August 15, 2017 – By Matti Suomenaro, Ellen Stockert, and Genevieve Casagrande  (ISW)Institute for the study of war

Russia continues to masquerade as an effective anti-ISIS actor in order to lure the U.S. into a counter-terrorism partnership in Syria. Russia seeks to leverage this partnership to expedite an American withdrawal from Syria, removing the U.S. as an obstacle to continued Russian build up and force projection in the Middle East. Russia may achieve short-term territorial gains against ISIS, but will ultimately undermine U.S.-led anti-ISIS efforts in Eastern Syria. The Russian-backed campaign will fail to decisively defeat ISIS and al Qaeda in Syria, however. Russian airstrikes in ISIS-held terrain regularly targeted civilian infrastructure such as mosques, schools, and medical centers from July 17 – August 13, according to local activists. Russian airstrikes also targeted an internally-displaced persons (IDP) camp in Zour Shamar in Eastern Raqqa province on August 23 – 24. Russia’s punitive strikes against vulnerable Sunni populations will exacerbate local grievances, increase sectarian tension, and pave the way for the resurgence of ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadist groups in areas recently seized from ISIS. Moreover, pro-Bashar al Assad regime forces’ rapid advance in Eastern Syria may indicate the regime is not allocating sufficient time or manpower to conduct effective clearing operations. Incomplete clearing operations could permit ISIS to leave behind latent attack cells or create ISIS-permissive zones along the Euphrates River Valley. The pro-regime coalition currently lacks the manpower required to secure and hold these areas in the long-term.

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Lebanese, Syrian Ministers Vow to Boost Trade Ties

17 Aug 2017 – Lebanese and Syrian government ministers have vowed to improve economic ties when they meet this week for Syria’s first international trade fair (Reuters) since its civil war began. The visit has ignited controversy in Lebanon, which has a policy of neutrality on the Syrian conflict.®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=83&pgtype=collection

MESOP NEWS BACKGROUNDER : Security Risk Seen in Foreign Recruits Fighting for Kurds in Syria

An influential London think tank is urging the British government to stop Britons from enlisting with a Western-backed Kurdish militia in Syria that’s battling the Islamic State terror group on the ground that it, too, is a terrorist organization. The Henry Jackson Society warns in a study released Thursday that the militia, known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, is a “subsidiary” of Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a separatist movement designated a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the United States.

YPG leaders have insisted they are not connected to the PKK or guided by its leaders, who are based mainly in the Qandil Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. But the think tank argues, “It is clear that the YPG leadership answers, in matters large and small, to the PKK leaders.”

That was the official assessment of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, too, until Washington forged an alliance with the YPG in 2015 as part of the anti-IS operation.

Some dissent

The father of a British YPG recruit who died fighting IS in March 2015 told the BBC he and other families of British volunteers were “deeply hurt” by the think tank’s report.

Chris Scurfield, the father of Erik Scurfield, one of four British YPG recruits who have been killed, said, “We are speaking with other bereaved parents whose children also lost their lives in Syria, fighting alongside coalition forces to defeat ISIS and save the lives of civilians.”

One British family sought to block the publication of the report with a threat of legal action.

‘Forgotten’ fighters

In The Forgotten Foreign Fighters: The PKK in Syria, analyst Kyle Orton argues the PKK has engaged in “deceptive propaganda” to mask the real “nature to its [separatist] project in Syria” — a spinoff has seen hundreds of foreign fighters enlisting with the militia to fight IS. The think tank maintains they could pose risks to the West upon their return.

Turkish officials are likely to cite the study in their continued efforts to persuade the West, particularly the U.S., to drop its support of the YPG, and to cease using the militia as the international coalition’s main ground ally in northern Syria. Turkish leaders have long argued that the YPG is just the PKK, which has maintained an insurgency in Turkey for more than three decades — a separatist agitation that’s been met with a ferocious Turkish response.

The PKK has engaged in terrorism against Westerners in the past when it has served the organization’s purposes, kidnapping and killing tourists in Turkey. It also has built a moneymaking apparatus in Europe centered on organized crime and narcotics trafficking, as well as extortion from Kurdish expatriates, the think tank said.The study profiles 60 foreign fighters from 12 countries who joined the YPG to fight IS in Syria and analyzes their reasons for enlisting. Twenty-eight of those profiled have been killed in action.

Orton argues the foreign fighters could present risks when they return.”The potential use of these individuals in the PKK’s vast criminal-terrorist apparatus in Europe is a serious cause for concern,” he says in the study.

“Though the YPG has been lionized in much of the Western press and political discourse since it became the West’s primary ground force against IS, there are important questions — moral, legal, political and diplomatic — about how the YPG/PKK fighters are handled by Western governments,” he adds.

According to Orton, many of the Western volunteers, who probably number about 500, are unaware of the YPG’s link with PKK, although some are, and they revel in the links.Most of the YPG’s foreign recruits come from English-speaking countries. Orton believes that most likely reflects the YPG’s earmarking of those countries for its propaganda and social media efforts.

Volunteer categories

In the study, Orton says that foreign volunteers fall into four broad categories, and their reasons for joining are varied.”Military veterans formed a clear majority of the recruits in 2014, though that number has declined every year since as the YPG has altered its outreach strategy, focusing on the political far left,” he says. Many of the former soldiers enlisted because they missed the military life and had difficulty adapting to civilian life.

“Other former soldiers who had served in the post-9/11 wars, specifically Iraq, felt a responsibility to finish the job and/or not to let the sacrifices made go to waste,” he says.The study lists another category of volunteers — before the YPG established a systematic screening process — as motivated by “self-serving considerations, notably avarice — sometimes directly pecuniary and sometimes in terms of reputation or fame.”

Among their number are some eager to satisfy an impulse to kill, although most of them now have been combed out of the YPG’s ranks, according to the study.Other categories are defined as adventurers, including those seeking redemption for past crimes or drug addiction, and hard-left ideologues, including communists and anarchists.The think tank recommends that the British government screen returning Britons to “assess if they require any further state attention, either from the criminal justice system or social services.”

British intelligence officials have told VOA there are worries that some YPG volunteers may return suffering from trauma-related mental issues or that their warlike urges could be exploited by other ideological groups.

last month, Turkey’s National Security Council accused the United States of allowing weapons it provided to the YPG to be passed on to the PKK. “This shows that both are the same organization,” the council claimed.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which oversees American military operations in Syria and Iraq, told VOA after the Turkish claims that the weapons the United States has supplied the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces “will be returned to the coalition on completion of the mission” against IS.Shortly afterward, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency published the locations of nearly a dozen U.S. military bases across a 200-kilometer stretch of northern Syria. The bases listed by Anadolu are where American military advisers and special forces oversee the assault on Raqqa.



  1. AUGUST 2017 : dpa Meldung …. Steve Bannon widerspricht öffentlich Trump und bezeichnet die Rechtsextremisten von Charlottesville als “Loser” und als “Clowns.”

……. Das sagte ich ja von Anfang an und las aber + hörte von Washington Post über SZ bis FAZ incl. Springer Presse auch via ARD + ZDF bis hin zur traditionellen wie zu den Experten der pro Israel Linken nur diese eine sichere Gewißheit: Das Chefberater Bannon Trump nicht nur von Anfang an zu allem stimuliert habe, sondern auch dessen verhärtende Wiederholungen in der bekannten Sache einzig zu verantworten müsse. Rubbish !

Da sind sich die politisch Infantilen stets sicher: sie benötigen einen imaginierten mastermind auf der anderen Seite mit dem sie sich simulativ glauben messen zu müssen, was dann mit dessen erfolgreicher Entlarvung beginnt.

  1. Jahrhundert in bester Facon + Ideologie. Geschichte aber wiederholt sich als so nur als Farce.


Amerikanische Studie – Die meisten auf der Welt trauen Putin nicht

Dem russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin kann man nicht trauen, glaubt eine große weltweite Mehrheit einer neuen Studie zufolge. Trotzdem finden viele ihn immer noch vertrauenswürdiger als seinen Gegenspieler im Weißen Haus. 16.08.2017, von Oliver Georgi – FAZ –

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Tehran’s Military Chief In Turkey for Talks on Syria and Iraq – Iran hoping to establish arrangements over northern Syria and to block Iraqi Kurdish independence

17 August 2017 – MESOP – The Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri, has met his Turkish counterpart, Gen. Hulusi Akar, as well as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a three-day visit which began Tuesday.

The trip, the first by an Iranian military chief, has been framed by State media in both countries as a discussion of bilateral security and a joint fight against terrorism, with little detail.However, topics include the Syrian conflict, where the two countries have been on opposite sides since 2011 but have recently been drawn together through Russia’s brokering of talks and proposed “de-escalation zones” throughout the country.

Kurds plan ahead for shifting status in Syria


16 August 2017 – AL MONITOR – FEHMIN TASTEKIN – Syrian Kurds are taking critical steps to deal with the threat of being caught in a vise between their worsening relations with the Damascus regime, and Turkey’s possible cross-border operations. Syria’s Kurds have just proposed a new governmental structure comprising three federal regions and six cantons in the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria (previously known as Rojava). They have devised a three-phase election calendar to decide who will run these new areas. Syrian Kurds, worried by Turkey’s threat to enter Afrin and a possible rapprochement between Washington and Ankara, are firming up their plans for autonomy.

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Assyrian Leaders Welcome Support From Trump, Congress to Rebuild Homeland in Iraq

WASHINGTON–A proposed piece of U.S. legislation that places a clear priority on helping Christians and other victims of Islamic State-perpetrated genocide in the Middle East may be able to help President Donald Trump’s administration keep its promise to help persecuted minority groups in Iraq and Syria.The bill, which requests $10 million to protect the returning Christians and other ethnoreligious minorities, provides President Donald Trump’s administration with the ability to help vulnerable communities in Iraq, where ISIS is believed to be facing imminent defeat, argue some of the legislation’s proponents.Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), a leading advocate for the region’s religious minorities, told Breitbart News:

As ISIS is driven from its strongholds in the region, opportunity exists for the United States, in partnership with the international community, to help return Christians, Yezidis, and other persecuted minorities to their ancestral homelands, restoring the once-rich tapestry of ethnic and religious diversity that existed in the Middle East. With displaced indigenous communities torn between grave conditions and a glimmer of new hope, it is critical that we move to swiftly advance policies for their re-securitization, revitalization, and repatriation, especially in the Nineveh Plain and other areas of northern Iraq.

Fortenberry authored most of the language in the State and Foreign Operations (SFOPS) bill that directs the U.S. government to appropriate $10 million to protect vulnerable and persecuted Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

The legislation still needs to pass the full House and Senate before President Trump can sign it into law.

Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Raphael Louis Sako has welcomed Congress’s proposed efforts to protect Christians and other minority groups.

“We are grateful to all those who have helped us in this very critical situation,” he told Breitbart News.

“What Iraqi Christians (and all Iraqis) need is peace, security, and stability. War after war has affected Christians and pushed them to leave their land for good. This is a pity,” he continued. “We need to be assisted to restore what ISIS has destroyed–houses, schools, dispensaries, churches, roads, and infrastructure.

Patriarch Sako has urged Christians to return to their historical homeland in Iraq, telling Breitbart News the “United States can support us in this matter.”

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, echoing his predecessor, recognized that ISIS is “clearly responsible for genocide” against Christians, Yazidis, and other minority groups in Iraq and Syria.

The secretary noted that “the protection of these groups–and others who are targets of violent extremism–remains a human-rights priority for the [President Donald] Trump administration.”Security is still the top concern among the minority group members who are considering traveling back to their homeland in the Middle East and those who have already made the trip.“ISIS has and continues to target members of multiple religions and ethnicities for rape, kidnapping, enslavement, and death,” Tillerson told reporters Tuesday as the State Department released its annual report on international religious freedom.The genocide declarations by the Trump and Obama administrations do not carry any legal obligation for the U.S. or others.However, American lawmakers like Rep. Fortenberry have requested funding to help the ethnoreligious minority groups.

“In a bipartisan effort, the United States genocide designation against ISIS last year raised international awareness, opening pathways for policies to support the victims and punish those accountable for the horrific violence. President Trump and Vice President [Mike] Pence have both rightly condemned ISIS atrocities as genocide,” Fortenberry told Breitbart News.

A report from the House Appropriations Committee on the SFOPS bill points out that the Republican-led congress is concerned about the safe return of minority groups to their ancestral homeland in Iraq, noting:

Support for such individuals and communities should, to the maximum extent practicable, take into account the unique needs and security requirements necessary to for safe repatriation. The Committee urges the Secretary of State to make available from funds appropriated by this Act, assistance for securitization and stabilization in [minority communities]…of Iraq.Such assistance should include support for demining and clearing of hazardous materials; interim zones of stability; restoration of basic services such as water and electricity, and repair of infrastructure; training related to security, local law enforcement, and pursuit of justice; and support for civil society and activities that promote dialogue between local leadership and coalition partners.

Pro-Christian minority advocates have urged the Trump administration to protect the minority groups as they return to their ancestral homeland in the Middle East.





            RT @yarotrof : 16 Aug 2017 : Russia: accusing others of being Nazis while offering to host the US “Daily Stormer” website after it was kicked off its US domain…    

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