Saturday 20 May 2017

Al Mayadeen Gamal Abdel Nasser’s – Documentary

وثائقي الميادين | جمال عبد الناصر |

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Russia, Iran and Turkey deepen talks on full implementation of de-escalation zones in Syria

On Thursday the 18.05. Russian, Iranian und Turkish officials held further talks about concrete steps and details of their planned etsablishment of de-escalation zones in Syria. The three states serve as guarantors for the various factions of the Syrian conflict involved in this agreement. A first memorandum was signed on May 4 in Astana to establish four de-escalation zones in Syria.
While many details have yet to be agreed upon, flights above the zones are already banned. The Russian Ministry of Defense, who’s units will enforce this rule, made clear, that violations will not be tolerated, even if announced beforehand.
This deal differs significantly from the no-flight zone proposed by the U.S. coalition, which of course would have been controlled by U.S. forces and basically would have grounded the Syrian Airforce. The latter is still the case for the de-escalation zones but in addition any hostilities are to be ceased in the designated zones since May 5, including those of ground forces. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense the ceasefire held so far, aside of minor inicidents, mostly caused by single small arms fire.
The deal, if fully implemented, would bring relief for both the population in the zones and the forces fighting for control over those areas, as neutral peace keeping forces will control the zones. Still the exact boundaries of the zones has to be determined until May 27. Also a joint working group of the guarantors should have been installed until May 18. The group should realise the implementation of the deal, that is to be finalised by June 4.
The borders of the zones will have security lanes with checkpoints, to allow the movement of civilians and goods, while keeping the opposing parties of the Syrian conflict at distance. Turkey is rooting for a UN supervision of the agreement. The memorandum demands the guarantors themselves to provide supervisioning troops, but leaves the option to include third parties open. The next round of the talks will be held in Teheran May 21.
Meanwhile the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new bill demanding the Donald Trump to impose sanctions he sees fit on backers of the Syrian gouvernment, while explicitly naming Russia as an core allie of Syria on May 17. This is supposed to be a reaction to allegations, mainly based reports on various social media accounts, of a chemical weapons attack by Syrian forces in Khan Sheikhoun.
While these claims already prompted Trump to command a strike with Tomahawk rockets on a Syrian airbase, as he reportedly had dessert with the Chinese President Xi Jinping, there has not been any indepedent investigation of the events as of now. The allegations seem contradictive since the U.N. announced in June 2014 that the Syrian gouvernment had voluntarily destroyed all chemical weapons and in their possession and all means for their produtcion within the framework of an agreement with the U.N..
All three guarantor states of the agreement on the implementation of de-escalation zones have, in their respective tone, urged the U.S. to seek participation in a political solution and to abstain of destabilizing actions in the Syrian conflict. It is unlikely for the U.S. to respect the boundaries set within the new agreement, with the U.S. led coalition already using the alleged violation of the yet to be established de-escalation zones as a pretext to bomb the Syrian Army.
On Thursday a Syrian Army convoy was bombed near the Tanf border crossing in Syria’s southeast, causing several deaths and injuries, because it was, according to U.S. media, approaching positions of rebel groups in a de-escalation zone in Suweida region, close to the Syrian Jordanian border. It is important to note, that the area is not part of the designated de-escalation zones, as can be seen on the map published by the Russian Ministry of Defense. U.S. special forces are supporting the rebel groups in this region and were filmed last Sunday intruding into Syrian souvereign territory via the Tanf border crossing.
There are also major rifts among the armed opposition regarding the agreement, which could lead to wide scale infighting. The powerfull Al-Qaeda affiliate Hay’et Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) will not be protected in any party of Syria according to the deal, due to it’s status as a terrorist group, whereas groups backed by Turkey would enjoy protection within the to be designated de-escalation zones.
But if despite those hindrinces the agreement were to come into full effect, this would free up, larger contingents of the Syrian forces, to focus their efforts on ISIS. With this perspective, the Syrian Arab Army and allied groups have already started parts of a large scale operation, which ultimately aims to seal Syria’s south-eastern borders and to liberate the city of Deir Ezzor in Syrias east, which has been besieged by ISIS for 2 years now.
Below are more detailed maps published by the Russian Ministry of Defense, showing a first rough sketch of the 4 de-escalation zones, as designated by the guarantors:
ALSO READ  Negotiations begin for rebel surrender of large southern Damascus district

Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News

Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News
Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News
Henri Feyerabend | Al-Masdar News

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The US-Iran Tussle over Iraq

