Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (179)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

I’m pleased that my editorial on the ‘Migrant March’ is included. Since it was originally published, however, we learned that a Honduran was the power and finances behind the original march. Now that the march has grown from a planned 200 people to well over 7,000, the Russian theory for financing may well apply.  It also has become a rallying cry from both the left and the right in the US political game, so we may never find out who truly is financing the march now.

</end editorial>

When all of your propaganda threads crash and burn, invent a new one – in this case Muscovy absurdly alleges an US Navy LRMP was  “controlling” Syrian rebel garage built DIY suicide drones – to what actual purpose one might consider doing something like this, well, that is something the audience should not be asking. Ten miscellaneous reports from Russia, some very interesting indeed. The OneWeb report is interesting and entirely coherent with the regimes’ fear of any communication medium they cannot monitor and interdict.

Miscellaneous reports on the INF, and some analysis.

An update on Salisbury, noting the absence of major developments.

Iran update, with China shutting down imports of oil from Iran to avoid sanctions – Tehran is now toxic.

Reports Russia has deployed a fourth S-300PM2 /SA-20B battery in Syria, and Russian attempts to renegotiate arrangements with Israel crash.

Updates on Turkey and the Saudis.

Moscow alarmed that US spy plane coordinated drone attack on Russia’s Syria base — RT World Nes

A senior Russian military official has accused the US of being directly involved in a drone attack on the Russian airbase in Syria’s Khmeimim. The aircraft were controlled from a US spy plane nearby, he claimed.

Putin, Trump May Discuss Reports of US Plane Leading Attack on Hmeymim Base – Sputnik International

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin stated earlier today that Russia’s Hmeymim Air Base in Syria had been subjected to a massive drone attack, with unmanned aerial vehicles piloted by a US Poseidon 8 surveillance aircraft.

Russia deems report about US drone attack on Syrian base ‘absolutely reliable’ (video)

Moscow will communicate its concern to Washington over the alleged US involvement in a drone attack on Russia’s Syria base, said Russian Foreign Ministry

U.S. Orchestrated Drone Attack on Russian Base in Syria, Defense Ministry Says

Russia’s deputy defense minister has accused the U.S. of coordinating a drone attack on Moscow’s Khmeimim airbase in Syria earlier this year. Last January, Russian forces said they foiled a coordinated attack by 13 combat drones equipped with explosives on the Khmeimim airbase — an important outpost for Russia following the country’s intervention in the Syrian war in 2015 on the side of Bashar Assad. At the time, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that radical Islamists had been behind the attack on the military installation.

Russia claims US led drones toward Russian base in Syria | The Times of Israel

Alexander Fomin says UAVs were heading toward Hemeimeem air base in Latakia province when a US Boeing P-8 Poseidon flying over the Mediterranean ‘took control’ of them

Russia says a US Navy spy plane led a drone swarm to attack its base in Syria | Business Insider

Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said a January drone swarm attack on a Russian military base in Syria had been commanded from a US Navy P-8A Poseideon, Russian media reported.

Russia claims US aircraft took control of drones in attempted attack on its Syrian base

Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Thursday that a U.S. military aircraft took control of 13 drones over Syria and attempted to have them attack a Russian military base there, but the drones were downed before they could reach their target.

Russia Claims U.S. Led Drone Attack On Russian Air Base In Syria

Russia has alleged that a U.S. military aircraft had taken control of drones over western Syria in January and attempted to have them attack the Russian military base there.

Kremlin Alarmed by Report That US Led Drone Attack on Russian Base In Syria | Jewish & Israel News

The Kremlin said on Thursday that it was very alarmed by a report from the Russian Defense Ministry alleging that a US spy plane coordinated a drone attack on Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Syria in January. Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin said earlier on Thursday that a US Poseidon-8 spy plane had helped coordinate an attack by 13 drones on the base, the TASS news agency reported. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he could not rule out that President Vladimir Putin would raise the alleged drone attack with US President Donald Trump. The two leaders are expected to meet in Paris on Nov. 11.

