Thursday, January 14, 2016

False Flag Bomb to Erase Erdogan’s Terror Links

Finian CUNNINGHAM | 14.01.2016 | 00:00

It’s the deft way that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to the deadly bombing in Istanbul this week that raises suspicions. Suspicions that there is much more to the incident than simply an Islamist terror attack carried out against innocent civilians. To put it bluntly: Erdogan «needed» this atrocity in order to erase mounting evidence of his own regime’s collusion in terrorism with the very same Islamist terror network alleged to have carried out the Istanbul bombing.
From the blood and carnage, his regime has quickly sought to position itself internationally as another victim of barbaric terrorism, and as a fearless fighter against the Islamic State terror network. Turkey is a little too self-consciously wrapping itself in the emotional flag of France following the Paris terror attacks in November.
The American White House and the United Nations’ chief Ban Ki-Moon also weighed in with condemnations of the «despicable» killings in Istanbul and vowed solidarity with the Turkish state against the terrorism.
Both Erdogan and his prime minster Ahmet Davutoglu responded immediately in separate but similarly scripted speeches to claim that the atrocity was evidence that Turkey is at «the front line in the fight against terrorism».
«No-one should doubt our resolve to defeat the terrorists of Islamic State», Erdogan told reporters. His earnest, tough-sounding anti-terror declarations were echoed by Davutoglu.
However, as William Shakespeare would say: «Thou protest too much!» – meaning the contrived rhetoric suggests an ulterior aim. 
Erdogan’s government reacted with suspiciously punctual accounting of the bombing, which occurred in the historic quarter of Istanbul, killing at least 10 people, including eight German tourists. 
Within hours of the attack early Tuesday, Turkish authorities had named the suicide bomber as a 28-year-old Syrian national who was originally born in Saudi Arabia. The Turkish government said he was a member of the Islamic State (IS) terror group.
But even several hours later, as of Tuesday night, no group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack. That raises questions about who did carry out the bombing. Surely the IS would be only too glad to take the credit for an attack involving international headlines, as they usually do in such atrocities? Why did the group seem to not know anything about it in the immediate aftermath?
If this were a genuine terror attack that defied the Turkish state security services, then how come the Turkish authorities were so quickly able to identify the alleged suicide bomber? In a «normal» terror attack, the authorities would be caught off-guard and would be seen to be scrambling for several days to piece together who carried it out. Not in this case. Erdogan’s government had the low-down immediately on not only the alleged group behind the bombing (IS), but also the alleged individual. That’s quite amazing detective efficiency, if we accept the official version at face value. 
In any case, such acceptance of the Erdogan government’s version would also be wildly naive. The Turkish military intelligence, MIT, has been shown through many previous instances to be intimately involved with Islamist terror groups waging war in Syria. 
Can Dundar, the editor of Cumhuriyet, is facing life imprisonment because his newspaper exposed gun-running by the MIT to terror groups in Syria. 
Turkish MP Eren Erdem earlier this year also made credible claims that the Erdogan government has covered up an investigation into the supply of chemical weapons to Islamic State militants by the MIT; chemical weapons that were mostly likely used in the mass killing of Syrian citizens in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta in August 2013.
Russian military aerial surveillance has in recent months irrefutably exposed industrial-scale smuggling of oil by the IS terrorists into Turkey, with credible links in the racket going all the way to the Turkish state and Erdogan’s family shipping businesses in particular.
Previous bombings against Turkish citizens inside Turkey have also implicated the dirty work of the Erdogan regime. When over 100 Kurdish rights supporters were killed in a bomb blast at a peaceful rally in Ankara last October, Kurdish groups accused Turkish state agents of secretly carrying out the atrocity. Similar claims of state-sponsored terrorism against Kurdish political groups were made over the deadly bombings in Suruc and Diyarbakir also last year.
A deadly bombing in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli in May 2013, which killed over 40, was again blamed on Turkish state agents trying to frame the Syrian government, in an attempt to contrive a casus belli for Turkish military invasion of Syria. Turkish premier Ahmet Davutoglu has been caught in leaked audio tapes voicing such false flag schemes in private meetings with party cadres.
In recent weeks, the Turkish authorities have been making high-flown claims of foiling terror plots within the country, alleging that they had pre-empted suicide bombers belonging to IS. It is impossible to verify these official claims because Erdogan’s regime has severely clamped down on independent media reporting.
But one reasonable way of assessing such official claims is that the Turkish authorities were setting the scene for an eventual terror attack, which appears to have happened this week with the bombing in Istanbul.
And with swift reaction Erdogan’s government has deftly stepped up to make pointed claims that it is a victim of IS terrorism, and thereby quickly receiving sympathy and support from the White House and the UN.
The timing is important for proper understanding. Erdogan, Davutoglu and the ruling Justice and Development Party have been exposed in recent months by Russia’s military intervention in Syria as being up to their necks in supporting terrorism in Syria. The Western media may have treated the revelations with a stultified indifference. Nevertheless, the revelations are a shocking indictment of the lawlessness of the Turkish state, a NATO member and an aspiring member of the European Union.
The Erdogan regime has become synonymous with state-sponsored terrorism, smuggling and gun-running in Syria, and in particular collusion with Islamist terror groups like IS. (Saudi Arabia has also been similarly illuminated as a rogue, gangster state.)
What better then, from the Erdogan’s point of view, than an IS atrocity in Istanbul this week killing foreign tourists in order for his regime to subsequently make claims of being an «enemy of IS» and a «defender against terrorism».
Nonetheless, this alternative, more realistic, scenario beckons: the Erdogan regime knew the bomber’s identity because it works with such terror operatives; and the Turkish authorities enabled the attack to go ahead for its own self-serving political reasons of blanching its badly tarnished international reputation, to be thus seen as a «victim of terrorism».
Tags: ISIS Middle East Syria Turkey Davutoglu Erdogan

