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U.S. and Russia Making Preparations for World War III

Eric Zuesse

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The anti-neoconservative Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who had been the chief aide to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and had opposed America’s invading Iraq, spoke on March 2nd explaining how the U.S. and Russia are drifting ever-more-rapidly into World War III. He said it’s essentially the same way that England and Germany drifted into WW I: being sucked in by their entangling web of foreign alliances. However, as he sees it, the role that Sarajevo played to spark world-war in 1914, is being performed this time by Israel. Instead of the Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip igniting the war by assassinating in Sarajevo the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, Benjamin Netanyahu is igniting this war throughout the Middle East, by escalating his campaign to conquer Shiites in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon — overthrowing and replacing the governments there (which would then become controlled by allies of the anti-Shiite Sunni regime in U.S.-Israel-allied Saudi Arabia), and also aiming ultimately to expand Israel itself, to take over Jordan so as to confirm biblical prophesy.

And, as Wilkerson sees it, Netanyahu is also fronting for the Saud family: the Israel lobby is fronting not only for Israel’s aristocracy, but for Saudi Arabia’s. (Whereas Israel works both inside and outside the U.S. Government to control the U.S. Government, the Sauds, which are the world’s richest family, work only inside the U.S. Government, by outright buying it; so, unlike the Jewish billionaires who control Israel, they don’t need acceptance by the American people; and each time the Sauds try, they fail at it.) However, since Wilkerson’s speech was being sponsored by organizations that oppose Israel’s lobbyists, most of it dealt with Israel’s side of the Israel-Saud alliance that controls U.S. foreign policies (especially in the Middle East). (The U.S. aristocracy’s hostility toward Russia is, however, its own; it is primary for America’s billionaires, but not for Israel’s aristocracy, and also not for the Sauds — both of which aristocracies are instead focused mainly against Iran and Shiites.)

Wilkerson thus criticized especially “where Israel is headed – toward a massive confrontation with the various powers arrayed against it, a confrontation that will suck America in and perhaps terminate the experiment that is Israel and do irreparable damage to the empire that America has become.” Here is how he described the likeliest “tripwire” for what would become global nuclear annihilation:

They want a Greater Israel for a number of reasons, security reasons, you know, the old biblical prophecies and so forth. So I think they’re going to try to keep this in the air to start with. You’re going to see some bombing. I think you’re going to see in the next six months, they’re going to take Lebanon on. They’re going to take Hezbollah on in Syria and Lebanon. When that doesn’t work or when Hezbollah present to them, as they did in July 2006, with some new options in terms of what Hezbollah can do to them and maybe even the Lebanese Armed Forces do too, it might get tricky. Then there might be armored formations, ground units, infantry and so forth. That’s when the door opens for general conflict.

There is a question asked, too, about the [U.S. military] base [recently placed in Israel]. Here’s why I think we put the base there. … We put the base there for the same reason we have tripwire forces in other places. We put the base there so that there can be no question in the minds of the American people when the president directs U.S. forces into Israel equipped to go into Syria because we will have been attacked. The disposition of that base is just sitting on an Israeli Air Base and we put the Stars and Stripes up and declared it a U.S. Air Base. It’s for Patriot batteries as far as I know. But it’s there and it’s U.S. territory. So, when missiles start flying or — God forbid — the RGC [Iran’s Republican Guard Corps] actually tries to put guerillas into Israel proper, then we are being attacked, too. So, when we go to Congress, if Trump feels like he has to go to Congress — he isn’t going to have to probably — Congress is going to be demanding that the president take action. …

If so, then the U.S. Government will be at war against Russia, too, not merely against Iran and Hezbollah. … So, the thing that ought to be happening right now is that the United States and Moscow, despite all this mess [Russiagate, Skripal, etc.] that’s been created between us, ought to be cooperating to bring the two parties that really need to talk — to talk, Riyadh and Tehran — and get them to deal with their problems diplomatically and then turn that diplomatic success on to the Syrian conflict which is being fueled principally by Saudi money with Prince Bandar in charge.

He’s saying that this isn’t at all an ‘Israel-versus-the-Arabs’ thing, nor even fundamentally a Russia-versus-America thing (at least not in the Middle East) but instead a Sunni-versus-Shiite thing, at root. And, he’s right. The fundamental Middle-Eastern conflict is intra-Islamic, not between religions. But (and he never talks about this; almost nobody does), it’s really between blocs of aristocracies, not really between different nations’ publics. In terms of publics, the American people are victimized by the American aristocracy and by its allied Saud family, and by its allied Israeli aristocracy; but America’s media are controlled by America’s aristocracy; and, so, hide these facts, in order to make these invasions by the U.S. possible — politically acceptable to the duped public (like Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc., were).

