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Showing posts from October, 2016

Al-Masdar Podcast 10 – A New Look at Terrorism: Dr. Max Abrahms and Mojtaba Masood

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In this week's installment of the Al-Masdar Podcast, Brad Blankenship is joined with Dr. Max Abrahms to discuss his structural model of terrorism, one that is radically different from our basic intuitions. Also joining us is Mojtaba Masood, providing his experience and insights into the discussion.

Dr. Abrahms is an assistant professor of political science at Northeastern University. Dr. Abrahms is a member at the Council on Foreign Relations and works for The Center for Cyber and Homeland Security. Mr. Masood is a London-based documentary filmmaker and political analyst.

You can view Mr. Masood's documentary here.

Ceasefire in Syria violated 40 times in 24 hours: Russian Reconciliation Center

(TASS) At least 40 ceasefire violations by armed groups have been registered in the past 24 hours in Syria, including 20 breaches in the region of Aleppo, 15 ― in the Damascus province, and five ― in the Latakia province, the Russian Center for reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria said in its daily news bulletin posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s official website on Saturday.

"Armed groups, which have announced joining the regime of cessation of hostilities, delivered fire from mortars and small arms in the Damascus province ― on the populated localities of Harasta, Jobar, Bala al-Kadima, Douma, and the positions of government forces on Abu Ali mountain in the Latakia province. At 1:15pm, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the city of Damascus came under mortar fire, no one was hurt," the document says.

In the Latakia province, militants shelled the village of Jourin and used an unmanned aerial vehicle with an explosive device that left a civilian wounded…

“Confronting China”

By John Pilger

TJC: Please tell us about your new film, The Coming War on China.

JP: The Coming War on China is my 60th film and perhaps one of the most urgent. It continues the theme of illuminating the imposition of great power behind a facade of propaganda as news. In 2011, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’ of US forces: almost two-thirds of American naval power would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020.

The undeclared rationale for this was the ‘threat’ from China, by some measure now the greatest economic power. The Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, says US policy is to confront those ‘who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us’.

The film examines power in both countries and how nuclear weapons, in American eyes, are the bedrock of its dominance. In its first ‘chapter’, the film reveals how most of the population of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific were unwittingly made into nuclear guinea pigs in a programme whose secrets – and aston…


In October a series of reports appeared in The Washington Post and other US media about expected supplies of various modern weapon systems to the so-called ‘moderate opposition’ in Syria. The reports argued that Washington was considering the new plan for Syria that included massive supplies of weapons that had to allow the oppositioneers to defend themselves from the Russian and Syrian air power and artillery. This fact was described as an indication of Washnigton’s skepticism about the prospects of so-called ‘peaceful solution’ in the country. Nonetheless, it was neither approved nor denied, according to the media.

The secret CIA program of training and arming ‘moderate terrorists’ has been the core of American strategy, aiming to overthrow Assad and set a puppet government in Syria, since the start of the war. Nonetheless, the Obama administration is likely set to postponed the resumption and expansion of this program and to pass the need to make a decision to next president. The US…

"America Has Lost" in the Philippines

By Pepe Escobar

Your honors, in this venue I announce my separation from the United States… both in military and economics also».

Thus Philippines President Rodrigo «The Punisher» Duterte unleashed a geopolitical earthquake encompassing Eurasia and reverberating all across the Pacific Ocean.

And talk about choosing his venue with aplomb; right in the heart of the Rising Dragon, no less.

Capping his state visit to Beijing, Duterte then coined the mantra – pregnant with overtones - that will keep ringing all across the global South; «America has lost».

And if that was not enough, he announced a new alliance – Philippines, China and Russia – is about to emerge; «there are three of us against the world».

Predictably, the Beltway establishment in the «indispensable nation» went bananas, reacting as «puzzled» or in outright anger, dispersing the usual expletives on the «crude populist», «unhinged leader».

