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LAVROV: US seizing of Russian embassy property “DAYLIGHT ROBBERY”

Russia is getting increasingly fed up with the protracted situation.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has called the US seizure of Russian embassy property in the United States, “daylight robbery”. He added,

“It looks like some highway thieves are commenting on this situation”.

He implicated the Obama administration as guilty of trying to make thigns more difficult for Donald Trump via their preferred target, Russia.

Lavrov stated,

“…how else they (Obama officials) could ruin (Moscow’s) relations with Washington in such a way that the Trump administration would fail to restore them”.

Last week, Julian Assange laid out how the seizure of the Russian property which is legally the territory of the Russian Federation violates international law according to the Vienna Convention.

The situation arose in December of last year when the Obama administration seized the property in conjunction with expulsions of Russian diplomats and embassy officials.

Russia had waited to directly raise the issue with the US until Donald Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin.

Russia has subsequently threatened to expel US diplomats from Russia, although Russia has not threatened to seize any US property in Russia.

As The Duran previously reported,

“As Russia threatens to expel US diplomats from the Russian Federation in retaliation for the still unresolved and unatoned for expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and embassy workers (including chefs) and the seizure of Russian property in the US by order of Barack Obama in his last month in office, the biggest question is not why but why now?

It is wise to remember that at the time, Vladimir Putin very publicly declined to take retaliatory measures against the United States. Instead, he issued a public statement that was both a dig at the very lame duck Obama and one which extended a proverbial olive branch to then President-elect Trump. President Putin’s statement is reproduced below in its entirety.

“We regard the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening the Russia-US relationship. This runs contrary to the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia and the United States, this is also damaging to international relations as a whole.

As it proceeds from international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind. Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration.

The diplomats who are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their families and friends. We will not create any problems for US diplomats. We will not expel anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays. Moreover, I invite all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties in the Kremlin.

It is regrettable that the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner. Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama and his family.

My season’s greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American people.

I wish all of you happiness and prosperity”.

READ MORE: Putin outsmarts Obama, turns Obama’s expulsion of Russian diplomats to his advantage

For his part, then President elect Trump responded by condemning Obama’s move on social media, saying,

So it was clear in December of 2016 that Putin was waiting to handle the issue with President Trump and that Trump was disinterested in carrying on Obama’s acts and showed interest in reconciling the issue with Russia.

To understand the seriousness, indeed the heinousness of what Obama did, a mass expulsion of embassy staff and the seizure of ambassadorial property is against every protocol of international relations and is by many accounts an illegal act, especially in a period which is technically time of peace between the nations involved.

Obama not only seized Russian owned property but did so on what is legally Russian soil. Some could call it a soft act of war. One ought to remember that it is the very letter of the law affirming that embassy property is on the legal territory and jurisdiction of the country to which the embassy belongs, in this case the territory of The Russian Federation, that has caused  the US, Sweden and the UK a great deal of trouble in their relentless war of aggression against a single Australian man.

This legal fact is indeed the reason why Julian Assange has not yet been molested by British authorities who seem eager to do so and have promised as much should he leave the embassy and legally step onto UK soil. The Ecuadorian Embassy in London is Ecuadorian sovereign territory, not British territory, in spite of being situated in London.

The question therefore is, why wasn’t this dealt with by Russia and the Trump administration in January or February of 2017, given how pressing the issue was and remains?

The only logical answer is that Russia showed an extreme amount of patience as Donald Trump found his feet in the very hostile US domestic political environment.

Russia took what can only be called an extremely gentlemanly approach and waited until the Russian President could meet Donald Trump in person before taking the retaliatory measures that most foreign leaders would have taken instantly.

Although Sergey Lavrov spoke after the G20 meeting between the Russian and US Presidents saying that the US was committed to resolving the issue, clearly, the lack of enthusiasm and speed from the US side has led Russia to make the dramatic yet entirely proportional and therefore entirely correct threat publicly.

It is critical to remember that Russian and US officials are working to solve the issue at this very moment, therefore Russia is still giving the US one final chance to right the situation before taking any action. The question then goes to, why did Russia not wait to make the threat until the time that such negotiations might reach a brick wall and fail?

The best answer to this question is that the Russians have learned the art of the deal. Make a reasonable offer and if your negotiating opponent becomes slow or unreasonable, walk out of the negotiating room while making one’s position known, should the other side foolishly not come back to the table.

Putin has now met with Donald Trump for the first time and Lavrov has met him for the second time in several months. Both men must at least have a generally good feel for Trump as a man and unlike many countries, the human side is deeply important to Russia. Russia deals with people over and above jargon.

Had Obama still been POTUS, chances are that Russia would have made good on its threat instantly. With Trump in the White House, a man who will famously sit and negotiate anything like any good businessman, Russia is playing with carrots and sticks, something which was increasingly useless when dealing with Obama, a man who had become a soft-spoken fanatic, vis-a-vis Trump who likes a good tough negotiation and has said so repeatedly.

Just as much of America’s belligerence towards North Korea appears to be a deeply misguided move to show China that the US is ‘tougher’ and more serious than it used to be, Russia is most likely publicly playing hardball with this issue to show Trump the same, the only difference being no one is threatening to physically hurt anyone because it is not Russia’s style to act so disproportionately.

The ball is in Trump’s court. It is clear that he does not have strong feelings on the issue and would most likely rather it go away. That being said, many in the US will be savagely telling Trump not to budge on the issue because of the nonsense that is Russigate.

In this sense, Russia is equally challenging Trump to, for lack of a better term, show that he has bigger balls than the deep state. If the US reaches an 11th hour agreement with Russia, the answer is that he has.

If the issue was not so serious, this would be the best reality TV show ever made!

