Saturday, 31 October 2015

Le Figaro poll: Over 70% want Syria’s Assad to remain in power

31 Oct, 2015 12:53

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad  © SANA
A recent poll carried out by France’s Le Figaro newspaper has indicated that at least 72 percent of respondents want Syrian President Bashar Assad to remain in power.
The survey, published on Thursday, asked“Should world powers demand Bashar Assad to leave?” At least 28 percent from 21,314 respondents have voted “Yes” so far, while the majority – 72 percent – have said “No”. 
The poll was conducted ahead of the Vienna talks, where 19 global powers gathered to find a solution for a nationwide ceasefire in Syria. The fate of Assad remained the stumbling block during discussions.

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The US and its allies including Saudi Arabia repeatedly said the Syrian president, whose term expires in 2021, must resign.
"There is no way President Assad can unite and govern Syria," US Secretary of State John Kerry said during the meeting, adding, "Syrians deserve a different choice."
However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Syrian people “should define the future of their country... including Assad's fate.”
Earlier in October, a member of Moscow's parliamentary delegation told TASS that Assad had agreed to hold preliminary elections in the country, provided the move has the people’s backing.
Syria has been caught up in a civil war since 2011, when violent protests erupted as part of the so-called Arab spring. During the turmoil, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) militants managed to capture large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq.
On September 30, Moscow launched a military operation targeting IS positions following a formal request from Assad.

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First-Ever US Presidential Forum to be Held in Israel

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[Ed. note – According to the report below, US presidential candidates have been invited to attend a candidate’s forum to be held next Tuesday and Wednesday in Israel–further proof, I would say (should any be needed) that America is a colonized nation. According to the Times of Israel, candidates have the option of attending in person or by video conference call. It’s not clear how many of them will accept the invitation, but my guess is a good many will participate. ]
US presidential candidates have been invited to participate in the first-ever US Presidential Candidates’ Forum held abroad, focusing on foreign and defense policy issues. From Jerusalem, Israel, each presidential candidate will have an opportunity to present their views on U.S. foreign policy, US-Israel relations, threats affecting US allies in Europe and Asia, the instability in the Middle East, terrorism, and solutions to increase the economic well-being and security of Americans in the US and abroad.
Each candidate will have a one hour segment of engaged discussion at the forum, allowing the candidate to be less than 48 hours away from campaign trail in the U.S.
Each candidate will be solely featured at the forum, presenting their own ideas and solutions to questions shared by a nonpartisan independent panel. This strategic endeavor will be broadcasted from Jerusalem, Israel, by media partners including NRB TV Network, joined by US and international televised broadcasting groups, including online and print media.
The U.S. Presidential Candidates’ Forum is co-hosted by U.S. based International Leaders Summit and National Religious Broadcasters.
“During the 20th century, America’s strategic leadership in foreign, security and trade policy affirmed our common civilization based on the rule of law — protecting life, liberty and private property, said Joel Anand Samy, co-founder and president of the International Leaders Summit. “At the Jerusalem Leaders Summit’s forum featuring US presidential candidates, America’s next president will be able to address the challenges, threats and opportunities of the 21st century.” 
“Presidents must be fully versed on foreign policy and understanding the Middle East and how to manage our strategic alliance with Israel is an imperative for the United States,” said Jerry Johnson, the president of National Religious Broadcasters. “This is a tremendous opportunity for presidential candidates to showcase their foreign policy credentials.”
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US military revolt against Obama’s decision to “support Al Qaeda in Syria

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A military revolt against the plan of the Obama administration to launch a potentially disastrous attack against  is gathering pace, with two senior officers and members of scheduled services who express their vehement opposition to what the United States s ‘entangled in the conflict. The reaction began to spread on social media yesterday with many military posting pictures of themselves holding up signs saying they would refuse to fight on the same side as  in Syria. Others have posted their photos on Twitter with the hashtag #IdidntJoin.

As the Obama administration prepares to present a draft resolution to legislators is far from “limited” in scope and would actually grease the skids for a war of indefinite duration, John Kerry and other officials State Department reported that Obama will simply ignore Congress if the vote no, and launch the attack anyway.

This will do little to reassure an increasing number of influential figures in the US Army, which become more and more recalcitrant that the are being lured into a new war in the Middle East.

