Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russian meddling report by GMF identifying 27 victim nations produces good MSM coverage and a Whitmore OpEd. Danish author Høvsgaard produces a book on Nordstream showing extensive political corruption and influence buying by Russian government agencies, across Germany and Scandinavia. Lithuania calls for “military Schengen” arrangement to streamline deployments and movements across the EU. Russia’s play with UN peacekeepers for Donbass may have backfired, with the deluge of critical commentary, including Stoltenberg, Vershbow, Bildt and Poroshenko, with good OpEds by Portnikov and Honcharov.
Multiple reports on Russia’s internal meltdown, with notable foci on fears of Chinese immigration in Siberia, Islamisation of Russia and Kadyrov’s role as a protected proxy yet catalyst, Muscovy’s fear of the Circassians, and repression of dissenters.
In Belarus reports of Lukashenko fearing Crimea-style military and security defections, Opposition complains about Zapad-2017, and celebrates the Muscovy defeat in the Battle of Orsha. Missing Ukrainian teenager located in Russian prison.
Putinist Pres Dodon in Moldova attempts to punish the military for ignoring his orders and attending the Rapid Trident exercise. It would appear Dodon is now President in title alone, ignored by the machinery of state.
Poroshenko’s “State of the Nation” address still filling the Kyiv MSM pages. Donbass fires continue. Poland to collaborate with Ukraine on defence industry programs. Applebaum’s Holodomor book reviewed, with some notable one liners: “Russia does not consider Ukraine as anything more than “Little Russia,” despite history and the fact that their languages are as different as French and Spanish” and “It is possible to hear the echo of Stalin’s fear of Ukraine—or rather his fear of unrest spreading from Ukraine to Russia—in the present too. The Russian FSB, successor of KGB, continues to demonize its opponents using propaganda and disinformation”.
Israeli CW strike in Syria well covered. UK Parliament report on Libya.
China lambasts and harrasses RoK over THAAD deployments. Critical analysis of oil embargo impact – it must be sustained for effect. Interesting analysis by Reuters on how toxic the relationship between Beijing and Pyongyang actually is – reflecting the realities of divergent agendas and interests, as well as divergent political cultures. To what extent is China’s current relationship with Pyongyang appeasement of exactly the same type as practiced in the West, concealed behind a facade of face saving platitudes? Much argument over what to do about the DPRK. WashPost speculates that the DPRK’s best nuclear game plan is to shoot first, although this does not change the inevitable outcome of a nuclear exchange. Politico looks at the problem of opacity, discussed previously – how much of what we see in the DPRK is real and how much a Potemkin village? RoK as a critical global single point of failure in the semiconductor industry. Three Ukrainian analysts look at the DPRK weapons programs and put the blame squarely on Russia for overtly and covertly supplying technology and other key assets.
Much on the German election, Russian meddling, and the spoiler effect of ethnic Russian diaspora in Germany voting for pro-Moscow fringe parties to punish Merkel for not yielding to the SDP and their Moscow masters. Turkey objects to US charges against Iran sanction busters.
Lieber and Press paper on nuclear counterforce strikes and deterrence is an good study of the current and future state of the game, where hardness and mobility do not provide the survivability they used to – the DPRK is used as a case study for a range of nuclear strike scenarios and counterforce strategies.
Most interesting US domestic reports involve Russian exploitation of social media for meddling in the election. This is real blowback for Moscow.
The Daily Vertical: The Kremlin’s Global Campaign Of Chaos (Transcript)They’ve done it from the Baltics to the Caucasus. They’ve done it from the Balkans to North America. They’ve done it from Belarus to Scandinavia. According to a new report by the Alliance for Securing Democracy of the German Marshall Fund, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has interfered politically in no less than 27 countries since 2004. They’ve launched cyberattacks in Estonia and Georgia. They’ve used disinformation campaigns in Lithuania, France, Germany, and Canada. And they’ve deployed organized crime groups in Spain. WATCH: Today’s Daily Vertical Now, we’ve long known, of course, that Russia has been doing all these things. But the new report from the German Marshall Fund gives us an idea of the scope and the scale of the Kremlin’s global campaign of chaos. Now, the Putin regime and its apologists say that Russia is just doing what everybody else does. All countries, after all, try to advance their interests and influence affairs abroad. Which is true enough, albeit misleading. Because what Putin’s Kremlin is doing is actually quite unique. It has unleashed a widespread effort to undermine, corrupt, and cripple the institutions of liberal democratic governance. No, everybody doesn’t do this. Only a regime that fears transparency, fears the rule of law, and fears accountable governance launches a campaign of mayhem like this. And in doing so, it reveals its underlying weakness. Because the Putin regime isn’t being threatened by anything the West is doing. It is threatened by what the West is.Russia political meddling alleged in 27 countries since 2004The meddling started in former Soviet republics allied with the West and spread to Western Europe and most recently to Canada and the United States.
Alleged Russian political meddling documented in 27 countries since 2004 | WKYC.comThe findings, provided to USA TODAY, show the meddling started in former Soviet republics allied with the West and spread to Western Europe. The Game Has Changed: Russian Interference and the Alliance for Securing Democracy | The German Marshall Fund of the United StatesGlobal democracy faces a new threat. The 2016 U.S. general election marked the first time in history that the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence expressed “high confidence” that Russia had interfered in a U.S. election on the orders of President Vladimir V. Putin. In this Leadership Perspectives call — exclusive to GMF’s Alumni Leadership Council members — Laura Rosenberger and Jamie Fly, founding partners of GMF’s Alliance for Securing Democracy, provide an executive summary of Russia’s disinformation campaign and share strategies to counteract Putin’s malevolence in the future.Jens Høvsgaard | Nord Stream promoted by KGB, Stasi’s former agents – journalistBackstage gambits done by ex- KGB and Stasi agents and connections between politics and big business – according to investigative journalist Jens Høvsgaard, this is what circumstances around construction of Nord Stream looked like, Poalnd’s Biznes Alert reports. Høvsgaard’s book „Spionerne der kom ind med varmen” (The Spies Who Came in with the Heat) takes readers behind the scenes in the political game of Nord Stream when permission for the first part of the controversial gas pipeline at the bottom of the Baltic Sea needed to be secured in 2010, the author told Biznes Alert. “I document how the Kremlin and Gazprom, with Putin and a number of former Stasi and KGB agents at the forefront, bribed and blackmailed decision makers and politicians as high-up as the prime ministerial level in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Denmark. It’s a nasty story!” Hovsgaard said. Matthias Warnig, the managing director of Nord Stream, is former Stasi-agent in GDR and undercover spy in then West Germany, the journalist claims, recalling that Vladimir Putin who is in full control of Gazprom is former KGB agent. “The two men are old friends and have a shared past as agents in Dresden during The Cold War. And when they needed to secure the permission for the Nord Stream pipeline back in 2009, they drew on former intelligence colleagues and used several tools available from the spy toolbox to put pressure on and blackmail politicians and civil servants in the affected countries,” the author said. “In general, former KGB intelligence officers, so called siloviki’s, have prominent positions in Putin’s Russia and Gazprom. Five out of six top executives in Gazprom are former KGB spies.” Speaking of currently preparation works for Nord Stream 2, the journalist says that “the world is not the same as in 2009.” “But Putin,s siloviki system is the same. It has not changed a bit since then. Still, Nord Stream and Gazprom use threats towards governments and generous donations to stakeholders to obtain permission to construct the new branch, Nord Stream 2. In a western objective, Putin and Russia in 2009 was a partner to be. Even if countries like Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states over and over again warned the rest of Europe about Putin’s and Russia’s willingness to use gas as a political weapon only a few western leaders paid attention.” Read also Gazprom, partners pledge $7.5 bln to Nord Stream-2 – media In his book, the author reveals leaked diplomatic cables and documents showing that the geopolitical consequences of allowing the Russian gas project was neglected in 2009. “For countries like Denmark, danish companies access to the Russian market was of higher priority than stability in Ukraine. Today the politicians know better, but how to say no thank you to Putin and Nord Stream now when you welcomed them in 2010? That’s the dilemma,” Hovsgaard said. Read also Russian gas transit via Ukraine deterrent against Moscow’s aggression – Naftogaz Former intelligence officers from Stasi and KGB, in cooperation with the former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who serves as chairman of the board of Nord Stream, have a direct pipeline to decision makers in both Denmark, Sweden, and Finland, according to the author. “Former Swedish prime minister Goeran Persson is now a well paid Nord Stream lobbyist, and the same is the former Finnish prime minister Pavoo Lipponen. As the first Nord Stream company, Nord Stream 2 is also registered in Zug in Schwitzerland and the management is also the same: Matthias Warnig is CEO and Gerhard Schrjeder chairman of the board,” the journalist said.Lithuania calls EU to set up “military Schengen area”08.09.17 15:15 – Lithuania has called on the EU to establish a sort of a military Schengen project to facilitate movement of military capacities across member countries. This was announced by Defense Ministry of Lithuania on Thursday, Censor.NET reports citing Delfi. The creation of a “military Schengen” was discussed at a meeting of defense ministers of the EU countries in Tallinn. The participants paid attention to the establishment of a permanent structured military cooperation (PESCO), MiceTimes of Asia reported. As stated by the Minister of defense of Lithuania Raimundas Karoblis, “military Schengen” will cover facilitation and investment in infrastructure. This project is supported by many states, and its implementation is important both for Europe and NATO. Read more: U.S. allies worried that Russia’s Zapad drills could be “Trojan horse,” – Gen. Hodges In turn, the European Commission proposes to establish a common defense Fund to Finance projects for the development of defense capacity. Until 2020 the EC plans to provide for the defense of around 500 million euros. German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen told reported in Vilnius that “it’s time to move forward to a European defense union, which is basically a ‘Schengen of defense’,” Reuters reported.Lithuania suggests EU should set up “military Schengen“ – EN.DELFIsite.title – Lithuania has suggested establishing a so-called military Schengen project within the European Union (EU) to facilitate movement of military capacities, the Defense Ministry said on Thursday.The Morning Vertical, September 8, 2017ON MY MIND They’ve been called pretext for mischief in the Baltics and Poland. They’ve been called a stealthy way to occupy Belarus. They’ve been called Kremlin saber-rattling, a message to the West, and a very expensive and noisy psyop. And they’ve been called routine military exercises that are nothing more than business as usual. But whatever you call them, the joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 military exercises that will begin next week seem to have everybody’s attention. On this week’s Power Vertical Podcast, we look ahead to next week’s massive war games, Russia’s largest since the end of the Cold War. Joining me will be co-host Mark Galeotti, a senior research fellow at the Czech Institute of International Relations, a visiting fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, and author of the blog In Moscow’s Shadows; and military analyst Michael Kofman, a research scientist at the CNA Corporation and a fellow at the Wilson Institute’s Kennan Institute. So be sure to tune in later today!Rasmussen, Vershbow urge UN to deploy peacekeepers in Donbas – 08.09.2017 14:08 — Ukrinform NewsFormer NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and former NATO Deputy Secretary General and U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow have called on the UN Security Council to agree a credible peacekeeping and stabilization force to help restore Ukraine's sovereignty.Carl Bildt | Putin’s new Ukraine gambit suggests a shift in the Kremlin – The Washington PostTime for the United States and European Union to call the Kremlin’s bluff.Putin’s new Ukraine gambit suggests a shift in the Kremlin – expertAs Russian President Vladimir Putin suddenly spoke of a UN peacekeeping mission in the conflict he is nursing with Ukraine in Donbas region, this suggests something has changed for the Kremlin because previously, Russia has been firmly against any UN involvement, not to mention international peacekeepers, according to an oped by Carl Bildt, Sweden’s former foreign minister, published by The Washington Post. “To be sure, the version of the peacekeeping mission Putin proposes is a distinct non-starter,” Bildt wrote for WP, explaining that the Russian leader wants a light force along the contact line between his proxy forces and the rest of Ukraine. That casts the conflict as an internal Ukraine affair, providing cover for Russia’s forces there as well as for its control of the international border. The expert suggests that almost neither of the members of the current UN Security Council would support Putin’s plan. Read also What Russian “peacekeepers” want Still, Putin’s stance is still an interesting change and opens up room for a debate about a real peacekeeping mission to implement the moribund Minsk peace agreement, which was supposed to resolve the conflict. The Kremlin is evidently deeply disturbed by reports that the Trump administration is seriously contemplating supplying Ukraine with modern defensive weapons, according to the expert, who says this would greatly complicate any future Russian option to strike Ukraine with its regular military forces, as it did in August 2014 and February 2015. “These types of military strikes are clearly seen by the Kremlin as key to its management of the conflict. Without this option, I suspect Putin would fear being on a slow slide toward losing Russia’s position in Ukraine entirely,” Bildt wrote. The expert believes Trump administration “should certainly go ahead with the arms supplies — why should Ukraine be denied the right to defend itself?” However, the United States and European Union should simultaneously take up the issue of peacekeeping, according to the author. “They should call Putin’s bluff and put on the table proposals for a robust peacekeeping mission to implement the Minsk agreement, which calls for elections in the occupied territories, the