Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
A lot of emphasis and propaganda about Idlib. Bellingcat is predicting a Russian CW attack on a village close to Idlib and the Russians are practically reinforcing that contention with their statements. There is almost a perfect storm of potential coincidences lining up in the Mediterranean. US warships are on hand to launch cruise missiles in response to a CW attack on or around Idlib, which has already been predicted as a false flag effort. Russian warships are on hand to send a message to the US, “don’t launch a punitive strike against Syria”. This is all straight-forward posturing. The only wild card seems to be the air defenses protecting Syria. If once again, Russian systems are told to stand down and not fire any missiles, this would be the third time and, I believe, would be perceived as yet another failure to act. This would not play out well for Russian citizens, so I believe that Putin will be forced to defend Syria. On the flip side of that coin is the vaunted S-400 air defense system, in place in Syria. To the best of my knowledge, it has never been fired in a combat situation. If it fires (often) and misses (often) badly, the negative propaganda would wipeout potential future sales. For Russia, this is almost a lose-lose situation. This appears to be the reason so many Russian warships have entered the Mediterranean and are closing in on Syria, to send a message.
The most notable and visible media items today revolve around the Russian naval flotilla in the Med, and Lavrov’s threats to the US over any intervention during the impending Syrian offensive against the holdout Idlib enclave. The big beneficiary of any civilian bloodbath in Northern Syria is Russia, as a million or more Syrian refugees would flood into Turkey, and then Europe, providing endless political fodder for Putin’s proxies in European politics, all of whom embrace the “anti-immigrant” cause. The shrill tone if not desperation of the Russian propaganda effort around this offensive tells us the Muscovy regime sees this as immensely strategically important, which in terms of the overall strategic context of the Syrian civil war, Idlib is certainly not. The only payoff of real substance is political mayhem in Turkey and Europe, which would provide opportunities for Putin’s proxies to gain political ground across Europe, at the expense of moderate and US friendly European politicians. The Vozhd hinted as much during recent talks with Chancellor Merkel. Of course, the benefit of embarrassing POTUS over “red lines” is political icing on a delectable cake of political chaos and conflict inside Turkey and Europe.
The appropriate strategic counter-play is to render Assad’s forces quite impotent, and especially deal with his Iranian proxy force. The Russian contingent in Syria is not large enough to carry the effort required to control the regime’s gains – the Iranian proxy force, especially Hezbollah, is required to do the heavy lifting.
Most interesting other report from inside Russia is the death of Iosif Kobzon, a Duma MP, best known as the “Soviet Sinatra”, and an implacable foe of all things Ukrainian, who actively participated in the Krymnash and Novorossiya propaganda campaigns. Former Pres Walesa of Poland nominates Ukrainian hostage Sentsov for a Nobel.
Updates on Syria, Iran, Yemen and Qatar.
Russia’s foreign minister called on the West not to interfere in efforts to wipe out what he called “terrorists” in Syria’s Idlib Province.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:15 A.M.) – The Russian Ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, issued stern warning to the U.S. in regards to striking Syria.
The Russian Embassy in Washington says it has warned top U.S. officials not to engage in any “unjustified and illegal act of aggression,” in response to recent U.S. warnings that it will retaliate …
As a potential offensive into the remaining Syrian rebel strongholds in Idlib from the Assad government becomes more likely, Russian propaganda outlets like RT (formerly known as Russia Today), their various embassies, and their network of friendly media outlets have started pushing stories of potential chemical attacks in Idlib and Hama. Various stories spread by Russia, particularly its Ministry of Defense, claim that phone calls were made to the Russian Reconciliation Center supposedly warning a number of nefarious activities. These claims from Russian government bodies and outlets connected to Russia’s media network have accused a range of groups, including Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and the Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets), of readying false flag operations to blame Russia or Syria. However, while there is no evidence of any actual preparations for “false flag attacks”, on the 26th of August, RT’s Ruptly video service uploaded footage of a government Volcano missile launcher being deployed to Idlib. This comes five years after chemical weapons variants of this launcher were used in the 2013 Ghouta attack. Sputnik, another Russian state-funded media outlet, has also pushed a story by the Russian Ministry of Defense claiming that specialist groups trained by the British Olive group were preparing to conduct a possible attack. The Olive group ceased to exist in 2015 following a merger with Constellis group.
Russia’s envoy to the US says he has told Washington that Moscow is concerned about the US preparing new strikes on Syria.
The West’s looming aggression against Syria will inevitably have costs and severely harm both the peace process and global stability, says the foreign ministry’s spokeswoman
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Russia is hopeful that the US government will take efforts to prevent terrorists from using chemical weapons in Syria, Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said in a statement on Wednesday.
Currently, the strike grouping of the United States, France and Great Britain comprises strategic and tactical aircraft at airbases in Jordan, Kuwait and Crete, Maria Zakharova said
BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – It will take the US and its allies just 24 hours to ready its missile-strike group for an attack against Syria, the Russian
August 29, 2018 17:06 GMT RFE/RL Russia’s foreign minister called on the West not to interfere in efforts to wipe out what he called “terrorists” in Syria’s Idlib Province. Sergei Lavrov’s comments to reporters in Moscow on August 29 came amid reports that Syrian government forces are gearing up for a massive offensive in Idlib,…
Moscow blames U.S. for forcing its "powerful" military build-up in the Med as West and Moscow trade warnings over looming Syria offensive
RUSSIA has announced 25 warships are to be deployed to the Mediterranean amid fears the US could be about to stage an attack on Syria.
A HEATED exchange between the US State Department, Moscow and Damascus has escalated Middle East tensions after the Trump administration warned of a “swift and appropriate” response should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad use chemical weapons.
RUSSIA is set to hold naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea – a huge show of force from Vladimir Putin with relations with European states already at a low.
Russia says it will launch major naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea later this week, amid growing tensions between Moscow and the West over Syria.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense said on Thursday it would hold a major naval exercise in the Mediterranean Sea from Sept. 1 to Sept. 8, the TASS news agency reported, a move that coincides with rising tensions between Moscow and Washington over Syria.
BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – The Russian military has upped the ante in Syria after sending another batch of warships to the Port of Tartous. According
The United States cannot guarantee that it will provide India with a waiver from sanctions if it purchases major weapons from Russia like the S-400 missile system, a top Pentagon official has said.
Plans to lift the retirement age in Russia prompted widespread anger, denting Mr. Putin’s popularity, so he tried to mollify critics with some tweaks.
The Russian leader says the retirement age for women will go up by five years instead of by eight.
Most people we spoke to on the streets of Yekaterinburg were not impressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s concessions on pension reform plans. Putin suggested raising the state pension age by five years to 60 years for women, instead of the earlier proposed eight-year hike.
The most notable part of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposed dilution of controversial pension-reform legislation was an offer to reduce a planned increase in the retirement age for women, …
Renowned Russian crooner Iosif Kobzon, a Soviet-era icon and a Kremlin-loyal lawmaker sanctioned in the West over Moscow’s interference in Ukraine, has died at the age of 80, Russia’s news agen…
Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and Nobel laureate, said he has nominated Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, who is imprisoned in Russia, for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Nerve agent attacks placed unprecedented pressure on one of the UK’s smallest forces.
The United Nations called on Russia, Iran and Turkey on Thursday to forestall a battle in Syria’s Idlib province which would affect millions of civilians and could see both sides using chlorine as a chemical weapon.
The US has built three advanced radar systems in northern regions of Syria, as well as deployed mobile and stationary radar facilities, writes the Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak citing former commander of the Military Assembly of Deir ez-Zor Fayez Esmer. According to him, in the future, the US plans to create an “air defense shield” in the region. The publication also says, without specifying a source for the information, that the US “has already started creating a no-fly zone in northern Syria” and deploying radar systems in the region controlled by the Kurdish party Democratic Union Party (PYD). According to another publication, Hurriyet, the United States deployed an air defense system in the area of the city of Kobani in Syrian Kurdistan, which is controlled by Kurdish forces. Also, parts of the air defense system are housed in a US base in the city of Ash Shaddadi in northeast Syria. The newspaper also writes that the US is “preparing to establish a no-fly zone in the north of Syria.” Washington has previously expressed interest in creating such no-fly zones in Syria. In early July 2017, before US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met, Rex Tillerson, who at the time was the Secretary of State, said at the G20 summit in Hamburg that the US is ready to discuss with Russia the establishment of no-fly zones in Syria. However, no specific agreements made by the presidents were reported.
The Syrian regime has moved armed helicopters closer to the rebel stronghold of Idlib in the last few weeks, according to two defense officials. The US is concerned they could eventually be used to launch another chemical attack using chlorine filled barrel bombs, though they are readily available for a conventional assault.
The Russian Silok-01 and Zhitel anti-drone systems which were used in soccer stadiums during the FIFA World Cup 2018 have been put to use in …
Bashar al-Assad’s refugee repatriation plan is a scam.
Assad is Iran’s most important Arab ally; his would-be successors are Sunni militias and jihadists. Netanyahu’s overtures to Putin can’t change that.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a visit to a secretive Israeli atomic reactor on Wednesday to warn the country’s enemies that it has the means to destroy them, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to its assumed nuclear arsenal.
But will it work?
The U.S. Navy recently intercepted a large cache of small arms, including hundreds of AK-47s, that were on a ship in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News Wednesday.
The US Navy seized hundreds of small arms including AK-47s from a boat in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday, according to a defense official.
Blockaded by Mideast neighbors, the emirate deployed an unconventional lobbying campaign to win over an unconventional U.S. president, using a list of friends, associates and well-placed admirers.
Qatar has sought to lobby some 250 people who might be able to influence President Trump on policy, including former Arkansas Gov.
Chasing mirages does not add up to a successful foreign policy.
The US shouldn’t count on Russia to force Iran out of Syria any time soon.
Iran has sent a clear message rejecting American calls for it to pull its troops out of Syria, signing a new defence co-operation pact with the Assad regime.The deal was signed by the Iranian defence minister, Amir Hatami, while on a visit to Damascus. The details were not revealed but they were
Ayatollah Khamenei tells Iran’s president and cabinet they cannot count on European support for landmark agreement.
The supreme leader of Iran casted doubt on saving the international nuclear deal after the U.S. withdrawal earlier this year, saying Wednesday that the government should stop pinning its hopes on Europe if it doesn’t serve its interests.
Already under fire from conservatives, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif invites criticism from the left by saying Iranians got themselves into their current mess.
There was a flicker of hope when Iran briefly released Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a Briton, from a prison. Now she and other foreigners held there can only wait.
Charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is taken to prison doctors in Iran after “blacking out”.