The New Russian Government

A much needed evolution but not a revolution

THE SAKER • JANUARY 22, 2020 

The suspense is over and we now know the names of all the members of the new Russian government. You can, for example, take this good summary published by RT.

What is important right now is not only what did happen, but also what did NOT happen. I will begin with two extremely important things which did NOT happen:

First, the Russian government has NOT remained unchanged. The naysayers had predicted that nothing at all would change, that the same folks who be sitting in maybe different seats, but that the changes would be primarily cosmetic. That did not happen. In reality 12 people kept their seats and another 9 were replaced.

Second, this was NOT a total gutting of the Atlantic Integrationist block. Most visibly, Anton Siluanov remained as head of the Finance Ministry. However, Siluanov was demoted from his position as First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia which has now been taken by Andrei Belousov, a huge change indeed. As for Medvedev, he was given a “golden promotion” to the largely technical position as Vice Chairman of the Security Council of Russia.

So what has taken place?

Most Russian observers notice two key things:

First, this is a highly competent, technically skilled, government. Truly, and arguably for the first time, each position in the new cabinet is now occupied by a professional whose expertise is recognized by all.

Second, this is very much a non-ideological government. This is not to say that the social and economic policies of Russia will not change, they will and the new government clearly indicates that, especially with the nominations of Prime Minister Mishustin and his First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov: these are both on record as very much proponents of what is called “state capitalism” in Russia: meaning an economic philosophy in which the states does not stifle private entrepreneurship, but one in which the state is directly and heavily involved in creating the correct economic conditions for the government and private sector to grow. Most crucially, “state capitalism” also subordinates the sole goal of the corporate world (making profits) to the interests of the state and, therefore, to the interests of the people.

In other words, goodbye turbocapitalism à la Atlantic Integrationists!

Russia has now made the fight against poverty a national strategic priority, something which the Russian people had wanted for years and which the previous “economic block” never considered a priority.

Furthermore, the entire Eurasian Sovereignists block of the government has remained unchanged. This indicates two things:

First, the Russian national security and foreign policy will remain unchanged.

Second, the Eurasian Sovereignists have finally weakened the Atlantic Integrationists to such a degree that a Medvedev nicely “boxed in” in the Russian Security Council or a Siluanov “boxed in” in the new Russian government have ceased to represent a serious threat to the future of Russia.

In other words – we can expect the new government to put even much more efforts into the ultimate goal of the full sovereignization of Russia (this goal is also reflected in the new Constitutional changes which will now place Russian national laws above any international treaty or agreements, another longtime goal of the Eurasian Sovereignists).

All I can say here is “finally!!”.

Another important thing which we can note is that Putin decided to work through evolution, not revolution. In fact, he has described this new government as a “balanced” one. There are many, including myself, who would have preferred not to see the names Medvedev and Siluanov again, but there are also many (possibly many more) who seeing these names still present might be reassured that Russia is not about to embark on a radically different political course. Frankly, I think that over the past century Russia has had enough revolutions, wars, big upheavals and terrible tragedies. There IS something to be said for stability and a gradual correction of course.

Furthermore, a new government which appears to have been formed purely on the merit of its individual members can probably generate much more support than a radically ideological one.

Where does all this leave Russia?

I would say that the Eurasian Sovereignists have finally secured their full control over the Russian state and that the demise of the Atlantic Integrationists is now a new fact of life. Since in this new government the only clearly identifiable group besides the Eurasian Sovereignists are the technocrats, this give Russia a much better chance to stand strong and united in the face of an AngloZionist Empire which has now clearly become unpredictable and therefore very dangerous (the murder of Soleimani is the best example of the actions of an Empire which has totally lost any sense of reality).

It is also interesting to note the reaction of the propaganda outlets for the Empire. Here are two of my favorite ones:

* * *

While the western “Russia experts” are usually folks who know close to nothing about Russia and the little they do not, they don’t understand, it is reassuring (and, let’s be honest here, heart warming) to see the impotent rage felt by the defenders of the AngloZionist Empire who clearly have lost control of Russia (in spite of being in TOTAL control of the Russia of the 1990s!).

Finally, the appointment of this new government leaves the Russian opposition – both the “official” parliamentary opposition and the so-called “non-system” opposition – in total disarray: the former only pretends to oppose the policies of the Kremlin while the latter is so terminally discredited that it can’t even make it into the Duma. This lack of any credible opposition might appear desirable, especially for those who, like myself, support the Kremlin, but in reality it is just another facet of a much deeper problem: Russia remains a country defined by one person, Putin, and not by a healthy and stable political system. The latest reforms did take a few very good steps in the right direction (the Duma’s powers and responsibilities have been increased), but Russia will remain “Putin’s country” for the foreseeable future.

Putin makes annual State of the Nation address to the Federal Assembly

Source

January 15, 2020

Besides discussing internal demographic, economic and weapons issues, the president said the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, China, Russia, Britain and France – carry a “special responsibility for securing the sustainable development of humanity.”

These five nations must begin to devise measures aimed at neutralizing any conditions for a global war, and develop new approaches towards securing the stability of the planet.

RT Commentary : Five nuclear-armed states must work together to neutralize threat of ‘global war’ – Putin

Sputnik Commentary : Key Takeaways From Vladimir Putin’s Address to Federal Assembly

Pravda Commentary : Putin wants 7 amendments to Constitution for strong, nuclear Russia

Transcript : Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly

The West Will Try Again to Blow Up Russia From Within – Year Results

January 14, 2020

by Ruslan Ostashko

Translated by Sasha

Captioned by Leo

The home front is the most complicated for Russia if only because it was by sabotage that our implacable partners destroyed the USSR in the previous century. This is why taking stock for 2019 on the home front is the most complicated.

During the holidays our channel (PolitRussia) subscribers were able to see a series of episodes dedicated to the results of the past year. This episode concludes the aforementioned series and I delayed writing this to the very last moment because it is the most complicated one. If 2018 was marked by the unpopular “pretend” pension reform which dropped the government’s popularity ratings, for 2019 it is rather difficult to name a single event which would characterise the entire year. In the meantime, the opinion polls reveal that the shadow of the pension reform disgrace continued to hover over the year 2019.

Take a look at Russian Public Opinion Research Centre poll: 10% of respondents named the pension “under-reform” the event of the year. To compare, only 4% of responders saw the Crimean Bridge as the event of the year. In the meantime, 74% altogether failed to point out an event that would have been the most important in the past year. And this is despite the possibility of choosing more than one event. What does it tell us? That the society is overall calm. There are no over optimistic expectations, nor there is an impression of a some illustrious victory by Russia in 2019, but neither is there any nagging or pessimism. Which is confirmed by the results of another poll.

Answering the question: “What are your feelings about the passing year and the new year?” 42% of our fellow citizens said they were in a rather good mood and felt optimistic. This is less than a half but just as many – 42% – said they do not feel particularly elated but neither they have negative emotions. If to sum up both groups, it will make 84% of positive or balanced people. As for the whiners, who are seeing the 2020 in a bad mood and bad expectations, they are 14%. This is 7% less than in 2018 but it is still quite a lot. The results of these polls can be interpreted in different ways, depending on the interpreter’s political orientation. Someone will call these results ‘stagnation’ in memory of Brezhnev’s epoch. Someone will say it’s stability, comparing it to the Yeltsin years.

In order to move the deep strata of the Russian nation, to provoke it to endless rallies, like it was at the end of the 80’s of the last century, considerable forces were put to action in 2019. Let me remind: the peak of this effort came during the summer when school pupils and students had excess of free time. In order to inflate the protests, all the ‘creatilibs’, from the Rubber Duckie Fuhrer to the Transformer Dhud’, rinsed the brains of the infantry’s lower ranks via YouTube for a long time. The entire ‘celebration’ was paid for, as it turned out, by Mikhail Khodarkovsky, as well as by his curators from the CIA. The pumping was ferocious. They came up with all sorts of things. They called for violence against the security forces, they invited super popular rappers in order to announce afterwords that everyone who came to the free concerts are the protesters against the ‘regime’. But that didn’t ‘fly’.

