Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russian propaganda campaign continues on both Salisbury and Syria fronts – never let facts or logic get in the way of a good propaganda effort. Russia threatens a “kompromat campaign” against UK elites. Interesting observations by Gudkov and Venediktov on the Russian public view of what they now call “World War III”. Many in the US “Alt-Right” appear to be joining other Western useful idiots in promoting Russian propaganda views of recent events.
In the UK media, the briefing produced by Sir Mark Sedwill continues to resonate in the media, especially the hacking of the Skripals. Former Soviet chemist Mirzayanov’s comments on incompetent deployment of the CW agent continues to generate a lot of traffic. Boris Karpichkov, former KGB, briefs media on what he had learned from his network about the 2010 murder of GCHQ analyst Gareth Williams – Karpichkov’s source claims this was to protect a Russian mole in GCHQ found by Williams.
An immense volume of media traffic on Syria, from all perspectives. US states it will conduct further strikes if CW attacks continue. Russians state intent to deploy S-300PMU2 systems to Syria – to provide the low altitude cover needed against cruise missiles for the diverse and widely spread basing infrastructure, they will need to deploy around a dozen S-300PMU2 batteries, each of which Russia usually exports for around US$1B (or more), so this is a remarkably generous offer by Muscovy.
Overall, in terms of the Putin regime’s agenda to stimulate nationalistic hysteria and fear of war inside Russia, the Salisbury and Douma attacks have been immensely successful. It is reasonable to expect actions in coming days and weeks intended to build on this success.
Alexei Pushkov on Twitter: “Syrian air defense means of Soviet production reduced 71 missiles out of 113. If Trump wanted to test his “smart” missiles in action, Soviet anti-missiles turned out to be smarter as a whole.”
Moscow says Syrian air defenses intercepted the majority of the missiles launched in a U.S.-led strike. Washington says the mission hit every target.
Spy chiefs are braced for a Russian revenge attack in which Kremlin-backed hackers release embarrassing information on ministers, MPs and other high-profile people. Theresa May has received intelligence risk assessments since the nerve-agent attack in Salisbury that the Putin regime could hit back w
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday the nerve agent used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain could have been the BZ substance – which was never produced in the Soviet Union or Russia.
Russia felt “threatened” by Syria strike
Al Jazeera has a unique perspective, they are headquartered in an Arab country and have a fairly good relationship with the West. When I lived in Qatar in 2002, I would pass by Al Jazeera whenever I traveled to the US Embassy or went to the souq. It is interesting to read their coverage which has no…
The ball is now in the Kremlin’s court.
Commenting on the April 14 missile attack launched by the US, the UK and France on Syria in an interview with Baltkom, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev warned that this strike will have far-reaching consequences.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 13 – During World War II, Soviet soldiers went to their deaths chanting “For the Motherland, for Stalin;” but 30 years later, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn warned in his letter to the Soviet leaders that Russians would not die in a war against China because of differences of opinion as to whether “the sacred truth” was on page 533 or page 335 of Lenin’s works. Now, some Russians are questioning what slogan they would be asked to fight under in Syria and insisting that they don’t want to fight under one like “For Putin! For Sechin!” or “For Putin! For the Ozero Cooperative!” (newsland.com/community/4765/content/a-chto-to-ia-mne-ne-khochetsia-bezhat-v-ataku-s-krikami-za-putina-za-sechina/6297147 and newsland.com/community/7268/content/mys-li-vslukh-za-rossiiu-za-putina-ili-za-siriiu-za-asada/6296831). Those aren’t sufficient reasons, these writers say, when Russia doesn’t even have a defense treaty with Syria and the notion that what Putin learned on the Leningrad streets 50 years ago – to strike first if a fight is inevitable – isn’t good enough either, especially if they are being asked to fight and die not for Russia but for Putin and his oligarchs or “for Syria and for Asad.”
Paul Goble Staunton, April 13 – Russians in focus groups organized by the Levada Center say that “we have already entered World War III but are still at its initial ‘cold’ phase,” a judgment that has sparked an upsurge of patriotic confidence that Russia will win and fears that the price of that victory for individual Russians will be very high, Lev Gudkov, the Center’s director says. In a wide-ranging interview with Dozhd journalist Lola Tagayeva, the sociologist says that “mobilization and confrontation with the West has generated an upsurge in patriotic adrenalin” but also has sparked “a diffuse and inarticulate fear, especially among older people (tvrain.ru/articles/glava_levada_tsentra_rossijane_chuvstvujut_chto_vhodjat_v_tretju_mirovuju-461694/). Russians remain quite supportive of Putin’s foreign policy successes but most feel he has not been successful domestically and are quite critical of where the country is. Nonetheless, they overwhelmingly support the Kremlin leader and displace more of their unhappiness on the government or subordinate officials, largely because of the Kremlin’s propaganda effort. “Why is propaganda so effective?” Gudkov asks rhetorically. “Because it doesn’t dream things up but says what people want to hear.” Consequently, “the mass ideas about the system of Putin’s rule describe it not simply as a construction of an authoritarian regime but as a kind of recidivist totalitarian system.” According to the pollster, “’Democracy’ today is not something valued by Russians. They largely do not know what it is, cannot imagine how it works or how a democratic society and state would be organized.” Gudkov devotes particular attention to Russian attitudes about the future. He says that any idea about the future has largely “disappeared,” and “the time horizon of the absolutely majority of the population except for the youngest is very short, several months at most,” a reflection of Russians’ focus on their immediate lives rather than anything larger. They understand their own lack of power and their real dependency, “and these emotions form a constant backdrop to their daily lives. The level of aggression or asthenia can change somewhat, but on average, the combination of frustration, depression, aggression without an object and dissatisfaction is typically about 60 percent.” That is quite high and leads to a situation which psychologists call “’the prisoner’s syndrome,’ a mixture of apathy and aggression, sometimes connected with the phenomenon of so called ‘learned hopelessness,’” Gudkov continues. “We are returning to a certain variant of secondary totalitarianism,” he says, one in which the authorities have imposed “a new old system of control and organization” of the lives of the population.” The rules are imposed from above “in the complete absence of any resistance from below.” According to Gudkov, “totalitarianism is not a political system but a system of institutions which try to seize all areas of life and to manipulate the consciousness and morals of people. This sets it apart, for example, from despotism or authoritarianism which don’t interfere in personal life.” “And we see,” he continues, “how a new state ideology, the ideology of state patriotism, has arisen … This is not the construction of communism and of a bright future; this is an effort to construct from above a utopia of ‘a bright past.’” And within the population, this exacerbates “a fear of changes, a phobia of the new.” Gudkov says he “does not see any demands for new people or a new elite. There is social dissatisfaction: it is clearly expressed. But this dissatisfaction exists in two social milieus,” the conservative and poor depressed periphery of pensioners and the poor and the middle class which sees that the regime is driving the country toward disaster but won’t act to oppose it. The chief demands of the population thus are limited to raising incomes and providing social guarantees, something which “arises from the fear of losing the present-day way of life” and falling back into the impoverishment and chaos of the 1990s. People define themselves as consumers rather than citizens. “Political and ideological views have been erased,” Gudkov says. “More than half of the population says that they have no political or ideological views. Approximately 30 percent say they don’t care what kind of state system exists in the country as long as they are able to live well.” And that in turn means that they don’t see liberals and United Russia as that different. For that to change and for the protests that are occurring to become political, the sociologist says, the opposition must speak about concrete things and not engage in rhetorical flourishes about democracy, freedom and human rights. Those things simply don’t resonate with the Russian people. Of course, “man does not live by bread alone,” and thus, when “Putin says that we are a great power and must strive for improvement, he is responding in the way that people want to hear.”
Paul Goble Staunton, April 14 – A third world war has been going on since at least NATO’s bombing of Belgrade in 1999 and Russia’s intervention in Georgia in 2008, Aleksey Venediktov says. But it is a very different war than those in the past, one where the participants are not trying to seize territory but rather secure influence over other states. In this conflict, which may go from cold to hot, the editor of Ekho Moskvy tells Kazan’s Business Gazeta in an interview portions of which were posted online today, “Russia has no allies” and thus can depend on no one but itself as events both planned and unplanned unfold (business-gazeta.ru/article/378902). This war or more hopefully conflict “really is a world wide one; it is simply that certain players like China are not very visible, but they are taking an active part in it.” The goal in this conflict is different than that in the past: earlier states sought to gain territory; now, however, they are seeking not the territorial re-division of the world but rather one of influence. Putin, Venediktov continues, constantly refers to the need to return to the Yalta-Potsdam system in which “every great power has its own sphere of influence.” But Ronald Reagan in 1987 made clear that there would never be a Yalta-type system again. That has remained US policy. But the important thing for Moscow to remember is that “in this war, Russia does not have any allies,” the Ekho Moskvy editor says. “Putin,” he continues, “is an extraordinarily careful individual … Therefore, I think, if he were to sense the chance of a shift of the war into a hot phase, he would take measures,” knowing the capacities of the Western allies and China. The danger of escalation even to a nuclear exchange nonetheless exists because of the possibilities of accidents. When the militaries of various countries are in one place, their commanders may respond “without waiting for a call from Moscow or Washington or Jerusalem or Damascus” and then things can go wrong. According to Venediktov, the forces of both Russia and the Western allies “have received orders to avoid any clash. But I am concerned because an accident is possible,” one that was like the downing of a Russian plane by Turkey. If something like that happened again, then there is “a high degree of probability” that it could “lead to an escalation, political at a minimum.”
Paul Goble Staunton, April 14 – New legislation imposing counter-sanctions on American products and companies will have relatively little impact on the US given the small size of the Russian market compared to that of the American economy, but it will hurt Russians who won’t be able to get medicines and other things they need – and that is the Kremlin’s intention. Just as was the case with Moscow’s earlier counter-sanctions effort, this latest move is intended to hurt the Russian population more generally and thus generate support for the Kremlin’s opposition to the sanctions the US has imposed on oligarchs by spreading the pain more generally lest Russians decide that the US sanctions are directed only against the oligarchs. As Igor Eidman, a Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle points out, the new Russian counter-sanctions are rational from the Kremlin’s point of view even though they will hurt the people of the Russian Federation more than the companies of the United States (facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1826406954088942&id=100001589654713). For a complete list of the proposed counter-sanctions including on medicines, alcohol, and cigarettes, see rbc.ru/politics/13/04/2018/5ad089159a7947220e5fa03b?from=main. And for an assessment by a Russian analyst of how little these sanctions will affect the US, see blog.newsru.com/article/13apr2018/otvet).
Somebody has some explaining to do…
Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned by the same Russian agents who murdered the GCHQ ‘spy in the bag’ Gareth Williams who was found in a locked red holdall in Pimlico, a KGB defector has claimed. Boris Karpichkov, 59, claims that the two cases are connected by the KGB. The former spy lived near Gareth Williams who was found dead in his bath. He claims Williams discovered the identity of mole at his workplace GCHQ. Williams’ death in Pimlico was previously dismissed as a bungled sex game. But now police are questioning Karpichkov about the cross-dresser’s death. He says the codebreaker was poisoned by Russian agents as were Skripals.
Gareth Williams, 31, was a codebreaker at the UK surveillance agency when his body was discovered inside a locked red holdall in the bath of his London flat in 2010
Boris Karpichkov believes his former comrades in Russian intelligence killed Gareth Williams who was found dead in 2010
Former Moscow scientist, who helped develop Novichok, said the nerve agent is less effective in damp air. According to the scientist, only an ‘idiot’ would use the chemical in wet conditions.
Below is probably the most comprehensive update on the Syrian strike I have seen so far. Al Jazeera is doing a damn fine job. Russia, Syria, and Iran condemn the attacks as a “gross violation”, “illegal”. The West is divided along political lines, either condemning or supporting the strike. Only one major point is not…
The photos, taken by satellite, appear to show a Syrian government-operated research center, storage facility and command center all struck by American, French and British missiles.
The Syrians say some targeted sites didn’t receive any damage. Satellite images given to CNN appear to show the contrary–extensive damage.
Sayed said he has worked at the Barzeh complex for 38 years and insisted it is "totally incorrect" that chemical weapons were being developed there
WASHINGTON: In one of the largest coordinated international air operations in years, over 100 American, British and French guided missiles slammed into three Syrian chemical weapons facilities early Saturday morning, launched from an armada of aircraft, submarines, and ships offshore. The Pentagon was careful Saturday to say that the assault didn’t seek to topple the regime of Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad. But the strike — and the Syrian failure to stop any of the missiles — represents a stark reminder that despite the protection of Russian air defenses, the United States and its NATO allies can hit Syria at will. And the strikes might not be over. Despite Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday night characterizing the strike as a one-time event, Trump administration officials on Saturday took a much harder line. “The president has made clear that we will act again,” one administration, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said. “There will be further costs if Assad uses chemical weapons again….we’ll continue to keep viable military options on the table.” The Russian Factor No Russian air defenses were activated during the attack, Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. told reporters at the Pentagon Saturday, though Syria launched about 40 Soviet-era ground to air missiles , mostly after the attack was already concluded. The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that Russian-made Syrian air defenses shot down 71 out of 103 missiles fired by the United States and its allies, but McKenzie said no missiles were shot down, and none malfunctioned. Russia maintains a network of its own S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems in Syria, and the Assad regime also has an arsenal of older, Soviet-era missile defense systems. One Russian military official on Saturday said Moscow would consider sending more S-300 units to Syria. While the Russians were not told of the strike in advance, they were given something of a heads up through the hotline that American and Russian military officers maintain for air operations over Syria, U.S. military officials said. “We’re not cooperating with [Russia] in Syria,” McKenzie said. “We don’t want to get into a fight with them, they don’t want to get into a fight with us. But they don’t have a veto over what we do in Syria.” Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the strikes, calling the limited attack an “act of aggression against a sovereign government” and called for emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the attack. Striking from all Sides The missiles struck at the heart of the Syrian chemical weapons enterprise, taking out three sites, one in Damascus, and two further north near the city of Homs, that produce and story chlorine and sarin precursor materials. The strike was remarkable for the number of widely dispersed assets used to hit the three targets: From the Mediterranean, the U.S. Virginia-class submarine USS John Warner fired six Tomahawk missiles, and the French frigate Languedoc launched 3 SCALP missiles. In the Red Sea, the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Monterrey fired 30 Tomahawk cruise missiles, while the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Laboon launched another seven Tomahawks. In the Arabian Gulf, another Burke, the USS Higgins, shot an additional 23 Tomahawks. Additionally, U.S. Air Force B-1 bombers launched nineteen 2,000-lb. Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM). The extended range variant, which was used in this strike, has a range of about 1,000 km. British Typhoon and Tornado aircraft also launched 8 2,900-lb. Storm Shadow cruise missiles with a range of over 500 km. French aircraft shot a further nine SCALPs. It’s not yet clear which bases the allied aircraft launched from, although the B-1s probably came from al-Udeid in Qatar and Anglo-French aircraft from Europe. It’s also not clear if there will be more strikes. Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday night called the strikes a “one time shot,” adding, “right now we have no additional attacks planned.” No U.S. official would commit to more strikes if the Assad regime used chemical weapons against civilians again. The strikes pulled the United States deeper into the complex civil war in Syria that has claimed about half a million lives. It also adds a new tension to the deteriorating relationship between Moscow and Washington.
The United States has warned Syria’s government that it is “locked and loaded” to strike again if Damascus carries out chemical attacks.
The United States is “locked and loaded” to strike again if Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad’s government again uses chemical weapons, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the Security Council on Saturday.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said the United States was prepared to sustain its pressure on Syria after a night of military strikes meant to cripple the country’s ability to use chemical weapons, as Russia accused Washington of “hooliganism” and a major breach of international law.
The Western countries said the strikes were aimed at preventing more Syrian chemical weapons attacks after a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7 killed up to 75 people. They blame Assad’s government for the attack. But British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the legal basis used to support the British role was debatable, adding that he would only support action backed by the United Nations Security Council.
Western powers have no plans for further missile strikes on Syria but will assess their options if Damascus uses chemical weapons again, Britain’s foreign minister said on Sunday as debate raged over the legality and effectiveness of the raids.
In the early hours of this morning, brave RAF forces, alongside our allies, struck decisively at the Syrian regime’s chemical stockpiles. Four Tornado jets fired Storm Shadow missiles at a military facility 15 miles west of Homs, where the regime housed chemical weapon precursors in breach of their chemical weapons convention obligations. Meticulous scientific analysis determined the target, maximising the destruction of the deadly chemicals while minimising the risks of contamination to the surrounding area. The selected site was some distance from any known concentrations of civilian habitation. Initial indications show our efforts were successful. I want to pay tribute to the professionalism and dedication of our RAF crews and our allies. But make no mistake, this co-ordinated and targeted UK response was not a…
The United Nations Security Council rejected a Russian-backed resolution to condemn U.S.-led airstrikes in Syria after a two-hour debate in which the U.S. said it was poised to strike again if the government of Bashar al-Assad repeats its use of chemical weapons.
Hours after striking Syria, the United States, France and Britain on Saturday launched a new bid at the United Nations to investigate chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The three allies circulated a joint draft resolution at the Security Council that also calls for unimpeded deliveries of humanitarian
In order to have any real impact on chemical-weapons use, the American response needs to be sustained.
<p>By admitting that the raid’s intent was not “regime change”, the allies have reluctantly conceded the reality on the ground</p>
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Donald Trump could not have been clearer. Bashar al-Assad’s crimes, including the gassing to death of “mothers and fathers, infants and children” were “not the actions of a man. They are the crimes of a monster.” Assad was, he added, the leader of a “rogue state” and “a brutal tyrant, a murderous di
Syria’s government retains its ability to conduct its most lethal attacks on rebels and civilians, even after the U.S., France and Britain launched missile strikes that the Pentagon said disabled the regime’s chemical-weapons capabilities.
United States and its allies appeared to take pains to avoid a possible direct military confrontation with Russia in air strikes targeting Syrian government targets, with France saying that Moscow was “warned beforehand” about the operation.
As Donald Trump’s administration, backed by France and the UK, launched a series of missile attacks on Syrian installations allegedly used in the production or deployment of chemical weapons this weekend—and the president bizarrely tweeted “Mission Accomplished!” in a worrying signal with regards to his strategic insight—the question of whether Russia would retaliate on behalf of Bashar al-Assad’s government did tend to hang over the proceedings.
Vice President Pence said on Saturday that the Trump administration stands ready to respond to any potential retaliatory measures by Syria or its allies, including Russia and Iran, after the U.S., France and the United Kingdom launched milita
France declassified a report on Saturday laying out evidence that officials said proves that a chemical attack in Syria last week was carried out by the government of President Bashar Assad.
The White House released its assessment of the attacks late Friday evening, not long after Trump announced military action in Syria.
The Pentagon said Saturday that the U.S.-led allied missile strikes in Syria successfully hit all three targets and have “significantly crippled” Syrian President Bashar Assad’s ability to make more chemical weapons.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says all NATO allies have expressed their full support for last night’s military actions to degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability. Despite sustained diplomatic efforts, the Syrian regime continues to use chemical weapons against its own people.
Many European leaders and the prime minister of Canada voiced support and understanding Saturday for the U.S.-led air strikes against Syria, but warned against allowing the seven-year conflict to escalate. …
"The response to these atrocities is legitimate and proportionate," said Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko considers a surgical strike by the international coalition against the Assad regime’s chemical weapons facilities in Syria a forced yet justifiable step. This is a fair response to the fact of committing a brutal crime against humanity, that is a chemical attack in Douma on April 7, the president said.
ANKARA (AA): The Arab countries are divided on the U.S.-led bombing of alleged Syrian Government’s chemical sites on Saturday. The U.S., France and Britain launched the strikes days after a suspected chemical attack killed dozens in Douma in the Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta. In a statement, Saudi Arabia said it “fully supports” the airstrikes which “came as a response to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including women and children”. “The use of such internationally prohibited weapons is a continuation of the horrid crimes the regime has been committing for years against the Syrian people,” an official source with the Foreign Ministry said, quoted by the official SPA news agency. Qatar’s Foreign Ministry also supported the U.S.-led attacks against “specific military targets, used by the Syrian regime to launch attacks on innocent civilians.” In a statement, the ministry reiterated support for all international efforts aimed at reaching a political solution “that fulfills the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people and maintains the country’s territorial integrity”. The Gulf state of Bahrain also said it fully supports the airstrikes against chemical and military sites in Syria. In a statement, the Bahrain Foreign Ministry said the attacks were “necessary to protect civilians in all Syrian territory and prevent the use of banned weapons”. Political solution
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An attack on three chemical weapons facilities in Syria involved stealth missiles and using U.S. destroyer ships as a distraction.
The former FBI director does provide plenty of scenes, details and backstory in “A Higher Loyalty.”
Syria’s alleged chemical weapons chief, whose facilities were the main target of yesterday’s allied airstrikes, boasts extensive ties to Britain, including two sons who work in the City as investment bankers.Amr Armanazi is under US and European Union sanctions for his role as director-general of Sy
The Constitution still requires congressional authorization for an attack on another country. The requirement is not a formality.
The number of countries involved in festering Middle East conflicts most closely resembles the situation before World War I. That’s frightening.
A survivor of a Syrian chemical attack in 2013 wants to buy President Donald Trump a beer to share his experience on the conditions in the country.
Chemical weapons have driven President Trump to change tactics on Syria. Here’s why they’re so different from other instruments of war.
An unmanned Iranian aircraft shot down in February in Israeli airspace was armed with explosives and on a mission to attack the Jewish state, Israel’s military has claimed.
Syrian Observatory for Human Right (SOHR) reports a powerful explosion in the area of Mount Azzan in southern Aleppo. The Iranian weapons storage facility, said to be one of the biggest in the country, is located in Mount Azzan and was reportedly used by Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, and other Iranian militias in Syria. Skynews Arabia and Al Jazeera claim that unidentified warplanes struck the Iranian weapons depot. Unidentified planes were seen in the area during the strikes. Syrian sources suggest that the explosion near Mount Azzan was caused by Israeli airstrike. Iranian base was targeted. Over 20 Iranian soldiers are reportedly killed. Sources in Syria claim numerous covert strikes have also targeted Iranian military sites near Deir Ez-Zor. There are unconfirmed reports of a massive explosion in Quneitra near Israel border. The Lebanese news agency al-Mayadeen reported that Hezbollah denied that any military strike took place and said there were some controlled explosions near the site earlier in the day.