This blog will move to http://palloy.earth/blog .
China is getting worried that North Korea is dragging them into war by its actions. But the point has been made already – they are a nuclear power now, and can defend themselves against the US. Even if their ICBMs can’t reach the US in practice, they can certainly reach South Korea and Japan and Guam.
Beijing Orders All North Korean Businesses To Close
In the latest sign that China is moving to dramatically limit its exposure to its restive neighbor and long-time economic dependent, Chinese authorities on Thursday ordered all North Korean firms to stop doing business in the world’s second-largest economy, fulfilling Beijing’s obligations according to the latest round of UN Security Council sanctions, which were passed two weeks ago.
The order comes just days after President Donald Trump revealed that the People’s Bank of China had asked the country’s banks to sever their business ties with North Korea.
Specifically, they were ordered to stop providing financial services to North Korean customers and to wind down existing loans, severing one of North Korea’s most reliable connections to the global financial system. It was reported that the banks were warned that continuing to transact with North Korean business could result in embarrassment and economic losses, according to Russia Today.
After the UN Security Council passed new sanctions two weeks ago, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said North Korean firms and joint ventures in China would be closed within 120 days.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the US announced sanctions against eight North Korean banks and 26 individuals. The new punitive measures followed President Trump’s executive order targeting North Korea’s access to the international banking system.
Perhaps the intensifying economic desperation in the isolated country has helped push more young men and women to volunteer for the country’s army. According to official propaganda, nearly 5 million North Koreans have volunteered for the army over the past week. That’s a staggering success rate for the country’s recruiters, considering the North has a population of about 25 million people.
China’s President Xi Jinping has sought to sooth Trump’s doubts about Beijing’s commitment to denuclearizing North Korea, though the Chinese government has continued to advocate for talks between the two countries that could eventually lead to a peaceful settlement.
Pyongyang has accused the US of “declaring war” on the North, claiming that Trump’s violent rhetoric and repeated promises to “destroy” North Korea and topple the Kim regime constituted a declaration of war. Of course, the US has denied this, and both sides have continued to trade increasingly detailed threats. The North, for example, recently threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, Trump responded that the US has devised “four or five” military options for dealing with North Korea.
US officials have expressed hope that the economic sanctions will force North Korea to the negotiating table. However, their economy has proven resilient so far. But will China’s decision to sever ties with the North make a difference? We should know soon.
If South Korea needed to “build its core military capabilities” in 2014, then presumably the SK generals were not as good as the US generals. They must have improved a lot in 3 years, because now they want to take over from US generals in war time, which would make North Korea “fear us more” – more than they fear being “totally destroyed” by Trump.
That obviously doesn’t stack up, so what is really going on here? I suspect that this is an attempt to rein in US control as they are too gung-ho about a war on the Korean peninsular, and making further provocations that could spiral into that war. This is a weakening of South Korea-US relations.
This is echoed by the second article below, that says 61% of US citizens polled think that diplomacy would work better than threats – a point made repeatedly by Russia and China.
‘Pyongyang will fear us more’: South Korea wants to transfer wartime army command from US
“North Korea will fear us more and the people will have more faith in our military when we have wartime operational control of our military. The transfer of the wartime operational control based on our strong defense capabilities will lead to a great development of our military’s structure and capabilities,”said Moon during a speech to mark the 69th Korean Armed Forces Day at a navy base in Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul.
Between 1950, when General Douglas McArthur took charge of the South Korean army, and 1994, a US general served as its commander. Since then, Seoul has taken back peacetime control of its armed forces, but would delegate command to the US in case of a conflict, though Korean politicians do formally have a veto.
The handover of OPCON to Korean generals has been discussed, touted and negotiated for decades, but in 2014 Seoul asked Washington to postpone it indefinitely, to give the Asian country a chance to build its “core military capabilities.”
Moon, elected in May this year, now believes that South Korea has to be more proactive in strengthening its army, in the wake of a series of missile and nuclear tests by the North.
70% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s rhetoric towards North Korea – poll
Only 23 percent of Americans said otherwise, the survey found.
61 percent of the respondents said they see diplomacy as the best way to halt North Korea’s weapons programs, while 27 percent said that threatening military action is Trump’s best bet.
Trump and the North Korean leadership have exchanged numerous threats recently, as the North continued its testing of ballistic missiles, including one of a reported hydrogen bomb.
Last Saturday, Trump tweeted that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whom he called Rocket Man, “won’t be around much longer.” North Koreans took it as a declaration of war, saying Pyongyang could shoot down US bombers “even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”
The White House later denied that the US had declared war on North Korea.
At the UN General Assembly last week, Trump threatened to “totally destroy” the North, if it attacked the US or its allies. Pyongyang responded with more threats.
Two permanent members of the UN Security Council – Russia and China – insist on the US dialing down belligerent rhetoric toward the North and pursuing negotiations.
In the last few months, the UN Security Council passed resolutions for a series of biting economic sanctions against the North following its repeated testing of ballistic missiles.
The UN sanctions targeted shipments of oil and other fuel used in missile testing, as well as the assets of the government and its leaders.
The most recent UN resolution also banned all textile exports from the North and prohibited any country from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers – two key sources of hard currency for the country.
“This resolution also provides for political measures that must also be carried out. This is why we called upon our American and other partners to fulfill political and diplomatic solutions, which are stipulated in the resolution,” Russian ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia said following the adoption of the UN’s latest measures earlier in September.
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov condemned both the reckless tests of Pyongyang and aggressive rhetoric of the US, urging all parties to stick to a diplomatic approach to resolve the Korean Peninsula crisis.
“We have to calm down the hotheads and understand that we need pauses, we need contacts,” Lavrov said, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country,” – they won’t, you know. Big mistake if Kim thinks that. Despite the utter cynicism of US actions, technically they haven’t attacked if they stay outside of North Korea’s airspace. This extends to their international borders, 12 Km out from the coast line.
This kind of incident plays out regularly on the borders with Russia and China, when the defending power scrambles war planes to see off the attacking planes. This occasionally goes wrong leaving both sides arguing about exactly where the incident happened. That won’t happen here as North Korea’s planes aren’t fast enough to catch a B-1B, and a missile would be an act of aggression. I’m sure China will advise North Korea privately that they will not defend them if they do this.
‘US declared war first’: N. Korea says it has right to shoot down strategic bombers
Speaking to reporters in New York on Monday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said that US President Donald Trump has effectively declared war on Pyongyang, meaning all options were on the table for his country’s leadership.
“The whole world should clearly remember it was the US who first declared war on our country,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
“Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country.”
Pyongyang’s accusations that Washington has declared war have been dismissed by the US as “absurd.”
“We’ve not declared war on North Korea. Frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday.
Earlier, an open letter from North Korea to several international parliaments said that President Trump’s remarks in his UN General Assembly speech last week amounted to an “intolerable insult to the Korean people, a declaration of war against North Korea and grave threats to the global peace,” the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a report.
Speaking before the UN General Assembly last week, Trump said that while the “United States has great strength and patience,” it may have “no choice but to totally destroy North Korea” if the US or its allies are threatened.
Tensions have been running high on the Korean Peninsula, with bellicose rhetoric and provocative military activities coming from both the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on one side, and the United States and South Korea on the other. Pyongyang has conducted several missile and nuclear tests in defiance of rulings by the UN Security Council, while the US has continued to carry out joint exercises with South Korea and Japan while ramping up its own war of words against Pyongyang.
Russia and China have repeatedly called for a ‘double-freeze’ solution to the crisis, in which the United States ceases its drills with South Korea in exchange for the North suspending its weapons programs. However, Washington has not accepted the proposal, saying it has every right to carry out exercises with its allies.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of North Koreans held a rally on Kim Il-Sung Square in Pyongyang to denounce President Trump, in which students marched, chanting slogans and holding banners, proclaiming their willingness to stand behind leader Kim Jong-un.
This report to the statutory Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack by Dr. Mark Schneider, National Institute for Public Policy, (2007) is available at http://www.nipp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/EMP-Paper-Final-November07.pdf . It has a special chapter on the North Korean threat, which given the direct threats made by the North Koreans in recent weeks should be taken very seriously. Whilst we have no way of knowing whether NK’s “thermonuclear bomb” has been optimised for enhanced EMP (as opposed to explosive output) there are clear indications that it could have been designed that way from the beginning, given that much of China’s nuclear arsenal has gone that way.
Above all, as deterrent devices, nukes are not strictly intended to be used, but they get their defensive value from the catastrophic nature of their results. Since improving the ICBMs accuracy is unimportant for EMP threat, that relieves NK of the necessity of doing all that complex work.
Citing an August 2005 article that appeared in a South Korean Defense Ministry journal, the report says (Page 11):
What North Korea’s Kim Jong Il would do is to first explode nuclear weapons at a
high altitude . . . while destroying electronic devices and computers and paralyzing
the functions of military strongpoints, logistics plants, and cities . . . [If] it is exploded
at a high altitude of 100km or so . . . all kinds of electrical machinery and, in
particular, electronic devices are damaged. More seriously, many of the artificial
satellites orbiting from 400 to 800km above the earth get demolished. Then, neither
satellite telephone nor GPS could be used, so while the US military, which depends
on satellites, immediately falls into a panic and becomes combat incapable, other
nations around the world that used these satellites would also be greatly affected.
Considering all the problems with White House leaks, this leak aiming to undermine Trump must mean someone is very angry. The naming of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster as one of those warning it could cause a backfire implies it was him who was the leaker (would you leak against someone so senior?)
Russia’s Foreign Minister Lavrov is obviously disgusted at their kindergarten antics too.
Aides warned Trump not to attack North Korea’s leader personally before his fiery U.N. address
22 Sept 2017
Senior aides to President Trump repeatedly warned him not to deliver a personal attack on North Korea’s leader at the United Nations this week, saying insulting the young despot in such a prominent venue could irreparably escalate tensions and shut off any chance for negotiations to defuse the nuclear crisis.
Trump’s derisive description of Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man” on “a suicide mission” and his threat to “totally destroy” North Korea were not in a speech draft that several senior officials reviewed and vetted Monday, the day before Trump gave his first address to the U.N. General Assembly, two U.S. officials said.
Some of Trump’s top aides, including national security advisor H.R. McMaster, had argued for months against making the attacks on North Korea’s leader personal, warning it could backfire.
But Trump, who relishes belittling his rivals and enemies with crude nicknames, felt compelled to make a dramatic splash in the global forum.
Some advisors now worry that the escalating war of words has pushed the impasse with North Korea into a new and dangerous phase that threatens to derail the months-long effort to squeeze Pyongyang’s economy through sanctions to force Kim to the negotiating table.
A detailed CIA psychological profile of Kim, who is in his early 30s and took power in late 2011, assesses that Kim has a massive ego and reacts harshly and sometimes lethally to insults and perceived slights.
It also says that the dynastic leader — Kim is the grandson of the communist country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and son of its next leader, Kim Jong Il — views himself as inseparable from the North Korean state.
As predicted, Kim took Trump’s jibes personally and especially chafed at the fact that Trump mocked him in front of 200 presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and diplomats at the U.N.
Kim volleyed insults back at Trump in an unprecedented personal statement Thursday, calling Trump “a mentally deranged U.S. dotard” and a “gangster” who had to be tamed “with fire.”
Kim’s foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, threatened to respond with “the most powerful detonation,” a hydrogen bomb test in the Pacific Ocean, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
Trump lobbed another broadside Friday, tweeting that Kim “is obviously a madman” who starves and kills his own people and “will be tested like never before.”
The clash may undermine Trump’s other efforts on the sidelines of the General Assembly meetings.
He spent much of Thursday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in an effort to carve out new ways to pressure Kim to freeze or roll back his nuclear program.
On Thursday, Trump announced new U.S. sanctions against other countries, foreign businesses and individuals that do business with North Korea, a move likely to chiefly affect China, Pyongyang’s largest trading partner.
John Park, a specialist on Northeast Asia at Harvard’s Kennedy School, said the tit-for-tat insults have created a “new reality” and probably have shut off any chance of starting talks to curb North Korea’s fast-growing nuclear arms program.
“If the belief centers around sanctions being the last hope to averting war and getting North Korea back to the negotiating table, it’s too late,” Park said.
Since taking office, Kim has pushed the nuclear and missile programs far faster than U.S. experts had expected, sharply accelerating the pace of development and tests. Kim has conducted four of the country’s six nuclear tests.
U.S. officials now believe that North Korea has fully one-third of its economy invested in its nuclear and missile programs.
Trump and his senior aides say Kim has used foreign assistance, including trading subsidies from China, to offset such massive spending. They believe the latest U.S. sanctions, on top of the U.N. sanctions, will help choke off some of that income.
In recent months, Pyongyang has tested its first two intercontinental ballistic missiles, conducted an underground test of what it claimed was a powerful hydrogen bomb, and fired midrange ballistic missiles over northern Japan.
U.S. experts assess that North Korea is six to eight months away from building a small nuclear warhead robust enough to survive the intense heat and vibrations of an intercontinental ballistic missile crossing the Pacific and reaching the continental United States.
Given Kim’s record of putting political rivals and dissenters to death, including members of his own family, his public statement blasting Trump makes it highly unlikely that other North Korean officials would participate in talks about ending the country’s nuclear program, Park said.
“There is no one on the North Korean side who is going to entertain or pursue discussion about a diplomatic off-ramp, because that individual would be contradicting the leader, which is lethal,” Park said.
Trump has returned to rhetoric he’d used during the campaign, when he called Kim a “madman playing around with nukes” and a “total nut job.”
But Trump also praised Kim at the time, saying during a Fox News interview last year that Kim’s “gotta have something going for him, because he kept control, which is amazing for a young person to do.”
The president has been fixated on the threat from Pyongyang since taking office.
Trump “rarely lets me escape the Oval Office without a question about North Korea,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in July at a national security forum in Aspen, Colo. “It is at the front of his mind.”
But Trump also has expressed frustration at the failure of previous administrations to block North Korea’s advances in ballistic missile and nuclear technology despite negotiations, sanctions, export controls, sabotage and other efforts.
President Clinton, and then President George W. Bush, engaged in two major diplomatic initiatives to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons efforts in return for aid. Both initiatives ultimately collapsed. President Obama reportedly tried cyber-sabotage.
Obama warned Trump before he took office that North Korea would be his most pressing international concern, and the new president was alarmed to learn how close Kim was to developing an intercontinental ballistic missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to U.S. soil.
Despite all of that, Trump rarely derided Kim by name after he entered the White House.
In May, he said he’d be “honored” to meet Kim under the right circumstances.
In August, after U.S. intelligence analysts became convinced Pyongyang had miniaturized a nuclear warhead, Trump said the country would face “fire and fury” if it made more threats against the United States. But he stopped short of hurling personal insults.
Matthew Kroenig, a political scientist at Georgetown University and expert on nuclear deterrence, said Trump’s threat this week to “totally destroy” North Korea comes out of the U.S. playbook for preventing a nuclear attack.
“The point is to deter a North Korean attack, and the art of deterrence hasn’t changed,” he said in a phone interview Friday. “It is to convince your adversary that the benefit of committing an attack would be outweighed by the costs.”
“That’s what Trump was making clear — it is not in Kim Jong Un’s interest to attack the U.S.,” Kroenig said.
Russia: Trump and Kim are like ‘children in a kindergarten’
The US is trying to coax the North Koreans into attacking first, and then claim they weren’t doing anything provocative – only flying in international airspace (with what we can presume were nuclear-armed bombers).
The problem with this strategy is that the North Koreans, South Koreans, Russians, Chinese and Japanese all have to be ready for these bombers to actually make a strike, and so all missiles on land, sea and submarines will be on a hair trigger.
How will they know whether a nuclear attack is under way? – they will be monitoring for any seismic shock, and in the midst all of this there WAS a seismic shock registered from what everyone is now calling an magnitude 3.4 earthquake at ground level close to the Punggye-ri nuclear site. Was it in fact a North Korean nuclear test? – probably not, as it would be VERY unusual to test a nuclear bomb in the open air in your own country. Then was it a first strike by the US? – probably not, as it wasn’t a big enough quake. Was anyone fooled by this quake into doing something rash? – not this time, phew!
At the same time, 38north.org is reporting that North Korea’s YouTube channel (and others) has been shut down by Google for violating their Terms of Service, how? – they won’t say. This takes a whole batch of historical videos off-line and makes it harder for analysts to do ‘before and after’ comparisons. This is Google’s right, of course, they can host whatever they like on their own site, but shows how censorship like this from Google is totally unaccountable. The solution is to not use Google’s “free” services – switch to https://vimeo.com or one of the others offering streaming services. Google is poison and their stranglehold on the internet should be avoided at all costs.
US flew B-1B bombers just off coast of North Korea
The planes took off from Okinawa, Japan and flew over the waters east of the Korean Peninsula.
“This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any U.S. fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea’s) reckless behavior,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.
The DMZ is a strip of land running across the Korean Peninsula near the 38th Parallel, separating North Korea from South Korea. It was created in 1953, following the armistice which ended the Korean War.
The B-1B Lancer strategic bombers entered service in the mid-1980s. The plane was designed specifically as a bomber for nuclear capabilities, thus having a limited capability to carry conventional bombs. Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the role of a bomber for purely nuclear war became questionable, and the Lancer fleet was grounded. The planes eventually underwent a series of modifications, which bolstered their conventional bombing capacity, but deprived them of their nuclear load.
The patrol followed a 3.4 earthquake registered in North Korea earlier on Saturday, which prompted fears of a new nuclear test. The seismic event, however, turned out to be a natural occurrence and “unlikely man-made,” according to geology and nuclear weaponry experts.
The show of force reinforced the recent threats voiced by US President Donald Trump, who vowed on Friday that Kim Jong-un “will be tested like never before,” branding the North Korean leader a “madman.”
The Saker is very good on military tactics, and when he says he is worried this situation in Syria might spiral out of control, I have to say I agree with him.
However the size of the oilfields in eastern Syria are not big, Syria had its “Peak Oil” in 2002 at 667 kbpd and by 2011 it consumed all it produced. That left Assad with the task of finding money to import oil for the first time. At the same time, a drought was making agriculture very difficult and farmers were forced to leave their farms and head for the cities, where the high price of fuel and bread were making life very difficult. A perfect situation for an uprising, and that’s what they got. Thus Peak Oil played an important role in destablising Syria. The same is true of Egypt.
Russian special forces repel a US-planned attack in Syria, denounce the USA and issue a stark warning
Something rather unprecedented just happened in Syria: US backed “good terrorist” forces attempted a surprise attack against Syrian government forces stationed to the north and northeast of the city of Hama. What makes this attack unique is that it took place inside a so-called “de-escalation zone” and that it appears that one of the key goals of the attack was to encircle in a pincer-movement and subsequently capture a platoon of Russian military police officers deployed to monitor and enforce the special status of this zone.
The Russian military police forces, composed mainly of soldiers from the Caucasus region, fought against a much larger enemy force and had to call for assistance. For the first time, at least officially, Russian special operations forces were deployed to rescue and extract their comrades. At the same time, the Russians sent in a number of close air support aircraft who reportedly killed several hundred “good” terrorists and beat back the attack (Russian sources speak of the destruction of 850 fighters, 11 tanks, three infantry fighting vehicles, 46 armed pickup trucks, five mortars, 20 freighter trucks and 38 ammo supply points; you can see photos of the destroyed personnel and equipment here). What also makes this event unique is the official reaction of the Russians to this event.
Head of the Main Operations Department at Russia’s General Staff Colonel General Sergei Rudskoi declared that:
“Despite agreements signed in Astana on September 15, gunmen of Jabhat al-Nusra and joining them units that don’t want to comply with the cessation of hostilities terms, launched a large-scale offensive against positions of government troops north and northeast of Hama in Idlib de-escalation zone from 8 am on September 19 (…) According to available data, the offensive was initiated by American intelligence services to stop a successful advance of government troops east of Deir ez-Zor“.
Today, other Russian officials have added a not-so-veiled threat to this accusation. The Russian Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov has declared that:
Russia unequivocally told the commanders of US forces in Al Udeid Airbase (Qatar) that it will not tolerate any shelling from the areas where the SDF are stationed (…) Fire from positions in regions [controlled by the SDF] will be suppressed by all means necessary.
This is unprecedented on many levels. First, the Russians clearly believe that this attempt to kill or capture a platoon of the Russian military police was planned by the United States. The fact that they are making this accusation officially shows the degree of irritation felt by the Russians about the duplicity of the Americans. Second, this is the first time, at least to my knowledge, that Russian Spetsnaz forces had to be sent in to rescue a surrounded Russian subunit. All Spetsnaz operators survived, but three of them were wounded in the operation (the Russians are not saying how badly). The close air support by very low flying SU-25 aircraft was obviously coordinated by Spetsnaz forward air controllers and probably saved the day. In other words, this was a close call and things could have ended much more badly (just imagine what the Takfiri crazies would have done, on video, to any captured Russian serviceman!). Finally, a US-organized attack on what was supposed to be a “de-confliction” zone combined with an attempt to capture Russian soldiers raises the bar for American duplicity to a totally new level.
The big question now is “do the Russians mean it?” or are they just whining with real determination to hit back if needed.
There are a couple of problems here. First, objectively, the Russian contingent in Syria is a tiny one if compared to the immense power of CENTCOM, NATO and the ever-present Israelis. Not only that, but in any US-Russian confrontation, Russia as a country is objectively the weaker side by any measure except a full-out nuclear exchange. So the Russians are not in a position of force. Furthermore, for historical and cultural reasons, Russians are much more concerned by the initiation of any incident which could lead to all-out war than the Americans who always fight their wars in somebody else’s country. This might seem paradoxical, but the Russians fear war but they are ready for it. In contrast to the Russians, the Americans don’t fear war, but neither are they ready for it. In practical terms this means that an American miscalculation could very well lead to a Russian military response which would stun the Americans and force them to enter an escalatory spiral which nobody would control.
Remember how Hillary promised that she would unilaterally impose a so-called “no-fly” zone over Syria? She promised not only to deploy US aircraft above Russian forces in Syria, but she also promised that she would force the Russian Aerospace forces out of the Syrian skies. Thank God, this crazy witch was not elected, but it appears that folks with the same arrogant and,frankly, completely irresponsible point of view are now back in power under Trump.
My fear now is that the incompetent, arrogant, not too bright and generally ignorant commanders at the Pentagon and the CIA will simply ignore clear warning signs coming from the Russians, including the public announcement that the Kremlin has given the authority to use force to protect Russian personnel to the local Russian commanders in Syria. In plain English, this means that if they are attacked the Russians in Syria do not need to consult with Moscow before using force to protect themselves. By the way, such rules of engagement are pretty common, there is nothing earth shattering here, but the fact that they were made public is, again, a message to the AngloZionist and the “good” terrorist they use to try to conquer Syria.
This time around we (the world) were lucky. The Syrians fought hard and the “good” terrorists were probably surprised by the ruthless determination of the Russian military police forces (in reality, mostly Chechen special forces) and of the Spetsnaz operators. It is one thing to fight Syrian conscripts, quite another to deal with these hardened warriors. But the next time around the outcome could be different.
The bigger picture is also one which gives me a great deal of concern. The Syrians, with Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian help, have freed Deir ez-Zor and have crossed the Euphrates river and are moving further East. In plain English this means that the US and Daesh have lost the war and that the last region of Syrian from which the AngloZionists can hope to partition the country (their current “plan B”) and establish a permanent US military presence is now threatened by the Syrian advance. The distance between the US forces currently deployed in northeastern Syria and Syrian, Iranian, Hezbollah and Russian forces is becoming shorter and shorter each day. I can just imagine how, say, Iranian or Hezbollah forces which are already “smelling” the nearby presence of US forces are drooling with hunger for the moment they will finally be able to get their hands on their old and most hated foe. I feel sincerely sorry for the first US unit to make contact with the Iranians or Hezbollah forces.
Right now the Americans are hiding behind the Kurds, but sooner or later the Iranians or Hezbollah will find them. As for the Kurds, their situation in Syria is precarious, to put it mildly: they are surrounded on all sides by the Turks, the Syrians and the Iranians and their only more or less stable zone of control is in Iraq. The Americans understand that perfectly, hence their desperate attempts to stop the Syrians.
This is a very dangerous situation: even though CENTCOM and NATO are by far the “biggest guys on the block”, in Syria the Americans are cornered, their corner is shrinking fast and it remains entirely unclear how this process can be stopped. Hence the attack on the de-confliction zone we just witnessed.
I hope that eventually the Americans will do what they did in al-Taif and simply pack, declare victory and leave. That would be the only rational thing to do. But after listening to Trump at the UN I don’t get the feeling that being rational is at the top of the US priority list. That’s all rather frightening.
The level of childishness being displayed by Trump is getting him bad press around the world. This sort of damage is lasting. One can only imagine the level of bullying going on behind closed doors.
US nuclear carrier conducts naval drills with Japan as N. Korea threatens H-bomb test
The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force said in a statement on Friday that the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered supercarrier ‘Ronald Reagan,’ based in the Japanese town of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, and its escort ships have been holding drills with Japanese Navy vessels in waters south and west of Japan’s main islands since September 11. The strike group is also set to stage a separate drill with the South Korean Navy in October, the Defense Ministry added.
On Friday, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said that Pyongyang is considering testing a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. The move is said to be in response to Washington stepping up economic sanctions against North Korea.
“It could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” Ri said, as quoted by South Korean agency Yonhap.
The suggestion came as Ri was asked to clarify the latest statement by Kim Jong-un, in which the North Korean leader vowed revenge against US President Donald Trump for insulting him and his country “in front of the eyes of the world” by threatening “to destroy” North Korea.
In a statement issued by North Korean state-run agency KCNA on Friday, Kim said he “will consider with seriousness exercising of a corresponding highest level of hardline countermeasure in history,” while promising that the US will “pay dearly” for Trump’s remarks at the UN General Assembly.
Kim then said that “whatever Trump might have expected, he will face results beyond his expectation.”
Pyongyang slammed Trump’s remarks, likening his threat to “the sound of a dog barking.”
Trump’s statement also came under fire from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“I’m against such threats,” Merkel said on Wednesday, urging the US leader to focus on diplomatic ways of resolving the unraveling crisis while describing a military solution as “totally inappropriate.”
German criticism apparently fell on deaf ears, with Trump taking to Twitter on Friday again to say that Kim Jong-un is “obviously a madman.”
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that while tensions with North Korea were mounting, diplomatic efforts would nonetheless continue.
“We are quite challenged but our diplomatic efforts continue unabated,” Tillerson said in an interview with ABC. “We have put in place the strongest economic sanctions ever to have been assembled against Kim Jong-un,” he added. “So, he is being tested with the sanctions, voices from every corner of the world,” Tillerson concluded.
Russia has meanwhile insisted that diplomatic negotiations may be the only way to resolve the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Any other scenario could lead to “very undesirable and even catastrophic consequences,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted on Friday. “Moscow is still calling all concerned parties for restraint,” Peskov added.
On September 3, Pyongyang claimed to have carried out its first H-bomb test, hailing it as a “perfect success” and a “meaningful” step further into the development of the nuclear program. State media reported at the time that it allegedly could be mounted on an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), although this capability has been disputed outside North Korea.
Here it comes. If you were wondering why there has been so much attention paid to Myanmar, when we hear nothing about the plight of Bangladesh which is in a much worse condition due to floods and extreme poverty, it is because the US wants to put sanctions on Myanmar as punishment for its closeness to China and involvement in China’s One Belt One Road initiative. The US doesn’t care about the human rights of the Rohingyas anymore than it cares about the human rights of Afghans. What it DOES care about is poking China in the eye.
More to come? US calls for ‘strong & swift’ UNSC action to end Myanmar crisis
“The United States renews our call on Burma’s security forces to end their violence immediately and support diplomatic efforts for a long-term solution,” Pence told the UN Security Council Wednesday, using the old colonial name for the country.
“President Trump and I also call on this Security Council and the United Nations to take strong and swift action to bring this crisis to an end and give hope and help to the Rohingya people in their hour of need,” he added.
The vice president did not specify what action the US is calling for, but last time Washington used the words “strong and swift” actions was in relation to Venezuela in July. Sanctions against the country’s leadership followed.
Pence also told the UNSC that Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi assured US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday that returning refugees have nothing to fear.
Myanmar’s military unleashed a crackdown on Rohingya settlements following an attack carried out by a group of Rohingya militants on a number of police posts in northern Rakhine on August 25.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein called the crackdown “clearly disproportionate” and “textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” as it led to around 400,000 Rohingya people fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh, according to human rights groups.
Last week, Amnesty International released satellite images which the group says show Rohingya villages set ablaze. The organization has attributed blame to Myanmar’s security forces, as well as “vigilante mobs,” saying it was done to drive the people out.
“When the military came, they started shooting at people who got very scared and started running. I saw the military shoot many people and kill two young boys. They used weapons to burn our houses. There used to be 900 houses in our village, now only 80 are left. There is no-one left to even bury the bodies,” Amnesty cited one unnamed 48-year-old man, saying his village was attacked on September 8.
The human rights group said the scale of destruction could not be independently verified due to governmental restrictions on outside access to the area.
On Tuesday, Aung San Suu Kyi broke weeks of silence on allegations of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya population and delivered a speech in which she claimed that the majority of Rohingya villages had not been affected by violence. She refrained from criticizing the military, but said it had been instructed to exercise restraint and avoid “collateral damage” in its pursuit of insurgents.
Aung San Suu Kyi, who received Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has drawn worldwide admiration for her long fight against military rule. Two years ago, her party had a landslide victory in Myanmar’s elections, which made her head of the country’s government. It is not clear to what extent she controls the military’s actions, however.
Rohingya Muslims have been largely treated as outsiders in the Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Most Rohingya were denied citizenship, leaving them stateless in a country where they were born.