Is the US drone program overseas, state sponsored terrorism?

Yes it is. By the rules of international law an intervention on foreign soil is an act of war. If there is not a declared war between the two countries then it is a unilateral decision to attack another without the “correct” mandate.

Former CIA and NSA Director, Michael Hayden

In any other case that is referred to as “terrorism” when carried out by a proscribed organization or a nation.

Over 3000 Pakistanis have been killed in US drone strikes targeting a few dozen or so “known” terrorists. Obama has been under heavy scrutiny for authorizing drone campaigns that result in gross mistakes, killing a great number of innocent people while targeting “confirmed terrorists.”

Since 2004, there have been 401 US drone strikes in Afghanistan, alone, killing 3,058 people total. In Pakistan, hundreds, including children, have died in pursuit of a mere two dozen declared terrorists.

In 2014, the former director of both the CIA and NSA, Michael Hayden, proudly claimed they “kill people based on metadata”, using drones – but not the right people in most cases and the source of the information used to determine the “terrorist” classification has been shown to be hopelessly flawed via an NSA program named SKYNET.

The war on extremists is acceptable – the “collateral” casualties as they are called – which demonstrates the lack of value placed on innocent lives – is terrorism – pure and simple.

About SKYNET

SKYNET is a program by the U.S. National Security Agency that performs machine learning analysis on communications data to extract information about possible terror suspects. The tool is used to identify targets, such as al-Qaeda couriers, who move between GSM cellular networks. These couriers often swap SIM cards within phones that have the same ESN, MEID or IMEI number.

The tool uses classification techniques like random forest analysis. Because the data set includes a very large proportion of true negatives and a small training set, there is a risk of overfitting. Bruce Schneier argues that a false positive rate of 0.008% would be low for commercial applications where “if Google makes a mistake, people see an ad for a car they don’t want to buy” but “if the government makes a mistake, they kill innocents.”

The SKYNET project was linked with drone systems, thus creating the potential for false-positives to lead to deaths. Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief in Islamabad, Ahmad Zaidan, was wrongly identified as the most probable member of al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood on their records.

Despite the fact it is improbable to be a member of both groups, he is also widely and publicly known for traveling to meet with radical groups, but was instead identified due to mobile phone surveillance placing him in rural locations.

This has been seen to show the failing of the system, as it has misidentified a journalist conducting legitimate, public business as a potential terrorist, whilst also harming freedom of the press and breaking US law on surveillance of journalists.

Source: SKYNET – Wiki

END.

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"Finchie Cova" Open Letter to ISIS on behalf of Paddy

So after the past few weeks of shite that’s been floating around on Facebook I’ve tried to stay out of it. But I can’t, not anymore. Finchie needs to speak.

MY OPEN LETTER TO ISIS 

What’s the craic lads! I don’t think we have officially met. Finchie here from Ireland, we are that non-aggravating, laid back post-English island to the West of the bullshit.

So how’s yourself? Been busy I hope.

I see from the shallow media outlets and the “copy & paste” fear posting on social media that ye have been up to your neck in it the past few months. Good for you!

Sorry to be bothering ye boys while ye are busy planning the world’s biggest burning man festival in the name of Alan (or what ever he’s called) but something has come to our attention in the past few days that we need to have a quick “chat” about.

What’s this I hear about ye adding us to a list of countries called “The Global Coalition” in some mad 80’s themed propaganda video? Ah lads come on will ya, shtep down from the 3 legged horse now for a second and rewind the cassette cuz I think ye got it wrong.

First of all, lads we’re only here for the craic! We have been through too much shite-hawking over the past couple of thousand years to be goin all “rouge and shit” and joining in fights we clearly don’t want to be part of.

It’s like when a fisht fight breaks out in primary school between Vince and Iano Kelly. Most of us just watch, shout a bit and kick a bin to make noise or whatever, but we don’t bother getting involved (well Vince is English so any sly opportunity for a shneaky kick to the shins and we’re all over it) we couldn’t be arsed with the whole thing, we’re simply too laid back.

Now keeping that in mind let me let you in on a few tips if you do decide to come over here and piss in our cornflakes. Don’t judge us on the actions of the lads across the pond. We don’t like that craic. I get that ye have yer fight an all, but don’t drag us into it, we don’t give a left bollock for Alan and what he tells ye to do. Sharon’s law (or whatever it is) won’t work here. I know a Sharon, and she’s a cunt. We don’t like her either.

Don’t bomb our shit. We just finished building it back after breaking free from the very enemy you also have on your hit list (if you want tho you can destroy Leitrim, absolute shitehole lads I’m not joking).

We have more than one army. One official army actually went training in north Cork recently to prepare for your arrival. And yes north Cork is exactly like Damascus, especially Fermoy on a Friday night.

We also have a few non-official, highly secretive, multi-talented armies all with the same name (you get used to it after a while) who hate each other but have one very important thing in common … all mad bastards. Let that sink in.

By the way the unofficial armies are all trained in guerrilla warfare. Meaning you’re fucked. Like actually fucked. Unless you want to buy weapons, then some of them will turn a blind eye to “the cause” and sell ya a few AKs while you visit.

Don’t even think about blowing up Leo Burdocks!!!

Consider this your harshest warning! If any single pub is damaged during your short stay here, we will consider this an act of war!!! We praise our God Arthur (Guinness) and we will strike down on you with great vengeance and furious anger if you attempt to destroy our drinking patterns during a time of crisis!

On a final note, remember these and you should be fine:

1. “Offies” close at ten;
2. Don’t leave the immersion on;
3. PM me for Bono’s address;
4. Don’t bomb shit when the Toy Show is on;
5. Start with Leitrim;
6. If you’re looking for virgins you won’t find any on Harcourt Street;
7. Get a Tesco clubcard. Trust me;
8. If you want to blow up a stadium, go to Dalymount please;
9. Go to a water protest, they don’t judge you for where you’re from, just if you pay or not;
10. Finally, if asked for change, eyes down and keep fucking walking!

So ISIS it’s good to meet you. Do yourself a favour and us – stay where you are. You don’t want to come here, we’re not bothered with the issues you have. But if you do, we will beat the shit out of all of you using mammies wooden spoon, Kilkenny hurlers and the bouncers from the copper faced Jack’s.

Yours Unintentionally
Finchie and the rest of Ireland

EDIT: Offaly, Offaly too!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: 

Mr. Finchie Cova;
Republished entirely from The Irish MIRROR ;

The Usual Mechanics of an Obama Speech

Case Study: Address to the UN General Assembly (09.28.2015)

Main Take Outs & Speech Summary 

Blah, blah, blah …. incorrect reference to historical precedent …. blah, blah …. sincere look …. blah …. fake empathy …. blah, blah, blah …. backslap and high five for fellow ultra-liberals (Choose Merkel or Pope Francis) …. blah blah blah …. dramatic pause …. blah …. knowing stare into the middle distance …. blah blah …. lots more words with no substance …. blah blah blah …. minorities matter, majorities must comply …. blah blah ….

Say more words that translate to weakness pretending to be strength …. blah, blah, blah …. more words that loosely mean more inaction disguised as diplomacy …. blah, blah …. make appeal to irrelevant emotions – your kids, my kids, the future …. blah, blah, blah …. some more vague general piffle …. blah, blah ….

Quote the US Constitution which you have rode rough shod over since 2008 (Choose creating own laws without due process using the Supreme Court, number of executive orders issued in last seven years, lack of consultation with Congress the alleged voice of the people) …. blah, blah ….

Make some more vague generalisations and non-specific argument …. blah blah blah …. point a finger (choose Israel, Syria or Russia in order of indifference to their respective motivations)…. blah, blah …. speak of friends and partners (choose Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Qatar) …. blah, blah, blah …. offer inappropriate comparison between problems resolved in Senegal, Singapore and Colombia and those of the current global war on terror specifically Syria and Iraq …. blah, blah ….

The end … cue lack lustre applause and eye rolling by the audience and a look of satisfaction and utter accomplishment from Mr. President …. meanwhile nothing changes for the better in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Ukraine, Crimea, the refugees crisis, the rest of the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Balkans while race relations, illegal immigration and the deficit have all reached “basket case” scenarios in the USA.

Two Flawed Triumvirates Seek to Undermine Western Europe

Ultra Liberals Disguised as Capitalists

On one hand, we observe Obama peddling a socialist manifesto ignoring the reality of global sectarianism, energy imperialism and economic warfare while pretending to push a capitalist agenda to disguise his ultra-liberal policies. Obama’s arguments that he supports capitalism and democracy (the rule of the majority) are reductio ad absurdum if one accepts that capitalism is engineered for inequality and fails to function if it is expected to operate alongside a belief that within a system that rewards risk, innovation and merit that all people can be equal and all opinions accommodated. On his flanks are Merkel in Germany and the South American liberation theologian in the Vatican.

These three are not overtly aligned but each with a significant power base and influence are pushing the same concepts – all of which are detrimental to Western interests and influence and the ultimate outcome of whose policies, if allowed to succeed, can only place the West at the mercy of more martial and aggressive regimes.

Weakness Masquerading as Strength

Human nature does not change quickly – these alleged students of the human condition wish us to take a path that will only result in our demotion globally to mere slaves of external events and concepts, rather than masters of our destiny. It puts us on a path of inevitable identity and cultural destruction.

Our opponents do not struggle with such issues. They hold a set of beliefs which they pursue relentlessly with a vigour that leaves no room for dissent. How can one be expected to accept a compromised position that weakens our ability to defend our beliefs in the face of such ideologues and fanaticism.

On the other hand Obama et al. – like all of their persuasion – seek to rule by the consensus of the lowest common denominator. This results in the usual liberal conundrum – perpetual inaction or at the very least confused, misguided and misdirected action – generally too late to influence events.

The “Might is Right” Misfits 

The opposing trio, led in theory by the bully boy Putin cosy in his arrangements with Hassan Rouhani (Iran) and Xi Jinping (China), are resolutely opposed to a progressive agenda and firmly united in their anti-American sentiment. They possess a clear set of focussed short term objectives that play to all the basic human emotions – nationalism, aggression and a clearly identifiable common enemy to unite against – in this case two – ISIS a form of radical Islam (I do not denote it as “the” form of radical Islam as Iran is the Sh’ia version of the ISIS Sunni form) and of course the USA.

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The former are offering a loose set of vague promises of future peace, prosperity and universal brotherhood based on complete sacrifice by the most powerful and the most comfortable nations – financially and politically – all the while eroding the cultural identities and traditional values of those constituencies they allegedly represent.

The real power lies in the “Might is Right” alliance and it is that challenge that needs to be addressed by the next US administration, the Conservatives in the UK and the other realistic member states of the EU and Eastern Europe.

The Political Landscape in the West

Obama and the Democrats have 14 months left in office before a generation in the political wilderness. Merkel is riding a wave of nauseating self-applause regarding her disastrous refugee policies and in the spirit of classic Teutonic arrogance continues to use the very federal institutions that were created in the EU to protect against historical German aggression and bullying to push the German agenda and harass the weaker EU nations.

When the UK inevitably decides that enough is enough and leaves the EU it will create at last a second lever of power in Western Europe. The path is clear for the Conservatives to take the initiative on this long held wisdom as the only viable opposition – the Labour Party – is now led by the divisive Corbyn, a figure of contempt for many in his own party, a thinly disguised Marxist and terrorist apologist.

Papal Hand-Wringing Hides Classic Self-Interest

Pope Francis is simply a sideshow to fill a few minutes at the end of the news segments with his appeals that are attractive to the billions of Catholics in developing South America, Asia and Africa. The Catholic church having lost its foothold in its traditional power base after decades of financial and sexual abuse scandals must now do what it does best – pretend to champion the poor in order to maintain its relevance and more importantly its coffers.

Whether the Pope realises it or not, his rhetoric is only a tool to keep the institution relevant to its current flock of poverty stricken less educated members and contributors to whom religion is always a salve in their world with few comforts or allies.

Pathetic Justification of Obama’s Foreign Policy Free-Fall

Yesterday Obama delivered a “why can’t we all just get along” plea at the United Nations General Assembly in the spirit of the most self-deluded, self indulgent, unrealistic antics of the 60s “love and peace to all men, women and the gender neutral” movement. Obama imposed forty minutes of nonsensical rationalisation for inaction and justification, informed by hindsight, for the train wreck that is his administrations foreign policy outcomes.

He sees a world of “equals” albeit that some will be more “equal” than others. A world where a centrally based well armed unelected power – the United Nations – will “implement” policy at a global level despite its failure to do so on umpteen occasions in the past and without an awareness apparently of the veto that his main opponents possess at that forum.

Perpetual Flux & Cultural Abandon

He envisages the first world in a state of perpetual flux and cultural abandon – welcoming countless un-vetted refugees as “brothers and sisters” and granting every seemingly minority view a status equalling that of the majority. Regardless of the prevailing “mood” of the populace in our countries we are to be forced to allow every refugee, asylum seeker or economic migrant to choose our locale for their new start and to be pleased.

Many of these “travellers” are neither Syrian or from conflict zones. Those that are, have in the main, been created by US foreign policy disasters but the bill for these adventures is being picked up in general by Western Europe and in particular the populations of the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden whose social structures and rampant political correctness are so attractive to these “travellers”.

However, Obama has saddled his own nation with a similar version of unbridled immigrant access from Mexico and South America.

Breathtaking Paradoxes

He notes that “democracy”, in his view, will and should take different forms in nations across the globe as it takes account of local “cultural” variations, religious preferences and regional ethnic themes. Failing it would seem to appreciate that his administration and he himself personally have done all they can to undermine these local variations in his own nation and in Western Europe.

Clearly, with a sideways glance at irony his speechwriters then ignored the juxtaposition of his comments regarding capitalism beside what amounted to a socialist policy document.

“The commitments we’ve made to the Sustainable Development Goals speak to this truth. I believe that capitalism has been the greatest creator of wealth and opportunity that the world has ever known. But from big cities to rural villages around the world, we also know that prosperity is still cruelly out of reach for too many. As His Holiness Pope Francis reminds us, we are stronger when we value the least among these, and see them as equal in dignity to ourselves and our sons and our daughters.”

A Legacy of Failure & Betrayal

Obama stands atop a pile of the corpses of US veterans, coalition partners and local militia’s whose past efforts he has squandered or current efforts left unsupported via his administrations stuttering hesitancy. Obama has presided over a foreign policy free-fall that has seen countless Middle Eastern and North African bombed-tortured-enslaved-persecuted-murdered-drowned civilians, led Europe to a state of cultural collapse in the face of unhindered economic migration, and seen factions across the globe create allegiances that are firmly polarised across religious and sectarian lines.

The lampoonish figure of this man who is responsible for these outcomes lecturing us like a Mandelaesque wannabe all the while waving a CND flag while allowing Iran access to the technologies for a nuclear weapon, clutching his pro-choice card and popping dandelions in the barrels of jihadi AK-47s is all the more aggravating as he has the audacity to look as smug as his co-conspirators while pontificating. Completely ignorant of his own legacy of failure.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. At best this is what Obama and Merkel and Francis are guilty of.

Yesterday Obama delivered a “why can’t we all just get along” plea at the United Nations General Assembly in the spirit…
Posted by TMG Corporate Services on Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Misguided Faith in Failed Institutions

“It is this international order that has underwritten unparalleled advances in human liberty and prosperity. It is this collective endeavour that’s brought about diplomatic cooperation between the world’s major powers, and buttressed a global economy that has lifted more than a billion people from poverty. It is these international principles that helped constrain bigger countries from imposing our will on smaller ones, and advanced the emergence of democracy and development and individual liberty on every continent.”

Obama spoke these words as fact – the test however is “time” and to put forward this thesis as fact bears no witness to the truth that since 1945 the “institutions” which he refers to are just seventy years old and are not mature enough or tested enough to offer, as he does, as the undisputed “global solution” going forward.

In fact on countless occasions the economic, social and military concepts of co-operation and mutual self interest and “self-evident truths” – a phrase he borrowed from a Constitution which he has shamelessly trampled on since his inauguration – have crumbled in even the most minor of crises.

We are globally more unequal now than we have been at any point in the past and all the credible studies show this is to continue and not reverse.

Add to that climate change, population growth, failures in disease control, economic uncertainty and global regional conflicts and one wonders how Obama can expect those who have in the previous centuries suffered and dragged themselves from these deprivations are simply going to mortgage their nations and families futures to those who have either abandoned or destroyed theirs in their own countries.

A Race To The Lowest Common Denominator

These are facts and not ultra-liberal fiction – Obama views “equality” not as the improvement of the conditions of those who are already comfortable but a race to the lowest common denominator where those in the first world move downwards to joined those in the second and third world as they rise upwards.

It is a dreamers concept where the hodge-podge of argument and rationalisation for such a policy can only be realistic in the mind of a egocentric with a mood of entitlement.

Misquoting History

“The people of our United Nations are not as different as they are told. They can be made to fear; they can be taught to hate—but they can also respond to hope. History is littered with the failure of false prophets and fallen empires who believed that might always makes right, and that will continue to be the case. You can count on that. But we are called upon to offer a different type of leadership—leadership strong enough to recognize that nations share common interests and people share a common humanity, and, yes, there are certain ideas and principles that are universal.”

His reference to reasons for the failure of historical empires and the cherry picking of examples to support his argument makes assumption that while he is arguing against holding strong values and opinions that the number of empire’s that fell because they stuck rigidly to their beliefs is matched by those that fell by allowing the utter dilution of the very principles that made them great – most notably the greatest of them all – the Roman Empire. Obama is no student of history.

But Obama was never one for digging deep to rationalise his opinions – he after all represents a minority view of sweeping generalisations but considers himself above reproach with respect to minority affairs. A worn out notion but one which still seven years on he pulls out of his single bag of tricks to push down any opposition as radical, racist, extreme or all three preferably – completely undermining the very “message” that he purports to be the on-high appointed courier for – namely tolerance.

The Erosion of US Prestige

He has failed to grasp and those willing nodders around him have also left unobserved the awkward fact that US influence and prestige has eroded globally over the last seven years to a point where former stalwart allies and client states have sought or are seeking options elsewhere.

In May 2014 we paraphrased coverage of Obama’s whistle stop tour of the East that stated:

America’s allies are nervous. With Russia grabbing territory, China bullying its neighbours and Syria murdering its people, many are asking: where is Globocop? Under what circumstances will America act to deter troublemakers? What, ultimately, would America fight for?

In the intervening seventeen months we have been given the answer: America – under its current leadership will fight for nothing.

Filling the Vacuum

Russia is still grabbing territory but has now been joined by China and Iran who have observed – in the spirit of Chamberlain – Obama’s lack of firm intervention with respect to both the de-stabilisation of Eastern Ukraine and the annexation of the Crimea by Russia.

Obama offers the “success” of economic sanctions as the justification of not wielding a stronger stick. The uncomfortable fact is that economic sanctions have led Iran to negotiate a pro-Iranian nuclear deal which the misguided President still believes is verifiable. And pushed Russia to further expansion as a direct result of US actions. Clearly Putin is protecting Assad who has vehemently opposed the construction of the Qatari gas pipeline which actions protects Russia as the key supplier of that resource to Western Europe and the foreign currency he so badly needs.

To quote Global Research: “A battle has raged over whether pipelines will go toward Europe from east to west, from Iran and Iraq to the Mediterranean coast of Syria, or take a more northbound route from Qatar and Saudi Arabia via Syria and Turkey. Having realized that the stalled Nabucco pipeline, and indeed the entire Southern Corridor, are backed up only by Azerbaijan’s reserves and can never equal Russian supplies to Europe or thwart the construction of the South Stream, the West is in a hurry to replace them with resources from the Persian Gulf. Syria ends up being a key link in this chain, and it leaned in favour of Iran and Russia; thus it was decided in the Western capitals that its regime needs to change. The fight for democracy is a false flag thrown out to cover up totally different aims.”

In January 2015 in our post “Risks Ahead in the South China Sea” we noted that China continues to bully in the region around the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

Syria in the intervening period, along with Libya, is a failed state witness to destruction, genocide and a regional humanitarian crisis on a scale not seen since the 1940’s. The outcome of Obama inaction is that the isolated Assad and the vacuum created by lack of Western support for a lesser evil in the face of ISIS has meant that Russia, China and Iran have moved to a position of unassailable control in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Iran has been allowed to position its Sh’ia militias all across non-KRG Iraq and embolden its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon and Golan.

Putin’s Vision of the Middle East

Putin has a vision of a wall of Iranian-dominated, Russia-friendly, anti-American states stretching from western Afghanistan through Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. And he’s well on his way to achieving it, thanks to the nuclear deal with Iran, US military hesitancy in the region and, now, an open alliance between Russia, China, Iran, Iraq’s Shia militias, Hezbollah and the forces of the Assad regime.

That wall would not only keep out the United States, it would isolate the Kurds and overshadow the last US clients in the region, including Israel who has already moved to improve relations with Moscow and receive assurances with respect to Moscow and Beijing’s intentions as they commence a military buildup based around the port of Tartus and the Assad heartland of Damascus.

At the time (May 2014) the following was noted of Obama’s questioning by the media:

The answer to this question matters. Rogue states will behave more roguishly if they doubt America’s will to stop them. As a former head of Saudi intelligence recently said of Vladimir Putin’s land grab in Ukraine: “While the wolf is eating the sheep, there is no shepherd to come to the rescue.” Small wonder that Barack Obama was asked, at every stop during his four-country swing through Asia, how exactly he plans to wield American power. How would the president respond if China sought to expand its maritime borders by force? How might he curb North Korea’s nuclear provocations? At every press conference he was also quizzed about Ukraine.

None of these legacy issues have been materially addressed by Obama and Co. in the intervening months and yesterdays speech suggests that will be the case until November 2016 – for that speech naively pleaded for reasonable actions from unreasonable people as the solution to these problems.

Indifference in the Audience

The sceptical faces of many at the Assembly was not just made up of the usual suspects but many formerly “standing ovation” members when any US President previously delivered a keynote address at a time of great import. The lack lustre applause at the appointed times throughout the cringe worthy oratory was also notable and telling.

Obama’s own rationale and metrics can equally be applied to the foreign policy failures that he has created and presided over. In trying to cater to everybody he caters to nobody and undermines not emboldens the principles that he allegedly finds so appealing. His removal from office by the expiry of his abused mandate (making his own laws via the Supreme Court / signing Executive Orders on a weekly basis / failure to consult the “Voice of the People” – Congress) or impeachment cannot happen too quickly for the West. An abrogation of responsibility, in favour of unproven and previously failed strategies, on the scale of Obama’s has not been witnessed before and hopefully will never be again.

The Serious Implications of the Unopposed Russian Military Build-up in Syria

Western Inertia Enables Russian Geo-Political Gains

The geo-political gains that Russia are achieving in the Middle East due to EU / USA / NATO / UN inaction will not be reversed with diplomacy. Whether the US administration – current or pending – does or does not decide to change their policy on the region is irrelevant now because when or if they do it will likely be too late as it will risk direct military confrontation with the Russians already on the ground.

Summary Satellite‬ Imagery Analysis‬ of Russian‬ Military‬ ‪‎Buildup‬

The following observations were made at ‪‎Bassel‬ Al-Assad International Airport‬ Sept 4. to Sept 24. 2015 to include:
1. Additional helicopter‬ hard-stands;
2. Ground clearance taking place for future construction;
3. Construction of large new concrete surfaces and taxi ways; 
4. Initial positioning of mobile housing units;
5. Temporary tent‬ facilities;
6. A battalion’s worth of ‪‎armoured‬ ‪‎vehicles‬ & tanks in temporary soft surface parking locations;
7. Several new helicopters deployed to location with rotors removed to facilitate air transportation;
8. Transport aircraft on runways with open nose cones for loading / unloading‪ troops‬ and ‪‎equipment‬;
9. 15 x new helicopters arrived to the airbase between Sept 4. & Sept 20. identified as Mil‬ Mi24‬ attack‬ helicopters‬;
10. Also new on Sept 20. – a large number of fighter aircraft sitting on parking bays parallel to the two runways at the airbase;
11. 4 x Sukhoi‬ ‪‎Su30MKI‬ multi-role fighter aircraft;
12. 12 x Sukhoi Su25‬ ground attack aircraft;
13. A further 12 x Sukhoi ‪‎Su24‬‘s to the base on Sept 24.;
14. Additional construction ground clearance land scars and further deliveries are observed on satellite imagery today Sept 24.;

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Russia & Assad -VS- The West, The Kurds & the Non Islamist Anti-Assad Militias

The Russians have moved to support Assad their long time ally. The West in the event of an intervention would do so to assist the Kurds against ISIS most likely but also to assist the anti-Assad non Radical Islamist militia’s, the latter bringing them into direct conflict with the Russian forces.

Loss of Near Time Regional Opportunity & Increased Complexity

There will now be no NATO / US bases in Syria for the foreseeable future without direct conflict with or agreement from the Russians meaning “boots on the ground” from the West are unlikely to be within easy reach if direct military intervention is eventually agreed by the Western allies and their coalition partners.

Even in the event that the USA and the coalition partners limited their actions to supporting the Kurds against ISIS the planning and logistics would be exponentially more complex due to the existing Russian presence.

The Russians have stolen a march in the region right under the noses of the West – Russia has been allowed to take the initiative in the Middle East. Western Europe is weak – the compromising of Europe is Radical Islam’s stepping stone to undermining the US. Europe needs the US to have strong leadership – the outcome in Europe will dictate the outcome in the US.

The Russian-Iranian-Chinese Triumvirate

In addition, the Iranians are controlling matters in Iraq (outside of the KRG) through their Shi’ite militia and on the ground QUDS forces. The Chinese too are making in-roads in the region driven by the rapid growth in oil and gas imports, Chinese trade with the Middle East has risen from around 20 billion USD a decade ago to an estimated 230 billion USD last year, with the trade volume expected to exceed 500 billion USD by 2020. The Russian-Iranian-Chinese triumvirate are leaving the West in a distance second place in the region.

Western Europe is Distracted

Meanwhile Western Europe’s resources are being stretched and infrastructure overwhelmed with all the negative effects of the conflict in particular the refugee crisis and the associated internal security risks which we have discussed in our post Schengen: Compromising Europe’s internal security by “democratic consent” previously and replied to criticism of our hypotheses in that post through Rebuttal to Comment on the LinkedIn Forum: Counter Terrorism & Geopolitical Security

Putin’s Coup De Grâce

The Russians have spectacularly come out on top in this one – Putin must be a very happy man – and the US runs the risk of losing existing bases in Turkey due to poor relations with Erdogan over the ISIS fight and his governments hijacking of that alleged process to further persecute the Kurds, the only consistent and viable opposition to ISIS in the region since 2013 and additionally bomb the PKK and murder countless Kurd civilians in the process.

