News 12.08.2017

Friday, Dec 8, 2017

Senate passes spending bill, averting government shutdown Shortly after the House passed a two-week spending bill on Thursday, the Senate followed with a vote of 81-14, averting a government shutdown on Friday. The stopgap measure will keep the federal government open through Dec. 22. Republicans, who are trying to finish work on their tax bill, need the support of Democrats in order to put together a two-year budget deal that will pass. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday Democrats “will not leave here without a DACA fix,” meaning the budget must include deportation protection for undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. Source: Politico

Muslims worldwide protest against Trump’s Jerusalem decision Muslims around the world took to the streets after midday prayers on Friday to protest President Trump’s decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. America’s decision is highly controversial, because Palestinians seek eastern Jerusalem as their future capital, and the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem comes across as taking Israel’s side. Protests were as widespread as Jordan and Indonesia, although the heart of the demonstrations was across the West Bank. “In several cities and towns, angry protesters hurled stones at Israeli troops who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets,” The Associated Press reports. “Smoke rose over Bethlehem.” Militant groups like Hamas and al Qaeda have called for violence, and the State Department issued warnings to U.S. embassies around the world. Source: The Washington Post


Thursday, Dec 7, 2017

The Czech Republic recognizes West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital “in practice”. (Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte expresses interest in moving his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Haaretz)

The President of Turkey embarks on a two-day state visit of Greece. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s démarche is a first in 65 years. (The Guardian) (Reuters)

The European Commission orders Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to court over their refusal to incorporate more refugees. This is the third step in a process that may lead to fines and loss of the countries’ voting rights in the European Union. (De Standaard) (Die Zeit)

Peoples’ Democratic Party’s co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş remains behind bars until the next hearing, scheduled for February 14, 2018. He risks 142 years in prison. (Turkey Purge)

In a 491-page ruling, a court indicts former President of Argentina Cristina Fernández for treason and orders for her arrest for “trying to cover up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people”. Former foreign affairs minister Héctor Timerman is also concerned. Both have previously denied wrongdoing. (Reuters)

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło resigns just hours after surviving an opposition no-confidence motion. She will be replaced by Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, according to the ruling Law and Justice party. (BBC)


Wednesday, Dec 6, 2017

President Vladimir Putin announces his participation in the 2018 presidential election. (The Western Journal)

President Vladimir Putin declares victory over the Islamic State terror group across both banks of the river Euphrates. (TASS)

Police raid the wrong tent of an activist camp in Kiev and fail to arrest the stateless opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili. A police source says police are preparing a special operation and will be unleashed “in the near future”. (The Daily Star) (TASS)

The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art is brought to reply to an online petition signed by thousands of people. The museum refuses to stop displaying a Balthus painting, Thérèse rêvant(The Telegraph) (Le Nouvel Obs)

The “Silence Breakers”, including those involved in the #MeToo movement, are named Time Magazine’s 2017 Time Person of the Year. (Time) (AP)

President of the State of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas says the move undermines the U.S. position as a peace mediator while the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas says that the decision would “open the gates of hell on U.S. interests in the region.” (BBC)

Pope Francis urges respect for the status quo for Jerusalem and calls for “wisdom and prudence” to avoid further conflict. (ABC News)

A French court does not order the custody of Suleyman Kerimov but sets a €40 million bail and tighter controls. Kerimov was arrested on November 21 in a money laundering and tax fraud case. (TASS)

The Lebanese cautiously welcome a political agreement that enables Prime Minister Saad Hariri to officially withdraw his unexpected November 4 resignation. (The Daily Star)

A study published in Nature and the Astrophysical Journal Letters describes the discovery of the most distant supermassive black hole ever, around 13.1 billion light years away. (The Verge)


Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017

Russia names Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and seven affiliated news media as foreign agents. (Washington Post)

A 14-person International Olympic Committee panel bans Russia from the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, after a report finds evidence of systemic doping cheating in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Any “clean” Russian athletes will compete under the name “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) and the Olympic flag. (Yahoo! Sports)

As police arrive at the stateless Mikheil Saakashvili’s house in Kiev to detain him, Saakashvili goes up on the roof to protest verbally. Police then detain him and try to take him away in a blue minivan while hundreds of people block the street. Finally the supporters free him out of the van. Bespeeching the cameras again, he rails against corruption, against Petro Poroshenko and urges Ukrainians to “be afraid of nothing”. (The Guardian)

Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko claims in a briefing that Saakashvili received $500,000 from the fugitive Serhiy Kurchenko for his activities in Ukraine. He also says Severion Dangadze, an associate of Saakashvili’s Movement of New Forces, had been arrested. (Interfax Ukraine)

A summer 1941 Simon Templar (The Saint) novel by Leslie Charteris, titled The Saint’s Second Front, describing a military attack by Japan on America—and subsequently rejected from publication for political reasons—emerges at a private auction after the work was presumed lost. (The Sun)

Eurofighter GmbH offers Belgium a national cyber defense network—suggesting telecommunications security on par with United Kingdom intelligence, which would save Belgium €1.6 billion per year—in exchange for buying 34 of their multirole combat aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon. (Het Laatste Nieuws)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tells Donald Trump that Turkey might cut ties with Israel if the United States unilaterally recognizes Jerusalem as its capital. (BBC)

At a GCC summit in Kuwait City, the United Arab Emirates announce a political and military alliance with Saudi Arabia. (The Guardian)







Phony Virtue is Ruining Western Society
From Hollywood to our foreign policy, Rousseau’s joke is on us.
By WILLIAM S. SMITH • December 7, 2017

In Hollywood and other elite institutions, puffed-up paragons of “virtue” reign, but backstage are characters such as Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer, people wholly lacking self-control, decency, moderation, temperance, and civility. In short, many of “the beautiful souls” who have been telling us how to live are reprobates–or protecting them, either tacitly or directly.


This is an astonishing exaggeration of Putin’s power. Russia’s actual influence efforts are troubling and deserve countering, but they do not explain away political discontent in the West, much less invalidate election results.Trump’s campaign was foolish to reach out to foreigners promising dirt. But the media manipulation attributed to Russia is small, and sometimes quite silly. The exaggerations of Putin’s ability to influence our political disagreements don’t just distort our debates; they strengthen Putin at home. His potential rivals loathe the way that the Western world makes him out to be a world-bestriding genius, a master of geopolitics. This reputation papers over his mixed record. The fact is Putin’s Russia suffers under sanctions. The American government is now in the habit of kicking out Russian diplomatic personnel and shutting down their facilities. Putin essentially lost the great game of influence over the neighboring government in Kiev and settled for an undignified scramble to collect the vitally important land around his nation’s naval base in Crimea. His government is often reduced to playing the role of petulant jerk, spoiling little diplomatic meetings with the U.S. president.


Syria 12.09.2017

Kurds to provide security for Russian task force on eastern bank of Euphrates River

Trump administration pushes back against narrative of imminent Syrian military victory in civil war
Dec 4, 2017

…officials cited a recent battle to recapture Bukamal, along the Syria-Iraq border, that included almost no Syrian government units.

The Trump administration believes that about 80 percent of the military manpower fighting in support of the Syrian government is made up of foreign forces from Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iraqi militias and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.

When government units undertake offensives against opposition forces, the official said, they must leave behind poorly trained and sparsely equipped troops to defend those reclaimed areas, making them vulnerable to militant attack.

That picture is sharply different from the one presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who assured Assad during a recent visit to Russia that the long Syrian conflict is “nearing completion.”



Joint Statement by the President of the United States and the President of the Russian Federation
Nov 11, 2017

President Trump and President Putin today, meeting on the margins of the APEC conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, confirmed their determination to defeat ISIS in Syria. They expressed their satisfaction with successful U.S.-Russia enhanced de-confliction efforts between U.S. and Russian military professionals that have dramatically accelerated ISIS’s losses on the battlefield in recent months.

The Presidents agreed to maintain open military channels of communication between military professionals to help ensure the safety of both U.S. and Russian forces and de-confliction of partnered forces engaged in the fight against ISIS. They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved…

The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination, of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.


Syrian forces capture ISIS border stronghold as pressure shifts to last enclaves
Nov 9, 2017


Friday,  Dec 1, 2017

Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to the FBI Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty Friday to making “willfully” false statements to the FBI about his contact with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Flynn resigned as national security adviser less than a month after President Trump’s inauguration for lying about his contacts with Russian officials. Congressional Democrats have also told ABC News that Flynn hid information about overseas trips and contacts with foreign officials when applying for his security clearance, and The Wall Street Journal reported that Flynn and his son had considered kidnapping exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gullen — who the Turkish government blames for 2016’s failed coup — on behalf of the Turkish government for $15 million. Source: CNN, ABC News

