flashpoints

IRAQ: Annihilation Of Daesh Possible Only After Pindo Complete Pull-Out
Drago Bosnic, Fort Russ, Apr 6 2020

BAGHDAD – A senior official of Hashd al-Shaabi said that the country’s security forces will be able to fully annihilate the Daesh cells after the Pindo army retreats from the Arab state. Ali Al-Hosseini, one of Hashd al-Shaabi’s senior commanders, told the Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website on Monday. He blamed the Pindo build-up in Iraq and its support for the terrorist groups for the prolonged life of Daesh in the country, and said:

The Pindo withdrawal from Iraq will trigger highly great achievements to the security situation in Iraq. Therefore, the remnants of Daesh will be annihilated by the withdrawal of the last Pindo soldier.

Al-Hosseini warned that Faschingstein might resort to its old tricks of 2014 and strengthen Daesh across Iraq after its withdrawal in a bid to distort general security. Iraqi PMUs, better known by their Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, in a statement on Saturday blasted the Pindo forces based in their country as “occupiers”, pledging to bring the occupation of the Arab country to an end. Hashd al-Sha’abi groups said from now on the Pindo troops in the Arab country will be dealt with as “occupation forces,” Press TV reported. The statement cited the Pindo refusal to withdraw its forces from Iraq and its “continued aggression” against the country as the reasons for their decision. the statement reads:

You have proven to everyone that you are occupation forces and that you only respect the language of force; on these bases you will be dealt with as occupiers. The Iraqi resistance forces’ military operations are a basic response to the Pindo aggression. Be aware that all operations which have been carried out against you so far were only a minor response to your aggressions as the decision to carry out operations had not been taken back then.

They stressed that the recent Pindo threats to target the resistance forces are aimed at covering up the Pindos’ own failures. The statement was signed by Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat al-Awfiy’a, Saraya Ashura, Harakat Jund al-Imam, and Saraya al-Khurasani. In late March, the other PMU group Kata’ib Hezbollah blew the lid off a plot by the Pindo military to carry out massive aerial operations backed by ground troops against bases of the elite anti-terror force, which is currently busy helping the government in the fight against a new coronavirus pandemic. The PMU statement was concluded with a message to the Iraqi people, in which the resistance groups vowed that they will not let the US occupy the country and rob its resources. The statement comes in line with earlier calls by the Iraqi Parliament and military for all foreign troops to leave the Arab country as soon as possible. Iraqi MPs unanimously approved a bill on Jan 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces led by Pindostan from the country following the assassination of Gen Soleimani along with Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their companions in a Pindo airstrike near Baghdad International Airport two days prior.

Pindostan Confirms Deployment Of Patriot Missiles In Iraq. Iran Prepares For Conflict In Strait Of Hormuz
South Front, Apr 6 2020

On Apr 5, a series of large explosions rocked the village of al-Kastan in southwestern Idlib injuring 8 people, including 3 members of the so-called White Helmets. According to local sources, an ammunition depot located in the civilian area inside the city became the source of the explosion. Al-Kastan is located near the town of Jisr al-Shughur, controlled by the AQ-linked Turkistan Islamic Party. The exploded weapon depot likely belonged to the terrorist group or persons affiliated with it. On the same day, the Turkish military established three new ‘observation posts’ around Jisr al-Shughur. They are located at the villages of Baksariya, al-Z’ainiyah and Furaykah. Idlib militants see Turkish positions as an important defense line that would allow containing possible Russia- and Iran-backed anti-terrorist operations in the area. The 46th Regiment Base of the Syrian Army in western Aleppo came under Turkish artillery shelling. In response, Syrian forces struck position of Turkish-backed militants near Kafr Amma. The attack on the 46th Regiment Base became a third incident between the Turkish military and Syrian troops in less than a week. On April 3, two Syrian soldiers were killed in a Turkish artillery strike on their positions near Tell Abyad. On Apr 4, Iraq’s largest resistance groups released a joint statement calling the Pindo military “occupation forces” that “respect the language of force only.” In the statement, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, Kata’ib al-Imam Ali, Harakat al-Awfiy’a, Saraya Ashura, Harakat Jund al-Imam and Saraya al-Khurasani added that recent attacks on Pindo forces and facilities in Iraq were only a “minor response” to the Pindo aggression and the decision to carry out full-scale attacks was not taken then. Two days earlier, on Apr 2, Usbat al-Tha’ireen, the armed group that claimed responsibility for rocket strikes on Camp Taji and other Pindo positions (a pseudo-gang, I feel certain – RB), released a 3-minute long drone footage of the Pindo embassy in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone. This is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world, and is nearly as large as Vatican City. CENTCOM officially confirmed deployment of Patriot air defense systems in Iraq. However, it also announced that it will not provide “providing status updates as those systems come online” for security reasons. At least two Patriot batteries are now located in at the military bases of Ayn al-Assad and Erbil. Two more Patriot batteries will reportedly be deployed soon. As part of its plan to redeploy forces to larger, more fortified bases, Pindostan evacuated its troops from the al-Taqaddum Air Base in the province of al-Anbar. It became the fourth military facility that they abandoned in Iraq within the last few weeks. The previous ones were located in al-Qaim, Kirkuk and al-Qayyarah. Iraqi sources say that the Pindo actions demonstrate that Faschingstein is preparing for a new round of military confrontation with Iran and its allies in the region. Recently, Trump stated that Pindostan was expecting attacks by Iranian-led forces on Pindo troops and facilities, claiming that Iran will ‘pay a price’ for this. Following the statement, Iran deployed additional anti-ship missiles and multiple rocket launchers on the Qeshm Island in the Strait of Hormuz.

