Archive | Middle East

Long live the raging movement of the people of Iran!

NOVANEWS

Revolution is the midwife of every old society, which is pregnant with a new one. The grassroots movement in Iran that is entering its 5th day is an expression of the rejection of the totality of the criminal mafia in power; a power that is not accountable to the people and is trying to squeeze the life out of the poverty-stricken masses. This is a movement of wisdom against ignorance, a movement against poverty, unemployment, corruption, multi-milliard dollars embezzlement by the officials, looting of the meager savings of the millions of working people, and political repression. This is the cry of anger of millions of people who have waited patiently for years and are now challenging the regime of the Islamic Republic and are shaking its base.

The recent uprising is expression of the accumulated anger and dissatisfaction of the masses from the neo-liberal economic policies of the regime. This anger has built up during the past several decades. The regime of the Islamic Republic has intensified the implementation of the dictates of the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Consequently, the economic condition of the masses has declined rapidly, the level of poverty has risen, inflation has skyrocketed, the cost of living has sharply increased, the purchasing power of the general population has declined, the price of water, gasoline, electricity, and other fuel has increased.

In the past several years, especially in 2017, there were many strikes, demonstration and protests by different sectors of the society; workers, teachers, retirees, unemployed, nurses, many thousand individuals who are the direct victims of looted bank savings, etc. It was expected that a general protest will develop in response to this condition. Adding to this is the intensification of the inner fight between the factions of the regime of the Islamic Republic. The protesters used this fight in their own service and targeted all factions of the regime of the Islamic Republic. All social and political sectors of the society are participating in these protests, from communists to revolutionaries, from ordinary masses to organized forces, from the monarchists to reactionary and proimperialist Mojahedeen and to individual agents of Zionists and imperialists.

This uprising is spontaneous, mainly by the youth, does not have an organized leadership at this moment. Despite all shortcomings, this uprising is a genuine expression of discontent of the general population from four decades criminal rule of the Islamic Republic. The protest movement started with economic demands and is moving forward towards political issues. The Party of Labour of Iran (Toufan) hails the just and bold movement of Iranian people against the Islamic Republic that has ruled for nearly foty years using repression and extreme violence. We insist on the unity of the masses and on a clear and sharp stand against the aggressive imperialist powers and their agents who try to derail the movement.

There is not yet sign of an increase in the number of workers in the streets. A general strike will force the regime to retreat and will provide the opportunity for the street demonstrators to continue protesting with a lower cost. The unbalanced class forces, the lack of political organization and leadership, and the exhaustion of the street protesters will not produce a condition in favor of the movement. In the Middle East, the U.S. imperialists and Israeli Zionists are trying to penetrate any movement against the regimes that do not bend to their dictates. This is particularly true about Iran. The presence of agents and lackeys of the US imperialists and Israeli Zionists in a movement does not necessarily express the nature of the movement.

In the present uprising in Iran, the role of these agents is not dominant. This is a spontaneous movement from bottom-up and not from top-down. At the same time, the communists, left, and progressive forces must be very vigilant and analyze the erroneous slogans and stands that are expressed in the marches and expose the nature of them to the masses. If the demands “bread, job, housing, liberty, social justice, and the republic” are more clearly expressed, if the slogans in support of the overthrown old order – the hereditary monarchy – and the slogans that compromise with faction of the regime are rejected from the ranks of the movement, then one can hope, with the rise of revolutionary forces in particular the Marxist-Leninists who are the true representatives of most radical social demands and who are strongly opposed to imperialist interventions, that the movement will achieve its goals.

The Party of Labour of Iran calls on the masses in the streets to be vigilant and avoid the premature violence. The agents of imperialists and Zionists and the sell-out circles do not value the human life. They only look for their interest. Every call on the masses should be carefully examined and its source be investigated. The rights to formation of independent guilds, the right to employment and housing and unemployment insurance, the freedom of association and assembly, the separation of religion from the state and education, the abolition of gender segregation and compulsory veils and dress code, and the freedom of all political prisoners are part of the demands of the street demonstrators.

The Party of Labour of Iran gives its whole hearted support to these demands and believes that no faction of the Islamic regime has the will to fulfill these just and popular demands of the masses. The Party of Labour of Iran ( Toufan) strongly condemns the brutal killings of the protesters and calls on the fraternal Parties and Organizations in the ”Internatinal Conference of the Marxist Leninist Parties and Organizetions” and on the revolutionary and progressive forces and individuals to condemn the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its crimes and to demand the immediate and unconditional release of all detained street protesters.

