Thursday, June 22, 2017

U.S. Global Hawk Drone Shot Down By Russian S-300 Over Mediterranean Sea Near Syria



U.S. EQ-4 GLOBAL HAWK DRONE SHOT DOWN BY RUSSIAN S-300 OVER MEDITERRANEAN SEA NEAR SYRIA



Reports are now coming in that a United States Air Force EQ-4 "Global Hawk" drone was shot down over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria, by a Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile fired from the Russian Base at Tartus, Syria.  
I contacted the Pentagon Press Office after-hours phone via Text message to seek their comment(s) for this story, but they did not reply.
The EQ-4 with a wingspan of more than 130 feet, (roughly the same as a 737 airliner) is the the Air Force's largest drone.

The Air Force has more than 30 RQ-4 surveillance drones, but only three EQ-4s fitted with Northrop Grumman's Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN).
BACN is a high-altitude, airborne communications and information gateway system that maintains operational communications support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The persistent connectivity that BACN provides improves situational awareness and enables better coordination between forward-edge warfighters and commanders. BACN bridges and extends voice communications and battlespace awareness information from numerous sources using a suite of computers and radio systems.
After the BACN payloads have been integrated on Block 20 Global Hawks, the aircraft are designated as USAF EQ-4B unmanned systems, providing long endurance and high persistence gateway capabilities.
All of the EQ-4 aircraft are assigned to the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing based at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
If this information that the Russians shot down an EQ-4 Global Hawk is accurate, then US Troops operating on the ground with Syrian "Rebels" will no longer be able to INSTANTLY talk to nearby air support as was done a few days ago, when a US F/A-18 was called-in to attack and destroy a Syrian Arab Army Air Force fighter jet.
This type of shoot down would severely hamper US future operational ability in Syria because there are only a total of three EQ-4's in existence.
To outfit one RQ-4 with the BACN (thereby turning it into an EQ-4) costs about twenty-two million dollars.
Such a shoot down by Russia would be pricey retaliation over the US Shoot-down of a Syrian Jet, without causing the US to feel a need to avenge anything; like a pilot.  
As shown below, the cost of a Global Hawk Drone is a MINIMUM of $131 Million, but with R&D, the Unit Cost can be as high as $222 Million -- plus the BACN for another $22 Million.

It would send a Russian message to the US not to shoot down anymore Syrian government aircraft.
If the Pentagon Press office responds to my inquiry, this story will be further updated.







The horrific death of Otto Warmbier looks like it forced the hand of President Trump. 
A day after the 22-year-old student passed away, the American leader, in what may end up as the world’s most consequential tweet, signaled that the United States will soon act on its own to disarm North Korea.
“While I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi & China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out,” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “At least I know China tried!”
The announcement, considered in the context of Trump’s other comments on the subject, appears ominous. Trump on April 11 said America would defang North Korea by itself if China did not do so. “North Korea is looking for trouble,” he tweeted then. “If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.”
On Tuesday, Trump in effect declared it was time for the U.S. to act on its own.
Many had assumed that Trump would wait until at least the middle of July before going after the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Japanese newspapers reported that the American leader at the early April Mar-a-Lago summit gave his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, 100 days—until July 16—to deal with Pyongyang. That timeframe, by the way, matched up with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s “100-day action plan” on trade, announced at the end of the Trump-Xi meeting.
Yet the outrage over the brutalization of Warmbier looks like it accelerated Trump’s timetable.
Now the administration will have to act. What will it do?
There are many “non-kinetic” options. The most effective of them restrict the flow of funds to the Pyongyang regime. The U.S. can, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested Tuesday, prevent Americans from traveling to North Korea. The administration can also tighten sanctions on the North. Moreover, it can do a far better job of enforcing existing measures designed to stanch the flow of funds into Kim regime coffers.
All of these measures would help, of course, but the big flows of cash to North Korea originate from China or pass through Chinese financial institutions. Bank of China, one of China’s “Big Four” banks, was named in a recent U.N. panel report for its active participation in a conspiracy to hide illicit money transfers for North Korea.
Chinese banks in the border city of Dandong have regularly handled funds for suspicious transactions involving the North.
And Chinese banks were almost certainly involved in the February 2016 cybertheft of $81 million from the account of the central bank of Bangladesh at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. U.S. officials think North Korea was the mastermind but that Chinese middlemen helped “orchestrate the theft.” If Chinese middlemen orchestrated, Chinese banks were almost certainly participants in the crime.

So to starve Pyongyang into disarming, Trump will have to go after China.
He already has the tools to do so. By doing nothing more than enforcing U.S. law, Trump could put Chinese banks out of business by denying them access to their dollar accounts in New York.

Trump administration officials, to their credit, have talked about unplugging Chinese banks, but there is no indication they have now summoned the considerable political will necessary to act.
The failure to summon political will to impose costs on China means Trump, if he honors his promise to disarm North Korea, will eventually have to resort to “kinetic” options, perhaps soon.
Eric Bolling will not be surprised if Trump uses force. “It may be time for a preemptive strike,” the Fox News anchor, obviously angered by the North’s treatment of Warmbier, said Monday on air.
Is war really the next step? Perhaps so, if for no other reason than the Kim regime has looked unstable for some time. If it is in fact unstable, it will not be able to deal with the international community in good faith. If it cannot deal with the international community in good faith, the chances for any negotiated settlement with the Trump administration appear slim.

Warmbier is the first detained American civilian known to have been killed by the North Koreans. His killing suggests, among other things, that something is wrong in Pyongyang. Kim Jong Un, at the very least, now looks reckless and dangerous.
So any decision by Trump to use force could trigger history’s next great conflict. Decisions on North Korea are about to become extraordinarily consequential.





Russia Announces No-Fly Zone In Syria, Activity At N Korean Nuclear Site Has U.S. Worried, Another Step Toward Devastating War




Russia Announces No-Fly Zone in Syria — War Against U.S. There



Late on Monday the 19th, was reported by Russia’s Sputnik: “In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying ojects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River, will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets” — meaning ordered out, or else immediately shot down.
In international law, and as recognized by the U.N., Syria has been invaded by the United States, was never invited into the country but is instead there as an invader. Russia was invited in; Iran was invited in; but the U.S. are only invaders. And, now, Russia and Syria will start treating the U.S. as such.
When U.S. Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton repeatedly called for the U.S. government to establish a no-fly zone in Syria, she was proposing that the U.S. invasion of Syria become recognized officially by the U.S. government, and this would have meant immediate war by the U.S. against Syria, Russia, and Iran, in the battlefields of Syria. President Barack Obama had decided not to go that far — to war against Russia — but Hillary Clinton insisted on it. And now, Russia has actually done it — but (unlike if the U.S. had done it) legally, in defense of the sovereign government of Syria, not as an invader. (Furthermore, most Syrians support that government, and 82% of Syrians blame the U.S. for the invasion of Al Qaeda and other jihadist forces to overthrow it — most of which are foreigners — into Syrian territory.)


If the U.S. fails to apologize and to find some way to save face, but instead persists in its invasion, even after this warning, then either the U.S. or Russia will win that traditional war in Syria. At that point, the losing side will have only one way to win the war in Syria, and that way would be to go to nuclear war against the other side, bombing the other side’s homeland — Russia, or else the United States — by means of a blitz all-out nuclear atack, in order to obliterate as much of the other side’s nuclear weapons before they’re fired, as possible, and thus minimize the retaliation, and so ‘win’. Doing that — being the first to unleash armageddon — would ‘win’ the war, but destroy the entire planet.









An unusual uptick in activity at North Korea’s underground nuclear testing facilities picked up by US foreign signals intelligence may mean another nuclear test is imminent.

According to Jerusalem Online, Washington is growing concerned that the Strategic Rocket Forces of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) will launch yet another test of its nuclear weapons when senior Chinese leaders arrive in Washington for meetings with US leadership on Wednesday.
Just yesterday, US President Donald Trump thanked Beijing for its efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula but noted "it has not worked out." The statement was widely seen as an attempt by Trump to embarrass Chinese President Xi Jinping, Axios reported, for "failing to change Kim Jong-un’s deranged behavior and give him one last chance to fix it… and signaling to the Chinese that they’ve run out of time." 

US Forces Korea, a branch of US Pacific Command, has adjusted military options accordingly, JOL added, to provide Trump with a menu of choices should he live by the word of top officials in his administration that the era of “strategic patience” toward Pyongyang has come to an end.









An American pilot shot down a Syrian fighter that was attacking ISIS, thus confirming that Washington is not fighting ISIS, as Washington claims, but is protecting ISIS, its agent sent to Syria by Obama and Hillary to overthrow the Syrian government. General Michael Flynn revealed on a TV interview that Obama and Hillary had, over his objection as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, made the “willful decision” to send ISIS to Syria.

Washington’s pretense that Washington is fighting ISIS, rather than supporting it, is the excuse for Washington’s illegal presence in the Syrian conflict. Russia and Iran are in Syria legally, invited there by an elected government. The Americans are there uninvited as war criminals. Under international law established by the Americans themselves, it is a war crime to initiate aggression against a country that has not raised a fist against you.


So, to be in Syria, Washington has to pretend to be “fighting terrorism” rather than supporting it. The lie has been given to this claim many times, but now that an American pilot has proven that the US is in Syria to support its agent, ISIS, not even a Megyn Kelly presstitute can honestly claim to believe that Washington is fighting ISIS.

The Russians, Syrians, and Iranians have known this from the beginning. However, these official sources are all suspect in the presstitute Western media. So with the presstitutes’ complicity, Washington’s lie has stood until the idiot American pilot blew the lie out of the sky along with the Syrian fighter and its pilot.


Washington, of course, will lie through its teeth. It is the only thing Washington knows how to do. Washington will claim that it was a “coalition fighter,” that is, some one else was flying the US F-18. It wasn’t us. Or they will claim that the Syrian fighter was attacking women and children, or a transgendered compound or a maternity ward for women raped by Assad’s “brutal troops.” Washington will spin it in some way to make an aggressive war crime into an heroic defense of a victim group.


One question is: Did the US pilot do this on his own, a hot shot playing Top Gun, or was this a planned provocation of the military/security complex outside of channels to begin a conflict between the US and Russia that would prevent any possibility of President Trump reviving his goal of defusing the high level of tensions with Russia? A $1 trillion, 100 billion annual military/secuity budget paid by American taxpayers is at stake.
We don’t know if the pilot acted on his own or on orders.
What we do know is that it did not go down well with the Russians. The Russian Defense Ministry said today that it regards the decision by “the US command as an intentional violation of US obligations in the framework of the memo on avoiding incidents and the safety of aviation flights during operations in Syria signed on October 20, 2015.”
How many agreements with Russia does Washington have to break before the Russians finally understand that a signed agreement with Washington is meaningless? Will the Russians ever learn? The American Indians never did. There is a famous American T-shirt: “Sure you can trust the government: Just ask an Indian.”
Perhaps the Russians finally have learned that any agreement with Washington is worthless at best and a death warrant at worst. The Russian Defense Ministry announced today that Russia is halting all interactions with the US within the framework on the memorandum of incident prevention in Syrian skies.
Additionally, the Russian Defense Ministry stated that Russian missile defense will intercept any aircraft in the area of operations of the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria and: “In areas where Russian aviation is conducting combat missions in the Syrian skies, any flying ojects, including jets and unmanned aerial vehicles of the international coalition discovered west of the Euphrates River will be followed by Russian air and ground defenses as air targets.”

In other words, in Russia’s understated way, Russia has declared a no-fly zone over all areas of Syria in which Syrian and Russian forces are operating. Any intruder into that area will be blown out of the sky. American, Israeli, whoever, they are dead meat.








Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Russia - U.S. Relations Continue To Decline: Russia Cancels Talks After U.S. Imposes New Sanctions




Russia cancels talks after US imposes new sanctions over Ukraine conflict



Russia has canceled a planned round of talks with the US in protest at new sanctions imposed this week over Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

The deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, denounced the new sanctions, which expanded the list of individuals and organisations targeted by the US treasury, as the responsibility of “avid Russophobes” in Congress who were determined to derail US-Russian relations. 
As a result, Ryabkov said he was cancelling a meeting with his US counterpart, Tom Shannon, in St Petersburg later this week – which was supposed to have been part of a continuing dialogue between Washington and Moscow aimed at reducing “irritants” in bilateral relations.
The deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, denounced the new sanctions, which expanded the list of individuals and organisations targeted by the US treasury, as the responsibility of “avid Russophobes” in Congress who were determined to derail US-Russian relations.

As a result, Ryabkov said he was cancelling a meeting with his US counterpart, Tom Shannon, in St Petersburg later this week – which was supposed to have been part of a continuing dialogue between Washington and Moscow aimed at reducing “irritants” in bilateral relations.


The cancellation of the St Petersburg meeting and the stern exchange of statements are part of a marked dip in US-Russian relations despite Donald Trump’s efforts to improve them. In Congress, House allies of Trump have stalled a Senate bill that would intensify sanctions further and take the power to lift them out of his hands.

On Wednesday, a plane carrying the Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, was approached by a Nato F-16 fighter over the Baltic Sea, prompting a Russian fighter jet to insert itself between the two planes and tilting its wings to show it was armed.

The mid-air incident came a day after another close encounter above the Baltic between US and Russian warplanes.

In Syria, meanwhile, Moscow has announced it had suspended a hotline between the US and Russian militaries in Syria and that it would view as targets any coalition planes flying west of the Euphrates river. The Pentagon has played down the threat, saying it continued to operate west of the Euphrates










A NATO F-16 fighter jet has tried to approach the Russian defense minister’s plane above the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea. The plane was warded off by a Russian Su-27 escorting the minister’s aircraft.
Russian plane was en route to the city of Kaliningrad, a western Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu is scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday.
The incident was first reported by journalists of Russian state news agencies on board Shoigu’s plane.
While one NATO aircraft tried to approach the Russian airplane, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet got in its way and tilted its wings, apparently showing its arms. The F-16 then flew away.


NATO confirmed that three Russian aircraft were tracked over the Baltic Sea, claiming they were unaware that the Russian Defense Minister was onboard one of the planes.


On Shoigu’s way back from Kaliningrad, his escort was bolstered by several Su-34 jets, according to reporters. A number of NATO planes followed the Russian Defense Minister’s plane at a distance without making attempts to get any closer.
On Monday a US RC-135 spy plane flying toward the Russian border made a “provocative turn” toward a Baltic Fleet Su-27, which had been scrambled for an interception mission.




'Conditional Security' And The Gathering Up


Today we have two excellent commentaries from Terry James:



Conditional Security and Rapture



Truth about what God promises those who are “saved” continues to be mistaught and misunderstood. Nothing is more important to lost humanity than truth regarding the disposition of the soul in relationship to Jesus Christ and to God the Father.
Religionists of the world teach a variety of pathways through life. These propagate many false teachings about how to attain their various ideas of life after death.
Most such ministers advocate conducting one’s life in a way that displays good works. A social gospel of works is perhaps the most common thread found throughout this sort of religiosity.
Good works, however, like is said of beautyare in the eye of the beholder. Good works are one thing to someone who is a Hari Krishna devotee. Good works mean something quite different to a follower of Allah who holds strictly to Sharia Law. One might hold out flowers to another person in his or her version of peace and love in an attempt to evangelize. The other too often whips out a scimitar and threatens decapitation if the one being witnessed to doesn’t bow the knee to Allah. Point is, each effort to make new converts is, in that religion’s view, considered “good works.
But it is the erroneous teaching on the topic of salvation within Christianity that is the most problematic to the true believer in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, as I see it.
Most of God’s children–those who are truly saved–can recognize the cults and isms of the world’s religions as false. Christians who fail to study and pray over the Holy Scripture, however, are, sadly, all too often easily misled about doctrinal truth found in the Bible. Even otherwise solid teachers of biblical truth are sometimes egregiously wrong when teaching on salvation and the security of the believer.
Again: Nothing is more important than our soul’s relationship to Jesus Christ and to God the Father. While one who teaches conditional security of the believer isn’t necessarily in the same classification as the false religionists of the world who preach and teach “another gospel” than Jesus Christ and Him crucified, their error is very serious.
Theirs is serious error because it, like the false religions of the world, holds up works as necessary for salvation.
They teach that believers, after accepting Christ, as given in Romans 10: 9-10, must then work to maintain their salvation. They must live holy lives throughout their remaining time in this flesh. They must, through their own devices–assisted by constantly being filled with the Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost–hold on to the salvation or else risk losing it. Thus their salvation–in this system of teaching–is conditional upon the work of the believer.
Living a life of being holy and of being filled with the Holy Spirit is, of course, ideal. We must all aspire to live such a life as Christians. But, we all sin, and we are told in 1 John 1:6-8 that if we say we don’t sin we are liars. The truth is not in us.
We certainly should constantly repent of wrong in order to be cleansed of all unrighteousness, we are told in 1 John 1:9. But nowhere in Scripture are we told that, once saved, we can lose our salvation through sin and then be reborn again.
Rapture Not Conditional
Like in the matter of salvation, the believer is unconditionally secure, in that he or she will go to be with Christ in the Rapture. This is true no matter the Christian’s walk with the Lord at the time of that great event.
Some years ago, I wrote the following in this regard.
Going to Christ when He calls as Paul outlines in 1 Corinthians 15:51-55 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and given by John in Revelation 4:1-2, is a salvation matter. We know that from the overall gospel message and from the total context of God’s dealing with His family. Remember when Jesus prayed that beautiful prayer to His Father, as the Lord faced the cross (John 17)? Read it again, and you will see that it is absolutely clear that born-again believers are forever secure in the Father’s hand, based upon what Jesus did on the cross.
We know with absolute certainty that we are once and forever in God’s family because of the words of the One who created all that exists: “My Father, which gave [them] me, is greater than all; and no [man] is able to pluck [them] out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:29).
Paul confirms that the Rapture is a salvation matter as follows: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11).
The Rapture will be Christ keeping us from the hour of temptation or Tribulation (read Revelation 3:10). The Tribulation is the time of God’s wrath–to which Paul tells us we are “not appointed.” However, there are many who insist that Christians who haven’t properly confessed their sins will go through that time of God’s wrath (and the entire seven years of the Tribulation will be God’s judgment and wrath). These use the following verse to make their case: “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).
The key word they hold forth as relevant here is the word “worthy.” Does this word not mean that we as born-again believers must be good enough to stand before Jesus in that raptured throng? Does this word not mean, therefore, that if we fail to live up to God’s standards while on this Earth, we will (at some point in God’s holy view of what it takes to fall from being Rapture ready) lose our ticket in that translation moment, thus not be taken when the shout is heard, “Come up hither!”?
Like in examining the issue of salvation itself, we now look at the word “worthy.” What does it mean to be “worthy,” as given in this Rapture example? Again, the answer is wrapped up in the same name as before: “Jesus.” Jesus is the only person “worthy,” in God’s holy eyes, to be in the heavenly realm.
Remember what Jesus said to a man who addressed Him as “Good Master”? “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God” (Luke 18:18).
Jesus, the second Person of the Godhead, was not seeking to chastise the man for addressing Him in this way. The Lord was confirming through this question that He is indeed God, the only good, the only righteousness. Righteousness is the only ticket to Heaven–either through the portal of death, or through the Rapture. Only through Jesus–being born again into God’s family through belief in Him–can a person enter the heavenly realm.
Jesus spoke to this all-important matter by addressing Nicodemus: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
God’s Word says about fallen mankind: “As it is written, There is none righteous no not one” (Romans 8:10) and, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
So, Jesus is the only person “worthy” to enter Heaven. It is through Him that any of us are worthy to stand before Him in that heavenly realm. That is the truth found in the Scripture in question.
On a less magnificent scale, the word “worthy” in this passage means that we should be in a constant mindset of prayerful repentance. We should always want to be found “worthy”—
cleansed of all unrighteousness, as stated in 1 John 1: 9, so that we will hear our Lord say to us on that day, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
That said, if you have in your heart (deepest reaches of your spirit/soul) believed in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and have confessed with your mouth that He is your Savior, your salvation is sure. You’re going to be with Him when He calls–either through death or in the Rapture. That is certain.





[Below we go straight to the conclusion:]



So, how should the Christian be prepping for the bleak future that is immediately set before us? I think the following scriptural admonitions are the best preparation to be found: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19—20).
The most solid advice of all is given to us by the Word of God as follows: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Then we are to do the following: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).






Crisis On The Horizon, Rumors Of War - In Abundance, As Predicted






Crisis On The Horizon: Will It Be Economic Collapse? Global Civil Unrest? War? We Won’t Have To Guess Much Longer




The shooting of House Representative Steve Scalise, the multiple shootings occurring nationwide, and the growing calls for the government to take action…all of these are examples of crises that will not be allowed to go to waste.  The governments are allowing the actions to occur in order to justify Draconian measures that will be implemented for the greatest reason of all: to protect the citizen…from himself.
The endless and ever-increasing surveillance in the form of CCTV cameras, all of the cameras tied in to the tracking devices (deliberately labeled as “cellular telephones”), the monitoring, tracking, and recording of every purchase, deposit, withdraw, and shift with funds: The Big Brother state isn’t around the corner.  The Big Brother state is here.
What will it be?  Global economic collapses that occur as a result of the credit deferred swaps and credit bubble suddenly bursting and the bottoms falling out?  Will it be civil unrest globally?  Or will it be the most likely event, a war that escalates and brings about the previous two actions.  We won’t have to guess much longer, as the events are unfolding before us by the day and narrowing down the possibilities…making them probable, as well.


