Germany Blinks First In Ongoing European Gas War

Nord Stream 2

 

The U.S. is increasingly finding itself at odds against not only Beijing as Trump executes a sledge hammer approach to ongoing trade disputes with China, but also with Moscow, a potentially more lethal and unpredictable opponent both geopolitically and on the energy front.

Much of Washington’s angst with Russia includes the country’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, it’s meddling in recent U.S. elections, being on opposing sides in the ongoing Syrian Civil War and having differing views over energy security for Europe.

Russia, for its part, with its long-entrenched hold on European gas markets, seeks to solidify its grasp by keeping its gas monopoly largely unchallenged and also by pushing through with Russian energy giant Gazprom’s controversial Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. Continue reading

A Russian spy plane with 14 aboard missing. Moscow cites Israeli fighters, French frigate in Latakia missile strikes

 

Hours after a missile attack on Syrian and Iranian military targets in Latakia Monday night, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a military Il-20 spy plane with 14 aboard went off the radars. It was 35km off the Syrian coast when its air base air traffic control “lost contact.”

No word has come from Israel on the incident. Some Syrian and Russian sources earlier reported that unidentified missiles had struck a military industry facility which develops missiles and chemical weapons, very close to Russian assets. Other sources reported that Iranian forces had set up a base close to the Russian assets for protection against Israeli attack. Continue reading

Putin forced by US, Turkey to shelve Idlib offensive

Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan at Sochi on Monday for a final bid to get the joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian assault on Idlib, the last Syrian rebel holdout, underway. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Putin was forced to back away from the operation last week when Turkey began delivering large quantities of heavy weapons to its proxy rebel groups in Idlib province. Continue reading

US sees Russian weapon behind US diplomats’ mystery ailments, say officials

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In early September, Douglas H. Smith, who heads the team of scientists tasked by the US government to examine the matter, said that microwave radiation was almost certainly responsible for the diplomats’ ailments. He added that microwaves were considered “a main suspect” and that his team of scientists was now “increasingly sure” that the diplomats had suffered brain injuries caused by microwave radiation. Now the US news network NBC reports that Russia is viewed as the primary culprit behind the mystery ailments that plagued US diplomats. Reporting on Tuesday the news network cited three unnamed officials in the administration of US President Donald Trump, as well as “congressional aides and others briefed on the investigation”. Specifically, NBC reported that the Russian connection was supported by “evidence from communications intercepts” (signals intelligence or SIGINT), though it did not elaborate on their precise nature. It also said that the ongoing investigation into the purported weapon involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency among other US intelligence and security agencies. Another leading actor in the investigation is the US Air Force, said NBC, stating that experts in its directed energy research program at the Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico, are trying to reverse-engineer the alleged weapons based on the symptoms that they cause. Continue reading

Russia’s Pivoting To The Horn Of Africa Via Eritrea & The UAE

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Eritrea’s Foreign Minister Osman Saleh, August 31, 2018, Sochi, Russia

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lauded his country’s relationship with Eritrea and informed the world about Moscow’s plans to build a logistics center there.

He was speaking alongside his Eritrean counterpart at a press conference in Sochi after their bilateral meeting, which he also noted included discussions about building regional transport corridors, pipelines, and opening up a Russian language department in one of Asmara’s universities. Lavrov also said that the UNSC sanctions against Eritrea that were imposed in 2009 after reports that the country was aiding Somalia’s Al-Shaabab should be lifted, and he praised Eritrea for all that it’s done in the name of regional peace over the past few months in view of its rapidly moving rapprochement with Ethiopia that completely transformed the geopolitical situation in the Horn of Africa. Continue reading

Putin is ready go all the way against the US in Syria. Where does this place Israel?

 

Russian-Syrian success in the high-stakes Idlib offensive would give Tehran a major victory and renewed footing in Syria. This would torpedo the US-Israeli campaign to drive the Iranians out.

After a series of aerial bombardments, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian offensive to gain control of Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in Syria, is ready to go, having meanwhile gained the valuable increment of Hizballah fighters. After returning home from the Syrian battlefields, these Lebanese Shiite fighters were given fresh orders over the weekend to return to Idlib and Hama. Continue reading

Provocations Have A History Of Escalating Into War

Can War Be Avoided and the Planet Saved?

The Russian Government and President Putin are coming under pressure not from US sanctions, which are very good for Russia as they force Russia into independence, but from Russian patriots who are tiring of Putin’s non-confrontational responses to Washington’s never-ending insults and military provocations. Russian patriots don’t want war, but they do want their country’s honor defended, and they believe Putin is failing in this job. Some of them are saying that Putin himself is a West-worshipping Atlanticist Integrationist.

This disillusinonment with Putin, together with Putin’s endorsement of raising the retirement age for pensions, a trap set for him by Russia’s neoliberal economists, have hurt Putin’s approval ratings at the precise time that he will again be tested by Washington in Syria. Continue reading

Russia’s “Nuclear Combat” War Games Largest In Nearly 40 Years

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a world war axis, at work.

 

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Russia’s upcoming joint military exercise with China and Mongolia, set for September 11 – 15, will be the largest Russian drill in nearly 40 years according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who said they will be larger than the Soviet military’s 1981 Zapad-81 (West-81) exercises.

“In some ways they will repeat aspects of Zapad-81, but in other ways the scale will be bigger,” Shoigu told reporters from the Russian region of Khakassia.

The exercise, Vostok-2018 (East-2018), will occur in central and eastern Russian military districts, and will involve nearly 300,000 troops, over 1,000 military aircraft, two of Russia’s naval fleets, and their entire airborne forces, Shoigu said in a Tuesday statement. Continue reading

CIA informants inside Russia are going silent, say US sources

Kremlin, Russia

 

Secret informants inside the Russian government, which the United States has relied on in recent years for tips about Moscow’s strategy and tactics, have gone silent in recent months, according to sources. Over many years, US intelligence agencies have built networks of Russian informants. These consist of officials placed in senior positions inside the Kremlin and other Russian government institutions, who can help shed light on Russia’s political maneuvers. These informants were crucial in enabling the US Intelligence Community to issue warnings of possible Russian meddling in the American presidential elections of November 2016. Since then, US spy agencies have largely relied on these informants to produce detailed assessments of Russian intelligence activities targeting the US, and propose measures against those involved. Continue reading

Iranian Militia in Syria Bombed in Warning to Moscow

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(Photo Credit: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei/farsi.khamenei.ir)

 

But the Kremlin seems to have a warning of its own for those who are pushing for war.

Just as National Security Adviser John Bolton was sitting down with his Russian counterpart, a new report indicates U.S. aircraft bombed an Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia in Syria as an intended warning to Moscow, but the Kremlin had a warning of its own. Continue reading

Erdogan Warns Trump That Alliance Is at Risk as Tensions Climb

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U.S. President Donald Trump, left, walks with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, ahead of an event in in Brussels, Belgium. (Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg)

 

(Bloomberg) — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the U.S. that its decades-long alliance with the country is at risk after rising political tensions between the two nations erupted and helped stoke a financial crisis that shook global markets.

Erdogan, in an editorial Friday in the New York Times, cited Turkey’s cooperation with the U.S. dating back to the Cuban missile crisis and the Korean War as evidence of a long-standing partnership between the NATO allies. But he added that more recent disputes over a failed 2016 coup, the conflict in Syria and sanctions imposed this week against top Turkish officials and the country’s steel industry were straining that alliance to its breaking point.

“Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives,” Erdogan wrote. “Failure to reverse this trend of unilateralism and disrespect will require us to start looking for new friends and allies.” Continue reading

New Pentagon report names Russia, China as threats to US space capabilities

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A new space report by the Pentagon has named Russia and China as key threats to US space capabilities, according to a document released on Thursday.

“The United States faces rapidly growing threats to our space capabilities. China and Russia, our strategic competitors, are explicitly pursuing space warfighting capabilities to neutralize US space capabilities during a time of conflict,” the report said. “Other potential adversaries are also pursuing counter-space capabilities such as jamming, dazzling, and cyber-attacks.” Continue reading

Suspected Russian spy found working at US embassy in Moscow

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File photo of Russian police officer patrolling a street in front of the US embassy in Moscow. Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

 

Exclusive: Russian is understood to have had full access to secret data during decade at embassy

US counter-intelligence investigators discovered a suspected Russian spy had been working undetected in the heart of the American embassy in Moscow for more than a decade, the Guardian has learned.

The Russian national had been hired by the US Secret Service and is understood to have had access to the agency’s intranet and email systems, which gave her a potential window into highly confidential material including the schedules of the president and vice-president. Continue reading

Russian navy in show of strength with 26 new ships this year

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Russia’s navy will deploy a total of 26 new ships this year including four carrying Kalibr cruise missiles, President Vladimir Putin said Sunday as the country celebrated Navy Day with a show of strength. Continue reading

Russian Electronic Warfare Against US Troops In Syria Enters Dangerous Phase: Report

Does the USS Donald Cook incident from 2014 ring a bell to anyone?

 

 

“All of a sudden your communications won’t work, or you can’t call for fire, or you can’t warn of incoming fires because your radars have been jammed and they can’t detect anything” — a retired Army colonel who specializes in electronic warfare told Foreign Policy.

A new report details the Pentagon’s growing alarm at increased instances of Russian electronic jamming attacks on American troop positions in Syria, which number according to public Pentagon statements at 2000 or more, located on and near a dozen or more “secret” bases mostly in Syria’s northeast and embedded among the mostly Kurdish US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Continue reading