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Russia rejects Kerry’s demand for extension of Syrian ceasefire to Al-Qaeda

In series of statements Russian diplomats reject US demand that Syrian and Russian bombing of Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch Jabhat Al-Nusra cease, and that Kerry – Lavrov agreement be rewritten to soften US’s obligation to separate the fighters it supports from Jabhat Al-Nusra.

Alexander Mercouris

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It has taken the Russians no time to reject US Secretary of State Kerry’s demand that the ceasefire in Syria be extended to Jabhat Al-Nusra (i.e. to Al-Qaeda’s local Syrian branch) and that the Russians and the Syrians in effect impose a no-fly zone on themselves in northern Syria.

Directly after Kerry’s comments to the UN Security Council Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov, in his characteristically understated language, described the proposal as “unworkable”.

“To find the way out of this situation that would suit the US and the groups patronised by the Americans, this scheme was proposed, but it cannot work.”

Instead Ryabkov made it clear that Russia is prepared to bomb militant Jihadi organisations in Syria which refuse to separate themselves from Jabhat Al-Nusra. 

He also flatly rejected US attempts to (in effect) rewrite the Kerry – Lavrov agreement to make it more favourable to the US agenda of achieving regime change in Syria by softening the US’s obligation in the agreement to separate the fighters the US supports from Jabhat Al-Nusra.

“The agreement has too many foes. The events of the past few days dealt a direct blow on that agreement. Of course, we see no alternative to what is written down in that document.  We believe that the wording is rather balanced and apparently describes the maximum possible in this situation, a situation of an acute crisis and continuing tragedies, a situation where Russia and the United States remain considerably divided in conceptual terms as to what should be done and how for the sake of addressing this problem.”

(bold italics added)

Ryabkov’s comment about Russia and the US being “considerably divided in conceptual terms” is identical to the observation made in The Duran by Adam Garrie that agreement between the US and Russia over Syria is ultimately impossible because of the fundamental difference in outlook and objective between the two countries.

Ryabkov homed in on what the Russians see as the fundamental problem with the whole peace process: the US’s unwillingness or inability to engineer the separation of the fighters it supports from Jabhat Al-Nusra

“Regrettably, the US Administration is still unable to do what is required for the full implementation of the agreement.  To be more precise, to bring about the separation of the moderates and the terrorists. Nor can the United States guarantee the implementation of a number of other components of this agreement which we’ve been witnesses to over the past few days.”

Where Ryabkov prefers moderate understated language Maria Zakharova, Russia’s formidable Foreign Ministry spokesman, is (as might be expected) far more outspoken. 

She has condemned blustering speech at the UN Security Council as a “show for millions of viewers and primarily, for the mass media, for cameras”.  She has also pointedly referred to the US’s insistence on keeping the terms of the Kerry – Lavrov agreement secret, and has asked rhetorically why that might be so

“Why are the Russian-U.S. agreements not published or made public?  For a very simple reason: then the entire world will know what commitments the sides have undertaken inking these agreements.”

She too has flatly rejected any re-writing of the Kerry – Lavrov agreement and has said that the problem is that the US – by failing to separate the fighters it supports from Jabhat Al-Nusra – is not implementing its terms

“The recipe is simple.  It has been specified in detail and approved of and you don’t need to look for it anywhere.  It (the Kerry – Lavrov agreement – AM) stipulates the separation of opposition – call them any names you please, because some call them militants while others say they are the moderate opposition – the very opposition that hasn’t laid down arms and continues combat operations – It should be separated from terrorists.”

Meanwhile both Zakharova and Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin have meanwhile criticised Kerry for misrepresenting Russian statements about the attack on the relief convoy

All I will say about that is that Kerry in his comments to the UN Security Council appeared at one point to say that the Russians were alleging that the relief convoy had self-combusted ie. had caught fire by itself.  Even the most cursory reading of Russian statements about the convoy shows this is not true.  In fact the Russians have made it fairly clear that they believe the Jihadis intentionally set fire to the convoy themselves, though in order not to compromise the prospects of the impartial on-the-spot investigation they are demanding they have been careful not to say it in so many words.  When someone turns to ridicule and misrepresentation to trash another’s argument, it is in my experience an infallible sign that they feel themselves to be on shaky ground, and I see no reason to think Kerry is any different.

Regardless of that, I doubt that the Russians are unduly concerned about the allegations the US is making about the convoy.  They have made it fairly clear that they see the media storm the US is trying to work up over the convoy as an attempt to divert attention from what they see as the far more serious US attack on the Syrian troops defending Deir Ezzor.  The Russians have made it fairly clear that they do not think this US attack was a “mistake” even if again, so as not to jeopardise future negotiations with the US, they are not so openly.  Here for example is what Ryabkov in his understated way had to say about it

“It is not a tragedy, it is a very dramatic development regarding the agreement as such. It is a heavy blow on its groundwork.”

Meanwhile President Assad of Syria – unconstrained by the diplomatic language the Russians feel obliged to use because of their ongoing discussions with the US – has said openly that the attack was intentional.  On the facts it is hard to disagree with him (see here and here).

