Rosneft, Russia’s main oil company, last week made a agreement “to take control of 60% of a central oil pipeline in northern Iraq and to increase its investments in the region to $3.5 billion.”
Turkey does not want the Kurds in Syria linking up with Iraqi Kurdistan and controlling large areas of northern Syria; then encouraging the ethnic Kurdish in Turkey to follow suit.
Turkey is gloating over the humiliating defeat of Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Kirkuk by forces attached to Baghdad following the independence referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) on Sept. 25.
US and European opposition to the referendum in the name of preserving Iraq’s unity also pleased Ankara. Russia’s ambivalent position, however, was noted with silent disapproval.
Following the referendum, Moscow underscored its “unwavering commitment to the sovereignty, unity and integrity” of Iraq, according to a press statement issued by the Foreign Ministry. Moscow also added, however, that it “respects the national aspirations of the Kurds,” which is not what Ankara wanted to hear.
Speaking to the Kurdish daily Rudaw a few weeks before the referendum, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, “The desires and legal goals of the Kurds must be fulfilled like that of all other peoples.”
He added for good measure that the Kurds should “express their aspirations through a peaceful mechanism,” and that the goals of the referendum should also be “done peacefully … taking into account the view of Iraq’s neighbors.”
The key issue for Ankara, despite Moscow’s “unwavering commitment” to the unity of Iraq, is that Russia is not opposed to Kurdish political aspirations. Any form of self-rule, even under a federal or confederal system, is seen as a threat by Turkey, which fears the effect it will have on its restive Kurds.
Another disturbing development for Ankara was the agreement that Rosneft, Russia’s main oil company, concluded with the KRG last week to take control of 60% of a central oil pipeline in northern Iraq and to increase its investments in the region to $3.5 billion. Al-Monitor
Iraq and Russian authorities to bring Russian speaking orphans to Russian. The children’s pictures were shown on RT, some of the children were recognized by their relatives in Russia. These children are traumatized, very young, and have no official papers.
According to Samih Beno, a Jordanian politician of Chechen origin, 48 minors, presumably children of Russian citizens, are now being held in different Iraqi shelters. Beno, also the head of the Chechen Republic’s Friends Association in Jordan, helped begin the evacuation and serves as a mediator during talks between representatives of different countries and international public organizations. No concrete date as to when minors could be brought back home can be set at the moment, as the process of their return is full of legal complications. T
o bring the children back, it must be confirmed they are all Russian citizens, which is not easy as the minors lack documents proving their identity and can hardly tell the authorities anything about themselves or their family aside from a name. According to Beno, the kids will have to undergo a DNA test to prove they are relatives with people who claim so. RT
Just this week, two more children, whose parents are believed to be Russian-speaking, were brought into the orphanage in Baghdad. However, getting the new arrivals to open up and talk has proved to be a difficult process.
Mouhamed allegedly speaks a mixture of Russian and Arabic, but says nothing to reveal his identity. He has an injury on one of his knees. Haddja says nothing at all. She is suffering from a wound to her ankle, in what appears to be a severe burn.
One of their mates said both children were brought into the orphanage at night, and she has not heard either of them speak Russian since. The team working on the ground is now trying to establish if the children are of Russian descent. RT
Arriving In Russia
A four-year-old Chechen boy has been brought back to Russia after living with his jihadist father, who was fighting alongside ISIS in Mosul. Russian authorities are now seeking the return of several dozen such children from Iraqi orphanages.
Bilal Tagirov’s mother hadn’t seen him for two years. In October 2015, the child was kidnapped from his native Chechnya by his father, Khasan Tagirov, who went to fight alongside Islamic State jihadists, first in Syria and then in Iraq.
RT correspondent Murad Gazdiev traveled to the Russian republic of Dagestan, after grandparents of two sisters – Hadija and Fatima came forward. Both said they hadn’t slept for three days since they saw the video with the girls.
The girls were taken by their parents to Mosul some two years ago, then both parents were killed in a drone strike, leaving the children orphans, Gazdiev said, citing the girls’ grandparents.
“Our children secretly left us. How could they take away their own helpless kids? If you are leaving why do you need to traumatize the kids? I still don’t understand it,” the grandfather of the girls said passionately.
“We are waiting for our girls,” their grandmother added. RT
Mariam can hardly pronounce her name. At first she stayed silent, but then managed to speak of her injuries and the ordeal she suffered when the house she lived in with her family came under fire one day.
“Someone began shooting at the house. After that they threw grenades. And this is when the fire started,” she says. “Then I was hit by shrapnel. And this is how blood spilled from my head. Lots of blood,” she said, touching scars on her face, apparently left by shrapnel.
Mariam says that her mother was shot dead and she doesn’t know where her father is.
“There were snipers across the river. The snipers shot at my mother right here,” Mariam says. “They shot her in the arm. The head and the arm. And then she died.”
Hours after RT aired the report about Mariam, a woman from the Russian Republic of Dagestan contacted the channel, claiming that the girl in the video was her granddaughter.
“It’s my granddaughter!” the woman identified as Patimatzagra said through tears, adding that her daughter’s name was Madina. She was in shock to hear the girl say that her mother had died…
Mariam’s parents took the girl and left Dagestan in 2014, the woman said. From time to time Madina sent her photos and videos of Mariam and two boys, presumably, Mariam’s siblings. However, she stopped answering calls in January this year.RT
Mariam had problems even pronouncing her own name when she was discovered by RT in an Iraqi orphanage earlier in August.
The girl suffered immense psychological and physical trauma after her mother was killed by a sniper in front of her eyes and she herself was hit by shrapnel.
However, she was seen smiling for the first time in a long while as she was surrounded by the caring family in Grozny.
Earlier in August, a four-year-old Chechen boy, Bilal Tagirov, returned to Russia after living with his jihadist father, who was fighting for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Mosul.
Around 50 children of Russian citizens currently remain in various shelters, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, told RIA Novosti.
Their return home is a complicated affair due to the kids lacking passports, bureaucratic hurdles and the difficult security situation in Iraq. RT
Russia is deploying troops to southern Syria, near the Israeli border, Ynet reports citing reports in Arabic-language media.
According to the Lebanese-based Al Mayadeen news channel, Russia is building a military base in the area of Quneitra and Dara’a, on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. TimesOfIsrael
Russian military forces have replaced the Syrian regime’s military presence in Daraa and Quneitra in southern Syria, and have built a base in the area, Syrian opposition sources reported this week.
The move indicates that Russia intends to create a more permanent military presence near Israel’s northern border, and comes after the implementation of a Syrian cease-fire agreement brokered by the U.S. and Russia in July.
The Lebanon-based and Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen media network corroborated the reports, stating that Russian forces have been deployed in the region and are stationed in military posts shared with Syrian army units.
The Syrian army’s 4th division auxiliary force is the only regime unit due for complete withdrawal from southern Syria, while other Syrian military units will remain there, Al Mayadeen reported. Further, the Lebanese media outlet said Russia has built a military base between the city of Damascus and the suburb of Daraa.
Israeli officials remain concerned regarding the presence of the Syrian army as well as Hezbollah and Iranian forces in southern Syria. In July, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Russia perpetuates the presence of Iranian forces near Israel. America and Russia responded to Netanyahu’s criticism by saying Israel’s interests would be taken into account in Syria. JNS
Russia, Turkey and Iran are to map out the specific zones by June 4th.
Netanyahu: “With the framework of these arrangements, and also without them, there is an Iranian effort to become firmly established on a permanent basis in Syria, either through the presence of ground forces, or naval forces,” Netanyahu said. He also said the Syrians are involved in a “gradual attempt to open up a front against us on the Golan Heights.” JPost
Iran’s potential role in enforcing a security zone in southern Syria has raised concerns for Israel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford said Tuesday.
Under the terms of an agreement signed last week in Astana, Turkey, several large areas of western and southern Syria would become protected areas where the use of weapons, including airstrikes, would be prohibited. Russia, Iran and Turkey would be empowered to “take all necessary measures” to enforce the peace in these zones, including attacks inside those areas against Nusra Front, al-Qaida or ISIS.
One of the zones would be in southern Syria in rebel-held territory along the Israeli-Syrian border by the Golan Heights.
Dunford, who was traveling in Israel this week to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top defense officials, said Israel is concerned about the possibility of having Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, such as Hezbollah, so close to its border….
Israel has supported the rebel presence along its border, providing field hospitals to maintain a buffer between it and the Iranian and Hezbollah-backed Assad regime, said Anthony Cordesman, a senior Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Cordesman said that Israel may endorse security zones to bring stability to Syria, but it’s unlikely to agree to any limits that would keep it from protecting interests in southern Syria or striking shipments.
Cordesman questioned whether the agreement would move forward. Stars & Stripes
Critics of the Kremlin are being splashed with a green liquid called zelyonka.
