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Failure to destroy and balkanize Syria by western powers has led to a new Middle East order

The end of the Syrian war is the beginning of a new Middle Eastern order.

Alex Christoforou

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Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria, at the invitation of the legitimate government in Damascus, disrupted sinister western plans to overthrow Assad.

With Russia and Iran involved in the Syrian conflict, the defeat of ISIS and consolidation of Assad’s legitimate rule was inevitable.

Now as the Syrian war draws to a close, the start of a new Middle East order is taking form.

Via The Strategic Culture Foundation

In the Middle East and beyond, we are witnessing a series of high-level political meetings between dozens of nations involved directly or indirectly in the Syrian situation. It is crucial to understand all this in order to understand the direction in which the region is going and what the new regional order is.

With the liberation of Abu Kamal on the Iraqi border, the last Syrian town controlled by ISIS, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies have completed the task of eliminating the Caliphate and its control over Syrian cities. ISIS returns to its original dimensions of being a terrorist organization without control of any territory or a city-state proclaimed as its capital.

These are important days, with political conferences about the future of the region and Syria itself occurring from Sochi to Cairo and passing through Riyadh. In Sochi, Assad met with Putin to confirm the alliance as well as Moscow’s loyalty to the Syrian State, and to also focus on a political solution. The Russian and Syrian presidents agreed on the need to involve the largest possible number of opposition groups in the reform process. In this regard, the meeting between Rouhani, Erdogan and Putin was also aimed at creating the conditions for an inclusive solution for all those who have agreed to put down arms and engage in talks with the legitimate government in Damascus. Turkey is the country that holds together the ranks of the so-called legitimate opposition, and Erdogan’s moves have confirmed that his strategy in the region is based around pivoting towards Russia through a full-fledged cooperation with Moscow. It is an almost unprecedented diplomatic victory for Russia that in two years it has managed to turn a potential opponent into one of the main guarantors of the peace process in Syria.

Riyadh is in the meantime bringing together the not-so-moderate opposition groups that are very close to Islamic extremism, a sort of spin-off of Al Nusra (Al Qaeda) and Daesh, and attempting to apply on them a makeover in an effort to rebrand them. It is important to note that recent meetings between King Salman and Putin seem to have opened some sort of dialogue with a representative of Moscow present at the Riyadh conference.

Firstly Erdogan, and then King Salman and his son Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), seem to have understood that a military defeat in Syria is now inevitable, and the latest developments have been related to the consequences resulting from the defeat of the terrorists. Turkey has much to gain from a convenient alliance with Moscow, both in terms of energy and transit along the East-West route of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and along the North-South corridor contained within the agreement between Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey. In light of this, Russian planes have been flying over Turkey to reach Syria. A NATO country is letting Russian military aircraft fly over its airspace to reach Syria, something that would have been impossible to imagine not too long ago.

For Saudi Arabia the situation is different. While the meeting between King Salman and Putin represents an absolute novelty, the recent confirmation by MBS of his intentions to oppose the rise of Iran run counter to the possibility of pacifying the region.

The result of the war in Syria has carved out a new Middle East, where the likes of Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington, previously regional masters of all they surveyed, appear to have more or less been deliberately cut off from the decision-making process. While it can be argued that Washington has played out its role in the region with the defeat of Daesh, thanks to Trump’s “America first” policies that resists direct involvement in conflicts, Riyadh and Tel Aviv do not seem to have any intention of accepting Tehran’s new role in the region, even as it is supported by Turkish and Russian diplomacy and even military might.

The aggression against the Syrian state initially saw a compact front comprising the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, France and the United Kingdom. All were at the forefront of arming, training, financing, assisting and treating the injured of the tens of thousands of terrorists sent to Syria. It was a destabilization operation with few precedents in history. Already in 2014, at the pinnacle Daesh’s power, Assad’s position seemed firm and immovable. According to the intentions of Western terror planners, Assad was to be expelled within the first twelve months of the conflict. The drawback was the impossibility, for a number of reasons, of NATO and its allies directly intervening a la Libya, foremost among which was Syria’s possession of a good level of air defense, as well as America’s inability to deal with the human and financial costs of yet another conflict in the region, with the inevitable escalation that would follow given Iran’s involvement.

