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Fighting All Along the Frontlines in Ukraine, New Boss Same As The Old Boss

Next Cold War Roundup 4/15/16

There is fighting all along the frontlines in Donetsk, more use of snipers and drones by Ukraine military and intelligence, and the new prime minister’s government doesn’t look like it will be much different than the last.  Russian fighter jets buzzed the USS Donald Cook guided missile destroyer when it was close to the coast of Kaliningrad. John Kerry said the US Navy would have been justified in shooting them down. The US-led anti-ISIS coalition has moved into Phase II of Operation Inherent Resolve.

On Two-Year Anniversary of ATO, Fighting All Along Frontlines in Donetsk

_ Russia Insider and DONi are reporting that there is fighting all along the frontlines in Donetsk on the two-year anniversary of the beginning of Kiev’s Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO).

_ The new government under the new prime minister, Volodymyr Groisman,  “announced his intention to ‘heal the wounds of Ukrainians by returning the Crimea and Donbass‘” in his first speech and created an Anti Terrorist Operation (ATO) Ministry. According to DONi and Russia Insider, a source, Tymchuk, who is the former ATO spokesman, reported a meeting between Ukrainian MPs and a US delegation led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Michael Carpenter, during which the Americans threatened to stop military assistance unless the Ukraine military was reformed by July, 2016.

_ Ukraine’s defense ministry announced that two nationalist battalions, “Donbass” and “Aidar” would be merged and sent to eastern Ukraine.

_ The Ukraine military has taken some new territory and “intensified the activity of sniper groups and intelligence with the use of UAVs along the contact line.”

_ DW’s Bernd Johann says there’s a new government in Ukraine but no real change and “old boys’ club and old patterns of behavior have returned.”


Libya Unity Government Rejects UK Troops Intervention

_ Libya’s unity govt doesn’t want UK troops to deploy there in fight against ISIS. There are already UK troops there along with American, French and Jordanian troops, and other countries. Are they serious?

Al Qaeda Behind Other Networks

_ Afghanistan’s acting defense minister Masoom Stanekzai says al Qaeda works behind “other networks” and provides “support and experience, as well as resources and recruitment capabilities.” He said they are working quietly and preparing for “bigger attacks.” [Emphasis added]

Russian Fighter Jets Buzzed the USS Donald Cook Again

_ Two Russian fighter jets buzzed the USS Donald Cook, a guided missile destroyer, on two consecutive days after it left a Polish port close to Kaliningrad and was conducting joint exercises with Poland. There have been some strange incidents with the USS Donald Cook before when it was in the Black Sea in 2014 and 2015 and rumors of electronic jamming. A US official said the ship was 70 nautical miles from Kaliningrad when the first incidents happened. The jets made 20 passes on Monday and 11 passes on Tuesday when they were accompanied by two Russian helicopters that circled the ship. The jets were “wings clean” or no bombs attached, according to sailors. Video of the incidents were released.

_ John Kerry said that under US rules, the USS Donald Cook could have shot the Russian fighter jets down. “We condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down.”

_ The USS Donald Cook ” is one of four that the Navy sent forward recently from the United States to boost security in Europe. It carries an arsenal that includes rocket launchers, anti-submarine missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.”

Retired General Odierno Says it Will Take 50,000 US-Led Troops to Destroy ISIS

_ Since 2014, Pres. Obama has been saying that we will degrade, dismantle, and defeat/destroy ISIS.  Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Steve Warren said on Wednesday that Phase I, Degrade ISIL is now complete and Phase II, Dismantle is underway.  On the same day, at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies Washington Forum, retired Gen. Ray Odierno said “it will take around 50,000 troops to destroy the Islamic State, according to the Army’s recently retired chief, but they don’t necessarily all have to be American.” He said that Americans would need to lead the effort.  Odierno said months ago that ground forces are required to defeat ISIL and “It’s an option we should present to the president when the time is right.”  Recently, Sec. of Defense Ash Carter and Chairman of Joint Chiefs Gen. Dunford said they were preparing plans to submit to the president and they were fairly certain more American troops would be deployed to Iraq.  Presumably these are the Phase III, Defeat ISIL plans.

Obama Administration Uses Pentagon Contracts to Censor Corporate Criticism of TPP Trade Deal

_ New Balance athletic wear company was a sharp critic of the Trans Pacific Trade Deal because it would hurt their business, making sneakers, some of them in New England factories. The Obama administration via the Pentagon told them they could get defense contracts if they’d shut up with the criticism of the deal. New Balance stopped their criticism for a year.  The fast track deal passed in Congress and the final vote is expected late this year, probably after the elections. But no contract came, no order was placed with New Balance. New Balance says the Obama adminstration reneged on the deal and is deliberately delaying any purchase.  New Balance decided to change their position back to opposing the TPP deal.

Anti-ISIS Coalition Phase II

_ Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve says phase one of the anti-ISIS campaign “degrade” is complete.

Geneva Peace Talks on Syria

_ Samantha Power made comments after a UN Security Council “consultation on Syria” Wednesday. Among other things (mostly condemning the “Syrian regime”) she said “we’re very alarmed by the Syrian prime minister’s public announcement that he and the Russian Federation are going to launch an offensive around Aleppo – that would be devastating for the people of Aleppo of course, but also to this intricate process where the cessation of hostilities, humanitarian access, and political negotiations are all related to one another.” She calls for countries with influence to pressure the Assad government.  She made no mention of the CIA continuing to arm rebels and al Qaeda or their threat to flood the area with more lethal weapons and MANPADS.

Battle for Aleppo Has Begun

_ 11,000 new Syrian armed forces have amassed on the Aleppo front along with Iraqi paramilitary, Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other troops, and Hezbollah.  On Friday the Battle for Aleppo began as fighting broke out both inside and outside the city. Syrian and allied forces captured Al-Mallah forms in northern Aleppo and cut off rebel supply lines “to Al-Ramouseh Industrial District.” The offensive in northern Aleppo is being led by Syrian Maj. Gen. Suheil al-Hassan “(nicknamed the Tiger),  commander of the Tiger Forces, but the Tiger Forces remain in the Palmyra area.  Retired American Col. Pat Lang thinks the situation is unfavorable for the rebels that hold part of Aleppo.

“Greatest Financial Whistleblower of All Time” Says Panama Papers is a CIA Operation

_ In a CNBC interview, Bradley Birkenfeld said we shouldn’t assume  the Panama Papers dump came from a whistleblower but more likely came from an NSA/CIA hack of the Mossack Fonnseca law firm.  He said that firm was one of many offering services as a conduit to the Swiss banks and trust companies.

 “The CIA I’m sure is behind this, in my opinion. […] If you’ve got NSA and CIA spying on foreign governments they can certainly get into a law firm like this,” Birkenfeld said. “But they selectively bring the information to the public domain that doesn’t hurt the U.S. in any shape or form. That’s wrong. And there’s something seriously sinister here behind this.



_ Where our Middle East entanglement began, with Jimmy Carter  and the Carter Doctrine —  probably with a lot of help with the infamous war hawk and self-proclaimed geopolitical strategist, Carter’s national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski whose global imperialist strategies are still causing enormous blowback today.

Joanne Leon

Joanne Leon

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