Posted by Scott Lucas | Sep 17, 2019 | – US-based activists and RT’s Rania Khalek pose for a group photograph on their tour of Syria, September 2019
Last week Syria’s Assad regime hosted US activists Max Blumenthal, Ajamu Baraka, Yasemin Zahra, Rick Sterling, Anya Parampil, Judith Bello, and Paul Larudee, as well as RT’s Rania Khalek, on a PR tour of Damascus and other regime-held areas.
Without referring specifically to the tour, Syrian refugee Sarah Hunaidi writes for The Independent:
I woke up a few days ago to Twitter selfies of westerners posing in Syrian government-controlled areas. Being an exiled Syrian for five years now, I try to avoid pictures of my home country. The country that kicked me out when I was 18 for daring to question why our government was killing peaceful protesters. I had to choose between inescapable detention and torture or being displaced, alone, in Syria’s neighboring countries, Lebanon, and Turkey. I chose the latter.
Erdogan’s Threat on Nuclear Militarization
עברית – Gallia Lindenstrauss – INSS Insight No. 1213, September 18, 2019
In a recent speech, Turkish President Erdogan made his first public reference to the possibility that Turkey might opt to nuclearize its army. Turkey has attributed growing importance to the attainment of independent military capabilities, given in part that Iran has long range missiles and Turkey does not. This problematic situation joins the US-Turkey crisis, which undermines Turkey’s certainty that NATO would come to its aid if it needs military help. Although Turkey’s present nuclear infrastructure is negligible, Erdogan’s declaration feeds into the grave concern of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East.
Assad’s “Syrian sovereignty”… MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
18-09-2019: ‘Iranian militias in eastern Syria have taken control of the water crossings in the governorate and city of Deir Ez-Zor, expelling fighters belonging to one of President Bashar Al-Assad’s closest businessmen, Hussam Qaterji.
According to sources close to the local news site DeirEzzor24, the Qaterji group has controlled all of the water crossings in the city and used its monopoly to smuggle oil, grains and other materials from areas under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to those controlled by the Assad regime.
Trump Feuds With Lindsey Graham Over ‘Weak’ Iran Policy – The senator’s calls for “decisive action” on Iran, not the “measured response” of the administration, prompted the president to lash out on Twitter.
Erin Banco National Security Reporter + Asawin Suebsaeng – White House Reporter
Updated 09.18.19 10:58AM ET / Published 09.17.19 9:34PM ET THE DAILY BEAST
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told The Daily Beast on Tuesday that the Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran isn’t achieving its purpose.
“Clearly what we’re doing isn’t working,” Graham said, adding that the goal of the administration’s Iran policy should be to deter Tehran from escalating tensions in the region.
Following his phone call with The Daily Beast, Graham, in a series of tweets, called on the Trump administration to do more, saying the “measured response” by President Trump is “seen by the Iranian regime as an act of weakness.” On the same night as a Tuesday fundraising event in Silicon Valley, Trump tweeted back at Graham: “No Lindsey, it was a sign of strength that some people just don’t understand!”
Bolton’s exit unlikely to save Turkish-US relations
Sinem Cengiz – September 13, 2019 21:13 ARAB NEWS – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to meet US National Security Adviser John Bolton during his visit to Turkey earlier this year. –
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday made it clear in a tweet that he had fired his National Security Adviser John Bolton amid disagreements with his hawkish aide over how to cope with various foreign policy challenges. It was not Trump’s most surprising tweet since he became the first American president to announce the country’s domestic and foreign policy decisions via social media. However, Bolton’s expulsion was unexpected.
18 Sept 2019 – IRGC Quds Force Commander General Qasem Soleimani Posts Video after Attacks in Abqaiq and Khurais: We Are the Nation of Martyrdom; Iraqi PMU, Yemeni Ansar Allah Are Following Imam Hussein’s Path / MEMRI CLIP
Maxim A. Suchkov September 16, 2019 Article Summary – AL MONITOR – What the Astana guarantors agreed upon in Ankara will have implications for Syria but the way the leaders communicated past each other each is even more telling. MOSCOW — The fifth trilateral meeting today between the leaders of the guarantor states of the Astana process on the settlement in Syria could have been just another routine gathering of three of “today’s friends — centuries-old adversaries” if it were not for the complications that have emerged since the previous such meeting in Sochi on Feb. 14.
Erdogan, Putin & Rouhani Joint statment – Main points . The presidents of Turkey , Russia & Iran (enkremlin ru) 17 Sept 2019
- Condemn the US decision to recognize Syria’s occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory. They said the move violates international law and threatens peace and security.
- Condemn << Israeli military attacks in Syria as destabilizing and violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country and intensifying the tension in the region.>>
- Condemn << all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives >> (i,e, Condemn the SDF/YPG ). They add the SDF/ YPG are << threatening the national security of neighboring countries>> (i.e Turkey )
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : Read The Drone Attack on Oil and the Larger Iran Problem – Read also the Risk of Rising Aggression and Declining Action from former Acting CIA Director and Cipher Brief Expert, John McLaughlin
MESOPOTAMIA NEWS TODAYS COMMENTARY BY SETH FRANTZMAN
September 17, 2019 6:30 AM NATIONAL REVIEW
A sophisticated drone and cruise-missile attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil-processing facility on Saturday has sent shock waves through the world’s oil markets and leaves the U.S. and allies at a crossroads about how to deal with a growing threat from Iran and its supporters. This is the crisis Iran has been waiting for, with pro-regime media tweeting about the “unprecedented attack” and parroting the threats of Yemen’s Houthi rebels against Saudi oil infrastructure.