Latest reports from Syria show that the ceasefire has completely broken down and that the fighting has resumed in earnest.  It seems that the Syrian army, having repulsed the Jihadi attacks on Aleppo which were made under the cover of the ceasefire, is once more on the attack.

Though Kerry and Lavrov are having more meetings in New York, it is the fighting on the ground in Syria which tells the true story.  This latest peace initiative is dead.

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Surprise, Surprise! Another Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegation! (Video)

Democrats will use this Social Justice tactic on every nomination and election.

The Duran

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Via Stefan Molyneux


Surprise, Surprise! Fresh off the spineless Republicans delaying the confirmation vote for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh – the Judge has been accused of yet another sexual assault claim of questionable authenticity. Apparently during the 1983-84 academic school year, Kavanaugh ‘exposed himself’ to classmate Deborah Ramirez while she was heavily intoxicated – or so she thinks so, despite admitted gaps in her memory and no additional eyewitnesses.

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White House Releases Late Night Push Back to New Yorker Hit on Kavanaugh

Ramirez recalls “a penis being in front of my face,” and that despite being incredibly drunk, someone encouraging her to “kiss it.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit


The White House released a late night response to the New Yorker hit piece by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in which a Yale classmate alleged, without eyewitness corroboration, that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her face at a drunken college dorm party decades ago. Kavanaugh issued a statement denying the accusation.

Latest Kavanaugh accuser, Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez.

The White House statement highlights multiple details from the article that undermine the accusation.

Reporters have posted a copy to Twitter, one of them CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Full image and text posted below.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ALLEGATIONS MADE IN THE NEW YORKER ARTICLE ON JUDGE BRETT KAVANAUGH

“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations.” – Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The accuser, Deborah Ramirez, admits in The New Yorker’s piece that there were “significant gaps” in her memories about the event. 

  • “She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident.”
  • “Ramirez acknowledged that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening…”

By The New Yorker’s own admission, Ramirez was reluctant to speak with certainty on the allegation. 

  • “In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty.”

It took six days of “assessing her memories” for Ramirez to say she recalled Kavanaugh committing the alleged incident, and that came only after consulting with an attorney provided by the Democrats. 

  • “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections…”
  • “Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, who currently represents her.”

The New Yorker admits it has not confirmed through eyewitnesses Kavanaugh was even present at the party and other students who knew Kavanaugh said they never heard of the incident. 

  • The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.”
  • “In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events…”
  • “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place.”
  • “Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not.”

Further, those classmates said that the allegations in the story would be completely out of character for Kavanaugh.  

  • “The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett.”

A former student who was best friends with Ramirez said she never told her about the incident despite how close they were. 

  • “The former friend who was married to the male classmate alleged to be involved, and who signed the statement, said of Ramirez, ‘This is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.’”

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US Will Be “Defenseless” Against New Russian Nuclear Sub Equipped With Hypersonic Missiles

The hypersonic nuclear submarine is not the only super-weapon that Russia is preparing to add to its arsenal.

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Via Zerohedge


The Soviet-era arms race between the US and Russia is officially back on.

To wit, Moscow is reportedly building a fleet of nuclear submarines armed with hypersonic ICBMs capable of delivering a nuclear payload ten times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to CNBC, which cited a US intelligence report on the new weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted at six new super weapons during a speech back in March where he also revealed that Russia is working on a nuclear missile capable of evading NATO’s ring of ABM defenses.

The new Borei II submarine, also known as the Borei-A, is a fourth-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that will reportedly join the Russian Navy’s Northern and Pacific Fleets once it’s completed in 2024, according to the report. Each sub can carry up to 20 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can deliver a nuclear payload of 100 to 150 kilotons. The sub will be the first new Russian sub developed in the post-Soviet era.

What’s worse is that, as of now, the US doesn’t possess adequate defenses to protect against Bulava missiles.

What’s more, unlike a traditional missile, which carries one warhead, the Bulava missile is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear and hypersonic weapons on its tip. That means one Borei II submarine could potentially launch 200 hypersonic weapons, a threat the U.S. is currently unable to defend against.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at Mach 5 or higher, which is at least five times faster than the speed of sound. This means that a hypersonic threat can travel about one mile per second.

Back in March, Putin showed a digital representation of how one of Russia’s new weapons could evade ABM defenses by traveling high into the stratosphere. The Russian president also criticized the US and NATO for forcing Russia to resort to these weapons. He also dared any of Russia’s geopolitical rivals to call the country weak.

“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: You have failed to contain Russia,” Putin said during his March national address.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at Mach five or faster, which means it is five times faster than the speed of sound, traveling at about one mile per second.

And the new sub isn’t the only super-weapon that Russia is preparing to add to its arsenal. Of the six weapons Putin unveiled at his speech earlier this year, CNBC reported that two of them will be ready for war by 2020.

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, following Putin’s comments.

With this in mind, perhaps Democrats in Congress can stop complaining about the ostensibly friendly relationship between President Trump and Putin and also stop agitating against Trump’s plans to allocate more money to the military.

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