Pindostan Rushed B-52s to Diego Garcia Amid January Iran Tensions
Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, Apr 6 2020

Pindo B-52 bombers were quickly deployed to Diego Garcia back in January during mounting tensions with Iran, putting the bombers in range of Iran but not in any locations where they might themselves become targets of Iran. B-52s in the region usually are deployed in Qatar, but in this case they were sent the island in the Indian Ocean, and remained there through the end of March, when the deployment formally ended. For now, there are no such bombers deployed in the area near Iran, but as was shown in January, Pindostan can get them into the area within a matter of days if they are ratcheting up tensions with Iran, something that happens often lately. Putting the bombers at Diego Garcia shows that Pindostan continues to intend to use the island in an Iran conflict, and shows that the January flare-up was indeed approaching a possible war before it deescalated.

New Details Emerge About Snap Deployment Of B-52s To Diego Garcia During Iran Crisis
Joseph Trevithick, The Drive, Apr 6 2020

Six B-52s that deployed to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean earlier this year flew marathon sorties to drop bombs in Afghanistan, more than 2,500 miles away. The Pentagon had sent the bombers to the remote air base ostensibly to have them in position to respond to potential Iranian aggression in the Middle East, while also keeping them safely out of the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles. Reports first emerged that the B-52s were headed to Diego Garcia on Jan 6 2020, and satellite imagery exclusively obtained from Planet Labs confirmed that the first two bombers arrived at the base two days later. All six aircraft were assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, based at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. The deployment formally ended on Mar 31, according to the Air Force, though it is unclear if all of the bombers have actually departed Diego Garcia. USAF Maj Radtke, the 20th’s director of operations, said in a statement regarding the deployment:

Shortly after our arrival at Diego Garcia, our mission supporting CENTCOM’s regional security objectives focused on the fight in Afghanistan while maintaining a response to Iranian aggression. The B-52’s role as a long-range strike platform was proven daily, supporting operations and combatant commands. In terms of capability, no other asset brings an equal weapons load or reliability. The time from official notification to our first jets departing from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, was 26 hours, making it one of the fastest-ever B-52 deployments.

The Air Force says the six aircraft flew “more than” 1,300 flight hours of combat operations across over 90 sorties. It’s not clear how many of those were over Afghanistan and how many of them might have been patrols elsewhere in the Middle East, including over the Persian Gulf. On Feb 15, a B-52 flew an unusual mission over Somalia, as well. The Air Force never said where that bomber launched from, but the most likely base was Diego Garcia. Without knowing exactly how many flight hours or total sorties the 20th’s B-52s flew, it’s impossible to determine a hard average time for each one of those missions. However, 1,300 hours across 90 sorties comes to just short of 14 and a half hours per sortie. It’s an approximately 2,900-mile-long straight shot from Diego Garcia to Afghanistan’s capital Kabul, including flight time over the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, and Pakistan. An over-water flightpath from Diego Garcia to the middle of the Persian Gulf would be about as long. It would take a B-52 around 11 hours to complete the round trip to Eastern Afghanistan at a typical cruising speed of around 525 mph. This, of course, doesn’t include the additional time the bombers would have spent loitering over the battlefield and conducting their strikes. We don’t know where the B-52s flew their strikes, but fighting in that part of the country, particularly between Pindo forces and Daesh in Afghanistan, has been particularly heavy in recent months amid a shaky peace process going on between the Pindo government and the Taliban. This also isn’t the first time B-52s have flown strikes in Afghanistan from Diego Garcia. The bombers flew these extremely long sorties for years after the start of Pindo combat operation in that country in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It’s an extremely inefficient concept of operations. the 20th’s Radtke said:

