Thursday, April 4, 2013

Russian War Games send a Strong Message against NATO Intervention in Syria?

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Is there a connection between events in Syria (maybe even US tension with North Korea) and Russia’s impromptu Black Sea war games that started on March 28, 2013?

While on his way from Durban in South Africa, where the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — announced they were forming a new development bank to challenge the IMF and World Bank, Russia’s Vladimir Putin gave the go ahead for unscheduled war games in the Black Sea. By themselves the games mean little, but in a global context they mean a lot.

According to the Kremlin, the war games involved about 7,000 Russian servicemen; Russian Special Forces, Russian Marines, and airborne rapid deployment troops. All of Russia’s different services were involved and used the exercises to test their interoperability. Over thirty Russian warships based out of the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol in the Crimean Peninsula and the Russian port of Novorossiysk in Krasnodar Krai will be participating. The objective of the games are to show that Russia could mobilize for any event at a moments notice.
                                A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).(RIA Novosti)
 A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).(RIA Novosti)

The war games surprised the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Who even complained the Russian war games started in the Black Sea without prior notice.  (Does NATO own the Black Sea ?)

In fact, NATO asked Russia to be more open about its moves and give NATO Headquarters in Brussels notice of its military movements in the future. (lol)

 Alexander Vershbow, the American Deputy Secretary General of NATO, even demanded “maximum transparency” from Russia. One may ask, why the rattled bones?

Russian response to war plans against the Syrians?

Is it mere coincidence that Russia is flexing its muscles after NATO revealed it was developing contingency plans for a Libya-style intervention in Syria on March 20? Two days later, Israel and Turkey ended their diplomatic row through a timely agreement that was supposedly brokered by US President Barack Obama in twenty minutes while he was visiting Israel. (That was covered in great detail here Israel/Turkey "kiss and makeup" Ominous for Syrian Situation)Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that with Obama’s help a deal was made with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan to end the diplomatic rift over the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

Days later, this event was followed by the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) — a phoney opposition organization constructed by the US, UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — being ceremoniously given Syria’s seat at the Arab League. In what appears to be an attempt at repeating the Libya scenario, the SNC is being recognized as the government of Syria. At the Arab League summit, the SNC’s leader Moaz Al-Khatib immediately called for NATO military intervention in coordination with Qatar’s call for regime change and military intervention in Damascus on March 26.( As mentioned Syrian"opposition" at Arab League. "Requests" US counter SA Airpower)

                     Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib.(AFP Photo / Karim Sahib)

 In a stage-managed move, the puppet SNC has asked the US, UK, France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and NATO to enforce a no-fly zone with the aim of creating a SNC-controlled emirate or enclave in northern Syria. Al-Khatib has announced that he has talked to US Secretary of State John Kerry to use the NATO Patriot Missiles stationed in Turkey to create the no-fly zone over northern Syria. Effectively what he is talking about is the balkanization of Syria. Kerry seems to be on top of it. Victoria Nuland, the spokeswoman of the US Department of State, said the US is considering the request about imposing a no-fly zone. Even earlier, Kerry made a surprise visit to Baghdad and threatened the federal government in Iraq to fall into line with Washington’s regime change plans against Syria. He said he wanted the Iraqis to check Iranian passenger planes heading to Syria for weapons, but much more was said.
The American Empire’s satraps are all on the move. Qatar and Saudi Arabia no longer hide the fact that they are arming and funding the insurgents in Syria. In February, the UK and France lobbied the rest of the European Union to lift its Syrian arms embargo, so that they can openly arm the anti-government foreign fighters and militias that are trying to topple the Syrian government. Israel and Turkey have been forced to mend fences for the sake of the Empire’s war on the Syrians.

Obama realigns Israel and Turkey against Syria

The Israeli and Turkish rapprochement conveniently fits the aligning chessboard. Obama’s visit to Israel was about imperial politics to maintain the American Empire. As two hostile neighbours of Syria, Tel Aviv and Ankara will have deeper cooperation in the Empire’s objectives to topple the Syrian government. All of a sudden, the governments in both countries started complaining in line with one another about how the humanitarian situation in Syria was threatening them. In reality, Israel is not hosting any Syrian refugees (and oppresses Syrians under its occupation in the Golan) whereas Turkey has actually neglected many of its legal and financial obligations to the Syrian refugees it hosts on its territory and has tried to whitewash this by labeling them as foreign “guests.”

According to Agence France-Presse, the Israelis have even opened a military field hospital to help the insurgents topple the Syrian government. (Covered here Israel to set up field hospital to aid 'Syrian' refugees)
The military facility is located in an area named Fortification 105 in Syria’s Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (originally referred to as the Syrian Heights in Israel). It is essentially a support base for anti-government forces and only the tip of the iceberg in regards to Israeli involvement in Syria. Israel’s January strikes on Syria were the fruits of the cooperation between the Israelis and insurgent militias.
Sensing the suspicious eyes gazing at the Turkish government and perhaps getting unnerved by the Kremlin’s muscle flexing, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected the claims that Tel Aviv and Ankara were closing ranks against Syria. Davutoglu must have been unaware of what was said in Israel about their rapprochement. Even though Netanyahu vowed never to apologize for the killing of Turkey’s citizens on the Mavi Marmara, Tel Aviv’s apology to Turkey was publicly justified by the Israeli government on the basis of addressing Syria through coordination with Turkey. Many of the suspicious eyes that turned to look at Erdogan’s government over the deal with Israel are Turkish. Davutoglu actually lied for domestic consumption, knowing full well that the Turkish public would be outraged to know that Prime Minister Erdogan was really normalizing ties with Israel to topple the Syrian government.

