Russia is Creating Underwater Combat Robots to Protect its Arctic Territories

Russia has been reported to be creating underwater combat robots that are geared to protect its oilrigs and transportation networks as it expands its hold over in the Arctic region.

Vitaly Davydov, deputy general director of the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects, and chairman of the foundation’s Scientific and Technological Board, told Interfax-AVN the underwater gadgets will be designed as capable of protecting Russian infrastructure as well as controlling the waters around the region. It will also be equipped for detecting, tracking and, “if necessary, destroying a potential enemy.” He added the machinery will be deployed on the sea bottom and aboard specialised submersibles. Continue reading

Preparing for War Against the US on All Fronts—A Net Assessment of Russia’s Defense and Foreign Policy Since the Start of 2014

In a series of recently published interviews, President Vladimir Putin (kremlin.ru, October 15), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (Interfax, October 15) and national security council secretary Nikolai Patrushev (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, October 15) have outlined Moscow’s strategic vision of the world after the Ukrainian crisis, Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Moscow-inspired proxy war in the southeastern Donbas region of Ukraine, and resulting punitive sanctions imposed by the West. The view from Moscow is uninviting—A new cold war with the West is in the making; Russia is under attack and will use all means at its disposal to resist, including the nuclear option. Putin accused Washington of deliberately provoking the Ukraine crisis by supporting extreme nationalists in Kyiv, which in turn ignited a civil war. “Now they [the United States] accuse us of causing this crisis,” exclaimed Putin, “It is madness to blackmail Russia; let them remember, a discord between major nuclear powers may undermine strategic stability” (kremlin.ru, October 15).

Under mounting Western pressure this year, Russian leaders have been repeatedly and unambiguously reminding the West of the ultimate weapon at Moscow’s disposal—nuclear mutual assured destruction. The Russian military is also rearming and conducting massive exercises, preparing for a possible global war. The consensus view in Moscow within the political, military and intelligence community is that relations with the United States are beyond repair and, quoting Medvedev, there is no possibility of any new US-Russian “reset.” Moscow has come to believe that there is no possibility of any genuine détente with Washington until 2020 at the earliest. Indeed, National Security Council Secretary Patrushev’s interview in the official government-published Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper has the title: “Second Cold War.” Patrushev openly describes the US as Russia’s eternal foe and accuses Washington of planning for many decades to fully isolate Moscow and deprive it of any influence in its former dominions in the post-Soviet space. Patrushev announced (which seems to be an officially held policy opinion) that the US is today fulfilling a strategic plan to marginalize and destroy Russia—a strategy that he says was initiated in the 1970s by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the then–United States National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Continue reading

ISIS gains highlight ‘aggressive’ use of water as weapon of war

 

BEIRUT: Militants from ISIS now control or threaten key facilities on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, generating fears that the Al-Qaeda splinter group could turn off the taps to the Shiite south of Iraq, sparking a massive humanitarian crisis.Last month’s ISIS-led offensive across Iraq saw it overrun cities and battle for oil refineries as the national army melted away, but it has also been waging a war for water, trying to wrest control over rivers, dams and desalination plants in a bid to solidify its territorial gains.

Control of water is seen as key to the viability of the fledgling caliphate declared by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Without water, seasonal droughts cannot be managed, electricity cannot be generated, proper sanitation practices are near impossible and the local economy grinds to a virtual halt.

“When it comes to creating an Islamic state, it is not just about the control of geographic areas in Syria and Iraq. In order to form a viable state, one must control the state’s most vital infrastructure, which in Iraq’s case is water and oil,” said Matthew Machowski, a research fellow at Queen Mary University. Continue reading

Conflict over Natural Resources

BERLIN/LIMA (Own report) – The Catholic relief organization Misereor is sharply criticizing the new “Raw Materials Partnership” accord, concluded between the Federal Republic of Germany and Peru. Misereor writes that it fears “an aggravation” of the already growing “social conflicts developing around mining projects” in this South American country. This recently signed raw materials treaty grants German companies privileged access to Peru’s resources. The German government has now “signaled the Peruvian government” that “the expansion of the raw materials sector takes priority” over social and ecological regulations affecting that sector. The “raw materials partnership” is one of the measures Berlin is implementing within the framework of its “raw materials strategy” adopted in 2010, to be able to stand its ground in the global competition for access to the most important natural resources – particularly in relationship to China. Peru is an important source of metallic raw materials for Germany. The guarantee of raw materials is more important to Berlin than Misereor’s misgivings. Continue reading

Blackwater Founder Advising Chinese Firms On Risk In Africa

Blackwater founder and Navy SEAL Erik Prince is helping Chinese firms “take the drama out of Africa” by consulting on how they should do business on the continent, according to a report in FireDogLake.com.

Formed in 1997 to provide training support to military and law enforcement, Blackwater USA worked with SEAL and SWAT teams. The security firm won its first U.S. government contract after the bombing of the USS Cole off of the coast of Yemen in October 2000. Blackwater subsequently trained more than 100,000 sailors. Continue reading

Putin urges FSB to develop Arctic border

Speaking to the expanded collegium of FSB in Moscow on Monday, Vladimir Putin outlined the designated priorities for the future work. FSB is in charge of guarding Russia’s external borders, including the land-border to neighboring Norway and Finland in the northwest as well as coastline borders to the Arctic Ocean.

“As a priority, we must continue the development of border infrastructure in the Arctic region, as well as on the southern strategic direction,” Vladimir Putin told the audience of FSB officers. Continue reading

Can Turkey Use Water to Exert Power Across the Middle East?

ISTANBUL — Turkey hopes to take a first step this year towards long-held ambitions to be a supplier of fresh water across the Middle East.

The first phase of a project to pump fresh water from the Anamur River in southern Turkey to the drought-stricken northern part of Cyprus is slated to be completed this year, according to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Turkish government in Ankara.

The 1.2 billion lira (Dh2bn) pipeline, which runs under the Mediterranean, is to bring 75 million cubic metres of water a year to Northern Cyprus, an isolated self-declared republic recognised only by Ankara.

The Turkish ministry for forests and water said in a statement that work will be finished by July 20, the 40th anniversary of Turkey’s 1974 military intervention in Cyprus. Several experts in Turkey said the Cyprus water project could be a first step for Ankara to boost its role as a regional power by providing water to Middle East countries.

“It is technically feasible,” Ibrahim Gurer, a hydrologist at Gazi University in Ankara, said. “And it’s possible not only for Cyprus, but also for other countries like Israel or even Libya. It is not a distant dream.” Continue reading

Russia to Set Up Arctic Military Command by 2015

MOSCOW, February 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will form a new strategic military command by the end of 2014 to protect its interests in the Arctic, a high-ranking military source told RIA Novosti Monday.

“The new command will comprise the Northern Fleet, Arctic warfare brigades, air force and air defense units as well as additional administrative structures,” the source in Russia’s General Staff said. Continue reading

Defense sector ready to provide arms for Arctic operations – Rogozin

The Russian defense sector is ready to supply armaments for the Defense Ministry’s operations in the Arctic, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

“The Arctic is one of the systemic threats we have been analyzing. For instance, the Future Research Fund has listed a possible growth of tensions and the struggle for Arctic resources amongst the threats the Fund takes into consideration,” he said after a conference dedicated to the Fund’s activity, which was chaired by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Continue reading

Resource-hungry Chinese lead railroad drive in Africa

MOMBASA, Kenya, Dec. 4 (UPI) — The Chinese, investing heavily in Africa to secure its oil and other raw materials for their expanding economy, are spearheading a new era of railroad building to unlock the continent’s interior.This is an echo of the long-gone colonial empires when a century ago British and French engineers first opened up Africa to plunder its riches.

The railroad frenzy is being accompanied by a massive push to build several major ports along the coast of East Africa to accelerate exports across the Indian Ocean, mostly to China, India and Japan, as well as lay down a network of oil and gas pipelines to these ports. Continue reading

Is America Really a Superpower If It Can’t Even Produce Its Own Bullets? — The Mess of the Doe Run Lead Smelter

The systematic dismantling of America from within its own walls continues. In one case of many, this one falls under crippling and shutting down critical industry via environmental regulation.

The EPA shuttered America’s last lead smelter. Was this a good idea?

Which is more important: that America is able to refine and process lead ore, or that the 2,800 people in Herculaneum, Missouri, have cleaner air and soil?

Actually, it doesn’t matter what you think! Unelected bureaucrats in Washington have already made the decision for you.

As of December 31, the last remaining lead refining plant in America will shut down. After well over 100 years of operation, the new, latest round of stricter environmental laws has forced its closure. One hundred and forty-five employees will lose their jobs. Another 45 contractors will be out of work. And America will no longer be able to produce refined lead from ore. Continue reading

Japan, China in war of words as Tokyo scrambles jets to monitor Beijing military planes

The rhetoric between Asia’s two superpowers is becoming more belligerent with China warning that if Japan carries out a threat to shoot down foreign drones, it would be an act of war.

Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has issued his own warning, saying Tokyo is prepared to be more assertive towards Beijing, while also telling China not to use force to try to change the regional balance of power.

Over the weekend, Japan twice scrambled fighter jets to monitor Chinese military aircraft flying near Okinawa. Continue reading

Greenland report paves way for sovereign uranium mining

A new report commissioned by the Greenland government has concluded that the country has full sovereignty over commodities trading, including for uranium, which is regulated by international treaties on non-nuclear proliferation.

The report was kept confidential for more than six months but recently  published as Greenland’s parliament prepares to vote on 24 October on whether to allow the extraction of radioactive substances in Greenland.

The outcome of the vote is expected to be a clear ‘yes’. Continue reading

Artic Oil

HANNOVER (Own report) – The German government’s Agency for Geological Studies and Natural Resources (BGR) is intensifying its exploration for Arctic oil and gas deposits with a new exploration trip to the Arctic Ocean. “Deliveries of natural resources from countries in the Arctic” – i.e. Russia and Norway – are “of great importance” to Germany, the BGR declared. It is very inconvenient that the prediction of the volume of Arctic resources is based only on unreliable estimates. This research institute is, therefore, consolidating its exploration of the mineral resources of the Arctic Ocean, into a new research program. The melting of the polar cap could soon allow these resources to be profitably exploited. Within the framework of the natural resources policy offensive launched by the German government around eight years ago, the BGR has been intensifying its activities for German industry. The BGR, which has long since been closely linked to the German business community, founded, in 2010, the Agency for German Resources (DERA) which now serves German industry directly. The BGR sees itself in the undaunted continuation of the institutions in German Empire and the Nazi period. Continue reading

Resource-rich Mongolia an outpost of the wild, wild east

Mongolia’s fairytale economic boom is developing cracks. The failure of the country’s fifth-largest bank and delays to the development of its giant copper mine underscores fears that its growth potential is built on shaky foundations. Yet greater economic realism may ultimately be welcome.

The surprise insolvency of Savings Bank, which controlled about 8 per cent of Mongolia’s banking assets, has rattled the country’s economic cheerleaders. The central bank closed down the lender and transferred its deposits to a state-owned rival after it ran up bad loans worth $109-million (U.S.) – more than twice its capital, according to Fitch Ratings. Some of these loans appear to have been made to Just Group, controlling corporate shareholder in Savings Bank, despite regulations designed to limit such exposures. Continue reading