Ukraine too and the US influence therein is threatened and the Crimea and the Black Sea firmly under Russian control both outcomes threatening Western Europe’s energy needs. It is easy to be tongue in cheek and suggest that Obama must be on the FSB payroll – they could hardly have done a better job themselves.

The Middle East – A Russian & Iranian Sphere of Influence

The conclusion – the continued unopposed build-up of Russian forces in Syria will mean that a direct Western intervention in the region is rapidly becoming an impossibility without a willingness to accept the risk of a direct military confrontation with Russia and the escalation of the conflict beyond all recognition – and not even the most hawkish US Republican would consider such an option as acceptable.

In the mid-term it would suggest that the Middle East is inexorably moving toward being an undisputed Russian & Iranian sphere of influence.  

Satellite Imagery Analysis of Russian Military Buildup at Bassel Al-Assad International Airport Sept 4. to Sept 24….
Posted by Graham Penrose on Thursday, September 24, 2015

1. Additional helicopter hard-stands:

2. Ground clearance taking place for future construction:

3. Construction of large new concrete surfaces and taxi ways:

4. Initial positioning of mobile housing units:

5. Temporary tent facilities:

6. A battalion’s worth of armoured vehicles & tanks in temporary soft surface parking locations:

7. Several new helicopters deployed to location with rotors removed to facilitate air transportation:

8. Transport aircraft on runways with open nose cones for loading / unloading troops and equipment:

9. 15 x new helicopters arrived to the airbase between Sept 4. & Sept 20. identified as Mil Mi24 attack helicopters:

10. Also new on Sept 20. – a large number of fighter aircraft sitting on parking bays parallel to the two runways at the airbase:

11. 4 x Sukhoi Su30MKI multi-role fighter aircraft:

12. 12 x Sukhoi Su25 ground attack aircraft:

13. A further 12 x Sukhoi Su24’s to the base on Sept 24.:

14. Additional construction ground clearance land scars and further deliveries are observed on satellite imagery today Sept 24.:

Acknowledgements:
STRATFOR – Full Video Analysis Here;
ALL SOURCE ANALYSIS;
GEONORTH – Imagery Coordination Center

Jordanian King warns ISIS fight a ‘Third World War’ – Al Arabiya News

Jordan King warns ISIS fight a ‘Third World War’ – Al Arabiya News

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned Friday that the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants is a “third world war,” as President Barack Obama pledged a sizable U.S. aid increase to his country.
As the two men met at the White House, Obama promised to increase U.S. aid to Jordan from $660 million to more than $1 billion per year.
He also vowed the United States would provide the kingdom with an additional loan guarantee.
King Abdullah said Jordan, the United States and other countries “had to combine our strategies” to combat ISIS, saying he believed it would be a “generational fight.”
“We really have to have a pan-regional approach to this issue. This is a Muslim problem. We need to take ownership of this,” the Jordanian monarch told CBS television.
“It’s clearly a fight between good and evil,” he said, adding: “I think this is a third world war by other means.”
“The medium-term is the security aspect, but the long term is going to be the ideological one. There’s a lot of leaders around the Arab and Muslim world that have had enough, that want to come and say ‘look enough is enough.’”
Obama said the increased U.S. support aims to boost “political and economic reforms that are taking place inside of Jordan.”
This would not only that “the people of Jordan prosper and be self-sufficient, but they can continue to provide an anchor for important efforts that enhance U.S. national security over the long term.”
The U.S. aid is effective from 2015 to 2017.
One of America’s most stalwart allies in the Middle East, Jordan borders Iraq’s Anbar province, which has been largely overrun by ISIS militants.
It is one of several Arab countries taking part in U.S.-led air strikes against the militant group in Syria.
King Abdullah expressed gratitude for the increased financial assistance, which comes at a “difficult” time for his nation as it grapples with its own Islamist extremists and faces a flood of 1.5 million refugees from war-torn Syria who now make up a fifth of Jordan’s population.
“This will have a tremendous impact on Jordanians at all levels. So from all of us, a very gracious thank you to you and your people for this very timely support for our country,” Abdullah told Obama.