Pravda: Why Putin should say nothing when USA and Germany fight over Russian natural gas – By VT Senior Editors

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Why should Russia “keep quiet” during arguments between the European Union and the United States? Hungarian political scientist Gabor Stier believes that Europe is ready to lift sanctions from Russia. In addition, the scientist believes, European leaders put pressure on Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to force him to implement the Minsk Accords, albeit covertly, not to make it look like a gift for Russian President Putin.

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On May 18, Vladimir Putin had a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sochi, where the leaders discussed Trump’s ultimatum to Europe. Representatives of the Trump administration, at a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel a month ago, “asked” her to pull out from  the Nord Stream-2 project and promised not to raise import duties on European steel and aluminum products.

The European Commission proposed abolishing those duties and increasing supplies of American LNG in return. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday, May 17, that the European Commission would take “decisive steps” to protect the interests of the European Union.

Pravda.Ru requested an expert opinion on the subject from Hungarian political scientist Gabor Stier.

“Why does Trump talk ultimatums?”

“It is not actually Trump who talks that way. In US foreign policy, it is the State Department, the Pentagon and influential circles that decide what to do, and Trump only serves them to carry out their orders. At the same time, he does not mind ultimatums much, because in domestic politics he promised to strengthen the American economy. Therefore, it remains in the interests of his electorate to increase pressure on Germany, to raise duties on European imports and sell US liquefied gas to Europe.

“Unfortunately, there are big disagreements about the Nord Stream 2 project within the European Union. On the one hand, Europe is interested in steady supplies of cheap Russian gas that counts for  30-40 percent of Europe’s gas consumption. On the other hand, there are EU countries that are interested in Nord Stream 2. This pipeline is advantageous mainly to Germany and the Netherlands as direct consumers. The project will make them feel more secure, because Ukraine is an unreliable transit partner.

Yet, ten countries of the European Union – central and southern ones – signed a letter to the European Commission, in which they objected to the domination of the Nord Stream 2 project. The implementation of this project would close the pipe from Ukraine, and the fuel for those countries will become more expensive as they would become dependent on Germany. The objecting countries want to receive natural gas through the Ukrainian pipe, whereas the Nord Stream could supply the fuel to the north of Europe.”

“Can Europe buy liquified natural gas from the USA?”

“Central Europe is 70-80 percent dependent on the Russian gas. If Germany can afford buying US gas, then the economy of weaker and smaller EU states will not be able to take it up. Wealthy EU states do not want to purchase LNG from the USA, but weaker states simply cannot afford it.”

“The head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the EC would take “decisive steps” to protect the interests of the European Union. What kind of steps do you think they can be?”

“It depends primarily on Germany and France that defend economic European interests in the transatlantic competition. The European Union is opposed to USA’s decision on Iran because major EU companies have major projects in Iran. Europe does not want to impose more sanctions on Iran, since it is not beneficial for Europe to support American sanctions. These are semi-political and semi-economic steps. The policy of Europe is changing in light of new economic interests. Slowly but surely, Europe comes to realise that it has its own interests that should be defended. The EU does not have too much will to start a major fight with the United States. Yet, if German businesses insist on lifting sanctions from Russia, Merkel and Macron may listen.”

“What is Russia’s role in such complicated relations between Atlantic partners?”

“For Russia, it would be best to sit and watch. If Russia intervenes, the USA will say: “Here, we warned you that Russia is trying to divide Europe.” America always raises the issue of the Russian threat when it comes to the need to put more pressure on Europe.”

Jewish Al-Sisi Runs Egypt; Now an Israeli-Occupied Territory – By Kevin Barrett (Veterans Today)

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1001420_500196916740637_219213849_nThe Greater Israel Project – a long-standing Zionist scheme to steal all the land between the Nile and the Euphrates – is halfway there.

They just stole the Nile.

The problem is not that Egypt’s new thug-in-chief, General Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi, is a Jew. (His mother, Malikah Titani, is a Moroccan Jew from Asefi, which makes al-Sisi a Jew and an automatic citizen of Israel.)

If the Egyptian people want to elect a Jew president in a free and fair election – like they elected the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to the Lower House with 73% of the vote, the Upper House with 80% of the vote, the presidency with 52% of the vote, and approved the MB Constitution with 64% of the vote – that’s fine with me.

The problem is that al-Sisi has concealed his Jewish identity and Israeli connections from the Egyptian people…and destroyed their nascent democracy through deception and mass murder.

An even bigger problem: al-Sisi is almost certainly a Mossad agent. That means al-Sisi’s Egypt is not just a brutal, banana-republic-style dictatorship. It is Israeli-occupied territory: The newest and largest province of ever-expanding Greater Israel.

No wonder the Israeli ambassador called al-Sisi “a national hero for all Jews.”

Al-Sisi’s uncle, Uri Sibagh (sometimes spelled as Sabbagh) served in the Jewish Defense League (Hamagein) from 1948 to 1950, made his aliyah to Israel, and became a bigwig in Ben Gurion’s political party, serving as the secretary of the Israeli Labor Party in Beersheba from 1968 to 1981. Uri’s sister – al-Sisi’s mother – presumably emigrated to Egypt on a mission from the Mossad. That mission culminated when the Mossad overthrew President Morsi and installed its agent al-Sisi in the coup d’état of July 3rd, 2013.

The implication: Al-Sisi has been a lifelong Mossad agent. His mission: infiltrate the highest levels of power in an Arab Muslim country. Al-Sisi is today’s version of Elie Cohen, who infiltrated the highest levels of power in Syria under the name Kamal Amin Thabet before he was exposed and hanged in the public square in Damascus.

George H.W. Bush’s famous line, “If the people knew the truth, they would chase us down the street and lynch us” applies – in spades – to al-Sisi.

It has been widely reported in the mainstream media, as well as by more reliable sources, that al-Sisi has long served as the Egyptian military’s liason with Israel. During the coup d’état of July 3rd, al-Sisi was in permanent liason by telephone with the Israeli and American militaries. (Israel promised its full support, and guaranteed that US aid would not be cut off, while the US waffled.)

The Egyptian coup, especially its propaganda component, had all the earmarks of an Israeli black op. A massively financed campaign run through Egypt’s Israeli-linked mainstream media (yes, the same folks own big media there as here) repeatedly compared President Morsi to Adolf Hitler! The fact that “Morsi = Hitler” was the number one talking point of the forces behind the coup reveals that those forces were Zionists, not Egyptians. Apparently the Zionists couldn’t stop themselves from making reflexive Dr. Strangelove-style anti-Hitler salutes while they were orchestrating the al-Sisi coup – thereby giving their game away.

Since the coup, Israel has been lavishing praise, money, and support on al-Sisi.  Mossad agent al-Sisi has virtually declared war on Palestine by going all-out to close the Gaza border tunnels that keep the people of Gaza alive. Meanwhile, al-Sisi has taken billions of dollars from the Rothschild puppets and likely donmeh crypto-Jews who call themselves the “House of Saud.”

Obviously the Zionist-dominated West and its Middle Eastern puppets will not allow Muslims to elect relatively honest leaders in free elections. Instead, they will use deception and violence to pursue their schemes for regional and global domination.

The Egyptian people – who elected the Muslim Brotherhood by a greater landslide than any US political party has won in all of American history – need a real Islamic revolution to create a genuine democracy. Without it, Egypt will indefinitely remain “a boot stamping on a human face – forever”…and a permanent province of Greater Israel, ruled by a Jewish-Zionist thug who has appointed himself pharaoh, while hiding his real background and loyalties.

How Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology – By Federico PIERACCINI (Strategic Culture Foundation)

How Russia and China Gained a Strategic Advantage in Hypersonic Technology

A hot topic in military prognostications regarding China, Russia and the United States revolves around the development and use of hypersonic technology for missiles or UAVs as an invulnerable means of attack. As we will see, not all three countries are dealing successfully with this task.

The United States, China and Russia have in recent years increased their efforts to equip their armed forces with such highly destructive missiles and vehicles seen in the previous article. Putin’s recent speech in Moscow reflects this course of direction by presenting a series of weapons with hypersonic characteristics, as seen with the Avangard and the Dagger.

As confirmed by US Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Michael Griffin:

We, today, do not have systems that can hold them [hypersonic weapons] at risk…and we do not have defenses against those [hypersonic] systems. Should they choose to deploy them we would be, today, at a disadvantage.

Further confirmation that the US is lagging in this field came from General John Hyten, Commander of US Strategic Command:

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat.”

The development of hypersonic weapons has been part of the military doctrine that China and Russia have been developing for quite some time, driven by various motivations. For one thing, it is a means of achieving strategic parity with the United States without having to match Washington’s unparallelled spending power. The amount of military hardware possessed by the United States cannot be matched by any other armed force, an obvious result of decades of military expenditure estimated to be in the range of five to 15 times that of its nearest competitors.

For these reasons, the US Navy is able to deploy ten carrier groups, hundreds of aircraft, and engage in thousands of weapon-development programs. Over a number of decades, the US war machine has seen its direct adversaries literally vanish, firstly following the Second World War, and then following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This led in the 1990s to shift in focus from one opposing peer competitors to one dealing with smaller and less sophisticated opponents (Yugoslavia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, international terrorism). Accordingly, less funds were devoted to research in cutting-edge technology for new weapons systems in light of these changed circumstances.

This strategic decision obliged the US military-industrial complex to slow down advanced research and to concentrate more on large-scale sales of new versions of aircraft, tanks, submarines and ships. With exorbitant costs and projects lasting up to two decades, this led to systems that were already outdated by the time they rolled off the production lines. All these problems had little visibility until 2014, when the concept of great-power competition returned with a vengeance, and with it the need for the US to compare its level of firepower with that of its peer competitors.

Forced by circumstances to pursue a different path, China and Russia begun a rationalization of their armed forces from the end of the 1990s, focusing on those areas that would best allow them the ability to defend against the United States’ overwhelming military power. It is no coincidence that Russia has strongly accelerated its missile-defense program by producing such modern systems as Pantsir and S-300/S-400, which allows for a defense against ballistic attacks and stealth aircraft. Countering stealth technology became an urgent imperative, and with the production of the S-400, this challenge has been overcome. With the future S-500, even ICBMs will no longer pose a problem for Russia. In a similar vein, China has strongly accelerated its ICBM program, reaching within a decade the ability to produce a credible deterrent with their equivalent of the Russian SS-18 Satan or the American LGM-30G Minuteman III, possessing a long range and multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs) armed with nuclear warheads.

After sealing the skies and achieving a robust nuclear-strategic parity with the United States, Moscow and Beijing begun to focus their attention on the US anti-ballistic-missile (ABM) systems placed along their borders, which also consist of the AEGIS system operated by US naval ships. As Putin warned, this posed an existential threat that compromised Russia and China’s second-strike capability in response to any American nuclear first strike, thereby disrupting the strategic balance inherent in the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD).

For this reason, Putin has since 2007 been warning Russia’s western partners that his country would develop a system to nullify the American ABM system. In the space of a few years, Russia and China have succeeded in this task, testing and entering into production various hypersonic missiles equipped with breakthrough technologies that will strongly benefit the entire scientific sector of these two countries, and against which the US currently has no counter.

Currently there are no defenses against hypersonic attacks; and given the trend of employing ramjet/scramjet engines on new generations of fighter jets, it seems that more and more countries will want to equip themselves with these game-changing systems. Russia, to counter America’s naval superiority, has already entered into service the Zircon anti-ship missile, and already plans an export version with a range of 300 kms.

India and Russia have long been working on the Brahmos, which is yet another type of hypersonic missile that could in the future be launched from the Su-57. Although it is a relatively new technology, hypersonic weapons are already causing more than a headache for many Western military planners, who are only coming to realize just how far they are lagging behind their competitors.

It will take a while for the US to close the hypersonic technological and scientific gap with China and Russia. Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract to this end. In the meantime, the two Eurasian powerhouses are focusing on their overland integration via the Belt And Road Initiative (BRI) and the Eurasian Union, a strategic arrangement that denies the US and NATO the ability to easily intervene in an area so far inland, compounded by its inability to control the airspace, and ultimately outnumbered on the ground in any case.

The objective of the Russians and the Chinese is the realization of a highly defended (A2/AD) environment on their coasts and in their skies, which are buttressed by hypersonic weapons. In this way, Russia and China possess the means to disrupt the maritime logistical chain of the US Navy in the case of war. In addition, the A2/AD would be able to stop US power projection, thanks to HGV weapons able to sink aircraft carriers and target specific land-based ABM systems or logistic-chain hubs.

It is a defensive strategy that could potentially halt US Naval power projection as well as its ability to control the skies, two linchpins in the way the US plans to fight its wars. No wonder think-tanks in Washington and four-star generals are starting to sound the alarm on hypersonic weapons.

‘US can’t decide for the world:’ Rouhani rejects Pompeo’s Iran demands – By RT

‘US can’t decide for the world:’ Rouhani rejects Pompeo’s Iran demands
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has rejected demands made of Tehran by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, vowing to continue “our path,” insisting that the era when the US could “decide for the world” is over.

The US government has regressed 15 years, back to “Bush Jr.’s era” and is once again trying to dictate its will on the entire world, Rouhani said as he rejected Washington’s Monday ultimatum.

READ MORE: ‘Strongest sanctions in history’: Pompeo issues 12 demands to Iran, vows ‘unprecedented pressure’

“Who are you to decide for Iran and the world? The world today does not accept America to decide for the world, as countries are independent … that era is over … We will continue our path with the support of our nation,” Rouhani said, as quoted by ILNA news agency.

Pompeo’s speech signaled a huge step back for the whole foreign policy of the US, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on his Twitter page.

“US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: imprisoned by delusions & failed policies—dictated by corrupt Special Interest—it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions,” Iran’s top diplomat tweeted.

Pompeo rolled out the 12 “basic requirements” for Iran in a Monday speech at the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing Washington think tank. He threatened that failing to meet them would result in sanctions which would ultimately destroy Iran’s economy.

The list not only urged Tehran to permanently shut down any nuclear-related programs, but also to give up its regional policy. Pompeo called on Iran to halt missile development, “release all US citizens,” withdraw from Syria, and cease support for groups which the US considers to be “terrorist,” namely Hezbollah.

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Salehi: Iran to Remain Committed to Its Promises if EU Can Keep JCPOA Alive- By Local Editor (ALAHED NEWS)

Salehi: Iran to Remain Committed to Its Promises if EU Can Keep JCPOA Alive
Local EditorHead of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi said the Islamic Republic is more powerful than any time and cannot be easily pressured in the face of US plans to re-impose sanctions on the country.

Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi

“Iran’s authority and position are such that it cannot be easily pushed around. Today, Iran is in a more powerful position than the past,” Salehi told a joint press conference with EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete in Tehran Saturday,

Canete is in Tehran to reassure Iran that the European Union remains committed to salvaging a nuclear deal with Tehran despite US President Donald Trump’s decision to exit the accord and reimpose sanctions on the country.

“We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the agreement, the Europeans will… fulfill their commitment,” he said, adding the bloc hoped to boost trade with Iran.

Salehi said Iran hopes the European Union will fulfill its pledges “in the near future” after the bloc launched “the blocking statute” process on Friday to protect Europeans from US sanctions on Iran.

“However, until these promises are not implemented and put into practice, we could not speak firmly,” he said. “We hope that in the near future, we could witness the materialization of these pledges.”

Otherwise, “the Iranian nation should rest assured that we will press ahead on the path of progress with strength and firmness without any worries and there will be no serious problems even though there might be some disruptions which may slow down the pace but they cannot stop us,” Salehi added.

The European Union, he said, had made proposals and taken initial steps toward using the euro in dealings with the Islamic Republic.

Salehi also described US exit from the Iran nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as a foolish move.

Trump announced US withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8 and vowed to reinstate US nuclear sanctions on Iran and impose “the highest level” of economic bans on the Islamic Republic.

Tehran has said it would make a decision on its future role in the nuclear agreement in the coming weeks following negotiations with the other signatories of the deal.

EU powers have scrambled to save the JCPOA and protect their businesses in Iran against the US sanctions.

Salehi said EU efforts to preserve the nuclear pact shows that “the JCPOA is a very important agreement in line with our national interests and regional interest as well as those of the international community.”

Iran’s nuclear chief further stressed that the US pullout of the JCPOA shows “the correct impression of senior government officials that the US cannot be trusted.”

Now the whole international community has come to the understanding that “the US is not a reliable and trustworthy country in international dealings,” he added.

Canete, for his part, said that preserving the nuclear deal, despite the US withdrawal, was “fundamental for peace in the region.”

“For sure there are clear difficulties with the sanctions,” the EU official said. “We will have to ask for waivers, for carve outs for the companies that make investments.”

Canete is due to meet Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh and head of the Department of Environment Isa Kalantari later on Saturday, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

Google, drone murder and the military-intelligence-censorship complex – By Andre Damon (WSWS)

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Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com
19 May 2018

The publication of this week’s open letter by leading academics protesting Google’s role in the military’s drone assassination program exposes the close partnership between the major technology giants and the US military/intelligence complex.

The letter, now signed by nearly 1,000 academics, declares that “Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation, either domestically or internationally.” It adds, “While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.”

In March, Google admitted to helping the Pentagon develop artificial intelligence software to identify objects in video recordings captured by drones, within the framework of a program called Project Maven. While Google claims that the technology is not being used to kill people, the letter’s authors note that the system can be easily modified to identify human beings for assassination.

The letter by the academics follows an open letter from Google workers protesting the company’s involvement in Project Maven, supported by over 3,100 employees. A recent report by Gizmodo cited the resignation of a dozen workers following the revelations.

In considering the operations of Google, a distinction must be made between the corporation and the technology workers who are employed by it, many of whom may have been attracted to the company by its original (recently removed) corporate motto, “Don’t Be Evil.”

The involvement of Google in the US military’s drone program points to the extraordinarily dangerous amalgamation of giant technology corporations and the major capitalist states. It is increasingly difficult to tell where the CIA and the Pentagon end, and the technology companies begin.

Google itself has many ties to the state and the military. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, serves as an advisor to the Pentagon and the chair of its Defense Innovation Advisory Board. Schmidt plays a leading role in the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx), a private/military joint partnership located just minutes from Google’s main headquarters.

Google is by no means an exception. Amazon is a leading supplier of cloud computing infrastructure to the Pentagon and intelligence agencies. Verizon, AT&T and other internet service providers have served as willing partners in the National Security Agency’s program of global and domestic surveillance, as exposed by leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Google’s relations with the military put into sharper focus the significance of the changes it made to its search algorithms, beginning in April of last year. When Google first announced these measures, it claimed that its actions were aimed at “improving” its search system and “helping people find what they are looking for.” It told a New York Times reporter that its actions were free of “political… bias.”

In fact, the company’s involvement with the military and its manipulation of search results are two sides of the same process, both done for political purposes. In the one case, it is providing the state with artificial intelligence technology to aid its military and intelligence operations. In the other case, it has initiated a massive program of censorship, also using powerful artificial intelligence technology, to suppress domestic opposition.

As the WSWS has documented, the changes to Google’s algorithms have significantly impacted search traffic to left-wing, anti-war, and socialist publications.

The WSWS is itself a central target of these repressive measures. Its search traffic fell by 75 percent, and, when it first reported the decrease, the top 45 search terms that previously linked readers to the WSWS no longer did so. By the latest count, the top 61 terms that previously brought readers to the WSWS no longer do so.

In the year since Google announced its censorship measures, it, together with Facebook and Twitter, have hired thousands of additional content “moderators,” many with backgrounds as intelligence agents, prosecutors, and police officers, to censor political speech. By the end of this year, more than half of the people employed at Facebook and Google will be assigned to its “security” and “moderation” departments.

The claims by Google, Facebook and other social media companies that, in manipulating their algorithms, they are acting as private corporations, are untenable. Such rationales do not justify actions that suppress free speech and political views. Moreover, these companies are not acting by themselves, but in close coordination with the capitalist state, speaking on behalf of the ruling class as a whole.

The integration of corporations and the military-intelligence-state apparatus is not a new phenomenon. It is 57 years since President Eisenhower issued his famous speech warning of the “military-industrial complex.” However, amidst feverish preparations for war and domestic repression, this integration is taking on new and ever more ominous forms. Moreover, the military is rapidly moving to incorporate into its operations the most advanced artificial intelligence technologies, developed by companies like Google.

The fight against this military-intelligence-censorship complex can only be carried forward on the basis of a revolutionary, socialist program. The domination and control of the Internet and associated technologies by gigantic corporations, run by billionaires, has the direst consequences for democratic rights.

The ending of corporate control of the Internet must be connected to the mobilization of the international working class to abolish the stranglehold of the financial oligarchy over economic and political life, transform all giant corporations into publicly-owned utilities, and reorganize global economy on the basis of social need, not private profit.

Andre Damon

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea – By Peter KORZUN – (Strategic Cultural Foundation)

Russia’s Navy Establishes Permanent Presence in Mediterranean Sea

Russian President Vladimir Putin said a naval standing force, including warships with Kalibr long-range land attack cruise missiles, will be permanently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The statement was made at a meeting with top military officials and defense industry leaders that took place in Sochi on May 16. One of the missions is delivering strikes against terrorist targets in Syria. 102 expeditions of ships and submarines are planned in 2018. The force will go through intensive training.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has become a much different force in comparison to what it was just three years ago. Since 2015, the year the operation in Syria was launched, it has received 15 new ships, including two frigates and six conventional submarines armed with Kalibr cruise missiles. With S-400 and S-300V4 air defense systems, Krasukha-4 electronic warfare systems and shore-based anti-ship Bastion batteries deployed on the Syrian coast, the ships in Eastern Mediterranean operate in a relatively safe environment. Kalibr missiles have already been fired from frigates and submarines at terrorist targets in Syria.

Last July, a 15-strong Mediterranean Task Force was established to be based out of Tartus, Syria’s leased naval facility. The ships provide a buffer on the southern flank of NATO. Russia needs to counter aggressive activities of the bloc in the region, including the Black Sea. Maintaining robust presence in the Mediterranean is the best way to defend Russia’s Black Sea borders.

All southern Europe, including such NATO military assets as Allied Joint Force Command in Naples, Italy, Combined Air Operations Centers in Larissa, Greece, and in Poggio Renatico, Italy, Headquarters Allied Land Command and Air Power Command in Izmir, Turkey, NATO Incirlik air base in Turkey, Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer air bases in Bulgaria used by US Air Force as well as a lot of other key NATO defense infrastructure sites happen to be within the range of Kalibr missiles installed on the platforms patrolling the Mediterranean Sea. They’ll all be knocked out with first salvos in case a Russia-NATO war starts.

The Fleet’s operations are not limited to the Black Sea basin and the Mediterranean. It is on the way of transition from a green-water naval formation to a blue water force, demonstrating the Russian flag as the ships move beyond the Strait of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal on the way to the World Ocean.

The establishment of permanent naval presence in the region can be explained by a number of rational calculations. The Mediterranean Sea is Russia’s only exit to the open ocean for the Black Sea Fleet. The permanent presence is a logical step in view of Russia’s growing political influence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

Foreign Ministries are not the only ones to shape external policy. Any port call is a diplomat mission, providing an opportunity for official meetings and public diplomacy, with the events covered by media. Take the famous German Kiel Week or Kieler Woche in German, the biggest annual maritime festival and international forum visited by about three million people coming from all over the world. Warships from many countries are an important element of the event. Ships also take part in the Irish maritime festival at Drogheda Port. Russian frigate The Shtandart, a replica of the man-of-war built by Peter the Great in 1703, will visit Drogheda on June 10-11 this year.

The naval visits reflect foreign policy trends. In 2017, Russian ships made 46 port calls to drop anchor at 28 ports of 27 countries worldwide. The list includes five Western or West-friendly states: Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Japan and South Korea, which account for 19% of the countries visited by Russian ships. Nine (33%) of the states on the list belong to the Asia-Pacific region, with other 13 (48%) situated in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. The 81% vs.19% ratio illustrates Russia’s rebalancing from the “collective” West toward other countries and power poles. The Russian Navy also conducted six international exercises, demonstrating its global presence and power projection capability.

The growing trade brings to the fore the task of sea lanes’ protection. Russia has longstanding economic ties with many Mediterranean states, including Greece, Libya, Cyprus, and Algeria. The relations include defense cooperation.

US Navy deployments in support of ballistic missile defense are viewed as provocative moves to downgrade Russia’s strategic nuclear capability. With Russia’s continuous presence in the region, Aegis ships as well as aircraft carriers become sitting ducks for state-of-the art anti-ship missiles.

Like it or not, the Mediterranean Sea has ceased to be a “NATO Lake” dominated by US 6th Fleet. American vessels don’t own these waters anymore. As a great power, Russia has its own interests in the region and it has a powerful naval force permanently deployed to defend them.

Liberating the M5 lifeline: The latest developments in Syria – By Moon of Alabama (SOTT)

In this situation report we look at the consolidation of the Syrian government space, discuss the upcoming operations to secure the vital M5 highway, clear up the S-300 confusion and provide a bit on the political developments.

Over the last twelve months the Syrian Arab Army and its allies made a lot of progress.

syria map

May 20 2017

The government held area was extended to the Euphrates and the Syrian-Iraqi border. Deir Ezzor was liberated. The border to Lebanon was secured. All “rebel” enclaves within the government held areas (except the ISIS desert pocket) were consolidated.

syria map

May 19 2018

After clearing up east-Ghouta east of the capital Damascus the Syrian government forces were concentrated around the Yarmouk camp south of the city. Yarmouk, originally a Palestinian refugee camp, is an upbuilt area which was held by Islamic State fighters as well as “rebels” paid by foreign countries. The “rebels” have since given up and were evacuated to Idleb governorate. The ISIS held area is reduced to less than a square mile of dense urban terrain. There were contradicting reports today that the ISIS fighters had given up and were ready to evacuate. Whatever they decide the area will be liberated in a week or so. The Syrian capitol will then be completely secure.

syria map

M5 highway

Until two weeks ago a large area around al-Rastan between Homs and Hama was still held by mostly local “rebel” forces. The Syrian government sent its Tiger forces and an ultimatum – give up or die. The “rebels” decided to avoid a fight which they would surely have lost. They agreed to be evacuated and were dumped into Idleb. Al-Rastan is back in government hands. This move freed the M5 highway between Homs and Hama.

The M5 highway is the main north-south artery of Syria. It connects Gaziantep in Turkey with Amman in Jordan. The highway runs through the main Syrian cities of Aleppo, Hama, Homs and Damascus. Before the war started all transit traffic between Turkey and the rich Gulf countries as well as most of the internal Syrian commerce ran along this road. Turkey, Syria and Jordan have a common economic interest in securing and reopening this important lifeline.

The next strategic task for the Syrian army is therefore to secure the M5 highway in its full length.

In the south of Syria the M5 connection to Jordan runs through the eastern part of the “rebel” held area (green) towards al-Mafraq in Jordan. The border to Jordan is closed for the “rebels” and tightly controlled. There have been talks between Jordan and some of the “rebel” groups with the aim of ending the conflict in the south but they have so far failed.

syria map

The Syrian army has two possible ways to proceed in the south.

It could move from the northern border triangle of Lebanon, Syria and the Zionist occupied Golan heights (purple) southwards along the demarcation line and down to the border of Jordan. UN observers could return to the Golan demarcation line, monitor the operation and prevent it from escalating into a war with Israel. The move would isolate the al-Qaeda and ISIS “rebels” in the area from their Israeli supplies. The Takfiris could then be pressured from the west, north and east and a general cleanup would follow. The move would be militarily and politically dicey as Israel would probably try to prevent it. But it would also solve an important political problem once and for all. The Russian command should talk with Israel and discuss this plan.

The politically and militarily easier move is to proceed from Daraa to the Jordan border and to thereby encircle the eastern part of the rebel held area. The eastern part can then be liberated slice by slice. This would allow for unhindered M5 traffic from Damascus towards al-Mafraq and Amman but it would leave the ISIS/al-Qaeda pocket along the occupied Golan heights as a festering problem.

In the north the M5 highway between Hama and Aleppo runs through the eastern part of the “rebel” held Idleb governorate. The Syrian army will have to take control of it before the road can be reopened. North of Aleppo towards Turkey the highway goes through an area which is currently controlled by Turkish forces. These are for now able to secure the road.

Idleb governorate is held by various “rebel” groups with the the al-Qaeda aligned Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) being the strongest one. Idleb had been declared a de-escalation zone under Astana rules and Turkey set up twelve observation points to watch over the border of the area. There has been an immense amount of infighting between HTS (dark green) and other “rebel” groups (light green).

syria map

© Suriyakmaps

On May 14 and 15 Turkish, Russian and Iranian negotiators met for the ninth round of Syria negotiations in Astana, Kazakhstan. There was no announced progress but the joint statement again empathizes “the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.”

It was probably in Astana that an agreement was made about the northern part of the M5 highway. Shortly after the Astana talks a report by a well connected source (nicknamed after a Russian sniper hero) said that Turkey informed the “rebels” in Idleb governorate that they will have to evacuate the area east of the M5 highway between Hama and Aleppo. The Syrian army would move in to secure the highway. Should the “rebels” not follow the Turkish advice the Syrian army will move into Idleb governorate by force from the east and south to push the “rebels” westwards beyond the highway line.

As soon as the M5 is under full control Syria’s commercial lifelines to all neighbors will be reestablished. The economy of Syria will then experience an urgently needed significant boost.

There have been discussion in the comments here and elsewhere about the Russian on and off announcement of S-300 air defenses in Syria. These discussions lacked military knowledge.

Air defenses are layered:

  • Local air defense uses man portable air defense missiles (MANPADs), 20 mm machine cannons and machine guns. Its reach is about 2,000 meters.
  • The next level are systems with a range of up to 20 kilometers. Syria has about 40 Pantsyr-S1/2 systems mounted on trucks. (The Russian forces in Syria have about 20 additional Pantsyr-S systems to protect their bases.) These are mobile and an excellent point defense for airports and other significant assets. During its last attack on Syria an Israeli missile could destroy one Pantsyr system only because it was being reloaded and could therefore not react.
  • The next air defense layer are mid range systems like the Syrian S-200 or the more modern Russian BUK-2. These systems have a reach of about 150 kilometers. The old S-200 system Syria currently uses are fired from fixed positions. That makes them extremely vulnerable to pre-programmed precision missile attacks. Israeli strikes have destroyed several such systems in Syria.
  • The fourth layer of air defense are high attitude, long range area defense systems. The U.S. has THAAD and Russia has the S-300/ S-400 systems. These have ranges beyond 300 kilometer.

The longer range systems of the higher layers always need additional protection by the lower layers. An S-300 missile costs several ten-thousands of dollars but cannot defeat a small toy drone of the kind ISIS uses to drop hand-grenades onto targets. It needs be protected against these. Pantsyr systems and a few dozen men with MANPADs and machine-guns can do that.

It would make no sense to drop S-300 systems into Syria without having established and secured sufficient air-defense layers 1, 2 and 3 below the long range class. They would soon go up in smoke. There are also additional elements of reconnaissance (radar and electronic warfare systems) and communication, command and control that need to be more sophisticated and widespread to operate S-300 systems. All these high end long range systems need highly trained operators and are very expensive.

What Syria currently needs are more Pantsyr systems. It urgently needs to replace the old S-200s with the modern and mobile BUK-2. These systems make way more sense for the Syrian battlefield than the famed S-300. They also have the advantage of being significantly cheaper.

For a more general discussion of Russia’s role in Syria beyond the S-300 nitpicking, I highly recommend the latest piece by Elijah Magnier: Russia is in the Middle East to halt the war, not take part in the Iran-Israel Conflict.