 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24)






Open conflict between Russia and the United States is heating up in Syria. After American forces shot down a Syrian fighter jet, Russia suspended use of an Obama-era communications line used to prevent collisions and conflict, and threatened to shoot down American planes.

America's Syria policy was and continues to be absolutely moronic. But this alarming development is also a reminder that there is simply no alternative to diplomatic engagement with Russia, the world's only other nuclear superpower. That's something both the American military, and liberals fired up over Trump's Russia scandal, would do well to remember.


But, as we saw during the Cuban Missile Crisis, sometimes an escalating, high-stakes conflict can bring the worst-case scenario closer and closer. 

So what are we doing in Syria to justify ratcheting up tensions with Russia? The prospect of nuclear warheads a mere few dozen miles off the American coast was at least a comprehensible strategic threat. In Syria there is not only no strategic threat, there is not even a realistic American objective of any kind.









Moscow is still waiting for an explanation from Washington about the downing of a Syrian warplane, the Russian Foreign minister has said after talks with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian. Sergey Lavrov also expressed hope that US actions won’t undermine anti-terrorist efforts in Syria.

“There is a mechanism [to avoid Syria airspace incidents between Russia and US] that is now suspended after the US shot down that plane,” Lavrov told reporters. “We have requested a detailed explanation through the Ministry of Defense. We expect that it will be provided.”

The US-led coalition shot down a Syrian Su-22 fighter jet over the province of Raqqa on Sunday saying it allegedly dropped bombs on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia. The Syrian government countered that it was carrying out operations against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).









And now, on Sunday evening, a Syrian Su-22 that was carrying out a mission against ISIS militants in the vicinity of al-Raqqa was shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter. This barbarous step unseen since  the days of the Bosnian war has marked new heights in the Pentagon’s military aggression against sovereign states. 

The destruction of an aircraft that was carrying out an anti-terrorist mission over its own territory, in the best interests of its citizens and its country is, without a glimpse of a doubt, a war crime. As the Military Times emphasizes, this is a vivid example of the critical level of tension that exists between the Syrian government, supported by Russia, and US coalition forces.

Therefore, the immediate response of the Russian Defense Ministry, which called the destruction of the Syrian warplane by uninvited US forces in Syrian airspace a cynical violation of the country’s sovereignty, committed in disregard of Moscow’s repeated warnings about the possible consequences of the repeated destruction of Syrian military assets and personnel which pose no threat to the US. 

Washington’s actions in Syria clearly show that its stated goals have nothing in common with the real goals the US has been pursuing in Syria, repeatedly committing acts of armed aggression against the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Syrian military. 

Today, everyone understands that by their actions, the Pentagon seeks to stop the the movement of Syrian forces eastward, and also to undermine the joint Syrian-Iraqi strategic defense project against ISIS before it takes off. After all, no opposition group, regardless of its affiliation (Kurds, local tribes, the so-called Free Syrian Army etc.) has the capacity to replace ISIS and its ability to fight Syrian forces, since none of these other proxies can resist the Syrian Arab Army.

However, Washington’s recent actions must be regarded more broadly: will it continue supporting terrorists across the globe, trying to put groups like ISIS in power in a bid toward achieving global domination through the use of proxy forces? Will Europe continue suffering from terrorist attacks that are undermining the existing security paradigm, while the US demands its “European allies” to increase their expenditures on arms purchases that are allegedly needed for combating terrorism?









Iran's recent missile attack on ISIS targets in eastern Syria represents another escalation in the ongoing war between radical Shi'ites and jihadist Sunnis across the Middle East.

Iran, which is leading an array of heavily armed Shi'ite proxies and militias deployed in the region, fired a volley of six to seven missiles at targets located 700 kilometers away. It was in retaliation for deadly ISIS terror attacks earlier this month on Tehran's parliament and a shrine of Ayatollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic.

The Syrian strikes mark the first time Iran fired surface-to-surface missiles outside of testing programs since the Iran-Iraq war, nearly 30 years ago, said Tal Inbar, head of the Space and UAV Research Center at the Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, Israel.
"In this respect, there is perhaps a certain crossing of a psychological line. Ballistic missiles are seen as strategic weapons that are rarely used," he said.
"The question is, will this be a one-off incident, or has a strategic and psychological dam been burst, and this will become routine?" Inbar asked. "We don't yet know if this will become a trend."









