Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Utumno, Jun 14, 2014.
Russia is walking to the official Syrian border, it's about 100m away and Turks come out
Leos are garbage, they’re not even gundanium
shit’s not serious until they bust out the virgos
Russia is playing the US like a fiddle
It's obvious they are forcing the SDF to run back and forth and this will cause Turkey to push in until they accept being disbanded and integrated into the SAA
Also reports a lot of Iranian Kurds are moving through Iraq to Syria, probably IRGC.
These protests are not what is actually being reported in the western press, we are full blown north korean propaganda over here
The day after anti-government protests erupted in Iraq, Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani flew into Baghdad late at night and took a helicopter to the heavily fortified Green Zone, where he surprised a group of top security officials by chairing a meeting in place of the prime minister.
The arrival of Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and the architect of its regional security apparatus, signaled Tehran’s concern over the protests, which had erupted across the capital and in Iraq’s Shiite heartland, and included calls for Iran to stop meddling in the country.
I really would give anything to see Israel/US western nations and Saudi/UAE try to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon, that would be hilarious.
My guess is Iran and Turkey have come to an agreement and this is the best way to break the US control over Syrian kurds
US will push through Turkish and Syrian convoys but will not touch Russian soldiers
It would only take a few SRBM's to annihilate anything we have in northern syria, wipe out airfields and logistics centers
send the russian air force 450 whole miles away from Russia's border
Pointing to Iraq, Lebanon, Khamenei recalls how Iran put down unrest
OCTOBER 30, 2019
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday accused the United States and Saudi Arabia of stoking unrest in Lebanon and Iraq, saying Tehran understood the situation in those countries because it had had to suppress similar foreign interference at home.
“The U.S. and Western intelligence services, with the financial backing of reactionary countries in the region, are spreading turmoil,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted by his official website as telling graduating army cadets.
Khamenei urged protesters to seek changes in a lawful way in Iraq and Lebanon, where Iran has powerful allies among Shi’ite Muslim government factions.
In an apparent warning, Khamenei praised Iran’s crackdown against street protests at home in 2018.
“They (U.S. and Saudi Arabia) had similar plans for our dear country, but fortunately the people... came out in time and the armed forces were ready and that plot was neutralized,” Khamenei said, in a reference to the protests which were put down by security forces while authorities held pro-government rallies.
Iran’s weeks-long unrest in 2017-2018 began as protests about economic hardship and corruption but grew into political rallies, some of which criticized Khamenei by name.
They were the boldest challenge to Iran’s leadership since 2009, when security forces crushed a pro-reform uprising and killed dozens of protesters.
“Our advice has always been to call for peace and (stopping) interference by foreign forces in these countries (Iraq and Lebanon),” President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff Mahmoud Vaezi was quoted as saying earlier by state media.
The United States, Saudi Arabia and Israel were riding a wave of popular demands and providing those forces with financial support, he added.
US Decision Imminent on Renewing Waivers for International Work on Iran's Nuclear Sites
October 29, 2019
The Trump administration faced a self-imposed Tuesday deadline to decide whether to extend waivers allowing other world powers to work with Iran on civilian nuclear projects without facing U.S. sanctions.
Speaking at an Oct. 16 Senate hearing, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, said the Iran nuclear waivers renewed by the State Department for 90 days on July 30 expire on Oct. 29. He said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would have to make a decision by then on canceling the five waivers or renewing any of them for an additional period.
The five waivers enable European powers, Russia and China to deploy personnel to four Iranian nuclear sites to work with their Iranian counterparts in ensuring that the sites do not engage in activities that could be diverted to making nuclear weapons. Washington and its allies long have accused Iran of seeking a nuclear weapons capability, while Tehran has said its nuclear program is civilian and peaceful.
Iran agreed to cooperate with international experts to bar potential weapons-related activities at the four nuclear sites in return for international sanctions relief as part of a 2015 deal with world powers.
U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from that deal last year and unilaterally reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran. He said the 2015 deal was not tough enough on Iran and launched a "maximum pressure" campaign to force Tehran to give up perceived nuclear weapons ambitions and other malign activities.