The  Washington Post reports that “the plan of the Obama administration to launch a military strike against Syria has received with serious reservations by many in the US military, which is struggling with the legacy of two long wars and a budget that shrinks rapidly, according to current and former officers. ”

Republican Congressman Justin Amash also said via Twitter: “I have heard many members of our armed forces. The message I’ve always heard is: Please vote no on military action against Syria. ” Amash’s statement was followed by a series of tweets military veterans who have also expressed their opposition to the attack.

Paul Szoldra of Business Insider also spoke of “sources that are either veterans or currently on active duty in the army,” and asked them if they supported the military escalation in Syria.

“Most responded with an emphatic” writes Szoldra.

He cites a first class of active sergeant said: “We are overwhelmed, tired and broken,” adding that the United States “(do not) need to be the police of the world.”

“Our involvement in Syria is so dangerous on many levels, and American veteran of the 21st century is more concerned to avoid it more than anyone. It is beyond my comprehension that we are ignored, “added the former Corporal Jack Mandaville, a veteran of the Marine Corps infantry with 3 deployments in Iraq.

There are no military personnel who publicly exposes his concerns, Politico reported that leakage of the attack plan that “emanate from the Pentagon bureaucracy less enthusiastic about an attack than, say, the Department State, National Security Council and Obama himself, “are part of unauthorized disclosures that have” irritated “the White House.
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Top Saudi Royals Struggle for Power as War on Yemen Causes Budget Deficit

Local Editor

Saudi King and heir NayefA power struggle is emerging between Saudi Arabia’s two most powerful princes, analysts and diplomats say, as the secretive kingdom confronts some of its biggest challenges in years.

"The Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen, falling oil prices and rising extremist violence are putting the country’s leadership to the test, nine months after King Salman assumed the throne following the death of king Abdullah," Agence France Presse news agency stated in an analytical report Friday.

The kingdom’s rulers have also faced criticism for last month’s hajj tragedy which, according to foreign officials, killed more than 2,200 people in a stampede at the annual Muslim pilgrimage.

The report said that running for power inside the House of Saud has intensified between the two designated heirs, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s 56-year-old nephew, and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 30, is Salman’s son.

"Mohammed bin Nayef is interior minister while Mohammed bin Salman runs the defense ministry, and their growing rivalry is making itself felt, resulting in some disturbing policies abroad and internally," it stated citing experts.

In the article, Frederic Wehrey of the Middle East Programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, pointed to the “irresponsible” Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and said the key Western ally has taken a more “hardline tilt” away from reforms.

Tensions between the two princes emerged after the king’s shock removal six months ago of Crown Prince Moqren, who had been appointed as the country’s first deputy crown prince by Abdullah.

In the months since, the younger Mohammed bin Salman has moved to shore up his power, analysts say.

“A lot of people see this as a kind of a coup… that it’s one faction taking power for itself,” said Stephane Lacroix, a specialist in Saudi Arabia at Sciences Po university in Paris.

Moqren’s case shows that “this position of deputy crown prince is a bit precarious,” and helps explain why Mohammed bin Salman has been reinforcing his position, a Western diplomat says.

In addition to being defense minister, Mohammed bin Salman heads the kingdom’s main economic coordinating council as well as a body overseeing Saudi Aramco, the state oil company in the world’s biggest petroleum exporter.

“Mohammed bin Salman is clearly amassing extraordinary power and influence very quickly. This is bound to unsettle his rivals,” Wehrey said.

The deputy crown prince “has this need to structure his position to become, at the moment his father dies, irreplaceable” because he has no assurances of how Mohammed bin Nayef, as king, would treat him, another foreign diplomat was quoted as saying.

Mohammed bin Salman, who has a close relationship with his father, has been “acting as if he was the heir apparent, so this obviously creates tensions,” Lacroix said.

Diplomats view Salman’s removal in September of Saad al-Jabri — a minister of state and cabinet member associated with Mohammed bin Nayef — as one sign of the struggle.

But there has not been a broader move against the interior minister, who is widely respected abroad for having led Saudi efforts against Al-Qaeda and other jihadists.

“I think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot if they cut Mohammed bin Nayef out,” the Western diplomat said.

“He’s well-respected. He’s the one guy in the West who is trusted, particularly on counter-terrorism.”

