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01 December 2016

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LeaNder

incensed about the loss of a member on Pan Am 103

Well yes, Lockerbie.

One of the two central suspected state actor's in two revenge scenarios: 'Iran Air Flight 655' and 'USS Vincennes', 1988?

Quite a while ago I watched by chance a documentary on one of our public media channels (Phoenix, I guess) looking into matters. ...

Do I recall correctly that the suspicion against Iran is given most fodder by PLA/PFLP intelligence? Scenario offered: Iranian agent, preparing suitcase for the member/son of a Beqaa Valley clan involved in drug trade, supposedly on board with a DEA agent unaware of the contents of the suitcase.

Here is a rather long British documentary:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1PJ2JEdywU

Babak Makkinejad

That was the purpose of Iranian cooperation; to gauge the possibility of resolving their differences with USA.

2007 was another crucial year when a different tack could have been taken with Iran but escalation was preferred by US, EU, China, Russia, India etc.

Looks like some in US wish to discard the JCOPA cease-fire deal as well.

Pundita

Ah so. Thank you for that clarification! So the great damage, at least in Aleppo, was not chiefly from barrel bombs. Someday a true history of the Syrian War may be written. That should be quite a story.

Pundita

Syria is such a muffled zone it veers toward the Twilight Zone. i think the most troubling part is that the propaganda operations against Syria's government give lie to the claim that modern communications make it harder to fool the public. But once the public realizes it's been hoaxed by gov and press, it becomes even more distrustful of both. The end of this road is anarchy.

The Beaver

@ Babak

Did he do a detour via Riyadh? Like Dennis Ross who is in love with the dauphin there.

Babak Makkinejad

My guess would be that he was supporting Israel - his real country - to the hilt.

kooshy

Colonel, me feeling of Trump as a true business minded person he is, that he wouldn't mind what his employees say or think he will hear it but at the end he wants you to do what he thinks decides and say, we already saw that during the campaign with him and Pence. Interestingly last night with regard to commerce secretary he said, they question me why you picked him, it's easy folks because he made money you want your commerce secretary to know how to make money. That is a how a business man thinks, how to make money and go on.

Pundita

1. Colonel, from Washtimes quotes you provided, it strikes me that both Trump and Votel ignore the larger issue, which is a government's use of a proxy army to get under the wire of illegal invasion of another country.

The American public doesn't seem to want an airing of the issue. But it was one thing when proxy warfare was the province of a few governments; today any government can play; e.g., Cairo's use of proxy fighters to harry Ethopia's government over a dam dispute.

Also, the problem with the US using 'good' proxies, e.g., YPG, is that one gov's 'good' militia is another's terrorist army -- witness Turkey's response to US use of YPG.

So the US doesn't have a leg to stand on when it criticizes governments that use outright terrorist groups for proxy war. The response boils down to Monkey See Monkey Do: If the US can do it, why can't we?

The upshot is that the proxy warfare craze is turning the entire world into that floor game where the players end up in a tangle. Except the game is played with bullets and bombs.

2. Lavrov statement today as reported by Sputnik provides rough estimate of oppo fighters left in E. Aleppo:

"As I have already mentioned, according to our intelligence,… practically all armed opposition groups in eastern Aleppo report to al-Nusra Front. Nusra has some 1,500 militants there, while other groups under its command have up to 6,000 militants," Lavrov stressed.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201612021048098576-army-of-aleppo-nusra-front/

That seems to be the latest estimate of the number of fighters left in Aleppo. Also, frm the report, RU intel suspects the new "Army of Aleppo" is just the latest name change for Nusra.

gowithit

Yes,the Congressional vote had the majority against "the interests of their own country", but not a sufficient majority to overcome Obama's veto. Now, it is in Trump's Court, with Iran bomb throwers like Votel at CIA, Lt Gen Flynn as Nat Sec Adviser, and Gen Mattis (who reently called Iran and Assad the two major enemies in MidEast) likely at DOD
http://www.militarytimes.com/story/opinion/2016/04/23/what-general-mattis-gets-wrong-iran/83386300/

ancient archer

It is just incredible listening to what Votel and his ilk continue to say. Have they not realised that they have lost, both on the ballots at home and with bullets in aleppo? Or are they just avoiding the harsh truth by burying their heads in the metaphorical sands of bureaucracy

Valissa

An interesting observation, thanks!

Here is a great post by Paul Craig Roberts on Trump’s Appointments http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/12/02/trumps-appointments-paul-craig-roberts/
We do not know what the appointments mean except, as Trump discovered once he confronted the task of forming a government, that there is no one but insiders to appoint. For the most part that is correct. Outsiders are a poor match for insiders who tend to eat them alive. Ronald Reagan’s California crew were a poor match for George H.W. Bush’s insiders. The Reagan part of the government had a hell of a time delivering results that Reagan wanted. ...

What about the hot-headed generals announced as National Security Advisor and Secretary of Defense? Both seem to be death on Iran, which is stupid and unfortunate. However, keep in mind that Gen. Flynn is the one who blew the whistle on the Obama regime for rejecting the advice of the DIA and sending ISIS to overthrow Assad. Flynn said that ISIS was a “willful decision” of the Obama administration, not some unexpected event.

And keep in mind that Gen. Mattis is the one who told Trump that torture does not work, which caused Trump to back off his endorsement of torture.

So both of these generals, as bad as they may be, are an improvement on what came before. Both have shown independence from the neoconservative line that supports ISIS and torture.

Keep in mind also that there are two kinds of insiders. Some represent the agendas of special interests; others go with the flow because they enjoy participating in the affairs of the nation. Those who don’t go with the flow are eliminated from participating.

Goldman Sachs is a good place to get rich. That Mnuchin left 14 years ago could mean that he was not a good match for Goldman Sachs, that they did not like him or he did not like them. That Flynn and Mattis have taken independent positions on ISIS and torture suggests that they are mavericks. All three of these appointees seem to be strong and confident individuals who know the terrain, which is the kind of people a president needs if he is to accomplish anything.
----------

PCR is hilarious here in response to PropOrNot...
Dear President Putin http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/28/dear-president-putin/

Apparently it caught the attention of someone over at Sputnik...
'My Life as a Putin Stooge': Paul Craig Roberts Expertly Trolls Feds, WashPo https://sputniknews.com/politics/201611301048019573-roberts-passport-wash-post/

Kooshy

Further to the comment I made earlier, the US goverment and the media not only didn't try to separate Iranians from thier goverment, like you said, they purposely advocated and punished the Iranian population as hard, but that was not enough, they went further, and punished and sanctioned Iranian Americans in the same way to the point that they sanctioned away the expatriates from thier ancestral homes, family and belongings. To a point that if you even inherited your parents home you will need to obtain a US goverment licence to be able to transfer your inhreated wealth to your new home country here in US.

Valissa

So far, Trump is repeating his anti-interventionist message...

'New Era of Peace': Trump Vows to Stop Regime Change During 1st Stop of 'Thank You' Tour http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/new-era-peace-trump-vows-stop-us-toppling-regimes-during-1st-stop-thank-you-tour/ri17960
Donald Trump promised a “new era of peace” during the first stop of his “Thank You” tour in Cincinnati, Ohio, vowing that the US will stop trying to overthrow world governments and will cooperate with countries fighting terrorism.

The president-elect also promised to cooperate with any country interested in destroying Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

... "We will destroy ISIS. At the same time, we will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks," Trump said, as quoted by The Washington Examiner.
---------

I expect Trump discussed the regime change issue with Mike Pompeo before he selected him to head the CIA, and that Pompeo is on board with Trump's new FP direction. But will the rest of The Agency cooperate?

turcopolier

Valissa

IMO you have some of this wrong. IMO Obama under Borg, i.e., FPE control sent all of the jihadis EXCEPT IS to destroy the Assad government. With regard to Flynn if you are referring to the 2012 analytic document that DIA published concerning USG intentions I continue to believe that was a foreign third party analytic paper received in liaison from some foreign service. That happens often in the normal course of business. the paper as published by DIA does not look like something DIA would have originated and I approved thousands of such papers. Does Flynn deserve credit for going to the WH with it? Sure he does. Did Trump make clear to these three men the policy he intends to follow? Who knows? Did they agree with him just get the job? Who knows? pl

Cee

Valissa,

We'll soon see. From CounterPunch.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/02/trump-win-paradigm-shift-or-status-quo/

Valissa

All good points, pl, and thanks for the clarification.

kao_hsien_chih

What is amazing too is the multinational nature of the 14th Army, with troops drawn literally all over the world representing the British Empire, and my understanding is that all these nationalities universally revered Slim. Remarkable feat for anyone, and one does have to have a bit of respect for some things, ideas, and people that emerged from Britain's imperial history.

kao_hsien_chih

I had heard about it. Someone whom I know has connections to highly placed people in government was at a dinner with General Mattis at the same table and she was talking about how the general really hated Iran, at least in course of otherwise casual dinner conversations. Similar stories keep coming out about other people expected to play important roles in the incoming administration and the hostility really seems genuine (although I don't know if one should make too much of dinner conversations from a second hand source). I always wondered what the deal with this hostility to Iran was (esp since the colonel who has dealt with Middle Eastern matters for decades does not seem to share this hatred) and what the prospect of this seeming hostility making problems with our foreign policy choices.

Babak Makkinejad

That was my observation too, also in Canada.

Iran and Iranians have been treated shabbily for decades, it will take more than JCOPA to change the hardened attitude of Iranians.

MRW

I fear the latter will be true.

Why?

MRW

Kooshy, he’s just oiling the public.

MRW

@robt willmann,

How does this impact or cause other activity by other signers to the Iran agreement? What does our reaction now alter the Agreement?

This enhances the danger that the advisors may -- as Col. Lang mentioned above -- assimilate Trump.

Did the Colonel write of dangers? I don’t see that. Where is it?

turcopolier

MRW

"Did the Colonel write of dangers? I don’t see that. Where is it?" Say whut? pl

turcopolier

mike allen

Your brother Marine Mark Shields said tonight on the Newshour that only USMC officers eat after their men in the field. I assure you that this is not true and I confess to being deeply offended. pl

FkDahl

Hell cannons can raze a small building or knock a corner off a large ones: and their trajectory (to use the word loosely) would certainly create the effect you describe.

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