MUST READ — Mixed Signals from Moscow: Putin’s Russia, Israel and the Middle East

putin-netanyahu-handshakevia Non-Aligned Media
by Brandon Martinez
Sep 26, 2015

We have been hearing loud assertions of Russian benevolence towards the Arab world for some time, usually emanating from certain dogmatic quarters of anti-Zionist, anti-imperialist circles on the web.

These analysts see themselves as top class mind readers, tapping into the brain of Vladimir Putin and interpreting his every geopolitical move in a positive manner, no matter how ugly or duplicitous it may appear to be on the surface.

Putin is playing a master class chess match against the New World Order, these partisan analysts say, ignoring or downplaying anything that doesn’t conform to their Russophilic talking points.

Putin is a super secret anti-Zionist who will ‘checkmate’ Israel any day now, these dogmatists theorize with confidence, without providing a tangible piece of evidence that this is true.

Putin is a Pragmatist, Not an Anti-Zionist

Russia under Putin’s leadership has pursued a delicate balance between ideological support as well as economic and military cooperation with Israel on the one hand, and cashing in on lucrative oil, gas, nuclear energy and military contracts with several Arab/Muslim states on the other.

Spellbound Putin supporters point to the ex-KGB strongman’s whimpered public statements in support of a “Palestinian state” as evidence that he’s an anti-Zionist.[1] These lackluster analysts knowingly fail to point out that such rhetoric from the Kremlin is completely offset by Putin’s much more forthright and unequivocal proclamations in support of Israel in its current configuration.

During a meeting with a delegation of Israeli and Russian Jewish religious leaders in July 2014, Putin said he identifies with and supports the “struggle of Israel” against the native Arabs whose land and resources have been consistently usurped by European and Russian Jews who mass migrated to Palestine and then took much of it over through violence and terrorism in 1948. One rabbi at the meeting ‘blessed’ Putin’s leadership in Russia, saying it was the ‘will of god.’ Putin told the rabbis that he is a “true friend of Israel” and of its extremist prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.[2]

Putin has described Israel as part of the “Russian world” because 15 percent of its population is of Russian origin.[3] Despite living in Israel, many of these Russian-Israelis vote in Russian elections, and a good number of them cast their ballot for Putin.[4] At a 2011 dialogue conference featuring organizations representing the major religious and ethnic groups in Russia, Putin stated that Israel is “a special state to us” because it is “practically a Russian-speaking country.”[5] Russian-speaking Israelis form the base of the ultra-Zionist Yisrael Beiteinu political party[6], headed by Israel’s former foreign affairs minister Avigdor Lieberman who recently called for “disloyal” Arab citizens of Israel to be “beheaded.”[7]

During a 2013 joint press conference, Putin and Netanyahu both affirmed that ties between Russia and Israel are getting ‘stronger and stronger.’[8] Putin said that “our relationship with Israel is both friendly and mutually beneficial.” He stressed that Russia and Israel cooperate in a “wide variety of areas,” including political, cultural, economic and military. He proudly noted that under his watch the Russian city of Gelendzhik was twinned with the Israeli city of Netanya.

Russia has fuelled Israel’s war economy, purchasing more than $550 million of Israeli drones since Putin became president.[9] In 2010, Russia and Israel signed a five-year military contract that boosted “military ties between the two nations to help them fight common threats, such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”[10] Increased cooperation and information sharing between Russian and Israeli intelligence services was one result of the agreement.


VIDEO — Henningsen on CrossTalk: ‘Washington is Running Operation Cyclone 2.0 in Syria’

by 21stCenturyWire.com
Oct 3, 2015

21st Century Wire says…

This is potentially one of the biggest geopolitical shifts in 50 years. The West’s tired “Assad must go” narrative is wearing thinner by the hour, and Washington has descended into a panic over the very real prospect of Damascus taking back control their country. It certainly looks like a 2.0 version of Operation Cyclone.