Michael Flynn confirms he’s cooperating with special counsel Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn confirmed Friday that he has agreed to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team after pleading guilty to lying to the FBI. “After over 33 years of military service to our country … it has been extraordinarily painful to endure these many months of false accusations of ‘treason’ and other outrageous acts,” Flynn said in a statement. He added: “I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right.” He called his decision to cooperate with Mueller “in the best interests of my family and of our country.” Source: Yahoo News

Trump requested top Republicans end Senate Russia probe This summer, President Trump asked Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and other senior Republicans in the Senate multiple times to bring to a close the panel’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, several lawmakers and aides told The New York Times. “It was something along the lines of, ‘I hope you can conclude this as quickly as possible,'” Burr told the Times. He said he told Trump that “when we have exhausted everybody we need to talk to, we will finish.” Several Republicans were concerned about Trump’s “forceful” requests to end the inquiry, but Burr downplayed the incidents, arguing that Trump has “never been in government” and doesn’t know what is proper. Source: The New York Times


Thursday, Nov 30,  2017

American producer Russell Simmons announces his resignation from his companies after a sexual assault allegation was made by screenwriter Jenny Lumetagainst him. (The Guardian)

The Bank of Korea raises interest rates for the first time in more than six years by lifting borrowing costs to 1.50 percent from 1.25, citing economic recovery.  (Reuters)

The International Committee of the Red Cross is buying 750,000 liters of diesel fuel to help provide clean water for a million people living in Yemen. (BBC)


Matt Lauer responds to sexual harassment allegations NBC’s Matt Lauer has made his first public comments since his termination from the network on Wednesday over inappropriate sexual behavior. “There are no words to express my sorrow and regret for the pain I have caused others by words and actions,” said Lauer, who was accused of gifting a colleague a sex toy, “inappropriate” sexual conduct at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and having a button under his desk that could lock his office door, amongst other allegations. Lauer added: “Some of what is being said about me is untrue or mischaracterized, but there is enough truth in these stories to make me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I regret that my shame is now shared by the people I cherish dearly.” Source: CNN Money, Variety


Wednesday,  Nov 29, 2017

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester announce the discovery of evidence that Julius Caesar’s invasion of Britain started in Pegwell Bay, Kent. (BBC)

NBC News announces that it has terminated their employment of Matt Lauer after a female employee filed a complaint about him conducting “inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace”. (CNN)

Garrison Keillor is fired from Minnesota Public Radio after the public broadcaster discloses that it had become aware of allegations of unspecified “inappropriate behavior with an individual who worked with him” on A Prairie Home Companion, an MPR-syndicated variety show that Keillor created and hosted from 1974 to 2016. MInnesota Public Radio has announced that it will cut all ties with Keillor’s production companies (including ceasing distribution and broadcast of The Writer’s Almanac), as well as change the title of A Prairie Home Companion(The Washington Post)

Victoria becomes the first state to pass euthanasia legislation. (ABC News Australia)

Retired Croatian Army general Slobodan Praljak, upon hearing at a UN tribunal that the international tribunal upheld his war crime conviction, drinks a small vial that apparently contained poison, and later dies in a hospital in The Hague. (The New York Times)

U.S. President Donald Trump re-tweets three anti-Muslim videos that were originally tweeted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of British far-right political party Britain First, prompting international condemnation and criticism. (BBC)


Tuesday,   Nov 28, 2017

North Korea fires another missile in a test, landing in the Sea of Japan. (BBC)

Tampa, Florida police arrest Howell Emanuel Donaldson III and charge him with four counts of murder. (CBS News)

A Soyuz-2.1b’s Fregat upper stage malfunctions during Meteor-M No.2-1’s launch from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The status of the satellite and 18 other payloads is unknown, as they are either stranded in a wrong orbit or they reentered the atmosphere and crashed in the ocean. (Spaceflight Now)

YouTube removes thousands of child abuse videos related to Elsagate. (CBS News)



Tuesday,   Nov 28, 2017

Trump to meet with party leaders ahead of looming budget deadline President Trump will sit down with congressional leaders from both parties at the White House on Tuesday as lawmakers enter the frantic final weeks of the year with a federal budget deadline looming on Dec. 8. With military spending as a major point of debate — Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected at the meeting, too — Democrats are attempting to use their leverage to protect so-called “DREAMers,” or immigrants brought to the United States unlawfully as children. Party leaders are bracing for the unpredictable: At the last such sit-down, Trump unexpectedly sided with “Chuck [Schumer] and Nancy [Pelosi]” over raising the debt ceiling, leaving members of his own party “livid” and “shell-shocked.” Source: The Washington Post


