US Blocks Moscow’s Statement at UNSC on Shelling of Russian Embassy in Syria/ Under Attack by a “U.S. Proxy”, Russia Readies For Full War In Syria… Russian Embassy in Damascus Shelled …./ US-NATO’s War On Russia: The Winds Howl Before The Storm/ Forty Million Russians Practice Emergency “Civil Defense” Evacuation Drill./ Syrian War Report – October 5, 2016: US Considers Military Strikes on Govt Forces/ US Aircraft Commit Massacre in Aleppo Countryside, Killing Dozens Civilians/ CHINA, RUSSIA, AND SYRIA
The United States blocked at the United Nations Security Council Russia’s statement on the shelling of its embassy in Damascus, Syria that took place on Monday, the representative of Russia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations told RIA Novosti.
“[The statement] was actually blocked by the US delegation, which tried to add extraneous elements in a standard in such cases text,” the permanent mission statement said.
“The British and Ukrainians clumsily played up to the Americans. It demonstrates their blatant disrespect for the Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations,” the statement added.
On October 4, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported the shelling of the Russian embassy in Damascus on Monday. One of the mines exploded near a residential complex on the territory of the embassy but none of its staff was hurt.
According to the ministry statement, the embassy was shelled from the Jobar municipality controlled by Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) and Faylaq al-Rahman militant groups.
On October 3, US State Department announced in a press release that Washington was cutting off participation in bilateral channels with Russia on sustaining a ceasefire agreement in Syria, which was reached by the two countries in September.
U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing September 28 2016 – Spokesperson John Kirby
QUESTION: But what I don’t think we have heard here is, so what are the consequences for Russia if this agreement falls through beyond some interagency discussions about options that have not yet been chosen? What are the consequences for Russia other than Secretary Kerry won’t talk to them on this particular issue going forward?
MR KIRBY: The consequences are that the civil war will continue in Syria, that extremists and extremists groups will continue to exploit the vacuums that are there in Syria to expand their operations, which will include, no question, attacks against Russian interests, perhaps even Russian cities, and Russia will continue to send troops home in body bags, and they will continue to lose resources – even, perhaps, more aircraft.
The Russian Federation interpreted that not as a prediction or warning, but as a direct threat
The ceasefire agreement fell through. The U.S. essentially blocked it by NOT pushing its proxy forces in Syria to follow its provisions. It blamed, as usual, the Russian side which had followed the ceasefire nearly to the letter.
Then this happened:
The Russian embassy in Damascus was shelled from the areas controlled by al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman militants, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.”The Russian diplomatic mission came under mortar shelling on October 3. One of the mines exploded on the embassy area near its residential department. Fortunately, no one was wounded. The diplomatic mission sustained material damage. Another two mines went off next to the embassy.” The Ministry said the shelling was conducted from the Jobar municipality controlled by al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists. “We view this shelling of the Russian embassy as a consequence of actions of those who, like the US and its allies, provoke the violent conflict in Syria, flirting with militants and extremists of different sorts.“
Russia has deployed a number of additional bombers to Syria. We do not yet know how many. But as soon as these are operational the “rebels” will face a significant larger amount of air attacks. A few weeks of intense attacks and their abilities, logistics and command and control will have been degrade to a point where they can no longer wage an organized fight.
Also deployed was a battery of S-300 air-defense systems. The specific type is said to be S-300VM, also known as Antey-2500. These are specially designed for defending against ballistic- and cruise missiles. The system will be stationed near Tartus harbor and will protect the Syrian east coast as well as the Russian fleet in the eastern Mediterranean. These also have good capabilities against attacking planes. A volley cruise missile attack by the U.S. against the Syrian and Russian airports and air forces in Syria, discussed in various U.S. papers as the start of a “no-fly zone” war, will be severely hampered by this.
Then there is this:
Elijah J. Magnier @EjmAlrai#Damascus agreed & #Russia is ready to send several thousands of special forces & other various units officers this month to #Syria.
9:57 AM – 4 Oct 2016
The final decision for this was, I believe, made after the U.S. attack on Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzor which opened the besieged city to the Islamic State. That, and the current U.S. bombing of bridges in Deir Ezzor, will allow for an isolated area in which the Islamic State can survive. Russia can and will not condone that.
The U.S. wants, for lack of better ideas, play hardball with Russia. But it does not want to go to war. Russia will go along with the hardball game. It makes sure that the U.S. understands that it will indeed have to fight a full fledged war with Russia and its allies if it wants to get its way in Syria. Further arming its al-Qaeda proxy-Jihadis, as Washington is currently doing, will not change that.
Russia will not give in to U.S. demands without a very severe fight. It bets that Obama, the members of his administration and the generals in the Pentagon are, in the end, pampered cowards. It has, in my estimate, a very high chance to win that bet.
A few weeks ago I wrote, “I have been a defence lawyer most of my working life and am not used to gathering evidence for a prosecution, but circumstances impelled me to open a file for the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or perhaps some future citizen’s tribunal, in which is contained the evidence that the NATO leaders are guilty of the gravest crime against mankind, the crime of aggression. I would like to share with you some brief notes of interest from that file, for your consideration.
Article 8bis of the Rome Statute, the governing statue of the International Criminal Court states:
For the purpose of this Statute, “crime of aggression” means the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression which by its character, gravity and scale, constitutes a manifest violation of the Charter on the United Nations.
Since then I have written little partly due to other events in life that interfered with the ability to sit back, take in, and think about what was happening in the world, but principally because to choose to write about one particular crime committed by the west, meaning the United States of America, when faced with their multitude of crimes, celebrated in the western media under the bloody banners of patriotism, nationalism, chauvinism, and fascism, led to a type of paralysis; state of shock, is perhaps, a better phrase.
Others must feel the same. Maybe most of us feel that way from time to time. What’s the point? Why say or write anything? They’re going to destroy us all anyway. It doesn’t matter what we say and besides, it’s all been said before. It was said in World War One. It was said in the Second. Now we’re entering, or probably already in the middle of the third-all those words of peace, and outrage and the result? The wars happened despite them.
John Lennon made our fundamental demand, “Give Peace A Chance,” and the CIA shot him in the back for it-one of the great crimes against the people-the murder one of our heroes-for when they shot him in the back they shot all of us in the back.
But this feeling fades, the numbness retreats, the blood begins to flow again, the Peter Finch cry from Paddy Chayefsky’s Network “I’m not going to take it anymore!’ comes screaming back and you stand up and say, “Damn right! I’m not going to take this anymore!”
So I have reopened the file I am preparing for the prosecutor of a future peoples’ tribunal or, a miracle, a really independent prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, to lay war crimes charges against the United States and its NATO and other allies, their leaders and military officers, for the crime of aggression and all the other crimes they commit on a daily basis against many different countries.
The new charges concern their involvement in the political coup carried out in Brazil against the socialist government there, elected by the people, essentially robbing the Brazilian people of their democracy and independence as a nation, their continued and dangerous provocations in Asia against China and North Korea, which they are directly threatening with nuclear annihilation by flying B1 and B2 bombers over the peninsula, ongoing provocations of NATO forces in the Baltic and the Balkans, all threatening Russia, and committing crimes against the peoples of the Donbas republics and now Crimea, that is, Russia itself. But the most dangerous of all is their invasion of Syria to protect and assist their ISIL or Daesh proxy forces. The presence of US, British, French, Canadian, Israeli and other forces in Syria is of course illegal and constitutes the crime of aggression. There are no excuses or justifications for the crime of aggression. Their aggression also constitutes a complete repudiation of the UN Charter, which requires all disputes to be settled peacefully, and forbids the use of force for any reason outside the parameters of the UN mandate.
The invasion of Syria by their direct forces and ISIS proxy forces under various names, and now it appears Turkish forces, has killed hundreds of thousands of people. While Syria, Russia, Iran and others try to find a peaceful conclusion to the war, the Americans and their gang, perpetually dishonest, talk cease-fire from one side of their face, as, from the other, they give orders to attack
The recent bombing of the Syrian positions near Deir es-Zor on September 17th everyone knows was a deliberate attack. The more so since we now have Britain and Denmark stating their planes were involved, as well as American. For all four nations’ pilots to make the same mistake when such a joint operation would have to be finely tuned is beyond far-fetched. The Syrians now claim they have radio intercepts of Daesh and the Americans coordinating the attack. This was a particularly cruel war crime since the Syrian soldiers who were killed were under the impression they were safe from any such attack, didn’t see it coming, a sneak attack, an ambush, by the world’s greatest cowards.
Then to cover that crime under moral indignation they accuse Russia and Syria of attacking an aid convoy that those two countries spent a lot of time and work organizing, then carried on their attack by insulting Russia in the Security Council using the type of vile language that shows their complete contempt for the Russian people.
Many think it’s because Samantha Power is a crazy bitch, which she is of course. Is that personality required for the job? No, but it helps because these gratuitous insults are not just a matter of personality and the personal psychopathy of the individual. This ugly behaviour serves a propaganda purpose and needs to be delivered with hatred and venom for maximum effect. Samantha Power is a natural. Her personality marches perfectly the needs of the regime she represents. Her displays are acted out deliberately and with the one purpose of showing the world that Russia is not worthy of credit or respect, that the Russian people and government are beneath contempt and therefore they are not really human beings. They are things that can be destroyed without feeling anything, for they are nothing. That is the message and anyone who fails to understand this fails to understand what the ultimate objective is-Russia’s complete subjection or war.
The quick response by the Syrian forces to the breaking of the ceasefire by the Americans and, if some reports are credible in Sputnik and Fars, that the 3 Russian, ship-launched missiles fired at Aleppo, hit a central command post manned by American, Israeli and other allied forces, killing 30 of them, then the world is already at war. The report of 11 Canadian soldiers being killed in the Donbas after attacking republican positions there on July 23, while not confirmed, has not been denied by the Canadian authorities in response to my query about the report.
The Americans seem hell bent on war and the up-coming elections in the US hold no hope for the future, only more despair. The Russians and the rest of the world are faced with Godzilla, the monster that threatened Japan in several science fiction films made in the 50’s. Those films were cleverly disguised political attacks on the United States and its destruction and occupation of Japan. America was the monster that was born in the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima. It was the monster threatening to destroy everything in its path. Nothing could seem to stop Godzilla, except of course nuclear weapons. And this is where we are; the Russian government trying everything it can think of to avoid that catastrophe while the Americans keep pushing them and all of us, into a corner there is only one escape from.
So, I mark the file, add the new charges, build the criminal dossier; because one day there will be a reckoning with these people. One day, justice will prevail in this world. For as I wrote in a poem,
Once there was Enlightenment,
And Reason’s voice sang sweet,
Of Rights of Man, and truths we now lament,
Murdered with impunity, cut down on every street,
So now we must renew our song,
Our struggle take another form,
For the days run dark, the nights are long,
The winds howl before the storm.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
Over 40 million personnel from Russia’s regional and municipal authorities, as well as emergency and evacuation services will be involved.
“The drill will take place from the 4th to the 7th October 2016. As a total, over 40 million people will be involved, with 200,000 specialists from various rescue services, and over 50,000 equipment units will be put to the test.” – Manuilo said.
All federal and local authorities will take part in the drill. The evacuation practice is intended to test the current emergency and evacuation management plans, for efficiency and speediness.
“We will test our communications systems as well as the systemic medical and rescue services” – says Manuilo.
“Moreover, all civil defense units will be readied. In coordination with regional and municipal authorities, all emergency notification systems will be trialed.” These systems are only utilized in the event of a sudden threat.
As part of the drill, standard medical facilities and rescue services will be checked for their readiness and ability to offer assistance.
Russian and Syrian warplanes have delivered massive air strikes on the joint terrorist forces in the province of Hama. Positions and manpower of the US-backed Ahrar al-Sham militant group, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front) and Jund al-Aqsa (recently designated by the US as a terrorist group) near Kafr Zita, Tal Abyad and Al-Sathiyat were hit. Local sources say that air raids resulted in destruction of high number of military equipment and ammunition belonging to the terrorist forces.
The air raids also helped the government forces to repel the terrorists’ advance on Al-Sathiyat. Various sources report that the pro-government forces lost from 8 to 15 fighters in these clashes.
US military strikes against the Syrian government is at the top of the agenda today at the White House, when top national security officials in the Obama administration are set to discuss options for the coalition in Syria, The Washington Post daily reported.
The US officials are going to push forward so-called “limited military strikes” in order to, according to the official version, prevent violations of the cease-fire by the Assad government and disrupt his ability to continue committing war crimes against civilians in Aleppo and, for sure, to push it back to the negotiating table.
The options under consideration reportedly include bombing Syrian air force runways using cruise missiles and other long-range weapons fired from coalition planes and ships. The report says the idea is supported by the CIA and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. One proposed way to do so without a UN Security Council resolution would be to carry out the strikes covertly and without public acknowledgment.
This approach also explains the coalition’s actions against the Syrian army outside Deir Ezzor in September when over 60 pro-government fighters were killed and over 100 injured in air strikes lately called an accident by US officials. Now, there are little doubts that it was likely an intended move to damage the government forces fighting with ISIS in the area.
The same threat forces Moscow to deploy an additional battery of the air defense system S-300 to the Russian Navy’s logistic facility in Tartus. The information was confirmed by Defense Ministry spokesman.
Igor Konashenkov said the system will provide protection for the facility and Russian ships off Syria’s shores. Nonetheless, it’s clear that it will also strengthen the Russian air defense shield over the government-controlled areas of Syria.
Local and media sources said that the village, which is located 50 km north of Aleppo city, was last night the target of heavy air raids launched by the US-led Coalition, claiming the lives of at least 20 persons, including 3 children, and injuring 40 others, most of them are in a critical condition, which makes it possible for the death toll to rise.
The sources added that significant damage was caused to tens of houses in the village which received dozens of families who fled different areas in the northern countryside of Aleppo due to the crimes of ISIS terrorist organization.
This crime is a part of the massacres committed by Washington and its allies who formed the so called “International Coalition against ISIS” outside the jurisdiction of the UN Security Council.
Hundreds of Syrian civilians were killed in Manbij and the villages and towns of al-Ghandoura, Tokhan al-Kubra and Dabik in the northern countryside of Aleppo; SANA reported.
The tensions between Russia and the USA have reached an unprecedented level. I fully agree with the participants of this CrossTalk show – the situation is even worse and more dangerous than during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Both sides are nowgoing to the so-called “Plan B” which, simply put, stand for, at best, no negotiations and, at worst, a war between Russia and the USA.
The key thing to understand in the Russian stance in this, an other, recent conflicts with the USA is thatRussia is still much weaker than the USA and that she therefore does not want war. That does not, however, mean that she is not actively preparing for war. In fact, she very much and actively does. All this means is that should a conflict occur, Russia you try, as best can be, to keep it as limited as possible.
In theory, these are, very roughly, the possible levels of confrontation:
- A military standoff à la Berlin in 1961. One could argue that this is what is already taking place right now, albeit in a more long-distance and less visible way.
- A single military incident, such as what happened recently when Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 and Russia chose not to retaliate.
- A series of localized clashes similar to what is currently happening between India and Pakistan.
- A conflict limited to the Syrian theater of war (say like the war between the UK and Argentina over the Malvinas Islands).
- A regional or global military confrontation between the USA and Russia.
- A full scale thermonuclear war between the USA and Russia
During my years as a student of military strategy I have participated in many exercises on escalation and de-escalation and I can attest that while it is very easy to come up with escalatory scenarios, I have yet to see a credible scenario for de-escalation. What is possible, however, is the so-called “horizontal escalation” or “asymmetrical escalation” in which one side choses not to up the ante or directly escalate, but instead choses a different target for retaliation, not necessarily a more valuable one, just a different one on the same level of conceptual importance (in the USA Joshua M. Epstein and Spencer D. Bakich did most of the groundbreaking work on this topic).
The main reason why we can expect the Kremlin to try to find asymmetrical options to respond to a US attack is that in the Syrian context Russia is hopelessly outgunned by the US/NATO, at least in quantitative terms. The logical solutions for the Russians is to use their qualitative advantage or to seek “horizontal targets” as possible retaliatory options. This week, something very interesting and highly uncharacteristic happened: Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Chief of the Directorate of Media service and Information of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, openly mentioned one such option. Here is what he said:
“As for Kirby’s threats about possible Russian aircraft losses and the sending of Russian servicemen back to Russia in body bags, I would say that we know exactly where and how many “unofficial specialists” operate in Syria and in the Aleppo province and we know that they are involved in the operational planning and that they supervise the operations of the militants. Of course, one can continue to insist that they are unsuccessfully involved in trying to separate the al-Nusra terrorists from the “opposition” forces. But if somebody tries to implement these threats, it is by no means certain that these militants will have to time to get the hell out of there.”
Nice, no? Konashenkov appears to be threatening the “militants” but he is sure to mention that there are plenty of “unofficial specialists” amongst these militants and that Russia knows exactly where they are and how many of them there are. Of course, officially, Obama has declared that there are a few hundred such US special advisors in Syria. A well-informed Russian source suggests that there are up to 5’000 foreign ‘advisors’ to the Takfiris including about 4’000 Americans. I suppose that the truth is somewhere between these two figures.
So the Russian threat is simple: you attack us and we will attack US forces in Syria. Of course, Russia will vehemently deny targeting US servicemen and insist that the strike was only against terrorists, but both sides understand what is happening here. Interestingly, just last week the Iranian Fars news agency reported that such a Russian attack had already happened:
30 Israeli, Foreign Intelligence Officers Killed in Russia’s Caliber Missile Attack in Aleppo:
“The Russian warships fired three Caliber missiles at the foreign officers’ coordination operations room in Dar Ezza region in the Western part of Aleppo near Sam’an mountain, killing 30 Israeli and western officers,” the Arabic-language service of Russia’s Sputniknews agency quoted battlefield source in Aleppo as saying on Wednesday. The operations room was located in the Western part of Aleppo province in the middle of sky-high Sam’an mountain and old caves. The region is deep into a chain of mountains. Several US, Turkish, Saudi, Qatari and British officers were also killed along with the Israeli officers. The foreign officers who were killed in the Aleppo operations room were directing the terrorists’ attacks in Aleppo and Idlib.”
Whether this really happened or whether the Russians are leaking such stories to indicate that this could happen, the fact remains that US forces in Syria could become an obvious target for Russian retaliation, whether by cruise missile, gravity bombs or direct action operation by Russian special forces. The US also has several covert military installations in Syria, including at least one airfield with V-22 Osprey multi-mission tiltrotor aircraft.