The remedy for the workers and the working people is unity and organization!

The Party of Labour of Iran

(Toufan) January 1, 2018

www.Toufan.org

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Syria’s Kurdish Led SDF: “Border Force” or “Terror Army”?

The US announced that it will train a 30,000-strong “border force” of the Kurdish-led SDF in Northern Syria in a controversial move that was immediately slammed by Turkey as the creation of a “terror army”. President Erdogan has long been opposed to the establishment of a de-facto Kurdish statelet along his country’s southern border, and the US strategy is playing right into his greatest fears. Speaking to his supporters earlier this week, he bellowed that “a country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders. What can that terror army target but Turkey? Our mission is to strangle it before it’s even born.”

Syrian Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad stated that the US-Kurdish move “is an attempt to divide Syria and prolong the crisis in the country”, and President Assad had previously claimed that Kurdish and other forces who cooperate with the Americans are “traitors”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a large press conference that “this causes serious questions, concerning the maintenance of Syria’s territorial integrity”, though reaffirming that the Kurds are still an integral part of the Syrian nation and will nevertheless be represented in some capacity or another at the upcoming Sochi Summit at the end of the month.

The US is coy about its true intentions in building up a massive force that’s expected to be almost 50% larger than its own Border Patrol at home and deployed along the much geographically smaller area of the Turkish border and the so-called “deconfliction line” with the Syrian Arab Army in the Euphrates River Valley, but some observers are seriously concerned that Washington is trying to transform this anti-terrorist militia into a competent anti-state conventional fighting force, pointing to the large amount of weapons and equipment that they’ve received over the past couple of years. Most alarmingly, however, and in a move that could confirm these suspicions, reports have recently piled in that the US secretly gave MANPAD anti-air missiles to the Kurds, which if true would prove that they’re indeed capable of becoming an anti-state threat, whether to the Syrians, the Turks, or possibly even the Russians.

The Kurdish issue thus risks becoming the first post-Daesh crisis in Syria for this very reason, made all the more urgently important because of Turkey’s threats to eliminate the problem before it matures, and all eyes are on President Erdogan to see if he’ll make a move on the northwestern region of Afrin in the two weeks prior to the upcoming Sochi Summit and inadvertently risk subverting it, which might be exactly what the Americans are trying to tempt him into doing.

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Watch as ISIS and Al-Nusra Smuggle Money into Syria Using Vehicles with Red Cross Logos

NOVANEWS
 

A video has been uploaded of huge amounts of cash that was smuggled into Syria for ISIS and the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front using Red Cross logos on the boxes the money was stored in.

The money was smuggled in from Turkey with vehicles with the same famous Red Cross logo too.

“”This money was smuggled through Turkey to ISIS and Al-Nusra in Syria by Red Cross vehicles. Those with merciful hearts and white hands””

In response to the video, the official Twitter account of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stated:

“We have nothing whatsoever to do with the transactions alleged in this video. A fake ICRC logo has been used for the purposes of transporting funds. Our emblems stand for neutral and impartial aid. Any misuse may have a serious impact on ability to reach those in need.”

“”This money was smuggled through Turkey to ISIS and Al-Nusra in Syria by Red Cross vehicles. Those with merciful hearts and white hands”” pic.twitter.com/Vhgp6xfL3e

We have nothing whatsoever to do with the transactions alleged in this video. A fake ICRC logo has been used for the purposes of transporting funds. Our emblems stand for neutral and impartial aid. Any misuse may have a serious impact on ability to reach those in need.

The ICRC has played a neutral role in the Syrian War providing aid all throughout Syria where they are able to operate. This is in stark contrast to the famous White Helmets who only operate in Al-Nusra controlled areas and claim impartiality despite many of their members found to be jihadist fighters.

Posted in Syria0 Comments

Breaking – Tillerson Unveils ‘New’ US Syria Plan: ‘Assad Must Go!’

Confirming that the US military presence inside Syria had little to do with fighting ISIS, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled in detail today the real US strategy for Syria: overthrow of the Assad government. 

In a speech at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and introduced by President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary Tillerson vowed that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory until three conditions are met:

First: ISIS must be destroyed. 

This condition is made all the more problematic by the well-reported fact that it is the United States government that at every turn seems to pull ISIS chestnuts out of the fire. From handing them weapons to allowing them to escape when they are trapped in places like Raqqa, it almost seems like the US does not want to really see the end of ISIS.

Second: Assad must go. 

Tillerson’s admission that this is a sine qua non for any US military departure from Syria confirms that the Trump foreign policy is no different from that of Hillary Clinton or her former boss, President Obama. Recall that as part of his “thank you” tour, President-elect Trump reiterated promises made by candidate Trump to break with the past:

We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments. …In our dealings with other countries we will seek shared interests wherever possible…”

It is clear that he lied, as it is reported that he signed off on this new Syria strategy last month at a meeting of his National Security Council.

Secretary Tillerson said today that new elections should be held in Syria and that President Assad should lose:

The United States believes that free and transparent elections … will result in the permanent departure of Assad and his family from power… Assad’s regime is corrupt, and his methods of governance and economic development have increasingly excluded certain ethnic and religious groups… Such oppression cannot persist forever.

Tillerson’s speech reveals that the old myth about the Syrian people “rising up” to overthrow Assad is still very much viewed as Gospel truth in Washington:

…our expectation is that the desire for a return to normal life … will help rally the Syrian people and individuals within the regime to compel Assad to step down.

Translation: we are going to continue to make life miserable for you until you overthrow Assad. Then it will return to “normal.” Presumably the people of Syria understand what “normal” life after a US “liberation” looks like from examples like LibyaIraq, and Ukraine.

Tillerson also made the bizarre assertion that US troops will remain in Syria to prevent the Syrian government from re-establishing control over the parts of Syria abandoned by a defeated ISIS. So the legitimate government of Syria will be prevented by an illegal United States military occupation from reclaiming its own territory? This is supposed to be a coherent policy?

Third: Refugees must be returned to Syria.

Secretary Tillerson said today at Stanford University:

America has an opportunity to help people who have suffered greatly. The safe and voluntary return of  refugees serves the security interests of the U.S. and our allies and partners. We must give Syrians a chance to return home and rebuild their lives.

But the one event that led to the biggest return of refugees back to Syria was violently opposed by the US government: the Syrian government’s liberation of east Aleppo from al-Qaeda control!

For additional consideration:

The US military is busy creating a 30,000-strong Kurdish militia to reportedly guard Syria’s borders with Turkey and Iraq. NATO-ally Turkey is violently opposing US moves to further arm Kurd groups that it considers terrorist.

The discredited “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is back in Washington begging the Trump Administration to re-open the CIA weapons pipeline. The FSA is perhaps best known for immediately handing any weapons it gets from Washington directly to al-Qaeda in Syria. Will Trump’s neocon-filled ecosphere convince him to once again put some wind in al-Qaeda’s sails?

Will Congress awake from its slumber and finally dust off the part of the Constitution directing the Legislative Branch to decide on matters of war and peace? It’s probably an ill-advised bet, however there are a few whispers on Capitol Hill that a shift in US military focus from anti-ISIS to anti-Assad and anti-Iran might be slightly problematic.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has just unveiled a 100 percent neocon approved “new” US policy for Syria: No more pussyfooting around. We won’t abandon our project in Syria like Obama “abandoned” Libya (presumably, as the neocon myth goes, on the verge of becoming a new Switzerland after its “liberation” only to be thrust back into the mire by Obama’s premature withdrawal).

President Trump is set to out-neocon the neocons with this foolish and destructive policy. The showman is shown to be nothing but a fraud.

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Syrian Air Defense Ready to Destroy Turkish Warplanes If They Attack Afrin 

NOVANEWS

Syria’s Air Defense Forces are ready to react to any Turkish hostile action in Afrin and the Damascus government will consider the Turkish military operation there as an act of aggression, deputy foreign minister Faisal Meqdad told reporters on January 18, according to the state-run news agency SANA.

“We warn the Turkish leadership that if they initiate combat operations in the Afrin area, that will be considered an act of aggression by the Turkish army,” the deputy foreign minister said adding that if a Turkish warplane attacks Syria it will become a legitimate target.

Meqdad continued emphasizing that Afrin and other northern areas of the country, currently not under control of Damascus, are still the territory of Syria.

The statement comes after Turkish top officials have once again announced that Turkish forces are ready to launch a military operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria, particularly in the area of Afrin.

Posted in Syria, Turkey0 Comments

“Two Channels”, Pentagon and CIA: Don’t Be Fooled, the CIA Was Only “Half the Problem” in Syria

This article first appeared on GR in August 2017.

The news that President Trump has halted the CIA program to arm and train rebel groups in Syria should be viewed with caution, as the CIA program only represented half of US involvement in Syria. Even if we take this information as completely accurate, and the CIA will cease to be involved in any covert programs in Syria, there is still a giant arm of US imperialism that is going to be heavily involved in the Syrian conflict for the foreseeable future; namely, the Pentagon.

