In Gaza

Published on Nov 19, 2018

Samuel Hassoun is an American of Syrian descent. His grandfather was Syrian, and in 1995 he first visited Syria, visiting numerous times afterwards, eventually meeting what would become his wife. He and his Syrian wife moved to Syria in March 2011.
We discuss the realities he was seeing and hearing in Syria versus the lies reported on corporate and Gulf media on Syria, as well as many other aspects of life in Syria and the long-manufactured war on Syria.

Related Links:


Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 1

Talk With American-Syrians in Latakia, part 2

Daraa Priest, Father Gerges Rizk, on What Really Happened in Daraa 2011

Dr Amer Ghantous on Lies Around Daraa 2011

Kassab Resident: Why the Attack on Syria

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

“Prem Shankar Jha’s, “Who Fired The First Shot?” described the slaughter of 20 Syrian soldiers outside Dara’a a month later, “by cutting their throats, and cutting off the head of one of the soldiers.” A very “moderate”-rebel practice.

In “Syria: The Hidden Massacre” Sharmine Narwani investigated the early massacres of Syrian soldiers, noting that many of the murders occurred even after the Syrian government had abolished the state security courts, lifted the state of emergency, granted general amnesties, and recognized the right to peaceful protest. []

The April 10, 2011 murder of Banyas farmer Nidal Janoud was one of the first horrific murders of Syrian civilians by so-called “unarmed protesters.” Face gashed open, mutilated and bleeding, Janoud was paraded by an armed mob, who then hacked him to death.

Father Frans Van der Ludt—the Dutch priest living in Syria for nearly 5 decades prior to his April 7, 2014 assassination by militants occupying the old city of Homs—wrote (repeatedly) of the “armed demonstrators” he saw in early protests, “who began to shoot at the police first.”

Syrian comedian Treka on Fake Revolution, Fake Chemical Attack, and more

Syria: NOT A Revolution!


“On March 29, 2011 (less than two weeks into the fantasy “revolution”) over 6 million people across Syria took to the streets in support of President al-Assad. In June, a reported hundreds of thousands marched in Damascus in support of the president, with a 2.3 km long Syrian flag. In November, 2011 (9 months into the chaos), masses again held demonstrations supporting President al-Assad, notably in Homs (the so-called “capital of the ‘revolution’”), Dara’a (the so-called “birthplace of the ‘revolution’”), Deir ez-Zour, Raqqa, Latakia, and Damascus.

Mass demonstrations like this have occurred repeatedly since, including inMarch 2012, in May 2014 in the lead-up to Presidential elections, and in June 2015, to note just some of the larger rallies.

In May 2013, it was reported that even NATO recognized the Syrian president’s increased popularity. “The data, relayed to NATO over the last month, asserted that 70 percent of Syrians support” the Assad government. At present, the number is now at least 80 percent.

The most telling barometer of Assad’s support base was the Presidential elections in June 2014, which saw 74 percent (11.6 million) of 15.8 million registered Syrian voters vote, with President al-Assad winning 88 percent of the votes. The lengths Syrians outside of Syria went to in order to vote included flooding the Syrian embassy in Beirut for two full days (and walking several kilometres to get there) and flying from countries with closed Syrian embassies to Damascus airport simply to cast their votes. Within Syria, Syrians braved terrorist mortars and rockets designed to keep them from voting; 151 shells were fired on Damascus alone, killing 5 and maiming 33 Syrians.”

Syrians Flock to Vote in Lebanon

Homs Heflah to Celebrate June 3 Presidential Elections


“…the owner is displaced from Aleppo, from one of the first areas to be infested by terrorists. He lost he three apparently very-well known and loved croissant/bakery shops, all the equipment, his home and all furnishings when he and family fled the terrorists to Latakia. His personal loss also of course affected the 10 employees he had in Aleppo. Here, he worked for about 4 months in Jableh before opening his first croissant shop in Latakia, which has since blossomed into two apparently very popular croissant shops.

Of note: one of millions of internally displaced in Syria who have fled the terrorists to government-secured safe areas to re-start life, losing all his investment, but also again dispelling the MSM myth of Syrians fleeing the government and SAA.

Another shop owner fled a different area of Aleppo for the same reason, losing his garment factory (where 76 people worked), all of the equipment inside (including 40 machines), and his shop in the Old City of Aleppo, which like the factory was looted by western-backed “freedom-loving” “moderate-rebel” terrorists.

He too has re-opened in Latakia, starting slowly, first getting a small space in one of the markets here and selling others’ clothes, then acquiring a small workshop to manufacture his own again.

His story is filled with sadness and loss, including a 20 day old son…of kidnappings by the thugs the west calls “rebels”, and also of the steadfastness exhibited by Syrians over and over during this dirty war on the sovereign nation….”

“Tartous houses 1 million internally-displaced from all over Syria, including people from Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa, Aleppo, Homs, and elsewhere, according to the Governor of Aleppo (as of mid-2016), who said the city is known as “mini-Syria” in recent years due to its hosting of Syrians from all over.

“The 1 million IDPs share Tartous’ resources, schools, and hospitals with 1 million inhabitants.”

They are not housed in tents and camps, but in schools/other buildings-turned refugee centres, as well as houses. I visited one of these centres while in Tartous, also visiting centres in Latakia, Aleppo, Damascus over the past few years.”


Russian Ministry Of OD updates on Rukban, us presence

“Such a situation in which the camp finds itself reminds concentration camps of the Second World War, which seemed to be long gone. How is it possible in the modern world?

Why, in these conditions, the world community, which cares so much about human rights, continues to persistently keep silent about the humanitarian disaster in the Rukban camp? In fact, being held hostage.

40 martyred in new massacre by “Int’l Coalition” in Deir Ezzor countryside

Implausible Denials: The Crime at Jabal al Tharda. US-led Air Raid on Behalf of ISIS-Daesh Against Syrian Forces


Former Director of Kindi Hospital Talks About Terrorist Truck Bombing of Hospital

Western corporate media ‘disappears’ over 1.5 million Syrians and 4,000 doctors (Ignore Terrorist Attacks on Hospitals)


19:26, MP Fares Shehabi on lawsuit against Turkey for theft of factories

November 2016, MP Shehabi on the lawsuit

Serena Shim exposed Turkey’s role in Syria:

“As Shim’s sister Fatmeh Shim stated in 2015, “She caught them bringing in ISIS high-ranked members into Syria from Turkey into camps, which are supposed to be Syrian refugee camps.”

Serena Shim’s January 2013 expose, “Turkey’s Pivotal Role in Syria’s Insurgency: PressTV Report from Inside Turkey,” showed footage of what she estimated to be 300 semi-trucks “awaiting militants to empty them out”; included testimony explaining how Turkey enables the crossing of foreign terrorists “freely” into Syria; spoke of the funneling of arms via the Incirlik US Air Base in Turkey to terrorists in refugee camps or on through to Syria; and highlighted the issue of terrorist training camps portrayed as refugee camps, guarded by the Turkish military.

Shim named the World Food Organization as one of the NGOs whose trucks were being used to funnel terrorists’ arms into Syria, and stated this in her last interview, just one day before being killed. Notably, in that interview she also explicitly stated that she feared for her life because Turkish intelligence had accused her of being a spy.


Jaysh al-Islam Tunnel Labyrinth in Douma, Syria


While in Tartous I saw an endless sea of posters of martyred soldiers, billboards listing their names, to give respect to their defense of Syria.

I was also treated with an unplanned visit to the sea, where I saw normal beach scenes, and more: Syrians of varying ages and faiths, living, loving, resisting the war of terror on their country.

While there, my host made sure to note: “Do not think these people haven’t suffered. There isn’t a house here that hasn’t lost a family member or relative,” she said of Syria’s fight against terrorism and for the restoration of peace

When Private Ryan is shamed by quiet heroes in the Syrian Arab Army


Chilling quotes from alleged Khashoggi murder audio tape revealed


Chilling quotes from alleged Khashoggi murder audio tape revealed

People holding pictures of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul © Reuters / Huseyin Aldemir

A Turkish newspaper has released quotes from an audio tape which reportedly captured last moments of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Washington Post columnist is heard demanding to be freed:

Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?

Habertürk newspaper, citing security sources, released the gruesome quotes on Monday.

The paper alleges the recordings show that the journalist was seized by the Saudi squad right after he entered the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Khashoggi and four members of the squad are heard quarrelling for at least 7 minutes. This part takes place in the A unit of the consulate which hosts the visa department.



also ‘briefed other parts of the US govt on its assessment,’ which contradicts Washington’s official position thus far – reports 

Then it’s heard how the 59-year-old was brought to the B unit, which hosts the administrative department. The 4-minute audio recording in that unit includes not only the sounds of a quarrel but also fighting.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia to seek death penalty for Khashoggi’s accused killers

Apart from four men from the Saudi squad and Khashoggi, three more men are heard in the audio tape. Turkish security sources reportedly identified one of them as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb. He was named by Turkish authorizes as the leader of a 15-man ‘kill team’.

In the second part of the recording, Mutreb calls Khashoggi, who was taken into the consulate’s B unit, a “traitor.”

Traitor! You will be brought to account!

Another voice is heard in the recording. It belongs to 57-year-old Saudi engineer Mustafa al-Madaini who posed as Khashoggi’s lookalike:

It is spooky to wear the clothes of a man whom we killed 20 minutes ago.

Madani is seen leaving the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul via the rear entrance, wearing the clothes that Khashoggi wore on October 2, according to video recordings. Madani also wears a fake beard and glasses to appear more like the journalist.

Information about the audio tape of Khashoggi’s murder has been circulating in the media for quite some time. Turkish authorities said they’ve obtained the gruesome tape and shared it with several countries, including the US. However, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar denied that the Saudi consulate had been bugged by Ankara. “We cannot reveal the source of the audio recordings,” Akar told the BBC on Monday.

The audio even reached Donald Trump. However, he refused to listen to the recording because “it’s a suffering tape.” He assured that he was “fully briefed” on the contents of the recording. It’s a “very violent, very vicious and terrible” tape.

Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and never came back out. Almost immediately after his disappearance, the Turkish authorities said the journalist had been murdered inside the consulate, alleging that his assassination was sanctioned at the highest levels of the Saudi government.

Riyadh initially denied killing the journalist but later changed its stance on the issue, several times. Most recently, the Saudi public prosecutor admitted that the journalist was murdered in an intelligence operation gone wrong. The prosecutor said he was seeking the death penalty for five individuals accused of “ordering and committing” his murder.

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New Audio Tapes on Khashoggi Murder Released: Report

Jamal Khashoggi

November 20, 2018

Turkish news website Haberturk has released the first quotes from alleged audio recordings of Jamal Khashoggi’s last moments before he was killed in the Saudi Consulate General in the city of Istanbul on 2 October.

“Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?” Khashoggi reportedly said at the consulate’s visa department after one of the four men grabbed his arm.

They then reportedly took the journalist to the consulate’s administrative unit, where three more people joined them. Haberturk reported that one of those three Saudis was Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, the purported leader of the 15-member hit squad.

“Traitor! You will be brought to account,” the voice, which sounds like Mutreb, is heard shouting, Haberturk said.

The rest of the seven-minute audio reportedly included verbal clashes, fighting and torture.

The media outlet further reported that 19 phone calls were made to Saudi Arabia from the ‘C unit’, where the consul’s office is located, with four of them between Mutreb and Saud al-Qahtani, a close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Neither Turkish, nor Saudi authorities have commented on the report yet.

Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Ankara had shared the recordings related to Khashoggi’s killing with the US, Canada, Saudi Arabia, France, and the UK.

Source: Sputnik

صراعٌ محموم على تركيا بين الروس والأميركيين

نوفمبر 20, 2018

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يندلع تنافسٌ حاد على جذب تركيا بين الأميركيين والروس فكل طرف منهما يعتقد أن استمالتها إليه تُعجلُ بواحد من أمرين: اما المحافظة على نظام القطب الواحد بالنسبة لواشنطن او إسقاطه كما تريد موسكو.

المعروف أن تركيا عضو في الحلف الأطلسي «الناتو» منذ تأسيسه وكانت تُمثلُ بالنسبة إليه «السد» الذي يمنع الاتحاد السوفياتي من التوسع «براحة» في الشرق الأوسط من بوابات تركيا البحرية التي تربط البحر الأسود بالبحر المتوسط عبر «مرمرة» و»ايجة». صحيح انها بحار مفتوحة للجميع لكن رعاتها هم الترك الذين يواصلون مراقبة العابرين بدقة متناهية، لكونهم يجسدون المصالح الأميركية في العالم ويأخذون بالمقابل اهتماماً أميركياً مرتبطاً بقواعد عسكرية متعددة بعضها يحتوي على اسلحة نووية «انجيرليك وغيرها»، لكن انفجار الأزمة السورية فرق بين الأحباب لاختلاف مصالحهم، واشنطن راعية الازمة كانت تريد في بداياتها إسقاط النظام السياسي على قاعدة الاحتفاظ بوحدة جغرافيته السياسية ولما تعذر ذلك لجأت الى لعبة تفتيته بالاعتماد على الارهاب و»إسرائيل» والسعودية وقطر وسورية وتركيا.

وخسرت للمرة الثانية رهاناتها، بالمقابل أرادت أنقرة تسهيل تشكيل كونفدرالية للاخوان المسلمين على مستوى مصر والعراق وسورية وليبيا وتونس ولعلها كانت تفكر ايضاً، بضم بلدان الخليج بتطبيق نظرية السقوط المتتابع للبيادق كان الأميركيون أول المجابهين لمشروعها مستفيدين من تحرك الشعب المصري في وجه «الاخوان» فحرّكوا السيسي بقيادة الجيش المصري والقضاء عليهم ناجحين بفرض تراجع أدوارهم في المنطقة عموماً على حساب طموح تركيا التي عاودت التدخل بذريعة محاربة الإرهاب.

لقد أسدى الأميركيون خدمة للترك ولسياساتهم الخاصة بتنشيطهم مشروعاً كردياً «قسد» في شرق سورية يحاولون بواسطته وقف تراجعاتهم في الشرق الأوسط.

فالكرد ثائرون في تركيا والعراق ومشروعٌ خطر في سورية وتركيا لكنه كان نائماً.

واستفادت انقرة من الخطر الكردي عليها باجتياحها قسماً من أراضي سورية والعراق وتمكنها بذلك من أداء أدوار سياسية «استعمارية» في البلدين بموافقة أميركية ملتبسة، لأن مثل هذه الأدوار تُعقد الأوضاع في مناطق الاجتياحات التركية ولا تسيء للمشروع الكردي لأنه متمتع بحمايتها.

لجهة روسيا فتعرف اهمية تركيا على الرغم من ان تَحسُن علاقاتها بإيران فتح لها الأبواب من ناحية بحر قزوين طهران العراق سورية، لكن لا يمكن اعتباره بديلاً من الخط التركي البحري لتضمنه مناطق في العراق لا تزال أميركية بشكل كامل.

لذلك تعاملت موسكو مع التقدم التركي في شمال سورية ومناطقها الغربية ببرودة لافتة حتى الآن، ونجحت بذلك في تشكيل مثلث قوة روسية تركية ايرانية للتنسيق في الميدان السوري في اطار حلف يجتمع دورياً تحت مسمى آستانة وسوتشي ويتخذ مقررات موحّدة من كل الظواهر المتعلقة بالأزمة السورية بنيوياً ودائرياً.

ولم يكتفِ العقل الروسي بهذا الإبداع بل ذهب نحو عقد اتفاق ضخم مع انقرة كنقل الغاز الروسي عبر اراضيها نحو البحر الاسود الى الاراضي التركية تمهيداً لإعادة تصديره الى اوروبا بمعدل 30 مليار متر مكعب نصفها للداخل التركي والباقي للقارة العجوز «أوروبا».

إن مثل هذا الاتفاق الذي قد يستمر نصف قرن تقريباً من شأنه تعزيز العلاقات الاقتصادية بين البلدين تمهيداً لتحالفات سياسية مترافقة وواعدة.

تكفي الاشارة الى ان عدد السياح الروس الذين يجولون سنوياً في بقاع تركيا يزيد عن خمسة ملايين نسمة.

ينحصر اذاً التنافس الأميركي الروسي في استعداد واشنطن لغض الطرف عن استمرار الدور التركي في شمال سورية وشمال العراق انما من دون الاصطدام بالمشروعين الكرديين فيهما، أما موضوع القواعد الأميركية في تركيا فلم تعد بالنسبة لأنقرة مفيدة لأن التهديد السوفياتي لم يعد موجوداً والايديولوجيا الشيوعية الاشتراكية لم تعد مصدر جذب لأي من الأحزاب التركية، هذا ما يجعل من هذه القواعد مهمة للطرف الأميركي فقط، وثقيلة على الترك.

هناك نقاط إضافية حول احتمال ان يكون ممثلو البيت الابيض نقلوا الى اردوغان تأكيداً على عدم شمول المشروع الكردي تركيا. وهم بالتالي مستعدون لدفع مشروع «قسد» الكردي بعيداً من شمال سورية ونحو جنوبها وجنوبها الشرقي بمعنى ان هذا المشروع «قسد» هو لحماية المصالح الأميركية في العراق عبر إدارة لعبة التوازنات بين مكوّناته المذهبية والعرقية، وهو ايضاً للاستعمال المرتقب في الجزء الكردي من إيران عبر كردستان العراق.

من جهتها تركيا ليست بلداً جديد التكوين ليستميلها الأميركيون بثرثرات لا طائل منها، فهم متأكدون ان نجاح المشروع الكردي في شرق سورية وكردستان العراق كفيل بتفجير تركيا الى ثلاثة مكوّنات منفصلة تماماً الكردي والتركي والعلوي لذلك يُصرّون دائماً على رأس المشروع الكردي مقابل عودتهم الى العباءة الأميركية مع أدوار نافذة في سورية والعراق.

من ناحيتها موسكو فبالإضافة الى السيل التركي للغاز الروسي الطبيعي الضخم والسياح والادوار السياسية العقلانية التي يسمح بها الروس للترك في سورية يبدو ان بوتين مستعد للذهاب بعيداً في علاقاته مع تركيا لأن اهميتها بالنسبة الى مشروعه في اختراق نظام القطب الواحد أكثر من استراتيجية وتكاد تنضوي في إطار الجيوبوليتيك الروسي المرتقب.

لكن مثل هذا الاهتمام لا يصل الى حدود سماح روسيا لانقرة بتعطيل استكمال سورية لسيادتها، فإذا كانت أنقرة جزءاً من طريق الصعود الروسي فإن دمشق هي قلبه ومنصته للقفز الى الفضاءات السوفياتية السابقة ومحطته البحرية الآمنة والوحيدة في البحر الأبيض المتوسط.

هذا ما يدفع «الكرملين» الى البحث عن حل يقنع أنقرة بأهمية الدولة السورية ويلبي جزءاً من طموحاتها الاقتصادية والقليل من شبقها العثماني التوسعي.

أما الأميركيون فيعجزون عن التخلي عن المشروع الكردي لأنه يشكل بالنسبة اليهم سداً يمنع الروس من التقدم عبر سورية لتحقيق نظام تعدد الأقطاب.

وهذا يعني استمرار التنافس بين القطبين المترقبين لوسائل جديدة تغري انقرة فتميل الى من يمتلك إغراءات أكثر.

ويبدو أن معركة ادلب المرتقبة قد تسهم في اندفاعة تركيا نحو الروس القطب الذي يمكن التعويل عليه في السنوات القليلة المقبلة لاختراق الأحادية الأميركية.

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Khashoggi’s «Murder Kit» X-Ray PHOTOS Revealed by Turkish Media

Local Editor

Electroshock devices, scalpels and scissors were among the belongings of the Saudi “hitmen,” who left Turkey shortly after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, Sabah newspaper reported, showing X-ray pictures of their luggage.

The 15-member Saudi team, suspected of Khashoggi’s murder, carried the most peculiar items in their luggage, the X-ray photos published on Monday show. Such findings suggest that the murder was actually well pre-planned and not an “accident” of sorts, despite such claims from Riyadh.

The bags belonging to the team contained surgical scissors, scalpel-like cutting instruments, several syringes and electroshock devices, which the newspaper describes as “crypto-weapons.” Apart from that, one of the bags contained three large stapler guns, which were likely needed to seal plastic bags containing the remains of the journalist.

The luggage also included various electronic devices, required to maintain contact between the members of the team. The X-ray pictures revealed ten mobile phones, three portable radios with walkie-talkies and a signal jammer.

Publication of the images came shortly after chief investigative journalist of the Sabah newspaper, Nazif Karaman, revealed that Khashoggi spent his last moments begging for a plastic bag to be removed from his head. “I’m suffocating…Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic,” the slain journalist said, according to Karaman, who cited audio recordings of the murder.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the audio as “really appalling,” to such an extent that a Saudi intelligence officer who listened to it suggested that the perpetrator must have been doing hard drugs to commit such a heinous crime.

“The recordings are really appalling. Indeed when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings, he was so shocked he said: ‘This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes heroin would do this,'” the Turkish leader said on Tuesday.

Turkey claimed to have audio recordings of the murder since the beginning of October, when Khashoggi disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Ankara had shared the recording with Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK, France and Germany, according to Erdogan.

While Saudi Arabia, initially in denial of slaying the journalist, acknowledged he did indeed die during an intelligence operation gone wrong, the whereabouts of his body are still unknown. The media, however, continues to speculate on the most gruesome details of Khashoggi’s murder.

Over the weekend, Turkish newspaper the Daily Sabah reported that forensics found traces of acid in the drains of the Saudi consulate. The report reinforces earlier theories that the remains of the journalist might have been dissolved in a potent acid and flushed down the drain.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team


The People’s Defense Forces (HPG), a military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), claimed that it had attacked 6 military bases in the southern Turkish provinces of Hakkari and Sirnak on November 9 and November 10. The HPG stated that 17 Turkish soldiers were killed and 32 others were wounded as a result of the attack. 8 soldiers are also missing, according to the HPG.

It should be noted that early on November 10 that the PKK also carried out an attack on several targets inside and south of the capital of Sirnak province with seven armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). According to Turkish sources, the UAVs failed to reach their targets due to technical failures and possible jamming by the Turkish military.

The province of Sirnak borders both northern Syria and Iraq. An interesting thing is that the recent PKK attacks confirm multiple Turkish statements that Kurdish armed groups operating in these areas, mostly the People’s Protection Units (YPG), pose a direct threat to the Turkish national security.

On November 13, 4 members of YPG-affiliated security forces were killed in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack via its news agency Amaq.

Manbij as well as the YPG-held areas east of the Euphrates River have been repeatedly described by Turkish leadership as a target of the upcoming anti-YPG operation. In late October, the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) delivered several strikes on YPG positions near the town of Kobani and deployed additional troops and equipment in southern Turksih provinces bordering the YPG-held area.

In November, Saif Abu Bakr, Military Chief of the Turkish-backed militant group Hamza Division, declared that members of his group are ready to participate in a large-scale operation against the YPG east of the Euphrates.

The YPG is the core of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US support to the SDF is the reason of constant tensions between Ankara and Washington. For example, on November 12, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu slammed the US “double-faced policy” towards Turkey addressing the continued US support to Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria. He also said that the US receives 20% of the YPG revenue from the oil fields seized in the war-torn country.

If the US continues its political and military support to the YPG and the group will consolidate its power over the Arab areas captured in northeastern Syria setting a foothold for further PKK attacks on targets in southern Turkey, the Ankara-Washington relations will likely deteriorate further.

US Pressure Fails to Affect Russia’s Growing Arms Exports

US Pressure Fails to Affect Russia’s Growing Arms Exports

ARKADY SAVITSKY | 12.11.2018 |

US Pressure Fails to Affect Russia’s Growing Arms Exports

On November 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Commission for Military Technology Cooperation with Foreign States. He noted that “Our capabilities in the military technical sphere must be used to modernize and upgrade all our industries, to support our science and to create a powerful technological potential for the country’s dynamic development.” The president called for “renewed efforts, not only, in preserving, but also, in strengthening Russia’s leading position on the global arms market, primarily in the high-tech sector, amid tough competition.”

The US efforts to press other countries into suspending military cooperation with Russia are inefficient. The number of customers, especially in the Middle East and Africa, is growing. The demand for Russia’s military production is especially high in the Asia-Pacific Region, accounting for almost 70% of all arms sales, including India (35%), China (12%) and Vietnam (10%).Today, Russia’s overall military exports are equal to around $15 billion, with the global order book of $55 billion. According to Alexander Mikheev, the head of Rosoboronexport, the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s defense exports / imports, Russia has already exported arms to over 40 countries, signing 1,100 contracts worth about $19 billion in 2018 – a 25% increase compared to the last year.

The president’s speech coincided with the opening ceremony of Airshow China 2018 (Nov. 6-11), one of the five largest aerospace exhibitions in the world, Russian manufacturers scored a big success. 14 defense producers displayed over 200 units of hardware.

China has defied US threats to go through with the large deal to buy S-400 air defense systems and Su-35 multifunctional fighters (ten jets already delivered). The joint programs, such as the development of a heavy AHL helicopter and a long-range powerful aircraft, are in force. The order book of China’s imports exceeds $7 billion, growing from 5% to 14-15%. The two nations are involved in a joint project to produce diesel-electric submarines Amur-1650 (export version of Lada Project 677). This is a $2 billion deal. China confirmed the plan to purchase six Mi-171A2Y “Ansat” helicopters, which will make a 5,000 km long demonstration tour across Southeast Asia, including stops at Hanoi (Vietnam), Phnom Penh (Cambodia), Bangkok (Thailand) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia).

VKO concern “Almaz-Antey” used the Airshow China 2018 event to introduce the Viking – the export version of the Buk-M3 anti-aircraft missile system. Viking boasts the range of 65 km. 36 targets can be tracked and engaged simultaneously. It has the capability of striking tactical ballistic and cruise missiles as well as sea and ground targets. The Radioelectronic Technologies Company (KRET) presented over 40 exhibits, including the multipurpose airborne multipurpose radar with AFAR “Beetle-AME” designed to  detect and track aerial, surface and ground targets at the same time. The Russian-Chinese long-overhaul CR929 jet attracted public attention at the air show. Its basic version will carry 280 passengers over a distance of 12,000 km.

India has also defied the US pressure and will start receiving receive S-400s in the fall of 2020. The $5 billion deal was signed in October during the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to New Delhi. Russia and Vietnam have signed a $4.5 billion package of deals, including the $1 billion purchase of a batch of Russian Su-30 MK2 fighters and a $2 billion agreement on the sale of six Russian diesel-electric Project 636.1 Varshavyanka (Kilo) submarines. A Mi-35M attack helicopters deal with to Bangladesh is expected to be inked soon. In February, Russia signed a $ 1.14 deal with Indonesia to supply 11 Su-35 4++ generation fighters.

2018 is rich in international defense shows. As of November 12, Russia has taken part in about 20 international exhibitions and forums, such as the Eurasian Air Show in Turkey’s Antalya, International Far Eastern Maritime Show in Vladivostok and ADAS-2018 defense exhibition in the Philippines (for the first time). It intends to attend some more large ones till the end of the year.

Russia has also taken part in the Indo Defense 2018 show (Nov.7-10) to display over 200 systems and equipment units. There were two weapons presented for the first time ever in Jakarta: the 122 mm projectile for Tornado-G MLRS and 140 mm projectile for ship-based Ogon flame throwing launcher.

There will be the IDEAS-2018  exhibition in Pakistan in late November, EDEX-2018 will be held in Egypt in mid-December, and Chile will host the EXPONAVAL – 2018 naval exhibition in early December. Russia will take an active part in all of them though its presence at Le Bourget Paris air show in June was very limited and it decided to take no part in Farnborough – 2018 air show in July. Moscow prefers the shows where it has more potential customers. This year, some new systems were offered to potential buyers, such the Viking and Tor-E2 anti-aircraft missile systems, Sprut-SDM1 light floating tank, Karakut and Sarsar vesselsIl-78MK-90A aerial tanker and Il-76MD-90A (E) military cargo aircraft. The Sprut-SDM1 light tank is a special case. The airborne light amphibious tank with firepower of MBT has no rivals in the world.

The US-imposed sanctions have failed to reduce the demand for Russian weapons. China, India as well as many other countries refuse to bow. New ways to pay for the deals without dollars are sought. For instance, India will pay for S-400s in Russian rubles. The talks to get around dollars are underway with China. Some deals may be temporarily postponed, some talks frozen, but all in all, the US policy of using sanctions to reduce Russia arms exports and thus weaken the competitor has failed. The most important agreements, including the S400 deal with Turkey, a NATO country, have not been affected. This agreement will also skirt dollar payments. The Russian arms sales are on the rise.

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