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‘Steps everyone will notice’ – Syria to get powerful Russian S-300 system

New defense systems are expected to be in Syria within two weeks, suggesting that the Russians seriously mean what they say.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On September 22, Robert Bridge wrote about how an Israeli incursion into Syria that ended with the downing of a Russian IL-20 plane and fifteen crewmen was an incident that the Russian Federation’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said: “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

And the Israelis are concerned, as they should be. After what they did, and their subsequent blame game, trying to pin the responsibility for this incident on the Syrian forces (which are backed by Russia), now the payback has arrived.

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TASS reported September 24th that Russia decided to install advanced S-300 anti-missile and anti-aircraft batteries in Syria. The older S-200 systems could not differentiate between friendly and unfriendly targets, which was how the Israeli fighters managed to not get shot down. They “framed” an IL-20, and the missiles intended to stop the incursion instead took out a Russian plane.

TASS writes:

Within two weeks, the Syrian army will get from Russia S-300 air-defense missiles to strengthen its combat capabilities following the downing of a Russian Ilyushin Il-20 aircraft in Syria, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday.

“A modern S-300 air defense missile system will be supplied to the Syrian Armed Forces within two weeks. It is capable of intercepting air assault weapons at a distance of more than 250 kilometers and hit simultaneously several air targets,” the minister said.

Shoigu said S-300 missiles will strongly strengthen combat capabilities of the Syrian air defense due to their jamming invulnerability and firing speed.

“I will underscore – at the request of the Israeli side, in 2013 we suspended the delivery of S-300 systems that were ready for the dispatch, while the Syrian military had undergone training. Now the situation has changed, and we are not to blame,” the defense minister said.

Command posts of the Syrian air defense will also be equipped with Russian automated systems, which guarantee the identification of Russian aircraft, the defense chief stated.

“The command posts of Syrian air defense forces and units will be equipped with automated control systems only supplied to the Russian armed forces. This will facilitate centralized control over all forces and resources of the Syrian air defense, monitor the situation in the air, and ensure operative issuance of orders. Most importantly, we will guarantee the identification of all Russian aircraft by the Syrian air defense systems,” Shoigu said.

A Russian electronic surveillance Il-20 plane was downed over the Mediterranean Sea late on September 17 when it was flying back to the Russian airbase at Syria’s Hmeymim. According to the Russian defense ministry, the plane was shot down by a missile from a Syrian S-200 air defense complex when it was firing at four Israeli F-16 aircraft attacking targets in the Latakia Governorate. The Israeli pilots actually used the Russian aircraft as a cover, exposing it to Syrian missiles, the ministry stressed.

Looking at a map of military forces and theatres of conflict in Syria is all but incomprehensible at first glance. The nation is strategically located and is the stress point of at least two major powers – Russia and the United States / NATO. The Israelis showed their rather characteristic propensity to mislead and what is surprising is the rather gutsy way they appear to have tried to do this with the Russians. Again, Israel took upon itself the “right” to conduct raids in Syria. The only major power with internationally accepted authority to be there is Russia.

With ISIS effectively defeated, the real nature of the Syrian conflict as a proxy war becomes more evident. President Putin’s handling was masterful, but one can probably expect the level of tension in this region to be especially high now.

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Shaun RameweShahnamickPoodle PutinDavid Bowlas Recent comment authors
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Cheryl Brandon
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Cheryl Brandon

Thank you very much Russia; Time Syria have the best weapons for self defense; after being attacked by Israhelli regime 207 times without UN saying BOO”; RIP UN/ICC/all Humanitarian organizations and Free Speech.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

More Russian planes downed, gaga

Kaput
Member

maybe………… everything that goes up must come down………. right ?? even Napoleon Bonaparte did……. but surely you never heard of him……. too much glifosato in your veg garden. lol

Cicero
Guest
Cicero

Only in your delusions

Poodle Putin
Guest
Poodle Putin

these were supposed to have been delivered back in 2007-9 already. Now SEVEN yrs into the foreign Arab Spring Invasion??? Any Russian junk the Syrians presently possess were code-disabled by Russia. Syria deserves billion $ refund

mick
Guest
mick

If you actually knew what you were talking about you would know Russia didn’t deliver the S300 systems because Israel begged them not to. Putin listened to Israels begging and withheld the S300’s… but Israel couldn’t keep its end of the deal.
Israeli planes will be picked up by the S300 system AS THEY TAKE OFF IN ISRAEL! Israel has just shot itself in the head!

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Great move by anti-terrorist pro-democracy Russia and Syria. Iran will be laughing too – and rightfully so.

Sally Snyder
Guest
Sally Snyder

As shown in this article, a Washington-based anti-Assad Syrian group has strongly suggested one solution to controlling Syria:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-next-steps-in-syria-establishing-no.html

Given that approval of the United Nations Security Council is required to take actions in a sovereign nation, it is becoming increasingly clear that Washington ise doing whatever it wants in Syria.

mick
Guest
mick

Written by an Israeli.

Cicero
Guest
Cicero

This will make Bibi cry for sure – Israel will no doubt continue to test Syria air defences even with the S300 but it should make them very wary.

Kaput
Member

I hope they do………….indeed , a “civil war ” in ishrell is not imposssible….. at all…….. guess nhau will seek asylum in amiriki.

Richard Steven Hack
Guest
Richard Steven Hack

More importantly, the Russian announcement says that they will jam any and all aircraft or missiles attacking Syria over a wide section of Syria and the Mediterranean. They have done so covertly before during the US cruise missile attacks. But now they have made it official. The new automated system will give both Russia and Syria the ability to decide who gets shot down – which is directly a threat against Israel. As I said before, count on Israeli jets being shot down from now on when they attack Syria. Israel is counting on the US to protect them if… Read more »

Ray Joseph Cormier
Guest

Again, Putin shows how his Patience pays off. This is the best response to Israel’s aggressive actions. We are living in Interesting Times!

Joe
Guest
Joe

Yeah yeah yeah bla bla bla …..the Untouchables are already screaming and will probably get what they want…another Putin backtrack. Why doesn’t the whole world just roll over and kiss their asses a little me. The taboo people….the victums

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Yes, when Putin ordered the downing of flight MH17 , all the Russians smiled.

Kaput
Member

sorry to seriously say, are you derranged or a learning how to type ?????? you make me smile though ……… keep on the good work , i love it.

joris
Guest
joris

You and your criminal friends have a term for MH17: collateral damage, bombing schools funerals hospitals weddings etc. what all the fuss is about.

7.62x54R
Guest
7.62x54R

The serial numbers of the missile parts found at the crash site of the Boeing plane came from UKR military inventory. Stop your moronic statements.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

No, troll, from Russia as reported.

David Bowlas
Guest
David Bowlas

@ AF. Fu£ing grow up you sound like a little girl.

mick
Guest
mick

You are not very clever, are you? Good to see you can use a computer at least.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

He invaded Ukraine, killed 22.000 Ukrainians in Donbass, occupied Crimea…………..

Tjoe
Guest
Tjoe

Is your wet dream over? We saw the daylight on those issues and you are a liar. Crawl back under your bridge.

Cicero
Guest
Cicero

Ukraine was never invaded, Crimea chose to return to Russia & who can blame them with a western backed fascist coup government in Kiev

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

Invaded in 2014 by Russia. Tell the 5200 relatives of killed Russian soldiers in Donbass. Crimea was invaded too. Crimea is Ukraine.

joris
Guest
joris

how is your role model the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk doing? who declared the people in the East to be subhuman and sent his Bandera Nazi battalions towards eastern Ukraine.

A.F.
Guest
A.F.

After the Russian Army invaded and started to kill the locals…………

joris
Guest
joris

more babbling btw when the 21 trillion Orwellian debt state collapses Kiev will return to Russia

David Bowlas
Guest
David Bowlas

AF. You really need to see a doctor. You are not only delusional but deranged as well. Seriously you must be spitting bile all over your undies.

mick
Guest
mick

You never seem to let the truth interfere with your narrative.
Are you a paid Israeli agent or a kid in his mum’s basement?

Jack Hamilton
Guest
Jack Hamilton

My advice to Russia, as well as any other nation (understanding that the US, which is Israel’s BITCH, and will continue aiding and abetting the TERROR state of Israel, no matter what), is to do the EXACT opposite of whatever Israel asks or wants! The S300 should have been delivered to Syria long ago and certainly, as soon as Israel requested Russia not to deliver it to Syria! Had this been done, the Israeli, premeditated use of Russian aircraft to veil the IDF fighters (along with its breach of notice requirements and lying as to the flight path of the… Read more »

Normski
Member
Normski

In a couple of weeks, Syrian airspace will be effectively closed to all but friendly aircraft and not before time. I wonder how those poor little yanks who are now unlawfully occupying Syrian territory will enter and exit Syria – it looks like they’ll be stuck there for quite some time!.

Kaput
Member

plenty of space available in Turkish dungeons lol ……. one way street.

JPH
Guest
JPH

Israel up to now tends to launch missiles from Lebanese or international air space above the Mediterranean with impunity. That will change with the S300 because IDF aircraft returning to Israel can be engaged even up to close to landing. That kind of retribution is probably legal too as a response to being attacked and it requires only one demonstration quite visible to the Israeli public to clarify that its impunity has come to an end.

john vieira
Guest

Keep probing until WW 111 answers!!!

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

Unfortunately, John, the answer is yes, welcome to World War 111. There is now no turning back for Amazia, a nation which has lost it’s mind, has become nothing more than the armed forces of the Fatican, as she races toward her short lived One World Church. It is humourous how Amazia, invaded by Europeans fleeing the Fatican, has now finished up being the not so great whore’s hit team. Being a Christian, we see how clearly what is now coming to pass is absolutely Scriptural, as God is tired of the way we have perverted, polluted His world and… Read more »

Peter Milne
Guest
Peter Milne

They arrived yesterday via 7 cargo Planes – from what I heard

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

Source?

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

TWO weeks its a very long time! Bibi will try to fuck it up…

George Hartwell
Guest

Russia is now fully justified in arming Syria with the S300 and this upgrade to Syria’s air defense does not go away. Israel has to live with being outed for betraying the spirit of their agreement with Russia and outed for attacking Syria and have lost their chance to play games in the Middle East. Checkmate. Game over.

Jets
Guest
Jets

Welll said!

Two thumbs up.

voza0db
Guest
voza0db

Nothing to do with missiles and other sort of fun… But I wonder if this Russian woman still wants to live in USofT after this adventure!

“Administrative segregation lifted for US-jailed Russian citizen Butina — embassy
World September 22
Butina is now permitted to take open air walks, use the gym and communicate with people around her”

Mike
Guest
Mike

So a 30 years old system is called new in Russia?

Shahna
Guest
Shahna

How come the Syrians fired only ONE missile at FOUR Israeli jets?

Shaun Ramewe
Guest
Shaun Ramewe

Terrorist-abetting global-traitor Zio-F-UK-US war criminals will be seething and spewing all over their shrunken depraved selves now!!

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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By

Via RT…


Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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