US ready to ‘fight for justice’ in Syria without UN approval – Haley

US ready to ‘fight for justice’ in Syria without UN approval – Haley
The US does not consider itself constrained by the United Nations Security Council and might seek “justice” in Syria on its own terms, the US representative to the UN, Nikki Haley, has said. The US took similar action in Libya in 2011.

READ MORE: Russia vetoes ‘unbalanced’ US resolution on Syrian chemical weapons, but its draft fails

“With the unity of this council, or alone, unrestrained by Russia’s obstructionism, we will continue to fight for justice and accountability in Syria,” Haley said, blasting Russia’s vetoing of the draft resolution on the extension of the Syrian chemical weapons probe on Friday.

The draft, proposed by Japan, envisioned the “technical extension” of the probe for another 30 days. Explaining Russia’s decision to block the resolution, Russian UN envoy Vasily Nebenzya said that there is no sense in prolonging the mission if some glaring flaws in its work are not amended.

“There can be no other way after the JIM’s [the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism] leadership disgraced itself with its fictitious investigation into the sarin use incident in Khan Shaykhun and signed off on baseless accusations against Syria,”he said.

Haley went on to accuse Russia of showing no flexibility in negotiating the conditions of the probe, claiming that Moscow had only “dictated and demanded” while the US had “incorporated elements of the Russian draft” into its own in the hopes of reaching a consensus.

Russia vetoed the US draft on Thursday, with Nebenzya calling it “unbalanced” and solely designed to discredit Russia and its role in the Syrian settlement. Haley subsequently accused the Russian mission of ignoring the US delegation’s attempts to contact it before the vote.

READ MORE: ‘Full of systemic deficiencies’: Russia slams OPCW report on Idlib chemical attack at UNSC

Haley’s remarks on the impossibility of reaching the Russian mission provoked an angry reaction from Moscow, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov calling it “fake diplomacy.” Lavrov said that “it seems we are witnessing a new phenomenon in international relations, as now, apart from fake news, there is also fake diplomacy.”

The rival draft was co-sponsored by Russia and China, and “aimed at the extension and qualitative improvement” of the fact-finding mission, according to Nebenzya. However, it also failed, gaining the support of only four Security Council members.

While both Russia and the US used their veto powers on the respective resolutions, Haley accused Moscow of obstructing the work of the UNSC and its efforts to find “the truth.”

Russia has repeatedly criticized the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM)’s report on the chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun as being filled with “omissions, inconsistences and contradictions.” It also says it does not follow standard procedures for an impartial inquiry as it relies on questionable testimonies provided by rebels and NGOs, some of which are suspected of links to terrorists. In particular, it pointed to experts’ refusal to visit the site of the attack despite security guarantees.

In 2011, the US intervened in the region to curb the violence in the ongoing civil war in Libya. Under the pretext of a UN mandate to establish a no-fly zone in the country and save civilian lives, the US-led NATO coalition waged a full-fledged campaign that eventually resulted in the slaughter of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and multiple civilian deaths, the number of which varies from 72, according to Human Rights Watch, to more than 1,000 in unconfirmed reports. The country is still in tatters and the war involving tribes and militants is ongoing.

Despite the UN not giving the greenlight for a full-fledged campaign in Syria, US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed that the organization sanctioned action there, justifying it with the struggle against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. Damascus has repeatedly blasted the US for operating on Syrian territory without its consent and in violation of international law, and views the US presence as an invasion.

Courtesy: RT

ISIS car bomb kills 20, injures 30 at site for displaced families in eastern Syria – state media

ISIS car bomb kills 20, injures 30 at site for displaced families in eastern Syria – state media
Twenty people have been killed and 30 others injured by a car bomb planted by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) at a site for displaced families in eastern Syria, according to state media.

The blast occurred near the city of Deir ez-Zor, according to SANA state news agency. It took place near the al-Jafra area, which is controlled by the Syrian government. The People’s Protection Units (YPG) confirmed the incident on their Facebook page, calling it a “massacre.

Earlier this month, the Syrian Army announced the fight against IS in Syria was coming to a close, after the city of Abu Kamal – considered to be the last terrorist stronghold in the country – was liberated. The takeover of the area in eastern Syria close to the border with Iraq also prevented the militants from moving freely between the two countries.

READ MORE: Damascus vows to ‘deal with any illegal invader force’ to restore peace across Syria

However, strikes continue to target certain positions where terrorists gather. This month, Russian Air Force long-range bombers have carried out a number of successful missions in eastern Syria, destroying IS hideouts where armored vehicles and other military equipment were located.

URGENT: Russian long-range bombers & submarine launch ‘massive strike’ on  hideouts in Syria https://on.rt.com/8rcw 

 

Courtesy: RT

An overview of the tensions between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors

 November 9 at 1:38 PM

Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, left, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, first lady Melania Trump and President Trump in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May. (Saudi Press Agency/European Pressphoto Agency)

Earlier this week, buried in all of the other news that’s a constant feature of the modern world, there was an unusual pronouncement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Gulf-affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said Monday that the Lebanese government would be “dealt with as a government declaring war” on his country — raising the specter of a new armed conflict in the already tense region. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia suggested that Saudi citizens leave Lebanon.

It’s the latest point of tension between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, raising an important question: How serious is this tension?

To answer that question, we reached out to Tamara Wittes, senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings. Earlier this week, Wittes walked us through the web of international relationships surrounding the kingdom. We’ve broken it down by country.

Iran

This is the proper place to begin, it seems.

“Saudi Arabia’s greatest concern in the region is the rise and expansion of Iranian influence,” Wittes said. When asked about Saudi Arabia’s military actions in Yemen (which we’ll get to), she was more blunt. “Everything that Saudi Arabia is doing outside of its borders — and some of what it’s doing inside its borders — is about Iran,” she said.

The overarching tension worth remembering is that between the two major Muslim denominations, Sunni and Shiite (or Shia). Saudi Arabia is heavily Sunni. Iran is heavily Shiite.

“The Saudis [believe] that the Iranians are instigating dissent and activism in the Shia population of Saudi Arabia,” Wittes  said. “In the eastern province, the Saudis have been engaged in security operations in Qatif for a couple of yearsnow, trying to deal with regular unrest. How much of it is domestically generated and how much of it is Iranian-instigated, I don’t know. But the Saudis believe that it’s Iranian-instigated.”

Saudi Arabia is home to Mecca, the holy site to which Muslims are expected to journey at some point in their lives, a pilgrimage known as the hajj. That’s another point of tension.

“The Iranians constantly allege that the Saudis discriminate against or mistreat Shia pilgrims,” Wittes said. “Shia pilgrims have upset people when they’ve engaged in Shia rituals as part of the hajj and venerated certain sites that Shias venerate that Sunnis think are idol worship. So there’s that dispute as well.”

That’s the inside-the-borders tension. The outside-the-borders tension is largely about influence.

Lebanon

Bringing us to Lebanon.

It’s not necessarily right to say that Saudi Arabia and Lebanon have a tense relationship, Wittes said, given that Lebanon doesn’t have a unified foreign policy, since it doesn’t have a unitary government. That muddies the sense of brewing conflict between the two countries as independent states.

What this is about, she said, is Iran.

“Until a week ago, the prime minister of Lebanon was a close ally of Saudi Arabia,” Wittes said. That prime minister was Saad Hariri, son of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri. The younger Hariri resigned Saturday, meaning that Saudi Arabia lost an ally in a position of power in the country.

 Play Video 1:09
What to know about Saudi Arabia’s role in the resignation of the Lebanese PM
Lebanon was thrown into turmoil after the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri from Saudi Arabia. Here’s what you need to know. (Joyce Lee/The Washington Post)

“Iran has a major foothold in Lebanon through Hezbollah,” she said, referring to the Shiite political and military organization that the Trump administration recently warned was aiming to attack the United States. “For a long time, Saudi Arabia worked to balance Iran in Lebanon through its support” of the Hariris, she said.