Russia claims drones were directed toward base in Syria by US aircraft – Europe – Stripes

Russia’s deputy defense minister claimed Thursday that a U.S. military aircraft took control of 13 drones over Syria and attempted to have them attack a Russian military base there, but the drones were downed before they could reach their target.

Russia accuses US of attacking base in Syria

U.S. forces attacked a Russian military base in Syria, a top military official alleged on Thursday.

Russian airbase in Syria attacked by 13 US drones, Kremlin claims

An American Poseidon-8 spy plane helped coordinate the assault on Hmeymim air base, according to astonishing allegations by Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin

Massive Drone Attack on Russia’s Syrian Base led by US Recon Plane: Russia

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World War 3: Russian airbase in Syria blasted by 13 US drones, claims Kremlin | World | News |

A RUSSIAN airbase located in Syria has been attacked by 13 US drones, the Kremlin has claimed amid fears of World War 3 breaking out as tensions between global powers soar.

The Week In Russia: Martyrdom, Nuclear War, And Falling Ratings

Vladimir Putin said Russians will go to heaven as “martyrs” if the country gets into a nuclear war and warned of a new “arms race” if Washington abandons treaties. Putin got bad domestic ne…

An Insidious Theory Points At Russia – To Inform is to Influence

Dang. This Wired article describes the ‘immigrant army’ problem in a fair and objective manner. It is, by all descriptions, a polarizing issue which may or may not play a factor in the upcoming midterm elections here in the US. I would normally not include this article on this blog except for the concluding paragraph ends with one word which is almost damning in the extreme. The biggest problem is that there is a documented history of this happening. I’ve read denials that this could be a Soros sponsored affair. I’ve never seen any accusations that this effort “is” definitely sponsored by any leftist NGO. Again, there is no proof. But this certainly sounds like someone I’ve been watching for some time now… The possibility that this is a Russian-sponsored effort makes sense. It falls within the same mindset that the Russians “weaponized” the Syrian refugee crisis across Europe, as was repeatedly stated. Russian staged “rapes” and ‘refugee murders’ were repeatedly tied to Russia. Russian sponsored persuasion operations have popped up all over Europe. Now, quite conceivably, Russia could be mounting a fairly cheap information and political persuasion operation throwing chaos into the US political picture just before the US midterm elections. It almost demands the CIA begin investigating the ‘migrant invasion’. The outcome of that investigation could truly throw a monkey wrench into the US political picture, whether it was the Russians. a US liberal entity, or even by the right as an excuse to build the wall. Proof that almost every story has more than two sides… No matter what, the actual incident of corralling and detaining the migrants is a simple logistical matter. The ‘migrant army’ issue, however, is now a political tinderbox, explosive enough to really put an almost permanent chokehold on “operations as normal” for someone. To the author, Emily Dreyfuss, damn you. You’ve now succeeded in making my Halloween into something a wee bit more frightful. Insidious, indeed. </end editorial> Postscript to Seth. Damn you, buddy, thanks for pointing out this story. Yes, it makes more than perfect sense for this to be Russia. No, we will never be shown proof, but it is likely we’ll all just ‘know’ it was Russia. It will never make it into a court of law. Russia – Lavrov and gang, of course, will stand there, grinning, and say “prove it”. This strikes at the heart and soul of American politics. This also falls within the nouveau standard operating procedure for Russia. Ipso facto, it is Russia.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Could Putin’s Praetorian Guard Play the Same Trick on Its Creator that Its Roman Model Did?