Second Republican senator announces ‘no’ vote on tax legislation A second Republican senator, Steve Daines of Montana, came out against the Senate GOP’s proposed tax overhaul on Monday, leaving his party with no votes to spare if it hopes to pass the legislation in its current form. “Senator Daines has concerns with how the tax bill looks at Main Street versus Large Corporations,” his spokesperson told Business Insider. “The senator wants changes to the tax cut bill that ensures Main Street businesses are not put at a competitive disadvantage against large corporations.” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) also said he felt the current incarnation of the GOP tax overhaul favored big corporations at the expense of small businesses. He said he could back it with changes, but, “As it’s currently written, I’m a no.” Source: Business Insider, Journal Sentinel


Washington Post foils conservative activists with fake Roy Moore story On Monday, The Washington Post reported that a woman, Jaime T. Phillips, who works for conservative muckraker James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, had been falsely claiming to reporters for weeks that Alabama GOP Senate nominee Roy Moore had gotten her pregnant in 1992, when she was 15, and driven her to get an abortion. The Post reporters became suspicious at the woman’s repeated request for assurance that her story would cause Moore to lose, and fact-checking revealed inconsistencies in her story. A GoFundMe page she had set up announcing her move to New York to work for a conservative organization matches the description of Project Veritas. In a fundraising email, O’Keefe said on Monday that Phillips was an “investigative journalist” working for Project Veritas. Source: The Washington Post


Cyber Monday sales set record Cyber Monday set a record with $6.59 billion in sales, making it the biggest U.S. shopping day in history, according to a report by Adobe Analytics. The total marked a 16.8 percent increase over the previous record of $5.65 billion set last year. Retailers this year also brought in $5.03 billion on Black Friday, and $2.87 billion on Thanksgiving. The global record was set on China’s Singles’ Day, with $25.4 billion earlier this month. In the U.S., 47.4 percent of Cyber Monday visits were from mobile devices, mostly smartphones. That’s also a record. Revenue from smartphone sales rose by 32.2 percent to a record $1.59 billion. Amazon probably took the biggest share of online sales, with an estimated 42 percent, according to marketing research firm Slice Intelligence. Source: Forbes, USA Today


Monday,  Nov 27, 2017

Authorities in Beijingevict thousands of its migrant population in wake of a fire that left 19 people dead earlier this month, leaving many homeless in sub-zero temperatures. (Radio Free Asia) (Quartz)

The PakistanMinister for Law Zahid Hamid resigns after days of protest over proposed changes to blasphemy (CNN)

The Attorney General of Catalonia, José María Romero de Tejada, unexpectedly dies in Barcelona of pneumonia at the age of 69. (El País)

Trump calls Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ at event honoring Native Americans President Trump used a racially insensitive nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday during an Oval Office event honoring Native American code talkers. “You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump told the assembled group after initially declining to give a speech. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago,” Trump added, speaking beneath a portrait of Andrew Jackson, who signed the 1830 Indian Removal Act. “They call her Pocahontas.” The insult has been a favorite of Trump’s, stemming from Warren’s claim that she is of Native American descent. Trump earlier declared November to be Native American Heritage Month. Source: Toronto Star, Reuters

Meredith Corp. agrees to buy Time Inc. for $3 billion, with Koch financing On Sunday night, Meredith Corp. reached a deal to buy Time Inc. for $18.50 a share, or nearly $3 billion, combining under one company Time’s Sports IllustratedPeople, and Time with Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle, among other titles. The boards of both companies approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018. Meredith, based in Des Moines, made a bid for Time Inc. in 2013 and then again earlier this year, but it was unable to raise the funds for the all-cash deal until the private equity firm of conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch stepped in with $650 million in financing. Meredith says the Koch brothers will play no editorial role in the company. Source: The New York Times


Sunday,  Nov 26, 2017

Popocatépetl volcano continues to erupt in Mexico. (CNN)

Pakistan’s government calls for troops to be deployed in the capital, Islamabad, after violence breaks out during protests by Islamists that were organized by the Tehreek-e-Labaik. (BBC)

John Conyers stands down as the ranking Democrat on the United States House Committee on the Judiciary following a series of sexual harassment allegations. (The Globe and Mail)


 Saturday,  Nov 25, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin signs into law amendments that allow foreign media outlets in Russia to be listed as foreign agents. Earlier this month, RT America has been forced to be registered as a foreign agent in the United States. (CNN) (Reuters)