After the failure to remove Assad, the next step for Western policymakers was to deploy Daesh to create chaos and destroy the country, this diabolical force having been born as a result of America’s illegal occupation of Iraq.

Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria, at the invitation of the legitimate government in Damascus, disrupted Western plans, bringing about the inevitable defeat of Daesh and consolidating Assad’s power. There are two events between the Russian intervention and the efforts to Balkanize Syria through use of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that served to confirm that the Iran-Syria-Russia axis was destined to prevail in the conflict. The first is Donald Trump becoming president of the United States. Leaving aside all the negatives related to his presidency, his victory has ensured that there is no direct intervention in Syria against Assad and against Russia. This is in contrast to what would have happened had Clinton won the election, the former Secretary of State prepared to trigger a regional conflict between the great powers by giving the order to shoot down Russian planes in Syria, thereby potentially kicking off World War Three.

The other event that has upset the balance of power in the region concerns the events that have occurred in Turkey over the last two years. Both the failed coup and the downing of the Russian fighter plane played an important role. The turning point was reached with the reconquering of Aleppo, which indicated a clear military failure by the opposition to overthrow Assad. Erdogan faced an unavoidable choice: support the terrorists and have to deal with a Kurdish enclave on the Syrian border; or reach a peaceful solution with the Russian Federation in order to contain the Kurdish threat and guarantee the integrity of Syria.

Erdogan has been rewarded by his choice to side with Russia and Iran, leaving Turkey in a better position than that of a couple of years ago, with him now able to influence the fate of many events in the Middle East, as well as allowing him to focus on his own national interests, in particular on the Kurds. The failure of the plan to balkanize Syria, involving the extreme attempt to declare Kurdish independence in Iraq, has only led to the end of Barzani’s reign. Hardliners committed to regime change in Damascus, such as the international coalition led by the US military and the military-industrial complex, have tried in every way possible to sabotage the SAA’s fight against Daesh along the Euphrates. Saudi Arabia had even ventured to support Kurdish movements directly within Iraq; and Israel was the only country to openly support the referendum on Kurdish independence.

This strategy foundered on the opposition of Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran, which with Russian military support consolidated the front against the Saudi-Israeli-Neocons-Neoliberals. During this series of changes and upheavals, the anti-Assad front managed to alienate even a country like Qatar, which has explicit ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and the neoliberal part of the American establishment. Although anti-Assad propaganda continues on state media such as Al Jazeera, the concrete effects are zero. Moreover, Qatar, following the Saudi crisis, sought to broaden its geopolitical stance, engaging directly with Moscow (there have been many contacts between the Al Thani family and the Kremlin) and Iran, a historic enemy of Riyadh.

The European component of the anti-Assad alliance is in complete disarray, with Macron in France conducting difficult mediation between MBS and Hariri in an attempt to avert further Saudi-Israeli political disasters that risk pushing Lebanon completely into the Iranian sphere of influence. In Germany, Merkel is experiencing a long wave of pervasive challenges between globalist versus national-sovereignty movements, with new elections looming. In England, the consequences and effects of Brexit are still tangible, with an unstable government and a series of difficult negotiations with the European Union. There no longer seems to be any time or resources available to invest in Syria. The falsification of reality continues through the mainstream media that belongs to the neoliberal world-wide elite, such as CNN, Al Jazeera, and the Washington Post. In addition to the usual lies fed through television and newspapers, Europeans and Americans today have no other tool at their disposal.

Trump seems to be contented to have been able to return home from his tour of Asia having secured hundreds of billions of dollars worth of extortion from allies, while not getting embroiled in the type of endless wars that even Saudi Arabia is unable to sustain, as seen with the genocide in Yemen and actions against Qatar. The Trump administration has many flaws as well as a deep aversion towards Iran, but it has no ability or intention to support Israel and Saudi Arabia in their attempt to limit Iranian influence by force. Not even the combined military forces of Israel and Saudi Arabia could pose a threat to Hezbollah let alone the Islamic Republic of Iran.

What we see is a Middle East that is trying to restore a regional order that is practical and functional. Meetings in Sochi between Turkey, Russia and Iran aim precisely to achieve this. In this scenario, Washington’s absence is notable, despite attempts from Staffan de Mistura to revive the now-dead Geneva conference. Russia and its allies, after taking the military initiative, are ready to guide the diplomatic negotiations between the Assad government and opposition forces, to be held under the auspices of the trio gathered in Sochi, with the involvement of the United Nations in a role as guarantor rather than decider. The shots are called by Assad, Putin, Erdogan and Rouhani, even though this new reality will never be accepted by MBS, Netanyahu, the European governments and the US deep state (neocon/ neoliberal).

MBS’s domestic actions, together with Netanyahu’s threats to Iran and Hezbollah, reveal a refusal to acknowledge defeat as well as, in the case of MBS, an extreme attempt to avoid losing control of the country. For Israel, the problem is more complicated. Already in 2006 it was unable to defeat Hezbollah, and now Hezbollah is more developed, better trained, and better able to inflict damage on the Jewish State. Saudi and Israeli military leaders are more than aware that they do not have the ability to defeat Iran or Hezbollah and that only Washington’s direct involvement would be able to change the course of events. This hypothesis, however, must also take into account the reality on the ground, with Moscow now allied to Tehran and Trump more than opposed to any new wars involving the US. In this situation that is chaotic for anti-Assad forces, MBS continues his work of arresting anyone opposed to him and recovering money sunk into wars in the context of the collapse of the oil price.

The new Middle Eastern order coincides with the near-end of the conflict in Syria and the intention to find a political solution to the conflict by pacifying all parties. It is a solution that is increasingly successful, especially in light of Turkey’s abandonment of the anti-Assad front. Moscow is slowly replacing the US as the fulcrum in the region and beyond, solving conflicts and accompanying the progressive withdrawal of US military and economic influence in the region.

Once again, the strategic triangle between Iran, Russia and China finds itself victorious, inheriting and solving one of the most complicated conflicts since the end of World War II. Kudos to Putin, Rouhani and Xi Jinping, the new giants of the 21st century.

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Russia makes MASSIVE progress on its ‘super-weapons’

Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle moves into serial production, nuclear-engine powered cruise missile tests continue, and more as Russia continues to outdo all Western military tech

Seraphim Hanisch

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On July 19th and 20th, The Russian Defense Ministry announced several milestones of progress in its advanced weapons systems programs. These programs were revealed to the world in March of this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the State of the Russian Federation speech.

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While at first the Western onlookers did not believe the amazing announcements of hypersonic weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range, subsequent releases and concurrent observation by the American military experts has shown these developments to be as real as Mr. Putin claimed they are.

TASS, the Russian News Agency, released information on these weapons systems in separate reports:

Kinzhal

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile:

Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

“I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words – at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten,” Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a “good instrument” against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

“We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely,” the expert said.

Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile trials:

The Burevestnik is an entirely new cruise missile, powered by a nuclear engine. This gives the missile unlimited range. In theory, such a missile could be launched at a target and spend days or weeks in hidden flight using advanced guidance systems, and then close on its target at the optimal time to assure destruction of that target with maximum surprise. The TASS piece goes on to say:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile “has already made a flight.”

“Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat – a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general,” [Murakhovsky] said.

Further reporting from TASS had this to add about the Burevestnik program:

Russia is getting ready for flight tests of the Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile, an official at the Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

“The missile’s component makeup is being improved based on clarified requirements, while ground tests continue and preparations are being made for experimental flight tests of the improved missile,” the official said.

According to the Defense Ministry, “work on an unlimited-range missile is going according to plan.”

“In the meantime, launching systems are also being designed, while technological processes to manufacture, assemble and test the missile are being improved. This range of work will make it possible to start designing a totally new sort of weapon – a strategic nuclear complex armed with a nuclear powered missile,” the ministry official noted.