But, Trump repeatedly has extended the waivers for the civilian projects at the four Iranian nuclear sites, shielding other world powers from U.S. sanctions as they implement the civilian cooperation aspects of the 2015 deal, which those powers want to maintain. The State Department detailed the five waivers in a May fact sheet.
Three of the U.S. waivers are for international cooperation with Iran's Tehran Research Reactor and its electricity-producing Bushehr nuclear power plant. The other two are for international projects to prevent Iran's Fordow fuel enrichment plant from enriching weapons-grade uranium, and to prevent its Arak heavy water reactor from producing a key ingredient for weapons-grade plutonium.
In a Twitter video posted Monday, British Ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire said a team of British nuclear technology experts recently visited the Arak reactor and made "good progress" with Iranians in the civilian cooperation mission. The project initially involved U.S. and Chinese experts, but Britain replaced the U.S. contingent after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
"This project shows how hard we are trying to make sure the JCPOA remains active after the U.S. withdrawal," Macaire said in Farsi, referring to an acronym for the 2015 deal. "We talked about how we could finish the project as quickly as possible. There are many challenges, but we are committed to fulfill our commitments under the JCPOA, even when (Britain) leaves the European Union."
When the Trump administration last extended the waivers for the Arak reactor and the other projects on July 30, it sent a notification to Congress via the State Department.
A day later, the Associated Press reported that it obtained a copy of the notification, in which the State Department asserted that extending the waivers would "continue to serve both our Iran strategy and broader non-proliferation goals by constraining Tehran's nuclear capabilities for as long as possible, while we work toward a new deal that addresses the totality of Iran's malign behavior.''
It was not clear when the Trump administration would notify Congress or the public of its next decision about the waivers.
"These waivers really benefit U.S. nonproliferation interests because they support activities at Iranian sites that would make it more difficult for Iran to reconstitute or convert them, if Tehran ever were to choose to pursue a nuclear weapons program," said analyst Kelsey Davenport of the Arms Control Association, a Washington policy institute that seeks to promote effective arms control policies.
"Renewing the waivers really is a no-brainer decision," Davenport told VOA Persian. "If the waivers lapse, Iran could return some of these sites to their original purposes, and that could mean higher levels of uranium enrichment at Fordow and constructing the Arak reactor based on the original design. Those projects in particular pose far more of a proliferation risk if they are not modified."
Several Republican senators who back the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign against Iran have urged Trump to scrap at least some of the waivers.
An Oct. 24 report by Bloomberg cited a U.S. official as saying Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham have drafted legislation that would require the Trump administration to end three waivers that allow international work at Fordow, Arak and the Tehran Research Reactor.
Bloomberg said Republican supporters of the bill believe Iran cannot be trusted to keep its nuclear activities peaceful because it ran a covert nuclear weapons program under cover of civilian projects in the early 2000s. It said they also believe that ending the waivers would make it harder for a Democratic president to revive the 2015 nuclear deal should Trump not be re-elected next year.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington research group that also backs a tough U.S. stance against Iran, wrote in a Monday op-ed that the Trump administration should at least terminate the Fordow waiver and "conditionally suspend" the Arak waiver. It noted that Iran has delayed fulfilling its commitments to make the Arak site less of a proliferation risk and to convert the Fordow facility into a "nuclear, physics and technology center" for international scientific cooperation.
Speaking to VOA Persian, FDD op-ed co-author and nonproliferation analyst Andrea Stricker said the status quo is not working. "We think (our proposal) would be the best tool for Europe and the U.N. nuclear agency to pressure Iran to actually take the actions that it is supposed to under the nuclear deal," she said.
Asked how Iran could be prevented from resuming weapons-related work at any site for which a U.S. waiver is revoked, Stricker called for threatening more U.S. sanctions in response to such Iranian action.
