Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Journalist Claims Russia Threatened Turkey With Tactical Nukes, Saudis Want To Give Surface-To-Air Missiles To Syrian Rebels

Journalist Claims Russia Threatened Turkey With Tactical Nukes

Over the past two weeks, the threat of a wider war in the Middle East has grown to a fever pitch. Saudi Arabia has publicly threatened to invade Syria to ensure that Saudi backed rebels will succeed in ousting Assad. This is despite the fact that Russia has a significant military presence in the country, and has been using its formidable air power to back Assad’s army. And top of all this, the Russians have accused Turkey of preparing to join Saudi Arabia’s proposed invasion.
However, if one esteemed journalist to be believed, then the Turks may want to reconsider their insane gambit. According to award-winning investigative journalist Robert Perry, who is famous for covering the Iran-Contra affair, the Russian’s have made it clear that they will do anything necessary to protect their forces in Syria.
“A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.

Award-winning Iran-Contra journalist Robert Parry has been told by a source close to Vladimir Putin that Russia has threatened Turkey with the use of tactical nuclear weapons if it launches a joint invasion of Syria with Saudi Arabia.

Writing for Consortium News, Parry warns that the risk of the United States and its allies escalating the conflict in Syria to rescue rebels who are now on the verge of defeat could spark “World War III”.

“If Turkey (with hundreds of thousands of troops massed near the Syrian border) and Saudi Arabia (with its sophisticated air force) follow through on threats and intervene militarily to save their rebel clients, who include Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, from a powerful Russian-backed Syrian government offensive, then Russia will have to decide what to do to protect its 20,000 or so military personnel inside Syria,” writes Parry.
“A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.”
Parry’s background suggests the information should be treated seriously. He covered the Iran-Contra scandal for the Associated Press and Newsweek and was later given a George Polk award for his work on intelligence matters.
According to Parry, although President Obama has “sought to calm Erdogan down and made clear that the U.S. military would not join the invasion,” he has been “unwilling to flatly prohibit such an intervention”.
Moscow’s alleged threat to repel a Turkish invasion of Syria with nuclear weapons follows comments by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in which he warned of a new world war if the United States and its allies send ground troops into Syria.
Saudi Arabia is currently conducting the biggest wargames the region has seen for a quarter of a century. Northern Thunder involves 150,000 troops from 20 countries and is viewed by some as a precursor to a possible invasion of Syria.
Earlier this month, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told CNN that President Bashar al-Assad will have to be removed “by force” if the political process fails.

The Syrian government has accepted the terms of a ceasefire deal announced by the US and Russia, a foreign ministry source said, as cited by Sana news agency. But Damascus wants the fight against terrorists such as Islamic State to continue.
The source added that Syrian authorities would coordinate with Russia to decide which groups and areas would be included in the "cessation of hostilities" plan.
Syria said that it was important to seal the borders and halt foreign support for armed groups, as well as to prevent "these organizations from strengthening their capabilities or changing their positions, in order to avoid… wrecking this agreement," according to the source.
The source added that Syria “affirms readiness to continue to coordinate with the Russian side to identify the areas and armed groups that are to be included in the ceasefire during the period it is in effect.”
Syria said that it was important to seal the borders and halt foreign support for armed groups, as well as to prevent “these organizations from boosting their capabilities or changing their positions as to avoid anything that may undermine this agreement,” according to the source.
Damascus announced its acceptance of a halt to combat operations on the basis of continuing military efforts to combat terrorism – against Daesh [an Arabic acronym for Islamic State], the Nusra Front, and the other terrorist organizations linked to it and to Al Qaeda, according to the Russian-US plan.

A terrorist plot to hijack or bomb a Saudi Arabian passenger plane in Southeast Asia has reached an "advanced stage" of implementation, the Manila Times reported on Sunday.    

The news outlet cited "a reliable airport source," that warned of the threat of a terrorist attack that would be carried out somewhere in Southeast Asia after Iran warned of "divine revenge" against Saudi Arabia following the kingdom's execution of the Shi'ite cleric Nimr al-Nimr last month.   
The source said it was possible that the terrorist plot would be launched in Malaysia, Indonesia or the Philippines.

The source said that the Saudi embassy in Manila informed the Department of Foreign Affairs that intelligence in Riyadh received information that Iranian Revolutionary Guards were planning to mount the attack.  
The Manila Times said it obtained a copy of the confidential Saudi communication,  written by a retired Saudi admiral dated in January of this year that indicated that the plan has reached an "advanced stage." 

"The implementing and planning team is said to consist of 10 persons and six of them are Yemeni nationals tasked to execute the plan, and some of them have already been identified,” the dispatch revealed.  

If you want our take - and let’s face it, you must because that’s why you’re here - we wouldn’t put too much faith in today’s announced Syrian “ceasefire” agreement.
Although the deal calls for the cessation of hostilities as of Saturday at midnight, you shouldn’t expect the Russians and the Iranians to halt their advance on Aleppo and likewise, you shouldn’t expect Turkey to stop shelling the Azaz corridor in a largely transparent effort to keep the supply lines to the rebels open.
The stakes are simply too high now. As we’ve explained exhaustively, the fall of Aleppo to Hezbollah and the Russians would for all intents and purposes be the end of the rebellion. Assad would once again control the bulk of the country’s urban backbone in the west and that would mean his rule would be effectively restored.
Additionally, don’t expect Hezbollah to simply pack up and head back to Lebanon once the rebels are defeated. Iran will most likely keep Hassan Nasrallah’s army in place to provide security as well as members of the various Shiite militias the Quds called over from Iraq. Similarly, the Russians won’t be going anywhere either. Vladimir Putin now has an air base and a naval base in Syria and The Kremlin will want to protect those installations vociferously during what is likely to be a turbulent couple of years following the demise of the rebel cause.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia know all of this and they’re fuming mad. The last thing Saudi Arabia wants is for Tehran to preserve the Shiite crescent and the supply line to Lebanon and Turkey is now in a bitter feud with the Russians following Erdogan’s ill-fated move to down an Su-24 near the border on November 24.
Both Riyadh and Ankara have indicated that they would participate in ground operations in Syria and most recently, the Turks have been busy shelling the Syrian Kurds to keep what’s left of the supply lines to the rebels open and prevent the Russian-backed YPG from consolidating territorial gains and uniting a Kurdish proto-state on Turkey’s border.
All of the above has NATO rattled, but the thing that worries the alliance the most is the possibility that Turkey will end up in an armed, direct confrontation with Russia. Were Russia to attack Turkey, NATO would be obligated to defend Ankara but that defense would mean going to war with Moscow and, most likely, with Iran. 
Below, find some insightful - if slightly biased - commentary from Der Spiegel on NATO’s “Article 5” problem.

Yes, but as Erdogan advisor Seref Malkoc made clear over the weekend, Ankara is getting fed up with the "cold shoulder" and if there's anything the Turks aren't scared to do, it's act unilaterally. 
While NATO might indeed scold Ankara and seek to stay out of an open conflict in the initial stages, it's unlikely that the alliance would stand idly by should Russia and Turkey actually go to war.
As a reminder, Turkey has already gotten two strikes. Erodgan downed a Russian drone and then shot down a Russian warplane. Turkey is now shelling areas where Russian and Iranian forces are very likely to be operating, if not now, then within a couple of weeks. 
We can promise you that when it comes to shooting at Russian assets, be they planes, drones, or soldiers, Turkey will not get a strike three.

When the Russians started flying from Latakia on September 30 it put the Syrian opposition in a decisively precarious situation.
Whereas the Syrian air force was largely out of date and relied on replacement parts and continual maintenance to remain viable, Moscow brought one of the most formidable sky attacks on the planet to a fight against rebels with zero air capability and exceptionally limited capacity to defend themselves against an aerial assault.
Starting in October, the Russian Defense Ministry began posting video clips (hundreds of them) depicting strikes on a variety of rebel and militant targets and The Kremlin also went out of its way to capture full color, HD footage of Su-34s and long-range bombers in action over Syria where the opposition was quite simply powerless to defend itself.
For about a month (sometime between mid-November and mid-December) it appeared that President Obama was right. The fanfare around the initial wave of Russian airstrikes had subsided and the push north to Aleppo appeared to have stalled. The "quagmire" it seemed, was real. Then, suddenly, Hezbollah surrounded Aleppo and reports indicated the Russian air force had implemented what amounts to a scorched earth policy when it comes to the militants battling Iranian forces.

