As long as we keep trying we'll be okay
Happy New Year everyone!
The regime has agreed to a deal that would allow fighters from ISIS and other rebel groups to withdraw fighters from the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. This move would help the regime consolidate its control over the capital, but it would also benefit ISIS because the fighters are to be moved to the latter's stronghold Raqqa, where it is currently facing pressure from the north by U.S.-supported Kurdish and Arab rebels.From FARS, December 24:
Preparations are underway in the neighborhood of al-Hajar al-Aswad and some parts in the al-Yarmouk camp in the Southern parts of Damascus to evacuate the ISIL terrorists from the region in the next few hours as buses were brought to the region.
Some militants intend to move to al-Raqqa Northeast of Syria, while a majority have demanded relocation to Mare' city in the Northern countryside of Aleppo.There's more to the real story of the planned relocation, which didn't happen -- at least not on the day it was scheduled -- because by some strange coincidence the Russians bombed a top-level strategy meeting in Damascus on the very day the relocation was to happen, December 25, killing Zahran Alloush, who was supposed to coordinate the relocation.
Yarmouk is a camp for Palestinian refugees in the Southern parts of Damascus. The camp has been the scene of clashes among various terrorist groups and also crossfire between the militants and government troops for the last three years.In other words,Yarmouk became a staging ground for pitched battles between the alphabet soup of Salafist groups -- and MSF treated them, as they treated the militants battling the Syrian Army.
... Yanukovich did not want Ukraine to join NATO: he wanted a neutral Ukraine maintaining the traditional close relationship between the Ukraine and Russia. This infuriated Victoria Nuland, the head of the Eurasia desk at the State Department, who has made it her life’s project to pull Ukraine into NATO.
This would be NATO’s ultimate prize in eastern Europe: a country of 44 million well-educated people, the size of France, strategically located on the Black Sea historically dominated by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. An ethnically divided country, with a generally pro-Russian and Russian-speaking east, and a more western-oriented Ukrainian-speaking west with an unusually vigorous and fiercely anti-Russian neofascist movement -- just there waiting to be used.
Nuland, a former Cheney aide whose neocon worldview drew Hillary Clinton’s favorable attention, resulting in her promotion, is the wife of neocon pundit and Iraq War cheerleader Robert Kagan. (Kagan was a founding member of the notorious Project for a New American Century “think tank”.) The couple represents two wings of incessant neocon plotting: those who work to destroy Russia, and those who work to destroy the Middle East, consciously using lies to confuse the masses about their real goals. ...This is making no sense. Mrs. Clinton hates Dick Cheney. She hates the neocons. Why should she promote Nuland at State? And not just promote her; she put Nuland in charge of Ukraine's government. No joke. Nuland was calling the shots there. She even went over Kerry's head about Ukraine when he took over at State. Why didn't he demote her? He might have pushed her back in her cage by now. But why would Clinton, a Democratic liberal, have given a neocon so much power at State in the first place?
Arab nations’ donations to Clinton Foundation: Curing world’s ills or currying favor?
by Greg Gordon
April 6, 2015
McClatchy Washington Bureau
Four oil-rich Arab nations, all with histories of philanthropy to United Nations and Middle Eastern causes, have donated vastly more money to the Clinton Foundation than they have to most other large private charities involved in the kinds of global work championed by the Clinton family.
Since 2001, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates gave as much as $40 million to the Clinton Foundation. In contrast, six similar non-governmental global charities collected no money from those same four Middle Eastern countries [...]Mystery solved, "neocons" being shorthand for 'We support American weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and anything Al Saud can do to stick it to the Russians including making a mess in Ukraine.'
Social media accounts linked to Daesh released photos of the group's fighters using US-made TOW anti-tank missiles in Syria's Aleppo province.
According to the release, the missiles being used are located north of Kweires Airbase, which was recently liberated from Daesh by the Syrian Army. The Daesh-held area in that part of Syria is adjacent to the Turkish border.But al-towi in the hands of Islamic State in Syria is old news; in fact, on 12/24 Sputnik published a report, US Reportedly Continues to Supply Weapons to al-Qaeda Through Syria's FSA. It features an AP photo from an Islamic State website showing an IS fighter firing a TOW "in Hassakeh, northeast Syria." The caption also notes that IS released the photo on June 26, 2015.
Steph Iam ·Hand-me-downs? The Saudis paid good money for those TOWs. Maybe they get a discount on volume but still. And "dated?" That's an insult to Raytheon, which makes TOWs and also happens to be our sponsor. [muttering to herself] $22.8 billion in sales last year but they can't afford a camera person for me. Or a hair stylist. And they're not on first-name basis with the RAF commander.
It must be embarrassing for the US with all the reports of the TOW missiles ineffectiveness against the Russian T-90 armour. So many TOW crews blown to smithereens by the Shtora system returning a round within 2 seconds of sensing their weapon's laser targetting. Plenty of TOW operators don't even get the chance to fire before they get blown to pieces, much less have time to guide the missile to its target. High tech weapons in the hands of experts, up against dated, hand-me-downs from the US (in the hands of drug-addicted terrorists).
Prince Ali Seraj, a member of Afghanistan’s royal family and grandson of His Majesty Amir Habibullah (1901-1919), is adamant Afghanistan was set up for failure, sold to chaos by powers whose interests are vested in war instead of peace.
“Looking at Afghanistan today and how Western powers have handled the whole terror dossier and it is quite clear that chaos was always the name of the game. Why else have Western powers systematically refused to assist the Afghan tribes, while covering for Pakistan’s aiding and abetting of radicals?” Prince Ali told me on Wednesday.
“It is Pakistan you see behind the Taliban … and Pakistan is no more than another agent of Saudi Arabia, the world’s greatest exporter of Wahhabism. Do you seriously believe the Taliban and al-Qaeda just manifested into existence? They were imported from Tajikistan, Chechnya, Pakistan and those regions which are under the control of Riyadh,” he emphasized.Prove it, Prince Ali. Until you produce hard evidence you can join a lengthening list of people crying in the wilderness.
The Tishrin dam on the Euphrates was taken from Daesh militants after heavy ground fighting and with the help of US-led coalition airstrikes, the online statement by Col. Sharvan Darwish reads.
As a consequence, a strategic supply route connecting Daesh-held Jarabulus, which sits on the Turkish border, and the de-facto capital Raqqa has been cut and anti-terrorist forces have gained a foothold on the right bank of the Euphrates.
“A massive operation by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) started officially on December 23,” Col. Darwish explained. “It has since enabled joint Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian Christian units to free more than 50 villages, canals and river crossings.”
The current campaign is the second phase of the military operation by the SDF against Daesh mujahedeen, which began in the northwestern province of Hasakah on the Iraqi border in late October.
Like a few Christian Orthodox countries, Russians celebrate Christmas on the first week of January with celebrations taking on a slightly different look and feel to those of Western Europe.
Used by the Catholic and Protestant churches, the Gregorian calendar loses out to the Julian one, which the Russian Orthodox Church favors and which other Orthodox churches, such as the Greek one, use. And according to the Julian calendar Christmas usually falls on January 7th.Back to the Gregorian calendar -- don't forget about Epiphany, celebrating the manifestation of the Magi to the gentiles, observed this year on January 6 by the Gregorian calendar.
That's simple. Just calculate the first full moon day of the sixth month of the Buddhist lunar calendar, which would be the fourth month of the Chinese calendar, except in years in which there's an extra full moon, and then Buddha's birthday falls in the seventh month. Well, except where it starts a week earlier. And in Tibet it's usually a month later. Oh, and in Japan, Buddha's Birthday is always April 8.This isn't talking about the Hindu religious calendar and the Jewish and Muslim ones. Of course all these are only the major religions. Which is to say if you are very energetic you can find a heavenly portent to match your opinion of earthly matters at any time of the year.
KABUL—Fourteen years after the U.S. and its allies routed most al Qaeda militants from Afghanistan, the country is again becoming a haven for extremist groups, the result, in part, of inadequate surveillance of its far-flung territory, Afghan and Western officials say. [...]How much intel do you need when an Afghan commander is calling you by satphone and yelling, 'We're surrounded! Here's our coordinates! We've been surrounded for two weeks during which we've called you every five minutes to plead for air support. We're out of food, we're almost out of water and now we're out ammo! And don't tell us this is a training problem.'
At the height of their presence five years ago, the U.S. military and its allies operated 852 bases and outposts across Afghanistan, many with their own informants, drones and surveillance balloons to monitor even remote areas of the vast and rugged country.
Today, these spy assets are largely gone.
As of September, all but about 20 of the installations that anchored the extensive intelligence-gathering network have been closed, bulldozed or handed off to the Afghan government. With large stretches of Afghanistan now regularly unmonitored, Afghan and Western officials fear that more extremists from Islamic State, al Qaeda and other militant groups could find sanctuary inside the country’s borders.What use are eyes and ears without a brain?
“We lost a lot of eyes and ears,” said an official with U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan. “Reporting from the provinces dried up.” [...]
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army and the popular forces have found Saudi-supplied aid packages in the positions taken from the terrorist groups Southwest of Aleppo province, sources said.
Sources said that a large volume of aid parcels supplied by Saudi Arabia were founded in the positions of the militant groups after the Syrian army pushed them back from their strongholds in Khan Touman town in Aleppo province.
In October a Saudi official announced that his country supplied the militants in Syria with a new batch of TOW antitank missiles as the Syrian army forces backed by Russian warplanes continued to gain ground in the country.
BBC correspondent Frank Gardner tweeted that a Saudi official confirmed the delivery of 500 TOW antitank missiles to the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).
The delivery of the TOW missiles — which was provided by the CIA — would allegedly increase the capabilities of the militants.
TOW missiles, as Popular Mechanics notes, are guided missiles that could thoroughly damage tanks, armored carriers, and other vehicles. And, unlike other projectiles used against armored targets, such as RPGs, TOW missiles can be used from a considerable distance.
On Sunday, the Syrian army alongside the National Defense Forces and Hezbollah fighters pushed the militant groups back from more territories in the Southwestern part of Aleppo province and regained full control over the town of Khan Touman.
The Hazzm Movement had a northern division ... The group was supplied BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles in a covert CIA program launched in 2014. Scores of the groups fighters also received U.S. military training in Qatar under the same program.
In October 2014, Al-Nusra Front began attacking positions of Hazzm in Idlib Province, overrunning bases and seizing weapon stores, due to its perceived closeness to the United States.Yes. That's how it was done so quickly with relatively small fighting forces. Islamic State and Nusra would let other groups do all the hard work of taking territory, then when the fighters had pacified the population, IS would bump them off, scoop up all their weapons and vehicles, and plant their flag. You'd think the other groups would've wised up after a time but they didn't -- not until large numbers of them were slaughtered by IS and Nusra. Imbeciles.
The Raytheon Company is a major American defense contractor and industrial corporation with core manufacturing concentrations in weapons and military and commercial electronics. It was previously involved in corporate and special-mission aircraft until early 2007. Raytheon is the world's largest producer of guided missiles.
More than 90% of Raytheon's revenues were obtained from military contracts and, as of 2012, it was the fifth-largest military contractor in the world, and is the fourth largest defense contractor in the United States by revenue.61,000 employees worldwide; $22.8 billion in 2014 sales.