The Siege of Crimea (II)

KIEV/MOSCOW/BERLIN (Own report) – Leaders of the Crimean Tartars, who have been blocking the supply of electricity to Crimea for the past few days, have good contacts to the German political establishment. Years ago, Mustafa Jemilev and Refat Chubarov, who were involved in the sabotage action, had held talks on closer ties between Crimea and the West with officials of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the German government’s Representative for ethnic German immigration to Germany. Just two and a half weeks ago, they discussed with the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Federica Mogherini, the “de-occupation of Crimea” and the necessary “peaceful actions, in particular with respect to power supply.” The Crimean Tartars, who are currently cooperating with fascist organizations and ultra-rightwing battalions, have been elected to the Ukrainian parliament on the electoral list of President Petro Poroshenko’s party. According to an expert, Poroshenko is “instrumentalizing” them for “his foreign policy” objectives. Jemilev also has good contacts to the US political establishment. Among the Crimean Tartars, he and Chubarov, who in Berlin enjoy exclusive recognition, are competing with Tartar Salafists – some of whom are currently fighting on the battlefields of Syria – and with Russia-oriented Tartar organizations.

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Beijing tests anti-satellite missile: Voice of Russia

China has taken another step towards challenging US supremacy in the space race after successfully testing a “non-destructive” anti-satellite missile on July 23, reports the Chinese-language website of the Voice of Russia, the Russian government’s international radio broadcasting service.

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, the country’s Ministry of National Defense announced a successful missile intercept test that “achieved the preset goal,” which sources from the US State Department confirmed with “high confidence” was an anti-satellite missile that aims to destroy targets through impact and does not cause an explosion. Continue reading

US accuses Russia of violating 1987 missile treaty

The Obama administration has accused Russia of violating a 1987 nuclear missile treaty by testing a ground-launched cruise missile and says the U.S. is prepared for immediate high-level dialogue with Moscow over the matter.

An administration official told Fox News in a statement that the violation “is a very serious matter which we have attempted to address with Russia for some time now.” The New York Times first reported the accusation.

President Obama informed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter Monday of the U.S.’  determination that Russia broke the agreement. The official said the U.S. is prepared to engage in “senior-level bilateral dialogue immediately” with Russia with the goal of assuring Washington that Moscow will return to compliance with the treaty. Continue reading

The US embassy is preparing to evacuate Baghdad as Tal Afar falls and Iraq masses forces at Samarrah

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says a number of embassy staff members have been withdrawn from Baghdad due to the deteriorating security situation.

Islamic militants have taken over a swathe of territory in northern Iraq in an offensive that has brought fighting to within 80km of the capital.

“The Australian embassy remains open with reduced staffing levels,’’ DFAT says in its latest travel advice. Continue reading

IRGC ‘keeps secret funds in Asia’

An Iranian elite group is suspected of keeping secret funds in various parts of the world including South Korea and Malaysia, dodging internationally coordinated economic sanctions, people familiar with the matter said Sunday.

The United States Treasury Department is believed to be probing details of what it sees as a possible case of money laundering by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, with a view to sanctioning another of the group’s affiliated companies, they said.

Petrosina Arya, a Tehran-based company under the IRGC, allegedly has savings worth more than US$1 billion in an account at a major South Korean bank, a diplomatic source told Kyodo News. Continue reading

US lets EU take center stage on Ukraine peace accord

Remember that the EU is led by Germany, therefore America is encouraging Germany to take center stage — and it has.

In allowing the EU to mediate Ukraine’s peace accord, the US achieved its objectives and lightened its own burden. Whether it can stay in the shadows depends on the likelihood of a Ukrainian financial crisis.

The US had two priorities in Kyiv, says Charles A. Kupchan, who under the first Clinton administration directed the National Security Council’s (NSC) European affairs.

“Number one, to stop the killing and the loss of life. And number two, to bring to an end a political stalemate and find a way forward for Ukraine,” he told DW.

“From the perspective of Washington, it’s important that the Atlantic community move to a new division of responsibility in which Europe shoulders a greater burden,” Kupchan said. “And in the first instance, those burdens should be in Europe.” Continue reading

Iran ICBM Advances — Iran conducts test of new rocket motor with ICBM capability

U.S. intelligence agencies recently detected Iran conducting a static ground test of a large rocket motor that could be used for a future intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), according to U.S. officials.

Disclosure of the recent rocket engine test comes as Congress is prodding the Obama administration to deploy a third ground-based missile defense interceptor base on the U.S. East Coast. Continue reading

US withdrawal from Europe-based missile shield will impact Israel’s defense

On March 20, President Barack Obama arrives in Israel for the first foreign trip of his second term. The purpose of his visit is plain, except to Netanyahu’s domestic rivals: Facing a 50 percent cutback in military spending, the Obama administration cannot credibly threaten to go to war against a recalcitrant Iran. But the US president may still wave the Israeli military option in Tehran’s face.Not that the ayatollahs are likely to be impressed. Khamenei and Ahmadinejad have both dismissed talks with Washington “with a gun” at their head, meaning that they are not scared of the Israeli gun the Americans are putting to their heads.

In fact, the Islamic rulers of Tehran are reported by debkafile’s intelligence and Iranian sources to be fully confident that they are home and dry as a nuclear power after a secret US Pentagon research study was leaked that “casts doubt on whether the multibillion-dollar missile defense system planned for Europe” (originally by the Bush administration) “can ever protect the US from Iranian missiles as intended.” Continue reading