The message(s) of the Russian war games

The American Empire is arranging the geopolitical chessboard with is satraps in its ongoing war on Syria. Perhaps it plans on using Israel to do a re-play of the Suez Crisis. In 1956, after Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal, the UK and France drew a plan with Israel to annex the Suez Canal by getting Israel to attack Egypt and then claiming to intervene militarily as concerned parties who wanted to keep the Suez Canal safe and open for international maritime traffic. A new assault against Syria under the banners of the Israelis is possible and could be used as an excuse for a Turkish and NATO “humanitarian invasion” that could result in the creation of a northern humanitarian buffer zone (or a broader war).
A pattern can be depicted from all these events. At the start of 2013, Russia held major naval drills in the Eastern Mediterranean against a backdrop of tension between Moscow and the US-led NATO and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) coalition that has been destabilizing Syria. After the US and its anti-Syrian coalition threatened to intervene militarily and deployed Patriot missiles on Turkey’s southern border with Syria, a Russian naval flotilla was dispatched off the Syrian coast to send a strong message to Washington not to have any ideas of starting another war. In turn, the US and its allies tried to save face by spreading rumours that the Kremlin was preparing to evacuate Russian citizens from Syria, because the Syrian government was going to collapse and the situation was going to get critical.

          A ship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet during large-scale military exercises Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered while flying back from the South African Republic to Moscow. (Screen shot of a video of Zvezda TV channel).(RIA Novosti)

Paralleling the Russian war games in the Black Sea, the Russian Air Force held long-range flights across Russia. This included flights by Russian nuclear strategic bombers. On the other end of Eurasia, China also conducted its own surprise naval war games in the South China Sea. While the US and its allies portrayed the Chinese moves as a threat to Vietnam over disputed territory in the South China Sea, the timing of the naval deployment could be linked to either Syria (or North Korea) and coordinated with Russia to warn the US to keep the international peace.
In a sign of the decline of the American Empire, just before the Russian war games in the Black Sea, all the increasingly assertive BRICS leaders warned the US against any adventurism in Syria and other countries. The Russian and Chinese muscle flexing are messages that tell Washington that Beijing and Moscow are serious and mean what they say. At the same time, these events can be read as signs that the world-system is coming under new management.


  1. Some readers may recall Mahdi in Libya when NATO slaughtered civilians and NATO's Islamist army brutally killed Gaddafi
    And Hillary cackled!
    "We came, we saw, he died"
    Or something equally psychotic

    Certainly an interesting read from Mahdi

    1. those were the words Killery used:

      its been immortalised for future generations, if any, to ponder the moral decline of the US

    2. she is evil, isn't she?
      no doubt about it.
      She actually makes my skin crawl when I am exposed to her
      There is something so 'off' about her

  2. Message to NATO? I hope so Penny. When Russia joined the WTO, I figured they would abandon Syria, 'cause money talks. I'm glad to see they're still supporting Syria. Blunting the force of the corporate oligarchs should be the BRICK nations job 1.

    1. "When Russia joined the WTO, I figured they would abandon Syria"

      Yah, the WTO?
      Yet another useless trade organization

      As for the BRIC's? I know the rhetoric was upped recently
      the war games seemed to shore that talk up.
      BUT, because I am terrified at the prospect of world war... I am hoping for the US/Israel/UK axis of evil to come to their senses..
      However, I am not quite sure that the leadership of those three nations have an senses
      Or morals. Or human qualities.
      I mean Obama got a peace prize
      The EU got a peace prize
      How absurd!
      What kind of perception management are these nutters engaged in?
      Is this really fooling the masses?
      (shakes head and sighs)

    2. Entrance into the WTO is so more important than one quickly ordered drill in the Black Sea. Even more so when one realizes there is no real threat behind the drill (Russia already said they would not use their military to defend Syria).

    3. WWM

      entrance to the WTO can just as quickly become an exit, particularly if the BRICS expand their influence

  3. Saw this & was coming over here to post a link to this, but you're obviously on top of things here.

    Agree with Darius about what the major purpose of the exercise was, & it seemed to have worked. There was a big push by the Washington 'bomb, bombs away' types in the beltway, with McCain & the other lunatics firmly onboard in promoting airstrikes to decapitate the Syrian government & they were starting to be gain traction.
    As soon as the Russian exercises happened most of them suddenly shutup. Nice job by the Russians, & hopefully this will morph into some more countries taking a stand as well as more support for the Syrian government, especially from the Chinese. The Syrians need a lot more help in regards to emergency relief in the basic essentials to keep the government & business community going, and it seems only Iran & Russia have done much of anything in this field. Time for China, Brazil & SA to start adding in some serious support in relief funds for non-military supplies, which is what the Syrians really need.
    Militarily the 'rebels' have lost whatever support they might of had with pretty much any segment of the populace, & you can't win a gurilla war without any popular support no matter how many mercenaries, advanced weaponry & money you throw at them.
    If the Russians can keep NATO out & there is a solid supply of the basic essentials coming in, then the Syrian government will outlast the horrors thrown at it, but relief supplies & support are essential to what kind of society survives.
    Time for the rest of the BRICS to start putting their money where their mouth is & start helping out in medical supplies & basic foodstuffs/raw materials/building supplies.

    1. Hi KenM

      I have to give credit where credit is due..
      My hubby said, hey check this out and I did and... the rest is history
      Mahdi, did plenty of good work in Libya, clearly he put work into this piece
      It's solid. So here is hoping his observation is correct.

      It seems to have worked? But for how long?
      considering the on going financial crisis and bank plunder, war would be a handy distraction for the ptb's
      Then there is always Israel....
      I shudder to think of ww3

    2. What? Washington changed course and the "rebels" have lost military support? Give me a break. What a load. This is farcical on its face.

      You saw how the New York Times admitted that 100s of tons of military supplies are getting through with U.S. support and they are planning a big military push now?

      And how did the U.S. warmongers "shut up"? Isn't McCain making a trip right now to drum up war? Didn't they just run a WMD false flag attack to justify war? Aren't the Russians getting CLOSER to imposing a no fly zone or at least agreeing to some sort of UN intervention (more than they have agreed)?

      The Russians are helping NATO pull off this attack--they're not keeping them out---what a load!

    3. WWM: "What? Washington changed course and the "rebels" have lost military support?"

      Ken M said "Militarily the 'rebels' have lost whatever support they might of had with pretty much any segment of the populace, & you can't win a gurilla war without any popular support"

      WWM: what you are stating and what Ken M is stating are not remotely the same.

    4. I'm quite hopeful about the unified position put out at the BRICS meeting, basically telling the West to back off on the use of military force.

      If it is backed up by further action in offering observers & relief supplies it may be enough to push the opportunists in the EU & US into backing away and leave the hardcore fundamentalists exposed, who would not last long without the constant flow of support provided by US/EU.
      It comes down to China though - if China takes even a slightly stronger position, Brazil, South Africa, Algeria, etc. will likely follow.

      If they don't then Russia & Iran are the only supporters against the horde, & it's probably too big a risk for Russia to go all in without knowing the Chinese are backing them.

      In the case with Yugoslavia when Yeltsin finally woke up briefly from his drunken stupor, the Russians managed to airdrop 2 divisions overnight & gave NATO a heart attack. There was genuine panic in the NATO ranks, but they managed to cut off Russian resupply by getting Romania to turn on them, refusing to grant overfly permission so they could then negotiate from a position of strength, & got pretty much everything they wanted that way.

      Russia faces exactly the same circumstance with Iraq. Even though Iraq is obviously being destabilized by exactly the same crowd with worse obviously to come if Syria falls, they have already shown that the US can twist their arms to get them go against their longterm interests.
      If China comes in, they will likely find a little more backbone.

  4. I'm surprised any well-informed person is fooled by Russia's pretense that it's trying to "warn" the West to stop its attack in Syria. This is a pretty flimsy warning.

    Why didn't Mr. Nazemroaya mention Russia's 5 year military partnership with Israel and Israel's weapons sales to Israel? Or Israel's "briefing" of Russia just before its jets attacked Syria just a few months ago? Why didn't he mention the Israeli and Russian joint military exercises in the Med in 2011?

    There are other extremely significant facts that show Russia is aligning with the West despite the head fake to the contrary: Russia is assisting NATO in its attacks on Mali and Afghanistan (by supplying "non lethal" aid--wink wink--just like Obama is doing in Syria). Russia canceled its most important weapons sales (advanced fighter jets and supersonic missiles) to Iran and Syria (per Israel's instructions, reportedly). Russia joined the WTO just this last summer! Russia let the U.S. abrogate its responsibilities under the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (signed by Reagan and Gorbachev), without nary a complaint. It's now quietly allowed NATO missile defense systems/batteries in its Southern area of influence (Bulgaria, Turkey, etc.) while it made more of a pretense of complaining about proposed installations in Poland. Russia is also supporting the West's wars against terrorism, "piracy" and drugs.

    And Russia has specifically said it won't militarily defend Syria and Putin has referenced Assad as a dead man. Russia is also negotiating a transition government in violation of Syria's sovereignty and publicly meeting with the terrorist "rebel" groups while not not meeting with Assad. Gasprom just signed a hydrocarbon deal with Israeli and Western partners while Syria and Lebanon go begging for partners.

    And why didn't Russia (and China)rule out any UN imposed transition in Syria instead of justifying UN involvement? After supposedly getting punked in Libya, they haven't learned their lesson? I don't think they were naive enough to get punked once yet alone twice--and like the Democrats in the U.S.--the most likely explanation is they intended precisely the outcome they claim to have been tricked into.

    For the life of me I can't understand why more people don't see the significance of the events above. Wasn't the last "message" Russia sent really a little tanker?

    Now the Russian/Chinese bank to rival the IMF and World Bank would indeed be a significant development . . . but these moves have been mostly noise so far so I doubt the sincerity. I would like to see a full breakout of how many hydrocarbon deals are still done in dollars versus done in other currencies or trades.

    1. Hi Walter,
      And Russia has specifically said it won't militarily defend Syria and Putin has referenced Assad as a dead man.

      Would you have a link for the above? I know Putin said something about intervening in Syria but can't find the reference now.

    2. James,

      “"It seems to us that Russia is not going to preserve those interests that it deems important if it rides the Assad Titanic all the way to the bottom of the Mediterranean,” he said.

      Putin told the London-based Times in an interview that “we need to make sure they stop killing each other.” The Times cited Putin as saying “we only have interest in the conflict being resolved.”"

      quoting Bloomberg

      More from the link:

      "Putin ridiculed Western demands of Assad, saying the next thing they want will be for the Syrian leader “to grab a wooden mackintosh and have music play in his house.” A wooden mackintosh, or trenchcoat, was a jovial term used in Soviet-era comedy movies to mean coffin.

      Assad “will not hear (the music) because it will be his funeral,” he said. “He will never agree to that demand.”"

      quoting the Daily Star

      The internet and news has been scrubbed of these quotes btw. When they first were reported I can swear I saw more references to it but the last few times I've gone back to look for links like I just did it's harder and harder.

      I know there is also a quote from Medvedev or Lavrov or Putin or all of them where they straight up said they will not defend Syria militarily.

    3. "Putin ridiculed Western demands of Assad, saying the next thing they want will be for the Syrian leader “to grab a wooden mackintosh and have music play in his house.” A wooden mackintosh, or trenchcoat, was a jovial term used in Soviet-era comedy movies to mean coffin.

      Assad “will not hear (the music) because it will be his funeral,” he said. “He will never agree to that demand.”

      that quote cannot be construed as a betrayal of Syria or Assad

      In fact, Putin is clearly defending Assad and suggesting western demands are absurd

    4. Feltman said the analysis in Moscow about Assad is not that different from the U.S. assessment. Yet Russia has been ignoring its own best interests in continuing to back Assad, Feltman said.

      “It seems to us that Russia is not going to preserve those interests that it deems important if it rides the Assad Titanic all the way to the bottom of the Mediterranean,” he said

      That above quote belongs to someone named Feltman?

      This quote below attributed to Putin is taken out of context, note the quotation placement?

      Putin told the London-based Times in an interview that “we need to make sure they stop killing each other.” The Times cited Putin as saying “we only have interest in the conflict being resolved.”

      What followed before and after both the out of context quotes is unclear

    5. Thanks Penny. Yes, the Titanic quote is misleading because it can be misconstrued as Putin's quote when it's Feltman's quote.

      But predicting the bleak death of the head of state of one's putative ally, and making a *joke* out of it, is speaking out of one side of one's mouth, while pretending to defend this same state from harm is speaking out of the other side of one's mouth.

      Sure, Putin is bemoaning the fact the West is making impossible demands of Assad, but he's not really doing anything to level the playing field and is actually rewarding the cheaters. The Obama/NATO/Gulf gang has admitted to massive illegal funding of terrorists in Syria (clearly established crimes) and yet Russia still works with these criminals in the UN to resolve the crisis they created (even after these same criminals exceeded the last UN authorization in Libya when Russia pretended to get punked the first time). If my close friend is killed by the punk criminals, and these criminals start surrounding another one of my friends in the same manner, should I trust them this time? What world power acts so naively? It doesn't.

      And even if Putin didn't say Russia would abandon the Assad ship as it sunk to the ocean floor, in those words, his actions and words have pretty much said as much.

      Plus, it just looks like Putin is working with Obama! The back and forth speculation about when Putin or Lavrov is going to dump Assad seems designed to create a diversion. And Russia has played along in this game. Also, didn't you love how Obama pretended to be caught on an open mic bargaining with Medvedev? Like they would accidentally do that. What a joke.

      Controlled opposition is evidently the preferred way to grease the wheels of war. Russia's role is to grease the wars in Libya and Syria by playing fake opposition.

      The Second Iraq War would never have been so successful if it wasn't for the fake Democrat opposition to it. Or just like the way Democrats were suckered into supporting Obamacare (like Putin, Obama pretended to support single payer health care but would drop hints of his real intention to betray single payer health care, or there would be 'leaks to this effect, but Obama's fans would denounce the unfair leaks and point to Obama's consistent message that he "supported single payer").

      This is all planted to give us the [fake] impression of adversarial powers when in reality it's pretty much the same gang of criminals colluding under cover of different statesmen.

    6. Oh, and from that Daily Star article:

      "Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Friday that Russia will not provide any kind of military assistance to Syria in such a situation. Commenting on a Soviet-era treaty which contained Moscow’s vague promise to help Syria if it comes under attack, he said the document only envisages consultations.

      “There is no talk about us offering military assistance,” Lukashevich said in a statement. “Russia isn’t going to do anything of the kind.”

    7. Thanks for digging out the references, Walter.

      “There is no talk about us offering military assistance,” Lukashevich said in a statement. “Russia isn’t going to do anything of the kind.”

      Isn't this the guy who lost his job for speaking out of turn on Syria? Or am I confusing him with someone else?

      I read the 'wooden mackintosh' comment as Putin ridiculing the US and, indeed, even The Star article presented it in this manner. It has long been the policy of the US to make demands it knows their target cannot agree to and then claim their hapless victim refuses to negotiate. Putin was pointing out that impossibility using ridicule.

      Putin has been consistent in pushing for a cessation of the fighting in Syria in what he says. His stance is that war is not in anyone's interest. If he was to make any threats (military or otherwise) he would be undoing his own diplomacy.

      But looking at what Putin has done shows us he is prepared to act - Yugoslavia (as mentioned by KenM), Georgia and Syria. He has consistently stopped US sanctions against Syria through the UN and I cannot believe that Syria would still be there after two years without a lot of help from Russia in terms of intelligence and military advice (and who knows what else).

      Libya is the big black blot on this record. But I have to point out that Medvedev was in charge then and appeared, to me at least, to be in the grip of jewish influence in Russia.

      Speaking of jewish influence, they ran riot in Russia under Yeltsin and reduced Russia to third world living conditions in much of it almost overnight. Putin put a stop to that and has overseen the economic and social revival in Russia since then. This is not the action of a US or jewish agent. Quite the opposite.

      Russia is not homogeneous politically nor does Putin control everything, though. I think this and the points above may account for the seemingly schizophrenic image Russia presents sometimes.

