Monday, July 16, 2018

Trump/Putin Press Conference: NO Deal!

Yup, I watched and took notes.
Trump was, surprisingly, diplomatic. Well spoken. Not verbose or brash.
Putin, via a translator, was his usual self. Which means he spoke much as he does, every time I’ve watched/listened to him speak previously-
Putin and Trump were both pragmatic.

Putin spoke of first steps. Fine tuning dialogue.
Apparently the START treaty was discussed. IMF. No weapons in space.
Putin favoured continued cooperation between Russia and US.
Treaty of ‘74 was mentioned wrt Golan 

Which suggests Putin is ok with Syria and Israel maintaining the status quo regarding Golan.
Resolution 338 was also mentioned by Putin 

Putin mentioned North Korea, as well as broaching the p5+1 or JCPOA. He stated Iran became the most controlled nation on the planet. Putin talked trajectory of growth- restoration of cooperation etc

Trump talked about Israel a bit too much.
His first concern when Syria was brought up was for Israel. 

Then for civilians.
His priorities are very clear!
Trump will continue pressuring Iran- No Iranian involvement in Syria
As for Ukraine? - Putin stated Trump made very clear his stance on Crimea. Which was Russia’s annexation illegal. 

Russia doesn’t see it that way. Elections. Referendum and mostly everyone is Russia there anyway.
Trump brought up pipelines transiting Ukraine- Putin said they could work that out that so long as the US genuinely works on the agreement made at Minsk. (Dispute to be settled through Minsk)

I’ve got about 8 small note pages of notes, so above is a brief synopsis of the press conference

Of special interest:  Putin spoke of Bill Browder - Browder being the impetus for the Magnistsky act and all those sanctions against Russia- Putin mentioned how much money he was able to extract from Russia inappropriately- Trump said nothing. 

There was NO agreement regarding Iran or the JCPOA. There was clearly no agreement regarding the Iran issue as it relates to Syria either. There was NO agreement with regard to Crimea. In other words there was NO Grand Deals made! Not that I expected anything like that to actually occur.

Conclusion? Russia and the US remain far apart on a number of very important issues.
HELSINKI, July 16. /TASS/. A meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Donald Trump has been going on for two hours. The two leaders are meeting tete-a-tete behind closed doors, a TASS correspondent reported from the scene.

The Russian and US leaders began the talks with exchanging brief greetings. The Russian president said he would like to discuss relations between Russia and the US and global issues with the US counterpart. For his part, the US president noted the two countries have "a great opportunity together." "I think we will end up with an extraordinary relationship," he noted.

The one-on-one meeting is expected to continue with the participation of delegation members, and the two leaders will tell reporters about its results at a news conference.

Related Posts

where it was suggested:

There will be no grand deal on Syria, Ukraine or Crimea. 
To my way of thinking all those claims presented by the always managing your perception media have been little more then unadulterated, Grade A, stinking piles of distractionary dung! 

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Brazen Israeli Airstrikes North of Nairab Airport Aleppo, Syria. Warning Turkey?

 Quite the northern locale strike into Syrian territory for Israel- But what else can be expected of Israel? Other then brazen war making activity?
And surely the US was completely aware and on board with this attack, right before the Helsinki summit. I've no doubt of that!
Israel has conducted a rocket strike on Syrian military positions north of Nairab airport in Aleppo, local media reported Sunday night.
The strike by Israeli armed forces on Syrian military position caused material damage, Reuters reported, citing Syrian state media.
Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quotes a military source as saying that Israel had struck Syrian military positions north of the airport in Aleppo. Several reports on social media say that several aircraft took part in the strike, which according to those reports lasted up to 10 minutes.
daily mail

Syrian state media accused Israel of bombing a military position in Aleppo province late Sunday in what would be a rare Israeli attack so far north in the war-ravaged country.
Citing a military source, state news agency SANA said the missile attack hit near a strategic air base.
"The Zionist enemy (Israel)... targeted with its missiles one of our military positions north of the Neirab military airport, but the damage was only material," SANA said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said it had recorded a wave of blasts around Neirab on Sunday night.
"They were caused by a missile attack, suspected to have been carried out by Israel, targeting positions held by Syria's regime and its allies at the Neirab airport and around it," the Britain-based monitor said.
Syrian military positions near Aleppo airport have come under a missile strike, state media reports, blaming Israel for the attack.
The strike targeted “one of our military positions north of the airport in Aleppo,” a military source told the Syrian Arab News Agency, stressing that the damage from the aggression was “limited to material.”
The source denounced the raid as a “desperate attempt to support the defeated terrorist groups” in Daraa and Quneitra, where the Syrian army is actively working to defeat them. Furthermore, the publication accused the IDF of being “directly involved” in raising the morale of militants from al Nusra and other terrorist groups.

So. I'm making a pot of sage/ lemon balm tea and I'm thinking why so far north in Syria?
And then it hit me! Today is the two year anniversary of the USrael backed coup on Turkey.
Which has me wondering if there is a message to Syria and Turkey, both, with these airstrikes. 

Israel warns Turkey: Stop impeding Israel 2.0 aka Rojova/Kurdistan 

UPDATE July 16/2017:

I checked the location of the Israeli airstrikes- Just north of Nairab Airport in Aleppo- not to far from Aleppo's commercial airport- Wanting to know how close the strikes were to Turkish occupied Syrian territory? Using google maps, the distance to travel from the Nairab airport to Jarabulus is about 50 minutes via car- 

Jarabulus is located on the western banks of the Euphrates- occupied by Turkish forces- Impeding the expansion of Israel 2.0, aka Kurdistan ,in it's desired plan to get to the Mediterranean.
Jarabulus (Arabic: جرابلس‎ / ALA-LC: Jarābulus; Turkish: Cerablus, Aleppo dialect: Jrāblos), is a Syrian city administratively belonging to Aleppo Governorate. Jarabulus, also known as Jerablus, lies on the western bank of the river Euphrates

Turkey marks 2nd anniversary of thwarting violent coup- Today July 15/18
With prayers and other events, Turkey on Sunday commemorated the second anniversary of thwarting a coup against the Turkish president and the government that left nearly 290 people dead and hundreds wounded.

Israel is big on anniversary dates. 

Israel wants Israel 2.0 because it's greater Israel, by another name. 

The US is happy to help.

Turkey's holding up the plan.

The date and location of the strike seems designed to message Turkey, Syria, Russia and Iran

Helsinki Dog & Pony Show: Putin/Trump Summit

My thoughts?

 Like any/every other dog and pony show this alleged summit is going to be all show and no substance at all!

The NGO's will steal the day.  They've got protests all ready to go. They'll get the majority of the news coverage. They'll blather on about human rights etc., All of it meaningless of course, but, it's what NGO's exist to do! 

Trump and Putin will be derided. For perception management purposes.

 The idea of Trump 'bull in the china' demeanor is pushed so when the desired war worsens or expands, everyone will go- oh that Trump he's so irrational- He's so erratic
That meme is reinforced constantly. That's not an apology for the man because he does thrive on that concept. However, that is the idea behind the promotion of Trump as a one man wrecking crew.

Contrary to the 'wrecking ball' rhetoric at the most recent NATO summit, reality was, Trump did as every American leader has in the past- He used NATO, as the tool it was designed specifically for,  keeping Germany down and Russia out!
While 'encouraging' the EU to toe the line. The is a classic NATO, led by the US, stance.

Flashback to West Unhinged Over Turkish Referendum
- Keep in mind that NATO was created, as stated by the very first secretary General of NATO General Ismay, "to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down"
From my reading today and yesterday Putin will be in attendance in Helsinki, as will Sergey Lavrov, in hopes of some sort of meeting of the minds. There will be NO meeting of the minds.  Not in a big picture sort of way. There can't be.  Because the US has all sorts of designs on Russia. They've long had a plan to destroy Russia and believe they are closer to this goal. 
If one has this mindset, which the US political class does, nothing can or will be accomplished.

There will be no grand deal on Syria, Ukraine or Crimea.  

To my way of thinking all those claims presented by the always managing your perception media have been little more then unadulterated, Grade A, stinking piles of distractionary dung!  

 If any type of  grand deal is made. Which is highly doubtful.
 It will be reneged on in short order 
As mentioned in- RAND: Time To Make A Deal on Syria? Like Pompeo's Offer To Iran? 

Small arrangements may be made. Deals worked out? Like giving a free pass for Usrael's terrorists aka 'white helmets' Reportedly discussed at the recent NATO meeting.
West Scrambling to Find Options to Pull White Helmets Out of Syria – Reports

Several NATO countries have discussed the possibility of evacuating the White Helmets from Syria, specifically from Daraa province, with US President Donald Trump, CBS News reported, citing an anonymous US official. According to the media outlet, western countries are afraid that Damascus could "assassinate" the NGO's members as it advances through Daraa province.
"They are promising no retribution on anyone in the southwest but nobody trusts or believes that," the source told CBS.
Hope to be wrong. Hope that the US and Russia make some real moves towards peacefully resolving a number of on going struggles
But no breath holding for me!

hattip to YaYa for directing me to this interview with Sergey Lavrov. 
He is always excellent. Thoughtful and informed.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Germany is "totally controlled by Russia" Trump Says Regarding Northstream

Ahead of a NATO meeting, the president blasted the German government on Wednesday for backing the new natural gas pipeline link from Russia to Germany.
Cause you German folk are supposed to freeze in the dark! I'm being sarcastic 
In launching the fresh attack against Germany, Trump waded into a long-running debate about energy security that has split the European Union
Germany is 'totally controlled' by Russia, Trump says from CNBC.

Nord Stream 2 is a pipeline project slated to transport natural gas from eastern Russia to northern Germany, where it would link up with infrastructure that carries fuel to Western Europe. It would run 1,200 kilometers, mostly under the Baltic Sea along the existing Nord Stream pipeline: hence the name Nord Stream 2.
Russian gas giant Gazprom is building Nord Stream 2. Five European companies, including Royal Dutch Shell and Wintershall, are shouldering half the cost of financing the project.

Why is Nord Stream 2 controversial?

Some European countries oppose Nord Stream 2, arguing that it increases Europe’s dependence on Russia and poses threats to their national security. The opposition comes primarily from the Baltic states and former Soviet satellite nations, including Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Nord Stream is controversial because the US makes it that way!
There is not one person saying "I don't want heat for my home"

Where does the United States stand?

President Barack Obama opposed Nord Stream 2 and President George W. Bush came out against the original Nord Stream prior to its completion in 2011
That policy has carried over into the Trump administration. 
Hence the controversy

Greece Expels Russian Diplomats at the Behest of Washington


The expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Greece is unfounded and could seriously damage bilateral relations, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Washington… is behind the anti-Russian decision of the government of Greece," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated that the Greek side had provided no justification for the expulsion of the Russian diplomats from Greece, emphasizing that Moscow considers the incident absolutely groundless.
"We consider this action to be absolutely unreasonable, not confirmed by facts from the Greek side, which runs counter to the nature of our bilateral relations and is capable of inflicting serious damage," the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier in July, the newspaper Kathimerini reported that Greece had opted to expel two Russian diplomats and ban two more from entering the country over illegal actions against the country’s national security.
Greece such a good NATO toady

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Trump U.S. Ties to NATO ‘Very Strong’- Condemns Russia

Choosing to intentionally ignore all the white noise (meaningless or distracting commotion, hubbub, or chatter) about the NATO summit and opting instead to cut to the chase ( focus on what is important)  immediately below...

Trump claims victory on NATO Military Spending  & Trump signs a NATO declaration at odds with his own statements- Strongly condemning Russia

Trump at NATO Summit
Despite his attacks on allied countries and his insistence that they should pay much more, Mr. Trump joined 28 other national leaders on Wednesday in signing a NATO declaration that reaffirmed existing commitments, including the 2 percent military spending target.

The 23-page, 79-point NATO declaration, which reflects months of negotiation, censured Russia’s actions in Ukraine in the bluntest terms: “We strongly condemn Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognize.”
Just over a week ago, the president told reporters on Air Force One that he was considering supporting Russia’s claim to Crimea, which it seized in 2014.
The allies agreed to a NATO Readiness Initiative, which would allow the group to assemble a fighting force of 30 land battalions, 30 aircraft squadrons and 30 warships within 30 days. The initiative reflects a “30-30-30-30” plan pushed by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and meant to deter Russian aggression in Europe.
Signing onto a declaration that contrasted sharply with some of his own statements, Mr. Trump left allies and analysts alike a bit off balance.
“I think he feels it’s playing well with his base, fueling this sense of grievance against allies and trading partners, which is how he got elected,” Alexander Vershbow, a former NATO deputy secretary general, said of Mr. Trump in an interview.
Yes, Trump is certainly playing to his base. Fueling their sense of grievance.

Defensenews-Trump departs NATO summit: ‘We are very happy’
WE? Military Industrial Complex?
“The United States commitment to NATO is very strong,” Trump told reporters, checking off one of the key boxes that the allied delegations came here for. On spending, he said, “We are doing numbers like they've never done before.”
After exiting the summit, Trump is set to travel to Scotland today, where he said he would spend time on his golf course while awaiting meetings with U.K. leaders. After that, he is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Looking at all the photos taken at the NATO summit..
There was one national leader, in my opinion, who did look out of place. Who did appear uncomfortable. And ignored. Who appeared an outsider though not one media outlet mentioned it.  It wasn’t Trump. Take a good look at the photo.

From yesterday:

RAND: Time To Make A Deal on Syria? Like Pompeo's Offer To Iran?


Pepe Escobar: Eagle Meets Bear Summit- No Takfiri Left Behind


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

RAND: Time To Make A Deal on Syria? Like Pompeo's Offer To Iran?

RAND Military Industrial Complex Linked- Time to make a deal on Syria?

Trump Putin Summit Pending
 “Although U.S. leverage is much diminished by the Assad regime's recent gains, there are still opportunities for Washington and Russia to achieve a settlement that preserves some U.S. interests”

I was thinking just that with regard to the southern front- The US had just lost some leverage in any negotiations- But was it worth giving up on the southern front to gain in the north east?

“The Kremlin does not want to continue its air campaign in Syria indefinitely in support of an outcome that mainly serves the interests of Assad and Iran. Russia could therefore be expected to support a political settlement that meets its bottom line: no regime change in Damascus and no permanent U.S. military presence in Syria.”

Assuming that was Russia’s bottom line? Pay attention to the mention of  what constitutes “no permanent” US military presence.  I’ll highlight it.

 “Many in Moscow (??) would prefer this outcome to helping the Syrian military and the Iranians brutally recapture all rebel-held areas. Indeed, if Russia enabled Assad to reconquer the entire country, Moscow would actually lose some leverage with the Assad regime by making its continued support less critical”
 Very doubtful that Russia would lose leverage in Syria if Assad took all of the territory back- for the plainly obvious reason that Russia had leverage or favourable relations when Syria held all her territory! Prior to the destabilization.

“For the Trump administration, such a settlement would hardly be a major concession. And such a deal could also deliver on Washington's bottom line — preventing the re-emergence of the Islamic State and denying Iran a free hand to expand its influence in the Middle East”
Of course it's not a major concession. Since Syria and Russia were the biggest threat to ISIS and the US their biggest supporters, alongside Israel, if the US actually, truly, really leaves ISIS wouldn’t be an issue.  If the goal was to establish and maintain an autonomous armed territory within Syria where's there any concession?Answer- there won't be because, of course, the US  offer of withdrawal would be ‘conditional’

“But if it wants to succeed, the administration should condition any future withdrawal from eastern Syria on Russian commitments to constrain Iranian influence in Syria”

Which, it can be assumed with confidence, Russia could never make adequate commitments to constrain Iran- in the eyes of Usrael. Doomed to fail. Like the P5+1

“Despite these challenges, there is every reason to test the proposition that Russia would be open to a deal that ends the bloodshed, preserves some autonomy for eastern Syria, prevents the country from falling fully under Iranian control, and allows for continued counterterrorism efforts against the Islamic State. If Trump can convince Putin to commit to such an arrangement at their summit, it would be a major accomplishment.”
Yes, it would be quite a major accomplishment- It would guarantee the US and Israel everything they've striven for!
Preserving some autonomy for eastern Syria- where the US has ‘some’ bases. 
Actually anywhere from 12-15 bases. With a minimum of 2,000 coalition forces ensconced within.  
Allowing the US to continue counter terrorism efforts? This is a compromise?  
This constitutes no permanent military occupation? This is the status quo! 
How is this deal making? Which would require actual concessions. 
This sounds like a replay of Iraq- And that didn’t work out so well for Iraq.
If this is the best the US has to offer, it’s not a good deal for Syria or Russia. Or Turkey. Nor Iran.

 Related to:

Pepe Escobar: Eagle Meets Bear Summit- No Takfiri Left Behind


Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford wrote at the Middle East Institute this week that in Washington, policymakers in the administration plan to retain the Tanf base.

For now, the American- supported coalition isn’t budging. The office of the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve responded to a Jerusalem Post inquiry Monday. Although it won’t discuss current operations or divulge troop strength, “What we can tell you is that there has been no recent movement of any significant number of Coalition troops or partner forces into or out of at-Tanf garrison.
I'm really beginning to think that the Trump/Putin summit is going to look a lot like the deal Pompeo offered to Iran. Untenable. Hope to be wrong. But, it's just not looking good.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran on Monday that the US would “crush its proxies”, reimpose sanctions with “full effect” and reject any new nuclear deal if Tehran does not end its regional interference and halt its ballistic missile programme.
Unveiling the Trump administration’s new strategy towards Iran after withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal on May 8, Mr Pompeo listed 12 conditions to reach a new agreement. While four of those demands relate to Iran's nuclear threat, such as providing the UN's nuclear agency with "unqualified access", stopping uranium enrichment and ending the proliferation of ballistic missiles, eight of them are tied to Tehran’s regional behaviour and support for US-designated terror groups.

Of course. ISIS Launches New Offensive on SAA Position in Deir Ezzor (North eastern Syria)
Talk about timing...