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Rebels With Al Qaeda Launch Attacks in Syria, New York Times Calls Ukraine ‘Corrupt Swamp’

Next Cold War Roundup 4/4/16

A New York Times editorial refers to Ukraine as a “corrupt swamp” and slams the Poroshenko government. Free Syrian Army “moderate” rebels teamed up with al Nusra (al Qaeda branch) to launch an offensives in Aleppo and Latakia resulting in Syrian coalition counteroffensives and Russian air strikes. A US airstrike in Idlib killed an al Nusra leader. US military spokesman says allied SDF forces intend to take Raqqa and a Kurdish leader said if they take Raqqa, Syrian forces will not be allowed to enter. Transcripts from an IMF meeting reveal their plan to escalate an EU crisis during Brexit voting to force Germany’s hand on Greece. BBC is airing, for the first time, a speech by Kim Philby to the East German Stasi.

Cold War Spy Kim Philby Speech to the Stasi, Airing on BBC For First Time

_ A speech given by British spy, Kim Philby, to the Stasi in East Germany was found in the Stasi archives and made public for the first time by the BBC. There’s an excerpt of the speech in a video embedded in the BBC article. The “Philby tape” will be aired “on BBC Radio 4 on Monday at 20:00 BST.


_ There has been heavy fighting during the past few days in southern Aleppo and elsewhere in Syria.  Free Syrian Army rebels breached the ceasefire agreement, teamed up with al Nusra (al Qaeda) and launched offensives against Syrian army positions in southern Aleppo and northeast Latakia and took control of a strategic hill, Talat al-‘Iss. On Monday a counteroffensive by the Syrian coalition began, with Russian air force support.

_ US airstrike killed an al Nusra leader, Abu Firas al-Suri. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had reported him killed in a raid on a village northwest of the city of Idlib. “But rebel sources said the attack appeared to have the hallmarks of a U.S. drone strike.” Anonymous US officials said there was a US airstrike but gave no more details.

_ AP characterizes the recent fighting as an unraveling of the ceasefire.

_ “By funneling TOW missiles and other weapons to Syrian jihadists for their “regime change” war, President Obama facilitated the Islamic State’s rise with the terrorist blowback now hitting Europe, says Daniel Lazare.” The US and Saudis poured billions into the rebel forces for an offensive on Idlib province, with TOW missiles that were a game changer.   This tied up Assad’s forces in the northwest and allowed ISIS to take advantage of that weakness. But the US went a step further and refrained from bombing ISIS near “while they were traversing miles of open desert roads,” saying the airstrikes would have benefited Assad. Lazare demonstrates how America’s “policy of battling them on one hand and seeking to make use of them on the other” allows Sunni terrorism to “fester and grow.”

_ From a policy paper stored on Hillary Clinton’s email server (via the Wikileaks searchable archive) argues that “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.

_ “We Don’t Have Rights, But We Are Alive: A gay soldier in Assad’s army

Race to Raqqa

_Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve gave a briefing and press conference on the anti-ISIS operation in Iraq and Syria in which he was, among other things, asked several questions about Raqqa and said the Syrian Democratic Forces do plan to take Raqqa and the US believes they are the appropriate moderate forces to do so.

_ Kurdish leader

_ New Pentagon Train-Equip Program: New U.S. military program training anti-ISIS fighters […] the new program will take small groups of fighters from the front-lines for training.” The training program is being conducted in Turkey, like the previous program. “Although Iraq-led operations to retake Mosul have already begun, U.S. officials have declined to say if they think the city can be recaptured this year. The timing of any operation to capture Raqqa is less clear.”

_ According to a leaked document, Syrian Alawite leaders distanced themselves from Assad


Ukraine’s ‘Corrupt Swamp’

_ New York Times editorial calls out the corrupt swamp of Ukraine.  Poroshenko is offended by this.

Plans to Overthrow Assad

_ A former CIA man claims that Obama refused to approve a plan to overthrow Assad. NBC uses a misleading headline saying that planned attack could have stopped ISIS. The CIA source himself said, as quoted in the article itself, that he did not think the plan could have stopped ISIS.


Armenia and Azerbaijan

_ A conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan has escalated and there are casualties.


_ “Greece on brink of chaos as refugees riot over forced return to Turkey

_ Based on transcripts released by Wikileaks, IMF is plotting a new “credit event” for Greece to destabilize Europe in order to force Germany to write down Greece’s debt and prevent the IMF from leaving the bailout deal.  “The International Monetary Fund has been caught, red handed, plotting to stage a “credit event” that forces Greece to the edge of bankruptcy, using the pretext of the Brexit referendum.” Greece, in a “political frenzy” sent a letter to the IMF  seeking “to explain whether it was seeking to usher Athens toward bankruptcy ahead of a pivotal referendum in June on Britain’s membership in Europe.” The IMF has threatened to pull out of the bailout deal unless the Troika writes down some of Greece’s debt. “Mr. Thomsen [at the meeting for which the transcripts were leaked] said he had expected that the refugee crisis in Greece might have pushed creditors to reach an agreement on debt relief quickly. “

Migrant Crisis

_ “The first boats carrying migrants being deported from Greece to Turkey have departed under an EU plan aimed at easing mass migration to Europe.”


_ Britain’s PM Cameron plans £50,000 in aid this year for humanitarian crisis in Libya.  A UN source: “paltry bone-throwing from a European country whose bombers reaped so much destruction in Libya just five years ago”.


Tuna and Gunships



International money collage. Photo by jonnimont on Flickr.
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Joanne Leon

Joanne Leon

Joanne is a blogger with focus on issues of war and peace, a mom, engineer, software developer and amateur photographer.