[The head] of the 12th Central Research Institute at Russia’s Defense Ministry Sergey Pertsev, in turn, said that the tests of the new cruise missile equipped with a small nuclear power unit had confirmed the accuracy of the technical decisions that Russian researchers, engineers and designers had made. In addition, the tests enabled the researchers “to receive valuable experimental data necessary for specifying a number of requirements.”

“A low-flying and low-observable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable trajectory and capability to bypass interception lines is invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems,” the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.

A further use of the nuclear engine technology is also expected in the Poseidon underwater drone, Mr. Murakhovsky stated that separate systems for the craft have been successfully tested. He further noted that the next task is to design the entire layout, build a test model and begin testing the whole platform.

The Avangard Hypersonic Missile

While the Kinzhal is a Mach-10 capable hypersonic system that can be launched from a fighter, the Avangard is a Mach-20 capable system that has intercontinental reach. There is almost no footage of this system released to the public, but the concept videos show how the system works. TASS reports this status:

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force is preparing a position area for accepting the Avangard hypersonic missile system for service as part of the efforts to strengthen the country’s military security, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Russian defense industry has completed developing the Avangard missile system with the principally new armament – the gliding cruise warhead. Industrial enterprises have switched to its serial production,” the Defense Ministry said.

“A set of organizational and technical measures is underway in the position area of the Dombarovsky large unit of the Strategic Missile Force to accept the Avangard missile system for operation,” it added.

The development of new strategic weapon systems “is aimed at increasing Russia’s defense capability and preventing any aggression against our country and its allies,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

The infrastructural facilities of the large unit’s position area have already been prepared for the missile system’s operation, the ministry said.

“The position area has been prepared in geodesic and engineering terms to accommodate the missile system. Work is underway to build new and reconstruct old facilities to provide for the operation and the combat use of the system. Technical and utility supply lines are being modernized and electric power, communications and command and control cables are being laid. Work has been arranged to train personnel and prepare armament, military and special hardware,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force for Armament Sergei Poroskun has said that the Avangard hypersonic missile system features combat capabilities that “make it possible to reliably breach any anti-missile defenses.”

The Okhotnik attack drone

The Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone is now being viewed as a prototype for Russia’s “sixth-generation” fighter plane. TASS describes this in more detail:

According to [a defense industry] official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”

“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”

“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he said.

TASS was unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.

Another defense industry source earlier told TASS that the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter) was ready and would start test flights this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014. According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were used to create the Okhotnik. The drone is equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.

Peresvet laser weapons systems

TASS reported that the Russian military forces are now training for the use of the Peresvet combat laser system:

Russian Aerospace Force has accepted for service the laser complexes Peresvet and the military are now taking drills that involve the novel combat technologies, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Peresvet laser complexes have been placed at sites of permanent deployment,” the report said. “Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”

“To ensure their proper functioning, the necessary infrastructures and specialized facilities for housing the complexes and duty crews have been built,” the ministry said.

The crews assigned to the Peresvets have taken upgrader courses at the Alexander Mozhaisky Military-Space Academy in St Petersburg.

The Russian military strategy of “asymmetric response.”

The overall defense strategy is termed an “asymmetric response”, and Mr. Murakhovsky explained the principle in this way:

“This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future],” he said.

The expert described this response as “quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment – all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program.”

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

“The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all,” Murakhovsky added.

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From McCain to Brennan, Deep State soft coup against Trump picks up steam (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 59.

Alex Christoforou

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After Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki, the Deep State smells blood, and is moving quickly to depose of US President Donald Trump.

Government officials and mainstream media puppets from left and right are condemning the US President over his press conference with Vladimir Putin.

Leading the charge are the usual Deep State, suspects, starting with John McCain and ending with the man many believe is behind the entire Trump-Russia collusion hoax, former Obama CIA boss John Brennan.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine the soft coup aimed at removing US President Trump by the November 2018 midterms. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via The Independent

Conservative John McCain, who is facing a rare and terminal brain cancer, unleashed a damning statement against Mr Trump’s conference with Mr Putin, describing it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” he said.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout — as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realise his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbours, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.”

The conservative senator’s comments arrived after the US president declined to name Russia as the adversary behind coordinated attacks on the 2016 presidential election.

While discussing whether he thought Russia was behind hacks against the 2016 election — as the US intelligence community has determined —the president said: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

“Dan Coats [the US Director of National Intelligence] said its Russia. President Putin says its not Russia,” said Mr Trump. “I don’t know why it would be…..I have confidence in both parties. President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

That set off a wave of condemnations from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“President Trump’s press conference with Putin was an embarrassing spectacle,” Bernie Sanders wrote in a tweet. “Rather than make clear that interference in our elections is unacceptable, Trump instead accepted Putin’s denials and cast doubt on the conclusions of our intelligence community. This is not normal.”

Jeff Flake, one of the only frequent Republican critics of Mr Trump in Congress, said the conference was “shameful” in a statement he posted across social media.

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression,” he said. “This is shameful.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan released a statement calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment and describing his comments as “treasonous”.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours,'” Mr Brennan wrote on Twitter. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Elizabeth Warren also slammed the president for failing to hold Mr Putin accountable, writing on Twitter: “Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded.”

“Disgraceful,” she concluded.

However, Mr Trump’s typical roster of critics weren’t the only legislators rebuking his bizarre denials of US intelligence. Lindsey Graham also criticised Mr Trump’s performance, adding that his denial of US intelligence will “be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves”.

“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections,” he said.

The Republican senator added a suggestion to Mr Trump: review the soccer ball Mr Putin gave to him as a gift for “listening devices” and “never allow it in the White House.”

Thomas Pickering, a regarded statesman and the former US ambassador to Russia, told MSNBC that he was in utter disbelief after the press conference was held on Monday.

“It’s a breathtaking denial of something that clearly is so obviously true,” he said. ”it represents the epitome of President Trump’s effort at self-promotion over the notion of defending the national interest of the United States.”

Mark Warner, a Virginia senator, also suggested Mr Trump committed a clear violation of his responsibilities as president.

Mr Trump committed “a breach of his duty to defend our country against its adversaries,” Mr Warner said. ”If the President cannot defend the United States and its interests in public, how can we trust him to stand up for our country in private?”

Meanwhile the latest Deep State leak, via the NYT, claims that US President Trump was told by Obama holdovers that Putin was involved in cyberattacks during the 2016 election. US intelligence told Trump this information days before the inauguration.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The same liberal hacks who illegally leaked this information want Americans to trust them as they continue to destroy this duly elected president.

President Trump on Wednesday told CBS anchor Jeff Glor that he has no confidence in the tainted intelligence by far left hacks Clapper, Brennan and Comey.

And, once again, the timing of this leak is not an accident.

Liberals are outraged that President Trump refused to chest bump Putin in Helsinki.

The deep state leaked this information to pile on the Republican president.

The New York Times reported…

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

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Russia ranks HIGHER than Switzerland in these areas of doing business

Some curious things happened with several businesspeople who attended World Cup events in Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

One of them was a distinctly renewed interest in doing business inside the country, and another was the realization to what extent perceptions have been tainted by media and political rhetoric directed against any real or imagined nastiness attributed to Russia these days.

These past few weeks have been invaluable, at the very least by affording a clear picture of Russia through which almost all anxiety-ridden preconceptions were illuminated and dispelled. More disturbing was the fact that the several businesspeople I was dealing with were furious. They were livid for being played for fools, and felt victimized by the dismally untrue picture painted about Russia and Russians in their home countries, both by their own politicians and the press.

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Most felt that they have been personally sanctioned by their own countries, betrayed through lack of clear unbiased information enabling them to participate and profit from Russia opportunities these past three growth years in spite of “sanctions”.

The door to doing good business in Russia has been and is open, and has been opening wider year after year. That is not just “highly likely”, but fact. Consistently improving structures, means and methods to conduct business in Russia sustainably, transparently and profitably are now part of the country’s DNA. It is a process, which has been worked on in the west for more than a century, and one, which Russia has only started these past 18 years.

True, there are sanctions, counter-sanctions, and regulations governing them that must be studied carefully. However if you are not a bank or doing business with those persons deemed worthy of being blacklisted by some countries “sanctions list”, in reality there are no obstacles that cannot be positively addressed and legally overcome despite the choir of political nay-sayers.

READ MORE: Russia just dumped $80 BILLION in US debt

The days of quickly turning over Russia opportunities into short-term cash are rapidly fading, they are a throwback to the 1990’s. Today the major and open opportunities are in the areas for Foreign Direct Investments. The nature of FDI is long term to make regularly recurring sustainable returns on investment.

Long term, Russia always was and increasingly confirms that it is a vibrant and attractive market. There is a significant consumer market with spending power, a well-educated workforce, a wealth of resources and the list goes on. The economic obstacles encountered have largely been imposed from without, and not from the dynamics and energies of the Russian economy itself.

Eventually sanctions will end, although the timeline is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile business continues, and any long-term engagement within Russia by establishing a working presence will yield both short and long-term investment rewards. These will only be amplified when the sanctions regimes are removed. In any event, these aspects are long-term investment decisions and one of the criteria in any risk assessment.

For some added perspective, Russia is ranked by the Financial Times as the No.2 country in Europe in terms of capital investments into Europe. It has a 2017 market share of 9% (US$ 15.9 billion) and includes 203 business projects. This is 2% higher than 2016 and better that 2014/2015 when sanctions were imposed.

Another item of perspective is the Country Risk Premium. All investors consider this when calculating the scope for long-term return on investments. What may surprise some is that Russia is no longer ranked as a very high-risk country. For comparisons sake: The risk premium for Germany is zero (no extra risk), the risk premium for Italy is 2.19%, and for Russia, it is 2.54%. When compared to politically popular investment destinations like Ukraine the risk premium is 10.4%  – food for thought. Bottom line is that the risks of investing in Russia are a smidge higher than investing in Italy.

Russia is ranked 35 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The ranking of Russia improved to 35 in 2017 from 40 in 2016 and from 124 in 2010. It may also surprise some to learn that as concerns protecting the rights of minority investors, paying taxes, registering property and some other aspects of the World Bank comparisons, Russia comes out better than Switzerland (See: Rankings).

From operational standpoints, establishing an invested presence in Russia does not mean one must adopt Russian managerial methods or practices. The advantages for established foreign companies is that their management culture is readily applied and absorbed by a smart and willing workforce, enabling a seamless integration given the right training and tools.

The trend towards the ultimate globalization of business despite trade wars, tariffs, sanctions and counter-sanctions is clear. The internet of the planet, the blockchain and speed of information exchange makes it so whether we wish it or not. Personally, I hope that political globalization remains stillborn as geopolitics has a historical mandate to tinker with and play havoc with international trade.

Russia occupies a key strategic position between Europe and Asia. The “west” (US/Europe) have long had at times rather turbulent relationships with China. At the same time the Chinese are quite active investors in both the US and Europe, and western companies are often struggling to understand how to deal with China.

The answer to this conundrum is Russia: this is where East and West will ultimately come together with Russia playing a pivotal role in the relations between the west and China. At the end of the day, and taking the strategic long-term economic view, is what both Chinese and Western companies are investing in when they open their activities in Russia.

If long-term commitment and investment in Russia were simply a matter of transferring funds then I would not be bothering with this opinion article. Without a doubt, there are structural issues with investing in Russia. A still evolving and sometimes unclear rule of law, difficulties obtaining finance for investments directed towards Russia, the unique language and culture of business in the country. Nevertheless, companies that have an understanding and vision of global strategy will manage with these issues and have the means to mitigate them.

Money and other invested resources do not and should not play politics; any investment case when evaluated on objective financial criteria will reveal its fit, or lack of, within a company’s global strategic business objectives. The objective criteria for Russia over any long term horizon is both convincing and strong. This has been repeated by all of the businesspeople I have met with these past few weeks. Without doubt we shall see some new companies coming into the Russian market and objectively exploring the gains their playing fair business football here will yield.

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