Skin Or No Skin In A Game Called Syria

Bashar al-Assad is a geek with a lisp, a former optometrist and ELO fan. But we should also remember what he comes from. His father Hafez al-Assad used the suicide bomber to birth the modern era of international terrorism.

“Although incontrovertible proof is lacking, Western intelligence believes that the truck bombs used in the attack on the American Marine and French compounds in Beirut last October were rigged in the Bekaa Valley, which lies along the Syrian border. If so, the Syrians must have at least known that a terrorist operation was in the works, because they monitor the valley closely. Suspicion of Syrian involvement is further strengthened by a long history of violent underground activities in Lebanon by Assad’s agents. Redeployment of the Marines from land to sea would remove that particular target, but there are other places in the Middle East where terrorism can be used against Americans or American interests. In addition, Assad’s military forces, including his Soviet missiles, make him a serious local threat.”

Syria’s Assad: His Power And His Plan” | The New York Times | Stanley Reed | 02/18/1984

Also remember that the Assads are Ba’athists. Like Saddam Hussein, Ba’athists are fascists who model their party on the Nazis. They are as far from mainstream politics as a regime can get. They have nowhere else to go from how far they’ve already gone.

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What Arms Race?

Congratulating Putin was not the most important thing said on a call President Trump made to Russian President Vladimir Putin:

“President Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers Tuesday when he congratulated Russian President Vladi­mir Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating “DO NOT CONGRATULATE,” according to officials familiar with the call.”

Trump’s National Security Advisers Warned Him Not To Congratulate Putin. He Did It Anyway” | The Washington Post | Carol D. Leonnig, David Nakamura, Josh Dawsey | 03/20/2018

Rather, it was mentioning that he and Putin would meet soon to “discuss the arms race”:

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Thinking Differently About North Korea

What’s the difference between North Korea pointing nuclear missiles at America next year and Russia or China pointing much more powerful missiles at America right now? According to National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster:

[T]he classical deterrence theory, how does that apply to a regime like the regime in North Korea? A regime that engages in unspeakable brutality against its own people? A regime that poses a continuous threat to the its neighbors in the region and now may pose a threat, direct threat, to the United States with weapons of mass destruction? A regime that imprisons and murders anyone who seems to oppose that regime, including members of his own family, using sarin nerve gas in a public airport?””

“It’s Time To Accept That North Korea Is A Nuclear State” | Gary Wetzel | Foxtrot Alpha | 7/04/2017

The musty bouquet of words another National Security advisor uttered in 2003 notwithstanding, surely the difference between Russia’s or China’s gun sights and the DPRK’s can’t be how crazy Kim Jong Un must be. Yes, he’s a megalomaniac. But crazy?

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Syria Is A Black Box

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Amid the killing, the horrors, and the tragedies in Syria, there’s also an ideological civil war among eleven players and even more agendas. In addition to exchanging bullets and bombs, in this war, every claim from one player is instantly challenged by another’s counter-claim.

We might have described Syria as an abyss or black hole had the civil war occurred during Hafez al-Assad’s regime. Under his son Bashar it’s a black box.

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Pied Piper Putin

On 12/15 Donald Trump received “A very nice letter from Vladimir Putin,” to which the then President-elect added: “His thoughts are so correct.”

On 12/16 the Russian military reportedly launched a missile capable of destroying low-orbit satellites:

“The high rate of testing is an indication the program is a military priority and is progressing toward deployment.

The new anti-satellite missile is among several new strategic weapons systems being developed by the Russian military.

The Nudol is viewed by the Pentagon as a so-called “direct ascent” anti-satellite missile. Russia, however, has sought to mask the missile’s anti-satellite capabilities by claiming the missile is for defense against incoming ballistic missiles.

The Pentagon is worried about the development of anti-satellite weapons by both Russia and China.”

Russia Conducts Fifth Test of New Anti-Satellite Missile” | The Washington Free Beacon | Bill Gertz| 12/21/2016

About this, Trump has said nothing.

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The Geopolitics Of John Podesta’s Idiocy

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While it may be probable that Russian agencies or those affiliated with them are responsible for hacking the DNC’s or the Clinton campaigns’ emails, I don’t know for sure.

The 17 intelligence agencies (mostly just two) that Hillary Clinton claims have found a direct link between “the highest levels of the Russian government” and recent Wikileaks revelations don’t really know as much as she wants them to:

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That Other Hillary Clinton Email Scandal (Notes On Information Warfare)

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The Republican National Convention was raucous, strident, kooky, and simply unhinged to such as extent that this week’s Democratic National Convention should have been at least an easy lay-up, if not a slam-dunk.

Instead, the Democrats’ big party got off on a significantly dissonant note—the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the wake of WikiLeaks releasing 19,000+ of The Democratic National Committee’s emails.

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