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Turkey Goes to War Mike Whitney
— Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu
November 06, 2015 “Information Clearing House” – “Counterpunch” – A landslide victory in Turkey’s November 1 snap elections has removed the last obstacle in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s drive to war. The surprise outcome of the balloting, which was widely denounced as “unfair and marred by fear and violence by international election observers”, has given Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) 49 percent of the vote restoring single-party rule in Ankara. Shortly after the election results were announced, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Turkey’s political parties to scrap the existing constitution in order to grant President Erdogan nearly-limitless executive authority.
According to Turkey’s Today’s Zaman Davutoglu said, “I’m calling on all parties entering parliament to form a new civilian national constitution…Let’s work together towards a Turkey where conflict, tension and polarisation are non-existent and everyone salutes each other in peace.”
In other words, the balloting is being used to sabotage democracy and establish the supreme power of the president. Less than 24 hours after Erdogan had regained single-party control of the government, he reiterated Davutoglu’s appeal for expanding presidential powers through a national referendum.
“An issue like the presidential system can’t be decided without the nation,” Erdogan told reporters at the press conference. “If the mechanism requires a referendum, then we will hold a referendum … The executive presidency is not a question of our president’s personal future. He has already entered the history books. The basic motivation is to make the system in Turkey as effective as possible.”
So, according to Erdogan, the dictatorial powers of the president have already been established and the referendum is merely a formality.
Clearly, Erdogan wants to use the referendum to consolidate his power, establish one-man rule and terminate representative government in Turkey. He is a committed Islamist who wants to repeal democracy and create a Islamic regime that extends beyond Turkey’s present borders into Iraq and Syria. This is why he has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the jihadi groups fighting in Syria.
More important, Erdogan intends to use his landslide victory to persuade the Military High Command that he has a popular mandate for his foreign policy, a policy that has amassed thousands of Turkish troops, armored vehicles and tanks on the Syrian border for a possible invasion. Up to now, the military has resisted Erdogan on this matter, but now that Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, has been replaced as head of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) by the more compliant General Hulusi Akar, the plan to invade Syria and secure a so called “safety zone” along the Syrian side of the Turkish border, becomes much more probable.
The plan to annex sovereign Syrian territory and use it to launch attacks on the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad dates back to 2012. In 2015, however, the strategy was expanded upon by Brookings analyst Michael E. O’Hanlon in a piece titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:
“…the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria….the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via special forces. … Western forces themselves would remain in more secure positions in general—within the safe zones but back from the front lines—at least until the reliability of such defenses, and also local allied forces, made it practical to deploy and live in more forward locations.
Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad ….The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones… The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force….to make these zones defensible and governable,….and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.” (Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)
This is the Obama administration’s basic blueprint for toppling Assad and reducing Syria into an ungovernable failed state run by regional warlords, renegade militias and Islamic extremists. US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed our worst suspicions about this sinister plan in a speech he delivered
to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace just last week. Here’s part of what he said:
“In northern Syria, the coalition and its partners have pushed Daesh (ISIS) out of more than 17,000 square kilometers of territory, and we have secured the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates River. That’s about 85 percent of the Turkish border, and the President is authorizing further activities to secure the rest…….
We’re also enhancing our air campaign in order to help drive Daesh, which once dominated the Syria-Turkey border, out of the last 70-mile stretch that it controls.” (U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the Future of U.S. Policy in the Middle East, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
Repeat: “That’s about 85 percent of the Turkish border, and the President is authorizing further activities to secure the rest.”
Why has Obama “authorized further activities to secure the rest”?
Because no one in Washington believes that the US-backed jihadis will beat the combined forces of the Russian-led coalition which is gradually annihilating the terrorist militias across Syria. So now, Obama is moving on to Plan B, the creation of a terrorist sanctuary on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border where the US and its partners can continue to arm, train and deploy their jihadi maniacs back into Syria whenever they choose to do so. Undoubtedly, Obama’s Special Forces will be used to oversee this operation and to make sure that everything goes according to plan.
There is, of course, a question about the Kurdish militias role in this strategy. Recently, the US has air-dropped pallet-loads of weapons and ammo to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) hoping the group could help the US secure the last stretch of land along the border west of the Euphrates thus keeping vital supplylines open for the jihadis while establishing a safe haven on Syrian territory. Erdogan violently opposes any operation that will create a contiguous Kurdish state on the Syrian side of the border.
So how will this situation be resolved? Will Obama stick with the Kurds or realign with Erdogan in exchange for Turkish boots on the ground?
No one knows just yet, but certainly a Turkish-US alliance would be more formidable than a PYD-US coalition. Judging by Washington’s long history of choosing the most expedient solution to achieve its policy goals, we expect Obama to align himself with Ankara….
By Tony Cartalucci
Meet the Arsonists
The United States has been illegally plying the airspace above Syria for over a year. It has been openly arming, funding, and training terrorists along Syria’s borders in Turkey and Jordan, admittedly, for much longer. And before the conflict began in 2011, the United States had conspired as early as 2007, revealed in interviews conducted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his 9-page report “The Redirection,” to destabilize and overthrow the government of Syria through the use of sectarian extremists – more specifically, Al Qaeda – with arms and funds laundered through America’s oldest and stanchest regional ally, Saudi Arabia.
The rise of the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS/ISIL) itself, turns out also to be part of this premeditated “deconstruction” of Syria. A Department of Intelligence Agency (DIA) report drafted in 2012 (.pdf) admitted:
If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).
To clarify just who these “supporting powers” were that sought the creation of a “Salafist principality,” the DIA report explains:
The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.
It is clear who the arsonists are.
Rolling in Drums of Gasoline to “Fight the Fire”
Nothing about the US’ recent moves have been honest. US policymakers have openly conspired to commit to strategies not aimed at actually fighting ISIS or ending the destructive conflict in Syria they themselves have started, but instead to counter Russia’s attempts to do so, merely under the guise of fighting ISIS, or helping refugees, or virtually any excuse they believe the public might support.
The truth has begun to emerge even in the West’s own newspapers. The Washington Post in an article titled, “Obama has strategy for Syria, but it faces major obstacles.” states explicitly that:
[The US] will increase air operations in northern Syria, particularly in the Turkish border area to cut the flow of foreign fighters, money and materiel coming in to support the Islamic State.
Here, the Washington Post openly admits that support for the Islamic State is flowing out of NATO-member Turkey. It is clear that to stop this “flow,” efforts should be concentrated on the Turkish-Syrian border before supplies and reinforcements reach Syria. It is clear that ISIS is intentionally being allowed to resupply and reinforce its fighting capacity within Syria from NATO territory, specifically to serve as a pretext for wider and more direct Western intervention in Syria itself as was noted in June of 2014 when ISIS first appeared in Iraq.
ISIS represents the drums of gasoline, rolled in by the US intentionally not to extinguish the flames, but to compound them into an inferno greater still.
The Arsonists Seek an Inferno Greater Still
The same Washington Post article would reveal the true intentions of the US and its “boots on the ground” in Syria. While they claim they seek to “fight ISIS,” the truth is far more sinister. Under the pretext of fighting ISIS, these US forces, backing militants armed, trained, and funded by the US and its regional allies, will take and hold territory, effectively fulfilling US policy papers that have long-expressed the desire to “deconstruct” Syria as a secondary means of destroying it as a functioning nation-state if direct regime change was unachievable.
The Washington Post states specifically:
Defeating the Islamic State in Syria, under Obama’s strategy, rests on enabling local Syrian forces not only to beat back Islamic State fighters but to hold freed territory until a new central government, established in Damascus, can take over.
Since there is already an established central government in Damascus, it is safe to assume these regions carved out by US-backed militants will never be relinquished until Damascus falls. If successful, it will mean the Balkanization of Syria, and its cessation as a unified nation.
Comparing this recent admission by the Washington Post, predicated on “fighting ISIS,” with plans laid out before the rise of ISIS, reveals that ISIS itself is only one of many in a long line of pretexts used to implement US objectives that were laid out, clearly, before the first shot was even fired during the Syrian crisis.
In the March 2012 Brookings Institution”Middle East Memo #21″ “Assessing Options for Regime Change” it is stated specifically that (emphasis added):
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.
The plan to use US special forces to take and hold Syrian territory was also specifically laid out in a June 2015 Brookings document literally titled, “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war.” In it, it stated that (emphasis added):
The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via the presence of special forces as well. The approach would benefit from Syria’s open desert terrain which could allow creation of buffer zones that could be monitored for possible signs of enemy attack through a combination of technologies, patrols, and other methods that outside special forces could help Syrian local fighters set up.
Were Assad foolish enough to challenge these zones, even if he somehow forced the withdrawal of the outside special forces, he would be likely to lose his air power in ensuing retaliatory strikes by outside forces, depriving his military of one of its few advantages over ISIL. Thus, he would be unlikely to do this.
It is clear that America’s most recent scheme is simply a continuation of its long-standing criminal conspiracy arrayed against Syria and exposed as early as 2007 by Seymour Hersh.
To Stop Arsonists, Call Them Arsonists…..
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