国際・政治: ずくなしの冷や水



Trump mulling mass pullout of troops from Afghanistan – reports
US President Donald Trump has reportedly "lost all patience" and ordered the Pentagon to look into options to reduce the 14,000-strong US contingent in Afghanistan, defying his generals' advice, according to multiple media.

Trump has grown increasingly frustrated over the Afghan stalemate, pushing for the end of the 17-year-long US campaign in the country over the past several weeks, ABC News reported, citing a US official.

"What are we doing there? We've been there all these years," Trump reportedly told an ally at a meeting on Wednesday, Reuters reported. On the same day, Trump is said to have discussed the potential pullout or a considerable reduction of the US force with his outgoing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and his hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The commander-in-chief, however, has not found support for his withdrawal plan, according to ABC. Hours before the deliberations were reported by US media, Mattis handed in his resignation letter, citing differences of views with the president.

There have been conflicting reports regarding when the potential pullout could take place.

While ABC News, citing a US official, reported that troops might leave the war-torn country "in the coming weeks," NBC News, citing two other defense officials, said no concrete decision has yet been made and that the Pentagon is likely to present its report "shortly after the new year."

The reports come at a time when part of the American public and even Trump's allies in the Republican Party have been incensed over his decision to withdraw some 2,000 American troops from Syria after declaring "victory" over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) there.

The possible scale-down in the American war on terror in Afghanistan, which has dragged on since 2001, has caught many off-guard and elicited cautious praise from some of Trump's usual opponents, like Hillary Clinton’s former foreign policy spokesman Jesse Lehrich, who called it “a lot less stupid” than withdrawing 2,000 troops from Syria.

One of Trump’s most vocal critics, Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu, gave Trump a rare thumbs-up, tweeting: “I don’t care who the President is; if @POTUS gets out of endless wars, I will support that action.”

The apparent steps away from years of militaristic US policy risk alienating many of Trump’s steadfast allies, baffled by his recent decisions.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who sparred with Trump over the Syrian pullout, warned that an abrupt withdrawal is “a high-risk strategy” that could pave the way to “a second 9/11.”

The rumors of an imminent Afghan withdrawal come shortly after General Joseph F. Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned that another 9/11-scale attack on American people would be possible if US forces leave Afghanistan.

The general said that US troops are essential to containing the Taliban, which is believed to control or have a presence in 44 percent of the country’s territory.

Over 2,400 US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, a number that is now comparable to the death toll from the actual 9/11 attacks.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:29| Comment(0) | 国際・政治



Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier stated that the presence of the US forces in Syria did not help the political and diplomatic settlement of the crisis in the country. His remarks came shortly after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw all US troops from the Mideast country.

Russia is not prone to overestimating the role of the United States in defeating Daesh* in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

“Stability and predictability is what Russia is looking for in all its dimensions of its foreign policy. Stability and predictability is something that all countries welcome. And when stability and predictability give way to unpredictability and such, I would say, chaotic nature of decision-making, this, of course, causes discomfort in international affairs and concern. This concerns not only Russia, this applies to all countries”, Peskov said.

Peskov elaborated that Moscow still had no clear understanding of how, when and where the US troops would be leaving Syria, and was not sure what "next phase" in the settlement of the crisis meant.

When asked about a potential US withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the Kremlin spokesman also stated that Russia didn't want anything to happen that could undermine stability in the country.

The comments came shortly after US President Donald Trump announced the decision to pull US troops out of Syria, claiming that Daesh had been defeated.

Russia Has Many Questions to BBC − Kremlin

Speaking about the UK watchdog's conclusion that RT broke broadcasting rules, Peskov said that there have been many questions to the British media, mainly the BBC, which worked in a biased mode.

"Many, let's say, various agencies in Moscow have repeatedly had questions regarding specific publications, concrete cases of coverage of developments relating to Russia − [questions regarding] the coverage of what is happening in Syria and within Russia", Peskov told reporters.

He said that the Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor's inspection of the BBC could surely be regarded as a retaliatory response to UK Office of Communications' (Ofcom) decision on RT.

Earlier in the day, Roskomnadzor said it had started the checks to verify the BBC's compliance with the Russian law after Ofcom accused the RT broadcaster of violating the regulator's rules and failing to provide unbiased news coverage in seven programmes aired in March and April. RT. for its part, issued a statement, saying it was "extremely disappointed" with the results of the investigation.

On Counter-Measures to Support Russian Media Targeted by US Sanctions

The Kremlin spokesman further said that Russia will develop measures to support Russian media outlets that were targeted by US sanctions, if deemed necessary.

"The media that found themselves under US sanctions, they continue working. Undoubtedly, if their situation under US sanctions, which we consider illegal, leads to some critical situations, we will develop measures, for every given case, to support these media".

Earlier this week, the US Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on Federal News Agency, Economy Today, and Nevskiy News, as well as USA Really website.

*Daesh, also known as ISIS/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 19:17| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


マチスは、「はい、かしこまりました」とは言える状況ではありません。シリア国内駐留を正当化するために彼自身ISIS 2.0が現れる恐れがあると述べています。嘘にウソを重ねています。

※ Russian Platform @RussiaConnects氏の2018/12/21のツイート
Another one bites the dust...
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to retire at the end of February – Trump − RT USA News

NewYork Times Dec. 20, 2018
Jim Mattis, Defense Secretary, Resigns in Rebuke of Trump’s Worldview
WASHINGTON − Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose experience and stability were widely seen as a balance to an unpredictable president, resigned Thursday in protest of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria and his rejection of international alliances.

Mr. Mattis had repeatedly told friends and aides over recent months that he viewed his responsibility to protect the United States’ 1.3 million active-duty troops as worth the concessions necessary as defense secretary to a mercurial president. But on Thursday, in an extraordinary rebuke of the president, he decided that Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw roughly 2,000 American troops from Syria was a step too far.

Officials said Mr. Mattis went to the White House with his resignation letter already written, but nonetheless made a last attempt at persuading the president to reverse his decision about Syria, which Mr. Trump announced on Wednesday over the objections of his senior advisers.

Mr. Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, was rebuffed. Returning to the Pentagon, he asked aides to print out 50 copies of his resignation letter and distribute them around the building.

thegatewaypundit 2018/12/20
EXCLUSIVE: Mattis Considered Presidential Run in 2020 Back in May, According to Leaked NDA Obtained by Gateway Pundit
Outgoing Defense Secretary General James Mattis explored the possibility of a presidential run against Trump in 2020, according to a leaked NDA sent to multiple political consulting firms in May this year and exclusively obtained by The Gateway Pundit.

Sources with knowledge of the proposed Mattis presidential bid told The Gateway Pundit that the team exploring the possibility found that the odds were favorable for a run in 2020 − but at the time they determined that the optics of a Secretary of Defense campaigning against the same president he served under would not be ideal. This led them to conclude that 2024 would be a better option, unless things changed.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 18:58| Comment(1) | 国際・政治

France to Stay in Syria After US Troops Ordered Home

France to Stay in Syria After US Troops Ordered Home
TEHRAN (FNA)- Paris will maintain its participation in the coalition fighting Daesh terrorist group in Syria, a French government minister said Thursday after US President Donald Trump surprised Washington's allies by ordering American troops home.

"For now of course we remain in Syria," France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on CNews television, adding that "the fight against terrorism is not over", Daily Sabah reported.

"It's true that the coalition has made significant progress in Syria, but this fight continues, and we will continue it," she stated.

France has stationed fighters in Jordan and artillery along the Syrian border in Iraq as part of the US-led coalition, as well as an undisclosed number of special forces on the ground.

On Wednesday Trump said in a Twitter video that "We've won against ISIS", an English acronym for Daesh (or ISIL), and that it was time to bring the roughly 2,000 US soldiers fighting the terrorists home.

Its allies have warned the US that despite losing most of the territory it once controlled during the bloody Syrian war, the Daesh threat has not been totally eradicated.

French Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Twitter on Thursday that the group "has not been wiped of the map, nor have its roots".

"We must definitively defeat the last pockets of this terrorist organisation," she added.

TEHRAN (FNA)- A French official said that his country has pledged backup for the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed anti-Damascus alliance of mainly Kurdish militants, amid the planned withdrawal of American troops from the Arab country.

The Elysee Palace official said that advisers to French President Emmanuel Macron had assured SDF of their support in a meeting with the group's figures, including co-chairs Ilham Ahmed and Riad Darrar, in Paris on Friday, press tv reported.

“The advisers passed on a message of support and solidarity and explained to them the talks France had with US authorities to continue the fight against Daesh (ISIL)," the official added.

The remarks came two days after President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced that the US would be pulling all its 2,000 out of Syria. He also claimed victory over the Daesh Takfiri terror outfit in the war-torn state.

However, France, a leading member of the US-led coalition, purportedly fighting Daesh in Syria, said that it would keep troops in Syria.

"For now of course we remain in Syria," France's European Affairs Minister Nathalie Loiseau said on CNews television, noting "the fight against terrorism is not over."

Separately, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Paris had started talks with Washington on the timeframe and conditions for the US's Syria withdrawal.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 01:53| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


SDF: US withdrawal will leave military, political ‘vacuum’ in northeast Syria

SDF: US withdrawal will leave military, political ‘vacuum’ in northeast Syria
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) issued a statement on Thursday criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from northeast Syria, warning the move will leave civilians “to the claws of enemy forces”.

“The decision to pull out will directly affect the efforts to fully route the terrorist organization, and it will have dangerous repercussions that will affect the global stability and peace,” the SDF said in a statement, published online.

“It will also be disappointing to the people of the area for security and stability, as a pull out in such circumstances will lead to a condition of instability and insecurity, creating a political and military vacuum in the area, leaving the people to the claws of enemy forces.”

On Wednesday, Trump said ISIS has been defeated in Syria.

As the US presence in Syria was committed solely to defeating the jihadist group and not resolving the Syrian civil war, Trump said America’s 2,000 personnel in northeast Syria will be immediately and completely withdrawn.

The shock announcement has drawn opposition and condemnation from members of Trump’s own administration and US allies France and Britain.

Kurdish forces fear the US departure leaves them vulnerable to a threatened Turkish offensive against the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which make up the backbone of the SDF, similar to the Afrin offensive earlier this year.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) warned on Thursday the SDF could retreat from the ISIS battlefield to shore up its defenses against Turkish incursions. Commanders are seriously considering the release of thousands of ISIS detainees held in SDF prisons, the monitor said.

“At a time when we are engaged in fierce fights against terror in its last stronghold, and while we are fighting against sleeper cells and undercover terrorist elements that want to reorganize in the liberated areas, the decision of the White House to pull out from northern and eastern Syria will negatively impact the anti-terror campaign, and it will give terrorism, its backers, and supporters political, field, and military momentum to breathe again, to carry out a terror counterattack in the area,” the SDF warned in its statement.

“We reiterate to the world opinion that the fight against terror hasn’t finish yet, and it hasn’t been fully defeated yet. Rather, it is at a fateful and decisive stage requiring the joining of efforts on the part of everyone and a greater support from the international coalition to continue it, and to increase support in all forms to the fighting forces on the ground, not to retreat from it.”

In an ominous statement on Thursday, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said: “Now we have Manbij and the east of the Euphrates in front of us. We are working intensively on this subject.” Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates “will be buried in their ditches when the time comes,” he added.

Kurds to Free Thousands of ISIL Terrorists after US Withdrawal from Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- Commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have decided to free thousands of ISIL terrorists and their family members who have so far been kept in prisons and camps in Eastern Euphrates after withdrawal of the US forces from Syria.

The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Thursday that the SDF political and military commanders in Eastern Euphrates held a long meeting recently to study freedom of 3,200 ISIL members and their family members with Arab, Asian, western, US and Latin American nationalities.

It added that the Kurds have made a serious decision to retreat from the fight against the ISIL terrorists and transfer all their forces to the combat fronts against Turkey at Northern borders.

A number of military experts believe that this decision was made in reaction to the US betrayal of the SDF and withdrawal of American forces from Syria following an agreement with Turkey.

US President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that he will withdraw the American forces from Syria after what he called victory against the ISIL and inflicting heavy defeat on the terrorist group.

Despite the US claims, the ISIL still occupies some regions in Eastern Euphrates, including the towns of al-Souseh, al-Sha'afeh and al-Baqouz as well as the villages of al-Shajleh, al-Safafiyeh, al-Budran, Albu Khater, Abu Hassan and al-Morashedeh in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that the operations in Northern Syria are imminent and they would continue until the last of the terrorists cleared, adding that Trump had given a positive response to Ankara's operation East of the Euphrates.

Turkey would launch a military operation East of the Euphrates River "any moment now", Erdogan stated at the mass opening ceremony at Mevlana Square in central Konya province on Monday, Middle East News reported.

Erdogan said the army completed preparations for the planned operation, adding that Turkey will do "what is necessary" regarding terror corridors East of the Euphrates River.

"We talked to [US President Donald] Trump. These terrorists have to leave areas East of the Euphrates. If they do not leave, we will dispatch them. Because they are disturbing us," he stressed.

Erdogan announced that Trump gave a positive response to Turkey's operation.

A Turkish daily reported on Tuesday that the US forces had pulled back from observation posts at Syria-Turkey border and handed over them to the Washington-backed Kurdish militias on the brink of Turkish Forces' operation on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River.

Yeni Safak paper reported that the US forces, deployed in Tal Abyadh region in Northern Raqqa near the border with Turkey, have hand over their observation posts to the Kurdish gunmen after Ankara declared an imminent assault on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates River against the Kurds.

The paper further said that the Turkish army is planning to target the observation posts at the first phase of its major operation against the Kurds in Northern Syria.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 21:20| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

‘Russia wins’: Fury in Washington as Trump announces withdrawal from Syria

President Donald Trump’s decision to declare ISIS defeated and order a full US withdrawal from Syria has been met with anger and disbelief by the Washington establishment that hoped for regime change in Damascus.

Trump declared victory over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) on Wednesday morning, as media reported that some 2,000 or so US troops will leave Syria within 60 to 100 days. Though Trump had openly spoken about wanting to leave Syria back in March, senior officials in his administration have said that US forces would stay there indefinitely.

CNN’s Jake Tapper reacted to the announcement by quoting an anonymous Pentagon official who saw it as a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hillary Clinton’s former foreign policy adviser Jesse Lehrich bemoaned that the withdrawal would embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad and strengthen Russia and Iran, while leaving the US-allied Kurdish militias “once again hung out to dry.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), known as a foreign policy hawk, also disagreed with a withdrawal, calling it a “colossal” mistake and a “grave error that's going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come.”

Rubio echoed Lehrich’s assessment that the US withdrawal would turn Syria over to Russia and Iran, adding that it might lead to another conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and lend strength to the (hypothetical) argument by Russia and China that Washington is an “unreliable ally.”

Another foreign policy hawk, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said the pullout would be “a huge Obama-like mistake,” enabling the revival of IS and putting the Kurds at risk.

The Atlantic Council’s resident Syria expert, Faysal Itani, was likewise glum in his predictions.

“I expect ISIS will be back in some form within a year, and expelling Iran from Syria will not be achieved if the US is not in Syria at all,” he told the UAE-based The National, adding that a more likely outcome would be “a possible military confrontation between Turkey and the Kurds, at least in the border area, if Russia allows that.”

The Washington Post’s foreign policy editor Jackson Diehl wondered how Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton felt about the withdrawal, given his recent statements about the US staying in Syria as long as any Iranian-backed forces were there, meaning indefinitely.

Critics of the US involvement in Syria, however, cheered on the news of the withdrawal, pointing out that the real mistake was Washington getting involved in the attempt to overthrow the government in Damascus in the first place.

One satirical news site perhaps put it best, "reporting" that both the left and the right were taking aim at Trump for "breaking with the longstanding American tradition of remaining in Middle Eastern countries indefinitely."
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 17:14| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Moscow welcomes US pullout from Syria as signal of hope for political settlement

Moscow welcomes US pullout from Syria as signal of hope for political settlement
Washington's decision to pull its troops out of Syria might signal hope for political stability in the war-torn country, a spokeswoman from the Russian Foreign Ministry said, while other Russian officials remain skeptical.

The US soldiers' withdrawal might just bring Syria closer to a "real prospect of political settlement," Maria Zakharova told Russia's Channel 1. It will also help resolve the tense situation in the Rukban refugee camps near the Syria-Jordan border, which have reportedly become a regional safe haven for terrorists – and also happen to be located not far from the US base in Al Tanf.

"There is hope that this area of Syria will eventually return to normal, peaceful life just like in Aleppo and other Syrian cities before it," Zakharova said, adding that "As long as the US [soldiers] were there, there was no such hope."

Rukban, which hosts some 50,000 refugees from Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, is located on a territory largely controlled by the US. In August, Moscow warned that hundreds of terrorists from the Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) and the Al Nusra front were hiding among the refugees, holding people hostage and using them as human shields. The same refugee camp was listed in a recent report by the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team as one of the sources of the Islamic State’s reemergence.

Moscow and Damascus have repeatedly urged the US to cooperate to deal with the situation in Rukban, with Russia offering to help provide safe transportation of the refugees back to their homes. The Americans, on the other hand, were more of a hindrance than an asset, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who earlier this month claimed that US military presence at the Al-Tanf airbase was making it harder to deliver aid to the camp.

Now, Zakharova says that Washington has apparently finally realized that it is only doing itself a disservice by impeding the joint efforts of Russia, Turkey and Iran, to resolve the conflict in Syria.
Plausible deniability?

Some Russian officials remained skeptical, however, suggesting that the pullout is designed to untie the hands of Washington's militant proxies on the ground. Aleksandr Sherin, the deputy head of the Russian State Duma's Defense Committee, told RIA Novosti that Washington could be aiming for plausible deniability in future provocations by anti-Assad forces.

Lawmakers also suggested Washington might be planning to get concessions from Moscow.

When President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal, he said that the Islamic State was "the only reason" for US presence in Syria, and they have now been defeated. According to Konstantin Kosachev, the head of the Russian Senate's Foreign Affairs Committee, this leaves Washington without a formal enemy to fight, and its only remaining options are to withdraw in earnest or admit that their real fight is against Bashar Assad's government.

Even if American forces leave, Kosachev is not optimistic about seeing real change in the power landscape of Syria. He believes Washington will most likely continue pulling the strings through its allies on the ground.

While announcing the move on Wednesday, the White House made it clear that this does not "signal the end of the Global Coalition or its campaign" but instead marks a "transition to the next phase of this campaign." Nonetheless, the decision provoked quite a stir among politicians and the media alike, who responded with anger and disbelief.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 15:56| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

シリアからの米軍撤退 予兆はあったか



※ Walid @walid970721氏の2018/12/のツイート
US #Syria envoy James Jeffrey at Atlantic Council. First he says "we want a changed regime in Damascus". Then he says: "we want to see a regime that's fundamentally different, its not regime change, we're not trying to get rid of Assad." Make up your mind, asshole!

Win for Turkey, loss for Kurds, election rhetoric for Trump – experts on US pullout from Syria
The announced US withdrawal from Syria is likely related to the 2020 US elections, as well as the complex power struggle between Turkey and Saudi Arabia for influence in Washington, Middle East experts tell RT.

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday morning that Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has been defeated and the US troops in Syria can go home. The Pentagon confirmed that the pullout has already begun. The Washington establishment has greeted the announcement with anger and dismay, arguing it benefits Russia and Iran. Middle East observers, however, think there is more to it than meets the eye.

Former Pentagon official Michael Maloof believes the withdrawal is a result of a deal Trump made with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which leaves Washington’s Kurdish proxy militia in northeastern Syria “holding the bag.”

“Trump still does not want to overthrow [Syrian President Bashar Assad],” Maloof told RT, pointing out that the current administration’s regime change agenda has been driven mostly by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. With the US withdrawal, Maloof said, “Assad is here to stay.”

However, he cautioned that Trump’s tweet and the Pentagon announcement say nothing about private military contractors leaving Syria, or scaling down the US presence in the neighboring Iraq.

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, thinks the withdrawal is partly for US internal consumption, but also aimed at removing a liability in the region.

“This is the president returning to his campaign rhetoric” as the 2020 campaign looms, Landis told RT. “He’s going back to his original story, which is ‘The Middle East wars were stupid, and what are we doing there? Why did we spend $5 trillion in the Middle East’?”

“This is a big win for Erdogan,” Landis said, pointing out that Turkey stands to gain the most from the US withdrawal. Though the decision is likely to anger and annoy Pompeo and Bolton, The US can’t hope to implement its anti-Iran policy without Turkish cooperation – not after Saudi Arabia’s standing in Washington has been damaged by Erdogan’s handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Landis explained.

With the US position in Syria “extraordinarily weak” and Turkey massing troops at the border, Trump made the same call to avoid US losses as Obama did in 2015, when Russia intervened on behalf of Damascus.

“We’re not going to go to war with Turkey for Syria. Syria just is not that important to the US,” Landis told RT.

The number of actual US troops inside Syria is fairly small – around 2,000 or so Special Forces operatives – as Washington has mostly counted on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as a proxy army in its fight against ISIS.

The Obama administration launched an air campaign against the self-proclaimed caliphate in September 2014, as it gobbled up territory in Syria and Iraq and appeared virtually unstoppable. IS continued to expand, however, and only started to suffer significant setbacks in Syria after the Russian expeditionary force was deployed in October of 2015. Unlike the US forces, whose presence in Syria has no basis in either US or international law, the Russian intervention came at the official request of Damascus.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria comes just over a year after Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Russian airbase in Khmeimim and declared “mission accomplished.”

Among the biggest achievements of the US-backed SDF were the liberation of Manbij in August 2016 and the capture of Raqqa, the IS “capital,” in October 2017. Much like Mosul in Iraq, Raqqa was pretty much “obliterated” by US bombing, however. Even today, Raqqa is still digging out from the rubble, with no running water and unexploded mines everywhere.

While the demise of the terrorists was praised by all, the control of liberated territory by US-backed Kurdish-majority militia has been deemed problematic by the Syrian government and Turkey, as well as the local Arab population.

Ankara is concerned about a domestic Kurdish insurgency, and has repeatedly sent troops into Syria to clash with the US-backed SDF. Damascus, on the other hand, has protested the US establishment of a de facto parallel state in areas under SDF control, rather than having them restored to Syrian government rule.

With the US withdrawal, the SDF faces a choice: make a deal with Damascus or be overrun by the Turks.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 11:21| Comment(1) | 国際・政治






Report: MbS' Flagship Plan Beset by Doubts After Khashoggi Death
TEHRAN (FNA)- When a business delegation met Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) recently, they were surprised to hear a candid admission about Neom, his $500bn mega plan to turn virgin Saudi shoreline into a futuristic business hub.

“No one will invest [in the project] for years,” the de facto Saudi ruler said, according to a colleague of those in the meeting, Financial Times reported.

His comments were a recognition that the crisis triggered by the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi threatens to undermine his bold plans to modernise the conservative kingdom with the backing of foreign capital and expertise.

Neom − the largest and most ambitious project announced by MbS − was always considered high risk, a start-up city founded on cutting-edge technologies from robotics to artificial intelligence. But it is now being pushed on to the backburner as the crisis caused by Khashoggi’s murder jeopardises the kingdom’s ability to attract the financing and high-tech skills needed for it and other developments.

“Neom is in doubt for sure,” one private sector consultant stated, adding that “certainly, our [government] clients are not outward facing at the moment”.

Since the journalist’s killing, advisers to Neom including the architect Norman Foster have distanced themselves from the project, underscoring the political and reputational risk attached to being associated with the crown prince.

MbS promised the businessmen he met that the oil-dependent kingdom would invest more heavily in the traditional economy to compensate − a humbling about face for a ruler who had put weaning Saudi Arabia off crude at the heart of his reforms.

“Saudi Arabia is going back to what has been tried and tested,” Steffen Hertog, a Gulf expert at the London School of Economics, said, adding that “They are going back to meat and potatoes”.

Neom and the government did not respond to requests for comment.

The economy was already struggling before Khashoggi’s killing in October sparked the kingdom’s biggest diplomatic crisis with the West since the September 2001 attacks in the US. But the resulting scrutiny of MbS has forced him to turn to hobbled local businesses as overseas appetite evaporates and he seeks to shore up domestic support.

In recent weeks, corporate leaders have been brought into private sessions with the crown prince to relay the challenges they face as they struggle with sluggish economic growth and depressed sentiment.

“The big [Saudi] families are hurting, and they are telling the crown prince how,” one banker briefed on the meetings stated.

Such conversations are testament to how the fortunes of MbS have changed.

Located on the kingdom’s North-Western coast, Neom for now consists of just a couple of palaces, where King Salman holidayed over the summer instead of his usual getaway spots in Morocco and Europe. It also includes a resort that has hosted delegations of financiers and experts flown in to brainstorm ideas next to beaches that are sandwiched between craggy mountains and shark-infested waters. But it has become more difficult for MbS to lure investors.

He unveiled the embryonic city at a glitzy investor conference last year that drew the world’s most powerful bankers and businessmen and was dubbed “Davos in the Desert”. This year’s sequel event − held three weeks after the killing of Khashoggi − was boycotted by many global financiers.

Masayoshi Son, Softbank’s founder who has relied on $45bn of Saudi funding for his Vision tech fund, told the crown prince that the Khashoggi crisis had put him in a difficult position, people briefed on the meeting revealed. The headstrong prince apologised.

A $200bn solar project with SoftBank, which was already deemed outlandish and unfeasible according to those familiar with the thinking of the energy ministry, has been downsized, two people close to the deal noted.

British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson also halted talks with Riyadh over its proposed investments into his space companies, spurring the kingdom to terminate plans for further talks on the Virgin Hyperloop One transport venture.

Several inward investment deals in manufacturing and retail have also been put on ice, say bankers and lawyers.

In the biggest pre-Khashoggi setback to bin Salman’s ambitious reform agenda, the $100bn initial public offering of state energy giant Saudi Aramco was postponed indefinitely due to legal concerns and the kingdom’s inability to achieve the valuation it wanted.

Without the IPO proceeds, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which is the vehicle leading many of the crown prince’s developments including Neom, is now scrambling for cash.

An alternative plan for Aramco to buy PIF’s stake in Sabic, a petrochemicals company, for around $70bn is facing roadblocks including tough market conditions for issuing bonds and loans.

Sentiment in the private sector, battered by years of austerity, hit rock bottom in November last year, when MbS locked up bastions of commerce in his anti-corruption crackdown, scaring off foreign investors.

One prominent detainee, the former economy minister Adel Faqih, was the linchpin of the crown prince’s Vision 2030 transformation plan. His detention has slowed down the reform programme as staff were changed and plans redrafted, consultants stated.

Una Galani(抄)

Khashoggi case causes media exodus from major Saudi investment conference as CNN, CNBC, FT quit

A number of media outlets, including CNN, CNBC and the Financial Times, have announced they will not be participating in a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

CNN, CNBC, and the FT all stated on Friday that they would not be attending the upcoming Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, which has been dubbed “Davos in the Desert” in reference to the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Some reports have claimed that Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was abducted and murdered after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

“CNBC will no longer participate in the FII in Riyadh due to the continuing questions surrounding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,” the network said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, the chief communications and marketing officer at the Financial Times, Finola McDonnell, also wrote on Twitter that the British newspaper would not be partnering with the conference while Khashoggi's disappearance remains “unexplained.”

CNN also confirmed it was pulling out, with a spokesperson saying in a statement that the media outlet “has withdrawn its participation in the Saudi Future Investment initiative Conference.”

The Economist pulled out of the conference on Thursday, one day after The New York Times did the same. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish and Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong have also confirmed their withdrawal.

But it's not just media outlets making a statement over Khashoggi's disappearance – Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi did the same on Friday, telling CNBC: “I’m very troubled by the reports to date about Jamal Khashoggi… we are following the situation closely, and unless a substantially different set of facts emerges, I won't be attending the FII conference in Riyadh.”

That came after billionaire Richard Branson suspended talks with Saudi Arabia regarding a planned $1 billion investment in his space ventures over Khashoggi's disappearance.

Khashoggi, a critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi royal family, was last seen on October 2 when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey has reportedly told the US that it has video and audio evidence proving the journalist, who lived in the US, was killed inside the consulate.

While several US senators led by Republicans Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham have triggered an investigation by the Trump administration into Khashoggi's whereabouts, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is still planning on attending the conference, which is scheduled to take place in Riyadh on October 23-25.

But while some are praising the outlets and individuals who are backing away from the event, others are reminding them that nothing was done in response to other actions by Saudi Arabia – including the bombing of a bus full of children.

One person said they simply didn't understand why the bus bombing, combined with the starvation associated with the crisis in Yemen, wasn't enough to make people like Richard Branson “have a conscience earlier.”

Another mentioned US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, after Trump praised a $12.5 billion deal in March, which was just part of a wider $350 billion deal struck between the two countries last year.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates has warned on Twitter that there there will be "repercussions" for the "political targeting" of Saudi Arabia.

Virgin Galactic boss Richard Branson suspends $1bn Saudi investment over Khashoggi disappearance
Billionaire Richard Branson has suspended talks with Saudi Arabia regarding a planned $1bn investment in his space ventures after Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was linked to the disappearance of a Washington Post journalist.

Branson, co-founder of Virgin Galactic, announced last October that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was planning to invest $1 billion in his commercial space flight companies. He is now putting the brakes on the investment, as well as distancing himself from participation in two advisory boards linked to the sovereign wealth fund, Branson said in statements to several media.

bloomberg 2018年10月6日 10:56 JST 更新日時 2018年10月6日 17:03 JST

※ にこそく(市況民) @nicosokufx氏の2018/10/15のツイート
ソフトバンク -5%
ファストリ -4% 決算後出尽くし続く
2銘柄で日経平均を -140円 押し下げ!




bloomberg 2018年11月6日 23:06 JST
Matthew Martin、Dinesh Nair

初出 2018-10-22 13:02:44 追記2018/11/15 12/12
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 15:00| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Vanessa Beeley Interviews Yemen’s Ministry of Health Spokesperson

※ Eva Bartlett認証済みアカウント @EvaKBartlett氏の4:32 - 2018年12月18日のツイート
Imperative reading. @VanessaBeeley's interview with Yemen Ministry of Health speaker, Dr Yousef Al-Haderi.

EXCLUSIVE: Vanessa Beeley Interviews Yemen’s Ministry of Health Spokesperson, Dr Youself Al-Haderi
December 17, 2018 By Vanessa Beeley
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 02:14| Comment(0) | 国際・政治



Jordanian MP Urges Repatriation of White Helmets to Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- A Jordanian parliamentarian asked for the expulsion of pro-militant White Helmets Organization members from Jordan to stand trial in Damascus on treason charges.

Tariq Khouri, a Jordanian Member of Parliament, in an unprecedented move, condemned presence of the remaining pockets of the White Helmets in Jordan, and called for their repatriation to Damascus.

He further named the White Helmets as traitors, underlining that the White Helmets have partnered in the production of fake chemical attack theater to later raise allegation against Damascus forces.

He went on to say that the White Helmets must be handed over to Damascus to stand trial.

The MP said that those White Helmets, who have entered Jordan at Israel's demand and have been settled by the Amman government, "are dangerous people that have acted against their nation", adding that the "traitors have no place in Jordan".

The MP's criticism came after the Jordanian Interior Minister's explanations about measures taken by the White Helmets in Southern Syrian and their crossing from Israeli borders into Jordan and then their transfer to the US and other western states.

presstv reported in October that the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that about 300 Syrian “White Helmet” workers fled Syria for Jordan three months ago.

In July, the White Helmets, fleeing advancing Syrian government troops, slipped over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights frontier and into Jordan with the help of Israeli soldiers and Western powers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the time he had helped the evacuation at the request of US President Donald Trump and other Western leaders.

Jordan had accepted them after getting guarantees that their stay would be temporary and they would be given asylum in Canada, Germany and Britain.

The White Helmets have operated in militant-held areas in recent years.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on October 10 that chlorine canisters had fallen in the hands of ISIL Takfiri terrorists after they attacked the headquarters of the White Helmets and al-Nusra Front militants in Northern Syria.

Damascus said the so-called volunteer group staged the suspected chemical attack in the town of Douma in Syria's Eastern Ghouta on April 7. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has also described the White Helmets as “a branch of the al-Qaeda and al-Nusra" militant groups and a “PR stunt” by the United States, Britain and France.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.

Syrian army troops, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, have recently made major territorial gains in battles against Daesh and other foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorist groups, almost capturing the entire Southern part of the country after securing the capital Damascus and other key areas.

The major militant stronghold remains in the Northwestern province of Idlib, where government forces were preparing to launch a full-scale military operation.

The terrorists aimed to stage the chemical attacks and lay the blame on the Syrian government to provoke a Western attack as the Assad government was planning to launch a full-scale offensive to retake the militant-held Idlib province.

The offensive, however, was called off after Russia and Turkey agreed to enforce a new demilitarized zone in Idlib from which "radical" rebels were required to withdraw by October 15.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:56| Comment(0) | 国際・政治



World witnessing ‘unprecedented tensions’ & collapsed treaties but no threat of a major war – Lavrov
Collapsed international accords only lead to poor relations between countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has stated, while still admitting that a major conflict is unlikely to happen.

“Unprecedented tensions are being escalated. We see international treaties collapse,” Lavrov told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper in an interview released on Monday.

The minister recalled that back in 2002, under the George W. Bush administration, Washington “unilaterally” withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM). That agreement was in force for 30 years and was enacted before the end of the Soviet Union.

Next in line, Lavrov said, will be the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which the US views as “obsolete.” He said that while Washington accuses Moscow of treaty violations, it is also “transparently hinting” that it would like to impose similar restrictions on China, Iran, and North Korea.

Still, the foreign minister brushed away speculation about a large-scale confrontation.

“I strongly believe that politicians in key countries can’t allow a big war [to break out],” he said, adding that neither public opinion nor individual nations would tolerate such a course of events. “I hope that parliaments in every Western country will show maximum responsibility,” he added.

