All posts by Tyler Durden

Israel Minister: ‘The Time Has Come To Assassinate Bashar Assad’

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Israel's Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad following yesterday's US State Department report that the Syrian regime was using a prison crematorium to hide mass killings outside Damascus, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at a conference outside Jerusalem, Galant, a retired Israeli Defence Forces general, said that in light of recent allegations that Assad’s regime carried out mass executions and burned the bodies of the victims, he had to be killed.

"The reality in which people are executed in Syria, being hit deliberately by chemical weapons, their bodies being burned, something we haven’t seen in 70 years. In my view, we are crossing a red line. And in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad. It’s as simple as that,” said Galant, who previously served as the head of the IDF’s Southern Command. The minister said Assad’s actions in Syria amount to nothing less than a “genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed."

Galant also likened the assassination of Assad to cutting off the “tail of the snake.” After that, he said, “we can focus on the head, which is in Tehran.”

In a conversation with The Times of Israel after his speech, Galant stood by his comments and acknowledged that targeted political assassinations are considered illegal under international law, but clarified that he “wasn’t speaking about practicalities.” However, he added, “Anyone who murders people and burns their corpses does not have a place in this world.”

As reported on Monday, the United States State Department accused the Assad regime of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners and burning the bodies in a large crematorium outside the capital.

The US said it believed about 50 detainees a day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus. Many of the bodies, it said, are then burned in the crematorium.  “We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place,” said Stuart Jones, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, in accusing the Syrian government of sinking “to a new level of depravity.”

According to Galant, while it is unclear whether or not the crematorium was in use for all those years, it is imperative that something must now be done. The Obama administration made a “strategic mistake” Galant said by “deviating” from the course of supporting Sunni countries in order to try to come closer to Shi'ite countries, something which Galant said is different in the Trump administration.

During his speech, Galant also said that in a wider view, Assad and his ally Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, are larger threats to the world order than the Islamic State and other Sunni terrorist groups. Galant was speaking at the Israel Defense publication’s “Ground Warfare and Logistics” conference at the tank museum in Latrun.
Up until a year-and-a-half ago, Syria looked like it was heading towards a Sunni rule, but following the Russian intervention, who used methods first used in Chechnya such as blockading cities while continuing aerial bombardments, the will of the rebels to fight was broken and the tides turned. 

But while the Russians are currently backing Assad, they realize the importance of the region and understand who they are aligned with, Galant said.

'They realize that once the war is over there will still be 20 million Sunnis in Syria who will be wanting to avenge their dead and the Russians know they will be a target,' Galant said adding that the Russians will 'seek avenues to make relations better with the Sunnis, including sacrificing Assad.'
As for ISIS, the Israeli minister was laconic: “The world will wipe out Daesh, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda,” he said. Galant said his assessment came from the fact that those terrorist groups do not enjoy the same level of support as Syria and Hezbollah, which are backed by Iran.

Indeed, his main focus was Tehran:  “What is behind Syria is Hezbollah who is backed by Iran. Iran is a danger to the security of the entire world. Iran is the problem, not the solution.” By getting to Assad, Galant said, we get to Tehran. “When we get the tail of the snake we can get the head in Tehran too.”

In short, it's refreshing that in an increasingly volatile world, absolutely nothing has changed in the middle-east.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

Israel Minister: ‘The Time Has Come To Assassinate Bashar Assad’

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Israel's Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Galant called for the assassination of Syrian President Bashar Assad following yesterday's US State Department report that the Syrian regime was using a prison crematorium to hide mass killings outside Damascus, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at a conference outside Jerusalem, Galant, a retired Israeli Defence Forces general, said that in light of recent allegations that Assad’s regime carried out mass executions and burned the bodies of the victims, he had to be killed.

"The reality in which people are executed in Syria, being hit deliberately by chemical weapons, their bodies being burned, something we haven’t seen in 70 years. In my view, we are crossing a red line. And in my view, the time has come to assassinate Assad. It’s as simple as that,” said Galant, who previously served as the head of the IDF’s Southern Command. The minister said Assad’s actions in Syria amount to nothing less than a “genocide,” with “hundreds of thousands killed."

Galant also likened the assassination of Assad to cutting off the “tail of the snake.” After that, he said, “we can focus on the head, which is in Tehran.”

In a conversation with The Times of Israel after his speech, Galant stood by his comments and acknowledged that targeted political assassinations are considered illegal under international law, but clarified that he “wasn’t speaking about practicalities.” However, he added, “Anyone who murders people and burns their corpses does not have a place in this world.”

As reported on Monday, the United States State Department accused the Assad regime of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners and burning the bodies in a large crematorium outside the capital.

The US said it believed about 50 detainees a day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison, about 45 minutes north of Damascus. Many of the bodies, it said, are then burned in the crematorium.  “We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place,” said Stuart Jones, the top US diplomat for the Middle East, in accusing the Syrian government of sinking “to a new level of depravity.”

According to Galant, while it is unclear whether or not the crematorium was in use for all those years, it is imperative that something must now be done. The Obama administration made a “strategic mistake” Galant said by “deviating” from the course of supporting Sunni countries in order to try to come closer to Shi'ite countries, something which Galant said is different in the Trump administration.

During his speech, Galant also said that in a wider view, Assad and his ally Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, are larger threats to the world order than the Islamic State and other Sunni terrorist groups. Galant was speaking at the Israel Defense publication’s “Ground Warfare and Logistics” conference at the tank museum in Latrun.
Up until a year-and-a-half ago, Syria looked like it was heading towards a Sunni rule, but following the Russian intervention, who used methods first used in Chechnya such as blockading cities while continuing aerial bombardments, the will of the rebels to fight was broken and the tides turned. 

But while the Russians are currently backing Assad, they realize the importance of the region and understand who they are aligned with, Galant said.

'They realize that once the war is over there will still be 20 million Sunnis in Syria who will be wanting to avenge their dead and the Russians know they will be a target,' Galant said adding that the Russians will 'seek avenues to make relations better with the Sunnis, including sacrificing Assad.'
As for ISIS, the Israeli minister was laconic: “The world will wipe out Daesh, the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda,” he said. Galant said his assessment came from the fact that those terrorist groups do not enjoy the same level of support as Syria and Hezbollah, which are backed by Iran.

Indeed, his main focus was Tehran:  “What is behind Syria is Hezbollah who is backed by Iran. Iran is a danger to the security of the entire world. Iran is the problem, not the solution.” By getting to Assad, Galant said, we get to Tehran. “When we get the tail of the snake we can get the head in Tehran too.”

In short, it's refreshing that in an increasingly volatile world, absolutely nothing has changed in the middle-east.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

Assad Calls US Forces In Syria ‘Invaders,’ Loses Faith In Trump

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With the Trump administration rapidly shifting its foreign policy stance in recent weeks as the Goldman-led group inside the White House steamrolls all opposition, in the process dashing hopes of a detente between DC and Moscow which now appear set to continue the "cold war" diplomatic ways set under Obama and Hillary Clinton, another foreign leader who is losing faith that Trump will bring any notable change is Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix said US forces in Syria were "invaders" and that he had yet to see "anything concrete" emerge from US President Donald Trump's vow to prioritize the fight against Islamic State. 

Quoted by Reuters, Assad said he initially saw promise in Trump's vows to battle the Islamic State in Syria, where US policy under President Barack Obama had mostly backed rebels fighting Assad and shunned him as an illegitimate leader. That promise, however, has now faded, especially after Trump recently stated he would boost US troops in Syria in an attempt to create "safe zones" in the nation, in the process likely further escalating the 6 year old proxy war in Syria.

"We haven't seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric," Assad said in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix. "We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we have heard," he said. Well, so do millions of Americans who are hoping that Trump will end Obamacare, not to mention all those still expecting Trump to unveil the "tremendous" tax plan. Maybe get in line. 

In Syria, the US is currently working with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias and its biggest focus at this moment is to encircle and ultimately capture the ISIS capital of Raqqa. This week, the US-led coalition announced that around 400 additional US forces had deployed to Syria to help with the Raqqa campaign and to prevent any clash between Turkey and Washington-allied Syrian militias that Ankara sees as a threat. Around 500 US forces are already in Syria in support of the campaign against Islamic State, which this week added several hundred, marines who were recently caught on video as they prepare for the Raqqa offensive.

Asked about a deployment of US forces near the northern city of Manbij, Assad said: "Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation ... are invaders." 

"We don't think this is going to help."

Voicing his disappointment with Trump, Assad said that "in theory" he still saw scope for cooperation with Trump, though practically nothing had happened in this regard. He dismissed the US-backed military campaign against Islamic State in Syria as "only a few raids", and said a more comprehensive approach was needed.

Turning to his far closer ties with Moscow, Assad said that the Russian-backed Syrian army was now "very close" to Raqqa city after advancing to the western banks of the Euphrates River this week - a rapid gain that has brought it to the frontier of areas held by the US-backed forces.  He said Raqqa was "a priority for us", but indicated that there could also be a parallel army attack towards Deir al-Zor in the east, near the Iraqi border. Deir al-Zor province is almost completely controlled by ISIS. The Deir al-Zor region had been "used by ISIS as a route for logistics support between ISIS in Iraq and ISIS in Syria, so whether you attack the stronghold or you attack the route that ISIS uses, it (has) the same result", Assad said.

Two months after his dramatic victory and takeover of Aleppo which turned the tide in the war against ISIS thanks to Russian and Iranian military support, Assad firmly has the upper hand in the war with rebels who have been trying to topple him with backing from states including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Finally, Assad also praised "crucial cooperation" between Syria and Chinese intelligence against Uighur militants who have joined the insurgency against him. He said ties with Beijing were "on the rise." Last summer, China unexpectedly snubbed the US when it announced it would side with Russia in the Syrian proxy war, promising aid and military training to Assad's forces. China and Russia most recently showed their support of Assad last month when the two nations blocked U.N. sanctions on Syria over accusations of chemical weapons attacks during the war.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

TSA Launches ‘Invasive’ Pat-Downs With ‘More Intimate Contact Than Before’

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As a result of a study, which found that weapons routinely make it past airport security, the TSA is introducing “more rigorous” and “comprehensive” physical inspections at airports around the country, according to Bloomberg. The security agency, which until now had the option of using five different types of physical pat-downs in the screening line, is eliminating the "options" and replacing them with a single, universal method which would involve heavier groping.

The Transportation Security Administration made the announcement to its agents this week, and in the case of Denver International Airport employees, advised employees and flight crews on Thursday that the “more rigorous” searches “will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”

In an ominous warning, TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson told Bloomberg that "people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved." The shift from the previous, risk-based assessment on which pat-down procedure an officer should apply was phased in over the past two weeks after tests at smaller airports. In their notice, Denver airport officials said employees are subject to search at random locations: “If a pat down is required as part of the operation, badged employees will be required to comply with a TSA officer’s request to conduct a full body pat down.”

The new policy will also apply to pilots and flight attendants, classified as “known crewmembers” who generally receive less scrutiny at checkpoints. The TSA conducts occasional random searches of these employees, and airlines this week inquired as to whether their employees would be subject to more frequent pat-downs. The number of random searches for airline crews isn’t changing and will remain a “very small percentage” of the total, Anderson said. But airport employees may face more random checks.

Anyone who declines use of the TSA's existing conventional scanner screen will be subject to the new pat-down. The TSA currently screens about 2 million people daily at U.S. airports. The agency doesn’t track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches after they pass through an imaging scanner.

The TSA has been criticized in recent years for its overall screening techniques after an internal investigation by Homeland Security in 2015 found that the TSA failed an unbelievable 95 percent of airport security tests, allowing undercover agents to successfully and repeatedlysmuggle mock explosives and banned weapons through checkpoints in the country’s busiest airports. As a result, the TSA has been in desperate need of change and the physical inspection would be a good place to start.

That said, the agency has been ridiculed for years for causing delays at airports and being largely ineffective at detecting contraband. The good news is that while passengers may find the new patdown more intrusive, Anderson promised that the new screening procedure isn’t expected to increase overall airport security delays. However, “for the person who gets the pat down, it will slow them down.”

As Bloomberg adds, in December, a CNN political commentator, Angela Rye, posted an article online describing her “humiliation” during a TSA agent’s search. Rye wrote in graphic detail about the pat down of her genitals during a search at the Detroit Airport before a flight to New York.

TSA officials didn’t immediately address whether the new universal pat-down protocol will mandate touching of passenger genitals.

While the physical screening process has been a stress point for the TSA practically since its inception, the agency has tried to make travelers more comfortable by pairing them up with people of the same gender for pat-downs and also giving people the option of being inspected in a private room, however at the cost of substantial travel delays. However, as some have mused out, it still doesn’t answer one of the most confounding questions about the TSA: "Is America really any safer because some underpaid worker grabbed a pussy at the airport?"

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.