“But over the course of the last several years,” Wittes said, “the Saudis kind of pulled back on engaging in Lebanon. They cut off aid for a period of time and basically left Lebanon without a government for two years and left [Saad] Hariri out in the cold.” Hariri then “cut a deal” with Hezbollah to return to power, she said, leading Saudi Arabia to ask him to resign.

“They pulled Hariri out of the government so they could say, ‘Look, this government is controlled by Hezbollah,’ ” she continued, “and now they want to pick a fight but they have no leverage.”

“They are raising tensions with Iran and Iran’s proxy in Lebanon,” she said, not really with Lebanon itself. Wittes described the claim of a state of war as “rhetorical.”

Yemen

Yemen has been a focus of U.S. military attention as a base of operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP. Earlier this year, Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens was killed during an operation in Yemen, one of the first raids of its kind during President Trump’s administration.

Saudi Arabia is also active in Yemen, leading a coalition of countries in the hopes of influencing the outcome of a civil war in the country initiated by a Shiite faction known as the Houthis. The coalition intervention has included airstrikes and ground troops, with hundreds of casualties on both sides. Last week, a missile fired from Yemen was intercepted as it neared an airport in Riyadh; shortly afterward, Saudi Arabia intensified its blockade of Yemeni ports.

Wittes said that Saudi Arabia’s interest is not in uprooting terrorists. It is, again, about Iran.

“The Saudi government has long dealt with a lot of political upheaval in Yemen on its southern border,” she said, “and AQAP has been in Yemen and has been a threat to the Saudi kingdom and to the United States, for sure. But what prompted the Saudi intervention was a sense that the Iranians were getting more deeply engaged supporting the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and they wanted to intervene to curtail and, if they could, push out that Iranian influence.”

And they are now stuck in a quagmire,” she said.

Qatar

Earlier this year, tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar spiked after quotes emerged in Qatari media that were attributed to the latter country’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani. Among other things, those quotes praised Hamas and called Iran “an Islamic power.” It later emerged that those quotes were probably fabricated, placed in Qatari media by hackers from the United Arab Emirates, according to U.S. intelligence. Despite that revelation, Saudi Arabia and its allies (including Egypt and the UAE) have engaged in a boycott of the country.

Again, though, the tensions run deeper than what happened this year.

“There is a long-standing family argument within the gulf Arab states, in which basically Qatar is on one side and the Saudis are on the other,” Wittes said. “The Iran component is that Qatar is among the gulf states that has maintained a relatively more open relationship with Iran.”

But in this case, Iran isn’t the main issue, she said. The main issues are, first, an effort by the Saudis to “impose discipline” on Tamim and, second, frustration with Qatar’s perceived support for the Muslim Brotherhood — which the Saudis and Emiratis see as threatening their power.

“The Qataris are on the side of the upstart movements that have played a role in popular uprisings and revolutions, and the Saudis and Emiratis are on the counterrevolution side,” she said. “That’s the big dispute there.”

Bahrain

Among the countries that experienced a popular uprising was the small nation of Bahrain. The islands of the Bahraini archipelago are mostly Shiite, but the nation is led by a Sunni monarchy. During the Arab Spring of 2011, there was an uprising, and it was Saudi forces that helped quell the unrest.

There are still “ongoing” tensions in the country, Wittes said.

Egypt

Part of the reason that Saudi Arabia has been particularly active of late, Wittes suggested, was that Egypt used to be a prominent counterweight to Iran in the region. It, too, is mostly Sunni, and about a fifth of Arabs are Egyptian. But unrest in that country has limited Egypt’s role in the region, and political developments there have put Saudi Arabia on edge.

“The Saudis were very upset by the fall of [President] Hosni Mubarak” during the Arab Spring, Wittes said. “They were very alarmed by the victory in the first free elections in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood and the elevation of a Brotherhood candidate to the presidency. They were very supportive of the coup that overthrew [Mohamed] Morsi and brought [Abdel Fatah] al-Sissi to power.” Sissi, she said, has strong ties to Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudis have sunk billions into keeping the Egyptian economy afloat and supporting Sissi,” she added.

Syria

The dominant military conflict in the region of late has been in Syria, where Iran again seeks to expand its influence.

“At the rhetorical level and at the level of private financing, a lot of money has flowed from Saudi Arabia to the opposition militias, Sunni militias fighting [President Bashar] al-Assad,” Wittes said. The revolution in Syria arose at the same time as the tension in Bahrain, prompting Saudi Arabia to highlight the Sunni-Shiite rift at play in the Syrian conflict. As the fight fragmented over time, with some groups aligning with terrorist groups and against one another, the country stepped back.

subscribe
The story must be told.
Your subscription supports journalism that matters.

Israel

One of the most interesting relationships is between Saudi Arabia and Israel. “I would say it’s sort of an alliance of interests,” Wittes said — with those interests relating, again, to Iran.

“The Saudis and the Israelis share a common enemy in Iran and a common sense of threat,” Wittes said. “They both see Iranian expansionism in the region and both see it as an existential problem for them.” That’s manifested in several ways,  including, recently, a quiet push by Israeli diplomats to bolster Saudi Arabia’s efforts in Lebanon.

1 \ I published on channel 10 a cable sent to Israeli diplomats asking to lobby for Saudis\Hariri &against Hezbollah http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=1272790&sid=126 

האיום האיראני: ישראל מיישרת קו עם סעודיה נגד מעורבות טהראן וחיזבאללה בלבנון

משרד החוץ שיגר מברק הנחיות לכל שגרירויות ישראל בו התבקשו לפעול נגד המעורבות של חיזבאללה ואיראן במערכת הפוליטית בלבנון

news.nana10.co.il

Saudi Arabia and Israel are also concerned about the decline of U.S. influence in the region, a feeling that they shared when Barack Obama was president and that continues with Trump in the White House. Both, she said, have an interest in bringing the U.S. back into a more prominent role.

Wittes’s explanations offered two common themes. The first is that the Saudi-Iranian relationship is the central undercurrent to most of the recent news. The second is that understanding the intricacies of Saudi politics demands a much more thorough background than most Americans possess.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

‘Islamic State’ car bomb kills dozens of civilians in Syria: monitor

Scores of displaced people from the latest fighting in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province have been killed in a car bombing. The blast follows the Syrian army’s recapture of the last major city held by the jihadists.

Syrien Krieg - Kämpfe in Deir ez-Zor (Getty Images/AFP)

Saturday evening’s blast struck refugees who had fled the fighting in the oil and gas-rich Syrian province and who had gathered on the east bank of the Euphrates River, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

At least 75 civilians were killed and many others and some 140 were injured, the monitor said. IS fighters detonated the car bomb at close range, the Observatory’s director Rami Abdel Rahman told news agencies.

Syria’s state news agency SANA later described the blast as a suicide car bombing.

Watch video01:07

Iraq and Syria take last major towns from ‘Islamic State’

The blast happened in an area between the Conoco and Jafra energy fields controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and close to the city of Deir el-Zour, which last week was captured by Syrian regime forces from the “Islamic State” (IS) armed group.

The largest city in eastern Syria, Deir el-Zour is a center for the country’s oil extracting industry.

Read more:US-backed SDF captures Syria’s largest oil field from ‘Islamic State’

Refugees still in danger

Save the Children estimates that 350,000 people have fled the recent fighting in Deir el-Zour.

“The situation in the city, and surrounding countryside, has been especially bleak with civilians trapped between the fighting and all too often caught in the crossfire,” explained Sonia Khush, the charity’s Syria director.

Karte Syrien Deir ez-Zor Englisch (DW)

The Observatory, which gets its information from a network of Syria-based activists, said civilians were stranded on an island on the Euphrates directly facing Deir el-Zour and where some jihadist pockets remained.

