Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syrian CW Attack / Israel vs. Iran Ad Hoc Update (75)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russians continue with propaganda stunts around Salisbury, while trying to blame the US for Syria. Iran digs its heels in over Syria, telling the Russians they have no intention of leaving, while Assad appears to be rejecting Russian proposals for political reforms, and supporting Iran. Assad will be challenged to survive long term even if Iranian troops and Iranian funded Hezbollah troops remain in Syria due to his exhausted minority Shia demographic. Without the Iranian funded and supplied manpower his challenges dealing with a long term insurgency will be that much greater. Russia will now strate experiencing the realities of this quagmire that they were warned about repeatedly. Numerous bizarre reports from Russia, while US media elaborate on the 2 minute flight of the nuclear powered Wunderwaffe ALCM. Interesting observations by Golts and Lazarenko. A multimedia example of the madness Tsipko described last week.

In the UK, Salisbury decontamination continues, while SECSTATE Johnson suggests emulating US sanctions.

SECSTATE Pompeo’s Heritage address on Iran continues to reverberate in the media, with complaints by EU players who will lose lucrative cashflow, and personal insults if not threats from Iran. Interesting analyses in Israeli and Arab media. Iranian site at Najah destroyed on Friday, much speculation but credit claimed by rebel insurgents. Israeli AF patrolling border between Syria and Lebanon. Israeli AF states it has flown two combat sorties into Syria using its developmental F-35 jets – this is not a particularly challenging air defence system as it has low density, and importantly, very few modern SAM systems, most of the systems are 1970s and 1980s vintage Soviet equipment – we can expect foolish people on both sides of the argument trying to leverage this to prove imaginary points.

Iran Goes Against Russia, Says It’s Staying in Syria as U.S. Military Threatens ‘New Actions’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry said “No one can force Iran to do anything” and it would stay in Syria as long as it was welcome.

Tehran rejects Russian call for Iranian forces to eventually leave Syria | The Times of Israel

After Putin says foreign troops should depart when war ends, and Kremlin clarifies that includes Iran and Hezbollah, Islamic Republic says ‘no one can force Iran to do anything’

Iran fires back after Putin calls on foreign nations to leave Syria

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:30 A.M.) – The Spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Bahram Ghassemi, responded to Vladimir Putin’s statement regarding the withdrawal of all foreign nations from Syria. “We will stay inside Syria as long as there is a terrorist threat and as long as the Syrian government wants us there,”

Iran says to keep forces in Syria upon Assad’s request

Iran is a staunch supporter of the Assad regime – Anadolu Agency

Did Iran Just Disown Russia’s Peace Process or Did Iran Sign Up For It? In Either Case Iran Must “Look East” Rather Than to The Arab World – Eurasia Future

What Iran said Iranian officials have responded to statements from Russian officials saying that now is the time to begin moves towards a phased withdrawal of all foreign troops from the Syrian Arab Republic. It remains Russia’s goal to shift from a military conflict which from Russia’s perspective is winding down and has already been effectively won by the anti-terror alliance centred around the legal Syrian government, to a political peace process. Iran has generally joined Damascus in rejecting this view, preferring instead to fight the war to its logical conclusion which for Syria and Iran is thought to mean liberating “every inch” of legal Syrian territory, including those areas illegally occupied by the United States and “Israel”. Today, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the following statement on the matter, “No one can force Iran to do this. As long as there is terrorism and the government of Syria wants it, Iran will have a presence [in Syria]. Those who entered the country without the permission of the Syrian authorities must leave”.

Russia Says Syria Rejects New Constitution Diluting Assad Powers – Bloomberg

Syria won’t accept a Russian plan for a new constitution that would dilute the powers of President Bashar al-Assad, in a setback for Kremlin efforts to negotiate an end to the seven-year civil war.

Russia Is Reaping the Benefits of Israel’s Actions in Syria

For Putin, the path to consolidating his Syrian achievements may lie in an agreement with Israel that further solidifies Russia’s status. Russian president Vladimir Putin further cemented his position atop the Syrian power pyramid as a result of Israel’s massive air campaign that targeted Iran’s positions

Russia Says Shoots Down Drone Near Main Syria Air Base

The Russian military says it has downed an unidentified drone approaching its Hmeimim air base in Syria.

Russia shoots down ‘unidentified drone’ near air base in Syria: RIA | Reuters

Russia’s military said on Monday it had shot down an unidentified drone that came close to its Syrian air base at Hmeimim, RIA news agency said, citing the Russian Defence Ministry.

Pompeo says ‘terrorist’ Iran turned Syria into ‘kill zone’. Or did the US? — RT US News

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Iran for “perpetuating” the 7-year Syrian war, causing a refugee crisis and provoking terrorist attacks in Europe, by supporting the “murderous Assad regime.” Is he correct?

UAWire – Syria starts building tourist resorts for Russians

The construction of tourist resorts for Russian citizens has begun in Syria, said Syria's Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad, RIA Novosti reports. …

World Leaders Urged To Boycott World Cup Opening Ceremony Over Syria ‘Atrocities’

Human Rights Watch has called on world leaders to boycott next month’s opening ceremony of the World Cup soccer competition in Russia unless Russian President Vladimir Putin takes steps to protect …

Navalny Press Secretary, TV Show Host ‘Detained Again’

The press secretary of jailed opposition politician and anticorruption campaigner Aleksei Navalny and the host of Navalny’s YouTube channel have been detained in Moscow, according to independent me…

Police detain anti-Putin activist because of one, very vague tweet — Meduza

Police in Moscow have detained Sergey Boyko, the coordinator of Alexey Navalny’s headquarters in Novosibirsk, on charges of repeatedly violating Russia’s laws on public demonstrations.

State Duma Adopts Russian Countersanctions Bill

The lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma, has approved in its third and final reading a bill that provides for countermeasures against the United States and other countries that …

Russian missile with ‘unlimited range’ crashed after only 22 miles

The U.S. assessed that the longest test flight lasted just more than two minutes, with the missile flying 22 miles before losing control and crashing, sources tell CNBC.

Russia’s ‘practically unlimited’ range missile looks like an embarrassment after it reportedly lasted for just 2 minutes and 22 miles | Business Insider

A Russian cruise missile that the country touted as having “practically unlimited” range appears to be falling short. The cruise missile’s longest test flight only lasted two minutes and 22 miles before losing control, according to a CNBC report. Russia’s cruise missile capabilities may have missed the mark, but sources said it succeeded in other ways that the US may be incapable of defending.

SPIEF 2018: Russia wants to prove that ‘doomsday’ forecasts have failed

Russia is preparing to welcome leaders and executives from the world of business and economics but this year’s St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) comes at a time when its international relations are more unstable than ever.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘New’ Medvedev Cabinet Shows Russia Becoming an Obscurantist Autocracy, Golts Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 21 – The “new” Medvedev cabinet Vladimir Putin has approved both by its large number of holdovers and by a smaller number of new people represents a significant move toward the establishment of an obscurantist autocracy with few chances of any technological breakthrough, according to Aleksandr Golts. The first “signal” the formation of the government provides is that all talk about Russia making some technological breakthrough is just talk, the Moscow commentator argues in today’s Yezhednevny zhurnal. Neither the old nor the new people are capable of that, and Aleksey Kudrin who could has been isolated in the Audit Chamber ( The second “signal,” Golts says, is that the obscurantism that has characterized the Russian government is only going to get worse. Not only have Vladimir Medinsky and Olga Vasilyeva retained their positions where they will continue their unfortunate work; and they have been joined by Vitaly Mutko, notorious for his role in the Russian doping scandal. And the third “and main signal” is that “the regime not only by content but also by form is being transformed into an autocratic monarchy.” The appointments of FSB chief Nikolay Patrushev’s son as agriculture minister and of Yevgeny Zinichev, Putin’s chief guard, as emergency services minister show the formation of an ever narrower charmed circle of cronies rather than competent managers. If Russia has a real parliament or a genuinely free press, such things would not be allowed to happen without withering criticism. “However, neither the parliament nor the media control the Kremlin at all.” And there is no reason to make any reference to the judiciary which is anything but independent. According to Golts, “Russia in fact already today is an autocratic monarchy with an unchanged boss whose decisions are not in any case subject to doubt. The only distinction is the absence of the Putin elite of the right to hand over to their heirs not only capital but also titles and positions.” There also isn’t a system of monarchical succession at the top, the commentator says; but the signs point to a future in which people may look back to the developments of the last week as “the first signs” of returning Russia to an autocracy with all its attributes, “including Cossacks with whips on Moscow streets.”

Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Great Russian Nation’ Antithesis of Kremlin’s ‘Russian World,’ Zalessiya Regionalist Says

Paul Goble Staunton, May 21 – Ilya Lazarenko, one of the organizers of the Zalesskaya Rus regionalist movement, says that he and his fellow supporters of central Russian regionalism view “the Great Russian Nation” as the antithesis of the Kremlin’s “Russian World” in that they consider both Ukraine and Belarus separate countries. Indeed, he says, when the Zalesskaya Rus regionalists first organized in 2008, many of them wanted to name their group Velikorossiya because they see that term better corresponding to the regional interests of the people of central Russia or more precisely of the city of Moscow and Moscow Oblast ( Their hopes for developing a serious regionalist movement, however, “stalled” because “the theme of regionalism in ‘central’ Russia does not work especially well, precisely because of the total centralization” of the country. It can only “be formed by the process of exclusion” with the emergence of serious regionalist movements in Siberia, the Urals, and the Volga region. Asked why the central Russian regionalists could not play a role in the demise of the Russian Federation much like that of the RSFSR in the coming apart of the USSR, Lazarenko says that “the analogy is not completely correct because the RSFSR all the same was institutionalized as one of the sovereign republics of the USSR.” “Zalessiya,” he says, “doesn’t have anything similar. Karelia and Tatarstan do but ‘central’ Russia doesn’t.” Moscow City and Moscow Oblast do exist, however, and “therefore in the existing situation, [he] considers much more realistic the project of a Moscow Republic via the unification of the city and the oblast.” Lazarenko argues that “Zalessiya remains more a cultural political project, but Great Russia [Velikorossiya] could become a political one.” Velikorossiya, he says, is not part of the three in one national project of the 19th century that embraced Russia, Little Russia and White Russia, one those who support the Russian world still embrace. Instead, Velikorossiya “stresses the Great Russian ethnic element and this means that we elate to Ukraine and Belarus as different and completely independent states.” But at the same time, the central Russian regionalists have no interest in including within their future state non-Russian areas like Karelia or Tatarstan. Instead, for its supporters, “the borders of Velikorossiya are intended to be approximately those of Zalessiya,” an area not significantly larger than the Central Federal District. Other regions within the current Russian Federation where ethnic Russians predominate, Lazarenko continues, will be outside its borders as well, because in them “will arise other identities, Volga, Ural, Siberian,” and so on. Velikorossiya will arise in the area between the Oka and the Volga, the historical Zalessiya” with its own “contemporary identity.” Its identity will include many aspects of the Great Russian ethnos, the central regionalist continues. “This factor must not be ignored – otherwise, once again will win out ‘a multi-national empire.” Instead, it will be Russian great not by size but by purpose. “We’ll do away with the empire but ‘the greatness’ will remain.”

Священная война (The Sacred War) – Alexandrov Red Army Choir – YouTube

The Motherland Calls – Wikipedia

Purported mother of poisoned Russian spy speaks out – ABC News

Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.

Poisoned ex-spy Sergei Skripal’s mother in Russian state TV appeal | Daily Mail Online

Sergei Skripal’s mother Yelena, 89, went on Russian state TV to  claims she has been prevented from speaking to her son, who was discharged from hospital last week.

Mother of poisoned Russian spy demands access to son: TV

Russian television showed an interview on Monday with a woman purporting to be the mother of poisoned Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, demanding British authorities let her to speak to her son. Skripal is a former military intelligence officer who passed information on Russia’s agents in Europe

“Haven’t Met Him In 14 Years,” Says Mother Of Poisoned Russian Spy: Report

Russian television showed an interview on Monday with a woman purporting to be the mother of poisoned Russian double agent Sergei Skripal, demanding British authorities let her to speak to her son.

Decontamination of shopping centre after nerve agent attack on Russian spy completed | Reuters

A shopping centre in the English city where a former Russian spy was found collapsed with his daughter after a nerve agent attack more than two months ago has been successfully decontaminated, Britain’s environment department said on Monday.

Boris Johnson hints at tougher action against Russian oligarchs – media | UNIAN

Boris Johnson has hinted that the UK could seek to take tougher action against Russian oligarchs in the wake of the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal, saying he is looking closely at the approach taken by the Trump administration. The foreign secretary says he has noted that harder U.S. sanctions have had a marked effect.

Boris Johnson hints at tougher action against Russian oligarchs | Politics | The Guardian

Foreign secretary says he has noted that harder US sanctions have had marked effect

Pompeo’s Iran sanctions vow deserves a ‘punch,’ Revolutionary Guard commander says

Mike Pompeo deserves a “punch to the mouth” over his vow to impose “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran, according to a senior Iranian commander.

Pompeo Declares Economic War on Iran – Defense One

The U.S. secretary of state vowed “unprecedented financial pressure in the form of the strongest sanctions in history.”

Mike Pompeo threatens US will ‘crush’ Iran through sanctions and pressure campaign – CNNPolitics

The US will aim to “crush” Iran with economic and military pressure unless it changes its behavior in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday in a speech that many analysts saw as a policy of regime change in everything but name.

Pompeo lays out US list of demands for Iran – YouTube

An Arab Plan B for Containing Iran – Bloomberg

Plan A was the nuclear deal. That’s over. Now key Gulf states want the U.S. to flex more muscle.

European allies alarmed by Pompeo speech laying out U.S. demands on Iran – CBS News

&quot;Pompeo's speech has not demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA has made or will make the region safer&quot;

Macron Heads to Russia in European Effort to Salvage Iran Deal – Bloomberg

French President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to Russia this week once threatened to split France from its European allies. Now it’s part of a wider European effort to tie President Vladimir Putin to the Iran nuclear accord.

‘World no longer accepts US deciding for them’, Iran’s Rouhani says – France 24

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani dismissed threats made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, saying the rest of the world no longer accepts Washington making decisions on their behalf.

The dynamics of the Israeli-American-Russian triangle – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

The US leadership vacuum was exploited by Russia, are these times over?

Middle East conflicts no longer focus on Israel-Palestine: it’s all about Iran vs. Saudi – Israel News –

The modern Middle East has been plagued by ruinous wars centered on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but never have they seemed so interconnected with Iran and Saudi Arabia vying for regional control

Iran vs Israel: the allies who became enemies | Asia Times

US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal has once again brought to the surface the intense animosity between Iran and Israel. This time the rivalry has reached a very dangerous point, since it has been manifested with direct military clashes between Israel and Iran on Syrian territory.

Death toll from blasts at Syria airbase climbs to 28; rebels take responsibility | The Times of Israel

Pro-Assad forces deny any Iranians or Hezbollah members killed in Friday explosions

Somebody Launched Rocket Attack on Iranian Cargo Shipment to Syria | The Jewish Press – | JNi.Media | 7 Sivan 5778 – May 21, 2018 |

Sky News Arabic reported from Abu Dhabi Monday morning citing activists in Syria who said that powerful explosions rocked an Iranian operations center at the headquarters of the Department of Electronic War, south of the capital Damascus. According to the testimony of local residents, explosions were heard in the Damascus countryside near Damascus International Airport. The Sky News sources said the explosions were believed to have been caused by explosions in electronic warfare barracks and the State Security School in Najah, which is home to Iranian militias south of Damascus. A few hours earlier, the Bosphorous Observer reported that a large Syrian cargo plane left Tehran for Damascus. The plane, an Ilyushin IL-76T, is owned by the Syrian Arab Airlines, and is mostly used to transport military cargo from the Islamic Republic of Iran to Syria. Speculation is that the cargo was destroyed only a few hours after the plane had taken off back to Iran. And as usual, the question remains: why don’t they take down the plane, too?

Report: Explosions heard near Iranian facility south of Damascus in Syria – Syria –

This is the second report of an alleged attack in Syria in as many days

i24NEWS – Blasts at Syria’s Hama air base killed 28 fighters: war watchdog

At least 28 pro-government fighters have been killed in a string of blasts at a regime airbase in central Syria earlier this week, a monitor said Sunday giving a new toll. The deadly explosions tore through weapons and fuel depots on Friday at a military airport in Syria’s Hama province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “The toll has gone up to at least 28 regime forces and loyalist fighters, all Syrian,” said the Britain-based monitor, after initially reporting 11 killed. It said the death toll could rise as “dozens” are wounded “some in of them in critical condition,” it said. Syrian state media reported the blasts at the time but did not provide any details, while the Observatory had said they were likely due to a technical malfunction. The huge explosions initially sparked suspicions of another Israeli air strike, but such raids are rare during the day time and there were no reports of air activity or the sound of missiles. Russian and US officials said Israel was behind a strike on the same base in late April.

World War 3: Israeli military PROVOKE Iran in latest air force flight along Lebanon border | World | News |

THE ISRAELI air force has been actively patrolling the border between Syria and Lebanon bringing two of the region’s major powers, Israel and Iran, closer to the brink of direct confrontation.

Israeli warplanes stalk Syrian-Lebanese border amid growing tension in southern Syria

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:40 A.M.) – Israeli warplanes once again stalked the Syrian-Lebanese border this weekend amid increased reports of a Syrian military offensive in southern Syria. Reports from Damascus on Saturday night indicated that the Israeli warplanes flew through the southern Lebanese province of Nabatiyeh to

Israeli Jets Actively Patrolling Syrian-Lebanese Border – Reports – Sputnik International

Information on the Israeli air force’s activity along the border between Lebanon and Syria is yet to be confirmed by the country’s authorities.

Syria Declares Damascus Fully Under Government Control

The Syrian military said it has taken an enclave in Damascus from Islamic State (IS) militants that gives it full control of the capital for the first time since the civil war began in 2011.

The sensors that could sniff out chemical weapons

Researchers are working to more effectively detect the use of chemical and other non-conventional weapons.

Israel says first country to use U.S.-made F-35 in combat

Israeli Air Force Commander Amikam Norkin said Israel is the first country to have used the F-35 fighter plane.

F-35 stealth fighter sees first combat, in Israeli operation – BBC News

Israel confirms the US-made F-35, from the world’s costliest military programme, was used recently.

Israel says it is the first country to use U.S.-made F-35 in combat | Reuters

Israel is the first country to have used the U.S.-made F-35 stealth fighter in combat, the Israeli air force chief said on Tuesday in remarks carried by the military’s official Twitter account.

Israel Says F-35s See First-Ever Combat With IDF Over Syria : The Two-Way : NPR

Israel’s air force chief says F-35As were used in recent strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, the first “operational attack” for the newly fielded stealth jet.

Israel F-35 Airstrikes Are World First Test Of The ‘Mighty One,’ Top Commander Says

Major General Amikam Norkin said Israeli F-35s have carried out two strikes in recent combat operations.

Israel the first in the world to conduct strikes with F-35 jet, army says | The Times of Israel

Showing picture of the aircraft over Beirut, air force chief reveals the stealth fighter was used in at least two operations, but not in May 10 attacks in Syria