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50,000 NATO troops stage MASSIVE military drills on Russia’s border (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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NATO military drills, dubbed Trident Juncture 2018, are currently taking place in Norway.

The military war game involves approximately 50,000 troops from 31 countries, 10,000 combat vehicles, 65 ships and 250 aircraft, all of which make up the the largest such exercise hosted by Norway since the 1980s and the largest military drill NATO has held in decades.

Trident Juncture 2018 started last week and will run until November 7.

RT reports that the NATO military exercise is supposedly intended to send “a clear message” to both the alliance’s member states and potential “adversaries” that NATO is “ready to defend all allies against any threat,” its secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week.

The massive drills come shortly after Vostok-2018 exercise in Russia’s Far East was held in September. NATO bigwigs eagerly seized on the large-scale military maneuvers as proof of Moscow’s “aggressive” stance.

“Vostok demonstrates Russia’s focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern we’ve seen over some time – a more assertive Russia significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence,” NATO’s spokesman Dylan White said at the time.

While Vostok 2018 indeed showed Russia’s “military presence” – on its own territory – the official somehow missed the fact that Moscow has been actually steadily decreasing its military spending over the past few years.

Not everyone seems to be convinced by NATO’s rhetoric about the “defensive” nature of its exercises – and it’s not just Russia’s Defense Ministry. Trident Juncture 2018 was greeted in Oslo by protesters, who argued that such activities effectively turn Norway into a target and not contribute to country’s safety by any means.

“The Trident Juncture I think is a very unnecessary provocation towards Russia, although they say it’s not meant to be, but I think that’s what it is,” one of the protesters told RT’s Ruptly agency.

On Saturday, protesters marched through the city, carrying banners reading “Stop NATO’s war exercises in Norway,” “Stop Trident Juncture, stop provocation,” “NATO – North American Terror Organisation.”

“We are here protesting against Trident Juncture. Because we think that this Trident Juncture makes Norway less safe and our participations in NATO and their wars also make Norway less safe. We also want to pull Norway out of NATO,” another protester said.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018.

Why Norway? How will Russia react? What are the chances that such brazen military exercises on Russia’s border lead the world closer towards real conflict?

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Meanwhile Russia Matters, tries to explain NATO’s Trident Juncture 2018, as another act of self defense against Russia’s continued, hostile movement towards NATO’s borders.

This week, NATO forces are engaged in the largest military exercise the alliance has organized since the end of the Cold War and the first major Western exercise in decades to take place in the Arctic region. To be held in Norway through Nov. 23, the Trident Juncture exercise is designed to improve NATO’s ability to defend member states and to strengthen the alliance’s credibility as a deterrent force against potential aggression. While the scenario does not mention any particular adversaries, the exercise is clearly aimed at bolstering NATO defenses against Russia in the Nordic region. While the political impact will be minor by comparison to any potential permanent troop deployments, the military lessons gleaned by the exercise’s participants promise to be significant.The exercise marks NATO’s third time holding the biennial Trident Juncture and differs from the previous two iterations in both size and focus. To begin with, it involves personnel from all 29 NATO members—a first—plus close partners Finland and Sweden. This in itself is significant: While the two Nordic states have regularly participated in NATO exercises in recent years and have invited NATO forces to take part in exercises on their soil, their participation in as large and politically prominent an Article 5 exercise as Trident Juncture highlights how far both have gone since their political decisions to enhance defense cooperation with NATO. The 2018 exercise is not only much bigger than the 2014 and 2016 iterations, which also focused on preparing NATO’s rapid reaction forces to counter Russian aggression, but differs significantly in its primary focus on field exercises instead of command post exercises.There are 50,000 total participants, including 20,000 from the ground forces, 24,000 from naval and marine infantry forces, 3,000 from air forces, 1000 logistics specialists and 1300 command personnel.  The United States has provided the largest contingent, including the Harry Truman Carrier Strike Group, the Iwo Jima Marine Expeditionary Strike Group and over 18,000 troops. Preparations, including deployment of forces to the exercise area, began in August. The active phase of the field exercise began on Oct. 25 and will continue through Nov. 7, to be followed by a command post exercise in mid-November.The exercise scenario simulates the defense of an Arctic country from an amphibious assault on its coastline. The country under attack invokes Article 5 of the NATO treaty, resulting in a large-scale defensive effort by the alliance to protect the country from foreign invasion. The specifics involve two forces fighting each other, with one side initially defending against a combined forces attack that includes amphibious forces from the U.S. Marine Corps. In the second half of the exercise, the defending force gains the initiative and carries out a counter-attack.

