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Russia won without firing a single shot

Analysis from Russian news agency has quite a different perspective on US and the Syrian strike than the Western Mainstream wish to portray

Seraphim Hanisch

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Syria is still largely at the center of the geopolitical news focus. As in all military conflicts, the powers involved are each involved in their own version of “we won.” In an analysis piece written by Victor Marakhovsky of RIA Novosti, the stance is that Russia won this event without so much as firing a shot. He then goes on to detail why he says what he says.

The newspiece is a translation and reinterpretation of the original piece which can be found here. We have tried to preserve the meaning of the original piece while framing it well in the English language. The Duran wishes to express its grateful acknowlegement to Victor Marakhovsky and RIA Novosti for its original report.

by Victor Marakhovsky, political scientist, about the US strategy in Syria

The formal results of a decisive attack by Western countries on Syria were summed up. Russia made a motion, proposing that the UN Security Council condemn the attack. Three permanent members of the Security Council  who all participated in the attack were against this motion, so the resolution was not adopted.

In terms of raw facts concerning the attack, the figures are generally established:

  • 103 rockets were launched. This is confirmed to be true.
  • US President D. Trump promised that the missiles would be “new and clever”, but most of the incoming missiles turned out to be the rather elderly “Tomahawks”. While on approach to all three strategically important facilities, they were shot down by the rather elderly Syrian air defense systems that had been developed in the Soviet Union specifically for the purpose of fighting the Tomahawks.
  • The British released eight Scalp (Storm Shadow) rockets, but, as proudly noted in the BBC, “each was five meters in length.” In addition they are newer, developed only twenty years ago.
  • The history with the French remains unclear: according to the leadership of France, they also released eight Storm Shadow missiles from their fighter planes and three from their ships.
  • However, the Russian military cynically point out that there were no French “Rafale” aircraft spotted in the skies. So it is possible that these allies of the United States received credit for participation only to maintain the spirit of unity of these three countries.

As to the damage, most of the missiles that actually reached their targets successfully fell on unused buildings in the provinces of Damascus and Homs. Otherwise, despite the surprise of the attack and the fact (heavily stressed by US officials) that “Russia was not even warned:”

  • not a single civilian perished.
  • not a single soldier of the Syrian Arab Army was killed.
  • not a single aircraft or helicopter was destroyed.
  • there was not a single accidental flight into the zone of responsibility of Russian air defense systems.
  • not a single used airfield used by the Syrian armed forces.
  • seventy-one out of one hundred and three missiles are lost.

The actual effect of the action was actually less than that of the attack on the Shayrat airbase a year ago, when 59 Tomahawks managed to at least a) spoil several aircraft, b) damage the taxiways, taking the airfield out of action for several hours and c) kill several Syrians .

This is where the list of raw facts comes to an end, because a group of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria only a few hours after the raid. The OPCW’s task is to establish whether anything happened at all in the incident that the United States responded to with such ferocity. The OPCW is also to establish what exactly happened in the city of Douma.

Therefore, the main battle unfolded after the strike – and, as expected in our strange era, it happened in the media space. Batalya began to question the question of how to understand what had happened.

US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French president Emmanuel Macron insist that the missile strike was a muscular and justified retaliatory blow. They also insist that their goals were achieved and that the ability of the “monster” Assad to succeed in producing chemical weapons to poison his people has been dramatically reduced. And they say that if he tries again – then the same crushing penalty will happen again, despite all the objections of Russia, because the time for negotiations has passed.

However, the press of Western countries is not so certain about the veracity of these claims, nor is it certain about the justification for the attack. As an example, the Huffington Post,bitterly states:

  • Trump’s declared goals were to stop the “murderous behavior of Assad and show his own strength to Assad’s patrons – Russia and Iran, but neither of these goals were achieved.
  • All the more or less significant military and administrative goals were at the time of the attack under the Russian “umbrella”, which Trump was afraid to touch.
  • As a result, Assad “will not stop the offensive,” and Russia “is not challenged.”

In an editorial comment by Reuters “Commentary: In Syria strike, the real danger is Russia“, it is reported that:

  • Assad “already almost won in the six-year war” and does not intend to stop;
  • Moscow, warning in advance that “in the event of creating a threat to life, Russian servicemen will be bewildered not only by missiles, but also by their carriers,” turned the action of unlimited justice into something purposeless. The author notes that this is because neither Russia nor the US is interested in a real battle with one another in Syria. Moreover: they are not even interested in showing each other the capabilities of each side’s newest missiles and anti-missile systems. After all, why feed such information to the enemy? In this very cautious manner the same heavily armed soldiers of the 20th century’s Cold War fought – over the deserts and mountains of an ancient country.
  • There is no success demonstrated in this tactic. To make matters worse: it has now been made clear that the United States can bring a lot of mighty naval hardware – even an aircraft carrier with all their terrible weaponry to bear on Syria… and then expend a lot of old missiles. But the final analysis shows that this attack was not so much a demonstration of force as it was a demonstration of the impossibility of showing strength.

And Russia, as usual, has just shown its mastery on how to achieve the maximum goals by limited forces.

That is, Russia, even without having fired a single volley from its S-400 and SA-22 Greyhounds, effectively established a framework in which the West did not dare to test.

Note that this is not all reported by some “Russian state propaganda trying to preserve the face of the Kremlin.” All these claims were posed by the British and American mainstream media news outlets.

However, other, also elements of the mainstream media in the same countries also commonly regale triumph and express the version of the story put forth by the Trump – May – Macron triad. “A bloody tyrant received a lesson, if necessary, we can repeat”, and so on.

… All this confirms the sad perspective we (RIA Novosti, in the Russian language) expressed on the eve of the attack:

“In fact, the only explanation for what is happening is some damnable universal hype, from which the elite of the West can not escape. Furthermore. It seems that no real results of the alleged punishment are needed by anyone. It seems that the Western leaders themselves would be satisfied with the perspective of a crushing blow in a virtual shootout, because this gives them the opportunity to convince their audience that the enemy has suffered heavy losses.”

As a result, we see a schizophrenic picture. Based on the viral videos, which have no independent verification, real airplanes  took to the air and real rockets were fired. Various estimates place the cost of the attack at between US $70 and $150 million dollars.

However, this supposed mega-strike in the real world did not hurt anyone. Moreover, in fact, it appears to have been necessary only to ensure that in a virtual world (where media and government hype, tweets and media exchange their interpretations), someone convinced their audience that there was a good reason for taking this action.

It is gratifying that the leadership of the United States and its subordinate powers are still separating their inner media views from the harsh reality. And the “celebration of Russia’s disobedience to the world order” is held in specially designated places for this purpose.

The final fact, though is this:

The next generation of Western leaders can no longer distinguish between where PR ends and a real war begins. And this makes our real world is all the less safe and increasingly alarming.

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Very interesting analysis.
Macron seems to realise that everyone now knows France was an “also ran”: his insistence that he has succeeded in persuading Trump to remain “on the ground” suggests that he has nothing else to show for his “participation.”
Had France not gone to the dogs, the people would be protesting this humiliating adventure.

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Russian Il-20 downed by Syrian missile. Russia blames Israel. Israel blames Syria (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The unthinkable has happened in Syria.

The world now teeters on the brink of all out war in Syria as a Russian Il-20 was downed by Syrian missile after Israeli F-16s used it as cover during attack, according to statements made by the Russian Ministry of Defense.

President Vladimir Putin, answering a reporter’s question during a press conference with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban, said the downing of the Russian Il-20 plane looks like “a chain of tragic circumstances.” 

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the tripwire triggered that has the potential to tip the fragile balance in Syria towards conflict between Russia, Iran and Israel.

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The Russian military says an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its Il-20 plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile. Moscow reserves the right to respond accordingly.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said…

“Israel did not warn the command of the Russian troops in Syria about the planned operation. We received a notification via a hotline less than a minute before the strike, which did not allow the Russian aircraft to be directed to a safe zone.”

The statement by the Russian Defense Ministry said that four Israeli F-16 fighter jets attacked targets in Syria’s Latakia after approaching from the Mediterranean.

The Israeli warplanes approached at a low altitude and “created a dangerous situation for other aircraft and vessels in the region.”

The statement further said that 15 Russian military service members have died as a result…

“The Israeli pilots used the Russian plane as cover and set it up to be targeted by the Syrian air defense forces. As a consequence, the Il-20, which has radar cross-section much larger than the F-16, was shot down by an S-200 system missile.”

