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03 January 2016

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cynic

There's a nice article on the Syrian situation by the Saker:
http://thesaker.is/week-thirteen-of-the-russian-intervention-in-syria-debunking-the-lies/
It contains a reference to a very thoughtful and well informed interview by a Russian Colonel turned journalist about dealing with terrorists, (and not accepting claims of damage by airstrikes without skepticism.)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1P0Vn4N8p6BQtV8J1suprnGrvMgSXxzPXd5KllQCNZk4/edit

Will

Something bugging me. Were the Borg were to close military access to Russia, in and out, to the Black Sea straits, it would be a serious blow.

How would the escalation ladder in this case proceed.

Move 1. Turkey announces b/c of military aggression, the Sea of Marmara is closed to Russian military traffic and announces inspection for arms of civilian Russian traffic.

Move 2?
_____________________
As an aside, did not realize that the recently assasinated Hezbollah operative, Samir Kuntar, is the guy that was sprung out of Israeli prison as a consequence of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war. Interestingly, he was a Druze, not a twelver Shiite.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

Mac

Thoughts on the execution of the Saudi Shia cleric?

Jag Pop

Very new to this website -- day 3.

Here goes; a random thought I had today.

When JFK was a newly minted President the CIA handed him a crisis. Almost right out of the box he had to deal with the Bay of Pigs.

1) was it by design that the CIA invaded when Kennedy was just getting his bearings?

2) could the CIA dust off the tactic of taking advantage of a leader that is inexperienced and creating a crisis?

3) what crisis would the CIA create?

I realize that #3 in particular has untold possibilities. What are the worst case scenarios?

JFK had the strength to say no to his generals when they wanted to launch WWIII during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I believe Hillary would be the opposite. She would mistake following her most bellicose advisors as a *show* of strength.

Jack

All

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/12/big-short-genius-says-another-crisis-is-coming.html

Where do we stand now, economically?
Well, we are right back at it: trying to stimulate growth through easy money. It hasn’t worked, but it’s the only tool the Fed’s got. Meanwhile, the Fed’s policies widen the wealth gap, which feeds political extremism, forcing gridlock in Washington. It seems the world is headed toward negative real interest rates on a global scale. This is toxic. Interest rates are used to price risk, and so in the current environment, the risk-pricing mechanism is broken. That is not healthy for an economy. We are building up terrific stresses in the system, and any fault lines there will certainly harm the outlook.

turcopolier

Jag Pop

The BoP fiasco was a result of a mistaken belief that the Cuban people were ready to rise en masse. this plan had been vetted in the interagency and the JCS said that it should not be attempted without massive air support. The Kennedy Administration vetoed the air support. As for the CIA they were simply incompetent to run such a military effort. they did not trap the Kennedy Administration in anything. The Kennedys trapped themselves. pl

Jag Pop

In response to your aside.
For decades Israel issued grotesque propaganda (big surprise) regarding the Lebanese commandos that infiltrated Israel's border to kidnap Israelis to exchange for the thousands of Lebanese that were kidnapped by Israel.

Israeli propaganda said the Lebanese commandos kidnapped a man and his daughter, took them down to where the escape boats were on the beach and then smashed their heads in on rocks. (First question, does that make sense to you? Why didn't they kill the prisoners immediately, why risk the commotion of dragging them down to where their escape boats are and only then killing them?)

Israel recanted their bs when it was time to exchange the captured Lebanese commando (Sami Kantar) for the dead bodies of Israeli soldiers seized during Israel's false-flag that was the pretext to the 2006 invasion of Lebanon. Israeli officials recanted because of the political fallout from the exchange - it no longer served their interests to make such a monster of Sami Kantar.

Here is what was published from Dr. Zvi Sela, a former brigadier-general in the Israel Police. From the mid-1970s to the end of the 1990s, Sela held numerous posts in the Israel Police -- from head of the Intelligence and Detective Branch in the Sharon District, to head of the Intelligence Gathering Staff in the national headquarters, to commander of the Intelligence Officers Course, to special assistant to then- Police Minister Moshe Shahal, to commander of the Hadera police force.

Sela said it was friendly fire that killed the two kidnapped Israelis on the beach that night.

"We turned Kuntar into God-knows-what – the murderer of Danny Haran and his daughter, Einat. The man who smashed in the girl's head. That's nonsense. A story. A fairy tale. He told me he didn't do it and I believe him. I investigated the event… and in my opinion there is support for the fact that they were killed by fire from the Israeli rescue forces. You can accuse him all you like, but it was obviously the rescue forces that opened fire."[

SD


Mapping the Syrian Conflict:
===========================
Map links below to follow the front lines.
I don't give much credibility to the exactitude of these maps
but they do give a good idea of that is going on.
Maps are an abstraction.

Edmaps
------------
* http://www.edmaps.com/html/syrian_civil_war_in_maps.html

(scroll down for maps, click through to zoom)

Agathocoles
-----------
* http://www.agathocledesyracuse.com/

Publishes a monthly (zoomable map: e.g. http://umap.openstreetmap.fr/fr/map/desyracuse-syria-civil-war-2-dec-2015_62444#11/35.8451/36.4320 )

Wikipedias map
-------------------
* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Syrian_Civil_War_detailed_map

( nice cause nobody controls the wastelands of the desert)

REddit feed on the war
------------------------
* https://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/

(compiles info crowd-sourced on developments - occasional maps)

USSR Military Topo maps (free)
------------------------------
* http://satmaps.info/us/map-detector.php

( zoom in , click, a sub menu appears with available scale maps )
( for example: http://satmaps.info/us/map.php?s=100k&map=i-37-001 1:100000 map of Northern Latakia - Tr shootdown of SU-24 area)

Babak Makkinejad

Message to the Shia Crescent:

"The Hell with you and your kind and we will fight until you are all dead."

Chris Chuba

Carly Fiorina interviewed on CNN: subtopic Saudi Arabian executions

We all know that Carly greatly values moral principles when it comes to her pro-life position, fine, I have no issue with this. However, when asked about Iran's protest over the killing of the Shia Cleric she couldn't even utter the tiniest criticism of Saudi Arabia. She just said that it was important to remember that the Saudi's are an important ally and that Iran and Russia are our enemies. She also went on a mini-tirade over Iran. There is something about seeing people when they speak, in her case, it's that mean, narrow stare. She looks like a bird of prey.

In a broader sense, I don't get this notion that you have to always indulge and support EVERYTHING an ally does. To me, it's like giving an alcoholic a drink. If you mindlessly approve everything they do then their behavior will get more reckless. There are times when you can push back. Yes, I understand that there are things that are none of our business. All I am saying is that we can use our judgment and not automatically lend support and gasp, on occasion we can even voice a type of condemnation. By accounts that I have read, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was purely a political prisoner who never performed or encouraged violence.

So when an ally does something we have three choices.
1. Disapprove - if their behavior is reckless and our action will not destabilize them.
2. Say nothing - If there behavior is bad but our action will make things worse.
3. Support them.
We don't ALWAYs have to do number 3 but someone passed out a handbook saying that allies always get treatment #3.

Doug Tunnell

Excellent backgrounder by Seymour Hersh in London Review of Books (Col. Lang is cited as one of many sources )

"Dempsey and his associates remain mystified by Obama’s continued public defence of Erdoğan, given the American intelligence community’s strong case against him – and the evidence that Obama, in private, accepts that case. ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria,’ the president told Erdoğan’s intelligence chief at a tense meeting at the White House (as I reported in the LRB of 17 April 2014). The Joint Chiefs and the DIA were constantly telling Washington’s leadership of the jihadist threat in Syria, and of Turkey’s support for it. The message was never listened to. Why not?"

Yes, why not ?

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n01/seymour-m-hersh/military-to-military

Allen Thomson


Oh, good, an open thread!

Which lets me pass on this message I spotted in the Eisenhower archives recently while looking for something else:

http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/research/online_documents/declassified/fy_2014/065_034.pdf

In it, on 22 October 1962, the head of NATO, Gen. Norstad, communicates to Gen. Taylor, the new CJCS, what appears to be a certain amount of distress at being left out of the loop on "The Cuban situation."

jim

Anybody else seen Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies”?
For me there were a couple of faults, the first being Abel’s accent. It started off slightly Scottish and then sort of wandered around as belonging to someone from somewhere in the North of England. If he was brought up in Benwell, he should have sounded similar to AC/DCs Brian Johnson. Bono’s daughter though is mercifully restricted to a non speaking part of watching TV. The use of a Russian actor in the role of KGB’s head of European operations made this character look very authentic. No Western actor here sticking on a silly gruff accent. The scene where Power’s was shot down looked very convincing. However you would have thought that Spielberg would have access to state of the art CGI. The bits where he shows the Berlin wall in its completed state did not look very realistic at all. One unbelievable thing though, considering Donovan (Abel’s lawyer) is supposed to be very clever. Is how did he manage to get lost walking from the Friedrichstraße station to the Soviet Embassy? Its a five minute walk at best. You come out of the station, turn right, walk down the F’strasse towards Checkpoint Charlie and turn right again as you come to the Unter dem Linden. Not a hard set of directions to remember especially after a briefing from your CIA handlers.

Spielberg is a political film maker. “Munich” was released at a time when the war in Iraq was going all awry. The message of that film came right at the end i.e. on the futility of endless retribution, as the Twin Towers come clearly into view on the Manhattan skyline. However what's Spielberg’s message with this one? Donovan delivers lots of lines about his client’s constitutional protections, right to a fair trial, despite a biased judge and media. This is what differentiated the USA from the USSR. However how is this relevant in Obama’s America, considering Spielberg has just received a Presidential Medal of Freedom from his pal?

Bandolero

Babak Makkinejad

Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi from Kerbala said something similar as you, just ion more polite words:

The execution of the martyr Nimr isn’t just a declaration of war against the Ahlul Bayt but against all Muslims.

Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called the execution of Nimr an "an injustice and an aggression."

I don't think it's impossible that the execution of Nimr Al-Nimr may lead to attacks from radical Iraqi Shia on Saudi Arabia, or even to a war between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

And there may be more to come. It's diplomatic relations to Iran has Saudi Arabia just severed after Iranians stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and the Saudi consolate in Mashhad yesterday, leaving the facilities in burned chaos, and the street in Tehran, where the Saudi embassy is located, was officially renamed Martyr Ayatollah Nimr Baqr Al Nimr Street.

To me it all looks like a new war might be brewing, which could mean the Saudis would have one one front to fight at.

Bandolero

All

Reuters: Saudi Arabia upset with US, quote:

'Enough is enough,' source familiar with Saudi thinking says

Saudi Arabia's position toward Iran is that "enough is enough," a source familiar with the Saudi government's thinking said on Sunday after protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran over the execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric and Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested the Saudi government was upset not merely with Iran but also with the United States for a perceived failure to respond to what Riyadh sees as Tehran's interference throughout the region. ...

Source:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-security-iran-usa-source-idUSKBN0UH0Q520160103

Well, if the U.S. want to hang the Sauds out to dry, now would be a perfect time for it: Oil price low and lot's of overproduction on the market, the Saudi military stuck in Yemen and not able to defend the southern border, and now lot's of angry Shia in the east and across the border in Iraq.

bth

This article discusses a Russian plan B for Syria if it cannot advance into IS territory to the east because of manpower. Essentially it is the Assadland plan for western Syria for lack of a better name. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/russia-plan-b-syria-allow-172149615.html

robt willmann

After people around the country have been wishing each other well for the new year, it is unfortunately time to seriously get to work, because planning has been going on that will "go live" tomorrow, 4 January, with its goal to destroy the right to buy, possess, use, and store guns.

President Obama is to meet with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on 4 January "to finalize", using "executive orders", new gun control--

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2016/01/01/Obama-to-order-executive-action-on-gun-control/9011451646282/

The media teaser has been running on the CNN "news" network, advertising that Obama will appear with Anderson Cooper on Thursday, 7 January, before a live audience to talk about the new gun control. Fortunately, CNN has a small audience, but Cooper allegedly has the larger of the small ones--

http://www.cnn.com/videos/tv/2016/01/03/exp-guns-in-america.cnn

Recently, Obama met with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to plan efforts for gun control--

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/16/politics/obama-mike-bloomberg-gun-control/index.html

Bloomberg is an authoritarian type who, when it comes to that mindset, makes Donald Trump look like a limp noodle. It is possible that Bloomberg has hired lawyers to help with drawing up the "executive orders" and that he is helping Obama with the approach and plan to do this. It has been reported that he plans to donate money to "down ballot" candidates in elections this year who will, of course, be for passing laws that will allow the federal government to decide who can and cannot have a firearm, and under what conditions.

You also have to watch every little thing done in Congress, as attempts will be made to sneak in crippling amendments into unrelated bills. For example, on 3 December 2015, "Senator" Dianne Feinstein proposed an amendment to the "Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015" (that is quite an advertising slogan, sounding so wonderful). The statement of purpose was: "To increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists". Ah, yes ... the "suspected" person who might be a "dangerous terrorist", as opposed to a "terrorist", who by Senator Feinstein's own definition would not be dangerous . Luckily, the amendment did not make it through--

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=114&session=1&vote=00319

We will continue to see this new push being set up and promoted, and Hillary Clinton approves of the "executive orders"--

http://news.yahoo.com/seeking-momentum-gun-control-obama-case-public-223025803.html

I remember hearing on the radio when driving -- while the San Bernardino shooting event was still going on -- the broadcast shifting to Obama who shamelessly launched into his laundry list of what he wants for gun control, before there was even the beginning of an understanding of what might have happened there. Here it is from 2 December 2015--

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21QoYMTwkY8

As the week unfolds, we will likely see the intellectual dishonesty used in the fraudulent and illegal executive orders that will most likely try "to interpret" existing law to make "new law" with legal effect through the "executive order".

Tyler

Some interesting stuff going on in Oregon.

The Left is losing its shit because militia types are occupying an abandoned FGWS building due to a judge doing some incredibly hinky reading of the law (as he has done in the past) and throwing two ranchers in prison for a few more years.

The Prog/Borg always forget it laid down the rules when it decided to let its pets run rampant through Baltimore and Ferguson.

the_Constant

Hello,

Very happy to have discovered this site a year or so ago. It is always nice to get a "3dimensional" perspective about world events from folks who want conversation not trolling.

I've been watching current US policy thawing slowly to the Iranians while slightly chilling the Saudis. I see reports about "poles" coalescing in Syria - Russia-Iran VS Saudi-Turkey - I'm wondering if this is the case and if the US is trying to be the broker in the middle.

I feel like I should read this as the US is pivoting away from the Saudis because of their decades of funding Sunni extremism and toward a future of greater involvement with Shia Iran. Then again, that seems completely impossible. Is this part of the Obama legacy, changing our relationships in middle east similarly to what seemed to be a slight pivot in US handling of of the Israeli-Palestinian issues?

Now with the Saudi's martyring the Shia cleric I'm really wondering how the current US administration is gonna react.

t_C


NancyK

So rancher militia have taken over a mountain top abandoned government building in Oregon, great let them have it. In fact the FBI could lay siege to it allowing no food or water to enter and no one to exit. The outcome of a siege is probably not on the side of the ranchers. Although looking at the girth of some of them they could afford to go a few months without food

confusedponderer

These militia folks in Oregon have in 'Malheur' National Park surely chosen an odd place to make their quixotic anti-fed stance.

Malheur means 'bad hour' i.e. bad luck or misfortune (as opposed to Bonheur - good hour, luck). In German, Malheur is usually used to mean a not so grave mishap. In my town's dialect 'e Malörche' is a euphemistic phrase to refer to an illegitimate child.

Poul

Patrick Cockburn of The Independent takes a look on ISIS's strategy.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/isis-may-be-weakened-by-co-ordinated-attacks-but-it-is-far-from-being-overcome-a6793986.html

This quote sums up the article.

"But Isis has learned from its defeats. It did not commit large numbers of fighters to make a doomed last stand at Ramadi, Sinjar, Tal Abyad or Kweiris airbase, east of Aleppo. Important though the Tal Abyad crossing with Turkey was for the caliphate, there may have been only 25 fighters in it when it fell to the YPG. The US said that, in the final stages of the fighting, Isis had reduced its forces in the city to between 250 and 350 men, and most of these slipped away before the end. Isis is reverting to guerrilla war, in which it can best employ the tactics of surprise attacks and ambushes by small, rapidly assembled forces."

John Minnerath

Tyler,
Interesting indeed. That someone could serve a sentence in jail and on release have a different Judge decide their sentence wasn't long enough and decide to send them back to prison again doesn't even sound possible.

The borgista think agencies are pretty much detested throughout the west. But, here in Wyoming protest groups such as the Montana Freemen have never taken hold as they have in Montana, Idaho, and Oregon.
Exactly why I'm not sure. It may have something to do with how state politics have been working for years.
Here, with the exception of one county, the entire state is strongly conservative; in other states, Oregon a good example, control is in the hands of densely populated liberal areas.
We don't suffer that.

The ranchers and other rural people here are sympathetic, but will keep their heads down as they go about their lives trying to thwart the borg every step of the way.

Matthew

bth: But that means Assad keeps the good parts. ISIS-istan will have lots of desert and few people.

There's lots of Texas (but not Texans) west of San Antonio and north of Dallas/Fort Worth.

turcopolier

jjackson

"ancient British and American history..." By this I take it that you mean the War of Independence and the sequel in 1812. Your use of such words is indicative of your disdain for America and its spirit. Have you ever been here and visited anything outside New York, Los Angeles or Florida? As for Ky, he was a brave and selfless combat pilot. Your hostility to him says much about you. pl

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