Operation Moldova: A New NATO Anti-Russia War Project

In the forty-seventh edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor, Professor Filip Kovacevic discusses the articles from four Russian newspapers: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Kommersant, Izvestia, and Nezavisimaya Gazeta. He discusses the escalating political and constitutional crisis in Moldova, the site of another proxy war-in-the-making between NATO and Russia in Eastern Europe, and the statements on North Korea made by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, and the South Korean president Moon Jae-in during the Far Eastern Economic Forum. In addition, he chronicles the significant increase of Russia’s food exports and explains why China has been more successful than Russia in bringing into the country thousands of Ukrainian military industry engineers and specialists and their families.

NOTE: The Russian newspaper Kommersant wrongly reported the president of Mongolia as Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. The current president of Mongolia is Khaltmaagiin Battulga.
 

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Show Notes

Rossiyskaya Gazeta – September 11, 2017

Kommersant – September 8, 2017

Izvestia – September 11, 2017

Nezavisimaya Gazeta – September 8, 2017

NATO Incites Ukraine to War against Russia

In the forty-fifth edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor, Professor Filip Kovacevic discusses the articles from four Russian newspapers: Izvestia, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, and Pravda. He discusses the exclusive frontpage interview by the former Afghan president Hamid Kharzai, sharply critical of the U.S. president Donald Trump, in the pro-government Izvestia. In addition, he chronicles the U.S. Secretary of Defense James ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis’ visit to Ukraine and how the U.S. and NATO are planning out total political and economic isolation of Russia. Lastly, he discusses some recent Gladio C provocative operations in the Russian border regions. The NATO-Russia proxy conflicts are getting more and more dangerous to world peace. Do not miss this exclusive edition of the Russian Newspapers Monitor!

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Show Notes

Izvestia – August 25, 2017

Rossiyskaya Gazeta – August 25, 2017

Nezavisimaya Gazeta – August 29, 2017

Pravda – August 25, 2017

The New Great Game Round-Up: June 23, 2015

Latest ISIS Defection Spells the End for Caucasus Emirate, Taliban Gaining Ground in Afghanistan & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Every few days, Afghanistan is making headlines due to the deteriorating security situation in the country, the most recent example being the Taliban attack on the Afghan parliament on Monday. As Afghan lawmakers were trying to confirm a defense minister, a large explosion rocked the parliament building in Kabul. The attack by a suicide bomber was the signal for fellow Taliban fighters, who had taken positions in a nearby building, to open fire. After an intense firefight, security forces managed to kill all six gunmen but the latest Taliban attack, which left two civilians dead and 40 injured, raises again questions over the government's ability to maintain security. Statements by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid suggest that the purpose of the attack was to embarrass the "puppet administration" in Kabul "at a time which they were casting confidence vote for the minister of defense." It is safe to say that the Taliban achieved their goal. The Kabul government is looking increasingly shaky:

Taliban and Afghan Government Dispute Status of Kunduz After Taliban insurgents said Sunday that they were on the verge of taking their first city, Kunduz in the far north of Afghanistan, officials there expressed alarm as residents began to flee the area. But the central government in Kabul said there was no cause for concern. The Afghan government also announced Sunday that it had retaken the administrative center of Yamgan District, in northern Badakhshan Province, from the Taliban. But that only deepened the government’s credibility problem because just a week earlier officials in Kabul had claimed that they had already retaken Yamgan.

For months now, several districts in both Kunduz and Badakhshan Provinces in the north have gone back and forth between government and Taliban control, as the insurgents have intensified their fighting in parts of northern Afghanistan where they traditionally had been weak.

Taliban Gain Ground in Afghanistan, Call For Jihad Under One Flag

While the central government tried to downplay the situation in Kunduz province, local officials confirmed that Taliban and Central Asian fighters are advancing on the provincial capital after capturing Char Dara District. A few hours later, Kabul's statement looked even more absurd when it became clear that the insurgents had seized another district bordering the city of Kunduz. Afghanistan's fifth largest city is on the verge of falling to the Taliban and Mohammad Omar Safi, the governor of Kunduz, doesn't want to take any chances. Kunduz province is already facing a humanitarian crisis and if the Taliban conquer the capital, it won't get any better. The Afghan government is now under increasing pressure to act. One of the few good news coming from northern Afghanistan in recent weeks was Kabul's recapture of Badakhshan's Yamgan District but if the government forces don't manage to repeat this success in Kunduz, Tajikistan's fears of an Afghan spillover might come true:

About 1,500 militants mass in Afghan areas near the border with Tajikistan Commander of Tajik Border Troops Rajabali Rahmonali has warned of about 1,500 militants, including members of the Islamic State (IS) group, concentrating in the Dahsti Archi and Imam Sahib districts of Afghan Kunduz province along the Tajik border.  In a statement released at the 73rd meeting of the Council of Border Troops Commanders of the CIS member nations in Dushanbe, Rahmonali noted on June 18 that that there members of the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Ansarullah among the militants concentrating along the Tajik border in northern Afghanistan.  “They are fighting against the Afghan government forces in the immediate vicinity of the border with Tajikistan,” Rahmonali noted. He expressed concern about a tense situation in the Afghan provinces of Takhar, Kunduz and Badakhshan, which directly border Tajikistan.

The possibility of a spillover of violence from Afghanistan was high on the agenda during the CIS meeting in Dushanbe. Sherali Khairulloyev, national security advisor to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon, complained that many CIS members states had not lived up to their promise to support Tajikistan in strengthening its border defense and he called on the other border services "to actively cooperate with Tajik border troops in strengthening the CIS southern border." Khairulloyev emphasized that one of the main tasks of the Commonwealth of Independent States is to prevent the region from becoming a center of geopolitical confrontation between the major world powers, pointing out that "if the countries and secret services that have keen interest in the Islamic Caliphate project try and implement it through Afghanistan, the zone of political instability will then protrude to the CIS and China." While the U.S. doesn't seem to be worried about ISIS's expansion into Afghanistan, countries in the region and the Taliban would prefer al-Baghdadi & Co. to stay out of Afghanistan:

Taliban Warns IS Leader To Stay Out Of Afghanistan The Taliban has warned the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group against waging a parallel insurgency in Afghanistan, following several defections and reported clashes with militants loyal to IS. In a June 16 letter addressed to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Taliban insisted that "jihad (holy war) against the Americans and their allies must be conducted under one flag and one leadership." "The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) does not consider the multiplicity of jihadi ranks beneficial either for jihad or for Muslims," said the letter signed by the Taliban deputy leader Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansoor.

Mansoor argues that the Taliban movement is the only rightful representative of jihadist activities in Afghanistan, noting that the group has been endorsed by great jihadist leaders such as Osama bin Laden. Moreover, he criticizes the Islamic State's actions in other countries and warns ISIS against dividing jihadists in other Muslim nations into two camps. Considering that al-Baghdadi doesn't respect Taliban leader Mullah Omar and doesn't care much for other terrorist groups, Mansoor's words will probably fall on deaf ears. The Taliban are now waiting for al-Baghdadi's response before they will "chalk out a strategy on how to deal with those who are using the name of the Islamic State to create disunity among the Mujahideen." This spells more trouble. Clashes between the Taliban and ISIS have been escalating in recent weeks, with the eastern province of Nangarhar turning into the epicenter of the conflict. Hundreds of families have already been displaced due to the fighting and recent developments suggest that the two groups won't settle their differences anytime soon:

Islamic State’s Khorasan province beheads former shura member who defected back to the Taliban The Islamic State’s Khorasan province is said to have brutally executed one of its former shura members, purportedly for defecting back to the Taliban last month. The execution, as well as the assassination of the Taliban’s shadow governor for Nangarhar province, likely by the Islamic State, preceded a warning by the Taliban’s deputy emir to the leader of the Islamic State to end discord between the jihadist groups in Afghanistan. The Islamic State released a video purpoting to showing the execution of Sa’ad Emarati, a senior commander as well as a member of the “Khorasan Shura,” the province’s executive council. Emarati’s head was placed on his back after it was removed.

Latest ISIS Defection Spells the End for Caucasus Emirate

Former Taliban fighters will now think twice before defecting back to the Taliban. Al-Baghdadi & Co. have shown time and again that they know how to deal with traitors and nasty rivals. The Taliban will have to be on their guard if they don't want to suffer the same fate as other prominent terrorist groups which have been sidelined by ISIS. One of the latest victims is the Caucasus Emirate (IK), formerly the most powerful terrorist organization in Russia. Ever since Russian security forces eliminated Emirate leader Doku Umarov and then a few months later his successor Aliaskhab Kebekov, the continued existence of the Imarat Kavkaz has been in question. Many Chechen and Daghestani commanders had already retracted their oath of obedience to IK leader Kebekov and defected to ISIS. This trend continued after Kebekov's killing and the latest defection may very well spell the end for the Caucasus Emirate:

ISIS opens a new front on Europe's doorstep: Chechan jihadi group with 'up to 15,000' fighters pledge allegiance to terror horde ISIS has spread its tentacles further around Europe after a major terrorist group which commands 'as many as 15,000' in the Caucuses region of southern Russia pledged its allegiance to it. The leader of the Caucuses Emirate, which has carried out over 900 terrorist attacks on Russian soil since its formation in 2007, personally declared his loyalty to ISIS commander-in-chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. 'We need to hurry up and unite so we can cut off the heads of the infidels,' Aslan Byutukayev says in a new propaganda video allegedly filmed inside the predominantly Muslim republic of Chechnya.

Although the Caucasus Emirate doesn't command 15,000 fighters and is not headed by Aslan Byutukayev, the Daily Mail was right to highlight Byutukayev's bay'ah to wannabe Caliph al-Baghdadi. Byutukayev is the leader of the Caucasus Emirate's Chechen wing and one of the most powerful insurgent commanders in the North Caucasus. As Chechen analyst Mairbek Vatchagaev noted, his defection to ISIS "buried the Caucasus Emirate once and for all." ISIS has accepted the bay'ah and lost no time in claiming a "Wilayat Qawqaz," which includes Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and "Kabika." Russian officials have been hyping the ISIS threat at home and abroad for quite some time, most recently at a meeting of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center. Now they have finally a good reason to do so, which means that Russia's imams can look forward to more lessons on fighting ISIS recruiters:

Moscow's Muslim Leaders Get Lessons on Fighting ISIL Recruiters More than 300 imams from across Russia are taking part in an educational program to counter the influence of recruiters to militant Islamic organizations such as the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. Russian imams are taking courses to help them counter the influence of recruiters to radical Islam, with classes covering topics such as methods to communicate with young people, aspects of Islamic history, Islamic theology and secular subjects like politics and geography.

"In the course of the program we touch on difficult topics, which cause people to be attracted to radical movements," deputy head of the Moscow Islamic Institute, Rais Izmailov, told the Izvestiya newspaper.

After the recent scandal surrounding a 19-year-old Russian student who tried to join ISIS, Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the government's Investigative Committee, downplayed the issue of ISIS recruitment in Russia, saying that there have been only few cases. Many experts share this assessment and Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolkoltsev emphasized that the law enforcement agencies are in control of the situation. In the end, the rise of ISIS in the North Caucasus comes down to a few defections from the Caucasus Emirate and doesn't pose a real threat but the Russian authorities will nevertheless use this opportunity to clamp down on terrorist recruitment and introduce harsher anti-terrorism measures. One wonders what Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov will say when he hears of ISIS's new "Wilayat Qawqaz." Kadyrov is usually quick to comment on these things but lately he has been busy trying to steer the Nemtsov murder investigation "in the right direction":

Kadyrov: One should look for Nemtsov murder trail in Ukraine and U.S. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov believes that Ukrainian special services could stand behind the murder of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. "In my opinion, one ought to look for the trail of this crime not in Chechnya, but in Ukraine, SBU (Ukrainian Security Service) and subsequently in the U.S.," Kadyrov told Interfax on June 18. When asked whether or not he knows the whereabouts of Ruslan Geremeyev, whom the media call a possible organizer of Nemtsov's murder, Kadyrov said: "I know Ruslan Geremeyev very well. We fought against terrorists together. I know him as a patriot of Russia, and, in my opinion, it is a mistake to accuse him of these actions."

Not Everyone Escapes Georgia's Lax Criminal Prosecution

Kadyrov pretended that he had nothing to do with Geremeyev's escape via Chechnya and tried to pin the Nemtsov assassination on Chechen terrorist Adam Osmayev, who became famous for trying to kill Russian President Putin and is now fighting for the Kiev regime in eastern Ukraine. But in contrast to Kadyrov's close associate Geremeyev, Osmayev is not a prime suspect in the Nemtsov murder. Aside from the fact that he is hardly capable of organizing any assassinaton, Osmayev hailed Nemtsov as a "true hero" for condemning Russia's second war in Chechnya and "Russian aggression" in Ukraine. The new leader of the Dudayev battalion should be prosecuted for a number of crimes but the killing of Boris Nemtsov isn't one of them. If it were not for the coup d'état in Kiev, Osmayev would still be sitting in jail. Fortunately, the "new Ukraine" offers endless opportunities for every criminal who hates Russia:

New head of Odessa Police escapes prosecution in Georgia Georgia does not continue criminal proceedings against Giya Lortkipanidze, who on June 16 was appointed the head of the Odessa Police. This was stated by experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot". The Georgian Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) have no claims against Giya Lortkipanidze, the "United National Movement" (UNM) Party reports.

As previously discussed, former Georgian Deputy Interior Minister Gia Lortkipanidze has joined his old boss Mikheil Saakashvili in Odessa. While Saakashvili is clearly in his element, Lortkipanidze seems to be less convinced of his new job but at least he won't have to worry about prosecution anymore. The two former Georgian officials can now pick up where they left off in Georgia: provoking conflict with Russia. During Saakashvili's rule in Georgia, Lortkipanidze was responsible for coordinating the recruitment and training of Chechen jihadists. The current government claims to have ended these terror operations but the increasing number of Georgian jihadists traveling to Syria has put pressure on Tbilisi. Critics were not impressed with the government's attempt to solve the problem by making a few adjustments to the anti-terrorism legislation and the recent special operation in Georgia's notorious Pankisi Gorge was not much better either:

Cousin of ISIS leader released from detention in Georgia The Georgian police have released four of the five Kistis (Georgian Chechens) who were earlier detained in the Pankisi Gorge (Kakhetia region, Eastern Georgia). According to Georgian media reports, among the released people is Merab Tsatiashvili, a cousin of Tarkhan Batirashvili, one of the leaders of the terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS). The only person the police did not release is Ayuf Borchashvilia, imam of the village of Jokolo.

Borchashvili denied any involvement in terrorist recruitment in Pankisi. The special operation led to some tensions in the valley region. Borchashvili's family and friends staged a protest against his arrest but some Pankisi residents welcomed the operation, saying that the raid "was long overdue." Moreover, Georgian police also arrested three young men at Tbilisi airport as they tried to leave the country for Syria. The prosecution claims that the three were heading to Syria to join ISIS after they had been recruited by Borchashvili. This all begs the question of why it took the Georgian authorities so long to take some action against terrorist recruitment in the country. Perhaps they didn't want to ruin Georgia's chances of hosting a training camp for "moderate Syrian rebels" or they were just too busy buying weapons from NATO allies in order to demonstrate their commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration:

Georgia Finalizes Controversial Air Defense Deal With France Georgia and France have finalized a blockbuster air defense deal that was the source of a major political crisis in Tbilisi last year, though many of the details of the deal and the crisis remain shrouded in mystery. Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli on June 15 signed an agreement with the company ThalesRaytheonSystems in Paris on the purchase of “advanced” air defense systems that will “guarantee country’s air defense,” Khidasheli said, according to Georgian news website Civil.ge.

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Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

The New Great Game Round-Up: June 16, 2015

Poroshenko-Saakashvili Open Another Front in Ukrainian, Iran Backs Taliban to Counter U.S.-ISIS in Afghanistan

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Ukrainian oligarch-turned-President Petro Poroshenko is not very popular among his people but at least his equally criminal friends continue to support him and that is what really matters. Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was so thrilled about Poroshenko's first year in power that he wrote an op-ed for Newsweek lauding Poroshenko's reform program, better known as the "4-Ds"- de-regulation, de-bureaucratization, de-centralization and de-oligarchization(!). According to Saakashvili, his buddy Poroshenko "has succeeded in nation-building, at a rapid pace." Never mind that most Ukrainians think that Poroshenko and the current regime are to blame for Ukraine's economic problems and that they are not doing enough to stop the war in the country. One wonders what they will say when they realize that Poroshenko and Saakashvili are trying to open another front in this war:

Saakashvili announces plans to reinforce border with Transdniestria Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa region Mikhail Saakashvili said on Tuesday he plans to reinforce Ukraine’s border with the unrecognized republic of Transdniestria. "We have two major tasks - to reinforce the border and curb corruption. Drug and weapons trafficking across this border mean nothing good," he told a news conference in Odessa.

Engineering works aiming to block movement of military hardware and contraband started at the Transdniestrian section of the Ukrainian-Moldovan border.

Poroshenko & Saakashvili Open Another Front in Ukrainian Conflict

As discussed two weeks ago, there is some evidence to suggest that the United States and its client regime in Ukraine want to provoke a conflict with Russia by squeezing Transnistria. Saakashvili is clearly not telling the whole story when he talks about reinforcing the border and curbing corruption. Transnistria's Foreign Minister Nina Shtanski recently pointed out that Ukrainian toops are massing at the border, causing panic in the pro-Russian breakaway state. A coalition of Transnistrian activist groups immediately sent an appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking him to protect the people in Transnistria and recognize the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic. Moscow's worst fears appear to be coming true. One ominous development cited by the Transnistrian activists was the deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems on the border, which would raise the stakes significantly:

Ukraine to place S-300 antiaircraft missiles on border with Transdniestria

Ukrainian authorities will deploy S-300 antiaircraft missile complexes on the border with Transdniestria - a mostly Slavic-populated breakaway region of Moldova that has existed as an unrecognized Dniester Republic since the early 1990. A report published by Odessa-based Taimer newspaper quoted the Ukrainian Defence Ministry officials as saying the missile complexes will be deployed in the Bolgrad district of the Odessa region. "Officials at the war ministry said the S-300 missiles will ensure defence of the country in the south of the Odessa region on the border with the Dniester Republic," Taimer said.

Reports of Ukraine deploying S-300 systems in the Odessa region have sent shockwaves through Transnistria and Russia. It is seen as "an ultimatum upsetting the possibility of an air bridge" between Russia and the pro-Russian breakaway state in Moldova. Even the guys from Stratfor noticed the significance of this development: "Although the potential cost of interdicting Russian flights would be incredibly high and would essentially constitute a declaration of war against Russia, the deployment of these systems establishes the capability to do so." Only few people in Ukraine are crazy enough to shoot down Russian planes but it is probably worth mentioning that the new governor of Odessa is one of them. To make matters worse, Saakashvili is bringing in his old crew from Georgia. Media reports saying that former Georgian Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili will get a job in Odessa haven't been confirmed so far but former Deputy Interior Minister Gia Lortkipanidze is about to join his old boss:

The dark past of Saakashvili’s appointee in Odessa Gia Lortkipanidze served under President Mikheil Saakashvili when he was in power in Georgia. A Ukrainian media outlet now reports that Lortkipanidze will head the Ukrainian Interior Ministry’s Odessa department, the city where Saakashvili is now the governor. His appointment is controversial, as there are questions asked about his background not only by the public in Georgia, but also by UNM members. For years, he was the deputy of Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili (now in jail in Tbilisi), but he never received media attention until the so-called Lapankuri special operation on August 28, 2012. He was one of the leading figures in this operation. After the police operation, relations between him and Saakashvili, and with Data Akhalaia, became strained.

Saakashvili praised Lortkipanidze as "a man of absolute honesty" when he talked about his appointment during a news conference in Odessa. Georgian media seems to have a different take on the former Deputy Interior Minister. As regular readers of the New Great Game Round-Up may recall, the Lapankuri special operation refers to a shootout between Georgian special forces and Chechen militants in the Caucasus gorge of Lopota near the Russian border. An investigation by Georgia's Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili showed that the Saakashvili government "recruited, trained and equipped Chechens living in exile in Europe to join the North Caucasus insurgency." Nanuashvili’s report names Lortkipanidze as having coordinated the recruitment and training. So he is definitely the right man for the job in Odessa. Although the current government maintains that terrorist recruitment and training in Georgia ended with Saakashvili's rule, the country is still exporting a lot of jihadists:

Police in Georgia conduct special operation in Pankisi

Georgian police on Sunday carried out a special operation in Pankisi, a valley in the northeast of the country mostly inhabited by Kists, who are ethnic Chechens. Omar Al-Shishani, or Tarkhan Batirashvili, one of the field commanders of ISIS, was born and raised in Pankisi. He left for Syria a few years ago to join the war. His father and relatives still live in Pankisi. According to the most recent information, the special operation aimed at detaining those who allegedly have helped Georgians go to Syria, also because of suspected ties to ISIS.

Iran Backs Taliban to Counter U.S., ISIS in Afghanistan

It is remarkable that Georgia is now cracking down on terrorist recruitment considering that only a few months ago, the country was making headlines with an alleged offer to host a training center for NATO's "moderate Syrian rebels." The Georgian government would do anything to join the U.S.-led military alliance but more and more people in Georgia are beginning to question their NATO ambitions. Especially the country's huge contribution to the mission in Afghanistan, which has claimed the lives of 30 Georgian soldiers, is a contentious issue. About 880 Georgian soldiers are currently serving in NATO's Operation Resolute Support, meaning that the country is making the second-largest contribution after the United States. New Georgian Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli visited the soldiers in Afghanistan on her first foreign trip late last month to boost the troops' morale but it is becoming increasingly difficult to sell the mission in Afghanistan as a success:

Taliban seize villages in Sar-i-Pul Taliban militants have seized several villages in the Sayad District of northern Sar-i-Pul province. Officials say That Taliban captured these village after a clash with security forces that also left a policeman martyred and a militant killed. A security official said that Taliban launched the attack while security forces were offering Friday prayers.

After Badakhshan, Kunduz, Faryab and Badghis, the northern province of Sar-e Pol is now also in the grip of violence. The fighting in northern Afghanistan is intensifying day by day, the Afghan security forces are a mess and the government in Kabul is nothing but a "show." Not exactly the best conditions for ending the violence. Moreover, the insurgents are also fighting among themselves. Ever since ISIS gained a foothold in the war-torn country, the group has been trying to outstrip the Taliban. Former Guantanamo inmate Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, who is now leading ISIS in Afghanistan, told BBC Persian in an interview that ISIS "found other ways to wage jihad after realizing Taliban are receiving instructions from Pakistani intelligence." Given the fact that neither ISIS's rise in the Middle East nor its rise in Afghanistan would have been possible without the support of foreign intelligence agencies, Dost and his fellow jihadists should probably avoid this topic:

ISIS rise in Afghanistan would threaten Russia and China: Karzai

The former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group in Afghanistan would not be possible without the foreign backing.

“So, if you hear ever in the coming days, or months, or years that Daesh is on the rise in Afghanistan, and is strong and expanding militarily, it will mean that it is a foreign-backed force intending to destabilize the region, particularly Central Asia, China and Russia,” he added. Karzai put the blame for the rapid expansion of IS on “foreign interference” in Iraq and Syria saying that it was all “the result of events” there.

It is not difficult to guess which "foreign interference" Karzai was referring to. After sidelining its competitors in Syria, ISIS is now looking to expand in Afghanistan, much to the dismay of the Taliban. At the end of last month, ISIS's Afghan chapter released a video threatening the Taliban and in particular its camera-shy leader Mullah Omar. ISIS also vowed to take revenge for the fighters who had been killed by the Taliban in Nangarhar province in the middle of May. Shortly after the video was released, the group followed up its words with actions. ISIS captured and then beheaded 10 Taliban members in Nangarhar and used this for another propaganda video. While the U.S. is "taking time" to assess ISIS's expansion in Afghanistan, Iran has apparently seen enough and decided to take action. If anonymous officials and the Wall Street Journal are to be believed, Iran has begun to support the Taliban with cash and weapons in order to counter U.S. influence in the region and stop the rise of ISIS:

Iran Backs Taliban With Cash and Arms

When Abdullah, a Taliban commander in central Afghanistan, needs more rifles and ammunition, he turns to the same people who pay his $580-a-month salary: his Iranian sponsors. “Iran supplies us with whatever we need,” he said. Afghan and Western officials say Tehran has quietly increased its supply of weapons, ammunition and funding to the Taliban, and is now recruiting and training their fighters, posing a new threat to Afghanistan’s fragile security. Iran’s strategy in backing the Taliban is twofold, these officials say: countering U.S. influence in the region and providing a counterweight to Islamic State’s move into the Taliban’s territory in Afghanistan.

New Pipeline Projects Leave "Land Of Fire" Out in the Cold

Betting on the re-emergence of the Taliban is probably not the worst idea but the Israel lobby in the U.S. will certainly use this information to torpedo the Iran nuclear talks, which have "virtually stalled." A diplomatic source told Russian news agency TASS that the June 30 deadline may have to be postponed again. Europe is desperate for Iranian gas but as long as the sanctions remain in place, European countries will have to make do with gas from neighboring Azerbaijan. This has led some people in Baku to believe that Azerbaijan has major leverage over Europe and can pressure European leaders into endorsing the European Games in Baku. The absence of European leaders at the lavish opening ceremony of the Games didn't go down well in the energy-rich country and Trend News Agency's Aynur Gasimova lost no time in warning the Europeans that they might regret this:

Europe, it is time to stop playing with the Land of Fire. You can get burned Azerbaijan is known worldwide as the Land of Fire, and today Europe is playing with that fire. The result of playing with fire is for Europe itself to decide. But all the recent actions taken by the European countries’ leaders suggest that they aren’t complying with the “don’t play with fire!” rule. The entire world’s attention was focused on the opening of the European Games in Baku. But at the same time, this same place witnessed another important event. The heads of states, which today decide the fate of Europe’s security, gathered in Baku, however, Europe itself, because of its own stupidity, was not represented.

As Gasimova points out, the presidents of Russia, Turkey and Turkmenistan used the opportunity to discuss major energy projects in Baku but the notion that Europen leaders missed out on important deals and are "sacrificing their citizens' energy security" is absurd. Most energy projects discussed in Baku are spearheaded by Brussels and are aimed at bringing gas from the Caspain Sea to Europe, bypassing Russia, except for Russia's Turkish Stream pipeline. After Russian President Putin let his Turkish counterpart Erdogan wait for a couple of minutes, as usual, the two leaders held "constructive" talks on the Turkish Stream project behind closed doors in Baku. Gazprom has sent the coordinates of the onshore section of the pipeline to Turkey and is doing its best to start the construction as soon as possible. Turkish Stream's progress has not gone unnoticed in Austria, where OMV is now looking for a new project after recovering from the loss of Nabucco and South Stream:

Die Presse: OMV May Be Planning 'Russian Nabucco' Gas Pipeline The future head of Austria’s OMV Rainer Seele appears to be planning a new route for Russian gas to Europe bypassing Ukraine jointly with Gazprom, according to Austrian newspaper Die Presse. According to the Austrian newspaper, the new route appears to resurrecting the closed gas pipeline project Nabucco – with one major difference: instead of carrying Caspian gas to Europe it will transport Russian and possibly Iranian natural gas via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary to Austria.

The original Nabucco pipeline project, officially buried in 2013, was designed to bring Caspian gas via Turkey and the Balkans to a central European hub in Baumgarten near Vienna in order to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas. Two years later there are signs that OMV is considering a 'Russian Nabucco pipeline', according to Die Presse.

Some people in Washington and Brussels will probably fall off their chairs when they hear of OMV's plans. The pipeline which was supposed to bypass Russia and Iran could celebrate an unlikely comeback by bringing Russian and Iranian gas to Europe. Reinhard Mitschek, the former managing director of the Nabucco consortium, will promote the new project. Mitschek had already tried to win Russia and Iran as suppliers for the old Nabucco project despite strong opposition from the United States. So he knows what he is getting himself into. Although Washington and Brussels spared no effort to build Nabucco, they had to settle for the smaller and less expensive Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will eventually bring gas from Azerbaijan to customers in the EU. One wonders what the "Land of Fire" thinks of OMV's new Nabucco plans considering that Azerbaijan hasn't been mentioned as a gas supplier but the Aliyev regime is apparently too busy "promoting" the European Games:

Azeri government behind foreign media ban, say European Games officials A decision to ban some foreign media from attending the inaugural European Games in Azerbaijan this month rested with the government and was not taken by the event’s organisers, officials said on Saturday. Journalists, including the Guardian’s chief sports correspondent Owen Gibson, have been refused entry visas but organisers of the event in Baku said it was the government who was clearing individuals to enter the country based on their own set of criteria. Apart from media, several representatives from international human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also been blocked from entering the country, ruled by the Aliyev family since 1993.

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Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

                                                       

The New Great Game Round-Up: April 21, 2015

Nemtsov Murder Investigation Hits Brick Wall in Chechnya, Double Standards for Georgian Mercenaries Fighting Abroad & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

While Russian President Vladimir Putin held his 13th annual question and answer marathon session, Moscow police raided the office of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's "Open Russia" organization. The search came as no real surprise. After all, the Russian authorities have every reason to keep a close eye on dubious activities of the disgraced oligarch, who is the West's dream candidate for replacing Putin. Khodorkovsky claimed that the real reason for the raid was Open Russia's planned documentary about the role of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov in the current government system. Although Khodorkovsky's words should always be taken with a grain of salt, his statement makes sense. Kadyrov's place in the current system is a hot topic, especially in light of the assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov. As discussed in the latest episode of Porkins Great Game, there have been some indications that elements in the Russian security apparatus are trying to pin the Nemtsov killing on Kadyrov and his men. Recent developments confirm this assumption:

Zaur Dadaev: investigators demand to testify against Ruslan Geremeev Shamsudin Tsakaev, an advocate of Zaur Dadaev, a defendant in the case of Boris Nemtsov's murder, requests investigators to re-interrogate his client. According to the advocate, Zaur Dadaev told him that the investigators forced him to testify against his colleague Ruslan Geremeev, the "RBC" reports. Initially, Zaur Dadaev has promised to show how Boris Nemtsov was murdered; however, the investigative experiment has failed, the "Rosbalt" reports. Zaur Dadaev claims that after his detention in Ingushetia on March 5, he gave a confession. After that, he was brought by plane to Moscow, where the investigators forced him to testify against Ruslan Geremeev. According to him, the text given to him by the investigators in Moscow mentioned a man with the name "Rusik": a person, who allegedly provided a pistol and a car to commit the crime, the "RBC" reports today. "There is no such person with the name Rusik. He is a mythical character invented by those who tortured me. I would never speak of Geremeev as 'Rusik', since for me, he is senior in rank and age," Zaur Dadaev told Shamsudin Tsakaev as quoted by the "RBC".

Nemtsov Murder Investigation Hits Brick Wall in Chechnya

Zaur Dadaev, the main suspect in the killing, has retracted his confession, saying that he was tortured and that he only agreed to sign the interrogation protocol in exchange for the release of a friend and colleague, who was detained along with him in Ingushetia. Dadaev is willing to undergo a lie detector test to prove his innocence and his new lawyer announced that he is changing his alibi. But regardless of whether or not Dadaev was involved in the killing, it has become clear that investigators are trying hard to implicate Ruslan Geremeev in the Nemtsov assassination. This is significant because Geremeev has close family links to State Duma Deputy Adam Delimkhanov, Kadyrov's cousin and designated successor. By implicating Geremeev in the killing, they are putting pressure on both Delimkhanov and Kadyrov. Geremeev is not a minor figure who can be sacrificed as easily as Dadaev. There have been conflicting reports about whether or not investigators were able to question Geremeev after he moved from Moscow to the heavily guarded Chechen village of Dzhalka but if Rosbalt is to be believed, Geremeev has now left Chechnya and presumably also Russia:

Geremeyev, Reported 'Organizer' of Nemtsov Murder, Said to Leave Russia Ruslan Geremeyev, the officer in the Sever Battalion who was reportedly the organizer of the Nemtsov murder, has left his native town of Dzhalka, Rosbalt.ru reports. A source says he has likely left Russia. Last week, investigators from the Investigative Committee who traveled to Chechnya were unable to gain access to Geremeyev. Says Rosbalt: 

Dzhalka is the native town of Adam Delimkhanov, a senator in the Federation Council and Alimbek Delimkhanov, the commander of the Sever Battalion. The police blockade of the village is removed, the guards have disappeared from the house where Geremeyev was supposedly located. He is no longer in Dzhalka, and there is no information that he has gone to another town.

Opposition leader Ilya Yashin, a close associate and ally of Nemtsov, alleged that Geremeev has moved to Dubai. Coincidentally, Kadyrov and Adam Delimkhanov just spent more than a week with Chechnya’s leading bureaucrats, top religious and security figures and their families in Dubai, where Kadyrov's private horse, Candy Boy, raced in the Dubai World Cup. The Chechen leader apparently deemed it best to stay out of public attention while the Nemtsov murder investigation was inching closer to Chechnya. Perhaps he also used the time to arrange Geremeev's escape. Meanwhile, the Russian authorities face a tough decision. Chasing Geremeev is like opening a can of worms. When Putin was asked during the Q&A session why investigators didn't get access to Geremeev, he evaded the question. There is no alternative to the current system in Chechnya and nobody wants to create unnecessary problems given that the situation in the North Caucasus could deteriorate again at any time:

IS militants may appear in Caucasus, Central Asia, Europe — Iran’s defense minister Countries supporting the Islamic State (IS) extremist organization may soon send militants to Central Asia, to the Caucasus and Europe, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said on Thursday at the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security. Western countries are trying to compensate for their military defeats by using the potential of terrorist groups, he noted. "Today, I must say with enormous regret that the countries that support IS and other terrorist groups conduct special training and logistical planning in order to send militants to Central Asia, to the Caucasus, to India. Western China and Europe in the future," Dehghan said.

Many jihadists from the Caucasus have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups fighting in Syria and Iraq. According to Russia's presidential envoy to the North Caucasus Federal District, more than 1,500 ISIS fighters are from the North Caucasus. That explains why the situation in Chechnya and the surrounding republics has been relatively calm in recent years but Russian officials never grow tired of warning that these battle-tested jihadists could return home. Although ISIS fighters have not kept their word to "liberate" Chechnya and the Caucasus, ISIS has expanded to the North Caucasus with more and more militant leaders in the region pledging allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, much to the dismay of the Caucasus Emirate (IK). In recent months, several Chechen and Daghestani commanders have retracted their oath of obedience to IK leader Aliaskhab Kebekov, also known as Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani. And in light of latest successful anti-terror operation in Dagestan, the continued existence of the Imarat Kavkaz is in question - now more than ever:

Russian troops kill leader of Islamic Caucasus Emirate Russian security forces killed Ali Abu Muhammad al Dagestani, the emir of the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic Caucasus Emirate, during a special operations raid in the Russian Republic of Dagestan today. Since taking command of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE) in 2014, Dagestani has supported al Qaeda and opposed the establishment of the rival Islamic State. Dagestani was killed by Russian troops after he and other jihadists were surrounded in a home in the town of Buynaksk, according to VDagestan, the official media branch of Vilayat Dagestan, an ICE “province.” VDagestan’s Arabic Twitter feed posted a photograph of the slain emir. Later, the photograph and a report of his death was posted on VDagestan’s official Arabic website. According to the website, Shamil Bulakhani, a “brother” and the emir of Dagestan’s Ontsokol district was also killed.