As they say, pass the popcorn.

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BARR: No collusion by any Americans

Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Alex Christoforou

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Attorney General Barr found no one in the Trump campaign colluded with “Russia” to meddle in the 2016 US election.

A devastating blow to Democrats and their mainstream media stenographers.

Trump reacted immediately…

Via RT…

With the full report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into claims President Donald Trump colluded with Russia about to be released, Attorney General William Barr is giving a press conference about its findings.

Barr maintains the allegation that the Russian government made efforts to interfere in the election through the Internet Research Agency, an alleged Kremlin-control “troll farm”, as well as “hacking efforts” by the Russian intelligence agency GRU.

The bottom line, Barr says, is that Mueller has found Russia tried to interfere in the election, but “no American” helped it.

Barr explained the White House’s interaction with the Mueller report, whether Trump used executive privilege to block any of its contents from release, as well as on how the Justice Department chose which bits of the 400-page paper to redact.

On the matter of obstruction of justice, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein have reviewed Mueller’s evidence and “legal theories”, and found that there is no evidence to show Trump tried to disrupt the investigation.

He said Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Most of the redactions in the report were made to protect ongoing investigations and personal information of “peripheral third parties”.

Barr said that no-one outside the Justice Department took part in the redacting process or saw the unredacted version, except for the intelligence community, which was given access to parts of it to protect sources.

Trump did not ask to make any changes to Mueller’s report, Barr said.

Trump’s personal counsel was given access to the redacted report before its release.

A number of Trump-affiliated people, as well as Russian nationals, have been indicted, charged or put on trial by Mueller over the course of the past two years, but none for election-related conspiracy. Still, Democrats in Congress as well as numerous establishment media personalities have been insisting that Barr, a Trump pick for AG office, is somehow “spinning” its findings in order to protect and exonerate Trump, and are calling to see the full report as soon as possible.

They have equally condemned Barr’s decision to hold a news conference before the report is release, claiming he is trying to shape the public perception in Trump’s favor.

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran: “Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis. It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis, again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis, with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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Nigel Farage stuns political elite, as Brexit Party and UKIP surge in polls (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’s stunning rise in the latest UK polls, which show Tory support splintering and collapsing to new lows. Theresa May’s Brexit debacle has all but destroyed the Conservative party, which is now seeing voters turn to UKIP and The Brexit Party.

Corbyn’s Labour Party is not finding much favor from UK voters either, as anger over how Britain’s two main parties conspired to sell out the country to EU globalists, is now being voiced in various polling data ahead of EU Parliament elections.

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Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk:


The Guardian reports Tories Hit by New Defections and Slump in Opinion Polls as Party Divide Widens.

The bitter fallout from Brexit is threatening to break the Tory party apart, as a Europhile former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell on Sunday announces he is defecting to the independent MPs’ group Change UK, and a new opinion poll shows Conservative support plummeting to a five-year low as anti-EU parties surge.

The latest defections come as a new Opinium poll for the Observer shows a dramatic fall in Tory support in the past two weeks and a surge for anti-EU parties. The Conservatives have fallen by six percentage points to 29% compared to a fortnight ago. It is their worst position since December 2014. Labour is up one point on 36% while Ukip is up two points on 11%.

Even more alarmingly for the Tories, their prospects for the European elections appear dire. Only 17% of those certain to vote said they would choose the Conservatives in the European poll, while 29% would back Labour, and 25% either Ukip (13%) or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party (12%).

YouGov Poll

A more recent YouGov Poll looks even worse for the Tories

In the YouGov poll, UKIP and BREX total 29%.

Polls Volatile

Eurointellingence has these thoughts on the polls.

We have noted before that classic opinion polls at a time like this are next to useless. But we found an interesting constituency-level poll, by Electoral Calculus, showing for the first time that Labour would get enough constituency MPs to form a minority government with the support of the SNP. This is a shift from previous such exercises, which predicted a continuation of the status quo with the Tories still in command.

This latest poll, too, is subject to our observation of massively intruding volatility. It says that some of the Tory’s most prominent MPs would be at risk, including Amber Rudd and Iain Duncan-Smith. And we agree with the bottom-line analysis of John Curtice, the pollster, who said the abrupt fall in support for Tories is due entirely to their failure to have delivered Brexit on time.

The Tories are facing two electoral tests in May – local elections on May 2 and European elections on May 23. Early polls are show Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party shooting up, taking votes away from the Tories. If European elections were held, we would expect the Brexit party to come ahead of the Tories. Labour is rock-solid in the polls, but Labour unity is at risk as the pro-referendum supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to put the second referendum on the party’s manifesto.

Tory Labour Talks

The Tory/Labour talks on a compromise have stalled, but are set to continue next week with three working groups: on security, on environmental protection, and on workers’ rights. A separate meeting is scheduled between Philip Hammond and John McDonnell, the chancellor and shadow chancellor. The big outstanding issue is the customs union. Theresa May has not yet moved on this one. We noted David Liddington, the effective deputy prime minister, saying that the minimum outcome of the talks would be an agreed and binding decision-making procedure to flush out all options but one in a series of parliamentary votes.

May’s task is to get at least half of her party on board for a compromise. What makes a deal attractive to the Tories is that May would resign soon afterwards, giving enough time for the Tory conference in October to select a successor before possible elections in early 2020.

This relative alignment of interests is why we would not rule out a deal – either on an agreed joint future relationship, or at least on a method to deliver an outcome.

Customs Union

A customs union, depending on how it is structured, would likely be worse than remaining. The UK would have to abide by all the EU rules and regulations without having any say.

Effectively, it will not be delivering Brexit.

Perhaps May’s deal has a resurrection.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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