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Syria's Two East-Ghouta Campaigns: One For Liberation, The Other To Save Terrorists

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Daily mortar and missile attacks against the Syrian capital Damascus have been ongoing for years but intensified in recent months. The often quoted Syrian Observatory notes:
... raising to 116 persons at least including 18 children and 14 citizen women, who were killed as a result of the fall of these shells since the beginning of escalation on the capital Damascus and its suburbs on the 16th of November, and the SOHR documented the injury of more than 563 persons who were injured in these daily targeting during 3 consecutive months.
Other accounts report higher casualty numbers.

Some of the attacks on Damascus city hit well designated targets. The Russian embassy in Damascus has been mortared several times. Earlier this month more well targeted projectiles hit other Russian interests:
Maxim A. Suchkov‏ @MSuchkov_ALM - 4:03 AM - 7 Feb 2018
#Russia's trade mission in #Damascus got hit by 120-mm bomb & is badly damaged. Earlier Rus aid delivery point in the city came under fire killing two local Syrians, Rus non-gov delegation (Christian & Muslim leaders who brought collected aid) had to be evacuated.
All these mortars and missiles were fired from east-Ghouta, a Takfiri held area consisting partly of densely urban blocks and partly of agricultural villages. Some 400,000 people originally lived in the area but the number of people living there now is likely less than half of that.
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US May Have Arranged 'Self Defense' Attack On Syrian Government Forces

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 Last night the illegal US occupation force in north-east Syria attacked a group of Syrian government aligned troops and their Russian support. The incident happened north-east of Deir Ezzor city on the east side of the Euphrates. The US claims that it killed some 100 Syrian soldiers that were allegedly attacking its proxy forces in an attempt to recover oil fields.

There is a factual separation of areas south-west of the Euphrates under Syrian government control and north-east of the Euphrates under US occupation. But several locations around Manbij, Raqqa and Deir Ezzor contradict that and are under control of the respective other side. The US claims that a "de-confliction line" along the Euphrates is agreed upon. The Syrian government says that no such agreement exists.

An small area across the Euphrates north-east of Deir Ezzor had been taken by Syrian government forces months ago. It is near some oilfields which the US wants to keep away from the Syrian government.

"The US wants to keep Syria weak and poor," says Prof. Joshua Landis. According to Landis the US is keeping the north-east of Syria under occupation to deny Syria access to its oil and its best agricultural land. It wants to turn Syria into a swamp for Russia and Iran to the benefit of mostly Israel.
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Saudi Money In Syria - Sowing The Seeds Of ISIS 2.0

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There is dangerous news evolving from Raqqa, Syria. While ISIS is largely defeated seeds get sown for its reappearance. The Kurdish forces under the label SDF and led by U.S. special forces have defeated ISIS in Raqqa. Cleanup operations continue. The victory came only after the the U.S. and its proxies agreed to give free passage to the last few hundreds of foreign and Syrian ISIS fighters and their families. Since these boarded buses and were moved out of Raqqa on Saturday night nothing has been heard of them.
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Russia Issues Third Warning Against US Cooperation With Terrorists in Syria

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The Syrian Army was on its way across the Euphrates river to liberate the oil- and gas-fields east of Deir Ezzor city. The US countered the move. It sent a small forces of Arab tribal mercenaries who were earlier allied with the Islamic State (ISIS). These proxy forces came from a northern direction and moved through Islamic State held areas without fighting and casualties up to the walls of Deir Ezzor city.

The Syrian army was about to win the race when it started to cross the Euphrates. But it suddenly was surprised by a large al-Qaeda attack in southern Idleb province. That area had been quiet for months. 29 Russian troops who were supervising a deescalation zone there were nearly encircled by al-Qaeda forces. They only escape after an emergency relief operation had cut through al-Qaeda lines. The Russian Ministry of Defense accused the US of having communicated the position of the Russian platoon to al-Qaeda.

Shortly thereafter a Russian general, visiting Deir Ezzor city to supervise the Euphrates bridge crossing, came under extremely well aimed mortar fire by the Islamic State. The general and two other high ranking officers were killed. During years of fighting around Deir Ezzor ISIS had never shown the capability for such a precise strike. Someone must have communicated with the terrorists and transferred the exact position of the local headquarter, as well as the time of the Russian general's visit.

A week later a concentrated ISIS attack on the main supply road between Palmyra and Deir Ezzor was attacked by a large number of ISIS forces. It is trying to retake al-Suknah in the middle between the two cities. The Russian Defense Ministry claims that the attacking ISIS forces came from southern areas of al-Tanf near the Jordan border which are under control of US forces. Should ISIS take al-Suknah the Syrian-Russian contingent in Deir Ezzor would gain be cutoff.
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Syria - US CentCom Declares War On Russia

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Yesterday the Russian Ministry of Defense accused the US military in east-Syria of direct collaboration with the Islamic State:
US Army special units provide free passage for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) through the battle formations of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists, the ministry said in a statement. 

'Facing no resistance of the ISIS militants, the SDF units are advancing along the left shore of the Euphrates towards Deir ez-Zor,' the statement reads.

The newly released images 'clearly show that US special ops are stationed at the outposts previously set up by ISIS militants.'