The notion that the CIA was the only branch of the US establishment involved in the destabilization of Syria is nonsense. The US has always had two operations running simultaneously in Syria, with one being ran by the CIA, and other being ran by the Pentagon. As Reuters reported in an article in May of this year, titled: Syrian rebels say U.S., allies sending more arms to fend off Iran threat, military aid has been provided through “two separate channels:”

“Rebels said military aid has been boosted through two separate channels: a program backed by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), known as the MOC, and regional states including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and one run by the Pentagon.”

These two programs have often clashed, as was the case last year, when militias armed by the CIA fought against militias armed by the Pentagon.

The Pentagon has been as involved in the disastrous operation to arm and train rebels in Syria as the CIA has, and has contributed heavily to the mess on the ground.

In September 2015 for instance, it was reported that a Pentagon-armed group of rebels – named Division 30 – handed over their weapons to al-Qaeda in Syria, a scenario that was a common outcome from many CIA operations as well. The Pentagon, never shy to blow an obscene amount of taxpayers’ money on imperial matters, has already wasted hundreds of millions of dollars training and arming rebels in Syria, yet Trump only wants to increase the US war budget. 

Trump: The Man of the Military 

Trump’s decision to halt the CIA program was hardly surprising, considering the support Trump has received from large sections of the military. A look at the backgrounds of the individuals that Trump has given cabinet positions reveals Trump’s close relationship with the military.

The Secretary of Homeland Security for instance, John Kelly, is a retired Marine Corps General and former Commander of US Southern Command. Trump’s pick for the Director of the CIA is even more telling, as Mike Pompeo has his roots in the military, graduating from West Point in the 1980s:

“Mr. Pompeo graduated first in his class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1986 and served as a cavalry officer patrolling the Iron Curtain before the fall of the Berlin Wall. He also served with the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry in the US Army’s Fourth Infantry Division.”

Undoubtedly, there are many good forces in the US military (as in any other large organization), and there is nothing wrong with having a military background. But equally, there is also many nefarious forces in the military, and the influence of military-industrial complex is pervasive, constantly agitating for more imperial wars.

With this context in mind, it is hardly surprising that Trump favours the Pentagon program over the CIA one, especially considering the power struggle taking place between the CIA and the military within the US. It should be highlighted that Trump has notcompletely halted all US programs to arm and train militias in Syria, he has merely shutdown one channel.

Pentagon Using Kurds to Balkanize Syria 

The Pentagon has been heavily involved in arming Kurdish forces in Syria, using them as a tool to attempt to Balkanize and fracture Syria into micro-states. In May of this year, President Trump approved a plan – supported by many in the Pentagon – to arm the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), a Kurdish militia operating predominantly in northern Syria.

The YPG is also the controlling militia in the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes an array of other militias. In addition to providing arms to the YPG, US special forces have been pictured on the ground in northern Syria working in conjunction with YPG fighters.

When most of the public was distracted by the story of Trump halting the CIA program, footage surfaced showing US armed military vehicles passing through Qamishli – a city in northern Syria on the Turkish border – reportedly on route to Raqqa. The recipients of the vehicles are believed to be either the SDF or US forces directly, who are involved in the battle against ISIS in Raqqa.

If (or when) ISIS is defeated in Raqqa, it will be very interesting to see who ends up controlling the city. It is possible that the Pentagon wants to defeat ISIS in Raqqa, and then hand Raqqa to the Kurds – a scenario that many Kurds would only be too happy with. In March of this year, Saleh Muslim, the co-chair of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) – the political affiliate of the YPG – said that once ISIS is defeated in Raqqa, the city should be incorporated into a Kurdish state in northern Syria. 

The Pentagon’s support for Kurdish forces is clearly part of a strategy to break the northern part of the country away from control of the Syrian government in Damascus. A subservient Kurdish state in northern Syria (which would probably join with Kurdish zones in Iraq and other countries in the future) would allow the US to have a permanent military presence in Syria, and easy access to thenatural resources in the Kurdish region.

The creation of Kurdish state in northern Syria would of course cause a severe breakdown in relations with NATO member Turkey, given the views of the current Turkish leadership that is. Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group Ankara views as a terrorist organization. Turkey has repeatedly denounced US support for Kurdish groups in Syria, with this being a major source of disagreement between the US and Turkey. It is no coincidence that Turkish state media recently published a list of classified US military bases and outposts in northern Syria, with this information revealing the extent to which the US military is embedded in Kurdish-controlled regions in Syria.

The plan to balkanize Syria is well on its way, and the Pentagon is leading the charge. How Russia positions herself in the coming months will be crucial for the future of Syria. 

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U.S. Creates Kurdish/Terrorist “Border Force” in Syria to Define Borders of Kurdistan

For those that hoped Trump would bring a more sensible approach to the Western-induced Syrian crisis, it is almost for certain that those hopes have been officially dashed with the revelation of the Trump administration’s new policy regarding the SDF, Kurds, a new border force, and the logical partitioning plan that is obviously moving forward.

The new plans announced by the United States involve the creation of a “border force” that is expected to contain around 30,000 personnel to be deployed at the borders controlled by the SDF (Syria Democratic Forces). The force will be trained by the United States and will contain members from the SDF and YPG and will see Kurdish members patrolling “Kurdish areas” while Arab members patrol “Arab areas.”

Naturally, the move has angered Turkey since it is opposed to Kurdish nationalism out of fears that it will inspire Kurdish extremists inside Turkey itself. Russia has also condemned the move claiming that it will lead to partitioning. Syria, for its part, has labeled the Trump administration’s plan as an insult to Syria’s national integrity and appears dedicated to Assad’s promise to liberate every inch of Syrian territory.

As Business Insider reports,

The U.S.-led coalition is working with its Syrian militia allies to set up a new border force of 30,000 personnel, the coalition said on Sunday, a move that has added to Turkish anger over U.S. support for Kurdish-dominated forces in Syria.

A senior Turkish official told Reuters the U.S. training of the new “Border Security Force” is the reason that the U.S. charge d’affaires was summoned in Ankara on Wednesday. The official did not elaborate.

The force, whose inaugural class is currently being trained, will be deployed at the borders of the area controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – an alliance of militias in northern and eastern Syria dominated by the Kurdish YPG.

In an email to Reuters, the coalition’s Public Affairs Office confirmed details of the new force reported by The Defense Post. About half the force will be SDF veterans, and recruiting for the other half is underway, the coalition’s Public Affairs Office said.

The force will deploy along the border with Turkey to the north, the Iraqi border to the southeast, and along the Euphrates River Valley, which broadly acts as the dividing line separating the U.S.-backed SDF and Syrian government forces backed by Iran and Russia.

U.S. support for the SDF has put enormous strain on ties with NATO ally Turkey, which views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a group that has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey.

Syria’s main Kurdish groups have emerged as one of the few winners of the Syrian war, and are working to entrench their autonomy over swathes of northern Syria.

Washington opposes those autonomy plans, even as it has backed the SDF, the main partner for the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria.

The coalition said the BSF would operate under SDF command and around 230 individuals were currently undergoing training in its inaugural class.

“Efforts are taken to ensure individuals serve in areas close to their homes. Therefore, the ethnic composition of the force will be relative to the areas in which they serve.

“More Kurds will serve in the areas in northern Syria. More Arabs will serve in areas along the Euphrates River Valley and along the border with Iraq to the south,” the coalition’s Public Affairs Office said.

“The base of the new force is essentially a realignment of approximately 15,000 members of the SDF to a new mission in the Border Security Force as their actions against ISIS draw to a close,” it said.

“They will be providing border security through professionally securing checkpoints and conducting counter-IED operations,” it said, adding that coalition and SDF forces were still engaging Islamic State pockets in Deir al-Zor province.

Source: Activist Post

The “coalition” has stated that the training was already underway. This has prompted a strong response by Turkey. As ABC Australia reports,

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the US was “playing with fire” by setting a force that would include Kurdish militia.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Washington “is taking worrying steps to legitimise this organisation [YPG] and make it lasting in the region”.

“It is absolutely not possible for this to be accepted,” he said, adding that Turkey “will continue its fight against any terrorist organisation regardless of its name and shape within and outside its borders”.

US support for the SDF has put enormous strain on ties with NATO ally Turkey, which views YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — a group that has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey and is considered a terrorist group by the European Union, Turkey and the United States.

Turkey has criticised the US for arming YPG and Arab fighters in the SDF, which drove Islamic State (IS) out of Raqqa and other parts of Syria.

“The US sent 4,900 trucks of weapons in Syria. We know this. This is not what allies do,” Mr Erdogan said.

“We know they sent 2,000 planes full of weapons.”

‘We will tear them down’

Mr Erdogan on Saturday said Turkish forces in Syria would “vanquish” Kurdish militia that control the neighbouring region of Afrin, putting Turkey at odds with US-backed forces.

“God willing, in the coming days, we will continue the operation to purge our southern border from terror,” he said in a speech in the eastern Turkish city of Elazig.

Turkish troops entered Idlib three months ago after an agreement with Russia and Iran for the three countries to try to reduce fighting between pro-Syrian government forces and rebel fighters in the largest remaining insurgent-held part of Syria.

But now they have turned their sights on the neighbouring Kurdish-controlled region of Afrin.

“If the terrorists in Afrin don’t surrender we will tear them down,” Mr Erdogan said.

Rojhat Roj, the YPG spokesman in Afrin, said Turkish forces stationed in Syria shelled several Kurdish villages in the Afrin region on Saturday, without causing casualties.

“From our side, there is no shelling at present,” he added.

Mr Erdogan has said the Kurdish YPG militia is trying to establish a “terror corridor” on Turkey’s southern border, linking Afrin with a large Kurdish-controlled area to the east.

In 2016 Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield military offensive in northern Syria to push back IS from the border and drive a wedge between the Kurdish-controlled regions.

“With the Euphrates Shield operation we cut the terror corridor right in the middle; we hit them one night suddenly,” Mr Erdogan said.

“With the Idlib operation, we are collapsing the western wing,” he said, in reference to Afrin.

The traditional borders of Kurdistan extend from Syria, through Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

Turkey fear Kurdish independence in Syria could spark a new push for independence among ethnic Kurds in Turkey.

Mr Erdogan said Turkey expected support and “strategic cooperation” from the US in their “legitimate efforts” in Syria.

“Despite it all, we believe we have common interests with America in the region and hope we can act in concert,” Mr Erdogan said.

“We expect our friends to display an attitude that befits them in this issue of survival that is so sensitive and so critical for our country.

“During the Afrin operation, I hope these powers will not give rise to error by appearing on the same side as the terror organisation.”

It is, of course, ironic that Erdogan would mention a “terror corridor” as reason for his military operations in Syria since it was initially Turkey who operated the “terror corridor” known as the “Jarablus corridor” that saw ISIS fighters trained in Jordan by the U.S. and NATO pouring into Syria along with foreign terrorists belonging to fighting units of various names (but all extremists, essentially ISIS fighters). Many writers such as myself stated early on that Erdogan was, at best, making a huge strategic mistake in encouraging the destruction of Syria since such a move was likely to stir up Kurdish nationalist sentiment both outside and inside Turkey. Now that Erdogan has risked the stability of his own country on pipe dreams of being the next Ottoman Empire, he is worried that the cards he played on his reckless gamble are not going to pay off. Make no mistake, Turkey is not interested in righting its wrongs but in expanding its territory, defending against the Kurds, and continuing to push an Islamist overthrow of the Syrian government. It’s closer partnership with Russia came only as Erdogan came to understand that the U.S. and its “coalition” had very little concern with the overall aspirations of Turkey.

Russia also condemned the plans. ABC, again, reports,

Chairman of the Defence Committee of Russia’s State Duma Vladimir Shamanov told local media Russia would undertake measures as a response to the US-led coalition’s decision to create the “so-called Border Security Force”.

He said the move “stands in direct confrontation” with Russian interests, and they would take measures to stabilise Syria.

The Syrian government stated that the new American-organized force “represents a blatant assault” on Syrian sovereignty and has referred to the US as an illegal occupying force. It also referred to members of the SDF and new American “border force” as “traitors.”

What is becoming more and more clear is that the United States, GCC, Israel, and NATO have determined that the feasibility of destroying the Syrian government in the same manner as in Libya is becoming less and less plausible by the day. Plan B, however, is the partitioning and the “Federalization” of Syria into several independent countries or one country with several “autonomous” zones headed by a weakened central government incapable of maintaining power and steering the ship of state.

The move to create a “border force” is nothing more than an attempt to solidify the borders of “Kurdistan” in Syria and a possible “Sunnistan” in the east. These plans are not reasonable solutions to a crisis, they are imperialism pure and simple and they have existed for decades. Not only Syria’s allies but the American people must oppose this plan as well.

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Terrorists Keep Obtaining Weapons of States in US-led Coalition

NOVANEWS

It’s been three days since Russia prevented a terrorist attack on its bases in Syria, with terrorists, as unexpected as it may seem, using sophisticated drones to strike the facilities.

Commenting on the issue, Pentagon said that the devices of such kind “could easily be obtained in the open market,” while the Russian Defense Ministry has stated that such technology could be supplied only by an advanced state.

While it is still being investigated, where did the terrorists get the technology? This is not the first time they have gotten access to advanced technologies, sometimes entirely by a chance.

Sputnik recaps the most resonant cases, when terrorist groups in the Middle East got hold of highly sophisticated weaponry.

Syrian MoD Report

In October 2017, the Syrian Defense Ministry released a report with footage of ammunition confiscated from numerous terrorist organizations, including Daesh and al-Nusra Front, now named Tahrir al-Sham, claiming that those weapons had been manufactured in the United States or by its close allies. The report outlined that those groups were supplied with “rockets, rifles, machine guns, anti-air weapons and even tanks” allegedly in exchange for oil from the territories. By a cruel twist of fate, those weapons happened to be a part of the routine “arms delivery” by the anti-Daesh coalition to the “moderate opposition”.

Anti-Aircraft Missiles

In August 2017, the Lebanese army, which has been engaged in rooting Daesh out from a northeastern region of Lebanon bordering Syria, discovered anti-aircraft missiles, among other weapons, in an abandoned area. Moreover, the Lebanese, who have apparently done a great job, uncovered surface-to-air missiles left by al-Nusra Front militants in an area captured by Hezbollah and then taken over by the army. As early as 2013, The New York Times reported that Qatar was sending MANPADS (“man-portable air-defense-system”) to Syria and said that these might potentially go straight to Al-Qaeda to shoot down civilian aircraft.

Rebel-fighters monitor the sky holding a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) in the Syrian village of Teir Maalah, on the northern outskirts of Homs, on April 20, 2016.

© AFP 2018/ MAHMOUD TAHA
Rebel-fighters monitor the sky holding a man-portable air-defence system (MANPADS) in the Syrian village of Teir Maalah, on the northern outskirts of Homs, on April 20, 2016.

Humvees

In 2015, Iraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles, supplied by the United States, when the northern city of Mosul collapsed. They were designed as a fast means to carry personnel and supplies to the battlefield, but later Daesh re-purposed them into car bombs with improvised explosive devices. Since then, Humvee car bombs became an integral part of the group’s military tactics due to the weapons’ devastating power and the vehicle’s ability to move fast.

Anti-Tank Missiles

By spring 2014, a year after then-President Barack Obama approved the first direct US military aid to rebel groups in Syria, the US-manufactured BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles began to appear in the hands of various anti-Bashar Assad groups. Subsequently, in November 2015, Russian journalists were attacked with the use of those ant-tank missile systems.

Supplies for Kurds

In October 2014, the Pentagon admitted that due to unforeseen circumstances, one of the airdrops initially intended for Kurds in the besieged Kobani, wound up in the hands of Daesh militants. The group immediately issued a video to boast of the newly-acquired weapons, which were meant to destroy them.

Bonus

Probably everyone who has ever watched videos released by the terrorist group Daesh has noticed that jihadists have been driving Toyota trucks. Certainly, cars are not related to “sophisticated weapons,” but many have wondered how the famous car-maker wound up becoming part of the Daesh “brand”. Well, here’s an explanation: when the US State Department decided to send aid to Syrian rebels, their wish-list, among many other things, included 43 Toyota trucks, which would make it easier for them to move on the ground.

READ MORE:

Attackers of Russian Bases in Syria Couldn’t Get Their Location From Net — MoD

US Weapons Went From Syrian Rebels to Daesh in Less than Two Months — Study

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US Likely Took Course to Demolish Iran Nuclear Deal 

NOVANEWS

Russia, as well as the European Union, remains committed to the Iran nuclear deal, despite the recent US waiver of sanctions against the country.

Moscow would oppose any attempts to undermine the existing nuclear agreement between P5+1 countries and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has stated.

“The JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] cannot be amended and we will oppose any attempts to hamper it,” Ryabkov said.

The minister went on by saying that Trump’s move raises questions concerning his negotiability on international issues, adding that Moscow will insistently explain to Washington the viciousness of its sanction policy towards both Tehran and Pyongyang.

“We have a very negative stance on yesterday’s decisions and statements announced by Washington, our worst expectations are coming true,” Ryabkov said commenting on Trump’s words, saying that the US thus demonstrate their preference for the use of power to solve issues.

The minister underlined that statements by US President Donald Trump will be very carefully studied in the DPRK and other countries and may influence the existing tensions on the Korean peninsula.

“According to our estimates, our American colleagues act in such a way as to constantly find opportunities to increase tensions on the Korean peninsula. Despite the signs that there has been some shift in the direction toward political dialogue, here we also note intra-Korean contacts, which are very important — despite this, Washington is looking for ways to constantly remind everyone, including in Northeast Asia, that it is committed to pressuring and methods of force, and, using this same American terminology, keeping all the options on the table,” the deputy head of the Russian Foreign Ministry added.

The diplomat added that there was no sense in overestimating Trump’s decision on waiving the sanctions, as the United States was seeking to undermine the JCPOA and is reinforcing a categorical approach to Iran-related issues.

“The prospect of the US withdrawal from the Iran deal will deliver a very serious blow to the whole system of international agreements and to the enhancing of the nuclear non-proliferation regime,” Ryabkov said.

Speaking about a new deal on Iran, which the US has claimed to elaborate, the minister stressed that Moscow could hardly understand how it might look like.

“We do not understand what our American colleagues mean when they start to negotiate the development of some new agreement, which, as they think, will ‘correct the shortcomings’ of the existing agreement,” Ryabkov said.

“It has been announced in advance that Iran, Russia and China are not invited to negotiations concerning this agreement. This is the US’ decision, the content of the talks and their subject is unclear. But for us, strictly speaking, they are of little interest because the JCPOA is not subject to correction,” Ryabkov stressed.

US Sanctions

“Of course, the decisions on enlargement of the sanction list [as for Iran] by including 14 individuals and entities, including the citizens of foreign states, not only the Iranian institutions and organizations, spark concerns,” Ryabkov has commented on the US sanctions on 14 individuals and entities over Iran’s human rights abuses and ballistic missile program, including the ones from China and Malaysia.

The minister called on the international community to consolidate efforts aimed at securing the Iranian nuclear deal.

“We think that in this context, the international community should double its efforts aimed at consolidation of the approach to the protection of the JCPOA shared by Russia, the Europeans and China in favor of its strict and full implementation by all the participants,” Ryabkov said.

The statement was made in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcement on January 12 of his decision to waive sanctions on Iran as required by the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal. Trump, however, specified it would be the last time he signs the waiver unless the deal is modified.

This move follows the common path the US president took in relation to the Islamic Republic ever since his election campaign. When elected, he reaffirmed opposition to the deal officially in late October 2017, refusing to re-certify it and accusing Tehran of violating the spirit of the agreement.

However, the president still does not contest Tehran’s compliance with the deal at the international level, while at the same time not excluding the possibility of withdrawing from the deal if the agreement is not improved. Other JCPOA signatories have called on the United States to comply with the agreement’s provisions, saying that the deal had yielded results and was non-negotiable.

READ MORE:

Trump Decides to Extend Iran Sanctions Waiver, But for the Last Time — WH

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US Army awards Sikorsky to supply 17 Black Hawk helicopters to Saudi

NOVANEWS

The US Army has awarded Sikorsky, a leading American aircraft manufacturer based in Connecticut, a contract worth nearly $200 million to supply 17 Black Hawk helicopters to Saudi Arabia.

The terms of the “firm-fixed-price” agreement between the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, and the army were announced Thursday by the Department of Defense.

Saudi Arabia is expected to receive eight UH-60Ms for the kingdom’s National Guard, while the other nine helicopters will go to the Royal special security forces.

The UH-60M Black Hawk, a medium-lift, rotary-wing helicopter, has been in use by military forces around the world since it was first introduced in 1979.

It has multi-mission capabilities and can be used in combat search-and-rescue, airborne assault, command-and-control, medical evacuation, search-and-rescue, disaster relief and fire-fighting.

Sikorsky will begin work under the $193.8 million deal to manufacture the helicopters with an estimated completion date of the end of 2022.

The deal comes as the US is under pressure to suspend its arms sales to the Saudi regime, which has been waging a deadly military aggression against Yemen since 2015.

At least 13,600 people have been killed since the start of the war.

During his first trip to Saudi Arabia last year, President Donald Trump signed a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudis, with options to sell up to $350 billion over a decade.

Facilitated by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the massive package includes missiles, bombs, armored personnel carriers, combat ships, terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) missile systems and munitions.

The announcement generated backlash in Congress, with Republican Senator Rand Paul promising to work to block at least parts of the package.

The Trump administration is looking to loosen restrictions on American arms sales to boost the country’s weapons industry.

The move seeks to ease export rules for military equipment “from fighter jets and drones to warships and artillery,” according to officials familiar with the plan.

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

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