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"Putin Ignored My Phone Calls:" Turkish President Erdogan in Exclusive Interview with "French 24"

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an exclusive interview Thursday with FRANCE 24, said his country “does not want tensions with Russia” after Turkish planes downed a Russian fighter near the Syrian border.

Erdogan, speaking to FRANCE 24’s Marc Perelman in the Turkish capital, Ankara, struck a conciliatory tone but declined to apologise for Tuesday's incident, which has further heightened tensions in the conflict-ridden region.

He restated Turkey’s stance that the Russian plane “ignored repeated warnings over five minutes” to leave Turkish airspace and had failed to identify itself.

“Had we known it was a Russian plane we may have acted differently,” he said. “But our pilots know the rules of engagement and have to do their duty to protect Turkish airspace”.

The Turkish leader said he had personally told Russian President Vladimir Putin at a G20 meeting to end Russian incursions into Turkey’s airspace, warning that such incidents were likely to occur.

He added: “No sovereign state can be expected to give up its right to protect ”.

Russian officials have reacted furiously to the plane’s downing on Tuesday, which Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described as a “planned provocation”.

The Russian government said Thursday it was preparing a raft of retaliatory economic measures and urged all Russian nationals to leave Turkey.

Moscow disputes Turkish claims that the Russian plane entered Turkish airspace, and has demanded a formal apology.

Erdogan said Turkey had communicated all military data on the incident to Russian military authorities, adding that “data provided by our NATO allies confirm our own”.

Sidestepping questions about whether he planned to apologise, the Turkish leader said Russia had failed to communicate its own data and that Putin had ignored his phone calls.

“We need to talk about what happened , but Putin has not returned my call,” he said.

Article Continues after scrolling past the two short You Tube snips....starting with:



Moscow has accused Turkey of helping Islamic State in the illegal oil trade--Pepe Escobar

Not Only Ankara Backs Daesh but Offers Also Logistical Support – Pepe Escobar


Moscow has accused Turkey of helping Islamic State in the illegal oil trade which helps finance the terrorist group. According to analysts, Russian airstrikes in Syria are disrupting the profitable deals for Turkish middlemen, including Ankara officials.

Media Confliction over Russia and US Airstrikes on ISIS Oil Facilities & Tankers in Syria

I've seen U.S. Media Claim that our forces. have bombed Oil Facilities and Tankers in Syria with no mention of Russia's air strikes on those facilities. I've seen Russia and Foreign Media report that Russia has struck Oil Facilites and Tankers in Syria with no mention of the U.S. I'm talking about the Mainstream U.S TV Media like CNN/MSNBC because I don't know what Fox News does because I never watched it

Has anyone else noticed this?

I did a quick search for sample article and it seems to me from the dates that we must be, and have been, working in coordination with Russia for these strike against the ISIS Oil Facilities and Tankers--yet our Mainstream TV Media seems to ignore Russia's part while a few newspapers like NYT, WaPo and others do mention both. I check out both MSNBC and CNN and I've not seen either talk about a coordinated effort in the bombing raids between US and Russia.

Anyway, maybe I'm just being nit picky but thought it interesting.


Added on 8:54 AM ET, Thu November 19, 2015

Russian bombers strike ISIS' oil

Russia says it significantly reduced ISIS' export capabilities and income by striking oil tankers and storage facilities in Syria.


AP November 20, 2015, 2:41 PM

Russian airstrikes blast ISIS oil facilities in Syria

MOSCOW -- The Russian military has destroyed numerous oil facilities and tankers controlled by ISIS in Syria, sharply cutting its income, Russia's defense minister said Friday.

Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin on Friday that Russian warplanes destroyed 15 oil refining and storage facilities in Syria and 525 trucks carrying oil during this week's bombing blitz. He said this deprived ISIS of $1.5 million in daily income from oil sales.

Russia, which has conducted an air campaign in Syria since Sept. 30, sharply raised the intensity starting Tuesday following confirmation that the Russian Metrojet plane in Egypt was downed by a bomb, which ISIS said it had planted. All 224 people aboard the plane, mostly Russian tourists, were killed.

