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Russian and Saudi Foreign Ministers disagree on Syria, agree on other issues

Russia and Saudi Arabia maintain their cautious dialogue despite strong disagreements on Syria and Russia’s tilt to Iran.

Alexander Mercouris

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Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has had a meeting in Moscow with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, during which they have publicly clashed on the way forward in the Syrian crisis.

Al-Jubeir predictably demanded that President Assad leave power in Syria, and said that Iran and Hezbollah – Syria’s allies – had no role in that country.

Lavrov responded that Hezbollah and Iran – like Russia – were present in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government.

On the subject of President Assad, the Russian position was again set out today by Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s spokesman, who is reported to have said that President Putin’s attitude to President Assad is unchanged: he is not President Assad’s advocate but he insists that the future of any country – including the question of its President – must be decided by the people of that country, and not by other countries or parties.

There was an appearance of common ground between the Russians and the Saudis during the talks in Moscow in that the Saudis appeared to support the Astana peace process and the Russian-Turkish sponsored ceasefire.  However given what appear to be reliable reports that the Al-Qaeda backed Jihadis in northern Syria have recently received via Turkey more supplies of TOW anti-tank missiles from the Gulf Arab states – first and foremost Saudi Arabia – I doubt that anyone takes that seriously.

The Russians and the Saudis are on opposite sides in the Syrian war, and there would have been no expectation on either side of a change in positions.  Al-Jubeir did not come to Moscow to talk about Syria or to try to get Russia to change its policy in Syria.

For a long time after the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011 the Saudis thought they could persuade the Russians to drop President Assad.  They are under no such illusions now, especially after a disastrous ‘secret’ visit by the head of Saudi intelligence Prince Bandar bin Sultan to Moscow in the summer of 2013,  when Prince Bandar threatened Putin with terrorist attacks against the 2014 winter Olympics in Sochi unless Putin dropped his support for President Assad, only to be harshly criticised by Putin for openly threatening Russia with terrorism (Bandar was fired a few months later).

The reality is that despite their different positions on the Syrian war, in most other respects relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia are cordial.

The two countries have recently been cooperating on oil production cuts, and Valentina Matviyenko, the powerful Chairman of Russia’s Federation Council (the upper house of Russia’s parliament), who is an outside possibility for Putin’s successor, recently visited Saudi Arabia, where she raised eyebrows by wearing ‘Islamic friendly’ dress and where she had a meeting with King Salman.

During the meeting Matviyenko renewed a longstanding invitation to King Salman to visit Russia, which the King is said to have accepted, and it is likely that today’s talks between Lavrov and Al-Jubeir are in part intended to prepare the ground for that visit.

Saudi Arabia is not an ally of Russia.  It is an ally of the US, and in the present conflicts in the Middle East it is also in an undeclared and fiercely denied but nonetheless very real alliance with Israel. Saudi Arabia’s primary enemy is Iran, which is increasingly tilting towards Russia, and which is edging towards an alliance with Russia.

Saudi Arabia is also the primary sponsor and financial backer of the various Wahhabi movements violent offshoots of which have in recent years been terrorising not just the Middle East but the world in general.  It is moreover an open secret that Saudi Arabia provides financial and other forms of backing to various terrorist groups, including at times to Al-Qaeda, and to the organisation which is now called ISIS, and – as Putin pointedly reminded Prince Bandar during their fraught meeting in Moscow in 2013 – to the various Jihadi terrorist groups who have fought the Russians in the northern Caucasus.

The Russians and the Saudis nonetheless have a mutual interest in maintaining a dialogue with each other.

Both countries have a strong mutual interest in preserving stability in the oil market, the Saudis – whose entire economy depends on oil – especially so.  The events since the oil crash of 2014 have starkly demonstrated that unless there is some degree of consensus between the Russians and the Saudis on oil production levels, the oil market risks descending into a ferocious free-for-all.  Whilst the Russian economy is sufficiently large and diversified to survive that, it is now clear that the bloated and entirely oil dependent Saudi economy is not.

In addition the Russians want to attract external investment into their economy, and the Saudis along with the other Gulf states have recently become increasingly interested in investing in Russia, whose economy is large, stable, and starting to grow.  Recently the sovereign wealth fund of the wealthy Gulf Arab state of Qatar – with which the Saudis have tense relations – invested in Russia’s state oil giant Rosneft, and the Saudis will not want to be left behind.

There has even at times been talk of Saudi Arabia buying arms from Russia – a traditional way for wealthy Arab states to consolidate business relationships with foreign partners – though despite longstanding rumours (including talk of Russia selling Saudi Arabia Iskander missiles) no such arms sales have ever materialised.

Beyond these tough minded economic calculations, the Saudis and the Russians have a shared geopolitical interest in maintaining a dialogue with each other.

The Saudis do not want Russia to commit wholeheartedly to an alliance with Iran – their mortal enemy and rival – and if only for that reason they will try to maintain a dialogue with Moscow in order to maintain some distance between Russia and Iran, and to preserve some Saudi influence in Moscow.

The Russians for their part recognise Saudi Arabia’s pivotal position in the Middle East and the fact that whether the Russians like the fact or not Saudi Arabia is for the moment the de facto leader of the Arab world.  For that reason the Russians will wish to preserve a dialogue with what is a powerful and influential country in a critically important region of the world, with which Russia has to maintain some level of contact if it is to manage its relations in the region efficiently.

By way of example, Russia will hope for at least some degree of cooperation from Saudi Arabia as it works towards a political settlement of the Syrian crisis, even if that cooperation only takes the form of the Saudis forbearing from acting too obviously as spoilers.

It is upon these tough minded and realistic calculations that the Saudi-Russian relationship depends.  It is not a case of an alliance or – to use the currently fashionable phrase – a ‘partnership’ between two countries which in many respects are adversaries.

Rather it is an attempt to prevent a situation where they might become enemies, which would drastically reduce their economic and geopolitical options and room for manoeuvre, and which would be in the interests of neither.

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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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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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