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Here is the Assad interview CNN will never show you, “EU is supporting the terrorists in Syria from the very beginning”

Assad tells a Belgium reporter that the EU cannot re-build Syria ‘while destroying Syria.’

Alex Christoforou

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On the 7th of February, 2017 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Belgian media that their country and the EU merely obey ‘the American master’ when it comes to Syria and political decision-making in general.

Once again Assad shows that he is far from the dictator the western media paints him to be.

What Assad shows is that he is a well educated, well spoken, leader of a sovereign Syria that has undergone a massive and brutal US/EU invasion using Wahhabi jihadist forces masked as “moderate rebels.”

Here is the full transcript of the interview (courtesy Middle East Observer)…

Reporter: We’ve been to Aleppo, we’ve seen the destruction…how do you see the way forward for peace nowadays after Astana?

President Assad:

If we want to talk about how to see the peace – it is not related mainly to Astana, it is something much bigger: how can we stop the flowing of the terrorists towards Syria or in Syria? How can we stop the support from regional countries like Turkey, Gulf states, or from Europe like France and UK, or from the US during the Obama administration? If we deal with that title, this is where we can talk about the rest, about the political procedure. Astana is one of the initiative(s) during this war on Syria, and it’s about the dialogue between the Syrians.

Now it’s too early to judge Astana. The first one was positive because it was about the principles of the unity of Syria, about the Syrians deciding their future, how can you implement this communique? That’s the question. And I think we are going to see an Astana 2 and so on. So the peace is two things: fighting terrorists and terrorism, stopping the flowing of terrorists and every kind of logistical support, and second, dialogue between the Syrians to decide the future of their country and the whole political system. These are the headlines about how to see the future of Syria.

Reporter: We have seen many breaches in the ceasefire. Would you consider the ceasefire still upholding or is it dead?

President Assad:

No it’s not dead, it is…and it’s natural in every ceasefire anywhere in the world, in every war in any conflict to have these breaches. It could be sometimes on an individual level, it doesn’t mean there’s (a) policy of breaching of (the) ceasefire by government or any other party, and this is something we can deal with on a daily basis, and sometimes on an hourly basis, but till this moment, the ceasefire is holding.

Reporter: In the fight against (the) terror group Daesh, do you think all means are justified?

President Assad:

It depends on what do we mean by all means, we have to be…

Reporter: Literally all means…

President Assad:

Yeah but I don’t know what the means that are available to tell you yes, all means, so I don’t know what all means, but if you want to talk about military means, yes of course, because the terrorists are attacking the people. I’m not only talking about ISIS. ISIS and al-Nusra and all the al-Qaeda affiliated groups within Syria. When they attack Syrians and killing civilians, and beheading people and destroying properties – private and public – and destroying the infrastructure, everything in this country…our constitutional duty and legal duty as (a) government and as (an) army and as state institutions is to defend the Syrian people. It is not an opinion, it’s a duty. So regarding this, you can use every mean in order to defend the Syrian people.

Reporter: But we have seen the destruction in Aleppo – you have seen the images as well. Was there no other way to do it than in such a…or (sic) way?

President Assad:

Actually since the beginning of the crisis or the war on Syria we used every possible way. We didn’t leave any stone unturned in order to bring people to the negotiating table. But when you talk about the terrorists…when you talk about terrorists, when you talk about al-Qaeda, when you talk about al-Nusra and ISIS, I don’t think anyone in this world would believe that they are ready for dialogue, and they always say they’re not. They have their own ideology, they have their own way-path. They don’t accept anything (that) could be related to (a) civil state or civil country. They don’t. And I think you know as (a) European about this reality. So no, making dialogue with al-Nusra & al-Qaeda is not one of the means, but, if somebody wants to change his course on the individual levels, we are ready to accept him as a government and give him amnesty when he goes back to the normal life and give up his armament.

Reporter: The Belgian government is contributing in the fight against Daesh. There are six F-16 fighter planes in the fight against Daesh. Are you grateful to the Belgian government for that contribution?

President Assad:

Let me be frank with you: when you talk about contribution in the operation against ISIS – actually there was no operation against ISIS. It was (a) cosmetic operation. If you want to talk about (the) American alliance against ISIS, it was only an elusive alliance, because ISIS was expanding during that operation. At the same time that operation is (an) illegal operation, because it happened without consulting with or taking the permission of the Syrian government, which is a legitimate government. And it’s a breaching of our sovereignty. Third, they didn’t prevent any Syrian citizen from being killed by ISIS. So what are we grateful for? To be frank: no.

Reporter: You have stated several times that it is up to the Syrian people, it is up to the constitution to decide who their leadership should be, who their president should be. If the Syrian people would decide for a new leadership, would you consider to step aside?

President Assad:

If the Syrian people choose another president, I don’t have to choose to be aside, I will be aside, I will be outside this position, that’s self-evident, because the constitution would put (a) president, and the constitution would take him out according to the ballot box and the decision of the Syrian people. Ofcourse that’s very natural. Not only because of the ballot box, because if you don’t have public support, you cannot achieve anything in Syria, especially in a war. In a war what you need – the most important thing – is to have public support in order to restore your country, to restore the stability and security. Without it you cannot achieve anything. So yes ofcourse.

Reporter: Mr President, I am 43 years old, if I would have been born in Syria, there would always have been an Assad in executive power. Can you imagine a Syria without a member of the Assad family in executive power?

President Assad:

Of course, we don’t own the country. My family doesn’t own the country to say that only Assad should be in that position. That’s self-evident. And this could be by coincidence, because President (Hafez) Assad didn’t have an heir in the institution to be a successor. He died, I was elected – he didn’t have anything to do with my election when he was president.I didn’t have any position in the government. If he wanted me to be a heir, he would have put me somewhere, given me a responsibility. I didn’t have any responsibility actually. So it’s not as many in the media in the West use to say since my election that he was succeeded by his father or his father put him in that position. So yes Syria (is) owned by the Syrians, and every Syrian citizen has the right to be in that position.

Reporter: Do you think the European Union or even NATO can play a role in like rebuilding the country, in rebuilding Syria?

President Assad:

You cannot play that role while you are destroying Syria because the EU is supporting the terrorists in Syria from the very beginning under different titles: ‘humanitarian’, ‘moderate’, and so on, actually they were supporting al-Nusra and ISIS from the very beginning, they were extremists from the very beginning. So they cannot destroy and build at the same time.

First of all they have to take (a) very clear position regarding the sovereignty of Syria, stopping supporting the terrorists, this is where the Syrian would – I say would – accept those countries to play a role in that regard. But in the meantime if you ask any Syrian the same question they would say they don’t accept those countries that supported the people who destroyed our country, we don’t want them to be here. That’s what I think.

Reporter: Do you think Belgian can play a role in Syria?

President Assad:

Let me talk about the European political position in general. Many in this region believe that the European do not exist politically. They only follow their master the American. So the question should be about the American, and the European will follow and will implement what the American want. They don’t exist as (an) independent state, and Belgian is part of the EU.

Reporter: There is a new administration in Washington with Trump in power. What do you expect from it? Are you looking to work closely together?

President Assad:

What we heard…a statement by Trump during the campaign and after the campaign is promising regarding the priority of fighting the terrorists, and mainly ISIS. That’s what we’ve been asking for during the last six years. So I think this is promising. We have to wait – it is still early to expect anything practical, it could be about the cooperation between the US and Russia that we think is going to be positive for the rest of the world including Syria. So as I said it is still early to judge it.

Reporter: If you look back on the last couple of years, are there any things that you regret?

President Assad:

Every mistake could be a regret by any individual…

Reporter: Have you made mistakes?

President Assad:

As a human…I have to make mistakes to be human, otherwise I’m not a human.

Reporter: What would you consider a mistake?

President Assad:

A mistake (is) when you either take a wrong decision, or make wrong practice. It depends on the situation. But if you want to talk about the crisis as I understand from your question, the three decisions that we take from the very beginning is to fight terrorism, and I think it’s correct; is to make dialogue between Syrians – I think it’s correct; to respond to every political initiative, whether it’s genuine or not, and I think it’s correct; and actually we supported the reconciliation between the Syrians, and I think it’s correct. Anything else could be trivial – you have a lot of things regarding the practice, regarding the institutions, you always have mistakes.

Reporter: If you look back do you think this war was avoidable?

President Assad:

No, because there was bad intention regarding the different countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, France, UK, and the US, in order to destabilise Syria. So it wasn’t about the Syrians. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have many flaws before the war and today, as a country that allow many of those countries to mess with our country. I’m not excluding – I’m not saying it’s only about them, but they were the ones who took the initiative in order to run this war, so I don’t think it was avoidable.

Reporter: You have just had a visit from a Belgian parliamentary delegation with Mr Dewinter and Mr Carcaci, do you consider them as friends?

President Assad:

The most important (thing) about those visit is not to be friends. As a politician you don’t come to Syria to visit your friend, you come to Syria to see what’s going on.

Reporter: Do you see them as political allies?

President Assad:

No because…no, they are not my allies at all – they are coming here not for that reason. They are here in order to see what’s going on. They are the allies of the Belgian people. They came here because the government, the Belgian government, like many European governments, are blind today, they have no relation with this country on every level, so they don’t see what’s going on, they cannot play any role. So now the only eye that you have are the delegations that’s coming from your country, and this is one of them, this is one of the eyes that your government could have, and you could have many other eyes and delegations coming to Syria. So they’re not my allies, they’re not coming here for me, they’re coming here to see the situation, and I’m one of the players in the Syrian conflict. It’s natural to meet with me to hear what’s my point of view.

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Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile. Russia blames Israel. Israel blames Syria (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The unthinkable has happened in Syria.

The world now teeters on the brink of all out war in Syria as a Russian Il-20 was downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack, according to statements made by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

President Vladimir Putin, answering a reporter’s question during a press conference with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, said the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane looks like “a chain of tragic circumstances.” 

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the tripwire triggered that has the potential to tip the fragile balance in Syria towards conflict between Russia, Iran and Israel.

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The Russian military says an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said…

“Israel did not warn the command of the Russian troops in Syria about the planned operation. We received a notification via a hotline less than a minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be directed to a safe zone.”

The statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said that four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked targets in Syria’s Latakia after approaching from the Mediterranean.

The Israeli warplanes approached at a low altitude and “created a dangerous situation for other aircraft and vessels in the region.”

The statement further said that 15 Russian military service members have died as a result…

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

According to reports from RT, the Russian military said that the French Navy’s frigate ‘Auvergne,’ as well as a Russian Il-20 plane were in the area during the Israeli operation.

Map of the incident on September 17 in Syria provided by the Russian defense ministry.

The Russian ministry said the Israelis must have known that the Russian plane was present in the area, but this did not stop them from executing “the provocation.” Israel also failed to warn Russia about the planned operation in advance. The warning came just a minute before the attack started, which “did not leave time to move the Russian plane to a safe area,”the statement said.

The statement gives a larger death toll than earlier reports by the Russian military, which said there were 14 crew members on board the missing Il-20. It said a search and rescue operation for the shot-down plane is underway.

A later update said debris from the downed plane was found some 27km off the Latakia coast. The search party collected some body parts, personal possessions of the crew, and fragments of the plane.

Meanwhile Israel has come out to blame the Syrian government for the downing of the military plane, according to an IDF statement.

Israel said that it “expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members” of the Russian plane. However, it stated that the government of Bashar Assad “whose military shot down the Russian plane,” is “fully responsible” for the incident.

Israel further blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) explained that its jets were targeting a Syrian facility “from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Israel claimed that the weapons were “meant to attack Israel.”

Via RT

The IDF assumed that the Syrian anti-air batteries “fired indiscriminately” and didn’t “bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.” The Israelis said that when the Syrian military launched the missiles which hit the Russian plane, its own jets were already within Israeli airspace. “During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation.”

According to the Israeli military, both IDF and Russia have “a deconfliction system,” which was agreed upon by the leadership of both states, and “has proven itself many times over recent years.” The system was in use when the incident happened, the IDF stated. The IDF promised to share “all the relevant information” with Russia “to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”

The military presented a four-point initial inquiry into events in Latakia. It insisted that “extensive and inaccurate” Syrian anti-aircraft fire caused the Russian jet “to be hit and downed.”

The Russian Il-20 aircraft, with 15 crew on board, went off radar during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province late Monday. Later on Tuesday the Russian Defense Ministry said that an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile.

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Trump Orders Immediate Release Of All Text Messages, Carter Page FISA Application From Russia Investigation

Trump has ordered the DOJ to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions.

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Via Zerohedge

President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also released will be specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The statement reads in full:

“At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr

***

As we reported last Monday, Trump had been expected to release the documents any time – with specific attention to the Page documents and the “investigative activities of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr” – who was demoted twice for lying about his extensive relationship  with Christopher Steele – the former MI6 spy who assembled the sham “Steele Dossier” used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page.

Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.

  • They allege that Bruce Ohr played an improper intermediary role between the Justice Department, British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that produced the Trump-Russia dossier, funded by Democrats. (Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS on Russia-related matters during the presidential election — a fact that Ohr did not disclose on federal forms.)
  • And they further allege that the Obama administration improperly spied on Carter Page — all to take down Trump. –Axios

Ohr, meanwhile, met with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in 2015 to discuss helping the FBI with organized crime investigations, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon. The meeting with the Putin ally was facilitated by Steele.

Last month Trump called Ohr a disgrace, while also tweeting: “Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  “Justice” Department? A total joke!”

Trump’s threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says “afraid they will be exposed.”

According to emails turned over to Congressional investigators in August, Christopher Steele was much closer to Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie than previously disclosed.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., days after Steele turned in installments of his infamous “dossier” on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” the agency’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

“After two years of investigations and accusations from both sides of the aisle about what documents indicate, it is past time for documents to be declassified and let the American people decide for themselves if DoJ and FBI acted properly,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told Axios earlier Sunday.

In early August, journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Trump may use his presidential authority to declassify “20 redacted pages of a June, 2017 FISA renewal, “and possibly” 63 pages of emails and notes between “Ohr & Steele,” and FD-302 summaries of 12 interviews.”

President Trump threatened to declassify documents two weeks ago – one day after the New York Times allegedly published an anonymous Op-Ed claiming to be from a White House official claiming to be part of an unelected “resistance” cabal within the Trump administration.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted earlier this month, adding: “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

Trump’s threat comes as calls by frustrated GOP legislators to release the documents have hit a fevered pitch. Spearheading the effort are Republican Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Lee Zeldin – who have repeatedly asked Trump to declassify more of the heavily redacted FISA surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in late 2016.

In June, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked President Trump to declassify key sections of Carter Page’s FISA warrant application, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

Carter Page, the DOJ/FBI’s person of interest, weighed in on the matter in late August, tweeting: “The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016.”

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De-Dollarization Tops Agenda at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was held in Vladivostok on Sept.11-13. Founded in 2015, the event has become a platform for planning and launching projects to strengthen business ties in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Via Strategic Culture

This year, the EEF brought together delegations from over 60 countries to discuss the topic “The Far East: Expanding the Range of Possibilities”. A total of 100 business events involving over 6,000 participants were held during the three days.

1,357 media personnel worked to cover the forum. Last year, the number of participants was 5,000 with 1,000 media persons involved in reporting and broadcasting. The EEF-18 gathered 340 foreign and 383 Russian CEOs. Nearly 80 start-ups from across South-East Asia joined the meeting.

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This year, a total of 175 agreements worth of 2.9 trillion rubles (some $4.3 billion) were signed. For comparison, the sum was 2.5 trillion rubles (roughly $3.7 billion) in 2017.

They included the development of the Baimsky ore deposits in Chukotka, the construction of a terminal for Novatek LNG at Bechevinskaya Bay in Kamchatka and the investment of Asian countries in Russia’s agricultural projects in the Far East.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mail.Ru Group, Megafon and Chinese Alibaba inked an agreement on establishing AliExpress trade joint venture. Rosneft and Chinese CNPC signed an oil exploration agreement.

The Chinese delegation was the largest (1,096 people), followed by the Japanese (570 members). The list of guests included the president of Mongolia and prime ministers of Japan and South Korea.

It was also the first time Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the event to meet his Russian counterpart. The issue of de-dollarization topped the agenda. Russia and China reaffirmed their interest in expanding the use of national currencies in bilateral deals.

During the forum, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of RDIF, said the fund intends to use only national currencies in its transactions with China starting from 2019. It will cooperate with the China Development Bank.

This “yuanification” is making visible progress with Shanghai crude futures increasing their share of oil markets up to 14 percent or even more. China has signed agreements with Canada and Qatar on national currencies exchange.

READ MORE: Eastern Economic Forum opens new chapter in US-Russia dialogue

De-dollarization is a trend that is picking up momentum across the world. A growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar. Russia is leading the race to protect itself from fluctuations, storms and US-waged trade wars and sanctions.

Moscow backs non-dollar trade with Ankara amid the ongoing lira crisis. Turkey is switching from the dollar to settlements in national currencies, including its trade with China and other countries. Ditching the US dollar is the issue topping the BRICS agenda. In April, Iran transferred all international payments to the euro.

The voices calling for de-dollarization are getting louder among America’s closest European allies. In August, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US.

According to him, Europe should not allow the United States to act “over our heads and at our expense.” The official wants to strengthen European autonomy by establishing independent payment channels, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system.

Presenting his annual program, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Sept. 12 for the European Union to promote the euro as a global currency to challenge the dollar.

According to him, “We must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene.” Mr. Juncker believes “it is absurd that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy import bill – worth 300 billion euros a year – in US dollars when only roughly 2 percent of our energy imports come from the United States.” He wants the raft of proposals made in his state of the union address to start being implemented before the European Parliament elections in May.

70% of all world trade transactions account for the dollar, while 20% are  settled in the euro, and the rest falls on the yuan and other Asian currencies. The dollar value is high to make the prices of consumer goods in the US artificially low. The demand for dollars allows refinancing the huge debt at low interest rates. The US policy of trade wars and sanctions has triggered the global process of de-dollarization.

Using punitive measures as a foreign policy tool is like shooting oneself in the foot. It prompts a backlash to undermine the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency – the basis of the US economic might. The aggressive policy undermines the US world standing to make it weaker, not stronger.

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