Friday, January 22, 2016

Vladimir Putin is not in charge of Syria, never has been, and never will be - Vox | Carter Calls for US 'Boots on the Ground' in IS Fight

Ash Carter: It’s Time to Accelerate the ISIL Fight | Vladimir Putin asked Bashar al-Assad to step down - FT | Russia and U.S., While Pushing for Peace Talks, Jockey for Position in Syria - The New York Times | U.S. Begins Enforcing New Visa Rules For Iranians, Iraqis | US East Coast Hunkers Down as Major Snow Storm Looms | Kremlin Denies Putin Asked Assad To Step Down | Putin denies sending spy chief to Syria to ask Assad to step down - The Guardian | Putin’s most aggressive attack dog is unleashed - The Washington Post | The Guardian view on the Litvinenko inquiry: a price must be paid in Moscow - Editorial | Putin ‘Probably Approved’ Litvinenko Poisoning, British Inquiry Says - The New York Times | Mr. Putin and the Poisonous London Tea Party - The New York Times | Getting Away With Murder in London - Haaretz | The Litvinenko Inquiry

General Igor Sergun, left, was asked by Vladimir Putin to assess whether Bashar al-Assad would be willing to step aside. The answer was an emphatic noIgor Sergun was asked by Vladimir Putin in 2015 to propose to Bashar al-Assad that he step down. The answer was no... | ©Getty Images; AFP/Getty Images

Vladimir Putin asked Bashar al-Assad to step down - FT


News Roundup and Notes: January 22, 2016 | Just Security
Today's Headlines and Commentary - Lawfare
Today's Headlines and Commentary - Lawfare


US East Coast Hunkers Down as Major Snow Storm Looms
National Review Magazine Tells Conservatives to Shun Trump
5 stages of GOP grief: Coming to terms with Donald Trump -
The Latest: Spacey: Underwood would appreciate US campaign - The Washington Post
Body Of Missing Boy Found On Woodland Trail
Russia To Construct American Indian Memorial in Front of U.S. Embassy | Observer


Dozens of Migrants Drown as Refugee Crisis Continues to Flummox Europe - The New York Times
Islamic State claims responsibility for Cairo attack that killed nine | Reuters
Biden to Meet With Turkey's Civic Society
Americans Abducted in Iraq: Top Suspects Named
Murder Rate Rises in Mexico, While Other Crimes Fall

Russia and Eurasia

Kremlin Denies Putin Asked Assad To Step Down
Putin denies sending spy chief to Syria to ask Assad to step down | World news | The Guardian
Putin’s most aggressive attack dog is unleashed - The Washington Post
Thousands rally in support of Chechen leader Kadyrov - The Washington Post
Repression or Reform, Putin Must Decide - Bloomberg View
Russia's Ruling Regime Must Modernize or Face Collapse | Opinion | The Moscow Times
Khodorkovsky to Support Russian Opposition Candidates | News | The Moscow Times
Kudrin Says Russia Can Draw on Well of Social Calm for Two Years - Bloomberg Business
Davos 2016: Russia Seeks Internal Reforms To Offset Sanctions And Fall In Oil Prices
Oil Rebound Pulls Ruble Back From Record Lows | News | The Moscow Times
Facing Oil Price Plunge, Russia Considers Fire Sale of State Companies | News | The Moscow Times
Thousands Rally in Chechnya In Support of Leader
Ukraine acts to purge court system of bribery, corruption - Channel NewsAsia
Window on Eurasia -- New Series: Putin’s Attack on Lenin about the Future Not the Past
Russia’s Putin Accused Lenin of Ruining the Soviet Union
Poroshenko Determined Kyiv Will Control Crimea, Separatist Territories
Flu Virus Is New Killer In Eastern Ukraine
Ukrainian Hacker Pleads Guilty To Cybercrimes |
Putin sends birthday wishes to Placido Domingo – Slipped Disc
Forbes | Путин и Ильич: вопросы истории накануне выборов
Путин исключил ряд чиновников из состава коллегии ВПК | Армия | Общество | Аргументы и Факты
Opinion: The only way to defeat Putin - EN.DELFI
За Права Человека |Рамзан Кадыров должен быть немедленно отправлен в отставку | Главные новости дня
"Русгидро" надеется, что Киргизия возместит потери по соглашению о ГЭС | РИА Новости
США заподозрили Россию в намерении создать новую авиабазу в Сирии :: Политика :: РБК
ВЗГЛЯД / Восстановлением отношений Москвы и Токио займется спецпредставитель
В КПРФ восприняли критику Путина в адрес Ленина как аллегорию
Financial Times узнала о предложении Путина Асаду уйти в отставку :: Политика :: РБК
Ъ - Киргизия денонсировала соглашения с Россией о строительстве ГЭС
Ъ-Новости - Партии «Яблоко» не разрешили провести митинг за отставку Рамзана Кадырова
Глава РАН рассказал Путину о существенном отставании России в науке :: Общество :: РБК
Эрдоган намерен обсудить с Байденом отношение Турции к ИГ и РПК | РИА Новости
Ъ-Новости - Fox News: США опасаются появления новых российских баз в Сирии
Песков опроверг данные о том, что Путин предлагал Асаду уйти с поста | РИА Новости
ТАСС: Международная панорама - Министр обороны США заявил о необходимости использовать наземные силы против ИГ
Политологи: слова Керри о санкциях - позитивный знак РФ и сигнал Киеву | РИА Новости
Лукашенко: «Последний рубль потратить следует на безопасность народа» - ИА REGNUM
США отправят сухопутные войска в Сирию и Ирак — Надежда Ермолаева — Российская газета
США послали "сигнал" Москве: Не исключены "определенные шаги" после доклада об убийстве Литвиненко
СМИ: В британском докладе по делу Литвиненко нет доказательств вины российских властей


Ash Carter: It’s Time to Accelerate the ISIL Fight
Russia and U.S., While Pushing for Peace Talks, Jockey for Position in Syria - The New York Times
U.S. Begins Enforcing New Visa Rules For Iranians, Iraqis
Russia Unwilling to Establish Military Communication With NATO
Russia To Create New Military Divisions In Response To NATO
Russia to strengthen military in response to NATO expanding drills: agencies | Reuters
A purge of Putin’s spooks is long overdue | The Times

Litvinenko case

The Guardian view on the Litvinenko inquiry: a price must be paid in Moscow | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian
Putin ‘Probably Approved’ Litvinenko Poisoning, British Inquiry Says - The New York Times
Mr. Putin and the Poisonous London Tea Party - The New York Times
Getting Away With Murder in London - Haaretz - Israeli News Source
Britain summons Russian envoy to protest killing of ex-KGB spy in London |
Litvinenko isn't the only Putin critic who ended up dead | GlobalPost
The horrifying story of another Putin enemy mysteriously poisoned two years before Litvenenko murder

1.21.16 Th

News Roundup and Notes: January 21, 2016 | Just Security
DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security
DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security
Who Really Lost Iraq? - Defense One
Putin implicated in fatal poisoning of former KGB officer at London hotel - The Washington Post
UK judge: Putin ‘probably approved’ killing of ex-KGB agent - The Washington Post
Putin likely OK'd Alexander Litvinenko death, inquiry says -
U.S. prematurely posts new visa rules on embassy websites - POLITICO
Russian Currency Slumps To New All-Time Low
Putin 'probably approved' Litvinenko killing: UK inquiry - Yahoo News
Pakistan Mourns, Buries Victims From University Attack - ABC News
US announces new visa laws to keep out terrorists | Fox News Video
ISIS using 'jihotties' to recruit brides for fighters - CNN Video
May: Litvinenko’s death an unacceptable breach of international law – video | Politics | The Guardian
An inch of snow, icy roads unleash 9 hours of traffic chaos across D.C. region - The Washington Post
Israel says will seize West Bank land; demolishes EU structures | Reuters
IS claims attack on Egypt checkpoint that killed 5 police - The Washington Post
Timeline of events in Alexander Litvinenko investigation - The Washington Post
Hillary Clinton: Cure for Citizens United is more democracy -
Key Findings From British Report Into Former Spy's Killing - ABC News
Husband arrested after pediatrician stabbed to death in mansion | New York Post
Turkish PM says no role for 'terrorist groups' in Syria talks | Reuters
Litvinenko’s widow's QC urges Cameron to act against Russia – video | World news | The Guardian
Russia's Putin 'probably' approved London murder of ex-KGB agent Litvinenko: UK inquiry | Reuters
UK judge says Putin 'probably approved' poisoning of ex-Russian spy | Fox News
This Time, Cheaper Oil Does Little for the U.S. Economy - The New York Times
Why Is It So Difficult for Syrian Refugees to Get Into the U.S.? - The New York Times
Putin ‘Probably Approved’ Litvinenko Poisoning, British Inquiry Says - The New York Times
Key Findings From the Litvinenko Report - The New York Times
Full Report of the Litvinenko Inquiry - The New York Times
Diplomatic Clash Over Russian Poison Case - Video -
America’s Best Days May Be Behind It - The New York Times

Litvinenko and Polonium

The Litvinenko Inquiry
Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
10. Russia and Islam are not Separate: Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda, by Konstantin Preobrazhensky. According to Preobrazhenskiy, "At that time, Litvinenko was the Head of the Subdivision for Internationally Wanted Terrorists of the First Department of the Operative-Inquiry Directorate of the FSB Anti-Terrorist Department. He was ordered to undertake the delicate mission of securing Al-Zawahiri from unintentional disclosure by the Russian police. Though Al-Zawahiri had been brought to Russia by the FSB using a false passport, it was still possible for the police to learn about his arrival and report to Moscow for verification. Such a process could disclose Al-Zawahiri as an FSB collaborator. In order to prevent this, Litvinenko visited a group of the highly placed police officers to notify them in advance."

Chechen Nuclear Bomb Explodes in Renewed Litvinenko Inquest | Russian and Eurasian Politics Gordon M. Hahn

False flag of Islamic Terrorism

Russia and Islam are not Separate: Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda, by Konstantin Preobrazhensky - Google Search
Russia Was Behind 9/11 -Former Soviet Intelligence Officers - Blogs & Discussions - Patriot Action Network
The Spirit Of Truth Blog: Russia Was Behind 9/11-2
Konstantin Preobrazhensky - Google Search
KGB/FSB's New Trojan Horse: Americans of Russian Descent: Konstantin Preobrazhensky, Various, Andy Glad Graphic Design: 9780615249087: Books
MUST READ: Muslim terrorism - false flag operation sponsored by Russia |
Russian FSB Defector Reveals Kremlin Supports ISIS
Mali hotel attack: The unanswered questions - BBC News
Russia Is Sending Jihadis to Join ISIS - The Daily Beast


The Litvinenko Inquiry - The Notable Excerpts

PP. 32-33
3.110 The second of Mr Litvinenko’s very close friends was Akhmed Zakayev. Mr Zakayev
arrived in London in 2002 and claimed asylum. Like Mr Litvinenko, he was supported
by Mr Berezovsky. Mr Zakayev was introduced to Mr Litvinenko by Mr Berezovsky,
and Mr Zakayev subsequently chose to live with his family in a house very close to the
Litvinenko’s house in Muswell Hill. As Mr Zakayev put it in evidence, “Chechen people
first choose the neighbour and then they buy the house. That’s exactly what I did.”
He said that the two families became “very, very big friends, very close friends”, who
would see each other almost every day.94 Again, it is clear to me that his friendship with
Mr Zakayev was an important influence on Mr Litvinenko’s life in the years between
2002 and 2006. It was during this period, and no doubt a result of this friendship, that 
Mr Litvinenko became increasingly committed to the Chechen cause, a cause for
which he campaigned publicly. On a more personal level, Mr Litvinenko decided at
the end of his life to convert to Islam, a process that Mr Zakayev arranged for him on
his deathbed. 

First, in 2003, MrLitvinenko was one of those in MrBerezovsky’s entourage who became
involved with a man named Mr Terluk. Mr Litvinenko made a lengthy contemporaneous
statement about these events for the purposes of Mr Berezovsky’s asylum appeal,
which I have admitted into evidence.19 According to that statement, Mr Terluk claimed
in 2003 to have been instructed by an official from the Russian Embassy in London
to conduct what appeared to have been some form of reconnaissance exercise for
a possible attempt to assassinate Mr Berezovsky, perhaps by poisoning him. I am
aware that, in more recent years, Mr Terluk has given a very different version of these
events, which was the subject of contested defamation proceedings in the High Court
in London.20 I should make it clear that, whilst I have read and taken into account
the findings of Mr Justice Eady in the defamation proceedings, I have not sought to
investigate the true facts of this episode, which are highly contentious and of only
peripheral importance to my Terms of Reference.

4.26 The second incident that I have in mind took place in October 2004, when the houses
of both Mr Litvinenko and Mr Zakayev were firebombed, apparently by two Chechen
men who were in dispute with Mr Berezovsky. The evidence that I have about this
episode, which is limited, suggests that the dispute had arisen over a payment that
one of the Chechen men claimed he was owed for a trip to Paris, which he said he
had made at Mr Berezovsky’s request, in connection with a deal relating to the plans
for a ‘nuclear suitcase bomb’. [M.N.: See more on this subject: "Chechen Nuclear Bomb Explodes in Renewed Litvinenko Inquest | Russian and Eurasian Politics Gordon M. Hahn"]
Prior to the firebombing of his house, Mr Litvinenko had
been attempting to mediate on Mr Berezovsky’s behalf.21
4.27 As with the Terluk episode, I am not in a position to make any findings as to the rights
and wrongs of this episode, which took place more than ten years ago. I refer to the
two incidents because they do perhaps give a flavour of the life that Mr Litvinenko was
living, and the risks that he was running, as a member of Mr Berezovsky’s entourage
during this period. 

4.55 I have referred to Mr Litvinenko’s growing sympathy for the Chechen cause, which
appears to have started with his experiences in the First Chechen War, and developed
as a result of his friendship with Mr Zakayev following his arrival in London. The
evidence is that he took up issues related to Chechen independence and the conduct
of the Russian authorities in resisting it, and indeed much of his campaigning work
from London was done via the medium of the Chechenpress website.57
4.56 Beyond that, Mr Zakayev gave evidence that, at his request, both Mr Litvinenko and
Ms Politkovskaya served on a War Crimes Commission that had been established
under his chairmanship in 2004 by Chechnya’s President Maskhadov. Mr Zakayev
explained that both took an active part in the Committee’s work of attempting to 
gather evidence of Russian war crimes in Chechnya. Mr Zakayev’s evidence was
that the fact that Mr Litvinenko and Ms Politkovskaya were serving on the Committee
was public knowledge, and that, in his view, the Russian military and FSB would
have been “afraid” that they might have faced charges in an international war crimes
tribunal as a result of the Committee’s work.58 

4.85 The information that Mr Litvinenko gave to Mr Scaramella included some on what
might be thought to have been particularly sensitive topics. I will give two examples.
4.86 First, Mr Litvinenko made various claims to Mr Scaramella about a man called Semion
Mogilevich. The written closing submissions served on behalf of Marina Litvinenko
describe Mr Mogilevich as: “one of Russia’s most notorious [Organised Crime Group]
leaders. … It is said he is responsible for contract killings and smuggling weapons.” 84
Mr Mogilevich was, at least at one stage, one of the FBI’s most wanted men.85
I have seen the text of a speech given by the US Attorney General in 2008 in which
Mr Mogilevich is said to have, “exert[ed] influence over large portions of the natural
gas industry in parts of what used to be the Soviet Union.” 86
4.87 Mr Litvinenko passed on to Mr Scaramella information about Mr Mogilevich that he
said had emerged from the transcription of the Kuchma tapes. Mr Litvinenko told
Mr Scaramella that Mr Mogilevich (whom he described as a “well known criminalterrorist”
) was. “in a good relationship with Russian President Putin and most senior
officials of the Russian Federation”; that Mr Mogilevich and President Putin had,
“a common cause, in my understanding a criminal cause” ; that Mr Mogilevich was
an arms dealer who was selling weapons to Al-Qaeda; and that he knew: “beyond
doubt that Mogilevich is FSB’s long-standing agent and all his actions including the
contacts with Al-Qaeda are controlled by FSB … For this very reason the FSB is
hiding Mogilevich from FBI.” These allegations were contained in a written statement
that Mr Litvinenko sent by fax to the offices of the Mitrokhin Commission.87

5.22 But as I have already indicated, that is not the end of the matter. Professor Service,
rightly in my view, identified a further consideration. Even if the strict terms of the 2006
laws could not be brought to bear against Mr Litvinenko, can it be said that they had a
subtler, less formal effect of encouraging, or emboldening, or even licensing the FSB
to take action against Mr Litvinenko and others like him?
5.23 Professor Service helpfully put the 2006 laws into their historical context. He referred in
particular to the public outrage in Russia following the killing of five Russian diplomats
by a Chechen supporting terrorist group in Iraq, and also to FSB claims in July 2006 
that it had been responsible for the explosion in Ingushetia that had killed Shamil
Basayev, a leading Chechen terrorist.
5.24 Against this backdrop, Professor Service expressed the view that the 2006 amendment
to the anti-extremist law had an influence going beyond the scope of its black letter
provisions. In his report he put the matter in this way:
“The amendment did, however, have a political consequence of importance
by broadening the spectrum of targets to be pursued by the security agencies.
Not only out-and-out terrorists were mentioned but ‘extremists’ in general, and
extremism itself was described only in relation to imprecisely delineated categories
of activity. The door was left open to brand a large swathe of opponents of Putin
and his administration as extremists who needed to be eliminated. And terrorism
and extremism were frequently mentioned in the same breath by Putin and his
ministers. There was little attempt to make an official distinction between the two
phenomena that the legislation was directed against. To that extent, there was an
implicit licensing package for FSB operations abroad as well as in Russia.” 12 

5.36 The accounts that Mr Lugovoy has given raise a straightforward factual issue upon
which, at least to an extent, his broader allegations of blackmail and complicity in
murder all rest. That factual issue concerns Mr Litvinenko’s reaction to the reduction
in the payments that Mr Berezovsky was making to him that, as we have already seen,
took place in early or mid 2006. What was Mr Litvinenko’s reaction to the reduction
in payments? Did the two men argue? Was Mr Litvinenko upset, and if so was he
sufficiently upset to contemplate blackmailing his old friend?

5.65 Is it possible that the Ivanov report triggered Mr Litvinenko’s killing, or at least had
some connection with it? One obvious difficulty with this theory is that, on Mr Shvets’
evidence, Mr Lugovoy only received the report a few weeks before what appears
to have been the first attempt to poison Mr Litvinenko. Mr Shvets was asked about
this, but was not shaken from his “positive” belief that the Ivanov report triggered
an operation to murder Mr Litvinenko. His reasoning, as he explained it to me, was
that such an operation could have been mounted quickly since the Russian security
agencies already had access to, and experience in the use of, polonium, as well
as inside knowledge of Mr Berezovsky’s office, and Mr Lugovoy had easy access
to Mr Litvinenko. He believed it to be credible, therefore, that the planning for
Mr Litvinenko’s poisoning had not started until September (and presumably, on his
reasoning, the end of September) 2006.57 He concluded:
“… look, before Sasha was poisoned, he had lived in London for several years,
and over this period, he was consistent in making statements, critical statements,
against Putin… some of this criticism was very insulting, very personal, and still
Sasha was alive. Nothing happened. He was alive and well. And suddenly he was
poisoned. So it leads me to believe that we should be looking for something which
happened shortly before he was poisoned. Something changed in his life-style
shortly before he was poisoned, and what changes? It was the fact that he was
fired by Boris Berezovsky, it was the fact that he got involved in other business
activities, which leads to the report, et cetera.” 58
5.66 In his oral closing submissions on behalf of Marina Litvinenko, Mr Emmerson QC
described Mr Litvinenko’s action in giving a copy of the Shvets Ivanov report to
Mr Lugovoy as “a fatal mistake”. Mr Emmerson suggested that a similar significance
could be placed on the fact that Mr Lugovoy knew from his dealings at RISC that
Mr Litvinenko had been tasked with investigating Mr Gordeyev, who was, in his words,
“a high-ranking official in the Russian government”. Mr Emmerson submitted that from
the moment Mr Litvinenko gave Mr Lugovoy a copy of the Ivanov report:59  

“Lugovoy not only knew that Litvinenko had been tasked to produce a devastating
report on Alexei Gordeyev, and that he had been tasked to produce a devastating
report which implicated both Ivanov and Putin directly in organised crime, but he
had a copy of the report in his hands. It can hardly be a coincidence… that two
months later it was Lugovoy who was chosen to be the man to kill Mr Litvinenko.
The direct and immediate link to Putin and the Kremlin is just too obvious to ignore.”

9.24 It follows from this short summary that a theory that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun killed
Mr Litvinenko on the orders of one or more members of Russian crime gangs would
not be implausible.
9.25 That theory, however, is not supported by the evidence that is available to me.
Detective Inspector (DI) Mascall stated that the police investigation has not uncovered
any evidence linking Mr Mogilevich directly to the poisoning.3 More broadly, none of
the evidence suggests that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were commissioned to kill
Mr Litvinenko by members of crime gangs. More than that, I am satisfied for reasons
that I shall describe below that Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun in fact received their
instructions from another source. 

9.32 The List of Issues was drawn up at an early stage of the inquest proceedings, and
adopted with only a few changes for the purposes of the Inquiry. As the case developed,
it became apparent that there was no evidence to support the suggestion that either
Chechen groups or Mr Talik had been involved in Mr Litvinenko’s death. 

Russia and Islam are not Separate

(Published by Gerard Group International, Intel Analyses, Friday, August 31, 2007)
Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda
By Konstantin Preobrazhensky
Americans generally believe that Russia is afraid of Islamic terrorism as much as the U.S.A. They are reminded of the war in Chechnya, the hostage crisis at the Beslan School in 2004 and at the Moscow Theater in 2002, and of the apartment house blasts in Moscow in 1999, where over 200 people were killed. It is clear that Russians are also targets of terrorism today.
But in all these events, the participation of the FSB, Federal Security Service, inheritor to the KGB, is also clear. Their involvement in the Moscow blasts has been proven by lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin, a former FSB Colonel. For this he was illegally imprisoned, and is now suffering torture and deprivation of medical assistance, from which he is not likely to survive.
A key distinction between Russian and American attitudes towards Islamic terrorism is that while for America terrorism is largely seen as an exterior menace, Russia uses terrorism as an object as a tool of the state for manipulation in and outside the home country. Islamic terrorism is only part of the world of terrorism. Long before Islamic terrorism became a global threat, the KGB had used terrorism to facilitate the victory of world Communism.
This leads to the logical connection between Russian and Islamic terrorism. The late Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned in London in November, 2006, told me that his former FSB colleagues had trained famous Al-Qaeda terrorists Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Juma Namangoniy during the 1980s and 1990s. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, one of the world's most wanted terrorists, has been responsible for the murder of U.S. nationals outside the United States. Before his death, Juma Namangoniy (Jumabai Hojiyev), a native of Soviet Uzbekistan, was a right-hand man of Osama bin Laden in charge of the Taliban's northern front in Afghanistan.
In 1996, Alexander Litvinenko was responsible for securing the secrecy of Al-Zawahiri's arrival in Russia, who was trained by FSB instructors in Dagestan, Northern Caucasus, in 1996-1997.
At that time, Litvinenko was the Head of the Subdivision for Internationally Wanted Terrorists of the First Department of the Operative-Inquiry Directorate of the FSB Anti-Terrorist Department. He was ordered to undertake the delicate mission of securing Al-Zawahiri from unintentional disclosure by the Russian police. Though Al-Zawahiri had been brought to Russia by the FSB using a false passport, it was still possible for the police to learn about his arrival and report to Moscow for verification. Such a process could disclose Al-Zawahiri as an FSB collaborator.
In order to prevent this, Litvinenko visited a group of the highly placed police officers to notify them in advance. "If you get information about some suspicious Arabs arriving in the Caucasus, please report it to me before informing your leadership", he told them.
Juma Namangoniy was once a student of the Saboteur Training Center of the First Chief Directorate of the KGB in 1989-91. The school was notorious for the international terrorists who matriculated from it. It now belongs to the FSB, and since only KGB staff officers were allowed to study there, Juma Namangoniy's presence clearly suggests that he was much more than a civil collaborator.
Mohammed Atta, the pilot of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, had met with a senior Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague, Czech Republic, five months before the attack. But Iraqi intelligence was just a client of Russia's intelligence service. It brings a new understanding to the fact that President Putin was the first foreign President to call President Bush on 9/11. One may conjecture that he knew in advance what was to happen.
Muslim Name and Communist Heart
Tartars have always been patriotic to Russia. Their independent kingdom was conquered by Russia in the 16th century, but their gentry were allowed to join the Russian upper class and enjoy all its privileges. Even today, many Russian families of noble origin have Tartar origins. Russia has a half-millennium of experience in turning conquered Muslim nations into obedient citizens by bribing their elite.
There are many Soviet Muslims, therefore, who seem to face no conflict of spirit. One can be a Muslim in name only, whose heart belongs to Communism. There have been a lot of such people among Russian Muslims, especially among the Tartars. The Soviet Union has typically preferred to appoint them as ambassadors to Muslim countries. Their Muslim names give them a pass to the local society, but their Communist hearts order them to serve world Communism and not the world of Islam.
In the Soviet period, the highest leadership of the Muslim republics like Uzbekistan were unofficially allowed to practice Islam under the guise of folk rites, even though their Russian colleagues were severely reprimanded for participating in such Christian "rites" as Christmas or Easter. Unlike today, Soviet cartoonists were able to mock Islam as they mocked all other religions and it didn't bring any special reaction.
Muslims of the Uzbek and other Central Asian republics' elite joined the KGB intelligence in order to spy on fellow Muslim countries. In the KGB, I have met a lot of such quasi-Muslim officers.
Russia Grows Muslim
Putin continues the traditional Russian policy of giving privileges to the Muslim elite. Today's Russian Minister of Healthcare, Mikhail Zurabov, is a Chechen. His political agenda includes the total destruction of the Russian healthcare system, looking like revenge for the war in Chechnya. Putin shows no concern over that.
Strategically Russia is surrendering to the Muslim world. The Russian population is declining rapidly, being undermined by 70 years of Communist experiment and the cold indifference of post-communist rulers. Annually, Russia is losing 900 thousand people who are being replaced by Muslims from the Caucasus and Central Asia. Islam is now the second-largest religion in Russia, where it may total up to 28 million adherents. Because of this, Russia was able to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference in 2003.
Russia's great qualitative population change represents both a departure from the past and a strengthening link with it. The synergies between the history of Russia's national policies of terrorism and the radical Islamic terrorism that it is spreading around the world are natural partners that may severely impact on America's own future.
Konstantin Preobrazhensky, a former Lt. Colonel in the KGB who defected to the United States in 1993, is an intelligence expert and specialist on Japan, about which he has written six books. His newest book Russian-American, A New KGB Asset will be published in late 2007.

DOC]Russia and Islam are not Separate - WikiLeaks
Aug 31, 2007 - Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda. By Konstantin Preobrazhensky. Americans generally believe that Russia is afraid of Islamic terrorism as much as  ...
Russia and Islam are not Separate: Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda, by Konstantin Preobrazhensky - Google Search


Vladimir Putin asked Bashar al-Assad to step down

Igor Sergun was asked by Vladimir Putin in 2015 to propose to Bashar al-Assad that he step down. The answer was no
Just weeks before his death on January 3, Colonel-General Igor Sergun, director of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency, was sent to Damascus on a delicate mission.
The general, who is believed to have cut his teeth as a Soviet operative in Syria, bore a message from Vladimir Putin for President Bashar al-Assad: the Kremlin, the Syrian dictator’s most powerful international protector, believed it was time for him to step aside.


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Mr Assad angrily refused.
Two senior western intelligence officials have given the Financial Times details of Sergun’s mission. The Russian foreign ministry referred a request for comment to the defence ministry, which said it was unable to comment.
But on Friday, in response to a question from a journalist, asking if the Russian leader had asked Mr Assad to step down, a spokesman for Mr Putin said: “No, that’s not so.”
Russia’s failed gamble in Damascus left Mr Assad more entrenched than before, and hopes for a diplomatic solution to the vicious civil war appear again to be ebbing away.
UN officials have spent the past week lowering expectations that the talks between the warring factions planned for January 25 in Geneva will go ahead, let alone produce a breakthrough.
It is a dramatic reversal of fortunes. News of the secret proposal delivered by Sergun — a choreographed transition of power that would maintain the Alawite regime but open the door to realistic negotiations with moderate rebels — added to a growing mood of optimism among western intelligence agencies in late 2015.
For the US-led coalition fighting Isis, it seemed that accommodating Moscow could break years of diplomatic deadlock over Mr Assad’s removal — a move Washington views as a precondition to cooling the sectarian tensions in Syria and Iraq that have fed the jihadi insurgency.
Moscow’s military intervention in the conflict in support of Damascus in late September, many in Europe and the US reasoned, had reached its limit. “Mr Putin had taken a look under the bonnet of the Syrian regime,” one senior European intelligence official told the FT “and found a lot more problems than he was bargaining for.”
However, Russia overplayed its hand, the official said, and Mr Assad made clear to Sergun that there could be no future for Russia in Syria unless he remained as president.
In his dealings with the Kremlin, Mr Assad has adopted a strategy of playing one foreign power off against another. His trump card on this occasion was Iran. Russia has been nervous of Tehran’s growing regional influence at the cost of its own leverage for months.
People close to the Syrian regime say suspicions about Russia’s intentions have been growing in Damascus for some time. “That mood of elation when Russia first got involved lasted for a while, but then people got more pessimistic,” said one Damascus businessman. “Assad’s people started to realise that having the big brother defending them meant he could also demand things of them too.”
Mr Assad has also been scrupulous in rooting out any powerful figures who might one day stand as an alternative to his leadership.
The disappearance of Abdel Aziz al-Khair, an Alawite dissident, was a striking example, said Joshua Landis, a Syria analyst from the University of Oklahoma.
Mr Khair, a leading member of the National Co-ordinating Body, a political grouping dedicated to negotiating with Mr Assad to achieve democratic change, was from a prominent family in Mr Assad’s home town, said Mr Landis.
“He went to Moscow in 2012 and then he went to Beijing. It seemed clear to everyone they were checking him out as a potential Alawite replacement to the current regime that could assure the Alawite community,” Mr Landis said. On his return to Damascus he was taken from the airport by security agencies.
“That seemed to be a sign that Assad was not going to allow Russia to pick the next president,” Mr Landis added.
Moscow is frustrated. “It has become quite clear that part of an eventual political solution is that Assad has to step aside at some point, although we don’t think that it has been decided yet when that should be,” said a Russian authority on Syria who is involved in Moscow’s diplomacy. “Ever since President Assad was flown in to be received by our president last year, his attitude has been less than satisfactory, and this does interfere with our efforts towards a political solution.”
But the Kremlin is also pragmatic, note many foreign policy experts, and its intervention is as much about projecting itself on the international stage as it is about determining Syria’s leader.
Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, said: “For Putin, the intervention in Syria was never about keeping Assad in power, it is about getting the Americans to acknowledge Russia’s key role in settling this conflict, and that’s being achieved through the Vienna process.
“But it looks premature to engineer a coup in Syria — I don’t see how that would help the political process as there are not enough opposition people who can accept the regime if it gets just a different figurehead.”
Meanwhile, says one British diplomat, with no palatable strategy for withdrawal, Russia appears to be doubling down on its military intervention, leaving the prospect of a negotiated peace as far from reality as it has ever been.

1944: Syria allies with the Soviet Union after formalising diplomatic relations
1950s onwards: Many Russians relocate to Syria while thousands of Syrians, including military officers, study at Russian schools
1956: The Suez Crisis in Egypt helps Soviet influence in the Middle East grow further
1957: The two countries sign an aid pact that includes an agreement to exchange Soviet weapons for Syrian grain
1971: Russia opens a naval military base in the Syrian town of Tartus, which remains Russia’s only port on the Mediterranean
1980: Hafez al-Assad visits Moscow to meet Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Syria and Russia sign a 20-year Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation with automatic five-year extensions
1987: Muhammad Faris, left, joins two Soviet cosmonauts on a mission to the Mir space station. He is the first Syrian in space
2000: Hafez al-Assad dies and is replaced by his son Bashar al-Assad
2007: Russia accounts for 78 per cent of Syria’s weapons purchases between 2007 and 2012, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
2008: Dmitry Medvedev, left, meets Bashar al-Assad at the presidential palace in Sochi
2011: Russia remains supportive of the Assad government as unrest during the Arab Spring leads to civil war; Moscow vetoes proposed UN sanctions against Syria.
2015: Russia conducts air strikes in Syria. Moscow says it is targeting Isis but most attacks appear to be on areas held by anti-Assad rebels.
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Башни Кремля спорят за пост начальника ГРУ

Как стало известно «Аргументам недели», в высших эшелонах российской власти развернулась серьёзная борьба за кандидатуру на освободившийся пост начальника Главного разведуправления Генштаба. В связи с войной в Сирии он стал стратегическим.
Последний руководитель ГРУ ГШ генерал-полковник Игорь Сергун, по официальным сообщениям, скоропостижно скончался 3 января в Подмосковье. По данным частного американского разведывательного центра Stratfor, который называют «теневым» ЦРУ, смерть Сергуна произошла 1 января в Ливане. Как рассказали «АН» военные источники, бывший начальник ГРУ действительно перед Новым годом был с рабочей поездкой на Ближнем Востоке, в частности в Сирии и Ливане, но на праздники вернулся домой.
Так или иначе, но военная разведка уже почти три недели остаётся фактически обезглавленной. И это в условиях непрекращающихся боевых действий в Сирии. Именно ГРУ сейчас обеспечивает наши ВКС, наносящие удары по террористам, полноценной и достоверной развединформацией. Причём не только со спутников, но и с помощью российских военных советников, находящихся в передовых частях сирийской армии на земле. Недаром с началом сирийской операции начальнику ГРУ было возвращено право прямого докладаВерховному главнокомандующему – президенту В. Путину, которое отменено ещё Анатолием Сердюковым.
Сейчас различные группы рекомендуют Путину своих кандидатов на этот стратегический для страны пост. Как говорят военные источники, «с вероятностью 90% это будет один из заместителей Сергуна по работе в разведке. Во всяком случае это мнение министра обороны С. Шойгу». Всего у Сергуна было четыре зама. Это генералы: Сергей ГизуновИгорь Лелин,Вячеслав Кондрашов и Игорь Коробов. Именно Коробова называют наиболее вероятным новым руководителем российской военной разведки, т.к. его активно поддерживает Шойгу и начальник Генштаба Валерий Герасимов.
«Однако у президента может быть и своя кандидатура. Причём необязательно выходца из ГРУ. Например, никто не ожидал внезапного назначения его бывшего начальника службы безопасности Виктора Золотова на должность заместителя Главкома ВВ МВД России», – говорит источник. Судя по тому, что решение до сих пор не принято, аппаратная война за должность главного военного разведчика ещё в самом разгаре