Next Cold War Roundup 4/22/16
Pres. Obama traveled to Germany, Saudi Arabia and the UK. In the UK he urged Britons not to Brexit. The Saudi visit revolved around keeping the Saudis in line to maintain the oil price war and other war planning in the Middle East region. Russian troops have been deployed to fight along side Kurds in northwest Syria. Ukraine’s new speaker of parliament is a neo-Nazi. Sy Hersh is giving interviews. Dilma’s position with the people of Brazil was weakened by her austerity policies in which she “tried to please the banks.”
Syrian Peace Talks and Ceasefire
_ The Saudi-backed “rebel” umbrella group, the High Negotiating Committee (HNC) are withdrawing from the Geneva peace talks because they are angry about a Syrian coalition “offensive against al-Qaeda-held territory in Aleppo Province” even though al Qaeda wasn’t included in the ceasefire. The Russians criticized HNC saying they had “no real proposals to offer, only crude blackmail” and the Syrian government said the HNC was an obstacle and progress might be better without them.
_ The Syrian coalition is accused of a bombing at a market in Maaret al-Numan and the bombing has been used as an excuse by the HNC to leave the talks. However the “rebels” declared a new war against the Syrian government just a few days ago, before the market bombing.
_ Retired military intelligence Col. Lang believes a “cui bono” investigation is warranted for the market bombings.
_ A senior western diplomat said the breakdown of the ceasefire could set things back for a year. That’s especially interesting because in a year there will be a new American president and there have been reports and analysis that US war hawks want the talks to fail until a new president is in office who will use the US military to satisfy Saudi, Turkish and Israeli desires to bomb Assad out of power and slice up Syria for spoils, an outcome they can’t or won’t win militarily for themselves and won’t compromise for in negotiations. The escalation that would likely result from the ceasefire collapse is undesirable to Europe and France said it might convene “a ministerial meeting of major powers” soon “to work out the next steps for Syria.” It’s unclear why these new talks would have a different outcome from the Geneva talks other than excluding countries actually fighting in the war, Syria and Russia.
_ NATO head Jens Stoltenberg, in Turkey, says the cease-fire is still the “best basis for a negotiated, peaceful solution to the crisis” even though it is “under strain” right now. Meanwhile arms and fighters to resupply rebels and al Qaeda are pouring into Syria via Turkey. But if Stoltenberg publicly called for the escalation of the war that is actually happening in Syria, Europe would call for his head. NATO and the US coalition does not want to be held accountable for deliberately destroying the best chance for peace in the last five years of bloody war in Syria to get another regime change in the Middle East.
Obama’s Trip to Saudi Arabia, UK and Germany
_ “President Barack Obama and Gulf Arab leaders started talks in Riyadh on Thursday at a summit aimed at forging joint action on perceived security threats from Iran and Islamic State, and at ironing out strains in their old alliance.” In addition to soothing their fears, Obama plans to “encourage them to douse sectarian tensions in an effort to confront the threat posed by jihadist militants like Islamic State.”
_ In the United States, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia hires and retains “a vast network of PR, lobby firms” to boost their image and “visibility” for reputation and business purposes. Millions are spent, much of it in recurring, monthly payments for many different law firms, marketing firms, PR agencies, social media management companies and other lobbying outfits. So at any given time, an untold number of Americans and American firms are working for the Saudis online, in the media, and in real life situations.
_ Upon leaving Saudi Arabia Pres. Obama went to London to try to convince the Brits not to Brexit the EU. On Friday he made “an impassioned appeal on Friday for Britain to remain in the European Union, saying membership had magnified Britain’s place in the world and made the bloc stronger and more outward looking.” Obama invoked America’s help to Britain in World War II “and the tens of thousands of Americans lying in European war graves as his reason for speaking as ‘a friend.'” He said the EU needed Britain and that the EU makes Britain stronger.
_ Pepe Escobar calls the trip “a GCC petrodollar summit” and his sources tell him that the reason the oil production freeze agreements at the Doha meeting fell apart was because “the United States threatened the Prince that night with the most dire consequences if he did not back down on the oil price freeze” and then the prince told the Saudi delegation, in the wee hours, that the deal was off. An “oil production cut would have hindered the US goal of bankrupting Russia.” The reason for recent threats by the US against Saudi assets and 9/11 is that the House of Saud no longer wants to cooperate in the oil price war against the Russians. The public explanation about Doha had something to do with disagreement among royals.
_ After the speech Obama went to dine with the Queen for a birthday visit and then will have a meeting and press conference with PM David Cameron.
_ The pro-Brexit faction are not happy with Obama’s meddling in this affair. The issue of the Churchill bust removal from the Oval Office has come up again, and Churchill’s grandson said Winny wouldn’t have liked Obama’s “intervention.” There is “political turmoil” over Obama’s op-ed in the Telegraph. A former government official clained Obama and the US are being hypocritical.
— BritishMonarchy (@BritishMonarchy) April 22, 2016
Russian Troops Deployed to Northwest Syria, Arms to Iraqi Kurds
_ The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Russia has sent troops to fight alongside the Kurds in northwest Syria and is providing weapons to Iraqi Kurds fighters “in a tactic that could upstage a long-standing U.S. alliance with the stateless ethnic group and increase Moscow’s influence in the region.” An American defense official said Russia seems to be focused on Kurds in the Afrin canton. The head of a Kremlin advisory board said: “There is no doubt that the Kurdish factors will be one of the most important factors in the Middle East transformation in years to come.“
Seymour Hersh Interview
_ Sy Hersh gave an interview to Ken Klipperstein on Alternet about his new book, The Killing of Osama bin Laden, but covered other topics such as Saudi Arabia v. Iran, Bashar al-Assad and Syria, the sarin gas attack in Ghouta, and Benghazi.
Ukraine’s Parliament Led by Violent Neo-Nazi
Coup in Brazil? Right-wing Would Not Be Able to Overthrow Dilma if She Hadn’t Tried to Please Banks, Implemented Austerity
_ Mark Weisbrot on DemocracyNow! says the right-wing parties working to overthrow the Worker’s Party and democratically elected Dilma in Brazil would not have been able to do this if not for the recession. The Worker’s Party made enormous changes in the last decade+. “They reduced poverty by 55%, extreme poverty by 65%, doubled the real minimum wage, reduced inequality significantly… but they made mistakes and actually Lula said this the other day that Dilma made a mistake by trying to please the banks.… Basically they implemented austerity policies, raised interest rates, cut public investment enormously and pushed the economy further into recession… They wouldn’t be having these problems if it weren’t for that.” The crash in oil prices has caused the biggest losses in the history of Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras.
_ The Olympic flame was lit in Greece today and begins its “15-week journey that will culminate with the August 5 opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.” The head of Rio’s Olympic organizing committee said the the Olympic flame “brings a message that can and will unite our dear Brazil” and the games “will be a message of hope in troubled times .”