The bottom line is that it takes a lot of balls for the leader of a poor, developing country,…


The Russian Armed Forces received the new advanced Buk-M3 surface-to-air missile system, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov has announced.

“Two Buk-M2 batteries and one Buk-M3 battery are in the interests of the Land and Airborne Forces,” Borisov said in a statement .

The newest Russian 9K317M Buk-M3 medium-range surface-to-air missile system (NATO reporting name: SA-17 Grizzly) entered in service in 2015.

The new type of missile used by the launcher is more compact than the previous versions. This allows Buk-M3 to carry a payload of six instead of four missiles. The new missile also outclasses previous models in technical characteristics. The missile can destroy any type of airborne target in existence, can be used against naval and ground targets and it is resistant to electronic.


The Russian Navy’s the Kamov Ka-31 military helicopter has been spotted in Jeblah in the Syrian province of Latakia.

The Ka-31 is a Russian-made military helicopter, designed to play the naval airborne early warning and control role. Its visually distinctive feature is the large antenna of the early-warning radar, rotating or folded and stowed under the fuselage.

The Ka-31’radar has a 360° coverage and can spot aircraft-size target from 150 km range.

Army General Command: Erdogan regime perpetrates a massacre that killed more than 150 innocent civilians in Aleppo northern countryside

Damascus, SANA-General Command of the army and armed forces said on Thursday that warplanes of Erdogan regime perpetrated on Wednesday a massacre that killed more than 150 innocent civilians through targeting the villages and towns of Hasajk, al-Wariyah, Hassiya, Ghoul Srouj, Sad al-Shahba, Ehris and Um Housh in Aleppo northern countryside.

The army’s command affirmed that this flagrant aggression which targeted innocent citizens is considered as a dangerous development that could escalate the situation.

It warned that any attempt to repeat the violation of the Syrian airspace by the Turkish warplanes will be responded and downed with all available means.


The Worst Place on Earth

Death and Life in the Lost Town of Leer

By Nick Turse

LEER, South Sudan -- There it is again. That sickening smell. I’m standing on the threshold of a ghost of a home. Its footprint is all that’s left. In the ruins sits a bulbous little silver teakettle -- metal, softly rounded, charred but otherwise perfect, save for two punctures. Something tore through it and ruined it, just as something tore through this home and ruined it, just as something tore through this town and left it a dusty, wasted ruin.

This, truth be told, is no longer a town, not even a razed one. It’s a killing field, a place where human remains lie unburied, whose residents have long since fled, while its few remaining inhabitants are mostly refugees from similarly ravaged villages.

The world is awash in killing fields, sites of slaughter where armed men have laid waste to the innocent, the defenseless, the unlucky; locales where women and children, old and young men have been suffocated, had their skulls shattered, be…

ISIS breaks open Kirkuk prison releasing many terrorists

ISIS have announced that it has broken into Kirkuk prison, the site of many detained terrorists, in which all were freed. This is a report corroborated by the Popular Mobilzation Units (PMU).

In response, PMU have announced that they will move even more units to assist the Peshmerga in routing ISIS.

The PMU have announced that this far, at least 70 ISIS fighters have been killed.

The Kurdistan Workers Party have also arrived in Kirkuk to assist in the anti-terrorist operations.

The US have conducted airstrikes over Kirkuk which demonstrates that the situation is not under control yet as the mayor had claimed many hours ago.


NATO officials have confirmed that the Russian aircraft carrier Kuznetsov has sailed past Norway and appears to be heading in the direction of Syria. 
— Senior Nato Diplomat Says Russia Is Deploying All of Northern Fleet and Part of Baltic Fleet to Reinforce Syria Campaign 
— Deployment Is Russia’s Largest Naval Deployment Since End of Cold War – Nato Diplomat 
— Deployment Will Increase Number of Russian Fighter Bombers in Syria, Moscow May Launch Final Air Assault on Aleppo in Two Weeks 
– Nato Diplomat THE LINES ARE DRAWN It is expected that the aircraft carrier and its cargo will arrive in Syria within a period of two weeks. The carrier was escorted by seven other Russian ships. 

This deployment represents the most powerful and largest Russian military issue since the Cold War. According to General Morton Haga Lunde, the head of the Norwegian military intelligence service, it is almost certain that this deployment “will probably play a role in the deciding battle for Aleppo.” The…


The picture below depicts the comparison of military situation in Damascus countryside in 2013 and in 2016. The Syrian government showed an incontestable progress in securing the area of its capital. Click to see the full-size map

Uprising in Mosul begins as civilians attack ISIS

BAGHDAD, IRAQ (3:50 A.M.) - The armed uprising in Mosul is under way, as local civilians attack the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham's (ISIS) installations around this provincial capital in northwest Iraq.

The civilians participating in this armed rebellion are members of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU); they have played a critical role in the uprising against the Islamic State terrorists.

While the civilian uprising commences, the Iraqi Army's 9th, 15th, and 16th divisions, alongside their allies, are storming several villages in southern Mosul, looking to expel the terrorist forces from the Nineveh Plains.

This large-scale offensive has already gotten off to a great start, with the Iraqi forces liberating the Assyrian city of Bashiqa from the Islamic State occupiers.

According to the official media wing of the Popular Mobilization Units, the Iraqi forces are currently within 30 km of Mosul's downtown area, as they continue to tighten the noose around the Islamic State&…

Houthi rebels foil Saudi forces attack on Najran [+Video]

Saudi military lost dozens of soldiers in a failed attempt to storm a rebel-held area to the east of the Saudi city of Najran.

Local source said that Houthi rebels, backed by Yemeni Army, successfully managed to repel a major attack launched by Saudi soldiers.

The sources confirmed that dozens of the attacking force were killed and injured, in addition to several military vehicles destroyed.

Planned humanitarian pause in Aleppo extended by 3 hours, 8 corridors to open – Russian military

Russia is extending by three hours the humanitarian pause in Aleppo, Syria, planned for October 20, citing requests from international humanitarian organizations. Two of the eight corridors that are to open will be meant for use by the rebels.

“On October 20, starting at 8am, a humanitarian pause is to be introduced in Aleppo to allow civilians to escape and sick and injured people to be evacuated, and for militants to leave the eastern part of the city,” Lt. Gen. Sergey Rudskoy said.

He added that the people leaving eastern Aleppo would be monitored in real time via web cameras and surveillance drones.

The footage will be broadcast on the Russian Defense Ministry’s website.

The general said it took measures to inform Aleppo residents of the opportunity to leave the city by airdropped leaflets, loudspeakers, mobile phone text messages and through Internet.

There are eight corridors in Aleppo, with six of them for civilians and humanitarian aid deliveries, Rudskoy said.

Two of the corridors …


Click to see the full-size map

On October 15, the US artillery and the US-led coalition’s airpower delivered massive strikes on ISIS targets inside and outside the city of Mosul, de-facto starting a long-awaited operation to liberate the last major ISIS stronghold in Iraq.

The Iraqi military, the semi-autonomous, predominantly Shia, Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), the Kurdish Peshmerga, some pro-government Sunni tribal fighters and US and French Special Forces will participate in the operation. Up to 40,000 fighters, over 130 artillery guns, few hundreds of military vehicles will participate in the operation. Warplanes and combat UAVs, belonging to the US-led coalition, and US artillery units will provide support to the main forces.

Such a scrappy anti-ISIS force on the ground will create additional troubles during the operation. Almost all participants are interested to gain political, economic and PR revenue from the operation and to avoid significant casualties as more as it’s poss…


A screenshot from Almasirah TV’s video

Forces of the Houthi-Saleh alliance have destroyed a Saudi military convoy at the Saudi-Yemeni border. The incident took place at October 14, 2016.

As result of the attack up to 60 Saudi military sevicemen were killed, 3 battle tanks and 6 vehicles destroyed.

Almasirah TV released a video of the battle: