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Caucasus Crisis

renukb
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 12 Sep 2008 12:31

Good and peaceful times ahead for the world if McCain wins :!:

Palin leaves open option of war with Russia
Updated Thu. Sep. 11 2008 8:40 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

In her first interview with the media since being picked as Republican John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin said that Georgia should join NATO and war might be necessary if Russia invaded the country again.

In the excerpts from the first of three interviews with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Palin advocated the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.

When asked if the U.S. would go to war if Russia again if it attacked Georgia, the Alaska governor said: ""Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help. When did Georgia became a NATO ally? She seems to be ill informed.... :x

"And we've got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable."

On other questions of foreign policy and security, Palin towed the Republican line.

She was hawkish on the defence of Israel saying, "I don't think we should second guess the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves and for their security."

Palin did not provide a straight answer when asked if the U.S. should be able to go into Pakistan to pursue terrorists along the Afghanistan border.

"Is that a yes?" Gibson asked her. "That you think we have the right to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government, to go after terrorists who are in the Waziristan area?"

Palin responded saying: "I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table."

However, her running mate McCain said in July that he would not chase even Osama bin Laden into Pakistan because it's a sovereign nation.

In the interview, Palin seems to not understand a question about whether she supports the Bush doctrine, and Gibson explains the doctrine to her. The doctrine, which states the U.S. has the right to a pre-emptive strike against a nation if it thinks it may attack it, is considered one of the keys to the White House's foreign policy.

Defends experience


Palin, who has yet to serve two years as governor and used to be mayor of a town of 7,000, said she didn't hesitate when asked by McCain to be his vice-presidential nominee.


"I answered him 'Yes' because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war."


"You can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate," Palin, 44, said.


Gibson also questioned Palin about a quote she previously made in an Alaskan church saying, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God" and asked if she thought the U.S. was fighting a holy war.


Palin said she was referring to an Abraham Lincoln quote and said," I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words."


Then when asked about her son Track, who is going to Iraq, was on a mission from God, she said she didn't know.


"I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie," Palin said.


Palin hiding from questions


Since her Sept. 3 speech at the Republican convention, Palin has not given an interview until the ABC interview and has been working with a number of Bush White House aides on getting her up to speed on foreign and national policy.


The introduction of Palin to the Republican ticket rocketed McCain into a slight lead or dead heat in national polls over Democratic nominee Barack Obama.


Palin has so far not faced the questions raised shortly after her nomination. She has repeatedly said she shut down the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," when in fact she was originally a supporter of it.


She has promoted herself as a governor against earmark projects, but her record does not indicate that.


Palin is also under investigation by an Alaskan ethics committee for her firing of the state's public safety commissioner for allegedly not bowing to her demands to fire her brother-in-law.


Palin has also been quiet while campaigning, and has stuck basically to the same speech she gave at the convention.


Reporters have been told by the McCain campaign that all Palin flights are to be off the record, which some reporters have objected to.


There is no word when Palin will do more interviews.


McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told reporters that Palin will"agree to an interview when we think it's time and when she feels comfortable doing it."


Palin, on TV, Says U.S. Should Defend Its Allies

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Igorr » 12 Sep 2008 16:21

Funny! :mrgreen:
David Miliband four-letter abuse from Russian foreign minister

I have been told of an astonishing telephone conversation between David Miliband and his Russian counterpart, Sergi Lavrov in which the Foreign Secretary had to endure a four-letter word tirade.


David Miliband was reportedly give short shrift by Sergi Lavrov

Mr Miliband spoke to the Russian foreign minister - a veteran not known for diplomatic niceties - to express British unease at events in Georgia. It seems Mr Lavrov didn't like being lectured by young Miliband.

Such was the repeated use of the "F word" according to one insider who has seen the transcript, it was difficult to draft a readable note of the conversation.

One unconfirmed report suggested that Mr Lavrov said: "Who are you to f------ lecture me?"

He also asked Mr Miliband in equally blunt terms whether he knew anything of Russia's history?

One Whitehall insider told me: "It was effing this and effing that. It was not what you would call diplomatic language. It was rather shocking."

The Foreign Secretary had been putting forward Britain and Europe's objections to the actions of Russian which began when their tanks rolled into the breakaway region of South Ossetia last month. Mr Miliband has said that Europe should reassess its ties with Russia after its "aggressive" behaviour.

It is also understood that Mr Miliband was asked about Britain and America's invasion of Iraq, when Russian actions in Georgia were questioned, during the tense conversation that took place recently.

Sources at the Foreign Office confirmed there was swearing "but only from side". A spokesman for the Foreign Secretary said: "We do not discuss diplomatic conversations between foreign ministers."

Mr Lavrov, who was promoted under Vladimir Putin, has developed a reputation as the fearsome face of Russia's new aggressive foreign policy. When he held the position as Russia's man at the United Nations in New York he developed a reputation as fierce critic of other nations.

But Mr Miliband is unlikely to have experienced anything quite so bruising in his year as Foreign Secretary than being told some home truths by a grizzled veteran of the international scene. Even the slap down from MPs supporting Mr Brown after the Foreign Secretary's "leadership bid" article in July when he was accused of treachery, was not as bad.

Mr Lavrov has been highly critical of the way that the Russian move into Georgia has been portrayed by the West. He has criticised what he described as a "truly David and Goliath interpretation" of the conflict in which "the plucky republic of Georgia, with just a few million citizens, was attacked by its giant eastern neighbour".

After that sort of bawling out anything Gordon Brown and his allies can muster in response to Miliband's leadership ambitions is likely to be small beer.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 12 Sep 2008 16:30

Yes,poor Milliband ,pretender to No.10 had to endure a special ticking off from his Russian counterpart.Milliband is being criticised within the UK for also shooting off his diplomatic "gun" in similar fashion as did Saakashvili,without bothering to ascertain the true facts of the crisis,which was a US/CIA sponsored attack on S.Ossetia.The very fact that Saakashvili timed his attack while Pres.Medvedev was on holiday and Premier Putin was at the Olympics,within one month after a visit from US Sec. of State Condy Rice,speaks for itself.Milliband is now an object of ridicule of his EU counterparts who were wiser and more sober in their criticism of Russia unlike the US and its poodle Britain.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 12 Sep 2008 22:34

http://www.alternet.org/audits/98501/is_cnn_getting_kicked_out_of_russia/
Is CNN Getting Kicked Out of Russia? By Yasha Levine, eXiled Online. Posted September 12, 2008. Putin may strip CNN of its Russian broadcasting rights after it refused to air a 30 minute exclusive interview he gave the network.

You probably didn't know that CNN censored Putin for being just too darn sensible. Yep, it's true. About two weeks ago, Putin gave the network an exclusive 30-minute interview. And you know what happened? Nothing. It was never allowed to air. CNN doesn't know it yet, but that decision might have cost them their Russian broadcasting rights.

On August 29, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met with senior political correspondent Matthew Chance for a CNN exclusive interview. "This was unprecedented access to Russia's powerful prime minister, the former KGB spy now increasingly at odds with Washington," an overly dramatic voice-over introduced the segment as Chance and Putin enjoyed pre-game banter and a walk through the courtyard of Putin's palatial Sochi residence. Once seated, Chance didn't waste any time with his provocative questions:


Matthew Chance: But it's been no secret either that for years you've been urging the West to take more seriously Russia's concerns about international issues. For instance, about NATO's expansion, about deployment of missile defense systems in eastern Europe. Wasn't this conflict a way of demonstrating that in this region, it's Russia that's the power, not NATO and certainly not the United States?

Vladimir Putin: Of course not. What is more, we did not seek such conflicts and do not want them in the future.

That this conflict has taken place -- that it broke out nevertheless -- is only due to the fact that no one had heeded our concerns.

I think both you and your -- our -- viewers today will be interested to learn a little more about the history of relations between the peoples and ethnic groups in this regions of the world. Because people know little or nothing about it.

If you think that this is unimportant, you may cut it from the program. Don't hesitate, I wouldn't mind.


It was a prescient comment. Not only did CNN delete Putin's historical roundup of relations between Russia, Georgia and South Ossetia going back to the 18th century that followed, the network cut out almost everything else as well. Despite the "unprecedented access" hook, for its U.S. feed, CNN reduced the 30-minute interview into a series of sound bites that seized and ridiculed Putin's crackpot theory that the Republican party started the war to boost McCain's ratings. CNN's international audience, enjoying the news from hotel rooms all round the world, got to see a little more of the the footage. But most of it had to do with Russia's ridiculous "non political" decision to ban some American poultry importers from doing business with Russia because of their poor quality control standards. CNN's intentions were clear: Putin must come off looking like a fool. And it seemed Putin gave them the perfect material. Embargoes on dead chickens and global neocon conspiracies? Gosh, what serious self-respecting world leader would start talking this kind of gibberish? Even Ahmadinejad doesn't sink that low. Well, the chicken meat embargo might have been a little weak, but the neocon conspiracy I'm not so sure about. But more on that later. (You can see the heavily edited interview clips on CNN website, but the network never made the full version available. But you can see it on Russian TV.)

Not surprisingly, this didn't go down none too good with the Prime Minister. See, as it turns out, when Putin told CNN he wouldn't mind if they cut some of his comments, he wasn't exactly being honest. Not only did he mind, but he was sovereignly pissed off to find the entire interview censored. After all, he is the one that usually does the censoring. And it's not like he gives out TV interviews every month, or even every year. If I'm not mistaken, the last interview Putin gave to American TV was waaaay back in 2000, when he was on Larry King Live making crude comments about the sinking of the Kursk submarine.


And then there's the issue of Saakashvili's CNN time. Just in the past month, Saakashvili has appeared a dozen times on the network giving interviews averaging 5 to 10 minutes each. As CNN correctly pointed out, Putin is a former KGB spy, so he knows all the details, down to the nearest second. And that's exactly why he's taken it as a personal insult from CNN's headquarters (and probably more proof of an international media/government conspiracy against him). But he just might have the last word.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 12 Sep 2008 22:42


Ameet
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Ameet » 12 Sep 2008 23:15

renukb wrote:Good and peaceful times ahead for the world if McCain wins :!:

Palin leaves open option of war with Russia
Updated Thu. Sep. 11 2008 8:40 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

In her first interview with the media since being picked as Republican John McCain's running mate, Sarah Palin said that Georgia should join NATO and war might be necessary if Russia invaded the country again.

In the excerpts from the first of three interviews with ABC News' Charlie Gibson, Palin advocated the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.

When asked if the U.S. would go to war if Russia again if it attacked Georgia, the Alaska governor said: ""Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help. When did Georgia became a NATO ally? She seems to be ill informed.... :x
[/b][/url]



Medvedev condemns Georgia NATO membership promise
http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/news/intern ... 8000&ty=ti


MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday NATO's promise to extend membership to Georgia was unjust, humiliating and intolerable to Moscow.

Briefing Russia experts, Medvedev compared Georgia's attack last month on its rebel, pro-Russian enclave of South Ossetia to the al Qaeda attacks on the United States which killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.

He said Russia -- which responded by sending troops and tanks deep into Georgia and routing it in a five-day war -- would have acted just as decisively if the former Soviet republic had already had a roadmap for NATO membership instead of just a promise of future entry.

"NATO won't become stronger this way, global tensions won't be reduced. What if Georgia had a NATO membership action plan? I would not wait for a second in making the decision I made at that time. What would the consequences be? They could be much worse," he said.

NATO's treaty provides for member states mutually to defend each other against aggression. The membership action plan does not provide the same protection, but members may nevertheless feel obliged to intervene.

Georgian membership would be a destabilising factor, both for the Western military alliance and for the volatile Caucasus region, Medvedev said in an impassioned presentation to the annual meeting of the Valdai Club, which groups journalists and Russia analysts.

"The situation is not fair to Russia, it is humiliating to Russia and we are not going to tolerate this any longer."

CHANGED WORLD

He said Georgia's attack on South Ossetia and the West's failure to back Russia had exposed as an illusion any lingering belief in Russia that the world was a just place.

"The world has changed. Almost immediately after the events in the Caucasus it occurred to me that August 8 was for us almost what 9/11 was for the United States.

"The United States and the whole of humanity drew many lessons from September 11, 2001. I would like to see August 8, 2008 result in many useful lessons as well."

Respect for international law, a more effective global security system and a shift away from U.S. dominance of international diplomacy were among the goals he listed.

Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and many other Russian officials have publicly accused Washington of emboldening Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to attack the breakaway region of South Ossetia last month.

Russia responded by sending in its tanks to "muzzle Saakashvili". Hundreds died and tens of thousands were displaced in the five-day war.

Saakashvili set his sights on war after a visit by "Russia's very close partner" U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Medvedev said.

"Washington was giving Georgia the sense that Russia would not interfere, we didn't have the will or capacity," he added.

"These foreign policy failures by the United States and Georgia will be studied in foreign policy text books. In the case of Georgia it was also a crime."

The Russian president balanced his remarks by saying he did not believe the Caucasus crisis had caused a faultline in relations between Russia and the West, which would lead to another long period of confrontation.

"We don't need this," he said.

"We don't want to become a militarised country behind an iron curtain -- it's a bore, I've been there."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 13 Sep 2008 19:19

The Russian president balanced his remarks by saying he did not believe the Caucasus crisis had caused a faultline in relations between Russia and the West, which would lead to another long period of confrontation.

"We don't need this," he said.

"We don't want to become a militarised country behind an iron curtain -- it's a bore, I've been there."


They know their own limitations as well as limitations of the US. However, it is another matter, that some people in US do not know their own limitations. Russian strategy is good, most of Europe will buy that (I mean "old Europe").

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Sep 2008 20:56



renukb
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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Sep 2008 21:20

Russia warns Ukraine it will retaliate over Nato

By Anne Penketh, Diplomatic Editor
Thursday, 11 September 2008

Russia has given its most explicit warning to date of the kind of punishment that Ukraine can expect if the former Soviet republic continues along the path towards membership of Nato.

"The expansion of Nato is seen in Russia as a hostile action. We will never accept this. We cannot block expansion of Nato but we can take measures to ensure our security," the Russian ambassador to Britain, Yuri Fedotov, said in an interview.

Ukraine's pro-Western government of President Viktor Yushchenko is campaigning to take his country into the EU and Nato. Russia's fierce opposition to Nato expansion on its borders has prompted fears of a possible military conflict with Ukraine that would dwarf the war in Georgia.

The envoy pointed out that Ukraine – a country of 46 million people – and neighbouring Russia were tightly linked historically, culturally and economically. "The borders are virtually open," he said.

"Should this country become a Nato member... it means that we should take some measures to protect ourselves, and this may have an impact on this multitude of relations, ties and connections. It might not only affect trade and economic relations but also people-to-people contacts," he said. The ambassador would not go into further details but said: "I hope that common sense will prevail and that Nato countries will think twice."

Mr Yushchenko's own government is divided on the issue and collapsed last week as a result of tensions over the Georgia war.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has already served notice that Ukraine faces a 100 per cent increase in gas prices from next January. But the obvious flashpoint for any conflict would be over the Crimean Peninsula, the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.

Asked whether Russia would take military action against Ukraine, Mr Fedotov stressed that "actually Russia had no plans to take such action in Georgia". "But this action was precipitated by this stupid military intervention against the peaceful population in Tskhinvali."

He added: "I hope that people would take some lessons from what happened in South Ossetia."


Turning to relations with Britain, he blamed the British Government for the deterioration in ties since the expulsion of Russian diplomats in July 2007 over the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. He said Britain's decision last week to bar military pipers from a Red Square festival was "awkward" but unlikely to cause a further downturn.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Sep 2008 21:35

China To The Rescue
September 14, 2008: In Turkmenistan's capital, there was a clash with Islamic radicals, leaving twenty policemen dead. The fighting continues, with armored vehicles moving through the capital. This is not seen as the start of an uprising, but just another example of the government coming down hard, and successfully, on an Islamic radical group. These Central Asian nations know that, if they have too much trouble with Islamic radicals, they can call on Russia and China for additional help.

The center of Islamic radicalism remains the Ferghana Valley (which runs through Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.) This fertile area has, for centuries, been a regional center of population, commerce and culture. But the three governments have kept the pressure on to the extent that exiled terrorists continue to show up in Pakistan, and other parts of the world. Counter-terrorism forces in Central Asia spend most of their time tracking down Afghan drug smugglers. The heroin trade is where the money is, and money buys guns and manpower. The Islamic terrorists have few sources of funding, and eager young men is not, by itself, sufficient to make much happen.

The Russian invasion of Georgia last month made the Central Asian members (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), nervous. It reminded them that they are at the mercy of the Russians, and now the Russians have demonstrated a willingness and ability to revive their ancient imperialist attitudes. China, however, has been reassuring the Central Asian states that they can look east for protection from Russian aggression. This adds to the tensions between Russia and China. These two countries compete in trying to build pipelines for Central Asian oil and natural gas. The invasion of Georgia put a halt to any plans for building pipelines to the outside that avoid going through Russia or China.

The Central Asian nations refused to condemn Georgia, as Russia urged them to, because these nations are wary of Russian intentions. The Central Asian countries have Russian minorities (left over from the Soviet Union period) that are not treated well. There are also other minorities from neighboring countries (Russian conquerors drew the current borders in the 19th century, with a few 20th century tweaks by communist officials.) Russia has recently stated that it would defend Russians, and Russian business interests, wherever they are. Can Russia sticks to what it claimed? In that case, attack on Iran w/o Russian consent, on Irani Nook plant setup by Russia becomes HARD.

http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/casia/articles/20080914.aspx


Related link ... Does this Ring any bells to Russia ? India is too important for Russia.
U.S., China must stand together against Russia

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev recently made the Russian government's position very clear. In five, very succinct points, Medvedev articulated Russia's new foreign policy goals. He flatly rejected the primacy of the United States in the international system.

The president stated that the Russian government wants good relations with the United States and Europe. Yet, ironically, the good relations depend on their behavior toward Russia and not Russia's behavior toward them.

Most interestingly, Medvedev reserved the right for the Russian government to protect the interests of Russians. In other words, he declared the Russian government's right to intervene in the former Soviet Union - such as in Georgia - on behalf of Russian interests. And, further, he established a Russian doctrine of intervention that aims to protect Russian interests beyond the former Soviet Union.

The final point is perhaps the most critical one. Medvedev stated, "As is the case of other countries, there are regions in which Russia has privileged interests." This simply means the Russians take a particular interest in the former Soviet Union - a region with vast oil reserves that holds particular interest for the United States and its allies - and therefore intrusions by external powers could be regarded as a threat to Russia's special interests in the region. More than likely, Russian special interests comprise the constraint of Western access to the vast resources in the former Soviet Union as well as the creation of a buffer zone between Russia and the West.

Russia, in effect, unequivocally carved out its sphere of influence and rules of the new game in and beyond the former Soviet Union. But, can the Russian government get away with such an assertive foreign policy?

Indeed it can. Right now, no one is capable of challenging it.


The Russian government is well aware that the United States is vulnerable economically, because of the rocky economic situation at home, and militarily, because troops and resources are stretched thin.

U.S. forces also are tied down in the Middle East and are susceptible to Russian manipulations vis- -vis cooperation with anti-American regimes such as Syria and Iran.

Russia, with ties to Syria, could weaken the U.S. position in Iraq. Russian ties with the Iranian regime could be used to undermine U.S. efforts to deal with Iran and its nuclear weapons program. Indeed, Russia's influence extends beyond the Middle East. Recognizing the changing geo-strategic and geo-political environment, it could cooperate with regimes in South Asia, like Pakistan, in order to constrain U.S. efforts in the region.


That said, however, Russia lacks interest in a strong Islamic world. But the question remains whether Russia would leverage state actors in the Islamic world to control the U.S. position, specifically if the U.S. continues to pose challenges to Russia in the stationing of missile defense systems in the former Soviet bloc and expanding NATO membership to countries within the Russian sphere of influence.

The Russian government also knows the European Union holds a weak hand and is unable to counter effectively Russia's new foreign policy strategy. Even though the EU may want to take tough action against the Russian government, it is dependent on Russia for oil and gas supplies. The Russian government - although it is a risky strategy and certainly the Russians recognize this - could restrict energy supplies to the EU. Indeed, any disruption in the supply to the EU at this point could exacerbate the EU's already fragile economy. The EU therefore must temper its response to Russia's new assertiveness.

Because Russia has significant energy reserves, substantial nuclear assets and powerful influence in countries that pose challenges to U.S. national security, it makes unilateral or collective responses to a resurgent Russia downright difficult for both the United States and the EU.

One viable option is to balance against a rising Russia by deepening ties with China. Indeed, China, which shares a 2,672-mile border consisting primarily of flatlands with Russia, has little interest in a resurgent Russia on its northern border. Strengthening relations with China could prove to be one effective strategy to constrain Russia and its attempt to establish a new structure of relations in the former Soviet Union and beyond with Russia at its center. The United States could promote collaboration with China in the field of defense, outer space, technology and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

U.S.-China cooperation against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan proved effective during the Cold War. Deepening ties with China now could prove effective once again as it could serve as a balance against Russia in what appears to be an emerging primacy war between the United States and a resurgent Russia.


• Judith Norton is a doctoral candidate in the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs and a research associate with the UGA Center for International Trade and Security.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Sunday, September 14, 2008
Last edited by renukb on 14 Sep 2008 21:47, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Sep 2008 21:41

Russia Intends To Have A Permanent Military Presence In Mediterranean, Renovates Syrian Port

In order to strengthen its presence in the Mediterranean, Russian authorities announced that renovation work is underway at the Syrian port Tartus in preparation for the Russian fleet that intends to deploy there permanently The announcement is not only proof of the growing ties between Moscow and Damascus, but also shows how keen Russia is to become more involved in the Middle East region, and ensure that a permanent Russian military presence remains in the area.

In May this year Infolive.tv reported on Russia’s plans to strengthen its military presence in the region, at the time a Russian commander discussing plans to become a permanent presence in the Mediterranean, was quoted saying that Russia intends to conduct tactical exercises with real and simulated launches of sea and air based missiles and intends to call at a number of different ports in the region.

According to reports, on Friday the naval chiefs of both countries met in Moscow to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation and strengthening “mutual trust and mutual understanding between the two fleets.”In August Syrian President Bashar Assad conducted a two day visit to Moscow to secure the purchase of advance weapon systems including the S300 long range anti aircraft missile system. Earlier this year a delegation of Syrian military officials met with Russian defense officials in Moscow to discuss bilateral military and technical cooperation. During the visit members of the Syrian Air Force toured several defense industry plants and later agreed to purchase the latest Russian MiG-29SMT fighter jet. During the trip Syria also purchased 36 Pantsir SiE aur defense systems and organized the delivery of Strelets short range defense systems. At the time former Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy said Syria received some SA-22 missiles from Russia .

Whether such a large Russian presence at the Syrian port will hamper Israeli naval operations or intelligence gathering missions remains to be seen.09/13/08

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Sep 2008 21:50

Medvedev: Russia aims for Mideast peace

Russia's "sole intention is to assist with bringing peace that will benefit both Jews and Arabs," its president said.

Dmitry Medvedev, speaking Friday at the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual forum of opinion-makers in Moscow, told a reporter from the Israeli daily Ha'aretz that Russia has a different value system and intentions for its involvement in the Middle East than it did during the Soviet era.

An advisor to Medvedev, Oleg Tsatsourine, told Ha'aretz Friday that Russia "will not take any action that might alter the balance of power in the Middle East or compromise Russia's excellent relations with Israel."

During his speech, Medvedev also said he opposed a unilateral attack against Iran's nuclear facilities or a military solution to the crisis.

"The world does not need to tighten its sanctions on Iran at this time," he told the forum.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 14 Sep 2008 21:56

Berlin to press ahead with Baltic pipeline project amid U.S. criticism : BERLIN (IRNA)-- The German government will push ahead with plans for a joint German-Russian gas pipeline despite American criticism, government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm announced here Friday.
------------------------------------------------

Masters of Defeat: Retreating Empire and Bellicose Bluster
by James Petras / September 13th, 2008

Washington is forced to watch other powers shape events.

– Financial Times, August 25, 2008

Everywhere one looks, US imperial policy has suffered major military and diplomatic defeats. With the backing of the Democratic Congress, the Republican White House’s aggressive pursuit of a military approach to empire-building has led to a world-wide decline of US influence, the realignment of former client rulers toward imperial adversaries, the emergence of competing hegemons and loss of crucial sources of strategic raw materials. The defeats and losses have not dampened militaristic policies nor extinguished the drive for empire building. On the contrary, both the White House and the Congressional incumbents have embraced a hardening of military positions, reiterated a confrontational style of politics and an increased reliance on overseas, bellicose posturing to distract the domestic populace from its deteriorating economic conditions. As the economic and political cost of sustaining the empire increases, as the Federal government allocates hundreds of billions to the crises-ridden financial sector and cuts tens of billions in corporate taxes, avoiding collapse and recession, the entire economic burden is borne by the wage and salaried class in the form of declining living standards, while 12 million immigrant workers are subject to savage police state repression.

The overseas failures and domestic crises however have not led to progressive alternatives; the beneficiaries are overseas competitors and the domestic elite. In large part where public opinion majorities have expressed a desire or clamored for progressive alternatives, they have been thwarted by political representatives linked to militarist ideologues and the corporate elites.

Paradoxically the defeats and decline of US military directed empire building has been accompanied by the retreat of the anti-war movements in North America and Western Europe and the sharp decline of political parties and regimes opposing US imperialism in all the advanced capitalist countries. In other words, the defeats suffered by the US Empire have not been products of the Western Left, nor have they led to a ‘peace dividend’ or improved living standards for the working classes or peasants. To the extent that there are beneficiaries, they are found largely among the newly aspiring economic imperial countries, like China, Russia and India, among the oil rich countries of the Middle East, and especially among a broad swath of large agro-mineral export countries like Brazil, South Africa and Iran, which have carved out important niches in their region’s.

The growth and overseas expansion of the new economic empire building countries and their agro-mineral-financial ruling classes (with the possible exception of Venezuela) have greatly benefited a tiny elite, comprising not more than twenty percent of the population. The relative decline of US military imperialism and the rise of new economic imperialist powers have redistributed wealth and market share between countries but not among classes within the ascendant powers. While the militarists-Zionists-financial speculators rule the US Empire, the new billionaire manufacturers, real estate speculators and agro-mineral exporters rule the emerging economic empires.

The second paradox is found in the fact that the political forces militarily defeating the US military-centered empire are not the forces benefiting from the struggle.

While the Iraqi and Afghan resistance has imposed almost a trillion dollar cost on the US Treasury and tied down over 2 million rotating US troops over the past six years, it is the Chinese, Indian, Russian, European, Gulf Oil and financial ruling classes which have reaped the benefits from massive US non-productive expenditures. While the new economic beneficiaries are, in large part, secular, imperial and elitist, the politico-military forces undermining and defeating the US military empire are religious (Islamic), nationalist and mass-based.

The contemporary defeats of US military empire building are not a product of Western, secular, mass leftist movements. Nor do they result in a progressive, egalitarian society. Instead we have fast-growing highly unequal economies, led by ruling classes promoting their own ‘national’ versions of free market/neo-liberal strategies, which maximize profits through economic exploitation of labor, resource extraction and pillage of the environment. Until the mass movements, intellectuals and activists of the West break from their passivity and blind allegiance to the existing major parties, the defeat of US militarism will be a costly burden assumed by the masses of the Third World while the benefits will accrue to the rising new billionaire economic imperialists.

Masters of Defeat: Retreating Empire and Bellicose Bluster


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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby prabir » 14 Sep 2008 22:28

U.S.-China cooperation against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan proved effective during the Cold War. Deepening ties with China now could prove effective once again as it could serve as a balance against Russia in what appears to be an emerging primacy war between the United States and a resurgent Russia.

• Judith Norton is a doctoral candidate in the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs and a research associate with the UGA Center for International Trade and Security.


Why would China co-operate with US against Russia ? China will want to get the best from both ...... These so called research scholars think that they can consistently fool around in Asia.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Sanjay M » 15 Sep 2008 04:26

We see so many articles being published these days, dropping hints that China would object to Russian attacks on Georgia's "territorial integrity", as this would set precedents with "negative implications" for China's own territorial integrity. :roll:

Here's a more realistic Indian-authored analysis on the chances of China being roped in against the Russians:

http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers ... r2738.html

It's a good read.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 15 Sep 2008 11:07

Medvedev Guests Take Tough Message Home

Medvedev Guests Take Tough Message Home
15 September 2008
By Nabi Abdullaev / Staff Writer

President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday in a meeting with a group of Western political and academic specialists on Russia that last month's military conflict between Russia and Georgia demonstrated the current absence of a just international order.

Slipping on occasion into coarser language more commonly associated with his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Medvedev told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club that the existing system of global security as visualized by the United States could not guarantee that the "next Saakashvili would not go nuts" and use force against another people.

In early August, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili tried to regain control over the breakaway republic of South Ossetia with military force, only to be driven back and followed into Georgia by Russian forces. The conflict has raised strong concerns over the return of a more aggressive stance on Russia's part toward its neighbors.

Medvedev told the group that the major global players should return to the system of the 20th century, when he said countries were able to agree on principles of international justice and collective security.

In Friday's meeting, held in the reception hall of the GUM department store, opposite the Kremlin on Red Square, Medvedev echoed statements Putin made a day earlier during a meeting with the group in Sochi, reassuring them that Moscow was loath to slide back into a pattern of Cold War confrontation. But he also stressed that it saw former Soviet states as within Russia's natural sphere of influence.

On Friday, Medvedev described NATO's promise last April to ultimately extend membership to Georgia as "unjust," "humiliating" and "intolerable" for Moscow.

"NATO would not become stronger that way; global tensions would not be reduced," Medvedev said, referring to the alliance's consideration of membership for both Georgia and Ukraine.

He said a plan for Georgian membership in NATO would not have changed Russia's actions in last month's conflict.

"What if Georgia had a NATO Membership Action Plan? I would not hesitate for a second to making the same decision I made at that time," Medvedev said, adding that the consequences would have been even graver.


Medvedev also hinted at what has been a regular suggestion from the Russian side: that the United States had been behind the Georgian decision to use military force in South Ossetia.

Referring to Saakashvili using a pet dog's name, Medvedev described how the Georgian president had sought a meeting with him in the months preceding the conflict but said that after a visit to Georgia by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in July, it was "as if our boy was switched for someone else" and "began preparing for war."

Many of Medvedev's comments focused on the United States, including likening the meaning of Aug. 8 for Russians, the day Georgia attacked South Ossetia, to the importance Sept. 11 has for Americans following the 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

Speaking about U.S. moves to install anti-ballistic missile facilities in Central Europe, Medvedev dismissed Washington's assurances that the missile shield was not aimed at Russia but that it is intended to intercept possible future launches from Iran.

"It is directed exactly at us," he said. "No other variant is possible."

Medvedev also said he opposed the use of force against Iran as advocated by some hawks in Washington in order to curb its nuclear ambitions.

Issues addressed by Medvedev during the two-hour meeting covered a number of subjects, ranging from what he has famously labeled Russia's inveterate "legal nihilism" to establishing the ruble as a global reserve currency.

Valdai club members also met in Moscow with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Ministers Igor Shuvalov and Igor Sechin, deputy head of the Russia's General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn, and an opposition leader, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov.

Kasparov spoke of efforts to unite Russia's opposition, both on the left and the right, into a National Assembly that could act as an alternative parliament.

But the focus for the guests was the meetings with Medvedev and Putin.

The two delivered a basic message that Russia wants to return to business-as-usual relations with the West, said Alexander Rahr, a Russia expert at Germany's Council on Foreign Relations.

During the meeting, Medvedev called on Western elites to stop viewing Russia as an ideological heir of the Soviet Union and expressed hope that the current escalation of tensions in Russia's relations with the West would be brief.

Not everyone present was convinced that this was the direction developments would take.

Ariel Cohen, of the Washington-based Heritage Foundation think tank, said after the meeting that the lowest point in Russia's relations with the West has yet to come, after which cooperation will begin to develop again, RIA-Novosti reported.

Rahr said it appeared that Medvedev and Putin had coordinated their presentations and that "There was absolutely no feeling of any rivalry between them."

He also said the majority of the guests at the meeting departed convinced that Putin is still "running the show."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 15 Sep 2008 12:54

Analysis: Israeli arms sales won't push Russia into enemy hands

Russia is courting Syria in a way not seen since the days of the Cold War. Syria's President Bashar Assad is in Moscow for a two-day visit at the invitation of Dmitry Medvedev, his Russian counterpart.

Meanwhile, Russia has dispatched its only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, to the Syrian port of Tartus. Could all of this be a reaction to training and arms provided to the Georgian military by Israel? Absolutely not, according to Ra'anan Gissin, a strategic analyst and Ariel Sharon's former spokesman.

Gissin believes the Russia-Syria love affair is a direct result of Moscow's desire to reassert itself as a superpower.

"This isn't against us, it's part of a new global game," Gissin said. "The aircraft carrier to Syria is supposed to show that Russia has allies, and that it wants access to the Mediterranean. Israel, as a Western state, is merely one player in this global realignment. Russia is signalling in the strongest possible way that it is willing to activate its old Soviet military alliances."


In fact, sending an aircraft carrier to Syria has more to do with Russia's paranoid fear of a NATO stranglehold on Moscow than Israel's help to Georgia, Gissin said. The message to the West is simple; move in on our turf and incorporate Russia's satellite states into NATO, and Moscow will move in on an area sensitive to the West.

Gissin pointed out that Russia had supplied Syria with weapons before becoming upset at Israel's military aid to Georgia. If the arms sales to Damascus were driven by economic motivation before, now they are driven by strategic considerations, too.

"Today, Russia's interest is to show the US and the West that it is a superpower again. It's back in the Mediterranean. It's telling the West: You need us in this region, and you need us to deal with Iran. This is happening because it senses that the West is weak," Gissin said.

While global rather than local forces are at play behind the new Russian-Syrian axis, the effects on the region are clear.

"As far as Assad is concerned, his new-found Russian friends could provide a deterrent against a future attack on Syria," he said.

Still, some things have changed since the Cold War. Moscow is not about to cut ties with Israel, and new factors like international terrorism and a globalized economy will keep Russia restrained.

Further east, as Pakistan faces instability, some may ask whether Israel's large-scale arms sales and defense cooperation with Islamabad's arch-rival India could push Pakistan into an alliance with Iran. But a senior security source said Jerusalem need not concern itself with such worries. "Pakistan has done problematic things without any connection to arms sales to India, such as the proliferation of nuclear know-how to Iran, which has been going on for many years," the source said.

"We know that the Pakistani government was not completely in the dark over [Pakistani nuclear scientist] Abdul Qadeer Khan's nuclear smuggling network. In this sense, Pakistan has been maneuvering in a way that has harmed this area, irrespective of the Indian connection," the source added.

The source recalled then-foreign minister Silvan Shalom's meeting with Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, Pakistan's foreign minister, in 2005, adding that it was an example of Israel's ability to hold diplomatic relations with Pakistan despite the assistance to India.

Such contacts exist despite the fact that "Pakistan is a problematic state and has spent the past decade moving closer to Iran," the source said. "Arms sales to India will not worsen or better Pakistan's disturbing conduct."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 15 Sep 2008 13:07

TURKEY AND THE CRISIS IN THE CAUCASUS

TURKEY AND THE CRISIS IN THE CAUCASUS

The outbreak of war between Georgia and Russia following the ill-advised Georgian attempt to wrest control of the breakaway province of South Ossetia on August 7 posed an immediate challenge to Turkish interests. The conflict introduced instability and dangerous unpredictability immediately beyond Turkey’s northeastern border after a period of relative calm in the Caucasus. It also placed Turkey in a difficult diplomatic position not only between two neighboring countries with which it has been cultivating close relations and cooperation, especially on energy, but also between the United States and Russia.

Georgia has assumed particular importance to Turkey as the middle leg of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline carrying Azeri oil to markets through the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan and the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline bringing Azeri gas to Turkey. However, after centuries of conflict and confrontation, Turkish-Russian relations have also witnessed a remarkable improvement and Russia now supplies over sixty per cent of Turkish gas via Thrace and the Bluestream pipeline under the Black Sea.

After reportedly attempting to contact Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on August 8 to express support. However, three days later, as Russian forces were pushing deeper into Georgia and Saakashvili was pleading for immediate help against Moscow, Erdogan unveiled a Caucasus Cooperation and Stability Pact which would include the two combatants as well as Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey.

Significantly, Erdogan first took his plan to Moscow on August 13 where he met President Dimitri Medvedev and Putin, who were predictably receptive to the idea, before going on to Tbilisi to meet the beleaguered Saakashvili, whose response to the idea of participation in a new cooperative forum with a country occupying portions of his country was understandably less enthusiastic. The plan was then conveyed by Erdogan to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Baku on August 20 and by President Abdullah Gul to Armenian President Serge Sargsyan during his ground-breaking visit to Yerevan on September 6.

Although the fighting in Georgia has ended, the recognition by Russia of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia ensures the continuation of the Georgian-Russian confrontation. Azerbaijan and Armenia remain locked in a seemingly endless dispute over Nagorno Karabakh. It is therefore unlikely that the proposed pact will come into being in the near future. Consequently, the JDP Government’s willingness to push ahead with this proposal as its primary response to the Caucasus crisis needs to be understood with reference to its broader policy of striving for 'zero problems' with its neighbors as well as its demonstrated enthusiasm for playing the role of a mediator or facilitator in the solutions of problems in the regions surrounding Turkey.

These goals were also displayed during the prolonged effort to encourage Israel and Syria to proceed to a peace settlement, most recently during a visit by Erdogan to Damascus on September 4 where Syrian President Bashar Assad was reported to have given Erdogan yet another proposal to convey to Israel. At the same time, the JDP Government has been trying to help in reducing tensions between the United States, and Iran, whose controversial president Mahmud Ahmedinejad visited Turkey on August 14-15.

While there have been periodic statements by Turkish leaders and officials that their diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East were coordinated with the United States, as part of what Ahmet Davutoglu, the leading foreign policy adviser to Erdogan, calls ‘rhythmic diplomacy’, it is noteworthy that the Bush Administration has shown a distinct reluctance to provide open support for these efforts. Nevertheless, Erdogan remained convinced that despite its skepticism about the likelihood of positive results, the United States would ultimately recognize the benefits of his approach.

Growing tensions in US-Russian relations engendered by the war in Georgia seem likely to test the limits of Washington’s tolerance of Erdogan's brand of active regional diplomacy and coordination with Turkey’s main ally. On August 19, a senior US official focusing on the Caucasus crisis, Matthew Bryza, hinted at the divergence between the two countries by publicly expressing his ‘surprise’ over Ankara’s Caucasus proposal.

After an initial hesitation at the beginning of hostilities, the Bush Administration has adopted a policy based on buttressing Georgia through the provision of diplomatic and economic assistance, mobilizing its allies and, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice put it somewhat undiplomatically, ‘punishing’ Russia. A critical component of this strategy involved Turkey directly as the planned dispatch of US Navy vessels to deliver supplies to Georgia required passage through the Turkish Straits.

On August 14 the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General James Cartwright, identified the two ships that would be sent as the Comfort and the Mercy. As the tonnage of the ships exceeded the limits of the 1936 Montreux Convention governing passage through the Straits, the United States may have expected Turkey to show flexibility in a gesture of allied solidarity. However, when Turkey chose to demand strict adherence to the Convention, smaller US vessels were sent through the Straits.

After a pointed reminder from a Russian admiral that the US ships would have to leave the Black Sea after twenty one days in accordance with the Convention, the Turkish Foreign Ministry proceeded to confirm that Turkey would insist on the application of the relevant provision and notify the embassy of the country concerned in the event of transgression. The positive signals sent to Moscow were then underlined by an astonishing gesture on the part of the Turkish Navy Commander who hosted his Russian counterpart on a Turkish frigate in the Black Sea on September 1.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan had joined his NATO colleagues at an emergency meeting on August 19, convened at the request of the United States to formulate a response to the Russian military action, where it was agreed, as the NATO Secretary General announced, that there could not be ‘business as usual’ with Russia. However, Erdogan made it clear on September 2 that Turkey would not be a willing participant in a policy of confrontation with its important neighbor. In comments published in Milliyet, Erdogan said: "It would not be right for Turkey to be pushed towards any side. Certain circles want to push Turkey into a corner either with the United States or Russia after the Georgian incident. One of the sides is our closest ally, the United States. The other side is Russia with which we have an important trade volume. We would act in line with what Turkey's national interests require."

Erdogan’s stance seems to have popular support in Turkey. While there is no particular affection for Russia or its leaders, there is also little sympathy for Georgia or its impetuous president. At the same time, as opinion polls confirm, Turks have developed a strong aversion to the policies and methods of the Bush Administration and are therefore cool to the idea of cooperation with Washington against Moscow. The nuanced approach also has the backing of the influential Turkish General Staff which has been carefully cultivating its own links with the Russian military parallel to its traditionally close ties to the US military establishment.

Turkish national interests apparently dictate a continuing dialogue with Moscow even as Washington is trying to isolate it. On September 2 Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Istanbul for talks with his Turkish counterpart. After promising a resolution of the costly delays in the processing of Turkish goods through Russian customs, Lavrov publicly acknowledged the favorable thrust of Turkish diplomacy by expressing "appreciation for Turkey's efforts in the Caucasus." It is noteworthy that while Lavrov was enjoying Turkish hospitality, Vice President Dick Cheney was on a trip to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine to underline the Bush Administration’s determination to confront Russian policy in the Caucasus. Cheney's itinerary did not include Washington’s closest ally in the region and the task of maintaining contact with Turkey was delegated to William Burns, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, who was received by Erdogan on September 5.

In view of the stated seriousness of the Bush Administration’s new policy towards Russia and the Turkish Government’s demonstrated desire to avoid a deterioration of its relationship with its northern neighbor, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Caucasus crisis is once again heightening sensitivities in US-Turkish relations. To be sure, both sides remain committed to the alliance and have endeavored to repair the breaches caused by Turkey’s unwillingness to support military action by the United States against Iraq in 2003 and the American delay in backing a Turkish military response against Kurdish terrorism emanating from northern Iraq. However, the shared interests which bound them so closely in their Cold War alliance against the Soviet Union are not as strong as they were as Ankara’s pursuit of its own interests with Moscow confirms.

As the Bush Administration is on its way out, it will be its successor which will have to determine how it will maintain the alliance with Turkey as well as future relations with Russia. Another important related task will be to examine the viability of the East-West energy corridor, which is the product of US-Turkish cooperation, in the new geopolitical environment. As part of its review it will have to take into account the North-South axis linking Russia and Turkey which is helping to shape international relations and energy politics in the Caucasus as well as beyond.
Bulent Aliriza,
Director
CSIS Turkey Project

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 15 Sep 2008 13:13

Israel Viewpoint Lessons of realpolitik STEPHEN KRAMER Jewish Times Israel Correspondent

Realpolitik is German for "the politics of reality" and is often applied to the policies of nations which consider only their own interests in dealing with other countries. Realpolitik is governmental policies based on hard, practical, nationalistic considerations rather than on moral or idealistic concerns. In short, realpolitik is political realism or practical politics, especially policy based on power rather than on ideals. [www.dictionary.reference.co]. Bismarck, the late 19th-century German chancellor, is generally credited with being the first practitioner of realpolitik. Israel's leaders need to learn how to use realpolitik for Israel's benefit, or it will become a victim of those who are adept at it.

Modern Israel exists partly from Britain's use of realpolitik. In the latter half of the 19th-century, the political philosophy of nationalism swept across Europe and even reached the Middle East. Zionism is a product of that time, as is pan-Arabism. But Britain is the country that really pulled strings in the region and gained the most. Britain turned to realpolitik when it realized the damage being done by its Balfour Declaration of 1917, which states that Britain would "view with favour" the establishment in Palestine of "a national home for the Jewish people" on the condition that "nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non- Jewish communities in Palestine." The Declaration was developed primarily to encourage the Jews of America and Russia to back the Entente Powers (which included Britain) in WWI, and not because of any special affinity towards the Jews. But after the war, Britain's leaders concluded that the Declaration did them more harm than good with the Arabs. Britain positioned itself as the kingmaker in the Middle East, usurping the role of the demolished Ottoman Empire.

In 1922 Britain received the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. But since the Arabs had oil fields and a huge population, while the Jews in Palestine were few in number and had no oil, Britain began to backpedal from Balfour's wartime assurances to the Jews just months after it received the Mandate. Britain created Transjordan on land it now excluded from Jewish settlement in Palestine - 78 became Jordan.) The creation of Transjordan left the Jews and the Palestinians to fight over the 22 percent that remained of the Palestinian Mandate, which had been reduced to a sliver between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

In 1921, Britain made Abdullah's brother Faisal, the King of Iraq. Utilizing realpolitik to ensure its supply of oil, Britain cobbled together the newly-invented Iraq from geographical areas controlled by disparate groups: Kurdish, Shia, Sunni, and lesser numbers of Turkoman and Assyrian peoples. All of these Muslims were residents of the League of Nations Mandate for Mesopotamia, granted to Britain in 1921, but they had little in common besides their proximity to one another. Iraq served Britain's purposes well. Even after Iraq gained independence in 1932, Britain retained its huge influence there, especially when it came to the Iraq Oil Company. Peter Sluglett, author of "Britain in Iraq: 1914-1932" wrote:

"Once oil began to be widely used by the world's navies, it was considered essential that supplies and reserves should be freely available and that the Great Powers should be able to ensure that their own access to influence or control in the territories where oil was known, or equally important ... that other Powers should be excluded as far as possible, both politically and commercially, from these areas."

Other examples of realpolitik abound. The Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 between the Nazi and Soviet regimes lasted for just two years, but served the needs of the two despots despite the fact that fascism and communism were bitter enemies. When Hitler thought he had Western Europe contained, he mistakenly decided to invade Russia and broke the nonaggression treaty between Germany and Russia.

Realpolitik by the countries which contain large numbers of Kurds (mainly Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria) has successfully prevented the 25- million-strong Kurdish people from making "Kurdistan" a nation. Though Kurdish representatives furnished a map of "Kurdistan" to the San Francisco Conference at the end of WWII, nothing has come of their efforts because all the power is with the established countries in which they live.

Syria is a Middle Eastern nation where realpolitik thrives. Historically, Britain and France had divided much of the Middle East into spheres of influence for themselves at the San Remo Conference in 1920. When France obtained the League of Nations Mandate for Syria, it aimed to increase its power in the region by supporting and separating religious minorities to weaken the growing Arab nationalist movement. France wasn't as good at realpolitik as Britain, but it still is influential in Lebanon and Syria, which were eventually created from the Mandate in 1943 and 1946, respectively. The Assad family, the present rulers of Syria from the minority Alawite clan, have proved more adept in utilizing realpolitik than France was by retaining Lebanon as a colony for Syria's financial, political, and commercial benefit. Assad maintains his family's dictatorship with the support of a brutal system of internal controls, wielding power in both Lebanon and Syria.

Israel has not proven itself to be adroit in using realpolitik. For example, lame-duck Prime Minister Olmert has succeeded in ending Bashar Assad's isolation from the West by instigating negotiations with Syria which are both unwanted by most Israelis and doomed to failure. Instead of keeping Assad in a weak position vis-avis Israel, Assad has so far escaped any punishment for murdering Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri of Lebanon and many members of his government, while he both supports the terrorist Hezbullah movement against Israel and enjoys the backing of Iran, Israel's nemesis, and Russia, which arms all of Israel's enemies.

The news media are reporting many events that illustrate realpolitik at work: the recognition of Kosovo's independence, Russia's invasion of Georgia to "protect" South Ossetia, Poland's acceptance of a missile shield from the U.S., Syria's visit to Moscow to request more advanced armaments, Iran's frequent calls for Israel's demise. When countries all around Israel are playing the game of realpolitik, Israel can't afford not to be a player. And if our leaders are not skilled enough to parry the threats against our own country, then Israel's deterrent power will be irreparably diminished.

Stephen Kramer resided and worked in the Atlantic City area until 1991, when he moved to Israel with his wife, Michal Langweiler, and two sons. His book "Meandering Through Israel" can be purchased by calling the Jewish Times at 407-0909. He can be reached at Sjk1@jhu.edu.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 15 Sep 2008 13:33

Russia defends its friends

Today, Foreign Minister of Russia and President of Abkhazia held a joint press confrontation, which explained the basic principles of bilateral cooperation. This event followed a special correspondent for The Moscow Post

Today, at a joint press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and the president of Abkhazia, Sergei Bagapsh, had made some important statements. The most important to them were statements about further extension of mutually beneficial cooperation between Russia and Abkhazia.

So Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov voiced the position that the Russian side: "Everything that happens in Abkhazia now, it's a sovereign matter of Abkhazia, and this also applies to South Ossetia ... Russia strictly fulfills all its obligations set forth in the agreements between Medvedev and Sarkozy September 8, according to which the seven days we were to withdraw troops from the Line of Poti-Senaki. Russia did it in five days ... With the arrival of a mission to the region by international observers, we list all our peacekeeping contingent to positions held on 7 August. All of the above does not include the competence of the international community and Abkhazia is a sovereign matter. Russian troops in Abkhazia and South Ossetia - this is not the peacekeepers and troops located there at the request of the presidents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. After signing the agreements by their presence in the region will be brought international legal framework ".

Russian troops will maintain its military presence in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

As the Minister of speech, one of the important outcomes of the meeting were decisions on the deployment of Russian troops in Abkhazia.

Thus, the Russian peacekeepers, as expected, according to agreements on the plan Medvedev and Sarkozy will withdraw to positions prior to the start of hostilities. Instead, the republic will be placed permanent military contingent, which will protect the frontiers of Abkhazia, along with the army of this country. The contingent will be based on Russian military bases.

Similar measures will be taken and South Ossetia, which is as it departed Sergei Lavrov. The Foreign Minister of Russia plans to discuss with President Eduard Kokoity matters diplomatic and military cooperation between the two countries.

As noted earlier, now the Russian military presence in the new republics of the Caucasus is not in the status of peacekeepers, and the status of a limited military contingent entered in the republic at the request of local authorities.

Criticism of the West doomed

Some Western policy, which still do not recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as regimes of power in these countries, separatist, criticized Russia for military assistance provided to the new republics of the Caucasus. Among their criticisms, they note that the deployment of Russian military in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be aligned with Georgia.

However, this criticism on the facts that are totally meaningless because, given that Russia had already recognized the independence of the new republics of the Caucasus, the troops placed within the borders of sovereign states at the request of their direct supervision. So the issue of deployment in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russian troops nor has any relation to the Georgian side.

And in Georgia, particularly in the line of Poti-Senaki, will be an international peacekeeping force. EU and OSCE observers will monitor compliance with all conditions of the truce, registered in the Medvedev-Sarkozy, and to prevent further escalation of the conflict.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 15 Sep 2008 21:30


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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Sanjay M » 16 Sep 2008 09:19

Stallone to Make Rambo-5

Filming in Bulgaria?

OK, you know he just watched the Russia-Georgia thing on the news, and he's decided to cash in on it -- uh, I mean, save the world from 'Godless Commies'.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 12:38

Russian navy top brass want to keep Ukraine port

Crimea: Divided peninsula plays host to Russian warships and Ukrainian prideTensions have risen since the war in Georgia and Kiev's plans to join Nato

Pro-Moscow supporters welcome the Russian missile cruiser Moskva as it enters Sevastopol Bay on Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. Photograph: Vasiliy Batanov/AFP/Getty Images

From his giant monument overlooking Sevastopol, Vladimir Lenin gazes dreamily out towards the Black Sea.

In the harbour, elderly ladies in floral swimming costumes bob in the warm lilac water. Shimmering in the distance is the grey Russian battleship Moskva, framed by steep chalky-coloured mountains. The port of Sevastopol on Crimea's rocky southern coast is the historic home of Russia's Black Sea fleet. After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine allowed Russia to lease Sevastopol as a military base until 2017.

But after last month's war in Georgia the peninsula is at the centre of growing speculation. The fear is that - like South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the breakaway regions of Georgia recognised by Moscow as independent - it could become the target of Russian ambitions.

Earlier this month Ukrainian officials accused Moscow of distributing passports to ethnic Russians in Crimea, who make up more than half of its two-million population. Kiev fears a row over the use of the base could be used to stir up separatist sentiments, with Crimea seceding from Ukraine in a referendum.

On the streets of Sevastopol, the mood is defiantly pro-Russian. It is also vehemently opposed to Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko and his plans to join Nato. Last week, several hundred locals turned out to welcome the Moskva on its return from Georgia. They waved Russian flags and banners; one read: "We are proud of you."

"The majority of the population here supports the presence of the Black Sea fleet," said Anatoly Kalenko, chairman of Sevastopol's veterans' association, and a former nuclear submarine commander. According to Kalenko, locals would resist any attempt to turf out the Russian fleet, especially if Nato ships would occupy the base instead.

"We categorically don't want other vessels here. Not the Americans, not the French and not the Turks," he said. "Britain has a tradition of seafaring. We respect that; we remember Nelson. But frankly we don't want you here either.'

His association did not believe in separatism, he explained, but was opposed to any attempt to remove the Soviet memorials that adorn the town's hilly streets. Pinned to his wall was a map of the USSR; above the desk a portrait of Lenin. Popular feeling against Nato was running high, he said, since it was an "aggressive" military bloc.

Even before last month's war, tensions were rising. In May - on the anniversary of Russia's victory over Nazi Germany - Moscow's mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, visited Sevastopol and said it "was, and should again be, a Russian city." Ukraine's furious government accused him of undermining its territorial integrity and banned him from returning.

There have been angry clashes in Sevastopol between Ukrainian nationalists and pro-Russian locals. In July, Ukraine's defence minister unveiled a plaque to commemorate Ukraine's brief declaration of independence in 1918. Someone removed it from the wharf, next to the statue of Russian war hero Admiral Nakhimov, and threw it into the sea.

Many of the peninsula's politicians admit they would like Crimea to join the Russian Federation. "It's a myth that Ukraine is not part of Russia. We don't believe it," Oleg Rodilov, a pro-Russian MP in Crimea's autonomous parliament, based in the regional capital of Simferopol, said. It would be wrong to accuse him of "separatism", he said.

"For you, Ukraine and Russia are a priori different states. For us they are a priori the same," he said. The links of culture, language and Orthodox religion made Ukraine and Russia an indivisible entity, he said. Also, both countries were Slavic, he said. "We don't believe there is any difference. We have been together for 350 years."

Russian-speaking residents say the peninsula, a mass tourist destination in Soviet times, ended up in Ukraine by mistake. The Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev transferred Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic in 1954. Russia affirmed the modern borders of Ukraine in a 1997 friendship treaty. Last April, however, Vladimir Putin, Russia's prime minister, contemptuously described Ukraine as "not even a real state".

Nationalist Crimean MPs now liken Crimea to Kosovo - the former Serbian province largely recognised as independent by the west this year. According to Leonid Grach, a pro-Russian communist MP, Crimea will declare itself independent should Yushchenko press ahead with his plans for Ukraine to join Nato.

"If Yushchenko declares that Russia is the enemy, Crimea won't accept it," Grach said. "It means that Ukraine will break up. In Crimea there will be a war - maybe even a world war." Ukraine should renounce Nato, agree a friendship and cooperation treaty with Russia, and prolong the lease for Russia's Black Sea fleet, Grach said.

Nobody doubts that staging a coup in Sevastopol would be easy. The Russian flag already flies above many of the town's elegant and classical Stalin-era buildings belonging to the Black Sea fleet. Locals would merely need to tie up a few Ukrainian officials. Ukraine's government would be reluctant to reclaim the town by force, fearful of provoking an all-out military conflict with Russia.

"I wouldn't be too sad if Ukraine breaks apart. Everything would be in its right place again," Raisa Teliatnikova said. Teliatnikova is head of Sevastopol's Russian Community - one of several non-governmental organisations that promote Russian culture and language, and, its critics say, the views of Moscow.

Teliatnikova rejects the suggestion that her organisation is a Kremlin front. "This is our land. My father and uncle fought for this territory during the Great Patriotic War [the second world war]. Why should we leave?" she said. "Nobody asked us whether we wanted to live in Ukraine. None of us are intending to go anywhere."


There is no clear evidence to suggest that Russia has, as Kiev suggests, been doling out passports to ethnic Russians living in Crimea. But Moscow has been stepping up its influence: the flag of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party sits in Raisa's office, situated above a dancing club and next to an acting school. Earlier this summer the party agreed to finance the Russian community's newspaper - a small but insidious step.

Russian officials insisted yesterday that the number of Crimeans applying for Russian passports was "pretty much the same". Vladimir Lysenko, of Russia's consulate in Simferopol, said about 13,000 Russians lived and worked in the port. "Russia doesn't lay any claims on Sevastopol. We don't understand declarations from western politicians who say Ukraine 'will be next'."

Optimists believe talk of Russia wresting back Crimea from Ukraine is simply overblown. Crimea's third ethnic group - the Tartars, descended from the peninsula's Turkic inhabitants - are strongly pro-Ukrainian. Mustafa Djemilev, a pro-Yushchenko MP, believes Russia would not attempt a Georgian-style invasion in Crimea.

"The idea is nonsense. Ukraine is not Georgia or Chechnya - Ukraine is much more powerful," he said.

Backstory
Modern Crimea's ethnic problems go back a long way. The peninsula - with its vineyards, mountains and deep natural bays - has long been attractive to invaders. These have included Scythians, Greeks, Ottoman Turks, Russians, and the British and the French, who bombarded Sevastopol during the 1854-55 Crimean war. The Nazis occupied Crimea, too, before the Red Army drove them out. But it is the Russian influence that has proved most enduring. Catherine the Great annexed Crimea in 1783, after defeating the Ottoman Turks. Since then Sevastopol has been synonymous with Russian heroism. The local Black Sea fleet museum houses exhibits from the port's tumultuous past, including a guitar played by a sailor who took part in the 1905 Sevastopol uprising on the battleship Potemkin.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 13:08

Russia will not indulge in arms race like USSR, says Medvedev

Moscow, Sept 15 (PTI) Russia, currently under Western scanner for military intervention in Georgia, "will not bleed herself white in an arms race" like its predecessor USSR, but will enhance its defence capability appropriately, President Dmitry Medvedev declared today.

"We neither need isolation, nor, God forbid, arms race, this road leads into a blind alley, to nowhere. We will not permit ourselves to bleed us white as the Soviet Union at one time, but will take all the necessary measures for strengthening our defence capability," Medvedev said during a meeting with top Russian business leaders at the Kremlin.

Referring to calls in the US and other European countries to punish Russia for Georgia war, the first direct military confrontation between a Washington's protg and Moscow since the end of the Cold War, Medvedev declared that any Western sanctions will be "symmetrically" responded.

"We understand that the sanctions are a double-edged weapon. To exert pressure on Russia with the help of sanctions is senseless.

"We don't have such system of decision making and governance, in which they could lead to a change in the foreign policy. Somewhere in a banana republic, switching off a couple of channels could influence the policy of the country, but not in Russia," he noted, observing that some "hot heads" in the West are beginning to understand futility of such approach.

"Even if some one will try to impose sanctions, as we understand, the losses will be symmetrical and hardly any body needs this, at least not we," Medvedev said adding that any Western sanctions would not be a "catastrophe" for Russia, but would spur domestic economic growth. PTI

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 13:16

Russia: Back to the Future

Georgia’s Army fled ahead of the Russian Army’s advance, turning its back and leaving Georgian civilians in an enemy’s path. Its planes did not fly after the first few hours of contact. Its navy was sunk in the harbor, and its patrol boats were hauled away by Russian trucks on trailers.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 15:27

From http://www.upi.com

Outside View: Russia-NATO split -- Part 1
By NIKITA PETROV, UPI Outside View CommentatorPublished: Sept. 8, 2008 at 10:53 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Russia's Defense Ministry has officially informed NATO headquarters in Brussels of its decision to suspend all military cooperation with its counterparts in the alliance.

The move came after similar notices were received by the defense ministries of Norway, Estonia and Latvia.

This means that all joint events between the Russian army and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries planned for this year will be either canceled or rescheduled, figuratively mothballed.

Still, Moscow so far has made no reported attempt to cease relations with Brussels, as it did in March 1991 after NATO aircraft began strikes on Belgrade, the Serbian capital. Official NATO envoys were then given 48 hours to leave Moscow.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov said Aug. 28 at a Moscow briefing: "We aren't planning to slam the door, and they are keeping the door open, too. It will all depend on NATO's choice, on their priorities, not ours."

He said Russia does not need the cooperation as much as NATO does. The alliance wants Moscow for a partner. It wants our support, especially with regard to international operations in Afghanistan, "which is bound to decide the alliance's future. ... Russia's support (in Afghanistan) is crucial for NATO," Lavrov said.

It certainly would be too simple to believe that Moscow-NATO relations became strained after Russia launched its "peace enforcement" operation against Georgian aggressors who ruthlessly bombed and shelled the peaceful city of Tskhinvali, killing innocent civilians -- women, children and elderly people -- and Russian peacekeepers who happened to be there on a noble mission of keeping peace in that unstable Caucasian region.

There had been an increase in tension since NATO refused, possibly under Washington's pressure, to heed Russia's concerns over the unfair distribution of heavy weaponry quotas under the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty, which happened after the dissolution of the Warsaw Treaty Organization, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the accession of former socialist countries and some Soviet republics to NATO.

NATO was indeed quite comfortable with more tanks, armored vehicles, heavy artillery and aircraft in all the main theaters of operation, and with "gray zones" not subject to inspection. NATO could deploy any number of weapons in these zones without looking back at the CFE.

The Atlantic alliance preferred to ignore Moscow's disapproval, and we know what happened next. The CFE collapsed, burying every instrument of defense transparency and trust in Europe.

Later, Ukraine's and Georgia's NATO accession plans brought yet another disturbing development into Moscow's relations with the Atlantic alliance. NATO began engaging Kiev in its projects with persistence worthy of a better use, despite the fact that the majority of Ukrainians were strongly opposed to the plan.

First, Ukraine's neutrality is documented in its constitution. Second, a NATO rule says a country cannot be admitted unless its population fully supports the move. But what does NATO care for rules if they are contrary to its political and military priorities?

