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Turkey Vs. Syrian Kurds: Whose Side Are We On?

With Ankara's recent military incursion into Syria to fight Afrin-based Kurdish forces, the US finds itself in a bizarre proxy war with its longtime NATO ally, Turkey. Turkish airplanes are literally taking off from the same airbase to bomb the Kurds as American planes are taking off from to arm the Kurds. US policy in Syria to create an autonomous Kurdish region to facilitate the continued (illegal) US military presence in the country is reckless and unsustainable. It is also absurd. For more on this strange state of affairs, tune in to today's Liberty Report...
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Rex Tillerson at Hoover

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On Wednesday morning last week, I, as a research fellow with the Hoover Institution, got to attend a speech by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. It was followed by a Q&A session with former Secretary of State and my Hoover colleague Condoleezza Rice. Unfortunately, questions from the audience were not allowed. The talk was about the Trump administration’s policy on Syria. The State Department has already released a 
transcript of his speech.

After the first few minutes of niceties, Tillerson got to his main topic: Syria. He listed many of the ways that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is bad, the main one being killing many of his own people. I thought Tillerson would then go to say what U.S. policy on Syria would be. But he didn’t do so immediately.

Instead, he segued to ISIS. You can read his comments for yourself, but here are three relevant segments.
The civil war in Syria was horrific in and of itself. But Syria was thrown into an even greater state of turmoil with the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. This was an aspiring terror-state inside the borders of Iraq and Syria. The conflict between the regime and various opposition groups fighting to change Assad’s grip on power created the conditions for the rapid expansion of ISIS in 2013 and 2014. ISIS originally emerged from the ashes of al-Qaida in Iraq, a group Assad had covertly backed. Evidence suggests Assad also abetted ISIS by releasing known terrorists from Syrian prisons and turning a blind eye to ISIS’s growth. ISIS exploited the instability and lack of centralized authority in Syria to set up what it falsely claimed was a "caliphate," with the Syrian city of Raqqa as its capital.
Later...
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What to Really Expect From the Government Shutdown

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It’s deja-vu all over again, as baseball legend Yogi Berra might have said. The politicians and media are telling us the world is coming to an end because a “compromise” could not be made at the 11th hour to keep the Federal government in business. Republicans blame Democrats for the shutdown over their insistence on legislation to benefit about 700,000 “Dreamers” -- immigrants who were brought illegally in to the country as children. Democrats make the shutdown all about Donald Trump, hoping to gain political points from his unpopular status.
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Turkish Tanks Cross Into Syria As Ground Offensive Against US-Backed Militia Begins

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Early on Sunday, Turkish ground forces crossed the border and pushed into northern Syria’s Afrin province on Sunday, Ankara said after launching artillery and air strikes on a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia it aims to sweep from its border.

Turkey sent armored divisions into northwest Syria after a day of airstrikes as part of 'Operation Olive Branch' which bombed Kurdish YPG forces ("People's Protection Units") in and around Afrin to drive the US-allied Kurdish militia from the area. Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army fighters along with Turkish troops are now moving into the area, according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

Quoted by Reuters, Erdogan also accused some of Turkey’s allies of providing the YPG with 2,000 plane shipments and 5,000 truckloads of ammunition; the comments were clearly aimed at the United States.

According to the local military, Turkish forces forces started the ground phase as part of ‘Olive Branch’ in the north-western Syrian region of Afrin, with Hurriyet reporting that the Turkish military has so far faced no serious resistance from Kurdish forces, which has retreated to towns and villages.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed that tanks and military vehicles had begun to cross the Syrian border, according toHaberturk. They were said to advance roughly five kilometers into the Afrin region. Yildirim also said the Turkish military, NATO’s second-largest, would create a 30-km (19-mile) “safe zone” in the  region
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RPI's Daniel McAdams: ‘Nothing New’ in New National Defense Strategy

Defense Secretary James Mattis unveiled the new US National Defense Strategy which has shifted the focus away from terrorism as the main threat to looking at Russia and China as the main threat to the US. It is a move back to the neocon "Wolfowitz Doctrine" of the 1990s, RPI Director Daniel McAdams tells RT, which stated that the US will use everything in its power to prevent a rival from rising to challenge it. Our hyper-interventionist foreign policy consistently creates outcomes opposite of our stated goals and this new strategy only continues this process...
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'Boss Tweet’s' Generals Already Run the Show

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Much has been written about our Twitterer-in-Chief and the tortured response to his presidency, particularly within the GOP.  As a recent example, Frank Bruni of the New York Times lamented the fate of Senator Lindsey Graham, who has now become one of Donald Trump’s biggest defenders on mainstream shows such as “Meet the Press”. Bruni, however, reminds us that during the presidential campaign of 2016, Graham described then candidate Trump as the “world’s biggest jackass”, even as he now praises POTUS, thereby personifying “his party’s spastic, incoherent, humiliating response to Trump across time and its fatally misguided surrender.”
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What To Expect In 2018 - With Special Guest Gerald Celente

Why are the rich getting richer? Are they just smarter than the rest of us? Or do the "too big to fail" connected corporations have a hotline to Washington for government assistance? And what about the US involvement in the Middle East? Will it increase or decrease this year? And why? Internationally-renowned trends forecaster Gerald Celente joins today's Liberty Report to tell us what we can expect for 2018..
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How the Establishment Undermines American Democracy

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There is a growing consensus among many observers in Washington that the national security agencies have become completely politicized over the past seventeen years and are now pursuing selfish agendas that actually endanger what remains of American democracy. Up until recently it has been habitual to refer to such activity as the Deep State, which is perhaps equivalent to the Establishment in that it includes financial services, the media, major foundations and constituencies, as well as lobbying groups, but we are now witnessing an evolutionary process in which the national security regime is exercising power independently.

In a devastating critique former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer John Kiriakou has described how the Democratic Party, as part of its frenzied effort to bring down President Donald Trump, has embraced a whole group of former intelligence and law enforcement officers who appear to be on the same side in seeking a more responsible and accountable executive branch but who are in reality pursuing their own agenda.

Formerly intelligence and law enforcement agencies acted under the direction of the White House but without any political bias. Transitions from Democratic to Republican administrations were consequently seamless for the employees of CIA, FBI, DIA and the NSA, but this has changed. In the 2016 election a line-up of retired senior officers from those organizations openly supported the Clinton campaign and even went so far as to construct elaborate conspiracy theories regarding Trump and his associates, including the claim that Donald Trump is actually an agent of Russia.
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Breaking - Tillerson Unveils 'New' US Syria Plan: 'Assad Must Go!'

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Confirming that the US military presence inside Syria had little to do with fighting ISIS, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled in detail today the real US strategy for Syria: overthrow of the Assad government. In a speech at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and introduced by President George W. Bush's Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Secretary Tillerson vowed that the United States military would continue to occupy Syrian territory until three conditions are met...
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More US Bases In Syria...Why Not Come Home?

While ISIS has been defeated in Syria, the US military has no plans to leave the country. In fact, the Pentagon is building new, permanent military bases on Syrian soil. But the Syrians don't want American troops on their soil and it's pretty illegal to put your troops into another country without permission. So why stay? To "counter Iranian influence in the region." But how did Iran get so much influence in the region? The US invasion of Iraq and the US destabilization of Syria were a shot in the arm to Iran's influence in the region. So if US interventionism in the Middle East keeps making Iran stronger and the US claims to want Iran to be weaker, why does Washington keep intervening in the region? We try to sort it out in today's Liberty Report...
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