Video: War on Russia? Growing Military Deployment of US-NATO in the Black Sea – Global Research

video-war-on-russia-growing-military-deployment-of-us-nato-in-the-black-sea-8211-global-research

11-04-19 07:32:00,

NATO is preparing a package of measures to counter Russia in the Black Sea region. This package includes the deployment of NATO warships to the Black Sea to guarantee ‘passage’ of Ukrainian ships via the Kerch Strait, U.S. ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison stressed during a press briefing on April 2.

Hutchison said that the prepared package “beefs up the surveillance, both air surveillance as well as more of the NATO country ships going into the Black Sea to assure that there is safe passage from Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Straits, the Sea of Azov”.

Earlier the US State Department announced that the Black Sea package is a response to the challenges the US and NATO face in the region, “not merely because of the Kerch Strait incident,” but because “Russia is threatening the alliance all along the eastern flank, not just in the north.

The public announcement of a possible NATO operation in the Kerch Strait is itself a move undermining the shaky stability created after the incident of November 25, 2018, when Russian coastal guards detained 3 ships of the Ukrainian Navy, which were attempting to enter the Kerch Strait in a way which violated the established norms and rules. Then, Moscow’s actions gave rise to large-scale hysteria in mainstream and Ukrainian media outlets. However, the situation developed no further. Ukraine’s “partners” limited their response to formal declarations. It was clear that the Kiev government was the side that had provoked the conflict. Before and after the Kerch Strait incident Ukrainian ships were passing the strait after going through the formal procedures established in this area.

If NATO naval forces together with or in some form assisting Ukrainian forces were to make an attempt to break through the Kerch Strait by force violating the established rules of passage, this would be seen by Moscow as an aggressive military action, which would provoke an equivalent response. In other words, a military clash could be expected. In such an event, the situation might escalate further. The media and political importance of such developments could be compared with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which became the formal pretext for the start of the First World War or the annexation of the Sudetenland by Nazi Germany before the start of the Second World War.

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Why Does Russia Waste Time on Diplomatic Outreach to the US? – Stephen Lendman

why-does-russia-waste-time-on-diplomatic-outreach-to-the-us-8211-stephen-lendman

02-04-19 12:46:00,

Why Does Russia Waste Time on Diplomatic Outreach to the US?

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Days of when the US negotiated fairly with Russia (and other countries) ended during the Clinton co-presidency, never revived, reaching a perilous low under Trump.

Washington demands other nations bend to its will – pressuring, bullying, and threatening them to get its way, waging political, economic, financial, and sanctions war to assert its authority – attacking them belligerently if other tactics fail.

US promises when made are hollow, breached time and again, most recently against Iran, North Korea, and Russia, pressuring China to subordinate its rights to US interests on trade and other issues – unsuccessfully after months of trying.

US policymakers consistently say one thing, then do something entirely different – demanding everything, giving nothing in return, why they can never be trusted. 

Diplomacy with Washington’s political class is an exercise in futility, especially for Russia, US enemy No. 1, wanting Kremlin governance replaced by puppet rule it controls, wanting the country’s vast resources looted, its people exploited.

Most importantly, US dark forces want the world’s leading super-power eliminated – together with China the only nations able to challenge Washington’s aim for global dominance effectively.

The only language US policymakers understand is toughness. A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down. It accomplishes nothing in dealing with Washington.

When will Moscow stop calling the US its partner? When will its  ruling authorities no longer tolerate hostile US actions?

When will they stop pretending diplomatic outreach to Washington can work? When will they give its hardliners a strong dose of their own medicine – short of nuclear war?

It’s where things are heading if Moscow doesn’t challenge their imperial agenda with toughness. Why did Russia’s Foreign Ministry waste time informing the Trump regime why its military personnel are in Venezuela?

Unlike US contempt for rule of law principles, Russia observes them to the letter in geopolitical dealings with other countries – no explanations needed to anyone about its legal relations with Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s legitimate president, not imposter Guaido.

Calling on Washington to respect Russia’s right to cooperate with Venezuela falls on deaf ears at the White House,

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How Germany Gave Russia Bolshevism

how-germany-gave-russia-bolshevism

09-03-19 10:29:00,

Not a revolution. It was a coup cooked up by the Kaiser, may he forever burn in hell

    Zurich, April 9, 1917: 32 Russian emigrants are at the train station, waiting to depart. But they’re not the only ones there. Shouts of “traitors, scoundrels, pigs” ring out at the travelers. Supporters of the group are also there, singing “The Internationale.” The tracks are blocked for a short while, then train moves off.

    The German chartered train was provided by Kaiser Wilhelm II with the aim of furthering the Russian Revolution. In one of the wagons sat none other than Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, better known as Lenin. With German help, Lenin left his exile in Switzerland and, a week later, reached his destination: Petrograd, which would later be renamed to Leningrad then changed back to today’s Saint Petersburg.

    In Russia, the February Revolution was just over, Czar Nicholas II had been swept from the throne, a provisional government was in office, and the October Revolution was not yet in sight.

    Prussian bayonets and Russian proletarian fists

    Lenin’s return to his home country was followed with great attention in Berlin.

    “Lenin’s entry into Russia was a success. He is working according to your wishes,” was the message Germany’s top army command sent to its Foreign Office.

    A political paradox, or so it would seem: Kaiser Wilhelm II joining forces with the communist Lenin. The German emperor’s aim was to finally undermine the czarist empire with which the so-called Central Powers – Germany and Austria-Hungary – had been at war since 1914.

    Berlin’s strategy was clear: Lenin and his Bolsheviks were meant to destabilize Russia thereby — in the middle of the First World War — easing the burden of fighting on the Eastern Front. The German Empire was relying on an old rule of diplomacy: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And the plan worked.

    The idea originated with a man who took the communist nom de guerre”Parvus,” or the little one: Israel Lazarevich Gelfand. He was a Russian Jew who at the end of 1914 had already been using his influence to offer the German ambassador in Constantinople an alliance of “Prussian bayonets and Russian proletarian fists.”

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    It Is Israel, Not Russia, That Interferes in US Political Life – PaulCraigRoberts.org

    it-is-israel-not-russia-that-interferes-in-us-political-life-8211-paulcraigroberts.org

    08-03-19 01:49:00,

    It Is Israel, Not Russia, That Interferes in US Political Life

    Who Does Congress Represent?  

    Ilhan Omar is a brave woman.  She has embarrassed the corrupt Democratic Party that, together with the Republicans and many evangelical Christians, have sold out America to Israel. 

    More and more people have come out in her defense, refusing to be silenced by the criminal state of Israel.  Dr. Paul Kindlon explains what is at stake.

    He accuses Congress of Treason if Congress legislates at the Israel Lobby’s insistence the death of the First Amendment.  Enough members of the House and Senate have been purchased by the Israel Lobby that the traitors will sell out the US Constitution for Israel’s interests if they can get away with it. 

    I Accuse Congress of Treason

    Dr. Paul Kindlon

    Let us be clear…the U.S. Congressional vote condemning criticism of Israel as a form of anti-Semitism – if it passes – will be an act of treachery of historical proportions. Do not be fooled – this is a move by politicians in the pocket of a foreign power to make censorship legal, ending two-hundred plus years of freedom of speech in our country.

    I accuse the Congressional representatives who will vote for this resolution of being un-American and of spitting in the face of the founding fathers. It will truly be a dark day in our nation’s history and those responsible will be condemned and held in utter contempt by posterity.

    I accuse the Congressional members who vote for this resolution to be traitors to their country and heritage. Men and women who knowingly, willingly and perversely trample upon our sacred first amendment – that uniquely democratic principle that has inspired so many countries to emulate us in order to enjoy the freedom to speak openly and freely.

    I accuse the mainstream, corporate, media of aiding and abetting this crime against American democracy. Of turning its back on professional standards and practice. Presenting straight-forward news and balanced reporting have been abandoned because it makes far less money than providing PR and low-level entertainment. It’s all about the Benjamins and humiliating subservience to a foreign government.

