The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that NATO is preparing to deploy four battalions — approximately 4,000 troops — to Russia’s western border. US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work was in Brussels today to announce the Western military escalation on Russia’s border, which he claimed was in response to Russian military exercises near the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
According to Deputy Secretary of Defense Work, two of the battalions would come from the United States, with one each coming from the UK and Germany. This announcement might come as news to German lawmakers, as such a significant German military presence on Russia’s borders has not been approved by Berlin. Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel has given Washington reason to believe that Germany would join the escalation, the move is considered highly controversial in a Germany growing weary of following US foreign policy dictates. In fact, according to recent polling, only one in three Germans supports the idea of the German military defending the Baltics even if there were a Russian attack. A clear majority of Germans oppose NATO military bases on Russia’s border.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the UK government has not agreed to send the troops either, despite the claims of unnamed “Western officials.”
The US deputy secretary of defense explained in Brussels that the US must send these thousands of troops thousands of miles from the US because Russia is conducting military exercises on its own soil and the US finds that intolerable.
Said Deputy Secretary Work:
The Russians have been doing a lot of snap exercises right up against the borders, with a lot of troops. From our perspective, we could argue this is extraordinarily provocative behavior.
What is not made clear in the article but should not be lost on readers is that “right up against the borders” is still Russian territory. But “right up against the borders” on the other side — where the US military is to be deployed and to conduct exercises — is most definitely not US territory. In other words, the US is traveling thousands of miles to place its troops on Russia’s border in response to Russian troops inside its border.
Here is Washington logic: Russian military exercises inside Russia are “extraordinarily provocative” but somehow stationing thousands of US troops on the border with Russia is not at all provocative. Just like US military exercises in the Baltic sea some 50 miles from Russian soil is not at all provocative, but Russian military plane fly-overs in response to these US military exercises is “reckless and provocative.” And just like the US flying a spy plane over highly-secret Russian military facilities on the Kamchatka peninsula is not at all provocative, but when the spy plane is buzzed by another Russian fighter, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter warns, “This is unprofessional. This is dangerous. This could lead somewhere.”
It’s never provocative when Washington’s interventionists do it.
NATO is looking at a number of strategies to boost its presence in Eastern Europe, including sending German troops to Lithuania, according to German media citing a Defense Ministry spokesman.
“There are various models under preliminary discussions and voting in NATO is underway,” the ministry’s spokesman Jens Flosdorff told the DPA news agency. “Decisions will be made this fall at the NATO summit in Warsaw.”
The remark confirmed Thursday’s reports that the country’s military was ready for a broader engagement to protect NATO’s eastern frontiers. The military alliance is to meet in the Polish capital Warsaw in July. The 28 member states are expected to agree on a roadmap to enhance combat readiness in Eastern Europe amid what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has described as a challenging regional security situation.
Der Spiegel reports that German armed forces may send some 1,000 soldiers to take part in the NATO mission in Lithuania if the alliance’s members approve the plan.
In March, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said he hoped Germany would support the need to increase NATO’s military presence in the Baltic States. He urged NATO not to rush to get back to normal dialogue with Russia as long as Moscow does not change its “aggressive policy.” NATO suspended all military cooperation with Moscow in the aftermath of Crimea’s accession to Russia.
According to Linkevicius’ comments made for the American newspaper Politico, a true partnership between Russia and NATO can only be restored if Moscow takes steps to withdraw its troops from Ukraine and ceases to carry out military exercises and military aircraft flights in the Baltic Sea.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov singled out Lithuania as the “most aggressive, Russo-phobic country” within NATO, adding it is pushing the alliance in an “anti-Russian direction.”
“After they [the Baltic nations] became free – the way they perceive it – and independent, after they proclaimed all the decisions concerning their sovereignty, they began to strive for NATO membership,” Lavrov said in an interview published Friday in the Swedish Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
“Moscow didn’t make a single attempt to pull them back, to say nothing of using force against them […] they were admitted to NATO but failed to develop any kind of tranquility and this particularly concerns Lithuania. It now makes up the most aggressive and Russo-phobic kernel within NATO,” he said.
Anti-Russian rhetoric, however, does not sit well with citizens of NATO member-states. As a recent Pew Research Center poll revealed, majorities in such NATO states as Germany (56 percent), Italy (51 percent) and France (53 percent) oppose the idea of protecting the Baltic States from a “military threat” allegedly posed by Russia. According to the poll, some 58 percent of Germans surveyed do not deem Russia a threat to their country, with 49 percent firmly against the idea of permanent deployment of NATO forces in Poland or any of the Baltic States.
Last week, permanent envoys from Russia and NATO member states met for the first time in two years. The meeting failed to yield any significant results due to “profound and persistent disagreements” on a number of geopolitical issues.
NATO has been increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea since the Ukrainian crisis began in 2014, in response to what it considers Russia’s aggression. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed accusations related to Ukraine, at the same time stressing that increased NATO activities near Russian borders could undermine both regional and global stability.
In a speech at the University of Bucharest in Romania on Tuesday NATO Deputy Secretary-General Alexander Vershbow discussed the main issues the Western alliance is facing.
He said the alliance is struggling with many complex risks apart from the “destabilizing actions” of Russia and “the tide of instability which has swept across the Middle East and North Africa.”
“We are also wrestling with other complex risks and threats to our cyber security, to our energy supplies, and in the case of international terrorism to the safety of the people on our streets,” he said.
Vershbow said NATO is doing everything to respond to these challenges, adding that “the alliance takes a 360 degree approach to deterring threats, to protecting its member nations and if necessary to defending them.”
“That presence will be rotational, multinational, and combat capable. It will thereby send a clear message to any potential aggressor that if they violate NATO’s territory, they will face strong response from the whole alliance; Americans, Europeans and home defense forces,” he said.
The NATO secretary general also said that the organization has “set up a series of small headquarters, including here in Romania, to support planning, training and re-enforcement.”
“We are intensifying our maritime patrols, exploring the need for increased military and exercises, providing support to partners like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova and encouraging efforts to strengthen energy security,” he said.
US sends F-22 Raptors to Romania
Vershbow’s comments came a day after the US sent two F-22 Raptor fighter jets to Romania as part of the commitment to NATO security.
The fighter jets, which travel at twice the speed of sound, touched down in Romania, close to the Black Sea and Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula and Russia.
A US statement said the aircraft possess sophisticated sensors which would allow pilots to track, identify, shoot and destroy air-to-air threats without being detected.
The dispatch of the fighter jets, which can also attack surface targets, came two weeks after Russian fighter jets buzzed an American warship in the Baltic Sea.
The Western military alliance has been deploying troops and equipment close to Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Crimean Peninsula integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.
The United States and its European allies accuse Moscow of destabilizing Ukraine and have imposed a number of sanctions against Russian and pro-Russia figures. Moscow, however, rejects having a hand in the Ukrainian crisis.
This as Moscow has on many occasions slammed the Western military alliance’s expansion near its borders, saying such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.
Two American F-22 Raptor 5G stealth fighter jets and a refueling aircraft have been deployed to an airfield in Romania as manifestation of NATO’s support to its Eastern European members against “Russian aggression.”
The US Air Force aircraft arrived at the air base on the Black Sea, less than 400km from the Russian military stronghold of Sevastopol on the Crimean Peninsula.
“For the first time in Romania, the next-generation combat aircraft F-22 Raptor, part of the US Air Force Europe mission, arrived today at Mihail Kogalniceanu military base,” the US Embassy said on its Facebook page Monday.
A KC-135 refueling plane accompanied two F-22 Raptor fighters on their way from the UK, where Washington has deployed 12 F-22s at Lakenheath, a British air base in eastern England, Reuters reports.
After citizens of the Crimean Peninsula voted in favor of reuniting with Russia in 2014, European countries and the US introduced economic and political sanctions against Moscow. US President Barack Obama further promised in 2014 to bolster military capabilities of NATO’s eastern members. The bloc has been conducting a large number of military training near the Russia’s western borders over the last two years, though without permanently stationing large forces on the territory of alliance’s new member states.
In August 2015, US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the F-22 deployment to Europe as part of the “European Reassurance Initiative,” would occur “very soon.”
By the end of August 2015, four F-22 Raptors assigned to the 95th Fighter Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base arrived at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany as part of Pentagon’s continued “push to deter Russia.”
The alliance’s warships are maintaining constant presence in the Black and Baltic Seas as part of intelligence and containment purposes, which has already led to a rise of tensions.
In its national security strategy for 2016, Russia proclaimed NATO’s expansion to the east a threat. Moscow also held several wide-scale military drills all across Russia, including its western borders, in the past year.
Most recently, Russian pilots on Sukhoi Su-24 bombers buzzed the destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea in mid-April, when the US destroyer was around 70km away from a Russian naval base.
With a reported price tag of $190 million, F-22 Raptor fighter jet developed by Boeing and Lockheed Martin remains the most expensive fighter jet in the world. The aircraft was introduced into service in 2005 and its production was halted in 2009 because of the price.
Altogether 187 aircraft have been constructed though initially production of 749 planes was planned.
The first military deployment of the aircraft took place in 2014 in military operation against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
After a US warship sailing near Russian waters in the Baltic Sea prompted a close flyby response from two Russian fighter jets, one US Army general has issued a threat to Moscow, should such an incident occur again.
Last week, the USS Donald Cook reported that two Russian Su-24s conducted repeated flyovers of the vessel as it sailed through the Baltic Sea. Pentagon officials decried the maneuvers as “unsafe and unprofessional.”
“This was more aggressive than anything we’ve seen in some time,” one official told Defense News, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Russian envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko stressed that the US destroyer represented a potential security threat and added that Russia would continue to take “all necessary measures [and] precautions to compensate US attempts to use military force.”
But the US continues to paint Russia as the aggressor in the incident, and on Thursday, Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, possibly setting the tone for his anticipated tenure, escalated the rhetoric.
President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the next NATO and US European Command commander, Scaparrotti was testifying before the Senate Armed Forces Committee on Thursday when he was asked by Arizona Senator John McCain if the US should reaffirm to Russia that it would take action to protect American lives.
“Sir, I believe that should be known, yes,” Scaparotti said, according to Business Insider.
Referencing the Baltic Sea incident, Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly then asked if Russia should be warned that “next time it doesn’t end well for you.”
“We should engage them and make clear what’s acceptable. Once we make that known, we have to enforce it,” he said.
“I think they’re pushing the envelope in terms of our resolve. It’s absolutely reckless, it’s unjustified and it’s dangerous.”
If confirmed as NATO commander, Scaparotti stated his first course of action would be to review America’s rules of engagement for the region.
The nominee’s aggressive posturing seems unnecessary, given that the USS Donald Cook was operating close to Russian waters and nearly 4,000 miles from home.
Writing for The American Conservative, political commentator Pat Buchanan criticized the US for using its Navy to provoke rival nations.
“In the South China Sea, US planes overfly, and US warships sail inside, the territorial limits of islets claimed by Beijing. In South Korea, US forces conduct annual military exercises as warnings to North Korea… US warships based in Bahrain confront Iranian subs and missile boats in the Gulf,” he wrote.
“Yet in each of these regions, it is not US vital interests that are threatened, but the interests of allies who will not man up to their own defense duties, preferring to lay them off on Uncle Sam. And America is beginning to buckle under the weight of its global obligations.”
They met in Hiroshima, Japan, in the first city on Earth that had been subjected to nuclear genocide. They were representing some of the mightiest nations on Earth: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – the so-called Group of Seven (G7). And at the end of their encounter, they called for “a world without nuclear weapons”.
I am talking about the foreign ministers of seven countries with the largest economies on Earth.
Read carefully the names of these countries, one by one! For decades and centuries, the world has been trembling imagining their armed forces and corporations. Lashes administered by their colonial rulers have scarred entire continents, tens of millions were enslaved, and hundreds of millions killed, billions robbed.
Even now, if we all listen carefully, we can clearly hear the victims screaming, in agony: the native people of Canada and United States, the colonized people of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. For centuries, the entire world has been in shackles, on its knees, humiliated, plundered and destroyed.
G7! How many billions of victims from all corners of the world, made those countries so ‘grand’?
To ensure that the pillage could continue uninterrupted, the West together with those “honorary whites” (a term that the South African apartheid regime invented exclusively for the Japanese people) created several aggressive and belligerent pacts, including NATO, calling them, of course, “defensive” alliances. It came as no surprise: remember that in the lexicon of the Empire of Lies, war is called peace, while aggression is always defined as defense. But this I have already described in detail, in my 820-page book “Exposing Lies of the Empire”.
Now foreign policy tsars of the “G7” were standing shoulder to shoulder again, in Hiroshima, of all places, and only a few days after the 71st anniversary of the nuclear blast. Making predictable declarations and self-glorifying speeches.
The weather was good, partly sunny, with excellent visibility. But was the world really able to see through the thick fog of Machiavellian cynicism and lies, dispersed all over the Planet by those grinning rulers of the world?
On April 11, 2016, the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) issued a written declaration on nuclear disarmament:
“We reaffirm our commitment to seeking a safer world for all and to creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in a way that promotes international stability”.
Seriously? No one around those ministers fell; nobody was seen to be rolling on the floor, shaking from uncontrollable laughter. Obviously, a joke repeated thousands of times loses its luster.
But that was not all. The text of the declaration continued:
“This task is made more complex by the deteriorating security environment in a number of regions, such as Syria and Ukraine, and, in particular by North Korea’s repeated provocations.”
What exactly were we reading? What was between the lines? Were we being told that the United States needs all of its 6,970 nuclear weapons to antagonize Syria and North Korea, while sustaining the fascist regime in Ukraine?
Just to put things into perspective: two Communist countries with nuclear capability have really negligible stockpiles of nuclear weapons, compared to the West and G7. China has 260 and North Korea (DPRK) approximately 15. In comparison, France has 300 and the U.K., 215.
In 2016, the population of China stands at 1.382 billion, while that of France is less than 65 million. China has more than 21 times more people to defend, but despite that, France has more nuclear weapons.
The comparison gets even more ridiculous between North Korea and the U.K.
The figures quoted above are the latest “official” statistics, taken from the World Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Report, updated as recently as on March 2, 2016.
It would also be appropriate to recall that North Korea has never invaded any foreign country. Also China (PRC), apart from two brief border clashes, has never been involved in any large-scale military conflict. Not once has it colonized or destroyed a foreign land. Both France and the U.K. have been plundering on all of the planet’s continents, for centuries. Later, in the 20th Century, the United States ‘took over’ the reigns of imperialism from the old and ‘traditional’ European colonialist empires.
One statement is actually correct: there is that deteriorating security environment in a number of regions, but only due to the covert as well as direct aggressions of NATO and the G7 countries.
But it would be even more honest to declare: “We are sorry, we really cannot disarm, because if we would, it would become much more difficult to loot and to control the world.”
Before dispersing, the G7 party did what its members enjoy doing the most: lashing at China.
As Reuters reported:
“Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies said they strongly opposed provocation in the East and South China Seas, where China is locked in territorial disputes with nations including the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan… Earlier on Monday, the G7 foreign ministers said after meeting in the Japanese city of Hiroshima that they opposed “any intimidating coercive or provocative unilateral actions that could alter the status quo and increase tensions”.”
The US is habitually implementing that ‘good old’ British ‘divide and rule’ strategy. In Asia, it uses its ‘client’ states, particularly the Philippines, Japan and South Korea to isolate and provoke both China and DPRK. This policy is so dangerous that many here believe that it could eventually trigger the Third World War.
This time, China has fired back, almost immediately. At a news briefing, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang declared:
“If the G7 wants to continue playing a major role in the world, it should take an attitude of seeking truth from the facts to handle the issues the international community is most concerned with at the moment.”
The Western military build-up in the Asia Pacific region, the military maneuvers conducted jointly by the US and South Korea, as well as the continuous militarization of Japan, are definitely some of the topics that are making most of the Asian continent both ‘concerned’ and frightened.
Predictably, the DPRK remained the main punch bag of the G7. The ministers never explained exactly why the world should be petrified of North Korea. Such fear should apparently be taken for granted, especially after the long decades of intensive and vicious Western and South Korean propaganda.
But back to the statement of the ministers:
“We condemn in the strongest terms the nuclear test on January 6 and the launch using ballistic missile technology on February 7, March 10 and March 18 conducted by North Korea. It is profoundly deplorable that North Korea has conducted four nuclear tests in the 21st century.”
Of course, building defenses against the combined NATO and G7 aggressions is one of the most deplorable crimes, it calls for capital punishment!
Shamelessly, after spreading verbal toxins, all seven ministers went to the grounds of the monument and museum dedicated to the victims of “Hiroshima A-bomb”.
The Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida led the pack. Under the bizarre leadership of his government, Japan has been doing its absolute best to betray Asia, and to antagonize its neighbors. In the most servile and shameful way, it has fully accepted the Western dictates, increased the volume of its own hysterical propaganda campaign against China and DPRK, and has begun to bolster its military.
Why? Just to please its masters, those ‘noble and superior Westerners’!
By now, Japan is not even what its Prime Minister Shinzō Abe wants the world to believe that it is: a conservative nation governed by a nationalist government.
Japan has no spine, just as it has no foreign policy. It fully takes orders from the United States. And as I was told repeatedly by one of the employees of the NHK: “No major media outlet in Japan would dare to broadcast anything important, related to international affairs, that hasn’t appeared previously on at least one of the major US networks.”
Looking at Japan’s past, “conservative nationalists” used to be, for instance, some of the greatest writers like Yukio Mishima, a man who ended his life in 1970 by committing a ritual suicide, protesting Japan’s unabashed submission to the West. Japan’s Prime Minister Abe is definitely a ‘conservative’, but is he really a Japanese nationalist? He is defending the interests of Washington much more than those of his own country. Perhaps, “honorary white and one of G7 leaders” would be the most fitting term to define him.
Now, according to the official NATO website: “Japan is the longest-standing of NATO’s “partners across the globe”.
It is also one of the nations that are shamelessly plundering the world through its brutal corporations.
And so they stood there – seven ministers from some of the most aggressive countries on Earth.
They stood on the turf that was, more than 70 years ago, burned to ashes, in just a few seconds after the nuclear explosion.
They said again and again how much they would like to disarm, how much they would like to see the world free of nuclear weapons.
What they didn’t say was that they never would disarm, voluntarily.
And they never clarified how they actually made it to that exclusive G7 club: because of the unbridled plunder during their colonial history, and because of the modern-day global corporate pillage, as well as their mining and oil “investments”. And of course because of the “world order”, imposed by force and all sorts of weapons, nuclear and conventional, on the rest of the Planet.
Instead of Group of Seven, this pack should be simply called ‘GS’ – the Group of Shame.
The ministers stood for some time in front of the flame burning at the monument to Hiroshima A-bomb victims. They posed for the cameras. Then they went away, sat down at some table, and wrote the official declaration on nuclear disarmament, ‘explaining’ why they cannot abandon their tools of coercion. And that declaration turned out to be nothing more than yet another monumental pile of lies!
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.
Ukraine will never accept secession of Crimea and independence of the eastern Donbass region, new Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said Thursday.
The Ukrainian Parliament earlier on Thursday accepted Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation and appointed Parliament Speaker Volodomyr Groysman to the position.
“Another question to which the new government will pay extra attention will be the range of issues related to returning Crimea and the temporarily occupied Donbass regions… I want to outline my position clearly, we shall never accept that a part of our country… non longer belongs to Ukraine,” Groysman said.
Boosting Ukraine’s military capabilities will be a top priority for the country’s new government, according to Groysman.
I wish to underline that increasing our defense capabilities in conditions of Russian aggression remains a top priority for my government. We have a clear plan on implementing our defense capabilities in accordance with NATO standards,” Groysman said.
Introduction: The terror bombings in Paris and Brussels have raised a cacophony of voices, ranging from state officials, Prime Ministers and Presidents, to academics, journalists and media consultants. Tons of ink and print have focused on the psychology, networks and operations of the alleged perpetrators – radicalized young Muslim citizens of the EU.
Few have examined the long-term, large-scale policies of the EU, US and NATO, which have been associated with the development and growth of the worldwide terror networks. This essay will discuss the historical links between Islamist terrorists and the US-Saudi Arabian-Pakistani intervention in Afghanistan, as well as the consequences of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. In Iraq, the US implemented a deliberate policy of destroying all secular state structures and promoting the Balkanization of the country via ethnic-religious and tribal wars – a policy it has followed in subsequent areas of intervention.
The last section will focus on the US-EU-Gulf Petrol-Monarchy proxy invasions and ‘regime change’ bombings of the secular republics of Libya and Syria with the further cultivation and growth of international Islamist terrorism.
Historical Origins of International Islamist Terrorism: Afghanistan
In 1979, President James Carter and his National Security Chief, Zbigniew Brzezinski, launched Operation Cyclone, a major Islamist uprising against the Soviet- aligned secular Afghan regime. The US coordinated its campaign with the rabidly anti-Soviet monarchy in Saudi Arabia, which provided the funding and mercenaries for ‘international jihad’ against secular governance. This brutal campaign ‘officially’ lasted 10 years until the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. It produced millions of casualties and decades of ‘blow-back’ when the CIA-Pakistani-Saudi trained Arab mercenaries (the ‘Afghan-Arabs’) returned to their home countries and elsewhere. The US intelligence agencies, Special Forces Commands and military directorates (especially Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service) trained and armed terrorists with US-Saudi funding. The American covert financial contribution mushroomed over the years rising to over $670 million dollars a year by 1987. Tens of thousands of Islamist mercenaries and adventurers were recruited from the Middle East, North Africa, the Gulf States, the Soviet Union (Chechens), Yugoslavia (Bosnians and Kosovars), China (Uigurs) and Western Europe.
With the defeat of the secular regime of President Najibullah in 1992, the Islamists and tribal factions then fought among themselves, converting Afghanistan into the world’s best-equipped training ground for International Islamist terrorists. Eventually, the Pashtun-based Taliban faction (with Pakistani arms and support) prevailed and established an extreme Islamist regime. The Taliban, despite its rhetoric, settled down to consolidating their brand of ‘Islamism in one country’, (1995-2001), a largely nationalist project. In its quest for respectability, it successfully destroyed the opium poppy fields, earning the praise of US President GW Bush in spring 2001. It also hosted a variety of Saudi princes and warlords, eventually including the jihadi-internationalist Osama bin Laden, who had been driven from North Africa.
Following the terrorist attack on the US in September 2001, the US and NATO invaded Afghanistan on October 2001 and overthrew the nation-centered Islamist Taliban regime. The subsequent chaos and guerrilla war opened up a huge new inflow and outflow of thousands of international extremists who came to Afghanistan, trained, fought and then departed, fully prepared to practice their terrorist skills in their countries of origin in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
The US interventions and invasion of Afghanistan provide some of the context for the subsequent bombings in Europe and the US. The Islamist ‘returnees’ to Europe and elsewhere had received funds from Saudi Arabia and training from the CIA and Pakistani intelligence. They began their work among a very ‘available’ constituency of potential recruits in the marginalized Muslim youth of the ghettos and prisons of Europe.
The Middle Period: the US-Zionist Invasion and Destruction of Iraq
The turning point in the growth and internationalization of Islamist terrorism was the US invasion, occupation and systematic reign of terror in Iraq. Largely under the guidance of key US Zionist policymakers (and Israeli advisers) in the Pentagon, State Department and the White House, the US dismantled the entire secular Iraqi army and police forces. They also purged the administrative, civil, educational, medical and scientific institutions of nationalistic secular professionals, opening the field to warring Islamist tribal factions. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed and millions fled in a regime of ethnic cleansing – which Washington touted as a model for the rest of the Middle East. However, thousands of experienced, but jobless Iraqi military officers, who had survived the US-orchestrated purges, regrouped and eventually joined with tens of thousands of nationalist and internationalist Islamist extremists to form ISIS. Their motives were arguable less ethno-religious and more related to revenge for their displacement and the destruction of their own society.
The deliberate US (Zionist)-EU-Saudi strategy to divide and conquer Iraq initially involved working closely with Sunni feudal tribal leaders and other extremists to counter the rising power of pro-Iranian Shia. They promoted a policy of fragmenting the country with the Kurds dominating in the North, the Sunnis in the center and the Shia in the south (the so-called Joseph Biden-Leslie Gelb Plan of national dismemberment and ethnic cleansing). The rationale was to create a weak central authority completely under US-EU tutelage and a loose group of fragmented subsistence fiefdoms in what had been the most advanced secular Arab republic.
Despite pouring billions of dollars in arms from the US to create a puppet-colonial Iraqi ‘national army’, the Saudis and Israelis pursued their own policy of financing sectors of the Kurds and violent Sunni opposition – with the latter forming the original mass base of ISIS.
As the US-client Shia regime in Baghdad focused on stealing billions while killing or exiling hundreds of thousands of educated Sunnis, Christians and other secular Iraqis from the capital, the morale of its US-puppet troops plummeted. With the entire experienced and nationalist Iraqi officer core purged (slaughtered or driven into hiding), the new puppet officers were cowardly, corrupt and incompetent – as openly acknowledged by their US ‘advisers’. ISIS, meanwhile had acquired hundreds of thousands of US weapons and was financed by the Shia-hating Saudi Royal Family and other Gulf Monarchs. Armed Sunnis soon launched major, lightning-quick offensives under the leadership of ex-Baathist army officers, supported by thousands of terrorists, suicide bombers and foreign mercenaries. US and European ‘military experts’ expressed ’shock’ at their effectiveness.
ISIS routed the Baghdad-controlled army, their US advisers and Kurdish allies from northern Iraq, capturing major cities, including Mosul, thousands of productive oil wells and drove their forces to within a few dozen kilometers of Baghdad. Territorial conquest and military successes attracted thousands more Islamist volunteers from the Middle East, Europe, Afghanistan and even North America. ISIS provided the military training; Saudi Arabia paid their salaries; Turkey purchased their captured oil and antiquities and opened its borders to the transfer of jihadi troops and weapons. Israel, for its part, purchased captured ISIS petrol at a discount from corrupt Turkish traders. Each regional player had its snout in the bloody trough that had once been Iraq!
ISIS successes in Iraq, led it to expand its operations and ambitions across the border into Syria. This occurred just as the US and EU were bombing and destroying the secular government of Colonel Gadhafi in Libya, in another ‘wildly successful’ planned campaign of ‘regime change’ (According to US Secretary of State Clinton as she gleefully watched the captive wounded Gadhafi ’snuff film’ by unspeakable torture – ‘WE came and HE died’.).
The chaos that ensued in Libya led to an exponential growth of extremist Islamist groups with tons of weapons of ‘liberated’ Libyan weapons! Islamist terrorists in Libya gained territory, took over oil wells and attracted ‘volunteers’ from the marginalized youth of neighboring Tunisia, Egypt, Mali and as far away as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Flush with more guns, money and training. Many graduates went on to Syria and Iraq.
The Contemporary Period: EU-US-Turkey-Saudi-Israeli Sponsored War in Syria
In 2011, as ISIS rolled across the Iraqi border into Syria and terrorist Islamist bands seized cities in Libya, the US-EU-Turkish-Saudi and Israeli regimes financed and armed Islamist (and the mythical ‘moderate’) forces in Syria to overthrow the nationalist-secular Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad.
Thousands of Islamist extremist volunteers heeded the call (and the fat paychecks) of the Saudi regime and its Salafist propagandists. These constituted the Saudi Royal Family’s own ‘Foreign Legion’. They were trained and armed and shipped into Syria by Turkish intelligence. The US armed and trained hundreds of its own so-called ‘moderate rebels’ whose fighters quickly defected to ISIS and other terrorist groups turning over tons of US arms, while the ‘moderate rebel leaders’ gave press conferences from London and Washington. ISIS seized swaths of Syrian territory, sweeping westward toward the Russian naval and air bases on the coast and upward from the south, encircling Damascus. Millions were uprooted and minority populations were enslaved or slaughtered.
The news of ISIS territorial gains with their plundered oil wealth from sales to Turkey and the flow of arms from Saudi Arabia, the EU and the US attracted over 30,000 ‘volunteer’ mercenaries from North America, Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
These new terrorists received military training, including bomb making and logistical planning in Syria. Many were citizens of the EU, Islamist extremists, numbering over five thousand. These young fighters trained and fought in Syria and then returned to France, Belgium, Germany and the rest of the EU. They had gone to Syria with the tacit support and/or tolerance of their own European governments who had used them, rather than NATO troops, in the US-EU campaign of ‘regime change’ against Damascus.
The European governments were sure they had ‘their’ Muslim recruits under control as they joined the US in a reckless policy of overthrowing independent secular governments in the Middle East and North Africa. They happily encouraged their marginalized young Muslim citizens to flock to Syria and fight. They hoped they would remain in Syria (fighting on the ground or buried under the ground). Officially, EU leaders claimed to support ‘moderate rebels’ (the bland term Western media used to sanitize Islamist terrorists) fighting the Assad ‘dictatorship’. European regimes were not prepared to detain the battle hardened ‘returnees’, who had been trained in Iraq and Syria. These young European Muslims (children of immigrants or converts to Islam) had been heavily indoctrinated and incorporated into international terrorist networks. They easily melted back into their marginalized European urban ghettos – beyond the control of Europe’s bloated intelligence services.
In practice, the EU regimes saw the thousands of Europe’s Muslim youth flocking to Syria as an ‘EU Foreign Legion’, a glorified wastebasket for unemployed young thugs and ex-prisoners, who would advance NATO’s imperial goals while solving the domestic social problem of the marginalized children of North African migrants. Europe’s Muslim youth were viewed as convenient cannon fodder by NATO planners and the governments of France, Belgium and the UK. For public relations, it was better for these young men and women to die overthrowing the secular government in Syria than to send in European soldiers (white Christians) whose deaths would have domestic political repercussions.
The EU underestimated the depth of antagonism these ‘volunteers’ felt about US-EU intervention in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as their anger at Europe’s continued support for Israeli land grabs in Palestine. In its racist arrogance, EU leaders underestimated the capacity of ISIS to indoctrinate, train and organize these marginalized kids from Europe’s slums into effective international cells able to carry the war back to Europe.
The EU smugly overlooked the active roles of Turkey and Saudi Arabia who had their own independent, regional ambitions. Ankara and Riyadh trained and financed the ‘volunteers’, and facilitated their flow into Syria from camps in Turkey and Jordan. The wounded were treated in Turkey and sometimes even in Israel. Thousands, many EU citizens, would flow back into Europe or to their countries of origin in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Russia.
The EU had slavishly and blindly followed Washington’s lead in all its Middle East wars. Now it is now paying a big price: Thousands of trained terrorists have returned; bombings and attacks on European civilians and civil structures have occurred, while the European government leaders trip over each other in a mad rush to dismantle civil and constitutional citizen rights and impose wide ranging police state measures (States of Emergency).
These new Saudi-funded terrorist recruits (Riyadh’s Legionnaires) are active in all the countries where the US and EU have launched proxy wars: Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan . . . Turkey funds ISIS terrorists in Syria, Iraq and Kurdish territories to advance its own expansionist ambitions – oblivious to the clucking disapproval of EU leaders. Now Turkey receives over 6 billion Euro’s from the EU in what amounts to blackmail: In return, Turkey will ‘contain’ the flood of regional refugees in barely disguised concentration camps out of European sight.
Ever since the US-EU policymakers decided to implement a war against Arab and West Asian secular nationalism in the Middle-East, Afghanistan, Iran and North Africa through serial ‘regime change’ campaigns they have relied on Islamist Salafist mercenaries and volunteers to do most of the killing on the ground, while the West operates from the air. Washington and its NATO allies operated on the assumption that they could use and then discard their recruits, mostly from marginalized urban youth and criminal gangs, once they had served imperial military purposes. A few with requisite talent and ruthlessness could be turned into puppet ‘leaders’ to unleash on the Russians and other ‘obstacles’ in future engagements.
The EU-US totally misunderstood the volunteers’ high level of independence, their organizational autonomy and their own understanding of the tactical nature of their alliance with Western imperialism. Islamist extremist leaders, like their Western counterparts, believe there are no permanent alliances – only permanent interests.
The EU and US have pursued a policy of overthrowing independent Muslim and secular Arab nations and returning them to the status of pre-independence semi-colonies. The rollback policy against secular nationalism (with its deep roots in the Dulles era) has extended from North Africa, through the Middle East to Southwest Asia. For its part, ISIS and its allies envision a return to a pre-colonial Islamic caliphate over the same lands and people to counter Western imperialism. Millions are caught in the middle.
ISIS views the Westernized secular elites in the Muslim countries as a fifth column for the spread of empire, while it has re-socialized and trained young Islamists from the EU to serve as networks of terrorists ‘behind enemy lines’ sowing mayhem in the West.
The political repercussions of this internationalized war are profound. Millions of civilians in the war zones have been and will be killed, uprooted and converted into desperate refugees flooding the EU. Police-state emergency rule, arbitrary searches, arrests and interrogations have become the norm in the highly militarized European airports, train and metro stations, as well as markets and cultural centers. The EU has increasingly undergone an ‘Israelization’ of its society, with its population polarized and resembling Israel- Palestinian . . . its Muslim community marginalized and confined into little Gaza’s.
In this charged atmosphere, Israeli high tech security companies and advisers flourish, mergers and acquisitions of police state technology multiply. Israeli Prime Minister Benny Netanyahu embraces the French Prime Minister Hollande in the club of electoral authoritarians.
Meanwhile the refugees and their children flow to and fro, the bombs come and go. We line up to place flowers on our latest dead and then pay our taxes for more wars in the Middle East. More young ‘volunteers’ will become cheap fodder to fight in our wars; some will return and plant more bombs, so we can mourn some more at patriotic vigils -protected by armed battalions…
RT | April 6, 2016
The Netherlands is holding an advisory referendum on a key treaty between the European Union and Ukraine. This vote is important for a number of reasons – it is a unique opportunity to face head-on what many call the EU’s democracy deficit. Also, we will find out if the West’s institutionalized anti-Russia bias reflects the popular will.
CrossTalking with Ben Aris, Gilbert Doctorow, and Joost Niemoller.
Consortium News | April 7, 2016
Dutch voters struck a blow against the E.U.’s Ukrainian association agreement – and the incessant Russia-bashing that has surrounded it – creating hope for less belligerence in Europe, writes Gilbert Doctorow. – Read article
On this overcast Thursday morning in Brussels, the political capital of Europe, rays of bright sunshine are breaking through from the east as the latest results of vote counting in neighboring Netherlands suggest that Wednesday’s referendum against the European Union’s Association Agreement with Ukraine won two out of every three votes and passed the 30 percent participation requirement of all eligible voters to be considered valid.
If those results are confirmed by the official results – to be released on April 12 – this referendum marks a resounding defeat for the Brussels-led conspiracy to pursue Russia-bashing policies of sanctions and information warfare without consulting public opinion at home.
To change metaphors and speak in terms of Dutch folklore, it is the first crack in the dam that many of us have been waiting for, the opportunity for common sense to prevail over the illogic, hubris and plain pigheadedness of those who control the E.U. institutions in Brussels, and afar from Berlin and Washington.
While the referendum was formally just “advisory,” both the public statements of parliamentarians and the acknowledgements of the Dutch government ahead of the voting indicated that it will force a new vote in parliament on ratification and likely send Prime Minister Mark Rutte to Brussels hat in hand, requesting a renegotiation of the Association Agreement.
As such, it may bring the E.U. foreign policy machinery to a shuddering halt and open the illogic of all its policies towards its eastern borderlands over the past several years to public scrutiny and, possibly, to revision.
However, whether this was the decisive moment when the E.U. is brought to its senses or just the first of a series of knock-out blows directed at the political correctness and group think that have been driving policy ever since the coup d’etat in Ukraine on Feb. 22, 2014, its importance cannot be overstated.
We have been hearing for more than a year that the Russia-bashing policies – the sanctions in particular – were opposed by a growing minority of E.U. member states. Among the dissenters named at one point or other have been Italy, Hungary and Slovakia. Then came Bavaria, within Germany, whose minister-president Horst Seehofer just months ago flouted the policies of Chancellor Merkel and paid court to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. On Wednesday, the president of Austria did the same.
And yet, despite all the fine words to reporters about how the sanctions violate the basic economic interests of their countries and of Europe as a whole, none of these statesmen broke ranks when the sanctions repeatedly came up for renewal. The significance of Wednesday’s vote in The Netherlands was that this time the people spoke, not their elected or appointed officials. This was a consultation to remember.
In effect, the referendum played out at two levels. At the domestic level, it was a power struggle between the mainstream centrist parties in The Netherlands who stand for a “go with the flow” approach on E.U. decisions and decision-making, versus the Euroskeptic extremes on the left and especially on the right.
On the right, Geerd Wilders and his Freedom Party want to put a stick in the gears of the E.U. machinery and halt the slow-motion, seemingly unstoppable move towards greater union, indeed towards federalism that have gained momentum ever since the onset of the financial crisis in 2008. In that sense, the vote foreshadows the campaign fight of the parliamentary elections that will take place in The Netherlands in 2017.
At the same time, the referendum had a geopolitical dimension going way beyond the spoils of office, as a proxy battle in The Netherlands between those who favor a pro-U.S./pro-NATO approach versus those seeking improved relations with Moscow.
In both dimensions, the particulars of the E.U.’s Association Agreement with Ukraine that runs several thousand pages were not the real issue on the ballot. All of which begs the question of what exactly Prime Minister Rutte will eventually be asking the E.U. Commission to renegotiate.
The signs are multiplying that the E.U. consensus on foreign policy driven by German Chancellor Angela Merkel is nearing collapse. Within Germany itself, her detractors are becoming ever bolder. Earlier this week, the German newspapers were carrying on their front pages news of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s invitation to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to visit him at his home next week.
This move is seen as a direct rebuke to Merkel and her policy of open-arms to refugees from Syria and the Middle East, a policy that Orban led a number of new Member States in opposing.
The next big test for the European Union, and the next opportunity to deal a severe blow to its complacent leadership in Brussels will be the Brexit referendum in the U.K. at the end of June.
NB: the issues in the referendum were the featured topic in RT’s Cross Talk show released on 6 April during which I expanded on these points and on the criminal folly of EU policy on Ukraine:
For a video discussion about the Dutch referendum, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCAsC_dw8wY
Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator, American Committee for East West Accord, Ltd. His latest book Does Russia Have a Future? (August 2015) is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon.com and affiliated websites. For donations to support the European activities of ACEWA, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. © Gilbert Doctorow, 2016
The sudden aggravation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is fraught with serious consequences. The warring sides, as well as the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group, have to realize that the situation may get out of hand and entail irreversible consequences against the will of the belligerents.
Armenian First Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan said in a statement made at the Sunday (April 3) briefing with foreign defense attaches that Armenia is ready for any scenario as the events unfold, «including direct military assistance to the security of the Nagorno-Karabakh republic».
The statement indicates that things will never be the same as before, especially after Turkey, Pakistan and some other countries have voiced their support for Azerbaijan. Once made public, the statements cannot be taken back. The development of events suggests that some forces pursue a hidden agenda in an effort to unfreeze the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and make the escalation irreversible.
In recent years, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh worsened from time to time, but it never escalated to large-scale operations involving aviation and heavy equipment. Moreover, decisions to start combat actions can not be taken in absence of state leaders. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan were in Washington when the situation escalated overnight on April 2.
The outside factors probably play a much bigger role than it may seem at first glance.
Evidently, some countries, like Russia, for instance, have no interest in the escalation of the conflict in the Caucasus. Moscow plays the leading role in the crisis management efforts. It has always strived for developing mutually beneficial ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The aggravation of the conflict creates a problem for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia is a member of the CSTO, which is to defend it if attacked. But the organization has no obligations to defend the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Article 4 of the Treaty states «If an aggression is committed against one of the States Parties by any state or a group of states, it will be considered as an aggression against all the States Parties to this Treaty. In case an act of aggression is committed against any of the States Parties, all the other States Parties will render it necessary assistance, including military one, as well as provide support with the means at their disposal through an exercise of the right to collective defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter».
The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is not covered by the Treaty, but the broad interpretation of its text may lead to misunderstanding inside the CSTO between Russia and Armenia on the one hand, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on the other hand.
Obviously, the bloodshed does not meet the interests of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, outside forces have entered a «window of opportunity» to incite Baku.
Now who gains as a result of Azerbaijan’s involvement in the conflict? There are at least three parties to benefit.
Turkey tops the list. Having suffered a defeat in Syria and in face of growing impact of the Kurdish factor, Erdogan could go as far as sparking the Caucasian hotbed to entangle Russia. His plans may envision provoking a confrontation between the Russian Federation and NATO. If so, he could have given certain assurances and guarantees to Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev during his visit to Turkey on March 15.
Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper warned about possible escalation of the conflict in February.
The information was confirmed by the fact that the air forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey held March 7-25 joint military exercises TurAz Shahini-2016 in the Turkish province of Konya as part of the TurAz Qartali program of military cooperation. The exercises were held in accordance with the annual plan of joint training events that kicked off last September.
The United States, or, to be more precise, the circles in Washington interested in keeping up tensions in the relationship with Moscow, is the second party, which has a stake in the conflict’s flare up. The goal is to weaken the Collective Security Treaty Organization and create snugs on the way of post-Soviet space integration. Sparking a conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is the best way to do it.
The third party interested in the conflict is the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, especially Qatar. This country has close ties with Turkey. It challenges Saudi Arabia as the leader of the organization. Besides, there are heightened tensions between the Gulf Cooperation Council members and Iran. Iranian Azerbaijanis account for 15-16% of the country’s population. Tehran has had good relations with Erevan ever since early 1990s. Like Russia, it has no interest in inciting the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Qatar and Turkey enjoy special relationship. They are known for tacit support of Muslim Brotherhood. It would be logical to surmise that both countries coordinate policies on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
Azerbaijan and the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh said on April 5 they were halting hostilities after four days of intense fighting.
The world community pins great hopes on the ability of the OSCE to prevent the worst from happening .
Following a meeting with US President Obama, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg lauded the block’s “biggest reinforcement since Cold War,” promising European members will step up defense spending, while listing an “assertive Russia” among the alliance’s chief threats.
While never mentioning the maker of the latest “obsolete NATO” remarks by name, on Monday both Barack Obama and Stoltenberg did their utmost to dismiss Donald Trump’s recent statements and defend the Cold War-era block’s supposedly crucial role in assuring the allies’ security.
Obama described NATO as “a linchpin, a cornerstone of US security policy,” while Stoltenberg said it was “important as ever,” while ramming home the story that NATO “has been able to adapt” to a “more dangerous world.” The comments were made after a bilateral meeting in Washington, DC scheduled to mark the 67th anniversary of NATO – the first such high-level talks since the Paris and Brussels attacks.
“Together, we are now implementing the biggest reinforcement through our collective defense since the end of the Cold War,” Stoltenberg said.
The challenges discussed at the meeting ranged from countering Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorism in Libya, Syria, and at home, and training security forces in Afghanistan for “pushing back against the Taliban,” to dealing with the European migrant crisis and helping resolve the conflict in eastern Ukrainian. However, the reinforcements in question boiled down to one perceived threat: containing “a more assertive Russia, responsible for aggressive actions in Ukraine.”
Indeed, Obama has backed quadrupling the budget of the so-called European Reassurance Initiative, as the Pentagon has announced a plan to deploy additional US Army troops and equipment in Eastern Europe in 2017, meaning that US military presence in Europe could soon amount to three fully operational army brigades.
“This is really a strong example of the Transatlantic bond, how the United States is important for the security of Europe,” claimed Stoltenberg.
The “reassurance” would come at a price, however, with US taxpayers potentially on the hook for the $3.4 billion requested by Obama from Congress, and the alliance’s chief now pushing European NATO member states to step up their commitment by coughing additional funding up for the block from their coffers.
“I will work together with all the NATO allies to make sure that they make good on the pledge they made together to increase defense spending. And this is about that we have to invest more in our security when tensions increases, and therefore we have to make sure that we do what we promised, and that is to invest more in defense in the following years.”
The US and NATO have been increasingly active in pushing for a stronger military presence in Europe, particularly in regions close to Russia’s border. They argue that this deployment is necessary to deter Moscow from making aggressive military moves.
Commenting on the latest developments to Izvestia daily, Russia’s permanent representative to NATO, Aleksandr Grushko, noted on Thursday that alliance’s new advances contradict the spirit of the international treaties on mutual relations and military activity, which state that the Western military bloc is not to permanently station additional forces near Russian borders. He added that the plan to deploy new armored units in Eastern Europe would lead to “a significant deterioration of the situation in the military sphere,” vowing a “totally asymmetrical” response from Russia.
“We are not passive observers, we consistently take all the military measures we consider necessary in order to counterbalance this reinforced presence that is not justified by anything,” Grushko said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama told reporters on Monday that NATO is currently in contact with Russia with regard to resolving the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, but only in the form of consultations.
“NATO is consulting with Russia to reduce tensions and potential escalation,” the White House announced in a pool report. Obama then noted that both the US and NATO plan to further train and support the Ukrainian military in order to enhance its defense capabilities. “[US and NATO will] continue to be united in Ukraine in the wake of Russian incursions in the Ukrainian territory, [working in] a ‘train and assist’ fashion to help Ukraine develop its military capabilities defensively.”
“That does not mean we are not continuing to work with Russia to try and find a resolution to the problems in Ukraine. We think it’s important to maintain a dialogue with Russia and in a very transparent fashion indicate the firmness of our resolve to protect our values and our allies,” the pool report quoted Obama as saying.
The US has accused Moscow of military engagement in Ukraine, while Russia has repeatedly denied these claims. Kiev launched a military operation against militias in eastern Ukraine in April 2014 after they refused to recognize the new coup-installed government in Kiev. The confrontation has claimed over 9000 lives to date, according to UN estimates. Despite the second Minsk agreement of February 2015, which was aimed at suspending hostilities in the region and facilitating a political solution to the conflict, both sides occasionally breach the agreed upon ceasefire.