The crown prince has the loyalty of interior ministry forces, and most members of the royal family would support his ultimate rise to the throne as “something normal,” the other diplomat stated.

If a powerful faction were ready to move against the crown prince, whose police were responsible for security at the hajj, the stampede would have provided an opportunity, he added.

“They could have made him the scapegoat if they wanted to get rid of him.”

On the other side of the rivalry, diplomats noted that some in the royal family are quietly uneasy about Mohammed bin Salman’s handling of the war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition supporting the government against Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels.

“You could argue this whole Yemen operation was in part calculated to shore up the defence minister’s profile,” Wehrey said.

"The war, the cost of which has not been revealed, comes with the kingdom cutting government spending, tapping into its financial reserves and issuing debt to deal with a record budget deficit after oil prices dropped by more than half since early last year," he indicated.

“For the moment it’s still manageable,” Lacroix highlighted, but some in the royal family are reportedly warning that the economic situation could become a worry in the long-term.

Source: AFP
30-10-2015 - 20:59 Last updated 30-10-2015 - 20:59 

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Mainstream Media Accuse Russia of Bombing Hospitals in Syria

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Russia's "No-Fly Zone" Prevents U.S., Israel, UK From Bombing Syria

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
October 28, 2015

It appears that, after a few weeks of Russian bombing in Syria, a new kind of “no-fly zone” seems to have been established. However, this “no-fly zone” is not focused on preventing Syrian planes and military forces from operating inside the country. Instead, it functions as a barrier to Israeli and American air forces seeking to enter Syria through the Mediterranean Sea in order to support terrorists and jihadists against the secular government of Bashar al-Assad.

This is because of Russia’s Naval presence in the port of Tartus and its new presence just off the coast of Latakia, particularly with ships like the guided missile cruiser Moscow. The ship left Crimea on September 24 and is part of what Russian media is referring to as training exercises.

The Russian Ministry of Defense has stated,
In the course of the training activity, the Russian ships will practice organization of anti-submarine, anti-ship, and air defense, as well as search-and-rescue activities and rendering assistance to distressed vessels. 
During the exercise, the military seamen are to perform over 40 different combat, tasks including missile and artillery firings at surface and aerial targets.

Clearly, the ship is in the Mediterranean for more than simple maneuvers. But its presence is also being bemoaned by the obsessively pro-Israeli, pro-NATO, and pro-war crowds howling in the pages of mainstream media outlets about being prevented from being able to cross national borders at will and rain death and destruction down upon innocent civilians and the primary force fighting ISIS and other jihadists in Syria.

As pro-Israeli writer “Eli” from SOFREP wrote in an article that was reposted by Business Insider,
By positioning the Moskva, a cruiser armed with S300 missiles, west of Latakia, the Russians have endangered the IAF's favorite corridor of flight into Syria. The IAF has no stealth capabilities to circumvent this anti-access/area denial — A2/AD — bubble, nor any other air force in the area. 
Russian President Vladimir Putin managed to do in several days what US President Barack Obama failed to do in the last three years: He's created a true no-fly zone. Putin's actions suggest, in my opinion, that he's willing to force the coalition and the Israel air force into reporting and coordinating their flights in the region — an act I’m sure no one is in favor of or willing to comply with. 
The Moskva carries an estimated 64 S-300 missiles, according to foreign sources), and could intercept multiple targets up to 150 miles away, making it a serious threat in addition to other Russian assets in the region. 
The presence of the Moskva essentially locks down British air assets in Cyprus, American F-16s in the southern part of Turkey, and the Israeli air force, which likes to use that particular flight corridor for penetration into Syria, or alternatively when flying over the western part of Lebanon. Any flights in or around the country will now be tricky for the IAF to accomplish.

“Eli” has made an astute observation. Unless the Israelis and NATO powers are truly willing to risk World War 3, the ability to simply fly in through and over the Mediterranean has been severely hampered by the Russian presence. NATO and Israel could indeed identify themselves and their intentions but they could be denied overflight permission to do so. They would then be forced with the choice between simply stepping back or risking a direct confrontation with Russian jets in the air.

Furthermore, “Eli” concludes that danger is indeed present. He writes,

So what happens to coalition surveillance flights? What about airdrops to parties in the region supported by the coalition? This will become another complicated situation which will require the precision of a surgeon and the creativity of artists. One thing is certain: The Kremlin's recent move is dangerous and places us all in danger. It may be time to dust off the old Cold War books.

Yet, while “Eli” laments the Russian presence in the Mediterranean and Syria and attempts to suggest that Russia is simply expanding its empire, his thesis is concerning for three reasons. First, it is perhaps the case that the United States and Israel have violated human rights and national borders for so long that neither their citizens nor their cheerleaders have any grasp of the difference between imperialism and self-defense.

Second, “Eli” is lamenting the Russian presence because he views the Western support of savages raping and beheading their way across Syria as legitimate and justified. He implicitly argues that the Israeli Air Force, along with the U.S. Air Force, has and should continue to have the divine right to cross national borders at will, drop bombs on civilians and national governments as they choose, and be free from any and all consequences of doing so. The “exceptional” people and the “chosen” people thus make a very good team, complete with the blessings of God and the rest of the world.

There is one major problem, however – the fact that Israel and the United States no longer have the blessing of the world to continue their slaughter unabated. Russia has had enough and so have many other nations.

Which brings us to the most concerning aspect of “Eli’s” position – that he and those he represents are willing to risk World War 3 to continue settlement and colonization of the Middle East and other “non-compliant” nations.

“Eli’s” article would not be so concerning if it were not for the fact that it represents the viewpoint of a ruling elite that is so committed to world hegemony that it very well might risk the literal destruction of the world in search of those aims. While “Eli” describes the “Kremlin’s recent moves” as “dangerous” and having placed us all in danger, the Kremlin is only acting in a way that defends its own self-interests.

If “Eli” is concerned with the danger that we all face, he would do well to warn the White House and the Knesset.

Brandon Turbeville – article archive here – is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books,Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria, and The Difference it Makes: 36 Reasons Why Hillary Clinton Should Never Be President. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST atUCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at)
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Putin Makes Obama an Offer He Can’t Refuse

Why is John Kerry so eager to convene an emergency summit on Syria now when the war has been dragging on for four and a half years?
Is he worried that Russia’s air campaign is wiping out too many US-backed jihadis and sabotaging Washington’s plan to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad?
You bet, he is. No one who’s been following events in Syria for the last three weeks should have any doubt about what’s really going on.  Russia has been methodically wiping out Washington’s mercenaries on the ground while recapturing large swathes of land that had been lost to the terrorists.  That, in turn, has strengthened Assad’s position in Damascus and left the administration’s policy in tatters.  And that’s why Kerry wants another meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pronto even though the two diplomats met less than a week ago.   The Secretary of State is hoping to cobble together some kind of makeshift deal that will stop the killing and salvage what’s left of Uncle Sam’s threadbare Syrian project.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Iran had been invited to the confab which will be held in Vienna on Thursday.  The announcement is bound to be ferociously criticized on Capital Hill, but it just shows to what extent Russia is currently setting the agenda. It was Lavrov who insisted that Iran be invited, and it was Kerry who reluctantly capitulated. Moscow is now in the drivers seat.
And don’t be surprised if the summit produces some pretty shocking results too, like a dramatic 180 on Washington’s “Assad must go” demand.   As Putin has pointed out many times before, Assad’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be a part of Syria’s “transitional governing body”  when the Obama team finally agrees to the Geneva Communique which is the political track that will eventually end the fighting, restore security, and allow millions of refugees to return to their homes.
The reason the administration is going to agree to allow Assad to stay, is because if they don’t, the Russian Airforce is going to continue to blow US-backed mercenaries to smithereens. So, you see, Obama really has no choice in the matter. Putin has put a gun to his head and made him an offer he can’t refuse.
That doesn’t mean the war is going to be a cakewalk for Russia or its allies. It won’t be. In fact, there have already been some major setbacks, like the fact that ISIS just seized a critical section the Aleppo-Khanasser highway, cutting off  the government’s supply-lines to Aleppo. This is a serious problem, but it is not a problem that can’t be overcome nor is it a problem that will effect the outcome of the war. It’s just one of the obstacles that has to be dealt with and surpassed.  Taking a broader view, the outlook is much more encouraging for the Russian-led coalition which continues to cut off supply-lines,  blow up ammo dumps and fuel depots, and rapidly eviscerate the ability of the enemy to wage war.  So, while the war is certainly not a walk in the park, there’s no doubt about who’s going to win.
And that might explain why the US decided to bomb Aleppo’s main power plant last week plunging the entire city into darkness; because Obama wants to “rubblize” everything on his way out.  Keep in mind, that the local water treatment plants require electrical power, so by blowing up the plant, Obama has condemned tens of thousands of civilians to cholera and other water-born diseases. Apparently, our hospital-nuking president isn’t bothered by such trivial matters as killing women and children. Now check this out from the Daily Star:
“U.S.-led coalition forces in Iraq and Syria carried out a large-scale attack on Syria’s Omar oil field as part of its mission to target ISIS’s ability to generate money, a coalition spokesman said Thursday.
Operations officer Maj. Michael Filanowski told journalists in Baghdad that airstrikes late Wednesday struck ISIS-controlled oil refineries, command and control centers and transportation nodes in the Omar oil field near the town of Deir el-Zour. Coalition spokesman Col. Steven Warren said the attack hit 26 targets, making it one of the largest set of strikes since launching the air campaign last year.
The refinery generates between $1.7 and $5.1 million per month for ISIS.
“It was very specific targets that would result in long-term incapacitation of their ability to sell oil, to get it out of the ground and transport it,” Filanowski said.
ISIS seized a number of oil refineries and other infrastructure in Iraq and Syria as it sought to generate revenue to build a self-sufficient state.  (“US-led forces strike ISIS-controlled oil field in Syria“, Daily Star)
Isn’t it amazing how– after a year of  combing the dessert looking for ISIS  targets– the USAF finally figures out where the goddamn oil refineries are? No wonder the western media chose to ignore this story. One can only conclude that Obama never had any intention of cutting off ISIS’s main funding stream (oil sales). What he really wanted was for the terrorist group to flourish provided it helped Washington achieve its strategic goals. Putin even pointed this out in a recent interview. He said:
“The mercenaries occupy the oil fields in Iraq and Syria. They start extracting the oil-and this oil is purchased by somebody. Where are the sanctions on the parties purchasing this oil?
Do you believe the US does not know who is buying it?
Is it not their allies that are buying the oil from ISIS?
Do you not think that US has the power to influence their allies? Or is the point that they don’t  wish to influence them?
Putin was never taken in by the whole ISIS oil charade. He knew it was a farce from the get-go, ever since Financial Times published their thoroughly laughable article on the topic which claimed that ISIS had its own group of “headhunters” offering “competitive salaries” to engineers with the “requisite experience”  and encouraged  “prospective employees to apply to its human resources department.”
The ISIS “human resources department”??  Have you ever read anything more ridiculous in your life?  (Read the whole story here.)
In an interview with NPR,  FT fantasist Erika Solomon (who wrote the article) explained why the US could not bomb the oil fields or refineries. Here’s what she said:
“What ISIS has done is managed to corner control of the extraction process, which is smart because they can’t get bombed there. It would cause a natural disaster. So they extract the oil, and then they immediately sell it to local traders – any average person who can buy a truck that they can fill with a tank of oil.”