Former Zimbabwe finance minister Ignatius Chombo, who was arrested during Operation Restore Legacy, is charged in Harare Magistrate’s Court with three counts of fraud, abuse of power, and corruption. (Reuters) (The Citizen)

The United States and Russia begin fighting over the extradition of Yevgeniy Nikulin, who was detained in October 2016 in the Czech Republic, after the U.S. Justice Department issued an international arrest warrant for him. However, soon after the U.S. issued its arrest warrant, Russian authorities also sought his extradition. The Russian charge accuses Nikulin of stealing from an online money transfer company back in 2009. (CNN)

Far-right protesters from La Meute and Storm Alliance, counter-protesters, and the Quebec City Police Service clash, and more than 40 people are arrested. (


Friday,  Nov 24, 2017

At least 305 people are killed, and over 128 wounded, in a bomb and gun attack at a mosque near Arish, Egypt. (BBC)

The White House confirms Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s announcement that President Donald Trump told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that America is preparing to stop supplying weapons to ethnic Kurdish fighters in Syria. (The Washington Post) (AP via NBC News)

The U.S. State Department, in a reversal, says the Palestine Liberation Organization mission can remain open in Washington, D.C. (CBS News)

Days ahead of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India, scheduled to be attended by Ivanka Trump per Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s June invitation, reports indicate the United States Department of State, led by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will not be sending a high-level delegation to support her amid reports of tensions between Tillerson and the White House. (CNN) (Daily Mail)


Thursday, Nov 23,  2017

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, wanted by the ICC for allegations of genocide and war crimes, asks Russian President Vladimir Putin for increased military ties and protection against the United States during his first visit to Russia as President. Putin agrees to increase their countries’ economic ties. (France 24)


Wednesday,  Nov 22, 2017

Explosions and gunfire are heard in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi amidst counter-terrorism operations. One security guard and 3 terrorists are killed. (Al Jazeera)

A U.S. Navy C-2A Greyhound, operating off the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, crashes in the Philippine Sea. Eight sailors are rescued, while three remain missing from the 11-person crew. (CNBC)

The Palestinian National Authority suspends contact with the United States after the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, D.C. was closed. (UPI)

Ratko Mladić, the former Chief of Staff of the Bosnian Serb army during the Bosnian War, is found guilty of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and is sentenced to life imprisonment. (The Guardian)

Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri arrives in Beirut for the first time since announcing his resignation in Saudi Arabia more than two weeks ago. (BBC)

At Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s request, Hariri suspends his resignation so further consultations can proceed. (BBC)


Tuesday,   Nov 21, 2017

Mount Agung in Bali erupts for the first time in 50 years, leading to thousands of people fleeing their homes. (BBC)

The U.S. Treasury imposes new sanctions on several North Korean shipping companies and vessels, along with four Chinese companies which have engaged in trading activities with North Korea. (CBS News)

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai announces his agency will take steps to repeal the regulations put in place under the Obama administration, including the classification of broadband Internet as a public utility. (The New York Times)

Robert Mugabe resigns as the President of Zimbabwe shortly after impeachment proceedings are launched. It ends a period of his 29 years in office as President. (Fox News)


 Monday,  Nov 20, 2017

The U.S. Department of Justice files a lawsuit blocking the potential merger of AT&T and Time Warner. (CNN)

A 7.0 magnitude undersea earthquake strikes east of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. Tsunami warnings for New Caledonia and Vanuatu are cancelled. There are no immediate reports of damage. (Gulf News)

Charlie Rose is suspended as host of Charlie Rose and anchor of CBS This Morning after allegations of sexual harassment and obscene phone calls. (The Washington Post)

The United States Department of Homeland Security announces they will not renew the “temporary protected status” of around 50,000 Haitians living in the United States when it expires in 18 months. (The Washington Post)

The Georgia Dome, former home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and the NCAA’s Peach Bowl, is imploded after 25 years of use. (CNBC)



What would happen if there was detente between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

Some things to remember:

Turkey (and Erdogan) was anti-Assad for the first 4 years of the conflict, shot down a Russian plane that crossed its territory in 2015, has weathered a coup (the source of which has never really been ironed out), and taken stances of different intensities with both ISIS and The Kurds in Syrian and Iraqi territory. For the entire time have been a member of NATO. Presently and for about the last two years they seem to be very friendly with Russia.

There is always a lot of talk about Russian sensitivity with NATO encroaching on its doorstep. What about Russian encroachment on NATO? The Russians complain constantly that the American Presence supporting the YPG in eastern Syria and all other American involvement in Syria is illegal. And they are correct. Politically there are two major problems with this. One is the obvious contribution of the YPG and hence the Americans to the defeat of ISIS. The second is the hypocritical Russian intervention in Crimea and Ukraine. Russia has no effective rejoinder to these two awkward realities, so it uses its propaganda organs to repeat ad nauseam the absurd lie that ISIS is a CIA creation.

Next to the United States, it has always been Saudi Arabia that has born the brunt of the charge of meddling in Syria. As long as the Russians stick to the line that The Americans started the conflict by creating terrorists in Syria there will not be progress towards a resolution. Americans see this as an uprising and civil war whose roots are Syrian with deeper roots in the Arab Spring. There are two schools of American thought. One is the anti-interventionist school that believes Syria is none of our business and we should never have allowed the CIA or the Hillary Clinton to fund rebels there. The other is of the Neocon, quasi-neocon/Hillary Clinton/R2P/humanitarian-intervention school that ran foreign policy during the Obama years and whose crusading only Obama himself seems to have tempered.

The tension and conflict always revolves around the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran. From a certain point of view this is a mini-Cold War that “wags-the-dog,” so to speak of a larger, renewed Cold War between not just Russia and the United States but also a third way when we add China to the mix.

It is extremely easy to look to Israel as the ultimate trouble-maker and some might say this is an Occam’s Razor moment. However, I don’t think a perpetual Israeli conspiracy can fully explain the dynamics here.

RT News is quite happy to tout the high estimated death toll among in Yemen, especially among children. And also among “terrorists” in Syria. But when high civilian casualties are mentioned in Syria from Russian or Syrian bombing they are downplayed or attributed to Western propaganda. The United States does it in the opposite direction. This is because Russia is backing the Syrian government which is on good terms with other Shia-dominated groups, most importantly Iran. To the Saudis and Americans, Iran is the boogie-man in Yemen. In Syria, The US and Israel are the boogie-man for Russia.

Nobody can ever be sure whose side anyone is on. Especially the Kurds and Turkey.

The United States has a vested interest in there being conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. and in many ways, so do both China and Russia. It would be especially bad for Israel. If there were a lasting detente between these two countries and they started to cooperate economically it would basically put the Muslim world based in the Persian Gulf in control of global affairs. Russia, China, and the United States would all cease to have the influence they do now.

Look at the oil embargoes of the 1970s and look at what happened with Iran from before the revolution to after the revolution.

The Saker 11.17.2017

The Saker 11.17.2017

Wow. Predicting military conflict in the Middle-East. Another bold article by The Saker.

2800 words was exhausting. Especially since it was pure conspiracy theory.

You set up a straw man by fabricating a ten-point “AngloZionist” plan of goals. Then you claim this has all failed so the Jews and Neocons and ZioWahabis (Jesus, are you for real?) must be really angry so they are going to launch a war for no reason in particular.

You really never provide any names or dialogue or agreements or meetings or UN resolutions or history. Only your view and opinion. Convenient. Pure rant about a vague AngloZionist conspiracy to control the world. Ironically, the one name and quote you provide doesn’t support your insistence on war.

The Syrian “state” has “survived” AND is “stronger”? Seriously? “Remain unitary”? Pretty sure there is still a civil war going on in Syria AND next door in Iraq. But don’t let facts get in the way of a good rant.

The YPG still seems to control Syria east of the Euphrates and the US still has a small contingent there.

My feeling is that the Russians and Israeli and American generals staffs and ambassadors would laugh if they read this article. They are probably all in the same room right now. They could read it together.

But their problem is that their only true area of expertise is massacring defenseless civilians, that they are real experts at.

LOL. Like the Russians in Chechnya. Twice!

As for the Israelis, they are offering to share intelligence (read: targeting data) with the Saudis. How touching it is to see these two medieval, backward and generally evil regimes are so willing to work together. At least they are both now showing their true, ugly, faces!

I know, right? It’s amazing they have managed to take over Hollywood, The World, and the New York Times.

This line should have been the title of the piece:

“The following is only my speculation and nothing more. I have no way of knowing…”

It should be the title of all your articles.

The boring reality is that all the governments and militaries involved (with the exception of ISIS and/or other jihadi-types) employ many more level-headed advisers and leaders like Admiral Fallon than The Saker wants us to believe.