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27 July 2017

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Patrick Armstrong

But note that just as Sack starts on Ukrainian interference in the US election the CNN hairstyle changes the subject.

Chris Chuba

Iran signed a defence cooperation agreement.
This will help Iran's reputation internationally against the drumbeat of '#1 sponsor of terrorism'. It's hard to peddle the narrative that they are destroying Iraq when the Iraqi govt formerly acknowledges them as an ally.

Regarding the Axis of resistance, Russia, China, and Iran, I'm amazed that our foreign policy establishment didn't see that simultaneously needling all three of them wouldn't drive them together. I read articles on how we can drive a wedge between Russia and Iran, or China and Russia linked from realcearworld.com or realcleardefense.com. I know, let's impose sanctions on China if they trade with Iran or Russia and flaunt our naval superiority in the SCS, that'll drive a wedge. Better yet, let's threaten Russia on numerous fronts and condescendingly suggest that if they give up Syria maybe we'll do something in Ukraine or not. These people lack empathy and cannot see past the idea that all nations must bow before the Almighty U.S. It does not serve us well to have sociopaths controlling our foreign policy.

Here is an article by Jon Hellevig on the success of Russia's import substitution.
http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/study-russia-insulated-further-sanctions-import-substitution-success/ri20491
Hmm ... I get nervous because it reminds me of the glowing reports from the bad old USSR days but one thing does ring true and is undeniable. Russian oil production is at an all time high and has been consistently sustained. There is no smoke and mirrors on that front.

Lyttenburgh

Let’s not whitewash al-Maliki and his cronies radical anti-Sunni activity just because they are Shia. Before him Iraq was ruled by the outright puppet PM, namely İbrahim el Aşakir el Caferi, who after wards landed safely his rump into the chair of the foreign minister. El Cageri comes from the old and influential Shia family from Kerbela. Haydar el-İbadi shares with him the membership in the anti-Baathist underground – and cushy emigration. The only difference between the two: el-Ibadi ran to the UK, while el-Caferi chose Tehran, and relocated to the Misty Albion only in 1990s, which explains why one had shorter career than another.

No matter how much handouts Sunnis (and Kurds, for that matter) received from al-Maliki and the gang, they’ve lost the control of the key governmental positions and the military seemingly overnight. And what did al-Maliki and El Cageri up to after the occupation? Since 2005 they began creating Shia militia “Haşdi Şabi”, who distinguished themselves rather poorly during the Mosul’s siege.

Have you read the following relevant article in the New Republic? (https://newrepublic.com/article/135682/stolen-war?utm_content=buffer6c6f2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer). Examples of the state corruption – perpetrated by Nuri al-Maliki and people close him – are so fantastic, that puts to shame even what transpires in the Ukraine now. How about $130 mln that ought to be spent on the weapons purchase for the Ministry of Defense which simply went “poof!” under his watch? Or how about that:

“Late last year, well-placed sources tell me, the Pentagon delivered a shipment of new weapons to the Iraqi government, including .50-caliber sniper rifles, which were supposed to be sent to Sunni fighters in Anbar Province. Instead, corrupt officials in the Iraqi ministries of interior and defense sold the arms to ISIS, which is using them to kill Kurdish peshmerga fighters.”

Lyttenburgh

D'uh! Mishiko is obviously out of his (already shallow) depths. He thinks that it is "hanshakable" to flatter the one wearing the Purple in Washington. Little does he know, how often it's more harmful than not...

Anna

On the matter of patriotism, is not it curios that the US Congress at large trusts the national security matters (the alleged "Russian hacking") to a private company led by a Jewish emigre from Russia, while, at the same time, the Congress does not trust the FBI and does not want to hear a word from the U.S. Intelligence Veterans? http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/time_to_reassess_roles_of_guccifer_20_and_russia_in_dnc_hack_20170727
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/was_the_russian_hack_an_inside_job_20170724
What makes Mr. Alperovitch (of the fishy CrowdStrike) a more reliable person in the matters of national security than the honorable professionals with the proven record of loyalty to the US?
PS: Mr. Alperovitch is among the "experts" of the rabidly Russophobic Atlantic Council; the AC enjoys a solid support from Saudis and it includes among its other "experts" the Russophobic ignoramus Eliot Higgins.

John_Frank

fyi On Thursday, the Senate overwhelmingly passed H.R.3364, whose short title is Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The bill includes sanction measures against Russia, Iran and North Korea.

H.R.3364 - Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3364

The House voted on the bill on July 25. The vote was 419 - 3 in favor. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2017/roll413.xml

The Senate vote was 98 - 2. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00175

Prior to news breaking of the Senate vote, the Russian and Finnish Presidents held a joint news conference in Helsinki. A number of questions were asked by the press of both men concerning the Russian sanctions.

Joint news conference with President of Finland Sauli Niinisto
Vladimir Putin and Sauli Niinisto gave a joint news conference following bilateral talks. http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/55175

In response to the bill being passed by both houses of Congress, today at noon, Moscow time, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued the following statement:

28 July 201712:00 - Foreign Ministry’s statement
http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2824435

On July 27, the US Congress passed a new bill on tougher anti-Russia sanctions. This measure is further proof of the Unites States’ extremely hostile foreign policy. Hiding behind its own "exclusiveness", the United States arrogantly ignores the stances and interests of other countries.

It is common knowledge that the Russian Federation has been doing everything in its power to improve bilateral relations, to encourage ties and cooperation with the US on the most pressing issues on the international agenda including fighting terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration, cybercrime, etc. Our understanding has been that we can only solve these global problems if we work together. We believe the majority of people in the world share this approach.

Meanwhile, the United States is using Russia’s alleged interference in its domestic affairs as an absolutely contrived excuse for its persevering and crude campaigns against Russia. This activity contradicts the principles of international law, the UN Charter, WTO regulations and, simply, the common standards of civilised international communication.

The United States continues to pass more unlawful sanctions against Russia, to seize Russia’s diplomatic property, which is formalised in binding bilateral documents, and to deport Russian diplomats. This is clearly a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and generally recognised diplomatic practices.

The adoption of the new sanctions bill is an obvious indication that relations with Russia are in thrall to the political infighting in the United States. Moreover, the new bill sets to a goal to create a dishonest competitive advantage for the US in the global economy through the use of political means. This blackmail aimed at restricting Russia’s cooperation with its foreign partners threatens many countries and international businesses.

Despite Washington’s constant outbursts, we have adhered to responsible and reserved behaviour and have not responded to express provocations until now. However, the latest events confirm that certain circles in the US are fixated on Russophobia and open confrontation with our country.

- Therefore, we suggest our American counterparts bringing the number of diplomatic and technical staff at the US Embassy in Moscow, the consulates general in St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok, into strict correspondence with the number of Russian diplomats and technical staff currently working in the United States, until September 1, 2017. This means that the total number of American diplomatic and consular office employees in the Russian Federation must be reduced to 455 people. In the event of further unilateral action on behalf of US officials to reduce the Russian diplomatic staff in the US, we will respond accordingly.

- Starting August 1, the use of all the storage facilities on Dorozhnaya Street in Moscow and the country house in Serebryany Bor will be suspended from use by the US Embassy.

Russia reserves the right to resort to other measures affecting US’ interests on a basis of reciprocity.

The Russian media is also reporting that:

- Putin approves Foreign Ministry’s statement in response to US sanctions
http://tass.com/politics/958128

- US ambassador expresses strong disappointment with Russian Foreign Ministry’s decision http://tass.com/world/958155

As posted previously, I am of the opinion that passage of what is being called Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act is a mistake and will harm America's national security interests.

Jony Kanuck

Patrick,
Thank you for this fine roundup.
On the subject of 'why the new sanctions': Naked Capitalism (aka Wendy Weber)penned an article last Friday saying the push for sanctions may be in service of Liquified Natural Gas. I haven't done the research to confirm but out here on the left coast of Canada the provincial govt made a big noise about the bright future of LNG exports. When it didn't pan out they put up the price of beer! It was obvious then that LNG (expensive infrastructure)won't pay out unless you can ship to Europe & to create that market you have to lock the Russians out.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/07/latest-russia-sanctions-really-forcing-us-lng-europe.html

DH

re Empress Alexandra and mitochondrial DNA:

"[Prince] Philip is the oldest living great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria. Through his descent from the British royal family, he is in the line of succession to the thrones of the 16 Commonwealth realms.

In July 1993, through mitochondrial DNA analysis of a sample of Prince Philip's blood, British scientists were able to confirm the identity of the remains of several members of Empress Alexandra of Russia's family, more than seventy years after their 1918 massacre by the Bolsheviks. Prince Philip was then one of two living great-grandchildren in the female line of Alexandra's mother, Princess Alice of the United Kingdom, the other being his sister Sophie, who died in 2001." -wiki

SmoothieX12

" Breaking " russian economy was a dream.

Breaking Russia's finances will be the next step.

Babak Makkinejad

Tell them about the palatial houses of Afghans in Washington DC area.

SmoothieX12

The very program of American domination everywhere could only result in the formation of a resistance alliance. It is precisely the actions – arrogant, ignorant, one-sided, short-sighted, over-reaching and... failed – of the neocons and their humanitarian bomber allies that brought this about. The tectonic plates shift; here's this fortnight's collection.

Without being facetious or sarcastic, and being well acquainted with US public education--but Physics, and with it intro to Newtonian Mechanics, does not exists in US public (and some private)school system as a separate subject, being represented by a generic "Science"--a hodge-podge collection of random scientific facts. Often, the Third Law is not a part of world-view of many. Considering generally a catastrophically bad educational (not to be mistaken with "degrees" obtained) and cultural level of neocons across the whole spectrum of geopolitical and military issues, in which they, naturally, consider themselves to be a world-class "scholars", it is of no surprise that they missed on basic physics (and metaphysical essence) of the issue. They continue to think that when you push--it yields.

Seamus Padraig

I heard Alperovitch is actually from Ukraine. However, your overall point still makes sense.

kooshy

“Regarding the Axis of resistance, Russia, China, and Iran, I’m amazed that our foreign policy establishment didn't see that simultaneously needling all three of them wouldn't drive them together."

Chris, IMO the US policy planers believe that any alliance between these three states can only be tactical, in my view they are correct thinking that way. IMO, the reason is non of these three states historically would want to be in a strategic alliance of a kind, they view strategic alliances limits one to maneuver policy. IMO they are correct in thinking that way, they clearly can see Europe and Arab’ torturous alliance with US, and they see US’ compliance with Israel’ muslim region policies, which europeans have to accept and live with in lieu of their own growing muslim population. As far as i can understand Iran's only strategic allies are the Shia communities in MENA.

different clue

Lyttenburgh,

Was the long-since duly-abdicated ex-Czar Nicholas II charged and tried and convicted in a Court of Law for an established and recognized Capital Crime by an established and recognized Court and Legal System? If so, what is the crime he was convicted of? Are there Court Records which tell us what it was?

Patrick Armstrong

Do you need anything more for an alliance than a common enemy? And, if the alliance dissolves after that common enemy has been seen off, so what?

FYI here's an argument that. actually, the Moscow-Beijing axis is very strong indeed. https://thesaker.is/vineyard-of-the-saker-white-paper-the-china-russia-double-helix/comment-page-2/

different clue

Chris Chuba,

I once tried coining a catchy acronym for this "axis of resistance" I tried calling it the COLA . . . for Coalition Of Lawful Authority. As against the GAJ . . . the Global Axis of Jihad.

In Syria for example, the Global Axis of Jihad supports ISIS and the Alphabet Rebels. Whereas the Coalition Of Lawful Authority supports Assad.

Coalition Of Lawful Authority. Things go better with COLA.

different clue

Jony Kanuck,

Inability to sell mass quantities of LNG from North America has kept the price of North American NatGas a little lower than otherwise. This has allowed a partial revival of NatGas-dependent industries and jobs in North America. It has also allowed the partial displacement of coal from the thermal-steam power-plant supply portfolio.

If we build up a robust LNG-export capacity, we can sell off all our NatGas and raise the domestic price, thereby choking off the modest NatGas-dependent industrial recovery. And the faster we get it all pumped, compressed and sold to the foreigner, the sooner we can run out.
Then we can all truly become cold and poor.

confusedponderer

Oh come one, Sakashvili is such a special and bright man ... iirc he was once a border police guy in the USSR and did the joyful job of harassing travelers and to search their baggage for whatever.

Amusingly, when Sakashvili, with probably US encourage, tried to 'liberate' (read: conquer) South Ossetia, he failed quite miserably in face of well trained, well armed, well led and well prepared Russian troops (Spetznatz, airborne units, guards units etc.) there. To be short, Georgia's army was defeated hardly and very clearly by Russia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russo-Georgian_War

Shakashvili was as Georgian president, a hyper super georgian nationalist, against about anything russian, well, anything but perhaps vodka. What did he have to say about the war?

Well, Shakashvili entertained the rest of the world saying that the war was ... a briliant success for Georgia ... and that the georgian troops would now VICTORIOUSLY, well, ahem, withdraw, ahem, back home and that, despite silly details and rumours, 85% of the troops sent were still alive!

Yes, indeed - what a success! He didn't get them all killed? And had they all been dead, would it only then have been a defeat?

Shaakashvili is pathetic and ridiculous. The lost war in South Ossetia combination with his jokes cost him his re-election and so he prefered to suddenly become a hyper super nationalist ukrainian.

Indeed: Some folks inherit identity, others just choose identity.

The funny thing is that should Shaakashvili come to the US for asylum, he is likely to become a hyper super US nationalist. Who knows, perhaps a hyper super Texan, hyper super Floridan or hyper super Californian?

Kooshy

Yes I do see that, but that's IMO still tactical and will remain that way, limited, focused and based on current positions, there is no obligation to article 5 if it gets triggered.

Kooshy

Don't take me wrong, for the sake of the world, I hope you and Saker are right but IMO, Saker is a bit biased upbeat analyst. Historically (anciently) there are natural alliances between Iran and China which IMO they remain, with no need to be written in a treaty, this alliance is natural due to trade and geography and will remain in place as it has for nearly 3 millenniums. As evidence in China's heavy investments in Iran infra structure specially the roads and rails.Historically Iran is China' only land connection to Mediterranean Sea and N. Africa. Which US dislikes since it believes Med is a US club.

SmoothieX12

i think that has been the focus all along..

This may precipitate even larger changes for Russia both domestically (Russian "liberal" Parnassus exists today only due to Putin's benevolence), such as removing its "economic elite" from power and, of course, internationally--it may seriously put in doubt a reliability of US-controlled global financial institutions. This is not what US economy currently needs, to put it mildly.

wunduk

Saakashvili IS ALREADY in the United States. He addressed his followers in the Ukraine via video link from the US on Thursday following the loss of his Ukrainian citizenship. This citizenship was removed as an administrative matter by th Ukrainian migration authority. He had stated when receiving it that there were "no proceedings" against him in Georgia. Back in February 2015 when he was in Poroshenko's good books, it likely would not have mattered, I guess he could even have stated he was under investigation.

Kooshy

I should also mention, IMO Iranians correctly will never forget the S300 delays as well as Bushehr Nuclear plant delays for a few more generations to come, they also will not forget the 1953 events with north atlantic guys Russia and Iran for now are tactically llied and cooperate in Syria and to an extend in Iraq , that is good and they should. Other than that for Iranian strategist, Russia is a Christian European country which at the end of the day if strategically viable will spend Iran to join European ,IMO that is not the caee with china. The only time i can recall Iran was nominally, tacitly and tactically allied with Europe was when both were against and wanted to contain a Sunni Muslim caliphate, meaning the ottoman empire. I can't be sure if they were or could have been allied in fight against this recent caliphate.

Babak Makkinejad

I think so, clearly much of the NATO Alliane consisted of the states West of the Diocletean Line; this has been a civilizational alliance. Furthermore, the (temporary) co-operation among P5 to destroy NPT in case of Iran did not constitute an alliance.

Babak Makkinejad

Yes, I would agree.
I also think that Iranians have very many more Shia cards to play - in Azerbaijan Republic, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan, in Turkey.

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