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Tue, 23 May 2017
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Puppet Masters


Al-Qaeda Jihadis launch a 'do or die' attempt to break the siege in eastern Allepo

As time runs out on Vladimir Putin's offer for Jihadi fighters to quit eastern Aleppo peacefully, and as the Russian fleet approaches the Syrian coast, Al-Qaeda again launches despite heavy losses assault to break siege of eastern Aleppo.

Having nursed their wounds following their defeat of a few days ago, the Al-Qaeda led Jihadis today attacked western Aleppo again.

As is always the case with the fighting in Syria, it is difficult to get a clear picture of what is going on. However this appears to be a major attack, with more Jihadis brought in from other fronts to replace the earlier losses, and with the Jihadis making their usual use of their now traditional tactic of hurling explosive laden trucks driven by suicide bombers at the Syrian army defenders (this tactic is actually of diminishing value since the Syrian troops have become practised at destroying these trucks before they reach their targets).

Red Flag

'Red Scare 2.0': Russia and the 2016 US election

© Mikhail Metzel / Reuters
Among the many ways in which the 2016 US presidential election has been out of the ordinary is the invocation of Russia as a looming threat to American democracy, basically putting "Putin on the ballot" in the words of the Washington Post.

Russia was the topic that attracted the most attention during all three presidential debates and the vice-presidential one, easily surpassing every other subject by a wide margin. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) was a distant second, while taxes brought up the third place.

Bad Guys

Catapulting the propaganda: US officials threaten Russia with cyber-terrorism

The US threat to launch cyber-attacks on Russia is an utterly irresponsible and reckless piece of news manipulation intended to help implant a false narrative of Russian meddling in the US election in order to get Hillary Clinton elected.

As might be expected of this, the most appalling Presidential election in the US's modern history, it is now ending with an ugly threat.

This is the threat by the US to "retaliate" against Russian attempts to "disrupt" the election by launching cyber-warfare attacks on "Russia's electric grid, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin's command systems".

Comment: Further reading: Will there be a "digital 9/11" by US Deep State if Trump is elected?

Bad Guys

"The Collapse of Pax Americana": Fort Russ interview with Eduard Popov

Eduard Popov, born in 1973 in Konstantinovka, Donetsk region, is a Rostov State University graduate with a PhD in history and philosophy. In 2008, he founded the Center for Ukrainian Studies of the Southern Federal University of Russia in Rostov-on-Don. From 2009-2013, he was the founding head of the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, an analytical institute of the Presidential Administration of Russia. In June 2014, Popov headed the establishment of the Representative Office of the Donetsk People's Republic in Rostov-on-Don. He has actively participated in humanitarian aid efforts in Donbass and has been a guest contributor to various Donbass media, such as the Lugansk-based Cossack Media Group. Popov has actively contributed to Fort Russ since June, 2016.
Fort Russ Special Editor Jafe Arnold: Dr. Popov, for nearly half a year already, you have regularly submitted your commentary on global events to Fort Russ. You've covered a number of topics ranging from European politics and the war in Donbass to the possibility of a Third World War breaking out over Syria and the future of Ukraine and Ukrainian nationalism. Before we begin discussing a number of related questions, what would you like to say to your readers at Fort Russ?


Lavrov's visit to Greece about energy security of Southeast Europe

One of the main issues on the agenda during Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Greece on 2-3 November is to discuss the prospects for energy cooperation between Moscow and Athens within the broader issue of Europe's energy security.

Greece is a key consumer of Russian gas, and gas supplies to the country are increasing. Between January and October 2016 alone, Gazprom's exports to Greece increased by 47.3 percent in annual terms. According to this indicator, the Greek energy market has become one of the fastest growing for Russia in the European Union, along with those of Britain, the Netherlands, Austria and Denmark. More generally, Gazprom's Russian gas supplies to non-CIS countries during the same period increased by 10 percent in annual terms, which further highlights the trend.


Serbia Obradovic: Outcome of US election unlikely to end US imperialist policy in Europe but EU may move closer to Russia on Trump win

© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
US imperialist ambitions and total control over political decisions in Europe are likely to remain after the US presidential elections regardless of who becomes the next president, a chairman of Serbia's right-wing Dveri party told Sputnik.

