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Europe is shaking off American attempts to isolate Russia

France and Germany both move to grow relations with Russia while American Deep State fetters President Trump’s efforts to do the same.

Seraphim Hanisch

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There are signs that the efforts to isolate and even destroy Russia are crumbling. While England and the main entrenched power structure in the United States won two significant “victories” in their efforts to waylay US President Trump’s efforts to improve Russian-American relations, two of Europe’s most important nations moved in the same period of time to cement and improve relations with Moscow.

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The first incident was reported here on The Duran as Germany’s deal with Russia to build the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline was cemented in reality:

Germany needs Russian gas. Russian gas is substantially more cost effective than US LNG hauled all the way from the States, and at the end of the day, Angela Merkel needs Nord Stream 2 to keep her in power. Putin knows this, and so during his meeting with Merkel in Berlin, a confident Russian President laid down the positive economic realities for Germany and the precarious position of Ukraine gas transit.

Putin and Merkel did discuss a variety of hot button issues other than Nord Stream 2 including the war in Syria, the situation in Ukraine and Iran. But the most pressing issue discussed was Nord Stream 2.

Investors needed a strong signal that the project is a go… despite POTUS Trump’s rhetoric regarding the pipeline at last month’s NATO summit in Brussels.

This is certainly a logical move, and the Russians are great at living and handling matters in a logical manner. So are the Germans. Perhaps President Trump knew this – it is almost impossible to imagine that he would really believe it is cheaper for Germany or any European country to buy LNG from the United States when Russia has a huge supply of it right next door, so to speak. But what is significant is Germany’s simple recognition of this fact, despite the pressure from the US to buy American. It is eminently logical to get supplies from a close source.

Advantage: Russia. Disadvantage: American Deep State.

The second action comes from the French. In a news piece released by TASS, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that the European Union cannot rely on the US for security, and called for greater cooperation with Russia:

French President Emmanuel Macron… called for involving Russia in the process of providing security in Europe, he stated on Monday during an annual meeting of ambassadors that focused on France’s foreign policy.

Europe can no longer rely on the US to provide its security. It is up to us today to take our responsibilities and guarantee our own security, and thus have European sovereignty. We have to draw all necessary conclusions from the end of the Cold War,” Macron added.

This amplified European sovereignty requires reviewing the architecture of European security and defense system, by starting a new dialogue on cybersecurity issues, chemical weapons, conventional weapons, territorial conflicts, space security, the protection of polar regions, and particularly doing it in cooperation with Russia,” the president said.

“I call for us to start considering these issues with our partners in the broadest sense of the word, that is, with Russia,” Macron stressed. He noted “a mandatory prerequisite for achieving real progress in relations with Moscow is significant progress in regulating the Ukrainian crisis. Also, adherence to the regulations introduced by the OSCE with regards to the observers’ status in Donbass.

“However, this should not hinder us doing work in European countries right now on all these issues, and I am counting on you in this,” the French president addressed the ambassadors. According to him, in the upcoming months, he will provide a project for strengthening European security.

This is potentially HUGE. And as such, it is more than likely that there will be some sort of American diplomatic or media response. The civil war in Ukraine is predicated on a large swathe of that country buying into the promise of “being with the West.”

That lure created a serious revolution, the breakaway of two Ukrainian provinces, urged by fear among the Russian-speaking people in these provinces of the new, pro-West and anti-Russian, Ukrainian government. It led to a peaceful, though controversial, referendum in Crimea to rejoin Russia. It is not often reported in the Western media that the reason for these actions was fear of the sentiments of the Poroshenko government, and reports abound that that fear is justified.

The fact that a US ally is even beginning to mention a different course of action in Ukraine is like watching the ice begin to crack on a lake in the spring. The weather may remain cold for a while, but usually once the cracking starts, it continues on its own until the ice breaks.

Again – advantage: Russia. Disadvantage: American Deep State.

The Deep State is certainly alive and kicking, with the latest round of US sanctions against Russia kicking in on 27 August, in response to the (totally unverified) claim that Russia was involved in the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal on March 4 of this year. The Russian Ruble took a beating earlier in August when the new sanctions were announced, but the new level around 67 to 1 seems to be stable.