'Despite that the US strongholds being located in the ISIS areas, no screening patrol has been organized at them,' the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
This map marks the currently relevant conflict area - (US proxies - yellow, SAA - red, ISIS - black):

The accusations are plausible. Large parts of ISIS in Deir Ezzor consist of local tribal forces from eastern-Syria. US special envoy Brett McGurk recently met tribal leaders who had earlier pledged allegiance to ISIS. Deals were made.
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Afghanistan - US Resolved To Repeat Failures

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The US military and political leadership is so devoid of learning capability that it does not fight multiyear long wars. Instead it fights one disconnected campaign after the other on the very same battlefield. Each of these campaigns will repeat the mistakes that previous ones made and will have the same outcome.

Thus we have seen several increases in troop numbers in Afghanistan. Each time such a surge happened under Bush, under Obama and now under Trump, the result was an increase in Taliban activity and success.

We have seen the use of local militia forces fail under Obama when these were called Afghan Local Police. The 20,000 men strong ALP was supposedly "trained" to hold land against the Taliban. But the local police groups turned out to be local gangs who, thanks to their "official" status, could rob, rap and kill people without fear of retaliation. The suppressed population then turned to the Taliban for relief.

The idea to create such a local force was so bad that it is time to repeat it:
The American military has turned to the [idea of a local militia] force as a potential model for how to maintain the Afghan government’s waning control — without too high a cost — in difficult parts of Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban are resurgent. 
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The size of the new force is yet to be finalized, but it could number more than 20,000, according to a senior Afghan official 
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While the senior Afghan official insisted that only the conceptual framework of the force has been agreed to, and that details were still being sorted out, several Western officials said that preparations were already underway to pilot the new force in southern districts of Nangarhar Province.
We can predict with confidence that a year from now those very same districts of Nangarhar province will again staunchly support the Taliban.
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Countdown To War On Venezuela

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On Sunday Venezuela will hold an general election of participants of a constitutional assembly. Half of the representatives will be elected from regular electoral districts. The other half will be elected from and by eight special constituencies like "workers", "farmers", "employers", etc. The second part may be unusual but is no less democratic than the US system which gives voters in rural states more weight than city dwellers.

The new assembly will formulate changes to the current constitution. Those changes will be decided on in another general vote. It is likely that the outcome will reinforce the favorite policies of a great majority of the people and of the social-democratic government under President Manduro.

The more wealthy part of the population as well as the foreign lobbies and governments have tried to prevent or sabotage the upcoming election. The US  has used various economic pressure points against the Venezuelan government including economic warfare with ever increasing sanctions. The opposition has held violent street rallies, attacked government institutions and supporters and called for general strikes.

But the NYT propaganda pictures of opposition rallies in the capitol Caracas show only small crowds of dozens to a few hundred of often violent youth.
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The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused

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After the crown prince of the Austia-Hungary monarchy Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot and killed in Sarajevo the government of Austria waited three weeks to issue a 10 point ultimatum to Serbia which it held responsible for the incident. At least three of those points concerned the suppression of "propaganda against Austria-Hungary" and the Austrian Monarchy by private and state entities. It demanded a response within two days:
Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, commented that he had "never before seen one State address to another independent State a document of so formidable a character."
The Austrian ultimatum was an offer to be refused. But Serbia did not fall into that trap. It conceded on everything but two minor points. This was to no avail. The issues and plans Austria had were not about the assassination of [the disliked] Franz Ferdinand or the demands issued in the ultimatum. Two days later Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia. Allies jumped to either side. World War I had started.

The now official demands by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and some minor Gulf sheikdoms against Qatar have a similar smell to them. They are also "an offer to be refused."

The demands come late, three weeks after Saudi Arabia first accused Qatar of "supporting terrorism", three weeks after it closed the border and laid siege on the country.

(Qatar is surly "supporting terrorism". So is the US - the US Citizenship and Immigration Services just rejected an asylum request because the person in question has relations with the Free Syrian Army which it considers to be an "undesignated terrorist organization". The CIA built and supports the FSA. But the biggest terrorist sponsors of all are and have been the Saudis.)
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The War In Afghanistan Is A Racket

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The United States will again escalate the war in Afghanistan.

Sixteen years ago the U.S, invaded the country and decided to eliminate the ruling Taliban for something that was planed elsewhere by a different group. Since the invasion the U.S. tried to defeat the Taliban. It has lost that fight. As soon as it leaves Afghanistan the Taliban will be back in power. But no one is willing to pull the plug on the nonsensical military approach.

The Taliban are part of Afghanistan and a significant segment of the population supports them. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan it put the brutal and utterly corrupt warlords back into power. These were exactly the people the Taliban were created to hold down and the reason why they could take power in the first place. While demanding a strict religious life the Taliban successfully took care of local security and eliminated the lawless and corrupt rule of the warlords.

It is no wonder then that a large part of the population wishes to have them back in power.

The U.S. supported government in Kabul is utterly corrupt. The Afghan military and police the U.S. pays is likewise only motivated by money. It is not willing to fight. It takes high casualties during Taliban attacks and therefore avoids contact with them whenever possible. Some 60 % of the country is now more or less back under Taliban control. The government's say is restricted to the bigger cities.
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