The US-Iran Tussle over Iraq
Iraq has always been central to Washington’s pursuit of the ‘new Middle East’.
In a frantic search for alternatives, following the realization that the toppling of the Damascus government was no longer a realistic objective, Iraq has become even more important. Washington desperately needs to cut Iran off from Syria, and the road from Tehran to Damascus runs through Baghdad.
Speculation over the future of Iraq is coming into sharper focus with the approaching demise of the Daesh terror group.
The most advanced terrorist organization in history has played its part in reshaping the region. Now, the time has come to build the ‘new Middle East’ out of the ashes.
In this context, one of the more commonly asked questions is whether Iraq can be preserved as a unified state, or what Baghdad’s future foreign policy will look like.
In an effort to answer such questions, analysts are increasingly looking at Iraq as a battleground between the US and Iran – the two countries that wield the most influence among Baghdad’s political elites and Iraq’s military formations.
Severing the resistance axis
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Barack Obama pulled US troops out of Iraq in 2011. But the Americans made sure to leave behind a country devastated, and divided along sectarian lines. What’s more, Washington essentially set the stage for the creation of an entity that would morph into one that more resembles a state than a conventional terror group.
Thanks to Daesh, the Americans were quickly back in Iraq. By 2014, the number of US forces began to rise rapidly, currently estimated to be at just over 5,000 soldiers.
With billions invested in the sideshow operation against Daesh, the Americans needed boots on the ground in order to be able to exert their influence. Without military bases on Iraqi soil, Washington would be unable to challenge the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). These are better armed, trained and more motivated than any of the regular army formations, which are propped up by the US.
Naturally, after saving Baghdad from falling into the hands of Daesh, Tehran cannot afford to be indifferent about US regional ambitions, which are compatible with regimes supportive of terrorist groups, namely Riyadh and Tel Aviv.
The Iranians are equally mindful of agendas seeking to sever the resistance axis, which runs from Tehran to the Mediterranean.
These schemes also involve the possible opening of a new front in Syria’s remote southeastern desert, near the borders with Iraq and Jordan.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon ordered US fighter jets to strike a pro-Damascus militia heading towards the border town of al-Tanf. The attack comes just days after satellite images exposed a major US-Jordanian military build up along the border.
In fact, eastern Syria is a key strategic point in Damascus’ struggle to regain lost territory and keep an open frontier with Iraq and, by extension, toward Iran.
This is one of the main reasons why the Syrians and their allies have fought so hard to defend the biggest city in the east, Deir ez-Zor, which has recently come under a fresh wave of attacks, as the battles for Mosul and Raqqa have intensified.
Aside from American operations in Syria, Iran’s national security interests are threatened by pressures on Baghdad, and the prospects of US military bases right on the country’s doorstep.
The Trump administration has already started courting Iraqi Premier Haidar al-Abadi. Washington is lobbying for the Iraqi leader to sign off on a permanent American military presence in his country, as well as the construction of additional US bases.
According to Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, who heads the League of the Righteous – a faction under the PMU umbrella – “The US aims to strengthen its influence in the areas west of Iraq and east of Syria and to start the partition project.”
Al-Abadi is reportedly being pushed into a treaty that resembles the so-called ‘bilateral security agreement’ between the US and Afghanistan, which permitted nearly 10,000 American troops to remain in that country, after the international combat mission formally ended in 2014.
The American initiative, designed to undermine Iran’s regional influence, also calls for bringing Baghdad closer to the government in Riyadh.
Political scientist Mohammed Naanaa believes that this puts al-Abadi in an awkward position.
“Abadi will try to convince Iraq’s Shiite parties that he has taken the position of mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran to maintain American support, which is the role he can actually play. Abadi cannot afford to turn his back on Tehran or lose US support,” Naanaa said.
The Iranian response
Tehran recently appointed a new envoy to Baghdad. Iraj Masjedi is a brigadier general from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, and had previously worked as an adviser for the Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani.
Upon taking up his post, Masjedi stated, “Iran wants an advanced, powerful, secure and unified Iraq.”
Meanwhile, General Soleimani reportedly applauded the appointment of Moustafa al-Kazemi as the head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS), during the summer of last year.
Al-Kazemi is widely seen as an ally of Tehran, and his rise to the top of Iraq’s intelligence apparatus is appreciated significantly more by the Iranians than the Americans.
While the US remains obsessed with shaping the Iraqi army in a way that adheres to its aspirations, Iranian cooperation with Baghdad revolves primarily around the PMU – modeled on the Revolutionary Guards, and now an official component of Iraq’s security forces.
Following the PMU’s successes on the battlefield, the military formation has gained the status of both a respected and feared adversary. It now has the potential to be transformed into a major political force in a country that it helped to liberate.
For the Iranians, whose two main strategic objectives in Iraq include keeping American troops away from the Iranian border and defending Shiite bastions like Najaf and Karbala, this is a very welcome outcome in the battle against Daesh.
What happens to Iraq?
Amid joy and relief over the imminent defeat of Daesh, Iraqis are increasingly anxious over what the future holds.
The defeat of Daesh in Mosul in no way spells the end of Wahabi-fueled terrorism across Iraq, and American efforts to undercut Tehran’s alliance with Baghdad can only spell more trouble.
Although the US is likely to attempt to expand its military presence across western Iraq and eastern Syria in the hope of pressuring the resistance axis, this is unlikely to threaten the future of the Iraqi state.
Instead, Washington reserves the option of manipulating the Kurdish issue. If Erbil gets the green light from the Americans to secede from Iraq, Baghdad can do absolutely nothing to stop it.
As such, Abadi has to walk a fine line, fostering good relations with the Trump White House, while maintaining the strategic partnership with Tehran. And if that wasn’t tough enough, the Iraqis will also be expected to normalize ties with the Saudis, the puppet masters behind Daesh.
Source: Al-Ahed news
20-05-2017 | 13:46

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Why The U.S. Really Attacked Syrian Militia Convoy

Exclusive: For the Pentagon to suggest that this was a sideshow to Washington’s battle against Isis was to stretch the truth beyond credibility
May 19, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – According to the Syrians, the US destroyed not one but four T-62 tanks and a Shilka ZSU-23-4 Soviet-made radar-guided anti-aircraft vehicle manned by both Shia Iraqi militiamen loyal to Damascus and a unit of armed Iranians who were travelling in pick-up trucks to establish positions – on the instructions of the Syrian army – in the desert west of al-Tanf. Their intention – to set up strongpoints in the vast and largely empty land in advance of the American-trained forces – was an attempt by the Syrian government to keep open the route between Iraq and Syria now that the ISIS-held Syrian city of Raqqa far to the north has been almost surrounded by largely Kurdish fighters loyal to Washington.
Six of the pro-Syrian militiamen were killed in the American air strike and 25 wounded – it is unclear whether the casualties were Iraqi or Iranian – but forces under the command of the Syrian army intend to continue their reconnaissance missions towards al-Tanf. Anti-aircraft gunners aboard one of the pick-up trucks accompanying the pro-Syrian units that were attacked, opened fire on the US jets and, according to the Syrians, forced the American aircraft to fly higher.
At this point, Syrian air defence units north-east of Damascus prepared to fire Soviet-made S-200 Angara ground-to-air missiles (an older version of the S-300 which the Russians have since delivered to the Syrian military) at the Americans – but the US jets had by then left Syrian airspace. One of the five T-62 tanks attacked by the Americans was undamaged.
Nonetheless, the brief action in the Syrian desert was of great importance. The Syrians were obviously trying to test America’s resolve to move its anti-Assad militia forces deeper into the south-east of the country – and the US was prepared, albeit on a small scale, to show that it was prepared to press on. But the Syrian-Iraqi frontier town of al-Tanf may turn out to be a key strategic point in the struggle of the Assad government to regain its national territory and keep open its border to Iraq and, by extension, to Iran. It lies only 30 miles from Iraq – but because the Jordanian-Syrian-Iraqi borders join immediately to the south – al-Tanf also lies the same distance from Jordan – where the American-trained militia are based.
Although US jets were involved in Thursday’s air strikes, the forces on the ground comprised largely proxy fighters – belonging to both the American-trained ‘rebel’ opposition and to the Syrian military. If US personnel were accompanying the ‘rebel’ forces, then they were lucky that neither the Russians nor Syrian Army personnel were present on the other side. For the Pentagon to suggest that this was a sideshow to Washington’s battle against Isis was to stretch the truth beyond credibility in the Middle East. Cutting Syria off from Iraq – and thus from Iran – appears to be a far more immediate operational aim of US forces in Syria than the elimination of the Sunni “Caliphate” cult that Washington claims to be its principal enemy in the Middle East.
This article was first published by The Independent –
See also
Int’l coalition’s attack on Syrian military site exposes its fake claims of fighting terrorism; The attack, which took place at 16:30 pm on Thursday, left a number of people dead, in addition to causing material damage, the source said.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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A Progressive’s Argument that Trump Is Less Evil than Obama

A Progressive’s Argument that Trump Is Less Evil than Obama
ERIC ZUESSE | 19.05.2017 | WORLD

A Progressive’s Argument that Trump Is Less Evil than Obama

To a progressive, the most important thing is to avoid a war between the U.S. and Russia — a war which has become likely after U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2014 U.S. coup in Ukraine bordering Russia and NATO’s then massing troops and weapons to several parts of and near Russia’s border. Any U.S.-Russia war would escalate beyond the use of non-nuclear arms at the moment when one of the two sides is losing that conventional war and has no possibility of avoiding being conquered by the other side except to unleash its already-deployed nuclear warheads (or «nuclear bombs»), which are 1,765 on Russia’s side, and 1,411 on America’s. (Such a nuclear conflict would be completed within less than 30 minutes; it would be the shortest war ever.)
The first side to launch nuclear forces would suffer less damage than the second to do so would (because some of the other side’s nukes would be destroyed in that attack), and therefore would ‘win’ that U.S.-Russia war in the standard military sense, though the planet itself would become uninhabitable afterwards (and so any such ‘win’ would be Pyrrhic). For either side to be conquered would be viewed by it as enslavement, and the leaders of the losing side would be killed by their own people if not by the conquerors; plus, there might be an escalation to nuclear even if none of the leaders want it; so, being the first to launch nuclear forces might be chosen as the less-catastrophic of the two available options in the event of a Russia-U.S. war; it is not an unlikely outcome, regardless of which side would be losing the conventional conflict.
To a progressive, the second-most important thing is to avoid global burning — out-of-control, runaway, escalation in atmospheric temperature, which would starve to death all humans but much slower than a U.S.-Russia war would. If the majority of climatologists are correct, then probably global burnout will happen even if concerted international action to prevent it is started now — probably we’re already too late to be able to avoid that outcome. The conservatives likely held off action against ‘global warming’ long enough to doom the planet.
Therefore, for two reasons, U.S.-Russia war is the world’s number-one concern: (1) U.S.-Russia war would produce hell-on-Earth much faster than global burning would: and, (2) It can be avoided (if the U.S. leadership backs off from its post-1990 goal of conquering Russia, which is possible for America’s leaders to do).
Since a progressive’s main focus is on getting the U.S. leadership to eliminate their overriding goal since 1990 of conquering Russia, Trump will here be compared with Obama, and with Obama’s chosen successor Hillary Clinton, on that particular issue:
Obama’s chosen successor was an ardent proponent of a «no-fly zone» being imposed by the U.S. in Syria — a sovereign nation that has been invaded by the U.S. (along with America’s jihadist boots-on-the-ground proxies that are financed by the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia and by the Thanis who own Qatar). Russia is defending the legitimate government of Syria, which the U.S. team are trying to overthrow and replace by jihadists. A U.S.-imposed no-fly zone there would require the U.S. to shoot down Syrian and Russian planes over Syrian territory. It would constitute a conventional war against Russia, using Syria as the battlefield. Hillary Clinton was clearly as evil as any politician has ever been. Not only did ‘the new Cold War’ (actually the hot proxy-war against Russia that the Obama regime started by overthrowing the democratically elected and Russia-friendly leader of Ukraine in 2014) start being planned by Hillary Clinton’s State Department in 2011, but she was also willing to go hot against Russia over the battlefield of Syria.
So: if Clinton were now the U.S. President, then there would probably already be a conventional war between the U.S. and Russia in Syria. Furthermore, Obama had tried to set up his successor — whomever it would turn out to be — with a broken Syrian peace-negotiation process, as hard as possible to resolve the Syrian situation peaceably with Russia. Although Obama didn’t want to be the person who would pull the trigger against Russia, he wanted his successor to do so.
By contrast: Trump has been bluster against Russia (because of the U.S. aristocracy’s campaign to portray him as being Putin’s stooge or worse), and also against the government of Syria, but behind the scenes has been pursuing a negotiated settlement that is acceptable both to the Russian government and to the Syrian government.
Unlike Clinton-Obama, Trump is not aiming to conquer Russia.
On global burning, Trump is far worse even than Clinton would have been. But probably a miserable end will come much slower from his Presidency than it would be coming from a Presidency by Hillary Clinton.
In any case, only deeply misinformed people consider the United States to be, in any real sense, still a democracy. The issue instead is how bad the U.S. regime is. And, apparently, when considering the two options that the U.S. system gave us, we lucked out with Trump’s having won.
As regards the progressive issues that Bernie Sanders — Hillary’s opponent in the Democratic primaries — was promoting and had been fighting for throughout his political career, the U.S. aristocracy decided not to allow him to win the Presidency, though among the U.S. general electorate he was overwhelmingly the most-preferred (or least-opposed) Presidential candidate in any party. If he had won the Democratic nomination, then he would almost certainly have trounced Trump, and probably Congress and state houses also would be dominated by Democrats — and that would be a somewhat different (less fascist) Democratic Party from the one that now exists. But it just wasn’t possible, given the political realities in the U.S. That type of government doesn’t exist in America. America’s government is more conservative than America’s public are, and this is generally the case, because the aristocracy usually control a government, and they’re always more conservative than the public are. In that regard, America is a normal country. A Sanders win would have required, as a prerequisite, a certain type of abnormal country: one whose government is as progressive as its people are. This isn’t to say that the public are generally progressive, just that they’re always more progressive than the nation’s aristocracy is.

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