Monday, 11 December 2017

Operation Featherweight: Month 42, Week 1, Day 2.

In the summer of 2014 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were at their most powerful.

They controlled large swathes of both Iraq and Syria. They'd declared themselves to be an Islamist Caliphate. Their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to be it's Caliph and the Syrian city of Raqqa to be its capital.

Now in the winter of 2017 ISIL have been reduced to just a few scattered positions in Syria. Mainly around the Euphrates River basin.

Within this area anti-ISIL operations have been conducted by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF/QSD). This is a coalition formed by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in October 2015.

Alongside the YPG the SDF is made up of Assyrian/Syriac Christian, Turkmen and Arab Muslim forces. The Arab element which makes up around 50% of the SDF is comprised of both elements of the long defunct Free Syrian Army and local tribes indigenous to north-eastern Syria.

The SDF is supported by the US-led coalition; Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTFOIR) both with air power and Special Operations Forces (SOF's). The SDF also contains a small International Brigade made up of foreign volunteers.

Although they have been supported by Arab fragments of the FSA since the Battle of Kobane in winter 2014 prior to the formation of the SDF the YPG had driven ISIL from the entire Syria/Turkey border from the Euphrates River in the west to Syria's border with Iraq. This was completed in July 2015 with the liberation of Tal Abyad - a border town around 45km (25 miles) east of the Euphrates.

In August 2015 the YPG drove ISIL from the city of Hasakah. This sits around 60km (35 miles) west of the Syria/Iraq border and around 75km (45 miles) south of Syria's border with Turkey.

The liberations of Tal Abyad and Hasakah put the SDF in control of a vast area of north-eastern Syria from the Euphrates to Syria's borders with Turkey and Iraq. For operational reasons this area which cuts across parts of several of Syria's provinces has been designated; "Shangri-La."

In November 2016 the SDF launched an operation codenamed; "Wrath of Euphrates." It's ultimate objective was to liberate the city of Raqqa.

However before that could be achieved the SDF had to advance on Raqqa from their positions close to the Syria/Turkey border. This was done in three phases;

The first phase saw the SDF advance south from positions around 70km (45 miles) north of Raqqa. This was completed in late November 2016 with the SDF taking up positions around 25km (15 miles) north of Raqqa having liberated around 600kmsq (360 milesq).

The second phase saw the SDF advance south along the eastern bank of the Euphrates River effectively from where it enters Syria from Turkey. This was completed in January 2017 with the SDF taking up positions at Lake Assad around 55km (30 miles) west of Raqqa. In the process the SDF liberated around 3,200kmsq (1.920 milesq).

The third phase saw the SDF advance to take up positions east of Raqqa. This was completed in March 2017 with the SDF taking up positions at Karamah around 30km (20 miles) east of Raqqa. In the process the SDF liberated around 1000kmsq (600 milesq).

On March 23rd (23/3/17) the SDF launched an operation to liberate the town of Tabqa. This sits on the southern banks of the Euphrates around 50km (30 miles) west of Raqqa. The adjoining Tabqa Dam forms Lake Assad out of the river.

On May 5th (5/11/17) the SDF completed the liberation of the town of Tabqa and took control of the Tabqa Dam.


On June 6th (6/6/17) the SDF launched an operation to liberate the city of Raqqa itself. After of 133 days on intense urban fighting Raqqa was fully liberated on October 19th (19/10/17).

While the Wrath of Euphrates operation was still under way the SDF launched a second operation on September 9th (9/11/17). This was codenamed; "Cizre Storm."

The only area of Syria north-east of the Euphrates River which does not fall under SDF control as part of Shangri-La is a roughly 1500kmsq (860 milesq) area stretching across the Khobar River.

Roughly in the shape of a triangle this has as its tip the point where the Euphrates River enters Iraq. It's base is an imaginary line stretching between the towns of Madan and al-Shadaddi.

Madan sits on the Euphrates River roughly 70km (40 miles) south-east of Raqqa and 110km (70 miles) north-west of Mayadin. Al-Shadaddi sits on the Khobar River roughly 150km (90 miles) east of Raqqa and roughly 130km (75 miles) north of Mayadin.

The objective of the Cizre Storm operation is to advance from the Madan-Shadaddi Line, across the Khobar River to where the Euphrates River enters Iraq. This will liberate the area from ISIL and properly establish Shangri-La with the Euphrates River as its southern boundary.

Initially the Cizre Storm operation made dramatic progress. After just four days it arrived at the Industrial Zone on the outskirts of Deir-ez-Zour City on September 13th (13/9/17).

The capital of Deir-ez-Zour Province Deir-ez-Zour City is located on the Euphrates River. Roughly 65km (40 miles) south-east of Madan and 50km (30 miles) north-west of Mayadin.

The SDF's progress was achieved by establishing a roughly 3km (1.8 mile) wide and 55km (30 mile) deep corridor from the Madan-Shadaddi Line to the Industrial Zone. Unfortunately the operation then stalled for a full seven days.

On September 20th (20/9/17) the Cizre Storm operation received fresh impetus. The SDF established three axis breaking off from the Industrial Zone corridor to the Khobar River.

Constantly referring to these as; "The First Axis," "The Second Axis" etc gets tedious. So I designated them; "Aisling," "Niamh" and "Siobhan."

The first axis; "Aisling" advanced south-east from the Industrial Zone along the banks of the Euphrates in the general direction of the town of al-Zuwaymiyah. This sits on the junction where the Khobar River meets the Euphrates River roughly 8km (5 miles) from the Industrial Zone.

The second axis; "Niamh" advanced east from the Industrial Zone corridor towards the town of as-Suwar. This sits on the banks of the Khobar River roughly 9km (5 miles) from the Industrial Zone. It is connected to the Industrial Zone by the H7 Damascus to Qamishli Highway.

The third axis; "Siobhan" advanced south from Shadaddi towards the town of Markadah. This sits on the banks of the Khobar River roughly 45km (30 miles) south of Shadaddi and roughly 35km (20 miles) north of as-Suwar.

On September 26th (26/9/17) the Niamh axis reached and liberated as-Suwar. It then advanced north towards Markadah. On October 15th (15/10/17) the Niamh and Siobhan axis united just south of Markadah. They went on to liberate the town on October 20th (20/10/17).

Having united the Niamh and Siobhan axis went on to liberate both the east and west banks of the Khobar from Suwar to the Euphrates River. This was completed on November 6th (6/11/17).

While I have yet to have it confirmed it is my understanding that the combined Niamh and Siobhan axis have now succeeded in liberating both banks of the Khobar River between Suwar and Shadaddi to the north. They have also been making significant progress securing the area between the Khobar and the Madan - Shadaddi Line.

On or around October 10th (10/10/17) the Aisling axis reached and liberated al-Zuwaymiyah completing its advance towards the Khobar River.

While fighting to liberate Raqqa and undertaking the Cizre Storm operation the SDF were also advancing along the northern bank of the Euphrates from Karamah to Deir-ez-Zour City. This sits around 120km (70 miles) south-east of Raqqa along the Euphrates.

On October 14th (14/10/17) the SDF liberated an area known as Husayniyah area. This sits around 4km (2 miles) north-west of the Deir-ez-Zour Industrial Zone.

As a result its liberation secured SDF control of the northern banks of the Euphrates between Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zour. It also linked the Wrath of Euphrates operation with the Aisling axis of the Cizre Storm operation.

On October 20th (20/10/17) that Aisling axis crossed the Khobar River quickly liberating the villages of al-Mashiqa, al-Lawziyah and Shuhayl.

On October 22nd (22/10/17) the Aisling axis had fully liberated the Omar Oil & Gas Field. Being some 160kmsq (95 milesq) in area the liberation of the Omar Oil & Gas Field now puts the SDF's Aisling axis just 40km (25 miles) from Syria's border with Iraq.

On November 5th (5/11/17) the Aisling axis liberated the Sarhit, Shudayha, Younes, Galban and Shaitat Oil & Gas Fields. These small fields sit in an area just beyond the main Omar Oil & Gas Field.

Having raced across the Khobar the Aisling axis then concentrated on securing the area along the banks of the Euphrates between the Deir-ez-Zour Industrial Zone and the Omar Oil & Gas Field.

On November 12th (12/11/17) the SDF's Aisling axis fully liberated Busayrah. This sits almost on a island directly where the Khobar and Euphrates Rivers meet.

On November 17th (17/11/17) the SDF's Aisling axis fully liberated the town of Diban. This sits around 20km (12 miles) south-east of Busayrah on the northern bank of the Euphrates.

On December 1st (1/12/17) the Aisling axis liberated the town of Abu Hamman. This sits around 25km (15 miles) south-east of Diban also on the northern bank of the Euphrates.

Since then the SDF have been battling to liberate the areas around Darnaj and Suwaydan Jazirah. Both of these towns sit on the northern bank of the Euphrates between Diban and Abu Hamman. Darnaj sits around 12km (7 miles) south-east of Diban while Suwaydan sits around 15km (9 miles) south-east of Diban.

The liberation of Abu Hamman is particularly noteworthy. It sits at the northern boundary of an area traditionally controlled by the Sheitat Tribe. Although the area is thought to continue to be under ISIL occupation the Sheitat tribe have traditionally remained loyal to the Syrian government.

The SDF are currently in the process of negotiating with the Sheitat tribe permission to enter the area to establish it no longer contains and ISIL presence. Aside from the tribe's loyalty to the Syrian government a major sticking point seems to be the restrictions such as checkpoints and civilian evacuations the SDF have imposed as part of their operations.

The Sheitat tribe along with other civilian residents of Shangri-La need to understand that these restrictions are necessary. Often for the protection of the civilian residents.

On November 5th (5/11/17) ISIL conducted Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack against a camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP's) located between the Jafra and al-Isba Oil & Gas Fields. It killed at least 100 civilians.

On November 17th (17/11/17) ISIL conducted another VBIED attack against the same IDP camp. On this occasion at least 20 civilians were killed.
 
One of the main ways that the SDF can guard against attacks of this kind is by establishing checkpoints in and around the area. Although these checkpoints seriously disrupt the movements of local residents they are designed to disrupt the movements of ISIL fighters so they can be stopped before they can carry out their attacks.