We had to plan so disruptions in the supply chain wouldn’t affect operations.

The Air Force also says that the deployment presented communications challenges. This is why, years ago now, the Air Force had shifted to routinely basing B-52s, as well as other bombers, at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which is much closer to Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. The service also deployed Stratofortresses to Al Udeid last year with the express purpose of deterring Iran. It also experimented with a short-notice deployment of B-1B Bone bombers to Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, where it reestablished a presence in 2019. However, Al Udeid is well within the range of Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal. Unprecedented cruise missile and suicide drone strikes on oil-related infrastructure in Toad Arabia also demonstrated that Iran, either directly or via its regional proxies, could strike at targets on the other side of the Persian Gulf with other weapons, as well. The decision to deploy the B-52s to Diego Garcia in January seemed especially prudent after Iran launched an equally unprecedented ballistic missile barrage aimed at forces in neighboring Iraq on Jan 7, the day after the first bombers left for the Indian Ocean. Those strikes were in retaliation for Pindostan’s assassination of Genl Qassem Soleimani, head of IrRGC Quds Forces, in Baghdad on Jan 3. In the face of these and other attacks, the Pentagon has has repeatedly refrained from striking targets on Iranian soil, despite threats to do so, though it has targeted Iranian proxies in Iraq. So it isn’t surprising that the Air Force would exploit the long-range capabilities of the B-52s in Diego Garcia to conduct operations over Afghanistan from Diego Garcia to meet other operational demands in Afghanistan while also ensuring some portion of the bomber force was available to respond to a crisis relating to Iran. The deployment also simply highlighted the immense value that Diego Garcia provides to the Pentagon on a strategic level. Beyond the air base on the island, it also serves as a staging location for one of Military Sealift Command’s two Prepositioning Ship Squadrons. These are small fleets of cargo ships that are pre-loaded with tons of military equipment and munitions and are on call to respond relatively quickly to emerging crises. Facilities on the remote island also support space-monitoring and top secret missions. Now, at least for the meantime, the B-52s’ time at Diego Garcia has come to an end again. It remains to be seen if B-52 post as tensions with Iran still remain high and amid the ever-present potential for other crises to emerge in the Middle East, East African, and Pacific regions.

Ex-UN anti-narcotics chief & mob expert says Pindo Treasury running ‘mafia racket’ against Venezuela
Anya Parampil, Grayzone, Apr 3 2020

Red Lines host Anya Parampil speaks with Pino Arlacchi, the former Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Prevention, about the Pindo decision to charge Venezuelan Pres Maduro with drug trafficking. Arlacchi explains that in his 40 years of anti-narcotic work, he never came across evidence of Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade, instead saying that Pindostan and Colombia drive drug production and consumption. As an expert on the Italian mafia, Arlacchi says the Pindo government is actually the party behaving like an organized crime unit in its treatment of Venezuela. Arlacchi also discusses his work at the UN, which included a push to end the heroin trade in Afghanistan. He says his efforts were undermined by Pindos after the 2001 invasion of the country.

Pentagon calls for another $20b to counter China
Peter Symonds, WSWS, Apr 7 2020

Far from easing international geopolitical tensions, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged capitalism into a deep crisis and exacerbated preexisting rivalries. Beneath nominal international cooperation, the preparations for war continue apace. In an article on Sunday entitled “Pindo Military Seeks More Funding for Pacific Region After Pandemic,” the NYT featured a report by INDOPACOM to Congress calling for an additional $20b over the next five years to bolster its military capacities against China. The report was mandated by Congress as part of the FY 2020 military budget reflecting the bipartisan character of its increasingly hawkish anti-China stance. Congress specifically required that INDOPACOM, in other words the front-line command, rather than the DoD, set out what it needed to maintain military superiority over China. The funds would be spent on new radar warning systems and cruise missiles, and would also pay for more exercises with allies, deployments of additional forces and new intelligence-sharing centers. The efforts would help improve the Pindo military’s ability to deter the PLA. INDOPACOM commander Adm Davidson couched his spending plan, which he termed “Regain the Advantage,” in defensive terms, saying:

The program is designed to persuade potential adversaries that any preemptive military action will be extremely costly and likely fail, by projecting credible combat power.

His proposals include weaponry of a decidedly aggressive character, including $1b to be spent on long-range precision missiles such as the Navy’s Maritime Strike Tomahawk and the Air Force’s JASSM-ER weapon. INDOPACOM says:

These will form part of highly survivable, precision-strike networks along the First Island Chain, featuring increased quantities of allied ground-based weapons.

The First Island Chain refers to the string of islands running from Japan through Taiwan and the Philippines down to Indonesia, that would hem in Chinese forces in any conflict. All of the countries near the islands are either Pindo military vassals or in the case of Taiwan heavily dependent on Pindo protection. The other measures include a major build-up of anti-missile systems on Guam, Pindostan’s key forward military base in the western Pacific, as well as a boosting of radar systems on Palau and Hawaii, and a space-based radar tracking system. While they are construed as “defensive,” such systems are also designed to protect Pindo military assets from Chinese retaliation in the event of a Pindo first strike. The report also calls for greater funding for joint Pindo military exercises with vassals throughout the region, as well as stepped up intelligence sharing. Pindostan already has close intelligence ties with Australia, Japan and South Korea, but Davidson advocates the establishment of a counter-terrorism center, an Oceania fusion center and other intelligence facilities in the region. In Pindo ruling circles, there is a fear that the COVID-19 pandemic could further enhance the position of China at the expense of Pindo imperialism. The apparent ability of the Chinese regime to contain the spread of the virus and to offer aid to other countries in the midst of the crisis, stands in marked contrast to the rapidly mounting death toll and numbers of infections in Pindostan. Already, the Pindo administration has sought to deflect attention from its own failings by lashing out at China, with Trump and other senior boxtops branding COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” or the “Chinese virus.” Pompeo effectively blocked a joint communiqué at the G7 meeting last month by insisting that it name the germ as the “Wuhan virus.” In remarks at the State Dept after hosting the G7 meeting, Pompeo provocatively declared:

The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus clearly has demonstrated.

He slammed Beijing for providing aid to other countries and then “claiming that they are now the white hat.” This campaign has been accompanied by a barrage of Pindo criticisms of China for initially attempting to cover up the outbreak and not alerting the world sooner. Several Pindo politicians have even asserted, without any evidence, that the virus had been produced in a Chinese biowar lab. A Chinese boxtop retaliated by suggesting the virus had been developed in a Pindo biowar lab. Trump last week dialed back his inflammatory rhetoric after a phone call with Pres Xi Jinping, as the anti-China barbs threatened to get in the way of shipments of vital Chinese medical supplies to Pindostan, but Pompeo continued the attacks. A State Dept release reported that Pompeo had raised with Stoltenberg the need to counter attempts by China and Russia to “spread disinformation and propaganda related to the virus.” Congressional advocates of an aggressive military build-up against China have seized on the INDOPACOM report to push for greater defence spending in the Pacific. Josh Hawley, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told the NYT that the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to upend the status quo around the world, particularly in Asia. he said:

China understands that the global pandemic is an inflection point. They are trying to turn this to their advantage. Make no mistake, they are still pursuing their global strategic ambitions. The need for us to laser focus on China’s economic and military ambitions is going to be more urgent once we beat this pandemic, not less.

Pindo imperialism is determined to maintain the “status quo” in which it is the dominant global power by all means, including if need be through war. The Pindo military expansion that began under Obama’s “pivot to Asia” has been aggressively accelerated under Trump, coinciding with his trade war measures. While the Pindo health system has proven inadequately funded and equipped to handle the pandemic and the death toll has risen past 10,000, the political establishment in Faschingstein is preparing a new disaster in the form of a war between nuclear-armed powers.

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