CrossTalk asks: This Russia has made good on its commitment to start fighting ISIS/ISIL in Syria from the air. Russia is also establishing a coalition to protect the legal government in Damascus. This has caused an uproar in Washington. Can the Kremlin and the White House fight terrorists in tandem?

Host Peter Lavelle is CrossTalking with 21WIRE’s Patrick Henningsen, Heritage Foundation VP James Carafano, and Lebanese journalist Marwa Osman

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

Western Media Hype ‘Russian Aggression’ in Syria

siria-pomos-300x167via New Eastern Outlook
by Eric Draitser
Sep 11, 2015

From Washington to the western media, everyone has been talking about reports of potential Russian ‘intervention’ in Syria. On the one hand, the proliferation of this meme is a case study in the western propaganda system, as one report is then repeated ad nauseam from thousands of sources, then built upon by subsequent reports, thereby manufacturing the irrefutable truth from the perspective of media pundits and western mouthpieces. On the other hand, the new reports also raise some interesting questions about the motives of both the US and Russia, as well as the other interested parties to the conflict in Syria.

In examining this new chapter of the ongoing war in Syria, two critical and interrelated points seem to rise above all others in importance: Why is the western media hyping this narrative of Russian intervention? And why is direct Russian involvement, limited though it may be, seen as such a threat by the US?


Color Revolution 2.0 in Lebanon: From Piles of Trash to Piles of Rubble

the_week_in_mideast_photos_edited-1-300x225via New Eastern Outlook
by Tony Cartalucci
Sep 5, 2015

“Spontaneous.” “Genuine.” Defiant.” The US State Department’s marketeers have used these labels in attempts to differentiate its latest wave of global “color revolutions” from the now tired, ineffective, and familiar formulas used everywhere from the US-engineered “Arab Spring,” to the Euromaidan in Ukraine, to Bersih 4.0 in Malaysia.

The latest target is Lebanon where protests have begun in the streets of the capital, Beirut. Branded the “YouStink!” marches, the alleged provocation was dysfunctional municipal garbage collection services. However, very predictably, the protests have shifted quickly from what could have been perceived as legitimate demands to outright calls for regime change.

Color Revolutions 2.0

Just recently in Armenia, the US conducted what appeared to be a test run of its new and improved “color revolution” system of regime change. It attempted to create a movement with little if any initial political affiliation and with deeply hidden ties between protest organizers and their US State Department affiliations. Ultimately the so-called “Electric Yerevan” protests, whose alleged grievances were rising electric bills, spent so much time trying to convince Armenians and people around the world that they weren’t a US-backed mob, they never succeeded in building up sufficient momentum to move on to the next step.

The trick was to first use rising electrical costs as a pretext to stage the protests, then quickly swing them around to demand a change in government. Likely, provocations and violence were planned for later stages, as well as opportunities for America’s client opposition parties to take over and swell the ranks of street mobs with their supporters.

In Armenia, America’s next generation of color revolutions failed.

In Beirut, however, it seems that the protests have made it at least to the point where the alleged pretext – piles of garbage – have now been replaced with demands for regime change.

Despite the 2005 so-called “Cedar Revolution” being exposed as entirely US-engineered, paving the way for the expulsion of Syrian troops from Lebanon and an Israeli attack on the country the following year, many even in the alternative press have been taken in by what should be an obvious, albeit more carefully concealed, follow-up to 2005’s events.



VIDEO — War On Syria Heating Up UK Fr Is Push – Morris

via 108morris108
Sp 6, 2015

Washington Launches New Drone Assassination Program in Syria

predator-drone-400x225via Global research
by Bill Van Auken
World Socialist Web Site
Sep 3, 2015

The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are carrying out a secret drone missile assassination program in Syria, the Washington Post reported late Tuesday.

