Putin Slams Kiev Operation in Ukraine’s East, Hopes Won’t Send Russian Troops

Local Editor

Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev’s use of force against its own people in east Ukraine, as he hoped he would not have to use his right to send Russian troops into the crisis-hit country.

“Have they lost their minds!?” said Putin during his annual question and answer session. “They are deploying tanks, armored vehicles and weaponry! Against whom?! Are they nuts?!”

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Putin said he hoped he would not have to use his “right” to send Russian military forces into Ukraine, in a signal that the option was still very much open.

“I very much hope that I am not obliged to use this right and that through political and diplomatic means we can solve all the acute problems in Ukraine.”

Putin emphasized that he favored dialogue as the way out of the crisis, saying he believed the talks that opened Thursday in Geneva between top diplomats on the crisis were “extremely important”.
“Only through dialogue, through democratic procedures and not with the use of armed forces, tanks and planes can order be imposed in the country,” Putin said, adding that Kiev authorities were “out of their mind” to do this.

“It is very important today to think about how to get out of this situation and offer people a genuine dialogue and not one just for show.”

But he accused the Ukrainian authorities who took over after the fall of president Viktor Yanukovych in February of driving the country to the abyss.

“I hope that they manage to understand towards what abyss the Kiev authorities are going, dragging with them the whole country.”

Source: Agencies
17-04-2014 – 13:50 Last updated 17-04-2014 

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18 Percent of Mercenaries in Syria Are UK Citizens: Report

Syria: gunmen

Local Editor

UK citizens make up the largest proportion of foreign mercenaries in Syria, according to a new report published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization.

The ICSR stated that 17.9% of gunmen in Syria were from the UK, based on their database of fighters identified from their social media accounts.

The UK-based ICSR is a non-governmental think-tank whose mission is to analyze and promote the understanding of political violence and radicalization.

The report indicated that Syrian militants from the West are using social media to interact with supporters and document their involvement in the conflict.

“Social media represents an essential source of information and inspiration to them. In their minds, social media is no longer virtual: it has become an essential facet of what happens on the ground,” the report entitled ‘Greenbirds: Measuring importance and influence in Syrian Foreign Fighter Networks’ read.

The investigation said that they created a database of the social media profiles of 190 Western and European foreign gunmen. More than two thirds of these militants are affiliated with al-Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), according to the report.

“A large number of foreign fighters receive their information about the conflict not from the official channels provided by their fighting groups, but through ‘disseminators’ — unaffiliated but broadly sympathetic individuals, who appear to sometimes offer moral and intellectual support to jihadist opposition groups,” the report underlined.

It also goes on to say that individuals in the West, who are not directly fighting in the conflict, have a significant influence over how the conflict is perceived by those who are fighting in it.
The paper also referred to the “new spiritual leaders” who are radicalizing some individuals, acknowledging that there is no evidence to suggest these individuals are physically involved in facilitating the flow of foreign fighters to Syria or that they are coordinating their activity with “jihadist organizations,” but it describes these leaders are “cheerleaders” by the way of their statements and interactions.

The researchers said that nearly 55 percent of those mercenaries in the social media sample population were identified as ISIL members, while just under 14 percent were thought to belong to al-Nusra Front. The so-called Free Syrian Army, Tawheed Brigade, and Free of Sham were least represented online, comprising just over two percent of the total sample combined.

“Unknowns,” described as gunmen that could not safely be coded as belonging to any group, make up 29 percent.

Although the lion’s share of foreign gunmen in Syria are thought to be from the UK, numbers were as follows: France 11.6 percent, Germany 11.1 percent, Sweden 10 percent, Belgium 8.9 percent, and the Netherlands 6.3 percent.

Eastern European countries (including Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia) comprised 9.6 percent of the sample, while non-European Westerners — Australians, Canadians, and U.S. — accounted for 5.3 percent. Nearly 19 percent of the sample population was coded as of unknown origin.

The UK Home Office have warned British citizens from going to fight in the conflict in Syria and said that those identified could have their nationality stripped, World Bulletin reported.

Source: Websites
17-04-2014 – 12:44 Last updated 17-04-2014

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Listening to Yulia, thinking about al-Sahhaf

The Saker

I have been listening to a long monologue by Yulia Timoshenko on the Ukrainian TV and I am left speechless.  Here is what she says: (summary, not exact quote)

The Russians have sent in their agents to attack the authorities in the eastern Ukraine and seize the weapons caches to then give them to their sympathizers.  What the Russians want is to scare us to accept their plan: to turn the Ukraine into a Russian colony.  We have to form a new military, a parallel army of volunteers which will beat them back.  Then we will negotiate with Putin from a position of force.  Our new military will never allow the occupants to get to Kiev.  We will engage in a pubic advertisement campaign to ask for volunteer contributions to pay for it.  We have to be strong!!

OMG – I don’t know whether I should howl of laughter or sob in despair about that kind of crazy nonsense.  From her tone and choice of metaphors, she has gone completely hysterical.  The scary thing is that nobody dared to tell her that he entire plan is not absolutely crazy and laughable, but simply a non-starter: you cannot create a armed ex-nihilo in days, week or months.  It takes *years* and *a lot* of *money* to do that.

I think that the freaks in power are either completely insane, or totally out of touch with reality, or they are liars who know that they are lying, but who are getting something from it.

Frankly, listening to Yulia on Ukie TV I thought that she is much, MUCH more ridiculous than Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf and Saddam Hussein with their delusions about a “Mother of All Battles”.


Scary.

The Saker

Syria: As the bombs fall, the people of Damascus rally round Bashar al-Assad


admin 

 People in Syria see their country as being threatened by foreign powers, who are sponsoring the jihadist groups fighting President Assad Photo: EPA




Apr 17, 2014, the Telegraph

It was a simple three-hour trip from Beirut to Damascus. The border crossing caused no problems, and thereafter the journey was interrupted by only a handful of checkpoints. My first impression of the Syrian capital, too, was that it is surprisingly safe. I saw no armed men on the streets during the journey to my hotel, and in the city centre life appeared to be continuing as normal. Residents even claimed that President Assad often drives himself to his office from the relatively modest flat where he lives, and can sometimes be seen stuck in the rush-hour traffic. When I had lunch at a restaurant with a government minister, there was no visible security at all.
But after only a few hours in this city, it becomes clear that Damascus is not normal in the slightest. Several of its suburbs are held by rebel fighters, who pound government-held areas with mortars. These do not have the range to reach the city centre, but most people live under the shadow of constant attack. It is as if the residents of Clapham had conceived a desire to annihilate Wimbledon and Brixton, and Islington had declared war on Camden Town.
As with the Blitz, these attacks appear completely random. Many of the shells land harmlessly, or do not explode. Others cause mayhem. On Tuesday, one struck a school in Bab Touma (St Thomas’s Gate), killing one child and wounding roughly 40. And over the past few days the volume of the bombardment has escalated sharply. An accountant who lives in the affluent suburb of Jaramana told me that his area had been hit almost 15 times before breakfast that morning.
On Palm Sunday, I went to the Old City and walked up Straight Street, following the route taken by St Paul after he had been blinded (Kokab, the scene of his Damascene conversion, is now in rebel hands). At the Greek Catholic church, I watched ceremonies of breathtaking beauty – in precincts that had been struck twice in the past week, though happily causing no injuries. On the way back, I passed a man looking dazed next to his ruined car. A mortar had struck it just a few minutes earlier. When I picked up the shell casing, it was still warm.
Over the past few days, I have talked to shopkeepers, students, soldiers, doctors, a dentist, MPs and government ministers (including the minister for tourism, who must have the most thankless job in the world). On the basis of these conversations, I would judge not just that support for the regime is holding up, but that President Assad could very well win a popular election, even if carried out on a free and fair basis. Such elections are in fact due: the president must hold a poll before July 17 if he is not to exceed his constitutional term of office. An announcement is expected soon.
Discussing this vote, I found – to my surprise – that even people outside the governing Ba’ath party, including some of Assad’s political opponents, said they would support him. Maria Saadah, an independent MP for Damascus, told me that her career as an architect had suffered because she did not belong to the Ba’ath, and that she had entered politics at the beginning of the crisis because she wanted to reform the system. But she added that the middle of a war against what she described as foreign-backed insurgents – which is how the regime ceaselessly depicts its opponents – was not the time for that. Syrian sovereignty, she said, had to come first.
This argument is very common. People here see their country as being threatened by foreign powers (above all Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, all backed by the West) who are sponsoring the jihadist groups that make up the opposition. I was struck by the fact that this argument is not made only by the Alawite coterie around the president. I also heard it from Sunni Muslims, Christians and members of the various other cultural and religious groups that abound in Syria.
How can this square with the Western narrative that President Assad’s government, with the aid of a handful of tribal followers, is hell-bent on the destruction of the rest of the country? Consider the facts. Only a handful of members of Assad’s 30-strong cabinet (I was told two) are Alawite. The prime minister is Sunni, as are the interior minister, the justice minister, the foreign minister, even the defence minister. The delegation that travelled to Geneva for the failed peace talks several months ago was also almost entirely composed of Sunni Muslims (though they would probably reject sectarian terms, and prefer to think of themselves just as Syrians).
Nor is it merely the political class that thinks in this way. Last night I had dinner with a young doctor. He showed me a Facebook exchange that he had recently had with a former friend from medical school, who has joined the extremist opposition group al-Nusra. The doctor had put out a public status aimed at all jihadists asking them: “Please stop shooting at us with your mortars.” He was astonished to receive a reply from his friend: “I will put a bullet in your heads.” My doctor friend messaged him back: “I am not afraid of you.” This was followed by a horrifying response. “We love death, we drink blood. Our president is dead bodies. Wait for our exploding cars to kill you.”
There the matter rests for the time being. When I asked whether the doctor was afraid, he shrugged his shoulders and told me: “Of course he can come and kill me any time, just by putting a package in front of my door, or asking someone to come and shoot me.”
When I was in Bab Touma, I was approached by a shopkeeper, who insisted on taking me to his antiques shop. There, he served me tea and told me without rancour that no customers came to visit any more, and there were no jobs.
He walked me along an alleyway to his home and pointed to a destroyed balcony where his mother had liked to sit. Two months ago, she had been resting there as usual when she was killed by a direct hit from a mortar. “Your government,” he told me, “is the worst ever; they want Syria to be a democracy and ally themselves with Saudi Arabia, which has nothing to do with democracy.”
I have only been in Damascus a few days and have been out of the city just once, on a government-sponsored trip to the ancient Christian village of Maaloula, claimed back this week from rebel forces. I have not spoken to the opposition (travel in rebel-held areas is impossibly hazardous: many journalists have been kidnapped). I have been accompanied for much of the time by a government minder. I am well aware that the government has committed dreadful atrocities, though I suspect that some of the accounts have been exaggerated.
Nevertheless, I do think the words of my shopkeeper friend are worth pondering. If the insurgents who killed his mother win the war, there will be no Christian churches in Syria any more (just as there aren’t in Saudi Arabia at the moment). Life will be similarly terrible for many of the ordinary Muslims who make up the great majority of the population.
There are no “good guys” in Syria’s civil war. But we should not be blind to the fact that there is a project out there to destroy its rich, pluralist and unbelievably intricate culture and replace it with a monochrome version of Wahhabi Islam, of the kind favoured by Saudi mullahs. And for reasons that history may come to judge very severely, Britain, the United States, and the West have been aiding and abetting this project.

Yet another truly excellent CrossTalk, today about russophobia

Ukraine SITREP April 16, 10:50 EST (Ukrainian civil war day 2)

The Saker

Russia stands for freedom!It is still a little early to call this day over, especially considering the time it takes for the information to seep out of the eastern Ukraine and make it to the Internet.  Furthermore, we have to be extremely cautious with the news not only because truth is the first casualty of war or because all the information sources have a vested interest in getting out the “right” information “correctly” presented, but because today, just as yesterday, the main characteristic of the situation in the Ukraine is complete, total, chaos.

With these caveats in mind, we can still say the following with a strong degree of certitude:

Something really amazing happened today in Kramatorsk.  It appears that a column of Ukrainian paratroopers entered the city unopposed, some of them put Russian flags on their Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), others Saint George ribbons.  When they made it to the city center they were greeted by the civilians who brought them flowers and food.  Then, some of them apparently left, possibly on their IFV though that is still unclear to me.  It appears certain that 6 IFV of the BMD-2 types (Airborne IFV) were given to the local self-defense forces.  It is unclear to me what happened to the crews.  Some reports say that they purchased civilians clothes and returned to their base, but that makes absolutely no sense.  Strictly speaking, handing over their IFV to “terrorists” in a “battle situation” could get them summarily executed on the spot.  At the very least this should land them in front of a court martial.  So my guess is that the crews either deserted completely, or stayed around and join the locals.  What is certain is that the local defense forces now have 6 armored vehicles armed with the formidable 30mm 2A42 multi-purpose auto-cannon which can tear into pretty much anything short of a main battle tank.  The BMD-2 is also *ideal* for urban combat: relatively compact, well armored, highly mobile and with that formidable gun (which can shoot armor piercing rounds), it is just about the best kind of vehicle to use inside a city (it also has a machine gun and a guided anti-tank weapon).

By the way, these units came from the same 24th Airborne Brigade I mentioned yesterday, probably one of the few more or less well trained units in the entire Ukrainian military.  

Another less noticed event was an attempt by unidentified paramilitaries to attack or break through one of the checkpoints near the city.  The attack failed, the number of casualties is still undetermined.  The locals blame the Right Sector thugs for this one.

All the other info coming out of the eastern Ukraine are just rumors and it makes no sense to repeat it here, much less so use it as a basis for making conclusions.

What appears to be pretty certain is that nothing major happened today, most definitely no big combat operations.  If yesterday was chaos with local violence, today seems to be only chaos, which is not a bad sign I suppose.

Finally, this “just in” from RT.  Unverified, by consistent with what we know:

Reports from Slavyansk say that the army troops sent to the eastern Ukrainian city for an “anti-terrorist operation” are leaving en masse. Some troops are openly voicing support for the eastern Ukrainians, while others are speaking out against a war. According to Interfax, citing local self-defense activists, some 300 Ukrainian troops agreed to lay down their weapons and “go home” following negotiations in Slavyansk. 

If that is so, this might be the beginning of the end for the “anti-terrorist” operation.   Why?  Because enough of the military switches sides, or at least lays down arms or refuses to obey, no other force can challenge it.  The Paratroopers can easily make minced meat out of any police, SWAT, SBU or even regular military unit.  They could even hold their ground against an armored attack (holding ground is what these paratroopers are trained for).  If the 24th Airborne Brigade switches sides (which has not happened yet!!), then that is the end of the entire “anti-terrorist” operation.  But this is a big “if” and we should not assume something about the entire brigade just on the basis of what one single company did.

Stay tuned, I will try to keep you posted,

The Saker

Ukraine SITREP April 15, 18:30 EST update 1 (Ukrainian civil war day 1)

The first day of what will become the Ukrainian Civil war has finished and since by tomorrow morning a lot can happen, I have decided to provide this intermediate SITREP update tonight rather than to wait for tomorrow.

The short summary of the day is: absolute chaos and local violence.

A couple of things stand out:

  • The same source who reported that the CIA Director John Brennan visited Kiev on Sunday or Monday also say that the US plan is to use the Ukrainian military to blockade the rebel cities and to use special units (national guard, SBU SWAT, a newly created unit called “Shtorm” and Right Sector gangs) to actually do the repression.
  • In a rather bizarre incident, some Ukrainian officers were told that 30 armed terrorists had seized an airport near Kramatorsk.  They landed there supported by APCs and helicopters only to find out that only civilians were present.  Rumors say that “several” to “eleven” civilians were killed in that operation.  The amazing thing is that the officers really seemed to believe that they would be fighting some kind of military force.  When they realize that this was not the case, most of the forces were evacuated and only a smaller force was left at the airport.  It is currently surrounded by civilians who are blocking all exists.
  • Same thing happened to the recon battalion of the 24th Airborne Division which was sent in to locate “terrorists”.  When the saw that only civilians were present they refused to continue their mission, turned around and left.
  • A convoy of Right Sector militants disguised as pro-Russian forces (they were wearing Saint George ribbons) were stop and searched by civilians.  Soon, after some brutal interrogations the truth became obvious, the trucks full of weapons confiscated and the drivers beat up.
  • In Kiev the Right Sector has given the so-called President and his regime 24 hours to take action.  If not, they promised to overthrow him.  In other words, the small, disorganized and demoralized leftover of the Ukrainian police now might be told to put down both the Russian-speakers in the East and the Galician freaks in Kiev.
  • As for the always amazing White House, its press secretary has declared that the USA “praises” the neo-Fascist regime for its “restraint”.

Okay, so what is really going on here?

The Ukrainian military is told that it has to stop “terrorists”. Regardless of whether they believe it or not, the Ukrainian commanding officers are more or less willing to execute that order.  What they seem to be unwilling to do is kill many civilians or, even less so, take a city by force.  So they stop in the outskirts and conduct very tense and unpleasant dialog with very hostile and suspicious civilians.

The Ukrainian security services are probably more willing to shoot civilians, but they seem to be really weary of entering the rebel cities, and I can’t blame them.  Unlike most of the barricades around the cities which are manned with civilians (including women and senior folks), some barricades and buildings inside the city are defended by armed men, some definitely with military experience, and supported by many civilian demonstrators.  Any SBU force seen shooting civilians risks being killed by a lynch mob.

The Right Sector thugs would love to kill as many of the accursed Moskals as possible, but they have neither the training nor the numbers to seize a town.  And should they be caught they have no hope whatsoever to make it out alive.  They will be literally torn into pieces by the locals.

So, to sum it up so far:

1) The Ukrainian military only pretends to participate in the so-called anti-terrorist operation.  While some units from Galicia might try it, most units are probably unwilling to shoot many civilians.
2) The cops, SWAT teams and SBU special forces probably would not mind shooting into a crowd, but they would be fearful to enter inside the urban environment of a city and storm buildings while having a furious mob all around them.
3) As for the neo-Nazi thugs and common criminals hired by the oligarchs, they have neither the training nor the means to put down a city.

Thus, the first day of that civil war is one of total chaos and confusion with only localized violence.  Even if 11 civilians were killed, this is nothing compared with what would happen in the Ukrainian military decided to attack a city with Multiple Rocket Launchers like the Georgian did with Tskhinval in 08.08.08.

A few words about the Russian speaking opposition now.

I have watched as much video footage today as I could and here is what I see:

1) Lots of real civilians, unarmed, including women and seniors.  They seem both frightened and very angry.  Their plan is to form a human shield to stop the Fascist assault.
2) Lots of determined and solid looking men, many of the coal-mine workers.  They are armed with metal rods, sticks and a few Molotov cocktails.  Any trained force armed with real assault rifles could easily kill them, but they would probably make minced meat our of Right Sector thugs.  These are simple but *very* tough men, and boy do they look mad….
3) An assortment of self-organized armed groups, mostly equipped with handguns and assault rifles, they have some real firepower, but are poorly trained and poorly commanded.  They could not stop a determined assault either, but they could provide enough firepower locally to scare off the cops.
4) A few small groups (3-5 men) here and there who look like they know what they are doing.  Some are former paratroopers, others have served in other well-trained units.  They seem to be trying hard to get a more or less organized resistance going and they probably could mount an intelligent attack on an enemy column (as happened over the week-end in one case).  I don’t think that these groups are very numerous, but they could show up anywhere and they are therefore a real threat to any attacking force.

Taken separately, none of these defenders amount to much of a force to protect even a small city.  However, the combination of these very different type of defenders might present a real problem for the Ukrainian command, especially considering the morale problems on the Ukrainian side and what appears to be a fierce determination triggered by rage and fear by the Russian-speakers.

Besides, urban assault operations are always and inherently very difficult and very dangerous.  During such operations the most typical scenario is one where the initial attack appears easy and victorious and then all hell breaks lose and what appeared to be a success turns into a nightmare.  It takes not only a lot of firepower to prevail in an urban environment, but also a very strong determination and the willingness to kill a lot of civilians.  In the eastern Ukraine almost every civilian runs around with a cellphone or camera so there are “eyes” everywhere and every event is filmed, some are even streamed live on the Internet.  Not good for the attackers either.

One more thing: I think that a red line has been crossed today and that now that the entire population in the eastern Ukraine has been assimilated to “terrorists” while the two main candidates to the Presidential elections have been assaulted (and one, Tsarev, charged with, I kid you not, hooliganism and sedition!) there are no more hopes for a federalized unitary Ukrainian state.  When civilians were shot today in an official andauthorized army attack, which was ordered by the so-called “interim President” and which was praised by the USA for its “restraint” a qualitative change in the struggle occurred.  Short of a miracle, my personal conclusion is that Ukrainian experiment has crashed and burned.  It’s over for “the Ukraine”.

For several days I have spoken of an “escape velocity” and I think that today it was reached.  To paraphrase a well-known English nursery rhyme:

The Independent Ukraine sat on a wall,
The Independent Ukraine had a great fall.
All the West’s money and all the West’s men
Couldn’t put that Ukraine back together again

The only question now is what human price will the West and its neo-Nazi puppets in Kiev extract from the Ukrainian people before accepting the inevitable?

Stay tuned.

The Saker

Personal announcement: there is good news, and there is bad news (and one idea)

Dear friends, 

Today, as people often say, I have some good news and some not so good news.

The good news is that a number of kind people have reach out to me in different ways to help me assure the survivability of this blog.  The idea is to make the blog available in sufficient number of duplicates located in different places of the planet to prevent the “Axis of Kindness” from shutting it down.  This is what we have done so far.  The following two locations are available as “reserves” to be used in case of an “accidental” deletion of this blog here:

https://vineyardsaker.wordpress.com/
http://thesaker.ucoz.com/blog

Right now, these locations are not used or updated and I will keep them “frozen” until and unless an emergency happens.

The following two sides have a partial backup of the pasts posts of this blog:

https://thesaker.wordpress.com/ 
http://info.scoop.co.nz/Saker_Analytics 

I am in contact with several folks who are trying to work out a way to backup the full blog in one location and then provide automatic “mirroring” of what is posted here.  That would be the ultimate solution, but it takes a little more time to setup.

Stay tuned, and I will keep you posted when this option is available, hopefully in more than one location.

The other good news is that the number of visitors to this blog is steadily rising and on Sunday it reached just a hair short of 20’000 (19,936 exactly) – not bad at all for a week-end day!  Also, I am getting daily reports about posts of this blog being published elsewhere, from Brazil, to India, to New Zealand, to Russia to the USA.  In other words, our joint efforts (at least 60% of the credit for the quality of this blog goes to you all, I could never hack this alone!) are paying off and we are kicking the presstitutes right were they deserve it.  So please continue commenting, posting links, reporting events, translating, proof-reading my horrible writing, discussing topics at length and everything else you have been doing.  We make a difference, however small.

Now the bad news.

Guys, I cannot accept money orders or checks.  While I do not distrust any specific person amongst you, I am trying to keep my “thin anonymity” up as long as possible.  Once my read identity comes up (which I know will happen sooner or later), it will be a major distraction and a pain in the a** for me to deal with.  I want to keep focusing on issues and topics, not personalities.  If I start accepting money orders or checks even this very “thin” anonymity of mine will go down the tubes real fast.  So all I can only suggest is this:

  • PayPal (flattr basically does not work for me)
  • Snailmail to either Europe or the USA (see exact addresses on the left)

I will spare you the frustrating discussions with my bank, and I will immediately concede that PayPal is a massive pain in the rear end to deal with.  I tried to find some alternative to PayPal which would allow folks to send me donations without going through the hassle of opening up an account, but they all have their own drawbacks.

If you really hate PayPal to the point of never wanting to use it I fully understand.  Then use snail mail and send me cash or gift cards or anything else you feel comfortable sending.

Somewhere down the road, if the donations keep on coming, I might consider opening up a non-profit, but at this point in time this makes no sense at all.

Sorry for the frustrating bad news.

One more thing:

I think that it might be extremely useful to create a group of “correspondents” of this blog.  Here is what I mean by that:

The fact is that I am the proverbial “armchair strategist”, with all the flaws which derive from that situation.  This weakness is partially mitigated by the fact that I used to be a *professionally trained* armchair strategist: this is the guy who in peace time sits at the top floor of a sombre looking building and who in war time sits very deep inside a bunker.  He rarely wears a uniform, even more rarely combat fatigues, but he is always surrounded by lots of electronics and communication gear and each morning he gets a big pile of paper and secure emails which he plows through and then works with big databases to assess the data which just came in to evaluate it.  The closest he ever gets to a firing tank or artillery piece is on his computer screen, usually during command-staff exercises.  You know the type, right?  In Russian they are called “staff rats/bitch” (shtabnaia krysa/suka, штабная крыса/сука).  Not a very popular type with the frontline folks.  The polite word of us is simply “analyst”.

One of the things which such an analyst has is the possibility to contact somebody in the area he is trying to evaluate to ask a question, get a detail, ask for a translation, etc.  In my case, however, my needs are even more basic:

I need local folks to go through the local Internet resources (not the big national news, those I parse myself) to seek out interesting stuff and then simply send me the links.  Though a commentary or evaluation of these links could be helpful, the links alone would be helpful enough.  Here are the languages which I can read more or less decently: very easily: French, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian, and English, of course.  With some difficulties Portuguese, and Dutch.  Slowly and preferably with the help of a machine translator,  can also understand a text written in Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Polish, Afrikaans, Slovak and Macedonian.

Also, there are four languages which I don’t know at all and with which I would really need a person willing to translate or even just summarize interesting articles in the local Internet (in order of priority): Arabic, Chinese, Farsi and Hebrew.

Should that work, my goal would be to completely bypass the AngloZionist media and to offer the readers of this blog information from the small news sources which are little known but which are trying hard to become more visible.  Sure, we all know about RussiaToday, PressTV or TeleSur, but who knows what kind of interesting stuff is published on the local Internet in Omsk, Isfahan or Cochabamba?

Tlaxcala does a great job of translating “alternative” information in many languages and IPS tried to being local information sources.  But for the former does not use local correspondents or specialize in English-language information while the latter has, shall we say, a “not always adequate political agenda” with some pretty darn big blind spots.

So here is my idea: if some of you are interested in becoming “Saker correspondents” we could have your just scan the local press in your area (it don’t need to be in Timbuktu – the local press in France or Romania might be very interesting too) and send me the links.  I could then either publish the full article if it is worth it, or just post a few links so those interested can read it for themselves, or simply read the stuff myself to help me understand a region or a current event.  If there will be Arabic, Chinese, Farsi or Hebrew speakers willing to be “Saker correspondents” then they would work somewhat differently: they could email me and say, “the local website has a reader’s forum where one guy just posted his impression after a 3 day trip to the town of X and he is describing something interesting.  Do you want a summary or full translation?”  Depending on the place, situation and source I would have to decide whether this is worth the correspondent’s effort.

Alternatively, you could bypass me completely and contact each other directly and jointly decide to try to get the local information sources to the English-speaking world, either through my blog or through any other outlet you like (God knows there are many very good ones today).  Then my role would be just to help put you in touch with each other and then you could work without intermediaries.

Just think about it.  All I know is that there are regular readers here from all over the planet, with lots of languages and excellent expertise and education.  Not to flatter you all, but there is *a lot* of brainpower available which we could put together if you guys are interested.

If not, no problem.  I regularly have goofy ideas and I don’t expect a standing ovation every time a share them with others :-)

Again, sorry for the stupid situation with donations, but I tried my best within the time that I have and the laws, regulations and practices I have to comply with.  I can’t afford doing something even remotely not 100% legal and 100% ethical.

Kind regards and many thanks,

The Saker

PS: there is a strong possibility that the international situation will take a sharp turn for the worse and there is a not trivial possibility that some kind of conflict or war may start in several locations on the planet (the Ukraine, DPRK, South China Sea, Venezuela, Iran, etc.).  So whatever we decide, let’s try to stay in touch and try to make sense of what is going on together, okay?  The Saker

Maa’loula after the Storm of Barbaric Democracy

We very much hope that those who have done all this, arrive at the bottom depths of hell
 


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