A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings

Official Washington is so obsessed with the hyped Russia-gate allegations that it isn’t picking up on dire warnings from Russia that continued U.S. military interference in Syria won’t be tolerated, as Gilbert Doctorow notes.

By Gilbert Doctorow

From time to time, the Kremlin uses the Sunday evening weekly news wrap-up program of Dmitry Kiselyov on state television, channel Rossiya-1, to send blunt and public warnings to Washington without diplomatic niceties. Last night was one such case and we must hope that the intended audience within the Beltway can put aside all its distractions about Russia-gate long enough to read a real message from Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

The last such message came in the week following President Trump’s April 6 decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base to punish the Syrian government for an alleged but disputed chemical attack on a village in Idlib province. TV host Kiselyov used his airtime to spell out Russia’s disdainful response, which he characterized as unprecedented in scope and seriousness.

It was essential to put all the elements of the warning together in one place, as he did, because the Pentagon sought to downplay the elements in isolation, such as Russia’s installation of the Iskander nuclear potential missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian city on the Baltic Sea surrounded by Poland and Lithuania; or the abrogation of the deconfliction agreement relating to air space over Syria; or the dispatch of still more Russian vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean equipped to sink U.S. Navy ships.

While U.S. generals were saying that the Russians didn’t really mean it, Kiselyov put the whole picture on the screen: an ultimatum to Washington to back off or be prepared for war.

A still earlier message of this kind to Washington aired on the Kiselyov news show in the week following the supposedly accidental Sept. 17, 2016 bombing by U.S. and allied warplanes against Syrian army positions inside the encircled eastern town of Deir Ezzor, which killed more than 80 Syrian soldiers and prepared the way for a renewed offensive by the Islamic State. That bombing scuttled the agreement on a Syrian cease-fire concluded with the approval of President Obama less than a week earlier by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry after a 14-hour negotiating session.

Lavrov was shown on the Kiselyov program openly accusing U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter of directing “friendly fire” against Kerry and of dangerous insubordination to his boss, the U.S. President, which put in question any possibility of reaching agreements with the Americans on anything.

Who’s in Charge Here?

That last question about who’s in charge in Washington has now re-emerged in the program that Kiselyov presented on Sunday evening. The Americans were identified as the “main obstacle” to the mopping up operation in Syria, at a time when Kiselyov indicated that people could finally see “the light at the end of the tunnel” for the horrific six-year conflict with more than 90 percent Syrian territory now back under government control.

U.S.-backed Syrian “moderate” rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video]

The core of the accusation is that the United States is secretly aiding the Islamist terror groups at the center of the remaining resistance to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime: supplying the terror groups with weapons, helping them to move around, removing them from hostile fire, and giving them the findings of aerial reconnaissance, maps of where Syrian government forces are operating and even the locations of Russian military detachments.

Things have gotten to the point where the Russians feel that it is not the military capability of the Islamic State that stands in the way of routing the remaining terrorists from Syrian territory but this American assistance to the terrorists. This analysis, said Kiselyov, is not his own idea: it is the official position of the Russian Ministry of Defense as issued through its spokesman this week, Igor Konashenkov.

Kiselyov added: “The Americans deny everything. But the RF Ministry of Defense does not believe their words, relying instead on facts. We recall in the past week how part of the main road connecting Palmyra and Deir Ezzor was taken over by the fanatics. This is the main artery supplying the Syrian forces leading the offensive from Deir Ezzor against the remaining forces of the terrorists in Syria. De facto this was an attack in the rear. This was planned and facilitated by the Americans. In parallel, on 28 September a large group of terrorists numbering about 300 men left the area of the American base in al-Tanf at the Jordanian border. In this area there is a refugee camp numbering tens of thousands.”

According to Kiselyov, the Americans have cut off the refugee camp, not allowing in United Nations or other humanitarian relief convoys, so as to use the camp as cover, a human shield, for the Islamic State fighters whom the U.S. military is supporting.

Striking at ‘Random Events’

According to the warning from Russian defense spokesman Konashenkov, if the U.S. forces see these attacks by mobile units of terrorists whom the Americans are assisting as “unforeseen random events,” then Russian armed forces in Syria are prepared to totally destroy all such “random events” directed against the zone under their control.

Map of Syria.

