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  1. #1
    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    China Joins Russia In Massive War Games In Sign Of Growing Military Ties

    China Joins Russia In Massive War Games In Sign Of Growing Military Ties



    Nothing to see here, says the Russian foreign ministry...

    Tues, 09/11/2018 - 02:45 74

    More details have emerged revealing just how extensive the joint China-Russia week long 'Vostok' war games will be, set to kick off Tuesday, which is to involve a combined total of 300,000 troops, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 aircraft, two Russian naval fleets and all airborne units, along with a contingent from China, a clear sign to the west of just how close military ties between the two nations have become.
    The two powers are cooperating in the military games, said to be the largest such exercise since 1981 under the Soviet Union. During Vostok, China is to deploy an unprecedented number of itsPeople's Liberation Army (PLA) troops and equipment, which also constitutes the first time a country not from the former Soviet bloc has conducted joint games with Moscow and on Russian soil.
    According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) China has sent about 3,200 PLA elite forces troops, along with 30 fix-wing aircraft and helicopters to deploy during the exercises.
    And a new Financial Times report describes that the joint deployment will include "Hundreds of Russian and Chinese tanks, attack helicopters, fighter jets and thousands of soldiers..." in "a show of strength and friendship between Asia’s two largest military powers".

    Image via Tribune India/iStock
    In total it's expected that 300,000 troops and close to 40,000 vehicles will participate in Vostok, which is to coincide with talks between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping in Vladivostok on Tuesday. This further includes another hundreds of aircraft and helicopters.
    President Putin has of late sought closer relations with China, which Russia shares a massive 4,200km border with, amidst both countries experiencing deep tensions with the West, including US sanctions against Moscow and a growing trade war between China and Washington. Over the past century the powerful neighbors have laid claim to contested energy resources in border areas at different times, resulting in sporadic conflict, in spite of for most of the 20th century sharing communist ideology.
    A Carnegie Moscow Center analyst, Alexander Gubuev, summarizes why the West will closely monitor the games with increased alarm, per FT:
    This is pretty huge. These major exercises are designed to simulate responses to aggression from external enemies. For decades, China has been considered one of those potential threats. Thus, to invite them to participate suggests that now they are seen as allies against other aggressors.”
    The exercises, which are annual and held in different regions which Moscow considers among four strategic military sectors, are designed to simulate an attack on a foreign power.
    “Both Beijing and Moscow are looking to demonstrate that trade wars and sanctions will only push them to develop new alliances," comments senior analyst Florence Cahill for a risk consultancy group as cited in FT. And explained further, “As long as their prevailing worldview is shaped by an animus towards a US-led international order, co-operation on all levels between Moscow and Beijing will likely be more pronounced than competition between them.”



    What is widely reported to be a growing personal friendship between Presidents Putin and Xi is also said to be driving increased closeness in military relations between the two powers.
    Crucially, with NATO expanding up to Russia's Western border and with "non-aligned" Scandinavian countries Sweden and Finland increasingly cooperating in NATO war games, one major element to the games sure to attract the attention of Washington military planners is the inclusion of simulated nuclear weapons attacks.
    Both Russia and China are among the world's major longtime nuclear armed powers, and both are experiencing soaring tensions with the United States.
    In response to the impending Vostok-18 games Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon announced late last month, "We urge Russia to take steps to share information regarding its exercises and operations in Europe to clearly convey its intentions and minimize and potential misunderstanding."
    Prior Pentagon reports suggest the games will be closely watched by U.S. intelligence agencies especially due to Russia's willingness to simulate nuclear combat.
    Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, described some of strategic maneuvers to be employed in the games: “There are plans to practice massive air strikes, cruise missile training, defensive and offensive operations, raids, and bypass manoeuvres."

    Image via NYTGerasimov described further, “Aircraft will practice support to an offensive mounted by ground forces and beach defense. Planes and helicopters will practice bombings and [the] use of air-launched missiles.”
    Meanwhile Russia's foreign ministry has sought to downplay the significance of the sheer volume of forces deployed for Vostok-2018 as well as Chinese cooperation. Spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said: “Unfortunately, we are used to the allegations that Russia is preparing for some big conflict. We have been hearing such statements from Nato representatives and some of its members. But there are absolutely no grounds for that.”
    Apart from China, a contingent of Mongolian troops will also be part of the games.
    No doubt, both Russia and China relish the opportunity of flexing military muscle just as US threats are heating up and tensions are at boiling point over Syria, where both countries have condemned past American and Western military actions targeting the Assad government.

    China Joins Russia In Massive War Games In Sign Of Growing Military Ties

  2. #2
    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    Intel Veterans Urge President Trump To Step Back From The Brink On Syria



    Moscow has upped the ante in Syria...

    Tue, 09/11/2018 - 16:45
    Via ConsortiumNews.com,

    In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, warn that the potential for a U.S.-Russia confrontation has never been greater at a moment the White House has confirmed it's in the planning stages of a strike on Syria, claiming "new intelligence" that Assad has already "ordered" a chemical weapons attack, according to the WSJ.

    MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
    FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
    SUBJECT: Moscow Has Upped the Ante in Syria



    Mr. President:
    We are concerned that you may not have been adequately briefed on the upsurge of hostilities in northwestern Syria, where Syrian armed forces with Russian support have launched a full-out campaign to take back the al-Nusra/al-Qaeda/ISIS-infested province of Idlib. The Syrians will almost certainly succeed, as they did in late 2016 in Aleppo. As in Aleppo, it will mean unspeakable carnage, unless someone finally tells the insurgents theirs is a lost cause.
    That someone is you. The Israelis, Saudis, and others who want unrest to endure are egging on the insurgents, assuring them that you, Mr. President, will use US forces to protect the insurgents in Idlib, and perhaps also rain hell down on Damascus. We believe that your senior advisers are encouraging the insurgents to think in those terms, and that your most senior aides are taking credit for your recent policy shift from troop withdrawal from Syria to indefinite war.
    Big Difference This Time
    Russian missile-armed naval and air units are now deployed in unprecedented numbers to engage those tempted to interfere with Syrian and Russian forces trying to clean out the terrorists from Idlib. We assume you have been briefed on that — at least to some extent. More important, we know that your advisers tend to be dangerously dismissive of Russian capabilities and intentions.
    We do not want you to be surprised when the Russians start firing their missiles. The prospect of direct Russian-U.S. hostilities in Syria is at an all-time high. We are not sure you realize that.
    The situation is even more volatile because Kremlin leaders are not sure who is calling the shots in Washington. This is not the first time that President Putin has encountered such uncertainty (see brief Appendix below). This is, however, the first time that Russian forces have deployed in such numbers into the area, ready to do battle. The stakes are very high.
    We hope that John Bolton has given you an accurate description of his acerbic talks with his Russian counterpart in Geneva a few weeks ago. In our view, it is a safe bet that the Kremlin is uncertain whether Bolton faithfully speaks in your stead, or speaks INSTEAD of you.
    The best way to assure Mr. Putin that you are in control of U.S. policy toward Syria would be for you to seek an early opportunity to speak out publicly, spelling out your intentions. If you wish wider war, Bolton has put you on the right path.
    If you wish to cool things down, you may wish to consider what might be called a pre-emptive ceasefire. By that we mean a public commitment by the Presidents of the U.S. and Russia to strengthen procedures to preclude an open clash between U.S. and Russian armed forces. We believe that, in present circumstances, this kind of extraordinary step is now required to head off wider war.
    FOR THE VIPS STEERING GROUP, SIGNED:
    William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
    Marshall Carter-Tripp, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) and Division Director, State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research
    Philip Giraldi, CIA Operations Officer (retired)
    James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate Republican leadership (Associate VIPS)
    Michael S. Kearns, Captain, U.S. Air Force, Intelligence Officer, and former Master SERE Instructor (retired)
    John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and Former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
    Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC Iraq; Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)
    Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
    Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret) (Associate VIPS)
    David MacMichael, Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
    Ray McGovern, Army/Infantry Intelligence Officer and CIA Presidential Briefer (retired)
    Elizabeth Murray, Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East, National Intelligence Council (retired)
    Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
    Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)
    Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army reserve colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War
    * * *
    Appendix:
    Sept 12, 2016: The limited ceasefire goes into effect; provisions include separating the “moderate” rebels from the others. Secretary John Kerry had earlier claimed that he had “refined” ways to accomplish the separation, but it did not happen; provisions also included safe access for relief for Aleppo.
    Sept 17, 2016: U.S. Air Force bombs fixed Syrian Army positions killing between 64 and 84 Syrian army troops; about 100 others wounded — evidence enough to convince the Russians that the Pentagon was intent on scuttling meaningful cooperation with Russia.
    Sept 26, 2016: We can assume that what Lavrov has told his boss in private is close to his uncharacteristically blunt words on Russian NTV on Sept. 26. (In public remarks bordering on the insubordinate, senior Pentagon officials a few days earlier had showed unusually open skepticism regarding key aspects of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement – like sharing intelligence with the Russians (a key provision of the deal approved by both Obama and Putin). Here’s what Lavrov said on Sept 26:
    “My good friend John Kerry … is under fierce criticism from the US military machine. Despite the fact that, as always, [they] made assurances that the US Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, supported him in his contacts with Russia (he confirmed that during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin), apparently the military does not really listen to the Commander in Chief.”
    Lavrov went beyond mere rhetoric. He also specifically criticized JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford for telling Congress that he opposed sharing intelligence with Russia, “after the agreements concluded on direct orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama stipulated that they would share intelligence. … It is difficult to work with such partners. …”
    Oct 27, 2016: Putin speaks at the Valdai International Discussion Club
    At Valdai Russian President Putin spoke of the “feverish” state of international relations and lamented: “My personal agreements with the President of the United States have not produced results.” He complained about “people in Washington ready to do everything possible to prevent these agreements from being implemented in practice” and, referring to Syria, decried the lack of a “common front against terrorism after such lengthy negotiations, enormous effort, and difficult compromises.”
    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) is made up of former intelligence officers, diplomats, military officers and congressional staffers. The organization, founded in 2002, was among the first critics of Washington’s justifications for launching a war against Iraq. VIPS advocates a US foreign and national security policy based on genuine national interests rather than contrived threats promoted for largely political reasons. An archive of VIPS memoranda is available at Consortiumnews.com.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-...ck-brink-syria

  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Trump has to figure out how to get in there and bust this up. He knew the importance of good relations with Russia and a new and improved relationship. Way to go WarHawks, Way to go Stupid Mueller, Way to go Hate Russia Idiots .... A Sino-Soviet alliance is our WORST NIGHTMARE.

    Any "collusion" yet? Any real crimes yet? Anything to justify what you have done? There is nothing that is or could be bad enough to justify what you have done. TRAITORS ALL!!

    GRRRR!!!!!!
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    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    Buchanan: Is Trump Going Neocon In Syria?



    "With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity..."


    Tue, 09/11/2018 - 12:01
    Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

    Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisers seem to be signaling.



    Last week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”
    In a front-page story Monday, “Assad is Planning Chlorine Attack, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal reports that, during a recent meeting, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib.”

    Idlib contains three million civilians and refugees and 70,000 rebels, 10,000 of whom are al-Qaida.
    Friday, The Washington Post reported that Trump is changing U.S. policy. America will not be leaving Syria any time soon.
    The 2,200 U.S. troops in Syria will remain until we see “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces and the establishment of a stable, non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians.”
    “We are not in a hurry to go,” said James Jeffrey, the retired Foreign Service officer brought back to handle the Syria account. “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”
    President Obama had a red line against Syria’s use of poison gas, which Trump enforced with bombing runs. Now we have a new red line. Said Jeffrey, the U.S. “will not tolerate an attack. Period.”
    In an editorial Friday, the Post goaded Trump, calling his response to Assad’s ruthless recapture of his country “pathetically weak.” To stand by and let the Syrian army annihilate the rebels in Idlib, said the Post, would be “another damaging abdication of U.S. leadership.”
    What Trump seems to be signaling, the Post demanding, and Jeffrey suggesting, is that, rather than allow a bloody battle for the recapture of Idlib province to play out, the United States should engage Russian and Syrian forces militarily and force them to back off.
    On Friday, near the U.S. garrison at Tanf in southern Syria, close to Iraq, U.S. Marines conducted a live-fire exercise. Purpose: Warn Russian forces to stay away. The Americans have declared a 35-mile zone around Tanf off-limits. The Marine exercise followed a Russian notification, and U.S. rejection, of a plan to enter the zone in pursuit of “terrorists.”
    Is Trump ready to order U.S. action against Russian and Syrian forces if Assad gives his army the green light to take Idlib? For the bombing of Idlib has already begun.
    What makes this more than an academic exercise is that Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at a meeting in Tehran last Friday, told President Erdogan of Turkey that the reconquest of Idlib is going forward.
    Erdogan fears that the Syrian army’s recapture of Idlib would send hundreds of thousands more refugees streaming to his border.
    Turkey already hosts millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war.
    Yet the massing of the Syrian army near Idlib and the Russian and Syrian bombing now begun suggest that the Assad-Putin-Rouhani coalition has decided to accept the risk of a clash with the Americans in order to bring an end to the rebellion. If so, this puts the ball in America’s court.
    Words and warnings aside, is Trump prepared to take us into the Syrian civil war against the forces who, absent our intervention, will have won the war? When did Congress authorize a new war?
    What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in Idlib, or in ensuring that all Iranian forces and Shiite allies are removed, or that a “non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community” is established in Damascus?
    With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity.
    The Syrian civil war is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster of the decade. The sooner it is ended the better. But Assad, Russia and Iran did not start this war. Nor have Syria, Russia or Iran sought a clash with U.S. forces whose mission, we were repeatedly assured, was to crush ISIS and go home.
    Trump has struck Syria twice for its use of poison gas, and U.S. officials told the Journal that Assad has now approved the use of chlorine on the rebels in Idlib. Moscow, however, is charging that a false-flag operation to unleash chlorine on civilians in Idlib is being prepared to trigger and justify U.S. intervention.
    Many in this Russophobic city would welcome a confrontation with Putin’s Russia, even more a U.S. war on Iran. But that is the opposite of what candidate Trump promised.
    It would represent a triumph of the never-Trumpers and President Trump’s relinquishing of his foreign policy to the interventionists and neoconservatives.

