Damascus and Moscow Facing the Siege… Economy First! دمشق وموسكو بمواجهة الحصار.. الاقتصاد أولاً!

October 16, 2020 Arabi Souri

Russian Military Presence in Syria - Hmeimim Airbase - Moscow - Damascus

Moscow and Damascus realize after five years of the Russian presence in Syria that if Russia leaves its political and military position in Syria, the consequences will be very dangerous for the region.

Dima Nassif, director of Al-Mayadeen office in Damascus, wrote (source in Arabic) the following piece for the Lebanese news channel about the latest developments in the Russian – Syrian relations in light of the latest visit of the Russian top delegation to Damascus followed by a Syrian delegation visit to Moscow:

The visit of the Syrian Minister of Presidential Affairs to Moscow at the head of an economic delegation, a few days ago, may have slipped from media circulation, despite its close connection with the completion of the Russian-Syrian talks or agreements that were reached during the recent visit of the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Borisov and the Russian delegation. It is possible to build on it to launch a Russian-Syrian partnership paper to confront sanctions, including the US ‘Caesar Act‘.

The crowding of readings and interpretations of the visit of the Russian delegation and the presence of Sergey Lavrov after eight years to Damascus can be interpreted as just a temporary Russian economic bargaining – to cross the psychological barrier left by the American pressure on Moscow, to prevent the return of the political process to Geneva, and to exert Russian internal pressure by a current opposing the policy of Putin in Syria – that final understandings must be reached on the Constitutional Committee before the Syrian presidential elections in June 2021.

This visit, as the results confirm, is no further than full support for the Syrian state politically and economically, as it does not come under the heading of Russian initiatives to barter or compromise Damascus’s positions on the political process, the liberation of Idlib, or even eastern Syria. Lavrov’s presence in Damascus was against the backdrop of the “Caesar Act”, not Astana or any other address.

Among the deficiencies of some in Moscow against Damascus are its rigid positions in the face of Russian proposals, which calls for flexibility in negotiations on the part of the Syrian side, and the easing of some formalities that may be interpreted in the way that the Syrian leadership does not wish to cooperate or make any progress in the political process before the elections, repeating the phrase that there is no agreement without agreeing on everything.

On the other hand, Damascus believes that the political process should be based on a long-term strategy, to avoid the traps that Turkey might place through its groups within the opposition delegation, as President Al-Assad spoke in his recent meetings to Russian media.

Columns of cars crowded in front of petrol stations in Syrian cities two months ago did not allow to feel Russian support to alleviate the consequences of the “Caesar Act” and its impact. Then came the huge losses in forest fires and agricultural lands in the countrysides of Lattakia, Homs, Tartous, and Hama, this was quickly seized by the American embassy in Damascus, calling on the Syrian government to protect its citizens, in a naive attempt and unprofessional rhetoric, to test its ability to incite the incubating environment (of the Syrian state), as Caesar (Act) promised in the folds of its goals, without an American understanding of the peculiarity of this environment, which has stood its positions throughout the war, despite all the living and security pressures on its lives.

Moscow, and with it Damascus, after five years of the Russian presence in Syria, are aware that the consequences of Russia leaving its political and military position in Syria will be very dangerous for the region, as the Russian presence aims to ensure security and make the world order more just and balanced, as President Al-Assad said. Ankara’s transfer of the militants from the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda groups to the Azerbaijan front, and before it to Libya, is only the first sign of the expansion of the Turkish project in the region after its failure in Syria, and it is the basis of Moscow’s involvement in the Syrian war, and will not allow its transfer to its own walls.

Intercontinental Wars – Part 2: The Counterattack

Intercontinental Wars – Part 3 The Open Confrontation

https://www.syrianews.cc/intercontinental-wars-part-3-the-open-confrontation/embed/#?secret=F3H13Q3E96

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ديمة ناصيف 

المصدر: الميادين نت

13 تشرين اول 14:02

تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بعد 5 سنوات على الوجود الروسي في سوريا، بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري في سوريا فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة.

تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة
تدرك موسكو ومعها دمشق بأنه إذا ما غادرت روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري فإن التبعات ستكون خطرة جداً على المنطقة

قد تكون زيارة وزير شؤون الرئاسة السورية إلى موسكو على رأس وفد اقتصادي، قبل أيام، قد مرَّت بعيداً من التداول الإعلامي، رغم ارتباطها الوثيق باستكمال المحادثات أو الاتفاقيات الروسية السورية، التي تمّ التوصل إليها خلال زيارة نائب رئيس الحكومة الروسية بوريسوف الأخيرة والوفد الروسي، وبات من الممكن البناء عليها لإطلاق ورقة شراكة روسية سورية لمواجهة العقوبات، بما فيها قانون “قيصر” الأميركي.

ازدحام القراءات والتأويلات لزيارة الوفد الروسي وحضور سيرغي لافروف بعد 8 سنوات إلى دمشق، يمكن تفسيره بأنه مجرد مساومة اقتصادية روسية مؤقتة – لعبور الحاجز النفسي الذي خلّفه الضغط الأميركي على موسكو، ومنع إعادة العملية السياسية إلى جنيف، وممارسة ضغط داخلي روسي من قبل تيار يعارض سياسة بوتين في سوريا – بوجوب التوصل إلى تفاهمات نهائية حول اللجنة الدستورية قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية السورية في حزيران/يونيو 2021.

هذه الزيارة، كما تؤكد النتائج، ليست أبعد من دعم كامل للدولة السورية سياسياً واقتصادياً، فهي لا تندرج تحت عنوان مبادرات روسية تقايض أو تساوم مواقف دمشق حول العملية السياسية أو تحرير إدلب أو حتى الشرق السوري. كان حضور لافروف في دمشق على خلفية قانون “قيصر”، وليس أستانة أو أي عنوان آخر.

ومن مآخذ البعض في موسكو على دمشق، مواقفها المتصلّبة في وجه الطروحات الروسية، ما يستدعي إبداء مرونة في التفاوض من جانب الطرف السوري، والتخفف من بعض الشكليات التي قد تُفسَّر على نحو أن القيادة السورية لا ترغب في التعاون أو إنجاز أي تقدم على صعيد العملية السياسية قبل الانتخابات، وترديد عبارة أن لا اتفاق من دون الاتفاق على كل شيء.

في المقابل، ترى دمشق أن العملية السياسية يجب أن تكون مبنية على استراتيجية مرحلية طويلة الأمد، لتجنب أفخاخ قد تضعها تركيا من خلال مجموعاتها داخل وفد المعارضة، كما تحدث الرئيس الأسد في لقاءاته الأخيرة إلى وسائل إعلام روسية.

ولم تسمح أرتال السيارات المزدحمة أمام محطات الوقود في المدن السورية منذ شهرين بتلمّس الدعم الروسي للتخفيف من تبعات “قيصر” ووطأته، ثم جاءت الخسائر الهائلة في حرائق الأحراج والأراضي الزراعية في أرياف اللاذقية وحمص وطرطوس وحماة، الأمر الذي تلقفته السفارة الأميركية في دمشق سريعاً، لتدعو الحكومة السورية إلى حماية مواطنيها، في محاولة ساذجة وخطاب غير محترف، لاختبار قدرتها على تأليب البيئة الحاضنة، كما وعد “قيصر” في طيات أهدافه، من دون فهم أميركيّ لخصوصية هذه البيئة التي ثبتت على مواقفها طيلة الحرب، رغم كل الضغوطات المعيشية والأمنية على حياتها. 

تدرك موسكو، ومعها دمشق، بعد 5 سنوات على الوجود الروسي في سوريا، أن تبعات مغادرة روسيا موقعها السياسي والعسكري في سوريا ستكون خطيرة جداً على المنطقة، فالتواجد الروسي يهدف إلى ضمان الأمن، وجعل النظام العالمي أكثر عدلاً وتوازناً، كما قال الرئيس الأسد. إنّ نقل أنقرة للمسلحين من المجموعات الإخوانية والقاعدية إلى جبهة أذربيجان، وقبلها ليبيا، ليس إلا أولى ملامح توسع المشروع التركي في الإقليم بعد فشله في سوريا، وهو أساس انخراط موسكو في الحرب السورية، ولن تسمح بانتقاله إلى أسوارها.

War in Nagorno-Karabakh Is a Gamechanger in Russian-Turkish Relations

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, October 17, 2020

After Turkey downed a Russian jet operating in Syria in late 2015, there was a major risk that the Syrian War could explode into a greater conflict between the two Eurasian countries. The Turkish attack resulted in the death of two Russian servicemen and relations between Moscow and Ankara were again tested in December 2016 when Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated by off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the explanation from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the assassination was not ordered by the state, Nordic Monitor has published compelling evidence that Altıntaş had strong connections to the so-called Turkish deep state. Despite these major setbacks in Russian-Turkish relations, by the end of 2017 the two countries signed a $2.5 billion agreement for Turkey to acquire the Russian-made S-400 air defence system, considered the most sophisticated of its kind in the world.

As is well-known, this deal resulted in tense relations between Turkey and its NATO allies, and many speculated that with Russian encouragement Ankara would eventually leave the Atlantic Alliance. It is highly unlikely that Turkey will ever leave NATO willingly or be ejected from the organization. Turkey, as a key country connecting East and West and controlling Straits linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, knows that it is one of the most important geostrategic countries in the world and can afford to leverage both NATO and Russia to advance its own ambitions.

The Russian-Turkish partnership has seen Ankara acquire the S-400 system, Russia has a critical part in the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, and cooperation on significantly reducing conflict in Syria. However, it now appears that Moscow is becoming increasingly frustrated and antagonized by Ankara’s constant escalation of hostilities across Russia’s southern flank and/or areas of interest. Despite Russia and Turkey cooperating in Syria, they support opposing sides in Libya, but this is not considered a major issue between them, or at least not enough to change the course of their bilateral relations. However, the war in Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, has exposed the fragility of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

Artsakh, despite being an integral part of the Armenian homeland for over 2,500 years and always maintaining an overwhelmingly Armenian majority population, was assigned to the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic in the early 1920’s. However, in 1989 Armenians in Artsakh demanded unification with the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. This demand was ultimately rejected by Moscow. However, the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 sparked a war in Artsakh. The Armenians achieved a decisive victory in 1994 and the Republic of Artsakh emerged, although it is still internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan.Turkey and Syria Are at War Without a Declaration of War

The OSCE Minsk Group, comprising of France, Russia and the U.S., is the foremost international body attempting to end the decades-long conflict between the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although minor wars and skirmishes have been commonplace since 1994, the current war is the most serious escalation, especially when considering the internationalization of the conflict because of Turkey’s transfer of special forces, military advisers, and more importantly, Syrian jihadist mercenaries.

Many within the Syrian government and military have expressed frustration that Russia effectively prevented a Syrian Army offensive at the beginning of the year to liberate more areas of Idlib from Turkish-backed jihadist rule. It is likely that Moscow’s push for a ceasefire in Idlib was to appease Turkey in the hope that it would slowly de-escalate and eventually withdraw from Syria. However, Erdoğan used the lull in the fighting in Idlib to transfer Syrian jihadist mercenaries to fight in Libya. These militants fight on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords based in Tripoli. They are in opposition to the Libyan National Army, which is based in Tobruk and has ties to Russia.

The transfer of Syrian militants to Libya certainly concerned Moscow, but Libya is not as geopolitically crucial for Russia. However, the transfer of Syrian militants to Azerbaijan brings various terrorists and mujahideen forces right to the very doorstep of Russia in the South Caucasus. Whereas Syrian militants in Idlib and Libya were no real threat to Russia directly, bringing such forces can now easily put them in direct contact with Islamist terrorists based in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia in Russia’s Caucasus region.

This will likely be a gamechanger in Russian-Turkish relations.

Moscow’s reaction to Turkey transferring Syrian terrorists to Azerbaijan is beginning to reveal itself. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow “has never considered Turkey as a strategic ally” and emphasized that Russian military observers should be placed on the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly calls for Turkey to be involved in the Minsk Group or in negotiations, Russia has continually blocked Ankara from being involved in any negotiations.

Russia’s frustration with Turkey can even be felt in the East Mediterranean now. As recently as September 5, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova angered many Greeks when she urged states to be “guided by common sense and take into consideration the geographical peculiarities of a region” when discussing Turkey’s illegal claims against Greece in the East Mediterranean. Zakharova effectively adopted Turkey’s arguments that if Athens enacts its international legal right to extend its territorial waters from six nautical miles to 12, then the Aegean will effectively become a “Greek lake,” and therefore the Turks believe “common sense” has to prevail over this “geographical peculiarity.”

However, only yesterday, it appeared that Moscow now indirectly supports Greece’s position in the East Mediterranean, with the Russian Embassy in Athens tweeting that “Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is the starting point. We consider the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea the ‘cornerstone’ of international maritime agreements. The Convention explicitly provides for the sovereign right of all States to have territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles and sets out the principles and methods for delimiting the [Exclusive Economic Zone]. This also applies to the Mediterranean.”

It was also announced yesterday that Lavrov will be making a working visit to Greece on October 28. Russia’s repositioning on the East Mediterranean issue by firmly supporting a states’ right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles as permitted by international law, something that Turkey has said would be a “reason for war” if Greece enacts its legal right, is likely part of its retaliation against Erdoğan’s transfer of Syrian terrorists to the doorstep of Dagestan. Although Moscow tolerated Erdoğan’s aggression in Syria, Iraq and Libya, by threatening war on Armenia, a Collective Security Treaty Organization member state, and transferring militants to the border of Dagestan, Turkey has overstepped Russia’s patience and this can be considered a gamechanger in their bilateral relations.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

US Is the Top Human Rights Violator in the World, and It’s Not Even Close

By Danny Haiphong

Source

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Few things are more politicized and distorted in the United States than the subject of human rights. Over the last two generations, the U.S. political class and its conduits in the corporate media have weaponized human rights to serve an imperialist agenda. NGOs such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International tend to focus much of their time crafting human rights narratives on matters of critical importance to the U.S. Department of State. Syria, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and a host of countries have been condemned by these organizations for alleged human rights violations. Since 2018, China has been targeted for the same treatment.

China is accused of detaining millions of Xinjiang-based Uyghurs in “concentration camps.” Thanks to Ajit Singh and The Grayzone, we know that the sources for these allegations are far from reliable. We know that the principle source for all things Xinjiang in the U.S. is Adrian Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who believes he is led by God to overthrow the Communist Party of China. We know that the Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders responsible for the study that conducted a total of eight total interviews to derive conclusions of mass Uyghur internment is heavily funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA-linked organization. We also know that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) currently leading the charge to demonize China on human rights issues is sponsored by military contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.

The primary concern of institutions such as ASPI is not the issue of human rights, but rather the creation of an atmosphere of war that will service its donors in the U.S. weapons industry. This is exactly what the propagation of the “Uyghur oppression” narrative has achieved. While relying completely on speculation, faulty satellite imagery, and testimonies from Uyghur-exile groups funded by the NED, the successful penetration of the baseless claim that China is detaining millions of Muslims in camps has played an important role in building up public support in the U.S. for a New Cold War against China. U.S. public opinion of China has dropped significantly over the past year. The U.S. has used the Uyghur human rights narrative to successfully sanction businesses and Communist Party of China officials in Xinjiang.

When U.S. officials accuse other countries of human rights violations, what comes afterward is always far worse than the allegations. After 9/11, U.S. intelligence agencies accused Saddam Hussein of stockpiling non-existent Weapons of Mass destruction. The U.S. went on to invade Iraq in 2003—a war that caused the death of over one million Iraqi civilians and poisoned thousands more with toxic depleted uranium. In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi was accused of “murdering his own people” only to have Libya transformed into a failed state following a more than six month bombing campaign by NATO to protect a jihadist insurgency. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has been repeatedly accused of using chemical weapons “on his own people.” Syria has been mired in an endless war with both the U.S. and its regional allies which has left hundreds of thousands of dead, millions displaced, and nearly one-third of its oil-rich and water-rich territory occupied by the U.S. military.

These examples are just a few of many that demonstrate why the U.S. is the chief human rights violator in the world. However, it is important to note that how the United States conducts itself abroad is a reflection of the myriad of ways that it violates the human rights of people living in the United States. Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Sandra Bland, and Michael Brown are just a few of hundreds of examples of Black Americans that have been killed by police officers without redress. An average of 1,000 people in the United States are killed by police officers each year. Unlike the U.S.-led Xinjiang narrative, it is well-documented that over 2 million people reside in U.S. prisons and that nearly three-quarters of that prison population is Black, Latino, or Native American.

The U.S. is home to a quarter of all prisoners in the world. Around 80,000 of these prisoners are held in solitary confinement, a practice of prolonged isolation that the U.N. has firmly declared to be an act of torture. Research suggests that solitary confinement is directly linked to a host of psychological maladies from psychosis to suicide. Solitary confinement also causes lasting structural damage to the brain, especially in the hippocampus region responsible for memory and spatial awareness. Widespread use of solitary confinement in the U.S. is not a benign practice but one that specifically targets racial groups. Over forty percent of all male prisoners in solitary confinement are Black American. The world has long known that the U.S. engages in torture abroad at CIA black sites and Guantanamo Bay Prison but fewer are aware of how torture is commonplace in the U.S.’ numerous prisons.

For decades, the U.S. has accused countries such as China of the very policies that make up the foundations of its domestic and foreign policy. U.S. elites have accused China of suppressing free speech but say little about the NSA’s massive surveillance program or the attempted extradition of a non-citizen in Julian Assange for publishing documents relating to U.S. war crimes. China has been accused of sterilizing ethnic minorities yet U.S. officials have failed to scrutinize documented cases of sterilization within U.S. immigration detention centers or its mistreatment of Muslim citizens since the War on Terror was declared in 2001. The Economist has accused China of using its anti-poverty campaign to build loyalty to the Communist Party of China but has yet to call out Joe Biden or Donald Trump for ignoring the needs of the forty percent of people in the U.S. who have virtually no disposable income. China is routinely accused of possessing an “aggressive” foreign policy by the same policy makers and thought leaders who have kept the U.S. at war for more than two-hundred years of its existence.

The ideology of American exceptionalism has created the illusion that the U.S. deserves to hold a monopoly on the issue of human rights. American exceptionalism presumes that the United States is the model example for countries and peoples all over the world. However, the days when the world was forced to bow to the U.S. are over. Most of the world sees the U.S. as the biggest threat to human rights and a peaceful existence. The U.S.’s human rights track record suggests that the world is correct, and it is the entire planet that suffers when issues such as war, climate change, poverty, and racism are blamed on China rather than addressed with solidarity and cooperation at a global level. 

President Assad Interview with Sputnik TV and the Full Interview Transcript

President Bashar Assad interview with Russian Sputnik

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad gave a couple of interviews to Russian media commemorating the Russian fifth year of military intervention in Syria aiding the Syrian army combating US-sponsored terror.

In this interview with the Russian Sputnik TV addresses a number of current topics including the Turkish instigation of the current escalations in Nagorno-Karabach, Erdogan’s use of foreign and Syrian mercenary terrorists in his interventions in Syria, Libya, and now between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Trump’s plot to assassinate him, his take on the US elections and expectations of the new US president in regards to US meddling in Syria, COVID 19 and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the military and political relations between Syria and Russia.

President Assad also addressed the Israeli occupation of the Golan, the Iranian presence in Syria, and the US and Turkish occupation of parts in eastern and northern Syria.

On the upcoming US elections and Trump’s nomination or a Nobel Peace Prize, President Assad: ‘There’s no president in the USA, there’s a CEO who implements the will of the board: the lobbyists for major corporations, those are the banks, armaments, oil… etc.’

President Assad also answered a question whether he intends to run for the coming Syrian presidential elections next year, and about the Syrian army’s need for modern weapons including S400 or advanced versions of S300 air defense systems.

Sputnik TV has been releasing short clips of the interview, here they released what’s believed to be half of the interview on their French YouTube channel with French subtitles.

We’ve added English subtitles to this part of the interview based on the transcript provided by SANA for people who prefer to read and people with hearing disabilities in the following video followed by the transcript of the full interview, both parts:https://videopress.com/embed/PQWtLurT?preloadContent=metadata&hd=1The video is also available on BitChute.

Question 1: Mr. President, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to have this interview at these days when we remember that five years ago the Russian assistance came to Syria. So, after five years of the Russian military operation, nowadays can you say that the war in Syria now is over?

President Assad: No, definitely not. As long as you have terrorists occupying some areas of our country and committing different kinds of crimes and assassinations and other crimes, it’s not over, and I think their supervisors are keen to make it continue for a long time. That’s what we believe.

Question 2: And what moments of the heroism of the Russians do you recall and keep in your heart? Which of them do you consider worth telling to your grandchildren, let’s say?

President Assad: There are so many, and I remember some of them, of course. After five years of this cooperation between the Syrian and the Russian army in a vicious war, I think heroism is becoming a collective act; it’s not individual, it’s not only a few cases of heroism that you remember. For example, if you think about military aircraft pilots – the air force, Russian pilots kept flying over the terrorists on a daily basis, risking their lives, and you had a few aircrafts that had been shot down by the terrorists. If you talk about the other officers, they are supporting the Syrian army not in the rear lines, but in the front lines and as a consequence you had martyrs. What I’m going to tell my grandchildren someday is not only about this heroism, but I’m also going to talk about these common values that we have in both our armies that made us brothers during this war; these noble values, faithful to their causes, defending civilians, defending the innocent. Many things to talk about in this war.

Question 3: And what moment does symbolize for you a turning point during this conflict, during this war?

President Assad: It’s been now nearly ten years since the war started, so we have many turning points that I can mention, not only one. The first is in 2013 when we started liberating many areas, especially the middle of Syria, from al-Nusra. Then in 2014, it was in the other direction when ISIS appeared suddenly with American support and they occupied a very important part of Syria and Iraq at the same time; this is when the terrorists started occupying other areas, because ISIS was able to distract the Syrian Army from fulfilling its mission in liberating the western part of Syria. Then the other turning point was when the Russians came to Syria in 2015 and we started liberating together many areas. In that stage, after the Russians came to Syria to support the Syrian Army, I’d say the turning point was to liberate the eastern part of Aleppo; this is where the liberation of other areas in Syria started from that point. It was important because of the importance of Aleppo, and because it was the beginning of the liberation – the large-scale liberation, that continued later to Damascus, to the rest of Aleppo recently, and other areas in the eastern part of Syria and the southern part. So, these are the main turning points. If you put them together, all of them are strategic and all of them changed the course of this war.

Question 4: I now will turn to some actual news, and we in Russia follow what now is happening in the region of the Armenian and Azerbaijanian conflict, and definitely Turkey plays a role there. Is it negative or positive, that is not for me to judge, but I would like to ask you about Turkey’s and Erdogan’s policies. So, in recent years, Turkey has been trying to maximize its international influence. We all see its presence in Libya, its intervention into Syria, territorial disputes with Greece, and the now open support to Azerbaijan. What do you think about that kind of behavior of Ankara and Erdogan personally, and should the international community pay more attention to this sort of neo-Othmanism.

President Assad: Let’s be blunt and clear; Erdogan has supported terrorists in Syria, and he’s been supporting terrorists in Libya, and he was the main instigator and initiator of the recent conflict that has been going on in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia. So, I would sum his behavior as dangerous, for different reasons. First of all, because it reflects the Muslim Brotherhood behavior; the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist extremist group. Second, because he’s creating war in different areas to distract his own public opinion in Turkey from focusing on his behavior inside Turkey, especially after his scandalous relations with ISIS in Syria; everybody knows that ISIS used to sell Syrian oil through Turkey under the umbrella of the American air forces and of course the involvement of the Turks in selling this oil. So, this is his goal, and this is dangerous. So, whether the international community should be aware or not, the word “international community” in reality is only a few countries: the great powers and rich countries, and let’s call them the influencers on the political arena. The majority of this international community is complicit with Turkey in supporting the terrorists. So, they know what Turkey is doing, they are happy about what Turkey is doing, and Turkey is an arm for those countries in fulfilling their policies and dreams in this region. So, no, we cannot bet on the international community at all. You can bet on international law, but it doesn’t exist because there’s no institution to implement international law. So, we have to depend on ourselves in Syria and on the support of our friends.

Question 5: So, more about this conflict. There were reports that some terrorists from the groups that were fighting previously in Syria are now being transferred to this conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Can you confirm that? Do you have any information about fighters going from Syria to…?

President Assad: We definitely can confirm it, not because we have evidence, but sometimes if you don’t have evidence you have indicators. Turkey used terrorists coming from different countries in Syria. They used the same method in Libya; they used Syrian terrorists in Libya, maybe with other nationalities. So, it’s self-evident and very probable that they are using that method in Nagorno-Karabakh because as I said earlier, they are the ones who started this problem, this conflict; they encouraged this conflict. They want to achieve something and they’re going to use the same method. So, we can say for sure that they’ve been using Syrian and other nationalities of terrorists in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Question 6: Let’s turn now to the relations between our countries, Russia and Syria. Are there any plans for your contacts or meetings with President Putin?

President Assad: We have regular contact, mainly over the phone, whenever something new happens or whenever there is a need for these conversations. Of course, we’re going to talk in the future, we’re going to meet in the future, but that depends on the political situation regarding Syria. And as you know now because of the Coronavirus the whole world is paralyzed, so in the near future I think the conversation will be on the phone.

Question 7: And will you raise the question of the new credits for Syria? For new loans?

President Assad: In our economic situation, it’s very important to seek loans, but at the same time, you shouldn’t take this step without being able to pay back the loan. Otherwise, it’s going to be a burden, and it’s going to be a debt. So, it has two aspects. Talking about loans is in our minds, and we discussed it with our Russian counterparts, but we have to prepare for such a step before taking it seriously, or practically, let’s say.

Question 8: Recently, the delegation from Russia came, and Vice Prime Minister Borisov was here. Is now Syria interested in buying anti-aircraft systems like S-400 or demanding for additional S-300?

President Assad: Actually, we started a plan for upgrading our army two years ago, and it’s self-evident that we’re going to do this upgrade in cooperation with the Russian Ministry of Defense, because for decades now, our army depends fully on Russian armaments. But there are priorities, it’s not necessarily the missiles, maybe you have other priorities now regarding the conflict on the ground. So, there’s a full-scale plan, but we have to move according to these priorities. Usually, we don’t talk about the details of our military plans, but in general, as I said, it’s upgrading the army in every aspect of the military field.

Question 9: You definitely follow the presidential campaign in the United States. And do you hope that the new US President, regardless of the name of the winner, will review sanctions policies towards Syria?

President Assad: We don’t usually expect presidents in the American elections, we only expect CEOs; because you have a board, this board is made of the lobbies and the big corporates like banks and armaments and oil, etc. So, what you have is a CEO, and this CEO doesn’t have the right or the authority to review; he has to implement it. And that’s what happened to Trump when he became president after the elections –

Journalist: He used to be CEO for many years before.

President Assad: Exactly! And he is a CEO anyway. He wanted to follow or pursue his own policy, and he was about to pay the price – you remember the impeachment issue. He had to swallow every word he said before the elections. So, that’s why I said you don’t expect a president, you only expect a CEO. If you want to talk about changing the policy, you have one board – the same board will not change its policy. The CEO will change but the board is still the same, so don’t expect anything.

Question 10: Who are this board? Who are these people?

President Assad: As I said, this board is made up of the lobbies, so they implement whatever they want, and they control the Congress and the others, and the media, etc. So, there’s an alliance between those different self-vested interest corporations in the US.

Question 11: So, Trump pledged to withdraw American troops from Syria but he failed to do that. Now he’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Do you think if he manages to bring American troops home, is he going to be awarded that Nobel Peace Prize?

President Assad: He’s nominated?

Journalist: He is nominated.

President Assad: I didn’t know about this. If you want to talk about the nomination for peace, peace is not only about withdrawing your troops; it’s a step, it’s a good step, and it’s a necessary step. But peace is about your policy, it’s about your behavior. It means to stop occupying land, to stop toppling governments just because they are not with you, to stop creating chaos in different areas of the world. Peace is to follow international law and to support the United Nations Charter, etc. This is peace, this is when you deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. Obama had this prize; he had just been elected and he hadn’t done anything. The only achievement he had at that time maybe, was that he moved from his house to the White House, and he was given a Nobel Prize. So, they would give it to Trump for something similar. I don’t know what is it, but definitely not peace.

Question 12: So, Trump acknowledged recently that he intended to eliminate you personally, and that the Pentagon Chief Mattis persuaded him not to do so. Did you know about that at that time, and were some measures undertaken to prevent it?

President Assad: Assassination is American modus operandi, that’s what they do all the time, for decades, everywhere, in different areas in this world, this is not something new. So, you have to keep it in your mind that this kind of plan has always existed for different reasons. We have to expect this in our situation in Syria, with this conflict, with the Americans, they occupy our land, and they are supporting the terrorists. It’s expected; even if you don’t have any information, it should be self-evident. How do you prevent it? It’s not about the incident per se – it’s not about this plan regarding this person or this president, it’s about the behavior. Nothing will deter the United States from committing these kinds of vicious actions or acts unless there’s an international balance where the United States cannot get away with its crimes. Otherwise, it’s going to continue these kinds of acts in different areas, and nothing would stop it.

Question 13: And were there any other attempts on you during your presidency?

President Assad: I didn’t hear of any attempt, but as I said, it’s self-evident that you have many attempts, or maybe, plans to be more precise. I mean, let’s say, were they active or on hold? Nobody knows.

Question 14: Now I turn back to the situation in Syria, and will you run for presidency in the year 2021?

President Assad: It’s still early to talk about it because we still have a few months. I can take this decision at the beginning of next year.

Question 15: Interesting. And have you congratulated Mr. Alexander Lukashenko with his inauguration in Belarus, and do you probably see similarities between political technologies that were used by the UK and the US to support Belarusian opposition, and those methods that were used against Syria and against the Syrian state in information war?

President Assad: I did send a congratulation letter to President Lukashenko and that’s normal. With regards to what’s happening in Belarus: regardless of the similarities between the two countries – Syria and Belarus – or the differences, regardless of whether you have a real conflict or an artificial one in a country, the West – as long as it hasn’t changed its hegemonic policy around the world – is going to interfere anywhere in the world. If you have a real problem in your country, whether it’s small or big, it’s going to interfere. And if it’s domestic, they’re going to make it international just to interfere and meddle in your affairs. If you don’t have problems, they’re going to do their best to create problems and to make them international again in order to meddle in your affairs. This is their policy.

So, it’s not about what’s happening in Belarus. Like any other country, Syria, Belarus, your country, every country has their own problems. Does the West have the right to interfere or not? That’s what we have to oppose. So, going back to your question, yes, it’s the same behavior, it’s the same strategy, it’s the same tactics. The only difference is the branding of the products, different headlines. They use certain headlines for Russia, others for Venezuela, another one for Syria, and so on. So, it’s not about Belarus; it’s about the behavior of the West and it’s about their strategy for the future, because they think with the rise of Russia, with the rise of China, with the rise of other powers around the world, this is an existential threat for them, so the only way to oppose or to face this threat is by creating chaos around the world.

Question 16: So, you have already mentioned the Coronavirus and it affected all humankind. Was someone from the government infected, or maybe you personally?

President Assad: Thank God, no. And I don’t think anyone from our government has been infected.

Question 17: That’s good news. And would you personally like to take the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Of course, in these circumstances, anyone would love to be vaccinated against this dangerous virus. But I think it’s not available for the international market yet, but we’re going to discuss it with the Russian authority when it’s available internationally to have vaccines for the Syrian market. It’s very important.

Journalist: Yes, and Russians have already suggested that it can be available for our international partners…

President Assad: They said in November it could be available.

Question 18: So, you will be asking for the Russian vaccine?

President Assad: Yes, definitely, it’s a necessity at these times.

Question 19: And in what amount?

President Assad: That depends on how much is available and we have to discuss the amount that we need with the health authority in Syria.

Question 20: So, you are going to have negotiations in detail with the Russian authorities.

President Assad: Definitely, of course. Everybody in Syria is asking about the Russian vaccine and when it’s going to be available.

Question 21: Now, on the backdrop of the pandemic outbreak, does the public demand to change the constitution still exist? Because Coronavirus created a new paradigm in the world, and certainly in politics. So, the problems and the Geneva talks cast doubts on the question of whether the need to change the constitution still exists. What do you think about that?

President Assad: No, there’s no relation between the Coronavirus and the constitution. We changed the constitution in 2012 and now we are discussing the constitution in the Geneva talks. We had a round of negotiations nearly one month ago. So, the Coronavirus delayed those rounds, but it didn’t stop them.

Ultimately, the Geneva negotiations are a political game, it’s not what the public – the Syrians, are focused on. The Syrian people are not thinking about the constitution, nobody is talking about it. Their concerns are regarding the reforms we need to enact and the policies we need to change to ensure their needs are met. This is what we are discussing at the moment and where our concerns are, and where the government is focusing its efforts.

Question 22: So, you say that the Geneva talks should continue, and the constitution on the agenda, and still there should be more discussions?

President Assad: Yes, of course. We started and we’re going to continue in the next few weeks.

Question 23: Will Syria decide to conduct a trial against the White Helmets, and do you think that there should be a sort of international investigation on their activities, probably under the UN umbrella?

President Assad: When there is a crime, you don’t take the knife or the weapon to trial, you send the criminal to trial. In this case, the White Helmets are just the tools or the means – the weapon that’s been used for terrorism. They were created by the United Kingdom, supported by the United States and of course France and other Western countries, and used directly by Turkey. All these regimes are the real father and mother of the White Helmets, so they have to be held accountable even before the White Helmets themselves. Now, the question is do we have international laws to pursue such procedures? No, we don’t. Otherwise, the United States wouldn’t get away with its crimes in Iraq for example, in Yemen, or in different areas. Not only the United States, but also France, the UK and different countries, and the US in Syria. But you don’t have these institutions that could implement such laws, as I mentioned earlier. So, no, we have to focus more on the perpetrators, the real perpetrators, the real supervisors. They are the Western countries and their puppets in the region.

Question 24: But should probably any step be undertaken concretely toward the White Helmets? Because they are still active?

President Assad: Yes, of course, they are criminals. I’m not saying anything different. Before they were the White Helmets, they were al-Nusra; there are videos and images of all those criminals, so they have to be tried in Syria. But when you talk about the White Helmets as an institution, it’s made by the West. So, they are criminals as individuals, but the White Helmets is a Western institution – an extremist terrorist organization – based on the al-Nusra organization.

Question 25: You say that the presence of the US and Turkish army in Syria is illegal. What will you do to stop it?

President Assad: It is an occupation and, in this situation, we have to do two things: the first is to eliminate the excuse that they’ve been using for this occupation, which is the terrorists – in this case ISIS. Most of the world now know that ISIS was created by the Americans and is supported by them; they give them their missions, like any American troops. You have to eliminate the excuse, so, eliminating the terrorists in Syria is priority number one for us. After that, if they, the Americans and the Turks, don’t leave, the natural thing that will happen is popular resistance. This is the only way; they won’t leave through discussion or through international law since it doesn’t exist. So, you don’t have any other means but resistance and this is what happened in Iraq. What made the Americans withdraw in 2007? It was because of the popular resistance in Iraq.

ISIS, the Bombshell Interview to Impeach Obama

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Question 26: So, what do you think about the agreement between the US and the Syrian Kurds in terms of extracting oil? And will you undertake any measures against it?

President Assad: This is robbery, and the only way to stop this robbery is to liberate your land. If you don’t liberate it, no measure will stop them from doing this because they are thieves, and you cannot stop a thief unless you put him in prison or you deter him somehow by isolating him from the area where he can commit his robbery. So, the same thing has to be done with those thieves. They have to be expelled from this region; this is the only way. And the Syrian government should control every part of Syria, so the situation will return to normal.

Question 27: How do you assess the situation in Idlib? How is Syria going to resolve the problem of expelling terrorists from there, and how many of them fight now there, how many terrorists, to your assessment?

President Assad: Since 2013, we adopted a certain, let’s say, methodology in dealing with these areas where the terrorists control mainly the civilians or the cities. We give them the chance to give up their armaments and in return, they are granted amnesty from the government; that has succeeded in many areas in Syria. But if they don’t seek reconciliation, we have to attack militarily, and that’s what happened in every area we have liberated since 2013. This methodology applies to the areas where there were national reconciliations and the fighters were Syrian. However, Idlib is a different case; most of the foreigners in Syria are concentrated in Idlib, so they either go to Turkey – this is where they came from or came through, or they go back to their countries or they die in Syria.

Question 28: In Europe?

President Assad: Mainly in Europe. Some of them came from Russia, from Arab countries, from so many countries around the world. All those Jihadist extremists wanted to come and fight in Syria.

Question 29: So, now this area is under the, let’s say, the supervision and the common operations by Russians, by Turks, sometimes by Americans. Do you see that this cooperation is efficient, and how this experience can be used in the future?

President Assad: No, I don’t think it’s efficient for a simple reason: if it was efficient, we wouldn’t have gone to war recently in many areas in Aleppo and Idlib. Because the Turkish regime was supposed to convince the terrorists in that area to withdraw and pave the way for the Syrian Army and the Syrian government and institutions to take control, but they didn’t. Every time they give the same commitment; they haven’t fulfilled any of their promises or commitments. So, no, I wouldn’t say this cooperation was effective, but let’s see. They still have another chance to withdraw the terrorists north of the M4 in Idlib. This is their latest commitment in agreement with the Russian side, but they haven’t fulfilled it yet. So, let’s wait and see.

Question 30: Do you consider the possibility of negotiations with Israel in terms of, you know, stopping the hostile activities? And is it possible that in the future Syria will establish diplomatic relations with Israel, as several Arab countries did recently?

President Assad: Our position is very clear since the beginning of peace talks in the nineties, so nearly three decades ago, when we said peace for Syria is about rights. Our right is our land. We can only have normal relations with Israel when we have our land back. It’s very simple. So, it is possible when Israel is ready and Israel is not ready. It has never been ready; we’ve never seen any official in the Israeli regime who is ready to move one step towards peace. So, theoretically yes, but practically, so far, the answer is no.

Question 31: So, this news from other Arab countries who have established recently, I thought probably can be an impetus for Syria and Israel to start negotiations, but as I understand there are no negotiations between your countries underway at the time.

President Assad: No, there is none, nothing at all.

Question 32: You have already mentioned the enforcement of your armed forces. What are the obstacles for it? Do you see any obstacles for enforcing your armed forces?

President Assad: When you talk about big projects, you always have obstacles, but you can overcome these obstacles; nothing is impossible. Sometimes it could be financial, sometimes it could be about priorities, sometimes it could be about the situation on the ground. This is the only obstacle. Otherwise, no, we don’t have any obstacles. We are moving forward in that regard, but it takes time. It’s a matter of time, nothing more.

Question 33: Some international players say that Iranian withdrawal from Syria is a precondition for the economic restoration of the country and cooperation with the Syrian government, of the Western governments and probably the businesses. Will Syria agree with this condition, and will it ask Iran to withdraw, if ever?

President Assad: First of all, we don’t have Iranian troops and that’s very clear. They support Syria, they send their military experts, they work with our troops on the ground, they exist with the Syrian Army. But let’s take one practical example: nearly a year ago, the Americans told the Russians to ” convince the Iranians that they should be 80 kilometers away from the border with the Golan Heights” that is occupied by the Israelis. Although there were no Iranian troops, the Iranians were very flexible, they said “ok, no Iranian personnel will be south of that line” and the Americans said that if we can agree upon this, we are going to withdraw from the occupied eastern part of Syria on the borders with Iraq called al-Tanf. Nothing happened, they didn’t withdraw. So, the Iranian issue is a pretext for occupying Syrian land and supporting terrorists. It’s used as a mask to cover their real intentions. The only way for them to implement what they are saying is when Syria becomes a puppet state to the United States. That’s what they want, nothing else. Everything else they talk about is just lies, false flag allegations. So, I don’t think there’s any real solution with the Americans as long as they don’t want to change their behavior.

Question 34: And the last question: is there anything that you are proud of, and anything that you are sorry for doing or not doing?

President Assad: During the war?

Journalist: During your presidency.

President Assad: You have to differentiate between the policies and between the implementation. In terms of policies, from the very beginning, we have said we’re going to listen to the Syrian people and that’s why we reformed the constitution in 2012. We have said we’re going to fight the terrorists and we are still doing that after ten years. We have said that we have to preserve our independence – national independence and that’s what we are fighting for, and we have to make alliances with our friends. So, regarding these policies, I think we were right. Not trusting the West? We were right on many fronts. In terms of implementation, it’s about the tactics, it’s about many things that you may say were wrong. For example: were the reconciliations wrong? Because in some areas those people who had amnesty, didn’t go back to the rule of law. So, you can say this is wrong, but in reality, those reconciliations were very important steps. I don’t think that in the policies we were wrong. You have many mistakes regarding the implementation anywhere and sometimes on a daily basis.

Journalist: Ok, Mr. President, our time is running out, so again, thanks a lot for this frank and lengthy interview.

President Assad: Thank you. Thank you for coming to Syria.

Journalist: Thank you very much

End of the interview transcript in English.Related Videos

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مقاتلو الفصائل المسلحة السورية: انكشاريو «السلطنة» التركية الجديدة!

د. عدنان منصور

في الأول من هذا الشهر، وفي كلمة له مع بداية العام التشريعي الجديد للبرلمان التركي، أعلن الرئيس رجب طيب أردوغان، تمسّك بلاده بمحافظة إدلب، وعدم التخلي عنها لأسباب عديدة، منها حماية البلاد من تسلل الإرهابيين، وتوفير الأمن للنازحين المدنيين في المنطقة!

وقال إنّ هدف تركيا، هو وقف الهجمات، وجعل المنطقة والحدود التركية آمنة.

كلام أردوغان في البرلمان التركي، جاء بعد توقف المفاوضات على مستوى الخبراء العسكريين بين روسيا وتركيا، والتي اقتصرت حتى الآن، على جولة واحدة جرت يومي 15 و16 أيلول من الشهر الفائت، حيث رفض الأتراك بشكل مطلق وحاسم، الاقتراح الروسي القاضي بسحب القوات التركية من أربع نقاط رئيسة من جنوب طريق اللاذقية ـ حلب، والذي يُعرف بـ M4.

تركيا قرّرت الحفاظ على قواتها بحكم الأمر الواقع، والاستمرار في احتلال أجزاء في العراق وسورية وليبيا، والتواجد في لبنان (من خلال القوات الدولية اليونيفيل)، وفي مالي وجمهورية أفريقيا الوسطى ضمن بعثة الأمم المتحدة العاملة فيهما، والإصرار على بقائها العسكري في شمال سورية، لا سيما في محافظة إدلب، بذريعة وجود تنظيمات إرهابية كداعش، وفصائل كردية عديدة أبرزها:

حزب العمال الكردستاني PKK، و«قسد” (قوات سورية الديمقراطية)، وغيرها، ما يهدّد بزعم أنقرة أمن واستقرار تركيا.

لكن أن تقوم تركيا، بنقل مقاتلين سوريين وغير سوريين، من الفصائل المسلحة الإرهابية إلى ليبيا، وقبلها الإتيان بعناصر إرهابية من أنحاء العالم للقتال ضدّ النظام السوري، وبعد ذلك إرسال جماعات أخرى منهم الى ميادين القتال في أذربيجان، ونشرهم على جبهة الحرب الأرمينية ـ الأذربيجانية، فهذا يسقط بالكامل الحجج التركية الواهية من أساسها في محاربة الإرهاب، ويكشف مدى النفاق، وزيف ادّعاءات القيادة التركية، من أنّ قواتها المحتلة لأراض سورية، تهدف الى محاربة الإرهاب، وتأمين سلامة تركيا وحدودها.

لقد تحوّل المقاتلون الإرهابيون، الى فصائل في يد تركيا، تديرهم، وتحرّكهم، وتأمرهم، وتوجههم، وتستخدمهم أينما كان، وكيفما تشاء، تحوّلهم الى “انكشاريين” من طراز جديد، يقاتلون خارج بلدانهم من أجل مصالحها وأهدافها التوسعية، ومصالحها الاستراتيجية، وهم ينفذون سياساتها، ويزيدون من شهيّتها التوسعية خارج حدودها.

يأتي هذا في الوقت الذي تعزز فيه تركيا من احتلالها العسكري لإدلب وحواضرها، بأكثر من عشرة آلاف آلية عسكرية متنوعة، بالإضافة الى الحشود العسكرية التي انتشرت في الآونة الأخيرة.

هل يعلم مقاتلو الفصائل الإرهابية المسلحة، الذين ارتموا في أحضان تركيا وغيرها، أنهم ليسوا إلا أداة في خدمة العثماني الجديد، يؤدّون فريضتهم له، جاعلين أنفسهم له مطية يركبها في أيّ وقت، مقابل حفنة من المال، يدفعها لهم كمرتزقة؟! مال يخضع للعرض والطلب حسب المهمات الموكولة إليهم، والأماكن التي سيتواجدون فيها وفق أوامر سيدهم.

أين هي “وطنية” و”عروبة” الفصائل المسلحة السورية التي ارتمت في أحضان التركي، والتي حاربت النظام السوري منذ سنوات، وما هي حجتها اليوم عندما ترى المقاتلين والإرهابيين، ينغمسون في حروب لا شأن لهم بها. إلا لكون سيدهم التركي يريد منهم ذلك! هذه الفصائل تثبت مرة أخرى وبشكل قاطع، أنها ومنذ اليوم الأول لاندلاع القتال في سورية، ما كانت إلا مجموعات عميلة، مأجورة، تحرّكها قيادات مرتزقة مدفوعة الثمن من الخارج. وها هي اليوم. تحارب نيابة عن تركيا، بدماء عربية، تزجّ نفسها، وتنغمس في أتون حرب لا ناقة لها ولا جمل.

فليفهم المواطن العراقي والسوري واللبناني والليبي، وكلّ مواطن عربي، تورّط في الصراع الإقليمي، وغرزت أقدامه في المستنقع السوري والتركي. انّ تركيا التي تحمل في الشكل، شعارات براقة، ليست في الحقيقة إلا وسيلة لتطلّ منها على العالمين العربي والإسلامي، لنسترجع الماضي، “وأمجاد” السلطنة العثمانية، التي عانت منها الشعوب التي رزحت تحت نيرها، وحصدت منها الويلات، والكوارث والفقر، والظلم والاستبداد.

السلطان العثماني الجديد يطلّ برأسه مجدّداً، يحارب بمرتزقته من “الانكشاريين” الجدد، الذين جلبهم من هنا وهناك، ليوسّع دائرة نفوذه على امتداد العالم الإسلامي، عله يظفر بقيادته، ويتوّج نفسه “خليفة”، حامياً له، و”راعياً صالحاً للحرمين الشريفين في مكة والمدينة!

وزير سابق

Turkey’s Destructive Role in the M.E and Europe

Source

Tuesday, 15 September 2020 10:49

Turkey has for a longtime now been the enzyme that speeds problems in the area of the Mediterranean. Still unable to stomach the Treaty of Lausanne(1923) which defined the borders of modern day Turkey it has for a long time now been scheming to extend its borders by land grabbing from other countries. This can be clearly depicted in two countries Cyprus and Syria .In 1974 Turkey attacked Cyprus and occupied a third of the island and formed on its own the “Republic of Northern Cyprus” recognized by no country in the world except its creator. In Syria the story is even sadder – not satisfied with usurping Alexanderetta ,Turkey opened its borders to terrorists to infiltrate Syria and aided and abetted them(During the war of terror on Syria). Now it has taken a further step by arming and training terrorists and by actually sending its troops inside Syria. Turkey dreams of a revival of the Ottoman Empire and for that to happen boundaries must change and towns and cities might have to be erased. A question arises –why does no one do anything about  this? Why is the world silent while Turkey wreaks havoc where it wants. What is the UN doing or for that matter the EU?

 Syriatimes carried out an interview with EU parliamentarian Athanasios Konstantinou to clarify certain points.

  Member of European Parliament  to ST: EU’s appeasement of Turkey, has deeply injured the trust of Greek citizens

 Member of European Parliament Athanasios Konstantinou reckons that hollow actions that have no political and economic impact will be taken by the EU against Turkey for political propaganda reasons.

 He told Syria Times e-newspaper that from the 1980 till today, more than 60.000 Turkish planes have infiltrated Greek airspace not counting the paralleling actions of the Turkish navy.

 Konstantinou, in addition, has pointed out that U.N. repeatedly over time appears  powerless and without the will to enforce international law and in that way tolerate NATO to act in their place.

 Here below is the full text of the interview:

1-Can you tell us about the origins of the gas drilling dispute between Greece  and Turkey? 

For many decades Turkey has applied a calculated foreign policy that aims to seize as much of the Aegean Sea as possible, part of a larger plan to enforce itself as a Mediterranean power.

 This policy is obviously effective, due mostly to the failure of all past and present Greek governments (and their allies) to efficiently protect the Greek borders. This explains why Turkey defies international law and openly and officially threatens war, if Greece exercises its rights to the “12 nautical miles” international law, in Aegean.

A major phase for the implementation of their strategy was the occupation of Northern Cyprus. Until then, the Turkish plan was a “paper” one, but since then, Turkey is moving with real steps. Consider that from the 1980 till today, more than 60.000 Turkish planes have infiltrated the Greek airspace  not counting the paralleling actions of the Turkish navy.

 All major powers and alliances endorse the Turkish plan, otherwise the occupation of Cyprus, with its obvious geopolitical effects, would not have been tolerated and possibly would have not been tried by the Turks!

 So in that light, what we see now regarding the “drilling dispute” as you put it, is not surprising.

2-Is the United Nations able to influence Turkey?? 

The United Nations, unfortunately, wasn’t able in the past and cannot in the present, influence Turkey. Allow me to remind your readers that, for the illegal Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus, U.N. voted two resolutions, ordering the withdrawal of the Turkish army.

 Nothing of the kind has happened.

 Furthermore, the UN voted on an arms embargo for Libya, an embargo, today de facto ignored by Turkey and other countries.

 The greater issue here is that, U.N. repeatedly over time appears powerless and without the will to enforce international law and in that way tolerates NATO to act in their place.

And NATO’s first priority, of course, is the protection of USA’s interests and not the international law.

3-Many EU emergency summits were held concerning this issue, were the results positive?

The results of these summits, can barely  be described as “not-negative” but we certainly cannot define them as positive. In my opinion, European Union with its appeasement Turkish policy, has severely damaged the trust of the European peoples in the Union. And without any doubt, has deeply injured the trust of Greek citizens. After all, Greek borders are part of the E.U. ’s borders. And the Greek economy as well. When a malicious outsider defies your borders and tries to rip-off your wealth and you don’t defend either, then you void the reasons for your own existence as a Union.

4- Is the EU likely to approve  sanctions on Turkey ? What kind of sanctions will they be and most importantly how effective?  

So far, everything points out that no real measures or sanctions will be imposed on Turkey from E.U. Only hollow and without political or economic impact actions will be taken and only for political propaganda reasons.

If this is the case, then we are led to believe that EU politics obey and serve not the interests of European citizens but those of  big international financial lobbies. And I know that this is most frustrating for the Syrian people also, because you have felt this injustice through the sanctions imposed to Syria.

5-How does Libya enter into this equation? 

The Turkish involvement in Libya, is the second major stepping stone, of their plan to promote themselves to a Mediterranean power, as I have pointed out earlier.

The Turkish government wisely tries to capitalize on NATO’s great mistake and injustice on Libya, where once more, international financial lobbies have indicated policies aiming to gain and disregard the will of the peoples. The result was chaos in Libya and opportunity for Turkey. This is why other countries like Egypt, counteract against the Turkish actions.

Editor in chief : Reem Haddad

Basma Qaddour

ليبيا والمشهد الجديد… استقالة السراج ودموع أردوغان

ربى يوسف شاهين

«الربيع العربي» وتداعياته الكارثية، لم يرحم منطقة «الشرق الأوسط» من إرهابه، ولعلّ المشهد الشرق أوسطي بعموم جزئياته، يُفسّر جلياً عمق المصالح الدولية والإقليمية في ماهية هذا الربيع.

وعلى امتداد ساحات هذا «الربيع»، برزت الساحة الليبية بموقعها وتوسطها مناطق نفوذ إقليمي ودولي. ليبيا البلد الغني بثرواته النفطية ومساحاته الواسعة، لم يكن بمنأى عن مسرح الصراعات الداخلية والخارجية، والذي أدّى إلى انقسام الأطراف الليبية الى فريقين، وكلّ منهما بدأ بتركيب اصطفافات تناسبه وفقاً لتوجّهاته الايديولوجية ومصالحه السياسية، لتعمّ الفوضى في عموم ليبيا.

بعد صراع مرير بين قوات خليفة حفتر وفائز السراج، بدا المشهد السياسي بتفوّق فريق على آخر عسكرياً، وبالتالي سياسياً، فـ المُشير خليفة حفتر الذي يُعتبر حليفاً لروسيا وفرنسا ومصر والإمارات، يقابله فائز السراج الحليف لأردوغان، ووفق ما يتمّ إعلانه سياسياً من خلال الوقائع على الأرض، كان الدعم التركي للسراج دعماً لوجستياً وعسكرياً، وقد تزايد هذا التدخل، عبر دخول اقتصاديين ورجال أعمال أتراك، بغية الاستثمار في ليبيا، والاستفادة من التوغل التركي في الملف الليبي.

لكن الإعلان المفاجئ عن إمكانية استقالة رئيس حكومة الوفاق فائز السراج وفق مجموعة «بلومبيرغ ميديا»، والذي أكده السراج في مقابلة إعلامية بانه «سيترك السلطة قريباً»، فإنّ لهذا القرار انعكاسات على المستويات كافة على رئيس النظام التركي رجب طيب أردوغان.

يُمكننا قراءة تداعيات استقالة السراج من رئاسة الوفاق وفق مناحي عدة:

{ أظهر إعلان الاستقالة عدم جدوى قوة الدعم المقدّم من قبل أردوغان لحكومة الوفاق، نتيجة الاحتجاجات الشعبية في غرب ليبيا، جراء سوء الأوضاع المعيشية ونتيجة الضغوطات الأجنبية.

*نتيجة السياسة التي اتبعها جنود أردوغان من المرتزقة الإرهابيين بحق الشعب الليبي، عكس الأوجه السلبية لهذا التحالف مع السراج، فـ الصراع الليبي هو صراع داخلي ليبي ليبي.

{ إنّ ما يجري على الأرض الليبية نتيجة تواجد المرتزقة الإرهابيين، قد فتح الأبواب لنشوء جماعات أخرى متمرّدة، مما قد يُدخل البلاد في فوضى عارمة، ناهيك عن الصراع بين قوات حفتر والسراج.

{ الدلالة على أنّ العلاقة التحالفية بين حفتر وحلفائه، أقوى شعبياً، نتيجة الانتهاكات التي فرضها التواجد التركي على الساحة الليبية، وايضاً فإنّ عموم الليبيين أدركوا خطورة المخطط التركي، الأمر الذي شكّل ضغطاً شعبياً على حكومة الوفاق.

{ ضعف الموقف التركي نتيجة تعدّد الملفات الجيوسياسية الشائكة، التي يتحملها أردوغان بالنسبة لليبيا وسورية والعراق.

{ العنجهية التركية في الاستعراض العسكري البحري، حيث أبحرت سفينة بحرية تركية قبالة سواحل ليبيا، لتكون على شفا الصدام المسلح مع سفينة حربية فرنسية، الأمر الذي قرأه الجميع على أنه تهوّر تركي جراء التدخل في الشأن الليبي، وضرورة وضع حدّ للممارسات التركية في عموم شرق المتوسط.

{ خسارة أردوغان ليس فقط لساحة صراع وساحة عمل أمني وإستخباراتي، بل أيضاً ساحة عمل ونشاط اقتصادي لكبرى الشركات الاقتصادية التركية.

{ تجميد الاتفاق البحري الذي وقع مع حكومة الوفاق الليبية في 2019، وبالتالي حدوث صدمة سياسية دبلوماسية خطيرة في حال انتخاب طرف معادي للسياسة الأردوغانية، ما يعني خسارة مدوية لاستثمار أردوغان لوثيقة الاتفاق، لتبرير التدخل في شرق البحر المتوسط.

في المحصلة قد لا نرى دموع أردوغان في حال استقال السراج، ولم يستطع ثنيه عن قراره، ولكنه سيذرفها حتماً، لأنّ خسائره باتت تتالى، نتيجة سياساته المتخبّطة والغير مدروسة في الشرق الأوسط…

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI television, Moscow, September 17, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI television, Moscow, September 17, 2020

September 18, 2020

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Question: I’ll start with the hottest topic, Belarus. President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko visited Bocharov Ruchei. Both sides have officially recognised that change within the Union State is underway. This begs the question: What is this about? A common currency, common army and common market? What will it be like?

Sergey Lavrov: It will be the way our countries decide. Work is underway. It relies on the 1999 Union Treaty. We understand that over 20 years have passed since then. That is why, a couple of years ago, upon the decision of the two presidents, the governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus began to work on identifying the agreed-upon steps that would make our integration fit current circumstances. Recently, at a meeting with Russian journalists, President Lukashenko said that the situation had, of course, changed and we must agree on ways to deepen integration from today’s perspective.

The presidential election has taken place in Belarus. The situation there is tense, because the opposition, backed by some of our Western colleagues, is trying to challenge the election outcome, but I’m convinced that the situation will soon get back to normal, and the work to promote integration processes will resume.

Everything that is written in the Union Treaty is now being analysed. Both sides have to come to a common opinion about whether a particular provision of the Union Treaty is still relevant, or needs to be revised. There are 31 roadmaps, and each one focuses on a specific section of the Union Treaty. So, there’s clearly a commitment to continue the reform, a fact that was confirmed by the presidents during a recent telephone conversation. This is further corroborated by the presidents’ meeting in Sochi.

I would not want that country’s neighbours, and our neighbours for that matter, including Lithuania, for example, to try to impose their will on the Belarusian people and, in fact, to manage the processes in which the opposition is unwittingly doing what’s expected of it. I have talked several times about Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s situation. Clearly, someone is putting words in her mouth. She is now in the capital of Lithuania, which, like our Polish colleagues, is strongly demanding a change of power in Belarus. You are aware that Lithuania declared Ms Tikhanovskaya the leader of the Republic of Belarus, and Alexander Lukashenko was declared an illegitimate president.

Ms Tikhanovskaya has made statements that give rise to many questions. She said she was concerned that Russia and Belarus have close relations. The other day, she called on the security and law-enforcement forces to side with the law. In her mind, this is a direct invitation to breach the oath of office and, by and large, to commit high treason. This is probably a criminal offense. So, those who provide her with a framework for her activities and tell her what to say and what issues to raise should, of course, realise that they may be held accountable for that.

Question: Commenting on the upcoming meeting of the presidents of Russia and Belarus in Sochi, Tikhanovskaya said: “Whatever they agree on, these agreements will be illegitimate, because the new state and the new leader will revise them.” How can one work under such circumstances?

Sergey Lavrov: She was also saying something like that when Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin went to Belarus to meet with President Lukashenko and Prime Minister Golovchenko. She was saying it then. Back then, the opposition was concerned about any more or less close ties between our countries. This is despite the fact that early on during the crisis they claimed that they in no way engaged in anti-Russia activities and wanted to be friends with the Russian people. However, everyone could have seen the policy paper posted on Tikhanovskaya’s website during the few hours it was there. The opposition leaders removed it after realising they had made a mistake sharing their goals and objectives with the public. These goals and objectives included withdrawal from the CSTO, the EAEU and other integration associations that include Russia, and drifting towards the EU and NATO, as well as the consistent banning of the Russian language and the Belarusianisation of all aspects of life.

We are not against the Belarusian language, but when they take a cue from Ukraine, and when the state language is used to ban a language spoken by the overwhelming majority of the population, this already constitutes a hostile act and, in the case of Ukraine, an act that violates its constitution. If a similar proposal is introduced into the Belarusian legal field, it will violate the Constitution of Belarus, not to mention numerous conventions on the rights of ethnic and language minorities, and much more.

I would like those who are rabidly turning the Belarusian opposition against Russia to realise their share of responsibility, and the opposition themselves, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and others – to find the courage to resist such rude and blatant manipulation.

Question: If we are talking about manipulation, we certainly understand that it has many faces and reflects on the international attitude towards Russia. Internationally, what are the risks for us of supporting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko? Don’t you think 26 years is enough? Maybe he has really served for too long?

Sergey Lavrov: The President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, did say it might have been “too long.” I believe he has proposed a very productive idea – constitutional reform. He talked about this even before the election, and has reiterated the proposal more than once since then. President of Russia Vladimir Putin supports this attitude. As the Belarusian leader said, after constitutional reform, he will be ready to announce early parliamentary and presidential elections. This proposal provides a framework where a national dialogue will be entirely possible. But it is important that representatives of all groups of Belarusian society to be involved in a constitutional reform process. This would ensure that any reform is completely legitimate and understandable for all citizens. Now a few specific proposals are needed concerning when, where and in what form this process can begin. I hope that this will be done, because President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly reaffirmed carrying out this initiative.

Question: Since we started talking about the international attitude towards Russia, let’s go over to our other partner – the United States. The elections in the US will take place very soon. We are actively discussing this in Russia. When asked whether Russia was getting ready for the elections in the US at the Paris forum last year, you replied: “Don’t worry, we’ll resolve this problem.” Now that the US elections are around the corner, I would like to ask you whether you’ve resolved it.

Sergey Lavrov: Speaking seriously, of course we, like any other normal country that is concerned about its interests and international security, are closely following the progress of the election campaign in the US. There are many surprising things in it. Naturally, we see how important the Russian issue is in this electoral process. The Democrats are doing all they can to prove that Russia will exploit its hacker potential and play up to Donald Trump. We are already being accused of promoting the idea that the Democrats will abuse the mail-in voting option thereby prejudicing the unbiased nature of voting. I would like to note at this point that mail-in voting has become a target of consistent attacks on behalf of President Trump himself. Russia has nothing to do with this at all.

A week-long mail-in voting is an interesting subject in comparing election systems in different countries. We have introduced three-day voting for governors and legislative assembly deputies in some regions. You can see the strong criticism it is subjected to, inside Russia as well. When the early voting in the US lasts for weeks, if not months, it is considered a model of democracy. I don’t see any criticism in this respect. In principle, we have long proposed analysing election systems in the OSCE with a view to comparing best practices and reviewing obviously obsolete arrangements. There have been instances in the US when, due to its cumbersome and discriminatory election system, a nominee who received the majority of votes could lose because in a national presidential election the voting is done through the Electoral College process rather than directly by the people. There have been quite a few cases like that. I once told former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in reply to her grievances about our electoral system: “But look at your problem. Maybe you should try to correct this discriminatory voting system?” She replied that it is discriminatory but they are used to it and this is their problem, so I shouldn’t bother.

When the United States accuses us of interference in some area of its public, political or government life, we suggest discussing it to establish who is actually doing what. Since they don’t present any facts, we simply recite their Congressional acts. In 2014, they adopted an act on supporting Ukraine, which directly instructed the Department of State to spend $20 million a year on support for Russian NGOs. We asked whether this didn’t amount to interference. We were told by the US National Security Council that in reality they support democracy because we are wreaking chaos and pursuing authoritative and dictatorial trends abroad when we interfere in domestic affairs whereas they bring democracy and prosperity. This idea is deeply rooted in American mentality. The American elite has always considered its country and nation exceptional and has not been shy to admit it.

I won’t comment on the US election. This is US law and the US election system. Any comments I make will be again interpreted as an attempt to interfere in their domestic affairs. I will only say one thing that President Vladimir Putin has expressed many times, notably, that we will respect any outcome of these elections and the will of the American people.

We realise that there will be no major changes in our relations either with the Democrats or with the Republicans, as representatives of both parties loudly declare. However, there is hope that common sense will prevail and no matter who becomes President, the new US Government and administration will realise the need to cooperate with us in resolving very serious global problems on which the international situation depends.

Question: You mentioned an example where voters can choose one president and the Electoral College process, another. I even have that cover of Time magazine with Hillary Clinton and congratulations, released during the election. It is a fairly well-known story, when they ran this edition and then had to cancel it.

Sergey Lavrov: Even the President of France sent a telegramme, but then they immediately recalled it.

And these people are now claiming that Alexander Lukashenko is an illegitimate president.

Question: You mentioned NGOs. These people believe that NGOs in the Russian Federation support democratic institutions, although it is no secret to anyone who has at least a basic understanding of foreign and domestic policy that those NGOs act exclusively as institutions that destabilise the situation in the country.

Sergey Lavrov: Not all of them.

Question: Can you tell us more about this?

Sergey Lavrov: We have adopted a series of laws – on public associations, on non-profit organisations, on measures to protect people from human rights violations. There is a set of laws that regulate the activities of non-government organisations on our territory, both Russian and foreign ones.

Concepts have been introduced like “foreign agent,” a practice we borrowed from “the world’s most successful democracy” – the United States. They argue that we borrowed a practice from 1938 when the United States introduced the foreign agent concept to prevent Nazi ideology from infiltrating from Germany. But whatever the reason they had to create the concept – “foreign agent” – the Americans are still effectively using it, including in relation to our organisations and citizens, to Chinese citizens, to the media.

In our law, foreign agent status, whatever they say about it, does not prevent an organisation from operating on the territory of the Russian Federation. It just needs to disclose its funding sources and be transparent about the resources it receives. And even that, only if it is engaged in political activities. Initially, we introduced a requirement for these organisations that receive funding from abroad and are involved in political projects to initiate the disclosure process. But most of them didn’t want to comply with the law, so it was modified. Now this is done by the Russian Ministry of Justice.

Question: Do you think that NGOs are still soft power?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course. In Russia we have about 220,000 NGOs, out of which 180 have the status of a foreign agent. It’s a drop in the ocean. These are probably the organisations, funded from abroad, that are more active than others in promoting in our public space ideas that far from always correspond to Russian legislation.

There is also the notion of undesirable organisations. They are banned from working in the Russian Federation. But there are only about 30 of them, no more.

Question: Speaking about our soft power, what is our concept? What do we offer the world? What do you think the world should love us for? What is Russia’s soft power policy all about?

Sergey Lavrov: We want everything that has been created by nations and civilisations to be respected. We believe nobody should impose any orders on anyone, so that nothing like what has now happened in Hollywood takes place on a global scale. We think nobody should encroach on the right of each nation to have its historical traditions and moral roots. And we see attempts to encroach upon them.

If soft power is supposed to promote one’s own culture, language and traditions, in exchange for knowledge about the life of other nations and civilisations, then this is the approach that the Russian Federation supports in every way.

The Americans define the term “soft power” as an attempt to influence the hearts and minds of others politically. Their goal is not to promote their culture and language, but to change the mood of the political class with a view to subsequent regime change. They are doing this on a daily basis and don’t even conceal it. They say everywhere that their mission is to bring peace and democracy to all other countries.

Question: Almost any TV series out there shows the US president sitting in the Oval Office saying he’s the leader of the free world.

Sergey Lavrov: Not just TV series. Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that America is an exceptional nation and should be seen as an example by the rest of the world. My colleague Mike Pompeo recently said in the Czech Republic that they shouldn’t let the Russians into the nuclear power industry and should take the Russians off the list of companies that bid for these projects. It was about the same in Hungary. He then went to Africa and was quite vocal when he told the African countries not to do business with the Russians or the Chinese, because they are trading with the African countries for selfish reasons, whereas the US is establishing economic cooperation with them so they can prosper. This is a quote. It is articulated in a very straightforward manner, much the same way they run their propaganda on television in an unsophisticated broken language that the man in the street can relate to. So, brainwashing is what America’s soft power is known for.

Question: Not a single former Soviet republic has so far benefited from American soft power.

Sergey Lavrov: Not only former Soviet republics. Take a look at any other region where the Americans have effected a regime change.

QuestionLibya, Syria. We stood for Syria.

Sergey Lavrov: Iraq, Libya. They tried in Syria, but failed. I hope things will be different there. There’s not a single country where the Americans changed the regime and declared victory for democracy, like George W. Bush did on the deck of an aircraft carrier in Iraq in May 2003, which is prosperous now. He said democracy had won in Iraq. It would be interesting to know what the former US President thinks about the situation in Iraq today. But no one will, probably, go back to this, because the days when presidents honestly admitted their mistakes are gone.

QuestionHere I am listening to you and wondering how many people care about this? Why is it that no one understands this? Is this politics that is too far away from ordinary people who are nevertheless behind it? Take Georgia or Ukraine. People are worse off now than before, and despite this, this policy continues.

Will the Minsk agreements ever be implemented? Will the situation in southeastern Ukraine ever be settled?

Returning to what we talked about. How independent is Ukraine in its foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think that under the current Ukrainian government, just like under the previous president, we will see any progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, if only because President Zelensky himself is saying so publicly, as does Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov who is in charge of the Ukrainian settlement in the Contact Group. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Kuleba is also saying this. They say there’s a need for the Minsk agreements and they cannot be broken, because these agreements (and accusing Russia of non-compliance) are the foundation of the EU and the US policy in seeking to maintain the sanctions on Russia. Nevertheless, such a distorted interpretation of the essence of the Minsk agreements, or rather an attempt to blame everything on Russia, although Russia is never mentioned there, has stuck in the minds of our European colleagues, including France and Germany, who, being co-sponsors of the Minsk agreements along with us, the Ukrainians and Donbass, cannot but realise that the Ukrainians are simply distorting their responsibilities, trying to distance themselves from them and impose a different interpretation of the Minsk agreements. But even in this scenario, the above individuals and former Ukrainian President Kravchuk, who now heads the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group as part of the Minsk process, claim that the Minsk agreements in their present form are impracticable and must be revised, turned upside down. Also, Donbass must submit to the Ukrainian government and army before even thinking about conducting reforms in this part of Ukraine.

This fully contradicts the sequence of events outlined in the Minsk agreements whereby restoring Ukrainian armed forces’ control on the border with Russia is possible only after an amnesty, agreeing on the special status of these territories, making this status part of the Ukrainian Constitution and holding elections there. Now they propose giving back the part of Donbass that “rebelled” against the anti-constitutional coup to those who declared these people terrorists and launched an “anti-terrorist operation” against them, which they later renamed a Joint Forces Operation (but this does not change the idea behind it), and whom they still consider terrorists. Although everyone remembers perfectly well that in 2014 no one from Donbass or other parts of Ukraine that rejected the anti-constitutional coup attacked the putschists and the areas that immediately fell under the control of the politicians behind the coup. On the contrary, Alexander Turchinov, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others like them attacked these areas. The guilt of the people living there was solely in them saying, “You committed a crime against the state, we do not want to follow your rules, let us figure out our own future and see what you will do next.” There’s not a single example that would corroborate the fact that they engaged in terrorism. It was the Ukrainian state that engaged in terrorism on their territory, in particular, when they killed [Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic] Alexander Zakharchenko and a number of field commanders in Donbass. So, I am not optimistic about this.

Question: So, we are looking at a dead end?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, we still have an undeniable argument which is the text of the Minsk Agreements approved by the UN Security Council.

QuestionBut they tried to revise it?

Sergey Lavrov: No, they are just making statements to that effect. When they gather for a Contact Group meeting in Minsk, they do their best to look constructive. The most recent meeting ran into the Ukrainian delegation’s attempts to pretend that nothing had happened. They recently passed a law on local elections which will be held in a couple of months. It says that elections in what are now called the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics will be held only after the Ukrainian army takes control of the entire border and those who “committed criminal offenses” are arrested and brought to justice even though the Minsk agreements provide for amnesty without exemptions.

Question: When I’m asked about Crimea I recall the referendum. I was there at a closed meeting in Davos that was attended by fairly well respected analysts from the US. They claimed with absolute confidence that Crimea was being occupied. I reminded them about the referendum. I was under the impression that these people either didn’t want to see or didn’t know how people lived there, that they have made their choice. Returning to the previous question, I think that nobody is interested in the opinion of the people.

Sergey Lavrov: No, honest politicians still exist. Many politicians, including European ones, were in Crimea during the referendum. They were there not under the umbrella of some international organisation but on their own because the OSCE and other international agencies were controlled by our Western colleagues. Even if we had addressed them, the procedure for coordinating the monitoring would have never ended.

Question: Just as in Belarus. As I see it, they were also invited but nobody came.

Sergey Lavrov: The OSCE refused to send representatives there. Now that the OSCE is offering its services as a mediator, I completely understand Mr Lukashenko who says the OSCE lost its chance. It could have sent observers and gained a first-hand impression of what was happening there, and how the election was held. They arrogantly disregarded the invitation. We know that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is practically wholly controlled by NATO. We have repeatedly proposed that our nominees work there but they have not been approved. This contradicts the principles of the OSCE. We will continue to seek a fairer approach to the admission of members to the organisation, but I don’t have much hope for this. Former OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger made an effort with this for the past three years but not everything depended on him – there is a large bloc of EU and NATO countries that enjoy a mathematical majority and try to dictate their own rules. But this is a separate issue.

Returning to Crimea, I have read a lot about this; let me give you two examples. One concerns my relations with former US Secretary of State John Kerry. In April 2014, we met in Geneva: me, John Kerry, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and then Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andrey Deshchitsa. We compiled a one page document that was approved unanimously. It read that we, the representatives of Russia, the US and the EU welcomed the commitments of the Ukrainian authorities to carry out decentralisation of the country with the participation of all the regions of Ukraine. This took place after the Crimean referendum. Later, the Americans, the EU and of course Ukraine “forgot” about this document. John Kerry told me at this meeting that everyone understood that Crimea was Russian, that the people wanted to return, but that we held the referendum so quickly that it didn’t fit into the accepted standards of such events. He asked me to talk to President Vladimir Putin, organise one more referendum, announce it in advance and invite international observers. He said he would support their visit there, that the result would be the same but that we would be keeping up appearances. I asked him why put on such shows if they understand that this was the expression of the will of the people.

The second example concerns the recent statements by the EU and the European Parliament to the effect that “the occupation” of Crimea is a crude violation of the world arrangement established after the victory in World War II. But if this criterion is used to determine where Crimea belongs, when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic joined the UN after WWII in 1945, Crimea did not belong to it. Crimea was part of the USSR. Later, Nikita Khrushchev took an illegal action, which contradicted Soviet law, and this led to them having it. But we all understood that this was a domestic political game as regards a Soviet republic that was the home to Khrushchev and many of his associates.

Question: You have been Foreign Minister for 16 years now. This century’s major foreign policy challenges fell on your term in office. We faced sanctions, and we adapted to them and coped with them. Germany said it obtained Alexey Navalny’s test results. France and Sweden have confirmed the presence of Novichok in them. Reportedly, we are now in for more sanctions. Do you think the Navalny case can trigger new sanctions against Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I agree with our political analysts who are convinced that if it were not for Navalny, they would have come up with something else in order to impose more sanctions.

With regard to this situation, I think our Western partners have simply gone beyond decency and reason. In essence, they are now demanding that we “confess.” They are asking us: Don’t you believe what the German specialists from the Bundeswehr are saying? How is that possible? Their findings have been confirmed by the French and the Swedes. You don’t believe them, either?

It’s a puzzling situation given that our Prosecutor General’s Office filed an inquiry about legal assistance on August 27 and hasn’t received an answer yet. Nobody knows where the inquiry has been for more than a week now. We were told it was at the German Foreign Ministry. The German Foreign Ministry did not forward the request to the Ministry of Justice, which was our Prosecutor General Office’s  ultimate addressee. Then, they said that it had been transferred to the Berlin Prosecutor’s Office, but they would not tell us anything without the consent of the family. They are urging us to launch a criminal investigation.

We have our own laws, and we cannot take someone’s word for it to open a criminal case. Certain procedures must be followed. A pre-investigation probe initiated immediately after this incident to consider the circumstances of the case is part of this procedure.

Some of our Western colleagues wrote that, as the German doctors discovered, it was “a sheer miracle” that Mr Navalny survived. Allegedly, it was the notorious Novichok, but he survived thanks to “lucky circumstances.” What kind of lucky circumstances are we talking about? First, the pilot immediately landed the plane; second, an ambulance was already waiting on the airfield; and third, the doctors immediately started to provide help. This absolutely impeccable behaviour of the pilots, doctors and ambulance crew is presented as “lucky circumstances.” That is, they even deny the possibility that we are acting as we should. This sits deep in the minds of those who make up such stories.

Returning to the pre-investigation probe, everyone is fixated on a criminal case. If we had opened a criminal case right away (we do not have legal grounds to do so yet, and that is why the Prosecutor General’s Office requested legal assistance from Germany on August 27), what would have been done when it happened? They would have interviewed the pilot, the passengers and the doctors. They would have found out what the doctors discovered when Navalny was taken to the Omsk hospital, and what medications were used. They would have interviewed the people who communicated with him. All of that was done. They interviewed the five individuals who accompanied him and participated in the events preceding Navalny boarding the plane; they interviewed the passengers who were waiting for a flight to Moscow in Tomsk and sat at the same bar; they found out what they ordered and what he drank. The sixth person, a woman who accompanied him, has fled, as you know. They say she was the one who gave the bottle to the German lab. All this has been done. Even if all of that was referred to as a “criminal case,” we couldn’t have done more.

Our Western partners are looking down on us as if we have no right to question what they are saying or their professionalism. If this is the case, it means that they dare to question the professionalism of our doctors and investigators. Unfortunately, this position is reminiscent of other times. Arrogance and a sense of infallibility have already been observed in Europe, and that led to very regrettable consequences.

Question: How would you describe this policy of confrontation? When did it start (I mean during your term of office)? It’s simply so stable at the moment that there seems no chance that something might change in the future.

Sergey Lavrov: President of Russia Vladimir Putin has repeatedly spoken on this topic. I think that the onset of this policy, this era of constant pressure on Russia began with the end of a period that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, a time when the West believed it had Russia there in its pocket – it ended, full stop. Unfortunately, the West does not seem to be able to wrap its head around this, to accept that there is no alternative to Russia’s independent actions, both domestically and on the international arena. This is why, unfortunately, this agony continues by inertia.

Having bad ties with any country have never given us any pleasure. We do not like making such statements in which we sharply criticise the position of the West. We always try to find compromises, but there are situations where it is hard not to come face to face with one another directly or to avoid frank assessments of what our Western friends are up to.

I have read what our respected political scientists write who are well known in the West. And I can say this idea is starting to surface ever stronger and more often – it is time we stop measuring our actions with the yardsticks that the West offers us and to stop trying to please the West at all costs. These are very serious people and they are making a serious point. The fact that the West is prodding us to this way of thinking, willingly or unwillingly, is obvious to me. Most likely, this is being done involuntarily. But it is a big mistake to think that Russia will play by Western rules in any case – as big a mistake as like approaching China with the same yardstick.

Question: Then I really have to ask you. We are going through digitalisation. I think when you started your diplomatic career, you could not even have imagined that some post on Twitter could affect the political situation in a country. Yet – I can see your smile – we are living in a completely different world. Film stars can become presidents; Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook can become drivers of political campaigns – that happened more than once – and those campaigns can be successful. We are going through digitalisation, and because of this, many unexpected people appear in international politics – unexpected for you, at least. How do you think Russia’s foreign policy will change in this context? Are we ready for social media to be impacting our internal affairs? Is the Chinese scenario possible in Russia, with most Western social media blocked to avoid their influence on the internal affairs in that country?

Sergey Lavrov: Social media are already exerting great influence on our affairs. This is the reality in the entire post-Soviet space and developing countries. The West, primarily the United States, is vigorously using social media to promote their preferred agenda in just about any state. This necessitates a new approach to ensuring the national security. We have been doing this for a long time already.

As for regulating social media, everyone does it. You know that the digital giants in the United States have been repeatedly caught introducing censorship, primarily against us, China or other countries they dislike, shutting off information that comes from these places.

The internet is regulated by companies based in the United States, everyone knows that. In fact, this situation has long made the overwhelming majority of countries want to do something about it, considering the global nature of the internet and social media, to make sure that the management processes are approved at a global level, become transparent and understandable. The International Telecommunication Union, a specialised UN agency, has been out there for years. Russia and a group of other co-sponsoring countries are promoting the need to regulate the internet in such a way that everyone understands how it works and what principles govern it, in this International Union. Now we can see how Mark Zuckerberg and other heads of large IT companies are invited to the Congress and lectured there and asked to explain what they are going to do. We can see this. But a situation where it will be understandable for everyone else and, most importantly, where everyone is happy with it, still seems far away.

For many years, we have been promoting at the UN General Assembly an initiative to agree on the rules of responsible behaviour of states in the sphere of international information security. This initiative has already led to set up several working groups, which have completed their mandate with reports. The last such report was reviewed last year and another resolution was adopted. This time, it was not a narrow group of government experts, but a group that includes all UN member states. It was planning to meet, but things slowed down due to the coronavirus. The rules for responsible conduct in cyberspace are pending review by this group. These rules were approved by the SCO, meaning they already reflect a fairly large part of the world’s population.

Our other initiative is not about the use of cyberspace for undermining someone’s security; it is about fighting crimes (pedophilia, pornography, theft) in cyberspace. This topic is being considered by another UNGA committee. We are preparing a draft convention that will oblige all states to suppress criminal activities in cyberspace.

QuestionDo you think that the Foreign Ministry is active on this front? Would you like to be more proactive in the digital dialogue? After all, we are still bound by ethics, and have yet to understand whether we can cross the line or not. Elon Musk feels free to make any statements no matter how ironic and makes headlines around the world, even though anything he says has a direct bearing on his market cap. This is a shift in the ethics of behaviour. Do you think that this is normal? Is this how it should be? Or maybe people still need to behave professionally?

Sergey Lavrov: A diplomat can always use irony and a healthy dose of cynicism. In this sense, there is no contradiction here. However, this does not mean that while making ironic remarks on the surrounding developments or comments every once in a while (witty or not so witty), you do not have to work on resolving legal matters related to internet governance. This is what we are doing.

The Foreign Ministry has been at the source of these processes. We have been closely coordinating our efforts on this front with the Security Council Office, and the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media and other organisations. Russian delegations taking part in talks include representatives from various agencies. Apart from multilateral platforms such as the International Telecommunication Union, the UN General Assembly and the OSCE, we are working on this subject in bilateral relations with our key partners.

We are most interested in working with our Western partners, since we have an understanding on these issues with countries that share similar views. The Americans and Europeans evade these talks under various pretexts. There seemed to be an opening in 2012 and 2013, but after the government coup in Ukraine, they used it as a pretext to freeze this process. Today, there are some signs that the United States and France are beginning to revive these contacts, but our partners have been insufficiently active. What we want is professional dialogue so that they can raise all their concerns and accusations and back them with specific facts. We stand ready to answer all the concerns our partners may have, and will not fail to voice the concerns we have. We have many of them.

During the recent visit by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Russia, I handed him a list containing dozens of incidents we have identified: attacks against our resources, with 70 percent of them targeting state resources of the Russian Federation, and originating on German territory. He promised to provide an answer, but more than a month after our meeting we have not seen it so far.

Question: Let me ask you about another important initiative by the Foreign Ministry. You decided to amend regulations enabling people to be repatriated from abroad for   free, and you proposed subjecting the repatriation guarantee to the reimbursement of its cost to the budget. Could you tell us, please, is this so expensive for the state to foot this bill?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, these a substantial expenses. The resolution that provided for offering free assistance was adopted back in 2010, and was intended for citizens who find themselves in situations when their life is at risk. Imagine a Russian ambassador. Most of the people ask for help because they have lost money, their passport and so on. There are very few cases when an ambassador can actually say that a person is in a life-threatening situation and his or her life is in danger. How can an ambassador take a decision of this kind? As long as I remember, these cases can be counted on the fingers of my two hands since 2010, when an ambassador had to take responsibility and there were grounds for offering this assistance. We wanted to ensure that people can get help not only when facing an imminent danger (a dozen cases in ten years do not cost all that much). There were many more cases when our nationals found themselves in a difficult situation after losing money or passports. We decided to follow the practices used abroad. Specifically, this means that we provide fee-based assistance. In most cases, people travelling abroad can afford to reimburse the cost of a return ticket.

This practice is designed to prevent fraud, which remains an issue. We had cases when people bought one-way tickets knowing that they will have to be repatriated.

Question: And with no return ticket, they go to the embassy?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, after that they come to the embassy. For this reason, I believe that the system we developed is much more convenient and comprehensive for dealing with the situations Russians get into when travelling abroad, and when we have to step in to help them through our foreign missions.

Question: Mr Lavrov, thank you for your time. As a Georgian, I really have to ask this. Isn’t it time to simplify the visa regime with Georgia? A second generation of Georgians has now grown up that has never seen Russia. What do you think?

Sergey Lavrov: Georgians can travel to Russia – they just need to apply for a visa. The list of grounds for obtaining a visa has been expanded. There are practically no restrictions on visiting Russia, after obtaining a visa in the Interests Section for the Russian Federation in Tbilisi or another Russian overseas agency.

As for visa-free travel, as you know, we were ready for this a year ago. We were actually a few steps away from being ready to announce it when that incident happened with the Russian Federal Assembly delegation to the International Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, where they were invited in the first place, seated in their chairs, and then violence was almost used against them.

I am confident that our relations with Georgia will recover and improve. We can see new Georgian politicians who are interested in this. For now, there are just small parties in the ruling elites. But I believe our traditional historical closeness, and the mutual affinity between our peoples will ultimately triumph. Provocateurs who are trying to prevent Georgia from resuming normal relations with Russia will be put to shame.

They are trying to use Georgia the same way as Ukraine. In Ukraine, the IMF plays a huge role. And the IMF recently decided that each tranche allocated to Ukraine would be short-term.

Question: Microcredits.

Sergey Lavrov: Microcredits and a short leash that can always be pulled a little.

They are trying to use Georgia the same way. We have no interest in seeing this situation continue. We did not start it and have never acted against the Georgian people. Everyone remembers the 2008 events, how American instructors arrived there and trained the Georgian army. The Americans were well aware of Mikheil Saakashvili’s lack of restraint. He trampled on all agreements and issued a criminal order.

We are talking about taking their word for it. There were many cases when we took their word for it, but then it all boiled down to zilch. In 2003, Colin Powell, a test tube – that was an academic version. An attack on Iraq followed. Many years later, Tony Blair admitted that there had been no nuclear weapons in Iraq. There were many such stories. In 1999, the aggression against Yugoslavia was triggered by the OSCE representative in the Balkans, US diplomat William Walker, who visited the village of Racak, where they found thirty corpses, and declared it genocide of the Albanian population. A special investigation by the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found they were military dressed in civilian clothes. But Mr Walker loudly declared it was genocide. Washington immediately seized on the idea, and so did London and other capitals. NATO launched an aggression against Yugoslavia.

After the end of the five-day military operation to enforce peace, the European Union ordered a special report from a group of invited experts, including Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini. She was later involved in the Minsk process, and then she was asked to lead a group of experts who investigated the outbreak of the military conflict in August 2008. The conclusion was unambiguous. All this happened on the orders of Mikheil Saakashvili, and as for his excuses that someone had provoked him, or someone had been waiting for him on the other side of the tunnel, this was just raving.

Georgians are a wise nation. They love life, perhaps the same way and the same facets that the peoples in the Russian Federation do. We will overcome the current abnormal situation and restore normal relations between our states and people.


In addition, if you follow the Minister, follow up on this interview with Sputnik

Exclusive: Sergei Lavrov Talks About West’s Historical Revisionism, US Election and Navalny Case

تقليص أجنحة الإمارات يجمع إيران وتركيا

تقليص أجنحة الإمارات يجمع إيران وتركيا - ميدل ايست نيوز بالعربي

عباس بوصفوان

الخميس 17 أيلول 2020

أتقنت الإمارات، على نحو لم يحدث من قبل، تجميع خصوم أشدّاء ضدها، يملكون مشروعاً وطنياً يرتكز على القومية، والإسلام، والتاريخ المديد المتعدد الطبقات، وسردية دستورية تستند إلى بُعدَي الجمهورية (البعد الشعبي والانتخابات، على علاتها) والدين في شكله الشيعي أو السني، وعقيدة سياسية ذات قوام ناعم قابلة للنمذجة والتصدير والجذب، وموقعاً استراتيجياً، وغنى ثقافياً، وعدداً سكانياً ضخماً، وقوة اقتصادية ذاتية، وعتاداً عسكرياً يحسب له ألف حساب، وحلفاء عقائديين، وحضوراً عالمياً… وكذا تحديات جمّة تجعل من الإمارات الصغيرة غير قادرة على إزعاج النّمرين الآسيويين الصاعدين.

أهداف طهران وتركيا

يبدو أن ما يشغل طهران وأنقرة، بعد التطبيع الإماراتي مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، ليس الدخول مع الإمارة الصغيرة الطموحة في حرب ساخنة، فذاك ما تكرهه إيران، التي تجيد القيادة من الخلف. وهو أمر تعلّمته تركيا، في ما يبدو، في تدخلها المثير للجدل في ليبيا، لكن «المتوازن» إن صح القول مقارنة بتدخلها الفج والقبيح والدموي في سوريا.
الأرجح أن الدولتين المسلمتين الكبيرتين، ستضعان الخطط الساعية إلى تقليص أجنحة الإمارات، بما يعيد الدولة الخليجية الفتية الغنية إلى ما كانت عليه تقليدياً، من سوق تجارية كبرى، لا خصماً سياسياً متقدماً، ولا موطئ قدم للمخابرات المعادية، ولا منصّة لإطلاق النار، ولا مقراً لتغذية النزاعات الإقليمية، ولا بؤرة للتناحر الإقليمي والدولي، وإن احتفظت لنفسها بموقع المنبر الإعلامي المعادي فذاك من الأمور المتفهمة. ولا شك في أن هذا الموضوع كان في صلب النقاش الإيراني التركي في الاجتماع الذي التأم افتراضياً قبل أيام، ودعا فيه الرئيس روحاني نظيره التركي إردوغان إلى موقف مشترك من التطبيع الإماراتي.

التطبيع إيرانياً وتركياً

تستثمر كل من إيران وتركيا الكثير في القضية الفلسطينية، بعدما أدركت أنقرة أن نفوذ طهران عميق بين فصائل المقاومة، في وقت يظهر فيه الخطاب السعودي – الإماراتي رغبة متزايدة في إسدال الستار على قضية العرب الأولى. بيد أنه يجدر أن نلحظ فارقاً نوعياً بين مقاربة طهران مقارنة بأنقرة في موضوع إسرائيل، ووجودها في المنطقة، وتالياً إرساء علاقات دبلوماسية معها، وخصوصاً في الوقت الراهن، حيث يتنافس محور تركيا – قطر – «الإخوان» من جهة، مع محور السعوديين والإماراتيين والمصريين من جهة أخرى، على كسب ود أميركا، الحاضن الرئيسي للاحتلال. يفرض ذلك على تركيا، التي تملك علاقة دبلوماسية قديمة مع تل أبيب، وقطر التي سبق لها أن استقبلت مكتباً إسرائيلياً في قلب الدوحة، أن لا يظهرا رفضاً مبدئياً لوجود الكيان الإسرائيلي والتطبيع معه.

يحرص المحور التركي على تمييز مساره عن المحور السعودي


يحرص المحور التركي على إبراز معارضته للتطبيع استناداً إلى رفض إسرائيل الإقرار بالحقوق الفلسطينية، كما يحرص على تمييز مساره عن المحور السعودي، المتحالف هو الآخر مع واشنطن. تظهر قناة «الجزيرة»، «توازناً» لافتاً بين مختلف الآراء، فلا تعطي وقتاً أوسع للأصوات المعبرة عن موقف مبدئي للاحتلال، بل تمنح متسعاً عريضاً للمثقفين العرب «المعتدلين»، الداعين إلى تسوية مع إسرائيل تفضي إلى التطبيع، وأولئك الذين يبررون العلاقة معها، حتى من دون تسوية.
السعوديون يسعون، من جهتهم، إلى القول بأنهم أقرب إلى أميركا، بيد أن القطري والتركي نجحا في السنوات الماضية في شد عصب العلاقة مع واشنطن، وحتى واشنطن ترامب، الأقرب إلى السعودي. من ناحيتها، تعتقد إيران وحلفاوها أن المنطقة لن تبلغ مستوى الاستقلال الحقيقي إلا بإخراج القوات الأميركية، التي تتحالف معها تركيا وقطر. أمّا إسرائيل، فهي إيرانياً قاعدة أميركية متقدمة، وجب اجتثاثها، ولمّا كان من الصعب أن تقوم إيران مباشرة بذلك، فإنها تحتضن ما بات يعرف بحركات المقاومة، التي تهدد الكيان وتحشره في الزاوية.

ما الذي أجّج الخلافات؟

ما يجعل الأتراك والإيرانيين يرفعون الصوت عالياً تجاه أبو ظبي، هو مضيّ الأخيرة في رفع عقيرتها إلى درجة إرسال طائرات للمشاركة في مناورات يونانية، موجهة ضد تركيا، والمضيّ – بالمقابل – في إرساء علاقة متينة مع تل أبيب، موجهة ضد طهران. اعتاد الطرفان التركي والإماراتي أن يتصادما في ليبيا وسوريا ومصر، لكن الإمارات تمضي بعيداً حين تنقل الصراع إلى حدود أنقرة، كما على حدود قطر. وطالما اصطدم الإماراتي والإيراني في اليمن ولبنان والعراق والبحرين، لكن إدخال أبو ظبي إسرائيل على خط المواجهة يفرض على طهران تعاملاً مختلفاً.
سمعنا تنديداً من إردوغان وروحاني بالإماراتيين، والتقديرات المرجحة أن أبو ظبي ستضطر، على الأرجح، ولو في هذه الفترة التجريبية، إلى دعوة إسرائيل وأميركا إلى أن لا تحوّلا المدينة التجارية إلى منصة عسكرية موجّهة نحو إيران، بيد أن ذلك لن يطمئن طهران إلا بعد أن تتحول الفرضية إلى واقع، وإلا باتت «المدينة التي من زجاج» هدفاً إيرانياً مشروعاً.
ولا ننسى أن الحصار ضدّ قطر وإيران وتركيا يجمعها ضد الإمارات، التي يعني تحجيمها تحجيم الرياض.

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توسّع أردوغان في شرق المتوسّط مسمار نعش النهاية..

سماهر الخطيب

وجّهت الولايات المتحدة بالأمس دعوة إلى الحليف الناتوي تركيا لسحب قواتها من شرق المتوسط.

وجاءت الدعوة على لسان وزير الخارجية الأميركية مايك بومبيو عشية زيارته إلى قبرص بهدف التوصل إلى حل سلميّ يُنهي التوتر في المنطقة.

وبحسب بومبيو فإن «زيارته لقبرص تأتي استكمالاً لاتصالات أجراها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب مع نظيره التركي رجب طيب أردوغان ورئيس الوزراء اليوناني»، مشدداً على «ضرورة حل النزاع بطريقة دبلوماسية وسلمية». كما أشار إلى «دور ألمانيا في السعي إلى خفض التوتر».

فيما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع المطلة على المتوسط في ختام قمتها بشأن الأوضاع في شرق المتوسط استعدادها لـ»فرض عقوبات على تركيا ما لم تتراجع عما وصفته بتحركاتها الأحادية الجانب في المنطقة».

كما أكدت الدول الأوروبية السبع “دعمها الكامل وتضامنها مع قبرص واليونان في وجه التعديات المتكررة على سيادتهما وحقوقهما السيادية والأعمال التصعيدية من جانب تركيا”، وفق ما جاء في البيان.

وندّد الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون أول أمس، بـ”لعبة الهيمنة لقوى تاريخية” في البحر الأبيض المتوسط وليبيا وسورية، مسمياً تركيا. وقال ماكرون إن «دول المتوسط السبع تريد حواراً بنية حسنة مع تركيا التي تقود سياسة توسعية في البحر الأبيض المتوسط».

وفي المشهد التركي يبدو أنّ أردوغان ماضٍ إلى نهاية حقبته «الأردوغانية»، بعد أن أصبحت نزعته «السلطانية» المتحكمة والمسيطرة على أفعاله وأقواله. وهو يعلم جليّاً بأنّ تلك النزعة التوسعية فاقدة أي شرعية أو مشروعية وخالية من أي سند قانوني يدعمها أو حق تاريخي يؤصّلها، ليس في مياه البحر الأبيض المتوسط، فحسب، إنما في معظم الأراضي السورية التي سلخها أجداده عن أمها السورية بلا حق وها هو اليوم يفتح عليه أبواب مواجهات قاسية وقاصمة، قد تصل إلى حد الحرب.

ومنذ أن وقعت تركيا اتفاقية ترسيم الحدود مع الوفاق الليبية ولم تكل ولم تهدأ بتوجيه تهديداتها لجيرانها في منطقة شرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط، وبخاصة قبرص واليونان، وذلك من خلال إعلانها الخاص بتوسيع نطاق عملياتها لاستكشاف حقول الغاز في المنطقة المتنازع عليها شرقي المتوسط، وتأكيدها على مواصلة سفينة التنقيب التركية “ياووز” أعمالها، خلال الفترة الممتدة من 18 آب، وحتى نهاية أيلول الحالي.

وصرّح أردوغان مراراً أن بلاده ستستأنف عمليات التنقيب وستبحث عن مصادر الطاقة قبالة جزر يونانية، متوعّداً بعدم التراجع عن توغل بلاده في شرق المتوسط، زاعماً أن لبلاده «الحق تماماً» في المنطقة المتنازع عليها مع اليونان.. وإذا ما فتحنا دفتر الحساب حول الحق المزعوم فسنجد أنّ هذه «الحقوق العثمانية» ما هي إلا الأوهام مجرّدة من المصداقية بنت إمبراطوريتها السابقة على المجازر التي ارتكبتها كالمجازر الأرمنية والسريانية واقتطعت الأراضي بلا أدنى حق متذرعة بقوة السيف من جهة وباتفاق مع حلفاء الحربين العالميتين الأولى والثانية من جهة أخرى..

إنما هروب أردوغان من الجهة الغربية نحو جهة المتوسطية سيكون مسماراً في نعش النهاية الحتمية لجنون الحقبة «الأردوغانية» التي عاشتها بلاده ودفعت وستدفع أكلافها عالية وغالية..

إذ أضحى أردوغان عدواً مشتركاً للغرب وللشرق بتصرّفاته الرعناء ولم تقتصر تلك العداوة على الخارج بل ظهرت وتغلغلت داخل بلاده وبين مواطنيه..

ودخل في دوامة الخلافات مع محيطه الشرقي والغربي وبات العمق الاستراتيجي أضغاث أحلام ولم يعد يساوي الحبر الذي كتب فيه أحمد داوود أوغلو كتابه موجهاً دعواته لحزبه السابق حزب العدالة والتنمية بالتوجه نحو الشرق والداخل المشرقي وباتت رؤية “صفر مشاكل” صفراً على شمال طموحات أردوغان الرعناء.. فأصبح الإقليم برمته ضدّه، فبينما تلوّح أوروبا بورقة العقوبات، تحرّك فرنسا قطعها الحربية إلى المتوسط، وواشنطن تفتر علاقتها به وتطلب منه بصريح العبارة سحب قواته من المتوسط وتدين “الجامعة العربية” تصرفاته وتطالبه بسحب قواته من سورية وليبيا وغيرها من البلاد التي عاث فيها فساداً ليبدو وكأنّ الجميع اتفق عليه ويتجه نحو تشكيل حلف جديد في رحم المنطقة لملاقاته، والذي يبدو في الزمن القريب قدراً مقدوراً..

في المحصلة تبدو نهاية «الأردوغانيّة» أمراً محتوماً وحقيقة مؤكدة، وفي التاريخ الكثير من أمثولات أطماع أردوغان وأوهامه التي تسببت بانهيار إمبراطوريات كبيرة واندثرت حضارات عظيمة، إذا ما افترضنا أنّ تركيا «حضارة» وإن كانت، فإنما حضارة مسروقة مبنية على مجازر..

وفي العودة إلى التاريخ، فإن كثيراً من الإمبراطوريات انهارت وفسدت واضمحلت من داخلها، بسبب تصرفات حكامها وما محاولة أردوغان لبناء دولة خلافة تركية من جديد، إلا أوهام مضادة لحركة التاريخ وتزييف لتطور البشرية..

وإذا ما استمرّ في تجاوزاته لكل الخطوط الحمر فإن نهايته حتماً ستأتي على يد تحالف دولي إقليمي، قد يتحول إلى حلف عسكري في القريب العاجل، للقضاء على أوهام السلطان الذي لم يعد له صاحب أو صديق..

Russia Just Lost One Of Fighter Jets Deployed In Libya?

Russia Just Lost One Of Fighter Jets Deployed In Libya?
Video

September 09, 2020

South Front

A video, allegedly showing a Russian-speaking pilot in Libya waiting for an evacuation helicopter after his aircraft had supposedly crashed, appeared online on September 7 causing a wave of speculation in mainstream media and among military enthusiasts.

The clip shows a white-and-orange parachute on the ground, in a desert-like environment, and the Russian-speaking person claims that his aircraft was shot down at around 70km and that he ejected from it at about 40km from the airfield. He claims that he is waiting for an evacuation group of helicopters while the enemy is searching for him. After a break the video resumed to show an approaching Mi-24 helicopter in colors close to those used by helicopters of the Libyan National Army (LNA).

The video does not show any wreckage, nor indications of the near crash site, nor clues about the type of aircraft nor the real date or location of the video. The Russian pro-government military blog ‘Fighter Bomber’, which originally released the video, also revealed no further details about it.

The video came following several reports by the US military claiming that Russia had deployed several MiG-29 and Su-24 warplanes to the LNA-operated al-Jufra Airfield. The US Africa Command then claimed that these warplanes were possibly operated by Russia-linked private military contractors.

At the same time, the color scheme of the filmed helicopter is close to that used by the LNA. In particular, an LNA Mi-8 helicopter, which recently crash landed west of Sirte and was captured by forces of the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) had a similar painting scheme.

As to the video itself and the actions of the alleged pilot on it, the situation looks pretty strange. First of all, if the jet was really shot down in combat conditions and the pilot ejected, the decision to film a video that may fall into the hands of the enemy is quite puzzling. The behavior of the pilot making such a decision raises questions about the real purpose of the move. In real combat conditions, the pilot would likely try to retreat from the crash site as much as possible taking the crash-position indicator with him to allow the rescue force to find him. Another factor is that despite the claims of the ‘pilot’, no smoke can really be seen in the video. Further, the pilot is not wearing a proper flight suit. On top of this, Russian sources say that the survival radio set, likely the P-855, which can be seen in the video, is of a different color than those used by the Russian Aerospace Forces.

These factors indicate that the video, regardless of the location, could be from some sort of combat search and rescue exercise. This would explain the strange behavior of the ‘pilot’ who was sitting near his parachute and waiting for somebody, like in peace time, instead of retreating from the alleged crash site. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that these details are likely to be ignored by mainstream media, which will probably soon be full of reports about how Turkish forces downed a Russian fighter aircraft in Libya. If the above mentioned fun clip was really recorded in Libya, by some Russian-linked private military contractors, their leadership is now apparently interested in improving the operational security of their forces.

الدور الروسيّ في الاندفاعة الفرنسيّة الأخيرة نحو لبنان…

 باريس – نضال حمادة

فرنسا تعود إلى لبنان من الباب الواسع دولياً إقليمياً ومحلياً، وتأتي هذه العودة الفرنسية في ظل أزمات كثيرة يعيشها لبنان اقتصادية وأمنية وسياسية واجتماعية، فضلاً عن وباء كورونا الذي ينتشر بسرعة، وبسبب هذه الأوضاع المأساويّة لم تجد فرنسا أي اعتراض على اندفاعتها السياسية والامنية والعسكرية من أي طرف لبناني، وهي عندما دخلت الى لبنان أمنت لدخولها غطاء دولياً يمكن القول إن الغطاء الروسي هو الأهم في هذه المرحلة التي تعيش فيها أميركا أشهر ما قبل الانتخابات الرئاسية والتي تشل حركة السياسة الأميركية الخارجية، خصوصاً في منطقة الشرق الأوسط الساخنة والمليئة بالمشاكل.

ماذا عن الغطاء الروسي؟

تقول مصادر سياسية في العاصمة الفرنسية باريس إن الاندفاعة الفرنسية هذه أتت بسبب الأزمة التركية مع اليونان وقبرص في البحر المتوسط، فضلا عن التقدم التركي في ليبيا التي تعتبر فرنسا أنها الأحق بالدخول إليها بسبب قيادتها عملية إسقاط نظام الرئيس الليبي السابق معمر القذافي.

المصادر قالت إن فرنسا وضعت لتركيا خطوطاً حمراء في البحر المتوسط وحصلت على تأييد روسيا في هذا الأمر، لكون الأزمة التركية بالأصل مع دولتين لديهما أغلبية أرثوذوكسية، كما تتخذ كل من موسكو وباريس موقفاً متطابقاً في وجه التمدد التركي في ليبيا، التي أرسلت اليها روسيا بطاريات صواريخ أس 300 نصبتها في سرت بعد تقدّم الأتراك في طرابلس الغرب بفعل استقدامهم مرتزقة من الجماعات السوريّة المسلحة الى ليبيا.

المصادر الفرنسية تشير الى تنسيق روسي فرنسي واسع بشأن الأزمة التركية مع قبرص واليونان وتفيد أن قصر الإيليزيه شكل خلية أزمة تضمّ رئيس أركان الجيوش الفرنسية ومسؤولي أجهزة الاستخبارات ووزير الخارجية ووزير الداخلية لمتابعة مجريات الأحداث والتنقيب الذي تقوم به تركيا عن الغاز في البحر المتوسط.

وتشير المصادر إلى أن فرنسا لعبت دوراً كبيراً ضد تركيا في الاتحاد الأوروبي ما أدّى الى تراجع المانيا عن موقفها الرافض لتهديد تركيا بفرض عقوبات أوروبية عليها، وتشكل علاقة ألمانيا مع روسيا الجيدة، سبباً آخر في تراجع ألمانيا عن دعم تركيا وفي كلتا الحالتين يعتبر ما حصل انتصاراً لماكرون في هجومه لحصار تركيا.

من هنا تكمن أهمية لبنان بالنسبة لفرنسا وأهمية مرفأ بيروت القريب جداً من مناطق التنقيب التركية في البحر المتوسط الذي سوف يكون ساحة الكباش الدولي على الغاز.. وهذه المرة في مياه البحار.

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The Architect and Director of the Arab Normalization Process with Israel from A to Z, Who is He?

Source

Erdogan the war criminal for Israel
Architect and Director of the Arab Normalization Process with Israel from A to Z, Who is He?
Written by: Naram Sargon (source in Arabic)

It is not enough for a bear to announce that it has decided to wear its feathers to move to the species of birds in order to fly and fly gracefully. And the Turkish bear, although it sings like birds and flops with its hands as if they are wings, does not rise from the surface of the earth. Only Muslim brothers [Muslim Brotherhood] can see that a bear can fly. They describe to us how it takes off, how it lands on the thin branches, and even how it lands lightly on roses like a bee… This Turkish bear has not bothered Israel except with chatter since it came to power, but it destroyed all the enemies of Israel… and led the Arabs to it to normalization…

Today, the prophecy of Gamal Abdel Nasser, [given when he] was visiting the Syrian city of Raqqa, is fulfilled. There he said a prophecy that was like an inscription in the Stone of Destiny. He said that Turkey would join Israel in an alliance against the Arabs to destroy them in the future. The prophecy was fulfilled as if it was issued by a prophet.

Gamal Abdel Nasser warning of Turkey - Israel alliance against the Arabs
‘Some Arab countries will become tails of the Turks and the West, and Egypt will be forced to confront and protect its national security in Africa. The Turkish danger may not appear today, but may appear in the future. Ankara is not serious about supporting the Arabs to confront Israel.’ ~Gamal Abdel Nasser

Turkey today paralyzes all countries that threaten Israel, and Israel roaming the length of the Arab world… And all the normalization movement today is a shift from secrecy to overt, but this timing of the transition to overtness is an Israeli decision because Israel wants to penetrate the collective Arab public consciousness in order to seize the decision of rejection and disobedience, a prelude to dispersing Arab societies and tearing them apart in a fatal blow, as it thinks… And what happened is forcing the Arab Gulf regimes that are existentially linked to the Zionist entity in a secret relationship since its establishment to announce this after they were afraid to announce this relationship.

And Turkey’s role was essential, it is the one that removed the ability of the rejection and disobedient countries to exercise threat and anger and stir up trouble for these regimes .. Iraq, although it is subject to the Turkish occupation, is completely exhausted in launching the ISIS state that Turkey sponsored from A to Z and if it were not for Turkey there won’t be ISIS, because all the financing and supply of ISIS was carried out from the Turkish – Syrian – Iraqi borders, which are the only borders available to ISIS – not the Iranian or Russian borders – and all the volunteer supply was through the reception camps in Turkey … and all the smuggling of oil and relics to finance and feed the ISIS project was done through Turkish crossings which Turkey supervises and monitors… and the massacres and intimidation operations were intended to empty the region of the population that Turkey was opening its borders as a crossing to absorb them across the Turkish borders in preparation for changing the demographic character and replacing non-Arab immigrants in the region.

Turkey has occupied Syria and all its military capabilities … and attracted Hezbollah to the battles of Aleppo, Idlib, and Tadmor (Palmyra,) and diverted part of its allocated energy for deterring Israel, and made the Hezb’s ability to devote itself to the fatigue and exhaustion of Israel linked to retrieving fighters from northern Syria. It maintains the presence of militants in northern Syria to keep part of the Syrian army and Hezb Allah distracted from Israel as much as possible, because Hezb Allah will not fight two battles on two fronts, of course, no matter how strong it is.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan - faithful servant of Israel

In Libya, the Turks entered for one mission, which is to prevent the stability of Libya so that there is no possibility of the emergence of a new Gaddafi who may have a speech against Israel. Also, keeping Libya in a state of chaos is a threat to the stability of Egypt and turning Libya into a reservoir of terrorism on the shoulders of Egypt and Algeria as it is in Idlib on Syria’s shoulder…

Of course, Turkey tore the Palestinians apart after Turkish intelligence took control of the Hamas decision and continued strengthening the Muslim Brotherhood movement and preventing Hamas from reconciling with the rest of the Palestinian factions… even though the Palestinians are in dire need of unity in their position…

The siege of the main Arab rejectionist countries was a reason for the Gulf states ’liberation from that fear of Arab nationalists in the North and in Africa. But the oil countries preferred secret relations with Israel because announcing them is not of great benefit as long as they do everything in secret… and Saudi Arabia was stalling because it does not want to lose its religious legitimacy with this normalization before the approval of the Palestinians… It was the Khashoggi operation in which the Turkish and Israeli intelligence were involved as Turkey wanted to seize the Islamic decision and take the lead in the Islamic core as a supreme reference in the region instead of Saudi Arabia… and the price for that was that Israel helps normalize with the Grand Islamic Center, which holds the holy lands in Mecca and Medina… The Turks and the Israelis have agreed that the Khashoggi operation will benefit Turkey in excluding Saudi Arabia from leadership and legitimacy in the Islamic world and that Bin Salman’s blackmail will push him to normalize overtly. This, too, will strip him of more legitimacy, and Erdogan will appear as the strong Islamic leader who criticizes normalization, receives Palestinians and protects them, and receives Arab refugees, he is the undisputed leader of the Islamic nation.

This Turkish bear, which the Muslim Brotherhood sees flying and flapping with two wings, as it flies towards Palestine, is still on the ground and did not rise a millimeter in the sky, but it is snapping in the Arab world and its mouth is filled with blood. This mouth full of blood was seen by Abdel Nasser, decades ago as if he was seeing what we are in today.

Nevertheless, this Turkish bear will be forced to vomit everything that it ate, just as it vomited Aleppo – after swallowing it – and vomited the king of ISIS who was in its stomach, and the news says that he will vomit Idlib soon, and whatever it flips with its hands and claws, we know that it does not fly and will not rise and will remain in the range of arrows, and we will follow it and we will hit it with spears until it leaves our fields or dies in it; and if Abdel Nasser sees this Turkish bear chewing our blood, I see it covered in its own blood, just as if Nasser’s prophecy were inscribed in stone, I see the fate of this Ottoman bear as drawn by fate, covered in its blood on the roadsides of the Middle East before the worms spread in it.


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West Asian states should unite against U.S.-Israel-Saudi-UAE axis: Turkish party leader

By Mohammad Mazhari

August 30, 2020 – 23:53

TEHRAN – Utku Reyhan, the secretary-general of the nationalist Patriotic Party in Turkey, is of the opinion that West Asian countries including Iran and Turkey can form an alliance to confront common threats posed by the U.S. and its allies in the region.

 “West Asian countries should come together against the USA-Israel-Saudi-UAE axis because we are facing common threats,” Reyhan tells the Tehran Times.

Turkey and some Arab states in the Persian Gulf region are caught in a diplomatic row over a range of issues including the recent move by the Emirates to normalize ties with Israel. 

On August 13, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, announced the UAE’s agreement to normalize relations with Israel which sparked anger among Islamic nations and some Muslim states like Iran and Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he may sever ties with the UAE in opposition to its normalization agreement with Israel.

Reyhan also says it is a “necessity” that both Turkey and Egypt settle their disputes.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Do you believe that Iran, Turkey, and some progressive Arab countries can establish a regional alliance?

A: This alliance can be established and it has already been done. West Asian countries should come together against the axis of the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates because we are facing common threats.

Q: What is the attitude of Turkey about the presence of foreign powers in the region especially in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan? What do you think of the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel?

A: The UAE has once again demonstrated its destructive role for our region by making an agreement with Israel. It’s not surprising, frankly. They even ally with the devil for their own benefit! Our goal is a West Asia free from all external forces and influences; A region dominated by peace and mutual respect, and a common effort to fight against terrorism. Turkey is slowly coming to this line, and that is why the U.S. is trying to undermine the Erdogan government. They tried to overthrow his government and kill him. That opened Erdogan’s eyes to see the facts more clearly. Now Turkey heads towards a more region-based policy. 

Q: President Erdogan announced on Friday that Turkey made its biggest-ever discovery of natural gas after completing new exploration work in the Black Sea. What will be the impact of the discovery on Turkey’s political and economic future? 

A: As you said the discovery has a historic importance for Turkey. Turkey’s gas find meets its need for natural gas for 7 years. This means about 70 billion dollars. But Turkey cannot solve its energy problems by the recent discovery and the country will continue to buy natural gas. However, with the discovery of new reserves in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, the need to buy natural gas from outside may decrease over time.
It does not mean that economy of Turkey will be heavily dependent on gas, like oil-dependent countries including Saudi Arabia. Turkish industry is multidimensional.

Q: Do you see any possibility to solve problems between Turkey and Egypt?

A: This is a necessity for both countries. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech he gave recently, stated that Turkey is ready to meet with all countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt is undoubtedly one of these countries. Turkey must attract Egypt which is now on the side of Greece and the United States. This can be done by putting aside old disputes.

Q: Given the Persian Gulf states’ attempts to confront Turkey in Libya, what is the stance of Ankara to the ceasefire in Libya? Do you expect a comprehensive solution in Libya?

A: Turkey is supporting the legitimate government in Libya. Libya and Turkey have a maritime boundary in the Mediterranean Sea. 
Moreover, there are serious historical and cultural ties between the two countries.
For these reasons Turkey attempts to reinforce its ties with Libya are understandable.
We are thinking differently from the Turkish government. Turkey should attract Egypt and Syria to its side in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey should not be left alone in the eastern Mediterranean front established by U.S., Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.

Ankara should follow a policy that includes strengthening ties with Russia. In Libya, a ceasefire is necessary only to the extent that it serves Libya’s political unity.

Q: Why does Turkey enter the regional conflicts especially in Libya while it had announced before that it would follow the policy of “zero problems with neighbors?”

A: I explained above. Turkey and Libya have a maritime boundary and are neighbors with deep-rooted ties. Instead of questioning Turkey, we should ask countries such as the U.S. and Israel which do not have a maritime border with Libya.

RELATED NEWS

Large demonstration held in support of Gaddafi family in northern Libya: video

Supporters of the Gaddafi family took to the streets of Bani Walid, Sirte, and Ghat to demonstrate in support of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s return to politics.

By News Desk -2020-08-25

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:35 P.M.) – Supporters of the Gaddafi family have once again gathered in Sirte, the birthplace of the former president, Muammar, to show their support for them amid ongoing turmoil between the two largest political blocs in Libya.

According to Ouais Hasairi, the Libyan National Army (LNA) clashed with members of the Gdadfa Tribe, which is the tribe of Muammar Gaddafi, over the arrest of 50 civilians in the city of Sirte.

The incident, according to Hasairi, took place in the coastal city of Sirte on August 24th, as the demonstrations in support of the Gaddafi family continue in this region of the country.

Supporters of the Gaddafi family can be seen waiving the green flag, which represented the Libyan Arab Republic under the former president Muammar Gaddafi.

Last week, three demonstrations were reported in Sirte and two other cities in north-central Libya, as dozens of people rallied in support of the Gaddafi family and the return of Saif Al-Islam to Libyan politics.

Related

Demonstrations held in support of Gaddafi family in 3 Libyan cities

By News Desk -2020-08-20

Supporters of the Gaddafi family took to the streets of Bani Walid, Sirte, and Ghat to demonstrate in support of Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi’s return to politics.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – Dozens of people gathered inside three Libyan cities this week to demonstrate in support of Saif Al-Islam Al-Gaddafi, the son of the former president, Mu’ammar Al-Gaddafi.

According to Al-Wasat, the demonstrations were held in the cities of Sirte, Bani Walid, and Ghat, which are located in north-central Libya.

The participants reportedly held photos of the former Libyan President, along with his sons, Saif Al-Islam, Mu’tassem, and Khamis.

The protesters were reportedly calling for the return of Saif Al-Islam to Libyan politics, while announcing their support for his presidency.

The city of Sirte is the birthplace of Mu’ammar Gaddafi and was one of the main strongholds for the late president during the first phase of the Libyan Civil War.

Since Gaddafi’s death, the city has been controlled by the Government of National Accord, Libyan National Army, and Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh).

Sirte is currently under the control of the Libyan National Army and has been since they captured the city from the Government of National Accord in January 2020.

The Government of National Accord is now eyeing the recapture of the city, despite the Egyptian government’s announcement that Sirte is their “red line”.

Related News

Another warm summer in East Med

August 15, 2020

Another warm summer in East Med

by Kakaouskia for the Saker Blog

Greetings to the Saker community and readers.

Summers tend to be warm in East Mediterranean and not just due to weather. This one is no exception with Greece and Turkey apparently determined to make a stand for what each perceives to be its waters and Exclusive Economic Zone.

Before I delve into the existing situation, I feel that some background information is required: about every 12-15 years or so tensions flare up between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean / East Med. Apart from the historical grievances certain parts of the population feel are important to correct, the main reason is the natural resources apparently present.

There was the war of 1974, between Cyprus and Turkey were Greek and Turkish army units actively fought each other.

Then there was the crisis of 1987 were Turkey declared that their research vessel Hora was to conduct research for hydrocarbons in the Aegean. The Greek government of the time deployed the fleet with orders to sink the Hora and in a major political coup made an agreement with Bulgaria (Warsaw pact still existed then) to provide military assistance in the event of a war with Turkey.

After that there was the Imia incident in 1996; again, fleets were deployed, special ops teams from each country took over some rocks and it almost blew into a war. You can see the pattern.

This time the theatre of operations is in the East Med, the area south east of Crete and Kastellorizo. For the first time not only are there confirmed gas and oil deposits, the political and economic landscape allows for the utilisation of said deposits. Thus, the focus of all countries in the region is there.

At first Turkey focused on Cyprus as it was the first country to ascertain claim of an EEZ and license drilling rights to French and Italian companies. Turkey hired a Norwegian crew to conduct hydrocarbon surveys in Cyprus’s EEZ; after Cyprus issued international arrest warrants for illegal activities the Norwegians withdrew, and Turkey changed strategy by deploying its own vessels with Turkish crews and always under naval escort.

Sidebar: Cyprus being a small country with an economy that cannot sustain a serious air force or navy recently announced that it has come into a defence agreement with France. The diplomatic language was deliberately vague; however, rumours have it that France will have a quasi-permanent naval presence in Cyprus. Moreover, according to the Cyprus ministry of Defence Cyprus ordered Exocet Blk3 anti-ship missiles and Mistral manpads from France in a deal worth €240M. The Exocet Blk3 has a range of ~200Km and a land attack capability, a first for Cyprus.

Then this year Turkey reached an agreement with the Libyan “government” that marked the EEZ zones of each country. The biggest problem with this agreement is that it not only encroaches into the Egyptian EEZ, it also completely ignores the presence of Greek islands and runs over them:

(image taken from https://www.internationalworldgroup.it/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/libya-turkey-eez.jpg)

Greece countered by making a similar agreement with Egypt that partially marks the EEZ of each country (the blue line on the unofficial map) and which is pending ratification from the respective parliaments. The area east of the 28E line has been left deliberately out of the negotiations as it requires an agreement between Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and Egypt.

(image taken from https://thepressproject.gr/app/uploads/2020/08/aoz-hellas-egypt.jpg)

The proposed East Med pipeline is expected to pass from that are as well:

(image taken from https://mediadc.brightspotcdn.com/dims4/default/e52cf5e/2147483647/strip/true/crop/1265×875+0+0/resize/1265×875!/quality/90/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmediadc.brightspotcdn.com%2F62%2Fb1%2Fde0f172244da817f79e083c1ed3c%2Fwell.v24-05.2018-10-08.Psaropoulos_Map.TWS.jpg)

Turkey reacted to the agreement by deploying the survey vessel Oruç Reis with an escort of 4 (out of the 6 active) Burak class light corvettes (former French D’Estienne d’Orves-class avisos) and F-247 TCG Kemalreis, a Meko 200 TN track II frigate. This force is of moderate strength; while Kemalreis is a relatively modern ship, the corvettes are more of a token force.

(image taken from https://www.ptisidiastima.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/orus-reis-and-escort.jpeg)

Oruç Reis escorted by Turkish navy. Note that this formation is for the photo shoot; it is impossible to conduct hydrocarbon surveys like this.

Greece deployed part of its fleet to monitor the situation and cancelled the leave of military personnel. This resulted in a collision incident between F-451 Limnos (S class frigate) and F-247 TCG Kemalreis. Both countries claim their vessel damaged the other and both released images / videos to show that their respective ship remains operational.

Video supposedly showing Kemalreis after the collision with Limnos:

(image taken from https://www.ptisidiastima.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/FRGR138-2.png)

Limnos after the collision with Kemalreis. The lack of any “unofficial” videos of the collision so far is notable and says something about the information controls in place on both sides. In any case the truth, or at least solid indicators as to what really transpired will be revealed once both ships return to port.

The story of Greece has more credibility though as the image is guaranteed to have been taken after the event and in the present of witnesses; the day after the collision Greece and France conducted a joint naval exercise involving the following ships:

F-453 Spetsai (Meko 200 HN frigate)

F-451 Limnos (S class frigate)

F-460 Aigaion (S class frigate)

F-462 Kountouriotis (S class frigate)

FS La Fayette (La Fayette class frigate)

FS Tonnerre (Mistral class amphibious assault helicopter carrier)

Two French Rafale planes also participated in the drills and they used the facilities of 115 Combat Wing, Souda Bay.

Video of the Greek – French flotilla during the drills: https://youtu.be/gdojh9hWDoA

Based on the available open-source information, it is evident that Greece deployed a more substantial naval force to counter the Turkish threat. From a military point of view Turkey has the tactical advantage as the theatre of operations is closer to its shores and it can deploy additional forces faster if need be. Moreover, Greece cannot afford to risk the safety of the myriad of populated islands some of which are located closer to Turkey (one can say swimming distance).

Map roughly depicting the area of operations and distance from Attalya in Turkey and Souda Bay in Greece.

Greece is at a disadvantage as it is forced to react to Turkey’s movements. An EEZ is not equal to the territorial waters of a country; ships, even military ones, have the right of unopposed transit provided they do not engage in military / economic activities. Greece has no legal right to block the movements of the Turkish flotilla; it will have such a right if Oruç Reis starts conducting a survey. Even then, the acceptable process is to ask the ship to stop such activity and if it does not comply then board and arrest the captain. Oruç Reis is still a civilian vessel and one does not fire on unarmed civilian vessels.

Turkey on the other hand aims to demonstrate that Greece, claim or no claim over those waters cannot protect them effectively thus discouraging big oil from signing exploration / drilling contracts with Greece. A similar tactic was used against the French navy outside Libya during EU operation Irini. A French vessel tried to inspect a freighter suspected of carrying arms in violation of the embargo, only to be prevented by a passing (read escort) Turkish navy vessel that responded to the freighter’s captain request for help. In that case a few days after France complained and Turkey ignored them, unknown aircraft attacked the Libyan air base Turkey was using.

Militarily Greece and Turkey are practically equal. Turkey has an advantage in the form of air refuelling aircraft which allow its fighters to operate for longer periods of time in theatre and carry more weapons. Additionally the Turkish frigate force has 8 modernised Oliver Hazard Perry (OHP) class frigates which provide air cover to the fleet utilising Standard SM1-MR missiles. While the missiles themselves are considered obsolete and have been withdrawn from USN service, the Greek navy does not have such capability and relies on the protection of the Greek air force.

Greece on the other hand has the advantage given by the Mirage 2000 and Mirage 2000-5Mk2 aircraft bought from France. Unlike the US which has denied weapon sales to Greece in the past in order “not to shift the balance of power” France has provided Greece with ~100 Scalp EG cruise missiles for use by the M2000-5 aircraft giving the Greek air force sub-strategic strike capabilities as the export version has a range of 560Km. This is one of the reasons Turkey decided to purchase the S400 SAM complexes. Greece also invested heavily on the Exocet anti-ship missile in all its forms (air, ship and surface launched variants). The older M2000 aircraft of Greece can carry 2 such missiles each making them effective ship hunters over the Aegean. The surface launchers are mobile and can be placed on any island creating access denial areas.

Greek Mirage armed with Scalp cruise missile, courtesy of Hellenic Air Force:

Both countries have a similarly sized submarine fleet; Turkey with 12 subs (German Type 209 variants) and Greece with 11 (German Type 209 and Type 214 variants). Greece has a quality advantage here for the time being as 5 out of the 11 subs are equipped with air-independent propulsion systems and 4 of those being of the newer Type 214.

Sidebar: It is safe to assume that both countries have deployed at least part of their submarine force; the location and actions of said force will be very well hidden unlike surface combatants.

Notably Turkey did not deploy any of its OHP frigates in the East Med area; most likely they act as submarine hunters in the Aegean and as a missile shield for important installations / formations. As the operational status of the S400 complexes is not known, Turkey has no other long-range SAM option; the MIM-23 Hawk system is practically obsolete as recent events in Libya showed.

The militaries of both countries are plagued by problems. Turkey is facing financial difficulties; the officer corps suffered a blow from the purges after the failed coup against Erdogan that as word has it has not yet recovered from; the active involvement in Syria and Libya is occupying resources that cannot be used in the Aegean. The chart below compares the Turkish Lira with USD over the past 5 years. The seriousness of the problem is evident:

(chart from https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=USD&to=TRY&view=5Y)

Turkey has poured a considerable sum of money into its defence industry, sometimes to the detriment of other areas of the economy. These investments have yielded products that however remain largely used only by Turkey thus any claims for their effectiveness remain to be proven.

For Greece, the years of being under IMF and EU monetary supervision have had their toll. Effectively Greece allocates €500 million per year for armaments; an amount that is inadequate. Recently negotiations between France and Greece for the purchase of Belhara class frigates have broken down due to cost. Moreover, in recent years the purchase and modernization choices for the Greek armed forces have been bizarre to put it mildly. It is said that major equipment is suffering from availability issues due to lack of spare parts and that even the newest Type 214 subs still operate with incredibly old torpedoes that partially negate the advantages of the platform. Also after a series of corruption scandals involving past ministers of defence that concluded in jail terms, the Greek parliament enacted an anti-corruption law aimed at defence procurement that makes it virtually impossible to sign any such contract, even a simple contract for spare parts from the sole manufacturer on the planet.

For now, the game of cat and mouse in East Med continues. Oruç Reis is practically bait Turkey is using to lure Greece into opening fire first. Greece is keeping its distance monitoring for any movement against an island. Neither country really wants to start a war, or at least to be viewed as being the one which started it. Whatever the case militaries cannot be constantly deployed; attrition, both material and of personnel is a fact of life and at some point, something will give.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas, Moscow, August 11, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference following talks with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas, Moscow, August 11, 2020

August 14, 2020

Source

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held constructive, trust-based and detailed talks with Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas. We discussed the bilateral agenda and cooperation on international issues both at the UN and in Europe.

Mr Maas is visiting Moscow on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Moscow treaty between the USSR and West Germany on mutual recognition and respect for the European territorial and political realities established after World War II. The original treaty was shown here today. Mr Maas and I looked at it. On August 12, 1970, when it was signed, the Soviet Union confidently, and from an emphatically peaceful position, made a conscientious strategic choice in favour of peaceful and mutually respectful partnership with the West despite the overpowering atmosphere of mistrust and tough ideological pressure. Credit should also go to Chancellor Willy Brandt’s pragmatic “eastern policy.” At that time Bonn took into account the fact that long-term stability in Europe largely depended on normalisation of relations with Moscow.

The treaty facilitated the establishment of the principles of peaceful coexistence in Europe and improved the international situation as a whole. It objectively facilitated the holding of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and the signing of its Final Act in Helsinki. It also made it easier for the GDR and West Germany to join the UN simultaneously.

During today’s consultations, we reaffirmed our mutual desire to further promote cooperation in the economy, science, education, culture and humanitarian exchanges. The cross year of science and academic partnership is coming to a close with serious practical results. This year will be replaced with another cross event, the Year of the Economy and Sustainable Development. In addition to this, on September 26, our German partners will launch in Moscow the Year of Germany in Russia. We expect it will take place in Pushkin Square with due account for the epidemiological situation.

We welcome the fact that despite the difficulties related to the pandemic, our German partners have embarked on the practical implementation of the humanitarian gesture of the German government as regards the survivors of the siege of Leningrad. The first equipment designated for the war veterans’ hospital is already in St Petersburg. Later today, Federal Minister will hold a number of meetings in St Petersburg. In part, he will meet with the survivors of the siege of Leningrad. We appreciate the attention given by our German friends to this problem.

Regarding the economy, we focused on completing the construction of the Nord Stream 2 project. Needless to say, we took into account the US sanctions pressure. We appreciate Berlin’s position of principle in support of this essentially economic initiative that will help diversify natural gas supply routes, and help enhance the energy security of Europe based on the estimates of European countries rather than those from overseas.

We expressed to the Germans our concerns over our cooperation in cyber security. We noted that in the past and this year we have recorded many cyberattacks against Russian facilities and organisations that were made from the German internet.

We cooperate with Germany on the Ukrainian issue as well. We have a common understanding that there is no alternative to the Minsk Package of Measures and that it is necessary to implement it as soon as possible. We again urged our German colleagues to use their influence on the Kiev leaders to encourage them to fulfill their commitments in the Minsk process as soon as possible. We regularly exchange opinions on the further possibilities for cooperation in the Normandy format as an important instrument that stimulates the activities of the Contact Group in which Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk are supposed to act directly in fulfilling the Minsk agreements that they signed.

In addition, we also reviewed the issues linked with the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa. We have a common position on the need to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2254 on the settlement in Syria, which implies confirmation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We discussed preparations for resuming the activities of the editorial commission of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva (I hope this will take place this month if the epidemiological situation permits). We consider it important for our European partners to pay more attention to the practical alleviation of the humanitarian situation in Syria, which affects ordinary people.

We also share an interest in settling the situation in Libya. We reaffirm the commonality of approaches of Russia and Germany on the need to settle this conflict on the principles that were set forth in the final documents of the Berlin Conference on Libya and confirmed by the relevant UN Security Council resolution. The need to fulfill the Berlin agreements in full remains current. We agree with this. The further escalation of violence in Libya threatens to destabilise the situation not only in that country but also in the Middle East and North Africa as a whole. We believe that the final goal of our efforts must be the restoration of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and statehood of Libya, which were crudely violated as a result of NATO’s venture in 2011 in circumvention of the relevant UN Security Council resolution.

Other issues on which Russia and Germany cooperate include the situation on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on settling the Iranian nuclear programme.  Our European colleagues have put forth many ideas in this regard. In turn, Russia also made some proposals that we believe would help resume the cooperation of the JCPOA signatories without exception. We hope to discuss these initiatives in more detail.

We are willing to cooperate on other issues of international politics, including the OSCE, the Council of Europe and other venues.

I am grateful to Mr Maas for his visit to Moscow. We have agreed on a schedule for future meetings, which will be fairly full through the end of this year.

Question: On behalf of Russian journalists, we would like to thank you for taking the situation with the detention of journalists in Belarus under personal control. Several people have been released, but correspondents from Rossiya Segodnya and Meduza have not been in touch yet. You held telephone talks with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makey. What were the results? Was the topic of Belarus raised? Yesterday German Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas said he did not rule out that this topic would be discussed today.

Sergey Lavrov: Naturally, we are concerned about the situation with our journalists, our citizens. Yesterday, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented by the Information and Press Department, and I addressed this issue in a conversation with Mr Makey and insisted on the speedy release of our journalists. At the same time, we realise that many of those who were detained did not have accreditation, although we know that it was requested in a timely manner, in compliance with all the rules and procedures.

The current situation must be resolved proceeding, first of all, from humane considerations. We know that today there was again information about the lack of contact with some of your colleagues (they got in touch and then contact was lost again). The Meduza correspondent is important to us primarily as a Russian citizen. Meduza is not a Russian media outlet, but as a Russian citizen, of course, he has our protection. In our contacts with our Belarusian colleagues, we will seek an early resolution of this situation.

Unfortunately, when mass protests take place (and they take place in many countries, including the EU, for example, the yellow vests riots were held in France recently), your colleagues who strive to objectively report on what is happening very often find themselves in dangerous situations and are exposed to violence, as it happened with the RT correspondent. Therefore, in bilateral contacts with all our partners, in countries where Russian journalists work, we will strive to ensure they are not discriminated against. Of course, it goes without saying that everyone must comply with the relevant legislation. Within international agencies, including the OSCE, we will also defend an equal attitude towards all journalists without attempts to mark some media outlets as “propaganda media” and journalists as “propagandists who do not reflect the goals of their profession.” This is very unfortunate.

This issue should be addressed not only because it happened and is happening in Belarus, but because it is a common problem. You know Europe’s attitude towards riots (yellow vests; and also in Germany in 2017, during the G20 summit in Hamburg, anti-globalists rallied and violated German laws). We could see how law enforcement agencies operate, including special forces. Today we did not discuss the Belarusian topic, but I am sure that we will be able to exchange views on this matter during the working breakfast.

Question: The distinct role of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) is always emphasised in the context of settling the Ukrainian domestic crisis. Do you think the observers can properly fulfil their mission? Do they objectively describe what is happening in the east of Ukraine?

Sergey Lavrov: We mentioned this earlier today. We closely cooperate with Germany in the Normandy format. As for the OSCE SMM, we actively support this mechanism that has a clear mandate for working in all of Ukraine, not only in Donbass, but also in other regions, monitoring respect for human rights and national minorities, as well as any attempt to promote neo-Nazi activity. Regrettably, the SMM has not paid due attention to this part of its mandate, and we have brought this up with the chief monitor of the SMM, Yasar Halit Cevik.

We also have some questions about certain aspects оf its activities, which primarily draws the attention of the international community (I’m referring to the implementation of the Minsk Agreements in Donbass). Thus, the SMM prefers to report on ceasefire violations and the shelling of civilian buildings in an abstract manner, that is, many cases of shelling reportedly take place in such and such period without mentioning which side attacked; a certain number of civilians are affected and a certain number of civilian structures are destroyed. We have insisted for more than a year that the SMM be more specific in its evaluations and report who is actually more to blame for shelling, who starts them and who responds to them. Using our representative office at the OSCE we have meticulously analysed SMM daily reports that become public. The analysis showed that over 80 percent of civilian facilities are shelled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Over 80 percent of the civilian victims, on both sides of the contact line, are among Donbass defenders. In other words, the Ukrainian Armed Forces bear the lion’s share of responsibility for ceasefire violations. I believe that to enable the OSCE member states and the entire international community to have an objective picture of how the Minsk Agreements are being implemented, the OSCE SMM must fulfil its commitment that it has failed to fulfil for more than a year now, and present a detailed, thematic, analytical report on who initiates ceasefire violations, who is shelling primarily civilian facilities and who is to blame for the death of civilians. We have sent the relevant reports to the Albanian OSCE Chairmanship, the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) on ceasefire, the OSCE Secretariat, and Mr Cevik who heads this mission and is personally responsible for the scrupulous observance of its mandate, objective presentation of information and any attempt to conceal the truth. All of us must be guided by facts rather than guesswork.

