Friday, September 30, 2016

Rumors Of War Increasing: Pakistan And India Trade War Rhetoric, S China Sea Tensions, Syria Situation Worsens

Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif in an interview with Samaa TV stated:
“Tactical weapons, our programmes that we have developed, they have been developed for our protection. We haven’t kept the devices that we have just as showpieces. But if our safety is threatened, we will annihilate them (India).”
The statement from Pakistan saber rattling was the result of India, with evidence blaming Pakistan-based terrorists for the attack at the Uri army base that killed 19 Indian soldiers.
India said on Monday it had the right to respond when and where it chose to a deadly attack on an army base in Kashmir, after blaming Pakistan for the raid that killed 18 soldiers.
The assault, in which four gunmen burst into a brigade headquarters in the town of Uri before dawn on Sunday, was among the deadliest in the disputed Himalayan region and has sharply raised tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.
So now Pakistan responds and threatens India that if it takes action, they reserve the option to retaliate with a nuclear attack on India.

So how possible is it that Pakistan and India could have a nuclear war? After all, Iran yesterday threatened to wipe Saudi Arabia off the face of the map when special Adviser to the commander of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Hassan Firuz Abadi on Tuesday threatened to “erase Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabis from existence.”

But no one is sure if Iran built its nuclear warheads. India, however, has 118 warheads, and Pakistan has 130. China, across the Himalayas has 180 — 263 if we include the DF-26 waiting dismantlement.

And all we need in some incident like Pakistan is a trigger happy leader and we will have a nuclear catastrophe where the world will end up in starvation mode. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when.

Despite hopes that South China Sea tensions were easing, provocative comments from US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter risk setting fire to the diplomatic tinderbox.

After months of escalation in the South China Sea, this week showed signs that tensions between Washington and Beijing were, at last, abating. On Thursday, two US warships were granted permission to dock in Hong Kong, mere months after the USS John C. Stennis was forbidden from doing so.

That goodwill has been quickly squandered.

"[The US] remains the region’s strongest military and security partner of choice," Defense Secretary Carter said while onboard the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego, California, according to International Business Times.

He added that the Pentagon plans to "sharpen our military" edge in the Asia-Pacific, claiming it is "the most consequential region for America’s future."

The US Navy has conducted a number of provocative "freedom of navigation" patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of these islands, despite China’s repeated calls for calm.

The Pentagon will likely perform increased military patrols with Japan, which recently voiced its support for US operations in the region.
"Japan, for its part, will increase its engagement in the South China Sea, for example, Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the US Navy and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies," Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada said earlier this month.

 Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its air campaign, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as the United States said diplomacy to halt the violence was "on life support" but not dead yet.
Fighting continued to intensify a week into a new Russian-backed Syrian government offensive to capture rebel-held eastern Aleppo and crush the last urban stronghold of a revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that began in 2011.
Moscow and Assad spurned a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire agreed to this month and launched attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo in potentially the most decisive battle in the Syrian civil war.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone for a third straight day, with the top Russian diplomat saying Moscow was ready to consider more ways to normalise the situation in Aleppo.
But Lavrov criticised Washington's failure to separate moderate rebel groups from those the Russians call terrorists, which had allowed forces led by the group formerly known as the Nusra front to violate the U.S.-Russian truce agreed on Sept. 9.
The United States made clear on Friday that it would not, for now, carry through on the threat it made on Wednesday to halt the diplomacy if Russia did not take immediate steps to halt the violence.

With diplomacy failing, US officials say initial brainstorming sessions are taking place throughout the government at the staff level on alternatives to working with Russia, ranging from economic to military measures.

They stress no recommendations have been presented to the White House. One official said the US is looking back to the "Ukraine playbook," a reference to the non-military measures the West used to pressure Russia for its aggression toward its eastern neighbor.

US officials estimate Aleppo, bombarded by Syrian and Russian strikes, could collapse in the coming days, with up to 300,000 civilians trapped in the city with what the US believes is "little clean drinking water" and no medical care available.

One official said the US is "seeing indications" of preparations for a possible ground assault. The amassed troops, which may include Iranian and other militias, are backed up by Russian aircraft and regime helicopter-launched barrel bombs, which the US said includes cluster munitions and phosphorous bombs.

A limited military intervention could include actions such as shooting down Syrian planes or striking regime air bases, but the White House has been reluctant to consider such measures, which risk a military confrontation in which Moscow shoots down US planes or draws in Iran to the fight.

Should Obama order such an operation, US officials said it could begin quickly as the US is well aware of airfields and bases both Syrian and Russian forces are using as a result of overhead surveillance and monitoring of communications.

Further sanctions against the Syrian regime, and even Russia, is also an option, officials said.
The White House publicly has said it's still working on the possibility of expanded sanctions against the Syrian regime and officials said existing executive orders could provide the authority to sanction Russian individuals and entities supporting Damascus.

Russia is sending more warplanes to Syria to ramp up its air campaign, a Russian newspaper reported on Friday, as the United States said diplomacy to halt the violence was "on life support" but not dead yet.
Fighting continued to intensify a week into a new Russian-backed Syrian government offensive to capture rebel-held eastern Aleppo and crush the last urban stronghold of a revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that began in 2011.
Moscow and Assad spurned a U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefire agreed to this month and launched attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo in potentially the most decisive battle in the Syrian civil war.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone for a third straight day, with the top Russian diplomat saying Moscow was ready to consider more ways to normalise the situation in Aleppo. 
But Lavrov criticised Washington's failure to separate moderate rebel groups from those the Russians call terrorists, which had allowed forces led by the group formerly known as the Nusra front to violate the U.S.-Russian truce agreed on Sept. 9.

Syrian army and a Palestinian pro-government militia (the Jerusalem Brigade') have captured the Palestinian Handarat refugee camp in the northern outskirts of eastern Aleppo two days ago. Moreover it looks very much like this time they will be able to hold on to it. For anyone following the battle of Aleppo closely this is very significant as the previously inconclusive fighting for Handarat had been a focal point of the battle for over six months now.

Eastern Aleppo remains a heavily defended fortress but real, if slow, progress is being made.

One group of people who appears none too happy with that are US officials

Officials said the speed of the Russian and Syrian offensive against Aleppo has put pressure on the White House to accelerate its deliberations and forced policy makers to look at options they previously were reluctant to seriously consider.

Apparently even this, actually rather slow pace of advance, has Washington in panic mode.
Reuters reports that as a result the Americans are holding "staff-level" talks to come up with a recommended course of action for Obama to take:

As a result, one of the officials said, the list of options is narrowing to supporting rebel counter attacks elsewhere with additional weaponry or even air strikes, which "might not reverse the tide of battle, but might cause the Russians to stop and think."
Another official said any weapons supplies would not include shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, or Manpads, which the Obama administration fears could fall into the hands of Islamic State militants or al Qaeda-linked groups.
The most dramatic option under consideration – but considered less likely – would be a U.S. air strike on a Syrian air base far from the fighting between Assad’s troops and rebel forces in the north, officials said.

So there you go. The US wants us to believe that under the Kerry-Lavrov pact it was willing to bomb al-Nusra and any rebel group which did not disassociate from them, but because that deal fell through the US will now ramp up arms shipments to the very same rebel groups and is even considering launching air strikes against the Syrian government in their support. Makes sense. If you're going to start a WW3 with Russia it might as well be for the benefit of jihadist who declined to commit to your truce because it didn't include al-Qaeda.

Actually much of the Reuters report is spent explaining the US doesn't have any brilliant options here. Firstly even the hawks themselves don't know if there is a move to play here:
Even administration advocates of a more muscular U.S. response said on Wednesday that it was not clear what, if anything, the president would do, and that his options "begin at tougher talk," as one official put it.

Training rebels has been an embarrassing fiasco, and Kurds are mainly fighting ISIS, plus they are enemies of the rebel camp. The Russians won't be shaken by either option.
The key thing to understand is that it's not Russia which outmaneuvered the US. It is the US which tricked itself into the blind alley it finds itself now. The US isn't struggling to come up with a move that will impress the Russians because of Russian strength in Syria, but because of American weakness -- weakness which isn't borne out of lack of US capability, but out of the utter lack of any sense, logic or rhyme to its policy.
Recall this is the power which was first fighting Assad, is now fighting Assad and ISIS both, and came close to fighting Assad, ISIS and al-Nusra-friendly rebels all at the same time. Obviously when you find yourself both backing and opposing so many of the factions it becomes impossible to "win".

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Beijing Warns Tokyo, Riyadh Warns Washington, Nuclear War With N Korea Coming?

As Tokyo begins to play a more active role in the South China Sea, Beijing has warned against any provocations.

Tensions have escalated between China and Japan over a territorial dispute in the East China Sea, where both nations claim ownership over a string of islands called the Senkakus. But Japan is also in talks with the Pentagon to join military patrols in the South China Sea, a move Beijing warned against on Thursday.

"We must solemnly tell Japan this is a miscalculation. If Japan wants to have joint patrol or drills in waters under Chinese jurisdiction this really is playing with fire," Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said, according to Deutsche Welle.

"China’s military will not sit idly by."

The US and its Pacific allies have objected to Beijing’s construction of a series of artificial islands in the South China Sea, concerned that they may be used to establish an air defense zone. China maintains it has every right to build within its own territory and that the islands will be used primarily for humanitarian purposes.

The US Navy has conducted a number of provocative “freedom of navigation” patrols within the 12-mile territorial limit of these islands.
Earlier this month, Japan’s recently appointed Defense Minister Tomomi Inada indicated strong support for the Pentagon’s operations in the region.
"Japan, for its part, will increase its engagement in the South China Sea, for example, Maritime Self-Defense Force joint training cruises with the US Navy and bilateral and multilateral exercises with regional navies," she said.

The Saudi government had remained silent until Thursday afternoon, following votes by the Senate and House of Representatives to overwhelmingly shoot down a presidential veto on the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” or JASTA, on Wednesday.

While JASTA applies to any act of terrorism on US soil, the primary focus has been on Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

"The erosion of sovereign immunity will have a negative impact on all nations, including the United States," Riyadh said in a statement. The kingdom further stated that it hopes Congress will work "to avoid the serious unintended consequences that may ensue."

The statement did not include specific threats, retaliation, or what the consequences would be.
JASTA will allow for victims and the families of the 2001 attacks to sue the Saudi government. Riyadh has denied funding the terrorists who attacked the World Center and killed nearly 3,000 people, but 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian nationals.
Leading up to the JASTA vote, the Saudi government waged a massive lobbying effort, arguing that the bill would undermine sovereign immunity. Following the passing, they remained silent until the following day.

On Thursday, after the veto was overridden, the Saudi riyal fell against the dollar.
“This bill reflects an anti-Saudi campaign. It is time to see less of America in our midst,” Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, a political scientist in the United Arab Emirates told Reuters.

On Sunday, North Korea warned the United States that it could wipe out Manhattan with a single hydrogen bomb, and earlier this month North Korea threatened to make a “preemptive and offensive nuclear strike” on the United States in response to aggressive military exercises currently being jointly conducted by South Korea and the U.S. military. So does nuclear war with North Korea actually pose a significant security risk to this country? Well, according to the Washington Post the entire west coast of the United States is within reach of North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. The only question is whether or not North Korea’s ultra-paranoid leader Kim Jong Un would ever actually press the button.

Most Americans don’t realize this, but nuclear war with North Korea is now closer than it has ever been before. In the past, North Korea’s technical capabilities were greatly limited, but now all of that has apparently changed. Just consider what has taken place within just the past few months. The following comes from a timeline that was put together by the Arms Control Association…

So let us not underestimate the threat that North Korea poses. They hate us enough to want to completely destroy us, they now have the technological capability of hitting major west coast cities with nukes, and they have an ultra-paranoid young leader with his hand on the trigger. Meanwhile, we have an increasingly aggressive leader of our own sitting in the White House that seems to like to yank Kim Jong Un’s chain.
If push came to shove, North Korea would attempt to hit American targets with nukes.
Let us just hope and pray that it does not happen any time soon.

I did not intend to write today but 3 events warrant a heads up. 
1. Deutsche Bank may be having their “Lehman moment” as 10 hedge funds have withdrawn funds and are cutting exposure with DB.
This is how a “bank run” starts folks! Quite convenient that this Monday I believe is a banking holiday in Germany. If this is truly a Lehman moment, we will have a far larger event in a very compressed timeframe than we had in 2008.
The ramifications of this are beyond human comprehension to understand how widespread the fallout can be. Think “Rollover” by multiples with the added negative the U.S. is no longer the sole military superpower in the world. I wrote about this last week, the important thing to understand is the assets that get sold in dollars…will not remain in dollars very long!
This is horrific on so many levels, particularly to the survival of the human race. Please understand the “timing” of this particular item. All three of these events are happening at one time, if you believe it’s a “bad coincidence” you are wrong in my opinion. The takedown of the Western standard of living is happening in real time, right now. Ignore this at your own risk!
Standing watch,

You may remember a while back there was a spate of news articles about high-level bankers and bank employees committing suicide. Conspiracy theories were coming left and right and then as suddenly as the reports started they stopped – just like that. Here is a list of more than 50 of these bankers, in date order, with a brief overview on each of them.

You probably also remember that last year, a dozen holistic doctors either died or went missing over a course of only 90 days. How oddly coincidental.
But the deaths of these bankers and doctors are just the tip of the iceberg.

Did you hear about all of the dead scientists? Probably not.

What if I told you that dozens and dozens and dozens of scientists have been killed died in mysterious circumstances and few reports have filtered out via the mainstream media?
What if I told you that they were involved in researching or working with bio-level 4 pathogens, nuclear research and the like? And that many had government links…by grants issued, research on behalf of or directly by working in government facilities.
The current spate of deaths began not long after 9/11, on November 12, 2001, to be precise. On Nov. 12, Benito Que, 52, was found comatose in the street near the laboratory where he worked at the University of Miami Medical School. He died on Dec. 6.
On November 16, 2001, professor don Wiley apparently killed himself – yet there was, and never has been any evidence of that.
On November 15th, Harvard Professor Don Wiley left a gathering of friends and colleagues some time after 10:30 PM. The next morning, Memphis police found his rental car stopped on a bridge, with a full tank of gas and keys still in the ignition. There was no financial or family trouble. Indeed Wiley was supposed to meet his family at the Memphis airport to continue on to an Icelandic vacation. Neither was there any history of depression or mental illness.

In the report printed in the New York Times on November 27th, the FBI’s Memphis office distanced itself from the case saying that the available facts did not add up to a suspicion of foul play. I guess at the FBI it’s a perfectly everyday occurrence for a Harvard Professor to stop his rental car on a bridge in the middle of the night before he is supposed to leave for Iceland and just walk away into the Tennessee dark.
Move along citizen, nothing to see.
The professor’s colleagues expressed doubts about the official “suicide” explanation for his disappearance. (source)
His body was found on Dec. 20.
Next came Vladimir Pasechnik who died on November 23, 2001. No cause of death was ever given. A Russian he defected to Britain in 1989 aged 64.
He described a network of secret laboratories, disguised as a commercial organisation called Biopreparat, which employed several thousand scientists and technicians to develop potential biological weapons that could spread diseases like anthrax, ebola, Marburg virus, plague, Q fever, and smallpox. (source)
On December 10, 2001, Robert Schwartz, 57, was found murdered in his rural home in Loudoun County, Va. His daughter was ultimately convicted of his murder.
On December 11, 2001, Set Van Nguyen, 44, was found dead in the airlock entrance to a walk-in refrigerator in the laboratory where he worked in Victoria State, Australia. According to reports, he was a “conscientious, diligent and careful employee.”
On February 8,  2002, Vladimir Korshunov, 56, was found dead on a Moscow street. outside his home. He died from blunt force trauma to his head and there is no record of his killer being caught – or even being sought!
On February 11, 2002, Ian Langford, 40, was found dead in his home in Norwich, England. He was half naked and wedged under a chair. His specialty was environmental risk. Police and post-mortem results declared the wounds found on his body were self-inflicted or sustained accidentally.

The list goes on and on:
  • Alexi Brushlinski
  • Robert Leslie Burghoff
  • Dr. Tanya Holzmayer
  • Eugene Mallove
  • John Mullen
  • Dr. Jeong Im
  • Source for the following list:
  • Alberto Behar
  • Martin John Rogers
  • Glenn Thomas
  • Mark Ferri
  • Professor Carol Ambruster
  • Anne Szarewski
  • Shane Todd
  • Dr. Richard Holmes
  • Melissa Ketunuti
  • Professor Dr. Richard Crowe
  • James S. Miller
  • Zachary Greene Warfield
  • Jonathan Widom
  • Fanjun Meng and Chunyang Zhang
  • Andrei Tropinov, Sergei Rizhov, Gennadi Benyok, Nicolai Tronov and Valery Lyalin, in a Russian plane crash.
  • Rodger Lynn Dickey
  • Gregory Stone
  • Bradley C. Livezey
  • Dr. Massoud Ali Mohammadi
  • John (Jack) P. Wheeler II
  • Mark A. Smith
  • Chitra Chauhan
  • Franco Cerrina
  • Maria Ragland Davis
  • Gopi K. Podila
  • Adriel D. Johnson Sr.
  • Amy Bishop, 45
  • Keith Fagnou
  • Stephen Lagakos
  • Malcolm Casadaban
  • Wallace L. Pannier
  • August “Gus” Watanabe.
  • Caroline Coffe
  • Nasser Talebzadeh Ordoubadi
  • Bruce Edwards Ivins
  • Laurent Bonomo and Gabriel Ferez. Died  after being bound, gagged, stabbed and set alight
  • Yongsheng Li
  • Dr. Mario Alberto Vargas Olvera
  • Yoram Kaufmanich
This is an incomplete list.  There are many, many more. Quite a number of these scientists were young and in the prime of their lives. Most of the deaths were attributed to accidents and homicides, with a few suicides thrown in for good measure.
Are their deaths linked? Who knows.
Are governments silencing scientists? Who knows.
What I can say for sure is that a huge amount of scientific genius has been wiped out with the deaths of these people…and possibly many more we don’t know about.
What I would really like to know is why.

Hours Before Obama's Internet Giveaway 'Irreversible', FCC Commissioner: 'You Should Be Worried'

Hours left before Obama’s Internet giveaway ‘irreversible’

It was the late Phyllis Schlafly who, earlier this year, characterized President Obama’s plan to give away U.S. oversight of the Internet’s domain name system as “like telling the fox to guard the chicken coop,” trusting the likes of Cuba, Venezuela and China to ensure the continued freedom of the Web.

The transfer of oversight to an obscure non-profit called the Internet Association for Assigned Names and Numbers, ICANN, set for Saturday, “could be the most dangerous use yet of Obama’s now-famous pen,” the conservative icon said at the time.
On Thursday, after months of Congress has failing to halt Obama’s move, four states took action on their own.
The lawsuit by Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Nevada against the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Department of Commerce and others seeks a halt to the plan.

The lawsuit isn’t the only opposition that has arisen in the fourth quarter.
A coalition of 77 national security, cybersecurity and industry leaders wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just days ago asking for intervention.
“As individuals with extensive, first-hand experience with protecting our national security, we write to urge you to intervene in opposition to an imminent action that would, in our judgment, cause profound and irreversible damage to the United States’ vital interests,” the letter said.
“Indeed, there is, to our knowledge, no compelling reason for exposing the national security to such a risk by transferring our remaining control of the Internet in this way at this time. In light of the looming deadline, we feel compelled to urge you to impress upon President Obama that the contract between NTIA and ICANN cannot be safely terminated at this point.”
Just a few days earlier, GOP senators, including Chuck Grassley, Ted Crux, Roy Blunt, Richard Burr and Ron Johnson, released a statement opposing the giveaway.
“It is profoundly disappointing that the Obama administration has decided to press on with its plan to relinquish United States oversight of crucial Internet functions, even though Congress has not given its approval. For years, there has been a bipartisan understanding that the ICANN transition is premature and that critical questions remain unanswered about the influence of authoritarian regimes in Internet governance, the protection of free speech, the effect on national security, and impacts on consumers, just to name a few,” they said.

“Without adequate answers to these questions, it would be irresponsible to allow the transition to occur in 15 days simply because of an artificial deadline set by the Obama administration.
“In fact, Democrats at both the state and national level have echoed many of these concerns. For example, former President Bill Clinton has warned that ‘[a] lot of people who have been trying to take this authority away from the U.S. want to do it for the sole purpose of cracking down on Internet freedom and limiting it and having governments protect their backsides instead of empower[ing] their people.’
“The issue of Internet freedom should unite us Americans – Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. Partisanship and political gamesmanship have no place when it comes to the Internet, basic principles of freedom, and the right of individuals in our great nation and across the globe to speak online free from censorship.”

Pai said, "This proposal is to essentially give up the US oversight role that it’s had for the last 20 years, basically for the entire commercial lifespan of the Internet to a company called ICANN, which is an international organization, which includes a number of foreign countries. And, it’s an unprecedented move, and one that, as Mr. DeMint pointed out, is irreversible. Once we give up this oversight role, we can’t get it back."

He added that Internet oversight is a case of, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Pai further stated, “[I]f you cherish free expression, and free speech rights generally, you should be worried, I think, when there's — this oversight role's going to be ceded to potentially, foreign governments who might not share our values."

Pai, and others vehemently critizing Obama's Internet giveaway are not saying that as of October 1, 2016, readers will not be able to access their favorite sites, they are saying this giveaway is "irreversible" and the beginning of the end of Americans' free speech as we know it because control will be handed over to a global body, including many countries that have no free speech rights.

According to Epoch Times, a NY based newspaper owned by Chinese-Americans opposed to the Communist regime in China, "Over the last two years, Chinese leaders have drafted an authoritarian set of laws that governs every facet of the internet."

Senator Ted Cruz wrote on September 21, 2016, "ICANN is not bound by the First Amendment, which ICANN’s CEO and President Göran Marby admitted in a recent Senate hearing. The First Amendment applies only to the government. So if the government is out of the picture, the First Amendment is too. And that means that ICANN would be free to regulate internet speech by restricting which websites can gain access to the internet based on their speech."

Breitbart Editor-in-Chief and SiriusXM host Alex Marlow asked Bolton about the impending surrender of Internet control to a multinational body, which Bolton saluted Senator Ted Cruz and some of his colleagues for making an “heroic effort” to block by inserting legislation into the continuing resolution for federal government funding.
“It didn’t happen,” Bolton said regretfully about Cruz’s efforts. “I don’t know why. I don’t know whether the Republican leadership in the Senate and the House were not receptive to it. It’s inconceivable to me, inconceivable, that we’re about to let this happen, because it is completely correct that once we let go, we are never going to get it back.”
It’s only a short period of time before the whole thing is taken over by the U.N., or U.N. specialized agencies, 190 members. The Internet as we have known it is about to disappear, and I think that has national security implications. It certainly has implications for freedom of communication internationally.
I understand why Barack Obama wants to take it out of the control of the United States and give it to the rest of the world. That’s consistent with the way he’s handled foreign policy for the last eight years – and, by the way, consistent with the way Hillary Clinton will handle it. What stuns me is that there wasn’t more Republican opposition.

[Updated] U.S. To Suspend Diplomacy With Russia, Prepares 'Military Options', Russia Accuses U.S. Of Threatening Support For Nuclear Attack

With the information that has been reported in various news outlets (non-U.S. of course), war seems imminent. It's hard to recall a time in which rhetoric has been this inflamed between Russia and the U.S. This whole thing needs to stop and stop soon, or we will find ourselves in a growing war which would include Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah and possibly spreading into Jordan and Lebanon. The rate at which things are deteriorating is beyond alarming. 

US To Suspend Syria Diplomacy With Russia, Prepares "Military Options"

In the most dramatic diplomatic escalation involving the Syrian conflict in the past years, yesterday John Kerry issued an ultimatum to Russia, in which he warned his colleague Lavrov to stop bombing Aleppo or else the US would suspend all cooperation and diplomacy with Russia. 

24 hours later, this appears to be precisely what is about to take place, leading to an even greater geopolitical shock in Syria. According to Retuersthe United States is expected to tell Russia on Thursday it is suspending their diplomatic engagement on Syria following the Russian-backed Syrian government's intense attacks on Aleppo, U.S. officials said on condition of anonymity.

Why now and what happens next? According to US officials, the Obama administration is now considering tougher responses to the Russian-backed Syrian government assault on Aleppo, including military options. 

According to Reuters, the new discussions were being held at "staff level," and have yet to produce any recommendations to President Barack Obama, who has resisted ordering military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's multi-sided civil war. 
"The president has asked all of the agencies to put forward options, some familiar, some new, that we are very actively reviewing," Blinken said. "When we are able to work through these in the days ahead we'll have an opportunity to come back and talk about them in detail."
However, now that diplomacy with Russia is set to end, this will give the greenlight for Obama to send in US troops in Syria, with Putin certain to respond appropriately, in what will be the biggest military escalation in the Syrian proxy war in its five and a half year history.

State Dept. Threatens Terror Attacks in Russia if Moscow Keeps Fighting ISIS (Video)

[This video is worth watching]

In extraordinary comments that have gone virtually unnoticed by the media, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby threatened Moscow with terror attacks in Russian cities and even shoot downs of Russian jets if Vladimir Putin continued his fight against ISIS in Syria.

“Extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities. Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and will continue to lose resources, perhaps even aircraft,” Kirby told reporters at Wednesday’s press briefing, adding that if the war in Syria continues “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down.”

While the comments will obviously be presented by the media as Kirby claiming that these will be the consequences of Moscow’s involvement in Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova took the remarks as a thinly veiled threat.
“And those [acts of terrorism] will be perpetrated by ‘moderate’ [Syrian opposition groups]?” Zakharova asked in a Facebook post. “Just the ones that Washington has been unable to separate from Al-Nusra for as long as six months?”
“Don’t you think that such ventriloquism about ‘body bags,’ ‘terrorist attacks in Russian cities’ and ‘loss of aircraft,’ sounds more like a ‘get ’em’ command, rather than a diplomatic comment?” she added.
Is Kirby actually threatening to use the same “moderate” jihadists that the Obama administration has funded and armed to kill Russian troops, down Russian planes and slaughter Russian citizens in their own country?

As documented in the video below, tensions in Syria have heated up significantly after Washington bombed Syrian soldiers who were fighting against ISIS, an incident the U.S. claimed was an “accident”.
The Obama administration then claimed that Russia had attacked a UN aid convoy, although the exact circumstances of what happened remain murky.
A Jabhat al-Nusra unit commander also recently revealed that the group, which is an Al-Qaeda offshoot, was given American-made TOW missiles and other weapons “directly” from the U.S. and its allies.
“The Americans are on our side,” he stated.

Russia accuses US of threatening support for nuclear attack

The Russian Foreign Ministry is accusing the Pentagon of making a veiled threat to back its allies in an attack on Russia with nuclear weapons.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday accused Russia of "nuclear saber-rattling" and argued that even though the Cold War is long over, nuclear weapons are still needed to deter Russia and other potential aggressors from thinking they could get away with a nuclear attack.

Moscow responded Thursday by saying that Carter's statement amounted to the U.S. threatening to use its nuclear weapons in support of an aggression against Russia waged by its allies. It added that Russia will have to take retaliatory measures to protect its security.

Washington has Just Declared War on Russia

At this stage, Washington is completely incapable of discussing any serious political settlement in Syria, since it regards any peace process in this war-torn country as the harbinger of Moscow’s, Beijing’s and Tehran’s continuous presence in the region and the moving forward of several energy routes that will gives these states influence and wealth in the region well into the future, all of which means there will be no place for the West’s “avid defenders of democracy” at the table.

That is why the United States objected so vigorously to the release of the Russian-American cease-fire agreement details to the public and kept the discussion of the agreement as far away from the UN as it possibly could, out of fear there could be a UN resolution adopted that would make it mandatory to comply with.

That is also why, while keeping in mind its master-plan, Washington has used Syrian territory to start the largest indirect war in modern history to pursue its consequential transformation in a direct armed confrontation with Russia. A total of 80 states are fighting both directly and indirectly in Syria. It is no accident that on May 23, 2003, instead of gathering Iraqi forces into a single large unit, the US occupation administration disbanded the Iraqi army, creating pre-conditions for the rise of ISIS. In January 2012, in the midst of the Syrian civil war, the CIA created a “branch” of Al Qaeda in Syria – the notorious Jabhat al-Nusra. It’s no secret that the militants of this terrorist group at different points of time were treated in hospitals in Turkey and Israel – both faithful satellite-states of Washington. These steps were followed with the approval of the Turkish military’s invasion of Syria, which was launched on August 20.

To create preconditions for an open armed conflict with Russia, Washington has launched a massive propaganda campaign, aimed at discrediting Moscow at every juncture. It’s enough to remember the so-called “doping scandal” and the “revelations” that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made about the alleged presence of more than 30,000 Russian soldiers and hundreds of tanks in eastern Ukraine. And no matter how ridiculous and unfounded such allegations may be, Washington would still repeat them, as if it had no means to track a couple hundreds tanks anywhere on the face of the Earth and then provide irrefutable evidence of it to the public. Moreover, we hear repeated accusations about Moscow’s alleged involvement in the downing of the Malaysian Boeing MH-17 over Donbass and many others. And the list goes on. Looking at all these steps, one can’t help but remember the genius of Nazi propaganda – Joseph Goebbels – who swayed public perception with the continuous repetition of transparent lies up to and including the day of the Nazi invasion of Russia.

Russian MoD: We’re ready for Syria dialogue with US, but threats against our military unacceptable

The statement came in response to comments made by US State Department spokesperson John Kirby at a press briefing on Wednesday. Kirby said that if the war in Syria continues, “more Russian lives will be lost, more Russian aircraft will be shot down”as “extremist groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which could include attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities.” 
Speaking on Thursday, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said: “Once again we declare that we are fully prepared to continue the dialogue with the American side and carry on with the joint actions to combat terrorists in Syria.”
“However, even the slightest hints of a threat to our soldiers and Russian citizens must be excluded from this dialogue. The matter of safety of Russian citizens, wherever they may be, is not up for bargaining. It is our main and unconditional priority,” the spokesman stressed.