Peach protest: Spanish farmers burn EU flag in anger over Russia sanctions war (VIDEO)

Still from Ruptly video

Still from Ruptly video

A trade union representing Catalonian crop growers and cattle ranchers has staged a protest, demanding that the EU compensate them for the revenues lost as a result of the escalation of sanctions, which have closed the Russian market to them.

A group of about 30 representatives from JARC (Young Farmers and Ranchers of Catalonia), one of the biggest agricultural unions in the region, demonstratively burned crates of ripe peaches outside the Lleida municipality building.

As a throng of journalists looked on, the unionists hurled an EU flag onto the bonfire, which disintegrated in seconds.

“We will not accept any more that the EU keep telling us what to do, these people that have never set foot in a fruit field. For once you will have to listen to the producers, not the consumers,” David Borda, a union official, told Ruptly news agency.

 

 

Earlier this month, the European Union imposed sectoral sanctions on Russian banks and high-tech industries in connection with Russia’s alleged meddling in the Ukrianina crisis. Russia, which said that it had no responsibility for events in eastern Ukraine, retaliated by banning imports of agricultural produce from the EU for one year.

JARC, which also delivered a list of demands to government officials, believes that the European Union’s political standoff has harmed farmers, and says that they should be compensated through the raising of tariffs on imported fruit and vegetables from other countries, such as Turkey and Morocco.

The EU has allocated €125 million to help farmers in the immediate aftermath. Finance group ING has estimated that the annual losses as a result of the blocking of the Russian market will amount to €6.7 billion a year, and could result in the loss of 130,000 jobs.

Similar farmers protests have taken place across Spain, though producers have targeted both, the EU and also Russia, whose consulate in Seville was picketed earlier this week.

Still from Ruptly video

Still from Ruptly video

 

 

 

Lana Del Rey announces two gigs in a cemetery

Lana Del Rey

Lana Del Rey

 

Lana Del Rey has announced two US shows – in a Hollywood Cemetery
The singer will play two dates next month (October 17 and 18) at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which according to its website is the “final resting place to more of Hollywood’s founders and stars than anywhere else on earth.” It also regularly hosts gigs.The two dates are the first to be announced by the singer since she pulled out of a string of European appearances earlier this month due to illness.
She cancelled her scheduled appearance in BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge and subsequently two private concerts for Virgin Radio listeners in Paris.A statement from the singer’s labelPolydor/Universal read: “For medical reasons independent of our will, the artisthas been forced to cancel all promotional activities planned in Europe over the coming days.”Lana Del Rey released her second album ‘Ultraviolence’ in June, which was the follow-up to her 2012 debut ‘Born To Die’. Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys produced a number of tracks on ‘Ultraviolence’ including lead single ‘West Coast’.
cemetery.

Watch Pink Floyd release short trailer for new album ‘The Endless River’

The Endless River – 30 second clip

 

 

Pink Floyd have released a 30-second teaser trailer for their upcoming album ‘The Endless River’. Click above to watch.
The clip was posted today via the band’s various social media outlets and features a short, guitar-heavy audio snippet. ‘The Endless River’ – which will be Pink Floyd’s first album in 20 years – is due for release on November 10.In addition to the record’s cover art and tracklisting, which were released earlier this week, the group published a statement via their website, revealing that the LP will include music recorded with multi-instrumentalist Richard Wright, who died in 2008 aged 65.”‘The Endless River’ is a tribute to Rick Wright, whose keyboards are at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound,” read the statement. “It is a mainly instrumental album with one song, ‘Louder Than Words’, (with new lyrics by Polly Samson), arranged across four sides and produced by David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Youth and Andy Jackson.”

The record will not feature original Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters, who left the band in 1985. Speaking last year, drummer Nick Mason revealed that he would be interested in a full band reunion, but was not certain it will ever materialise.

“I would do it… I’m ready to go,” he said when asked about the prospects of a reunion. “I’m packed, I have my drum kit, a suitcase and a wash bag by my front door ready for it when I ever get the call. But I’m not holding my breath.”

‘The Endless River’ tracklisting is:

‘Things Left Unsaid’
‘It’s What We Do’
‘Ebb And Flow’
‘Sum’
‘Skins’
‘Unsung’
‘Anisina’
‘The Lost Art Of Conversation’
‘On Noodle Street’
‘Night Light’
‘Allons-y (1)’
‘Autumn’68’
‘Allons-y (2)’
‘Talkin’ Hawkin”
‘Calling’
‘Eyes To Pearls’
‘Surfacing’
‘Louder Than Words’

No data on ISIS plots against US – Obama

US President Barack Obama (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

US President Barack Obama (Reuters/Yuri Gripas)

 

RT news

US intelligence failed to find any specific Islamic State plots against America, President Barack Obama said in an opinion piece. Despite the lack of direct threats, Obama promised not to leave the group unchecked, vowing to ultimately destroy it.

New intelligence has emerged warning Washington that its upcoming confrontation with the Islamic State may leave it blind to a more sinister and direct threat from a much lesser known terrorist group that has arisen from the ashes of the Syrian war.

Very little information is being released at the moment by anyone within American intelligence circles, but the group calling itself Khorasan is said by officials to have concrete plans for striking targets in the United States and Europe as a chosen modus operandi – more so than the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS.

The first ever mention of the group occurred on Thursday at an intelligence gathering in Washington DC, when National Intelligence Director James Clapper admitted that “in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.”

According to the New York Times, some US officials have gone as far as saying that, while the Islamic State is undoubtedly more prominent in its show of force in the Middle East, it is Khorasan who’s intent on oversees campaigns in a way Al Qaeda usually is.

In this sense, the US air strike campaign and the coming actions by the anti-IS coalition might just be what coaxes the IS into larger-scale attacks on American and European soil – what Khorasan is essentially all about.

This brings up another issue seen in the current Western stance on terrorism: it is so focused on the terror spread by the IS that it’s beginning to forget that the destruction and mayhem of civil war across the Middle East is spawning a number of hard-to-track terrorist factions with distinct missions.

“What you have is a growing body of extremists from around the world who are coming in and taking advantage of the ungoverned areas and creating informal ad hoc groups that are not directly aligned with ISIS or Nusra,” a senior law enforcement official told the NY Times on condition of anonymity.

The CIA and the White House declined to give comment.

Al-Qaeda fighter (AFP Photo)

Al-Qaeda fighter (AFP Photo)

“Our intelligence community has not yet detected specific ISIL plots against America. But its leaders have repeatedly threatened America and our allies, and if left unchecked, they could pose a growing threat to the United States,” Obama wrote in the Tampa Bay Times on Sunday.

The US president’s comments follow the emergence of new intelligence warning that Washington’s upcoming confrontation with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) may leave it blind to a more sinister and direct threat from a much lesser known terrorist group – Khorasan.

Obama reminded the public of his recent fierce efforts to battle the Islamic State, with the final goal of destroying the group.

“That is why, last month, I gave the order for our military to begin taking targeted action against ISIL. Since then, our brave pilots and crews have conducted more than 170 airstrikes against these terrorists,” he said.

“Going forward, as I announced earlier this month, we will degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy. Whether in Iraq or in Syria, these terrorists will learn what the leaders of al-Qaida already know: We mean what we say, our reach is long, and if you threaten America you will find no safe haven,” Obama stressed.

He further underscored that US forces will only support Iraqi soldiers, who will be fighting their own fight.

Obama also focused on overall international involvement in the fight against the Islamic State. “This is not and will not be America’s fight alone. That’s why we continue to build a broad international coalition. France and the UK are flying with us over Iraq, others have committed to join this effort, and France has joined us in conducting strikes against ISIL in Iraq. Overall, more than 40 countries – including Arab nations – have offered assistance as part of this coalition.”

Meanwhile, Islamic State fighters have made their way to Jordan, as it was revealed that 11 Islamic State jihadists were arrested in the country, and have confessed to planning terrorists attacks, AFP cited a security official as saying on Sunday.

The detained individuals “admitted their links to the leadership of the Daesh organization in Syria and that they were charged with carrying out terrorist operations in Jordan targeting a number of vital interests,” the official said, using IS’s Arabic acronym.

News of the arrests comes after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Jordan on September 10 to discuss the creation of US-Arab coalition against the Islamic State with King Abdullah.

During the meeting, Kerry and Abdullah discussed the option of establishing the coalition’s base in Jordan.

Fight with ISIS spreads across globe: How are roles distributed in that battle?

AFP Photo/Ahmad Al-Rubaye

AFP Photo/Ahmad Al-Rubaye

“This can’t be America’s fight alone,” US President Barack Obama stressed in his ISIS speech. Indeed, about 40 countries have joined the battle with the radical group that’s left scores dead in Iraq. But who does what on that battlefield?

The main role is still with the US, which has already carried out over 150 airstrikes against the Islamic State (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS/ISIL).

At the same time, the US is keeping relatively quiet about which countries are taking part in the fight and what they do exactly. Secretary of State John Kerry told CBS that nearly 40 nations have agreed to contribute to the fight, but “it’s not appropriate to start announcing” what roles each will play.

However, an international conference on the IS situation is taking place in Paris on Monday, with world leaders set to debate the anti-ISIS coalition. The meeting includes representatives of some 30 countries, but excludes Iraq’s neighbors Syria and Iran. And the roles of the countries and their contributions are already starting to show.

Britain became the first country to officially join the military operation. UK Prime Minister David Cameron called IS “the embodiment of evil” on Sunday, following the group’s beheading of its third Western hostage, this time British citizen David Haines. Earlier, IS killed two US journalists in the same manner.

According to government sources, the Al-Qaeda offshoot group is led by a former senior operative – 33-year-old Muhsin al-Fadhli, reportedly so close to Bin Laden’s inner circle he was one of the few who knew of the 9/11 Twin Tower attacks in advance.

He had reportedly fled to Iran during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda’s story goes hazy after the campaign: many operatives are said to have traveled to Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries, forming splinter groups.

In 2012, al-Fadhli was identified by the State Department as leading the Iranian branch of Al-Qaeda, controlling “the movement of funds and operatives” in the region and working closely with wealthy “jihadist donors” in his native Kuwait to raise money for the Syrian terrorist resistance.

Although the first public mention of the group was only this Thursday, American intelligence is said to have been tracking it for over a decade. Former President George W. Bush once mentioned the name of its leader in 2005 in connection with a French oil tanker bombing in 2002 off the coast of Yemen.

Khorasan itself is shrouded in mystery. Little is known publicly apart from its being composed of former Al-Qaeda operatives from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. The group is said to favor concealed explosives as a terror method.

Like many other groups taking up the power vacuum in war-torn Syria, Khorasan has on occasion shifted its alliances.

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri at one point ordered the former ISIS to fight only in Iraq, but cut all ties with it when it disobeyed and branched out. The result was that the Nusra Front became Al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. It’s said that Khorasan is to Al Nusra Front what the latter was to Al-Qaeda.

When The Daily Signal spoke to James Phillips, a Middle East expert at The Heritage Foundation, he outlined some American intelligence views on the group: they see their mission in “[recruiting] European and American Muslim militants who have traveled to Syria to fight alongside Islamist extremist groups that form part of the rebel coalition fighting Syria’s Assad regime.”

“The Khorasan group hopes to train and deploy these recruits, who hold American and European passports, for attacks against Western targets,” he said.

He believes Khorasan to be Al-Qaeda’s new arm in attacking America, its “far enemy.” While they are Al Nusra’s allies in Syria, their role is believed to be to carry out terrorist attacks outside the country.

The group reportedly uses the services of a very prominent Al-Qaeda bomb maker, Ibrahim al-Asiri, whose devices previously ended up on three US-bound planes. He is known to be a true pioneer of hard-to-detect bombs.

Phillips believes that the next step is taking those bombs and pairing them with US-born and other foreign jihadists returning home.

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province (Reuters)

Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province (Reuters)

In this respect, Phillips views the Khorasan threat to the US to be much more direct compared to the Islamic State’s more regional ambitions. And since President Obama’s upcoming anti-IS strategy reportedly does not include Al Nusra, this potentially frees Khorasan’s hands.

What sets Al Nusra apart from the many other groups is that it’s now the only faction with active branches throughout Syria.

Syria analyst with the Institute for the Study of War, Jennifer Cafarella, told the NY Times “there is definitely a threat that, if not conducted as a component of a properly tailored strategy within Syria, the American strikes would allow the Nusra Front to fill a vacuum in eastern Syria.”

IRAQ-UNREST-ARMY

Because of al-Zawahiri’s current weakened position in terrorist cricles, both Al Nusra and Khorasan by extension are less prominent than the IS. But these things have a way of changing unpredictably, and because the plans of these more traditional terrorist groups in Syria aren’t yet clear, a danger arises.

The volatile conflict zone that is Syria, with its lax borders and an increasing number of distinct, armed Islamist groups, the US may be surprised by how difficult it soon may be to pinpoint the origin of the next threat.

 

Iran refuses to help ‘self-serving’ US fight ISIS

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. (Reuters/Stringer)

Iran has refused an offer from the United States to join a global alliance preparing to combat Islamic State militants, according to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei said Monday that the US offered to discuss a coordinated effort with Iran against Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), a common foe in the region, in the midst of an escalating campaign of violence that continues to claim lives across Iraq in Syria.

“The American ambassador in Iraq asked our ambassador (in Iraq) for a session to discuss coordinating a fight against Daesh (Islamic State),” said Khamenei, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, according to Reuters.

“Our ambassador in Iraq reflected this to us, which was welcomed by some (Iranian) officials, but I was opposed. I saw no point in cooperating with a country whose hands are dirty and intentions murky.”

According to the Washington Post, Khamenei took issue with what he referred to as Washington’s “evil intentions.”

Khamenei said his rejection came prior to Washington’s public exclusion of Iran in Monday’s conference of foreign ministers in Paris, where a coalition of international diplomats have congregated to discuss possible strategies against the jihadist group. Host nation France had wanted to invite Iran, the Post reported.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Iran’s presence in Paris would not occur based on the Islamic Republic’s support of its ally Syria in the nation’s civil war against Western-backed rebels. US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki reiterated that Washington was opposed to any military partnership with Iran.

“Now they (the US) are lying, in saying that it is them who excluded us from their coalition, while it was Iran that refused to participate in this collation to begin with,” said Khamenei, who on Monday had just left a hospital following prostate surgery.

Khamenei pointed to previous US-led military incursions in the Middle East as reason to believe the US is only looking out for its own interests.

“American officials’ comments on forming an anti-Islamic State (alliance) are blank, hollow and self-serving, and contradictions in their behaviors and statements attest to this fact,” said Khamenei.

“The Americans should keep in mind that if they go ahead with such a thing, then the same problems that they faced in Iraq in the past 10 years will come back.”

He added that Washington wants in Iraq what it had in Pakistan, “a playground where they can enter freely and bomb at will.”

Despite the public denunciations from both sides, State Dept. spokeswoman Psaki did not rule out a potential partnership with Iran at a later date.

“We will be continuing those talks on the nuclear issue later this week in New York,” Psaki said, according to the Post. “There may be another opportunity on the margins in the future to discuss Iraq.”

The ongoing, US-dominated negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program were the pretext last year for the first conversation between a US president and Iranian leadership in 30 years. US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani discussed “our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program,” Obama said following the phone conversation.

