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27 August 2014

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Valissa

The beaver,

OK, but meanwhile other relations between Russia and Denmark (and other various EU and western nations) continue as normal. An interesting juxtaposition to "the Fogh of War" Rasmussen's WWE attitude...

Russia to Survey Danish Air Space http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20140825/192304158/Russia-to-Survey-Danish-Air-Space.html
"As part of The Treaty on Open Skies, the Russian Federation plans to conduct an observation flight aboard an An-30B, outfitted with digital surveillance equipment above the territory of the Kingdom of Denmark," Ruslan Shishin said.

Treaty on Open Skies http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_on_Open_Skies

Here's another serious Russian problem brewing on the Danish homefront...

Drop in Russian beer sales hurts Carlsberg http://www.modbee.com/2014/08/20/3495051/eastern-european-woes-weigh-on.html

charly

If Putin plays this reasonable well than he wont only get most of Ukraine but also the removal of Nato in the Balkan. That is why he didn't grab it.

ps. The threat of nuclear war is not the only gift of this clusterf*ck. It also looks like the return of communism. If it wasn't so serious it would be really funny.

rcr4

It's laughable that the USG encourages separatist movements when it suits our purposes, think Kosovo and South Sudan, and then draws the line in the Ukraine because borders in the "borderlands" are sacrosanct.

Haralambos

This is the NYTimes report of the some of the situation and events reporteed by Saker's post: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/28/world/europe/ukraine-russia-novoazovsk-crimea.html?hp&action=clic

pbj

Walrus, all:

After seeing the video / transcript, I could see why Zaharchenko is the new speaker for the DPR. He is pretty good at it.

Anyhow, instead of predicting the future, here are some links for further info.

http://milnewsca.wordpress.com/ukr-news-links/

http://spreadanidea.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/ukraine-war-internet-news-resources/

Babak Makkinejad

There is no substance behind this report. There is snow ball's chance in Hell of Iranian gas being piped to Europe within the next 5 to 15 years.

The political climate for that does not exist - do you seriously believe US and EU sanctions against Iran could be removed within a time frame that could make this prospect real?

Nor is there any reasonable expectation, in my opinion, for the financing for Nabuco to materialize anytime soon.

I think Iran is gone for good into the orbit of China and Russia.

And I think EU leaders understand that.

Charles Dekle

TTG,

Thank you. I love the quote. It fits perfectly with the Air Force program to purchase rocket engines from the Russians. "Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed used the Russian-made RD-180 engine for years on its Atlas V rocket before joining Chicago-based Boeing in the alliance."
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-20/pentagon-asks-air-force-about-russia-rocket-engine.html

It is surreal. Not only do we rely on the Russians to ferry NASA astronauts up and back to the ISS, we rely on them for major components of launch vehicles which carry military satellites into orbit. Of course we get all of our programmable electronics from SE Asia so I suppose this little bit of cognitive dissonance is nothing.

Yep, they do like to strut don'e they. Of course down home we used to say he (Obama) is letting his alligator mouth overload his jaybird butt (cleaned that up a bit).

Regards,

kxd

Babak,

thanks for your reply.

Yes and I doubt Israel would be on board. And of course what Israel says goes.

walrus

Patrick Bahzad:

"This brings me to the actual goal of the fighting: what is at stake for both sides is not winning the war as such, but having a strong bargaining position at the negociation table. Porochenko has always viewed this as the real "prize" in the current battle: silence the rebels or force them to make concessions through defeating them militarily, in order to strengthen his position vis-a-vis Russia during the inevitable settlement he's going to have to reach with his powerful neighbour. "

Patrick what, I think, is in the back of all our minds is the nightmare that there may be no negotiating table this time. Ask the Germans what happened to them at Versailles and in 1944.

To put that another way, your suggestion is also the automatic assumption of the Washington children - that at some point sanctions on Russia and events on the ground in Ukraine will "bring Russia to it's senses", followed by negotiations and a treaty that the West will then break, Nobel peace prizes all round and our Eastward march continues.

What if Putin says "enough"?

charly

I don't think it is not only a political problem but also a physical problem. Building a pipeline takes time.

There is also the problem that making a deal with Iran will make the US extremely mad but if the US is mad at you you could simply make a deal with the Russians

William R. Cumming

Washington and the FP establishment are never wrong even when they are wrong IMO! NO ACCOUTABILITY!

Babak Makkinejad

There is no deal to be had ....

Haralambos

Thank you for this, despite the information overload.

Bandolero

Patrick, charly

Thanks for your thoughts on this. Regarding the cauldron I understand that it is by no means airtight. Last time the rebels managed to get Ukrainian forces into a cauldron, I think about half of those in the cauldron escaped in an ugly run. The other half surrendered to Russia and of those about 20% to 30% are said to have joined the rebels. Naturally, I have no idea whether that figure is true.

I don't think lot's of Ukrainian soldiers will switch sides anytime soon. Most of them are conscripts from western Ukraine, and fighting for indepence of Donbass while their own family is in western Ukraine is not particularly attractive. A big difference can be when they have nobody in western Ukraine or they are mercenaries. For those, joining the seemingly winning side will be likely an option. But the recent successes of the rebels can boost their numbers anyway: I think all over the Slavian world, joining a seemingly winning rebel army will be much more attractive than joining a desperate rag-tag militia.

For the Ukrainian side I guess being onthe receiving end, will bring the opposite, ie problems like even more draft dodging, mercenaries want more money and so on. And the Ukrainian society may become a big problem for the Ukrainian leadership if the Ukrainian forces are losing. I'ld expect things like mass protests, office squatting and so on. German media reported today that several hundred people protested today in Kiev because they think the Ukrainian government is not doing enough to support Ukrainian forces in the cauldron. I guess such protests could intensify if the Ukrainian forces lose more.

I wouldn't veen exclude in such circumstances that another violent "revolution" takes place in Kiev in such circumstance. From what I understand of history, lost wars brought with them revolutions more than once in human history. the question is what would come then? I think a military coup in Kiev may come than, bringing to power former Soviet officers who have quite friendly feelings for Russia in most cases.

Ingolf

Walrus, all


Rasmussen (see also the Beaver's comment at 9:57 AM) appears deeply convinced that NATO must act, and act decisively. His term is coming to an end but if his views are at all representative, the coming summit in Cardiff could be critical.

From the Guardian:

"Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the organisations's summit in Cardiff next week would overcome divisions within the alliance and agree to new deployments on Russia's borders – a move certain to trigger a strong reaction from Moscow."

Rasmussen said:

"We have to face the reality that Russia does not consider Nato a partner. Russia is a nation that unfortunately for the first time since the second world war has grabbed land by force. Obviously we have to adapt to that."

Again from the Guardian:

"Asked whether there would be permanent international deployments under a Nato flag in east Europe, Rasmussen said: "The brief answer is yes. To prevent misunderstanding I use the phrase 'for as long as necessary'. Our eastern allies will be satisfied when they see what is actually in the readiness action plan."

The Beaver noted that any such actions "could provoke a very strong response from Moscow". The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already put out eight tweets on Rasmussen's comments, including:

"#Russia will react to #NATO moves eastwards with a view to ensure its security"

"#NATO is willing to «satisfy» its eastern allies in their phobias. What about fighting real challenges to international security?"

And two that are drolly expressed but I would imagine bitterly felt:

"#Russia and #NATO have had different understanding of 'strategic partnership'"

"It seems that #NATO does not consider #Russia a partner, but rather a 'hostile actor".

https://twitter.com/MFA_Russia

exomike

Alba Etie's comment inspired me to put together a few sourcs for those who might want to catch up on the Ukranian situation.

Most of you of know the Saker

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/

Here is some very good military reporting

http://cassad-eng.livejournal.com/

http://slavyangrad.org/

and a Bonus: Strelkov..., the Poet

http://slavyangrad.org/2014/08/25/a-promise-to-oneself-by-igor-ivanovich-strelkov-1991/

The premise of the articles below may be a bit off but they both contain many of the pertinent facts on the Ukrainian situation.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/obamas-legacy-destroyed-ukraine-policy.html


http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/obamas-legacy-destroyed-ukraine-policy.html

Below: For background the Eurasia Review takes you back several years all the way to the start of the Ukrainian unrest. Along with serious articles it also includes U.S. and U.S. Military propaganda.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/category/news-by-region/europe/eastern-europe/ukraine/

below Economics professor Michael Hudson give you a good idea of the Economic corruption is the Ukraine
.
http://michael-hudson.com/2014/06/ukraines-gangster-state/

charly

With Russia or with Iran?

G. I. Hazeltine

I am wondering what the implications of all of this might be for Iran and the nuclear issue.

Could Iran be rendered immune from non-nuclear attack, given any reasonable calculus?

How good are the S-400 and Yakhonts systems?

Especially in view of the 2002 Millennium Challenge war games, modeling a conflict in the Persian Gulf, General van Ripper of the 'Red' forces, having received an ultimatum to surrender, sank something like 13 U.S. capital ships in 24 hours - using 'asymmetrical methods'. No Yakhonts. Rather non-digital communications via motorcycles and WWII era ship's lights, and attacks mainly via swarms of small-missile armed fast boats. The Millennium Challenge war games were a 250 million dollar exercise which did not anticipate this outcome. The 'games' had to be paused, and the American fleet 'refloated'. van Ripper resigned soon after.

I am no military expert, so I ask: if the Russians were to provide Iran with their most advanced defensive systems, what would be left 'on the table', so to speak, regarding Iran's nuclear program?

Patrick Bahzad

@ Walrus:
I was just stating the mindset of the Ukrainian government, actually more Porochenko and his advisers (because other people in his government have a very different agenda). Now trying to explain what's going on in Porochenko's head is not actually taking sides and defending his point of view. That being said,
I'm sure there are people in Kiev who have fantasies about dictating a peace agreement to the East (and to Russia), but that is definitely not going to happen. Apologies if my MSG gave you the idea I was advocating for such a thing. And Putin already has said "enough", I think his stance is pretty clear, but he also wants a diplomatic settlement of the problem, one that takes into account Russia's legitimate interests and needs.
Besides, everybody in his right mind knows there is no military solution to this conflict. I'm well aware some people have an interest in this war going on, but one shouldnt underestimate the supporters of a "realpolitik" in the EU, in Ukraine itself and in Russia. I can't vouch for the US administration in this regard, because the influence of NeoCons and other propagandists of a new cold war are too strong in your country. And I'm deliberately discounting the Novarossija representatives as they are proxies only and will bow to their masters, when push comes to shove.
The point is basically that the Russian fears and perceptions about an eastward expansion of NATO and a free-trade agreement with the EU, which would both be a serious dent in their own plan of a "Eurasian Union", have to be taken into account. I'm pretty sure senior Western European politics are well aware of this and are willing to accomodate the Russians under certain conditions (i.e.: one could imagine, for example, that they could oppose any integration of Ukraine into NATO for example, just as they did during NATO's Bucharest summit in 2008). And regarding the free-trade agreement that the EU signed with Ukraine, it is a serious issue for Russia, but most of the difficulties are more of a technical nature (trade barriers and tariffs in particular, in conjunction with restructuring of Ukrainian economy which might pose a threat for industrial ties with Russia). The obstacles can be overcome however. They are not a fundamental barrier for the Kremlin, a red line if you will (unlike NATO integration).
You also have to factor in the settlement of Ukraine's internal problems, which means some form of federalization, decentralization, devolution, confederation or whatever solution seems satisfying to the populations concerned (not saying it's gonna be easy, but unavoidable).
So basically, what I'm trying to say is that the main players know what they have to achieve through compromise and negociation (not through dictating their terms and conditions to the other side), but there are powerful groups of interest who have decided to go for a collision course with Russia, for various reasons, and Ukraine is just the Western edge of that "offensive". I should also mention that you have people in Russia, even though much less influential than "extremists" in the West, who have a very nationalistic agenda that perfectly fits this collision course.
So the current situation is a bit like trying to steer the Titanic through a see of icebergs ... So of course, I understand your point about what if there are no negociations, but to finish on a slightly positive note (in the long run), I would focus on the balance of economic power, which pleads for a compromise between at least the EU, Ukraine and Russia. If that can be achieved, and i'm not syaing it will necessarily be the case anytime soon, but if it is achieved, the NeoCons in the US will have lost this battle, because economically, the US-Russia and US-Ukraine trade relations are peanuts compared to volume of trade between EU, Russia and Ukraine. But again, lots of actors could interfere, delay or derail such a process

Patrick Bahzad

Personnally, I discount anything that comes ouf of Rasmussen's mouth as BS. He's a puppet in the hands of his backers, the same people that pushed for war in Iraq, when Rasmussen himself said: "Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think, it is something we know".
So let me say what his masters want him to say, any NATO enlargement has to be agreed to by actual NATO members. What this means for Ukraine, is that this country is NEVER going to be part of NATO, never ! Because the Germans and others perfectly know that this is a red line for the Russians that would put them on possible economic war course with Russia for decades (and potentially actual military war as well).
So forget about Rasmussen and his narrative. NATO is trying to reassure its Eastern members (Baltic States and Poland mainly). They gonna dispatch some troops, bolster defenses, etc. but that's it.
On the other hand, it's true that the climate Rasmussen is trying to conjure is one of a confrontational area with Russia, because NATO needs an new bogeyman now that the war on terror is in a low phase. Mind you, the rise of ISIS might even force Rasmussen to change his tune.

Ingolf


From the "If it weren't so serious . . . " file, here's what "Daniel McAdams, the director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity" said yesterday:

"Whether it was the bogus reports of a column of Russia military vehicles destroyed by Ukrainian forces, or the Russian aid convoy containing military equipment, or yet another Russian 'massing’ of troops on its own borders, Rasmussen comes across as almost psychologically unhinged…This is not the qualities one would hope for in someone leading a multinational military alliance."

http://en.ria.ru/analysis/20140828/192413024/NATO-Chief-Poses-Threat-to-International-Security---Expert.html

pbj

Patrick Bahzad,
Re: Rasmussen and Iraq -- very interesting and good to know. Thanks.

Patrick Bahzad

You're welcome. To add to his disgraceful statement, let me also contextualize it: the Danish Intelligence Services had drafted a report that contradicted Rasmussen's statement regarding WMDs, but he deliberately chose to ignore these findings, while at the same time cherry picking other parts that suited his pro-war stance. Sound familiar ? ...

Babak Makkinejad

with either...

in my opinion...

confusedponderer

What Rassmussen does, irrespective of how wrong what he says is, is setting the tone and agenda for Cardiff.

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