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Syria: Russia brings in the Terminator to ‘terminate’ ISIS

Alexander Mercouris

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This article was first published by The Duran

One of the most interesting revelations from President Assad’s visit last week to Russia’s Khmeimim air base in Syria is that the Russians have deployed one of their most unusual weapons systems there: the BMPT-72 Terminator.

Here is a picture of President Assad looking at this remarkable machine

The BMPT-72 has its origins in the two Chechen wars, when the Russians decided that a heavily armed armoured vehicle was needed to support main battle tanks in dealing with infantry especially in built up areas.

For some time it was recognised that armoured vehicles equipped with rapid fire anti aircraft cannon were devastatingly effective when used against infantry and in built up areas.  One of the systems regularly used for this purpose is the famous ZSU-23-4 Shilka

The problem with using the ZSU-23-4 Shilka for this role is that its armour is thin, which makes it unsuitable for first line combat.  In the early 2000s the Russians accordingly designed the Terminator, which was actually based on a T72 tank chassis, and was therefore better suited for this role.

The latest version of the Terminator – the BMPT-72 – packs a formidable punch, with two high velocity rapid fire 30 mm anti aircraft cannons and four Ataka anti-tank missiles, which can also be used to attack buildings, especially when equipped with thermobaric warheads.

Development of the Terminator has however been controversial in Russia, and they do not appear to have been procured in any quantity.  It seems that someone has now decided that the time has come to test out the concept – and the machine itself – in combat, which is presumably why it is now being deployed to Syria.

The number of Terminators Russia has sent to Syria is unknown.  Al-Masdar, which has sources within the Syrian military, describes how and where they will be used

The Russian Terminator-2 BMPT vehicle which hasn’t entered service in any armed forces in the world was spotted in the eastern countryside of Hama alongside the elite Desert Hawks who are wrapping up their preparations for an offensive aimed at expelling ISIS from the central province.

The vehicle was first seen in Hmeimim Airbase during President Assad’s visit the previous week. According to reports, the Terminator-2 war machine will participate in the fierce battles of Hama’s rugged mountainous terrain and will be operated by Russian service members until Syrian Army units receive adequate training on the weapon system.

The SAA offensive in eastern Hama will be focused on securing the oil pipelines and capturing the ISIL stronghold of Uqayribat. Once captured, ISIS fighters in the area will likely flush out of the province and the adjacent territory north of Palmyra to avoid full encirclement.

Filled with mines, ambushes, fortified encampments, and unmaneuverable geography, the battle for east Hama is far from easy and the terror group is almost certainly unwilling to bulge given the strategic weight of region. Should the Syrian Armed Forces rid the area of ISIL presence, the path to Deir Ezzor and the rest of eastern Syria will be much less dangerous and more militarily feasible as ISIS’s mobility in the desert and its ability to conduct its infamous well-planned desert raids will be permanently paralyzed.

Eastern Hama is the gateway to the oil-rich Euphrates basin.

How ISIS reacts to a weapons system the like of which they have never come up against before, and how well the Terminator performs in combat, remains to be seen.   Everything however suggests that it will prove a terrifyingly effective weapon.

One respect in which the Terminator may prove particularly useful is in dealing with ISIS’s single most powerful weapon: the vehicle driven suicide bomb.  When used successfully these can be devastating weapons, spearheading ISIS offensives and used with deadly effectiveness by ISIS when it is thrown onto the defensive.

Suicide bombs must however by definition use un-armoured or very thinly armoured commercial vehicles to be truly effective, since enclosing the bomb in an armoured body obviously reduces its effectiveness.  That makes vehicle driven suicide bombs theoretically vulnerable to destruction by long range fire, and that in fact is how the Syrian and Iraqi military try to counter them.  Here is a video of such a vehicle driven suicide bomb being destroyed in exactly that way by pro-government Shiite militia in Iraq.