Stirring those 84%, who saw the coming of 2020 either positively or without negative emotions, failed. And even the terrorist act on St. Nicholas Day, when the Russian president was holding the Big Press Conference, did not have the effect required by its commissioners. Naturally the entire ‘libberish’ pack howled on command about the return of the 90s, that it was safer in the 90s, that the ‘regime’ is weaker than it seems, that it is a failure of FSB and etc., according to the textbook. But, with hand on heart, who remembered two weeks later, just before the New Year, that there had been a shootout in Moscow?

Even the ‘creatilibs’ themselves quickly switched attention to their own woes – the conscription of a drooling Navalnyinist and a Banderite lapdog Shaveddinov and a search in the UBK office. Because you always look after number one, and the dead Lubyanka shooter could no longer stir any excitement. In the meantime, the investigation continues and new most interesting facts come to surface. Here is one, for instance.

RIA Federal News Agency: “Yevgeny Manyurov who staged a shooting in the centre of Moscow on 19 December worked for a long time for the Russian branch of the British transnational military and security company G4S, marred in a long litany of scandals. According to the Russian media, 38 year old Manyurov dedicated his life to working for various private security enterprises,

including ‘DSL-Eurasia’. According to ‘The Journalist Pravda’, the killer worked there for the whole of 10 years from 1999 till 2009. A search of the name of ‘DSL-Eurasia’ in the Russian businesses database Rusprofile.ru yields only reference – to Association of Independent Services In Aid of Commercial Security. Its other name is Association of Security Services (OSB). OSB is the working organization registered back in April of 1995. All of 10 legal entities were its founders, whose list is headed by an even more interesting G4S Centre LLC., currently also liquidated. In turn its own founder was the currently operational ‘G4S-Eurasia.’”

In order to avoid bogging down in details, I’ll say that the long chain of legal entities intended to conceal the British ears, still leads back to the “G47 Plc.” – A transnational military security company based in London.

RIA Federal News Agency: “Manyurov himself confirmed he worked for the British. According to certain information, he posted his resume at HeadHunter.ru portal where he informs that at least as of 2009 he worked for the G4S Centre group of private security enterprises. There Manyurov was responsible, among others, for the security of Bloomberg information agency and cooperated with the head office in London. Next, he worked briefly in a certain private security company ‘Vizan Security’ which protected the British oil-gas company ‘British Petroleum’. According to the resume, Manyurov’s last posting was protection of the UAE Mission in Moscow.”

How do you like the version that putting into action a British sleeping agent was a desperate act on behalf of the Anglo-Saxon ‘partners’ who realised that the year was going while Putin and Russia remained unshaken. Unknown is only the answer how they convinced Manyurov to commit suicide. How did they wash his brain so he began a shootout with zero chances for survival? Have they really learned in the West how to program bio robots? And now, in the context of everything aforementioned, evaluate how stable has the Russian society become.

Yes, there are drama queens of both sexes who are easily led to the streets under the pretexts required by the commissioner. But their numbers are miserly small. And they are insufficient to cover up a coup attempt analogue to the Ukrainian Maidan. And so, taking into account all of these complex circumstances, we, the normal citizens, must continue the constructive efforts to better the life in our country. After all, if to sift away the obvious duds, that the clipped pigeons try to use as justification for their struggle against the ‘regime’, Russia has plenty of problems. There’s illegal construction covered up by the extremely insolent clerks. And problems with waste disposal which are solved sparingly instead of globally. There’s the ethnic question which the right wing political forces speculate upon. There’s also society’s dissatisfaction with the government’s unpopular reforms, which are speculated upon by the opportunists who pretend to be on the left. There are the zoo-schizoids pushing their human hating initiatives. There’s the party of power filled with rotten individuals who care only about their own profit. Why am I telling you this when you know it all all too well?

So what is the result of 2019 on the Russia’s home front? It is conflicting. On the one hand, the society is not rushing to destroy our state. On the other hand, there is an obvious and unambiguous demand for a change in the power system in the country. The external forces will surely try to saddle that. The core of this demand is not in a reshuffle of the card pack and swapping of a mock Ovsyannikov with a mock Razdrazhayev, but in forming the return communication, citizens’ influence over the clerks which the latter would not be able to ignore. There is a multitude of proposals as to what this cooperation should look like. I opt for digitization that is why I believe that we should influence through the Internet.

The federal government has no other choice but to form an online mechanism, which wouldn’t let the clerks to embezzle budgets, give the state contracts to their cronies, to steal, transfer the money out of Russia, and ignore the people in the regions intrusted to them. But in order for us to make the importance of such a mechanism to reach the Kremlin, we need to unite because the clerks surrounding Putin easily ignore single voices. It is for the sake of this unification that the Political Russia Club was created. We shall definitely turn it into a party. And our channel PolitRussia, the most popular patriotic channel on RuNet, is the Club’s bullhorn. Continue to interact with us online and in real life, support us financially. And we shall continue our struggle on the home geopolitical front, the most important, the most needed front, without a decisive victory on which no successes in the foreign affairs will be required.

Once again happy New Year 2020. You are the best. Together we will save our country for the future generations.

Ruslan Ostashko’s afterword to his PolitRussia YouTube channel subscribers:

Friends, thanks to your financial help, we’ve received full independence from external sources of financing. We got on our feet firmly, and continue to actively develop. A huge thank you to everybody that helps make our channel the main speaker of Russian patriots on YouTube. Thanks to your help, we are now planning to continue with our promise of creating similar channels in other languages; in English and Spanish.

The necessity in the creation of an English channel is something you have been asking us for a while. Considering this is the main language of our so-called “partners”, I genuinely believe that we can start our ideological expansion on their territory. The West in general and the US in particular has many people who can be considered a sane audience, who live inside of an information vacuum. And our YouTube channel in the English language can become for them a breath of fresh air. We plan to release this channel at the end of January 2020.

Our language in the Spanish language is already released and is aimed at particularly the audience of Latin America. “Putin’s Secret Plans: ‘What are the Russians doing?’ Is a question the Americans always ask us. I will tell you more on the YouTube channel: PolitRussiaLatino.”

This is a strategically important region for which right now a real geopolitical battle is going on. Our collective goal is to promote the interests of our country to this region through information means. And of course we don’t forget about the problems inside of Russia. Unfortunately, the clips about Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltics get much more views which ends up bringing more revenue through ads than the ones about internal topics.

Thanks to your financial support, we are able to allow ourselves to continue making clips about internal problems, because we consider them to be the priority and important. And in light of this, to not pay attention to them not being as popular. The popularity of internal topics is a question about whether or not it’s the “correct informational propaganda.”

Unless the Russian federal TV channels, which chase the ratings, are ready to cram us daily about Ukraine and other things, then the hope of popularity in our internal affairs depends on the shoulders of us. Which is why work in this direction will remain for our team the top priority. Friends, thank you so much for being around. It is due to your financial support that we exist and develop despite all the troubles.

Continue to support us with finances. Send us your material and information on your topics. Participate in our new English and Spanish language channels. Links on how you can financially support the Spanish language channel will be in the description. Again, a big thank you, all the best to you and goodbye.

Merkel trod on holy Ukrainian toes

January 14, 2020

Rostislav Ishenko, 13 Jan 2020

Translated by Nikolai

The visit by the Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Russia and her negotiations with Vladimir Putin were full of negative signals for Ukraine.

Merkel busily carved on the crossroad milestone:

– go right – lose your head;

– go left – lose your life;

– go straight – be forever lost;

– stay in place – death will reach you;

– turn back – you will not reach home.

The fact alone that Berlin and Moscow discussed virtually all pressing topics of the global agenda (including Syria, Libya and Iran) should have put Kiev on notice. After all, if these two countries have so many areas of common interest, Ukraine cannot count on exclusive German support. The contrary is rather probable – if Berlin can agree with Moscow on all other key points of the international agenda, then it can quite easily sacrifice Ukrainian interests in favor of full understanding.

In addition, the chancellor also discussed the Ukrainian problem in separate with the president of Russia. By all appearances, they did not spend a lot of time on this discussion. As a result, during the press conference they were brief and clear in announcing their united position – Ukraine must fulfill the Minsk agreements. During the last year, such statements became common, so I will remind that it was not so long ago (in 2018) that Berlin usually stated in such cases that it expects Russia to constructively work with the DNR/LNR, who in turn must fulfill the Minsk agreements. And in 2015-2017 Berlin (in chorus with Paris) demanded that the Minsk agreements were Russia’s responsibility to implement.

France and Germany went over to Moscow’s point of view sort of casually and discretely. Moreover, being more involved in the Ukrainian crisis, Berlin was more stoic than Paris.

Zelensky, when striving for the “Normandy format” meeting, was clearly counting on that he would be accommodated (as a young, popular “new formation politician” as he was called in Ukraine) and allowed to at least partially rework the Minsk agreements, or even better – declare them null and void and begin prolonged, tedious and pointless negotiations on the new format for regulation of the crisis. It was not a coincidence that right after the meeting in Paris the Ukrainian media and diplomats attempted to propose their own version for the translation of Merkel’s words at the press conference and tried to attribute to the federal chancellor a statement supposedly saying that the Minsk agreements are not dogma and can be modernized. They broadcasted this so often and with such certainty, that they even convinced some Russian experts, who began to accept Merkel’s phrase as “ambiguous”.

And so now, the German leader says unequivocally that the Minsk agreements must be implemented without any modernization, that Russia and Germany, in fact, have the same view on this topic. The caringly constructed concept of zelensky diplomacy comes crashing down. The people at home can be still indoctrinated about the “great leap forward” achieved. But the concurring and unequivocal position of Berlin and Moscow means that there will not be a new meeting in Berlin in the “Normandy format” without corresponding steps made by Kiev (doing their homework, as they were told in Paris). Pity for Zelensky, who was so convincing in Paris, saying how he already did everything he could and that he is prevented from moving forward by evil radicals, so everyone should just “understand and forgive” him and get busy reconsidering the “Minsk” in the interests of Kiev.

This is a fiasco. Now, the minister of foreign affairs of Ukraine Vadim Pristaiko and company have to think on how to rationalize before the people taking it all in and frozen in expectations of further diplomatic breakthroughs that the April “Normandy format” meeting is cancelled or postponed to an unclear date. Remember, Kiev already voiced a wealth of demands for the “modernization” of the Minsk agreements, which they were planning on stating and pressing in Berlin. And the April meeting was presented by Ukrainian propaganda as 100% arranged. Mind you, April is very soon: February 23rd, March 8th, then the May holidays are already near – April will arrive suddenly.

Something has to be done and decided with this. But what? The fact is, it is very hard to move Merkel from a position taken in advance. However, if she did change her mind, it is even harder to bring her back around.

Well, Merkel changed her mind, seriously and decisively. This is indicated by another topic discussed by the two leaders. I think no one was surprised upon hearing at the press conference that the chiefs of the two countries discussed the fate of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline. At this time Merkel again stated that the pipeline will be finished despite American sanctions. Putin in turn stated the probable timetable for the end of works: end of this year – first half of next year. This means that during 2022 the gas pipeline must reach its design capacity no matter what.

I will note that for the first time the federal chancellor did not say anything about the Ukrainian transit. This can be because the transit agreement has been signed. However, it has been signed only for five years. And by the end of 2022, when Nord Stream II reaches peak flowrate, three of these years will already have passed. Previously, in 2016, 2017, 2018 and in 2019 Merkel each time packed up the startup of Nord Stream II with the preservation of the Ukrainian transit. She was not talking about prolonging it for five years but about guaranteeing significant transit volumes through the Ukrainian gas transmission network (GTN).

In principle, Gazprom is interested in preserving the transit through the Ukrainian GTN (as is the GTN itself, which actually should be transferred under Gazprom’s control). First, demand for gas in Europe is rising, and the marine “Streams” are just not being built fast enough. Second, it is always better to use available infrastructure than build a new one. Third, Gazprom does not endeavor to move away from the Ukrainian monopoly on transit only to create a German or Turkish one. Of course, this does not mean that Gazprom is ready to start pumping 80-100 bln m3 yearly through the Ukrainian GTN, but it could quite do 30-40 bln.

However, Gazprom is not willing to tolerate Ukraine’s provocative behavior, who has been motivating “substantiated” (“market”) transit costs with its own need for cash and trying to block Gazprom from building gas pipelines going around its territory. Until now, this was a problem for Gazprom and Russia. However, after the frankly anti-European sanctions from the USA that were meant to put the brakes (if not stop completely) on the building of Nord Stream II, the position of Germany changed in a similar, almost unnoticed fashion, since Germany had determined this pipeline as one of the most important infrastructure projects both in concerning European energy safety and German economy.   

Statements by Berlin on the subject of Nord Stream II are now completely lacking mentions of the need to consider Kiev’s interests and provide guarantees of loading the Ukrainian GTN. It seems, the hard pro-American position accepted by Ukraine on this issue decidedly convinced Germany that Kiev is ready to completely irrationally make decisions that are harmful not only to itself (which is not a concern for Berlin), but also to Germany (which is a very strong concern) in order to protect the strategic interests of Washington.

As in the issue of the Minsk agreements, the positions of Moscow and Berlin are united and coordinated as never before concerning Nord Stream II. The fact that Ukraine is taking a pro-American orientation on this issue in only an additional push for Berlin to distance itself from Kiev. Especially since Germany has experience in dealing with Poland. The latter realized that the multi-billion giveaways from EU funds (mostly filled by German money) will soon end and started talking about receiving reparations for World War II (luckily they are not yet demanding Poland be returned to its borders of the times of Bolesław I the Brave and compensations from Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Ukraine and Belarus for a millennium of “unlawful ownership” of “immemorial polish lands”).

All in all, Merkel’s visit to Russia does not bode anything good for Kiev. Rather it’s all bad. It seems, German politicians have finally understood the simple truth –support Ukraine or not, but you have to plan your future in such a way that the Ukrainian factor influences it as little as possible, or even better – does not influence it at all.

Source – https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20200113/1026284231.html

Trump to De-Escalate: Intel Source

January 08, 2020

Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross posted with Consortium News

(written before Trump’s Speech)

President Donald Trump will de-escalate the crisis with Iran when he speaks to the nation at 11 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, a U.S. intelligence source has told me.

Last night Iran retaliated for the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani with missile strikes on two U.S. military bases in Iraq. So far there have been no casualties reported. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the ballistic missile strikes launched from Iran completed Tehran’s military action.Javad Zarif  @JZarif

Iran took & concluded proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter targeting base from which cowardly armed attack against our citizens & senior officials were launched. We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.6:32 PM – 7 Jan 2020

It is now up to Trump to determine whether the crisis will continue.

A top U.S. intel source sent me this analysis in response to a detailed question:

“It is most unlikely Trump will escalate at this point, and this could provide him with the opportunity to leave the Middle East except for the Gulf States. Trump wants to get out. The fact that Israel would be hit next by Iran [as promised, among others, by the IRGC as well as Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah] will probably cause them to pull back, and not order Trump to bomb Iran itself.

“DEBKA-Mossad acknowledged that Iran’s offensive missiles cannot be defended against. Its secret is that it hugs the ground going underneath the radar screens.” [the source is referring to the Hoveizeh cruise missile, with a range of 1,350 km, already tested by Tehran.]

“What is amazing is that Iraq has allowed US troops into their country at all after seeing over a million of their people murdered by the US if we include the 500,000 dead children [during the 1990s, as acknowledged by Madeleine Albright]. The royals in the U. A. E. told me that this is because Iraq is more corrupt that Nigeria.

“The key question here is what happened to the Patriot Missile Defense for these bases who were on high alert assuming this is not similar to Trump’s missiles hitting empty buildings in Syria after the chemical false flag operation. I saw no report that any defense missile was working, which to me is very significant.”

Judd Deere, the deputy press secretary of the White House, confirmed on Tuesday night what I had learned earlier from another source. The White House said Trump, in a phone call, thanked Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for “Qatar’s partnership with the United States”, and they discussed Iraq and Iran.

According to my source, who is very close to the Qatari royal family, Trump actually sent a message to Tehran via the emir. The message has two layers. Trump promised sanctions would be cancelled if there were no retaliation from Tehran (something that Trump simply wouldn’t have the means to assure, considering the opposition from Capitol Hill) ; and there would be de-escalation if Tehran came up with a “proportional” response.

Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif described the Iranian missile strikes as a “proportional response”.

That may explain why Trump did not go on TV on Tuesday night in the U.S. to announce total war – as much as neocons may have been wanting it.

Details are still sparse, but there’s ultra-high level, back room diplomacy going on especially between Iran and Russia, with China discreet, but on full alert.

There’s consensus among the Axis of Resistance that China has a major role to play, especially in the Levant, where Beijing is seen in some quarters as a possible future partner ultimately replacing U.S. hegemony.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has just been to Syria and Turkey this week. And according to Russian sources, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is making clear to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Russia’s stance that there should be no escalation.

Round one is over – an initial assessment

January 08, 2020

The Saker

Dear friends,

Looks like Round 1 is over.  Let’s begin with a small recap of events:

  • Iran fired a relatively small number of short range missiles at one, possibly two, US bases
  • The IRGC indicated that if Iran is attacked, then so will Israel
  • Trump tweeted “so far, so good”
  • The US reported no casualties

In plain English this means that the strike was intended to be both highly visible AND symbolic (Iran has MANY more missiles, including longer ranged ones, which, if Iran wanted to, could strike every single US base in the Middle-East simultaneously.

So what happened?

I think that Iran wanted to humiliate the US but in a manner which would be under the threshold which would guarantee a US/Israeli counter-strike.

Next, I forced myself to listen to Esper and the Idiot-in-Chief.  Here are the salient points:

  • Esper reiterated that the US does not want war with Iran
  • The US does not want to leave Iraq because, unlike the Iraq MPs, many/most Iraqis want the US to stay
  • The US armed forces are THE BEST in the history of the galaxy
  • Trump will never allow Iran to have nukes
  • Iran appears to be “standing down”
  • Europe needs to ditch the JPCOA
  • NATO needs to get further involved in the Middle-East
  • Iran bad bad bad, USA good good good
  • The US armed forces are THE BEST in this history of the galaxy
  • USA! USA! USA! (etc.)

Okay, to these idiots apparently think that’s it is over.  Or maybe they hope it is?

I can tell you for sure that it ain’t.  The goal of Iran and its allies is to get the USA out of the Middle-East.

Thus these symbolic strikes appear to have given the US/Israeli a sense of relief which might bring them to let their guard down, making it much easier for Iran and its allies to strike again.

It is rather funny to see how the Iranian PR machine “packaged” this one: if you dare hit us, we will hit you in your most holy and sacred, i.e. Israel.  So far this “we get to shoot at you but you don’t get to shoot back” has worked, but only because the Iranian strike was so symbolic.

Conclusion: this is far, FAR veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrry far from over.

Still, I have to downgrade the likelihood of a massive and imminent war back from 90% to 80%.

Finally, Putin traveled to Damascus to attend a Nativity celebration with Bashar al-Assad.  Then he visited a mosque (I can imagine how pissed Alt-Righters are at Putin’s care for Muslims, both in Russia and abroad).

بوتين والأسد نموذج للتحالف في لحظة تاريخية فاصلة

يناير 8, 2020

ناصر قنديل

بنت روسيا علاقتها بسورية منذ زمن بعيد على احترام البعد السيادي للدولة الوطنية السورية، وهو ما يحاول الكثيرون من جماعة واشنطن التي لا تفعل سوى إذلال حلفائها وإهانتهم وانتهاك سيادة بلدانهم، إلحاق صور مشوّهة به عبر الشيطنة التي تلقاها السياسة الروسية عند كل منعطف؛ فيطالها التشكيك وترسم الأسئلة حول نياتها، ويجري تظهيرها كمن يساوم على ظهر سورية أو يفاوض على وحدتها أو يتنازل عن بعض من سيادتها لسواها. وقد حدث هذا مراراً في كل مرحلة من مراحل الحرب على سورية، ليتبين بعد وقت أن الخيارات السورية هي التي فازت، منذ معركة حلب وما تعنيه في ميزان العلاقات الروسية التركية، ومعركة الجنوب السوري وما تمثله في ميزان العلاقات الروسية الأميركية والروسية الإسرائيلية، وصولاً لمعركة إدلب وانتصار الخيار السوري بالذهاب للحسم العسكري بوجه الجماعات الإرهابية رغم التحفظات التركية، وقبلها بالسير بالخيار السوري في الانتشار العسكري على الحدود الشمالية بوجه الغزو التركي وبمعزل عن المساومة مع الجماعات الكردية المسلحة، رغم حيوية علاقة موسكو بالفريقين، ومثلها في المسارات السياسية فقد تبنّت موسكو وجهة نظر سورية فيما خص اللجنة الدستورية وقوامها ومهامها، وخاب ظن كل المشككين.

عندما تكون العلاقة القائمة بين الدولتين الروسية والسورية مؤسسة على أولوية البعد السيادي، يصير الرؤساء أصدقاء وحلفاء وشركاء، ولا تقف بينهما حدود شكلية وتفاصيل بروتوكولية، لكن هذه التفاصيل لها معانٍ أخرى عندما ترد في مفردات التعامل الأميركي مع مَن يسمّيهم بحلفائه، طالما هو يخاطبهم بلغة الإمرة كأتباع عليهم الدفع لقاء الحماية، كما يفعل في الخليج، أو عندما ينتهك سيادة بلدهم ويقتل قادتهم وضيوفهم ويقصف قواتهم كما فعل الأميركي في العراق. ومن الطبيعي أن يتحدث كل أتباع واشنطن بلغة غيظ تجاه النموذج الذي تقدّمه العلاقة الروسية السورية للتحالفات، ومثلها العلاقات السورية الإيرانية، التي عرفت الكثير من حملات التشكيك والإساءة، ومثلها مثل العلاقة الروسية السورية أثبتت مناعتها وتمثيلها نموذجاً يعتد به للتحالفات المؤسسة على احترام السيادة، فقاتل الإيرانيون واستشهد مئات منهم وآلاف من قوى المقاومة التي قاتلت تحت رعايتهم من أجل أن ينتصر في سورية مشروع الدولة الوطنية لا مشروع التقسيم ولا الفوضى ولا التقاسم رغم كل الترويج للعكس.

العلاقة الروسية الإيرانية هي الأخرى بقيت ولا تزال عرضة لمحاولات النيل منها، وتقديمها كعلاقة تنافس تحت الطاولة تشحذ فيها الخناجر للغدر، وشكل اغتيال القائد قاسم سليماني على أيدي الأميركيين بعد مغادرته مطار دمشق مناسبة مشابهة لاغتيال القائد المقاوم عماد مغنية في سورية لترويج شائعات عن التباسات في موقف روسيا او سورية، لا وجود لها إلا في العقول المريضة لأصحابها، فيما العلاقة الروسية الإيرانية السورية تقدم مثلثاً نموذجياً لحلفاء يدرك كل منهم أن الانتصارات المحققة بواسطة التحالف هي رصيد مشترك لم ينتهِ مسار تعظيمه وصولاً لتقاسم عائداته، وأن كل اهتزاز في صدقية التحالف دمار شامل لكل أطرافه، وروسيا التي يقدمها الحلفاء كبديل دولي للدور الأميركي تتقدّم في كل محطة لتظهر على الساحة برضا حلفائها، لتقول إنها تحظى بالرضا الإقليمي وبعلاقات ثقة مع أطراف الصراع الذين تواجههم واشنطن، وهي جاهزة عندما يصل الأميركي للتفكير بالمغادرة أن تكون بديلاً يحظى بالتوافق الدولي والإقليمي، ويحفظ المصالح المشروعة للجميع، كما يصوغها القانون الدولي. – في سورية قد يكون العرض الروسي بتسلّم القواعد الأميركية غير موجود بعد على طاولة الرئيس الأميركي، لكن زيارة الرئيس الروسي الميلادية لسورية توفر فرصة القراءة، أما بعد بدء إطلاق النار فسيكون على واشنطن أن تقدّم هي طلباً بذلك لأن العرض سيكون قد سُحِب، أما في العراق فالعرض غير موجود، لكن على واشنطن البحث عن فرضيات وخيارات لمأزقها قبل بدء إطلاق النار، لأنه بعد ذلك سيكون الوضع مرتبطاً بمسار المواجهة.

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