Important for DPR & LPR People – Their Determination by Coming to the Elections by Ruslan Ostashko

November 10, 2018

Translated and captioned by Leo. Make sure to press CC for English captions.

The closer we get to the planned elections in the Republics of Donbass, the louder Ukraine and its Western sponsors are screaming. Like, the declaration of will is illegal, because it is not provided by the Minsk agreements. For this, Russia is pressuring its own line, from which it is not going to back up on.

Diplomatic picks between the West and Russia are growing as they approach November 11. Here is from a recent article:

“OSCE Special Representative, Martin Saidik, believes that the elections scheduled for November 11 in the self-proclaimed republics of Donbass do not correspond to the ‘spirit nor letter of the Minsk agreements.’”

Let me remind you, the OSCE is the very organization whose deaf-blind and silent observers that are still unable to notice that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are constantly violating the truce. In response to attacks from this organization and other Western structures, the Russian representative stressed that the elections are legitimate.

“The election of the heads of the self-proclaimed republics in the Donbass does not contradict the Minsk agreements, as they deal only with local government bodies,” said Russia’s permanent representative of the Minsk agreement, Boris Gryzlov.

He noted that “this is not the election of local governments, written in the Minsk agreements, it is the election of heads and people’s councils in the republics of Donbass, necessary for the management of territories, ensuring the daily lives of people in this situation.”

Gryzlov did not miss the opportunity to kick the “Ukraine is Europe” supporters. He recalled that it was Kiev that for more than three years has been delaying a political settlement of the conflict.

In general, there’s nothing new. It is worth noting here that in order to confirm the position of the Republics of Donbass, which Russia shares, we need a high voter turnout. Actually, we have absolutely no difference for whom the inhabitants of the DPR and the LPR will vote for, the main thing is for them to come. It is no secret how much the people of Donbass are tired of this sluggish war and the general situation of uncertainty. The elections will be a step towards resolving this situation – making changes.

You can, of course, criticize the authorities of the Republics, which did not allow some candidates to be elected before, but, by and large, doesn’t have a big impact. It is important that the residents of both Republics confirm their determination to build their lives according to their own project, which is radically different from the Ukrainian “Svidomo” (national conscious).

The activity of people on tragic occasions like the funeral of the murdered head of the DPR, Alexander Zakharchenko, shows that this determination has not gone away. Remember how many people were parting with the leader of the Republic? [Estimates of 200,000 – ed]

Now it is time to show the same unity for a much more positive reason. If the residents of Donbass appear in large numbers at the voting stations, they will again hit the “Ukraine is Europe” tales about the “Russian occupation”. And our diplomats will receive another argument that can be beat on the tinsel of “partners”, pointing to the high involvement of the residents of the DPR and the LPR in democratic procedures.

By the way, whoever is shoved as president of Ukraine, the transparency and the number of irregularities in the elections in Donbass can later be later compared with similar parameters of the expression of will of Ukrainians “who have not yet escaped from Sumeria”. I believe that the comparison will be in favor of Donetsk and Lugansk, and not Kiev.

In short, elections are necessary for the Donbass, these elections are important, and I hope that the people are aware of this, and therefore will appear at the voting stations. Ukrainian Nazis will not gain power over the DPR and LPR by force under any circumstances – this is already clear. But in the modern world, it would be nice to back up strength with support of the will of the citizens. It is never bad to have this kind of extra support.

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The Non-Existent Sea of Azov Crisis

Via The Saker

The Non-Existent Sea of Azov Crisis

November 02, 2018

By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard

cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-the-non-existent-sea-of-azov-crisis/
source: https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20181101/1021618870.html

After the resolution of the European parliament that, contrary to international law and common sense, condemned the actions of Russia in the Sea of Azov, Ukraine cheered up and achieved the bringing of the question concerning elections in the DPR/LPR to the consideration of the UN Security Council.

Russia couldn’t block the introduction of this issue into the agenda both for moral and long-term political reasons.

The fact is that Moscow in 2015 also tried to obtain, and actually did obtain, the approval of the Minsk Agreements via the decision of the UN Security Council. This allowed to put Ukraine on the hook of international legitimacy. Kiev, which desired to jump away from the topic, couldn’t state any more that it doesn’t consider itself to be bound to any agreement with “terrorist-separatists” and that it isn’t obligated to them at all. The decision of the Security Council also enshrined that Russia isn’t a party to the conflict. Kiev after this shouted a lot, caused a fuss, sabotaged the implementation of all without exception points of the Minsk Agreements, but didn’t at all dare to officially withdraw from them.

But every coin has two sides, it is possible to find something bad in any good situation, and in any bad situation – something good. The same thing applies here: cementing its position via the decision of the Security Council, Russia couldn’t, without suffering serious reputation losses, deny the Security Council its right to consider the implementation of the decisions approved by its resolution.

Of course, the Security Council couldn’t adopt an anti-Russian or anti-Donbass resolution in connection with the existence of Russia’s veto. But the 5 member countries of the Security Council (France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Great Britain) made a statement of non-recognition of the elections being prepared in Donbass and urged Russia to cancel them. The statement was supported by Germany, Italy, and Belgium. It is strange that there was no America among the declarants. However, this allows to present the statement as the collective position of the European Union, while Washington receives the opportunity to later express itself in support of its allies, but in the meantime to make one more attempt to carry out behind-closed-doors bargaining with Moscow.

Both parties are formally right. Ukraine and its Euro-American intercessors specify that elections in Donbass, according to the Minsk Agreements, have to take place under Ukrainian laws, but Minsk will be violated if they take place now. The People’s Republics, whose position Russia supports, state that this may of course be true, but Ukraine long ago had to adopt a whole complex of acts and carry out other measures, including disengaging troops and ceasing shelling before the turn of the People’s Republics to observe the Ukrainian electoral laws comes.

Judging by separate passages of the speech of the Russian envoy in the UN Security Council, Moscow suggests to consider these elections as the simple legitimation of the heads of the republics, who, unlike their predecessors, weren’t elected by anybody. The West is proposed to look at these elections as the solution to a purely technical problem. Moscow has a trump card on its side  – the fact that the head of the DPR Zakharchenko was killed and charges of organising murder were brought to official Kiev structures.

Europe, however, didn’t want to accept the arguments of Russia, which is demonstrated by the statement of 8 EU states. This, of course, can be the usual diplomatic demarche without consequences — occupying an advantageous position for bargaining in the great global game. But there can also be more serious undertakings that as a result will lead to the realisation of Kiev’s dream of disavowing Minsk, but for reasons that are not at all joyful for Ukraine.

We remember that Germany and France weren’t at all afflicted when Russia froze meetings in the Normandy Format until Ukraine took a more constructive position. They sighed freely, because Kiev bothered them worse than a bitter radish, and sat down in the first row of the parterre to see how Volker will get out of the situation. But they remain guarantors of the Minsk Agreements. It is clear to all that Minsk will never be fulfilled. Kiev doesn’t hide from the West that it is afraid of a domino effect if Donbass is given special status. But Paris and Berlin can’t just say “we changed our mind, Minsk doesn’t work any more”. It is for this same reason that Russia can’t deny the UN Security Council its right to periodically consider the question of implementing the Minsk Agreements. France and Germany themselves insisted on these agreements, they participated in their development, they declared that this is their big victory. The political losses that both countries and their leaders will incur if they change their position will be too great.

France and Germany need to have a pretext to free themselves from the obligation of solving the Ukrainian crisis. If it is impossible to withdraw from the agreements at their own will, and if it is impossible to allow it to be disrupted by a Kiev supported by the West, then it is necessary to shift the blame onto Russia and the People’s Republics.

The West perfectly understands that the refusal under obvious pressure to hold elections in the People’s Republics will cause essential damage to Russia’s international authority. That’s why it acts maximally publicly, up to the level of collective statements following the results of the UN Security Council meeting, closing for Moscow the option of changing its mind and once again “postponing” elections. After the elections have taken place, the West can refuse to recognise Pushilin and Pasechnik as negotiators in connection with the non-recognition of the elections that they were elected in. Also the powers of other delegates signed by them during negotiations can also not be recognised. This is enough to bury the Minsk process under an absolutely plausible excuse.

But if indeed the West does this, then it won’t be done to start a new round of negotiations and reach compromises that are more acceptable for Kiev. If there was the desire to save Ukraine, then it would be enough for Germany to stop the construction of “Nord Stream-2” and not prevent Poland from paralysing the work of “Nord Stream-1”. The geopolitical situation surrounding Kiev would immediately significantly change, and the chances – albeit tiny – of lasting at least 5 years while Russia searches for new markets and delivery routes for its gas would sharply grow for the regime. But Germany initially didn’t plan to opt for such sacrifices, which indeed granted us [Russians – ed] the right to affirm that the destiny of Ukraine, in principle, has been decided, therefore it is better for the Kiev regime to immediately die because long agony only increases the torture.

The West in general, and Europe in particular, needs to jump away from the toxic topic, because it is already clear that Russia will soon raise the question of who will pay for the restoration of Ukraine, like how it already raised such a question concerning Syria. By the time that such a question will be asked by Moscow, it is necessary not to have any formal connections with the Ukrainian crisis. The destruction of the Minsk and Normandy Formats — formally not due to their own fault — allows France and Germany to distance themselves from the problem, while at the same time keeping their finger on the pulse. After all, Poland, Hungary, and Romania won’t be able to avoid border problems connected with their minorities in the West of Ukraine. This means that the EU will anyway be involved in a settlement. But Germany and France will be free from obligations and will be able to dictate to their younger partners in the EU the conditions of support for their position, threatening to leave them alone with their problem in the event of obstinacy.

The Azov crisis should be considered from the same point of view. The West didn’t notice this problem during a year, and then suddenly the European Parliament started to care about it, while even Ukraine recognises that although the economic losses from Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov and big, Moscow acts in full accordance with international standards – no violations of protocols by Russian customs groups were documented.

There is nothing extraordinary about Russia’s actions. The US examined the vessels going to Cuba not only in the days of the Caribbean Crisis. Israel examined the vessels going to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, which even caused a diplomatic incident and the cooling of earlier excellent relations with Turkey. It is possible to give a plethora of examples: a warship’s right to examine a trade vessel in the high sea is the ABC of international law.

Nevertheless, the European Parliament started talking about a possible aggravation in the Sea of Azov and began to threaten with sanctions.

Who will aggravate? Russia has no need to do this, Ukraine can’t, and there isn’t anyone else there. Sofa “experts” already started talking about the entrance of the “NATO fleet” in the Sea of Azov. Those who are cleverer speak about its entrance in the Black Sea, understanding that a warship can only pass in the Sea of Azov with the permission of Russia, and a breakthrough – moreover, by a whole “NATO fleet” – equals war. In addition, large ships anyway can’t breakthrough there, but small cutter boats and dinghies can be brought to the Sea of Azov by Ukraine via land routes without any NATO. But this won’t change anything since Russia can sink everything that floats on this sea. This water area is completely exposed to barrelled artillery fire from the coast, not to mention missile systems. If someone wants to launch a war against Russia, then they will find a more convenient place than the Sea of Azov.

NATO ships, for the purpose of flying the flag, entered, enter, and will continue to enter the Black Sea. The Sea Breeze exercises are staged there annually, but, having an unsinkable “aircraft carrier” named Crimea, Moscow reliably dominates in its water area so much so that a hypothetical attack of Russia using the forces of a really large squadron or shock aircraft carrier grouping is possible no closer than from the region of the Aegean Sea. In the Black Sea a fleet hostile to Russia becomes too vulnerable. Because of Crimea it has nowhere to manoeuvre, and it can’t quickly leave in case of danger – a large grouping of ships can’t overcome the Turkish straits overnight.

So all of this is a fairy tale in favour of idle chatter. The non-existent Azov crisis is invented, on the one hand, for the purpose of mobilising Russophobic voters in the EU for the European Parliament elections in May, 2019, and on the other hand — this noise masks the real actions of the West, and allows it to drift away from Ukraine, imitating its comprehensive support.

Otherwise it is difficult to explain why the West didn’t see the danger of the situation being aggravated during a whole year (when it really existed), but saw it precisely now when the problem was solved. The fishermen of “Nord” were exchanged for the Ukrainian poachers lassoed by Russia. It is only left to exchange captains, then vessels, and then the crisis will fizzle out. Especially if Kiev doesn’t forget to return “Mekhanik Pogodin” after “Nord”.

By the way, apparently Kiev started to suspect that something was amiss, because the comments of Ukrainian officials concerning the Azov crisis were wonderfully weighted, especially against the background of the West’s hysterics. The Kiev regime doesn’t even want to denounce the agreement on the status of the Sea of Azov, contrary to its habit of disrupting all agreements with Russia. However, the regime is now concentrated on destroying the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and creating a pocket “local church”. It is too busy for the Sea of Azov.

War 4 Years On – the Outlook for Lugansk People’s Republic

October 29, 2018

by GH Eliason for The Saker Blog

Leonid Pasechnik, the acting Head of Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR)has been in office for almost one year. With the state of his reforms in LNR, you want to judge him against leaders of countries at peace, not as one that just formed in the middle of a war four years ago.

For the last thirty years, Donbass was neglected in Ukraine. The infrastructure across Ukraine was bad, but in Donbass it was notorious. Key infrastructure like the water supply has been neglected since 1983.

Political Leaders and oligarchs from what would become LNR historically were only interested in what they could take out of the region. Donbass coal and industry historically provided the basis of Ukrainian wealth. No other region contributed as much and no one including Victor Yanukovych had any interest in investing any of that money back in the region to build it up.

Pasechnik is providing a marked difference. During what is still considered nation building, his interim administration is taking the economic and social problems in the newly formed republic head-on.

In the spring of 2018, his administration introduced their five-year socio-economic development plan called “Our Choice.” His administration included input from 70,000 LNR residents to make sure people’s concerns about the future are addressed as reforms go forward.

LNR’s Current Outlook

For the last four years, LNR has worked to build a lasting peace. Fulfilling their side of the Minsk Agreements LDNR (Lugansk &Donetsk People’s Republics) negotiated with Poroshenko’s regime has been a key part deciding what direction the republic is taking. Kiev hasn’t attempted to fulfill any point agreed to and tries to use the agreement to beat Russia over the head within the US and the EU.

The often overlooked part of the Minsk agreement in the west is Ukraine is not negotiating with Russia. Russia is a guarantor for the agreement the same as the EU is, nothing more. If Poroshenko had any intention of reintegrating Donbass, Ukraine would negotiate in good faith and keep its word. This hasn’t happened.

Because of this, Pasechnik’s government recognizes the fact that until the government in Ukraine changes, real negotiation and progress remain impossible. For Ukraine to be taken seriously, decentralization in the form of federalization will have to take place. Ukraine will also have to start creating the conditions for building an economy in all its regions.

Even in view of this LNR has consistently fulfilled its part of the Minsk agreements.

The West’s Shortsighted Spectacle

Unfortunately, even recent history shows there is no reason to take any offer Ukrainian nationalists make or are part of negotiating seriously. Poroshenko is only after sound bites and not substance. Pravy Sektor nationalist leader Dimka Yarosh has announced he is pulling his troops away from the front line to monitor Ukrainian elections. Ultra-nationalists monitoring elections? Yeah, this should go well.

In a recent interview with Ukrainian “Novoye Vremya,” Condoleezza Rice commented it was “bad” that the world was starting to believe Russia’s version of what was going on in Donbass.

At the end of the day, world leaders still have to believe somebody. After four years of looking at the diplomatic and economic train wreck, Ukraine has evolved into, they have no reason to believe Ukraine.

Instead of becoming the promised European model they could all look to, Ukraine has taken away every safety net even marginal civilizations provide for their people. Manufacturing is gone and instead of working through internal issues, the new government attacked its powerhouse region in Donbass. LNR and DNR provided a lion’s share of wealth because of the coal industry and manufacturing. The nation’s most important engineering universities are ensconced in the capitals because of this.

That isn’t something the EU or the rest of the world can take lightly. With no possibility of recovery in the near to mid future, Ukraine’s only hope is to find work in Europe. Ukrainians making it to Europe are finding low paying bottom tier work as well as the illegal sex trade.

Under Donald Trump, there is no reason to believe the US would be willing to take in violent nationalists from a country that tried to destroy his candidacy and his presidency.

All of this is the result of Poroshenko’s Ukraine destroying every possible growth industry it had including rocket engines, weapons, and technologies, and traded that for giant corporate farms. Agribusiness giants and agro-holdings companies are the big growth areas but provide no jobs.

The outlook for Ukraine is very poor for the foreseeable future unless drastic policy changes are implemented.

When you contrast this to what LNR is accomplishing under Leonid Pasechnik, it’s easy to see why Condi Rice is so upset.

Lugansk People’s Republic’s Reform Renaissance

It’s easy to argue renaissance is too strong a term to use for the reforms going on in LNR because there is a war going on. The infrastructure and economy have taken serious hits over the past four years. Nineteen bridges have taken extensive damage or collapsed in LNR hampering transportation. Roads were also shelled and in many areas need to be rebuilt.

On top of this, starting at day one, Pasechnik’s government had to fight the civil war as well as the systemic corruption that had not been touched by his predecessor. It’s very difficult to imagine a government starting out with a weaker hand.

In the short time Pasechnik has been in office, his government not only formulated a five-year plan, but they also started implementing it in a grand way. It started with building an energy bridge to power the steel mill in Alchevsk. High voltage transmission lines were installed that not only allowed the plants to go into production, but they are also increasing production and hiring plant workers. Business is opening in other manufacturing sectors because the government has been able to negotiate its way around sanctions to a small degree. In the garment industry, this is creating jobs.

Large-scale road work and bridge work has commenced and the bridge connecting Lugansk to Donetsk is complete. Part of the 5-year plan is to restore the railways for large-scale transportation to service commerce and commuters. Pasechnik just announced fuel prices in LNR will be dropping to Russian levels. This is while a war is being fought.

Water has been an issue for the last four years and part of LNR’s water supply is purchased from Ukraine. Pasechnik has ordered pipelines from LNR’s own aquifers be rebuilt to solve this problem. Redundancy is a consideration for the design of the project. If one water main is down for repair or maintenance, a second water main will be put in use according to the building specifications.

The farming industry was in tatters because of the war. The current government is working to increase yields of high-quality grains like wheat. LNR has achieved food security for the republic. This by itself is an incredible feat given the fluidity of the situation with the civil war.

As part of the reforms, Pasechnik ordered the customs borders be taken down between LNR and DNR on April 1, 2018. DNR still needs to reciprocate but it is only logical considering how closely both republics need to cooperate.

Along with all these concrete reforms, LNR is also writing new equitable laws to replace the old corpus. More importantly, reformation of the judicial system is underway. Currently, the family courts are complete and work has begun on Supreme Court reform.

It is easy to see why Condoleezza Rice would be a little upset when little tiny upstart countries believe in federalized representative governance and can build a society even with all the stumbling blocks and chaff the US and Europe throw at it. While Ukraine, Rice’s model of what a European country should be, looks anemic by comparison.

It’s easy to have the support of the EU and the USA and make these reforms when they give you billions of dollars to do so. It’s certainly easier to jumpstart an economy when the economic zones are in safe areas.

Pashichnik and his political party Peace for Lugansk (Мир Луганщине) have shown the world they can do it on their own. This is what former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is concerned Russia will tell the world.

We’re going to start exploring the reforms listed above as well as others going on in depth. We’ll also get to know his party and the other political parties in LNR. I like looking at concrete results and Pasechnik is providing that in a substantial way.

After being here from before the beginning of Kiev’s Euromaidan coup, you get a little-jaded writing about politics and political leaders. From my perspective, it’s a shame he and his party wasn’t elected in the first place. I believe both republics would be in a better place.

After taking a real look at this overview, how do political leaders where you live measure up?

The Lies Of Our (Financial) Times

By James Petras

October 06, 2018 Information Clearing House   The leading financial publications have misled their political and investor subscribers of emerging crises and military defeats which have precipitated catastrophic political and economic losses.

The most egregious example is the Financial Times (FT) a publication which is widely read by the business and financial elite.

In this essay we will proceed by outlining the larger political context that sets the framework for the transformation of the FT from a relatively objective purveyor of world news into a propagator of wars and failed economic policies.

In part two we will discuss several case studies which illustrate the dramatic shifts from a prudent business publication to a rabid military advocate, from a well-researched analyst of economic policies to an ideologue of the worst speculative investors.

The decay of the quality of its reportage is accompanied by the bastardization of language. Concepts are distorted; meanings are emptied of their cognitive sense; and vitriol covers crimes and misdemeanors.

We will conclude by discussing how and why the ‘respectable’ media have affected real world political and market outcomes for citizens and investors.

Political and Economic Context

The decay of the FT cannot be separated from the global political and economic transformations in which it publishes and circulates. The demise of the Soviet Union, the pillage of Russia’s economy throughout the 1990s and the US declaration of a unipolar world were celebrated by the FT as great success stories for ‘western values’. The US and EU annexation of Eastern Europe, the Balkan and Baltic states led to the deep corruption and decay of journalistic narratives.

The FT willing embraced every violation of the Gorbachev-Reagan agreements and NATO’s march to the borders of Russia. The militarization of US foreign policy was accompanied by the FT conversion to a military interpreter of what it dubbed the ‘transition to democratization’.

The language of the FT reportage combined democratic rhetoric with an embrace of military practices. This became the hallmark for all future coverage and editorializing. The FT military policies extended from Europe to the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Gulf States.

The FT joined the yellow press in describing military power grabs, including the overthrow of political adversaries, as ‘transitions to democracy’ and the creation of ‘open societies’.

The unanimity of the liberal and right-wing publications in support of western imperialism precluded any understanding of the enormous political and economic costs which ensued.

To protect itself from its most egregious ideological foibles, the FT included ‘insurance clauses’, to cover for catastrophic authoritarian outcomes. For example they advised western political leaders to promote military interventions and, by the way, with ‘democratic transitions’.

When it became evident that US-NATO wars did not lead to happy endings but turned into prolonged insurgencies, or when western clients turned into corrupt tyrants, the FT claimed that this was not what they meant by a ‘democratic transition’ – this was not their version of “free markets and free votes”.

The Financial and Military Times (?)

The militarization of the FT led it to embrace a military definition of political reality. The human and especially the economic costs, the lost markets, investments and resources were subordinated to the military outcomes of ‘wars against terrorism’ and ‘Russian authoritarianism’.

Each and every Financial Times report and editorial promoting western military interventions over the past two decades resulted in large scale, long-term economic losses.

The FT supported the US war against Iraq which led to the ending of important billion-dollar oil deals (oil for food) signed off with President Saddam Hussein. The subsequent US occupation precluded a subsequent revival of the oil industry. The US appointed client regime pillaged the multi-billion dollar reconstruction programs – costing US and EU taxpayers and depriving Iraqis of basic necessities.

Insurgent militias, including ISIS, gained control over half the country and precluded the entry of any new investment.

The US and FT backed western client regimes organized rigged election outcomes and looted the treasury of oil revenues, arousing the wrath of the population lacking electricity, potable water and other necessities.

The FT backed war, occupation and control of Iraq was an unmitigated disaster.

Similar outcomes resulted from the FT support for the invasions of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

For example the FT propagated the story that the Taliban was providing sanctuary for bin Laden’s planning the terror assault in the US (9/11).

In fact, the Afghan leaders offered to turn over the US suspect, if they were offered evidence. Washington rejected the offer, invaded Kabul and the FT joined the chorus backing the so-called ‘war on terrorism which led to an unending, one trillion-dollar war.

Libya signed off to a disarmament and multi-billion-dollar oil agreement with the US in 2003. In 2011 the US and its western allies bombed Libya, murdered Gaddafi, totally destroyed civil society and undermined the US/EU oil agreements. The FT backed the war but decried the outcome. The FT followed a familiar ploy; promoting military invasions and then, after the fact, criticizing the economic disasters.

The FT led the media charge in favor of the western proxy war against Syria: savaging the legitimate government and praising the mercenary terrorists, which it dubbed ‘rebels’ and ‘militants’ – dubious terms for US and EU financed operatives.

Millions of refugees, resulting from western wars in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq fled to Europe seeking refuge. FT described the imperial holocaust – the ‘dilemmas of Europe’. The FT bemoaned the rise of the anti-immigrant parties but never assumed responsibility for the wars which forced the millions to flee to the west.

The FT columnists prattle about ‘western values’ and criticize the ‘far right’ but abjured any sustained attack of Israel’s daily massacre of Palestinians. Instead readers get a dose of weekly puff pieces concerning Israeli politics with nary a mention of Zionist power over US foreign policy.

FT: Sanctions, Plots and Crises — Russia, China and Iran

The FT like all the prestigious media propaganda sheets have taken a leading role in US conflicts with Russia, China and Iran.

For years the scribes in the FT stable have discovered (or invented) “crises” in China’s economy- always claiming it was on the verge of an economic doomsday. Contrary to the FT, China has been growing at four times the rate of the US; ignoring the critics it built a global infrastructure system instead of the multi-wars backed by the journalist war mongers.

When China innovates, the FT harps on techno theft — ignoring US economic decline.

The FT boasts it writes “without fear and without favor” which translates into serving imperial powers voluntarily.

When the US sanctions China we are told by the FT that Washington is correcting China’s abusive statist policies. Because China does not impose military outposts to match the eight hundred US military bases on five continents, the FT invents what it calls ‘debt colonialism” apparently describing Beijing’s financing large-scale productive infrastructure projects.

The perverse logic of the FT extends to Russia. To cover up for the US financed coup in the Ukraine it converted a separatist movement in Donbass into a Russian land grab. In the same way a free election in Crimea is described as Kremlin annexation.

The FT provides the language of the declining western imperial empires.

Independent, democratic Russia, free of western pillage and electoral meddling is labelled “authoritarian”; social welfare which serves to decrease inequality is denigrated as ‘populism’ —linked to the far right. Without evidence or independent verification, the FT fabricates Putinesque poison plots in England and Bashar Assad poison gas conspiracies in Syria.

Conclusion

The FT has chosen to adopt a military line which has led to a long series of financially disastrous wars. The FT support of sanctions has cost oil companies billions of dollars, euros and pounds. The sanctions, it backed, have broken global networks.

The FT has adopted ideological postures that threaten supply chains between the West, China, Iran and Russia. The FT writes in many tongues but it has failed to inform its financial readers that it bears some responsibility for markets which are under siege.

There is unquestionably a need to overhaul the name and purpose of the FT. One journalist who was close to the editors suggests it should be called the “Military Times” – the voice of a declining empire.

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. 

“World War III” and the American Switcheroo

The Saker

October 06, 2018

“World War III” and the American Switcheroo

By Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

The person reading this article has most likely seen some form of re-enactment of a Roman trireme navigating some waters and being surrounded by fog, not being able to see further than 1km around them and thus possessing limited knowledge about what lies beyond the “draw distance” provided by their cerebrum. It is this fear (and handicap when it comes to survival) that pushed such ancient civilisations to improve the technology that they possess in order to reduce the risk that sailing the seas bears. The discovery of optics, mathematics, construction techniques, iron and metal works, physics, even astronomy brought the horizon within an arm’s reach and allowed vessels and their captains to become even more ambitious with their plans.

Even though at the time of writing this article it is late 2018 and we now have laptops that are almost paper-thin and electric cars that are almost noiseless, this fear of what may or may not exist beyond either the visible or proverbial horizon has not disappeared anywhere. But the manner in which it is expressed has acquired a more sophisticated character. If 28,000 years ago the human used cave drawings to pass on information about alleged dangers to their successors, then today the human uses contemporary means of mass communication to broadcast similar information about threats to survival. For example, in a recent article posted on the “strategic culture” website there is the following headline: “US Switching to Ukraine as Location to Start World War III Against Russia”. Now the title by itself is rather frightening, let’s agree. If one is seeing the expression “World War III” for the first time and they choose to use the digital library search engine known as “Google” to acquire some “knowledge” about this term, then they almost certainly will require a change of underwear. To illustrate matters, let’s refer to the image below:

http://www.stalkerzone.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/World-War-III.jpg
In a word: horrifying! We can see a whole city being blown to smithereens, with a fireball that would surely make the sun look like a coin in comparison. So a connection is made: “World War III” equals fire and explosions. But it is unlikely that the inquisitive person’s curiosity will end here. As is the case when someone drives past the scene of a car accident, it is seemingly impossible to not look. This fear, or more precisely – the fear of death (not knowing what happens when life ends), speaks to us and says: “Look, look, look!”. So, after satisfying the need to read more about this “World War III” by reading the information presented in the article, we learn that because Russia reached an agreement with some other countries over Idlib and America gave 2 boats to Kiev, this “World War III” will now not start in Syria, but in Ukraine!

But wait just a minute here, because the notion of cities being engulfed by fireballs is very serious and there is the chance that it might involve death… lots of death… And since descriptions of this “World War III” give the impression that it won’t be just one street or town that may be affected, but entire cities, regions, or maybe nations, one’s wish to have more specific details leaves one in a bit of a pickle, because it follows from the information in the specified article that there is fog on the horizon when it comes to providing specific details. So, without further ado, let’s pull out our modern-day equivalent of a “spyglass” and do some basic reconnaissance before running for the ejector seat and escaping to the moon.

On September 27th the US did indeed give Ukraine 2 vessels. According to the current President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko’s website, they are Island-class patrol boats. I.e., coast guard ships.

http://www.stalkerzone.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/1538076589-7857.jpeg
However, there was a caveat with the handing over of the boats: “America handed over the vessels for free but Ukraine will pay an estimated $10 million for their renovation in Baltimore, Maryland, where they will remain until, likely, next fall”. Ah, so already we are starting to see the real nature of this “generous gesture”. If we remember, in 2018 France reached an agreement with Kiev over the sale of 55 Airbus helicopters, which consists of “21 repurposed H225s, and 10 brand new H145s and 24 H125”. I.e., non-combat helicopters. Poroshenko’s propaganda machine, which consists of the media outlets that he personally directly owns and the agencies that are under his control, did not publicise the fact that most of the helicopters are second-hand. Furthermore, America was jealousof the fact that France was able to swindle Kiev in such a way. And back in 2017 there was the Javelin fiasco, where the US government was mulling (according to the media) over giving “Javelins” to Kiev. It was then reported in December, 2017 that Trump had given the green light for the sending of Javelins, but all we know from that moment is that they were “tested” by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in May, 2018 in Western Ukraine. However, many tabloid spin machines (for example) were adamant that the delivery of these Javelins signalled the beginning of this “World War III”. And they weren’t alone in this hysteria: social media “experts” pressed the “panic” button in unison and decided that if Russia didn’t drop Tsar Bomba on Kiev, it was game over. For them it doesn’t matter that the DPR/LPR don’t use tanks anymore because of the Minsk Agreements and what is happening in Donbass today can hardly be called a “war” (in a war there are offensives, not cowardly shelling on residential areas from a safe area, trying to bait Russia into responding).

But shock horror, as of the time of writing these Javelins have never been used outside the training ground near Lvov, something that your humble servant already predicted long ago. One would think that if Russia is so “aggressive”, as Kiev claims, and Ukraine’s economy is being decimated by “Russian troops”, then there would be some urgency concerning using these Javelins in order to repel the aggressor. But no…

So coming back to the topic of these boats: knowing that Poroshenko is willing to literally pay the Trump administration thousands of dollars just for a fake meeting that will give his Euromaidan and Banderist electorate back home the illusions that “America stands with us”, it is more than likely that this was yet another PR stunt concocted by Poroshenko’s campaign HQ, which has also authored the “autocephaly“, “Russian aggression in the Azov Sea“, and “termination of the Treaty of Friendship” bullet points of his 2019 Presidential electoral campaign.

So how can these splendid vessels be, as the author of the aforementioned “World War III” article put it, exploited “for use against Russia”? Well the first problem here is that Ukraine has no money. Yes, it is more than bankrupt. Its GDP is now exclusively being used to pay back the money that the West lent to it at extortionate interest rates. As soon as a hyrnia enters the coffers, it is immediately dispatched abroad. In fact, its GDP has been substituted with IMF/World Bank/EU/US loans – something that Greece is very familiar with. In fact, Ukraine’s economy makes most African countries look like paradises.

Secondly, the conveyor of the information about “World War III” being launched in Ukraine cites a comment made by a Mr Ryan Zinke, who is the US Secretary of the Interior. Yes, precisely Secretary of the Interior, and nothing else. For reasons that rhyme with “clickbait” various publications (for example) decided to report “US Hints At Naval Blockade Of Russian Energy Exports”. Again, the comment was made by the Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, at an “industry event in Pittsburgh hosted by the Consumer Energy Alliance”. And even if such a statement was made by the White House, so what? After decade upon decade of blah blah blah about how they are going to do this and that to Russia, actions never follow. After all, dumping a few tomahawks on empty warehouses in Syria (both “attacks” were coordinated with Russia beforehand because Washington is very afraid of its own incompetence) is not only a sign of weakness, but also actually helps Russia’s operations in Syria (the “democratic and just wolf” showed the “aggressive Bear” that behind the facade is a scared and futile puppy).

Thirdly, the events in the Azov Sea in the month of September can hardly be described as “war” or even fisticuffs. The fact is that Russian pilots were allowed to come onboard Ukrainian ships to help them navigate through the shallow waters of the Azov Sea. Does this sound like something a country would do if it were indeed “at war” with an “aggressor”? Here are two more referrals that cite other Ukrainians who debunked Poroshenko’s PR stunt: Link 1and Link 2.

So now onto the topic of Syria and the Idlib conundrum. On September 4th Donald Trump did indeed tweet the following:

“President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!”

Yes, Trump tweeted. But what does it mean? The tweet in itself is designed for internal consumption, of course. I.e., for GI Joe Americans to feel like America is still powerful and can flex its muscles anywhere in the globe. The precise reason why no strike followed and Russia and Turkey instead reached an agreement to avoid another Sarin spectacle is beyond the scope of this article, but it can be summarised as international law (not the R2P version, but the S-400 version) triumphing over chaotization (the new format of the R2P version of international law). Furthermore, America would risk a direct war with Russia on Syrian soil no more than it would on Ukrainian soil. I.e., not at all. Assad already won in Idlib (and in the war in general) when Russian jets touched down at Hmeymim in 2015. This event gave impetus to processes that could not be stopped neither by token Israeli airstrikes at alleged “Hezbollah” cow sheds nor by Tomahawk PR extravaganzas. Thus, the actual cleaning of the city from jihadist filth is merely a formality, and by all accounts Nusra & Co are doing a pretty good job already – infighting, a lack of support, and Turkish arm twisting are softening the city itself up for the inevitable 2019 final deal (based on the terms of the Russia-Turkey-Iran axis) regarding Idlib. Thus, Russia is in no hurry to resolve the Idlib question, especially when Iran can launch missiles directly over America’s head in Eastern Syria (Albu Kamal).

It must be stated (once again) that at no point in the Syrian war (2011 onwards) was a direct clash between Russia and America an option. There is the misconception (or wishful thinking) that “the US Government was setting Syria up as the place to start WW III”, but this implies not only that the US government is suicidally unaware that it would be utterly annihilated if it decided to raise the stakes to the skies, but also that the UN is frozen in 2002, when a mock vial of anthrax was all that was needed to bulldoze Middle Eastern country “X”. And whilst America is “setting up Syria” for the “WW III” bonanza, do other processes stop? Does Nord Stream-2, the Silk Road, Turkish Stream, BRICS (T?), SCO, EEU, etc just freeze in time?

Also, if the US was “setting Syria up as the place to start WW III”, does it mean that: a) Assad helped America to “set up” Syria since it was his (and those of his father) socio-economic policies (free handouts + overpopulation) that weakened Syria enough for Wahhabism to grab it by the throat? And if the US was “also setting up Ukraine as an alternative possibility” for nuclear war, does that mean Ukraine’s problems started only when America started to do this? Or are things more complicated, and the roots of Syria’s and Ukraine’s problems extend beyond 2011 and 2014 respectively? Moreover, the causes of these problems are multi-faceted and have different layers of complexity. They are not just “America vs Russia” chess games. In fact, it is quicker to enumerate the countries that AREN’T meddling in Syria or Ukraine. And each party has their own interests and objectives (we are not in the 2002 Iraq/Afghanistan invasion era where the West is a single consolidated bloc dancing to Tel Aviv’s tune).

Lastly, as was touched on in passing earlier, the situation in Donbass is far from being what it was in even 2016. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (and its comrade “volunteer” battalions) and the mainstream Ukrainian society (those who were duped by the Euromaidan spectacle, didn’t fully commit to the idea that Russia is an aggressor, and slowly experience moments of clarity when they witness how their bank balance diminishes every month) is completely exhausted from what has happened not just in the zone of the “Anti-terrorist operation”, but also nationwide as a whole. And here the fact that various DPR political figures have already launched their electoral campaigns for the November 11th elections is very indicative of where priorities now lie. It is clear that America gave Poroshenko the green light to concentrate on the new front in the churches (replacing the old, failed one in Donbass).

And on this front there is an increased chance that Russia may indeed “do something” and intervene in one way or another, as the Minsk Agreements was designed to allow Russia to freeze the situation in Ukraine that arose in 2014 and enter Syria without overexposing its rear. We are now in 2018, fast approaching 2019, and Moscow’s operation in Syria is de facto complete. It was succeeded to keep Syrian statehood intact and to firmly remind Tel Aviv that there is a new sheriff – invited by the legitimate president of Syria! – in the town called “MENA”. Whether the OSCE will be obliged to protect Ukrainian canonical churches from the Banderist hoardes that are already trying to seize churches despite “Autocephaly” not yet being granted, unless the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is playing Poroshenko like a fiddle?

If the West is going to use Ukraine to do something “against Russia”, it will merely be an extension of what we have already seen: since reality has proven that defeating Russia militarily is a pipedream, Ukraine acts like a fifth-column battering ram designed to incite Russian society (and as much of the peripheral post-Soviet space as possible) against Putin. The Kremlin reacted quickly to save Crimea from the “love” of “Right Sector”, and the Minsk Agreements solved the problem of saving Donbass without giving America what it wanted – Russian troops inside Ukraine. Putin knows much more than you the reader or I know when it comes to what is best for the Russian nation, and it’s not a coincidence that he regularly meets with the President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko. The West’s attempts to turn this former Soviet Republic into another anti-Russia battering ram continue unabated, and the work of NGOs (both Soros-funded and non-Soros-funded) to subvert Belarusian society won’t stop just because the West is having an economic crisis.

However, the modern color revolution scheme that was tried and test in Egypt with the “Twitter revolution” has one major flaw – if the financial situation of the working man and woman is stable (assuming that the West’s toxic NGO’s haven’t already infected their brains and convinced them that the “dictator” represses them because they don’t have the latest sports car or Armani bag), then inciting them (along with the village people who are political outcasts and perhaps have sentiments for “heroes” like Stepan Bandera) to overthrow the legally elected President becomes difficult. A good example: the West tried to hijack the “pension reform” topic in Russia, but alas, they failed. In fact, it isn’t excluded that Jeff Monson’s observations played an important role in this.

What is “World War III”? We’ve heard so much about it and we’re always told by certain blogs that it is imminent, and sometimes learning more about it requires a PayPal transaction. But when some time has passed and nothing matching the description of “World War III” has happened, there is always some excuse as to why it hasn’t happened yet. And diplomatic solutions to problems are in general not promoted in the blogosphere. Why? Because they are “boring”. Talking around a table doesn’t quite have the same Hollywood effect as a “Kinzhal” missile hitting USS Donald Cook. And since social media has reduced attention spans and thinking patterns to 20 minute blocks, the cravings for endorphins become more and more stronger.

It is also said on forums that in 7.5 billion years the sun will engulf our planet. So should we all strap a stopwatch to our wrists and countdown for the “big one”? After all, how far can we take this pant-pooping? Could it be that (brace yourselves) there will be no nuclear exchanges in our lifetimes? Does any contemplation of this possibility make life “boring”? Why support Putin and the Eurasian project if we are all doomed? Why do Foreign Ministers hold bilateral meetings and coordinate raw material trade under contracts that will expire in 2050 if “World War III” is imminent? Does the blogosphere know something that Presidents, Cabinets, and recognised analysts/advisors don’t know? Why is the stock market not in mass panic if “World War III” is imminent? After all, in 2013 the price of the hryvnia had already plummeted but it wasn’t a fact back then that Yanukovych would be removed… Traders, like Ministries of Defence, have algorithms to help them forecast future movements. Like a complex spyglass. Why does Germany want Nord Stream 2 so badly (to counter America’s economic blackmail) if “World War III” is going to start soon? Why bother laying the pipes underwater, completing a mountain of paperwork, and signing long-term contracts for Gazprom gas? After all, Germany is meddling in Syria and Ukraine just as much as the US is…

In my previous article I was asked what the following expression means:

“…the core of fourth generation warfare is using simulacra to position a digital hologram over actual ground warfare in order to carve out space to manoeuvre diplomatically”

The answer as to why “World War III” – according to the alt-media’s definition of the term – hasn’t yet happened lies inside it. But this will be the topic for a future article. In the meantime it is wise to remember that as of this moment geopolitical processes are happening in PARALLEL, and not SERIAL.

 

The War of 08.08.08 and Ten Years of Struggle for Russian Sovereignty

The War of 08.08.08 and Ten Years of Struggle for Russian Sovereignty

August 09, 2018

By Aleksandr Rodgers
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard
cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/aleksandr-rodgers-the-war-of-08-08-08-and-ten-years-of-struggle-for-russian-sovereignty/
source: https://jpgazeta.ru/aleksandr-rodzhers-voyna-08-08-08-i-desyat-let-borbyi-za-suverenitet-rossii/

In reality, those processes that we now observe didn’t arrive “suddenly”, but developed (and were being prepared) over a long period of time.

And although on August 8th, 2018, it is ten years since 08.08.08, we will start the conversation with other events.

Because officially it is a completely different date, namely February 10th, 2007 – the Munich speech of Putin, that can be considered as the official beginning of events that followed. Where he, for the first time, described for the entire planet:

  • the injustice of the existing global system;
  • the fact that China already overtakes the US, and BRIC overtakes the EU;
  • the inevitability of the end of the unipolar world;
  • the need to put an end to the arbitrariness of the US, which leans on brute force;
  • his disagreement with injustice.

If to look at the video, it is possible to see that many in the hall smiled and thought that Putin jokes (how can it be possible to protest against American hegemony – it’s unheard of!). But he wasn’t joking.

It is clear that this speech of Putin was not spontaneous, and it was preceded by big preparation (removing semibankirschina from power, cancellation of the Production Sharing Agreement, reforming the army, and so on). But most laypeople think in the category “if I don’t see something, then it does not exist”.

That’s why the events on August 8th, 2008 were a surprise for them.

On August 8th the American puppet Mikheil Saakashvili, who came to power in Georgia as a result of an illegal coup (called by propagandists as the “Rose Revolution”), ordered his troops – armed and trained according to NATO standards (and on American money) – to perform a punitive operation against the inhabitants of South Ossetia, having started to massively shell the capital of the republic – Tskhinvali.

In the city there were Russian peacekeepers, which had a UN mandate, and such aggression, according to the plan of the American owners of Saakashvili, had to show Russia “its place”. But something went astray.

According to the plan (approved, among other things, by the former Minister of Defence of Georgia Irakli Okruashvili), the Georgian army had to firstly carry out the large-scale bombing of Tskhinvali and the surrounding villages by means of long-range artillery and MLRS, and then, after defeating the not numerous Ossetian army (in total about 3,000 people), to start ethnic cleaning.

In order to implement this plan the US developed a large-scale program of training the Georgian army – its main focus was on “anti-insurgent actions”.

In particular, the British “Financial Times” newspaper openly wrote that 80 Georgian special forces members were trained by American instructors by the order of the Pentagon according to a program that was tested in Croatia in 1995 within the framework of the operation of the Croatian armed forces for the capture of Serbian Krajina. The FT noted that this operation was one of the worst episodes of ethnic cleaning in the history of the Yugoslavian war (since Vietnam the Americans have had a wide experience of war against a peaceful and unarmed population, much like their current Banderist lackeys).

During Saakashvili’s reign, Georgia increased its military budget by 30-fold (at the same time, ordinary Georgians outside the capital survived on $30-40 a month, which is below the norms of the UN for absolute poverty). If in 2003 military expenses of the state budget of Georgia were $30 million (0.7% of GDP), then in 2007 it was already $940 million (8% of GDP). For comparison, now in NATO the standard is 2%, and even this is too much for the majority of member countries, which thus don’t implement it).

In 2008 the military expenses of Georgia totalled $990 million, which exceeded a quarter of the entire state budget of this poor country! All of this, of course, was done contrary to the interests of ordinary Georgians and at their expense.

At the same time, Georgia received some weapons from Ukraine by bypassing standard procedures. It happened at the personal order of Viktor Yushchenko – one more American puppet (who also came to power as a result of a “soft” coup d’etat inspired by the US).

But all of this preparation didn’t help.

It should be noted that the Ossetian conflict was preceded by the illegal recognition of the independence of Kosovo. On February 17th, 2008 the independence of Kosovo was declared, and on the next day it was recognised by a number of the countries – first of all, the US.

The recognition of the independence of Kosovo caused an extremely negative reaction in the leadership of Russia, President Putin at the summit of the CIS countries on February 22rd said:

“The Kosovo precedent is a horrifying precedent. <…> Those who do it don’t foresee the results of what they do. Finally, this is a double-edged sword, and the second edge will one day hit them on the head”.

Since the end of July, 2008 the Georgian army starts to shell the settlements of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Since August 1st the Prime Minister of South Ossetia Yury Morozov starts the partial evacuation of the residents of Tskhinvali.

On August 7th the Georgian army tried to occupy Prisi heights around Tskhinvali, but this attack was repelled. On the same day the American ambassador in Georgia John Tefft reported to Washington that the troops of Georgia, including units with MLRS “Grad”, move in the direction of South Ossetia.

In the afternoon of August 7th, 2008 the secretary of the Security Council of South Ossetia Anatoly Barankevich stated:

“The activity of Georgian troops is observed along the entire border with South Ossetia. All of this says that Georgia starts large-scale aggression against our republic“.

At 2 o’clock in the morning on August 8th, 2008 the Georgian army, hoping that Russia won’t react to aggression during the Olympic Games, started an offensive.

On the morning of August 8th the commander of Georgian “peacekeepers” Mamuka Kurashvili called the actions of Georgia in South Ossetia “an operation on restoring constitutional order in the Tskhinvali region”. Later, in October, 2008, during enquiries into the August events in the Georgian parliament, Kurashvili stated that his words were impulsive and weren’t authorised by the top political leadership of Georgia (they always start trembling when the time comes to answer).

Later, Saakashvili tried to lie by saying that the war started after “the offensive of Russian troops from the territory of Ukraine”. By this he implied the departure of ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation from Sevastopol, which took place several days before the beginning of the Georgian offensive (in general, they regularly depart ports for raids, and there is never any aggression).

Also, Saakashvili lied by saying that “the president of Ukraine Yushchenko tried to stop by his decree the Black Sea Fleet, but Russia ignored it”. In reality, Yushchenko’s decree appeared only on August 13th, i.e., 5 days after the beginning of the war, and already after the President of Russia Medvedev officially announced the termination of the military operation aimed at coercive peacemaking.

Having gobbled up his tie, overdosed on cocaine, changed his pants after fleeing from the“invisible Russian jets”, and again overdosed on cocaine, Saakashvili raved that:

  • “the Georgian army forced Russian generals to flee from the battlefield for the first time since World War II” (I am not joking, he spurted this out in all seriousness);
  • “95% of the efficient part of the Armed Forces of Russia fought against Georgia”;
  • “the 58th Russian army was actually burned by the 4th Georgian brigade”;
  • “when the 58th army was defeated, Russia used ground and air forces. They fired more than half their ‘Iskander’ ammo”;
  • and so on.

In general, Saakashvili is a worthy colleague of the alcoholic Poroshenko in terms of killing brains via substance abuse, as well as in terms of “destroying Russian armies in words”.

Everybody laughed, but only at the words of the little fool Saakashvili.

Because as a result of Georgian aggression (which, by the way, had the code name “Clear Field”, which openly hints at the intention to carry out the genocide of Ossetians and Abkhazians), which started at 00:15 Moscow time on August 8th with the “Grad” shelling of Tskhinvali, 15 Russian peacekeepers died (and about 40 were wounded), and about 1600 peaceful citizens of South Ossetia were killed (and almost as much wounded). The “Human Rights Watch” human rights organisation confirmed the fact of the destruction of the Russian peacekeeping posts in Tskhinvali and Khetagurovo.

At 00:30 Moscow time the commander of the operations of the armed forces of Georgia General Mamuka Kurashvili announced on the air of the “Rustavi-2” TV channel that, in connection with the refusal of the Ossetian side to hold talks on the stabilisation of the situation in the conflict zone, the Georgian side “made the decision to restore constitutional order in the conflict zone”, which completely disproves the latest Georgian insinuations – that Ossetians and/or Russians attacked first.

At 10:00 on August 8th the Georgian state Minister for Reintegration Temur Yakobashvili called on Russia to “act as a real peacekeeper” and stated that “Georgia controls almost all the settlements of South Ossetia, except Tskhinvali and Dzhava”.

On the morning of August 8th Russian aircraft started bombing military facilities on the territory of Georgia: the military base in Gori; the airfields of Vaziani and Marneuli, where Su-25 and L-39 planes, as well as a radar station 40 kilometers from Tbilisi were based.

At 14:30 Moscow time, the first unit of the Russian army – the 1st battalion of the 135th regiment – passed through the Roki tunnel.

At about 17:00 the Foreign Minister of Georgia Eka Tkeshelashvili called on foreign countries to put pressure on the Russian government in order to stop “direct military aggression” on the territory of Georgia. The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in reply reminded that on the morning of August 8th Georgia called on Russia to act as a peacekeeper. “So that’s what we are doing,” said Lavrov.

On the morning of August 9th the 76th Guards Air Assault Division based in Pskov was transferred to the area of military operations. Russian ships entered the territorial waters of Georgia and started fighting the patrol.

On August 10th the ships of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation sank two Georgian combat kayaks.

On August 11th the “proud Georgians” fled.

By the way, even when the Georgian army carried out a cunning strategic manoeuvre under the name “chaotic escape”, the grant-eating Georgian media continued to report that:

  • “as a result of fighting in the Tskhinvali region the Russian 58th army lost 1789 soldiers, 105 tanks, 81 fighting vehicles, 45 armoured troop-carriers, 10 ‘Grad’ units, and 5 ‘Smerch’ units”;

or

  • “in Georgia there are so many corpses of Russian soldiers that they aren’t transported back to Russia” (compare to the fake information about the losses of Russians in Donbass and in Syria – the similarity of propaganda methods is obvious).

In reality everything is on the contrary: it is the Georgian armed forces that didn’t take any action to recover the corpses of their perished soldiers from Tskhinvali region, and some of the perished Georgian military personnel were buried in mass graves without being identified (compare to the cauldrons in Donbass and several thousand anonymous graves of UAF soldiers).

But all of this is just details. The main thing is that on 08.08.08 Russia showed to the whole world (not only Georgia) that:

  • it won’t allow genocide to be carried out on its borders;
  • it won’t allow its soldiers to be killed with impunity any more;
  • it is ready to pursue an independent policy (both internal and external);
  • the Russian army isn’t in ruins at all and not as destroyed as the West thought, but completely on the contrary – it is capable of destroying in literally several days a NATO army armed with American weapons and trained by American military advisers;
  • Russians can’t be pushed around; it is only possible to reach an agreement with Russians.

The first milestone is the Munich speech of Putin.

The second milestone is the defeat of the Georgian army under the howling and hysterics of the West.

The third milestone is the failure of the Bolotnaya Square attempt at a white ribbon coup.

The fourth milestone is the return of Crimea.

The fifth milestone is the uprising in Donbass.

The sixth milestone is the essential strengthening of the presence of the state in the economy of Russia, especially in strategic spheres.

The seventh milestone is the crushing of Anglo-Saxon proxies (ISIS, al-Nusra, and other puppet terrorists) in Syria.

The eighth milestone is transferring the vector of activity further away from its borders – to Africa (in addition to the Central African Republic, at least four other African countries).

The ninth milestone is the dumping of American debt papers (treasuries).

And there are many other smaller and not so noticeable steps, like: the emergence of new types of weapons; accession to various international organisations, contracts and associations (trade and economic, as well as security contours), as well as the involvement in these organisations of new countries; import substitution; the introduction of the “foreign agent” status; the creation of its own payment system; and many other things.

And all of this is on the way to the restoration of the sovereignty and greatness of Russia.

But at first there was Munich and 08.08.08.

The Essential Saker II
The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker
The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world

IAF CROSS-BORDER RAIDS IN THE LARGER PICTURE OF HEZBOLLAH VS ISRAEL

IAF Cross-Border Raids in the Larger Picture of Hezbollah vs Israel

Illustrative image

Written by Dennis M. Nilsen exclusively for SouthFront

As has become worldwide news, on February 10 the Syrian Air Defense Forces succeeded in causing, directly or indirectly, the downing of an Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16I.  The warplane comprised part of an eight-plane attack group returning from a raid on the Tiyas Military Airbase just west of Palmyra, launched in response to the shooting down of a drone over Israeli territory just beyond the Golan Heights.  An Apache attack helicopter of the IAF shot down what Israel claims was an Iranian drone launched from the Syrian airbase, and upon the demise of one of its F-16s the IAF launched further raids on Syrian and Iranian military targets in the vicinity of Damascus, including three air defense posts.  Syria claims its air defense thwarted the attacks, while the Iranian IRGC have refused to confirm the Israeli claims and, further, deny that they have set up military installations in Syria.  The Syrians and Iranians both claim that the drone was engaged in an operation against one of the several terrorist groups operating on the Syrian-Lebanese border.  Incidentally, the two Israeli pilots successfully ejected; while one is in serious condition in hospital, his partner walked away with minor injuries.  Casualties for their opponents have yet to be confirmed.

While Israeli consternation at the violation of its airspace is understandable, the fact that the IAF has done the very same to Syria on over 100 occasions since the beginning of the revolt against President Assad is getting lost in the media coverage.  This brings up the larger picture of the opposition between the US/Israel block and the Axis of Resistance.  The Zionists insist that the IRGC is taking advantage of the generally distracted state of Syria to move arms shipments to Hezbollah through the country and into the forward areas of that group in southern Lebanon, concerned as they have become at a pending Israeli attack to wipe them out.  They have further accused the Islamic Republic of building missile factories in southwest Syria near to Hezbollah-controlled areas in order to considerably cut the supply route distance.  However, the larger arsenal which Hezbollah possesses and which it continues to augment thanks to the IRGC only makes the Israelis that much more jittery over the existence of such a weapons cache just across their northern border.  Are both sides to blame here, or does the blame lay solely on one side?

Hezbollah formed in 1982 to oppose the secular Amal then engaged in the Lebanese Civil War.  Frustrated at the Shiite group’s refusal to seek an Islamic state and inspired by the recent revolution in Iran, a group of clerics actively sought the aid of the newly-established IRGC to form a military to pull away Shiite support from Amal and to organize a viable front to the South Lebanese Army, allied with the Israelis.  Though it has modified its militant stance considerably vis-à-vis internal Lebanese politics, Hezbollah continuously refuses to acknowledge the existence of the Zionist State and to stand against any compromise short of the full withdrawal of Israel to the 1948 borders (the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and the return of the Palestinian exiles.  Since these objectives have not been met, Hezbollah continues to exist in opposition to both Israeli policy and the Israeli state.

The considerable missile arsenal which it possesses (thanks to the IRGC) is officially proclaimed to stand collectively as a defensive weapon against a potential Israeli strike, although Israel and its chief ally the United States refuses good faith to Hezbollah and as a consequence refuses this doctrine.  With their backs to the sea, it is entirely reasonable for the Israelis to face the southern Lebanese border with a strong military presence and to constantly plan and exercises for another war with the group.  Further, because the Zionist State was formed without the acceptance of most of the Arab world, its leadership cannot afford to abide by the ruling of any international body, particularly the UN and its refusal to acknowledge the legality of Israeli occupation of the three above-named territories.  The result, impossible for Western mainstream media comprehension, is the existence of Israel as a rogue state, not only occupying land foreign to it but also allowing and (depending upon the party in power) actively encouraging the creation of settlements in those territories by militant members of Israeli society who claim their right to do so based not upon international law, but upon a very worldly interpretation of the Old Mosaic Dispensation.

This may very well serve as the historical background to Hezbollah’s and the larger Muslim animosity against the Zionist State, but the immediate blame which Israel must shoulder is the continued violation of Syrian airspace to strike at targets they rightly or wrongly believe to directly aid Hezbollah’s military capabilities.  Even if their military intelligence is correct about the targets they hit, such strikes must only occur with the permission of the Syrian Government and, lacking this, constitute de facto acts of war.  This latest incident merely showed Syria responding in kind and the IAF suffering the loss of an aircraft, which perplexedly drove an additional IAF raid to destroy as much of the Syrian air defense system as possible, which was merely carrying out its duty in the first place.

What of the Hezbollah missile arsenal in Lebanon?  If it does indeed constitute a threat to Israel, does the latter have the right to invade another country to prevent its augmentation?  Certainly not.  Saying yes, as many apologists in the West do, is like agreeing that Russia, mutatis mutandis, has the right to send weapons to the forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics to oppose the Ukrainian armed forces bent on subduing them.  The Ukrainian means of waging war have been nothing short of savage and so it is reasonable for the rebels to wish to arm themselves as much as possible to prevent injustice against themselves, their families and their property.  Is Hezbollah’s arsenal likewise a reasonable precaution against a repeat of the 2006 Israeli aerial campaign that destroyed most of Lebanon’s infrastructure, or a primarily offensive weapon for use against Israeli population centers?  Even if it is the latter, Hezbollah will not risk fomenting a war against the Zionist state unless provoked by the latter, and so the Israelis have no choice but to allow this build up.  But with the military they possess – including the multi-layered missile defense system – what do they really have to fear?  The fact that they are seeking to prevent it only adds fuel to the regional fire and further ostracizes them diplomatically.

As for Iran, if it is establishing missile manufacturing bases in Syria with that country’s permission explicitly to supply Hezbollah and to create a deterrent to another possible massive Israeli military action against Lebanon, or the West Bank or Gaza for that matter, what of it?  As is admitted by all the world save themselves, the Israelis possess a nuclear arsenal in addition to technology and a military far superior to any of its neighbors.  Distrusting the Zionist state as it does, how can Hezbollah be blamed for seeking to acquire the only deterrent to give the Israelis pause?  Israel seeks the destruction of that group and vice versa so how can the one be blamed any more than the other?  If the Israelis continue to act as they do, this will only prove to Hezbollah as well as to Syria and Iran that the former cannot be trusted and to the further build up an arsenal to be ready as a counter to any Israeli attacks.  Iran is free to choose its regional partners and for religious, ideological and strategic reasons, it has chosen Hezbollah.

Western commentators, especially those who espouse the right of NATO to move troops right up to Russia’s border and to conduct military exercises in the teeth of Putin’s veterans, should take pause before leveling charges against the Axis of Resistance.

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