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As Green Policies Cause Energy Prices To Explode, Deforestation In Europe Accelerates

Skyrocketing fossil fuel energy prices are are driving the deforestation of Europe as citizens try to keep warm

By P Gosselin | No Tricks Zone | November 18, 2022

It’s easy to argue that the “green” movement is causing much more environmental harm than good. High energy costs are leading to poverty, which in turn leads to less investment in environmental protection and nature conservation.

Biodiversity-rich forests are being cleared away to make room for wind parks and people are increasingly burning wood to stay warm as an alternative to natural gas and heating oil.

Blackout News reports on how forests in Romania have been falling victim to illegal logging as the energy crisis has propelled the demand for firewood and pellets to rocket speed. “In Romania, entire nature reserves are disappearing as a result.”

“The sharp increase in demand for firewood, wood chips and pellets has also caused prices for these fuels to rise sharply, making them extremely lucrative for the illegal trade,” writes Blackout News. A lack of transparency and traceability are making the problem impossible to manage.

Blackout News cites a 2021 European Commission study showing Europe’s wood industry lacks transparency and that the demand for wood for heating has more than doubled in the past twenty years. Austria alone is reported to have imported approximately 120,000 tons of pellets from Romania last year. Europe’s CO2 reductions through the burning of biomass are costing its biotope dearly. Few are talking about this. What good will reaching zero CO2 emissions be if Europe’s forests end up being sacrificed and barren?

Greenpeace Romania says illegal logging is particularly bad in Romania and that more than half of the wood processed into pellets there comes from illegal logging in Natura 2000 areas. While authorities record an annual logging volume of 18 million cubic meters, “experts assume that another 20 million cubic meters of wood are illegally felled there each year and disappear without any evidence.”

One problem hindering the crackdown on illegal logging in Romania is rampant corruption in control bodies and government agencies. Penalties for the import of illegally logged timber “are also shockingly low”.

As long as Europe continues its efforts to eliminate fossil fuels and create energy shortages, prices will skyrocket and keep boosting the demand for wood as a source of energy.

November 19, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 2 Comments

Biden administration sponsors yet another campaign against Orbán

Free West Media | November 3, 2022

The US government has opened a new chapter in the propaganda and disinformation war against Hungary. It now supports an allegedly “independent” media portal, whose sponsors, however, make it quite easy to see the goals which are being pursued against the country.

According to its own statements, the Internews platform focuses “on promoting a strong independent media sector” in Hungary. There will be further activities in Armenia, Georgia, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine. The aim is to “resist powerful interests trying to manipulate, isolate or control the press”.

The US embassy recently even produced a video listing Hungarian politicians and journalists who have allegedly made “anti-American” statements by name. Essentially these voices either criticized globalist policies to foment the Ukraine war or spoke out against the futility of sanctions.

The list of sponsors for the news portal is revealing. On it one will find, among other things, the well-known Open Society Foundations (OSF) by George Soros, the Rockefeller Foundation and Freedom House, which is financed by the US government. US-based global tech giants like Facebook and Google are also among the backers.

Those in the know recall that Internews is not the US government’s first attempt to reshape the Hungarian media scene. As early as 2017, the US State Department launched a support program right before the elections for “independent Hungarian media in the countryside”. At the time, the government in Budapest accused the US State Department of interfering in Hungarian domestic politics. The programme was later de facto scrapped, presumably because ex-President Donald Trump valued good relations with Hungary.

Under the Biden administration, however, “democracy” exports are back in fashion. Just a few months ago, the Hungarian opposition’s prime ministerial candidate caused a scandal when he admitted that he had received a substantial sum of money for his election campaign from a US foundation.

November 3, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Dirty bomb’ in Ukraine would affect nine countries

Samizdat – August 16, 2022

A total of nine countries could be contaminated if the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine is hit by multiple launch rocket systems, a former chief inspector of the USSR’s nuclear authority told RT.

Russian troops established control of the Zaporozhye NPP, Europe’s largest facility of the kind, early on in the course of military operations in Ukraine. Since then, Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of launching artillery and drone strikes on the facility. Ukrainian officials claimed that the Russians were shelling themselves to discredit Kiev.

In an interview published on Tuesday, Vladimir Kuznetsov warned that if the plant is hit by volley fire, with numerous missiles striking the storage facility that holds spent nuclear fuel, chances are that more than one container would be damaged. This scenario would entail radiation escaping “into the environment – hence the contamination of not only the industrial site but also the Dnepr river which is nearby,” the expert noted.

Kuznetsov also pointed out that such a strike would most likely be accompanied by a fire, and “God knows where the wind would send the combustion products.”

The former chief inspector surmised that should 20 to 30 containers be breached in such an attack, the “radiation would affect approximately nine countries: Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Poland, the Baltic states and obviously Western Ukraine.”

Russian forces took over the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in early March, within the first two weeks of Moscow’s military campaign against its neighbor.

In recent weeks, the Russian military has accused Ukraine of deliberately targeting the facility multiple times and warned that a major nuclear disaster, akin to that at Chernobyl in 1986, or even worse, could happen if such attacks continue unchecked.

Kiev, meanwhile, denies these allegations and claims that it is Russian forces that are shelling the power plant to frame the Ukrainian military – a point of view shared by the US and EU. The UN has called the attacks “suicidal” and proposed sending an International Atomic Energy Agency delegation to the site to provide “technical support” and help avoid a further escalation.

On Tuesday, local government administration member Vladimir Rogov told Russian media that Ukrainian forces had fired multiple rockets directly at the coolant systems and nuclear waste storage site inside the facility.

Since the storage site is out in the open, any hit would result in the release of nuclear waste ranging from dozens to hundreds of kilograms and lead to contamination of the area, the official explained.

“In plain language, that would be like a dirty bomb,” said Rogov.

August 17, 2022 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romania and US to Hold Military Drills Near Ukrainian Border

Samizdat – 26.07.2022

CHISINAU – US troops stationed in Romania and the Romanian army will hold a joint demonstration exercise and an exhibition of military equipment at a location 125 miles south of the Ukrainian border on July 30, the Romanian defense ministry said on Tuesday.

“Members of the 2nd brigade of the combat group of the 101st US Airborne Division, stationed in Romania in accordance with the decisions of the Madrid Summit, will conduct demonstration exercises together with the soldiers of the 9th mechanized brigade ‘Marasesti,'” the ministry’s statement read.

The drills will take place at the Mihail Kogalniceanu military base in southeastern Romania, situated 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the border with Ukraine. Romania Chief of General Staff Daniel Petrescu and 101st US Airborne Division commander Joseph McGee will be present at the exercise.

Additionally, an exhibition of equipment will be organized, which will feature attack helicopters, tanks, armored amphibious transporters and artillery and anti-aircraft artillery machines, as well as special engineering and first aid equipment.

July 26, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

UKRAINE CRISIS: US ‘Toolboxes’ Are Empty

By Scott Ritter | Consortium News | January 22, 2022

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in a hastily scheduled, 90-minute summit in Geneva yesterday, after which both sides lauded the meeting as worthwhile because it kept the door open for a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. What “keeping the door open” entails, however, represents two completely different realities.

For Blinken, the important thing appears to be process, continuing a dialogue which, by its very essence, creates the impression of progress, with progress being measured in increments of time, as opposed to results.

A results-oriented outcome was not in the books for Blinken and his entourage; the U.S. was supposed to submit a written response to Russia’s demands for security guarantees as spelled out in a pair of draft treaties presented to the U.S. and NATO in December. Instead, Blinken told Lavrov the written submission would be provided next week.

In the meantime, Blinken primed the pump of expected outcomes by highlighting the possibility of future negotiations that addressed Russian concerns (on a reciprocal basis) regarding intermediate-range missiles and NATO military exercises.

But under no circumstances, Blinken said, would the U.S. be responding to Russian demands against NATO expanding to Ukraine and Georgia, and for the redeployment of NATO forces inside the territory of NATO as it existed in 1997.

Blinken also spent a considerable amount of time harping on the danger of an imminent military invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces said to be massing along the Ukraine-Russian border. He pointed out that any military incursion by Russia, no matter what size, that violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine, would be viewed as a continuation of the Russian “aggression” of 2014 and, as such, trigger “massive consequences” which would be damaging to Russia.

Blinken’s restatement of a position he has pontificated on incessantly for more than a month now was not done for the benefit of Lavrov and the Russian government, but rather for an American and European audience which had been left scratching their collective heads over comments made the day before by President Joe Biden which suggested that the U.S. had a range of options it would consider depending on the size of a Russian incursion.

“My guess is he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] will move in, he has to do something,” Biden said during a press briefing on Wednesday. While presenting a Russian invasion as inevitable, Biden went on to note that Putin “will be held accountable” and “never have[sic] seen sanctions like the ones I promised will be imposed” if Russia were, in fact, to move against Ukraine. Biden spoke of deploying additional U.S. military forces to eastern Europe, as well as unspecified economic sanctions.

Biden then, however, hedged his remarks, noting that the scope and scale of any U.S. response would depend on what Russia did. “It’s one thing,” Biden said, “if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do.”

Almost immediately the Washington establishment went into overdrive to correct what everyone said was a “misstatement” by Biden, with Biden himself making a new statement the next day, declaring that he had been “absolutely clear with President Putin. He has no misunderstanding, any, any assembled Russian units move across the Ukrainian border, that is an invasion,” and that there should be “no doubt at all that if Putin makes this choice, Russia will pay a heavy price.”

And just in case the President was not clear enough, Blinken reiterated that point following his Friday meeting with Lavrov.

Immutable

The U.S. narrative about Russia and Ukraine was immutable; Russia was hell bent on invading, and there would be massive consequences if Russia acted out on its intent. This was no idle threat, Blinken said, but rather represented the unified position of the United States and its allies and partners.

Or was it? In a telling admission, CNN’s White House correspondent, John Harwood, stated that the “minor incursions” statement by Biden was harmless, because (Harwood said) Putin already knew through sources that this was, in fact, the U.S. position. As for Europe and Ukraine, their collective confusion and outrage was merely an act, a posture they had to take for public consumption, since the optics of Biden’s statement “sounds bad.”

In short, the lack of an agreed-upon strategy on how to deal with a Russian incursion/invasion of Ukraine was an open secret for everyone except the U.S. and European publics, who being fed a line of horse manure to assuage domestic political concerns over being seen as surrendering to Russian demands.

Biden and his administration are old hands at lying to the American public when it comes to matters of national security. One only need look to Biden’s July 23, 2021, phone call with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for a clear precedent into this inability to speak openly and honestly about reality on the ground. “I need not tell you,” Biden told Ghani, “the perception around the world and in parts of Afghanistan, I believe, is that things are not going well in terms of the fight against the Taliban. And there is a need,” Biden added, “whether it is true or not, there is a need to project a different picture.”

This, in a nutshell, is the essence of the posture taken by the Biden administration on Ukraine. Blinken has indicated that the U.S. has a toolbox filled with options that will deliver “massive consequences” to Russia should Russia invade Ukraine. These “tools” include military options, such as the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank with additional U.S. troops, and economic options, such as shutting down the NordStream 2 pipeline and cutting Russia off from the SWIFT banking system. All these options, Blinken notes, have the undivided support of U.S. European allies and partners.

The toolbox is everywhere, it seems—Biden has referred to it, as has White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. Blinken has alluded to it on numerous occasions.

There’s only one problem—the toolbox, it turns out, is empty.

While the Pentagon is reportedly working on a series of military options to reinforce the existing U.S. military presence in eastern Europe, the actual implementation of these options would neither be timely nor even possible. One option is to move forces already in Europe; the U.S. Army maintains one heavy armored brigade in Europe on a rotational basis and has a light armored vehicle brigade and an artillery brigade stationed in Germany. Along with some helicopter and logistics support, that’s it.

Flooding these units into Poland would be for display purposes only—they represent an unsustainable combat force that would be destroyed within days, if not hours, in any large-scale ground combat against a Russian threat.

The U.S. can deploy a second heavy armored brigade to Poland which would fall in on prepositioned equipment already warehoused on Polish soil. This brigade would suffer a similar fate if matched up against the Russian army. The U.S. can also deploy an airborne brigade. They, too, would die.

There are no other options available to deploy additional U.S. heavy forces to Europe on a scale and in a timeframe that would be meaningful. The problem isn’t just the deployment of forces from their bases in the U.S. (something that would takes months to prepare for), but the sustainability of these forces once they arrived on the ground in Europe. Food, ammunition, water, fuel—the logistics of war is complicated, and not resolved overnight.

In short, there is no viable military option, and Biden knows this.

Empty Sanctions Too

The U.S. has no sanctions plan that can survive initial contact with the enemy, which in this case is the collective weakness of the post-pandemic economies of both Europe and the U.S.; the over-reliance of Europe on Russian-sourced energy, and the vulnerability of democratically elected leaders to the whim of a consumer-based constituency. Russia can survive the impact of any sanctions regime the U.S. is able to scrape together—even those targeting the Russian banking system—far longer than Europe can survive without access to Russian energy.

This is a reality that Europe lives with, and while U.S. policy makers might think hard-hitting sanctions look good on paper, the reality is that whatever passes for U.S.-European unity today would collapse in rapid order when the Russian pipelines were shut down. The pain would not just be limited to Europe, either—the U.S. economy would suffer as well, with sky-high fuel prices and a stock market collapse that would put the U.S. into an economic recession, if not outright depression.

The political cost that would be incurred by Biden and, by extension, the Democrats, would be fatal to any hope that might remain for holding onto either house of Congress in 2022, or the White House in 2024. It would be one thing if Biden and his national security team were honest and forthright about the real consequences of declaring the equivalent of economic war on Russia. It is another thing altogether to speak only of the pain sanctions would cause Russia, with little thought, if any, to the real consequences that will be paid on the home front.

Americans should never forget that Russia has been laboring under severe U.S. sanctions since 2014, with zero effect. Russia knows what could be coming and has prepared. The American people wallow in their ignorance, believing at face value what they are told by the Biden administration, and echoed by a compliant mainstream media.

Propaganda About ‘Propaganda’

One of the great ironies of the current crisis is that, on the eve of the Blinken-Lavrov meeting in Geneva, the U.S. State Department published a report on Russian propaganda, decrying the role played by state-funded outlets such as RT and Sputnik in shaping public opinion in the United States and the West (in the interest of full disclosure, RT is one of the outlets that I write for.)

The fact that the State Department would publish such a report on the eve of a meeting which is all about propagating the big lie—that the U.S. has a plan for deterring “irresponsible Russian aggression”—while ignoring the hard truth: this is a crisis derived solely from the irresponsible policies of the U.S. and NATO over the past 30 years.

While a compliant mainstream American media unthinkingly repeated every warning and threat issued by Biden and Blinken to Russia over the course of the past few days, the Russian position has been largely ignored. Here’s a reminder of where Russia stands on its demands for security guarantees: “We are talking about the withdrawal of foreign forces, equipment, and weapons, as well as taking other steps to return to the set-up we had in 1997 in non-NATO countries,” the Russian Foreign Ministry declared in a bulletin published after the Lavrov-Blinken meeting. “This includes Bulgaria and Romania.”

Blinken has already said the U.S. will reject this.

The toolbox is empty. Russia knows this. Biden knows this. Blinken knows this. CNN knows this. The only ones who aren’t aware of this are the American people.

The consequences of a U.S. rejection of Russia’s demands will more than likely be war.

If you think the American people are ready to bear the burden of a war with Russia, think again.

January 22, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S.-made HIMARS missile systems in Romania aimed against Russian forces in Transnistria

By Paul Antonopoulos | March 5, 2021

The first batch of U.S.-made HIMARS multi-launch missile systems arrived in the Romanian Black Sea port of Constanța and is now a part of the national army. The first to receive the new missile system is the 81st Tactical Operational Missile Battalion, deployed in Focșani, about 70 kilometers from the border with Moldova.

HIMARS artillery missile systems are designed to attack areas with a concentration of artillery systems, air defenses, transport nodes and other major targets that are within a 300-kilometer range. Considering Romania borders Ukraine, Moldova, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia, the country has no enemies within the scope of HIMARS, bringing to question why it purchased such systems. It is difficult to explain why such a powerful weapon is deployed in eastern Romania, 220 kilometers from the Moldovan city of Tiraspol and 270 kilometers from the ammunition depot in Cobasna in the separatist region of Transnistria – which is internationally recognized as a part of Moldova.

It must be noted that the U.S. approved the sale of 20 HIMARS launchers, worth $655 million, to Poland. Romania received 54 launchers, more than double the amount of Poland, showing that the U.S. is prioritizing the Black Sea as a point of pressure against Russia – more so than the Baltics. Whereas the German Navy are present in the Baltics and the British can reach the area with relative ease, the Black Sea is effectively a “Russian lake,” particularly after Russia’s 2014 reunification with Crimea. NATO member states Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania do not have the capabilities to challenge the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, hence why Washington is also cooperating with Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia.

But the question still remains – why would Bucharest need 54 HIMARS launchers, more than the American artillery brigade has, and more than 10% of all such systems in the Pentagon’s arsenal?

It is excessive fire power for an army that has only 70,000, personnel and does not have the means to redeploy heavy weapons at a great distance. According to Firepower, Romania is ranked only 41st globally for their military power.

Hypothetically, in a war situation, the 41st U.S. Artillery Brigade could borrow the Romanian HIMARS systems and transport them to Georgia or Ukraine. At the end of 2020, U.S. ground forces conducted exercises to prepare for a “hi-tech war” in Romania. In a few hours they managed to transport by air two HIMARS systems from Germany to the Kogâlniceanu Air Base and launch several rockets towards the Black Sea – there is little doubt that the imagined target was Russian forces when we consider that it is only 400 kilometers between the Romanian coast and Russia. Although this is 100 kilometers less than the range of the HIMARS system, according to Forbes, the exercises were “a message for Moscow” and a “rocket surprise” for Russian forces in Crimea.

