Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

In their first conversation since Donald Trump’s inauguration as US president, he and President of Russia Vladimir Putin discussed improving cooperation between their countries in the fight against terrorism and the importance of rebuilding bilateral trade and economic ties.

Moscow sees Washington as its most important partner in fighting international terrorism, Putin told Trump, according to the Kremlin’s official statements on the conversation. Both leaders reportedly supported the idea of improving “real coordination” between their nations in the fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups active in Syria.

Trump and Putin also expressed their willingness to work together to “develop and stabilize” US-Russia interaction and assured each other that their nations’ citizens view the other’s positively.

In addition, the two world leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation on the Korean peninsula, and the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin reports, as well as nonproliferation issues.

Trump and Putin also expressed their willingness to work together to “develop and stabilize” US-Russia interaction and assured each other that their nations’ citizens view the other’s positively.

In addition, the two world leaders discussed Iran’s nuclear program, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the situation on the Korean peninsula, and the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, the Kremlin reports, as well as nonproliferation issues.

Trump and Putin are expected to speak again to discuss possible dates and places for a face-to-face meeting.

By al Manar

The Russian Defense Ministry commented on the US State Department’s calls not to help tankers shipping fuel to the Russian Aerospace Forces in Syria. If Washington cannot or does not want to fight terrorists, it should not get in the way, the ministry’s spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Thursday.

US State Department spokesman Mark Toner urged other countries not to provide support for Russian tankers shipping fuel to the Russian aviation group in Syria. “Such statements, unfortunately, only confirm our earlier estimates that fighting terrorism in Syria has never been on the outgoing administration’s agenda,” Konashenkov said.

Washington had impeded negotiations, did not separate terrorists and opposition and now openly called on other countries to hamper Moscow’s anti-terrorism fight in Syria “to somehow downplay the failures of US policies in the country since 2014”, the spokesman said.

Konashenkov said that the US-led coalition can only dream of a success comparable to the one Russia has achieved for a year: over 2,000 settlements have joined ceasefire, 86 armed groups have stopped fighting and hundreds of thousands of Syrians have returned to peaceful life to rebuild the country. “So if you cannot or do not want to fight ISIL and al-Nusra Front — do not get in the way, at least. Our air group is Syria is sufficiently equipped to fight international terrorism in this region,” he said.

By Suliman Mulhem
According to circulating reports from Syria, pro-government forces have made significant advances in eastern Aleppo. The Syrian Arab Army, backed by allied militias and air support, has taken control of Hanano district and Jabal Badro in the space of around 48 hours.

The speed of the Syrian army’s recent gains in Aleppo are impressive, considering the urban battleground.

At the request of the Syrian government, Russian militarily intervened in the Syrian conflict in September 2015. Shortly before the arrival of Russian warplanes in Syria, the Syrian army suffered a string of defeats, most notably in Idlib province.

Since Russia’s intervention, the tide has turned, and Assad’s forces advanced on several key fronts. They managed to retake the ancient city of Palmyra, and lift the siege of the Kuweires airbase in Aleppo.
Given the presence of Russian military assets in Syria, it is virtually impossible for any opposing group to retake all of Syria. The provinces of Latakia and Tartus are considered to be the safest areas in Syria, due to the presence of Russian facilities.
Pre-war, these provinces were primarily populated with Alawites, as well as many Christians. As of November 2016, more than 1.5 million internally displaced Syrians, mainly Sunnis from Aleppo, live in Latakia.
Based on Donald Trump’s previous comments and narrative, many expect him to cut-off support to opposition forces in Syria, and potentially cooperate with the Syrian government to tackle Islamist groups in Syria.
Furthermore, Russia has placed its advanced S-300 and S-400 SAM systems in Syria, giving them the power to down enemy aircraft. Therefore, it is unlikely that the armed opposition will receive any direct military support (against pro-government forces) from their allies, for example a no-fly zone.
 Victory in Aleppo is crucial to the long-term success of the Syrian Army’s operations. It will serve as a huge morale boost, as well as allowing for thousands of pro-government fighters to be deployed elsewhere.
Based on recent developments, it is clear that Assad’s government has the advantage. Their advantage could potentially be further accentuated by the involvement of Iraqi militias in Syria.
Earlier this month, Hadi al-Amiri, a leader in the Iraqi PMU, said that President Assad has requested support from his group.
It has been speculated that they will enter Syria, and battle Daesh in the province of Deir Ezzor, once they have liberated Mosul. Thousands of Syrian soldiers have been trapped in Deir Ezzor for several years. Breaking the siege would free-up these soldiers (including 4,000 soldiers from the elite Republican Guard), allowing to fight on other fronts.
In the past year, many countries have changed their position on the Syrian crisis in favor of Assad. For example, in December 2015, the Pakistani Foreign Minister said that his country opposed any attempt to topple Assad.
More recently, the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi indicated his support for the Syrian government.
“Our priority is to support national armies, for example in Libya to exert control over Libya territory and deal with extremist elements. The same with Syria and Iraq,” al-Sissi said.
Syria and Egypt were part of a political union from 1958 until 1961, known as the United Arab Republic.
Although the war is far from over, it seems highly probable that the Syrian government will emerge victorious.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Uncloaked Precision/anthonychris82

The Kremlin announced the two held a phone conversation on Monday.

Trump and Putin reportedly shared their views on combatting international terrorism and extremism, and on settling the crisis in Syria.

Putin reportedly congratulated the president-elect on his victory, and wished him success.
The Russian president reportedly told the US president-elect that Russia is ready to maintain constructive dialogue with the new US administration, based on principles of equal rights, mutual respect, and non-interference in the international affairs of one another.
“President-elect Trump noted to President Putin that he is very much looking forward to having a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and the people of Russia,” Trump’s transition team said in a statement.
According to the Kremlin, both stressed the importance of building a strong foundation for bilateral ties through economic development.
The year 2017 will mark 210 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States.
They agreed to maintain phone contacts, and to plan a meeting in person soon.
Following Trump’s victory, he had stated that he received a “beautiful letter” from the Russian president. The letter reportedly expressed hope that the administrations could work together to better the strained state of Moscow-Washington relations.
“We heard [Trump’s] campaign rhetoric while still a candidate for the US presidency, which was focused on restoring the relations between Russia and the United States,” President Putin said at the presentation

ceremony of foreign ambassadors’ letters of credentials in Moscow last week.

“We understand and are aware that it will be a difficult path in the light of the degradation in which, unfortunately, the relationship between Russia and the US are at the moment,” he added.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had also expressed hope of working with the new president-elect.
“The current US-Russian relations cannot be called friendly. Hopefully, with the new US president a more constructive dialogue will be possible between our countries,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Russian Parliament will welcome and support any steps in this direction,” Volodin added.

Last week, NATO announced that it had begun tracking the movement of Russian military aircraft operating in Syria using AWACS reconnaissance planes operating from Turkish bases. But as luck would have it, Russia has just received all the tools it needs to neutralize the alliance’s snooping.

In late September, NATO announced that a fleet of 16 Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft would be sent to Turkey, ostensibly to help the alliance’s ongoing efforts against the Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. A month later, the alliance confirmed that the aircraft had been deployed, and that they started their surveillance of Syrian airspace beginning October 20.

NATO stressed that the planes are being flown only over international airspace or over Turkey, and will not enter Syrian airspace. Nevertheless, their presence will give them the theoretical capability to monitor aircraft flying over much of Syria. The systems aboard the 16 Boeing E-3 Sentry aircraft allow them to detect targets flying at low altitudes from distances of up to 400 km, and from distances between 450 and 650 km for planes flying at medium and high altitudes. In other words, hypothetically speaking, they can easily detect aircraft operating in Syria without ever crossing the border.

The E-3s were deployed to Turkey at Ankara’s request, and following a formal decision at the NATO summit in Warsaw in July. The aircraft have been placed at an air base in the central Turkish province of Konya.
Moscow obviously hasn’t been fooled by alliance claims that the planes were deployed to fight the terrorists. Experts have previously pointed out Daesh has no air force, adding that AWACS aircraft in the area are obviously directed against the Syrian Air Force and the Russian air group operating in Syria.
In fact, despite the formal talk of an ‘anti-Daesh’ deployment, RAF Air Commander Paddy Teakle came out and openly admitted that the planes will be used to spy on Russian and Syrian jets. “I will not deny that the AWACS will monitor the Russian air forces in Syria, and the air forces of Bashar al-Assad, from Turkish territory; given their range, the radars can monitor territory in Syria and Iraq. But this is not our only goal,” Teakle said.
As luck would have it, the Russian Ministry of Defense has already worked out a response – installing electronic warfare equipment to the tried and tested Ilyushin Il-22 platform. The new Il-22PP ‘Porubshchik’ (roughly ‘Lumberjack’) electronic warfare and reconnaissance system passed state testing in September. One Il-22PP aircraft was handed over to the air force, with two more expected to be delivered later this month.
According to the system’s designers, the plane’s onboard electronics are specifically designed to counter modern AWACS systems, ground-based air defense (such as the MIM-104 Patriot missile system) and manned and unmanned aircraft.
The Il-22PP features frequency selectivity, meaning that it will not jam friendly radio electronic systems. Its carrier, a modernized, four-engine Il-22, has a range of up to 6,500 km at altitudes of 8,800 meters and a speed of up to 685 km/h.
In addition to jamming capabilities, the planes are capable of conducting electronic intelligence operations of their own, and of protecting friendly aircraft from enemy electronic warfare.
 The new Il-22PPs will soon be complemented by the Tu-214R, a completely new design, equipped with cutting-edge optical, electronic and radar systems. In August, the Defense Ministry confirmed that a Tu-214R had undergone testing in Syria. That aircraft is itself intended to replace the Ilyushin Il-20M electronic intelligence (ELINT) aircraft, but is capable of multitasking.
The Tu-214R’s capabilities include ELINT, signals intelligence (SIGINT) and communications intelligence (COMINT). The plane’s antennae are capable of intercepting signals emitted by everything from aircraft to combat vehicles and mobile phones, and can build an electronic order of battle (EOB). The Tu-214R has been undergoing extensive state testing all this year.
In other words, just as NATO decided to deploy over a dozen AWACS planes in Turkey to keep an eye on Syria, Russia rolled out several new aircraft allowing Moscow to jam NATO intelligence gathering operations at the flick of a switch. And that’s not even counting the jamming capabilities of ground-based systems already deployed. Whether Russia decides to use this equipment selectively or on a mass scale remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: NATO officials probably won’t be the ones to admit that their surveillance operation in Syria isn’t gathering as much useful info as they hoped they would get.
The Clinton campaign has repeatedly pushed an article linking Donald Trump with a Russian bank, even though multiple outlets – including the New York Times – have disputed the claims.
On Monday, Slate’s Franklin Foer published an article with an explosive revelation. According to Foer, a number of cybersecurity experts claim that a private computer server in Trump Tower appeared to be directly connected to Alfa Bank, a commercial institution in Russia. This was the latest in an ongoing mainstream media narrative that the Republican nominee is secretly a Kremlin puppet.

The legitimacy of Foer’s article was immediately called into question. A number of outlets, including the Daily Beast and the New York Times, said they had looked into the story as well, but found it lacking.

“[FBI] agents scrutinized advisers close to Donald J. Trump, looked for financial connections with Russian financial figures, searched for those involved in hacking computers of Democrats, and even chased a lead – which they ultimately came to doubt – about a possible secret channel of email communication from the Trump Organization to a Russian bank,” the Times reported.
“FBI officials spent weeks examining computer data showing an odd stream of activity to a Trump Organization server and Alfa Bank,” the Times continued. “But the FBI ultimately concluded that there could be an innocuous explanation, like a marketing email or spam, for the computer contacts.”
Foer claimed that the server activity “appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States.” Writing for Vox, Timothy Lee pointed out that
“If anything, the chart shows the opposite of that.” “In short, this chart seems to be totally unrelated to the political calendar. It provides no support for the idea that the Kremlin was using it as a back channel before and during the Republican National Convention in mid-July,” Lee writes.
Despite the fact that the Slate story was debunked almost as soon as it was published, the Clinton campaign has seized it as part of its arsenal of Russophobic tactics to defeat Trump.
“The Washington Post piled on, attacking the Foer report, saying ‘For all of Foer’s exegesis of the situation – culminating, he admits, with a lack of certainty about what it all means – it seems likely that the simplest answer isn’t that someone affiliated with Trump or his campaign set up a backchannel method for contacting someone at Alfa Bank in Russia,'” says Sam Sacks of Radio Sputnik’s Unanimous Dissent.
“The Intercept also has a pretty thorough takedown of the Foer piece, published on Tuesday. So too do a number of computer researchers, including people who were cited in the Foer piece, coming out and saying that the Foer piece is garbage.”
Unfortunately, these grand Russian conspiracy theories distract from the legitimate issues of Trump’s campaign, including his proposals to ban Muslims from the country and his frightening insinuations that nuclear weapons could be used in the Middle East to combat terrorists.

“Nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.”

— Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era”, 1971

“I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria….not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians.”

Why is Hillary Clinton so eager to intensify US involvement in Syria when US interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have all gone so terribly wrong?

The answer to this question is simple. It’s because Clinton doesn’t think that these interventions went wrong. And neither do any of the other members of the US foreign policy establishment. (aka–The Borg). In fact, in their eyes these wars have been a rousing success. Sure, a few have been critical of the public relations backlash from the nonexistent WMD in Iraq, (or the logistical errors, like disbanding the Iraqi Army) but–for the most part– the foreign policy establishment is satisfied with its efforts to destabilize the region and remove leaders that refuse to follow Washington’s diktats.

This is hard for ordinary people to understand. They can’t grasp why elite powerbrokers would want to transform functioning, stable countries into uninhabitable wastelands overrun by armed extremists, sectarian death squads and foreign-born terrorists. Nor can they understand what has been gained by Washington’s 15 year-long rampage across the Middle East and Central Asia that has turned a vast swathe of strategic territory into a terrorist breeding grounds? What is the purpose of all this?

First, we have to acknowledge that the decimation and de facto balkanization of these countries is part of a plan. If it wasn’t part of a plan, than the decision-makers would change the policy. But they haven’t changed the policy. The policy is the same. The fact that the US is using foreign-born jihadists to pursue regime change in Syria as opposed to US troops in Iraq, is not a fundamental change in the policy. The ultimate goal is still the decimation of the state and the elimination of the existing government. This same rule applies to Libya and Afghanistan both of which have been plunged into chaos by Washington’s actions.

But why? What is gained by destroying these countries and generating so much suffering and death?

Here’s what I think:  I think Washington is involved in a grand project to remake the world in a way that better meets the needs of its elite constituents, the international banks and multinational corporations. Brzezinski not only refers to this in the opening quote, he also explains what is taking place: The nation-state is being jettisoned as the foundation upon which the global order rests. Instead, Washington is  erasing borders, liquidating states, and removing strong, secular leaders that can mount resistance to its machinations in order to impose an entirely new model on the region, a new world order. The people who run these elite institutions want to create an interconnected-global free trade zone overseen by the proconsuls of Big Capital, in other words, a global Eurozone that precludes the required state institutions (like a centralized treasury, mutual debt, federal transfers) that would allow the borderless entity to function properly.

Deep state powerbrokers who set policy behind the smokescreen of our bought-and-paid-for congress think that one world government is an achievable goal provided they control the world’s energy supplies, the world’s reserve currency and become the dominant player in this century’s most populous and prosperous region, Asia. This is essentially what Hillary’s “pivot” to Asia is all about.

The basic problem with Washington’s NWO plan is that a growing number of powerful countries are still attached to the old world order and are now prepared to defend it. This is what’s really going on in Syria, the improbable alliance of Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the US military juggernaut dead in its tracks. The unstoppable force has hit the immovable object and the immovable object has prevailed…so far.

Naturally, the foreign policy establishment is upset about these new developments, and for good reason. The US has run the world for quite a while now, so the rolling back of US policy in Syria is as much a surprise as it is a threat. The Russian Airforce deployed to Syria a full year ago in September, but only recently has Washington shown that it’s prepared to respond by increasing its support of its jihadists agents on the ground and by mounting an attack on ISIS in the eastern part of the country, Raqqa. But the real escalation is expected to take place when Hillary Clinton becomes president in 2017. That’s when the US will directly engage Russia militarily, assuming that their tit-for-tat encounters will be contained within Syria’s borders.  It’s a risky plan, but it’s the next logical step in this bloody fiasco. Neither party wants a nuclear war, but Washington believes that doing nothing is tantamount to backing down, therefore, Hillary and her neocon advisors can be counted on to up the ante. “No-fly zone”, anyone?

The assumption is that eventually, and with enough pressure, Putin will throw in the towel. But this is another miscalculation. Putin is not in Syria because he wants to be nor is he there because he values his friendship with Syrian President Bashar al Assad. That’s not it at all. Putin is in Syria because he has no choice. Russia’s national security is at stake. If Washington’s strategy of deploying terrorists to topple Assad succeeds, then the same ploy will be attempted in Iran and Russia. Putin knows this, just like he knows that the scourge of foreign-backed terrorism can decimate entire regions like Chechnya. He knows that it’s better for him to kill these extremists in Aleppo than it will be in Moscow. So he can’t back down, that’s not an option.

But, by the same token, he can compromise, in other words, his goals and the goals of Assad do not perfectly coincide. For example, he could very well make territorial concessions to the US for the sake of peace that Assad might not support.

But why would he do that? Why wouldn’t he continue to fight until every inch of Syria’s sovereign territory is recovered?

Because it’s not in Russia’s national interest to do so, that’s why. Putin has never tried to conceal the fact that he’s in Syria to protect Russia’s national security. That’s his main objective.  But he’s not an idealist, he’s a pragmatist who’ll do whatever he has to to end the war ASAP. That means compromise.

This doesn’t matter to the Washington warlords….yet. But it will eventually. Eventually there will be an accommodation of some sort. No one is going to get everything they want, that much is certain. For example, it’s impossible to imagine that Putin would launch a war on Turkey to recover the territory that Turkish troops now occupy in N Syria. In fact, Putin may have already conceded as much to Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan in their recent meetings. But that doesn’t mean that Putin doesn’t have his red lines. He does.  Aleppo is a red line. Turkish troops will not be allowed to enter Aleppo.

The western corridor, the industrial and population centers are all red lines. On these, there will be no compromise. Putin will help Assad remain in power and keep the country largely intact. But will Turkey control sections in the north, and will the US control sections in the east?

Probably. This will have to be worked out in negotiations, but its unlikely that the country’s borders will be the same as they were before the war broke out. Putin will undoubtedly settle for a halfloaf provided the fighting ends and security is restored. In any event, he’s not going to hang around until the last dog is hung.

Unfortunately, we’re a long way from any settlement in Syria, mainly because Washington is nowhere near accepting the fact that its project to rule the world has been derailed. That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? The bigshots who run the country are still in denial. It hasn’t sunk in yet that the war is lost and that their nutty jihadist-militia plan has failed.

It’s going to take a long time before Washington gets the message that the world is no longer its oyster. The sooner they figure it out, the better it’ll be for everyone.