The original working March 3 title was to be ‘Help me connect the dots’, but the dots seem to have been taking shape over the past week. Sorry it’s mainly copy/paste again, but it’s about all I can manage these days.)
‘US special ops step up strikes on al-Qaeda and ISIS, insiders say’, abcnews.go, March 3
“The Pentagon has quietly ordered new commando deployments to the Middle East and North Africa amid an unprecedented series of American airstrikes in Yemen, counterterrorism officials tell ABC News.
The moves appear to signal that the U.S. military is kicking off a more aggressive counterterrorism campaign — with the encouragement of President Trump — in a stepped up effort against the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) terror group in lawless Yemen, as well as ISIS strongholds in Syria and areas in North Africa where both groups have spread to in recent years, current and former special operations veterans said.
The Trump administration in late January launched the first known ground force operation in Yemen in two years followed by an unprecedented two-dozen or more airstrikes this week targeting al-Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliate, including airstrikes Thursday night. This week also saw the killing of al-Qaeda’s overall deputy leader in a U.S. drone strike in northwestern Syria.”
Then loads of pithy quotes from unnamed military and intelligence sources, plus a few who dared to reveal their names, including:
“Un-announced fresh deployments of elite American commando units from the Army’s Delta Force and Navy SEAL teams continue, officials told ABC News, to Syria and Iraq to strike ISIS, and to the Horn of Africa region to target al-Qaeda, with some in the military welcoming Trump’s tough talk on counterterrorism.”
Yeah, ‘the boys’ are gonna see a lotta action on this deployment because: Trump, Praying Mattis, and McMasters’; yeppers: ‘We’re doin’ work on the bad guys’.
Yemen is ground zero for another Saudi Wahhabist proxy war v. the insurrection of the Zaidi Shi’ite Houthis funded by Iran, who don’t want to see US-approved™ Hadi reinstated. A side question: wouldn’t it be natural to assume that Israel is also quite involved in this proxy war?
On March 6, wsws.org: ‘US ramps up bombing campaign in Yemen’, Niles Niemuth:
“In a major escalation of operations in Yemen, the US military carried out more than 30 airstrikes and drone strikes on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, hitting multiple targets allegedly linked to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). As many as 20 people were reported killed in the attacks, which hit the southern governorates of Shabwa, Al Bayda and Abyan.
The multi-day bombardment was the heaviest so far in the undeclared US war in Yemen, which has killed or injured more than 1,700 people, including hundreds of women and children, since 2009. According to a tally maintained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US has carried out a least 390 attacks in the last eight years.
Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told reporters on Friday that more airstrikes would be forthcoming: “US forces will continue to target AQAP militants and facilities in order to disrupt the terrorist organization’s plots and ultimately to protect American lives.” [snip]
“The air campaign and subsequent ground invasion aim to push back the Houthi rebels, who took over much of the country in early 2015, and reinstate the US-backed government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies have been funneling weapons and money to Sunni militias, including those affiliated with AQAP, to serve as ground troops in the war against the Zaidi Shiite Houthis.
Since it began in March 2015, the Saudi-led campaign, made possible by continuous support from the US government in the form of intelligence, logistics, military equipment and aerial refueling, has killed more than 10,000 Yemeni civilians and wounded 40,000. Saudi bombs have hit hospitals, schools, marketplaces, factories and residential neighborhoods.”
Niemuth takes note of Herr Trump’s disgusting use of the Widow Owens whose husband was killed in the SEALs Op gone wrong in his address to Congress, but of course never mentioning the ‘30 civilians, including 8-year-old Nawar al-Awlaki, the daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, the US citizen and Islamist cleric assassinated by the Obama administration in 2011’, and writes of the insane levels of humanitarian disaster in Yemen.
Now as far as I’ve read, AQAP fires on the Houthis as well, but that’s another story, right? The author ends:
“While Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world, it is of considerable geopolitical significance, forming the eastern side of the Bab El Mandeb Strait, a major shipping lane which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. A significant portion of the world’s oil supply traverses the strait, making it one of the most important strategic choke points on the planet.
The US Navy announced last month that the USS Cole would join three other warships already operating off the coast of Yemen in the Red Sea and the Bab El Mandeb, out of “concern for the freedom of navigation.”
Now note the other nation/s that are on the Empire’s hit-list, as well as on the ‘to do lists’ of the NATO-friendly compromised human rights organizations: mineral rich Eritrea (which we’ve discussed before at the Café), DCR Congo, and of course George Clooney’s oil-rich South Sudan.
March 7 via RT: ‘US troops spotted in armored convoy near Manbij, Syria (VIDEO):
“The statement was in response to an article tweeted by Kurdish news outlet Rudaw, which said that US forces had been spotted in Manbij on Friday.”
“This does not mean an increase in the overall number of US forces present in Syria, though, according to a military official quoted by New York Times.
The presence of US troops comes after a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s demands for Syrian Kurdish militia units, the YPG, to leave the city and retreat east of the Euphrates. He warned that they could be moved out by force if they do not comply.” (the rest is here, including Turkey wanting the YPG to vamoose, etc.)
Moar dots: ‘Saudi Arabia’s Southeast Asia Terror Tour’, tony cartalucci, march 5
“Saudi Arabia’s king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, has recently undertaken a sweeping tour of Southeast Asia in what the media and analysts are claiming is a bid to firm up economic and political ties with Muslim-majority nations in the region.
However, both the media and analysts are sidestepping or entirely omitting the role Saudi Arabia has played in fueling global terrorism, extraterritorial geopolitical meddling, and even divisive and terroristic activities the notorious state sponsor of terrorism has been implicated in across the planet including within Southeast Asia itself.
German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in an article titled, “Saudi King Salman’s Southeast Asia trip affirms Muslim friendship,” would report:
The Saudi monarch’s rare month-long trip takes him to strategically important nations in the economically fast-growing region, with which Riyadh wants to deepen commercial engagement and socio-political ties.
DW would also report that:
Salman’s visit to the Southeast Asian countries also underscores cooperative and mutually reinforcing ties between Muslim-majority countries and affirms the Islamic credentials as well as image of the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia…
However, Saudi Arabia indisputably represents perhaps the greatest danger to Islam on Earth. The brand of politicized religion propagated by Saudi Arabia both within its borders and well beyond them known as Wahhabism was initially created and is still used today to establish, maintain, and expand Saudi political influence behind a tenuous veil of religion.
Under the heading ‘Saudi Arabia Exports More Than Just Oil and for More Than Just Petrodollars’ is a litany of examples of Saudi Arabia fomenting rebellions and overthrows, including the Philippines, Bangkok, Maylasia, Jakarta. The first sentence reads:
“Saudi Arabia as a protectorate of the United States, the United Kingdom, and other special interests across Europe, grants these nations a vector for power and influence through the use of Wahhabism in any nation it is allowed to take root and flourish.”
The last two headings in Cartalucci’s news are these:
‘US-Saudi Terror Serve Policy Aimed At China’
‘Stronger Saudi Presence Means Stronger US Influence’
“The United States throughout decades of foreign policy have used Saudi Arabia as a means of laundering political support, weapons, and cash through when attempting to co-opt and use groups within Muslim-majority nations.
A stronger Saudi presence in Southeast Asia means greater opportunities for the US itself to tap into Muslim communities, cultivate extremism, and recruit human resources to use in destructive proxy wars across the planet, as well as across Southeast Asia itself.
Attempts to create religious divisions within the culturally diverse and tolerant populations of Southeast Asia have been ongoing for years but with little success. While it is uncertain whether a greater Saudi presence in the region can significantly improve the odds in Washington’s favor, it is certain that tensions, chaos, and division will follow.”
Viktor Mikhin’s March 5 ‘Saudi Arabia and the US are Spreading Anti-Iranian Hysteria for a Reason’, NEO
“Last month, the Pentagon announced that the US military forces in the Persian Gulf were brought “to the highest state of readiness”, while explaining this step by the deteriorating relations with Iran. This was yet another anti-Iranian step made by the Trump administration. A few days before that, the United States expanded sanctions against Tehran, adding 13 individuals and 12 companies to their blacklist. It went so far that Washington has declared Iran a terrorist state without any explanation provided. At the same time, the state of Saudi Arabia, where women are often stoned in the streets women and convicts being publicly beheaded, which funds a wide range of terrorist organizations hasn’t been labeled as a terrorist state.
As for Iran it is conducting peaceful policies and tries to establish good relations with its neighbors in the Gulf region. It is in this light that the recent visit of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani to Oman and Kuwait can be regarded. It is a key objective for the Iranian president was to restore diplomatic relations with Kuwait and monarchies of the region, including Saudi Arabia. A number of the Persian Gulf monarchies have withdrawn their ambassadors from Tehran last January, after an angry mob assaulted the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. The riots that led to this assault were cause by the execution of a well-known Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia.” [snip]
“If we take into account that Kuwait is like the north of the Persian Gulf and Oman – in the south, it becomes clear that Iranians tries to outmaneuver Saudi Arabia diplomatically. In addition, Qatar, though an Arab country, but its leaders have always been competing with its powerful neighbor. In addition, moreover Qatar and Saudi Arabia have territorial disputes.
Tehran, finding itself in such a difficult position, has been trying to establish strategic relations with Russia, which is being perceived in Iran as the guarantor of peace and tranquility in the region. In this connection it may be recalled, that along with Iran, Russia and Turkey are the guarantor of the truce in Syria, where the armed struggle has been raging for six years. Should peace be finally achieved in Syria, it will result in the greater stability of the Middle Eastern region.”
Now we wouldn’t want that, would we?
‘Did UAE Buy $5 Billion in Arms Anticipating Intensified Regional Conflict?; Trump has added to tension in the region with his warmongering statements on Iran, says filmmaker Andrew Feinstein’, at TRNN (Andrew Feinstein is the Executive Director of Corruption Watch UK and author of ‘The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade’. This book has recently has been turned into a film that explores the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. He also served the ANC under Nelson Mandela and his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.)
ANDREW FEINSTEIN: I think that the weaponization of the UAE is primarily a consequence of the situation in the region, in the Middle East. The UAE, as you mentioned, is part of the coalition with Saudi Arabia, that is bombing Yemen where we have seen over 4,000 innocent civilians die. The same coalition is stoking fires in Syria, has been supporting the royal family in Bahrain against citizen uprisings for over five years now. So the UAE is effectively flexing its military muscle as part of this coalition, but it’s really a coalition in opposition to Iran.
The weaponization program that we’re now seeing a continuation of started in earnest at the same time that former President Obama negotiated the nuclear peace deal with Iran. In order to placate American allies in the region, including crucially the UAE and Saudi, Obama sold the region tens of billions of dollars of American weaponry, effectively saying, “We’re going to ensure that Iran is not a nuclear threat, but at the same time we’re going to make you – Saudi Arabia and the UAE – militarily powerful.”
SHARMINI PERIES: Now, various deals were signed with the British manufacturers, with American manufacturers, with Russian manufacturers. Give us an idea of how this $5 billion got spent, and on what, with whom.
ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Well, the main trades of this current deal have been with the United States, primarily for Apache helicopters amongst other things. The full details of the deals are not yet known. What we assume, though, is that in addition to that part of the deal, we think that the UAE has also been purchasing a number of other equipment, as you mentioned, from BAE, which is the main British arms company, who have been responsible for providing the coalition with the bombs and missiles that have been rained down on the Yemeni people by predominantly American and British-made jets. In addition to which it is also worth noting that British advisors have supposedly been assisting the coalition in their targeting in Yemen.”
“ANDREW FEINSTEIN: Well, I mean, to some extent it’s business as usual in that the share of weaponry being bought by countries in the Middle East has always been high. I mean, to the countries that we’ve already spoken about we of course have to add Israel, which is one of the most weaponized countries on the planet and plays a crucial role in the region and in a strong but behind-the-scenes alliance with Saudi Arabia. Again, coming back to the Iranian peace negotiations, Israel and Saudi Arabia were vehemently opposed to those negotiations resulting in Israel being rewarded, when the Iranian peace deal was done, with $38 billion of American weaponry.
[wd here: aha: Israel, above]
“So the region which has been febrile for a long time now has always been a magnet for significant weapons sales over the past decade and a half. There is no doubt, though, that as the SIPRI figures that you mentioned have suggested, that that is accelerating further now. And I think, yes, this is a consequence of the tensions in Syria, in Yemen, and lingering tensions in Bahrain ‘majority Shi’ite, ruled by Sunnis].
I think what we are seeing is a gearing up for an intensification of the conflict there, and the addition of the rhetoric and of course the additional defense spending that President Trump is promising has only added to tensions and is quite literally fuelling the fires in the region.”
So, by for instance putting Iran on notice, making incredibly …(?) statements about the peace deal that was achieved, there are a number of analysts who believe that the Trump administration wants to go to war with Iran. And if that is the case, we’re going to see a massive increase and a massive intensification in conflict in the region and significantly more involvement from the United States and other NATO allies.”
And the drums of war keep on beatin’:
‘As US deploys anti-missile system, China warns of nuclear arms race’, wsws.org, March 8, 2017
“The US has begun the installation of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile system in South Korea, provoking an angry reaction from China, which warned that it could trigger a nuclear arms race in the region. The provocative move will heighten the already tense situation on the Korean Peninsula as the US and South Korea engage in huge annual war games.”
‘India becomes “frontline” state in US war plans against China’, wws.org March 7
“The transformation of India into a hub for the Seventh Fleet marks a new stage in India’s integration into US imperialism’s military-strategic offensive against China.”
Bradley own this song now, as far as I’m concerned.