The political-military situation in the region is becoming increasingly tense, with Moldova coming within range of American weapons and soldiers based in Romania. According to the Constitution, the Republic of Moldova is a neutral state, but decisionmakers in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau and their Romanian counterparts in Bucharest concluded a military cooperation agreement in 2013, which de facto subordinates Moldovan troops to the Romanian General Staff and allows Romanian gendarmes to maintain “public order” in the country. With Romania effectively controlling Moldova’s security and President Maia Sandu pivoting her country towards NATO and the European Union, Chisinau could be a willing participant in the West’s sustained campaign to pressure Moscow.

Analysts at the Pentagon-affiliated RAND Corporation are examining how U.S. troops could enter Moldova to participate in military exercises and not leave, using the pretext of the so-called Russian threat. American maneuvers and armament in Eastern Europe not only threatens Russia, but serves to ensure that Romania and Baltic States stay loyal to Washington and against Moscow.

If the U.S. is successful in stationing troops in Moldova, they would effectively have new access to the Black Sea via the Port of Giurgiulești on the Danube River. In addition, U.S. troops would be within touching distance of the 1,500-strong Operational Group of Russian Forces in Transnistria, whose responsibilities include maintaining peace and guarding several tons of military equipment and ammunition in Cobasna.

Although the HIMARS system cannot reach Russia from Romania, it is likely that these missiles are aimed against Russian forces maintaining peace in Transnistria. 54 HIMARS in Romania’s arsenal demonstrates an escalation by Bucharest as it is clear that the excessive number of units is not for defensive purposes, especially considering the country’s cordial relations with its neighbors.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

March 5, 2021 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Shameless Racism’: 13 Countries Change Long-Standing Position on Palestine at UN

Palestine Chronicle – December 5, 2019

For the first time, 13 countries changed their longstanding positions and voted against a pro-Palestine measure at the United Nations on Tuesday.

Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Brazil, and Colombia voted against the annual resolution regarding the “Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”, according to the Times of Israel.

They had previously abstained on the vote.

The resolution, which includes a call to halt to illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the occupied West Bank, still passed with a large majority voting in favor.

The Palestinian representative told the council: “If you protect Israel, it will destroy you all.” He also said Israel’s character as a Jewish state is “shameless racism”.

The New York-based Division for Palestinian Rights oversees the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

The resolution was co-sponsored by Comoros, Cuba, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

The UK, France, and Spain abstained, as they do every year, allowing the resolution to pass with a vote of 87-54, with 21 other abstentions.

The General Assembly adopted five resolutions on the question of Palestine and the Middle East, including one calling on the Member States not to recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regards to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations.

December 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

US Senate Provokes Turkey by Backing The New Hellenic-Israeli Alliance in The Eastern Mediterranean

By Adam Garrie | EurasiaFuture | 2019-04-10

If anyone doubted that the thriving partnership between Athens, Nicosia and Tel Aviv is not as much about gas as it is about military cooperation, an official statement from the US Senate has put such theories permanently to rest. Not only is Israel siding with countries that continue to have unsettled disputes with Turkey, but by partnering with Nicosia in order to build a gas pipeline to Europe, Israel is upping the stakes against Turkey at a time when relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv continue to decline. In doing so, Israel is actively taking Nicosia’s side in a maritime gas dispute with Ankara. As such, the nuclear armed power is dramatically increasing tensions in in the region.

Legislation introduced by US Senators Bob Menendez and Marco Rubio seeks not only to offer US support to gas extraction and pipeline projects between Tel Aviv, Nicosia and Athens, but as part of this legislative package, the US would lift the long standing arms embargo against Nicosia. This cannot be viewed as anything other than a provocation against Turkey. The fact that this has been proposed days after the US ruled to cut Turkey off from the F-35 project that Ankara had been involved in from its early stages makes it all the more clear that the US, Israel, and the two Hellenic states of southern Europe are united against Turkey. When one adds Egypt and several other southern European nations to this mix, it becomes clear that multiple states are cooperating in order to attempt and harm Turkish interests. This not only poses a danger to the stability of the wider Eastern Mediterranean region, but it puts the efficacy of NATO at risk.

According to a Senatorial press release from Washington:

“The Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act of 2019 would allow the US to fully support the trilateral partnership of Israel, Greece, and Cyprus through energy and defence cooperation initiatives – including by lifting the embargo on arms transfers to the Republic of Cyprus”.

At a time when Turkey is trying to improve declining ties with the US and reach a settlement to disputes with both Athens and Nicosia, other countries in this equation are taking active steps to provoke and alienate Turkey.

Within this broad context, it is important to remember that while the US claims its F-35 dispute with Turkey is a product of Turkey’s S-400 deal with Russia and whilst Israeli Primer Benjamin Netanyahu claims that Iran is his number one enemy, these rhetorical devices mask a deeper reality in which Turkey is now considered a foremost worry to both Israel and also to many in Washington (in spite of Turkey’s history as a loyal NATO member). All the while, Athens and Nicocia are being used as pawns in the dangerous game whose rules have been set by vastly more powerful nations.

Below is the full background of the multiple ways in which Israel has united with traditionally Turkophobic powers in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

Israel, America and The F-35

Throughout 2018, the US threatened to halt delivery of the F-35s to Turkey due to Ankara’s insistence that it will purchase the Russian made S-400 missile defence system. But while on the surface, the row between Turkey and the US appears to be one stemming from a reality in which Turkey has warm relations with Moscow whilst the US does not, there is an Israeli factor at hand that may be the overriding factor at play. The fact that Israel’s ally India has more or less received a green light from the US to purchase S-400s makes this reality all the more clear.

In May of last year, Russian media outlet Sputnik reporting the following:

“According to a top Israeli defence official, the Jewish state seeks to remain the only country in the region with F-35 jets to maintain its military’s qualitative edge. The discussions between Israel and the United States have also reportedly touched upon the jet’s performance-enhancing software; unnamed sources confirmed to Haaretz that the matter is ‘part of the negotiations,’ while Israel has denied having talks over the F-35 deal, under which Turkey is expected to obtain 100 stealth fighter jets”.

Whilst anti-Turkish forces do exist in the US owing to Turkey’s increasingly warm relations to countries as diverse as Russia, Iran and China, the fact that recent years and months have seen a dramatic decline in Turkey-Israel relations has clearly played a part in America’s move to effectively remove Turkey from the F-35 project that it had been a part of from the earliest stages of the jet’s development.

