Washington Post Op-Ed Calls for "Safe Zones" in Syria

US Seeks to Turn Syria into the "Libya of the Levant." 

February 5, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - LD) - As Aleppo is finally encircled and begins the process of liberation from NATO-backed terrorists who have besieged and occupied parts of the city since 2012, and as Syrian forces backed by its allies overwhelm enemy fronts across the rest of Syria, desperation across the West is palpable.

"Peace talks" in Geneva have all but collapsed with the West and its collection of terrorists and client political fronts coming to the negotiation table with absolutely nothing to bargain with. The political component of the West's proxy war has been ineffective and impotent almost from the beginning of the conflict in 2011. The militant component has been waning and upon Russia's entry into the conflict, folded over and sent on the run.

Image: NATO-armed and funded terrorists encircled, starved and besieged Libyan cities like Sirte and Bani Walid on the ground as NATO airpower pounded them from above. The result was not humanitarian salvation, but absolute and enduring devastation. 
This tenuous position has caused the West to once again dust-off its plans to invade and occupy Syrian territory along the Turkish-Syrian border - in the last remaining Islamic State-Al Qaeda supply corridor yet to be cut off by Syrian and Kurdish forces.

The call has manifested itself in both Turkish and Saudi military preparations, and now in an op-ed in the Washington Post.

Titled, "The diplomatic case for America to create a safe zone in Syria," Nicholas Burns - U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs from 2005 to 2008 - and James Jeffrey - U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2010 to 2012 - proposed:
As the talks proceed, Obama and Kerry must also consider stronger measures to protect millions of civilians at risk, including establishing humanitarian corridors to reach those subjected to air assaults by the government and attacks by terrorist groups on the ground. Most important, we believe the Obama team will have to reconsider what it has rejected in the past: the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria to protect civilians, along with a no-fly zone to enforce it.
Of course, between this measure, and calls for the US to dump further resources into the defeated proxy terrorists on the ground in Syria, all Burns and Jeffery are proposing is the transformation of Syria into the "Libya of the Levant."

Readers should recall that precisely the same prescription was applied to Libya in 2011. "Moderate rebels" were also armed, funded, and given aircover amid a NATO-enforced no-fly zone in order to overthrow the government. What resulted was an orgy of genocidal mass murder and  then the subsequent fracturing and destruction of the nation-state that was Libya.


Beijing Vs DC: The Battle for Southeast Asia

February 4, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The Strait Times published an opinion piece by the London-based Rob Edens. Wishfully titled, "South-east Asia fast becoming unfriendly territory for China," it attempts to portray Southeast Asia as increasingly pivoting West toward Washington, coincidentally just as Washington was "pivoting" East toward Asia.



Edens' attempts to outline Beijing and Washington's respective strategies in the region by stating:
On the one hand, China's "One Belt One Road" initiative, for instance, is focused on physical infrastructure; improving road, rail and air networks overland between neighbouring states as a means to oil the cogs of commerce and bring new customers into China's fold. On the other hand, the US-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) maintains a discourse of freer trade in the Pacific region, opening up new markets overseas by relaxing tariffs and increasing various standards relating to the process of manufacture.
Lost on Edens appears to be the fact that physical infrastructure built beyond China's borders becomes a long-term asset for those who cooperate in its construction, while Western "free trade" is in all reality, submission to foreign economic hegemony. Many aspects of "free trade" agreements are in fact, stripped verbatim from treaties that defined Colonial Europe and its subjugation of Southeast Asia.

"Free Trade" is Code for Economic Hegemony 

Edens seems to believe that "free trade" is a viable incentive to lure Southeast Asia away from China. However, upon historical examination, it is more a means to coerce it away.

Thailand in the 1800's, then the Kingdom of Siam, was surrounded on all sides by colonized nations. Gunboats would eventually turn up off the coast of Siam's capital and the Kingdom made to concede to the British 1855 Bowring Treaty. Upon examining these terms imposed via "gunboat policy," how many of them echo verbatim the terms found among modern "free trade" economic liberalization?
  1. Siam granted extraterritoriality to British subjects. 
  2. British could trade freely in all seaports and reside permanently in Bangkok. 
  3. British could buy and rent property in Bangkok. 
  4. British subjects could travel freely in the interior with passes provided by the consul. 
  5. Import and export duties were capped at 3%, except the duty-free opium and bullion. 
  6. British merchants were to be allowed to buy and sell directly with individual Siamese.
Compared to modern day examples of "free trade," and in Iraq's case, free trade imposed once again by the barrel of a gun, it is nearly impossible to distinguish any difference.

The Economist would enthusiastically enumerate the conditions of "economic liberalization" imposed upon Iraq in the wake of the 2003 US invasion in a piece titled "Let's all go to the yard sale: If it all works out, Iraq will be a capitalist's dream." They are as follows:
  1. 100% ownership of Iraqi assets. 
  2. Full repatriation of profits. 
  3. Equal legal standing with local firms. 
  4. Foreign banks allowed to operate or buy into local banks. 
  5. Income and corporate taxes capped at 15%. 
  6. Universal tariffs slashed to 5%.
Iraq is a perfect modern day example of a nation overrun by brute force and made to concede to an entire restructuring of its economy, giving foreign powers not only access to their natural resources, markets, and population, but uncontested domination over them as well. It was absolute subjugation, both militarily and economically. It was modern day conquest. And it is something Washington seeks to repeat elsewhere, including Southeast Asia.

US-NATO Invade Libya to Fight Terrorists of Own Creation

Up to 6,000 troops are being sent to invade and occupy Libya, seizing oilfields allegedly threatened by terrorists NATO armed and put into power in 2011. 

February 2, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The London Telegraph, almost as a footnote, reports of a sizable Western military force being sent in on the ground to occupy Libya in an operation it claims is aimed at fighting the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS). In its article, "Islamic State battles to seize control of key Libyan oil depot," it reports:
Under the plan, up to 1,000 British troops would form part of a 6,000-strong joint force with Italy - Libya's former colonial power - in training and advising Libyan forces. British special forces could also be engaged on the front line.



One would suspect a 6,000-strong foreign military force being sent into Libya would be major headline news, with debates raging before the operation even was approved. However, it appears with no debate, no public approval, and little media coverage, US, British, and European troops, including Libya's former colonial rulers - the Italians - are pushing forward with direct military intervention in Libya, once again.

The Mirror's "SAS spearhead coalition offensive to halt Islamic State oil snatches in Libya," claims the West's 6,000 soldiers face up to 5,000 ISIS terrorists - raising questions about the veracity of both the true intentions of the West's military intervention and the nature of the enemy they are allegedly intervening to fight.

Military doctrine generally prescribes overwhelming numerical superiority for invading forces versus defenders. For example, during the the 2004 battle for the Iraqi city of Fallujah, the US arrayed over 10,000 troops versus 3,000-4,000 defenders. This means large, sweeping operations to directly confront and destroy ISIS in Libya are not intended, and like Western interventions elsewhere, it is being designed to instead perpetuate the threat of ISIS and therefore, perpetuate Western justification for extraterritorial military intervention in Libya and beyond.

With an initial foothold in Libya intentionally designed to last, it will inevitably be expanded, supporting US AFRICOM operations throughout the rest of North Africa.

Laos: The New Cold War Battleground You Don't Know About

February 1, 2016 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - The "New Cold War" could be a potential description for the unfolding geopolitical lay of the planet as Russia reemerges as a world power, and China rises as a new one in the face of a prevailing Wall Street-Washington-London international order.



The most obvious battlegrounds taking shape in this "New Cold War" are Ukraine, Syria, and the South China Sea. Perhaps not as high-profile but no less important are the ongoing conflicts in and around Libya, the proxy war being waged across Yemen, and America's enduring occupation of Afghanistan in Central Asia.

However, there are other struggles taking place that go virtually unseen by the general public, or are briefly mentioned - out of context in the news - before being quickly forgotten.

Laos - A Pivotal Battleground 


Image: Victims of unexploded US ordnance. 
For the Southeast Asian state of Laos, this is not the first time it has played a pivotal role in the ongoing struggle between East and West. It was bombed during the Vietnam War by the United States and according to the UN-funded Washington-based "Legacies of War" organization:
 ...from 1964 to 1973, the U.S. dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions—equal to a planeload of bombs every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history.
Even as US diplomats find themselves today posing for photo opportunities in Laos' capital, Vientiane, nearly 100 people a year are still killed or injured across the country from unexploded US ordnance.

Today, Laos serves as more than a mere extension of the Vietnam War's battlefield and subsequent legacy. Bordering Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand, it is a crossroads between much of Southeast Asia as well as the gateway into East Asia.

Though landlocked, Laos possesses immense hydroelectric potential - potential that has been incrementally developed through cooperation with Beijing. Not only do dam projects help manage water resources and provide electricity for the people of Laos, it has allowed Laos to become an increasingly important source of alternative energy for its neighbors as well.


Syria's Base Wars

January 30, 2016 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - Since 2011, Syria has fought desperately to hold itself together as a single, unified nation. Threatened from the beginning by the "Libya precedent," Washington and its regional allies have openly conspired to divide up Syria as a consolatory objective upon failing to topple Damascus outright.


US policymakers, some of whom had previously played a role in laying out invasion and occupation plans for Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, have published numerous op-eds and entire policy papers regarding the planned partition of Syria.

It was hoped that the Syrian government could be pushed from Damascus and sent fleeing to Syria's western provinces of Latakia and Tartus. From there, the US hoped to create a Saudi-Qatari-Turkish dominated central state with a Kurdish territory linked up with US-backed Kurds in northern Iraq. Forever divided against itself, Syria would never again function as a powerful ally of nearby Iran, Lebanon's Hezbollah or Russia and distant China.

Russia's intervention in Syria has all but prevented Damascus from falling. And while the Western media has attempted to claim the intervention has made little difference, so successful has it actually been that attempts by Turkey to establish its long-sought after "safe zone" in northern Syria have also all but evaporated.

Syrian troops backed by Russian airpower have moved from Latakia along Syria's border with Turkey toward the now much reported-on A'zaz-Jarabulus corridor while another force pushes north from eastern Aleppo toward the Turkish border. Elsewhere, Syrian forces are securing Damascus, pushing Western-backed militants over their southernmost border with Jordan and pushing east toward Raqqa itself.

What is left? 

What has been left for the US and its regional allies is a possible attempt to invade and occupy Syria's northeast. The US has already been allegedly carrying out ground operations in this region supposedly in support of "Kurdish" and "Arab" forces that make up what it calls the "Syrian Democratic Forces."



The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Friday that Russian experts had “arrived to explore” the Qamishli airport’s “readiness and to check what is needed to develop and use it” near the Turkish border. The report added that Russian warplanes were expected to use the airport in the “coming days and weeks.” Qamishli is located south of the Turkish border town of Nusaybin.