Meanwhile, in Paris, Arab, European, and other diplomats began talks about supporting the new Iraqi government and slowing momentum of Islamic State.

“Islamic State’s doctrine is either you support us or kill us,” Iraqi President Fouad Massoum told representatives of 30 countries attending the Paris conference. “It has committed massacres and genocidal crimes and ethnic purification.”

The conference comes after Sec. Kerry’s week-long tour of Arab allies and Turkey where he attempted to recruit diplomatic and military support for campaign against IS.

Persian Gulf states Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have reportedly volunteered to conduct airstrikes alongside US forces. The Saudis have also pressured the US to give Syrian rebels surface-to-air antiaircraft weapons, but the Obama administration has thus far refused.

Islamic State militants currently controls large swaths of Syria and neighboring Iraq. Formerly affiliated with Al-Qaeda, IS is one of many opposition groups fighting President Bashar Assad’s forces – and each other – in Syria.

So-called moderate rebels fighting in Syria have a problematic track record despite the US government’s ongoing reliance on their efforts. The United States has supported these rebels with both lethal and non-lethal aid, lending to fears that arms sent with the help of the Gulf states were channeled to the likes of IS.

A study released last week found that Islamic State fighters are using captured US weapons given to moderate rebels in Syria by Saudi Arabia, a longstanding enemy of Assad’s Syria and his ally Iran.

US allies in the Gulf region have fostered groups like IS in Syria’s civil war, as elite donors from the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar have pumped money into destabilizing foes in the region.

President Obama has pledged to use airstrikes against IS strongholds in the region. He emphasized Wednesday that the US will not hesitate to take direct military action against terrorists in Syria and Iraq to “degrade ISIL’s leadership, logistically and operational capability, and deny it sanctuary and resources to plan, prepare and execute attacks.” Obama’s plan will be scrutinized on Capitol Hill in Washington this week.

On Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters during a daily briefing that the Obama administration is “gratified” by what he said was significant bipartisan support so far from Congress for the president’s plan against IS. However, Earnest added that the US would not be coordinating any military action with Iran.

“The thing that we have been really clear about is the US does not coordinate military action or share intelligence with Iran, and we don’t have any plans to do so,” Earnest said, while at the same time acknowledging that representatives from both countries may indeed have had conversations on the sidelines concerning the Islamic State militants.

 

 

Operation Tomahawk The Caliph – By Pepe Escobar

THE ROVING EYE
Operation Tomahawk The Caliph
By Pepe Escobar

The Tomahawks are finally flying again – propelled by newspeak. 42 Tomahawks fired from a Sixth Fleet destroyer parked in Mare Nostrum, plus F-22s raising hell and Hellfires spouted by drones, that’s a neat mini-Shock and Awe to honor Caliph Ibrahim, aka Abu Bakr al -Baghdadi, self-declared leader of Islamic State.

It’s all so surgical. All targets – from “suspected” weapons depots to the mayor’s mansion in Raqqah (the HQ of The Caliph’s goons) and assorted checkpoints – were duly obliterated, along with “dozens of”, perhaps 120, jihadis.

And praise those “over 40” (Samantha Power) or “over 50” (John Kerry) international allies in the coalition of the unwilling; America is never alone, although in this case mightily escorted, de facto, only by the usual Gulf petrodollar dictatorships and the realm of King Playstation, Jordan, all none too keen to engage in “kinetic activities”.

Aseptic newspeak aside, no one has seen or heard a mighty Gulf Cooperation Council air force deployed to bomb Syria. After all the vassals are scared as hell to tell their own populations they are – once again – bombing a fellow Arab nation. As for Damascus, it meekly said it was “notified” by the Pentagon its own territory would be bombed. Nobody really knows what the Pentagon is exactly telling Damascus.

The Pentagon calls it just the beginning of a “sustained campaign” – code for Long War, which is one of the original denominations of the Global War on Terror (GWOT) anyway. And yes, for all practical purposes this is a coalition of one. Let’s call it Operation Tomahawk The Caliph.

I am Khorasan
Hold your F-22s. Not really. The tomahawking had barely begun when an Israeli, made in USA Patriot missile shot a Syrian Su-24 which had allegedly “violated” Israeli air space over the Golan Heights. How about that in terms of sending a graphic message in close coordination with the Pentagon?

So this is not only about bombing The Caliph. It is a back-door preamble to bombing Bashar al-Assad and his forces. And also about bombing – with eight strikes west of Aleppo – a ghost; an al-Qaeda cell of the mysterious Khorasan group.

No wonder global fans of the Marvel Comics school of geopolitics are puzzled. Two simultaneous villains? Yep. And the other bad guy is even more evil than The Caliph.

Astonishing mediocrity Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, has defined Khorasan as “a group of extremists that is comprised of a number of individuals who we’ve been tracking for a long time.”

The Obama administration’s unison newspeak is that Khorasan includes former al-Qaeda assets not only from across the Middle East – including al-Qaeda in Iraq and Jabhat al-Nusra – but also Pakistan, as in an ultra-hardcore extension of the Pakistani Taliban.

What a mess. Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the embryo of ISIS, which turned into IS. Jabhat al-Nusra is the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, approved by CEO Ayman al-Zawahiri. Both despise each other, and yet Khorasan holds the merit of bundling Caliph’s goons and al-Qaeda goons together. Additionally, for Washington Jabhat al-Nusra tend to qualify as “moderate” jihadis – almost like “our bastards”. Too messy? No problem; when in doubt, bomb everybody.