Training to Defend the North Against Russia

The overarching goals of the exercise are to “demonstrate the credibility of its [NATO’s] military deterrent and the unity of its membership.” The second goal can be achieved simply by getting all of the member states to participate in a tangible way despite political tensions and disagreements on how firmly the Western alliance should confront Russia. To achieve the first goal, the exercise will focus on logistics, interoperability and the forces’ ability to engage in combat in a hostile physical environment. The speed with which NATO’s rapid-response forces can mobilize will be tested, as will the ability of troops and commanders from different countries with different military cultures and different languages to communicate with each other in combat. The logistics of moving troops across borders, something that has posed problems in the past in Europe, is also being tested. Many of the units involved are inexperienced with operations in cold and wet weather, poor visibility and, for naval and amphibious forces, rough seas—all conditions that characterize the Arctic at this time of year. The ultimate target is the so-called Four 30s Plan: for NATO to be able to deploy 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 combat ships to a conflict zone, and to do it in 30 days.

For the United States, the deployment of the Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier and its strike group to the Norwegian Sea is meant to highlight how seriously Washington takes the Russian threat in the north. This is the first time an aircraft carrier has entered the Norwegian Sea since the end of the Cold War. The deployment of a Marine Corps expeditionary strike group also indicates U.S. intent to defend the region and thus acts as a deterrence signal to Russia and follows the rotational deployment of 300 U.S. Marines since 2017, the first time a foreign force has been stationed on Norwegian soil since World War II.

Russia’s Reaction

The exercise scenario largely parallels those of standard major Russian exercises, such as Zapad-2017, where one force initially defends against an attack by an adversary before eventually turning the tide and practicing counter-offensive operations during the second half of the exercise period. There are other parallels as well, including an amphibious landing and an emphasis on combined operations, though NATO is not going to simulate a nuclear strike as Russia did in Zapad-2009. The one major difference is that in Trident Juncture the participating troops are divided into red and blue forces, unlike in Zapad-2017 where the Russian force fought against simulated opponents. In this regard, the exercise is more like Russia’s Vostok-2018 exercise, where forces from two Russian military districts were arrayed against each other.

While Russia’s overall reaction to Trident Juncture has been relatively mild, its officials have raised concerns about the exercise being part of an ongoing NATO effort to encircle Russia and to demonstrate its dominance over Russia in the Nordic region. They highlight that no state other than Russia could present a threat to NATO in the region, and that therefore no other country could be its target. They also condemn the militarization of the Arctic that this exercise represents. Russian officials, including the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, have cast the arrival of a U.S. aircraft carrier north of the Arctic Circle for the first time in 30 years as saber-rattling by the United States that could have long-lasting destabilizing effects in the region.