Russian opposition leaders have never had it easy. Harassment, surveillance and violence have long been part of the landscape. But in recent months, they have also had to watch out for pro-government cronies wielding a green dye known as zelyonka. In March Alexei Navalny, Russia’s foremost opposition politician, had his face splashed with the stuff (pictured) while campaigning in the Siberian city of Barnaul.
Earlier this month, Mr Navalny announced that a second attack, which featured zelyonka mixed with another substance, had left him partially blind. (Mr Navalny underwent eye surgery in Spain this week, after Russian authorities issued him a passport for the first time in five years.) “Nowadays on the Russian political spectrum, green is the color of alarm,” says an editorial in Novaya Gazeta, a leading opposition newspaper. What is zelyonka, and why is it turning opposition-minded Russians’ faces green?
A widespread Soviet-era antiseptic akin to iodine, zelyonka, or “brilliant green”, is normally used to treat small scrapes. Pro-Kremlin activists have adopted it to stain those who challenge the government. The Economist
Brilliant Green has the added advantage of stigmatizing its victims. It is notoriously difficult to wash off, guaranteeing targets will bear the mark of the “enemy” for several days at least. “It serves to humiliate the victim and discredit the person in the eyes of voters as weak and defenseless,” says Oreshkin.
But by now, analyst Dmitry Oreshkin argues, its intended effect has faded. In fact, the opposition itself have started wearing green as a badge of honor. After Navalny was attacked in Barnaul, dozens of his supporters posted pictures of themselves in green online. When Kasyanov was attacked at the Nemtsov march, defiant demonstrators began chanting: “You won’t pour zelyonka over us!” MoscowTimes
Update: A former sushi chef from Kyrgyzstan has been named as the suicide bomber who murdered 14 and injured 50 in the St Petersburg train massacre.
Russian citizen Akbarzhon Jalilov, 22, who was born in Kyrgyzstan, has been named by security services as the suspected bomber who also planted a second device hidden in a fire extinguisher that failed to explode.
Kremlin officials said parts of the attacker’s body had been found at the scene a day after a train was blown up between Sennaya Ploshchad and Sadovaya metro stations in Russia’s second city. DailyMail
Two nail bombs have ripped through train carriages killing at least ten and injuring 50 in the Russian city of St Petersburg this morning. Explosive devices packed full of shrapnel were detonated on a train between the Sennaya Ploshchad and Sadovaya stations. DailyMail
Vladimir Putin is in his hometown of St Petersburg today. “We are considering all possible causes, including terrorism,” he said in a statement.
A suspected IED explosion inside a car of the St. Petersburg Metro system has resulted in casualties among passengers. The entire transit system has been shut down as bomb squads and rescuers are responding to the emergency.The explosion happened as the train was traveling between the stations Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad of the St. Petersburg Metro, the National Antiterrorism Committee confirmed, adding that there was an unspecified number of fatalities from the blast.
The explosion happened as the train was traveling between the stations Tekhnologichesky Institut and Sennaya Ploshchad of the St. Petersburg Metro, the National Antiterrorism Committee confirmed, adding that there was an unspecified number of fatalities from the blast.
Preliminary reports indicate that some 10 people may have been killed and 20 injured in the blast, news agencies said citing sources close to the investigation. RT
Need some election interference? The Russian Foreign Ministry is ready to help — or so it says on April Fools’ Day.
On Saturday, the ministry posted on its Facebook page an audio file of the purported new automated telephone switchboard message for Russian embassies.
“To arrange a call from a Russian diplomat to your political opponent, press 1,” the recording begins, in Russian and English. Press 2 “to use the services of Russian hackers,” and 3 “to request election interference.”
The English portion of the recording begins 26 seconds into the video, with the title translated as “Answering machine for Russian diplomatic missions.”
A ministry duty officer, who did not give his name in line with official practice, confirmed to The Associated Press that the post was an official joke. CBSNews
In 1983 Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Ma) wanted to run for president, and so he sent a friend, John Tunney, to Moscow to set up a quid pro quo deal with the Russians.
Picking his way through the Soviet archives that Boris Yeltsin had just thrown open, in 1991 Tim Sebastian, a reporter for the London Times, came across an arresting memorandum. Composed in 1983 by Victor Chebrikov, the top man at the KGB, the memorandum was addressed to Yuri Andropov, the top man in the entire USSR. The subject: Sen. Edward Kennedy.
“On 9-10 May of this year,” the May 14 memorandum explained, “Sen. Edward Kennedy’s close friend and trusted confidant [John] Tunney was in Moscow.” (Tunney was Kennedy’s law school roommate and a former Democratic senator from California.) “The senator charged Tunney to convey the following message, through confidential contacts, to the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Y. Andropov.”
Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election. “The only real potential threats to Reagan are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations,” the memorandum stated. “These issues, according to the senator, will without a doubt become the most important of the election campaign.” Forbes
In 1980 Ted Kennedy wanted to run for president in place of Carter, the Mitrokhin Archives reveal Kennedy sent a friend, John Tunney (former Senator from California) to reach out to the KGB and Leonid Brezhnev.
Kennedy’s long history with the KGB is well documented, but underreported. It remains available through the writings of the now deceased Vasiliy Mitrokhin, who defected to Britain from the Soviet Union in 1992, and a separate 1983 memo addressed to then General Secretary Yuri Andropov. Kennedy’s actions occurred at the expense of presidential authority and in violation of federal law, according to academics and scholars who are familiar with the documents.
The Mitrokhin papers highlight a meeting that took place at the behest of Kennedy between former Sen. John Tunney (D-Calif.) and KGB agents in Moscow on March 5, 1980. The information exchanged during this encounter is included as part of a report Mitrokhin filed with the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. The former KGB man continued to work with British intelligence until the time of his death.
Noted Cold War author and researcher Herbert Romerstein has described Mitrokhin as a “highly credible source” with vast knowledge of the now-closed KGB archives. Romerstein, who headed up the U.S. government’s Office to Counter Soviet Disinformation and Active Measures during the 1980s, has explained in previous interviews that Mitrokhin made meticulous copies of KGB files by hand prior to his defection.
The KGB files Mitrokhin retrieved indicate that Kennedy fixed the blame for heightened international tensions on the Carter White House, not on the Kremlin. It is important to note that Kennedy was challenging incumbent Carter for the Democratic nomination for president at that time.
Tunney told his KGB counterparts that Kennedy was impressed by the foreign policy statements made by General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev. Kennedy saw in Brezhnev a leader who was firmly committed to the policy of “détente,” the report said.
Moreover, Kennedy also blamed the Carter Administration for assuming an overly belligerent posture toward the Soviet Union after the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan, according to the papers. Spectator
Hamas and Fatah will meet in Moscow January 15-17, 2017 to discuss divisions between them and work the ways of reconciliation.
The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences will organize a meeting of Palestinian political parties Hamas and Fatah to facilitate the discussion of the perspectives of overcoming the strife between them, Kayed Ghul, a member of Fatah political bureau said.
“The Institute of Oriental Studies sent us an invitation for the meeting on January 15-17,” Ghul told RIA Novosti adding that the delegation was expecting to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his deputy Mikhail Bogdanov.
He added that the discussion would touch on “the issue of Palestinian divisions and the ways of overcoming the current situation.” SputnikNews
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview in April 2016 with Russian state news agency Sputnik, one of his top priorities is to reconcile with Gaza-based terror group Hamas.
In 2014, Abbas’s Fatah party joined forces with Hamas in forming a unity government. This was the first time both Palestinian groups came together since 2007, when Fatah took control of parts of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and Hamas took over the Gaza Strip following a deadly and violent conflict. Continuous political disagreements between Fatah and Hamas eventually led to the collapse of the unity government in June 2015.
Regarding the peace process with Israel, Abbas called on Russia to take on a greater leadership role in negotiations, based on what he says is Moscow’s success in brokering the Iran nuclear deal and its involvement in Syria. Russia’s “new proactive dimension in the Middle East” will “restore peace and stability” to the Palestinians, Abbas claimed. “From here we wish to see this dynamic in the Russian foreign policy extended to the peace process between the Israelis and us,” he said.
Abbas criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whom he is convinced does not intend to form an independent Palestinian state. “Policies and practices of the government of Israel and the dramatic facts on the ground due to the ongoing confiscation of our land, building of more settlements and the demolition of Palestinian houses, leave no doubts about Netanyahu’s commitment to destroy the two-state solution,” he said. Algemeiner
The Republicans in Congress have wanted to confront and take a harder line on Russia, and they also wanted certain Russian diplomats expelled from the U.S. for years over the spy shops in NY and Maryland and harassment of U.S. diplomats in Russia . Especially the last two years with Russia mounting a campaign of harassment and intimidation of American diplomats and their families in Moscow.
NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell said the Obama administration is taking steps to “box in” President-elect Donald Trump so the sanctions are not easily reversible. BreitBart
The outgoing US administration has not given up on its hope of dealing one last blow to relations with Russia, which it has already destroyed. Using obviously inspired leaks in the US media, it is trying to threaten us again with expansion of anti-Russian sanctions, “diplomatic” measures and even subversion of our computer systems. Moreover, this final New Year’s “greeting” from Barack Obama’s team, which is already preparing to leave the White House, is being cynically presented as a response to some cyber-attacks from Moscow.
Frankly speaking, we are tired of lies about Russian hackers that continue to be spread in the United States from the very top. The Obama administration launched this misinformation half a year ago in a bid to play up to the required nominee at the November presidential election and, having failed to achieve the desired effect, has been trying to justify its failure by taking it out with a vengeance on Russian-US relations.
However, the truth about the White House-orchestrated provocation is bound to surface sooner or later. In fact, this is already happening. On December 8, US media quoted Georgia’s Secretary of State Brian Kemp as saying that the local authorities tracked down the origin of a hacker attack on his voter registration database after the election. The attack was traced to an IP address of the Department of Homeland Security. This was followed by an attempt to quickly cover up this information by a flood of new anti-Russian accusations that did not contain a single piece of evidence.
We can only add that if Washington takes new hostile steps, it will receive an answer. This applies to any actions against Russian diplomatic missions in the United States, which will immediately backfire at US diplomats in Russia. The Obama administration probably does not care at all about the future of bilateral relations, but history will hardly forgive it for this après-nous-le-deluge attitude.
Tensions have escalated dramatically between Russia and Turkey over last few years. Turkey has aided and backed ISIS terrorist for years. Russia views the attack as a terrorist act. The gunman has been identified as Mert Altintas a Turkish police officer.
The Russian ambassador to Turkey has died after being shot by a gunman in Ankara, where he was attending a photo exhibition, the Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed.
“This is a tragic day in the history of Russian diplomacy. Today, Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrey Karlov died after being shot at during a public event in Ankara,”
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Monday evening. The assault on the Russian ambassador is an “act of terrorism,” she added. The ambassador, Andrey Karlov, was shot after he was about to deliver a speech on the opening of the exhibition “Russia in the eyes of Turks.”..
The perpetrator, who was wearing a suit and a tie, shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’ in Arabic) during the attack, AP reports, citing their own photographer.
The attacker also said several words in Russian, according to the news agency, and damaged several of the photos at the expo.
Turkish NTV broadcaster says that three other people were also injured in the attack on the ambassador.
The attacker has been killed by Turkish Special Forces, Turkish Anadolu news agency reports. Russian Interfax news agency, citing a source in the Turkish military, also confirms that the gunman was neutralized…
The attacker reportedly identified himself as a police officer as he entered the exhibition, a Turkish military source told Interfax.
“We have information, from one of the witnesses, that the attacker presented himself as a police officer, showing the relevant ID at the entrance. This information is being checked right now,” the source is quoted as saying. RT
Update: The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has written to the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, asking why this week’s reports by the CIA that Russia did hack Democratic campaign documents contradicts what the agency was saying three weeks ago. DailyMail
The overseers of the U.S. intelligence community have not embraced a CIA assessment that Russian cyber attacks were aimed at helping Republican President-elect Donald Trump win the 2016 election, three American officials said on Monday.
While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials, who declined to be named. BreitBart
Temper Tantrums – Failed
Rioting and smashing up cities – Failed
Sending death threats to electors – Failed
Jill Stein’s recount – Failed
What next? Russians!
The FBI is saying the evidence is not there. Some have suggested this is about voting machines, there is no proof of that, This is the hack of the DNC emails. The Russian bit was claimed by the media before the election so we factored or didn’t factor that into our vote. The mainstream media then claimed the leaks lost Clinton the election because of “Russia”, while still never acknowledging the truths the leaks reveal.
“I don’t understand the argument itself,” the Tucker Carlson Tonight and Daily Caller founder stated. “I don’t think anyone dismisses the that Russia was hacking servers or email accounts in the United States. They’ve done if for years, and so have the Chinese.”
“The question is did that sway the election results, and if it did, how so exactly?” he then posed. “The allegation appears to be they hacked John Podesta’s emails. By the way, that’s not proved. They’re claiming it is, but it’s not. DailyCaller
The CIA is acting in a highly politicized manner. The objective seems to be to discrediting the results of the 2016 election and delegitimize the presidency of Donald Trump by creating a myth that Trump as elected by Russian influence. Did agents at the CIA concluded anything or was it a political figure at the CIA who reached the conclusion about Russia and the election?
The Democratic party and the CIA are giving Russia what it wants – to discredit the institutions of democratic elections.