Another interesting recent development has been the Fox News report that Russians are deploying S-300V (aka “SA-23 Gladiator anti-missile and anti-aircraft system”) in Syria. Check out this excellent article for a detailed discussion of the capabilities of this missile system. I will summarize it by saying that the S-300V can engage ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, very low RCS (“stealth”) aircraft and AWACS aircraft. This is an Army/Army Corps -level air defense system, well capable of defending most of the Syrian airspace, but also reach well into Turkey, Cyprus, the eastern Mediterranean and Lebanon. The powerful radars of this system could not only detect and engage US aircraft (including “stealth”) at a long distance, but they could also provide a tremendous help for the few Russian air superiority fighters by giving them a clear pictures of the skies and enemy aircraft by using encrypted datalinks. Finally, US air doctrine is extremely dependent on the use of AWACS aircraft to guide and support US fighters. The S-300V will forces US/NATO AWACS to operate at a most uncomfortable distance. Between the longer-range radars of the Russian Sukhois, the radars on the Russian cruisers off the Syrian coast, and the S-300 and S-300V radars on the ground, the Russians will have a much better situational awareness than their US counterparts.
It appears that the Russians are trying hard to compensate for their numerical inferiority by deploying high-end systems for which the US has no real equivalent or good counter-measures.
There are basically two options of deterrence: denial, when you prevent your enemy from hitting his targets and retaliation, when you make the costs of an enemy attack unacceptably high for him. The Russians appear to be pursuing both tracks at the same time. We can thus summarize the Russian approach as such
- Delay a confrontation as much as possible (buy time).
- Try to keep any confrontation at the lowest possible escalatory level.
- If possible, reply with asymmetrical/horizontal escalations.
- Rather then “prevail” against the US/NATO – make the costs of attack too high.
- Try to put pressure on US “allies” in order to create tensions inside the Empire.
- Try to paralyze the USA on a political level by making the political costs of an attack too high-end.
- Try to gradually create the conditions on the ground (Aleppo) to make a US attack futile
To those raised on Hollywood movies and who still watch TV, this kind of strategy will elicit only frustration and condemnation. There are millions of armchair strategists who are sure that they could do a much better job than Putin to counter the US Empire. These folks have now been telling us for *years* that Putin “sold out” the Syrians (and the Novorussians) and that the Russians ought to do X, Y and Z to defeat the AngloZionist Empire. The good news is that none of these armchair strategists sit in the Kremlin and that the Russians have stuck to their strategy over the past years, one day at a time, even when criticized by those who want quick and “easy” solutions. But the main good news is that the Russian strategy is working. Not only is the Nazi-occupied Ukraine quite literally falling apart, but the US has basically run out of options in Syria (see this excellent analysis by my friend Alexander Mercouris in the Duran).
The only remaining logical steps left for the USA in Syria is to accept Russia’s terms or leave. The problem is that I am not at all convinced that the Neocons, who run the White House, Congress and the US corporate media, are “rational” at all. This is why the Russians employed so many delaying tactics and why they have acted with such utmost caution: they are dealing with professional incompetent ideologues who simply do not play by the unwritten but clear rules of civilized international relations. This is what makes the current crisis so much worse than even the Cuban Missile Crisis: one superpower has clearly gone insane.
Are the Americans crazy enough to risk WWIII over Aleppo?
Maybe, maybe not. But what if we rephrase that question and ask
Are the Americans crazy enough to risk WWIII to maintain their status as the “world’s indispensable nation”, the “leader of the free world”, the “city on the hill” and all the rest of this imperialistic nonsense?
Here I would submit that yes, they potentially are.
After all, the Neocons are correct when they sense that if Russia gets away with openly defying and defeating the USA in Syria, nobody will take the AngloZionists very seriously any more.
Of course, the Neocons can still find some solace in the abject subservience of the European political elites, but still – they know that he writing is on the wall and that their Empire is rapidly crumbling, not only in Syria, the Ukraine or Asia, but even inside the USA. The biggest danger here is that the Neocons might try to rally the nation around the flag, either by staging yet another false flag or by triggering a real international crisis.
At this point in time all we can do is wait and hope that there is enough resistance inside the US government to prevent a US attack on Syria before the next Administration comes in. And while I am no supporter of Trump, I would agree that Hillary and her evil cabal of russophobic Neocons is so bad that Trump does give me some hope, at least in comparison to Hillary.
