Rachel O’Donoghue – January 21, 2018
Forces entered the country’s Afrin province today just 24 hours after pounding the region with airstrikes.Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim reportedly said they are targeting US-backed Kurdish fighters.Shocking pictures show dozens of tanks and armoured vehicles crossing over the border in a terrifying display of military might.
But the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia has denied there is a full-scale invasion underway, claiming forces clashed in Afrin but Turkish soldiers were beaten back.
YPG official, Nouri Mahmoudi, said “all the Turkish military’s ground attacks against Afrin have been repelled so far and they have been forced to retreat.”
A statement from the militia said: “Our people are holding on to their land and do not accept surrender… we repeat our determination to protect our people in Afrin against the attacks.”
DW – January 20, 2018
Turkish warplanes on Saturday carried out airstrikes against Kurdish positions in the northwestern town of Afrin as Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters launched a ground offensive.
Military officials quoted by Turkey’s state-run news agency said jets had hit more than 100 targets in the region.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of the operation, dubbed “Olive Branch,” adding that it would soon be expanded to other areas.
“This will be followed by Manbij,” he said, referring to a Syrian town to the east held by US-backed Kurdish militias.
The Turkish army said the land and air assault aimed to hit positions held by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and “Islamic State” (IS) militants. However, IS is not known to have a presence in Afrin.
Both Afrin and Manbij are under the control of the YPG, which Ankara classes as a terrorist organization allied with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), a group that is waging a long-running insurgency in Turkey.
RT – January 20, 2018
The Syrian government has condemned “Turkish aggression on Afrin” following the operation launched by Ankara. Kurdish YPG forces responded by saying they have “no choice but to resist.”
The Syrian government also denied that Ankara informed Damascus of the operation, despite Turkish media reporting that such notification was forwarded “in writing,” Syrian state media reported, citing an official source.
The Kurdish YPG militia said the Turkish airstrikes have forced it to fight back. “We will defeat this aggression, like we have defeated other such assaults against our villages and cities,” the group said, as quoted by Reuters. It claims that Ankara had hit civilian neighborhoods and urged men and women in northern Syria to join its ranks to protect Afrin.
Patrick J. Buchanan – January 18, 2017
The war for dominance in the Middle East, following the crushing of ISIS, appears about to commence in Syria – with NATO allies America and Turkey on opposing sides.
Turkey is moving armor and troops south to Syria’s border enclave of Afrin, occupied by Kurds, to drive them out, and then drive the Syrian Kurds out of Manbij further south as well.
Says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “We will destroy all terror nests, one by one, in Syria, starting from Afrin and Manbij.”
For Erdogan, the Kurdish YPG, the major U.S. ally in Syria, is an arm of the Kurdish PKK in Turkey, which we and the Turks have designated as a terrorist organization.
While the Kurds were our most effective allies against ISIS in Syria, Turkey views them as a mortal peril and intends to deal with that threat.
If Erdogan is serious, a clash with the U.S. is coming, as our Kurdish allies occupy most of Syria’s border with Turkey.
Jeremiah Johnson – January 18, 2018
There was a 20-nation security meeting in Vancouver on Tuesday, 1/15/18, and the nations in attendance agreed to impose stronger sanctions against North Korea in a bid to stop their nuclear weapons buildup and tests. China and Russia did not attend, and stated the meeting was evidence of another Cold War forming. The most alarming rhetoric, however, emanated from the U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson, who flat out stated that if the North Koreans do not negotiate, it will bring about a military response. Here is the video clip and an excerpt heading as released by Reuters on 1/17/18, entitled US Warns Pyongyang on Military Option.
As headlines run, there is nothing that “jumps out” with this one, until you delve into the substance of it. This is very serious, as the U.S. has been narrowing the cone of the funnel toward war, now, for several months…a quiet escalation in the form of movements of military assets into the area, military exercises (designed to provoke North Korea), and steadily-increasing sanctions.
Bottom Line? Tillerson threatens a U.S. military response if North Korea does not negotiate: military action not to counter or prevent military action, mind you…but military action if they do not negotiate.
Mac Slavo – January 15, 2018
Officers and troops across the country in the United States military are quietly preparing for a war with the hermit kingdom of North Korea. As quietly as possible, the increase in military exercises suggests a renewed focus on getting the country’s military prepared for what could be on the horizon with North Korea.
From Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, where last month a mix of 48 Apache gunships and Chinook cargo helicopters took off in an exercise that practiced moving troops and equipment under live artillery fire to assault targets; to the skies above Nevada, where 119 soldiers from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division parachuted out of C-17 military cargo planes under the cover of darkness in an exercise that simulated a foreign invasion, the military is practicing drill that could prepare them for a third world war. And this would most likely be a nuclear war.
Many have thought that this is all standard for a nation built on military might with a huge military industrial complex and a presence around the globe. But not all agree. Although Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both argue forcefully for using diplomacy to address Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions, they still anticipate a war.
Adam Rasgon – January 17, 2018
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday used fiery rhetoric to slam US President Donald Trump’s changes to American policy on Jerusalem.
“[Jerusalem] is the gate of peace and war, and Trump must choose,” Abbas said at a conference at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, referring to the American president’s decisions on Jerusalem as a “sin.”
At the White House on December 6, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiated the relocation the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to the holy city, breaking with decades of American policy.
Abbas also reaffirmed that the Palestinians will not accept the US as an interlocutor for the peace process between themselves and Israel.
TruNews – January 16, 2018
Turkey’s president has informed NATO that his military is preparing to invade Syria to fight the U.S.-backed Kurdish YPG forces.
According to several media reports late Tuesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan phoned NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and informed him the operation would be commencing. He had previously declared the YPG forces must be “nipped in the bud” immediately.
The Middle East-based al-Sura News has reported Turkey is building up a force of Army units, backed by special forces troops and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, as well as Air Force assets along the border with Syria’s Afrin province. However, al-Jazeera and al-Masdar both reported Turkish units have already crossed into northwestern Syria and are confronting the YPG units in Afrin. That area is currently part of Russia’s air control zone.
TruNews -January 15, 2018
Possibly providing a glimpse of what a nuclearized Korean Peninsula would look like, India and Pakistan exchanged threats over the weekend that included the use of their respective nuclear arsenals.
Tensions have been rising between the neighboring countries for months, but have recently come to a head over a shots-fired incident in the disputed Kashmir territories. Friday, India’s top military leader, Gen. Bipin Rawat, scoffed at the suggestion Pakistan’s tactical nuclear capability had created an effective deterrent to India conducting a conventional military invasion.
“We will call their bluff. If given the task, we will not say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons,” he added.
Saturday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif responded with a series of tweets in which he called the general’s statements “very irresponsible.”
“Amounts to invitation for nuclear encounter. If that is what they desire, they are welcome to test our resolve. The general’s doubt would swiftly be removed, inshallah.”
Debkafiles – January 14, 2017
The Israel air strike Saturday night, Jan. 13, in the southern Gaza Strip was aimed at a terror tunnel running 180m into Israel that Hamas was building under the Kerem Shalom crossing through which convoys of goods pass from Israel to the Gaza Strip. It also ran into Egyptian territory under the Rafah border between Gaza and Sinai. This was disclosed early Sunday by the IDF spokesman. He noted that Israeli fighters hit the tunnel at the Gaza end. Work to finish its demolition continued Sunday. The new tunnel ran under the gas and heavy oil pipelines through which Israel supplies the Gaza Strip population with fuel.
This was the third Palestinian terror tunnel Israel had discovered and destroyed in the Gaza Strip in recent months. Hamas and the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad were responsible for the first two.
DEBKAfile adds: Clearly the IDF has been able to develop the technology for detecting and destroying the terror tunnels, so robbing Palestinians of one of their prime weapons of terror against Israel. Hamas will also have understood that Israel gave Egypt prior warning of its air strike Saturday night. This prompted the night curfew Cairo imposed on northern Sinai including the Rafah region an hour earlier. The tunnel network is also Hamas’ main conduit for smuggling arms and combatants into and out of the Gaza Strip through Sinai.