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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/10/16

Hybrid War, From Palmyra to Panama

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Add to it a juicy deep state-connected source's take on the "only 441 Americans" (all of them still mysterious) named in the leak/hack; "The Nevada office of Mossack Fonseca received advance information via the NSA to alert Panama to delete all the records in Nevada. The NSA is a political control mechanism. They have nothing to do with terrorism, and would have no idea where to look unless guided by Operation Gladio-style insiders."

The US government's war on fiscal paradises is, predictably, also selective. Switzerland has been a key target. Now Panama. Considering the NSA thesis, it's clear key American billionaires as well as key American corporations would have all been redacted out of the leak/hack.

The gold standard for the Panama Papers not to be regarded as a limited hangout cum psyops will be, for instance, whether HSBC, Coutts (a subsidiary of RBS) and UBS -- all deeply connected with Mossack Fonseca -- will be fully investigated. Whether oil trader Vitol, linked to Panama Paper-exposed Azerbaijan's ruler Ilham Aliyev, will be investigated. Whether Poroshenko will be investigated. Whether the nasty connections between Big Oil and Western Big Banking will be unveiled.

And of course after the Panama Papers assorted dodgy weapons dealers, drug barons, corrupt oligarchs and certified tax cheats may continue to be lavishly rewarded, undisturbed -- as long as they know how to play the turbocharged casino capitalist game.

Why now?

The Panama Papers are all about timing. Why now? After all, this massive hoard had been sitting under full scrutiny in total secrecy for over a year.

The Panama Papers totally fit into Hybrid War. As with the Car Wash investigation in Brazil -- which is a spin-off of the NSA spying on Petrobras -- the Panama Papers may be regarded as a Monster Truck Wash, with the target being the Global South, and the BRICS in particular.

It's not by accident that immediately after the leak/hack came to light, Pentagon supremo Ash Carter, speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington -- a neighbor to the ICIJ -- insisted once again the Pentagon needed to be more "agile" to fight the US's five strategic challenges, which he named, in that order, as "Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and terrorism."

Note the "threat" predominance of Russia, China and Iran -- the key nodes of Eurasia integration, and all of them heavily featured on the Panama Papers, mostly in guilt by association mode.

The timing of the release of the leak/hack certainly has to do with Palmyra. The recent liberation of Palmyra -- for 3,000 years the door to Southwest Asia for those who come from the West and the door towards the Mediterranean for those who come from the East -- was a brilliantly executed geo-strategic plan that left many a Pentagon mouth agape.

Daesh had turned Palmyra into a key base for an all-out attack on Damascus -- controlling the only road leading to the capital.

So only a meticulously coordinated counteroffensive -- up to 20,000 men, from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) to local militias, Hezbollah special forces, Iranian pasdaran (including many Iranian-trained Afghans) and Russian Spetsnaz -- would be able to pull it off.

Syrian generals have been adamant to stress that Europe, "invaded" by the refugees "liberated" by Turkey's Sultan Erdogan, preferred all along to support those inexistent "moderate rebels" -- a Beltway fiction -- weaponized by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Now Europeans have to face blowback in European soil.

The SAA, meanwhile, defended Damascus, a unified and secular Syria and -- SAA generals proudly stress -- Europe itself. Their work won't stop in Palmyra. The next objectives, for the next few months, are Deir ez-Zour, then the final assault on the fake "Caliphate" capital, Raqqa.

So which role Exceptionalistan -- the land of the "war on terra" -- played in this epic endeavor?

None. It's not an accident that terrorism features last in the Pentagon's list of "strategic threats." It's more like fiction unveiling reality, as in the last scene of the current season of House of Cards: "We make the terror."

In the case of Daesh, Washington did "make the terror," as in made the terror happen; the flourishing of the fake "Caliphate" was a willful US government decision. And now Russia has blown up for good -- for all the world to see -- the US government's fictional narcissistic self-portrait of undisputed champion of the "war on terra."

Ouch. That hurts. Cue to that by now famous visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow, two weeks ago, to talk to President Putin.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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