Putin has discussed cooperating on fighting ISIS during his meetings with President Barack Obama and other Western leaders at the sidelines of the Group of 20 rich and developing nations in Turkey this week.



Updated: Friday, September 26, 2014, 5:47 PM

BY Corky Siemaszko

U.S.-led coalition bomb ISIS oil sites in Syria for 2nd straight day as Britain, Belgium and Denmark announce they are joining the fight

The coalition dropped bombs on ISIS oil facilities overnight Thursday — the second day of raids on the oil plants and the fourth of airstrikes in the region. The strikes aim to cripple one of the terrorists' primary sources of cash: black market oil.



Middle East--November 16, 2015

U.S. Warplanes Strike ISIS Oil Trucks in Syria

By MICHAEL R. GORDON --NOV. 16, 2015

ISTANBUL — Intensifying pressure on the Islamic State, United States warplanes for the first time attacked hundreds of trucks on Monday that the extremist group has been using to smuggle the crude oil it has been producing in Syria, American officials said.

According to an initial assessment, 116 trucks were destroyed in the attack, which took place near Deir al-Zour, an area in eastern Syria that is controlled by the Islamic State.

The airstrikes were carried out by four A-10 attack planes and two AC-130 gunships based in Turkey.

Plans for the strike were developed well before the terrorist attacks in and around Paris on Friday, officials familiar with the operation said, part of a broader operation to disrupt the ability of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, to generate revenue to support its military operations and govern its territory.

To disrupt that revenue source, American officials said last week that the United States had sharply stepped up its airstrikes against infrastructure that allows the Islamic State to pump oil in Syria.

Until Monday, the United States refrained from striking the fleet used to transport oil, believed to include more than 1,000 tanker trucks, because of concerns about causing civilian casualties. As a result, the Islamic State’s distribution system for exporting oil had remained largely intact.

The new campaign is called Tidal Wave II. It is named after the World War II effort to counter Nazi Germany by striking Romania’s oil industry. Lt. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland, who in September assumed command of the international coalition’s campaign in Iraq and Syria, suggested the name.

To reduce the risk of harming civilians, two F-15 warplanes dropped leaflets about an hour before the attack warning drivers to abandon their vehicles, and strafing runs were conducted to reinforce the message.

The area where the trucks assemble in Syria has been closely monitored by reconnaissance drones. As many as 1,000 trucks have been observed there, waiting to receive their cargo of illicit oil.

On Monday, 295 trucks were in the area, and more than a third of them were destroyed, United States officials said. The A-10s dropped two dozen 500-pound bombs and conducted strafing runs with 30-millimeter Gatling guns. The AC-130s attacked with 30-millimeter Gatling guns and 105-millimeter cannons.

The pilots saw several drivers running to a nearby tent and did not attack them, an American official said, and there were no immediate reports of civilian casualties.

Col. Steven H. Warren, the American-led coalition’s spokesman in Baghdad, confirmed that A-10s and AC-130s had been used in the attack and that 116 tanker trucks had been destroyed.


What's Fueling Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria?

What's Fueling Boko Haram Attacks in Nigeria?

Baba Aye of Nigeria's United Action for Democracy argues that the West's obsession with military solutions will ensure the dominance of groups like ISIS - November 22, 2015

Transcript Follows the You Tube...or follow at:


Baba Aye,
a trade union educator and Deputy National Secretary of the Labour Party, is the National Convener of United Action for Democracy, the largest rights-based CSOs coalition in Nigeria. He has been very active over the past three decades in the various trenches of struggle for democratic rights and is the author of the book Era of Crises and Revolts: Perspectives for Workers and Youth (2012).


JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network.

I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.The African continent was shaken by a series of terrorist attacks this week. In Mali a group of gunmen took over a luxury hotel, killing at least a dozen people and holding hundreds hostage. This developing story has yet to confirm who is responsible for the attacks. But in Nigeria, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in the cities of Yola and Kano, and have claimed the lives of at least 49 people. The news comes after a report from the Institute of Economics and Peace that states that Boko Haram has killed more people in 2014 than ISIS, a terrorist organization that Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to. But what is fueling all of this terrorism in Africa, in particular Nigeria?Now joining us to answer this question from Cote d'Ivoire is our guest, Baba Aye.

Baba is the national convener of United Action for Democracy, the largest rights-based coalition in Nigeria. Thank you so much for joining us, Baba.

BABA AYE: Thank you so much, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: So Baba, here at the Real News we've really tried to point out how the Islamic State is fundamentally a product of U.S. policy in the Middle East. We were wondering if you could do the same regarding the genesis of Boko Haram. So let's begin by looking at this important contradiction between the fact that Nigeria is the biggest producer of oil in Africa, and the fact that over 60 percent of its population lives in poverty. How can you link terrorism to poverty?

AYE: Definitely terrorism in Nigeria, Boko Haram has a lot to do with poverty in Nigeria and particularly in the northeastern part of the country we have, Boko Haram has as its bastion. Like you said, almost 70 percent of Nigerians are below the poverty line. And up to 90 percent. You have the largest number of pupils that should be in school, school-aged students, so you also have a lot of illiteracy. It is by all standards the most backward part of a rich country with people. And then you also have, there is such, there is also a tradition of resistance right from the time of, even before the colonial rule. Again, the .

So you have poverty, has been an issue in a context we have, people have been used to . So this is a very, very dangerous . And you also have a state that makes it difficult for legitimate expressions of , and that tries to demonize people that for the--a good example, a few days back, one and five soldiers in the . What did the have to say when the newspaper. Nigerians sure that he said that. Oh, this is not, this is because they like the way of life of Boko Haram. You have other locals very, very stuff by in trying to hide the fact that what they are facing is much more than just what can be defeated militarily. It has such economic roots, and that snowballs beyond what can result in meeting a December deadline or as the president stated a few months back.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. Let's pivot and discuss how people who are fighting poverty and the extraction of Africa's wealth into corporate hands--there's a whole history behind this. And this year Nigerians are commemorating the 20th anniversary of the execution of environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. For those who don't know, back in 2009, oil giant Shell paid $15.5 million as part of a settlement that accused the company of collaborating with the Nigerian army to kill Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists.So for many around the world this lawsuit helped bring to life the extent to which companies and the government worked together to crush social justice movements.

So Baba, I want to ask you, is this crushing of civil society opposition, is this to blame for the rise of ISIS as well? And if so, can you explain how?AYE: I would rather say attempt at crushing social movements. Because unfortunately those who sow the wind, they reap the whirlwind. The case of Saro-Wiwa that is very instructive for several reasons. The movement for the survival of the people, which came Saro-Wiwa late, actually stood for civil disobedience, peaceful struggle. But with the killing of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the genie was let out of the bottle in the and it was the context within which there was a to arms later. And you see that 20 years after the death of Saro-Wiwa, even his memory and attempts to commemorate--that is an attack, an attack by the Nigerian state. The social action and the of society for which are put of the United Action for Democracy. They tried to, they did import what they called the commemorative , which was, it was something from a competition when the 20th anniversary of Saro-Wiwa was, judicial was done in the UK. And it was to be used as part of the symbolism for marking the 20th year. But the customs refused, refused to allow this to pass through into their . like the general, popular general of the . But for the same tribunal that .

So you see, there's a trajectory of repression. But unfortunately what the brings about is more violent response. You see this also with what you have in Boko Haram. Don't forget that it was a killing of the leader of Boko Haram, , in 2009, that led to of Boko Haram. And you find it also with regards to ISIS. You see, this is the fact that the system breeds, breeds a macabre with the entire society.

DESVARIEUX: But hold on, Baba. Because there are certain people that are going to say this is not about poverty. This is not about repressing people. This is about ideology. This is about the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the world. So what do you say to people who approach the issue that way?

AYE: I think they miss the point. They miss the point that you cannot separate ideology from the lives of people. You have always had for centuries now, but you have not always had them . It is not, if you ask me, it is not accidental that you had the in they were the mujaheddins in Afghanistan, the Iranian revolutions. You know, about the same time you had the coming of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, who we have the extreme right . You see, when people can not live--when material existence becomes so maddening for people, it provides ready ground, it provides the soil for recruitment into projects that or from they decide, you know, people within or people within a war.So I think that, thinking that ideology is the life of its own is one of the most, pardon me if I use the phrase, nonsense. But that's just as soon .

DESVARIEUX: All right. Baba, let's pause the conversation here. In part two we'll discuss the West's response to these attacks and how corruption is getting in the way of curbing Boko Haram.

Baba Aye, thank you so much for being with us.AYE: Thank you so much, Jessica.DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

As Putin visits Iran, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the U.S./Saudi alliance in Syria

As Putin visits Iran, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson and Paul Jay discuss the U.S./Saudi alliance in Syria and a relationship shrouded in secrecy - November 24, 2015

Wilkerson: The Hypocrisy of U.S. Syria Policy (Part 1/2)

TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS after the You Tube or at this LINK:



Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army soldier and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled "National Security Decision Making."



Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.With the recent attacks in Paris, a lot of attention has turned to the country many people think is the greatest sponsor of terror on the planet, and that's Saudi Arabia. Given Saudi Arabia's history and both its connections to the development of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Taliban, certainly its intervention in financing of extreme Islamic groups, I should say extremist groups who claim to be Islamist, in Syria, and so on, the question is why is the official American position on Saudi Arabia and its own human rights violations and so on, why is it so quiet?Now joining us to talk about that is Larry Wilkerson. Thanks for joining us, Larry.

LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Paul.

JAY: Larry comes from Williamsburg, Virginia today. He's the former chief of staff of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and he's currently an adjunct professor of government at the college of William and Mary. He's a regular contributor.

WILKERSON: Visiting professor, Paul.

JAY: One of the major factors in the Saudi-American relationship is the massive arms purchases by Saudi Arabia of American arms, and of French arms, particularly. To what extent does this, I think anywhere from the last five years, one number is somewhere between $90-100 billion of American arms purchases. That doesn't even touch what some of the French, and apparently recently somewhere in $11 billion in French arms. How much does this affect U.S. and French foreign policy, the fact that they have such a good customer in Saudi Arabia?

WILKERSON: Massively. It affects that foreign and security policy massively. There's no question about it. I would even say with Saudi Arabia now, especially with their fields growing more and more material, their oil fields, and Iraq's fields looking like they might even surpass and probably do surpass Saudi remains, I'd say it has more importance than oil. And it also has to do with the GCC, which the Saudi Arabians sort of tacitly lead, the Gulf Cooperation Council, because they're the people who have the money to buy things like Lockheed Martin's, a lot of subcontractors there too, but Lockheed Martin's the prime on this medium and high-altitude air defense. Extremely expensive systems. Billions and billions of dollars. Tens of billions of dollars. And so this is crucial to the number one defense contractor on the face of the earth, Lockheed Martin. If it's crucial to Lockheed, it's crucial to us.

JAY: Then you were in the State Department, you were working with Colin Powell, you were also his chief of staff when he was chairman of the joint chiefs. How does the Saudi role play out when you're in these kinds of deliberations? For example, after 9/11 you were there. And a couple of years later Bob Graham's joint congressional committee in their investigation found that the Saudi government was directly involved in facilitating and financing the 9/11 attacks. Now, whether you think that's a correct conclusion or not, it certainly, one would think, would be something that should be unraveled and investigated far more than it was. We'd certainly know about the Saudis' role in Afghanistan and Syria, and place after place where they finance terrorist activities.So when you're in the actual office, like in the State Department or at the joint chiefs, how cognizant are you of this special relationship, to a large extent about arms purchases?