Paul Goble Staunton, October 24 – Vladimir Putin has created a modernized form of the Roman Praetorian Guard in the form of the Russian Guards and related security agencies in order to protect himself against any challenge, Alfred Kokh observes; but it appears he has forgotten that the Praetorians often turned on their creator and became the key power in the Roman state. In yesterday’s Yezhednevny zhurnal, the Russian commentator recalls that when the Roman emperors created the Praetorian Guard in classical times, they intended it to be the chief protector of their own persons. As such, the Praetorians were the only armed force allowed in the city ( The Roman army, in contrast, was kept busy beyond the confines of the city and was not allowed to cross the Rubicon River lest it become a political force of its own. But the Praetorian Guard often played an evil joke on its creators or at least on their successors: it became the key power in the state, removing and replacing emperors or even installing one of its own. That is a danger that faces all authoritarian leaders: the defenses they built if they are strong enough to do their job are also strong enough to overthrow their creators – or at the very least to become a power in the state with which their creators and nominal bosses cannot fail to take into consideration. Kokh is suggesting that something similar may happen in Russia; and it is a measure of the extent to which he has pointed to an issue that the Kremlin is worried about that the full version of his article has been taken down from the site – only the first paragraph remains — lest the very discussion of this possibility make it even more likely.

Russian missile identified as anti-satellite weapon; ready by 2022

The mysterious missile is expected to join Russia’s arsenal by 2022.

Exclusive: Russia opposes U.S. OneWeb satellite service, cites security concerns | Reuters

Russia’s state security agency is opposing a high-level deal for the U.S. OneWeb satellite startup to bring Internet access to remote parts of the country because it says the project could be used to gather intelligence and damage national security. OneWeb, which plans to use a constellation of hundreds of satellites to provide a worldwide Internet network, struck a deal with Russian space agency Roscosmos in 2015 to send them into orbit and it clinched a joint venture with a subsidiary of the agency to service Russia. But now, after objections from Moscow, OneWeb is relinquishing its majority stake in the venture, according to two industry sources and a Russian state procurement document. Speaking at a conference in Moscow, Federal Security Service official Vladimir Sadovnikov said the FSB was against the project servicing Russia for security reasons since it could potentially hand a foreign Internet service provider a monopoly over rural and remote areas. “Some of Russia’s regions would become totally dependent on a foreign satellite service,” Sadovnikov said, adding that Moscow had not received any conclusive evidence that OneWeb’s satellites would not be used for intelligence gathering. “The only way to address the threats of foreign satellite networks like OneWeb, especially in the Arctic region and Far North, is to restrict their usage in Russia,” Sadovnikov said. He added that Russia favored setting up a similar network partnering with India, China and countries which he described as non-aggressive.

UAWire – Russian insurers refuse to insure Russian space program

Not a single Russian insurance company has bid to insure the upcoming launch of the Progress MS-10 spacecraft with a Soyuz-FG launch rocket. The spacecraft will be sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in November. This was reported by Interfax, citing documentation from the Russian state procurement website. The client was TsENKI, a subsidiary of Roscosmos, which announced its call for proposals on October 10. The premium on the contract would be capped at 116.5 million rubles for a total insurance amount of 3.2 billion rubles, of which 3 billion would be for insuring the spaceship itself and 200 million for its cargo. The contract would be in effect until the end of 2019. Loss or destruction of the insured property, namely the spacecraft itself or its cargo, would constitute an insurance event. “Not a single bid was made to participate in the procurement procedure, the open request has been recognized as a failure,” the protocol states. The launch of the Progress MS-10 is planned for November 15-18 and will take place only a month after the catastrophe with the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft, which was unable to deliver its crew or cargo to the ISS. The Soyuz MS-10 was crewed by Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Nick Hague, who were forced to make an emergency landing in Kazakhstan due to an emergency.

Russia Successfully Launches Soyuz Rocket With Military Satellite

Russia has successfully launched an unmanned Soyuz rocket, the first such liftoff since an aborted launch of a similar rocket earlier this month.

UAWire – Media: Chinese banks refuse to serve Russians because of sanctions risk

Russians are facing difficulties working with Chinese banks because of sanctions risks, the newspaper Kommersant reported, referring to the record of the meeting of the Sub-Commission on Cooperation in Financial Fields between Russia and China where this problem was discussed. According to the newspaper, the meeting took place on September 27 to 28 in Shenzhen. The parties discussed “barriers that prevent making interbank payments and opening correspondent accounts.” Moscow persistently raised the issue that Chinese banks have been blocking or delaying the operation of Russian companies. Representatives of the People’s Bank of China, the equivalent of the Russian Central Bank stated only that “they are ready” to continue to provide Chinese commercial banks with information “on the nature of the ongoing sanctions restrictions”. According to the interlocutors of Kommersant, individuals from the sanctions list are not the only ones facing difficulties with Chinese banks. Those legal entities and individuals who were not subjected to sanctions have been affected as well. Difficulties with attracting money from both western and eastern markets were first mentioned by then-head of the Russian Central Bank, Hermann Graf in December 2014. In June 2015, the same problems were confirmed by the First Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank, Yuri Soloviev, who said that “most Chinese banks refuse to do business with Russian financial organizations.” There were no more public mentions of those issues afterwards.

Lech Walesa Calls For Global ‘Solidarity’ Movement In Response To Russia

Former Polish President Lech Walesa tells RFE/RL that global “solidarity” is the best way to deal with Russia.

UAWire – Russia promises to respond to deployment of US troops in Poland

Poland’s plans to deploy a division of the US Armed Forces on its territory will not contribute to stability and the strengthening of the …

U.S. Seeks To Block Russian Bid For UN Vote On INF Treaty

The United States is seeking to block a move by Russia to schedule a United Nations General Assembly vote on preserving a 1987 nuclear arms treaty that U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to abandon this week.

Opinion: What We Are Getting Into By Getting Out Of INF | Missile Defense content from Aviation Week

The U.S. should plan for the cost of an unbounded missile competition to encourage Russia and China to negotiate new missile controls.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Collapse of INF Treaty Reflects Drives in both Russia and the US to Retreat to a Past that Never Was, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, October 25 – The INF Treaty which the US wants to annul was the effective end of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Pastukhov says, a concession of defeat by the Soviet Union but one that gave promise that Moscow and the West would not remain in a situation that could lead to war at almost any time. That is because, the London-based Russian historian says, the INF prevented the mass deployment of nuclear warheads close to “the vital centers of the opposing sides,” a situation that if allowed to continue would inevitably have sparked a war because of fears that one side or the other could preemptively destroy the other ( years ago, the Soviet and American leadership recognized this reality and signed the INF accord, but “the paradox of today” is that the very same threats not only exist if its provisions are cancelled but have “increased many times over” with advances in military technology. Tragically, neither side appears frightened enough to stop. Instead, Pastukhov continues, the leaders in Moscow and Washington are taking actions that will increase chaos, unpredictability and the danger of war. This reflects their personalities, and those in turn are a response to “a structural crisis of capitalism” and the end of a century of growth. No one is sure what is coming next and this fear has pushed both Russia and the West into “right-wing populism” because, the historian continues, “people instinctively seek salvation from an uncertain future in the past.” Thus, “Putin’s Soviet restoration in Russia, the Trump phenomenon in America,” and the rise of the right in Europe are all of a piece. They are part of a general “’panic attack’” which people experience when confronted by the limits of capitalism. And that means, Pastukhov continues that “politics in general and international politics in particular are fueled by hysteria,” with “lies and bluffs” rather than rational calculation their hallmarks. According to the historian and commentator, the leaders of Russia and the US, as well as other countries, are currently “held captive by the illusion that they have the ability to bring back ‘the old days’ with all the advantages of those but that in doing so they won’t be constrained by the drawbacks” of that past which caused them problems. This pattern is especially obvious in Putin’s Russia where the Kremlin is actively restoring the Soviet “triad” of an arms race, opposition to the West throughout the world, and autarky combined with isolation. There is no recognition that this combination will bleed Russia dry, condemn it to backwardness, and ultimately lead to its defeat. Because of its current problems, Pastukhov says, “the Kremlin is running backwards in a panic toward the Soviet past, a political retreat that it proudly calls a rebirth” but that in fact is yet another retreat leading to defeat. One might expect “everything to be different in the prosperous US,” but the burdens of victory in the Cold War have turned out to be difficult for Washington handle. “The Pax Americana turned out to be a classic suitcase without a handle, hard to carry but problematic to let go of.” “The irony of history,” he continues, “is that the winner after some period of time finds itself in just an unenviable a position as the loser because it is sometimes more difficult to keep the victory than to win it in the first place.” Consequently, the US too is seeking to save itself by retreating into the past. Thus, the most important word in Trump’s campaign slogan, “’Make America Great Again,’” is the word “again.” As a result, the two capitals are rushing to restore a situation in the past that they earlier showed real wisdom in moving away from because of its risks. One might hope for a repeat, but “the chances of repeating the happy endgame of 30 years ago today are few and far between,” Pastukhov says. Neither leadership now shows much of the sense of larger responsibilities that their predecessors both did a generation ago. They are thus moving in ways that restore the threats that earlier leaders recognized and sought to remove in the name of restoring pasts that never really existed. “According to Hegel, history always repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce. Now it appears we are moving toward a third a tragic farce.” There is no sense of responsibility either in the Kremlin or in the White House. “Trump is less free than Putin in making political decisions,” Pastukhov says; “but otherwise appears as a bad parody of the Kremlin leader.” Both men act on impulses and think they can outplay the other instead of recognizing that both are at risk and each needs to behave with a sense of responsibility toward the entire world. That opens the door to a disastrous war in which far more people than those two will be the victims.

Europe at heart of US, Russian battle over missile treaty | USA News | Al Jazeera

Ending INF Treaty, as threatened by Trump, could put pressure on EU and possibly start new arms race, analysts say.

UAWire – Putin threatens to point nuclear missiles at Europe

Russia will be forced to respond in kind to the US’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian President …

NATO urges Trump officials not to quit nuclear treaty: diplomats | Reuters

European members of NATO urged the United States on Thursday to try to bring Russia back into compliance with a nuclear arms control treaty rather than quit it, diplomats said, seeking to avoid a split in the alliance that Moscow could exploit.

Trump is eyeing a dangerous repeat of the Cold War – The Washington Post

He should work with Putin to fix a nuclear treaty, not walk away.

Trump’s Punk Rock Nuclear Policy – Foreign Policy

The only reason to pull out of the INF Treaty is to give a middle finger to the world.

‘A third of Russians believe UK was behind Skripal poisoning’

Around 30 per cent of Russians believe the British secret service was behind the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury, a poll in the country has found. Only three percent of Russians believe that Russian agents were behind the poisoning, according to the independent poll by Levada which was released today.

Only 3% of Russians Believe Moscow Was Behind Skripal Attack, Poll Says

A newly released poll says that only 3 percent of Russians believe that their country’s intelligence services were behind the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal in Britain earlier this year. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy who leaked secrets to Western intelligence, was found slumped on a public bench in Salisbury on March 4 along with his daughter, Yulia. British prosecutors charged two Russians for being behind the attempted murder, a claim Moscow has repeatedly denied. Following the attack, Russian state media claimed that Britain had orchestrated the poisoning to nourish Russophobia. The results of the survey published by the independent Levada Center pollster on Thursday say that 28 percent of Russians believe that British intelligence services were behind Skripals’ poisoning, with only 3 percent saying they believe their own intelligence officers carried out the attack. Another 56 percent said that “it could have been anyone.” Meanwhile, 37 percent of respondents said they knew about the case in detail and 33 percent said they had “heard something” about it, with another 20 percent saying they had heard nothing about the poisoning. Levada conducted its survey among 1,600 respondents in 52 Russian regions between Oct. 18 and Oct. 24.

The Unsung Reporters Who Challenged the Kremlin’s Skripal Story

Russian journalists are reminding readers they still have some fight left in them.

Bolton: Reassessment Pending For Russia Sanctions Over Attack On Skripals

U.S. President Donald Trump’s national-security adviser, John Bolton, says that the United States is going to assess whether Russia has changed its behavior in the wake of its alleged March 4 attempt to poison ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. “On the potential for additional sanctions on Russia, we are still considering what we may be obligated to do under a statute related to chemical-weapons attacks,” Bolton said on October 24 in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku.

Bolton: Reassessment Pending For Russia Sanctions Over Attack On Skripals – YouTube


Trump adviser says more sanctions over ex-spy unsettled – The Washington Post

U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says the administration hasn’t made up its mind about imposing more sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of an ex-spy in England

TASS: World – Vucic says Skripal case, murder of Saudi journalist show irrationality in global politics

«There is no moral beacon now for the Serbs to be guided by; everything is based on calculation,» the president said. BELGRADE, October 24. /TASS/. Blaming Russia for the Skripal poisoning with the subsequent introduction of sanctions on the one hand and the situation regarding the murder of journalist Khashoggi, on the other hand, are examples of double standards and irrationality that exist in the world, said Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in an interview with the TV channel Pink on Wednesday. “If you look at the global interests, you’ll see numerous irrationalities there. How can it be explained that you introduce sanctions because of some Skripal who is alive, but do not introduce sanctions against those who dismembered a person and, on the contrary, sign deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars with them,” the president said. “There is no moral beacon now for the Serbs to be guided by; everything is based on calculation,” he said. “We should search for ourselves, cooperate with everyone and fight for our place under the sun amid this chaos that exists in the world,” Vucic stated. On March 4, former Russian intelligence officer and convicted British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were allegedly poisoned with a nerve agent, according to British investigators. Later, London stated that this agent was designed in Russia and blamed Moscow for being behind the incident based on this assumption. The Russian side refuted all accusations, saying that neither the Soviet Union, nor Russia had any programs for developing this agent. Experts from the British military chemical laboratory in Porton Down failed to identify the origin of the agent that poisoned the Skripals.

Council iPads stopped from emailing after Novichok attack because of security threat | Swindon Advertiser

INTERNET security concerns at Wiltshire Council led to internal emails being blocked following the nerve agent attack in Salisbury.

bellingcat – Dali, Warhol, Boshirov: Determining the Time of an Alleged Photograph from Skripal Suspect Chepiga – bellingcat

On 11 October 2014, a Facebook profile to a person named “Ruslan Boshirov” — the cover identity of Skripal poisoner Anatoliy Chepiga — posted a lone photograph of Prague, showing the heavily trafficked Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock. The upload date of this photograph coincides with a report from the Czech publication iRozhlas that “Boshirov” (Chepiga) visited Prague on 11 October 2014. The Daily Mail reported — which, obviously, requires more than a grain of salt when taking it under consideration — that Boshirov/Chepiga created this Facebook profile to add a Ukrainian woman as a friend after meeting her at a Prague cafe. The woman spoke with the Daily Mail, stating that she remembers meeting him “in 2013 or 2014” and that he created a Facebook page specifically to make contact with her. She was his only Facebook friend before she unfriended him on Facebook. It is unclear if this profile actually belongs to Chepiga/Boshirov, and reports from the Daily Mail and one Czech publication may not hold enough sway on their own, but determining the time that the photograph was taken is an interesting case study.

Bolton Vows To ‘Squeeze Iran,’ Explore Weapons Sales To Armenia

U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton has vowed that President Donald Trump’s administration will “squeeze Iran” with maximum economic pressure in response to Tehran’s “malign” behavior in the…

Zero Hour for the Islamic Republic – WSJ

The time has come for the world to unite against Iran’s regime.

U.S. Hesitates Over Scope of Finance Sanctions on Iran – WSJ

The Trump administration, days before imposing sanctions aimed at the heart of Iran’s economy, is wrestling with a decision about how far to go in its efforts to drive Swift, the global banking network, to cut off Iranian banks.

China oil refineries pull back from business with Iran – Washington Times

Beijing has long vowed to defy the revived U.S. sanctions, but this week a key Chinese export-finance bank and the country’s largest state oil refineries indicated that they were pulling back from their business with Tehran.

China Cuts Iran Oil Purchases Ahead of U.S. Sanctions – WSJ

China is cutting some of its oil trade with Iran after vowing for months to resist U.S. sanctions on the exports, providing Washington with an unexpected boost to its efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.

China Tells State-Owned Giants to Halt Iran Oil Buying – Bloomberg

China’s government has told at least two of its state oil companies to avoid purchasing Iranian oil as the U.S. prepares to impose sanctions on the Persian Gulf state, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

EU mechanism for Iran trade to be symbolically ready on Nov. 4: diplomats | Reuters

A new European Union mechanism to facilitate payments for Iranian exports should be legally in place by Nov. 4, when the next phase of U.S. sanctions hit, but will not be operational until early next year, three diplomats said.

Steve Mnuchin announces joint sanctions against terror sponsors with Taliban, Iran ties – CNNPolitics

The United States, along with seven Middle Eastern partners, including Saudi Arabia, slapped sanctions Tuesday on nine individuals supporting the Taliban regime at a joint meeting in Riyadh.

Iran accuses U.S. of imposing more sanctions deflect attention from Khashoggi killing | Reuters

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday accused the U.S. Treasury of announcing new sanctions on Iran to “deflect” attention from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

What the Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Gets Wrong

Trump’s dangerous delusions on Iran.

Israel: Syria has deployed 4 Russia missile defence systems – Middle East Monitor

The Syrian regime has deployed four S-300 anti-aircraft missile defence systems in the north of the country, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported yesterday. The newspaper released footage it said was taken by an Israeli satellite that shows one of the batteries supplied by Russia to Syria. According to the paper, the four missile launchers are believed not to be operational yet because some of the components are still unavailable. The newspaper said that one of the S-300 defence batteries is deployed in the ​​Musyaf area, north of the city of Homs.

Russia turns screws on Israel, demands more lead time ahead of Syria strikes

A new demand from Moscow may threaten Israel’s freedom of operations in Syrian airspace.

i24NEWS – Liberman says Israel will not accept ‘restrictions’ on operations in Syria

Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Liberman said Thursday that Israel would not accept any “restrictions” on its operations in Syria, after a report claimed that Russia was seeking to reexamine the terms of its military coordination system with Israel. “We will not accept any restrictions on our freedom of operation, and when it comes to national security, we will take action,” Liberman told Army Radio, adding that Israel has conducted more strikes in Syria than have been reported by the media. Last month, Israel admitted that its air force had carried out 200 strikes in Syria over the past 18 months. “Just because the media did not report on Syria strikes does not mean there were none,” Liberman said. “I don’t think it’s our duty to report what the army must do. An army needs to act.” Israeli Hadashot TV reported on Wednesday that Moscow wants to change the existing agreement with Jerusalem vis a vis airstrikes in Syria, demanding more notice in advance before Israel carries out airstrikes.

UAWire – Israel: Russian air defense systems will not protect Iranian forces in Syria

Israel is convinced that it will be able to attack the Iranian forces in Syria even now that Iran’s partner, Russia, has transferred S-300 anti- …

Bashar al-Assad Is Waging Biological War—By Neglect – Foreign Policy

By deliberately destroying and degrading public health infrastructure, the Syrian regime is reviving long-eradicated diseases and killing civilians.

Turkey To Start Installing Russian S-400 Missile Systems In October 2019

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said the country will begin the installation of Russian-made S-400 antiaircraft missile systems in October 2019, state media reported.

Turkey disclose some details about Russian S-400 purchase – Defence Blog

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has disclosed some details regarding the future of Russian-made S-400 air defense system purchase. According to Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency, quoting Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar, the delivery and installation of the S-400 system were will begin in October 2019. Turkish Defense Minister also said that personnel would be sent to Russia to receive training at the start of 2019, according to Hurriyet. He said the F-35 fighter jet program with the United States was continuing as planned, with the third and fourth jets in the program to be delivered in March next year. Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 systems, which are not compatible with NATO defenses, has unnerved the United States and NATO member countries, which are already wary of Russia’s presence in the Middle East. Washington and NATO officials strive to prevent the sophisticated Russian-built anti-aircraft weapon system from collecting information about the US-made all-weather stealth multirole warplanes, technically known as the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, just as they are gaining a foothold in Europe. According to Der Spiegel, for NATO, the supply of Russian anti-aircraft missile systems S-400 to Turkey is a real provocation. Within NATO, resistance is mounting. The purchase of the S-400 planned by Turkey means “a lot of trouble,” US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said in Congress. In recent years, tensions between Ankara and other NATO alliance members, particularly Washington, have escalated amid an array of political differences, such as US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara sees as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a terrorist group banned in Turkey.

Ottoman Empire Borders Versus Modern-Day Borders – Geopolitical Futures

May 3, 2016 This map is designed to show some of the hidden fault lines underlying the states of the Middle East, and the reasons these states, which were held together by foreign powers and domestic tyrants, disintegrated. The Ottoman Empire lasted for about six centuries before it collapsed after World War I. Towards the waning years of the 17th century, its forces had penetrated as far west as Vienna. Its power and reach were enormous and enduring. The green areas of the map show what remained of the empire in the mid-19th century, after it was long past its prime. Its power had declined, but the extent of its rule, even in decline, bound together a region reaching from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula and to a large part of North Africa.

Wing installation at Turkish drone maker signals progress on indigenous unmanned tech

A privately owned Turkish drone specialist has installed the wings on its unmanned fighter jet currently in development.

Jamal Khashoggi death investigation: Saudi prosecutors say killing was premeditated as CIA chief Gina Haspel to brief Trump – CBS News

Ever-changing story from Riyadh falls more in line with widespread accusations of a planned murder as CIA chief to tell Trump what she learned in Turkey

Saudi Arabia, in Reversal, Suggests Khashoggi’s Killing Was Premeditated – The New York Times

The announcement that the dissident writer’s death may have been planned was the latest shift in the kingdom’s official account of what happened.

Saudi Arabia now admits Khashoggi killing was ‘premeditated’

The Saudi government has continued to shift its account of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi when he entered its consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Jamal Khashoggi: Tell us where his body is, Erdogan says – CNN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that Saudi Arabia hand over the suspects in his murder and reveal the location of his body.

Saudi Arabia affair presents a moment of truth for Congress | TheHill

The unified reaction to the death of Jamal Khashoggi stands in sharp contrast to divisive partisanship.

CIA’s Haspel listened to recording of Saudi writer’s alleged killing: report | Fox News

DIA Director Gina Haspel has reportedly listened to an audio recording of the alleged and killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi officials earlier this month in a consulate in Turkey, The Washington Post reported.

It’s Unnecessary to Pick Sides in the Gulf. America Should Stop. – Defense One

Iran and Saudi Arabia are each capable of keeping the other from establishing regional control.

Saudi Arabia is Hurting American Interests – Defense One

After Yemen, Qatar, kidnappings and Khashoggi, it\’s time to reset the U.S. relationship with the kingdom.

Time to Rethink the Price of Partnering With Dictators – Defense One

Dissidents need to know the U.S. stands with them, also.

The U.S.-Saudi relationship is worth preserving — but not under the current terms – The Washington Post

The challenge isn’t just punishing Saudi Arabia for killing a journalist. The Saudis have been undermining U.S. interests, too.

Outrage Over a Handshake Between Khashoggi Son and the Crown Prince – The New York Times

Saudi images of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shaking the hand of a stone-faced Salah Khashoggi, whose father was killed in a Saudi consulate, stirred anger.

Saudi Spy Met With Team Trump About Taking Down Iran

Mueller’s investigators examined a series of meetings between an Israeli social media strategist, the general blamed for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, and Trump adviser Michael Flynn.