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Color Revolution in the Caucasus rattles Russian leaders

Armenia’s new Prime Minister has targeted Moscow’s confidantes in a corruption crackdown and angered the Kremlin by making overtures to NATO

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | August 8, 2018

No two “color revolutions” have been the same, although the anatomy may bear similarity. This explains why Russia continues to face a problem in calibrating its response to emerging revolutionary tides in its backyard.

Russia fumbled in Georgia (2003) and Ukraine (2004 and 2014), but digested the ‘color revolutions’ in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 and 2010. Of course, circumstances were different: Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country.

The Moscow elite’s eternal dilemma has been that, when the defining moment came, the West invariably injected geopolitics into color revolutions in the post-Soviet space in a concerted strategy to encircle Russia with an arc of hostile states.

In this complex backdrop of historical uncertainty, Russia is unsure whether it made an error of judgment apropos the “Velvet Revolution” in Armenia, which shot a 42-year-old former journalist and previously uninspiring opposition politician, Nikol Pashinyan, to power. After a meteoric three-week rise he became prime minister in May.

The Velvet Revolution bore traits of a color revolution – although traces of outside interference were indistinguishable. Even as Pashinyan rode the revolutionary wave, Moscow chose not to cast aspersions on his stated agenda, that cleaning up the Augean stables in his country was his sole objective and his mission had no foreign-policy overtones.

Moscow’s approach probably ended up helping him climb the ladders of power, with the entrenched ruling party in Armenia meekly stepping aside to make way for him as the new prime minister.

Pashinyan pledges loyalty

Moscow appeared to accept at face value Pashinyan’s pledges of fealty. President Vladimir Putin was the first foreign leader to congratulate Pashinyan on May 8 when the ruling party elected him as the new head of government in a parliamentary vote.

Putin said: “I hope that your performance as the head of government will contribute to efforts to further strengthen friendly, allied relations between our countries, partnership within the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.”

Pashinyan nicely played along. Indeed, his first face-to-face with Putin in Sochi, only six days later on the sidelines of the summit meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), had an effusive tone.

Pashinyan thanked Putin for what he called Moscow’s “balanced position” during the color revolution and reassured the Kremlin of the immutability of the Armenian-Russian “strategic alliance”.

In the presence of reporters, he told Putin that “the strategic alliance relations between Armenia and Russia” required “no discussion” and “there is a consensus on this issue in Armenia. I think that nobody in our country has or will cast doubt on the strategic importance of Armenian-Russian relations.”

Russia maintains a military base in Armenia.

Putin wished him success and said he hoped that bilateral ties “will develop just as steadily as they have up to now.” Putin added that Russia “views Armenia as our closest partner and ally in the region” on both economic and security issues.”

Moscow confidantes targeted

One week into the Velvet Revolution, it all seemed as if the Russian-Armenian alliance couldn’t be in better shape. But then, the sky began getting overcast and a stillness began descending in the air.

On May 10, Pashinyan began what appeared as a shake-up of the administration. It quickly snowballed into a veritable purge aimed at systemic change. He also launched a crackdown on public corruption, which has since made him a cult figure.

In a matter of three months his administration caught up with the two ex-presidents, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan, and the influential mayor of Yerevan Taron Margaryan, who were all Moscow’s confidantes in Yerevan.

Then, on July 27, Pashinyan struck hard by implicating the incumbent Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Yuri Khachaturov on charges dating back to his past assignment as Chief of the General Staff of Armenia under Sargsyan. The general is presently based in Moscow as the head of the Russia-led alliance.

That was when Moscow sat up.

On July 31, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was “concerned” that Armenia’s new leadership was making politically motivated moves against former leaders. Lavrov said: “The events of the last few days… contradict the recent declarations of the new Armenian leadership that it was not planning to pursue its predecessors on political grounds.”

Lavrov added: “Moscow, as an ally of Yerevan, has always had an interest in the stability of the Armenian state, and therefore what is happening there must be of concern to us.”

He disclosed that Moscow had repeatedly raised its concerns with Yerevan and expected a “constructive” response. These remarks amount to a rebuke.

NATO outreach spurs Russian warning

Meanwhile, what probably rung alarm bells in Moscow was that Pashinyan also began making overtures to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). On the sidelines of the alliance’s summit on July 12 in Brussels, to which he was invited, Pashinyan said: “It would be very useful if NATO will send a strong message to Azerbaijan that any attempt to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict using force will meet a strong reaction from the international community.”

In effect, he invited the Western alliance to get involved in the Southern Caucasus, which Russia traditionally regards as its sphere of influence.

While in Brussels, Pashinyan met the leaders of Germany, France, Canada among others, apart from a having a brief conversation with US President Donald Trump. Importantly, he began stressing the centrality of NATO as a forum for Armenia’s interactions with Georgia.

On August 2, the influential Moscow daily Kommersant wrote that Pashinyan’s moves had “driven a wedge into Moscow’s relations with Yerevan and may set the two countries at loggerheads even more”. The daily noted, citing Russian security officials, that the charges laid against CSTO Secretary General Khachaturov caused “outrage” in Moscow, because it “deals a blow to the image of the Russian-led military and political bloc”. It hinted at Western interference.

Equally, Moscow has taken exception to Armenia’s participation in the NATO exercises currently underway in Georgia. (Armenia is a member of the CSTO.)

In a hard-hitting statement on Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the NATO exercise in Georgia aimed to “project power pressure, chiefly over South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Russia” and can only result in an “escalation of tensions.” Zakharova regretted that “Georgia’s neighboring countries are involved in these drills on various pretexts.”

On Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Georgia’s accession to NATO may trigger “a terrible conflict” and lead to catastrophic consequences. He closely echoed Putin’s stern warning last month: “We will respond proportionally to aggressive moves that pose a direct threat to Russia. Our [NATO] counterparts who bet on rising tensions, are trying to bring, say, Ukraine and Georgia into the alliance’s military orbit but they should think about the possible consequences of such an irresponsible policy.”

Clearly, Moscow’s preference would have been that Pashinyan pragmatically keeps Armenia in Russia’s orbit – and NATO out of the Caucasus. But the Velvet Revolution has mutated and Moscow’s dismal experience is that in such defining moments, environmental pressures cause changes to the genetic structure of color revolutions, resulting in variant DNA forms.

August 8, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli Parliament Votes Against Bill Recognizing Genocide of Armenians

Sputnik – February 15, 2018

The Knesset on Wednesday voted against a draft law implying the recognition of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Israeli media reported Wednesday.

According to the Jerusalem Post newspaper, the legislative body rejected the bill proposed by the Yesh Atid party.

The media outlet added that Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid stressed that Israel should recognize the genocide of Armenians, as the Jewish people had also survived a similar calamity, the Holocaust.

According to different estimates, over million of Armenians were killed or starved to death by the Ottoman Empire during and after World War I.

urkey has repeatedly denied accusations of committing mass murder of Armenians, claiming that the victims of the tragedy were both Turks and Armenians.

Armenia insists on the recognition of the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire by the international community. The Armenian genocide has already been recognized by Russia and numerous EU countries, as well as the European Parliament.

February 15, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

EU launches new ‘single resource’ website to counter ‘Russian propaganda’

RT | September 12, 2017

An EU agency, specifically tasked with fighting what the West terms ‘Russia propaganda,’ has launched its new website to provide Europeans with “a single resource” to “enlighten” them about alleged “pro-Kremlin propaganda.”

The site was launched in English, German and Russian. It’s part of the ongoing “EU vs disinformation” campaign waged by the EU’s East Stratcom Task Force.

“Today we launch our new website http://www.euvsdisinfo.eu, providing you with a single resource on addressing the challenge of pro-Kremlin disinformation,” a statement on the website says.

“This website is part of a campaign to better forecast, address and respond to pro-Kremlin disinformation,” it says further.

The webpage features a “searchable database of disinformation cases” and “interactive statistics” on the number of alleged disinformation cases, as well as on countries that are most frequently mentioned in what is perceived as “pro-Kremlin propaganda.”

Even though a disclaimer on the page says the Disinformation Review “focuses on key messages carried in the international information space, which have been identified as providing a partial, distorted or false view or interpretation and/or spreading key pro-Kremlin messaging,” it seems to be focusing solely on the latter.

The group also runs pages on Facebook and Twitter that are also aimed at revealing “manipulation and disinformation in pro-Kremlin media.” Its Facebook page called “EU vs Disinformation” was created in June 2016 while its “EU Mythbusters” Twitter page has been active since November 2015.

Both social media pages use a slogan that bears a striking resemblance to RT’s “Question More” catchphrase. “Don’t be deceived. Question even more,” it reads.

The East Stratcom Task Force was formed as part of the European External Action Service (EEAS) in early 2015 to tackle what the EU perceives as Russian propaganda. The EU said the group was tasked with countering disinformation about the Union and its policies in the “Russian language space.”

The EU’s “eastern European partners” – the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – were designated as their target audience.

In early 2017, the group received extra personnel and additional funding. The move came ahead of national elections in several European countries, including France, the Netherlands and Germany.

In November 2016, the European Parliament also adopted a non-legislative resolution which called for the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia” and listed RT and the Sputnik news agency as one of the most dangerous “tools of hostile propaganda.”

Written by a Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Anna Fotyga, the report alleged that Moscow aims to “distort the truth, provoke doubt, divide the EU and its North American partners, paralyze the decision-making process, discredit the EU institutions and incite fear and uncertainty among EU citizens.”

The document went even further, placing Russian media organizations alongside terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

President Vladimir Putin said at the time that the EU Parliament’s resolution demonstrates “political degradation” in regard to the “idea of democracy” in the West.

The move was also criticized by the Russian envoy to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, who said the EU tries to “erase the perception of Russia as an indispensable part of the European civilization from the public conscience” and to “create a wall of alienation and mistrust between our peoples.”

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top General Warns That NATO Wants to Turn Post-Soviet Space ‘Into Another Syria’

Sputnik – 08.09.2016

A top Russian general has voiced his frustration over NATO’s lack of cooperation with a Russian-led alliance involving countries from the former Soviet space, saying that the Western alliance doesn’t seem to want countries in the former USSR to ally with one another, allowing NATO pick them off one by one at their leisure.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday, Col. Gen. Nikolai Bordyuzha, secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance involving six post-Soviet states, including Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, had some harsh words for Russia’s NATO partners.

The North Atlantic Alliance, he said, has been consistently opposed to any military integration between Russia and its partners in the CSTO, and the reason is that NATO wants to deprive these countries of their collective security guarantees.

“Why do you think NATO does not cooperate with the CSTO?” the general asked. “It’s simple – they have no need to support processes of [defense] integration. This way, things will be like in Syria, and nobody will be able to let out a peep. The country is being pounded, and there’s no one to help them, since it didn’t have any allies. And this is the situation they want to create for us as well,” Bordyuzha said, referring to the members of the CSTO.

Furthermore, the officer warned that the Western media has been engaged in what he called campaign of information warfare against the CSTO. “They will tell lies all day, every day. Everything that is being said about the CSTO is presented in a way that’s the opposite to how things are in reality,” Bordyuzha noted. “This is done, for example, in order to ensure that Tajikistan was not together with Russia,” he added.

Ultimately, Bordyuzha suggested that the Western political, media and military effort’s “most important task is to splinter our unity, to separate our nations into our own ‘national apartments’, and to dictate their terms to everyone individually.”

In this scenario, the officer emphasized that while the CSTO has absolutely no plans to fight a war of aggression against NATO, neither does it fear an attack by the Western alliance. “That’s why the CSTO exists,” Bordyuzha quipped.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization, formed in 1992, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, integrates the defense capabilities of six former Soviet republics, including Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Afghanistan and Serbia became observers to the organization in 2013. Former members include Azerbaijan, Georgia and Uzbekistan.

Signatories to the alliance are not able to join other military alliances, and aggression against one member is considered aggression against all.

The CSTO holds yearly command exercises and drills to improve coordination between its states militaries, the most recent being Cooperation-2016, which took place last month in Russia’s Pskov region.

September 8, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lawmaker hints at US role in turmoil around Russian borders

RT | July 21, 2016

The recent violent events in Turkey, Armenia and Kazakhstan could have been provoked by special services “from across the ocean,” a Russian MP working on the committee in charge of Eurasian integration has commented.

“In my opinion these are all links in one chain. The events in Turkey, Armenia and in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, are all connected and were all provoked from abroad. I think that special services from across the ocean are dealing with these issues, destabilizing the situation in these countries,” the deputy chair of the State Duma Committee for Eurasian Integration and Commonwealth of Independent States, Kazbek Taisayev, told Life news portal.

The MP said that Western nations were not interested in a calm situation near Russian borders and took steps to prevent such developments.

“As soon as we start a normal dialogue with our neighbors, something immediately happens in these countries,” he said.

“We need to unite our efforts, I think that we have enough political will to render mutual help to poor nations,” Taisayev stated.

The comment came shortly after a group of radical nationalists stormed and captured a police station in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, killing one policeman and taking several more hostage. The attackers demanded the release of Armenian opposition figure Jirayr Sefilyan, who was detained last month after authorities reportedly uncovered a plot to seize several buildings and telecommunication facilities in Yerevan.

The standoff continues and on Wednesday night Armenian police used tear gas to dissolve a rally of Sefiyan’s supporters in central Yerevan.

In early June, a group of radicals raided two gun shops, hijacked a bus and attacked a military base in the city of Aktobe, Kazakhstan, killing at least five people and wounding 10 more. Police fought off the terrorists, killing four of them and arresting seven more.

This week two people allegedly connected with radical Islamist groups opened fire at a police station in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, killing seven people and injuring nine more. President Nursultan Nazarbaev has called the attack an act of terrorism.

On July 15, an attempted military coup took place in Turkey. A large group of military officers attempted to seize power, displacing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, their plans were thwarted by police and thousands of ordinary people who took to the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. According to Turkish authorities 246 government supporters and at least 24 coup plotters were killed during the conflict. Thousands of Turkish military and law enforcement personnel were arrested and fired in the large-scale purge that followed these events.

On Wednesday, Erdogan announced the introduction of a state of emergency in Turkey for three months.

Erdogan and the government have said that the attempted coup was masterminded by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who is currently living in the United States. Ankara also demanded Gulen’s extradition.

READ MORE:

Protesters clash with police in Yerevan amid ongoing hostage situation

5 killed, 9 injured in Almaty terrorist attack on police station (GRAPHIC)

July 21, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Armenia is Swarmed by Western NGOs

By Vladimir Platov – New Eastern Outlook – 25.06.2016

The tactics of employing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the preparation of so-called “color revolutions” in North Africa, the Middle East and a number of former Soviet states has been the modus operandi of the US and its satellites, which have been thoroughly discussed in various NEO articles.

It’s curious that these NGOs who are heavily sponsored by Washington choose to act precisely in those moments when a specific state begins resisting pressure applied on it by the so-called Western World. This resistance often is manifested as a reluctance to support certain projects that were put forward by Washington.

If we are to talk about post-Soviet regions, all Western NGOs, and American ones in particular, have been particularly active in Central Asian and Caucasus states over recent years in a bid to launch “color revolutions” across the majority of them.

Western NGOs have been particularly active in Armenia recently, which remains Russia’s most faithful ally in the Caucasus region. In an effort to repeat a Ukrainian-style scenario in Armenia and to force this country away from Russia, these Western-backed organizations have been trying to use any minor concern among the civilian population to provoke demonstrations and unrest, taking advantage of the huge funds they have been receiving.

For example, over the past 5 years, a research center of the US-Armenian University has been carrying a wide variety of different programs. The absolute majority of its employees are foreigners (immigrants from the United States and Europe), or Armenian citizens who graduated from this very university or received part of their education in the United States. The better part of the above mentioned programs are aimed at reducing the usage of the Russian language in Armenia and the deconstruction of Soviet history and heritage. Washington is convinced that those measures that have already been tested in Ukraine could allow it to strike a note of discord between Russia and Armenia as well.

According to various reports, including a report prepared by the UN, the number of NGOs that are constantly operating in Armenia in such fields as “social equality,” “freedom of speech,” and “human rights protection” exceeds two hundred. At the same time, the US Embassy is actively supporting local media sources, including the well-known “Voice of Armenia.” It’s estimated that the US Embassy is providing financial support to over 60% of all media outlets in Armenia, in hopes that this would allow it to keep a firm grip on public perception within the country, and limiting Russia’s and Iran’s involvement in Transcaucasia.

But US think tanks seek to take all of this one step further by systematically undermining the traditional values of Armenians, such as morality and family traditions. This goal is being pursued through the creation of an unprecedented number of religious sects that are appearing in Armenia each week. For some “strange reason” the headquarters of those sects are always based in the United States, no matter whether the sect is following Baha’i, Hare Krishnas, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, Scientologists, or other beliefs.

It’s curious that, conversely, in a truly democratic France, the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect is officially prohibited by law as a “cult.”

The Mormon sect which was the first to appear in Armenia in the early 90s was founded by the representatives of US secret services and military contractors. It’s hardly a secret that CIA creates such sects in states where the US is planning a coup d’etat to prepare a faithful proxy government beforehand.

The so-called “Church of Scientology” has also been pursuing similar goals, since it’s run by professional American agents. It is only logical that in most states the activities of Scientology sects are prohibited by law and regarded as a breach of national security. But in the US this sect enjoys complete freedom and even the tacit support of Washington. There’s a very good reason for this paradox, since back in 1959 the then CIA Director Allen Dulles struck a deal with the founder of the sect, Ron Hubbard, according to which the CIA would allow the “Church of Scientology” to operate freely in the US, it would get in return assistance in overseas operations and unconditional access to the the information this church accumulates in foreign states.

The above stated facts may explain why Armenia hosts one of the largest US embassies in the whole world, in spite of the fact that this country is relatively small in comparison to other nations. Nevertheless, the US still needs over five thousand NGOs under its control in Armenia, while spending up to 250 million dollars annually to keep them running.

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nagorno-Karabakh and the Passover Feast: Hollywood’s Glorification of the Arms Trade

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David Packouz (L) and Efraim Diveroli
By Richard Edmondson | Fig Trees and Vineyards | April 7, 2016

From Ukraine to North Africa to the Middle East, and most recently in the Caucasus with the outbreak of hostilities between Azerbaijan and Armenia, death and destruction are on the prowl in multiple wars, while at the same time international laws governing armed conflict are rapidly being cast onto the rubbish heap.

Many of these wars have been instigated by powers outside the countries in which they are being fought, and the tide of violence threatening to engulf the world now is unprecedented in history. You would think that at such a time, Hollywood would have better taste than to make a movie glorifying the arms trade.

But of course, you would be wrong.

Scheduled for release in August, “War Dogs” is based on the real life story of Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, two twenty-something Jews who got involved in the arms trade and ended up bidding on Pentagon contracts, in the process scoring deals to supply weapons, ammo, and other military equipment to forces the US was arming in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Their story was told in a 2011 Rolling Stone article which detailed their passion for money-making, recreational drug use, and their predilection for shady business dealings. “Packouz and Diveroli met at Beth Israel Congregation, the largest Orthodox synagogue in Miami Beach,” the story informs us, and then goes on to describe how they landed some lucrative contracts, including one worth $300 million, all while operating a small company known as AEY, a shell company Diveroli’s father had set up. All of this was in the years 2005-2007.

For decades, weapons had been stockpiled in warehouses throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe for the threat of war against the West, but now arms dealers were selling them off to the highest bidder. The Pentagon needed access to this new aftermarket to arm the militias it was creating in Iraq and Afghanistan. The trouble was, it couldn’t go into such a murky underworld on its own. It needed proxies to do its dirty work — companies like AEY. The result was a new era of lawlessness…

One evening, Diveroli picked Packouz up in his Mercedes, and the two headed to a party at a local rabbi’s house, lured by the promise of free booze and pretty girls. Diveroli was excited about a deal he had just completed, a $15 million contract to sell old Russian-manufactured rifles to the Pentagon to supply the Iraqi army. He regaled Packouz with the tale of how he had won the contract, how much money he was making and how much more there was to be made….

Diveroli, by the way, is the nephew of celebrity rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a staunch supporter of Israel and author of several books, including one entitled “Kosher Sex”–a book in which he “breaks down sexual taboos” while  pioneering “a revolutionary approach to sex, marriage, and personal relationships, drawing on traditional Jewish wisdom.” Boteach has also run inflammatory ads in the New York Times defending Israel, and in 2012 was bankrolled by Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson in an unsuccessful campaign for Congress.

So in other words, while Boteach was doing the TV talk show circuit advising Americans how to improve their sex lives, his nephew Diveroli was finding his niche in the “murkey underworld” of arms trafficking.

Above all, Diveroli cared about the bottom line. “Efraim was a Republican because they started more wars,” Packouz says. “When the United States invaded Iraq, he was thrilled. He said to me, ‘Do I think George Bush did the right thing for the country by invading Iraq? No. But am I happy about it? Absofuckinglutely.’ He hoped we would invade more countries because it was good for business.”

The big $300 million deal they landed found them purchasing stocks of Chinese-made ammunition in the Balkans and transporting them to Afghanistan, but a US embargo against Chinese weapons meant the whole thing had to be carried out clandestinely. The ammo was repackaged in cardboard boxes with no Chinese lettering. But some of the ammo was quite old, a number of the crates were infested with termites, and the two ended up being indicted for fraud and pleading guilty. And now we have a forthcoming Hollywood movie about their endogamic escapades.

It’s tempting to dismiss “War Dogs” as just another piece of Hollywood trash, but of course it comes as millions are coping with the destruction of homes and lives in the bogus war on terror and as whole nations are being torn apart. In Syria, the US has aligned itself with so-called “moderate” rebels, equipping them with vast stocks of weapons, many of which have ended up in the hands of ISIS, while in Yemen, we have assisted Saudi Arabia in an air campaign which, as of January 2016, had resulted in 2,795 killed and 5,324 wounded.  At least 62 civilians were killed by coalition airstrikes in December alone, reports the UN, which was more than twice the number killed in the previous month. Many others have been left homeless.

yemenigirl

A girl drinks from a leaking street pipe in Yemen, where millions now have no access to drinking water

But this hasn’t stopped the US from continuing to fuel the fire, so to speak. According to Defense News, the State Department has facilitated $33 billion worth of weapons sales to its Arab Gulf allies since May of 2015. The weapons–including anti-armor missiles, attack helicopters, and ballistic missile defense capabilities–have been sold to the six countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC. These would of course be some of the same countries that have been supplying arms to ISIS while also carrying out war crimes in Yemen.

“In addition, the U.S. government and industry also delivered 4,500 precision-guided munitions to the GCC countries in 2015, including 1,500 taken directly from U.S. military stocks — a significant action given our military’s own needs,” said David McKeeby, a spokesman with the State Department’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

How much of this ordnance may have ended up in the hands of not-so-moderate terrorists is unclear, but in December of 2015, Amnesty International published a report entitled “Taking Stock: The Arming of the Islamic State,” which found that the terrorist army “now deploys a substantial arsenal of arms and ammunition, designed or manufactured in more than 25 countries.”

A lot of this was looted or captured from poorly secured Iraqi military stocks, says the report, but illicit weapons transactions also seem to have played a considerable role in building up the ISIS arsenal–and some of the “chain of custody” evidence cited in the report, including a cache of weapons transferred from Croatia to the Free Syrian Army, sounds almost eerily similar to the sort of shady weapons trafficking operation run by Packouz and Diveroli.

Of course there is the old adage about art imitating life, and, on some level the fact that Hollywood would make a film about two Jews and then go on to entitle it “War Dogs” is perhaps not surprising. This, keep in mind, coming at a time when evidence of Israel’s support for terrorists in Syria is as clear as the hand in front of your face. And of course who could forget the lovable Victoria Nuland and her famous “f**k-the-EU” comment, mouthed off at a time when her State Department was busy engineering a coup in Ukraine?

In fact, efforts by Zionist Jews to create instability and instigate wars are getting to be about as common as fireflies on a summer night. They’re not always easy to spot, but you know they’re out there because they occasionally involuntarily light up, as when someone like Nuland gets caught in a taped phone conversation.

And now it looks like certain fireflies have moved into the Caucasus where they seem to be taking advantage of a long-simmering dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On April 2, intense fighting broke out followed by a series of charges, counter-charges, claims and counterclaims, made by both sides. According to the Armenians, it started with an offensive launched by Azerbaijani troops using tanks and artillery. Azerbaijan, on the other hand, insists it was responding to large-caliber weapons fire from inside the ethnic Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh area. So who is telling the truth? Or are both sides lying?

Hard to say for sure, but a couple of knowns are worth mentioning: A) Armenia is closely allied with Russia, and, B) Azerbaijan, too, has ties, including trade ties, with Russia, but it also is closely aligned with Turkey and maintains extensive trade relations with Israel. And the trade with Israel has been especially heavy in the area of military procurement.

Israeli drones, anti-aircraft and missile defense systems have been supplied to Azerbaijan in the wake of a $1.6 billion agreement struck between the two countries in 2012. Israeli companies are also active in the Azerbaijani telecommunications, agriculture, water supply medical technology, and energy sectors. That makes for a lot of sayanim on the ground inside a relatively small country.

Perhaps no surprise, then, that Armenian forces shot down an Israeli drone on April 2–the very day hostilities broke out.

The ThunderB drone is known for its light weight, 62 pounds, and its long flying time–25.5 hours–on a single tank of fuel. It is made by an Israeli company known as BlueBird, which reportedly may be about to be purchased by Elbit Systems.

And then on Tuesday came news of yet another Israeli drone spotted over Nagorno-Karabakh–this one believed to be a Harop drone, made by Israeli Aerospace Industries. The Harop is also known as a “suicide drone” in that rather than firing a missile at a target it simply becomes the missile itself, ramming the target and destroying it.

According to Gordon Duff, senior editor at Veterans Today, the key to understanding the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is to recognize “that Azerbaijan is a client state of Israel and the CIA.” He adds that Azerbaijan has as well become “the regional operating center for Google Idea Groups,”  which he refers to as the “shadow CIA.”

Google Ideas was formed in 2010. At that time Google CEO Eric Schmidt tapped the State Department’s Jared Cohen to direct the new venture, dubbed as a “think/do tank.” In late 2015, Google was reorganized under a parent company called Alphabet, Inc., and in February of this year Google Ideas was rebranded as “Jigsaw”–although it is still run by Cohen and still affiliated with Google.

Cohen, by the way, is also an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and during his years with the State Department (2006-2010) he worked closely with Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, and became a strategic advisor in US policy toward Iran. Jigsaw’s mission is to “use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks,” says Schmidt.

Sounds nice, but a purview of Jigsaw’s website–fittingly kind of creepy and dark-looking–suggests that virtually all of the “activists” it has provided support to seem to be from countries with governments the US seeks to overthrow. And indeed, in 2012 Wikileaks released a cache of emails concerning Cohen’s activities in the Middle East, including one, apparently written by Cohen himself, in which he discusses efforts to stir up trouble in Iran:

I wanted to follow-up and get a sense of your latest thinking on the proposed March trip to UAE, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. The purpose of this trip is to exclusively engage the Iranian community to better understand the challenges faced by Iranians as part of one of our Google Ideas groups on repressive societies. Here is what we are thinking: Drive to Azerbaijan/Iranian border and engage the Iranian communities closer to the border (this is important because we need the Azeri Iranian perspective).

So here, it seems, we have Cohen basically setting up shop on the Iran-Azerbaijan border. It should be noted that both Azerbaijan and Armenia border Iran, while Azerbaijan also shares a border with Russia. A conflict breaking out in this region could easily spill over into Russia or Iran–both of which have called for the two warring parties to adhere to a 1994 ceasefire agreement.

But of course, such a spillover would advance certain geopolitical interests. For one thing, it would pose a dilemma for Russia at a time when it is engaged in Syria. Sergei Zheleznyak, vice speaker of the Russian state Duma, has voiced the view that a “third force” is behind developments in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the Russian News Agency Tass :

“It is clear that the force that continues to fan the flames of war in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus dissatisfied with the peacekeeping and counter-terror success of Russia and our allies in Syria is interested in the speedy exacerbation of the protracted conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region,” the parliamentarian wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.

According to Zheleznyak, “neither Azerbaijan nor Armenia essentially need this exacerbation now.” He noted that “there is every likelihood that this provocation has been organized by a third force,” adding that “information on its presence is beginning to leak out.” In view of this, he drew attention to the fact that “at night in the mountains it is enough to have a few trained armed persons who know the opposing sides’ balance of forces to provoke them to open reciprocal ‘reprisal’ fire.”

Most people probably assumed Zheleznyak, in talking about a “third force,” was referring to Turkey–and certainly Turkey’s downing of a Russian jet in Syria factors into the equation. But another element that perhaps figures even more prominently is the “clash of civilizations” that hardcore Zionists have long salivated over the thought of.

We might theorize that ISIS was created with a two-fold objective: one was to break apart Syria and bring about the overthrow of Bashar Assad, while the other was to jockey into existence a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims. In both of these objectives it has failed. Assad is still standing, and while the rise of ISIS certainly inflamed anti-Muslim sentiments in the West, it has not resulted in the all-out war between Christianity and Islam that would have played so well into the hands of the Jewish state.

But where the ISIS plan failed, the conflict in the Caucasus could well succeed. Armenia is predominantly a Christian state, while Azerbaijan is mostly Muslim. A war between these two could galvanize public opinion in the region along religious lines. Regional political alignments and the history of the Armenian genocide are also to be considered. Turkey, though sharing a border with Armenia, has openly sided with Azerbaijan. Russia, on the other hand, has remained officially neutral. However, an RT report filed April 5 shows journalist Murad Gazdiev reporting from inside Armenian Karabakh trenches.

genocide

Armenian Genocide–young girls crucified on crosses

So where is Israel in all of this? Officially it doesn’t seem to be saying much about it, but in May of 2015, the Jewish Daily Forward published an article entitled, “Why Israel’s Alliance with Azerbaijan is so Shortsighted.” The writer, Christopher Atamian, takes the Jewish state to task over its refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide as well as for its lucrative arms contract with Azerbaijan, a country he refers to as an “authoritarian regime that is fueling regional conflict.”

“This is the same country that attempted to wipe out the entire Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh in 1991 before losing a bloody war against the Armenians,” he adds.

What he leaves unspoken, of course, is that Israel’s refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide is tantamount to holocaust denial. More than 1.5 million Armenians were massacred from the years 1915 to 1922, and the Jewish state’s silence on the matter became a particularly hot-button issue last year on the genocide’s 100th anniversary.

Zheleznyak, the Duma vice speaker, seems for his own part to be offering sage advice to both parties in the current conflict, noting that Russia’s president as well as its government agencies “urge Armenia and Azerbaijan to cease fire and not to allow to draw them into someone else’s insidious game, as long as it is still possible.”

“As long as it’s still possible” is of course the key question. The more people die, the further recede the possibilities of the regional players not getting trapped or caught up in the “insidious game”–and the greater  grow the chances of the conflict’s becoming the parabolic curve that ignites World War III.

Should that come to pass, maybe Diveroli and Packouz will vie for ringside seats–although it doesn’t appear they’ll especially want to sit next to each other. According to the article in Rolling Stone, the two had a major falling out.

“Listen, dude, if you f**k me, I’m going to f**k you,” one of them warned during an argument over money.

“Whatever,” replied the other.

One wonders why they didn’t name the movie “War Pigs” rather than “War Dogs.” Perhaps it wouldn’t have been kosher enough.

In the past year in Israel we’ve seen an arson attack on a Palestinian home which left a mother, father and their 18-month-old baby dead; we have seen a video of Jewish settlers dancing and celebrating the attack by stabbing a photo of the baby; we have observed continued expropriation of Palestinian land in the West Bank, including one of the biggest land grabs in recent years–579 acres near the Dead Sea; and more recently we have seen a second video showing an Israeli soldier executing a wounded Palestinian with a gunshot to the head.

The execution video showed Israeli soldier Elior Azaria pump a bullet into the head of 21-year-old Abdul Fattah Sharif, as he lay on the ground wounded and barely moving. The murder took place on Purim, the Jewish holiday which celebrates the massacre of thousands of Gentiles, as told of in the Book of Esther. The next holiday on the Jewish calendar is Passover, coming up on April 22-23. The significance of Passover is laid out in twelfth chapter of Exodus:

On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord–a lasting ordinance… And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’

It seems that both Purim and Passover are in essence celebrations of the deaths of non-Jews. Suppose Gentiles observed holidays each year in which we celebrated Jewish deaths? What do you suppose would be said of it?

Whatever one’s views of Judaism may be (there are some admirable sentiments expressed in the Old Testament as well as some repellent ones), Zionism has morphed from the simple idea of a homeland for a specific group of people into a supremacist ideology that has had appalling consequences–not only for its victims but also even for its adherents, dehumanizing them to a degree never thought imaginable.

Zionism is the great Passover feast that has become a celebration of war.

April 8, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Film Review, Mainstream Media, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict Escalated: In Pursuit of Hidden Agenda

By Pyotr ISKENDEROV – Strategic Culture Foundation – 06.04.2016

The sudden aggravation of the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is fraught with serious consequences. The warring sides, as well as the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group, have to realize that the situation may get out of hand and entail irreversible consequences against the will of the belligerents.

Armenian First Deputy Defense Minister David Tonoyan said in a statement made at the Sunday (April 3) briefing with foreign defense attaches that Armenia is ready for any scenario as the events unfold, «including direct military assistance to the security of the Nagorno-Karabakh republic».

The statement indicates that things will never be the same as before, especially after Turkey, Pakistan and some other countries have voiced their support for Azerbaijan. Once made public, the statements cannot be taken back. The development of events suggests that some forces pursue a hidden agenda in an effort to unfreeze the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and make the escalation irreversible.

In recent years, the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh worsened from time to time, but it never escalated to large-scale operations involving aviation and heavy equipment. Moreover, decisions to start combat actions can not be taken in absence of state leaders. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan were in Washington when the situation escalated overnight on April 2.

The outside factors probably play a much bigger role than it may seem at first glance.

Evidently, some countries, like Russia, for instance, have no interest in the escalation of the conflict in the Caucasus. Moscow plays the leading role in the crisis management efforts. It has always strived for developing mutually beneficial ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The aggravation of the conflict creates a problem for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia is a member of the CSTO, which is to defend it if attacked. But the organization has no obligations to defend the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Article 4 of the Treaty states «If an aggression is committed against one of the States Parties by any state or a group of states, it will be considered as an aggression against all the States Parties to this Treaty. In case an act of aggression is committed against any of the States Parties, all the other States Parties will render it necessary assistance, including military one, as well as provide support with the means at their disposal through an exercise of the right to collective defense in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter».

The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is not covered by the Treaty, but the broad interpretation of its text may lead to misunderstanding inside the CSTO between Russia and Armenia on the one hand, and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on the other hand.

Obviously, the bloodshed does not meet the interests of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, outside forces have entered a «window of opportunity» to incite Baku.

Now who gains as a result of Azerbaijan’s involvement in the conflict? There are at least three parties to benefit.

Turkey tops the list. Having suffered a defeat in Syria and in face of growing impact of the Kurdish factor, Erdogan could go as far as sparking the Caucasian hotbed to entangle Russia. His plans may envision provoking a confrontation between the Russian Federation and NATO. If so, he could have given certain assurances and guarantees to Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev during his visit to Turkey on March 15.

Director of US National Intelligence James Clapper warned about possible escalation of the conflict in February.

The information was confirmed by the fact that the air forces of Azerbaijan and Turkey held March 7-25 joint military exercises TurAz Shahini-2016 in the Turkish province of Konya as part of the TurAz Qartali program of military cooperation. The exercises were held in accordance with the annual plan of joint training events that kicked off last September.

The United States, or, to be more precise, the circles in Washington interested in keeping up tensions in the relationship with Moscow, is the second party, which has a stake in the conflict’s flare up. The goal is to weaken the Collective Security Treaty Organization and create snugs on the way of post-Soviet space integration. Sparking a conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is the best way to do it.

The third party interested in the conflict is the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, especially Qatar. This country has close ties with Turkey. It challenges Saudi Arabia as the leader of the organization. Besides, there are heightened tensions between the Gulf Cooperation Council members and Iran. Iranian Azerbaijanis account for 15-16% of the country’s population. Tehran has had good relations with Erevan ever since early 1990s. Like Russia, it has no interest in inciting the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Qatar and Turkey enjoy special relationship. They are known for tacit support of Muslim Brotherhood. It would be logical to surmise that both countries coordinate policies on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.

Azerbaijan and the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh said on April 5 they were halting hostilities after four days of intense fighting.

The world community pins great hopes on the ability of the OSCE to prevent the worst from happening .

April 7, 2016 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Armenian-Azeri Tensions Just Got Alarming: Here’s Why It’s Happening (I)

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | April 4, 2016

The unprecedented upsurge in violence along the Line of Contact between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh has raised universal concern that a larger conflict might be brewing, with some analysts seeing it as an outgrowth of Turkey’s destabilizing anti-Russian policies over the past couple of months.

As attractive as it may be to believe such that Azerbaijan is behaving as a total puppet of the West, such an explanation is only a superficial description of what is happening and importantly neglects to factor in Baku’s recent foreign policy pivot over the past year. It’s not to necessarily suggest that Russia’s CSTO ally Armenia is to blame for the latest ceasefire violations, but rather to raise the point that this unfolding series of militantly destabilizing events is actually a lot more complex than initially meets the eye, although the general conclusion that the US is reaping an intrinsic strategic benefit from all of this is clearly indisputable.

Instead of beginning the research from a century ago and rehashing the dueling historic interpretations that both sides have over Nagorno-Karabakh, the article at hand begins at the present day and proceeds from the existing on-the-ground state of affairs after the 1994 ceasefire, whereby the disputed territory has de-facto been administered as its own unrecognized state with strong Armenian support in all sectors. There’s no attempt to advocate one side or denigrate the other, but rather to objectively understand the situation as it is and forecast its unfolding developments.

In keeping with the task at hand, it’s essential that the point of analytical departure be an overview of Armenia and Azerbaijan’s latest geopolitical moves in the year preceding the latest clashes. Afterwards, it’s required that an analysis be given about the limits to Russia’s CSTO commitment to Armenia, which thus helps to put Russia’s active diplomatic moves into the appropriate perspective. Following that, Part II of the article raises awareness about the US’ Reverse Brzezinski stratagem of peripheral quagmire-like destabilization along the post-Soviet rim and how the recent outbreak of violence is likely part and parcel of this calculated plan. Finally, the two-part series concludes with the suggested appeal that Armenia and Azerbaijan replace the stale OSCE Minsk Group conflict resolution format with a fresh analogue via their newly shared dialogue partner status under the SCO.

Not What One Would Expect

Over the past year or so, Armenia and Azerbaijan’s geopolitical trajectories haven’t exactly been moving along the course that casual commentators would expect that they would. Before beginning this section, it’s necessary to preface it with a disclaimer that the author is not referring to the average Armenian or Azeri citizen in the following analysis, but rather is using their respective countries’ names interchangeably with their given governments, so “Armenia” in this instance refers to the Yerevan political establishment while “Azerbaijan” relates to its Baku counterpart. This advisory note is needed in order to proactively prevent the reader from misunderstanding the author’s words and analyses, since the topic is full of highly emotionally charged elements and generally evokes a strong reaction among many, especially those of either of the two ethnicities.

Armenia:

The general trend is that the prevailing geopolitical stereotypes about Armenia and Azerbaijan are not as accurate as one would immediately think, and that neither country adheres to them to the degree that one would initially expect. It’s true that Armenia is a staunch and loyal Russian CSTO ally which maintains a presence of 5,000 troops, a handful of jets and helicopters, a forthcoming air defense shield, and possibly soon even Iskander missiles there, but it’s been progressively diversifying its foreign policy tangent by taking strong strides in attempting to reach an Association Agreement with the EU despite its formal Eurasian Union membership.

This has yet to be clinched, but the resolute intent that Yerevan clearly demonstrated in May 2015 raises uncomfortable questions about the extent to which its decision-making elite may have been co-opted by Western influences. The author was so concerned about this eventuality that he published a very controversial analysis that month explaining the various ploys by which the West has sought to woo Armenia over to its side, including the shedding of crocodile tears for its genocide victims during their centenary remembrance commemoration.

As is the established pattern which was most clearly proven by Ukraine, the more intensely that a geostrategically positioned country flirts with the West, the more susceptible that it is to a forthcoming Color Revolution attempt, so it’s unsurprising in hindsight that the “Electric Yerevan” destabilization was commenced just one month after the Armenian President was publicly hobnobbing with so many of his Western “partners”. That anti-government push was a proto-manifestation of what the author later described in an unrelated work as “Color Revolution 1.5” technologies which seek to use “civil society” and “anti-corruption” elements as experimental triggers for testing the catalyzation of large-scale regime change movements. The geopolitical end goal in all of this, as the author wrote in his “Electric Yerevan” piece cited above, was to get Armenian nationalists such as Nikol Pashinyan into power so that they can provoke a continuation war in Nagorno-Karabakh that might conceivably end up dragging in Russia. They thankfully didn’t succeed in this, and the sitting Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan has repeatedly underscored that Armenia does not want to see a conflict escalation in the disputed territory.

Strangely, despite the regime change attempt that the West tried to engineer against Armenia, Sargsyan still declared in early 2016 that “Armenia’s cooperation and development of relations with the EU remain a priority for Armenia’s foreign policy” and “expressed gratitude to the EU for their assistance in carrying out reforms in Armenia.” Also, the EU’s External Action Service reports that the two sides formally relaunched their negotiation process with one another on 7 December with the aim of reaching a “new agreement (that) will replace the current EU-Armenia Partnership and Cooperation agreement.”

An EU analyst remarked in March of this year that he obviously doesn’t believe that it will be identical to the Association Agreement that the EU had offered to Armenia prior to its Eurasian Union ascension, but that of course doesn’t mean that it couldn’t share many similarities with its predecessor and create geopolitical complications for Yerevan’s economic alliance with Moscow. It must be emphasized at this point that while the Armenian state is still closely linked to Russia on the military-political level and formally part of the Eurasian Union, it is provocatively taking strong economic steps in the direction of the EU and the general Western community, disturbingly raising the prospect that its schizophrenic policies might one day engender a crisis of loyalty where Yerevan is forced to choose between Moscow and Brussels much as Kiev was artificially made to do so as well (and possibly with similar pro-Western urban terrorist consequences for the “wrong choice”).

Azerbaijan:

On the other hand, while Armenia was bucking the conventional stereotype by moving closer to the West, Azerbaijan was also doing something similar by realigning itself closer to Russia. Baku’s relations with Washington, Brussels, Ankara, and even Tel Aviv (which it supplies 40% of its energy to via the BTC pipeline) are well documented, as is its geostrategic function as a non-Russian energy source for the EU (particularly in the context of the Southern Corridor project), so there’s no use regurgitating well-known and established facts inside of this analysis. Rather, what’s especially interesting to pay attention to is how dramatically the ties between Azerbaijan and the West have declined over the past year. Even more fascinating is that all of it was so unnecessary and had barely anything to do with Baku’s own initiative.

What happened was that Brussels started a soft power campaign against Baku by alleging that the latter had been violating “human rights” and “democratic” principles, which resulted in Azerbaijan boldly announcing in September 2015 that it was cancelling the planned visit of a European Commission delegation and considering whether it “should review [its] ties with the European Union, where anti-Azeri and anti-Islam tendencies are strong.” For a country that is stereotypically seen as being under the Western thumb, that’s the complete opposite of a subservient move and one that exudes defiance to the West. Earlier that year in February 2015, Quartz online magazine even exaggeratedly fear mongered that “Azerbaijan is transforming into a mini-Russia” because of its strengthening domestic security capabilities in dealing with asymmetrical threats.

While Azerbaijan’s resistance certainly has its pragmatic limits owing to the country’s entrenched strategic and energy infrastructural relationship with the West over the past couple of decades, it’s telling that it would so publicly rebuke the West in the fashion that it did and suggests that the problems between Azerbaijan and the West are deeper than just a simple spat. Part of the reason for the West’s extreme dislike of the Azerbaijani government has been its recent pragmatic and phased emulation of Russia’s NGO security legislation which aims to curb the effectiveness of intelligence-controlled proxy organizations in fomenting Color Revolutions. Having lost its influence over the country via the post-modern “grassroots-‘bottom-up’” approach, it’s very plausible that the US and its allies decided to find a way to instigate Nagorno-Karabakh clashes as a means of regaining their sway over their wayward Caspian ‘ally’.

Amidst this recent falling out between Azerbaijan and the West and even in the years preceding it, Moscow has been able to more confidently position itself as a reliable, trustworthy, and non-discriminatory partner which would never interfere with Baku’s domestic processes or base its bilateral relations with the country on whatever its counterpart chooses to do at home. Other than the unmistakable security influence that Russia has had on Azerbaijan’s NGO legislation, the two sides have also increased their military-technical cooperation through a surge of agreements that totaled $4 billion by 2013. By 2015, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported that Azerbaijan’s total arms spending for the five-year period of 2011-2014 had increased by 249%, with 85% of its supplies coming from Russia.

In parallel to that, it also asserted that Russia’s weapons exports to Europe for 2011-2015 increased by 264%, “mainly due to deliveries to Azerbaijan”. It’s plain to see that Russia isn’t treating Azerbaijan as though it were an unredeemable Western puppet state, but is instead applying a shrewd and calculated military balancing strategy between it and Armenia. While unconfirmed by official sources, the head of the Political Researches Department of the Yerevan-based Caucasian Institute Sergey Minasian claimed in 2009 that Russia was supplying its Gyumri base in Armenia via air transit permission from Azerbaijan after Georgia banned such overflights through its territory after the 2008 war. If this is true, then it would suggest that Russian-Azeri strategic relations are at their most trusted level in post-independence history and that Baku has full faith that Moscow will not do anything to upset the military balance in the Southern Caucasus, which of course includes the paranoid fear that some Azeri observers have expressed about Russia conspiring with Armenia to wage another war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Strategic Calculations and CSTO Limits

Russia And Armenia:

Everything that was written above likely comes as a complete shock to the casual observer of international affairs because it flies in the face of presumed “logic”, but this just goes to show that the prevailing geopolitical stereotypes about Armenia and Azerbaijan are inaccurate and do not fully reflect the present state of affairs. The common denominator between the two rival states is their evolving relationship with Russia, which as was just described, appears to be progressively moving in opposite directions. Again, the author does not intend to give the impression that this reflects popular sentiment in either country or its expatriate and diaspora communities, especially Armenia and its affiliated ethnic nationals, since the general attitude inside the country (despite the highly publicized “Electric Yerevan” failed Color Revolution attempt) and for the most part by its compatriots outside of it could safely be described as favorable to Russia. This makes Yerevan’s pro-Western advances all the more puzzling, but that only means that the answer to this paradox lies more in the vision (and possible monetary incentives) of the country’s leadership than the will of its people. Still, the situation is not critical and has yet to approach the point where the pragmatic and trusted state of bilateral relations is endangered.

Russia And Azerbaijan:

That being said, to many conventional observers, Russia’s close military cooperation with Azerbaijan might seem just as peculiar as Armenia’s intimation of a forthcoming pro-Western economic pivot, but that too can be explained by a strategic calculation, albeit one of a much more pragmatic and understandable nature. Russia has aspired to play the role of a pivotal balancing force between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and truth be told and much to the dismay of many Armenians, it did approve of UNSC Resolutions affirming Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity along its internationally recognized borders, specifically the most recent 62/243 one from 2008 which “Reaffirms continued respect and support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Azerbaijan within its internationally recognized borders” and “Demands the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all the occupied territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

Nagorno-Karabakh map

Nagorno-Karabakh map

Geopolitical Consistency:

What’s happening isn’t that Russia is “betraying Armenia” like some overactive nationalist pundits like to allege, but that it’s maintaining what has been its consistent position since the conflict began and is abiding by its stated international guiding principle in supporting territorial integrity. Key to this understanding is that the conception of territorial integrity is a guiding, but not an irreversible, tenet of Russian foreign policy, and the 2008 Russian peace-enforcement operation in Georgia that led to the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and the 2014 reunification with Crimea prove that extenuating circumstances can result in a change of long-standing policy on a case-by-case basis. This can be interpreted as meaning that Moscow at this stage (operative qualifier) does not support the independence of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, but to be fair, neither does Yerevan, although the Armenian state just recently repeated its previously stated position that it could recognize the Armenian-populated region as a separate country if the present hostilities with Azerbaijan increase. Therefore, the main condition that could push Armenia to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state and possibly even pressure Russia to follow suit would be the prolonged escalation of conflict around the Line of Contact.

The Unification Conundrum:

As much as some participants and international observers might think of such a move as being historically just and long overdue, Russia would likely have a much more cautious approach to any unilateral moves that Armenia makes about recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh. To repeat what was earlier emphasized about Russia’s political approach to this conflict, this would not amount to a “betrayal” of Armenia but instead would be a pragmatic and sober assessment of the global geostrategic environment and the likely fact that such a move could instantly suck Russia into the war. As it stands, Russia has a mutual defense commitment to Armenia which makes it responsible for protecting its ally from any aggression against it, however this only corresponds to the territory that Russia internationally recognizes as Armenia’s own, thereby excluding any Armenian forces and passport holders in Nagorno-Karabakh.

If Armenia recognizes Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state, it would likely initiate a rapidly progressing process whereby the two Armenian-populated entities vote for unification, which would then place Russia in the very uncomfortable position of having to consider whether it will recognize such a unilateral move by its ally and thereby extend its mutual defense umbrella over what would by then be newly incorporated and Russian-recognized Armenian territory. On the one hand, Moscow wouldn’t want to be perceived as “betraying” its centuries-long Armenian ally and thenceforth engendering its unshakable hate for the foreseeable future, but on the other, it might have certain reservations about getting directly involved in the military conflict as a warfighting participant and forever losing the positive New Cold War inroads that it has made with Baku.

Russian-Azeri relations, if pragmatically managed along the same constructive trajectory that they’ve already been proceeding along, could lead to Moscow gaining a strategic foothold over an important Turkish, EU, and Israeli energy supplier and thus giving Russia the premier possibility of indirectly exerting its influence towards them vis-à-vis its ties with Baku. In any case, the Russian Foreign Ministry would prefer not to be placed on the spot and in such a zero-sum position where it is forced to choose between honoring its Armenian ally’s unilateral unification with Nagorno-Karabakh and abandoning its potential outpost of transregional strategic influence in Azerbaijan, or pursuing its gambit to acquire grand transregional influence via Azerbaijan at the perceived expense of its long-standing South Caucasus ally and risk losing its ultra-strategic military presence in the country.

The Nagorno-Karabakh Question is thus a quandary of epic and far-reaching geostrategic proportions for Russia, which is doing everything that it can to neutrally negotiate between the two sides in offsetting this utterly destabilizing scenario and preventing it from being forced to choose a disastrous zero-sum commitment in what will be argued in Part II to likely be an externally third-party/US-constructed military-political dilemma. Furthermore, both Armenia and Azerbaijan want to retain Russian support and neither wants to risk losing it, which also explains why Azerbaijan has yet to unleash its full military potential against the Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and why Armenia hasn’t unilaterally recognized Nagorno-Karabakh or made an effort to politically unite with it. Conclusively, it can be surmised that the only actor which wants to force this false choice of “either-or” onto Russia is the US, which always benefits whenever destabilization strikes Moscow’s periphery and its Eurasian adversary is forced into a pressing geopolitical dilemma.

To be continued…

Andrew Korybko is the American political commentator currently working for the Sputnik agency.

April 4, 2016 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Day, Another Billion for Color Revolutions Near Russia’s Borders

Sputnik – February 13, 2016

Last week, the Obama administration proposed its final, 2017 fiscal year budget proposal to Congress. Among the proposed outlays is a State Department request for nearly a billion dollars to counter “Russian aggression” and “promote democracy” in the former Soviet Union. In other words, Washington thinks the region needs more color revolutions.

On Tuesday, the State Department and USAID held a special joint briefing, laying out a $50.1 billion spending request for 2017, including $953 million in “critical support for Ukraine and surrounding countries in Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia to counter Russian aggression through foreign assistance and public diplomacy.” The funds, officials specified, would go toward “enhancing access to independent, unbiased information; eliminating corruption and supporting rule of law; strengthening civil society; enhancing energy security, supporting financial reforms, trade, and economic diversification; and increasing some defense capabilities” in countries including “Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova [and] in Central Asia.”

The spending would be separate from the proposed $3.4 billion (up from $789 million in 2016), provided by the so-called “European Reassurance Initiative,” which aims for “a significant reinvestment in the US military presence in Europe after decades of gradual withdrawal” to counter “the growing threat Russia poses to long-term US national security interests in Europe and beyond.”

With most of the Western media basically ignoring the plans and focusing on other aspects of the budget’s whopping $4 trillion in proposed spending, Russian security analysts, naturally, couldn’t let this ‘minor detail’ simply slip by unnoticed, given that the spending proposal is openly oriented against Russia.

Analyzing the State Department’s proposed new spending spree, Svobodnaya Pressa columnist Andrei Ivanov says that the outlays raise as many questions as they answer.

“It’s not difficult to guess what is implied by [the proposed spending for] ‘democratization,'” the journalist noted. “However, several questions arise. Firstly, this year, the State Department has already allocated $117 million ‘to support democracy’ in Ukraine, and $51 million for Moldova and Georgia. But in these countries, so-called color revolutions have already taken place, and the Americans have already almost achieved what they set out to do.””Secondly, it’s unclear what kind of ‘countering of Russian aggression’ the State Department means in relation to Central Asia. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have long been oriented toward Moscow, and even joined with Russia in the common customs area of the Eurasian Economic Union. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan are also part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s unified security system. Russia has also signed a series of bilateral cooperation agreements with Uzbekistan.”

The proposed spending, Ivanov notes, “assumes a serious US commitment to pursuing its [geopolitical] goals, which threatens Russia with obvious negative consequences. The question thus arises about the countermeasures our country might take in response.”

“According to experts, on the eve of the coup d’état in Ukraine in 2014, over two thousand non-governmental organizations were created, from training camps for militants to various clubs of political scientists and media workers.”

Unfortunately, the journalist recalls, “Moscow relied more on the agreements reached with Ukrainian elites; the result was disastrous. Today, the question again arises about the need to work actively with the civil society of neighboring states.”

Asked to comment on the State Department’s new spending proposal, Andrei Manoilo, a professor of political science at Moscow State University, expressed a commonly held view among Russian security professionals.

Namely, the professor told the newspaper, “when Washington talks about spreading democracy, and allocates money for this purpose, it is referring to ‘color revolutions’ – the overthrow of undesirable regimes and the drive to bring puppets who mimic democracy to power.”

“Factually, these countries find themselves under American control. Ukraine is a vivid example. Until recently, Georgia too served as a good example, with each department and ministry in the country featuring an advisor and curator from the State Department. In Ukraine, supervision is carried out through the US Embassy, and through officials loyal to Washington, charged with implementing its instructions.”

As for the earmarking funds for countries which have already undergone color revolutions, Manoilo explained that the money “is allocated for the purpose of maintaining the stability of the dependent regime.” This is especially true in Ukraine’s case, he said. It is also meant “to ensure the loyalty of local elites.”

In Georgia’s case, “after Mikheil Saakashvili resigned from his post and was forced to flee the country, the American position weakened somewhat, mainly due to the perceived negativity which the color revolution had brought the country. So here, the US [spends] in order to maintain its influence. It is also possible that the US is considering ensuring the loyalty of Georgian elites by ‘nourishing’ cyclical color revolutions, thus carrying out a rotation of the elite.”

As for Central Asia, the State Department announcement seems to indicate, according to Manoilo, “that color revolutions are planned there as well. The Americans need to see regime change in the countries which, for the most part, are oriented toward Russia. In Central Asia, Moscow has several projects geared toward integration, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the CSTO. Today, the countries in the region face a difficult situation, with disintegratory processes growing among them.”

In Tajikistan, the professor warned, the State Department may attempt to reignite the embers of the country’s civil war, which took place between 1992-1997, taking advantage of disagreements between the country’s north and south. “US NGOs, which operated freely in the country until recently, are taking advantage [of discontent] among both northern and southern elites. It was not until about a year ago that President Emomali Rahmon began to restrict their activities.”In Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, “the situation has changed little since the last color revolution. The protest mood remains strong. US NGOs and foundations have been working actively with the rural population, which is not very versed in politics, but is easy to agitate to participate in demonstrations against authorities, as the ‘melon’ revolution of 2010 demonstrated.”

In all the countries of Central Asia, Manoilo noted, “there is the strong factor of Islamist radicalism. By and large, only the presence of Russian military bases holds back an Islamist offensive in the region.”

Unfortunately, he says, “practice has shown that when it comes to overthrowing undesirable governments, the State Department easily finds a common language with even the most rabid fundamentalists. It’s sufficient to recall the color revolutions of the so-called Arab Spring. It would not be out of place to presume that the US is preparing their repetition, except this time in the post-Soviet space.”

“In addition to Central Asia, there is the southern Caucasus. Last summer, Armenia saw a rehearsal of a color revolution under non-political slogans – a new technology called the ‘Electro-Maidan’. Armenia is a Russian ally in the South Caucasus, and the US has plans for regime change, using their methods of the so-called ‘democratic transition’.”

Ultimately, Manoilo warns, “by dismantling the political order in Russia’s neighboring countries, the US wants to create a vacuum around our country. Simply put, this indicates a repeat of the Ukrainian scenario. After all, until very recently it was simply impossible to imagine Ukraine as a country which is hostile to Russia.” … Full article

February 14, 2016 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wolf Pack vs. Bear

By Anne Williamson | LewRockwell | April 16, 2015

Having now had a year’s time to get better acquainted with their new Ukrainian friends and the neighborhood overall, Europeans are losing their taste for economic sanctions on Russia.

Contrary to American assurances, economic warfare against Russia meant to compel the return of Crimea to Ukraine hasn’t worked. Nor did the Ukrainian military’s campaign against the Donbas tame the Russian “aggression” mainstream media shouts about daily. All Europe has achieved to date is tens of billions in lost trade and Russia’s abandonment of the South Stream pipeline.

The Russians were building South Stream to insure the – politely put – “integrity” of gas flows to Europe while in transit across Ukraine, and put an end to the country’s 24-year racket of holding Russia’s energy commerce with Europe hostage by virtue of having inherited a key segment of the Soviet pipeline network. The loss of jobs and transit revenues their participation in the construction and operation of South Stream promised was keenly felt in Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  Austria, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Germany have all taken serious losses thanks to the trade sanctions as well.

Trade and employment losses coupled with some USD 40 billions more in IMF loans to Kiev, whose proceeds are most likely to be spent – at the US’s insistence – on yet more war, and the growing misery of all the Ukrainian people are typical of the now familiar results of US-organized sedition abroad. However, those results are usually observed in militarily weak, third world nations the US chooses to undermine for whatever reasons, and certainly not on the continent their most loyal and most capable allies occupy.

Besides which, the whole cockamamie story the US has been pushing vis a vis Crimea is falling apart. The fact that one year on there are no Crimean protests and no “Back to Kiev!” grass root committees has undermined the entire premise of the sanctions. Even year long multiple polling by western agencies has shown that large majorities of Crimeans have no regrets concerning the 2014 reunification with their motherland of some 300 years.

In truth, the world owes a debt of gratitude to the Russians. While US State Department operatives busied themselves in Kiev with constructing an interim, post-coup government of fascist stooges and native oligarchs, the Russians’ deft and lightening re-absorption of a willing Crimea took the meat right off the table. The American greenhorns in Kiev were left dumbfounded, and hopping mad.

With the Black Sea port of Sevastopol safely in Russian hands, and the country’s immediate strategic interests secure, there was no need for war. Given time, the Russians know Ukraine as presently constituted will defeat Ukraine, and that not even a Himalaya of dollars and the sacrifices of several generations of Ukrainians will put the country back together again. Default will be Ukraine’s only escape route.

But it is the antics of hyperbolic NATO operatives (Dragoon Ride, a Conga line of armored Stryker vehicles and troops rolling across Europe from the Baltics to central Europe in a “show of force,”) the bloviating of chest-beating US generals (the only way “to turn the tide” is “to start killing Russians”) and the dumb bellicosity of the US Congress for having authorized the export of lethal weaponry to Kiev that finally got the EU leadership looking sideways at one another. Just exactly what has the US gotten them into?

But it was the EU itself who bought, by bits and by pieces, into America’s scheme. The events in Ukraine have left the European Union naked before her own members’ populations, exposed as a highly-bureaucratized system of US vassalage so thoroughly in harness individual nations actually agreed to harm their own economies in pursuit of US policies. There’s a reason for the EU’s acquiescence: The EU and its leadership stands to gain should State Department neoconservatives deliver on their promises. The EU will get bigger and its artificial and suffocating institutions more deeply entrenched.

How so?

The only direction in which the EU can expand is to the East. Ukraine, Moldova, Transdniestr, Armenia and Georgia were all believed ripe for the taking, and each is or was being pursued with EU “association agreements,” which subvert each country to EU dictates while holding the prize of EU membership in abeyance.

Absorbing such contrarily-organized lands is the work of decades. No matter. Their capture alone will enable the ECB to go on an immediate super-binge of vendor financing, which it is believed will conjure up jobs, export profits, and, the ECB (European Central Bank) hopes, a new round of euro-based credit expansion and piratization that will, in the fullness of time, strip the newly “associated” lands and their citizens of their savings and property. Once the fiat money-engineered boom begins to fade, the expectation is that ongoing economic warfare against Russia, directed and policed by the US, will at last bear fruit. Only a small shove and a slight push will be needed to topple and then shatter Russia into bite-sized pieces for the west’s further consumption.

So set upon this course is the US that the White House’s recent offer of a slippery framework to Iran to conclude the Israeli-manufactured dispute over the country’s nuclear enrichment program has the look of arbitrage, indicating there are limits to just how much havoc Washington can create and oversee abroad. Besides, Iran is currently useful in the conflict with the US-created ISIS. With sanctions lifted, the flood of Iranian oil and gas coming to market would further harm Russia’s economic interests while supporting the building of new pipelines to Europe originating in the Middle East and North Africa (under indirect US control) and sparing any further need for US ally Saudi Arabia to continue pumping low-priced oil for which there is insufficient global demand.

As long as Angela Merkel keeps Germany on board, and Germany continues to fund the stagnant EU, the US’s high-tech version of a medieval siege of the Kremlin can proceed.

With new multilateral treaties agreed under cover of tax and banking transparency (FATCA) now in place, the US is well on its way to being able to track in real time every currency unit on the planet that is emitted, earned, deposited, withdrawn, spent, invested, loaned, and borrowed by means of the banks, long seen as a US-engineered globalism’s most effective police force. European governments’ war on cash is meant to insure all commerce will flow through the banks and therefore be recorded. These new surveillance capabilities will be exploited to the maximum in the case of both Russia and hesitant Europeans for the purposes of blackmail, extortion, and control.

In a digital battlescape staffed by the west’s soldiers of finance, winter will not save the Russians.

Another attack strategy the US is about to deploy, drawn not from history but from nature, is that of the wolf pack. Though NATO troops will bedevil Russia’s borders, no western troops will actually set foot on Russian territory prior to the country’s imminent collapse. That would be dangerous, but the more proxy wars and political upheavals the US can stir up along Russia’s periphery while the motherland suffers and declines under the west’s economic blockade, the better.

Necessary and experienced personnel are being appointed and NGOs beefed up in preparation for brewing new crises and rainbow revolutions along Russia’s “soft, underbelly”: the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, which both Armenia and Azerbaijan claim, in Kyrgyzstan where the south and the north are alienated from one another, in Uzbekistan where control of the Fergana Valley is in dispute with Kyrgyzstan, and in Georgia, which hopes for the return of Ossetia and Abkhazia. Carrots and sticks will miraculously set many a fire.

Keeping those flames under control will seriously tax Russia’s resources.

US objectives include busting up the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), whose members include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), whose members include China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia, and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), whose members – to date – include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia.

However, there are problems with the above scenarios unfolding as planned.

US foreign policy assumes everyone on the planet wants to be an American, or – second best – a recipient of American interest and munificence, a notion which the state has successfully sold only to movie-mad foreign teenagers and naive Americans. Rather than being an advertisement for the benefits of American intervention, the Ukraine America is building might better serve as one for the beneficial avoidance of same through membership in the EAEU.

Russia is hardly new to the protection game. Armenia and Georgia, the first Christian nations on earth, soon found themselves unmoored in a sea of Islam. Each petitioned the Kremlin for inclusion into the empire. They wanted and needed the protection of the “Third Rome,” and they got it. Today Armenia wisely continues to huddle close to Russia, eschewing the opportunity of becoming a battle station in any anti-Azeri US campaign, while a US-enamored Georgia still chafes at the protection the US provides their former proxy, the corrupt Saakashvili regime. Azerbaijan has but to look at Iran to see what misfortune the US is quite willing to hand round. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have the example of their war torn neighbor, US-occupied Afghanistan, to contemplate.

US foreign policy further assumes that targets will stand still and only stare into the blinding glare of America’s oncoming headlights.

Russia’s abrupt shut down of the South Stream gas pipeline’s construction and the rapid replacement of European entry points and participants with a single exit point in Turkey from which Russian gas will flow to the rest of Europe through Greece along pipes it is now the EU’s responsibility to finance and build has put paid to that assumption. It is not only Russia that has an exploitable “soft underbelly.”

Despite the mainstream media’s shameless dissemination of western governments’ fatuous propaganda, and of what is sure to be an exploding supply of tit for tat, sufficient information is available to anyone who cares to look to determine who is destroying and who is trying to build, who is seeking peaceful co-operation and increasing trade and commerce between nations and who is demanding obedience to its diktat while waving a mailed fist.

To paraphrase Mae West, “Democracy has nothin’ to do with it.”

It is certainly an irony of history, wild and raw, that Vladimir Putin, a man who once described himself as “a pure and utterly successful product of a Soviet patriotic education,” is today seen by an increasing number of alarmed citizens worldwide as liberty’s if not civilization’s best, if inadvertent and imperfect, hope. But those souls should have no illusions. Whatever the Russian president does, he will do for Russia’s sake, not ours.

But if Russia cannot stand, we will all sink together into tyranny or eternity.

April 18, 2015 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The American Aggression Enablement Act and the US’ Eurasian Thrust (II)

By Andrew KORYBKO | Oriental Review | August 1, 2014

Part I

Part II: Destabilization by Design

The second thrust of the US’ aggression in Eurasia is the purposeful destabilization of Russia’s interests in the Near Abroad. Specifically, the AAEA’s provisions would lead to an endangered security situation for Belarus, mayhem in Moldova, and an aggravation of the Nagorno-Karabakh situation between Azerbaijan and Armenia. All of these work against Russian interests and place Moscow on the strategic defensive.

Bunkering in Belarus:

One of the US’ designs is to bunker Belarus in and surround it with offensive NATO military capabilities. American aggression against Belarus is old news, going back most sensationally to the mid-2000s when Condoleeza Rice declared the country to be the “last dictatorship in Europe”, thereby putting its head on the chopping block for regime change. Although unsuccessful in overthrowing the government via a Color Revolution, Washington still pumps millions of dollars into the country to support “democracy” (likely in the same vein and with the same intended result as it did in Ukraine with its $5 billion investment). If the AAEA’s goal of placing permanent NATO bases in Poland and the Baltics comes to fruition, as well as the goal of Shadow NATO integration of Ukraine, Belarus could very well find itself almost surrounded by hostile forces pressuring it to accede to their demands. Making the situation even more high-risk, Belarus and Russia have a mutual security agreement via the CSTO, meaning that any act of force against Belarus will be treated as an act against Russia itself. This remarkably raises the stakes of NATO’s power play and increases the chance of direct conflict with Russia.

Moldovan Meltdown:

Transnistria (colored green) and Gagauzia (red) are seeking peaceful divorce with Moldova since 1991.

Flying largely under the radar of most analysts, Moldova is prime for a full-scale meltdown as it is rushed into Western institutions. First and foremost, the country already signed the EU Association Agreement in late June and, for the first time in its history, will be sending a representative to the upcoming NATO summit in September. Although nominal neutrality is a hallmark of the country’s constitution, this does not mean that it cannot enter Shadow NATO via major non-NATO ally designation or potentially enact a ‘referendum’ to change this statute.

What is critical here is that there are two ticking time bombs in Moldova that will likely go off as Western ‘integration’ proceeds at record speed; Transnistria and the lesser-known Gagauzia. The former is the renowned frozen conflict from the 1990s where Russia still has over a thousand troops stationed. It voted to join the Russian Federation in 2006 but to no avail. In May, Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin was harassed by Moldovan security after he visited Transnistria to collect signatures in favor of reunification with Russia. His plane was forced to land in Chisinau after Ukrainian and Moldovan authorities restricted their airspace to him, creating a diplomatic incident which would be unthinkable to do to a Western politician, let alone of such stature. Moreover, the territory is currently experiencing a blockade by both Moldova and Ukraine. Transnistria does not accept the authority of Chisinau and sees no attraction to the EU, instead preferring the Russian-led Eurasian Union. These radically divergent paths, coupled with NATO’s ambitions and Russia’s existing military position, place Moldova on the brink of destabilization.

Not only that, but Gagauzia is also a simmering issue waiting to boil over. Ari Rusila conducted research on this relatively unknown entity back in April and found that, just like Transnistria, it too is moving closer to Russia. Just as fast as Moldova is moving westward, Gagauzia appears to be moving eastward, and it is asserting its self-determination with every step of the way. He writes that it held a February 2014 referendum to join the Customs Union and that it also voted to place independence on the table if Moldova loses or surrenders its sovereignty. These two options could be taken to mean joining the EU or merging with Romania, and if Gagauzia officially moves away from the centralized Moldovan state, it could lead to military reprisals by Chisinau. All that it takes to set off the two Transnistrian and Gagauzian time bombs is to shove Moldova into the EU and NATO, both of which are already being fast-tracked by the West.

Asphyxiating Armenia:

Lost in the mix of the more headline-grabbing aspects of the AAEA, the legislation also mandates that the US increase its military cooperation with Azerbaijan and provide the same amount of security assistance to it, in league with NATO, as it would to the major non-NATO allies and Balkan states. This is an exceptionally important detail that mustn’t be overlooked by any observer. Armenia, Azerbaijan’s bitter rival, made the fateful decision to turn its back on the EU and move towards the Eurasian Union, much to the ire of Brussels. Hillary Clinton, speaking on behalf of the State Department in late-2012, made known her country’s intention to “figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent” Eurasian integration, signaling that Armenia, after having made its decision to move in this direction, will now be targeted just like Ukraine was.

2222_wm&91;1&93;_waAzerbaijan and Armenia are locked in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict which, although frozen, threatens to heat up at any moment. By throwing its hat squarely behind Azerbaijan, the US is showing that it is not a neutral party to the conflict and cannot be trusted within the OSCE Minsk Group. The move for a more clearly defined and open US-Azeri military alliance has been a long time in coming, however. The US has been using Azerbaijan as a geostrategic energy outpost between Russia and Iran since the 1990s, and the creation of the BTC pipeline only increased its significance in the eyes of Western decision makers. Baku is also close friends with Israel, supplying about 40% of its oil, and it has been rumored to host Israeli drone bases for use against Iran. The Jerusalem Post also reports that Israel sells “hundreds of millions of dollars worth of arms” to the country, further cementing their military-strategic relationship.

Armenia, on the other hand, has a mutual security guarantee with Russia through the CSTO, just like Belarus does. It is a traditional Russia ally and even hosts the 102nd military base outside the capital of Yerevan. Armenia has been blockaded by both Turkey and Azerbaijan since the early 1990s, and the vast majority of its foreign trade must move through Georgia before going to Russia or to other countries via port. With Georgia trying to join the EU, the scenario could arise where costly tariffs are enacted against outside (Armenian) goods entering the Union, even if they are only transiting through, further strangling the already weakened Armenian economy and promoting social unrest. To put things into perspective, Azerbaijan’s defense budget is larger than the entire state budget of Armenia, and Azeri President Aliyev has a track record of threatening military force to retake Nagorno Karabkah.

In sum, any renewed outbreak of war between Azerbaijan (now close to becoming a US military ally) and Armenia (protected under Russia’s defense umbrella) would be a de-facto US-Russian proxy war that could quickly draw in both powers. What’s more, Azerbaijan closely cooperates with Turkey, with whom it has close ethnic, cultural, and linguistic ties, and Ankara’s involvement in any future conflict could quickly draw in the entire NATO alliance. By cozying up so closely with Azerbaijan and working to asphyxiate Armenia, the US is pushing itself closer to a direct conflict with Russia.

Concluding Thoughts

It has been definitively established that the US’ so-called ‘Russian Aggression Prevention Act’ is nothing more than Orwellian Doublespeak for an American Aggression Enablement Act. Aside from the more well-known aspects of the proposal, the lesser-known ones are just as significant in throwing America and its NATO clique closer to war with Russia. By rabidly expanding NATO at all costs via indirect means, the US is plainly showing that it does not care whatsoever for Russia’s security concerns. In fact, it wants to push the envelope and expand NATO in as many simultaneous directions as it can. The swallowing of the Balkans, the staging ground of Russia’s strategic South Stream project, and the movement to incorporate Sweden and Finland into NATO are Washington’s way of imposing full dominance over the continent’s last nominally neutral areas, a move which will surely lead to a determined Russian push back, especially as regards the defense of Serbia and NATO expansion into Finland.

Furthermore, the AAEA aims to threaten Russian interests in Belarus, Moldova, and Armenia, three countries where Moscow has deployed troops and two of which are mutual security partners. This is a calculated attempt at weakening Russia’s position in the Near Abroad and continuing to place it on the strategic defense. All together, everything within the American Aggression Enablement Act clearly shows that the US has strapped up its boots and is eager to go on the offensive against Russia. The ‘Reset’ was nothing more than an underhanded way to buy the necessary time to organize this campaign against all of Russia’s interests on its western flank, and it appears to be in full swing. If it passes into law, the bill will be seen in hindsight as the one action which single-handedly ushered in the ‘New Cold War’ and could quite possibly revert Europe back to the powder keg that it once was 100 years ago.

August 2, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment