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Tilting at Pipelines: Geopolitical Madness at the end of Empire

Russian president Vladimir Putin recently sent a letter to 18 European countries that are consumers of Russian gas, telling them that, while Russia is eager to honor all of its energy commitments, the situation in Ukraine is getting to the "critical" point where supplies of Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine may be threatened. Speaking to reporters, Putin summed up the essence of what he wrote to his EU counterparts:
Russia is acting very neatly, very considerately and respectfully towards our partners. We will certainly guarantee in full the honoring of all our obligations to our European consumers. We are not the problem, the problem is ensuring transit via Ukraine ...
What's he talking about?

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Lies and realities about the state of Ukraine

Kiev

Two beautiful Slavic sisters, Ukraine and Russia, pitched against each other: long hair flying in the wind, gray-blue eyes staring forward accusatively, but in the same time with anticipation and love.

One single moment, one wrong move, one word, and two countries, two allies, two almost identical cultures, can easily dash at each other's throats... Different words, different gestures, and they can also fall into each other's arms, instantly.

Is there going to be a war, a battle or an embrace? Is there going to be an insult or reconciliatory words?

Ironically, there is no 'self-grown dispute' between two nations. The seeds of mistrust, and possible tragedy, are sown by the outsiders, and nurtured by their malignant propaganda.

As Sergei Kirichuk, leader of progressive movement 'Borotba', explained:
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10 most compelling quotes from Putin's annual Q&A marathon

putin q&a
© RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi
Vladimir Putin, during his 4-hour Q&A session.
Ukraine's crisis was, predictably, at the center of Vladimir Putin's annual televised interview. He said the situation can only be solved through a compromise between internal players. Below are the president's ten most significant quotes.
"[Yanukovich] didn't have the heart to sign an act that would see force used against his citizens."
Answering a question from an ex-Berkut - Ukrainian special forces - commander as to whether the ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has always been such a "weakling and traitor," Putin said that Yanukovich did his duty as he thought was right, proper and necessary.

"I spoke with him, certainly, many times, during the crisis, and after he arrived in the Russian Federation; we talked about using force... The gist of his answer was that he thought about using force many times, but he didn't have the heart to sign an act that would see force used against his citizens," Putin said.
Sherlock

The Red Line and the Benghazi Rat Line: Seymour Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels


Barack Obama and John Brennan
In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the 'red line' he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad's offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama's change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn't match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army's chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn't hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria's infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria's neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. 'We knew there were some in the Turkish government,' a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, 'who believed they could get Assad's nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria - and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.'

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