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Salisbury CW Attack / Syrian CW Attack (60)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Russia is frantically trying to convince others not to remove its current veto in the UN. The point they avoid is their use of the veto to avoid responsibility for their actions and tacit approval of their allies illegal, unethical, or immoral actions. 

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A curious Russian outburst over the proposal to strip Russia of UNSC veto rights – best compared to the proverbial reaction of a vampire to a crucifix. Russia of course wants to stack the UNSC with developing nations who are under their thumb or bought off. The alternate reality propaganda campaign continues, with a renewed focus on the UK – Shevtsova’s observations show its self-destructive effect. Tovarishch Zeman does his duty. More on Telegram and Viber.

The biggest Salisbury report was the NYT interview with the OPCW Head citing 50-100 grams of Novichok used, later corrected to 50-100 milligrams used – did the OPCW Head make this mistake or the editors at the NYT? More on UK alliance building effort.

While Israeli DEFMIN Liebermann’s Kommersant interview remains in the media, most traffic remains focussed on Iran, and qualifies as a free-for-all in the Western and Israel media. Turkey again chastised the S-400 procurement.

UAWire – Moscow warns against depriving Russia of right of veto in UN

The power of veto in the United Nations Security Council, which is held by Russia, Britain, China, the United States and France, is the cornerstone of the organization’s architecture, without which it will lose its stability, as stated by Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov at the regular meeting of the General Assembly on the issue of Security Council reform. The diplomat noted that “ungrounded actions against the right of veto” caused “various reactions” among the UN member-states. “Not only do they not fit into reform discussions, they also do not take into account that this institution serves as an important component of the United Nations system of checks and balances, the core element of the collective decision-making mechanism that stimulates Council members to seek compromises. Possession of the right of veto for all permanent members of the Council is not only a privilege, but, more than that, a huge responsibility. The power of veto is the cornerstone of the UN architecture, without which it would lose stability,” Safronkov said. According to him, the agreement of all permanent members “not only allows for reaching agreements embodied in the decisions of the Council, but also provides a strong chance that they will be implemented.” “In other words, to encroach on the right veto is short-sighted from a political point of view. Removing it can lead to the disruption of the much-needed balance of interests,” emphasized the Deputy of the Russian Federation, adding that the power of veto is one of the foundations of the existing world order. On the issue of the expansion of the UN Security Council, Safronkov repeated the position of the Russian Federation, according to which the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America should receive additional seats. “This approach, along with the power of veto of the current permanent members of the Security Council, will ensure that the decisions of the Council will continue to be balanced,” the diplomat explained. Intergovernmental negotiations on Security Council reform have been held since 1992, but countries have not yet come to a consensus on key issues, including the optimal composition of the UN Security Council, the number of its permanent and temporary members, and the manner in which the veto is exercised.

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Diplomat slams UK’s claims about Russia’s involvement in Skripal case as lies

Czech President Milos Zeman said earlier that small amounts of the Novichok nerve agent were produced and stored in the Czech Republic

TASS: World – Sergei Skripal remains at Salisbury District Hospital — source

His daughter Yulia Skripal has been discharged

‘No need to lie’: Zeman says Czech Republic tested nerve agent similar to Novichok used on Skripals — RT World News

The Czech Republic has apparently produced and tested a nerve agent of the so-called Novichok family, the country’s president Milos Zeman told state media. His statement follows an inquiry conducted by the Czech security services.

Zeman: Novichok was produced, tested, destroyed in ČR | Prague Monitor

Prague, May 3 (CTK) – The Novichok nerve agent, which was behind the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, was in a small quantity produced and tested in Czech Republic, then it was destroyed, President Milos Zeman said on Thursday. Zeman said his information was based on a report drafted by the Military Counter-intelligence (MZ), saying that the agent denoted as A230, produced for testing purposes by the Military Research Institute in Brno, was Novichok. The civilian BIS counter-intelligence has arrived at the conclusion that the gas was not Novichok, Zeman said. He said after studying the reports of both secret services he had preferred the view presented by the MZ. “There is the conclusion that Novichok was produced and tested here, though in a small quantity and then it was destroyed,” Zeman said. “It is hypocritical to pretend that this was not so,” he added. Russia claims that Novichok could have originated from the Czech Republic. The Czech government, including Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), military experts and the Institute for Nuclear Security said earlier the Novichok had never been produced in the Czech Republic. In March, the Czech Republic expelled three diplomats from the Russian embassy in Prague together with their families in reaction to the attack. In this connection, Zeman asked secret services to look for the origin of Novichok in the Czech Republic. He said it arose from his findings that last November, the A230 agent had been tested in the the Military Research Institute in Brno. Zeman said the Czech MZ had explicitly denoted the agent as Novichok, while BIS and the nuclear security experts say the Novichok with which Skripal was poisoned was the substance denoted as A234.

Czech Government Says Nerve Agent Mentioned By Zeman Not Novichok

The Czech-made nerve agent that President Milos Zeman described in a television interview as Novichok is of a different type than the toxin Britain says was used to poison a former spy, the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement on May 4. Novichok — first developed in the Soviet Union — was identified by Britain as the type of agent used to poison Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in the English city of Salisbury on March 4. London blamed the poisoning on Russia. In a TV interview broadcast on May 2, Zeman said the military reports he was citing identified the type of Novichok used in the poisoning as A-234, while that produced in the Czech Republic was type A-230. “We did produce and store Novichok in insignificant amounts. We know where and when. Let us not be hypocritical. We should not lie about this,” said Zeman, who is known for his pro-Moscow stance. However, the Czech Foreign Ministry said that the nerve toxin A-230 is different from the one called Novichok. “The nerve-paralyzing poison used in the U.K. attack is called A-234 and is therefore a different variant than the one tested by the Czech Military Research Institute in Brno,” the ministry statement said. It said that a few milliliters– of A-230 was produced, tested, and destroyed by the institute in the southeastern city Brno in order to study ways to defend against it.

Russia says Skripal case to harm security cooperation with UK: RIA | Reuters

The poisoning of former Russian double agent in England will damage Britain-Russia cooperation in ensuring security for the soccer World Cup being staged in Russia from June, RIA cited a Russian deputy foreign minister as saying on Friday.

Did Israel Really Spoof U.S. Warplanes to Strike Iranian Targets in Syria? | The National Interest Blog

Is that even possible?

Iran’s foreign minister: US has ‘consistently violated’ Iran nuclear agreement | TheHill

Mohammad Javad Zarif likened attempts to renegotiate the nuclear deal to reneging on a real estate agreement.

UAWire – Media: Russian fighter aicraft that crashed in Syria experienced engine failure

The Russian Su-30SM fighter aircraft that crashed after takeoff from Khmeimim airbase in Syria on May 4 had Khmeimim airbase in Syria on May 4 …

