Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Russians continue the propaganda effort over the Salisbury attack but getting no traction in Western media, while the Russian backflip on the supply of the S-300PMU2 to Syria is producing a remarkably large amount of media traffic. Other Russian propaganda stunts are creating much mirth.
No reported developments on Salisbury.
Much ranting emanating from Tehran, and much of it mutually contradictory. Multiple threats against Israel and the US. Europeans very unhappy about US exit, and much argumentation about saving various commercial deals between EU companies and Iran. POTUS tweet is on target: “Iran’s Military Budget is up more than 40% since the Obama negotiated Nuclear Deal was reached…just another indicator that it was all a big lie. But not anymore! 8:02 AM – May 13, 2018” – Rhodes’ “Tehran moderates” in action.
Russia’s ambassador says relations between Russia and the UK are “very low” after his country was blamed for the poisoning.
Russia has hit out at Britain for continuing to block physical access to nerve agent victims Sergei and Yulia Skripal.
A group of British university academics researching the use of chemical weapons in Syria, has turned its attention to the Salisbury poisoning and pointed out what it sees as holes in the British government’s allegations.
TASS news agency reports that Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov, said the US withdrawal from the Tehran nuclear deal threatens …
In the final year of Vladimir Putin´s third term as president of Russia, he spoke to Erdogan 20 times, double that of other world leaders, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant.Days after…
ANKARA (Sputnik) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed in phone talks on Thursday the prospects of the Iran nuclear deal in light of the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a source in Erdogan’s administration told Sputnik.
President Vladimir Putin has not spoken publicly on the matter, but Russian government officials have condemned Trump’s decision to withdraw.
The supreme leader of Iran has revealed a secret letter that President Trump sent to Arab allies demanding that they spend more on regional security.Ayatollah Khamenei cited the letter on Twitter after Mr Trump angered Tehran and split with his European allies by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear
Paul Goble Staunton, May 13 – As a result of rising petroleum prices and projections that they will go even higher as result of instability in the Middle East, the Russian Federation is projected to earn five times as much from the sale of oil and gas this year than last and have a budget surplus this year for the first time in seven years. Moskovsky komsomolets celebrates this news under the headline “Glory to the Barrel! Super Profits from Oil and Gas Again are Overwhelming Russia” after the crisis caused by the earlier collapse in petroleum prices and Western sanctions (mk.ru/economics/2018/05/11/rossiyu-snova-zavalit-sverkhdokhodami-ot-nefti-i-gaza.html). A Russian blogger, Ruslan Ostashko, apparently speaks for many in Russia when he links this development so beneficial to the Kremlin to the policies of the United States Administration and entitles his post on this issue, “Oil is Getting More Expensive. Thank You, Donald!” (ruslanostashko.livejournal.com/168114.html). Ostashko says that he has “the suspicion” that on the basis of this development, “the enemies of Donald Trump will try to show that he is in fact an agent of Vladimir Putin and works for the KGB.” Such people, he says, simply won’t be able to pass up such an opportunity to “make [Trump’s] live hellish.” Consider the following, the Russian blogger says. “Under Obama, the price of oil fell, but under Trump, the price for oil first stabilized and then jumped upward. Who in the world is the main beneficiary of the increase in the price of oil?” Many countries, of course, but Trump’s opponents will undoubtedly say that Russia is getting the most from this. “Everyone thought,” Ostashko continues, “that Putin organized Trump’s election in order to have the sanctions against Russia lifted, but in fact, Putin selected Trump for the Americans so that after several years the price of oil would rise sharply, and this is only the beginning,” he argues. Such an action, “of course, is not yet an occasion for impeachment,” the blogger continues, “but I am certain that sooner or later this accusation will be made against the American president.” That is especially likely, he suggests, because only a few years ago, anti-Russian commentators in Russia and the West were talking about the price of oil falling to 20 US dollars a barrel, something that they suggested would lead to the collapse and disintegration of Russia, especially under the sanctions regime. But Russia has coped with sanctions, and now “oil has again returned to its normal prices levels” in part because of American actions and in part because of Russia’s “geopolitical successes,” Ostashko says. Trump “didn’t want oil prices to rise, but he has had to fulfill his promises to influential sponsors … to rear up the nuclear accord with Iran and reestablish sanctions against the Iranian oil sector,” Ostashko continues. Oil prices will go up and Russia will benefit as they will compensate for the sanctions against Moscow that Russia has learned to cope with. So why is Trump doing this? According to the Russian writer, the answer lies in American politics itself: Many of Trump’s most passionate supporters are US oil companies, and they are quite happy to see oil prices rise. Ostashko concludes: “Unfortunately, the American president isn’t Putin’s puppet. He simply is concerned about the interests of his sponsors; and in this case, the interests of American oil companies and the interests of the Russian budget completely coincide.
According to reports out of the great and honorable Kremlin on Thursday, Vladimir Putin—president of Russia and sublime hockey maestro—scored five goals in an exhibition hockey game, the most by any sitting president in a single celebrity hockey game this year, according to government officials who have no reason to stretch the truth to its logical breaking point whatsoever.
Jonathan Miles’s “St. Petersburg: Madness, Murder, and Art on the Banks of the Neva” dishes up an A-to-Z of Russian urban culture and politics.
An indication of the curbs on free expression is that two days before Putin’s inauguration, Russian security forces, accompanied by Cossacks, detained about 600 people, including Alexei Navalny, at the anti-Putin demonstration in central Moscow. Putin has alternated between rhetoric about Russian military strength and defiance of the U.S. and emphasis on a necessary economic program to make Russia modern, improve Russian living conditions, and grow the economy. Between 2014 and 2016, the rouble lost about half its value in international currency markets. In addition to reducing poverty, an objective is to raise life expectancy. For the U.S. and the West, it is encouraging that Putin may cut military spending to pay for domestic and economic reforms. He remains interested in Russia as a powerful military country, but he may be forced to give priority to improvement of Russian life, creation of a more equitable distribution of income, and concentration on the development of an economic and social infrastructure. That would be useful for U.S.-Russian collusion.
UK deterrence against Russia’s aggressive behaviour is vital but carries the risk of miscalculation. Clear signalling through bolder selective action undertaken jointly with NATO allies is the best way forward, writes Mathieu Boulegue, Research Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House. Even before the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter on 4 March, heightened tension was the ‘new normal’ in the bilateral relationship between Russia and the UK. The Kremlin is constantly exploring the boundaries of this escalation and the UK is being tested. This is especially relevant since Russia is often pursuing destabilization efforts that fall beneath the calibrated and tolerable Western ‘pain threshold’ of what constitutes an appropriate response. However, the Skripal assassination attempt and the subsequent retaliatory measures on both sides have only increased the possibility of catastrophic miscalculation from both sides.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz has told Sputnik that he considers Russian Presidential Aide Vladimir Kozhin’s remark that there were no negotiations on the supply of S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Syria to be a demonstration of Moscow’s respect toward Tel Aviv. “I see here another manifestation
Russia’s refusal to supply S-300 missile systems to Syria is not connected with the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Moscow, as stated by the press secretary of the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov, while commenting on the statement of Putin’s aide on Military and Technical Cooperation ,Vladimir Kozhin in an interview with the newspaper Izvestia. “Technically, it is absolutely wrong to link this [Kozhin’s words] with Netanyahu’s visit, because the interview was given before Netanyahu’s visit,” the Kremlin spokesman said. Peskov also recalled that Russia had never announced such supplies, but only stated that, in connection with the attacks by the United States and its allies on Syria, it reserves the right to do everything necessary in this situation. In an interview published on Friday, Kozhin said that Russia does not supply S-300 air defense missile systems to Syria and that there are no negotiations on such supplies. He added that the Armed Forces of the Syrian Arab Republic “have everything they need”. On April 16, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia was ready to consider all the necessary steps to strengthen the defense capability of Syria, including deliveries of S-300 systems. On April 23, the minister told reporters that the issue of deliveries of S-300 systems to Syria had not yet been resolved, but Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed it with the Russian Defense Ministry “in the context of preventing the Syrian Arab Republic from being adequately prepared for aggressive acts, like the one that took place on April 14”.
Russia is not in talks with the Syrian government about supplying advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles and does not think they are needed, reportedly. The news follows a visit to Moscow by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, who has been lobbying Putin hard not to transfer the missiles. Israel has made repeated efforts to persuade Moscow not to sell the S-300s to Syria, as it fears this would hinder its aerial capabilities against arms shipments to Iranian-backed Lebanese group Hezbollah.
In first, Israeli army admits it bombarded the T4 Syrian air base in April, after Iran began delivering long range ground-to-air missiles to it
The Russian newspaper Izvestia reported on Friday the statement of Vladimir Kojin, aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin, that there were no ongoing talks between Russia and the Syrian regime on supplying the latter with the sophisticated S-300 missile defence system, and that Moscow did not see the system as necessary for the regime at the moment. The statement by Kojin who oversees Russian military aid to other countries, came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow this week. Netanyahu put heavy pressure on Putin not to provide the Syrian regime with the missiles. Russia offered to supply the Syrian regime with the missile system, despite Israel’s objections, about a month ago, after Western military strikes in Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the time that the strikes have exempted Russia from any moral obligation preventing it from delivering the missiles. The daily newspaper Kommersant quoted unnamed military sources which asserted that delivery operations could begin soon. However, Kojin’s statements after Netanyahu’s talks with Putin in Moscow indicate that the Israeli prime minister’s pressure has borne fruit, at least for now. Israel has made repeated efforts to persuade Moscow not to sell the S-300 missiles to the Syrian regime, since it fears that it will limit its air capability in targeting Syrian bases, shipments and arms depots.
Russia is not in talks with the Syrian government about supplying advanced S-300 ground-to-air missiles and does not think they are needed, the Izvestia daily cited a top Kremlin aide as saying on Friday, in an apparent U-turn by Moscow.
Top aide to Putin says Russia not in talks with the Syrian government about supplying S-300 missiles and does not think they are needed.
Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin dismisses the possibility of supplying the Syrian regime with S-300 ground-to-air missiles, saying the regime already had “everything it needed.”
Days after Netanyahu visits Russia and Israel strikes Iranian bases, aide to Putin says there’s no talk of sending S-300 missiles to Assad
Russia has no plans currently to deliver advanced S-300 air-defense systems to Syria, President Vladimir Putin’s aide on military cooperation said.
Russia has walked back its plan to supply the Syrian government with more missiles after a visit from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Iran’s leaders have always followed their own path when it comes to diplomacy and public relations. Shah Ismail I, founder of the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century, used the body of a vanquished adversary, a descendant of Genghis Khan, to win friends and influence people.The Khan’s skull was turne
The bearded young man looks stoically into the camera, his impassive expression betraying no fear as his captor prepares to commit a televised murder.
The problem for Tehran is that it cannot risk a major conflict with Israel.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami threatens to “raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.“
Following the Israeli Air Force attack on Iranian positions in Syria, a member of the Iranian Council of Experts, Ahmad Khatami stated after the Friday prayer that Iran will destroy the largest city in Israel – Tel Aviv and Haifa. According to him, Iran can “level these cities to the ground” even without nuclear weapons, only thanks to the power of Iran’s missiles. “We do not talk about a nuclear bomb, but on the contrary, our policy is a deterrent policy, every day Iran’s missile power is growing in this direction so that Israel would not be able to fall asleep due to this force. If it [Israel] acts recklessly, we will level Tel-Aviv and Haifa to the ground, “Khatami said. Earlier, the official representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Bahram Kasemi, said that Tehran condemns the latest strikes of the Israeli Air Force on the territory of Syria. According to Kasemi, the Israeli operation carried out on Thursday night and other actions are aggression and a gross violation of the sovereignty of another country.
The Iranian government is warning that it will take ‘whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient’ if it is not fully compensated for the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as provided for in the accord.
By Jim Krane From Iran’s perspective, nuclear weapons just became a necessity. The Islamic Republic is hemmed in by hostile neighbors clamoring for America to invade. One of those neighbors – itself a nuclear weapons state – has been demonstrating the impunity conferred by such weapons by bombarding Iran’s foreign bases, killing dozens. The Iranian president, a moderate who gambled his legacy on a deal with America, has been exposed as a fool and an impotent, lacking the tools to pursue the country’s national interests, bolster its economy, or even mount symbolic retaliation for the slaughter of his soldiers. Hardliners in Iran point to the nuclear agreement, cast aside by American treachery they had predicted all along, as the root cause of this humiliation. They are braying for a reboot. Iran’s strategic mistake, they argue, was negotiating before it had nuclear weapons.
Facing pressure to pull out of deal, Iranian president says Tehran will stay in pact if remaining partners ‘continue to abide by agreement’
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that, if its interests were protected, Tehran would remain committed to its 2015 nuclear deal, which his foreign minister hoped could be redesigned without Washington.
The Iranian government said Friday that the country was planning to restart its nuclear program if a multilateral nuclear agreement collapsed in the wake of a controversial U.S. exit. Iran has condemned President Donald Trump’s efforts to dismantle a 2015 nuclear accord reached under the administration
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei trolled President Trump Friday, sharing a picture of himself reading Michael Wolf’s explosive bestseller Fire and Fury, which chronicles the dysfunction and chaos inside Trump’s White House. The picture was shared via the official Instagram account of the Iranian
This past week was notable for the thoughtless and senseless way that President Donald Trump trashed the Iran Nuclear Deal. The leader of Iran was not happy, and tweeted his response.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is visiting Beijing to meet with Chinese leaders following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium, prompting fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East after President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal.Riyadh says it wants to make nuclear fuel to diversify its energy sources but recent public warnings from Saudi leaders about acquiring a
The deal among Iran, Russia, and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union is to be signed next week.
Senior French and German officials said they were looking to help European firms escape the brunt of the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The unilateral US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is bringing Berlin and Moscow closer together. But can any cooperation counteract the threat of Washington’s sanctions for companies doing business in Tehran?
A deepening transatlantic rift as “flattery” fails to sway Donald Trump has left Europeans in search of new answers, including closer dealings with Russia that only recently would have been unpalatable, analysts say. The US president’s decision to ignore European pleas to save the Iran
Europe’s heavyweight economies took steps on Friday to safeguard their commercial and political interests in Iran, seeking to keep the nuclear deal with Tehran alive
– Germany wants to help its companies continue doing business in Iran after the U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions against Tehran, but it could be difficult to shield them from any fallout, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for unity among Muslims and efforts toward scientific advancement, saying this would make it impossible for “enemies” such as the United States to dominate Islamic countries.
By Maysam Behravesh In an ironic twist, President Donald Trump’s diplomatic progress in North Korea may have played a major role in his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. The decision to withdraw the United States from the hard-won multinational Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action “sends a critical message,” the U.S. president said on Tuesday. “The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.”Trump’s Iran announcement came earlier than expected – four days ahead of a May 12 deadline – and he made a point of mentioning that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on his way to North Korea “at this very moment.” On Wednesday, Trump tweeted that the three Americans detained by Pyongyang had been released and were on their way home with Pompeo.It seems clear that, from Trump’s perspective, the Iran deal and the diplomatic advances with North Korea are closely related – and that his policy of “maximum pressure” is paying off. In the administration’s view, measures like crippling U.S.-led sanctions against Pyongyang’s critical industries brought North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to his knees – and the same policy should work with Tehran, as well. On the day of the landmark summit between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump posted a tweet suggesting he deserved credit for the historic development. “KOREAN WAR TO END! The United States, and all of its GREAT people, should be very proud of what is now taking place in Korea!” he wrote.Trump may also have been emboldened to act more punitively against Iran because it lacks North Korea’s powerful intermediaries. As Trump acknowledged in another tweet, the Korea opening was in part facilitated by neighboring China, which joined other members of the UN Security Council in tightening economic sanctions against the Kim regime in spite of Beijing’s long trading and political relationship with Pyongyang. In Iran’s case, its closest current ally is Russia. However, tensions between Washington and Moscow are running high right now and Russian President Vladimir Putin does not, in any event, have enough influence on Tehran to shape its foreign policy behavior.It’s true that European powers tried to save the JCPOA by proposing a package that addressed Trump’s concerns about the agreement. However, European leaders did not really do much to salvage the deal beyond trying to coax Trump into remaining in it, or – worse yet from an Iranian point of view – appeasing Washington at Tehran’s expense. As a consequence, Europeans are no less despised and distrusted in Iranian decision-making circles these days. Pertinently, North Korea believes it can at least rely on China as a buffer against potential U.S. aggression; Iran does not have a similar faith in Europe.Trump’s tough line on Iran, of course, was intended for an audience beyond Tehran. The U.S. president’s decision plays to his populist base and serves as a rallying cry for some of his critics in the Republican establishment. It also, as National Security Adviser John Bolton spelled out after Trump’s speech, sent a message to North Korea that “the United States will not accept inadequate deals.” That warning could bring yet another ironic twist. While Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal might be intended to show Kim Jong Un that the U.S. president follows through with his threats, it may also reinforce fears that Washington’s negotiations cannot be taken seriously – and that Pyongyang still needs its nuclear deterrent to ensure its survival.(Maysam Behravesh is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science and an Affiliated Researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden. He is also a news producer and editor at the TV channel, Iran International @behmash)
Trump must establish a precedent that nuclear proliferation will not be tolerated from the world’s rogue actors.
The move has caused a major rift with European allies and raised tensions in the Middle East.
PRESIDENT Donald Trump placed the biggest bet of his presidency on the afternoon of May 8th. To the horror of European partners but the delight of such allies as Israel, he pulled America out of the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015.
The Trump and Netanyahu governments are moving in lockstep in defining Iran as a common enemy, setting a combative course as new tensions rise in the region.
In the escalating confrontation between Israel and Iran, Israel’s defense minister called on Syria’s President Bashar Assad on Friday to rid his country of Iranian forces based there — warning their presence will only cause more trouble to the already war-ravaged country.
This is practically the extreme of information operations and information warfare. The physical theft of information on the most sensitive program in Iran then surfaces on an international exposé, narrated by the President of Israel. </end editorial> TV reports say Israel utilized expansive operational infrastructure on Iranian soil; PM’s exposé said aimed chiefly at IAEA;…
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) opened fire on “unidentified forces” near the town of Deir ez-Zor on Thursday, reported US-led coalition. According to the statement of the coalition, the SDF forces were attacked by an “unidentified aggressor”. “The hostile force engaged SDF with artillery, and SDF responded in self-defense, resulting in the destruction of one artillery piece,” the statement of the US-led coalition reads. According to the statement, Coalition officials discussed the event with their Russian counterparts through their established ground and air “deconfliction” lines. There are no reports of the casualties on either side. On February 7, the US-led coalition forces conducted a strike against the Syrian militia affiliated with Assad in the province of Deir ez Zor. The U.S. coalition said that the blow was struck in response to an attack on the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). According to Reuters, at least 100 people were killed in the attack.
A Syrian war monitor says a wave of Israeli strikes on suspected military positions in Syria this week killed 42 people.
President Donald Trump on Saturday again bashed the Iran nuclear deal that he withdrew from on Tuesday, tweeting that Tehran’s military budget had risen 40 percent since the 2015 agreement was signed. “Just another indicator that it was all a big lie,” the president said in his post. “But not anymore.”
US Wants to Work with Europeans on New Iran Deal: Pompeo
Bolton: Sanctions ‘Possible’ on European Companies Doing Business with Iran
Says he’s very worried about Middle East tensions after Trump’s decision.
France’s Macron Tells Trump he Worried about Middle East Stability
U.S. President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Friday with British Prime Minister Theresa May and the two leaders condemned Iran’s rocket attacks on Israel from Syria, the White House said in a statement. “Both leaders condemned the Iranian regime’s provocative rocket attacks from Syria against
President Trump’s decision to abandon the Iran deal has proved the country’s hardliners right, Fareed says.
Famed Rabbi Aryeh Spero wrote in a column Thursday that President Donald Trump is fulfilling biblical prophecies by moving the American embassy to Jerusalem.