Kiselyov asked why is this American behavior happening and whether President Trump made this decision. But the question is rhetorical. Though it may seem “amazing,” Kiselyov suggested that it appears Trump was not a party to this behavior, that it more likely resulted from what the TV host called sloppy management when the military gets out from under political control.

On the territory of Syria, Kiselyov said, “they start wandering around quite on their own” and “flirting” with the terrorist groups.

Throughout the six-year war, the United States and its allies – including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Jordan and Israel – have provided support for Islamist militants and other rebels who have fought in close coordination with and often shared sophisticated U.S. weapons with Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Nusra Front, and at times Al Qaeda’s spinoff, the Islamic State.

However, whatever the U.S. intentions may be, said Kiselyov, the result is extremely unpleasant both for Russia and for the American leadership as its generals are being pushed toward adventurism.

Konashenkov characterized the area in Syria under American control near the Jordanian border as a “black hole” that is 100 kilometers long. From this “black hole,” the terrorists come out to stage their attacks on Syrian troops and against the peaceful civilian population.

The Sunday program’s feature segment then shifted to a calmer note with the insistence that Russian President Vladimir Putin remains confident in the victory over the terrorists regardless of who is aiding them. To demonstrate this confidence, the show presented footage of Putin’s response to questions put to him at the Energy Forum in Moscow at mid-week. Putin said, “in the end, we all [presumably including the Americans] have common interests in securing Syria and the region against terrorists and that will bring us together for cooperative action.”

In the meantime, however, videos showed the results of Russian air activity in Syria this past week, including more than 400 sorties of Russian planes based in Syria, plus SU-134 and SU-135 bombers arriving from Russian territory that killed a dozen or more terrorist leaders together with 50 security personnel and seriously injured a top official who lost an arm and sank into a coma.

Russian air attacks destroyed the terrorists’ main underground weapons caches amounting to 1,000 tons, according to the report, and an attack by Kalibr cruise missiles launched from submarines in the Mediterranean destroyed Islamic State command installations and vehicles as well as weapons supplies. This attack cleared the way for Syrian troops to begin the liberation of the town of Meyadin.

The program left the dots unconnected, but the Russian threat is clear: Moscow will use its air power to eliminate all forces standing in the way of complete victory including U.S. forces on the ground near the Jordanian border.

The Saudi Visit

The same news round-up had another segment that relates in less direct fashion to the Russian success in Syria: a state visit to Russia by the king of Saudi Arabia, the first in the two countries’ 90-plus years of diplomatic relations. And it was not a simple affair.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia and his entourage arrive to greet President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud brought with him a contingent of 1,000 people, including business leaders, ministry officials and senior military officers. They came with a reported 100 tons of baggage, including favorite carpets and other accouterments of the royal lifestyle.

All aspects of this visit were impressive, including the signing of contracts and letters of intent for multi-billion-dollar joint investments in industrial projects in both countries, possible Saudi purchases of Russian Liquefied Natural Gas from yet another mega-project seeking financing and multi-billion dollar military procurement, said to include the latest S-400 air defense system that Russia agreed to supply to Turkey a few weeks ago in exchange for a $2.5 billion down-payment and which Turkey accepted gratefully over NATO objections.

Putin quipped to the moderator of the Moscow Energy Forum, also held during the past week, that nothing is forever, not even the U.S. hold on the Saudis.

Kiselyov placed the visit in the context of Russian foreign policy in the region generally. Putin, he said, is pursuing a policy of seeking peaceful harmony in the Near East that takes into account the balance of interests of all countries in the region, a policy which is paying off: Russia is now the only country in the world to have good relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, Turkey, Iraq and, of course, Syria.

From both segments it would appear that U.S. longstanding domination of the region is unraveling.

Gilbert Doctorow is an independent political analyst based in Brussels. His next book, Does the United States have a Future? will be published during October 2017.

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64 comments for “A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings

  1. anon
    October 9, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Good heavens, we’ll have to register the Saudi royals as Russian agents, despite their friendly sponsorship of Al Qaeda on 9/11, and decades of oil price gouging. We’ll be forced into the clutches of Venezuelan socialists!

    • jo6pac
      October 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      LOL, Thanks and at the same time it will be interesting to see how the game plays out.

  2. October 9, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    This is the perfect time for the CIA / Pentagon to stage a false flag attack against American forces by the “Russians” to start the much-desired Nuclear World War III. Such a false flag as 9/11 convinced the CIA / Pentagon / dubya and cheney / trump and pence / obama and biden that the massacre of 1000s if not millions of American citizens is worth it since the make so much more money starting another war.

    • Tony B.
      October 9, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      It will be simple to tell the difference. A fake Russian attack will be minimal. A real Russian attack will leave no one standing.

      • Constantine
        October 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        And yet, a fantastic amount of people in the west, especially in the US, will believe it. It works every time and no one gets called for it.

    • Anna
      October 10, 2017 at 10:16 am

      The false attack would have happened long time ago already if not the proximity of the “special nation” (which could become a glassy parking lot in no time) and the presence of some more-less educated heads among the deciders, those who have the intellectual abilities to envision a world-wide nuclear war. The war-profiteers, oilmen, and Israel-firsters have been pushing towards the conflict tirelessly. If only there was a way to give the pushers (and their extended families) the taste of the nuclear war without harming the decent people.

  3. October 9, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    That is due happen. The so called “promoters of peace and democracy” are now proved to be a permanent source of
    Hypocrisy, havoc and instability. So, has to be dealt with harshly.

  4. Zachary Smith
    October 9, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    This was a difficult read, for I learned that things are considerably worse than I’d imagined. Buried in the middle of the piece was this:

    Kiselyov suggested that it appears Trump was not a party to this behavior, that it more likely resulted from what the TV host called sloppy management when the military gets out from under political control.

    I believe that pretty much nails it. Trump is an arrogant, ignorant, and LAZY man who is outsourcing his job to military people who should not be making this level of decisions affecting US policy.

    The Russians have announced they’re not going to continue to put up with the US mucking around in Syria, and there is nobody with any authority listening to them. Not a good situation at all.

    • David G
      October 9, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      But note that Doctorow also reviews how the Pentagon was also making its own policy in defiance of Obama and Kerry. As obscene as Trump is personally, he is not an explanation for perennially pathological U.S. behavior.

      • Leslie F
        October 9, 2017 at 4:05 pm

        It was speculations on the Russians part that Obama and Kerry weren’t in on it. It was their opinion. Maybe they were right and maybe not. I know Trump is a lazy bastard who gave away policy making to the military, but that was not my impression of Obama. I suppose he couldn’t be aware of everything they were doing all the time, but I’m not convinced he wasn’t being two faced.

    • Tony B.
      October 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm

      Trump will do whatever Israhell tells him to do, He’s just another Rothschild prostitute.

    • October 9, 2017 at 8:02 pm

      3-1-17

      Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump’s OK”

      The commander in chief is taking heat—and hearing cheers—for a raid in Yemen that killed a SEAL. But for the next mission, Trump may take himself out of the loop altogether.

      https://www.thedailybeast.com/generals-may-launch-new-isis-raids-without-trumps-ok

    • Alexander R Buttny
      October 10, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      I agree but Russia isn’t going to attack Americans. They know Trump is itching for war and making no secret he wants to nuke somebody, anybody. Besides they are doing the same stuff. Doctorow nay not be a Kremlin mouthpiece in fact but he’s their messenger either way.

    • Peter Loeb
      October 11, 2017 at 6:53 am

      THE MUD OF US-RUSSIAN RELATIONS:

      Doctorow is one of the few analysts who actually LISTEN.

      In the US in soundbites we (public and private) are treated
      to descriptions of Vladimir Putin the dictator. Have we forgotten
      the 22 million lives the Soviet Union under :”Uncle Joe” gave up
      for the anglo-American axis to survive World War II
      figures for the US are said to be about 4 million, for the UK
      about 3 million.) See Joyce and Gabriel Kolko THE LIMITS OF POWER.

      The King of the US at present seems bent on dismantling the NATO
      alliance, originally formed to combat Rjussian aggression.

      Yesterday I hard news bites from Franced indicating (here
      paraphrased) that French corporations can’t wait to invest
      in Iran. With the same distorted “enthusaism” of the US
      “Foreign Direct Investment” (FDI) (aka “oursourcing”) in which
      manufacturing is done away from France for less leaving the
      higher-paid Frenchman/woman helpless. The current
      President of France was an investment banker (aka speculation)
      from Rothschild I believe. Like others of his ilk he is brutal
      on laborf (with so-called “labor reforms”) etc (See Dr. Jack
      Rasmus, SYSTEMIC FRAGILITY IN THE GLOBAL ECONOMY)

      Macaron does not like to be bribed and he has been there
      before. One assumes done it himself with professional
      ease to others.

      Will he and others of “our Allies” in Europe continue to
      play this game with the tweet king of the US?

      Perhaps the stronger core nations of the Eurozone such
      as France and Germany will retreat leaving the US
      with its strong allies of the Eurozone “periphery” such as
      bankrjupt Greece, Lithuania and the like.

      An atomic disaster would be possible but in my own
      personal opinion less likely than the break-up of
      the once strong NATO alliance always subserviant
      to American claims.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Will Toffan
        October 16, 2017 at 4:50 pm

        America lost less than a million soldiers in WW2; the British about 250,000.

  5. Seer
    October 9, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I recall a statement by someone in the US “security” realm (Pentagon, I believe) that they thought that China wasn’t ready to step up as a manager of trade security (not the exact words, but if one really read into it that’s the gist of it). With the US clearly in decline I’m certain that TPTB are looking to see who will really be able to step up. Perhaps, then, this is all about testing to see if it’ll be Russia that can take over the mantle? By fact that Russia is really being forced to toss the US off its back (US surrounding Russia) would seem like THE big game of King of the Hill.

  6. Abe
    October 9, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    “President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to deliver an Iran policy speech on October 12 to decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as he believes that the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran no longer meets the US national security interests. If the president determines that the Iranians are not abiding by the JCPOA, Congress will have two months to decide whether to re-impose sanctions waived under the agreement. The White House said on October 6 that President Donald Trump would also announce new US responses to Iran’s missile tests, support for ‘terrorism’ and cyber operations as part of his new Iran strategy.

    “The president’s plans reportedly include placing additional sanctions on Tehran and designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group. The president faces an Oct. 15 deadline to notify Congress whether Iran is still complying with the nuclear accord and that the deal serves American interests. In accordance with the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, Donald Trump is required to tell Congress every three months if Iran is meeting promises to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

    “On October 8, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), made a statement warning that if the IRGC is designated a terrorist group, the force “will treat the US Army the way we treat ISIS” anywhere in the world, in particular in the Middle East. According to him, in case the US introduces additional sanctions, Iran will consider the move a violation of the nuclear agreement […]

    “Iran will not agree to revisit the agreement. Its position is strengthened due to the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has recently said it complies with the deal. With no deal to comply with, Iran would be free to produce as much enriched uranium or plutonium as it wishes.

    “Moreover, the action would not be supported by other parties to the JPCOA. Federica Mogherini, the foreign minister for the European Union, rejects the idea of scrapping or renegotiating the agreement. According to her, ‘The international community cannot afford dismantling an agreement that is working and delivering.’ ‘This is an agreement that prevented a nuclear program and potentially prevented military intervention. Let’s not forget that,’ she added. ‘There is no need to renegotiate parts of the agreement, because the agreement is working.’ By insisting on fixing or abrogating the deal, the United States may be ostracized. And being pushed hard, Iran will retaliate.

    “The standoff between the US and Iran may lead to a spark igniting a conflict. The United States presence in al-Tanf base on the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle is used for training Maghawir al-Thawra – formerly known as the New Syrian Army – fighters. The base is largely believed to be a safe haven for terrorist groups fighting pro-Syrian government forces, including Iranians, unopposed by Americans. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the 100 km area around the US al-Tanf base near the Syrian-Jordanian border has become a ‘black hole’ which Islamic State terrorists use to carry out attacks against Syrian troops and civilians. Iran has already used Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missiles to strike targets in Syria. An accident between the two navies in the Persian Gulf may also spark a conflict like the Gulf of Tonkin accident sparked the Vietnam War. Today, another large war is in the air.”

    US Military to Be No Longer Safe in Middle East
    By Alex Gorka
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/10/09/us-military-no-longer-safe-middle-east.html

    • Mild-ly - Facetious
      October 9, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      “President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to deliver an Iran policy speech on October 12 to decertify the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as he believes that the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran no longer meets the US national security interests.”

      {}

      The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.
      https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates/537909/

      • Anna
        October 10, 2017 at 10:17 am

        There is no day of light between Obama the Fraud and Trump.

    • Peter Loeb
      October 11, 2017 at 7:20 am

      WITH CUSTOMARY PERSPICACITY,ABE…

      Many thanks Abe for your contribution on this central issue.

      If more sanctions of Iran are passed and the US becoming
      more withdrawn from international realities and more deeply
      and almost embarrassingly the tool of Israeli needs and
      fanatic policies, the more unneccessary BDS’ eloquent
      requests for statements. Actions by European corporations
      and the need for profit combined with antipathy to the needs
      of French workers (who did not support investment banker
      Macaron is his recent election.

      Will Israel adjust to the new Chinese economic power it
      has so long opposed? I doubt it. Mr. Netanyahu or others
      of his far right constituency will look to the US to
      “save its bacon”.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Abe
        October 12, 2017 at 1:08 am

        If the apartheid nutjobs running Israel are allowed to keep looking to the US to save their bacon then they and a large percentage of the world’s population may end up as radioactive bacon.

        This deepening insanity has got to end at some point.

        But if the Israel Lobby keeps getting its way, it won’t end well for humanity.

        There’s a slim hope that the US military leadership will decline to play with nuclear fire.

  7. Dan Kuhn
    October 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Russia needs to shoot down an F22 and an F35 to demonstrate to the Americans that there is no such thing as invisible aircraft. As was conveyed to them by a Russian General in Syria. Then they will back off.

    • anon
      October 9, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Yes, Turkey could get away with that using the new Russian 400 SAMs on order, claiming that it looked just like that Russian fighter they shot down last year.

      • Seer
        October 9, 2017 at 4:42 pm

        I’m thinking that Turkey has no alternative than to shift toward Russia, in which case I doubt that this is going to happen at the hands of Turkey’s govt; however, that’s not to say that others couldn’t set something up to look like this.

  8. Mild-ly - Facetious
    October 9, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    The CIA’s counter to Russia’s “intrusion” into the objective to ‘rebuild’ the Middle East into a US/Israel surrogate/client state is to incite a new Color Revolution – this one in Russia. The formula has been successful world-wide, most recently in Ukraine and Syria.

    The key instigator/operative is one Alexei Navalny, who’s worked for CIA and M16 for a number of years. Don’t be surprised if street turmoil in Russian cities lead to civil strife and troubling disorder inside Putin’s Russia.

    http://katehon.com/news/alexey-navalny-mi6-cia-agent

    • Mild-ly - Facetious
      October 9, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      Thousands of supporters of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny demonstrated in 80 cities across the country Saturday in response to calls from the anti-corruption crusader to petition for his release from jail and to allow him to register as a candidate against President Vladimir Putin in next year’s election.
      http://www.latimes.com/world/europe/la-fg-russia-protests-20171007-story.html

      • Seer
        October 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm

        “Thousands” could be two thousand?

        Millions still support Putin.

      • Dave P.
        October 9, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        Mild-ly – Facetious,

        Under the heading “Thousands Protest Across Russia” spanning the entire page Los Angeles times on Sunday, gave the following figures: 700 in Moscow, and 2000 in Saint Petersburg, mostly very young with twitter accounts. Some were sixteen years old, spoilt kids of those rich Pro-West type inhabitants of Moscow. Probably accurate figure will be half of that. They want Princeton Educated Alexander Navalny and Harvard Boys back in power to perform some more Financial Engineering on Russia like they did in 1990’s.

        The article by William Engdahl in NE outlook tells how these demonstrations and Color Revolutions are executed. The link is:

        https://journal-neo.org/2017/10/01/the-dishonest-career-of-the-remarkable-srda-popovic/

    • Seer
      October 9, 2017 at 3:13 pm

      But, I don’t think that the Russian people are stupid, they’re unlikely going to fall for this crap. For sure, however, the CIA et al are going to be in that country trying to blow things up and such that Putin is forced to bear down. Sad…

      • Dave P.
        October 10, 2017 at 1:12 am

        Seer, These protests have been magnified in the Western Press. It is nothing. Probably there were much less than Seven or Eight thousand people in the entire Russia who took part in these protests – in all the cities. Yes, with all these Western supported outfits trying to destabilize Russia and other countries, it should be matter of concern for those countries.

        In the article in neo Journal – link posted above – Engdahl says they are working on Hungary now for some type of Color Revolution or regime change thru the coming elections.

    • Abe
      October 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      Navalny is backed by former jailed criminal oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky
      https://www.rferl.org/a/khodorkovsky-urges-backing-navalny-president/28432468.html

  9. David G
    October 9, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Doctorow doesn’t directly mention, as I suppose Kiselyov didn’t on this occasion, the suspiciously accurate I.S. shelling that killed a top Russian general near Deir Ezzor, but that surely is yet another aggravating factor as direct confrontation with the U.S. looms.

    • Zachary Smith
      October 9, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      “suspiciously accurate” is right!

      h**ps://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/06/who-killed-russian-lieutenant-general-valery-asapov-in-syria/

      As I was reading that piece by Robert Fisk, it occurred to me that this could have been as simple as some US agent slipping ISIS a handful of GPS-guided shells. When the head-choppers receive a radio message with coordinates, simply dial them into the shells and fire. Result is one dead Russian General with no obvious US fingerprints.

  10. Susan Sunflower
    October 9, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    The Independent says there were “anti-Putin” demonstrations in 80 cities with 700 participating in Moscow but “thousands” nationwide …
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-day-of-protests-latest-vladimir-putin-birthday-present-alexei-navalny-jail-a7987786.html

    Financial times says there were 2,000 protestors in St. Petersberg (Putin’s home town)

    from the FT

    Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour.
    https://www.ft.com/content/88506d02-ab69-11e7-aab9-abaa44b1e130

    Saturday’s rallies were considerably smaller and more subdued than protests earlier this year that broke out after Mr Navalny published a viral video accusing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of staggering corruption. Mr Navalny’s supporters rushed to organise the new demonstrations this week after a Moscow court jailed him and his campaign manager for 20 days for violating Russia’s draconian protest laws.

    Financial times frowns on copy/paste so I will desist; however, “Russians gone wild” this isn’t

  11. Seer
    October 9, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    One thing to keep in mind is that the Russians learned their lesson in Afghanistan and aren’t going to be pulled into anything that’s long and intractable. We’re fortunate in that today there’s ample means of getting the facts. The covert crap that the US pulls off is getting harder and harder to keep shaded. Yes, sunshine is the best disinfectant. And in the case of Russia it’s “right makes/allows might:” they, and they alone have the only internationally recognizable standing to be in Syria. The source of the REAL agitation, the US (and its collective of oppressors) are not going to be spared the full wrath of Russia’s might. This one’s for all the marbles.

  12. James lake
    October 9, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    The Russians are dumb and naive if they think that they can be friends with everyone in the Middle East.

    I hope that this policy is for public consumption and they are deep down viewing the middle east based on facts not the fantasy of getting along.

    The Saudi visit was really quite sickening and selling them weapons knowing they want to attack Iran ? And what they currently do in Syria and Yemen ?

    • Seer
      October 9, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      I doubt that they are under any illusions about the ME.

      Yeah, the weapons sales becomes problematic. We don’t know what the terms are, so it’s hard to say what strings, if any, might be attached. Decreasing sales to US arms manufacturers is somewhat of a consolation.

    • Constantine
      October 9, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      If the Russians continue to maintain diplomatic relations with the US government which is represented by rude, ignorant, warmongering Russophobes, they can conduct an orderly foreign policy with the Saudis. And it isn’t kow-towing to anyone. After all, the RF is not the Roman Republic. It has to go on with diplomacy in order to achieve its objectives.

      That is not to say that a policy may not be mistaken. But after the experience of the Chechen wars where Wahhabi radicals were heavily involved, I doubt the Russians are naive about the GCC states. But diplomacy has to be maintained. Otherwise, one adopts the mentality of the US neocons: our way or the highway.

      • Kiza
        October 10, 2017 at 4:49 am

        Very good Constantine. The same as in Syria, it was GCC money and CIA and Mossad know-how that were supporting the Chechen rebellion. The Russians know this very well, and Putin has even said so about the Saudis before. But the most important point is that, somewhere along the way, the US has completely lost the skillful art of diplomacy and replaced diplomacy with a constant stream of deadly threats and a brute murdering force. Even GCC and even Israel have not sunk as low as US. President Swamp is continuing the trend by downsizing the State Department for the benefit of the US Military (not that the homosexuals and scumbags of the Sate Department do not deserve it).

        The rest of humanity, outside of US, still prefers to try diplomacy before killing to achieve goals – thus the Saudis in Moscow.

        Since Saudis are not firmly in US/Israeli camp any more, maybe Mueller will soon discover that Russia actually did 911. Any excrement can flow through the US Main Sewage Media.

        • Skip Scott
          October 11, 2017 at 10:07 am

          Hey KIza-

          Good to see you back.

    • Dave P.
      October 9, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      James Lake –

      Russians know all the games being played by The West in ME. Saudis have already very sophisticated weapons worth hundreds of billions of dollars from U.S., U.K., and others in The West. Selling a few weapons by Russia to Saudis is just a symbolic move to start the dialog and build bridges in relations. It is in Russia’s interest to have peace and stability in ME, and they are working towards that. It is The West’s intention and policy to create chaos in ME – and many other countries in the third World – to keep them divided and under control. The actual targeted enemies by the West are Russia and then China. India does not count. Russia’s strategic alliance with Iran is cemented as is Russia’s ties to China.

      The Western Imperial Powers, which includes U.S. want to keep the World under it’s economic control – no sovereignty allowed. Russians have turned to the East for survival – to keep it’s sovereignty. It is hard to tell what the outcome will be.

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 10, 2017 at 12:01 pm

        Hey Dave if you count all of the weapons sold to Saudi Arabia it makes one wonder to how many troops that country has to support such weaponry. In terms of manpower, Saudi Arabia has about 688,000 active personnel in its military, with 300,000 army troops. So will each Saudi soldier carry about ten weapons into battle, or will this weaponry end up in the hands of whatever the new ISIS or al Queda will be renamed too, or further more will the Saudi Army be weighed down to defeat?

        I too am annoyed that Russia sold Saudis Arabia the S400 defense system, but I’m guessing that Russia has no choice, as Russia must ween the Saudi royalty away from their Petrodollar American patrons. In my estimation the real battle for Russia will be to sink the American dollar deeply down and away from it’s Reserve Currency status. When America does finally wake up, and start to realize where all this sanctioning has got it, it may be too late to reverse this trend, and Russia along with China may possibly be the better off for the U.S. dollar’s demise.

        Great debate Dave you people were having, and I just had to put in my two cents worth for whatever good that maybe. Joe

  13. Billy
    October 9, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    If Putin was to without explanation close the Russian embassies in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Have all Russian citizens come back to Russia. Refuse to communicate with the US or US allies in any form. It would sure make some idiots running the US nervous.

  14. Stephen
    October 9, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Pepe Escobar on the Russian Saudi entente.

    http://www.atimes.com/article/house-saud-bows-house-putin/

  15. mike k
    October 9, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    “And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.” (M. Arnold)

    Trying to make sense of the insane machinations of those struggling for wealth and power is a fruitless endeavor. We should understand by now that all of this drama is based in false and disastrous motives by those wielding illegitimate and evil power. Any possibility of real solutions to all of this will need to take place away from the smoke and fire of these crazy battles. Either we learn the ways of peace or we will all be destroyed.

  16. natoistan
    October 9, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    NATO Prepares For War With Russia As If Inevitable

    Since the conflict in Ukraine, Western military leaders are operating under the assumption that an armed conflict with Vladimir Putin’s Russia will eventually happen. Signs of tension are everywhere.

    https://www.worldcrunch.com/world-affairs/nato-prepares-for-war-with-russia-as-if-inevitable

  17. Joe Tedesky
    October 9, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    So when back in the early summer Trump put his foot down to no more ‘Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad’ (see next link), I guess that was all another American smoke & mirrors trick. When stuff like this happens I always look to see what slight of hand trick was pulled off. Like did the U.S. quit supplying weapons to the Rebels, but instead another U.S. ally took over that weapons supply phase of the mission, so as the U.S. could claim ‘plausible deniability’? If so, as it is apparently so, then no wonder Native Americans came to disbelieve all of the white man’s rhetorical treaty language. Washington does speak with ‘fork tongue’. (I don’t use that term out of disrespect to the Native American, I’m only quoting from a Hollywood John Ford movie for some comment levity…plus it’s true. Happy Indigenous Day!)

    Having Russia as an enemy is paramount to Military Industrial Complex thinking, because by the Think Tank philosophy the word ‘Russia’ is kept to gain superior high dollar military spending. Let’s face it, you don’t need a ten year nuclear weapons budget, or any huge expense leveraged for aircraft carriers and super sonic planes to fight a bunch of armed with IED’s and Kalashnikov carrying jihadist in the Middle East. So Russia is key to this massive spending which Washington is so addicted too. The ideal spending target for the MIC, is long drawn out quagmires and fear of the Russian, is what makes these profiteers of war happy little warmongers.

    The other thing I ponder is, how can I get the moving contract with the Saudi’s?

  18. lydia anstiss
    October 10, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Interesting. The difference between Russian leaders and US “leaders” is stunning and makes apparent the benefits of a solid, classical education. It’s unfortunate that Western leaders and policy makers still don’t appreciate how much patience and good will the “Kremlin” has exhibited towards Western Meddling in Africa and the Mideast. Instead of vilifying Putin, the ill-educated should realise how lucky they are that he’s highly intelligent and extremely far-sighted and that he truly believes in upholding international law and multipolarism.

    • Dave P.
      October 10, 2017 at 10:54 am

      lydia anstiss –

      Your comments: “Instead of vilifying Putin, the ill-educated should realise how lucky they are that he’s highly intelligent and extremely far-sighted and that he truly believes in upholding international law and multipolarism.”

      Multipolarism. That is exactly why U.S. – and The West – is vilifying Putin for? How dare Putin wants to have Multipolarism! Does not he know any better? We are the World Rulers now. Every Country has to obey.

      • October 13, 2017 at 11:50 am

        Your comment unfortunately reflects the failing paradigm of Anglo-American geopolitics. Putin has shown great leadership in the face of the bankrupt British System pushing Russia, trying to get Russia to submit by destabilizing the region’s on Russia’s borders. The election of Donald Trump has severely interrupted this plan. Trump’s wanting better relations with Russia, regardless of media mis representation, and his opposition to the Obama regime change against Syria must not be ignored. It is because of this that Putin with back channel discussion with US contacts wants to avoid war.

  19. Deplorable
    October 11, 2017 at 2:35 am

    The present state of affairs in Syria, is the result of Russia’s pussyfooting vis a vis an enemy (the US), determined to pursue its goals disregarding the risk of starting WWIII. Russia, has being bending over backwards trying to reach an agreement through diplomatic channels, with a murderous regime operating outside the realm of international law, namely the US. Under such circumstances, no other course of action that direct confrontation is possible, despite the consequences. As repeated by me and other sources, a state of war between the USA and Russia exists, in the killing fields of Syria, supplemented by the encircling of Russia with hostile US and foreign forces in its borders.
    If anybody is capable of defining the present situation in different terms, I invite them to come forward and refute it.

    • October 13, 2017 at 11:23 am

      You fail to understand the paradigm shift in US/RUSSIA relations in regards to the election of Pres. Trump. Yes WW III is a real threat and it comes from the British Empire using the all to willing regimes of GHW BUSH, GW BUSH, and OBAMA to keep Russia and US from partnering in fighting terrorism. Trump wanrs and is doing this yet the British assets in and out of US government are interfering; the hoax of Russiagate which has been thoroughly discredited by many sources incl. Veteran Intel. Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and LaRouchePac.

  20. October 11, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Great article, thanks for posting)

  21. geo land
    October 11, 2017 at 11:29 am

    They are all out of their fck’n minds.

  22. rob
    October 13, 2017 at 8:21 am

    90 per of Syria’s territory is not under government control. Only about 50 percent is. The 90 percent, if correct, refers to the population living in government-controlled areas. http://syria.liveuamap.com/

    • October 13, 2017 at 11:14 am

      Your claim is based on false Intel.

      • rob
        October 14, 2017 at 3:39 pm

        What on earth are you talking about WT? Are you saying you have your own secret intel? See also:
        http://syriancivilwarmap.com/

  23. October 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Confrontation with Russia, war, will only result in thermal nuclear annihilation. This is why US interfered in Syria under Obama’s regime change policy, a continuation of the British Empire perpetual warfare scenario. The British System is bankrupt and if Russia refuses to submit to the Western andcNATO forces then WW III is on the books. Pres. Trump must not fall into trap of war mongering neo cons and their liberal bedfellows. Trump must defeat British run Mueller coup by going with ONE BELT, ONE ROAD initiative and return to Alexander Hamilton’s federal credit system. Europe should do the same. The days of Empire and geopolitics is over. The paradigm of peace and development is here.

  24. Tom
    October 14, 2017 at 11:37 am

    What do we now have? 3 govt. investigations and a “Committee to Investigate Russia”? Mueller and the politicians are stumbling all over each other to score political points. The Committee seems to be lots of rich and powerful people that think the govt. ones are incompetent. So we’ll do it. We’ll get more leaks and better information than a special prosecutor? Do Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman now have security clearances? Corporate media can’t be bothered to ask questions like this. Instead, all they care about is super duper celebrity star power to hype for ratings.

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