So if Trump wins, then Russia’s strategy will be basically justified. Once Trump is on the White House, there is at least the possibility of a comprehensive redefinition of US-Russian relations which would, of course, begin with a de-escalation in Syria: while Obama/Hillary categorically refuse to get rid of Daesh (by that I mean al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, and all their various denominations), Trump appears to be determined to seriously fight them, even if that means that Assad stays in power. There is most definitely a basis for dialog here. If Hillary comes in, then the Russians will have to make an absolutely crucial call: how important is Syria in the context of their goal to re-sovereignize Russia and to bring down the AngloZionist Empire? Another way of formulating the same question is “would Russia prefer a confrontation with the Empire in Syria or in the Ukraine?”.
One way to gauge the mood in Russia is to look at the language of a recent law proposed by President Putin and adopted by the Duma which dealt with the issue of the Russia-US Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement (PMDA) which, yet again, saw the US yet again fail to deliver on their obligations and which Russia has now suspended. What is interesting, is the language chosen by the Russians to list the conditions under which they would resume their participation in this agreement and, basically, agree to resume any kind of arms negotiations:
- A reduction of military infrastructure and the number of the US troops stationed on the territory of NATO member states that joined the alliance after September 1, 2000, to the levels at which they were when the original agreement first entered into force.
- The abandonment of the hostile policy of the US towards Russia, which should be carried out with the abolition of the Magnitsky Act of 2012 and the conditions of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which were directed against Russia.
- The abolition of all sanctions imposed by the US on certain subjects of the Russian Federation, Russian individuals and legal entities.
- The compensation for all the damages suffered by Russia as a result of the imposition of sanctions.
- The US is also required to submit a clear plan for irreversible plutonium disposition covered by the PMDA.
Now the Russians are not delusional. They know full well that the USA will never accept such terms. So what is this really all about? It is a diplomatic but unambiguous way to tell the USA the exact same thing which Philippine President Duterte (and Victoria Nuland) told the EU.
The Americans better start paying attention.
Forget about a unipolar solution to the mess in Syria. Not only has Mr. Putin intervened in the country, but China is now signalling that it may place significant military assets in the country according to this article shared by Mr. G.B.:
According to the article, China’s current commitment is limited to humanitarian aid and military training:
In a major policy shift, China has launched the pivot to the Middle East aimed at increasing its involvement in the region by providing military training and humanitarian aid in Syria. In April, China appointed a special envoy to Damascus in order to work toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Before the assignment Chinese envoy Xie Xiaoyan had praised «Russia’s military role in the war, and said the international community should work harder together to defeat terrorism in the region».
On August 14, Rear-Admiral Guan Youfei, the head of the Office for International Military Cooperation under the Central Military Commission that oversees China’s 2.3 million-member armed forces, visited Syria to meet Syrian Defence Minister Fahd Jassim Al Freij and Russian Lieutenant-General Sergei Chvarkov, head of the ceasefire monitoring mission in Syria, as well as Russian top commanders at the Hmeimim military base on the Syrian coast. The visit marks a major milestone in the relationship to make Beijing a party to the conflict.
During the visit, China and Syria announced plans to boost military cooperation, including training and humanitarian aid, signaling stronger Chinese support for Damascus. It is the first public visit by a senior Chinese military officer to the country since the Russian armed forces launched its operation in Syria last September. (Emphasis added)
We all know by now how these things go: first comes the humanitarian aid, then comes the military training and arms sales, then come the troops in the form of more “advisors.” But as the article also notes, China’s role here is motivated by a genuine desire to stabilize the region as a component for its “new silk road” project to build infrastructure tying the Far East, central Asia, and Europe together, and this cannot be done so long as there is sectarian Islamic violence in the region toppling Arab secular Islamic states:
The Chinese entry into the war is caused by the increasing number of Chinese Muslim Uighur militants fighting alongside Syrian rebels in the country’s north. Rear-Admiral Guan Youfei said over 200 Uighurs was currently fighting in Syria. China wants them to be either put on trial at home or exterminated on the Syrian battlefield. Its concern is justified.
Today there is a Uyghur neighborhood in Ar-Raqqah, and the Islamic State (IS) group publishes a newspaper especially for its members. Besides, geostrategic stability in the Middle East important for the implementation of the Chinese «One Belt, One Road» strategy aimed at facilitating Eurasian economic connectivity through the development of a web of infrastructure and trade routes linking China with South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
The current fracturing of the Middle East as a result of the Syrian crisis hinders the efforts to bring this project into life. Last year, China altered the national legislation to allow the deployment of its security forces abroad as part of a counterterrorism effort.
China may play a key role in Syria’s post-conflict economic recovery. Despite the war, China National Petroleum Corporation still holds shares in two of Syria’s largest oil producers: The Syrian Petroleum Company and Al-Furat Petroleum Company, while Sinochem also holds substantial shares in various Syrian oil fields. In December, China offered Syria $6 billion worth of investments in addition to $10 billion worth of existing contracts, as well as a big deal signed between the Syrian government and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to rebuild Syria’s telecom infrastructure as part of China’s $900 billion ‘Silk Road’ infrastructure initiative.
And Mr. Assad has indicated that in any post-crisis peace and recovery, the USSA will be carefully excluded from reconstruction in Syria, and has extended offers to the other major regional power, India, to be similarly involved:
In March Syrian President Bashar Assad said that Russia, Iran and China will be given priority in the post-war reconstruction plans.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has invited India to play an active role in the reconstruction of the Syrian economy.
Meanwhile, as I noted in last week’s News and Views from the Nefarium, the USSA’s response to all this is simply to say it will quit talking to Russia altogether, and, as one Russian analysis put it, sit in the corner and pout.
The real story behind the scenes here, as I also suggested in last week’s News and Views, is that the USA has hitched its Middle East foreign policy wagon to the wrong horse, namely, the (out)house of Saud, and as a result, appears to have become embroiled in a variety of terrorism sponsoring operations in Syria, and “nation-building” exercises designed to overthrow nations on Riyadh’s hit list, a classic case of the tail wagging the dog. Indeed, the Obama administration managed to resist similar pressures for armed interventions in Iran, a long-time (Shia) enemy of the (Suni-Wahhabist) Saudi kingdom. This has resulted in the insanity we see now, with the US claiming to be waging a war on terror by arming terrorist organizations in Syria. Even Israel – Israel! – has been signaling that it is having second thoughts about American policy in the region by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent visits to Russia to meet personally with President Putin.
From the standpoint of foreign policy, and particularly Washington’s off-reiterated concerns about growing Chinese power and assertiveness, what American policy in the region has now resulted in is not the exclusion of China from the Middle East, but the exact opposite. Now, for all its efforts, Washington has managed to inject not only China, but India, into the mix.
My high octane speculation of the day? With Washington’s international political capital dwindling at an alarming rate, I suspect it will now pressure the European powers, in particular, France, Italy, and Germany, to take a role in the “peace process” to inject a make-believe element of “multi-polarism” into the mix, particularly as those nations have been affected by the refugees from Syria, the crisis that Washington helped to create. But my prediction is that if Washington attempts to take that step, that it will backfire. M. Hollande’s and Frau Merkel’s governments are now domestically weak, with rising opposition to their open borders policies fueling domestic political opposition as national elections loom in France. So Paris and Berlin, and Rome, for once might show some unwanted independence from Washington if, indeed, in desperation to save a deteriorating international standing, Washington invokes their help. And if the governments in Paris and Berlin change, you can almost take that to the bank.
And that will leave only Japan in Washington’s corner, and even that, now, is up for grabs with Japan and Russia increasingly talking about Japanese investments in Siberia.
See you on the flip side…