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Fri, 26 Aug 2016
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Why Russia hasn't invaded Ukraine

Russia's decision not to intervene in Donbass is consistent with its realistic foreign policy, which seeks to avoid wars. It is not because of any of the various reasons Western commentators claim. The result is that where the Western powers regularly start wars they cannot win, Russia has refrained from waging a war it would win easily.

Although some in the west still insist that 'Russia has invaded eastern Ukraine', for those with open eyes and ears, the interesting question is 'Why HASN'T Russia intervened in Eastern Ukraine'?

The reasons are subtle and demonstrate a lot about Russia's pragmatic reaction to world events.

As things stand, Donbass is governed by two republics, that of Donetsk and Lugansk. Both republics held independence referenda in May of 2014 in which the majority of people voted to separate from the regime in Kiev.

Whilst supporting human rights in Donbass, offering aid and repeatedly calling for an end to the violence rained down on the people of Donbass by Kiev and their auxiliary terrorist gangs, Russia has not formally recognised the statehood of the two republics.

Eye 1

U.S. willing to risk war with Russia to protect Al Qaeda in Syria

© Fadi al-Halabi / AMC / AFP
The US is willing to risk war with Russia to protect Al Qaeda jihadists.

The masks are coming off.

The Pentagon today made some big announcements.

One, it will protect the Kurds, much to Turkey's dismay.

Two, it will protect Al Qaeda/Al Nusra jihadists, in a last gasp effort to overthrow Assad.

Three, the US is gearing up for a full on war with Russia. Be assured, Hillary Clinton will not press the reset button if she becomes President.

This is what neocons and the progressive left have been pushing for, and now it seems they will finally get it...war with the multipolar world, and it all starts with Russia.

Eye 1

Ukrainian official: EU is using Minsk Agreement as way for Kiev to retake Donbass

According to expert Mikhail Pogrebinsky, the European Union tends to treat the Minsk agreements as a mechanism of transfer of the rebel regions under Kiev control. Donbass residents are just afraid to become a part of a terrorist state after sabotage attempts, undertaken by Ukraine in Crimea.

US interests continue to dominate in European politics, Director of the Kiev Center for Political Studies and Conflictology, Mikhail Pogrebinsky, wrote in the Izvestiya newspaper. Pogrebinsky also noted that Europe has demonstrated its political will to force Kiev to meet its commitments, undertaken in Minsk.
"Europe has not even tried to use its successful experience in resolving such conflicts on the basis of compromises and peace enforcement, as it was in Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Bosnia etc. Europeans tend to treat the Minsk agreements as a mechanism of transfer of the rebel regions under Kiev control," the expert noted.
According to Pogrebinsky, conditions of reintegration of the unrecognized republics' territories in Ukrainian legal and political space, the main one among which is a real autonomy of Donbass, are considered by Europeans as 'a cherry on the top of the cake' that can be neglected.

Folder

Declassified documents exposed Thatcher's secret arms deal talks with Saudi Arabia

© Luke MacGregor / Reuters
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher held secret talks with Saudi rulers to persuade them to spend billions on UK-made fighter jets in what would later become Britain's largest and most controversial arms deal, newly released documents show.

According to a series of secret memos, Thatcher made a quick trip to Riyadh on April 14, 1985, to "smoke out the Saudis" and have lunch with then-ruler King Fahd to convince him to purchase fighter jets from British Aerospace rather than France.

At the time, Britain was attempting to close the Al-Yamamah deal - a £42 billion ($55.3 billion) contract to sell the Saudis 30 British Hawk and 72 Tornado fighter jets.

France was simultaneously trying to pitch its own contract for the sale of the Mirage aircraft.

Rocket

North Korea responds with ballistic missile launch from submarine

© KCNA / Reuters
A North Korean submarine has test-launched a ballistic missile in the East China Sea, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported. It comes amid US-Korean military drills that Pyongyang has called a "threat."

The missile was reportedly launched off the North's eastern coast, according to Yonhap.

The missile traveled several hundred kilometers in the air before falling into the Sea of Japan, Japan's national public broadcaster NHK reported, citing the Japanese military.

Propaganda

US State Department ramps up anti-Iranian propaganda by issuing travel warning


Comment: The State Department is apparently feeling the need to ramp up anti-Iranian sentiment. This 'warning' comes on the heels of Iran providing Russia with access to their airbase for bombing U.S. terrorist assets in Syria. Coincidence?


The State Department issued a warning on Monday urging U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Iran, which has made the detention of Americans a priority.

The latest travel advisory, which emphasizes Iran's desire to capture U.S. citizens, comes on the heels of a growing scandal over the Obama administration's decision to pay Iran $400 million in cash on the same day that it freed several U.S. hostages.

The payment has been cast by lawmakers and others as a ransom payment and prompted concern among U.S. officials that Iran is making arresting Americans a priority.