Putin, Obama call for de-escalation of tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran

News | 14.01.2016 | 09:15
RT - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, have stressed the necessity of easing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia in view of the ongoing diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
The two leaders had a telephone conversation on Wednesday, the Kremlin reported, adding that it had been held at the initiative of the American side.

“The leaders called for de-escalation of the tensions that arose in connection with the crisis in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran,” the statement published on the Kremlin’s website read.
The two presidents also discussed the process for resolving the Ukrainian crisis, upcoming talks on Syria, and the situation on the Korean peninsula. 
During the talk with Obama, Vladimir Putin stressed the necessity of Kiev fulfilling its commitments under the Minsk-2 accords, including establishing a direct dialog with eastern Ukraine and reaching an accord on constitutional reforms, as well as granting eastern Ukraine special status.
Putin also reiterated the need to create a broad international coalition against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), as well as a list of all of the terrorist organizations operating in Syria, as soon as possible.
The leaders also agreed that if North Korea’s statement about successfully testing a hydrogen bomb proves to be true, it would constitute a grave violation of UN Security Council resolutions that should prompt a harsh response from the international community.
At the same time, Putin reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the situation on the Korean peninsula, calling on all sides to show restraint.
Tags: Iran Russia Saudi Arabia US Obama Putin

Saudi-Iran Crisis: Russia to Push World from Brink of War

Peter KORZUN | 14.01.2016 | 08:00

On Jan. 10, Arab League foreign ministers condemned recent attacks on Saudi Arabia's diplomatic missions in Iran. A statement at the end of a Cairo emergency meeting accused the Iranian authorities of failing to protect the Saudi embassy set on fire by an angry crowd. All members of the Arab League voted in favor of the statement, with the exception of Lebanon.
No specific measures against Iran were announced; a committee is being set up to consult over possible action.
The crisis in the relations between Riyadh and Tehran flared up Jan 2 after the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi Arabia. In response, Iranian protesters attacked Saudi diplomatic missions in the Islamic republic. As a result, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia have all broken off diplomatic ties with Iran, the United Arab Emirates downgraded its relations and Kuwait, Qatar and Comoros recalled their envoys.
On Jan 7, Tehran severed all commercial ties with Riyadh and accused Saudi jets of attacking its embassy in Yemen's capital.
The worldwide Vienna talks on the Syria’s crisis to be re-launched on Jan 25 are in jeopardy now.
The current confrontation between Saudi Arabia and Iran comes as no surprise. For some years both countries have been engaged in a kind of Cold War as followers of Sunni and Shia denominations of Islam. This dates back to about 1400 years ago – the original schism of 632AD, after Prophet Muhammad’s death.
The relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran deteriorated rapidly in the wake of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution, which toppled the Shah rule. Concerned over growing Shiite influence in the region, the theological guardians of Sunni Islam have applied each and every effort to oppose it.
Today the fissure within Islam between the both branches has taken on political and geopolitical dimensions, given the broader strategic importance of the Arab and Muslim world.
The recent oppression of its own Shiite minorities inside the Saudi Kingdom, as well as the repression of Shiite movements in Bahrain and Yemen, proves the point.
Saudi Arabia, despite its well-known violations of human rights, enjoys the protection of the West, especially the United States. The kingdom is the biggest market for Western arms exports. It has also led an Arab coalition military operation against the Houthis in Yemen since early 2015. In addition, as the leading oil producer within the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), it has kept the prices of oil down to prevent Iran from enjoying sufficient revenue to pursue its regional policies.
