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Col. W. Patrick Lang

Does Trump Believe What He Says About Syria?


Why does Donald Trump say the things he does about Syria and its government?

He insists that the SAG attacks its people with chemical weapons when such attacks have never been proven. They have only been asserted by opponents of the government and in fact there exists a lot of evidence that these attacks have been staged by information operations projects like the White Helmets film production group with the surreptitious backing of a network of covert action people within the the UK government and money from USAID.

He insists that the jihadi defenders of their lodgement in Idlib Province are somehow worthy of American protection when in fact they are the same breed of salafi takfiri fanatics that he boasts of having defeated in the "caliphate."

He insists that the SAA and its allies are in the process of massacring the civilian population of Idlib Province when in fact the opposite is true. Is it not clear that the usual blizzard of anti-government propaganda has been generated solely because the SAA is winning the day in Idlib Province?
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Is the Iranian Nuclear Weapons Program an Illusion?


There is so much rubbish said about the supposed Iranian nuclear weapons program that it is a good idea to "review the bidding" about this.

Iran does have a nuclear power program, but:
"In 2012, sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[15] The senior officers of all of the major American intelligence agencies stated that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any attempt to produce nuclear weapons since 2003.[16] In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Communityassessed that Iran had ended all "nuclear weapon design and weaponization work" in 2003.[17] U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated in January 2012 that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, but was not attempting to produce nuclear weapons"  wiki on Iran and weapons of mass destruction.
As you can see from my 2017 post, I have long thought that Iran does not have a nuclear WEAPONS production program and has not had one since 2003 when US occupation of Iraq eliminated the possibility of the survival of some elements of the earlier Iraqi nuclear weapons program eliminated by the UN inspections regime acting on US intelligence (I was involved) after the 1st Gulf War.
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We Don't Need Daily Press Briefings at the White House


There was an unseemly verbal brawl Wednesday in the East Room of the White House in which members of the press who are avowed enemies of President Trump (Acosta, Peter Alexander and April Ryan among others) attempted to debate the president over the wisdom and probity of his actions as chief executive of the federal government.
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Sometimes You Eat the Bear and Sometimes the Bear Eats You - Thoughts on Syria


1.  Unless the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are once again "off the reservation" and talking to the Russians behind the backs of the Obamanites, I don't think there is much effective coordination between the US and Russia over Syria other than the flight de-confliction regime.

2.  The flight de-confliction regime works well. We haven't shot each other down yet, so ... We now have the USS Harry Truman battle group standing inshore off Syria to launch attacks in Syria and Iraq. This very likely requires passage through Russian controlled airspace within their air defense umbrella.  So ...

3.  Raqqa will be heavily defended. IS cannot afford to give the place up. There are probably quite a few Arab Sunni "civilians" there who support IS. That has proven to be true at Fallujah.  As the R+6 force proceeds after the taking of Tabqa air base, resistance will get stiffer and stiffer. We will see how well they do against that. We will also see if the "Syrian Democratic Forces" really wants to sacrifice a great deal to capture this large city. Their American "minders" are urging them forward, but, we will see ...
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A Rough Week in Iraq, But It Will Get Rougher


I hear from competent reporters on the ground in Iraq that a great panic has set in within the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. Prime Minister Abadi, like his Shia co-religionist Maliki, has been engaged in a thorough effort to disadvantage all the Sunni populations of Iraq. This would include: the Kurds (90 percent Sunni), the Sunni Arabs, the Sunni Turkomans, etc. To accomplish this, Sunni majority areas have been systematically deprived of weaponry and funding for years. Alternatively, Shia manned army and police units were stationed in Sunni areas like Mosul for the purpose of keeping the Sunnis under control.

Now, to quote that notable American of the '60s and 70s, H. Rap Brown, "the chickens have come home to roost." Shia units have collapsed and fled wherever they have met ISIS on Sunni populated ground, and under-resourced Sunni units have been defeated in Sunni majority areas like Anbar Province. Is Tikrit an exception to that? No. The ISIS withdrawal from the city was, in my opinion, a calculated ISIS ploy successfully executed for the purpose of fixing government forces in place while ISIS mobile forces moved to Anbar.
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Saudi Succession Struggles: Who’s on Top and Why


What we are seeing in Saudi Arabia is the seizure of power by one section of the Sudeiri faction in the Saudi Royal family. The late King Abdullah was not a Sudeiri and relations between him and the Sudeiris were always a bit tense. King Salman, who is reputed to be a bit gaga (kharaf) is seeking to ensure the succession for his part of The Family. He, like all the Sudeiris, are much influenced and obliged to the Wahhabi, Hanbali ulema. Abdullah, with his half rwalla bedawi descent was less so. The new crew seem to be listening to the ulema desire for Sunni triumphalism in the Levant. 

