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Russia gives Serbia free MiG-29 fighter jets

China holds the key to the Balkans more than Russia or the United States.

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Russia has delivered the first two of six MiG-29 fighter jets to Serbia in a free exchange of military aircraft to a traditional ally and fraternal people.

In the late-modern period, Serbia’s connection to Russia became most clear during the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-78. It was during this war that Russia liberated much of the Orthodox Balkans after centuries of Ottoman Turkish imperial rule. Serbia which first declared independence from Ottoman Turkey in 1804, became a fully independent state as a result of the Russian victory over Turkey. Bulgaria also became de-facto free of Turkish rule as a result of the war.

While the Soviet-Yugoslav alliance ended in 1948, Serbs and Russians continued to view one another as a fraternal peoples in spite of the intricacies of Cold War power politics.

Today, Serbia is in an increasingly difficult position. Serbia currently seeks to join the European Union, in spite of the fact that leading EU states, including and especially Germany, strongly advocated for and funded the insurgencies against Yugoslavia in the 1990s, which in most cases ended up being little more than ultra-nationalistic militant upheavals directed at ethnic Serb civilians.

Were Serbia to join the EU, much of its trade with Russia would be curtailed by Brussels due to its current sanctions policy. Furthermore, the issue regarding the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija complicates things further. Russia, like much of the world, continues to view Kosovo and Metohija as an integral part of the Republic of Serbia. However, most EU countries view the so-called Kosovo as an independent state, recognising the leaders of a NATO occupying regime as statesmen, in spite of their lack of global recognition and their use of terrorism to achieve regional domination.

This issue is generally cited as the main reason why Serbia’s ascension process to the EU has been unusually long. NATO member Albania which supports its effective puppet regime in occupied Kosovo and Metohija, is also vying for EU membership. Worryingly, the Albanian leader Edi Rama recently stated that Albania would annex parts of Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro if his state was not allowed into the EU.

Serbia responds to Albanian threats to annex its territory

Russia’s recent delivery of fighter jets to Belgrade was praised by Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin in the following way,

“We are proud to say that our aviation is obtaining new equipment for the first time since 1987. We are glad to make our military more powerful, well-organised and up-to-date”.

In reality, while Russia has gifted Serbia six jets and runs a humanitarian centre in Serbia, Russia’s military links to Serbia are more limited than NATO propaganda would suggest and also more limited than many Russian and Serbian patriots would like.

Russia’s military aid to Serbia amounts to gestures of good will, but it does not amount to making Serbia’s armed forces a kind of ‘proxy-Russian force’ in the Balkans. Many Serbs continue to reject the notion of EU membership and would like closer relations with Russia, but the mainstream parties in Belgrade are attempting a balancing act between Russia and the EU which is ultimately impossible, as former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych found out the hard way. Many Russians who remember the shared experience of an Orthodox people bound by a similar history, seek to do more for Serbia, but ultimately, geo-political realities limit Russia’s ability to do more for Serbia, unless Russia seeks to establish a permanent military presence in southern Europe. Currently, Russia has no such plans.

While Russia’s aid to Serbia is well intentioned and limited, Serbia is rapidly being encircled by NATO. Unlike Russia which has no military presence in southern Europe, NATO has effectively encircled Serbia from all sides. Albania which has a history of profound hostility against Serbia has been a NATO member since 2009 and NATO troops have occupied the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija since 1999. Meanwhile, Croatia is also in NATO. Furthermore, against the wishes of most of its citizens, Montenegro joined NATO this year.

NATO is currently working towards making Macedonia into a member state while the US and its European allies continue to encourage Albanian extremism as a means of destabilising Macedonia, in the hope of forcing the hand of Skopje.

100 years later, the west has authored a new Balfour Declaration for the Balkans

While NATO’s vast presence in the region means that the US has direct military access to the Balkans, Russia does not have direct access to Serbia. Furthermore, due to geographical distance, NATO could effectively shut Russia out of the Balkans in the event of a new Balkan war.

While Russia’s strong military could still aid Serbia in the event of a war, Russia is not interested in fighting a war in the Balkans. By contrast, NATO seeks to draw Russia into a Balkan war for the following reasons:

–By forcing Russia to fight a new European war, NATO could distract Russia from her geo-strategic interests in Asia and the wider ‘global east and south’

–NATO would be able to more easily bring harm to Serbia and its Russian ally due to its heavy presence in the region.

–NATO would try and in some regions, succeed in once again slandering Serbia and Russia as aggressors even though neither Serbia nor Russia has any remote interest in starting a new Balkan war.

NATO is trying to draw Russia into a new Balkan war

Ultimately, the key to the Balkans is not Russia, but China. The western Balkans in particular forms an important part of China’s One Belt–One Road and already, China is quietly investing in the region, including in both Serbia and Albania.

China’s views on the region are based on geographical and economic pragmatism, although China has certainly not forgotten that during the illegal NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999, the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade was bombed, thus heightening tensions between Beijing and Washington.

Because of this, China is all too aware of the dangers inherent in investing in the region. But rather than exercise caution, China is instead interested in encouraging regional stability for the sake of One Belt–One Road. Inversely, the US has been doing anything it can to disrupt progress along One Belt–One Road whether it be the war in Afghanistan which impacts China’s relationship with Pakistan, US meddling in East and South East Asian Affairs, US destabilisation of the Middle East, and the Kiev-Donbass conflict.

US troops in Europe and the Middle East are there to provoke China more than Russia or Iran

In this sense, while some see the current Balkans crisis as a test of will between NATO and Russia, the reality is that it is a battle between Chinese economic pragmatism that could potential;y bring both increased prosperity and increased political stability to the region versus the United States which seeks to encircle Serbia with hostile western backed client states.

Russia could benefit from the Chinese business model coming to the Balkans just as sure as Russia would face uncomfortable calls to defend Serbia in the event of a new war.

The fact that such a war could break out at any moment is a reality that Serbia fears, Russia detests and China seeks to avoid.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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