In his opening remarks Mr Maas mentioned the Paris summit. We fully support the need to fulfil the agreements reached but this is not at all the case at this point. I agree that all sides must take steps towards this goal – Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk. In this context we would like to draw the attention of our German and French colleagues in the Normandy format, the co-authors of the Minsk Agreements, to statements made by Kiev. Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Reznikov, who represents Kiev in one of the structures in the Contact Group, said the Minsk Agreements have become obsolete. President Vladimir Zelensky said that he wants someone to explain to him what they mean and noted that each provision must be decoded. The newly appointed chief negotiator in the Contact Group, Leonid Kravchyuk, publicly regrets that Petr Poroshenko signed them but nonetheless agrees to lead the process on implementation. Many irregular things are happening in this context.

I agree, it is necessary to encourage the specific positive steps on the ground in every way. But these are only a limited number of agreements and we shouldn’t miss the forest for the trees. The main point is Kiev’s philosophical and conceptual approach to the Minsk Agreements and their status. We are hoping that Germany and France will still bring this home to their colleagues in Kiev and explain to them that there is no alternative to fulfilling what is written in the Minsk Agreements.

Question: You mentioned that the US is toughening its threats on sanctions against Nord Stream 2. Last week, a German company faced the imposition of sanctions for the first time. The political appeal for response measures in the US is becoming louder.

Do you expect Germany to take response measures against the US? If so, what measures could be taken?

A question to both ministers: Considering that the construction of Nord Stream 2 has slowed, do you believe it will be completed late this year or early next year?

Sergey Lavrov (answering after Mr Maas): I agree with what was said by the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Mr Maas. We consider exterritorial sanctions, as well as unilateral sanctions which not only the US and the EU resort to, inappropriate. The EU is implementing its own unilateral sanctions but as distinct from the US, it refrains from exterritorial use.

Then United States does not see any red lines or boundaries. While not bothering with diplomatic formalities, it pursues one simple goal – to have an opportunity to do anything it wants in world politics, the global economy and, in general, any field of human endeavour. This is what we are seeing. Washington has walked away from most multilateral treaties and any agreement or association that it may consider restricting its freedom of action. I think this is obvious. This is what we have to proceed from.

We continue to meet with the United States for pragmatic reasons. We are well aware of how Washington operates in the world, and they are not shy about it, something that is evident in the developments around Nord Stream 2. US officials say on the record that they will stop Nord Stream 2 at all costs because the US is ostensibly committed to ensuring Europe’s energy security.

If our European partners are willing to let the US decide their security issues, in energy or any other area, if the countries whose companies are involved in implementing Nord Stream 2 with a view to ensuring their energy security want the US to decide for them, this is their choice.

We see that Germany’s response is completely different. Germany has its position and it promotes it. I hear what is said in Washington at the top level: “It’s appalling! The US ensures Germany’s security and Germany is paying billions of dollars to the Russian Federation.” This is a serious distortion of facts. German Federal Minister Heiko Maas has confirmed that the link to NATO is important for German security. These are allied relations. Not that long ago, the German Chancellor, Ms Merkel said that NATO guarantees German security. We asked from whom Germany is defending itself, whether with NATO or on its own. We did not receive an answer, but in general this is part of the discussion of the principles on which it is necessary to conduct dialogue on security issues and the entire security system in the Euro-Atlantic region. I would like to emphasise again that Russian, German and other participants in Nord Stream 2 believe that the project must be completed. As I see it, there are grounds to believe that this will be done very soon.

Question: You mentioned attacks against Russian infrastructure facilities from German territory. Can you be more specific?

Sergey Lavrov: In Russia, the National Coordination Centre for Computer Incidents deals with computer affairs and cyber security. It has been operating for a fairly long time. It has a number of partners, including in Germany. From January of the past year to the end of last May this centre recorded 75 cases where Russian resources, including over 50 government institutions were attacked by hackers from the German internet segment. Notifications on all cases were sent to the relevant German organisations. Of 75 cases, we received only seven formal answers that had nothing to do with the substance of the matter. We suggested a professional analysis of each episode when we recorded hacker attacks against out structures, including government resources.

Today, we drew the attention of our German colleagues, who voiced concern over cyber security and declared an interest in developing a professional dialogue on settling cyber security issues, to the fact that disregard for our requests does not correspond with the desire they express at the political level. We have given them the statistics on these cases.

We recalled that we have conducted bilateral interdepartmental consultations with Germany on cyber security and information security in its political, military-political and applied dimensions. In 2018, a regular round of these consultations was cancelled by Germany, and they have not indicated a desire to resume them since. True, today we discussed the activities of the High-Level Working Group on Security Policy (this bilateral group exists and does a fairly useful job). In this context, we spoke about an opportunity to resume the dialogue on cyber security. I hope we will move from words to actions and will start a professional conversation.

As for the murder in Tiergarten, we would like to know the truth. Our relevant departments have sent their German colleagues everything they have. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that this information is not enough. But we would also like to receive some confirmation, some evidence regarding the statements of the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office that the Russian state is directly involved in this murder. We have not heard any specific reply so far.

Question: Prime Minister of Slovakia Igor Matovic has just commented on the expulsion of three Russian diplomats from his country by saying that Slovakia and Russia are friends, but Slovakia is a sovereign state, not a “banana republic” where the diplomatic rules can be ridiculed. How would you comment on the expulsion of the Russian diplomats?

Sergey Lavrov: I agree that Slovakia is a country friendly to Russia. We have never had any political problems.

I think that this is not about Slovakia. You have just quoted [Mr Matovic] as saying that Slovakia is a sovereign state. Quite unexpectedly, I read earlier today that the US State Department Spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, had commended the Slovak authorities for expelling the Russian diplomats. I believe no other foreign spokespersons have commented on the situation in this way. Draw your own conclusions as to who may be implicated in or has a stake in sovereign Slovakia taking this decision with regard to the three Russian diplomats.

Question (translated from German): Do you share your German colleague’s opinion that German-Russian relations would benefit if disputed issues like the assassination in the Tiergarten were discussed openly?

There is another case of interest to the German judiciary which can also be traced to Russia. Could you confirm that the former Wirecard COO, Jan Marsalek, is currently in Germany?

Sergey Lavrov: I know nothing about Mr Jan Marsalek. You asked whether he is in Germany, but your question should certainly be addressed to someone else. I am not aware of his activities because he is not in the focus of foreign policy discussions.

As for an open discussion of any issues, be it the Tiergarten or something else, we have always been ready for this.  It was not at our initiative that our Western partners (including Germany) cut a number of channels for contacts after 2014. Everyone knows this well. Among other things, the EU has discontinued all sectoral dialogues. We are taking a philosophical approach to this. If our partners are not ready, love cannot be forced.

Today, we were saying that the European Union intended to take another look at its Russia policy. When and if it evinces this desire, we will not be found wanting. We will be ready for an equal, honest and open dialogue on any issues of mutual interest, especially since there are quite a few of them. It is worth pointing out again that when we are told that the German Federal Public Prosecutor General has declared the Russian state as implicated in the Tiergarten assassination, we would like to get a confirmation of precisely this point. We have no proof whatsoever.

Where requests are concerned, as Mr Maas said, we have replied to a number of requests for legal aid, while on others we simply have no information, as the relevant Russian authorities tell us. Speaking about cybersecurity, I would like to remind you (I hope that the correspondent who asked the last question heard my answer to the previous question) that in 2018 there was a mechanism for consultations on cyber security, which the German side dismantled two years ago.  Today we have heard that there is an interest in resuming this dialogue in some or other format. We will be ready to discuss such a possibility. We have a stake in this, especially as we would also like our German colleagues to say something in response to the 75 requests regarding hacker attacks on Russian institutions, including government agencies, launched from the German segment of the internet, requests we sent to Germany over the past year and a half.

I am glad that today we are not just openly discussing matters of much interest for the public but are at last beginning to comprehend the need for having relevant professional channels, where the conversation will be held just because Russia and Germany are partners and good friends and do not want their cooperation to be overshadowed by anything, rather than in the context of home policy interests of this or that country, or in the context of certain electoral considerations. I am confident that it is in our power to cut short any attempts to undermine this cooperation. Russia, at any rate, is ready for this.

Alleged Russian S-300 system spotted near strategic Libyan city: photo

By News Desk -2020-08-06

S-300 PMU-2 long-range air defense system deployed by the Algerian army in southern Algeria.

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:10 A.M.) – A Russian-made S-300 air defense system has been spotted near the strategic port-city of Sirte in north-central Libya.

According to conflict observers, a photo taken east of Sirte allegedly shows the presence of an S-300 air defense system, which is something that Libya did not previously possess.

However, while some claim that this is an S-300 system, the Russian publication, Avia.Pro, said that the photo does not necessarily confirm its presence, as it is only possible to confirm the ownership of the radar.

“At the moment, there is no complete confidence that we are talking about the S-300 complex, since it was only possible to confirm the ownership of the radar; however, given the fact that Russian military aircraft regularly fly to Libya, landing at air bases controlled by the Libyan National Army. Moreover, we are talking about Russian military specialists, analysts are inclined to believe that we are talking about these complexes,” the publication said.

The Libyan National Army has not commented on the claims of the S-300 system’s deployment to Sirte.

It should be noted that neighboring Egypt does possess an S-300 system and given their alliance with the Libyan National Army, the deployment of this weapon could very well be possible.

Related

How Nazism Came to Dominate Both of America’s Political Parties

July 26, 2020

How Nazism Came to Dominate Both of America’s Political Parties

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The following 11-minute youtube video is a good introduction to this article:

Ukraine Crisis — What You’re Not Being Told

On July 20th, Moss Robeson headlined at TheGrayZone, “Influential DC-based Ukrainian think tank hosts neo-Nazi activist convicted for racist violence”, and he reported the inescapably visible tip of America’s iceberg of pro-nazi policies regarding Ukraine. Ukraine is a country which during World War II was torn between supporters of Hitler versus supporters of Stalin, and which became non-aligned after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, but which U.S. President Barack Obama conquered in a brutal February 2014 coup (called by some “the most blatant coup in history”), which coup turned Ukraine’s Government into the world’s most-far-rightwing, and even sometimes overtly pro-Hitler, anti-Russian, nationalistic White-Power regime. It’s far more anti-Russian than anti-Jewish, but it is both. Obama did this so as to bring into NATO the country that has the longest European border (1,625 miles) with Russia, and which would thus be the best place from which to launch nuclear missiles against major Russian cities including Moscow. Ukraine as the main launching-pad for an invasion of Russia had been only a wet dream for NATO planners until Obama came into the White House, but even as early as June of 2013 Obama was already quietly advertising for bids on what then was a school in Crimea, in order to modify it to serve as part of his planned new U.S. naval base there replacing Russia’s biggest naval base, which Russian naval base has been there, in Crimea, ever since 1783. Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin, enabled Crimea’s residents to block that part of Obama’s plan for Ukraine.

Adolf Hitler hated Slavs, including Russians, almost as much as he hated Jews; and, though Ukraine’s racist fascists — or ideological nazis — hate Russians even more than they hate Jews, America’s adoption of Ukraine’s nazis (racist fascists) and placing them into power, was a crucial turning-point in international affairs toward racist fascism. It is the authentic chief source of the hard-right turn, not only in the United States, but in many European countries. Until recently, nazism was far outside the mainstream, throughout the post-WW-II world. Clearly, now, that is no longer the case, and what Obama did to Ukraine is the main reason why (as will be explained here).

In post-coup Ukraine, children are being taught on the basis of the White-Power ideology, and, in the resisting regions — the regions that reject the coup — are mercilessly slaughtered (and the more graphic videos have been removed by youtube, and similarly for videos of adults being systematically murdered by Ukraine’s nazis). The post-coup Ukraine aims to get rid of its ethnic-Russian population.

Ukraine is the global beach-head for nazism, and even has two nazi Parties, one called “Right Sector,” and the other called “Freedom” (which got renamed that by the CIA from its original “Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine,” so as to be more acceptable to Americans and the EU). Both are even more anti-Russian than anti-Semitic.

The way America’s fake-‘progressive’, Democratic-Party billionaires-controlled, press, deals with the Democratic Party’s own “first Black President” Barack Obama (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his deceptive rhetoric) having done this — actually having stoked now racism throughout the world, targeted particularly against Russians — is to focus on the Democratic Party media’s distractionist theme of inter-ethnic, inter-religious, racist and other divisive American conflicts, as if this nazi problem’s overflowing now in Ukraine is not driven instead by geostrategic and imperialistic concerns in specifically U.S. policymaking, driven actually by America’s billionaires’ craving an all-encompassing global conquest, including conquest ultimately of Russia, which will be the last since it is the only other nuclear superpower. For example, the fake-‘progressive’ The Nation magazine, on 22 February 2019, headlined “Neo-Nazis and the Far Right Are On the March in Ukraine”, and focused on this far-right outpouring in Ukraine as being due to anti-Semitism, and to “pogroms against the Roma and LGBT,” as if Obama had cared about those groups. The chief obsession of Ukraine’s far-right has instead been anti-Russian, for at least a century, and that’s the actual fuel on which Obama was firing-up his coup in Ukraine: he was targeting against Russians, and not against Jews nor those other groups. By contrast, this article buried the anti-Russia issue, such as by saying, “A 2017 law mandated that secondary education be conducted strictly in Ukrainian, which infuriated Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece. Several regions passed legislation banning the use of Russian in public life. Quotas enforce Ukrainian usage on TV and radio.” The one and only real target in Obama’s Ukraine is only Russia. The deception that’s practiced by America’s Democratic Party billionaires upon America’s left is probably even more insidious than is the deception that’s practiced by America’s Republican Party billionaires upon America’s right (“God, Mother, Country”). Deception of any person is mental coercion against that person, and such dishonesty is an especially highly skilled art for ‘leftist’ billionaires, because right-wing followers are unashamedly against the poor and minorities and anyone who is weak in the particular society. So, for example, in the present case: the people who were being herded into Odessa’s Trade Unions Building and burnt alive for printing and distributing anti-coup literature, on 2 May 2014, weren’t “Jews” or “Roma,” or “LGBT,” but instead just Ukrainians who were favorable toward Russia. Ukraine’s chief bigotry, under the Obama-imposed regime, is anti-Russian, not anti-Jewish, and any honest news-medium acknowledges this fact, instead of trying to deceive to hide it.

In Twentieth-Century U.S. history, the Republican Party was generally more right-wing than the Democratic Party; and, consequently, Obama’s moving the Democratic Party in the pro-nazi direction was an outright gift to Republicans, whose leading politicians were just as enthusiastic about the regime-change in Ukraine as the Democratic Party’s leadership was — and still is.

The irony here is that America’s biggest assaults against Russia have now come not during the Cold War, when there was an authentic ideological difference (communism versus capitalism), but instead after Russia, in 1991, ended the Cold War on its side (while the U.S. secretly has continued it on the U.S. side, in a craving for global conquest).

The classic article about the radicalism of Obama’s turn to nazism regarding Ukraine was written by an American who lived through these events in Ukraine while they were happening, George Eliason, who headlined, on 16 March 2014, just the first part of his four-part article, “The Nazi’s even Hitler was Afraid of”, and he subsequently posted the complete article here, where it can be read without those needless interruptions. He lives in Ukraine’s breakaway Donbass region, which Obama’s forces were bombing, and which Trump’s continue (though less) bombing, even today. Eliason reported honestly (not like The Nation, etc.). What Obama did to Ukraine was very geostrategic, and the changes in Ukraine were driven by U.S. billionaires, even more than by Ukrainian ones. Interpreting Ukraine’s current nazism as being directed mainly against Jews like Hitler’s German version was is profoundly misrepresenting.

Obama — with the help of both of America’s billionaire-controlled political Parties, and all of America’s billionaire-controlled or “mainstream” ‘news’-media — succeeded in transforming U.S. public opinion toward Russia, from neutral prior to his Ukrainian coup, to strongly negative immediately after it:

Gallup Poll. Feb. 3-16, 2020. N=1,028 adults nationwide. Margin of error ± 4.
“Next, I’d like your overall opinion of some foreign countries. … What is your overall opinion of Russia? Is it very favorable, mostly favorable, mostly unfavorable, or very unfavorable?”
FavorableUnfavorableNo opinion
%%%
2/3-16/2028721
2/1-10/1924733
2/1-10/1825722
2/1-5/1728702
2/3-7/1630655
2/8-11/1524706
2/6-9/1434606
2/7-10/1344507
2/2-5/1250446
2/2-5/1151427
2/1-3/1047457

Furthermore, during Obama’s first term, 2009-2012, he employed great cunning in order to portray himself as being supportive of a “reset in Russian-American relations,” and this lie (that he was intending to improve instead of to worsen U.S.-Russian relations) was one of the reasons he won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize, but actually, when he entered office in 2009, he was already starting to plan regime-change not only in Ukraine but also in Syria (if not also in Libya) — two countries whose leaders were on cordial terms with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama was able to string Vladimir Putin along until 2012 to hope that Obama’s ‘reset with Russia’ wasn’t merely a ploy. On 26 March 2012, Obama informed Dmitry Medvedev to tell Putin that “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him [the incoming President Putin] to give me space. This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.” However, it was all a lie. His intention was the opposite. The fact is that, already, Obama was actually planning, even as early as 2011, to overthrow the neutralist Government right next door to Russia, in Ukraine, and to replace it with a rabidly anti-Russian regime on Russia’s doorstep, which he was planning to bring into NATO even though only around 30% of Ukrainians wanted Ukraine to join NATO. But Putin had no way of knowing that Obama was planning this. And immediately after Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine, around 60% of Ukrainians suddenly wanted Ukraine to join NATO. (That’s because the newly installed Obama regime propagandized hatred against Russia, which is NATO’s specialty.) People felt that if even such a ‘peacemaker’ as Obama wasn’t ‘able’ to establish constructive relations with Putin, then there had to be something very wrong with Putin.

Obama’s 2012 campaign against Mitt Romney featured prominently this trap for Romney, and he fell right into it. On 16 May 2016, I headlined “Who Is the More Vicious Liar: Trump, or Obama?” and I described there the exquisite deception that Obama had practiced against Romney and also against Putin — and against the American public — regarding U.S.-Russian relations, and Obama’s brilliant use and exploitation of the hopes by each one of those three entities in order to win the Presidency and defeat not only Romney but also Putin, and especially Obama’s own Democratic Party voters.

That deception has largely shaped today’s political world, throughout the world. Barack Obama was like the mythical snake in Genesis 3.

On June 30th, TheGrayZone bannered “US claim of ‘Russian Bounty’ plot in Afghanistan is dubious and dangerous” and their Max Blumenthal put it well: “The constant flow of Russiagate disinformation into the bloodstream of the Democratic Party and its base is moving that party constantly to the right, while pushing the US deeper into this Cold War.” It allows the Republican Party to move even farther toward the right. It moves the political center to the right. Obama was the key figure in this ominous development, which is politically poisoning the entire world. He was an international war-criminal in Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and more, and should be executed for it (as should both Bush and Trump). (That’s executed, after appropriate legal process, not assassinated, which is horrible and produces martyrs instead of lawfully condemned villains.) But his toxic legacy on global politics is even more dangerous than those smaller catastrophes he participated in causing (and for which he deserves to be executed). He was exceedingly ambitious and achieved a lot, of disaster and far worse.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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