Beyond the propaganda effort to paint NATO and the United States as warmongers, the aspects of the exercise that Russian military planners take most seriously include the deployments of the U.S. carrier strike group and Marine expeditionary force to the Arctic, and the combined air operations involving NATO, Swedish and Finnish air forces. Russian leaders are concerned that the increased focus on reinforcing NATO defenses in the east, as demonstrated by the exercise itself, the obvious increase in NATO’s military cooperation with Sweden and Finland and ongoing discussions about permanent stationing of U.S. military forces in Eastern Europe, will result in the establishment of a U.S. base on Polish territory. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that they would regard Poland’s plans to host a U.S. Army division as a violation of commitments made under the NATO-Russia Founding Act that would result in Russian countermeasures aimed at neutralizing those forces in the event of a conflict. In other words, Russia is making the argument that the United States and its East European allies are leading Europe into a new arms race and will bear primary responsibility for the resultant increase in tensions. NATO officials briefed their Russian counterparts on the plan for the exercise at the Oct. 31 meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, which also covered the conflict in Ukraine, the status of the INF Treaty and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the Russian navy is planning to test missiles in international waters off Norway’s coast in two separate exercises Nov. 1-3 and Nov. 7-9. The first exercise, in particular, will be held very close to the zone where NATO will be conducting Trident Juncture, which has raised concerns among Western experts that the two forces may come into conflict through miscalculation or provocation. Although Russian and NATO forces have operated in close proximity before, particularly in Syria, it is not clear whether deconfliction channels have bene established for this exercise. Apparently, Norwegian government officials have not expressed much concern about the potential for trouble, so it may be that the issue is being dealt with through the established lines of communication between NATO headquarters and the Russian General Staff.

Impact on NATO-Russia Relations

The long-term impact of the exercise itself on NATO-Russia relations is likely to be fairly negligible. Much like comparable recent Russian exercises, Trident Juncture will be used by NATO to demonstrate its intent to protect its members and allies from Russian aggression and by Russia to highlight the seriousness of the threat it faces from its potential adversary. Once the exercise is completed, the political impact will fade away relatively quickly, though undoubtedly both sides will trot it out as necessary to score political points in both domestic and international contexts. The real impact will be on the military side, where the exercise is expected to improve the ability of participating military forces to work together in adverse conditions, particularly for those NATO countries that have not previously operated in the far north and will be able to get a better sense of the strengths and weaknesses of their forces in such an environment. Meanwhile, NATO-Russia relations will be affected far more seriously if the United States does choose to deploy troops on a permanent basis in Poland or elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

The opinions in this article are solely those of the author.


Dmitry Gorenburg

Dmitry Gorenburg is a senior research scientist in the strategic studies division of CNA, a nonprofit research and analysis organization based in Virginia. He is also an associate of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies and the editor of Problems of Post-Communism.

 

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a.f.Shaun RameweTheCelotajsTEPYou can call me AL Recent comment authors
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Walter Dublanica
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More huffin & puffin to try to scare the Russians. Russians are fighters as any country that entered it’s territory knows. Germany/France/Sweden/Turkey.

wiggins
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wiggins

Silly boys playing silly buggers… 🙂

You can call me AL
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You can call me AL

Stupid is, what stupid does.

a.f.
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a.f.

5200 Russian soldiers killed in Donbass since the Invasion in 2014. Not much……………..and they deserved it.

TEP
Guest
TEP

War is, unfortunately, almost inevitable. The only hope now is that sufficient senior US military recognise it’s catastrophic futility and back down before it’s too late. This excellent article by The Saker frames it perfectly, and literally EVERYBODY should read and understand it it.

http://thesaker.is/a-senior-russian-diplomat-confirms-russia-is-preparing-for-war-is-anybody-listening/.

TheCelotajs
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TheCelotajs

Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wants a war with Russia so bad he dreams about it every nigh. Playing War Games is not the same thing as real combat when the other side is shooting live ammo back at you and your buddy is blown apart next to you. A whole different ball game.

a.f.
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a.f.

Russia wants WW3, so the NATO must be prepared.

a.f.
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a.f.

At least seven Russian military personnel died as a result of the explosion at the headquarters of the Russian troops near Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, reported EBAA news outlet. “Seven Russian military, as well as representatives of the Syrian regime, were killed on Friday after an explosive device was detonated at the headquarters of the Russian troops in the Criminal Court building north of the Panorama junction on the Deir ez-Zor-Damascus road,” EBAA writes. It is noted that the Russians were members of the so-called “ISIS hunters” of the 5th Corps of Assad Army. It is not yet known… Read more »

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Russia laughs and buzzes these easy-target NATerrorO drills every time with nearby missile tests and routine bomber flights!! Same when Russia kills NATerrorO terrorists in Syria – LOL.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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