Double Standards for Georgian Mercenaries Fighting Abroad

Kebekov had thrown his weight behind U.S./NATO puppet Ayman al-Zawahiri and the al-Nusra Front. Following his killing, ISIS should be able to increase its influence among jihadists in Russia's North Caucasus. There is only one problem: insurgents in the North Caucasus have a short life expectancy. That is probably why many jihadists prefer to travel to Syria. Not only many Russian jihadists have made their way from the Caucasus to Syria. Georgia's Pankisi Gorge has also contributed some fighters, including the famous Abu Omar al-Shishani. The Georgian government and its NATO partners have long used the Pankisi Gorge as a base for "Chechen rebels" in the fight against Russia and it has been an ideal recruiting ground for the various terrorist gangs fighting in Syria. But as more and more young men from the region join ISIS, Tbilisi is coming under increasing pressure to take action:

Georgia toughens anti-terror legislation to include recruitment for IS Georgia is to make it a crime to be a member of a terrorist organization or take part in a paramilitary group in another country. The law was drafted after calls for the government to do more to stop the flow of youth joining the war in Syria. Not only participation in paramilitary groups abroad will be punishable, but also making propaganda for them or work to recruit new fighters.

The departure of two Pankisi high-schoolers for Syria was the straw that broke the camel's back. According to parents and Pankisi residents, border guards, airport officials, Wahhabis in Pankisi and the government all have to take a share of the blame. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili tried to shift the blame on the previous government by claiming that 100 people left the Pankisi Gorge for Syria before his administration took over in late 2012 and only few people afterwards. Pankisi residents beg to differ. Blaming former President Mikheil Saakashvili usually works but this time Garibashvili won't get off the hook that easily. Tbilisi has demonstrated time and again that Georgian mercenaries fighting abroad don't have to fear prosecution. Although this might change for Georgian jihadists in Syria and Iraq, it is important to note that Georgian mercenaries in Ukraine have nothing to worry about:

Saakashvili Greets Suspected Georgian Mercenaries Fighting in Ukraine The former Georgian President turned Ukrainian Presidential aide met a group of former Georgian soldiers involved in the fighting in eastern Ukraine; Mikhail Saakashvili praised them for their faithfulness to the "allied country," presented the soldiers with Easter gifts, and then prayed with them in the Kiev Church of the Nativity of Christ "for the victory of Ukraine in the war with Russia," according to the Russian daily Kommersant. Taking part in the Sunday meeting were about thirty suspected Georgian mercenaries from the Azov and Donbass battalions, as well as a group of instructors from the Patriot training center. They included Gigi Kalandadze, former Chief of Staff of the Georgian armed forces, who, along with the others, allegedly freely resigned from the Georgian army in order to fight in Ukraine, according to Saakashvili.

Saakashvili is completely in his element. It clearly bothers him that people in his home country argue that he his a greater enemy to Georgia than Putin. In Ukraine, Saakashvili is finally being appreciated and he can do what he does best - provoking a war with Russia and praying for victory. Dozens of Georgians have joined him and Kiev's forces need all the help they can get. A few days ago, another Georgian mercenary, Giorgi Janelidze, "died in Ukraine in an anti-terrorist operation," as Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Jalaghania put it. Considering that Janelidze was fighting for the infamous neo-Nazi battalion "Azov," some people will probably take issue with Jalaghania's version of events but the Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized that Janelidze's "heroism will be given appropriate honors" in Georgia. Tbilisi is now cooperating with Kiev to return the body. If it were not for Kiev's preference for Saakashvili-era officials, relations between Georgia und Ukraine would be rosy:

Interpol Drops ‘Red Notice’ for Ex-Justice Minister Adeishvili Interpol has withdrawn ‘red notice’ for Georgia’s ex-justice minister Zurab Adeishvili, who is wanted by Tbilisi for number of criminal charges, which his allies say are politically motivated. The Georgian prosecutor’s office said that in its notification Interpol cited “granting of a refugee status to Adeishvili by one of the countries” as the reason behind its decision to revoke red notice against Georgia’s ex-justice minister; prosecutor’s office said it does not know which country it was. At the time when the red notice was issued against Adeishvili, he was supposedly in Hungary, where he reportedly already had an asylum. Recently he has been informally advising Ukrainian authorities on reforms, according to his close allies and former Georgian officials now working in the Ukrainian government.

150 Tons of "Diplomatic Mail" Cause a Stir in Kyrgyzstan

Georgia's hunt for Saakashvili-era officials abroad has not been particularly successful so far because they are still enjoying Western support. To make matters worse, Saakashvili is free to plot his return and organize Maidan-style protests in Tbilisi. Given the fact that his allies have made it clear that they will take revenge for the persecution if they get the chance, the current Georgian government has every reason to be on guard. The putsch in Kiev has reminded governments in the Caucasus and Central Asia that they could fall victim to similar events at any time. This applies especially to countries in Russia's sphere of influence, such as Kyrgyzstan. The specter of a Kyrgyz Maidan has haunted Bishkek since last year, when the suspicious activities of the U.S. State Department's TechCamp project and the subsequent visit of George Soros raised a few eyebrows. Lately, Kyrgyz and Russian media went into frenzy over the delivery of 150 tons of "diplomatic mail" to the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek:

US Sends Mysterious 150 Tons of 'Diplomatic Mail' to Embassy in Kyrgyzstan Washington has remained tight-lipped on a report by the Kyrgyz newspaper Delo No. that a mysterious Ukrainian aircraft delivered 150 tons of cargo with the status of "diplomatic mail" to the US Embassy in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek late last month. According to the newspaper, the cargo was delivered during two separate flights by the AN-124 transport jet of the Ukrainian air carrier Antonov Avialinii. The flights took place between March 28 and March 30, and each time the plane was en route from the UAE capital Abu Dhabi to the Manas international airport. The newspaper recalled that in November 2013, the US Embassy in Kiev also received "diplomatic cargos" that were delivered by US Air Force transport aircraft.

Delo No. suggested that the plane might have been carrying cash which is intended for paying protesters, as was the case in Ukraine, where 60 million dollars in small bills emerged at Kiev's Maidan Square during the anti-government protests in late 2013 according to former Ukrainian spy chief Oleksandr Yakymenko. But the Kyrgyz paper pointed out that it is unlikely that the containers contained only dollar bills because they were too heavy. Other possible explanations put forward by Delo No. included "espionage equipment for the enormous basements of the new U.S. embassy building in Bishkek" and weapons. The latter theory was also endorsed by a source in Kyrgyzstan's security services. The source mentioned in this regard the U.S. arms cache, which was discovered in 2008 in a residential area close to the U.S. Embassy. At first, the U.S. Embassy Bishkek refused to comment on the 150 tons of unknown cargo before coming up with a somewhat plausible explanation:

US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan did decide to comment on delivery of “mysterious cargo” from UAE The US Embassy in Kyrgyzstan did decide to comment to 24.kg news agency on the delivery of "mysterious cargo" from the UAE. As the press service of the US diplomatic mission in Kyrgyzstan said, "it was usual ship with materials for a new embassy." It confirmed that this wasn't the first such diplomatic mail. "Cargo doesn't come on schedule but as needed," the Embassy added.

Embassy spokesman John Brown told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) that they are building a new building because the number of embassy officials is increasing due to the "expansion of cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the U.S." Which expansion of cooperation he was referring to is not clear. It is more likely that the number of embassy officials is increasing because the Americans are trying to compensate for the loss of Manas Air Base or because color revolution expert Richard Miles is planning his next coup. Miles was recalled from retirement to serve as interim chief of mission in Bishkek. This aroused suspicions understandably enough. It remains to be seen whether the mysterious cargo was just building materials for the new embassy building or part of an evil plot to topple the government but it is safe to say that the Americans' activities in Kyrgyzstan are under high scrutiny:

Young Patriots of Kyrgyzstan urge law enforcement agencies to ban activities of Human rights watch Young Patriots of Kyrgyzstan urge the law enforcement agencies to ban the activities of Human rights watch. They stated it today at a press conference. According to Emil Turumbekov, they "won't allow events such as the Ukraine to happen." "We are afraid of such organizations that can quickly mobilize. We demand to expel the head of the Organization Mira Ritman out of the KR and bring for responsibility for interference in the internal affairs of our country," he said.

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Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst

Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

                                                       

The New Great Game Round-Up: February 9, 2015

Ukraine to Conquer "The Whole of Russia" Using Georgian Experience, India-Russia-China Anti-Terror Campaign Makes Pakistan Nervous & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

At the end of last month, U.S. President Barack Obama made history with his three-day visit to India. Obama became the first American leader to be honored as chief guest at India's annual Republic Day parade and the first U.S. President to visit India twice in his tenure. His trip has been hailed as a milestone in Indo-American relations because it allegedly demonstrates that India is tilting toward the U.S. in its foreign policy, ending its policy of non-alignment. It is indeed possible that India will end its non-alignment policy in the foreseeable future but it is doubtful that this entails closer Indo-American ties. Obama did his best to destroy his popularity with the people in India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not a big fan of Washington anyway. As previously discussed, Modi's election paved the way for a rapprochement between India and China, culminating in Beijing's endorsement of India's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). To make matters worse for the U.S., the Modi government has refused to reconsider India's policy toward Moscow and strengthened the strategic partnership with Russia. This week's trilateral meeting between the foreign ministers of India, Russia and China revealed the synergy between the three countries:

India and Russia back China's call for 'new world order' Russia and India added their voices on Monday to China's call for a new world order and endorsed Beijing's plans to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war. In a joint communique, the three nations vowed to "build a more just, fair and stable international political and economic order" and a "multi-polar" world. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said all states should be involved in creating "a modern security architecture" in the Asia-Pacific; his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi , said the region should not be caught up in a zero-sum game.

India-Russia-China Anti-Terror Campaign Makes Pakistan Nervous

The Chinese authorities have warned India against falling into the "Western trap" by working against China. Since both counties are not interested in participating in a zero-sum game, they are looking to accommodate each other. Therefore, India won't join the "China containment brigade." In return for New Delhi's support, China and Russia endorsed India's push to join the SCO and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Furthermore, India secured greater Chinese support for its bid for a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, which would be an important step on the way to a multi-polar world. While most countries prefer a multi-polar world to the current order, the sole remaining superpower begs to differ. As The Diplomat's Shannon Tiezzi noted, the interests of India, Russia and China "continue to converge in ways the U.S. would not approve of." This includes economic cooperation, such as the idea of a Russia-China-India gas pipeline, as well as anti-terror cooperation, which was high on the agenda in Beijing:

India, Russia and China join forces to fight terror at trilateral meet India joined hands with Russia and China on Monday to fight terror, pledging at their 13th trilateral meeting to crack down on not only terrorists but also those who finance and give refuge to them. The three nations issued a strong joint statement on terror, saying religious, racial and ethnic divisions were no justification for terrorism. Without naming any country, the communiqué said there was a need to “bring to justice perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of terrorist acts”.

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj announced that Russia and China have decided to back the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), which was proposed by India in 1996 and has been a controversial subject ever since. The resolution is aimed at punishing Pakistan for its support of Kashmiri militants in the Kashmir conflict against India, thus the news didn't go down well in Pakistan. Although China had stressed only a few days prior that Pakistan is an "irreplaceable all-weather friend," Beijing's decision to back the resolution comes as no real surprise. Pakistan is playing a dangerous game by sheltering and supporting insurgents from various countries, including Uyghurs from Xinjiang. Last year, the Pakistani authorities agreed to help China with its fight against the "East Turkestan terrorist forces" after the Chinese government had ramped up the pressure on Islamabad. Beijing can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to the dubious activities of its "irreplaceable all-weather friend," as the region's stability becomes more important for both countries:

Sino-Pakistan economic corridor nears implementation phase China is pushing for the development of an economic corridor to Pakistan as a key component of its national development strategy of "One Belt and One Road," according to the Shanghai Securities News. During a meeting with Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, on Jan. 30 in Beijing, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said that a Sino-Pakistan economic corridor functions as the strategic framework for the cooperation of the two nations. Shanghai Securities News said the Sino-Pakistan economic corridor project will begin implementation this year, highlighting the construction of major transportation infrastructure.

In order to obtain Islamabad's support for its fight against the insurgency in Xinjiang, China has promised Pakistan billions of dollars in investment. Now it is up to both countries to ensure that Pakistan's troubled relationship with extremist networks and militants doesn't impede the implementation of the planned economic corridor from the Pakistani port city of Gwadar to the ancient Silk Road trading hub of Kashgar in Xinjiang. Since China's "New Silk Road" depends on stability in Xinjiang, Beijing is increasingly worried about Uyghurs gaining combat experience abroad. The Chinese authorities are now trying to shut down what state media call the "underground railway," as highlighed by the arrest of several Turks and Uyghurs in November of last year in Shanghai. Many Uyghurs are trying to leave China via Southeast Asia and the Hong Kong-based Yazhou Zhoukan recently reported that Malaysia has become a main "transfer station" for new recruits hoping to join the Islamic State (ISIS). Some of them change their opinion about ISIS once they get to the Middle East but by then it is too late:

Islamic State kills Chinese militants The Islamic State (IS) has killed three Chinese militants who tried to leave the group, an official from the Kurdish security force in Iraq told the Global Times. 

The Kurdish security official said Wednesday that in the past six months, IS has executed 120 of its members who attempted to escape from the group and leave Iraq and Syria. Among the 120, three were Chinese citizens and were members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a terrorist organization that is also known as the Turkistan Islamic Party. Singapore-based Chinese news portal zaobao.com earlier reported that around 300 Chinese extremists were fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq after travelling to the two countries via Malaysia.

"Chechen Rebels" Busy in Syria & Ukraine, Can't Liberate Chechnya

As highlighted in a previous round-up, NATO member Turkey plays a decisive role in smuggling Uyghurs out of China and in recruiting Uyghur fighters for ISIS or other terrorist groups in Syria. This has strained relations between Ankara and Beijing. While individuals like Seyit Tümtürk from the NED-funded World Uyghur Congress (WUC) are denouncing China's "persecution" of Uyghurs and promoting Turkey as the only safe place for their "brothers from East Turkestan," the Chinese government is growing increasingly impatient with anyone who suggests that the Uyghurs leaving China are all just innocent refugees. Turkey's National Police Chief Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz visited Beijing last month to put oil on troubled waters. Lekesiz stressed that Turkey would never support activities harming China's interests and offered to beef up law enforcement and security cooperation but Beijing knows full well that Ankara cannot be trusted. One need look no further than the arrest of Turks and Uyghurs in Shanghai or the last major terrorist attack in Russia's North Caucasus to understand Turkey's role in the New Great Game. If the Chinese have second thoughts about Turkey's intentions, they can ask Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov who knows a thing or two about this issue. Kadyrov usually doesn't mince his words when it comes to NATO-backed terrorism:

Chechen leader blames US & Western intel for Islamic State terrorists Ramzan Kadyrov has accused the US and other Western nations of “spawning” the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorist group in order to incite hatred towards Muslims all over the world. “Today, no one doubts the fact that this group has been spawned by America and other Western countries in order to spark hatred of Islam in the hearts of people all over the planet, to stop the process of mass conversion to Islam,” the head of the Chechen Republic wrote on his Instagram page. Kadyrov also suggested the West was backing IS in order to distract public attention from numerous problems in the Middle East, in the hope of destroying Islamic nations from inside.

A few days earlier, Kadyrov had accused the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies of using fake social media accounts to recruit young Russians for ISIS and other terrorist groups. Judging by his frequent use of Instagram, it is fair to say that the Chechen leader is a social media expert. Some people are trying to use this against him but no one can deny that Kadyrov has managed to achieve what many others have failed to do: making ISIS nervous. While Kadyrov's nemesis Tarkhan Batirashvili, also known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, is still nowhere to be found, his old colleagues from Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (JMA) are using the opportunity to slam ISIS for using inexperienced recruits as cannon fodder, an accusation that has been made before against Batirashvili. Given that the "Chechen rebels" are busy quarreling with each other in the Middle East, the situation in the North Caucasus has been relatively calm in recent months, except for the high-profile attacks in Grozny. Moreover, NATO's Chechen mercenaries are currently not only fighting in Syria but also in Ukraine:

Veteran Chechen Commander Killed Fighting in Ukraine Prominent Chechen commander Isa Munayev has reportedly been killed in eastern Ukraine, where he was battling alongside Kiev government troops against pro-Moscow separatists. Munayev — a veteran of Chechnya's wars for independence from Russia — was killed Sunday near the town of Debaltseve, said Amina Okuyeva, a press officer for the Dzhokhar Dudayev peacekeeping battalion, which Munayev commanded. He was providing cover for Kiev-loyal forces that were withdrawing after "successfully completing a mission" when he was killed by artillery fire, Okuyeva said Monday in a statement posted on the Odessa Crisis Media Center website.

