WarTimes – Wk of Oct 13

A week that was… China, Russia, U.S., Iraq, Kurdistan, Turkey, Syria, Afghanistan, airstrikes, international mobilization, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Europe and U.K., nuclear issues, climate “threat multipliers”, Ebola…

Snapshots of conflict and war, policy options, opinion-makers, analyses from experts and non-experts, from the left and the right, mainstream and alternative, independent perspective of Strategic Demands.

From the White House Office of the Press Secretary, Oct 17 – President meets with his National Security Council and advisers to “discuss the status of the comprehensive campaign to counter ISIL”

President's war council mtg wk of Oct 12

Operation Inherent Resolve (operational name announced on Oct 15) – First public statements (“strategic patience”) from Centcom/Central Command (FL) responsible for operational conduct of the expanded war in Iraq/Syria… “It’ll take time

From Alternative Radio, Rebecca Solnit looks at creating a narrative to capture the public’s attention. Want a war? Define the enemy, frame the threats to the homeland, repeat the story

Dominant paradigms, dominant stories, the big picture through which our lives move. How much of it is constructed for us? Most of it.

What are the prevailing paradigms and cultural narratives really made of? Words. Language. To coin a phrase, define the terms, frame the issue, to write the story that sticks in the public mind and is constantly repeated, is the business of branding. Powerful institutions work day and night suppressing and spinning stories to legitimize their existence. Their machinations create “official stories” and “public secrets” – things that everybody knows but nobody says in public.

Da’esh, not Islamic State, IS, ISIS, ISIL — naming the enemy / From The Interpreter

From the GuardianJames Risen gets increasingly serious as the U.S. government threatens to arrest him for not revealing sources

With his new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power and Endless War, NY Times reporter James Risen fights against “The Most Transparent Administration in American HistoryTM .” Risen’s book follows a series of investigative stories on “Forever War” and players in this war.

In the past year alone, the New York Times investigative reporter who originally blew the lid on NSA wiretapping has interviewed with Edward Snowden, reported on multiple NSA revelations with Laura Poitras, and uncovered the incredible story of a Blackwater executive who threatened to kill a US state department employee who was investigating corruption – along with the government cover-up that followed.

From CBC, Senator Graham says what’s being covered up, follow the money

A former U.S. senator and co-chair of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks says the rise of ISIS could have been stemmed if 28 pages from the inquiry’s report had not been classified… Graham says that Saudi Arabia has a long history of ideological and financial support for Wahhabism, a fundamentalist interpretation of Islam. ISIS subscribes to that interpretation. “I believe that had the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 been disclosed by the release of the 28 pages and by the declassification of other information as to the Saudi role and support of the 9/11 hijackers that it would have made it much more difficult for Saudi Arabia to have continued that pattern of behaviour…and I think would have had a good chance of reigning in the activity that today Canada, the United States and other countries either are or are not considering going to war with,” said Graham

From Haaertz, U.S. Sec of State Kerry sees ‘linkage’ but Israeli Economy Minister Bennett doesn’t

“As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the [anti-Islamic State] coalition […] there wasn’t a leader I met with in the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” said Kerry.

“And people need to understand the connection of that… It has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.”

“So what we need to do is recognize that we need to build peace through specific partnerships. One partnership is specifically the effort to try to drive towards this peace, to have a compromise, to find a way to create two states that can live together side by side, two peoples, with both of their aspirations being respected. I still believe that’s possible, and I still believe we need to work towards it. We also need to figure out how.”

From China Times, is it a surprise that China’s satellites have military applications onboard?

China’s expansion — Of course, look at the population, economic growth, commitment to education and higher education graduates in engineering, science, technology

Cyberconflict skirmishing

Based on documents provided by ex-CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden… it is alleged that the NSA has been operating a project known as Sentry Eagle, an umbrella of sensitive programs designed to “protect America’s cyberspace…”

From multiple Wire Services via AllGov
Climate Change: Pentagon Devises Strategy to Respond

As Congress downplays the risks and threatens to cut-off climate change related programs, the U.S. military makes plans for disruption caused by global warming/climate change.

Via the Verge, “Threat Multiplier” Looms with Environmental Risks, Pentagon pushes forward with planning

From French, UK and Israeli sources, political moves as a follow-up to the collapse of peace negotiations, the Gaza conflict, continuing policy to expand settlements… and reactions. Israeli perspective on steps being taken to recognize a Palestinian state —



Jerusalem Post

From the NY Times, the layers of Mideast war, Turkish Airstrike Hits Kurds, Complicating Fight Against Islamic State

The U.S requests Turkish assistance to support Kurds trapped in Kobani — instead Turkey chooses to break off peace negotiations with the Kurdish representatives…

From al Monitor, October 15, U.S. sees progress on Iran nuclear deal

Progress or not?

VIENNA — US officials said on Oct. 15 that progress has been made but much work remains to be done to reach a final Iran nuclear accord next month.

“We have and continue to make progress, but there is still a substantial amount of work to be done,” a senior US official, speaking not for attribution, told journalists here Oct. 15 after some six hours of meetings between US Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton.

U.S. officials said the focus remains on trying to reach a final agreement by Nov. 24, and said there has been no talk yet of an extension. The deadline helps keep the pressure on to make tough political decisions needed to reach a deal, the US official said.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Compromise offer?  Alternatives to reducing centrifuges (AP)

From National Interest, Agreement in Sight?

Both sides know that failure to reach a comprehensive agreement after the collaborative atmosphere that has developed would result in a renewed downward spiral in the relationship.”

Iranian and American nuclear negotiators moved closer to a comprehensive agreement in their recent round of talks. To meet the November 24 deadline, the P5+1 and Iran must hammer out solutions where serious differences remain. Both sides are warning that if the other side does not make more concessions soon, the negotiations will fail. This is to be expected in the final phase of tough diplomacy. The time is rapidly approaching when the leaders in Tehran and Washington must decide on the deal.

Ensuring that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon has far-reaching significance for nonproliferation policy and the security of the Middle East. The issues being addressed are complex, technical and scientific and have not been addressed before. The diplomats also have had to overcome thirty-five years of U.S.-Iranian separation and mutual hostility. The long shadow over the talks—cast by the powerful domestic opposition in each nation that is party to the talks—is made even darker by the strenuous opposition of Israel to any deal.

Meanwhile, the mounting turmoil and violence in the Middle East adds urgency to the nuclear negotiations. Iran and the United States are considering whether and how they might cooperate in resolving the common challenges each faces in the region. With ISIS, the United States and Iran must think about whether to take parallel, or even joint, action. Each government has refrained from talking about regional issues until a nuclear agreement can be reached. A nuclear agreement would help build trust and cooperation on the pressing issues in Iran’s neighborhood.

A recent report by The Iran Project, “Iran and Its Neighbors: Regional Implications for U.S. Policy of a Nuclear Agreement,” examines Iran’s relations with its neighbors. It concludes that “there is a strong link between settling the nuclear standoff and America’s ability to play an effective role in the rapidly changing Middle East.” The report does not argue that to make regional talks possible with Iran, the United States should accept a less-than-satisfactory nuclear agreement. It does hold that an acceptable nuclear deal will help unlock U.S. options in dealing with ISIS, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, where the United States and Iran need to support the new government in Kabul.


As trilateral talks conclude in Vienna, the United States claims progress toward a nuclear deal with Iran but problems remain.
Laura Rozen / @lrozen / posted October 15, 2014

From Bulletin of Atomic ScientistsRe: Charges that a weapons program is in development, does it matter?

The issue is ‘development’ and ‘development timeline’ and it matters or why would there be critical negotiations, war threats, boycotts, reprisals, assassinations,  cyber attacks, sabotage?

Was Iran bombed at the Parchin facility the first week of October? Was it sabotage? Or was it, as reported, an ‘accident’, a fire and explosion? Was it related to the P5+1 / IAEA talks currently being held on Iran’s nuclear energy program? Is there nuclear weapons development at Parchin and how does any development factor into the negotiations?

Adding to the sense of urgency, the event occurred as Tehran and its six international negotiating partners strive to meet the November 24 deadline to reach a deal that would scale back the Iranian nuclear program and lift some sanctions, and just two days ahead of scheduled technical meetings between Iran and the IAEA that are part of the process.

With this key piece of the Iranian nuclear puzzle back in the spotlight, it’s worth reviewing just what we know about it, and what this tells us about the way forward for negotiations.

From Deep Journal

(Background) Why is Syria under attack?

Syria and Iran are like pieces on a geopolitical chessboard

Anyone who chooses to distinguish between the form and the content will see that the battle for Syria is above all not what it seems to be on the surface. The form is disguising the content. Syria and Iran are like pieces on a geopolitical chessboard.

According to ex-Foreign Minister of France Roland Dumas: preparations for the fight against Assad have been underway by the British since 2009. He puts the conversations he held with the UK in context by citing a different conversation that he had, this one with an Israeli Prime Minister, who said to him: “We will try to get along with the neighboring states. And those who don’t get along, we will take down.” It also appears from other sources that the Syrian conflict did not simply materialise from thin air.

Syria has been under attack for some time

The open bombardment of Syria, that is now being discussed, is part of a battle that began many years ago. Neoconservative forces in the U.S. have had their sights set on Syria as far back as 2003. One of those neoconservatives, Paul Wolfowitz, summed it up this way: “There’s got to be a change in Syria.” In 2007, journalist Seymour Hersh noted: “The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. […]

The Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.”


*Tid/bit* — Wesley Clarke, former Supreme Commander of NATO, on seven countries to be taken out

From the Atlantic, the Afghanistan ‘withdrawal’ and status of force agreement to position U.S. troops in Afghanistan for another 10 years

From Associated Press, Iran, Russia hold joint naval exercises

Iran’s state television says two Russian warships have left a northern Iranian port after the two countries held a joint, three-day naval exercise in the Caspian Sea.

Thursday’s report on the TV’s website quoted Iranian Adm. Afshin Rezaei Haddad, who is Iran’s navy commander in the Caspian Sea, as saying that the Russian vessels departed from the northern Iranian port of Anzali on Wednesday. No further details were given.

It was the first visit in decades by a Russian fleet to an Iranian port in the Caspian Sea. In recent years Iran’s navy has increased its bilateral relations with various countries, including China and Pakistan.

Last year, a Russian naval group docked in the southern Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the way home from a Pacific Ocean voyage.

From the Globe and Mail, reported Oct 17th, 86%?


Oct 15 Interview with President of Russia Vladimir Putin

After Serbia, Putin has whirlwind in Milan

Australian Prime Minister promises to “shirt-front” Russian President at upcoming G-20 mtg

From the LA Times, “Putin defiant at Asia-Europe Summit”

A defiant Russian President Vladimir Putin joined Asian and European leaders in Italy on Thursday for talks intended to focus on trade but, like many diplomatic gatherings of the past six months, was being dominated by the deadly crisis in Ukraine.

Putin was put on notice before the two-day Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan that he would be pressed to genuinely conform to a Sept. 5 cease-fire that calls for an end to the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Despite the agreement signed six weeks ago by Russia, Ukraine and pro-Russia separatist gunmen who have seized key industrial areas along the Russian border, artillery exchanges have continued and hundreds of fighters and civilians have been killed, boosting the death toll in half a year of undeclared war to nearly 4,000.

The 53 nations of the Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, represent 60% of the world’s population and more than half of its economic activity.

“We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability,” Putin told Serbia’s Politika newspaper. It was the second time in as many months that Putin reminded Washington and Ukraine’s Western European allies of Russia’s nuclear capabilities.

He called Obama’s posture toward Russia “nothing but hostile,” and warned that moves to isolate Russia over its purported role in the Ukraine violence was “an absurd and illusory goal.”

From the Daily Mail, Oct 17, the Ebola warnings continue

Ebola ‘the biggest health problem facing our world in a generation’ warns Cameron as he attacks global effort to fight the deadly virus

Countries other than UK and US need to ‘start providing resources’ for fight

  • Mr Cameron says countries need to ‘look at their responsibilities’
  • Development Secretary adds other governments need to ‘step up to plate’
  • Britain and the America are leading the global fight against the disease
  • Royal Navy medical ship RFA Argus set sail from UK to Sierra Leone today


And that’s it for this week, another week.