On Saturday, police and other security personnel instituted what amounts to a military lockdown of Brussels amid a “serious and imminent” terror threat.
The government’s crisis center advised the public to “avoid places where a lot of people come together like shopping centers, concerts, events or public transport stations wherever possible.” The metro was closed, bus drivers refused to work, and local authorities were encouraged to cancel large events. Soldiers and police carrying assault rifles patrolled the streets where military vehicles were parked and for all intents and purposes, residents were told to simply stay inside.
Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon told reporters he wanted a register of everyone living in Molenbeek because it was not clear at present who was there, with authorities conducting door-to-door checks of every house. "The local administration should knock on every door and ask who really lives there," Jambon said. Here's what Jambon had to say on Sunday: "There are several suspects, that’s why we have put in place such a concentration of resources. We are following the situation minute by minute. There’s is no point in hiding that there is a real threat, but we are doing everything we can, day and night, to counter this situation,”
Saturday came and went without incident, but apparently, Brussels isn’t out of the woods yet. The terror threat level remained at 4 - the highest - on Sunday and the warzone like conditions may extend into the work week.
Authorities are apparently searching for “two men” who officials say pose an imminent threat to the public. "There are two terrorists in the Brussels region that could commit very dangerous acts,” Schaerbeek Mayor Bernard Clerfayt told Belgian media on Sunday.
As The Telegraph reports, “the national security council, including top ministers, was expected to convene on Sunday afternoon to determine what measures to take or retain,” while it’s possible schools could be closed on Monday.
Just in case the public wasn’t worried enough, “a terror suspect” linked to Jihadi John has apparently “evaded” British intelligence and escaped to Brussels where authorities fear he may have linked up with an Abdelhamid Abaaoud cell. The suspect, who authorities are calling “CF”, “was under surveillance when he slipped the security net and escaped in the back of a lorry,” The Telegraph says, adding that “he is known to have arrived in Brussels where he tried to obtain a false British passport.” CF is “seeking to harm the public on a wide and terrifying scale,” a judge says.
"Shelter in place and remain at home. If you were planning to attend an event, we strongly urge you to reconsider," the US Embassy in Brussels advised Americans living in or visiting the city.
“Unfortunately, it’s a threat that goes beyond just that individual,” Jabon added, referring to Paris suspect Salah Abdeslam. "One big test will be whether the metro system starts running again Monday morning, when many of the capital’s more than one million inhabitants depend on public transport to get to work," WSJ notes.
So, the terror marathon continues unabated and as you might have heard overnight, there were conflicting reports on Saturday regarding whether Anonymous (who decided last week to launch a cyber war against ISIS) had leaked a list of targets terrorists intended to strike on Sunday. The top Anonymous Twitter feed denied that the "intel" emanated from the group, but authorities took it seriously enough that the FBI weighed in.
In any event, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel wants you to know that despite the troops in the streets, the city-wide lockdown, and the government's advice to remain indoors, nobody should be "panic-stricken." Rather, Belgians should just "be alert."
US, French Aircraft Carriers Rush Toward Syrian Coast To Find Numerous Russian Warships Already There
Two weeks ago, on November 5, and one week before the Paris terrorist attack, we reported that somewhat unexpectedly, France had dispatched its only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, to "the eastern Mediterranean for operations against Isis in both Syria and Iraq."
It was unclear just what these pre-emptive operations would be and why France is getting so dramatically involved in the campaign against ISIS. Not knowing the dramatic attack that was about to unfold (whose false flag origins have been quickly ignored as nobody has yet explained why a fake Syrian passport was found next to the suicide bomber), we speculated that this move had to do with the departure of the CVN-71 Theodore Roosevelt which had left the Persian Gulf region a month ago, leaving the entire 5th Naval Fleet without a US carrier presence for the first time in a decade.
One week later, we found out that Paris may have had an advance hint of what was about to unfold when on the night of Friday 13 it all fell into place.
But with the French aircraft carrier full steam ahead toward the Syrian coast, the US could not afford to leave the airborne defense of the region to the French, so it did what was just a matter of time: it weighed anchor on the CVN-75, Harry Truman which was deployed toward the Middle East where according to the Daily Press it will "fight the Islamic State."
According to the Press, "the Truman is expected to reach the Persian Gulf before the year’s end
Once again, here is the ETA: Carrier Theodore Roosevelt left 5th Fleet in mid-October, leaving that region without a carrier until the Truman CSG gets there, which should be about six weeks, or just around the New Year.
Then again, according to the latest Stratfor naval map, the Truman is already approaching Gibraltar. If accurate, it means the carrier will be next to Syria in a couple of weeks tops.
"The Harry S. Truman battle group will be there in due time and execute our mission successfully," he said. "We hope that brings some peace of mind to the people that are out there, both our coalition partners as well as our troops on the ground, and it brings a hard-to-swallow, deliberate pause in our enemy."
Where things get very interesting is what the Navy Times says next:
ISIS is not the only challenge that awaits the flotilla, which includes the cruiser Anzio, Carrier Wing Air 7, and destroyers Bulkeley, Gravely and Gonzalez. Russian, Chinese and Iranian marines have established their presence in Syria, and Russian warships from the Black Sea have relocated to the eastern Mediterranean to protect fighter jets conducting airstrikes in support of Syria's Assad regime. In preparation, the strike group's Composite Training Unit Exercise focused on adversaries that more closely resembled those of the Cold War.
Russians and Iranians we knew about, but Chinese? Does the US Navy know something that has not been made public previously?
While we await the answer, what we do know is that suddenly the east Mediterranean is about to become a warship and aircraft carrier parking lot, with the Truman and de Gaulle side by side, just as we predicted it would be a month ago when we said that the summer of 2013 naval scenario is unfolding once again.
As we said: busy, and it's only going to get busier.
But the punchline is Russia is already treating the Syrian coastline as its own playground, and has imposed explicit no fly zones in the eastern Mediterranean as the following tweet reveals:
What happens when both the French and the US navies, both packing dozens of airplanes, arrive and convert the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast into one big warship parking lot.
We can only hope that the sudden confluence of goodwill and best intentions by the superpowers to crush ISIS is genuine instead of merely a ploy to get everyone in the same place and result in the biggest ever Gulf of Tonkin redux and an "accidental" sinking of one or more ships... with or without a fake Syrian passport planted next to it.
Syrian government troops are advancing on "nearly every front" thanks to Russian air strikes that began in September, President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview released Sunday.
The embattled president also said he favoured new peace talks to be hosted in Moscow, but stressed that the Syrian conflict could not be resolved without "defeating terrorism".
In the interview with Hong Kong-based Phoenix television, Assad said the situation in Syria had "improved in a very good way" since Russia began air strikes on September 30.
"Now I can say that the army is making advancement in nearly every front... in many different directions and areas on the Syrian ground," he said, speaking in English.
Russia is coordinating its air strikes with Damascus, unlike the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, which Assad and his government criticise as ineffectual.
Moscow has also sought a leading role in a political resolution to the conflict, participating recently in high-level talks in Vienna with other world powers in a bid to create a framework for peace.
The German press reports on Russia's long-term plans to help rebuild Syria after the end of the war there, including renewed contracts for investment projects and a roadmap for a political resolution.
Russia has a long-term plan to rebuild Syria after the terrorists there are defeated, which requires the involvement of other regional powers to ensure that the threat of terrorism is extinguished, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten [DWN] reported on Saturday.
"Russian President Vladimir Putin is pursuing a long-term strategy in the Middle East, according to which Syria's traditional allies play an important role," wrote DWN.
"With new alliances with Iraq and Iran, Russia wants to break the dominance of Saudi Arabia, which through OPEC and its missionary Wahhabism plays a destructive role both economically and socially, in the Russian view."
The newspaper referred to an interview Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin gave the news channel Rossiya 24, in which the minister said that the rebuilding of Syria's economy will begin as soon as the Syrian army, with the assistance of the Russian air force, has liberated large tracts of land from the terrorists.
DWN also detailed some of Russia's strong economic links with Syria in the fields of oil and gas production, quoting Gissa Guchetl, the executive director of the Russian Union of Gas and Oil Industrialists, who told RIA Novosti in July that Russian oil and gas companies will seek to revive existing contracts worth $1.6 billion with Syria once the situation in the country becomes stable.
In addition, Russia is the only partner to have presented a comprehensive roadmap for reform after the end of the war, reported DWN. The plan, which was presented in Vienna earlier this month, envisages an 18-month period encompassing constitutional reforms and presidential elections, which President Assad may take part in.
"However, Russia refuses to support an external overthrow of Assad, which the US-led alliance still defines as an aim," the newspaper reported from Vienna, where world and regional powers with an interest in regulating the Syrian crisis began talks on October 30 to find a resolution to the conflict.
The western media seems no longer interested in continuing to label President Putin a non-handshakable leader; instead, it has made a sharp U-turn and now calls the Russian leader a “powerbroker”, seemingly with the results of the G20 meeting in Antalya in mind.
The western media seems to have ceased its campaign on reassuring its audience that Russia, and President Putin in particular, are being isolated from the western world.
“Vladimir Putin should have left the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, in an upbeat mood,” reads an article in the US-based magazine The National Interest.
“The Russian president clearly demonstrated that on the world stage he is neither isolated nor marginalized,” the author says, referring to President Putin’s interactions with key global leaders, both in the multilateral format of the summit as well as in numerous bilateral sidebars.
The same was noticed by the British media, which elaborated even further.
“This all boils down to a diplomatic hat-trick for Putin,” reads an article in The Guardian.
“First, he has gained western recognition that Russian military forces have a legitimate role to play in Syria, in exchange for vague promises to cooperate with the US-led coalition and not to shoot the “good guys.” This marks a complete reversal of the initial American position, which was that Moscow’s intervention was unwelcome and “doomed to failure.”
“The Russian military is showing that it, too, can carry out some of the missions that were being conducted by the US-led coalition — without having to operate under Washington’s aegis,” echoes the article in The National Interest.
“Second, Obama and Cameron have been forced to accept that Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s president, may stay in office, possibly for the duration of the proposed 18-month, UN-supervised Syria peace negotiation, as Putin has insisted all along,” reads the piece in The Guardian.
And even though Russia still remains under EU sanctions, both outlets note that “they must be renewed every six months — and pressure may grow for partial relaxation or suspension of these measures, if not in January, then certainly by June 2016.”
Similar to a heroin addict, Western nations have a destructive addiction which they are so dependent on, they appear unwilling to give it up. Funding radical terror organisations is the modus operandi of many prominent nations in NATO, with the US, UK and France, playing a prominent role. From the Afghan Mujahideen to the so-called Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS), extremist groups have been used as geopolitical tools by the West for decades.
Despite all the grandstanding and rhetoric from the French President and Western leaders, a critical point that needs to be emphasised is that Western governments are complicit in the Paris attacks and any future terror attacks (there will be more). If we put aside for a second the thesis that the Paris attack was a false flag operation or that French intelligence simply allowed it to happen, what can’t be disputed is that Western foreign policy has directly resulted in the rise of terrorism globally, most notably the rise of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.
These groups would not have the resources and global reach to launch any attacks in the West if they had not been armed, trained and let loose on the Syrian government by NATO members in collusion with regional allies. For those who have been following the proxy war in Syria and the nefarious and insidious policies of the West, this latest attack comes as no surprise.
Considering the policy of NATO in Syria, does anyone actually believe that the strategists in London, Paris, Brussels and Washington, did not foresee blowback from their strategy? It’s hardly rocket science to figure out that if you fund and arm a bunch of crazed terrorists to overthrow a secular government in the Middle East, they are going to carry out terror attacks in other parts of the world.
This leads to the question: Do Western leaders welcome more attacks? Europe has literally created the perfect climate for terror attacks by funding and arming radical groups in Syria, and then flooding Europe with refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa – which of course allows terrorists to enter with ease alongside the innocent people displaced by imperial Western wars and proxy wars. Obviously, the only viable solution to the refugee crisis is the stabilization of the Syrian state and the wider region, meaning the West has to abandon its drive to overthrow Assad and balkanize the nation.