International Thoughts for Friday

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Cousin Joe Does Well

Joseph W. Lambert is a career CIA employee and works in an overt capacity as Director of Information Management Services. Overt means that he can acknowledge and attribute his employment status. He has been DIMS since December 7, 2007. There are people (and I’m not saying which people) who chided him that his date of appointment to his present post augered poorly, portending disaster, but he’s actually done a pretty good job. 
This week, Joe announced that the CIA’s declassified database will be posted online, making it accessible to all interested parties. The database, known as CREST (for CIA Records Search Tool), contains more than 11 million pages of historical Agency records that have already been declassified and approved for public release.

Currently, CREST can only be accessed through computer terminals at the National Archives in College Park, MD. This geographic restriction on availability has been a source of frustration and bafflement to researchers ever since the digital collection was established in 2000. 

DNI James Clapper has been the heavy hitter who championed transparency where possible with archived records and those of you who know or who have met with Clapper know that he’s serious about this project. Much as it pains me (I like Clapper personally), I have to agree with this project. There are a number of historical documents that need to be more accessible to clarify the historical record. The declassification of the pretext for America’s full involvement in the Vietnam War (Gulf of Tonkin Incident) as a sham was one of those. There will be more as time marches and the spotlight is shined into the corners. We need to accept that there were situations where we were not lily white. Only by so doing can we learn from the past.

An Airplane Crash

A light aircraft carrying three French intelligence officers crashed shortly after taking off from Malta International Airport last Monday, killing all three and two other French nationals on board, according to French and Maltese officials.

The crash happened around 0530 GMT, the Maltese government said.

The flight was part of a French surveillance operation, launched five months ago, aimed at tracking the illicit trafficking of humans and drugs, the government said. It added the flight was registered with the authorities as a local flight and was due to return to Malta within hours, without landing in third countries.

The crash casts light on a major surveillance and covert military operation France has been running in the region to counter the threat posed by unrest in Libya, a few hundred miles south of Malta. Islamic State has taken control of territory on Libya’s coast, raising fears in Paris that the group could use these bases to mount an attack in Europe. Meanwhile, migrant smuggling rings are still active throughout the country, despite efforts by European governments to crack down on them.

The American-Led Coalition against ISIS
In the US Media, that’s what it’s called. In the Middle East, there is another view and that is that the US isn’t heavily engaged in Syria and the fight against ISIS. 
Saudi Arabia announced that it is prepared to join the US-led coalition preparing an operation against the Islamic State (ISIS) capital of Raqqa. 

Keep in mind that the Saudis support Al Qaeda’s efforts in Syria, which are at cross purposes with ISIS in terms of “who should rule”. In that they are allied with Iran, who agrees that ISIS shouldn’t be in charge. The only difference is that Iran wants to fill that vacuum. If it sounds confusing, it can be.

Saudi defense spokesman Major General Ahmed Al-Assiri told, “The kingdom is committed to the fight against ISIS/ISIL in Syria as part of an international coalition, including air sorties delegated to it, whether from within the kingdom or via its warplanes stationed at the Turkish Incirlik base.” 
With regard to ground operations, Assiri said that the international coalition agreed in a meeting in Washington to rely on local Syrian forces and would provide air coverage for them. (“Local Syrian Forces” euphemistically mean an amalgam of Al Qaeda and the mercenaries that the US has on the ground in Syria.)
General Assiri has been promoted to major general since the formation of the Saudi-led coalition that attacked Yemen in 2015. Saudi Arabia’s position of leadership among Sunni Arab states requires publicity for its participation in the destruction of the Islamic State.
Saudi Arabia deployed four F-15 fighters to Incirlik air base in February 2016 to join the US-led air operations. Saudi pilots have flown just over 200 sorties against the Islamic State since 2014, according to Alarabiya.

Here are the players and their agendas for those of you who may have lost your programs.

Syria – The Assad Govt. wants to maintain sovereignty over all of Syria. To do that, it has made common cause with Russia and Iran. The US Government is dedicated to toppling the Assad Govt. and has laid out a number of red lines which everyone ignores.

Turkey – The Turks are dedicated to eradicating the Kurds in Syria (and everywhere else). They helped create ISIS through their support. They are the major US ally in the region and a key partner in the US fight against ISIS.

In a speech in Ankara on 27 October, Turkish President Erdogan said he informed the US President about Turkey’s military plans for northern Syria. Turkey intends to defeat Islamic State fighters controlling al Bab. Then its forces will attack Manbij to drive out the Syrian Kurds. After that, they will participate in the fight to capture Raqqa, the Islamic State capital. 

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said that Turkey had asked the US not to allow the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to enter Raqqa because it is not a Kurdish town. He said Turkey was ready to provide the necessary military support to take over the town.

USA – America is allied with the Kurds and has providing them with arms, ammunition and on-again/off-again support for the past thirty years. We are also allied with the Turks, who want to destroy the Kurds, and with the Saudis who created and support Al Qaeda, which is dedicated to the destruction of the USA.

If you wonder who in the US Government helped create this goat rodeo, you need look no further than Hillary Clinton, she of the seizures, the weak health and addled (but power hungry) mind. Clinton was the architect of Barack’s foreign policy in the Middle East.  (pictured right, before her handlers had her skin stretched and her hair washed so that she would look less like an unwashed old hag)

Russia – It’s a place where the Russians can actually come off looking like the good guys, human rights issues notwithstanding.  So they tossed their cracker in the soup.

This week, Putin announced that it is necessary to restore of firm statehood, the economy and the social sphere in countries of the Middle East.

“The colossal scale of destruction requires the drawing up of a long-term and comprehensive program, if you like a Marshall plan of sorts, to revive this region torn by wars and conflicts. And Russia is, of course, ready to take an active part in such joint work,” Putin said.

Iran – They’re Shiia Muslims and hate Suni Muslims. ISIL is a Suni operation and operates against their considerable interests in Iraq (and Syria). Even though they are generally opposed to Assad’s government in Syria, they hate ISIS more – and America more.

13 thoughts on “International Thoughts for Friday

  1. The only way to not repeat the past mistakes is to learn from them. Sometimes that means looking in some dark corners. Which is another reason why the last thing the country needs is the BOB selling the presidency to the highest bidder.
    How do I get a tshirt like that?

  2. As per Kipling

    Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle the Aryan
    For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the
    Christian down;
    And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of
    the late deceased,
    And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the

  3. The shirt can be purchased here —

  4. One phrase in particular stands out in this helpful briefing — "goat rodeo."

    Might have to quote you.

  5. I thought "goat rodeo" was really pretty charitable. Too charitable. Is "clustergoatrodeo" a word?

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