During the Second Chechen War, Isa Munayev was the military commandant of Grozny and head of the Interior Ministry of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria under Aslan Maskhadov. After the "Chechen rebels" had been largely defeated, Munayev fled to Denmark, where he lived for a couple of years before coming to Ukraine to stop the "moskals." To this end, Munayev formed the Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion, which consists of Chechens, Russians, Ukrainian and Georgians. The Kiev regime depicted him as a hero and mourned his death, whereas Chechen President Kadyrov insisted that Munayev never was a warrior or a real man. Furthermore, Kadyrov made the ludicrous claim that Munayev's close associates Adam Osmayev and Amina Okueva had organized his murder on behalf of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the CIA after the intelligence agencies realized "that Munayev is not worth even a devalued hryvnia." Adam Osmayev, who succeeded Munayev as head of the Dzhokhar Dudayev battalion, has an interesting history as well:

Adam Osmaev assumes command of battalion fighting for official Kiev A native of Grozny Adam Osmaev, who had been once accused of plotting a terror act against the Russian President Vladimir Putin, has headed the "International Peacemaking Battalion named after Dudaev", created by Isa Munaev, a former Chechen field commander, and taking part in the war in Eastern Ukraine as a part of the antiterrorist operation (ATO). In October 2014, the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office excluded the terrorism article from his indictment. On November 18, 2014, the Primorsky District Court of Odessa found Osmaev guilty of illegal handling of explosives, reckless destruction of another's property and forging documents, sentenced him to 2 years 9 months and 14 days in jail and released him in the courtroom, because he had already served this term in the SIZO.

Ukraine to Conquer "The Whole of Russia" Using Georgian Experience

As Chechen terrorists are leading Kiev's so-called anti-terror operation, Western media is doing its best to whitewash anyone who is fighting for the Ukrainian regime. Osmayev made headlines when he was jailed for trying to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin but his early release from prison didn't attract much attention. Admittedly, it is difficult to keep track of all the criminals who are finding a new job in the "New Ukraine." Not everyone is as publicity-seeking as former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who is currently making the case for arming Ukraine. A few days ago, Saakashvili caused a lot of laughter when he told Ukrainian television that a properly armed and prepared Ukrainian army could "capture the whole of Russia." Saakashvili is of course speaking from his own experience. In 2008, the U.S.-trained Georgian army almost captured the whole of Russia after Saakashvili started the Russo-Georgian War. The Ukrainian authorities can consider themselves lucky that the Georgian leader is ready to use all his experience to help the New Ukraine:

Georgia's ex-president Saakashvili seeks to become Ukraine’s anti-corruption chief Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili confirmed on Monday that he is ready to fight for the post of Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau chief. In an interview with the Censor.net news portal, Saakashvili said corruption is one of the main enemies of Ukraine and he could introduce an action plan based on Georgia’s experience of fighting against corruption. Saakashvili said he could use his international ties to focus on the issues of returning to Ukraine the arrested assets of a corrupt group linked to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

While the former Georgian President is offering Kiev his help to return the assets of corrupt individuals linked to former President Yanukovych, Georgia is still trying to capture Saakashvili and seize his assets. Saakashvili's old nemesis, former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, is making sure that nobody forgets which crimes Saakashvili and his associates committed during their reign in Georgia. Ivanishvili announced last month in a much-noticed TV interview that he is planning to do a TV series of 200 episodes about Saakashvili's rule. The richest man in Georgia also used the opportunity to criticize Saakashvili and his party, the United National Movement (UNM), for encouraging youth to fight in Ukraine, stressing that Saakashvili & Co. "should first ask their own children to go." As previously pointed out, the regime in Kiev would be lost without its Georgian fighters and Saakashvili-era officials:

Wanted Georgian ex-justice minister spotted in Kiev Georgian Justice Minister Zurab Adeishvili, who has been wanted for more than a year and is subject to an Interpol Red Alert, was recently spotted in Ukraine. The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office has now asked the Ukrainian government to detain Adeishvili and extradite him to Georgia. Adeishvili has been wanted since November, 2013, for involvement in the staging of torture of prisoners, of trying to run an opposition-affiliated bank into bankruptcy, and for the cover-up of the murder of bank employee Sandro Girgvliani in 2006.

According to Deputy Interior Minister Archil Talakvadze, Tbilisi has sent the necessary documentation about the charges against Adeishvili to Kiev and is now waiting for a response. Many people in Georgia demand that officials who broke the law during the Saakashvili regime are held to account but Kiev and Washington might have other ideas. Tbilisi won't risk annoying its masters in Washington just to hold a few criminals to account. After Ivanishvili recently dared to draw attention to the dubious role of NGOs in the country, he was immediately rebuked by U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland and Ivanishvili's protégé, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, tried to calm the waves. The Georgian government knows that wrong decisions could prompt a Georgian Maidan because the country is a crucial outpost in the new Cold War against Russia. The U.S. is planning to boost military and economic aid to Georgia and NATO is going ahead with the implementation of its 'substantial package' of cooperation with Georgia despite all Russian warnings:

NATO training center in Georgia to escalate tension in Black Sea region — Russian diplomat NATO's plan of setting up a training center in Georgia is a step towards escalating tension in the Black Sea region, Russia’s representative at NATO Alexander Grushko told reporters on Friday. "A training center in Georgia is a step, which cannot be taken other than provocative. NATO does not need any centers," the diplomat said. "We shall be looking into the issue, but establisheng NATO military objects in Georgia is a step towards tension and aggravation of the regional security." "Our position is that in the Black Sea region there are all conditions to have security provided by regional states. I mean by countries of the Black Sea," he said.

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

US Media: The Cowardly & Despicable American Presstitutes

Every statement of the US government & its presstitute media is a blatant lie designed to serve a secret agenda

February 5, 2015. There is a brouhaha underway about an American journalist who told a story about being in a helicopter in a war zone. The helicopter was hit and had to land. Which war zone and when I don’t know. The US has created so many war zones that it is difficult to keep up with them all, and as you will see, I am not interested in the story for its own sake.

It turns out that the journalist has remembered incorrectly. He was in a helicopter in a war zone, but it wasn’t hit and didn’t have to land. The journalist has been accused of lying in order to make himself seem to be “a more seasoned war correspondent than he is.”

The journalist’s presstitute colleagues are all over him with accusations. He has even had to apologize to the troops. Which troops and why is unclear. The American requirement that everyone apologize for every word reminds me of the old Soviet practice, real or alleged by anti-communists, that required Soviet citizens to self-criticize.

National Public Radio (2-5-15) thought this story of the American journalist was so important that the program played a recording of the journalist telling his story. It sounded like a good story to me. The audience enjoyed it and was laughing. The journalist telling the story did not claim any heroism on his part or any failure on the part of the helicopter crew. It is normal for helicopters to take hits in war zones.

Having established that the journalist had actually stated that the helicopter was hit when in fact it wasn’t, NPR brought on the program a psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, an expert on “false memory.” The psychologist explained various reasons a person might have false memories, making the point that it is far from uncommon and that the journalist is most likely just another example. But the NPR presstitute still wanted to know if the journalist had intentionally lied in order to make himself look good. It was never explained why it made a journalist look good to be in a helicopter forced to land. But few presstitutes get to this depth of questioning.

Now to get to the real point. I was listening to this while driving as it was less depressing to listen to NPR’s propaganda than to listen to the Christian-Zionist preachers. In the previous hour NPR had presented listeners with three reports about civilian deaths in the break-away provinces in eastern and southern Ukraine. The first time I heard the report, the NPR presstitute recounted how explosives had hit a hospital killing 5 people in the break-away Donetsk Republic. The presstitute did not report that this was done by Ukrainian forces, instead suggesting that it could have been done by the “Russian-supported rebels.” He didn’t offer any explanation why the rebels would attack their own hospital. The impression left for that small percentage of informed Americans capable of thought is that presstitutes are not allowed to say that the Washington-backed Ukrainians attacked a hospital.

In all three reports, Secretary of State John Kerry was broadcast saying that the US wanted a diplomatic, peaceful solution, but that the Russians were blocking a peaceful solution by sending tank columns and troops into Ukraine. On my return trip, I heard over NPR Kerry twice more repeating the unsupported claim that Russian tanks and troops are pouring into Ukraine. Obviously, NPR was serving as a propaganda voice that Russia was invading Ukraine.

Think about this for a minute. We have been hearing from high US government officials, including the president himself, for months and months about Russian tank columns and troops entering Ukraine. The Russian government denies this steadfastly, but, of course, we cannot trust the now-demonized Russians. We are not allowed to believe them, because they are positioned as the Enemy, and good patriotic Americans never believe the Enemy.

But how can we help but believe the Russians? If all these Russian tank columns and troops that have allegedly been pouring into Ukraine were real, Washington’s puppet government in Kiev would have fallen sometime last year, and the conflict would be over. Anyone with a brain knows this.

So, we arrive at my point. A journalist told a harmless story and has been roasted alive and forced to apologize to the troops for lying. In the middle of this brouhaha, the US Secretary of State, the President of the United States, innumerable senators, executive branch officials, and presstitutes have repeatedly reported month after month Russian tank columns and troops entering Ukraine. Yet, despite all these Russian forces, the civilians in the break-away provinces of eastern and southern Ukraine are still being slaughtered by Washington’s puppet state in Kiev.

If Russian tanks and troops are this ineffective, why are NATO commanders and neoconservative warmongers warning of the dire danger that Russia poses to the Baltics, Poland, and Eastern Europe?

It doesn’t make any sense, does it?

So the question is: Why are the presstitutes all over some hapless journalist rather than holding accountable the Great Liars, John Kerry and Barak Obama?

The answer is: It is costless to the presstitutes to try to destroy, for totally insignificant reasons–perhaps just for the pleasure of it, like “American Sniper” killing people for fun–one of their own, but they would be fired if they hold Kerry and Obama accountable, and they know it. But they have to get someone, so they eat their own.

A democracy without an honest media cannot exist. In America democracy is a facade behind which operates every evil inclination of mankind. During the past 14 years the American people have supported governments that have invaded, bombed, or droned seven countries, killing, maiming, and displacing millions of people for no reason other than profit and hegemonic power. There is scant sign that this has caused very many Americans sleepless nights or a bad conscience.

When Washington is not bombing and killing, it is plotting to overthrow reformist governments, such as the Honduran government Obama overthrew, and the Venezuelan, Bolivian, Ecuadoran, and Argentine governments that the Obama regime is current trying to overthrow. And, also, of course the democratically elected government in Ukraine that has been supplanted by Washington’s coup.

The new Greek government is in the crosshairs, and so is Putin himself.

Washington and its fawning presstitutes branded the elected Ukrainian government that was a victim of Washington’s coup, “a corrupt dictatorship.” The replacement government consists of a combination of Washington puppets and neo-nazis with their own military forces sporting Nazi insignias. The American presstitutes have been careful not to notice the Nazi insignias.

Ask yourself why a journalist’s false memory episode of an insignificant event is so important to the American presstitutes, while John Kerry’s and Barak Obama’s extraordinary, blatant, blockbuster, and dangerous lies are ignored.

In the event you have forgotten the efficiency of the Russian military, remember the fate of the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army that Washington sicced on South Ossetia. The Georgian invasion of South Ossetia resulted in the deaths of Russian peace-keeping soldiers and Russian citizens. The Russian military intervened, and the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army collapsed in five hours. All of Georgia was back in Russian hands, but the Russians withdrew and left the former province of Russia independent, despite the lies from Washington that Putin intends to restore the Soviet Empire.

The only correct conclusion that any American can make is that every statement of the US government and its presstitute media is a blatant lie designed to serve a secret agenda that the American people would not support if they knew of its existence.

Whenever Washington and its whore media speak, they lie.

# # # #

Paul Craig Roberts, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author, is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has been reporting on executive branch and cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. He has written or co-written eight books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and has published many articles in journals of scholarship. Mr. Roberts has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy, and has been a critic of both Democratic and Republican administrations. You can visit his website here.

© PaulCraigRoberts.org

BFP Exclusive: A Nuclear Tinderbox in Ukraine?

To claim that war is the formula for prosperity and unity is to pledge allegiance to the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

The accusers

Europeans hardly had time to drink all the champagne left over from the New Year's Eve parties when George Soros declared to them (yet again) that they are "at war" with Russia and that "they need to start acting like it".[1]

Acting as if Europe is at war means a full-scale political, economic and military mobilization against the enemy. It means the radical reorientation of the EU economies from domestic needs to the needs of the military-industrial complex. It means less schools, hospitals and nursing homes and more missiles, tanks, and helicopters. It means death and destruction instead of life and creation. Isn't it obvious that war turns all the things that a rational person would want for herself, her family and community into its opposites?

And yet Soros insisted not only on the war's ongoing status but also on its beneficial nature. In the discourse that had the elements of a "warmongering frenzy", he even went so far as to claim that it is only the war that can pull the EU from the current economic, institutional and identity crises. He openly articulated the infernal metaphysical thesis that "war is the father of all things" (Heraclitus). In doing so, he appears to have consciously placed himself into the enemies of the open society camp so carefully dissected by his mentor Karl Popper. To claim that war is the formula for prosperity and unity is to pledge allegiance to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And there is no doubt that Soros has done exactly that.

Some observers speculate that this public statement could be Soros' job application for the position of the chairman of the Central Bank of Ukraine.[2] Be that as it may, the current leadership of Ukraine has repeated, line by line, his basic points. It has been a while since the prime minister Arsenyi Yatsenyuk accused Russia that it wanted to start the World War III.[3] And this sentiment is prevalent in the US-NATO intelligence and military circles.

This powerful behind-the-curtains group is, however, faced with a huge public relations problem. The majority of the Europeans do not believe their fiery rhetoric and do not consider Russia as a threatening enemy. They are not willing to turn their countries into war fortresses and accept the suspension of democracy by military emergency decrees. Clearly they need to be convinced somehow; they need "to start acting" like being at war as Soros put. How is this to be done?

By instigating something big, scary and deadly and pointing the finger of blame to Russia. But, considering the stakes, it has to be on a greater scale than what the world has seen so far. From where can this 21st century "shot in Sarajevo" be fired?

Going nuclear?

Though it is shuddering even to contemplate it, the answer might involve Ukraine's nuclear reactors. As we all know, Ukraine was already the site of one of the two biggest nuclear disasters in human history: the Chernobyl reactor meltdown in April 1986. The radiation spilt into the atmosphere led to many immediate deaths in the affected area, while many more have died from the exposure in the subsequent years both in Ukraine and beyond (including Northern Europe).

Apparently, this disaster also had dramatic political consequences. Influential commentators trace to it the beginnings of the policies of glasnost and perestroika which eventually led to the demise of the Soviet Union and the communist (state capitalist) system.[4] As the narrative goes, the Soviet government elite which attempted to hide the truth from its citizens was eventually punished by them for its mendacity. How come nothing similar ever happens in the West?

At this time, Ukraine has four nuclear power plants (NPP): Zaporizhia (six reactors), South-Ukraine (three reactors), Rivne (four reactors) and Khmelnytskyi (two reactors). None of the plants use the type of the reactor which exploded in Chernobyl.

All except Rivne have official websites.[5] The websites of the South-Ukraine and Khmelnytskyi NPPs are in three languages (Russian, Ukrainian, and English), while the website of Zaporizhia NPP is only in Russian language. This might be accidental and meaningless, but the crux of the matter is always in the details.

The Zaporizhia NPP is the largest and most powerful of them all. In fact, it is the largest NPP in Europe and, according to its website, in a month or so, it will celebrate the occasion of the one billion kWh energy production since its opening. It produces about one half of the total nuclear energy in Ukraine.

And it is precisely this plant that has been most endangered since the fighting began. It is about 200 km from the reported warzone and many observers have already expressed considerable fear for its security.

In June 2014, the Greenpeace nuclear expert Tobias Munchmeyer claimed that the plant was "insufficiently protected" from possible bombardments and that its protective walls could withstand only "a small aircraft crash" (Mind you, this was before the MH-17 crash).[6] The official reply was that it could survive up to 5 tons of TNT explosives within the 200-meter parameter and a direct hit of MiG-29. This is hardly reassuring as somebody could pile up more than 5 tons of TNT, or bring it closer than 200 meters, or send two or three MiG-29s.

Also, RT reported in May 2014 that a group of the alleged members of the neo-fascist Right Sector paramilitaries attempted to storm the plant. According to the grainy video posted on the web, they wanted to "protect the plant" from the pro-Russian groups which supposedly wanted to replace the Ukrainian flags on the roadblocks with the Russian ones.[7] The paramilitaries were eventually surrounded by the regular police and forced to leave the area. However, in a recent article in London's Independent, it is reported that the pro-Russian "agitators" were actually inside of the plant.[8] This of course makes the situation appear much more serious. Another twist to the story is that the Right Sector officially denied that the paramilitaries in question had anything to do with their organization.

To add fuel to the fires of suspicion, last month (December 2014), two of the plant's reactors were shut down (one, on December 3 and the other, on December 28) due to what was publicly explained as "electrical malfunctions". In the instance of the first shutdown, the prime minister Yatsenyuk caused a minor panic when he used the word "the accident", which was notoriously used by the Soviet press to break the news of the Chernobyl disaster.[9] This could have been a test to see how the public and the international community would react.

What is perhaps most worrying is that the delivery of the fuel assemblies to the plants has been the cause of the bitter competition between the American Westinghouse Electric Co. and the Russian state-owned TVEL.[10] For the two decades of the Ukraine's post-Soviet independence, the TVEL had a monopoly, but things began to change recently when some of the plants signed up with the American supplier. This led to the paradoxical situation that in certain cases the assemblies from both the Americans and the Russians are used in the same reactor. Perhaps this would not be much of a problem if one side did not consider itself to be "at war" with the other.

