News Dump Sunday: Banging The Drums Of War Edition
#Syria: violent clashes are ongoing between Arab #SDF forces and the regime on the eastern bank of the #Euphrates near the village of Tabiyeh in #DeirEzzor.
SDF forces managed to take out a regime tank with a ATGM.
— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) February 11, 2018
Compare that tweet above with this direct contradiction
US-backed YPG in northern Syria says it has reached agreements with the Russian and Iran-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad to allow reinforcements to be sent to Afrin, to sustain their war against Turkey.
Kino Gabriel, spokesman for the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said to Reuters news agency that YPG has reached an understanding with the Assad regime.
"There are different ways to get reinforcements to Afrin, but the fundamental route is via regime forces. There are understandings between the two forces ... for the sake of delivering reinforcements to Afrin."
While YPG depends on Assad to reach Afrin, Damascus also needs the YPG's cooperation to source grain and oil from areas of the northeast under Kurdish control, the source added.
Pro-Assad forces backed by Russia and Iran, and YPG forces have fought each other elsewhere in Syria, and Damascus opposes YPG demands for autonomy. But, in Afrin, they have a common enemy and a mutual interest in blocking Turkish advances.
It's not just Assad, we are also continuing to support the Kurds against our NATO ally
The Pentagon is continuing to support Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria, a government audit revealed this week, even as the fight against the Islamic State (IS) winds down and the United States faces growing pressure from allies and foes alike to back down.
The latest quarterly Lead Inspector General (IG) report for the US-led mission in Iraq and Syria confirms that the Donald Trump administration continues to supply weapons and equipment to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Defense Department considers the YPG to be the most capable in-country US partner for the mission, but NATO ally Turkey views YPG fighters as terrorists.
For the fiscal year that started Oct. 1, the Pentagon asked for $500 million to supply Syrian forces, including YPG-led units, with vehicles, mortars, anti-tank missiles and machine guns, up from $430 million requested in fiscal 2017. Deliveries began in May 2017, prompting the ire of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says his country will defend itself "against any attack" after carrying out what appear to be its largest strikes on sites in Syria in decades.
North Korea has emerged as the early favorite to grab one of the Winter Olympics’ most important medals: the diplomatic gold.
That is the assessment of a former South Korean government minister and political experts who say the North has used the Games to drive a wedge between South Korea and its U.S. ally and to potentially ease pressure on its sanctions-crippled state.
In barely a month since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surprised the world and said his nation was ready to join the Games, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has delayed military exercises, feted Kim’s sister at the Pyeongchang Olympics and given conditional consent to a bilateral summit in the North.
“North Korea clearly appears to be winning the gold,” said Kim Sung-han, who served as Korea’s vice foreign minister in 2012-2013 and who now teaches at Seoul’s Korea University.
“Its delegation and athletes are getting all the spotlight, and Kim Jong Un’s sister is showing elegant smiles before the South Korean public and the world. Even for a moment, it appears to be a normal state.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who attended Friday’s opening ceremony along with the North Koreans, said “no daylight” existed between the United States, South Korea and Japan on the need to isolate North Korea.
He said the North was using the Games for crude propaganda.
But it was Pence who cast one of the loneliest figures at the event.
...“Now is not the time to postpone U.S.-South Korea military exercises. It is important to move forward with the drills as planned,” Abe said, according to South’s presidential Blue House. Moon replied that it was not appropriate for Abe to have raised the issue, which he described as an internal affair.
Vice President Pence on Wednesday announced what he claimed will be the Trump administration's most grueling round of economic sanctions against North Korea.
"I’m announcing today that the United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever," Pence said during a news conference in Japan, standing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The collapse of NAFTA would not be a disaster for Mexico, the top foreign policy advisor to leftist presidential election frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said, adding that Mexico should depend less on the United States and not interfere with regional neighbors.
“We have alternatives, if for any reason we don’t manage a good renegotiation of the free trade deal, it wouldn’t be the end of the world,” Vasconcelos told Reuters in an interview on Thursday.
“There are other possibilities for trade and investment in other parts of the world,” such as Europe and Asia, said Vasconcelos, who was formerly Mexico’s ambassador in Denmark, Norway and Iceland.
Avaaz claims that hundreds of thousands of supporters have signed up for actions protesting Mueller’s possible removal, and that more than 25 national organizations support the protests. The group calls it potentially “the largest national mobilization in history.”
Considering all of the threats to democracy posed by unconstitutional overreach, unfair elections, corruption, and voter suppression – not to mention environmental challenges, economic inequality, an out-of-control U.S. foreign policy, numerous foreign conflicts that the U.S. is engaged in, and the ever-present threat of nuclear war – it is telling that the liberal establishment is mobilizing on this particular issue.
On this day, January 13th, 1927, the first woman was seated on the previously all-male New York Stock Exchange. Forty years later, Muriel Siebert “made history” again by becoming the first woman to become a member of the NYSE. These are the types of “fun facts” that are always lauded as acts of advancement for all women or “minorities”, as if the accomplishments of someone in the upper strata of society is supposed to represent the betterment of all women or people who have been marginalized throughout the world.
Here is what they omit in the narrative of these stories of tokenism. Two years after the first woman was seated on the New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street would take the most severe nose dive as the Great Depression wiped away the life savings of tens of millions of Americans. Do you think the teeming masses of women who ended up becoming homeless and mired in the abyss of indigence felt better because a woman happened to be eating foie gras while they were sleeping on grass mattresses?
These types of empty symbolism are used all the time to convince us that we are doing better as a society while the debased—I refuse to call them the elites because there is nothing elite about capital thievery—are gaining all the fortunes of the world by sucking the blood and bloodline of the rest of humanity. And we keep falling for it all the time as we let politicians and media personalities turn us into human props and use our stories to further the lie of this duopoly which is laughably passed off as Democracy and this cancerous capitalism that is indenturing humans to a life of wage slavery. So wedded are we to tokenism that we are willing to take bullets for people we will never meet and incinerate each other defending our political idols.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced January 29 that the social media platform will prioritize news from “local sources” in the News Feed displayed to users. The announcement is the third in a creeping roll-out of updates announced by Facebook since the start of the year aimed at censoring online information.
On January 12, Facebook reported that it would deprioritize news and political content—that is, display them less often—in favor of “personal moments.” One week later, Zuckerberg announced that of the news articles that are shown to users, the News Feed will prioritize those published by what it called “trustworthy” sources, meaning pro-establishment outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Zuckerberg’s post announcing the most recent change made little effort to conceal its political motivation. It would serve to “turn down the temperature on the more divisive issues and instead focus on concrete local issues,” he wrote, so that the population can “all make progress together.”
Presumably this means more information about school bake sales and sporting events, and less about the Trump administration, the global crisis of capitalism, and the growing danger of world war.