In October, the US abruptly threatened to quit the landmark INF accord, with Trump saying that “Russia has violated the agreement; they have been violating it for many years.” Moscow denies the claim.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later said that Washington will suspend its obligations under the treaty within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.” Signed in late 1980s, the agreement was considered a milestone in ending the arms race between the US and the USSR.

The US decision raised eyebrows in Moscow, with Vladimir Putin later saying that Russia will respond but won’t be dragged into a new arms race. Earlier in December, in an attempt to salvage the historic accord, Russia introduced a draft resolution to the United Nations General Assembly. The document urges the international community to safeguard the treaty.

‘No existing countermeasures’ to Russian hypersonic weapons, US govt. report admits
The US is currently unable to repel an attack from the hypersonic weapons that are being developed by Russia and China, as they can pierce most missile defense systems, a recent US government report has revealed.

“China and Russia are pursuing hypersonic weapons because their speed, altitude, and maneuverability may defeat most missile defense systems, and they may be used to improve long-range conventional and nuclear strike capabilities,” the report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reads.

The report also highlights the challenges to American security posed by Chinese and Russian anti-satellite weapons and stealth aircraft that “could fly faster, carry advanced weapons, and achieve further distances.” The rapid development of the cutting-edge technology “could force US aircraft to operate at father distances and put more US targets at risk,” the report notes.

Speaking at a Valdai Club session in October, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia surpassed its rivals in terms of hypersonic weapons, calling Russia’s prevalence in the field “an obvious fact.”

“Nobody has precise hypersonic weapons. Some plan to test theirs in 18 to 24 months. We have them in service already,” Putin said.

In March Putin unveiled several advanced weapons systems, including the Avangard hypersonic glider warheads and the Kinzhal –or Dagger– hypersonic cruise missile. The Kinzhal can fly at Mach-10 speed and has a reported range of 2,000 km (1243 miles). It was reported that Russia’s advanced Sukhoi Su-57 jet might soon be armed with a missile similar to the Kinzhal.

While the Avangard is about to enter military service, the Kinzhal has already been deployed with the force.

Faced with the unmatched hypersonic capabilities, the Pentagon has launched about a dozen programs to protect the US from hypersonic weapons. A project named ‘Glide Breaker’ to develop an interceptor capable of neutralizing incoming hypersonic gliders has been in the works with The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 23:14| Comment(0) | 国際・政治






UK psyops bigwig pushed plan to 'mine Sevastopol Bay' during 2014 Crimea crisis – leaked documents
In the midst of the Crimean crisis, a special adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee had a suggestion for Kiev – to lay mines in Sevastopol Bay, leaked documents have revealed.

“I am trying to get this message across” to Kiev, reads a leaked document purporting to show the strategy that Christopher Donnelly, who was a Special Adviser to the UK House of Commons Defence Committee, recommends.

The documents, leaked by a group which claims to be associated with the Anonymous hackers, purport to indicate that Donnelly had drafted “military measures” that he would implement if he, personally was “in charge.” The documents are allegedly dated March 01, 2014, when the Crimean crisis was in full swing.

Donnelly has a rich background that ties him to top military officials. Between 1989 and 2003, as special adviser to four NATO Secretaries General, he was closely involved with NATO. From 2003 to 2010 he ran the UK Defence Academy's Advanced Research and Assessment Group. He has been a specialist adviser to three UK Defence Secretaries (both Labour and Conservative) and was a member of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s Soviet advisory team. Since 2010 he has been the Co-director of The Institute for Statecraft – a shady think tank that provides “decision takers & policy makers with reliable, alternative solutions.”

A print screen of the leaked document with "military measures" which Christopher Donnelly allegedly wanted to communicate to Kiev. コピーライトマーク cyberguerrilla.org

In the documents Donnelly noted that “at the moment the new ‘Government’ in Kyiv is unable to think in terms of military reality,” since it was not sure if its “orders will be obeyed or not.”

“They are like a rabbit in the car’s headlights,” he said, according to the documents.

The measures which the official would supposedly implement, include “mining of Sevastopol harbor,” setting up a “cordon sanitaire” across the Crimean Isthmus with “troops and mines,” and trying to “inspire” their own troops, endeavoring to explain to them what exactly they had to fight for.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 22:26| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

China & Japan lead global dumping of US sovereign debt

China & Japan lead global dumping of US sovereign debt
The two biggest foreign holders of America’s sovereign debt pared their holdings in October, according to the latest data released by the US Treasury Department. Foreign holdings of US Treasuries have fallen to a one year low.

China’s holdings of notes, bills and bonds fell to $1.14 trillion in October compared to $1.15 trillion in the previous month, marking the lowest level since May 2017. The world’s second-largest economy had been slashing its holdings for a fifth consecutive month.

Japan seems to have followed the lead. The second biggest holder of the US state-issued bonds cut its share to $1.018 trillion against $1.028 trillion in September, marking the third consecutive month of reduction.

China is still the biggest foreign holder of the US foreign debt and has been gradually reducing its purchases of the US Treasury bills over the past year as the unceasing trade dispute between Beijing and Washington is putting intense pressure on Chinese stocks and national currency.

After accusing Beijing of unfair trade and stealing US technologies, Washington introduced import tariffs on $253 billion worth of Chinese goods, and threatened Beijing with an additional $267 billion in levies. In response, Beijing imposed tariffs on $110 billion of US goods, hitting mostly US agricultural producers.

Last week, the Chinese Finance Ministry pledged to abolish 25 percent tariffs on 116 vehicles and car parts and five percent tariffs on other auto-related items from January 1 through to the end of March 2019. The measure comes as part of a 90-day truce reached by US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during their G20 meeting in early December.

“Japan is reducing its holdings of Treasuries because on a currency-hedged basis, dollar holdings are not very attractive for them from a yield pick-up perspective,” Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rates strategist at TD Securities, told Reuters.

All in all, foreign holdings of Treasury securities fell by more than $60 billion, marking the largest monthly decline since November 2016. An extensive decline in foreign demand for US government securities has recently become a hot issue as Washington is increasing issuance of debt. It has caused concerns that the declining number of overseas investors might put upward pressure on US interest rates.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 21:51| Comment(0) | 国際・政治



Jeremy Corbyn puts forward no confidence motion in Theresa May over Brexit deal vote
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a no confidence vote in Theresa May in the House of Commons, saying the UK is facing a constitutional crisis and the prime minister is the architect.

May postponed the vote on Brexit earlier in December, confirming on Monday that it will happen on the week of January 14. In response, Corbyn said that putting the vote off until next month is unacceptable.

The vote would be of confidence –or none– in the prime minister rather than in her government, which means it wouldn't be binding. It remains unclear when the vote will take place.

In addition to Corbyn, 29 other MPs, 15 peers, and five MEPs have signed a letter urging Labour leaders to call for the no confidence vote. Labour lawmakers believe May is simply trying to "run down the clock."

"What is irresponsible is delaying a vote on her agreement, not because she is going to get any changes to it but because she wants to run down the clock and try and intimidate MPs into supporting it to avoid no deal," Labour lawmaker Liz Kendall said in parliament on Monday, seeking to put the Brexit deal before parliament this week.

However, Corbyn's move has been criticized as being merely a stunt, rather than an action which could actually impact the government.

May has faced backlash from all sides following the Brexit deal, with several ministers resigning after the agreement was secured with the EU. She survived a no confidence vote within her own party earlier in December, which 'judged' the prime minister's Brexit plan, as agreed with the EU.

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 12:40| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Kurdish Politician: Kurds Sold by US to Ankara

Kurdish Politician: Kurds Sold by US to Ankara
TEHRAN (FNA)- Head of the Syrian Kurds' National Initiative Omar Ousi warned that Washington has betrayed the Kurds in support of Turkey, calling on all Kurdish groups in Syria to cut ties with the US immediately.

The Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Ousi as saying on Monday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's threat of military attack against Eastern Euphrates is serious and dangerous.

He warned that the US has sold the Syrian Kurds to Turkey, adding that Ankara's threats started after a visit by US special representative for Syria James Jeffrey to the country and his meetings with the Turkish leaders.

Ousi said that "Turkey has received greenlight from its master, the US, to infiltrate into Eastern Syria," adding that both sides have reached an agreement in this regard.

He said that neither Kurds nor any other groups of the Syrian people residing in Eastern Euphrates are important to the US, calling on the Kurds to help the Syrian government to enter the Kurdish-populated regions and cut ties with Washington.

The Turkish army targeted and pounded the military positions of the Kurdish forces in Northern Aleppo near Syria's border with Turkey on Saturday as heavy clashes have intensified between the two sides there.

Sources close to militants in Northern Syria said that the Turkish army's artillery units pounded several military positions of the Kurds in Zour Moghar and Shoyoukh Foqani in the surrounding areas of Ain al-Arab in Northern Aleppo and near the border with Turkey, destroying one of their military positions.

The sources, meantime, pointed to the Kurdish forces' attacks on the Ankara-backed militants' positions from Harbal, Sheikh Issa and Um Khosh regions in Ma'areh region, and reiterated that intense fighting has broken out between the two sides in the surrounding areas of Tal Rafat city.

The sources close to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also reported that the Kurdish forces targeted and pounded one of the positions of the Turkish army in Kimar village in Shirava region of Afrin in Western Aleppo, which resulted in the destruction of the military point and death of five Turkish soldiers.

The Kurdish-language Hawar news reported on Thursday that the 'Executive Council for Autonomous Forces in Northern and Eastern Syria' ordered all troops to go on alert after Erdogan threatened to launch military operations against Kurds in coming days.

The Kurdish forces in a statement claimed Ankara attempts to support the ISIL, calling on the US-led coalition, the international community, specially the UN, and the NATO members to voice opposition to Ankara's aggressive plans.

Meantime, commander of Ferqat al-Hamzeh, affiliated to the Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) terrorist group, said that nearly 20,000 FSA militants are prepared to take part in the Turkish army's military operations against Kurds in Eastern Euphrates, specially the town of Manbij in Aleppo and Tal Abyadh in Raqqa.

Russian Official: S-300 Missile System Deters US Coalition Jets in Northeast Syria
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Russia-made S-300 missile defense system has deterred US Coalition warplanes in Northeastern Syria, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters.

“After only one battalion of the S-300V4 air-defense system entered combat duty, the intensity of the flights made by the coalition’s air forces in Northeastern Syria has significantly decreased,” he stated, as quoted by the Sputnik News Agency.

The Russian Federation transported the S-300 system to the Syrian military on October 1st of this year.

The move by the Russian Federation came in response to the downing of their IL-20 reconnaissance aircraft, which was ultimately blamed on Israel.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:11| Comment(0) | 国際・政治


New Rules of engagement between Syria and Israel, as Russia changes its position

New Rules of engagement between Syria and Israel, as Russia changes its position
Posted on 14/12/2018 by Elijah J Magnier

Syria will adopt a new rule of engagement with Israel now that Russia has taken a tougher and clearer stance on the conflict between Israel and the “Axis of the Resistance”. Henceforth, Damascus will be responding to any Israeli strike. If it damages a specific military target it will reply with a strike against a similar objective in Israel. Decision makers in Damascus said “Syria will not hesitate to hit an Israeli airport if Damascus airport is targeted and hit by Israel. This will be with the consent of the Russian military based in the Levant”.

This Syrian political decision is based on a clear position taken by Russia in Syria following the downing of its aircraft on September 18 this year. In 2015 when the Russian military landed in Syria, it informed the parties concerned (i.e. Syria, Iran and Israel) that it had no intention to interfere in the conflict between them and Hezbollah and that it would not stand in the way of Tel Aviv’s planes bombing Hezbollah military convoys on their way to Lebanon or Iranian military warehouses not allocated to the war in Syria. This was a commitment to remain an onlooker if Israel hit Iranian military objectives or Hezbollah convoys transporting arms to Hezbollah from Syria to Lebanon, within Syrian territory. It also informed Israel that it would not accept any attacks on its allies (Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies) engaged in fighting ISIS, al-Qaeda and its allies.

Israel respected the will of Moscow until the beginning of 2018, when it started to attack Iranian bases and Syrian military warehouses, though it never attacked a Hezbollah military position. Israel justified its attack against the Iranian base, a military facility called T4, by claiming it had sent drones over Israel. Tel Aviv considered violation of its neighbours’ sovereignty as its exclusive prerogative. Damascus and Iran have responded with at least one confirmed shooting down of an Israeli F-16. Israel started to attack Syrian warehouses, mainly where Iranian missiles were stored. Iran has replaced every single destroyed warehouse with other more sophisticated precision missiles, capable of hitting any objective in Israel.

However, Russia’s neutrality towards Israel in the Levant turned out to be quite expensive. It has lost more than Iran, especially after the downing of its IL-20, and with it, 15 officers highly trained to use the most advanced communication and espionage systems.

Russia then brought to Syria its long-awaited advanced S-300 missiles and delivered them to the Syrian army while maintaining electronic coordination and radar command. The S-300 poses a danger to Israeli jets only if these violate Syrian airspace. Tel Aviv has kept its planes out of Syria since last September but launched long range missiles against a couple of targets.

For many months, the Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to receive Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Only through real harassment by the latter did Putin finally accept to briefly meet with Netanyahu over lunch or around the dinner table during a large Summit or meeting of Heads of State, without however accepting any compromise or reconciliation. Russia has now taken a clear position and has no intention of extending its embrace or pardon to Israel. Russia felt that its generosity (by closing its eyes to Israel’s activities in Syria) was neither recognised nor sufficiently appreciated by Tel Aviv.

This week, Moscow agreed to receive an Israeli military delegation led by Major-General Aharon Haliva, following Israel’s insistence on breaking the ice between the two countries. However, Russia’s position is not expected to change in Syria and no Israeli bombing of Syrian or Iranian targets will be tolerated.