    Buchanan: Is Trump Going Neocon In Syria?

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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airbornesapper07 View Post
    Buchanan: Is Trump Going Neocon In Syria?



    "With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity..."


    Tue, 09/11/2018 - 12:01
    Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

    Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisers seem to be signaling.



    Last week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”
    In a front-page story Monday, “Assad is Planning Chlorine Attack, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal reports that, during a recent meeting, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib.”

    Idlib contains three million civilians and refugees and 70,000 rebels, 10,000 of whom are al-Qaida.
    Friday, The Washington Post reported that Trump is changing U.S. policy. America will not be leaving Syria any time soon.
    The 2,200 U.S. troops in Syria will remain until we see “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces and the establishment of a stable, non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians.”
    “We are not in a hurry to go,” said James Jeffrey, the retired Foreign Service officer brought back to handle the Syria account. “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”
    President Obama had a red line against Syria’s use of poison gas, which Trump enforced with bombing runs. Now we have a new red line. Said Jeffrey, the U.S. “will not tolerate an attack. Period.”
    In an editorial Friday, the Post goaded Trump, calling his response to Assad’s ruthless recapture of his country “pathetically weak.” To stand by and let the Syrian army annihilate the rebels in Idlib, said the Post, would be “another damaging abdication of U.S. leadership.”
    What Trump seems to be signaling, the Post demanding, and Jeffrey suggesting, is that, rather than allow a bloody battle for the recapture of Idlib province to play out, the United States should engage Russian and Syrian forces militarily and force them to back off.
    On Friday, near the U.S. garrison at Tanf in southern Syria, close to Iraq, U.S. Marines conducted a live-fire exercise. Purpose: Warn Russian forces to stay away. The Americans have declared a 35-mile zone around Tanf off-limits. The Marine exercise followed a Russian notification, and U.S. rejection, of a plan to enter the zone in pursuit of “terrorists.”
    Is Trump ready to order U.S. action against Russian and Syrian forces if Assad gives his army the green light to take Idlib? For the bombing of Idlib has already begun.
    What makes this more than an academic exercise is that Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at a meeting in Tehran last Friday, told President Erdogan of Turkey that the reconquest of Idlib is going forward.
    Erdogan fears that the Syrian army’s recapture of Idlib would send hundreds of thousands more refugees streaming to his border.
    Turkey already hosts millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war.
    Yet the massing of the Syrian army near Idlib and the Russian and Syrian bombing now begun suggest that the Assad-Putin-Rouhani coalition has decided to accept the risk of a clash with the Americans in order to bring an end to the rebellion. If so, this puts the ball in America’s court.
    Words and warnings aside, is Trump prepared to take us into the Syrian civil war against the forces who, absent our intervention, will have won the war? When did Congress authorize a new war?
    What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in Idlib, or in ensuring that all Iranian forces and Shiite allies are removed, or that a “non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community” is established in Damascus?
    With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity.
    The Syrian civil war is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster of the decade. The sooner it is ended the better. But Assad, Russia and Iran did not start this war. Nor have Syria, Russia or Iran sought a clash with U.S. forces whose mission, we were repeatedly assured, was to crush ISIS and go home.
    Trump has struck Syria twice for its use of poison gas, and U.S. officials told the Journal that Assad has now approved the use of chlorine on the rebels in Idlib. Moscow, however, is charging that a false-flag operation to unleash chlorine on civilians in Idlib is being prepared to trigger and justify U.S. intervention.
    Many in this Russophobic city would welcome a confrontation with Putin’s Russia, even more a U.S. war on Iran. But that is the opposite of what candidate Trump promised.
    It would represent a triumph of the never-Trumpers and President Trump’s relinquishing of his foreign policy to the interventionists and neoconservatives.

    Buchanan: Is Trump Going Neocon In Syria?
    No, Trump won't go there, even though I'm sure there are plenty in Congress, DOD and State Department who do want to go there. Just my opinion that Trump wants no part of this mess. He wants out and let Russia handle it from here. We'll protect Israel.
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    Senior Member Airbornesapper07's Avatar
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    Ron Paul: Why Are We Siding With Al-Qaeda?



    The “experts” who run Trump’s foreign policy have determined that a de facto alliance is necessary...

    Tue, 09/11/2018 - 10:42 several tweets at the page link
    Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

    Last week, I urged the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor to stop protecting al-Qaeda in Syria by demanding that the Syrian government leave Idlib under al-Qaeda control. While it may seem hard to believe that the US government is helping al-Qaeda in Syria, it’s not as strange as it may seem: our interventionist foreign policy increasingly requires Washington to partner up with “bad guys” in pursuit of its dangerous and aggressive foreign policy goals.

    Does the Trump Administration actually support al-Qaeda and ISIS? Of course not. But the “experts” who run Trump’s foreign policy have determined that a de facto alliance with these two extremist groups is for the time being necessary to facilitate the more long-term goals in the Middle East. And what are those goals? Regime change for Iran.

    Let’s have a look at the areas where the US is turning a blind eye to al-Qaeda and ISIS.



    First, Idlib. As I mentioned last week, President Trump’s own Special Envoy to fight ISIS said just last year that “Idlib Province is the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11.” So why do so many US officials – including President Trump himself – keep warning the Syrian government not to re-take its own territory from al-Qaeda control? Wouldn’t they be doing us a favor by ridding the area of al-Qaeda?

    Well, if Idlib is re-taken by Assad, it all but ends the neocon (and Saudi and Israeli) dream of “regime change” for Syria and a black eye to Syria’s ally, Iran.

    Second, one of the last groups of ISIS fighters in Syria are around the Al-Tanf US military base which has operated illegally in northeastern Syria for the past two years. Last week, according to press reports, the Russians warned the US military in the region that it was about to launch an assault on ISIS fighters around the US base. The US responded by sending in 100 more US Marines and conducting a live-fire exercise as a warning.
    President Trump recently reversed himself (again) and announced that the US would remain at Al-Tanf “indefinitely.” Why? It is considered a strategic point from which to attack Iran. The US means to stay there even if it means turning a blind eye to ISIS in the neighborhood.

    Finally, in Yemen, the US/Saudi coalition fighting the Houthis has been found by AP and other mainstream media outlets to be directly benefiting al-Qaeda. Why help al-Qaeda in Yemen? Because the real US goal is regime change in Iran, and Yemen is considered one of the fronts in the battle against Iranian influence in the Middle East. So we are aiding al-Qaeda, which did attack us, because we want to “regime change” Iran, which hasn’t attacked us. How does that make sense?

    We all remember the old saying, attributed to Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack, that “if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.” The “experts” would like us to think they are pursuing a brilliant foreign policy that will provide a great victory for America at the end of the day.
    But as usual, the “experts” have got it wrong. It’s really not that complicated: when “winning” means you’re allied with al-Qaeda and ISIS, you’re doing something wrong. Let’s start doing foreign policy right: let’s leave the rest of the world alone!

    Ron Paul: Why Are We Siding With Al-Qaeda?

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    US strikes prepare ground for Syrian Democratic Forces in anti-ISIS operation


    @ US-backed force attacks last IS pocket in eastern Syria
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