As for the SDF delaying civilians returning to their homes this is also being done to protect those civilians. It is a widespread tactic of ISIL to lay large amounts of IED's and booby traps in areas under their control. Added to that you have the problem of unexploded munitions that were used to liberate those areas from ISIL.

Clearly those vast amounts of explosives takes a substantial amount of time. Until that task is complete the affected areas remain extremely dangerous. Not just for civilians.

On the day that Raqqa's liberation was announced on October 19th (19/10/17) ISIL booby traps exploded just a few metres/yards away from where the liberation ceremony was taking place. Amid those killed in the explosion was Jac Holmes a 24 year old from Bournemouth, UK who was serving as part of the SDF's International Brigade.

Just on November 25th (25/11/17) more ISIL booby traps exploded in Raqqa killing the members of the SDF who were trying to defuse them. This included another British volunteer serving as part of the SDF's International Brigade. Oliver Hall aged 24 from Portsmouth.

For the SDF's part they do need to make sure the restrictions they impose are lifted as soon as it is safe to do so.

Liberating Abu Hamman and working to liberate the areas between it and Diban has not been the only task the SDF's Aisling axis has been undertaking.

On November 22nd (22/11/17) the Aisling axis launched an advance from the Omar Oil & Gas Field to the Syria/Iraq border. On November 25th (25/11/17) the Aisling axis reached the Syria/Iraq border at al-Bukamal/Abu Kamal - around 125km (75 miles) south-east of Deir-ez-Zour City.

While there is still work to be done backclearing the recently liberated area this marks the completion of the Cizre Storm operation.

The SDF's Shangri-La area now fully encompasses the area to the north-east of the Euphrates River and establishes that river as its southern boundary.

Across that border the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) along with the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga have also been making substantial progress against ISIL.

In April 2015 the ISF liberated the city of Tikrit. This sits in the centre of Iraq around 175km (105 miles) north of the capital Baghdad.

In February 2016 the ISF liberated the city of Ramadi. This western Iraqi city sits around 100km (60 miles) west of Baghdad.

In June 2016 the ISF liberated the city of Fallujah. This also sits in western Iraq around 50km (30 miles) west of Baghdad and 50km (30 miles) east of Ramadi.

In July 2017 the ISF liberated the city of Mosul. This sits in northern Iraq around 400km (240 miles) north of Baghdad and around 130km (80 miles) south of Iraq's border with Turkey.
 
Although CJTFOIR apparently didn't see the need a key part of liberating Mosul was liberating the vast area surrounding Mosul. This was completed in late August 2017 with the liberation of Tal Afar. A town around 80km (50 miles) west of Mosul.

The bulk of the work of liberating the area around Mosul was done by the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) militia element of the ISF. In early June 2017 they liberated the village of Tal Sufq which sits on the Iraq/Syria border. In reaching Tal Sufq the PMF liberated some 28,000kmsq (16,800milesq) of territory.

In early October 2017 the ISF liberated the Hawija Triangle area. This sits between Mosul and Tikrit.

On October 25th (25/10/17) the ISF launched an operation to liberate the Al-Qaim area. The last population centre under ISIL's control in Iraq this sits in the very west of Iraq's western Anbar Province on the Euphrates River around 15km (9 miles) from the Syrian town of Abu Kamal.

On November 3rd (3/11/17) the ISF with support from Syrian forces liberated Al-Qaim. Since then the ISF have been advancing north to fully liberate the desert area between Al-Qaim and Tal Sufq from ISIL.

This was completed on Saturday (9/12/17) allowing the Iraq government to declare that Iraq has been fully liberated from ISIL.

Despite the complete liberation of Iraq a number of security incidents have continued within the country;

On December 1st (1/12/17) twin car bombings struck in the al-Madin and Alwa districts of Baghdad. Together these bombs killed one person and wounded 10.

On December 5th (5/12/17) a similar car bomb was discovered and safely defused close to Baghdad International Airport.

On December 9th (9/12/17) a car bomb struck in Tikrit killing one person and injuring two others.

Also on Saturday (9/12/17) several mortars/rockets were fired into civilian areas of Tuz Khurmatu. This sits between Tikrit and Mosul. Two people were killed and 10 injured amid significant damage to civilian property.

On May 22nd 2017 (22/5/17) a suicide bomber struck the Manchester Evening News Arena (MENA) in Manchester, UK killing 22 people. On June 36d (3/6/17) a marauding run-over and knife attack killed 8 in the British capital London. On September 15th (15/9/17) there was a failed bomb attack on London's Underground Rail (Metro) network.

On October 31st (31/10/17) a run-over attack killed eight and wounded 11 in New York City, US. As I was sitting down to write this there were reports of a failed bomb attack on New York City's Underground Rail (Metro) system.

My point is that even in nations where ISIL have not held territory it impossible to completely guarantee that ISIL won't be able to launch attacks. Therefore it is equally impossible to guarantee that ISIL will not be able to conduct attacks in Iraq just days after the nation has been liberated.

The liberation of Iraq means that we have gone from a position where large numbers of ISIL fighters were able to control areas where the government had no control. We are now in a position where a small number of ISIL fighters are being forced to hide in areas where the government has full control.

As a result the threat from ISIL to Iraq should slowly start to fade as their ability to conduct attacks is gradually eroded.

Iraq's security of course continues to be threatened by its neighbour to the north, Turkey.  On December 6th (6/12/17) Turkish President/Prime Minister/Emperor Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent military jets to target a camp close to Makmour which is just to the south-east of Mosul.

The camp targeted was a camp for Kurdish refugees who had fled to Iraq and the threat of ISIL to escape Erdogan's persecution of them in Turkey's Kurdish region. Erdogan's airstrikes killed at least three people and destroyed two buildings used to house refugees.

The complete liberation of Iraq and the completion of the Cizre Storm operation's main goal was marked on Saturday (9/12/17) by an agreement between the SDF and the ISF.

The two will now co-operate with each other to ensure that ISIL do not return to the border area between Iraq and Syria's Shangri-La area.

17:55 on 11/12/17 (UK date).

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Donald Trump's Jerusalem Failure.

Yesterday (6/12/17) US President Donald Trump announced that he would be moving the US Embassy in Israel to the city of Jerusalem. This move recognises Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel.

With Jerusalem being possibly the most hotly contested city on Earth it is hard to find words to describe just how reckless and idiotic Trump's announcement was.

Within Jerusalem there is located the Mount of God's Holy House. In Hebrew this translates as; "Har HaBayit." In Arabic it translates as; "Haram ash-Sharif." In either language though the meaning is the same.

Jews believe that this site is where the Temple of Solomon once stood. This is the first Temple, Church or Mosque dedicated to God.

It is believed that the Temple of Solomon was built on the mountain where God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Issac to prove his loyalty. This story from the book of Genesis is known as; "The Binding of Issac" and celebrated by Muslims as; "The Feast of Sacrifice/Eid al-Adha."

It is believed that the Temple of Solomon was built using the; "Foundation Stone." This is the piece of rock from which God created Earth and all life upon it.

It is also believed that the Temple of Solomon was built to house the; "Ark of the Covenant" - the chest which houses the two stone tablets of the' "Ten Commandments" handed down by God to Moses in the book of Exodus.

As such the Mount of God's Holy House is the most important site in the Jewish religion.

Christians believe the same God as Jews and worship the same sacred texts although they have added to them. As such the Mount of God's Holy House is equally important to Christians.

The site has added significance because it is just north of the little town of Bethlehem where Jesus Christ whom Christians believe to be the son of God. It is also believed to be the site where Jesus Christ was executed and rose from the dead.

Christians believe this ultimate sacrifice and resurrection forgives them their sins. It is the most significant event within the Christian religion and celebrated as; "Easter."

Muslims believe in the same God as Jews and Christians and worship the same sacred texts although they have added to them. As such the Mount of God's Holy House is just as important to Muslims as it is to Jews and Christians.

The only difference is where Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God Muslims believe him to be one of God's prophets like Moses and Abraham.

Further increasing the claim to the Mount of God's Holy House Muslims also believe that it is the site where Muhammad - God's most important prophet - ascended into Heaven.

The Mount of God's Holy House is currently under the control of a Jordanian Islamic Trust of; "Waqf." They have banned Jews and Christians from praying at the site.

Muslim's main concern is that Jews will one day seize control of the Mount of God's Holy House and ban Muslims and Christians from praying there.

There is also no doubt some Christians who want to seize control of the site and ban Jews and Muslims from praying there. Although they're so small in number everyone tends to forget about them.

The US recognising Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel as a Jewish state very much raises concerns that Muslims and Christians will be excluded from praying at the Mount of God's Holy House.

Donald Trump's decision though also has very serious implications for everybody across the World as we know it. Not just the followers of the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

On June 28th 2914 (28/6/14) Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated in Sarajevo which is now the largest city in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire, the Russian Empire and the Turkish Ottoman Empire saw this as an opportunity to expand their Empires.

The result was four years of war in which 16 million people were killed. The First World War as it became known resulted only in the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the German Empire, the Russian Empire and the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

In 1938 Adolf Hitler decided that he was going to rebuild the German Empire. The result was six years of war in which 50 million were killed. This includes 11 million civilians who were exterminated simply because of their religion/ethnicity or some other aspect which made them inferior such as disability or homosexuality.

At the end of what became known as the Second World War the World gathered to say; "Never Again."

The United Nations (UN) was formed. The second article of the first chapter of the UN Charter reads;

"All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.."

This established a new international law. The days of Empire were over. No more could a nation seize the territory of another nation through the use of force.

Of the 11 million exterminated during the Second World War 5 million were Jews. So from the ashes of that war the World also established a permanent safe-haven for the Jewish people - the nation state of Israel.

This was done by the partitioning of the British colony of Palestine into two nations. One the nation of Israel and the other the nation of Palestine.
 
I think obtaining the consent of Britain as the colonial power to do this was dubious in this new world order. However it was also supposed to mark the end of the British Empire giving the people of Israel and Palestine the right to nationhood and self-determination for the first time. 

Under the UN partion plan - UN Resolution 181 (1947) - Jerusalem was given; "Corpus Separatum/Separated Body" status. This meant that it was neither part of Israel nor part of Palestine. Instead it along with the Mount of God's Holy House would be administrated by the international community under the auspices of the UN.

In 1967 Israel waged the Six Day War with it's Arab neighbours. This saw Israel militarily seize large sections of Palestinian and Syrian territory including parts of the Golan Heights and the city of Jerusalem.

In the years since Israel has attempted to turn those areas of Syrian and Palestinian territory into Israeli territory by building wholly illegal Israeli settlements on them. The city of Jerusalem is the symbolic heart of this Israeli expansion effort.

By recognising Jerusalem as the legitimate capital of Israel the US is announcing its withdrawal from the second article of the first chapter of the UN Charter. It is saying that international law now longer exists and nations are free to go back to use force to seize the territory of their neighbours.

Trump's reckless announcement comes at a time when that law has never been more important.

To the north of Israel and Syria you have the Turkish President/Prime Minister/Emperor Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As with Adolf Hitler before him Erdogan has decided that he wishes to restore the Ottoman Empire to the glory it enjoyed before the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

In going about this Erdogan has followed Hitler's 1938 invasion of Czechoslovakia almost to the letter.

Erdogan has backed Islamist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al Qaeda to spread terror across both countries. This has allowed him to send regular Turkish military units to invade and occupy particularly parts of Syria under the guise of protecting civilians from the terror he has created.

By saying that Israel is right to invade and occupy Jerusalem Trump is also saying that it is acceptable for Erdogan to go ahead with his plan to re-establish the Ottoman Empire. If you are familiar with the Ottoman Empire you would know that is extremely bad news for Israel's security.

Since the UN partion in 1948 the world has worked to achieve a lasting peace between the two states of Israel and Palestine. As Trump's predecessor Barack Obama never seemed to grasp the rise of groups like ISIL and Al Qaeda in the conflict in Syria makes that effort near impossible.

In northern Iraq you have the city of Mosul. This is traditionally a mixed city which is home to both Sunni and Shia Muslims whose religion forbids them from drinking alcohol. However is also home to many Yezidis and Christians whose religion does permit them to drink alcohol. The Christian religion actually requires it.

Prior to the city being seized by ISIL Mosul's Muslims were happy to respect that the Yezidi and Christian's religion allowed them to drink alcohol and there were many shops selling it. Even though the city has been liberated from ISIL many of those shops have come under attack from the city's Muslim population.

It as if they feel that in order to counter the influence of ISIL they have to prove just how Muslim they are. This has led to something of a violent competition to see who can be the most Muslim which has spread across the entire region.

Much of the western world has become increasingly concerned by ISIL propaganda calling for lone-wolf supporters to carry out low-tech terror attacks using knives or cars.

While this has been going on from 2015 onwards Israel has been experiencing what has been dubbed; "The Intifada of the Knife."

This has seen it experience a massive increase in low-tech terror attacks being carried out by lone-wolves using knives and cars. The overwhelming majority of the perpetrators have been Palestinian Muslims from the West Bank. The majority of the attacks have occurred in and around Jerusalem.

If we believe that non-Arabic speaking Muslims in nations such as Britain and the US can be inspired by ISIL propaganda then surely we must believe that it can inspire Arabic speaking Muslims in the nation which directly borders Syria.

Erdogan in particular has seemed very keen to fuel the Intifada of the Knife. Frequently choosing the Mount of God's Holy House and false claims of plans to close the al-Aqsa Mosque on the site to incite violence.

Accompanied by a Turkish language social media hashtag Trump's announcement almost seems intended to boost Erdogan's standing as leader of the Muslim world.

To Israel's south-west you have Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. As you may have noticed from November 24th's (24/11/17) horrific bombing of a Mosque Egypt's Sinai Peninsula is being increasingly threatened by an ISIL affiliate now calling themselves; "ISIL's Sinai Province."

This group is much more familiar to people by their original name; "Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABM)" or "Defenders of the Holy House" by which they mean the Mount of God's Holy House in Jerusalem.

Despite the extreme pressures placed upon it by the rise of ISIL and their associates this past year has seen significant progress in efforts to bring peace between the two states of Israel and Palestine.

This is largely the dividend of no longer having Barack Obama around to interfere.

The most significant progress has come from the Palestinian group Hamas who are primarily based in the Gaza area of Palestine which directly borders Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

In the past year Hamas have ended their relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood - the organisation from which they were formed. The Muslim Brotherhood is the organisation which links ISIL and their Sinai Province to Turkey, Erdogan and Qatar.

Hamas have also recognised Palestine within the borders of UN Resolution 181 (1947). Although they have given up claim to areas outside of those borders Hamas have not yet recognised the nation state of Israel.

However getting a Palestinian group to recognise the state of Israel and all that entails is a bit like getting an Israeli Prime Minister to say that he doesn't want Jerusalem recognised as Israel's capital.

With the US announcing that the Mount of God's Holy House in Jerusalem is under threat like never before I think it will be extremely difficult for Hamas to maintain that newly moderated position. Particularly with the self-proclaimed defenders of that Holy House challenging them both for supporters and supply lines.

In making his announcement it is clear that Donald Trump has not considered any of this. Instead he has only considered his own domestic support within America.

As you may have noticed President Trump is under extreme pressure with things like the Mueller investigation into supposed ties with Russia. However this is just a small part of a much wider effort to oust him from office.

This effort has been marked by intense hostility towards Trump from what is considered the US' mainstream media. A prime example of this is the problems restoring the electricity supply to the US territory of Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma & Maria.

The main problem is that the Democrats who run Puerto Rico gave the contract to repair the electrical grid to a company called; "Whitefish Energy." With only two employees it's clear that Whitefish Energy were not equipped to carry out the task.

That Whitefish Energy had been awarded the Puerto Rico contract was considered a major scandal which was being reported on internationally even before Hurricane Irma struck. However the US media - particularly CNN - refused to report on it until they discovered that Whitefish Energy were based in the same state as Trump appointed Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

It was only then the US news media felt safe to run the story. They believed that they could blame the awarding to the contract to Trump even though Secretary Zinke or any other member of the Federal government had anything to do with Puerto Rico's Democrats decision to award the contract to Whitefish Energy.

This is just one example of what appears to be a rule in the US news media. They can only run a story if they can first find a way to make sure that story damages Trump.

Faced with this just relentless criticism Trump has done what politicians often do - try and sure up their core support. One of Trump's core groups of supporters is America's Evangelical Christians.

Trump's relationship with the Evangelical Christians has been particularly strained of late by the race to replace Jeff Sessions in an Alabama Senate seat.

In this race Trump initially backed Luther Strange in the Republican primary. However Strange lost to Roy Moore because Moore is an Evangelical Christian and a lot of Republican voters in Alabama are also Evangelical Christians.

As the Senate race has heated up Roy Moore has faced allegations of child abuse. As the main accuser  Deborah Wesson Gibson is employed by the Democrat Party working as sign language translator for both Hillary Clinton and John Kerry I do not put much faith in the credibility in these allegations.

However the entire Republican Party seems to have abandoned Roy Moore with even the leader of the Congressional Republicans Mitch McConnell saying that even if elected he will prevent Moore from taking up his seat. Alabama voters don't seem to have abandoned Moore though with him still leading in the polls.

America's Evangelical Christians view Jerusalem as almost a mythical place like Shangri-La or Nirvana rather than a real place where real people really live. They wish to see Jerusalem restored the capital of the Jewish state in order to fulfil a religious prophecy.

Unfortunately this prophecy is that once Jerusalem is restored as the capital of the Jewish state it will trigger the arrival of God's final messenger to Earth. That messenger will then lead the righteous in a final apocalyptic battle against the evildoers.

This is the same religious prophecy that ISIL subscibe to. So mainstream Christians frequently try to distance themselves from American Evangelicals in much the same way mainstream Muslims try to distance themselves from ISIL.

The only good thing I can say about Trump's announcement is that it is not as dramatic as it first sounds.

The US actually recognised Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel back in 1995 under President Bill Clinton. It has then repeatedly suspended that decision by signing a bi-monthly waiver.

Immediately after giving the speech making his announcement President Trump then signed that waiver once again.

So aside from inciting a lot of hostility and aggression Trump's announcement doesn't actually do anything.

Which makes the decision to incite all that hostility and aggression even more bizarre.

17:55 on 7/12/17 (UK date).



Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Brexit: Time to Smash Heads.

In June 2016 Britain voted to exit the European Union (EU) in a public referendum. The so-called; "Brexit."

I was one of the people who voted to leave. However I am probably one of the only people in the country whose vote wasn't determined by some passionate ideological cause or deep-rooted sense of identity.

Instead I simply looked at Britain's membership of the EU and decided that the relationship wasn't working for any of the parties involved.

Britain has always been a reluctant member of the EU.

For example unlike all other EU members it does not recognise the treaties of the EU as domestic law. Instead it relies on this strange confection whereby the British Parliament passes a law which is exactly the same as the EU law at exactly the same time the EU law is passed.

Also Britain has never been a member of the EU's single currency - the Euro Dollar.

This lack of commitment by Britain has caused a high degree of tension and disruption to other EU members. For example following the 2008 financial crisis Britain was actually kicked out of meetings of EU members that do use the single currency intended to draw up an EU-wide response.

Therefore I voted for Britain to leave in the hope it would lead to a new relationship between Britain and the EU. One that would work better for all parties involved.

What I failed to factor into this decision was the just utter incompetence of British politicians.

Rather like the GCSE exams that British students sit over two years Brexit negotiations are modular. That means that negotiators work on one set module. Only when that module is complete can they move on to the next one.

As with GCSE exams these negotiations have a set time limit of two years to complete all the modules. If you fail to complete the modules within that time limit then you fail the whole thing.

The first module of negotiations was supposed to be completed at the end of September 2017. However that deadline was extended to December 4th (4/12/17) after Britain failed to complete the module.

Yesterday - December 4th (4/12/17) - it emerged that Britain has still not completed this first module.

This failure to complete the first module stems entirely from British politicians inability to grasp not only the nature of the negotiations but the issues involved.

Across all political parties there is a demand that the British Parliament is given a final vote on any agreement with the EU. This arrogance shows that British politicians simply do not understand their role within negotiations.

