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Tehran Has Sovereign Right to Develop Missile Program – Moscow

Sputnik – 19.09.2018

MOSCOW – Moscow believes that the development of the Iranian missile program is Tehran’s sovereign right, and all the issues arising in this regard should be resolved without pressure, especially military, at the negotiating table, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik.

“We have always supported resolving any problems that arise in interstate relations and in the dialogue on acute issues through negotiations and through relevant agreements,” Ryabkov said on Wednesday.

The deputy foreign minister further stressed that the developments in the situation around the Iran nuclear deal and other issues that American counterparts put in the context of this deal, as well as Iran’s behavior, attracted Russia’s close attention.

Speaking to Sputnik reporter, Ryabkov also revealed that the meeting of the five mediators and Iran at the level of foreign ministers will take place on the sidelines of the high-level week of the UN General Assembly at the end of September.

“The meeting of the participants of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — those who stayed in the agreement — will be held at the ministerial level,” the official stated.

He also noted that the definite time is being coordinated, and the European External Action Service is expected to make a relevant announcement in the near future. However, Ryabkov assured that it was certain that the meeting would take place.

The JCPOA stipulates the gradual removal of the West’s sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran maintaining a peaceful nature of its nuclear program. However, US President Donald Trump announced in May the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPOA and the reinstating of the first round of sanctions in August.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel’s Failed Attempt to Start WWIII Is the Beginning of the End in Syria

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 19.09.2018

There is one thing that Israel fears more than anything else in Syria. The loss of its ability to fly its F-16’s with impunity and hit whatever targets it wants claiming defensive measures to stop Iran, their existential enemy.

Israel finally admitted to carrying out over 200 such missions over the past 18 months, only a few of which ever made any kind of international media, recently.

And with the sneak attack on Latakia which involved using a Russian IL-20 ELINT war plane as radar cover Israel has now not only raised the stakes to an unacceptable level, it has also ensured that this may be the last such aerial assault it will ever be able to carry out.

The setup is pretty clear. Israel and France coordinated an attack on multiple targets within Syria without US involvement but with absolute US knowledge of the operation to provoke Russia into going off half-cocked by attacking the inconsequential French frigate which assisted Israel’s air attack.

Any denunciation of sinister intent by Israeli Defense Forces is hollow because if they had not intended to provoke a wider conflict they would have given Russia more than one minute to clear their planes from the area.

That would constitute an attack on a NATO member state and require a response from NATO, thereby getting the exact escalation needed to continue the war in Syria indefinitely and touch off WWIII.

This neatly bypasses any objections to a wider conflict by President Trump who would have to respond militarily to a Russian attack on a NATO ally. It also would reassert NATO’s necessity in the public dialogue, further marginalizing Trump’s attacks on it and any perceived drive of his for peace.

That this took place within the 60 days window of the mid-term elections should also not be discounted.

This attack took place just hours after Presidents Erdogan and Putin negotiated a ‘peaceful’ settlement for Idlib province by declaring a De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) 15-20 kilometers wide which everyone, including Erdogan’s pets Jabhat al-Nusra would have to abide by.

Peace was breaking out in Syria and Israel and the war-hawks in D.C. weren’t standing for that.

By conducting this attack like this Israel and the NATO crowd figured it would be a win/win for them.

If Russia strikes back at France, then NATO invokes Article 5 and they get their wider war.

If Russia doesn’t strike back Putin loses face within Russia, his popularity drops 5 points and John Bolton begins salivating at the prospect of regime change in Russia. Yes, they are that insane.

It was a neat piece of geopolitical maneuvering, almost judo-like. Russia and Syria looked to be on the verge of victory, extending themselves in a major conflict that would result in months of bad press. We were expecting a possible false-flag chemical weapons attack, cries of humanitarian crisis and all the rest of the tired virtue-signaling we can expect by US ‘diplomatic’ officials that has been all too common even under Trump.

What we got was the opposite, a carefully-crafted assault on Russian military forces wherein Russia’s vaunted air-defense systems would be blamed for its own people’s deaths and a mistaken counter-attack that justifies the “Putin is a Vile War-Monger” narrative to justify a US invasion of Syria which has been held in amber since 2013 and Putin’s skillful defusing that situation via diplomatic means.

For once, this almost looked like a well-thought out plan. Not the usual ham-fisted crudities we’ve been treated to over the last few years. But, here’s the rub.

It didn’t work.

By naming names and immediately not responding militarily during the ‘fog of war’ Russia and Putin again prove to be more skilled at this than their adversaries.

Because none of what I just outlined will come to pass. And France, Israel and the US will be the ones to lose face here. And with Israel betraying Putin’s forbearance after April’s air strikes on Damascus, he will have no choice but to upgrade Syria’s air defense systems from S-200’s to S-300’s and possibly S-400’s.

This is Israel’s worst nightmare. A situation where any aerial assault on targets within Syria would be suicide missions, puncturing the myth of the Israeli air force’s superiority and shifting the delicate balance of power in Syria decidedly against them.

This is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu worked Putin so hard over the last two years. But, this incident wipes that slate clean. This was a cynical betrayal of Putin’s trust and patience. And Israel will now pay the price for their miscalculation.

Giving Syria S-300’s does not avenge the fifteen dead Russian soldiers. Putin will have to respond to that in a more concrete way to appease the hardliners in his government and at home. His patience and seeming passivity are being pushed to their limit politically. This is, after all, a side benefit to all of this for the neoconservative and globalist hawks in D.C., Europe and Tel Aviv.

But, the real loss here for Israel will be Russia instituting a no-fly zone over western Syria. Any less response from Putin will be seized upon by and the situation will escalate from here. So, Putin has to deploy S-300’s here. And once that happens, the real solution to Syria begins in earnest.

Because at that point it will be the US’s move to flat-out invade without provocation, now that a solution is in place in Syria between Russia and a NATO member, Turkey.

The only good news in all of this is that US forces were not involved. This still tells me that Trump and Mattis are still in charge of their chain of command and that other forces are conspiring to drag them into a conflict no one in their right minds wants.

September 19, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

‘You are to blame for downing of Il-20 and death of its crew,’ Russia tells Israel

RT | September 18, 2018

Russia has formally complained to Israel about its air raid on Monday, which led to the downing of a Russian Il-20 plane off the Syrian coast. Moscow has laid the blame for the crew’s deaths “squarely on the Israeli side.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke to his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman on the phone about the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane on Monday night. He relayed Moscow’s position on the incident, blaming the Israeli military for setting up the Russian plane to be shot down by Syrian air defenses, which were responding to an Israeli air raid, an official statement from the Russian military said.

Shoigu reiterated that Israel failed to notify Russia of the impending attack in a way that would have given its military an opportunity to move the Il-20 out of harm’s way. Instead, the warning came just one minute before the Israeli F-16 fighter jets launched their attack.

“The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side,” the Minister Shoigu said. “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Israeli jets had used the bigger Russian plane as cover during their attack on targets in Syria. The ministry said the Israelis must have known that they were putting the Russian plane at risk, but neither changed their battle plan nor gave a warning in time for the Il-20 to be moved to a safe area.

Israel later responded to the Russian statements, saying it had attacked a Syrian military site overnight. Israeli said the mission was to destroy arms-manufacturing equipment which they claim was to be delivered to Lebanon on behalf of Iran. Israel insisted that the responsibility for the Russian deaths was not on Israel, but on Syria and its allies, Iran and Hezbollah.

September 18, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , | 3 Comments

Putin & Erdogan agree Idlib buffer zone to avert new Syria crisis

RT | September 17, 2018

Russia and Turkey have agreed a “demilitarized zone” between militants and government troops in Syria’s Idlib, President Vladimir Putin said after hours-long talks with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan focused on solving the crisis.

“We’ve focused on the situation in the province of Idlib, considering presence of large militant groups and their infrastructure there,” Putin said at a press conference after the talks.

“We’ve agreed to create a demilitarized zone between the government troops and militants before October 15. The zone will be 15-20km wide, with full withdrawal of hardline militants from there, including the Jabhat Al-Nusra.”

As part of solving the deadlock, all heavy weaponry, including tanks and artillery, will be withdrawn from the zone before October 10, Putin said. The zone will be patrolled by Turkish and Russian military units.

Before the end of the year, roads between Aleppo and Hama, and Aleppo and Latakia must be reopened for transit traffic, he said.

The agreement has received “general support” from the Syrian government, according to Putin.

The deal and other issues of Russian-Turkish ties apparently took almost 5 hours to hammer out. In what appears to a breakthrough solution, Putin and Erdogan have agreed to ensure peace with the help of Russian and Turkish troops.

“The territory controlled by the Syrian opposition must be demilitarized and the Syrian opposition that is holding these territories will remain there. But together with Russia we will make efforts to clear these territories of radical elements,” Erdogan said.

The agreement is designed to prevent a new “humanitarian crisis” in Syria, Erdogan stressed, and will help Turkey to avoid an even more “difficult situation.” He had previously warned of a surge in refugees hitting the country should a full-blown war break out in Idlib.

The plan is a major landmark for Syria, where the standoff in the last militant stronghold of Idlib has threatened to turn into a major international crisis in recent weeks. The US and other NATO countries backing anti-government forces had repeatedly warned Russia and Syria not to launch any new offensive in the region. US President Donald Trump tweeted earlier this month that to do so would be a “grave humanitarian error,” while US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley outright said that any Russian attack on Idlib would provoke “dire” consequences.

About 70 percent of Idlib province is controlled by various terrorist factions, including Al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front), according to the Russian military. At the same time, both Turkey and the West support various militant groups they consider as “moderate” opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces.

This turned out to be a dilemma for Ankara, with the Turkish president simultaneously worried about Russia and Syrian action weakening the rebel groups, but also having concerns over the spread of terrorists and the potential influx of new refugees into areas bordering Turkey.

Now it appears that despite the rocky last few years of Russian-Turkish relations, the mutual trust built up between Putin and Erdogan has allowed them to overcome a clash of interests and reach a compromise.

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , , | Leave a comment

Russian plane disappears from radars during Israeli attack on Syria’s Latakia – MoD

RT | September 17, 2018

A Russian military Il-20 aircraft with 14 service members on board went off the radars during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Air traffic controllers at the Khmeimim Air Base “lost contact” with the aircraft on Wednesday evening, during the attack of Israeli F-16 fighters on Latakia, said the MOD.

Russian radars also registered the launch of missiles from a French frigate in the Mediterranean on the evening of September 17.

Fourteen people were on board the plane at the time of the disappearance. A search and rescue mission is underway.

The Ilyushin 20 (IL-20) surveillance turboprop plane is an Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) platform, equipped with a wide range of antennas, infrared and optical sensors. The aircraft’s SLAR (Side-Looking Airborne Radar) and the plane’s satellite link allows the Russian military to monitor Syrian skies in real time.

An hour-long attack on Latakia began around 10 pm local time, and targeted a power station as well as two facilities belonging to the Syrian military. Syrian officials said the attack was “foreign” and came “from the sea,” but could not initially confirm rumors that Israel was behind it. Seven people were injured in the attack, according to Syrian officials.

While the Russian military said it recorded four F-16 Israeli jets over Syria at the time of the attack on Latakia, the IDF has refused to comment on the report.

The attack on Latakia came just hours after Russia and Turkey negotiated a partial demilitarization of the Idlib province, which is the last remaining stronghold of anti-government militants, including the Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (also known as the Jabhat Al-Nusra).

READ MORE:

Russia detects missile launches from French frigate off Syria’s coast in Mediterranean – MoD

September 17, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , | 2 Comments

Serial numbers of missile that downed MH17 show it was produced in 1986, owned by Ukraine – Russia

RT | September 17, 2018

The serial numbers found on debris of the Buk missile which downed Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine show it was produced in 1986, the Russian military said. The projectile was owned by Ukraine, they added.

There are two serial numbers found on fragments of the missile, which shot down the passenger airliner in June 2014 according to an international team of investigators led by the Netherlands. The numbers were marked on the engine and the nozzle of the missile.

The Russian military on Monday said they had traced them to a missile which had the producer serial number 8868720.

Speaking to journalists, Gen. Nikolay Parshin showed a document trail of the Buk missile. According to the documents, some of which have been declassified for the presentation, it was produced at a military plant in Dolgoprudny in the Moscow region in 1986.

The missile was shipped from the plant on December 29, 1986 and delivered to military unit 20152 located in what is now Ukraine. It is now called 223rd anti-aircraft defense regiment of the Ukrainian armed forces, the report said. The unit took part in Kiev’s crackdown on rebels in eastern Ukraine in June 2014, the general said.

The evidence disproves the accusations by Ukraine and some other parties, which claim that a missile fired by a launcher, secretly delivered from Russia, was responsible for the downing of MH17, the Ministry of Defense report said. All the materials have been sent to the Dutch investigators, the Russian military added.

The Russian military also challenges video footage used by the UK-based group Bellingcat, which calls itself a citizen journalism organization, to back its allegations about the delivery of the Buk launcher from Russia. The Defense Ministry showed a video clip with some of the footage, highlighting inconsistencies, which it said proved that the footage had been manipulated to place images of the launcher into background which were not in the original.

The Bellingcat investigation was featured in the latest update by Dutch prosecutors involved in the MH17 investigation, prompting them to directly accuse Russia of providing the launcher and the missile. The Russian military said it decided after this to study the purported trail of photo and video evidence showing the path of the launcher in detail. The Russian video showed an example of how an Abrams tank can be shown to be carried by a trailer in the streets of Ukraine in the same way.

The third part of the presentation was what the Russian officials called a record of intercepted communications of Ukrainian officials discussing, in 2016, the risk of flying through restricted airspace over Ukraine. Among a barrage of complaints one phrase says unless the restrictions are respected “we’ll f***ing f**k up another Malaysian Boeing”.

The Russian military say the complaints came from Col. Ruslan Grinchak, who serves in a brigade responsible for radar control in Ukrainian airspace. His unit tracked the MH17 flight in 2014, so he may have information which is not publicly available about the disaster, and his outburst may have been factual rather than hyperbolic, they suggested.

Gen. Igor Konashenkov, who hosted the briefing, said that Ukraine failed to provide radar data from its stations to the Dutch investigators. He also suggested that archive documents from the Ukrainian unit, which received the Buk missile back in 1986, would be of use to the probe, unless Kiev claims that they are no longer available. He stressed rules are in place which mean that such documents should still be stored in Ukraine.

The Russian military said they had no evidence to disprove a scenario, involving the Ukrainian rebels capturing the missile from the Ukrainian army, but pointed out that Ukrainian officials publicly denied anything like this had ever happened.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, falling in the rebel-held part of the country. The crash claimed the lives of 283 passengers and 15 crew members, most of them Dutch nationals. Russia was blamed by Western media in the first days after the tragedy, even before any evidence had been collected on the ground.

The Joint Investigation Team, which is lead by the Netherlands, includes Ukraine, but not Russia. Moscow believes that the investigation is biased, failing to obtain all necessary evidence from Ukraine and relying on questionable sources while ignoring evidence provided by Russia, which doesn’t fit the theory favored by Kiev. For instance, Moscow said a theory was never tested that the airliner could have been downed by a fighter jet spotted by Russian radar stations near flight MH17. The theory was later proven false by the discovery of debris from the Buk rocket.

September 17, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Azov Sea Flashpoint: Russia, Ukraine Teetering on the Brink of War

By Peter KORZUN | Strategic Culture Foundation | 16.09.2018

Ukraine has increased its military presence in the Azov Sea region. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council met on Sept. 7 and agreed to take a variety of steps to boost the country’s combat capabilities in the area, including the creation of a missile-equipped naval infantry group to counter potential amphibious attacks and naval shore bombardments. Ukraine’s Gurza-M-class armored artillery boats have been brought in to boost the naval component of the forces deployed in the region.

Russia and Ukraine enjoy free use of the Sea of Azov under the 2003 “Agreement between the Russian Federation and the Ukraine on cooperation in the use of the sea of Azov and the strait of Kerch.” The document is in place but it does not specify any precise border. The parties agree that the Sea of Azov and the Strait of Kerch are the internal waters of both Ukraine and Russia.

Talks have dragged on for a long time but have failed to produce a solution. Ukraine does not want to recognize Russia’s rights, which are based on the fact that Crimea has joined the Russian Federation. Moreover, Ukrainian authorities insist on their right to detain any ship traveling to or from Crimea without Kiev’s permission.

Ukraine is calling for the imposition of international sanctions against Russian Black Sea ports, due to what it calls the “blockade” of the Sea of Azov. It has already imposed punitive measures unilaterally. Tensions have heightened since March, when ships were detained and searched.  On March 24, Ukrainian border guards stopped the Russian-flagged, Crimean-registered Nord fishing vessel in the Sea of Azov. The ship was hijacked. The crew members reported being interrogated and abused by Ukrainian authorities who held them accountable under domestic laws, not recognizing the crew as Russian citizens. The detained sailors were finally set free to return to Crimea without passports. Ukraine violated a number of international agreements and this marked the beginning of a campaign of provocative actions that has been waged ever since. Last month, the Russian Mekhanik Pogodin tanker was detained in the Ukrainian port of Kherson. Russia compared the move to the activities of Somali pirates.