Well, that sure didn’t stop Maj. Michael Filanowski, now did it? He seems to have blown up those ISIS refineries without batting an eye, which just proves that Solomon’s “natural disaster” fairytale is pure bunkum.
But if it was all baloney, then why did the USAF decide to hit the targets now? What changed?
Here’s a clue from an article that popped up on RT just one day before the attacks:
“Russia’s airplanes cut off routes used by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) to deliver supplies to Syria from Iraq by bombing a bridge over the Euphrates River, the Russian General Staff said
“The bridge over the Euphrates River near [the Syrian city of] Deir ez-Zor was a key point of the logistics chain [of IS]. Today Russian pilots carried out a surgical strike against the object,” the deputy chief of the General Staff of Russia, Colonel General Andrey Kartapolov, said on Thursday during a news briefing, adding that the terrorist group’s armament and ammunition delivery route had been cut off.” (“Russian Air Force cuts off ISIS supply lines by bombing bridge over Euphrates“, RT)
There it is: The Russians blow up a critical bridge over the Euphrates making oil transport impossible, and  the next thing you know, BAM, the US goes into scorched earth-mode leveling everything in sight.  Coincidence?
Not  bloody likely.  The whole incident suggests the mighty CIA is rolling up its pet project in Syria and headed for the exits.  (It’s worth noting that ISIS has never been a self sustaining corporate franchise netting over a million bucks a day on oil receipts as western propaganda would have one believe. That’s all part of the public relations coverup used to conceal the fact that the Gulf allies and probably CIA black ops are funding these homicidal maniacs.)
In any event, the Russian intervention is forcing Washington to rethink its Syria policy. While Kerry is bending over backwards to end the fighting,  Obama is busy tweaking the policy in a way that appeases his critics on the right without provoking a confrontation with Moscow. It’s a real tight-wire act, but the White House PR team thinks they can pull it off. Check this out from NBC News:
“Defense Secretary Ash Carter today revealed that the U.S. will openly begin “direct action on the ground” against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria.
In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee on Tuesday, Carter said “we won’t hold back from supporting capable partners in opportunistic attacks against ISIL…or conducting such mission directly, whether by strikes from the air or direct action on the ground.” (“Sec. Carter: U.S. to Begin ‘Direct Action on the Ground’ in Iraq, Syria“, NBC News)
This sounds a lot worse than it is. The truth is, Obama has no stomach for the type of escalation the hawks (like Hillary Clinton and John McCain ) are demanding. There aren’t going to be any “safe zones” or “no-fly zones” or any other provocations which would risk a bloody conflagration with Moscow. What Obama is looking for is the best face-saving strategy available that will allow him to retreat without incurring the wrath of the  Washington warmongers. It’s a tall order, but Sec-Def Ash Carter has come up with a plan that might just do-the-trick.  This is from The Hill:
“Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Tuesday described new ways the U.S. military plans to increase pressure on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, after months of criticism that the administration is not doing enough to defeat the terrorist group.
“The changes we’re pursuing can be described by what I call the ‘three R’s’ — Raqqa, Ramadi and Raids,” Carter testified the Senate Armed Services Committee.
First, Carter said the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS plans to support moderate Syrian forces to go after Raqqa — the terrorist group’s stronghold and administration capital.
The secretary also said he hopes to pursue a new way of equipping the Syrian Arab Coalition, which consists of about a dozen groups.
“While the old approach was to train and equip completely new forces outside of Syria before sending them into the fight, the new approach is to work with vetted leaders of groups that are already fighting ISIL, and provide equipment and some training to them and support their operations with airpower,” he said.
He also said the coalition expects to intensify its air campaign with additional U.S. and coalition aircraft, and to target ISIS with a higher and heavier rate of strikes.
“This will include more strikes against ISIL high-value targets as our intelligence improves, and also its oil enterprise, which is a critical pillar of ISIL’s financial infrastructure,” Carter said, using a different acronym for ISIS.” (“Pentagon chief unveils new plan for ISIS fight“, The Hill)
See anything new here? It’s a big nothingburger, right?
They’re going to kill more “high-value targets”?
Big whoop. That’s always been the gameplan, hasn’t it?  Of course, it has.
What this shows is that Obama is just running out the clock hoping he can keep this mess on the back-burner until he’s out of office and working out the terms of his first big book deal.  The last thing he wants is to get embroiled in a spitting match with the Kremlin his final year in office.
Unfortunately, the problem Obama is going to encounter is that Putin can’t simply turn off the war machine with the flip of a switch. It took Moscow a long time to decide to intervene in Syria, just like it took a long time to marshal the forces that would be deployed, build the coalition and draft the battleplan.  The Russians don’t take war lightly, so now that they’ve put the ball into motion they’re not going to stop until the job is done and the bulk of the terrorists have been exterminated.  That means there’s not going to be a ceasefire in the immediate future. Putin needs to demonstrate that once Moscow commits its forces, it will persevere until it achieves victory. That victory could come in the form of “liberating Aleppo” and a subsequent sealing off of the Turkish-Syria border or he might have some other goal in mind. But it’s a matter of credibility as much as anything. If Putin pulls back, hesitates or shows even the slightest lack of resolve, Washington will see it as a sign of weakness and try to exploit it. So Putin has no choice but to see this thing through to the bitter end.  At the very least, he needs to prove to Washington that when Russia gets involved, Russia wins.
That’s a message Washington needs to hear.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at
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