According to these sources, “Russia has informed Israel that there are Russian officers present at every Syrian or Iranian military base and that any strike against Syrian or Iranian objectives would hit Russian forces as well. Putin will not allow his soldiers and officers to be struck down by Israel’s direct or indirect bombing”.

Moreover, Russia has given Syria the green light – said the source- to strike Israel at any time if and when Tel Aviv’s planes launch raids against Syrian military targets or launch long-range missiles without flying over Syria (for fear of the S-300 and to avoid seeing its jets downed over Syria or Lebanon).

The source confirmed that Syria – contrary to what Israel claims – now has the most accurate missiles, which can hit any target inside Israel. The Syrian armed forces have received unrevealed long and medium-range missiles from Iran. These operate on the GLONASS system – the abbreviation for Globalnaya Navigazionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema, the Russian version of the GPS. Thus, the delivery of Iran and the manufacture of missiles inside Syria (and Lebanon) is now complete. Israel, however, claims it has destroyed Syria’s missile capability, including that of the missiles delivered by Iran. According to the source, Damascus controls a very large number of precision missiles, notwithstanding those destroyed by Israel. “In Iran, the cheapest and most accessible items are the Sabzi and the missiles”, said the source.

The new Syrian rule of engagement – according to the source – is now as follows: an airport will be hit if Israel hits an airport, and any attack on a barracks or command and control centre will result in an attack on similar target in Israel. It appears that the decision has been taken at the highest level and a clear “bank of objectives” has now been set in place.

The rules of engagement are changing and situation in the Levant theatre is becoming more dangerous; regional and international confrontations are still possible. The Middle East will not be quiet unless the Syrian war ends−a war in which the two superpowers, Europe, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have played essential roles. The final chapters have not yet been written.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 01:32| Comment(0) | 国際・政治



※ Going Underground on RT @Underground_RT氏の2018/12/15のツイート
Today is the 10 year anniversary of the Iraqi journalist throwing his pair of shoes at George W Bush.


※ Soraya Tebbani‏ @2flamesburning1氏の2018/12/15のツイート
If only I could do the same to Bush Kissinger Tony Blair Obama trump MBS Macron Sarkozy Hollande Clinton etc etc. I need a shoe shop..

posted by ZUKUNASHI at 22:16| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

Moscow urges Pentagon to reconsider its Syria strategy & INF Treaty withdrawal

Moscow urges Pentagon to reconsider its Syria strategy & INF Treaty withdrawal
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu delivered a scathing criticism of the US policy in Syria and offered direct talks over the landmark 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

The situation in parts of eastern Syria, controlled by the US-backed and Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), remains “deeply concerning,” Shoigu wrote in a letter to Pentagon chief James Mattis earlier this week.

Washington does little to nothing to restore peace and help the devastated region to recover from the long war, while its airstrikes continue to rack up civilian deaths, the defense minister said. He noted that at least 1,500 civilians have been killed in recent months as the SDF was clearing the last remaining pockets of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) resistance.

The Russian defense chief described the difficulties the US-led coalition experienced in the protracted battle near Hajin in the eastern Deir ez-Zor Province. It took the Pentagon-backed fighters six months to drive the militants out of the small town – only for them to regroup later in villages along the Euphrates River.

In contrast, the Syrian government army has demonstrated its ability to liberate areas in two weeks’ time, Shoigu said.

The minister also stressed that settlement and recovery in the war-torn nation is undermined by the smuggling of oil and petroleum products from the SDF-controlled areas. At the same time, the US military presence at the Al-Tanf airbase makes it harder to deliver aid into large refugee camp in Rukban, Jordan, which houses more than 50,000 Syrian, Shoigu wrote. He also claimed that the airbase and the “armed gangs” around it prevent refugees from returning home.

In a separate letter to Mattis, Shoigu offered to begin “open and meaningful dialogue” on the differences the nations have over the INF Treaty, which bans ground-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500km. Both sides accuse each other of violating the deal.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that Washington will scrap the deal altogether within 60 days if Russia does not “return to compliance.” Moscow, in turn, drafted a resolution to the UN Security Council in support of the INF deal.

Shoigu emphasized that so far Moscow has received no official reaction from the Pentagon on its proposal to hold talks on the INF Treaty.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 00:40| Comment(0) | 国際・政治



[10日 ロイター] - 米国大統領は在任中に刑事責任を問われることはない。だが、トランプ大統領については、退任して民間人になった時点で起訴される可能性が浮上してきた。

Schiff Warns Trump Could Face Jail Time After Leaving White House
TEHRAN (FNA)- Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who is poised to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in January, stated that US President Donald Trump faces the "real prospect of jail time" after leaving the White House.

"There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him. That he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time," Schiff said on "Face the Nation" on CBS.

Schiff referenced a court filing by the US attorney for the Southern District of New York on Friday which recommended a "substantial" prison sentence for Trump's former attorney, Michael Cohen, who prosecutors said violated campaign finance law "in coordination with and at the direction" of the president, while Trump has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including tax fraud, making false statements to a bank and campaign-finance violations tied to his work for Trump, including the hush payments Cohen made or helped orchestrate.

Schiff added that the court documents suggest the "president of the United States not only coordinated, but directed an illegal campaign scheme" to alter the outcome of the 2016 election.

"We have been discussing the issue of pardons the president may offer to people or dangle in front of people," Schiff said, adding that "the bigger pardon question may come down the road, as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump".

“I think the prosecutors in New York make a powerful case against that idea. All the arguments they make against Michael Cohen ... that argument was equally made with respect to Individual-1, the president of the United States,” he stressed.

As part of a special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and Trump’s associates, as well as potential obstruction of justice and financial crimes, four people --- Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, and George Papadopolous --- have been charged, pleaded guilty, or have been convicted at trial.

Prosecutors Probing Potential Links Between Trump Organization Executives, Hush-Money PaymentsTEHRAN (FNA)- Federal prosecutors are reportedly continuing to probe potential links between Donald Trump Organization executives and the two hush-money payments that US president's former lawyer Michael Cohen says the then-candidate helped coordinate.

The prosecutors have requested documents and other materials from the Trump Organization in recent weeks, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

They are trying to identify if other organization officials helped pay off two women to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Trump, according to the newspaper.

In a sentencing memo released on Friday, prosecutors with the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York said for the first time that Cohen acted “in coordination with and at the direction” of Trump when he organized payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, women who claimed that they had affairs with Trump in 2006. Trump has denied the alleged affairs.

Cohen has told prosecutors that other Trump Organization executives were involved in the hush-money payments, including the chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, The NYT reported.

Cohen's lawyer in July released an audio recording in which Cohen can be heard telling Trump that he had spoken to Weisselberg about setting up a company to make a payment aimed at silencing a former Playboy model’s allegation of an affair with Trump.

The Trump Organization and lawyers for Weisselberg and Cohen declined to comment for the Times report.

Cohen has pleaded guilty to two campaign finance violations in connection with the payoff schemes.

The latest filing suggests that US prosecutors have evidence showing that Trump directed the payments beyond Cohen’s claims.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 21:42| Comment(0) | 国際・政治