Bandar is the person who was paying, out of his and his wife’s own personal checking accounts, flight-training etc. for at least two of the 15 Saudis who were preparing to do the 9/11 attacks. In 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump personally sold, to the Saud family, $350 billion in U.S. weaponry and training. That sale was the biggest part yet, of Trump’s plan to restore U.S. manufacturing. And basically, Trump is now owned by the Sauds, and this (in addition to his own billionaire Israel-backers) means that he needs to be gung-ho for invading Iran, and certainly not for overthrowing the Sauds. He needs to support aristocracies that are the chief enemies of the American public. This is realpolitik, in a world that’s controlled by psychopaths. It’s today’s world.

Wilkerson said, “We might have the stirrings of 1914 as utterly stupid as we now know those stirrings to have been.” But would this really be just “stupidity,” or, perhaps, something more — and worse? He evidently knows that it’s far more, and that it involves not only the Sauds and their agents, but also the Israelis and their agents:

This is Joseph Goebbels territory. Karl Rove [George W. Bush’s chief propagandist] is envious. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies as the heir to the Project for the New American Century, Bill Kristol’s Iraq-bound think tank, leaves that pack of wolves disguised as warmed over neocons lavishly funded by the likes of Paul Singer [one of Trump’s top financial backers]. It has even spawned the Institute for the Study of War. A fascinating Orwellian title if there ever was one [it’s run by former PNAC people]. It should be [called] the Institute for War.

I’ve been asked why is it that you ascribe to FDD and now the ISW such nefarious motives. I was asked this by the New York Times’ editorial staff when they published my op-ed on Iran a few days ago. My answer is simple. Because that is precisely what FDD is attempting to do. Just as Douglas Feith, undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Office of Special Plans, did in 2002 and 2003 for Richard Bruce Cheney to lead us in the war with Iraq.

If this is true, then the Skripal matter, and all of Russiagate’s pressures upon Trump to bring America to war against Russia and against Russia’s allies (such as Iran, Syria, and China), would fit also as being parts of that broader plan, which would fulfill the objectives both of the Saud family, and of Israel’s aristocracy — and, of course, of America’s aristocracy, which have long wanted to conquer Russia.

The NATO PR agency Atlantic Council announced on March 25th that, as the neoconservative Daily Star in London expressed the matter, “Defence experts at the Atlantic Council have now laid out the ‘significant threat’ from Russia on the edge of Europe.” Now that NATO has expanded right up to Russia’s very borders, NATO wants its populations to know that Russia is threatening NATO by massing troops and weapons on NATO’s borders. (It’s as if Russia had taken Mexico and then blamed America for being ‘aggressive’ and ‘threatening’ by doing defensive military drills on our own territory.) The next day, the Daily Star headlined “Vladimir Putin orders WAR DRILLS as Russia tensions ready to snap with West”. Then, on March 29th, they headlined “‘This is very rare’ Russia warship ‘to fire missiles SIX MILES off Sweden coast’”.

The aristocracies of Israel and of Saudi Arabia will likely have the support of the aristocracies in the U.S. and UK, in their planned war against Russia and its allies. Like WWI, and WW II, this is a joint enterprise; but, this time, unlike in WW II, America will be out to conquer Russia, not to conquer Germany. Russia is the nation that has, by far, the most natural resources; and aristocracies always value land more than they value the populations that are on it, for whatever they can exploit out of the conquered ones, especially because dealing with the natives can mean more trouble than it’s worth. For examples: native populations didn’t do too well in U.S., nor in Australia, nor in Africa, nor in Palestine. Russians aren’t the goal; Russia (the land) is. But, as usual, the aristocracies have first been knocking off the leaders of the allies of the country that’s the main target — such as in Iraq, and in Libya, and in Syria, and in Ukraine. Now, the allied aristocracies are getting ready to go in for the kill.

As regards the view from the opposite side, it was well summarized by Joe Hargrave in his recent “What Putin Wants Is The Most Important Issue Of Our Time”, in which he accurately represented what Putin has been both saying and doing.

And as regards Wilkerson’s recommendation: it was for the U.S. to abandon Israel, so that Netanyahu won’t be able to start WW III. (Wilkerson closed by saying: “The country that will have started it all, the relationship, unbalanced as it is that will make it possible, is Israel. That’s the danger we face.”) Of course, the Sauds won’t allow that, and they might even renege on their $350 billion U.S. weapons-purchase commitment if we did it. The Israel lobby would secretly carry the Sauds’ water on that, and the Sauds pay well for any service provided to them; so, those lobbyists would have access to virtually unlimited funds, some of which would, of course, ultimately find its way not only into politicians’ campaigns, but also into America’s ‘news’ media. Thus, corporations such as Lockheed Martin can get loads of free PR (sales-promotion), for American ‘nationalism’, which is the military-industrial complex’s form of internationalism.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Defense

Does NATO respond positively to the Turkish supererogation?

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Turkey is once again turning to the West, while over the past two years, it had been distancing from the West and trying to collaborate with Russia due the success of the Astana peace process on the Syrian conflict.

Damascus’s strategic patience is over because Ankara has failed to fulfill its commitments regarding retaking the areas captured by terrorists backed by Turkey. The Syrian army’s widespread advances over the last two weeks in areas occupied by terrorist forces in the northwest have led to Ankara’s reaction and increased tensions between Syria and Turkey. Along with wresting control over the strategic Damascus-Aleppo highway, the Syrian army carried out successful operations in recapturing 1500 km2 of Syrian territory and about 100 towns and villages in west and south Aleppo, especially key towns of Khan Tuman and Saraqib. Following the Syrian army’s operations, the Turkish government has sent thousands of troops and military equipment to the outskirts of Idlib to prevent the continued advance of the Syrian forces.

Turkey’s moves were due to greenlight by the U.S., NATO, and the EU, which have so far not been in Ankara’s favor; rather they have resulted in massive casualties and the loss of six military bases in Syria’s territory.

Recently, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar called on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to support the Turkish military in order to halt the Syrian army’s offensive against Idlib, the stronghold of the latest Turkish-backed terrorist elements.

Obviously, the move by Turkey has broken the commitments to the Sochi agreement and the Astana process, with the aim of holding its place in NATO. This is a wish that seems unlikely to come true, given the chaotic situation of NATO and the West’s distrust of Turkey.

Accordingly, it is certain that Idlib and its outskirts will soon be completely liberated because of the high motivation and ability of the Syrian army. The liberation will definitely thwart all hostile policies that Turkey has adopted in Syria for many years and will bring heavy defeat for Ankara.

The developments in Syria in recent days shows that Turkey is no longer trustworthy as it has explicitly violated Syria’s sovereignty as an independent state. There have been some accords on Syria, such as the Sochi agreement, regarding the establishment of a safe zone in Idlib, while Turkey has not considered the slightest value for the agreements. 

From our partner Tehran Times

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Lithuania: To serve or not to serve in the army

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source: flickr.com

It is well known that in 2015 Lithuanian authorities reintroduced compulsory military service due to the potential threat caused by the Russian Federation.

It should be said, that young Lithuanians do not appreciate the idea and try to avoid the service in every possible way. They even are not afraid of penalties and imprisonment.

In order to force them to serve Lithuanian authorities are inventing new “tools” to make the process of avoidance the conscription harder.

From the beginning of 2015 all Lithuanian men aged 19-26 had to perform compulsory military service in the Lithuanian Armed Forces for a period of 9 months if fate decided.

The matter is the way of choosing the men who will serve is more than surprising. They say that 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. The lists of military conscripts then are published on the Internet. But “randomly” could also mean “nobody knows how they are selected.”

At the beginning of this year authorities lowered the age range at which men are called up for mandatory military service to 18-23 years and banned volunteer soldiers from holding seats in the parliament and municipal councils.

Defence Minister Raimundas Karoblis said that the aim of lowering the conscription age is to ensure that conscripts’ military service causes the minimum possible disruption to their civilian lives.

The matter is the way of choosing the men who will serve is more than surprising. They say that 2 percent of men are randomly selected to complete vacancies in the army within the year. The lists of military conscripts then are published on the Internet. But “randomly” could also mean “nobody knows how they are selected.”

In reality the Ministry of National Defence can’t meet its recruitment goals.

The system includes Lithuanians living abroad who are forced to leave their home and come back for the service. The government of Lithuania doesn’t care that men living overseas have their personal life, own career paths and financial responsibilities.

The military authorities are trying to take immigrants for service on purpose, not caring about their personal problems, including health issues and financial commitments.

They also discriminate homosexual men by giving them specific tests to find out how gay they are, including a talk with the psychiatrist. Because homosexuality is still a sickness in Lithuania, with existing laws against gay people.

A lot of Lithuania men who decided not to come back for the service, are often wanted by police, and in some circumstances might end up in prison for up to 3 years.

Thus, in December 2019, 24-year-old Marius H. from Kedainiai was prosecuted for not visiting the military registration and enlistment office, but did not change his position. He said later that he would not go to serve, it is not in his interests. He has a well-paid job in Belgium and is not going to change his way of life. So he paid penalty (800 euros) and left for Belgium. And he is not the only one in the country who has made such choice.

Evidently, it is impossible to solve the problem in that way, using methods of coercion and punishment. Unfortunately, reintroducing of compulsory military service was the decision of the authorities, finding the ways to avoid it is the choice of youth. If the government doesn’t respect the citizens, the citizens have a right not to obey their decisions.

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Assessing India’s Enhanced Air Defence Shield with reference to Pakistan’s MIRV Capabilities

Haris Bilal Malik

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Since the last few years, India has been continuously carrying out an extensive military modernization program aimed at enhancing its counterforce capabilities vis-à-vis Pakistan. Under this notion, one of its most important components is the enhancement of its air defence capabilities aimed at providing an extensive multi-layered air defence shield. This has been done partly by combining indigenously developed systems with some of the world’s most expensive and advanced Missile Defence Systems which India has been purchasing over the last few years. Pakistan, due to its economic constraints cannot compete with India on a tit for tat basis. Hence, to address such a threat, Pakistan, for the time being, seems to be enhancing its indigenously developed Multiple Independent Reentry Vehicle (MIRV) capabilities. These, in turn, are aimed at accurately penetrating the Indian Air Defense network that is being currently developed, by swarming it with a plethora of smarter and precision-based warheads to devastating effect.

At present, India possesses and intends to acquire various air defence systems in its missile defence inventory.  These include indigenously developed ballistic missile defence systems such as the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missiles, the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Ashwin missiles and the Barak-8 missile defence system which has been jointly developed with Israel. Furthermore, to enhance its future capabilities, India had also signed an agreement with Russia for the acquisition of the S-400 anti-missile system back in October 2018, the delivery of which is expected in October this year. In another significant development, India reportedly intends to acquire the ‘National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), a medium-range missile system from the US. India’s acquisition of advanced missile defence systems such as these would thus likely destabilize the pre-existing deterrence framework in South Asia, as it would embolden India to consider countering Pakistan’s existing range of warhead delivery systems such as its ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, fighter jets, and unmanned aerial vehicles with greater impunity.

In order to restore stability, Pakistan has two choices; firstly, in the long term, to purchase similar, albeit expensive missile defence systems from the international market – such as from Russia and/or China. A tall prospect which already seems difficult given the country’s economic difficulties. Secondly, to counter the Indian advanced air defence shield while staying within its existing doctrinal posture, it seems that the induction of an increased number of MIRV capable ballistic missiles appears as the more plausible and immediate solution.

It is worth mentioning here that Pakistan’s Ababeel Ballistic Missile, a medium-range ballistic missile, which it had tested in January 2017, is believed to have introduced MIRV technology into Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal with its reported range of 2200 kilometers. Pakistan’s rationale for achieving this milestone is widely believed to be inclined towards neutralizing a broad range of the expected outcomes of India’s military modernization drive, including the threat from its enhanced missile defence systems. This is further evident in the statements of Pakistan Military Officials, in which they have clearly stated that the development of the Ababeel weapon system is aimed at ensuring the survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles ‘keeping in view the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment’, hence further reinforcing nuclear deterrence.

In the same vein, there is widespread speculation that Pakistan’s recently tested short-range ballistic missile Ghaznavi – with its operational range of 290 kilometers – is also MIRV capable. No matter the validity of such speculation, there is still an ongoing debate questioning whether Pakistan needs to have such a short-range MIRV capable ballistic missile. Particularly keeping in view India’s counterforce designs which highlight an apparent shift towards nuclear counterforce and the notions of ‘splendid first strike’ and surgical strikes against Pakistan. A strategy that is, in turn, directly linked to its Air Defence modernization plans because such counterforce temptations might provoke Pakistani retaliation. Hence, the road-mobile Ghaznavi missile, based on its accuracy and, shorter range and flight times could thus be a prospective platform for being a MIRV capable delivery system aimed at penetrating the Indian Air Defence shield. Hence, for Pakistan, the provision of such short-range MIRV capable ballistic missiles like Ghaznavi would likely serve as a key deterrent against the Indian advanced air defence shield. 

At the present, Pakistan by being overtly threatened by the ruling BJP government still holds a principled stance in working towards bringing about lost peace and stability in the South Asian region. However, Indian aspirations as evident in its ambitious military modernization plans have compelled Pakistan to take all possible measures to assure its security and preserve its sovereignty. As such Pakistan may need to expand its strategy of playing its cards close to its chest particularly when taking into account India’s ongoing expansion of its Air Defence shield. In this regard, the induction and perhaps even testing of a medium to short-range MIRV capable missile seems to be the only way out, at least for the time being.     

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