Sunday, a Navy F-18 Hornet shot down a Syrian air force jet, an act of war against a nation with which Congress has never declared or authorized a war.
Washington says the Syrian plane was bombing U.S.-backed rebels. Damascus says its plane was attacking ISIS.
Vladimir Putin’s defense ministry was direct and blunt:


“Repeated combat actions by U.S. aviation under the cover of counterterrorism against lawful armed forces of a country that is a member of the U.N. are a massive violation of international law and de facto a military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”


If Moscow is not bluffing, we could be headed for U.S.-Russian collision in Syria.

We are getting ever deeper into this six-year sectarian and civil war. And what we may be witnessing now are the opening shots of its next phase — the battle for control of the territory and population liberated by the fall of Raqqa and the death of the ISIS “caliphate.”

But if America has decided to use its air power to shoot down Syrian planes attacking rebels we support, this could lead to a confrontation with Russia and a broader, more dangerous, and deadly war for the United States.

How would we win such a war, without massive intervention?
Is this where we are headed? Is this where we want to go?






















EU: Another Step Down The Slippery Slope




EU: Another Step Down the Slippery Slope




The EU Commission has launched legal action against Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland which refused to take in refugees from Italy and Greece. 

The three EU states have acted «in breach of their legal obligations», the Commission said in a statement, adding that it had previously warned the countries to observe «their commitments to Greece, Italy and other member states». The three member states «have not yet relocated a single person», the statement says. The EU members under fire remain defiant.

In September 2015, the EU committed to relocating up to 160,000 refugees from the two countries within two years. However, not all EU states have found the measures acceptable, saying that the migrant crisis cannot be solved through obligatory quotas. Hungary and Slovakia are currently challenging the decision in the EU Court of Justice, and an advocate-general of the court will issue an opinion on July 26. Slovakia was able to avoid legal action against it by responding to EU warnings and opening its doors to a small group of migrants.

Only 20,869 of the 160,000 refugees have so far been relocated in the EU. More than 1.6 million asylum seekers have arrived in Europe since the start of the refugee crisis in 2014.
Now the Commission has launched infringement procedures against the three nations refusing to comply, before possibly referring them to the top European court. The legal battle could last many months or, even, years. As a result, the three states could be imposed financial penalties.


The very fact of launching legal procedures heats up tensions inside the EU at the time the bloc is going through a period of instability and uncertainty, with its unity tested by Brexit, weak economies and growing support for Eurosceptic and nationalist-minded parties.

Perhaps, it’s easier to pay fines than take in refugees and face grave security problems as a result. Going to the bottom of it – it’s not fines that really matter. All the countries opposing the EU migration policy are net beneficiaries of EU funding. A mood is developing among the older EU members to withhold cohesion funds from countries that oppose the relocation of refugees, although no legal basis for this actually exists. But if it starts, the EU will become a battlefield to make the vaunted unity a pipedream. If the events turn this way, the EU will become very much different from what it is today.


Poland and Hungary have joined together recently to oppose Brussels stance on human rights.

The «East European revolt» is just part of a bigger process with deepening EU divisions and alliances being formed inside the alliance.


Prospect for the future? The situation inside the EU has bleak prospects for improvement. It calls for a closer look at the recent developments inside the EU. In February, the European Parliament backed three resolutions on strengthening centralization of the bloc. One of the resolutions proposes limiting or even totally abolishing the right of individual member states not to comply with collective decisions – just exactly what the East European members oppose so vehemently. The adoption of the resolutions may be the first step towards a fundamental change in the EU Treaty.

In February, leaders of the lower chambers of parliaments of Germany, Italy, France, and Luxembourg published a letter demanding a «Federal Union» be implemented without delay. It was published by Italian La Stampa on February 27. They call for «closer political integration — the Federal Union of States with broad powers. «Those who believe in European ideals, should be able to give them a new life instead of helplessly observing its slow sunset», the paper reads.

The idea to create a «common European defense» is a dubious endeavor; it presupposes additional financial burden at the time the US increases pressure to make Europeans raise NATO expenditure. Add to this the need to pay more for the migrants against the background of stagnating economy to see how unrealistic all these plans are. Europeans have already been made pay more for US liquefied gas for political reasons, while Russia can offer supplies at much lower prices.


The event marks a turning point in EU history. This is the first time EU members will face legal procedures for non-compliance with the rules established by Brussels. It shows how the migration crisis has divided the bloc. 







Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Middle East Is 'Blowing Up', U.S. Downs Syrian Drone In 'Dangerous Escalation'



The Middle East Is Blowing Up



Every day brings another scary headline from the Middle East — which makes it easy to treat them as background noise rather than a clear and present danger. But the latest batch is reminiscent of the Balkans circa 1914, which means it may be time to tune back in. Some examples:


A US Navy jet shot down a Syrian warplane. Syria is a Russian client state, so this puts the US and Russia on opposite sides in a shooting war.

Russia warned the US that it takes the destruction of its client’s military assets seriously. It suspended the hot line Washington and Moscow have used to avoid collisions in Syrian airspace and threatened to target US aircraft.

US Jet Shoots Down Syrian Army Drone In "Dangerous Escalation".  A US F-15E fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime drone on Monday near At Tanf, Syria, the third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month...

"Provocative" Russian Jet Comes Within 5 Feet Of US Recon Aircraft. An armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea on Monday

Iran has begun launching missiles into Syria targeting ISIS. This is new in at least two ways: 1) Iran hasn’t used those particular missiles in decades, and 2) it was not previously active in Syria. This escalation from advising the Assad regime to actually killing people and blowing things up adds another player on Russia’s side against the US.

Iran and the US trade threats. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson accused Iran of destabilizing the region and promised that the United States would support “those elements inside the Islamic Republic which would bring about peaceful government transition.” Iran called those remarks “unwise and clear meddling in Iran’s internal affairs.”

Saudi Arabia claimed to arrest members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who were attacking a Saudi offshore oil facility, and said that three of the attackers were being interrogated. One day later Iran accused Saudi Arabian border guards of opening fire on Iranian fishermen in the area, killing one of them.

The Saudis and Iranians are leaders of Islam’s two main factions, the Shiites and Sunnis. This makes them natural rivals, but until now they’ve mostly sparred through proxies rather than directly. Here again, the conflict is going from cold to hot. 
And that’s in just the past few days.
The old stuff that caused most Americans to tune out hasn’t gone away:


The Syrian war continues to rage,
the Saudis and their allies continue to bomb Yemen even further back into the Middle Ages,
Israel continues to build new settlements in Palestine and threaten to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities,
ISIS is still burning and beheading its victims on YouTube,
and Turkey keeps slipping further into dictatorship.


The difference is that the major players are now bumping up against one another. All it will take is for one fighter pilot or destroyer captain to miscalculate and kill another major powers’ soldiers, and – as in World War I – these interlocking alliances might pull in everyone else. And there’s not a thing the average person can do about it.
The resulting chaos will have at least one predictable result: All pretense of fiscal and monetary discipline will go out the window in the rush to move people and machines into the theater. If you think we’re over-indebted and due for a currency crisis now, just wait.







A US F-15E fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime drone on Monday near At Tanf, Syria, the third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month, CNN reported. The downing of the drone comes a day after a US jet shot down a regime aircraft that was engaging a fleeing ISIS convoy, according to the Syrian government.
An armed Shaheed-129 UAV “displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces” at 12:30 am local time on Tuesday, the coalition said in a statement. The drone was observed in the same area where another UAV was shot down on June 8.

"The drone was downed just outside the 55 kilometer de-confliction zone, according to the officials.

It was an Iranian-made Shahed 129 and was thought to be armed and in firing range of US troops.

One official said that the drone was shot down because it was 'assessed to be a threat.'

That drone was shot down after it dropped one of several weapons it was carrying near a position where coalition personnel are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS."

According to Fox News, this is the second time the US has shot down an Iranian drone in less than a month. It also marks the fifth time since late May the U.S. military has bombed pro-Syrian forces in southern Syria.
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy described the attack as “a dangerous escalation" of tensions between the US and the main backers of the Syrian regime, Russia and Iran.
Murphy told CNN that if the US doesn't stop the attacks, the situation could escalate into an armed conflict between the two sides, who both claim to be fighting ISIS.


“I think we’re getting closer and closer to open conflict between Iran and Russia and the American public need to know that we are moving very fast towards what could be another war in the Middle East – something Donald Trump promised he wouldn’t do when he ran for office.”

On the same day that the drone was shot down by US forces, an armed Russian fighter jet buzzed a U.S. Air Force reconnaissance aircraft in the Baltic Sea, two U.S. officials told Fox News.
In the latest in a long series of close encounters, Fox News reports the Russian Su-27 jet had missiles under its wings and approached the U.S. Air Force RC-135 recon jet "rapidly," coming within five feet of the American aircraft, the officials said.