To that end they, along with their pals in the Gulf Cooperation Council, (notably Qatar) and Erdogan (the semi-crypto Turko-Islamist), have convinced themselves that Assad's government has lost the war and will soon fall. They have conjured this image from Syrian government reverses in the north and a profound hope. There is also a supposedly effective combat alliance (including al-Nusra) that is thought to be Assad's bane. We will see if they are correct. In any event the professional bits of the US government are fearful that if the present Syrian government goes down, chaos will ensue that will end in an Islamist government. I agree.
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The Syrian Arab Government and ISIS Have Always Been Enemies

ISIS Enforcer

There is all kinds of nonsense circulating in the mainstream media and in the wilder reaches of the internet galaxy concerning ISIS (IS) and the Syrian government (SAG). There are also an amazing number of stories on the web that claim that "The Caliph Ibrahim" (Baghdadi) is actually an Israeli Jew, born in Israel to Jewish parents. Whoa! That's a great one! It has its origins in Iranian media that is selling the idea that Snowden says so. OK. Let's see the intercepts that Snowden is said to have on that subject.

The US and European foreign policy establishments are trapped in a situation in which they have declared themselves to be the enemies of the Government of Syria, dedicated to its overthrow in a world in which the Government of Syria has survived very well, thank you.

There are a multitude of rebel groups in Syria. The only effective ones are the Islamic ones. This was inevitably going to be the case. The pro-government forces are fighting an existential fight against Sunni Syrian Arabs and jihadi internationals who very much want to put the Alawis, Shia, Christians, Druze and the like either back in their kennels or in their graves. The Free Syrian Army (the fave of the US children's crusade run from the NSC and State Department), has proven itself to be an "army" that does not want to fight. Why should it? These "moderate" seculars and other sane people want to live, not die for the faith, any faith. The serious opposition are the tough guys who DO want to die for the faith. There are many such groups.
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We Really Do Not Need Saudi Arabia Any Longer


The family owned and run corporation called Saudi Arabia has been useful to the United States since the 1950s, but the kingdom's relationship to the US has always been transactional in nature rather than an alliance that committed Saudi Arabia to do anything for the US that it did not wish to do. To this day there are no documents of alliance, only arrangements for meetings, sales, training, etc. 

The relationship has always been an odd thing. Saudi Arabia has no civil law other than some elements of the Swiss commercial code. There is no civil constitution. "The Qur'an is our constitution." Sharia law of the most severe sort is the official law code. Amputations for theft are routine. No religions other than Islam are allowed. There are no civil rights other than those found in Qur'an and Hadith. Such appurtenances of civilized life as tourist visas do not exist. It was always an awkward "partnership" for the United States except for the money made by US exporters re-cycling petro dollars to the US. Saudi armed forces are largely a static display of military equipment useful only for internal security.

On the other hand, Saudi petroleum was for a long time necessary to the Western World, Japan, and parts unknown. Saudi fear of godless communism made the country a useful tool in resisting Soviet penetration of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia also contributed a lot of money to US covert actions that the US Congress would have refused to fund.
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The Crimea Will Soon Be Back in Russia


It is becoming clear that the Nuland/neocon/NED campaign against Russia in Ukraine was probably a covert action intended to punish Russia for not supporting US/Israeli/Saudi and Turkish policy in Syria and to some extent with regard to Iran. 

I have no specific knowledge of US actions in this but "back azimuths" run into events and actors make the true story obvious. Was there to be a second phase of the spread of revolution, a phase aimed at Russia itself?  We will probably never know.

In any case Putin has called Obama's bluff.  You should not threaten if you are not prepared to act. The Russian Strategic Missile Forces have the ability to end civilization in North America. The same is true with regard to the capabilities of US missile forces if they were applied to the Eurasian land mass.
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A No-Fly Zone is an Act of War

(click to enlarge)

Failure of the US policy of regime change in Syria is leding once again to the contemplation of "options."  One of those that is much discussed is that of a no-fly zone covering all of Syria.  Let's be clear as to what would be involved in that option:
  • All Syrian ground based air defense would have to be suppressed and kept suppressed.
  • All Syrian airfields would have to be wrecked with runways cratered, maintenance facilities destroyed, etc.
  • All Syrian Air Force aircraft would have to be destroyed in air to air combat or on the ground.
  • Search Air Rescue operations would have to be carried out wherever in Syria we lost aircraft.
  • Aviators might be captured.  Their possession would be a strong element of leverage in the hands of the Syrian government.

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