Turkey keeps blocking US convoys while Russia moves in
Syria's Assad says Kurdish controlled northeast Syria must return to state authority
OCTOBER 31, 2019
AMMAN (Reuters) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday that his government’s ultimate goal was to restore state authority over Kurdish controlled areas in northeast Syria after an abrupt U.S. troop withdrawal but he expected it to happen gradually.
In a state television interview Assad also said that a deal between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin to drive out the Kurdish-led YPG militia from a 30 km (19 mile) “safe zone” along the border was a “positive” step that would help Damascus achieve its goal.
“It might not achieve everything ... it paves the road to liberate this area in the near future we hope,” said Assad, who has remained in power in Damascus through a more than eight-year-long civil war with the backing of Russia and Iran.
The U.S.-allied Kurdish YPG militia reached a deal with Damascus to take up positions near the border after U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement in early October that he was withdrawing American forces from northeast Syria. The YPG is the main fighting element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that has beaten back Islamic State in the region.
The withdrawal paved the way for a Turkish offensive against the Kurds and left them feeling abandoned by the United States and forcing them to work a deal with Damascus to help them resist Turkish forces. Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization because of its links to Kurdish militants in southeastern Turkey.
Assad also said Trump’s decision to keep a small number of U.S. troops in the Kurdish-held areas of Syria “where they have the oil” showed that Washington was a colonial power that was doomed to leave once Syrians resist their occupation as in Iraq.
But he said his country could not stand up to a great power such as the United States and that ending the presence of American troops on Syrian soil was not achievable soon.
Assad said Trump was the “best American president” for his “complete transparency” about intentions to maintain control of Syria’s main oilfields in Deir al-Zor province.
U.S. troops have begun deployment in the province in coordination with the SDF to increase security and continue the fight against remnants of Islamic State, a U.S. military spokesman said on Thursday.
Diplomats say the U.S. decision to prevent oil fields from falling back to government control would deny Damascus millions of dollars of much needed revenues and ensure its Kurdish ally a main source of income to govern areas it controls.
The Kurds would not be asked to immediately hand over their weapons when the Syrian army enters their areas in a final deal with them that brings back state control to the large swathe of territory they now control, Assad said in the interview.
“There are armed groups that we cannot expect they would hand over weapons immediately but the final goal is to return to the previous situation, which is the complete control of the state,” he said.
The commander of the Kurdish-led forces Mazloum Kobani has said the agreement with Damascus could pave the way for a political solution to be worked out later with the Syrian government, that could guarantee Kurdish rights in Syria.
But he insisted at this stage it was only to allow the deployment of Syrian troops across SDF stronghold areas along the border with Turkey in a move to thwart Ankara’s plan to create a “safe zone.”
Syria had a right to defend its territorial integrity against separatist Kurds who aspired to create a Kurdish state and rule over Arabs and other ethnic groups, Assad said.
Resentment against Kurdish dominated rule in eastern Syria has grown among the predominantly Arab population, residents say.
Everyone Is Denouncing the Syrian Rebels Now Slaughtering Kurds. But Didn’t the U.S. Once Support Some of Them?
October 26 2019
QUESTION: WHAT UNITES Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, Nancy Pelosi, David Petraeus, Tom Friedman, and the editorial board of the Washington Post?
Answer: Their support for arming what they called “moderate” Syrian rebel groups between 2013 and 2017.
In recent weeks, Syrian rebel groups described only as “Turkish-backed” have murdered and mutilated their way across Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria. These fighters are guilty of “war crimes,” declared U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a recent interview. “Those responsible should be held accountable,” Esper – or is it Esperanto? – told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. “In many cases, the government of Turkey should be held accountable.”
I happen to agree with him. The government of Turkey has much to answer for, given that many of the horrific killings have been captured on camera. But I would like to see people in Washington, D.C., “held accountable” too. Top Democrats and Republicans have joined together to loudly — and rightly — lambast the Trump administration for abandoning their allies in the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF. Clinton has decried the “sickening horror” of Kurdish men, women, and children being slaughtered by Turkish-backed groups, while the likes of Petraeus and Graham have accused these groups of “ethnic cleansing.” These politicians, however, have stayed conveniently silent on their own prior advocacy on behalf of many of these rebels, while journalists have shamefully refused to mention the U.S. government’s prior support for them.