By contrast, Iran has been out of favor with the West for decades. The Iranian Islamic regime's revolutionary promotion of Shia Islam and designation of Saudi Arabia as an instrument of Western, more specifically US, hegemony in the region have long been a source of security concern for Riyadh and its Gulf Cooperation Council partners, particularly the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait. Iran existed under a strict sanctions regime for many years. Tehran has no territorial ambitions and its non-sectarianism is evidenced in its support for the overwhelmingly Sunni Palestinians. Tehran maintains a strong strategic partnership with the Shia-linked Alawite-dominated government in Syria, backs Hezbollah as a powerful Shia force in Lebanon and supports Shia Houthi rebels in Yemen. It has joined forces with Russia in the military operation in Syria opposing a range of armed opposition groups, including more importantly Islamic State.
The Saudi leadership and its Arab partners have viewed these developments as a threat to their security. The July 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran signed with the world powers makes Saudi Arabia intensify the anti-Iranian efforts.
The recent decision to cut diplomatic ties with Tehran by Bahrain, Sudan and some other Sunni-dominated states lining up alongside Riyadh merely confirms this fact.
Direct military confrontation is a distinct possibility.
Saeid Golkar, an Iranian expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, told Al Jazeera that «the worsening situation ‘makes it more difficult for the two nations to establish rapprochement in the short term. It is unlikely that the two countries would engage in a direct armed conflict. Instead, they may resort to proxy wars in the region including in Yemen and Syria.’»
Against this background Russian President Vladimir in an interview with the German newspaper Bild stated that Russia is ready, if necessary, to take part in the resolution of the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran. «If our participation in any form is needed, we are ready to do everything possible to resolve the conflict as soon as possible», Putin said. The President said Russia regrets that the two countries’ relations deteriorated.
It has already been reported that Moscow was ready to host the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers – Adel al-Jubeir and Mohammad Javad Zarif – for talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hosted both Jubeir and Zarif individually last year for the talks on the Syrian crisis as Moscow pushed for the creation of a broad coalition to fight Islamic State jihadists in Syria.
Moscow enjoys a unique position being on speaking terms with all the parties involved. Unlike the United States, it has no failed Middle East policy record behind it. Russia has never taken sides in the Sunni-Shia stand-off. Moscow is a key player in the Syrian conflict management and the Middle East situation in a broader sense. The Islam caliphate is a common enemy for all the parties involved.
With its international clout, Moscow can do the job pushing the sides away from the brink of war and saving the Syria’s crisis management process. A success is crucial for implementing the idea of having a broad international coalition against the global terrorist threat. The world cannot afford the Vienna talks stymied. Otherwise, the current regional problems carry the risk of an unmanageable Middle East storm, with dire consequences for all.
Tags: Iran Middle East Russia Saudi Arabia

Final MH17 crash report ‘unsubstantiated, inaccurate,’ new Russian probe says

The reconstructed airplane serves as a backdrop during the presentation of the final report into the crash of July 2014 of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, in Gilze Rijen, the Netherlands, October 13, 2015. © Michael Kooren
Some of the key conclusions of the Dutch Safety Board’s final report on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash were ‘unsubstantiated and inaccurate,’ Russia’s aviation agency said in a letter to its counterpart in the Netherlands, citing new research. 
Since the final report, released on October 13, 2015, did not reflect many important facts mentioned by the Russian side, the country’s experts continued their investigation into the reasons for the crash, Oleg Storchevoy, deputy head of Rosaviatsiya, wrote in a letter addressed to leadership of the Dutch Safety Board (DSB).
Flight MH17 crashed in the war-torn Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew on board.
According to the DSB’s findings, the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Russian-made Buk missile with a 9N314M warhead. However, the Dutch experts were unable to determine which side in the conflict – the Ukrainian government forces or the rebels – was responsible for firing the missile. Read full text:

Cartoon: Iran - Saudi Arabia Difference

Saudi Arabia: Remove the  oil and you and you've got nothing but sand