As if to underscore the danger staring us in the face, the Westinghouse official Michael Kirst was quoted as saying that "if you look at a photograph of (the TVEL fuel assembly), you’ll see the space between is so narrow that (Westinghouse) must force its fuel assemblies into the reactor. I don’t have to tell you that (with nuclear fuel assemblies) that is a bad idea. These things can’t be forced.”[11]

Obviously, the fuel assembly issue looks like a fertile ground for things to begin to deteriorate quickly in the direction of Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. And for either side to take advantage to blame the other.

We would of course know who really pulled the trigger, that is to say, placed the
defective fuel assembly. But I doubt that those few survivors of the nuclear winter would really care at all.

# # # #

Filip Kovacevic, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author and analyst, is a geopolitical author, university professor and the chairman of the Movement for Neutrality of Montenegro. He received his BA and PhD in political science in the US and was a visiting professor at St. Petersburg State University in Russia for two years. He is the author of seven books, dozens of academic articles. He has been invited to lecture throughout the EU, Balkans, ex-USSR and the US. He currently resides in San Francisco, and can be contacted at fk1917@yahoo.com

NOTES

[1] http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/vMhn5F3UZO8miWQ86TnXmK/George-Soros--Europe-at-war.html;

The earlier version of this article was published in the New York Review of Books. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/nov/20/wake-up-europe/

[2] http://journal-neo.org/2014/12/28/soros-as-kiev-s-central-banker-and-ridiculous-us-laws/

[3] http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/russia-wants-start-world-war-iii-ukrainian-pm-yatsenyuk-n89481

[4] http://www.nbcnews.com/id/12403612/ns/world_news-europe/t/chernobyl-cover-up-catalyst-glasnost/#.VLCHhU0tA5s

[5] http://www.npp.zp.ua/; http://www.sunpp.mk.ua/; http://www.xaec.org.ua/store/pages/eng/khnpp

[6] http://www.nucpros.com/content/ukrainian-nuclear-plant-vulnerable-kiev%E2%80%99s-artillery-strikes-%E2%80%93-greenpeace-expert

[7] http://rt.com/news/159640-ukraine-gunmen-nuclear-plant/

[8] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-turns-off-reactor-at-nuclear-plant-after-accident-9947540.htm

[9] http://mashable.com/2014/12/03/ukraine-nuclear-plant-accident/?utm_campaign=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_cid=Mash-Prod-RSS-Feedburner-All-Partial&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=rss

[10] http://www.kyivpost.com/content/ukraine/fuel-duel-326535.html

[11] Ibid.

The New Great Game Round-Up: December 15, 2014

Uzbekistan- India Welcome "Pariah" Putin with Open Arms, Setting the “Right Priorities” in the South Caucasus & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

While U.S. President Barack Obama is still trying to convince the public that Russia is completely isolated, Russian President Vladimir Putin paid official visits to Uzbekistan and India, strengthening Russia's ties with the two countries. On December 10, the Russian President traveled to Tashkent, where he held talks with his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov. Putin's visit was a show of support for Karimov ahead of upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Uzbekistan, which could get interesting for a change given that Karimov has not stated whether he will stand for re-election as president. Russian-Uzbek relations have been tense since the end of the Soviet Union and the Karimov regime has always been a difficult partner for Russia but the Kremlin is now looking to forge closer ties with Uzbekistan, regardless of who is running the country. The two presidents signed an important agreement, significantly reducing Uzbekistan's debt to Russia in order to pave the way for new loans from Moscow, which are intended for a particular purpose [emphasis mine]:

Russia Cozies Up to Uzbekistan With $865 Million Debt Write-Off

Russia on Wednesday wrote off $865 million of debt owed by Uzbekistan as President Vladimir Putin sought to bolster ties between the former Soviet republics during a one-day visit to the country, news agency TASS reported.

The agreement, which was signed in the presence of Putin and his Uzbek counterpart Islam Karimov, freed Uzbekistan from almost all of its $890 million debt to Russia. Uzbekistan will have to pay just $25 million, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said Wednesday.

Presidential aide Yury Ushakov said Wednesday that settling the debt issue will allow Russia to expand sales of arms and military equipment in the country, TASS reported.

Uzbekistan, India Welcome "Pariah" Putin with Open Arms

Uzbekistan hoped to profit from the drawdown of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by getting leftover American equipment, such as Mine Resistant Armor Protected (MRAP) vehicles, but this didn't work out. Therefore, the Uzbek regime is now turning to Russia for new arms and military equipment and since much of the debt has been written off, Tashkent is free to go on a shopping spree. In exchange for freeing Uzbekistan from its debt, Karimov agreed to start consultations on a free-trade zone between the Central Asian republic and the Russia-led Eurasian Economics Union (EEU). Moreover, Uzbekistan's strongman leader praised Russia's stabilizing role in Central Asia and he asked the Russian President to help the 'stans in the fight against the "creeping expansion of militant extremism and religious radicalism" in the region. This issue was also high on the agenda during Putin's trip to India, where the "pariah" was welcomed with open arms by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who used the opportunity to express his condolences for the recent attack in Chechnya's capital Grozny [emphasis mine]:

Combating terrorism, stability in Afghanistan key areas of India-Russian ties, says PM Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the areas of priority for cooperation between India and Russia include combating terrorism and extremism; advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan; working together for a stable, balanced, peaceful and prosperous Asia Pacific; and cooperating for development in other countries.

"I conveyed my deepest condolences for the loss of lives in the terrorist attack in Chechnya. This also reflects our many shared challenges,"
Prime Minister Modi said in his media statement during the official visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India.

"This is President Putin's eleventh Annual Summit and my first. This Summit reinforced my conviction in the extraordinary value and strength of this partnership. I am confident that our bilateral cooperation and international partnership will acquire new vigour and scale new heights in the years ahead," he added.

Russia's landmark military cooperation agreement with Pakistan didn't go unnoticed in India but New Delhi cuts Moscow some slack because the Russians cite the need to combat terrorism as one of the reasons for their closer ties with Pakistan. The strong strategic partnership between Russia and India is hardly affected by such minor points of contention. Washington learned this the hard way in recent months, as the Americans tried in vain to convince India of turning its back on Russia. Instead the new Modi-led government has moved closer to Moscow and Beijing. This week's 15th India-Russia Annual Summit showed that India wants to follow China's example in strengthening its strategic partnership with Russia. As previously discussed, the two allies seek to boost their trade and economic ties so that they eventually match the strong political ties. According to Russia's Minister of Industry and Trade, Denis Manturov, the goal is to increase trade turnover up to $30 billion by 2025 and during Putin's visit to New Delhi, Russia and India took the first step in the right direction:

Modi, Putin discuss defence, energy

Russia will remain India’s foremost defence partner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday while announcing that Russia had accepted India’s offer to jointly manufacture light-utility helicopters.

India and Russia announced a $10-billion oil deal for Indian company Essar with Russian oil giant ROSNEFT to import about 10 million tonnes of crude oil over the next decade. The two sides also signed seven agreements on atomic energy, military training and health while Mr Modi and President Putin oversaw the signing of 13 commercial contracts.

The highlight of the meeting — part of an annual summit between the two countries — was the unveiling of a vision statement on atomic energy cooperation, where Russian nuclear agency ROSATOM and the Department of Atomic Energy and NPCIL have agreed to build at least 12 new reactors supplied by Russia over the next 20 years.

Furthermore, the two sides agreed to "scout and explore" for hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf and to conduct a study exploring the feasibility of a multi-billion dollar gas pipeline from Russia to India. Much to the dismay of the United States, Putin announced that they also agreed to expand payments in national currencies. The Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of Russia have already set up a joint working group to work out modalities for de-dollarizing the growing bilateral trade. Russia and India signed a number of agreements which won't go down well in Washington but one memorandum of understanding (MoU) is particularly interesting in this regard because it "aims to facilitate India’s deepening economic cooperation with Crimea." Sergey Aksyonov, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Crimea, accompanied Putin's delegation to New Delhi, which prompted the U.S. puppet regime in Kiev to lash out at India:

Ukrainian president slams India over Crimean leader visit

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at
India on Friday over a visit by the leader of Crimea, the former Ukrainian territory annexed by Russia, who accompanied President Vladimir Putin's annual summit delegation this week.

India does not back Western sanctions against Russia, and the unofficial trip by Sergey Aksyonov could spoil the mood before Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts U.S. President Barack Obama for India's Republic Day festivities in January.

Poroshenko, addressing the Lowy Institute think tank in Sydney, said India was placing more importance on "money" than "values" by welcoming Aksyanov, and it was not standing with "civilization" against Russian aggression.

Insurgents' Families, Human Rights Activists under Attack in Chechnya

Ukrainian oligarch turned president Poroshenko knows a thing or two about money and values and he is definitely a leading authority in the field of civilization considering that his regime is still waging war against the people in eastern Ukraine, who don't share Poroshenko's enthusiasm for neo-Nazis from all over the world. A few of Poroshenko's "civilized" pals are currently being investigated by the Russians for public calls for terrorist activities in Russia in connection with the recent attack in the Chechen capital Grozny, which left 26 people dead, including all eleven insurgents. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov suggested after the clashes that the attackers might have come from outside Chechnya but this was highly doubtful from the beginning and all insurgents have meanwhile been identified as residents of the Chechen Republic. This will only reinforce Kadyrov's decision to punish not only those who support the insurgency but also anyone who fails to prevent terrorist activities, even if that means evicting families who couldn't stop their relatives from becoming terrorists:

Homes Of Alleged Militants' Families Torched In Chechnya

Residents of Russia's Chechnya region say the authorities are carrying out Kremlin-backed leader Ramzan Kadyrov's orders to destroy the homes of relatives of alleged militants held responsible for attacks.

Residents of the village of Yandi said that masked men arrived in more than a dozen vehicles late on December 8 and set several homes on fire.

On December 6, after 14 policemen were killed in some of the deadliest fighting in the Chechen capital in years, Kadyrov announced that relatives of militants involved in killings would be evicted from Chechnya and their homes "razed down to the basement."

Anticipating that the harsh punishment of insurgents' families would draw a lot of criticism, Kadyrov made it perfectly clear that he couldn't care less about the "opinion of some people or the so-called human rights advocacy groups who watched in silence as NATO warplanes and militants trained by the West murdered millions of Muslims in Syria and Iraq." A few days after several houses had been burned to the ground, the Chechen authorities organized a large anti-terrorism rally in Grozny, reportedly attended by 50,000 people, in an effort to demonstrate that the population supports the persecution of insurgents' relatives. Following the rally, a group of masked men set alight the local office of the Moscow-based Committee to Prevent Torture (KPP), one of the last human rights groups still active in Chechnya. The group is headed by Igor Kalyapin, who appealed to Russia's Prosecutor General over Kadyrov's statements calling for relatives of terrorists to be held responsible and was shortly thereafter implicated by the Chechen President in organizing the recent attack in Grozny:

Chechen Republic Head Implicates Human Rights Defender In Grozny Attack

Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov has indirectly implicated Igor Kalyapin, head of Russia's Committee to Prevent Torture, in organizing last week's attack by insurgents in Grozny in which 14 police and security personnel were killed and 36 wounded.

In
an Instagram post on December 10, Kadyrov claimed that a man by the name of Kalyapin channeled from Western intelligence services to Akhmat Umarov, the brother of former Caucasus Emirate head Doku Umarov, the funds to finance the attack by insurgents on Grozny. Kadyrov demanded a probe to determine whether the Kalyapin in question and the Kalyapin "who came to the defense of bandits and their relatives" are one and the same person.

Therefore, Kalyapin was also pelted with eggs during a press conference in Moscow two days before the Chechen branch of the KPP, the Joint Mobile Group, came under attack in Grozny. During the rally in the Chechen capital on Saturday, several signs in the crowd read "Kalyapin Go Home" and asked for Kadyrov to "protect us against the Kalyapins." Some activists of the KPP/Joint Mobile Group are now considering leaving Chechnya due to threats but the NGO wants to continue its work in the republic. Whether or not Kalyapin and his group have anything to do with the attack in Grozny, remains to be seen. As mentioned last week, the trail leads to NATO member Turkey, where Akhmat Umarov is living at the moment. Turkey is the place to be for aspiring terrorists but this week's assassination of a radical Uzbek imam, who promoted jihad in Syria, shows once again that life in Turkey is also increasingly dangerous because everybody knows where to look for the jihadists and their handlers:

Uzbek dissident assassinated in Istanbul, one arrested

An Uzbek dissident who was living in Turkey for around 12 years was assassinated in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district on Dec. 11, with a Chechen-origin
Russian national being detained as the sole suspect. 

Abdullah Bukhari, 38, was working as a religious leader and was the head of the İhsan Learning Services and Solidarity Association in the Zeytinburnu district of the city. The Uzbek dissident was wounded in a gun attack at close range in front of the association building.

Bukhari had allegedly received death threats from
Russian and Uzbek intelligence agencies and reportedly donned a steel vest whenever he went outside. He was attacked at a time when he was not wearing the steel vest, while he also reportedly did not inform any students at the association that he was going to the building.

Setting the Right Priorities in the South Caucasus 

According to Turkish media, Bukhari was one of four "dissidents" on a hit list, which was drawn up by Russian and Uzbek intelligence agencies three months ago. Interestingly, the Uzbek imam was assassinated on the same day as Putin and Karimov were meeting in Tashkent but that is perhaps just a coincidence. Be that as it may, on the same day, there was also a noteworthy meeting in the eastern Turkish city of Kars. The Foreign Ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey gathered in Kars to strenghten trilateral cooperation between the three neighbors. Especially energy and transportation projects, such as the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, were high on the agenda during the fourth trilateral meeting since the launch of this format in 2012. Russia's decision to drop the South Stream project and redirect the pipeline to Turkey caused a great stir in Europe and some EU countries immediately expressed their concern that this could affect the implementation of TANAP but Turkish FM Mevlüt Cavusoglu put oil on troubled waters:

TANAP natural gas project is Turkey's priority: FM

The Trans Anatolia Natural Gas Pipeline, TANAP is Turkey's priority rather than Russia's last project proposal, according to Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. 

Cavusoglu spoke on Putin's announcement of the suspension of the South Stream natural gas project and his proposal for an alternative route through Turkey to send natural gas to Greece and to European countries.

"We signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia but it doesn’t mean that TANAP stays in the background," Cavusoglu said at a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Elmar Mammadyarov and Georgia’s Tamar Beruchasvili on Wednesday.

After Turkey and Russia signed the MoU on constructing a gas pipeline across the Black Sea, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that the deal was not binding and required more talks on the details. Ankara is admittedly interested in the project but the construction of TANAP, which is expected to start next year, takes top priority. With South Stream dead and no Iran nuclear deal in sight, Europe is left out in the cold and new gas supplies are desperately needed. The much-hyped Southern Gas Corridor is supposed to be the solution and the EU hopes to receive the first energy supplies from the Caspian region by 2019 but the construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) is apparently taking longer than expected. Given that the countries of south-eastern Europe face several years of uncertainty, it is easy to understand why they have still not given up on Russia's South Stream project despite vehement opposition from Brussels and Washington [emphasis mine]:

EU turns to Azerbaijan for gas

The EU is considering plans for a new pipeline to enable gas imports from Azerbaijan. The push comes in the wake of Russia's decision to cancel the South Stream pipeline project.

EU Energy Commissioner Maros Sefcovic said Tuesday that a new high-level working group would be set up to advance the integration of central and south-eastern European gas markets and pipeline networks. As part of the effort, Sefcovic discussed proposals to link Azerbaijan's gas fields by pipeline with European markets.

The move is partly in response to the uncertainty generated by Russia's surprise decision to scrap the
South Stream pipeline project that it had agreed with the EU. Several EU member states that had invested in the South Stream pipeline, or stood to benefit from it - including Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Romania and Slovenia - asked Sefcovic to reach out to Russia and discuss whether it might reconsider its decision.

While Austria, Bulgaria & Co. wait in vain for Brussels to prioritize Europe's interests over Washington's, Azerbaijan stands to benefit from the demise of South Stream. As Azerbaijan is becoming more important to the U.S. and the EU, the Aliyev regime knows exactly how to exploit its position, much to the indignation of Azerbaijani dissidents, activists, journalists and their friends in the West. In recent months, Baku made headlines with an unprecedented crackdown on critics and foreign-backed NGOs, raising the question of whether Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev wants to abandon his pro-Western course. According to Western media, the recent arrest of journalist Khadija Ismayilova, who is working for CIA propaganda outlet Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, proves that this is the case but it remains to be seen whether the close military and economic cooperation between NATO and Azerbaijan continues as before, or whether Ismayilova's arrest was really a breaking point:

Baku in the USSR? Azerbaijan could be set to abandon West and head East

Ismayilova’s arrest is seen by many in Baku as a breaking point in Aliyev’s attempts to align Azerbaijan with the West. In an interview he gave two weeks ago to a Russian news channel, he accused the West of having encouraged the emergence of the Islamic State with its “policies in the Middle East over the last decade.” 

His words echoed the Kremlin’s position that the United States and European Union are responsible for the rise of ISIS (also known as ISIL) by supporting the rebels fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria. 

Until very recently, Azerbaijan saw President Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a hostile force trying to undermine its pro-Western policy and supporting neighboring Armenia in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. Now, Aliyev is praising Moscow and saying that “Azerbaijan and Russia are two neighboring friendly countries which are developing together and are ready to face world challenges.”

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst

Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

The New Great Game Round-Up: November 24, 2014

Soros' Visit a Bad Omen as Kyrgyzstan Prepares to Join EEU, TAPI Countries Push Pipeline Despite Afghan Violence & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

So-called color revolutions have long been used by the United States to replace governments all over the world with more pliable alternatives if the respective leaders have outlived their usefulness or antagonized Washington, the most recent example being the Euromaidan in Ukraine. After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an Association Agreement with the European Union, the U.S. and its allies launched Orange Revolution 2.0 to ensure Kiev's commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and to nip Ukraine's accession to the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in the bud. On November 21, Ukrainians gathered in Kiev to mark the first anniversary of the start of the fateful anti-government protests, which have plunged the country into war, leading to a new confrontation between Russia and the West. In light of the developments in Ukraine, many governments are increasingly alarmed at color revolutions. Especially Russian officials have been repeatedly warning against this "new form of warfare" in recent months. A few days ago, President Putin urged Russian security chief to do everything necessary to prevent a color revolution in Russia and the issue was also high on the agenda during this week's talks between Russian and Chinese defense ministers:

Russia, China should jointly counter "color revolutions" — Russian Defense Ministry

Russia and China should jointly stand against “color revolutions” which both countries are facing, a deputy Russian defence minister said after talks between Russian and Chinese defence chiefs on Tuesday.

“We focused on those events which have recently taken place in Hong Kong, and both ministers acknowledged that no country is immune from ‘color revolutions,’” Anatoly Antonov said.

“It only seems that these “color revolutions” and these experiments by Western spin doctors, including those from the United States, are being implemented somewhere far from China or the Russian Federation,” Antonov said. “All this is in fact near us, and we believe that Russia and China should work together to withstand this new security challenge to our countries.”

Soros' Visit a Bad Omen as Kyrgyzstan Prepares to Join EEU

Before he travelled to Islamabad to sign a landmark military agreement with Pakistan, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu met with his Chinese counterpart Chang Wanquan and other top officials in Beijing to discuss military cooperation between Russia and China. Chang called for joint efforts to "promote bilateral military-to-military ties to a higher level" and both sides agreed to respond to Washington's attempts to strengthen its military and political clout in the Asia-Pacific region by forming a regional collective security system. Moscow's concerns with regard to color revolutions probably found a sympathetic ear in Beijing considering that the Chinese government is worried about the Hong Kong protests. Beijing has been portraying Occupy Central as an evil Western plot but although the usual suspects have a hand in the "Umbrella Revolution," the protests are not merely another color revolution. Nevertheless, both Beijing and Moscow have every reason to be on their guard, as the example of Ukraine shows. Some people are concerned that China's neighbor Kyrgyzstan will be the next target and the visit of color revolution expert George Soros didn't help to allay fears of a Kyrgyz Maidan: 

Myktybek uluu Bekbolot: Kyrgyzstan will not survive after another coup

"We are against arrival of the billionaire George Soros to our country," the representative of NGO Strong Kyrgyzstan Muratbek uluu Bekbolot defined the aim of the protest, passing near the building of the US Embassy in the Kyrgyz Republic, to 24.kg news agency.

According to him, after his first visit to our country there was a coup in 2005. "Now Soros again appeared, and we suspect that he is planning another revolution in our country. We are for peace Kyrgyzstan and don't want war. Our country will not survive after another coup," he added.

A few dozen protesters carrying signs with slogans such as "U.S. hands off of sovereign Kyrgyzstan" gathered near the U.S. Embassy Bishkek to demand that George Soros must immediately leave the country and stop interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal politics. Neither Soros nor the Kyrgyz authorities were swayed by the small rally and the founder of the infamous Open Society Foundations completed his first trip to Kyrgyzstan after almost ten years without incident. After meeting with a representative of the Aga Khan Foundation and the current president of the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), Soros visited AUCA to talk to students and check if his money is well-invested. AUCA is being funded by Soros' Open Society Foundations and the U.S. government. The multi-billionaire also met with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev to discuss the activities of the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan, which begs the question of whether or not Atambayev told Soros that one of the projects financed by his foundation will be charged with "inciting interethnic hatred":

Kyrgyzstan's Spooks Hounding Rights Groups with "Absurd" Charges

The State Committee on National Security (GKNB) charged two staff of the Human Rights Advocacy Center, an anti-torture campaigner in Osh, on November 20 with “inciting interethnic hatred,” a source with intimate knowledge of the case told EurasiaNet.org. One was told that the former director of Freedom House’s Kyrgyzstan office would also be charged.

The GKNB had outlined its case in a September
criminal complaint, stating that an opinion survey distributed by the Advocacy Center posed a threat to national security and could reignite interethnic conflict in the country’s volatile south. The Advocacy Center project was funded by Freedom House, which receives some of its funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The source with intimate knowledge of the case believes Kyrgyzstan will try to shut down foreign-funded NGOs altogether and kick out USAID, as Russia did in 2012. “This is the beginning of the end. This has been building for awhile,” the source said. The Advocacy Center and Freedom House are just scapegoats, the source added. “Russia wants these groups to leave. They’re going to push. It may take a year or more, but they [Russia] are aiming to get them cleared out.

The Human Rights Advocacy Center receives funding from Freedom House as well as from the Soros Foundation-Kyrgyzstan. As previously discussed, the above-mentioned survey caused a great stir in Osh and in light of the Euromaidan protests and subsequent coup d'état in Kiev, the Kyrgyz authorities take no chances when it comes to the activities of foreign-funded "non-governmental" organizations. According to Kyrgyzstan's National Institute for Strategic Studies, 16,000 NGOs are now officially registered in the Central Asian country and although only a few hundred are active, it is difficult to stay on top of things. Therefore, legislators in Bishkek have been pushing for a Russian-style foreign agents law in recent months. As Kyrgyzstan is preparing to join the EEU and moving closer to Russia, some people in Bishkek and Moscow are concerned that Washington will try to impede this process but the Kyrgyz government stands by its decision to cast its lot with Russia:

Kyrgyzstan Has "No Alternative" to Closer Russia Ties - Prime Minister

The slowdown of Russia’s economy is inflicting pain across Central Asia. But impoverished Kyrgyzstan has no choice but to stay close to Moscow, Prime Minister Djoomart Otorbaev tells EurasiaNet.org.

In recent weeks, Kyrgyzstan’s parliament has passed reams of legislation on membership in both the customs union and the EEU, which will come into being on January 1.

“We’ve gotten some criticism from the United States,” Otorbaev says of EEU membership talks. “I would like to hear the arguments of those who would like us to close the border. [...] With whom are we going to trade? I don’t know. The United States is not here. Europe neither. China is very aggressively importing things. If someone would advise us, I would be more than happy to hear them.

Georgia's "Pro-Russian" Government Continues NATO Integration

George Soros and the U.S. government will have to do a lot of persuading to woo Kyrgyzstan away from Russia. But although U.S. NGOs have lately been running into trouble in Kyrgyzstan and Russia, the use of NGOs is still very popular around the world. Archil Chkoidze, the leader of the Georgian NGO coalition "Eurasian Choice," recently suggested that Russian NGOs should beef up their presence in Georgia to counter U.S. influence in the country. Chkoidze stressed that many U.S. organizations are already working in Georgia to this end and nobody can deny that they have been very successful so far. Before visiting Kyrgyzstan, George Soros spent two days in Georgia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. Soros also met with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who has been doing his best to assure the West of Georgia's commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration after the dismissal of Defense Minister Irakli Alasania. This week, Garibashvili travelled to Brussels to attend the first meeting of the EU-Georgia Association Council and to meet with NATO's new Secretary General:

Georgian PM, NATO Chief Discuss Implementation of ‘Substantive Package’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg met Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili in Brussels on November 17 and discussed implementation of the “substantive package” of cooperation, which NATO
offered to Georgia at its summit in Wales in September.

Among those elements of the package are assisting defense capacity building in Georgia through, as Stoltenberg put it, “embedded trainers” and setting up of a joint training center in Georgia.


“We are pleased that Georgia will also host NATO-Georgia Training Center. The Center will help the Georgian forces to maintain their ability to work with NATO and it will prepare Georgia and other partners for future contributions to NATO Response Force,” the NATO Secretary General said.

Stoltenberg emphasized that he has "no reason to doubt" Georgia's commitment to NATO integration and he stated that concrete decisions on the training center will be made at the ministerial meeting of NATO countries in February 2015. With that said, it is quite difficult to argue that Georgia is about to abandon its pro-Western course or that the Georgian government is loyal to Russia but that is exactly what some people in Georgia are alleging. A few days ago, dismissed Defense Minister Alasania, who called the corruption investigation into the military "an attack on Georgia's Euro-Atlantic choice," gave a 'final warning' to the Prosecutor’s Office and threatened to get the international community involved if his lawyers don't get the files of the case. Shortly afterwards, Alasania travelled to the United States to meet with representatives of the State Department. Another darling of Washington is also blasting the government in Tbilisi. According to former president Mikheil Saakashvili and his party, the current government is pursuing a "policy of appeasement vis-à-vis Russia":  

At ‘No to Annexation’ Protest Rally UNM Slams ‘Collaborationist’ Govt

Thousands of protesters were gathered in Tbilisi center on November 15 at a rally organized by the opposition UNM party against what it calls is Georgian government’s “inaction” amid threat of “annexation” of Georgia’s breakaway regions by Russia.

In his address via video link from Kiev, ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is chairman of UNM party, told protesters, gathered on the Rustaveli Avenue outside the Parliament, that it is now time “for the entire nation to stand united and to tell, before it is not too late, to [ex-PM Bidzina] Ivanishvili that the Georgian nation does not share his dream.”

Saakashvili and his United National Movement are the most vocal critics of Russia's "attempt to annex" Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is quite ironic considering that they have contributed significantly to the current situation by starting the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. Former Georgian President Nino Burjanadze heavily criticized Saakasvhili and the current government for their "NATO rhetoric" and she stressed that Georgia's territorial integrity is more important than joining any international organization. Burjanadze blamed Tbilisi’s endless talk of a NATO training center in Georgia for Russia's decision to offer Abkhazia a new treaty and she urged the Georgian authorities to talk to the Russians, Abkhazians and Ossetians about this issue instead of "going to Brussels like kids and complaining before [NATO and EU] officials." Unfortunately, it is already too late for this. Russia and South Ossetia are working on a new integration treaty and Abkhazia is about to sign a revised version of the treaty proposed by Moscow a few weeks ago:

Russia, Abkhazia to Sign Agreement on Strategic Cooperation, Integration

Abkhazia's President Raul Hajimba will visit Russia Monday to meet with President Vladimir Putin and sign a deal on strategic cooperation and integration, Kremlin's press service announced Sunday.

"President of
Abkhazia Raul Hajimba will visit Russia on November 24 at the invitation of President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin… It is planned to sign an agreement on integration and strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Abkhazia," the press service stated.

TAPI Countries Push Pipeline Despite Afghan Violence

Georgia's quest for NATO membership comes with heavy cost. Russia's southern neighbor is not only paying with its territorial integrity but also with the lives of Georgian soldiers for its dream of joining NATO. Georgia has made its mark as the top non-NATO troop contributor in Afghanistan and 750 Georgian troops will stay in the war-torn country after the so-called withdrawal. The security situation in Afghanistan is dire, as demonstrated by the recent suicide bombing at a volleyball match, and given that the casualties suffered by Afghan security forces in the fight against the Taliban have reached an "unsustainable" level, it came as no real surprise, when U.S. President Barack Obama secretly signed an order that expands the United States’ direct combat role in Afghanistan throughout 2015:

In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the
Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”

Despite all that, some countries think that it is a good idea to push major regional and international infrastructure projects, which depend on the situation in Afghanistan. Representatives from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey discussed recently in Ashgabat the construction of a transport and transit corridor connecting the five countries. Furthermore, the Turkmen capital hosted the latest round of talks in the never-ending saga of the Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India Pipeline (TAPI). Last week, the state gas companies of the four involved countries established a company that will build, own and operate the planned pipeline and a few days later the TAPI steering committee agreed to start the construction of the project as early as next year:

TAPI countries agree to start pipeline project by 2015

Taking another step towards realising the ambitious TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) natural gas pipeline project, petroleum ministers of the four countries
met in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan Thursday and agreed that steps will be taken to start the project by 2015.

"It was decided that the next meeting of the steering committee will be held in February 2015 in Islamabad," the petroleum ministry said in a statement here on the 19th round of TAPI steering committee meeting attended by Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

There has been a lot of talk about the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline in the last two decades but the security situation in Afghanistan has always prevented the implementation of the project and it is still "practically impossible" to build the pipeline. Especially the Turkmen authorities should be aware of the deteriorating security situation in neighboring Afghanistan given the fact that they were already forced to send troops across the border to drive back insurgents in the area. But since Turkmenistan is desperately looking for new gas customers to check its dependency on China, inconvenient facts are apparently being overlooked. The Turkmen authorities have been trying hard to diversify the country's gas exports after the Iranians announced that they no longer needed gas from Turkmenistan because they were planning to boost Iran's domestic gas production. Fortunately for Turkmenistan, this requires more time and money than the Iranians previously thought meaning that Turkmenistan will be able to keep its second-best gas customer for now:

Turkmenistan and Iran Reignite Gas Affair

Iran, it seems, was calling Turkmenistan’s bluff earlier this summer when Tehran said it no longer needs gas from its northern neighbor. Now a top official says Tehran will keep buying.

That is good news for Turkmenistan, which is so dependent on its main gas customer, China, that it is starting to look like a client state.

The Iran-Turkmenistan gas trade has been
dispute-prone over the years. Iranian energy officials have complained on a number of occasions that Turkmenistan does not always deliver on the contractual terms it signs. So the deal may mean more on paper than in practice. But for the moment, it buys both a little time.

# # # #

 

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

Russia Invades Ukraine. Again. And Again. And Yet Again … Using Saddam’s WMD!

The burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting

“Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday [August 27], sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory. The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week.”

None of the photos accompanying this New York Times story online showed any of these Russian troops or armored vehicles.

“The Obama administration,” the story continued, “has asserted over the past week that the Russians had moved artillery, air-defense systems and armor to help the separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk. ‘These incursions indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway’, Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said. At the department’s daily briefing in Washington, Ms. Psaki also criticized what she called the Russian government’s ‘unwillingness to tell the truth’ that its military had sent soldiers as deep as 30 miles inside Ukraine territory.”

Thirty miles inside Ukraine territory and not a single satellite photo, not a camera anywhere around, not even a one-minute video to show for it. “Ms. Psaki apparently [sic] was referring to videos of captured Russian soldiers, distributed by the Ukrainian government.” The Times apparently forgot to inform its readers where they could see these videos.

“The Russian aim, one Western official said, may possibly be to seize an outlet to the sea in the event that Russia tries to establish a separatist enclave in eastern Ukraine.”

This of course hasn’t taken place. So what happened to all these Russian soldiers 30 miles inside Ukraine? What happened to all the armored vehicles, weapons, and equipment?

“The United States has photographs that show the Russian artillery moved into Ukraine, American officials say. One photo dated last Thursday, shown to a New York Times reporter, shows Russian military units moving self-propelled artillery into Ukraine. Another photo, dated Saturday, shows the artillery in firing positions in Ukraine.”

Where are these photographs? And how will we know that these are Russian soldiers? And how will we know that the photos were taken in Ukraine? But most importantly, where are the fucking photographs?

Why am I so cynical? Because the Ukrainian and US governments have been feeding us these scare stories for eight months now, without clear visual or other evidence, often without even common sense. Here are a few of the many other examples, before and after the one above:

The Wall Street Journal (March 28) reported: “Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment, ratcheting up concerns that Moscow is preparing for another [sic] major incursion and not conducting exercises as it claims, US officials said.”

“The Ukrainian government charged that the Russian military was not only approaching but had actually crossed the border into rebel-held regions.” (Washington Post, November 7)

“U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove told reporters in Bulgaria that NATO had observed Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defense systems and Russian combat troops enter Ukraine across a completely wide-open border with Russia in the previous two days.” (Washington Post, November 13)

“Ukraine accuses Russia of sending more soldiers and weapons to help rebels prepare for a new offensive. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied aiding the separatists.” (Reuters, November 16)

Since the February US-backed coup in Ukraine, the State Department has made one accusation after another about Russian military actions in Eastern Ukraine without presenting any kind of satellite imagery or other visual or documentary evidence; or they present something that’s very unclear and wholly inconclusive, such as unmarked vehicles, or unsourced reports, or citing “social media”; what we’re left with is often no more than just an accusation. The Ukrainian government has matched them.

On top of all this we should keep in mind that if Moscow decided to invade Ukraine they’d certainly provide air cover for their ground forces. There has been no mention of air cover.

This is all reminiscent of the numerous stories in the past three years of “Syrian planes bombing defenseless citizens”. Have you ever seen a photo or video of a Syrian government plane dropping bombs? Or of the bombs exploding? When the source of the story is mentioned, it’s almost invariably the rebels who are fighting against the Syrian government. Then there’s the “chemical weapon” attacks by the same evil Assad government. When a photo or video has accompanied the story I’ve never once seen grieving loved ones or media present; not one person can be seen wearing a gas mask. Is it only children killed or suffering? No rebels?

And then there’s the July 17 shootdown of Malaysia Flight MH17, over eastern Ukraine, taking 298 lives, which Washington would love to pin on Russia or the pro-Russian rebels. The US government – and therefore the US media, the EU, and NATO – want us all to believe it was the rebels and/or Russia behind it. The world is still waiting for any evidence. Or even a motivation. Anything at all. President Obama is not waiting. In a talk on November 15 in Australia, he spoke of “opposing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine – which is a threat to the world, as we saw in the appalling shoot-down of MH17”. Based on my reading, I’d guess that it was the Ukranian government behind the shootdown, mistaking it for Putin’s plane that reportedly was in the area.

Can it be said with certainty that all the above accusations were lies? No, but the burden of proof is on the accusers, and the world is still waiting. The accusers would like to create the impression that there are two sides to each question without actually having to supply one of them.

# # # #

William Blum, BFP contributing author and analyst, is an American, historian and critic of United States foreign policy. He is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military & CIA Interventions Since World War II. He has described his life’s mission as: “If not ending, at least slowing down the American Empire. At least injuring the beast. It’s causing so much suffering around the world.” Mr. Blum can be reached through his website http://killinghope.org .

The Secret Stupid Saudi-US Deal on Syria

The Kerry-Abdullah Secret Deal & An Oil-Gas Pipeline War

The details are emerging of a new secret and quite stupid Saudi-US deal on Syria and the so-called IS. It involves oil and gas control of the entire region and the weakening of Russia and Iran by Saudi Arabian flooding the world market with cheap oil. Details were concluded in the September meeting by US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Saudi King. The unintended consequence will be to push Russia even faster to turn east to China and Eurasia.

One of the weirdest anomalies of the recent NATO bombing campaign, allegedly against the ISIS or IS or ISIL or Daash, depending on your preference, is the fact that with major war raging in the world’s richest oil region, the price of crude oil has been dropping, dramatically so. Since June when ISIS suddenly captured the oil-rich region of Iraq around Mosul and Kirkuk, the benchmark Brent price of crude oil dropped some 20% from $112 to about $88. World daily demand for oil has not dropped by 20% however. China oil demand has not fallen 20% nor has US domestic shale oil stock risen by 21%.

What has happened is that the long-time US ally inside OPEC, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has been flooding the market with deep discounted oil, triggering a price war within OPEC, with Iran following suit and panic selling short in oil futures markets. The Saudis are targeting sales to Asia for the discounts and in particular, its major Asian customer, China where it is reportedly offering its crude for a mere $50 to $60 a barrel rather than the earlier price of around $100. [1] That Saudi financial discounting operation in turn is by all appearance being coordinated with a US Treasury financial warfare operation, via its Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in cooperation with a handful of inside players on Wall Street who control oil derivatives trading. The result is a market panic that is gaining momentum daily. China is quite happy to buy the cheap oil, but her close allies, Russia and Iran, are being hit severely.

The deal

According to Rashid Abanmy, President of the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabia Oil Policies and Strategic Expectations Center, the dramatic price collapse is being deliberately caused by the Saudis, OPEC’s largest producer. The public reason claimed is to gain new markets in a global market of weakening oil demand. The real reason, according to Abanmy, is to put pressure on Iran on her nuclear program, and on Russia to end her support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.[2]

When combined with the financial losses of Russian state natural gas sales to Ukraine and prospects of a US-instigated cutoff of the transit of Russian gas to the huge EU market this winter as EU stockpiles become low, the pressure on oil prices hits Moscow doubly. More than 50% of Russian state revenue comes from its export sales of oil and gas.

The US-Saudi oil price manipulation is aimed at destabilizing several strong opponents of US globalist policies. Targets include Iran and Syria, both allies of Russia in opposing a US sole Superpower. The principal target, however, is Putin’s Russia, the single greatest threat today to that Superpower hegemony. The strategy is similar to what the US did with Saudi Arabia in 1986 when they flooded the world with Saudi oil, collapsing the price to below $10 a barrel and destroying the economy of then-Soviet ally, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and, ultimately, of the Soviet economy, paving the way for the fall of the Soviet Union. Today, the hope is that a collapse of Russian oil revenues, combined with select pin-prick sanctions designed by the US Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence will dramatically weaken Putin’s enormous domestic support and create conditions for his ultimate overthrow. It is doomed to fail for many reasons, not the least, because Putin’s Russia has taken major strategic steps together with China and other nations to lessen its dependence on the West. In fact the oil weapon is accelerating recent Russian moves to focus its economic power on national interests and lessen dependence on the Dollar system. If the dollar ceases being the currency of world trade, especially oil trade, the US Treasury faces financial catastrophe. For this reason, I call the Kerry-Abdullah oil war a very stupid tactic.

The Kerry-Abdullah secret deal

On September 11, US Secretary of State Kerry met Saudi King Abdullah at his palace on the Red Sea. The King invited former head of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar to attend. There a deal was hammered out which saw Saudi support for the Syrian airstrikes against ISIS on condition Washington backed the Saudis in toppling Assad, a firm ally of Russia and de facto of Iran and an obstacle to Saudi and UAE plans to control the emerging EU natural gas market and destroy Russia’s lucrative EU trade. A report in the Wall Street Journal noted there had been “months of behind-the-scenes work by the US and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh US commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority." [3]

For the Saudis the war is between two competing age-old vectors of Islam. Saudi Arabia, home to the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina, claims de facto supremacy in the Islamic world of Sunni Islam. The Saudi Sunni form is ultra-conservative Wahhabism, named for an 18th Century Bedouin Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahha. The Taliban derive from Wahhabism with the aid of Saudi-financed religious instruction. The Gulf Emirates and Kuwait also adhere to the Sunni Wahhabism of the Saudis, as does the Emir of Qatar. Iran on the other hand historically is the heart of the smaller branch of Islam, the Shi’ite. Iraq’s population is some 61% majority Shi’ite. Syria’s President, Bashar al-Assad is a member of a satellite of the Shi’ite branch known as Alawite. Some 23% of Turkey is also Alawite Muslim. To complicate the picture more, across a bridge from Saudi Arabia sits the tiny island country, Bahrain where as many as 75% of the population is Shi’ite but the ruling Al-Khalifa family is Sunni and firmly tied to Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the richest Saudi oil region is dominated by Shi’ite Muslims who work the oil installations of Ras Tanura.

An oil and gas pipeline war

These historic fault lines inside Islam which lay dormant, were brought into a state of open warfare with the launching of the US State Department and CIA’s Islamic Holy War, otherwise known as the Arab Spring. Washington neo-conservatives embedded inside the Obama Administration in a form of “Deep State” secret network, and their allied media such as the Washington Post, advocated US covert backing of a pet CIA project known as the Muslim Brotherhood. As I detail in my most recent book, Amerikas’ Heiliger Krieg, the CIA had cultivated ties to the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood death cult since the early 1950’s.

Now if we map the resources of known natural gas reserves in the entire Persian Gulf region, the motives of the Saudi-led Qatar and UAE in financing with billions of dollars the opposition to Assad, including the Sunni ISIS, becomes clearer. Natural gas has become the favored “clean energy” source for the 21st Century and the EU is the world’s largest growth market for gas, a major reason Washington wants to break the Gazprom-EU supply dependency to weaken Russia and keep control over the EU via loyal proxies like Qatar.

The world’s largest known natural gas reservoir sits in the middle of the Persian Gulf straddling part in the territorial waters of Qatar and part in Iran. The Iranian part is called North Pars. In 2006 China’s state-owned CNOOC signed an agreement with Iran to develop North Pars and build LNG infrastructure to bring the gas to China.[4]

The Qatar side of the Persian Gulf, called North Field, contains the world’s third largest known natural gas reserves behind Russia and Iran.

In July 2011, the governments of Syria, Iran and Iraq signed an historic gas pipeline energy agreement which went largely unnoticed in the midst of the NATO-Saudi-Qatari war to remove Assad. The pipeline, envisioned to cost $10 billion and take three years to complete, would run from the Iranian Port Assalouyeh near the South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf, to Damascus in Syria via Iraq territory. The agreement would make Syria the center of assembly and production in conjunction with the reserves of Lebanon. This is a geopolitically strategic space that geographically opens for the first time, extending from Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.[5] As Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar put it, “The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline - if it's ever built - would solidify a predominantly Shi'ite axis through an economic, steel umbilical cord.”[6]

Shortly after signing with Iran and Iraq, on August 16, 2011, Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian Ministry of Oil announced the discovery of a gas well in the Area of Qarah in the Central Region of Syria near Homs. Gazprom, with Assad in power, would be a major investor or operator of the new gas fields in Syria. [7] Iran ultimately plans to extend the pipeline from Damascus to Lebanon’s Mediterranean port where it would be delivered to the huge EU market. Syria would buy Iranian gas along with a current Iraqi agreement to buy Iranian gas from Iran’s part of South Pars field.[8]

Qatar, today the world’s largest exporter of LNG, largely to Asia, wants the same EU market that Iran and Syria eye. For that, they would build pipelines to the Mediterranean. Here is where getting rid of the pro-Iran Assad is essential. In 2009 Qatar approached Bashar al-Assad to propose construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar’s north Field through Syria on to Turkey and to the EU. Assad refused, citing Syria’s long friendly relations with Russia and Gazprom. That refusal combined with the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline agreement in 2011 ignited the full-scale Saudi and Qatari assault on Assad’s power, financing al Qaeda terrorists, recruits of Jihadist fanatics willing to kill Alawite and Shi’ite “infidels” for $100 a month and a Kalishnikov. The Washington neo-conservative warhawks in and around the Obama White House, along with their allies in the right-wing Netanyahu government, were cheering from the bleachers as Syria went up in flames after spring 2011.

Today the US-backed wars in Ukraine and in Syria are but two fronts in the same strategic war to cripple Russia and China and to rupture any Eurasian counter-pole to a US-controlled New World Order. In each, control of energy pipelines, this time primarily of natural gas pipelines—from Russia to the EU via Ukraine and from Iran and Syria to the EU via Syria—is the strategic goal. The true aim of the US and Israel backed ISIS is to give the pretext for bombing Assad’s vital grain silos and oil refineries to cripple the economy in preparation for a “Ghaddafi-”style elimination of Russia and China and Iran-ally Bashar al-Assad.

In a narrow sense, as Washington neo-conservatives see it, who controls Syria could control the Middle East. And from Syria, gateway to Asia, he will hold the key to Russia House, as well as that of China via the Silk Road.

Religious wars have historically been the most savage of all wars and this one is no exception, especially when trillions of dollars in oil and gas revenues are at stake. Why is the secret Kerry-Abdullah deal on Syria reached on September 11 stupid? Because the brilliant tacticians in Washington and Riyadh and Doha and to an extent in Ankara are unable to look at the interconnectedness of all the dis-order and destruction they foment, to look beyond their visions of control of the oil and gas flows as the basis of their illegitimate power. They are planting the seeds of their own destruction in the end.

# # # #

F. William Engdahl, BFP contributing Author & Analyst
William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order. He is a contributing author at BFP and may be contacted through his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net where this article was originally published.

<Endnotes:


[1] M. Rochan, Crude Oil Drops Amid Global Demand Concerns, IB Times, October 11, 2014     http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/crude-oil-drops-amid-global-demand-concerns-1469524

[2] Nihan Cabbaroglu, Saudi Arabia to pressure Russia Iran with price of oil, 10 October 2014, Turkish Anadolu Agency, http://www.aa.com.tr/en/economy/402343--saudi-arabia-to-pressure-russia-iran-with-price-of-oil

[3] Adam Entous and Julian E. Barnes, Deal With Saudis Paved Way for Syrian Airstrikes: Talks With Saudi Arabia Were Linchpin in U.S. Efforts to Get Arab States Into Fight Against Islamic State, Wall Street Journal, September. 24, 2014, http://online.wsj.com/articles/deal-with-saudis-paved-way-for-syrian-airstrikes-1411605329?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTTopStories

[4] POGC, North Pars Gas Field, Pars Oil and Gas Company website, http://www.pogc.ir/NorthParsGasField/tabid/155/Default.aspx

[5] Imad Fawzi Shueibi , War Over Gas--Struggle over the Middle East: Gas Ranks First, 17 April, 2012. http://www.voltairenet.org/article173718.html

[6] Pepe Escobar, Why Qatar Wants to Invade Syria, Asia Times, September 27, 2012, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32576.htm

[7] Ibid.

[8] F. William Engdahl, Syria Turkey Israel and the Greater Middle East Energy War, Global Research, October 11, 2012, http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-turkey-israel-and-the-greater-middle-east-energy-war/5307902

 

 

Obama Buggers Europe: Sanctions Deepen the Recession

Washington’s militarist imperial policies undermine Europe economically & destabilize the rest of the world militarily

The Obama Administration actively pressured Europe to impose harsh sanctions on Russia in order to defend the violent takeover (‘regime change’) in the Ukraine. England, France, Germany and the rest of the European regimes gave in to Washington’s demands.

Russia responded by imposing reciprocal sanctions, especially on agriculture goods, and is establishing alternative trading partners and increasing trade with China, Iran, Latin America and Africa.

The sanctions policies occur at a time when Europe’s economies are in deep economic crisis, exacerbating long-term stagnation and chronic recession. This paper will identify and analyze the crisis and how US-led sanctions policy is fracturing the European Union. Secondly, we will analyze how Washington’s militarist imperial policies undermine Europe economically and destabilize the rest of the world militarily. Thirdly, we will discuss how the European leaders are prodded by Washington, to put it crudely, through an aggressive ‘buggering process’, to surrender their economic sovereignty and how capitulation to the US project in the Ukraine will lead to their long-term decline and decay. Finally, we will discuss the long-term perspectives for a re-aligned world economy where military conflicts can result in large-scale changes.

From Stagnation to Recession from Sanctions to Depression

Across Europe, without exception, recession stalks the economies. The dominant countries, Germany, France and Italy are mired in recession, acutely exacerbated by the sanctions against Russia dictated from Washington. From Nordic Finland, passing through the Baltic States to Central and Southern Europe, the Eurozone ‘recovery’ is ‘kaput’! The ‘triple whammy’ of capitalist disinvestment, economic sanctions and wars has provoked a deepening economic crisis.

Germany: Regime ‘Lick-Spittle’ Scares Industry and Financial Sectors

The German financial market’s confidence is collapsing as a result of Chancellor Merkel’s support for economic sanctions against Russia and President Putin’s reciprocal response. Several hundred thousand German industrial jobs are at risk; imports of Russian oil and gas are in danger; large-scale, long-term German investments and lucrative export markets are at stake. These fears and uncertainties have led to declining investment and an unprecedented negative growth of 0.2% in the German economy in the second quarter of 2014. The recession in Germany ripples throughout Europe – especially affecting Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Southern Europe.

Merkel’s servile capitulation to the US President’s command to sanction one of Germany’s major trade partners, Russia, may seriously harm its economic future. Germany’s industrial exports to Russia amount to 36 billion Euros; there are 20 billion Euros in annual investments; and over 400,000 German workers are employed in companies exporting to Russia . . . Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens, pointedly argued that “political tensions posed serious risks for Europe’s growth this year and next”. Sales in some sectors are down 15% since June 2014. Germany’s economy was already facing stagnation even before the coup in Kiev . . .but machinery exporters are especially concerned about losing the Russian market because other markets have declined. For example, German sales to Brazil are down nearly 20%.

In addition, German farmers suffer: Export of German meat and meat products to Russia amount to 276 million Euros or 21% of their non-EU exports. German dairy farmers earned $160 million Euros from trade with Russia, 14% of total exports to non-EU countries.

Merkel knowingly sacrificed German industry, agriculture and employment by submitting to Obama’s policy of ‘buggering his European allies’. On the other hand, Obama’s sanctions against Russia have virtually no impact on US economic interests. Only the Europeans will feel the pinch. Merkel’s support for the US-NATO coup in Kiev and the ongoing military assault against the anti-coup democrats in Eastern Ukraine is leading to a revival of the Cold War confrontational policies toward Russia, and has alienated the majority of German producers and exporters as well as the German public.

Italy: Capitalist Crises and Sanctions

Italy is stuck in a half decade of profound recession continuing throughout 2014. Its GDP fell by 0.2% in the second quarter, bringing the GDP below the level in the year 2000! The sanctions against Russia have cost Italy over $1 billion in lost exports, hitting Northern Italy most acutely and provoking the ire of the conservative Northern League. Big Italian energy companies, with major investments in Russia, face even bigger losses. Italian farmers, from Tuscany to Sicily, are experiencing major losses in agricultural exports. In other words, with sanctions Italy’s chronic sick economy has lost any chance for recovery and will likely pass from recession into depression.

France: From Zero Growth to Recession

France has entered a period of perpetual regression: Unemployment exceeds 11%, underemployment and ‘make work’ exceeds 20% . . . GDP hovers at recession levels, between zero and 0.5% . . . Austerity, involving large-scale cuts in social programs and tax write-offs for business, has eroded consumer spending without increasing capitalist investment. And Obama’s sanctions against Russia will further damage French exporters, especially its agricultural sector and weapons manufacturers. And ‘Hyper-Militarist-Socialist’ President Hollande has exacerbated France’s balance of payments and budget problems by sending the air force and ground troops to intervene on three continents. This has caused over 82% of French voters to choose alternative parties, propelling the nationalist right party, National Front, to the lead.

The ‘Backside of Europe’: Spain, Greece and Portugal

Deeply buried in a near decade-long depression with unemployment ranging from 26% in Greece and Spain to 16% in Portugal, Russia’s reciprocal sanctions against agricultural exports has hit their agro-export sectors most severely, causing mountains of grapes, tomatoes and other perishables to rot in the fields. Tons of Southern Europe’s produce will end up as compost. Tens of thousands of farmers face even greater problems and more will be forced into bankruptcy because of Washington’s dictates.

Spanish farmers stand to lose 158 million Euros from the sanctions against their fresh fruit and nuts, or 22% of their total exports to non-EU countries; Greek farmers will lose 107 million Euros, 41% of exports to non-EU countries. Spanish meat exporters will lose 111 million Euros or 13% of their non-EU markets.

The European Union, for its part, offers meager relief – expecting thousands of hard-pressed farmers to submit to Obama’s demands. In the meantime, as Russia establishes alternative markets in Latin America, the EU has sent its emissaries overseas to beg the Latin American governments to reject multi-billion dollar agro-business deals with Russia and comply with the US-EU sanctions. So far, every country in Latin America has rejected the EU’s ‘charm’ offensive. Ecuadorean President Correa heaped scorn on the EU: “We do not have to ask anyone’s permission to export to friendly nations. As far as I know, Latin America is not part of the European Union”. Egypt and Turkey are stepping in to replace the farmers of Europe and the US by exporting their agricultural produce to Russia.

Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Denmark and the Netherlands

Hungary’s President Viktor Orban rages at the sanctions and threatens to break ranks, as Budapest tallies up its losses in exports, and the threat to its energy-dependent country. Bulgaria’s compliant President caved into Brussels’ pressure and reneged on a $40 billion dollar pipeline deal signed between Russia and local Bulgarian business leaders precipitating a major banking crisis and the collapse of its second largest bank – Corbank. The deposits of hundreds of thousands of Bulgarians were frozen or just disappeared. When Brussels buggers the Bulgarians, they bankrupt their own banks.

Finland, once the poster-child of the ‘Third Way’ ideologues, is in a long-term depression. Its economy has shrunk for the past 4 consecutive years and even regime optimists estimate that they will need 10 years to recover. Finnish Prime Minister, Alex Stubbs, a free market ideologue, is a staunch supporter of sanctions against Russia although these will drastically cut into agricultural exports (dairy goods, meat, fish, etc.). Stubbs defends his catastrophic capitulation to NATO’s power grab in the Kiev by proclaiming that “our principles (sic) are not for sale; we believe in international institutions; we believe in the rule of law”.

Finland, under its ‘law-abiding’ President, will lose at least 253 million Euros this year or 68% of its exports to non-EU countries. In other words this political marionette has sacrificed the welfare of hundreds of thousands of Finnish dairy farmers and growers to support a NATO-imposed regime in Kiev, which has been sending units of neo-Nazis to slaughter Ukrainian resistance fighters and civilians.

Poland’s billion dollar agricultural export trade with Russia has collapsed, causing Warsaw to beg Washington and Brussels for emergency subsidies and pleading with the apple-exporting Americans to ‘eat Polish apples’. Polish fruit growers will lose 317 million Euros in sales or 61% of their exports to non-EU countries. Their meat exporters will lose 162 million Euros, 20% of its trade with non-EU countries. Dairy farmers will lose 142 million Euros, 32% of exports to non-EU countries.

The Poles, who at every turn have assumed the most reactionary Russophobic posture and were deeply implicated in organizing and training the neo-fascist gangs which overthrew the elected Ukraine government, are now pushing carts down the streets of Warsaw peddling apples and sausages, instead of stocking the supermarket shelves of Russia – and whining that New Yorkers should forsake Upstate apples to take up the slack!

Lithuania will lose 308 million Euros in fresh fruit exports to Russia or 81% of their exports to non-EU countries; dairy farmers will lose 161 million Euros in sales or 74% of non-EU exports. Denmark and Holland will lose over 800 million Euros in agro-exports to Russia –deepening their recession.

Conclusion

While the ever-persuasive con-man in Washington, President Obama has buggered EU leaders into pushing their own economies even deeper into recession, so he can launch a new Cold War with Russia, the US plunges deeper into military confrontations in Iraq, Ukraine and Syria. Obama appears to have lost control over military aid programs in the chaos: Netanyahu’s Zionist allies in Congress managed to by-pass the White House and State Department and approve additional shipments of Pentagon arms to Israel, undercutting any administration leverage over the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza.

Japan joins the US-EU sanctions against Russia exacerbating its own economic crisis: In 2014 Japan experienced its worst contraction since 2009, with a 7.1% drop in the second quarter. The increasingly unpopular, Japanese Prime Minister Abe is committed to a military build-up. More Japanese politicians visit Yasukuni Shrine, the militarist temple honoring its war criminals, re-awakening the horrific memories of Imperial Japan’s victims. There are increasingly bellicose Japanese confrontations with China over disputed piles of rock in the South China Sea . . . As Obama’s military pivot to Asia increases, so Japan’s economy sinks.

No European country can benefit from embracing the failed regime in Kiev. . . Ukraine’s currency is in free-fall – ranking below soiled toilet paper. Its major industries, totally dependent on trade with Russia, are bankrupt or have been bombed by the NATO-putsch regime in Kiev. Its agricultural exports are devastated. Meanwhile Ukrainian families are advised to chop their own wood or dig their own coal in anticipation of a winter totally cut off from Russian gas because the oligarchs in Kiev have been unable or unwilling to pay the huge energy debt. . For their staunch support of this bankrupt regime, ruled by a ‘Billionaire Oligarch’ in Kiev, for upholding the ‘principles’ so lauded by Finnish President Stubbs, one million European farmers will bury their own apples, pour their own milk in the streets and dump their grapes, oranges and tomatoes in rotting heaps. . . And this is so their leaders, Obama, Cameron, Merkel and Hollande can uphold their real ‘principles’ of territorial expansion, extend their military operations to the borders with Russia and posture as warriors while destroying their countries productive economies, bankrupting their farmers and manufacturers, driving millions more into unemployment and deepening the pains of recession.

Ukraine will join a growing list of countries, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, that Washington and NATO have “saved” (to paraphrase an American general) . . . by being destroyed.

Once again the US military-driven empire-building policy trumps economic development: Destructive wars and sanctions destroy viable markets and impoverish entire sectors of the economy. Imposing sanctions abroad invites retaliation – the boomerang effect cripples domestic producers. As world trade and investment shrink, internal stagnation becomes endemic, recessions deepen and recovery becomes a distant chimera. The financial press, the Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times, which have become megaphones for the western warlords, no longer publish paeans to the free market but unleash vitriolic screeds crying for war and sanctions….. which close markets and destroy investor confidence.

Buggered by Obama, European bootlickers bankrupt their own economies and then pass around the begging cup.

Italy faces the reality of a decade of stagnation.

Portugal’s economy crashes and crawls.

Germany’s manufacturing machinery grinds to a halt.

Finland’s ‘principled’ brown-nosing boomerangs.

England is converted into a money-laundering bankers’ city-state where one-third of its children live in poverty.

Poland consumes itself, drunk with weapons and rotting apples.

In a word, by submitting to Washington’s doctrine of permanent wars, Europe eschews the only road out of permanent crisis: peaceful co-existence. The mega-buggers in Washington and the bootlickers in Europe have chosen sanctions over trade and destruction over prosperity. They are paying a price: domestic unrest, displacement from markets by emerging economies and the ascendancy of chaos as a way of life in Western Europe.

# # # #

Professor James Petras, Boiling Frogs Post contributing analyst, is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has a long history of commitment to social justice, working in particular with the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement for 11 years. He writes a monthly column for the Mexican newspaper, La Jornada, and previously, for the Spanish daily, El Mundo. Dr. Petras received his B.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. You can visit his website here.

BFP Exclusive- “The EU and IMF Rape of Ukraine Agriculture”

Ukraine’s rogue regime lifts the ban on sale of farm land and to open its rich agriculture to Monsanto, DuPont & the GMO agribusiness cartel.

The Washington-orchestrated destruction of everything of possible value in Ukraine continues with a vengeance. On top of the deliberate ethnic cleansing of Russian-speaking citizens of the Donbass in eastern Ukraine by the psychopaths in Kiev, now the brutal dictates of the US-led International Monetary Fund (IMF) is forcing one of the world’s most precious agriculture regions into the hands of Monsanto and western agribusiness.

It is useful to recall that the ostensible trigger for the months’-long Maidan Square opposition protests against the Yanukovich government that began in November 2013 was the decision by Yanukovich to reject an EU Association Agreement. That EU agreement was tied to a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Instead of the EU and IMF deal, Yanukovich choose a Russian aid package worth $15 billion plus a 33% discount on Russian natural gas and Ukrainian membership in the emerging Eurasian Economic Union with Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

The stakes for Ukraine were far more that an apparent couple of billion dollars difference, however. Here the details of the IMF loan “conditionalities” are vital to understand why Yanukovich rightly said no. When allegedly NATO-trained snipers opened fire on Maidan Square peaceful protesters as well as state police, killing many, the ensuing panic led to the flight of Yanukovich and installation of the exact government the US State Department Assistant Secretary for Eastern Europe, Victoria “Fuck the EU” Nuland told her Kiev US Ambassador she wanted. The key Prime Minister post, as she demanded, went to a former finance minister friendly to the US and the IMF, Arseny Yatsenyuk, whom she affectionately referred to as “Yats.”

Within a week after Yatsenyuk took over, the IMF sent a rush mission to Kiev to  confirm if the new government was ready to go with the IMF conditions of the $17 billion loan. The answer was a resounding Yes! IMF European Department Director Reza Moghadam declared at the end of this visit that he was “positively impressed with the authorities’ determination, sense of responsibility and commitment to an agenda of economic reform and transparency.”

On May 22, the American President of the World Bank in Washington, Jim Yong Kim, announced a $3.5 billion Ukraine aid package. Jim Yong Kim praised the Yatsenyuk government for its “comprehensive program of reforms, which they are committed to undertake with support from the World Bank Group.” [i]

Raping Ukraine Agriculture

The IMF major focus is on “opening up” Ukraine’s agriculture riches to takeover by US and EU agribusiness giants, above all, Monsanto and DuPont, the world’s largest purveyors of GMO seeds.

On May 27, 2014, the New York Times revealed the truth about the “generous” IMF credit. True to the saying, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch” Ukraine has to pay and pay dearly. The New York Times revealed that “Western interests

are pressing for change; big multinationals have expressed tentative interest in Ukrainian agriculture.” The Times further revealed how the reforms of the Ukrainian economy and particularly of its agricultural sector that were tied to

the $17 billion IMF deal sought to “bolster the confidence of foreign investors” by addressing the Ukrainian agricultural sector’s “red tape and inefficiencies.”

Even in 2012, when then-President Yanukovich rejected the IMF and World Bank Conditionalities as too burdensome, the World Bank began a program to expand agribusiness in Ukraine through the International Financial Corporation (IFC), its private sector arm. The IFC established the Ukraine Investment Climate

Advisory Services Project to enhance the investment climate specifically for agribusiness. The project proposes to improve the agricultural business environment by “streamlining or eliminating 58 different procedures and practices by 2015.” Among the IFC demands were that Ukraine “delete provisions regarding mandatory certification of food in the listed laws of Ukraine and Government decree,” and harmonize its laws with international standards around pesticides, additives, and flavoring, to avoid “unnecessary cost for businesses.” [ii] Those are presumably now being implemented under the pro-IMF Yatsenyuk government, eliminating any governmental food safety certification, allowing free use of pesticides and herbicides and food additives like MSG.

Historically Ukraine has been known as the “Breadbasket of Europe.” According to a 2013 forecast by the US Department of Agriculture, Ukraine was poised (before the Washington-instigated February Coup) to become the world's second biggest grain exporter in the world after the US. It shipped over 30 million tons of grain out of the country last year.[iii]

Ukraine still holds some of the world’s richest black top soil. Ukraine’s vast agricultural lands, mostly in the western part, made it before the crisis the world’s third largest exporter of corn and cotton, fifth largest exporter of wheat, and largest grower of sunflowers for oil. Its rich soil gives high yields of grains and cereals. Until recently Ukrainian law has largely blocked private ownership of farmland. Ukrainian law also banned planting of GMO seeds.

EU lifts GMO Ban

Virtually blacked out of the European and Western media is a clause in the terms of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. Article 404 of the EU agreement relates to agriculture. It includes a clause that has generally gone unnoticed: it indicates, among other things, that both parties will cooperate to extend the use of biotechnologies.[iv] Biotechnology is the Monsanto euphemism for Genetically Manipulated Organisms (GMO). The official text of Article 404 of the EU Association Agreement Ukraine signed reads: “AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT, ARTICLE 404: Cooperation between the Parties in the field of agriculture and rural development shall cover, inter alia, the following areas:…

(c) promoting modern and sustainable agricultural production, respectful of the environment and of animal welfare, including extension of the use of organic production methods and the use of biotechnologies, inter alia, through the implementation of best practices in those fields.” [v]

In short, Ukraine’s rogue regime has already agreed to lift the ban on sale of farm land and to open its rich agriculture to Monsanto, DuPont and the GMO agribusiness cartel. That spells devastating implications for the possibility to keep the EU relatively GMO free.

The big US grain and seed companies are already crawling over Ukraine, even before the February coup. Wall Street investment banker Michael Cox, head of research at Piper Jaffray recently wrote that today Ukraine is one of the “most promising growth markets for…seed producers Monsanto and DuPont."[vi]

Monsanto has been active in allegedly non-GMO areas in Ukraine for several years. Already in May 2013, Monsanto, now the world's largest seed company, unveiled plans to launch a “non-GMO” corn seed plant in Vinnytsya in western Ukraine. Vitaliy Fedchuk, in Corporate Affairs at Monsanto Ukraine, told Reuters, "The seeds will be for the Ukrainian market and for export."

That announcement was before Ukraine agreed to the EU Article 404 to allow GMOs and with the IMF to open land sales of agriculture lands to private investors. Around the same time DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred, another of the major GMO seeds companies announced construction of a $40 million seeds plant in Poltova in central Ukraine to produce seeds of maize, sunflower and rape. The name of the plant is «Stasi Seeds Pioneer Hi-Bred». They have also not declared if they will produce GMO seeds in the plant.

# # # #

F. William Engdahl, BFP contributing Author & Analyst
William Engdahl is author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics in the New World Order. He is a contributing author at BFP and may be contacted through his website at www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net where this article was originally published.

 


[i] Jettie Word, Alice Martin-Prével, and Frédéric Mousseau, Walking on the West Side: The World Bank and the IMF in the Ukraine Conflict, The Oakland Institute, July 28, 2014, accessed in  http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/walking-west-side-world-bank-and-imf-ukraine-conflict.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Kanya DAlmeda, Is Europe’s Breadbasket Up for Grabs?, IPS, July 30, 2014, accessed in http://www.globalissues.org/news/2014/07/30/19828.

[iv] Jettie Word, et al, Op. Cit.

[v] European Union, EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, TITLE V: ECONOMIC AND SECTOR COOPERATION, Article 404, accessed in http://eeas.europa.eu/ukraine/pdf/6_ua_title_v_economic_and_sector_cooperation_en.pdf

[vi] Jettie Word, et al, Op. Cit.

 

In The West Respect for Truth No Longer Exists

The home of Satan’s lies where truth is prohibited and war is the end game

The Western media have proved for all to see that the Western media comprises either a collection of ignorant and incompetent fools or a whorehouse that sells war for money.

The Western media fell in step with Washington and blamed the downed Malaysian airliner on Russia. No evidence was provided. In its place the media used constant repetition. Washington withheld the evidence that proved that Kiev was responsible. The media’s purpose was not to tell the truth, but to demonize Russia.

Now we have the media story of the armored Russian column that allegedly crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces that ISIS would eliminate in a few minutes. British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The disreputable BBC hyped the story without investigating. The German media, including Die Welt, blared the story throughout Germany without concern at the absence of any evidence. Reuters news agency, also with no investigation, spread the story. Readers tell me that CNN has been broadcasting the fake story 24/7. Although I cannot stand to watch it, I suspect Fox “news” has also been riding this lame horse hard. Readers tell me that my former newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, which has fallen so low as to be unreadable, also spread the false story. I hope they are wrong. One hates to see the complete despoliation of one’s former habitat.

The media story is preposterous for a number of reasons that should be obvious to a normal person.

The first reason is that the Russian government has made it completely clear that its purpose is to de-escalate the situation. When other former Russian territories that are part of present day Ukraine followed Crimea, voted their independence and requested reunification with Russia, President Putin refused. To underline his de-escalation, President Putin asked the Russian Duma to rescind his authority to intervene militarily in Ukraine in behalf of the former Russian provinces. As the Russian government, unlike Washington or EU governments, stresses legality and the rule of law, Russian military forces would not be sent into Ukraine prior to the Duma renewing Putin’s authority so to do.

The second reason the story is obviously false is that if the Russian government decides to invade Ukraine, Russia would not send in one small armored group unprotected by air cover or other forces. If Russia invades Ukraine, it will be with a force capable of rolling up the rag-tag Ukrainian forces, most of which are semi-private militias organized by nazis. The “war” would last a few hours, after which Ukraine would be in Russia’s hands where it resided for hundreds of years prior to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and Washington’s successful efforts in 1991 to take advantage of Russian weakness to break apart the constituent provinces of Russia herself.

The third reason that the story is obviously false is that not a single Western news organization hyping the story has presented a shred of evidence in its behalf.

What we witness in this fabricated story is the total lack of integrity in the entirety of the Western media.

A story totally devoid of any evidence to support it has been broadcast worldwide. The White House has issued a statement saying that it cannot confirm the story, but nevertheless the White House continues to issue accusations against Russia for which the White House can supply no evidence. Consequently, Western repetition of bald-faced lies has become truth for huge numbers of peoples. As I have emphasized in my columns, these Western lies are dangerous, because they provoke war.

The same group in Washington and the same Western “media” are telling the same kind of lies that were used to justify Washington’s wars in Iraq (weapons of mass destruction), Afghanistan (Taliban = al Qaeda), Syria (use of chemical weapons), Libya (an assortment of ridiculous charges), and the ongoing US military murders in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The city upon the hill, the light unto the world, the home of the exceptional, indispensable people is the home of Satan’s lies where truth is prohibited and war is the end game.

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Paul Craig Roberts, Boiling Frogs Post contributing author, is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has been reporting on executive branch and cases of prosecutorial abuse for two decades. He has written or co-written eight books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and has published many articles in journals of scholarship. Mr. Roberts has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy, and has been a critic of both Democratic and Republican administrations. You can visit his website here.

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