Have we so quickly forgotten how the CIA backed a range of secular and Islamist militias to fight Assad, via the covert program Timber Sycamore, while the Pentagon vetted “moderate” fighters to fight ISIS via the congressionally-approved Train and Equip Program? The former, according to a U.S. official, led to the death or injury of 100,000 Syrian army troops and their allies, while the latter was coordinated with — wait for it — Turkey.
“The groups that were educated and equipped by the United States west of the Euphrates,” wrote Turkish journalist Fehim Tastekin for Al-Monitor, “are now fighting against the groups east of the Euphrates that have been also educated and equipped by the United States.”
You wouldn’t know this, though, from watching or reading the mainstream U.S. media. The New York Times described the Turkish-backed rebels only as “fighters the United States had long rejected as extremists, criminals and thugs.”
Denialism abounds. In the wake of the fourth Democratic presidential debate, I tweeted about the “hypocrisy” of top Democrats “who wanted to arm Syrian rebels, but now slam many of those same Syrian rebels.”
Charles Lister, an analyst with the Middle East Institute, called me “ill-informed.” The fighters killing Kurds, he claimed, “are not the same” as the Free Syrian Army, or FSA — aka the secular and “moderate” fighters who were openly backed by the West in the initial stages of the conflict.
Shane Bauer, a reporter with Mother Jones, said it was “extremely dishonest” of me “to conflate the FSA of 2012 and 2013 with the mercenaries fighting for Turkey now.”
There is some validity to this argument. Although some of the the Turkish-backed fighters currently attacking the Kurds did indeed fight with the FSA back in 2012 and 2013, some of them did not. “Many of these fighters were 10 years old when the conflict started,” as one critic of mine observed. Others noted how plenty of Syrian rebels were “radicalized” over the course of a bloody conflict in which the repressive Bashar Assad regime used chemical weapons, barrel bombs, starvation, and mass torture against them.
I don’t disagree. For the Russian government or Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to suggest that every Syrian rebel group began as an offshoot of Al Qaeda or the Islamic State group, filled only with “terrorists” or “jihadis,” is a lazy and cynical rewriting of history. The Syrian revolution began in March 2011 with nonviolent protests, from Deraa to Damascus, against a vicious dictator who responded with shocking violence. Young men such as Abdul Baset al-Sarout, the former goalkeeper in Syria’s national youth football team who was profiled in the acclaimed documentary Return To Homs, went from “leading chants in the streets in 2011,” as The Guardian noted, to reluctantly “becoming a battle-worn leader for the militia.” (He was killed this summer, fighting for an Islamist militia against government forces in the north of the country.)
Plenty of these Syrian rebels, both Arabs and Kurds, both Islamists and secularists, fought not only against the Assad government, but also against Al Qaeda and ISIS. There were, however, other rebel groups that were dominated by violent Salafists and so-called jihadis from the start and who bragged about fighting alongside Al Qaeda and ISIS. The truth is that many of the rebel forces now committing war crimes against the Kurds were also committing war crimes in the early years of the Syrian civil war.
And here’s the problem: It is an equally lazy and cynical rewriting of history to pretend that these groups have nothing to do with the United States, or were never backed by the U.S. government, in their current form or with their current personnel.
HOW ELSE TO EXPLAIN Gen. Salim Idris? He’s the current defense minister in the self-styled Syrian Interim Government, or SIG, and commander of the Syrian National Army, or SNA, the ragtag force of Turkish-backed rebel fighters that has wreaked havoc in northeastern Syria in recent weeks.
Between 2012 and 2014, though, Idris served as chief of staff to the Supreme Military Council of the West-friendly FSA. In 2013, according to the Washington Post, he was “anointed” by then Secretary of State John Kerry as “the sole conduit for aid to Syria’s rebels.” He was welcomed on CNN and MSNBC. In a glowing profile, the Times described him as “soft-spoken and humble” and declared that Syria’s future depended on “General Idris’s success on the battlefield.”
