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Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (128)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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More mendacity from Muscovy. NatSec Advisor Bolton points out some ground truths to the Russians, who did not appreciate his directness. Bershidsky as always argues the case for going soft on Russia.

Update on Salisbury cleanup and costs.

NatSec Advisor Bolton comments on Syria vs. Russia vs. Iran – well received in Israel. Excellent FP analysis of Erdogan’s folly that in so many ways resembles Russia’s.

Russia news: Sergei Skripal could be dead after Novichok attack, his neice warns | Daily Star

RUSSIAN double agent Sergei Skripal – at the centre of a novichok poisoning row – could be dead, his niece has warned.

‘All he did was threaten people & assume we control the world’: Ron Paul on Bolton’s Russia meeting — RT US News

Donald Trump was elected president as a populist outsider who talked non-intervention, but his administration is being hijacked by neoconservatives who want to preserve the US empire, former congressman Ron Paul has told RT. Paul was commenting on the meeting of Trump’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, with his Russian counterpart Nikolay Patrushev in Geneva on Thursday, which the US envoy described as making “considerable progress” in relations between Washington and Moscow. “I thought it was terrible. All he did was threaten people and assume we control the world,” the former Texas congressman told RT.

‘Other things’ in Iran? Bolton says regime change ‘not US policy,’ but has more tricks up his sleeve — RT US News

National security advisor John Bolton declared that regime change in Iran is not a US objective. But he did promise to hit Tehran with sanctions and “other things.” So where does pressure end and regime change begin?

TASS: Russian Politics & Diplomacy – Kremlin believes Bolton’s claim that Russia is ‘stuck’ in Syria is incorrect

US military personnel is present on Syrian soil, too, the Kremlin spokesman said

John Bolton, bound for Ukraine military parade, warns Russia about meddling – CBS News

Trump’s national security adviser’s talks with his Russian counterpart were apparently tense

‘U.S. Won’t Tolerate Election Meddling,’ Bolton Tells Patrushev

White House national security adviser John Bolton said he warned Moscow in talks in Geneva on August 23 that the United States “wouldn’t tolerate meddling” in the upcoming midterm elections.

John Bolton Says Russia Refused Joint Statement Over Disagreements on Election Meddling

This morning, National Security Advisor John Bolton met with his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev, and among many important pieces of information released

News Wrap: Bolton, Russia can’t agree on election meddling | PBS NewsHour

In our news wrap Thursday, National Security Adviser John Bolton raised election interference at a Geneva meeting with his Russian counterpart but was unable to agree on the issue. Meanwhile, Google announced it identified a misinformation campaign connected to Iranian state media, and what the Democratic National Committee thought was a hacking attempt turned out to be a security test.

Bolton presses Russia about meddling in U.S. election process – POLITICO

The conversation marked the first top-level meeting in what could be a series between the two presidents’ national security teams

US security adviser John Bolton presses Russia about election meddling | News | DW | 23.08.2018

The US security adviser John Bolton has again accused Russia of meddling in elections, which Russia again denied. Bolton also announced a cut in US funding for the UN.

Bolton and his Russian counterpart discuss arms control, Syria and Iran – The Washington Post

The national security adviser said the two sides were unable to agree on a joint statement because of disagreements over election interference.

Bolton warns Russia over election interference, denies Trump is a ‘security risk’ – CNNPolitics

National security adviser John Bolton warned Thursday that the US will not tolerate Russian interference in the 2018 midterm elections, attempting to reaffirm the administration’s strong opposition to Moscow’s influence over the democratic process after President Donald Trump failed to raise the issue during his summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin last month.

John Bolton abruptly shuts down press conference after BBC reporter asks if Trump is a ‘security risk’

Kremlin, before meeting with Trump adviser, bemoans U.S. apathy | Reuters

The Kremlin said on Thursday it noted a lack of desire in Washington to find areas where relations could be improved.

Kremlin: US lacks ‘desire’ to improve relations | TheHill

The Kremlin on Thursday tempered expectations for a meeting between national security adviser John Bolton and his counterpart, saying it sees a lack of desire to improve relations,

Pompeo Calls On Russia To Free Hunger-Striking Sentsov

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeated U.S. calls for Russia to “immediately release” jailed Ukrainian writer and filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who has been on hunger strike for more than 100 da…

Russia-NATO tensions FIRE UP as Putin responds to US missiles amid ‘Cold War’ stalemate | World | News |

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has said he was forced to respond to the mobilisation of US missile defence systems along his nation’s borders as Russia-NATO tensions reach boiling point.

Leonid Bershidsky | Trump Sanctions Can’t Bring Russia to Its Knees – Bloomberg

At least not without setting off a global energy and financial crisis.

An old Russian tank was leading a parade celebrating a World War II victory — and then this happened | Business Insider

An old Russian tank that had just led a military parade in western Russia on Thursday was being loaded onto a trailer when it embarrassingly barrel-rolled off the flatbed.

Salisbury park to reopen after novichok search ends | UK news | The Guardian

Queen Elizabeth Gardens was closed after Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley visit

Further £2.5 million pledged to help cover costs of Novichok incidents | Salisbury Journal

A FURTHER £2.5 million has been pledged by the government to help cover the costs of the Novichok related incidents in Salisbury and Amesbury.

John Bolton demands withdrawal of Iranian troops from Syria | World | The Times

President Trump’s national security adviser has said Iranian troops must be withdrawn from Syria as a precondition for a peace deal, setting up the prospect of American and British troops remaining indefinitely.John Bolton is in Jerusalem for talks with Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime ministe

John Bolton: Hezbollah forces in Syria must go back to Lebanon

White House national security adviser John Bolton says Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed terror organization, must be kicked out of Syria in addition to other Iranian forces.

Trump’s security adviser tells Russia: Iran out of Syria or no deal

Donald Trump’s national security adviser yesterday warned Russia there would be no deal on Syria unless Iranian troops withdrew from the country.

US seeks complete withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria after Russia meeting – Bolton

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:20 P.M.) – The U.S. seeks the complete withdrawal of all Iranian forces from Syria, U.S. defense official John Bolton stated after his

US and Russia discuss ‘removing Iranian presence from Syria’ | Arab News

LONDON: Donald Trump’s national security adviser said on Thursday he discussed with a senior Russian official the removal of the Iranian presence from Syria. Speaking after meeting the head of Russia’s National Security Council, John Bolton said the White House’s aim after pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran, partly because of Tehran’s interventions in Arab countries,

Bolton: Putin Admitted He Can’t Get Iran Out of Russia | The Jewish Press – | David Israel | 11 Elul 5778 – August 22, 2018 |

National Security Adviser John Bolton told Reuters Wednesday—ahead of his meeting with Director of Russia’s Security Service Nikolai Patrushev in Geneva on Thursday—that President Vladimir Putin had told President Trump in Helsinki last July that he is unable to force Iran out of Syria. However, according to Bolton, Putin also stressed “that his interest and Iran’s were not exactly the same. So we’re obviously going to talk to him about what role they can play.”

National Security Adviser Bolton: Russia ‘stuck in Syria,’ Iran must go – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s big-power backer, says it is committed to destroying Islamic State insurgents but has been more circumspect about the involvement of Iran.

John Bolton: ‘The Russians are stuck’ in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “stuck” in Syria trying to prop up a regime that can’t afford to rebuild a country wracked by civil war, according to a top White House official.

All uninvited foreign forces must leave Syria – Lavrov

BEIRUT, LEBANON (10:00 P.M.) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov responded to U.S. defense official John Bolton’s threats against the Syrian

Bolton defends Israeli strikes in Syria against Iranian targets – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

Bolton added that what is central to US policy in Syria is not only to defeat of the Islamic State and the elimination of its territorial caliphate, but also to deal with Iran’s presence.

ANALYSIS: As Bolton and Netanyahu Discuss Syria, Iran Prepares for War Against Israel – Israel Today | Israel News

World powers decry Iranian presence in Syria, but insist nothing can be done to remove this threat to Israel

Why Russia is slowly abandoning Iran

For Vladimir Putin, Iran just doesn’t matter that much anymore.

Iranian cleric warns US: The price of war is ‘very high’ | TheHill

Senior Iranian cleric Ahmad Khatami warned the U.S. on Wednesday that the price of attacking Iran would be “very high” for America and its ally Israel.

Iran’s new jet fighter looks like a big joke — but its real purpose could save Iran’s air force | Business Insider

Iran drew widespread ridicule when it revealed that its supposedly “state of the art” and domestically designed and built new “Kowsar” jet fighter was really a 1970s US design with a fresh coat of paint – but according to an expert, the plane has an untold purpose that could save the Iranian air force.

Google Disables Dozens Of YouTube Channels Allegedly Spreading Iranian Propaganda

Google says it has disabled dozens of YouTube channels and other accounts linked to an Iranian state broadcaster that it said was running a political influence campaign.

Netanyahu applauds European airlines for ending service to Iran | The Times of Israel

‘That’s good,’ says PM in Vilnius, as Air France and British Airways join KLM in discontinuing flights to Tehran

Turkey amasses force of Syrian rebel factions at Idlib

It’s not clear what plans Ankara has for the National Liberation Front, a collection of Syrian opposition groups Turkey has established at Idlib.

How Turkey Dumbed Itself Down – Foreign Policy

Erdogan used to rely on Turkey’s best and brightest—until he replaced them with its worst and dimmest. Bulut is a particularly colorful figure. An ardent opponent-turned-diehard supporter, he is pushing some of the most bizarre and outlandish conspiracy theories and pseudoscience out of Ankara. Among his previous theories are that foreign chefs are spies, that the anti-government demonstrations of 2013 were incited by the German airline Lufthansa, and that Erdogan’s rivals have tried to kill him with telekinesis. In July, as Turkey’s troubles worsened, his televised diatribe accusing of treason the experts warning of an imminent currency meltdown quickly went viral. According to Bulut, the exchange rates were never going to weaken past 5 liras to a dollar. The dollar now trades at more than 6. The fact that Turkey’s best and brightest have made way for its worst and dimmest perfectly embodies the essence of the country’s malaise. At every level of society, loyalty has replaced merit as the sole criterion. Corruption and cronyism are eating the country away like cancer. From schools to courts to markets to media, there is not a single area where the decay is not apparent. Polarization has reached such heights that nothing seems to be enough to bring Turks together, even for a shared moment of grief or triumph. When one lacks the competence to deal with the challenges the country is facing, the common sense to reach out to those who do, and the courage to hear the inconvenient truths they would tell, all one is left with is denial, deceit, and conceit. A culture of impunity pervades the government: Nothing is ever wrong, and no one is ever responsible. The problem with such a culture is that facts don’t just disappear because one wants them to. Ankara is right in blaming Turkey’s troubles on its enemies, but it misses a crucial point: Turkey is its own worst enemy.

Illusory to think Syrian refugees can return now, France says | Reuters

France dismissed on Thursday any suggestion that millions of Syrian refugees could start returning home, as urged by Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad.

How Many Russian Troops in Syria? Military Reveals Full Count as U.S. Told to Leave

Putin has sent tens of thousands of soldiers, according to a video released Wednesday by the Russian Defense Ministry.

At least 63,000 Russian soldiers took part in Syrian intervention – Kremlin

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:45 P.M.) – At least 63,000 Russian soldiers took part in combat operations across Syria, the Kremlin announced on Thursday. According

Navigating the Syrian Endgame by Carl Bildt – Project Syndicate

Now that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian sponsors have reclaimed most of the territory previously held by opposition forces, his regime will soon be able to claim victory after seven years of carnage. For Europeans, it is imperative that that victory proves hollow.