The US is taking sides in order to ratchet up the tensions.  The State Department has taken a deliberately provocative stance, urging Ukraine toward confrontation. Without bothering to study the details, it simply puts the blame on Russia as usual for anything that goes wrong. Washington is goading Ukraine into seeking a military solution, including such unrealistic but dangerous ideas as using the warships of NATO’s standing force to protect its shipping lanes, mining the Azov Sea, or  using fast-moving attack vessels to encircle a large Russian naval asset from all directions like a wolf pack. This tactic was invented by German Admiral Karl Dönitz during WWII, when “wolf packs” of U-boats were used to attack capital ships.  The very fact that such ideas have been generated and are floating around shows how unwise it is to abet Ukraine by throwing unconditional support behind it.

Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council, a leading US expert on Russia, believes that the US administration “should send anti-ship missiles available from or through the US-AGM-84 Harpoon Block II, AGM-158C LRASM A, and the Norwegian Naval Strike Missile” as well as “a viable launch platform and a targeting system, particularly a radar.” The author thinks this should be done right now, without delay. His article was published on Sept. 7 by the Atlantic Council, the prestigious think tank that advises the State Department and enjoys great influence among those who shape US foreign policy.  In another article, Mr. Blanc calls for supplying Ukraine with platforms — older ships that have been decommissioned or are about to retire.  Last month, Mykola Bielieskov, the Deputy Executive Director at the Institute of World Policy, called for fast-track shipments to Ukraine of the Harpoon Block II ER+ anti-ship missile, enabling it to attack Russian vessels. The idea of providing Ukraine with Island-class coast guard ships is under consideration by the US government. On Sept. 1, Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, stated that the US administration “is ready to expand arms supplies to Ukraine in order to build up the country’s naval and air defense forces.”

The powers that be have failed to keep their promises and improve the lives of ordinary people in Ukraine. The presidential election will be held in March 2019. A threatening Russian bogeyman is needed to explain away the failures. The country’s economy and finances are in the doldrums and corruption is staggering.   None of the problems have been solved and the West is getting tired of Ukraine. The fairy tale about Moscow’s “aggressive foreign policy” comes in handy right when the Ukrainian rulers need a scapegoat.

Nobody needs an armed conflict in the Azov Sea region. A number of countries are interested in protecting the right of free passage, enabling vessels to arrive at their destination ports  without risk or delay. The region does not have to be a flashpoint. Russia and Ukraine could sit down at a round table to discuss controversial issues, as the 2003 agreement stipulates the parties should do in order to settle their disputes, should they have any, but that’s not what the State Department is calling for. The only option the US administration is considering is that of providing Ukraine with arms to fight Russia and then egging Kiev on to escalate the tensions. And those are already dangerously running high. A spark can ignite a big fire at any time if the problem is not addressed in a positive way without saber rattling. It’s a pity the US is playing such a destructive role. The time is right for Russian and Ukrainian experts and officials to set their differences aside and start talking to find a peaceful solution to this urgent problem.

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Erdogan, Putin to Meet Monday in Sochi as Turkey Moves More Weapons into Syria

21st Century Wire | September 15, 2018

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Monday, amid reports of a heavy Turkish arms drop into Syria in recent days.

The two leaders last met at a summit earlier this month in Tehran, and this next meeting will come just days after the Turkish army sent more ‘arms and ammunition’ into Syria’s Idlib and Hama provinces, according to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) released on Saturday.

The independent media outlet Muraselon is also citing multiple reports of both Turkish weapons and troops moving into these regions, including to areas under the control of the ‘rebel’ coalition National Liberation Front (NLF) – a collection of unsavory characters and the main rival of Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib, according to IRIN:

Turkey’s favourite is the NLF, which is led by Fadlallah al-Hajji, a Muslim Brotherhood ally. The NLF includes Turkey-friendly Islamists like Ahrar al-Sham, the Noureddine al-Zengi Brigades, Failaq al-Sham, Jaish al-Ahrar, and groups that fought under the Free Syrian Army banner, like the Victory Army and the 2nd Coastal Division.

Big but brittle, the NLF is held together by Turkish sponsorship and shared enemies: al-Assad’s government, Syrian Kurdish groups, and hardline jihadists.

Turkey’s escalated military presence and heavy arms drop into known jihadist havens ahead of the upcoming Sochi meeting is unwelcome, and presents the potential risk for a military showdown in the future between Turkish and Syrian/Russian forces – something that all sides have warned against but Turkey’s apparent ‘double-dealing’ isn’t helping.

September 15, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

State Department Slams Announcement of Donbass Elections Slated for November 11

Sputnik – 13.09.2018

WASHINGTON – The United States is condemning the elections in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) scheduled for November 11, US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Wednesday.

“The United States condemns the announcement of a plan to conduct ‘elections’ in the so-called ‘Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.’ Given the continued control of these territories by the Russian Federation, genuine elections are inconceivable, and grossly contravene Russia’s commitments under the Minsk agreements. By engineering phony procedures, Russia is once more demonstrating its disregard for international norms and is undermining efforts to achieve peace in eastern Ukraine. The so-called ‘people’s republics’ that Russia created have no place within the Ukrainian constitutional order,” Nauert said.

She pointed out that the United States remained fully committed to diplomatic efforts aimed at resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine. “US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity remains unwavering,” Nauert added.

The conflict in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbass started in 2014, when Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the DPR and LPR that refused to recognize the new government in Kiev, which came to power after what they considered to be a coup. In February 2015, the warring parties signed the Minsk peace accords to end the fighting in the region, but the situation remained tense, with both parties accusing each other of ceasefire violations.

Last week, the DPR Operational Command’s deputy chief Eduard Basurin called on Kiev to to give up attempts to exacerbate the conflict. According to the official, the Ukrainian forces have deployed about 100 pieces of heavy weaponry near Kiev-controlled Novosilka settlement in Donbas, including 18 units of Grad and 12 units of Uragan multiple rocket launcher systems.

The DPR comand has said that Ukraine had already deployed over 12,000 troops to launch an offensive against the DPR forces in the direction of the city of Mariupol following the assassination of the republic’s leader, Alexander Zakharchenko. According to the command, the offensive is scheduled for September 14.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the Western countries were responsible for the 2014 overthrown of then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, which triggered the military conflict in the country.

September 13, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

No Russian trace in Manafort case, but Moscow portrayed as villain – Lavrov

RT | September 12, 2018

Nothing in the charges against former US President Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort suggests any ties to Russia, but US media are scapegoating Moscow anyway, the Russian foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was addressing young diplomats at a session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok on Wednesday, when he touched on the case of Manafort, originally investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office as part of the wide-ranging Russia collusion probe.

Manafort has faced two separate trials, in Washington, DC and Virginia, after being charged with a list of offenses ranging from tax and bank fraud to witness tampering and unreported lobbying on behalf of Ukrainian government under the ousted President Viktor Yanukovich.

Last month, Manfort was found guilty of five counts of tax fraud, one count of hiding foreign bank accounts and two counts of bank fraud by a jury in Virginia. He faces seven separate charges in an upcoming trial in Washington. However, none of the allegations have anything to do with the initial purpose of the prosecution’s looking into his shady dealings – that is to find a proof of the Trump campaign’s collusion with the Kremlin.

The total lack of evidence did not stop the mainstream media from brazenly peddling the Russia narrative when the investigation was in its early stages, Lavrov noted.

“They began hyping up the case of Manafort, who was accused of being almost the main executioner of Kremlin’s sinister plot to stop Hillary Clinton from winning” the presidential elections, he said. “In the end, after months-long investigation, hearings, he was charged only with being an agent of the Ukrainian government and working in the interest of the Ukrainian government.”

However, the damage has already been done as ordinary Americans were made to believe that Russia is “a villain that runs everything in the US.”

The top Russian diplomat also took aim at America’s two-party system, arguing that “regrettably” it seemed that the decades-old system “glitched” during the 2016 elections, with the Democratic party that emerged on the losing end still trying to find those responsible for its stunning debacle outside the US.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

The US’s Choice: WWIII or Saving Face in Syria

By Tom LUONGO | Strategic Culture Foundation | 11.09.2018

Sometimes when I step back from the overwhelming flow of geopolitical insanity I’m reminded of the old adage that coming close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

To which, I always add, “And nuclear war.”

I’ve been watching the build up to the operation to liberate Idlib in Syria which includes the endless neocon and Israeli moral preening warning Assad against using chemical weapons with a sense of detachment.  And I keep thinking to myself, “Do they really think we’re that stupid?”

Three times the chemical weapons canard has been used to justify further aggression against Syria and three times a full-blown U.S. invasion has been averted. First by Vladimir Putin’s deft diplomacy and General Dunford’s refusal to implement a ‘no-fly zone’ in 2013 and then during the Trump years with ineffectual air strikes on Syrian airbases.

How much of that ineffectuality of those airstrikes were designed by Defense Secretary James Mattis to avoid a wider conflagration and how much was Russian EW/missile defense is anyone’s guess.

The truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle.

That is why everyone who is worrying about the U.S.’s blustering over Syria’s Idlib campaign needs to take a big step back and think the scenario through.

Because the neoconservatives and Israel are forcing the situation to its crisis point, thinking they can manipulate the headlines and the levers of power to still eke out a victory in Syria that will allow them to continue on their quest to destroy Russia first and conquer the rest of Asia after that.

And they are willing to blackmail us with the threat of WWIII over 50,000 head-chopping mercenaries to get their cookie.

However, when you factor in the men actually in charge of the U.S. military chain of command, Trump and Mattis, and you realize the lengths to which Mattis’ field commanders have gone to avoid direct confrontation with Russian forces, you come to the conclusion that the men who will actually fight this war the neoconservative provocateurs and laptop bombardiers are clamoring for won’t actually pull the trigger.

The reasons for this are manifest.

First, the potential for the conflict to go nuclear is too high for rational men to take that chance. Mattis and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu are hard-bitten, no-nonsense men. Neither underestimates the other’s resolve to defend their men and national interests.

So, once the shooting starts expect it to get ugly quick.  Therefore it is unlikely to get to that point.

Second, there is no profit in that kind of escalation for the people who profit from war. The banks and the military weapons makers thrive in low-intensity, frozen conflicts which keep sales flowing and governments indebted to pay for them.

In an age of nuclear weapons, proxy wars fought by mercenaries with drones are far more profitable than any large-scale invasions.  I hate to say this but from a discounted cash flow perspective Lockheed-Martin wants predictability to cover their quarterly dividends to shareholders more than they want to bring about the supposed Zionist plan for Greater Israel.

Sorry to burst everyone’s conspiracy theories.

Third and most importantly, the U.S. cannot afford a non-nuclear confrontation with Russia that punctures the illusion of U.S. military superiority.  Too much of the world’s confidence in the dollar itself rests in the U.S.’s ability to project power and defend its interests militarily.

This confidence is a mixture of that military capability and the U.S.’s traditional position of a country with an excellent legal framework within which to do business. It is fashionable among geopolitical critics, myself included, to get caught up in the rhetoric and projection of a sclerotic and weakening United States, but legally it is still one of the best places on earth to do business.

But, as Martin Armstrong pointed out recently, Trump’s domestic opposition has openly declared sedition against him this week in the New York Times. Former Secretary of State, John Kerry, is doing the talk show circuit calling for a constitutional crisis over Trump allegedly being unfit for office. And George Soros is paying protesters to disrupt the confirmation hearing of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

If allowed to run its course to impeachment in the event of the Republicans losing control of the House in November, this would be a death blow to the U.S.’s reputation as a nation of laws rather than a nation of men. The U.S. dollar would not recover from such a blow to its credibility, especially in light of Trump’s nearly-unhinged use of sanctions and threats of tariffs, weaponizing the dollar indiscriminately.

And this is why Vladimir Putin openly showed his hand to the world in March. Strategically, he let everyone know that any confrontation between Russia and the U.S. would result in the U.S losing its status as the world’s pre-eminent military power.

This is why the neocons and the U.S./U.K. Deep State have been so adamant in accelerating its provocations against Russia. They have to present us with the Faustian bargain of WWIII before Russia has these weapon systems fully deployed.

It’s also why Trump and Mattis are allowing them to have their head. It feeds Trump’s “Art of the Deal” strategy for negotiations while also allowing him the opportunity to save face after Idlib is liberated regardless of whether another chemical weapons attack is staged.

I think we won’t see one here.

The way out of Syria for the U.S. with its face-saved is to thunder and bluster, threaten fire and brimstone just like Trump did with Kim Jong-un and use that to explain why Assad showed restraint and didn’t use chemical weapons this time.

I can even see Trump tweeting something about three strikes and he would be out.

Once Idlib is liberated Mattis will happily begin pulling vulnerable troops out of al-Tanf and Afghanistan. That’s why I believe he went there to the surprise of the CIA house-organ Washington Post last week.

And then the neocon and Israeli muddying of the waters will move to the Geneva talks, but we’ll cross that Rubicon when it approaches.

September 11, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

Is Trump Going Neocon in Syria?

By Pat Buchanan • Unz Review • September 11, 2018

Is President Donald Trump about to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war? For that is what he and his advisers seem to be signaling.

Last week, Trump said of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s campaign to recapture the last stronghold of the rebellion, Idlib province: “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.”

In a front-page story Monday, “Assad is Planning Chlorine Attack, U.S. Says,” The Wall Street Journal reports that, during a recent meeting, “President Trump threatened to conduct a massive attack against Mr. Assad if he carries out a massacre in Idlib.”

Idlib contains three million civilians and refugees and 70,000 rebels, 10,000 of whom are al-Qaida.

Friday, The Washington Post reported that Trump is changing U.S. policy. America will not leaving Syria any time soon.

The 2,200 U.S. troops in Syria will remain until we see “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces and the establishment of a stable, non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians.”

“We are not in a hurry to go,” said James Jeffrey, the retired Foreign Service officer brought back to handle the Syria account. “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”

President Obama had a red line against Syria’s use of poison gas, which Trump enforced with bombing runs. Now we have a new red line. Said Jeffrey, the U.S. “will not tolerate an attack. Period.”

In an editorial Friday, the Post goaded Trump, calling his response to Assad’s ruthless recapture of his country “pathetically weak.” To stand by and let the Syrian army annihilate the rebels in Idlib, said the Post, would be “another damaging abdication of U.S. leadership.”

What Trump seems to be signaling, the Post demanding, and Jeffrey suggesting, is that, rather than allow a bloody battle for the recapture of Idlib province to play out, the United States should engage Russian and Syrian forces militarily and force them to back off.

On Friday, near the U.S. garrison at Tanf in southern Syria, close to Iraq, U.S. Marines conducted a live-fire exercise. Purpose: Warn Russian forces to stay away. The Americans have declared a 35-mile zone around Tanf off-limits. The Marine exercise followed a Russian notification, and U.S. rejection, of a plan to enter the zone in pursuit of “terrorists.”

Is Trump ready to order U.S. action against Russian and Syrian forces if Assad gives his army the green light to take Idlib? For the bombing of Idlib has already begun.

What makes this more than an academic exercise is that Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, at a meeting in Tehran last Friday, told President Erdogan of Turkey that the reconquest of Idlib is going forward.

Erdogan fears that the Syrian army’s recapture of Idlib would send hundreds of thousands more refugees streaming to his border.

Turkey already hosts millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Yet the massing of the Syrian army near Idlib and the Russian and Syrian bombing now begun suggest that the Assad-Putin-Rouhani coalition has decided to accept the risk of a clash with the Americans in order to bring an end to the rebellion. If so, this puts the ball in America’s court.

Words and warnings aside, is Trump prepared to take us into the Syrian civil war against the forces who, absent our intervention, will have won the war? When did Congress authorize a new war?

What vital U.S. interest is imperiled in Idlib, or in ensuring that all Iranian forces and Shiite allies are removed, or that a “non-threatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community” is established in Damascus?

With these conditions required before our departure, we could be there for eternity.

The Syrian civil war is arguably the worst humanitarian disaster of the decade. The sooner it is ended the better. But Assad, Russia and Iran did not start this war. Nor have Syria, Russia or Iran sought a clash with U.S. forces whose mission, we were repeatedly assured, was to crush ISIS and go home.

Trump has struck Syria twice for its use of poison gas, and U.S. officials told the Journal that Assad has now approved the use of chlorine on the rebels in Idlib. Moscow, however, is charging that a false-flag operation to unleash chlorine on civilians in Idlib is being prepared to trigger and justify U.S. intervention.

Many in this Russophobic city would welcome a confrontation with Putin’s Russia, even more a U.S. war on Iran. But that is the opposite of what candidate Trump promised.

It would represent a triumph of the never-Trumpers and President Trump’s relinquishing of his foreign policy to the interventionists and neoconservatives.

Copyright 2018 Creators.com.

September 11, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 4 Comments