Syrian War Report – October 19, 2018: ISIS Captures 700 Hostages Including US, EU Citizens

South Front

19.10.2018

ISIS has captured 700 hostages, including US and European citizens, in Syria and is killing 10 people a day, Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the Valdai Discussion Club’s 15th Annual Meeting on October 18. He criticized US forces for this “catastrophic” failure adding that the terrorists “have delivered ultimatums and made certain demands, threatening … to shoot ten people every day.” According to Putin, the terrorists already started carrying out their threats and executed ten hostages two days ago.

On October 17, the Russian news agency TASS reported citing a military diplomatic source that the hostages were captured by ISIS in the province of Deir Ezzor during a failed advance of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition.

On October 18, the SDF repelled an ISIS attack near the village of al-Baghuz al-Fawqani in the Euphrates Valley. During the recent clashes in the Hajin pocket, the SDF destroyed a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device and 15 ISIS members. 2 SDF members also died.

According to the Syrian state media, US-led coalition warplanes bombed civilian buildings in the village of al-Susah killing and injuring multiple civilians. The US-led coalition is often avoiding to comment on such reports. However, even Amnesty International says that Washington is hiding the real number of civilian casualties as a result of its operations in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey informed the UN that the timeline for the implementation of the Idlib de-confliction agreement had been expanded. One of the key problems behind the delay is the unwillingness of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) and similar terrorist groups to withdraw from the agreed demilitarized zone.

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Euronews

Via The Saker

October 18, 2018

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Euronews

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Euronews, Moscow, October 16, 2018

Question: The issue of Russia’s financial contribution to the Council of Europe has long been on the agenda after Russia’s voting right was suspended. How important is the Council of Europe to Russia? What, in your view, is the likely solution to this impasse?

Sergey Lavrov: The Council of Europe is going through a serious crisis and not because Russia suspended its contribution more than a year ago but due to the reasons you mentioned: because Russia was denied the right to vote. This happened in 2014 as punishment for the free expression of will by Crimea residents, who voted in favour of reintegration with Russia at a referendum. This punishment was imposed on the members of parliament that were elected by the population of Russia and sent as a delegation to the Council of Europe.

The sanctions imposed in 2014 became tougher in 2015. As a result, the Russian members of parliament were stripped of all rights whatsoever and were only allowed to be present at the meetings of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and listen to anti-Russia statements without having an opportunity to answer, which is, strictly speaking, regular practice in any normal parliament where, even if tensions are running high, it is always possible to answer and compare different positions. Our members of parliament were denied this right for three years even though from 2014 until 2017 we made the required contributions. In so doing, we warned that this could not go on forever because without due representation at the assembly and without the opportunity to state its position it would be unwise for Russia to pay for Russophobic activities; the same goes for any other country that might end up in a similar situation for that matter. So we warned everyone that we would be forced to suspend our contributions at some point. We did this in the summer of 2017, making it clear that as soon as the rights of our members of parliament at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe were unconditionally and fully reinstated, we would immediately pay our debts.

I want to stress that our decision on this point has worked. Many sensible MPs and functionaries in the Council of Europe have become aware of the seriousness of the situation. Michele Nicoletti, the then President of the Parliamentary Assembly, and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland were struggling to find a way out of this absolutely abnormal situation.

As a result of that work, the attention of all members of the Parliamentary Assembly was drawn to the fact that there is a basic document that all bodies of the Council of Europe, including the Parliamentary Assembly, must be guided by in their work. This is the Statute of the Council of Europe – a fundamental document, an imperative, so to say. It says that all Council of Europe member states enjoy equal rights in any Council of Europe format, whether the Parliamentary Assembly, or the Committee of Ministers, or any other organ.

We pointed this out and asked our colleagues in the Parliamentary Assembly to comply with the document they signed when they endorsed the decision to establish the Council of Europe and to honour the terms on which Russia joined the organisation. Once again, I will point out that the term written in the Statute is the complete equality of the delegations of all Council of Europe member states, including in the Parliamentary Assembly.

Instead, a small, but very loud and aggressive group of delegations from countries that are well known to everyone (I won’t bother mentioning the names; they have been pushing an anti-Russia stance in the European Union, as well as NATO, the United Nations and the OSCE) set forth the premise that besides the Statute of the Council of Europe there are also the Rules of Procedure for the Parliamentary Assembly. These Rules of Procedure stipulate that decisions be adopted through a vote and by a very narrow majority. The most they were willing to do was to consider whether these rules should be changed to make it harder to restrict the rights of one delegation or another.

Our response was simple and tough. No regulations, rules or procedures can compare in significance with the fundamental document – the Statute of the Council of Europe, which, let me point out once again, proclaims the mandatory equality of all delegations in all structures of the Council of Europe.

Therefore, we will propose that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe pass a resolution confirming the indisputability of this statutory provision – this is its function. If that decision is blocked, it will be a deliberate step by those, who, in their anti-Russia fervour, simply want to “bury” Europe.

Please note that since our MPs were stripped of the right to vote, the Parliamentary Assembly has already elected, if I am not mistaken, 24 judges to the European Court of Human Rights. And the total number is 47. So, the majority of judges in the European Court are judges elected in the absence of the Russian votes.

Similarly, a new High Commissioner for Human Rights was elected without the Russian MPs. Next June, a new secretary general of the Council of Europe will be elected. So, due to the suspension of our right, which is granted to us by the Statute of the Council of Europe, to participate in these votes, the above functionaries of the Council of Europe (the judges, the commissioner for human rights and soon, if this issue persists, the secretary general) will, in fact, not be legitimate for us. Therefore, I do hope that all our partners, including and in the first place those who made this mess, who decided to punish the deputies chosen freely by the will of the people who are residents of Crimea – that they have become aware of the seriousness of the situation and the responsibility that they are taking upon themselves.

Question: Thorbjorn Jagland said they would make the budget without Russia’s funds. Our Russian MPs say that one of the options is leaving the Council of Europe. Is Russia considering this possibility?

Sergey Lavrov: Thorbjorn Jagland has no other option than to create the budget using the current funding under circumstances where we are not paying our share. We, again, recently stated that as soon as our rights are restored we will pay our dues to the Council of Europe in full. The European Court of Human Rights has been largely formed without our participation, so its legitimacy for Russia is rather dubious, just like the legitimacy of the Commissioner for Human Rights. I have heard the Russian parliamentarians’ statements to the effect that if this outrage continues, the Council of Europe will be signing its own death warrant. I do not think that Russia’s participation in Council of Europe is more important for Russia than for the European countries. This is my firm conviction. We joined the Council of Europe on the principle that it provides for a pan-European, universal legal and humanitarian space. I am sure that those who have dealt a blow to this space through illegitimate actions that violate the Statute and seek to deprive the Russian delegation of their equal rights, they know what they are signing up for. If they want to push Russia out of the Council of Europe, we won’t give them the pleasure; we will leave the organisation ourselves. Let those in the majority, who are aware of the provocative nature of this plan initiated by a small but loud group of countries, work within this group. It is unacceptable to ruin a pan-European organisation to satisfy the ambitions of certain politicians in some European capitals. Everyone is aware of this. I hope that most sensible people will be brave enough to prevent this from happening.

Question: Is Russia doing anything to prove to the West that we are reliable and can be trusted after what has happened to the Skripals and all those hacking attack charges?

Sergey Lavrov: Our Western colleagues are priding themselves on having built a rule-of-law state in their countries; rule of law and the rules-based order are allegedly what the historical West has created as well as what all others should accept and reproduce, including the judicial system. There is English law and there is Roman law, but in both cases for someone to start proving his innocence he should hear the concrete charges. We have not been presented with such charges. We are baselessly being convinced that we have “highly likely” done something unlawful in Salisbury, then in Amesbury, and later we did something unlawful in Catalonia. Allegedly, we have meddled in all these matters. They are also accusing us of having played our sad role in Brexit and of many other sins. But not one single concrete charge has been presented.

Unlike our partners, we did build a rule-of-law state, because we hold sacred our international legal commitments and hope that all others will do the same. We have advised the British Government dozens of times, in keeping with conventions existing in our bilateral relations (the Council of Europe conventions, incidentally), of the need to utilise the mechanism for mutual assistance in criminal cases. After numerous reminders on our part, they replied officially that the British Government could not do that out of national security considerations. As is clear to everyone, this reply lacks substance and is disrespectful of the British legal system, among others. Therefore, as soon as we are presented with concrete facts, we will be ready to sit down and talk. The same goes for allegations that we have meddled in the US elections. Moreover, in both cases, we have long been suggesting – even before Donald Trump was elected president and before the Salisbury incident – that we should start concrete work on cybersecurity, where professionals, first of all, will exchange their concerns and respond to these mutual concerns, and, secondly, devise certain universal rules that will make it possible to rule out or dramatically reduce the abuse of cyberspace, which is used by terrorists, criminals, drug addicts, pedophiles, and many other people, who must be restrained in every possible way. In response, we hear only that Russia should mend its ways, if it wants to be talked to. This is neither serious nor the way adults behave.

Unlike our accusers, we ask some very concrete questions: there is a convention on legal assistance, let us use it; there is the Chemical Weapons Convention, which says that if a state party has questions to ask another state party, the country that has conceived a question must put this question directly in a bilateral format to the country, to which this question is addressed. Nothing of the kind has been done.

Yet another utterly concrete question, which we have been asking for too long now and which is shameful to ignore for much longer, is: where are Yulia and Sergey Skripal? If the evidence we have been presented with includes just the corpses of a cat, a hamster, and a poor, unstably housed woman, as well as a scent-bottle, it all looks grotesque. I don’t want to belittle the seriousness of cases involving the use of chemical substances, but if someone wants to gamble on this and put up a show to amuse the public and rally the European community against the Russian Federation, then this is shameful. If someone is seriously concerned about these problems, there is no need to tell the untruth. You should prove your accusations with facts, including by presenting to the public Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia. While Sergey has British nationality apart from Russian citizenship, Yulia is just a citizen of Russia. She appeared on television just once, uttered a clearly filmed monologue, and added that she wanted to return back to Russia. No one has seen her since then. Her relative, Viktoria, has failed to obtain a visa. She was harassed at the British Embassy in Moscow, where they repeatedly urged her to change the documents, rewrite the questionnaires or bring new photographs. In the end she was left without a visa. There are many other factors preventing relatives of these people from contacting them. So, we are in favour of legal solutions to any problems. The rabid accusation in the spirit of “highly likely” or “we don’t see any other plausible explanation” are just not serious.

Question: What about Bellingcat? All these investigations…

Sergey Lavrov: That’s part of the same story, really. White Helmets, or Bellingcat – it’s all the same. It’s not a secret for anyone, and Western journalists openly write about this, that Bellingcat is closely connected with the special services that use it to channel information intended to influence public opinion. No matter how many times we were told that the White Helmets are truth lovers, human rights champions and humanitarian workers who save people in the most difficult situations. More and more facts are popping up confirming their close connection with ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra. This is more like they are not at all benefactors working “answering the call of the heart,” but rather for getting payment. As for the staged videos, the locals are not allowed to leave the site until these people arrive with their cameras. There are a lot of facts like this that have become public.

Moreover, quite recently, three months ago maybe, our Western colleagues decided, as they said, to “save” the units of the White Helmets in southern Syria after non-Syrian forces left the de-escalation zones established there by Russia, the United States and Jordan. Their positions were taken over by the Syrian army, which has now restored the order on the Golan Heights established by the UN Security Council resolution of 1974, which Israel also supported. Representatives of the White Helmets, 400 people with their families, urged to take them to Jordan for a period of three or four weeks, and then, as was announced, Britain, Canada, Germany and Holland would take them. Three months have passed. They are still there. According to our data, Western countries, which promised Jordan to take these people and move them to Europe and Canada, have browsed through some of their dossiers and became horrified. Their past suggests that European countries would be scared of accepting such people with prominent criminal tendencies.

Question: Do you believe that diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom and Western countries can improve?

Sergey Lavrov: All relations do not boil down to just diplomatic relations. There are other relations, including cultural relations that have not disappeared anywhere and which continue to evoke tremendous interest among Russian, British and American citizens and those of the EU countries. There are also economic relations that, incidentally, concern Russian citizens and the relevant business circles to a considerable extent, and these relations are the subject matter of ongoing contacts.

Diplomatic relations depend on the extent to which various partners are ready to respect diplomatic proprieties. Our British colleagues who, to be honest, started wrecking our relations, are not seriously committed to diplomatic proprieties today. I have already said that we have failed to receive any reply after sending dozens of diplomatic notes. Many requests to the Foreign Office also went unanswered. One gets a strong feeling that the United Kingdom’s current authorities have decided to vent their domestic frustrations, including Brexit, on Russia and to explain their domestic problems by Russian scheming. It appears that the Democratic Party of the United States has set this example by justifying its election campaign defeat by the fact that Donald Trump waged an unfair struggle, with Russia allegedly assisting him during this process. It is sad when domestic political squabbles start affecting relations between leading states. They continue to face a problem linked with Brexit. A struggle is now underway for the post of the leader of the Conservative Party, for holding new elections and so on.

For some reason, the “Russian card” has become quite popular among politicians. Possibly, they don’t have enough creativity for doing something else. They simply blame Russia for everything, without trying to take into consideration their  electorate and believing that their voters will accept any concoction.

It is amusing to see British representatives rushing all over Europe after the Salisbury incident and demanding that the EU countries take part in sanctions. They have persuaded many countries, but not all of them, to expel Russian diplomats after the Salisbury incident. Today, they are also inventing some new systematic sanctions that the whole of the EU would have to impose on any violators of the chemical weapons ban and lots more. It appears that a country, now leaving the EU, is frantically trying to influence the EU’s Russian policies. I believe that the UK wants to rein in the EU with regard to Russia and other matters concerning international affairs. It is not up to me to decide to what extent this meets the EU’s interests as well as their dignity.

Question: Is Russia worried about the political and even economic fallout in connection with the Jamal Khashoggi case.

Sergey Lavrov: You are so metaphorical! I support the current calls for a speedy investigation as soon as possible. We praise the agreements between Turkey and Saudi Arabia on the various steps being taken to make it possible to conduct this investigation. I do hope that the international community will get to know the results.

Question: The media has reported today that President of Syria Bashar al-Assad is set to visit Crimea. Does Russia plan to involve Syria in Crimean matters? There are plans for economic activities there.

Sergey Lavrov: President of Syria Bashar al-Assad is our partner. We regularly exchange visits with our Syrian colleagues at the level of presidents, ministers of foreign affairs, trade and economic development. Our military personnel and secret services also maintain contacts. This is very important for combating terrorism. The Russian regions are interested in various opportunities being provided by Syria for expanding economic, cultural, humanitarian and educational ties. Quite recently, Head of the Republic of Crimea Sergey Aksyonov visited Damascus at the invitation of President of Syria Bashar al-Assad. As is customary in normal diplomatic practices, he handed over an invitation from Russian leaders for Bashar al-Assad to visit the Russian Federation, including Crimea. Well, that’s about it.

Please come to Crimea. They are telling us that human rights are being violated in Crimea. But all those who are concerned with this matter have repeatedly been able to see what life is really like there. Those trying to make a politically motivated story out of this insist that they will only go to Crimea via Ukrainian territory. This is out of the question because Crimea is part of the Russian Federation under the results of the March 2014 referendum that involved the people of Crimea. But for some reason, not all Western journalists want to go there and see everything with their very own eyes. They have every opportunity to see how the people of Crimea live. If they are interested in a political game, they strike an attitude and say that they will only visit Crimea via Ukrainian territory. This is unprofessional.

Speaking of professionalism, I would like to mention another aspect, namely, Donbass. In effect, Ukraine is divided by the frontline. Provocations continue despite the Minsk Agreements and all attempts by members of the Normandy format and the Contact Group to fulfil all the agreements. Thank God, there are no large-scale hostilities like back in 2014 and early 2015, but regular firefights occur, despite regular “school,” “harvest” and “Christmas” ceasefire agreements. We have been asking officials from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine not to issue sterile reports listing attacks on communities, the number of killed and wounded civilians. Instead, we are expecting them to provide specific updates on the developments in various sections of the demarcation line and to focus on attacks against civilian facilities and casualties and fatalities among the civilians. In September 2017, the OSCE issued the first such report listing the location of attacks and the damage incurred. This was a difficult job because the Ukrainian authorities tried hard to forbid the OSCE from publishing this report. According to this report, five times more civilian facilities were damaged in the areas controlled by the self-defence fighters. The responsibility for this rests with the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Civilians living in such places also sustained six-seven times more casualties and fatalities. Any military expert would use this data to note that such a correlation between damage and civilian casualties and fatalities means that, by all appearances, the Armed Forces of Ukraine attack civilian facilities in communities, including kindergartens, hospitals and schools. For their part, self-defence fighters retaliate by hitting positions from which they are being attacked. I have mentioned journalism and professionalism. Representatives of the Russian media work non-stop, seven days a week and 24 hours a day in areas controlled by self-defence fighters. They show the extent of damage and the real results of the operations involving the Armed Forces of Ukraine. If our Western partners are saying that Russia and the separatists are to blame for everything, and that the Minsk Agreements would be immediately fulfilled as soon as Russia wants this to happen, and that Ukraine has allegedly fulfilled them almost completely (this is what some of our European colleagues and US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations Kurt Volker are saying), then it would probably be no problem to send BBC, CNN and Euronews correspondents to areas controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine and to show everyone how people live there and  the extent of damaged civilian facilities, if any. I have repeatedly spoken with journalists I know about this but failed to get any reply. They are simply looking at me, nodding but doing nothing. If Donetsk and Lugansk are accused of everything, including aggressive behaviour, then it would be appropriate to send journalists there, so that they would work honestly in areas allegedly severely attacked by self-defence fighters. Over all these years, BBC and someone else sent their groups there only once or twice, and that was all about it.

Question: Speaking of President of Syria Bashar al-Assad once again, does Syria plan to conduct economic operations in Crimea or not?

Sergey Lavrov: This depends on the extent to which this region and a certain region in Syria, be it Damascus, Latakia or any other, are interested in specific projects. This was the first meeting between the Head of Crimea and representatives of the Syrian leadership. Quite possibly, they will be able to discuss mutually beneficial projects after assessing the local situation.

The final word in the region will remain for Syria تبقى الكلمة الفصل في المنطقة سوريّة

The final word in the region will remain for Syria

أكتوبر 16, 2018

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The only true criteria of progress or decline of any alliance in the region and the world is the progress and decline in geography. Even if the area of this geography expands, the importance is the geography which plays a role in the considerations of the fighting forces. Here the importance is not discretionary, rather it is the size of the political, military, and diplomatic investment to achieve this progress and prevent any retreat. Geography is land, sea, and air. In politics, it is strange that the one who reads the future of the critical balances between the two opposite allies which one of them is led by Washington and the other is led by Moscow not to depend in his reading on the geographic and strategic essence which is represented by Syria. As it is strange to indulge in mysterious details to read the balances where the words are contradictory, and where the importance is discretionary, and where the one who has the upper hand is governed by political obsession versus the clarity which is presented by reading the Syrian geography and the two opposite fighters.

The center of the American battle with Russia and Iran is Syria despite the variety of its vocabularies, such as the American – Russia confrontation regarding many titles; the strategic weapons to Ukraine, the issues of oil and gas, the American proposal of a compromise entitled Russia’s acceptance to remove Iran from Syria, and the American-Iranian confrontation which extends from Yemen to Iraq  under several titles; the future of the nuclear weapons, the issues of interference to destabilize Iran, and the size of the bet on sanctions. All of these are summarized through the focus of America on the willingness of Iran to withdraw from Syria. Syria as well is the center of debate between Israel and Russia, from the future of the presence of Iran and Hezbollah to the freedom of the Israeli aircraft movement in the Syrian airspace. It is not a secret that the future of the Israeli conflict with Iran is determined only in Syria not elsewhere.

Reading the Syrian geography between the two opposite parties shows: First, that the alliance which includes Russia, Syria, Iran, and the resistance is coherent due to the cohesion of its parties in geography, no party accepts to give up its partner. Second, the alliance which accepted to entrust Russia to represent it in confronting the alliance led by America is achieving progress in the Syrian geography on land, sea, and air for two years without interruption, from the liberation of Aleppo to Deir Al Zour, Badia, Ghouta, and the countryside of Homs and Hama towards the south to the borders of the occupied Golan, in  addition to the closing of the Syrian airspace through S-300 networks, and enhancing the Syrian sea capacities with missiles and the boats of the electronic jamming. Third, it shows that the opposite party is adapting to these transitions despite its denial, from the Quneitra Crossing to the Nasib Border Crossing, along with the readiness of America to withdraw from Tanf base, and the silence towards the Iranian missile messages in the Eastern of the Euphrates.

