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China Looks To Build Espionage Hub In Iran Under 25-Year Deal

Authored by Simon Watkins via OilPrice.com,

The next phase of the 25-year deal between China and Iran will focus on a large-scale roll-out of electronic espionage and warfare capabilities focused around the port of Chabahar and extending for a nearly 5,000 kilometre (3,000 mile) radius, and the concomitant build-out of mass surveillance and monitoring of the Iranian population, in line with the standard operating procedure across China, senior sources close to the Iranian government told OilPrice.com last week.

Both of these elements dovetail into Beijing’s strategic vision for Iran as a fully-functioning client state of China by the end of the 25-year period. By that time, Iran will be an irreplaceable geographical and geopolitical foundation stone in Beijing’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, as well as providing a large pool of young, well-educated, relatively cheap labor for Chinese industry. The mass surveillance, monitoring, and control systems to cover Iran’s population is to begin its full roll-out as from the second week of November, after the final agreement on event sequencing has been reached in the third week of October at a meeting between Iran’s most senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and intelligence services figures and their Chinese counterparts.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, already agreed on the broad plans in July, according to the Iran sources.

“The plan is for nearly 10 million extra CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras to be placed in Iran’s seven most populous cities, to begin with, plus another five million or so pinhole surveillance cameras to be placed at the same time in another 21 cities, with all of these being directly linked in to China’s main state surveillance and monitoring systems,” said an Iran source.

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Iran Seeks Revenge For Sabotage Attack On Natanz Nuclear Plant

Iran has identified the perpetrators of an act of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility in the central part of the country in July, according to a spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Behrouz Kamalvandi said that while the details of the act of sabotage are still being investigated, the security forces “have detected the agents [who committed the act of sabotage] as well as the motive, methods and manner of the sabotage.”

The AEOI for the first time described the July 2 incident at the Natanz nuclear facility as a sabotage attack on July 23, and since then pro-Iranian sources have repeatedly vowed to take revenge for the attack.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami announced that the country is working to expand its missile capabilities even further. In particular, the military is working on air-launched cruise missiles that would be able to hit targets in the range of up to 1,400km.

These statements cause expected concern in Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia, as the main geopolitical opponents of Iran in the region. They also claim that Teheran has been ramping up its proxy efforts against the Saudi-Israeli-US block in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Despite loud claims by Iranian officials and state-linked media, Iran is in fact not interested in an open military confrontation with the US-Israeli alliance. Therefore, it is logical that the Iranian response to the Natanz attack will likely be asymmetric. The recently increased IED attacks on US convoys and rocket strikes on US-affiliated facilities in Iraq could be a part of this campaign.

At the same time, Israel has been actively strengthening security measures on the contact lines with Lebanon and Syria, and continues its low intensity bombing campaign against ‘Iranian-linked targets’ in Syria.

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US Troops & Abrams Tanks Arrive In Lithuania For Military Drills Along Border With Belarus

Weeks ago NATO formally rejected embattled President Alexander Lukashenko’s claim that the military alliance was busy building up forces along border areas with Belarus. “NATO troops are at our gates. Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and … Ukraine are ordering us to hold new elections,” he previously told supporters at a rally in mid-August.

Lukashenko reportedly deployed Belarusian national troops to the Western border in response, as tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding he step down after what they say was a “rigged” Aug.9 election ensuring the 26-year ruling strongman stays in power.

While it’s unclear the degree to which NATO forces were actually mobilizing or on alert in prior weeks, what is clear as of this weekend is that US troops are indeed next door after having freshly arrived in preparation for two months of joint drills.

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Another Opinion Columnist Pushing War With Iran Who Doesn’t Actually Exist

There is at least one more foreign policy opinion writer from the Mujahideen-eKhalq (MEK) whose existence is dubious, based on a study by a social media analyst and statements from a defector from the group. Amir Basiri, who contributed to Forbes 9 times, the Washington Examiner 52 times, OpenDemocracy, Algemeiner, and The Hill once also appears to be a fabrication.

The MEK is an Iranian exile group for which John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, and other foreign policy luminaries have given paid speeches. Dems like Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean have also spoken on their behalf. But the group has American blood on its hands, has been accused of practicing forced sterilization, and their belief system has been described as a mixture of Marxism and Islamism. Its supporters claim they, and their front group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, are a sort of government-in-exile, despite nearly nonexistent support for the group within Iran. They also have waged a substantial disinformation campaign in the Western press, in particular targeting conservative media.

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Another Opinion Columnist Pushing War With Iran Who Doesn’t Actually Exist
The MEK’s disinformation primarily targeted right-of-center outlets receptive to a hawkish line against Iran

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) holds a statement signed by 31 U.S. dignitaries and former officials in support of the NCRI and its fight for freedom in Iran on July 17, 2020, in Ashraf-3, Albania. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (LED screen) one of the signatories, presents it to Ms. Rajavi. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
SEPTEMBER 2, 2020|12:01 AM
PAUL BRIAN AND ARTHUR BLOOM
There is at least one more foreign policy opinion writer from the Mujahideen-eKhalq (MEK) whose existence is dubious, based on a study by a social media analyst and statements from a defector from the group. Amir Basiri, who contributed to Forbes 9 times, the Washington Examiner 52 times, OpenDemocracy, Algemeiner, and The Hill once also appears to be a fabrication.

The MEK is an Iranian exile group for which John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, and other foreign policy luminaries have given paid speeches. Dems like Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean have also spoken on their behalf. But the group has American blood on its hands, has been accused of practicing forced sterilization, and their belief system has been described as a mixture of Marxism and Islamism. Its supporters claim they, and their front group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, are a sort of government-in-exile, despite nearly nonexistent support for the group within Iran. They also have waged a substantial disinformation campaign in the Western press, in particular targeting conservative media.

“Amir Basiri and Heshmat Alavi are two fake accounts,” Hassan Heyrani, an MEK defector told TAC. “At Camp Liberty, near the BIAP airport in Iraq, I was in the political unit of the organization with some of the persons who grew up in America and Canada. We worked as a team to write the articles analyzing the Iranian regime. The MEK put them in The Washington Post and all the newspapers in Western countries.”

Basiri’s op-eds focus on the need for regime change in Iran which he claimed is “within reach.” The thrust of Basiri’s writing – last placed at the Examiner in October of 2018 – is to encourage American readers to take an interest and sympathize with the plight of Iranian protesters and dissidents. Basiri consistently argued against the Iran nuclear deal, downplayed terrorism against Iran, called for tougher sanctions as a method of regime change and highlighted the necessity of Trump working with the Iranian opposition.

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US Defends its Illegal Presence in Syria: US troops in Syria clashed with both Russian and Syrian government forces in August

In comments to Newsweek, the US State Department defended the US occupation of eastern Syria. Washington’s policy in Syria has come under fire in recent weeks after US troops clashed with both Syrian government forces and Russian soldiers.

“We have been very clear regarding our overall policy goals in Syria,” the State Department told Newsweek. “The United States’ policy objectives for Syria have been consistent and remain the same: the enduring defeat of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, an irreversible political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UNSCR 2254, and the removal of all Iranian-supported forces.”

The State Department spokesperson also addressed a recent oil deal inked between a US company and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who the US backs. “We are continuing the vital mission of assisting our SDF partners in securing oil fields in northeast Syria once occupied and used by ISIS to generate revenue,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department’s position reflects both President Trump’s and the Pentagon’s stated goals in Syria. Since October 2019, when President Trump decided to stay in Syria to “secure the oil,” the Pentagon has maintained the US mission is to prevent ISIS from regaining a foothold in the region. Iran is another factor many US officials cite when justifying the presence in Syria, which is also mentioned by the State Department.

Of course, the Syrian government considers the US presence an illegal occupation and denounces the oil deal as theft. The US denying the Syrian government access to its vital resources, combined with heavy US sanctions, is severely hampering the country’s reconstruction effort.

