New U.S. military base in northeast Syria is latest in Biden’s warlike moves

From MintPress News
February 10, 2021
Alan MacLeod
[references linked in original]

Many of Biden’s first moves in the Middle East, including the building of a new base in Syria, suggest his term will be more of the same rather than a break with the old. 

The U.S.-government funded outlet Voice of America has confirmed rumors that a new military base is being built in northeastern Syria. A convoy of 40 troop carriers and other vehicles arrived and began setting up shop in the city of Hasakah near the Turkish and Iraqi borders over the weekend. “The U.S. flag is now raised over a building,” said journalist Jindar Berekat, a native of the city, “it is not clear how many American soldiers will be stationed at this location, but their armored military vehicles are here and it looks like they are still constructing parts of it.”

“Many here believe that the building of a U.S. base inside Hasakah could be a response to the growing Russian presence in the city,” a local reporter told Voice of America, “this new center [is being built] with the aim of observing Russian forces in Hasakah.” Russian military units have been present in Syria since 2015, intervening on behalf of the government of Bashar al-Assad.

The two foreign superpowers have come close to armed confrontation in Syria many times, including in 2017, when President Trump ordered the bombing of a Russian airbase near the Lebanese border. Already, the American presence has prevented the Russian military from carrying out patrols in northeastern Syria.

While the United States has presented its role in Syria as a counter terrorism operation, Assad’s government has accused it of plundering its resources, “condemn[ing] in the strongest terms the agreement signed between al-Qasd militia (SDF) and an American oil company to steal Syria’s oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration.” Around 500 American troops have been guarding the country’s oilfields for months, and last summer, Senator Lindsay Graham confirmed that the U.S. had indeed signed a deal with the SDF to “modernize” the country’s oil industry. Damascus considers the agreement “null and void.”

The new base at Hasakah is the latest in a string of actions that suggest the United States wishes to bolster or expand its presence in the war-torn country. Last month, American forces reinforced another base along the M4 highway, which runs from the city of Aleppo through the north of the country and towards the Iraqi border in the east. At the same time, its ally Israel was conducting a series of major airstrikes across the east of the country, reportedly targeting Iranian or pro-Iranian forces.

Increasing hostilities against Iran appears to be a chief concern of the U.S. in the Middle East. 12 months ago, the government announced the construction of three further military bases along the Iran-Iraq border. This was despite a recent unanimous vote (with some abstentions) in the Iraqi parliament demanding the United States military leave the country. This was followed by huge demonstrations in Baghdad demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops Some estimates put the number of those attending as high as 2.5 million people. President Biden has also ruled out lifting deadly sanctions on the country until it complies with the 2015 nuclear deal — an agreement that the U.S. left unilaterally.

The Biden administration has distanced itself from Trump somewhat on the question of Yemen. The new president received a great deal of praise for his announcement that he was suspending military support to Saudi Arabia. However, as Yemen-born academic Shireen Al-Adeimi noted, he included a number of qualifiers to his statement, including that the U.S. would only stop supporting “offensive operations” and block “relevant” arms sales. “We are going to continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people,” Biden said in a speech at the State Department. Almost immediately, the State Department began condemning Yemen’s Houthi rebels for supposedly attacking civilian targets inside Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps the Saudis’ defense of their own territory will start to look like Israel’s self-defense against Lebanon and Palestine. On Israel, Biden has countersigned Donald Trump’s decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, effectively endorsing the Israeli occupation of Palestine’s largest city. Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, reports suggest he might go back on the decision to remove U.S. troops from the country.

With the arrival of every new president, hope springs eternal that they will conduct a less aggressive strategy in the Middle East. However, many of Biden’s first moves, including the building of a new base in Syria, suggest his term will be more of the same rather than a break with the old.

Alan MacLeod is Senior Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/new-us-military-base-northeast-syria-latest-biden-warlike-moves/275260/

Kiev launches major offensive against DPR (Biden’s final instructions?); heavy DPR losses, very major losses for Kiev; Poroshenko’s game.