IS is facing an onslaught by both Syrian government troops and the SDF alliance for the few remaining areas it controls in eastern Syria.

Read more:‘Islamic State’ suffers major losses in Syria and Iraq

Having been driven from about 96 percent of territory they once captured in Syria and Iraq, the jihadists still control a small stretch inside the war-ravaged country and some desert regions along the Iraq-Syria border.

Last IS areas remain

After taking full charge of Deir el-Zour city, the Syrian army said IS militants were now isolated and encircled in the countryside east of the city.

Meanwhile, Kurdish-led SDF forces were reported to be making fresh gains further north in Deir el-Zour province.

Syrian regime forces, backed by intensive Russian air strikes, are now attempting to retake Abu Kamal, the last urban center controlled by the jihadi group in Syria, and close to the Iraqi border.

Last month, Syrian Kurd-led forces, allied with the US, captured Raqqa, once the de-facto capital of IS’ self-proclaimed caliphate in Syria.

Also on Saturday, reports suggested that US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart may discuss a settlement to the 6-year Syrian civil war in the next few days.

Russia’s RIA news agency said the talks could take place on the sidelines of the Asian economic summit in Vietnam.

Washington and Moscow remain on opposing sides in the conflict and ties remain frosty over allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election.

mm/bw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Courtesy: DW

Israel ready to go into Syria to ‘protect Druze village’

Israel ready to go into Syria to 'protect Druze village'
The Israeli military, which has been launching airstrikes against Syria, could be preparing to cross into its territory now. It says it’s ready to act to protect the Druze village of Hader, located on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, after a car bomb killed nine people and injured 23 others there.

“In recent hours we witness the intensifying of the fighting at the area of the Druze village of Hader in the Syrian part of the Golan Heights,” IDF (Israel Defense Force) spokesperson Ronen Manelis said in a statement, as quoted by The Jerusalem Post. “The IDF is prepared and ready to assist the residents of the village and prevent damage to or the capture of the village Hader out of commitment to the Druze population,” he added. Manelis did not specify any actions that could be taken by Israel, but denied any claims that Israel is involved in the fighting in Golan Heights, or is assisting jihadists there.

The move to publicly intervene in the Syrian civil war is an unusual one for Israel, which has maintained an official hands-off policy toward the conflict, only becoming involved when one of its “red lines” was violated. Such “red lines” include the violation of Israeli sovereignty through deliberate or accidental attacks, Iranian-backed militias taking positions on the Golan border, and attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah.

Israel has been launching airstrikes against various targets in Syria, usually saying it is either targeting “Hezbollah infrastructure”or responding to “stray projectiles” flying into Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. Israel’s latest target was a copper factory in the province of Homs, which prompted Damascus to turn to the UN and ask it to condemn Israel’s actions as supporting terrorism

The IDF statement came after a car bomb in Hader, situated some 4 km (2.5 miles) from the border, killed nine people and injured at least 23 others. Syrian news agency SANA reported that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front was responsible for the attack, adding that army units and pro-government militias clashed with those responsible following the incident. However, the Jewish Press reported that the Salafist jihadist group Tahrir al-Sham had claimed responsibility.

Al-Nusra Front had reportedly announced that it would be launching a campaign “to lift the siege on the villages in the Golan Heights and the Syrian Hermon” which are under the control of the Syrian government. However, it stated that it had no intention of harming residents of Hader or their property, nor “anyone else who does not intervene in the war.”

The Druze religion arose in the 11th century from a branch of Shia Islam known as Ismailism, and is considered heretical by jihadists. The Druze make up about 3 percent of Syria’s population of 22.5 million.

Courtesy: RT

‘Islamic State’ suffers major losses in Syria and Iraq

The Syrian army retook the city of Deir el-Zour from the “Islamic State,” on a day the militants also lost al-Qaim in Iraq. The twin blow means the jihadis have lost almost all their urban strongholds in Syria and Iraq.

Watch video01:05

Syrian troops regain control of ISIS-occupied oilfields

Syrian government forces have taken full control of the city of Deir el-Zour from the “Islamic State” (IS) militant group, Syrian state television said on Friday, confirming a report a day earlier by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“The city is completely liberated from terrorism,” the television report said.

Read more: Syria: What do key foreign powers want?

Karte Syrien Deir ez-Zor Englisch (DW)

“Regime forces and allied fighters … with Russian air support have full control of Deir el-Zour city,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said on Thursday.

A statement from the Syrian military also said the army was in full control of the city and was now removing booby traps and mines that the extremist group has left behind.

Strategic importance

Deir el-Zour is the capital of an oil-rich province of the same name and is the largest and most important city in eastern Syria.

It has been largely controlled by IS since 2014 except for one large pocket of government resistance.

The Syrian army reached the city in September, breaking a three-year siege by IS militants with the aid of Russian airstrikes and Iran-backed militia groups.

Key defeat

The city’s strategic importance to IS was due to its proximity to the Iraq border, where the group also controlled territory. Its recovery underscores the extent to which President Bashar al-Assad has re-established control over eastern Syria.

The city’s fall marks another key defeat for IS jihadis, who have in recent months lost most of the territory they seized in their 2014 advance across Syria and Iraq.

The regime offensive against the jihadi group has been waged largely on the western side of the Euphrates, which cuts diagonally across Deir el-Zour province.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by a US-led coalition, is waging a second, separate offensive against the jihadis in the east of the province.

Iraqi forces retake al-Qaim

Map of Iraq

The so-called caliphate was dealt another blow on Friday when Iraqi forces recaptured the district of al-Qaim in Iraq, one of the last towns held by the jihadis in the country.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi congratulated Iraqi forces and hailed the “liberation of al-Qaim in record time.”

Al-Qaim, about 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Baghdad in the Euphrates River Valley, sits along a key supply route used by the IS to move fighters and supplies between Syria and Iraq.

Having lost control of al-Qaim, IS fighters in Iraq now hold only the neighboring town of Rawa and surrounding pockets of barren desert along the Euphrates river.

Watch video02:07

US-backed Syrian militias liberate Raqqa from IS

ap, tj/rt (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

Courtesy: DW

New sanctions: ‘US won’t forgive Russia for foiling its plans in Syria, Ukraine’

New sanctions: 'US won’t forgive Russia for foiling its plans in Syria, Ukraine’
The latest US sanctions against Russia’s energy sector are absolutely a political matter, says journalist and political writer Dan Glazebrook. The US establishment went berserk about Russia disrupting its plans in Ukraine and Syria, he added.

The US government has stepped up sanctions on Russia’s energy sector over Moscow’s alleged interference in Ukraine. The latest measures, unveiled on Tuesday by the US Treasury, put extra restrictions on firms working with Russian oil companies. They focus specifically on deep water, Arctic, and shale projects.

The measures come at the same time as separate restrictions against Russia focus on social media. A US government department recently sent a letter to tech giants, warning of Russian meddling. The letter refers to alleged Russian support for US activists, campaigning against the North Dakota Pipeline.

Fitch: Nothing revolutionary about new US sanctions against Russia https://on.rt.com/8r5y 

‘Nothing revolutionary’ about new US sanctions against Russia – Fitch — RT Business News

Fitch Ratings sees nothing revolutionary in new sanctions against Moscow with Russian oil and gas companies able to keep on drilling abroad

rt.com

RT:  So Russia is being accused of helping environmental activists in the US, meddling in American politics, and also interfering in Ukraine. What do you make of all these allegations?

Dan Glazebrook: It’s interesting. My response to allegations the Russian government is supporting Native American land rights, anti-fracking campaigns is – if that is true, so what? More than so good for them. I think the majority of US citizens would probably agree. But nothing is proven so far.

It’s like so many things that are absolutely standard practice for Western countries – like giving military aid to their allies or using their state TV channels as a form of soft power, which British ministers boast regularly about with the BBC World Service. But the minute Russia starts doing these things the West starts screaming blue murder. And it’s the same here; if this is the case they call it similar to this idea of astroturfing, it is supposedly kind of fake grassroots like there is kind of a big organization, company, or government putting stuff out, that is purporting to be the grassroots, or whatever. But this is absolutely standard practice in the corporate world and the geopolitical world in the West, and has been for some time. If indeed the Russian government is belatedly catching on to these standard Western practices, and in doing so helping to find publicity for Native American land rights or environmental campaigns, I certainly don’t have a problem with that.

New US sanctions serve no purpose and complicate intl relations – Deputy FM https://on.rt.com/8r59 

US sanctions lead Moscow-Washington relations into dead end – snr Russian diplomat — RT Russian…

Russia’s deputy foreign minister says the new US sanctions were no surprise for Moscow. Sergey Ryabkov emphasized that any attempts to force Russia into changing its policies were doomed to failure…

rt.com

RT:  If we go back to the sanctions against Russia’s energy sector, which is a key part of the country’s economy, is this economic matter, or is it a political matter?

DG: It is absolutely political. Especially since the Syrian government victory in Aleppo at the end of last year, the neocon and liberal interventionist establishment have gone absolutely berserk about Russia. They were already berserk to a certain extent over foiling their plans in Ukraine and the Russian involvement in Syria, but with the Syrian government victory in Aleppo that really spelled the end, the utter defeat of the regime change policy of the West in Syria. And they have gone berserk, and they have not and will not forgive Russia for that. This all is emanating from that. This is punishment for Russia for refusing to allow the West to just continue with this regime juggernaut through Syria and on to Iran. That is what we’re seeing – all this clampdown over ‘Russian involvement’ in social media, sanctions in the oil industry…

US announced new  banning Americans from Arctic energy projects with  https://on.rt.com/8r47 

New US sanctions to bar Americans from Arctic offshore oil projects with Russia — RT World News

The US has announced new sanctions against Russian, banning Americans from Russian energy projects on deepwater, Arctic offshore or shale oil.

rt.com

RT: European countries, specifically Germany, have repeatedly voiced concerns about anti-Russia sanctions, which could harm their interests. Why are those warnings being ignored by Washington?

DG: There is another aspect to this, which is actually that the US campaign or I would call it economic warfare against Russia, is also ending up in Europe as well. It’s aimed at Europe as well – damaging the relationship between Russia and Europe. Certainly the events in Ukraine, the whipping up of the coup in Ukraine some years back by the US and Britain in particular, and then campaigning hard and campaigning effectively intimidating the EU into putting sanctions on Russia over Ukraine – this is an attempt to jeopardize German-Russian and EU-Russian relations. The US knows that any kind of Russian– European rapprochement could be a challenge and a threat to its ongoing hegemony and global domination. Europe understands that as well, and has been in some halfhearted ways trying to put up a little bit of resistance sometimes to the anti-Russian campaign here… There are aspects like that there and like the Iran deal, as well. That was a primarily European negotiated deal that primarily European companies were looking to invest in Iran, and so on. Now Trump is throwing all of that into disarray …

RT:  It’s been three years since the sanctions war started. Yet Russian economic growth revived this year, it’s now at around 2.5 percent. So has the US achieved anything by going down this path?

DG: I think that growth would have probably been a little higher without the sanctions… If we want to be very optimistic and look on the positive side, there is some evidence that sanctions on Iran have encouraged technological development, because it’s encouraged self-reliance and the ending of reliance on imports in various aspects of the technology sector in Iran. Possibly, the same sort of effects are happening and have happened in Russia. But I think the major part of that economic war that’s been waged against Russia is not so much the sanctions, but the oil price, which was manipulated by the Saudis, or US and British proxies – manipulated by them some years back. The primary victims of that have been Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. No coincidence that these are the three major regional powers – and in Russia’s case, potentially a world power – that are in the crosshairs of US and British imperialism. So this has been a major kind of underreported and often neglected part of the war against Russia…

Courtesy: RT

%d bloggers like this: