Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Salisbury CW Attack / Syria / Iran / Russia Ad Hoc Update (189)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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Russia denies jamming Finnish GPS. NATO calls on Russia to comply with INF, China vs. INF. Putin supports EU Military concept. Russia in Africa. Multiple reports on Russia’s unraveling ideology, economy and structures. Glezin speculates on the breakup of Russia. More on Russian fighter programs. Adm Roughead CSIS report.

In UK, PM May addresses annual Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London, with Russia on the menu. More on the GRU, and Austria. In Salisbury, Zizzi’s reopens.

Updates on Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Libya.

‘Russia threat ever more real’: UK’s May berates Moscow like ‘recalcitrant child’ & offers salvation — RT UK News

The UK is ready to build a “different relationship” with Russia following the diplomatic rift over the Skripal poisoning – but only if Moscow confesses all its alleged sins and plays by London’s rules, PM Theresa May has hinted.

Russia denies disrupting GPS signals during Nato Arctic exercises – To Inform is to Influence

If NATO did not do this, and Russia denies jamming GPS signals this quickly, it almost certainly means Russia did it. Russian President Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, predictably combined two of Russia’s standard practices: 1) Deny and 2) belittle the report. Peskov did both very quickly and seemingly without hesitation. The Finnish PM stated, in other reports, that they will investigate the GPS jamming. Russia has historically denied every report which blames Russia, predictably this will be no different. </end editorial>

Finland Probes Possible Russian GPS Jamming During NATO Exercises

Finland says it is investigating whether Russia has recently interfered with global positioning system (GPS) signals in the northern Finish region of Lapland during NATO war games, endangering civi…

Finland’s GPS was disrupted during NATO war games and Russia could be responsible: PM | Reuters

Finland’s GPS signal was intentionally disrupted during NATO war games in the Nordic countries over the past few weeks and the culprit could be Russia, Prime Minster Juha Sipila said on Sunday.

UAWire – Russia admits its vulnerability to US nuclear missiles in Europe

The deployment of American nuclear missiles in Europe, which will become possible once the US withdraws from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear …

Putin: Russia wants dialogue with U.S. on missile treaty – agencies | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday Moscow wanted to restore a full-scale dialogue with the United States about the landmark Cold War-era missile treaty, Russian news agencies reported.

NATO chief calls on Russia to stick with INF Treaty – media | UNIAN

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the deployment of new Russian SSC-8 missiles puts the “historic” Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in jeopardy. The deployment of new Russian missiles is putting the historic treaty in jeopardy.

Natural that Europe should want an army, says Russia’s Putin | Reuters

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday it made sense for a powerful economic bloc like the European Union to want to defend itself militarily.

UAWire – Putin supports Macron’s idea of forming a European army

In an interview with RT France during his visit to Paris, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that French President Emmanuel Macron's idea of …

In Face of Unnamed Enemy, NATO Completes Norway Exercises

NATO has wrapped up its monthlong training exercise called “Trident Juncture” in Norway. The largest military training by the alliance since the end of the Cold War, the maneuvers have sparked debate over the price of security in Europe’s north. Charles Maynes reports from Trondheim, Norway.

Report: Russian Charged by US Seen at Libya Military Meeting

Yevgeny Prigozhin allegedly tied to military contractor believed to have sent thousands of mercenaries to Syria

From the CAR to Eritrea, Russia’s African Ambitions Unfold

Russia’s multilayered presence in Africa, spearheaded by private military contractors, shows no signs of slowing

Window on Eurasia — New Series: In Russia, Clash of Generations Replacing Clash of Civilizations, ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 11 – Recent statements by FSB Director Aleksandr Borotnikov suggest that in Russia, the clash of generations, historically known in Russia as the battle between “fathers and sons,” is replacing the clash of civilizations, according to the editors of Nezavisimaya gazeta. The recent wave of violent acts by young Russians has prompted the FSB head to shift his focus from the actions of those inspired or recruited by Islamist radicals abroad to acts by young Russians who have never left the country or attached themselves to any particular ideology, the paper says ( That poses two serious challenges to the regime, the editors of the Moscow paper say. On the one hand, it undercuts Moscow’s ability to blame everything on outsiders because it has now acknowledged that the latest violence is home-grown. And on the other, it represents the kind of anomic violence that police forces historically have a difficult time preventing. The new violence has arisen out of a youthful milieu, Bortnikov says, and the ideas which inform it are a mixture of “Nazi, nationalist, anarchist, left, right, and Islamist.” But the main thing is that as a result of those motivated by these or other notions or no notions other than a desire to cause trouble or attract attention, “people die.” A new generation has arisen “which has not experienced the times of the unmasking of the repressive and totalitarian communism regime and a generation which chooses terrorism to bring closer ‘the bright future of anarchist communism.’” They may be inspired by other terrorists but they have not been recruited by them. “Among them,” the paper says, one encounters neo-Nazis, football fans and anarchists.” What one doesn’t find and thus can no longer shift the blame to are foreign forces or those foreign forces have recruited. The problem is home grown just as the younger generation is home grown. It is thus “useless” to blame this or that incident “on the evil will from abroad or the influence of an alien culture. Here in its pure form is the problem of ‘fathers and sons’ which confront the fathers of the Fatherland completely new tasks,” the most difficult of which is to address the question: why is Russia producing such people on its own? That gets to the heart of politics in a way that blaming foreigners does not, and it is thus the most difficult problem that the FSB and the siloviki are now going to have to confront.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Depending on Who Succeeds Putin, Russia’s Disintegration Will Be Like End of USSR or End of Yugoslavia, Glezin Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 11 – The disintegration of the Russian Federation, “the last empire in the Eurasian space,” is inevitable, Eduard Glezin says; but the manner of that demise is not. If Vladimir Putin is succeeded by a reformer like Mikhail Gorbachev, it could come apart in a “civilized” manner; but if by a Slobodan Milosevich, it would be “war of all against all.” Glezin who has written extensively about Gorbachev and Perestroika tells the After Empire portal that Gorbachev’s perestroika has so transformed Russian attitudes that “however much Putin will try to tighten the screws, he will not be able to restore the kind of totalitarian Soviet regime which existed before Gorbachev ( But that doesn’t mean that the way in which the Russian Federation will come apart is determined by that fact. Gorbachev’s revolution was characteristically “’a revolution from above,’” and if someone with a different approach takes power after the current Kremlin leader, then all bets are off as to how the country will come apart. Glezin made three additional points worth noting. First, he insists, Gorbachev was a committed reformer long before he came to power as a result of his conversations with various reform-minded people in the 1950s. He certainly didn’t intend that his reforms would lead to the end of the CPSU and the USSR, but he was committed to changes that would cause both to die even if he didn’t fully understand that fact. Second, when asked what might have happened had “the new union treaty” been signed, the historical writer suggests Russia “undoubtedly would have been a freer and more democratic state.” But it would not have held together for long as the union republic leaders wanted independence; and democratic institutions to hold them hadn’t been worked out.” And third, Glezin notes that Gorbachev’s relationship with Putin has evolved through several periods. When Putin came to power, he invited Gorbachev to meet with him on a regular basis, something that continued until Gorbachev criticized Putin in 2011 and 2012, even suggesting then that the Kremlin leader retire from office. “If today, [Gorbachev] expresses himself in a more complimentary fashion, to my regret,” Glezin says, one must consider his honored age. However, this is no way undercuts the historical services of Gorbachev.” He made Russia different in ways that preclude any simple return to the past.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Only One Russian in Five Genuinely Believes Russia is a Great Power, Solovey Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 12 – Not only has foreign policy become a less effective mobilizing tool for the Kremlin but now “only 20 percent of its citizens consider Russia to be a great power,” Valery Solovey says, creating a situation where ever more of them are ready to ask questions and even challenge the regime. In an interview with SIA Press, the MGIMO analyst says that the powers that be are trying to act as if “everything is normal.” But in fact, this shift was already on view in the September elections where the center lost not four but eight races and covered that by using the power of office to hold on in four ( Initially, the Kremlin was alarmed, Solovey says; but now it has managed to convince itself that the situation is not all that bad and that it doesn’t have to take any radical steps as long as it gives the appearance of doing so, an attitude that recalls the anecdote about Soviet leaders on a train in which Brezhnev suggests covering the windows and pretending things are moving. “In my view,” the scholar continues, “this is a mistake because the situaiton is obviously poor.” So far Russians have kept their anger within bounds but if nothing is done that could soon change, especially because class conflict has re-emerged as a result of the ill-fated pension reform which took from the poor in order to be able to give to the rich. Moscow has assumed that it can do whatever it wants by putting out “hurrah patriotic” propaganda, but that assumption is wrong. “Compensatory propaganda lost its force by the beginning of 2016. After that, it continued by inertia and now it is ceasing to work altogether” as ever more Russians recognize that their country is no longer a great power. Given this shift in attitudes, the regime should be thinking about reforms; but instead, it is simply trying to hold on, and that in turn sets the stage for crises and even a revolution, caused as so often in the past not by the population or the opposition but by the authorities’ actions and inactions, Solovey continues. “As soon as society is able to throw a serious, obvious and significant challenge to the powers that be, we will right then see that a significant part of the elites will hurry to shift to the side of the people,” he says. That is what happens in every case, but until the challenge occurs, the elites will stay linked to the central power. “Suddenly” in Russia as elsewhere members of the elite “will suddenly declare that they were always with the people and against this or that action, that in fact they were critics of the pension reform, and that they only kept quiet. Now they will extend their hand to the rising people.” Until then, they will do nothing.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Soviets Used Language of Radical Humanism; Putin, Language of Radical Right, Ikhlov Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 12 – Vladimir Putin is restoring so many Soviet institutions that many fail to see that he remains radically different from his Soviet predecessors in ways that make him even worse and more of a threat to the West than they were, according to Russian commentator Yevgeny Ikhlov. “Soviet communist ideology used the phraseology of the tradition of radical humanism,” he says; but in contrast, “Putinism uses the phraseology of ‘radical right supremacy,’” a set of ideas that animated many who ended their days at the end of a rope in Nuremberg after World War II ( The Soviet Union, he writes, “was a quasi-messianic center” and thus always sought to present what it was doing in terms that would guarantee it the support of “’progressive Western writers and scholars,’ ‘important public activists speaking for …’ and other newly elected” elites. That mattered to Moscow and helped explain its propaganda if not its actions. “Almost all” of those the Soviets enlisted and cited were “completely respectable and “it was possible to refer them without making reference to their pro-Soviet statements,” Ikhlov says. The situation with regard to Putinism is “entirely different.” It doesn’t produce a picture of the world that captures the imagination of those who have any independent intellectual standing. And as a result, Putinism unlike Sovietism does not have any “respectable supporters” given that “all the truisms of Putinism already were heard and read about in the 1920s-1940s.” And those who mouthed them at that time ended their days at the Nuremburg tribunal. Those Western pro-Putinists reveal themselves in the following way: they respond to any criticism of what Putin is doing or has done by suggesting that the West is doing or has done something as bad or worse. They have no other arguments, and they thus convict themselves, Ikhlov concludes.


Window on Eurasia — New Series: Both Putin and West have Miscalculated about Impact of Isolating Russia, Shevtsova Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 12 – Vladimir Putin assumed that the West would never hold Russia accountable for his violations of the international rules of the game, and the West assumed that if it transformed Russian oligarchs into international pariahs and forced them to return to Russia, they would challenge the Kremlin leader, Liliya Shevtsova says. Both have been proved wrong, the Russian political analyst says. The attitudes of Western leaders, the people Putin calls his “partners,” have not been supported by Western societies as a whole who have proven far more willing to stand up to Putin impose severe penalties on his agents abroad ( But at the same time, Shevtsova continues, the Russian businessmen who have been living in the West but now are being forced to return home are not playing the role that the West expected them to: they aren’t standing up to Putin but in most cases falling in line, having been gelded by the Russian political leader by their fears of what he may do to them. Whatever the leaders of foreign countries have been willing to put up with in the past, she continues, most of their populations and political elites are not. At present, there are only three countries in the world – Vietnam, Greece, and the Philippines – where more people have a positive attitude about Russia than a negative one. And Greece is clearly shifting away too. These nations “don’t like us” and they are increasingly prepared to treat Russians as pariahs, Shevtsova argues. Putin didn’t expect this; but at the same time, the West has been wrong to assume that those oligarchs and businessmen would be so horrified by losing their ability to live and operate in the West that they would rise up against Putin. “The era of the integration of Russia and the Russians ‘in the West’ has ended;” but so too has the expectation that such integration could become the cause of a revolt of the oligarchs against Putin back in Russia. That isn’t going to happen. Instead, those forced out of the West will try to make the best deal they can with Putin and support repression if that is what it takes. In short, the Russian elites that the West hoped to play against Putin aren’t going to fulfill those expectations. They will become the basis not of overthrowing his authoritarian regime but of promoting totalitarianism because they like Putin will see that the real threat to him and them comes from below, from a Russian people mobilized by demands for justice. “Any Russian leader, both Putin and the post-Putin will be forced to think how to calm the people demanding justice.” The most likely course will be a redistribution of wealth and power away from those who have those benefits now to others. The oligarchs forced to return home will be defenders of the regime only to be betrayed by it in the future, Shevtsova says. Tragically, however, the attitudes people in the West have formed about Russia and Russians because of the behavior of Putin and his favorites mean that all Russians will become suspects and outcasts regardless of what happens next. And that is perhaps the greatest tragedy of the misunderstandings of both sides.


Window on Eurasia — New Series: ‘Post-Soviet Space’ No Longer Meaningful Concept, Diplomatic Academy Historian Says

Paul Goble Staunton, November 12 – The countries which emerged after the collapse of the USSR are moving in so many different directions that “the post-Soviet space” used by many since 1992 no longer is meaningful, according to Sergey Zhiltsov, a historian at the Moscow Diplomatic Academy which trains many of Moscow’s diplomats. In a commentary in yesterday’s Nezavisimaya gazeta, Zhiltsov says that these countries have become ever less similar, sometimes because of their own desires and sometimes because of the efforts of outside powers who are seeking to create cordons sanitaires around the Russian Federation ( “For Russia,” he continues, “the greatest threat” is presented by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia whose governments have adopted “an anti-Russian course” and who are “drifting toward the EU and NATO” and breaking “political, economic and cultural ties with Russia.” Elections in all three do not give much hope for a radical change in their direction. But they are not the only former Soviet republics who have moving in different diections and undercutting the meaning “the post-Soviet space” once had, a region that is increasingly divided between those who have placed their bets on Moscow and those who increasingly are doing so on the West. Western sanctions against Moscow since 2014 have intensified this process and thus mark “the beginning of a new state of development in the relations of Russia with the independent states.” Western attention to and support for Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia is creating “a principally new geopolitical situation” around Russia. That sets the stage for “the intensification of the confrontation between Russia and Western states,” Zhiltsov says. “Unlike during the Cold War, when the USSR established on its borders a belt of friendly states connected by a system of military-political and economic relations, Russia in the emerging situation is in a less favorable position. The cordon sanitaire the West has created out of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine exists in the immediate vicinity of Russian borders.” The West would like to add Belarus to this group, but up to now, Minsk has shown an unwillingness to go that route, linked as it is closely to Moscow. In short, Zhiltsov says, what has occurred is the reemergence of a conflict of two blocs, one led by the EU and NATO and another led by Moscow, but including different countries and some closer to Russia. Russia has sought to respond, but it lacks the financial resources to oppose the West everywhere. “Nonetheless,” the diplomatic historian argues, “in recent years, Russia has achieved definite successes in preserving its influence on the post-Soviet space. In particular, it has launched and developed the integrative project of the Eurasian Economic Union.” But that does not involve all the former Soviet republics. Consequently, confrontation is increasing, and “there is ever less basis for speaking about the geographic integrity of the post-Soviet space which represents a mosaic of individual countries some of whom have been drawn into the anti-Western policy of the West,” Zhiltsov says in conclusion.

Admiral Gary Roughead USN (Retd) | The Trident Returns | Center for Strategic and International Studies

Reactivating the U.S. Second Fleet and Revitalizing Anti-Submarine Warfare in the Atlantic

NATO vs. Russia in a War for the Baltic States: Who Wins? | The National Interest

Who would lose?

TONG ZHAO. Why China Is Worried About the End of the INF Treaty. | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

The U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty reflects Washington’s long-standing concern that the treaty constrained its ability to counter China’s fast-growing missile forces in the Asia Pacific. This article was published by Carnegie Tsinghua Centre for Global Policy on the 7th of November 2018.  The INF Treaty is dead, and U.S. officials are arguing that…

Designers of Russian Su-57 stated that F-22 can’t be used to support ground operations – Defence Blog

The designers of the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet, including Director of the Sukhoi Design Bureau Mikhail Strelets, stated that U.S. F-22 Raptor can’t be used to air-to-ground and support ground operations. According to Russian specialists, who developing Su-57 multi-functional aircraft, the US-made F-22 fighter jet is don’t capable of effectively accomplishing missions to destroy ground targets. US Raptor aircraft that are focused only on specific tasks of air combat. “The F-22 was initially developed as an aircraft to gain air superiority. But eventually, the Americans realized that it was essentially wrong to design the aircraft only for carrying air-to-air missiles and made an attempt to fit air-to-surface weapons into the existing configuration of its compartments. But the configuration of the compartments did not allow placing larger cargoes,” Director of the Sukhoi Design Bureau Mikhail Strelets also said in a live broadcast of the Zvezda TV Channel on Friday. Russia’s cutting-edge Sukhoi Su-57 fifth-generation fighter jet incorporates the functions of the US F-22 and F-35 fighter planes but outperforms them, Chief Designer – Mikhail Strelets added.


UAWire – Media: Indonesia’s contract for purchase of Russian Su-35 fighters falling apart

The official representative of the Indonesian Air Force, Novyan Samyoga, stated that the U.S. sanctions could cause issues to the Indonesian procurement contract for 11 Russian Su-35 fighter jets, reported the British publication Jane’s. Samyoga explained that if Washington imposes tough sanctions against Jakarta for the purchase of military equipment from Moscow, Indonesia would be forced to buy “Western-made fighters”. The representative of the Air Force added that in this case, Indonesia would have no choice but to break the already signed contract with Russia. Jane’s notes that the Su-35 replacement could be an American fighter Viper F-16, which is manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation. In February, Indonesia signed a contract for the delivery of eleven Russian Su-35s fighters. A few months earlier, the United States implemented the “The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA). This Act involves imposing sanctions against the buyers of Russian defense equipment as a response to Russia’s interference in the United States 2016 presidential elections. In the spring of 2018, CAATSA added Rosoboronexport to the sanctions list. “We must combine Eastern and Western fighter jets,” said Novyan Samyoga. “The political situation is unstable, and we need a balance that will allow us to use airplanes made in the East if problems arise with the West. We have been under sanctions before, so we understand the need for this balance, ” the official added. From the 1990s to 2005, the United States implemented sanctions against Indonesia due to human rights violations by the Indonesian military in East Timor. Due to these restrictive measures, Jakarta was unable to purchase spare parts for F-16 fighters and C-130 transport aircraft for the service of the country.

Window on Eurasia — New Series: Hungary’s Jobbik Party Could Turn Out to Be Moscow’s Worst Enemy

Paul Goble Staunton, November 12 – Moscow has placed more hopes in Hungary and its nationalist Jobbik Party to support Russia’s position in Europe against Ukraine, but it may have miscalculated in a serious way: Hungarians are a Finno-Ugric nationality and have an interest in protecting Finno-Ugric peoples within the current borders of the Russian Federation. That interest is something that the Kremlin has ignored, pleased as it is by Hungarian nationalist interest in making claims against Ukraine and opposing European sanctions against Russia for its aggression there. But the Kremlin may be about to be reminded that Hungarians have interests which are anything but congruent with the powers that be in Moscow. That is because the Free Idel-Ural Movement, a group that seeks to represent the peoples of the Middle Volga, half of whom are Finno-Ugrics (the Mordvins, the Mari and the Udmurts) has called on Hungary’s pro-Russian Jobbik Party to speak out in defense of these nations ( Sures Bolyaen, the vice president of the Free Idel-Ural Movement has appealed to the Jobbik Party to come to the aid of its fellow Finno-Ugric peoples. The three Finno-Ugric nations in the middle Volga have lost their right to require instruction in their national languages and thus are being Russianized and Russified more than ever before. The Russian attack on these nations should be enough for all other Finno-Ugric peoples to come to their aide, but there are other reasons as well. The Hungarians in general and the Jobbik Party in particular know that if other Finno-Ugric peoples are threatened with extinction, the Hungarians are as well. “We are counting on the Jobbik Party to understand this and to represent the interests of Finno-Ugric peoples not only in Europe but also in the global international arena. Friends are recognized in misfortune. Today, the misfortune has come to our house, to Idel-Ural.” We look to other Finno-Ugric peoples and especially to the Hungarians to help us. The Jobbik Party has taken the lead in demanding that the rights of ethnic Hungarians be protected in Ukraine, Bolyaen says; it is only right and proper that the same group should take the lead in demanding that the rights of their fellow Finno-Ugrics in the Russian Federation be equally respected.

Kremlin propaganda sowed anti-Americanism in the US and Euro-skepticism in the EU. Russia always stabs in the back – Poroshenko. VIDEO

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is convinced that the Russian Federation is best using social networks to influence the collective consciousness of people around the world.He stated this on his page in Facebook, reports Tsensor.NET. “Social networks have given access to the collective consciousness and subconscious of entire nations, and nobody has used it as skillfully as Putin’s Russia. You can fetch the army of bots, regardless of what servers they work on, they are in Russia – your social networks. led anti-Americanism inside American homes, led the euroskeptics to European homes, so Russia stabs in the back, from the rear, “said Poroshenko.

PM speech to the Lord Mayor’s Banquet: 12 November 2018 – GOV.UK

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London. …… The past year has tragically proven those threats to be ever more real – not least through the reckless use of a chemical weapon on our own streets by two agents of the Russian intelligence services. But it has also proven our commitment to respond – exactly as I said we would. Together with our allies, in response to the attack in Salisbury, we coordinated the largest ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers, fundamentally degrading Russian intelligence capability for years to come. And our law enforcement agencies, through painstaking investigations and cooperation with our allies, produced the irrefutable evidence that enabled our Crown Prosecution Service to bring charges against those responsible. In response to the activities of the GRU in Europe, through the cooperation of western security agencies, the Dutch government were able to prevent and expose Russian attempts to penetrate and undermine the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In these actions, we have seen the impact of international unity and a collective response to these threats. We have shown that while the challenge is real, so is the collective resolve of likeminded partners to defend our values, our democracies, and our people. But, as I also said a year ago, this is not the relationship with Russia we want. We remain open to a different relationship – one where Russia desists from these attacks that undermine international treaties and international security, and its actions that undermine the territorial integrity of its neighbours – and instead acts together with us to fulfil the common responsibilities we share as permanent members of the UN Security Council. And we hope that the Russian state chooses to take this path. If it does, we will respond in kind. We will continue to show our willingness to act, as a community of nations, to stand up for the rules around the world. When the Syrian Regime used chemical weapons on its people again in April, we took military action, together with France and America, reinforcing the global norm against the use of such abhorrent weapons.

UK’s May says response to Skripal attack hurt Russian spying

British Prime Minister Theresa May says the West’s response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former spy has seriously hurt Russia’s intelligence capability. LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Theresa May says the West’s response to the nerve-agent poisoning of a former spy has seriously hurt Russia’s intelligence capability. May’s office says she’ll urge countries “to stand up for the rules around the world” during a foreign-policy speech on Monday. Britain accuses Russia of poisoning ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter with a Soviet-made nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury in March — a claim Moscow denies. After the attack Britain and other countries expelled a total of 150 Russian spies working under diplomatic cover. Russia expelled a similar number of those countries’ envoys. May plans to tell the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London that this was “the largest-ever collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers, fundamentally degrading Russian intelligence capability for years to come.”

Theresa May touts response to Russia’s ‘reckless’ use of chemical weapons in Salisbury – CNN

UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday lauded Europe’s response to Russia’s “reckless” use of chemical weapons.

Theresa May: UK open to ‘different’ Russia relationship | World news | The Guardian

The prime minister will use Lord Mayor’s banquet speech to outline desire for increased cooperation with Moscow

Kremlin quietly happy about British reactions to Skripal affair and ‘dirty money’

The UK government’s tough-talking on Unexplained Wealth is not enough to worry the Russian elite.

Justin Rohrlich | Russian spies may seem incompetent but they’re not — Quartz

There’s more going on than meets the eye. …. How to explain the GRU’s apparent penchant for bungling? According to former Russian and American spies, many of Russia’s recent intelligence “failures” actually haven’t been total failures. Dan Hoffman, a CIA veteran who served for a time as the agency’s Moscow station chief, says that modern Russian operations often contain a dash of incompetence. But fundamentally, many are what Hoffman called “discoverable influence operations”—that is, being found out was part of the strategy. In an op-ed for the New York Times last year, Hoffman argued that the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, and campaign manager Paul Manafort deliberately left a “trail of bread crumbs…leading from Trump Tower to the Kremlin.” In other words, he says, the “operation was meant to be discovered,” the better to achieve president Vladimir Putin’s twin goals of “throwing the American government into greater turmoil” while giving Russia bragging rights about its power on the global stage. Hoffman was one of the CIA officials involved in negotiating the 2010 spy swap that traded 10 deep-cover Russian agents apprehended in the US—including “femme fatale” Anna Chapman—to free four others from Russia, including Sergei Skripal, who then settled in the UK. Discussing the Skripal case before a Saturday night audience at Spyscape, an “interactive” spy museum in New York City, Hoffman said, “[Russian president Vladimir] Putin wanted to be discovered; there’s a return address on all these things back to him.” Even though Skripal and his daughter survived, Hoffman said the undertaking was in fact, “a success.” When Skripal was poisoned, there were two weeks to go before Russia’s elections; Hoffman’s theory is that Putin wanted to drive voter turnout. It worked—more than 60% of the Russian population went to the polls; Putin won reelection with a reported 76.9% of the vote. Nor was the now-dismantled Austrian operation a failure, said Jan Neumann, an ex-FSB officer who defected to the US in 2008. The Russian intelligence community consists of three primary agencies: the FSB (the successor agency to the KGB, renamed after the end of the Cold War), the SVR (external foreign intelligence), and the GRU (military intelligence). “It’s a sign of top-level professionalism and high-quality work of Russian intelligence that they were able to keep their source working and successfully providing critical information since 1988,” Neumann told Quartz in a telephone interview from his current home in the US. “They were able to keep him undetected and stay in touch with him even when the USSR collapsed and all state institutions were falling apart.”

Zizzi in Salisbury, the Skripal restaurant, reopens — but hold the novichok jokes | News | The Sunday Times

You join me for lunch at what must be — through no fault of its own — the most notorious restaurant in the country. I recommend the chicken and mushroom risotto, but please resist the temptation to make novichok jokes to the staff. Believe me, we’ve heard them all here in Salisbury.For the past eight months, this branch of Zizzi has been very firmly sealed off behind wooden boards.

Branch of Zizzi closed in Salisbury after Novichok nerve attack doubles customers since re-opening | City A.M.

The restaurant which was caught in the middle of the Salisbury Novichok poisoning has doubled its customers since re-opening last week. The Salisbury branch of Zizzi was closed after traces of the Novichok nerve agent used to poison Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reported to have been discovered at the Italian restaurant. “The last two days have been twice as busy as before we closed. Although we’ve got a modicum of caution, this week so far has been very, very busy,” said Steve Holmes, the chief executive of Zizzi parent Azzurri Group told City A.M. Despite losing its Salisbury branch for several months, and keeping staff on full pay, Azzurri grew sales by 8.5 per cent to £280m in the financial year ending August. The company added eight Zizzi branches, three ASK Italian, and four Coco di Mama, while refurbishing 33 of its 290 restaurants.

UAWire – Austria accuses Russia of espionage

Six months after the attempted poisoning of the former double agent Sergei Skripal in the UK, Russia found itself in the middle of a new “ …

Another Russian espionage scandal in Austria as counterintel operative suspected of treason | UNIAN

Austrian security officials are probing classified data leaks to Russians from the national counterintelligence agency, BVT. The suspect is now facing 10 years behind bars for the disclosure of state secrets. Austrian security officials are probing classified data leaks to Russians from the national counterintelligence agency, BVT. The anti-corruption prosecutor’s office suspects that an employee of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight against Terrorism (BVT), who has been named in the report as O., has been spying for Russia, the Austrian editions of Kronen Zeitung and reported on Sunday, November 11, according to DW. The tip about the mole in the counterintelligence agency, just as in the case of a retired army colonel suspected of transferring classified info to Moscow, came from one of the “friendly partner services.” The investigation was launched back in November 2017.

Another possible spy revealed in Austria –

Another possible spy revealed in Austria. Austrian outlet Kronen Zeitung reported. According to the edition, it is about a member of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counterterrorism. The suspect is allegedly sent secret information to the Russian intelligence. Such actions in Austria punished by ten years of imprisonment. Media specifies that searches have been conducted in the department and in two other places a few weeks ago precisely because of suspicion against this person.

UAWire – Media: Austrian colonel who spied for Russia was exposed by Germany

An Austrian colonel who worked for Russian Intelligence was exposed by German counterintelligence that handed over the information to the …

Trump’s Test on Iran: Turning Disruption to Progress

On foreign policy matters, President Donald Trump through this week’s mid-term elections has demonstrated a refreshing willingness to take on critical issues that his predecessors either avoided altogether or ineffectually kicked down the road. His tactics can lack diplomatic elegance (mostly by intention) and anger partners, but it’s undeniable he has locked his legacy-seeking sites on what looks to be an overwhelming list of long-festering problems. Among them: NATO allies’ unwillingness to bear sufficient defense burdens, China’s unfair trade practices, Russia’s violation of a short and intermediate-range missile treaty, North Korea’s nuclear proliferation and Iran’s dangerously malign behavior. Of all those issues, for me the Iran showdown provides the most dramatic lens through which to track whether President Trump can turn his disruptive determination into a strategic outcome of lasting significance. Without minimizing the other challenges, my wager is that the Iran issue may become the Trump administration’s most defining foreign policy challenge over the coming two years, viewed alongside North Korea as part of a dual effort to counter rogue regimes. That’s because, first, Iran is the issue where there is the greatest alignment among top Trump administration officials on the significance and urgency of the threat. President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and National Security Advisor John Bolton may disagree occasionally on tactics or the achievable end-game, but not on the priority. Second, the administration has begun to execute a comprehensive, three-pronged “maximum pressure” campaign to alter Iran’s behavior, driven by the resourceful and tireless Brian Hook, the US Special Representative to Iran and Senior Advisor to Secretary Pompeo. A senior US official says that approach involves intensifying diplomatic engagement to bring about greater international support and sanctions compliance, increasing deterrence against Iranian behavior by more aggressively going after the money, missiles and arms fueling its regional influence, and heightening efforts to be seen as “standing with the Iranian people,” who have wearied of their leaders’ corruption and costly misadventures beyond Iran.

Iran And Trading Partners Will Find Ways To Skirt Sanctions, Analysts Say : NPR

The Trump administration hopes the sanctions will force Iran to negotiate a new nuclear deal. But analysts point out there are overt and covert activities to avoid the penalties.

What If America Invaded Iran? Why a War Would Not Be Easy. | The National Interest

Invading Iran and dictating terms to an occupied Tehran would be one way to achieve regime change. However, the United States would struggle to directly overthrow the Islamic Republic regime through force of arms.

Iranians Fear Medicine Shortages as U.S. Tightens Sanctions – The New York Times

Harsh restrictions against doing business with Iran have made it nearly impossible for pharmaceutical companies to continue working in the country.

Fierce fighting ‘eases’ in Hodeidah after major casualties | News | Al Jazeera

Air raids and street battles die down only hours after scores are killed during intense fighting, residents say.

Is this the turning point for the war in Yemen? – The Washington Post

Washington is souring on the war, but it’s not clear if concrete policy action is coming.

🇸🇦Will Saudi Arabia ever reveal who ordered the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? l Inside Story – YouTube

Al Jazeera English Published on Nov 11, 2018 The Turkish president has shared with several world leaders audio recording of the moment journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered.

UK calls for end to Yemen war, Khashoggi justice | Yemen News | Al Jazeera

Visiting Saudi Arabia on Monday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urges Riyadh to halt the bloody war in Yemen.

Street battles rage in Yemen’s Hodeidah, civilians caught in crossfire | Reuters

Street battles raged on Sunday in residential areas of Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah, forcing medical staff to flee the largest hospital, as Houthi insurgents tried to repel forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

US decision to stop refueling Saudi jets attacking Yemen ‘means nothing’ – CNN

The United States’ decision to end airborne refueling support to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen means nothing militarily. It is cost-free virtue signaling by the Trump administration.

Trump could designate Iran-backed Yemen rebels as terror group, report says | Fox News

The Trump administration is reported to be contemplating designating Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militia a terrorist organization, igniting the debate or whether or not such a label will bring the protracted to war to close faster.

Barrage of rockets launched at Israel following botched Gaza operation – CNN

A barrage of more than 300 rockets was launched from Gaza toward Israel on Monday, the Israeli army said, hours after a botched Israeli operation in Gaza left a Hamas commander and an Israeli soldier dead.

Italian summit on Libya in disarray as Trump and Putin stay away | World news | The Guardian

Diplomats try to salvage conference aimed at cementing Italy’s role as power broker

Taliban Slaughter Elite Afghan Troops, and a ‘Safe’ District Is Falling – The New York Times

Times journalists traveled to the site of a Taliban assault. Instead of a fierce stand by government commandos, they found a massacre of those American-trained troops.