This is a massive struggle of worldviews, and it is evident in many pieces of journalism these last few days. The passing of US Senator John McCain gave opportunity to examine some of this rather hidden policy viewpoint, and Trump’s unexpected rise to the presidency of the United States gave the anti-Russia plan a lot of publicity, though one has to know how to sift through the layers of propaganda it is buried under.

These two developments in Germany and France suggest a shift, however, and it may be one that Uncle Sam is unable to stop.

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VeeNarian (Yerevan)Radical PragmatistIgor Mini ChornyvolkJNDillardGio Con Recent comment authors
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

This is more whistling in the dark. France is a US slave which is still planning to attack Syria after more staged chemical attacks in Idlib.
The FUKUS disease is about to strike again!

Radical Pragmatist
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Radical Pragmatist

Two comments: 1) The idea that German reliance on Nord 2 would put Germany at risk of calculated Russian service disruption is bogus. The Russians aren’t stupid. They know that the first interruption for political reasons would be the last. Because the Germans would then find alternate supplies of energy and shut out the Russians – FOREVER. There is no way the Russians with a market based economy would ever risk losing a huge customer like Germany. 2) The U.S. Deep State is ruthless. The U.S. War Machine is basically useless as a weapon against economic activity that the war-mongers… Read more »

Igor Mini Chornyvolk
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Igor Mini Chornyvolk

Putin has already said any war will be fought in the country that instigates it. It will not be fought on Russian territory.So I see Poland Romania and the US getting nailed if war breaks out.

JNDillard
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JNDillard

This map is far out of date and misleading. Not only is Turkey no longer a candidate for membership, but the Ukraine is, as well as a candidate for NATO membership, both of which would be bottomless pit black holes into which EU money would be endlessly poured. Turkey is making an excellent move by separating from the EU politically, as it deconstructs itself, and the EU is being extremely stupid by considering absorbing the Ukraine.

JNDillard
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JNDillard

Reading further, there is no mention of Macron’s statements of his intention to bomb Syria if there is another (false flag) chemical attack. So what Macron is doing is what Erdogan is doing – playing both sides. He is expressing independence from the US for public consumption, to claim France is not the US’s poodle, while following the US party line when it comes to killing and supporting sanctions against Russia and Iran. (Iran in the sense of major French businesses like Renault and Total leaving the Iranian marketplace).

Gio Con
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Gio Con

France, it seems, is playing both ends — speaking of cooperation with Russia while it sides with the US on bombing Damascus, thereby risking an all-out war with Russia. Macron speaks with a forked-tongue.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

High time for all of Europe to realize that the US never was and never will be a ‘friend’.

Godblessourchildren
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Godblessourchildren

Profit is not the important motive for stopping Nord 2, but blackmail is- control of their energy market and you control them, and America is notorious for this. Why don’t Europeans study and learn from their histories. They tend to repeat the same mistakes.

Guy
Guest
Guy

“Uncle Sam is unable to stop.”
I hope uncle scam is unable to stop the shift to reality and common sense .None of their business to begin with ,other than slipping away from their imperial stance with the rest of the world.
And that ,my friends is a very good thing.

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Major Syrian Army Assault On Southeast Idlib As Sochi Deal Unravels

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months. 

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Via Zerohedge


The Syrian Army unleashed a major assault across the southeastern part of Idlib province on Saturday, a military source told Middle East news site Al-Masdar in a breaking report. According to the source, government forces pounded jihadist defenses across the southeast Idlib axis with a plethora of artillery shells and surface-to-surface missiles.

This latest exchange between the Syrian military and jihadist rebels comes as the Sochi Agreement falls apart in northwestern Syria, and in response to a Friday attack by jihadists which killed 22 Syrian soldiers near a planned buffer zone around the country’s last major anti-Assad and al-Qaeda held region. The jihadist strikes resulted in the highest number of casualties for the army since the Sochi Agreement was established on September 17th.

Though the Syrian war has grown cold in terms of international spotlight and media interest since September, it is likely again going to ramp up dramatically over the next few months.

