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Regional geopolitics

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  • Re: Regional geopolitics

    ISIS seizes big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base
    Debka

    Islamic State forces pushed their assault forward to retake the central Syrian town of Palmyra Monday, Dec. 12. By evening, they had entered the big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base outside the town, carrying off substantial quantities of Russian armaments. Reporting this, DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the booty they snatched included different types of ground-to-ground missiles as well as anti-tank and anti-air rockets.
    Russian forces manning the base were hurriedly evacuated from Palmyra and the T-4 base, after the worst defeat Russian armed forces had ever experienced at ISIS hands in Syria. Military circles in Moscow commented grimly that the Russian army had suffered “a major disgrace” in Palmyra.
    According to our sources, long convoys of ISIS fighters backed by tanks taken booty from the Syrian army, first forced the Syrian 11th Tank Division to abandon the strategic Jhar Crossroad. After that, the way was clear for the jihadis’ column to reach the T-4 base.
    DEBKAfile reported on the ISIS terrorists’ fresh momentum Sunday.

    Judging from the rash of reports claiming US-Iraqi military progress in the Mosul offensive against ISIS and the extra American special operations forces personnel posted to Syria for an impending US-Kurdish operation to capture the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the Islamic State ought to be cowering under siege, finally defeated - or at least on the run.
    But the facts tell another story. ISIS is on the offensive – so far in the Middle East. Over the weekend, Islamist terrorists accounted for dozens of deaths and injured hundreds more.
    Sunday, Dec. 11, at least 25 people worshipping at the Coptic St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s church adjacent to St, Mark’s cathedral in Cairo were killed and scores injured. The Coptic pope often leads the prayers there. DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources reveal that the attack was carried out by Islamist terrorists from Raqqa who bided their time until they struck in the Egyptian capital. Saturday, six Egyptian troops were killed by another Islamist bomb near the Giza pyramids.
    On the same day, ISIS fighters pushed back into the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, nine months after their expulsion.
    The Raqqa terrorist stronghold is clearly alive and kicking on more than one front. A number of contributing factors enable the Islamic State to unleash a fresh spate of terror.
    1. The US-Iraqi-Kurdish drive has stalled without driving ISIS out of Mosul or choking off the terrorist fighters’ freedom to move between Mosul and Raqqa, their Syrian bastion.
    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who arrived in Baghdad Sunday, Dec. 11, was assigned by the Obama administration to make a last effort to reactivate the Mosul campaign. His chances of success are slim. The military coalition which launched the campaign two months ago has lost a vital component, the Kurdish Peshmerga, which backed out three weeks ago. The Iraqi military units which captured some of the city’s outskirts stopped short when they reached the strongest defense lines set up by the Islamic State and have been unable to break through, even with US air support.
    The pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite front which undertook to seize Tal Afar in order to sever the ISIS connecting link between Iraq and Syria are parked outside, having been warned by Turkey not to set foot in the town.
    Added to these setbacks, the US CENTCOM which is running the aerial war in Iraq is at loggerheads with the Iraqi Air Force command and has practically grounded all Iraqi warplanes.
    Even if Carter can wave a magic wand and resolve all these issues, the momentum and high hopes that actuated the Mosul campaign when it started have been lost and can hardly be recovered before Barack Obama leaves the White House.
    At least two of the incoming president Donald Trump’s designated security advisers – Defense Secretary Gen, James Mattis and National security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn – have criticized the operation in is current form.
    2. What is happening in Raqqa doesn’t fit the designation of an offensive. At most, small Kurdish and Syrian rebel groups are mounting sporadic raids against ISIS fighters on the town’s outskirts, with the support of the Obama administration. Our military experts say that Raqqa can’t be captured from the Islamist terrorists by conventional means – mainly because it is spread over a large area of mostly empty desert. ISIS has taken advantage of this terrain to distribute knots of defenders across a vast area ranging hundreds of kilometers from northern to eastern Syria up to the winding, heavily overgrown banks of the Euphrates River.
    So when Ash Carter announced Saturday that he would be sending another 200 Special Operations Forces into Syria to join the battle for Raqqa, he had no idea that he, the Russians and the Syrians were about to be caught off guard by a fresh ISIS initiative to reoccupy Palmyra, the ancient Syrian two from which they are thrown out in March.
    This was a poke in the eye for Russian President Vladimir Putin who proclaimed Palmyra’s capture from ISIS as a signal coup for the Russian army in its war on Islamist terror.
    3. He might well commiserate with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. For two years, the Egyptian armed forces have been fighting an uphill battle to crush the ISIS groups infesting the Sinai Peninsula. The jihadists constantly elude punishment with the help of supportive Bedouin tribes.
    Every few months, they pose a real threat to the stability of the El-Sisi regime by striking inside Cairo, the capital, with some terrorist atrocity, for which they are aided by the Muslim Brotherhood underground and Palestinian Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.
    The bombing of the Coptic church Saturday was unusually the work of jihadists deployed from Raqqa, Syria. Egypt has reacted by placing extra guards at Christian sites and declaring three days of national morning for the disastrous bombing attack on Egypt’s largest minority.
    The new Islamist drive is looking ominously like the onset of the Christmas-New Year holiday terror onslaught the Islamic State has threatened to unleash in the Middle East and beyond. US and European security services have been placed on high alert in the belief that returning jihadis are programmed to strike at home.

    Comment


    • Re: Regional geopolitics

      Originally posted by Vrej1915 View Post
      ISIS seizes big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base
      Debka

      Islamic State forces pushed their assault forward to retake the central Syrian town of Palmyra Monday, Dec. 12. By evening, they had entered the big Russian-Syrian T-4 air base outside the town, carrying off substantial quantities of Russian armaments. Reporting this, DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the booty they snatched included different types of ground-to-ground missiles as well as anti-tank and anti-air rockets.
      Russian forces manning the base were hurriedly evacuated from Palmyra and the T-4 base, after the worst defeat Russian armed forces had ever experienced at ISIS hands in Syria. Military circles in Moscow commented grimly that the Russian army had suffered “a major disgrace” in Palmyra.
      According to our sources, long convoys of ISIS fighters backed by tanks taken booty from the Syrian army, first forced the Syrian 11th Tank Division to abandon the strategic Jhar Crossroad. After that, the way was clear for the jihadis’ column to reach the T-4 base.
      DEBKAfile reported on the ISIS terrorists’ fresh momentum Sunday.

      Judging from the rash of reports claiming US-Iraqi military progress in the Mosul offensive against ISIS and the extra American special operations forces personnel posted to Syria for an impending US-Kurdish operation to capture the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, the Islamic State ought to be cowering under siege, finally defeated - or at least on the run.
      But the facts tell another story. ISIS is on the offensive – so far in the Middle East. Over the weekend, Islamist terrorists accounted for dozens of deaths and injured hundreds more.
      Sunday, Dec. 11, at least 25 people worshipping at the Coptic St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s church adjacent to St, Mark’s cathedral in Cairo were killed and scores injured. The Coptic pope often leads the prayers there. DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources reveal that the attack was carried out by Islamist terrorists from Raqqa who bided their time until they struck in the Egyptian capital. Saturday, six Egyptian troops were killed by another Islamist bomb near the Giza pyramids.
      On the same day, ISIS fighters pushed back into the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, nine months after their expulsion.
      The Raqqa terrorist stronghold is clearly alive and kicking on more than one front. A number of contributing factors enable the Islamic State to unleash a fresh spate of terror.
      1. The US-Iraqi-Kurdish drive has stalled without driving ISIS out of Mosul or choking off the terrorist fighters’ freedom to move between Mosul and Raqqa, their Syrian bastion.
      US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who arrived in Baghdad Sunday, Dec. 11, was assigned by the Obama administration to make a last effort to reactivate the Mosul campaign. His chances of success are slim. The military coalition which launched the campaign two months ago has lost a vital component, the Kurdish Peshmerga, which backed out three weeks ago. The Iraqi military units which captured some of the city’s outskirts stopped short when they reached the strongest defense lines set up by the Islamic State and have been unable to break through, even with US air support.
      The pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite front which undertook to seize Tal Afar in order to sever the ISIS connecting link between Iraq and Syria are parked outside, having been warned by Turkey not to set foot in the town.
      Added to these setbacks, the US CENTCOM which is running the aerial war in Iraq is at loggerheads with the Iraqi Air Force command and has practically grounded all Iraqi warplanes.
      Even if Carter can wave a magic wand and resolve all these issues, the momentum and high hopes that actuated the Mosul campaign when it started have been lost and can hardly be recovered before Barack Obama leaves the White House.
      At least two of the incoming president Donald Trump’s designated security advisers – Defense Secretary Gen, James Mattis and National security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn – have criticized the operation in is current form.
      2. What is happening in Raqqa doesn’t fit the designation of an offensive. At most, small Kurdish and Syrian rebel groups are mounting sporadic raids against ISIS fighters on the town’s outskirts, with the support of the Obama administration. Our military experts say that Raqqa can’t be captured from the Islamist terrorists by conventional means – mainly because it is spread over a large area of mostly empty desert. ISIS has taken advantage of this terrain to distribute knots of defenders across a vast area ranging hundreds of kilometers from northern to eastern Syria up to the winding, heavily overgrown banks of the Euphrates River.
      So when Ash Carter announced Saturday that he would be sending another 200 Special Operations Forces into Syria to join the battle for Raqqa, he had no idea that he, the Russians and the Syrians were about to be caught off guard by a fresh ISIS initiative to reoccupy Palmyra, the ancient Syrian two from which they are thrown out in March.
      This was a poke in the eye for Russian President Vladimir Putin who proclaimed Palmyra’s capture from ISIS as a signal coup for the Russian army in its war on Islamist terror.
      3. He might well commiserate with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi. For two years, the Egyptian armed forces have been fighting an uphill battle to crush the ISIS groups infesting the Sinai Peninsula. The jihadists constantly elude punishment with the help of supportive Bedouin tribes.
      Every few months, they pose a real threat to the stability of the El-Sisi regime by striking inside Cairo, the capital, with some terrorist atrocity, for which they are aided by the Muslim Brotherhood underground and Palestinian Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip.
      The bombing of the Coptic church Saturday was unusually the work of jihadists deployed from Raqqa, Syria. Egypt has reacted by placing extra guards at Christian sites and declaring three days of national morning for the disastrous bombing attack on Egypt’s largest minority.
      The new Islamist drive is looking ominously like the onset of the Christmas-New Year holiday terror onslaught the Islamic State has threatened to unleash in the Middle East and beyond. US and European security services have been placed on high alert in the belief that returning jihadis are programmed to strike at home.
      ISIL has not captured the T4 (Al Tabqa) airbase. The base this author has confused with T4 is the Russian base in Palmyra... ISIL, as I write, is attacking T4 and just in the last 2 hours has captured a village, nearly encircling the base. Pro government troops are, and have been, redeploying to the eastern Homs (Palmyra) front from Aleppo. Reports of a government counter attack are starting to come through. If T4 falls it will be a missive setback for the government. Next few hours will be decisive.
      Mihi vindictam ego retribuam dicit Dominus

      Comment


      • Re: Regional geopolitics

        Originally posted by gokorik View Post
        ISIL has not captured the T4 (Al Tabqa) airbase. The base this author has confused with T4 is the Russian base in Palmyra... ISIL, as I write, is attacking T4 and just in the last 2 hours has captured a village, nearly encircling the base. Pro government troops are, and have been, redeploying to the eastern Homs (Palmyra) front from Aleppo. Reports of a government counter attack are starting to come through. If T4 falls it will be a missive setback for the government. Next few hours will be decisive.
        Field report: Syrian Army fights off ISIS near key airbase
        By Zen Adra - 14/12/2016

        Syrian government forces thwarted a massive ISIS attack launched last night on the T4 pumping station, located to the east of the imperative T4 airbase.

        According to a military source, government troops were capable of prematurely destroying a VBIED before reaching the defending forces. Fierce clashes then broke out whereby at least 20 ISIS fighters were killed in the failed offensive.

        Meanwhile, the Syrian Army and allied forces launched a counter offensive early this morning, and recaptured the Tiyas Mountain – located to the north of the T4 airbase – as well as the Abandoned battalion to the northwest, thus expanding control around one of the largest and most important airbases used by the Syrian And Russian air force, which proved pivotal in driving ISIS back.

        Today, a squad of Russian Special Forces who once played a major role in ousting ISIS out of Palmyra last March, have made it to the airbase to support the Army's military operations.

        ISIS has taken over the desert city of Palmyra for the second time last Sunday after a surprise attack.

        Comment


        • Re: Regional geopolitics

          U.S. gives parole to Armenian sentenced over Turkish envoy’s murder

          December 15, 2016 - 18:59 AMT
          PanARMENIAN.Netx- An Armenian gunman serving life sentence for killing axTurkish diplomatxin 1982 has been given a long-sought parole by a board in the U.S. state ofxCalifornia, Daily Sabah reports.
          The parole board accepted Wednesday, December 14 the demand ofxHarry "Hampig" Sassounian, a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Army (ARA), who killed Kemal Arikan, Turkey's consul general to Los Angeles, on January 28, 1982.
          Sassounian was originally sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole; however, he became eligible for parole after admitting his guilt and formally apologizing in 2002. Previous demands by Sassounian were rejected by a parole board in 2006, 2010, 2013 and 2015.
          In a statement on Thursday, Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the court's ruling.
          Sassounian, hailing from a family of Lebanese Armenian emigres, was identified by witnesses as one of the two gunmen. During the trial, the prosecutors indicated that Sassounian "was motivated to kill Arikan by vengeance for the Armenian Genocide committed by the Turkish Ottomans of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923."

          http://www.dailysabah.com/diplomacy/...-for-armenian-
          terrorist-serving-life-sentence-for-turkish-diplomats-murder

          http://www.panarmenian.net/eng/news/228315/
          Hayastan or Bust.

          Comment


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            'Don't Leave Me This Way': UK Sidelined at EU Talks

            © REUTERS/ Francois LenoirPolitics17:11 16.12.2016Get short URL232320European Union leaders devoted just twenty minutes to discussing Brexit at a late night meeting in Brussels. An uninvited Theresa May was left in the dark to fly back to London early. Meanwhile, reports have emerged that the UK will be billed US$62 billion by the EU for leaving the union."Don't leave me this way. I don't understand how I'm at your command," so go the lyrics of the Communards' 80's classic. © REUTERS/ Stefan WermuthMay Signals Need for Preliminary Deal on Post-Brexit Status of Britons in EU - Irish LeaderFor UK Prime Minister Theresa May, a self-described 80's music aficionado, her latest encounter with her fellow EU leaders must have been particularly pointed. The 1980s saw a growing divide between Britain and Brussels, when the socialist Jacques Delors at the helm of the European Commission steered the EU towards a more federal Europe and a single currency. The relationship has now gone full circle, with Mrs. May aiming to make the divide permanently severed. However, she's making little headway. On Thursday 15th December, at a late night meeting in Brussels, the other leaders of the 27 other member states minimized the Brexit debate to a paltry 20 minutes. They were supposed to discuss the issue over a three-course dinner, to which Mrs. May had not been invited. However, when debates on other topics, like Ukraine, dragged on, the discussion was redacted to the less than half an hour blip. President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, described it as a "short informal meeting" to finalize the EU's Brexit processes. A side-lined May had expected to comment on the debate, but embarrassingly, with so little to talk on, she cancelled her planned press conference in the early hours of Friday morning. One EU source told the Guardian that on learning that the EU talks was running more than three hours late, Mrs. May excused herself to allow the summit to continue without her. "I'd better leave," Mrs. May reportedly said. "It was very nice, sympa…" Footage from the summit showing May standing awkwardly alone, while other EU officials interact around her has gone viral on social media. With little to show for her time spent among the continental club, she flew back to London. Political analysts are interpreting the underwhelming encounter as a sign of the May's increasing isolation in the continental club. More to the point, the brevity of the debate on Brexit indicates the fact that the impending divorce of the UK and EU is not currently top of the agenda for other EU member states. A huge stumbling block is that Theresa May's government has yet to initiate Article 50 proceedings — the official bureaucratic process that will start negotiations. © REUTERS/ Neil HallLondon Faces Brexit Settlement Bill of Some $62Bln After Triggering Article 50 The prime minister has said she will trigger Article 50 in March 2017, ahead of the next European Parliament elections. There have also been unconfirmed reports that suggest that the cost of the UK extricating itself from the EU could run as high as $62 billion, including covering EU budget payments, pension liabilities for staff and other commitments. Downing Street has said that such payments are still up for negotiation. In the meantime, the UK can expect to make little progress with their European partners.

            Read more: https://sputniknews.com/politics/201...-eu-isolation/
            Hayastan or Bust.

            Comment


            • Re: Regional geopolitics

              I always cringe as many Armenians fondly compare us to Israel as if it is something we should all aspire to be. There are much better things to aspire to and countries that we have a lot more in common with. As you read the following article, try to notice the similarities between the subject of the article and our own Armenia.

              14.12.2016 Author: Andre Vltchek

              Vietnam is Well, but that Angers Western Imperialism
              Column: Politics
              Region: Southeast Asia
              Country: Vietnam
              Some fifteen years ago, when I lived in Hanoi, I used to come very often to the rooftop bar at the Meritus Hotel for an evening drink, just to feel gentle breeze and to spot ancient cargo boats majestically sailing on the surface of Red River. Sometimes the river could be clearly visible, but often it was covered by fog, like in an old Vietnamese painting.
              There were villages on the horizon, consisting mainly of simple ‘tunnel’ houses, and I could also see few skyscrapers in the center of the city. Far below, the buildings on the shores of the ‘Little Lake’ were colorful, nostalgic and picturesque.
              Hanoi was melancholic and poor, but it was what it was, and one would love it or hate it, but could never be indifferent to it.
              It was also the capital of a socialist country, a proud country, which defeated both French and US imperialists. It was a symbol of resistance, a beacon of hope for many poor and struggling countries, and like in case of Cuba, a living proof that a determined and proud nation can dare, could stand up and win even against the mightiest and the most venomous enemies.
              At some point, Meritus changed its name and its owner. It became Sofitel and just recently was converted again, this time to Pan Pacific. The rooftop bar survived. The skyscrapers grew all around the city. They now cover almost entire horizon; suddenly Hanoi has real skyline. You look at the distance, and what you see could have been anywhere else: in Shanghai or Dallas, Bangkok or Johannesburg… but only with half-closed eyes.
              Enthusiastic Communist posters survived, or at least some of them. Others mutated and migrated to new huge modern digital billboards. They are shining into the night, and the images are constantly changing: Uncle ‘Ho’, pioneer children, workers and soldiers ready to defend their country.
              “Is Vietnam still a Communist country?” I keep asking wherever I go, for years. I ask the same question in deep villages and major cities. It is because the answer seems to be essential to me. It is because so many millions of Vietnamese people died, fighting for their country and then trying to fulfill their dream of a social homeland.
              Answers I receive I often evasive. For some reason, eyes of many are downcast.
              “What happened, Vietnam?” I want to ask, but Vietnam is one great and long stretch of land following the seashore; it does not speak, it does not reply to rhetorical questions. Most of its people are free to speak, they are able to reply, but for some reason they don’t. Are they confused as much as I am?
              More I feel that the answer should be positive and optimistic, more evasive replies I get. I keep thinking, why?
              I never give up; never stop asking, because I feel that it is essential to know.
              *
              A renowned artist George Burchett, son of a great Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett, was born in Vietnam and now, for several years he is living with his family in Hanoi. His love for this country is passionate and unconditional. He observes many changes occurring around him, and finds most of them positive: “Life in Vietnam is gradually improving. You can walk around Hanoi or drive throughout the countryside: there is no brutal misery here. People are optimistic. Life is improving.”
              He also explains that after this year’s Vietnam Communist Party’s 12th National Congress, there is a path taken by the Politburo – in non-Western political direction.
              Some people I speak to, as well as several analysts, have no doubt that after sacking of anti-Beijing and pro-market Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, the Communist Party of Vietnam has been adopting much friendlier policy towards China, while not abandoning its own form of socialism (should it be called ‘Socialism with Vietnam characteristics?’). However, after travelling for almost two weeks all over Central Vietnam, it is undeniable that the market forces are still playing very important role, often trying to dictate in which the country is developing.
              “I like those huge cranes, construction sites and turbines”, I joke while walking through the Fine Arts Museum in Hanoi, where, on the second floor, some great works of Vietnamese socialist realism are exhibited.
              “Yes, me too”, replies one of my pals sardonically. “But many of these cranes are now building shopping malls and luxury condominiums for the rich.”
              *
              I spent almost three years living in Vietnam, when it was still poor, between 2001 and 2003. Determination of the people to build much better country was truly admirable.
              Every year I kept returning, travelling to virtually all corners of the nation. Vietnam was doubtlessly changing, but in many ways it was retaining its socialist spirit. Strong central planning under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam ensured that the evolution towards the mixed economy never turned to chaos and pro-market anarchy. Country’s spirit and patriotic symbolism was Marxist, but also with deep national roots.
              Even as the new foreign companies were building their assembly lines here, the government was insuring that there would be no desperate and deplorable working conditions like those that have been prevailing in the Philippines, Indonesia or Cambodia. I visited several garment and apparel factories in the South: they were all clean, well ventilated, with medical posts, canteens and decent transportation for workers.
              In the countryside, working and living conditions have been improving as well, often dramatically.
              However, not unlike in many countries of Latin America, the Western propaganda operating through its own media outlets and through the local ‘blogs’ and social media began relentlessly attacking the Communist Party leadership and the entire political and social system of Vietnam.
              Common strategy of destabilization (similar to that which used to target Eastern Europe during the Cold War and Latin America and China now) was determinately applied. Countless NGO’s and ‘human rights’ organizations got promptly involved. Many local intellectuals joined the ranks of the foreign critics; some of them began getting ‘funding’ and ‘sponsorship’ from foreign agencies, ‘cultural institutions’ and even governments.
              Great achievements of the state were purposefully dwarfed, while such topics like corruption and social woes, got excessively highlighted. Entire ‘anti-establishment culture’ got designed, manufactured and unleashed. For educated urbanites, to support the Communist Party and the ‘system’ became thoroughly ‘uncool’, almost shameful.
              Interaction with foreign tourists often didn’t lead to anything positive either.
              In an ancient town of Hoi An, I encountered a hotel waitress, originally a village girl, who almost immediately after I sat down at a table, began, in her passable English, to recite long litany so beloved by many European travellers: how terribly tough are things in Vietnam, how high are school fees in her country (thorough nonsense, there are no school fees here, although there are, unfortunately, some ‘hidden costs’), and how desperate is the situation in local hospitals (in fact, the situation significantly improved in recent years, as I was told by several Vietnamese citizens). She then, in a well-trained manner, asked a question, which was supposed to please me: “How are things, the education and medical care, in your country?”
              “We are always looking up at other countries, particularly at those in the West”, my long-time friend, a Vietnamese administrator who is for many years working for the United Nations, told me. “We are rarely happy with what we have… or given. There is always something to complain about.”
              She is correct. The question remains: who is actually manufacturing and promoting such mindsets? Working all over the world, I actually find this to be increasingly ‘stereotypical’ and ‘mass produced’, manufactured ‘in certain countries’; concretely ‘designed and manufactured’ in the West, and then implanted into the socialist countries, in Central and South America, in South Africa, China, Russia and increasingly in Vietnam.
              To simplify things, I call such approach: ‘spreading of nihilism, pessimism, depression and cynicism’. Its main goal is to seed discontent, to vilify functioning socialist systems, to divide entire nations, undermine patriotism and finally, to grab demoralized nations for close to nothing.
              I already described such ‘efforts’ in colorful details, in my 840-page book “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.
              On so many occasions, during my visits to the country, I met those Vietnamese citizens who are now increasingly rubbing shoulders with the ‘outside world’, as well as with those who out rightly sold out themselves for some mercantile crumbs like recognition, funding and jobs in the international companies and organizations
              Such people should not be allowed to derail the country; they should be determinately stopped! Vietnamese people stood tall for decades. They fought and defied some of the mightiest enemies on earth – French colonialists and the US imperialists. They rebuilt their country literally from ashes. In the process, millions of lives were lost, but the nation finally managed to unite; it became as strong as steel, and prevailed against all odds.
              If Vietnam now succumbs to foreign propaganda, sabotage and its own ‘5th column’, all that great sacrifice would have been made in vain.
              In recent years and decades, some serious mistakes were made, but the country in marching forward, life is improving and prospects are bright. To deny it would be either a clear demonstration of ignorance, or of extremely hostile intentions. This ‘bottom-line’ should never be lost, never overlooked and never taken for granted!*
              Andre Vltchek is philosopher, filmmaker, investigative journalist and writer who has recently finished his new novel Aurora,xespecially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”

              http://journal-neo.org/2016/12/14/vi...n-imperialism/
              Hayastan or Bust.

              Comment


              • Re: Regional geopolitics

                Something weird is going in the background.

                Couple days ago it was
                "Trump Organization Terminates Three Overseas Deals ... two in Rio de Janeiro and one in Baku, Azerbaijan"
                https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewi...zil-azerbaijan

                Now ...
                "and is taking steps to do the same for a project in neighboring Georgia"
                http://www.wfmj.com/story/34074544/t...ssibly-georgia
                http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireS...orgia-44244330

                Comment


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  BREAKING: At Least 14 US Coalition Military Officers Captured by Syrian Forces in East Aleppo Bunker
                  ByxPatrick HenningsenxandxVanessa Beeley
                  Global Research, December 17, 2016
                  21st Century Wirex16 December 2016
                  Region:xMiddle East & North Africa
                  Theme:xTerrorism,xUS NATO War Agenda
                  In-depth Report:xSYRIA: NATO'S NEXT WAR?

                  DAMASCUS – According to two reports coming out of Aleppo today, at least 14 US Coalitionxmilitary officers were captured this morning in an East Aleppo bunker by Syrian Special Forces.
                  This story was quietly leaked byxVoltaire.net, whoxannounced,x“The Security Council is sitting in private on Friday, December 16, 2016, at 17:00 GMT, while NATO officers were arrested this morning by the Syrian Special Forces in a bunker in East Aleppo.”x
                  x



                  Syrian Army soldier holds up Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) flag in the Umayyed Mosque, Old City, after government troop liberated terrorist-occupied East Aleppo this week (Image: Vanessa Beeley for 21st Century Wire)

                  Fares Shehabi MP, a prominent Syrian Parliamentarian and head of Aleppo’s Chamber of Commerce published the names of the Coalitionxofficers on hisxFacebook pagexon the 15th December (emphasis added):
                  Mutaz Kanoğlu – Turkey
                  David Scott Winer – USA
                  David Shlomo Aram – Israel
                  Muhamad Tamimi – Qatar
                  Muhamad Ahmad Assabian – Saudi
                  Abd-el-Menham Fahd al Harij – Saudi
                  Islam Salam Ezzahran Al Hajlan – Saudi
                  Ahmed Ben Naoufel Al Darij – Saudi
                  Muhamad Hassan Al Sabihi – Saudi
                  Hamad Fahad Al Dousri – Saudi
                  Amjad Qassem Al Tiraoui – Jordan
                  Qassem Saad Al Shamry – Saudi
                  Ayman Qassem Al Thahalbi – Saudi
                  Mohamed Ech-Chafihi El Idrissi – Moroccan
                  Listen to Fares Shehabi’sxinterview on the Sunday Wire radio show:x‘Liberation Aleppo‘
                  In addition to Voltaire.net, the other originalxreport was provided by Damascus-based Syrian journalistxSaid Hilal Alcharifi.
                  According toxAlcharifi, captured “NATO” officers were from a number of member states including the US, France, Germany and Turkey, as well as Israel. Here isxhis statementx(translated from French):
                  “Thanks to information received, Syrian authorities discovered the headquarters of high ranking western/NATO officers in the basement of an area in East Aleppo and have captured them alive. Some names have already been given to Syrian journalists, myself included. The nationalities are US, French, British, German, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi, Moroccan, Qatari etc. In light of their nationalities and their rank, I assure you that the Syrian government have a very important catch, which should enable them to direct negotiations with the countries that have tried to destroy them.”
                  Although these initial reports describexthe individuals in question as “NATO” officers, it’s unlikely they would have been carrying NATO colors on a covert operation – and might be more accurately labeled as US Coalition officers. Note that early reports suggest that these are not standard ‘street rebel’ or jihadi terrorists but actual Coalition military personnel and field commanders.
                  21WIRExhave also received unconfirmed reports yesterday thatxmilitants hadxfired a missile intoRamousaxarea and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get cars out of East Aleppo.xIt’s possible this incident could be related to today reports of captured western operatives.
                  This report from thexSyrian Arab News Agencyx(emphasis added):
                  “The agreement on evacuating militants and weapons from the eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo city has been suspended after terrorist groups breached it, special sources told SANA correspondent in Aleppo.
                  The sources said that the suspension of the agreement will remain in place until obtaining guarantees that oblige the terrorist groups to abide by all the agreement’s provisions, stressing on the Syrian side’s full adherence to the agreement and its keenness to end the bloodshed and restore security and stability to the entire city of Aleppo.”
                  Earlier, SANA reporter said that the terrorist groups have breached the agreement as they smuggled heavy weapons, including TOW missiles, heavy machineguns and kidnapped people via the buses and cars transporting terrorists and their families towards the southwestern countryside of Aleppo city.
                  The reporter added that the terrorist groups fired shells and sniper bullets on the buses and ambulances at al-Ramousseh crossing, noting that the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) which are supervising the evacuation process had to withdraw all buses and cars from the crossing.
                  Over the past 24 hours, some 8079 terrorists and members of their families were evacuated on ten batches via busses and ambulances from the neighborhoods of Salah-Eddin, al-Ansari, al-Mashhad and al-Zibdiyeh to the southwest countryside of Aleppo city”
                  If true, then this latest news would also mean that both the Syrian and Russian governments would have additional leverage going forward in any bilateral negotiations with the US-led Coalition.
                  If, however, this story is kept under wraps by NATO member governments and summarily blacked out by the US and European media outlets, then it might indicate that a deal has been struck, albeit behind the scenes, for the return of captured NATOxoperatives in exchange for other concessions.
                  If today’sxreport from East Aleppo is accurate, this might also help explain the hysterical behavior by the US State Department and western UN officials who have been demanding “an immediate ceasefire” – despite the fact that 99% of East Aleppo has already been liberated by Syrian government forces.
                  The western establishment hysterical reactions to Al Nusra’s defeat in Aleppo have includedxwild claimsxthat the Syrian Army had ‘unleashed death squads,’ on its own residents in East Aleppo and were openly ‘executing women and children in the street,’ and ‘burning children in the street,’ as well what appear to be morexfictional reports circulated inxUS media mainlyxbyxMichael WeissxofxThe Daily Beastxvia CNN,xclaiming thatxSyrian Army wasxcommitting “mass rape” against residents of East Aleppo. His article entitled,x“Women in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape, Rebels Report,“xmade a number of outlandish claims including:
                  “Activists and rebels in the besieged city say mass executions have begun and children are burned alivexas Assad’s Iranian- and Russian-backed forces move in.”
                  Not surprisingly, aside from unnamed “UN sources”, Weiss claims to have got his information fromxnone other than thexdiscredited US and UK-financed pseudox‘NGO’ known as thexWhite Helmets.
                  Back in September, numerousxreports suggested that a western command center located behind terrorist-held lines had been targeted and destroyed by a Russian missile strike.xProf Michel Chossudovskyxwrote:
                  “The US and its alliesxxhad xestablished a FieldxOperations Roomxin the Aleppo region integrated by intelligence personnel.xUntil it wasxtargetedxby a Russian missile attack on September 20, xthis “semi-secret” facility was operated by US, British, Israeli, Turkish, Saudi and Qatari intelligence personnel.” x
                  This report was neither admitted, nor was it denied by US Coalition sources at the time. However, one mainstream Israeli source,xThe Times of Israel, did reportxthe incident.
                  For anyone who has been paying close attention to the Syrian Conflict, seeingxNATO special forces or “contractors” working with ‘rebel’ or terrorist fighters inside of Syria is nothing unusual. Numerous reports have been filed of British soldiers assigned to fighting groups to help with training, strategy and logistics. In June 2016,xThe Telegraphxadmitted that British special forces were helping one rebel group, “… with logistics, like building defences to make the bunkers safe,”xsaid one ‘rebel’ fighter.
                  Other reports, includingxthexLA Timesxwhich detailed CIA operations used to arm militants, including Al Nusra Front (al Qaeda in Syria) who werexthe terrorist force in charge in East Aleppo. Other revelations of US covert involvement includexThe New York Times,and also information on US (NATO by another name only) covert operations provided to thexWall Street Journal.
                  Throughout fighting in the Donbass in eastern Ukraine, during the period of May 2014 to the present,xnumerous incidents have been reportedxwhere NATO military soldiers and operatives have been both spotted, and captured by rebel forces, and in most cases these reports have been muted, more than likely because of ‘horse trading’ taking place as an extension of wider diplomacy.
                  Contributors to this report werexPatrick Henningsen and Vanessa Beeley.
                  http://www.globalresearch.ca/breakin...bunker/5563177
                  Hayastan or Bust.

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                  • Re: Regional geopolitics

                    Russian ambassador to Turkey killed in Ankara shooting
                    2 / 17

                    The Guardian
                    Shaun Walker in Moscow, Kareem Shaheen and in Istanbul, and Martin Chulov in Beirut
                    1 hr ago
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                    Russian ambassador to Turkey shot in Ankara

                    The Russian ambassador to Ankara has been killed in a gun attack at an art gallery in the Turkish capital, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

                    Reports said Andrei Karlov was attending the opening of an exhibit at a contemporary arts centre when he was attacked. Karlov was several minutes into a speech at the exhibit when a man shouted “Allahu Akbar” and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer who was present.
                    The attacker also smashed some of the photographs, AP reported. A source told RIA that Karlov had died at the scene.
                    Turkey’s NTV reported that the gunman had been killed by police.
                    Turkish officials said the gunman had entered the building claiming he was a police officer. Other bystanders alleged he shouted “Aleppo” when he shot Karlov, but the claims could not be immediately confirmed.




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                    1/3 SLIDES ©x(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
                    An unnamed gunman gestures after shooting the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, at a photo gallery in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016. A gunman opened fire on Russia's ambassador to Turkey at a photo exhibition on Monday. The Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman said he was hospitalized with a gunshot wound.
                    The attacker was said to have first shot Karlov in the back, before ordering people to leave the room. He then reportedly fired a second time as Karlov lay on the floor.

                    The Russian foreign ministry said it was in contact with Ankara over the events, RIA Novosti reported. President Vladimir Putin called an urgent meeting with the foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, and the heads of the security services.
                    The ambassador had been part of discussions between Turkey that led to an evacuation of east Aleppo getting under way late last week. He had also been a central conduit to the Turkish government’s rapproachment with Moscow in April.
                    The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, was due to travel to Moscow on Tuesday for talks with Russian and Iranian counterparts.
                    Russia and Turkey have recently gone some way towards mending ties after a freeze in relations after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter plane in November 2015.
                    Fatih Öke, the press attache of Turkey’s embassy in Washington DC, tweeted: “The bullet to Ambassador Karlov is not only aims him. It aims also Turkish Russian relation.”
                    Karlov was a career diplomat who had previously served as ambassador to North Korea.
                    More details to follow …
                    Hayastan or Bust.

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                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      Nine people dead and 50 injured in a popular German market as a truck plows through the crowd. No word on motive or responcibilty yet.
                      Hayastan or Bust.

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