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Regional geopolitics

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  • Re: Regional geopolitics

    Russia's Aircraft Carrier Launches First Strikes On Syria
    November 15, 2016

    Russia says jets from its aircraft carrier have launched their first strikes on Syria.

    Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the Russian Air Force started a "major operation" on November 15 against positions of the Islamic State group and the former Al-Qaeda branch in the Idlib and Homs provinces.

    "For the first time in our naval history, the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov started taking part in combat," Shoigu also said at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.

    The warship was deployed in the eastern Mediterranean last month.

    Meanwhile, air strikes hit rebel-held areas in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo for the first time in three weeks.

    Syrian state television and activists reported that the strikes were conducted by Syria's air force.

    Russia has been carrying out air strikes in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces for more than a year.

    Based on reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP


    • Re: Regional geopolitics

      Russian Fighter Plane Crashes In Mediterranean; Pilot Ejects Safely
      November 14, 2016

      Russia’s Defense Ministry says a MiG-29K fighter jet has crashed in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Syria after taking off from the deck of Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier.

      The ministry said the pilot was safe after he ejected from the plane in the November 14 crash.

      It said the pilot was rescued from the sea and brought back to the aircraft carrier and that his life was "not in danger."

      The ministry said the crash was the result of an "equipment fault" that occurred when the plane was several kilometers away from the aircraft carrier and making an approach for a deck landing.

      The ministry said ships in the Russian aircraft carrier task force were acting "according to plan" despite the crash.

      Russia's only aircraft carrier has been accompanied by a missile cruiser and six other ships in what has been the Russian Navy's largest deployment since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

      The deployment has been criticized by Western governments as an attempt to boost military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and intensify air strikes against rebel-held civilian neighborhoods of Aleppo.

      Based on reporting by RIA, TASS, Interfax, Reuters, AP, and AFP


      • Re: Regional geopolitics

        Originally posted by Hakob View Post
        Actually total collapse of oil prices for many years will benefit the whole Middle East and Caucasus too.
        If we ever look beyond a nation or a union’s economy, its well being, we realize how interconnected we are on this planet. Some are placed intentionally other formed naturally.
        In the case of Oil and Arabs, the US purchases oil across the globe with promissory notes called “dollars”. They are wired as digital number on a terminal. In return we get raw material that will keep larger American Corporations ticking, like the arms industry, aerospace, selling it back to the Arabs.

        “Saudi Arabia Issues Warning To Trump: Don’t Stop Saudi Oil Imports”

        What do Arabs or azeris have beyond oil or gas that one would even take their threats or demise seriously? Nothing!


        • Re: Regional geopolitics

          US withdraws support for Turkish-backed rebels as beheading video surfaces
          By Chris Tomson - 17/11/2016

          Kurdish sources claim the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups have kidnapped numerous Kurdish civilians during operation 'Euphrates Shield' while an amateur video surfaced reportedly showing the aftermath of a beheading by rebel fighters:

          Turkish-backed FSA rebels beheaded a man during advances near al-Bab today... Harakat Nour al-Din Zinki & Murad Brigade in action.
          6 Nov 2016

          In a statement released on Thursday, an American official stressed the US military had withdrawn support for the Turkish-backed FSA, likely due to the latter attacking the US-backed 'Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF) on several occasions.

          The rebel offensive - which ultimately looks to capture Al-Bab - is not being supported by coalition air strikes because it was "independently" launched by Turkey, said US Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led anti-ISIS coalition.

          Meanwhile, following up on the capture of nine villages yesterday, the Kurdish-led SDF were able to seize full control over the village of Kandirliyah today.

          Kandirliyah neighbours Qabasin which witnessed an intense battle between the FSA and ISIS on Wednesday. The now rebel-held town changed hands three times in a few hours.

          On Thursday afternoon, in a related event, an ISIS guided-missile also destroyed a Turkish tank on the outskirts of Hazwan village (west of al-Bab), according to Amaq Agency.


          • Re: Regional geopolitics

            Turkish Client Paid Trump Adviser Michael Flynn’s Company “Tens of Thousands” of Dollars for Lobbying


            Donald Trump has repeatedly promised to “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption. The new ethics pledge he announced Wednesday would prohibit registered lobbyists from working for his transition team or administration.

            But Trump’s supposed aversion to lobbyists has not harmed the fortunes of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, one of Trump’s earliest and most visible supporters, now a vice-chair of the transition team and a rumored frontrunner for the influential post of national security advisor.

            Though Flynn is not a lobbyist himself, his company, Flynn Intel Group, is registered with Congress as a lobbying organization, and has a registered lobbyist on its staff. A Flynn Intel Group client, Kamil Ekim Alptekin, a Turkish businessman with real estate, aerospace, and consulting interests, told The Intercept on Thursday that one of his companies, Inovo BV, paid Flynn’s company “tens of thousands of dollars” for analysis on world affairs. On election day, Flynn published an opinion piece for The Hill urging U.S. support for Turkey’s controversial strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and pushing for the extradition of Erdogan’s political rival, Fethullah Gülen, who now resides in Pennsylvania. “From Turkey’s point of view, Washington is harboring Turkey’s Osama bin Laden,” Flynn wrote, on Nov. 8.

            In a statement, Flynn said that he would sever ties with his own company if he entered Trump’s administration. He did not say whether he would close the business, where his son is listed as chief of staff, or disclose his other clients.

            Alptekin said that while he agreed with what Flynn wrote, he did not have any influence over his views. “There is no money in the world that could make General Flynn or anybody else who is being considered for a cabinet post write that article on election day,” he said. “I don’t think a billion dollars would make him do that.”

            The ties between Flynn Intel Group and Inovo BV, Alptekin’s company, were previously reported by The Daily Caller and Politico. Robert Kelley, the Flynn Group’s general counsel and the main point of contact with the Inovo account, told Politico that the company’s duties included reporting on “the present situation, the transition between President Obama and President-elect Trump.”

            Alptekin said that was “absolutely untrue. We never had a single conversation on that issue.”

            He told The Intercept that he hired Flynn Intel Group “three months ago.” He said he knew of Flynn’s relationship with President-elect Trump, but that had no bearing on his decision to become a client. “It was more his reputation for integrity, and as a decorated war hero who knows the region,” he said. “I didn’t work with him directly. I never discussed the [election day] article with him directly. I didn’t sign off on the article.”

            While Alptekin says the payments were not for lobbying, Flynn Intel Group is registered as a lobbyist for Inovo BV, a Dutch company controlled by Alptekin.

            Flynn Intel Group had not registered as a lobbying entity until September. That month, Kelley, the company’s general counsel, registered as a lobbyist for Inovo BV. (A third filing, from late October, identifies a government relations company called SGR LLC as lobbying Congress on behalf of the Flynn Intel Group.)

            Earlier 2016 filings with the Department of Justice from Kelley’s law office identify him as an agent of the National Mobilization Forces, an Iraqi military group trained by the Turkish government and controlled by the former governor of Nineveh province. The filings show that Kelley received a total of $90,000 from the Iraqi group and terminated the relationship in June.

            Alptekin, a Turkish citizen who worked on Capitol Hill as a congressional fellow in 2003, confirmed that Inovo BV, his Dutch company, was a current client of Flynn Intel Group. “I don’t know him so well, but I met him a few times,” he said, of Gen. Flynn. “In general, when he [Flynn] meets someone from the region, he ends up talking about the danger of radical Islam. He mentioned that radical Islam in Turkey is no different from other radical Islamic leaders in the past, with a different front face, a different back office. He compared Gülen to Ayatollah Khomeini. I remember that of the talking points he discussed with me. But I never said ‘go out and say this and do that.’”

            “Mr. Flynn does not work on my contract,” he added. “Mr. Bob Kelley does.”

            Neither Flynn nor the Trump transition team responded to requests for comment. Reached by phone on Thursday afternoon, Kelley read a three-sentence statement which he said had been prepared by Flynn. “Our counsel, Bob Kelley, registered pursuant to law for our company to represent the interests of a private company,” the statement read, in part.

            It continued: “If I return to government service, my relationship with my company will be severed in accordance with the policy announced by President-Elect Trump.”

            Kelley declined to say whether the Flynn Intel Group had any foreign governments as clients. When asked whether Flynn’s son Michael, whose LinkedIn profile has him as Flynn’s “chief of staff,” would continue to have a role at the firm should his father move on to the White House, Kelley declined to respond.

            “I can’t give you more than what’s in the statement,” he said.
            Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
            Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
            Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests


            • Re: Regional geopolitics

              Putin’s low-key Syrian operation - a call to Trump

              The Russian air force and navy launched a “large-scale” operation against “terrorists” in the Syrian provinces of Idlib and Homs Tuesday, Nov. 15. Bombers took off from the Hmeymim air base and the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier while cruise missiles were fired from the Admiral Grigorovich frigate. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, who addressed a meeting of Russian generals with President Vladimir Putin, the targets were positions of the Islamic State and Al Nusra.
              He did not say how long the operation would go on.
              DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources say that the proportions of the Russian operation as seen from the ground better fit the description of low key than “large scale.”
              No more than 2 Sukhoi Su-33 fighters lifted off the carrier’s decks and only a few Kaliber cruise missiles were fired from the frigate. They were not aimed at Islamist terrorist positions, but at arms factories and ammunition stores. Towards evening, a third Russian air strike hit a target in the hills overlooking the coastal province of Latakia.
              The timing of the Russian operation was significant. It came five days after President Barack Obama finally ordered the Pentagon to seek out and target Nusra Front leaders, after long holding out against Moscow’s demand in this regard, and 12 hours after US president elect Donald Trump and Putin held their first telephone conversation after the election.
              Since the attack was too limited to change the military situation on the Syrian war’s front lines, what was its purpose? And why was its launch given world-wide exposure accompanied by a photo-op of the Russian president meeting his generals for heightened drama?
              It appears that Putin sought by this maneuver to convey the impression that Trump had agreed to the operation during their initial conversation on Monday. It is far more likely, however, that the Russian leader presented the offensive to Trump in general terms and did not hear an explicit negative response. He therefore decided to go ahead with the attack, marking out Islamist terrorists - which the president elect had declared in his campaign as America’s enemy – on the assumption that he would not disagree with a Russian strike against a consensual target. By this maneuver, Putin hoped to draw the next US president into backing Russia’s strategy in the Syrian war.
              It is hard to believe that Donald Trump will be so easily drawn.


              • Re: Regional geopolitics

                Turkey police detain pro-Kurdish mayor in major southeast city
                By News Desk -

                (AFP) Turkish police on Thursday detained the pro-Kurdish co-mayor of the eastern city of Van, the latest in a series of raids targeting municipal chiefs in the region, state media said.

                Bekir Kaya was taken into custody as part of a "terror investigation", the official news agency Anadolu reported, saying he was accused of links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

                Arrest warrants were also issued for four other municipal officials in the city, which has a mixed Kurdish and Turkish population, Anadolu said.

                The targeting of city heads comes as 10 MPs from the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), including its co-leaders, are being held in jail on charges of links to the PKK in a crackdown that has caused international alarm.

                On Wednesday, mayors in the southeastern city of Siirt and the eastern city of Tunceli were arrested on similar accusations of links to the PKK, Anadolu said.

                Meanwhile, the two mayors of the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir were arrested last month. Government-appointed trustees have been named to replace all the detained mayors, the interior ministry said.


                • Re: Regional geopolitics

                  Mother of all battles to begin in Aleppo
                  By Leith Fadel -

                  DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:40 A.M.) - The massive government offensive in the Aleppo Governorate is set to begin in the coming days, a military source told Al-Masdar News on Thursday night.

                  According to this military source, Hezbollah and Harakat Al-Nujaba have taken up their offensive positions in the southern countryside, while they watch the Russian Air Force weaken the jihadist defenses before their upcoming attack.

                  This large-scale offensive will not be limited to the southwestern countryside of the Aleppo Governorate; furthermore, this assault will involve several pro-government units that were deployed from all over the country.

                  Thousands of soldiers from the Syrian Arab Army's "Tiger Forces," Republican Guard, 4th Mechanized Division, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi paramilitary), and Hezbollah are expected to storm several axes around the Aleppo Governorate, as they strive to expel the remaining jihadist rebels from this province.

                  Reports from the Aleppo Governorate indicate that Hezbollah's official media wing, Al-Manar, has already arrived to the provincial capital to embed with their forces.

                  While the massive offensive is expected to begin soon, details regarding the attack are still ambiguous to the public.

                  In past battles, the Syrian Armed Forces have launched several small attacks prior to their main assault; this is often done to frustrate the enemy and reveal their defensive strategy.


                  • Re: Regional geopolitics

                    Turkey ‘in talks to buy Russian S-400 anti-missile system’ after snubbing China deal


                    NATO member Turkey says it is in talks with Russia to purchase advanced S-400 long-range air defense missile systems. Earlier, Ankara backed out of a similar deal with China, citing Beijing’s reluctance to transfer technology.

                    The negotiations were confirmed Friday by Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik, who said Russia’s attitude toward the potential deal was positive.

                    Undersecretary of Defense Industries Ismail Demir had earlier said Turkey was prepared to work with “any interested party,” including Russia and China, on developing its long-range air defense capabilities.

                    “We have already made clear that we will be in cooperation with countries and companies that would lend support to us throughout this process. We have said our doors are open and that we are willing to cooperate,” he said, as cited by Hurriyet Daily

                    Turkey intends to spend $3.4 billion to develop a domestic long-range anti-missile shield. The 2013 tender, in which Russia’s S-400 system competed with US-made Patriot PAC-3, European SAMP/T Aster 30 and China’s FD-2000 systems – the export version of HQ-9 – was won by the Chinese bid.

                    The deal, which sparked concern among other NATO members over compatibility issues and potential ramifications for Turkey’s contribution to the alliance, stalled and was ultimately cancelled in 2015. The contract discussions reportedly broke down because Ankara and Beijing couldn’t agree on the transfer of technology, which Turkey sees as crucial for having a domestic defense industry capable of servicing all national needs independently from foreign nations......
                    Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
                    Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
                    Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests


                    • Re: Regional geopolitics

                      Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
                      Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
                      Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests