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An Open Letter to Australia’s Politicians in Opposition to the Proposed Metadata Retention Laws March 17, 2015 – Written by: Rob Marsh

An Open Letter to Australia’s Politicians in Opposition to the Proposed Metadata Retention Laws

I recently wrote a rather long article on the potential dangers of new metadata retention laws to the fabric of our society and the functioning of our democracy. There is no issue I feel more passionate about in our society today, as it affects literally every one of us. We are witnessing the creation of the greatest weapon of oppression in the history of man, to quote Edward Snowden, and as individuals, citizens of a democracy, and human beings, we owe it to ourselves and each other to do what little we can to stall and hopefully stop this legislation from passing into law.

To that end, I’ve prepared an open letter to the politicians of this country outlining the failings of the legislation and other relevant information around metadata collection and the relation thereof to human rights.

Please send this to as many members of parliament as you can, and please share this template on your social media walls and any political groups you may be a part of. The more people that know that this is happening and that recognise that they are personally implicated in it, the more chance we have of stopping this draconian imposition on the freedoms of all Australians, rich and poor, powerless and powerful, male and female, old and young.

With your help, I sincerely believe we can make a positive difference.



An Open Letter to the Politicians of Australia on the Potential Adverse Effects of Proposed Metadata Retention Legislation on Human Rights and the Functioning of Our Democracy

This letter contains many references to the Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, where there is a number or text enclosed in brackets like so: (5.17), refer to the appropriate section of the report.

[Politician’s name],

I am writing to you to express my deep and sincere concern with regards to the proposed Metadata Retention legislation that the government wishes to pass by the 27th of March 2015.

This legislation represents, contrary to the claims of those with vested interests in seeing the legislation pass, a grave threat to the right to privacy, freedom of speech and association that is fundamental to a well-functioning democracy.

You may not be aware of what the legislation addresses, or what the “telecommunications data” it refers to actually entails.

Nicola Roxon, in a statement to the Attorney General, describes telecommunications data as: “Telecommunications data is information about the process of communication, as distinct from its content. It includes information about the identity of the sending and receiving parties and related subscriber details, account identifying information collected by the telecommunications carrier or ISP to establish the account, and information such as the time and date of the communication, its duration, location and type of communication. (5.7)

The proposed legislation, based on the definitions above, would give the Australian government unprecedented access to nearly every aspect of the online activity of it’s citizens, and the ability to infer a disturbingly accurate “pattern of life” from the collected data.

For example, you may have your cellphone’s GPS services enabled to use Google Maps. That data, in conjunction with your phone records and timestamps on the above data could clue in a security agency as to your most likely whereabouts on any given day. This poses an enormous risk to freedom of the press, as governments could use these capabilities to track journalists and their sources to frequented meeting places, limiting concerned parties’ abilities to bring sensitive information to the public for democratic review.

“The database will contain every page they accessed – every article they’ve read on a newspaper site, any online political activity, any purchases on ebay, books bought from amazon, Facebook pages visited etc.” – Ian Quick

In the words of former NSA/CIA Director Michael Hayden:

“We kill people based on metadata.”

Fears about the above stated powers and the implications thereof have been echoed by several EU countries.

The Romanian Court, with regards to local metadata retention, held that a “continuous legal obligation” to retain all traffic data for six months was incompatible with the rights to privacy and freedom of expression. (5.26)

In Germany, the Constitutional Court described metadata retention as a “serious restriction of the right to privacy” and stated that a “retention period of six months [was] at the upper limit of what should be considered proportionate”. (5.27)

The Czech Constitutional Court, in analogous statements, described misgivings about the potential abuses of these powers: “Individual citizens had insufficient guarantees against possible abuses of power by public authorities.” (5.28)

The EU Court of Justice found that the 2006 European Data Retention Directive violated citizens “fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data”.

With such strident international condemnation, it seems to go without saying that any committee responsible for review of similar legislation would be given express access to details of the proposed changes and sufficient resources to complete a sincere and detailed examination of the material. Oddly enough, these criteria were not met: “Having commenced the inquiry at the beginning of July 2012, the Committee was asked to report if at all possible by the end of the calendar year. This afforded the Committee a highly compressed and unachievable time frame of less than six months to examine what is an extensive list of potential reforms, some of which are far reaching.” (Introduction, Page 3)

It seems that the government also failed to provide the committee with the relevant draft legislation, leaving those involved to rely on speculation and inference rather than an appraisal of the raw data: “The Government sought the Committee’s views on a mandatory data retention regime. The Committee did not have access to draft legislation. Furthermore, the inadequate description of data retention in the terms of reference and discussion paper also impaired both the public discussion and the Committee’s consideration of the data retention issue.” (1.29)

The question of how efficacious metadata retention is in solving and preventing crime is a raging debate.

Electronic Freedom Australia noted that it was “highly questionable” whether data retention would aid in the investigation of terrorism, organised crime or other serious illegal activities:

“It is worth noting that determined criminals will have little difficulty disguising or anonymising their communications. There are many relatively simple and effective tools available that allow for the protection of communications from surveillance.” (5.167)

This is an excellent point. The proposed legislation is no secret. Those in the criminal world will have no doubt heard of the potential for their activities to be monitored and have likely already taken steps to anonymise their online behaviour. Even in the event that the scope of the metadata retention reforms is so broad that it includes tools for opening encrypted chats and messaging services, it is not unlikely that tech savvy individuals on the wrong side of the law will be developing tools to combat this unwanted intrusion, rendering the legislation effectively useless in dealing with its raison d’être: combating terrorism and serious crime.

An unintended consequence of the introduction of metadata retention could be the opposite of what it is designed to achieve: a progressive opacification of the internet, with more and more users turning to encrypted browsing and communication, thereby shrinking the usable pool of data.

“Why do we imagine that the criminals of the greatest concern to our security agencies will not be able to use any of numerous available means to anonymise their communications or indeed choose new services that are not captured by legislated data retention rules?”

This quote from Communications Minister Macolm Turnbull, in addition to his recently revealed use of the messaging app Wickr, which provides a platform for anyone to send and receive self-deleting encrypted messages, seems to indicate that the reforms are likely to bring about little change in the positive ability of law enforcement agencies to stop criminal activity.

Add to this comments made by Blueprints for Free Speech, indicating that “there is no evidence to suggest data retention would assist with the prevention of crime or terrorism. A 2011 study of Germany’s Data Retention Directive found it had no impact on either the effectiveness of criminal investigation or the crime rate. Further, the study specifically found that countries without data retention laws are not more vulnerable to crime.”

Make no bones about it, metadata retention is mass surveillance. It can be used to form a dataset, a pattern of life indicating your movements, interests, affiliations and beliefs. You will be paying for this intrusion of privacy through rises in service bills, a kind of “tele screen tax” if you will. You will be at a higher risk of identity theft through the creation of ‘honeypots’ of data, irresistible to organised criminals and foreign actors. Your basic rights to privacy, to freedom of speech, to live as a dignified human person, are being infringed upon in ways that do not preclude a broadening of the scope of these abuses.

Even the supporters of the legislation don’t buy into their own rhetoric, with members of the Liberal party using Wickr on a daily basis, showing the world that privacy is of the utmost importance even to those who adamantly maintain that it isn’t.

With unanimous condemnation from leading human rights groups around the world, with a public backlash on a scale almost never witnessed, with the potential for so much to go horribly wrong, we simply must put a stop to this.

Tony Abbott has made statements that he wants a parliamentary inquiry into the legislation to be scrapped. I think it’s our responsibility as members of our democracy to ask why anyone would want a piece of legislation with so many potential avenues for abuse to pass without appropriate scrutiny.

I implore you, with the utmost sincerity and urgency, to do whatever is within your power to oppose this legislation at the very least until it is put before an independent NGO and reviewed in depth, with all the aspects of the legislation made available for public review and scrutiny.

Thank you for your time and your consideration, I hope that we, together, can make history and bring our society forward into an age of social egalitarianism, where the ideals of freedom of speech and thought, freedom of association and transparency of government are enshrined as they once were, as the foundations of a working democracy.

Sincerely,

______

For more information on the legislation you can refer to the Report of the Inquiry into Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation, which you can find here: http://www.aph.gov.au/parliamentary_business/committees/house_of_representatives_committees?url=pjcis/nsl2012/report.htm

An independent summary/opinion piece on the legislation can be found here: https://wideeyedandhopefullywild.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/metadata-and-you/

——

For the sender of this email: you can find the contact addresses of your parliamentarians at these links:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Members

http://www.aph.gov.au/~/media/03%20Senators%20and%20Members/32%20Members/Lists/MemList.pdf

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ACTUAL international collusion: Nigel Farage exposes massive Soros network of MEPs spreading ‘gender theory’, open borders and russophobia (VIDEO) – By Robert Bridge (RT)

© Philippe Desmazes / AFP
George Soros

Picking up the anti-Soros torch from Hungarian leader Viktor Orban, UK politician Nigel Farage is seeking to investigate fellow EU MEPs who support the controversial vision of the wealthy financier. But are Orban and Farage’s fears valid?

UK politician Nigel Farage, the prominent face of Brexit, is now concerned about Europe’s destiny. Addressing the EU Parliament this week, Farage provided some thoughtful ideas as to the source of the claims that Russia had somehow manipulated the Brexit vote, as well as the Trump election.

“Just last week, the electoral commission, in the UK, launched an investigation to find out whether the ‘Leave’ campaign took offshore money or Russian money,” Farage said.

“This came about as a result of questions asked in the House of Commons by one Ben Bradshaw, somebody linked to an organization called Open Society.”

But Farage, who seems to take great delight in agitating his fellow MPs, was just warming up. He went on to provide yet another example of an EU parliamentarian working on behalf of George Soros, this time against Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, who has accused the financier of seeking to create “a Europe of mixed population.”

We even had last week Mr. [Guy] Verhofstadt lobbying on behalf of Mr. Soros at the Conference of Presidents in a battle that is going on with Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary,” Farage said, pointing directly at Verhofstadt as he spoke.

I wonder,” Farage continued, “when we are talking about ‘political collusion,’ I wonder if we are looking in the wrong place.”

Farage described Soros’s influence in Strasbourg and Brussels as “truly extraordinary.” And that influence looks set to increase dramatically now that Soros has donated the bulk of his wealth – $18 billion – into his Open Society pet project, which campaigns for open borders and supranational structures such as the European Union.

Comment: Small detail: it’s unlikely that so much of it is from Soros’ own money, but he’d be happy for people to believe so because it gives the project an aura of ‘philanthropy’.

Farage concluded his short, fiery monologue with a weighty statement: “I fear we could be looking at the biggest level of international, political collusion in history.”

On the surface, there seems to be some legitimacy to Farage’s claim. According to public sources, Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI), the EU policy arm of Open Society Foundations, met with members of the European Commission on 44 separate occasions in 2016. And now that the organization has just been energized with $18 billion, it would seem apparent that that influence is set to increase.

Moreover, the Soros organizations published a pamphlet providing details on a list of 226 reliable “friends” who serve in the European Parliament. Farage said he would call on the parliament to set up a special committee to investigate the issue.

Who are Soros’ 226 EU ‘friends’?

In a 177-page pamphlet published by Open Society, entitled “Reliable Allies in the European Parliament (2014-2019),” 226 EU MEPs are listed and labeled according to their political orientation and views.

According to the pamphlet, “The presence of an MEP in this mapping indicates that they are likely to support Open Society’s work. Considering there are 751 members of the European Parliament, “reliable allies” of George Soros hold at least one-third of seats.”

So what sort of qualifications does an MEP need to be included among Open Society’s “reliable allies?” A quick preview of the candidate’s description field provides some good indication as to what Soros expects from his allies, including a political philosophy that includes support of the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or intersex) movement, open borders and an anti-Russia stance.

Among the 226 chosen, there is one Yana Toom, an MEP from Estonia, who comes in for a bit of criticism despite her inclusion. “Refused supporting the European Parliament’s first resolution on the Ukraine-Russia conflict in July 2014, and may be pro-Russia to an unknown extent (and, in that case, not necessarily an Open Society).”

For anyone who questions whether Open Society works directly against Russian interests, that single line should dispel all doubts. Moreover, it provides some background as to why Russia in 2015 banned Open Society from operating on its territory due to the threat it posed to the country’s “constitutional order.”

Another MEP on the list, Monica Macovei of Romania, serves as something like the golden mean for star-studded Soros status.

Resolutely progressive; unquestionable ally of Open Society values; does not hesitate to go against her group’s instructions; however, can sometimes be described as a loose cannon with her own, uncompromising set of priorities.”

When reading such an assessment, one might get the mistaken impression that the European Parliament is designed to serve the will of George Soros and his highly controversial agenda, as opposed to the will of the European peoples.

What does Soros want?

To say that George Soros, who was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, has an influence on the global scene, would be the understatement of the century. His excessive wealth allows him to finance a veritable army of organizations, many serving at cross purposes.

Indeed, Soros, 87, has been connected to movements and civil disturbances as diverse as distanced as Black Lives Matter movement in the US, to the Maidan uprising in Ukraine.

And nowhere has Soros’s influence been more felt than in the ongoing European debate over migrants.

It looks like the European refugee crisis, which has been blamed on the Syrian civil war, would not occur in its current intensity without the direct assistance of the Open Society Foundation.

Thanks to the advocacy work of the Migration Policy Institute and the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), both Soros-sponsored organizations, the mass resettlement of Muslims from the Middle East and North Africa into Europe became the norm.

In fact, it appeared that the so-called “Merkel Plan” – the deal struck by the EU and Turkey – was the brainchild of the European Stability Initiative, “in addition to the largesse of George Soros’ foundations,” F. William Engdahl wrote in the New Eastern Outlook.

Considering that the massive influx of Muslim migrants threatens to change the face of “Christian Europe” forever, and without any vote on the matter by the people of Europe, perhaps it is time to see exactly what kind of direct influence George Soros and his Open Society Foundation are having on European parliamentarians. After all, these are not the play toys of any one individual, but the representatives of an entire state.

Comment: That’s right there is the real collusion that is “undermining the fabric of Western civilization,” not Putin’s Russia.

See also:

See Also:

Rogue state: Declassified Israeli docs spell out 60-year-long strategy to ethnically cleanse Arabs – By RT

Israel has released declassified documents from after the Six Day War which reveal the government’s plans to starve Gaza and its controversial plans to deal with the Palestinians.

The declassified documents were released on the Israel State Archives on Thursday and include hundreds of pages of minutes from cabinet meetings between August and December 1967, soon after the Six Day War ended the previous June.

The Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ended with Israel capturing East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan, the Gaza strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria.

The documents provide insight into the Israeli government’s strategy for dealing with the Palestinian people and show it was unprepared for the aftermath of its victory. Some of the revelations are jarring in light of the current standoff in Israeli-Palestinian relations, from the continued stalling on a two-state solution to ongoing settlement expansion and the almost “unlivable” situation in Gaza, the documents provide numerous premonitions for what was to come.

How to deal with the Arabs?

There are 600,000 Arabs in these territories now. What will be the status of these 600,000 Arabs?” Prime Minister Levi Eshkol said in December 1967, Haaretz reports. “I suggest that we don’t come to a vote or a decision today; there’s time to deal with this joy, or better put, there’s time to deal with this trouble.”

There’s no reason for the government to determine its position on the future of the West Bank right now. We’ve been through three wars in 20 years; we can go another 20 years without a decision,” he said.

If we sit 20 years, the world will get used to our being in those territories, in any case no less than they got used to [Jordan’s King] Hussein being there,” Transportation Minister Moshe Carmel suggested. “We have more rights; we are more identified with these territories than he is.”

Gaza’s “suffocation and imprisonment”

A UN envoy and former UK Prime Minister David Cameron are among those who have compared Gaza to an open-air prison, but it appears that the Israeli government has long intended for that to be the case. “Precisely because of the suffocation and imprisonment there, maybe the Arabs will move from the Gaza Strip,” Eshkol said, Mondoweiss reports.

Perhaps if we don’t give them enough water they won’t have a choice, because the orchards will yellow and wither,” he added, in a suggestion that appears to fit the UN definition of genocide, which includes “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

The UN has warned that by 2020 Gaza will be “unlivable,” suggesting the strategy introduced by the Israeli government during the 1960s may soon come to fruition.

We are interested in emptying out Gaza first,” Eshkol said when his defense minister suggested giving Arabs foreign work permits to entice them to stay away.

Jews only?

A Jewish state in which there are 40 percent Arabs is not a Jewish state. It is a fifth column that will destroy the Jewish state,” Education Minister Zalman Aranne said in cabinet minutes. “It will be the kiss of death after a generation or a generation and a half.”

Israel was like “a giraffe’s neck” Eshkol said, because it was so narrow. “The country is like a miserable, threatening neck for us, literally stretched out for slaughter,” he said of Israel’s perceived vulnerability.

I cannot imagine it – how we will organize life in this country when we have 1.4 million Arabs and we are 2.4 million, with 400,000 Arabs already in the country?” Eshkol said.

We must increase [the number of] Jews and take all possible measures to reduce the number of Arabs,” Religious Affairs Minister Zerah Warhaftig said.

Labor Minister Yigal Allon suggested “thinning the Galilee of Arabs,” referring to Arab Israelis living in the northern region Israel won in 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Hebron – A settlement experiment

The dean of the Hebron Yeshiva, an institution dedicated to the study of religious texts, requested its students and teachers return to and set up a branch in Hebron in November 1967, Eshkol told his cabinet. The school had moved to Jerusalem in 1929, after the Hebron Massacre that saw more than 60 Jews killed.

There is a benefit in finding the first nucleus of people willing to settle there,” Allon said. “The desire of these yeshiva students is a great thing. There aren’t always candidates willing to go to such a difficult place.”

Comment: “Yes, we can use these ideological diehards to our advantage, mwahahaha. We are cunning, yes?”

Today, more than 1,000 Israeli settlers live in the Palestinian city of Hebron. In October 2017, Israel approved the first new settlements to be built there in 15 years.

The luxury of war

Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira, Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir and Education Minister Zalman Aranne voiced their concerns as to how the outside world would view their actions, even calling for Israel to withdraw from the territories.

I do not for one minute accept the idea that the world outside will look at the fact that we’re taking everything for ourselves and will say, ‘Bon Appetit,’ ” Aranne said. “After all in another year or half a year the world will wake up; there’s a world out there and it will ask questions.”

Comment: “Not to worry,” said the others, “we will deal with the Goy nations.”

Another “solution” touted by the Israeli PM was to hope for war. “Perhaps we can expect another war and then this problem will be solved,” he said. “But that’s a type of ‘luxury,’ an unexpected solution.”

Comment: A fascinating insight into the barren, bleak landscape of the Israeli mind.

SYRIA AND RUSSIA DEMAND U.S. LEAVE COUNTRY NOW; SYRIAN ARMY BLUNTS TERRORIST ATTACK AT BASE IN EAST GHOUTAA – By Ziad Fadel

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With ISIS on the ropes, their leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdaadi, probably dead from a Syrian Air Force strike last June in AlMayaadeen, and the plans to slice up Syria in shreds themselves, the Damascus government and the Kremlin have sent clear messages to the U.S. to get out of Syria, or else.  There are approximately 4,000+ American troops in combat missions supporting the all-Kurd (and some Syriacs/Assyrians) militias claiming to fight ISIS.  It is the American plan to remain in Syria indefinitely in order to coordinate the fight against Iranian-backed guerilla forces buttressing the Syrian Arab Army. This is being done to keep the Zionists in both Occupied Palestine and New York City/D.C. happy.  There is no other conceivable reason for this violation of another country’s sovereignty.

The U.S. is expected to argue that its presence in Syria is for its own self-defense.  Expect WOG OF THE YEAR, Nikki “Rhandawa” Haley,  to deploy that same argument when confronted with the ugly truth of the U.S.’s  neo-colonialist presence in Syria.  And what will the British say?  Oh, I suspect they will side with the rule of law seeing that all member states, excepting the Zionist Apartheid Entity, will take that same position.  After all, the Brits have run out of patience and fig leaves for their unlawful assault on the government of a member state of the U.N.

If the U.S. chooses to remain despite Syrian demands, the only option left for Damascus after Dr. Al-Ja’afari wags his finger at Ms. Haley, is to attack American forces with Iranian-trained militia-men, including Hizbollah.  Besides self-creating another cesspool for U.S. troops, it might even bring on Zionist intervention to help the Yankee ally at his time of need – after all, the Zionist Prime Minister, Mileikowski (a/k/a Netanyahu), has vowed to continue his attacks on Syria in order to prevent Iran from establishing a foothold near the Golan Heights.

Mileikowski, who is facing a multiplicity of indictments related to corruption and defalcation, needs something to divert attention;  and what better way than to bring on the Apocalypse?  No, my readers, we are heading into a Trumpian disaster of the first magnitude.  And if, as Trump trumpets, he is intent on turning North Korea into a parking lot for Hyundai cars, it will be that much worse for the American people.  And (yawn), if Trump decides to decertify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal, then, we are in for an even bigger catastrophe.  And all this for the Zionist cockroaches.

Russia and China are rubbing their palms with excitement because this is going to herald their inexorable rise to the pinnacles of global power. They know the U.S. cannot fight a 3-front war.  Such a scenario will bring on a coup d’etat in Washington (forget impeachment) and will result in the final dumbing down of the United States of America.  It’s going to be “Seven Days in May” redux.  Unless the American public starts getting involved, American soldiers are going to start coming back in plastics bags in numbers which would humble the war in Vietnam.

Of particular interest is Turkey’s new attitude toward the U.S.  It requires no genius to figure out that the Turk army is preparing to move in on the so-called SDF as soon as they have themselves figured out how to do it without killing American soldiers.  But, they must tread carefully in this diplomatic minefield.  An invasion of Syria is exactly that and the repercussions internationally could be quite shrill.  Unless he receives some assurances from Russia and China at the U.N., he will be most circumspect.  This is one chapter we have to read with genuine interest.

DAMASCUS:  The terrorists in the East Ghoutaa are reading events differently.  They believe the U.S. has to pull out of both Syria and Jordan.  The debacle at Al-Tanf is proof positive that the U.S. doesn’t have the belly for staying the course.  What the rodents don’t understand is that the U.S. was never interested in transferring power to them.  The U.S. was only interested in ousting Dr. Assad so as to prevent the gas pipeline from reaching the Syrian littoral which would bring on a precipitous decline in American influence throughout Europe.  If the Americans stay in northeast Syria, it’s only because it wants to block the extension of the pipeline, not to embolden the terrorist rodents or the gentrified opposition whom Washington has given up on.

And so, reading the writing on the wall, the rodents in the East Ghoutaa mounted a ferocious attack on the Syrian Army’s Military Vehicles Administration Base in government-controlled Harastaa.  On Tuesday, the group calling itself Ahraar Al-Shaam, mounted the attack using cleverly dug tunnels to surprise the defenders. What happened instead was the Syrian Army’s own reaction which was sudden and even more ferocious blunting the attack and killing close to 36 rodents.  The Russian Air Force took to the skies immediately and dropped a barrage of munitions on the quivering terrorist vultures

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HAMA:  The main “tank” sniper in the terrorist group calling itself the “Jaysh Al-‘Izza” was liquidated the day before yesterday in northern Hama.  He was said to be the reigning master of the TOW missile system designed to take out armored cars and tanks.  Well, the Syrian-developed Saraab 1 put an end to his “glorious” career when the tank’s captain deployed the Saraab and “toppled” the advancing projectile.  Since the terrorist was seated in a trench and was watching the events unfold, he was an easy target for the T-72’s gunner who laid waste to the offending vermin.  The terrorist’s name?  Hamdu Ahmad Al-Hammood.

 

Russia’s Borei-class advanced submarines – By TASS

November 16, 16:06 UTC+3

The Project 09552 (Borei-A-class) nuclear-powered submarine Prince Vladimir will be floated out in Severodvinsk in north Russia on November 17

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Yuri Dolgoruky submarine

Yuri Dolgoruky submarine

© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. The Project 09552 (Borei-A-class) nuclear-powered submarine Prince Vladimir will be floated out at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in north Russia on November 17, 2017.

Borei-class (Project 09550, 09551 and 09552) submarines are a series of Russian strategic missile-carrying underwater cruisers.

The fourth-generation nuclear subs have been developed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering (St. Petersburg) under the direction of Chief Designer Vladimir Zdornov. They are designed to replace the previous series of submarines – the Project 941 Akula-class subs (operational in the Navy since 1981) and the Project 667BDRM Delfin underwater cruisers (operational since 1984). Borei-class submarines are under construction at the Sevmash Shipyard in Russia’s northern Arkhangelsk Region.

Submarine characteristics

The Borei is a double-hull submarine: the crew, the reactor, the turbines, the missile silos and other major systems and mechanisms are housed in the inner hull capable of withstanding high water pressure; the external hull forms the sub’s streamlined shape.

According to data from open sources, the Project 955 submarine measures 170m long and 13.5m wide and a draft of 10m.

The sub displaces 14,720 tonnes in its surface position and 24,000 tonnes in its submerged position. The Borei has a depth capability of 400 meters and can develop a surface speed of 15 knots (27.78 km/h) and a submerged speed of up to 29 knots (53.7 km/h). It has a sea endurance of 90 days and a crew of 107.

The submarine is furnished with a single-shaft steam-turbine nuclear power plant with a capacity of about 50,000 horsepower developed by the Afrikantov Experimental Design Bureau for Mechanical Engineering (Nizhny Novgorod). The submarine’s OK-650V water-cooled and water-moderated reactor has a thermal capacity of 190 MW.

Armament

The submarine is armed with the D-30 missile system (16 launchers of Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles) and 533mm torpedo tubes. Under the initial Project 09550, the Borei subs should have been armed with R-39UTTKh Bark missiles developed by the Makeyev State Rocket Center (Miass, the Chelyabinsk Region). However, the work on this armament system was terminated after a series of failed tests and the submarine’s design was modified for the Bulava missile developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology.

List of submarines

No less than eight strategic nuclear-powered submarines of this type will be built. Three such submarines have been delivered to the Navy by now.

  • The K-535 Yuri Dolgoruky (Factory No. 201) was laid down on November 2, 1996 under Project 09550. The construction of the sub’s pressure hull was completed only ten years after that due to the shortage of funds and the need to reequip it for Bulava missiles (Project 09551). The submarine was floated out on February 13, 2008 and delivered to the Russian Navy on January 10, 2013.
  • The K-550 Alexander Nevsky (Factory No. 202, Project 09551) was laid down on March 19, 2004 and floated out on December 6, 2010. The submarine was delivered to the Navy on December 23, 2013.
  • The K-551 Vladimir Monomakh (Factory No. 203, Project 09551) was laid down on March 19, 2006, floated out on January 18, 2013 and delivered to the Navy on December 10, 2014.

The subsequent strategic underwater missile cruisers are being built under Project 09552 (Borei-A). They are distinguished by their better stealth capability, more advanced electronic equipment and more comfortable conditions for the crew. Russia’s Defense Ministry signed two contracts on their construction (the first contract for one submarine and the second contract for four underwater missile cruisers) with the United Shipbuilding Corporation on May 25, 2012.

Five Borei-class nuclear-powered submarines are at the stage of their construction:

  • The Prince Vladimir (Factory No. 204, Project 09552) was laid down on July 30, 2012.
  • The Prince Oleg (Factory No. 205, Project 09552) was laid down on July 27, 2014.
  • The Generalissimus Suvorov (Factory No. 206, Project 09552) was laid down on December 26, 2014.
  • The Emperor Alexander III (Factory No. 207, Project 09552) was laid down on December 18, 2015.
  • The Prince Pozharsky (Factory No. 208, Project 09552) was laid down on December 23, 2016.

Chief of Russia’s General Staff Valery Gerasimov said at a board meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry on November 7, 2017 that work had been launched to develop a Borei-B class nuclear-powered submarine with improved characteristics.

More:
http://tass.com/defense/976020

As Russian MoD releases evidence of US military cooperation with ISIS, Lavrov slams illegal US presence in Syria – By Adam Garrie (The Duran)

This is Russia’s strongest statement to-date, admonishing the illegal US presence in Syria.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has slammed the US for its presence in Syria being not only illegal, but deeply counterproductive.

Lavrov also highlighted a statement from the Russian Defence Ministry which unequivocally accuses (with accompanying photographic evidence) the US of failing to target ISIS fighters in Syria while allowing them safe passage away from oncoming Syrian Arab Army liberators.

Syria has repeatedly stated, including at the United Nations, that US troops and airmen in Syria are not actually fighting ISIS but are merely playing an obstructionist role to the inevitable Syrian victory, one which includes the arming and financing of terrorist groups.

Russia’s latest statements back up these crucial long-time claims by Damascus.

Comment: The Syrian government just yesterday, for the umpteenth time, demanded that US forces get out of its country.

A statement from the Russian Defence Ministry reads,

“The US side categorically refused to carry out airstrikes against Daesh terrorists, claiming that the militants were ‘voluntarily surrendering’ and now fell under the provisions of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War.”

Comment: The US suddenly cares about the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War! After 16 years of classifying terrorists and insurgents alike as ‘unlawful enemy combatants’, in order to justify its practices of ‘extraordinary rendition’ and ‘enhanced interrogation’ by placing Muslim resistance to its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan outside of international law, this reversal to the pre-9/11 international legal norm is rank hypocrisy and speaks further to the ‘war on terror’ being purely a vehicle for advancing US imperial interests.

The statement continued,

“The Abu Kamal liberation operation conducted by the Syrian government army with air cover by the Russian Aerospace Force at the end of the last week revealed facts of direct cooperation and support for ISIS terrorists by the US-led ‘international coalition.

The coalition’s aviation tried to create obstacles for the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in this area to safely shield militants of the Islamic State, who are leaving Abu Kamal, from the strikes of government forces. To this aim, the coalition’s attack aircraft entered the airspace over the 15-km zone around the city to hamper the Russian aircrafts’ mission.

There is indisputable evidence that the United States pretends it is waging irreconcilable struggle against international terrorism in front of the international community, while in reality it provides cover for the combat-ready Islamic State groups to let them regain strength, regroup themselves and advance US interests in the Middle East.

The Syrian troops’ rapid offensive in Abu Kamal has derailed the US plans to set up ‘pro-American’ authorities to govern the territories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates uncontrolled by the Syrian government”.

Sputnik further reports,

“According to the Defense ministry, such actions by the coalition prove that the advancing Syrian forces in the Abu-Kamal area have crippled the US plans to create a zone to the east of the Euphrates river that would be controlled by pro-American forces rather than by Damascus. The ministry noted that the plan stipulated that Daesh would play a role of pro-American forces disguised as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). To support the claim, the military representatives said that SDF flags were found in Abu Kamal”.

Comment: As we’ve suspected for some time, ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ is just a banner that can be switched out for ‘ISIS’ as circumstances dictate. Now apply this to ‘the Taliban’, ‘al-Qaeda-in-wherever’, ‘al-Nusra Front’, etc, and you get the real picture of US proxy wars across the Muslim world since 9/11: ‘terrorists’ are actually hired mercenaries, some of them no doubt believers in the pseudo-Islamist ideologies that ‘justify’ their ’cause’, but all of whom are agents of the Western, US-led Empire.

In the case of any Kurds (real or ‘affiliated’) momentarily donning ISIS ‘masks’, they presumably justify their duplicity in the interest of securing an independent nation-state, which they will never achieve at this rate.

This is a clear indication from Russia that any previous unspoken “gentlemen’s agreement” between Moscow and Washington, to effectively allow the US and its Kurdish proxies to illegally occupy parts of Syria east of the River Euphrates, is effectively dead. As Syrian troops have destroyed the last bastions of ISIS in Syria, all of which are east of the Euphrates, Syria has shown that it is fully capable of exercising its legal prerogative to liberate what President Assad calls “every inch of Syria” and that Russia will continue to help Syria in the process.

The statement from Russia also indicates sympathy with the Turkish position, which is dead-set against any unilateral Kurdish occupation of Syria, even under US auspices. Yesterday’s meeting between Turkey’s President Erdogan and Russian President Putin appears to have confirmed Russia’s new supportive stance of the shared Syria, Iraqi, Iranian and Turkish position against Kurdish militants, often referred to as Kurdish terrorists.

Seeing as Kurdish forces in both Syria and Iraq have been exposed as being unable to defend their positions without the aid of the United States, the illegal US presence in Syria remains the biggest obstacle to the joint Arab-Turkish-Iranian position against Kurdish nationalism in the region. In Iraq, the US failed to aid their Kurdish allies, while in Syria the US continues to aid the Kurdish-led SDF militia, a group which Syria considers a terrorist organisation.

Comment: As the above Russian MoD evidence suggests, it’s not at all clear where ‘Kurdish-led SDF’ ends and ‘US-led ISIS’ begins.

Sergey Lavrov has now joined Syria in offering a strong admonition of the US presence in Syria. Lavrov stated,

“If you look at who is the greatest danger, it’s just the wards of the United States, various foreign terrorists, militants who are attached to those groups of armed opposition that the US supports”.

Lavrov also slammed American and Israeli desires to see Iran and its “allies” expelled from Syria, saying,

“If we talk about the pro-Iranian forces, then some will be tempted to call the entire Syrian Army pro-Iranian. And then what? Will it have to surrender? This is what they call ‘wishful thinking’…

We state the fact of our and Iranian legitimate presence at the invitation of the legitimate government. We also state the fact of the illegitimate presence of the coalition that has been forged by the United States and which carries out military operations, including independent ones, primarily providing support for the opposition armed groups on Syrian soil and in its airspace.”

Lavrov added that the US has been failing to fight terrorists while helping ISIS and al-Qaeda fighters flee battle zones for a long time.

These strong words from Lavrov, combined with statements accusing the continued US presence in Syria of violating the Geneva Agreement, which the US recently affirmed its support for, is effectively a Russian call for an orderly US withdrawal from the Syrian Arab Republic. The broad points Russia makes are clear:

  • The US actively aids ISIS by evacuating terrorists from zones where their forces are being eliminated by Syrian troops and their allies
  • The US fails to fire upon ISIS terrorists when given a clear and safe opportunity
  • The always illegal presence of the US in Syria violates the Geneva Agreements which, as recently as the weekend, the US committed itself to uphold
  • Syria is being prohibited from exercising its right to liberate the entirety of its legally-recognised territory because of the illegal US presence in Syria
  • The US proxy militias under the charge of Kurdish militants are part of these wider problems

Russia has taken a decisive step in telling the US to quit Syria. It is the most strongly-worded statement against the US presence in Syria that Russia has offered to-date.

In spite of Turkey and Syria refraining from engaging in diplomatic relations, the de facto position of Syria, its Russian, Iranian, Iraqi allies and Turkey is now the same. The US stands alone in seeking to use its universally-reviled Kurdish proxies as a cover for what could be an attempt at a long-term illegal occupation of yet another sovereign Arab state. Russia, as the strongest partner of Syria, is now demanding a US withdrawal, in all but name.

Comment: The Russian Defense Ministry has provided further information, regarding the situation in eastern Syria and the covert US-led coalition support for ISIS terrorists.

Last week, units of the Syrian Army (while receiving support from the Russian Air Force) liberated the town of Abu Kamal, the last remaining ISIS stronghold in Syria, located at the Iraqi border. The operation not only delivered a decisive blow to ISIS, it also ascertained facts of direct cooperation and support provided by the US-led coalition to the ISIS terrorists.

Following the triumph of the Syrian Army, ISIS terrorists began to depart Abu Kamal en masse, while avoiding the strikes of Russian and Syrian aircrafts, and making their way for Wadi Al Sabha passage, located at the Syrian-Iraqi border.

The Command staff of the Russian forces stationed in Syria sent two requests to the Washington-led international “anti-ISIS” coalition headquarters, in order to conduct a combined operation so that the fleeing ISIS convoys on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River would be eradicated for good.

The American side, however, completely refused to take any action against the terrorists, stressing that they began to surrender themselves voluntarily, meaning their actions were assessed in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

In addition, the Americans failed to respond to a question previously asked by the Russians on why so many of the ISIS terrorists that supposedly left Syria on combat vehicles with heavy armament were regrouping in the Washington-led coalition-controlled territories and preparing for new attacks against the Syrian Army in the vicinity of Abu Kamal.

But this is not the only controversial thing related to the matter. In order to spare the terrorists from Russian and Syrian air strikes, the coalition’s aircrafts attempted to interfere with the Russian Air Force’s actions in the area.

See also:

U.S. makes deal for free passage of ISIS in Raqqa – but denies involvement, BBC video proves they lie

Putin and Erdogan meet to discuss further stabilizing Syria and post-conflict reconstruction

Mattis says U.S. won’t leave Syria until ISIS stops fighting – doesn’t define “fighting”

US and its vassal states Israel and Saudi Arabia are plotting war with Iran and Hezbollah – By Kurt Nimmo (Newsbud)

Hezbollah

Having failed to unseat Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the United States has switched its focus to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In an act of blatant hypocrisy, the US House has passed “Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Illicit use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act,” a bill that sanctions Hezbollah for alleged war crimes while ignoring its own checkered past brimming with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Congress didn’t need to do much in the way of homework prior to introducing this bill. Israel did that for them when its Intelligence and Terrorism Center at the Center for Special Studies, a research group that collaborates closely with the Israel Defense Forces and the American Jewish Congress, released report on Hezbollah’s purported use of human shields during the 2006 war in Lebanon.

This is a remarkable allegation considering Israel specifically and indiscriminately targeted Lebanon’s civilian population. “Israel’s indiscriminate airstrikes, not Hezbollah’s shielding as claimed by Israeli officials, caused most of the approximately 900 civilian deaths in Lebanon during the July-August 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah,” Human Rights Watch reported in September, 2007.

HRW found that “Hezbollah stored its rockets in bunkers and facilities located in uninhabited fields and valleys; ordered its fighters and civilian officials away from populated civilian areas as soon as the fighting started; and fired its rockets from pre-prepared positions outside villages. In the vast majority of airstrikes resulting in civilian deaths investigated by Human Rights Watch, there was no Hezbollah military presence or activity to justify the attack.”

The IDF saw no difference between Hezbollah fighters and the civilian population. It targeted Hezbollah political and social institutions not involved in hostilities. Both are direct violations of international law.

In addition, it bombed infrastructure, including the Rafik Hariri International Airport, ports, a lighthouse, grain silos, bridges, roads, factories, ambulances and relief trucks, mobile telephone and television stations, fuel containers and service stations, and Lebanon’s largest dairy farm Liban Lait.

The Israeli report claims the IDF was “faced with the problem of inflicting serious damage on Hezbollah’s military infrastructure to protect the security of Israel’s citizens, while maintaining its moral and ideological commitment to avoid harming civilians,” a statement clearly at odds with the truth.

Remarkably, the report also states the “IDF’s air strikes and ground attacks against Hezbollah targets located in population centers were carried out in accordance with international law, which does not grant immunity to a terrorist organization deliberately hiding behind civilians supporting it, using them as human shields.”

The Fourth Geneva Convention (with respect to protected civilians) and Additional Protocols do not specifically mention human shields. However, under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime.

Again, the HRW and the United Nations Humans Right Council found little evidence Hezbollah was involved in using human shields. The IDF reported during the operation it did not encounter Hezbollah fighters intermingled with civilians.

Despite a paucity of evidence, a tidal wave of propaganda swept the Israel-friendly establishment media. It made a prima facie case using the biased Israeli report while either ignoring or underplaying Israel’s wanton attack on innocent civilians.

Arguing before his colleagues on the House floor, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) placed the blame squarely on Hezbollah.

“The key reason that civilian areas were destroyed was the cynical strategy of Hezbollah guerrillas to stage their attacks from the middle of towns and residential areas,” Ackerman said, adding that “the loss of civilian life in Lebanon was due solely to Hezbollah’s cruel and uncivilized use of civilian areas as military bases.”

The spate of new legislation aimed at Hezbollah-including missile-related sanctions and new sanctions on entities found to support the group-will further embolden Israel to start another war against Hezbollah.

First, however, it will play the diplomatic game. Israel’s foreign ministry sent out a directive to its ambassadors worldwide calling on them to sway the international community to prevent Hezbollah’s inclusion in the next Lebanese government.

Never mind that Shia Muslims comprise over 40 percent of the population-by far the largest religious group-and support for Hezbollah within the community is uniformly strong. Moreover, two-thirds of Lebanon’s Christians believe Hezbollah is protecting Lebanon from the threat posed by Wahhabi terror groups.

Israel is calling for millions of Lebanese to be politically disenfranchised. It argues support for Hezbollah by Lebanese citizens is tantamount to promoting “the interests of a foreign power.”

If this fails-and it seems most certain it will-the next move will be an invasion of Lebanon.

On November 10, David Rosenberg, writing for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, warned the coming war will be expensive in human life and treasure. He writes that “against an onslaught of thousands of missiles, no Domes, Slings or Arrows will be able to provide the kind of defense Israelis have grown used to. Israel’s infrastructure and economic activity are vulnerable to even a limited missile attack from Hezbollah,” which has reportedly amassed around 100,000 missiles and rockets since the 2006 war.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said on October 10 Riyadh is inciting Israel to strike Lebanon. “It is clear that Saudi Arabia and Saudi officials have declared war on Lebanon and on Hezbollah in Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah also accused the Saudis of offering to pay the bill for an Israeli invasion of Lebanon. He said the Saudis have offered Israel billions of dollars to launch a war. “I speak here about facts not analysis. Saudi Arabia is ready to pay tens of billions of dollars to Israel for that,” he said.

Israel has planned for war since its humiliating retreat from Lebanon in 2006. It will pursue a scorched earth policy this time around.

During the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv in June, Major-General Amir Eshel, commander of the Israeli Air Force, said Israel can now inflict within two or three days the devastation it took 34 days to accomplish in 2006. Eshel warned Lebanese civilians will bear the brunt.

On November 7, George W. Bush’s Under Secretary of Defense, Dov Zakheim, wrote an article for Foreign Policy speculating that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Jared Kushner, and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu are plotting something.

“And if so, how far will Washington, or more precisely, the White House, go to back up the Saudis if their confrontation with Iran gets hot?” Zakheim writes. “Or will Israel serve as Trump’s proxy? With this president, this crown prince, and the current prime minister of Israel, anything is possible.”

Saudi and US collusion was underscored in late October when Kushner-who holds the portfolio on Middle East policy-visited Saudi Arabia where he engaged in late night discussions with Mohammed bin Salman.

US participation in a war between Israel and Hezbollah will overshadow its participation in the 2006 war. The Bush administration rebuffed calls for a ceasefire in order to help Israel accomplish its goal of destroying Hezbollah, which turned out to be a dramatic failure. The US also gave substantial rhetorical support to Israel as it engaged in war crimes against the people of Lebanon.

Trump-who has difficulty distinguishing between Hamas and Hezbollah and erroneously stated Hezbollah is at war with the Lebanese government-has characterized Hezbollah as a “global threat” that must be addressed. His secretary of defense, James Mattis, mirrors the Israeli view on Iran and has said he believes Iran and the Islamic State are on friendly terms, an absurd assertion at odds with reality.

National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen added a domestic element to the supposed threat to America. “While I’m not here today to speak publicly about any specific, or credible, or imminent threat to the homeland,” Rasmussen told reporters on October 11, “we in the intelligence community do in fact see continued activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland.”

In order to push the US into direct military involvement on Israel’s side-and gain public support-a sensational and outrageous terror event will be engineered.

Stephen Zunes, a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco teaching courses on the politics of Middle East, told Vice he believes a false flag may be used to get the United States directly involved in a war. He speculated “an attack by some unknown Salafi group-an al Qaeda, ISIS type” may be used to set things in motion. “Trump could blame [the act of terror] on an Iranian-backed group, and use that as an excuse to attack Iran” and also assist Israel in its war with Hezbollah, depicted as a slavish Iranian proxy.

The alleged shoot-down of a Houthi missile outside of Riyadh on November 4 appears to be a false flag event staged to heighten tension and make the case Shia Houthis are collaborating with Iran.

In July, the Saudis claimed they shot down a missile targeting the Holy City of Mecca. According to Lt. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian, who oversees the Air Force’s Central Command in Qatar, the November missile has “Iranian markings.”

It isn’t clear if Israel’s looming war with Hezbollah will result in direct US military involvement. However, considering the political influence of Israel over Congress and Trump’s divisive rhetoric-and his desire to use the military, as he did on the morning of April 7 when he bombed Syria’s Shayrat airbase-the possibility of US direct involvement against Hezbollah and the growing likelihood of an attack on Iran proper cannot be discounted.

Russia’s upgraded Tu-160 strategic bomber to make debut flight in February 2018 – By SPUTNIK

November 16, 18:56 UTC+3

Tu-160 is a legendary Soviet strategic missile carrier armed with cruise missiles that can carry nuclear warheads

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Tu-160 strategic bomber

Tu-160 strategic bomber

© Marina Lystseva/TASS

MOSCOW, November 16. /TASS/. Russia’s upgraded Tupolev Tu-160M2 strategic bomber will perform its first test flight in February 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin reported to President Vladimir Putin during a working meeting on Thursday.

“We plan that the aircraft will be built already in 2019. Serial deliveries should begin in 2023 while we plan to carry out the first flight of the Tu-160M2, which has been rolled out of the workshop today, in February next year,” the vice-premier said.

“Everything is fine, just perfect. I congratulate the aircraft builders and I think we will deliver good news to the Defense Ministry [it was the Russian Defense Ministry that insisted on resuming the production of the upgraded Tu-160 aircraft, which had proven its worth as a supersonic bomber],” the Russian president said.

As the vice-premier said, it was Russian President Putin who made a decision to strengthen the Russian nuclear triad, including its airborne component, by way of resuming the production of the Tu-160 strategic bomber on a new technical and technological basis.

 

“I am reporting to you that today, these days when the Kazan Aircraft Enterprise is celebrating its 90th anniversary, the Tu-160M2 aircraft has been rolled out of the enterprise’s workshop,” Rogozin said.

A source in the Russian defense industry told TASS on November 9 that the Tu-160M2 strategic bomber prototype originating from Soviet aircraft breakthroughs will take to the skies for the first time from the airfield of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise in February 2018.

“The plane with the factory number 804 based on Soviet aircraft breakthroughs will be rolled out of the final assembly workshop of the Kazan Aviation Enterprise and delivered to the flight testing station in November this year. The plane is expected to perform its debut flight from the enterprise’s aerodrome in February next year,” the source said.

This “will be the first combat aircraft capable of performing the same assignments, which operational 16 Tu-160 planes do,” he said.

“The 804th plane will be subsequently upgraded to the Tu-160M2 variant,” the source said.

It was reported in 2015 that Russia had made a decision to resume the production of Tu-160 bombers in their upgraded Tu-160M2 modification and reschedule the development of the new-generation bomber PAK DA (Perspective Airborne Complex of Long-Range Aviation) for a later term.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that the serial production of Tu-160M2 bombers should begin in 2023. The Russian Aerospace Force intends to purchase no less than 50 such aircraft. Aerospace Force then-Commander-in-Chief Viktor Bondarev said earlier that the Tu-160M2 might take to the skies for the first time already in late 2018.

Tu-160 is the Soviet strategic missile carrier armed with cruise missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. Along with the Tu-95MS missile carrier, the Tu-160 makes part of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces along with the ground-based missile systems and submarines.

According to data from public sources, the Russian Aerospace Force currently operates 16 such aircraft built during the Soviet period. About a half of these bombers has already undergone repairs and modernization.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov earlier said that all the Tu-160 bombers operational in the Aerospace Force will be fully upgraded.

 
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Arabism for the 21st century: President Bashar al-Assad’s most important speech on the future of Syria and the Middle East – By Adam Garrie (The Duran)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

President Bashar al-Assad has powerfully articulated the importance of renewed Arabism for a new era.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has given one of the most important speeches of his political career before the Arab Forum for Confronting the Zionist-US Reactionary Alliance and Supporting the Resistance of the Palestinian People, in Damascus.

President al-Assad’s speech emphasised the importance of Arabism for the 21st century as the only proven school of thought and method of government that is capable of uniting peoples across the Arab world in a spirit that cherishes ancient traditions and allows for all varieties of modern progress.

In many ways, it helps to think of al-Assad’s wide ranging speech as the pan-Arab version of President Xi Jinping’s thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

Key Points

President al-Assad made the follow major points in this speech

  • Arabism is a movement to unite the peoples of a common Arabic speaking region against imperialism, American financial globalism/hegemony and Zionism, a movement which represents the final stage settler colonial ideology in the Arab world.
  • Arabism is under attack from many sides, yet it is the unifying thought of Arabism in the Syrian Arab Republic which has helped to unite the populace behind the Syrian Arab Army in a show of a people’s will that has achieved victory against imperialism and the terrorist proxies of imperialism and Zionism.
  • There is no intellectual or spiritual conflict between Arabism and Islam, nor between Arabism and Christianity. Both complement each other by allowing a civilised atmosphere wherein people can celebrate their individual and family traditions while still playing a constructive role in a unifying modern state which elevates the material condition of the people.
  • Arabism rejects ethno-nationalism while the enemies of Arabism use both religious extremism and ethno-nationalism to undermine unity through sectarianism. Ararbism by contrast emphasises unity based on a shared Arabic language and a shared geography.
  • The more Arabism is conspired against, the more it is important for Arabists to remind the wider world that Arabism has been the only successful unifying and peaceful force in the Arab world, where other sectarian ideologies have served only to weaken Arab resistance to imperialism, Zionism and terrorism, while downgrading the condition of the people.

The background:

Zaki al-Arsuzi

Arab Nationalism emerged as a distinct liberation movement in the Arab world in the first half of the 20th century. The Ba’athist movement was among the first and most successful schools of thought in defining Arab Nationalism or Arabism during the decades when Arabs were fighting for their independence against the European colonialism which flowed from the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

Ba’athism emphasised the importance of Islam and Christianity living in harmony with the socialist principles of anti-colonialism, economic development through a more equitable distribution of national resources and wealth, a modernisation of Arab armies for self-sufficient defence, an emphasis on the common language of Arabic amongst all peoples in the region, a tolerance for all religious and ethnic minorities, the social emancipation of women, a rejection of all sectarianism movements and retrograde extremist movements.

The three most important founders of Ba’athism were first and foremost for Syria, the Lattakia-born Zaki al-Arsuzi as well as Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar.

Zaki al-Arsuzi’s book, the The Genius of Arabic in its Tongue, helped explain why Ba’athism is based not only on the unique characteristics of the Arab peoples, but how the Arabic language has helped shape a unique society with social outlooks that are less dogmatic than those from European cultures.

The liberation of Syria

Ba’athist leaders celebrate the 8 March Revolution

After experimenting in a union with Nasser’s Arabist Egypt, the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1961, Syria’s penultimate embrace of modern Arabism came during the 8 March Revolution of 1963. Here, the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party came to power in Damascus and worked on building a revolutionary programme of emancipation from colonial lethargy as well as a foreign policy which defended Arab interests against interlopers, colonists and outside threats.

After a turbulent 1960s, things grew stable and peaceful in 1970 when the new President Hafez al-Assad become the leader of the country. President Hafez al-Assad ushered in The Corrective Movement which successfully stabilised Syria’s internal politics, eliminated terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and ushered in the highest living standards in modern Syrian history by the global standards of the era.

President Hafez al-Assad (1970-2000)

Islam, Christianity and Arabism going forward

President Bashar al-Assad injected a calming and assuring wisdom into a debate that is often hijacked by egotists and those purposefully spreading disinformation. The Syrian President stated that there has never been any schism, conflict nor contradiction between the values of Islam and Christianity and those of Arabism. Arabism stresses the unity, shared historic and present cultural bonds between Arabic speaking peoples. As the Noble Quran is written in Arabic, this demonstrates the harmonious nature of secular Arabism with the religion of Islam. Both are strengthened when seen as unifying forces and both literally speak a common language.

President al-Assad said that Christianity’s relationship with Arabism is equally strong, but that ever since the 1920s, when the British Empire funded and helped to found the regressive Muslim Brotherhood, the enemies of the Arab peoples have attempted to use Islam as a means of destroying Arab societies where its correct interpretation is one of unity, peace and wisdom.

Assad meets with Orthodox Christian leaders

Arabism versus imperialist/globalist aggression against peace loving peoples

Today, American financial globalism has taken the place of British Imperialism as the foremost existential threat to Arabism. President al-Assad explained that the enemies of Arabism seek to destroy any thought that helps to unify the Arabs in order to mould them into machines rather than free thinking men and women, in the system of US led financial globalism. A strong, unifying movement like Arabism is a demonstrative alternative to US neo-liberal/anti-cultural globalism, which is the reason that those in Washington and its de-facto satellite states are so keen on destroying Arabism and provoking sectarianism war against it.

Many commentators remark that some of the causes of the foreign led and instigated conflict in Syria include the Qatari regime’s desire to build pipeline through Syrian territory, the Zionist Yinon Plan to conquer and destroy large parts of the Arab world and the Wahhabi Saudi plan to effective divide and rule the rest of Syria as a regressive Takfiri fiefdom, all with assistance from the US and European aggressors.

While these are all the specific causes of the present conflict, the overarching reason is that which historically and indeed presently, has prevented these illegal moves against the sovereignty, dignity and unity of the Syrian Arab Republic. The imperialist and Zionist powers do not need to wage war against weak, sectarian and extremist Arab states because such states have already been effectively weakened into a position where national wealth and dignity is surrendered without a fight. Instead, it is states with strong Arabist identities and a sense of independence that in the eyes of the imperialist and Zionists, must be broken in order to be exploited.

President al-Assad pointed out that this is what the imperial powers did in Libya, but that the same method did not work against Syria because of the political conditions established in the Syrian Arab Republic.

It is impossible to reject imperialism if one rejects Arabism. There is no logical, practical or workable peaceful alternative to preserving freedom in the Arab world apart from Arabism. Syria’s success in vanquishing her enemies has been primarily due to the strength of Arabism in creating popular unity against a multi-front onslaught.

The Syrian Arab Army as an expression of popular will

President Bashar al-Assad remarked that some provocateurs want to take away the title “Arab” from the Syrian Arab Army (SAA). He remarked that such moves are foolish. In calling itself an Arab Army, the SAA has manged to unite all Syrians in spite of any ethnic or religious affiliation behind a common principle of sovereignty for all the peoples of Syria.

If this unifying concept was removed, the Army would merely be a mercenary force-a kind of corporate body that could not mobilise the will of the people. If the people were not behind the Army, it would not have been able to preserve Syria as it has done, even before its non-Arab allies such as Iran and Russia helped to finish the job.

Syrian arab army soldiers

The importance of Palestine

The occupier entity represents the last breath of colonial tyranny in the Arab world and one which relies on the promotion of anti-Arabist propaganda in order to cultivate power. President al-Assad stated that Arab unity necessitates support for Palestinian liberation as anything else would be a rejection of the unity of Arabic speaking peoples throughout the region.

This explains why it is in the Zionist interest to promote sectarian groups whose goals is to weaken pan-Arab unity and exploit local differences, rather than allowing Arabs to focus on creating a peacefully unified realm.

In this sense, Palestine will also be an implicit factor in Arabism, so long as it remains occupied.

Official report and reproduction of President al-Assad’s speech:

Below is the entire official report and transcribed quotations from President al-Assad’s speech,

DAMASCUS, (ST)- President Bashar Al-Assad has stressed that “hitting national belongingness weakens our first defense line, as a society, against cultural and intellectual invasion attempts that seek turning us into helpless machines that act according to foreign-prepared plans.”

President Al-Assad made the remarks during his meeting on Tuesday with participants in the Arab Forum on Confronting the US-Zionist reactionary Alliance and Supporting the Palestinian People’s Resistance currently held in Damascus with the participation of Arab national forces and figures.

“Arabism is a cultural concept that involves all ethnic groups, religions and communities. It is a civilized status to which all who once existed in the region, without exceptions, contributed, said President Al-Assad, adding that “the Arab language and Arab nationalism unite all these ethnic groups, communities and religions and at the same time preserve the privacy of each of them”.

President Al-Assad went on to say that solving the problems facing the Arab nation and restoring brightness to national thinking necessitates hard work as to explain some concepts through which our nation was targeted, including attempts to hit the relation between Arabism and Islam and to put Arab nationalism in a situation of confrontation with other nationalities.

He affirmed the need to clarify the idea that there is no contradiction between belongingness to Arabism and belongingness to Islam as they enhance one another, noting the importance of refuting the ethnic orientation which opposes the national one, particularly in the light of the incessant attempts to divide the region’s countries on ethnic basis. This can be done, the president said, through stressing the idea that Arabism includes all ethnic groups, religions and communities, thus Arab heritage and culture is the accumulation of the heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in this region throughout ancient and modern history.

President Al-Assad pointed out that national action was also influenced by another factor, which is the policies of some Arab governments which acted against the interests of the Arab peoples by serving foreign schemes and facilitating aggression on other Arab countries, thereby creating a negative reaction by many people towards nationalism and Arabism.

“Here we must differentiate between belongingness to identity and belongingness to a certain political system which we reject its policies,” the president said.

“Arabism and national thinking have continuously been accused by their enemies of backwardness and of being old-fashioned in an age overwhelmed by globalization in order to turn us into tools to serve the interests of huge financial institutions led by the United States,” President Al-Assad asserted, noting the need to adhere to identity and to support openness and development ideas as to confront this challenge.

President Al-Assad clarified that the main goal of the war to which Syria has been exposed for seven years is to return the country and the entire region centuries back through targeting the national feeling and belongingness to this region and through putting the Arabs in front of two options: either to give up their identity and subjugate to foreign powers or adopt the extremist thinking and turn Arab societies into conflicting entities.

The president affirmed that the ongoing war, despite the huge destruction it caused to Syria, couldn’t weaken the faith of the Syrian people in the inevitability of victory over terrorism and its internal and external tools through the sacrifices of the hero Syrian army and the popular support for this army. It also couldn’t break the Syrians’ will to keep adherent to their identity, doctrine and national belongingness.

President al-Assad began his speech by welcoming the participants in the Forum which discusses important pan-Arab issues, as pan-Arabism constitutes identity and affiliation as well as being the past and present of peoples and the basis of their existence.

He said that the participants are now in Syria during the war imposed on it, and that there was a general view that the storm that affected several Arab states including Syria, Libya, Yemen, and Iraq to some degree and the ensuing destruction seek to set the region back by centuries, but the main goal wasn’t destruction as what was destroyed can be rebuilt; rather the goal was undermining the Arab people’s sense of affiliation and belonging to their environment, geography, history, principles, and pan-Arabism.

His Excellency said that undermining pan-Arab affiliation means undermining the first line of defense against any attempts at a cultural or intellectual invasion that seeks to turn people into mere machines with no will that move according to plans made abroad.

“But at the same time, as this Arab Spring as it was called by the enemies, aimed at undermining affiliation, without the weakness of pan-Arab affiliation and the weakness of pan-Arab sentiment, this ‘spring’ wouldn’t have been able to start in our Arab region, because segments of our societies have regrettably, through the course of time, after losing this affiliation were ready to move in other directions,” President al-Assad said, adding that these segments went in two directions when the events began: either throwing themselves into the hands of foreigners, regardless of which foreign country, or embracing Islamist extremism as a replacement for the Arab identity, despite it being an abnormal and deviant identity that has nothing to do with Islam or any religion.

“In summation, the enemies succeeded during past decades in making the situation reach its current state and succeeded in undermining society partially, dividing this society into groups, some of them distant and some of them discordant, and others are contentious and conflicting,” he said.

“On the other hand, these meetings and pan-Arab work has persisted throughout these decades, with tens and maybe hundreds of meetings being held, but the result today is that the situation for the pan-Arab condition on the Arab arena is much weaker than it was decades ago. So, do we meet again to add another meeting to a group of meetings? Do we meet to reminisce about the good days or lament bad luck or to glorify something that isn’t living its best days which is the pan-Arab condition? Are we meeting just to issue political statements, despite these being important? It’s necessary to talk politics and issue statements and take positions regarding what is happening constantly, but political statements alone cannot restore the luster of this condition we are talking about now.”

“We are facing a real problem with many aspects, and dealing with just one aspect and disregarding other aspects means that we won’t reach any results and these meetings will remain vocal platforms that have no effect,” President al-Assad said.

His Excellency said that we should start with the problem, discussing it and its solution or cure and the possible methods to reach this cure, and this requires focusing primarily on weaknesses and the methods used by the enemies of pan-Arabism, which will help find a way to deal with each aspect, because what is currently happening isn’t sudden; it is the result of long-term accumulation over decades, and its effects today on societies are deep and wide-scale.

He stressed that this issue isn’t superficial or transient, as the West was skilled in its performance and in setting traps, but the Arabs were good at falling into these traps, noting that the West built its plans on realities and facts and was active, while Arabs always based their visions on sentiments and were emotional.

“Therefore, as I am addressing a pan-Arab conference, I have to discuss some points I consider a priority, and perhaps your conference can form a more comprehensive and in-depth vision through its discussions. So, I will discuss some headlines before talking about anything related to the crisis or policy,” President al-Assad said.

He pointed out that the first major problem facing pan-Arab work is undermining the relationship between Islam and Arabism, as some have accused Arabism of being secular or atheist, tying these three concepts together and telling the simple citizens that they have to choose between faith and atheism, and naturally they chose faith, and therefore they would stand against any affiliation other than faith and Islam, so Arabism is part of the affiliation they moved away from due to this way of thinking or this incorrect marketing of the relation between Arabism and Islam.

His Excellency noted that the first to spearhead this method were the so-called Muslim Brotherhood, who were planted by the English during the first half of the 20th century in Egypt and later moved to other areas, and throughout time they spearheaded everything that opposes the interests of the Arab people and pan-Arab affiliation.

President al-Assad said that there’s an organic connection between Arabism and Islam, and there is certainly no contradiction between them, stressing that it is wrong to believe that one can either be an Arab or a Muslim.

“So, undermining this relation through Islamic extremism undermines Arabism. They diverted Islam and pushed it towards extremism. It separated itself from Arabism, and Islam and Arabism became weaker. Someone might ask why I’m talking about Arabism and Islam and not Arabism and Christianity. I would say that of course this is the same relationship; the relationship between nationalism and religion, but colonialism and enemies of pan-Arabism didn’t work in this direction, rather they focused on Arabism and Islam,” he explained.

President al-Assad moved on to the second point, saying that pan-Arabism was put against other “nationalities,” and discussing the nature of these nationalities requires separate discussions, but some of these nationalities existed in a diverse region throughout history and they never fought among themselves, so why is this conflict emerging now? This is happening because as Arab states won their independence, colonialism sowed the seeds of sedition among those nationalities and these seeds were nurtured by enemies of pan-Arabism and even some proponents of pan-Arabism through their superficial thinking and ignorant performance.

His Excellency said that this seed has grown and gained root and dealing with it now requires double efforts, adding that this enemies of pan-Arabism achieved this by giving pan-Arabism an ethnic nature, saying that it is exclusive to the Arab ethnicity, and if one doesn’t belong to it then they need to find an identity elsewhere, thereby creating a rift between groups that have coexisted throughout history, and creating a hidden sentiment that we are living together due to political borders and conditions, and when these changes everyone goes their separate ways.

“They focused on the ethnic issue and took away from pan-Arabism the most important civilized aspects in it which are related to the cultural aspect, language, geography, history, and other things,” he added.

President al-Assad said that another cumulative factor linked to political conditions in the Arab world has affected pan-Arab world, and this factor is the result of the bad political work by some Arab states which existed prior to the war but appeared more prominently as the events began, particularly when Arab states and the Arab League provided cover for the intervention and destruction of Libya, then tried to do the same in Syria, but the political conditions had shifted by then so these attempts weren’t exactly successful.

“However, this role pushed many citizens in several places and here in Syria in particular, to say that if this is pan-Arabism and Arabism, then we don’t want them. If these are the Arabs, then we don’t want to be Arabs, we want to be anything else. Well, what is alternative? There is no alternative. These people are reacting to the conspiring by some Arab states on other Arab states or peoples of causes, and didn’t differentiate between affiliation to a specific identity and affiliation to a political system,” he said, adding that there were reactions towards Arab causes like the Palestinian cause due to the betrayal by some Palestinians of Arab states and peoples that hosted them and defended them, eliciting a reaction, and there were many who said “the whole Palestinian cause can go to Hell,” which indicates the immaturity of the sense of affiliation among these people.

His Excellency went on to address another important point which is that pan-Arabism had been accused of being synonymous with backwardness, which is a hypothesis posed in the 19th century and early 20th century, particularly with the coming of the age of globalization, satellite channels and the internet, which, according to that hypothesis, means that we live in a single world with single principles, interests, and economy, so any form of nationalism is a backwards idea.

“Of course, this is the idea posed by globalization which ultimately aims at having us all belong to the financial institutions that lead the world which are practically centered in the United States, through which they lead politics, economy, and everything else,” President al-Assad said, adding that they tried to claim that Arabism is a passing fad, which is similar to what happened with the fall of the Soviet Union when they wanted to portray socialism and communism as backwards concept.

“Now, after around two and a half decades, things have started to change and inferiority complexes went away. For us in Syria, we never suffered from this inferiority complex at any time, and we used to tell them that even if this language is the language of the 20th or 19th centuries, even if it’s the language of the 1st or 10th century, we will speak it today, tomorrow, and the day after, and we won’t have an inferiority complex. On the contrary, events have proven that the lack of this identity was one of the biggest problems, and adhering to it today is necessary,” he asserted.

