RT NEWS – 24 MARCH, 2015

24 March, 2015

21:03

Russian FM visits Cuba, calls to end blockade

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to Cuba has called to end the illegal trade and financial embargo imposed on Cuba. Lavrov also said the two countries are planning to cooperate closely in energetics, transport and civil infrastructure, biotechnologies, healthcare, and civil aviation. According to Lavrov, Russian companies are interested in investing in the Caribbean country’s development. Cuba is the first stop of the Russian foreign minister’s tour of Latin America. The official is to visit Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala later this week.

15:52

Tunisia museum reopening delayed, security boosted

Tunisia’s national museum has delayed its reopening on Tuesday, officials said, as security was boosted around the site of last week’s jihadist massacre that killed 21 people, AFP said. “The Interior Ministry says that for security reasons we cannot receive a large number of visitors,” the museum’s representative, Hanene Srarfi, said. Several events had been planned for Tuesday to protest against the attack.

15:14

US & allies launch 14 airstrikes against ISIS

The US and its allies staged 14 airstrikes on Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL) targets in Syria and Iraq, Reuters reported. The strikes were conducted between Monday morning and Tuesday morning, the Combined Joint Task Force said. Five Islamic State fighting positions, four tactical units, a checkpoint and a vehicle were hit near the Syrian city of Kobani, the statement claimed. In Iraq, eight strikes near Bayji, Fallujah, Mosul, Sinjar and Tal Afar hit tactical units, vehicles, storage facilities and other targets.

14:32

‘Normandy 4’ meeting on Ukraine due in Paris on Wednesday – Kiev

Authorities in Kiev have confirmed that a meeting of political directors in the Normandy format will be held in Paris on Wednesday. Representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France will discuss the implementation of the Minsk peace agreements. Ukraine will be represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Vadim Pristaiko, RIA Novosti reported.

13:43

Canada expands anti-ISIS mission into Syria

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expanding the country’s military mission against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants into Syria, Bloomberg said. Harper is reportedly seeking approval from lawmakers for a one-year extension of the current mission and authorization to expand attacks into Syria. The mission has been focused so far on airstrikes in Iraq. Harper’s Conservative Party has a legislative majority.

13:17

UEFA elects Platini for 3rd term as president

UEFA on Tuesday elected Michel Platini unopposed for a third straight term as president of European football’s governing body. The French football legend promised to run the world’s most powerful continental federation with more “democracy,” AFP reported. He also offered more cooperation with the heads of other confederations.

12:51

Tunisia again closes airspace to western Libya

Tunisia has again closed its airspace for flights from western Libya, Reuters reported. The move comes days after it allowed Libyan planes from Tripoli back for the first time in around six months. “We’ve suspended temporarily again Libya flights for security reasons,” a Transport Ministry official said on Tuesday, without elaborating. Militants killed 20 foreign tourists in an attack on the national museum in Tunis last week.

12:23

Houthis take Yemen town 100km north of Aden – reports

Houthi fighters and allied army units captured the town of Kirsh, about 100km north of Yemen’s second city of Aden, on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The capture followed heavy fighting with forces loyal to President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, local officials and residents said. The area lies about a 40-minute drive to the north of a major airbase, al-Anad, which remains in the hands of Hadi, who is based in Aden.

11:59

US-led coalition begins surveillance flights over ISIS-held Tikrit

The US-led coalition targeting the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has begun surveillance flights over the extremist-held city of Tikrit, AP reported. Intelligence is being sent to Iraqi forces fighting to retake Saddam Hussein’s hometown, a senior official said Tuesday. The flights, which began Saturday, mark the first time the coalition has been involved in the offensive. Up to now it largely has been supported by Iranian advisers including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard Quds Force.

11:29

Yemen Shiite militia kills 5 protesters in Taez

Shiite Houthi militiamen opened fire on Tuesday at demonstrators in the strategic Yemeni city of Taez, killing five protesters and wounding 80 others, AFP reported, citing a local official and medics. The gunmen attacked the demonstrators as they gathered for a third consecutive day to protest the militia’s arrival in Taez. Houthis have sent thousands of troops south from the capital Sanaa, which they control.

10:41

Iraq’s request to US-led coalition for Tikrit airstrikes ‘imminent’ – report

Iraq’s request to the US-led coalition for airstrikes in the campaign to retake Tikrit from ISIS insurgents is “imminent,” Reuters quoted a senior Western diplomat as saying Tuesday. The coalition has so far not taken part in the campaign. If it accepts the request, the move would see by far the biggest collaboration between Iraqi forces, Iranian-backed paramilitaries and the US and its allies.