      Maybe the WTO membership is another example of this or maybe Putin thinks he can have greater influence over the EU by joining. Who knows? Though it does seem crazy to me, too

      There are lots of other points you have raised over the past months, Walter, and I don't have answers for them all. But what I see, over all, is a real opposition to the jewish world order and a genuine commitment to peace from Putin together with an ability and commitment to act when there is no other choice.

    8. Lukoshevich was canned because he made this comment? Bah.

      Notice that Putin and Russia don't contradict their frickin spokesman on this critical point!!!! Just more scapegoating and obfuscation.

      Imagine Ari Fletcher, or whatever gasbag puppet Obama uses, claiming that the U.S. would not honor its obligations of mutual defense under the NATO alliance, or wouldn't defend Israel from attack. Do you think the Obama spokesman would be quietly fired without Obama himself setting the record straight? They would leap to reassure Israel and NATO that they reserve the right (or intend to) defend their allies. They would never unilaterally take it off the table.

      This is an important legal and diplomatic point . . . whether Russia would honor its treaty obligations to Syria and defend it from illegal Western attack. . . and their official answer is Nyet.

      I'm not buying all that other noise about Medvedev vs. Putin . . . to me it just screams of good cop vs. bad cop routine that we see with the Democrats and Republicans. Your analysis is usually trenchant so I'm surprised we don't see eye to eye on this.

      And do you know who else "jokes" about his "friends" ending up in wooden coffins? Mob bosses.

    9. James,

      One last point re sanctions. . .

      China and Russia may have prevented the UN from imposing sanctions on Syria, but this is meaningless because they have done nothing to counter EU, US, and Arab League sanctions. The sanctions against Syria should be viewed as acts of war, imo. Yet Russia is forging closer economic ties and adopting the Western legal regimes of the same criminals attacking Syria. . . like the WTO . . .

      The sanctions of course effectively prohibit Syria from developing its hydrocarbon deposits in the Eastern Med:

      "Overall, the EU sanctions prohibit the following within the territory of the EU; on board any EU flagged vessel or EU registered aircraft; by Member State nationals or Member State incorporated companies or in respect of any business done in whole or in part in the EU:
      . . .
      3. The import of crude oil or petroleum products into the EU if they originate in Syria or have been exported from Syria;
      4. The purchase of crude oil or petroleum products if they are located in or originated in Syria;
      5. The transport of crude oil or petroleum products if they originate in Syria, or are being exported from Syria to any other country (including countries outside the EU) . . . ."

      So basically the EU and U.S. made it illegal for Syria to export oil to or via the EU or involving any of its citizens, etc. Russia (or anyone else) can't sign a deal with Syria and export its hydrocarbons to Europe without violating these sanctions.

      But the EU and US sanctions are not allowed under the WTO as applied to Russia (since Syria is not a member they are not entitled to complain--but Russia now is).* Under what exception in GATT Article XX can the EU and US prohibit Russia from developing and selling Syrian hdyrocarbons to Europe or US?

      Unless Russia is going to bring a case? It's a bit of a moot point now that Russia appears to be partnering with the Western/Israeli rulers of Cyprus rather than Lebanon and Syria.

      So what good do Russian complaints about the sanctions do Syria? It's an empty gesture. As is the UN veto. The EU and US sanctions were enough to do the job.

      Thanks to you James and Ken for the good discussion btw.

      *I haven't done much research, but a cursory search of disputes before the WTO reveals not much in the way of challenges to 'regime change' style sanctions (e.g. is this the only case Cuba brought before the WTO for all the sanctions against it? Doesn't seem like these sanctions comport with WTO law on the face of it but I'm sure these crooks figured out a way to reinterpret the law to suit their purposes.

    10. "China and Russia may have prevented the UN from imposing sanctions on Syria, but this is meaningless because they have done nothing to counter EU, US, and Arab League sanctions"

      I believe you may be mistaken.
      Russia is supplying Syria with it's currency..(there is a post here to that effect)
      And oil sales revenues is holding steady

      Economic sanctions are designed more to hurt the populace then the government
      in the hopes that the people turn on the government

      "It is likely that the Syrian government is receiving external funding from allies like Iran and Iraq, and this could be one of the reasons why the regime has not collapsed"

      WWM: despite the many times you have made claims to the contrary I haven't seen one instant yet where Russia has waivered from the stand they took at the beginning of this destabilization.

      Russia and China have held to the veto
      Russia has supplied currency
      Russia continues to supply arms "under previous contracts"
      The under previous contract is rhetoric for the masses.
      Russia is supplying arms
      Clearly intelligence is being supplied likely via Iran, Russia and possibly Iraq

      I am of the opinion that Syria is receiving external help or the nation would have collapsed at this point in time
      It is more then two years
      If they were not receiving help they would have long ago run out of arms, bullets, money etc
      the proof of that, is 'in the pudding'

      Russia has used the "international law" argument repeatedly
      Russia is not upset in the least with NATO's terrorists being occupied in Syria and out of Chechnya
      Russia is making energy deals all over the place, this would indicate to me a hedging of bets also

      With China, Pakistan

      Iran, Pakistan, China

      Keep in mind WWM: Nations have interests, not friendships.

    11. I don't see how I'm mistaken.

      The EU sanctions prohibit Russia from exporting Syrian oil to Europe, among other things. Russia is not challenging these sanctions (like in the WTO). Promising to veto further sanctions in the UN is pointless now that the act has been accomplished--prohibiting Syria from selling the majority of its oil, and more importantly prohibiting Syria from developing the gas fields in the Med which leaves the spoils to the Israelis and West.

      From your link:

      "International sanctions also played a major role in the deterioration of the Syrian economy owing to their remarkable impact on the country’s commercial balance with the drop in exports, especially in oil. This drove the Syrian government to start looking for other markets since Arab and European countries had constituted 90 percent of Syrian exports in 2008, according to the IMF report of 2009. In this Syria was supported by Lebanon, from which imports jumped to 18.8 percent in the first half of 2012, and Iraq, to which exports jumped to 30 percent, according to a report issued by HIS Global Insight on Syrian imports from Lebanon."

      You're right about the currency though. Currency doesn't appear to be sanctioned, and Russia is agreeing to help, apparently, so that is one positive category for Russia. With the caveat that there have been reports of counterfeit money, iirc, which could conceivably be done with secret Russian authorization.

      The article mentions extreme inflation in Syria and notes: "One of the factors that contributed to the drop in the local currency is the government’s decision to quadruple the amount of printed notes compared to the end of 2010 and was helped in that by the Russian government." Are the non-Syrians in charge of Syria's money supply secretly printing money like happened in Weimar Germany?

      I'm also not certain Syria is getting intelligence from Russia. Based on what evidence? Why didn't Russia tell Syria Israel was going to illegally send its jets to attack Damascus a few months back? Israel "briefed" Russia and yet Russia let Syria get attacked. Russia has more of an official military partnership with Israel than it does Syria; Russia and Israel have a 5 year partnership while Russia has now disavowed its Soviet-era treaty with Syria and has breached its contracts with Syria for advanced fighter jets and supersonic missiles.

      Yes, Russia has consistently SAID that they support international law but their actions reveal they are really working with the criminals . . .

  5. Oh, the North Korea nuke scare is a Psy-Op to distract us from Syria (and to stir up martial spirit generally and make us scared of WMD).

    Doesn't anyone just automatically get suspicious when they see such stilted, poorly sourced and hyperbolic propaganda? Seems very similar to the Russia vs. West propaganda. . . seems mostly fake to me . . . seems like the U.S. would have responded much more aggressively to North Korea if this were a real threat other than send the few ships they sent (like Russia would do more than a a tanker or conduct exercises in the Black Sea)?

    1. Yes, the North Korean situation is a distraction
      I agree with that
      We saw this prior to the attack on Iraq, previously

  6. Islamist clerics release Fatwas to permit the rape of Syria women & girls..

    SyrianGirlpartisan 4 minutes ago
    The sheikh now denies the tunisian fatwa, however thirteen tunisian girls went to Syria to participate in this supposedly rumored fatwa. What we know is there WAS a fatwa that called on Syrian girls to temporarily marry (prostitute themselves) to the 'rebels', What we do know is last weak in Sheikh Maqsoud area many christians were raped by Jabhat al Nusra, which suggests that the Fatwa is real. Zionists r exploiting it al-monitor(.)com/pulse/culture ­/2013/03/tunisia-girls-syria-s ­exual-jihad.html

    also HAMAS seems to be aiding alnusra in syria
    why would HAMAS aid israel? do they think Qatar can be trusted to support them?

    1. Hamas would aid Israel because they were originally created by Israel
      Qatar has much to gain, so they should be reliable

  7. Some interesting news that may relate into things.
    Iraq finally grew some backbone (or just saw the writing on the wall in regards to what's heading their way from the GCC/NATO led Syrian 'rebels') & have finally gone through with the big Russian arms deal. This has been slightly expanded as the Russians have chucked in 6 more helicopters, but this is exactly the weaponry Iraq needs to defend it's sovereignty from Turkeys & others incursions, deal with the Saudi funded insurgency & reign in the Kurds from signing over a large part of Iraq to the Western oil majors.

    This deal is something the Russians will look to expedite quickly & I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Iraqi military personnel have been training in their use since last year.

    Russia will deliver 40 Mi-28N helicopter to Iraq

    (I'm probably being a little hard on the Iraqi's here considering that the US put in a lot of trojan horses & built a lot of limitations into Iraqi institutions when they running things, but they've got to realize by now that the same crowd running the destabilize Syria campaign have Maliki's government in their sights)


    1. "they've got to realize by now that the same crowd running the destabilize Syria campaign have Maliki's government in their sights"

      I would think this has been clear to Iraq for sometime now

  8. Penny, very good post and comments.
    Russia and Israel. To my mind Russia is hedging bets. Its bid for involvement with Cyprus has seen Cyprus punished. The other side of the gas field is Israel and it is not subject to bankster subjugation. If Russia gets a favourable deal with Israel it will give leverage against its and FR UK US aggression against Syria and Iran. Putin and Rothschild are friends?
    The Russian exercise in the Black Sea may have been more directed at Turkey and the ME axis of evil involved in aggression against Syria. Turkey is likely to be the fall guy that NATO sends in to secure the Syrian Turkish border region. With Istanbul threatened, the possibility of an Turkish armed invasion is reduced. The loss of Istanbul would destroy the nation.
    Russia is benefitting a little from islamic extremists being drawn from S. Russia regions into the conflict where they are being dispatched by the Syrian Army with reasonable efficiency. (It occurred to me that Syria's efficiency was being used by NATO to deplete the extremists in Yemen, Libya and Jordan, possibly Afghanistan too.)
    Russia benefits by a reduction because it reduces the ability of Soros' CFR-CIA destabilisation program to be implemented against the Russian gov't.
    NATO is attempting to create a buffer zone between Syria and Jordan. Presumably Qatar military will move in if successful. French, UK and US specials are likely already in Israeli occupied Golan. A Tripoli replay against Damascus in the offing perhaps.