From Fort Russ

January 31, 2017 –
By Eduard Popov for Fort Russ – translated by J. Arnoldski –
Since Fort Russ readers rather well know the situation prevailing in Donbass, I’ll take the liberty of refraining from regurgitating facts and details. Instead, I dedicate today’s commentary to two unfolding events in and around Donbass. I base my commentary on media sources, social networks in the DPR and Ukraine, and on insider information I receive from Donetsk – Dr. Eduard Popov
The military situation in the Donetsk People’s Republic
Battles have not quieted down since January 29th. The Ukrainian Armed Forces’ tactic of gradually seizing neutral territories (“creeping offensive”) appears to have highly infatuated Ukrainian officers and patriots in the rear and is now taking on a life of its own. The result has been that the Ukrainians have convinced themselves that Donbass forces are weak and therefore decided to undertake a massive offensive. This is a fatal mistake.
According to reports from sources in the DPR, the republic’s army has suffered heavy losses. Alexander Zhuchkovsky has reported dozens of killed. But the UAF and neo-Nazis’ losses are several times higher. Today, the DPR’s intelligence services intercepted and published a secret report by the ATO headquarters for President  Poroshenko. The total number of casualties among the UAF over the past two days of firefights is estimated at 78 dead and several dozen wounded. Let me draw your attention to the fact that we are talking about the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers that have been recovered and taken to the morgue in nearby and far-off cities. The number of bodies that weren’t recovered from the battlefield while under artillery fire, the number of bodies completely destroyed by the explosion of military vehicles (tanks, volley artillery, etc.), and the number of wounded still in hospitals – these figures remain unknown. The real figures of the irreversible losses of the UAF over the past two days of fighting are probably no less than 100 men.
As Zhuchkovsky and DPR fighters themselves have reported, the Ukrainians have been surprised by the stiff resistance put up by the republic’s forces. Hitherto, the DPR army had heartbreakingly refused to respond “eye for an eye” to the UAF’s provocative fire. On January 29th and 30th, however, Donbass’ artillery finally put in heart and soul and laid down a “whirlwind of fire” (Zhuchkovsky’s expression) on Ukrainian positions.
The general result: although the situation in the combat zone is complex and fraught with escalation and large losses, overall it is going well for the Donbass republics. 
Thus, political conflict in Ukraine moves to the fore. 
Poroshenko’s gamble 
As Ukraine’s military adventure fails, Poroshenko is starting to playing a diplomatic gamble. Poroshenko’s efforts on January 31st fit into this formula. First, he urgently interrupted his visit to Germany and meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Then he called to convene the Tripartite Commission (the “Normandy Four” minus Russia). The Ukrainian foreign ministry today issued a statement which routinely accused Russia of escalating the conflict in Donbass. Without a doubt, soon will follow a Ukrainian appeal to the UN and other international organizations.
But I’m not going to talk about the stupidity of such speculations. Even Ukrainian officers admit that the offensive was undertaken by the Ukrainian side. Russia does not benefit (especially not now) from an escalation of the situation in Donbass. The only beneficiary is the ruling Ukrainian regime. 
 
According to his press service’s official statement, Poroshenko was forced to urgently return to Ukraine to address the “humanitarian situation” in Avdeevka which, let us note, occurred as a result of none other than the Ukrainian army’s adventurous actions on Poroshenko’s orders. 
The situation in Avdeevka and the massive losses that the Ukrainian army is incurring nevertheless give the Ukrainian president an occasion to play the role of the victim and cry to the world (the West) to punish the offender (Russia). If the UAF had not met such tough resistance on its attack and if the offensive had gone deep into the republics of Donbass, then Poroshenko would simply conjure another formula justifying Ukraine and blaming Russia. To be more precise, such a formula has long since been hatched and is waiting its turn.
The main actor for whom this whole bloody spectacle is being played is US President Donald Trump. We’ve already repeatedly written for Fort Russ on how Poroshenko is attempting to provoke a war in Donbass in order to prevent normal dialogue between the US and Russia. Allow us to recall the content of one of our articles, in which my sources in the DPR’s military circles forewarned that they expect a massive UAF offensive just before or immediately after Trump’s inauguration. 
Poroshenko’s regime is practically at a stalemate on both the international and domestic political fronts. Before the new team of American diplomats appointed by Trump starts working and Trump’s new European policy principles swing into action, Poroshenko will try to win over the American president. His method? By literally producing the fait accompli of “pro-American” Ukraine (in reality, pro-liberal and “pro-democratic”) needing support in Donbass. The Americans call this trick “wag the dog.”
Donald Trump has barely had time to settle into the office of US President, yet his name has already started to bear fruit in Donbass. I believe that the consequences of this factor will be devastating – if not for Ukraine, then for the ruling Poroshenko regime. 

Kiev ready to support US-led coalition in Syria, as VP Biden promises $190 million to Kiev

From RT, 12-8-15

Ukraine is ready to support the US-led forces fighting Islamic State militants (former ISIS, ISIL) in Syria, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told media in Kiev on Monday. “I have already confirmed to [US Vice President Joe] Biden that Ukraine is ready to show maximum support to coalition forces in Syria,” he said. On Monday, Biden arrived in Kiev for a two-day visit and talks with Poroshenko. Following their meeting in Kiev, Biden urged Ukraine to work on reforms and announced new financial aid of $190 million.

https://www.rt.com/news/line/