Comment: The $400 million payment was money owed to Iran since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and was a part of the negotiations during the nuclear deal. Other than the US actually owing quite a bit more, it is a non-issue just like this ridiculous 'travel advisory'.


The travel warning is meant to "highlight the risk of arrest and detention of U.S. citizens, particularly dual national Iranian-Americans," according to a State Department announcement on Monday. "Foreigners, in particular dual nationals of Iran and Western countries including the United States, continue to be detained or prevented from leaving Iran."

"U.S. citizens traveling to Iran should very carefully weigh the risks of travel and consider postponing their travel," the warning adds. "U.S. citizens residing in Iran should closely follow media reports, monitor local conditions, and evaluate the risks of remaining in the country."

Dollar

Just follow the money trail for the source of 'Russian threat' paranoia

© Nobuhiro Kubo / Reuters
You'd have to have been locked in a wardrobe if you live in the West not to have heard ominous phrases like 'The Russian threat', 'Russian aggression in Europe' and 'Russia set to invade Poland/Estonia/ Ukraine/Finland'.

Certain people are trying to scare us witless about Russia and the 'threat' the country apparently poses. The hysteria reminds one to the build up to the Iraq war, when we were warned every day about the 'threat' of Saddam's deadly WMDs, which - surprise, surprise - turned out not to exist.

Now, we can talk for hours about grand, highfalutin theories in the field of geopolitics and international relations in attempts to explain why this is happening.

But 'follow the money' trail is all we really have to do. Ask yourself who benefits financially from all this scaremongering and then you'll understand it.

Jet5

Iran didn't 'revoke' Russia's use of airbase - they initiated it!

© wikipedia.org
Tupolev Tu-22M
The initiative for Russian planes to use Iran's Hamadan Airbase in their strikes against terrorists in the Syrian city of Aleppo came from Tehran, a high-ranking Iranian official has said.

Tehran asked Moscow for airstrikes "next to the land operation" in Aleppo, Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), told state television, according to AFP.

"Iran has brought powerful Russia along... due to its need to cooperate with Syria" in the fight against militants, Shamkhani added.

The SNSC secretary also stressed that "a coalition among Iran, Syria and Russia to fight terrorism exists."

Comment: Yet here is how the NYT reports it (with no source backing up their assertions):
Iran on Monday annulled permission for Russian planes to fly bombing runs into Syria from an Iranian base, only a week after having granted such extraordinary access, saying that the Kremlin had been unacceptably public and arrogant about the privilege.
See also: Deciphering the Russian 'withdrawal' from Hamadan, Iran: Not a withdrawal at all


Bomb

NATO's nukes in Romania: Rumor versus reality

© www.euractiv.com
Unconfirmed reports regarding the US moving nuclear weapons it reportedly maintains at Incirlik Airbase, Turkey to Romania (a NATO member since 2004) made the rounds last week. It is just one of many stories surrounding the apparent fallout between the United States and its stalwart ally and fellow NATO member, Turkey.

Following a failed coup in July, Turkey has accused the US openly of orchestrating the attempted overthrow of the government. Despite this, US forces continue operating from Turkish territory, and according to official reports, American nuclear weapons remain in Turkey.

But what if they were being moved? And if not to Romania as Romanian officials insist, to another NATO members state, what would this mean? And if they are not being moved, who started this rumor and why?

Comment: Commentary, speculation and rumors have surfaced from one end of the spectrum to the other regarding the US nukes at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey as to their current location. Given the difficulties in actualizing and securing this move, likely to be done in stages if it becomes a reality, it is reasonable to consider nothing has been done so far. Romania has denied receiving the shipment.

See also:


Sheriff

Philippine President Duterte breaks the mold of being a vassal to the United States

© Lean Daval Jr / Reuters
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao city, southern Philippines August 21, 2016.
Duterte is concerned about the prospect that Washington, the former colonial power in the Philippines, might want to manipulate his country against China, Gerald Horne, historian, told RT. Brian Becker of the AntiWar coalition also joins the conversation.

The Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte delivered foul-mouthed rants about global bodies and other senior world officials. Moreover, he threatened to leave the UN after the organization labeled his war on drugs 'criminal'. He also lashed out at America.

RT: What do you make of the provocative statements made by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte?

Gerald Horne: Well first of all, that is his style. You may know that the recently elected president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, is referred to in a colloquial sense as 'Duterte Harry', in reference to a popular Hollywood cinema character, Dirty Harry, who oftentimes violated the rights of particular suspects. Mr. Duterte is also concerned about the prospect that Washington, the former colonial power in the Philippines, might want to manipulate the Philippines against China in light of a recent decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague that basically awarded certain rights to offshore islands to the Philippines. This helps to shed light on Mr. Duterte's rather colorful language.

RT: Do you expect Washington to react in any way?

Gerald Horne: Not on the official level, not on the public level. As noted, Washington has very important military bases in the Philippines. Washington sees the Philippines as a kind of beachhead in the 21 century against China. Therefore, it wants to maintain very positive relations at least on the public and official level.