withdrawal of Russian forces and the return to Ukraine of control over its border,” Bildt wrote. “Nothing of this will be possible if the Kremlin isn’t interested in getting out of its deepening Ukraine quagmire, and I don’t think the Kremlin is there yet,” Carl Bildt says. “But we have just seen the first small sign of something moving. The West should take it up and press forward with genuine peacekeeping options.”Poroshenko: Peacekeepers Must Not Preserve ‘Russia’s Occupation’Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko says that the purpose of a proposed UN-mandated peacekeeping mission in war-torn eastern Ukrainian must be to foster peace, not to cement what he called &quo…Window on Eurasia — New Series: By Calling for UN Peacekeepers in the Donbass, Putin Hopes to Achieve Many Things but Not Peace, Portnikov SaysPaul Goble Staunton, September 6 – By calling for the introduction of UN peacekeepers in the Donbass, Vladimir Putin is pursuing a variety of goals foreign and domestic, Vitaly Portnikov says; but they do not include the restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty and peace in the region. Instead, this proposal like all of Putin’s in the past is intended to make that impossible. The Ukrainian commentator says that Putin is not interested in having UN peacekeepers make peace but rather to ensure that he will be able to continue his pursuit of plans to dominate Ukraine and prevent Kyiv from succeeding in focusing the attention of the international community on that fact (ru.espreso.tv/article/2017/09/06/myrotvorcy_po_putynsky). Already some in Moscow and the West are rushing to suggest that Putin by this proposal is changing course, Portnikov continues, but there is no reason for such hopes. Indeed, “a careful analysis of Putin’s declaration shows that [he] is interested” in maintaining Moscow’s control of the region and continuing to work to weaken Ukraine more generally. According to Portnikov, Putin’s insistence that UN peacekeepers could be introduced into the Donbass “only after a ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy arms. This is the first point of the Minsk Accords,” something Moscow could have done long ago but hasn’t made any moves in that direction. Putin hasn’t hastened to do so, the Ukrainian analyst says, because “the Kremlin understands precisely” that if those conditions are ever met, it would work to Ukraine’s advantage and thus would “clearly not be in Russian interests.” Moreover, Portnikov points out, “Putin wants the peacekeepers to appear exclusively along the line delimiting the occupied territories.” Put in more honest terms, he says, this represent a shifting forward into Ukraine of the Russian border and thus the UN soldiers would perform de facto the role of Russian border guards. Putin talks about restoring Ukrainian control over the Donbass, but with this proposal, he makes clear that he isn’t even prepared to talk about the beginning of such a period. “He wants to keep for himself a free hand in the Donbass – and to back that up with a decision by the UN Security Council.” And finally, Portnikov observes, the most important aspect of Putin’s proposal is what he says at its very end. The Kremlin leader says the UN peacekeepers can only be introduced if they enter into “direct contact” with Moscow’s puppet states, the so-called “people’s republics” of the DNR and LNR. Such recognition is what Putin has been seeking since he began his invasion of Ukraine because he wants to get that in order to give some substance to his otherwise insupportable claim that what is going on in the Donbass is “not an occupation but ‘an uprising’ or ‘a civil war.’” Ukraine and its Western supporters must never agree to that.Kostyantyn Honcharov | What Russian “peacekeepers” wantRussia’s hybrid aggression against Ukraine generates hybrid attempts on the part of the Kremlin to resolve this conflict. The whole world can already observe in Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria who “peacekeepers” are in Russian understanding. Does Ukraine need such "peacekeepers"? A rhetorical question, indeed… News 07 September from UNIAN.Insufferable expectations of peacekeepers in Donbas – Ukraine’s insufferable expectations of peacekeepers in Donbas – 112.internationalOSCE monitors or UN peacekeepers cannot return Donbas to Ukraine, they might only monitor the situation and prevent it from aggravationKuchma names condition for presence of UN peacekeepers in Donbas – 08.09.2017 15:45 — Ukrinform NewsUN peacekeepers should be deployed in the entire occupied territory of the Donbas, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has said. UAWire – Russia: Introduction of peacekeepers in Donbas must be coordinated with DPR and LPRAccording to the Kremlin, the DPR’s (Donetsk People’s Republic) and LPR’s (Luhansk People’s Republic) consent must be one of the conditions for …
Khrushchev’s son: Putin can turn into a new Brezhnev – Putin can turn into a new Brezhnev – 112.internationalFind out an exclusive interview with Khrushchev on Russia, Crimea, Maidan, Putin, and Stalin. Good evening, Mr. Khrushchev. I would like to say that you are not just Khrushchev’s son, but a well-known rocket scientist, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Hero of Socialist Labor, laureate of the Lenin Prize. For a long time you were with your father, took part in numerous visits, traveled the country. It was you who during the life of Nikita Sergeyevich edited his memories and forwarded them for publication abroad. Since 1991, you live in the US, teach at Brown University and are a professor. What would your father, who threatened to show America “kuzkina mother,” have said if say that you live in the US and have American citizenship? Khrushchev: Firstly, I am retired, I do not teach at the university anymore. I think, my father would not say anything, because I moved at a time when we had good relations. He did not force me to anything. I live in America, I am a patriot of Russia. By the way, I am patriot of Ukraine, too. And patriot of America.Window on Eurasia — New Series: Elites Getting a Taste Now of What Russia Without Putin Will be Like, Stanovaya SaysPaul Goble Staunton, September 7 – At the center of most Russian discussions today is the question “What will Russia be like after Putin?” Tatyana Stanovaya says. But in fact, she continues, “it is already possible today to observe a situation in which the president is ceasing to fulfill his traditional arbitrage functions” and thus to see what a Russia without Putin would be like. In a commentary for the Republic portal (republic.ru/posts/86235), the Moscow analyst says that during the last week alone, there have been three serious conflict situations in which Putin did not play the role of initiator and did not intervene to resolve them to the benefit of one of the sides. These include the situation around director Kirill Serebrennikov, Ramzan Kadyrov’s statements about Myanmar and his willingness to oppose Moscow if it didn’t oppose the mistreatment of the Muslims there, and the legal fight between Rosneft and Systema (kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55535) Many commentators concluded that “beginning in 2014,” Putin almost completely focused on foreign policy issues; but in 2016, he returned to domestic issues by engaging in a reordering of cadres to make governing simpler and less politicized for himself and “more self-administering.” In the recent cases, Stanovaya says, Putin’s removal of himself from conflicts within the system has become “still more expressed” with the Kremlin leader often acting as if he weren’t in any way involved, had a personal view about some of them, but was not going to resolve the situation by laying down the law. Stanovaya observes that it is clear that “conflicts within the system ever more often are arising without any participation by Putin,” a major change from the early years of his rule. “Each step them, each movement was under presidential control and resolved exclusively by him” down to the smallest detail. “Now,” she continues, “conflicts arise throughout the entire vertical as a rule at the initiative of the major players,” and Putin “not rarely” is hardly involved or even completely informed until very late. “Tensions arise without Putin and without his strategic interest,” and that means that the Russian system has changed in fundamental ways. In the three cases this week, Stanovaya continues, the Kremlin leader, on the one hand, “did not support either side of the conflict in public,” and on the other, “we do not see any manifestation of his own position or emotions” about the case. In this new situation, “initiators of conflicts have greater freedom, ‘the implementers’ have more opportunities for creativity … Each side now will act on the basis of its own assessment.” And that is because “Putin’s new role” means he has ceased to be “the arbiter-judge” and become instead an outside observer. In this way, Stanovaya argues, “the personal role of Putin is being devalued. Now, if people in masks come to you, one has to ask whether one should seek redress at Putin’s office or whether there is in fact any sense in seeking the defense of such ‘a guarantor’?” Indeed, it is becoming clear that “Putin is no longer giving anyone any guarantees.” Chances for getting his attention and support arise “only in those cases when the issue involves Putin’s agenda – and that is everything to do with geopolitics.” Otherwise, there is no certainty anymore. That of course is one of the reasons so many issues are discussed in terms of their geopolitical dimensions. “In the near term,” Stanovaya argues, “the number of intra-elite conflicts in Russia will grow rapidly,” with latent ones breaking out into loud public ones. Political struggles will take place in court cases and raids as the main “internal mechanism[s] of the resolution of conflicts without Putin.” That in turn means, she says, that “the significance of force, financial and administrative resources, of judges, procurators, and investigators will grow sharply” and Putin “in a short time may turn out to be not a demiurge but a boring figure in the background” whose attitudes will not determine outcomes. This is how, Stanovaya claims, already “under Putin, a post-Putin Russia is being born.”Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin’s Sexual References Reflect His Personality as well as His Understanding of Russians, a Psychiatrist SaysPaul Goble Staunton, September 6 – Vladimir Putin this year has sprinkled his public remarks with observations that have an erotic and sexual subtext, something that has prompted Moscow’s New Times magazine to ask Aleksandr Kantor, a Russian psycho-analyst, for his interpretation of what Putin’s comments mean (newtimes.ru/articles/detail/119158). According to Kantor, “Putin is speaking above all with his electorate, with Russia as he understands it,” a Russia only recently urbanized whose rural roots mean that sexual potency is taken as a measure of power more generally and a Russia where “tens of millions” have had experience with the camps and prisons where issues are often discussed in sexual terms. By making remarks with an erotic subtext, the psychoanalyst continues, Putin is “appealing to the fundamental motives of human existence,” in this case to what many call “the crocodile complex” in which the individual involved is concerned only about controlling his own territory and ensuring that no one can challenge him for food. Translated into the political realm, Kantor says, this means “control over territory and over human resources.” He adds that “sexual references in general are characteristic of struggle and competition,” and they thus reflect Putin’s own early life about which he says he had to struggle in the streets of St. Petersburg and even his aspirations to power in politics. Thus, Putin’s remarks of this kind both reflect his personal experience and character, his role in the political realm, and his view that Russia is increasingly archaic in its values. After all, the psychiatrist says, “sexuality is political and politics is sexual. Sexual in the sense that it is directed at certain fundamental motives of power and subordination.” Sexual references in this case not only do not embarrass anyone “but on the contrary, they inspire … because they confirm those qualities which people expect from a Savior and an Ideal Man – force of will, potency, brvery and so one, that is, qualities which really can save someone.” A cultural anthropologist, Kantor continues, “could compare our president with a shaman, capable of travelling in three worlds: the heavenly, the earthly, and the underground.” A savior “can only be a mythological person,” someone who like Putin “calmly deals with strong beasts, tigers, and leopards” thus underscoring his potency. For the Russian people, he says, no explanations are necessary: Putin shows by doing, and “in this by the way is the key distinction of mythology from myth: mythology is an explanation and an interpretation but myth is always an action, a living example which doesn’t have to operate according to logic.” In this case, Kantor explains, “the accent is not on the verbal but on the visual, on a certain action it which his force and power must be seen … The father of the people msut show his magic strength.” If he does and he succeeds, then people will make him a leader; if he does and fails, “they will kill him.” Of course, Putin in reality “works in all possible registers of power, charismatic, rational and traditional (given his having been in office a long time after being appointed to it). That last is critical because it suggests that what already was will continue or at least will not be worse than it was before. Kantor concludes his comments with the following observation: One Putin “innovation,” he says, is that “while preserving the customary [for Russia] style of an authoritarian leader, he in particular has avoided the anti-Semitic rhetoric that is so popular among the people and is characteristic for many leaders” in Russia.Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russian Fears about China’s Aspirations East of the Urals Again on the Rise
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Bears Major Responsibility for Rapid Re-Islamization of North Caucasus, Markedonov SaysPaul Goble Staunton, September 8 – Content with declarations of unquestioned loyalty by North Caucasian leaders, the Kremlin has failed to address developments in that restive region over the last 15 years that have led to its rapid re-Islamization and increasing integration into the Muslim world as a whole, Sergey Markedonov says. Thus, many were surprised by the outspoken reaction of Ramzan Kadyrov and other North Caucasians to the events in Myanmar, the Moscow specialist on the region says; but they should not have been and should not simply explain this development away by pointing to Kadyrov’s special status in the Putin system (carnegie.ru/commentary/72983). Instead, and despite both the improved security situation in the region over the last decade and Moscow’s focus on the Crimea, the Donbass and Syria, they should have recognized that this was going to happen and that Moscow, by failing to address several critical developments, was unintentionally contributing to this outcome. Indeed, since the end of the Soviet Union, the North Caucasus has been involved in foreign policy and over time, “despite not having its own representation in the United Nations, nonetheless has acquired a definite status as a foreign policy actor,” speaking out against anti-Muslim developments elsewhere and even helping Moscow to do so. But there are other factors at work as well, Markedonov says. On the one hand, Ramzan Kadyrov has gained experience in public policy and is quite prepared to articulate positions that not only reflect his own interests as a republic leader but “also the position of that part of Russian society which insists on a consistent anti-Western position.” That is something that many in Moscow may be quite pleased by and it is certainly one of the reasons Grozny has a far more independent status than any other non-Russian republic in Russia today. But on the other, the North Caucasus as a whole is changing, becoming more Islamic and more integrated into the Muslim world. Those developments, the Moscow analyst says, were highlighted by the fact that it wasn’t just Kadyrov and the Chechens who spoke out against the developments in Myanmar. Representatives from nations across the North Caucasus did as well, an indication of the growing sense there of being Muslim and part of the Islamic world. The importance of the religious identity of the peoples of the region is dramatically greater than it was two decades ago. There were various national movements at that time, “but almost nowhere did the religious factor play a significant role. The situation changed closer to the beginning of the 2000s,” and Moscow had a role by omission in that shift. Markedonov cites with approval the words of another Moscow specialist on the region, Akhmet Yarlykapov, who says that what has been taking place is “the ‘re-Islamization’” of the region, including parts of it – Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachayevo-Cherkesia, Adygeya, and Stavropol kray – in which the role of religion “traditionally was less.” “Islam,” Yarlypakov continues, “which is the most politicized world religion rapidly began to penetrate into the power structures” of the North Caucasus. “The most effective means of spreading influence on government structures became the establishment of informal contacts with the local elite.” This was most noticeable in Daghestan but it happened elsewhere as well. According to Markedonov, the rooting of religious identities “beginning with loyalty to the authorities and ending in extremist forms, took place not by itself but in the context of the decline of secular institutions – law enforcement organs and the court system – and the crisis of the state ideology.” As he notes, “having proclaimed many times the idea of ‘a non-ethnic political nation,’ in practice Moscow has done little for its realization. On the contrary, the center has placed its bets above all on loyalty and not devoted itself to the working out of a sensible relationship of secular and religious principles.” “As a result of such an approach,” he says, “there began a rapid reduction in the amount of secular discourse in the social-political, information and educational spheres. And this occurred at a time of a reduction of horizontal ties among those working in the humanities, the regionalization of historiography and the absence of a clear vision by the center of all-Russian historical-political priorities.” As a result, Markedonov says, “we have a new generation, integrated to a much greater degree in the Islamic world than its fathers and grandfathers were and reacting to events in it as its own.” This process takes many forms and contains contradictory elements, but it nonetheless sets the weather. The growing Islamic influence in the North Caucasus was reflected in the recent demonstrations that started out about Myanmar but quickly focused on other things. At the protest in front of the Myanmar embassy in Moscow, some participants shouted that “Buddhists are terrorists.” More worrisome, however, the Russian analyst suggests, is that some protesters in the North Caucasus put out messages on social networks suggesting that the Muslims of the region should take revenge on the Buddhists in Kalmykia, a republic that borders Daghestan and in which many Muslims live as well. Thus, he continues, “the situation in Myanmar and its reflection in the North Caucasus is not a problem confined to a single region of Russia. The North Caucasus republics are not a ghetto and not an ethnographic museum: they are a territory where problems which the entire country is experiencing are especially manifest.” “The awakening of Russia’s Muslims is a serious signal for Moscow,” Markedonov says. Unless the center becomes “an effective arbiter and mediator among various peoples and regions and clearly defines the rules of the game and the limits of the permissible,” it will not be in a position “to build a strong state.”Window on Eurasia — New Series: Moscow Views Return of Circassians from Abroad as ‘a Mortal Danger,’ Shmulyevich SaysPaul Goble Staunton, September 8 – Often observers look at the divisions among Circassians and even within the Circassian national movement and conclude that they are no threat to anyone, Avraam Shmulyevich says. But they forget that almost all national movements including the ones which have become successful have begun with such problems. But those more closely involved, including in the first instance the government and special services of the Russian Federation, the Israeli analyst says, are very much frightened by that prospect and have deployed many forces to disorganize and suppress Circassian activism wherever it manifests itself (afterempire.info/2017/09/07/circassian/). “The Circassians,” Shmulyevich continues, “are the only people for whom the Caucasus War has still not ended, the only people who not only seriously suffered in the course of this war but for whom the negative consequences of defeat are still important and more than that catastrophic.” Their “main problem is that 80 percent of the Circassians to this day are in exile and being subject to active assimilation,” but in addition, those who remain in “their historical motherland, the North Caucasus, “are divided among six administrative units” something that represents a barrier to their coming together. Moreover, “even in their own ‘national’ formations, the Circassians are deprived of the opportunity to freely develop their culture and define by themselves the path of their national development.” Moscow’s complaint that the Circassians talk “’too much’” about the past is baseless given that Russian forces expelled “more than 95 percent” of them. That action, along with the murderous campaign and discrimination the Russian state imposed before and after 1864, qualifies as a genocide. That is how most international legal scholars view it, and it is so much a part of the Circassian national identity that few Circassians feel the need to articulate it on a regular basis, Shmulyevich says. Moscow is not willing to discuss any of this. Nor is it willing to allow Circassians from the Middle East to return to the North Caucasus. The reason is simple, he says. “The arrival of tens and then hundreds of thousands of citizens with experience in more democratic states and having foreign citizenship and thus immunity … is a mortal threat to the Putin order.” But Moscow is not content just to keep the Circassians from returning. Because of its fears, the Kremlin has taken steps to completely control Circassian organizations inside the Russian Federation, groups that “imitate activity and try to distract young people from the main Circassian problem.” They have been largely successful in “’setting the tone’” in these groups. Today, however, Shmulyevich argues, “the situation is changing; and the meaninglessness of these organization has become evident to many Circassians. Circassian young people are coming to back the idea of the need for the creation of an international organization based on the principles of international law.” The Israeli scholar says that in his opinion, such an organization “will appear in the coming years.” In addition, he points out, “the Russian special services are devoting colossal efforts for the neutralization of the Circassian question. But they are not all-powerful. Even the powerful Soviet KGB was not in a position to control a multi-million-strong people; and its successors are weaker by an order of magnitude.” All these things mean, Shmulyevich concludes, that Circassian problems are only going to intensify. As one Circassian activist told him, he reports, “God alone knows how all this will end, but there isn’t going to be any peace in the Caucasus.” And that is something that many in Moscow already have many reasons to fear.Tatarstan Steps Up Defense Of Tatar Language In SchoolsKAZAN, Russia — Officials in Tatarstan are pushing back against calls to abandon teaching of the Tatar language in the Russian region's schools following comments by President Vladimir Puti…Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Reportedly Planning to Radically Cut Number of Federal Subjects After the ElectionPaul Goble Staunton, September 7 – Vladimir Putin is already planning to reduce the number of federal subjects after the elections next year in a process that will go far beyond his actions in 2007-2008 when the number fell from 89 to 83 through the amalgamation of the so-called “matryoshka” subjects and likely will take place over the six years of his new term. That prediction is contained in a post on the Telegram site Metodichka by an anonymous commentator who appears to have good access given the level of detail he offers. (For a screenshot of the original article which has not yet been posted elsewhere, see Metodicka20170907.JPG). According to the report, the reforms are to begin in the Volga Federal District under the direction of Mikhail Babich who is close to Kremlin aide Sergey Kiriyenko and will involve the future of republics and territories into new units based “not on a national-territorial division” but on economic questions alone. In the Middle Volga, that will touch off a serious struggle “among the three main aspirants” to head the new entity there: Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and Samara. And “everyone understands [already] that the new status of the region, equal among equals” will have serious consequences for resources and for “the growing political ambitions of local elites.” According to the Metodichka report, “a struggle behind the scenes has already begun” with emissaries from existing entities visiting Babich and Kiriyenko to lobby for their interests. Some hope that Tatarstan will come out the winner and that this possibility will serve as “a worthy compensation to the region for the failure to extend the bilateral treaty” with Moscow. But if that is the case, the report continues, Kazan will have to pay a high price: it will have to give up its “expressed national ideology” and the policies that flow from it. Tatarstan would be the most natural nucleus for such a new entity, but the issue is whether it can take the ideological steps Moscow would require to allow it to remain such. This report is intriguing for many reasons. Three stand out. First of all, it may be nothing more than a way to keep Kazan in line now that Moscow has failed to extend the power-sharing accord. After all, any dramatic action to try to get such an agreement would mean that the Tatar leadership would be excluded from that of any new entity. Second, it may be an effort to keep other Russian regions and Russian nationalists happy for the duration of the election campaign. After all, Putin has been promising for a decade to reduce the number of federal subjects by combining non-Russian with Russian ones and has not delivered. This could be a signal that he at least plans to do so in his next term. And third, given the difficulties of combining regions and the growing resistance even in places where it has already happened, this suggestion may be designed to kill of the possibility by forcing someone near the center of power to disown the Metodichka report and to say that nothing of the kind is really on the table. That third possibility may seem unlikely, but it should not be written off. If the leaders of the regions and especially the non-Russian republics believe they are threatened with losing their jobs and their fiefdoms in the future, they may be far less willing to deliver for Putin than many now are. Indeed, if many of them conclude that Putin really does want to redraw the borders of the federal subjects in a radical way, that could change the political dynamic of the campaign, transforming what has been a minor issue in recent years into a central one for the campaign – and making it something where Putin has more to lose than he may now imagine.Why Myanmar Has Inflamed the Russian Caucasus (Op-ed)The North Caucasus’ reaction to the situation in Myanmar is not an isolated phenomenon among Russia’s regions. These republics are not a ghetto or ethnographic reserve, but a territory where the problems and concerns of the entire country are especially pronounced. It is impossible to build a strong state if Moscow does not become an effective arbiter and mediator between the country’s diverse peoples and regions, and set clear ground rules of what is, and is not permissible. Russian officials have yet to clearly enunciate the risks inherent in the Southeast Asian conflict, its connection to Russia as a whole or in part, or the nature of Russia’s interests in the matter. That silence creates a vacuum that other ideologies quickly fill. The specter of Myanmar in the Russian Caucasus serves as a reminder that Moscow, in addition to bickering with Washington and Brussels, need to start paying attention to domestic political problems. Such a focus needs to be meaningful, and not only part of an election campaign or a tally of votes on the president’s annual live call-in show.Window on Eurasia — New Series: Muscovites Live on Average 12 Years Longer than Russians Beyond the Ring Road, Mirkin SaysPaul Goble Staunton, September 7 – “The greatest social inequality [in Russia today] is between the capital and the regions,” not only in terms of income, medical care, and opportunities but in terms of life expectancy, IMEMO economist Yakov Mirkin says. On average today, Muscovites live 12 years longer than do those in the regions and republics. Pay and opportunities in many regions outside the cities are now so low, he continues, that most people can do little more than go to work and then garden at home to make ends meet, a situation that lands them in despair, a despair which “give rise to a lack of desire to escape and even to a lack of trust in that possibility” (if24.ru/yakov-mirkin-borba-neravenstvo/). As a result, people are kept at a level of illiteracy in all respects, “a deficit of knowledge. Sometimes it even seems,” the economist continues, that “we have begun to move in the direction of archaic forms of life, when people are satisfied with what they have to eat and wear and watch on television.” Such people may be easier to control, but their existence in massive numbers prevents the country from developing and means that Russia will fall further and further behind other countries, almost all of whom display a greater aptitude for progress and a significantly small gap between rich and poor. But addressing that problem in Russia’s case will be extremely difficult because it will require a reordering of the entire political system, one that allows the regions and republics greater flexibility and ends the hyper-centralization of Russian life that has been true under tsars, commissars, and nominal democrats.Russia Investigates Extremism Watchdog Under ‘Undesirable’ LawRussian authorities are investigating Sova Center, a respected research organization that tracks hate crimes and extremist movements in Russia, in connection with a controversial law on &ldqu…Imprisoned Russian Activist Facing Abuse Behind Bars, Mother SaysAn activist who is serving time over Internet posts criticizing Russia's actions in Ukraine is being mistreated in prison, her mother says. Darya Polyudova's mother, Tatyana Polyudov…Last Convicted ‘Bolotnaya’ Protester Leaves Russia For U.S., Lawyer SaysThe last Russian activist imprisoned following clashes at a protest on the eve of President Vladimir Putin's inauguration in 2012 has left the country after serving his 30-month sentence. Th…Moscow Authorities Declare Plaque Honoring Nemtsov IllegalMoscow authorities say a plaque honoring slain opposition politician Boris Nemtsov placed on the apartment block where he lived is illegal. An official from Moscow's Department of Cultura…Local Elections: Boring And Predictable, Until They Aren’tThey're dull and boring — until they get interesting. They're stage-managed and predictable — until they surprise you. Local and regional elections in Russia, like the ones being hel…
Window on Eurasia — New Series: Is Lukashenka Worried about the Loyalty of the Belarusian Siloviki?Paul Goble Staunton, September 6 – Less than two weeks from when a joint Russian-Belarusian military exercise is scheduled to begin, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka reportedly raised the salaries and benefits of the officers in the siloviki, the kind of thing a leader concerned about their loyalty might do. And that there is a basis for Lukashenka’s apparent concern is suggested by one opposition figure who suggests that “in the army of Belarus, pro-Putin and anti-Lukashenka attitudes rule,” a situation that if true might make it even more likely that Moscow could use the Zapad 2017 exercise as cover for regime change in its western neighbor. Over the last week, Lukashenka has increased salaries, pensioners, and benefits for the military and the police by as much as 40 percent, a move that means the recipients will have an additional reason for loyalty to him since the increases will bring their standard of living close to Russian counterparts (ttp://belsat.eu/ru/in-focus/lukashenko-podnyal-silovikam-zarplaty-na-40/). These moves, Belsat reports, have not been trumpeted on the government’s website lest such reports offend the hard-pressed Belarusian population for whom Lukashenka seems less concerned and whose attitude the Belarusian leader may believe is less critical to his survival than the feelings of the siloviki. Meanwhile, Nikolay Statkevich, a leader of the Belarusian opposition, says that “for the Belarusian army, the Russian president [Putin] is more authoritative than his Belarusian colleague [Lukashenka]” and that such a balance of attitudes makes the upcoming exercise even more dangerous than it otherwise might be (profi-forex.org/novosti-mira/entry1008310184.html). On the one hand, if this is the case, it would make a Russian coup against Lukashenka easier if Moscow could count on the disloyalty to the Belarusian leader by Belarusian siloviki. And on the other, it could mean that Belarusian siloviki might work with Russian forces to help them create the basis for a subsequent Russian occupation of the country.Operation under Cover of “West-2017” – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – MinskMilitary exercises in Belarus are a starting point. Foreign troops enter Belarus. Everything is almost good – joint exercises. Combat brotherhood and so on. Everyone knows that a subtle enemy is at the gates. And we are in the same trench again. Well, allies. More precisely, the elder brother and the younger one does temp work. Together they are strong. And a set of cars runs on rails. There are tanks, self-propelled artillery vehicles, staff cars on platforms. It looks like a war is waging somewhere. Right here, very close. They drive without having a rest towards the frontline. Military echelons go on and on. And this insanity has been lasting for more than six months. How many troops are sent in? How many of them are sent back to Russia? It does not seem that somebody counted them. Or intended to do it. What for? It’s an order, no questions. And activist Natallia Horyachka was detained on the forest road near Barysau. She wanted to see her son who served there in the army. Russian military detained her. And people in plain clothes took her away. They refused to introduce themselves or at least answer usual questions. As it should be, the detainee was accompanied by a Russian foul language along the way. The exercises have not yet begun, but martinetism and lawlessness were growing every minute. They were quick to recall the Belarusians about the life in occupation. To make people understand who is the master here. It seems that ordinary exercises have never caused such an information boom. It has its reason. The Russian side is as outraged as the devil. Why did the Western press suddenly raise hell about innocent and planned exercises? And prominent politicians are here. Military men got concerned. The commander of American troops in Europe, General Ben Hodges, plainly characterized intentions of those who conceived such odious in the current conditions of maneuvers: “This is the Trojan horse. They say: we just carry out exercises. And then suddenly they will send in all these people in the other direction.” There are plenty of such directions today. The Baltic countries are worried about the security of their borders. They have enough of such experience. Southern neighbors have the same concerns. Ukraine has sufficient grounds not to perceive the redeployment of Putin’s soldiers as a purely transport problem. And whether it is accidental that voices of anxious neighbors provoke such a wave of righteous anger among the Kremlin rulers. Many of them were resented about unreasonable reproaches and more than strange conjectures. Lieutenant General Fomin, Deputy Minister of Defence in Russia, was the last to say: “None of these looking glass versions has anything to do with the reality. It has already been repeatedly confirmed by officials of both the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.” A strong argument! He is right: it’s no good to pick on these ordinary and completely transparent exercises. There is no scheme. Who has come up with the idea to suspect the true supporters of a sustainable peace and defenders of all the weak and the offended in the confrontation with Europe? It’s far from the breakthrough in Ukraine or Anschluss of Belarus! It is said clearly that only three thousand military took part in the exercises on the Russian side. The usual meeting of brothers in arms. They will take exercises on training areas and analyse them. Then they have a drink as soldiers always do. And come back home. No matter how generals swear that there is no dirty trick, peaceful moods are not yet foreseeable. Everything here is shrouded in darkness and fog. Announced figures do not meet. The story doesn’t hold water. And then other staff officer eagerly and suddenly chattered: the exercises will take place on a vast territory – from the Kola Peninsula to the Kaliningrad region. Indeed, an unprecedented movement of Russian troops was noticed in August. The ruler is right: Russia won’t leave Belarus. And it is not because of defense-based reasons. Our eastern neighbor desperately needs this land as a platform, an eternal battlefield between the West and the East, to send in troops in Europe. And the Kremlin successfully entrapped the sham generalissimo and his inner circle is almost convinced that the special operation under the compulsion to unconditional friendship will be executed easily without incidents. Anschluss will be so smooth that no one will notice the moment of seizure. Are there any doubts? The border is open. The power that is ready to destroy its own citizens even for a passive resistance to the Russian aggression. But the main thing is the fragile sovereignty that is being sold for pennies. Everyone knows that the regime misses foreign currency. No one wants to give loans. And every year the service of the public debt requires billions. And Russia suddenly give the ruler the loan of $700 million. What is the reason for such a sudden generosity? It’s simplicity itself! Last summer Russian Duma ratified the agreement on joint defense of the airspace of Belarus without a problem. And this is a real possibility of legitimate penetration into the country. the Belarusians no longer own their skies. More precisely, it belongs not only to them. And who will defend someone’s airspace, if there is a foreign territory below. There are no doubts that only little time left for a joint protection of the western border. Everything’s clear with this regime. But why do Belarusians need this more than a strange defense on the part of impudent and lawless green men who behave unpredictably -they drive through Brest or suddenly break into a Vitsebsk tram with a weapon in their hands? Has the life become better for anyone when Russian troops exercised here a nuclear strike on Warsaw, a breakthrough to the Suwalk corridor or landing of transport aircraft on the highway near Minsk? Does anyone still believe that such tricks do not bear consequences? Joint exercises are the term for all kinds of suckers, ours and foreign ones. In fact, this is an ordinary special operation. As well as all previous maneuvers. After each next appearance of these people in green our sovereignty is getting smaller. Local army is out of question; it surely stoops to the level of the Belarusian military district. No one has still voiced his dissatisfaction with it. And the Russian troops continue to arrive. They spread all over Belarus. Not green recruits but selective parts experienced in flash points. They know what they are expected from on these supposedly maneuvers. And the tainted story of a scandalous detention of the Belarusian soldier’s mother no longer looks just an annoying incident. There is nothing accidental. This marks the beginning. This is a starting point. If the action was conducted by the locals, no one would be surprised. It’s normal to grab a person or even condemn for nothing. But the detention of the Belarusian citizen was carried out by soldiers of a foreign army. And this is a completely different story. It has not happened since the war. No matter where a person is detained – in a forest, on a field road or in the city center – this is the return to the story we have already lived through. Strangers dominate here again. It does not matter the occupation comes from: the west, the east, or Mars. It is still desperate and disgusting to the limit. When such times come, it means that one needs to defend his home and his country. And not to miss the moment before it’s too late. Uladzimir Khalip for Charter97.orgThe White-Red-White Flag dedicated to the Victory near Orsha Unfurled in Minsk – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – MinskHundreds of drivers witnessed the symbol of the Belarusian military glory.Vadzim Kabanchuk: We Are Fighting For Belarus To Be Free – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – MinskBelarusian volunteers in Ukraine are the successors of Lithuanian warriors.Legendary Miron Put Up White-Red-White Flag Over Battlefield Near Vorsha – Charter’97 :: News from Belarus – Belarusian News – Republic of Belarus – MinskThe national hero of underground resistance called on the Belarusians to fight for the independence of their country.Father, FSB Confirm Missing Ukrainian Teen Being Held In RussiaA Ukrainian teenager whose disappearance in Belarus has triggered claims of a Moscow-orchestrated kidnapping is being held in a detention center in Russia, his father and Russia'…Pavlo Gryb lost in Belarus is found at Krasnodar prison – Pavlo Gryb lost in Belarus is found at Krasnodar prison – 112.internationalPavlo Gryb lost in Belarus is found at Krasnodar prisonUkraine’s Foreign Ministry asks to let consuls to Ukrainian prisoner in Russia – Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry asks to let consuls to Ukrainian prisoner in Russia – 112.internationalUkraine accused Russia of violating international law
Moldovan militaries arrive in Ukraine for Rapid Trident despite Dodon prohibition – Moldovan soldiers arrive in Ukraine for Rapid Trident despite Dodon prohibition – 112.internationalMoldovan militaries arrive in Ukraine for Rapid Trident despite Dodon prohibition. The militaries from Moldova arrived at the Rapid Trident-2017 military drills in Lviv region despite the prohibition of the Moldovan President Igor Dodon. The manager of the press service of the drill Anton Myronovych reported this at Facebook. ‘The militaries of the Armed Forced of the Republic of Moldova who take part in the Rapid Trident-2017 drills successfully arrived at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Lviv region’, Myronovych wrote. Earlier, the Moldovan Government approved the decision that allows the militaries to participate in the drills. The President of Moldova Igor Dodon prohibited the militaries to take part in the Rapid Trident-2017 drills in Ukraine. He stopped the work of the governmental resolution, insisting that the decision of the participation of the army in the drills beyond the country should be made by the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces that is a president. However, the Prime Minister Pavel Filip urged the parliamentarians to find the way to send the Moldovan contingent to the drills as NewsMaker reported. According to him, the undrilled army is not wanted by anyone’. ‘The visit for drills to Ukraine was canceled. Five visits were canceled the same way before. I think there are no grounds for such decision’, Filip claimed. According to him, if the 80% of the participation in the drills is paid by the partners and organizers that the refusal to take part in the drills already costs about 280 000 of dollars for Moldova. The Prime Minister insisted to put the issue of the participation of the militaries in the drills to the order of the day. Dodon ordered to check the military units of the National Army of Moldova due to the dispatch of the militaries to the international Rapid Trident-2017 military drills.Dodon orders to check Moldovan military units due to participation of militaries in Rapid Trident – Dodon orders to check Moldovan military units due to participation of militaries in Rapid Trident – 112.internationalDodon orders to check Moldovan military units due to participation of militaries in Rapid TridentDodon wants to punish servicemen for participating in Ukraine drills despite his veto – 07.09.2017 16:45 — Ukrinform NewsMoldovan President Igor Dodon has signed a decree suspending the government's decision to send a military contingent of the National Army for the Rapid Trident 2017 exercises in Ukraine. At the same time, he promised to lower the ranks of servicemen who left for the exercises, presidential press secretary Ion Ceban wrote on Facebook. “The government’s decision to send Moldovan soldiers to the exercises in Ukraine was suspended by a presidential decree. The president also ordered checks in the military units of the National Army to find out who is absent and present among the military so as to make a decision subsequently, in accordance with the law, up to the lowering of the responsible persons in their ranks,” he wrote. As Ukrinform reported, the Rapid Trident 2017 international military exercises, which are taking place at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center in Yavoriv, Lviv region, from September 7 to September 23, are attended by soldiers of the 22nd Peacekeeping Battalion and the First Infantry Brigade of the National Army of Moldova (57 people). The decision on participation in the 2017 exercises was taken by the Moldovan government on Wednesday, September 6, despite the president’s ban. Dodon said on September 6 that he had suspended the government decision, being guided by the constitutional powers of the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces. Experts in the field of constitutional law, in turn, emphasize that the president’s decision to suspend the government’s decision is unenforceable, as the dispute between the government and the president can only be settled by a decision of the Constitutional Court.
I believe in optimistic scenario for the country – successful European Ukraine of successful Ukrainians, – President Poroshenko’s state-of-the-nation address. VIDEO (in Ukrainian)08.09.17 10:44 – I believe in optimistic scenario for the country – successful European Ukraine of successful Ukrainians, – President Poroshenko’s state-of-the-nation address. VIDEO (in Ukrainian) On Sept. 7, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has delivered his annual state-of-the-nation address to the Verkhovna Rada. View video news.Ukraine fears Russia will use exercises next week to invade – BBC NewsPresident Poroshenko says Russian army exercises may be a prelude to invasion.U.S. is unlikely to protect Ukraine against Russia, – Hudson Institute expert – U.S. is unlikely to protect Ukraine against Russia, – Hudson Institute expert – 112.internationalRichard Weitz one of the U.S. leading defense expert says Ukraine is not likely to receive lethal weapons as “Trump has a thing for Putin”Militants launched 35 attacks on Ukrainian troops in Donbas in last day – 08.09.2017 09:36 — Ukrinform NewsMilitants launched 35 attacks on positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in ATO area in Donbas over the past day. One Ukrainian serviceman was killed.Ukraine reports 25 enemy attacks, 1 KIA in last day | UNIANRussia's hybrid military forces attacked Ukrainian army positions in Donbas 25 times in the past 24 hours, with one Ukrainian soldier reported as killed in action (KIA), according to the press service of the Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) Headquarters. News 08 September from UNIAN.51 tanks, 38 howitzers, and four anti-aircraft missile system: OSCE reveals location of military hardware of terrorists in Donbas08.09.17 13:06 – 51 tanks, 38 howitzers, and four anti-aircraft missile system: OSCE reveals location of military hardware of terrorists in Donbas Observers of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of OSCE have recorded 51 tanks on the shooting ranges next to occupied Luhansk and Donetsk. View news.25,000 people sign contracts with armed forces – 08.09.2017 13:00 — Ukrinform NewsA total of 25,000 people have signed contracts for military service in the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the beginning of the year, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.Knife fight in Kyiv: Donbas conflict veteran stands alone against 12 supporters of DNR, the Russian militants in Donbas – Knife fight in Kyiv: Donbas conflict veteran against 12 supporters of DNR militants – 112.internationalKnife fight in Kyiv: Donbas conflict veteran stands alone against 12 supporters of DNR, the Russian militants in Donbas. eng рус укр news analytics video archives UKRAINE CRISIS POLITICS FINANCE UA & EU SOCIETY SPORT RUSSIA #ATO #Poroshenko #UN peacekeepers #UNGA #corruption #Yanukovych #Ukraine: bird’s eye view Knife fight in Kyiv: Donbas conflict veteran against 12 supporters of DNR militants 11:31, 8 September 2017 breaking news x Knife fight in Kyiv: Donbas conflict veteran against 12 supporters of DNR militants The incident took place at about 4.30 a.m. Friday 11:31, 8 September 2017 Open source A fight between two men turned into a brutal showdown, which ended up in knife wounds for a policeman. According to Kyiv Operatyvny outlet, the incident occurred at Mechnykova street in Kyiv on Friday morning. The conflict kicked off when a former fighter of Ukrainian government forces in Donbas heard another man loudly praising Russia-backed militants. The two men took it to the yard; after a brief conversation, the supporter of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic called his sidekicks. They attacked the Donbas veteran who suffered blunt-force trauma to the head; he defended himself with a knife, as ‘the forces were unequal – twelve on one’, Kyiv Operatyvny wrote. The police patrol arrived at the scene. The knife wielder – drunk, like the rest of the fighters – resisted arrest and wounded a policeman. All thirteen were detained and taken to police precinct.UAWire – Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom to help bring Poland’s T-72 tanks up to NATO standardsThe state-owned concern Ukroboronprom plans to be involved in the program to upgrade the T-72 tanks in the Polish Armed Forces so that they …Poland interested in cooperation with Ukraine in defense industry – 08.09.2017 15:36 — Ukrinform NewsWarsaw is interested in cooperation with Kyiv in the defense industry complex. The parties are already developing or are planning to develop a number of bilateral projects.UKRAINE-POLAND MILITARY TECHNOLOGY COOPERATION – WITH A SURE FOOTING25th MSPO stsarted in Kielce (Poland) and is held from 5 to 8 September, 2017. The year that has passed since the MSPO 2016 and Weapons & Security 2016 exhibitions in respectively Poland and Ukraine was quite tense and busy year in defense-industrial production and technology development cooperation between Ukraine and Poland. Over that time, there has been much talk about bilateral defense-industrial cooperation, and the prospects of achieving synergy through partnership have become even more tempting. Active Negotiations Issues of Ukrainian-Polish cooperation in the security and defense realms were high on the agenda of lots of related events held since then. Ukraine-Poland defense-industrial cooperation prospects came under discussion at platforms such as the 10th Europe-Ukraine Forum at Rzeszow, Poland (January 27-28, 2017), the Industrial Defense and Energy Summit – Europe Meets Ukraine – 2017 at Warsaw (April 20, 2017), the Ukrainian Defense and Security Forum at Kyiv (April 27, 2017); and Seminar on Ukraine’s Defense Industry Reform at Kyiv (June 20, 2017). On a parallel track, work is underway at the level of the two countries’ military and defense-industrial establishments. In December 2016, Defense Ministers Stepan Poltorak of Ukraine and Antoni Macierewicz of Poland signed a general cooperation agreement on defense, in a ceremony attended by the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Polish Presidnet Andrzej Duda. The agreement envisages a significant increase in cooperation in 24 areas of mutual interest. During the year reviewed, there were reciprocal visits between MoD officials of the two countries, and, in late June 2017, Stepan Poltorak and Antoni Macierewicz met again at a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels to discuss how to strengthen and diversify collaboration between the two defense establishments.
Ukraine’s SOEs not buying Russian coal – Groysman | UNIANUkrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman has said Ukrainian state companies do not purchase coal produced in the Russian Federation. Latest UNIAN news from 08 September.Poroshenko not to agree with idea of Rada electing presidentUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said that he will never agree with the proposals to deprive Ukrainian citizens of the right to elect a president and transfer these powers to Parliament, an UNIAN correspondent reported from the Verkhovna Rada where the president delivered his annual address to MPs Thursday. News 07 September from UNIAN.“Stab in the back”: Hungary slams Ukraine’s new education lawThe Hungarian government expressed strong protest against the new law on education, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Tuesday, reads the statement by Hungary’s foreign minister published on the government site. News 08 September from UNIAN.UAWire – Russia’s VTB Bank admits it has difficulties selling its subsidiaries in UkraineThe Russian banking group VTB cannot sell two of its subsidiary banks in Ukraine: VTB and BM Bank. This was stated on the sidelines of the …Poroshenko: We can’t knock Russia out of Crimea by forceUkrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said Ukraine cannot knock Russia out of Crimea by force but it can create conditions for Crimea to become an unbearable burden for Russia, according to an UNIAN correspondent. “Can we take Crimea away from Russia by force? Realistically, no, we can’t. Will it [Russia] leaves on its own? Unfortunately, it won’t. But we can create conditions for Crimea to become an unbearable burden for Russia. A thief sometimes throws away stolen goods when they start burning his pockets, so we have to create all conditions to make them feel this burning,” Poroshenko said during an annual address to the Ukrainian parliament about the internal and external situation of the country.UAWire – Head of Crimea calls the prices and quality of fuel on the peninsula unacceptableThe Kremlin-appointed head of the Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, is dissatisfied with the fuel prices and quality at gas stations on the peninsula, as …Old narratives of Stalin’s Holodomor shape up Putin’s act against Ukraine – mediaA new book called Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, by Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Anne Applebaum, delivers more information and more insights into the dark chapter of 1930s when Joseph Stalin committed crimes against humanity by purposely starving to death more than four million Ukrainians for resisting his Five-Year Plan to collectivize agriculture. The book draws parallels between past and present that reveal how little—except the scale of the damage and carnage—has changed. The psychological and demographic damage from the famine, or Holodomor in Ukrainian, has been so profound that it continues to shape the thinking of Ukrainians and Russians, she argues, according to the Atlantic Council. For example, Russia does not consider Ukraine as anything more than “Little Russia,” despite history and the fact that their languages are as different as French and Spanish. Read also Ukraine envoy asks U.S. Senate to recognize Holodomor as act of genocide Old narratives are why in 2014, after a Russian puppet was driven from Ukraine’s presidency, Putin immediately invaded and occupied 9% of Ukraine with the intention of invading much of the rest. Since then, more than 10,000 Ukrainians have died, two million have fled their homes, the industrial heartland has been destroyed, and Ukraine’s economy crippled. Putin also believes that Ukraine is an existential threat, as did Stalin. “It is possible to hear the echo of Stalin’s fear of Ukraine—or rather his fear of unrest spreading from Ukraine to Russia—in the present too. The Russian FSB, successor of KGB, continues to demonize its opponents using propaganda and disinformation,” she writes.
Airstrikes on Syrian Military Sites Renew Focus on Chemical Weapons – The New York TimesThe Syrian site was said to produce precision missiles and chemical weapons, which Syria had agreed to give up in 2013.Israel’s alleged attack in Syria: Here’s what we know so far – Israel News – Haaretz.comExactly 10 years after taking out Assad’s nuclear reactor, Israel allegedly strikes againIf Israel did strike Syrian arms facility, it may have shot itself in the foot – Israel News – Haaretz.comWhile Thursday’s alleged attack may have seen Israel widen its definition of what it deems a threat, it may give Iran an excuse to increase its military presence and lead Russia to declare Syrian airspace a no-fly zoneEven the Saudis Are Turning to Russia as Assad’s Foes Lose Heart – BloombergSaudi Arabia may be the latest country to give up on regime change in Syria and fall in line with Russia’s successful campaign to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.US Monitors Russia-backed Syrian Army’s Advances in Deir Ez-ZorEstimated 2,500 IS fighters are thought to be in the province to defend their positions in one of the terror group’s last major strongholds in SyriaTrump hails Kuwait mediation on Qatar; Arab states react – The Washington PostPresident Donald Trump on Thursday hailed efforts by the leader of Kuwait, a staunch American ally, to mediate a festering diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and its Arab neighbors that could have implications for the U.S. military presence in the region.CNBC- Closing Bell: Lt Gen David Deptula, USAF (Ret.) Should the war in Afghanistan be privatized – YouTube
ISIS video: Russian troops shot dead after Hama skirmishes (18+ graphic)DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:10 A.M.) – Scores of ISIS car bombs were hurled at the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in the Islamic State’s latest propaganda video covering eaRussia Says Air Strike Kills Four Senior IS Commanders In SyriaThe Russian Defense Ministry says it has killed four Islamic State (IS) commanders in an air strike targeting the extremist group outside Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour, including a forme…Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK’s future policy options Third Report of Session 2016–17In March 2011, the United Kingdom and France, with the support of the United States, led the international community to support an intervention in Libya to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. This policy was not informed by accurate intelligence. In particular, the Government failed to identify that the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element. By the summer of 2011, the limited intervention to protect civilians had drifted into an opportunist policy of regime change. That policy was not underpinned by a strategy to support and shape post-Gaddafi Libya. The result was political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crises, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa. Through his decision making in the National Security Council, former Prime Minister David Cameron was ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy. Looking to the future, the United Nations has brokered the formation of an inclusive Government of National Accord (GNA). Stable government is the sine qua non for the resolution of Libya’s ongoing humanitarian, migrant, economic and security crises. However, regional actors are currently undermining the GNA by flouting the United Nations arms embargo and using Libyan militias as proxies. The GNA is the only game in town. If it fails, the danger is that Libya will descend into a full-scale civil war to control territory and oil resources. The international community must support the United Nations and the people of Libya by uniting behind the GNA; the alternative is political fragmentation, internecine violence, economic collapse and even more human suffering.
Beijing out of control-INSIDE Korea JoongAng DailyChina is vehemently opposing the recent deployment of four additional launchers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) missile shield in Seongju County, South Korea. Following the Chinese foreign ministry’s strong complaint to the South Korean Ambassador to Beijing, Kim Jang-soo, in a face-to-face meeting on Wednesday, its spokesman Geng Shuang urged Korea to withdraw the Thaad deployment. The Chinese media’s beating up on Korea went a step further. We seriously wonder how our relations could plummet to this level after building mutual trust over the past 25 years after the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1992. Our embassy in Beijing even sent a warning to Koreans living in China to be careful about their security. In the front lines of China’s “Korea-bashing” is the Global Times, the belligerent English tabloid published under the auspices of the Communist Party of China. In a nationalist editorial on Thursday, the state mouthpiece mounted an attack on Korea. After defining Korean conservatives as supporters of the U.S. antimissile system, the newspaper ridiculed them, saying they probably ate too much kimchi. The paper also said that conservative groups in Korea and people eager to possess nuclear weapons in Korea are two sides of the same coin. The paper went so far as to warn that Koreans had better pray for world peace after building more Buddhist temples and Christian churches because it will become a strategic target of China and Russia. It implied that a certain area of Korea will be hit first — and become the center of disaster — once a war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula. That hints at the possibility of Seongju, the Thaad site, being struck first at times of crisis. The Chinese media didn’t run any commentaries with critical perspectives even after North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test, allegedly of a hydrogen bomb, which could dramatically change the security situation on the peninsula. But all of a sudden, they are enthusiastically inciting the Chinese people to oppose the Thaad installation. Do birds of a feather really flock together? We are disappointed at Beijing’s reiteration of its argument that the Thaad battery is aimed at spying on China, which is totally not true. Coping with the North Korean nuclear threat is a matter of survival for South Korea and the government decided to deploy the full battery to safeguard our security. Mocking and blackmailing Korea is not worthy of a great nation like China. JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 8, Page 34China lodges stern protest with South Korea over THAAD deploymentChina said on Thursday it had lodged stern representations with South Korea for installing the four remaining launchers of the U.S. anti-missile Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on a former golf course.Concerns on More Retaliations: S. Korean Entrepreneurs Frustrated with China’s Reaction to THAAD Deployment | BusinessKoreaFour launchers have been added to the U.S. THAAD base in Seongju County, North Gyeongsang Province. The South Korean government announced on September 7 that it gave China prior notice regarding this matter. The Global Times, a state-run news outlet of China, criticized South Korea, claiming that THAAD does not differ at all from the nuclear weapons in North Korea in that it jeopardizes the strategic balance in Asia. The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry summoned South Korean Ambassador to China Kim Jang-soo again in just two months.Effectiveness of oil embargo on North Korea remains unclear : North Korea : News : The HankyorehExperts say Pyongyang has prepared measures to reduce the blow from new sanctions The card that the US has resorted to most in order to apply “maximum sanctions and pressure” on North Korea is a halt to its crude oil supplies. The idea is that it offers a means of last resort that would force Pyongyang to bow to pressure from the international community and agree to negotiations. For that reason, attention is now focusing on whether China, which supplies most of the North’s crude oil, will put its weight behind new sanctions. No precise figures are available on how much petroleum is consumed in North Korea each year. The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated its 2016 petroleum consumption at around 740,000 tons, while Statistics Korea put the 2014 figure at around 730,000 tons. China’s crude oil exports to North Korea are reportedly on the order of 500,000 to 600,000 tons annually. A KOTRA report on “2016 Trends in North Korean External Trade” published in late July estimated that North Korea imported 525,000 tons of crude oil from China last year. The Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI) released figures in 2015 indicating that Chinese crude oil exports to the North were hovering around the level of 500,000 to 580,000 tons a year. Based solely on the figures that have been released, it appears that North Korea depends on China for well over 70% of its crude oil. That number rises further when “spot transactions” that aren’t captured in official statistics are factored in – namely smuggling. In addition to the Dandong-Sinuiju pipeline that served as the official conduit for crude oil with China, sources indicate a large amount of smuggling by way of the ports of Nampo and Haeju on the west coast and Rajin and Sonbong on the east coast. Experts predict that a halt to North Korea’s crude oil supplies would not have an immediate effect on its nuclear and missile programs. The Nautilus Institute, a US think tank, published a report in May titled “Sanctions on North Korean Oil Imports: Impacts and Efficacy.” In it, the authors conclude that if China does agree to take part in energy sanctions, North Korea could “quickly cut its non-military use by about 40% of its annual oil use with a variety of end use reduction and substitution measures; There will be little or no immediate impact on the Korean Peoples Army’s (KPA) nuclear or missile programs.” The analysis suggests that the first step by North Korean authorities would be to reduce supplies of energy for power generation by the private sector, home cooking and heating, and public transportation. Figures released by the institute in 2010 show military uses accounting for 19.2% of North Korea’s petroleum consumption, transportation for 23%, and power generation for 28.8%. “Kim Jong-un has long been preparing for the eventuality of a halt to crude oil [supplies], creating an economic structure that reduces dependence on crude oil,” said Im Ul-chul, a professor at the Kyungnam University Institute for Far Eastern Studies. “But if the sanctions last for a long time, a heavy blow appears inevitable,” Im predicted. By Kim Ji-eun, staff reporterTrump administration pushing for embargo on oil exports to North Korea : North Korea : News : The HankyorehDraft UN resolution also calls for freezing overseas assets of North Korean leaders The draft of the UN Security Council’s sanctions resolution against North Korea that was prepared by the administration of US President Donald Trump in response to the North’s sixth nuclear test would place an embargo on crude oil and would freeze the overseas assets of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and others, the foreign press reported on Sept. 6. The Trump administration has apparently started out with its maximum demands as a bargaining tactic for its negotiations with China and Russia. The draft of the US’s sanctions resolutions runs the gamut on nearly every imaginable sanction that could be placed on the North. The draft would ban not only crude oil, but all petroleum products, including condensed oil, refined petroleum and liquefied natural gas (LNG), from being exported to North Korea. The draft would also place sanctions on Kim Jong-un, Kim’s younger sister and Korean Workers Party’s (KWP) Propaganda and Agitation Department Deputy Director Kim Yo-jong, Korean People’s Army (KPA) General Political Department Director Hwang Pyong-so, KWP Propaganda and Agitation Department Director Kim Ki-nam, and Defense Minister Pak Yong-sik. These individuals would be banned from traveling overseas, and their overseas assets would be frozen. The draft would also ban exports of apparel, which accounted for 25% (about US$720 million) of North Korea’s total export value last year. China reportedly imports 80% of North Korea’s apparel products. Also included in the draft is a ban on employing or paying wages to North Korea’s overseas workers, of whom there are estimated to be 50,000. This would go a step beyond Resolution No. 2371, which the Security Council adopted on Aug. 5 and which only banned the expansion of the employment of North Korean guest workers. In addition, the draft would authorize UN member states to stop and search North Koreans ships that are under sanctions when they are encountered on the high seas, and it would also slap sanctions on Air Koryo, North Korea’s state airline. Resolutions in the UN Security Council are decided through political negotiations between the US, China and Russia. Therefore, the draft itself does not lead directly to the resolution. After North Korea launched an ICBM on July 4, for example, the US government reportedly included a ban on crude oil exports to North Korea in the initial draft, but this was not reflected in the final version. The US also unsuccessfully lobbied to have the name “Kim Jong-un” specifically included on the sanctions list. After speaking on the phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sept. 6, Trump told reporters, “President Xi would like to do something [about North Korea’s nuclear tests]” but said it remains to be seen whether or not he actually would. Trump continued by saying, “I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100%. He doesn’t want to see what’s happening there either.” When asked about military action against North Korea,” Trump said, “Certainly that’s not our first choice,” but he added that “we will see what happens.” Given the overall tone of Trump’s remarks, some experts think that Trump and Xi came to some general agreement during their phone call about the sanctions resolution against North Korea.‘Lips and teeth’ no more as China’s ties with North Korea frayWhen Kim Jong Un inherited power in North Korea in late 2011, then-Chinese president Hu Jintao was outwardly supportive of the untested young leader, predicting that “traditional friendly cooperation” between the countries would strengthen. Within months of coming to power, Kim telegraphed North Korea’s intentions by amending its constitution to proclaim itself a nuclear state. The execution of Jang in 2013 sealed Beijing’s distrust of the young leader. “Of course the Chinese were not happy,” said a foreign diplomat in Beijing focused on North Korea. “Executing your uncle, that’s from the feudal ages.” In an attempt to warm ties, Xi sent high-ranking Communist Party official Liu Yunshan to attend the North’s October 2015 military parade marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea. Liu hand-delivered a letter from Xi praising Kim’s leadership and including congratulations not just from the Chinese Communist Party but Xi’s personal “cordial wishes” in a powerful show of respect. Xi’s overture has been repaid with increasingly brazen actions by Pyongyang, which many observers believe are timed for maximum embarrassment to Beijing. Sunday’s nuclear test, for example, took place as China hosted a BRICS summit, while in May, the North launched a long-range missile just hours before the Belt and Road Forum, dedicated to Xi’s signature foreign policy initiative. Despite its resentment at the pressure North Korea’s actions have put it under, Beijing refrains from taking too hard a line. It said little when Kim Jong Un’s half-brother was assassinated in February at Kuala Lumpur’s airport. The half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, had been seen as a potential rival for power in Pyongyang and had lived for years in Beijing, then Macau. An editorial in China’s influential Global Times warned after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test that cutting off North Korea’s oil would redirect the conflict to one between North Korea and China. Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing, said North Korea was deeply unhappy with China’s backing of earlier UN sanctions. “If China supports more radical economic sanctions that directly threaten the stability of the regime, then it is possible that North Korea becomes as hostile to China as to the United States.”Trump: ‘Sad day’ for North Korea if U.S. takes military actionPresident Donald Trump, like his predecessors, may find that neither negotiations nor economic and military pressure can force North Korea to abandon its nuclear program, and that the United States has no choice but to try to contain it and deter North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from ever using a nuclear weapon.Trump renews threat of force against North Korea over nuclear weapons – The Washington PostPresident discounts talks as China suggests it will cooperate on some new U.N. sanctions. Trump Keeps Pressure on North Korea as Force Remains an Option – BloombergPresident Donald Trump said it’s not “inevitable” that the U.S. will wind up in a war with North Korea over its continued development of nuclear weapons, but that military action remains an option.White House Watch: ‘All Options Are on the Table’ for Dealing With North Korea | The Weekly StandardWith the North Koreans claiming to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb this week, President Donald Trump said Thursday reiterated that “military action would certainly be an option” against the rogue regime. “I would prefer not going the route of the military, but it’s something certainly that could happen,” he said during a joint White House press conference with the visiting emir of Kuwait. “Hopefully we’re not going to have to use it on North Korea. If we do use it on North Korea, it will be a very sad day for North Korea.” A senior administration official later insisted that “all options are on the table” for denuclearizing North Korea, from economic sanctions and diplomacy to a military option. “I would say only that we’re considering a broad range of options. I don’t want to go into specifics on the question that you raised, but we’re not kidding when we say that all options are on the table,” said the official.Kim Jong Un Isn’t the Only Wild Card In the North Korea Crisis | Time.comOn the morning of Sept. 3, America’s top military, intelligence and diplomatic officials were summoned to present Donald Trump with their assessment of the mounting…How the U.S. Could Respond to Another North Korean Missile Test – The New York TimesPresident Trump has both military and nonmilitary options. Each has its own downside.Why Kim Jong-Un wouldn’t be irrational to use a nuclear bomb first – The Washington PostThe nuclear strategy of weaker powers.
North Korea’s next missile launch could come Saturday as it plays chicken with USNorth Korea could ramp up its weapons testing, including a missile launch on Saturday, even as the United Nations threatens tougher sanctions.
S. Korea braces for another possible N. Korea missile test – The Washington PostSouth Korea is closely watching North Korea over the possibility it may launch another intercontinental ballistic missile as soon as Saturday when it celebrates its founding anniversary.South Korea warns North Korea may fire another ICBM | TheHillNorth Korea could be preparing to test another intercontinental ballistic missile this weekend amid the country’s celebrations for the 64th anniversary of its founding on Saturday, South Korea warned. South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon speculated on Thursday that North Korea could be preparing another missile test similar to the one that flew over Japan last month, according to NBC. “There is speculation that there could be an additional provocation of firing an ICBM at a normal angle on [Sept.] 9,” Lee told reporters. A “normal” angle refers to a test with a missile trajectory that simulates an attack with a specific target, such as the U.S. territory of Guam, as opposed to a test in a controlled environment within North Korea. Missile tests by the country have in the past coincided with major political events in the country. There’s no indication that a Sept. 9 test would target Guam, but North Korea has threatened to attack Guam in the past, and a missile test near the island would be likely seen as a major provocation. South Korea’s leader argues that now is the time to increase sanctions against Pyongyang and brushed off the possibility of dialogue in the near future. “It is time to step up sanctions and secure sufficient military means to deter them in order to stop North Korea’s nuclear armament,” Lee said. “We ultimately need talks with North Korea, but it is not the time right now to speak of a dialogue with North Korea.”North Korea may launch ICBM on Saturday, South Korean president warns | Fox NewsWith South Korea predicting North Korea could launch an intercontinental ballistic missile Saturday, a South Korean expert warned “hot-tempered and reckless” Kim Jong Un will not cease his beloved missile and nuclear program until he is “eliminated.”South Korea closely monitoring North’s military activity ahead of regime anniversary on Saturday, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits TimesSEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – South Korean authorities are closely watching for any military provocations from North Korea as the anniversary of the regime’s foundation approaches, the South’s Unification Ministry said.. Read more at straitstimes.com.The Latest: Mexico expels North Korea’s ambassador – The Washington PostThe Latest on tensions on the Korean Peninsula (all times local):
The Latest: SKorea faces ‘unprecedented security threat’ – The Washington PostThe Latest on tensions created by North Korea’s nuclear weapons program (all times local):
Part I Getting Tough on North Korea: Iran and Other Mirages | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North KoreaAs North Korea moves closer to its goal of being able to target key parts of the United States with nuclear weapons, it has produced a near universal consensus in Washington that it is “time to get tough” with Pyongyang. By and large this consensus still centers on the same policy tools it has for the past dozen years: economic sanctions capable of coercing Pyongyang into capitulating to US and UN demands that it end its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Sanctions are clearly preferable to war, but they do not offer a viable strategy for untying the Gordian Knot that is North Korea. Those advocating the “get tough with sanctions” approach to the North Korean nuclear and missile problem in turn base their approach on two dubious assumptions. First, they believe that there is a great deal of additional economic pressure that can be put on North Korea. Some who share this assumption believe the US has a number of unilateral tools that could achieve US objectives. Others—like President Trump—believe that China holds the key by threatening economic pressure on Pyongyang and that China can be persuaded or coerced into using its leverage on Kim Jong Un. Second, advocates of this approach believe that this additional pressure will likely produce a positive result: North Korean capitulation to US demands or—failing that—a change of regime in the DPRK. Those who believe sanctions are the answer to the North Korean problem point in particular to the sanctions regime developed against Iran’s nuclear program. They assert that sanctions on Iran were more severe than they are today on North Korea. They add that when the international community got serious about sanctions on Iranian oil and Iranian oil revenue, the regime became serious at the P5+1 negotiations. Thus, if only the US and China would get as serious about sanctions on North Korea, Pyongyang would be faced with the choice of collapse or agreement to end its nuclear and missile adventure.Part II: Tough Is Not Enough | 38 North: Informed Analysis of North KoreaIn Part I of this series, I argued that advocates for “getting tough on North Korea” were prone to adopt inappropriate models for a harsher sanctions regime and to ignore the risk of counterproductive North Korean reactions to such sanctions. This is not an argument for no more sanctions. Given North Korean progress on its ICBM and nuclear weapons capabilities, we remain in an ongoing cycle of actions and reactions that may lead to a major war. A very vigorous political/military effort to contain and eventually eliminate the DPRK nuclear threat is essential now before the tensions and ill-considered rhetoric once again create the risk of the US and North Korea bellowing and stumbling their way into a catastrophic conflict. But sanctions should be only one element of the effort. The final push for a stabilization of the North Korean nuclear and missile issue has to include the following components.How America Can Thwart North Korea’s Nuclear Threat | The National InterestThe United States needs to change its strategy of coercive diplomacy if it is to have any chance of achieving its highest-priority goals in North Korea.DoD missile defense deputy: US children are safe from North Korean threatAn official with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency says additional funding is required to render active defenses more robust to meet future threats.Why North Korea is a black hole for American spies – POLITICOTrump says military action against North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs is a real option. But no one really knows where all the targets are.How free information is driving the North Korean resistance – To Inform is to Influence7th September 2017 12:16 PM By Ginger Gorman, News.com.au WHAT if the revolution was only as big as your thumb? It might be small, but it’s mighty. We’re talking about 60,000 USB flash drives smuggled into North Korea – one of the most closed, secretive societies on earth – over the past 18 months. And there’s another…Why South Korea is a linchpin for all global techAs Trump threatens to renegotiate trade with Seoul and tensions with North Korea rise, some are pointing to the South’s crucial role in technology.Kim Jong Un needs new friendsIn their fascinating biography of the late Kim Jong Il, Trey Parker and Matt Stone illuminate the former North Korean leader’s sorrow: he was “so ronery.” Powerful but under constant pressure, Kim Jong Il lacked the emotional support to thrive and so he ate and drank excessively and ended up dying at only 70 years-old. That history is newly relevant today. After all, considering his young age, reclusive nature, obesity and apparently frequent bouts with gout, Kim Jong Un seems to be following in his father’s lonely footsteps. And that’s a problem, because Kim’s already unpredictable behavior is ill-suited to his possession of nuclear weapon-tipped ICBMs. This challenge requires our contemplation on why Kim Jong Un’s state of mind is so poor and how it might be improved. And again, the available evidence suggests that loneliness is the culprit. Case in point: Kim’s closest friend is the former NBA player and Solaxiant alien, Dennis Rodman. This choice of friend by “the Marshal,” as Rodman calls Kim, is interesting. After all, Mr. Rodman’s frequent visits to Pyongyang begin and end with an unfortunate, repeating formula. On arrival, Rodman travels to his Pyongyang hotel, gets drunk and then begins crying or arguing with his companions. Next, Rodman participates in a series of increasingly eccentric public appearances; such as singing happy birthday to “dear Marshal” at an exhibition basketball game. Finally, Rodman makes angry comments to reporters while waiting for his connecting flight home from China. This series of unfortunate events clearly takes a toll on Dennis’ host. As the Netflix documentary “Dennis Rodman’s Big Bang in Pyongyang” shows, Rodman’s behavior forces Kim to avoid him once he’s in the country. It’s clear the North Korean leader needs new friends. But who might fit the bill?
China, Russia probably involved in creation of N. Korean nuclear program – expert – LB.ua news portalChina, Russia probably involved in creation of N. Korean nuclear program – expert. The sincerity of the players in resolving the situation in North Korea raises great doubts. Main – LB.ua news portal. The transactions and codes supplied by Chinese companies to North Korea may indicate that China might have contributed to the creation of North Korean nuclear missile program, political scientist, director of the Center for Civil Society Studies, Vitaly Kulyk, said during a 8 September round table conference organized by Gorshenin Institute. “The recent technological breakthrough in the North Korea – the creation of a new type of rocket and a hydrogen bomb – cannot be explained solely by the existence of an advanced group of North Korean experts and technologists from Iran,” Kylyk said. “Such a breakthrough could hardly have been be sponsored by China, so there is an opinion, including among Chinese experts, that it could not have been done without the help of Russia, including the creation of a hydrogen bomb,” the political scientist said. “The work has been going on for decades without much success, and all of a sudden – a sharp breakthrough in technology during the last year and a half – a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.” “The sincerity of the players involved in resolving the situation around the North Korea is highly questionable. The true goal of the Russian Federation and China in this matter are also unclear,” the expert said. Pyongyang is by 70–80% controlled by China and Russia has a major influence on the “raise of stakes” around North Korea, Kulyk stressed. Previously, Kulyk said that North Korea’s significant economic successes would be impossible without a full support on behalf of China.Lada Roslycky | Pyongyang’s Ambitions Have Nothing to Do with Kyiv and Everything to Do with MoscowThe North Korean leadership, headed by 33-year-old Kim Jong-un, is openly threatening its neighbors, as well as the United States, with missile strikes. How has this little country, most of whose citizens live in poverty, managed to cause such a global security issue? A recent New York Times article accused Ukraine of illegally supplying rocket technology to the rogue state. Yet the answer to the question is more intricate. It calls for critical thinking and the recollection of assertions made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. Frustrated with the power of the United States, and the Kremlin’s loss of control over the former Soviet Union, Putin postulated the need to destroy American-oriented unipolarity in Munich. Referring to the United States he said, “The force’s dominance inevitably encourages a number of countries to acquire weapons of mass destruction” and that the decisive moment to rethink the architecture of global security had arrived. It is within this context that North Korea, isolated and dependent on Chinese and Russian aid, re-joined a privileged group of Moscow’s “friends,” enjoying forms of political, economic, and military support. Military-technical cooperation between the Kremlin and Pyongyang flourished under the brutal Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. Putin appears to be following in his footsteps. He is the first Russian president to pay an official visit to North Korea, renewing military-technical cooperation, and aiding the development of North Korea’s military-industrial complex by giving it access to Russian technologies. Russian weapons quickly helped the ruthless North Korean regime modernize its armed forces in terms of portable air defence and other missile systems. Moreover, Moscow has written off 90 percent of its Soviet debt (approximately $11 billion), covering the remaining 10 percent by joint projects. But this support comes at a cost. As a result of Pyongyang’s renewed friendship with the Kremlin, North Korea now formally supports Russia’s geopolitical ambitions, particularly its illegal aggression against Ukraine. In direct contradiction to his Munich assertion that Russia will not use military force without the sanction of the UN and “will always operate strictly within the international legal framework,” Putin violated international law when he seized Crimea and then invaded Ukraine in 2014. For the first time in post-war history, a permanent member of the UN Security Council used military aggression to annex a sovereign territory of another country in Europe. North Korea supports Moscow’s belligerent policy and is among a tiny number of Kremlin-dependent countries recognizing Crimea as Russian territory. It is within this context that Ukraine has been accused of illegally supplying missile engines to North Korea. Unfortunately, Michael Elleman’s report, which was the basis of the New York Times article, appears to be another example of Moscow’s “hybrid” attack on Western democracies. His article reveals elements of a comprehensive, special intelligence operation by the Russian special services. First, a “competent” foreign specialist—preferably American or Western European—is carefully selected for psychological and moral qualities. The individual’s personal and business preferences are known, as is the risk to his or her professional reputation. Elleman, employed by a reputable Western institution, claims Ukraine, not Russia is the main suspect in illegal arms trade supporting North Korea. His words carry clout, but little is known about him or the level of his professional objectivity. Second, a renowned Western media source is selected. In this case, it was The New York Times. The reasons behind the publication’s decision to publish this underdeveloped article, which launched an anti-Ukrainian information campaign, are unknown. Third, Russia’s special services use various kinds of little-known Western “independent” internet resources, often funded by the Russian Federation, to give disinformation more play. In the case of the North Korean missiles, pseudo-Western, pro-Russian, anti-globalization media outlets, and even the Russian-made blog of a “US Mariner,” were involved in supporting the bogus story. Fourth, after the disinformation has reached a significant effect internationally, the Russian media starts using these results to maximally harm Western democracy and Ukraine’s national security interests. In this example, Russia is blowing up a conceived “missile scandal” to serve its own goals: to cover its own missile technologies transfer to North Korea while shifting the international community’s attention to Ukraine; disturbing the development of a new qualitative level of US-Ukraine relations; disrupting the potential transfer of US lethal weapons to Ukraine; downshifting international support to Ukraine; and promoting the lifting of sanctions against it. In an effort to rectify the damage done, Elleman stated his words were distorted. Importantly, he was unable to rule out the possibility that a large Russian missile enterprise, Energomash, which has strong ties to the Ukrainian complex, had a role in the transfer of the RD-250 engine technology to North Korea. He said leftover RD-250 engines might also be stored in Russian warehouses. Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council posted a detailed rejection of Elleman’s accusations noting “the developer of the RD-250 engine is the Russian enterprise ‘Scientific and Production Association ‘Energomash’. …all rocket engines suitable for flight use, including the RD-250 engine and its modifications, were delivered from ‘Yuzhmash’ to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and later to the Russian Federation, only as part of missiles.” The media scandal surrounding this question is likely to be quickly forgotten and replaced by the next one. The more the truth comes out, the more likely it is that those who sprung the story will be interested in sweeping it under the table. This is perhaps where the international community should take heed of the words of Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs: “I am doubtful that North Korea could achieve what it has done without outside help. The global community must now come together to conduct an international inquiry to find out who was responsible.”N.Korea’s ambitions have nothing to do with Kyiv and everything to do with Moscow – Atlantic CouncilA recent New York Times article accused Ukraine of illegally supplying rocket technology to the rogue state of North Korea, yet the answer to the question of how this little country, most of whose citizens live in poverty, managed to cause such a global security issue, calls for critical thinking and the recollection of assertions made by Russian President Vladimir Putin at the 2007 Munich Security Conference, according to the Atlantic Council. News 08 September from UNIAN.
West will never recognize N. Korea’s nuclear status – expert – LB.ua news portalThe West will never recognize the nuclear status of North Korea, director of programs on foreign policy and international security of the Razumkov Center, Mykhailo Pashkov, said during a round table conference dedicated to the global threats of the confrontation between the US and North Korea, organized by Gorshenin Institute on Friday, 8 September. According to the expert, the West’s policy towards the DPRK envisages a contained pressure and a possibility of dialogue. At the same time, Pashkov does not exclude that the conflict over the DPRK way grow into a “hot phase”. The expert also noted that Russia is doing everything possible to “dilute” the position of the West in relation to Pyongyang. “The meeting of Russian President Volodymyr Putin with the leader of China, the Japanese Premier and the President of South Korea further revealed the nature of Russia’s activities in this region,” he said. I will simply recall the proposals of the Russian side to minimize sanctions, transition to a peaceful dialogue, and calls for projects in the energy sector with North Korea. This leads to a dissolution and erosion of the position of the West towards the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” Pashkov emphasized.
Taming the Russian Bear: Germany’s Vital Role in Fighting Kremlin’s Hybrid Warfare – To Inform is to InfluenceWritten by @Eubulletin | Wednesday, September 6th, 2017 Since Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, the EU and the US have increased their attention when it comes to the Russian hybrid warfare and information campaigns. These activities are not limited to the US domestic issues though – as US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr pointed out,…Merkel loses backing of Germany’s 2m Russian voters | World | The Times & The Sunday TimesThe Kremlin’s claim to Crimea has become part of the German election campaign in the battle for the votes of two million Russian-Germans who are turning away frMerkel Warns Against Complacency as Rival Risks Electoral Fiasco – BloombergGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel warned her supporters against complacency as separate polls suggested her Social Democratic Party challenger is facing electoral disaster on Sept. 24.German SPD loses support after television debate: pollChancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives widened their lead over the Social Democrats following a television debate in which Merkel came across as more convincing and reliable than her SPD challenger Martin Schulz, a poll showed on Thursday.German election: Angela Merkel extends her lead in the polls | Germany | DW | 07.09.2017Germany’s recent election TV debate didn’t do the SPD any favors, with a monthly survey indicating the party is losing support among the public. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU alliance is clearly in the lead.Emmanuel Macron, in Greece, Calls for ‘Rebuilding’ E.U. – The New York Times“We have lost our ambition,” the French leader said on his first state visit to Greece, calling for a more united Europe in a speech short on specifics.UAWire – Montenegro accuses Russian secret services of organizing a coupBalkan Insight reports that Montenegro has resumed proceedings on the case of the attempted coup in 2016. Previously Russians had been accused …U.S. Charges Former High-Ranking Turkish Officials In Iran Sanctions CaseU.S. prosecutors have charged several former top aides to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with involvement in a conspiracy to secretly help Iran evade U.S. sanctions. In an indictment file…Erdogan urges U.S. to review ‘political’ charges against Turkish ex-ministerPresident Tayyip Erdogan urged the United States on Friday to review charges against a Turkish former minister for violating U.S.-Iran sanctions, saying Ankara had never agreed to comply with the embargo and the prosecution was politically motivated.
Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press | The New Era of Counterforce: Technological Change and the Future of Nuclear Deterrence | International Security | MIT Press JournalsNuclear deterrence rests on the survivability of nuclear arsenals. For much of the nuclear age, “counterforce” disarming attacks—those aimed at eliminating an opponent’s nuclear forces—were nearly impossible because of the ability of potential victims to hide and protect their weapons. Technological developments, however, are eroding this foundation of nuclear deterrence. Advances rooted in the computer revolution have made nuclear forces around the world considerably more vulnerable. Specifically, two key approaches that countries have relied on to ensure arsenal survivability since the dawn of the nuclear age—hardening and concealment—have been undercut by leaps in weapons accuracy and a revolution in remote sensing. Various methods, evidence, and models demonstrate the emergence of new possibilities for counterforce disarming strikes. In short, the task of securing nuclear arsenals against attack is far more difficult than it was in the past. The new era of counterforce challenges the basis for confidence in contemporary deterrence stability, raises critical issues for national and international security policy, and sheds light on one of the enduring theoretical puzzles of the nuclear era: why international security competition has endured in the shadow of the nuclear revolution.
State Of Stealth: Part 7—The Future Of Survivability | Combat Aircraft content from Aviation WeekRadars are moving to lower frequencies to counter stealth. Can stealth survive?TECHNOLOGY TOMORROW Adversaries Creep Up on Stealth AircraftTECHNOLOGY TOMORROW Adversaries Creep Up on Stealth AircraftPompeii hero Pliny the Elder may have been found 2,000 years later – Archaeology – Haaretz.comPliny the Elder sailed into danger when Vesuvius erupted, and never returned, but a body found a century ago ‘covered in jewelry like a cabaret ballerina’ may really have been his.
Survey finds IT modernization complicates securityThe results of the survey warn thatHow attackers used human error to hack the power grid [Commentary]A report that says hackers may now be able to shut down power grids in the United States, Turkey and Switzerland shows how easily human error can put critical computer networks at risk, security experts said.Resurgent hackers target energy sectorThe Symantec Corporation’s
Russia’s Facebook Fake News Could Have Reached 70 Million AmericansFacebook acknowledged that Russian propagandists spent $100,000 on election ads. It neglected to mention how many millions of people those ads reached.The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election – The New York TimesPosing as ordinary citizens on Facebook and building “warlists” of Twitter accounts, suspected Russian agents intervened last year in the American democratic process.How Russia Created the Most Popular Texas Secession Page on Facebook – To Inform is to InfluenceWhen is a Texan not a Texan? Earlier this week, Facebook announced that they had shuttered almost 500 accounts they believe were associated with a Russian company that spent some $100,000 on ad buys since June 2015. As a release from Facebook noted, “these accounts and Pages were affiliated with one another and likely operated out of Russia.” Tabbing the…Facebook Manipulation Echoes Accounts From Russian ‘Troll Factory’Facebook's disclosure that a Russia-based operation targeted U.S. voters with advertising on divisive issues during the last U.S. presidential election campaign has focused the attention o…Twitter to give analysis of Russian activity to Congress | TheHillTwitter is planning to give Congress an analysis of Russian activity on its platform, according to the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.The Reality Of Russian Information Warfare – To Inform is to InfluenceFollowing the Facebook disclosure that the Russian Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg, Russia took out $100,000 of ads on Facebook during the US election of 2016, Twitter is now following suit and filing a report, according to The Hill. Twitter to give analysis of Russian activity to Congress. The Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg…U.S. may need new law to address Russian ad buys on Facebook: Senator Warner – To Inform is to InfluenceDustin Volz, David Ingram WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. legislation may be needed to require social media companies to disclose more about how their platforms are used for political advertising, a senior Democratic lawmaker said on Thursday, after new signs of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. Facebook Inc said on Wednesday that an operation…Sky Views: Is Russia ramping up propaganda?Sky News – First for Breaking News, video, headlines, analysis and top stories from business, politics, entertainment and more in the UK and worldwide.Trump Jr. Says He Wanted Russian Dirt to Determine Clinton’s ‘Fitness’ for Office – The New York TimesInvestigators believe the president’s son is crucial to understanding a June 2016 meeting between the Trump inner circle and a Kremlin-connected lawyer.Reports: Trump Jr. Says He Sought Clinton Info, But Didn’t Collude With RussiansWASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump's eldest son told Senate investigators that he met with a Russian lawyer in 2016 because he wanted to determine if she had damaging information about hi…Putin Says Tillerson Has ‘Fallen In With Wrong Crowd’ Since Being Honored By RussiaRussian President Vladimir Putin said U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has "fallen in with the wrong crowd" since being awarded the Russian Order of Friendship four years ago. …Nikki Haley accepted Trump’s offer to be UN ambassador on her conditions – CNNPoliticsWhen Nikki Haley was under consideration for the UN ambassadorship, she laid out her own conditions for the position to then-President-elect Donald Trump.A Second Look at the Steele Dossier—Knowing What We Know Now | Just Security[Editor’s Note: In this special Just Security article, highly respected former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, John Sipher examines the Steele dossier using methods that an intelligence officer would to try to validate such information. Sipher concludes that the dossier’s information on campaign collusion is generally credible when measured against standard Russian intelligence practices, events subsequent to Steele’s reporting, and information that has become available in the nine months since Steele’s final report. The dossier, in Sipher’s view, is not without fault, including factual inaccuracies. Those errors, however, do not detract from an overarching framework that has proven to be ever more reliable as new revelations about potential Trump campaign collusion with the Kremlin and its affiliates has come to light in the nine months since Steele submitted his final report.]Navy Ships Kept at Sea Despite Training and Maintenance Needs, Admiral Says – The New York TimesCrews and commanders have little time to train and ships go without maintenance because of growing demands in the Pacific, a top admiral told lawmakers on Thursday.