NATO relations with Georgia are even more incredible. NATO isn't even baffled by the fact that the country has serous conflicts with its own breakaway regions that have been subdued by Georgian forces, suffered ethnic purges and finally proclaimed themselves independent.

--------------------------------------------------
Russian army weak in radio-electronic war
MOSCOW, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The five-day conflict between the Russian army and Georgia last month exposed serious Russian weaknesses in the field of radio-electronic warfare.

It turns out that Russian electronic countermeasures systems are unable to jam and suppress enemy surface-to-air missiles and reconnaissance systems, radars and UHV communications and troop-control networks.


This is rather disturbing, especially as the Georgian army lacked modern systems. As a result, the 58th Army sustained unnecessary casualties and also lost more combat equipment than it should have.

The Russian tank force has been suffering from major problems for a long time. The North Caucasian Military District, for instance, still operates T-72 Main Battle Tanks without night sights. But not even the more sophisticated T-80-U and T-90 have such sights, either.

Moreover, their explosive-reactive armor was not filled with explosives and therefore could not deflect high-explosive anti-tank weapons.

It is common knowledge that tanks are extremely vulnerable in mountainous and urban areas and during redeployment because their crews lack all-round visibility, making it difficult to spot enemy soldiers with rocket launchers or shaped-charges hiding in caves and ravines and behind rocks and bushes.

The Dzerzhinsky Ural Railroad Car Works -- Uralvagonzavod -- which has developed all post-Soviet and Russian main battle tanks except the T-80, unveiled its Tank Support Combat Vehicle more than 20 years ago.

The TSCV featured nine weapons systems, including guided anti-tank missiles, large-caliber machine-guns, surface-to-air missiles and 30mm and 40mm automatic rocket launchers, and was intended to be used against Mujahedin forces in Afghanistan.

Most importantly, the TSCV had effective target-acquisition systems for detecting and killing enemy soldiers long before they could fire the first shot.

Although the TSCV has passed all state tests with flying colors and also has been displayed at numerous exhibitions, it has not served with the Russian army to date.

Unlike most advanced foreign armies, including the Israeli army, Russian tanks are not supported by attack helicopters. There is no regular radio communication between Russian tank, motorized-rifle, helicopter, attack-plane and tactical-bomber units either.

Although experts have been discussing the creation of an integrated combat-control system for many years, such a system remains on the drawing board.

The Russian army and its commanders have not yet realized that all units and weapons accomplishing a joint objective must become part of an integrated combat-control system.

Russian officers and soldiers have to compensate for the current lag in combat-support systems with their selfless heroism and bravery. But this costs the country and its armed forces dearly.

It is high time we learned modern fighting skills. The system for awarding state defense contracts must also be modified accordingly.

Unfortunately, the Russian army is unlikely to receive new weapons and combat-support systems after the South Ossetian conflict. Although Russia once again has paid a high price for victory, its generals and politicians often prefer empty talk to candid and sober-minded assessments.

--

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 16 Sep 2008 16:29

Ukraine's pro-west govt. falls.As expected,Yuschenko's anti-Russian
mimicry of defeated Georgian leader Saakashvili has seen him dumped by his PM,the lovely Yulia Timoshenko.Part 2 of the Caucasus War has opened,with the hope that a coalition between Yulia and the pro-Russian party might stop Ukraine's plans to join NATO.The EU is already balking at granting Ukraine membership.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/16/ukraine

Ukraine's pro-western ruling coalition collapsesParliament has 30 days to form new government or call fresh elections after dispute over response to South Ossetia conflict
Jenny Percival and agencies guardian.co.uk, Tuesday September 16 2008 10:52 BST
Article history

The Ukrainian president, Victor Yushchenko, has fallen out with the prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

Ukraine's pro-western governing coalition has collapsed following a row over last month's war between neighbouring Georgia and Russia. The Ukrainian parliament now has 30 days to either form a new coalition or call fresh elections.

The alliance fell apart after infighting between the president, Viktor Yushchenko, and the prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. The two leaders were partners during the 2004 Orange Revolution but have become fierce rivals in the run-up to the 2010 presidential election.

Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have engaged in a tug-of-war since Tymoshenko regained the premiership in December, accusing each other of corruption and incompetence, and blocking each other's policies.

The final straw came when Yushchenko accused Tymoshenko of acting in the Kremlin's favour by failing to condemn Russia's war with Georgia. She fired back, saying that Yushchenko's overwhelming support of Georgia had dragged Ukraine into the conflict.

Tymoshenko then teamed up with the Russia-leaning opposition to adopt a law restricting presidential powers and boost her own. Yushchenko declared the move "a coup attempt", and his party pulled out of the coalition earlier this month.

The coalition has teetered on the brink ever since and the speaker, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, today announced the government's collapse.

"I officially declare the coalition of democratic forces... in Ukraine's parliament dissolved," said Yatsenyuk. "It is yet another democratic challenge, but I hope that together we will overcome this challenge."

Some analysts predict a new governing coalition may involve the Russia-leaning Party of Regions.

Since Yushchenko became president, Ukraine has made clear its aspiration towards membership of the European Union.

However, last week European leaders balked at making any firm pledges to Ukraine on its membership, wary of antagonising a belligerent Russia in the midst of the Georgia crisis. Ukraine's political instability has bolstered opponents within the EU of stronger links between Kiev and Brussels.

Ukraine is also pursuing Nato membership. Nato decided not to offer membership at its Bucharest summit meeting in April, but promised to review the decision in December.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 21:42

One must understand the importance of Ukraine to Russians. I have stated this long time back on BRF, I will quote this again...If one remembers what Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev had said during the early 60's.. in one of his time's interview...he had said that "Russia without Ukraine, is like a man with out head" Reading this one should be able to understand the grief of Russians.

This should make one understand, how important Ukraine is for Russians. Personally, I would prefer that Ukraine joins back the Russian federation... This can bring in lots of stability to the troubled region, and Russians, I believe will rejoice the occassion...

It is sad to see western designs... The pattern is same... Divide and Rule... What's astonishing is that even in this era of information states still fight with their parent unions...

They divided Indians, into India and Pakistan, pitched them against each other and had their fun and it still continues... Same story in Gulf, Korea's... The Germany's... China/Taiwan, the USSR....Now their designs will be same in the Iraq/Iran regions... The east should be able to successfully kick these western nations out of their regions... Until then the west will keep imposing their will on the nations belonging to our region and around.
Last edited by renukb on 16 Sep 2008 22:09, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 22:02

Ukraine government collapses over Georgia war

The pro-Western coalition of Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko and President Yushchenko has formally split

Tony Halpin in Moscow
Ukraine plunged into fresh political turmoil today when its pro-Western government collapsed amid recriminations over Russia's war with Georgia.

The Speaker of Parliament formally dissolved the coalition between the party of Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko and that of her former Orange revolution ally, President Viktor Yushchenko. The announcement ended hopes that the two sides could patch up their differences after Mr Yushchenko's Our Ukraine party withdrew from the coalition 10 days ago.

The Speaker, Arseny Yatsenyuk, said that parties now had 30 days to try to build a new majority in parliament or face elections, just a year after Ukraine last went to the polls. He said: "I would not call this an apocalypse. It is a challenge for democracy, but I hope we will overcome this challenge together."

The crisis has exposed deep fissures within the pro-Western forces who came to power after the 2004 revolution as the rival leaders jockey for advantage ahead of presidential elections expected late next year. The divisions could open the way for the pro-Russian Party of Regions, led by their bitter rival Viktor Yanukovych, to return to power and tilt Ukraine towards Moscow once again.

Last month's war in Georgia sparked a sharp escalation in tensions after aides to President Yushchenko accused Mrs Tymoshenko of "high treason" for not condemning the Kremlin's actions. Mr Yushchenko openly backed Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili and restricted the movement of Russia's Black Sea Fleet from the port of Sevastopol during the conflict.

Mr Yushchenko then accused Mrs Tymoshenko of a "political and constitutional coup d’etat” after her party sided with the Party of Regions to vote through restrictions on presidential powers. Our Ukraine's parliamentary leader described the alliance as a "pro-Kremlin majority" and said that the new legislation was “just what the Kremlin has been asking certain political forces to do”.

Mrs Tymoshenko rejected the allegations and blamed the President for "destroying" the coalition, saying that he was seeking to damage her popularity with voters to weaken her chances of succeeding him.

Their split comes at a time of heightened concern in the European Union and Nato that Ukraine could be the next target of Russian interference as the Kremlin flexes its muscles in its former Soviet neighbours. Tensions are already running high over the future of the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, a region whose population is strongly pro-Russian.

Mr Yushchenko insists that the fleet must leave when a lease agreement expires in 2017. But Rear-Admiral Andrei Baranov, deputy head of the fleet, said yesterday: "We are not planning to go anyway. There are no options."

Mrs Tymoshenko will continue as Prime Minister while she seeks to build a fresh cabinet, though she has previously ruled out any coalition with the Party of Regions. She will have to resign if a new majority is not in place by the middle of October.

Ukraine would then face its third parliamentary election in two years, extending the political crisis that has paralysed the country's drive to seek membership of Nato and the EU. Nato countries are due to decide whether to offer Ukraine a Membership Action Plan in December, at about the same time as elections would be taking place.

Russia is bitterly opposed to Ukraine's Nato aspirations and has threatened to target nuclear missiles at its neighbour if it joins the alliance. Europe and the United States fear that the Kremlin may seize the opportunity to stir up anti-western sentiment, particularly in Crimea, during the elections.

The US Vice President Dick Cheney met Mr Yushchenko and Mrs Tymoshenko during a visit to Ukraine's capital Kiev this month and urged them to unite in the face of threats to the country's security. He told them that Ukraine’s best hope was to be “united with other democracies”.


----------------------------------------------

Ukraine’s ruling coalition formally dissolved

Ukraine’s pro-west coalition formally collapsed on Tuesday after ten days of talks failed to hold together the shaky political alliance between the president Viktor Yushchenko and prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

The coalition’s collapse was formally declared in the nation’s parliament, setting the stage for complicated talks on forming a new coalition that could include the Moscow-friendly party of ex-premier Victor Yanukovich.

If lawmakers fail to form a new legislative majority and coalition government within 30 days Mr Yushchenko gains the right to dissolve parliament and call snap elections.

Political analysts in Kiev said he could, however, stop short of holding a second snap election. In such a scenario, Ms Tymoshenko would temporarily retain her position as head of an acting government.

Kiev’s fourth political crisis in as many years, is rooted in souring relations between Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko. Both are preparing to square off for the presidency in a contest that commences in 2009.

Tensions escalated earlier this month when the president accused his erstwhile ally of failing to condemn Russia for its August military attack on Georgia. Both Kiev and Tbilisi are rare pro-west allies on post-Soviet turf.

In protest, the presidential party pulled out of the coalition and accused Ms Tymoshenko of vying to win over Kremlin support for her presidential candidacy.

In a Financial Times interview this month, Ms Tymoshenko denied the accusation, insisting she upholds Georgia’s territorial integrity and supports the European Union’s position in talks with Moscow.

She stressed the need for Kiev to avoid conflict with a bullying northern neighbour and accused Mr Yushchenko of exploiting the Georgia-Russia war to tarnish her image to gain an edge in the presidential campaign. Recent polls show Ms Tymoshenko has a strong chance of winning the presidency with more than 20 per cent support. Mr Yanukovich trails not far behind, while backing for Mr Yushchenko has sunk to below 10 per cent.

Mr Yushchenko’s camp has also accused the Ukrainian prime minister of plotting a coalition with Mr Yanukovich, their Orange Revolution foe. In turn, Ms Tymoshenko has urged the president to preserve their coalition, proposing to strengthen it by including a small centrist party represented in parliament. Ms Tymoshenko has also warned the president that political turmoil could postpone Kiev’s western integration drive, namely plans join the Nato military alliance and integrate closer with the EU.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 22:32

Good going by Putin and Russia..

Russia defence spending to grow 27 pct in '09 - Putin

"Nearly 2.4 trillion roubles ($94.12 billion) will be allocated for the needs of national defence and security (in 2009)," Interfax quoted Putin as saying. "This is an increase of 27 percent."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 16 Sep 2008 22:45

When Palin made her statement that she would go to war with Russia, she perhaps knows this...

Russia' military riddles with weakness: Russia's military is riddled with weakness. Its equipment is outdated. Its technology is decades behind the West. And its capacity for battlefield...

MOSCOW — Russia's military is riddled with weakness. Its equipment is outdated. Its technology is decades behind the West. And its capacity for battlefield communications and intelligence gathering is terrible.

In short, Russia has a mid- to late-20th century military in a 21st-century world.


"Military equipment is very old, and at the same time it's absolutely clear that Russia has no resources to change it," said Alexander Goltz, a military analyst in Moscow. "For all of the '90s, we had no money to produce new military equipment ... the whole chain of subcontractors was destroyed."

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Igorr » 17 Sep 2008 15:41

New issue of Moscow defence brief about 5-day War (888-War):

Russia's Air Force carried out attacks on military targets all across Georgian territory, completing several hundred sorties using Su-24M Fencer frontal bombers, and Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes, and the Tu-22M3 Backfire long-range bombers. That said, the use of air power was limited by political considerations. There were no attacks on Georgian infrastructure, transport, communications or industry, nor any on government buildings. The distance of targets from Russian bases also complicated matters. In addition, Russian helicopters had a hard time flying over the Caucasus passes, and thus extensive use of helicopters by Russia began only after August 10-11, once a temporary landing/take-off strip was set up in South Ossetia. The overall losses of Russian Air Force amounted to one Tu-22M3 long-range bomber, one Su-24M Fencer frontal bomber, one Su-24MR Fencer E reconnaissance plane, and four Su-25 attack planes. Moreover, the Russian Army launched 15 Tochka-U (SS-21) short-range ballistic missiles against military targets and a few new Iskander (SS-26) short-range theater ballistic missiles.
http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/3-2008/

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Philip » 18 Sep 2008 16:44

Nice posts RB.I liked the one reg. Turkey's strategic role in the region.Russian and Turkish relations are destined to improve as there is such resistance within the EU to admitting Turkey,even though Turkey is a NATO member.The US/CIA's encourageemnt to the Kurd/s,now being trained for possible operations against Iran from the north,while Iran is attacked by the US from the south,is also bound to annoy the Turkish nation,which views attempts at encouraging Kurdish independence and favour with great suspicion.

What Krushchev said about the Ukraine is true.Imagine a US today where the forner Confederate states including Texas want to break away and Mexico saying that Texas and New Mexico have always been part of its ancient territory and should be returned to it!

Germany's wisdom in planning to go ahead with a pipeline to Russia speaks volumes.Russia should actually be one of the EU's closest allies and has done nothing in recent years to harm the EU.What the US is doing is waking up Russia to its legitimate dlobal role of being the superpower counterforce to the US's failing and fading Pax Americana.It is the ageressive neo-con policies of the US and sadly Britain,once independent and known for its imaginative and brilliant diplomacy,for reasons best known to its establishment,chooses to play second fiddle to the US,in the bargain isolating itself from European mainstream thought.The loudmouthing of its For.Sec. has evinced much international mirth,as he has equated himself with the other bufoons of the region,Saakashvili and Yuschenko,the latter fighting for his political survival.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Kati » 18 Sep 2008 23:10

More KLPD to Georgia:

'No' to Georgian and Ukraineian NATO aspiration ....
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7623240.stm

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby Rahul M » 19 Sep 2008 00:53


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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 19 Sep 2008 20:58

President Dmitri Medvedev has accused the West of trying to push Russia behind a new "Iron Curtain".

"This is not our path. For us there is no sense going back to the past," the Russian leader said in Moscow.


Russia warns of new Iron Curtain



Medvedev: Russia won't be pushed into isolation

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 19 Sep 2008 21:05

Turkey's Near Abroad, and Russia

ISTANBUL -- In the waning days of the conflict between Russia and Georgia last month, politicians in Turkey focused elsewhere -- on Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Central Asian players in regional energy markets. Turkey's energy minister visited the two former Soviet states to discuss longterm energy strategies (Today'sZaman), just three weeks after a tentative ceasefire was inked between Moscow and Tbilisi. The meeting, which came on the heels of a costly trade dispute (Today'sZaman) with Russia over Ankara's decision to authorize U.S. naval access to the Black Sea during the Georgia fighting, has been widely interpreted as a warning shot to Russia that Turkey "is not about to be pushed around" (Stratfor).

Looking east in troubled times comes naturally to Turkey, which was among the first countries to recognize the independence of Central Asian states (TurkishWeekly) when they split away from the disintegrating Soviet Union in the 1990s. Under former President Turgut Ozal (1989-1993), political and economic ties between Turkey and these Turkic-brethren states took off. Since 2002, when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) took office, a renewed focus on Central Asia has led to rising foreign investment and international trade with Turkey's eastern neighbors.

In the wake of the Russia-Georgia conflict, Turkish officials say, ties to newly independent former-Soviet states assume even greater importance. Ahmet Davutoglu, chief adviser to the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, interviewed by CFR.org, argues that Turkey has taken on an important role in keeping lines of communications open between antagonists¿not only in the Caucasus but also in the greater Middle East where Turkey, uniquely, has good relations with Israel, Arab states, and Iran.

"In principle we are against isolation," says Davutoglu. "We were against isolation of Syria, we were against isolation of Iraq, because isolation creates economic stagnation. Isolation creates a barrier."

The emphasis on economics is not accidental. Exports to Near Asia and the Middle East region, for instance, have skyrocketed in recent years climbing to more than $15 billion in 2007 from $3.3 billion in 2001, according to statistics kept by the Turkish Undersecretariat of the Prime Ministry of Foreign Trade. Exports to North America, Africa, and other Asian states also gained during the same period, and Turkey is pursuing opportunities to expand trade with Africa, too (PDF). But Turkey's near-abroad partnerships have been among the biggest recipients of Turkish-made goods during the AKP tenure. (In Turkmenistan, for instance, Turkey has become the leading source for foreign direct investment, sending about $1.5 billion in 2007 (Jamestown).)

In the near-term, however, no amount of courting Central Asian and Middle Eastern states will supplant economic reality (Turkish Daily News): Russia is Turkey's largest trading partner. In 2007, bilateral trade totaled $28 billion (TurkishDailyNews), a figure that is expected to climb to $38 billion by the end of 2008. On the energy front, Turkey imports nearly two-thirds of its total natural gas supplies from Russia, a vital heating source for homes in Istanbul and Ankara that some analysts believe Turkey's ruling party will not interrupt (Jamestown) as winter approaches and March 2009 elections loom. Turkish heavy-construction firms, banks, and its energy services sector have been major players in the post-Soviet revival of the Russian economy.

Henri J. Barkey, a Turkey expert at Lehigh University, says logic argues for Turkey to avoid pushing Russia too hard. Barkey points to a recently proposed security agreement between Turkey, Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan¿a so-called platform for security and cooperation in the South Caucasus¿as evidence of Turkey's desire to maintain close relations with the Kremlin (Today'sZaman). "Turkey will always choose with the United States ... especially when it comes to a choice of the United States and Russia," said Hugh Pope, a Turkey expert at the International Crisis Group. "But Turkey's whole strategy will be to delay any such moment of truth. They do not want to be outed on this question."

Greg Bruno is in Turkey on an IRP Gatekeeper Editors trip organized by the International Reporting Project (IRP) at The Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C.

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Re: Caucasus Crisis

Postby renukb » 19 Sep 2008 21:07

US seeks EU backing on isolating Russia

PARIS (AFP) — A senior US official called Friday for solidarity between the European Union and the United States to confront Russia's military surge in Georgia and consider moves to isolate Moscow.

Washington will work with EU governments to ensure "Russia is not able to have it both ways, to be in and out of the international community," US Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried told journalists.

His remarks came a day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stepped up US criticism of Russia, saying Moscow had put itself on a "one-way path to self-imposed isolation and international irrelevance."

Washington has warned that Russia is putting its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) at risk over its actions in Georgia.

Fried, the US State Department's number two official, said he would be meeting with EU counterparts in the coming weeks in Washington and on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York to agree on "tactics and strategy".

While the United States has called for a tough stance toward Russia, the 27-nation EU is divided over how to respond to the Georgia-Russia conflict and the bloc refrained from imposing sanctions at an emergency summit this month.

The European Union, under the presidency of France, negotiated the ceasefire that ended fighting between Georgian and Russian forces and has been pushing for a full withdrawal of Russian troops from the former Soviet republic.

Fried said EU pressure may be working.

"It may be that Russia is rethinking in the face of very strong international pressure, we certainly hope so," he said in a telephone news conference with Europe-based journalists from Washington.

"It may be that Russia did not count on such a strong reaction particularly from Europe," he added. "Russia did not face a divided transatlantic community as it may have counted on."


Russia sent troops deep inside Georgia last month in response to a Georgian offensive to retake control of South Ossetia, a Moscow-backed breakaway region that is internationally recognised as part of Georgia.

Moscow drew broad international condemnation after it recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgian region, as independent states.


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