Idlib forms a pivotal point in reading the future of the Syrian geography and the conflict around it. Tomorrow is the date of the entitlement determined at Sochi Summit for the end of the first stage which stated the removal of heavy and medium weapons, after the bets on Turkey’s change of its position towards the cooperation with Russia have failed. It is clear that the path which started in Idlib after the splits of the armed groups and their fighting puts the options between either an impossible peaceful compromise or the application of Sochi’s understandings by force. It is clear that the application forcibly which surpasses the application peacefully means the preparation for battles where the participation of the Syrian army supported by the Russian aircraft and the participation of allies will be unilateral under unremarkable international noise after Sochi understanding and with reluctant Turkish acceptance. The geography will show that the one who advances in geography is the one who changes the balances, and that the area which is good for determining the balances of power is where geography is, so how if the critical geography is Syria.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

تبقى الكلمة الفصل في المنطقة سوريّة 

أكتوبر 8, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لأن المقياس الوحيد الحقيقي الثابت لتقدّم وتراجع أيّ من الحلفين المتقابلين على امتداد مساحة المنطقة والعالم، يبقى التقدم والتراجع في الجغرافيا. ولأن الجغرافيا إذا تعددت مساحاتها تبقى الأهمية للجغرافيا التي تلعب دوراً مقرّراً نسبة لحجم أهميتها في حسابات القوى المتموضعة على جبهات الصراع، ولأن الأهمية هنا ليست استنسابية أو تقديرية، بل تجد تعبيراتها في حجم الاستثمار السياسي والعسكري والدبلوماسي لتحقيق التقدّم ومنع التراجع فيها، والجغرافيا هي بر وبحر وجو، فغريب عن عالم السياسة، مَن لا ينطلق في قراءة مستقبل التوازنات الحرجة التي تقوم بين الحلفين المتقابلين، اللذين تقود أحدهما واشنطن، وتقود الآخر موسكو، من نقطة الثقل الجغرافية والاستراتيجية التي تمثلها سورية، ومشتبه أو مشبوه مَن يتوه أو يريد لنا أن نتوه في تفاصيل غامضة لقراءة التوازنات، حيث الكلام المتضارب، وتقدير الأهمية استنسابي، وتحديد صاحب اليد العليا تحكمه المزاجية والأهواء السياسية، مقابل الوضوح والسطوع اللذين تقدّمهما قراءة الجغرافيا السورية وحركيتها بين المتقاتلين.

– المعركة الأميركية مع روسيا ومع إيران يبقى محورها سورية رغم كثرة مفرداتها، من مواجهة أميركية روسية حول عشرات العناوين من السلاح الاستراتيجي إلى أوكرانيا، مروراً بملفات النفط والغاز يترجم حاصل ميزان القوة فيها، بعرض أميركي للتسوية عنوانه قبول روسي بإخراج إيران من سورية، وكذلك المواجهة الأميركية الإيرانية الممتدة من اليمن إلى العراق وفي رأسها العلني مستقبل الملف النووي، ومحاور التدخل لزعزعة استقرار إيران وحجم الرهان على العقوبات، تختصر كلها بتركيز أميركي على استعداد إيران للتراجع عن تمسكها بالحضور في سورية، وكذلك «إسرائيل» في تجاذباتها مع روسيا تبقى القضية هي سورية، من مستقبل وجود إيران وحزب الله إلى حرية حركة الطيران الإسرائيلي في الأجواء السورية، والصراع الإسرائيلي مع إيران ليس خافياً أن نقطة الثقل فيه تتقرّر في سورية وليس في مكان آخر.

– قراءة الجغرافيا السورية بين المحورين المتقابلين، تقول أولاً إن الحلف الذي يضمّ روسيا وسورية وإيران والمقاومة متماسك في تمسك أطرافه ببعضها في الجغرافيا، فلا يعرض أحد أو يقبل عرضاً ببيع الشريك، وتقول ثانياً إن المحور الذي يرتضي أطرافه أن تكون روسيا هي من ينطق بلسانه في مواجهة الحلف الذي تقوده أميركا، يحقّق التقدّم تلو التقدّم في الجغرافيا السورية براً وبحراً وجواً، منذ سنتين دون انقطاع، من تحرير حلب إلى دير الزور والبادية والغوطة وأرياف حمص وحماة، وصولاً إلى الجنوب حتى حدود الجولان المحتل، وإغلاق الأجواء السورية بشبكات الـ«أس 300»، وتعزيز قدرات البحرية السورية بالقدرات والصواريخ وزوارق التشويش الإلكتروني، وتقول ثالثاً إن المحور المقابل آخذ في التاقلم مع هذه التحولات رغم لغة الإنكار، من معبر القنيطرة إلى معبر نصيب، وما بينهما الاستعداد للانسحاب الأميركي من قاعدة التنف، وصولاً للصمت على الرسائل الصاروخية الإيرانية شرق الفرات.

– تشكل إدلب حلقة مفصلية في قراءة مستقبل الجغرافيا السورية والصراع حولها، ويحلّ غداً موعد الاستحقاق المقرّر في قمة سوتشي لنهاية المرحلة الأولى التي تنص على إخراج الأسلحة الثقيلة والمتوسطة، بعدما فشلت الرهانات على انقلاب تركيا على خيارها بالتعاون مع روسيا، والواضح أن المسار الذي بدأ في إدلب مع انشقاقات بين الجماعات المسلحة وصلت حد التقاتل بينها، بين مَن سيلتزم ومَن سيرفض، يضع الخيارات بين تطبيق سلمي صعب حد الاستحالة، وتطبيق بالقوة لتفاهمات سوتشي. والواضح أن التطبيق بالقوة الذي يتفوق على التطبيق السلمي، يعني التهيؤ لمعارك سيكون بموجبها دخول الجيش السوري مدعوماً من الطيران الروسي وبمشاركة الحلفاء خياراً أحادياً، يتم بقليل من الضجيج الدولي، بعد تفاهم سوتشي، وبقبول تركي على مضض، لكنه سيتم في النهاية، ليقول إن الجغرافيا تتكلم، وإن من يتقدم في الجغرافيا يقلب التوازنات، وإن المكان الذي يصلح لقياس توازنات القوة هو حيث تتكلم الجغرافيا، فكيف إذا كانت الجغرافيا الحاسمة التي تمثلها سورية.

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Sayyed Nasrallah Mourns Um Imad, Responds To Trump Speech

October 12, 2018

Sayyed Nasrallah, Um Imad

Sara Taha Moughnieh

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah delivered a speech on Friday during a ceremony held after three days of Um Imad’s – mother of martyred resistance leader Hajj Imad moughnieh – departure.

Um Imad (Hajje Amena Salameh) passed away on Monday at the age of 80 after having spent a life of sacrifice and patience for the sake of Islam and Freedom.

Sayyed Nasrallah stressed on the significant and active role that Um Imad played in the path of resistance and Islam since she was a young girl indicating that “As Imam Khomeini said ‘The role of the women is similar to that of the Quran, they are both entitled to build the human being’ and Um Imad as a mother played her role perfectly”.

“Um Imad offered us the great leader Hajj Imad Moughnieh, not just by bringing him to life but by raising him to become who he is,” his eminence added.

“Beside her role as a mother, she was an essential part in the establishment of several NGOs since the beginning of the resistance… her house was more like a house for Hezbollah, specifically after the martyrdom of Hajj Imad and while the resistance was passing through a sensitive period,” Sayyed Nasrallah noted.

He added: “She was present at the houses of the martyrs, the old and the new martyrs, despite her age and health state, and she had an impact on everyone who met her… she had strong determination and firmness and aided us in our psychological war.”

In this context, his eminence stressed the special respect, admiration, and care that Hajj Imad had for his mother.

On another hand, Sayyed Nasrallah commented on the speech US President Donald Trump delivered a couple of days ago in which he highlighted the US protection to the wealthy Arab states from “Iran which could take over the Gulf in only 12 minutes”, according to Trump.

Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that under this pretext, Trump has convinced the Middle Eastern states to pay him large amounts of money in order to preserve their regimes.

“This reminds us of Imam Khomeini’s words, when he dubbed the US as a thief, a regime of theft,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, adding that “the former US presidents were also thieves but not this boldly and disrespectfully, as for the current president, he steals the Arabs’ fortunes as he humiliates them.”

“We are in front of a regime that humiliates everyone, even its friends and allies,” Sayyed Nasrallah considered, asserting that “Iran in the eyes of Trump is a great and strong nation despite the siege imposed on it, while all these Arab states buying weapons from the US to protect themselves can fall in only 12 minutes.”

“Trump’s speech revealed that all these Arab and Islamic states are paying Trump the Taxes of staying in power,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, asking: “Who are you wagering on? The US, that refused to give a visa for its ally the overthrown Iranian President Mohammad Reda Pahlavi to get cancer treatment in its territories, despite all the fortunes he spent for its sake while he was in power?”

“Let’s invest all this money in studies for the sake of improving and developing our Arab world…” Sayyed Nasrallah concluded.

Concerning Israeli claims about Hezbollah transferring rockets and what he considered “Netanyahu’s psychological war”, his eminence reassured that Hezbollah’s policy on its weapons is silence no matter what Israeli officials claim.

He assured that Hezbollah will never respond to that and fall in the Israeli trap, stating that “denying Israeli claims would be a free favor offered to Israel”.

Source: Al-Manar

 

سورية وحلف المقاومة تحت المظلة النووية الروسية

أكتوبر 10, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

يبدو أن القدر قد حكم على قيادات «إسرائيل» الأمنية والعسكرية أن تخرج من أزمة لتدخل في أخرى أكثر عمقاً وأبعد تأثيراً من نوبات الكذب والهستيريا التي نضحت بها أحاديث نتن ياهو خلال الفترة القريبة الماضية.

نقول ذلك لأن الأزمة، لا بل النفق المظلم، الذي دخلته القيادات الإسرائيلية، إثر إعلان وزير الدفاع الروسي، الجنرال سيرجيو شويغو، عن تسليم سورية تسعة وأربعين وحدة، من الوحدات المكونة لمنظومة «إس 300» للدفاع الجوي، لا تبدو أزمة عابرة بإمكان غادي ايزينكوت وضباط أركانه حلها او حتى التعامل معها بشكل مهني مقبول في الحدود الدنيا.

كما أن إبلاغ الرئيس بوتين شخصياً بالأمر، وتأكيد وزير الدفاع بأن نشر وتركيب وتشغيل هذه الأنظمة سيُنجز في حد أقصاه يوم العشرين من الشهر الحالي، قد زاد الأمر تعقيداً، لا بل جعله يصل الى حد الكارثة التي لحقت بـ«إسرائيل»، حيث إن هذا الإعلان قد وضع حداً لكل هلوسات بنيامين نتن ياهو وأحلامه بأن يتمكّن من التأثير على الموقف الروسي، بشأن تسليم هذه المنظومات الصاروخية للجيش العربي السوري، لاتجاه تأخير او إلغاء الأمر.

إذن لقد قضي الأمر وأنجزت المهمة واكتمل الطوق…!

أما وقد قضي الأمر فلعل من المفيد الإضاءة على الأسباب التي تقف وراء موجة الرعب هذه، التي تعتري القادة الإسرائيليين، لعلهم ينزلون عن شجرة عنصريتهم وعنجهيتهم واستعلائهم وجنون العظمة الذي يشعرون به، ويبدأون بالتعامل مع الواقع الجديد الناتج عن انتصار قوات محور المقاومة في كامل مسرح العمليات، الممتدّ من باب المندب وصولاً إلى قطاع غزة المستمرّ في مسيرات العودة التي وصلت بالوناتها الحارقة الى مستوطنة موديعين، غرب رام الله، والتي تبعد عن حدود قطاع غزة سبعين كيلومتراً الى سورية التي تستكمل ماراتون تحرير جميع الأراضي السورية وتقترب من تحقيق هدفها بتؤدة وثبات وعزم لا يلين الى لبنان، الذي تصدّى بكل الوسائل لما روّجه نتن ياهو من أكاذيب في الأمم المتحدة، والعراق الذي نجح في استكمال مسيرة ترتيب البيت الداخلي العراقي وانتخابه رئيساً لجمهورية العراق وقيامه بتكليف شخصية توافقية عراقية بتشكيل الحكومة العراقية الجديدة، وما يعنيه ذلك من فشل للولايات المتحدة وأذنابها الصهاينة والأعراب.

وإيران، التي حصلت على قرار أممي يدين إعادة الولايات المتحدة فرض عقوبات عليها، وذلك بعد يومين فقط من رسائلها الصاروخية الهامة الى كل من يعنيه الأمر في المنطقة والعالم.

ونظراً، لكل هذه العوامل المشار اليها أعلاه وعلى أهميتها، فإننا نؤكد وجود مجموعة عوامل أخرى، غاية في الأهمية، تقضّ مضاجع قادة «إسرائيل» السياسية والعسكرية والأمنية. وأهم هذه العوامل هي التالية:

أولاً: إن قرار الرئيس بوتين بتسليم نظام الدفاع الجوي الموحّد، من طراز «أس 300» المطور، للجيش العربي السوري قد اتخذ فور إسقاط الطائرة العسكرية الروسية من طراز اليوشن 20 مساء يوم 17/9/2018. ولعل قادة «إسرائيل» العسكريين، وبسبب ضحالتهم ومحدودية تفكيرهم العسكري، لم يفهموا أبعاد عبارة: نظام الدفاع الجوي الموحّد من طراز / إس 300/ Unified S – S 300 Air Defense Systems، التي ذكرها وزير الدفاع الروسي في معرض إعلانه عن تسليم هذا النظام للجيش العربي السوري.

ثانياً: لذلك نقول لهم: إن هذه العبارة تعني دمج نظام الدفاع الجوي السوري ليس فقط مع نظام الدفاع الجوي الروسي، الذي يحمي موسكو وغيرها من مدن روسيا العظمى، وإنما يعني ما هو أبعد وأهم وأخطر من ذلك بكثير:

إن هذه العبارة تعني دمج أنظمة الدفاع الجوي للجيش العربي السوري، وتالياً الأنظمة التي تشكل غطاء جوياً لقوات حلف المقاومة في سورية ولبنان، تعني دمجها في نظام قيادة الصواريخ النووية الاستراتيجية العابرة للقارات. وهي القيادة التي تسمّى بالانجليزية: C 3 Command او قيادة اليد الميتة: Dead Hand. وهي القيادة السرية للصواريخ النووية الاستراتيجية العابرة للقارات والمكلفة بتنفيذ الضربة النووية الثانية أو ضربة الرد، آلياً أو إلكترونياً ودون وجود أو تدخل أي عنصر بشري، على أي ضربة نووية معادية ينجم عنها تدمير مراكز قيادة القوات النووية الروسية المأهولة، أي التي يديرها ويشغّلها بشر. وهذه القيادة يوازيها في الولايات المتحدة نظام يسمّى AN / DRC – 8 وهي مختصر كلمات: Emergency Rocket Communications systems ERCS .

ثالثاً: إن قرار الدمج هذا، يعني رفع روسيا لمستوى تصدّيها للولايات المتحدة وسياساتها العدوانية في سورية الى حد غير مسبوق، وبالتالي فهو بمثابة تعبير عن قلب لموازين القوى الاستراتيجية بين الدولتين الأقوى في سورية.

وذلك لأن دمج أنظمة الدفاع الجوي السورية بالأنظمة الروسية، كما هو موضح أعلاه، يعني وضع المدن السورية او المحافظات السورية في مستوى المدن والمحافظات الروسية نفسه، التي يحميها نظام الدفاع الجوي والدفاع الصاروخي الروسي المخصص للتصدي للهجمات النووية العابرة للقارات.

وهذا يعني أن الدولة السورية وجميع القوات الحليفة الموجودة على أراضيها قد أصبحت تتمتع بمظلة نووية روسية وليس فقط بنظام دفاع جوي متطوّر جداً من طراز / اس 300/، الأمر الذي يثير رعب القيادة العسكرية والسياسية الإسرائيلية ويفسر تزايد الضغط الدبلوماسي الروسي الذي يركّز على ضرورة رحيل كافة القوات الأجنبية الموجودة على الأرض السورية من دون موافقة الحكومة السورية الشرعية.

رابعاً: وبناء على كل ما تقدم من إيضاحات فإننا ننصح جميع المسؤولين الإسرائيليين، من مدنيين وعسكريين بمن فيهم «ممعوط الذنب» أفيخاي أدرعي، أن يكفوا عن الهراء الذي يردّدونه حول قدرة سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي على التعامل مع أنظمة الدفاع الجوي الجديدة من طراز / أس 300/، الموجودة بحوزة الجيش السوري، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

إن هذه الأنظمة الجديدة تختلف جذرياً عن الأنظمة التي يعرفها سلاح الجو الإسرائيلي، من خلال تدريباته الجوية المشتركة مع سلاح الجو اليوناني في الأجواء اليونانية، والتي تدرّب فيها على التعامل مع أنظمة «إس 300» الموجودة بحوزة الجيش اليوناني، وهي أنظمة قديمة نسبياً ولا يتجاوز مستواها التكنولوجي مستوى أنظمة صواريخ /إس 200/ الموجودة بحوزة الجيش السوري منذ زمن بعيد، لا يتجاوز ذلك المستوى إلا بقليل. وبالتالي فأنتم لا تعرفون شيئاً عن كيفية التعامل مع الأنظمة الجديدة لأنكم تجهلون قدراتها العملياتية بشكل كامل، أي أنكم عميٌ ولا مجال لمواصلة المكابرة والتبجّح.

إن قرار الرئيس بوتين والرئيس الأسد المعلومات تؤكد أن هذه المنظومات كانت موجودة بحوزة الجيش السوري حتى قبل جريمة إسقاط الطائرة الروسية، ولكن الجيش السوري كان يحتفظ بها كمفاجأة تسليحية في حال وقوع أي حرب بينه وبين «إسرائيل» في المستقبل الإعلان عن وجود منظومة إس 300، الأكثر تطوراً، للدفاع الجوي بحوزة الجيش العربي السوري إنما يتعدّى في أهدافه، مواجهة الاعتداءات الإسرائيلية المتكررة على الأراضي السورية، الى اختبار فعالية هذا السلاح، وفِي ظروف قتال حقيقي، في مواجهة طائرات الشبح الأميركية من طراز F 22 وF35 ، بخاصة أن «إسرائيل» تمتلك عدداً من طائرات F 35 والتي تحاول أيضاً اختبارها في ظروف قتالية حقيقية.

وختاماً نقول لهؤلاء الجنرالات الإسرائيليين الخائبين: إنكم وجيشكم أصغر من أن تلعبوا مع الكبار، بدءاً بروسيا العظمى مروراً بإيران التي رسمت لكم ليس فقط خطاً أحمر عن بُعد، بل وخطاً صاروخياً تعرفون بالضبط تأثيراته على الجبهة الداخلية الإسرائيلية، تلك الجبهة التي تترنّح بسبب الطائرات والبالونات الفلسطينية الحارقة التي تنطلق من قطاع غزة، وصولاً الى لبنان التي خاطبكم منها سيد المقاومة، سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله، في أحد خطاباته قائلاً:

إن قوات المقاومة باتت أقوى من جيشكم.

وأخيراً عساكم تفقهون بأن نظرية ثنائي الطائرة والدبابة ونقل المعركة الى عمق أراضي العدو، التي طبّقتها ألمانيا النازية، بقيادة هتلر، في الأعوام 1939 في بولندا و1940 في فرنسا و1941 في الاتحاد السوفياتي، قد سقطت وعفى عليها الزمن، أي Caduc ، كما يُقال بالفرنسية.

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله.

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New Silk Roads define brand China

 

October 05, 2018New Silk Roads define brand China

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

Belt and Road Initiative is a strategic axis embodying the organizing Chinese foreign policy concept for the next three decades

The New Silk Roads symbolize way more than high-speed rail lines crisscrossing Eurasia, or a maze of highways, pipelines and port connectivity. They represent a Chinese alliance with at least 65 participating nations, responsible for 62% of the world’s population and 31% of its GDP.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), as it’s formally known, is not a “road” or a collection of roads, like the Ancient Silk Road. It’s a strategic axis embodying the organizing Chinese foreign policy concept for the next three decades. And BRI goes beyond Eurasia and Africa, extending all the way to Latin America as well, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed in January at the summit between China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states.

Tackling every field from communications strategy to infrastructure, finance, culture, education and geopolitical relations between states, BRI aims to reinforce China’s political capital.

The emphasis so far – we’re still in the initial planning stage – is not even on concrete projects, although some are already game-changers. Take for instance the new railway linking the dry port of Khorgos, on the China-Kazakhstan border, to Almaty (in Kazakhstan), Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara (in Uzbekistan), Turkmenabat (in Turkmenistan), to Mashhad in Iran and all the way to Tehran.

Because China is the only nation in the world to have devised a nearly global strategy in terms of trade and investment, BRI is allowing China to shape what Washington defines as the “rules-based” international system closer to its priorities. The global economic context, slowly but surely, will be adapting to what BRI represents.

So it comes as no surprise that from an Anglo-American point of view, BRI-bashing is now a cottage industry. BRI is routinely derided as neo-colonialism and debt enslavement, pronounced “dead” in Malaysia – and soon to be dead in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Yet the fact is Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad, for instance, sees BRI as an opportunity – as it aims to connect Eurasia with each city node profiting from the increased business traffic. BRI just needs to be tweaked to fit into each nation’s priorities.

Expanding the brand

BRI is now merged into the China brand. BRI is the brand leading to the “Chinese Dream” that President Xi Jinping is promoting, of a global power with pride of place in the international order.

The leadership in Beijing will be learning a few BRI lessons – fast. Expect the focus to be centered on a few, selected infrastructure projects able to make their mark and set quality standards. Pakistani diplomats, for instance, are convinced CPEC – the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor – is one of these projects.

Beijing will be more attentive to developments that practically improve people’s lives in BRI-participating nations, decided in a more transparent manner. So expect, the Asia Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB), for example, to work more closely with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

BRI-bashing is inevitably linked to the fact that Western geopolitical and geoeconomic dominance – a brief historical interlude – is coming to an end. As Kishore Mahbubani, Singapore’s former UN ambassador argues in his latest small tome ‘Has The West Lost It?’ that the rules of the new world order will be set in the East, that international law is bound to change, and the heart of financial institutions and global trading structures will be dominated by China and India.

Now imagine the haughty West having to adapt to a new normal that responds to a Confucian – or even Hindu – way of organizing society. The only American response so far has been to launch a self-defeating trade war.

It does not matter that Xi is trying hard to apply Confucian ethics to the vast spectrum of rational governance. The Western depiction of China as a neo-Orwellian autocracy-surveillance state is bound to persist – condemned to suffering the ignominy of a middle-income trap and even to be the loser in an eventual war generated by a recycled Thucydides Trap.

So expect books with titles such as “The End of the Asian Century”, drenched in racism, to continue arguing that the Chinese miracle is dead and what lies ahead is nothing but a “weak and dangerous” Asia.

It may be enlightening to introduce the work of the great Paul Virilio, who recently passed away, into this debate. The creator of a discipline, “dromology” (dromos = speed), developed in essential books such as ‘Speed and Politics’(originally published in France in 1977) and ‘The Aesthetics of Disappearance’ (1980), Virilio, before anyone else, anticipated the era of global “tele-surveillance”.

High speed and depth of field

Speed, as Virilio analyzed it, is an essential factor in the distribution of wealth and power. In each historical epoch, the dominant mode of transport determines the organization of society. From Ancient Greece – home of the popular saying “those who make ships sail govern the city” – to the horse riding at the basis of feudalism and the rail dynasties during the explosion of capitalism.

China has a particular relationship with speed. The speed of its own economic miracle has no historical parallels. BRI may be – for now – progressing at slow speed, but a possible future vision may be glimpsed via China’s obsession with high-speed rail and how what happens inside China may offer the blueprint for a BRI-linked Eurasia.

Internally, China is organizing itself around 20 mega-urban environments with tens of millions of people each. Shenzhen, in the Pearl River Delta, is already China’s fourth economic hub, where almost half of all international patents are registered.

The $18-billion, 55 kilometer-long Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge now allows a 180-minute loop starting from Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok Airport across the New Territories, Shenzhen and its state of the art airport, the upper part of the Pearl River Delta on the way to Guangzhou, Zhongshan, Zhuhai and finally Macau. The Great Bay Area incorporates 10 cities.

Beijing for its part boasts seven ring roads. The latest, the G 95 (Capital Region Ring Expressway), inaugurated in early 2017, runs for 940 kilometers, structuring the immense in-progress Jing-Jin-Ji megalopolis (Beijing, Tianjin and certain areas of Hebei).

Virilio, decades before our lives became ruled by a complex of screens, was already delineating how the single formatting of the world in parallel to the reconstitution of local feudalities was a double threat linked to the decline of the nation-state.

China though is a civilization-state, and BRI may hint at something completely different. Virilio stressed that if the world is flat – as it seems to be now – it loses its depth of field and that man loses its depth of action and reflection, turning into a two-dimensional man. That’s the condition to which the kingdom of the screen condemns us.

But what if BRI, with its emphasis on high-speed connectivity, was aiming at three-dimensional man with a depth of field not only Eurasian, but virtually global?

America Hits China in Order to Frighten Russia

America Hits China in Order to Frighten Russia

September 26, 2018

By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-america-hits-china-in-order-to-frighten-russia/
source: https://ukraina.ru/exclusive/20180925/1021237227.html

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The Americans introduced a new package of anti-Chinese sanctions. It is interesting that this time the actions of Washington aren’t connected to the economy in any way, but bear an exclusively military-political charge…

The Central Military Commission of China was hit because of its purchase of 10 Russian Su-35 and equipment for surface-to-air S-400 missiles. Or more precisely, China was allegedly hit — a number of its average importance employees are now forbidden from granting American export licenses, performing currency transactions in American jurisdiction, and the US can also arrest their property and freeze their accounts in its territory.

It’s possible to call these sanctions ridiculous. It is clear that all of this is already forbidden for the corresponding officials within the framework of Chinese legislation. In comparison with the introduction of prohibitive duties on Chinese goods worth hundreds of billions of dollars exported to the US, this isn’t even a mosquito bite. It’s simply nothing. But there is a nuance. Washington stressed that the final addressee of the sanctions is Russia, which allegedly interferes with the American elections, behaves badly in the East of Ukraine, and in general prevents America from living worldwide.

I think that the US thus reacted not to the specific purchase by China of Russian military equipment, but to the general strengthening of military-political cooperation between Russia and China.

Two years ago, when Xi Jinping suggested to Russia to seal a military-political union between the countries in the form of a binding contract, I already happened to write that in the present conditions it is unprofitable to Russia to sign documents of this sort. This would not just make Russian foreign policy dependent on the decisions made in Beijing, but would also allow China to behave much more rigidly towards the US thanks to the coercive reorientation of Russian activity in the Far East. But in the European theater the level of China’s support for Russia wouldn’t grow. Unlike Russia, China isn’t present there territorially, i.e., a direct threat doesn’t come to it from Europe, but in the Pacific theater of military operations Beijing needs to concentrate practically all its resources against the US, and preferably also the maximum amount of Russian resources too.

But I wrote that the non-formalisation of relations in the form of a binding contract doesn’t mean the absence of a Russian-Chinese military-political union in practice. It exists. It acts. It is directed against the US, like against a general threat. But at the same time, at every separate moment Moscow and Beijing make a decision about the level of support for each other in a specific region, proceeding from the general geopolitical situation.

Obviously, for some time Washington amused itself with the same illusions found among Russian SOS-patriots [members of Russian society who have a habit of reacting over-emotionally to news concerning foreign policy matters – ed], who for some reason consider that if a specific paper isn’t signed, then it is impossible to establish cooperation in any way. The statements and actions of both the administration of Obama (in the latter years of his reign) and Trump testifies that the US hopes to divide Russia and China and fight against them separately — against Russia on the European battlefield, and against China in the Pacific battlefield. It would give America the chance to manoeuvre with resources, throwing them against the main, at the current moment, opponent.

These hopes were surprising even earlier. Perhaps the Americans overestimated the efficiency of the anti-Chinese propaganda organised by them in the Russian media and expert community, intimidating Russians by talking about the “Chinese occupation” of Siberia and the Far East. By the way, the Americans tried to unleash similar anti-Russian propaganda in China with the help of local expert circles. But, anyway, they definitively vanished when Russia once again asymmetrically responded to the American intrigues that lead towards an increase in tensions in Syria and in Ukraine, and also to attempts to block Russian-German (and more widely – Russian-European) energy cooperation.

Moscow staged large-scale drills in the Far East (“Vostok-2018”), having involved in total over 300,000 people (a third of the combat structure of the army). Russia earlier showed its possibilities for operative manoeuvres via forces and means and for the creation, in the shortest possible time, of shock groups in any strategic directions. But such a number of troops have never been involved in exercises of this sort before. Russia extremely transparently showed to Washington that it is capable in only a few days of gathering in the Far East a group of troops of any number and structure, and also to provide military operations during an unlimited period of time.

The participation of a Chinese contingent in the exercises unambiguously showed who this military activity was aimed at. At the same time, it is necessary to understand that for the creation and provision of a two-three times smaller group (on the territories of ally states, with developed in advance infrastructure) Washington usually needs from two months to half a year. I.e., in the event of a joint Russian-Chinese military action in the region, the US will be able to react (without the use of the strategic nuclear weapons) only when it will have already ended.

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Meanwhile, in the 90’s and in the beginning of the 2000’s the US ensured their military-political domination in the world precisely thanks to the ability to quickly create in any region of the planet a grouping capable, by means of conventional arms, of suppressing any opponent in the zone of responsibility. Back then Russia was able to defend its territory only because an attack on Russia meant the beginning of nuclear war, but it couldn’t effectively resist the US outside its own borders, which the Americans actively exploited.

During the “Vostok-2018” exercises it was convincingly shown to America that in this region its former advantage had disappeared. It can’t effectively resist joint Russian-Chinese military activity. At the same time, the US has no reason to opt for a nuclear confrontation, because their territory is reliably protected from non-nuclear military action by the ocean, where (for now) the American fleet dominates.

In fact, the military-political squeezing of the US out of Southeast Asia has started, like how earlier Russia started to squeeze Washington out of the Middle East during the Syrian campaign. The concept “Big Eurasia”, besides the earlier inherent in it economic outlines, obtained a concrete military-political form. The sharp breakthrough in inter-Korean dialogue, which took place practically on the terms of Pyongyang, is the best confirmation of this.

Already in the spring of this year the US, relying on its South Korean ally, threatened the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with military aggression. Back then China took a hard line, having notified Washington that if the Americans will strike the first blow, then Beijing will give Northern Korea military support. Russia expressed itself more flexibly, having called for the parties to hold dialogue and having put its troops in the region on full combat readiness. Nobody doubted whose side Moscow would be on in the event of a military conflict. By the way, the dialogue that took place soon after between Trump and Kim Jong-un was regarded in the world as a victory for Pyongyang, and thus its allies too.

And after less than half a year had passed since those events, the Republic of Korea, looking at its northern neighbor through the crosshairs and preparing for war, reaches unprecedented agreements on political and economic interaction with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the exchange of visits starts, during which sincere friendliness and full mutual understanding is shown. But inter-Korean dialogue and peace between two Koreas means for the US the loss of the South Korean bridgehead. And after having lost military-political influence over Seoul, Washington will also lose economic influence. And this is seen in all Southeast Asia. This is a catastrophe.

For the Russians who got used to a Euro-centric policy, events in the Far East aren’t so obvious, but their geopolitical meaning is huge. The loss of control over Southeast Asia makes for the US any attempts to remain in Europe and in the Middle East senseless. They simply can’t be insured with resources (neither military-politically, nor economically).

That’s why Washington is nervous and sends signals of its discontent with the developing Russian-Chinese military cooperation, which unexpectedly for the US, without any written contracts, came to the level of close interaction that has destroyed the American military-political control over Southeast Asia that took decades to build.

Yes, these signals aren’t convincing. But the US already used everything serious that they could use in the sphere of the economy against Russia in 2014-2015, when Obama was sure that he had torn the Russian economy to pieces. And the Trump administration already involved all available sanctions mechanisms against China. Anyway, it is impossible to introduce duties that are greater than the volume of Chinese export, but the US has already come close to this threshold.

Of course, the Chinese economy is more vulnerable to American attacks than the Russian one. Beijing, unlike Moscow, wasn’t engaged during 15 years in the concealed reorganisation of its economy and the creation even not of import-substituting enterprises, but of whole spheres. Those several years that were lacking for full strategic self-sufficiency, due to the ahead of schedule eruption of the Ukrainian crisis, were made up in 2014-2016. Now Russia is capable not only of standing on its feet, but also of supporting China.

Without the severance of the Russian-Chinese union – unwritten, but no less strong and effective as a result – Washington isn’t able to reach any of its strategic objectives, neither in Trump’s concept, nor in Clinton/Obama’s concept. The only thing that the US is capable of doing, which they obviously lead affairs towards, is to set fire to some more regions and to try to additionally foment already existing conflicts in order to leave behind only ruins for the winners, like the retreating Germans did in 1943-1945.

But the concept of scorched earth didn’t save the Reich, and it won’t save the US either. It will simply cause additional damage to America’s allies, who are being scorched just to spite Russia. And this means that those from them who still can break free from the leash will flee from Washington en masse. After all, they have no place to hide except under the Russian-Chinese umbrella. There is no force in the world anymore that would throw down to the US a military-political and economic challenge and would force Washington to retreat on all fronts, including the internal one – where, as the Americans try to assure, Russia elects presidents for them.

 

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