Tag Archive | Assad

Coal miner’s lament

coal

In news today from Reuters, US and Russian coal exports are way, way up because China has decided to sanction North Korean coal.

China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product. To curb coal traffic between the two countries, which continued despite the ban apparently, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes.

Trump’s been talking about North Korea since before he was elected. I’ve always wondered why. Consensus states the North Korea is in pretty bad shape and that most of what they say is a lie. It’s doubtful they have anything like a functioning weapon. North Korea, which is hardly worth bothering about. That the POTUS was bothered, always made me wonder. I kind of get it now.

By casting North Korea as a problem, and getting China to agree and ban buying coal from NK, China then has to buy coal elsewhere, which potentially means US coal jobs. Is this what the POTUS meant when he said he would bring back coal jobs? Not so fast. It may sound good on the surface for American workers, but dig a little deeper.

China needs coking coal to make steel, China can’t stop buying this type of coal or its economy will suffer. So …. the US is one place they might buy it from. However, another place, that’s much closer geographically and less costly to buy from, is Russia.  Yes, you read that correctly Russia.

Russia’s coal exports are expected to rise by up to 3.3 pct in 2017 according to a UK Reuters report. Coal is a $10B industry in Russia, increasing it over 3% would be a major economic boost to the economy there. Why does such a boost matter? Because it helps Putin get around US sanctions and helps Putin make more money so he and his oligarchy can stay in office longer.

So, the upshot of Trump being tough on North Korea is Trump is helping Putin avoid the pain of sanctions. By the way, coaking coal prices were at an all time high since a hurricane hit Australia, blanking North Korea from the game … yeah, really good, for Russia.

In case anyone forgot, the sanctions were supposed to weaken the Russian economy and make the Russians rethink the Ukraine situation. In case anyone forgot, Russia invaded Ukraine. Russia is in an ongoing war against pro-West, pro-democracy Ukraine. Why? Because Ukrainians cast out their Pro-Putin, national wealth-stealing, puppet president a few years back.

Incredibly, our Mr Tillerson, at the G7 meeting, right before he flew to Moscow, seems uninformed about the whole Russia-Ukraine matter.  “U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson asked his European counterparts on Tuesday why American voters should care about the conflict in Ukraine, France’s foreign minister said.” Really? You have to ask why? Ugh.

Once again, the Trump administration is showing it’s Pro-Putin, anti-democracy stance. Russia wants Ukraine, Trump is okay with Russians annexing it — from the Ukrainians! This has been a core bargaining chip from the beginning. Trump for president, Ukraine for Russia. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. And yet ….

This is a bit more than removing the anti-Russian, pro-Ukraine plank from the GOP’s platform. This is actively undermining sanctions, actively helping Russia get around US sanctions on Ukraine by pushing China to reject North Korea and buy Russian coal. So, collusion with Russia? You bet, still, ongoing.

Finally, talking about Syria for a moment, Russia’s other abiding interest, if you were wondering about sudden visits from Jordan’s king, Egypt’s general president, and China’s president, to the US, consider Syria’s major import and export partners.

Syria exports primarily to Egypt (25%), Jordan (16%), Saudi Arabia (13%).  Syria imports primarily Turkey (30%) and China (22% — over 1 Billion dollars worth). If you’re interested in what Syria imports from Russia: Propellant Powders, Prepared Explosives, Explosive Ammunition (25.6%) & Postage Stamps (20%) . (This info is all from MIT). Russia’s main interest in Syria is being able to use it for military bases.

Remember Mike Flynn, who was helping both Russia and Turkey? Two countries with pretty warm ties. People were wondering about that. Wonder no more. He was representing two countries with major shared interests in Syria. And that was Trump’s first pick? So Syria was always on the table.

And now, Trump has met with all the principles likely to experience flux if there is a US intervention or regime change in Syria. Right before a low-level Sarin attack fortuitously happens on April 6, exactly while China’s Xi is visiting, and Trump can low-level bomb something.  And the very next day China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes.

Interesting.

Eric Trump said to a British newspaper “If there was anything that [the strike on] Syria did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.” I’m not sure how Eric got there. Logically, because nothing he’s done has helped the US, it would appear that the POTUS had been planning on using Syria and using  North Korea from the start of his presidency for all sorts of reasons that principally benefit Putin.

The SCIF Sandwich

SCIFMAL

Your seat at the feast always tells the story.

This is quote from the White House Press Sec website.

SECRETARY ROSS:  To me, the most dramatic thing about being in the Situation Room as he [Trump] was making the decision was the thoroughness of the support and information that went into it, the consultation he did with a wide range of military and diplomatic and economic advisors, and the utter seriousness and thoughtfulness with which he made this very grave decision.

In terms of the strikes themselves, it’s my understanding that they took out something like 20 percent of the entire Syrian air force.  So it was huge not just in terms of number of planes but relative to the scale of their air force.

Wilbur Ross, US Commerce Sec, was in the room with the POTUS when the air strikes on Syria went down. Supposedly he had first-hand information. He was a witness. He was seated right next to the POTUS.

Why should his comments give us pause?  Because only a couple Syrian planes were hit, that’s it. He thought 20% of the entire Syrian air force was eliminated? He did not even understand what happened, even though it happened in front of him. And this is the man is in charge the US Commerce Dept.

The organization’s main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and improve standards of living for all Americans. Does Mr Ross seem capable of that? If he doesn’t understand what goes on right in front of him.

So if he clearly doesn’t understand things that well, and his math seems way off, why is he Sec of US Commerce at all? Well, in his previous job, which was VP at the Bank of Cyprus, his duties were not to understand things too well and launder Russian money. The Bank of Cyprus, is basically the money laundering center for Russian govt officials and oligarchs.

Mr Ross’s job was to find ways to launder Russian money. Now he’s in the Sec of US Commerce he can find ways to launder Russian money for US govt officials and oligarchs I guess, because he certainly is qualified to do that.

If you’re asking, why, during the bombing of the a Syrian govt air base, is the Russian friend and Bank of Cyprus VP money launder seated next to a US President (who claimed we should not interfere in Syria’s government) and his “friend of Russia” Putin awardee, former Exxon exec, Sec of State, Mr Tillerson (on the president’s other side), who 2 days earlier said the US had no interest in deposing the Syrian president, the answer is pretty simple.

Facing seriously bad polling numbers, a series of political defeats, and the ongoing investigation into his collusion with Russia to gain the presidency, Trump needed a political win that would stop the hemorrhaging and convince people he wasn’t a collaborator. Since Russia is his friend, Russia came to his aid.

Russia’s goal has been to keep the Syrian govt power at any cost. Russia has military bases in Syria, and economically strategic oil operations. Russia has been fighting ISIS in Syria, in coordination with the US, but it’s also been bombing the hell out of the Syrian rebels/opposition/Syrian Free Army, whatever we want to call those who oppose Assad. During the last chemical attack, in 2013, by Syria on it’s own people, a UN investigation concluded sarin was delivered by a Soviet-era 140mm surface-to-surface artillery rocket, known as the M-14.

There was outcry in 2013. So, Russia, wanting to protect the Assad regime, said they would guarantee Syria disposed of all chemical weapons. So, the only group with chemical weapons, willing to use them on civilians living in Syrian opposition-controlled towns, was Russia. Therefore, it’s logical to assume that Russia used chemical weapons on a Syrian opposition-controlled town in 2017.

But why? Because this act by Russia allowed Trump, after warning all the Russians to get out, to bomb a Syrian govt air base in apparent revenge for “Assad’s” actions. Trump did this in a complete contradiction of his stated policies on Syria, and without any proof that air base or the Syrian govt had anything to do with the chemical attack.

Trump now looks anti-Russian and pro humanitarian to liberals and media people, who might actually buy this political theater. This is all to raise his poll numbers and keep people from pursuing investigations into how deep in Putin’s pocket he is.  The fact the US president is literally flanked by pro-Putin, friends of Russia, criminals, suggests that Trump is all the way at the bottom of that pocket.

If Assad is ever removed, it will only be because Russia is replacing him with a slightly  more liberal, but solidly pro-Russian, friend of Putin. Expect nothing to change in Syrian-Russian relations. If it appears as though Trump, by a show of force, is the reason Assad has to resign and seek sanctuary in Doha or Iran or elsewhere, just remember, Assad is replaceable to Russia, but Trump isn’t, yet.

If replacing Assad helps Trump in the polls, makes him appear anti-Russian, and keeps him in power, that’s a win-win for Putin. And all it cost him was some Syrians rebels he never gave a fig about anyway and a replaceable Syrian dictator.

Look for a sudden about face by the Trump administration on removing Assad, and look for their reason, and blame for the chemical attack, to be put on entirely on Assad. Why? Because neither Trump nor Putin wants it discovered that Russia perpetrated the chemical attack for purpose of trying to salvage the Trump presidency. To do this, this thing’s got to be shut down quick, before real questions can be asked.

Let’s face it, if Trump cared about gassed people, he’d have said something in 2013. All he said in 2013, upon seeing those images August 21, 2013 was

Aug. 28, 2013

By the way, the “them” he wants to catch by surprise is the Anti-Assad, Anti-Russia, Pro-democracy Syrian opposition. Note the explicit pro Russia going into Syria to kill the Syrian opposition tweet below.

Aug. 29, 2013

Sept. 5, 2013

Sept. 6, 2013

Sept. 7, 2013

Sept. 9, 2013

Sept. 11, 2013

Sept. 13, 2013

Sept. 12, 2014

Sept. 17, 2014

Sept. 20, 2014

All these tweets are Pro-Russia, anti-Democracy. Trump hasn’t changed, nothing has changed. He’s still pro-Russia, pro-Assad, and anti-Opposition, anti-democracy. Trump wants the Opposition destroyed. He wants a pro-Putin dictator in Syria. This all theater, and the Syrian people, on both sides of the conflict, are the ones that suffer. The only people not suffering, ISIS fighters in Syria. And the only reason we went to Syria? Was to stop ISIS.