Friday, February 10, 2017

"We will build our new "STAN" - TOGETHER! - Мы наш мы новый СТАН построим... | Time to turn up the heat on Iran Friday February 10th, 2017 at 6:29 AM Iran - Google News | С Министром иностранных дел Российской Федерации Сергеем Лавровым

Pedestrians cross the street behind a billboard showing a pictures of  US president-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Danilovgrad, Montenegro, November 16. 2016. REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

Putin says could meet Trump in Slovenia, but choice not Moscow's alone

Влюбляна: Семинар по вопросам мирового 
СТАНО-строения


"We will build our new "STAN" - TOGETHER! 

Мы наш мы новый СТАН построим...


(Slovenian and other "братки" will sit at a separate table, by the bathroom, as they are supposed to...) 



С Министром иностранных дел Российской Федерации Сергеем Лавровым.

С Министром иностранных дел Российской Федерации Сергеем Лавровым: Discussing the details... 

Putin says could meet Trump in Slovenia, but choice not Moscow's alone | Reuters

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Russian Airstrike Kills 3 Turkish Soldiers in Syria in ‘Friendly Fire’

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Syria war: Russian 'friendly fire' kills Turkish soldiers

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President Vladimir Putin has sent condolences after a Russian air strike accidentally killed three Turkish soldiers in northern Syria.
The strike hit a building near the town of al-Bab, believing it to contain Islamic State (IS) fighters rather than Turkish troops, Turkey's military said.
Eleven others were wounded in the so-called friendly fire incident.
They were supporting Syrian rebels who are locked in a fierce battle to try to capture al-Bab from IS fighters.
Russia and Turkey, who back opposing sides in the Syrian war, have been jointly conducting air strikes on IS in the town in recent weeks.

'Tragic incident'

The Russian aircraft had been planning to hit IS targets but "by accident three of our soldiers were martyred when a building was bombed where our units were," Turkey's military said.
The Kremlin has issued a statement (in Russian) saying President Putin had, in a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart, "expressed condolences over a tragic incident which resulted in the deaths of several Turkish troops in the al-Bab area".
President Putin told Recep Tayyip Erdogan that poor co-ordination between Moscow and Ankara was to blame for the accident, RIA news agency reports.
The two leaders agreed to "increase military co-operation during operations in Syria against IS militants and other extremist organisations".
Both countries are conducting a joint investigation, Turkey's military said.
The incident comes after a warming of relations between the two countries, which had previously been strained after Turkey downed a Russian jet near the Syrian border two years ago.
Earlier on Thursday, Turkish-backed rebel fighters managed to capture the western outskirts of al-Bab, which lies about 30km (20 miles) south of Turkey. Turkish media say 10 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the fighting in recent days.
The Dogan news agency says 66 Turkish troops have been killed in Syria since Turkey began its operations there last August to drive out IS, as well as stop the advance of the Kurdish YPG militia - which Turkey considers a terror organisation.

'What a difference a year makes' - by Mark Lowen, BBC Turkey correspondent

At the end of 2015, Russia and Turkey risked military confrontation as the Turkish military shot down a Russian jet which it said had violated its airspace. By the end of 2016, the two, who back opposite sides in the Syrian war, were co-operating to reach a ceasefire in Aleppo.
The murder of the Russian ambassador in Ankara didn't derail ties - and nor will today's military accident. Why? Because the two countries need each other. Partly in their general bilateral relations, with Turkey importing most of its energy from Russia and relying on Russian tourists. But partly too in order to achieve their respective aims in Syria.
Turkey wants a buffer zone in northern Syria free of IS and the Kurdish militia that it sees as terrorists - and has needed Russian consent for its troops to launch a ground offensive in northern Syria over the past few months. And Russia has managed to prop up the Assad regime and needed Turkey - one of Assad's fiercest opponents - to turn a blind eye to the recapture of Aleppo. Realpolitik has taken the place of steadfast ethics - as it so often does.

The Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have been battling IS for al-Bab since late 2016.
Syrian government forces, meanwhile, are also closing in on IS from the south, where fierce fighting is reported.
Reports suggest the rebels and government forces have reached an accommodation over al-Bab, orchestrated by Syria's key ally, Russia.
The two sides are now within 3km of each other on opposite sides of the city.
Despite supporting opposing sides, Russia and Turkey have joined forces in recent months to try to end the Syria conflict.
They carried out their first joint air strikes on IS targets in the al-Bab area in January, just weeks after securing a ceasefire deal between rebels and government forces that has held in many parts of Syria since the end of last year.

A recent history of Russian-Turkish relations:

  • November 2015: Turkey downs Russian jet near Syrian border, sparking crisis in relations and Russian sanctions on Turkey
  • June 2016: Turkish President Erdogan expresses regret over downing of jet, beginning process of normalisation of ties
  • December 2016: Russia's ambassador to Turkey is shot and killed by a Turkish policeman in Ankara. Later that month, Russia and Turkey broker nationwide ceasefire deal in Syria
  • January 2017: Russia and Turkey begin joint air strikes against IS in Syria
  • February 2017: Russian air strike kills three Turkish soldiers in Syria's al-Bab
Read the whole story

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The very real, very dangerous threat of the Iranian regime

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In an recent article in Foreign Policy magazine, author Trita Parsi wants us to believe that “Iran’s proxy wars [are] a figment of America’s imagination.” He brushes off the statements of newly minted Secretary of Defense James Mattis—a career Marine, four star general and universally lauded military expert—as hyperbole. 
Interestingly, Parsi neglects to mention Iran’s long-held position as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. At a time when facts are at a premium, let's assess the stark realities of the Iranian regime and the severe threat it poses to global security.
Iran is responsible for the death of more than 1,000 U.S. service members, and the catastrophic injuries of countless more through its financial support, provision of weapons and training of terrorists in Iraq, Lebanon and across the Gulf states.
A July 2012 U.S. court case confirmed Iran’s integral role in the 1983 Hezbollah bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut; the deadliest attack against Americans before 9/11, this truck bombing killed 241 Americans. This support has continued for decades.
Following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran supported, trained, and funded Shi’ite insurgents to target American troops, supplying them with deadly Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), the top killer of U.S. troops in Iraq.
And in sworn testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 2008, General David Petraeus said, “Iran’s activities have been particularly harmful in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Afghanistan. In each location, Tehran has, to varying degrees, fueled proxy wars in an effort to increase its influence and pursue its regional ambitions.”
And just last year President Barack Obama echoed that sentiment saying, “We remain steadfast in opposing Iran’s destabilizing behavior elsewhere, including its threats against Israel and our Gulf partners, and its support for violent proxies in places like Syria and Yemen.”
In the wake of the nuclear deal, the Iranian economy has benefitted greatly from lifted sanctions. Unfortunately, recent reporting confirms that the biggest benefactor has not been the Iranian people but instead is the Iranian government, which is still controlled by the Ayatollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a terrorist organization sanctioned by the U.S. and international community. 
This infusion of cash, since the lifting of sanctions, has only further enabled and emboldened Iran in its hegemonic efforts.
Recent evidence shows that Iran is exploiting this opportunity to establish a “Shi'ite crescent… stretching from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean Sea.”
Reuters reports that “for the first time, Tehran could exert authority over a vast sweep of the Middle East” and gain the upper hand over its Sunni rivals.
Further proof comes in the form of reports that in recent months Iran has increased the pace of weapons transfers to the Houthis in Yemen.
In October alone, the U.S. seized five weapons shipments at sea bound for Yemen from Iran. The U.S. military believes Iran supplied the cruise missiles the Houthis fired at U.S. naval vessels off the coast of Yemen that month in an unprecedented escalation of the conflict.
Perhaps the most glaring example of all, however, is Iranian support for Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s founding manifesto openly pledges loyalty to Iran’s Ayatollah and just this past June, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah defiantly declared: “We are open about the fact that Hezbollah's budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
There is no shortage of examples or evidence, no lack of statements from leading government officials. Iran is unabashedly encouraging proxy wars throughout the Middle East. And the current nuclear deal provides a terrorism slush fund to increase those actions.
Rather than attempt to deny the Iranian regime’s transparent role in waging destructive proxy wars across the Middle East, or cast blame on other Gulf states, we must accept the facts and recommit ourselves to fight all terrorists and those who would support them.

Mark Wallace is United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) CEO and former Ambassador to the United Nations for President George W. Bush

Matan Shamir is the executive Director at United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).
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AQAP and Iran - Google Search

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Trump's raid in Yemen proves he, wrongly, embraced the Iran hawks

The Hill (blog)-Feb 3, 2017
What is certain is that the Saudi led and US supported war in Yemen has greatly benefited AQAP and — ironically — Iran which can only be ...
Story image for AQAP and Iran from CNN

Costly Yemen SEAL raid could bolster anti-US anger

CNN-Feb 2, 2017
US Central Command said three senior AQAP officials were killed and .... But the twin goals of combating AQAP and Iranian influence tend to ...
ICG: Qaeda gaining ground in Yemen
Middle East Online-Feb 2, 2017

Is a new Middle East war on Israel's horizon?

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Looking out from Israeli-held territory, the scrubby and rock-strewn ground pitches steeply downwards towards a patrol road and the border fence.
The current frontier with Syria - the young lieutenant points out - is about a third of the way up the opposite escarpment. And just a couple of kilometres beyond that is another ridge, which is Jordan.
This is Israel's front line with Syria. The Syrian army was evicted from the Golan Heights when Israeli forces captured it in the 1967 Middle East war.
Israeli law was extended there in 1981 - effectively annexing this crucial strategic high ground. It is now a heavily fortified area.
We pull up alongside a platoon of Merkava tanks, key sensors and weaponry shrouded in tarpaulin covers against the winter damp.
Once things were fairly simple here. Israel faced the Syrian army across the ceasefire demarcation lines, monitored by UN observers.
But there was almost no need for them. This was Israel's most peaceful frontier since 1973. But the civil wars in Syria and the collapse of Syrian government control in many areas have changed all that.

'Closer than ever'

The geography here is not the only thing that is complicated. The war in Syria has altered the strategic map as well.
Opposite the southern Golan the ground is held by a local force - the Yarmouk Martyr's Brigade - which owes its allegiance to so-called Islamic State. Israeli troops see its fighters exercising and monitoring their positions, but there is rarely trouble.
What alarms Israel most is what is happening further north, with the victory of Syrian government forces backed by Iran and Tehran's ally, the Lebanese Shia militia group, Hezbollah.
Professor Asher Susser, a senior fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Tel Aviv University, summed it up in one sentence.
"The changes in Syria," he told me, "have brought Iran closer to Israel's borders than ever."
He told me that at least in theory it creates "the possibility of Iranian-Hezbollah co-operation not only along the border between Israel and Lebanon but along the border between Israel and Syria as well".
In his view there is "a dangerous potential for a long border from the Mediterranean, across Lebanon and Syria, with Hezbollah and Iran at very close quarters with Israel.
"Israel," he stressed, "has never faced that kind of situation on its northern border before."

'Iranian corridor'

So what exactly is Tehran's goal in Syria? For an answer I turned to Ehud Yaari, veteran Middle East commentator for Israel's Channel 2 Television News.
"The strategic objective of the Iranians today," he told me, "is to establish a land corridor between Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon; to reach the Mediterranean and the Israeli frontier."
This land corridor, he explained would go "from Iran via the Shia regions of Iraq, through the western Iraqi desert, linking up with Assad and Hezbollah.
"This," he stressed, "is strategically the major threat to Israel today".
Iran of course is not the only foreign country involved in the fighting in Syria.
Russian air power - along with Hezbollah fighters and other Shia militias on the ground - played a decisive role in propping up the Assad regime.
Russia has twice announced the scaling down of its military deployments, but actually shows every sign of being in Syria to stay.

Russian complication

The presence of Russian aircraft and especially long-range radars and air defence missiles greatly complicates the threat environment facing the Israeli air force.
It has struck at arms shipments going from the Syrians to Hezbollah on several occasions, having set a "red line" that rejects the transfer of sophisticated missile systems to the Shia militia.
Ehud Yaari told me that the presence of the Russians has not significantly affected the Israeli Air Force's freedom of action over southern Syria.
"There is an understanding," he explains, "a sort of a hotline between Israel and Russia where a Russian-speaking Israeli Air Force officer and a Russian officer in Syria are co-ordinating and making sure that you don't have any mishaps."
This arrangement, he insists, is working and this is fundamentally because the Russians' strategic interests and those of Iran are very different.
Mr Yaari says that the Russians are not very interested in protecting Hezbollah arms shipments or the security situation south of Damascus, close to the Israeli border.

Widening threat

How big a threat is all of this to Israel? A series of military briefings suggests that Hezbollah and its growing armament is seen as perhaps the primary challenge to Israel's security.
Hezbollah, due to its training and equipment, is now viewed as a fully-fledged army rather than a semi-amateur militia.
"It has lost heavily in the Syrian fighting but it has also gained invaluable combat experience," a brigadier told me.
It has established a well-entrenched infrastructure in southern Lebanon with a huge arsenal of missiles of varying ranges.
The fear among Israeli military experts is that under Iranian tutelage it might seek to establish a similar platform for operations in Syria as well.
There is a precedent here as Ehud Yaari explains.
"The major concern now is that the Syrian regime will be able to negotiate deals with the different factions of the rebels in the southern region of Syria so that they withdraw from border areas.
"This," he says, "is exactly what happened in other areas of Syria, especially in the countryside around Damascus."
Such a move could open the way to the entrenchment of Hezbollah, Iranian Revolutionary Guards or other Shia militias sponsored by Iran in the south.

Putin key

At present this is more a potential rather than an actual threat.
Professor Asher Susser told me that, in the long-run, much depends upon how the Russians play the game of regional alliances.
"If the Russians and the Turks are on one side of the equation and the Iranians on the other," he told me, "that may put a limit on what it is that the Iranians can achieve."
This is why he believes that Israel's contacts with Moscow are so important.
"This," he told me, "is a relationship that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reinforced over the last year or two.
"Mr Putin and the Russians," he says, "have an understanding of Israel's strategic needs which, if they take them into consideration, may put a brake on this Iranian-Syrian project."
Nobody knows when or how the fighting in Syria will end. Several Israeli experts I spoke to hope for some kind of regional deal that might constrain the freedom of movement of Iranian-backed militias in Syria.
But agreement or not, the new actors on Israel's frontiers present a new and more complicated set of challenges.
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Ynetnews News - Russia promises to keep weapons out of Hezbollah's hands

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Russian Ambassador to Israel, Alexander Shane, said that his country is working to prevent the transfer of Russian weapons to Hezbollah.
During an interview with the Interfax news agency, Shane noted that Israel presented Moscow with its "red lines" and shared concerns about Russia's cooperation with Iran and Syria.
Netanyahu and Putin in Moscow (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Netanyahu and Putin in Moscow (Photo: AFP)
According to Shane, Israel presented red lines to the Russians about events in Syria, the most important of which were the transfer of modern, advanced weapons to Hezbollah and the establishment of an anti-Israel base with Iran in the Syrian Golan.
"Russia explained to Israel how it thinks the crisis in Syria can be solved in order to unite all forces in the war against terrorist groups and establish a steady future for Syria by Syrians themselves," said Shane.
Shane added that Israel understands was his country is doing in Syria, "but for them, the best thing that can happen is cooperation between Russia and the United States—and not Russia and Iran—to solve the crisis in Syria and the fight against terrorism in the Middle East."
Ambassador Shane
Ambassador Shane
According to Shane, "Israel sees Iran as the biggest threat and cause of instability in the region." he added that "Russia promised Israel that Russian weapons will not make it to Hezbollah. Israel wants a deal between Russia and the United States to end the war in Syria."
A Wall Street Journal report claimed that the Trump administration is trying to find ways to break up the military and diplomatic pact between Russia and Iran. The report relied on the words of a senior official in the administration as well as statements from European and Arab officials who are involved in the matter.
"If we can drive a wedge between Russia and Iran, it’s an option we have to check," said that same American official.
According to the same Wall Street Journal report, the White House has no illusions about Russia and does not think President Vladimir Putin is a "choir boy." However, the real question, according to European officials, is what Putin will demand from Trump in return for weakening his alliance with Tehran.
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Мы наш мы новый СТАН построим... - Google Search

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Мы наш, мы новый мир построим | МЕЖДУНАРОДНАЯ АКАДЕМИЯ ...

<a href="http://www.kabbalah.info" rel="nofollow">www.kabbalah.info</a> › ... › Кризис и пути выхода из него (1)
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Сообщение: Финансовая система мира устарела - к такому выводу пришли участники саммита, который завершился в Пекине в минувшую субботу.

Интернационал (гимн) — Википедия

<a href="https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Интернационал_%28гимн" rel="nofollow">https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Интернационал_(гимн</a>)
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Интернациона́л (фр. L'Internationale, от лат. inter — между и natio — нация) .... мы разрушим: До основанья, а затем: Мы нашмы новый мир построим, ...

"Мы наш, мы новый мир построим", или Как Лаврова встречали в ...

<a href="https://ria.ru/politics/20161201/1482618465.html" rel="nofollow">https://ria.ru/politics/20161201/1482618465.html</a>
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"Мы нашмы новый мир построим", или Как Лаврова встречали в Турции. Сюжет: Главное за 1 декабря 2016 года (14). 15:0301.12.2016. (обновлено: ...

Мы наш, мы новый мост построим, или На что еще потратят ...

<a href="http://www.tver.kp.ru/daily/26162.4/3049467/" rel="nofollow">www.tver.kp.ru/daily/26162.4/3049467/</a>
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Nov 21, 2013 - «Комсомолка» заглянула на сайт госзакупок и порадовалась за целый город, фонтан, танцоров и высокопоставленных чиновников.

Медведев назвал станкостроение слабым местом российской промышленности Новости Новости мирового станкостроения на портале Станкорепорт©

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31 Января 2017
Медведев назвал станкостроение слабым местом российской промышленности
Российская промышленность во многом зависит от импортных станков, ситуацию надо менять, сказал премьер-министр РФ Дмитрий Медведев.
news_31.01_medvedevФото: Politikus.ru
«Это пока наше, скажем по-честному, слабое место, потому что мы научились создавать такие производства, но, чего скрывать, значительная часть оборудования здесь иностранное, но есть наше», — сказал Медведев в ходе посещения Кировского машиностроительного предприятия (входит в концерн ВКО «Алмаз — Антей»).
Он отметил, что уже есть станки, которые в России начинают собирать в кооперации. «Вы знаете, мы в Ульяновске открыли производство высокотехнологичных станков. Но нам обязательно надо вернуться к тому, что раньше называлась индустрия средств производства», — сказал Медведев.
«Нужно обязательно в эту сферу вернуться и обязательно начать и лицензионное производство, и собственное производство», — добавил премьер.
По его словам, Россия сейчас находится «в сложном положении». «Нам объявили, по сути, торговую войну, обложили санкциями в расчете на то, что вот если они все это позабирают, то у нас таких производств, как ваше (Кировское машиностроительное предприятие. — RNS), оборонных просто не будет. В этом цель тех государств, которые подобные санкции вводят», — сказал Медведев.
По словам Медведева, на сегодняшний день финансовые вложения не завышены. «Но надеюсь, что с каждым годом будем увеличивать вложения в эту сферу (высокотехнологичного станкостроения. — RNS)», - добавил премьер.

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Russia and Iran: Split over Syria?

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Diplomatic activism by Russia in Syria is producing speculation about the Kremlin’s possible willingness to encourage genuine peace talks and spur transition from corrupt, incompetent and brutal family rule toward something stabilizing and inclusive. If Russia proves genuinely interested in converting military success to a sustainable political settlement, it would put Moscow sharply at odds with Iran and with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Is Russian President Vladimir Putin truly prepared to turn a page in Syria? The litmus test will be Moscow’s view of whether or not Assad rule should be restored to areas eventually liberated from the Islamic State group..
Russian air power and Iranian-led Shia foreign fighters saved Assad from military defeat. Intervening militarily in Syria allowed Putin to tell his countrymen that Russia was back as a great power; that Russia had thwarted a purported American regime-change campaign in Syria. Iran, on the other hand, has supported Assad because Assad alone, in a nationalistic Syria, is willing to be Iran’s servant on all matters having to do with Lebanon’s Hezbollah: the terrorist long arm of Iranian penetration into the Arab world.
Having saved Assad and all but declared military victory, Russia may be asking itself now if Assad is a liability for its longer-term interests in Syria. It would be an apt question.
The Kremlin is aware of the regime’s shortcomings. Russia knows that a stable Syria — a place where it would be possible to have secure military bases and a strong, beneficial trade and defense relationship — is unattainable with Assad at the helm. When it comes to reconciliation and reconstruction, the name "Assad" is pure poison in Syria and far beyond. The Syrian equivalent of North Korea headed by a mass murderer may not be something Russia seeks as a long-term client. 
Hypothetically, therefore, Russia might be interested in a political transition formula that gradually marginalizes Assad and vests executive power in a national unity government. Iran, however, would have no such interest. Tehran knows that, beyond the Assad family and entourage, there is no Syrian constituency accepting subordination to Iran and putting the Syrian state at the disposal of a Lebanese terror organization. 
Well-informed Syrian opposition figures say they are hearing from Russians that they are disgusted with the undisciplined, looting Shia militiamen brought by Iran to Syria. These Shia militias — including Hezbollah — advance Iran’s sectarian agenda and incite Sunni Islamist extremist backlash. They are kerosene on a fire Russia says it wants to extinguish.
Opposition representatives also claim to be finding Russian interest in helping them separate nationalist rebel forces from al-Qaida’s Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, the former Nusra Front. The prerequisite for separation is a real cease-fire. When the nationalists and extremists are all under fire from Assad and Iran, they have no choice but to stick together. Enabling separation and the ultimate destruction of al-Qaida therefore requires Russia to keep a tight leash on the Assad regime and the Shia militias. But the regime and Iran — contrary to Russia — want to target as terrorists all anti-Assad rebels: even the ones Moscow recently invited to Astana, Kazakhstan, to discuss peace.
So: Russia and Iran may have conflicting views about the future of Assad. But do they really? Would Russia actually be willing and able to neutralize Iran’s toxic presence in Syria by getting the Shia militias out and then marginalize the polarizing Assad clique?
If Russia is able and willing to do so, clearly it would be for its own interests: a stable, unified Syria closely aligned with Moscow; a place that can attract the reconstruction investment and assistance so sorely needed. What Putin might want from Washington is a commitment to assist with reconstruction once decent, non-Assad governance is in place. Otherwise, if Putin calculates that the Assad-Iran page must be turned for the interests of Russia, then clearly there is need for a geopolitical inducement from Washington.
Naturally, Assad and his Iranian masters will push back if Russia sees them as obstacles to the kind of Syria that Moscow wants. The Kremlin’s ability to sideline the twin destroyers of the Syrian state may be limited. But does Russia even want to do it? 
Central and eastern Syria will likely provide the answer. The United States aims to liberate these areas from the other side of Syria’s terrorist coin: ISIS. If Russia calls for Assad rule to be restored in areas liberated from ISIS — if Moscow wishes to reimpose the governance malpractice that made Syria safe for ISIS in the first place — then clearly it wants Assad and Iran in the Syrian saddle indefinitely, regardless of the consequences.
Speculation about Russia and Iran splitting over Assad is interesting. The truth will be found in Moscow’s view of what should follow ISIS. Washington is free now to elicit that view and answer the question.
Frederic C. Hof, director at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, served as a special adviser for transition in Syria at the State Department in 2012.
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How Russia Became the Middle East’s New Power Broker

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On the morning of January 11, Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar climbed up the companionway of an aircraft carrier floating off the Mediterranean port of Tobruk. As a Marine band played and an honor guard presented arms, an admiral in a white full-dress uniform greeted the Libyan strongman, who was a senior commander in the U.S.-backed rebel forces that ousted the dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. After the welcoming ceremony, the 73-year-old Haftar, an American citizen who for many years lived in the United States, was escorted below decks for a secure video conference with the Middle East’s most energetic foreign power broker. The official topic was battling terrorists. But both sides knew the unofficial agenda was something else: how to boost Haftar’s power as he tries to defeat a weak, U.N.-backed government in Tripoli.
Haftar has close ties in Washington, but his hosts in January were not American. Rather, he was aboard the Admiral Kuznetsov, Russia’s only aircraft carrier, and his interlocutor was Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
Like a growing number of leaders in the Middle East, Haftar has a new set of friends in Moscow. After three decades on the sidelines, Russia is once again a major player in the region. In the last six months alone, the country has altered the course of the Syrian civil war and taken control of the peace process, forged a close relationship with Turkey’s strongman President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and has been courting traditional U.S. allies such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even Israel. And over the past two years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has received the leaders of Middle Eastern states 25 times—five more than former U.S. President Barack Obama, according to a Newsweek analysis of presidential meetings.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, center, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, during a working dinner at the Heydar Aliyev Center. Alexei Nikolsky/TASS/Getty
For decades, Washington has tried to plant democracies in much of the world, including the Middle East. But that plan appears to have withered under Obama and current U.S. President Donald Trump. With the imperfect exception of Tunisia, the Arab Spring did not bring democracy to the Middle East. It instead allowed instability and extremism to flourish in countries including Egypt, Libya and Syria. Western intervention in Libya and Yemen—together with the involvement of Iran and a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen—helped produce failed states that are still mired in civil wars. Backing the Syrian rebels and insisting that autocratic President Bashar al-Assad shouldn’t stay allowed Syria’s civil war to drag on, or even intensify—fueling the rise of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). And a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians—a longstanding goal of U.S. foreign policy—now seems further away than ever. After Obama’s two terms, only last year's historic Iran nuclear deal, which curbed Tehran's nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions, remains as the lone regional success story—and even that looks shaky under the new administration.
“Obama’s entire policy in the Middle East has failed,” says Leonid Slutsky, chairman of the Russian Duma’s committee on foreign affairs. “The powerlessness and the lack of results are evident.”
Observing the U.S.’s setbacks, the Kremlin sensed an opportunity. For Moscow, the advantages of clawing back some of the Soviet Union’s old influence in the Middle East are manifold: Russia can continue empire-building and projecting its growing global influence and military heft; it can also gather diplomatic bargaining chips to exchange for softening of Western sanctions imposed after the 2014 annexation of Crimea—or for future use in negotiations with the West.
“First and foremost this is a question of regaining our strategic influence,” Senator Oleg Morozov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council international affairs committee, tells Newsweek. Or, as Dmitri Trenin, director of Moscow’s Carnegie Center, puts it: “The goal of [Putin’s] foreign policy is to restore Russia as a global major power. For him to be able to operate in the Middle East, in competition with the U.S., is a badge of [being] a major power. That is what Russia did in Syria.”
But perhaps more important than either of these goals—and a motivation little understood in the West—is Moscow’s desire to protect Russia from radical Islamist terrorism, the fear of which helped Putin ascend to power during the brutal wars in Russia’s North Caucasus in the 1990s. Russia’s homegrown insurgencies shaped its politics so that the Kremlin—and many Russians—favors order over personal rights and freedoms. After watching the U.S. a decade later try to import democracy to Iraq and Libya, only to see them crumble into civil strife, Putin saw a stark choice: Outside powers could side with strong regimes, however ruthless they might be, or the world will witness what he called “the destruction of state systems and the rise of terrorism.”
As ISIS grew more influential in Syria, so did Putin’s mistrust of Western efforts to combat the militant group. In mid-September 2015, Russia’s security services announced that there were at least 2,500 Russian nationals fighting for ISIS. In Putin’s eyes this was enough to make the survival and success of Assad’s regime a matter of national security for Russia.
“Our main aim in Syria is to make sure that our citizens who went out there [to fight with ISIS] never come back,” says Vyacheslav Nikonov, a Duma member. “For Russia, intervention in the Middle East is a matter of defending our own security. All the rest is details.”
As the U.S. pulled back from costly interventions in the Middle East, Putin sensed an opportunity to make new allies and fight extremism—and restore Russia as a major global power. Corey Jackson for Newsweek
Defensive or not, Russia’s return to the Middle East has proved a stunning, sudden success—and a setback to American power and prestige. Up until recently the U.S. had no real diplomatic or military rival in the Middle East. Now, as Trump begins his presidency with promises of wiping out ISIS, there are Russian planes in the air and troops on the ground in Syria; battleships off the coast of Libya; and Moscow’s friends occupy—or are in line to occupy—presidential palaces from Tripoli to Damascus. Any time Trump makes a move in the Middle East, he’ll have to ask himself: What will Putin think of this? No other recent American president had that problem.

Power and Paranoia

For much of the Cold War, the Middle East was as much Moscow’s turf as it was Washington’s. The Soviet Union was the self-declared champion of proletarian revolution around the world. The anti-Western, strongly socialist Arab nationalism of Egyptian President Gamal Nasser gave Moscow an opening to spread its influence over the Arab world. After Nasser’s defeat of the region’s old colonial masters—Britain and France—in the 1956 Suez Crisis, Russian arms and money began pouring into the region. Soviet engineers dammed the Nile at Aswan, and helped construct modern cities in Baath Party-run Syria and Iraq. At the same time, an entire generation of Arab officers, doctors and professionals studied in Moscow—including future Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Haftar, who received training in the Soviet Union in the 1970s after graduating from Benghazi Military Academy. KGB generals helped build the security services of Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and Syria in the image of the Soviet secret police.
Anxious to stop the Communist domino effect in the Middle East, Washington threw money at the problem. Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt—after Nasser’s fall—became major recipients of U.S. military aid. Turkey, a NATO member since 1952, hosted American planes, warships and, most controversially, Jupiter medium-range missiles—a deployment that prompted the Soviets to place rockets in Cuba, nearly triggering nuclear war in October 1962.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow’s friends in the region clung to power, maintaining a stoutly anti-Western crescent from Libya to Syria despite the lack of Russian rubles. Then, one by one, Moscow’s clients began to fall. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein—who had at times received U.S. support—was the first to go, ousted in 2003 by what Russia described as naked American aggression. A decade later, the 2011 Arab Spring claimed Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Throughout this period, parallel waves of revolt in the former Soviet Union—the so-called Color Revolutions—also ousted pro-Russian governments in Serbia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia. In 2011, the yearning for greater democracy even reached Moscow, where 100,000 people poured into the streets to protest Putin’s return for a third presidential term.
For Americans, the series of protests seemed to mark a triumph of democracy and people-power. But for Russians, the Arab Spring appeared to be part of a Washington-orchestrated campaign to destroy any leader who dared to oppose the U.S.—including Putin. His approval rating slid to a historic low (63 percent) as protest leaders, who spoke of European liberalism and rapprochement with the U.S., seemed genuine contenders for power.
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan as Azeri President Ilkham Aliyev looks on during the 23rd World Energy Congress on October 10, 2016 in Istanbul, Turkey. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty
In Putin’s eyes, “[Cairo’s] Tahrir Square and [Kiev’s] Maidan are all part of the same conspiracy against Russia,” says one senior Western diplomat in Moscow who was not authorized to speak on the record. “We dismissed that as paranoia. It is paranoia. But they believe it.”
Throughout this period, Russia regularly protested—and was regularly ignored—at the U.N., in futile attempts to prevent the bombing of Belgrade in 1999 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The U.S. overrode Moscow both times. It was only by cosying up to Iran that Russia got Washington’s attention. In the late 1990s, Moscow helped Tehran develop the Shahab-3 intermediate-range ballistic missile and later began to build Bushehr, Iran’s first nuclear power plant. From 2008 onward, as the White House inched toward a deal to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons program, Russia began to play the role of an honest broker.
“Americans realized they needed our help with Iran,” says former Russian Prime Minister Sergei Kiriyenko, who was the head of the Rosatom state nuclear energy corporation during the key Iran negotiations. “The Iranians trusted us. We were their guarantee of security.”
At the same time, Russia was also inserting itself, steadily and quietly, into the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Moscow’s key ally was Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who earned a doctorate at the Peoples' Friendship University in Moscow in the 1970s. Israeli researchers, citing documents that KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin smuggled out of Russia in 1991, have claimed that Abbas was recruited by the Soviet security service under the code name “Krotov”—although Palestinian officials dismissed the allegation as an Israeli smear.
Agent or not, Abbas “likes the Russians, he wants to please them,” says Ziad Abu Zayyad, a former Palestinian minister and negotiator. When Putin visited Bethlehem during a 2012 trip to the West Bank, Abbas gave him a plot of land—now a Russian cultural center; that year, he named streets in Bethlehem and Jericho after Putin and his predecessor, Dmitry Medvedev.
Running in parallel with these grand, public gestures of friendship is a quieter and constant diplomatic campaign in the region. Spearheading Moscow’s outreach is a bespectacled, Arabic-speaking, 64-year-old career diplomat named Mikhail Bogdanov, who has been Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East since 2012. A former ambassador to Syria, Egypt and Israel, Bogdanov has played a key role in winning friends and influencing people, from Egypt’s president and military strongman, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, to Libya’s Haftar.
America’s steady disengagement from the Middle East under Obama helped Bogdanov. The White House had good reason to step back from the region: The president wanted to wind down unpopular American military interventions. At the same time, America was becoming less dependent on Middle Eastern oil thanks to a domestic shale gas revolution that has transformed the U.S. into an energy-exporting country. But one unintended consequence was to allow Bogdanov to strike deals from Ramallah to Cairo and Benghazi, Libya.
“The nature of the Russian regime’s foreign policy is extreme pragmatism, the absence of ideology and the attempt to deal with all the main players in a region,” says Nikolay Kozhanov, former attaché at Russia’s embassy in Tehran, now with U.K. think tank Chatham House. “So this should be considered as the main principle of Russia’s strategy and its main advantage in the Middle East.”
Unlike his American counterparts, Putin didn’t lecture Egypt and Syria on democracy and human rights. “Russia saw an opportunity in Egypt because the U.S. has pushed for a reform environment since the Arab Spring,” says Steve Seche, a former State Department official and U.S. ambassador to Yemen. The Russian president was also ready to sell cheap arms to regional powers. Moscow has sold $4 billion worth of weapons to Egypt since 2012, and began talks with Iran over a $10 billion deal in November 2016.
But two crises took the Middle East from the sidelines of Russian foreign policy to front and center: Russia’s annexation of Crimea in February 2014, which put Moscow in direct conflict with the West, and, a year later, the war in Syria, which offered Putin an opportunity to make sure Russia would become one of the primary power brokers in the Middle East.  
Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the military leader of the Libyan National Army and Libya's parallel parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk, is greeted upon his arrival at Al-Kharouba airport south of the town of al-Marj, about 80 km east of the Mediterranean port city of Benghazi on December 3, 2016 after his visit in Russia. Abdullah Doma/AFP/Getty

The Damascus Gambit

On September 30, 2015, Putin ordered a squadron of Russian jets to deploy to the Hmeymim airbase near Latakia, a stronghold of Assad loyalists. It was Russia’s first military deployment outside the former borders of the Soviet Union since Moscow’s disastrous 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Within days, some 30 Russian warplanes had already begun to turn the war in Assad’s favor.
Though the deployment was tiny, it was a pivotal moment for Moscow’s foreign policy. Suddenly, Russian planes were flying in the same airspace as those of America and its allies, who were battling ISIS. At home, Kommersant radio claimed the Syrian people were hailing Putin as “Caesar,” while daily weather reports on Russian news began featuring the bombing conditions over Syria. By the end of 2016, Russia’s defense ministry boasted that its jets had performed 30,000 sorties and hit 62,000 targets. The U.S.-led coalition, by contrast, flew 135,000 missions against ISIS in Syria and Iraq between 2014 and the end of January 2017 but damaged fewer than 32,000 targets. The main reason: what the coalition says are strict rules to limit civilian casualties. In January, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter complained that Russia’s air war has done “zero” to degrade ISIS. Whatever the impact of the Russian air campaign, most agree it has helped deplete U.S.-backed rebel forces and allowed Assad to regain control of the strategically vital city of Aleppo.
Senator Oleg Morozov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council international affairs committee, says Putin “had no choice other than to step in. It’s not so much that we need Assad in place—but we need some kind of stability in Syria. If we had allowed Assad to fall, that would have been the end of our influence on the Middle East.”
Either way, the Syria campaign quickly became Putin’s symbolic rebuke, says Trenin, to Obama’s claims a year prior that Russia was just a “regional power” and a “desperate” one at that.
The symbolic peak of Russia’s self-appointed role as Syria’s “savior” came on May 5, 2016, just days after Assad’s troops backed by Russian special forces and close air support seized the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS—though most Russian airstrikes were against U.S.-backed rebel groups in the center of the country. Moscow flew in its greatest conductor, Valery Gergiev, and his Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra to play before an audience of international journalists in the ancient theater at Palmyra, which ISIS had previously used as a venue for public executions. A publicity stunt, sure—but an immensely effective one.
Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses the musicians and audience via a video link between Moscow, Russia, and Palmyra, Syria, during a concert by Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra at the ancient Roman amphitheater in the town of Palmyra on May 5, 2016. Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS/Getty
Russia's success in Palmyra didn't last long—but that didn't seem to matter: In December, seven months after the Russian orchestra played, cameras and—most importantly—troops left, and ISIS retook the city. The Kremlin blamed lack of cooperation from the U.S. for the defeat and Moscow has seldom mentioned Palmyra since.
But now with Aleppo in regime hands and the peace process being run by Moscow, the new U.S. administration has little influence on the Syrian endgame either diplomatically or on the ground.
“What can we do to counter it?” a State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells Newsweek . “[Russia has] become very influential in Syria because they have elected to engage in behavior which, in any other part of the world, would be condemned as war crimes.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he addresses students during his visit to the German Embassy School in Moscow, Russia, on June 29, 2016. Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

Enemies With Benefits

Over the past 18 months, Russia’s successful intervention in Syria supercharged Moscow’s position in the region. The Kremlin’s unlikely new best friend is Turkey, a NATO member and centuries-old foe of Russia. Just a year ago, when Turkey shot down a Russian plane after a 17-second incursion into Turkish airspace, Putin was furious; in retaliation, he ordered the suspension of Russian charter tourist flights to Turkey and imposed sanctions on Turkish goods.
Since then two things have transformed the relationship between Moscow and Ankara—Assad’s victory in Aleppo, and the failed July coup that prompted Erdogan to initiate a purge of his opponents, earning criticism from the U.S. and Europe alike. In response to stinging rebukes from his one-time allies in Brussels and Washington, Erdogan has turned to his “friend Vladimir” in Russia.
“Without Russia it is impossible to find a solution to the problems in Syria,” Erdogan said in August, in a Russian TV interview before visiting Putin in St. Petersburg. “The axis of friendship between Moscow and Ankara will be restored.”
At the same time, Erdogan acknowledged that his relationship with Obama was “disappointing.” The Obama administration refused to cease support for Kurdish anti-ISIS fighters in northern Syria and it has declined to extradite Fethullah Gülen, a U.S.-based cleric who is an Erdogan foe, to Turkey. As a result, Turkish officials have openly questioned America’s use of the strategic Incirlik base in Adana, near the Syrian border. Erdogan has urged Turkish politicians to re-evaluate their “fixation” with the EU and instead consider joining the Chinese-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which Moscow also favors. In January, for the first time, Russian and Turkish warplanes participated in joint airstrikes against ISIS.
The new friendship may be “transactional,” says Fadi Hakura, head of the Turkey Project at Chatham House, but it suits both countries. Erdogan wants to “increase the distance between Washington and Ankara”—something Russia is only too keen to encourage on the time-honored principle that my enemy’s enemy is my friend.
Russia’s friendship with one of the region’s other major powers, Iran, may have begun as an alliance of outcasts—but it now appears formidable. Tehran has joined Moscow in taking control of the Syrian peace process, becoming joint arbiters of talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, in January that outlined a roadmap to peace and a new constitution for Syria that will inevitably reflect Assad’s military victories on the ground. Russian arms supplies—including an S-300 anti-aircraft missile system delivered last year—have helped Tehran keep up with massive military spending by its regional rivals Israel and Saudi Arabia. In exchange, Iran gave Russia temporary access to its Hamadan air base for raids on Syria and allowed Moscow to fire cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea over its territory en route to Aleppo. And most crucially, says Sir Richard Dalton, a former British ambassador to Iran, by keeping Assad in power, Russia helped Tehran maintain “an axis of resistance against Israel and the United States.”
While Iran has not been a U.S. ally for decades, Cairo has long been a key military, intelligence and diplomatic partner for Washington. As the recipient of the second-largest amount of U.S. military aid, Egypt continued this partnership even when relations with Obama strained following Sisi’s power grab in 2013. While close ties with Washington have been maintained since then, Egypt has also acknowledged Moscow’s new-found status by hosting an air drill for Russia last year—the Kremlin’s first such exercise in Africa. Last November, Egypt also signaled its support for Putin by becoming one of only four countries to support Russia’s resolution on Syria in the United Nations. Moscow, in turn, has pushed to lift U.N. sanctions on Libya, where Haftar, Sisi’s ally, is still vying to become the country’s military strongman. “Putin will undertake to revoke [sanctions],” Haftar told reporters after his video conference in January with Shoigu on Russia’s aircraft carrier.
A civil defence member reacts at a site hit by what activists said were three consecutive air strikes carried out by the Russian air force, the last which hit an ambulance, in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria, on January 12, 2016. Khalil Ashawi/Reuters
Putin has even achieved new levels of friendship with Israel, Washington’s closest and most important ally in the Middle East. Russian jets now operate within reach of the Golan Heights, a contested territory that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 War and now divides the two countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Putin in Moscow three times since September 2015 — more than he has visited Obama, with whom he had a notoriously rancorous relationship. Medvedev traveled to Israel in November last year to mark 25 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries, and to boost trade. Netanyahu is obviously concerned about Russia’s cooperation with two of Israel’s main enemies, Iran and the Lebanon-based Shiite militia Hezbollah. He hopes to harness Russian influence with Israel’s enemies to his benefit, and, so far, Moscow has not objected when Israel has conducted strikes against Hezbollah in Syria. But Netanyahu had concerns about the U.S., too: Obama overruled Israeli objections to a nuclear deal with Iran and pressured the Israeli leader to stop settlement building in the West Bank, a main obstacle to reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians. On February 2, the White House press secretary Sean Spicer echoed Obama’s policy, saying “ the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving” peace.
Russia, on the other hand, makes no such tiresome demands of Israel. After Washington set sanctions on Russia following the annexation of Crimea, Putin has been pushing to make all the friends he can get in the region in order to “develop a second front,” says Zvi Magen, former Israeli ambassador to Russia. Putin “needs more leverage with the West.… One [such lever], the new one, is the Israeli-Palestinian process.” After Putin and Netanyahu’s third meeting in Moscow in June—in which the Russian leader called Israel an “unconditional” ally—Russia offered to host peace negotiations in Moscow between Netanyahu and Abbas. In this blossoming relationship, based on pragmatism, both leaders saw an opportunity: for Netanyahu, a pivot from the Obama administration; for Putin, a challenge to Washington’s leadership. There’s a lot of win-win situations developing in the Middle East right now. Unfortunately, none of them apply to the United States.

Partner or Spoiler?

Obama may have retreated from employing Bush-like American force in the Middle East—and elsewhere—but it seems that Trump is intent on entirely abandoning America’s 70-year-old, bipartisan commitment to being the world’s most determined promoter of democracy. America’s policy of "intervention and chaos" must end, Trump said in December.
That shift, in the Kremlin’s view, threatens to create a dangerous power vacuum that could be filled with Islamist sympathizers, from Libya to Iraq to Syria. Though many in the West see Moscow’s resurgence in terms of building a lost empire of prestige and influence, many top Russian officials see their Middle East deployment as a matter of Russia’s self-defense.
“We remember how many radicals came to fight in Chechnya from the Middle East,” Leonid Kalashnikov, chairman of the Duma Committee on the Former Soviet Union, tells Newsweek , referring to foreign jihadis who fought alongside rebels in separatist wars in the North Caucasus in the 1990s. “The region is right next to Central Asia. That is our underbelly. We have to be in [Syria] in order to prevent the contagion of terrorism from spreading.”
Or, as Nikolai Kovalev, a former head of the Russian domestic security service (the FSB) and now a member of the Duma security committee, puts it: “There are thousands of our citizens fighting there. They are inadequate people from all over the world [that] have gathered in Syria. The Islamic aspect is just an excuse. These people who enjoy putting others on their knees, literally and metaphorically, who enjoy making women their sex slaves. It's a matter of national security to make sure that they don’t bring that ideology back to Russia.”
Russia is determined to hang on to its new dominance in the Middle East—which means that regional leaders will have to find a way to cooperate with both sides. Trump has reached out to Netanyahu by inviting him to meet in Washington next month; pledging to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; and appointing a pro-settler ambassador to Israel — all of which may dampen the Netanyahu-Putin bond. (The Palestinians, however, will need Moscow more than ever. “We have no hope with Trump,” says Abu Zayyad, who was a Palestinian negotiator in the 1994 Oslo Peace Accords.)
A billboard showing a pictures of U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen through pedestrians in Danilovgrad, Montenegro, on November 16, 2016. Stevo Vasiljevic/Reuters
Just as Israel may seek a compromise between dealing with both Russia and the U.S., so may Egypt. Alongside closer ties with Putin, Sisi has also warmed to Trump. In a phone call, he became the first world leader to congratulate the billionaire on his November election victory over Hillary Clinton, having already been the first Arab leader to meet with him during the campaign. Their close relationship has developed further since Trump entered the White House, and will likely continue to mature. After his inauguration, Trump’s first gesture toward the Arab world was to call Sisi—likely the first of many exchanges. He also hosted Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Washington and called several Arab leaders to assure them of America’s continued support.
“One can broadly assume that [Trump and Sisi] see the world in the same way,” says Hugh Lovatt, Middle East and North Africa policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s not beyond the realm of imagination to see a sort of Russian-Egyptian-U.S. joint effort” on Middle Eastern issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Such a triad could be appealing to Israel, which has developed secretive diplomatic and security ties with Egypt, more so than with other Arab states.
For the U.S., that would be a largely new way of doing business. In all previous Middle East peace talks, it has been the primary broker. Trump must now face an awkward reality: To strike peace deals, crush terrorism and protect America’s economic interests in the region, he might have no choice but to continue expressing admiration for the man who made the last American president’s eight years so difficult.
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Russia says no substantial difference with USA over Iran: RIA

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Iran Russia - Google Search

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Russia says no substantial difference with USA over Iran: RIA

Reuters-2 hours ago
Russia says no substantial difference with USA over Iran: RIA ... differences with the United States over the Iran nuclear deal, the RIA news ...
The strategic suicide of aligning with Russia in Syria
In-Depth-Chicago Tribune-Feb 8, 2017

Russia to use Iranian airbase to attack terrorists in Syria

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(TASS) The Russian Aerospace Forces will use Iran’s military infrastructure for operations against terrorists in Syria if Moscow and Tehran deem it necessary, Russian ambassador in the Islamic Republic Levan Dzhagaryan said in an interview with TASS.
“If the leadership of the two countries will consider it necessary to use the Iranian military infrastructure to combat terrorism in Syria or elsewhere, such steps will be taken,” the diplomat said.
In August 2016 Russian military used Shahid Nojed airbase in Iran to deliver airstrikes on terrorists in Syria. In December Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said Terhan was ready to consider Russia’s request on the use of the airbase but no talks on the issue were underway.

Reports on delivery of S-400 missile systems inconsistent with reality

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Dzhagaryan said the reports of Russia’s alleged plans to deliver S-400 antiaircraft missile systems to Iran are inconsistent with reality.
“Periodically appearing media reports about the possible delivery of S-400 complexes have nothing to do with reality,” he said.
By now, Moscow has fully closed a contract for the delivery of S-300 complexes to Iran, the Russian diplomat said.
“Last year, Russia finished completely the fulfillment of its obligations for the delivery of S-300 air defense systems to Iran,” the ambassador said.

Iran shows interest in many Russian projects

Iran takes interest in many Russian projects in the sphere of military-technical cooperation, including Sukhoi-27, Dzhagarian told TASS in an interview.
“Cooperation between Russia and Iran proceeds in many fields, including the military-technical sphere,” the diplomat said. “The two countries’ defense ministries are currently in talks at different levels on many projects of interest to Iran.”
“It is common knowledge that the Russian aerobatic demonstration team Russian Knights (flying Sukhoi-27 jets) participated in the Iran Airshow-2016 on Kish island last November,” Dzhagarian said. He recalled that Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan and a number of Iranian defense-industrial complex officials were able to see for themselves the capabilities of Russian planes.
“Hossein Dehghan also visited a static exhibition of Sukhoi-27 fighter jets,” the ambassador said.
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Iran: U.S. Will Pay Little Mind to Most Recent Missile Test

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According to Fox News, Iran launched a Mersad surface-to-air missile from the Semnan launch site Feb. 8 in its third missile test since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan denies the allegations. Regardless, it is odd that such an event is garnering attention at all. It is extremely common for countries to test surface-to-air missiles: The United States and other major military powers test similar missiles almost daily. It seems that U.S. media outlets may have confused concern over another planned launch with the one on Feb. 8.
Iran had been planning to launch what U.S. officials believed was a Safir rocket — a 2-stage expendable launch vehicle modeled off the Shahab ballistic missile family — from the Semnan launch facility, likely over the weekend in celebration of the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. But there were indications earlier this week that the mission had been cancelled, perhaps in an effort to contain tension between Iran and the United States. It is also probable that there are technical reasons for scrubbing the launch. Iran has tested only a few Safir rockets, the last in 2015, and is still perfecting its rocket launch technology. And it will, in fact, be perfected. Ballistic missiles are essentially sub-orbital flights of expendable launch vehicles and much of the technology is transferrable from one to the other, particularly when it comes to the rocket engine and navigational and related technologies.
The launch of the Mersad missile is of much less concern to the United States. It's an old air defense system that Tehran has been routinely testing in central Iran to develop a longer range variant. The United States is not likely to pay much attention to it, especially since Washington did not rise up over two other tests last weekend.
It is also worth noting that the launches have been decreasingly provocative. The first launch, which failed, was of a medium range ballistic missile and provoked U.S. sanctions. The second test was a series of launches of three different short-range missiles (ranging from 60 to 75 kilometers). It was part of a war games test that was announced before the ballistic missile test so was likely not intended as retaliation for the sanctions. The third test was of the Mersad system, which is of little import to Washington. So, whether the United States responds or not, Iran will continue to develop its missile program. The question is whether it does so offensively or defensively.

IRGC terrorist designation is correct response to Iran’s missile tests

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By Shahriar Kia, Opinion Contributor - 02/06/17 10:00 AM EST
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White House weighs designating Iran's...

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White House weighs designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group

Reuters - ‎Feb 7, 2017‎
WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is considering a proposal that could lead to potentially designating Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, according to U.S. officials familiar with ...

Trump's Reckless New Iran Provocation: Designating the IRGC

National Iranian American Council - ‎Feb 8, 2017‎
According to the New York Times and Reuters, the Trump administration is prepared to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) as soon as next week. This is an extremely provocative move by an ...

Trump cautioned against designating Iran's IRGC as terrorist organization

Press TV - ‎Feb 8, 2017‎
The White House has been weighing designating the IRGC – the elite arm of Iran's security forces -- and Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood as "Foreign Terrorist Organizations," Trump administration officials familiar with the matter told CNN. But, the ...

Report: Trump May Designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a Terrorist Group

Breitbart News - ‎Feb 8, 2017‎
Currently, the Trump administration “is considering a proposal that could lead to potentially designating Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization,” reports Reuters, adding that “the officials said several U ...
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IRGC - Google Search

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White House weighs designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a ...

Reuters-Feb 7, 2017
The IRGC is by far Iran's most powerful security entity, which also has control over large stakes in Iran's economy and huge influence in its ...
Trump's Reckless New Iran Provocation: Designating the IRGC
National Iranian American Council-Feb 8, 2017
US considers designating IRGC a terrorist group
International-Tehran Times-Feb 8, 2017
US Weighs Terror Label on Iran Revolutionary Guard, Muslim ...
Highly Cited-Wall Street Journal-Feb 8, 2017
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Time to turn up the heat on Iran | TheHill

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Time to turn up the heat on Iran

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Time to turn up the heat on Iran

The Hill (blog) - ‎15 hours ago‎
By testing their ballistic missiles in a provocative act last month, Iran's ayatollahs also tested the resolve of the new U.S. president. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn's promise of swift action should violations continue has turned the Obama ...

Why Trump Might Target Iran's Revolutionary Guard: QuickTake Q&A

Bloomberg - ‎16 hours ago‎
President Donald Trump's administration is weighing whether to list Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, a decision that would have economic, political and geopolitical implications because of the enormous might it wields. A ...

Warnings for White House on terror designation for Iran Revolutionary Guard

Chicago Tribune - ‎Feb 8, 2017‎
Senior defense and intelligence officials have cautioned the White House that a proposal to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization could endanger U.S. troops in Iraq and the overall fight against the Islamic ...

Report: Possible terrorist designation for Iran's Revolutionary Guard sparks concerns

Fox News - ‎Feb 9, 2017‎
Defense and intelligence officials have reportedly expressed concern over the possiblity that the Trump administration will at some point designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Officials said the designation could put U.S ...
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Amid tensions with U.S., Iran warns White House and lauds Americans opposing Trump

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US tensions with Iran could trigger an oil price rally this year

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US sanctions on Iran may lead to an oil price rally in 2017, according to economists at RBC Capital Markets.
The escalation in provocative Iranian military maneuvers could be the catalyst for US President Donald Trump to refuse to give Iran a positive quarterly certification – a requirement for the continued waiver of US congressional energy sanctions, they said.
Sanctions against the third-largest producer among the OPEC, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, will penalise foreign energy companies operating in Iran as well as countries that import crude from the nation. That could potentially take out a large part of the Iranian oil from the market and reduced supply could lead to a price rally.
This week Iran is reported to have conducted its first ballistic missile test since Trump took office. While such tests are not a direct violation of the nuclear deal, they are seemingly in contravention of the UN Security Council resolution. That resolution, while negotiated alongside the nuclear agreement, is separate and calls on Iran to not carry out any activity related to ballistic missiles “designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons.”

Here’s RBC’s OPEC risk scale

RBC’s note comes as three key OPEC countries, Iraq, Iran and Libya, are included in the Trump administration’s new immigration policies with different implications for oil. The three together produce almost 9 million barrels of crude a day.
In Iraq, the operations of US oil companies and energy firms could be affected if Iraq’s parliamentary measure calling for reciprocal restrictions on US nationals entering the country becomes law. There is a far less oil risk in Libya, but there could be a broader shift in US policy towards the country. While Saudi Arabia was not included, there are other issues of concern, namely a possible tax on US energy imports, RBC said.
Any sanctions on Iran would have an impact in the second half of the year, RBC said. If Iran were to cut its production in response to waning demand due to the sanctions, other OPEC members may seek to make up the difference through a partial reversal of cuts proposed in November, thus maintaining output, it said.

The chart below shows the demand from the largest importers of Iranian oil

While large importers of Iranian crude such as India and Turkey largely went along with US sanctions previously, it is far from certain that they would toe the line should the sanctions be reapplied, RBC said. India recently displaced China as the biggest importer of Iranian crude and South Korea has also stepped up Iranian oil imports.
Crude traded at US$53.8 a barrel and is headed for a third weekly gain on estimates that OPEC has reached about 60 percent of its output-cut target.
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rally in Iran - Google Search

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Story image for rally in Iran from Reuters

Hundreds of thousands rally in Iran against Trump, chant 'Death to ...

Reuters-25 minutes ago
Iranian leading religious and political figures, including Pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani had called on Iranians to join the rally on Friday ...
Iranians celebrate 1979 revolution with rallies
Charlotte Observer-5 hours ago
Donald Trump is helping Iran's radicals
The Economist-19 hours ago

Thousands commemorate Iran National Day by protesting - YouTube

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Published on Feb 10, 2017
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied across Iran on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following U.S. President Donald Trump's warning that he had put the Islamic Republic 'on notice'.
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Hundreds of thousands rally in Iran against Trump

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  • Rallies in Tehran after calls to show Iranians are not frightened by US 'threats'
  • It marked the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution
  • US flags were burned and crowds chanted 'Death to America' at large demo
  • Trump has put Iran 'on notice' after reacting angrily to a missile test
Published: 03:11 EST, 10 February 2017 Updated: 05:14 EST, 10 February 2017
US and Israeli flags were burned at the rally, held to mark the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran
Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have rallied across Iran today carrying effigies of US President Donald Trump and chanting 'Death to America'.
The huge crowds responded to a call from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who called on citizens to demonstrate that Iran is not frightened of American 'threats'.
Trump declared that he has put the Islamic Republic 'on notice' and Iran is one of seven countries on the administration's 'travel ban' list, which is being challenged in US courts. 
Demonstrators in Tehran marched towards the Azadi ( Freedom) Square to commemorate the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed shah.
A young Iranian man told state TV: 'America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader Khamenei.'

Thousands commemorate Iran National Day by protesting
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Thousands of people joined the demonstration after calls by Iran's Supreme Leader to show the country is not frightened of American 'threats'
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Thousands of people joined the demonstration after calls by Iran's Supreme Leader to show the country is not frightened of American 'threats'
The show of force saw anti-American chanting and flag burning in Tehran
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The show of force saw anti-American chanting and flag burning in Tehran
Trump reacted angrily to an Iranian missile test on January 29 and imposed fresh sanctions on individuals and entities. Iran said it will not halt its missile programme.

THE 1979 ISLAMIC REVOLUTION IN IRAN 

The rally marks the 38th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, which saw the overthrow of the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
The Pahlavi dynasty was replaced by the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini following a lengthy civil resistance campaign, dating back to October 1977.
The Shah went into exile in January 1979, and on February 11 guerillas and rebel troops overwhelmed soldiers loyal to the Shah. 
Khomeini became the country's Supreme Leader, a position which was created in the Islamic Republic's constitution, making him the highest-ranking politican and religious authority in the country.
He was succeeded by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei after his death in 1989. 
Pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani also called on Iranians to join the rally on Friday to 'show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic'.
State television said millions turned out nationwide at revolution rallies in all main cities marked by the traditional anti-US and anti-Israel slogans and the burning of US flags.
On social media, like Twitter and Facebook, many Iranians used the hashtag of #LoveBeyondFlags, urging an end to flag-burning during the anniversary.
They also thanked Americans for opposing Trump's executive order banning travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran. Trump's travel ban is being challenged in US courts.
Both US-based social media sites are blocked in Iran by a wide-reaching government censor but they are still commonly used by millions of Iranians who use special software to get around the restrictions. Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have Twitter and Facebook accounts despite the ban.
Trump has criticised a nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States and other major powers in 2015 aimed at curbing the country's nuclear work.
Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted last year under the deal.
Huge crowds gathered in Tehran in a show of strength against the Trump administration which has put Iran 'on notice'
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Huge crowds gathered in Tehran in a show of strength against the Trump administration which has put Iran 'on notice'
Trump declared that he has put the Islamic Republic 'on notice' and Iran is one of seven countries on the administration's 'travel ban' list, which is being challenged in US courts
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Trump declared that he has put the Islamic Republic 'on notice' and Iran is one of seven countries on the administration's 'travel ban' list, which is being challenged in US courts

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Hundreds of thousands rally in Iran against Trump, chant Death to America: TV

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Polarizing HHS nominee confirmed by Senate on party-line vote - Washington Post

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Polarizing HHS nominee confirmed by Senate on party-line vote
Washington Post
A polarized Senate voted early Friday morning to confirm Tom Price, the conservative Georgia congressman who has been one of Congress's most vehement opponents of the Affordable Care Act, as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services ...
Tom Price Is Confirmed as Health SecretaryNew York Times
Senate confirms Trump's Health chiefThe Hill
Senate confirms Obamacare opponent Price to lead health departmentPolitico
U.S. News & World Report -NPR -Los Angeles Times -NBCNews.com
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AP Top Stories Feb. 9 P - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
Here are the top stories for Thursday, February 9th: Trump summons senators for pitch for Gorsuch; Powerful snowstorm pummels northeast; Sessions sworn in as Attorney General; and an orange alligator on the loose in South Carolina.

James Clapper comments on Trump's travel ban - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
The nation's former spy chief said he worries the Trump administration's recent travel ban targeting citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries is damaging to US interests and that he's not aware of any intelligence necessitating the ban.

The Next Step to Stop 'IS Group'? CIA Chief in Turkey to Discuss Strategy on the Ground (part 1) - YouTube

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In executive actions, President Trump vows crackdown on violent crime. Is America as unsafe as he thinks?

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President Trump watches as Jeff Sessions, alongside his wife, Mary, is sworn in as attorney general by Vice President  Pence. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump signed three executive actions Thursday designed to crack down on violence in America, directing the Department of Justice to form a task force and take other steps to target criminal gangs and reduce violent crime and crime against police.
Trump has long held a pessimistic view of how safe people are in the U.S., declaring in his inaugural address that the “American carnage” would stop with his presidency. As his new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was sworn in Thursday, Trump said he was signing the executive actions to “restore safety in America.”
“First, I’m directing Department of Justice & Homeland Security to undertake all necessary and lawful action to break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth and other people, many other people,” Trump said. “Secondly, I’m directing Department of Justice to form a task force on reducing violent crime in America. And thirdly, I’m directing the Department of Justice to implement a plan to stop crime and crimes of violence against law enforcement officers.”
But Trump has, in the past, misstated crime statistics or not presented them in the proper context, presenting a somewhat bleaker view than perhaps is warranted. He has accurately cited a statistic from the Brennan Center for Justice, which found that, in the largest 30 cities, homicides increased by 14 percent from 2015 to 2016. But in that data set, one outlier city — Chicago — was responsible for 43.7 percent of the total increase in homicide rates in 2016.
The latest FBI data show a more than 10 percent increase in murder and non-negligent manslaughter from 2014 to 2015. But the murder rate is down even from as recently as 2009, and it has been declining — with a few upward blips — since the height of the crack epidemic in the early 1990s.
Nonetheless, Sessions said in his own remarks that America had “a crime problem,” and it was no mere anomaly.
“I wish the rise that we are seeing in crime in America today were some sort of aberration or a blip,” he said. “My best judgment, having been involved in criminal law enforcement for many years, is that this is a dangerous, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk. We will deploy the talents and abilities of the Department of Justice in the most effective way possible to confront this rise in crime and to protect the people of our country.”
Sessions mentioned violent crime in his remarks even before terrorism, indicating just how high a priority it might become in his Justice Department.
Trump issued executive orders on three topics — gangs, violent crime in general, and violence against police particularly. They contained mostly broad directives, which Sessions presumably will be left to implement.
On crime in general, Trump ordered the creation of a task force to study existing laws and crime data collection and “develop strategies to reduce crime.” The task force is to submit a report to him within a year.  On gangs, he ordered beefed up enforcement and the issuance of once quarterly public reports “detailing convictions in the United States relating to transnational criminal organizations and their subsidiaries” He asked for a broader progress report for himself in 120 days.
On violence against police, Trump ordered prosecutors to develop a strategy to use existing laws to prosecute those who harm law enforcement officers and to “review existing Federal laws to determine whether those laws are adequate to address the protection” of police. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were 135 officers killed in 2016, up from 123 the year before, and 64 were shot and killed, up from 41 the year before.
“It’s a shame what’s been happening to our great, truly great, law enforcement officers,” Trump said. “That’s going to stop, as of today.”
Trump has cast himself as a pro-law enforcement candidate since the campaign trail. Some advocates worry that he is not adequately concerned, though, with police abuses and those killed by police.
Some cities in recent years, including Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and Charlotte, have seen protests and violence erupt after incidents of black men being killed at the hands of law enforcement officers. The Justice Department under President Barack Obama sent mediators to those cities to try to keep the peace. The Obama administration also aggressively investigated the police with systemic reviews of entire departments to address the root cause of conflict between law enforcement and residents.
Neither Trump nor his attorney general mentioned such investigations at the swearing-in ceremony. On the White House website, the Trump administration has hinted at a crackdown on protests. “Our job is not to make life more comfortable for the rioter, the looter, or the violent disrupter,” the site says.
Sessions, though, did note another issue of importance to him: immigration. That is significant, as the Justice Department is in the midst of a heated court battle to defend Trump’s now-frozen executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
“We need a lawful system of immigration — one that serves the interests of the people of the United States,” Sessions said. “That’s not wrong, that’s not immoral, that’s not indecent. We admit a million people a year plus, lawfully, and we need to end this lawlessness that threatens the public safety, pulls down wages of working Americans.”
This post was updated after the full text of the executive orders was released.
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Presidential Executive Order on Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers | whitehouse.gov

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Executive Order on Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers

EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - -
PREVENTING VIOLENCE AGAINST FEDERAL, STATE, TRIBAL,
AND LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1.  Policy.  It shall be the policy of the executive branch to:
(a)  enforce all Federal laws in order to enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, and thereby all Americans;
(b)  develop strategies, in a process led by the Department of Justice (Department) and within the boundaries of the Constitution and existing Federal laws, to further enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers; and
(c)  pursue appropriate legislation, consistent with the Constitution's regime of limited and enumerated Federal powers, that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.
Sec. 2.  Implementation.  In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 1 of this order, the Attorney General shall:
(a)  develop a strategy for the Department's use of existing Federal laws to prosecute individuals who commit or attempt to commit crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers;
(b)  coordinate with State, tribal, and local governments, and with law enforcement agencies at all levels, including other Federal agencies, in prosecuting crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers in order to advance adequate multi-jurisdiction prosecution efforts;
(c)  review existing Federal laws to determine whether those laws are adequate to address the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers;
(d)  following that review, and in coordination with other Federal agencies, as appropriate, make recommendations to the President for legislation to address the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, including, if warranted, legislation defining new crimes of violence and establishing new mandatory minimum sentences for existing crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, as well as for related crimes;
(e)  coordinate with other Federal agencies to develop an executive branch strategy to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers;
(f)  thoroughly evaluate all grant funding programs currently administered by the Department to determine the extent to which its grant funding supports and protects Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers; and
(g)  recommend to the President any changes to grant funding, based on the evaluation required by subsection (f) of this section, including recommendations for legislation, as appropriate, to adequately support and protect Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.
Sec. 3.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
    February 9, 2017
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Presidential Executive Order on a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety | whitehouse.gov