However the speed at which these bombs can move makes them a potentially difficult target, and there have been any number of cases when they have evaded attempts to destroy them, and have got through and have destroyed their targets.

Heavily armoured vehicles equipped with high velocity rapid fire cannons and very advanced fire control systems like the Terminator are just about the most effective conceivable way to deal with them.

Since ISIS as it fights for its life is likely to stage suicide bomb attacks with increasing frequency, someone in Moscow has obviously decided that sending the Terminator to Syria to deal with them has now now become urgent.

That shows both the typically thorough planning of the Russian General Staff – preparing carefully in advance for a likely wave of suicide bomb attacks which has not yet happened – whilst paradoxically providing further proof – since the Russians obviously expect a drastic increase in suicide bomb attacks over the next few weeks – that ISIS’s days in Syria are numbered.

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Rus, Syria , Arabs and Persians : Desalafy – Dewahabbify the ME ! with all means . Also denatofy . Also dezionazify !

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Russia’s Next Weapon: A Church

The Russian military plans to build a military church to bolster the spiritual values of its armed forces.

The Duran

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Authored by Michael Peck via The National Interest:


Meet Vladimir Putin’s newest weapon: a church.

The Russian military plans to build a military church to bolster the spiritual values of its armed forces. Construction will soon begin of the Main Church of the Armed Forces, to be erected in Patriot Park outside Moscow, according to Colonel General Andrei Kartapolov, deputy defense minister and chief of the armed forces’ Main Military-Political Directorate, a new organization responsible for political education of the troops.

The “new church will be one more example of the people’s unity around the idea of patriotism, love, and devotion to our Motherland,” Kartapolov told Russian journalists.

To say the church, dubbed by some as the “Khaki Temple,” will have a martial air would be an understatement.

“The walls of the military church are really made in the color of the standard Russian missile system and armored vehicle,” according to the Russian newspaper The Independent [Google English translation here ] “…From the inside, the walls are decorated with paintings with battle scenes from military history and texts from the Holy Scriptures. The projected height is 95 meters [104 feet] and is designed for 6,000 people.”

“Kartapolov is convinced that the modern Russian serviceman cannot be shaped without shaping lofty spirituality in him,” Russian media said. “Speaking about ideology, the deputy head of the military department pointed out that this will be based on knowledge of the history of our Motherland and people and on historical and cultural traditions.”

“Even though the Russian constitution states that ‘no ideology may be established as state or obligatory,’ the Kremlin continues to search for a unifying set of beliefs,” notes the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office.

Religion has long played a role in Russian military life, first through the Russian Orthodox Church in Tsarist times, and then—in a secular way—through Communism in Soviet times. “In late imperial Russia, when they began to build garrisons, every regiment sought to build a regimental church, but not a synagogue or mosque,” Roger Reese, an historian at Texas A&M University who has written books on the Tsarist and Soviet armed forces, told the National Interest. “In Putin’s Russia, the Orthodox Church seeks every opportunity to represent itself as the national religion and tie itself to the state as it had under the tsars, so this act represents continuity broken temporarily by the Soviet years. Of course the Soviet regime did not build churches for the army, but it did build the ‘House of the Red Army,’ shaped like a star, in Moscow dedicated to the use of the Red Army and its soldiers.

In some respects it was analogous to a USO [United Service Organization that supports American soldiers] building. So Putin’s dedicating one particular building to the use of the Russian Army soldiers for purposes of morale—and morals—is in line with that.”

While the thought of a military church will be distasteful to some, Russia is hardly unique in linking the military and religion.

Many armies, the United States and Israel included, maintain chaplains who wear uniform and hold military rank. Chapels are common on military bases, and soldiers are given time for – and sometimes pressured to – attend religious services. While a Russian military church is likely to favor a specific denomination – Russian Orthodoxy – even that isn’t unique: non-Christian members of the U.S. military have complained of religious discrimination , especially by Christian fundamentalists.

What’s interesting is how little things change. Be it the Tsar’s conscripts, or the Red Army’s draftees or the volunteers who comprise much of modern Russia’s military, some spiritual reinforcement is deemed necessary to get soldiers to fight.

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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German Bundestag MP, Petr Bystron, calls for an end to sanctions against Russia

Petr Bystron: I don’t think Germany should let itself be blackmailed by anyone, and should be free to get its energy supplies from wherever is best.

The Duran

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Via the Centre for Geopolitcal Studies…


Interview conducted by Dragana Trifkovic, Director of the Centre for Geopolitcal Studies with the MP of the German House of Representatives (Bundestag), Mr. Petr Bystron

Dear Mr. Bystron, recently we have met at the International Conference on the Development of Parliamentarism in Moscow recently. In front of representatives of Parliaments from all around the world, international experts and journalists you held a well-received speech, calling for an end to sanctions against Russia. Why?

I demanded an end to sanctions because they have not achieved anything except harming German business. There’s no point to maintaining these useless sanctions any longer.

Photo: Petr Bystron

The Russian-German relations are very complex. On the political agenda, they are burdened with the sanctions which the EU countries imposed to Russia, but on the other hand, Germany and Russia cooperate on a strategic project such as North Stream 2. How do you see the prospect of developing further relations between your country and Russia, and also how the United States relations towards the possibility of greater convergence between Germany and Russia?

Of course German companies are still trying to do business with Russia. The sanctions mainly hurt the meat and fruit exporters, as well as the machine tool industry. Exports dropped as much as 60% in the early days of sanctions in these sectors. Naturally, German businesses want to maintain their traditionally good contacts to Russia. North Stream 2 is just one example of this. But it’s no secret there is a lot of pressure from the United States to stop this project. There was a bipartisan initiative in the U.S. Senate in March supported by 39 Senators, urging the government to do everything it can it stop the pipeline. President Trump has come out against North Stream 2 as well.

I don’t think Germany should let itself be blackmailed by anyone, and should be free to get its energy supplies from wherever is best. Even during the Cold War, Russia was a reliable supplier of energy, and there’s no reason to think that will change.

At the Moscow conference, we discussed about the perspective of Eurointegration of Balkan countries that are not yet members of the EU. You represent the view that the EU has no perspective and that EU candidate countries do not have much to hope for. What are in your opinion the biggest problems in the EU, and are they solvable? What kind of future can expect the EU, and can the EU be reformed and become a functional community?

There are two problems here: First of all, the EU is in no state to accept new members right now, with all its problems. The EU is in a deep crisis and is fighting for its survival. The main example is Brexit, of course: The first nations are leaving the sinking ship. If the EU doesn’t undergo far-reaching and fundamental reform, it is doomed to failure. The Euro currency system is not sustainable in its present form.

These problems have been exacerbated by the migration crisis, which was caused by Angela Merkel’s completely unnecessary and undemocratic opening of the borders in 2015. In a precarious situation like this, it is completely irresponsible to think about expanding the EU even further, especially with candidates who are not able to meet the most basic standards for joining the Union.

We already saw what problems it causes to accept members who don’t meet the criteria or even cheated to get in, as in the case of Greece. The EU now faces huge problems with Greece, Romania and Bulgaria for this reason. These are countries which shouldn’t have been accepted to the EU in the first place. Accepting the West Balkan countries in these circumstances would be tantamount to suicide.

If there is any country from this region which would qualify for membership, both economically and culturally, it is Serbia. Countries like Albania and Macedonia have huge problems in regard to corruption and economic development. And then there’s the problem with Kosovo, which is not recognized as a country by several European nations, Russia or China, for example. That’s a very unstable situation.

The EU wants very much to expand their influence in the Balkans. However, given the current state of the EU, it’s not even advisable for Serbia to want to join the EU, when countries like the UK, Italy and Eastern Europe are moving away from the broken monstrosity in Brussels. Serbia should be glad it is not in the EU, and stand up squarely for its own national interests.