According to reports from RT, the Russian military said that the French Navy’s frigate ‘Auvergne,’ as well as a Russian Il-20 plane were in the area during the Israeli operation.

Map of the incident on September 17 in Syria provided by the Russian defense ministry.

The Russian ministry said the Israelis must have known that the Russian plane was present in the area, but this did not stop them from executing “the provocation.” Israel also failed to warn Russia about the planned operation in advance. The warning came just a minute before the attack started, which “did not leave time to move the Russian plane to a safe area,”the statement said.

The statement gives a larger death toll than earlier reports by the Russian military, which said there were 14 crew members on board the missing Il-20. It said a search and rescue operation for the shot-down plane is underway.

A later update said debris from the downed plane was found some 27km off the Latakia coast. The search party collected some body parts, personal possessions of the crew, and fragments of the plane.

Meanwhile Israel has come out to blame the Syrian government for the downing of the military plane, according to an IDF statement.

Israel said that it “expresses sorrow for the death of the aircrew members” of the Russian plane. However, it stated that the government of Bashar Assad “whose military shot down the Russian plane,” is “fully responsible” for the incident.

Israel further blamed Iran and Hezbollah for the incident.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) explained that its jets were targeting a Syrian facility “from which systems to manufacture accurate and lethal weapons were about to be transferred on behalf of Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”

Israel claimed that the weapons were “meant to attack Israel.”

Via RT

The IDF assumed that the Syrian anti-air batteries “fired indiscriminately” and didn’t “bother to ensure that no Russian planes were in the air.” The Israelis said that when the Syrian military launched the missiles which hit the Russian plane, its own jets were already within Israeli airspace. “During the strike against the target in Latakia, the Russian plane that was then hit was not within the area of the operation.”

According to the Israeli military, both IDF and Russia have “a deconfliction system,” which was agreed upon by the leadership of both states, and “has proven itself many times over recent years.” The system was in use when the incident happened, the IDF stated. The IDF promised to share “all the relevant information” with Russia “to review the incident and to confirm the facts in this inquiry.”

The military presented a four-point initial inquiry into events in Latakia. It insisted that “extensive and inaccurate” Syrian anti-aircraft fire caused the Russian jet “to be hit and downed.”

The Russian Il-20 aircraft, with 15 crew on board, went off radar during an attack by four Israeli jets on Syria’s Latakia province late Monday. Later on Tuesday the Russian Defense Ministry said that an Israeli raid on Syria triggered a chain of events that led to its plane being shot down by a Syrian S-200 surface-to-air missile.

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Trump Orders Immediate Release Of All Text Messages, Carter Page FISA Application From Russia Investigation

Trump has ordered the DOJ to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions.

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Via Zerohedge

President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also released will be specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The statement reads in full:

“At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr

***

As we reported last Monday, Trump had been expected to release the documents any time – with specific attention to the Page documents and the “investigative activities of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr” – who was demoted twice for lying about his extensive relationship  with Christopher Steele – the former MI6 spy who assembled the sham “Steele Dossier” used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page.

Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.

  • They allege that Bruce Ohr played an improper intermediary role between the Justice Department, British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that produced the Trump-Russia dossier, funded by Democrats. (Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS on Russia-related matters during the presidential election — a fact that Ohr did not disclose on federal forms.)
  • And they further allege that the Obama administration improperly spied on Carter Page — all to take down Trump. –Axios

Ohr, meanwhile, met with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in 2015 to discuss helping the FBI with organized crime investigations, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon. The meeting with the Putin ally was facilitated by Steele.

Last month Trump called Ohr a disgrace, while also tweeting: “Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  “Justice” Department? A total joke!”

Trump’s threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says “afraid they will be exposed.”

According to emails turned over to Congressional investigators in August, Christopher Steele was much closer to Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie than previously disclosed.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., days after Steele turned in installments of his infamous “dossier” on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” the agency’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

“After two years of investigations and accusations from both sides of the aisle about what documents indicate, it is past time for documents to be declassified and let the American people decide for themselves if DoJ and FBI acted properly,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told Axios earlier Sunday.

In early August, journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Trump may use his presidential authority to declassify “20 redacted pages of a June, 2017 FISA renewal, “and possibly” 63 pages of emails and notes between “Ohr & Steele,” and FD-302 summaries of 12 interviews.”