The existence of the so-called targeted killing program has come to light in the wake of last month’s assassination of a British citizen identified as 21-year-old Junaid Hussein, a hacker who is described as a cyber expert for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Hussein is alleged to have had some connection to one of the two armed men who were shot and killed outside a “Draw Mohammed” contest staged by right-wing anti-Muslim groups in Texas last May. He is also said to have been responsible for hacking the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the US Central Command, the Pentagon command responsible for the wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. He was sentenced to six months in jail in Britain in 2012 for hacking and publishing information from an address book of former prime minister Tony Blair.

US officials who spoke to the Post on condition of anonymity claimed that the drone assassination program in Syria was directed exclusively at “high-value targets.” They insisted that Hussein fell into that category because of his alleged involvement in “recruitment,” which may mean little more than his postings on social media.

The Post report, citing an unnamed senior US official, also referred to “others killed in a recent weeks” in strikes carried out under the CIA-JSOC assassination program.

The extension of the drone killing operation into Syria marks a further expansion of a practice of assassinations that has been found illegal by United Nations agencies and which the Obama administration had previously claimed it was scaling back.

It moreover involves the CIA, a civilian agency which by definition cannot claim that its killings are carried out in accordance with the laws of war.

The White House indicated last April, after President Barack Obama’s admission that a January CIA drone strike in Pakistan had killed two Western hostages, US and Italian aid workers Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, that the administration would take the drone killings out of the hands of the CIA and centralize them under the command of the Pentagon. At the time, Obama stressed the need for “transparency” in the assassination program.

Instead, yet another front in the secret drone war has been uncovered, and the CIA, instead of being removed from it, has joined in a seamless operation with the US military’s special forces.

The Post cited unnamed officials as stating that this “hybrid approach” involved the CIA “finding and fixing” those targeted for assassination, while JSOC was responsible for “the ‘finish’”, i.e., the actual killings. The officials went on to indicate that “the cooperation between the CIA and JSOC in Syria is increasingly viewed as a model that could be employed in future conflicts.”

JSOC, it should be pointed out, has been involved in atrocities equal to or surpassing those of the CIA. In December 2013, it targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying people to a wedding in Yemen, killing between 12 and 17 of them.

The Post article did not make clear how those targeted for assassination in Syria were being selected. Earlier reports established that Obama had personally chosen the individuals to be incinerated by Hellfire missiles in regular White House sessions known as “terror Tuesdays.” These assassinations amount to arbitrary executions in which charges are not presented against those to be killed, much less proven through any kind of judicial process.

Syria has now joined Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries where drone strikes have been launched. The reference to “future conflicts” makes clear that Pentagon’s planned expansion of its drone fleet (with the number of daily flights to be increased by up to 50 percent over the next four years) will see illegal killings introduced into other parts of the world with all of the attendant slaughter and terrorization of civilian populations.

The CIA-JSOC drone attacks amount to only a small fraction of the 2,450 air strikes carried out by US-led regular military forces against ISIS over the past year. This public campaign of airstrikes has had little effect in terms of dislodging ISIS from the broad swathes of Syrian and Iraqi territory that it has occupied.

The CIA-JSOC operation appears to have a different purpose, which may be tied to the CIA’s earlier function in Syria, which was funneling arms and aid to the so-called “rebels,” the Islamist sectarian militias that serve as proxies for the West, Saudi Arabia and the other reactionary Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf in a war for regime change against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

An effective assassination campaign against “high-value targets” in ISIS would decapitate the Islamist group, while leaving its fighters to be recruited into a new front deemed acceptable by the CIA to receive US arms and assistance.

The extension of the drone killing program into Syria represents another escalation of a US-led intervention that has turned the country into a vast killing field, while destroying its economy and infrastructure

Flashpoint: White House Confirms Russian Presence In Syria, Warns It Is “Destabilizing”

via Zero Hedge
by Tyler Durden
Sep 3, 2015

[Potent News editor’s UPDATE: West Fabricated Reports About Russian Troops in Syria – Syrian Minister]

Two days ago we reported something which we had anticipated for a long time but nonetheless did not expect to take shape so swiftly: namely, that with Assad’s regime close to collapse and fighting a war on three different fronts (one of which is directly supported by US air and “advisor” forces), Putin would have no choice but to finally intervene in the most anticipated showdown in recent history as “Russian fighter pilots are expected to begin arriving in Syria in the coming days, and will fly their Russian air force fighter jets and attack helicopters against ISIS and rebel-aligned targets within the failing state.”

This was indirectly confirmed the very next day when an al-Nusra linked Twitter account posted pictures of a Russian drone and a Su-34 fighter jet – the kind which is not flown by the Syrian air force – flying over the Nusra-controlled western idlib province.

russian jets_0
Another twitter account said to have captured Russian soldiers in Zabadani “while fighting for Assad”

russian ground forces_0
Also, one day after our report, the Telegraph reported that “Syrian state TV reportedly broadcasts footage of Russian soldiers and armoured vehicle fighting alongside pro-Assad troops.” According to the article, “the video footage claimed to show troops and a Russian armoured vehicle fighting Syrian rebels alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Latakia. It is reportedly possible to hear Russian being spoken by the troops in the footage.”

It added that “a Russian naval vessel was photographed heading south through the Bosphorus strait carrying large amounts of military equipment, according to social media and a shipping blog” while “an unnamed activist with the Syrian rebel group the Free Syrian Army told The Times: “The Russians have been there a long time.

“There are more Russian officials who came to Slunfeh in recent weeks. We don’t know how many but I can assure you there has been Russian reinforcement.” “

Then earlier today we got the closest thing to a confirmation from the White House itself which confirmed that “it was closely monitoring reports that Russia is carrying out military operations in Syria, warning such actions, if confirmed, would be “destabilising and counter-productive.


Why the Refugee Crisis?

refugees-boat-400x250via Global Research
by Stephen Lendman
Aug 31, 2015

Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers head for safe havens daily – a human flood entering Europe, risking life and limb to get there. Why?

Endless US direct and proxy wars force desperate people to seek safety out of harm’s way. Numbers fleeing war and destabilized areas are greater than any time since WWII – increasing exponentially as conflicts and chaos rage in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Donbass, Somalia, South Sudan, and elsewhere.

According to a UNHCR report,  60 million people were forcibly displaced by end of 2014. Globally one in every 122 people are asylum seekers, refugees or internally displaced persons. More than half the world’s refugees are children.

On August 28, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said over 300,000 refugees and asylum seekers crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe so far this year – greatly exceeding 2014’s 219,000 total, a human flood likely to approach half a million by year end, likely hundreds of thousands more in 2016 and beyond.

Thousands of others die or go missing. On August 27, hundreds were feared dead after two overcrowded vessels capsized off Libya’s coast. Dozens of Syrian refugees were found suffocated to death in a truck parked on an Austrian highway – their bodies in a state of decomposition. Other similar horror stories repeat with disturbing regularity.


[related videos:

The Douma Market Attack: Another Fabricated Pretext for Intervention in Syria?

21st Century Wire says…
Aug 21, 2015

If indeed this is a false flag incident designed to demonize the Syrian government and fast-track a US-led military intervention and regime change in Syria – it wouldn’t be the first time.

More from Counter Punch…

Eric Draitser
Counter Punch

The August 16, 2015 attack on a market in the Syrian town of Douma, just outside the capital Damascus, has caused international outrage. Condemnations of the Syrian government have poured in from seemingly all corners of the globe as President Assad and the Syrian military have been declared responsible for the attack, convicted in the court of media opinion.

Interestingly, such declarations have come well before any investigation has been conducted, and without any tangible evidence other than the assertions of the rebel spokespersons and anti-government sources. Indeed, there has been an embarrassing dearth of investigative questions asked as corporate media, who have been far from objective these last four and half years, have rushed to fit the facts to their long-standing narrative of “Assad the Butcher.”

IMAGE from NY TimesThe death toll in Douma puts the incident among the deadliest air attacks during more than four years of conflict in Syria. (Credit Bassam Khabieh/Reuters)

This author fully understands that, in asking difficult questions, he will be called an “apologist,” an “Assad propagandist,” or some other such nonsense. Frankly, such name-calling means very little when compared to the suffering of Syrian people, and the untold brutality that will be visited upon them if the western corporate media and warmongers get their way and yet another imperialist so-called intervention is carried out in the name of “humanitarianism.” The goal is to ask the right questions, to cast doubt on the already solidifying propaganda narrative that will undoubtedly be used to justify still more war.

Those who work for peace must be prepared to interrogate the received truths of the media machine, to confront head on that which is uncomfortable, and to do so knowing that their motives are just. The victims of this war, both past and future, deserve nothing less.

Questioning the Douma Narrative

When carefully scrutinizing the documentary evidence of the attack, and comparing that to the claims made throughout western media, some troubling irregularities emerge. Not only do the claims seem to be exaggerated, but when placed within the historical context of this war, they seem to fit into a clear pattern of distortion and misinformation disseminated for political purposes, rather than objective reportage. Indeed, the raw footage taken on the scene goes a long way to contradicting some of the claims made by witnesses and “activists” (an interesting term in itself) often quoted in the media.

First, there is the allegation that more than 100 civilians were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Syrian military. There are certainly plenty of pictures that seem to bolster that claim, with debris scattered everywhere, aid workers carrying victims, and frightened civilians rushing around the destroyed marketplace. However, when one looks at the videos, even those provided by outlets such as The Guardian in the above linked article, one curious thing seems to be missing: bodies.

Indeed, it does seem odd that an airstrike could obliterate a crowded market on a Sunday, killing over a hundred people, and no videos or images would show bodies torn apart by the blast? One would expect to see mangled corpses, limbs scattered on the ground, pools of blood, etc. None of that seems visible.

Compare the Douma videos to those from Gaza on July 30, 2014 during Israel’s vicious war. An Israeli airstrike, which killed 15 people and injured more than 150, also hit a crowded market and caused horrific destruction. And in the videos, one sees bloodied bodies missing limbs, pools of blood on the street, and other gut-wrenching images. Or compare the Douma videos to those of the Christmas 2013 bombing of a crowded Baghdad market. The videos of that attack are gruesome, showing victims with heads partially blown off their bodies, legs attached to bodies by skin alone, lifeless corpses of children and other truly disturbing images…

Continue this article at Counter Punch

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files

DOCUMENTARY — ISIL and its So-Called Caliphate: Israeli-US Tools to Divide Iraq

via Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization
by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Aug 2, 2015

ISIL-invasion-e1404535165853First produced in July 2014, the following GRTV documentary looks at the crisis in Iraq, prior to the launching of the US bombing campaign 

This short documentary examines the support that the US and Israel are providing to the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which use to call itself Al-Qaeda in Iraq and more recently calls itself the Islamic State, and its self-declared “caliphate.”

Audiences are presented with past analyses from the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya and Michel Chossudovsky, that connects the dots between the two crises in Iraq and Syria and the long war of the US that is ultimately aimed at controlling Eurasia.

The division of Iraq and the Middle East is part of a longstanding push into Eurasia by the US, Israel, and their allies that has consistently involved a set of pretexts and lies. Sectarian hatred between Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims and between Kurds and Arabs is now falsely being presented as the basis for the conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

The US military cannot go into any country that it desires for regime change. This is why Washington has applied other techniques for regime change. In 2006, with the failure of the US to break the Resistance Bloc or Axis of Resistance in the Middle East, the US began its “redirection” policy and opted to use insurgencies, sectarianism, colour revolutions, and intensified covert operations.

One of the people that set the stage for the division of Iraq is Joseph Biden, the current vice-president of the United States. When Biden was a US senator in the US Congress, he presented the Biden Plan to divide Iraq into three sectarian entities in 2008. In part, the Biden Plan created one of the blueprints for the political face of the current crisis in Iraq.

The US also wants the federal government in Iraq to be replaced, because it refused to help the US and its allies in the war against Syria, its alliance with Iran, Iraq’s growing trade and purchases of military hardware from the Russian Federation, and Iraqi oil sales to China. Because of Washington’s desires for regime change in Baghdad and its plans to divide Iraq, the US government has been delaying aid to the Iraqi government. Russia and Belarus, on the other hand, have stepped in to militarily help Baghdad, alongside Iran and Syria.

While the US is covertly supporting the division of Iraq, Israel is overtly been supporting this as outlined by the Yinon Plan. After the ISIL’s 2014 offensive inside Iraq began, Iraqi officials reported that the Israelis were present in Iraqi Kurdistan and also involved in assisting the ISIL fighters inside Iraq’s borders. Tel Aviv has even openly told Washington to let the different groups in Iraq kill one another, just like Iran and Iraq were doing during the Iraq-Iran War. While Israel refuses to allow or recognize Palestinian independence, Israeli officials have called for the international community to recognize the dismemberment of Iraq by recognizing Iraqi Kurdistan as a separate republic. This is because Israel plans on using the Kurdish people as pawns and Iraqi Kurdistan as a regional outpost.

The Kurdistan Regional Government has used the ISIL’s 2014 offensive as an opportunity to takeover the multi-ethnic and oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk and to announce that it plans to declare independence from Iraq. In part, petro-politics and control over energy is tied to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s plans of secession and its armed takeover of Kirkuk, which it has claimed as its historic capital. The Turkish government has already been making illegal energy deals with the leaders of the Kurdistan Regional Government for Iraqi oil. Reports are also surfacing that Israel will buy Iraqi oil from the Kurdistan Regional Government via Turkey.

With the takeover of Kirkuk, Iraqi oil will be sent to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, which is the Eastern Mediterranean export terminal for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline. This not only gives Israel access to Iraqi oil, but also endangers Eurasian energy integration and the
Banyias-Kirkuk Pipeline running from Iraq to Syria.

The Iraqi and Syrian people must stand united in the face of the project to divide their ancient societies and countries.

Freudian slip? Obama vows to speed up ‘training ISIL’, WH edit adds confusion — video included

Published time: July 08, 2015 20:07
Edited time: July 09, 2015 11:17

U.S. President Barack Obama (C), (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. President Barack Obama (C), (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

President Barack Obama’s reference to US training “ISIL forces” has raised eyebrows, no less because of the White House’s odd edit in the transcript of the president’s speech on confronting Islamic State.

After getting briefed on US efforts to fight the self-proclaimed Caliphate occupying large swaths of Syria and Iraq, Obama told reporters Monday at the Pentagon that the US was ramping up the training of local forces to complement airstrikes conducted by the US-led coalition.

What he actually said, however, was “we’re speeding up training of ISIL forces, including volunteers from Sunni tribes in Anbar Province.”

ISIL stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and is the US government’s preferred term for the group, also known as ISIS or, more recently, Islamic State.

The official transcript released by the White House contains the word “Iraqi” in brackets following the acronym ISIL, instead of something much more intuitive, such as prefacing the acronym with “anti-”. The clumsy edit allowed one to read the statement as if the US Commander-in-Chief was not confessing to training jihadist militants all over the region, but only the ISIL forces based in Iraq.
Screenshot from the WhiteHouse.gov website
Obama’s omission and the White House’s attempt to explain it away have caused some perplexity on Twitter.


[related video with a different slip-up by Obama (a.k.a. Barry Soetoro): Was Joan Rivers Right ? Is Obama Gay and Michelle a Man Named Michael???]


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