You are particularly interested in the problem of Kosovo and Metohija. The territory of the southern Serbian province since 1999 and the end of the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia is under occupation. The Western powers want to resolve the problem of Kosovo and Metohija outside the framework of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Negotiations on resolving this issue are underway in Brussels, although Serbia is not a member of the EU and this community has no basis to deal with this problem. How and where, in your opinion, should the issue of Kosovo and Metohija be solved?

Kosovo is a powder keg with no solution in sight. It will remain a problem for many years. I’m convinced the current situation can not be maintained. This territory was part of Serbia for centuries, an I am very sure it will belong to Serbia again in the long run. The EU protectorate in Kosovo will be short-lived.

How well in the German public do you know the facts about what is happening in Kosovo and Metohija and how the so-called democracy in this territory works? Are there known facts about violence against Serbs in the presence of international forces UMNIK, KFOR and EULEX? How well do you know the results of these international missions?

The problem began with the way the EU treated the UCK. We should not be supporting a terrorist organization aiming to break up a country. A group like this would be immediately outlawed if it were trying to break up Germany, for example, and they would all be locked up. In the case of Yugoslavia, the EU and Germany for some reason supported this terrorist group, which was a tragic mistake. We are very concerned about the current situation, the human rights violations and the ethnic cleansing of Serbs in Kosovo.

An entity like Kosovo – which I refuse to call a country – based on injustice and terror, is not viable in the long term, which is evidenced by the continued need for KFOR peacekeeping forces to keep this creation alive.

Recently has been an a discussion in the German Bundestag about the continuation of the mission of German soldiers in Kosovo. At KFOR, there are currently about 400 German soldiers in Kosovo. The Bundestag supported German soldiers remain in Kosovo, thanks to the votes of the ruling CDU / CSU and SPD and the Greens and Liberals (FDP). Alternative for Germany voted against it. How do you assess the mission of the German army in Kosovo and why did you vote against continuation of mission in Kosovo?

This is one of the paradoxes of German politics: That the first German combat mission since WW II was ordered by the formerly pacifist Green Party and their Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer under the Socialist Gerhard Schröder, and they continue to support the KFOR mission. The AfD does not believe in sending German troops to the Balkans, especially not to prop up an artificial entity like Kosovo.

The US supports the formation of the Kosovo Army, although this is contrary to Resolution 1244. German instructors train Albanians to become part of the official army. How is it possible to prevent the taking of illegal actions and violations of the international law by the Western countries?

This is a difficult question and will be a difficult process. But in countries like Germany and the USA, governments and policies can change, thank God. So Serbia needs to be very patient, continue to stand up for itself over the long haul, and reach out to allies and supporters who will see it the same way.

Have you personally, or a delegation from your party Alternative for Germany, visited Kosovo and Metohija? Is there an opportunity for you to do so in the coming period and to make sure of the state of democracy on the spot as well as to evaluate the results of the work of international missions, as well as the the German Bundeswehr?

That’s a good idea. We should definitely visit Serbia and Kosovo with an AfD delegation, to find out more about the situation on the ground. We have already been to Syria, for example, where the situation is completely different from the way it is portrayed in the Western mainstream media, so I’m sure visiting Kosovo would be very interesting.


Petr Bystron is the Speaker of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD)on the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Bundestag.He came to Germany in 1988 as a political refugee and joined the Euro-critical AfD in 2013. He was chair of the AfD for the State of Bavaria 2015-2018. Under his leadership the party reached the best tally of all states in West Germany in the federal elections 2017.

In 2018, he pushed to grant imprisoned British Islam critic Tommy Robinson political asylum in Germany, and filed criminal charges against migrant NGOs engaged in people-smuggling in the Mediterranean. He is a leading political publicist who has won several prizes for his writing and edited a book for

University of Geneva with Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. He is currently one of the 10 most popular German politicians on social media.

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