Terror in Mali: An Attack on China and Russia?

Too many coincidences to ignore, including silence from the Western media... 

November 27, 2015 (Eric Draitser - NEO) - Coming on the heels of the terrorist attack in Paris, the mass shooting and siege at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital of the African nation of Mali, is still further evidence of the escalation of terrorism throughout the world. While there has already been much written about the incident in both western and non-western media, one critical angle on this story has been entirely ignored: the motive.

For although it is true that most people think of terrorism as entirely ideologically driven, with motives being religious or cultural, it is equally true that much of what gets defined as “terrorism” is in fact politically motivated violence that is intended to send a message to the targeted group or nation. So it seems that the attack in Mali could very well have been just such an action as news of the victims has raised very serious questions about just what the motive for this heinous crime might have been.

International media have now confirmed that at least nine of the 27 killed in the attack were Chinese and Russian. While this alone would indeed be curious, it is the identities and positions of those killed that is particularly striking. The three Chinese victims were important figures in China’s China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), while the Russians were employees of Russian airline Volga-Dnepr. That it was these individuals who were killed at the very outset of the attack suggests that they were the likely targets of what could perhaps rightly be called a terrorist assassination operation.

But why these men? And why now? To answer these questions, one must have an understanding of the roles of both these companies in Mali and, at the larger level, the activities of China and Russia in Mali. Moreover, the targeted killing should be seen in light of the growing assertiveness of both countries against terrorism in Syria and internationally. Considering the strategic partnership between the two countries – a partnership that is expanding seemingly every day – it seems that the fight against terrorism has become yet another point of convergence between Moscow and Beijing. In addition, it must be recalled that both countries have had their share of terror attacks in recent years, with each having made counter-terrorism a central element in their national security strategies, as well as their foreign policy.

And so, given these basic facts, it becomes clear that the attack in Mali was no random act of terrorism, but a carefully planned and executed operation designed to send a clear message to Russia and China.

Russian Warplane Down: NATO's Act of War

Despite blatant provocation, Russia must continue toward the finish line. 

November 24, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - With cameras rolling, Turkey has claimed it has shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft. The New York Times in its article, "Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane Near Syria Border," reports that:
Turkish fighter jets on patrol near the Syrian border shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday after it violated Turkey’s airspace, a long-feared escalation that could further strain relations between Russia and the West.

The escalation is "long feared" not because the Turkish government actually fears that Russian warplanes crossing their border pose a threat to it or its people, but because Russia has ended NATO's proxy war, a proxy war spearheaded in part by Turkey itself, amid Russia's joint military operations with Syria against the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (ISIS) and supporting terrorist factions.

In addition to having a camera rolling as the plane went down in flames, terrorists operating in region had allegedly surrounded the dead pilot shortly after the incident according to Reuters.

While Turkey maintains that it was only reacting in self-defense - it was against a nation's planes that it knew had no intention of attacking its territory - and what looks like instead was Turkey targeting planes operating along reoccurring routes and shooting one down once the pieces were in place to maximize the event politically.

For Russia's part, it claims its plane had not even entered Turkish territory which would reveal Turkey's actions as an outright act of war.

Russia Continues Toward the Finish Line 

In recent weeks with Russian air support, Syrian troops have retaken large swaths of territory from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist fighters. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has even begun approaching the Euphrates River east of Aleppo, which would effectively cut off ISIS from its supply lines leading out of Turkish territory.

From there, Syrian troops would move north, into the very "safe zone" the US and its Turkish partners have long-sought but have so far failed to establish within Syria's borders. This "safe zone" includes a region of northern Syrian stretching from Jarabulus near the west bank of the Euphrates to Afrin and Ad Dana approximately 90-100 kilometers west.

Once Syrian troops retake this territory, the prospect of the West ever making an incursion into Syria, holding territory, or compromising Syria's territorial integrity would be lost forever. Western ambitions toward regime change in Damascus would be indefinitely suspended.

The endgame is at hand, and only the most desperate measures can hope to prevent Russia and Syria from finally securing Syria's borders. Turkey's provocation is just such a measure.

Russia's time, place, and method of retaliating against Turkey is something only the Kremlin will know. But Russia's actions upon the international stage have been so far thoroughly thought out, allowing Moscow to outmaneuver the West at every juncture and in the wake of every Western provocation.

For Turkey's government - one that has been consistent only in its constant failure regarding its proxy war against its neighbor Syria, who has been caught planning false flag provocations to trigger wider and more direct war in Syria, and whose government is now exposed and widely known to be directly feeding, not fighting ISIS - the prospect of Russian retaliation against it, either directly or indirectly, and in whatever form will leave it increasingly isolated.

Until then, Russia's best bet is to simply continue winning the war. Taking the Jarabulus-Afrin corridor and fortifying it against NATO incursions while cutting off ISIS and other terrorist factions deeper within Syria would be perhaps the worst of all possible retaliations. With Syria secured, an alternative arc of influence will exist within the Middle East, one that will inevitably work against Saudi and other Persian Gulf regimes' efforts in Yemen, and in a wider sense, begin the irreversible eviction of Western hegemony from the region.

The West, already being pushed out of Asia by China, will suffer immeasurably as the world dismantles its unipolar international order, region by region.

As in the game of chess, a player often seeks to provoke their opponent into a series of moves. The more emotional their opponent becomes, the easier it is to control the game as it unfolds. Likewise in geopolitics and war, emotions can get one killed, or, be channeled by reason and superior strategic thinking into a plan that satisfies short-term requirements but serves long-term objectives. Russia has proven time and time again that it is capable of striking this balance and now, more than ever, it must prove so again.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.   

Why the West Won't Hit ISIS Where it Hurts

November 24, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - In the wake of the Paris attacks, the West has sought to leverage what it had hoped would be a renewed public will for expanded war abroad. To this end, the US and Turkey have announced an operation which it claims will secure the last 98 kilometers of the Turkish-Syrian border - an area roughly between the west bank of the Euphrates river near Jarabulus, to Afrin and Ad Dana further West.

Repackaging NATO's 2012 "Safe Zone" 

Those familiar with the Syrian conflict would recognize this section of the Syrian-Turkish border as precisely the boundaries of the long-sought after "safe zone" the US, NATO, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have attempted to establish since as early as 2012. The Paris attacks and several minor border incidents recently reported, seem to be only the latest in a long line of cited provocations this axis has attempted to use to implement its preconceived plans.

This region between Jarabulus and Afrin constitutes the primary corridor through which the summation of Al Qaeda's Al Nusra Front and the so-called "Islamic State" or ISIS, receive weapons, supplies, and fresh fighters. Through coordinated efforts between Syria's Kurds and the Syrian government itself, the rest of Syria's northern border with Turkey has been sealed. As this process has progressed, the desperation of the Western-led axis seeking regime change in Damascus has increased proportionally.

Endgame Approaches 
In reality, regardless of the West's repetitive platitudes regarding its determination to "fight ISIS," its actions and the actions of its regional allies have fully illustrated a desire to preserve the terrorist group. Its feigned "war on ISIS" helped open the door to the recent Russian military intervention. With Russia's entry into the war, the West can no longer afford to drag out its nonexistent operations against ISIS, hoping for an opportunity to finally divide and destroy the country.

Russia and the Syrian Arab Army for whom it is providing air support, have nearly closed the Jarabulus-Afrin corridor themselves. In fact, the week before the Paris attacks, Syrian troops had established a corridor to the besieged Kweires airbase, just 40 kilometers from the Euphrates. Since then, the Syrian military has expanded its control around the surrounding area. Should it reach the Euphrates, along with taking Aleppo and moving northeast from Latakia in the west, Syria will fill the void NATO has long sought to establish its "safe zone" in.

In other words, there is a race between NATO to implement a partial occupation of Syria, and Syria and its allies racing to fill the void before this happens - and the race is nearly over.

The Unasked Question 
The Paris attacks were carried out with serendipitous timing - on the very eve of the Vienna talks, and just as Syria and its allies approached the boundaries of NATO's desperately desired "safe zone." The attacks gave the West a strong hand going into the Vienna talks and will undoubtedly help justify expanding US-Turkish operations in northern Syria.

And while suggestions that the West had any connection to the Paris attacks may be brushed off as a "conspiracy theory" despite emerging evidence revealing just how much French and other Western security and law enforcement agencies knew about the attackers before they struck, the fact that the US and Turkey are seeking to secure Turkey's border with Syria from the Syrian side instead of within NATO territory itself, reveals the true nature of this unfolding conflict.

Tracking ISIS to DC's Doorsteps

November 23, 2015 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - The problem with America's "anti-ISIS coalition" is not a matter of poor planning or a lack of resources. It is not a matter of lacking leadership or military might. The problem with America's "anti-ISIS coalition" is that it never existed in the first place. There is no US-led war on ISIS, and what's worse, it appears that the US, through all of its allies, from across the Persian Gulf to Eastern Europe and even within Washington itself, are involved in feeding ISIS, not fighting it.

Going from Syria itself, outward according to geographical proximity, we can trace ISIS' support all the way back to Washington itself. And as we do, efforts like the "talks" in Vienna, and all the non-solutions proposed by the US and its allies, appear ever more absurd while the US itself is revealed not as a stabilizing force in a chaotic world, but rather the very source of that chaos.

In Syria

Within Syria itself, it is no secret that the US CIA is arming, training, funding and equipping militant groups, groups the US now claims Russia is bombing instead of "ISIS." However, upon reading carefully any report out of newspapers in the US or its allies it becomes clear that these "rebels" always seem to be within arms reach of listed terrorist organizations, including Jabhat al Nusra.

Al Nusra is literally Al Qaeda in Syria. Not only that, it is the terrorist organization from which ISIS allegedly split from. And while the US has tried to add in a layer of extra plausible deniability to its story by claiming Nusra and ISIS are at odds with one another, the fact is Nusra and ISIS still fight together on the same battlefield toward the same objectives.

Image: Even early on, Washington's "Free Syrian Army" was having an identity crisis. The fact is, the so-called FSA was built on extremist networks including the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda itself. ISIS was the only natural conclusion it could have possibly headed toward. 

And while we'll get to who is propping up these two terrorist groups beyond Syria's borders, it should be noted that the US and European media itself has reported a steady flow of weapons and fighters out from its own backed "rebel" groups and into the ranks of Nusra and ISIS.

Articles like Reuters' "U.S.-trained Syrian rebels gave equipment to Nusra: U.S. military" give at least one explanation as to where ISIS is getting all of its brand new Toyota trucks from:
Syrian rebels trained by the United States gave some of their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front in exchange for safe passage, a U.S. military spokesman said on Friday, the latest blow to a troubled U.S. effort to train local partners to fight Islamic State militants. 

The rebels surrendered six pick-up trucks and some ammunition, or about one-quarter of their issued equipment, to a suspected Nusra intermediary on Sept. 21-22 in exchange for safe passage, said Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, in a statement.  
Before this, defections of up to 3,000 so-called "Free Syrian Army" (FSA) "rebels" had been reported, even by the London Guardian which claimed in its article "Free Syrian Army rebels defect to Islamist group Jabhat al-Nusra" that:
Abu Ahmed and others say the FSA has lost fighters to al-Nusra in Aleppo, Hama, Idlib and Deir al-Zor and the Damascus region. Ala'a al-Basha, commander of the Sayyida Aisha brigade, warned the FSA chief of staff, General Salim Idriss, about the issue last month. Basha said 3,000 FSA men have joined al-Nusra in the last few months, mainly because of a lack of weapons and ammunition. FSA fighters in the Banias area were threatening to leave because they did not have the firepower to stop the massacre in Bayda, he said. Advertisement 

The FSA's Ahrar al-Shimal brigade joined al-Nusra en masse while the Sufiyan al-Thawri brigade in Idlib lost 65 of its fighters to al-Nusra a few months ago for lack of weapons. According to one estimate the FSA has lost a quarter of all its fighters. 

Al-Nusra has members serving undercover with FSA units so they can spot potential recruits, according to Abu Hassan of the FSA's al-Tawhid Lions brigade.
Taken together, it is clear to anyone that even at face value the US strategy of arming "moderate rebels" is a complete failure and that to continue proposing such a failed strategy is basically an admission that (in fact) the US seeks to put weapons and trained fighters directly into the ranks of Al Nusra and other hardcore terrorist groups.

Image: US TOW missile in the hands of a fighter from the "Army of Islam," a terrorist organization that regularly collaborates with Al Qaeda's Nusra Front. 

Of course, in reality, that was the plan all along. So even before our journey leaves Syria, we see how the US is feeding, not fighting terrorism, completely and intentionally.


And of course, before many of the fighters even reach the battlefield in Syria, they have spent time training, arming up and staging in Turkey and Jordan. There has been a lot of talk in Washington, London and Brussels about establishing safe havens in Syria itself for this army of rebel-terrorists, but in reality, Turkey and Jordan have served this purpose since the war began in 2011.  All the US and its allies want to do now is extend these safe havens deeper into Syrian territory.

Myanmar's New Dictator: Aung San Suu Kyi

Suu Kyi disenfranchised a million voters before elections, and has declared herself above the constitution afterwards. What about that seems "democratic?" 

November 21, 2015 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The Western media is portraying Myanmar's recent elections as historic. One commentator described Myanmar as an "exuberant nation prepared for a new era of democracy and political freedom." But one wonders what sort of democracy and political freedom can be borne of elections in which nearly a million voters were banned from casting their ballots and with the apparent victor already declaring herself above the law.

Sidestepping these inconvenient facts, the West is nonetheless excited about the prospect of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) taking power in Myanmar.

This is in part due to the fact that Suu Kyi herself, along with the NLD she leads and a vast network of supporting "civil society" nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have all been created and sustained annually by billions of dollars worth of backing from the United States and United Kingdom for years.

In exchange for this support, Suu Kyi's long-standing proclivity toward "foreign investment" will lead to the wholesale feeding of Myanmar's nationalized resources, industry, and infrastructure into the maw of the Wall Street corporations and institutions that have long underwritten Suu Kyi's rise to power.

"Democracy" and "political freedom," in this context, appear only to be convenient facades to hide a more obvious and logical explanation for the West's current post-election exuberance.

"Democracy," But Only When Convenient 

In reality, Suu Kyi and her NLD's supporters helped disenfranchise nearly a million Rohingya from voting even before the elections took place.  Through widespread protests and threats of violence if their demands that the Rohingya remain stripped of their voting rights were not met, the ruling military-led government backed down from a scheme to grant the Rohingya minority long-sought after rights, including the ability to vote.