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Executive Order on a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety

EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - -
TASK FORCE ON CRIME REDUCTION AND PUBLIC SAFETY

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to reduce crime and restore public safety to communities across the Nation, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1.  Policy.  It shall be the policy of the executive branch to reduce crime in America.  Many communities across the Nation are suffering from high rates of violent crime.  A focus on law and order and the safety and security of the American people requires a commitment to enforcing the law and developing policies that comprehensively address illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime.  The Department of Justice shall take the lead on Federal actions to support law enforcement efforts nationwide and to collaborate with State, tribal, and local jurisdictions to restore public safety to all of our communities.
Sec. 2.  Task Force.  (a)  In furtherance of the policy described in section 1 of this order, I hereby direct the Attorney General to establish, and to appoint or designate an individual or individuals to chair, a Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety (Task Force).  The Attorney General shall, to the extent permitted by law, provide administrative support and funding for the Task Force.  
(b)  The Attorney General shall determine the characteristics of the Task Force, which shall be composed of individuals appointed or designated by him.
(c)  The Task Force shall: 
(i)    exchange information and ideas among its members that will be useful in developing strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime;
(ii)   based on that exchange of information and ideas, develop strategies to reduce crime;
(iii)  identify deficiencies in existing laws that have made them less effective in reducing crime and propose new legislation that could be enacted to improve public safety and reduce crime;
(iv)   evaluate the availability and adequacy of crime-related data and identify measures that could improve data collection in a manner that will aid in the understanding of crime trends and in the reduction of crime; and
(v)    conduct any other studies and develop any other recommendations as directed by the Attorney General.
(d)  The Task Force shall meet as required by the Attorney General and shall be dissolved once it has accomplished the objectives set forth in subsection (c) of this section, as determined by the Attorney General.
(e)  The Task Force shall submit at least one report to the President within 1 year from the date of this order, and a subsequent report at least once per year thereafter while the Task Force remains in existence.  The structure of the report is left to the discretion of the Attorney General.  In its first report to the President and in any subsequent reports, the Task Force shall summarize its findings and recommendations under subsections (c)(ii) through (c)(v) of this section.
Sec. 3.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
    February 9, 2017
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Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking | whitehouse.gov

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking

EXECUTIVE ORDER
- - - - - - - 
ENFORCING FEDERAL LAW WITH RESPECT TO TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ORGANIZATIONS AND PREVENTING INTERNATIONAL TRAFFICKING
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1.  Purpose.  Transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including transnational drug cartels, have spread throughout the Nation, threatening the safety of the United States and its citizens.  These organizations derive revenue through widespread illegal conduct, including acts of violence and abuse that exhibit a wanton disregard for human life.  They, for example, have been known to commit brutal murders, rapes, and other barbaric acts.
These groups are drivers of crime, corruption, violence, and misery.  In particular, the trafficking by cartels of controlled substances has triggered a resurgence in deadly drug abuse and a corresponding rise in violent crime related to drugs.  Likewise, the trafficking and smuggling of human beings by transnational criminal groups risks creating a humanitarian crisis.  These crimes, along with many others, are enriching and empowering these organizations to the detriment of the American people.
A comprehensive and decisive approach is required to dismantle these organized crime syndicates and restore safety for the American people.
Sec. 2.  Policy.  It shall be the policy of the executive branch to:
(a)  strengthen enforcement of Federal law in order to thwart transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including criminal gangs, cartels, racketeering organizations, and other groups engaged in illicit activities that present a threat to public safety and national security and that are related to, for example: 
(i)    the illegal smuggling and trafficking of humans, drugs or other substances, wildlife, and weapons;
(ii)   corruption, cybercrime, fraud, financial crimes, and intellectual-property theft; or
(iii)  the illegal concealment or transfer of proceeds derived from such illicit activities.
(b)  ensure that Federal law enforcement agencies give a high priority and devote sufficient resources to efforts to identify, interdict, disrupt, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including through the investigation, apprehension, and prosecution of members of such organizations, the extradition of members of such organizations to face justice in the United States and, where appropriate and to the extent permitted by law, the swift removal from the United States of foreign nationals who are members of such organizations;
(c)  maximize the extent to which all Federal agencies share information and coordinate with Federal law enforcement agencies, as permitted by law, in order to identify, interdict, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations;
(d)  enhance cooperation with foreign counterparts against transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including, where appropriate and permitted by law, through sharing of intelligence and law enforcement information and through increased security sector assistance to foreign partners by the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security; 
(e)  develop strategies, under the guidance of the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, to maximize coordination among agencies -- such as through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Special Operations Division, the OCDETF Fusion Center, and the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center -- to counter the crimes described in subsection (a) of this section, consistent with applicable Federal law; and
(f)  pursue and support additional efforts to prevent the operational success of transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations within and beyond the United States, to include prosecution of ancillary criminal offenses, such as immigration fraud and visa fraud, and the seizure of the implements of such organizations and forfeiture of the proceeds of their criminal activity.
Sec. 3.  Implementation.  In furtherance of the policy set forth in section 2 of this order, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Director of National Intelligence, or their designees, shall co chair and direct the existing interagency Threat Mitigation Working Group (TMWG), which shall:
(a)  work to support and improve the coordination of Federal agencies' efforts to identify, interdict, investigate, prosecute, and dismantle transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations within and beyond the United States;
(b)  work to improve Federal agencies' provision, collection, reporting, and sharing of, and access to, data relevant to Federal efforts against transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations;
(c)  work to increase intelligence and law enforcement information sharing with foreign partners battling transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, and to enhance international operational capabilities and cooperation;
(d)  assess Federal agencies' allocation of monetary and personnel resources for identifying, interdicting, and dismantling transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, as well as any resources that should be redirected toward these efforts;
(e)  identify Federal agencies' practices, any absence of practices, and funding needs that might hinder Federal efforts to effectively combat transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations;
(f)  review relevant Federal laws to determine existing ways in which to identify, interdict, and disrupt the activity of transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, and ascertain which statutory authorities, including provisions under the Immigration and Nationality Act, could be better enforced or amended to prevent foreign members of these organizations or their associates from obtaining entry into the United States and from exploiting the United States immigration system;
(g)  in the interest of transparency and public safety, and in compliance with all applicable law, including the Privacy Act, issue reports at least once per quarter detailing convictions in the United States relating to transnational criminal organizations and their subsidiaries;
(h)  to the extent deemed useful by the Co-Chairs, and in their discretion, identify methods for Federal agencies to coordinate, as permitted by law, with State, tribal, and local governments and law enforcement agencies, foreign law enforcement partners, public-health organizations, and non governmental organizations in order to aid in the identification, interdiction, and dismantling of transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations;
(i)  to the extent deemed useful by the Co-Chairs, and in their discretion, consult with the Office of National Drug Control Policy in implementing this order; and
(j)  within 120 days of the date of this order, submit to the President a report on transnational criminal organizations and subsidiary organizations, including the extent of penetration of such organizations into the United States, and issue additional reports annually thereafter to describe the progress made in combating these criminal organizations, along with any recommended actions for dismantling them.
Sec. 4.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
    February 9, 2017
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Trump signs executive actions aimed at crime crackdown

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By Jordan Fabian - 02/09/17 11:27 AM EST
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Trump Signs Criminal Justice Executive Actions - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
Following the swearing-in of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump signed three executive actions, including an order to have the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security tackle the problem of "criminal cartels." (Feb. 9)

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Конгрессмены не дадут Трампу отменить санкции против Кремля без их одобрения - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
Группа из шести сенаторов, включая влиятельного республиканца Маккейна, внесла на рассмотрение конгресса США законопроект, который свяжет Дональду Трампу руки, если он решится на снятие санкций с Москвы.

Iran conducts missile launch after new US sanctions - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
Reaction from Dr. Walid Phares, former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign and a Fox News national security and foreign affairs analyst

Trump VS Nordstrom: Do US president's tweets raise ethical concerns? - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
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Trump VS Nordstrom: Do US president's tweets raise ethical concerns?

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Russian Review Act: US senators seek veto power to block dropping sanctions - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
If Donald Trump tries to ease sanctions against Russia, he could hit a cross-party firewall in Congress. That's as Democrat and Republican Senators are trying to introduce an act to counter the president. With the details in Washington Gayane Chichakyan reports. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/82ns

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Минобороны РФ: в Идлибе не применялись комплексы "Точка-У" - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
Подпишитесь на канал Россия24: https://www.youtube.com/c/russia24tv?...
Как сообщил официальный представитель Минобороны России генерал-майор Игорь Конашенков, ни одного случая нанесения ударов по сирийской оппозиции в провинции Идлиб с использованием комплексов "Точка-У" Россия и Турция не зафиксировали.

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France: Louvre attack suspect ‘did not act on orders from IS group’ - YouTube

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Published on Feb 9, 2017
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The main suspect in last week’s machete attack on four soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris told authorities he had acted alone, sources close to the investigation said on Wednesday.

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