President Trump threatened to declassify documents two weeks ago – one day after the New York Times allegedly published an anonymous Op-Ed claiming to be from a White House official claiming to be part of an unelected “resistance” cabal within the Trump administration.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted earlier this month, adding: “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

Trump’s threat comes as calls by frustrated GOP legislators to release the documents have hit a fevered pitch. Spearheading the effort are Republican Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Lee Zeldin – who have repeatedly asked Trump to declassify more of the heavily redacted FISA surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in late 2016.

In June, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked President Trump to declassify key sections of Carter Page’s FISA warrant application, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

Carter Page, the DOJ/FBI’s person of interest, weighed in on the matter in late August, tweeting: “The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016.”

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De-Dollarization Tops Agenda at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was held in Vladivostok on Sept.11-13. Founded in 2015, the event has become a platform for planning and launching projects to strengthen business ties in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Via Strategic Culture

This year, the EEF brought together delegations from over 60 countries to discuss the topic “The Far East: Expanding the Range of Possibilities”. A total of 100 business events involving over 6,000 participants were held during the three days.

1,357 media personnel worked to cover the forum. Last year, the number of participants was 5,000 with 1,000 media persons involved in reporting and broadcasting. The EEF-18 gathered 340 foreign and 383 Russian CEOs. Nearly 80 start-ups from across South-East Asia joined the meeting.

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This year, a total of 175 agreements worth of 2.9 trillion rubles (some $4.3 billion) were signed. For comparison, the sum was 2.5 trillion rubles (roughly $3.7 billion) in 2017.

They included the development of the Baimsky ore deposits in Chukotka, the construction of a terminal for Novatek LNG at Bechevinskaya Bay in Kamchatka and the investment of Asian countries in Russia’s agricultural projects in the Far East.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mail.Ru Group, Megafon and Chinese Alibaba inked an agreement on establishing AliExpress trade joint venture. Rosneft and Chinese CNPC signed an oil exploration agreement.

The Chinese delegation was the largest (1,096 people), followed by the Japanese (570 members). The list of guests included the president of Mongolia and prime ministers of Japan and South Korea.

It was also the first time Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the event to meet his Russian counterpart. The issue of de-dollarization topped the agenda. Russia and China reaffirmed their interest in expanding the use of national currencies in bilateral deals.

During the forum, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of RDIF, said the fund intends to use only national currencies in its transactions with China starting from 2019. It will cooperate with the China Development Bank.

This “yuanification” is making visible progress with Shanghai crude futures increasing their share of oil markets up to 14 percent or even more. China has signed agreements with Canada and Qatar on national currencies exchange.

READ MORE: Eastern Economic Forum opens new chapter in US-Russia dialogue

De-dollarization is a trend that is picking up momentum across the world. A growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar. Russia is leading the race to protect itself from fluctuations, storms and US-waged trade wars and sanctions.

Moscow backs non-dollar trade with Ankara amid the ongoing lira crisis. Turkey is switching from the dollar to settlements in national currencies, including its trade with China and other countries. Ditching the US dollar is the issue topping the BRICS agenda. In April, Iran transferred all international payments to the euro.

The voices calling for de-dollarization are getting louder among America’s closest European allies. In August, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US.

According to him, Europe should not allow the United States to act “over our heads and at our expense.” The official wants to strengthen European autonomy by establishing independent payment channels, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system.

Presenting his annual program, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Sept. 12 for the European Union to promote the euro as a global currency to challenge the dollar.

According to him, “We must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene.” Mr. Juncker believes “it is absurd that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy import bill – worth 300 billion euros a year – in US dollars when only roughly 2 percent of our energy imports come from the United States.” He wants the raft of proposals made in his state of the union address to start being implemented before the European Parliament elections in May.

70% of all world trade transactions account for the dollar, while 20% are  settled in the euro, and the rest falls on the yuan and other Asian currencies. The dollar value is high to make the prices of consumer goods in the US artificially low. The demand for dollars allows refinancing the huge debt at low interest rates. The US policy of trade wars and sanctions has triggered the global process of de-dollarization.

Using punitive measures as a foreign policy tool is like shooting oneself in the foot. It prompts a backlash to undermine the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency – the basis of the US economic might. The aggressive policy undermines the US world standing to make it weaker, not stronger.

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