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France and Russia United By A Common Enemy

by coldwarrior ( 213 Comments › )
Filed under Chechnya, Europe, France, immigration, ISIS, Islam, Open thread, Russia, Terrorism at November 18th, 2015 - 6:50 am

I must say, it is nice to see the Euros try to handle a Middle East problem without relying on us.

Russia, France Put Aside Syria Disputes to Strike Islamic State

  • Putin ordered Russian navy to work with French vessels
  • French leader to meet Putin, Obama to discuss Paris response

Russia and France, long at loggerheads over their approach to the war in Syria, took steps toward a united military front against Islamic State in response to the massacre in Paris and the downed plane in Egypt.

President Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Navy to work with French vessels “as allies” on the same day he vowed revenge for the Oct. 31 downing of a Russian airliner over Egypt that killed 224 people. For the first time, he acknowledged the tragedy was a terrorist attack.

In the aftermath of Europe’s worst bloodshed in a decade, rapprochement with Russia has become a central strand of the Western response to the escalating violence and widening reach of Islamic State. French President Francois Hollande will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington and Putin in Moscow next week after calling upon both leaders to set aside their differences over Syria and Ukraine and work together.

Obama said on Wednesday while in Manila for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that the Sinai attack may change Russia’s approach to Islamic State. The U.S. would wait to see whether Russia devoted more airstrikes to the militant group, he said.

“It may be premature to talk about an alliance, we should probably speak of coordination,” said Thomas Gomart, director of the French Institute for Foreign Relations and a Russia expert. “It’s clear the Paris attacks have caused a diplomatic shift in President Hollande’s reading of Russia.”

No Horsetrading

France wants a joint game plan by the end of the week on how to hit Islamic State in Syria harder and more efficiently. French officials said that Hollande has no plans to raise Ukraine with Putin or cut a deal involving any form of trade-off with Syria. The Russians understood that, the officials said on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

Russia and Western countries have been conducting separate bombing campaigns against militant groups in the ravaged nation.

The U.S. and allies have complained that Russia’s focus has been protecting the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad rather than stopping the advance of Islamic State, which has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Syria and Iraq. Russia says the West’s aversion to Assad has limited the effectiveness of its campaign against extremists.

Putin Shift?

Russia is softening its insistence on protecting Assad after realizing that Assad’s army is unable to hold areas which the Russian air force has swept clear, French officials said.

In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held out the prospect that a Syrian ceasefire could come within weeks, allowing a renewed focus on Islamic State. Getting the U.S. and Russia to set aside their mutual mistrust will be a challenge. On Wednesday, Obama described Russia as a “constructive partner” during Syria talks in recent weeks.

The U.S. isn’t actively cooperating with Russia because its military efforts in Syria are intended largely to support Assad, though there are signs of a shift, Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook told reporters Tuesday at the Pentagon. “Recent airstrikes have appeared to have targeted ISIL-controlled areas,” he said. “That’s a good thing.”

MAP: Metrojet Crash
MAP: Metrojet Crash



Islamic State’s assaults on Ankara and Beirut, as well as in Paris and Egypt, happened in swift succession and shaken the leaders into action in spite of lingering differences on goals.

Intensifying Strikes

Russia’s military on Tuesday doubled the number of airstrikes in Syria, sending long-range bombers to strike Islamic State positions, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. As France carried out new attacks on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa on Tuesday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told TF1 television the group must be fought to “annihilation.”

Signs of convergence between Putin and the West comes as Russia’s economy stagnates under sanctions imposed in response to his annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. After a 90-minute meeting with Obama at the Group of 20 summit in Turkey, heannounced Monday he’s willing to help restructure Ukrainian debt, settling a dispute that has dogged the country’s efforts to rebuild its fragile finances.

Russia’s benchmark Micex stock-market index rose 2.7 percent on Tuesday to its highest level since February as investors bet the country’s economic isolation may ease.

Franco-Russian Relations

Franco-Russian naval cooperation highlights how relations with France have improved since hitting a nadir in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea last year. Just three months ago, Hollande’s government canceled the sale of Mistral-class amphibious assault ships to Putin’s navy in protest at Russian actions in Ukraine.

Back in Paris, investigators are far from getting the full picture, including the total number total number of individuals involved in the carnage. A manhunt continues for at least one suspect, Belgian-born Abdeslam Salah, 26.

Police in France conducted 128 raids overnight, continuing a crackdown on suspected extremists throughout the country that began on Sunday. In Belgium, home to the suspected planner of the attacks, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, authorities raised the national terror-alert level and canceled a Belgium-Spain soccer match, citing security concerns.

And officers in the German town of Alsdorf arrested five people on suspicion of involvement in the Paris attacks. Multiple squads of police are conducting searches in the town, which is near the city of Aachen, according to local media.

In Hanover, a soccer game that Chancellor Angela Merkel had been scheduled to attend was canceled, with police saying they had received a bomb threat. The game had been intended to send a signal of solidarity after the Paris attacks.

Meanwhile, the German interior minister, Thomas de Maiziere, said a Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris attacks may have been planted. Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise suspicions that it could be an attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

Russia Bombs ISIS

by coldwarrior ( 53 Comments › )
Filed under Chechnya, Christianity, ISIS, Islam, Open thread, Orthodox Christianity, Russia, Syria at October 4th, 2015 - 5:00 am

The claims that Russia is not bombing ISIS are wrong. Is it propaganda that they are wrong or just laziness?








I could continue with links…but yinz get the picture. This can be added to the discussion here. Changes the equation and analysis a bit, however, I stand by this analysis:

it seems that the israelis are fine with assad being propped up by putin. putin makes assad his bitch, makes him cut ties with iran, dont kill christians etc, and swear fealty to moscow. this helps putin secure his southern / chechen border and gives russia some nice ports to play with and makes russia even more powerful while america gets weaker.

putin will make assad his ‘son of a bitch’



The brains behind ISIS: 100 Saddam era officers

by Phantom Ace ( 165 Comments › )
Filed under Chechnya, Iraq, Islam, Islamists, Syria at August 10th, 2015 - 9:00 am

The success of the Islamic state against the Iraqi Shiites, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hezbollah and the Syrian Army over the past two years has caught many analysts off guard. Recently many journalists and researchers began to uncover the facts that ISIS is really a combination of Iraqi Baathists, Arab Sunni Jihadists and Chechens.

As ISIS overran the Sunni heartland of Iraq, they installed ex Baathists into position of power in the towns they took. This was no coincidence as the brains behind ISIS are over 100 Saddam era Iraqi army officers. This has given the Islamic State an advantage over its adversaries and making them way more dangerous than al-Qaeda or Hezbollah ever was.



Once part of one of the most brutal dictator’s army in the Middle East, over 100 former members of Saddam Hussein’s military and intelligence officers are now part of ISIS.

Now they make up the complex network of ISIS’s leadership, helping to build the military strategies which have led the brutal jihadi group to their military gains in Syria and Iraq.

The officers gave ISIS the organization and discipline it needed to weld together jihadi fighters drawn from across the globe, integrating terror tactics like suicide bombings with military operations.


Patrick Skinner, a former CIA case officer who has served in Iraq, said Saddam-era military and intelligence officers were a ‘necessary ingredient’ in the Islamic State group’s stunning battlefield successes last year, accounting for its transformation from a ‘terrorist organization to a proto-state.’

‘Their military successes last year were not terrorist, they were military successes,’ said Skinner, now director of special projects for The Soufan Group, a private strategic intelligence services firm.

The group’s second-in-command, al-Baghdadi’s deputy, is a former Saddam-era army major, Saud Mohsen Hassan, known by the pseudonyms Abu Mutazz and Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, according to the intelligence chief.

Hassan also goes by Fadel al-Hayali, a fake name he used before the fall of Saddam, the intelligence chief, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.


‘IS’s military performance has far exceeded what we expected. The running of battles by the veterans of the Saddam military came as a shock,’ a brigadier general in military intelligence told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive topic.

‘Security-wise, we are often left unable to know who replaces who in the leadership. We are unable to infiltrate the group. It is terrifying.’

Estimates of the number of Saddam-era veterans in IS ranks vary from 100 to 160 in mostly mid- and senior-level positions, according to the officials.

Typically, they hail from Sunni-dominated areas, with intelligence officers mostly from western Anbar province, the majority of army officers from the northern city of Mosul and members of security services exclusively from Saddam’s clan around his hometown of Tikrit, said Big. Gen. Abdul-Wahhab al-Saadi, a veteran of battles against IS north and west of Baghdad.

For example, a former brigadier general from Saddam-era special forces, Assem Mohammed Nasser, also known as Nagahy Barakat, led a bold assault in 2014 on Haditha in Anbar province, killing around 25 policemen and briefly taking over the local government building.

Many of the Saddam-era officers have close tribal links to or are the sons of tribal leaders in their regions, giving IS a vital support network as well as helping recruitment.

These tribal ties are thought to account, at least in part, for the stunning meltdown of Iraqi security forces when IS captured the Anbar capital of Ramadi in May.

Several of the officers interviewed by the AP said they believe IS commanders persuaded fellow tribesmen in the security forces to abandon their positions without a fight.

Skinner, the former CIA officer, noted the sophistication of the Saddam-era intelligence officers he met in Iraq and the intelligence capabilities of IS in Ramadi, Mosul and in the group’s de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria.

‘They do classic intelligence infiltration. They have stay-behind cells, they actually literally have sleeper cells,’ Skinner said.

Despite being stopped cold by the Kurds, in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State continues to advance against Assad’s forces. They have recently took the village al-Qaryatayn in Homs which puts them 30 miles to the Lebanese border and potentially cut off Assad’s forces in northern Syria and threaten Hezbollah’s heartland in the Bekaa valley.

The Islamic State is a just a rebranded version of the Iraqi Baathist party.

They say, eventually the truth always comes out

by Phantom Ace ( 290 Comments › )
Filed under Europe, Russia at June 8th, 2015 - 1:41 pm

Guest Blogger: Doriangrey

In general it is where the American public has found itself with regards to its politicians and the media that is suppose to hold them accountable.
They say, eventually the truth always comes out.
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They say, eventually the truth always comes out. You just never really know when it will.

Well, apparently some of it got out back in May, and, well, apparently almost nobody noticed the significances. In an article released on the 28th of May 2015 in WIRED the truth behind the European Union and the United States attempt to overthrow the Government of Ukraine and install a Western Puppet regime. At first glance, the most obvious reason seemed to be, (was obviously intended to be mistaken for the reason) was the Russian oil/natural gas pipelines through Ukraine and the prices Russia was charging Europe for oil and natural gas.

Well, WIRED accidentally spilled the beans. WIRED thought all they were doing was following up on bits of information released by Edward Snowden.

“Torus”: has one word in a Snowden leak revealed a huge expansion in surveillance?

Well, it turns out there was a bit of covert intelligence information in the WIRED article that went way beyond what the authors of the article realized they were bringing to light. What they exposed was the real reason behind the EU, US and Russian power struggle over Ukraine. It goes back to the Cold War and its about as James Bond as it gets.

Here is what WIRED accident exposed.

First you have to know something about Torus before this little 2 paragraph accidental bit of information makes any sense, or why it is responsible for the EU, US and Russian conflict in Ukraine.

What is Torus?

In literal terms the word can mean “doughnut”, though from the slide it appeared that this doughnut has special properties — namely being a critical new means by which to grab all of the world’s communications that still travel through space. “Torus increases access”, one cryptic slide suggested.
Getty Images

We looked, and we found. Torus is a brand new kind of satellite espionage, capable of soaking up calls and messages and data from 35 satellites at once. The dishes themselves don’t look too different to familiar space tracking dishes, and can be hidden inside giant white globes — radomes. But look more closely and the power of the doughnut emerges. Specifically, a Torus dish can monitor 70 degrees of the sky, without moving. Mathematically, the dishes are a combination of a parabola with a sphere, shaped to relay multiple signals focussed from space into an array of different listening horns. Once collected all the different facets of modern communications, from Facebook to fax, are separated and sifted and filed away in giant data centres, such as NSA has recently built near Salt Lake City.
Getty Images

Over the last eight years, we believe our research shows, western spy agencies have built six new Torus collectors in the UK, Cyprus, Oman, Australia and New Zealand. Their locations are diverse: deep in the Australian outback, in Lord of the Rings territory in New Zealand’s South Island, and on the Devon coast in England.

About 400 commercial communications satellites now orbit over the equator 24,000 miles above the Earth’s surface, carrying data and telephone signals to remote areas, ocean cruise liners, and privileged passengers in the air. All are targets for what a leaked NSA document calls the “New Collection Posture”.

The agencies already have more than 200 traditional tracking dishes scattered around the planet — we counted them all, using Google Earth and other online image sites. The online images show that numbers of listening dishes have doubled since about 2000. The six new doughnut dishes can double this up again, and “collect-it-all”, as claimed in Top Secret Snowden slides, potentially increasing snooping capacity by up to 200 satellites.
The long history of Torus

And here is the little jewel WIRED let slip.

But the Russians got there first, we found. The grandmother of all doughnut dishes had been built first by the former Soviet intelligence service in the final years of the Cold War, before 1990. Lurking in Ukraine wheat fields 15 kilometres from the Black Sea port of Odessa, the Ovidiopol-2 spy base may once have been the electronic jewel in the KGB’s crown. Former Russian spies say they called it “the Comb”.

Standing 10 storeys high and 80 metres across, the Ovidiopol-2 listening antenna appears to have been equipped to track at least 20 western satellites at once. After the USSR broke up, it was handed over to the Ukraine government’s foreign intelligence service (SZRU). The site is still in use, and now includes a second Torus.

Did you get it? What is at stake here, in this little rumble in Ukraine, is the former KGB’s and now Russia’s most powerful and largest covert information collection tool and storage database. There it is in a nutshell, a prize that the EU (NATO) and the US simply could not afford to not try to capture. And one that there was never any chance that Vladimir Putin would not make every effort to prevent their obtaining.

(Cross Posted @ The Wilderness of Mirrors)


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