The Al-Masdar source said the primary targets for the Syrian Army were the trenches and military posts for Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham in the towns of Al-Taman’ah, Khuwayn, Babulin, Haish, Jarjanaz, Um Jalal, and Mashirfah Shmaliyah. In retaliation for the Syrian Army assault, the jihadist rebels began shelling the government towns of Ma’an, Um Hariteen, and ‘Atshan.

Damascus has been critical of the Sochi deal from the start as it’s criticized Turkey’s role in the Russian-brokered ceasefire plan, especially as a proposed ‘de-militarized’ zone has failed due to jihadist insurgents still holding around 70% of the planned buffer area which they were supposed to withdraw from by mid-October. Sporadic clashes have rocked the “buffer zone” since.

Russia itself recently acknowledged the on the ground failure of the Sochi agreement even as parties officially cling to it. During a Thursday press briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova admitted the following:

We have to state that the real disengagement in Idlib has not been achieved despite Turkey’s continuing efforts to live up to its commitments under the Russian-Turkish Memorandum of September 17.

This followed Russia also recently condemning  “sporadic clashes” and “provocations” by the jihadist group HTS (the main al-Qaeda presence) in Idlib.

Likely due to Moscow seeing the writing on the wall that all-out fighting and a full assault by government forces on Idlib will soon resume, Russian naval forces continued a show of force in the Mediterranean this week.

Russian military and naval officials announced Friday that its warships held extensive anti-submarine warfare drills in the Mediterranean. Specifically the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Essen conducted the exercise in tandem with deck-based helicopters near Syrian coastal waters.

Notably, according to TASS, the warships central to the drill are “armed with eight launchers of Kalibr-NK cruise missiles that are capable of striking surface, coastal and underwater targets at a distance of up to 2,600 km.”

Since September when what was gearing up to be a major Syrian-Russian assault on Idlib was called off through the Russian-Turkish ceasefire agreement, possibly in avoidance of the stated threat that American forces would intervene in defense of the al-Qaeda insurgent held province (also claiming to have intelligence of an impending government “chemical attack”), the war has largely taken a back-burner in the media and public consciousness.

But as sporadic fighting between jihadists and Syrian government forces is reignited and fast turning into major offensive operations by government forces, the war could once again be thrust back into the media spotlight as ground zero for a great power confrontation between Moscow and Washington.

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Trump Quietly Orders Elimination of Assange

The destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government.

Eric Zuesse

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On June 28th, the Washington Examiner headlined “Pence pressed Ecuadorian president on country’s protection of Julian Assange” and reported that “Vice President Mike Pence discussed the asylum status of Julian Assange during a meeting with Ecuador’s leader on Thursday, following pressure from Senate Democrats who have voiced concerns over the country’s protection of the WikiLeaks founder.” Pence had been given this assignment by U.S. President Donald Trump. The following day, the Examiner bannered “Mike Pence raises Julian Assange case with Ecuadorean president, White House confirms” and reported that the White House had told the newspaper, “They agreed to remain in close coordination on potential next steps going forward.”

On August 24th, a court-filing by Kellen S. Dwyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Alexandria Division of the Eastern District of Virginia, stated: “Due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure [than sealing the case, hiding it from the public] is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged. … This motion and the proposed order would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter.” That filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University. On November 15th, he posted an excerpt of it on Twitter, just hours after the Wall Street Journal had reported on the same day that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange. However, now that we know “the fact that Assange has been charged” and that the U.S. Government is simply waiting “until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter,” it is clear and public that the arrangements which were secretly made between Trump’s agent Pence and the current President of Ecuador are expected to deliver Assange into U.S. custody for criminal prosecution, if Assange doesn’t die at the Ecuadorean Embassy first.

On November 3rd (which, of course, preceded the disclosures on November 15th), Julian Assange’s mother, Christine Ann Hawkins, described in detail what has happened to her son since the time of Pence’s meeting with Ecuador’s President. She said:

He is, right now, alone, sick, in pain, silenced in solitary confinement, cut off from all contact, and being tortured in the heart of London. … He has been detained nearly eight years, without trial, without charge. For the past six years, the UK Government has refused his requests to exit for basic health needs, … [even for] vitamin D. … As a result, his health has seriously deteriorated. … A slow and cruel assassination is taking place before our very eyes. … They will stop at nothing. … When U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently visited Ecuador, a deal was done to hand Julian over to the U.S. He said that because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high, the plan was to break him down mentally…   to such a point that he will break and be forced to leave. … The extradition warrant is held in secret, four prosecutors but no defense, and no judge, … without a prima-facie case. [Under the U.S. system, the result nonetheless can be] indefinite detention without trial. Julian could be held in Guantanamo Bay and tortured, sentenced to 45 years in a maximum security prison, or face the death penalty,” for “espionage,” in such secret proceedings.

Her phrase, “because the political cost of expelling Julian from the Embassy was too high” refers to the worry that this new President of Ecuador has, of his cooperating with the U.S. regime’s demands and thereby basically ceding sovereignty to those foreigners (the rulers of the U.S.), regarding the Ecuadorian citizen, Assange.

This conservative new President of Ecuador, who has replaced the progressive President who had granted Assange protection, is obviously doing all that he can to comply with U.S. President Trump and the U.S. Congress’s demand for Assange either to die soon inside the Embassy or else be transferred to the U.S. and basically just disappear, at Guantanamo or elsewhere. Ecuador’s President wants to do this in such a way that Ecuador’s voters won’t blame him for it, and that he’ll thus be able to be re-elected. This is the type of deal he apparently has reached with Trump’s agent, Pence. It’s all secret, but the evidence on this much of what was secretly agreed-to seems clear. There are likely other details of the agreement that cannot, as yet, be conclusively inferred from the subsequent events, but this much can.

Basically, Trump has arranged for Assange to be eliminated either by illness that’s imposed by his Ecuadorean agent, or else by Assange’s own suicide resulting from that “torture,” or else by America’s own criminal-justice system. If this elimination happens inside the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, then that would be optimal for America’s President and Congress; but, if it instead happens on U.S. soil, then that would be optimal for Ecuador’s President. Apparently, America’s President thinks that his subjects, the American people, will become sufficiently hostile toward Assange so that even if Assange disappears or is executed inside the United States, this President will be able to retain his supporters. Trump, of course, needs his supporters, but this is a gamble that he has now clearly taken. This much is clear, even though the rest of the secret agreement that was reached between Pence and Ecuador’s President is not.

Scooter Libby, who had arranged for the smearing of Valerie Plame who had tried to prevent the illegal and deceit-based 2003 invasion of Iraq, was sentenced to 30 months but never spent even a day in prison, and U.S. President Trump finally went so far as to grant him a complete pardon, on 13 April 2018. (The carefully researched docudrama “Fair Game” covered well the Plame-incident.) Libby had overseen the career-destruction of a courageous CIA agent, Plame, who had done the right thing and gotten fired for it; and Trump pardoned Libby, thus retroactively endorsing the lie-based invasion of Iraq in 2003. By contrast, Trump is determined to get Julian Assange killed or otherwise eliminated, and even Democrats in Congress are pushing for him to get that done. The new President of Ecuador is doing their bidding. Without pressure from the U.S. Government, Assange would already be a free man. Thus, either Assange will die (be murdered) soon inside the Embassy, or else he will disappear and be smeared in the press under U.S. control. And, of course, this is being done in such a way that no one will be prosecuted for the murder or false-imprisonment. Trump had promised to “clean the swamp,” but as soon as he was elected, he abandoned that pretense; and, as President, he has been bipartisan on that matter, to hide the crimes of the bipartisan U.S. Government, and he is remarkably similar in policy to his immediate predecessors, whom he had severely criticized while he was running for the Presidency.

In any event, the destruction of Assange has clearly been arranged for, at the highest levels of the U.S. Government, just as the destruction of Jamal Khashoggi was by Saudi Arabia’s Government; and, just like in Khashoggi’s case, the nation’s ruler controls the prosecutors and can therefore do whatever he chooses to do that the rest of the nation’s aristocracy consider to be acceptable.

The assault against truth isn’t only against Assange, but it is instead also closing down many of the best, most courageous, independent news sites, such as washingtonsblog. However, in Assange’s case, the penalty for having a firm commitment to truth has been especially excruciating and will almost certainly end in his premature death. This is simply the reality. Because of the system under which we live, a 100% commitment to truth is now a clear pathway to oblivion. Assange is experiencing this reality to the fullest. That’s what’s happening here.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Libya’s Peace Process Dies in Palermo

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet to sort out their differences.

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Authored by Richard Galustian for the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity:


“Resounding flop” was the verdict of Italy’s former prime minister Matteo Renzi on this week’s Libya peace conference held in Palermo. He’s not wrong. The conference hosted by Italy’s new government achieved the remarkable feat of making Libya’s tensions worse, not better. Acrimony broke out between the parties, and Turkey’s delegation walked out, its vice president Fuat Oktay accusing unnamed States of trying to “hijack the process.”

Some sources in Palermo suggested, yet to be verified, that the US thought the Conference was not too bad: a joke if true.

Moreover the mystery we might ask is what “process” is there to hijack? Because the truth is, the peace plan the conference was supporting is already dead.

That plan was the brainchild of the United Nations, launched more than a year ago with the aim of ending Libya’s split between warring Eastern and Western governments with elections in December.

Even before the first delegates set foot in the pleasant Sicilian city of Palermo this week, the UN admitted the election date of December 10 they had decided to scrap.

The eastern government, led by the parliament in Tobruk, had made moves in the summer to organize a referendum on a new constitution which would govern the elections. But no referendum was held, and most Libyans agree it would be pointless because Tripoli, home to a third of the country’s population, is under the iron grip of multiple warring militias who have the firepower to defy any new elected government. Hours after the delegates left Palermo, those militias began a new bout of fighting in the Tripoli suburbs.

The best the Palermo negotiators could come up with at the end of the talks was a bland statement declaring their hope that sometime in the future all the Libyan forces will meet in a grand conference to sort out their differences – and this after four years of civil war. To say that chances of this are slim is an understatement.

Dominating the Palermo talks, and indeed Libya’s political landscape, was and is Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, the country’s most powerful formation. In four years, the LNA has secured Libya’s key oil fields and Benghazi, its second city, ridding most of the east Libya of Islamist militias.

Haftar met reluctantly negotiators in Palermo, but insisted he was not part of the talks process. The Italian government press office said Haftar was not having dinner with the other participants nor joining them for talks. Haftar specifically opposed the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood champion, Qatar, at the event along with Turkey.

Haftar clearly only attended because he had a few days before visiting Moscow – which sent to Sicily Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – and because also of Egyptian President Sisi’s presence along with his allies.

Possibly Haftar was simply fed up. Twice in the past two years he has attended previous peace talks, hosted each time in Paris, giving the nod to declarations that Libya’s militias would dissolve. Yet the militias remain as strong as ever in Tripoli.

Haftar is detested by the militias and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) but supported by a large segment of the population – 68 percent, according to an opinion poll by America’s USAID. His popularity is based on a single policy – his demand that security be in the hands of regular police and military, not the militias.

Not everyone is happy, certainly not Turkey, which is backing Islamist, MB and Misratan forces in western Libya who detest Haftar. Yet Turkey’s greatest statesman, the great Kamal Ataturk, was a champion of secularism: After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire following World War One Turkey faced the prospect of utter disintegration, and it was Attaturk who rose to the challenge, defending the country’s borders, while ordering that the mullahs, while responsible for spiritual welfare, have no political power.

Political Islam is not popular in Libya either. Libya is a Muslim country, its people know their faith, and most want government to be decided through the ballot box.

The problem for Libya is what happens next with the peace process broken. Haftar has in the past threatened to move on Tripoli and rid the militias by force if they refuse to dissolve, and it may come to that – a fierce escalation of the civil war.

The second possibility is that Libya will split. The east is, thanks to the LNA, militarily secure. It also controls two thirds of the country’s oil and operates as a separate entity, down to it banknotes, which are printed in Russia while the Tripoli government’s are printed in Britain. A formal split would be an economic boon for the lightly populated east, but a disaster for Tripolitania, its population losing most of the oil, its only source of export income.

Yet with the failure of peace talks, and no sign of Tripoli militias dissolving, military escalation or breakup seem more likely than ever.

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