On May 14 the Syrian President Assad met the Russian President Putin in Sochi. The discussed the political process needed to bring an end to the war. Assad committed to UN supervised negotiations about constitutional changes in Syria but rejected the significant changes of the Syrian system which the outside powers wanted to impose. He said:

“We focused on the issue of the Constitutional Committee that should be established following the results of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress. We expect to start the corresponding work with the UN. I have confirmed to President Putin today that Syria will send the list of its delegates to the Constitutional Committee to discuss amendments to the current Constitution. It will be done as soon as possible.”

That this was said after a meeting with Putin confirms that the Russian attempt to write a new constitution for Syria is dead. There will be no semi-federalization for the Kurds or others which would weaken the central government and no measures that would weaken the position of a Syrian presidency.

See Also:

How Democracy Ended – By Eric Zuesse (Strategic Culture Foundation)

How Democracy Ended

What killed democracy was constant lying to the public, by politicians whose only way to win national public office is to represent the interests of the super-rich at the same time as the given politician publicly promises to represent the interests of the public — “and may the better liar win!” — it’s a lying-contest. When democracy degenerates into that, it becomes dictatorship by the richest, the people who can fund the most lying. Such a government is an aristocracy, no democracy at all, because the aristocracy rule, the public don’t. It’s the type of government that the French Revolution was against and overthrew; and it’s the type of government that the American Revolution was against and overthrew; but it has been restored in both countries.

First here will be discussed France:

On 7 May 2017, Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France with 66.1% of the vote, compared to Marine Le Pen’s 33.9%. That was the second round of voting; the first round had been: Macron 24.0%, Le Pen 21.3% Fillon 20.0%, Melenchon 19.6%, and others 15%; so, the only clear dominator in that 11-candidate contest was Macron, who, in the second round, turned out to have been the second choice of most of the voters for the other candidates. Thus, whereas Le Pen rose from 21.3% to 33.9% in the second round (a 59% increase in her percentage of the vote), Macron rose from 24.0% to 66.1% in the second round (a 275% increase in his percentage of the vote). In other words: Macron didn’t just barely win the Presidency, but he clearly dominated both rounds; it was never at all close. But once in office he very quickly disappointed the French public:

On 11 August 2017, Le Figaro bannered (as autotranslated by Google Chrome) “A hundred days later, Macron confronted with the skepticism of the French”, and reported that 36% were “satisfied” and 64% were “dissatisfied” with the new President. 

On 23 March 2018, Politico bannered “Macron’s approval ratings hit record low: poll” and reported that, “Only 40 percent of the French population said they have a favorable opinion of Macron, a drop of 3 percentage points from last month and 12 percentage points from December, while 57 percent said they hold a negative opinion of the president.” 

On 22 April 2018, Europe 1 reported that 44% were “satisfied” with Macron, and 55% were “dissatisfied” with him; and that — even worse — while 23% were “very dissatisfied” with him, only 5% were “very satisfied” with him.

So, clearly — and this had happened very quickly — the French public didn’t think that they were getting policies that Macron had promised to them during his campaign. He was very different from what they had expected — even though he had won the Presidency in a landslide and clearly dominated both rounds. That plunge in support after being elected President required a lot of deceit during his campaign.

Second, is US:

The situation in the US was very different in its means, but similar in its outcome: it was a close election between two candidates, each of whom had far more of the electorate despising him or her than admiring him or her. Neither of the two candidates in the second round was viewed net-favorably by the public. The key round of elimination of the more-attractive candidates, was in the primaries; and, after that, it became merely a choice between uglies in the general election. Any decent (or even nearly decent) person had already been eliminated, by that time. Consequently, the ultimate winner never had the high net-favorable rating from the US public, that Macron did from the French public.

America’s system of ‘democracy’ is very different than France’s: Throughout the primaries-season — America’s first round — the most-preferred of all candidates in the race was Bernie Sanders, who, in the numerous one-on-one polled hypothetical choices versus any of the opposite Party’s contending candidates, crushed each one of them except John Kasich, who, throughout the primaries, was the second-most preferred of all of the candidates (and who performed far better than did Trump did in the hypothetical match-ups against Clinton). In the hypothetical match-ups, Sanders beat Kasich by 3.3%, whereas Kasich beat Clinton by 7.4% — that spread between +3.3% and -7.4% is 10.8%, and gives a pretty reliable indication of what the Democratic National Committee threw away when rigging the primaries and vote-counts for Hillary Clinton to win the Party’s nomination. Sanders beat Trump by 10.4%, whereas Clinton beat Trump by 3.2%. That spread was only 7.2% in favor of Sanders over Clinton; but, in any case, the DNC cared lots more about satisfying its mega-donors than about winning, when they picked Clinton to be the Party’s nominee. (Ms. Clinton’s actual victory over Mr. Trump in the final election between those two nominees turned out to be by only 2.1% — close enough a spread so as to enable Trump to win in the Electoral College (which is all that counts), which counts not individual voters but a formula that represents both the states and the voters. Sanders would have beaten Trump in a landslide — far too big a margin for the Electoral College to have been able to go the opposite way, such as did happen with Clinton. This fact was also shown here and here. That’s what the DNC threw away.) 

Hillary Clinton received by far the biggest support from billionaires, of all of the candidates; Sanders received by far the least; and this is why the Democratic Party, which Clinton and Barack Obama (two thoroughly billionaire-controlled politicians) effectively controlled, handed its nomination to Clinton. On 7 June 2016, the great investigative journalist Greg Palast headlined and documented “How California is being stolen from Sanders right now”, and four days later a retired statistician’s review of other statisticians’ statistical analysis of data from all of the primaries and caucuses, reaffirmed their findings, that the Democratic nomination had been stolen by the Democratic National Committee, and he concluded that “the whole process has been rigged against Bernie at every level and that is devastating even though I don’t agree [politically] with him.” A more detailed study was published on 1 August 2016, titled “Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries”. Basically, what had happened is that the most-preferred of all the candidates got deep-sixed by Democratic Party billionaires, who ultimately control the DNC, just as Republican billionaires control the RNC. The US Government is squabbles between billionaires, and that’s all. That’s what’s left of American ‘democracy’, now.

On 12 August 2016, Julian Assange noted: “MSNBC on its most influential morning program, Morning Joe, was defending Bernie Sanders. Then Debbie Wasserman Schultz [head of the DNC] called up the president of MSNBC. Amazingly, this is not reported in the US media. It is reported in the US media that they called up Chuck Todd who’s the host of Meet The Press. Something much more serious is not reported — that Debbie Wasserman Schultz herself personally called up the president of MSNBC to apply pressure in relation to positive coverage about Bernie Sanders on Morning Joe.” That was typical of what went on.

Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating, by Election Day, was 40.3%, her unfavorable was 55.3%. Donald Trump’s favorable was 39.8%, unfavorable was 53.4%. Bernie Sanders, as of the end of the primaries on 29 June 2016, was 50.8% favorable, 39.6% unfavorable, and it has been getting steadily better afterward. But the suckered Democratic Party voters (the ones who were counted, at any rate) voted slightly more for Hillary than for Bernie. Even despite Sanders’s having had support from few if any billionaires, he almost won the Democratic nomination, and that’s remarkable. He might actually have received more votes during the primaries than Hillary did, but we’ll never know.

So: America is a dictatorship by the billionaires. And this means that it operates by fooling the public. France is similar, though it achieves this via a different way. And, in both countries, deceit is essential, in order to achieve its dictatorship. Fooling the public is now what it’s all about, in either case. Democracy can never be won by fooling the public; because fooling the public means removing the public’s ability to control the government. So, calling such a nation a ‘democracy’, is, itself, deceiving the public — it’s part of the dictatorship, or else support of the dictatorship.

In former times, this system was rationalized as ‘the divine right of kings’. Now it’s rationalized as ‘the divine right of capital’. But it’s also become covered-over by yet another lie: ‘democracy’. This is a ‘democratic’ aristocracy; it is an ‘equal opportunity’ aristocracy. In it, each citizen has ‘equal rights’ as every other citizen, no matter how wealthy. It’s just a castle of lies. And its doors are actually open only to the few richest-and-well-connected.

Here, a former CIA official tries to describe how the American dictatorship works — the enforcement-part of the system, and he does (even if only by implication) also touch upon the financial sources of it. Starting at 1:07:35 in that video, he discusses his personal case: why he could no longer tolerate working for the CIA. But his description of how he, as an Agency official, saw the system to function, starts at 3:45 in the video. Key passages start at 12:45, and at 20:15. Maybe any American who would email this article to friends who don’t understand how the system functions, will come under increased US surveillance, but that CIA official’s career and family were destroyed by what the system did to him, which was lots worse than just surveillance. Remarkably, he nonetheless had the courage to persist (and thus did that video). However, when one sees how politically partisan (and so obtuse) the viewer-comments to that video are, one might be even more depressed than by the account this former CIA official presents. But, even if the situation is hopeless, everyone should at least have the opportunity to understand it. Because, if the aristocracy are the only people who understand it, there can’t be any hope for democracy, at all.

Putin is an Excellent Warrior: ‘The Saker’ isn’t just wrong, he’s Irrelevant – By Russell Bentley (SOTT)

“The greatest warrior is not he who wins every battle. The most excellent warrior is he who wins without fighting.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War, 600 B.C.

Putin with Gun

I have read The Art of War many times, and you can bet that Vladimir Putin has too. I found the quote above to be the most important maxim in that masterpiece, and I think Putin would agree. And when the “fighting” could potentially lead to the 3rd World War and the extinction of Humanity, then to avoid fighting becomes as important as avoiding defeat, because the 3rd World War is a war no one will win. Once it starts, we all lose. And so far, it is Putin who has prevented the war from starting.

The recent criticism of Vladimir Putin for “betraying” Syria or the Donbass Republics or even Russia itself is as impudent as it is misguided, and it comes from the usual collection of armchair warriors and self-styled pundits who actually seem to think they know more about geopolitics than Vladimir Putin does.

They seem to fail to understand that war requires sacrifices, as well as deception, and that perhaps all may not be exactly as they think it is. They also fail to understand that preventing war sometimes requires distasteful compromises. These self-appointed critics and “strategists” should look at the results of Putin’s work, rather than be confused by their amateur interpretation of how he accomplishes it. And they should keep in mind the fact that Putin’s objectives may not be the same as their own, and that it is always easy to talk when you have no skin in the game.

Let’s start with the recent words of “The Saker”, aka Andrei Raevski, an alleged “Pro-Russian analyst” who is “personally bitterly disappointed” by the nomination of Dmitri Medvedev as Prime Minister. He goes on to quote a comment he read on Youtube – “Putin betrayed the people, we didn’t vote for Medvedev”. While the second part of the comment is technically correct, it is the parliament, not the people, who votes for or against the President’s nominee, the “Putin betrayed the people” lie is straight off the Strelkov/Suchan/5th column troll farm.

Note that The Saker doesn’t actually say it himself, but by quoting an anonymous comment off Youtube, he does actually say it himself, and then our illustrious analyst goes on to say he is “afraid” it’s going to be a “very widely shared feeling”. As he himself shares it as widely as he can. It is not a feeling shared by those with any sense or any skin in the game, but perhaps among some of the credulous naifs who read and believe his drivel.

There are a number of legitimate explanations for Medvedev’s appointment, but The Saker “doesn’t buy any of them”. Or apparently even understand any of them. He then goes on to claim the appointment pours fuel on the fire of rumors that Putin will cave in on Syria and/or Donbass, even as he pours fuel on the fire of those rumors by spreading them himself.

He claims to be aware (as “we all” are) of “alarmist rumors circulating all over the internet about this for many days”, and goes on to say the nomination will strengthen these “very dangerous” rumors, even as he spreads and strengthens them himself. Is it treachery or idiocy? Either way, it’s anti-Russian propaganda by a White Russian immigrant who lives in the USA, and pretends to support Russia’s battle against US hegemony.

A calm and rational examination of the facts shows the above interpretation of Medvedev’s appointment to be baseless, melodramatic fear-mongering. The fact is, the Prime Minister, whose actual official title is “Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation”, serves at the pleasure of the President, and can be fired and replaced at the President’s discretion. The President may himself chair meetings of the Cabinet, may give obligatory orders to the PM, and may revoke any act of the government. The term “Prime Minister” is strictly informal and is actually never used in the Russian Constitution, federal laws or official documents.

The President has complete control of the PM. Putin is the immensely popular President, Medvedev is the unpopular PM who Putin appointed and can fire at any time. No need for fear or bitter disappointment. Or abject misinterpretation. What better way could Putin have to keep Medvedev on a short leash than to have him as PM under these conditions?

I am no fan of Medvedev or his oligarch clique, but Putin’s appointing him doesn’t mean that he is either. There is a well-known quote that is from the book The Godfather – “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” The simple interpretation of this quote is “know your enemy”, but the much more profound meaning is that you don’t want your enemies to know that you are enemies. This vital distinction may be lost on some Russian voters, Youtube commenters and self-styled analysts who think they are qualified to advise and criticize the former KGB Colonel and current President of the Russian Federation, but I am quite certain that Putin himself understands it perfectly. So, only a fool or a liar would say “Putin betrayed Russia” by appointing Medvedev.

Comment: In short, “If it’s not broken, why fix it?”. In fact, it worked well for Putin during the last 18 years of rule, even as a prime minister under Medvedev’s presidency. During this time, Putin transformed Russia from failing state to “Superpower”.

Sergey Kurginyan (the only Russian I trust and admire as much as Putin) pointed out that Putin has six years to complete the monumental tasks he has set for Russia, and realistically, he needs the Medvedev Bloc’s help. Their report card comes out two years from now. If they help, they stay, if they don’t, they get booted, all Russia sees it, and Putin sill has four more years to install a new team of oligarch hunters, and to do some hunting himself. And if you haven’t heard of Kurginyan or want to know where he stands on other huge questions facing Russia, check out this clip where he breaks down who Gorbachev really was, and what he was all about. His analysis is cutting. He’s no liberal, no bourgeois reformer.

If Putin did not betray Russia, what about Syria and the Donbass Republics? The quick, simple and obvious answer is that the fact that they still exist proves that he continues to support them and has not betrayed them in any way. The idea that Syria or the Republics could have survived without Putin’s support is laughable, and only an idiot could put forth such a proposition. Yet some do. They say that Putin has “betrayed” Syria by not responding to recent provocations and that Russian forces should have attacked US forces that are illegally in Syria after the US attack in which Russian contractors were killed.

The story about “500 Russians killed” is a lie. There were about 100 soldiers killed by the US air attack, mostly Syrian Army, with about 15 to 20 Wagner contractor/advisers. And unlike the various keyboard commandos who called for the start of WW3 over the incident , I actually know what happened. A friend of mine was there, and I have seen the video. Yes, it was a treacherous and underhanded attack by the US, knowing there were Russians among the Syrian soldiers, but this provocation is not worth risking a real world war over, is it? What kind of imbecile could possibly think it would be?

The same goes for Trump’s impotent and ridiculous missile attacks, and Israel’s as well. Yes, all these attacks were “allowed” by Russia, but Russia told both the US and Israel where they were, and were not, allowed to shoot, and both obeyed the Russian mandate. The cost of the attacks for the US was far greater than the destruction they imposed on Syria, and the Israelis probably just barely broke even. Enough Pyrrhic victories like these, and the US and Israel will defeat themselves. And Putin will stand aside and allow them to. He will win without fighting.

Of course, the Russians are fighting in Syria, against ISIS and other Western terrorist proxies, and they are winning. The US and Israeli attacks are absolutely meaningless in regards to the final outcome of the war, so why should Putin escalate? Putin and the Russian military have drawn their lines in the sand, and it is clear the US and their allies understand and respect them. If they are foolish enough to cross them, those who now call for war will soon be begging the Russians for peace. Yes, soldiers were killed, but they were not Russian soldiers or Bashar al Assad. And getting killed is a risk every soldier must face. It’s part of the job, and sometimes they must even be sacrificed. That too is part of the job. This is sometimes hard for keyboard commandos and those who have never been soldiers to understand. And they should refrain from commenting on things they don’t understand.

As for Putin’s “betrayal” by inviting Netanyahu to Moscow, yes, a rather disgusting sight considering Israel’s recent actions, but a very shrewd move, not “stupid” or a betrayal.

There’s a difference between bad optics, and bad moves. Bad optics can be a bad move, but there’s much more to reality than optics – much more than meets the eye. This is so basic, the expression itself is currency.

No doubt Netanyahu standing beside Putin made Trump, Poroshenko and Netanyahu nervous. Yes, Russia has again put the S-300 delivery to Syria on hold, but the sale and delivery of S-400’s to Turkey is still on schedule. Think about Erdogan calling for all Muslim countries to unite against Israel.

Erdogan truly is a megalomaniac, with dreams of being a new Salahudin and leading the ME, and a war against Israel makes him exactly that. And I doubt he’s forgotten about the US engineered coup attempt against him, and where Fetullah Gulen lives. But Turkey doesn’t even need the S-400’s. It’s still in NATO, so basically bulletproof from Israel, even from their nukes. Because if Israel gets into a shooting war with Turkey, it invokes Article 5, and either NATO has to go to war against Israel, or NATO falls apart, because if the US and EU NATO members don’t defend Turkey, how can they trust each other?

Either way, Putin wins without fighting. The more you think about it, the more you like it!

The same applies to those who say Putin “betrayed” Donbass. Take my word for it or figure it our for yourself. After four years of war, the Republics still stand.

While we certainly do have our problems, life has gotten better in every measurable way, and continues to, just as it has gotten continually worse in Ukraine. If not for Putin’s support, we would have been attacked and overwhelmed long ago. Putin has said these exact words – “If the Ukraine army overruns Donbass there will be a genocide of ethnic Russian people. We will not allow that.” What do you think he means, “We will not allow that”? I know, the people here know, the Ukrops and US military knows, and so far, they have not been suicidal enough to try it. Putin will never betray Donbass.

I’d bet my life on it. In fact, I do bet my life on it. Millions of us here do. And we know it. We respect and appreciate it. We are still here because he is with us. As long as the Republics exist, we are winning. Time is on our side, and just like NATO, the Kiev junta and Ukrop Nazis will eventually consume themselves. The Republics too, can win without fighting.

There are few men in history, much less alive today, who have the courage, the honor and the true genius of Vladimir Putin. Those who call themselves “pro-Russian” and use the words “Putin” and “betrayed” in the same sentence only prove themselves, without exception, to be either fools, or liars and traitors. Remember the lesson Girkin (“Strelkov”) taught us here in Donbass. A false comrade is a real enemy. As for the fools, they are not just wrong, they’re irrelevant. They blow wind about actions they don’t even understand. The dog barks, and the caravan moves on. What matters is the results. And the results speak for themselves. Things have gotten better in Syria, Donbass and Russia itself ever since Putin came along, he hasn’t betrayed anybody, and he’s not going anywhere till the job is done.

The job is to protect Russia, and protecting Syria and Donbass does protect Russia. It also prevents World War Three. And preventing World War Three protects us all. So far, Vladimir Putin has done it, and done it well. He is refusing to escalate, minimizing violence as long as his red lines are not crossed. And those lines have not yet been crossed. It is important for those who live under the regimes that make provocations and call for war to do whatever they can to prevent their governments from going too far and crossing those lines. We should all give Vladimir Putin a hand in trying to prevent World War Three. If we win without fighting, we all become most excellent warriors.

Comment: See also:

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