The Caliph, then, is old news. Those ghostly Khorasan goons are the real deal – so evil that the Pentagon is convinced their “plotting was imminent” leading to a new 9/11.

The ghost in the GWOT machine
Khorasan is the perfect ghost in the GWOT machine; the target of a war within a war. Because Obama in fact launched two wars – as he sent two different notifications to Congress under the War Powers Resolution to cover both The Caliph and Khorasan.

And what’s in a name? Well, a thinly disguised extra demonization of Iran, why not – as historic Khorasan, the previous Parthia, stretched from mainly Iran towards Afghanistan.

Khorasan is theoretically led by The Joker, sorry, al-Qaeda honcho Muhsin al-Fadhli, born in Kuwait in 1981, a “senior facilitator and financier” to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, in the priceless assessment of the State Department. Although Ayman al-Zawahiri, ever PR-conscious, has not claimed the credit, the Pentagon is convinced he sent al-Fadhli to the Syrian part of the Caliphate to attract Western jihadis with EU passports capable of evading airport security and plant bombs on commercial jets

The Treasury Department is convinced al-Fadhli even led an al-Qaeda cell in Iran – demonization habits die hard -, “facilitating” jihadi travel to Afghanistan or Iraq.

And what a neat contrast to the Society of the Spectacle-addicted Caliph. Khorasan is pure darkness. Nobody knows how many; how long they’ve existed; what do they really want.

By contrast, there are about 190,000 live human beings left in bombed out Raqqa. Nobody is talking about collateral damage – although the body count is already on, and The Caliph’s slick PR operation will be certainly advertising them on YouTube. As for The Caliph’s goons, they will predictably use Mao tactics and dissolve like fish in the sea. The Pentagon will soon be bombing vast tracts of desert for nothing – if that’s not the case already.

There is no “Free Syrian Army” – that Qatari myth – anymore. There are no “moderate” jihadis left in Syria. They are all fighting for The Caliph or for al-Zawahiri. And still the Obama administration extracted a Congressional OK to train and weaponize “moderate rebels”.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power – Undisputed Queen of Batshit Craziness – at least got one thing right. Their “training” will “service these troops in the same struggle that they’ve been in since the beginning of this conflict against the Assad regime.” So yes – this “sustained campaign” is the back door to “Assad must go” remixed.

People who are really capable of defeating The Caliph’s goons don’t tomahawk. They are the Syrian Arab Army (roughly 35,000 dead so far killed in action against ISIS/ISIL/IS and/or al-Qaeda); Hezbollah; Iranian Revolutionary Guards advisers/operatives; and Kurdish militias. It won’t happen. This season’s blockbuster is the Empire of Chaos bombing The Caliph and the ghost in the GWOT machine. Two tickets for the price of one. Because we protect you even from “unknown unknown” evil.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

 

Aftermath Footage: Overnight anti-ISIS airstrikes devastate village in Syria (New Video)

New anti-ISIS airstrike in Syria, 4 more in Iraq – Pentagon

8 civilians, incl. 3 children, killed in US-led strikes on Syria – monitor

Residents look at buildings which were damaged in what activists say was one of Tuesday's U.S. air strikes in Kfredrian, Idlib province September 24, 2014 (Reuters / Ammar Abdullah)

Residents look at buildings which were damaged in what activists say was one of Tuesday’s U.S. air strikes in Kfredrian, Idlib province September 24, 2014 (Reuters / Ammar Abdullah)

US military has confirmed that the US-led coalition have launched five airstrikes on the Islamic State militants – one of them hit the Syrian territory, while four others hit Iraq.

“Two airstrikes west of Baghdad destroyed two ISIL armed vehicles and a weapons cache. Two airstrikes southeast of Irbil destroyed ISIL fighting positions. A fifth airstrike damaged eight ISIL vehicles in Syria northwest of Al Qa’im. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely,” the US Central Command said in a statement on Wednesday.

Pentagon officials told NBC News that that the airstrike northwest of Al Qaim damaged eight vehicles linked to the Islamic militants. The strikes in Iraq west of Baghdad targeted two vehicles and a weapons cache, while the terrorists’ “fighting positions” were hit southeast of Erbil.

The main target of the strikes was an area used by the Islamic States (formerly known as ISIS/ISIL) militants to move equipment from Syria across the border into Iraq, Rear Adm. John Kirby also told.

 

 

Various attack, bomber and fighter aircraft were used for the strikes, and all aircraft were able to leave the area unharmed afterward.

Earlier in the day, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported airstrikes in and around the eastern Syrian city of Boukamal. The head of UK-based organization Rami Abdulrahman said the strikes also hit the territory 30-35 kilometers to the west of the strategic city of Kobani. He added that military planes that conducted attacks came from the direction of Turkey and were not Syrian.

In the fight against the extremist militants in Syria and Iraq, the US-led coalition will will not only use ongoing strikes, but also foreign fighters, cutting off financing, and a major effort to “reclaim Islam by Muslims,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

The US and its allies have vowed to combat the IS militants, who have been on the rampage in parts of war-torn Syria and Iraq. The anti-IS coalition, led by the US, was joined by nearly 40 nations including five Arab nations – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The first attacks in Syria were launched on Tuesday with 30 militants allegedly killed in the airstrikes. Syria has repeatedly warned that any action on its territory needs the government’s approval and has said it is willing to work with any country to tackle the IS militants.

“Any action of any type without the approval of Syrian government is an aggression against Syria,” Ali Haidar, minister of national reconciliation affairs, told reporters in Damascus earlier in September.

“There must be cooperation with Syria and coordination with Syria and there must be a Syrian approval of any action whether it is military or not.”

Moscow joined Damascus by stating that Washington should respect the sovereignty of Syria in its attempts to deal with the Islamists in the region.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Sunday that there is need for “strict adherence to the UN Charter and international law as well as unconditional respect for Syrian sovereignty during the implementation of plans by the US-led coalition, which includes the use of force.”

On Wednesday, Moscow questioned the effectiveness of the airstrikes, saying that it was a “controversial” issue.

“The specific context of the events still raises serious questions,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “First of all, the United States and the West in general for some reason chose to ignore the terrorist nature of the Islamic State, when the militants fought only with government troops in Syria.”

The ministry added that “despite the loud statements about the campaign’s ‘successes,’ the IS terrorists continue to block the Kurdish town of Kobani [Ayn al-Arab] in northeast Syria. In the event of its capture, the inhabitants will obviously be brutally repressed, if not completely annihilated.”

Meanwhile, a Syrian government minister said that the fight against IS militants is going in “right direction“, as Damascus has been kept informed.

What has happened so far is proceeding in the right direction in terms of informing the Syrian government and by not targeting Syrian military installations and not targeting civilians,” Ali Haidar, minister for national reconciliation, told Reuters on Wednesday.

strike

Bombing ‘imminent threat’: US justifies strikes without ‘direct request’ from Syria

A still image captured from U.S. Navy video footage shows a Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile (TLAM) is launched against ISIL targets from the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in the Arabian Gulf, September 23, 2014. (Reuters / Abe McNatt / U.S. Navy / Handout)

A still image captured from U.S. Navy video footage shows a Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile (TLAM) is launched against ISIL targets from the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in the Arabian Gulf, September 23, 2014. (Reuters / Abe McNatt / U.S. Navy / Handout)

The UN chief is “aware” that the Syrian government did not directly “request” airstrikes on terrorist targets on their soil and urged all parties involved in the US-led anti-ISIS campaign to take all necessary precautions to minimize civilian casualties.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he is “aware” that the US-led intrusion and airstrikes on Islamic State targets were not carried out “at the direct request of the Syrian Government,” in a statement delivered at a climate summit press conference.

However, he noted that Damascus “was informed beforehand” and that the strikes took place in “areas no longer under the effective control” of the government.

“I regret the loss of any civilian lives as a result of strikes against targets in Syria. The parties involved in this campaign must abide by international humanitarian law and take all necessary precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties,” the UN chief added.

In a letter to the UN secretary general, US Ambassador Samantha Power used Article 51 of the UN charter to justify air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria, claiming that it was necessary to protect civilians and secure Iraq’s borders.

The US explained that Iraq has “made it clear” that it faces a “serious” threat from the Islamic State militants coming from Syria, a country which Washington says offers “safe havens” for militants.

“These safe havens are used by ISIL (ISIS) for training, planning, financing, and carrying out attacks across Iraqi borders and against Iraq’s people,” the letter reads.

It is because of this threat and at the request of the Iraqi government that the US decided to lead a coalition against Islamic State positions in Syria, “in order to end the continuing attacks on Iraq,” to protect civilians and help Baghdad secure state borders.

Washington_ByP_FBfIAAEvqqP

Letter from White House to UN justifying action against #ISIS in #Iraq and #Syria under Article 51:

 

Stating that IS poses a dire threat both to the region as well as to the security of the United States, Powers writes that Article 51 of the UN charter provides countries the right to engage in self-defense, including collective self-defense, against an armed attack.

“As is the case here, the government of the State where the threat is located is unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territory for such attacks,” the letter, dated September 23, reads.

It argues that strikes against ISIS in Syria are justified as the Syrian regime “cannot and will not confront these safe havens effectively itself.”

“Accordingly, the United States has initiated necessary and proportionate military actions in Syria in order to eliminate the ongoing ISIL threat to Iraq.”

In addition, Washington is also conducting military action against Al-Qaeda “elements in Syria known as the Khorasan Group,” which it believes could be responsible for plotting against America and its allies.

The air campaign against the Khorasan extremists was separate from the one targeting the Islamic State group, as the US believes they were close to carrying out “major attacks” against the West.

 

This US Navy photo shows an an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, as they prepare to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)to conduct strike missions against ISIL targets on September 23, 2014 in the Gulf. (AFP Photo / US Navy / Robert Burck / Habdout)

This US Navy photo shows an an F/A-18E Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, and an F/A-18F Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, as they prepare to launch from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)to conduct strike missions against ISIL targets on September 23, 2014 in the Gulf. (AFP Photo / US Navy / Robert Burck / Habdout)

“Intelligence reports indicated that the group was in the final stages of plans to execute major attacks against Western targets and potentially the US homeland,” announced Lt. Gen. William Mayville, director of operations for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He specified that the group is “establishing roots in Syria in order to advance attacks against the West and the homeland.”

Calling the strikes “successful,” Mayville also announced that more than 40 Tomahawk missiles were launched from the Gulf and the Red Sea, saying “the majority of the Tomahawk strikes were against Khorasan.”

Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama said that he ordered the strikes in Syria to “disrupt plotting against the United States and our allies by seasoned al-Qaeda operatives in Syria, who are known as the Khorasan Group”.

“Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people,” he added.

However, the US airstrikes will not be “effective, if there is no coordination of actions on the ground and if no ground military operations are carried out,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem told RT Arabic.

“The US is mocking the whole world when they say that they are going to coordinate their actions not with the Syrian government, but with the moderate Syrian opposition. This is funny. What moderate opposition are you talking about?” Moualem told RT Arabic. “This moderate opposition is killing Syrians just like al-Nusra or ISIS.”

If the US “seriously wanted to fight the ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” there would be an international organization under the aegis of the UN, in which all countries would participate, Moualem said.

 

 

 

 

 

I Did It My Way…

 Pentagon Posts Videos of Airstrikes in Syria on YouTube

These three strikes were part of a wide-ranging operation in Syria launched by the United States along with Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. The strikes were the first ones conducted inside Syria, and follow a series of air strikes against ISIS in Iraq. These operations, the Pentagon said, are “part of the President’s comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately defeat” ISIS.

 

 

 

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I’ll say it clear,
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

I’ve lived a life that’s full.
I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway;
And more, much more than this,
I did it my way…

U.S. President Barack Obama called for united action to confront violent extremism Wednesday, as he addressed the United Nations General Assembly after a second day of U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

Airstrikes were carried out overnight Tuesday into Wednesday against five more targets: four in Iraq and one in Syria, the U.S. Central Command said.

In Syria, a U.S. aircraft and coalition plane struck an ISIS staging area near the Iraqi border, northwest of Al Qa’im, damaging eight ISIS vehicles.

In Iraq, two airstrikes west of Baghdad destroyed two ISIS armed vehicles and a weapons cache. Two airstrikes southeast of the city of Irbil destroyed ISIS fighting positions.

The latest raids come on the heels of major airstrikes in Syria early Tuesday.

President Barack Obama’s call for action comes as he faces questions about his decision to bomb terror groups in Syria without approval from the U.N. Security Council or U.S. Congress.  

As Pepe Escobar has written, “So call this warped western a masterful depiction of American exceptionalism. And mirror it with the soft pull of a dying, lone superpower which is still capable of turning the whole planet into junkies, addicted to the cinematically sumptuous spectacle of its own demise.

Speaking in New York, Obama told of the need to confront the “threats” (to the US Empire?)  that face the world today, including the violent extremism embodied by the radical group ISIS, also referred to as the “Islamic State” or ISIL.

“It is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along fault lines of “tribe or sect; race or religion,” he said.   Is this the reason why the military occupied Ferguson?

“This is not simply a matter of words. Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by “religiously motivated fanatics”, and the trends that fuel their recruitment.”

At the same time, Obama stressed that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.”

‘A hateful cause’

To battle extremists like ISIS, the world must focus on four areas, the ruler of the world said.

First, he said, ISIS must be degraded and ultimately destroyed. Second, it is time for the world to explicitly reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIS.

Third, the world must address the cycle of conflict, including sectarian conflict, that creates the conditions that terrorists thrive on. And fourth, Arab and Muslim countries must focus on the potential of their people, especially youths.

The United States is not standing alone in the fight against ISIS, Obama said. “Nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands.”

Instead, the United States will use its “military might in a campaign of airstrikes” against ISIS, help train and equip forces fighting them on the ground, work to cut off their financing and stop the flow of foreign fighters, he said.

“Already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition. Today, I ask the world to join in this effort. Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can,” he warned.

“Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone. For we will not succumb to threats; and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.”

Obama’s call for action comes as he faces questions about his decision to bomb terror groups in Syria without approval from the U.N. Security Council or U.S. Congress.

 

U.S. strikes the Khorasan group in Syria

Map: Airstrikes in Syria
Map: Airstrikes in Syria

Tomahawk missiles launched against ISIS

And as the President takes the world stage, U.S. law enforcement agencies are looking out for possible lone-wolf attack plots to retaliate for the bombings.

Why not strike the regime?

While some Syrians celebrated the U.S. airstrikes on radical militants, others expressed frustration that President Bashar al-Assad’s government, which world leaders blame for thousands of civilian deaths, goes unscathed. In other words, they want him killed.

“I am just wondering why the U.S. didn’t bomb the regime’s brigades,” Aleppo resident Foaad Hallak said.

“If the international community is willing to show their good intentions to Syrians, they have to bomb the regime and its militias and also ISIS, and also they have to supply FSA (the rebel Free Syrian Army) with anti-aircraft missiles.”

Muhammad al-Dleby said he was frustrated that after three years and more than 100,000 deaths in Syria, “the international community stepped in only because radical militants were “a threat to its interests.”

“Assad is the biggest terrorist in Syria, and he did crimes that even … extremists didn’t do,” he said.

