Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russia’s self-flagellation campaign continues, the theatre in the OPCW has produced almost viral media coverage, but almost universally negative – Muscovy’s propagandists appear determined to reinforce the self-typecasting of the previous four years. Felgenhauer backfills the history of the earlier deal to supply the S-300PMU2 Favorit / SA-20B to Syria very nicely. Russian vloggers capture footage of a 9K332 Tor M2 / SA-15D at Latakia – the Russians have claimed for many years this new variant was built to defeat PGMs such as cruise missiles. Telegram debacle continues with Russia inadvertently blocking major Russian providers and social media sites. Dichenko on Stalin’s emulation of Nazi practices and efforts to hide them.
Excellent analysis of the Salisbury attack by Haines. Salisbury economy suffering catastrophic damage due to the loss of tourists – the notion of ending up in spasms while foaming at the mouth doesn’t work in tourism sales.
UK and France shred Russian delegation in OPCW meeting. More on Israel vs. Russia vs. Iran. Israeli DEFMIN Lieberman meets SECDEF Mattis, NSADV Bolton and Kushner in DC. Various related reports.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) jets have been hitting Syria intermittently, primarily targeting Iranian-connected assets, but also attacking the air-defense installations of president Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Arab Army (SAA) (Haaretz, April 10). Officially, the Israelis proclaim neutrality in the seven-year-long Syrian civil war, but the IDF has an established “de-confliction” agreement with Russia’s military (Kommersant, July 13, 2017). Russian President Vladimir Putin is popular in Israel, seen as an Israeli-friendly leader; and he seems to have a close personal relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In December 2017, Avi Dichter, a member of Israel’s ruling Likud party and the chairperson of the Knesset (parliament) Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, told Interfax: “Russia is not an enemy and we [Israel] have no problem with a permanent Russian military presence in Syria.” Dichter, who is also a former director of Shin Bet (internal security service) and a former minister of internal security and home front defense, described Russia as a “superpower and ally” that wants a strategic presence in the Mediterranean, “and we say: Welcome!” (Interfax, December 5, 2017). The Russian military has angrily denounced as “aggression” the United States–led military actions in Syria—in particular the April 14 missile attack that targeted al-Assad’s facilities connected to chemical weapons usage. Whereas, the intermittent Israeli attacks have been mostly ignored by Russian officialdom and by the state-run propaganda machine. But now this honeymoon seems to be at an end. On April 9, the Russian Ministry of Defense officially and promptly identified the IDF as responsible for attacking the SAA’s T-4 airbase, in Homs province (Militarynews.ru, April 9). Meanwhile, Tehran acknowledged that the alleged IDF attack on T-4 killed seven Iranian elite Revolutionary Guards, including a local commander, and threatened revenge (Newsru.co.il, April 10). The IDF was not involved in the US-led April 14 missile attack, but the Russian military apparently chose that moment to fundamentally redraw Putin’s strategic partnership with Israel. The Russia military, diplomatic and intelligence services establishment was never happy with the Kremlin forming too close an alliance with Israel, which is seen by the so-called “party of war” in Moscow as an unreliable US proxy that cannot be turned and will always ultimately choose Washington over Moscow. A Middle Eastern strategy based on traditional Cold War–style alliances with anti-Western forces in the region is apparently seen as a better option by the “party of war” than Russia’s present delicate balancing act of simultaneously keeping close relationships with Iran and Israel, Turkey and Greece, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and Egypt, and so on. Following the Western missile strike on al-Assad’s chemical weapons program, the chief of the Russian General Staff’s main operations directorate, Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, announced that Moscow has “fully restored the Syrian [SAA] air-defense system” and will continue to reinforce it. “Several years ago,” continued Rudskoy, Russia agreed with “Western partners” not to sell Syria S-300 anti-aircraft missiles; but now (after the missile attack), “we may reconsider” (TASS, April 14). On April 23, Kommersant reported, quoting unnamed “military-diplomatic sources” that S-300 Favorit missiles may be imminently shipped to Syria to help form a “comprehensive anti-aircraft defense” that will allow the SAA to “fully control the Syrian airspace.” According to Kommersant, the political decision to promptly supply al-Assad with S-300 missiles—announced by Rudskoy and later publicly supported by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov—has already been made, and only logistical and technical details must still be ironed out. A contract to supply al-Assad with four batteries of S-300PMU-2 Favorit missiles was signed in 2010, but later scrapped by Putin, in response to an Israeli request. The S-300PMU-2 batteries made for Syria were eventually sold to Iran. The proposed new shipment of S-300s must come directly from the Russian military stockpile, since S-300PMUs are no longer produced in Russia, where all industrial capacity is engaged in fabricating the new S-400 systems. If S-300 missiles are deployed with the SAA, Russian technicians and military advisors would be deployed with them to help the Syrian military cope with “this new defensive weapon.” Any Israeli attack to destroy the SAA’s long-range S-300 capability “would have catastrophic repercussions,” since Russian personnel could be hit (Kommersant, April 23).
ANTALYA (Sputnik) – Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport is ready to supply Syria with S-300 air defence systems if Russia’s top political leadership gives it the go-ahead, Russian Rostec Corp. (includes Rosoboronexport) international cooperation director Viktor Kladov told Sputnik on Friday during Eurasia Airshow 2018.
During a visit of Russian Youtube bloggers at an airbase in Latakia were spotted new Tor-M2 fully-automated surface-to-air missile systems manufactured by Almaz-Antey’s Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol. Russia has deployed advanced Tor-M2 short-range air defence missile systems in Syria after the U.S.-led missile strikes on Syrian regime chemical weapons sites. A source in Russia’s defenсe ministry confirms deployment of the Tor-M2 systems at Hmeimim base in the northwestern province of Latakia, Syria, is the largest Russian-run military facility in the country. The short-range air defence missile system can counter a wide range of targets including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), guided missiles, cruise missiles, aircraft, helicopters and high-precision weapons flying at very low to medium altitudes.
Instead of waiting for chemical weapons inspectors to finish their investigation in Syria, Russia preempted their work by flying Syrian witnesses to Europe.
Russia offers up Syrian "witnesses" who were purportedly used in "staged videos" after suspected chemical attack
Russia presents more than a dozen alleged witnesses from Ghouta in Syria at The Hague to support its claim that the chemical attack this month was staged.
Russia says witnesses disprove the alleged gas attack, but the UK calls it a ‘despicable stunt’.
Britain dismissed the move as a stunt, saying its allies have boycotted the closed-door meeting, intended to show that there was no chemical attack in Syria
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Russian diplomats brought alleged “witnesses” from Syria, including an 11-year-old child, to the headquarters of the global chemical weapons watchdog in the Netherlands to disprove allegations of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Russian diplomats brought alleged “witnesses” from Syria, including an 11-year-old child, to the headquarters of the global chemical weapons watchdog in the Netherlands… – 4/26/2018 11:58:30 AM | Newser
BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian state media is reporting that government forces have pushed into a Damascus neighborhood held by the Islamic State group from different directions and captured buildings on several street blocks and tunnels used by the extremists.
The Latest: Russia shows off alleged witnesses from Syria to the media to debunk reports of Douma chemical attack.
Syrian government troops are continuing to make surprising discoveries during their campaign to put an end to the war and reinstate order in the country. “In the depot with chemical weapons left by terrorists in Douma, we have found chemicals from Germany, the United Kingdom, from the Porton-Down laboratory in
After a joint ballistic missile offensive mounted by the United States and allies destroyed facilities integral to Syria’s chemical weapon infrastructure, the Russian military quickly claimed that the Soviet era missile defense systems employed by the Syrian regime had successfully intercepted most inbound missiles.
The report is from last year.
The great 10th century Iraqi poet Abu Tayyib al-Mutanabbi once lived, O fated city, in the Emirate of Aleppo. He even led a revolt in Syria which was – familiar stuff, this – put down with great ruthlessness. Al-Mutanabbi actually spent two years in prison before reconciling himself to his loss and was subsequently released. Most Arab children in Syria can quote the man by heart and one of their favourite poems begins with these words: When you see the teeth of a lion, Don’t think that the lion is smiling at you.
Key Points The Russian MoD has provided different figures for the number of Western weapons intercepted in Syria on 14 April The missile remnants it displayed could have come from missiles that hit their targets or failed in a previous attack In a second attempt to cast doubt on the effectiveness
The EU’s excellent weekly Disinformation Review has a laser focus on Russian disinformation and is exposing the Russian information warfare program for what they are. As a result, the UK is reviewing RT’s license to broadcast as it does not meet their standards to qualify as journalism. If Russia protests, it only has itself and…
Since Russia banned the Telegram messaging app, the government has embarked on a campaign of hitting itself in the face. The functionality of the Russian…
The IP-addresses of Yandex, Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki appeared to be in the register of the prohibited sites as IT Security Telegram channel reported on April 27. According to the copy of the register unloading, five addresses of Yandex, one address of Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki were blocked. Also, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, LiveInternet, Yahoo, Selectel and a dozen of companies are on the list too.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 25 – By attacking the Telegram messenger service, the Putin regime has not only revealed its reactionary nature and generated its own nemesis in the form of a population appalled by what it is doing but has generated its own nemesis, a Russian people which now views the regime as an object of scorn and laughter, Lev Shlosberg says. The Yabloko politician says that the attack on Telegram shows “the total inadequacy of the Russian authorities. They are absolutely out of date, a quality that guarantees their inevitable political defeat” because “strictly speaking, they do not understand the nature of the world they are living in” (gubernia.pskovregion.org/columns/cifrovoe-soprotivlenie/). “The Soviet nature of the Russian authorities does not allow them to look forward. Today, the Russian powers are a machine turned to the past.” Its “idee fixe is absolute control over citizens via the total suppression of the rights and freedoms of the individual.” It requires from them only “subordination and obedience.” Aleksandr Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, the organization that has attacked Telegram, speaks about “the degradation” of the latter. But what has degraded is in fact the regime itself. Its minions “have shown themselves enemies of progress” who cannot function in the modern world. Instead, Slosberg says, they have retreated into their “cave-like besieged fortress” and are animated by “an organic hatred of freedom and human rights.” Such a regime “cannot have any future.” The Russian authorities, he continues, “are above all dangerous for the citizens of Russia. they are depriving almost 150 million people of a normal present and thus a normal future. The real ideology of the Russian authorities is obscurantism: they do not have any historical perspective but are capable of fucking up the lives of all who have to live under them.” Not surprisingly, this generates “the strongest natural human protest” because the attack on Telegram affects the daily life of millions in ways that make no sense; and they recognize that such an attack will inevitably fail. They see the harm the regime is wreaking, and they also see the ease with which they personally can do an end run around its prohibitions. “Millions of people,” Shlosberg says, “have chosen the simple and correct path: they have retained for themselves the possibility of using Telegram by simple technological means.” Indeed, evidence of the government’s failure came immediately: in the first week, the number of Telegram users grew by almost a quarter. And this “increase in the number of people suffering from the illegal and unjust government pogrom in the Internet logically and quickly is increasing the number of the opponents of the powers that be.” Thus, “in trying to destroy freedom,” the Putin regime has “broadened the space” in which Russians can act freely. Perhaps the best evidence of this is that Russians have begun to laugh about Roskomnadzor, calling it “Roskom-shame, Roskom-pogrom, Roskom-bedlam, Roskom-bardak, Roskom-degradation and Roskom-failure.” Laughter, after all, “is he most powerful weapon against a dictatorship. A dictator who is laughed at is condemned to defeat.” “The hunt for Telegram … has shown that the Russian powers today are a dead end branch of political development, one dangerous for all humanity.” But it is hardly unexpected that officials would pursue this given that the president of the country views the Internet as a CIA plot. He may but society does not, Shlosberg says. And faced with a choice of “returning to the cave or the right to freedom, [Russian] society is choosing freedom. Intuitively because it feels right and that means it is. That is what good sense dictates. Good sense against obscurantism is the essence of what is occurring in our country.” The regime, of course, is responding just as one would expect: It has launched an investigation for extremism into the newspaper, Pskovskaya guberniya, in which Shlosberg’s articles regularly appear (svoboda.org/a/29189514.html).
U.S. companies getting caught in the crossfire. One VC firm the impact on the ban is hurting innocent companies, “worse than sanctions.”
Many Russians have continued to back the Kremlin’s foreign policy even as it affects jobs and lives.
Paul Goble Staunton, April 26 – One of the strictest ideological rules in both the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation has been that journalists and commentators refer to Adolf Hitler’s regime as “Nazi” or “fascist” and never as “national socialist,” the term he himself used, lest Russians draw the obvious parallels between Hitler’s rule and Stalin’s. That has been especially true in periods when Stalin has been celebrated, before Khrushchev’s secret speech in 1956 and again now as Vladimir Putin oversees and even promotes a more positive attitude toward the longtime Soviet dictator who is celebrated in particular for his role in the defeat of Hitler. That makes a new 5500-word article by economist Mikhail Dichenko entitled “The Stalin-Bukharin Theory of National Socialism as the Basis for the Transition to an Administrative Economy and a Political Dictatorship” so important (cont.ws/@mikhaildichenko/926693). Dichenko’s argument, which draws on the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky, will be familiar to anyone in the West who has studied Soviet history; but what makes it important is that it provides a new foundation for those Russians who oppose Stalin and the increasingly Stalinist course of the Putin regime.
In this year’s annual World Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published information revealing Russia to be in 148th place. …
This essay dissects the recent attempt to kill a former senior Russian intelligence officer and MI6 double agent, Sergei Skripal, who was contentedly living a quiet retirement in the English countryside. It is a tale worthy of any potboiler. As an anonymous Kremlin official warned, “The fate of such a man is unenviable. It will haunt him the rest of his life and he will live each day in fear of retaliation.” The attempted assassination is used to illuminate a larger dezinformatsiya narrative and perhaps, a distinct silovik view of traitors (actual and otherwise). Mark Galeotti describes it in his recent book as Russia’s “upperworld has been influenced by the underworld,” leaving what Owen Matthews calls a “logic of blurred lines” around political murder.
Headline news from around the world.
Residents of the quaint English city are eager for life to return to normal after the Russian spy poisoning case. Businesses are counting the cost as tourists give the city a wide berth.
VLADIMIR Putin’s glamour spy Anna Chapman has failed so far to comment on the mounting scandal over the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skirpal – with whom she was exchanged in a 2010 Cold War-style swap in Vienna. By WILL STEWART PUBLISHED: 11:02, Thu, Mar 8, 2018 | UPDATED: 11:11, Thu, Mar 8, 2018 But she surprisingly deleted one posting…
Russia flew in an 11-year-old Syrian to back its claims the attack was staged
Russia came under fire Thursday accused of organising an “obscene masquerade” by bringing a group of Syrians to the OPCW to back claims that there was no chemical attack on Douma. The group, including a young boy named Hassan Diab, testified to members of the global chemical arms watchdog
Russia brought citizens of a Syrian town hit by a claimed chemical weapons attack to deny it happened, sparking international furor.
Britain and France have denounced as a “stunt” and “masquerade” a move by Russia and Syria to produce Syrian witnesses to support claims that there was no chemical attack in the city of Douma earli…
The United Kingdom on Thursday dismissed as a stunt Russia’s attempt to show that no one died in this month’s suspected chemical attack in Syria.
Western diplomats accused Russia and Syria of an “obscene masquerade” last night after the countries presented an 11-year-old boy at a press conference in an attempt to disprove claims of a chemical attack by the Assad regime.Three children took part in the briefing at the Hague in the Netherlands,
Witnesses taken to The Hague to say no attack took place in Damascus suburb on 7 April
Sharp rhetoric Israel will force Russia to rethink the supply of military systems. After the missile strike, the USA, France and the UK, the objects of the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria, Russia is considering the possibility of delivery of friendly middle Eastern country of complexes of air defence With-300. Israel, which has long opposed such deliveries, has said it is ready to destroy the air defense system, if they threaten his own safety. The Russian oppositional politician Konstantin Borovoy told how it would end. It is reported online edition of the Chronicle.info with reference to the Apostrophe. Israel in the issue of their security compromises is not: as soon as there is a risk of transmission of serious arms to Iran or the militants of, say, Hizbollah, he immediately takes military action. Israel has a very strong intelligence network, and it’s usually very good and knows exactly what is happening in Syria. I think that the negotiations, whatever they may be, will lead to the fact that Russia refuses to supply s-300 to Syria. Though, because of previous similar deliveries ended with the bombing of warehouses.
Israel is bombing Iranian targets in Syria, Iran is hitting back, and all-out conflict is suddenly possible.
‘The Americans and us see eye to eye when it comes to the Middle East,’ Avigdor Lieberman says following meetings
<p>Russia and Syria should not be allowed to get away with brazen act</p>
A fate worse than death awaits military hardware recovered intact on the battlefield.
US satellites, surveillance aircraft, drones and ships have stepped up operations to monitor the movement of suspecte…
The Ayatollah said Muslims must resist arrogant western nations.
The outrage of nuclear-armed countries at their use in Syria has the whiff of hypocrisy, says professor of international law William Schabas
That probably spells doom for the nuclear deal.