Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
Apologies, I thought I sent this out yesterday but obviously, I didn’t.
Russia is very likely to play an aggressive escalation game in Syria, and may even open fire on US forces to create a political confrontation or crisis, as the regime does need a major distraction at home – over the weekend 800 arrests were made during protests against regime policy, while Russian bonds are crashing and dragging down the Rouble. We are seeing more bizarre claims from Muscovy, including an allegation that two USAF fighters dropped Willie Pete bombs, and more claims the UK will launch a CW attack in Idlib, while media report Assad has formally approved a CW attack. A genuine firehose of nonsensical claims about Syria, Salisbury, and anything else vaguely connected. To add to the bizarre claims by the regime, its pet ideologue Dugin publishes his diary of notes from 2014.
Much in the UK media on Salisbury. The usually very cautious Piontkovsky speculates that if the GRU assassins are not presented as innocent victims of a UK conspiracy soon, they may have been disposed of to hide evidence (would the regime liquidate a mid-ranking GRU officer from a famous GRU family?). More comments by Karpichkov. Reports the four strong GRU covert ops support team may be soon named by UK police. Editorial in the Observer proposes that Putin himself be charged with the CW attack. NYT backgrounder on Skripal. Miscellaneous related reports.
Leading Syria report is claim Assad approved a CW attack on Idlib – this is clearly intended to force the issue in Western capitals. Germany debates participation in a coalition effort to deal with Syrian CW transgressions. VKS and Syrian AF continue bombardment of Idlib, targeting the main hospital. Refugee flux begins to grow. Turkey deploys a sizeable ground force including heavy weapons into Idlib. Background reports on Chinese and Chechen jihadist troops in Syria.
More bluster from Tehran while IRGC claims credit for TBM strike against Kurdish site inside Iraq.
BLAGOVESHCHENSK (Sputnik) – Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzya has stated that UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s claims about Russian military intelligence’s alleged role in the Salisbury poisoning incident were a sign of “political culture degradation.”
Vasily Nebenzya said that the Skripal case’s allegations are «yet another act in a long-running show»
On Wednesday, the Met revealed the identities of the alleged suspects in the purported poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. UK police claim the two individuals are officers from Russia’s military intelligence service, GRU.
TEHRAN, Sep. 08 (MNA) – Chief spokesman for the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Saturday that Terrorists in Idlib are prepared for a provocation involving chemical weapons.
‘I’m just an individual who is deeply concerned about achieving peace and stopping the slaughter in the Middle East’, said the politician. Fresh off a sitdown with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, Virginia state senator Richard Black turned up on Arab TV last week making an extraordinary claim about one of the US’ closest allies. Mr Black said Britain’s MI6 intelligence service was planning a chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people, which it would then blame on Mr Assad. “Around four weeks ago, we knew that British intelligence was working towards a chemical attack in order to blame the Syrian government, to hold Syria responsible,” Mr Black said on Al Mayadeen, an Arab news channel based in Beirut.
The airstrikes carried out by the US F-15s have caused major fires in Deir ez-Zor province, the Russian Center for Syrian Reconciliation said in a statement, noting that information about “people killed and injured due to the strikes is being clarified.”
According to the Russian defense ministry the airstrikes caused heavy fires
Two US jets have bombed a town in the Syrian Deir Ez-Zor province with white phosphorus munitions, causing massive fires, Russian military has said.
The Russian reconciliation center warned that the use of munitions containing yellow phosphorus is prohibited by an additional protocol to the Geneva Convention of 1949
Syria’s northwestern Idlib province is the last remaining stronghold of militant and terror groups in the country. President Bashar Assad sees the liberation of Idlib as a topmost priority.
THE RUSSIAN military has accused the United States of dropping white phosphorus bombs over Syria’s Deir al-Zor province on Saturday, the TASS and RIA news agencies reported, which the US has quickly denied.
Russia’s military said on Sunday that two U.S. F-15 fighter jets dropped phosphorus bombs over Syria’s Deir al-Zor province on Saturday, the TASS and RIA news agencies reported, an allegation the United States denied.
Russia on Sunday accused the United States of carrying out bombing using white phosphorous in eastern Syria against military targets in civilian areas, which…
Moscow has accused Washington of using white phosphorus in bombing raids in Syria. This comes as Russia’s ally, Syria, reportedly drops barrel bombs on civilians in Idlib.
MOSCOW: Russia on Sunday accused the United States of carrying out bombing using white phosphorous in eastern Syria against military targets in civilian areas, which is banned under international law. “Two American F-15 planes carried out bombings on September 8 [Saturday] targeting the area of Hajin in the Deir Ezzor region using incendiary phosphorous ammunition,” Russian general Vladimir Savtchenko said in a statement. “These strikes resulted in fierce fires. We are clarifying the information concerning possible deaths and injuries,” he added. In Syria, the militant Islamic State (IS) group still controls a pocket in Deir Ezzor between the Euphrates River and the Iraqi border, and also remains in the vast Syrian desert.
The Syrian army is preparing to take on the last terrorist stronghold in Idlib, Syria, as the US warns Damascus against the offensive and promises a “swift” response in case Bashar Assad uses chemical weapons. Sputnik spoke with Kevork Almassian, a journalist and founder of the analytical website Syrian Analysis, about the planned offensive.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A gang of terrorists has taken advantage of the establishment of a de-escalation zone in Syria’s Idlib province and entrenched their positions in the region, Russia cannot but respond to their aggression, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik in an interview.
Washington has its own plan on how to “effectively” combat terrorism in Syria, the Pentagon has said, adding that the US is not planning to cooperate with Moscow on the issue.
On 6 September, Russian Konstantin Kosachev (Константин Косачев, Senator at the Russian Federation Council and chairs its Foreign Affairs Committee) wrote about the Skripal assassination attempt: And actually, the evening for the British followers of Sherlock Holmes stops being breathy. Let’s go for the second day of sensational revelations, but there’s nowhere to be found in the…
The BBC’s Joel Gunter and Olga Robinson have done an excellent job uncovering the disinformation coming out of Russia in connection with the Skripal assassination attempt. The dismissive nature of Russia’s denials and alternate theories expose a deeply embedded culture of denials, obfuscations, and distractions – no longer accepting any responsibility for their actions. Ben Nimmo describes it best, “It is disinformation for the information age.” Murky covert operations, adamant official denials, a slew of alternate theories, sub-threshold campaigns, unattributable cyber attacks, untrackable trolls, faceless fake news, thousands of untraceable fake social media accounts, insignia-less military operations, and a flood of tacit refusals to peacefully coexist, taken individually, these do not warrant a diplomatic, military, or even a press response. Taken collectively, however, these all point to a large-scale operation against the West, our culture, our governments, and purposefully operating below accepted thresholds eliciting a response. This BBC article is excellent, enjoy! </end editorial>
It won’t be pretty.
Danske Bank in Copenhagen is slipping deeper into what may become the largest European money-laundering scandal, the Frankfurter Rundschau writes. Recently the media obtained information that “after inspection of documents from the bank’s internal investigation, it came out that in 2013 alone, $30 billion (€ 25.8 billion) from suspicious Russian sources passed through the bank’s branch in Estonia”. The volume of illicit monetary flows greatly exceeds the $10 billion of Russian dirty money which Deutsche Bank admitted to having laundered in 2017. “For Danske Bank, which, like Deutsche Bank, was previously indisputably the leading financial institute of its own country, with elite clients, the situation could become even worse,” the Frankfurter Rundschau believes. After the money laundering reports surfaced, Danske Bank’s shares fell by more than 6%. According to Tallinn prosecutor Marek Vahing, the incident was orchestrated by “professional puppeteers”. “In this money-laundering machine, money is transferred randomly here and there using a large number of companies, legal entities and complex structures,” the article cites Vahing as saying.
Russia’s government debt market continues to plummet into the abyss, dragging the ruble alongside it, despite the Russian Finance Ministry’s calls for investors not to panic, writes finanz.ru. The price of Russian government bonds has fallen for four consecutive days, and the currency exchange rate is approaching 70 rubles per US dollar, due to reports that US senators have begun discussing a new sanction package based on the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act. The Russian Government Bond Index (RGBI) reached a low since July 2016, losing 2.19 points over the course of the week. The last time the market saw such a rapid drop was in January 2016 when the oil price was $27 per barrel. In August it fell 4.05%, a record since December 2014. Long-term issuances of Federal Loan Bonds (OFZs) have depreciated by 12% since April, and 9-year bonds, which cost the Russian Finance Ministry 7% per annum in April, now cost between 9.1% and 9.2%.
The Russian ruble briefly weakened to worse than 70 to the U.S. dollar for the first time since March 2016, bringing its losses this year to 19 percent.
Paul Goble Staunton, September 9 – The main danger to the Putin regime is not popular unhappiness but rather a division in the ruling elite and so the regime is “preparing for the worst” by taking money from the population so that it will be in a position to continue to ensure the continued support of key elite groups, Levada Center director Lev Gudkov says. In a long interview with Artur Amelin of Kazan’s Business-Gazeta, the sociologist devotes less attention to popular attitudes, including the overwhelming rejection of Putin’s plan to raise pension ages, than to the nature of the Kremlin leader’s system and why it is taking such an unpopular step and will take even more in the future (business-gazeta.ru/article/394625). “Over the period of Putin’s rule, there has occurred not simply a selection but a qualitative change in the political class. The ruling elite now has been formed out of absolutely servile, cynical, incapable and irresponsible people capable of only responding to their bosses” rather than to the needs of the population, Gudkov says. These officials, he continues, “absolutely do not understand in what country they are living. When I tell bureaucrats that the average income of the Russian family is today 38-40,000 rubles (550-580 US dollars) a month, they respond with surprise that it is impossible to live on those amounts.” “An enormous segment of the population of Russia is trying simply to physically survive,” he continues. “At the very same time, the ruling elite is absolutely depraved by corruption, not in the sense of bribes but rather by access to money flows.” Nor surprisingly, ordinary Russians are angry. But the regime “exists in a different dimension than the population. The process of degradation is taking place but it could take a very long time. The system has been established, and it works and it will work even after Putin because he did not create it. Rather, he and it “established one another.” Personally, Gudkov says, “I do not see any forces that could today change this situation. In my view, we are in the course of a very length process of the disintegration of the totalitarian system. In 1991, there was one phase, but now there is another.” Parts of the Soviet system collapsed then, “but the organization of power, the system of education, the army, the FSB and so on remained what they were.” “In the immediate future, “nothing is going to occur with them,” the sociologist argues. Russians “have lost faith in the future,” and many officials have lost the ability to govern effectively. But there is no basis for talking about an approaching “revolutionary situation.” The regime is too entrenched, and it has managed to marginalize all the figures who might lead one and destroy all organizations that might bring people together. The policies of the authorities now are “directed at extracting money from the population” not because the regime had no choice but to do so – it could have diverted spending from defense and so on – but because it is preparing for the worst case scenario, one that it has brought on itself, Gudkov continues. In principle, the Kremlin might have bought itself some time by moving to improve relations with the West and thus having sanctions eased. But “up to now, the entire foreign policy of Russia about blackmail and forcing the West to compromise on Moscow’s terms.” Consequently, tensions are growing and Russia “is being transformed into an outcast.” Unfortunately, “there are no reasons for something to change” in that regard; and “the Kremlin recognizes this.” Now, Gudkov says, “it is preparing for the worst.” It is extracting money from the population and spending it on the modernization of the army, on the police, and on the defense of the oligarchs.” “This is absolutely logical,” the sociologist continues, “since the main danger for this regime today is not from the masses but a split in the ruling elite.” And that is a real danger: “If the oligarchs rose against the Kremlin, they could without any problems organize the population to meet their needs.” Hence diverting money from the population which may be angry but can’t organize to threaten the regime to the oligarchs and those tied to them who could threaten the regime if they decided to makes eminent sense, even if it also means that as things get worse for the Kremlin internationally, the Kremlin will make things worse for the Russian people at home.
Russian police used force to break up peaceful protests across the country on September 9. Thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against planned pension reforms that would raise the retirement age. Some protesters were beaten and children were among the more than 1,000 people who were detained.
Russian police on Sunday arrested hundreds of people from across the country protesting the country’s plans to increase the retirement age.
Police break up rallies against a planned retirement age rise, beating some protesters with batons.
Thousands of Russians across the country have protested the government’s plan to raise the retirement age. The September 9 rallies coincided with regional and local elections nationwide. Tense confrontations with police resulted in scores of detentions. Current Time television — a Russian-language digital network produced by RFE/RL in cooperation with Voice of America — has filmed rallies in Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Irkutsk.
A Russian satellite “with big ears” cozied up to a French one last year in an apparent effort to eavesdrop on secure military communications, France’s defense minister alleged Friday.
Jailed since July on charges of working as undeclared foreign agent, 29-year-old faces a hearing Monday in Washington, the latest Russian accused of meddling in US politics and courting Trump
The Russian FSB claimed that it detained a member of the terrorist organization “Islamic State” (ISIS) that prepared the assassination of one of the “commanders of the Donetsk People’s Republic” (DPR) on the assignment of the SBU as TASS reported. It is noted that on September 9, at the territory of Smolensk Oblast, the Russian FSB detained Medzhid Magamedov of 1988-year-of-birth who is a member of the terrorist organization “Islamic State”. “Magamedov planned the assassination of one of the leaders of the militia of the self-proclaimed DPR on the assignment of the Security Service of Ukraine and leaders of the Right Sector,” the message said.
August 29, 2018 Author: Alexander Dugin Translator: Jafe Arnold The foreword to Ukraina: Moia Voina – Geopoliticheskii Dnevnik [Ukraine: My War – A Geopolitical Diary] (Moscow: Tsentrpoligraf, 2015). This book consists of texts written in the spring and summer of 2014 on the subject of the Ukrainian drama, i.e., the Maidan, the overthrow of Yanukovich, the nationalist…
So far, the U.S. has mustered no response to China’s and Russia’s widening assault on America’s global stature.
The Russian Embassy in the UK has been slammed for “trolling” after posting a picture of an arctic wasteland called Salisbury Island. The ambassador to Britain’s Twitter account posted the image at 1am on Saturday. After the embassy chose the frozen island this morning for its round of “good morning” images from around Russia, one tweeter said the post was “latrine-level trolling.”
Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov have been accused of attempting to kill ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Salisbury earlier this year using nerve agent Novichok
Respected mathematician and political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky said the hit squad members – caught on British CCTV images – could have been executed to hide the traces of the alleged crime. He said: “If ‘Petrov’ and ‘Bashirov’ don’t appear in the coming days, it means they are already dead.” The leading Putin critic added that the men might only be able to be saved by going public.
THE RUSSIAN spies accused of the Salisbury Novichok attack may “already be dead”, a Vladimir Putin critic has warned.
Andrei Piontkovsky, a Russian political analyst and Putin critic, believes the novichok assassins named by Britain as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov could have already been killed.
Four more Russian suspects in the Wiltshire Novichok attack are under investigation, but yet to be named, according to security sources. The team of hit men dubbed “The Cleaners” who are believed to be behind the deadly poisonings, are said to still have agents in the UK. The Sunday Mirror reports today that security sources revealed there were six members of the hit squad – appearing to back up previous claims by a Russian defector living in the UK.
Ross Cassidy said Mr Skripal – who betrayed dozens of his old comrades to MI6 – seemed ‘spooked’ and changed his mobile phone amid concern it was being monitored.
A FORMER Russian agent says he was ordered by Moscow spymasters to kill two targets by smearing poison on their doorhandle.
Britain has charged two alleged agents of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency in absentia with the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia
Read Sajid Javid claims Salisbury attack order came from ‘highest level’ in Russian state latest on ITV News. All the news
Britain will catch two men accused of using the Novichok nerve agent in the English town of Salisbury if they ever step out of Russia, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said.
THE two assassins suspected of carrying out the Salisbury novichok poisonings will be trapped in Russia for the rest of their lives, according to the home secretary.
Sajid Javid suggested that Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov would not be prosecuted over the nerve-agent attack in Salisbury on Sergei Skripal
There is a logical course of action if the Salisbury poisonings were approved at a senior level of the Russian state
As Theresa May stood up in the House of Commons last week to berate Russia for the nerve agent attack in Salisbury, my mobile phone stopped working. Someone — not me — had, it turned out, reported it stolen. My lunch date’s reaction was immediate: it was a Russian attempt to keep me off the airwaves
Sergei Skripal and Vladimir Putin, Soviet men of the same age, were raised to wage war against the West. After the Soviet Union collapsed, one rose. And one fell.
CLEANING at the property in Salisbury has only begun now as it is no longer under investigation. But the process could last for months. A military team was seen putting the removed items into a special isolation unit.
It seems like a spy film parody — two burly Russian agents staying in a low-end London hotel and doctoring a perfume flask with deadly nerve agent, o
Britain’s intelligence services are braced for “disruptive attacks” by Russia against the nation’s critical infrastructure that could threaten public safety. MI5’s Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, along with GCHQ and the Cabinet Office, last week reissued “co-ordinated advice” t
The British counter-terrorism police found two Russian citizens – Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who may be implicated in the poisoning of a former employee of the Main Intelligence Agency (GRU) and his daughter Julia. Author : Georgiy Kuhaleyshvili No matter how Russia denies its involvement in the poisoning of Skripals, it is unlikely that any of its leaders will be able to explain plausibly why else two GRU officers found themselves in a provincial town in the south of England where their former colleague settled.
Viktoria Skripal, a close relative of the father and daughter who were poisoned with a Soviet-designed nerve agent in England, has failed to win a seat in a Russian regional legislature.
President Bashar al-Assad has approved a gas attack in the Idlib province, which is the country’s last rebel stronghold, a report on Sunday said.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has given approval for the use of chlorine gas in the country’s last remaining rebel holdout in Idlib province,
Over 100 US Marines were sent as reinforcements to the military base in al-Tanf, Syria after Russia allegedly revealed intentions of launching precision
Germany is considering joining a military alliance with the US, France, and the United Kingdom if Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against…
The German Defense Ministry is considering a possibility to participate in the United States, Britain and France attacks on Syria in case of …
Merkel spokesman says: “of course the German government is in contact with partners and allies” on Syria
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has approved using chlorine gas against the country’s last major rebel stronghold, U.S. officials said, raising the prospects for another retaliatory U.S. military strike.
Activists and a war monitoring group said Saturday Assad regime and Russian warplanes have targeted the southern edge of Idlib province with a series of…
Rebel-held Syrian province hit by dozens of raids a day after deadlock over its fate
The Syrian government, backed by Russian and Iranian military forces, on Saturday escalated its assault on the country’s rebel stronghold, pummeling the northwestern province of Idlib with airstrikes and shellings, according to reports.
Thousands of families have begun fleeing towards Turkey’s borders as President Assad’s offensive to retake Idlib province grinds into gear.Airstrikes and rockets hit the south of the rebel-controlled area around the towns of Kafr Zita and Latamneh over the weekend, killing at least 22 people and dam
Al Jazeera English Published on Sep 9, 2018 Of the three million people currently in Idlib, one million have already moved several times over the seven years that Syria has been embroiled in conflict.
A Uygur force of up to several thousand fighters is based in Idlib’s southwest, where they have become one of the Syrian rebels’ ‘most potent factions’ ahead of a much-anticipated government attack
Hailing from far and wide, they flocked to Syria to wage “holy war”. Now foreign jihadists face a fight to the last to hold onto Idlib, their final bastion. Syrian troops, backed by Russia and Iran, have massed around the northwestern province ahead of an expected onslaught against the largest
Despite dire U.S. warnings and fears of a humanitarian disaster, the Trump administration has little leverage to stop Russia, Iran and Syria pressing ahead with a massive military assault against Syria’s northwest Idlib province.
Putin gives nothing away without a price. To protect America’s interests, neither should Trump.
At one point at the Tehran summit, Putin told Erdogan the leaders were not there to represent al-Qaida or the Islamic State.
Turkey will not be responsible for a migration wave in case of possible attacks on Syria’s Idlib, Turkish interior minister said on Sunday. Süleyman…
Interior minister says his country will not be responsible for migration wave following possible attacks on Syria’s Idlib – Anadolu Agency
BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:45 A.M.) – A massive Turkish military convoy entered the Idlib Governorate from the Hatay Province, tonight, opposition activists
The Turkish military command deployed armored vehicles to the Hatay Province bordering Syria, the Anadolu News Agency reported. The agency reported that the column of armored vehicles has arrived in the Hass District. Now the vehicles will be distributed among the military units stationed on the border. The Hatay Province borders with the Idlib Province, which is the last major stronghold of the opponents of the country’s president Bashar Assad in Syria. The armed supporters of the Syrian opposition in Idlib are afraid of the rapid start of a large-scale aggressive operation of the Syrian Armed Forces. Earlier, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Idlib must not be “left to the mercy” of Assad. According to the Turkish leader, the province can be controlled with the help of moderate opposition.
Turkey has speeded up its military precautions in Syria’s Idlib and gave instructions to the Syrian opposition to be on high alert for the additional military d…
The summit in Tehran exposed important underlying dynamics within the Astana trio and made it clear the three actors see the US presence as a problem, albeit each for their own reason.
The Syrian province doesn’t have to be the site of another catastrophe. But its fate hangs on the decisions of outside powers.
A well-known maxim of international relations tells us there are neither permanent friends nor foes and it follows that the history of international relations is full of the examples of strange bedfellows.
Iran has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear chief was quoted on Sunday as saying, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal collapses after the United States exits.
Iran is quietly leveraging a foreign investment fund to loosen the Trump administration’s tightening economic noose.
The firing of rockets toward American diplomatic missions in Iraq after protesters torched the Iranian consulate in Basra raised tensions as the U.S. and Iran vie to shape the country’s next government.
At least 11 members of an Iranian Kurdish rebel group have been killed in a rocket assault on their headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan, an attack Kurdish forces blamed on Iran.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Sunday claimed responsibility for a missile attack targeting an Iraqi base of a Kurdish separatist group.
Al Jazeera English Published on Sep 9, 2018 Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) confirmed on Sunday that it had launched deadly missile attacks against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq a day earlier. Rockets struck the headquarters of two Iranian Kurdish opposition parties in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region with reports saying at least 11 people were killed and 50 others wounded. The missiles hit the headquarters of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) and the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) in the town of Koya, 300km north of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad. It was the first such attack since 1996. Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports from Baghdad.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year was “a very dangerous and ill-advised move.”