"It is hard to believe that the US foreign policy regarding European Union will change, if we have in mind that they have full control over political decisions in Europe. European nations see and feel that this is very wrong, but as long as the elites in EU are appointed in Washington, there is no future for Europe. I really hope that Donald Trump can end this cultural and political imperialism of United States, but I believe this scenario is very unlikely," Bosko Obradovic said.


PM Medvedev: Russia's goal in Syria is to ensure national security

© Dmitry Astakhov / Sputnik
Russia's primary aim is to enhance its own security by preventing jihadists from former Soviet republics fighting in Syria from returning to Russia and carrying out attacks there, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Israel's Channel 2 TV.

"You probably know that thousands of Russian citizens and individuals from other post-Soviet republics are fighting in Syria," Medvedev said in an interview with the Channel 2 ahead of his visit to Israel scheduled for next week.

"These completely brainwashed people return home as professional murderers and terrorists. And we don't want them to stage something similar in Russia after their Syrian stints expire," the prime minister said, explaining the reasons behind Russia's campaign in Syria.

"First of all, we want them to stay there," he said, adding that Russia already faced similar problems "in the context of the Caucasus war in the 1990s," referring to two wars Russia waged in Chechnya.

Comment: In an Assad interview we see the same things being said: Assad: Russia has no plans to interfere in Syria's internal affairs while weakening Daesh


Assad: Russia has no plans to interfere in Syria's internal affairs while weakening Daesh

© AP Photo/ SANA
Russia does not want to interfere in the Syrian internal policy and make Syria's President Bashar Assad a puppet leader, Assad said.

In September 2015, Russia started an aerial campaign in war-torn Syria authorized by the Syrian government to assist Damascus in the fight against extremists, most notably, Daesh terror group, which is outlawed in Russia and many other counties.

The move has been criticized by Washington, which heads an intentional coalition that also shells terrorists in Syria from air, but without either UN Security Council approval, or Damascus' consent.

"Of course we make the decisions. Russian military has been in Syria for six decades. Their policy rests on two things — morals and international law. Even if they have a point of view, they say: 'This is your country, you know more.' They never try to interfere because they don't want anything from us. They don't ask us to be a puppet president," Assad told The Sunday Times in an interview issued on Sunday.

Che Guevara

Duterte's anti-US rhetoric points to shift in foreign policy towards China and Russia

© REUTERS/ Kim Kyung-Hoon
Stung by the US State Department's decision to cancel the sale of 26,000 assault rifles for the Philippine police, the country's President Rodrigo Duterte called those responsible for the decision "monkeys" and "fools."

"Look at these monkeys, the 26,000 firearms we wanted to buy, they don't want to sell," Duterte said during a televised speech on Wednesday.

The Philippine leader never minces words when referring to US politicians. Earlier he called President Barack Obama "a son of a b*tch" and the US ambassador in Manila "an annoying homosexual."

In Washington, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that despite Duterte's swipe, the US remained committed to developing a good working relationship with the Philippines and its President.

The question is whether the Philippines and its President are equally committed to having good relations with Washington.

Bad Guys

Islamic terrorists and US Air Force launch campaign to 'retake' (defend) ISIS-held Raqqa

© Rodi Said / Reuters
US-backed Syrian rebels have launched a campaign to retake the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in the country. The assault is to begin within hours, with cover from the US Air Force.

The SDF said some 30,000 fighters are to take part in the operation.

The operation, called Angry Euphrates, was announced earlier on Sunday by commanders of the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, in a press conference in the Syrian town of Ain Issa. The commanders said the goal of the operation is to liberate Raqqa from terrorists.

Comment: Interesting name. Sounds like a dig against Turkey's Euphrates Shield operation.

The SDF is a rebel alliance formed in 2015 with the goal of battling Islamic State. The Syrian YPG Kurdish force, one of Syria's most powerful militias, is regarded as the backbone of the alliance.

Announcing their offensive, the SDF warned Raqqa residents to avoid areas where IS militants are known to be present. They also urged all civilians to move to territories liberated from IS.