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THE STAGE IS SET FOR A VENEZUELA OCTOBER SURPRISE

CARACAS (VZA) – AGGRESSION AGAINST VENEZUELA FROM THE US HAS INTENSIFIED IN RECENT WEEKS AND ALL SIGNS ARE POINTING TOWARDS AN ESCALATION AHEAD OF ELECTIONS IN THE US AND VENEZUELA.
The hybrid war against Venezuela is intensifying as the US presidential campaign is heating up. The Trump administration and its Venezuelan and international allies have set the stage for an October surprise, a possible attack by the United States or one of its proxies designed to boost President Trump’s reelection. The attacks on Venezuela are coming from multiple dimensions, including overt military pressure, economic pressure, covert operations, and disinformation campaigns. All of these are elements of a hybrid war that has sought to overthrow the government of President Nicolás Maduro over the past years, and each element has seen new developments over the past few weeks, just as Venezuela is battling a surge in COVID-19 cases.

OVERT MILITARY PRESSURE
The US naval deployment to Venezuela’s maritime border is about to begin its fifth month of operations in the area. Even the few Democrats in Congress willing to criticize Trump’s Venezuela policy have said nothing about this deployment, perhaps because it is entirely normal for the United States to threaten war on a country and then dock its Navy right outside. The silence from Democrats is unfortunate, as this could easily have been used as an example of the Pentagon’s wastefulness. Deploying a massive “counter-narcotics” operation to the Caribbean, when 84% of the cocaine in the US transits through the Pacific, could be low-hanging fruit in the debate to cut military spending.

In Colombia, President Iván Duque met with National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and Head of US Southern Command Craig Faller on August 18, where they announced the Colombia Growth Initiative, a multi-billion-dollar plan that O’Brien says is “focused on rural development, infrastructure expansion, security, and the rule of law,” though the announcement was short on details. Two days after the visit with US officials, Duque baselessly accused Venezuela of trying to acquire medium and long-range missiles from Iran. Both Iran and Venezuela denied the allegations.

On August 27, a Colombian court authorized a US military unit to restart its “advising mission” after previously suspending such cooperation in light of a constitutional challenge with regards to the deployment of foreign troops on Colombian soil. This unit, a Special Forces Assistance Brigade, is designed to “build a professional military force.” It’s worth noting that in his tell-all book, former National Security Advisor John Bolton claims to have learned in February 2019 that Colombia’s “troops simply weren’t ready for conventional conflict with Maduro’s armed forces.”

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Intelwars WAR/DRAFT/VETERAN AFFAIRS WHITE HOUSE

Exclusive: Nearly 700 U.S. Veterans Issue Open Letter in Support of Trump

Nearly 700 American veterans have issued an open letter affirming their support of President Trump against establishment media attacks weeks before the 2020 presidential election.

This week, The Atlantic journalist Jeffrey Goldberg published a story citing anonymous sources, claiming that Trump did not want to visit the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at the site of Battle of Belleau Wood in 2018. The story, citing those anonymous sources, claims Trump called the cemetery “filled with losers” and referred to fallen soldiers who died at Belleau Wood as “suckers.”

In an open letter obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, about 674 veterans wrote that their support for Trump, against attacks by the establishment media, remains unwavering because of his record of supporting the United States military and ending foreign wars.

“Recent baseless media attacks against President Trump from anonymous sources are just another example of the depths to which the President’s opponents are willing to descend to divide the nation and meddle in this election,” the veterans write.

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Palau Invites US Military to Build Bases as China Seeks Regional Clout

“Palau’s request to the US military remains simple — build joint-use facilities, then come and use them regularly,” President Tommy Remengesau said in a letter to the US defense chief.

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Iranian Resistance Axis Strikes Back: Convoys With US Equipment Blowing Up In Iraq

Submitted by South Front,

On September 3, an explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a convoy with equipment of the US-led coalition in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar.

Iraqi troops that were escorting the convoy suffered no casualties. According to local sources, no significant damage was caused to the equipment. Following the incident, security forces detained 2 suspects near the explosion site. The investigation is ongoing.

However, it is no secret that the attack was likely conducted by one of multiple pro-Iranian Shiite groups that surfaced in the country following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and several prominent Iraqi commanders by a US strike in Baghdad in January.

Earlier, the Guardians of Blood (also known as Islamic Resistance in Iraq) released a video showing an IED attack on another convoy with US equipment. The attack took place near Camp Taji, north of Baghdad on August 23. During the last few months, such attacks became a regular occurrence across Iraq.

Pro-Iranian forces not only created a wide network of active cells that carry out these operations, but also successfully track movements of US forces and their equipment. According to local sources, a large number of Iraqi security personnel involved in the guarding of US forces and facilities in fact support the Iranian-backed campaign against the United States as well as the public demand of the full US troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Despite loud statements and the handing over of several US bases to the Iraqi military, Washington is not reducing its military presence in the country. Rather it’s regrouping its forces and strengthening the security of the remaining facilities. Tensions are on the rise not only in Iraq.

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JCPOA Signatories in Vienna Reject Snapback Sanctions on Iran

Hegemon USA increasingly finds itself isolated on the world stage.

The harder it pressures, bullies, otherwise threatens and/or bludgeons other countries to bend to its will, the further its isolation longer-term.

On Tuesday, Joint Commission of the JCPOA signatories Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and Iran met in Vienna, a statement by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov saying the following:

“We are witnessing an important process of consolidation of parties to the JCPOA against this American venture.”

“We are certain that the results of today’s event will help our colleagues in New York continue their work in the right direction.”

Ministers attending the meeting stressed the importance of preserving the landmark JCPOA agreement.

By abandoning it illegally in May 2018, the Trump regime has no say on matters relating to it.

Remaining P4+1 countries oppose imposing snapback sanctions on Iran, what the Trump regime vowed to do unilaterally in flagrant violation of the rule of law both wings of the US one-party state ignore with disturbing regularity.

Ryabkov stressed that

“(w)e are certain that if the international community and the UN Council members will continue to stick to principled positions on this issue, which is what we are working on, then the situation will emerge when the US will be alone in the UN Security Council with this paradoxical point of view.”

“At least, such a unique development seems rather likely.”

“Therefore, the US can end up losing a lot if it does not review its unfounded position and does not take obvious things into account.

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Buchanan: Where Will All These War Games Lead?

In northeast Syria last week, a U.S. military vehicle collided with a Russian armored vehicle, injuring four American soldiers.

Both the Americans and Russians blame each other for failing to follow established rules of the road. Had an American been killed, we could have had a crisis on our hands.

Query: With the ISIS caliphate dead and buried, why are 500 U.S. troops still in Syria a year after Donald Trump said we would be pulling them out? What are they doing there to justify risking a clash with Russian troops who are in Syria as the invited allies of the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad, whether we approve of his regime or not?

Nor was this the only U.S.-Russian faceoff last week.

Over the Black Sea, two Russian military jets swept past the nose of an American B-52, one of the bombers on which the airborne leg of our strategic deterrent depends. The Russian Su-27s flew so close to the B-52 that their afterburners shook the eight-engine bomber.

What was a nuclear-capable B-52 doing over the Black Sea, which is to Russia what the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are to us?

That B-52 overflight of the Black Sea was part of an exercise in which six U.S. B-52s overflew all 30 NATO nations in one day — from the U.S. and Canada to Spain and the Balkans and to the eastern Baltic Sea — in a military exercise to test Russian air defenses.

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Buchanan: Where Will All These War Games Lead?

In northeast Syria last week, a U.S. military vehicle collided with a Russian armored vehicle, injuring four American soldiers.

Both the Americans and Russians blame each other for failing to follow established rules of the road. Had an American been killed, we could have had a crisis on our hands.

Query: With the ISIS caliphate dead and buried, why are 500 U.S. troops still in Syria a year after Donald Trump said we would be pulling them out? What are they doing there to justify risking a clash with Russian troops who are in Syria as the invited allies of the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad, whether we approve of his regime or not?

Nor was this the only U.S.-Russian faceoff last week.

Over the Black Sea, two Russian military jets swept past the nose of an American B-52, one of the bombers on which the airborne leg of our strategic deterrent depends. The Russian Su-27s flew so close to the B-52 that their afterburners shook the eight-engine bomber.

What was a nuclear-capable B-52 doing over the Black Sea, which is to Russia what the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are to us?

That B-52 overflight of the Black Sea was part of an exercise in which six U.S. B-52s overflew all 30 NATO nations in one day — from the U.S. and Canada to Spain and the Balkans and to the eastern Baltic Sea — in a military exercise to test Russian air defenses.

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What the UAE-Israel Deal Really Means for the Middle East

A key part of this joint intelligence initiative between the UAE and Israel (and, by extension, the U.S.) has been the dramatic increase in the past two years of the purchase of commercial and adjunct residential properties in Iran’s southern Khuzestan province – a key sector for its oil and gas reserves – by UAE-registered businesses, particularly those based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said the source.

“Around 500,000 Iranians left Iran around the time of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution and settled in Dubai, in the first instance, and then Abu Dhabi, and they have never been in favour of the IRGC having the key role in Iran, so some of them have been used to front businesses or commercial property developments in Khuzestan that are being funded from business registered in those two states of the UAE,” he added.

“However, these apparently Abu Dhabi and Dubai businesses are actually being funded from a major Israeli property company that in turn is funded from a Israel-U.S. operation specifically set up for this project, with a budget of US$2.19 billion,” he told OilPrice.com. “These businesses, and the additional property acquisitions for the individuals working for these business in Khuzestan, mean that not only is the native Iranian population being diluted by non-Iranian Arabs [although broadly Persian in demographic terms, indigenous Arabs make up around two per cent of Iran’s population] but also the opportunity for on-the-ground intelligence gathering has been dramatically enhanced,” he underlined. “Basically, Israel is doing through the UAE presence in southern Iran exactly what Iran has been doing to Israel through its presence in Lebanon and Syria.”

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DICTATORSHIP Intelwars Iran ISRAEL MIDDLE EAST WAR/DRAFT/VETERAN AFFAIRS

What the UAE-Israel Deal Really Means for the Middle East

A key part of this joint intelligence initiative between the UAE and Israel (and, by extension, the U.S.) has been the dramatic increase in the past two years of the purchase of commercial and adjunct residential properties in Iran’s southern Khuzestan province – a key sector for its oil and gas reserves – by UAE-registered businesses, particularly those based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said the source.

“Around 500,000 Iranians left Iran around the time of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution and settled in Dubai, in the first instance, and then Abu Dhabi, and they have never been in favour of the IRGC having the key role in Iran, so some of them have been used to front businesses or commercial property developments in Khuzestan that are being funded from business registered in those two states of the UAE,” he added.

“However, these apparently Abu Dhabi and Dubai businesses are actually being funded from a major Israeli property company that in turn is funded from a Israel-U.S. operation specifically set up for this project, with a budget of US$2.19 billion,” he told OilPrice.com. “These businesses, and the additional property acquisitions for the individuals working for these business in Khuzestan, mean that not only is the native Iranian population being diluted by non-Iranian Arabs [although broadly Persian in demographic terms, indigenous Arabs make up around two per cent of Iran’s population] but also the opportunity for on-the-ground intelligence gathering has been dramatically enhanced,” he underlined. “Basically, Israel is doing through the UAE presence in southern Iran exactly what Iran has been doing to Israel through its presence in Lebanon and Syria.”

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NATO Begins Provocative Military Exercises on Russian Border

Once again, NATO is operating dangerous and bold military maneuvers in regions close to the European Russian border. This time, the country hosting the tests is Estonia, a Baltic State that in recent decades has been characterized by a strong pro-Western and anti-Russian stance. The small European country is occupied by a large contingent of American troops and will be in such a situation until at least September 10, when the operations end.

The tests started on September 1 are already causing a small diplomatic crisis between Russia and the United States. The Russian Embassy in Washington commented on the exercises with great antipathy:

“The Russian Federation has repeatedly offered to the United States and its allies to limit training activities and to divert exercise areas from the line of contact between Russia and NATO. We consider the actions of the US Armed Forces in Estonia provocative and extremely dangerous for regional stability (…) What signal from NATO members want to send us? Who is actually fueling tensions in Europe? And all this is taking place in the context of an aggravated political situation in that region of the European continent. Rhetorical question: how would the Americans react if such shooting were carried out by our military near the US borders?”.