09:56

30 people killed in central Yemen as Shiite rebels advance south

At least 30 people have been killed in clashes between pro- and anti-government forces in central Yemen, AFP reported, citing tribal sources. Meanwhile, Shiite rebels backed by forces loyal to the ousted president are advancing into southern Yemen, AP reported. The rebels and soldiers from an army battalion loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh have taken over the governor’s office in the southern regional capital of al-Dhalea, according to eyewitnesses. Rebel forces reportedly clashed with militias loyal to current President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has taken refuge in the southern city of Aden.

07:24

US drone kills 9 Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan

A US drone strike killed at least nine Pakistani militants in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province early Tuesday, Reuters reported, citing intelligence officials. The strike, part of a drone campaign against Pakistani militants in Afghanistan, was near the site of fierce fighting on the Pakistani side of the border in recent days. Fighter jets have been pounding positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region. The military says it has killed scores of militants, and at least seven soldiers have also been killed.

07:11

Gunmen attack vehicles on highway in E. Afghanistan, kill at least 13

Gunmen in eastern Afghanistan attacked passing vehicles on a highway during a midnight assault Tuesday, killing at least 13 people, AP reported. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in Wardak province’s Sayad Abad district, where Taliban fighters hold a great deal of territory. The gunmen opened fire on three separate vehicles in the attack, including a bus traveling from Kabul. Several recent attacks have also targeted buses in the country.

05:30

​5 injured in shooting near university in Tennessee

Five people have been injured in a shooting near the Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Two of the injured were taken to hospital via medical helicopter. Local Clarksville police are still searching for the gunman, while the incident took place at around 9pm local time. It is not known if the shooting was connected at all to the university, though Austin Peay State did issue a statement, saying, “Although there does not appear to be a danger to the university community, please take precautions to ensure your safety,” according to Reuters.

04:49

13 dead in Afghanistan after militants attack passenger bus – report

At least 13 people were killed and two others injured after gunmen shot at a passenger bus in Afghanistan’s eastern Wardak province, Xinhua News Agency cited an official source as saying. Police are investigating the incident.

04:47

Over half of Vanuatu’s population affected by Cyclone Pam – UN

More than 165,000 people living on the South Pacific island of Vanuatu have been touched by Cyclone Pam, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. The body also confirmed that the death toll has risen to 16. “Around 166,000 people, more than half of Vanuatu’s population, have been affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam on 22 islands,” the UN office said. OCHA warned that “food stocks and water reserves are being exhausted and will not last more than a couple of weeks across the affected islands.” It added that somewhere between 50 and 90 percent of homes have been damaged by the storm and “around 65,000 people are in need of temporary emergency shelter.” Cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu on March 13, with the damage categorized as catastrophic. Houses, roads and bridges were destroyed as the wind speeds reached 300 kph (186 mph).

U.S. Confronts Russia: Kiev Anti-Russian False Flag Planned?

Lavrov remains firm saying: “I can assure you that Russia will not only survive, but will come out stronger out of this.”

 

 

Mythes-Ukraine-400x232previous article discussed Russian economist/political analyst Mikhail Delyagin expecting a possible anti-Russian nuclear false flag.

Fort Russ now cites intelligence “about impending terrorist attacks on Ukrainian strategic objects, which will justify an attack on Donbass.”

Foreign nationals and relatives of senior Ukrainian officials were evacuated from border areas, it says.

Armored vehicles with Russian and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) symbols and flags were seen in Donbas territory controlled by Ukraine’s military.

Suggesting a planned provocation. Other intelligence “confirmed the arrival of large numbers of mercenaries, equipment and machinery from NATO countries.”

Ukraine’s general staff press service head, Vladislav Seleznev, announced possible resumed hostilities in so-called ATO (anti-terrorist operations) areas.

As well as “possible terrorist attacks by the militia on the objects of strategic importance.” Because socio/political/humanitarian conditions remain tense, he said. In ATO and bordering areas.

“There is also the risk of a resumption of active hostilities,” Seleznev added. “However, we do not eliminate the risk of terrorist and sabotage acts in these areas, at government and military facilities, as well as mass protests and civil disobedience.”

Earlier, illegitimate oligarch president Petro Poroshenko vowed to return Crimea to Ukraine. “Crimea will be back together with us,” he said.

US-installed NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg discussed Ukraine-supportive Alliance efforts with Kiev’s illegitimate putschist prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. On Monday. In Brussels.

Pledging “NATO stands with you.” Praising “Ukraine’s commitment to its partnership with NATO despite challenging circumstances, and pledged ongoing political and practical support.”

“Your visit just underlines the strong partnership between NATO and Ukraine. We also very much appreciate that we are able to develop our partnership. And especially because the people of Ukraine have chosen the path of democracy and closer cooperation with Europe. And we welcome that. We underline that the decision by the people of Ukraine has to be respected.”

Some cold hard facts. US-installed fascist putschists run Ukraine. With no legitimacy whatever.

Governing lawlessly. Enforcing hardline rule. Committing egregious civil and human rights violations. Waging naked aggression on its own people.

So-called Poroshenko’s silence regime reflects head-fake deception. According to the Voice of Sevastopol (accessed earlier, not now except in Ukrainian):

On Monday, artillery fire was heard. In Donetsk’s western outskirts. Ukrainian drones overflew the area.

During December 14 and 15 evening hours, “Ukrainian law enforcers attacked the airport of Donetsk…” DPR freedom fighters didn’t respond in kind.

Ukrainian forces attacked their Yasnoye positions. Northwest of Dokuchayevsk. In Beryozovoye municipality.

Artillery fire was heard in Lugansk. Fighting reported at Schastye. Self-defense force Prishib village positions were attacked.

Artillery fire was reported coming from Ukrainian army controlled Chernukhino, Gorodische and Zorinsk.

An Odessa explosion was reported. In the vicinity of its refinery. At the same time, Russian humanitarian aid keeps coming. A 10th convey is imminent. With vital supplies an Christmas gifts.

US-supported Kiev fascists threaten regional security. Perhaps world peace. The respected Colonel Cassad site quoted what it called Georgi Diimitrov’s “classic definition of fascism.”

Calling it “an open terrorist dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of the financial capital…”

“Fascism is neither the government beyond classes nor the government of the petty bourgeois or the lumpen-proletariat over the financial capital.”

“Fascism is the government of the financial capital itself. It is an organized massacre of the working class and the revolutionary slice of peasantry and intelligentsia.”

“Fascism in its foreign policy is the most brutal kind of chauvinism, which cultivates zoological hatred against other peoples.”

Kiev terrorizes opponents. Wants them eliminated altogether.

Tactics include “physical extermination, intimidation, hostage-taking, warrantless arrests, abductions, torture, and other elements of terror.”

Kiev putschists represent “the most radical forms of the Ukrainian integral nationalism and fascism…”

Monied interests run things. Billionaires contest with millionaires for power.

Monied interests and “fascist squads (are) its instruments for building the fascist system of government, which is built on a terrorist dictatorship.”

Russophobia is Kiev’s ideological cornerstone. “(O)penly advocat(ing) oppressing and exterminating people based on their ethnicity, culture, and language.”

Colonel Cassad site saying Ukrainian conditions are “a 100% match for Dimitrov’s classical definition. (F)ascism in its most classical and pure form.”

Threatening regional peace, stability and security. Pentagon sources confirmed military buildup along Russia’s borders.

To ensure regional “peace and stability.” NATO’s “collective security commitment.” In light of Russian “interference” in Ukraine.

Moscow accused NATO of significant air activity and intelligence flights over border areas. Unjustifiable provocations. As well as NATO’s nearby land and sea presence.

In Poland and Baltic countries. Black Sea naval exercises. The equivalent of Russia conducting its own in Mexican Gulf waters. Or off America’s east or west coasts.

Imagine Washington’s response. Screaming scoundrel media headlines.

Lt. General Mikhail Mizintsev heads Russia’s Defense Ministry joint military command.

He expressed concerns “over the significant increase of NATO military activity near the Russian borders.”

Including doubled flight activity. To about 3,000 missions this year. Flying in “dangerous proximity” to long-range Russian military aircraft.

At least 55 times in 2013 and 2014. At a distance of less than 100 meters. Lack of “any mutual exchange of information” ruined chances for trust.

“All achievements in the field of trust-building and voluntary transparency that NATO and Russia have formed over the years have ceased,” said Mizintsev.

All Russian missions were “in strict compliance with international rules.”

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained how NATO policy affects Russia.

Saying its military doctrine “says…the security risks for Russia, among other things, are NATO expansion to the East and the movement of military infrastructure of NATO closer to the Russian borders…”

“(N)ot NATO itself, but its militarized movement to the East is considered by the Russian military doctrine as a security risk and threat for Russia.”

Lavrov cited “serious reasons to believe” sanctions and other Western policies aim for regime change in Russia.

Including US-instigated oil wars. Taking advantage of weakening economic conditions. Hammering Russia’s ruble. Making its economy scream.

Wanting Putin supporters turned against him. Perhaps color revolution turbulence underway. A US specialty. Wanting Russia looking like Ukraine.

Risking open confrontation to achieve aims. Anything ahead is possible. Lavrov remains firm saying:

“I can assure you that Russia will not only survive, but will come out stronger out of this.”

“We have been in much worse situations in our history, and every time we were getting out of these fixes much stronger.”

America represents its most serious challenge. Much greater than during Cold War years. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) reasoning seems forgotten.

Lunatics making policy in Washington risk the unthinkable. Cooler heads so far unable to contain them.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy – Posted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Russian Federation

Remarks by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the XXII Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Moscow, 22 November 2014

1sI’m happy to be at this annual Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy (Russian abbreviation SVOP). It is always a great pleasure for me to meet people and feel the intellectual potential, which enables the Council, its leaders and representatives to respond to global developments and analyse them. Their analysis is always free from any hysteria, and its members offer well-grounded and solid arguments, taking a step back, since those caught in the midst of events can hardly adopt an unbiased perspective. We are inevitably influenced by the developments, which makes your observations, analysis, discourse and suggestions even more valuable to us.

As far as I know, this year’s Assembly will focus on prospects for accelerating domestic growth in Russia. There is no doubt that concerted efforts by our society as a whole to bring about comprehensive economic, social and spiritual development are a prerequisite for making Russia’s future sustainable. That said, by virtue of my professional duties, I have to focus on foreign policy issues, which are still relevant for the Assembly’s agenda, since in this interconnected, globalised world, isolating internal development from the outside world is impossible.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin provided a detailed analysis of the international developments at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi, as well as in his interviews during his trip to Asia. For this reason, I won’t offer any conceptual observations, as everything has already been said. Nevertheless, I would like to share with you some considerations based on our day-to-day foreign policy efforts. It is not my intention to deliver a comprehensive or clear outlook, since at this stage all forecasts are provisional, no matter who makes them. Moreover, diplomats seek to influence developments as they unfold, not contemplate them.

Naturally, I will start with Ukraine. Long before the country was plunged into the crisis, there was a feeling in the air that Russia’s relations with the EU and with the West were about to reach their moment of truth. It was clear that we could no longer continue to put issues in our relations on the back burner and that a choice had to be made between a genuine partnership or, as the saying goes, “breaking pots.” It goes without saying that Russia opted for the former alternative, while unfortunately our Western partners settled for the latter, whether consciously or not. In fact, they went all out in Ukraine and supported extremists, thereby giving up their own principles of democratic regime change. What came out of it was an attempt to play chicken with Russia, to see who blinks first. As bullies say, they wanted to Russia to “chicken out” (I can’t find a better word for it), to force us to swallow the humiliation of Russians and native speakers of Russian in Ukraine.

Honourable Leslie Gelb, whom you know all too well, wrote that Ukraine’s Association Agreement with the EU had nothing to do with inviting Ukraine to join the EU and was aimed in the short term at preventing it from joining the Customs Union. This is what an impartial and unbiased person said. When they deliberately decided to go down the path of escalation in Ukraine, they forgot many things, and had a clear understanding of how such moves would be viewed in Russia. They forgot the advice of, say, Otto von Bismarck, who had said that disparaging the millions-strong great Russian people would be the biggest political mistake.

President Vladimir Putin said the other day that no one in history has yet managed to subjugate Russia to its influence. This is not an assessment, but a statement of fact. Yet such an attempt has been made to quench the thirst for expanding the geopolitical space under Western control, out of a mercantile fear to lose the spoils of what they across the Atlantic had persuaded themselves was the victory in the Cold War.

The plus of today’s situation is that everything has clicked into its place and the calculus behind the West’s actions has been revealed despite its professed readiness to build a security community, a common European home. To quote (singer/song-writer) Bulat Okudzhava, “The past is getting clearer and clearer.” The clarity is becoming more tangible. Today our task is not only to sort out the past (although that must be done), but most importantly, to think about the future.

Talks about Russia’s isolation do not merit serious discussion. I need hardly dwell on this before this audience. Of course, one can damage our economy, and damage is being done, but only by doing harm to those who are taking corresponding measures and, equally important, destroying the system of international economic relations, the principles on which it is based. Formerly, when sanctions were applied (I worked at the Russian mission to the UN at the time) our Western partners, when discussing the DPRK, Iran or other states, said that it was necessary to formulate the restrictions in such a way as to keep within humanitarian limits and not to cause damage to the social sphere and the economy, and to selectively target only the elite. Today everything is the other way around: Western leaders are publicly declaring that the sanctions should destroy the economy and trigger popular protests. So, as regards the conceptual approach to the use of coercive measures the West unequivocally demonstrates that it does not merely seek to change Russian policy (which in itself is illusory), but it seeks to change the regime — and practically nobody denies this.

President Vladimir Putin, speaking with journalists recently, said that today’s Western leaders have a limited planning horizon. Indeed, it is dangerous when decisions on key problems of the development of the world and humankind as a whole are taken on the basis of short electoral cycles: in the United States the cycle is two years and each time one has to think of or do something to win votes. This is the negative side of the democratic process, but we cannot afford to ignore it. We cannot accept the logic when we are told to resign, relax and take it as a given that everyone has to suffer because there are elections in the United States every two years. This is just not right. We will not resign ourselves to this because the stakes are too high in the fight against terror, the threats of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and many bloody conflicts whose negative impact goes far beyond the framework of the corresponding states and regions. The wish to do something to gain unilateral advantages or to endear oneself to the electorate ahead of another election leads to chaos and confusion in international relations.

We hear the daily repeated mantra that Washington is aware of its own exclusiveness and its duty to bear this burden, to lead the rest of the world. Rudyard Kipling spoke about “the white man’s burden.” I hope that this is not what drives Americans. The world today is not white or black, but multi-coloured and heterogeneous. Leadership in this world can be assured not by persuading oneself of one’ exclusiveness and God-given duty to be responsible for everyone, but only by the ability and craft in forming a consensus. If the US partners committed their power to this goal, this would be priceless, and Russia would be actively helping them.

However, so far, US administrative resources still work only in the NATO framework, and then with substantial reservations, and its writ does not reach beyond the North Atlantic Alliance. One proof of this is the results of US attempts to make the world community follow its line in connection with the anti-Russian sanctions and principles. I have spoken about it more than once and we have ample proof of the fact that American ambassadors and envoys across the world seek meetings at the highest level to argue that the corresponding countries are obliged to punish Russia together with them or else face the consequences. This is done with regard to all countries, including our closest allies (this speaks volumes about the kind of analysts Washington has). An overwhelming majority of the states with which we have a continuing dialogue without any restrictions and isolation, as you see, value Russia’s independent role in the international arena. Not because they like it when somebody challenges the Americans, but because they realise that the world order will not be stable if nobody is allowed to speak his mind (although privately the overwhelming majority do express their opinion, but they do not want to do so publicly for fear of Washington’s reprisals).

Many reasonable analysts understand that there is a widening gap between the global ambitions of the US Administration and the country’s real potential. The world is changing and, as has always happened in history, at some point somebody’s influence and power reach their peak and then somebody begins to develop still faster and more effectively. One should study history and proceed from realities. The seven developing economies headed by BRICS already have a bigger GDP than the Western G7. One should proceed from the facts of life, and not from a misconceived sense of one’s own grandeur.

It has become fashionable to argue that Russia is waging a kind of “hybrid war” in Crimea and in Ukraine. It is an interesting term, but I would apply it above all to the United States and its war strategy – it is truly a hybrid war aimed not so much at defeating the enemy militarily as at changing the regimes in the states that pursue a policy Washington does not like. It is using financial and economic pressure, information attacks, using others on the perimeter of a corresponding state as proxies and of course information and ideological pressure through externally financed non-governmental organisations. Is it not a hybrid process and not what we call war? It would be interesting to discuss the concept of the hybrid war to see who is waging it and is it only about “little green men.”

Apparently the toolkit of our US partners, who have become adept at using it, is much larger.

In attempting to establish their pre-eminence at a time when new economic, financial and political power centres are emerging, the Americans provoke counteraction in keeping with Newton’s third law and contribute to the emergence of structures, mechanisms, and movements that seek alternatives to the American recipes for solving the pressing problems. I am not referring to anti-Americanism, still less about forming coalitions spearheaded against the United States, but only about the natural wish of a growing number of countries to secure their vital interests and do it the way they think right, and not what they are told “from across the pond.” Nobody is going to play anti-US games just to spite the United States. We face attempts and facts of extra-territorial use of US legislation, the kidnapping of our citizens in spite of existing treaties with Washington whereby these issues are to be resolved through law enforcement and judicial bodies.

According to its doctrine of national security, the United States has the right to use force anywhere, anytime without necessarily asking the UN Security Council for approval. A coalition against the Islamic State was formed unbeknownst to the Security Council. I asked Secretary of State John Kerry why have not they gone to the UN Security Council for this.

He told me that if they did, they would have to somehow designate the status of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Of course, they had to because Syria is a sovereign state and still a member of the UN (no one excluded it from UN membership). The secretary of state said it was wrong because the United States is combating terrorism and the al-Assad regime is the most important factor that galvanises terrorists from around the world and acts as a magnet attracting them to this region in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian regime.

I believe this is perverse logic. If we are talking about precedents (the United States adheres to case law), it is worth remembering the chemical disarmament in Syria when the Assad regime was a completely legitimate partner of the United States, Russia, the OPCW and others. The Americans maintain talks with the Taliban as well. Whenever the United States has an opportunity to benefit from something, it acts quite pragmatically. I’m not sure why the ideologically-driven position took the upper hand this time and the United States chose to believe that Assad cannot be a partner. Perhaps, this is not so much an operation against the Islamic State as paving the way for toppling al-Assad under the guise of a counter-terrorist operation.

Francis Fukuyama recently wrote the book, Political Order and Political Decay, in which he argues that the efficiency of public administration in the United States is declining and the traditions of democratic governance are gradually being replaced with feudal fiefdom ruling methods. This is part of the discussion about someone who lives in a glass house and throws stones.

All of this is happening amid the mounting challenges and problems of the modern world. We are seeing a continued “tug of war” in Ukraine. Trouble is brewing on the south border of the EU. I don’t think the Middle Eastern and North African problems will go away all by themselves. The EU has formed a new commission. New foreign actors have emerged, who will face a serious fight for where to send their basic resources: either for the continuation of reckless schemes in Ukraine, Moldova, etc., within the Eastern Partnership (as advocated by an aggressive minority in the EU), or they will listen to the Southern European countries and focus on what’s happening on the other side of the Mediterranean.

This is a major issue for the EU.

So far, those who are not guided by real problems, but rather by a desire to quickly grab things from freshly turned up ground. It is deplorable. Exporting revolutions – be they democratic, communist or others – never brings any good.

State, public and civilisational structures are actually disintegrating in the MENA region. The destructive energy released in the process can scorch states that are located far beyond this region. Terrorists (including the Islamic State) are claiming a national status. Moreover, they are already beginning to create quasi-governmental bodies there that engage in the administrative work.

On this backdrop, minorities, including Christians, are banished. In Europe, these issues are deemed not politically correct. They are ashamed when we invite them to do something about it together at the OSCE. They wonder why would we focus specifically on Christians? How is that special? The OSCE has held a series of events dedicated to keeping memories about the Holocaust and its victims alive. A few years ago, the OSCE started holding events against Islamophobia. We will be offering an analysis of the processes leading to Christianophobia.

On 4-5 December, OSCE ministerial meetings will be held in Basel, where we will present this proposal. The majority of EU member states elude this topic, because they are ashamed to talk about it. Just as they were ashamed to include in what was then the EU constitution drafted by Valery Giscard d’Estaing a phrase that Europe has Christian roots.

If you don’t remember or respect your own roots and traditions, how would you respect the traditions and values of other people? This is straightforward logic. Comparing what’s happening now in the Middle East to a period of religious wars in Europe, Israeli political scientist Avineri said that the current turmoil is unlikely to end with what the West means when it says “democratic reforms.”

The Arab-Israeli conflict is dead in the water. It’s hard to play on several boards at a time. The Americans are trying to accomplish this, but it doesn’t work for them. In 2013, they took nine months to sort out the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I will not go into the reasons, they are known, but they failed at this as well. Now, they asked for more time to try to achieve some progress before the end of 2014, so that the Palestinians wouldn’t go to the UN and sign the Statute of the International Criminal Court, etc. Suddenly, it transpired that negotiations on Iran are underway. The US State Department dumped Palestine to focus on Iran.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and I agreed to talk on this subject some time soon. It’s important to understand that you can’t keep the problem of the Palestinian state deeply frozen forever. Failure to resolve it for nearly 70 years has been a major argument of those who recruit extremists in their ranks, “there’s no justice: it was promised to create two states; the Jewish one was created, but they will never create an Arab state.” Used on a hungry Arab street, these arguments sound quite plausible, and they start calling for a fight for justice using other methods.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the Valdai Club meeting in Sochi that we need a new version of interdependence. This was a very topical statement. The leading powers must return to the negotiating table and agree on a new framework that takes into account the basic legitimate interests of all the key parties (I can’t tell you what it should be called, but it should be based on the UN Charter), to agree on reasonable self-imposed restrictions and collective risk management in a system of international relations underpinned by democratic values. Our Western partners promote respect for the rule of law, democracy and minority opinion within countries, while failing to stand up for the same values in international affairs. This leaves Russia as a pioneer in promoting democracy, justice and rule of international law. A new world order can only be polycentric and should reflect the diversity of cultures and civilisations in today’s world.

You are aware of Russia’s commitment to ensuring indivisibility of security in international affairs and holding it in international law. I won’t elaborate on this.

I would like to support the point the SVOP has been making that Russia won’t succeed in becoming a major, successful and confident power of the 21st century without developing its eastern regions. Sergei Karaganov was among the first to conceptualise this idea, and I fully agree. Taking Russia’s relations with the Asia Pacific countries to a new level is an absolute priority. Russia worked along these lines at the Beijing APEC meeting and the G20 forum. We will continue moving in this direction in the new environment created by the upcoming launch of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on 1 January 2015.

We have been treated as “subhumans.” For over a decade, Russia has been trying to establish partnership ties with NATO through CSTO. These efforts were not just about putting NATO and CSTO “in the same league.” As a matter of fact, CSTO is focused on catching drug dealers and illegal migrants around the Afghan border, and the North-Atlantic Treaty Organisation is the backbone of the international security forces, which, among other things, were tasked with fighting the terrorist threat and eliminating its financing schemes, which involve drug trafficking. We tried everything: we pleaded and then demanded real-time contact, so that once NATO detects a caravan transporting drugs and is unable to stop it, it alerts us across the border, so that this caravan could be intercepted by CSTO forces. They simply refused to talk to us. In private conversations, our NATO well-wishers (and I actually mean this in the positive way) told us that the alliance can’t view CSTO as an equal partner for ideological reasons. Until recently, we saw the same condescending and arrogant attitude with respect to the Eurasian economic integration. And that despite the fact that countries intending to join the EAEU have much more in common in terms of their economies, history and culture than many EU members. This union is not about creating barriers with anyone. We always stress how open this union is expected to be. I strongly believe that it will make a significant contribution to building a bridge between Europe and Asia Pacific.

I can’t fail to mention Russia’s comprehensive partnership with China. Important bilateral decisions have been taken, paving the way to an energy alliance between Russia and China. But there’s more to it. We can now even talk about the emerging technology alliance between the two countries. Russia’s tandem with Beijing is a crucial factor for ensuring international stability and at least some balance in international affairs, as well as ensuring the rule of international law. We will make full use of our relations with India and Vietnam, Russia’s strategic partners, as well as the ASEAN countries. We are also open to expanding cooperation with Japan, if our Japanese neighbours can look at their national interests and stop looking back at some overseas powers.

There is no doubt that the European Union is our largest collective partner. No one intends to “shoot himself in the foot” by renouncing cooperation with Europe, although it is now clear that business as usual is no longer an option. This is what our European partners are telling us, but neither do we want to operate the old way. They believed that Russia owed them something, while we want to be on an equal footing. For this reason, things will never be the same again. That said, I’m confident that we will be able to overcome this period, lessons will be learned and a new foundation for our relations will emerge.

The idea of creating a single economic and humanitarian space from Lisbon to Vladivostok can now be heard here and there and is gaining traction. Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, has said publicly (while we have been saying it for a long time) that the EU and the EAEU should engage in dialogue. The statement President Vladimir Putin made in Brussels in January 2014, when he proposed the first step by launching negotiations on a free-trade zone between the EU and the Customs Union with an eye on 2020, is no longer viewed as something exotic. All of this has already become part of diplomacy and real politics. Although this is so far only a matter of discussion, I strongly believe that we will one day achieve what is called “the integration of integrations.” This is one of the key topics we want to promote within the OSCE at the Ministerial Council in Basel.

Russia is about to assume BRICS and SCO presidency. The two organisations will hold their summits in Ufa. These are very promising organisations for the new age. They are not blocks (especially BRICS), but groups where members share the same interests, representing countries from all continents that share common approaches regarding the future of the global economy, finance and politics.

Political maneuverings in Ukraine, to what end? Poroshenko and Lavrov on the ceasefire

Poroshenko Red Eye Faces of Evil

Poroshenko Red Eye Faces of Evil

Signs of the Times

14 October 2014

On Sunday, October 12, RIA Novosti reported that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made a statement on his official website saying the following:

We expect to achieve complete ceasefire in the coming days. Once this happens, the creation of a buffer zone will be launched. Both sides must pull out heavy weaponry at least 15 kilometers [9.3 miles] away into the controlled areas.

This comes at a time that has seen Ukrainian forces violate said ceasefire multiple times a day. The OSCE has reported on the shelling of multiple towns by Kiev forces, and Donetsk’s leadership has claimed Kiev violated the ceasefire a total of 17 times on Monday with shelling of residential areas killing 3 and injuring 7, with more attacks that night, bringing the total to 45 violations, at least 12 dead, with dozens more wounded. This comes after 16 civilians were reported killed on Sunday alone.

The continued violations on the part of Kiev have prompted DPR Prime Minister Zakharchenko to curb the planned “silence regime”, which would have seen Novorossiyan troops withdraw their artillery from the line of conflict if Kiev could abide by the ceasefire for 5 days.

Poroshenko, in his official statement, also mentioned that he had reached out to the OSCE to increase the number of monitors of the conflict to 1500, upon which they agreed.

Today, Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said:

Today, the window of possibility to overcome the Ukrainian crisis is open. Practical measures are being agreed upon and implemented on the basis of ceasefire agreements reached on the initiative of presidents [Petro] Poroshenko and [Vladimir] Putin. The question is whether the conflicting Ukrainian sides will manage to complete this path toward solid peace or they will be hindered by those seeking to use the tragedy of the Ukrainian people to try to show Russia its place.

So while the leadership of both sides are making public claims to fully implement the ceasefire, establish a buffer zone between fighting forces, and increase international observers, the fighting continues.

What’s going on? According to Zakharchenko, the continued violations are not necessarily the result of orders from Kiev: individual commanders (some, like Right Sector’s battalions, being extremists not likely to follow orders they don’t like) are taking it on their own initiative to continue shelling civilian areas.

Do Poroshenko and his ‘advisers’ see the futility of the continuation of their “antiterrorist operation”? Are they merely trying to appease the extremist elements on whose support they have relied for exterminating Novorossiyans (e.g., by ‘retiring’ Defense Minister Geletey and replacing him with ATO commander Poltorak?), with the goal of actually implementing the ceasefire?

Have the rumors that Russia has cut off its covert aid to the militias, but that they will restart them if and when a new offensive is launched by Kiev, sufficiently scared Kiev’s military leadership? Or is Kiev merely talking peace while planning one more genocidal push on the orders of their U.S./NATO masters?

 

EU risks €40bn hemorrhage from Russia sanctions in 2014 – Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.(AFP Photo / Kirill Kudryavtsev)

RT news

Economies across the European Union will lose about €40 billion this year, with the damage estimated to widen to €50 billion in 2015, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, citing figures from the EU itself.

There are so far no exact figures for the damage incurred, but the European Union has made some preliminary estimates and said the damage could be as high as €40 billion this year, Sergey Lavrov said.

The Foreign Minister was addressing a group of business leaders at the Association of European Businesses (AEB), a Moscow-based lobby group that represents the interests of more than 600 European companies in Russia.

Lavrov called forsanctions against Russia that target state-owned companies as well as individuals, to be lifted. Then Russia would cancel the country’s one-year food ban against the EU, a penalty which could cost the EU $6.6 billion in exports.

“Decisions in Brussels, in particular, to impose sanctions against Russia, were made under strong American pressure,” Lavrov said.

Russia announced the food ban in August, but only after the West had introduced several rounds of sanctions over the country’s perceived role in the Ukraine crisis.

According to Lavrov, sanctions are a “one-way tool” and that Russia never wanted to join the tit-for-tat political game – but was forced to.
Trade, South Stream

Despite the diplomatic standoff, Russia is still interested in deepening integration, and creating a free trade zone with the EU. Trade between Russia and the EU is $440 billion and thousands of companies do regular day-to-day business in Russia.

In September, the AEB penned a letter to the EU and Russian governments asking to keep business relations between the two groups functional.

Lavrov hopes that the EU will drop their political rhetoric and focus on business.

One of the main points of cooperation Lavrov hopes will remain intact is the South Stream gas pipeline project that will deliver gas to south and central Europe without crossing through Ukraine, which has proved an unreliable transit partner.

The pipeline will deliver about 64 billion cubic meters to Europe, Russia’s biggest gas client.

“This project will minimize the risks to supplies of Russian gas for EU consumers, which is fully consistent with Brussels’ goal to ensure energy security in Europe,” Lavrov said.

Since the Ukraine crisis began to unfold and splinter relations between Brussels and Moscow, the project has faced many roadblocks, from countries being forced to halt construction, to the EU raising questions on whether it violates anti-monopoly laws.