCS. I worked on a lot of national level plans and operations. DIA was the J-2 (intelligence) section of the Joint Staff as well as having many other responsibilities.
The essence of the process is the formulation of alternative Courses of Action, (CoA) i.e., options. After thorough examination these are reduced to just a few to avoid confusion and a difficulty for the decision maker in arriving at a choice of option.
In the case of the options meeting concerning Syria at the White House on Friday, it seems clear that what was briefed was a set of options generated by the Joint Staff. In this meeting the president/CinC met with the chiefs to discuss the options and their secondary effects. Others may have been invited; the DNI, the Director of CIA, the Secretary of State, the CENTCOM commander, but they would essentially be "strap hangers", i.e., observers at what was essentially a JCS "show." An accomplished briefer would have presented the Courses of Action. This would be followed by discussion led by General Dunford, CJCS.
The president could then have; approved a CoA, disapproved the lot, sent the planners back to modify one of the options, or, suggested an option of his own. Once a decision is made in this process a final form of THE PLAN is published internally and the affected combatant commands write implementing plans and all then await an Execute Plan XXX order from the president.
This is called the "Deliberate Planning Process." Once the fighting starts the process becomes greatly abbreviated on a daily basis.
This is what President Clinton will have at her disposal. pl
"Mr. Vatsev, the major US media that is openly sympathetic to Hillary Clinton is already talking about her as the next US president. What can we expect from Clinton on foreign policy? What is your forecast?
I would be happy if Trump wins, because his victory would be very symbolic. That would be proof in practice, that the monopoly on power in the United States (US) – an absolutely great country, could be broken by an ordinary person because in terms of the establishment of the US, Trump is an ordinary man, despite being a millionaire, an eccentric, and he has even been married to Slavic women, which is the tip of the eccentricities in the Anglo-Saxon world, but he is an absolute outsider to the high elite of America. So, here we have the question of principle: can an ordinary miserable outsider (bad unclear origin, laughable education, non-prestigious background, “new vulgar money,” he has not built any library or church or cultural centre, he does not speak French, he is not even gay etc.) enter the Bohemian grove in the world that defines the future of the great country? And it really is a very narrow and closed world of several thousand people with tribal traditions, cultural ancestry, old families and “old great, albeit invisible, money.” Literally, a few hundred families coordinate for years ahead who will be next. And suddenly, here comes some Trump. How vulgar! But I think that he cannot become a president and if his chances increase enough, troubles and mishaps might start happening to him because the stake is too high. It is too much power, we are talking about great power. Those, who are in power now managed until recently, albeit indirectly, to control the Republican Party. In other words, the tribal union that defined the Clintons as the favourite for the real power of the United States (though indeed, there was a time when they did not allow them into the Bohemian Grove), controlled the leadership of both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Republicans managed to emancipate themselves from the effects of this non-partisan leadership and shifted, but I think that their potential will not be sufficient to bring Trump to the presidential position. Again, I would love to see Trump elected, but I think the stakes are so high that for such things, some shoot and kill. For smaller things, the Kennedy clan (a really old, rich and influential family) was almost completely destroyed. So it is more probable that in reality, Mrs. Clinton will be the next president. From her, I expect a forceful conversion of the European Union into the 51st US state. I expect an extremely acute and forceful politics, not because Hillary Clinton is a special person. She is a complicated, sharp, rude person and psychologically ready for this type of activity, but the explanation is not in the soul …" Vatsev
Something for the Euros to munch on, I am still contemplating the idea of mooseburgers, moose tourtiere, moose chile, etc. How about a standing moose rib roast? pl
According to news reports the US has retaliated against shore radars in Yemen with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
OK. I wonder why the USS Mason did not sink attacking small boats with the 20mm, 4500 rds/minute radar trained gatling guns on board. there usually are two, one in the bow and another at the stern. These things have a range of over 2 miles and will chew a speed boat to bits in an instant. The Mason would also have had one or two 5 inch radar trained naval guns. If you are attacked at sea you sink the opponent. That is basic stuff, especially when you consider the unforgiving nature of the US Navy when dealing with a commanding officer who lets one of their precious ships be damaged. I was on the JCS investigating board for the Iraqi attack on USS Stark. The circumstances of the damage on the ship were quite ambiguous but the captain and his officers knew well from the beginning that their careers were at an end in spite of the fact that they managed to save the burned out ship. So, why did the CO of USS Mason not react more forcefully DURING the attack?
And then there is the little matter of the identity of the attackers. As some here know I was Defense Attaché in Yemen long ago and know the country well having repeatedly returned. The Houthis are, IMO, unlikely to have anti-ship missiles. These are small arms equipped tribal guerrillas. There is a portion of the Yemen Army that has remained allied with the Houthis and loyal to former president, Salih. These fellows have a "missile battalion" with which they have been shooting at targets in Saudi Arabia with SCUD (old Soviet stocks?) and other ballistic missiles. The targets are just about all military in nature; air bases, ground force positions, etc., and they have been hitting a lot of them. Might they have old Chinese Silkworm anti-ship missiles or the like? Certainly.
IMO it is impossible at this time and on the basis of available information to decide exactly what has transpired in this ship action against shore batteries and who did what. pl
"While this military/para-military operation is moving forward, we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. This effort will be enhanced by the stepped up commitment in the KRG. The Qataris and Saudis will be put in a position of balancing policy between their ongoing competition to dominate the Sunni world and the consequences of serious U.S. pressure. By the same token, the threat of similar, realistic U.S. operations will serve to assist moderate forces in Libya, Lebanon, and even Jordan, where insurgents are increasingly fascinated by the ISIL success in Iraq." John Podesta to HC in 2014
This did not affect her. The Clintons and Clintonfoundationworld have continued to this day to receive massive infusions of cash from both Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
It looks to me as if the Houthis (Ansar Allah party) have a response to the American/Saudi aggression against Yemen that could mean real trouble coming up for merchant ships and tankers going through the Bab el Mandeb. Crew members of the HSV-2, the modern, very fast, Australian built, UAE auxiliary ship (seemingly designed by someone who was under the influence of the Italian film-director Federico Fellini), that was gutted by fire and explosion on October 1 have been quoted in the press in Gulf newspapers as saying that the attack began about 3 a.m. with most of the Ukrainian/Central European crew of 24 asleep. There was a powerful explosion which lurched the ship down on one side, the force of which suggests either an antitank Kornet or an Iranian Noor. The aluminum superstructure began to burn. I believe the video, whoever provided it, is accurate. I believe this because the vast horseshoe of windows on what I assume is the observation deck clearly show fire burning behind them, once you understand how unusual the ship is. A crewmember states that there were small boats around the ship steadily firing small arms into the ship.