WILKERSON: Well, this is an interesting question, Paul. From other research, documentation, and my own efforts as an academic, and just on my own, I've discovered some of the answer to your question. But the answer to your specific question is that it isn't talked about in the halls of government. Not at the levels where I operated, anyway. I don't even recall talking about it with the secretary of state, except in very general terms. And I don't recall reading a summary of, a transcript, summary of conclusions transcript, of any National Security Council meeting where President Bush, the vice president, Secretary of State Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld and others, Dr. Rice, were present, where any of them talked about it in the way that you're referring to.I think this is part of the danger of it. We don't talk about it. We just do it. Now, in private conversations with Prince Bandar, for example, in the Oval Office, or elsewhere, it probably gets talked about.

JAY: Prince Bandar, your time, was the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Who, known as, nicknamed Bandar Bush, he was so close to the president.

WILKERSON: Right. And I've sat at table, Paul, with Turki Al-Faisal and Bandar, and I've listened to the conversation. And the conversation never goes to that kind of detail. You don't do these sorts of things, in my view, you don't do these sorts of things except behind and underneath and aside from, and so forth. You won't have them exposed in the official process, even in the NSC deliberations, where a transcript could come out and haunt you in the future.These kinds of conversations take place when Dick Cheney gets on a plane, for example, as secretary of defense, and flies to Riyadh, and gets the royals together in Riyadh and tells them that Saddam Hussein's army is about to invade Saudi Arabia. In 1990, of course. '91, I guess. And there is no intel evidence that that was the case. That might have been Dick Cheney's surmise. It might have even been my boss, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff at the time, Colin Powell's surmise.

But there is no intelligence evidence that I've ever seen that shows that they were getting ready to make that right turn and to go into Saudi Arabia, and threaten Ras Tanura. But we said they were so that we could get permission from the Saudis to begin putting troops on the ground in Saudi Arabia. And of course, we deployed the 82nd.These kinds of things just don't get talked about except in very, very private circles and very private circumstances. I would even call them secret circumstances.JAY: You know, it's funny, because it's in secret circumstances it gets talked about. On the other hand, the relationships are so obvious it's the emperor with no clothes. For example--.

WILKERSON: Isn't that the truth?

JAY: If you're in the leadership of the Pentagon and you're about to retire soon, and you're planning to get some cushy job at Lockheed Martin, and Lockheed Martin is one of the biggest sellers of arms to Saudi Arabia. And now when you're still in the Pentagon you're going to be deliberating on policy that might affect these Saudi customers of yours, and what are their interests. And it's really, it's actually so apparent, yet it's so little commented on.

WILKERSON: I agree with you. And it's not just Saudi Arabia. I mean, you take any big contractor that operates with the U.S. government, and any country that's associated with those operations, and you've got exactly the revolving door you just described. You've got exactly that happening. No greater example of it exists than the vice president of the United States, former Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, who was so buried inside Riyadh and other places that Halliburton wanted him to be their CEO. And he was their CEO. In 1998 he's ranting about how sanctions against Iran are terrible. How they will never work, and how they ought to be lifted so that Halliburton can do business there. And then all of a sudden he becomes vice president, and Iran is the anathema of the world.I mean, that's the kind of foreign policy, security policy, you're going to get when it's being influenced not by the nation's interests but by the personal and private interests of a lot of these individuals who are complicit with this relationship.

JAY: All right, thanks for joining us, Larry.

WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Paul.


Obama Drafted to Fight Bush's War

Obama Drafted to Fight Bush's War
Michael Tomasky (AN "OLDIE BUT GOODY" READ)

How Far We Have Come:

Let’s remember who got us into this mess in Iraq, despite plenty of warnings—from Republicans, even—that this is where it would all lead us. Blame Bush? In this case, absolutely.

A picture is coming into focus now, is it not? As I write the United States has launched more than 80 air strikes against the Islamic State. As the strikes have already expanded—and in my view properly so—beyond the original goals of saving the Yazidis and protecting American people and property in Erbil, there’s no clear telling of where and when they will end.