    1. "To my mind Russia is hedging bets"


      "Russia is benefitting a little from islamic extremists being drawn from S. Russia regions into the conflict where they are being dispatched by the Syrian Army with reasonable efficiency

      Russia benefits by a reduction because it reduces the ability of Soros' CFR-CIA destabilisation program to be implemented against the Russian gov't"


      But then there is Mark Knopfler ;)

      "NATO is attempting to create a buffer zone between Syria and Jordan. Presumably Qatar military will move in if successful"

      Qatar has much to gain as does Israel from that.

      Turkey has always been a NATO tool...

    2. "Principled self interest" is the way I saw it described in one analysis.

      I don't buy it but it's plausible.

  9. I'm generally a fan of Nazemroaya's work and find his analysis here quite plausible. But there was one section where I think he has the pecking order reversed:

    "The Israeli and Turkish rapprochement conveniently fits the aligning chessboard. Obama’s visit to Israel was about imperial politics to maintain the American Empire. As two hostile neighbours of Syria, Tel Aviv and Ankara will have deeper cooperation in the Empire’s objectives to topple the Syrian government."

    I don't see Israel taking orders from Obama about Syria (or anything else), Obama was in Israel to get his instructions. Syria is an Israeli gig, not an American one. There is really very little reason for all the American huffing and puffing, as Syria has little the American oligarchs need (or the Europeans). Even booting the Russians out of Syria is redundant, as the Russian navy would still have go through the Bosporus, and that is impossible without Turkish permission. The nation (if it can be called that) that really wants Syria is Israel. They have a very strong interest in Syria geopolitically, whereas that of "the empire" is rather weak, too weak to account for heightened interest it is displaying.

    I believe the war on Syria to be an example of where Israeli/Jewish/zionist interests trump those of "the empire". The Iraq war being another example. Iraq and Syria being in Israel's "backyard", this is not unexpected. But I also think the recent "targets" of western aggression all being hostile to Israel might be indicative of the centre of western power is shifting from New York to Tel Aviv, or has shifted and that the victim nation's views of Israel, and its potential use to Israel, are currently the deciding factors determining whether they are going to be acted against in the current wave of western fascist expansion.

    вот так

  10. The British have just admitted they were involved in staging chemical weapons attacks in Syria:

    Chemical weapons used in Syria: UK

    "Chemical weapons were used near the Syrian capital of Damascus, The Times wrote Saturday citing the UK Ministry of Defense. The latter claimed that forensic evidence was collected after scientists analyzed soil smuggled out of the country in a secret operation."

    That "secret operation" was likely part of follow-up results checking of the op that launched the chemical attack.

    вот так

    1. Hey Bot tak

      Oh,, I saw that news. I saw it.
      My husband showed me it and I said where, where did this alleged attack take place?
      The news he was reading didn't state where but I suspected it was Damascus
      The article he was reading said someone from MI6 had smuggled the sample out of Syria
      that does not pass the sniff test, except to say P.U. that stinks.
      I will be back to Syria asap
      meanwhile if you see anything important please let me know, leave it here
      And thanks in advance for doing so

    2. Sure thing, Penny. SyrPer mentioned today the Russian ship Alexander Shabalin was setting out for Syria with supplies. This confirms it:

      Russian naval vessel sets sail for Syria

      "MOSCOW, April 12 (KUNA) -- A Russian Landing Craft Utility (LCU) set sail from the Port of Novorossiysk, south Russia on the Black Sea, en route to Syria's port of Tartous on Firday.

      The vessel Alexander Shabalin, part of the Russian Baltic Fleet, carries supplies to the Russian naval base at Tartous; it will join the Mediterranean fleet, according to a brief statement by the Russian Ministry of Defense. (end) KUNA 122159 Apr 13NNNN"

      It seems she will be staying in the Med, also. The ship in the photos you posted in your article are probably of this ship's follow on class. Which are almost identical. There are several of both classes of these vessels stationed in the Black Sea. Can't read the hull number of the ship in the upper photo, but the first 2 digits (15) on the hull of the ship in the lower photo (and the single barreled forward gun mount) probably mean she would be the Azov, hull # 151. For reference, Alexander Shabalin's is 110.

      вот так

    3. Penny

      Looks like Kuna got the ship name wrong:

      Russia Builds Up Mediterranean Task Force

      It's the Azov that will be sailing to the Med. The ship I'm fairly certain that is depicted in the photos you posted. This article also mentions several ships from the Pacific are also headed for the Med. It seems the Russians consider the threat from Israel-America greater in Syria than in the Pacific and perhaps they are planning to be more reliant upon their Chinese allies naval forces to cover the Pacific? Some new diplomatic agreements between Russia and China were recently made, better coordination of the 2 nation's maritime forces may have been a part of those?

      вот так

    4. Where is the evidence Russia is sending these ships to counter the "threat from Israel-America[]?"

      Bot Tak's linked article notes: "Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in mid-March a permanent naval task force in the Mediterranean was needed to defend Russia’s interests in the Mediterranean Sea."

      Per the above information about Gazprom signing a gas lease with the Israeli-Americans, the "interests" Russia is obviously interested in protecting are its hydrocarbon interests. Just like Israel stated in one of the above articles that they will defend their Med gas operations with force. So it makes sense that Israel and Russia have a military partnership to protect these same gas "interests."

      What possible interest does Russia have with the base at Tartus? Compared to the hydrocarbon deals Russia just signed with Israel? Is anyone buying this laughable charade?

      From the article above:

      "Sales may amount to 3 million tons of LNG a year, linked to Brent crude prices, according to the statement. That equals the plant’s total planned output volume."

      Brent Crude is today $103/bbl. 1 million metric tons LNG = 8.68 million barrels oil. So every year for 20 years Russia's hydrocarbon monopoly will have the exclusive rights to sell the equivalent of 26.04 million barrels of oil, or $22,682,120,000 a year at today's prices.* And this is only from the Tamir and Dalit fields! Wait till this whole region is pumping!

      Also, does anyone care that there have been numerous false stories of Russia rushing ships to the Med to save Syria? Of course Russia has officially stated they won't do such things as send ships to fight the Israeli-Americans so if they were really going to counter them they would at least prepare the diplomatic groundwork and let the U.S. know they are preparing for WWIII.

      *If my math is correct. It may not be. The reporter should have filled us in on these details.

    5. Here is the link referenced above:

    6. You seem to have a one track mind, WWM. Every thread you spam the same anti-Russian lines, and misrepresent Israeli or msn sources to support that pov. It is obvious Russia is pursuing its own interests, nobody here is claiming otherwise.

      вот так

    7. bot tak

      check out the latest post. I think you might like it.

    8. WWM: "What possible interest does Russia have with the base at Tartus"

      Have you forgotten about the Assad 4 seas strategy and all the other competing pipelines?
      Russia surely has not

  11. Hey Penny,

    I haven't forgotten the 4 seas strategy. I just don't think Syria is part of the plan as Assad was led to believe.

    Bot Tak,

    I don't mean to offend just pushing what I think is a critical point--the interest Russia appears most concerned with is its hydrocarbon interests, not defending Syria.

    And how did I misrepresent the facts? Didn't Russia's hydrocarbon monopoly sign a deal to exclusively sell about $22 Billion of Israeli Eastern Med gas a year? Doesn't Russia have a 5 year military partnership with Israel? Doesn't Russia have the ability to sign gas deals with Syria and to protest the EU sanctions in the WTO? These are very important facts that aren't being dealt with.


    1. Syria was central to that plan
      Assad wasn't led to believe anything..
      The four seas strategy was Assad's plan.

  12. Nazemroaya has a well done piece explaining the internal divide in Russia over policy that pretty well debunks the sort of distortions WWM has been spamming.

    The "Great Game" and the Conquest of Eurasia: Towards a World War III Scenario?

    The zionists are mainly among the “Westernist” camp, though a few of the usual ubiquitous stealth zionists have probably infiltrated “Eurasianist” circles, as is their practice in the west of infiltrating every side in order to corrupt, manipulate and dominate them.

    вот так

    1. So I've been "spamming" while your links are nothing but educational, eh? Give me a break.

      You are avoiding the most critical facts and being rude so this indicates your case is weak.

      I have yet to see you analyze how Russia signing a deal with Israel to exclusively sell about $22 Billion of Israel's gas is no big deal. So instead of dealing with it you allege its "spamming" or unimportant or a "distortion."

      Also, my analysis about Russia above is so much more comprehensive than the 2010 Voltaire piece. It's not good analysis and outdated.

      I also don't think it's a coincidence that my little ol opinion (or theories) on this subject are creating so much resistance. This is why I suspect I was silenced at Moon of Alabama.

      You're right about one thing Bot Tak, there is a strong Hasbara operation going on it seems! And it's involves a bunch of pro Russian apologists serving Israel's and the West's interests by acting as controlled opposition.

    2. I will read that piece, by Nazemroya


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Take 2! Geez lately i am having troubles with my comments

      Everyone get's an opinion here. agree or disagree.
      The way I look at this blog?
      The info is here, my take on it, is here.
      Everyone else is on their own.

      WWM and bot tak have both been good contributors in their own ways

      I don't want to turn this place into MoA where certain opinions get dumped

      Just stay on topic and no personal attacks

  13. WWM

    "I have yet to see you analyze how Russia signing a deal with Israel to exclusively sell about $22 Billion of Israel's gas is no big deal."

    I realize that was directed at bot tak but that was actually discussed and James, Clothcap etc, chimed in on that one

    The problem as I see it WWM, is that you seem to want to just dismiss any alternative views

    It appears you have a idea/concept already in mind and you look only at what validates the opinion concept that is already held.

    There is no doubt Russia is making gas deals all over the place.
    If the one with Israel, and I am unsure if it is a done deal falls through, Russia has ten more to go to.

    The tendency to focus on the most narrowest of issues, when unfortunately, IMO, the great game is so broad and so many angles are being played at once one misses all the rest by focusing on one aspect.
    That zeroing in on one small aspect of the entire game board is like claiming one tree = the forest.

    It doesn't.

    You additionally suggested Assad was not in on the four seas plan, not as much as he (Assad) had thought.

    Assad and Syria were the creator/promoters of the 4 seas agenda. They were fully committed to it, since it was their plan.

    As for Hasbara, Hasbara serves the interest of Israel, only. Not the US. Not the west.
    Just Israel.

    Please don't take offense at what I have said. Offense is not my intent.

    The pipelines post, that i know you enjoyed was still even just a partial picture of the whole geopolitical mess that is the pipeline and control of resource/ geo political mess..

    "Lots of busy beavers it seems"

    And there are so many busy beavers, nations, movers and shakers. We have to think about them all.

    And that is about it.