US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has said that Washington “will confront Russia” after a top US military commander claimed Moscow is “sending weapons” to the Taliban. No specifics or evidence were provided to support the claims which Moscow has previously denied.
Speaking at a joint press conference with Mattis in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Monday, the head of the US and international forces in Afghanistan, General John Nicholson said the US “continue to get reports of this [Russia’s] assistance” to Taliban insurgents.
The NATO commander, who Mattis praised as “one of our most experienced officers in the field and one of our most serious strategic thinkers,” was asked “to address the influx of Russian weapons into Afghanistan and showing up in Taliban hands” by a journalist from the Washington Post.
How mad is this: Mad Dog planning to invade East Syria, by Mike Whitney
The Pentagon’s plan for seizing and occupying territory in east Syria is beginning to take shape. According to a Fox News exclusive:
“The Islamic State has essentially moved its so-called capital in Syria… ISIS is now centered in Deir ez-Zur, roughly 90 miles southeast of Raqqa, the officials said.”
The move by ISIS corresponds to the secretive massing of US troops and military equipment on the Syria-Jordan border. It creates the perfect pretext for a ground invasion followed by a long-term military occupation in an area that Washington has sought to control for the last 18 months. Here’s more on the topic from South Front . . .
Sott Comment: Speechless. There is nothing good to say about this plan, and too many bad things in this short space to even begin.
’Status quo in N. Korea unacceptable’: Trump scolds UNSC to up payments, wants more sanctions (Videos)
U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council at the White House, April 24, 2017
President Donald Trump chastised the UN Security Council for underperforming and called on it to “impose additional and stronger sanctions” on North Korea during a meeting with UNSC ambassadors at the White House.
“The status quo in North Korea is also unacceptable, and the council must be prepared to impose additional and stronger sanctions on the North Korean nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Trump said during the luncheon.
Trump also took a jab at the UN for ignoring threats like North Korea “for far too long.”
“This is a real threat to the world, whether we want to talk about it or not. North Korea is a big world problem and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve,” he said. “People put blindfolds on for decades and now it’s time to solve the problem.”
A Washington-based nonprofit consumer advocacy group is warning about the extraordinary grant of power to corporate businesses and the enrichment of US President Donald Trump’s private businesses by the administration.
In a report published on Monday, the head of Public Citizen group sounded the alarm bells about Trump’s frequent meetings with corporate executives and also high-profile positions in his administration occupied by former business leaders.
“We are nearly 100 days into the Trump administration, and it’s clear that there has been a wholesale corporate takeover of the government,” said Robert Weissman.
On Monday, Britain-based Oxfam urged donor nations to provide aid for the Yemeni people rather than arms for the aggressors.
“Many areas of Yemen are on the brink of famine, and the cause of such extreme starvation is political,” it said in a statement on the eve of a United Nations conference in Geneva to seek aid pledges for the Arab country.
The British charity further argued that Western governments are participating in the confab “while they continue to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons and military equipment to parties to the conflict.”
The food crisis could deteriorate in case the international community fails to send a clear message that Saudi-led airstrikes against Yemen’s western port city of Hudaydah, which serves as a primary entry point for humanitarian aid and fuel for the Arab country, would be “totally unacceptable”, Oxfam noted.
UN ‘deeply concerned’ over safety of 400,000 Raqqa civilians fleeing US-led coalition airstrikes . . . another swamp that desperately needs cleaning. Like the Vatican, they talk a good talk, but never walk the walk!!!
Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has announced that she is stepping aside as leader of her National Front (FN) party.
The move comes just a day after she reached the second round of the French election, where she will face centrist Emmanuel Macron.
Ms Le Pen told French TV she needed to be above partisan considerations.
Opinion polls suggest Mr Macron is firm favourite for the second round but Ms Le Pen said: “We can win, we will win.”
The French term she used signalled that the move to step aside would be temporary.
She told France 2 that France was approaching a “decisive moment”.
Here’s the body count in the latest geopolitical earthquake afflicting the West: The Socialist Party in France is dead. The traditional Right is comatose. What used to be the Extreme Left is alive, and still kicking.
Yet what’s supposed to be the shock of the new is not exactly a shock. The more things veer towards change (we can believe in), the more they stay the same. Enter the new normal: the recycled “system” – as in Emmanuel Macron — versus “the people” — as in the National Front’s Marine Le Pen, battling for the French presidency on May 7.
Although that was the expected outcome, it’s still significant. Le Pen, re-christened “Marine”, reached the second round of voting despite a mediocre campaign. . . .
. . . and here at home . . .
Xi calls Trump’s bluff, makes it clear China is not going to support unilateral US action against North Korea
. . . and again, from China regarding a different war front . . .
Chinese envoy to Syria: Syrian conflict can only be solved with political solutions, not by use of force
It shall be noted that on the 13th of April, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said China ‘s proposal to adopt a political solution is the only way to resolve crisis in Syria. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also released a statement, calling to preserve Syria ‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity, while also firmly rejecting and foreign military intervention against Syria.
Who poses the greater threat in Korea? History holds the answers . . . I’ve already posted this, but if you haven’t read it, it is worth your time.
Russia backs Iranian membership in Shanghai Pact . . . the world is marching right by the schoolyard bullies; it has a better future to create.
Taking the piss: UN elects misogynist theocracy Saudi Arabia for Women’s Rights Commission . . . how d’ya like this for a headline, huh? Huh? 🙂 🙂 🙂
“We have this information, not only from mass media, but from different sources,” Al-Assad told Sputnik, who interviewed him earlier this week. “You know that we have the same tribes and same families on both sides of the borders,” he told Sputnik’s reporter.
The Destruction of Syria Will Legitimize Israeli Land Grabs . . . it seems we can’t ever leave Israel out of anything. . .
Israel argues that there is no Syria to ‘negotiate with’ — which means the occupation of the Golan is now ‘legitimate’
Israel’s deputy minister for diplomacy Michael Oren has announced that ‘there is no Syria to negotiate with’, which means that Israel’s illegal occupation of the Golan should be recognized by the international community.
Capitalizing on the chaos and destruction of a six-year war to push for international recognition of occupied land? That’s not very neighborly.
Without evidence, US sanctions 271 Syrians and freezes their US assets. . . When I read this, I almost laughed. They are trying everything in the book to start something — anything — and it isn’t going to work. The world is just waiting for them, like a child’s toy, to run down.
Two weeks after launching missile strikes on Syria, the U.S. Treasury announced it has sanctioned 271 employees of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center in response to the alleged sarin attack conducted by the Assad regime on Kahn Sheikhoun. It’s one of the largest sanction actions in U.S. history.
The action was announced in a statement by the Treasury Department, and Treasury Security Steve Mnuchin simultaneously briefed reporters at the White House.
The action – which takes place in lieu of a probe demanded by Russia and Syria to determine if Assad was indeed responsible for the recent sarin attack – freezes the individuals’ U.S. assets – which we doubt exist – and generally prohibits U.S. persons from dealing with them