Syria

Middle East Roundup & The Summer of Hysteria

This episode was recorded on a whim. I had planned to make this a breakdown of events in the Middle East only, but the retirement of Justice Kennedy and the insanity of the Left’s response to it, along with Maxine Waters, and I had to include some ranting about the state of political discourse.

I still hit on the major stories out of the war torn region. The final battle of Yemen continues to take shape. Elections in Turkey and the development of a coalition government in Iraq continues to take shape. Finally, Trump pushes for less and less US engagement in Syria, in the face of Nikki Haley and other warhawks in his administration.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes.

Sources

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / WordPress / Patreon

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Trump’s First Pitch

This post is very delayed and might fail to be current, but I wanted to make sure my Steemit audience was aware that there was a new episode of The Voluntary Exchange Podcast put out over a week ago.

I have been very busy personally, and because of that I have not be mentally focused enough be in the frame of mind to research and discuss large scale humanitarian stories like the ones that need covering.

This episode is called “Trump’s First Pitch” and the majority of is my thoughts on the summit between Trump and North Korea’s Kim. And the shockingly confusing response from the media.

Most of the research I did have time to dive into had to do with Israel, Gaza, and the recent March of Return and bloody response from Israel. It allowed to be spend some time reiterating my position, discuss the facts of the events and provide more context and sources for anyone that wishes to expand their knowledge of the subject. I have included two examples of MUST READS (and watches) and the current state of Israeli society and life on the ground in Gaza:

I spend a few minutes discussing the ongoing deal making in Syria, and update you on the horrors taking place in the forgotten land of Yemen.

Content

This episode can be found here. The full archive can be found on Podomatic and on ITunes.

Sources

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / WordPress / Patreon

Bombs Dropped, Sun Rises – A Push for War – Part II

Good morning…..

I went to sleep last night very early, around 9. I woke up two hours later for some reason, and found myself up until 3am watching the United States drop missiles on Damascus. Fortunately for everyone, the strike was minimal. No Syrian military or government buildings were hit, nothing Iranian or Russian. So I closed my eyes for a few, and decided at 7:15 this morning to get my thoughts down on tape.

This episode is a short twenty minute reaction to Trump’s strikes, and what the small scale of his “response” to the “chemical attack” means from all sides. There are positive and negatives here, we just need to see what side wins out this time.

Content

The episode can be found here. All episodes are on Podomatic and on ITunes.

Another Push for War

I recorded this episode this past Sunday, after spending a weekend “off the grind” so to speak. I was not aware of the most recent chemical attack in Douma, Syria. The spin was out on Sunday, and I recorded by thoughts that night.

It is a two part episode. I discuss the real reason behind the US/Russia conflict in Syria, its background, and how the invasion of Iraq in 2003 got us here. I touch on John Bolton and the others pushing us to war (again). And I plead with the American people not to buy this one.

I’ll have another episode coming at the end of the week. I want to let this situation play out a bit, but it does seem like we are headed for a real conflict in Syria.

Dangerous times.

Content

Episode link

The full episode list can be found on Podomatic and ITunes.

Sources

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / WordPress / Patreon

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Vietnamese Takeout & Political Musings

I haven’t recorded in awhile, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. I couldn’t wait any longer without the topics turning from news to history, so this recording takes place while I drive to pick up dinner.

In this episode, I hit on the following topics in no particular order.

  • Gun Control
  • Trump’s week
  • Hysteria of domestic politics
  • The breaking up of Syria
  • Israeli House of Cards

Content

Episode can be found here, with the full archive on Podomatic and ITunes.

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Syria: Turks Invade, US Occupy

While the American media is busy with #Memogate, the already complex situation in Syria has become even more confusing. It seems like everyday a “US-backed”, “Pro-Syrian” or Russian force is attackedbombed or almost killed by some faction within Syria, almost setting off an international incident.

I thought it would be important to follow the ever-changing situation there, because one day it will be front page news on CNN, and when that day comes they won’t tell you the whole story.

Places like Steemit are filled with worthy content on the subject, from @saltycat@lordoftruth@haseeb96, to @clarityofsignal and many others, this quick write-up will be more of a resource center than a long-winded piece on the recent events. There is also this amazing real-time map of the conflict I’ve been used to follow the war day by day, along with Southfrontover on Youtube, which @clarityofsignal was a part of previously.

The latest stage in the conflict is the invasion of Turkish troops of Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria. Specifically, the region of Afrin.

President Erdogan of Turkey has declared (past and present) that the Kurds will never control territory west of the Euphrates River. Erdogan has always had issues with the Kurdish population within Turkey, and that doesn’t change when we move south. Erdogan sees the Kurdish YPG in Syria as an extension of his long-time enemy the PKK in Iraq.

Erdogan’s issues with the Kurds may stem from his belief in “Pan-Turkic”, or the idea that all people from Turkish decent should live under a single banner. The man wants Turkey to extend all the way to China, and be a Muslim state.

Since the attempted coup in his country, crackdowns on the disloyal haven’t really stopped. The recent invasion of Syria (fittingly named Operation “Olive Branch”) has only grown those numbers. Critics and protesters of the invasion have been arrested and jailed. The violence has even reached Europe, with a rather intense fight breaking out between Kurds and Turks in a German airport terminal:

Afrin

Operation “Olive Branch” began with the invasion of the northwestern “canton” of Afrin. The Kurdish held region is isolated from the other canton’s under YPG and SDF (Syrian Defense Force) control by a 60 mile area under the control of the FSA (Free Syrian Army) backed by Turkey. Afrin contents no US special forces, and is home to the city of Aleppo. This should be name familiar to everyone not named Gary Johnson.

The Turkish invasion force includes a mix of Turkish army regulars, air power and rebel “shock troops”, some reportedly former ISIS members, evident by the inhumane treatment of civilians and the mutilation of Kurdish female fighters.

The Russians have given the Turks the green light for air strikes over the region, something not unheard of in this conflict: a foreign power having decision making power in a sovereign nation. The weird mix of relationships in Syria makes for an even more complicated situation.

For example, the Russians are allied with Assad, while the US is allied with the Kurds and their own rebels. Separately, the Turks and the Russians are becoming fast friends over oil and arms deals, but the rebels the Turks are backing see the regime in Damascus as their enemy. Still following?

Manbij & US Policy

Here is where the United States comes in. Manbij is the canton directly east of the 60 mile FSA/Turk controlled region separating Afrin from the rest of YPG territory. Manbij is the home of actual US troops, with the number of US troops rising the more east towards the Iraqi border you go.

Erdogan has warned the United States to leave Manbij immediately, stating that once he is done with Afrin it’s on to Manbij. In the same week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the United States has no plans to leave Syria, citing multiple reasons for the illegal occupation of the eastern part of the country.

The US presence in Syria is completely illegal under international law. The Trump administration has used the AUMF from 9/11 as its excuse for staying in Syria. Opposition to the US staying in Syria has raised the theory that the United States has plans to create an area in Northeastern Syria outside of the control of Assad, using the Kurds and a 30K strong border force manned by the SDF to do so. Much like in Iraq previously, the Kurds are used as simple pawns by the United States (and Israel) to advance its policy. The idea of splintering Syria apart is nothing new, cited in “A Clean Break” and laid out in the Wikileaks documents from the mid-2000s.

Tillerson lists the following reasons for the decision to stay in Syria:

  • Keeping a defeated ISIS from growing again
  • Holding Iranian power in the region in check
  • Eventually overthrow of Assad

The third reason is really a geopolitical move directed at Russia. In simple terms, and this is important:
the United States government has illegally invaded another country to destabilize and overthrow the regime in charge. This is nothing new, but all Americans need to focus and understand that this is out in the open this time around. No discussion in Congress, no UN vote, nothing. While you and I were busy deciding if we trust Devon Nunes, our government just doubled-down in Syria.

The Validation of the Sarin Gas Scandal

Maybe more shocking than the lack of media coverage of the US occupation, is the admission by General Mattis that the United States has NO EVIDENCE that Assad used sarin gas on his own people. Fittingly, this story broke in the Washington Post, the same rag that pushed the sarin narrative dating back to 2013.

This admission should end all support for the US presence in Syria, but the American people are completely distracted at the moment.

What it does do is validate the great reporting work of the late-great Robert ParrySeymour HershPhil GiraldiAntiwar.com, and tons of other true journalists who’s credibility was questioned by the complicit mainstream media.

What this all means for the future of the geopolitical chessmatch in Syria is yet to be seen, but in this week’s episode I give my thoughts.

Content

This episode can be found on here, with the full archive on Podomatic and ITunes.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Biblical Proporations

Sinai

This episode is focused mostly on the recent attack on a Sufi Islamic mosque in the Egyptian village of Biral-Abud. The village is located on the Sinai Peninsula, an area of Egypt that the central government in Cairo has little control over. What has grown in place of the military dictatorship Sinai has been Al Qeada, and more recently ISIS.

This attack was carried out by an regional ISIS cell which the newspapers call “Sinai Province”. Lead by Muhammad al-Iswai, this group has been expanding their control over the northern part of the Sinai. This is the area closest to the Gaza Strip, and of course Israel. An attack this one, or the more shocking downing of a Russian jetliner, definitely gets the attention of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

It is important to remember the Sinai Peninsula borders the Red Sea, which has a large tourism economy. The eastern coast of the Suez Canal also sits in on the Peninsula. An unstable Sinai is an international issue. Since Al Qeada began operating in the region in 2011, gas pipelines, the Canal and US troops have been in danger of attacks by Al Qeada and now ISIS.

Because of the disfranchisement of the Bedouin tribes of the Sinai, Cairo is dealing with a situation much like the tribal areas of Iraq or Afghanistan. Tribal leadership is the law of the land, and tribes either cooperate with the extremist groups or they fight them. The Sinai is no different. Stories of violence by Bedouin tribes against ISIS men in Sinai is not uncommon.