    I accuse the mainstream media of going tabloid,

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    Russia’s Jewish Problem – PaulCraigRoberts.org

    russias-jewish-problem-8211-paulcraigroberts.org

    07-03-19 12:50:00,

    Copyright .© Paul Craig Roberts 2018.- Please contact us for information on syndication rights.


    This site offers factual information and viewpoints that might be useful in arriving at an understanding of the events of our time. We believe that the information comes from reliable sources, but cannot guarantee the information to be free of mistakes and incorrect interpretations. IPE has no official position on any issue and does not necessarily endorse the statements of any contributor.

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    Video: Russia Slides Towards Internal Political Crisis – Global Research

    video-russia-slides-towards-internal-political-crisis-8211-global-research

    27-02-19 03:22:00,

    This is a critical look at the situation in Russia. The video is based on an article of one of our readers and additional data.

    ***

    The Russia of 2019 is in a complicated economic and even political situation. Smoldering conflicts near its borders amid continued pressure from the US and NATO affect the situation in the country negatively. This is manifested in society and in national politics. The approval rating of the Russian government and personally of President Vladimir Putin has been decreasing.

    According to VCIOM, a state pollster, in January 2019, Putin’s confidence rating was only 32.8%. This is 24% less than in January 2018 when it was 57.2%. At the same time, the confidence rating of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was 7.8%. The approval rating of his cabinet is 37.7% while the disapproval rating is 38.7%. Opposition sources show data, which is far worse for the current Russian leadership.

    This tendency is not linked to the foreign policy course of the Kremlin. Rather, it’s the result of the recent series of liberal-minded economic reforms, which look similar to the approaches exercised by the Russian government in the mid-1990s. The decision to increase Value Added Tax amid the slowing Russian economy, especially in the industrial sector, and a very unpopular pension reform increasing the retirement age were both factors contributing to the further growth of discontent in the population.

    Russia’s GDP increased by 2.3% in 2018 compared to 1.6% in 2017. However, the Ministry of Economic Development, in its document entitled “Economic Picture” stated that this is linked to “one-time factors” and is not “stable”. The ministry maintained its earlier forecast stating that GDP growth in 2019 will be 1.3%. It confirmed increasing capital outflow. In this case, the repayment of funds to Western creditors by the Russian private sector is one of the causes.

    The Ministry of Economic Development also pointed out that the expendable income of the population decreased by 0.2%. Statutory charges, including the increased taxes, are named as one of the reasons. The document says that statutory charges grew by 14.8% in 2018.

    Additionally, the population is facing an increasingly restrictive administrative pressure: new fines and other penalties for minor violations in various fields and additional administrative restrictions limiting the freedom of actions of citizens.

     » Lees verder

    Russia Regards the “Indo-Pacific Region” as an “Artificially Imposed” Pro-US Concept – Global Research

    russia-regards-the-indo-pacific-region-as-an-artificially-imposed-pro-us-concept-8211-global-research

    27-02-19 09:11:00,

    Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov strongly spoke out against the US’ so-called “Indo-Pacific” concept that’s recently become very popular among Indian strategists, remarking that it’s ”artificially imposed” and conditioned on containing China. 

    From “Conspiracy Theory” To Strategic Fact

    Routinely dismissed as a “conspiracy theory” by hyper-jingoist Indian commentators, none other than Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov just confirmed that it’s actually a strategic fact that the US’ so-called “Indo-Pacific Region” (IOR) concept that’s recently become very popular in New Delhi is “artificially imposed” and conditioned on “containing China”. His remarks were reported on by Russia’s publicly funded international media outlet TASS and made in connection with his words about another externally supported structure, the so-called “Middle East Strategic Alliance” (MESA), better known by many as the “Arab NATO” initiative. So as not to be accused of misportraying the Foreign Minister’s comments, here’s the entirety of TASS’ short article on his comments:

    TASS’ Report

    “The United States is trying to impose the creation of the so-called Arab NATO, the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), despite serious doubts of its possible members, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

     The steps have been made to reshape geopolitical landscape in a way to obstruct the natural development of events and try to contain the formation of new growth centers, Lavrov told a conference dubbed International Cooperation in a Troubled World, organized by the Valdai International Discussion Club in partnership with the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam.

     “One of the examples is the Middle East Strategic Alliance, which now [US President Donald] Trump’s administration is trying to impose on the Persian Gulf states plus Jordan and Egypt while overcoming very serious doubts of potential members, and here Israel is also pursuing its interests around this initiative,” Lavrov said.

     Another artificially imposed concept is the Indo-Pacific Region, which Washington has started advancing together with Japan and Australia with an apparent goal of containing China and involving India in military and political and maritime processes, Lavrov said, noting that this concept undermines the role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the region.

    “I want to compare natural processes integrating countries based on their coinciding interests and artificial processes,

     » Lees verder

    All Roads Lead To Russia For Unhinged Hysterics In British Media

    all-roads-lead-to-russia-for-unhinged-hysterics-in-british-media

    26-02-19 08:45:00,

    Authored by George Galloway, op-ed via RT.com,

    A fortnight ago, the Mail on Sunday devoted over 12 pages to the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn in one of the biggest misfires in media history. It returned like a dog to its own vomit last weekend with more tales from the east.

    This time, the main target was not Labour leader Corbyn but his right-hand man Seumas Milne (full disclosure: Milne has been a close friend of mine since the 1970s), the Labour Party’s director of communications and strategy.

    The top line was – in the mouth of Sir Richard Dearlove, the disgraced former head of the British Iraq-War security services – that unless Corbyn ditched Milne, neither the US nor other “allied” countries would share information with the UK under a Corbyn premiership, which would thereby be rendered impossible. The implication was that the Privy Council would advise the Queen to select someone else instead of the winner of the election!

    Former head of mi6 (the same head of mi6 who supplied false intelligence for Blair ‘dodgy dossier’ used to justify attack on Iraq) suggests it’s not for an elected prime minister but the security services to decide who PM can or can’t appoint as an advisorhttps://t.co/mrAdLhhAz4

    — Charles Shoebridge (@ShoebridgeC) February 24, 2019

    Milne – it was claimed over several thousand words in the paper – has effectively been a former Soviet and now Russian surrogate since the 1970s. Moreover, he is linked to “terrorist groups” which are themselves – in the words of the article – said to be Russian surrogates.

    To call this fervid doesn’t do fever any justice. In 50 years of following British journalism (and many years writing a column for the Mail on Sunday), I have never seen more hallucinogenic ravings make it into print anywhere.

    Milne is a scholar, a brilliant Oxford-trained intellectual who before serving nearly 30 years as an associate editor of the Guardian, worked for the BBC’s Andrew Neil at the Economist. He is the author of bestselling books that are still in print after three decades.

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    US Accusation That Russia Was Violating the INF Treaty Is as Credible as the Iraq WMD Lie

    us-accusation-that-russia-was-violating-the-inf-treaty-is-as-credible-as-the-iraq-wmd-lie

    25-02-19 09:32:00,

    The US seems intent on following in the same path as previous intelligence failures in Iraq and Iran. This time, however, the consequences will resonate beyond regional chaos

    The United States has a track record of asking nations to prove a negative when it comes to compliance with arms control agreements, and then holding them to account when they fail to do so. The deficit of integrity over U.S. claims against Iraq regarding weapons of mass destruction and Iran and its nuclear program speaks volumes about how corrupt America’s policymaking apparatus has become. Now the United States is making the same mistake again by pulling out of the INF Treaty, which it claims Russia violated.

    “A high degree of confidence is required before the United States will publicly charge another party with violation of an international agreement.” Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Thomas Graham, Jr. delivered those remarks during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in 1994. At that time, the ACDA served as the lead agency regarding arms control compliance. The intelligence community supported the ACDA’s mission of making firm compliance judgments by providing the necessary intelligence information and analysis.

    ACDA was supported in this effort by the CIA’s Arms Control Intelligence Staff, or ACIS. ACIS provided intelligence support tailored for the specific compliance monitoring and verification requirements stemming from arms control agreements such as the INF Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (START). It brought a different skill set and mindset than the work being done by the CIA’s Nonproliferation Center, or NPC, whose targets were less structured and far more nebulous and nuanced. It was one thing to assess that nation A was exporting technology capable of supporting nuclear enrichment to nation B; it was far different to determine that Russia had destroyed its silos to the depths mandated by a treaty.

    For the former, there was far more latitude in interpreting data used to make assessments. The latter required a level of specificity that was unforgiving and often difficult to achieve.

    There was a synergy between ACDA and ACIS that extended throughout the intelligence cycle. ACDA would task ACIS with information and analysis.

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    Russia Long Looked West. That Is About to Change

    russia-long-looked-west.-that-is-about-to-change

    21-02-19 11:21:00,

    Three almost uninterrupted centuries of Russian self-comparison, self-assessment, self-identification with the West and ever deeper involvement in the intra-Western geopolitical and imperial competition have come to an end. Harsh lessons Russians have drawn from its three centuries of intimate interaction with the West — its Occidental Era — were reinforced by the post-Cold War failure to create a ‘common European home’ from Vancouver to Vladivostok, leading to the conclusion that Russia had betrayed the meaning of its national seal – the double-headed eagle looking both west and east. Although Russia still references the West as a competitor as well as standard in some respects, Vladimir Putin’s Russia now rejects the post-modernist West and its neo-imperial civilizational, indeed, ‘civilizationalist’ ambitions in Russia’s neighborhood. Instead of seeking to be part of the West or defeat the Western geopolitical paradigm, it seeks along with China and, in some respects, India and several more regional powers in building an alternative global civilization to that in the post-modern West.

    Three Centuries Facing West

    Ever since Peter the Great cut his ‘window on Europe’ along the White Sea in 1703, Russia, with fits and starts, has been on a journey defined by, headed towards, and often driven by the West. Peter’s great, yet often culturally superficial and largely technical reforms set Russia off on its Western journey. Peter literally forced Russia to model itself on Europe and measure itself in European terms. This remained true whether Russia’s relations with the West were in a condition of comity and cooperation or were competitive, even conflictive. In other words, first Europe and then the larger West became Russia’s ‘significant Other’, which Russia constantly referenced. The Petrine reforms and the century of Russia’s Western-defined Enlightenment that followed consolidated Russia’s referencing its European Other. Moreover, by Empress Elizabeth’s reign (1740-1762) the Russian court and aristocracy viewed themselves as Europeans. From Peter the Great forward, Russia also oriented its foreign affairs on Europe, continuously shifting in its alliances between competing European powers in accordance with the structural and geographical vicissitudes of European geopolitics, Russian interests, and her domestic needs and inclinations in any given period under any given emperor or empress.

    Russia’s turn West had its costs and benefits. Most of the latter affected Russia’s domestically. From Peter the Great’s reforms,

     » Lees verder

    Russia’s reserves fully cover nation’s internal & foreign debt for 1st time ever – Putin

    russias-reserves-fully-cover-nations-internal-amp-foreign-debt-for-1st-time-ever-putin

    20-02-19 11:09:00,

    Russia’s foreign exchange reserves can now cover all of the debt owed by both the government and domestic businesses, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced.

    “For the first time in history our reserves fully cover foreign debt, including government and commercial sector debt,” Putin said addressing the Federal Assembly in Moscow on Wednesday.

    The country’s external debt amounts to $453.7 billion, while its international reserve funds stand at $475 billion as of February 8, 2019, according to infographics presented by the president.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia’s gold reserves smash Soviet-era record as part of Moscow’s de-dollarization drive

    Putin added that money allocated by Russia’s sovereign wealth fund also greatly contributes to the national budget, amounting to more than $1 billion last year.

    The Russian president said he wants the national economy to grow more than 3 percent in 2021, with foreign investment in the country set to rise 6-7 percent. To reach such figures, the president set several tasks for the government, such as increased productivity, making Russia attractive to foreign companies, and improving regional infrastructure.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia shifts $100bn of its reserves into yuan, yen & euro in a great dollar dump

    Russia’s external debt has fallen by $64.4 billion or 12.4 percent from the beginning of last year to the lowest level in a decade, the Central Bank of Russia announced in January. Moscow has reduced its foreign debt by $280 billion since mid-2014, when it reached a peak of nearly $733 billion due to the initial impact of Western sanctions.

    Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign exchange reserves have been growing for three consecutive years, increasing 8.3 percent to over $468 billion in the beginning of this year.

    For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

     » Lees verder

    The End of Russia’s Occidental Era (for Now)

    the-end-of-russias-occidental-era-for-now

    19-02-19 12:46:00,

    The End of Russia’s Occidental Era (for Now)

    Gordon M. HAHN

    Three almost uninterrupted centuries of Russian self-comparison, self-assessment, self-identification with the West and ever deeper involvement in the intra-Western geopolitical and imperial competition have come to an end. Harsh lessons Russians have drawn from its three centuries of intimate interaction with the West — its Occidental Era — were reinforced by the post-Cold War failure to create a ‘common European home’ from Vancouver to Vladivostok, leading to the conclusion that Russia had betrayed the meaning of its national seal – the double-headed eagle looking both west and east. Although Russia still references the West as a competitor as well as standard in some respects, Vladimir Putin’s Russia now rejects the post-modernist West and its neo-imperial civilizational, indeed, ‘civilizationalist’ ambitions in Russia’s neighborhood. Instead of seeking to be part of the West or defeat the Western geopolitical paradigm, it seeks along with China and, in some respects, India and several more regional powers in building an alternative global civilization to that in the post-modern West.

    Three Centuries Facing West

    Ever since Peter the Great cut his ‘window on Europe’ along the White Sea in 1703, Russia, with fits and starts, has been on a journey defined by, headed towards, and often driven by the West. Peter’s great, yet often culturally superficial and largely technical reforms set Russia off on its Western journey. Peter literally forced Russia to model itself on Europe and measure itself in European terms. This remained true whether Russia’s relations with the West were in a condition of comity and cooperation or were competitive, even conflictive. In other words, first Europe and then the larger West became Russia’s ‘significant Other’, which Russia constantly referenced. The Petrine reforms and the century of Russia’s Western-defined Enlightenment that followed consolidated Russia’s referencing its European Other. Moreover, by Empress Elizabeth’s reign (1740-1762) the Russian court and aristocracy viewed themselves as Europeans. From Peter the Great forward, Russia also oriented its foreign affairs on Europe, continuously shifting in its alliances between competing European powers in accordance with the structural and geographical vicissitudes of European geopolitics, Russian interests, and her domestic needs and inclinations in any given period under any given emperor or empress.

    Russia’s turn West had its costs and benefits. Most of the latter affected Russia’s domestically.

     » Lees verder

    What Are Russia and Turkey Preparing for Syria? A Disagreement in Sochi – Global Research

    what-are-russia-and-turkey-preparing-for-syria-a-disagreement-in-sochi-8211-global-research

    14-02-19 09:00:00,

    The 14thof February meeting in Sochi between the three Presidents (Russia, Turkey and Iran) is not expected to find solutions agreeable to all parties about the two main problem areas left in Syria: northeast Syria (Manbij to Qamishli/al-Hasaka), currently occupied by US forces, and Idlib city and its rural areas occupied by jihadist groups friendly to Turkey. 

    There are fundamentally different points of view. At the top of the agenda, the gathering is expected to have further discussions on a possible US withdrawal in the coming weeks – the month of April seems plausible – as announced by officials in Washington.

    All parties are agreed, however, that US withdrawal is a priority and will be a relief to the Levant. Therefore, any step that help to reach this objective smoothly should be taken. Nevertheless, the main differences are triggered by the Russian desire and intention to conclude a “temporary deal” with Turkey over North-east Syria’s status after the US withdrawal. These differences are related to the price Syria should pay to see US forces out of the country.

    Sources among decision makers in Damascus said “Russia is trying to find an excuse for Turkey to move into north-east Syria, within a “buffer zone” of 12,000 sq km out of the 42,000 sq km that represent the zone east of the Euphrates under US occupation, reviving the 1998 Adana agreement between Ankara and Damascus”.

    On January the 23rd, President Putin said the 20-year-old agreement was still binding. A Syrian source reports,

    “The Russian President is trying to open the road for Turkey to regain a direct relationship with Syria on a higher level. Russia believes the temporary presence of Turkey is acceptable as long as the unity of Syria is non-negotiable. But we in Damascus believe that if Turkey moves in, it will be difficult to dislodge its forces ever again”.

    Russia has never abandoned the idea of Syrian unity and considers it important for the entire geographic area to return under the control of the central government. Nevertheless, Moscow believes the danger from the US is greater, and that it is worth seeing Turkey replacing the US forces temporarily if this is what Washington wants.

    On the other hand,

     » Lees verder

    RIP INF Treaty: Russia’s Victory, America’s Waterloo – Global Research

    rip-inf-treaty-russias-victory-americas-waterloo-8211-global-research

    13-02-19 01:29:00,

    On March 1, 2018 the world learned of Russia’s new weapons systems, said to be based on new physical principles. Addressing the Federal Assembly, Putin explained how they came to be: in 2002 the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. At the time, the Russians declared that they will be forced to respond, and were basically told “Do whatever you want.”

    And so they did, developing new weapons that no anti-ballistic missile system can ever hope to stop. The new Russian weapons include one that is already on combat duty (Kinzhal), one that is being readied for mass production (Avangard) and several that are currently being tested (Poseidon, Burevestnik, Peresvet, Sarmat). Their characteristics, briefly, are as follows:

    • Kinzhal: a hypersonic air-launched cruise missile that flies at Mach 10 (7700 miles per hour) and can destroy both ground installations and ships.
    • Avangard: a maneuverable hypersonic payload delivery system for intercontinental ballistic missiles that flies at better than Mach 20 (15300 miles per hour). It has a 740-mile range and can carry a nuclear charge of up to 300 kilotons.
    • Poseidon: an autonomous nuclear-powered torpedo with unlimited range that can travel at a 3000-foot depth maintaining a little over 100 knots.
    • Burevestnik: a nuclear-powered cruise missile that flies at around 270 miles per hour and can stay in the air for 24 hours, giving it a 6000-mile range.
    • Peresvet: a mobile laser complex that can blind drones and satellites, knocking out space and aerial reconnaissance systems.
    • Sarmat: a new heavy intercontinental missile that can fly arbitrary suborbital courses (such as over the South Pole) and strike arbitrary points anywhere on the planet. Because it does not follow a predictable ballistic trajectory it is impossible to intercept.

    The initial Western reaction to this announcement was an eerie silence. A few people tried to convince anyone who would listen that this was all bluff and computer animation, and that these weapons systems did not really exist. (The animation was of rather low quality, one might add, probably because Russian military types couldn’t possibly imagine that slick graphics, such as what the Americans waste their money on, would make Russia any safer.) But eventually the new weapons systems were demonstrated to work and US intelligence services confirmed their existence.

     » Lees verder

    Russia takes steps to survive global internet shutdown with its own web – MPs

    russia-takes-steps-to-survive-global-internet-shutdown-with-its-own-web-mps

    13-02-19 08:45:00,

    Russia is preparing itself to be disconnected from the World Wide Web. The Lower House of Parliament passed in the first reading a law ensuring the security of the Russian part of the internet.

    The bill envisions the ‘Runet’ – the Russian segment of the internet – being able to operate independently from the rest of the world in case of global malfunctions or deliberate internet disconnection. The measures to ensure internet stability include the creation of a national DNS system that stores all of the domain names and corresponding IP numbers.

    The new legislation was drafted in response to the new US cyber strategy that accuses Russia, along with China, Iran, and North Korea, of using cyber tools to “undermine” its economy and democracy. It also threatens dire consequences for anyone conducting cyber activity against the US.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia will launch ‘alternative internet’ only in worst-case scenario – Foreign Ministry

    The autonomous system would ensure that Russia doesn’t face a total internet shutdown if relations with the West completely collapse and the US goes as far as cutting off Russian IP addresses from the World Wide Web.

    Back in 2012, then-US President Barack Obama signed an executive order allowing him to take control of all communications on American soil, including those crucial for the normal operation of the internet.

    The US National Security Agency actually caused a three-day internet blackout in Syria in November 2012, whistleblower Edward Snowden told Wired magazine. NSA hackers accidently ‘bricked’ one of the core routers while trying to install spyware on it.

    Like this story? Share it with a friend!

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    Russia to US: Destroy Tomahawk launchpads & attack drones to return to INF compliance

    russia-to-us-destroy-tomahawk-launchpads-amp-attack-drones-to-return-to-inf-compliance

    09-02-19 10:01:00,

    The US was in breach of the INF treaty for years, the Russia’s defense ministry told the summoned US diplomat, calling on the US to destroy cruise missile launchpads, target-missiles and attack drones to return to INF compliance.

    The Ministry of Defense (MOD) summoned the US military attaché in Moscow on Wednesday to hand him the treaty-related memo.

    The Russian side suggested that the Americans “return to strict compliance” with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty before it expires in six months.

    Also on rt.com
    DC hawks, US defense giants race to score profits from INF demise

    In order to achieve this, the US must “destroy its Mk-41 universal launchers, designed for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles and target missiles,” which in fact have the same specifications as ground-based medium- and shorter-range ballistic missiles prohibited by the INF.

    The American attack drones should also be disposed of because they fall under the definition of “land-based cruise missile” in accordance with the deal, the ministry added.

    In early February, Washington unilaterally withdrew from the INF deal, which had been the cornerstone of European security since 1987. The US accused Russia of building prohibited missiles, but said that it may return to the accord if Moscow eliminates the ‘violation’ within the next 180 days.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia must create land-based hypersonic missiles with 500km+ range by 2020 – MoD

    The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it “categorically denies groundless claims of Russia violating its obligations under the treaty.”

    “The US accusations are false,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesman, said.

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    Russia has no more to say on INF Treaty, will quit pact in 6 months in mirror response – Lavrov

    russia-has-no-more-to-say-on-inf-treaty-will-quit-pact-in-6-months-in-mirror-response-lavrov

    06-02-19 11:04:00,

    Moscow will quit the INF Treaty in six months in a mirror response to US withdrawal from the nuclear pact, Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said as Donald Trump revealed that Washington is considering negotiating a new agreement.

    “Russia has said everything [it is going to say] concerning the INF issue, responding to US’ unfounded allegations,” Lavrov said on Wednesday. Moscow’s top diplomat also stated that Russia is delivering a mirror response and will quit the treaty in six months.

    He was commenting on US President Trump’s statement that Washington might be interested in negotiating another agreement that would include China and other countries.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia suspends INF Treaty in ‘mirror response’ to US halting the agreement

    Last week, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is suspending its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty after the US announced its withdrawal from the agreement. Both Moscow and Washington have accused each other of violating the terms of the nuclear pact.

    The treaty was signed by the US and USSR in 1987, and had remained a key pillar of European security.

    If you like this story, share it with a friend!

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    Russia’s secret war | The Vineyard of the Saker

    russias-secret-war-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

    05-02-19 06:01:00,

    Russia’s secret war by Time Forward! project and Evgeny Super

    Translated by Scott Humor and captioned by Leo.

    We have discovered that Russia has been waging a secret, carefully concealed war for the past 7 years. It is a war against corruption and unfair income distribution. You find this hard to believe? We will tell you in detail immediately after the selection of positive news of the week.

    News Time

    In Lipetsk, a factory for manufacturing industrial safety systems was opened. The investments are 1 billion rubles ($15.2 million).

    Modernization of production worth 500 million rubles ($7.6 million) is completed at the Serov mechanical manufacturer.

    In the Stavropol Krai (territory) Russia’s first lactose production was launched with investments of 400 million rubles ($6.1 million).

    In Moscow – new production of cable systems.

    In the Nizhny Novgorod region was launched a new workshop for the production of special vehicles.

    The first industrial park was opened in the Novgorod region.

    The first assembly production of milking robots in Russia was opened in Bashkiria with investment of over 400 million rubles ($6.1 million).

    In Veliky Novgorod – a new production of mixed fertilizers.

    The key stage of testing the Poseidon unmanned multi-purpose strategic underwater combat weapon has been successfully completed.

    The Russian Army has adopted the new combat robotic complex “Uran-9”.

    A modern mobile radar complex “Resonance-N” with elements of artificial intelligence has been deployed in the Arctic.

    Russian schools specializing in physics and mathematics will now receive federal funding under the national Education project. This will allow them to upgrade their infrastructure and take more students on a budget basis.

    Anti-corruption actions

    This past week front pages of the largest mass media outlets decry the subject of corruption. One of the reasons for their interest was the publication of the Corruption Perceptions Index by the Transparency International, according to which Russia has worsened its position to the 138th place next to Papua New Guinea, Lebanon and Mexico.

    Of course, there is corruption in Russia, but the objectivity of this rating is questionable. It is compiled by the international organization Transparency International on the basis of  “expert assessments,” which in turn are based on questioning the citizens regarding their personal perception of corruption.

     » Lees verder

    Russia Walking a Fine Line between Turkey & the US in Syria | New Eastern Outlook

    russia-walking-a-fine-line-between-turkey-amp-the-us-in-syria-new-eastern-outlook

    03-02-19 07:22:00,

    PERT76332T7

    The politics of ‘safe-zone’, a stretch of Syrian territory along Turkey-Syria border jointly managed by Turkey and the U.S., has certainly given a new twist to the Syrian end-game. Most certainly, the US’ encouragement of this ‘safe-zone’ is part of its plan to win back its largely lost position and leverage in Syria. For Turkey, this ‘safe zone’ would ensure its position vis-à-vis Kurdish militias. The diplomatic manoeuvring around ‘safe-zone’, therefore, is of crucial significance. A US-Turkish understanding over this ‘safe-zone’ would certainly weaken Syria’s control over its own territory and it would create difficulties for Russia and Iran to complete the objective of establishing Syrian sovereignty over all of Syria, restoring the pre-war Syrian territorial reality. But Russia and Iran also want to make sure that Turkey continues to side with them, as the Syrian neighbour is not only a crucial partner in Sochi and Astana peace processes, but also a vital connection in the wider Eurasian connection that Russia has built over the last few years. Therefore, a US manoeuvre to win over Turkey by wetting its appetite for ‘safe zone’—a demand that the US had previously rejected many times—presented a major diplomatic challenge for Russia, which of course, featured prominently in the last week’s meeting between Turkey’s Erdogan and Russia’s Putin.

    But what was even more prominent in that meeting was the way Putin’s diplomacy neutralised rather successfully the US ability to manipulate Turkey’s security concerns. This was done by not only showing sensitivity to Tukey’s concerns and interests, but also by reinforcing the importance of a US withdrawal from Syria as the key to settling all aspects of the conflict. In doing this, Putin’s intention was obviously to take Russia’s relations away from the reach of US tentacles.

    To begin with, Putin first salvaged Turkey out of the criticism it had faced from Syria regarding the un-authorised presence of Turkish forces inside Syria. He did so by making a clear distinction between the US and Turkey in Syria. Although Putin underscored that any foreign presence on Syrian soil will lack “international legal grounds” if it is not on the basis of an invitation from Damascus or emanating out of a decision of the UN Security Council—and in saying so he was specifically referring to the US occupation of Syria— he was quick to give a special qualification to Turkish presence by calling it “constructive cooperation”,

     » Lees verder

    China, Russia Preparing For “Blackout Warfare” With “Super-EMP” Bombs

    china-russia-preparing-for-8220blackout-warfare8221-with-8220super-emp8221-bombs

    31-01-19 10:14:00,

    Russia, China and several other nations are developing powerful high-altitude nuclear bombs that can produce super-electromagnetic pulse (EMP) waves capable of knocking out critical electronic infrastructure, according to several declassified 2017 reports from the now-defunct Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from EMP Attack (see below). 

    “Foreign adversaries may aptly consider nuclear EMP attack a weapon that can gravely damage the U.S. by striking at its technological Achilles Heel, without having to confront the U.S. military,” reads the report, which notes how foreign actors could use EMP attacks virtually anywhere in the world. 

    “Super-EMP” weapons, as they are termed by Russia, are nuclear weapons specially designed to generate an extraordinarily powerful E1 EMP field. Super-EMP warheads are designed to produce gamma rays, which generate the E1 EMP effect, not a big explosion, and typically have very low explosive yields, only 1-10 kilotons … Even EMP hardened U.S. strategic forces and command, control, communications and intelligence (C3I) systems are potentially vulnerable to such a threat. –Firstempcommission.org

    “Nuclear EMP attack is part of the military doctrines, plans, and exercises of Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran for a revolutionary new way of warfare against military forces and civilian critical infrastructures by cyber, sabotage, and EMP,” the report continues. 

    “The Commission sees the high-altitude nuclear explosion-generated electromagnetic pulse as an existential threat to the survival of the United States and its allies that can be exploited by major nuclear powers and small-scale nuclear weapon powers, including North Korea and non-state actors, such as nuclear-armed terrorists.” 

    Nuclear-electronic warfare is also known as “Blackout War” according to the Washington Free Beacon

    EMP attacks will be carried out at such high altitudes they will produce no blast or other immediate effects harmful to humans. Instead, three types of EMP waves in seconds damage electronics and the strikes are regarded by adversaries as not an act of nuclear war.

    “Potential adversaries understand that millions could die from the long-term collateral effects of EMP and cyber-attacks that cause protracted black-out of national electric grids and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures,”

     » Lees verder

    The U.S. Is Paying for What It Did to Russia in Afghanistan

    the-us.-is-paying-for-what-it-did-to-russia-in-afghanistan

    27-01-19 09:53:00,

    As I approach 75, I’m having a commonplace experience for my age. I live with a brain that’s beginning to dump previously secure memories — names, the contents of books I read long ago (or all too recently), events, whatever. If you’re of a certain age yourself, you know the story.

    Recently, however, I realized that this experience of loss, like so much else in our world, is more complex than I imagined. What I mean is that such loss also involves gain. It’s turned my mind to, and made me something of an instant expert on, one aspect of twenty-first-century America: the memory hole that’s swallowed up parts of our all-too-recent history. In fact, I’ve been wondering whether aging imperial powers, like old men and women, have a tendency to discard what once had been oh-so-familiar. There’s a difference, though, when it comes to the elites of the aging empire I live in at least. They don’t just dump things relatively randomly as I seem to be doing. Instead, they conveniently obliterate all memory of their country’s — that is, their own — follies and misdeeds.

    Let me give you an example. But you need to bear with me here because I’m about to jump into the disordered mind of a man who, though two years younger than me, has what might be called — given present-day controversies — a borderline personality.  I’m thinking of President Donald Trump, or rather of a particular moment in his chaotic recent mental life. As the New Year dawned, he chaired what now passes for a “cabinet meeting.” That mainly means an event in which those present grovel before, fawn over, and outrageously praise him in front of the cameras. Otherwise, Trump, a man who doesn’t seem to know the meaning of advice or of a meeting, held a 95-minute presidential ramble through the brambles in front of a Game of Thrones-style “[Iran] Sanctions Are Coming” poster of… well, him. The media typically ate it up, even while critiquing the president’s understanding of that HBO TV series. And so it goes in the Washington of 2019.

    Excuse me if I seem to be wandering off subject (another attribute of the aging mind),

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    Russia’s foreign debt at decade low, as economy shifts away from neo-liberal order (Video)

    russias-foreign-debt-at-decade-low-as-economy-shifts-away-from-neo-liberal-order-video

    27-01-19 09:53:00,

    Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

    In 2007, when making a speech during his bid for the presidency of the United States, the late Senator John McCain spoke about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ programme and when questioned as to whether there might be US reaction to such allegations responded by singing “That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran… bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.”

    This jovial retort about killing people by bombing them was not surprising to those who remembered that during the US war on Vietnam McCain was shot down on a mission to bomb a power generation plant in Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, in the course of the entrancingly-named Operation Rolling Thunder.  If he hadn’t been shot down before he released his bombs there would almost certainly have been civilian casualties and deaths. Power stations in cities are not manned by soldiers, after all, and around the Hanoi plant there were houses that would doubtless be struck by errant bombs.

    But who cares about civilians who are killed or maimed in bombing or rocket attacks?

    In Syria, for example, in October 2018 “the US-led coalition was responsible for 46% of civilian casualties from all explosive weapon use in Syria.”  And in November Reuters reported that “At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed in US air strikes in the Afghan province of Helmand, officials and residents of the area said on Wednesday, the latest casualties from a surge in air operations aimed at driving the Taliban into talks.”

    Forbes records that “the US has never dropped as many bombs on Afghanistan as it did this year. According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command data, manned and unmanned aircraft released 5,213 weapons between January and the end of September 2018. The UN announced that the number of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018 is higher than in any year since it started documenting them in 2009.”  On January 25 Defense Post reported that “Afghanistan is investigating reports that at least 16 civilians including women and children were killed in an airstrike in southern Helmand province,

     » Lees verder

    The End Of Russia’s “Democratic Illusions” About America

    the-end-of-russias-democratic-illusions-about-america

    27-01-19 01:49:00,

    Authored by Brian Cloughley via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

    In 2007, when making a speech during his bid for the presidency of the United States, the late Senator John McCain spoke about Iran’s supposed nuclear weapons’ programme and when questioned as to whether there might be US reaction to such allegations responded by singing “That old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran… bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb.”

    This jovial retort about killing people by bombing them was not surprising to those who remembered that during the US war on Vietnam McCain was shot down on a mission to bomb a power generation plant in Hanoi, the capital of North Vietnam, in the course of the entrancingly-named Operation Rolling Thunder.  If he hadn’t been shot down before he released his bombs there would almost certainly have been civilian casualties and deaths. Power stations in cities are not manned by soldiers, after all, and around the Hanoi plant there were houses that would doubtless be struck by errant bombs.

    But who cares about civilians who are killed or maimed in bombing or rocket attacks?

    In Syria, for example, in October 2018 “the US-led coalition was responsible for 46% of civilian casualties from all explosive weapon use in Syria.”  And in November Reuters reported that “At least 30 Afghan civilians were killed in US air strikes in the Afghan province of Helmand, officials and residents of the area said on Wednesday, the latest casualties from a surge in air operations aimed at driving the Taliban into talks.”

    Forbes records that “the US has never dropped as many bombs on Afghanistan as it did this year. According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command data, manned and unmanned aircraft released 5,213 weapons between January and the end of September 2018. The UN announced that the number of civilian casualties in the first nine months of 2018 is higher than in any year since it started documenting them in 2009.”  On January 25 Defense Post reported that “Afghanistan is investigating reports that at least 16 civilians including women and children were killed in an airstrike in southern Helmand province,

     » Lees verder

    Russia to work on keeping INF Treaty even if US withdraws from it – deputy FM

    russia-to-work-on-keeping-inf-treaty-even-if-us-withdraws-from-it-deputy-fm

    26-01-19 11:32:00,

    Moscow will not abandon the INF Treaty and will make efforts to keep the landmark agreement in place even after Washington suspends its membership, Russia’s Foreign Ministry deputy head, Sergey Ryabkov said.

    “Absolutely not,” Ryabkov told journalists when answering a question on whether Russia believes the INF Treaty may be given up on. Moscow considers the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which was initially signed by the US and the USSR to denuclearize the European continent, to be well worth preserving regardless of Washington’s actions, he added.

    Even after the US withdraws from the deal in February “we will continue our work,” the deputy foreign minister said, adding that Russia will still work to “preserve this document” and nothing the US does will change its approach to the issue. He also expressed his hope that “common sense will prevail” eventually.

    Earlier, Ryabkov said the US side confirmed to Russia that its decision to leave the treaty is “final.”

    They made it clear that the announced step is not an invitation for a dialog but … is a final [decision]

    Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty bans ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km – plenty of which had been deployed by both sides of the Cold War at that time. Over the past years, the US has been claiming that Russia has been violating the INF by building missiles it prohibits. Moscow has denied the allegations and in turn accused the US of non-compliance, arguing that it can convert missile defense sites in Eastern Europe into offensive intermediate-range launchers.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia warns US against arms race on Earth & space after missile defense plans revealed

    Most recently, Ryabkov said that many pieces of evidence the US put forward to support its accusations against Russia were in fact “fabricated.” Still, Russia took an unprecedented step in terms of transparency and unveiled extra details about the missile, which is still under development in Russia and which the US claims is in breach of the INF, in a public event.

    Also on rt.com
    Russia unveils evidence on missile that US claims violates INF Treaty,

     » Lees verder

    Russia, Israel and the values of “western civilization” – where is the truth? | The Vineyard of the Saker

    russia-israel-and-the-values-of-western-civilization-where-is-the-truth-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

    25-01-19 08:52:00,

    [This article was written for the Unz Review] First, what’s the deal with this obsession about bombing entire nations back into the “stone age”?

    Very interesting article in RT today: “IDF chief turned PM candidate touts body count & bombing Gaza into ‘stone age’ in campaign ad” (please read the full thing – it is short and very enlightening).  When I saw that, I immediately had a flash back to a (truly brilliant, if evil) US diplomat, James Baker, who promised Iraqi Prime Minister Tarik Aziz (whom the Empire kept in jail until his death in spite of the fact that 79 year old man suffered from depression, diabetes, heart disease, and ulcers) that the Empire would “bring it back to the stone age“.

    Benny Gantz – the new face of “Western civilization”?

    Now, Benny Gantz is your typical Israeli Zionazi nutcase with all that entails, but this can hardly be said of James Baker who was one of the most educated and brilliant diplomats the USA ever produced.  So what’s this thing about bringing those who dare defy the AngloZionist Empire back to the “stone age”.  Coincidence?  You tell me!

    I sure don’t think so.

    The Israeli butchery in Gaza enjoyed the massive support of the Israeli people who even organized special “viewing locations” for the joy of seeing Palestinian civilians (the vast majority of the people the Israelis murdered in Gaza) massacred.  Which is not very different from the way the US Americans (and their European vassals) organized “viewing locations” in their TV sets for the joy of seeing Iraqi civilians (the vast majority of the people the USA and its vassals murdered in Iraq) massacred.  The difference is only in numbers: in Gaza the Israelis only murdered “only” about 1500 Palestinians whereas the USA can pride itself on having massacred well over a million Iraqis.

    Still not convinced?

    Then how about Mr MAGA promising to “devastate” the DPRK? or, even better, to make Iran “SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE” (all in caps as in the original).

     » Lees verder

    US Blunders Have Made Russia the Global Trade Pivot

    us-blunders-have-made-russia-the-global-trade-pivot

    20-01-19 11:08:00,

    US Blunders Have Made Russia the Global Trade Pivot

    Mathew MAAVAK

    The year 2019 had barely begun before news emerged that six Russian sailors were kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Benin. It was perhaps a foretaste of risks to come. As nations reel from deteriorating economic conditions, instances of piracy and other forms of supply chain disruptions are bound to increase.

    According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), 107 cases of piracy were noted during the first half of 2018 vis-à-vis 87 throughout 2017.  The 2018 tally included 32 cases in Southeast Asian waters and 48 along African shores – representing 75% of the total. To put this figure into perspective, Asian behemoths India and China – despite their vast shorelines – recorded only 2 cases of piracy each during the study period. Russia had none. In terms of hostages taken, the IMB tally read 102 in H1 2018 vs 63 in H1 2017.

    Piracy adds to shipping and retail costs worldwide as security, insurance and salaries are hiked to match associated risks in maritime transport. Merchant vessels will also take longer and costlier routes to avoid piracy hotspots.

    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report in 2016 sums up the perils ahead:

    As over 90% of global trade is carried out by sea, the economic effects of maritime crime can be crippling. Maritime crime includes not only criminal activity directed at vessels or maritime structures, but also the use of the high seas to perpetrate transnational organized crimes such as smuggling of persons or illicit substances.  These forms of maritime crime can have devastating human consequences.

    Indeed, cases of human trafficking, organ harvesting, and the smuggling of illicit substances and counterfeit goods are proliferating worldwide in tandem with rising systemic debt and suspect international agendas.

    Australia offers a case in point. While it fantasizes over a Quad of allies in the Indo-Pacific – to “save Asians from China” – criminal elements from Hong Kong, Malaysia to squeaky-clean Singapore have been routinely trafficking drugs, tobacco and people right into Sydney harbour for years,  swelling the local organised crime economy to as much as $47.4 billion (Australian dollars presumably) between 2016 and 2017.

     » Lees verder

    Why Russia Taking Ukraine in 2014 Would Have Been a Bad Idea?

    why-russia-taking-ukraine-in-2014-would-have-been-a-bad-idea

    20-01-19 10:10:00,

    Rolling into Kiev is the easy part, but what then?

    There are some people that accuse Putin of abandoning a unique chance in 2014 to stop the “Banderovites” that took over Kiev…

    I heard similar stuff from Russian nationalists recently at Sputnik & Pogrom podcast with Aleksandr Zhuchkovsky, a militia man in Donbass, and then I saw this Sovok post. Unlike Russian nationalists, some out there even believe that Russia should have helped Yanukovych back to Bankova.

    Criticism of Putin’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis finds a home both on the right and on the left of Russia’s political spectrum, among opponents of Putin. One can definitely find flaws in the handling of the Donbass crisis. Russia’s current position is that the republics are “self-declared”, this is what the Russian media refer to them as, that they are part of Ukraine, and that they should be reintegrated into Ukraine in some form of a federative arrangement. The kremlins’ view recognition of the Donbass republics as a step in the extreme, perhaps after Ukraine attempts to take the republics over by force.

    On the other side in Kiev, Donbass republics are viewed as a part of Ukraine, forcibly torn away by Russian aggression. According to Ukrainian constitution, Ukraine is a unitary state, and without a change to the constitution, federalism is impossible. The Ukrainian parliament eagerly changed the constitution recently to include aims to join NATO and the EU. However, I do not see the same enthusiasm about federalism. This disparity in views between Kiev and Moscow, the resultant lack of recognition for the Donbass republics, high levels of criminality, and poor handling of the republics by Russian curators as Anatoly Karlin notes, don’t add to Russia’s good image.

    But was reinstating Yanukovych, or creating Novorossiya ever a good idea? I have recently read a compelling case against this that mentions reasons other than just the threat of sanctions. Sergey Belov on Alternativa imagines in five points what would happen if the Kremlin did not limit itself to Crimea:

    First of his arguments is that Russia would be forced to support the odious persona of Viktor Yanukovych as the legitimate president.

     » Lees verder

    There’s More to Russia Than Meets the Eye

    there8217s-more-to-russia-than-meets-the-eye

    16-01-19 11:36:00,

    There's More to Russia Than Meets the Eye

    James V. DELONG

    While I have only a concerned citizen’s knowledge of foreign affairs, I am baffled by the hysterical Russophobia of the MSM and the Democratic Party since the 2016 election.

    As far as I can tell, there should be no real issues between Russia and the U.S.  Ukraine or Crimea is freighted with questions of local ethnicity and brutal history and should be sorted out by the parties, or at most by Europe.  We have no stake.  As for the defense of Europe, it is not credible that Russia has designs on an entity that so outweighs it in population and wealth. Trump was right to point out that the Europeans themselves do not believe in the threat, since they are happy to shortchange defense while relying on Russia for natural gas. Why would the Russians send tanks when shutting a valve would cripple Germany?

    I do not really understand why either nation is in Syria, and any Russian intervention in the 2016 election was trivial.  In any case, of course the Russians want to influence our elections.  We are the world’s 800-pound gorilla (or bull in the china shop), so everyone wants to influence our elections, and who can blame these people?  People all over the world live and die depending on the self-centered whims of whoever holds power in the U.S. – just ask Moammar Gaddafi (“we came, we saw, he died“).  Saudis, Israelis, Europeans, Brits, and many others have been meddling for decades and will continue to do so. So grow up, MSM.

    Irritated by the repetitive triviality of the press, I began searching for sources that would broaden and deepen my perspective.  Indeed, I found an avalanche of web material that rarely makes it through the gatekeepers in the U.S.  The quality and honesty of these varies greatly, but, to help out readers who share my unease about the information they are getting from the MSM, or even from many U.S. conservative sites, I will list a few that are worth your attention because, in my estimation, they are intelligent observers who know what they are talking about and who are trying to tell their readers the truth as they see it.

     » Lees verder

    Russia’s Scientific Revolution – Exciting Breakthroughs in Research and Technology (Russian TV News)

    russias-scientific-revolution-8211-exciting-breakthroughs-in-research-and-technology-russian-tv-news

    05-01-19 11:18:00,

    This post first appeared on Russia Insider

    This segment goes over the rapid advances in science and technology in Russia.

    This research is overwhelmingly focused on practical and useful technologies rather than wasteful expenditures like trips to the moon.

    One of the most incredible advances is a surgeon using a digital robot to perform surgery on a living animal, an unprecedented feat that can be applied to improve human medical advances in the future.

    This state-backed scientific revolution stands in contrast to Western projects like the “gender revolution”. Perhaps Westerners could take note of what science can do when aimed at advancing human potential, rather than creating endless new cosmopolitan social identities.

    image

    Just a suggestion.

    Transcript below:

    Transcript:

    How to create a scientific and technological leap for Russia? Where should priority be given — to nanotechnology, digitization, medicine, energy, or, maybe, to fundamental researches? These topics were discussed at a meeting of the Russian Academy of Sciences for two days.

    Alena Rogozina’s report on how scientific potential is turning into a competitive advantage of Russia.

    The synchrotron mega-installation of the Kurchatov Institute allows us to look at any substance at the atomic level. Properties of living organisms can be given to ordinary things via atom modeling.

    Mikhail Kovalchuk, head of the Kurchatov Institute:

    – We took a piece of a semiconductor crystal. There are only 8 atoms in the unit cell. We built a unique civilization in 60 years. During this time, we understood how living beings work. Our task today is to combine fundamental technology, I mean solid-state microelectronics, with an understanding of how animate nature works.

    There are revolutionary technologies in medicine. For the first time in history, a surgeon operated a completely digital robot to perform surgery inside of a living organism. The robot was made domestically. The surgeon is also Russian.

    Dmitry Pushkar, Chief Urologist:

    – This is our machine. It must be completed. It must be made. As we say, it must be provided to every hospital where it is necessary. Such operations should be performed there routinely. They should become a guarantee for our patients.

     » Lees verder

    Escobar: Russia, Ukraine, & The Minsk Agreement Fiction

    escobar-russia-ukraine-amp-the-minsk-agreement-fiction

    23-12-18 03:56:00,

    Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Saker Blog

    Rostislav Ishchenko is arguably the leading international analyst focused on the extraordinarily turbulent Russia-Ukraine relations. He posts regularly on Ukraina.ru, with frequent English translations here.

    In contrast to the 24/7 “Russian aggression” demonization campaign effective on all corners of the Beltway and spreading towards selected European capitals, Ishchenko’s analysis, for instance of the information war deployed on all fronts of the Russia-Ukraine saga comes as a breath of fresh air.

    Although we were not able to meet in person during my recent visit to Moscow, due to conflicting schedules (the meeting will take place later in the winter), Ishchenko graciously accepted to answer my most pressing questions regarding what could happen next on the Russia-Ukraine front, with translation by Scott Humor.

    Ishchenko’s answers on the situation in Donbass should also be expanded to Crimea, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed he had information about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko planning an armed provocation on the border with Crimea in the last ten days of December.

    Considering the terrain in winter is usually propitious for tank advance, would Poroshenko, in desperation, go for a major provocation in the Donbass, perhaps between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? 

    First of all, this winter is too warm and the area is not yet favorable for an offensive. Second, even if frost strikes and an attack becomes possible, it is too big of a risk for Poroshenko. He does not have enough military power to defeat the DPR/LPR forces, without even mentioning that surprises are still possible as it happened in August 2008 in South Ossetia. After all, the Minsk peace agreement has not been canceled yet, and it is unlikely that the West will be able to stand against Russia in a consolidated manner at the moment when Russia is conducting a peace coercion of the confectioner, who is out of his mind with fear, and whom the West has already written off. The West requires a mandatory holding of elections, and any war would mean a cancellation of elections. If the war is facilitated by Poroshenko, he will be blamed for the cancellation of the elections and there will be no need to protect him.

     » Lees verder

    ‘Russia Wins’: Fury in Washington as Trump Announces Syria Pullout

    russia-wins-fury-in-washington-as-trump-announces-syria-pullout

    20-12-18 09:52:00,

    This just goes to show what a courageous, principled and common-sense move by Trump this is — finally!!

    (RT) 51 min ago | 1300 words 280

    President Donald Trump’s decision to declare ISIS defeated and order a full US withdrawal from Syria has been met with anger and disbelief by the Washington establishment that hoped for regime change in Damascus.

    Trump declared victory over Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) on Wednesday morning, as media reported that some 2,000 or so US troops will leave Syria within 60 to 100 days. Though Trump had openly spoken about wanting to leave Syria back in March, senior officials in his administration have said that US forces would stay there indefinitely.

    CNN’s Jake Tapper reacted to the announcement by quoting an anonymous Pentagon official who saw it as a victory for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Hillary Clinton’s former foreign policy adviser Jesse Lehrich bemoaned that the withdrawal would embolden Syrian President Bashar Assad and strengthen Russia and Iran, while leaving the US-allied Kurdish militias “once again hung out to dry.”

    Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), known as a foreign policy hawk, also disagreed with a withdrawal, calling it a “colossal”mistake and a “grave error that’s going to have significant repercussions in the years and months to come.”

    Rubio echoed Lehrich’s assessment that the US withdrawal would turn Syria over to Russia and Iran, adding that it might lead to another conflict between Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and lend strength to the (hypothetical) argument by Russia and China that Washington is an “unreliable ally.”

    Another foreign policy hawk, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said the pullout would be “a huge Obama-like mistake,” enabling the revival of IS and putting the Kurds at risk.

    The Atlantic Council’s resident Syria expert, Faysal Itani, was likewise glum in his predictions.

    “I expect ISIS will be back in some form within a year, and expelling Iran from Syria will not be achieved if the US is not in Syria at all,” he told the UAE-based The National, adding that a more likely outcome would be “a possible military confrontation between Turkey and the Kurds,

     » Lees verder

    Russia, Ukraine and the Minsk agreement fiction (Exclusive!) | The Vineyard of the Saker

    russia-ukraine-and-the-minsk-agreement-fiction-exclusive-the-vineyard-of-the-saker

    19-12-18 08:53:00,

    by Pepe Escobar exclusive for The Saker Blog

    Rostislav Ishchenko is arguably the leading international analyst focused on the extraordinarily turbulent Russia-Ukraine relations. He posts regularly on Ukraina.ru, with frequent English translations here.

    In contrast to the 24/7 “Russian aggression” demonization campaign effective on all corners of the Beltway and spreading towards selected European capitals, Ishchenko’s analysis, for instance of the information war deployed on all fronts of the Russia-Ukraine saga comes as a breath of fresh air.

    Although we were not able to meet in person during my recent visit to Moscow, due to conflicting schedules (the meeting will take place later in the winter), Ishchenko graciously accepted to answer my most pressing questions regarding what could happen next on the Russia-Ukraine front, with translation by Scott Humor.

    Ishchenko’s answers on the situation in Donbass should also be expanded to Crimea, after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov revealed he had information about Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko planning an armed provocation on the border with Crimea in the last ten days of December.

    Considering the terrain in winter is usually propitious for tank advance, would Poroshenko, in desperation, go for a major provocation in the Donbass, perhaps between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? 

    First of all, this winter is too warm and the area is not yet favorable for an offensive. Second, even if frost strikes and an attack becomes possible, it is too big of a risk for Poroshenko. He does not have enough military power to defeat the DPR/LPR forces, without even mentioning that surprises are still possible as it happened in August 2008 in South Ossetia. After all, the Minsk peace agreement has not been canceled yet, and it is unlikely that the West will be able to stand against Russia in a consolidated manner at the moment when Russia is conducting a peace coercion of the confectioner, who is out of his mind with fear, and whom the West has already written off. The West requires a mandatory holding of elections, and any war would mean a cancellation of elections. If the war is facilitated by Poroshenko, he will be blamed for the cancellation of the elections and there will be no need to protect him.

     » Lees verder

    Is Russia Learning? — Paul Craig Roberts – PaulCraigRoberts.org

    is-russia-learning-8212-paul-craig-roberts-8211-paulcraigroberts.org

    18-12-18 05:38:00,

    Support Your Website Donate: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/donate/

    Is Russia Learning?

    Paul Craig Roberts

    Is Russia learning that Washington wants no deal with Russia except Russian vassalage and that relying on agreements with the West is delusional? There is some indication that Russia is learning, but it seems to be a slow process.

    Russia Insider reports that the Russian government has told Israel that Israeli strikes inside Syria are no longer acceptable. https://russia-insider.com/en/russia-greenlights-retaliatory-syrian-attacks-israeli-targets-report/ri25684

    Russia Insider also reports that when asked about Kiev using Russian focus on the World Cup to attack the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, Putin answered: “if that does transpire, there will be harsh consequences for Ukraine’s sovereignty in general.” https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/what-if-kiev-attacks-during-world-cup-putin-theyll-rue-day-video/ri23722

    These are reassuring statements that Putin has learned that turning the other cheek to Washington and Israel does not lead to diplomatic solutions but to further provocations. Nevertheless, Putin still appears to hold on to his belief in agreements. Putin said that the solution was for Ukraine to comply with the Minsk Protocol.

    The Minsk Protocol reincorporates the Donetsk and Luhansk republics in Ukraine, which is what the Russian government wants as the Russian populations of these breakaway republics would offset to some extent the nazi elements in Western Ukraine and, thereby, maintain some political balance within Ukraine.

    The defect in the Russian policy is that it overlooks that Ukraine is a Washington vassal and that Washington intends to use its vassal to foment problems for Russia. It is naive for Putin to ascribe the pending violence as a consequence of the political difficulties of the Ukrainian president. The pending violence shows Washington’s determination either to discredit Putin with Russian nationalists by his refusal to defend the Russian populations from Ukraine’s attack, or, if Russia does intervene, to demonize Russia as an agressor that has again invaded Ukraine.

    By refusing to accept the votes of Donetsk and Luhansk to be reunited with Russia like Crimea, the Russian government has produced a no-win situation for itself. The failure to reincorporate Donetsk and Luhansk into Russia was a strategic error by the Russian government.

    It is difficult to comprehend how the Russian government got the idea that Washington was going to permit Ukraine to return to a reasonable relationship with Russia.

     » Lees verder