These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. ~~~ Thomas Paine, 1776

The Battle In The Air Over Syria

It has been a week since I predicted that the Russian and Syrian governments would formally declare a 'No-Fly Zone' over all of Syrian territory and thus making it crystal clear that any flight that does not have the permission of the Syrian government will be declared an act of war against the Syrian people. It didn't happen. At least not in the form I predicted (and hoped for). True, al-Assad has said in interviews that over flights without consent of the Syrian government are a breach of Syria's sovereignty.

We have also had a few days ago a spokesman from the military co-ordination centre in Damascus that any NATO flights that are not co-ordinated with the Syrian/Russian coalition will be considered as a potential threat and will be countered one way or another.

A high-ranking officer within the joint operation room in Damascus (consisting of Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah) said “Damascus received sets of S -300 advanced Russian missiles, ready to enter active service. Soon, Syria will announce that any country using the airspace without coordinating with Damascus will be viewed as hostile and will shoot the jet/s without warning. Those willing to fight terrorism and coordinate with the military leadership will be granted safe corridors”.

And more recently from Finian Cunningham quoting a senior Syrian officer from the same Co-ordination Centre in Damascus-

Translated from Arabic language Alrai Media (thanks to the reliable Fort Russ Russian news site), the senior Syrian officer at the operations room is quoted as saying: “Soon Syria will announce that any country using the airspace without coordinating with Damascus will be viewed as hostile and [we] will shoot the jet down without warning. Those willing to fight terrorism and coordinate with the military leadership will be granted safe corridors.”

Read more:

President Putin has said similar things as has Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister. Perhaps Russia has been waiting till all their S 400 and S 300 air defence systems are in place and the air port at Sha’ayrat airport is ready to accept the extra 100 fighter jets needed to ensure complete lock-down of Syrian air space. But time is a wasting.

Russia's "No-Fly Zone" Response to Turkey (and the U.S.)

The day after the shooting down of their Su24 bomber by Turkey, Russia announced that it was positioning the missile cruiser, Moskva, off the northern end of the Latakia coast of Syria. This meant that the Moskva was closest to the area the bomber was shot down in and also closest it could get to the Incirlik airbase in Turkey that houses the US Air Force jets including F16's and F15's. The Moskva has an array of missiles and electronic warfare devises that enables it to provide a secure cover for the Russian Aerospace Force operating out of Latakia.

Russia also announced that it would shoot down anything approaching their aircraft. Subsequent to this, Russia flew in S400 missile batteries which can intercept and take down any jet or missile any of the NATO forces might fire at Syria or the Russian forces.

Russia had declared a de facto 'no-fly zone' for anyone other than the Syrian Air Force. Neither Turkey nor the US has ventured into the skies of Syria since then. They have contented themselves with flying over Iraq looking for sand hills and the odd piece of Iraqi infrastructure to bomb. The Turks and the Americans have shown themselves to be totally treacherous and are no longer to be tolerated. Russia cannot put its forces at risk and allow a repeat of the Su24 downing.

I think it logical and likely that within the next few days, Russia and Syria will formally announce the imposition of the 'no-fly zone' over the total sovereign territory of Syria. If Russia is to protect its forces, then this has to happen.

The Syrian Foreign Minister (and Deputy Prime Minister), Walid al-Muallem, was in Moscow meeting with Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, last Friday 27th Nov. At a press conference after the meeting, they both emphasised the fault of Turkey and the sovereignty of Syria. The ministers were clearly in accord with each other and clearly decisions had been made but not announced as yet.

If the Russians are going to formally declare a 'no-fly zone', they would first have needed to 'game' all the options and that would have taken a couple of days because, clearly, they were not expecting one of their jets to be attacked by Turkey. Then, having settled on the most viable option, run it past the Syrian government. That was the likely purpose of al-Muallem's visit. He wasn't there for diplomatic niceties. He was there because decisions were being made that involved Syrian sovereignty and therefore needed the Syrian government's agreement.

Walid al-Muallem has returned to Syria and to, no doubt, closed and intense meetings with al-Assad, government and military officials. If all is agreeable, then I think we can expect the formal announcement of a 'no-fly zone' in the coming days. This will put an end to the intolerable situation where Syria and now Russia have been putting up with the Turks and the US flying over Syrian territory bombing Syrian infrastructure and dropping weapons and supplies to their mercenaries and jihadis.

The de facto 'no-fly zone' currently in place has allowed the Russians to bomb the supply lines of NATO's proxy army of terrorists more effectively because they have not had to inform the US of the flight paths where they are going to be operating and thus giving some forewarning to the Americans and therefore, most probably, the terrorists themselves.

The US obviously passed on the flight information to the Turkish Air Force (assuming it was a Turkish pilot flying a Turkish F16) regarding the Su24 that was shot down by them. The Russians can no longer afford to continue to give such sensitive information the US. Also, the Russians cannot afford to let the US fly over Syria without this information due to the large possibility of an accident occurring. The only option left for the Russians is to no longer allow the US to overfly Syria.

The terrorists are rapidly losing ground and the Turkish government is panicking at the imminent closure of the Turkish/Syrian border by the Syrian Arab Army. This will cut the terrorists' supply line and signal their end. The Russians will likely want to trap the terrorists in a 'cauldron' having, no doubt, instructed the Syrian Arab Army in its application. Russia does not want these terrorists to escape and be deployed elsewhere by NATO; perhaps to their own Caucasus territory.

There is a lot at stake. Not only will it be the end of any hope of Erdogan's territorial expansion but also the end of the US's hegemonic power in the Middle East. US expansionism, which has already halted, will reverse. The perception of the US's invincible power will have evaporated and therefore much of the support from their allies. Who knows, the European nations might even rethink the whole NATO deal. But one thing to bear in mind always is that psychopaths can never give up. They are driven. So what can we expect from them?

Turkey is already firing mortar-bombs over the border into Syria and making nonsensical assertions that they need to invade Syria to 'stop ISIS' and secure their border (by advancing their border into Syria). See Tony Cartalucci's article, URGENT: US-Turkey Edging Up to Syrian Border

”The United States and Turkey, with their ambush of a Russian Su-24 over Syria, have proven just how far the West is willing to go to get an advantage, even superficially, over Russia, even if it means resorting to extreme treachery. Another "power move" wrung from this impending "border operation" seems all but inevitable.

This increasingly desperate geostrategic posture comes at a time when Russia has begun bombing ISIS-bound convoys emerging from Turkish territory almost on the border itself. Syrian armed forces are likewise close to closing off this very border region from within their own territory. Syrian troops have approached the Euphrates River's west bank and will begin moving north toward the Turkish border itself. Once this region is retaken by Russian-backed Syrian troops, there will be no "safe zone" for NATO to establish.

Race to the Finish Line 

To ensure that NATO's plans are fully derailed along the Turkish-Syrian border, Russian-backed Syrian troops much ensure a substantial deterrence exists specifically to face this threat. Diplomatically, offers to establish a border guard or peacekeeping force on the Syrian side to compliment NATO's within Turkish territory may be the best way to ensure NATO's ambitions remain where they are.

What the Wall Street Journal and the policy think-tanks it is repeating attempt to lay out is a narrative that claims in order to stop terrorists from passing through Turkish territory and into Syria, for some reason NATO needs to occupy Syria itself.”

Read the complete article at Landdestroyer

What is needed (and I think likely) is for Russia and Syria to jointly declare Syria's sovereignty and that any forces on or over Syrian territory without express and formal invitation will be considered enemy combatants. Then if incursions occur and they are rebuffed, no one can legitimately complain. Everything will be in accordance with International Law.

Cartalucci suggests that a Russian led international peacekeeping force could be stationed along the Turkish-Syrian border to prevent any further NATO incursions. It's quite possible. Forces from the CSTO countries would be a possibility or perhaps SCO countries which includes China!

Things are moving fast and the stakes are getting higher but I'm sure Russia did not start their intervention (at Syrian Government request) without thinking through the possibility of directly facing off against NATO and without knowing how they will prevail.

Russia has lost two servicemen, a jet and a helicopter but they have gained a 'no-fly zone' with the perfect excuse to bring into Syria the peerless S400 defensive missile system. This has stopped overflights and bombing runs of the Turkish, US and israeli air forces. The US continues to lose with every desperate act of aggression.

Erdogan/ISIS/Israel Oil Nexus

Below are three articles which explain much about the trail of people who make money from the theft of resources and the theft of the lives of largely innocent people.The trail stretches from Syria/Iraq to Turkey/Israel and beyond. Some readers may have read one or both of the first two articles by William Engdahl but few, I think, will have read the third article which is not to be missed.

The Western press featured stories about ISIS selling oil initially to explain how ISIS got their funding. What was left unsaid was where the funding came from in the beginning to place ISIS in a position to capture those oil wells: where the oil went to; through whom and who made money from these transactions.

Apart from the funding, there are enormous logistical operations involved in fielding an army in battle. It takes anywhere between 5 to 8 personnel to support one front line fighter. Who is supplying this logistical support? Tony Cartalucci explains in Logistics 101

All this information was, no doubt, included in the dossiers that Vladimir Putin handed out to the national heads attending the recent G20 meeting. He identified 40 countries and individuals who were supporting and facilitating the terrorism of ISIS et al. - Ali Baghdadi and the 40 Thieves.

Much of this information has been known for some time as the first of two articles from William Engdahl and the article from Tony Cartalucci will attest given that they were both written more than three months ago. William was being quite prophetic when he opened his August article with this statement -
"Turkey is a beautiful land, rich in resources, with many highly intelligent and warm people. It also happens to have a President who seems intent on destroying his once-proud nation."

Of course, psychopaths eventually end up destroying everything they touch. That is the nature of psychopathy: that is the nature of nihilism; same, same. They worship power and have no God above themselves.

Turkey is a beautiful land, rich in resources, with many highly intelligent and warm people. It also happens to have a President who seems intent on destroying his once-proud nation. More and more details are coming to light revealing that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, variously known as ISIS, IS or Daesh, is being fed and kept alive by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish President and by his Turkish intelligence service, including MIT, the Turkish CIA. Turkey, as a result of Erdoğan’s pursuit of what some call a Neo-Ottoman Empire fantasies that stretch all the way to China, Syria and Iraq, threatens not only to destroy Turkey but much of the Middle East if he continues on his present path.

In October 2014 US Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard gathering that Erdoğan’s regime was backing ISIS with “hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons…” Biden later apologized clearly for tactical reasons to get Erdoğan’s permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, but the dimensions of Erdoğan’s backing for ISIS since revealed is far, far more than Biden hinted.

ISIS militants were trained by US, Israeli and now it emerges, by Turkish special forces at secret bases in Konya Province inside the Turkish border to Syria, over the past three years. Erdoğan’s involvement in ISIS goes much deeper. At a time when Washington, Saudi Arabia and even Qatar appear to have cut off their support for ISIS, they remaining amazingly durable. The reason appears to be the scale of the backing from Erdoğan and his fellow neo-Ottoman Sunni Islam Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu.

Nice Family Business

The prime source of money feeding ISIS these days is sale of Iraqi oil from the Mosul region oilfields where they maintain a stronghold. The son of Erdoğan it seems is the man who makes the export sales of ISIS-controlled oil possible.

Bilal Erdoğan owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers.

Read the rest together with links to further information at Erdogan’s Dirty Dangerous ISIS Games

The second article is a follow-up from William Engdahl and was published a couple of days ago after the shooting down of the Russian bomber by a Turkish jet fighter.

Je Suis (Un) Turkey

Welcome to our Thanksgiving Day dinner, Erdogan. You're the guest of honour!
You've made a lot of people in Washington very happy – the Neocons, their banker paymasters at the CFR and the Pentagon brass (also happily ensconced at the CFR).

You see, although Erdogan was helping the bankers by providing the logistics for ISIS (and making a fancy profit from it), he was hindering their plans for an independent Kurdistan. It was getting messy and the ever-fickle Kurds were in danger of going over wholesale to the Russians.

So, Erdogan had to go. But how? Simple: play to his overblown sense of entitlement and his psychopathic outrage at the Russian's bombing his family's lucrative terror business. His son ran the oil tanker fleet (that is no more) that shipped stolen Syrian oil from ISIS into and through Turkey. No doubt, there are many other highly profitable family businesses.

Turkey claims that they shot the Russian jet down using an air-to-air missile fired from an F16 fighter jet. There were early claims that it was a surface-to-air missile. I don't know that that possibility has been definitely ruled out. Another possibility is that it was an American jet or even an American pilot flying a Turkish Air Force F16. It's not like there are a shortage of American F16 pilots at Incirlik airbase where the attack allegedly was initiated from. There was another early report that claimed that US F15 combat aircraft were in the air at the time of the attack on the Russian Su24. Whatever, it is clear to many pundits around the world that the attack was, at least, co-ordinated with the US.

From Pepe Escobar-
"Let's cut to the chase. The notion that Turkey's downing of a Russian Su-24 by a made in USA F-16 was carried out without either a green light or at least pre-arranged "support" from Washington invites suspension of disbelief."

Vladimir Putin Has G20 On Toast

The following article has been copied from Sputnik and is entitled "The Jury is Out and the G20 Shutters at the Verdict"

It is written by Phil Butler. You may need to concentrate to follow his prose at times but it is well worth the effort. It is a good insight on his part.

It was almost imperceptible; most people probably missed the sliver of a smile from Vladimir Putin as he leaned in to talk with American President Barack Obama at the G20 in Antalya.

Phil Butler — Not so many noticed either, the "handwriting" gesture from Putin just before the casual meetup in front of cameras ended. It hit me last night like a scene from the Daniel Craig film Spectre, "the writing's on the wall," Putin had won. ISIL will soon be over. We still have a chance for world peace.

When ISIL terrorists slaughtered those innocents in Paris the other day, the extremists essentially beheaded themselves. The message has just not reached their feet I guess. Key to the power play in Cold War II, France and Germany had already bucked the traces of an Obama-Cameron led policy war on Russia. Mr. Hollande and Mrs. Merkel had already orchestrated Minsk II remember, and the Americas and Brits simply did not like that game.

Do you recall independent media chiming in on the EU-America disconnect coming? Well, it arrived via a horrid and ghastly event. The French people marching through the tunnels of the Stade de France singing their national anthem, even knowing another bomb could go off any second, this was a stunning reminder of how tough those people really are. Courage, dignity, Russian or French, Syrian or Kenyan, its face is unmistakable.

The 'Who' and 'Why' of the Paris Terror Attacks

Below is an interview conducted by RT of Gearoid O'Colmain, a political analyst resident in Paris. It is well worth listening to closely. Mr O'Colmain speaks the plain unvarnished truth about who's behind the terror attacks and where they are leading.

I came across this excellent interview at SOTT. SOTT's article provided a link to the Intermarium that Gearoid O'Colmain mentioned which is well worth reading and thinking about. (The "Intermarium" has been a pet project of the Polish Government and the Vatican for decades.)

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