The reasons we can draw for the attack are many. Sufi Islam was founded in this small village, which groups like ISIS see as a crime against Islam. A more secular reason could be that that the Sufis have been working with the central authorities in Cairo to stop the growth of ISIS. This seems to me to make more sense, with religion has the cover. Further still, ISIS has been moving into tribal gang turf, as the Bedouins are in control of the smuggling of goods in Gaza. Attacks have taken place on both sides over these smuggling operations.

Israel has taken special interest in the Sinai, going back to the wars of the late 60s and 70s. The results of the Camp David Accords of 1979 still hold, as Egypt has to get Israeli approval for troop numbers within the Sinai. Israel has had talks about purchasing the Sinai Penensula from Egypt, helping to bring the right-wing in Israel it’s “fix” for the Gaza situation. The “Greater Gaza” idea is a real one, and includes moving the Arab population from Gaza to the Sinai, or at least expand the Strip south. By expanding Gaza, the hope is for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem to relocate, giving Israel full open range to settle the West Bank.

The “Greater Gaza” plan has the blessing of the United States. As does closer cooperation with Egypt and Israel. Joining this group more publicly then previously has been Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been working more closely with Israel, and with MSB at the head of the royal family, he is cracking down on the extremist element within his Kingdom. This has to be at the request of Washington and Tel Aviv.

The attack has been used by MSB to help sell his new counter-terrorism group, which includes 40 Muslim countries.

Quick Hits

  • The Pentagon has been caught trying to cover up child abuse by Afghan security forces. Troops had admitted in an Inspector General’s report that they had been ordered to “ignore” the sexual abuse of children by the security forces they train.
  • Also in Afghanistan, the Trump administration has decided to start bombing opium production in the country. Once a crop our troops protected, recently the Taliban has taken over the trade from US allies, making the Pentagon have to make a 180 on heroin production in Afghanistan. This does give the military another excuse to continue the occupation that has gone on for over a decade.
  • Peace talks in Geneva about the war in Syria went “nowhere” this week. With the West still pushing for Assad to step down, there is no chance for any agreement on terms while Assad holds a major upper hand on the ground in Syria.
  • News has surfaced confirming what most already knew, the Pentagon has been lying about the number of troops in Iraq & Syria. The “official” numbers showed 500 troops in Syria, with another 5000 in Iraq. In reality, the numbers in Syria total 1700, with over 9000 in Iraq. This should be bigger news, but with CNN busy “getting” Trump, this story won’t become a scandal.

Content

Episode can be found here…The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.

Sources

Image source

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: The U.S.S. Liberty Gets a Win & Other News

In this week’s episode, I discuss a little-known story of murder on the high seas, the next stage in the Syrian conflictIsraeli continuing to go rougeMyanmar becomes the next geopolitical hot-spot, and how I believe the EU is going to break up.

Episode link here.

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

I also want to take a minute to link to a few longer stories I think are worth your time:

Three Years After the War: Gaza Youth Speak Out – by Ramzy Baroud – Ramzy Baroud is editor of the Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is My Father was A Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press).

The USS Liberty Wins One! – by Philip Giraldi

Syria: Deir Ezzor Siege by Daesh Finally Broken by Syrian Army & Russian Airforce – by Sarah Abed/@sarahabed

I also want to point my listeners on Steemit over to VetsConnect by @stay-in-the-gray. It is an attempt to create a community/pipeline within Steemit for combat veterans to support their fellow vets.

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Episode Preview: The Voluntary Exchange Podcast – Week of 9/3/2017

Good morning!

Tonight (or tomorrow) I will be putting out the next episode of the podcast. A bunch of new stories to discuss this week, along with a major update out of Syria. I hope you will check it out!

This week’s topics include:

Please don’t be shy in leaving interesting topics for me to research in the comment section. Deep dives in geopolitical situations is my guilty pleasure.

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The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Lords of War

In this episode I discuss the discovery of a gun running operation from The Balkans to Syria and the gangster Bulgarian reporter that uncovered it (and was fired). I touch on Trump and Kim never-ending over who has the bigger missile. Shifting gears, I explain what the president means by “take the gloves off” in Afghanistan by pointing to Mosul, Iraq. A place where that policy has already been implemented. The conflict in Syria is also noted, updating you on the new geopolitical struggle between Russia/Syria and Israel.

Episode link here

Full podcast archives can be found here. The podcast can also be downloaded from ITunes on any of the podcast apps you use.

I also want to take a minute to link to a few longer stories I think are worth your time:

350 Diplomatic Flights Carry Weapons for Terrorists – The story that got Dilyana Gaytandzhieva fired.

End Times in Mosul – Patrick Cockburn details the horror the civilian population of Western Mosul endured under ISIS control and during Mosul’s “liberation” by US-backed Shite forces.

Syrian Man Recounts 33 Days Of Torture At Hands Of CIA-Backed FSA – @sarahabed tells the story of a Syrian man named Shadi’s journey from Syria, back to Syria, only to be kidnapped and tortured by the US-back Free Syrian Army.

Memories of Palestine – @evehuman tell her story of her time in Palestine.

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