Kerry: Strikes effective but will take time

So far, U.S. Central Command has conducted 198 airstrikes across Iraq against ISIS and, along with partner nations, another 20 airstrikes against the group across Syria.

Conceding that airstrikes haven’t flushed out ISIS in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that U.S airpower may nonetheless have prevented the fall of Baghdad and Irbil to the militants.

“What we’ve done is we’ve stopped the onslaught,” he told crypto-glamorous Pentagon/State Department stenographer Christiane Amanpour anchoring CNN’s coverage from New York. Christiane Amanpour.

“That was what we were able to achieve with air power. They were moving towards Irbil. They were moving towards Baghdad. Baghdad could well have fallen. Irbil could have fallen.”

U.S. airstrikes aren’t designed to defeat ISIS by themselves, Kerry said. “You and others should not be looking for some massive retreat in the next week or two,” he said.  Boots on the ground…?

The airstrikes early Tuesday in Syria came in three waves, with coalition partners participating in the latter two, Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr. said Tuesday.

The airstrikes against ISIS focused primarily on the city of Raqqa, the declared capital of ISIS’ self-proclaimed Islamic State.

The operation began with a flurry of Tomahawk missiles launched from the sea, followed by attacks from bomber and fighter aircraft, a senior U.S. military official told CNN.

The goal: Taking out ISIS’ ability to command, train and resupply its militants.

In all, 200 pieces of ordnance were dropped by coalition members, and four dozen aircraft were used, a U.S. official told CNN. About 150 weapons used were precision-guided munitions. The United States fired 47 Tomahawk missiles, eight of them against Khorasan targets.

The first wave mostly targeted the Khorasan Group, whom Obama described as “seasoned al Qaeda operatives in Syria.

‘There are five Arab “friendly monarchs” involved’

The second wave of airstrikes Tuesday involved ISIS targets in northern Syria, including the town of Raqqa.

The third wave involved planes targeting ISIS training camps and combat vehicles in eastern Syria, Mayville said.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan took part in airstrikes on the ISIS targets, the U.S. military said, while Qatar played a supporting role.

In all, 200 pieces of ordnance were dropped by coalition members, a U.S. official told CNN.

The toll

It’s too early to say what effect the U.S. strikes had against the Khorasan Group, Mayville said.

U.S. officials said “the group was plotting attacks against the United States and other Western targets”. The intelligence community discovered the plots against the United States in the past week, an intelligence source told CNN.

The attacks on ISIS, however, destroyed targets including training compounds, command-and-control facilities, a finance center and supply trucks, the U.S. Central Command said.

The airstrikes apparently took a toll on another terror group, killing the leader of the al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, according to a statement from the group.

Al-Nusra Front identified the leader as Abu Yousef al-Turki, also known as “The Turk.” It posted a statement on Twitter, accompanied by a so-called proof-of-death — a photograph — of al-Turki.

But the United States has not identified al-Nusra as a group targeted in the strikes.

Activist: ISIS fighters keep low profile

An activist from Raqqa, who uses the pseudonym Maher al-Ahmad, told CNN he’d gone back to the town after the airstrikes.

“It’s the first time I didn’t see ISIS in the streets, that I was able to walk around, because I am wanted by them,” said al-Ahmad, who moves between Raqqa and Turkey’s Gaziantep province.

He said people who were there during the strikes described them as feeling like earthquakes.

Some 20 to 25 vehicles filled with ISIS fighters, including people he believes were senior leadership because of the level of security around them, left the city within hours of the attacks, the activist said.

After keeping a low profile during the day, the ISIS fighters were out in the streets again by Tuesday evening but in lower numbers than usual, he said.

ISIS fighters began moving into the homes of civilians in the past two to three weeks, al-Ahmad said, raising fears that the civilians may be used as human shields or fall victim to future airstrikes.

Hassan al-Halabi, an activist from Aleppo, voiced similar fears, saying residents there have two main concerns about upcoming strikes in Syria.

“The first is that they are afraid of having civilian casualties because ISIS’ members and fighters are among civilians,” al-Halabi said.

“And the second concern is that what will happen after that? Who will replace ISIS, especially that the regime is ready to take control of ISIS’ areas?”

Possible retaliation

Concern over possible backlash by the terror groups against the United States has prompted the Department of Homeland Security to warn law enforcement agencies of potential lone-wolf terror attacks on American soil, a U.S. law enforcement official with knowledge of the warning told CNN.

The bulletin calls for vigilance as well as scrutinizing social media for anyone encouraging violence in response to the strikes. It points to the use of social media as a tactic by ISIS to spread its message and call for violence.

It also advises agencies to look for changes in appearance or behavior in those they’re tracking, the official said.

Extra:

Congressman OK with keeping secret the Khorasan Group strike

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, told CNN’s Carol Costello on Wednesday morning that he is fine with the Obama administration not telling Congress about the U.S. attack on the Khorasan Group, a collection of senior al Qaeda members who have moved into Syria.

King said he’s known about the group for weeks, and he added that telling only a select few about plans to strike militants who could attack the U.S. was probably the only way to carry out the surprise strike. “You can’t have 435 commanders in chief,” King said, referring to the probable difficulty in having all representatives know that secret and keep it under wraps.