Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace

Yes sports fans Turkey and Iran have come top an agreement on the Syrian civil war…..

I know that countries and pundits alike have been looking for a way to end the death and destruction in Syria….among other countries….and it appears that Turkey and Iran have come to some sort of agreement on how to proceed…..

In a stunning diplomatic surprise, Turkey and Iran have announced a preliminary agreement on fundamental principles for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.

The dramatic turn in the diplomacy of the Syria War was revealed in Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s regular weekly speech to the ruling AKP Party in the parliament and confirmed by a senior Iranian foreign ministry official Tuesday.

Both Yildirim’s speech and the Iranian corroboration were reported Tuesday by Al-Araby Al-Jadeed and Al-Hayat, Arabic-language newspapers published in London, but the potentially pivotal development has been unreported thus far in Western news media.

Source: Turkey and Iran Reach Agreement on Conditions for Syria Peace – Antiwar.com Original by — Antiwar.com

This is all well and good…..just I have one problem with this idea……

Where is the input of the Syrian people?  After all it is their country…..well at least for now…..I believe they should have a voice in any solution offered.

They had NO input in 1918 and look where that eventually came to…..maybe they should have the lead voice on any solution that involves their country…..just a thought.

Whatcha think?

But I guess since that plan is not what everyone wanted…….bullets are always easier then words……

This Is What Politically Correct Looks Like

If you have any Right Wing friends or if you read Right Wing articles or if you listen to the more Right leaning news sources then you will have heard their favorite term over and over and over……Political Correct.

They use it as a catch all for anything that they cannot agree with and it is usually followed by other such adjectives as “apologist”….it is their most popular argument for whatever the subject maybe….after all it is easier than having an actual rebuttal to the issue.

I have the perfect example of what “political correctness” is…..

After warning Syria not to fly planes in the Hasakeh Province or risk getting them shot down by US planes in the area, the Pentagon is struggling to convince reporters that there is some sort of distinction between this zone you can’t fly in and a “no-fly zone.”

…….

The Pentagon has since expanded this to declaring the area “an exclusion zone,” which is distinct from a no-fly zone because the Pentagon says it is a different thing. Spokesman Peter Cook insisted the US has warned Syria not to fly planes in the area for a long time now.

(antiwar.com)

That my friends is the best example possible for what politically correct is……not the off-hand insult that some Righties regurgitate ad nauseum….

I must end my posting day…I am off to eat stuffed grape leaves, olives, figs, blue cheese with a little honey…..try it…….. you will like it!

Clinton and Syria

According to most pundits Clinton will win this election in a landslide…..(God help us)…..if true Clinton’s biggest problem will be….what to do with Syria……does she have a plan?

The American Conservative has a couple of good pieces about Clinton and Syria…….and her possible plan/s………

In a seemingly full-throated promise to voters in Scranton, Pa. on Monday, Hillary Clinton said adding “American ground troops” in the war against ISIS in Syria “is off the table.”

But every message coming from her surrogates in the media and in the Washington defense establishment has been that she will “lean in” harder in Syria, and whether you want to call it “added ground troops” or something else, everyone in her orbit is calling for expanded U.S. intervention—including personnel and firepower—in the region, even at the risk of confrontation with Russia.

Source: Clinton’s Syria War Plans | The American Conservative

She may go full-throat into Syria to appease her M-IC handlers……in true neocon fashion…..

Kelley Vlahos reminds us why Clinton is likely to be very hawkish as president:

But every message coming from her surrogates in the media and in the Washington defense establishment has been that she will “lean in” harder in Syria, and whether you want to call it “added ground troops” or something else, everyone in her orbit is calling for expanded U.S. intervention—including personnel and firepower—in the region, even at the risk of confrontation with Russia.

We have good reason to believe this because Clinton and her supporters repeatedly keep saying that this is the kind of foreign policy her administration will have. Clinton has made no secret of her support for “no-fly” and safe zones in Syria, and she has chosen a running mate who shares her views on these issues. While Democrats overall might be divided on Syria policy, the Democratic ticket is not: both nominees favor a more aggressive, militarized U.S. role in the Syrian conflict. That is the policy a Clinton administration is very likely to start implementing next year if, as seems likely, she prevails in the fall. A vote for Clinton is almost certainly a vote for an expanded war in Syria, and the public needs to understand that this is what we will get by entrusting her with the presidency.

Source: A Clinton Win Means An Expanded War in Syria | The American Conservative

Something the military has to look forward to…..a bigger and wider footprint for the US troops…..

A Clinton win will be bad for the country but a windfall of profits for the M-IC………

The voters and the people of this country deserves better than a continuous war for a generation…..but will we step up and tell the candidate that this all MUST stop?  (He asked knowing full well the answer is NO!)

America’s Forgotten War

That would be Afghanistan…..that little war that No one seems to give a crap about….a war that still has Americans in harm’s way……a war that Americans will continue fight….a war that few know why we continue to fight…..

It is Summer and the Taleban has decided to make another push in southern Afghanistan…..

With the Taliban controlling most of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the capital city of Lashkar Gah has looked less and less secure. It looks like that city could be facing another direct offensive quite soon, as major battles were reported just south of the city.

The Afghan government is rushing military reinforcements into the area, and insists the district of Nawa, where the fighting is ongoing, has yet to fall. US officials have similarly insisted they will “not allow” the city of Lashkar Gah to be captured, but whether they can do anything about it is unclear.

The largely rural Helmand Province is the center of the lucrative opium poppy farming operations in Afghanistan, and Taliban control over many districts, including the districts bordering neighboring Pakistan, allow them to control the flow of opium traffic out of the country

we have de-fanged Al-Qaeda and the Taleban can only operate one region at a time without massive losses…..just what was our objective in Afghanistan…..the boss of the group that did the 9/11 attacks is dead…dead….dead…..

Afghanistan is a money pit…..do you know what that is?  A hole in the earth into which you pour money.

What the US needs is a way out of this quagmire, right?

The failure of U.S. policy in Afghanistan has been obvious for years, but neither President Bush nor President Obama wanted the defeat hung on them, so the bloody folly goes on, a test for the next president, says Alon Ben-Meir.

Two weeks ago, President Obama announced that the U.S. will draw down its troops in Afghanistan from 9,800 to 8,400, altering his original plan to reduce the number to 5,500. His decision suggests that conditions on the ground are not as promising as he expected them to be, and maintaining a larger number of troops is important as he believes “it is in our national security interests … that we give our Afghan partners the best opportunities to succeed.”

The President, however, did not spell out what success actually means. If he meant that Afghanistan will eventually become a stable and functioning democracy, he is fundamentally mistaken. Indeed, even if the U.S. stations three times as many troops for another 15 years or more, given the multiple conflicts, ruthlessness and duplicity of the players involved and the country’s long history, the U.S. cannot rescue Afghanistan from the quagmire in which it finds itself.

Source: Needing an Exit from Afghan Quagmire – Consortiumnews

This election will bring NO relief for our troops and their families and most Americans will just keep thumping their chests and waving their flags and the troops keep living dangerously….

Time for someone to step up and make the government face reality….we had such a person, Chuck Hagel, but he would not play ball with the M-IC so he had to go in favor of the bobble head yes man Carter.

If not your grandchildren will be fighting this unwinnable war….is that what you desire?

Could NATO Do More?

One of the presidential candidates think that the US should reconsider its involvement in NATO (a position that I can agree), the other thinks we are not doing enough with NATO (a war hawk attitude)…..I recently read an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (a source that I seldom use unless necessary) that NATO could do more in fighting ISIS……

The goal of the recent attacks directed or inspired by Islamic State on civilians in the U.S. and Europe is to create an atmosphere of fear and to intensify political tensions across the world. As the terrorist organization continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, it is focusing more on spreading terror abroad. Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan has repeatedly warned that Western countries should expect more attacks.

As Islamic State shifts its strategy, the U.S. and its allies should as well. The time has come for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to invoke its self-defense clause so the full weight of the alliance is brought to bear against Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

Source: NATO Can Do More to Destroy Islamic State—If We Ask – WSJ

I try to give all sides of the situation whenever possible…..this op-ed in New Eastern Outlook, predominately pro-Russia opinion site has another opinion on the fight against ISIS……(not an endorsement…only given for the debate)……

453453444In the few days that Russia has been fighting terrorism, it has achieved more than the US coalition has in years. According to the New York Times, Russian fighter jets are conducting nearly as many strikes in a typical day as the American-led coalition has been carrying out each month this year, a number which includes strikes conducted in Iraq – as well as Syria.

Even though the US has been bombing ISIS for over a year, ISIS has only grown more powerful and gained more ground in Syria. A few months ago ISIS took over the ancient city of Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage-listed site.

In spite of the fact that the US government acknowledged ISIS cannot be defeated without ground troops, they have refused to work with the Syrian military. The Syrian military is the only UN-recognized legitimate force on the ground and the only force capable and willing to fight ISIS. Conversely, Russia is coordinating with the Syrian military on the ground assisting Syrian troops against terrorism.

Source: Why Russia is Serious About Fighting Terrorism and the US Isn’t | New Eastern Outlook

Do you think that the US is serious about fighting terrorism?  Do you think we should demand NATO take a larger roll in the fight against terrorism?

Your thoughts if you would.

3 Things Threatening Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq

When I was lucky enough to work in the Middle East I got to visit some fabulous historical sites in my off time…..Carthage ruins in Tunisia, Pyramid complex in Egypt, Petra in Jordan, Palmyra in Syria, Nineveh in Iraq and Baalbek and Byblos in Lebanon…..sadly the conflict in Syria and Iraq is giving the world the destruction of some interesting historic sites…..

These conflicts could endanger even more sites…..

The Islamic State and other radical groups engaged in the conflict in Syria and Iraq over the last three years receive much of the blame for the destruction of cultural heritage in that region. These groups are unique because they purposely go out of their way to destroy not only ancient artifacts, statues, and historic buildings, but also to attack mosques, shrines, and cemeteries. However, these groups are not the only forces damaging the cultural heritage of the region. Below are three things you may not realize are contributing to the threat of cultural heritage.

ISIL is not the only thing threatening cultural heritage. Here are 3 things you may not have considered are part of the problem.

Source: 3 Things Threatening Cultural Heritage in Syria and Iraq – The ASOR Blog

Sad that a culture can be destroyed for no other reason than some goddamn silly prejudice….

Yemen? Is That A Country?

Most Americans could not find Yemen on a map if given a check to do so….the ones that know anything about the country know that AQ attacked the USS Cole in the harbor of Yemen….after that they have NO idea.

For more than a year the Saudis have been bombing Yemen back into the Stone Age, according to some small minded Americans it was not a difficult task…….but as far as why this conflict is on-going….you will get a vacuous stare if you ask anyone…..

It is only a matter of time before the US will be sucked into this conflict to preserve the integrity of the Saudi royal family…..those that pretend to know this issue will write it off as simply two sects fighting for supremacy…….maybe this will help my reader understand this situation a bit better……

For more than a year, Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, has been wracked by a bloody war between the Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemen’s internationally recognised government.

The Houthis and the Yemeni government have battled on-and-off since 2004, but much of the fighting was confined to the Houthis’ stronghold, northern Yemen’s impoverished Saada province.

In September 2014, the Houthis took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and proceeded to push southwards towards the country’s second-biggest city, Aden. In response to the Houthis’ advances, a coalition of Arab states launched a military campaign in 2015 to defeat the Houthis and restore Yemen’s government.

Here are some key facts about Yemen’s complex war:

Source: Key facts about the war in Yemen – News from Al Jazeera

Earlier in this post I said that the US could be drawn into this conflict…..I was mistaken….we are already taking part……

A “small number” of U.S troops are deployed on the ground in Yemen to help fight the al-Qaida affiliate there that was controlling a major port city, a defense official said.

A Pentagon spokesman declined to say how many U.S. troops are there supporting operations led by the Yemeni military and the United Arab Emirates around the port city of Mukalla.

Source: U.S. reveals troops on the ground in Yemen

How many wars has the US been involved in that started with “small amount of troops”?

How long before this gets uglier than it is now?