Britain has terminated its membership of the EU pending the expiry of a two year notice period. This means that Britain will leave the EU in March 2018.

The British Parliament vetoing any negotiated agreement on Britain's future relationship with the EU will not change that. All it will do is stop Britain having an agreed relationship with the EU after it has left. That would be utterly catastrophic.

One scenario is that a failure to agree transportation safety standards leads to all transport links between Britain and the EU are shut down. That means no trains, ships or aeroplanes travel between Britain and EU member states.

In that situation arguments over things like trade tariffs will not matter. There simply won't be any goods travelling in or out of the UK.

Any political party which makes that a reality may as well shut up shop there and then. No-one will vote for them ever again.

The first module of negotiations deal with what has been termed; "The Divorce Bill."

Back in 2015 Britain signed a contract to pay GB£90bn into the EU budget regardless of whether it remained a member of the EU or not. From that GB£90bn figure Britain is able to deduct things like money from the EU budget that would be spent in the UK and Britain's share of equity in EU buildings that it would no longer use.

This is a relatively simple aspect of negotiations that you would think it would be easy to work through.

However there is a faction within British politics - generally on the right-wing of the Conservative Party - who have declared that Britain doesn't have to pay any of that bill. Those people are so wrong that I can't even understand how they've come to thinking that position is sustainable.

Fortunately they do seem to have backed down over the course of the past week or so. This has allowed Britain to offer a figure of around GB£50bn to settle the divorce bill.

Rather than being based on set totals the EU budget is worked out on a yearly percentage of a nation's GDP. So if Britain's GDP grows above forecasts then the budget contribution increases above GB£90bn. However if GDP grows below forecasts then the budget contribution shrinks below GB£90bn.

As a result I can't give you a firm figure for Britain's budget contribution because there is no firm figure.

Also I don't have the time to work out things like Britain's share of equity on EU buildings. As a result I can't really give you a firm figure of what Britain's total deductions are.

I have to say though the offered figure of GB£50bn actually seems slightly on the low side. It will also be the last contribution Britain will make to the EU budget.

If the redundant argument over the divorce bill was not problem enough there is also another equally disruptive faction. This is generally the progressive left-wing made up of the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party (SNP).

This faction wants Britain to leave the EU but remain a member of either the Single Market or the Customs Union. I very much doubt any members of this faction know what either the Single Market or the Customs Union actually are.

The Single Market is the EU's freetrade zone. Goods and services are allowed to move around the Single Market area without customs checks or trade tariffs.

In order to be a member of the Single Market a nation must agree to abide by all of the EU's laws. This includes the free movement of people which economists term the free flow of human capital.

In order to abide by all of the EU's laws a nation must also accept the European Court of Justice (ECJ) as the supreme court able to rule on all disputes. This includes all matters of employment and human rights law.

Membership of the Single Market also prevents nations from doing unilateral trade deals with nations outside the Single Market. Regaining the ability to do unilateral trade deals with members of the UK Commonwealth is one of the main advantages of Britain leaving the EU.

The only difference between Britain remaining a member of the EU and remaining a member of the Single Market is that as a member of the Single Market only Britain will give up any say in making the rules that it will have to be governed by.

Again politicians can pursue that if they like. Voters will not reward them.

The Customs Union is an arcane trading arrangement that has almost been rendered irrelevant by the Single Market. It allows nations which are not part of the Single Market to import and export goods into the Single Market without tariffs.

Not being full members of the Single Market allows members of the Customs Union to opt out of some of the EU laws. The free movement of people being the main one.

However members of the Customs Union still have to abide by the majority of EU laws and accept the ECJ as the supreme court able to rule on all trade disputes.

Members of the Customs Union are also not allowed to do unilateral freetrade deals outside of the Customs Union/Single Market.

However they are allowed to do trade deals with outside nations where they are able to negotiate tariff levels within bands set by the EU. For example for animal products the minimum tariff can be 12% while the maximum tariff is 104%.

What members of the Customs Union cannot do is import goods from a third party nation and then export them into the Single Market. This includes components on finished products.

To ensure this doesn't happen goods from Customs Union members are subjected to extremely rigorous customs checks when they are imported into the Single Market.

For example if a Customs Union member want to export a ship load of cars into the Single Market then customs officials unload every car from the ship.

They then dismantle every car down to its smallest piece to make sure that not a single gasket or rubber seal has been imported from outside the Customs Union or made from raw materials imported from outside the Customs Union.

This is obviously extremely time consuming and the customs officials do not pay for any delays. In fact they make the seller pay for storage. Customs officials also do not pay for any damage they may have 'accidentially' done to goods during inspection.

At around 15:40 on 5/12/17 (UK date) I'll move on to the Northern Irish border after what is turning out to be a late lunch.

Edited at around 16:10 on 5/12/17 (UK date) to add;

The first negotiation module also deals with Britain's only land border with another EU member state. The border between the Northern Ireland region and the Republic of Ireland.

Anything short of Britain remaining a member of the Single Market will require some sort of border control between Northern Ireland and the Republic. This presents two key problems.

Firstly the economies of Northern Ireland and the Republic are deeply interconnected. You literally have shopping malls and industrial parks where on side is in Northern Ireland and the other is in the Republic. Breaking apart these economic links will have a catastrophic impact on the economies of both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The second problem is the Good Friday Agreement. This brought to an end the 30 year period of violence know as; "The Troubles." It did this by acknowledging that Northern Ireland is British territory. However at the same time it acknowledged that the people living in Northern Ireland are citizens of the Republic of Ireland.

Obviously you cannot put in border controls which restricts the movement of Irish citizens around Ireland. You certainly can't put in place a militarised border made up the network of watchtowers that was in place during the Troubles.

The solution is to declare Northern Ireland to be a frontier territory. This allows for goods to be imported/exported from the frontier territory to nations directly adjacent to it. In this case the Republic of Ireland and the British mainland.

This allows for the strong interlinkages between the Irish and Northern Irish economies to continue. The prime example of this would be Guinness.

This very famous beer is brewed in Dublin in the Irish Republic. However much of the hops and barley used to brew it is grown in Northern Ireland. Once the beer is brewed in Dublin it is then transported back to Northern Ireland for canning and packaging before being transported back to Dublin for distribution.

With Northern Ireland being classed as a frontier territory this back and forth in trade can continue unhindered by tariffs or customs checks.

The problem arises when goods are transported from the nations adjacent to the frontier territory to third party nations. In the example of Guinness this isn't actually a problem at all. Exports to the EU are done as part of the Single Market while exports to the British mainland aren't exports at all. Just goods being moved around the UK.

However there is a strong possibility that sellers in the EU will try to avoid tariffs by exporting goods to the Republic and then smuggling them to the British mainland via Northern Ireland. Likewise British sellers will try to avoid tariffs by doing the journey in reverse.

To prevent this sort of leakage there will need obviously to be some sort of border control both at the British mainland/Irish Sea, Northern Ireland into the Republic and from the Republic into the rest of the EU.

However rather than being a traditional border in either the hard or soft sense it will be an intelligence-led anti-smuggling operation.

Rather than checking every vehicle, traveller and package you keep a record of the vehicles and import/export companies making frequent journeys. This can be done unobtrusively through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras and keeping records of shipping manifests on ships and aeroplanes.

If you identify a company that is moving far more goods through Northern Ireland than it could sell in either the Republic of Ireland or on the British mainland then you check the shipments belonging to those companies.

This is exactly the same as the system that's already in place to prevent the smuggling of weapons and illegal drugs. So merely expanding it to include legal contraband would not alter the status of Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland or the British mainland.

16:50 on 5/12/17 (UK date).

Monday, 4 December 2017

The Muelling Died Out Long Ago.

In November 2016 the US held a Presidential Election as it does every four years.

This saw Hillary Clinton representing the Democrat Party face off against Donald Trump representing the Republican Party.

As with other members of his Democrat Party the then incumbent President Barack Obama was desperate for Hillary Clinton to replace him. This would allow his policies including the US support for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and their associates to be continue.

As they are now ISIL and their associates were being opposed by Russia at the time. Therefore all the Democrats thought they needed to do was link Trump to Russia and the support for ISIL and Al Qaeda they shared with the American people would sweep Hillary Clinton to a resounding victory.

To this end the Democrats paid some US$9million to a British company called Fusion GPS. Their task was to invent stories linking Trump to Russia.

The stories invented by Fusion GPS were then used by the Obama administration to force the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) to launch formal investigations. The purpose of these investigations being to disrupt the Republican Party election campaign and ensure the Democrat candidate became President.

Obviously this strategy failed, Hillary Clinton was defeated and Donald Trump became President of the US. However the Democrats were going to let a little thing like an election keep them from power.

So in May 2017 a Special Counsel investigation was opened into the Democrats claims. It is headed by Robert Mueller who given the Democrats mewling seems an appropriate choice.

A Special Counsel investigation is really the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of the US legal system.

It gets to act almost as Judge, Jury and Executioner without the levels of oversight that restrict more normal criminal investigations. For example unlike the police a Special Counsel investigation can issue subpoenas compelling witness testimony and access to private documents without the permission of a Judge.

In late June/early July 2017 Mueller's Special Counsel investigation secret impanelled a Grand Jury. This was only made public in early August 2017.

A Grand Jury is really only one of few checks on the vast powers of a Special Counsel investigation. Before a Special Counsel like Mueller can move from investigation to prosecution they must first convince a Jury made up of the general public that there is sufficient evidence to warrant an accusation being made.

Mueller spent the next four months trying to convince this Grand Jury that there was evidence to support the Democrats' accusations linking Trump to Russia. For four months he failed.

On October 27th (27/10/17) Mueller did finally win an argument and convince the Grand Jury that there was sufficient evidence to support allegations against two individuals; Paul Manafort and Richard Gates.

The problem was that the charges related to alleged attempts by the pair to avoid paying taxes on money they earned working for the government of Ukraine. Although Americans have a reputation for being terrible at world geography Ukraine is notably not Russia.

In August 2014 the Canadian delegation to NATO produced a map to illustrate just this point; https://twitter.com/canadanato/status/504651534198927361?lang=en

Also the alleged offences committed by Manafort and Gates date back to 2012. This is a time when Mitt Romney was challenging Barack Obama for the US Presidency on behalf of the Republican Party. Manafort and Gates' alleged actions at that time have nothing to do with Donald Trump or his 2016 Presidential campaign.

At the same time the Manafort and Gates indictments were announced it was also confirmed that George Papadopoulous had pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI. Specifically in a question over whether as a Trump campaign worker he had contact with the Russian Ambassador to the US.

It is not clear whether Papadopoulous' prosecution was authorised by the Grand Jury or whether he chose to plead guilty before matters to that stage.

One thing that is clear though is the charge against Papadopoulous only exists because of the investigation. It provides no evidence to support the claims which led to the investigation being opened.

On Friday December 1st (1/12/17) it was announced that President Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had also plead guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI. Specifically in a question of whether he had contact with the Russian Ambassador to the US in his role as a member of Trump's Presidential Transition team.

Again it is not clear whether Flynn's prosecution was authorised by the Grand Jury or whether he chose to plead guilty before matters to that stage.

One thing that is clear though is that it was a very stupid thing for Flynn to do.

Under certain circumstances lying to the FBI can be considered a criminal offence. If that lie can be proved there is little defence that can be offered. However the act Flynn lied about is not in any way improper let alone illegal. Therefore there was no need to cover it up.

The US Constitution establishes that the nation is a democracy to be run by a President who is both Head of Government and Head of State. That President is chosen by a public vote to be held on the first Tuesday in November in the year prior to the expiry of the existing President's four year term of office.

The candidate who wins the most votes through the electoral college system on that first Tuesday in November becomes the next President in January of the following year. During the period between that November and January the US effectively has two Presidents; The incoming President and the outgoing President.

In 1963 the US passed a law to clarify the division of Presidential power during this transition period. It is known as the Presidential Transition Act 1963 or Public Law 88-277.

This law recognises the incoming President as the successful candidate of office. It requires all branches of the Federal government to provide the incoming President with the resources they need to conduct of the affairs of the Federal Government, both domestic and foreign.

Some who supported Hillary Clinton have suggested that Flynn's contact with the Russian Ambassador could represent a violation of the Logan Act 1799. This prevents private US citizens having contact with foreign governments with which the US is in dispute.

The key phrase in the Logan Act is; "without authority of the United States." In his contact with the Russian Ambassador Flynn was authorised by both the US Constitution and the Presidential Transition Act.

Demonstrating that Flynn was specifically directed by incoming President Trump only makes him less guilty. Not that "authorised by the US" comes in any stronger form then the Constitution and supplemental laws in support of that Constitution.

In their excitement ABC News published an entirely false story claiming that Flynn's contacts with the Russian Ambassador prior to the transition period. This example of "Fake News" cost the US economy potentially billions of dollars by wiping 350 points off the main stock exchange.

Brian Ross who broke this Fake News has since been suspended from ABC News. In what seems likely to be a precursor to him being fired permanently.

The ABC News story about Flynn is entirely false. However even if it were true it would still have no bearing on the Logan Act.

US Presidential candidates are themselves chosen by a public vote. Once they receive enough votes to become the candidate of a recognised political party they are given governmental security clearance. This is done specifically to facilitate them having contact with foreign governments via Ambassadors in order to ensure a smooth transition of power should they be elected.

The granting of that security clearance represents an authorisation by the US as per the Logan Act.

With their claim that Flynn's actions violated the Logan Act having been shot down those who supporter Hillary Clinton have quickly changed tack.

They are now speculating whether President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey represented an obstruction of justice. There they are on even more shaky ground than their claims about the Logan Act.

The offence of obstruction of justice can only occur when a law enforcement official is obstructed in the course of their lawful duty. It cannot occur if the law enforcement official is acting unlawfully.

For example if a police officer attempts to enter your premises without a search warrant or probable cause they are acting unlawfully. As such you are more than entitled to use reasonable force to remove them from those premises.

The FBI, the DoJ and the Office for Special Counsel are all branches of the Federal Government bound by the Presidential Transition Act. That act requires them; "to be mindful of problems occasioned by transitions in the office of President."

One of the most obvious problems occasioned by the Presidential transition is that the outgoing President wouldn't want to leave office. Therefore they may instruct officers of the government such as the military or law enforcement to block the transition to the elected President in order to keep themselves or their designated successor in power.

During the transition from President Obama to President Trump this was actually something the World was dealing with in the African nation of Gambia.

In December 2016 Yahya Jammeh lost the election and then promptly refused to leave office. Fortunately the branches of the Gambian government sided with the elected President Adama Barrow and Jammeh was evicted from the Presidential Palace on January 21st 2017 (21/1/17).

As such if an outgoing President asks a branch of government to conduct an investigation into the incoming President the 1963 Act requires that branch of government to mindful of the fact this could be an attempt to disrupt the orderly transition of power.

Therefore if such an investigation is to proceed the branch of government must have very strong probable cause to suggest it is necessary to preserve the rule of law. A dossier provided by the outgoing President's designated successor simply does not cut it.

As yet nothing has come to light that provides the probable cause to warrant the launching of the investigation. As such it seems that by conducting the investigation the FBI et al were acting unlawfully under the terms of the Presidential Transition Act.

If it can be found that those government officers were mindful of the fact the order to open an investigation was simply an outgoing President trying to disrupt the orderly transfer of power but gone along with it anyway then they have committed treason. One of the most serious criminal offences that exists.

You most certainly cannot be prosecuted for obstructing someone as they attempt to commit an unlawful act. Particularly not one this serious.

Flynn's guilty plea actually strengthens the case that the FBI were acting unlawfully. As with Papadopoulous it is an offence that has been created entirely by the investigation. It offers nothing to by way of evidence to support the notion the investigation is in any way warranted.

If Mueller were desperate to secure just any indictment regardless of whether it has anything to do with either Trump or Russia there is a much more serious allegation against Flynn which he could have chosen to pursue.

It is well established that throughout 2016 Flynn was working as a paid agent of the Turkish government. However he failed to register the fact that he was a foreign agent.  

This failure to register as a foreign agent is a clear criminal offence. Even if no-one seems interested in prosecuting Khazir Khan who introduced Hillary Clinton as the Democrats Presidential candidate for failing to declare that he is a paid agent of Saudi Arabia.

Mueller's failure to prosecute Flynn over his work for the Turkish government seems to be driven entirely by the political relationship between the US and Turkey. This is extremely tense at the moment.

Turkey of course helped to create ISIL in the hope of annexing Syria as part of a new Ottoman Empire. With ISIL being almost entirely eradicated Turkey has pursued this dream of a new empire by sending regular Turkish troops to illegally annex two areas of northern Syria.

As they stood in the way of Turkey's irregular ISIL force the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF/QSD) are currently standing in the way of Turkey's dream of empire. As as result Turkey is putting huge amounts of pressure on the US to disarm the SDF in order to allow Turkish forces to attack and defeat them.

Then of course there is the issue of Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen is a Turkish preacher of the Sufi branch of Islam. This is the branch of Islam that was attacked in Egypt's Sinai on November 24th (24/11/17) with the loss of 305 lives.

Sufi Islam is really the polar opposite of the Salafi form of Islam practiced the Turkey's President/Prime Minister/Emperor Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It almost goes without saying then that in 2013 Erdogan tried to have Gulen jailed for dangerous ideas forcing Gulen into exile in Pennsylvania, US.

In 2016 the Turkish military rose up against Erdogan's Islamist autocracy but Obama and CNN helped to keep him in power. Since then Erdogan has accused Gulen of being behind the rising and demanded the US extradite him. 

It must be said though that Turkey has not yet issued a formal extradition request. Nor offered any evidence linking Gulen to the rising.

One of the rumours is that in his role as an agent of the Turkish government Flynn offered to kidnap Gulen from the US and transfer him to Turkish custody.

Then there is the Mehmet Atilla gold trader case.

This is something that's been rumbling in the background of US-Turkey relations for a while now. However the day before the Flynn announcement on November 30th (30/11/17) the trial formally opened in Federal Court in New York, US.

Atilla is accused by the US of using gold to launder money from the sale of Iranian oil & gas in violation of US sanctions. Sanctions that were of course introduced under Obama as one of Hillary Clinton's greatest foreign policy failures and the US have since apologised for. 

Atilla's co-accused is Reza Zarrab. Like it is claimed Flynn has done he has taken a plea deal in exchange for testifying against his co-conspirators. In his first day of testimony Zarrab claimed that the entire oil smuggling operation was directed by Erdogan.

This is interesting because it's been well established that Erdogan supported ISIL by selling their smuggled oil to great personal profit to him and his family. 

The Atilla case could be a discreet way for the US to prosecute Erdogan for that without also making him liable for ISIL's many crimes against humanity. However it could also be the US showing that it's only Iran it hates. ISIL and their crimes are still considered valued friends.

Erdogan's response to the Atilla case has been predictably furious producing a flurry of activity on December 1st (1/12/17).

From a US perspective the most significant development was Turkey issuing an arrest warrant for retired CIA President Graham Fuller. They accuse Fuller of working with Gulen to direct the 2016 rising. Again though they have failed to offer any evidence.

The majority of Erdogan's fury though has been directed at his domestic opponents. Most notably the Republican People's Party (CHP) who are Turkey's formal party of opposition. 

Erdogan has instructed Turkey's DoJ to investigate the CHP for money laundering. He is also personally suing the families of CHP officials for libel for making public details of Erdogan's oil deals with ISIL.

As such it seems clear that Mueller's decision not to prosecute Flynn over his role as a Turkish agent is driven entirely by political concerns.

The Flynn announcement and the start of the Atilla trial both occurred during the latest round of meeting in the Geneva Process on Syria. These began on November 28th (28/11/17) and there are rumours they may continue until December 15th (15/12/17).

Both the Flynn and Atilla announcement seem intended to send a very clear message to the Geneva meeting;

"The US is more interested in continuing hostility and aggression towards Iran and Russia that it is in preserving the integrity of its own political and legal system."

With Russia and Iran being the main backers of Syria you would think that would give succour to groups like Al Qaeda who wish to overthrow the Syrian government along with its political and legal system.

The fact that Mueller has timed his announcement on Flynn for maximum political impact further undermines the legality of the entire investigation. 

It shows that Mueller and his team are only interested in enforcing the law when if coincides with their own political agenda. A political agenda they certainly have no democratic mandate to pursue.

The Flynn announcement also occurred literally minutes before the draw from the Russia hosted 2018 World Cup and overshadowed the entire proceeding.

I think its clear that the US very much wanted to boycott the 2018 World Cup. However with even Italy giving up its place to make sure the very anti-Russian Swedes had to go it was equally clear that no-one would be joining in the US in the boycott. So the US made sure they failed to qualify.

As you can't stop me talking about football I should also mention that some people have claimed that Russia rigged the World Cup draw to give themselves an easy group. I think the majority of these people were joking about an event which is meant to be fun.

At least I hope they were joking. If Russia had rigged the draw they certainly wouldn't have rigged it to produce that outcome.

The opening game of the 2018 World Cup will see Russia play Saudi Arabia on June 14th 2018 (14/6/18). Due to the conflict in Syria the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Russia is poor to say the least.

Since roughly 2012 Saudi Arabia has massively increased its oil output. This oversupply has collapsed the oil price. Saudi Arabia has been doing this in the hope of bankrupting Russia's oil based economy.

In 2013 Russia hosted the Winter Olympics. Saudi Arabia felt that Russia should not have this honour while it was supporting Syria. 

So Saudi Arabia dispatched Islamist terrorists to conduct attacks against the games. They conducted two bombings in Volgograd in December 2016 before a global effort stopped them.

By way of compensation for not being able to conduct terror attacks against the Olympics former US President Obama illegally overthrew the government in Russia's neighbour Ukraine triggering a civil war.  

Obama then used that war to impose sanctions of Russia to aid Saudi Arabia's efforts to bankrupt its oil based economy.

It is those sanctions Flynn is said to have discussed with the Russian Ambassador.

Elsewhere in Group A you have Egypt who have this player called Mohamed Salah and Uruguay who have this player called Luis Suarez.

You may have heard of them.

18:10 on 4/12/17 (UK date).

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Jayda Fransen Tweets.

Yesterday (29/11/17) US President Donald Trump re-Tweeted several Tweets by the deputy leader of the Britain First group Jayda Fransen. This is not the first time that Ms Fransen has been in the news of late.

On November 18th (18/11/17) Ms Fransen was arrested for using threatening, abusive or insulting words contrary to the Public Order Act. Although Fransen's arrest took place in Bromley, South East London it was carried out by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) who took her into custody in Belfast.

Ms Fransen's arrest occurred at a time when Britain was being very loud and disruptive. They were being disruptive in negotiations about leaving the EU, disruptive in the COP23 Climate Change negotiations and disruptive in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

For example of November 12th (12/11/17) a pipebomb-type Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was discovered at a war memorial in Omagh in Northern Ireland. This invoked memories of the August 15th 1998 (15/8/17) Omagh bombing which killed 28.

The 1998 Omagh bombing was carried out by the British security services. The hope was that it would be blamed on Republican terror groups - specifically the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA). That would create a public backlash that would derail the Good Friday peace agreement.

The Omagh bombing was referenced here because of something similar the Turkish security services had done. They created a terrorist group called the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK). The hope was that people would believe that TAK was a Kurdish group so their attacks would cause a public backlash that would block a Good Friday style peace agreement with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

As I've said before the PKK existed as part of the; "Arc of Resistance." These were a network of armed groups backed by the Soviet Union to destabilise the NATO nations during the Cold War. Alongside the PKK you had Irish Republican groups like the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and to a lesser extent the PIRA.

The NATO nations obviously maintained similar groups to destabilise Soviet Bloc nations. However under what was termed; "Operation Gladio" they also established a network of fascist groups to fight the Arc of Resistance groups.

In Turkey the Gladio group to counter the PKK was the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) or more specifically their paramilitary wing the; "Grey Wolves." It was the MHP/Grey Wolves who created TAK.

Within Northern Ireland groups like the PIRA and the INLA were countered by Loyalist groups such as the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) and the Ulster Defence Force (UDF).

However on the British mainland a Gladio group was formed to counter supporters of Irish Republicans and other leftwing groups like Communists and Anarchists. This group was Combat 18. The "1" and "8" in their name refer to the letters "A" and "H" as in Adolf Hitler.

Combat 18 were a clandestine network of Police Officers, Prison Officers and football hooligans used to violently suppress leftwing activists. They generally did this through seemingly isolated beatings and murders. However in 1999 one of their supporters David Copeland waged a 13 day long bombing campaign in London targeting ethnic minorities and the gay community.

As a clandestine group Combat 18 were never meant to officially exist and certainly didn't have a political wing like the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) were closely linked to the INLA. However through their shared Nazi ideology the political party closest to Combat 18 were the British National Party (BNP).

Jayda Fransen's Britain First group is an offshoot of the BNP.

Ms Fransen's arrest related to a march held in Belfast on August 6th 2017 (6/8/17) under the banner; "Northern Ireland Against Terrorism." Officially this was being held to protest Islamist terrorism.

However Belfast is a very strange place to protest Islamist terrorism. Belfast's Muslim population is so low that I think the main Mosque is just some guy's house. It's as if Muslims have taken one look at the city and decided that it is far too sectarian even for them.

Through its extensive use of the British Union flag and occurring during the traditional Loyalist marching season the Britain First march was much more a celebration of the links between the British Gladio groups like the LVF and Combat 18. The terrorism being united against was Republican terrorism.

As such Ms Fransen's arrest could be viewed as Britain opposing Gladio groups like Combat 18, the LVF and the MHP. The MHP's Grey Wolves are very active in Syria where they are supporting ISIL.

Both Fransen's arrest and the Omagh pipebomb were preceded by the November 8th (8/11/17) resignation/firing of Secretary of State (senior minister) for International Development Priti Patel. This was in response to demands by the opposition Labour Party after it had been revealed that Ms Patel had been having off-the-books, back-channel meetings with Israeli officials.

Those Labour calls came at an extremely embarrassing time. What Ms Patel was discussing with Israel was an Army of Islam/Jaish al-Islam offensive to ethnically cleanse the Druze religious minority from the Syrian Golan Heights. The Army of Islam were being aided in this effort by the Syrian (sic) Civil Defence/White Helmets group.

One of the most high profile supporters of the White Helmets terror group was the British Labour MP Jo Cox. In June 2016 Jo Cox was eliminated by the British security services as her support for an Al Qaeda group constituted a threat to national security.

The instrument of Jo Cox's demise was a man named Tommy Mair. In killing her he shouted; "Put Britain First!" In an effort to prevent the police investigation into Jo Cox's  death turning into an investigation into Labour's support for Al Qaeda the Labour Party tried claiming that Mr Mair was a member of Britain First. They also tried claiming he was a member of - I think - the LVF.

At the time the Priti Patel saga was going on the British Queen was handing out medals over the killing of Jo Cox. Officially the medal was awarded to the widow of a man who tried and failed to save Jo Cox's life. The joke was that if he succeeded he certainly wouldn't have got a medal from Britain.

As such Ms Fransen's arrest could be interpreted as Britain changing its position on the White Helmets and an organisation blamed for the elimination of their main fundraiser in the UK. It came just days after the Queen handed out more medals to police officers involved in the case. On that occasion the Queen's official Twitter account made sure to point out that Jo Cox had been "murdered" rather than "lawfully killed."

Then of course there is the fact that due to old Cold War links I've been using the Northern Irish Troubles as a coded way to talk about the fight against ISIL and their associates.

When I started doing this four years ago it was quite funny and gave Britain something of an advantage. After they know far more about the Northern Irish Troubles then the Turks, the Syrians, the Iraqis and even the Americans.

However since then Britain has voted to leave the EU. This is led to tense discussions over the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In that context references to the Northern Irish Troubles have got less funny.

Bromley is close to where I live in South London. So police flying in from Belfast to make arrests for insulting and offensive behaviour did make it sound as though I was in a little bit of trouble.

Generally though Jayda Fransen's arrest was just a noisemaker. It spreads confusion by bringing up lots of inflammatory issues without making any firm statements one way or the other.

That's why I dismissed it. To the point I'd actually forgotten about it when writing up the rest of Britain's disruptive period.

17:50 on 30/11/17 (UK date).

Edited at around 19:50 on 1/12/17 (UK date) to add;

For four years I've been telling my mother that I'm too busy to visit. So now things are less busy I visited on Wednesday (29/11/17) returning today. After all UN sponsorship  - albeit illegal - means that everyone has observer status to the Geneva Process on Syria.

It must be said that as guard dogs go the Commander-in-Chief of the World's largest military isn't that bad.


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Operation Featherweight: Month 41, Week 3, Day 2.

This must be read as a direct continuation of yesterday's post; https://watchitdie.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/operation-featherweight-month-41-week-3.html

You really must read that. Apparently it's so explosive it shut down the main Oxford Street shopping district of Britain's capital for a couple of hours yesterday.

Well the British security services and the BBC were red flashing messages urging people to seek shelter and not to attempt to travel.

This is while it was worked out whether reports of gunshots were an Islamist terror attack or just some of Obama's core constituents getting over excited during the Black Friday sales. It turns out there weren't even any gunshots.

In the fight against ISIL the "Black Friday" was Friday November 13th 2015 (13/11/15). Here ISIL massacred 130 civilians on the streets of Paris, France. Deep behind the accepted frontlines in Syria and Iraq.

Disproving absolutely no stereotypes France responded to this by immediately issuing its articles of surrender to ISIL and its supporters. This took the form of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution (R) 2249 (2015).

The fight against ISIL and their associates is authorised under UNSCR 2170 (2014). This is issued under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

Chapter 7 resolutions not only allow nations to take military action against designated nations/groups it actually obligates them to do everything in their power to defeat the designated entities.

UNSCR 2249 (2015) attempts to loosen that obligation on nations to defeat ISIL and their associates. It now only requires nations to combat ISIL and their associates if they so wish.

UNSCR 2249 (2015) also calls for the overthrow of Syria's government. Something it is prevented from doing under the preamble of the UN Charter. As such UNSCR 2249 (2015) has no validity whatsoever.

Britain's position is that it continues to support this Black Friday Rule.

While it was not Erdogan's intention Talal Silo's noble and ideological 'choice' to defect from the SDF to Turkey highlighted another significant problem facing the SDF.

ISIL were created in 2011. Primarily by Turkey, Qatar and the US under former President Barack Obama.

The purpose was for ISIL to overthrow Syria's secular government and replace it with a Sunni Islamist puppet regime. This regime would rule Syria's territory as a part of the New Ottoman Empire Erdogan has long sought.

This is not a matter for discussion. It is simply a fact. The US Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) has published documents detailing exactly what it did to help create ISIL and why.

In August 2014 ISIL conducted a genocide in and around the northern Iraq town of Sinjar/Shingal. This made the ISIL brand completely toxic. Particularly for the US.

So the US set out to simply retire the ISIL brand. The intention being to replace it with a similar Sunni Islamist force that would operate under a name that was more acceptable to the US electorate.

In this effort the SDF and particularly the YPG have presented a major barrier to the US' plans.

The SDF are genuinely committed to defeating ISIL and its ideological partners. Also as secular group they represent the best opportunity to produce a viable alternative to Syria's current secular government.

In November 2016 former US President Obama set in motion a plan to destroy the SDF once and for all.

The first part of this plan was the Wrath of Euphrates operation. The objective was to see particularly the YPG element of the SDF destroyed in an losing battle for Raqqa.

The second part of the plan was to establish a rival command structure within the SDF. Formed of Sunni Arab fragments of the long defunct Free Syrian Army (FSA) this was name the Syrian Arab Council (SAC).

The hope was that with the SDF wiped out in defeat at the battle of Raqqa the SAC would step in an pledge allegiance to Erdogan and Turkey. Thus replacing ISIL as the brand to overthrow Syria's secular government.

Obviously in January 2017 Obama was replaced as US President. The SDF went on to win the battle of Raqqa.

Despite this though the US has still not come to its senses and realised the overthrow of the Syrian government is not an acceptable let alone a desirable outcome.

In its efforts to create the SAC the US forced the SDF to accept as members Sunni Arab groups that are very much at odds with the groups ideology.

One of these I've discussed before is the self-proclaimed Syrian Elite Forces (SEF). They fought alongside ISIL in Deir-ez-Zour City until the two groups fell out over the spoils of war.

Just weeks after being forced on the coalition the SEF were given the task of leading the SDF's Cizre Storm operation. The moment they arrived at Deir-ez-Zour City the SEF refused to advance any further. Instead they demanded CJTFOIR support in resuming their alliance with ISIL against the Syrians.

While the US was denying support to the SDF it was training Sunni Islamist fragments of the FSA at a desert base close to al-Tanf. For dubious reasons this base has been designated; "Bobby Sands."

On June 9th (9/6/17) the Syrians own anti-ISIL operations saw them arrive at al-Tanf. This left the US with the problem of what to do with the FSA fragments it had stationed at the Bobby Sands base.

One group in particular was the Front of Raqqa Revolutionaries/Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa. They are not to be confused with Front of Raqqa Revolutionaries/Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa who have been with the SDF since 2015.

The US transported this Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa to Hasakah in an effort to force them to join the SDF.

Upon arrival in Hasakah Jabhat Thuwar al-Raqqa immediately renamed themselves Harakat al-Qiyam/(roughly) Uprising Movement and declared war on the SDF.

From mid-October 2017 onwards Harakat al-Qiyam have claimed multiple assassinations of senior SDF figures in and around Hasakah.

On November 2nd (2/11/17) and November 5th (5/11/17) Harakat al-Qiyam also claimed attacks in Manbij including the attempted assassination of the SDF leader Abu Abel. Manbij sits on the border between SDF controlled Shangri-La and Turkish occupied Garvaghy Road. It is believed that Harakat al-Qiyam received Turkish support from Jarablus in these attacks.

On November 10th (10/11/17) there was a big VBIED attack just south of Hasakah. ISIL have claimed this attack and also claimed that 53 members of the SDF were killed. Due to the increased activity of Harakat al-Qiyam though there is a suspicion that they in fact carried out the attack.

With the US continuing to mistake the fight against ISIL as nothing more than a re-branding exercise they are desperate for the big, flag waving moment when they can declare ISIL defeated. They certainly don't want that moment to go to the Syrians.

So while the Syrians have been fighting to liberate ISIL from Abu Kamal - the last population centre they hold - the US have been flying ISIL protection missions over the town. The objective has been to put planes in the way to stop the Syrians and the Russians destroying ISIL vehicles as they move around.

The US has attempted to justify this by seizing onto the BBC World Service "Raqqa's Dirty Secret" expose. They claim that rather then assisting ISIL in holding onto Abu Kamal they are trying to prevent Syria and Russia committing war crimes by attacking surrendering fighters.

On November 14th (14/11/17) Russia called out the US on these ISIL protection flights. In doing so they published on social media images that they claimed showed the US operation. Those images were in fact taken from a computer game I think called; "AC130 Gunship Simulator."

Following Obama been replaced as US President sections of the US media have been in a frenzy of accusing Russia of distributing; "Fake News."

There was also a "Fake News" element to yesterday evening events in Oxford Street.

In the UK there is a low-rent popstar by the name of Olly Murs. He was caught up in events on Oxford Street. This led to him sending out a series of panicked Tweets to his 7.8 million followers telling them there was a terror attack underway. This massively increased the hysteria surrounding what was a non-event.

This comes just days after a series of Labour Party supporting celebrities sent out messages to their followers accusing the wicked Conservative government of claiming that animals don't have feelings. A major slur in a nation of pet lovers like Britain. It turns out of course that this was nothing but Fake News.

The entire western coverage of the conflict in Syria is Fake News.

There has been no popular uprising to topple a dictator. One of Syria's neighbours has merely decided it wishes to invade the nation in order to seize its territory.

In order to do this Erdogan established a network of spies posing as journalists and "citizen journalists" to spread Fake News or propaganda in the hope of toppling the Syrian government.

One of the worst offenders in this area are the Turkish based "Syrian Civil Defence (White Helmets)" group.

The White Helmet's job is to create and distribute atrocity propaganda. These were the guys who managed to film themselves taking patients suffering from Sarin exposure to hospital some two hours before the Syrians supposedly used Sarin against Khan Shiekhoun back in April 2017.

Probably the most famous use of computer generated imagery comes from ISIL themselves. One of their execution videos from early 2015 showed footage purporting to be from one of their great battle field victories. It was actually computer effects from the 2013 Russian movie; "Stalingrad."

So it seems the US' ISIL protection flights have been rather excellently trolled by Russia then.

Talal Silo's 'defection' was not the only product of Erdogan's agitation in response the events in Omagh and the BBC World Service "Raqqa's Dirty Secret" expose however.

Directly to the west of Turkish occupied Garvaghy Road you have another area under SDF control. This is known as; "Afrin Canton." Directly to the south of Afrin Canton you have another area under Turkish occupation. This is known as; "The Sudetenland."

Over the past two weeks Turkish forces in both Garvaghy Road and the Sudetenland have massively increased their attacks on the SDF in Afrin Canton.

Yesterday (24/11/17) Erdogan's forces established an outpost inside Afrin Canton. This was done with the support of the Al Qaeda affiliate the Movement of Nour al-Zinki/Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zinki.

Erdogan of course wishes to conquer Syria in order to establish his version of the Ottoman Empire. The original Ottoman Empire was established by defeating the Mamluk Empire were based in what is now Egypt.

It almost goes without saying then that Erdogan has also been trying to conquer Egypt. His most recent effort was the absolutely horrific attack on a Mosque in the Sinai Peninsula yesterday (24/11/17). This murdered at least 305 civilians.

As the worst terror attack in Egypt's history I think that really deserves a post in its own right.

In the meantime though whether or not you know the fancy terms every nation functions on a variation of what the political philosopher John Locke termed; "The Social Contract."

At its most basic level this involves a person giving up part of their freedom to the government. Say your freedom to just kill anyone who annoys you. In return the government gives the person protection. Say protection from being killed by anyone you happen to have annoyed.

Mass casualty terror attacks like this tear a massive hole in that social contract. This one has been carried out to undermine public faith in the Egyptian government. The hope being this will trigger a big, beautiful colour revolution that will sweep another Erdogan puppet like Morsi into power.

It also fits in with a pattern of targeting Egypt's religious minorities. Back in April 2017 there was the bombing of two Coptic Christian Churches during the most important week in the Christian calender.

People have this perception of Islam of this violent, backward medieval religion. That is true only of a small sub-section of Islam practised by Salafi Sunnis. Groups such as ISIL, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Mosque attacked yesterday (24/11/17) belonged to Shia Sufi Muslims. These are the polar opposite to Salafi Sunnis.

In they way their practice their religion Sufis are more like Hindus or Buddhists. They are completely opposed to violence and consider the Caliphate to be a state of mind similar to Nirvana rather than a physical place.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is an Alawite. They are probably the most hippy, dippy branch of Sufi Islam.

By carrying out an attack like this the Salafi Sunnis are leaving the Egyptian government no option other than to crack down hard on them.

The Salafi Sunnis plan is that this will allow them to portray the Egyptian government as persecuting them as the "True Muslims" in order to protect the "Infidels."

The hope being this will trigger a big, beautiful colour revolution that will sweep another Erdogan puppet like Morsi into power.

17:20 on 25/11/17 (UK date).



 



Friday, 24 November 2017

Operation Featherweight: Month 41, Week 3, Day 1.

This should be read as a direct continuation of yesterday's post; https://watchitdie.blogspot.co.uk/2017/11/operation-featherweight-month-41-week-2.html

The gains of the last two weeks have all occurred during a period in which Britain has been extremely disruptive.

It has been extremely disruptive in its negotiations on exiting the European Union (EU) "Brexit." It has been extremely disruptive in the COP23 Climate Change negotiations.

It almost goes without saying that Britain has also been extremely disruptive here.

What has allowed the Syrians to turn their focus fully onto ISIL has been the Astana Process. Formed in December 2016 this sees Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria meet periodically to discuss the conflict.

The fifth round of meetings in the Astana Process held on May 3rd (3/5/17) and May 5th (5/5/17). This saw the creation of what are known as the; "Astana Zones." Within these zones fighting would be temporarily suspended between the Syrians and all armed groups which are not ISIL and at Turkey's insistence the SDF.

The US was granted observer status within the Astana Process back in January 2017. However despite being a member of CJTFOIR the UK remains excluded.

On November 8th (8/11/17) the British Secretary of State (Senior Minister) for International Development Priti Patel was fired/quit her job. This followed weeks on intense demands by the opposition Labour Party for her to be dismissed after it emerged she had been engaged in off-the-books, back-channel discussions with Israel.

The reason why Ms Patel had been holding these discussions with Israel is that Israel directly borders one of the key Astana Zones. After all this southern Astana Zone covering Deraa and Quneitra Provinces was introduced specifically to stop stray fire in the disputed Golan Heights area dragging Israel into the conflict.

The spectacle of the opposition forcing the dismissal of a government minister was intended to promote discussion about whether the Labour Party could bring down the minority Conservative government and replace it. This was particularly true at the Brexit negotiations.

Aside from using its existing relationships with nations such as Israel to peer into the Astana Process the UK has also been cozying up to the main Astana Parties in an effort to be granted observer status alongside the US.

Probably the key party in the Astana Process is Russia. On November 1st (1/11/17) the British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon also quit his post.

Fallon was probably one of the most anti-Russian members of the British government. In his role in defence he has been an extremely vocal support of sanctions on Russia. The sanctions imposed to help ISIL win this war. I am honestly surprised he lasted as long as he did.

Another of the key parties within the Astana Process is Iran.

Britain's relationship with Iran has been extremely bad of late. The roots of the dispute between Britain and Iran can really be traced back to 1953 when Britain staged a Coup in Iran to overthrow the democratically elected President to replace him with a Monarch.

More recently the relationship between the two nations were soured by Britain's attempts to stage another Coup in Iran during the nation's 2009 elections.

Known as; "Project Green" this saw Britain establish a network of spies within Iran posing as journalists. Taking instruction from the BBC's World Service they were tasked in spreading propaganda or; "Fake News" in the hope of triggering a public uprising and the overthrow of the Iranian government in one of those big, beautiful colour revolutions.

Obviously this failed. So Britain attempted to try again at Iran's May 2017 election. However on this occasion Iran took preventative measures arresting one of the key facilitators of the British spy network - Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - in April 2016.

Britain obviously wasn't going to admit that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was a key facilitator in their attempts to stage a Coup in Iran. So since her arrest they have lied claiming that she was innocent and conducted a publicity campaign to have her released by portraying Iranians as evil monsters. This has not improved the relationship between Britain and Iran.

On November 1st (1/11/17) the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Boris Johnson quietly confirmed to an obscure British Parliamentary committee that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in fact a key facilitator in a British spy network. Her role was to train 'journalists' to spread propaganda and fake news during the May 2017 election.

In order to repair the relationship with Iran and hopefully gain access to the Astana Process the key was for Britain through Secretary Johnson to acknowledge that Zaghari-Ratcliffe was a spy. Once that had taken place I really didn't see any need for me to go piling in on top.

The British Labour Party did feel the need to pile in though. For the last 23 days they have been demanding that Secretary Johnson been dismissed from the government over his effort to keep Britain safe by gaining access to the Astana Process. Following Fallon and Patel they seem to think that one more and they'll be in government.

In their effort to prove to the British electorate that they are wholly unfit for government the Labour Party received some help from the intelligence services. They put them onto the fact that Britain owes Iran a GB £400m debt over a 1978 contract Britain has so far failed to honour.

This is a specific reference to the Brexit negotiations. In 2015 Britain signed a contract to pay around GB £90bn into the EU budget over seven years whether Britain remains an EU member or not. There is a faction within Britain which claims that because it is leaving they no longer have to pay. Those people are wrong.

To give you an idea of how wrong they are eventually this like the Iran contract will be decided by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On Tuesday (21/11/17) Britain lost its seat on the ICJ. For the first time since it was founded in 1946. Out of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.

I challenge you to find a more effective way of discussing this then through the works of Judy Garland.

The other element of Britain's extremely disruptive behaviour was the release on November 13th (13/11/17) of a BBC World Service news expose entitled; "Raqqa's Dirty Secret." This related to an agreement done between the SDF and ISIL to bring an end to the battle for Raqqa.

In the final days of that battle the SDF found themselves in a situation where ISIL held two key positions in the city. The National Hospital Complex and the Municipal Football Stadium.

In those locations ISIL held potentially tens of thousands of kidnapped civilians as human shields. Both locations had been rigged with demolition charges to destroy the buildings and kill all the hostages should the SDF attempt to raid them.

This created the very real possibility that the battle would end in not one but two civilian massacres either of which would make the September 4th 2004 (4/9/04) massacre at School Number One in Beslan, Russia seem tame by comparison.

In the Beslan massacre Chechen Islamist fighters seized a school taking over 1,100 people hostage of which 777 were children. Although the exact nature of the tragedy has long been subject to anti-Russian propaganda the siege ended with the school being blown up resulting in the deaths of at least 334 of the hostages.

Many of the ISIL fighters at Raqqa's National Hospital Complex and the Municipal Football Stadium were the same Chechen Islamists who carried out the Beslan massacre.

The Beslan Massacre was so horrific that more than 13 years later I still have vivid images of it seared into my memory. In part that's because Britain's intelligence services used it as part of an effort to kill me. Or more accurately drive me to kill myself as part of a "Hands Off Assassination."

This involves putting huge pressure on the intended target by systematically destroying their entire life over a short, intense period. You then lift the pressure slightly to give the intended target time to reflect on all that they've lost.

During that period you ever so slightly introduce the notion of suicide into the target's mind through something like a well placed newstory or even something as simple as an advert on a bus passing by. You then sit back and watch as the target kills themselves.

Obviously no-one could ever be prosecuted for killing someone in this way. Even saying it out loud makes you sound crazy.

In the three week period running up to the Beslan Massacre I'd worked I think 21 consecutive days without a break. That obviously put pressure on my relationship with friends and family. With people at work seeming to be deliberately difficult every day seemed much harder than one before.

As the Beslan massacre was underway I got three consecutive days off. Immediately my cellphone and Internet connection stopped working. My bank accounts were also frozen meaning I couldn't buy food let alone go out with friends. All I could do was sit amongst the shattered ruins of my life endlessly watching the horrors of Beslan unfold on TV news.

This was the same technique used to kill British weapons inspector Dr David Kelly in July 2003. It was his "sexed-up" dossier on Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) which was used to justify the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In the two weeks prior to his death you could see Dr Kelly's life rapidly falling to pieces. He was exposed by the BBC leading to a whirlwind period which saw him splashed across every news outlet across the globe and dragged before British Parliamentary committees. He was then given a period of quiet reflection at his country home. Where he killed himself.

Needless to say this technique sometimes referred to as; "Assisted Suicide" remains controversial. Particularly as we're once again back in Iraq. It's often discussed in coded terms around the issue of euthanasia. Tony Nicklinson probably being the most famous British example recently.

The main revelation from the BBC's "Raqqa's Dirty Secret" expose was that the agreement had involved 4,000 people rather than "the 250 initially reported." I honestly do not know where Quentin Sommerville got this story from.

The details of the negotiation were obviously kept an closely guarded secret while they were ongoing. However the figure that was always rumoured was that it would involve around 4,000 people. I think the highest I heard was 4,750.

This was made up of one group of fighters who were local to Syria and Iraq but who were not members of the tribes indigenous to Raqqa and the surrounding area. These people would be sent to prison.

The second group was fighters who were members of those tribes. They were to be returned to their tribes.

Following the liberation of Mosul I talked about punishing low-level local ISIL fighters with a sort of probation system of monitoring. Although not perfect the monitoring system provided by the tribal system will be much more severe then that. Can you imagine having your mother-in-law as your probation officer.

The third much larger group was the wives and children of the fighters. ISIL practice multiple marriage so when you talk about an ISIL fighter's family you can easily be talking about five to ten people. This group were to be transferred to a sort of internment camp just outside Raqqa provided by the British charity Shelter Box.

When the deal went through the announcement was that 375 of the non-local tribal fighters had been taken to prison in Tabqa. The camp for the fighter's families is that large it can probably been seen from space.

So Quentin Sommerville and the BBC seem to have just completely made up this figure of 250.

The only interesting detail in this expose was the allegation that some foreign fighters had fled Raqqa to Turkey.

The BBC expose came out the day after the discovery on November 12th (12/11/17) of a Pipebomb type Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) at a war memorial in Omagh, Northern Ireland.

The August 15th 1998 (15/8/98) Omagh bombing was probably the most vicious False Flag terror attack Britain has ever experienced. I have vivid memories of that too seared into my mind.

The British intelligence services detonated a bomb on a crowded shopping street killing 29 and wounding 300 more. The hope was that the bombing would be blamed on the Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) and the public backlash would derail the Good Friday peace agreement.

This is rather like how elements of the Turkish intelligence services loyal to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) created the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) group. In order to prevent a similar peace agreement between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

In August 2016 Turkey formally and illegally invaded a roughly 100km (60 mile) wide stretch of northern Syria from Azaz/Kilis in the west to the Euphrates River in the east. As the invasion was conducted to keep Turkey's supply lines to ISIL open this area has been designated; "Garvaghy Road."

That is in reference to the Garvaghy Road in Drumcree, Northern Ireland. In July 1998 there was tense 10-day standoff between Republicans and Loyalists. The fact this stand-off didn't derail the Good Friday Agreement probably explains the Omagh bombing.

Turkey's President/Prime Minister/Emperor Recep Tayyip Erdogan clearly took this British news as a reference to Syria's Garvaghy Road.

So on November 16th (16/11/17) the SDF's spokesman Talal Silo suddenly defected to Turkey. Via the Garvaghy Road.

Talal Silo is/was a Turkmen member of the SDF. He belonged to the Turkmen Seljuq Brigades. I gather his decision to join Erdogan's illustrious cause had something to do with Turkish intelligence threatening to kill his entire family.

Much to my frustration at 17:15 on 24/11/17 (UK date) I will have to pick this up tomorrow.