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘The World has Stopped Loving or Even Respecting Russia and Putin,’ Shevtsova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 3 – Polls show that countries around the world not only have stopped loving or even respecting Russia and Putin but are increasingly ill-disposed to both, Liliya Shevtsova says, a trend that limits Russia’s options however much some in Moscow think they can ignore the attitudes of others or can compel them to change by force alone. “Even those nations which earlier experienced to us romantic feelings such as the Germans have been cured of that,” the Russian analyst says. “Russia has lost the sympathy of the world community over the last two decades, but a sharp change to dislike occurred after our Crimean ‘gambit’” ( A Pew Research Center poll last year found, Shevtsova points out, that 40 percent of those polled in countries around the world are now critical of Russia, with higher figures in Europe and Israel. Only three countries – Vietnam, Greece and the Philippines – were more positive than negative about Russia. And the international community also had a negative view of Vladimir Putin, with 78 percent of Europeans saying that they do not trust the Russian president to behave correctly in international affairs. And only in four countries – Tanzania, Greece, Vietnam, and the Philippines – had populations with a more positive than negative view of the Kremlin leader. As for the United States, only 13 percent of Americans now have a positive view of Putin, down from 42 percent in 2002. Similar if not quite as dramatic declines have occurred in European countries and elsewhere as well, Shevtsova says. What is especially galling for many in Moscow is that the international decline in positive views of Russia and Putin has occurred even has the world views China more positively. Now, the Russian analyst says, most people around the world view the US and China as the leaders, “already without Russia” and “instead of the triumvirate people in Moscow dream about.” China is increasingly its positive image not only relative to Russia but also relative to the United States. The Pew surveys showed that the number of countries in which the US is more popular than China had fallen in recent years from 25 to 12. “Of course,” Shevtsova continues, “we can ignore this lack of sympathy from the rest of the world. As a rule, people don’t love the strong of this world. But they respect them. Russia, however, already cannot compete on this basis with China let alone the United States. And that has consequences even if the Kremlin doesn’t want to acknowledge them. She points out that “having introduced a sanctions regime against Russia, the West has limited for the Kremlin the chance to use other instruments of influence, including force in particular. The other states, including China, are not burning with a desire to help Russia break out of the sanctions ghetto into which the West has driven Russia.” Indeed, there are increasing doubts that Russia will risk “demonstrating power” lest it be faced by even more sanctions. Moscow is already compelled “not to take note of the fact that its allies (in particular) Kazakhstan are building bridges with its competitor the United States” or that other countries like Israel can take actions Russia doesn’t like with impunity. In this context, any use of force in order to imitate great power status will backfire on Russia, Shevtsova says. “Of course, one can agree to assume the role of an outsider state and be ready to wander through the world” for the next centuries. But any such stance will lead to Russia ceasing to be a player in world events. But that raises an even more immediate problem: how can the current Russian regime remain in power if it rejects such an international role, especially as it has made the reclaiming of exactly that great power status the basis of its legitimacy? Unless Moscow changes course, it almost certainly isn’t going to like the answer.

We Need a NATO for Infowar – Defense One

Western countries have pitifully few defenses against ever-more-powerful disinformation campaigns. Banding together can help.

Russia takes further steps to restrict access to Telegram – The Verge

Russia has taken further steps to limit access to popular messaging app Telegram, blocking 50 internet anonymizers and VPN services.

Viber poised to follow Telegram’s footsteps out of Russia – Coingeek

After Russia banned Telegram, it appears that Viber will be the next one going this way if the government’s security services are not able to acquire its encryption keys.

Telegram shutdown sparks anger in Iran | News | Al Jazeera

Court ruling banning popular messaging app met annoyance among its tens of million of users in the country.

Weapons Watchdog Corrects Estimate of Nerve Agent Used in U.K. Attack – The New York Times

Fifty to 100 milligrams — not grams — of nerve agent were used in the March 4 poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said.

Watchdog rows back on Salisbury nerve agent claim – AOL

The international chemical weapons watchdog has rowed back on a suggestion that up to 100 grams of liquid nerve agent were used in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his

Russian spy poisoning: Watchdog backtracks over Novichok amount
The chemical weapons watchdog has backtracked on its suggestion 100g of Novichok nerve agent was used in the Salisbury spy poisoning. The head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) told the New York Times that amount may have been used. The OPCW later said the amount should have read “100mg”.
Large Dose of Nerve Agent Used in Attack in Britain, Says Weapons Watchdog – The New York Times

Roughly 50 to 100 grams of nerve agent was used in an attack on Sergei V. Skripal, a former Russian double agent, said the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russian spy poisoning: Up to 100g of nerve agent used – watchdog – BBC News

The amount of nerve agent used suggests it was created as a weapon, a watchdog says.

Salisbury poisoner used 50g to 100g of novichok | News | The Times

Up to 100g of nerve agent was used in the Salisbury spy poisoning, ten times the amount needed for scientific purposes, the chemical weapons watchdog has said.Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), said that the volume of novichok used against Sergei

Salisbury attack: Up to 100g of Novichok nerve agent used on Skripals, says chemical weapons watchdog | The Independent

As much as 100 grams of nerve agent may have been used in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

Salisbury Novichok quantity suggests it was created as weapon not for research, says chemical weapons watchdog chief

Up to 100 grams of liquid nerve agent were used in the attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said.

Novichok Chemical Weapon Developer Says Half a Cup Would Have Killed Skripal and Entire Town

The ex-Russian spy and his daughter were hit with an attack that used 50-100 grams of Novichok, the head of the OPCW has said.

UK to push for new diplomatic front against Russia – The National

Ministers want to use four major international summits to assemble a new diplomatic pushback against Russia

Russia news: UK plot to build anti-Russia alliance: Britain’s aim to CRUSH Putin’s power | UK | News |

BRITAIN is plotting to build an anti-Russia alliance and will use major upcoming international summits to persuade allies to form a plan to crush Vladimir Putin’s power in Moscow.

The Guardian: UK plans to strengthen anti-Russia alliance

British diplomats plan to use the G7, the G20, Nato and the European Union to try to deepen the alliance against Russia.

UN Inspectors ‘Planning To Exhume’ Bodies Of Syrian Gas Victims

Media are reporting that global chemical weapons inspectors will take the unprecedented step of exhuming some bodies of victims in the Syrian town of Douma as they work to verify an alleged chemica…

Lieberman Says Israel Not Seeking Confrontation With Russia in Syria | Al Bawaba

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday reiterated assertions that Israel was not seeking confrontation with Russia in Syria.“We are not looking for any confrontation with Russia,”

Lieberman appeals to Russia to return sanctions favor | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Israel’s defense minister reminded Russia Thursday of his government’s decision not to join Western sanctions against it, and asked that Moscow reciprocate with a more pro-Israel approach to Syria and Iran.

Israel Seeking Russian Assurances Over Anti-Missile Systems in Syria

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman sought assurances from Russia that its advanced missile defense systems won’t be used against Israeli jets over Syria.

UAWire – Israel promises to strike S-300 missile systems in Syria in case of an attack on Israeli aircraft

Israel will strike S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, which are currently under consideration for delivery to Syria, if they are used against …

Russia says will honor Iran nuclear deal as long as others do: Ifax

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Moscow would honor its commitments on the Iran nuclear deal for as long as other countries did, the Interfax news agency reported. U.S. President Donald Trump faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 agreement

Russia sees closer Iran ties if U.S. exits nuclear deal: official | Reuters

Russia will stand by the Iran nuclear deal and develop closer ties with Iran if U.S. President Donald Trump withdraws from the agreement on May 12, a senior Russian official said on Friday.

Top Intel Official: Iranian Drone Was Retaliation for Mossad Stealing Nuke Files

The explosives-laden Iranian drone that infiltrated Israeli airspace was a possible retaliation for the Mossad’s theft of Iran’s nuclear weapons archive.

How the Mossad’s Iran heist went down, according to a Kuwaiti report – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

As with most espionage operations, it turns out there might be more to this one than meets the eye.

The four battlegrounds Iran uses to threaten Israel and the Middle East – Iran Nuclear Deal –

One of Donald Trump’s main arguments for cancelling the Iran nuclear deal has been Iran’s role in devastating conflicts in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon

How Iran will respond to new sanctions

Djavad Salehi-Isfahani discusses how new U.S. sanctions could impact Iran’s already struggling economy.

Report: Israeli Satellite Images Show Renewed Activity at Iran’s Fordo Enrichment Facility | Jewish & Israel News

An Israeli satellite has reportedly found signs of renewed activity at the Fordo enrichment facility in Iran. Fordo is one of two facilities used by the Iranians to enrich uranium, which is part of the process of constructing nuclear weapons. It is heavily shielded by a mountain. According to Israel’s Channel Two, a satellite belonging to ImageSat International (ISI) took photographs showing a sudden flurry of activity at the Fordo site, which has been mostly inactive for the past few years. Compared to images taken of the facility last year, the photos showed more vehicles entering and exiting the site, and new construction being undertaken on buildings previously left unfinished.

Russia says will honour Iran nuclear deal as long as others do – Ifax | Reuters

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that Moscow would honour its commitments on the Iran nuclear deal for as long as other countries did, the Interfax news agency reported.

Trump set to kill the Iran nuclear deal and it could ‘propel’ oil prices skywards

The Iran nuclear deal is on the brink of collapse, yet oil traders continue to underestimate the impact of a fast-approaching supply shock. A dramatic uptick in oil prices in recent weeks has partly been driven by mounting expectations that Donald Trump will soon pull out of the 2015 accord. Trump, a fervent critic of the seven-party agreement, has long threatened to walk away from the landmark deal unless its European signatories and Congress reconcile his concerns. Brent crude, the global benchmark, briefly surged beyond $75 a barrel at the start of the month — its highest level in more than three years.

Iran vows not to renegotiate as Trump’s key decision on nuclear deal’s future looms | Fox News

Even as the leaders of Britain, Germany, and France — who are also parties to the Iran deal — work to save the arrangement, Trump has long signaled that the deal’s days may be numbered.

Iran’s nuclear humiliation

Iran’s loss of its nuclear weapons research is a humiliating blow. It exposes the weakness of the Iran nuclear deal and demonstrates that the Islamic republic was already undermining the nuclear agreement.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation of Iranian duplicity voids the Obama administration’s nuclear deal – Washington Times

Before President Barack Obama left office, he admitted that the P5+1 deal with Iran could in time provide enough enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon. In other words, this deal was not designed to prevent weapons of mass destruction in Iran, but to delay the “inevitable.”

US-EU divisions encouraging Iran’s ‘bloody’ adventurism | View | Euronews

Cooperation and determination between Europe and the US may save the Iran nuclear deal, but it will take more to end Tehran’s meddling in the region.

The Iran Deal Is Strategically and Morally Absurd – The Atlantic

It is less an arms-control agreement than cover for American inaction. It was surely Barack Obama’s profound aversion to the use of American military power that so enfeebled his nuclear diplomacy and made his atomic accord with Iran the worst arms-control agreement since the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. I do not know whether a more forceful president and secretary of state—say a Democratic version of Ronald Reagan and George Schultz—could have gotten a “good deal” with Tehran; it just boggles the mind to believe that a better deal wasn’t possible. A stronger president and secretary of state certainly would have been willing to walk away. Neither captured by Iranian demands nor the mirage of “moderate” mullahs and engagement, more astute, less fearful men would have been more patient, and more willing to let sanctions bite deeper into the economy and political culture of the Islamic Republic. Obama was, to borrow from The New York Times’s Roger Cohen, America’s first “post-Western” president, a man deeply uncomfortable with American hegemony and the essential marriage of diplomacy and force.

What Netanyahu’s dramatic speech about Iran’s nuclear program revealed — and concealed – The Washington Post

Iran’s archive didn’t violate the nuclear deal. But it might have violated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Israeli intelligence coup could help Trump “fix” the Iran deal

In the now-unlikely event that President Trump were to decide to waive sanctions again before May 12 and keep the nuclear deal alive, the Israeli intelligence coup could be used effectively to help remedy what Trump has regarded as the critical flaws of the deal.

Stay in the Iran nuke deal to keep America’s seat at the negotiating table | TheHill

“The cow is out of the barn. The agreement is in place. For now Iran is in compliance.”

Trump May Continue Iran Nuclear Deal, Bringing Relief To US Allies

The deadline to certify Iran’s compliance to the deal the International Atomic Energy Agency calls “the world’s most robust verification regime,” and that was negotiated under the Obama administration comes next week on May 12.

Top Trump Ally Predicts Iran Deal Will Hold Up, for Now

Rep. Mark Meadows suggested that the president doesn’t want a withdrawal to get in the way of ongoing discussions with North Korea and China.

What could Iran do if Trump pulls out of nuclear deal?

By Babak Dehghanpisheh BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is expected to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear agreement on May 12. Tehran signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain, and the United States in 2015. Iran agreed to curbs

Poll: 58% of Jews support how Netanyahu is handling Iran – Israel National News

New poll shows most Israelis believe US will help Israel’s efforts against Iran.

Netanyahu is leading us to a Masada-style national suicide – Opinion – Israel News |

The right politics can pull the world back from the brink of disaster and open a horizon toward a safer place

Green Berets helping Saudi Arabia destroy Houthi missiles in Yemen – Business Insider

About 12 Green Berets were deployed to the Saudi border with Yemen in late 2017 shortly after the Houthis fired a Burkan H-2 short-range ballistic missile…

Hezbollah chief’s censored speech reaffirms group as Tehran’s arm in Lebanon | FDD’s Long War Journal

In March, a state-affiliated Iranian media outlets published a speech by Lebanese Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah that it shouldn’t have. The speech, which was quickly retracted, was meant for internal distribution, thus making it a valuable document.

Israelis deserve to know: Is Netanyahu pursuing war with Iran?

Op-ed: Sometimes, war is inevitable. Sometimes, in the event of an existential threat, there’s no escape from initiating a war. But one of the lessons we have learned from the wars of the past is that playing with fire is dangerous. Anyone who decides to provoke the other side should first make the risks, the intentions, the goal and the price clear to our side.

Yes, Iran lied about its nuclear capabilities. But so did Israel – Middle East News –

Netanyahu’s arrogant theatricals exposed Israel’s lack of current incriminating evidence on Iran – and Israel’s hypocrisy about its own nuclear capabilities

Netanyahu, Israeli defense chief now have sole power to declare war – Axios

It just got a lot easier for Israel to go to war.

I (nearly) ran Iran

A marathon trip to find that, no matter where you go, people are people.

Most Iranians Couldn’t Care Less About the Palestinians or Israel | Jewish & Israel News

Diplomats who have served in Tehran frequently claim that Israel and the Palestinians are marginal to Iranian concerns. They are correct about the Iranian public — and wrong about the leadership. Maybe this and other formidable gaps between the Iranian public and the leadership could provide the fuel to ignite the opposition to remove them from power. Three years ago, the then-Polish minister of foreign affairs, who had also served as ambassador to Iran, told members of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies something that they had heard from other foreign diplomats. “You Israelis are obsessed with Iran,” he said. “For Iranians, you and the Palestinians are a marginal concern.”

US State Department expresses ‘serious concerns’ about Turkey’s potential acquisition of S-400 – Defence Blog

The U.S. State Department expressed serious concerns about Turkey’s potential acquisition of Russia-made S-400 air-defence system. In response to a question by a journalist, a US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that the system being purchased from Russia is not compatible with NATO systems, including the F-35 fighter jet. “I can tell you that we have had serious concerns about Turkey’s potential acquisition of the S-400 system” – repeated Heather Nauert. “Under NATO and under the NATO agreement, which of course, Turkey is a NATO member, you’re only supposed to buy, they are only supposed to buy, weapons and other materiel that are interoperable with other NATO partners. We don’t see that as being interoperable,” the State Department spokeswoman also noted during a press briefing. Earlier in April, Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell warned that Ankara’s decision to buy Russia’s advanced complexes exposes Turkey to possible US sanctions and may bar it from getting F-35 jets. “Ankara claims to have agreed to purchase the Russian S-400 missile system, which could potentially lead to sanctions” under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), he said. The document was signed back in August 2017 and is mostly aimed at hindering Russian arms exports.