Once it became apparent that the country's largest city would soon be recaptured by forces loyal to Assad, both Turkey and Saudi Arabia began to weigh their options. A ground assault by Ankara and Riyadh would be a veritable nightmare for the US and the West. It would invariably devolve into a direct conflict with Iranian forces and the first time a Russian jet hit Saudi or Turkish troops the world would be plunged into a global conflict with the potential to drag every nation in the developed world to war.
So far, the Turks and the Saudis haven’t invaded, although Ankara is now shelling the YPG in the Azaz corridor in an effort to roll back Kurdish efforts to consolidate border gains. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Riyadh’s next move may be to introduce surface-to-air missiles so that the rebels will be able to defend themselves against the Russian air attack.
So far, the Turks and the Saudis haven’t invaded, although Ankara is now shelling the YPG in the Azaz corridor in an effort to roll back Kurdish efforts to consolidate border gains. According to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, Riyadh’s next move may be to introduce surface-to-air missiles so that the rebels will be able to defend themselves against the Russian air attack.
“Is Saudi Arabia in favor of supplying anti-aircraft missiles to the rebels?,” Der Spiegel asked al-Jubeir on Friday. Here was the minister’s response:

Yes. We believe that introducing surface-to-air missiles in Syria is going to change the balance of power on the ground. It will allow the moderate opposition to be able to neutralize the helicopters and aircraft that are dropping chemicals and have been carpet-bombing them, just like surface-to-air missiles in Afghanistan were able to change the balance of power there. This has to be studied very carefully, however, because you don't want such weapons to fall into the wrong hands.

Now obviously, the whole “dropping chemicals” line is a ruse. The only thing introducing advanced surface-to-air missiles would do is allow the opposition to shoot at Russian air power and that’s completely at odds with the following response al-Jubeir gave when asked about the kingdom’s relationship with the Russians:

The hypocrisy and outright absurdity only gets worse from there (in fact, this is one of the most egregious interviews in recent memory with a Saudi official) and we’ve included some of the “highlights” (or “lowlights” as it were) below, but the point here is that the Saudis appear set to supply surface-to-air missiles to the rebels. We’re not sure how today’s announced “ceasefire” will ultimately affect those plans, but it’s worth noting that when the US, Turkey and the Saudis supplied TOWs to the opposition in an effort to combat the advance of pro-government armored vehicles, the FSA ended up using one of the weapons to destroy a Russian search and rescue helicopter. Footage of that effort was posted by the FSA on YouTube.
Does Saudi Arabia really believe the best idea is to supply the rebels with the capability to shoot at the Russian air force? At what point do Washington’s Sunni allies admit that this has been a giant mistake that’s cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of people? Perhaps most importantly, when will the US and NATO finally admit that they are on the wrong side of the sectarian divide and thus on the wrong side of history? Does The Pentagon really want to get behind arming Sunni extremists (who espouse the same ideology as ISIS and al-Nusra) with weapons to shoot down Russian warplanes?
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the traditional distinction between the “good” guys and the “bad” guys no longer holds. Long live the "good" guys - whoever they are.

The Pope said:
“A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”
Let’s clarify, using the Pope’s own logic, his hypocrisy.
The Pope lives and rules Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world, enclaved inside Rome, Italy. This landlocked, sovereign city-state covers roughly 110 acres throughout which roughly 600-800 people live, including members of the Swiss Guard.
To be clear: the Pope lives in an enclave totally closed off by a 2-mile long, 39-foot high stone wall– described as a “fortress.” 



In addition to living behing a 2-mile long, 39-foot high stone wall, the Pope’s costs for running his empire are enormous.
Is it Christian to live behind a 39-foot, 2-mile long wall and to charge people to enter?

While the Pope has declared frugality for himself, consider what one outfit costs for only one of his cardinals. The Huffington Post categorizes each piece of clothing, estimating that one entire outfit for one cardinal costs roughly $20,000.

Question for the Pope: Is it Christian for each of his “clergy” to wear $20,000 outfits?
Consider the Pope’s visit to America. In September 2015 the Pope had the taxpayersand City of Philadelphia pay $8 million for his visit– roughly half of the cost to visit that city. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, “The city spent $17 million on Pope Francis’ visit in late September, according to the city’s budget director, most of it to pay for police and fire services. The city has sent a bill to the World Meeting seeking nearly $9 million.”
Philadelphia is experiencing a financial crisis– a debt of roughly $1 billion— yet the Pope expects its city officials and people to pay for his tab. Because of Pennsylvania’s financial woes, officials remarked in October, 2015 that “nearly all of their districts were in dire financial straits.”

What about the cost of its sexual abuse of children?
“The full costs of the sexual abuse crisis – including financial payouts, emotional distress, alienation among both clergy and laity, and damage to the church’s moral authority – is essentially incalculable.”
The American Catholic churches alone have spent “at least $2.2 billion settling litigation related to the crisis,” and there are roughly “100,000 victims of clerical sexual abuse.”

Also see:


Caver said...

If Putin threatened it, I think it best to assume he's willing to stand to his word. Not that he isn't already a bit agitated with Turkey as it is.

Scott said...

I agree - He is giving as many warnings as he possibly can - Turkey would be completely nuts to cross Putin right now. We'll see....