In May 2013, the Syrian rebel chief was even rewarded with the ultimate prize from the hawks in Washington: a secret visit from the late John McCain.
Got that? John McCain was an ally and supporter of a rebel commander whose forces are now being loudly condemned by a dizzying array of U.S. political and media figures including, among others, Meghan McCain. Is your head spinning yet? And don’t you think it should be a bigger story that the Turkish-backed general ordering Syrian rebels into battle against the Kurds right now was the U.S.-backed general who ordered Syrian rebels into battle against Bashar Assad in 2013?
Then there’s Lt. Seyf Ebu Bekir, a defector from Assad’s military and suspected former ISIS fighter. He heads up the Hamza Division of rebel fighters that was vetted by the Pentagon in 2016 and then armed and trained by the U.S. to battle against ISIS. Today, the Hamza Division is one of the key groups killing and expelling Kurds as part of the Turkish offensive in Syria. So too is the Sultan Murad Division, which in 2015 was boasting about being “well stocked” with new supplies of U.S.-made TOW anti-tank missiles.
In fact, according to a damning analysis by SETA, a pro-government Turkish think tank, of the 41 armed factions which make up the now Turkish-backed SNA, 28 of them were formed before the Trump administration cut off aid to the Syrian rebels in 2017. “Out of the 28 factions,” concludes SETA, “21 were previously supported by the United States, three of them via the Pentagon’s program to combat DAESH. Eighteen of these factions were supplied by the CIA. … Fourteen factions of the 28 were also recipients of the U.S.-supplied TOW anti-tank guided missiles.”
SHOULDN’T THIS BE a source of huge controversy in Washington? Shouldn’t those politicians and pundits who backed the arming and funding of the same Syrian proxies now accused of committing war crimes be asked to explain themselves, rather than invited back on air as disinterested analysts or experts?
Yes, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has blood on his hands and so too does Donald Trump, who gave Erdogan the green light to attack and “clean out” Kurdish-controlled areas. But what of the blood on the hands of those U.S. hawks and interventionists, both Republicans and Democrats, who threw their support behind the likes of Idris, Ebu Bakir, the Hamza Division, and the Sultan Murad Brigade only a few years ago?
Yes, the brutal Assad is responsible for the bulk of the violence in Syria — as are the governments of Iran and Russia that armed and backed him. But those responsible for arming and backing some of Syria’s most thuggish rebel groups include — among many others — the government of the United States. Some of us warned that the U.S. providing money and weapons to such rebels would backfire. We were smeared as genocide apologists, Assad stooges, Iran supporters. And yet what we are seeing on the ground in northeastern Syria today is a classic — and depressing — case of what the CIA has called “blowback.”
The former allies of the United States in Syria have turned on the current allies of the United States in Syria. And no one seems to want to admit this — or take any responsibility for it.
Iran strikes initial deal to rebuild Syrian power grid
NOVEMBER 2, 2019
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran signed a preliminary agreement with Syria on Saturday to help rebuild the Arab ally’s electricity grid, Iranian state media reported, as Tehran seeks a deepening economic role after years of the Syrian conflict.
A memorandum of understanding signed by the two countries’ electricity ministers in Tehran covered the construction of power plants, transmission lines, cutting losses in Syria’s electricity network, and the possibility of connecting the two countries’ grids through Iraq, the state news agency IRNA said.
The report did not give the value of the deal. IRNA quoted Syrian Electricity Minister Mohammad Zuhair Kharboutli as saying the country’s grid had suffered damages of 50 percent and that “Iran’s role is important” in the reconstruction.
Shunned by Western powers, the Syrian government has looked to friendly states such as Iran, Russia and China to play a major role in rebuilding the country, as the war heads toward its ninth year.
Since at least 2012, Iran has provided critical military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, helping it regain control of swathes of the country. Iran experts have said Tehran is now hoping to reap a financial dividend.
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