#WeStandWithIlhan- This Time.

#IStandWithIlhan- this time!

Our illegitimate forty-fifth president on Friday gave us a sneak preview of his re-election strategy for 2020, when he went after Representative Ilhan Omar for the now-infamous remarks she made not long before during a speech on civil rights and Muslims in America. His tool was a visceral video of the burning World Trade Center towers taken back in 2001. He tweeted it to millions of his followers, which some have argued was an act that may have put her life in danger.

From where things stand today, it seems clear that the political momentum of America is going strong in favor of the Democratic Party. Donald Trump has been a complete disaster for the country, as everyone knew he would be, and it’s all but certain we’ll correct our mistake very soon.

It is, therefore, completely unsurprising to see him grab onto something one of our Democratic leaders have done and begin to fashion a weapon with it. Of course, he is doing this to try and deflect from his own endless blunders and crimes. But that doesn’t help us answer the central question.

What about what Ilhan Omar actually said?

In opening this discussion, we would like to make it clear that Representative Omar is someone we would like to support. She has not been a pest like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who really likes attention, and figures the best way to get it is to go out of her way to be an enemy to good Democrats. I have written good things about Omar since the day she was elected.

She isn’t one of the usual Bernie Sanders suspects, nor is she a socialist, or any of that. This isn’t about that. It’s that we’ve got to cut down on the amount of just dirt that can be slung at the Democratic Party, which means holding our leaders accountable when they start jumping off the deep end. Youthful errors happen. It is not too late for Omar to turn back.

But lately, there has been a lot of trouble.

Recently, conservative Laurie Cardoza-Moore, an Evangelical leader who hosts the popular Christian television program Focus On Israel,  said on Wednesday that “while she has already established her credentials as a vehement antisemite, Ilhan Omar is far worse than that.”

That has not been proven true, and we’re inclined to believe that it is not, although certainly that hasn’t been proved either. What is without question is that she’s a representative of our country now, a person at the highest levels of the government of the greatest superpower in the history of mankind, the United States of America, and she’s been giving Trump a lot of dirt against us. This has to stop and fast.

“Omar may be in violation of a federal statute for fundraising for two Muslim Brotherhood charities that seek to destroy America,” she claimed. The Jerusalem Post wrote an article entitled “Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is calling for the release of a terrorist.”

The Jerusalem Post is a highly reputable organization operating in the territories of one of our closest global partners, Israel. We deeply respect them. It’s the most commonly read newspaper for Jews who speak English and has been around since 1932. If they thought enough of it to publish an article of concern, it is going to be necessary to give the matter a good close look.

According to Cardoza-Moore, whose show reaches literally two billion viewers weekly, the recent revelation of Omar’s participation as a keynote speaker at events for Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups Islamic Relief USA and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “suggests her support for subversive factions aligned to destroy America and Western civilization itself.”

From the article- “On her Twitter page last week, Omar demanded that US President Donald Trump push for the release of a senior member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hoda Abdelmonem.”

That is a far bigger deal than what Trump is tweeting about, and that is what our issue is. This is not about Omar’s policies, or her religion, or her hijab, or her friends. Asking for leniency on behalf of that terrorist, even unofficially, is crossing a big line.

She will rapidly lose her support among Americans if she keeps on like this.

It is very important that she quickly correct her course. She must understand after this that she is now a Representative of the United States of America, the greatest country in the world and that as such, what she does will tremendously affect everyone around her. She did not quite use her position in an official capacity, she did it using her personal Twitter account, but just the same. It’s unacceptable, and she should have known better.

Her advisers should definitely have known better, and of course, they did. They knew exactly what they would be doing, and they knew it would put Omar at risk, and they still used it. She is mixed up with rough customers, and that’s the part that’s really troubling.

We have to make it clear these people are not her only option.

None of this is a conspiracy theory. Omar might not be a Muslim Brotherhood member, but she is spending a lot of time around CAIR, which has been found to have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. Worse, it has close ties to Hamas and Hezbollah, who are downright terroristic.

As an aside, this is one of the dozens of things we’re objecting to in the case of Tulsi Gabbard.

Last month, Omar keynoted an Islamic Relief USA emergency fundraising dinner for Yemen in Tampa, Florida. Later this month she will be a keynote speaker at a CAIR fundraiser in Los Angeles. She’s hanging out with these people all the time, they constitute her biggest support.

Most of us will remember well the trouble over the Women’s March last year when it was found out that the person organizing it was foul-mouthed and anti-Semitic political activist Palestinian Muslim-American Linda Sarsour. She got ahold of the Women’s Convention and tried to make Bernie Sanders, who has a record on women right up there with Donald Trump’s, the keynote speaker.

When American women found out about that, there was an outcry unlike anything you have ever seen unless you were there, and St. Bernard the millionaire backed out as fast as his legs would carry him, but that too is another story.

Suffice it to say that after that incident, Sarsour and CAIR were on the radar, and not as friendlies.

At the same time, however, you’re not who your friends are, or at least, not completely. It seems important to point out that Representative Omar is not Tulsi Gabbard. Omar came up on her own. She does not come from a wealthy community of emigres, nor do her parents have money, back home in Somalia. Her mother died when she was two, and her father drove a taxicab-as do many of the smartest people ever met by this Millennial Democrats contributor. There’s just something cool about taxi drivers.

We consider it critical that we carefully monitor our own back yards, and take note of disturbing trends within them. And just as the Justice Democrats always say, it’s important that we hold our leaders accountable and ask that they explain to us their actions and philosophy.

The way that Donald Trump is going after her for this is wrong, but it’s a big exaggeration to say she didn’t make a mistake. She absolutely did make a mistake. “Some people did something” is not an acceptable way to address the most lethal terrorist attack in America’s history, something that has left a permanent scar.

If Omar wants our support, she needs to desist in this vein at once, and from this day forth utterly repudiate terrorism.

As a wise woman once said, we must react the same way as if we found evidence of one of our leaders supporting a white supremacist group.

It couldn’t be less important who the terrorist is, what they’re for, what color their shirt, skin, cause, it doesn’t matter. Civilization demands that we come together behind fighting this type of attack with a united resolve.  If we cannot come together behind not cutting slack to those who murder for shock value, then on what can we come together?

All of these factors caused us to conclude that this incident requires direct addressing. It is not enough to point out that Trump is trying to deflect from his wrongdoings and outright crimes using Omar, which undoubtedly he is.

We wish to state clearly that this is not an attack, it’s just the opposite. We do stand with Ilhan, it’s more than just a hashtag for us. She is a Millennial Democrat. She is also someone who rode into office on the Blue Wave that we fought so hard for, in the Year of the Democratic Woman that we lauded.

But even as we hold our hands out to Omar herself, we recognize the importance in a proper observation of this troubling new trend, and we wish to express our ardent hope that Representative Omar will awake to the harm she has done recently, to herself and to the cause, and turn around before it is too late.

At the end of this long discussion, our clarified message is this. In the name of giving somebody the benefit of the doubt, we are proud to concur with many of our fellow Democrats and say that we do indeed #StandWithIlhan. We stand with you, Representative Omar-
This time.
Our message for Ilhan Omar is this:
What Trump is doing is despicable, and we’re not going for it. You’re a Democrat and a Millennial Democrat, and we’re here for you. National leadership has been here for you, and we are going to follow suit with a full heart. But by that same token, do not play us for chumps, or take our support for granted.
We are not going to slither on your behalf or anyone else.
We’re not going to equivocate or change the subject endlessly. Do not put us in the position of having to become apologists for CAIR and Hezbollah, because we’re not going for that either. 9/11 was the greatest tragedy in the history of all America. Please pay credence to this fact, and show respect.
Six floors below Mr Reyher, James Logozzo watched with stunned colleagues from the Morgan Stanley boardroom. He recalled that it took three or four jumpers to flash past him before he realised they were people. Then a woman fell, lying flat on her back and staring upwards. ‘The look on her face was shock. She wasn’t screaming,’ he recalled. ‘It was slow motion. After she hit the ground, there was nothing left.’

For those down below, the bodies landed with sickening, almost explosive thuds. Many said it was raining bodies.

One fireman, Danny Suhr, was killed as he made his way to the South Tower after a jumper landed on him, ‘coming out of the sky like a torpedo’ and breaking his neck. Compounding the tragedy, the priest who gave him the last rites was later killed by falling debris.

Learn from this mistake, Ms. Omar. Take a few minutes to actually watch those videos Trump tweeted, horrendous as they are. Take in the sight of our beautiful Twin Towers falling, and take note of the girl around your same age who had to choose between burning to death and falling off the top of that vast skyscraper. More than two hundred people jumped to their deaths that day.
Watch carefully as she stretches her arms outward, acceptance on her face, and falls, a person, just like all of us.
Maybe she would have run for office someday. Unlike you or me, however, she never got the chance. Please let the real meaning of that sink in, and realize thoroughly the importance of being more sensitive. Terrorism is an unthinkable evil. Show us you are here to help us fight it.
Do this, and we will forever #StandWithIlhan.
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The Sarah Palin Of The Left- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is No One’s Face But Her Own.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is No One's Face But Her Own.

It is not without a sense of disappointment that we recognize the newly famous Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic Socialist and ideological successor of Bernie Sanders, has decided to be a liability. We’ve written highly of her in the past. She had some good points to make, but in the process of trying to make them, she has gotten in her own way badly, and in everyone else’s way, too. She has endeavored to make herself a nuisance in every way she can, and the Republicans, of course, are completely overjoyed.

At last, they’ve got someone tangible to point at and yell “See? See? We told you they all were socialists! We told you they all were crazy! That right there is the face of the Democratic Party!”

Let us be blunt and unequivocal- Ocasio-Cortez is far from the face of our party. Very far. We’re not socialists at all. We’re the ones on the front lines of the battle against socialism. The Republicans are the ones who incite and encourage the socialists, in order to disrupt and uncoordinate Democrats. That’s why Donald Trump sided with Bernie Sanders in 2016.

Our thoughts were that she should be given a chance, even though most things about her were far-left and radical. Ocasio came into all our lives by primarying out one of the best guys we had in Joe Crowley, which of course is horrible, and she’s a Democratic Socialist, which is to say, an extremely confused socialist. But even so, we gave her a chance. We congratulated her on her victory, we wrote an article giving her the proper respect she has earned. She ran a heck of a campaign, by every metric, and she is, after all, a Millennial Democrat. We did our best to keep an open mind.

Who knows, we said. Maybe she won’t turn out to be so bad. She does seem smart enough. Maybe she is. Let’s reserve judgment for the time being.

Then she opened her mouth.

Conservative news and opinion site The Daily Caller ran a contest over it. “Vote On The Dumbest Thing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Has Said So Far.”

Now, this hurt us, because all of us are Democrats, and we all want the same kinds of things. We need our allies and our bright minds. Although her wing of the left and ours are often rivals, we are not enemies, and it brings no joy to report on her failings. But we all need to show discipline, represent ourselves to advantage, and realize that whatever we say will reflect on the Democratic Party as a whole.

Ocasio-Cortez is not getting that. And that Daily Caller article ate it up.

They showed her doing an interview with MSNBC’s fantastic Joy Reid, who has had her own problems with the far left. It yielded some remarks that can only be described as gems.

“Unemployment is low because everyone has two jobs. Unemployment is low because people are working 60, 70, 80 hours a week and can barely feed their family.”

Politifact ruled in on this one right away. “Americans aren’t working more today than they have been in the recent past. The average number of hours worked in the private sector has hugged tightly to about 34.5 hours a week since 2006, except for a dip during the Great Recession.”

In the very same Joy Reid interview, she blasted this out too, when she said she was in favor of an assault-weapons ban.

“I think that many members of our military need to go through years of training in order to have access to these weapons, and the idea that a 17-year-old can walk into a shop and get one, I think, is unacceptable.”

Seventeen? Federal law prohibits anybody under the age of 18 from legally buying guns, automatic or otherwise.

Around the same time, she appeared on the reboot of Firing Line. Conservative host Margaret Hoover asked her to explain her stance on Israel. The question left Ocasio-Cortez completely baffled. She began to talk about things that don’t exist, like the Israeli “Occupation of Palestine.”

Hoover pounced. “Would you like to expand on that?” she said with utter glee.

“I’m no expert on geopolitics,” said Ocasio-Cortez. Well, if that is the case, then what in God’s holy name are you doing in the government of a global superpower? This kind of thing is really a disgrace. If you don’t have the tools for the job, don’t apply for it.

“We’re gonna flip this seat red in November,”, she said in July during a rally.

Jesus God.

Good thing for her it was the Year of the Democratic Woman.

The first time I heard someone use the term “Sarah Palin of the left”, it was in passing. Sarah Palin, of course, was the infamous 2008 running mate of Republican John McCain, then-governor of Alaska who liked to talk and quickly became a superstar- until she put her foot in her mouth, and kept it there.

I was walking down the hallway of the local library, and I heard a group of people laughing and pointing at a picture. “She’s the Sarah Palin of the left,” said one woman. “That’s the face of the Democratic Party now, guys!” yelled another man present, joyfully.

The face on the screen, of course, was that of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The headline was from RealClear Politics, and it pleaded our case eloquently.

Lieberman: If Ocasio-Cortez Is “The New Face of The Democratic Party,” Party Doesn’t Have “Bright Future”

No doubt. We might not have a future at all, if that’s the face of the party. What a mess, I thought. What a total and complete disaster.

A while back, we did an article about a guy named Don Blankenship, a major felon whose greed and sloven got twenty-nine people killed in a tragic mining accident. He was running for Joe Manchin’s Senate seat in West Virginia, so we were all for him. “Too Far Right”, it was called. “Why It’s Best When the GOP Nominates Their Worst.”

Obviously, it’s good for us when the true face of the Republican Party is revealed by people who are just like that. Corrupt, arrogant, and sloppy.

Just like it’s good for them when our candidates are uneducated, radical, and prone to making constant ridiculous blunders.

In America, you can’t be the President if you’re not at least thirty-five, and this is because all three of those traits, so deadly for a good politician, accompany youth all but exclusively. So it only stands to reason that people are given a certain amount of time to reach maturity and correct those youthful errors. Unfortunately, there is no such law protecting the House of Representatives. So here we are.

For the last several decades, Republican politicians have moved steadily further right, and never has this been so true as now. Candidates of heightening extremity dominate the GOP playing field. They are nominating the wrong candidates all over the country, such as ex-convict Blankenship in West Virginia.

After the election of our 45th President, the strategy of many Republican politicians has depended a great deal on how deeply they can demonstrate their adherence to his destructive policies. The growing trend of Republican extremity has become troubling in the extreme. This has backfired on them badly. The Blue Wave all but knocked them out of the ballpark, which is how Ocasio managed to win her election. If she were in middle America, she’d have been driven across the state line.

This has tempted some on the left to respond with extremity in kind, and that is very dangerous. With every step we take away from the center, the closer we come to getting ripped loose at the moorings as a country. We’ve already had one Civil War. We have to find a way to come back to reason before it is too late.

The likes of Bernie Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez are, to put it mildly, not helping.

Even if you put aside their socialism and their adherence to radical policies that make no sense like Medicare for All, neither Sanders nor Ocasio-Cortez are good candidates, because they do not have the resume. They don’t have records of getting things done, although at least in Ocasio’s case it’s because she has had no career. As recently as last year, she was still working as a bartender, but she’s sure got a lot to say about- well, just about everything..

While there is certainly a lot to admire about a person who can make a good cocktail, when it comes time to pick who’s in the Congress, I’ll take the geopolitical expert every time. All things considered, it becomes all too clear that socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a big mistake on the part of New York’s 14th District. We can help the people who live there by raising awareness on all this so that they will correct it.

Michael Flynn Has Flipped! Trump Gets A Christmas Present.

A sinking snitch

A gigantic piece of the riddle of Russiagate has finally fallen into place. This one blows Paul Manafort out of the water.

On Friday, retired Lt. General Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. And he pledged to cooperate with the investigation into the hacking of our 2016 Presidential election by the Russians.

It’s a sad day in America when a three-star general colludes with the Russians to subvert the democratic sanctity of our election. It is the opinion of Millennial Democrats that Michael Flynn will go down in history as one of the most sickening and pathetic traitors of all time. Benedict Arnold. Vidkun Quisling. Michael Flynn.

Flynn served briefly as President Trump’s national security adviser but resigned from his position 24 days later.  The Information that surfaced about him having plotted out a possible attempt to kidnap a Turkish cleric in Pennsylvania had made him a person of interest to the FBI. Trump reluctantly gave him the boot.

Shortly after, proof that he had lied to the FBI surfaced after pre-Inauguration phone conversations he’d had with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak leaked to the press.

By pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate with Mueller, Flynn also appears to have averted prosecution of his son, who was reportedly implicated in some of these ongoings. What a bad father, to get his own son involved in all this mess. Good thing for him he can just snitch his way right out of it all.

Back in June, less than a month after President Donald Trump fired then- FBI director James Comey, the Senate Intelligence Committee held a hearing in which Comey was asked for his version of the events that had led up to his firing. The testimony was frankly disturbing.

His suspicions were strong that he’d been fired due to a bizarre series of conversations he’d had at the time with Donald Trump, who had asked Comey outright to drop his investigation into Flynn. This unnerved Comey so much that he wrote an agent memorandum regarding it immediately afterwards. Such memorandums have been considered reliable courtroom evidence for nearly a hundred years.

The meeting in question took place on February 14th, in the Oval Office. with a group of Trump administration senior officials, including Vice-President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Trump asked Comey to remain when the others left. He wanted to talk about the F.B.I.’s investigation of Flynn.

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Trump said. “He is a good guy.”

Comey confronted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and said he did not want to be left alone again with the president, according to current and former law enforcement officials. Sessions, unsurprisingly, refused to make any guarantees. That guy is completely worthless as an Attorney General. It’s almost a joke. Too bad it isn’t funny.

Comey distrusted Trump deeply. His unwillingness to be alone with him reflects upon that strongly.

The big question is, why Flynn? We don’t have the answer yet, at least not completely. One thing is certain, though: Trump’s aggressive steps to defend him defy reasonable explanation. Trump is not generally known for his magnanimous impulses toward his former employees. Narcissists love firing people. The question of why he wanted the F.B.I. to ease up on Flynn, therefore, became a matter of intense debate immediately.

Flynn’s decision to flip completely undercuts the argument made by Trump and his aides that they were not fully aware of any discussions Michael Flynn had with the Russians. This is going to have Trump’s legal team hopping through the holidays, especially if no one can convince him to keep his mouth shut on Twitter.

Court documents revealed by the plea agreement Flynn agreed to expose new details about exactly what the Trump team knew.

As a result, scrutiny is now honing in on Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner. And Donald Trump Jr. cannot be far behind.

Through the looking glass, a picture starts emerging.

Israel’s government, parts of the pro-Israel community and congressional Republicans were infuriated in late December when the Obama administration, in its final month, allowed through an anti-settlement UN Security Council resolution.

Someone in the Trump transition team – almost certainly Jared Kushner- probably asked Flynn to speak to the Russians to see whether there was any chance they might be persuaded to use their influence in the UN Security Council to get the vote on Security Council Resolution 2334, the December 2016 anti-settlements resolution, either delayed until after Trump took office or blocked altogether.

At any rate, this Russian query was to set into motion the now famous series of telephone conversations between Flynn and Kislyak. Over the course of one of these, Flynn also asked Kislyak for Russian restraint in response to Obama’s December 2016 sanctions against Russia. Sanctions are what a lot of this is about, for Russia. They want back their jet-set lifestyles. Being on America’s bad side makes this impossible.

It all led up to Special Counsel Mueller’s team looking into Kushner’s contacts with Israeli diplomats, which is being done this very minute. Presumably, they’re in the process of confirming that this was indeed one of the Russian quid pro quos. If you help us out in Israel, we’ll help you out with these sanctions, and we’ll all work together on hamstringing Hillary Clinton.

Flynn arrived at court on Friday. He admitted to one count of knowingly making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements.” According to an AFP reporter, Flynn was asked by Judge Rudolph Contreras if he wished to plead guilty and responded with the words “Yes, sir”. The judge continued: “I accept your guilty plea. There will be no trial and there will be probably no appeal.” And that was that.

Unfortunately, the arrest of Michael Flynn does not tell us much more about what this means for Donald Trump and the White House. There is no way to predict how soon information obtained from Flynn might reach the public or help to produce fresh charges. Mueller’s investigation has been highly disciplined about leaks. But the very fact of Mueller nabbing Flynn now is enough to ruin Trump’s Christmas.

At the end of the day, what’s bad for Trump is what’s good for the rest of us. What this does do for us is to take us a bit closer to being able to prove what we know, and a bit closer to knowing what we think. One is reminded of Trump’s diatribe recently about how we’re all going to start saying Merry Christmas again. Getting this whole mess cleaned up, so we can all get our lives back, would make for the whole world a very merry Christmas indeed.

I know what I’m grateful for this year.

Putin Divvies Up Syria, Trump Spills Israeli Intel- The Puppet Strikes Again.

#demontroll
Earlier this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted a trilateral summit with the presidents of Iran and Turkey in Russia’s Black Sea resort city, Sochi. Putin gave a warm welcome to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and declared that the three countries deserve all the credit for helping to maintain “stability” in Syria.
Turkey, which is still a NATO member and U.S. ally, announced that it may soon open talks with Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, in a joint effort with Russia and Iran to return stability to the region. America was not invited.
Trump seems to have agreed to back off in exchange for Russian help last year. As a result, the future of Syria is being largely determined without significant input from Washington, the world’s single superpower.

In related news, highly-classified Israeli intelligence was offhandedly revealed by Donald Trump to Russian officials earlier this year. Earlier this week we found out what it was.

The US President’s decision to spill the information during a meeting with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was described as having brought Israeli spies’ “worst fears” to life.

During Trump’s meeting with Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak, Trump revealed the details of a covert Israeli operation that exposed ISIS plans to create bombs out of laptops and smuggle them aboard commercial airliners.

Israelis were horrified.

Earlier this month, the “dead” ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was spotted in the hotly contested Syrian town of Boukamel.

The Iraqi Media News Agency quoted an anonymous source in Iraqi News as saying: ‘In a yellow taxi, Baghdadi fled Iraq and headed to Syria.’

The question of whether al-Baghdadi is dead or alive has been a continuing source of mystery and confusion. Russia claimed in June that he had “likely been killed” in an airstrike just outside of Raqqa. But they offered no proof, and there are many questions about the relations peculiar to the relationships of the parties involved.

Russia had a good working relationship with Iraq under Saddam. Although it always repeatedly denied giving military or security assistance to the Hussein regime, the Russian government under Putin expressed intense disagreement with the U. S.-led war on Iraq.

In April of 2003, after the fall of Baghdad, documents were found in a Baghdad office of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi secret police under Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime. Those documents showed that a Moscow- based organization had been training Iraqi intelligence agents as recently as September of 2002.

In other words, Russia was training some of Saddam’s best generals and their secret police. We know it went on for several decades. They spent billions of dollars on it.

The leadership of the Islamic State of the Levant consists primarily of former Baathist leaders, Saddam’s generals all coalesced again without him, like a hydra that grew back tens of thousands strong.

Of the six individuals who have been at the helm of the terror group, at least three of them served in Saddam Hussein’s army. Another is dead, and the very top guy, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was supposedly killed by Russian airstrikes back in June.

Imagine our surprise, seeing him strolling around in Syria healthy as a horse, and releasing more hate-filled videos calling for more terrorism. Claims of his death appeared to have been just more Russian disinformation.

If al-Baghdadi is alive, then Russia was most likely lying last summer, which was predictable. Russia lies about everything, routinely and by way of self-defence, like the ink-cloud of a giant squid. 

But what might Russia hope to gain by claiming the death of al-Baghdadi? What might they hope to gain?

A large amount of Turkish effort has been placed into acquiring this oil. Gaining energy autonomy to avoid having to depend on Russia for fuel has long been a goal of Turkish foreign policy.
But in spite of these attempts to diversify their energy sources and become more self-reliant, Turkey still depends largely on Russia for its energy needs, as do many other countries in Europe. They still have to depend on the goodwill of Vladimir Putin for things to run smooth.
Fortune 500 rated Vladimir Putin as the fourth richest person in the world last year, but some believe he is far wealthier than that. Hermitage Capital Management CEO Bill Browder believes Putin’s fortune to be in excess of $200 billion. Either way, if he wants things to stay that way, he’s got to stay in control of Russia.
Oil is obviously very important to us, but to Russia it is everything. Oil is essentially all that Russia has. It controls a huge mass of the world’s strategic oil reserve, and it comprises Putin’s fortune, which is sizeable by any standard, regardless of his Fortune ranking.
This dependence on oil as a source of wealth and income is also the case for Turkey and its leader Tayyip Erdogan.
Under President Bill Clinton, the United States and the EU engaged with and attempted to include Turkey as part of their efforts to strengthen the liberal international order, and it worked. They’ve been an ally for decades. Their fortunes in the Middle East were always fundamentally tied to ours. The Turks and the Russians have been rivals since the days of the Ottoman Empire.
And here is where we reach the ominous part of the story, the focal point of the developing narrative.
In spite of all these decades worth of progress strengthening American interests in the region, a perplexing area of cooperation between Russia, Turkey, and Trump seems to have arisen on Syria, with anti-EU undertones, and without American involvement.
Little by little, an outline begins to take shape. The way things looks from here, it’s a huge quid pro quo, in which Assad, Erdogan, Putin, and Trump came to an arrangement to simply leave alone Russia’s narrative about having killed al-Baghdadi.
For al-Baghdadi’s part, keeping the illusion alive would have given him months to regroup, lay low, and try to come up with something. In the meantime, there are those oil routes heading for Turkey, that the eyes of the world are not on. To all outward appearances, this is a strategic ceasefire if ever there was one.
 Assad gets to stay in power, and start seeing order restored to his country. Erdogan, who just survived a coup attempt last year, gets the sanctions applied by Russia for the fighter plane shot down in Turkish airspace in 2015 lifted and regains his ability to use Russia and the EU as a counterweight. Just last week, Erdogan and Putin met for four hours. Everybody’s happy- but all of them will soon be presented the bill.
Currently, Putin and his cronies are all smiles. They’re chopping up the spoils. And America was not invited. Trump seems to have agreed to back off in exchange for Russian help last year. As a result, the future of Syria is being largely determined without the world’s only superpower.
None of this could have happened without Putin, who will get the best that everyone has to offer. From Syria, a warm-water port in the Mediterranean Sea. This has been a dream of Russia’s for generations. From Turkey, restored good relations, and a subservient oil client. From Trump, an America weakened and thrown into chaos.
And from them all, Russia’s hold on the Crimea tacitly acknowledged, at the expense of ignored and pilfered Ukraine. Their criminal long game has become all too clear, and Trump is doing nothing. Please help us raise awareness.