Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Russia Threatens To Retaliate Against U.S., Ships Anti-Aircraft Missiles To Syria, 'Is The World At The Cusp Of A New Dark Age?'

Russia Threatens To Retaliate Against U.S. Military

Russia has delivered a behind-the-scenes threat to retaliate if airstrikes carried out by the U.S. or its allies target the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Middle Eastern security officials told WND.

The security officials said Russia complained Sunday in quiet talks with United Nations representatives that the Obama administration’s current aerial campaign against Islamic State fighters in Syria is a violation of international agreements regarding control of Syrian airspace.
The officials said Russia warned it could potentially retaliate if U.S. or Arab airstrikes go beyond targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and instead bomb any Syrian regime targets.
The officials said Russian diplomats asserted terms regarding Syrian airspace were agreed upon last September as part of a sweeping deal to disarm Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons by the middle of 2014.
At the time, the international community feared Assad could target chemical weapons inspectors acting in Syria. That fear in part lead to a deal in which Moscow says it was provided with significant responsibility over the skies of Syria, purportedly to insure against Assad’s air force acting against the international disarmament effort.
The officials further said that both the Russia and Iranian militaries are on heightened alert amid the ongoing situation in Syria.

 Russia last week sent a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND.

Another shipment of Russian weaponry is currently on the way to Syria, the officials said.

The officials said last week’s shipment arrived at the port city of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast of Syria, where Russia maintains a naval base.
The Russian shipments come as the Obama administration steps up support for the rebels battling the Assad regime. The U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels is purportedly aimed at fighting ISIS terrorists.
Two weeks ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters his government would provide military support to Syria, claiming the anti-aircraft munitions were meant to aid the Assad regime in the fight against terrorism.
However, neither ISIS nor any other jihadist group operating in the area possess any aircraft.
The U.S. and allies have been carrying out airstrikes in Syria targeting ISIS.
The report of weapons shipments to Syria come as WND reported yesterday Russia has delivered a behind-the-scenes threat to retaliate if airstrikes carried out by the U.S. or its allies target the Assad regime, according to Middle Eastern security officials.

We appear to have reached one of those extraordinary moments in history when people everywhere, communities and even entire nations, feel increasingly stressed and vulnerable. The same may be said of the planet as a whole.

Whether intellectually or intuitively, many are asking the same question: Where are we heading? How do we explain the long list of financial, environmental and humanitarian emergencies, epidemics, small and larger conflicts, genocides, war crimes, terrorist attacks and military interventions? Why does the international community seem powerless to prevent any of this?
There is no simple or single answer to this conundrum, but two factors can shed much light.

The first involves a global power shift and the prospect of a new Cold War. The second relates to globalisation and the crises generated by the sheer scale of cross-border flows.

The geopolitical shift has resulted in a dangerous souring of America’s relations with Russia and China.
The dispute over Ukraine is the latest chapter in the rapidly deteriorating relationship between Washington and Moscow. In what is essentially a civil war in which over 3,000 people have been killed, the two great powers have chosen to support opposing sides in the conflict by all means short of outright intervention.

Put simply, a new Cold War is in the making; perhaps the Cold War never ended.
Both the United States and Russia are modernising their nuclear forces, making them more lethal than ever. Of their combined arsenal of over 15,000 nuclear weapons, about 1,800 warheads are on high alert, ready for use at short notice. Should even a tiny fraction of these weapons be used, the humanitarian impact would be catastrophic.
The nuclear risk is compounded by US efforts to retain global supremacy just as Russia is reasserting itself after two decades of humiliating decline. China’s virtually irreversible rise, the Sino-Russian marriage of convenience and the emergence of new centres of influence, notably Brazil, India and Iran, add to the high levels of risk and uncertainty.
All of this is happening against a backdrop of failed and costly Western military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Africa and proxy wars, notably in Syria. These have unleashed demons that may take decades to tame.
Given these fault-lines and their religious and cultural overlays, it is no surprise that the UN Security Council has been unable to function effectively in discharging its security mandate.

As if the fast degenerating geo-political situation isn’t bad enough, here’s another lorry load of concerns to add to the pile.
The UK and US economies may be on the mend at last, but that’s not the pattern elsewhere. On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards, and eventual mass default.
I exaggerate only a little in depicting this apocalyptic view of the future as the conclusion of the latest “Geneva Report”, an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers of the big challenges facing the global economy.
Aptly titled “Deleveraging? What Deleveraging?”, the report points out that, far from paying down debt since the financial crisis of 2008/9, the world economy as a whole has in fact geared up even further. The raw numbers make explosive reading.
Contrary to widely held assumptions, the world has not yet begun to de-lever. In fact global debt-to-GDP – public and private non financial debt - is still growing, breaking new highs by the month.

The only way the world can keep growing, it would appear, is by piling on debt. Not good, not good at all.

Crisis or no crisis, the Geneva Report’s authors – Luigi Buttiglione of Brevan Howard, Philip Lane of Trinity College Dublin, Lucrezia Reichlin of the London Business School and Vincent Reinhart of Morgan Stanley – argue that rising indebtedness in developed economies has been crimping potential output growth ever since the 1980s.

The crisis has made an already bad situation worse, caused a further, permanent decline in both the level and growth rate of output. This in turn makes it much harder to work off debt; when economies are not growing, debt to GDP tends to rise automatically.
We now see much the same thing happening in emerging markets with output growth slowing markedly since 2008, particularly in China. Buying growth with debt is reaching the limits of its viability.
And in conditions where excessive debt cannot be worked off through growth, restraint and inflation, adjustment will eventually be forced much more divisively through default. It’s a toss-up who is going to breach the dam first, but unless the European Central Bank rides to the rescue with debt monetisation soon, the betting has to be on Italy, where debt dynamics already seeem to have entered a death spiral. That this is not yet reflected in bond yields is down only to the assumption that the ECB will eventually oblige. Perhaps it will, but even if it does, it will only buy time.

Syria took the stand at the UN on Monday announcing its support for the global struggle against Islamic State (IS) militants and warning of the severe danger the jihadists pose. However Syria has warned that strikes could violate its sovereignty.
“ISIS and Nusra [front] and the rest of the Al-Qaeda affiliates will not be limited within the borders of Syria and Iraq but will spread to every spot that it can reach, starting with Europe and America,” Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.

While he steered clear of outright condemning the US airstrikes within Syria’s borders, he did offer a warning that any military action while support for militants continued could lead to the development of a situation in which “international community will not exit in decades”. 
The Syrian FM pointed out that Damascus has been warning of threats for three and a half years, adding that they have been warning, and reiterating the warning.

He said that a lesson needs to be learned from previous years and an international effort devised to stop terrorist groups “in the same way that those organizations have rallied themselves from all corners of the earth and brought them to one spot to train and arm and re-disseminate their ideology and terrorism through those extremists.”

On September 21, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, told his US counterpart John Kerry, that Washington must respect Syria’s sovereignty while dealing with the IS.

Lavrov stressed “the importance of coordinated action... by the international community aimed at countering the threat” coming from IS. 

Moualem on his behalf implied a degree of support for the international effort in suppressing ISIS militants, but with respect for “national sovereignty”.

“It is high time that we gather all our efforts,” he said. “ISIS …let us exert pressure on the countries that joined the coalition led by the US to stop their support of the armed terrorist groups.” 

Several rounds of sanctions have been imposed on Syria by the US and EU, with embargoes and travel bans being in place against certain officials.

The Syrian FM pointed that sanctions can be counterproductive.

“The inhuman sanctions imposed by the EU and US aggravated the living conditions of Syrian civilians. At the same time, in collaborating with the UN, my government…is willing to meet the basic needs…of the citizens, especially those forced by terrorist attacks to flee,” he said.

A call for worldwide jihad has gone out, asking for Muslims to attack, by any means, the communities where they live. No longer are the "faithful" required to go to the Islamic State to wage war on the infidel.

ISIS is calling for the slaughter of Americans, the British, French, Australians and Canadians in their/our own countries by "lone wolves." One jihadist tweeted, "You could literally search for soldiers, find their town, photos of them, look for addresses in Yellowbook or something. Then show up and slaughter them."

Abu Mohammad al Adnani, an ISIS "spokesman" announced to all "lone wolves": "Rig the roads with explosives for them. Attack their bases. Raid their homes. Cut off their heads. Do not let them feel secure. Hunt them wherever they may be. Turn their worldly life into fear and fire. Remove their families from their homes and thereafter low up their homes. Civilians should not be exempt from brutality. Do not ask for anyone's advice and do not seek anyone's verdict. Killed the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war. Hinder those who want to harm your brothers. The best thing you can do is to strive to do your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies."

Over swirls of teargas and blankets of pepper spray that covered Hong Kong, the humble umbrella has become a vital defense tool for Occupy Central protesters, rapidly growing into the rally’s new symbol and an inspiration for viral posts on the web.

Hong Kong’s weeklong student sit-in is turning into an “Umbrella Revolution” as Twitter has been deluged with a flood of protesters shielding themselves with umbrellas from clouds of teargas.

The umbrella trend caught on like wildfire, especially when it was learned that some 78 people were arrested, ranging from 16 to 58 years old.

But the violent confrontation did not deter the protesters, as tens of thousands again convened in central Hong Kong on Monday to rally for the right to elect their city’s executive by universal suffrage.

Sunday’s pictures have gone viral online as the protest enters its second week and the second day since clashes with police.

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Annie in Indianie said...

Dear Scott, Ebola is here in our country. CDC says it's all under control..as we know we can't trust them..being a dr. what do you think we should do? Any wisdom you could throw our way?? Thanks for all you do.

Scott said...

Hi Annie

I was literally just having this very conversation. There are several complicating factors - I'll try to quickly summarize my take:

The Bad:
- They are trying to say that it isn't contagious until the person is symptomatic. That is hard to swallow because that would be atypical for many virus. In fact typically you are more contagious very early in the disease process.

Additionally, I just heard tonight about a Dr, who had seen patients for other things (gyn doc) and several patients he had seen were asymptomatic from Ebola at the time he saw them, and he ended up getting the disease. I don't think they can possibly know these types of things, as apparently it has mutated several times already...

I would assume it should be treated like a cold or any other upper respiratory infection.

- If it starts to spread in the US, I suspect it would hit the inner cities worse than the areas more in the country. Thats for several reasons having to do with disease transmission in heavily populated areas and hubs of travel (near international airports, cities etc)...The more remote (and the less travel) the better off.

If it begins to take hold in the U.S., I would be very careful in terms of where I went (again depending on whether or not it was around my city)...I would change my plans according to its spread...For instance if it was in Chicago, NYC and LA, I wouldn't change a LOT of things as far as normal activities but I would start limiting my exposure by perhaps cutting out the bigger public venues (football games, big malls, airports, etc)....But otherwise normal..

If it was hitting in a nearby city, I would start really limiting my public interactions and when I had to go out I would obsessively wash my hands after any public exposure and keep sanitizer around etc.
I'd probably be a lot less inclined to go out to dinner, movies, etc...In fact, I'd probably limit exposure by avoiding anything "public" if at all possible.

The good:
- It should be easier to control in America than the areas in Africa that are being exposed - due to our health care and ability to handle isolation better etc...Also - we would offer much better symptomatic treatment which seems to make a difference (fluid replacement etc)...One patient may lead to another dozen or so, and it could end there. for now. The next 3-4 weeks will be critical as it will take that long to see if this patient has exposed others. The ominous part is, apparently he has been exposed to a lot of people here even after being symptomatic - they are attempting to contact all of those people now. He was also in a lot of airports changing flights etc...

So we'll have to see what this next month brings. Should be interesting.

Scott said...

Treating it like a cold (above) was in terms of how to handle hand washings etc... The disease is transmissible via various body fluids (diarrhea etc) - so in that regard it wouldn't be treated as a cold. I mean that in terms of how to handle yourself in public (hand washing, avoid puttng your hands around your face, especially mouth and nose)..."hand to mouth" transmission would be the most likely way to get it with public exposure.

Waterer said...

Just saw this tonight. Very serious.. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/health/North-Texas-Patient-Tested-for-Possible-Ebola-277529961.html The video is of The Dr who was first treated with the vaccine. Really more serious than what we hear on tv anywhere else.

Waterer said...

Scott already posted this but the video is the arresting part of it.

Caver said...

Scott, your description of how it can be spread is consistent with a number of other things I've gathered and comments I've heard from knowledgeable folks and commentary.....especially those on alternative media that have researched what's going on in Africa after talking with a number of folks in the health care field involved in the African effort.

It is, however, inconsistent with what we heard from the "official" sources last night....CDC and Admin mouthpieces. They are saying you can't spread it before you are exhibiting symptoms yourself. That's the rational for not trying to track down everyone that was on the flight with Patient Zero.


Now, given the change we've seen in governmental agencies... serving the interest of the Administration or serving the citizens, I know which direction the Caver household is going, and you nailed it. Common sense leaning heavily toward the overly cautious side.

Kem Blank said...

Scott, thank you so much for your comments on dealing with the possibilities of Ebola. I was going to ask you that very question. May I pass along your comments on FB and a forum or two. I will use your name or not as you would prefer.

Scott said...

Keep in mind, im not an infectious disease doc by any means and these are just my random thoughts on the topic so take with an appropriate grain of salt. As things evolve we can perhaps speculate less and less. One thing that perplexes me is how definitive some pundits om tv are, regarding its means of spread/transmission. There is no way to know this at this point. No way. They are speculating but sound as if they have tangiible evidence/data and they dont