So let me run this depressing thought by you: They have every chance of ending with Barack Obama, and undoubtedly his successor as well, having to prosecute the war that George W. Bush and his geniuses made inevitable with their lies and errors and perversions of law and criminally irresponsible fantasies about this Iraq that they promised us would reveal itself before our eyes as painlessly and quickly and even beautifully as a rose coming to bloom in time-lapse photography.

Conservative readers are already tweeting: Here we go, blame Bush again. Well, in a word, yes. I’m afraid these dots are preposterously easy to connect. But first, we have a date with the wayback machine.

I have been looking back over a few predictions about the Iraq War from back in 2002 and 2003. Recall Dick Cheney: “Weeks rather than months.” Also “we will be greeted as liberators.” Paul Wolfowitz: “There's a lot of money to pay for this. It doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money. We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” Wolfowitz again, since he was to my mind the most Satanic of the bunch: “It's hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam's security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.”

Well, you know the rest. I could fill a book with these little memories. I could also fill another book—but a slenderer one, since so many of our “leading intellectuals” and so much of our foreign-policy establishment types noted the prevailing winds and hyped themselves into a pro-war frenzy—with grim predictions. But I’ll limit myself to two.

The first: “Possibly the most dire consequences would be the effect in the region. The shared view in the region is that Iraq is principally an obsession of the U.S. The obsession of the region, however, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. There would be an explosion of outrage against us. We would be seen as ignoring a key interest of the Muslim world in order to satisfy what is seen to be a narrow American interest.”

And second: “While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guidelines about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in mission creep, and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs.”

Continued at.............


What's at Stake for Iran in Syria? /Professor Cyrus Bini Explains....

What's at Stake for Iran in Syria?

Prof. Cyrus Bina says during the Iran-Iraq war, Assad's Syria was the only Arab state that supported Iran


Cyrus Bina is a Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota, and a Fellow with the Economists for Peace and Security.

Partial Snip of Transcript--Link to Full Transcript at end of Snip:



Cyrus Bina is a Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota, and a Fellow with the Economists for Peace and Security.

Partial Snip of Transcript--Link to Full Transcript at end of Snip:

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to Reality Asserts Itself on the Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.It's a very complicated and very dangerous world we live in. And perhaps the fight or conflict that's most complicated right now is emblematic of how difficult it is to come to terms with the current balance of forces in the world is what's going on in Syria. Just about everybody in the planet that has any real geopolitical power has their finger in that pie. Of course, the people who are paying the consequences in their tens and hundreds of thousands are the Syrian people.But we're going to try to get more of a handle on what's happening, and we're going to do it through the prism of understanding Iran and their interests in the region. And through that, looking at the issue of oil and U.S. foreign policy. And now joining us to talk about all of this in the studio is Cyrus Bina.

Cyrus was born in Tehran. He was an activist against the Shah. He left during the Shah regime for the United States in 1971. He continued his activism against the Shah while he was here. He's now a Distinguished Research Professor of Economics at the University of Minnesota Morris. He's the author of several books, including the latest: A Prelude to the Foundation of Political Economy: Oil, War, and Global Polity.

CYRUS BINA: Thank you very much.JAY: So it's a rather complicated story. Rather. It's crazily complicated, really. I suppose maybe pre-World War I when people were trying to figure out whether there was going to be a world war, and all the various interests colluding. I mean, in retrospect decades later, you know, we can kind of understand the big picture of the uneven development of these big countries and how they started to conflict coming out of colonialism and so on. When you're in the middle of it maybe it wasn't quite so clear.But certainly now we're in a period of transition, as you've described, from a time when the United States could control the world. We really were a kind of hegemon where many, many governments were virtually puppets, to a time where it's a more complex relationship between American dominant power, but perhaps as you've described not hegemonic power. Far more rivalries. And very much being expressed in Syria.

But if one looks at Iran and their role in this, talk a little bit about the Iranian interest and why they have decided for quite some time to stay entrenched in their support for Assad in Syria. What really is in it for them?BINA: Yes, this is a very great question. Actually, we have to refresh our memories. When the Iran-Iraq war was going on right after the revolution, and there were so many factors which made the Islamic Republic as we know it, established the Islamic Republic. Taking the embassy for instance is one of them, which of course created the sanctions. And then of course the image of anti-imperialist, of the regime, as a populist element to be used to re-establish or establish the Islamic Republic. Because the revolution was not about, you know, Khomeini for instance. It was a revolution and there was a counter-revolution, in my judgment.

JAY: So this is the revolution in 1979, which was a broad front of the Iranian people, which included Islamists but also leftists and communists, socialists, nationalists. Except in the end the Islamists win and actually kill off many of the leftists that there was.

BINA: Exactly. And then the question was the deal, if you will, of the Conference between the people who really handled Khomeini, even though Khomeini was not preferred to the Shah. Then the loss of the Shah, which was very unique, the very important of Pax Americana, if you will. Then there was no alternative. You know, they--the United States shifted to the other elements of the National Front, which of course they couldn't really handle that moved to really go with the Shah, as you remember, probably. And then the other side of the National Front moved to Khomeini. So there was division. Total division between that.This is a secular movement, division. And in that fundamental sense the taking over of the embassy, and then Iran-Iraq war, established the counter-revolutionary forces of Khomeini. That was a so-called new revolution if you will. So that's the regime.

If you accept this premise, then Iran-Iraq war is extremely important. And Iran-Iraq war actually created a condition in the region that every Arab country, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, all these of the Persian Gulf went against Iran. And of course, Iraq was there at the very head of it. And then the only regime which supported Iran was Bashar al-Assad of Syria. So this is payback time, if you will.

JAY: Now you've, you've talked a lot in your work about the importance of understanding oil to understand everything else. So how does oil--.

BINA: Yes. Because oil was globalized first. This is the first sector of the economy to be globalized, trans-nationalized, beyond the border of the nation-state. That's why.

JAY: So how does oil play into this alliance where almost all the Arab regimes back the Iraq war against Iran? What's the underlying economics of that vis-a-vis oil?

BINA: Yes. To know that we have to go back to the oil crisis of 1973-74, which led to the de-cartelization of oil. International petroleum cartel was imploded, gone, 1972. And then the crisis set in, and then oil was globalized--

.JAY: And by that you mean the American-controlled cartel.

BINA: The American-controlled--exactly. Because there was the umbilical cord of the U.S. foreign policy to the cartelized oil. Not all oil. Cartelized oil was caught. So in that fundamental sense this direct dial was gone.

More Continued of Transcript at:


In Mali and Rest of Africa, the U.S. Military Fights a Hidden War--The Intercept

In Mali and Rest of Africa, the U.S. Military Fights a Hidden War--The Intercept
Nick Turse
Nov. 20 2015, 11:15 a.m.

THE GENERAL LEADING the U.S. military’s hidden war in Africa says the continent is now home to nearly 50 terrorist organizations and “illicit groups” that threaten U.S. interests. And today, gunmen reportedly yelling “Allahu Akbar” stormed the Radisson Blu hotel in Mali’s capital and seized several dozen hostages. U.S. special operations forces are “currently assisting hostage recovery efforts,” a Pentagon spokesperson said, and U.S. personnel have “helped move civilians to secured locations, as Malian forces clear the hotel of hostile gunmen.”

In Mali, groups like Ansar Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa have long posed a threat. Major terrorist groups in Africa include al Shabaab, Boko Haram and al Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb (AQIM). In the wake of the Paris attacks by ISIS, attention has been drawn to ISIS affiliates in Egypt and Libya, too. But what are the dozens of other groups in Africa that the Pentagon is fighting with more special operations forces, more outposts, and more missions than ever?

For the most part, the Pentagon won’t say.

Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, chief of U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, made a little-noticed comment earlier this month about these terror groups. After describing ISIS as a transnational and transregional threat, he went on to tell the audience of the Defense One Summit, “Although ISIS is a concern, so is al Shabaab, so is the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa and the 43 other illicit groups that operate in the area … Boko Haram, AQIM, and other small groups in that area.”

Bolduc mentioned only a handful of terror groups by name, so I asked for clarification from the Department of Defense, Africa Command (AFRICOM), and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA). None offered any names, let alone a complete accounting. SOCAFRICA did not respond to multiple queries by The Intercept. AFRICOM spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Anthony Falvo would only state, “I have nothing further for you.”

While the State Department maintains a list of foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs), including 10 operating in Africa (ISIS, Boko Haram, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, al Shabaab, AQIM, Ansaru, Ansar al-Din, Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia, as well as Libya’s Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi and Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah), it “does not provide the DoD any legal or policy approval,” according to Lt. Col. Michelle Baldanza, a Defense Department spokesperson.

“The DoD does not maintain a separate or similar list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations for the government,” she said in an email to The Intercept. “In general, not all groups of armed individuals on the African continent that potentially present a threat to U.S. interests would be subject to FTO. DoD works closely with the Intel Community, Inter-Agency, and the to continuously monitor threats to U.S. interests; and when required, identifies, tracks, and presents options to mitigate threats to U.S. persons overseas.”

This isn’t the first time the Defense Department has been unable or unwilling to name the groups it’s fighting. In 2013, The Intercept’s Cora Currier, then writing for ProPublica, asked for a full list of America’s war-on-terror enemies and was told by a Pentagon spokesman that public disclosure of the names could increase the prestige and recruitment prowess of the groups and do “serious damage to national security.” Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law School who served as a legal counsel during the George W. Bush administration, told Currier that the Pentagon’s rationale was weak and there was a “very important interest in the public knowing who the government is fighting against in its name.”



Don't FORGET "THE PROMISE"...Obama has Done Much-- but, Move it Forward....Remember...THE PROMISE!

Obama Tried......We Have to Move Forward and BUILD on THIS:

Published on Jan 28, 2014

Obama Inauguration

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen perform This Land is Your Land live at "We are one"

Iran and Hezbollah controlling Assad's army, say Syrian army defectors #SyriaWar

(Can't imagine who would sort out all the differing Shia Militias that are involved in Syria to even try to begin to pull together a Cease Fire Resolution--let alone how the different malitias even figure out who they are fighting with or against.)

Iran and Hezbollah controlling Assad's army, say Syrian army defectors

Former Syrian soldiers say Iran and Hezbollah, backed by Shia militias, make up vast majority of fighting troops

Iranian and Lebanese forces are in de facto control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s army, according to former Syrian soldiers.

Khaled al-Shami told Middle East Eye columnist Lara Nelson that foreign militias have overrun the Syrian army.

“One important thing to realise is that there is no Syrian army anymore, it is just militias, mostly Iranians and Lebanese,” he told Nelson, in a column published on Wednesday.

Shami defected from Assad’s troops to join the Syrian opposition in July. He was a soldier in the ninth armoured division and served in southern Syria, where President Assad’s forces are battling a coalition of rebel groups.

Now living in Jordan, Shami said that 70 percent of troops in the ninth armoured division are either Lebanese or Iranian.

Iran and Lebanese militia Hezbollah – along with Russia – have been key backers of President Assad in his war against rebel groups seeking his overthrow.

Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that they have only provided military advisers to President Assad, not troops on the ground.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has defended his country’s role in Syria, saying that Iran is attempting to facilitate a process to allow Syrians self-determination without outside interference.

However, recent reports suggest that thousands of Iranians have joined a major offensive in northern Syria to reclaim territory from rebel groups.

Hezbollah is open about its military support for President Assad, and have said it is pre-emptively striking groups including the Islamic State to stop them gaining a foothold in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union but Russia said on Sunday that they consider the group, which has elected parliamentarians in Lebanon, a “legitimate socio-political force”.

Former Syrian soldier Shami said his experience in the army suggested Iran and Hezbollah are not playing a supporting role, and instead are controlling President Assad’s forces.


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