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Poroshenko on his way out? Putin says no peaceful resolution until Ukraine has new president

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he doesn't expect any progress toward establishing peace in eastern Ukraine until after Ukrainian elections, which he said he hopes will produce a new president next year.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko's office blasted Putin's statement on November 15, saying the Russian president is "meddling" in the Ukrainian presidential contest even before it has started.

Speaking at a news conference in Singapore, Putin said efforts by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine -- the so-called Normandy Four -- to press for progress carrying out a peace plan forged in the Belarusian capital in 2015 would be "pointless" for the time being.

Comment: That's true. Poroshenko has not fulfilled his requirements under the Minsk agreements, and never showed any signs that he would.

Putin said he hopes a new presidential administration in Kyiv next year will dedicate itself to peacefully resolving the conflict between the government and Moscow-backed separatists that has killed more than 10,300 people since 2014.

"The current Ukrainian authorities have not shown any desire to implement the Minsk agreements -- they are not doing anything to implement them, nothing is happening," Putin said, claiming that as long as Poroshenko's administration remains in power "a peaceful resolution of issues in these territories can hardly be counted on."

Comment: There are rumors in the Russian media that Poroshenko doesn't expect to win another term:
According to the generally reliable Russian website, iarex.ru, Poroshenko seems quite aware that he is unlikely to win the upcoming election in Ukraine. Polls presently project that a transfer of power will take place, favoring elements of the 'old guard' of Ukrainian oligarchs, led by Yulia Tymoshenko who presently leads in various polls.

According to iarex.ru, Poroshenko has already started an urgent sale of his assets, so that after the elections he will immediately leave the penniless and decaying country.

Petro Poroshenko is ostensibly negotiating the sale of its own assets in Ukraine. The goal is to close the deal before March 1, 2019.

Two independent auditors from among the Big Five handed over reports to two potential buyers. The first candidate is a consortium of ostracized oligarchs from the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Lithuania. The second candidate is a group led by Dmitry Firtash and two high-ranking members of the US Democratic Party, with the support of Joe Biden and Michael Pence.

According to the TG-channel "Nelyagar", the negotiations are in the final stage - the best deal is being negotiated, the form of payment and the end points of the withdrawal of capital. According to the current information, 85% of non-cash payments will go to special accounts in the US Federal Treasury and Chase -Manhattan Bank.


Gaza ceasefire back in place, but Hamas warns Tel Aviv: 'Don't test us'

Israel bombs gaza tv station
© Agence France-Presse/ Bashar Taleb
A ball of fire is seen above the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV station in Gaza City.
Tel Aviv reached a fragile ceasefire with Hamas on Tuesday following ф botched Gaza raid. The ceasefire prompted defence minister Avigdor Lieberman to resign in protest, and to accuse Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of "surrendering to Hamas terror".

Hamas, the Palestinian political and militia group administering Gaza, has warned Israel against "testing" its military capabilities, warning that another Israeli raid into the Gaza Strip would lead to rocket attacks against Tel Aviv. Speaking at an Friday event dedicated to Palestinians who were killed in recent clashes with Israeli forces, Hamas in Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar said further Israeli military operations would only lead to Israel having to agree to prisoner swap deals involving "thousands of prisoners" in their aftermath.


NATO's military buildup and exercises along Russia's borders is no joke, or is it?

HNoMS Helge Ingstad
© Royal Norwegian Navy
The massive military games codenamed Trident Juncture have just come to a close in Norway, marking a new milestone in the rapid military escalation between the West and Russia. A total of 29 NATO member states took part in those games, fielding some 65 thousand men, 10 thousand armored vehicles and 65 military ships that were led by USS Harry S. Truman.

In a bid to explain this build up in the immediate vicinity of Russia's borders the Natoaktual media site would try to explain the reasoning behind those exercises by stating that NATO is getting increasingly frustrated with Moscow's persistent presence in the Arctic, as this region is extremely rich in hydrocarbons and Washington is reluctant to surrender it to Moscow. Therefore, this recent demonstration of the Western military might was nothing more but a blatant attempt to scare Russia into submission.

It is stated that Operation Trident Juncture was aimed at developing common tactics of repulsing military aggression of a potential enemy. However, no NATO member state, aside from the US, Poland and a number of Baltic states believes that Russia remains the largest country on the planet would ever attempt a land grab in Europe, as this would be illogical. As it's been pointed by Der Welt, a hybrid war between Russian and the US has been raging for quite a while, with cyberweapons, propaganda and proxy forces all playing a major part in it, but it's highly unlikely that it can reach a point where it will transform into a direct military confrontation between two major nuclear powers. Against this backdrop, German journalists find themselves unable to pinpoint the reasoning behind Washington's military buildup on the Russian borders.

Most journalists seem to agree that this senseless and comic saber-rattling was reminiscent of a blockbuster movie shooting rather than a military operation.

Star of David

Israeli media forced to admit the truth: 'Russia has made clear' that status quo of Syria strikes 'gone'

S-300 anti-aircraft missile system
© Sputnik / Kirill Kallinikov
S-300 anti-aircraft missile system
This week, multiple media reports alleged that the Israeli military was training to destroy Russian-made air defence systems, including the S-300s recently delivered to Syria. The reports followed an expression of hope by the US that Russia would allow Tel Aviv to resume its airstrikes against so-called "Iranian targets" in the Arab Republic.

Moscow's warnings against renewed Israeli attacks in Syria, as well as an increased Russian interest in events in Lebanon, are worrying developments and there' a "real danger" of closing the Israel Defence Forces' "operational window of opportunity" in these countries, Haaretz defence contributor Amos Harel wrote.

In recent years, the observer noted, Tel Aviv "exploited the upheaval in the Arab world to expand its offensive activity," engaging in "hundreds of airstrikes and special operations" in Syria and Lebanon said to be focused on "preventing Iran from smuggling advanced weaponry to Hezbollah," and "preventing Iran's military entrenchment in Syria."

Star of David

Avigdor Lieberman wants to give war a chance

Avigdor Lieberman resigns as Defense Minister
© Carlos Latuff
On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned. He was upset about what he perceived as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being too soft on Hamas. First because the PM agreed to provide some cash and fuel to Gaza, and then, after a couple of days of bombing in Gaza, the PM accepted a ceasefire.

Israeli Defense Ministers normally get a turn at conducting large-scale massacres in Gaza - "killing lots of Arabs" as Education Minister Bennett would say, killing those "little snakes", as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked would say. Even 'left' hero Ehud Barak had a go at Gaza twice when he was Defense minister between 2007 and 2013. And of course the 'moderate' Likudnik Moshe Yaalon got his massacre as Defense Minister in 2014, which was 1-1/2 times the size of Barak's.

So Avigdor Lieberman, who is more rhetorically bellicose than Barak or Yaalon, was denied his. And just when time seemed ripe for another 'mowing of the lawn' in Gaza, as they say in Israel.


Reports claim CIA 'concludes with high confidence' Saudi Crown Prince ordered Khashoggi murder

Saudi protests
© AFP / Jim Watson
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last month, the CIA has concluded, according to anonymous sources who spoke with the Washington Post and Reuters.

The US foreign espionage agency assessed with "high confidence" that the prince was behind the death of the Post columnist, the newspaper reported on Friday evening, citing "people familiar with the matter." Reuters later cited its own source as saying that the spy agency "had briefed other parts of the US government on its assessment," which contradicts the official position maintained by both Riyadh and Washington thus far.

Comment: WaPo is rocking the boat with this report by going against the official story. Is this fake news or is there an agenda to put more pressure on Saudi Arabia? Is the CIA doing this just as a public gesture to undermine Trump?

See also: Prosecutor to seek death penalty for Khashoggi's accused killers - US sanctions 17 Saudis in connection with murder


'Wait and see': Russia isn't interested in joining new OPEC-led oil output cuts

An employee works on highly viscous oil production at the Ashalchinskoye oil field in Russia
© Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin
An employee works on highly viscous oil production at the Ashalchinskoye oil field in Russia.
Russia prefers to stay out of any fresh oil production cuts led by OPEC's leader Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported, quoting two high-ranking Russian sources.

Russia - which together with Saudi Arabia and some Arab Gulf producers has been raising production since June to offset Iranian losses - saw its oil production set a new post-Soviet record high of 11.41 million bpd in October, up from 11.36 million bpd in September.

However, Russia's key partner in the production cut deal, Saudi Arabia, has expressed concern over the oil price slump in the past month. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Monday that based on the OPEC+ group technical analysis, "there will need to be a reduction of supply from October levels approaching a million barrels."


Canadian federal government issues permanent postal ban on hate speech publication

James Sears
© James Sears
James Sears, editor of Your Ward News, has been charged with the wilful promotion of hatred against Jews and women. Today, the federal government announced it was permanently banning his publication from being distributed through Canada Post.

'Your Ward News promotes disgusting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, homophobia, and racism.'

A Toronto-based publication widely criticized for disseminating hate speech against minorities, Jews, women and the LGBTQ community has been permanently banned from distribution through Canada Post.

In May of 2016, the federal government issued a temporary order banning Your Ward News from using Canada Post following a number of complaints about its discriminatory content.

A board of review was struck to review the decision; it held 11 public hearings between April of last year and Feb. 2018.

Star of David

ADL: American Jews are a resource Israel 'can't afford to squander'

Jonathan A. Greenblatt ADL anti defamation league

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League
There's been a lot of talk lately in Jewish circles about US Jews losing faith in Israel and the dangers that poses to Israel. Here is a statement earlier this year that no one has picked up, from Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL, emphasizing the vital nature of that bond: American Jews are vibranium mined in Wakanda for Israel, or Bitcoin or Ethereum, a "natural resource" you don't want to "squander" or "sub-optimize."

"Vibranium" is a component in the armor of superhero Black Panther, who hailed from Wakanda, that made him impervious to many weapons. Vibranium was coined in 1966 by the late Stan Lee, who died this week.

Bad Guys

US senators seek to stop arms sales to Saudis... after killing similar Bahrain bill

Saudi Arabia strikes Yemen Sanaa
© Reuters / Mohamed Al-Sayaghi
Yemen's capital Sanaa
A newly proposed bill in the US Senate would suspend the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia and block refueling of Saudi warplanes bombing Yemen, as punishment for the death of a Washington Post columnist.

A group of senators on the Foreign Relations Committee, led by Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) and Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) introduced the "Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2018." It was sponsored by three Democrats and two Republicans.

Menendez, who is the top Democrat on the committee, said that sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals introduced earlier on Thursday by the Trump administration were "not enough" to ensure a credible investigation of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and pressure Riyadh into ending the war in Yemen.

Comment: Meanwhile House Republicans shut down a similar debate dedicated to ending US support for the war on Yemen. Sputnik reports:
A month after US members of Congress from both parties claimed to be disturbed at the ruthless murder of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives prohibited a debate about ending US support for the Saudi coalition.

The House voted 201-87 to shut down debate Wednesday on Rep. Ro Khanna's (D-CA) resolution on the US role in in Yemen under the War Powers Act. "In American history... never, never has the speaker of the House and the majority denied a member of Congress a vote on matters of war and peace," Khanna said Thursday in remarks to Democracy Now.

"This is basically rendering ineffectual the War Powers Act," Khanna said, referring to the law passed in 1973 that was intended to keep the president from committing the American military to an armed conflict without the consent of Congress.