MUNICH(Own report) – The Munich Security Conference, which ended yesterday, was marked by appeals for “Europe” to be more willing to go to war and have a resolute EU “global projection of power.” In addition to a significant arms buildup, the EU needs a “common desire to actually use its military weight,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen admonished. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned that Europe’s future “projection of power” cannot “do without” military force. Currently, this is not yet possible without the involvement of NATO or US armed forces; however, cooperation with Washington should be “on a par” and “not as deputies.” In the foreseeable future, the EU will be able to buildup its arms to such an extent that it will no longer need US support. Gabriel branded Russia and China – current “rivals” to the Western “system” – as “autocracies.”
A February 9, 2018 article on the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese website Dahiya claims that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad recently rejected an Israeli demand, relayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to remove some 70,000 Iranian long-range missiles that Hizbullah has deployed throughout Syria and are aimed at Israel. The article claimed further that Syria and Hizbullah will wage a “joint missile campaign” against Israel, and that Iranian experts are ready to launch missiles at Israel from every part of Lebanon and Syria. According to the article, Assad has instructed his army to help Hizbullah construct and camouflage missile silos across the country; moreover, intense activity is underway to bring more Iranian missiles to Syria via Iraq, so that within a year Hizbullah will have 500,000 missiles in Syria, in addition to the ones it has already deployed in Lebanon.
The article was published following reports on Israeli airstrikes in Syria on February 7, and just before the incident in which Israel fired on Iranian military facilities in Syria following the penetration of an Iranian drone into Israeli territory.
The following are translated excerpts from the article.
Following up to last night’s bombshell report that at least two Russian mercenary fighters in Syria had been killed by US-led coalition forces, this morning Bloomberg is out with an exclusive, according to which the body count is far greater than had been disclosed: U.S. forces reportedly killed “scores” of Russian contract soldiers in Syria last week “in what may be the deadliest clash between citizens of the former foes since the Cold War“, Bloomberg reported.
According to the unnamed US and Russian sources, “more than 200 mercenaries, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base and refinery held by U.S. and U.S.-backed forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region” In terms of total body count, the U.S. official put the death toll at about 100, with 200 to 300 injured. Continue reading
Lithuania on Monday accused Russia of deploying nuclear-capable ballistic missiles to its Kaliningrad exclave on the Baltic, as relations between Moscow and the West sink to post-Cold War lows.
Russia has previously sent Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad for drills, but Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that this time they were being deployed for a “permanent presence”. Continue reading
U.S. deprioritized investment in electronic warfare capabilities in past two decades
Russia has steadily improved its electronic warfare capabilities to prepare for potential conflict with the West, while the United States and its NATO partners have suffered a lapse in training for battle against regional powers amid ongoing counterterrorism operations, according to a leading analyst of Moscow’s military developments. Continue reading
Contrary to Moscow’s promises, the Russian military is not pulling out of Syria, but adding four more air bases (one shared with Iran) and 6,000 more troops. Continue reading
Vladimir Putin has drawn up this plan for the Sochi conference. He will put it before Binyamin Netanyahu when they meet on Monday, Jan. 29.
DEBKAfile reports that the Russian president has prepared a plan for Syria’s post-war future for presentation to the Syrian peace conference which begins on the same day at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Moscow has taken into account 1,600 Syrian government and opposition participants. Some rebel groups have announced a boycott. DEBKAfile reports that the absentees are pro-Assad and pro-Iranian groups who are boycotting the event to reflect their masters’ objections to the Russian president’s plans. Unless he decides to back down at the last moment, those plans are substantially as follows:
Russia said Thursday that it had completed negotiations with Turkey for the sale of an S-400 air defence missile system, with delivery scheduled for late 2019.
“Practically speaking, the contract is entering the phase of realisation,” said Vladimir Kozhin, a presidential aide who oversees matters of military cooperation. “All parameters, all technologies, the entire deal has been agreed.” Continue reading
U.S. major media gave secondary play to President Donald Trump’s national security strategy address Monday, but certain world leaders were all ears.
Russia said the U.S. strategic plan has an “imperial character,” while China decried what it called a “Cold War mentality.”
Trump’s strategy, which he unveiled in a Dec. 18 speech, says that China and Russia “challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity.” Continue reading
Pentagon to boost U.S. weapons under nuclear posture review
Russia is aggressively building up its nuclear forces and is expected to deploy a total force of 8,000 warheads by 2026 along with modernizing deep underground bunkers, according to Pentagon officials.
The 8,000 warheads will include both large strategic warheads and thousands of new low-yield and very low-yield warheads to circumvent arms treaty limits and support Moscow’s new doctrine of using nuclear arms early in any conflict.
In addition to expanding its warheads, Russia also is fortifying underground facilities for command and control during a nuclear conflict. Continue reading
Iran and Russia just took a page out of Venezuela’s playbook.
Like Caracas announced on Dec. 4, Moscow and Tehran are looking into cryptocurrencies as a means of upending the U.S. petrodollar’s reign over the global oil market, Cointelegraph reported on Dec. 11.
For its part, crypto’s rise in popularity of late does make for an enticing investment choice, especially with Bitcoin’s 150% surge over the past month. Continue reading
Fuel shipments into the rogue nation show that Moscow and Beijing are still keeping the Kim regime afloat.
The prices of fuel inside North Korea have plunged over the last month or so, thanks to an influx coming into the country from Russia via China. Continue reading
Sharp power centers on distraction and manipulation
China and Russia have spent billions of dollars over the past decade on state-run propaganda campaigns disguised as commercial ventures in an effort to shape public opinion and policy debates in democracies around the world, according to a new report by the National Endowment for Democracy.
To accomplish this, Beijing and Moscow have deployed a diverse array of tools, including people-to-people exchanges, cultural activities, educational programs, and the development of media enterprises with global reach.
The more Washington lashes out in anger at those who will not bow to the unipolar world order, the more the rest of the world fights back. As the launch of its Yuan/Gold-settled oil futures looms, China is escalating its de-dollarization scheme further by seeking a bilateral rial-yuan agreement with Iran.
One of the most notable events in Russia’s precious metals market calendar is the annual “Russian Bullion Market” conference. Formerly known as the Russian Bullion Awards, this conference, now in its 10th year, took place this year on Friday 24 November in Moscow. Among the speakers lined up, the most notable inclusion was probably Sergey Shvetsov, First Deputy Chairman of Russia’s central bank, the Bank of Russia.
In his speech, Shvetsov provided an update on an important development involving the Russian central bank in the worldwide gold market, and gave further insight into the continued importance of physical gold to the long term economic and strategic interests of the Russian Federation.
Firstly, in his speech Shvetsov confirmed that the BRICS group of countries are now in discussions to establish their own gold trading system. As a reminder, the 5 BRICS countries comprise the Russian Federation, China, India, South Africa and Brazil. Continue reading