In addition to the diplomatic crisis, military tension broke out in the region last Tuesday. NATO planes that would be used in the exercises were intercepted unexpectedly by Russian fighters while flying over the border area. In addition, Aleksandr Lukashenko, president of Belarus, put his troops on high alert and started his own military exercises, understanding NATO’s maneuvers as a provocative and threatening measure, not only against Russia, but also Belarus

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Indian special forces member killed in China border skirmish

A soldier of Tibetan origin with India’s special forces has reportedly been killed in the latest border confrontation between India and China on their contested Himalayan border, fuelling concerns of a wider military confrontation between the two regional powers.

The death is the first reported from two incidents occurring within 48 hours on the border, two months after a battle that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

India and China, which fought a border war in 1962, have each accused the other of trying to cross their unofficial frontier in the Ladakh region in an attempt to gain territory.

The Indian government has not commented on the reports of the death, but Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari, a member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, told AFP news agency on Tuesday that the Tibetan-origin soldier was “martyred during the clash” on Saturday night. She did not identify the soldier by name.

She said another member of the Special Frontier Force, which reportedly includes many ethnic Tibetans who oppose China’s claim to their home region, was wounded in the operation

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Report: UAE Letting Israel Send Spies Into Yemen

Reports originating in the Turkish state media are claiming that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are allowing Israel’s intelligence agencies growing access into Yemen, with the UAE in particular giving Israeli agents access to the strategic island of Socotra.

There is still not a lot of evidence of how far-reaching this is. One Socotra tribal elder was quoting in the media saying this is the case. Socotra’s tribes have been trying to build up opposition to the UAE’s assertion of control over the island during the ongoing Yemen War.

Socotra has regional strategic value, which is why the UAE wants a presence there, and presumably why Israel would also want a presence there. Couple this with the Israel-UAE peace, and the allegation practically writes itself.

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Buchanan: Where Will All These War Games Lead?

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

In northeast Syria last week, a U.S. military vehicle collided with a Russian armored vehicle, injuring four American soldiers.

Both the Americans and Russians blame each other for failing to follow established rules of the road. Had an American been killed, we could have had a crisis on our hands.

Query: With the ISIS caliphate dead and buried, why are 500 U.S. troops still in Syria a year after Donald Trump said we would be pulling them out? What are they doing there to justify risking a clash with Russian troops who are in Syria as the invited allies of the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad, whether we approve of his regime or not?

Nor was this the only U.S.-Russian faceoff last week.

Over the Black Sea, two Russian military jets swept past the nose of an American B-52, one of the bombers on which the airborne leg of our strategic deterrent depends. The Russian Su-27s flew so close to the B-52 that their afterburners shook the eight-engine bomber.

What was a nuclear-capable B-52 doing over the Black Sea, which is to Russia what the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico are to us?

That B-52 overflight of the Black Sea was part of an exercise in which six U.S. B-52s overflew all 30 NATO nations in one day — from the U.S. and Canada to Spain and the Balkans and to the eastern Baltic Sea — in a military exercise to test Russian air defenses.

At the end of August, the Russian navy conducted its own war games near Alaska, involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the largest such drill in these northern seas since Soviet times.

Russia’s navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said 50 warships and 40 aircraft took part in the Bering Sea exercise, which involved multiple practice missile launches. Said the admiral:

“We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever.”

As Trump rebuilt the U.S. military, Vladimir Putin reciprocated.

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“Poisons Regional Peace”: Turkey Enraged After US Lifts Decades-Old Arms Embargo On Cyprus

The timing significantly comes amid Turkey’s Mediterranean gas exploration standoff with Greece and Cyprus, which this past weekend very nearly resulted in shots fired, as the conflict gets increasingly militarized: the US has announced it will lift a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus.

For now, the US move will only allow “non-lethal” military items to be exported to EU member Cyprus. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo relayed the change to Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in a Tuesday phone call.

Pompeo further “reaffirmed US support for a comprehensive settlement to reunify the island” – given the arms embargo was imposed in the first place in 1987 in the hope it would encourage reunification, following Turkey’s military invasion and occupation of the northern half of the island since 1974.

President Anastasiades welcomed the temporary sanctions lifting, while predictably Turkey sees it as a direct threat, immediately urging Washington to reverse course:

“It poisons the peace and stability environment in the region,” the Turkish foreign ministry said, adding it does “not comply with the spirit of alliance” between the US and Turkey.

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Turkey’s Erdogan accuses EU of using Greece as ‘bait’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip accused European nations of using Greece as “bait” in the Mediterranean Sea confrontation while belittling Athens’ military might on Tuesday.

Erdogan, who has threatened Greece with military action, described Turkey’s activities in the eastern Mediterranean as the “pursuit of [its] rights and justice” and denounced what he said were Greek efforts to “imprison” Turkey to a small region surrounding its coast.

“Efforts to descend on the riches of the Mediterranean, which are the rights of every country around it, is an example of modern-day colonialism,” Erdogan said.

He also accused some nations he did not name of pushing Greece into a confrontation with Turkey.

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Hamas deputy: We’ll give Israel two months to implement ceasefire

Khalil al-Hayya says truce brought $30 million in aid to Gaza, threatens return to violence if Israel doesn’t hold up its side of the deal.

If Israel does not fulfill the terms of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas by the end of two months, there could be another round of escalation of violence on the southern border, a senior official in the Gaza-based terror group, Khalil al-Hayya, said on Tuesday night.

“Our demand is for the occupation to follow all of prior agreements without procrastinating or delay,” al-Hayya said in an interview with official Hamas al-Aqsa TV. “We will give the occupation two months, and we will monitor its behavior in implementing projects and bringing in other projects. They need to implement the projects.”

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Trump Must Back Iraq Withdrawal Promise With Action — Ron Paul

Yes, General Odom was right. It was a strategic disaster. Turning the US into a global military empire is also a strategic disaster. Trump’s promise to bring troops home from overseas wars sounds very good. But it’s time to see some real action. That might mean some people who disagree with the president need to be fired.

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How Should The European Union Respond To Rising Greece-Turkey Tensions?

Authored by Michael Leigh via Bruegel.org,

If the European Union can mediate effectively to resolve current Greek-Turkish tensions over energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, it could also provide an opportunity to tackle more deep-rooted problems.

But so far, the two most powerful EU nations have adopted a ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach that conveys different and confusing messages – and has not prevented escalation. Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the added authority of holding the EU’s six-month revolving presidency, has launched a German initiative to prevent escalation, reduce tensions and overcome longstanding conflicts. But French President Emmanuel Macron, while not eschewing mediation, has opted for a show of force, sending French naval vessels into disputed waters to counter the presence of Turkish warships.

Deep-rooted dispute
The dispute is ostensibly over ownership of offshore gas deposits and the delimitation of 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

Turkey has sent exploration vessels and warships into waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus and begun drilling for gas. Despite its 1,600 kilometre Mediterranean coastline, Turkey is the only Eastern Mediterranean state without internationally recognised rights to offshore resources in the area because nearby Greek islands and Cyprus have secured the right to generate EEZs under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Turkey is one of fifteen UN members that is not a party to UNCLOS, and Ankara insists that Turkey’s continental shelf gives it ownership rights that take priority over the UNCLOS-backed claims of Cyprus and Greece.

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‘Shoot On-Site’: Chicago Gangs Form Pact To Execute Cops Who Draw Weapons On Suspects, Says FBI

The FBI has warned Chicago-area law enforcement that nearly three-dozen street gangs “have formed a pact to ‘shoot on-site any cop that has a weapon drawn on any subject in public’,” reports ABC7.

According to an August 26 ‘situation information report’ from Chicago-based FBI officials, “members of these gang factions have been actively searching for, and filming, police officers in performance of their official duties. The purpose of which is to catch on film an officer drawing his/her weapon on any subject and the subsequent ‘shoot on-site’ of said officer, in order to garner national media attention.”

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