Although the Pentagon had previously expressed its willingness to follow through with its pledged delivery of US made F-35 fighter jets to Turkey, Congressional opposition fuelled by a unique alliance of the US based Armenian, Hellenic and Jewish lobbies continues to oppose the US delivery of the jets to NATO member Turkey. This month, these anti-Turkish forces have achieved their desired result as the US has frozen the delivery of F-35s to Turkey.

What one is witnessing in the United States is a perfect storm of geopolitical brinkmanship which has allied with domestic ethno-religious agitation groups in a malaise of open Turkophobia. From the perspective of many in Congress from both major US parties, delivering the F-35s to Turkey would violate the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) which allows for US sanctions on otherwise neutral or even allied countries who purchase weapons from nations being directly sanctioned by Washington. The directly sanctioned nations in question are Russia, Iran and the DPRK (North Korea).

Because of Turkey’s unflinching agreement to purchase Russia’s S-400 missile defence systems, Ankara is now being targeted by members of the US Congress keen to exert what amounts to a blackmail clause in CAATSA which would threaten any nation with sanctions for the “offence” of purchasing Russian weapons.

The reality of the US sanctioning a once valued NATO partner is now becoming an increasingly likely reality.

From healthy relations to the ultimate strain 

Turkey was the first Muslim majority nation to recognise Israel and prior to recent decades, Ankara and Tel Aviv have had a generally healthy relationship. This dramatically changed in 2010 when Israeli commandos illegally boarded the MV Mavi Marmara in international waters. The MV Mavi Marmara was a privately chartered Turkish flagged ship carrying mostly Turkish activists on their way to Gaza in order to deliver much needed humanitarian supplies to besieged Palestinians. The gruesome raid killed ten Turks and resulted in the lowest ebb in Ankara-Tel Aviv relations until now.

A new anti-Turkish alliance in the eastern Mediterranean and among US based pressure groups 

For much of the 20th and 21st centuries, the large American based Hellenic and Armenian lobbies have agitated for a less friendly US approach to Turkey. For the Armenian lobby, the main goal is to convince the US Federal government to recognise the tragic events of 1915 as “The Armenian Genocide” while the Hellenic lobby has sought to persuade Washington to pressure Ankara into acknowledging the early 20th century conflict in western Anatolia as the “Pontic Genocide”. Additionally, the US Hellenic lobby has for years attempted to persuade NATO to take a tougher line on the status of Northern Cyprus. Thus far, none of these lobbying attempts have met with the desired success of the respective lobbies at a Federal level.

While the US based Jewish lobby is traditionally more powerful than either the Hellenic or Armenian lobbies, the US Jewish lobby has generally had little negative to say about Turkey in-line with the fact that of all of the Muslim majority governments in the region Tel Aviv had its best relations with Ankara, as well as the overriding reality that Turkey never passed any antisemitic legislation as most of the powers of Europe did prior to the mid-20th century.

But with Turkish President Erdoğan openly calling for a wider pan-Islamic movement for Palestine, all the while calling Israel a terrorist state, the US Jewish lobby like Israeli politicians, have joined traditional foes of Turkey in openly agitating for a more anti-Turkish position form the US government.

This has expressed itself both domestically in the US and geopolitically in terms of Israel’s new regional partnerships. Against this background, it is perhaps not surprising that Gilad Erdan, a member of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud faction has called for Tel Aviv to recognise the events of 1915 as an “Armenian Genocide”. If Israel were to officially do this, it would represent a clear break between Tel Aviv and Ankara and quite possibly a point of no return. The more Turkey stands up for Palestine, the more voices like those of Erdan will become amplified in arguing for a move that is less about Armenia (a traditionally anti-Zionist nation) than about sending a clear message to Turkey that the partnership has run its course.

Israel and The Craiova Group

Formed in 2015, the fledgling Craiova Group is a partnership between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania aimed at fostering deeper cooperation between the four south-eastern European nations. While the group has generally been far less notable in terms of its aims and accomplishments vis-a-vis the Three Seas Initiative linking Baltic eastern and central Europe with the European nations of south-east, this month the Craiova Group came into its own as the official organisation which will carry out Israel’s attempt to isolate Turkey in the wider eastern Mediterranean region.

On the 2nd of November, 2018, Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a Craiova Group summit in Varna, Bulgaria. There, Netanyahu said,

“I am here at the summit of four countries – Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia and Romania. This is the first time that they have invited a leader outside these four countries to participate in their summit. This is a great honor for Israel and reflects Israel’s rising status in the world.

Each one of the leaders has individually told me that they will try to improve their consideration of Israel in relevant votes both at the EU and the UN. They all want to promote the gas pipeline from Leviathan to Europe and the Balkans. They are also very interested in Israeli gas and Israeli technology, and they would very much like Israel’s friendship. This is a good sign”.

Netanyahu also discussed making the Craiova Group integral to Tel Aviv’s plans to construct the East Med Pipeline, a joint Israeli-Hellenic project that will see a gas pipeline travelling from disputed Israeli waters through to disputed Cypriot waters and finally into mainland Europe via The Hellenic Republic. But while Netanyahu’s speech talked about unity against the supposed threat of Islam which clearly played to the sentiments of many in Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania where the racist anti-Turkish/anti-Muslim hashtag “#nokebab” has become a cultural phenomenon, the pipeline alliance that Israel is trying to secure is clearly aimed at boxing Turkey into a corner in its own territorial waters.

At present, Ankara and Nicosia are in the midst of a heated row regarding rights to offshore gas fields in the waters off the island of Cyprus. At present, while there is no realistic plan for Nicosia to militarily enter the Turkish North of the divided island, Nicosia is opposed to Turkish plans to begin extracting gas in the waters off of the disputed territory of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (aka Northern Cyprus). To put it another way, in spite of rhetoric to the contrary, the government in Nicosia clearly cares about controlling the waters off of Cyprus more than it cares about controlling the island’s total landmass.

But far from being just a new chapter in the age old Hellenic-Turkish disputes of the region, this particular conflict is also being driven by Israel whose government is keen to see Tel Aviv, Nicosia and Athens work jointly on an East Med pipeline that excludes Turkey while at the same time impinging on offshore territory that Turkey claims it has an inalienable right to exploit. Now, Israel looks to bolster these plans which have already seen Egypt pivoting ever closer to Tel Aviv and Nicosia by also drawing Bulgaria, Serbia and Romania into the project.

When one remembers that during the ultimately brief Turkish-Israeli rapprochement of 2016, there were talks of a joint gas project between Tel Aviv and Ankara, the underpinnings of the present conflict become all the more clear.

To further understand the background of the severe downgrade in Turko-Israeli relations that has now become a rivalry for energy supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean, it is important to understand the following that was originally published in Eurasia Future in May of last year:

“The Turkish government has just announced the effective expulsion of Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s Ambassador to Ankara. According to the Daily Sabah,

‘Na’eh was asked to leave Turkey indefinitely by the Turkish ministry of foreign affairs following the Israeli bloodshed and his tweets’.

Pipeline politics no more

Against this background, erstwhile plans for a Turkey to Israel East Mediterranean pipeline have stalled. As a result, Tel Aviv has pivoted closer to Turkey’s regional rival Egypt (which has said next to nothing about Palestine in recent days), while most importantly there is now talk of an EU sponsored East Mediterranean pipeline between Israel, Cyprus, Greece and Italy.

According to a report from New Europe,

“The EastMed gas pipeline would circumvent Turkey, which has increased tensions with Cyprus, Greece and Israel recently, providing a way to transport newly discovered gas supplies from the East Mediterranean to Europe. The talks in Nicosia in May[2018] follow a memorandum of understanding regarding the EastMed pipeline, which was signed in December.

According to the Public Gas Corporation of Greece (DEPA), the EastMed will connect the recently discovered gas fields in the Levantine Basin, in the southeast Mediterranean, with mainland Greece and is projected to carry 8-14 billion cubic meters per year of natural gas to Greece and Europe.

According to DEPA, the approximately 1900 kilometer long pipeline (700 kilometers on-shore, 1200 off-shore) consists of the three following main sections, as well as compressor stations located in Cyprus and Crete: a pipeline from the fields to Cyprus, a pipeline connecting Cyprus to Crete, and a pipeline from Crete crossing mainland Greece up to the Ionian coast.

From there the EastMed can link up with the offshore Poseidon pipeline enabling the delivery of additional diversified sources from the Levantine to Italy and beyond. The EastMed pipeline is preliminarily designed to have exit points in Cyprus, Crete, and mainland Greece as well as the connection point with the Poseidon pipeline”.

The deal to create such a pipeline was sealed in December of 2017 while glowing reports from pro-EU media touted the deal as a means of allowing Europe to decrease its dependence on Russian gas while also offering Israel a chance to swap Turkey for EU partners. As Turkey’s long paralytic bid to join the EU is now de-facto over, both Europe and Israel’s cooperation over a new East Mediterranean gas pipeline has the effect of drawing Russia and Turkey into an even closer partnership than the one they are currently in.

At the moment the Turkstream pipeline designed to bring Russian gas into Europe via Turkey is a major joint project between Moscow and Ankara. Now, both the EU and Israel are looking to challenge this route with a pipeline of their own in a similar region. In reality, there is enough demand for gas in Europe and Israel to mean that both pipelines can coexist, but the geopolitical optics are clear enough. Tel Aviv has joined forces with the most anti-Ankara states in the EU in order to cut Turkey out of Israel’s future.

The importance of Turkey’s Soft Power in the Sunni Muslim world

President Erdoğan has already proved himself to be the ‘Sultan of Soft Power’ in the wider Sunni Muslim world. Without clear leadership from Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Qatar and with Saddam’s always controversial Iraqi government long out of power, Erdoğan has positioned himself as a champion for Palestine not only in Turkey and the Sunni Arab world but beyond. Because of this, one should never underestimate how far Turkey will take its support of Palestine vis-a-vis Tel Aviv, not least because the more Erdoğan voices his opinions in support of Palestine, the more he is respected and supported both in Turkey and far beyond.

Israel supporting Turkey’s main rivals 

Because Israel has taken clear moves away from Turkey and towards its hated Hellenic rivals, officials in Ankara who in the past may have been hesitant to sever ties with Tel Aviv because of economic considerations may now be much closer to doing so. Israel’s intensifying military cooperation with both Greece and Cyprus are a further sign that when it comes to Turkey, Tel Aviv is doing everything in its power to replace its once healthy Turkish partnership with that of countries with notoriously poor and always heated relations with Ankara.

Then there is the issue of Kurdish ethno-nationalism in both Syria and Iraq. Uniquely in the world, the United States and Israel are supporters of Kurdish separatism both in northern Syria and northern Iraq.  President Erdoğan has already made it clear that this is one of several red lines that Israel can cross in respect of maintaining even semi-normal relations. During the attempted illegal Kurdish succession from Iraq in the autumn of 2017, Erdoğan posed the following rhetorical statements to Kurdish secessionists in Iraq,

“Who will recognize your independence? Israel. The world is not about Israel?…

…“You should know that the waving of Israeli flags there will not save you!”

Conclusion 

In order to connect these dots, one must ask some vital questions:

1. Why is the US treating its longstanding NATO partner Turkey much worse than it is treating its new Indian partner over the purchase of the same Russian made S-400 defensive weapons?

2. With Turkey and Israel competing for regional soft power influence, regional influence in respect of gas pipelines and competing in respect of building new diplomatic alliances in the Eastern Mediterranean, could Israel be preparing options to lead military assaults on Turkish assets (perhaps in Cyprus) and as such fears Turkey’s ownership of F-35 as well as S-400s?

3. As Russia is both an Israel and Turkish ally, is Tel Aviv attempting to use the US to pressure Turkey to choose between its Russian and American partners knowing that Moscow will not do so?

4. As Israel owns F-35s but not S-400s, is Tel Aviv worried that if Turkey had both, it would be able to seriously counter possible Israeli aerial bombardments against Turkish assets in the wider region?

When one looks at the overall state of Turkey-Israel relations and what Israeli officials have themselves said about Turkey and the F-35s, it begins to become ever more apparent that the F-35/S-400 issue is as much if not more about Tel Aviv than it is about the neo-Cold War between Washington [and Russia].

Now that the US Senate is openly endorsing the Tel Aviv-Nicosia-Athens gas and security partnership, there can be little doubt that a new anti-Turkish alliance is being built in the eastern Mediterranean that is centred on Israel and supported by the United States.

April 10, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romania breaks with EU to relocate its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem

RT | March 24, 2019

Romania will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced at the AIPAC summit in Washington on Sunday, in a controversial move that goes against the rest of the European Union.

Speaking at the Israel lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) conference, Dancila said Romania intends to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which she referred to as Israel’s capital, in a move that follows the US’ controversial decision to do so last year.

Most nations with diplomatic relations with Israel have their embassies in Tel Aviv, as, although Israel claims Jerusalem as its capital, it is not recognized as such by the international community. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their future capital, and Israel has occupied East Jerusalem since the 1967 war, when it annexed the area from the rest of the West Bank.

Dancila is currently president of the Council of the European Union and the move is a marked departure from the position held by the rest of the EU. Romania, along with Hungary and the Czech Republic, reportedly blocked an EU resolution objecting to the US embassy move, which said Jerusalem should be capital of both Israel and Palestine.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Dancila to move Romania’s embassy when she visited Israel in January. “I hope you will act to stop the bad resolutions against Israel in the European Union,” he said. “And also, of course, to move your embassy and other embassies to Jerusalem.”

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis called for Dancila to resign last April after she pushed a secret memorandum to move the embassy without consulting him, and after she went on a state visit to Israel without consulting him. As president, Iohannis is in charge of foreign policy and has the final decision on such moves.

Speaking before another meeting between Romania and Israel in November, Netanyahu explained some of the reasons they enjoy good relations: “We cooperate in matters of security, anti-terror. Romania stands often with Israel in difficult diplomatic arenas and we appreciate this. We recognize our friends and we consider Romania a great friend.” Netanyahu also referred to their shared concerns about “radical Islam.”

The president of Honduras also told AIPAC it would open diplomatic representation in Jerusalem, and hinted that if AIPAC would lobby on behalf of his country, he would consider opening an embassy too, Haaretz reports. Brazil has also said it will consider moving its embassy. Guatemala is the only country apart from the US to have moved its embassy to Jerusalem so far.

March 24, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Our build-up is defensive, Russia’s aggressive,’ says NATO after Putin’s remark – but is that fair?

RT | August 22, 2018

NATO claims its military buildup in Eastern Europe is justified as it deters Russia’s superior might. Yet, any Russian activity is overshadowed by the US-led bloc’s huge border drills, supposedly held to ‘counter’ Moscow’s moves.

“NATO’s actions are defensive, proportionate and fully in line with our international commitments,” the alliance’s spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told Reuters, commenting on NATO military activities. She further added that the troops deployed by the Alliance to Eastern Europe “cannot compare to the divisions deployed by Russia” on its western borders.

The rant was provoked by the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who rebuked NATO for building up its military infrastructure right on Russia’s doorstep. “We do not deploy our military contingents away from our borders and close to the NATO states, it is the NATO infrastructure that advances to our own borders,” Putin told journalists in Sochi.

It was the way this statement was put that apparently made NATO officials so angry that they even de facto claimed that their forces are no match to those of Russia. The comparison is not exactly true, as facts show that NATO’s buildup and military activities near Russian territory actually overshadow the Russian activity.

Less than a week ago, German media reported that Berlin sent as many as 8,000 soldiers and some 100 tanks to Norway in preparation for yet another NATO drill, this time dubbed Trident Juncture 2018 and scheduled for October-November. According to the Alliance, the exercise, which will focus on repelling an aggression of some unfriendly state as part of a collective defense scenario under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, will involve as many as 40,000 participants from more than 30 countries – more than any Russian military exercise conducted in recent years.

The “scariest” Russian war games, dubbed Zapad-2017, which even sparked media-fueled fears that it was a cover for an “invasion” of neighboring countries, involved only 12,700 troops, 70 military aircraft, 10 ships and some 680 ground vehicles. Almost immediately after those drills Poland hosted what it called “national” Dragon 17 exercises, involving contingents from the US, the UK, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Italy, Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Ukraine. Notably, the number of troops involved in Dragon 17 exceeded those of the Zapad-2017 contingent, with some 17,000 personnel and 3,500 hardware pieces involved.

The US-led bloc continues to intensify its military exercises in Eastern Europe. In less than three months, NATO conducted two major drills in the vicinity of Russian borders. In June, more than 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries took part in the two-week ‘Saber Strike’ exercise, held in Poland and the Baltic States. The drills were said to practice the deployment of military convoys to defend NATO’s eastern flank.

On August 20, Latvia hosted the biggest war games ever staged on its territory since the Baltic State gained independence. Some 10,000 troops from more than a dozen NATO countries are participating in the drills that will end on September 2. However, the military bloc continues to repeat its mantra that all those drills right on Russia’s doorstep are in no way aimed at “provoking” Russia.

As if that was not enough, NATO also beefed up its military contingent in Eastern Europe. In her statement to Reuters, Lungescu only mentioned “4,000 troops to the eastern part of the Alliance to deter any possible aggression” as if those troops were the only ones NATO recently sent to the region. She forgot to note that the US will soon double the number of its Marines stationed in Norway. Also left out were the missile defense installations in Poland and Romania that are equipped with Lockheed Martin Aegis Ashore systems, which are technically capable of carrying both interceptor missiles and Tomahawk missiles.

In October 2017, the US also sent a new mechanized brigade to Poland, effectively increasing the overall strength of its military group in the Eastern European state to the level of a mechanized division. The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said at that time that the equipment of another US brigade, which had previously been stationed there “remained in place.”

He added that such a situation gives the US an opportunity to easily redeploy its trained military personnel from its German Rammstein base to Poland within just two hours. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, NATO has tripled its military presence on Russia’s western borders over the past five years, forcing Moscow to respond.

Meanwhile, Russia has not deployed any significant military forces to its western borders in recent years, except for the stationing of Iskander-M tactical missile systems in its western exclave of Kaliningrad in early 2018. However, it is Russia that NATO and the West so desperately seek to portray as a source of instability in the region. Moscow has repeatedly warned that increased NATO presence on its doorstep effectively contributes nothing to regional security and, to the contrary, undermines stability in Europe.

August 22, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Romanian President Demands Prime Minister’s Resignation Over Betrayal of Palestine

By Adam Garrie | Eurasia Future | 2018-04-27

When Romania’s Prime Minister Viorica Dancila announced that her country would move its “Israeli” Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem/Al-Quds in line with the United States, she did not consult her President as Romanian law demands. The move which is considered a grave insult to millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians throughout the world was apparently taken in a unilateral move that Romania’s President has said violates both national and possibly international law.

President Klaus Iohannis has stated that the Premier’s decision “does not cope with her position of the prime minister of Romania and thus it turns the government into a vulnerability for Romania…. That is why I call publicly for her resignation.”

The rift comes after Prime Minister Dancila recently took a trip to “Israel” which the President said was not cleared with the head of state and therefore cannot be described as an official state visit even though Dancila acted as though it was.

The political turmoil within Romania is a clear sign that even among the few European nations that have been inching towards a US position of moving their embassies in “Israel” to Jerusalem/Al-Quds, such moves are highly domestically divisive.

Today in Palestine, demonstrators continue their Great March of Return protests which are set to continue through Nakba Day on the 15th of May. Thus far, “Israeli” aggression against peaceful demonstrators has resulted in over 40 deaths and the wounding over over 5,500 Palestinians.

April 27, 2018 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | Leave a comment

Russia-US Security Dialogue Looming: Time to Address a Broader Security Agenda

By Alex GORKA | Strategic Culture Foundation | 25.03.2018

A lot of people close to the US president wanted to prevent it at any cost but Donald Trump congratulated President Putin anyway and had a phone conversation with him. The US president said that the two would meet “in the not too distant future.” Preventing an arms race is one issue on the agenda. Donald Trump knew the move would bring forth a tempest but he did it anyway. The president considered the relationship with Moscow to be important enough to defy his numerous opponents. Serbia has already offered to host a summit.

Right after the two presidents’ conversation, the Russian and American chiefs of staff discussed Syria. What’s even more important is that they have agreed to more military-to-military contacts in the future. Why has it suddenly become so important for Washington to launch a dialog on defense issues? The answer was provided by General John E. Hyten, the Commander of US Strategic Command, who admitted in the Senate that the US is defenseless in the face of the threat from hypersonic weapons. This realization came right after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed his recent information about the new systems capable of hypervelocity flight that are currently being tested and are soon to be operational.

The US is a great military power but it’s not strong enough to force everyone to dance to its tune. Its defense programs suffer from serious shortcomings. The current arms-control system is in crisis. New challenges keep cropping up. They should be incorporated into the international security agenda but that’s not happening.

The looming hypersonic race is a burning issue that still needs to be addressed. It’s a domain in which the US is lagging behind Russia. When the Russian president announced those breakthroughs in military technology, his revelations were met with some skepticism in the West. But the ensuing events proved him right. Vladimir Putin pulled it off, making hotheads come to their senses and realize the need for talks to address the security challenges. Washington needs this dialog more than Moscow does.

So, the Americans’ coveted leadership in military technology has turned out to be a pipe dream. But their furtive steps to bring NATO right to Russia’s doorstep are not. The most interesting things often fall off the radar.

Moldova is planning to phase out its draft in order to have a professional military. This month, Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine formed an anti-Russia alliance. Moving to an all-volunteer force is in keeping with the political goals of this group and is seen as an important step on the path to NATO membership. That reform is scheduled to begin this fall. This is a very costly endeavor, especially when one is talking about the poorest country in Europe. Chisinau cannot afford it. It will be fully dependent on assistance from Romania and other NATO states.

Moldova’s process of embracing the bloc has accelerated recently. A joint Romanian-Moldovan task force equipped and trained in accordance with NATO standards is on its way. That step was agreed on in February. According to the military cooperation agreement signed by Chisinau and Bucharest in 2012 and ratified by the Moldovan parliament in 2013, Romanian troops and police forces enjoy freedom of movement on Moldovan territory. In other words, a NATO member has a free hand in Moldova, although the region of Transnistria, where Russian peacekeepers are stationed, is part of that country. This is a real hornet’s nest and the problem remains unaddressed.

The fact that Poland has shifted its best military forces, including its most modern tanks, eastward has not gone unnoticed in Russia. The country will receive 70 AGM-158B JASSM-ER long-range air-to-surface missiles from the US by 2020 or a bit earlier. With an operational range of roughly 1,000 km, this stealth weapon boasting a penetrating warhead can hit infrastructure deep inside Russia. One does not have to be a military expert to realize that the JASSM-ER’s prime mission is to knock out Russian Iskander short-range missiles deployed in the Kaliningrad region in a first strike.

The small Polish town of Powidz is to become a NATO hub for the Baltics and Northern Europe. Construction is underway to build a storage facility for a brigade’s worth of military hardware and personnel. The US Aegis Ashore BMD system will be operational in Poland this year. This is a highly destabilizing weapon that will become a target for a first strike by the Russian military.

Nor has Russia forgotten about the 300 US Marines stationed in Norway, or the construction of a sophisticated new radar system known as Globus 3 in the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. This is a violation of international law, as Svalbard was supposed to be demilitarized under a 1925 treaty. The facility there is an element of NATO’s ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. The joint US-Norwegian radar station is viewed by Moscow as a clear provocation. Norway is to be provided with over 50 US F-35 stealth fighters in 2019, enabling it to strike Russian territory. The F-35 is a nuclear-capable plane.

All these moves are being closely watched by the Russian military. Even if new weapons are incorporated into the bilateral arms-control agenda, the efforts to create the potential for a first strike near Russia’s borders are certainly not something Moscow can turn a blind eye toward. This does not create the right environment for a security dialog between Moscow and Washington. Everything is connected.

What Russia and the US really need is not just talks about curbing super weapons, but also negotiations addressing a much broader security agenda.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment