Archive | December 28th, 2014

From Energy War to Currency War: America’s Attack on the Russian Ruble

NOVANEWS

Global Research

A multi-spectrum war is being waged against Moscow by Washington. If there are any doubts about this, they should be put to rest. Geopolitics, science and technology, speculation, financial markets, information streams, large business conglomerates, intelligentsia, mass communication, social media, the internet, popular culture, news networks, international institutions, sanctions, audiences, public opinion, nationalism, different governmental bodies and agencies, identity politics, proxy wars, diplomacy, countervailing international alliances, major business agreements, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), human rights, prestige, military personnel, capital, and psychological tactics are all involved in this multi-spectrum war. On a daily basis this struggle can be seen playing out on the airwaves, in the war theaters in Ukraine and the Middle East, through the statements and accusations of diplomats, and in the economic sphere.

Additionally, the debates and questions on whether a new cold war—a post-Cold War cold war—has emerged or if the Cold War never ended should be put to rest too. The mentality of the Cold War never died in the Washington Beltway. From the perspective of Russian officials, it is clear that the US never put down its war mace and continued the offensive. The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, defeating the Soviets and Eastern Bloc, and seeing the Soviet Union dismantled into fifteen republics was not enough for the Cold War warriors in the US. The newly emergent Russian Federation had to be placated in their views.

Petro-politics have been a major feature of this multi-spectrum war too. [1] Not only have energy prices been a factor in this struggle, but so are financial markets and national currencies. The manipulated decline in the price of energy, which has been driven by the flooding of the global market with oil, is now being augmented by a siege on the value of the Russian ruble. This is part of what appears to be a deliberate two-pronged attack on the Russian Federation that seeks to cut Russia’s revenues through market manipulation via economic sanctions and price drops. It is what you would call a «double whammy». While sanctions have been imposed on the Russian economy by the US and its allies, including Australia, Canada, the European Union, and Japan, offensives on Russia’s main source of revenue — energy — and its national currency have taken place.

Currency Warfare and Inflation

The price of the Russian ruble begun to drop in December 2014 as a consequence of the economic siege on the Russian Federation, the drop in global energy prices, and speculation. «Judging by the situation in the country, we are in the midst of a deep currency crisis, one that even Central Bank employees say they could not have foreseen in their worst nightmares», Interfax’s Vyacheslav Terekhov commented on the currency crisis while talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Kremlin press conference on December 18, 2014. [2] Putin himself admitted this too at the press conference. While answering Terekhov, Putin explained that «the situation has changed under the influence of certain foreign economic factors, primarily the price of energy resources, of oil and consequently of gas as well». [3]

Some may think that the drop in the Russian ruble’s value is a result of the market acting on its own while others who recognize that there is market manipulation involved may turn around and blame it on the Russian government and Vladimir Putin. This process, however, has been guided by US machinations. It is simply not a result of the market acting on its own or the result of Kremlin policies. It is the result of US objectives and policy that deliberately targets Russia for destabilization and devastation. This is why Putin answered Terekhov’s question by saying that the drop in the value of the Russian ruble «was obviously provoked primarily by external factors». [4]

Both US Assistant-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland — the wife of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) co-founder and neo-conservative advocate for empire Robert Kagan — and US Assistant-Secretary of the Treasury Daniel Glaser told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in May 2014 that the objectives of the US economic sanctions strategy against the Russian Federation was not only to damage the trade ties and business between Russia and the EU, but to also bring about economic instability in Russia and to create currency instability and inflation. [5] In other words, the US government was targeting the Russian ruble for devaluation and the Russian economy for inflation since at least May 2014.

It appears that the US is trying to manipulate the Kremlin into spending Russia’s resources and fiscal reserves to fight the inflation of the Russian ruble that Washington has engineered. The Kremlin, however, will not take the bait and be goaded into depleting the approximately $419 billion (US) foreign currency reserves and gold holdings of the Russian Federation or any of Russia’s approximately 8.4 trillion ruble reserves in an effort to prop the declining value of the Russian ruble. In this regard, while holding a press conference, President Putin stated the following on December 18, 2014: «The Central Bank does not intend to ‘burn’ them all senselessly, which is right». [6] Putin emphasized this again when answering Vyacheslav Terekhov’s question by saying that the Russian government and Russian Central Bank «should not hand out our gold and foreign currency reserves or burn them on the market, but provide lending resources». [7]

The Kremlin understands what Washington is trying to do. The US is replaying old game plans against Russia. The energy price manipulation, the currency devaluation, and even US attempts to entrap Russia in a conflict with its sister-republic Ukraine are all replays of US tactics that have been used before during the Cold War and after 1991. For example, dragging Russia into Ukraine would be a replay of how the US dragged the Soviet Union into Afghanistan whereas the manipulation of energy prices and currency markets would parallel the US strategy used to weaken and destabilize Baathist Iraq, Iran, and the Soviet Union during the Afghan-Soviet War and Iran-Iran War.

Instead of trying to stop the value of the ruble from dropping, the Kremlin appears to have decided to strategically invest in Russia’s human capital. Russia’s national reserve funds will be used to diversify the national economy and strengthen the social and public sectors. Despite the economic warfare against Russia, this is exactly why the wages of teachers in schools, professors in post-secondary institutions of learning and training, employees of cultural institutions, doctors in hospitals and clinics, paramedics, and nurses — the most important sectors for developing Russia’s human capital and capacity — have all been raised.

The Russian Bear Courts the Turkish Grey Wolf

The Kremlin, however, has an entire list of options at its disposal for countering the US offensive against Russia. One of them involves the courting of Turkey. The Russian courtship of Turkey has involved the Russian move away from the construction of the South Stream natural gas pipeline from Russia across the Black Sea to Bulgaria.

Putin announced that Russia has cancelled the South Stream project on December 1, 2014. Instead the South Stream pipeline project has been replaced by a natural gas pipeline that goes across the Black Sea to Turkey from the Russian Federation’s South Federal District. This alternative pipeline has been popularly billed the «Turk Stream» and partners Russian energy giant Gazprom with Turkey’s Botas. Moreover, Gazprom will start giving Turkey discounts in the purchase of Russian natural gas that will increase with the intensification of Russo-Turkish cooperation.

The natural gas deal between Ankara and Moscow creates a win-win situation for both the Turkish and Russian sides. Not only will Ankara get a discount on energy supplies, but Turk Stream gives the Turkish government what it has wanted and desired for years. The Turk Stream pipeline will make Turkey an important energy corridor and transit point, complete with transit revenues. In this case Turkey becomes the corridor between energy supplier Russia and European Union and non-EU energy customers in southeastern Europe. Ankara will gain some leverage over the European Union and have an extra negotiating card with the EU too, because the EU will have to deal with it as an energy broker.

For its part, Russia has reduced the risks that it faced in building the South Stream by cancelling the project. Moscow could have wasted resources and time building the South Stream to see the project sanctioned or obstructed in the Balkans by Washington and Brussels. If the European Union really wants Russian natural gas then the Turk Stream pipeline can be expanded from Turkey to Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, and other European countries that want to be integrated into the energy project.

The cancellation of South Stream also means that there will be one less alternative energy corridor from Russia to the European Union for some time. This has positive implications for a settlement in Ukraine, which is an important transit route for Russian natural gas to the European Union. As a means of securing the flow of natural gas across Ukrainian territory from Russia, the European Union will be more prone to push the authorities in Kiev to end the conflict in East Ukraine.

In more ways than one the Turk Stream pipeline can be viewed as a reconfigured of the failed Nabucco natural gas pipeline. Not only will Turk Stream court Turkey and give Moscow leverage against the European Union, instead of reducing Russian influence as Nabucco was originally intended to do, the new pipeline to Turkey also coaxes Ankara to align its economic and strategic interests with those of Russian interests. This is why, when addressing Nabucco and the rivalries for establishing alternate energy corridors, this author pointed out in 2007 that «the creation of these energy corridors and networks is like a two-edged sword. These geo-strategic fulcrums or energy pivots can also switch their directions of leverage. The integration of infrastructure also leads towards economic integration». [8]

The creation of Turk Stream and the strengthening of Russo-Turkish ties may even help placate the gory conflict in Syria. If Iranian natural gas is integrated into the mainframe of Turk Stream through another energy corridor entering Anatolia from Iranian territory, then Turkish interests would be even more tightly aligned with both Moscow and Tehran. Turkey will save itself from the defeats of its neo-Ottoman policies and be able to withdraw from the Syrian crisis. This will allow Ankara to politically realign itself with two of its most important trading partners, Iran and Russia.

It is because of the importance of Irano-Turkish and Russo-Turkish trade and energy ties that Ankara has had an understanding with both Russia and Iran not to let politics and their differences over the Syrian crisis get in the way of their economic ties and business relationships while Washington has tried to disrupt Irano-Turkish and Russo-Turkish trade and energy ties like it has disrupted trade ties between Russia and the EU. [9] Ankara, however, realizes that if it lets politics disrupt its economic ties with Iran and Russia that Turkey itself will become weakened and lose whatever independence it enjoys

Masterfully announcing the Russian move while in Ankara, Putin also took the opportunity to ensure that there would be heated conversation inside the EU. Some would call this rubbing salt on the wounds. Knowing that profit and opportunity costs would create internal debate within Bulgaria and the EU, Putin rhetorically asked if Bulgaria was going to be economically compensated by the European Commission for the loss.

The Russian Bear and the Chinese Dragon

It is clear that Russian business and trade ties have been redirected to the People’s Republic of China and East Asia. On the occasion of the Sino-Russian mega natural gas deal, this author pointed out that this was not as much a Russian countermove to US economic pressure as it was really a long-term Russian strategy that seeks an increase in trade and ties with East Asia. [10] Vladimir Putin himself also corroborated this standpoint during the December 18 press conference mentioned earlier when he dismissed — like this author — the notion that the so-called «Russian turn to the East» was mainly the result of the crisis in Ukraine.

In President Putin’s own words, the process of increasing business ties with the Chinese and East Asia «stems from the global economic processes, because the East – that is, the Asia-Pacific Region – shows faster growth than the rest of the world». [11] If this is not convincing enough that the turn towards East Asia was already in the works for Russia, then Putin makes it categorically clear as he proceeds talking at the December 18 press conference. In reference to the Sino-Russian gas deal and other Russian projects in East Asia, Putin explained the following: «The projects we are working on were planned long ago, even before the most recent problems occurred in the global or Russian economy. We are simply implementing our long-time plans». [12]

From the perspective of Russian Presidential Advisor Sergey Glazyev, the US is waging its multi-spectrum war against Russia to ultimately challenge Moscow’s Chinese partners. In an insightful interview, Glazyev explained the following points to the Ukrainian journalist Alyona Berezovskaya — working for a Rossiya Segodnya subsidiary focusing on information involving Ukraine — about the basis for US hostility towards Russia: the bankruptcy of the US, its decline in competitiveness on global markets, and Washington’s inability to ultimately save its financial system by servicing its foreign debt or getting enough investments to establish some sort of innovative economic breakthrough are the reasons why Washington has been going after the Russian Federation. [13] In Glazyev’s own words, the US wants «a new world war». [14] The US needs conflict and confrontation, in other words. This is what the crisis in Ukraine is nurturing in Europe.

Sergey Glazyev reiterates the same points months down the road on September 23, 2014 in an article he authors for the magazine Russia in Global Affairs, which is sponsored by the Russian International Affairs Council — a think-tank founded by the Russian Foreign Ministry and Russian Ministry of Education 2010 — and the US journal Foreign Affairs — which is the magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relation in the US. In his article, Glazyev adds that the war Washington is inciting against Russia in Europe may ultimately benefit the Chinese, because the struggle being waged will weaken the US, Russia, and the European Union to the advantage of China. [15] The point of explaining all this is to explain that Russia wants a balanced strategic partnership with China. Glazyev himself even told Berezovskaya in their interview that Russia wants a mutually beneficial relationship with China that does reduce it to becoming a subordinate to Beijing. [16]

Without question, the US wants to disrupt the strategic partnership between Beijing and Moscow. Moscow’s strategic long-term planning and Sino-Russian cooperation has provided the Russia Federation with an important degree of economic and strategic insulation from the economic warfare being waged against the Russian national economy. Washington, however, may also be trying to entice the Chinese to overplay their hand as Russia is economically attacked. In this context, the price drops in the energy market may also be geared at creating friction between Beijing and Moscow. In part, the manipulation of the energy market and the price drops could seek to weaken and erode Sino-Russian relations by coaxing the Chinese into taking steps that would tarnish their excellent ties with their Russian partners. The currency war against the Russian ruble may also be geared towards this too. In other words, Washington may be hoping that China becomes greedy and shortsighted enough to make an attempt to take advantage of the price drop in energy prices in the devaluation of the Russian ruble.

Whatever Washington’s intentions are, every step that the US takes to target Russia economically will eventually hurt the US economy too. It is also highly unlikely that the policy mandarins in Beijing are unaware of what the US may try to be doing. The Chinese are aware that ultimately it is China and not Russia that is the target of the United States.

Economic Terrorism: An Argentina versus the Vulture Funds Scenario?

The United States is waging a fully fledged economic war against the Russian Federations and its national economy. Ultimately, all Russians are collectively the target. The economic sanctions are nothing more than economic warfare. If the crisis in Ukraine did not happen, another pretext would have been found for assaulting Russia.

Both US Assistant-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and US Assistant-Secretary of the Treasury Daniel Glaser even told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US House of Representatives in May 2014 that the ultimate objectives of the US economic sanctions against Russia are to make the Russian population so miserable and desperate that they would eventually demand that the Kremlin surrender to the US and bring about «political change». «Political change» can mean many things, but what it most probably implies here is regime change in Moscow. In fact, the aims of the US do not even appear to be geared at coercing the Russian government to change its foreign policy, but to incite regime change in Moscow and to cripple the Russian Federation entirely through the instigation of internal divisions. This is why maps of a divided Russia are being circulated by Radio Free Europe. [17]

According to Presidential Advisor Sergey Glazyev, Washington is «trying to destroy and weaken Russia, causing it to fragment, as they need this territory and want to establish control over this entire space». [18] «We have offered cooperation from Lisbon to Vladivostok, whereas they need control to maintain their geopolitical leadership in a competition with China,» he has explained, pointing out that the US wants lordship and is not interested in cooperation. [19] Alluding to former US top diplomat Madeline Albright’s sentiments that Russia was unfairly endowed with vast territory and resources, Putin also spoke along similar lines at his December 18 press conference, explaining how the US wanted to divide Russia and control the abundant natural resources in Russian territory.

It is of little wonder that in 2014 a record number of Russian citizens have negative attitudes about relations between their country and the United States. A survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center has shown that of 39% of Russian respondents viewed relations with the US as «mostly bad» and 27% as «very bad». [20] This means 66% of Russian respondents have negative views about relations with Washington. This is an inference of the entire Russian population’s views. Moreover, this is the highest rise in negative perceptions about the US since 2008 when the US supported Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi’s war against Russia and the breakaway republic of South Ossetia; 40% viewed them as «mostly bad» and 25% of Russians viewed relations as «very bad» and at the time. [21]

Russia can address the economic warfare being directed against its national economy and society as a form of «economic terrorism». If Russia’s banks and financial institutions are weakened with the aim of creating financial collapse in the Russian Federation, Moscow can introduce fiscal measures to help its banks and financial sector that could create economic shockwaves in the European Union and North America. Speaking in hypothetical terms, Russia has lots of options for a financial defensive or counter-offensive that can be compared to its scorched earth policies against Western European invaders during the Napoleonic Wars, the First World War, and the Second World War. If Russian banks and institutions default and do not pay or delay payment of their derivative debts and justify it on the basis of the economic warfare and economic terrorism, there would be a financial shock and tsunami that would vertebrate from the European Union to North America. This scenario has some parallels to the steps that Argentina is taken to sidestep the vulture funds.

The currency war eventually will rebound on Washington and Wall Street. The energy war will also reverse directions. Already, the Kremlin has made it clear that it and a coalition of other countries will de-claw the US in the currency market through a response that will neutralize US financial manipulation and the petro-dollar. In the words of Sergey Glazyev, Moscow is thinking of a «systemic and comprehensive» response «aimed at exposing and ending US political domination, and, most importantly, at undermining US military-political power based on the printing of dollars as a global currency». [22] His solution includes the creation of «a coalition of sound forces advocating stability — in essence, a global anti-war coalition with a positive plan for rearranging the international financial and economic architecture on the principles of mutual benefit, fairness, and respect for national sovereignty». [23]

The coming century will not be the «American Century» as the neo-conservatives in Washington think. It will be a «Eurasian Century». Washington has taken on more than it can handle, this may be why the US government has announced an end to its sanctions regime against Cuba and why the US is trying to rekindle trade ties with Iran. Despite this, the architecture of the post-Second World War or post-1945 global order is now in its death bed and finished. This is what the Kremlin and Putin’s presidential spokesman and press secretary Dmitry Peskov mean when they impart—as Peskov stated to Rossiya-24 in a December 17, 2014 interview — that the year 2014 has finally led to «a paradigm shift in the international system».

NOTES

[1] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Oil Prices and Energy Wars: The Empire of Frack versus Russia,»Strategic Culture Foundation, December 5, 2014.
[2] Official Kremlin version of the transcribed press conference — titled «News conference of Vladimir Putin» (December 18, 2014)—has been used in quoting Vladimir Putin.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Psychological War In The Financial Markets And The Sino-Russian Gas Deal,» Mint Press News, May 29, 2014.
[6] Supra. n.2.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «The ‘Great Game’ Enters the Mediterranean: Gas, Oil, War, and Geo-Politics,» Global Research, October 14, 2007.
[9] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Oil Prices and Energy Wars,» op. cit.; Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Turkey & Iran: More than meets the eye»RT, January 20, 2014.
[10] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «Psychological War In The Financial Markets,» op. cit.
[11] Supra. n.2.
[12] Ibid.
[13] Sergey Glazyev, «Alyona Berezovskaya interviews Sergei Glazyev,» Interview with Alyona Berezovskaya, Ukraine.ru, July 17, 2014: .
[14] Ibid.
[15] Sergey Glazyev, «The Threat of War and the Russian Response,» Russia in Global Affairs, September 24, 2014.
[16] Sergey Glazyev, «Alyona Berezovskaya interviews,» op. cit.
[17] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, «WWIII aimed to redraw map of Russia?» Strategic Culture Foundation, September 10, 2014.
[18] Sergey Glazyev, «Alyona Berezovskaya interviews,» op. cit.
[19] Ibid.
[20] Всероссийский центр изучения общественного мнения [Russian Public Opinion Research Center], «Россия-США отношенияв точке замерзания» [«Russia-US Relations at Freezing Point»], Press release 2729, December 4, 2014: .
[21] Ibid.
[22] Sergey Glazyev, «The Threat of War,» op. cit.
[23] Ibid.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on From Energy War to Currency War: America’s Attack on the Russian Ruble

EASTERN SYRIA: TRIBES UNITE WITH SYRIAN ARMY TO CRUSH ISIS

NOVANEWS
TAL SALMU, AL-HAMEEDIYYA, KHUSHAYR LIBERATED!! IDLIB’S TERRORISTS DANCING ON HOT COALS

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Maj. General ‘Issaam Zhahreddeen, commander of Syrian Armed Forces in Dayr El-Zor and its military airbase, poses with newly recruited villagers and members of the Shu’aytaat tribe after their announcement of total support for the SAA

They now call themselves the Popular Resistance Front (Jabhat Al-Muqaawama Al-Sha’biyya).  This is the people’s answer to the savagery of ISIS.  These tribes along the Euphrates were once opposed to the government and minority groups, that is, until ISIS knocked on their door and began kidnapping women and children; beheading and crucifying their young men; hanging those who defy ISIS and its Caliph of Kaka, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi.  It’s happening also all over Iraq. This is why Obama’s plans are falling apart.

1

Huwayjat Sakr:  A pack of ISIS vultures was hit right on the noggin’ by an SAA artillery shell killing an estimated 6.

Mu-Hassan:  This town is called “Not Good” for some reason.  A number of ISIS buzzards was brought down here by infantry fire.

Al-‘Abed Village:  5 kms from the city.  More ISIS skunks are rendered road kill.  This town figures prominently in the creation of the new militia formed by eastern Syrian tribesmen.  After the horrific kidnappings of 20+ women after the locals stopped it the first time; and after the murder/exectuons of 3 and then, 6, young men, the people here announced first their intent to fight alongside the SAA and wreak vengeance on the mostly disgusting, mephitic rodents who populate ISIS.

Al-Muree’iyya: Ditto.

IDLIB:

Many of our readers were concerned after the evacuation of the Waadi Dhayf AB last week thinking that the rodents were somehow making progress on the field against the SAA.  Let me disabuse you of any such notions.  The Airbase was ordered evacuated after over 11 months of siege by Nusra and its confederates.  The base withstood over 50 suicide truck bombings during those months, none of which penetrated the perimeter of the base.  The reason for the durability of the base was the combination of very alert defenders protected overhead by the SAAF which flew regular missions to strafe the terrorists and to drop supplies and ammunition for the soldiers.

The absence of air power on the day in question was the crucial element that tilted the SAA HQ in the direction of evacuation and redeployment.  The force arrayed on the Nusra side was over 4,000 rodents armed this time with 7 tanks and many armored vehicles, not to mention the ubiquitous pickup truck with 23mm cannons.  Why there was no air power on the day the camp was abandoned was due to fog.  A thick, dense, impenetrable fog common in the area during this time of year complicated the ability of the SAAF to precisely target the enemy formations leading to the decision many of you thought was indicative of defeat.

The SAA HQ had to deal first with the number of wounded soldiers being treated by a team of military physicians who had always possessed sufficient equipment and materiel to deal with wounded troops from the base and troops from other areas of combat.  They had to be evacuated first.  And while it is true that some wounded soldiers were killed in transit out of the camp, the vast majority made it to safety along with the impavid soldiers who engineered the tactically correct withdrawal flawlessly.

Hawsh Istabraq:  About 50kms from the city, the SAA cornered and killed these members of Ahraar Al-Shaam:

Aassi Milhim Dardar

Mustafaa Kaayid Al-Kawwaa`

Ahmad Al-Masri

Muhammad Al-Masri

‘Imaad Ghaanim

3 were taken prisoner.

Our congratulations to the Al-Masri family for its generous contribution to the All Souls College, Oxford-on-Styx.

THE SYRIAN ARMY HAS NOW CONFIRMED THE CLEAN-UP OF ALL TERRORISTS RODENTS AT TAL SALMU, AL-HAMEEDIYYA, KHUSHAYR.  THE FLAG OF THE REPUBLIC WAS HOISTED HIGH AND IS FLUTTERING AT THESE MUCH-RELIEVED TOWNS.

Al-Habeet:  A huge number of rodents killed here.  Wael reports an excess of 50 just southwest of Idlib City a distance of 77 kms.  The area is still being assessed and no names are available.

Abu Dhuhoor AB:  A large contingent of SAA upper-level commanders are still meeting there to insure the successful defense of this important and functional air base.  SAA-MI has noted the massing of Al-Jabha Al-Islamiyya, Ahraar AlShaam and Nusra after these groups realized they had gained nothing with their sacrifices at Wadi Al-Dhayf. (Bear in mind the SAA left nothing at the base for the rats to trumpet.  All photos of equipment they claimed to have taken from the SAA was materiel they had before.)  Expect a proactive assault by SAA here and hundred of rat deaths, very soon.

Ma’rrat Hurma:  14 Nusra rodents took the sewer pipe down to Hell at this town 20kms southwest of Ma’arrat Al-Nu’maan on the Saraaqib-Aleppo Road.  5 vehicles including 2 pickups with cannons were destroyed completely.  Weapons and ammunition were removed from the rat carcasses for distribution to our militias for killing Saudi Wahhabists.

Saraaqib: This town with its ice cream factories is hardly worth the paper I’m using.  The groups found here are Nusra, Jabhat Thuwwaar Sooriyya (Ma’roof’s gand of idiots), Harakat Hazm (America’s darlings, nyuk), Ahraar Al-Shaam, Jund Al-Aqsaa.

Taftanaaz:  The helicopter graveyard.  This is the base the BBC thought was so important but turned out to be nothing more than a repair facility for old helicopters.  In a unique operation, yesterday, the SAA trapped and killed 10 rats who had been in the process of smuggling out priceless images of the Canaanite God of Storms and Wind, Haddad, and the Canaanite Venus, Ishtar, goddess of beauty and fertility.  This town has an Hittite name, like so many in the north of Idlib.

Al-Baarra:  Another archeologically rich area west of the city.  Here you will find ancient churches, castles and cemeteries going back 2 thousand years.  It has also been pillaged by Obama’s rats.

Hazanu near the Baab Al-Hawaa Crossing on the Turk border:  SAA assaulted a pack of rodents and killed 2.  Note how the SAA is approaching the border.

Abu Hareef and Tal Tooqaan:  A confirmed 18 rats killed here yesterday.  All were foreign.

Shahranaaz:  No details about fighting here.

Ba’arbu at the flats around Shahshabu Mountain near Hama.  Nusra and Liwaa` Fursaan Al-Haqq (Knights of Justice Brigade, oh please!) were annihilated by SAAF.

Fighting also reported at Qatroon Farms,  and Al-Baraagheeti.

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Palestinian dilly-dallying must stop

NOVANEWS
Mahmoud Abbas

Zionist Traitr Mahmoud Abbas

By Jamal Kanj

On 1 January it will be 50 years since the start of the modern Palestinian revolution, and on the 15th it will be 10 years since Mahmoud Abbas was first, and last, elected as the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Empty threats

Two years after becoming a non-member state of the United Nations, the PA is circulating a UN Security Council draft resolution to set a timeframe for full Israeli withdrawal and the establishment of an independent Palestine. On the other hand, France appeared to posit a European-led alternative resolution emphasising a restart of negotiations, rather than specifying an end to the occupation.

Last week, following the murder of one of its ministers, the PA threatened to stop security coordination with Israel. This week in Algeria, President Abbas reiterated the same threat if the UN failed to put an end to the Israeli occupation.

A little over a year ago, US Secretary of State John Kerry succeeded in cajoling the PA to go back to the negotiation table, promising to make every effort “…to reach a final status agreement, not an interim agreement” in nine months.

The PA agreed with the understanding that Israel would unofficially limit the building of new Jews-only colonies and release, in batches, 104 Palestinian prisoners held from before the Oslo accord.

In turn, the PA agreed to hold off from joining new UN organisations during the negotiations.

Broken promises

Soon after the talks started, Israel issued permits to build new Jews-only homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Following Palestinian protests, Israel’s response to Kerry’s team was that Israel did not consider East Jerusalem part of the West Bank.

The inept – or colluding – US mediators in effect told the Palestinians that East Jerusalem wasn’t specifically mentioned in the agreement. It would be worth noting that the American team was led by Martin Indyk, a known Zionist who for many years was on the payroll of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and other Israeli think tanks in Washington.

The PA kept quiet, talks continued and, after each release of a group of Palestinian prisoners, Israel issued a batch of permits for illegal Jews-only homes in the occupied West Bank. Self-professed Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat angrily told his impassive Israeli counterpart: “We agreed on prisoners for no UN, not prisoners for settlements.’”

Yet, the exercise continued and, with every release of prisoners, held as hostages now to keep the sham negotiations going, Israel illegally gobbled up more Palestinian land.

At the end, Israel reneged on releasing the last batch of prisoners and, instead of forcing Israel to keep its commitment, the US sought to convince the PA to extend the negotiations.

… through its inaction, the Palestinian leadership risks history’s final verdict of being an accessory to the surrender of all of Palestine.

Needless to say, nine months later Israel built more than 15,000 Jews-only homes on occupied Palestinian land, the US did not deliver what it promised and the PA failed to act on its threat of joining UN organisations. To placate internal opposition, Abbas theatrically signed applications to join 15 irrelevant UN organisations such as the anti-corruption protocol. The highly-talked-about International Criminal Court (ICC) was conspicuously absent from the list.

Hitherto, and with upcoming elections, the Israeli government is likely to pander to the anti-peace camp by issuing new illegal Jews-only homes. In a repeat of the same history, the US is likely to pressure the PA to hold back in the hope that a more moderate Israeli government is elected.

But if the Americans are genuinely interested in a moderate coalition, then they should not reward the current right-wing government by blocking the UN vote to end the Israeli occupation.

If not, the PA should stop dilly-dallying and sidestep the US-throttled UN Security Council by signing the Rome Statute to become a fully-fledged ICC member. Otherwise, through its inaction, the Palestinian leadership risks history’s final verdict of being an accessory to the surrender of all of Palestine.

Posted in Palestine AffairsComments Off on Palestinian dilly-dallying must stop

ISIS: THE INSIDE STORY

NOVANEWS

Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

In the summer of 2004, a young jihadist in shackles and chains was walked by his captors slowly into the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq. He was nervous as two American soldiers led him through three brightly-lit buildings and then a maze of wire corridors, into an open yard, where men with middle-distance stares, wearing brightly-coloured prison uniforms, stood back warily, watching him.

“I knew some of them straight away,” he told me last month.

“I had feared Bucca all the way down on the plane. But when I got there, it was much better than I thought. In every way.”

The jihadist, who uses the nom de guerre Abu Ahmed, entered Camp Bucca as a young man a decade ago, and is now a senior official within Islamic State (Isis) – having risen through its ranks with many of the men who served time alongside him in prison. Like him, the other detainees had been snatched by US soldiers from Iraq’s towns and cities and flown to a place that had already become infamous: a foreboding desert fortress that would shape the legacy of the US presence in Iraq.

The other prisoners did not take long to warm to him, Abu Ahmed recalled. They had also been terrified of Bucca, but quickly realised that far from their worst fears, the US-run prison provided an extraordinary opportunity. “We could never have all got together like this in Baghdad, or anywhere else,” he told me.

“It would have been impossibly dangerous. Here, we were not only safe, but we were only a few hundred metres away from the entire Al Qaeda leadership.”

It was at Camp Bucca that Abu Ahmed first met Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir of Isis who is now frequently described as the world’s most dangerous terrorist leader. From the beginning, Abu Ahmed said, others in the camp seemed to defer to him. “Even then, he was Abu Bakr. But none of us knew he would ever end up as leader.”

Abu Ahmed was an essential member of the earliest incarnation of the group. He had been galvanised into militancy as a young man by an American occupation that he and many like him believed was trying to impose a power shift in Iraq, favouring the country’s larger Shia population at the expense of the dominant Sunnis. His early role in what would become Isis led naturally to the senior position he now occupies within a revitalised insurgency that has spilled across the border into Syria. Most of his colleagues regard the crumbling order in the region as a fulfilment of their ambitions in Iraq – which had remained unfinished business, until the war in Syria gave them a new arena.

He agreed to speak publicly after more than two years of discussions, over the course of which he revealed his own past as one of Iraq’s most formidable and connected militants – and shared his deepening worry about Isis and its vision for the region.

With Iraq and Syria ablaze, and the Middle East apparently condemned to another generation of upheaval and bloodshed at the hands of his fellow ideologues, Abu Ahmed is having second thoughts. The brutality of Isis is increasingly at odds with his own views, which have mellowed with age as he has come to believe that the teachings of the Qur’an can be interpreted and not read literally.

His misgivings about what the Islamic State has become led him to speak to the Guardian in a series of expansive conversations, which offer unique insight into its enigmatic leader and the nascent days of the terror group – stretching from 2004, when he met Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Camp Bucca, to 2011, when the Iraqi insurgency crossed the border into Syria.

At the beginning, back in Bucca, the prisoner who would become the most wanted man in the world had already set himself apart from the other inmates, who saw him as aloof and opaque.

But, Abu Ahmed recalled, the jailers had a very different impression of Baghdadi – they saw him as a conciliatory and calming influence in an environment short on certainty, and turned to him to help resolve conflicts among the inmates.

“That was part of his act,” Abu Ahmed told me.

“I got a feeling from him that he was hiding something inside, a darkness that he did not want to show other people. He was the opposite of other princes who were far easier to deal with. He was remote, far from us all.”

Baghdadi was born Ibrahim ibn Awwad al-Badri al-Samarrai in 1971, in the Iraqi city of Samarra. He was detained by US forces in Falluja, west of Baghdad, in February 2004, months after he had helped found a militant group, Jeish Ahl al-Sunnah al-Jamaah, which had taken root in the restive Sunni communities around his home city.

“He was caught at his friend’s house,” said Dr Hisham al-Hashimi, an analyst who advises the Iraqi government on Isis.

“His friend’s name was Nasif Jasim Nasif. Then he was moved to Bucca. The Americans never knew who they had.”

Most of Baghdadi’s fellow prisoners, some 24,000 men, divided into 24 camps, seem to have been equally unaware. The prison was run along strictly hierarchical lines, down to a Teletubbies-like uniform colour scheme which allowed jailers and captives alike to recognise each detainee’s place in the pecking order.

“The colour of the clothes we wore reflected our status,” said Abu Ahmed.

“If I remember things correctly, red was for people who had done things wrong while in prison, white was a prison chief, green was for a long sentence and yellow and orange were normal.”

When Baghdadi, aged 33, arrived at Bucca, the Sunni-led anti-US insurgency was gathering steam across central and western Iraq. An invasion that had been sold as a war of liberation had become a grinding occupation. Iraq’s Sunnis, disenfranchised by the overthrow of their patron, Saddam Hussein, were taking the fight to US forces – and starting to turn their guns towards the beneficiaries of Hussein’s overthrow, the country’s majority Shia population.

The small militant group that Baghdadi headed was one of dozens that sprouted from a broad Sunni revolt – many of which would soon come together under the flag of Al Qaeda in Iraq, and then the Islamic State of Iraq. These were the precursors to the juggernaut now known simply as the Islamic State, which has, under Bagdhadi’s command, overrun much of the west and centre of the country and eastern Syria, and drawn the US military back to a deeply destabilised region less than three years after it left vowing never to return.

But at the time of his stay at Bucca, Baghdadi’s group was little-known, and he was a far less significant figure than the insurgency’s notional leader, the merciless Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who came to represent the sum of all fears for many in Iraq, Europe and the US.

Baghdadi, however, had a unique way to distinguish himself from the other aspiring leaders inside Bucca and outside on Iraq’s savage streets: a pedigree that allowed him to claim direct lineage to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). He had also obtained a PhD in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad, and would draw on both to legitimise his unprecedented claim to anoint himself caliph of the Islamic world in July 2014, which realised a sense of destiny evident in the prison yard a decade earlier.

“Baghdadi was a quiet person,” said Abu Ahmed.

“He has a charisma. You could feel that he was someone important. But there were others who were more important. I honestly did not think he would get this far.”

Baghdadi also seemed to have a way with his captors. According to Abu Ahmed, and two other men who were jailed at Bucca in 2004, the Americans saw him as a fixer who could solve fractious disputes between competing factions and keep the camp quiet.

“But as time went on, every time there was a problem in the camp, he was at the centre of it,” Abu Ahmed recalled.

“He wanted to be the head of the prison – and when I look back now, he was using a policy of conquer and divide to get what he wanted, which was status. And it worked.”

By December 2004, Baghdadi was deemed by his jailers to pose no further risk and his release was authorised.

“He was respected very much by the US army,” Abu Ahmed said.

“If he wanted to visit people in another camp he could, but we couldn’t. And all the while, a new strategy, which he was leading, was rising under their noses, and that was to build the Islamic State. If there was no American prison in Iraq, there would be no IS now. Bucca was a factory. It made us all. It built our ideology.”

As Isis has rampaged through the region, it has been led by men who spent time in US detention centres during the American occupation of Iraq – in addition to Bucca, the US also ran Camp Cropper, near Baghdad airport, and, for an ill-fated 18 months early in the war, Abu Ghraib prison on the capital’s western outskirts.

Many of those released from these prisons – and indeed, several senior American officers who ran detention operations – have admitted that the prisons had an incendiary effect on the insurgency.

“I went to plenty of meetings where guys would come through and tell us how well it was all going,” said Ali Khedery, a special aide to all US ambassadors who served in Iraq from 2003-11, and to three US military commanders. But eventually even top American officers came to believe they had “actually become radicalising elements. They were counterproductive in many ways. They were being used to plan and organise, to appoint leaders and launch operations.”

We wrote each other’s details on the elastic of our boxer shorts. When we got out, we called each other.

Abu Ahmed agreed. “In prison, all of the princes were meeting regularly. We became very close to those we were jailed with. We knew their capabilities. We knew what they could and couldn’t do, how to use them for whatever reason. The most important people in Bucca were those who had been close to Zarqawi. He was recognised in 2004 as being the leader of the jihad.

“We had so much time to sit and plan,” he continued.

 A US Army soldier stands guard during visitation for detained Iraqi men at the Camp Bucca detention centre located near the Kuwait-Iraq border. — Photo by AFP
A US Army soldier stands guard during visitation for detained Iraqi men at the Camp Bucca detention centre located near the Kuwait-Iraq border. — Photo by AFP

“It was the perfect environment. We all agreed to get together when we got out. The way to reconnect was easy. We wrote each other’s details on the elastic of our boxer shorts. When we got out, we called. Everyone who was important to me was written on white elastic. I had their phone numbers, their villages. By 2009, many of us were back doing what we did before we were caught. But this time we were doing it better.”

According to Hisham al-Hashimi, the Baghdad-based analyst, the Iraqi government estimates that 17 of the 25 most important Islamic State leaders running the war in Iraq and Syria spent time in US prisons between 2004 and 2011. Some were transferred from American custody to Iraqi prisons, where a series of jailbreaks in the last several years allowed many senior leaders to escape and rejoin the insurgent ranks.

Abu Ghraib was the scene of the biggest – and most damaging – breakout in 2013, with up to 500 inmates, many of them senior jihadists handed over by the departing US military, fleeing in July of that year after the prison was stormed by Islamic State forces, who launched a simultaneous, and equally successful, raid on nearby Taji prison.

Iraq’s government closed Abu Ghraib in April 2014 and it now stands empty, 15 miles from Baghdad’s western outskirts, near the frontline between Isis and Iraq’s security forces, who seem perennially under-prepared as they stare into the heat haze shimmering over the highway that leads towards the badlands of Falluja and Ramadi.

Parts of both cities have become a no-go zone for Iraq’s beleaguered troops, who have been battered and humiliated by Isis, a group of marauders unparalleled in Mesopotamia since the time of the Mongols. When I visited the abandoned prison late this summer, a group of disinterested Iraqi forces sat at a checkpoint on the main road to Baghdad, eating watermelon as the distant rumble of shellfire sounded in the distance. The imposing walls of Abu Ghraib were behind them, and their jihadist enemies were staked out further down the road.

The revelation of abuses at Abu Ghraib had a radicalising effect on many Iraqis, who saw the purported civility of American occupation as little improvement on the tyranny of Saddam.

While Bucca had few abuse complaints prior to its closure in 2009, it was seen by Iraqis as a potent symbol of an unjust policy, which swept up husbands, fathers, and sons – some of them non-combatants – in regular neighbourhood raids, and sent them away to prison for months or years.

At the time, the US military countered that its detention operations were valid, and that similar practices had been deployed by other forces against insurgencies – such as the British in Northern Ireland, the Israelis in Gaza and the West Bank, and the Syrian and Egyptian regimes.

Even now, five years after the US closed down Bucca, the Pentagon defends the camp as an example of lawful policy for a turbulent time.

“During operations in Iraq from 2003 to 2011, US Forces held thousands of Law of War detainees,” said Lt Col Myles B Caggins III, a US Department of Defense spokesman for detainee policy.

“These type of detentions are common practice during armed conflict. Detaining potentially dangerous people is the legal and humane method of providing security and stability for civilian populations.”

Some time after Baghdadi was released from Bucca, Abu Ahmed was also freed. After being flown to Baghdad airport, he was picked up by men he had met in Bucca. They took him to a home in the west of the capital, where he immediately rejoined the jihad, which had transformed from a fight against an occupying army into a vicious and unrestrained war against Iraqi Shia.

Death squads were by then roaming Baghdad and much of central Iraq, killing members of opposite sects with routine savagery and exiling residents from neighbourhoods they dominated. The capital had quickly become a very different place to the city Abu Ahmed had left a year earlier.

But with the help of new arrivals at Bucca, those inside the prison had been able to monitor every new development in the unfolding sectarian war. Abu Ahmed knew the environment he was returning to. And his camp commanders had plans for him.

 Iraqi detainees sleeping outside their tents in Camp Bucca, Iraq. — Photo by AFP
Iraqi detainees sleeping outside their tents in Camp Bucca, Iraq. — Photo by AFP

The first thing he did when he was safe in west Baghdad was to undress, then carefully take a pair of scissors to his underwear. “I cut the fabric from my boxers and all the numbers were there. We reconnected. And we got to work.” Across Iraq, other ex-inmates were doing the same.

“It really was that simple,” Abu Ahmed said, smiling for the first time in our conversation as he recalled how his captors had been outwitted.

“Boxers helped us win the war.”

Zarqawi wanted a 9/11 moment to escalate the conflict – something that would take the fight to the heart of the enemy, Abu Ahmed recalled. In Iraq, that meant one of two targets – a seat of Shia power or, even better, a defining religious symbol. In February 2006, and again two months later, Zarqawi’s bombers destroyed the Imam al-Askari shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad. The sectarian war was fully ignited and Zarqawi’s ambitions realised.

Asked about the merits of this violent provocation, Abu Ahmed paused for the first time in our many conversations.

“There was a reason for opening this war,” he said.

“It was not because they are Shia, but because the Shia were pushing for it. The American army was facilitating the takeover of Iraq and giving the country to them. They were in cooperation with each other.”

He then reflected on the man who gave the orders.

“Zarqawi was very smart. He was the best strategist that the Islamic State has had. Abu Omar [al-Baghdadi] was ruthless,” Abu Ahmed said, referring to Zarqawi’s successor, who was killed in a US-led raid in April 2010.

“And Abu Bakr is the most bloodthirsty of all.

“After Zarqawi was killed, the people who liked killing even more than him became very important in the organisation. Their understanding of sharia and of humanity was very cheap. They don’t understand the Tawheed (the Qur’anic concept of God’s oneness) the way it was meant to be understood. The Tawheed should not have been forced by war.”

Despite reservations that were already starting to stir, by 2006, Abu Ahmed had become part of a killing machine that would operate at full speed for much of the following two years. Millions of citizens were displaced, neighbourhoods were cleansed along sectarian lines, and an entire population numbed by unchecked brutality.

That summer, the US finally caught up with Zarqawi, with the help of Jordanian intelligence, killing him in an airstrike north of Baghdad. From late 2006, the organisation was on the back foot – hampered by a tribal revolt that uprooted its leadership from Anbar and shrank its presence elsewhere in Iraq.

But according to Abu Ahmed, the group used the opportunity to evolve, revealing a pragmatism in addition to its hardline ideology. For Isis, the relatively quiet years between 2008 and 2011 represented a lull, not a defeat.

By this time, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had risen steadily through the group to become a trusted aide to its leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, and his deputy, the Egyptian jihadist Abu Ayub al-Masri. It was at this point, Abu Ahmed said, that Isis made an approach to the Ba’athist remnants of the old regime – ideological opponents who shared a common enemy in the US and the Shia-led government it backed.

Earlier incarnations of Isis had dabbled with the Ba’athists, who lost everything when Saddam was ousted, under the same premise that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. But by early 2008, Abu Ahmed and other sources said, these meetings had become far more frequent – and many of them were taking place in Syria.

Syria’s links to the Sunni insurgency in Iraq had been regularly raised by US officials in Baghdad and by the Iraqi government. Both were convinced that the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, allowed jihadists to fly into Damascus airport, where military officials would escort them to the border with Iraq. “All the foreigners I knew got into Iraq that way,” Abu Ahmed told me.

“It was no secret.”

From 2008, when the US began to negotiate the transition of its powers to Iraq’s feeble security institutions – and therefore pave the way to its own exit – the Americans increasingly turned to only a few trusted figures in the Iraqi government. One of them was Major General Hussein Ali Kamal, the director of intelligence in the country’s Interior Ministry. A secular Kurd who had the trust of the Shia establishment, one of Kamal’s many duties was to secure Baghdad against terror attacks.

Like the Americans, General Kamal was convinced that Syria was destabilising Iraq, an assessment based on the interrogations of jihadists who had been captured by his troops.

Throughout 2009, in a series of interviews, Kamal laid out his evidence, using maps that plotted the routes used by jihadists to cross the border into western Iraq, and confessions that linked their journeys to specific mid-ranking officers in Syrian military intelligence.

Seventeen of the 25 most important Islamic State leaders now running the war in Iraq and Syria spent time in US prisons

As Isis activity ebbed in Iraq, he had become increasingly obsessed with two meetings that had taken place in Syria early in 2009, which brought together Iraqi jihadists, Syrian officials and Ba’athists from both countries.

(Kamal, who was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2012, died earlier this year, and authorised me to publish details of our conversations. “Just tell the truth,” he said during our last interview in June 2014.)

When I first met him in 2009, he was poring over transcripts of recordings that had been made at two secret meetings in Zabadani, near Damascus, in the spring of that year. The attendees included senior Iraqi Ba’athists who had taken refuge in Damascus since their patron Saddam was ousted, Syrian military intelligence officers, and senior figures in what was then known as Al Qaeda in Iraq. The Syrians had developed links to the jihadists since the earliest days of the anti-US insurgency and had used them to unsettle the Americans and their plans for Iraq.

“By early in 2004/05, Islamic elements, jihadists and disenfranchised Ba’athists were starting to get together,” said Ali Khedery, the former adviser to American ambassadors and senior commanders in Bagdhad.

“They were naturally disciplined, well organised people who knew the lay of the land. And over time, some folks who were Ba’athists became more and more Islamist and the insurgency raged. By 2007, General [David] Petraeus was saying there was crystal clear intelligence of cooperation between Syrian military intelligence and the jihadists. Though the motivations never really aligned 100%.”

In our conversations, Abu Ahmed emphasised the Syrian connection to Iraq’s insurgency. “The mujahideen all came through Syria,” he said.

“I worked with many of them. Those in Bucca had flown to Damascus. A very small number had made it from Turkey, or Iran. But most came to Iraq with the help of the Syrians.”

“We had a source in the room wearing a wire,” at the meeting in Zabadani, General Kamal told me at the time.The supply line was viewed by Iraqi officials as an existential threat to Iraq’s government and was the main source of the poisonous relationship between Nouri al-Maliki, then Iraq’s prime minister, and Bashar al-Assad. Maliki had become convinced early in the civil war that Assad was trying to undermine his regime as a way to embarrass the Americans, and the evidence he saw in 2009 from the meeting in Damascus took his loathing of the Syrian leader to a whole new level.

“He is the most sensitive source we have ever had. As far as we know, this is the first time there has been a strategic level meeting between all of these groups. It marks a new point in history.”

The Ba’athists present led the meeting. Their aim, according to General Kamal’s source, was to launch a series of spectacular attacks in Baghdad and thereby undermine Maliki’s Shia-majority government, which had for the first time begun to assert some order in post-civil war Iraq.

Until then, Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Ba’athists had been fierce ideological enemies, but the rising power of the Shias – and their backers in Iran – brought them together to plan a major strike on the capital.

By July 2009, the Interior Ministry had increased security at all checkpoints across the Tigris river into Baghdad, making a commute at any time of day even more insufferable than normal. And then General Kamal received a message from his source in Syria.

The extra security at the bridges had been spotted by the attack plotters, he said. New targets were being chosen, but he didn’t know what they were, or when they would be hit. For the next two weeks, Kamal worked well into the evening in his fortified office in the southern suburb of Arasat, before being sped by armoured convoy across the July 14 Bridge – which had been a target only days earlier – to his home inside the Green Zone.

For the rest of the month, General Kamal spent several hours each scorching night sweating it out on a treadmill, hoping that the exercise would clear his head and get him ahead of the attackers.

“I may be losing weight, but I’m not finding the terrorists,” he told me during our last conversation before the attackers finally struck.

“I know they’re planning something big.”

On the morning of 19 August, the first of three flat-bed trucks carrying three large 1000-litre water tanks, each filled with explosives, detonated on an overpass outside the Finance Ministry in south-eastern Baghdad.

The blast sent a rumble across the Emerald City, raising desert soil that caked homes brown, and sending thousands of pigeons scattering through the sky. Three minutes later, a second enormous bomb blew up outside the Foreign Ministry on the northern edge of the Green Zone. Shortly after that, a third blast hit a police convoy near the Finance Ministry. More than 101 people were killed and nearly 600 wounded; it was one of the deadliest attacks in the six-year-old Iraqi insurgency.

“I failed,” Kamal told me that day. “We all failed.”

Within hours, he was summoned to meet Maliki and his security chiefs. The prime minister was livid.

“He told me to present what I had to the Syrians,” Kamal later said.

“We arranged with Turkey to act as a mediator and I flew to Ankara to meet with them. I took this file” – he tapped a thick white folder on his desk – “and they could not argue with what we showed them. The case was completely solid and the Syrians knew it. Ali Mamlouk [the head of Syrian general security] was there. All he did was look at me smiling and say ‘I will not recognise any official from a country that is under US occupation’. It was a waste of time.”

Iraq recalled its ambassador to Damascus, and Syria ordered its envoy to Baghdad home in retaliation. Throughout the rest of the year, and into early 2010, relations between Maliki and Assad remained toxic.

In March 2010, Iraqi forces, acting on a US tip, arrested an Islamic State leader named Munaf Abdul Rahim al-Rawi, who was revealed to be one of the group’s main commanders in Baghdad, and one of the very few people who had access to the group’s then leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi. Al-Rawi talked.

And in a rare moment of collaboration, Iraq’s three main intelligence bodies, including General Kamal’s Intelligence Division, conspired to get a listening device and GPS location tracker in a flower box delivered to Abu Omar’s hideout.

After it was confirmed that Abu Omar and his deputy, Abu Ayub al-Masri, were present at a house six miles south-west of Tikrit, it was attacked in a US-led raid. Both men detonated suicide vests to avoid being captured. Messages to Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri were found on a computer inside the house.

Much like Bin Laden’s safe house in Pakistan, where he would be killed a little more than a year later, Abu Omar’s hideout had no internet connections or telephone lines – all important messages were carried in and out by only three men. One of them was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“Abu Bakr was a messenger for Abu Omar,” Abu Ahmed told me.

“He became the closest aide to him. The messages that got to Osama bin Laden were sometimes drafted by him and their journey always started with him. When Abu Omar was killed, Abu Bakr was made leader. That time we all had in Bucca became very important again.”

The deaths of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayub al-Masri were a serious blow to Isis, but the roles they had vacated were quickly filled by the alumni of Camp Bucca – whose upper echelons had begun preparing for this moment since their time behind the wire of their jail in southern Iraq.

“For us it was an academy,” Abu Ahmed said, “but for them” – the senior leaders – “it was a management school. There wasn’t a void at all, because so many people had been mentored in prison.

“When [the civil war in] Syria became serious,” he continued, “it wasn’t difficult to transfer all that expertise to a different battle zone. The Iraqis are the most important people on the military and Shura councils in Isis now, and that is because of all of those years preparing for such an event. I underestimated Baghdadi. And America underestimated the role it played in making him what he is.”

Abu Ahmed remains a member of Isis; he is active in the group’s operations in both Iraq and Syria. Throughout our discussions, he portrayed himself as a man reluctant to stay with the group, and yet unwilling to risk any attempt to leave.

Life with Isis means power, money, wives and status – all attractive lures for young firebrands with a cause – but it also means killing and dominating for a worldview in which he no longer believes so fervently. He said hundreds of young men like him, who were drawn to a Sunni jihad after the US invasion, do not believe that the latest manifestation of the decade-long war remains true to its origins.

“The biggest mistake I made is to join them,” Abu Ahmed said, but added that leaving the group would mean that he and his family would certainly be killed.

Staying and enforcing the group’s brutal vision, despite partially disavowing it, does not trouble Abu Ahmed, who sees himself as having few other options.

“It’s not that I don’t believe in Jihad,” he said.

“I do,” he continued, his voice trailing away.

“But what options do I have? If I leave, I am dead.”

The arc of his involvement with what is now the world’s most menacing terrorist group mirrors many others who now hold senior positions in the group: first a battle against an invading army, then a score to be settled with an ancient sectarian foe, and now, a war that could be acting out an end of days prophecy.

In the world of the Bucca alumni, there is little room for revisionism, or reflection. Abu Ahmed seems to feel himself swept along by events that are now far bigger than him, or anyone else.

“There are others who are not ideologues,” he said, referring to senior Isis members close to Baghdadi.

“People who started out in Bucca, like me. And then it got bigger than any of us. This can’t be stopped now. This is out of the control of any man. Not Baghdadi, or anyone else in his circle.”

Posted in Middle East, Iraq, SyriaComments Off on ISIS: THE INSIDE STORY

The shocking conspiracy to assassinate Mugabe ”VIDEO”

NOVANEWS
Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem,Sr

Published on Dec 2, 2013
Killing  Robert Mugabe: The inside story of how the Zimbabwe opposition may have plotted with western powers to oust President Robert Mugabe

 

 

Posted in AfricaComments Off on The shocking conspiracy to assassinate Mugabe ”VIDEO”

The Victory of ‘Perception Management’

NOVANEWS

Special Report: In the 1980s, the Reagan administration pioneered “perception management” to get the American people to “kick the Vietnam Syndrome” and accept more U.S. interventionism, but that propaganda structure continues to this day getting the public to buy in to endless war, writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

To understand how the American people find themselves trapped in today’s Orwellian dystopia of endless warfare against an ever-shifting collection of “evil” enemies, you have to think back to the Vietnam War and the shock to the ruling elite caused by an unprecedented popular uprising against that war.

While on the surface Official Washington pretended that the mass protests didn’t change policy, a panicky reality existed behind the scenes, a recognition that a major investment in domestic propaganda would be needed to ensure that future imperial adventures would have the public’s eager support or at least its confused acquiescence.

President Ronald Reagan meeting with media magnate Rupert Murdoch in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983, with Charles Wick, director of the U.S. Information Agency, the the background. (Credit: Reagan presidential library)

President Ronald Reagan meeting with media magnate Rupert Murdoch in the Oval Office on Jan. 18, 1983, with Charles Wick, director of the U.S. Information Agency, in the background. (Credit: Reagan presidential library)

This commitment to what the insiders called “perception management” began in earnest with the Reagan administration in the 1980s but it would come to be the accepted practice of all subsequent administrations, including the present one of President Barack Obama.

In that sense, propaganda in pursuit of foreign policy goals would trump the democratic ideal of an informed electorate. The point would be not to honestly inform the American people about events around the world but to manage their perceptions by ramping up fear in some cases and defusing outrage in others – depending on the U.S. government’s needs.

Thus, you have the current hysteria over Russia’s supposed “aggression” in Ukraine when the crisis was actually provoked by the West, including by U.S. neocons who helped create today’s humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine that they now cynically blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Yet, many of these same U.S. foreign policy operatives – outraged over Russia’s limited intervention to protect ethic Russians in eastern Ukraine – are demanding that President Obama launch an air war against the Syrian military as a “humanitarian” intervention there.

In other words, if the Russians act to shield ethnic Russians on their border who are being bombarded by a coup regime in Kiev that was installed with U.S. support, the Russians are the villains blamed for the thousands of civilian deaths, even though the vast majority of the casualties have been inflicted by the Kiev regime from indiscriminate bombing and from dispatching neo-Nazi militias to do the street fighting.

In Ukraine, the exigent circumstances don’t matter, including the violent overthrow of the constitutionally elected president last February. It’s all about white hats for the current Kiev regime and black hats for the ethnic Russians and especially for Putin.

But an entirely different set of standards has applied to Syria where a U.S.-backed rebellion, which included violent Sunni jihadists from the start, wore the white hats and the relatively secular Syrian government, which has responded with excessive violence of its own, wears the black hats. But a problem to that neat dichotomy arose when one of the major Sunni rebel forces, the Islamic State, started seizing Iraqi territory and beheading Westerners.

Faced with those grisly scenes, President Obama authorized bombing the Islamic State forces in both Iraq and Syria, but neocons and other U.S. hardliners have been hectoring Obama to go after their preferred target, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, despite the risk that destroying the Syrian military could open the gates of Damascus to the Islamic State or al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Lost on the Dark Side

You might think that the American public would begin to rebel against these messy entangling alliances with the 1984-like demonizing of one new “enemy” after another. Not only have these endless wars drained trillions of dollars from the U.S. taxpayers, they have led to the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops and to the tarnishing of America’s image from the attendant evils of war, including a lengthy detour into the “dark side” of torture, assassinations and “collateral” killings of children and other innocents.

But that is where the history of “perception management” comes in, the need to keep the American people compliant and confused. In the 1980s, the Reagan administration was determined to “kick the Vietnam Syndrome,” the revulsion that many Americans felt for warfare after all those years in the blood-soaked jungles of Vietnam and all the lies that clumsily justified the war.

So, the challenge for the U.S. government became: how to present the actions of “enemies” always in the darkest light while bathing the behavior of the U.S. “side” in a rosy glow. You also had to stage this propaganda theater in an ostensibly “free country” with a supposedly “independent press.”

From documents declassified or leaked over the past several decades, including an unpublished draft chapter of the congressional Iran-Contra investigation, we now know a great deal about how this remarkable project was undertaken and who the key players were.

Perhaps not surprisingly much of the initiative came from the Central Intelligence Agency, which housed the expertise for manipulating target populations through propaganda and disinformation. The only difference this time would be that the American people would be the target population.

For this project, Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director William J. Casey sent his top propaganda specialist Walter Raymond Jr. to the National Security Council staff to manage the inter-agency task forces that would brainstorm and coordinate this “public diplomacy” strategy.

Many of the old intelligence operatives, including Casey and Raymond, are now dead, but other influential Washington figures who were deeply involved by these strategies remain, such as neocon stalwart Robert Kagan, whose first major job in Washington was as chief of Reagan’s State Department Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America.

Now a fellow at the Brookings Institution and a columnist at the Washington Post, Kagan remains an expert in presenting foreign policy initiatives within the “good guy/bad guy” frames that he learned in the 1980s. He is also the husband of Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who oversaw the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych last February amid a very effective U.S. propaganda strategy.

During the Reagan years, Kagan worked closely on propaganda schemes with Elliott Abrams, then the Assistant Secretary of State for Latin America. After getting convicted and then pardoned in the Iran-Contra scandal, Abrams reemerged on President George W. Bush’s National Security Council handling Middle East issues, including the Iraq War, and later “global democracy strategy.” Abrams is now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

These and other neocons were among the most diligent students learning the art of “perception management” from the likes of Raymond and Casey, but those propaganda skills have spread much more widely as “public diplomacy” and “information warfare” have now become an integral part of every U.S. foreign policy initiative.

A Propaganda Bureaucracy

Declassified documents now reveal how extensive Reagan’s propaganda project became with inter-agency task forces assigned to develop “themes” that would push American “hot buttons.” Scores of documents came out during the Iran-Contra scandal in 1987 and hundreds more are now available at the Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California.

What the documents reveal is that at the start of the Reagan administration, CIA Director Casey faced a daunting challenge in trying to rally public opinion behind aggressive U.S. interventions, especially in Central America. Bitter memories of the Vietnam War were still fresh and many Americans were horrified at the brutality of right-wing regimes in Guatemala and El Salvador, where Salvadoran soldiers raped and murdered four American churchwomen in December 1980.

The new leftist Sandinista government in Nicaragua also was not viewed with much alarm. After all, Nicaragua was an impoverished country of only about three million people who had just cast off the brutal dictatorship of Anastasio Somoza.

So, Reagan’s initial strategy of bolstering the Salvadoran and Guatemalan armies required defusing the negative publicity about them and somehow rallying the American people into supporting a covert CIA intervention inside Nicaragua via a counterrevolutionary force known as the Contras led by Somoza’s ex-National Guard officers.

Reagan’s task was made tougher by the fact that the Cold War’s anti-communist arguments had so recently been discredited in Vietnam. As deputy assistant secretary to the Air Force, J. Michael Kelly, put it, “the most critical special operations mission we have … is to persuade the American people that the communists are out to get us.”

At the same time, the White House worked to weed out American reporters who uncovered facts that undercut the desired public images. As part of that effort, the administration attacked New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner for disclosing the Salvadoran regime’s massacre of about 800 men, women and children in the village of El Mozote in northeast El Salvador in December 1981. Accuracy in Media and conservative news organizations, such as The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, joined in pummeling Bonner, who was soon ousted from his job.

But these were largely ad hoc efforts. A more comprehensive “public diplomacy” operation took shape beginning in 1982 when Raymond, a 30-year veteran of CIA clandestine services, was transferred to the NSC.

A slight, soft-spoken New Yorker who reminded some of a character from a John le Carré spy novel, Raymond was an intelligence officer who “easily fades into the woodwork,” according to one acquaintance. But Raymond would become the sparkplug for this high-powered propaganda network, according to a draft chapter of the Iran-Contra report.

Though the draft chapter didn’t use Raymond’s name in its opening pages, apparently because some of the information came from classified depositions, Raymond’s name was used later in the chapter and the earlier citations matched Raymond’s known role. According to the draft report, the CIA officer who was recruited for the NSC job had served as Director of the Covert Action Staff at the CIA from 1978 to 1982 and was a “specialist in propaganda and disinformation.”

“The CIA official [Raymond] discussed the transfer with [CIA Director] Casey and NSC Advisor William Clark that he be assigned to the NSC as [Donald] Gregg’s successor [as coordinator of intelligence operations in June 1982] and received approval for his involvement in setting up the public diplomacy program along with his intelligence responsibilities,” the chapter said.

“In the early part of 1983, documents obtained by the Select [Iran-Contra] Committees indicate that the Director of the Intelligence Staff of the NSC [Raymond] successfully recommended the establishment of an inter-governmental network to promote and manage a public diplomacy plan designed to create support for Reagan Administration policies at home and abroad.”

During his Iran-Contra deposition, Raymond explained the need for this propaganda structure, saying: “We were not configured effectively to deal with the war of ideas.”

One reason for this shortcoming was that federal law forbade taxpayers’ money from being spent on domestic propaganda or grassroots lobbying to pressure congressional representatives. Of course, every president and his team had vast resources to make their case in public, but by tradition and law, they were restricted to speeches, testimony and one-on-one persuasion of lawmakers.

But things were about to change. In a Jan. 13, 1983, memo, NSC Advisor Clark foresaw the need for non-governmental money to advance this cause. “We will develop a scenario for obtaining private funding,” Clark wrote.

As administration officials began reaching out to wealthy supporters, lines against domestic propaganda soon were crossed as the operation took aim not only at foreign audiences but at U.S. public opinion, the press and congressional Democrats who opposed funding the Nicaraguan Contras.

At the time, the Contras were earning a gruesome reputation as human rights violators and terrorists. To change this negative perception of the Contras as well as of the U.S.-backed regimes in El Salvador and Guatemala, the Reagan administration created a full-blown, clandestine propaganda network.

In January 1983, President Reagan took the first formal step to create this unprecedented peacetime propaganda bureaucracy by signing National Security Decision Directive 77, entitled “Management of Public Diplomacy Relative to National Security.” Reagan deemed it “necessary to strengthen the organization, planning and coordination of the various aspects of public diplomacy of the United States Government. “

Reagan ordered the creation of a special planning group within the National Security Council to direct these “public diplomacy” campaigns. The planning group would be headed by the CIA’s Walter Raymond Jr. and one of its principal arms would be a new Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America, housed at the State Department but under the control of the NSC.

CIA Taint

Worried about the legal prohibition barring the CIA from engaging in domestic propaganda, Raymond formally resigned from the CIA in April 1983, so, he said, “there would be no question whatsoever of any contamination of this.” But Raymond continued to act toward the U.S. public much like a CIA officer would in directing a propaganda operation in a hostile foreign country.

Raymond fretted, too, about the legality of Casey’s ongoing involvement. Raymond confided in one memo that it was important “to get [Casey] out of the loop,” but Casey never backed off and Raymond continued to send progress reports to his old boss well into 1986. It was “the kind of thing which [Casey] had a broad catholic interest in,” Raymond shrugged during his Iran-Contra deposition. He then offered the excuse that Casey undertook this apparently illegal interference in domestic politics “not so much in his CIA hat, but in his adviser to the president hat.”

As a result of Reagan’s decision directive, “an elaborate system of inter-agency committees was eventually formed and charged with the task of working closely with private groups and individuals involved in fundraising, lobbying campaigns and propagandistic activities aimed at influencing public opinion and governmental action,” the draft Iran-Contra chapter said. “This effort resulted in the creation of the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America and the Caribbean in the Department of State (S/LPD), headed by Otto Reich,” a right-wing Cuban exile from Miami.

Though Secretary of State George Shultz wanted the office under his control, President Reagan insisted that Reich “report directly to the NSC,” where Raymond oversaw the operations as a special assistant to the President and the NSC’s director of international communications, the chapter said.

“Reich relied heavily on Raymond to secure personnel transfers from other government agencies to beef up the limited resources made available to S/LPD by the Department of State,” the chapter said. “Personnel made available to the new office included intelligence specialists from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army. On one occasion, five intelligence experts from the Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, were assigned to work with Reich’s fast-growing operation.”

A “public diplomacy strategy paper,” dated May 5, 1983, summed up the administration’s problem. “As far as our Central American policy is concerned, the press perceives that: the USG [U.S. government] is placing too much emphasis on a military solution, as well as being allied with inept, right-wing governments and groups. …The focus on Nicaragua [is] on the alleged U.S.-backed ‘covert’ war against the Sandinistas. Moreover, the opposition … is widely perceived as being led by former Somozistas.”

The administration’s difficulty with most of these press perceptions was that they were correct. But the strategy paper recommended ways to influence various groups of Americans to “correct” the impressions anyway, removing what another planning document called “perceptional obstacles.”

“Themes will obviously have to be tailored to the target audience,” the strategy paper said.

Casey’s Hand

As the Reagan administration struggled to manage public perceptions, CIA Director Casey kept his personal hand in the effort. On one muggy day in August 1983, Casey convened a meeting of Reagan administration officials and five leading ad executives at the Old Executive Office Building next to the White House to come up with ideas for selling Reagan’s Central American policies to the American people.

Earlier that day, a national security aide had warmed the P.R. men to their task with dire predictions that leftist governments would send waves of refugees into the United States and cynically flood America with drugs. The P.R. executives jotted down some thoughts over lunch and then pitched their ideas to the CIA director in the afternoon as he sat hunched behind a desk taking notes.

“Casey was kind of spearheading a recommendation” for better public relations for Reagan’s Central America policies, recalled William I. Greener Jr., one of the ad men. Two top proposals arising from the meeting were for a high-powered communications operation inside the White House and private money for an outreach program to build support for U.S. intervention.

The results from the discussions were summed up in an Aug. 9, 1983, memo written by Raymond who described Casey’s participation in the meeting to brainstorm how “to sell a ‘new product’ – Central America – by generating interest across-the-spectrum.”

In the memo to then-U.S. Information Agency director Charles Wick, Raymond also noted that “via Murdock [sic] may be able to draw down added funds” to support pro-Reagan initiatives. Raymond’s reference to Rupert Murdoch possibly drawing down “added funds” suggests that the right-wing media mogul was already part of the covert propaganda operation. During this period, Wick also arranged direct meetings between Murdoch and President Reagan.

In line with the clandestine nature of the operation, Raymond also suggested routing the “funding via Freedom House or some other structure that has credibility in the political center.” (Freedom House would later emerge as a principal beneficiary of funding from the National Endowment for Democracy, which was also created under the umbrella of Raymond’s operation.)

As the Reagan administration pushed the envelope on domestic propaganda, Raymond continued to worry about Casey’s involvement. In an Aug. 29, 1983, memo, Raymond recounted a call from Casey pushing his P.R. ideas. Alarmed at a CIA director participating so brazenly in domestic propaganda, Raymond wrote that “I philosophized a bit with Bill Casey (in an effort to get him out of the loop)” but with little success.

Meanwhile, Reich’s Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America (S/LPD) proved extremely effective in selecting “hot buttons” that would anger Americans about the Sandinistas. He also browbeat news correspondents who produced stories that conflicted with the administration’s “themes.” Reich’s basic M.O. was to dispatch his propaganda teams to lobby news executives to remove or punish out-of-step reporters – with a disturbing degree of success. Reich once bragged that his office “did not give the critics of the policy any quarter in the debate.”

Another part of the office’s job was to plant “white propaganda” in the news media through op-eds secretly financed by the government. In one memo, Jonathan Miller, a senior public diplomacy official, informed White House aide Patrick Buchanan about success placing an anti-Sandinista piece in The Wall Street Journal’s friendly pages. “Officially, this office had no role in its preparation,” Miller wrote.

Other times, the administration put out “black propaganda,” outright falsehoods. In 1983, one such theme was designed to anger American Jews by portraying the Sandinistas as anti-Semitic because much of Nicaragua’s small Jewish community fled after the revolution in 1979.

However, the U.S. embassy in Managua investigated the charges and “found no verifiable ground on which to accuse the GRN [the Sandinista government] of anti-Semitism,” according to a July 28, 1983, cable. But the administration kept the cable secret and pushed the “hot button” anyway.

Black Hats/White Hats

Repeatedly, Raymond lectured his subordinates on the chief goal of the operation: “in the specific case of Nica[ragua], concentrate on gluing black hats on the Sandinistas and white hats on UNO [the Contras’ United Nicaraguan Opposition].” So Reagan’s speechwriters dutifully penned descriptions of Sandinista-ruled Nicaragua as a “totalitarian dungeon” and the Contras as the “moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers.”

As one NSC official told me, the campaign was modeled after CIA covert operations abroad where a political goal is more important than the truth. “They were trying to manipulate [U.S.] public opinion … using the tools of Walt Raymond’s trade craft which he learned from his career in the CIA covert operation shop,” the official admitted.

Another administration official gave a similar description to The Miami Herald’s Alfonso Chardy. “If you look at it as a whole, the Office of Public Diplomacy was carrying out a huge psychological operation, the kind the military conduct to influence the population in denied or enemy territory,” that official explained. [For more details, see Parry’s Lost History.]

Another important figure in the pro-Contra propaganda was NSC staffer Oliver North, who spent a great deal of his time on the Nicaraguan public diplomacy operation even though he is better known for arranging secret arms shipments to the Contras and to Iran’s radical Islamic government, leading to the Iran-Contra scandal.

The draft Iran-Contra chapter depicted a Byzantine network of contract and private operatives who handled details of the domestic propaganda while concealing the hand of the White House and the CIA. “Richard R. Miller, former head of public affairs at AID, and Francis D. Gomez, former public affairs specialist at the State Department and USIA, were hired by S/LPD through sole-source, no-bid contracts to carry out a variety of activities on behalf of the Reagan administration policies in Central America,” the chapter said.

“Supported by the State Department and White House, Miller and Gomez became the outside managers of [North operative] Spitz Channel’s fundraising and lobbying activities. They also served as the managers of Central American political figures, defectors, Nicaraguan opposition leaders and Sandinista atrocity victims who were made available to the press, the Congress and private groups, to tell the story of the Contra cause.”

Miller and Gomez facilitated transfers of money to Swiss and offshore banks at North’s direction, as they “became the key link between the State Department and the Reagan White House with the private groups and individuals engaged in a myriad of endeavors aimed at influencing the Congress, the media and public opinion,” the chapter said.

The Iran-Contra draft chapter also cited a March 10, 1985, memo from North describing his assistance to CIA Director Casey in timing disclosures of pro-Contra news “aimed at securing Congressional approval for renewed support to the Nicaraguan Resistance Forces.”

The chapter added: “Casey’s involvement in the public diplomacy effort apparently continued throughout the period under investigation by the Committees,” including a 1985 role in pressuring Congress to renew Contra aid and a 1986 hand in further shielding the Office of Public Diplomacy for Latin America from the oversight of Secretary Shultz.

A Raymond-authored memo to Casey in August 1986 described the shift of the S/LPD office – where Robert Kagan had replaced Reich – to the control of the Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, which was headed by Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who had tapped Kagan for the public diplomacy job.

Even after the Iran-Contra scandal unraveled in 1986-87 and Casey died of brain cancer on May 6, 1987, the Republicans fought to keep secret the remarkable story of the public diplomacy apparatus. As part of a deal to get three moderate Republican senators to join Democrats in signing the Iran-Contra majority report, Democratic leaders agreed to drop the draft chapter detailing the CIA’s domestic propaganda role (although a few references were included in the executive summary). But other Republicans, including Rep. Dick Cheney, still issued a minority report defending broad presidential powers in foreign affairs.

Thus, the American people were spared the chapter’s troubling conclusion: that a secret propaganda apparatus had existed, run by “one of the CIA’s most senior specialists, sent to the NSC by Bill Casey, to create and coordinate an inter-agency public-diplomacy mechanism [which] did what a covert CIA operation in a foreign country might do. [It] attempted to manipulate the media, the Congress and public opinion to support the Reagan administration’s policies.”

Kicking the Vietnam Syndrome

The ultimate success of Reagan’s propaganda strategy was affirmed during the tenure of his successor, George H.W. Bush, when Bush ordered a 100-hour ground war on Feb. 23, 1991, to oust Iraqi troops from Kuwait, which had been invaded the previous August.

Though Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had long been signaling a readiness to withdraw – and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had negotiated a withdrawal arrangement that even had the blessings of top U.S. commanders in the field – President Bush insisted on pressing ahead with the ground attack.

Bush’s chief reason was that he – and his Defense Secretary Dick Cheney – saw the assault against Iraq’s already decimated forces as an easy victory, one that would demonstrate America’s new military capacity for high-tech warfare and would cap the process begun a decade earlier to erase the Vietnam Syndrome from the minds of average Americans.

Those strategic aspects of Bush’s grand plan for a “new world order” began to emerge after the U.S.-led coalition started pummeling Iraq with air strikes in mid-January 1991. The bombings inflicted severe damage on Iraq’s military and civilian infrastructure and slaughtered a large number of non-combatants, including the incineration of some 400 women and children in a Baghdad bomb shelter on Feb. 13. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’sRecalling the Slaughter of Innocents.”]

The air war’s damage was so severe that some world leaders looked for a way to end the carnage and arrange Iraq’s departure from Kuwait. Even senior U.S. military field commanders, such as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, looked favorably on proposals for sparing lives.

But Bush was fixated on a ground war. Though secret from the American people at that time, Bush had long determined that a peaceful Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait would not be allowed. Indeed, Bush was privately fearful that the Iraqis might capitulate before the United States could attack.

At the time, conservative columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak were among the few outsiders who described Bush’s obsession with exorcising the Vietnam Syndrome. On Feb. 25, 1991, they wrote that the Gorbachev initiative brokering Iraq’s surrender of Kuwait “stirred fears” among Bush’s advisers that the Vietnam Syndrome might survive the Gulf War.

“There was considerable relief, therefore, when the President … made clear he was having nothing to do with the deal that would enable Saddam Hussein to bring his troops out of Kuwait with flags flying,” Evans and Novak wrote. “Fear of a peace deal at the Bush White House had less to do with oil, Israel or Iraqi expansionism than with the bitter legacy of a lost war. ‘This is the chance to get rid of the Vietnam Syndrome,’ one senior aide told us.”

In the 1999 book, Shadow, author Bob Woodward confirmed that Bush was adamant about fighting a war, even as the White House pretended it would be satisfied with an unconditional Iraqi withdrawal. “We have to have a war,” Bush told his inner circle of Secretary of State James Baker, national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and Gen. Colin Powell, according to Woodward.

“Scowcroft was aware that this understanding could never be stated publicly or be permitted to leak out. An American president who declared the necessity of war would probably be thrown out of office. Americans were peacemakers, not warmongers,” Woodward wrote.

The Ground War

However, the “fear of a peace deal” resurfaced in the wake of the U.S.-led bombing campaign. Soviet diplomats met with Iraqi leaders who let it be known that they were prepared to withdraw their troops from Kuwait unconditionally.

Learning of Gorbachev’s proposed settlement, Schwarzkopf also saw little reason for U.S. soldiers to die if the Iraqis were prepared to withdraw and leave their heavy weapons behind. There was also the prospect of chemical warfare that the Iraqis might use against advancing American troops. Schwarzkopf saw the possibility of heavy U.S. casualties.

But Gorbachev’s plan was running into trouble with President Bush and his political subordinates who wanted a ground war to crown the U.S. victory. Schwarzkopf reached out to Gen. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to make the case for peace with the President.

On Feb. 21, 1991, the two generals hammered out a cease-fire proposal for presentation to the NSC. The peace deal would give Iraqi forces one week to march out of Kuwait while leaving their armor and heavy equipment behind. Schwarzkopf thought he had Powell’s commitment to pitch the plan at the White House.

But Powell found himself caught in the middle. He wanted to please Bush while still representing the concerns of the field commanders. When Powell arrived at the White House late on the evening of Feb. 21, he found Bush angry about the Soviet peace initiative. Still, according to Woodward’sShadow, Powell reiterated that he and Schwarzkopf “would rather see the Iraqis walk out than be driven out.”

In My American Journey, Powell expressed sympathy for Bush’s predicament. “The President’s problem was how to say no to Gorbachev without appearing to throw away a chance for peace,” Powell wrote. “I could hear the President’s growing distress in his voice. ‘I don’t want to take this deal,’ he said. ‘But I don’t want to stiff Gorbachev, not after he’s come this far with us. We’ve got to find a way out’.”

Powell sought Bush’s attention. “I raised a finger,” Powell wrote. “The President turned to me. ‘Got something, Colin?’,” Bush asked. But Powell did not outline Schwarzkopf’s one-week cease-fire plan. Instead, Powell offered a different idea intended to make the ground offensive inevitable.

“We don’t stiff Gorbachev,” Powell explained. “Let’s put a deadline on Gorby’s proposal. We say, great idea, as long as they’re completely on their way out by, say, noon Saturday,” Feb. 23, less than two days away.

Powell understood that the two-day deadline would not give the Iraqis enough time to act, especially with their command-and-control systems severely damaged by the air war. The plan was a public-relations strategy to guarantee that the White House got its ground war. “If, as I suspect, they don’t move, then the flogging begins,” Powell told a gratified president.

The next day, at 10:30 a.m., a Friday, Bush announced his ultimatum. There would be a Saturday noon deadline for the Iraqi withdrawal, as Powell had recommended. Schwarzkopf and his field commanders in Saudi Arabia watched Bush on television and immediately grasped its meaning.

“We all knew by then which it would be,” Schwarzkopf wrote. “We were marching toward a Sunday morning attack.”

When the Iraqis predictably missed the deadline, American and allied forces launched the ground offensive at 0400 on Feb. 24, Persian Gulf time.

Though Iraqi forces were soon in full retreat, the allies pursued and slaughtered tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers in the 100-hour war. U.S. casualties were light, 147 killed in combat and another 236 killed in accidents or from other causes. “Small losses as military statistics go,” wrote Powell, “but a tragedy for each family.”

On Feb. 28, the day the war ended, Bush celebrated the victory. “By God, we’ve kicked the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all,” the President exulted, speaking to a group at the White House. [For more details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

So as not to put a damper on the post-war happy feelings, the U.S. news media decided not to show many of the grisliest photos, such as charred Iraqi soldiers ghoulishly still seated in their burned-out trucks where they had been incinerated while trying to flee. By that point, U.S. journalists knew it wasn’t smart for their careers to present a reality that didn’t make the war look good.

Enduring Legacy

Though Reagan’s creation of a domestic propaganda bureaucracy began more than three decades ago – and Bush’s vanquishing of the Vietnam Syndrome was more than two decades ago – the legacy of those actions continue to reverberate today in how the perceptions of the American people are now routinely managed. That was true during last decade’s Iraq War and this decade’s conflicts in Libya, Syria and Ukraine as well as the economic sanctions against Iran and Russia.

Indeed, while the older generation that pioneered these domestic propaganda techniques has passed from the scene, many of their protégés are still around along with some of the same organizations. The National Endowment for Democracy, which was formed in 1983 under the supervision of Walter Raymond’s NSC operation, is still run by the same neocon, Carl Gershman, and has an even bigger budget, now exceeding $100 million a year.

Gershman and his NED played important behind-the-scenes roles in instigating the Ukraine crisis by financing activists, journalists and other operatives who supported the coup against elected President Yanukovych. The NED-backed Freedom House also beat the propaganda drums. [See Consortiumnews.com’s A Shadow Foreign Policy.]

Two other Reagan-era veterans, Elliott Abrams and Robert Kagan, have both provided important intellectual support for continuing U.S. interventionism around the world. Earlier this year, Kagan’s article for The New Republic, entitled Superpowers Don’t Get to Retire,” touched such a raw nerve with President Obama that he hosted Kagan at a White House lunch and crafted the presidential commencement speech at West Point to deflect some of Kagan’s criticism of Obama’s hesitancy to use military force.

A New York Times article about Kagan’s influence over Obama reported that Kagan’s wife, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, apparently had a hand in crafting the attack on her ostensible boss, President Obama.

According to the Times article, the husband-and-wife team share both a common world view and professional ambitions, Nuland editing Kagan’s articles and Kagan “not permitted to use any official information he overhears or picks up around the house” – a suggestion that Kagan’s thinking at least may be informed by foreign policy secrets passed on by his wife.

Though Nuland wouldn’t comment specifically on Kagan’s attack on President Obama, she indicated that she holds similar views. “But suffice to say,” Nuland said, “that nothing goes out of the house that I don’t think is worthy of his talents. Let’s put it that way.”

Misguided Media

In the three decades since Reagan’s propaganda machine was launched, the American press corps also has fallen more and more into line with aggressive U.S. government’s foreign policy strategies. Those of us in the mainstream media who resisted the propaganda pressures mostly saw our careers suffer while those who played along moved steadily up the ranks into positions of more money and more status.

Even after the Iraq War debacle when nearly the entire mainstream media went with the pro-invasion flow, there was almost no accountability for that historic journalistic failure. Indeed, the neocon influence at major newspapers, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, only has solidified since.

Today’s coverage of the Syrian civil war or the Ukraine crisis is so firmly in line with the State Department’s propaganda “themes” that it would put smiles on the faces of William Casey and Walter Raymond if they were around today to see how seamlessly the “perception management” now works. There’s no need any more to send out “public diplomacy” teams to bully editors and news executives. Everyone is already onboard.

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is bigger than ever, but his neocon messaging barely stands out as distinctive, given how the neocons also have gained control of the editorial and foreign-reporting sections of the Washington Post, the New York Times and virtually every other major news outlet. For instance, the demonizing of Russian President Putin is now so total that no honest person could look at those articles and see anything approaching objective or evenhanded journalism. Yet, no one loses a job over this lack of professionalism.

The Reagan administration’s dreams of harnessing private foundations and non-governmental organizations have also come true. The Orwellian circle has been completed with many American “anti-war” groups advocating for “humanitarian” wars in Syria and other countries targeted by U.S. propaganda. [See Consortiumnews.com’s Selling ‘Peace Groups’ on US-Led Wars.]

Much as Reagan’s “public diplomacy” apparatus once sent around “defectors” to lambaste Nicaragua’s Sandinistas by citing hyped-up human rights violations now the work is done by NGOs with barely perceptible threads back to the U.S. government. Just as Freedom House had “credibility” in the 1980s because of its earlier reputation as a human rights group, now other groups carrying the “human rights” tag, such as Human Rights Watch, are in the forefront of urging U.S. military interventions based on murky or propagandistic claims. [See Consortiumnews.com’s The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”]

At this advanced stage of America’s quiet surrender to “perception management,” it is even hard to envision how one could retrace the many steps that would lead back to the concept of a democratic Republic based on an informed electorate. Many on the American Right remain entranced by the old propaganda theme about the “liberal media” and still embrace Reagan as their beloved icon. Meanwhile, many liberals can’t break away from their own wistful trust in the New York Times and their empty hope that the media really is “liberal.”

To confront the hard truth is not easy. Indeed, in this case, it can cause despair because there are so few voices to trust and they are easily drowned out by floods of disinformation that can come from any angle – right, left or center. Yet, for the American democratic Republic to reset its goal toward an informed electorate, there is no option other than to build institutions that are determinedly committed to the truth.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Victory of ‘Perception Management’

The Future the US Budget Foretells

NOVANEWS

The key drafters of the U.S. Constitution may have had dreams of a government to “promote the general Welfare” but that goal has long since been lost to factionalism and special interests, a reality that is growing worse as money increasingly buys American politics, as Lawrence Davidson describes.

By Lawrence Davidson

I can make high-probability predictions for 2015 and the near-beyond without the benefit of a crystal ball, tarot cards or tea leaves. The only thing that I need is a list of items from the new 2015 U.S. federal budget. Here are some of my forecasts and the budget items that make them so highly probable:

–There will be more deadly truck-related accidents than necessary on the nation’s highways in 2015. That means more deaths, injuries, highway delays, stress and frustration. How do I know? Because the 2015 budget rolls back the safety requirement that truckers need to get more rest between driving assignments.

Mr. Moneybags from the "Monopoly" game

Mr. Moneybags from the “Monopoly” game

The regulation that was rolled back was itself barely adequate. It restricted drivers to a 70-hour week with mandated rest times between long periods behind the wheel. Nonetheless, despite obviously being in the public interest, this regulation could not survive the pressure of the lobbies representing the trucking industry and its corporate customers. Now we are back to truckers working 85-hour weeks with hardly any mandated rest at all.

–Either in 2015 or soon thereafter there will be another major banking crisis requiring the outlay of enormous sums of public money to avert economic meltdown. How do I know? Because the 2015 federal budget rolls back the requirement, put in place after the last financial crisis, that forced the trading of derivatives to be done by corporate entities separated from the banks and not covered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company.

In other words, if the banks wanted to devise unreasonably risky investment strategies for their more gullible customers, they had to insulate these strategies from their main banking operations that are crucial to the national economy. In addition the government was not required to insure such undue risks through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Although obviously in the public interest, these regulations could not survive the pressure coming from the banking lobbies and so, once more, we all must be prepared to pay the price of this version of insufficiently regulated capitalism.

–The political influence of the nation’s wealthiest individuals will increase by a factor of ten in 2015, making the United States more of a plutocracy and less of a democracy than at any time since the 1920s. How do I know? Because the new federal budget emasculates what little was left of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act by increasing tenfold the amount of money individuals can give to political parties.

This is the result of conservatives’ demanding that political campaigns be underwritten wholly by private funds. Common sense tells us that such an arrangement can only confirm political power in the hands of those who are already economically dominant. By the way, most countries claiming to be democracies regulate against just this dominance of private money because it is recognized as politically corrupting.

–Environmental protection will deteriorate in 2015. If you live in a rural area where there are large farms, your water supply will become more suspect. How do I know all this? Because the 2015 federal budget slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by $60 million and forbids the same agency from applying the Clean Water Act to farm ponds and irrigation ditches. In the public interest? Of course not. However this move pleases agribusiness concerns and other industries.

–Israel, the economically developed nation that has violated just about every human rights regulation listed under international law, and also has repeatedly broken U.S. law forbidding the use of U.S.-supplied weapons for offensive actions against civilian populations, will continue to be both economically and militarily subsidized by the American taxpayer in 2015. How do I know this? Because the 2015 federal budget follows in the footsteps of so many past budgets by setting aside huge sums of money – in the present case $3.1 billion in total aid – for the Zionist state. Of that aid package, $619.8 million is military related.

I could not get exact gross figures for how much money the federal government gives back per year to U.S. states for various programs, but certainly Israel gets more of your federal tax dollar than any single state does, and maybe more than all 50 states put together.

On the same topic of foreign aid to undeserving governments, the 2015 budget will help insure the survival of the brutal military dictatorship in Egypt. That bunch of gangsters will be getting $1.3 billion in military aid.

These dubious expenditures are also not in the U.S. public interest for they will undermine democracy in Egypt and uphold dictatorship. In the case of Israel the money will help uphold racist authoritarianism, ethnic cleansing and religious bigotry. All of which (including the aid to Egypt) has been successfully encouraged by the financial power of the Zionist lobby.

Boehner’s Bipartisanism

According to House Speaker John Boehner, the 2015 federal budget is a product of bipartisan compromise: Understand all these provisions … were worked out in a bi-partisan, bi-cameral fashion.”

However, this can hardly be the whole story. Boehner’s statement implies that there were only Republicans and Democrats in the proverbial back room where the budget was worked out and that everyone was practicing sweet reason so as to come to a compromise that benefits the nation.

In truth, looking over the shoulders of those representing both parties were numerous lobbyists who had given a lot of money to all these politicians and now wanted something back for their investment. As a result, we as a nation, as a community, were thoroughly outbid by the trucking industry, the bankers, agribusiness, and a good number of  conservative ideologues who want the right to gut the federal government (particularly the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service) while monopolizing funding of our two major political parties. They want to do this so that, among other things, they don’t have worry about regulations or pay even a reasonable amount of taxes.

The ultimate conclusion we can draw from this “bipartisan” process is that there is no sense of national interest, and damn little sense of community, in the American political system. Both concepts have been superseded by the particular parochial goals and sense of solidarity of groups and subgroups with the deep pockets necessary to buy legislators and legislation.

This is what happens when democracy allows itself to be captured by an increasingly unregulated capitalist ethic – an erosion of any politically based sense of a need to work for the common good.

The really depressing part is that for most of our national history it has not been very different. In the mid-Nineteenth Century, President James Polk, himself a man of questionable integrity,observed, “There is more selfishness and less principle among members of Congress than I had any conception of, before I became President of the United States.” Well, the problem persists, and given our political way of doing things, it may never be fully overcome.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Future the US Budget Foretells

HOMS AFLAME AS SYRIAN ARMY COUNTS VICTORIES OVER TERRORISM

NOVANEWS

HOMS

Al-Wa’er:  The SAA started this assault on December 22, 2014 and it is continuing until today.  The focus of the action is on Al-Kharaab Avenue which separates this quarter from the rest of Homs, a city now in a state of total peace, free of the plague of European-supported rodents.   The terrorists here are almost all foreigners, many being from uncivilized regions like Chechnya, Kazakhstan and France.  Precise and controlled operations are the rule here, with our artillery landing with incredible exactitude what with many spotters on the ground and a very detailed knowledge of the area.  Terrorist websites admit these Syrians died in fighting last night:

Faadi Abu Ayman of the Islamic Jihad Brigade (yawn)

Abu ‘Ubayda Tibya (Id pending)

Our source in Latakia has received a report that 22 carcasses were counted in fighting but there is no way to assess the area.

On December 23, 2014, foreign rodents attempted to infiltrate out into the orchards area of Al-Wa’er but were repulsed.  This is a constant theme now.  The trapped terrorists are anxious to leave for better surroundings although the SAA has taken a position that they cannot be allowed to leave. Too many are Islamist extremists who must be arrested or killed.

Also, on the same day, there was an attempt to infiltrate into the horse grazing area at the 6th block.  It, too, was thwarted by alert infantry.

In addition to that, the SAA vaporized an HQ and C&C center operated by Nusra at the Blue Mall at the western edge of the area where a large cache of weapons was seized to be used by our militias in killing Saudi Arabian apes.  Of the dead were:

Thaabit Fakhri Al-Doomaani

“Abu Hilaal Al-Turkmaani” (TURCOMAN LEECH AND CHILD MOLESTER)

Radhwaan ‘Abdul-Lateef

Safwaan Qurra

The other 8 were deemed foreign and could not be identified.

On December 22, 2014, there was heavy fighting in these areas:  Kafr Laahaa, Taldu, Al-Naasiriyya Quarter in the Hoolaa, Talbeesa, Rasm Al-Taweel, Ruhoom, ‘Unq Al-Hawaa, Umm Sharshooh,

Jabbooreen: Also on December 22, 2014, 15 confirmed foreign rodents killed here as they tried to infiltrate into a military checkpoint area.  No names.

Al-Hiraaki Village:  Another assault on an SAA checkpoint was beaten back by our soldiers in the eastern part of the province.

Al-Saalihiyya Village:  More attacks on outposts result in 6 fertilizer bags for next years harvest.  No names.

Fighting reported at Al-Barghoothiyya, Umm Jurayd, Al-Hilaaliyya Farms, Tal Abu Al-Sanaasil, Burj Abu Haneefa, North Al-Shindaakkhiyya, East Salaam and Tarfaawi in Jubb Al-Jarraah area, Al-Tafha.

Between Ghajar and Keeseen: A van with weapons was stopped and destroyed.  2 rodents killed.

Ramzi Al-Shaaweesh

Muhammad Ahmad ‘Ujoom

Areas where rat losses were heaviest: Bayt Raabi’a and Ghantu, Jubb Al-Jarraah at the hatcheries where a pack of foreign rodents was eliminated, Al-Mushayrifa, Al-Shaa’er Mountain

Al-Duwwaara area near Palmyra (Tadmur):  ISIS managed to disable the machines for the wells which provide water to the citizens of the city in another effort to win their hearts and minds.  IEDs were found by SAA sappers which were left to kill technicians who would want to restore service.  Isn’t that sweet of the American-supported rats?

On December 25, 2014, Christmas Day, fighting was reported here: Rajm Al-Qassr, Al-Sultaaniyya, Al-Mazbal, Between Khattaab Village and Mushayrifa, ‘Ayn Hussayn, Mas’ada, Umm Al-Reesh, Jubb Al-Jarraah.

On December 27 – 28 of 2014:

Taldu Clinic:  Heavy artillery rocked the huddled vermin northwest of the city of Homs at a distance of about 27 kms.  No detailed report available

West Al-Salaam Village and Al-Sultaaniyya Village:  68 kms from Homs, a uniquely effectuated plan netted 8 ISIS rodents.  All were foreign.

Fighting reported in these areas:  Rajm Al-Qassr, West Habra, Tallat Al-Sawma’ah, Hirsh Umm Sahreej, South Al-Mushayrifa, ‘Unq Al-Hawaa, Al-Rastan, Jabbooreen, Bayt Raabi’ah, Al-Hilaaliyya Farms, Al-Ghantu in area of East Salaam and Tarfaawi Village

Posted in SyriaComments Off on HOMS AFLAME AS SYRIAN ARMY COUNTS VICTORIES OVER TERRORISM

QUNAYTRA CAMPAIGN CATASTROPHE FOR ZIONIST TERRORISTS

NOVANEWS
ALQAEDA DIES IN BOTTLENECKS AT LEBANESE BORDER WITH SYRIA

مقتل 10 إرهابيين في جرود القلمون.. وتواصل العمليات النوعية في الغوطة الشرقية

QUNAYTRA (GOLAN):

Almasdarnews correctly described a new campaign by Nusra, now allied with the Zionist Creep Entity, and the Southern Front FSA led by the completely inept ‘Abdul-Ilaah Al-Basheer Al-Nu’aymi, to expand as much as possible in the Golan Heights.  The strategy is clear: The terrorists are doing dirty work for their Zionist masters.  They have already ceded the Golan to the enemy Ashkenazi Khazar state when one “opposition” spokesrodent, Kamaal Labwaani, promised to recognize Zionist annexation of the Golan Heights if his non-indigenous allies in Tel Aviv will help to unseat the democratically elected president of the SAR, Dr. Bashar Al-Assad. 

Well.  It ain’t workin’, fellas.   And the ghetto rats of Zionism are demonstrating more incompetence today than they did back in July, 2006 when the Hizbol lah-Syrian-Iranian Alliance kicked their Yiddish butts out of the Lebanon.

Hadhar Village:  About 7 days ago, SAA-AD knocked out a Zionist Skylark drone over this town.  The drone was allegedly sending pictures of SAA formations on the Golan in order to help the Rat Alliance to initiate the new campaign described herein-above.

Mas-hara:  East of the city 12kms.  A firefight resulted in the deaths of 14 Nusra with 3 being field commanders in this area just north of Tal Al-Haarra.

Tal-Al-Bazzaaq, Tal Kuroom Jibbaa, Tal Al-Sha’aar:  Liwaa` Nusoor Al-Reef Al-Gharbi (Eagles of the Western Countryside Brigades. Yawn.) and Liwaa` Al-Sabtayn** (I will explain the meaning of this hilarious organization in a note below) tried to infiltrate into these areas yesterday as part of the BIG CAMPAIGN.  Unfortunately, these rat carcasses will not have a chance to participate in what appears to be another disastrous Zionist-engineered fiasco:

‘Abdul-Salaam Al-Jaahoosh (leader of the Western Countryside rodents)

Yusri Al-Barm (Leader of Ahraar Al-Shaam Al-Islamiyya)

“Abu Hamza Al-Rafeed (Rat leader of Sabtayn and field commander. Id pending)

Maaher ‘Aql

Hassan ‘Ali Al-Tahhaan

Subhi Al-‘Alloosh (No relation to that rat in Doumaa)

Moussa Al-Dunayfaat (Der’ah rat)

Ma`moon Al-Jibaawi

Muhannad Khaleel Al-Tamr Al-Jibaawi

Bahaa` Mahfouzh Jamraani

Ma’an Al-Raadhi

Hussayn Haashim

Muhammad Moussaa Al-Khaalid  (Brother of another ape killed a couple of days ago)

‘Abdul-Fattaah Al-Ma’asaraani

‘Ubaada Muhammad ‘Abdul-Mawlaa ‘Awadh

Another 8 could not be identified.

Bi`r ‘Ajam:  Developing news.  A large number of rodents killed to the southeast of Qunaytra in this village about 18kms from the city.

**NOTE TO READERS:  The word “Al-Sabtayn” is in the dual form, a common noun formation for pairs of objects or persons.  Here it is derived from the root “sa-ba-ta” (سبط) which means to be generous or liberal or to have long/limp hair.  Hence, it refers to an act of generosity probably involving the generosity of “two hands”.  Thus, here, it might mean the “The Brigade of the Two Generous Hands”.

But, more ominously, it might also refer to the “Sibt” (Plural: Asbaat), an Israelite tribe.  This name could be an attempt to describe the Arabs and the Ashkenazi Ghetto rats as “two kindred tribes”.  Go figure.   Only at SyrPer do you get analyses, such as these,  of totally recondite terms about extinct rodent terrorist organizations existing in oblivion.

Fighting reported in these areas: Al-Rafeed, Umm Baatina, Mamtana (6 rats killed), East Zubayda Village, Rasm Al-Khawaalid Town, Al-Tayha, Al-‘Ajraf Village.

Burayqa:  This town suffers from an infestation of the following groups:  Alwiyat Al-Furqaan (Brigades of the Qur’an) and Liwaa` Fajr Al-Islam (Brigade of Islam’s Dawn).  Well, despite the lofty-sounding monikers, they managed to lose 2 pickups with 23mm cannons to the accurate and divinely-guided fire of the Syrian Arab Army.  23 rat carcasses counted as of yesterday.

Qunaytra City: At the Main Square, SAA has killed over 15 Nusra rodents.  Reports indicate their wounded were being taken behind Zionist lines for treatment by Jewish Limonadiers de Derriers.

Nab’ Al-Sakhr (The Spring (water) of the Rock):   An attempted infiltration to Tal Al-Bazzaaq (Hill of Snails) led to disaster for the creeping rodents.  No details.

Hamreet and Koodnaa Villages: 10s of rats killed by SAA artillery with precision strikes at these 2 locales just on the Disengagement line with the Zionist Ghetto Abomination.

DAMASCUS:

سسسسسسسسصصصصصصصص

The Nusra/Al-Qaeda – ISIS attempts to regain a foothold in the foothills of the Qalamoon continue to flop as traditional illegal pathways between both the Lebanon and Syria are becoming more like bottlenecks.

Al-Qaarra:  The Syrian Air Force was active over this town killing a confirmed 10 rodents and wounding 22.  Altogether, 4 vehicles, a pickup with 23mm cannon, 2 vans and 1 flatbed, were in flames.

Crossings: Martabiyya, Zamraani, Al-Roomiyya, Meeraa.  All these crossings were targeted by frustrated militant rats in Lebanon.  All efforts to enter were thwarted by SAA, PDC and border patrol.  No details about number of dead rats.

Jawbar:  More rats go down screaming.  At Al-Manaasher Roundabout, 4 confirmed rodents belonging to Nusra were dispatched with confirmed sightings of wounded vermin being spirited away to certain death at the hands of heretical quacks.

Doumaa:  This is not only ‘Alloosh’s Jaysh Al-Islam territory, there’s also the aptly named Jaysh Al-Umma (yawn. Army of the Islamic Community).  SAA delivered a right hook today after annihilating an ‘Alloosh HQ and C&C center near the Medical Tower.  No names available, yet.

Fighting reported here: Harastaa at the Secondary Roundabout, ‘Irbeen, Al-Jarbaa Farms (no relation to Boss-Pimp and Saudi catamite, Ahmad Jarbaa), Al-Zamaaniyya Farms, Al-Bilaaliyya Farms, Al-Nishaabiyya at the Southern Highway.

Khaan Al-Shaykh:  At the Al-Zuhoor Avenue, 3 criminals belonging to Nusra were killed by security:

Ayham Mansoor

Mu`ayyad Daghmeesh

‘Umar ‘Abdul-Rahmaan Al-‘Ashshi

PICTURE OF THE WEEK:

Yep, that’s Khaalid Mish’al, the Palesteezian traitor and Zionist spy who has been exposed by SyrPer in Konya, Turkey.  He is attending some Erdoghani black mass on behalf of the MB Hamas Movement.  Here he is seen being embraced by none other than Clown-in-Residence and Chief Dwarf, Ahmet Davutoghlu.  Try to hold down lunch.  (Photo credit: World Bulletin)

Posted in SyriaComments Off on QUNAYTRA CAMPAIGN CATASTROPHE FOR ZIONIST TERRORISTS

ISIS TRAMPLED BY SYRIAN ARMY IN DAYR EL-ZOR; END OF WAR APPROACHING

NOVANEWS

DAYR EL-ZOR

sana.sy3

Don’t cry any tears over this vermin. He’s somewhere in Hell enjoying 72 Virginians.  Can’t say much for his tailor.

Al-Jafra Village:  Another development in the way the SAA deals with terrorism was on display yesterday as the artillery units fixed on ISIS/Saudi rodent positions and killed scores of them.  An armored truck, another Hummer and a bulldozer were destroyed near the water station on the right bank of the Euphrates.  Of those killed, these were identified:

Abu Majeed Al-Tunisi (TUNISIAN BARBARY APE)

‘Issaam Al-Ahmad

‘Urwa Farhaan Al-‘Abdullah

‘Umar Al-Heetu (a/k/a “Abu Tayyib”)

Muhammad Hardaan Al-Bahr  (IRAQI PALMETTO DROPPING)

Saadiq ‘Ali Al-Shalabi

Raami Khalaf Al-Haayith

‘Abdullah Saamer Al-‘Urayb

Zaahir Falaah Jaddoor

All the others are suspected foreigners.

SAA is now pushing on multiple fronts, taking advantage of the momentum built up over the last few days while exploiting the fissures in the ISIS command structure which is showing itself to be fragile indeed.  ISIS is also experiencing large-scale defections and desertions by lower-level rats.  It’s not as romantic as they thought.  And it doesn’t look like Allah is on their side, either.

Fighting heavy now in these areas:  Al-Rushdiyya, Al-Huwayqa, Al-Rusaafa, Al-Sinaa’ah, Al-Jubayla, l-‘Urfi, Airbase area,

Al-Muree’iyya Roundabout:  A preliminary report has arrived describing an SAAF air assault on a convoy ferrying weapons, ammunition and reinforcements to the right bank of the Euphrates opposite the city.  The convoy has been reportedly annihilated.

Posted in SyriaComments Off on ISIS TRAMPLED BY SYRIAN ARMY IN DAYR EL-ZOR; END OF WAR APPROACHING

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