His Excellency moved on to address pan-Arab work and the existing political movements, figures, parties, and conferences that have been working for decades under difficult circumstances, as while Syria has been supporting pan-Arabism for many decades, there has been a growing animosity towards pan-Arab work in other states, because this work often made political positions on various Arab causes that embarrassed certain states.

President al-Assad said that there are many people in society who belong to pan-Arabism but disagree with us politically, or have other political visions, or don’t like being involved in the work of political parties, and for them their pan-Arab affiliation is a social and civilized affiliation, adding “This begs the question: where are the non-political aspects of our pan-Arab work? This is a very important aspect.”

His Excellency said that Arabism is a civilized condition, and the most important thing in the civilized condition is the culture it bears, and culture is expressed by language. Without language, the culture turns into a large generator which generates a lot of electricity, but there will be no wires in order to transport this electricity towards the city, factories, or any other place.

“Here in Syria, there is no big problem that we suffer from. After all, education in Syria, including all university stages and others, is in the Arabic language. We support foreign languages, but the Arabic language remains the basis because we understand the meaning of the language,” the President added, stressing that cultural alienation and the dissolution of cultures begins with languages then spreads to other aspects.

President al-Assad said that Syria has suffered from war for seven years, and war weakens any country no matter how strong or large it may be, and this war has exhausted Syria, but it didn’t cause it to collapse. More importantly, it didn’t affect the Syrians’ confidence in the inevitability of victory over terrorism.

“The essence of that war is two groups: first is the persons who lost their affiliation, mainly, the pan-Arab affiliation and the national affiliation. They have lost their identity, the ethics, and with them they lost the homeland. This is the basis that the foreign side depended on. We can talk about conspiracies for days, but these conspiracies would have never found a place in Syria without the existence of these groups.”

“On the other hand, the other group is mainly the Syrian Arab Army, which has fought and made great sacrifices in order to keep this homeland safe,” His Excellency said, adding that the Syrian Arab Army, before being a national army, is an army that was based on a clear creed which was established throughout decades, stressing that no army would have withstood such a war no matter how much external support it got without having popular support.

“This point, which is the strength of the army through its creed, was understood by our enemies. All political work in conferences and talk of transitional governments and federalism, and all the terms you hear can be summed up with a single thing that was required, which is undermining this concept, the army as a symbol” he said, adding that they target the institutions and society as well, because we are talking about one creed, and all the war was working towards abandoning the notion of pan-Arabism starting with the constitution, to name Syria as just “the Syrian state” and to make its army “Syrian.”

“What was the headline they have put? A professional army, which means that the army which carried out all those battles is an army of amateurs, a group of amateurs who liked the game of war and went to fight just because they want to fight anyone, just as a hobby! This is what they are trying to market. For them, the professional army is the army which stays inside the country and waits for a signal from outside in order to move with coups against national governments. According to them, the professional army is that which covers the proxy governments when they relinquish sovereignty and work against the people,” President al-Assad said.

“Today, I affirm after 7 years of sacrifices, that we wouldn’t think for even a second to make concessions about creed and Syria’s pan-Arab affiliation just to appease the rejects of the 21st century of the Muslim Brotherhood and Daesh or al-Nusra, or any other groups, whether outlaws or the groups which work in the interests of the Americans and the West in our region,” His Excellency said.

The President said that if we want to improve the pan-Arab work and see results, this requires coming together and discuss various issues through dialogue, noting that in the past, proponents of pan-Arabism have not held dialogue with others; only with each other, adding “I believe that the starting point begins with dialogue with other groups that went astray, those others that put themselves or who were put by conditions in a place that contradicts their natural belonging and in a place that contradicts their interests and the interest of their homeland without their knowledge, in most cases. Recovering those is the start of the correct work in order to reinforce the pan-Arab work.”

President al-Assad said that such people are like cancerous cells that were originally normal cells that were changed due to various circumstances to become enemies of normal cells in the body, and they are fuel for a poisonous concoction made by the West, but we have to counteract this poison through dialogue.

“First, we have to address the group which is convinced about the contradiction between Islam and Arabism, we have to tell them that there is no contradiction between these two concepts, both flow into the other, both reinforce the other,” he said, stressing they cannot separate the Arabism of Prophet Mohammad from his religion, nor can they separate the religious context of the Quran from the Arabic language, so how can they separate Arabism from Islam?

“It is necessary now to refute the ethnic concept. There are people who talk about federalism, nationalism, and federalism on national basis. We have to assert that the concept of Arabism is an inclusive civilized concept that includes everyone, which means that Arabism is greater than being ethnic, the cultural concept includes everyone, includes all ethnicities, religions, and sects,” President al-Assad said, asserting that Arabism is a civilized condition to which everyone in the region contributed, making it the sum of heritage and cultures of all the peoples who lived in the area throughout old and modern history.

“The most important thing is the language that brings us all together. We all speak Arabic in this region, not other languages, even if there are other languages. .Therefore the Arabic language and pan-Arabism is what brings all religions, sects and ethnics together, and at the same time preserves the characteristics of each one,” he added, noting that after terrorism failed in the region, the enemies started focusing on ethnicities and nationalities.

As for those who renounced Arabism as a reaction to the performance of some Arab states, President al-Assad stressed that the conspiring by these states against Arab causes and the Arab people doesn’t mean that these states belong to Arabism, and affiliation to an identity doesn’t mean affiliation with a political system.

“If they conspire against us, this doesn’t mean that we should run away from the concept and true affiliation and turn things over to those who have nothing to do with Arabism or religion or the societies of this region in everything they did,” he said, stressing that the lack of affiliation doesn’t serve anyone, because the current problems such as sectarian and ethnic division are mainly caused by the lack of pan-Arab sentiment, because people instinctively seek affiliation, and when an encompassing one is absent, they will seek other, smaller ones that lead to the division of minds, geography, and homelands.

“As for linking Arabism to backwardness, we must be the leaders in supporting development ideas, and to have a program that suits this age and suits the interests of the peoples,” the President concluded.

Concluding thoughts:

Arabism stands at a crossroads that many find worrying. On the one hand, Arabism is the force of popular will which helped to mobilise the Syrian resistance during the 7 year conflict. On the other hand, the propaganda of terrorists with the backing of foreign powers, have helped to sow discord across the Arab world.

President al-Assad emphasised that now is the time not to retreat from the only successful model for the Arab world, but to redouble support for it and to peacefully explain to all those who have “gone astray” that Arabism is not for one group or another but for all. Through going out and fighting the propaganda of those who seek division, sectarianism, racism and violence, supporters of the Arabist idea, can help demonstrate that for all those who seek peace, prosperity and dignity above conflict, depression and imperial submission, there is no alternative as there never has been.

It is also important that those outside of the Arab world understand that Syria’s battle, while one which benefits global civilisation, is one being fought in the specific context of a long history of Arab nationalism. Syria does not exist for the benefit of foreigners, but for the benefit of her people and the wider Arab community. Syria is of course, a partner to all sincerely friendly nations ranging from Russia and China, to Iran and the DPRK. However, a great deal of non-Arabic analysis on Syria tends to view the conflict in selfish terms which represent an unconscious colonial mentality. A lot of this is a sad reflection on the background of those authoring such narrow minded “analysis”. One cannot wish Syria well, without understanding the nature of her political system and consequently, why any external alteration to this system will have made Syria’s military victories, ultimately useless.

The future of the Syrian Arab Republic will not depend on the support of groups and individuals merely cheering on the Syrian Arab Army for selfish reasons, without care for the future of the Arab Republic. Syria’s future depends on those who see Arabism as an inseparable element vis-a-vis Syria’s society, laws and national character.

I have little doubt that yesterday’s address will go down as the most important speech of President Bashar al-Assad’s political career, to-date.

In this speech, al-Assad not only clarified the future trajectory of the Syrian Arab Republic as a force for peace and stability in the region, but one which draws upon its revolutionary history to create an ever more progressive environment in the future.

Bashar al-Assad understands the goals and methods of the enemies of Arabism and has clearly articulated how to best preserve the achievements of the Syrian Arab Republic in a new era.

This transformative speech means that al-Assad is not only a defender of Syrian freedom and security but a defender of the Arabist ideals whose cause of peace, unity and civilisation are ideals the world can aspire to learn from, even beyond the borders of the Arab world.

Russia’s new weapons program includes serial supplies of Armata tanks – By SPUTNIK

November 14, 16:29 UTC+3

Armata is a heavy unified tracked chassis to be used as a basis for a new main battle tank, a mechanized infantry combat vehicle, and armored personnel carrier and a number of other vehicles

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T-14

T-14

© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Russia’s 2018-2027 state program for armaments provides for the mass-produced supplies of Armata tanks along with frontline and long-range aviation systems, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said on the Rossiya-24 television news channel on Tuesday.

“What makes the 2018-2027 program for armaments so special is the conversion of the experimental products still in the testing phase into mass production. This applies to the Armata, the T-14 tank, the frontline aviation system, the new generation long-range aviation system and many other items,” he said.

“This lays the basis for transitioning to a new, sixth technological order,” Rogozin added.

The Armata is a heavy unified tracked chassis to be used as a basis for a new main battle tank, a mechanized infantry combat vehicle, and armored personnel carrier and a number of other vehicles. The T-14 tank created on the Armata platform was publicly displayed for the first time during the V-Day Parade in Moscow’s Red Square in 2015.

 

This dramatically new combat vehicle has fully computerized equipment, an unmanned turret, and an isolated armor capsule for the crew.

The sixth technological revolution is a term applied to the total advances in science and engineering. Its main branches are nano-and biotechnologies, nano-power production, molecular and cell technologies, the use of stem cells, tissue engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence, and materials with targeted properties.

 
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