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Theology => Prophecy - Current Events => Topic started by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 09:46:49 PM

Title: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 09:46:49 PM
Ahmadinejad seeks Chinese, Russian support

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 14, 2:46 PM ET

TEHRAN, Iran -  Iran's hard-line president is doing more than just attending an Asian security summit in China: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seeks to gain Russian and Chinese support at a critical moment for his country's nuclear program.

He also aims to prove that his country is not isolated, despite U.S. claims to the contrary.

Past trips to Asia have been a chance for Ahmadinejad to tap into anti-U.S. sentiment and tout himself as a leader who is standing up to Washington. Last month, he was cheered by Indonesian students and by a crowd shouting "Fight America! Fight  Israel!" outside a Jakarta mosque where he performed prayers.

His visit to China, which began Wednesday, will likely be more dedicated to intense diplomacy. Ahmadinejad is expected to hold separate meetings with his Chinese and Russian counterparts,
Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, on the sidelines of the regional summit in Shanghai.

It will be a chance to sound out his two allies on a package of incentives offered by the Big Five Powers at the U.N., plus Germany, seeking to persuade Iran to freeze its uranium enrichment program. If Iran agrees, Tehran would then be able to enter negotiations with the United States and Europe over a long-term resolution to the standoff over its nuclear program.

Russia and China have backed the incentives package. But the two countries — longtime allies and trading partners of Iran who hold veto powers at the U.N. — have opposed any move to impose sanctions, which Washington seeks if Tehran turns down the offer.

A key question for Iran is likely to be how much change it can seek in the package and still keep Moscow and Beijing's implicit protection.

Iran has said it finds parts of the package acceptable but that other parts should be removed. And it has said the key issue of uranium enrichment remains unclear and needs further explanation. Tehran has outright rejected demands it scrap enrichment and has been highly reluctant to suspend it.

Tehran has not yet responded to the offer, given to it a week ago.

"Iran is taking its own time (in responding) to get Russia and China to modify the Western pressures on Tehran," said political analyst Davoud Hermidas Bavand.

Ahmadinejad will likely urge Moscow and Beijing to "follow their independent policy and don't go the U.S. way," said analyst Mostafa Kavakebian.

The Iranian president will try to push his own ideas, seeking a compromise that will guarantee his country's right to enrich uranium and at the same time offer guarantees that its nuclear program won't be diverted toward weapons, he said.

In Shanghai, Ahmadinejad joins the leaders of Russia, China and four Central Asian countries who comprise the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The trip is also a chance to show that Iran has friends around the world despite U.S. attempts to isolate it. Iran has made clear it is adjusting its relations with nations based on the nuclear standoff.

"We are redefining our relations with the world," Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told a television program last week. "We are managing our relations with other countries based on our national interests and the way we are treated (over the nuclear dispute)."

Iran has repeatedly said it will offer giant economic projects to countries that support its nuclear program and punish those who vote against it.

China's state energy company has signed long-term deals for natural gas. Those deals display the growing disregard for Washington's priorities. In 1996 the U.S. said it would consider sanctions on any company that invests more than $20 million annually in the Iranian oil and gas sectors. The threat was never enforced.

Ahmadinejad's participation in the Shanghai summit, as an observer, is a particular irritant to the United States, which views the body as an attempted counterweight against Western influence in Central Asia and the presence of American bases there.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last week chided China and Russia for backing Tehran's participation in the summit, saying he found it strange to bring the "leading terrorist nation in the world into an organization that says it's against terror."

But host China dismissed the criticism. "We cannot abide by other countries calling our observer nations sponsors of terror," Shanghai Cooperation Organization chief Zhang Deguang said.

Ahmadinejad seeks Chinese, Russian support (;_ylt=AjIO1jdyrj75P4RIK.kJgasLewgF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA--)

Title: Iran president to arrive in China, bringing nuclear issue to summit
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 09:47:59 PM
Iran president to arrive in China, bringing nuclear issue to summit
Jun 14 4:19 AM US/Eastern
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive in Shanghai, renewing the focus on the role China may play in resolving the standoff over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad was to represent his nation, which has observer status in a regional grouping now gathering in China's largest city, but he was expected to also have his first meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on the sidelines.

Ahmadinejad is only a guest at Thursday's summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which groups China, Russia, and four Central Asian states plus a handful of observer nations, including Iran.

But attention will be on him more than anyone else, not least because he is also set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin for the first time since an encounter at the United Nations last year.

Even so, it was unclear what might actually be achieved by the Shanghai talks in regards to the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program, argued David Zweig, a China expert at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology.

"It's good to have the two leaders, Hu Jintao and Vladimir Putin, sit down with Ahmadinejad and perhaps help him understand the need not to go down the nuclear road," Zweig said.

"The soft line on these issues has tended not to work. Look at North Korea, where China has a lot more influence than it has with Iran. In general, if states decide to build the bomb, they do it."

China has hosted a series of six-nation talks in a bid to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions, so far making extremely limited progress.

The participation of Iran at the Shanghai summit has already drawn fire from the United States, which remains wary about China and Russia's cosy relationship with Tehran.

China and Russia have significant business interests in Iran, with energy-hungry Beijing in negotiations for a slice of its oil reserves, the world's fourth largest.

"It strikes me as strange that one would want to bring into an organization that says it's against terrorism... one of the leading terrorist nations in the world -- Iran," US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said this month.

Although Washington accuses Tehran of sponsoring terrorism, Beijing and Moscow disagree.

They have fended off US efforts for UN Security Council-led sanctions against Iran on the nuclear issue, although they have recently given some ground.

Ji Kaiyun, an expert on Sino-Iran ties at Southwest University in China's Chongqing city, said Beijing had made it clear it did not want to be seen as a threat to the United States.

"China will not challenge, and China does not aim to transform, the US-led international order. Sino-American ties take precedence over Sino-Iranian ties. China will not clash with the United States over Iran," Ji said.

But others say China's willingness to talk with Tehran may be sending a signal to Washington about how to best handle the issue.

"The Americans have a bad record for having very little to show for ostracising states -- Cuba, North Korea and Iran," said Paul Harris, a US foreign policy expert at Hong Kong's Lingnan University.

"Naturally, the Chinese way is to take a different approach -- they don't care who they talk to and by letting the Iranians on board... it sends a signal to the United States that says your way is not the only way."

Iran president to arrive in China, bringing nuclear issue to summit (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 10:04:18 PM
Putin hails SCO as new mode of international cooperation
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as introducing new patterns for successful international cooperation.

Putin made the remarks in an article published on the eve of the SCO's 2006 summit to be held on Thursday in Shanghai, China. The summit will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the group's establishment.

Terming the SCO as an "influential regional organization," Putin said the SCO, which groups Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has become an important factor for maintaining stability in Eurasia since its establishment five years ago.

Countries in the region have long realized the importance of joining forces to meet new challenges faced by them, Putin said. Only on the basis of multilateral cooperation and through their own efforts, can peace and economic development in the region be guaranteed, he said.

Reviewing the SCO's achievements in resolving the border problems among members, Putin elaborated on the organization's successful cooperation in a number of areas, including security, economy and culture.

Facing the menace of "the three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, members of the SCO had had discussions on the importance of joining efforts in fighting terrorism and begun practical work on it long before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Putin said.

The member states already have effective means to counter the threat of terrorism, separatism and extremism, the president said, adding that the next move will be coordination and cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking.

Maintaining regional stability has been the focus of the member states' attention and extensive cooperation has been conducted among them in this regard, with emphasis being laid on coordinating actions and working out specific measures, the president said.

Putin also highlighted the SCO's cooperation with observer states, including India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia.

With an open approach toward dialogues, the SCO is ready to work together with other countries and organizations to promote peace, stability and development, Putin stressed.

Economic cooperation among the member states has become increasingly important to the SCO itself, Putin said.

There are huge potentials for effective and mutually beneficial cooperation in the region, he said, adding that people's standards of living in the region will be greatly improved through such cooperation.

Regional integration will help bring into full play the member states' competitive advantages in energy, resources supply and transportation, he said.

The SCO also places cooperation among enterprises and financial institutions high on the agenda, he added.

Within the framework of the SCO, humanistic and cultural exchanges have become increasingly active, Putin said.

The SCO has also accumulated rich experience in cultural exchanges and academic dialogue, and documents on educational cooperation are being drawn up, Putin said, adding that bilateral cooperation in tourism and sports should be extended to multilateral levels.

The SCO has set a model for equal partnership in Eurasia. The strategic aim of such an partnership is to enhance regional security and stability, promote economic progress and push forward the process of regional integration while maintaining the national and cultural identities of each member.

Based on "the Shanghai Spirit" characterized by mutual trust, openness and transparency, non-coercion and consensus, the SCO has laid down a solid foundation for making even greater contributions to efforts to resolve global issues in the present-day world, Putin said.

Putin hails SCO as new mode of international cooperation (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 14, 2006, 10:21:08 PM
Islamists Call for Referendum on Egypt-Israel Peace
Written by The Media Line Staff
Published Wednesday, June 14, 2006
   E-Mail This
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is calling to take the Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement signed in 1979 to referendum, UPI reports.
In an interview with DRAEM, an Egyptian TV channel, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Mahdi 'Akif, said the Camp David agreement between the two countries should be cancelled if the Egyptian people vote against it.
'Akif added that he did not acknowledge the peace agreement.
The Muslim Brotherhood won almost 20 percent of the parliamentary seats in the 2005 elections, and became a strong political opposition to the ruling National Democratic Party. These were the first elections the movement was allowed to participate in.
Two years after the signing of the peace agreement with Israel, members of the Muslim Brotherhood assassinated President Anwar Sadat.
Sadat was the first Arab leader to engage in negotiations with Israel.

Islamists Call for Referendum on Egypt-Israel Peace (

Title: 'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'
Post by: Shammu on June 15, 2006, 01:54:59 AM
    Iranian Presidential Advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin: 'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'

June 15, 2006

On June 9, 2006, the reformist online daily Rooz reported that during a visit with students at Gilan University in Rasht, Iran, Mohammad Ali Ramin, advisor to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, discussed historical accusations against the Jews and questioned the Holocaust.

The following are excerpts from the Rooz article, in the original English: [1]

"'Throughout History, This Religious Group [i.e. the Jews] has Inflicted the Most Damage on the Human Race'"

"On a visit to Gilan University, president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s advisor Mohammad Ali Ramin said to a group of students in the town of Rasht, 'Ten years ago, when I brought up the issue of the Holocaust for the first time in this country, my goal was to defend the Jewish people. But among the Jews there have always been those who killed God’s prophets and who opposed justice and righteousness. Throughout history, this religious group has inflicted the most damage on the human race, while some of its groups engaged in plotting against other nations and ethnic groups to cause cruelty, malice and wickedness.'

"'Historically, there are many accusations against the Jews. For example, it was said that they were the source for such deadly disease as the plague and typhus. This is because the Jews are very filthy people. For a time people also said that they poisoned water wells belonging to Christians and thus killed them,' Ramin said.

"Ramin also pointed that there were other plots that powerful people used to mislead public opinion around the world. 'When the Islamic Revolution of Iran succeeded and attracted many people around the world, including Christians, the AIDS epidemic came about, and fear again overtook the world. After the September 11 attacks, the deadly epidermis broke out, which was destroyed when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. On the eve of the invasion of Iran, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) illness broke out, but disappeared after the invasion,' he said."

"'Nobody Asks How a Bird That had the Flu Could Fly From Australia to Siberia'"

"Ramin also claimed that the spread of bird flu was a conspiracy plot cause[d] by the failure of America, Israel and Britain in the Middle East. Ramin pointed out that to cover up and hide their failures, these countries have spread the news about the bird flu to preoccupy and distract public opinion for some 5 to 6 months. 'Nobody asks how a bird that had the flu could fly from Australia to Siberia,' he said, adding that even the Iranian minister of health had claimed to have stopped the disease at Iran’s borders. He claimed the holocaust story and bird flu rumors are interrelated. He attributed the killing of millions of chicken was to control the price and amount [of] chicken in the market."

"In Order to Deny the Germans the Ability to Increase Their Power, 'the British and Americans Present Them as a Human-Burning Nation'"

"While acknowledging not knowing the source of these events around the world, Ramin said, 'I only know that Jews have been accused of such conspiracies and sabotage throughout history and have not performed well.'

"And repeating the president’s claims about the Holocaust, he presented four theories that are presented in its support.

"The first is that in order to deny the Germans the ability to increase their power, 'the British and Americans present them as a human-burning nation.' The second theory is that the Americans and the British have cocked up this story with the Zionists, so as to create the state of Israel in the middle of the Islamic world and thus control the Islamic world on the Holocaust pretext, and getting rid of the Jews from Europe. The third hypothesis relates to the traditional animosity between Christians and the Jews. 'The U.S., Britain with the cooperation of France, Russia and Germany, and because of their Christian leanings and its animosity with the Jews, launched the idea of the Holocaust after the Second World War to scare off the Jews and sent them to what is now Israel in order to get rid of them in Europe and America,' he said. He further said that the movement that created Israel is in fact against the Jews. The fourth theory relates to covering up the crimes of the U.S. and Britain. He claimed that Britain had killed some 100 million red Indians in the last 300 years and the U.S. had leveled Hiroshima, which he said were the real Holocausts."

"'The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel'"

"Claiming that the Holocaust was the principal reason why Palestine was occupied while Israel was the main cause of crises and catastrophe in the Middle East. 'So long as Israel exists in the region there will never be peace and security in the Middle East,' he said adding, 'So the resolution of the Holocaust issue will end in the destruction of Israel.'

"Turning to President Ahmadinejad’s comments on the Holocaust, Ramin said that he criticized the president for making those comments. 'We do not know whether the Holocaust existed or not and so must find out in order to defend the suffered party. My suggestion to him was to set up an investigative committee on this to collect the supporting documents,' he said."

The Resolution of the Holocaust Issue Will End in the Destruction of Israel' (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 15, 2006, 02:37:27 PM
Putin: Iran ready to enter negotiations

Thu Jun 15, 7:01 AM ET

SHANGHAI, China - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Iran is ready to enter into negotiations on an offer by the U.N. powers to encourage Tehran to relinquish its nuclear fuel enrichment program.

"The Iranian side responded positively to the six-nation proposal for a way out of the crisis," Putin said after a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Russian leader said "Iran is ready to enter negotiations" and that he hoped in the near future that Iran would set a date for the start of talks.

Russia has been Tehran's staunchest backer in the nuclear dispute with the U.S. The Shanghai meeting was the first face-to-face discussion between Putin and Ahmadinejad since the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia agreed last month to offer Iran incentives in return for negotiations conditioned on Iran freezing its uranium enrichment program.

Putin: Iran ready to enter negotiations (;_ylt=AhanbQ3yTs8VpTQido0v3.t0bBAF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjMHVqMTQ4BHNlYwN5bnN1YmNhdA--)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 15, 2006, 03:08:42 PM
Iran’s atomic chief announces launch of new nuclear centre
Thu. 15 Jun 2006

Tehran, Iran, Jun. 15 – The head of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) announced on Thursday that Tehran had launched a new nuclear-studies research centre.

“In order to train youths with potentials, the AEOI has launched a science and nuclear studies research centre with several specialised faculties”, Gholam-Reza Aqazadeh told a gathering of nuclear scientists and AEOI officials. His comments were reported by state television.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attended the gathering and vowed that Tehran would continue its nuclear activities despite a package of incentives offered in exchange for its to suspend uranium enrichment activities.

Iran’s atomic chief announces launch of new nuclear centre (

Title: Russian president blasts United States after Asian security summit
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 12:07:08 AM
Russian president blasts United States after Asian security summit
Canadian Press
Published: Thursday, June 15, 2006

SHANGHAI, China (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States on Thursday of throwing its weight around and defended the growing clout of an Asian security group dominated by Russia and China.

Putin, speaking after a summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organization denied the organization is a military-political bloc aimed at countering U.S. interests.

But in a nearly two-hour meeting in his Shanghai hotel suite, he reeled off a list of complaints about what he described as overbearing behaviour by the United States.

Washington, Putin said, had brought upon itself the eviction of a U.S. military base in Uzbekistan by acting "like a bull in a china shop" and seeking to impose its standards on a volatile region plagued by Islamic radicalism.

The United States fell out with Uzbek President Islam Karimov after criticizing the violent suppression of a revolt in May 2005.

Uzbekistan is one of the members of the SCO, which groups China, Russia and four Central Asian countries and counts Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia as observers.

Putin suggested Washington is displeased at the emergence of a newly influential organization such as the SCO.

"They don't like the fact that countries like China and Russia have joined efforts in solving common problems, that India and Pakistan are taking part and that it has attracted Iran," he said.

"Their worry is that they can't influence it."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who took part in the summit, urged China, Russia and other Asian countries Thursday to combine their economic and diplomatic clout to bolster the region's resistance to the United States.

Putin also criticized U.S. demands in negotiations of Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization, including its insistence on compliance with U.S. legislation in certain sectors such as agriculture. The United States is the last country with which Russia needs to strike a bilateral accord to join the global trade body.

"We're not joining the United States, we're joining the WTO," Putin remarked acidly.

He added, however, the WTO accession deal with the United States still could be finalized before the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries meet in St. Petersburg, Russia, in mid-July.

The Russian leader also spoke out strongly against U.S. efforts to mount a financial blockade of the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian territories.

The radical group has refused to renounce the use of violence and recognize Israel's right to exist and the United States and the European Union cut off hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid.

"This only exacerbates the situation," Putin said of the financial crunch, which has caused growing unrest with Palestinian civil servants going unpaid for weeks.

Putin also laid the blame for the current political crisis in Ukraine - where coalition talks on forming a new cabinet have remained stalled since March's parliamentary elections - on western countries that supported Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution protests against election fraud that helped pro-western Viktor Yushchenko win Ukraine's presidency.

The Russian president said he had warned the United States and European states of the likely consequences of the Orange Revolution, which he said had split Ukraine between the largely Russian-speaking east and Ukrainian-speaking west.

"They pushed these people into mass disturbances, it's very dangerous. They pushed Ukraine into a confrontation between different regions, between east and west," he said.

Speaking on other subjects, Putin reaffirmed he wouldn't seek a third term in 2008 - which would require overturning the constitutional bar on a third consecutive term - saying he wouldn't have the moral right to govern if he does.
Russian president blasts United States after Asian security summit (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 02:22:28 PM
Jun. 16, 2006 18:51
Iran would 'use nuclear defense'

Iran's defense minister on Thursday vowed that his country would "use nuclear defense as a potential" if "threatened by any power."

Speaking following a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Hassan Ali Turkmani in Teheran on Thursday, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar emphasized that Iran "should be ready for confronting all kinds of threats."

THE IRANIAN THREAT special: news, opinion, blogs and more

Teheran has denied accusations by the US and its allies that Iran was seeking uranium enrichment technologies in order to develop nuclear weapons, saying its program was only meant to generate electricity.

Meanwhile, Turkmani told reporters that Syria and Iran's "policy is the policy of strengthening resistance and tackling the threats of United States and Israel."

He added that he wouldn't give details of joint defense plans against Israel, although the plans were "not secret."

Answering a question regarding a newly-developed Shahab 4 missile, Najjar said that research activities were underway. Iran would continue production of "different missiles and research," Najjar declared.

The most recent Iranian missile was the Shahab 3, and Iran recently claimed to have followed it up with the development of the Shahab 4.

Iran would 'use nuclear defense' (

Title: Putin: Successor may be 'unknown'
Post by: Shammu on June 16, 2006, 09:38:05 PM
Putin: Successor may be 'unknown'

Friday, June 16, 2006; Posted: 7:31 a.m. EDT (11:31 GMT)

MOSCOW, Russia (Reuters) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday introduced a new twist into the hot debate of who will succeed him, saying the Kremlin top job might end up with an as yet unknown outsider.

The identity of who will replace Putin when he steps down in 2008 is the country's hottest political topic, with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov and First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at present seen as strong possibles to follow him.

But at a briefing in Shanghai, Putin, 53, steered journalists away from assuming it was down to a straight race between Medvedev and Ivanov.

His successor may be "someone not very well known ... not necessarily one of two people," Putin said, Russian news agencies reported on Friday.

He was emphatic he would not try to stay on for a third successive term after 2008 -- something that would require a constitutional change.

"You cannot demand that people respect the law if you yourself break the law," he said in Shanghai where he had been at a regional cooperation conference.

Last May the former KGB intelligence agent, whose high popularity ratings make him the envy of his Western counterparts, said he would eventually name a preferred successor in the interests of ensuring continuity and stability.

Speculation has focused on the lawyer Medvedev and ex-spy Ivanov -- an old friend of Putin's -- since last November when they were thrust into the spotlight by promotion to top government jobs.

The two come from different backgrounds. But both are seen as likely to maintain Putin's course of ensuring a strong Kremlin and being assertive abroad.

Though any favored candidate would still have to be elected, endorsement by the highly-popular Putin means, in the Russian context, that his election could be taken for granted.

Analysts say Putin may already have made up his mind about who will follow him.

Other names mooted by commentators include his new chief of staff, Sergei Sobyanin, and railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

But they say Putin will not publicly identify his choice until well into 2007 so as not to erode his own authority in office too soon.

Putin: Successor may be 'unknown' (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 06:50:40 AM
Syria interested in buying Iranian arms

Syria has expressed interest in purchasing weapons from Iran, including scud and anti-aircraft missiles, rocket launchers, Russian T-27 tanks, and even fighter planes. Meanwhile, Syrian Defense Minister Gen. Hassan Turkemani signed a mutual cooperation deal on Thursday with his Iranian counterpart General Mustafa Muhammad Najar.

"The two countries' armed forces must be prepared to face the common enemy that has been working to undermine stability and cause regional tension," Turkemani said.


Among his visits in the Islamic Republic, he met with the Iranian chief of staff and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and toured a local aircraft factory.

Syrian sources told the London-based Al Hayat that the understandings were of a strictly defensive nature. They indicated that both countries have been targeted recently [by Western powers].

After a meeting between the two senior officials, the Iranian Defense Ministry issued a statement saying that Teheran was interested in strengthening cooperation against "American and Israeli threats." It also noted that the two countries should struggle to bring peace and stability in the region and disarm it from weapons of mass destruction.

For several months, Iran has been denying that it was developing nuclear weapons, claiming that its nuclear program was solely for peaceful purposes, however Najar said on Thursday that his country would "use nuclear defense as a potential" if "threatened by any power."

Syria interested in buying Iranian arms (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 09:53:26 AM
 EU pledges to promote dialogue between cultures
Brussels, June 17, IRNA

EU-Cultural dialogue
The European Union said Friday that it will continue to actively promote the dialogue between cultures and civilizations through all existing mechanisms.

A statement issued at the end of a two-day EU summit in Brussels Friday said the mechanisms included the Barcelona Process, the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Alliance of Civilizations.

"Particular emphasis will be given to the role that free media and civil society as well as their promotion can play in this regard," it noted.

The EU summit also welcomed the meeting with leading
representatives of religious communities organized by the EU Presidency and the European Commission in Brussels on May 30.

The Barcelona Process was launched in 1995 with the primary objective of turning the Euro-Mediterranean basin into an area of dialogue and cooperation.

The Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for Dialogue between Cultures, named after the late foreign minister of Sweden, was formed in 2004 to support inter-cultural dialogue in the 35 Euro-Mediterranean countries.

The UN launched the Alliance of Civilizations in 2005 to bridge divides and overcome prejudice at the international level.

EU pledges to promote dialogue between cultures (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 09:54:46 AM
 Iran writes to UN, UNSC condemning Zionist regime's crimes
United Nations, New York, June 17, IRNA

Iran's permanent representative to the UN, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, in a letter sent on Friday to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the Danish President of the UN Secruity Council Ellen Margrethe Loj, condemned crimes of the Zionist regime and called for UN leadership in confronting these crimes.

The UN Security Council presidency for the month of June is held by Denmark.

In his letter, Zarif rejected remarks of the Zionist regime's representative in the UN alleging Iranian support for terrorism as "unfounded."
The Zionist regime's representative in the UN, in an earlier letter to Annan, briefly discussed recent developments in the Occupied Territories and the Hezbollah in Lebanon, and named Iran and Syria as supporters of terrorism.

"Such allegations of the Zionist regime against other states are but another example of the regime's deliberate moves to divert the attention of the international community from the regime's terrorist measures, war crimes and atrocities in these territories which have endangered regional peace and security.

"It is clear that none of the deceptive measures taken by the Zionist regime can hide the fact that its entire history is a chronicle of terrorist, illegal and inhuman measures it has taken against international law, rules and regulations," Zarif said.

"It is ironical that the Zionist regime, which defies and obstinately refuses to observe the principles of the UN Charter and other international laws, rules and regulations, including UN Security Council resolutions, hypocritically calls on other states to observe these resolutions," Zarif added.

Iran writes to UN, UNSC condemning Zionist regime's crimes (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 09:56:28 AM
 Iran to give "transparent" response to Europe's incentives package: FM
Tehran, June 17, IRNA

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Saturday said Iran would give a quite transparent response to Europe's package of incentives.

Mottaki made the remarks while speaking to reporters after a meeting with the leader of the United Iraqi Alliance and head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is currently visiting Iran.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran's response to the package of incentives offered by Europe will be quite transparent just like the country's enrichment work," the minister said.

Early this month European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana visited Iran to hand over a package of incentives to Tehran, prepared by the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council -- Russia, China, Britain, France and the United States -- plus Germany to convince it to give up its uranium enrichment activities and resume talks to settle the dispute over its nuclear program.

"Europe's proposed package is a step forward. The Iranian officials reached a consensus on the proposals.

"We believe the new proposals (of the European side) are a move and a step forward because it is supposed to take both sides' views into consideration," Mottaki said.

He suggested that Tehran could make a counter-proposal to the new offer.

"After the 5+1 Group had made known their views, Tehran would seriously review them and announce our proposals to the European side. The Europeans will also study them." Talks will proceed on this basis as it (the offer) "is not a one-sided move," he said.

"Apparently, the move is positive and the sides can cooperate with each other. We will finalize our views and announce later." Pointing to recommendations of various states and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the minister reminded that Iranian officials had been told "not to make haste and to study the proposals meticulously before giving its views."

Iran to give "transparent" response to Europe's incentives package: (http://Iran to give "transparent" response to Europe's incentives package:)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 09:57:39 AM
 Iran, Turkey to increase border cooperation
Orumiyeh, West Azarbaijan prov, June 17, IRNA

Governor of provincial border city of Makou, Safar Aseri, urged that to prevent illegal border crossing at Iran-Turkey common borders of unauthorized individuals, terrorists and armed insurgents, the two countries should increase their border cooperation.

Speaking at the 55th Iran-Turkey second security committee meeting in Makou on Friday, he said that given the drop in trade activities in Sarissa joint market in central Anatolia, the current obstacles should be removed.

He hoped that the rendering more services and facilities to the Iranians residing in Turkey and raising the level of trade exchanges by Turkey will increase the welfare of border dwellers of both sides and raise the level of trade and economic ties.

For his part, the governor-general of Agri province in eastern Turkey, Khalil Ibrahim appreciated the cooperation and attempts of Iran's border guards in the campaign against those involved in terrorism and drug smuggling as well as armed insurgents.

The Turkish official called for expansion of mutual relations in various fields.

He declared the readiness of his government to render services to Iranian pilgrims visiting his country's holy places and bolster trade and economic exchanges.

At the meeting, ways to increase the security coefficient and solve problems facing the border cities of Makou and Chaldoran in Iran and Turkish eastern provinces of Igdir and Agri were discussed.

Iran, Turkey to increase border cooperation (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 10:00:10 AM
 Iraq's neighboring states FMs to attend conference in Tehran
Tehran, June 17, IRNA

A conference of foreign ministers of Iraq's neighboring states plus Egypt would be held in Tehran from July 8-9, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here Saturday.

Mottaki made the remark while speaking to reporters after a meeting with Leader of the United Iraqi Alliance and Head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, who is currently on a visit to Iran.

"We sent invitations to (Iraqi) neighboring states and Egypt.

The conference can send a clear message to all countries," he said.

Pointing to ongoing visit by Hakim to Tehran, he added, "During meetings, the two sides discussed bilateral relations between Iran and Iraq.

"They also exchanged views on seven important documents which have been approved by the two countries' high council for cooperation in the fields of energy, oil and gas pipeline, electricity, Iran's participation in Iraq's reconstruction and border trade."

The Iranian minister urged all regional countries to help establish security in Iraq, saying, "Terrorist acts in Iraq are not limited just to this country but will damage all states in the region."

Iraq's neighboring states FMs to attend conference in Tehran ( ;D

My note; After reading this, I am really LOOKING UP!!  Ezekiel 38 & 39

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 10:47:04 AM
Iran, Syria sign defense agreement

Allies to cooperate against 'common threats' posed by Israel, US; discuss 'ridding region of weapons of mass destruction'

Defense ministers from close allies Iran and Syria have signed an agreement for military cooperation against what they called the "common threats" presented by Israel and the United States.

In a joint press conference, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and visiting Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkmani said their talks had been aimed at consolidating their defense efforts and strengthening support for one another.

"Our cooperation is based on a strategic pact and unity against common threats. We can have a common front against Israel's threats," Turkmani told reporters Thursday after two intensive rounds of talks with Najjar.

"Our cooperation with the Iranians against Israeli threats is nothing secret and we regularly consult about this with our friends," he said.

According to the London-based Arabic newspaper al-Hayat, the Syrian minister told his Iranian counterpart that his country was interested in purchasing antiaircraft missiles, T-72 tanks, short-range Scud missiles and missile launchers from Tehran.

Before the press conference, Iran's defense ministry said the two sides "stressed strengthening mutual ties and the necessity to preserve peace and stability in the region."

The defense ministry statement also said they discussed "ridding the region of weapons of mass destruction," in an apparent reference to the widely held belief that Israel possesses nuclear warheads.

United against 'US threats'

Asked about US threats against Damascus and Tehran, both top brass brushed off the importance of such threats.

"This is nothing new, we will resist these threats," the Syrian defense minister said.

However, Turkmani dismissed the possibility of hosting an Iranian military base on Syrian soil.

"The language of a (foreign) military base in our country is alien to us. I want to say that it is not on the agenda," he added.

The Iranian defense minister said: "US threats are a kind of psychological operation. It is not new. With unity among the region's nations, these threats will not prevail."

Although the two refused to give specifics about the agreement for military cooperation, Najjar said Iran "considers Syria's security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria."

'Iran no danger to region'

Najjar also shrugged off reports that Iran could pose a threat to the region.

"Iran is ready to sign a non aggression pact with regional countries," he said.

"Our military warfare equipment is based on deterrent policies and strategy. Enemies should know about our capabilities and should not even think about an assault against us," he said in response to a question about the optimization process going on for the medium range Shahab-3 missile.

Iran's Shahab-3 missiles have a range of 2,000 kilometers (1,280 miles), capable of hitting arch-enemy Israel and US bases across the Middle East.

Najjar added that the Syrian side has purchased some Iranian military equipment, but did not elaborate on the purchased items and did not say whether the purchases were made as part of Thursday's agreement.

Turkmani started an official visit to Tehran on Sunday.

During his trip, Turkmani has also met with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Islamic republic's military chiefs and visited Iranian military factories in Isfahan and Tehran.

Iran, Syria sign defense agreement (,2506,L-3263739,00.html)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 17, 2006, 09:31:19 PM
 Turkish parliamentary delegation to depart for Tehran
Ankara, June 17, IRNA

A 10-member Turkish parliamentary delegation headed by the Turkish Chairman of Iran-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group, Ahmet Inal, is due to depart for Tehran late Saturday.

The delegation comprising of members of the joint parliamentary friendship group and some members of Turkish parliament will visit Iran in response to the invitation by the Iranian head of group, Ali-Akbar Aghaei.

During its stay in Tehran, the delegation is scheduled to confer with Majlis Speaker Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel and head of Majlis Foreign Policy and National Security Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi.

At the meetings, the two sides will discuss ways of expanding and strengthening friendly ties between the two states, in particular the inter-parliamentary bonds.

Besides, the latest regional and international developments will be high on the Turkish delegation's agenda.

More than 140 MPs from Turkish parliament are members of Iran-Turkey Parliamentary Friendship Group. Turkey's parliament has 550 members.

Turkish parliamentary delegation to depart for Tehran (

My note; And now, you have a chief of the north, meeting with Gog.

Title: India, Russia defense talks successful
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:03:12 PM
 India, Russia defense talks successful
New Delhi, June 18, IRNA

India-Russia-Defense Talks
Talks between India and Russia on a wide range of issues, including long-term defense projects with Deputy Prime Minister and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov have been very successful, announced Indian Defense Secretary Shekhar Dutt.

Dutt said that Ivanov was upbeat on Indo-Russian defense relationship adding that they had 'very purposeful and useful talks on a whole range of issue' Doordarshan News said here on Sunday.

He, however, did not divulge the details of his parleys, saying that Indo-Russian defense cooperation had many long-term programs and their implementation was reviewed during his talks with Ivanov.

Dutt was on a four-day Russia visit during which he visited St.

Petersburg and Severodvinsk to review progress on the upgradation of Kiev class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov acquired by India.

He said that Russia is scheduled to deliver the ship in the autumn of 2008 along with deck-based MiG-29k fighters.

Dutt had detailed discussion on the Gorshkov upgradation with St.

Petersburg-based Nevsky Design Bureau, the brain behind making the last century's warship into a formidable man-of-war of the 21st century.

Dutt said that Gorshkov had undergone so many changes that its old designers would not be able to recognize it. "It would be a totally new, a unique aircraft carrier."
He said he was impressed by the work being done at the Sevmash naval shipyard in Severodvinsk.

India, Russia defense talks successful (

Title: Iran willing to expand ties with all Muslim states
Post by: Shammu on June 18, 2006, 05:05:41 PM
Iran willing to expand ties with all Muslim states
Tehran, June 18, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a meeting with Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Mohamed Benaissa here Sunday said that Iran's definite policy is based on expansion of multifaceted ties with all Islamic states.

According to a report released by the Presidential Office media department, the chief executive said that Iran is prepared to cooperate with Morocco in fields of common interest and transfer its experience in various economic, development and cultural domains to Islamic countries, including Morocco.

Turning to favorable bilateral ties, the president said, "Given the numerous common capacities for expansion of relations and particular positions of both states in the Middle East and North Africa respectively, Iran and Morocco can plat an effective role in the Muslim states unity."
Ahmadinejad pointed to various energy reserves and efficient manpower of the world of Islam and said that the Islamic states should complement each other, adding that they should attempt to defend the Muslims interests as well as promote the global peace and security.

He urged that the world of Islam deserves to enjoy its proper stance and underlined that some bullying powers are against Muslims advancement and intend to prevent Muslim nations progress.

This is particularly true about the Iranian nations, given their resistance and their being a forerunner in scientific and economic domains, he added.

"Iran's access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes is a sign of the progress of all Muslims. The Iranian nation will defend its inalienable rights in all fields, including its nuclear program, with logic and patience," he added.

For his part, Benaissa submitted the written message of Morocco's King Mohamed VI to his Iranian counterpart, referred to Iran as a big and powerful country and said his country is willing to use all of its potentials to expand ties with Iran.

The minister expressed satisfaction with Iran's progress in various sectors and its access to nuclear technology for peaceful application.

He underlined that Morocco welcomes Iran's achievements and expressed his country's will to benefit from the outcome of Iranians progress in all fields.

Iran willing to expand ties with all Muslim states (

Title: 'We Cannot Sit Around,' Putin Says
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 05:02:11 PM
Monday, June 19, 2006. Issue 3434. Page 4.
'We Cannot Sit Around,' Putin Says
The Associated Press

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday called for a multilateral approach to problems in Asia at a security summit hosted by Kazakhstan.

"We cannot sit around given the threats and challenges that the countries of Asia are facing today," Putin said at the one-day gathering of the Conference on Interactions and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, or CICA.

He cited terrorism, bird flu and AIDS as chief concerns.

Delegates repeatedly issued calls for peace at the summit of the 18-member group, which last met in 2002 and is intended to serve as a platform for dialogue on Asia's drawn-out conflicts and other security issues.

Still, the meeting came amid reminders of long-running conflicts in the region: escalating violence in Sri Lanka, reported preparations by North Korea to test-fire a long-range missile that could reach as far as the U.S. mainland, and fighting with insurgents in Afghanistan.

"It is important to have a multilateral approach in the region," Hu said.

The participants signed a declaration after the meeting pledging to step up joint efforts to fight terrorism, organized crime, separatism and drug-trafficking.

It expressed support for UN reforms and the election of an Asian candidate as UN secretary-general.

Among the group's members are longtime adversaries and negotiating partners such as India and Pakistan, and Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said that Israel and the Palestinians were closer to peace than they had been in the past 50 years, but added that the pace of the two sides' movement toward peace was "very slow."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged to strengthen border control to curb the drug flow out of his country.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov used the summit to criticize the West for its condemnation of his bloody suppression of the Andijan uprising last year, slamming "the universal use of double standards" in world politics.

Karimov also deplored unnamed countries for "ignorance" and disrespect for other cultures by "linking international terrorism to the sacred religion of Muslims, Islam."

Other CICA members are the other Central Asian nations, Mongolia and Thailand. South Korea become the group's new member on Saturday.

The leaders signed an agreement on creating a permanent secretariat to be based in Almaty.

'We Cannot Sit Around,' Putin Says (

Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 05:04:12 PM

GAZA CITY [MENL] -- The Palestinian Authority has been awaiting aircraft and combat vehicles from Iran.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar said Iran has been preparing to deliver two aircraft and 300 vehicles to the PA. Zahar said Iran would soon send the platforms to the Gaza Strip.

Zahar did not identify the aircraft or vehicles. But officials said the platforms would include helicopters as well as cars for the police and security forces.

Iran has also pledged $50 million to the PA. Zahar suggested that the money would be brought to the Gaza Strip by Hamas couriers.


Title: Iran`s Revolutionary Guards to deploy on Israel’s Golan border by summer’s end
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 05:06:20 PM
Iran`s Revolutionary Guards to deploy on Israel’s Golan border by summer’s end

June 19, 2006, 11:57 AM (GMT+02:00)

Iranian defense minister Gen. Mustafa Najjar said: “Syria’s security is part of Iran’s security,” when he signed a new military treaty with his visiting Syrian counterpart, Gen. Hassan Turkmani (picture) in Tehran last Thursday June 15.

Sunday, June 18, Israel’s parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee inspected its northern border, along with the deputy chief of staff Moshe Kaplinsky and OC Northern command Udi Adam. Both Tehran and Damascus referred to the tour as Israel’s response to their new treaty.

DEBKAfile’s military sources add: At the signing ceremony, the Syrian official waved away reporters’ questions on whether Iran would be establishing a military base in Syria – “The language of a (foreign) military base in our country is alien to us. I want to say that it is not on the agenda.”

Nonetheless, military sources note that he rejected the term “bases” - but did not rule out “foreign forces” in nSyrian bases, which Persian Gulf and Pakistani military sources are certain was agreed secretly between the two countries. They have learned that Iran has offered to deploy Revolutionary Guards on the Golan border with Israel by the end of summer, because as Najjar said at the signing: “We have a common front against Israel’s threats.”

DEBKAfile’s Tehran sources disclose the Iranians seek to attain three objectives by deploying RG units to the Golan heights:

1. Another direct front line against Israel.

2. A forward position for an Iranian electronic warning station to sound a timely alarm of the takeoff of American warplanes or missiles from the eastern Mediterranean basin on their way to attack.

3. The station can also keep electronic track of movements on Israeli air and missile bases, covering also Arrow anti-missile missile systems.

The Syrian military delegation, which spent five days in Tehran, brought a year of secret negotiations to their conclusion. The breadth of Syrian-Iranian military relations can be measured by the military treaty’s financial scope of $800 m and the size of the delegation Damascus sent to Tehran - 60 officers representing every branch of the Syrian armed forces, including intelligence and munitions industries.

For years, both countries have supported the Lebanese Hezbollah militia and anti-Israeli Palestinian factions including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which maintain headquarters in Damascus

Iran`s Revolutionary Guards to deploy on Israel’s Golan border by summer’s end (

Title: Iran`s Revolutionary Guards to deploy on Israel’s Golan border by summer’s end
Post by: Shammu on June 19, 2006, 05:10:12 PM
Iran`s Revolutionary Guards to deploy on Israel’s Golan border by summer’s end

All I can say is WOW!!!!!  Ezekiel 38 and 39 are starting to be played out before our eyes!!!!

Title: Iranian 'agents' active on Lebanon border
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 02:00:12 AM
Iranian 'agents' active on Lebanon border

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 - ©2005

LONDON, June 20 (IranMania) - More and more Iranian "agents" are active on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel, in support of Shiite militiamen, an Israeli general said, AFP reported.

"There are more and more Iranian agents, soldiers or intelligence service members, in the immediate vicinity of the Israeli border," General Alon Friedman, who is posted in the region, told reporters.

He said Iranian operatives were previously deployed in areas further north, away from the border.

But now they "carry out inspection tours, patrols and give instructions" to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, which controls the Lebanese side of the border, he said.

Iranian 'agents' active on Lebanon border (

Title: Russia Did Not Give UN Complete Data on its Weapons Export
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 07:03:56 AM
Russia Did Not Give UN Complete Data on its Weapons Export

Created: 20.06.2006 11:29 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 11:33 MSK, 3 hours 26 minutes ago


The UN published official data on Russian export of conventional weapons for 2005. The data, provided by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mentions the volume of exports supplied even to countries that are not usually commented on by Russian officials, namely China. However, experts estimate the UN Register of Conventional Arms (UNROCA) for 2005 lacks data on Russian weapons export to the amount of minimum $1.2 billion, Kommersant daily reported Tuesday.

On the whole, data which Russia handed over to UNROCA confirmed on-the-record statements of Russian officials in the sphere of military and technical cooperation. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided the data for UNROCA, having collected it from the Russian Federal Service of Military and Technical cooperation — the government’s mediator for Rosoboronexport — and from enterprises that have the right for the independent export of weapons.

Despite the fact that a large part of the data concerns state secrets, Russia nevertheless passed data to the UN on supplies even to those countries with which it has non-disclosure agreements, such as China, Vietnam, and partially with India and Algeria. Russian officials steadily maintain that “weapons export to such countries as China is not commented upon.”

According to UNROCA data, the major buyer of Russian weapons in 2005 remained to be China, and the main export item was equipment for naval forces. Thus, Beijing received seven warships from Russia in 2005. Apparently, six of them were Project 636M submarines as China had signed a contract with Russia for eight submarines in 2002. Experts of the Center for Analysis of Strategy and Technology (CAST) estimated the total cost of the six vessels at $1.5 billion. The seventh vessel for China is the Project 956EM destroyer Taijou. Two ships of this type of the total cost of $1.4 billion were contracted by Beijing in January 2002. The second destroyer will be delivered to China in 2006.

Yet, independent experts believe that UNROCA does not possess complete information on Russian weapons exports. “There were cases when Russian suppliers presented incomplete data on their annual total to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” explained CAST expert Dmitry Vasiliev. “The hovercraft Project 12061E assault landing ship Murena for South Korea, two S-300PMU-1 systems for Vietnam, and antitank missile systems for Eritrea and Oman, for instance, were not included into 2005 report.” Besides, experts say that UNROCA data does not mention five full sets of unassembled Su-30MKI fighters given to the Indian corporation HAL.

UNROCA data is also incomplete without modernized equipment and repair parts which constitute a large part of Russian weapons exports. Thus, India received modernized the Project 08773 submarine with the new antiship missile system Club-S in 2005. Yemen received 12 modernized MiG-29SMT aircraft, and Eritrea received two of these. The total cost of modernized equipment and repair parts exported in 2005 that was not registered with UNROCA is estimated at minimum of $1.2 billion.

Russia Did Not Give UN Complete Data on its Weapons Export (

Title: Russia’s Supreme Court Overturns Verdict for Synagogue Attacker
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 07:05:30 AM
Russia’s Supreme Court Overturns Verdict for Synagogue Attacker

Created: 20.06.2006 13:37 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 14:46 MSK, 13 minutes ago


Russia’s Supreme Court has overturned the verdict of Aleksandr Koptsev, who had attacked parishioners in a Moscow synagogue.

Alexander Koptsev burst into the synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya street in Moscow on January 11, 2006, and stabbed eight people with a hunting knife before being wrestled to the ground by the rabbi and his son. Four of those injured were in serious condition. Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Berl Lazar, announced he was cutting short a visit to Israel and returning to Moscow after the incident.

Koptsev was charged with racially-motivated attempted murder and humiliation of a religious group. He told investigators that he was jealous of Jews and their better living standards and was inspired to act by books and internet websites. He added that the main factor was his “desire to die” and he felt sorry for those he had injured. He has been described by Russian media as a skinhead. Russia’s chief rabbi stated that the attack was a symptom of the general climate of intolerance and xenophobia in Russia.

On March 27, 2006, Koptsev was sentenced to thirteen years in prison and mandatory psychiatric treatment after being found guilty of attempted murder.

A month later Koptsev’s lawyer, Vladimir Kirsanov, appealed to Russia’s Supreme Court to have his client’s sentence reduced, arguing he was mentally unstable, did not kill anyone, and did not cause any disabling injuries. Meanwhile, prosecution lawyers have also appealed to include the charge of inciting interethnic hatred, which was dropped by the court.

The resolution of the Supreme Court, as quoted by internet daily, states that a Moscow local court will now reexamine Koptesev’s case.

Russia’s Supreme Court Overturns Verdict for Synagogue Attacker (

Title: The Global Range of Iran's Ballistic Missile Program
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 08:49:56 PM
The Global Range of Iran's Ballistic Missile Program
Uzi Rubin
20 June 2006

The Iranians know they cannot win a war against the United States. Their stated policy is to deter the U.S. and its allies by threatening a war that will cause such damage at such a price that this option will become unacceptable. With this perspective, they are investing very smartly in deterrence enhancers and force multipliers instead of replacing obsolete equipment.

What does Iran invest in? Precision strike munitions, anti-ship missiles, nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and space capabilities. The newer Shahab 3ER missile (based on the North Korean No Dong), with a reach of 2,000 km, can threaten Ankara or Alexandria, giving Iran leverage over the entire Middle East.

Iran has acquired eighteen BM25 land-mobile missiles with launchers from North Korea, which can strike targets in Europe. In the past, the BM25 has been produced in two models: one with a range of 2,500 km and the second with a range of 3,500 km.

Well-substantiated reports indicate that the Iranians managed to smuggle out of Ukraine several Russian Kh 55 strategic cruise missiles, probably not to be deployed but to be emulated and copied.

In 1998 Iran announced a space program. A space launcher that can orbit a satellite weighing 300 kg can be altered into an ICBM that could drop more than 300 kg on Washington.

Iran's political leadership is now aiming toward global power projection in the name of Islam, demanding recognition that Islam comprises 25 percent of humanity and should occupy its rightful place in decision-making in world affairs. Statements like this are not about self-defense.

Iran is Seeking to Deter the United States

What is the rationale behind the Iranian missile program? Prior to 1991 and the first Gulf War, the main threat to Iran was Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The Iranians began developing their missile program under fire when Saddam Hussein launched missiles at them and they had nothing to respond with except for a few Scud-Bs that they got from Libya, the only country that supported Iran.

Since 1991, the United States has replaced Iraq as threat number one for Iran. The Iranian military's reference threat scenario is a massive U.S. military action against Iran, aided by U.S. allies in the region including the Gulf States and Israel, which they see as an outpost of the United States.

The Iranians are realists. They don't aim to win a set piece battle against the United States. They know it's impossible. Their policy is to deter the United States and its allies by threatening a war that will cause such damage at such a price that this option will become unacceptable to the United States. With this perspective, they are not focusing their efforts on renovating their quite large armed forces. Rather, they are investing very smartly in deterrence enhancers and force multipliers. Replacing obsolete equipment has secondary priority.

In April 2005, during one of the two large annual military parades, the Iranian air force held a fly-by. The majority of the airplanes involved - F5s, F4 "Phantoms," and F14 "Tomcats" - were all U.S.-made combat aircraft bought during the time of the Shah, and they were still flying last year in Teheran. Looking at Iranian ground forces, we see a lot of M113 APCs, some M60 tanks, some Russian and Chinese tanks that they bought during the Iran-Iraq war, but there has been no massive renovation.

What Armaments Does Iran Invest In?

So what does Iran invest in? Precision strike munitions, naval weapons, ballistic missiles, and a space program, apart from the nuclear program. Iran invests a lot in anti-ship weapons like the Raad missile, with a range of 350 km. The purpose of this weapon is to control the Persian Gulf, which they see as the corridor through which the United States would probably launch an invasion. It is interesting to note the weapons tested by Iran during its recent large-scale naval exercise. Iranian media announced the use of the Misaq shoulder-launched, anti-aircraft missile which strongly resembles the old Soviet "Strella" Manpad; the Kosar shore defense anti-ship missile that is very similar to a Chinese anti-ship missile; the "Fajar 3 radar-evading" missile (probably the Shahab 2 [Scud C]); and the Ajdar "super-fast" underwater missile, which most probably is the not-too-successful Russian Shkval underwater rocket.

Ballistic Missiles in the Iranian Arsenal

The Iranians are pursuing the most intensive missile program in the Third World, with constantly increasing ranges. Iran's missile arsenal begins with the Zalzal unguided rocket and the Fatah 110, an improved Chinese bombardment rocket with a 200 km range and a 200-250 kg warhead, to threaten concentrations of invading armies near its borders. Iran also has the Shahab 1 (Scud B) with a range of 300 km and the Shahab 2 (Scud C) with a range of 500 km.

cont'd next post

Title: Re: The Global Range of Iran's Ballistic Missile Program
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 08:50:42 PM
The Iranian Shahab 3 missile, with a range of 1,300 km, is patterned after the North Korean No Dong missile. The Shahab 3 can threaten either Tel Aviv or Riyadh from the same launch point. The newer Shahab 3ER, with its 2,000 km range, can reach Ankara in Turkey, Alexandria in Egypt, or Sanaa in Yemen from one single launch point deep within Iran. Thus, Iran does not have to move its launchers to project power, making its missile arsenal more survivable.

Iran's missiles are not controlled by the military, they are controlled by the Revolutionary Guard, which has its own air force, ground force, and navy, and which reports to Iran's spiritual leader.

Iran is investing a lot in mobile launchers, but a few months ago we found a reference for the first time to the possibility of silo-basing.

The number of tests of the Shahab 3 has been relatively small and there are indications that perhaps as many as one-half of them failed. What is intriguing is that Pakistan has a parallel program of an almost identical missile that is tested more frequently and is almost always successful. This does not mean that the Shahab missiles are not operational. While Western practice does not accept a new weapon for service unless it achieves repeated successes in the test range, the Iranians apparently think that if it worked once, it's operational.

Iran acquired eighteen BM25 land-mobile missiles with launchers from North Korea which can strike targets in Europe. In the past, the BM25 has been produced in two models: one with a range of 2,500 km and the second with a range of 3,500 km. Obviously, they threaten not just Iran's immediate neighbors, and it seems that the Iranians are looking to project power beyond their own region.

Once Iran set up a missile industry, it tried to cover expenses by exporting. The Iranians attempted to sell Scud-Bs to Zaire. They signed a $12 billion deal with Khaddafi to set up an entire missile industry in Libya and were very upset when Khaddafi changed and became one of the good guys. Iran has also provided heavy rockets to Hizballah: the Fadjir 3 with a range of 45 km and the Fadjir 5 with a 75 km range.

Iran is also developing a whole line of big, solid propellant, two-stage ballistic missiles - the Ghader 110. Well-substantiated reports indicate that the Iranians managed to steal and smuggle out of Ukraine several strategic cruise missiles, probably not to be deployed but to be emulated and copied. Thus, we can expect an Iranian cruise missile program too, based on cloning the Russian Kh 55, the Soviet equivalent of the U.S. "Tomahawk."

Iran's Space Program Could Extend Its Global Reach

Iran announced a space program as soon as it tested the first Shahab 3 in 1998. Iranian statements refer to several satellites, some locally made, and an indigenous space launcher. Ultimately, their space program aims to orbit spy satellites like Israel's "Ofek," by an Iranian satellite launcher from Iranian territory. A spy satellite of reasonable performance should weigh about 300 kg. Once Iran learns how to put 300 kg into earth orbit, it could adapt the satellite launcher into an ICBM that could drop more than 300 kg anywhere in the world, for instance, on Washington, D.C. The Iranians could be smart enough not to actually develop an ICBM: every time the Iranian satellite passed above the U.S., it would remind America of Iran's potential to strike it. Remember the impact on the U.S. of Russia's launch of "Sputnik"?

Iran's immediate goal is to deter the United States. Its long-term goal is clearly to project power beyond Iran, over Europe and over the United States. Iran is already projecting power over the entire Middle East. With its space program, Iran is bound to project power on a global scale.

Obviously, the Iranians are overstating their capabilities as part of their psychological warfare. But behind this overstatement is a real capability - not as much as they claim, but not insignificant either. They have some real capability there, they are investing a lot of money in it, and it is growing with time.

In 2006, the Iranian political leadership seems to have moved beyond the needs of self-defense and is now talking about global power projection. At a recent conference in Berlin, one of the deputies to Iran's foreign minister called upon the world to recognize that Islam comprises 25 percent of humanity and should occupy its rightful place in decision-making in world affairs and in the allocation of the world's resources. Statements like this are not about self-defense.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that Islam should roll back 300 years of Western ascendancy. He was speaking in the name of Islam, not in the name of Iran. At the same time, there is talk about the greatness of Iran, with its 6,000-year-old civilization. The Iranians are trying to retrieve the old glory of the empire and at the same time become the leaders of world Islam. The development of long-range missiles is a key element in building up Iran's power to assume such a leadership position.

Sorry, no link because of advertisment.

Title: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan call for safeguarding Muslims rights
Post by: Shammu on June 20, 2006, 10:47:02 PM
 Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan call for safeguarding Muslims rights
Tehran, June 20, IRNA

The justice ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan urge that the rights of Muslims should be safeguarded.

A report released by the Public Relations Department of Iran's Ministry of Justice on Tuesday said that on the sidelines of the First UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, Justice Minister Jamal Karimi-Rad, along with his entourage, conferred with his Sudanese counterpart Muhamed-Ali al-Moradi.

At the meeting, Karimi-Rad referred to cooperation between the wo states on the human rights issue in international bodies and called for expansion of bilateral relations in all fields, including judiciary, economy and agriculture.

Expressing satisfaction with the formerly reached agreements, he said that Iran is determined to bolster its judicial and legal cooperation with Sudan.

He stressed the significance of human rights and avoiding politicization and dual standards by the UN Human Rights Council, given that it disrupts its normal proceedings.

Turning to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's initiative on the human rights dialogues offered to the world, he said that according to his proposal, some delegations should be dispatched to world countries, including the Western states and the US, to investigate various axes of the issue and urged the need for mutual inspections.

"Based on Ahmadinejad's suggested scheme, to promote human rights the grounds should be prepared for exchange of views on human rights principles," he added.

For his part, the Sudanese minister called for expansion of multifaceted mutual ties and addressing his Iranian counterpart, said, "Given your high morale, you are a successful country." In a meeting with Saudi Minister for Human Rights Turki al-Sudairy, Karimi-Rad said that both Iran and Saudi Arabia have a decisive role in the world of Islam, adding that their cooperation and coordination in all affairs contribute to the progress of Muslim countries.

For his part, Al-Sudairy declared his approval of Iran's approach to the issue and said that his country is prepared to pursue the former discussions on legal, judicial and Islamic human rights issues.

Justice Minister Jamal Karimi-Rad accompanied by a number of judicial officials, including Tehran prosecutor general Saeed Mortazavi left for Geneva, Switzerland Monday morning to attend the first meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

During his stay in Geneva, the Iranian delegation will confer with a number of representatives of the countries attending the meeting to discuss matters of mutual concern.

The newly founded council started its activity in Geneva Monday and will continue up to June 22. It is being attended by the high-ranking representatives of more than 100 countries.

Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan call for safeguarding Muslims rights (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:22:25 AM
 China backs Asian for post of UN secretary-general
New Delhi, June 21, IRNA

The Chinese government is firmly advocating appointment of an Asian as the next United Nations secretary-general.

The Chinese government believed that Asia had the ability to select a prestigious and competent candidate acceptable to the world community, said a leading English daily, The Hindu, here on Wednesday quoting Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

Asked to comment on India's candidate, Shashi Tharoor, Jiang said selection of the next secretary-general was a major UN event.

No Asian has held the post for 34 years.

"Comprehensive consultations should be held on the selection," Jiang said.

Three other Asian countries have also named candidates, Sri Lankan diplomat and former UN disarmament chief Jayant Dhanapala, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Surakiat Sathirathai and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon.

China backs Asian for post of UN secretary-general (

My note; Could we be seeing the begining of the Kings of the East??

Title: Iran intends to closely cooperate with UN Human Rights Council
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:25:49 AM
Iran intends to closely cooperate with UN Human Rights Council
Geneva, June 19, IRNA

Switzerland-Human Rights-Mortazavi
Tehran Prosecutor General Saeed Mortazavi said that formation of the United Nations Human Rights Council is a major development facing world nations and urged governments to attempt safeguard human rights as a necessity of the present age.

He told IRNA that the UN Human Rights Council should be strongly supported by all countries, adding that Iran intends to cooperate closely with this newly-founded council.

Currently visiting Geneva to attend the first UN Human Rights Council meeting, he added, "The Human Rights Council should be an assembly of lawyers and human rights experts representing all cultures and civilizations to observe the human rights situation throughout the world independently and unbiased.

He underlined that the council should also consider the most critical cases of human rights violation in today's world.

The prosecutor general said that nations right to determine their own destiny and negation of tribes' identity in their own lands are among the most fundamental rights, which have been constantly violated in the present age.

"The UN Human Rights Council should not disregard the issue of Palestine, violation of the rights of its people who have been residing there through centuries and ages as well as the fact that it has turned into a center of conflict and defense of primary human rights.

"International peace and security do not mean that developing countries should be absolutely inactive and let big powers violate human rights," he added.

Mortazavi said that the UN Human Rights Council should pay attention to UN Charter as well as international laws and human rights treaties, adding that human rights includes civic, political, cultural, social, economic development and non-discriminatory rights.

The prosecutor general said that the right to access high technologies, including nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, as a basic right of all nations.

He added that the UN Human Rights Council should strictly avoid being converted into a means for exerting pressure on behalf of powerful states.

"The council is expected to examine cases of human rights violation by some Western and European countries without any reservation.

"Violation of the Holocaust deniers' freedom of expression, citizens rights, migrants rights, human rights in the battle against terrorism as well as violations taking place in case of the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) secret flights, children and supportless migrants, opposition to Islamic dress code and veil are some of such violations," he added.

He referred to various examples of human rights violations by the US which should be put high on the agenda of the UN Human Rights Council, including the catastrophes caused by the US in various parts of the world, such as the Guantanamo Bay detention center, the US prison in Kosovo, Bagram prison in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, CIA's secret prisons and pressures exerted on American citizens.

Mortazavi said that the remarks of the lawyers inspecting the Guantanamo Bay detention center, explanation of the recently released Egyptian inmate on his torture by Americans in this prison and torture of prisoners in Guantanamo by modern methods should be examined.

"Meanwhile, the growing rate of suicide among inmates, refusal of US courts to investigate the complaints of prisoners and the harsh approach of the US troops to the inmates going on strike in Guantanamo prison should also be investigated by the Human Rights Council," he added.

He hoped that the UN Human Rights Council will not let the US and some hegemonic countries to misuse human rights as a tool to pressurize independent states and take revenge on them, in particular the Islamic countries, which do not agree with their illegal expectations.

The Tehran prosecutor general and prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court, accompanied by a number of judicial officials, including Justice Minister Jamal Karimi-Rad left for Geneva, Switzerland Monday morning to attend the first meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

During his stay in Geneva, Mortazavi will confer with a number of representatives of the countries attending the meeting to discuss matters of mutual concern.

The newly founded council started its activity in Geneva Monday and will continue up to June 22. It is being attended by the high-ranking representatives of more than 100 countries.

Iran intends to closely cooperate with UN Human Rights Council (

Title: Mottaki to visit Italy soon: ANSA
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:27:09 AM
 Mottaki to visit Italy soon: ANSA
Rome, June 20, IRNA

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is to pay a visit to Italy very soon, the Italian News Agency (ANSA) announced Monday.

Quoting an informed source at the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the news agency said Mottaki's visit will take place in the next few days.

Meanwhile, Italian dailies on Monday also announced that the Iranian foreign minister was due to arrive in the Italian capital Rome in the near future.

In an interview with La Repubblica, Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Ugo Intini referred to the Islamic Republic of Iran as a "powerful" country in the Persian Gulf region.

According to reports, during his visit to Rome, which is expected to last only for a few hours, Mottaki is to meet and confer with his Italian counterpart, Massimo D'Alema.

Tehran-Rome cooperation and the European proposed package of incentives will top the agenda of talks to be held between the two foreign ministers.

Mottaki to visit Italy soon: ANSA (

Title: India ready to expand trade ties with Iran
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:29:51 AM
 India ready to expand trade ties with Iran
Isfahan, June 20, IRNA

Indian Ambassador to Tehran Manbir Singh here on Monday voiced his country's readiness to expand bilateral trade ties with Iran.

At a meeting with Isfahan's Governor-General Morteza Bakhtiari, he remarked that the Islamic Republic of Iran "enjoys rich resources and skilled manpower."
He said he would call on his government to dispatch Indian trade and economic delegations to Isfahan so that Indian officials would become familiar with the province's potentials.

He also announced New Delhi's readiness to set up different exhibitions in this Iranian province.

The Indian ambassador also said that exchange of students between the two countries' universities will help expand bilateral cultural cooperation.

For his part, Bakhtiari, said cultural commonalties enjoyed by the two nations were some of the incentives for promotion of Tehran-New Delhi relations.

India ready to expand trade ties with Iran (

Title: Senegal leader on week-long visit to China
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:35:27 AM
Senegal leader on week-long visit to China

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - ©2005

LONDON, June 21 (IranMania) - President Abdoulaye Wade of the west African state of Senegal was set Wednesday to start a visit to China representing a further step in relations since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties last year, AFP reported.

He was scheduled to spend a week in China followed by a two-day working visit to Iran, the Senegalese news agency APS reported. Programme details were not made available here.

A Senegalese delegation led by Prime Minister Macky Sall visited China in April.

Cooperation has continued between the two countries despite China breaking off diplomatic relations in 1996 when Senegal officially recognised Taiwan.

Last October Senegal announced it was cutting off ties with Taiwan and resuming relations with Beijing, citing "an objective analysis in depth of world geopolitics".

The Chinese embassy in Senegal reopened last January.

China is vigorously seeking to cement relations with resource-rich west African countries.

In its first ever African policy document, published in January, Beijing declared that the "one China" policy remains "the political foundation for the establishment and development" of relations with African countries.

"The Chinese government appreciates the fact that the overwhelming majority of African countries abide by the 'one China' principle, refuse to have official relations and contacts with Taiwan and support China's great cause of reunification," China states in the policy document.

Although Taiwan is self-governing, Beijing sees the island as a renegade province that will eventually be reunited with the mainland.

Title: UN nuclear chief to visit Turkey
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:37:02 AM
UN nuclear chief to visit Turkey

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - ©2005
Archived Picture - The head of the UN atomic watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, will pay a visit to Turkey next month to discuss Ankara's plans to develop nuclear energy, a Turkish diplomat said Tuesday, AFP reported.

LONDON, June 21 (IranMania) - The head of the UN atomic watchdog, Mohamed ElBaradei, will pay a visit to Turkey next month to discuss Ankara's plans to develop nuclear energy, a Turkish diplomat said Tuesday, AFP reported.

The agenda of the July 6-9 visit will focus on government plans to build three nuclear power plants with a total capacity of about 5,000 megawatts to become operational in 2012.

The project is aimed at fending off a possible energy shortage and reducing dependence on foreign energy supplies, mainly natural gas from Russia and Iran.

ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is also expected to discuss international issues with Turkish officials, the diplomat said.

Turkey neighbors Iran, which has been offered a package of incentives if it heeds international calls to suspend sensitive nuclear fuel work and cooperate with the IAEA.

Iran has ruled out suspending enrichment and has said it will come up with a counter-offer.

Title: Iran's Commerce minister in Malaysia for talks
Post by: Shammu on June 21, 2006, 05:38:01 AM
Iran's Commerce minister in Malaysia for talks

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - ©2005

LONDON, June 21 (IranMania) - Iranian Commerce Minister Massoud Mir-Kazemi, heading a high ranking economic delegation, arrived Tuesday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and was welcomed by Malaysian officials, IRNA reported.

Mir-Kazemi is to head the Iranian delegation in a meeting with Malaysian officials to be led by the country's minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs.

The two sides are scheduled to explore avenues for bolstering of Tehran-Kuala Lumpur ties in all fields.

The Iranian economic delegation is to sign some agreements as on expansion of economic cooperation between the two countries.

Title: Peres: Peace at hand
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 01:33:45 AM
Peres: Peace at hand
Israel and the Palestinians are closer to peace than ever, Shimon Peres said. "The distance between us is that shortest it has been for the last 50 years," Israel´s vice premier said Saturday at a Central Asian security conference in Kazakhstan. "The distance is very short, but the speed is very slow." Peres appeared to be refering to an anticipated summit next month between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, which could sap support for the new Hamas government in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Peres argued that, rather than work for a peace deal immediately, Israel and the Palestinians should first improve economic cooperation as a mechanism for rapprochement.

Peres: Peace at hand (

Title: We Will Kill 4 Kidnapped Russian Diplomats
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 01:38:19 AM
Iraq Insurgents: We Will Kill 4 Kidnapped Russian Diplomats

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

CAIRO, Egypt  — An Al Qaeda-led insurgent group said in a Web statement Wednesday that it has decided to kill four kidnapped Russian Embassy staffers after a deadline for meeting its demands passed.

The statement, which did not say whether the decision has been carried out, came a day after the group claimed responsibility for killing two abducted U.S. soldiers whose bodies were found south of Baghdad.

In Moscow, the Foreign Ministry called on the kidnappers to spare the four Russians' lives. "We once again strongly urge (them) not to take an irreparable step and preserve the lives of our people," spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.

He said Russia "has never and nowhere waged a war against Islam."

The Mujahedeen Shura Council said Moscow failed to meet its demands for a full withdrawal of troops from the war-torn region of Chechnya and that a 48-hour deadline set in a statement issued Monday had run out.

"Therefore, the Islamic court of the Mujahedeen Shura Council decided to implement God's law sentencing them (the four Russians) to death," the group said in a statement on an Islamic militant Web site where it often posts its messages. The statement's authenticity could not be confirmed.

The Shura Council is a grouping of seven Iraqi insurgent groups, most prominent among them al-Qaida in Iraq.

The statement did not state that the Russians were killed. The four embassy workers were abducted on June 3 in an attack on their car in which a fifth Russian was killed. The captives include the embassy's third secretary, Fyodor Zaitsev, and three other staffers, Rinat Agliulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedoseyev. The Foreign Ministry said Agliulin was Muslim.

The slaying of the two American soldiers was the first act of violence claimed by Al Qaeda in Iraq since its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a June 3 airstrike on June 3. A Shura Council statement Tuesday said al-Qaida in Iraq's new leader, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, beheaded the two Americans.

The claims may aim to show that Al Qaeda in Iraq remains strong and will continue in the path laid down by al-Zarqawi, who masterminded kidnappings and killings of Westerners in Iraq -- beheading two Americans with his own hand -- as well as a bloody campaign of suicide bombings.

His hostage victims included Egypt's top diplomat in Iraq and two senior Algerian diplomats, part of a campaign to prevent Arab nations from sending ambassadors in support of the new Iraqi government.

The targeting of Russians in the kidnapping was unusual, since Moscow opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, winning it favor in the eyes of some Sunni Arabs, who now form the backbone of the insurgency.

But memories of that stance may be fading three years on -- and many Islamic militants despise Russia for its military campaigns in the southern Muslim republic of Chechnya, seen by radicals as a battleground for jihad, or holy war.

The Shura Council claimed responsibility for the abduction of the four Russians in a statement Monday, giving Moscow 48 hours to pull out of Chechnya and release Islamic militants from its prisons. It produced no photos or videos of the men to prove it was holding them.

In Wednesday's statement, the council said the Russian government "did not respond to our conditions for releasing its diplomats and gave no value to its citizens, only calling for their release while continuing its war against Islam and its people. "

It said the decision to kill the four came "in revenge for our brothers everywhere with whose blood the Russians' hands have been stained" and would be "an example for those who might follow them and dare to defy the mujahedeen (holy warriors)."

We Will Kill 4 Kidnapped Russian Diplomats (,3566,200386,00.html)

My note; Oops they may not want to do that. theres a reason Russia is called the bear. :-\

Title: Iranians will unitedly defend country's rights
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 03:14:59 AM
Iranians will unitedly defend country's rights
Hamedan, Hamedan Prov, June 22, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Wednesday evening said that the Iranian nation will unitedly defend the country's rights and not give up their legitimate demands.

Addressing local residents of the city of Kaboudar-Ahang in this western province, he added that Iranian people clamor for the right to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful ends.

"Today, the main objective of the government is to build the country on the foundations of justice and benevolence," he said, adding that unity, solidarity and justice are the prerequisites for nation-building.

Elsewhere in his speech, the Iranian president said countries of the world are working to establish peace and tranquility but are continually thwarted in their efforts by big powers who have other agenda for this world.

Expounding on certain problems facing the people of Kaboudar- Ahang, the president expressed hope these problems would soon be solved.

President Ahmadinejad, accompanied by Vice President for Executive Affairs Ali Saeedlou, Presidential Office chief Gholam Hossein Elham and members of his cabinet, arrived in Hamedan city, capital of this western province by the same name, Wednesday afternoon for a two-day visit.

Talking to reporters upon his arrival at the city's airport, Ahmadinejad said his official visits to the country's provinces bring him in direct contact with residents as well as their needs and problems in order to find solutions.

The president is scheduled to meet with local residents of the cities of Malayer, Nahavand, Touyserkan, Asadabad and Bahar on Thursday.

He will also hold a meeting with officials and war veterans of the province.

The president and his cabinet ministers are to hold a session in the the provincial capital, Hamedan, to discuss the province's problems and needs on Thursday.

President Ahmadinejad's visit to Hamedan is his 15th to various provinces of the country since the start of his initiative of bringing the government closer to the people.

He and his cabinet have already visited the provinces of South Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Ilam, Qom, Hormuzgan, Bushehr, Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari, Lorestan, Golestan, Kohgilouyeh and Boyer Ahmad and Khorassan Razavi, Zanjan, Markazi and Qazvin.

Iranians will unitedly defend country's rights (

Title: Government to fulfill commitment to nation
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 03:16:40 AM
Government to fulfill commitment to nation
Hamedan, June 21, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here Wednesday said that the government will fulfill its commitment to the nation adding that according to the government's principles, the country should be built up on the basis of justice, kindness, serving the people, progress and lofty goals.

Speaking at a gathering of people in Hamedan, he said that the government cannot act outside the framework of laws and ratified bills, adding that however, the approach and reasoning of the present government is quite distinct from the former ones.

"We believe that justice should be considered in administration of the current affairs, so that available facilities will be distributed fairly among all provinces.

"Job creation for the youth is given top priority and is high on the agenda of government and Majlis," added the president.

Ahmadinejad assured that today economic situation is normal and reforms are being effected in the economic sector, adding that the government serves the people and examines all existing problems.

The president called on people to be vigilant as usual, given the attempts underway to impose anxiety, unrest and concern on the country's economic sector.

The president along with the Executive Vice President Ali Saeedlou, Head of Presidential Office Gholam-Hossein Elham and some members of his cabinet arrived in Hamedan on Wednesday.

On the first day of his 15th provincial tour to Hamedan, the president is scheduled to visit the cities of Razan and Kaboudarahang to meet families of martyrs and disabled war veterans.

On Thursday, the chief executive will meet the citizens of the provincial cities of Malayer, Nahavand, Touyserkan, Asadabad and Bahar.

The 15th provincial cabinet meeting will be held in Hamedan on Thursday afternoon to discuss the problems facing the province.

Ahmadinejad arrived in the provincial city of Razan after addressing the citizens of Hamedan.

The city of Razan is situated 83 kilometers from Hamedan and has a population of 130,000.

Government to fulfill commitment to nation (

Title: Mottaki sums up results of Baku OIC gathering
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 03:19:36 AM
 Mottaki sums up results of Baku OIC gathering
Baku, June 21, IRNA

Mottaki-OIC-Sum Up
Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Manouchehr Mottaki here on Wednesday elaborated on results of the Organization of Islamic Conference's Baku ministerial gathering and Tehran's stands on some regional and international affairs.

Speaking to IRNA, the IRI Foreign Minister said minutes before leaving Baku that the Baku conference was held under certain conditions prevailing in Islamic World.

He reiterated, "The situation in occupied lands and coming to power of Hamas Government in Palestine, aggravation of the Zionist regime's criminal acts, the situation of Iraq, where the permanent government has come to power, the fragile status in Afghanistan in terms of the security conditions, on the one hand, and Iran's nomination of the current (Iranian) year as the Year of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) on the other hand, make the conditions very special today."
Mottaki added, "We have to add to that list the latest stands adopted by our country regarding our peaceful nuclear program." The Iranian top diplomat referred to the issuance of the OIC ministerial meeting's ending communique, arguing, "The document has some very important parts."
Mottaki added, "Regarding Palestine, the communique has praised resistance of the oppressed Palestinian nation, welcomed coming to power of Hamas government based on people's free votes, called for rushing assistance urgently to the Palestinian nation and government, and condemned the criminal acts committed by Israel against the innocent women, children, and men, particularly in recent days." He said that reflection of the nomination of the current (Iranian) year (ending on March 21, 2007) as the Year of the Holy Prophet in documents of OIC meeting was of great significance, adding, "The Foreign Ministers of the Islamic World considered that nomination as a type of praising Prophet Muhammad's grand personality and also condemned the blasphemous plot hatched against him in some EU press." Mottaki said, "The need for maintaining the existing solidarity within the Islamic World, and to move unanimously to safeguard the Islamic values and sanctities, too, was emphasized under the same entry in the communique."
He added that the OIC Foreign Ministers welcomed the Islamic Republic of Iran's proposal for hosting a conference of Foreign Ministers of Iraq's neighbors in Tehran on July 17th and 18th, considering the matter as an important ratification of the conference.

Our country's Foreign Minister also considered the Baku Conference as an appropriate opportunity for the Islamic World Foreign Ministers to hole bilateral talks.

Mottaki added, "A new initiative on the sidelines of this Conference was a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan".

He said that in his recent trip Islamabad the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf had welcomed the idea, and the Afghan President Hamid Karzai, too, had done the same in his recent visit of Tehran, adding, "in that meeting we exchanged ideas on how to restore peace and security in Afghanistan and surveyed ways to boost trilateral border nd economic cooperation."
Mottaki said, "We also agreed to maintain high level trilateral talks and to prepare the ground for holding a trilateral summit, as well, to survey the current conditions in Afghanistan."
He referred to agreements on need to further facilitate border transactions and to confront terrorist moves more effectively as other decisions made at that meeting.

Mottaki sums up results of Baku OIC gathering (

Title: Iran welcomes broad participation with Europe
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 03:21:11 AM
Iran welcomes broad participation with Europe
Rome, June 21, IRNA

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki upon arrival in Rome Wednesday said that Iran welcomes all kinds of participation with the European friendly countries to settle existing misunderstanding about Iran's peaceful nuclear program.

However, Mottaki said."This does not mean that Iran is seeking new channels for negotiation with Europe."
On the aim of his visit to Italy, Mottaki said he will talk with his Italian counterpart and exchange views on bilateral relations and the latest situation of Iran peaceful nuclear activity.

By appreciating Iran-Italy traditional and old good relations, the foreign minister expressed hope that bilateral ties in political and economic affairs can expand and develop.

Mottaki arrived at Ciampino Airport of Rome on Wednesday and is to meet with Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema.

Iran welcomes broad participation with Europe (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 03:24:32 AM
 Iran-Libya call for expansion of mutual cooperation
Algiers, June 21, IRNA

Iran's Ambassador to Tripoli Seyed Baqer Sakhaei in a meeting with member of presiding board of Libya's General People's Congress (Libyan parliament) and former Libyan Prime Minister Mubarak Abdallah Ash-Shamikh discussed issues of mutual interest with him.

The Libyan official appreciated Iran's principled stand on his country during the international sanctions against Libya.

He also called for expansion of bilateral relations especially in economic fields.

Ash-Shamikh, who was in Iran recently to participate in a conference on Palestine, referred to Iran's experiences concerning construction and urban services and expressed Tripoli's readiness for cooperation in this field.

Iran's ambassador, for his part, also expressed his country's readiness to expand cooperation in different fields with Libya.

Iran-Libya call for expansion of mutual cooperation (

My note; And now we have Cub, talking with Gog.  Yes I would say, things are looking up. So KEEP ON LOOKING UP!!

Title: Ahmadinejad denounces discrimination against Islamic societies
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 08:46:13 PM
 Ahmadinejad denounces discrimination against Islamic societies
Hamedan, June 22, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that discrimination against Islamic groups or societies is poison which kills and obliterates all their achievements.

Addressing a huge crowd of local residents in the city of Nahavand in the western province of Hamedan, he underlined the need for fair distribution of facilities among the country's local governments.

Unity, solidarity and hard work are needed to further develop the country, he stressed.

The Iranian nation, relying on Almighty God and the talents of its youth, is gaining access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, he said, and added that Iranians are insisting on the country's legitimate right to pursue peaceful nuclear energy.

Elsewhere in his speech, the president referred to creation of jobs as a main task of the government.

Today mankind is facing numerous problems including
discrimination, poverty, bullying and suppression by big powers, the president noted.

The Iranian nation has said time and again that it does not seek to impose its will on others nor will it be bullied in its rights by any power, he added.

Accompanied by his cabinet ministers, President Ahmadinejad arrived in the city of Nahavand on Thursday morning.

Nahavand, with a population of 190,000 people, is located 152 kilometers northeast of the provincial capital, Hamedan.

From Nahavand, the president and his entourage will travel to the cities of Touyserkan, Asadabad and Bahar to meet with local residents.

Later today he and his cabinet ministers will return to Hamedan city to hold a session to discuss the province's problems and needs before concluding their two-day visit.

Ahmadinejad denounces discrimination against Islamic societies (

My note; You notice he doesn't say anything about his own discrimation against Christians.

Title: Iran's Mottaki meets UN's Annan in Geneva
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 08:48:19 PM
 Iran's Mottaki meets UN's Annan in Geneva
Geneva, June 22, IRNA

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan discussed major regional and international issues here on Thursday.

Mottaki arrived in the Swiss capital, Geneva, from Italy Wednesday evening to participate in the first session of the new UN Human Rights Council.

Latest developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran's nuclear case were among the major subjects discussed by Mottaki and Annan.

Praising Iran for showing a "reasonable" approach towards the nuclear dispute, the UN chief expressed hope the dispute would effectively be settled through peaceful ways.

He also hoped that future talks on Iran's nuclear activities would lead to a comprehensive solution to the dispute over these activities.

Meanwhile, Mottaki told Annan that Tehran was seriously studying the 5+1 Group's incentives package to Iran and would welcome holding nuclear talks "without preconditions."
Referring to latest regional developments, the foreign minister said the Iranian government attached great importance to
strengthening of regional peace and stability.

Mottaki also referred to the upcoming 9th conference of foreign ministers of Iraq's neighboring states plus Egypt in Tehran on July 8, 2006, and said the conference is aimed to help promote peace and stability in Iraq and pave the way for its neighbors to play a more effective role in restoring security to the war-torn country.

Iran's Mottaki meets UN's Annan in Geneva (

Title: Iran Justice minister calls on Human Rights Council to stay away from politics
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 08:50:24 PM
Iran Justice minister calls on Human Rights Council to stay away from politics
Geneva, June 22, IRNA

Iran-Human Rights Council
Iranian Minister of Justice Jamal Karimirad said on Thursday that the former human rights commission of the United Nations did not have a satisfactory performance.

He told IRNA in Geneva that Iran believes that rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council should observe honesty in offering their report to the Council.

"Rapporteurs of the then human rights commission monitoring human rights situation in the member states used to give a different report to the commission which was in total contrast with the interviews he had conducted during his stay in a specific country," the justice minister said.

"So, officials of the member states saw that the realities had been distorted and the report had nothing to do with the interviews the rapporteur had made during his investigation on human rights violation."
He said that rapporteurs of the former human rights
commission used to change context of their reports for political reasons and that it was discouraging for officials of the member states to accept them for investigation.

Karimirad said that supervisory organs are expected to look into performance of the newly established Human Right Council to avoid any interference of the big powers in the human rights records for their political gains.

Asked about the government's program to promote human rights in Iran, Karimirad said that Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi established an organ seven months ago to monitor human rights violations in Iran.

The organ is composed of the minister of justice, minister of information, minister of the interior, minister of culture and Islamic guidance and minister of foreign affairs under chairmanship of the Judiciary chief.

Karimirad said that he discussed bilateral cooperation with ministers of justice from Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Sri Lanka, Yemen and Sudan during his stay in Geneva.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has been established to replace the human rights commission. Formal meeting of the member states of the Human Rights Council is underway in Geneva.

Iran Justice minister calls on Human Rights Council to stay away from politics (

Title: Russian Air Force to Get New Generation Radar Aircraft
Post by: Shammu on June 22, 2006, 11:03:17 PM
Russian Air Force to Get New Generation Radar Aircraft

Created: 22.06.2006 13:48 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 13:59 MSK, 16 hours 59 minutes ago


The Russian Air Force will be provided with a modernized A-50 airborne warning and control system in 2008, Air Force Commander Vladimir Mikhailov said.

“The A-50 plane will have a new image in 2008. It will be provided with new equipment that would make it possible to operate it for at least 20 years more,” Mikhailov told Interfax news agency Thursday.

“A lot has been done for this now,” Mikhailov said.

The A-50 airborne early warning and control aircraft was developed and manufactured by the Beriev Aircraft Research and Engineering Complex Joint Stock Company based at Taganrog in the Rostov Region of Russia.

The aircraft is known in the West by the NATO codename Mainstay. The A-50 entered service with the Russian Air Force in 1984, and is thought to have 16 aircraft in service. The latest version, the A-50U was shown in 1995.

The A-50 aircraft is intended to detect and identify airborne objects, determine their coordinates and flight path data and transfer the information to command posts. The A-50 also acts as a control centre in guiding fighter-interceptors and tactical air forces aircraft to combat areas in order to attack ground targets at low altitudes. The role of the A-50 is comparable to that of the United States E-3 Airborne Early Warning system developed by Boeing, Air Force Technology website reports.

India allegedly has 3 Russian aircrafts of this type. China is also reported to have ordered four A-50/A-50M/U aircraft from Russia.

Russian Air Force to Get New Generation Radar Aircraft (

Title: Sri Lanka agrees to remove EU truce monitors
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 10:32:47 AM
 Sri Lanka agrees to remove EU truce monitors
New Delhi, June 23, IRNA

In an effort to keep the threadbare peace process on track, Sri Lankan government caved in to a Tamil Tiger demand of removing the European truce monitors, who branded the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as terrorists, from the island nation but said it should be done in six months instead of one.

The government's peace secretariat in a statement, Thursday, said the Tigers' demand to remove monitors from three European Union member states which banned the Tigers as terrorists last month was unethical, but they agreed to go along, PTI reported here.

However, "We hope that the LTTE would reconsider its position and agree to Norway's more practical and reasonable suggestion (to replace them in six months)," it said.

The peace secretariat said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam wanted the Danish, Finnish and Swedish monitors removed within a month.

"This is an unreasonable demand that ignores the service provided by the group of Scandinavian monitors to Sri Lanka's peace process and is oblivious to the realities of international relations.

"In order to ensure the effective monitoring of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) as well as to advance the peace process, it is highly impractical to expect that these changes could be effected within a one-month period as demanded by the LTTE," it said.

Government spokesman and Media Minister Anura Yapa said it was "unreasonable" for the Tiger rebels to demand the removal of ceasefire monitors from three European Union member states - Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

Sri Lanka agrees to remove EU truce monitors (

Title: Iran pioneer of campaign against illegal drugs globally
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 10:34:31 AM
 Iran pioneer of campaign against illegal drugs globally
Tehran, June 23, IRNA

Secretary General of the Drug Control Headquarters Fada-Hossein Maleki said given its objectives and causes, Iran is the vanguard of campaign against narcotics throughout the globe.

As a pre-sermon lecturer at this week's Friday Prayers congregation, Maleki highlighted Iran's essential role in combatting illegal drugs.

Referring to the United Nations report in this regard, he said 90 percent of the world's narcotics are produced in Afghanistan whose social situation is deteriorating.

"One of the most important aims the Americans and British forces had announced for their presence in Afghanistan was confronting illegal drugs. This is while they try to legalize cultivation of narcotics in Afghanistan," he said.

Maleki noted that reports of international communities incorrectly suggest that Iran has the highest number of drug addicts throughout the globe.

Elaborating on Iran's efforts and measures in eradicating the social plague of drug addiction using the strongest judicial officials and police officers, he said about 20,000 conflicts have occurred between police and smugglers in eastern borders in the last two decades.

"Police have succeeded to destroy 200 small and big drug mafias," he said.

Maleki further stressed the complexity of the illegal drugs issue since the emergence of synthetic narcotics such as glass, crack and pills.

He called on Iranian families to introduce their children to treatment centers if they are addicted.

He described the role of 500 non-governmental organizations in combatting narcotics alongside state-run entities and said Iran's policy is to eradicate the plague.

He also recalled the Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei's instruction to the State Expediency Council to place the issue of illegal drugs campaign atop its agenda.

Iran pioneer of campaign against illegal drugs globally (

Title: Swiss FM points to "very constructive" talks with Mottaki in Berne
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 10:35:59 AM
 Swiss FM points to "very constructive" talks with Mottaki in Berne
Geneva, June 23, IRNA

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said she held a "very constructive" meeting with her Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki in Berne on Thursday.

"We had very constructive discussions about bilateral relations, especially about economic relations between Switzerland and Iran," Calmy-Rey told IRNA following her talks with Mottaki at the Swiss foreign ministry.

"We also had a discussion about the Iranian nuclear issue. Between Iran and Switzerland exists a constructive dialogue," the top Swiss diplomat stressed.

Asked whether she was optimistic on a peaceful settlement on Iran's nuclear case, Calmy-Rey replied, "I am not optimistic and not pessimistic. Switzerland had always a favorable position towards a diplomatic solution."
Meanwhile, Mottaki pointed out that Thursday`s meeting with the Swiss official included a "review of the latest developments in Iran`s nuclear file".

He added that Switzerland could play a constructive role in "paving the way for the beginning of talks about the Iranian nuclear case aimed at answering some of the ambiguities and questions".

Mottaki who termed his talks with Calmy-Rey "positive and useful", reiterated that the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a response to the western proposal package in August.

The Iranian official expressed hope once again that a diplomatic solution to Iran`s nuclear row could still be achieved.

Mottaki addressed earlier in the day the first session of the new UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, where he also met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour.

Swiss FM points to "very constructive" talks with Mottaki in Berne (

Title: British Muslims the most anti-western in Europe
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 10:37:34 AM
 British Muslims the most anti-western in Europe
London, June 23, IRNA

UK-Muslim Attitudes
The Muslim community in Britain is the most embittered and anti-western in Europe, according to a new global poll.

The poll, published by the Washington-based Pew Global Attitudes Project, found that British Muslims represented a "notable exception" in Europe, with far more negative views of westerners than Islamic minorities elsewhere on the continent.

A significant majority of Britain's 1.8 million community viewed western populations as selfish, arrogant, greedy and immoral. Just over half said westerners were violent.

While the overwhelming majority of European Muslims said westerners were respectful of women, fewer than half British Muslims agreed.

Another startling result found that only 32 per cent of Muslims in Britain had a favorable opinion of Jews, compared with 71 per cent of French Muslims.

Across the board, Muslim attitudes in Britain were found to more resembled public opinion in Islamic countries in the Middle East and Asia than elsewhere in Europe.

British Muslims were also largely more pessimistic than those in Germany, France and Spain about the feasibility of living in a modern society while remaining devout.

It was also found that British Muslims are far more likely than their European counterparts to harbor conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks. Only 17 per cent believed that Arabs were involved, compared with 48 per cent in France.

The Pew poll, which asked Muslims and non-Muslims about each other in 13 countries, recorded a fall from 67 per cent to 63 per cent in the favorable views of Muslims held by all Britons following last year's London bombings.

But the attitudes towards Muslims in Britain was still more positive than in the US, Germany and Spain and about the same as in France.

Just under a third of British non-Muslims said they viewed Muslims as violent, but this was significantly fewer than 60 per cent of non-Muslims in Spain, the 52 per cent in Germany, the 45 per cent in the US and 41 per cent in France.

The global poll found general agreement that community relations are bad, but Britons as a whole were much less likely than other Europeans to blame Muslims.

More Britons (27 per cent) faulted westerners than Muslims (25 per cent), with a third saying both are equally responsible. By comparison, in Germany and France both communities blamed each other in roughly equal measure.

Unlike the rest of Europe, a majority of Britons also declared themselves sympathetic to Muslims offended by the Islamophonic cartoons published in the European press last year. Nearly three- quarters blamed the controversy on western disrespect of Islam.

British Muslims the most anti-western in Europe (

Title: Iran accuses Washington of using nuclear issue as an excuse to topple government
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 04:57:28 PM
Iran accuses Washington of using nuclear issue as an excuse to topple government

· West's compromise deal labelled 'a sermon'
· US accused of 'wanting to set fire to the region'

Simon Tisdall, Ewen MacAskill, Robert Tait Tehran
Friday June 23, 2006
The Guardian

The US is determined to topple Iran's Islamic government whether or not the crisis over the country's nuclear activities is resolved, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said yesterday.

US enmity towards Iran was entrenched, Mr Larijani told the Guardian. "The nuclear issue is just a pretext. If it was not the nuclear matter, they would have come up with something else."

The compromise package offered by the west on Iran's nuclear activities amounted to a "sermon", he said, rejecting outright President George Bush's demands this week that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment.

Article continues
"If they want to put this prerequisite, why are we negotiating at all? Mr Bush is like a mathematician. When the equation becomes very difficult to work out, he likes to wipe it out altogether ... the pressure they are putting on us is reason enough for us to be suspicious." Mr Larijani's remarks represented his most negative assessment since the west's package was presented on June 6, suggesting a quick resolution was unlikely. Diplomats say Iran has been given a de facto deadline of the G8 summit in St Petersburg in mid-July for a formal response.

But Mr Larijani said Iran would present extensive and detailed counter-proposals only when it was ready to do so, although committees of experts were "working round the clock". A debate is underway inside the government with hardline ayatollahs calling for outright rejection of the west's ideas and some officials stressing their positive aspects.

Mr Larijani, former deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, is the most influential political figure in the country after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and answers directly to the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. As chairman of the Supreme National Security Council, he oversees security and defence strategy.

Mr Larijani said American policies in the Middle East, from Iraq to Palestine, were deeply destabilising and had complicated efforts to cut a deal. "If they continue on the same path, the price of oil will skyrocket and it will strengthen our resolve. They want to set fire to the region. The American strategy is to use force to secure their interests."

He also blamed Israel for many of the region's problems. "I think those people advising the CIA are the Zionists. They are pushing [the Americans] into this quagmire of war."

He denied reports that Iran was planning to block oil export routes through the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Gulf, if it was attacked or if UN sanctions were imposed. But he warned that if hostile action was taken through the UN security council, Iran would "reconsider its relationship" with the International Atomic Energy Agency. That could spell an end to already limited UN inspections of the nuclear plants at Natanz and Isfahan.

Mr Larijani said he was in constant contact by telephone with the EU's foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, contrasting Iran's dialogue with the Europeans with a lack of contact with the Bush administration. But he offered to talk to the White House if US policies changed."We should put aside the [US] sanctions and give up all this talk about regime change.

"This is what we are looking for ... if the Americans change their behaviour in the region and change their strategy, I assure you that talking over the phone will not be a serious problem."

He was critical of US attempts to promote democracy inside Iran. "They said they wanted to turn Iraq into a beacon of democracy. And out of that whole venture came Abu Ghraib and atrocities that were committed there on a daily basis ... the Palestinians chose a Hamas government. Why are they so hostile towards them?"

The $70m earmarked by the Bush administration to aid propaganda efforts inside Iran was an insult, he said. "I think that money is very little, to be honest," he said with a wry smile. "The minimum acceptable amount should be $70bn so the citizens of this country would at least get something out of it."

Mr Larijani declined to discuss the specifics of Iran's coming counter-proposals. "But suffice it to say [the west's package] has a lot of ambiguous points. These ambiguities persist from the beginning to the end of the package.

"On many of the points, we do not know how they intend to go about them. The package is more like a statement. If we are going to get agreement, we do not need a sermon."

Mr Larijani said there was no doubt that security guarantees were badly needed as part of any deal - "but not what they have talked about. They should not try to repackage their needs as incentives and offer that to us as a concession".

But he reiterated Iran's insistence that, despite western suspicions to the contrary, it has no wish to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. "We are not trying to construct the bomb. We don't want the bomb. The Americans know this. And Mr [John] Negroponte [the US intelligence tsar] announced some time ago that that Iranians don't have the bomb and wouldn't be able to make the bomb, even if they wanted to, for more than 10 years."

He strongly objected to the west's perceived double standards in objecting to limited nuclear-related "research and development" by Iran while acquiescing in Israel's and India's nuclear weapons programmes.

Iran accuses Washington of using nuclear issue as an excuse to topple government (,,1804120,00.html)

Title: Iran Planting Bombs In Iraq
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 04:59:51 PM
Iran Planting Bombs In Iraq

(CBS News) BAGHDAD For U.S. soldiers fighting insurgents just south of Baghdad, Thursday's news from the Pentagon was sobering.

According to the United States' commanding general in Iraq, Iran has joined the war. Gen. George Casey said Iranians are planting roadside bombs that are killing U.S. soldiers, reports CBS News correspondent Lee Cowan.

"We are quite confident that the Iranians through their covert special ops forces are providing weapons, IED technology and training to Shia extremist groups in Iraq," Casey said at a Pentagon press conference with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld by his side.

Casey went so far as to accuse the Iranian government of helping mastermind the attacks.

"Now you would assume they're not doing that independently, that there is some central direction from somebody in Tehran," Casey said.

Iraq's National Security Advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie said regardless of who is backing the insurgency, Iraq has to be able to stand on its own, Cowan reports.

"We need to avoid what I call dependency syndrome. We need to wean ourselves off this dependency," al-Rubaie says.

Rumsfeld said Casey had not yet had sufficient time to consult with the new Iraqi government, but that in any case the size of the U.S. force is likely to rise and fall in coming months, depending on political and security conditions.

"It will very likely not be a steady path down," Rumsfeld said. "It could very likely be a drawdown with an increase." Noting that there now are 126,900 U.S. troops in Iraq, he said: "It could very well go back up at some point. It very likely will go down and up and down and up depending on the circumstances and depending on the need."

Casey, who said more than once last year that he expected to see "fairly substantial" U.S. troop reductions during spring and summer of 2006, noted that the force has dropped from about 138,000 in March to 126,900 now.

"Whether that's 'fairly substantial' enough, I'll leave to your judgment," he said. "As I said, I think there will be continued gradual reductions here as the Iraqis take on a larger and larger role."

In other recent developments:

•   The Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday soundly rejected two Democratic attempts to urge withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, including an amendment to begin pulling out by the end of the year. GOP lawmakers accused the Democrats of wanting to abandon Iraq before the mission is complete, while Democrats said it is time for changes in Mr. Bush's failed Iraq strategy.

•  Two U.S. soldiers who vanished during an insurgent checkpoint attack and were later found slain had been left alone while other vehicles in their patrol inspected traffic, the military said Thursday.

•  The U.S. military Thursday reported four Marines and a soldier were killed in operations south and west of Baghdad, and an explosion of sectarian and revenge killings in Iraq's third largest city over the past three days claimed 19 lives.

•  Iraqi police stormed a farm north of Baghdad early Thursday and freed at least 17 people who were snatched a day earlier in a mass kidnapping of about 85 workers and family members at the end of a factory shift.

•  Seven Marines and a Navy corpsman were charged Wednesday with premeditated murder in the shooting death of an Iraqi man who was pulled from his home and shot while U.S. troops hunted for insurgents. They could face the death penalty if convicted. All eight also were charged with kidnapping.

•  Lawyer Khamis al-Obeidi, a Sunni Arab who represented Saddam and his half brother Barzan Ibrahim, was abducted from his home Wednesday morning. His body was found riddled with bullets on a street near the Shiite slum of Sadr City. His widow, Um Laith, was quoted on The New York Times' Web site as saying the attackers wore civilian clothes. She said 20 men burst into their house while the couple and their children were sleeping, and identified themselves as members of an Interior Ministry security brigade.

•  Australian forces in Iraq will be shifting to a more dangerous role that could expose them to combat with insurgents, Prime Minister John Howard said Thursday. In a statement to Parliament, Howard formally set out details of the new deployment of Australian forces that will follow the handover of security responsibility to Iraqi forces in southern Muthana province and the withdrawal of Japanese troops.

Gen. Casey also said that members of the Sunni insurgency have been reaching out to the new Iraqi government, giving U.S. military commanders opportunities to forge communications with the resistance groups.

Casey said the U.S. military and the Iraqi government "have several different strands of contacts going on, and there are opportunities in that regard we just haven't had before." He did not elaborate. He also said the insurgency has grown more complex in recent months, and he complained that it has been assisted by Iranian special operations forces who provide bomb materials, weapons and training to Shiite extremists in southern Iraq.

"They are using surrogates to conduct terrorist operations in Iraq both against us and against the Iraqi people," Casey said. "It's decidedly unhelpful." He added there has been a "noticeable increase" in the problem since January, but he could not quantify it.

Casey also said Iran has become the main source of materials to make makeshift roadside bombs that regularly kill U.S. troops as well as Iraqis. "Those primarily come from Iran," he said. "We're seeing attacks and we're finding more of them. So it's coming in from, we believe, Iran."

Iran Planting Bombs In Iraq (

Title: General Reports Spike in Iranian Activity in Iraq
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 05:04:49 PM
General Reports Spike in Iranian Activity in Iraq

By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 23, 2006; Page A19

Iranian support for extremists inside Iraq has shown a "noticeable increase" this year, with Tehran's special forces providing weapons and bomb training to anti-U.S. groups, the top U.S. commander in Iraq said yesterday.

Other U.S. officials have complained about Iranian meddling in Iraq, but the criticism of Tehran by Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. was the most direct and explicit so far. Speaking at a Pentagon news conference before an array of reporters and television cameras, the general listed Iranian influence as one of the four major problems he faces in Iraq.
Defense Department News Briefing
Read a transcript of remarks made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. George Casey, the top commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, about the situation in Iraq.
Nuclear Development in Iran

    * Bush Accuses Iran of Stalling on Proposal
    * Iran's Gray Area on Nuclear Arms
    * Nuclear Arms Fill Gray Area in Iran
    * Iran Urged to Accept Limits
    * Ahmadinejad Says Proposal By the West Is 'Step Forward'

"We are quite confident that the Iranians, through their covert special operations forces, are providing weapons, IED technology and training to Shia extremist groups in Iraq, the training being conducted in Iran and in some cases probably in Lebanon through their surrogates," Casey said, using the military abbreviation for "improvised explosive devices," or roadside bombs. The Iranians are "using surrogates to conduct terrorist operations in Iraq, both against us and against the Iraqi people."

Iran's actions are a major concern not only because of attacks on U.S. forces, but also because the durability of the new Iraqi government depends in part on the willingness of Iraqi's Sunni minority to accept the government. The Sunnis will be unlikely to do so if the Iranian government is perceived as playing a major role in supporting and even arming violent Shiite factions.

"Since January, we have seen an upsurge in their support, particularly to the Shia extremist groups," Casey said. "They are providing weapons, training and equipment to Shia insurgents, and that equipment is being used against us and Iraqis."

In the wide-ranging news conference, Casey also touched on several other aspects of the three-year-old U.S. war in Iraq. He said that insurgent attacks are up but insisted that "the insurgency hasn't expanded." About 90 percent of its attacks are launched within 30 miles of Baghdad, he said.

Discussing the state of al-Qaeda in Iraq since the killing earlier this month of its leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Casey said, "They're hurt, but they're not finished. . . . They're feeling the pain right now."

Casey expressed confidence in the growing strength of the Iraqi army but voiced concern about the state of the Iraqi police, especially in the Baghdad area, where, he said, their operations are influenced by militias. Sunnis often accuse the police, who are controlled by the Ministry of the Interior, of working closely with Shiite death squads.

"There are challenges with the police that I think you know, and the performance of the police varies widely around the country," he said. "Probably the greatest challenge for the new minister of interior is to restore the confidence of the Iraqi people in general and the Sunni population in particular in the Ministry of Interior forces."

Casey also appeared to stand by, but soften, his previous assertion that the number of U.S. troops would be reduced this year. "I'm confident that we'll be able to continue to take reductions over the course of this year," he said.

There are about 127,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That is down from a peak of about 160,000 in winter 2005-06, but close to the typical level over the past three years of about 135,000. The widespread expectation inside the U.S. Army is that by the end of this year, the U.S. presence will be cut to about 100,000.

Since the fall of 2003, top commanders have wanted to reduce the U.S. troop commitment but have been unable to turn that hope into reality.

Casey appeared to stop a bit short of his statement 11 months ago that held out the prospect of "fairly substantial" cuts in troop levels. In July 2005, he said: "If the political process continues to go positively, and if the development of the security forces continues to go as it is going, I do believe we'll still be able to take some fairly substantial reductions" after the Iraqi elections in 2006.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who uncharacteristically played a supporting role during the news conference, added that the size of U.S. forces "very likely will go down and up and down and up depending on the circumstances and depending on the need."

General Reports Spike in Iranian Activity in Iraq (

Title: Iran calls for UN action to stop ‘defamation’ of Islam
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 05:17:19 PM
Iran calls for UN action to stop ‘defamation’ of Islam

23 June 2006

GENEVA — Iran backed efforts by Islamic states yesterday to get the United Nations new Human Rights Council to counter what they call “defamation of religion” around the world.

But Canada accused the Iranians of discrediting the Council by including in their delegation the state Prosecutor-General who Ottawa says was linked to the arrest and death in Teheran of a Canadian woman journalist.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the 45-member Council, holding its first-ever session, that freedom of expression “should not constitute a pretext and a platform to insult religions and their sanctities.

“Defamation of religions, particularly the divine message of Islam, should be rejected,” he declared. Action on this should be part of the rights standards set by the Council and pursued through “implementation at the international level.” His remarks echoed a call from the Organisation of Islamic States (OIC) and assertions by Saudi Arabia that Islam faced “an escalation of hatred and animosity ... disdain for its values and everything it holds sacred.”

Although some diplomats say the drive reflects Muslim anger over cartoons published in the West last year depicting the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), others see it as part of a longer-term effort to counter criticism of the rights records of many OIC states.

Members of the grouping, including Saudi Arabia and Iran, were often accused at the Council’s predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, of violating the rights of women and national and religious minorities.

In his speech, Iran’s Mottaki accused Western countries of trying to impose “uniculturalism” on the UN system to ensure their own values set the model for all human rights standards.

But Mottaki made no reference to the complaint to the Council from Canada’s MacKay, who also called on other delegations to protest over the presence in the Council of the Iranian prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi.

By including Mortazavi in its delegation, MacKay said in a statement issued through his office, “Iran is trying to discredit the Council and deflect attention from its goal of ensuring greater respect for human rights.”

Independent human rights groupings at the session say Mortazavi has played a key role in the detention of hundreds of domestic critics of Iran’s Islamic authorities, as well as of journalists accused of defaming the state.

In his speech, the President of the newly created Saudi Human Rights Commission said his country “in keeping with Islamic tradition ... accords special attention to the issue of religious tolerance” and respect for different cultures.
Although there were ongoing efforts in the West to link it with terrorism, he declared, “Islam is a moderate religion that advocates mutual tolerance, empathy and coexistence and rejects fanaticism, obscurantism and coercion.”

Iran calls for UN action to stop ‘defamation’ of Islam (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Soldier4Christ on June 23, 2006, 05:47:52 PM
Iran calls for UN action to stop ‘defamation’ of Islam

That will never happen as Islam is a 'defamation' unto itself.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 05:52:41 PM
That will never happen as Islam is a 'defamation' unto itself.

I know brother remember I get some of the news, from islamic news sources. What better way to know your "enemy" cult  then how he thinks. 

I wonder what they are going to say, at the Great White Throne Judgement........................

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Soldier4Christ on June 23, 2006, 05:57:18 PM
There is nothing that they will be able to say that will do any good.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 06:03:35 PM
There is nothing that they will be able to say that will do any good.

AMEN brother AMEN!!

Title: Turkish FM due in Tehran
Post by: Shammu on June 23, 2006, 07:40:42 PM
 Turkish FM due in Tehran
Ankara, June 23, IRNA

Turkish Foreign Minister is due to arrive in Tehran late Saturday, according to an informed official in Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

"Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's Tehran visit is scheduled to begin on Saturday evening," the spokesman of Turkish foreign ministry's public relations department told IRNA's Ankara correspondent on phone on Friday.

"Abdullah Gul is to carry Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan's message to senior Iranian officials," the spokesman added.

Turkish FM due in Tehran (

Title: Afghan FM meets Musharraf for upgrading of security cooperation
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 01:33:38 AM
 Afghan FM meets Musharraf for upgrading of security cooperation
Islamabad, June 24, IRNA

President General Pervez Musharraf and the visiting Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta met here Friday during which both agreed to intensify their countries' security cooperation.

According to a Foreign Ministry statement, the "tripartite commission, comprised of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States as well NATO, would be fully utilized as will be bilateral channels for that purpose."
The president emphasized that both sides should continue efforts to further improve relations, the statement further said.

It said that bilateral relations, particularly trade and economic as well as security cooperation, came under discussion.

The president noted with satisfaction that bilateral trade had reached a record USD 1.2 billion and was increasing further.

The Joint Economic Commission, which met on June 14-15, 2006, had taken important decisions which would help add greater substance to relations.

The two countries would also intensify cooperation to promote trade and transit contacts with Central Asian states, the statement said.

The Afghan foreign minister expressed gratitude for the support and hospitality that the government and people of Pakistan have extended to Afghan refugees, it said.

He also appreciated Pakistan's role in the Afghan reconstruction which, he said, which reflected a brotherly concern for the welfare of the people of Afghanistan.

Afghan FM meets Musharraf for upgrading of security cooperation (

Title: Iraq accuses Iran of oil smuggling
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 02:25:52 AM
Iraq accuses Iran of oil smuggling

Jun. 22, 2006 at 2:10PM

Iraqi Oil Minister Husayn Al-Shahrastani has accused Iran of helping with oil smuggling, Al-Iraqiyah television reported this week.
      "We blame the Iranian coastguard for allowing Iraqi smuggling boats to reach Iranian waters. Not only that. In some cases, these boats get protection from the Iranian coastguard," he said.
      "We have other problems, including smuggling and exploiting shared wells, with most neighbouring countries. Our corruption challenges are mainly domestic; they can be found not only within the Oil Ministry but within local markets as well. Therefore, I call on the Iraqis (involved in oil corruption) not to deprive the poor of their right to decent living. Some people, for example, buy gasoline at 250 dinars per liter and sell it back to those who badly need this product at 800-1,000 dinars!"
      Linked with the widespread oil smuggling, the oil minister said, is the production surplus that affects the profitability of his country's oil industry.
      "Due to lack of maintenance works and development plans, our oil refineries produce huge amounts of black oil, surpassing local demand. Unless this production is absorbed, the refineries will have to stop operating because of their limited storage capacity. This means that black oil has to be removed out of refineries. Neighbouring countries are not enthusiastic to purchase this black oil surplus because they hope to buy it trough smugglers at lower prices."
      When asked to be more specific, Al-Shahrastani replied: "Well, we basically have Syria and Turkey. Syria currently gets its black oil needs from private companies, which might get it illegally. The Syrians know that quite well. We officially demanded oil sector officials in Syria to get their needs from us at international prices."
      During the program, the oil minister outlined his plans for combatting corruption in the Iraqi oil industry, and said: "Any staff member who turns out to be behind any act of corruption will be brought before justice. We will send names of corrupt employees to the Integrity Commission for legal procedures. Besides, such people will be automatically dismissed from service."

Iraq accuses Iran of oil smuggling (

Title: Solana to meet with Iranian nuclear negotiator next week
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 04:29:21 PM
Solana to meet with Iranian nuclear negotiator next week

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said he would likely meet with Iran’s nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani next week.

His announcement amid growing pressure from the EU and Washington that Iran move quickly to accept an incentives package in return for stopping its nuclear ambitions.

“I expect to meet in the coming days, next week probably, Mr. Ali Larijani,” Solana told reporters.

Solana added he had a “good, long conversation” by telephone with Larijani yesterday.

Officials said specifics of the meeting were not yet fixed between the two. The talks were expected to focus on questions Tehran has on the incentives package Solana presented in Tehran on June 6, they said.

Washington has suggested that if Iran had questions about the package they could raise them with Solana. The EU’s top diplomat said at an EU-US summit yesterday that there was not much room for talk anymore and called for Tehran to quickly make up its mind.

Title: Iranian president calls for strengthening relations with Turkey
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 04:31:40 PM
Iranian president calls for strengthening relations with Turkey
Iranian president calls for strengthening relations with Turkey

Tehran, June 24 (KUNA) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called on Saturday for the strengthening of Iranian-Turkish relations in all fields.

The presidential office said in a statement that Ahmadinejad described in a telephone call to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the two countries were tied through culture, history and religion.

Furthermore, he said that two countries played an important role on the regional and international levels, and stressed that they had to increase deliberations in order to consolidate international peace and security.

For his part, Erdogan expressed content with developments on the Iranian nuclear issue, noting that relations between the two countries would be further strengthened in the upcoming visit of Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to Tehran.

The Turkish Foreign Minister is expected to arrive in Tehran later tonight and is to hold talks with Iranian officials on issues of mutual concern.

Iranian president calls for strengthening relations with Turkey (

Title: Iran FM starts Berlin talks as West seeks answer on nuclear issue
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:29:42 PM
Iran FM starts Berlin talks as West seeks answer on nuclear issue
Jun 24 8:21 AM US/Eastern
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Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has begun talks with his German counterpart amid mounting suspense over Tehran's response to an incentive package offered if it stops enriching uranium.

Mottaki met with Frank-Walter Steinmeier at about 1030 GMT in a government guest house in the posh southern suburb of Dahlem as planned and not at his ministry in central Berlin, a spokeswoman confirmed Saturday.

They are to make short statements to the press after their encounter.

The meeting comes as Iran weighs its reply to a package offered by the five permanent UN Security Council members -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- plus Germany to resolve the dispute over its disputed nuclear program peacefully.

The proposal promises incentives and multilateral talks if Iran agrees to temporarily halt the uranium enrichment that is at the heart of fears the hardline regime could develop nuclear weapons.

Tehran insists the work is only to provide fuel for nuclear energy.

Diplomats say Tehran was asked to answer by June 29, but Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Wednesday the Islamic republic would take until August 22 to answer.

Javad Vaidi, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Friday that suspending uranium enrichment will be neither a pre-condition for talks with the world powers on its nuclear activities nor an outcome of those discussions.

"Iran considers that suspension is neither a pre-condition to nor the result of negotiations," Vaidi told AFP.

The foreign policy spokesman from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, Ruprecht Polenz, said that the West was not demanding a permanent suspension of uranium enrichment.

"One could imagine a period of 10 to 15 years," he said Saturday, adding that Iran should use that time to demonstrate to the world that it is a constructive partner for peace in the region.

The Berlin talks could help lay the groundwork for a meeting next week between Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who handed Tehran the world powers' proposal June 6.

Germany is part of the so-called EU-3 along with Britain and France which has been working for more than two years to try to resolve the crisis with Iran and most recently, foster a consensus on the issue with the United States, China and Russia.

Berlin has long-standing diplomatic relations and strong economic ties with Iran, which diplomats say has given it a key role in the negotiations.

Germany's large Iranian exile community called a demonstration Saturday against Mottaki, who is on a European tour.

Two football World Cup matches by the Iranian football team were met by protests by Jewish groups in Germany over Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust and calls for the destruction of Israel.

The players left Germany Friday after taking last place in Group D.

Iran FM starts Berlin talks as West seeks answer on nuclear issue (

Title: PLO representative, Iranian envoy discuss latest developments in Palestine
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:31:11 PM
 PLO representative, Iranian envoy discuss latest developments in Palestine
Beirut, June 24, IRNA

Iranian Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad-Reza Raouf-Sheibani and the first representative of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) in Lebanon, Abbas Zaki, discussed latest developments in the Occupied Territories at a meeting here Friday.

During the meeting, which took place at the Iranian embassy in southern Beirut, the two diplomats talked about major regional developments including the situation of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

Raouf-Sheibani and Zaki stressed the necessity of unceasing support for the Palestinian nation in their struggle to cope with their present difficult situation.

They also stressed on the various Palestinian groups the need to strengthen national unity and close ranks.

Zaki, over the past couple of days, has been holding separate meetings with Arab and foreign diplomats in Beirut, briefing them on the latest developments in Palestinian-populated areas, the Zionist regime's fresh attacks on Palestinian refugees and the situation of these refugees in Lebanon.

Over 45,000 Palestinian refugees are currently sheltered in 12 camps throughout Lebanon.

PLO representative, Iranian envoy discuss latest developments in Palestine (

Title: Bushehr hub of Iran's business with Saudi Arabia
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:32:54 PM
Bushehr hub of Iran's business with Saudi Arabia
Bushehr, June 24, IRNA

Iran-S. Arabia-Business
Iran's commercial attache to Saudi Arabia Hamid-Reza Zadboum said on Saturday that Iran's southwestern port city of Bushehr can serve as the hub of business with Saudi Arabia.

Zadboum told a group of reporters that Iran favors expansion of commercial cooperation with the "economically powerful and influential Muslim state" in its neighborhood, Saudi Arabia.

The diplomat cited fisheries, oil, gas, petrochemical industry and joint investment as areas of cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

There are 23 Iranian enterprises currently active in Saudi Arabia with two Saudi firms investing in the fruit juice production and packaging industries as well as the cement and auto parts business in Iran, he added.

Bushehr hub of Iran's business with Saudi Arabia (

Title: Germany-Iran-Mottaki /WRD Iran's Mottaki rejects '5 plus 1' timeline to reply to
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:34:31 PM
 Germany-Iran-Mottaki /WRD Iran's Mottaki rejects '5 plus 1' timeline to reply to offer
Geneva, June 24, IRNA

Iran will not accept a timeline by the 'Group 5 plus 1' to reply to their offer by the upcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia or any other sessions, said Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.

"Not only did we not agree on a date for a response during the recent visit by (EU foreign policy chief) Javier Solana but quite the contrary we stressed that we needed to thoroughly and patiently review the offer," Mottaki told IRNA in Geneva on Friday.

He stressed that any decision-making sessions in which Iran is not present, could damage the ongoing positive process.

Mottaki urged all countries that are involved in the Iranian nuclear case, especially Russia, China and the European countries to support the "logical view of the Islamic Republic of Iran" for all-inclusive talks aimed at removing questions, ambiguities and problems.

Iran's top diplomat once again ruled out any pre-conditions for such a meeting.

Germany-Iran-Mottaki /WRD Iran's Mottaki rejects '5 plus 1' timeline to reply to offer (

Title: Taskhiri urges Muslim scholars to hold dialogues among religions
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:36:40 PM
 Taskhiri urges Muslim scholars to hold dialogues among religions
Amman, June 24, IRNA

Secretary General of the World Assembly for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought Ayatollah Mohammad Ali skhiri here Saturday urged Muslim scholars to hold dialogues among religions.

On the sidelines of the 17th Islamic Jurisprudence Assembly meeting in Jordan, he told IRNA that the great civilization as well as material and spiritual potential of the world of Islam facilitate dialogue among civilizations and religions for Muslim holars.

Concerning the Islamic Jurisprudence Assembly, he said that it represents freedom of thought as well as good and free scientific and Islamic cooperation.

Ayatollah Taskhiri hoped that the meeting will contribute to unification of Islamic Ummah, proximity of Islamic sects and cooperation with other religions.

He is scheduled to deliver a speech titled, "Coordination between commitment and qualifications of Muslim citizenship".

The 17th Islamic Jurisprudence Assembly meeting opened in Jordan's capital of Amman on Saturday and will continue up to Wednesday.

It is attended by 100 Muslim scholars from 44 Islamic states.

Ayatollah Taskhiri along with a few other officials represent Iran at the ongoing event.

The meeting aims to present the true image of Islam as well as cooperation and exchange of thoughts among Muslim scholars.

Topics such as "Islam's approach to extremism and exaggeration", "Unity among religions", "Women's issues", "Terrorism and religious decree (Fatwa)" and "Conditions, customs and relations of Islamic states" will be discussed during the event.

Taskhiri urges Muslim scholars to hold dialogues among religions (

Title: UN-Arms-Trade /GNR
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:38:57 PM
 UN-Arms-Trade /GNR/
Major review at UN to assess actions needed to stem illegal small

arms trade Tehran, 24 June 2006 (UNIC) -- Some 2,000 representatives from governments, international and regional organizations and civil society will meet at UN Headquarters from June 26 to July 7, 2006 to review progress made; to address future cooperation and activities and to assess challenges on the road ahead.

The event is taking place five years after the adoption of the UN Program of Action to address the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC) here Saturday said.

By unanimously adopting the Program of Action in 2001, the UN member states committed themselves to collecting and destroying illegal weapons, adopting and/or improving national legislation to help criminalize the illicit trade in small arms, regulating the activities of brokers, setting strict import and export controls, taking action against violators of such laws, and better coordinating international efforts to that end.

The small arms Review Conference should reinforce the momentum for action among member states, civil society, international and regional organizations. The Conference is also expected to welcome the establishment of a group of governmental experts who will meet in November 2006 to tackle the issue of reining in illegal arms brokers.

"The conference offers an opportunity for all countries to review their pledges to get rid of illegal trade in small arms and, for this purpose, to develop a strategy for further implementation of the UN Programme of Action, agreed in 2001", stated the President-designate of the Small Arms Review Conference, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in New York.

Since its adoption, the Program of Action has stimulated a wide range of initiatives at the national, regional and global levels, such as:
- More than 50 countries have strengthened their national legislation to control the illegal trade in small arms, including Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Germany, Mauritius, Nicaragua, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Similar reforms are under way in many other countries.

- In Africa, where illegal small arms have been used to kill directly or indirectly hundreds of thousands of people in conflict zones, three legally-binding agreements have been developed to address this issue and to focus on the humanitarian impact: the "Nairobi Protocol" on firearms, covering East Africa and the Great Lakes Region; a SADC Protocol covering Southern Africa, and; the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Convention on Importation and Manufacture of Light Weapons.

- More than 60 countries have collected and destroyed large amounts of illegal small arms. Different methods have been used, including by "Flames of Peace" bonfires (Burundi, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa); by crushing them with steamrollers, bulldozers or tanks (Brazil, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Paraguay, Sri Lanka); by dismantling weapons (Argentina, Costa Rica, Timor-Leste, Uganda); by discarding in deep water (Senegal and others). Other cost-effective and environment-friendly methods have also been used.

- UN peacekeeping operations have developed and implemented disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programs in post-conflict situations, especially in Africa, helping thousands of former combatants (including women and children) disarm and return to civilian life in countries such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. UN Country Teams have also carried out DDR programs in Cambodia, Central African Republic and Guinea Bissau.

- The UN General Assembly adopted in December 2005 the International Instrument to Enable States to Identify and Trace, in a Timely and Reliable Manner, Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons.

This new instrument will help law enforcement officials identify sources of illegal weapons. In a recent report, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called this the most significant UN achievement in 2005 in fighting the illicit trade in small arms.

- The UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition came into force in July 2005 as the first legally binding global instrument on small arms which aims at strengthening cooperation among states to combat illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms.

The Firearms Protocol supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and is expected to become a useful tool for law enforcement in the countries that ratified it.

Since 2001, the UN Program of Action has brought about some significant developments in combating the illicit trade in small arms, concludes the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in a study on national implementation. "However, much still remains to be done," it states, "to prevent illicit small arms from causing more devastating tragedies."
The Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based independent research institute, estimated that the number of deaths caused by small arms used in conflicts worldwide to have been between 80,000 and 108,000 (in 2003). The Survey reports that at least 200,000
non-conflict-related small arms deaths occur each year, many of them by illegal small arms.

The UN Program of Action covers the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons, which fuels armed conflicts and supports the activities of groups involved in organized crime, trafficking in drugs and the illegal exploitation and trade of precious minerals. The Review Conference will not be negotiating any treaty to prohibit citizens of any country from possessing firearms or to interfere with the legal trade in small arms and lights weapons.

UN-Arms-Trade /GNR (

Title: Mottaki slams Canadian statements as "illogical and illegal"
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:40:55 PM
 Mottaki slams Canadian statements as "illogical and illegal"
Geneva, June 24, IRNA

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki lashed out at Canada for its interventionist statements against certain members of the Iranian delegation which is attending the first UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland, calling them "illogical and illegal."
"Canada's track record is well known in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They have committed massive and serious political mistakes since the victory of the Islamic Revolution," Mottaki said in an interview with IRNA in Geneva on Friday.

"Canada's (reprehensible) acts include hiding some spies at their embassy in Tehran and allowing them to escape. Furthermore, Canada supported the criminal Saddam regime during the imposed war and gave logistic aid to Saddam for his attack on our country," he added.

Mottaki said he warned his Canadian counterpart during the UN General Assemby session last year that Canada should be aware of its limits and realize what country it was dealing with.

Mottaki slams Canadian statements as "illogical and illegal" (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Soldier4Christ on June 24, 2006, 09:43:51 PM
Taskhiri urges Muslim scholars to hold dialogues among religions

Their purpose for this is not "freedom of thought" it is however their version of "Islamic cooperation". As was said before on here it is their belief that they must give people a chance to convert to their beliefs before they kill them for not doing so.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:46:35 PM
 President stresses ties bolstering with Turkey
Tehran, June 24, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here Friday stressed the importance of enhanced relations with Turkey in all fields.

Ahmadinejad, in a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan, described Tehran-Ankara ties as "brotherly" and lauded the two sides' "deep-rooted cultural, historical and religious bonds."
He pointed to the two countries' "pivotal role" in leading regional and international developments, including issues related to the Islamic world, and said they play an effective role in promoting security and international peace.

Erdogan, for his part, praised the success achieved by Iran in advancing its nuclear knowhow and called for further expansion of bilateral ties and increased bilateral exchanges.

He expressed hope an upcoming visit to Tehran of the Turkish foreign minister would further boost bilateral ties between the two sides in all fields.

President stresses ties bolstering with Turkey (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:47:58 PM

Their purpose for this is not "freedom of thought" it is however their version of "Islamic cooperation". As was said before on here it is their belief that they must give people a chance to convert to their beliefs before they kill them for not doing so.

I know brother, they must think we are stupid.

Title: Restoration of Qaeni Castle underway
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:49:23 PM
 Restoration of Qaeni Castle underway
Birjand, South Khorasan prov, June 24, IRNA

Director General of the provincial Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department Hossein Abbaszadeh here Saturday said that restoration of Hossein Qaeni Castle situated three kilometers to the south of the city of Qaen is currently underway.

He said that the castle derives its name from Qaen Mountain and is situated on the heights of Qahestan mountain range.

"Hossein Qaeni Castle was constructed during the Saljuq era upon the order of Judge Hossein Qaeni, who one of the commanders of Hassan Sabbah in Qahestan.

"It is the second largest castle in South Khorasan after Shahdez Castle in Nehbandan," he added.

The cultural heritage official said that a 285-million-rial credit has been earmarked for the restoration of this precious monument, which started last year.

He added that the castle was registered as a national monument in 2001.

Restoration of Qaeni Castle underway (

Title: Air fleet's capacity increased
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:50:54 PM
 Air fleet's capacity increased
Tehran, June 24, IRNA

An official of the aviation industry has said that about 1,200 seats have been added to the capacity of the country's air fleet since the beginning of the current Iranian year (March 21).

Nourollah Rezaei Niaraki, superintendent of the Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), said on Saturday that following agreements entered into by the industry, eight airplanes have joined the Iranian air fleet since the start of the year.

He was confident all requirements of the air fleet for this year would be met.

Commenting on the proposed increase in ticket prices, he said pertinent officials are still conducting a review and a final decision will be rendered by the cabinet.

Referring to a growing public demand for the launch of an air route to the United States, Niaraki said a reply from the US government was still being awaited to Iran's request, adding that the matter is persistently being followed up by Iranian officials.

"Our representative in the International Air Travel Organization (IATA) is presently following up the request, but have not received an answer from the US so far," he noted.

On flights to Iraq, he said that an Iranian airline company which undertook flights earlier has cancelled them temporarily due to shortage in passengers.

Niaraki said that his organization is currently considering the reopening of flights to Iraq by the Islamic Republic of Iran Airlines (Homa).

Air fleet's capacity increased (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 24, 2006, 09:54:56 PM

Their purpose for this is not "freedom of thought" it is however their version of "Islamic cooperation". As was said before on here it is their belief that they must give people a chance to convert to their beliefs before they kill them for not doing so.

I don't know if you have heard of Rick Mathes. I got this from somewhere, I don't remember. (okay senior moment)

Jesus or Allah?
by Rick Mathes

Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state security clearance During the training session there was a presentation by three representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and  Muslim faiths, who explained each of their belief systems.

I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great of the basics of Islam, complete with a video. After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers.

When it was my turn, I directed my question to Imam and asked: "Please, correct me if I'm but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] the infidels of the world. And, that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case can you give me the definition of an infidel?"

There was no disagreement with my statements without hesitation, he replied, "Non-believers!"

I responded, "So, let me make sure I have straight. All followers of Allah have been to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?"

The __expression on his face changed from one authority and command to that of a little boy had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, "Yes."

I then stated, "Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith or Dr. Stanley        ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven!"

The Imam was speechless.

I continued, "I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question. Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven and He wants you to be with me?"

You could have heard a pin drop as the Imam hung his head in shame. Needless to say, the organizers and /or promoters of the 'Diversification' training seminar were not happy with Rick's way of dealing with the Islamic Imam and exposing the truth about the Muslim's beliefs.

I think everyone in the US should be required to read this, but with the liberal justice system, liberal media, and the ACLU, there is no way this will be widely publicized.

This is a true story and the author, Rick Mathes, is a well known leader in prison ministry.

Title: Giant crude producer Iran to ration petrol
Post by: Shammu on June 25, 2006, 02:04:53 AM
Giant crude producer Iran to ration petrol

Saturday, June 24, 2006 - ©2005
Iran said it will stop importing petrol in September and begin rationing it, ironic for a country that is OPEC's number-two exporter of crude oil, AFP reported.

"As there is nothing provided for petrol imports in the second half of this (Iranian) year's budget ... the imports will naturally stop and petrol will be rationed," Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said on state television.

LONDON, June 24 (IranMania) - Iran said it will stop importing petrol in September and begin rationing it, ironic for a country that is OPEC's number-two exporter of crude oil, AFP reported.

"As there is nothing provided for petrol imports in the second half of this (Iranian) year's budget ... the imports will naturally stop and petrol will be rationed," Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh said on state television.

The minister said imports will end from September 23, and that the government will decide at a meeting next week when to begin the rationing.

Iran's refineries have a capacity of 40 million litres of petrol a day, but demand is close to 70 million litres.

Petrol is extremely cheap in Iran thanks to massive subsidies.

A litre of regular petrol costs just 800 rials (nine US cents, or 34 cents a gallon). Super costs 1,100 rials (12 cents, or 45 cents a gallon).

A surge in car ownership and petrol smuggling to Iran's neighbours, where prices are far higher, has caused an explosion in demand. Iran loses more than one billion dollars a year because of the smuggling.

The shortfall has up to now been met by spending billions of dollars each year on imported petrol.

In February, Iran's parliament slashed the government's requested four billion dollar budget for petrol imports to 2.5 billion dollars. That lower amount is predicted to have been spent in the first half of the Iranian year, which began March 21, due to higher import prices and increasing consumption.

Parliament subsequently backed a government initiative to put the brakes on domestic petrol consumption by limiting access to subsidised fuel.

The plan was approved during discussions on individual articles of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's budget for the current financial year, but has not yet been implemented.

Hameneh indicated Friday that it would not be put into action, but did not say why.

It stipulated that car owners would be provided with "smart cards" that allow petrol purchases at the subsidised nine cent per litre rates up to a fixed ceiling, above which motorists would have to pay the full price.

The head of the parliamentary energy committee, Kamal Daneshyar, previously said that private cars and taxis would daily receive three litres, and 30 liters, respectively, at a subsidised price.

Analysts have said Iran could prove highly vulnerable to sanctions on its petrol imports, if the United Nations takes tough action over its controversial nuclear programme.

The new decision comes as Iran has been enjoying windfall oil revenues and in September 2005 the conservative parliament agreed to spend more on petrol imports.

A bill was passed allowing the government to use $2.93 billion from the Oil Stabilisation Fund, set up for oil export earnings in excess of budget predictions, to buy petrol refined abroad up to March 2006.

However, it is considered unlikely that parliament will approve such a measure in the current Iranian year.

"Withdrawing cash from the Oil Stabilisation Fund to supply domestic petrol use ... definitely contradicts the macro policies for reducing consumption in the fourth development plan," said a member of the parlaimentary energy committee Javad Saadunzadeh.

"It is ideal that petrol stations be provided with 'smart card' (technology) within the next three months," the student ISNA news agency quoted him as saying Friday.

Despite Iran's huge oil and gas reserves, Ahmadinejad has stressed the importance of exploring alternative energy sources.

"Proper management of resources, turning to substitute fuels ... and allocating objective-oriented subsidies in the energy sector are among ways to make optimum use of the country's energy reserves," he told MPs on Monday.

Giant crude producer Iran to ration petrol (

My note; Now to me, that  would be stockpiling fuel........................ for an invasion??

Title: Al-Qaida group says it killed 4 Russian diplomats
Post by: Shammu on June 25, 2006, 04:26:57 PM
Jun. 25, 2006 18:16
Al-Qaida group says it killed 4 Russian diplomats
CAIRO, Egypt

An al-Qaida-linked group said Sunday it had killed four Russian hostages in Iraq, according to a statement posted on the Internet.

The statement was posted alongside photos of the Russians in captivity, and said a video of the killings was also posted on the Web. The photos were stamped with the logo of al-Qaida.

"God's verdict has been carried out on the Russian diplomats ... in revenge for the torture, killing and expulsion of our brothers and sisters by the infidel Russian government," the statement said.

Four Russian embassy workers were abducted on June 3 after an attack on their car in Baghdad's Mansour neighborhood. A fifth Russian was killed in the incident.

The captives include the embassy's third secretary, Fyodor Zaitsev, and three other staffers, Rinat Agliulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedoseyev.

Al-Qaida group says it killed 4 Russian diplomats (

Title: King Abdullah calls to end extremism
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 12:28:36 AM
King Abdullah calls to end extremism
Associated Press, THE JERUSALEM POST    Jun. 24, 2006

Jordan's King Abdullah II called on Saturday for increased efforts to root out terrorism and extremists threatening Islam and the world, according to the official Petra news agency.

"We must move quickly to uproot terrorism, stop accusations in the name of religion, and harness all efforts to find comprehensive solutions for the problems and challenges facing the Islamic world," Abdullah said in a statement to Islamic judges meeting in Amman.

The statement - read by the monarch's special adviser on religious matters, Prince Ghazi bin Mohammed - criticized extremists who "harm nations and civilization" and urged Muslims to uphold "moderate Islam and fatwas issued by recognized Muslim scholars."

"We in Jordan will advance religious dialogue and strengthen collaboration among Muslims worldwide in order to protect Islam, bring unity and fight differences in the faith," the statement said.

In November 2004, Jordan issued the so-called Amman message, a statement calling for religious tolerance and renunciation of extremism as a reflection of the true spirit of Islam.

The king's statement Saturday said Jordan issued the message because "we felt that the Islamic message of tolerance was being subjected to a fierce and unjust attack from some in the West who do not understand Islam's essence, and others who claim to be associated with Islam and hide behind Islam to commit irresponsible deeds."

King Abdullah calls to end extremism (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 12:31:05 AM
Jordan's King Abdullah II called on Saturday for increased efforts to root out terrorism and extremists threatening Islam and the world

Excuse me, if I don't hold my breath.

Title: Brussels mosques to receive state support
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 04:22:49 AM
 Brussels mosques to receive state support
Brussels, June 25, IRNA

Mosques in the Belgian capital, Brussels, could soon benefit from regional government financial support.

The Brussels Parliament has approved the possibility to assist in renovation and maintenance costs. 350,000 euros have already been set aside in the remainder of the 2006 budget, Flandersnews website reported Saturday.

Certain conditions have been attached to any government funding offered to the capital's mosques.

The recipient must be officially recognized, a minimum of 200 people must worship there and the building must be run by a registered charitable organization that can produce clear financial accounts.

Approximately 70 mosques fall within the Brussels regional government's authority.

Belgium has a complex system of government. It is divided into three communities and three regions: Flemish-speaking community, French-speaking community, and a small German-speaking Community, and the Flemish region, the Walloon region and the Brussels-Capital.

There are about 250 mosques all over Belgium a country which has an estimated 400,000 Muslims mainly from North African states and Turkey.

Brussels mosques to receive state support (

Title: Presidents of Iran, Sri Lanka discuss ties in phone conversation
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 04:24:33 AM
 Presidents of Iran, Sri Lanka discuss ties in phone conversation
Tehran, June 25, IRNA

Iran-Sri Lanka-Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad here Sunday in a phone conversation with his Sri Lankan counterpart urged the need to expand bilateral relations in political and economic fields.

According to a report released by the Presidential Media Department, the chief executive referred to the growing trend of Iran-Sri Lanka ties and said that implementation of the agreements signed by the joint cooperation commission will raise the level of such relations.

Talking to President Mahinda RajaPakse, Ahmadinejad declared Iran's support for promotion of peace and tranquility in Sri Lanka and welcomed the upcoming visit of the high ranking Sri Lankan delegation to Tehran.

For his part, President Rajapakse briefed his Iranian counterpart on the latest developments in his country and his government's attempt to establish peace and stability across Sri Lanka and called for expansion of bilateral relations.

Presidents of Iran, Sri Lanka discuss ties in phone conversation (

Title: Asefi criticizes Russia for not complying with its commitment
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 04:26:14 AM
 Asefi criticizes Russia for not complying with its commitment
Tehran, June 25, IRNA

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi here Sunday said that Russia has not fulfilled its commitments properly.

Addressing reporters in his weekly press conference, he made the above remark in response to a question about the Russians delay in completing Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant.

Criticizing the Russian partner working on the project, he hoped that the relevant contractor will comply with its commitments to this end and will make up for the delay.

Replying to a question about the timetable of the project and whether its implementation has been postponed until 2007, he hoped that they will comply with their commitments and compensate for the delay.

Turning to the foreign ministers meeting of 57 Islamic states in Baku and their support for Iran's peaceful nuclear activities, he said that this shows the support of international community for the country's peaceful nuclear program.

Asefi pointed to the talks of Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki with German, Italian and Spanish officials as well as his speech in Geneva as part of Iran's diplomacy.

In response to a question about the concerns of the countries bordering the Persian Gulf over the safety of Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, he said that Iran's nuclear issue was discussed with some of these countries and they were told that there is no cause for concern in this respect.

He referred to the remarks of Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal on the matter as a sign of the accord of the Persian Gulf states with Iran and underlined that Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant has a high safety standard, which has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Responding to a question about the precondition offered by the German foreign minister for Iran's uranium enrichment, he said that bringing up the issue of enrichment means turning back.

Asefi referred to Iran's stance based on holding talks with no precondition and said, "By presenting its package of incentives, Europe is moving along the right path. However, any precondition will only limit the atmosphere of talks.

"During talks with EU3, we declared that setting any precondition will be irrational and that understanding can only be reached through talks."
About the outcome of Mottaki's talks with the United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, he said that Mottaki briefed Annan on Iran's views.

Asefi said that Iran welcomes the interest of European states in holding talks.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman pointed to the talks of IAEA Chief Mohamed ElBaradei, EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov with Iranian nuclear negotiators and said that such contacts clarify Iran's views and show the right path to reaching understanding.

Asked whether Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul has brought any message for Iran, he said, "To the best of our knowledge, he has no written message and we have not heard any word on it from the visiting Turkish officials."
However, he did not dismiss the possibility of any verbal message.

Asefi pointed to Turkey as a country with a friendly approach to Iran and said that during talks with Gul, bilateral relations and the country's nuclear issue will be discussed.

Asefi criticizes Russia for not complying with its commitment (

Title: Don't meddle in our affairs, Gorbachev warns the West
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 07:46:43 PM
Don't meddle in our affairs, Gorbachev warns the West
From Adam LeBor in Venice

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV has called on Western countries to stop interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs.

Putting pressure on President Putin over human rights at next month’s G8 summit in St Petersburg, to be chaired by Russia, would be counterproductive, the last leader of the Soviet Union told The Times in an exclusive interview.

“Russia is not anyone’s domain. Russia will work these things out — together with our partners and friends. The Presidents and Prime Ministers at the G8 can raise whatever they want. But the more it is seen that the West is putting pressure on, the more it will strengthen President Putin, because in essence his position is very close to the aspirations of the people,” he said yesterday.

“I have said myself that Putin has made mistakes. But the principles of democracy are realised in a specific context, and you have to bear in mind the Russian historical, economic and social situation.”

As Soviet leader from 1985, Mr Gorbachev introduced perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness), unleashing forces that led to the collapse in 1989 of the Eastern bloc and, in 1991, of the Soviet Union itself.

He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 and founded the World Political Forum (WPF) and Green Cross International, an environmental organisation. Now 75, he is unlikely to return to party politics. Yet he remains influential in Moscow, where he often meets Mr Putin, and on the world stage. Especially concerned with the development of civil society and the environment, he nevertheless rejects the idea that the Western agenda must be adopted wholesale. Russia is moving in the right direction steadily and in its own way, he says.

Critics and human rights groups counter with concerns over a law introduced by Mr Putin strictly regulating nongovernmental organisations, and issues such as deaths and disappearances in Chechnya and police and army brutality.

Speaking in Venice at the end of a WPF seminar on “Media between Citizens and Power”, Mr Gorbachev said: “Why should foreign organisations be involved in the Russian political process? The Orange Revolution in Ukraine was mostly of domestic origin, because people were upset about corruption and angry over the Kuchma regime. But there is another factor, that the US Embassy was heavily involved, and of course America has great experience in interfering in the affairs of other countries. Had this same thing been happening in America, I am sure that they would have put an end to outside interference.”

The West’s stated concern with human rights was often hypocritical, he said, citing the recent speech in Lithuania by Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, in which he had criticised the Russian Government. Mr Cheney had then flown to oil-rich Kazakhstan, where President Nazarbayev had won a third term with a Soviet-style 91 per cent of the vote.

“I don’t think many Western Governments are that concerned about these issues. If someone is ‘our gotcha109’ he is forgiven, but if someone else takes an independent position, they don’t like it. I too have a high opinion of my friend Nursultan Nazarbayev, but in our democratic media he is often criticised for his authoritarian ways. So there are double standards, and triple standards.

“But Russia has not lost a war, Russia is rising and will be rising and some people will find that inconvenient. We have heard a lot in the US about building a new American empire. But that train has left the station. This unipolar approach will not happen. In a multipolar world it is difficult to bring order and governance, but any other approach is dangerous.”

Mr Gorbachev rejects Western concerns that Mr Putin is using energy supplies as a political weapon, especially after Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas supplier, cut supplies to Ukraine in a price dispute.

“This is not happening, I can assure you, and I am willing to put my head on the block. Russia is no less interested than Europe in having reliable supply and demand for oil and gas. Russia needs to finance its reorganisation — what are the sources for this? First of all, our energy. But I think it is rather strange that the West recommends that we have a free market in our natural gas and, when we start to, the West protests that we are charging market prices. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”

Mr Gorbachev has bought a stake in an independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, which is famed for anti-corruption investigations and has criticised Mr Putin. The newspaper remains majority-owned by its journalists and its reporting will be as vigorous as ever, Mr Gorbachev pledges. “There is a good time for everything; we do not work according to a calendar set either in the White House or in the European Union. We have our own schedule.”

Don't meddle in our affairs, Gorbachev warns the West (,,3-2243314,00.html)

Title: Russia to Finish Nuclear Plant Construction in Iran on Time
Post by: Shammu on June 26, 2006, 07:48:45 PM
Russia to Finish Nuclear Plant Construction in Iran on Time

Created: 26.06.2006 13:46 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 13:46 MSK, 13 hours 20 minutes ago


Russia will continue building the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran as scheduled, the country’s top nuclear official is quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.

“Our Iranian colleagues want it to be built quicker but it will be constructed as planned,” Sergei Kiriyenko said Monday, adding that the plant would be commissioned in 2007.

Russia is helping to build an $800-million plant in Bushehr, 400 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of Tehran, which had been previously scheduled to be operational by the end of 2006.

Iran has come under strong international pressure to reimpose a moratorium on its nuclear research program, which some countries say is being used as cover to develop a nuclear bomb. The Islamic Republic has denied the allegations and says it is interested only in nuclear power for civilian purposes.

Russia to Finish Nuclear Plant Construction in Iran on Time (

Title: Syria sends forces to protect Hamas leader
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 02:47:57 AM
Syria sends forces to protect Hamas leader

Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader living in Syria, told to restrict movements for fear of Israeli assassination; Mashaal reportedly orchestrated Kerem Shalom attack and is preventing release of kidnapped soldier Aaron Klein

The Syrian government has deployed security forces to protect Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and has advised him to restrict all public activities for the time being, Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip told WorldNetDaily Tuesday.

Mashaal is believed to have called for the operation Sunday in which Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups carried out a well-orchestrated raid on an Israeli military station and kidnapped Israeli soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

In response, Israel has deployed thousands of ground troops at the Gaza border and has threatened a major incursion.

Diplomatic mediators involved in efforts to free the captured soldier told reporters it is Mashaal's reluctance that has been the key obstacle. They said they were told Mashaal was indeed behind the directive to carry out the abduction and that they were hopeful his position against freeing Shalit would change.

In what has been interpreted as a threat to Mashaal, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert yesterday told reporters , "Let it be clear. We will find them all (terrorists), wherever they are, and they know it. Let it be clear that no one will be immune."

He later said: "We will react against each and every terrorist and against each and every terror organization wherever it may be. They know we can reach them even when they believe they are safe. We do not act under pressure and therefore we have weighed our steps with patience. But the time leading towards an extensive, stern and harsh operation is growing shorter."

Mashaal has for years enjoyed the protection of the Syrian government. Israel accuses him of using bases in the country to order terror attacks and raise money for his terror group.

According to Israeli security sources, Syria and Iran has been pressuring Mashaal against releasing Shalit.

"Iran and Syria both want an escalation in the region to distract from the troubles surrounding their regimes," said a diplomatic source. "They want Israel to launch a ground operation. Violence helps them."

Israeli security officials told WorldNetDaily they have information the terrorists who carried out the Hamas raid and Shalit kidnapping were trained by Iranian Revolutionary Guard units and Hezbollah guerillas.

Senior Palestinian security officials linked to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party told WND Hamas and other Gaza-based groups have been receiving advanced military training by Iran and Hizbullah in recent months.

The officials said the training included carrying out guerilla attacks such as the one perpetuated this week, methods of intelligence collection, and instructions for the use of advanced missiles. The training, they said, took place in the Egyptian Sinai desert and at special camps set up in Sudan.

Defense officials here called the raid "stunning" and "well-orchestrated." It was the first kidnap-ing of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian terrorists since 1994. The operation went well beyond the scope of sophistication evidenced in recent Palestinian terror attacks.

Syria sends forces to protect Hamas leader (,7340,L-3268247,00.html)

Title: Iran issues drugs threat
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 02:51:07 AM
Iran issues drugs threat
26/06/2006 23:14  - (SA) 

Tehran - Iran has threatened to allow traffickers to flood Europe with narcotics unless its costly border security operation is given a massive hike in United Nations funding.

The Islamic republic's new anti-drugs czar said Iran had asked the United Nations office on drugs and crime (UNODC) for a hefty $500m in order to combat smugglers from neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Fada-Hossein Maleki said Iran also wanted to use the half-a-billion dollars in cash to fund substance abuse prevention and treatment projects inside Iran.

"For the moment, we do not allow drugs to transit, but if they do not aid us we will naturally reconsider," he told reporters on Sunday.

"The West should have a lot to fear if Iran changes its policy," Maleki said, adding that Iran "cannot tolerate a selective attitude in contributing financial aid" to the war on drugs.

Tried everything in drug war

The UNODC spent $13m in Iran last year and the anti-drug funding could go as high as $22m in 2006, said a source in their Tehran office.

But, the agency refused to comment on the new Iranian threat, which could see Europe - as well as much of the Middle East - flooded with cheaper heroin and hashish if it was carried out.

Iran says it has tried almost everything in its war on drugs: digging huge trenches along its porous borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan and even using helicopter gunships and tanks against well-armed traffickers.

Dealers are executed and anyone caught consuming drugs risks imprisonment, lashes and heavy fines.

Efforts are 'almost in vain'

In the past two decades, more than 2 650 tons of drugs have been seized in a battle that has cost the lives of about 3 500 members of the Iranian security forces and 10 000 smugglers.

But with a 1 000km border with leading opium producer Afghanistan, Iran argues its efforts to police it are more or less in vain unless Afghan authorities and foreign troops put an end to production.

"All these US and British forces could stop poppy cultivation in Afghanistan if they wanted to," said Maleki.

Title: ‘Army of Islam’ wants Islamic Palestinian state
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 02:55:30 AM
‘Army of Islam’ wants Islamic Palestinian state

27 June 2006

PARIS - The “Army of Islam,” which was involved in a brazen raid by Palestinian militants on an Israeli army post, vowed Tuesday to continue attacks until an Islamic state is established in the Palestine territories.

“Your brethren in the Army of Islam carried out an operation, along with the (Ezzedine) Al Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s armed wing) and the Al Nasser Salaheddin Brigades (of the Popular Resistance Committees), which heralds other operations ... aimed at establishing an Islamic caliphate,” an Internet statement said.

The statement was posted on several Islamist websites, including one used by Al Qaeda’s branch and other armed groups in Iraq.

The statement, in the form of a fax message, carries on top the group’s name with an emblem featuring a globe partially covered by a book that seems to be the Koran and a sword.

The emblem carries the Muslim profession of faith, “There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God.”

The Army of Islam first appeared in May by distributing leaflets in the Palestinian territories. According to Israeli press reports, the Israeli secret service suspected the group of having links with Al Qaeda.

“We are not waging jihad (holy war) for the sake of (recovering) a plot of land, illusory frontiers or nationalism ... Our jihad is much loftier,” a statement said.

“This religion (Islam) will not be able to triumph through a generation made rotten by (worldly) pleasures or broken by the security services of tyrannical governments,” it said.

“Our jihad is based on a solid foundation and aims to end occupation and tyranny as a prelude to the establishment of an Islamic caliphate” in the Palestine territories, the group added.

It did not define what the borders of the caliphate should be. The standard view among Palestinian Islamists has always included not only the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but also the territory covered by Israel.

The statement promised to post on the Internet the will of ”Mohammed Farawna,” one of the assailants.

Two Israeli servicemen and two Palestinian fighters were killed in Sunday’s attack on the Gaza Strip border in which an Israeli soldier was captured.

‘Army of Islam’ wants Islamic Palestinian state (

Title: Putin calls for increased cooperation with India, China
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 03:00:09 AM
 Putin calls for increased cooperation with India, China
New Delhi, June 27, IRNA

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday called for increased cooperation with India and China, considering the rapid economic development of both the countries.

Russia's cooperation with India should 'increase significantly in many spheres, including nuclear energy', Putin said at the conference of Russian ambassadors at the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, a UNI report said here.

"It is fundamentally important that our bilateral partnership takes into account the dynamic development of both Russia and China, and accordingly changes for our countries both in terms of the region and the world in general," Putin said.

On West Asia, he said Russia will 'play a proactive role in the peace process' both at the bilateral level and as a member of the international Quartet which includes Russia, US, EU and the UN.

In an apparent reference to the standoff around Iran's nuclear programme, Putin said, "We do not intend to join any form of ultimatum that would lead to a dead-end and strike a blow against the authority of the UN Security Council."
He said, "I am sure that conflict resolution should involve dialogue and not isolation of any states," adding, "Such an approach gives not only hope, but real positive progress, which has been proved more than once."
On non-proliferation, Putin said, "We believe that work in the political and diplomatic arena is effective, as well as the search for compromises based on international law."

Putin calls for increased cooperation with India, China (

Title: Administration of Justice, a great ideal for humans
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 03:02:39 AM
Administration of Justice, a great ideal for humans
Tehran, June 27, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday night that justice-seeking is an instinctive issue, stressing administration of justice is a great ideal for human beings.

President Ahmadinejad made the remark in a meeting with the visiting Greek president of Socialist International, George A Papandreou.

"Today, despite great progress made in societies, humans still suffer from discrimination and inequality as a result of lack of social justice.

"Efforts made by certain individuals and groups to administer justice have failed because there is no correct definition of justice.

"Those who seek justice in the world should set a proper and comprehensive definition of justice as a base for their activities because human beings will accept justice if they experience real justice."
The president added, "Justice-seeking and democratization have actually turned into a slogan and a cover for politicians in certain societies to seize power and dominate nations.

"Real justice-seekers always seek to materialize justice as a human ideal and never strive to obtain financial power."
He said the Iranian nation loves peace, adding, "Iranians, based on their religious thoughts, are always after establishment of peace and sustainable justice in the world."
Ahmadinejad said Iran and Greece have been cradles of civilization during different periods of time, adding "The two countries should strive to establish justice based on dignity of all human beings using their rich culture and great commonalties."
Papandreou, for his part, said the Iranian nation has always been ioneer in administering social justice, adding administration of justice in the world would help establish security, tranquility and welfare for all human beings.

Papandreou, who was Greece's foreign minister from 1999 to 2004 and a leader of the main opposition party, the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) in Greece, since 2004, condemned injustice done by certain powers particularly the United States through Iraq's occupation and preventing Iran's access to nuclear energy.

All nations and governments should try to establish justice in the world so that unilateralism would be destroyed.

In 2006, Papandreou became president of Socialist International, an international organization of social democratic, democratic socialist and labor parties.

The Party of European Socialists, a European political party active in the European Parliament, is an associated organization of Socialist International.

As a non-governmental organization, Socialist International has a consultative status with the United Nations.

Administration of Justice, a great ideal for humans (

Title: Nepalese Maoist leaders meet Seven Party Alliance
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 03:04:28 AM
 Nepalese Maoist leaders meet Seven Party Alliance
New Delhi, June 27, IRNA

Senior Maoist leaders expedited parleys with senior leaders of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) in their joint effort to iron out confusions that have emerged in the wake of signing of the eight-point understanding during the June 16 summit talks.

Maoist supremos -- Prachanda and his second-in-command Dr Baburam Bhattarai -- along with other Maoist leaders met leaders of Nepali Congress (NC) and Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandidevi), said a Kantipur report.

Ram Chandra Poudel, the NC general secretary, said that the NC and Maoist leaders discussed almost all contemporary issues during the two-and-half hour meeting yesterday evening.

"They were very positive," he said, however, adding that they didn't have enough time to discuss important issues like arms management and alternative to the House of Representatives.

The June 16 talks had decided to invite the United Nations for managing weapons and armies of the state and Maoist forces and had also agreed to dissolve the House so as to open doors for formation of a Maoist-included interim government.

The meeting focused on creating a society free from fear and intimidation, thereby bringing it to a normal situation, according to Poudel.

"We also discussed on ensuring the return of the displaced, stopping deforestation, scrapping the Maoist-run 'People's Courts' and they were positive about it."
During the meeting, the Maoist supremos were flanked by Dina Nath Sharma, a member of the Maoist negotiating team, and Barsha Man Pun alias 'Ananta', deputy commander of the Maoist army.

Likewise, besides Poudel, there were NC Vice President Sushil Koirala and leaders Dr Ram Baran Yadav, Arjun Narsingh KC, Mahesh Acharya and Binay Dhoj Chand.

Meanwhile, the Maoist leaders met separately with leaders of NSP(A). Stating that NSP(A) leaders' meeting with the Maoist leaders focused on confusions following the signing of the June 16 agreement, NSP(A) General Secretary Rajendra Mahato said, "Both the sides reiterated their commitment to implement the agreement at all cost." Mahato also said rebel leaders were of the view that minor disputes could be settled immediately 'if we are committed to attain the desired goal'.

He added, "Both sides were of the view that there might be conspiracy if the seven-party alliance and the Maoists don't handle the situation carefully."
On Sunday, the Maoist leaders had met with CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and chief of Nepal Workers and Peasants Party, Narayan Man Bijukchhe.

Nepalese Maoist leaders meet Seven Party Alliance (

Title: Supreme Leader calls on Muslim nations to foster their solidarity
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 03:05:49 AM
 Supreme Leader calls on Muslim nations to foster their solidarity
Tehran, June 27, IRNA

Iran-Senegal-Supreme Leader
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday that leaders of the Islamic states should pave the way for progress and strength of the Muslim nations by fostering Islamic solidarity among them.

In a meeting with Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, the Supreme Leader expressed pleasure with the accords the Iranian and Senegalese presidents have reached so far.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that Senegal is a stable country with a nation faithful to Islam and Prophet Mohammad's (PBUH) infallible household.

"Iran is keen on extensive cooperation with Senegal," Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Supreme Leader said that Iranian nation's resistance to conspiracies and greed of the arrogant powers has led to the progress of young talented Iranians.

"The miraculous breakthrough young Iranian scientists have made in the field of nuclear energy without help of foreign countries is a clear example of progress Iran has made over the past several years," the Supreme Leader said.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that Iran is interested in settlement of the nuclear issues adding that Iran will not negotiate its legitimate rights and expects the parties involved in negotiations with Iran to recognize Iranian rights.

"On issues pertaining to objective guarantees and supervision as envisaged in the Non-Proliferation Treaty and Safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran is ready to negotiate and preparations have been made in this respect," he said.

The Supreme Leader underscored the fact that the big powers are using negotiations as a lever to exert pressure on countries and for this reason negotiation with the US is not useful for Iran and there is no need for such a negotiation when Iran observes international guarantees.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that the Islamic states are expected to support Iranian rights enshrined by international conventions and stand against expectations of the United States and the Zionists especially in the upcoming summit in Senegal of leaders of the African Union (AU) which would be a good opportunity to bring up the issue given that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decided to attend the summit.

The Supreme Leader said leaders of the Islamic nations should foil plots of the US and Zionist regime to sow discord among the Muslim nations, because they do not want to see emergence of the Islamic Ummah as a great power.

For his part, President Wade expressed pleasure with his visit to Iran and his talks with President Ahmadinejad and hoped for bolstering of Tehran-Dakar relations by implementing the mutually-reached agreements.

He said that Iran and Senegal are two effective members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and called for political resolve of leaders of the Muslim nations to foster cooperation and solidarity in the upcoming Summit of the OIC scheduled to be held in Senegal (in 2007).

President Wade said that Senegal supports Iranian right to enjoy nuclear energy and hoped that the matter will be settled through a diplomatic process.

He said that the African continent is a very suitable place for investment and called for partnership of Iranian private sector in investment projects of African nations, especially Senegal.

President Ahmadinejad was also present in the meeting.

Senegal will host OIC Summit in 2007 to take over OIC presidency from Malaysia.

Supreme Leader calls on Muslim nations to foster their solidarity (

Title: India, Russia to enhance cooperation in oil sector
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 05:57:41 PM
 India, Russia to enhance cooperation in oil sector
New Delhi, June 28, IRNA

India and Russia on Wednesday emphasized the need for further enhancing cooperation in the oil and gas sector between the two countries.

In a meeting between the visiting Deputy Chairman of Russian Federation, Alexander Zhukov and Murli Deora, minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas, here on Wednesday, the two sides agreed to take forward the cordial and fruitful relations in general and in hydrocarbon sector in particular.

Deora said that the national oil companies of India and Russia have a very good experience of working together in the Sakhalin-I project which went on stream last year.

He said Indian companies led by ONGC Videsh Ltd., (OVL) are eyeing participation in more such ventures including the Sakhalin-III project in Russia.

Deora added that the Indian companies are also keen to work with Russian companies both in India and Russia as well as in third countries.

Recognizing the deep-routed friendly relations between India and Russia, Zhukov concurred with Deora about increasing cooperation in oil sector.

He said besides, working together in Sakhalin-I and in oil and gas exploration blocks in India, the leading Russian gas company Gazprom is keen to participate in the proposed Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project.

He welcomed the interest shown by Indian companies to participate in more projects in Russia and expressed hope that the specific arrangements would be worked out during the forthcoming visit of the Indian prime minister to Russia.

The issue of evacuation of gas from Sakhalin-I field was also discussed in the meeting.

OVL has prepared a feasibility study for export of gas as LNG which is currently under examination.

OVL has a 20 percent participating interest in Sakhalin-I oil and gas project along with carrying another 20 percent on behalf of Roseneft, a Russian national oil company.

India, Russia to enhance cooperation in oil sector (

Title: Some 110 cases of use of chemical weapons registered at UN
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 05:59:11 PM
Some 110 cases of use of chemical weapons registered at UN
Mahabad, West Azarbaijan prov, June 28, IRNA

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said here on Wednesday that some 110 cases of use of chemical weapons as part of crimes committed by the ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during eight years of sacred defense (1980-1988) have been registered at the United Nations.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the seminar
commemorating the martyrs of Sardasht chemical weapons, he said the Islamic Republic of Iran has endeavored to protect the legitimate rights of all victims of chemical weapons at the United Nations as well as Organization for Disarmament of Chemical Weapons.

A number of victims of chemical weapons were sent to the Hague while we extended invitation to inspectors from different
international organizations to inspect various parts of Iran and meet the victims of chemical weapons, he said.

A Dutch company which was engaged in production of chemical weapons and had assisted the Saddam regime has been recently condemned in an international court and its verdict would be issued in the near future, he pointed out.

These measures have proved that Saddam committed such crimes using chemical weapons provided by western countries, he said.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is to continue its efforts to support the legitimate rights of victims of chemical weapons and their families until receiving compensation, he said.

A message from President Ahmadinejad was also read out in the congress.

Some 113 civilians attained martyrdom during chemical assault on Sardasht region in 1987 and tens of thousands were injured in the attacks.

Sardasht is the first city in the world to undergo chemical weapon shelling.

Some 110 cases of use of chemical weapons registered at UN (

Title: Iran preserves independence and stands up to greed of big powers
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 06:01:11 PM
Iran preserves independence and stands up to greed of big powers
Tehran, June 28, IRNA

Supreme Leader-Justice-Officials
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that independence and resistance to greed of the hegemonic powers formed the centerpiece of their opposition to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In a meeting with justice officials to mark anniversary of terrorist bombing of the Islamic Republic Party on June 28, 1981 in which the then chief justice Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti and 72 senior statesmen were martyred, the Supreme Leader said that in the past 27 years, the hegemonic powers exerted various military, political and economic pressures on Iran to undermine the pillars of the Islamic Republic.

"Therefore, under such sensitive circumstances, every individual and all the officials of three branches of government are expected to make strides for reinforcement of pillars of the Islamic Republic carefully by promoting sense of responsibility and national solidarity."
The Supreme Leader said that Iran has strategic position both in terms of politics and economy adding that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country which both the government and nation have stood against bullying of the arrogant powers, so the dispute between Iran and the hegemonist powers is not an ordinary one.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran regards popular support from 70 million population and sympathetic sentiments from Muslim nations as a security for the government. The Muslim nations announced their support for Iran's independent policy and admire Iran for taking up this line."
Elsewhere in his speech, the Supreme Leader paid tribute to martyr Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti and his companions who lost their lives in the terrorist attack describing the then chief justice as architect of the justice system.

Ayatollah Khamenei said that the justice system should serve as a refuge for people to secure their rights and strongly fight injustice in the society.

Prior to the Supreme Leader's remarks, the Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi honored memories of martyrs of June 28, 1981 particularly Ayatollah Beheshti and delivered a report on the performance of the judiciary.

Iran preserves independence and stands up to greed of big powers (

Title: Najjar hails Tehran's achievements in aerospace, missile building
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 06:03:13 PM
 Najjar hails Tehran's achievements in aerospace, missile building
Tehran, June 28, IRNA

Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said on Wednesday that Iran has had good achievements in the fields of aerospace and missile building.

Najjar told reporters after attending a Majlis debate that the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue R&D in aerospace and missile reconstruction.

He said Iran's principled policy on defense is based on deterrence.

The Iranian armed forces are ready to give crushing response to any threat, he added.

Iran is pursuing peace, tranquility and friendship, according to the minister.

Najjar hails Tehran's achievements in aerospace, missile building (

Title: Iran's role in region undeniable
Post by: Shammu on June 28, 2006, 06:04:59 PM
Iran's role in region undeniable
Sardasht, West Azarbaijan prov, June 28, IRNA

Head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, here Wednesday said that currently Iran is the most powerful regional country.

Speaking at the ceremony marking the anniversary of Sardasht chemical bombardment victims, he said that despite the great problems created for Iran during the Iraqi-imposed war by global arrogance led by the US, they admit Iran's power and role in the region.

He said that the US call for exchange of ideas with Iran about the current problems in Iraq and Afghanistan shows Iran's exclusive role in the region.

Boroujerdi said that such a power and honor is the consequence of the resistance of Iranian nation against various conspiracies of the world arrogance, of which the most evident is the resistance and sacrifice of those chemically wounded during the eight-year imposed war.

Turning to Iraqi-imposed war against Iran as one waged by all arrogant countries, he said that though the world was against Iran, the Iranian nation thwarted the West's evil plots through exemplary resistance.

"Saddam who entered into war with Iran by relying on the support of European states and US, has been jailed by his former supporter similar to a beast and is to be punished for the crimes committed by him."
The commemoration ceremony was attended by a number of Foreign Ministry officials, representative of Jurisprudence in West Azarbaijan province, envoys of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, provincial governor general, some MPs and several guests from the city of Halabche.

The border town of Sardasht situated to the south of West Azarbaijan province was chemically bombarded several times by Iraq's Baathist regime in the afternoon of June 28, 1987.

About 111 were martyred and more that 7,000 were injured in the bombardment. The number of martyrs of Sardasht chemical bombardment later increased to 113.

Iran's role in region undeniable (

Title: Iran, EU to Meet to Discuss Incentives
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 11:45:32 AM
With Israel's drama with Hamas and Syria going on right now, looks like Gog and Magog could be shaping up in the next few weeks!

Iran, EU to Meet to Discuss Incentives
By EDITH M. LEDERER Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — Iran's top nuclear negotiator and the European Union's foreign policy chief plan to meet on July 5 to discuss a package of incentives from key global powers to try to persuade Iran to roll back its uranium enrichment program, a U.N. official said.

The EU's Javier Solana said last Wednesday he had a good phone conversation with Iran's Ali Larijani and would probably meet him this week. That meeting is now expected to take place next Wednesday and will probably be somewhere in Europe, the U.N. official said.

An EU diplomat confirmed the July 5 date and said an announcement would be made at Thursday's meeting in Moscow of G-8 foreign ministers. The location of the meeting will be announced closer to the date, the diplomat said.

The U.N. official and the EU diplomat both spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

The Larijani-Solana meeting would be the first since the EU official presented the incentive package to the Iranian negotiator in Tehran on June 6. Larijani said then that the proposals contained "positive steps" but talks were needed to clear up ambiguities. A meeting with Solana in Europe in mid-June to discuss Iranian concerns was canceled _ but those concerns are now expected to be taken up at next week's meeting.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the government will not respond officially until at least mid-August. Europe is pressing for a much quicker reply and U.S. Ambassador John Bolton said the United States wants a response before Thursday's Group of Eight ministerial meeting in Moscow.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was quoted by the German weekly magazine Stern on Wednesday as saying his country may respond before the Group of Eight summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, which starts July 15, "if we clear up some open questions before then."

On Tuesday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged Iran to speed up its response during his second meeting with Mottaki in less than a week.

Both focused on the negotiations aimed at ensuring the international community that Iran's nuclear ambitions are peaceful _ as Tehran maintains _ and not geared toward producing nuclear weapons.

Mottaki refused to talk to reporters at U.N. headquarters.

But U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the secretary-general "reiterated his suggestion that Iran should speed up its response to the proposals" put forward by the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

Just before he met the Iranian minister, Annan told reporters that after his June 22 meeting with Mottaki in Geneva he came away with the impression that the Iranians would not give their answer before the Group of Eight summit. Thursday's foreign ministers meeting in Moscow is being held to prepare for the summit.

The package seeks to persuade Tehran to impose a long-term moratorium on uranium enrichment, a process that can produce material for nuclear generators or bombs. In return, it offers incentives including peaceful Western nuclear technology, the lifting of some sanctions, trade opportunities, U.S. spare parts for Iran's aging fleet of jetliners, and U.S. participation in negotiations with Tehran.

The package contains an implicit threat of U.N. sanctions if Iran rejects the package.

Mottaki spoke Wednesday to a U.N. conference aimed at curbing the illicit trade in small arms and said Iran's chief security focus will remain fighting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, especially the threat posed by Israel.

"Fighting proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and combatting the threats posed by those possessing those weapons, particularly the Zionist regime, will always remain our greater goal," he said.

He said Iran will promote peace and security "on the basis of justice and free from any and all discriminatory and double-standard considerations."

Iran, EU to Meet to Discuss Incentives (

Title: Will this man replace Kofi Annan
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 11:48:12 AM
India nominates Shashi Tharoor for UN's top post
Fri, 2006-06-16 05:12

By M Rama Rao - Reporting from India

Shashi TharoorShashi TharoorNew Delhi, 16 June ( The suspense is over and it is official. India has decided to campaign for its very own Shashi Tharoor as Kofi Annan's successor at the United Nations. India has informed other members of UN through diplomatic channels of Tharoor's candidature and requested support

"It's a matter of pride if a son of India and son of Asia becomes United Nations Secretary General", Navtej Sarna, Foreign Office spokesman said confirming media reports today that Shashi Tharoor, Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information at the United nations is India's nominee for the UN job.

There are three other Asian contenders - Sri Lanka's Jayantha Dhanapala, Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirthai and South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon - in the fray since China, which heads the Security Council at present, established the line that the next UN head should be from Asia.

Shashi Tharoor, the London born (1956), India, US educated (he holds two masters' degrees, and a PhD at the age of 22 years) columnist and author of eight books has handled peacekeeping, human rights and communication strategy and several important areas at the UN since joining the world body in 1978.

Said Sarna at his daily briefing: "India believes that a prospective UN Secretary General should be of impeccable credentials, be acceptable to the broadest possible membership of the UN and have a strong commitment to the reform of the UN and the interests of the developing countries".

"It is within this framework that India has decided to announce the candidature of Shashi Tharoor", Sarna said and pointed out that Tharoor has been closely involved in the process of reforms at UN. "He is a well-known writer and author of eight books. He is the recipient of several journalism and literary awards including the Commonwealth Writer's Prize. In 1998, the World Economic Forum at Davos had declared him as a global leader of tomorrow"

Saran added Tharoor has an internationally acclaimed stature and experience that makes him eminently suitable to become next Secretary General.

He did not agree with the view that by supporting Tharoor's candidature India would dilute its claim for a berth in the Security Council.

"These are two separate issues and it is incorrect to perceive India's support to one will dilute commitment to the other. India is strongly committed to comprehensive reforms and believes that reforms and expansion in both permanent and non-permanent categories is central to UN reforms", he said and went on to remark that there is "widespread and growing" appreciation for India's impeccable credentials to become a permanent member of Security Council. India continues its engagement with G4 States.
Tharoor: writer-journalist- civil servant

Tharoor took to writing at an early age – 10 years to be precise when he came out with a publication. His first novel appeared in 1989 when he was posted in Geneva. His second novel, Show Business was written in New York in 1992 He holds a Ph D from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

He started his UN career in 1978 as the head of the high commission for refugees operations in Singapore. Later he became a part of the UN's peacekeeping efforts in the former Yugoslavia. From there he moved on to become Secretary General's Director of communications and special projects, he has seen the inner workings of the UN during the post Cold War era.

In January 2001, he was appointed by the Secretary-General as interim head of the Dept. of Public Information. On 1 June 2002, he was confirmed as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations.

Reasons of State (1982), a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy; The Great Indian Novel (1989), a political satire; The Five-Dollar Smile & Other Stories (1990); a second novel, Show Business (1992), which received a front-page accolade from The New York Times Book Review and was made into a motion picture titled Bollywood; and India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), published on the 50th anniversary of India's independence are some of his books that brought him fame and name.

Shashi Tharoor is the winner of numerous journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1991. In 1998, Shashi Tharoor was awarded the Excelsior Award for excellence in literature by the Association of Indians in America (AIA) and the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP). He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs from the University of Puget Sound in May 2000.

In January 1998, he was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.

India nominates Shashi Tharoor for UN's top post (

Title: G-8 Iran and Iraq to headline agenda
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 11:50:35 AM
Iran and Iraq to headline agenda

Foreign ministers meet in Moscow
Talks clouded by Russia-U.S. tension
Jun. 29, 2006. 01:00 AM

MOSCOW—Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight countries gather in Moscow today for talks that are expected to highlight growing tensions between Russia and the West, in particular over Iran and Iraq, with Russian officials blaming the U.S. and its allies for the recent deaths of four Russian diplomats there.

Foreign Minister Peter MacKay will be among those attending the talks, which are also expected to focus on North Korea, Afghanistan, Kosovo, terrorism and drug trafficking.

The meeting will lay the groundwork for the July 15-17 summit in St. Petersburg of leaders of the G-8 industrialized nations, whose members are Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a statement this week that foreign ministers would discuss "primarily international issues."

"We agreed to address the issue of ongoing conflicts, which have, unfortunately, become traditional for the G-8, notably the Middle East settlement, Iran's nuclear programs and the nuclear problems of the Korean peninsula," Lavrov said, adding Iraq and Afghanistan would also feature prominently.

Experts said talks are likely to be clouded by growing differences between Russia and the United States.

"Given Russia's latest trend of reasserting itself as a world power, I don't think the atmosphere will be very easy," said Masha Lipman, a political analyst with the Moscow Carnegie Centre.

Russian lawmakers yesterday blamed Washington for the execution of the four kidnapped Russian embassy workers, claiming the "occupying powers" in Iraq should have prevented the deaths.

"The tragedy that occurred recently in Iraq was only possible because of the growing crisis in the country as the occupying powers increasingly lose control of the situation," read a motion unanimously approved by the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament.

"Every day dozens of innocent people are dying and now diplomats are getting killed too," said Lyubov Sliska, the Duma's pro-Kremlin deputy speaker. "The responsibility for what is going on in Iraq lies with those who sought weapons of mass destruction there, but found nothing."

Late yesterday, President Vladimir Putin ordered special services to hunt down and "destroy" the killers of the hostages.

Disagreements over the Iran nuclear issue could also feature prominently. Speaking on Iran, Putin told a gathering of Russian diplomats Tuesday that Russia did not intend "to join any sort of ultimatum, which only pushes the situation into a dead end."

Russia and China have opposed sanctions against Iran for its nuclear ambitions, while the United States and Europe have been pushing Iran to quickly respond to a package of incentives to give up uranium enrichment and resume negotiations.

Lipman said one of the key goals for Russian officials at today's meeting will be to gauge whether G-8 leaders are planning to repeat recent Western criticisms of the state of democracy in Russia and the Kremlin's foreign policies.

In a speech last month, U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney accused Moscow of backsliding on democracy and using its vast energy resources as a tool for "intimidation and blackmail" against its neighbours.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told a news conference last week that he had "concerns that not just Russia but all former East Bloc countries continue to move toward more stable democratic regimes" and that he expected the issue to be raised at the summit.

Iran and Iraq to headline agenda (

Title: Indian warships on goodwill mission to occupied Palestine
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2006, 06:39:21 PM
 Indian warships on goodwill mission to occupied Palestine
New Delhi, June 29, IRNA

In a bid to "reaffirm old ties" and continued cooperation with Zionist regime, India has sent two of its warships, INS Mumbai and INS Brahmaputra along with a `Seaking' anti-submarine helicopters as well as Chetak helicopter in their twin hangars, on a four-day goodwill visit.

"The visit shows the importance India attaches to the growing Indo-Israeli relations and continued cooperation and engagement between India and Israel are expected to grow", said a Doordarshan News here Thursday.

The two ships, that are INS Mumbai and INS Brahmaputra from the Navy's western fleet, have modern weaponry, electronic sensors and missile systems.

"Indian warships have regularly paid visits to ports in the West Asia and East Africa reaffirming their peaceful presence and solidarity with countries in the region", it said.

Earlier Indian ships last visited the port city in 2004.

The current visit kicked off on Wednesday when the two warships anchored at the Haifa coast.

Last month, India sent INS Tabar, a guided missile frigate, to Indonesia to provide food and relief material in the aftermath of the earthquake.

Indian warships on goodwill mission to occupied Palestine (

Title: G8 FMs urges Iran to respond to nuclear plan `in nearest future'
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 01:43:18 AM
G8 FMs urges Iran to respond to nuclear plan `in nearest future'
Moscow, June 29, IRNA

Foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries issued a statement here Thursday, calling on Iran to respond "in the nearest future" to an international proposal on its nuclear program, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, Lavrov said the foreign ministers of the Group of Eight countries decided to evaluate Iran's peaceful nuclear activities by mid July (two weeks later).

Foreign ministers from Russia, US, Canada, Japan, Italy, Britain, France and Germany along with Austrian foreign minister as EU representative attended the Thursday's meeting.

G8 FMs urges Iran to respond to nuclear plan `in nearest future' (

Title: Ahmadinejad arrives in Gambia to attend 7th AU summit
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 01:44:47 AM
Ahmadinejad arrives in Gambia to attend 7th AU summit
Banjul, June 30, IRNA

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived here on Friday at the head of a diplomatic delegation to take part at the seventh African Union (AU) summit.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh was at Banjul International Airport to welcome his Iranian counterpart.

The welcoming ceremony also featured the playing of the Iranian and Gambian national anthems, the reviewing of the guard of honor by the two presidents and public joy and sentiments on the occasion of the Iranian chief executive's visit to the African state.

Ahmadinejad is visiting Gambia at the invitation of his Gambian counterpart and in response to his previous two visits to Iran.

Ministers of cooperatives and energy and head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization are accompanying Ahmadinejad during his three-day stay in Gambia.

Some 50 African leaders are going to attend the seventh AU summit from July 1 to 2 to pursue greater regional integration.

The summit in the Gambia's capital will also be attended by two non-African heads of state -- Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- as well as UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

In Banjul, the AU's grand aspirations are to create a united states of Africa.

Much attention and time will inevitably be spent seeking ways to resolve the ongoing conflicts in Darfur and Somalia.

The United Nations is seeking to replace the 7,000-strong AU force, which has vainly struggled to oversee the western Sudanese region for two years, with a group that could enforce a peace deal struck last month between Khartoum and Darfur's main rebel group.

The summit will also examine progress in the implementation of fragile peace deals in two unstable states that must hold
presidential elections this year - the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.

Participants will also have to decide on the fate of former Chadian leader Hissane Habre, who is currently being held in Senegal.

The summit is to decide on whether Senegal should prosecute Habre or extradite him to Belgium for trial on charges of crimes against humanity.

African integration -- the summit theme -- in practical terms means the reduction in the number of regional economic and political blocs across the continent.

Officially there are eight, but diplomats estimate their number at more than 14. The goal in Banjul would be to cut them down to about five.

Migration will also come under the spotlight.

The Banjul summit is also meeting as the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, whose headquarters are in Gambia, marks its 25 anniversary.

Other issues up for discussion include the African charter on democracy, elections and governance, as well as a revision of the Lome declaration on unconstitutional changes of governments in Africa.

Malaria, HIV/AIDS and chronic poverty which ravage the African continent are also on the summit agenda.

Ahmadinejad arrives in Gambia to attend 7th AU summit (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 01:47:55 AM
Mottaki urges UNSC to end Zionist regime's aggressions
United Nations, New York, June 30, IRNA

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Thursday called on the UN Security Council to take necessary and prompt steps to put an end to the Zionist regime's aggressions.

"As the ongoing aggression threatens the international peace and security, we request that the Security Council carry out its responsibility in accordance with the letter and spirit of the UN Charter and take necessary and prompt steps with a view to putting an end to the aggression. In my view, your personal intervention should , as always, help prevent the situation from slipping out of control," said Mottaki in a letter to the UN Chief Kofi Annan on Thursday.

Mottaki recalled the UN's important role in that connection and said the UN should act with a view to preventing the Zionist regime from continuing to flout the will of the international community, incorporated in numerous UN resolutions.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

"In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
"July 29 ,2006
"I wish to draw your kind attention to the most recent military campaign by the Zionist regime against the innocent Palestinian people which goes on in flagrant defiance of the most basic principles of international law and the fundamental provisions of the United Nations Charter.

"As media reports indicate, the ongoing incursion into northern Gaza targets civilians and purely civilian infrastructures, destructing among other things the three bridges and disabling the only power plant, thus depriving the civilians from basic necessities.

Moreover, the intruding forces are battering northern Gaza towns with artillery and firing missiles into residential areas indiscriminately.

"The illegal detention of dozens of Palestinian cabinet ministers and members of the Palestinian Parliament by the intruding forces are clear signs indicating that the occupying regime is intent on rendering the democratically-elected Palestinian Government inoperative.

"Violating Syria's airspace and threatening to hit targets inside that country is as much perturbing. The crisis, if unchecked, may tip towards escalation, engulfing the whole region.

"With the Palestinian economy already broken down under an embargo since January and the Palestinians remaining under siege even after the occupiers withdrawing from Gaza, the new aggression threatens to inflict further enormous suffering on the civilians and exacerbate the situation within the Palestinian territory and in the region.

"While strongly condemning this latest Zionist criminal act, we consider the aggression that targets the civilian infrastructures as collective punishment and war crimes and crimes against humanity in defiance of international humanitarian law.

"We believe that it is imperative for the international community to get more effectively involved and prevent the Zionists from carrying out their terrorist designs against the Palestinians. The impunity with which they have so far been allowed to carry out their crimes has undoubtedly emboldened them to continue on the same path.

"The UN has an important role to play in this regard and should act with a view to preventing the Zionist regime from continuing to flout the will of the international community, incorporated in numerous UN resolutions. As the ongoing aggression threatens the international peace and security, we request that the Security Council carry out its responsibility in accordance with the letter and spirit of the UN Charter and take necessary and prompt steps with a view to putting an end to the aggression. In my view, your personal intervention should, as always, help prevent the situation from slipping out of control.

"Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

"Manouchehr Mottaki
"Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran "H. E. Mr. Kofi Annan Secretary-General,
"United Nations, New York."

Mottaki urges UNSC to end Zionist regime's aggressions (

You notice that he doesn't say anything about his own countrys agression.............

Title: G8 Leaders Want Punishment for Killers of Russian Hostages in Iraq
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 01:50:13 AM
G8 Leaders Want Punishment for Killers of Russian Hostages in Iraq

Created: 29.06.2006 18:40 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 18:41 MSK, 14 hours 57 minutes ago


G8 foreign ministers are unanimous that the terrorists who killed Russian diplomats in Iraq must be found and brought to justice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after talks with his G8 counterparts in Moscow on Tuesday.

“We are all unanimous in that the culprits must be found and punished,” he was quoted by Interfax as saying.

The Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed that the four Russians who were kidnapped in early June had been killed. They were embassy third secretary Fyodor Zaitsev and staffers Rinat Agliulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedoseyev.

The kidnappers had demanded that the Kremlin pull its troops out of Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where separatists have been fighting for independence.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered special services to hunt down and “destroy” the killers of four Russian hostages. The slayings shocked Russia and prompted an angry outcry against the U.S.-led coalition.

G8 Leaders Want Punishment for Killers of Russian Hostages in Iraq (

YUP, yup, looks like the  KGB of old.

Title: Iran calls for UN Council action on Israel
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 05:58:43 AM
And here we go, I've been waiting for this to happen...................

Iran calls for UN Council action on Israel

Friday, June 30, 2006
Archived Picture - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for intervention from the UN Security Council following Israel's military incursion into the Gaza Strip and its arrest of top Palestinian ministers, AFP reported.

LONDON, June 30 (IranMania) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki called for intervention from the UN Security Council following Israel's military incursion into the Gaza Strip and its arrest of top Palestinian ministers, AFP reported.

Mottaki said at the United Nations that Israel's actions should be viewed as "government-sponsored terrorism."

"This barbaric invasion is against all international laws and human principles," Mottaki told reporters.

Mottaki said he had written to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asking him to convene an emergency Security Council session that would agree a response to Israel's actions, which he called "a threat against international peace."

"Shouldn't the UN Security (Council) deal with this matter seriously," Mottaki demanded. "The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran strongly condemns this act."

Mottaki was at the United Nations to attend a UN forum focused on preventing the illicit trade of small arms.

Iran calls for UN Council action on Israel (

Title: MPs warn of threat from Iran
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 07:12:50 AM
 MPs warn of threat from Iran
By Kim Sengupta
Published: 30 June 2006

The confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme could lead to terrorist attacks in Britain, MPs on the Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee say.

The committee's annual report, published yesterday, said: "There is a possibility of an increased threat to UK interests from Iranian state-sponsored terrorism should the diplomatic situation deteriorate."

The report said Britain continued to face a "serious and sustained threat" from terrorism, most significantly from al-Qa'ida.

It also criticised the Government's decision to merge the posts of security and intelligence coordinator and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.

The confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme could lead to terrorist attacks in Britain, MPs on the Commons' Intelligence and Security Committee say.

The committee's annual report, published yesterday, said: "There is a possibility of an increased threat to UK interests from Iranian state-sponsored terrorism should the diplomatic situation deteriorate."

The report said Britain continued to face a "serious and sustained threat" from terrorism, most significantly from al-Qa'ida.

It also criticised the Government's decision to merge the posts of security and intelligence coordinator and chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.

 MPs warn of threat from Iran (

Title: Cleric condemns Zionists' atrocities in Gaza
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2006, 09:13:20 AM
 Cleric condemns Zionists' atrocities in Gaza
Tehran, June 30, IRNA

Iran-Friday Prayers
Substitute Friday prayers leader of Tehran Hojjatoleslam Ahmad Khatami on Friday questioned double-standards on terrorism, while denouncing Zionist regime's aggression on Gaza.

"Isn't it an instance of terrorism when a usurper government in extreme impudency turns Gaza into an inferno, makes a hell of bombs and bombardment, arrests a group of the representatives of the public and candidly acknowledges to assassination of the Palestinian leaders?" questioned Khatami in his second Friday prayers sermons at Tehran University campus.

Khatami said Zionists' aggressions on Gaza are signs of their savagery and genocide, indicating they are criminals in nature.

He noted that Europe is an accomplice in the crimes for suspending their assistance, even medicine aid, to Palestinians.

"All these are signs that the liberal-democracy slogan of Europe and the US is a big lie," he made it clear.

He said the US and Europe use such slogans for their own interests.

Khatami also criticized Muslim states for their silence against Israeli atrocities.

Elsewhere in his sermon, Hojatoleslam Khatami refuted the US claims that there was a global consensus against Iran.

"They claim there is a global consensus against Iran, while more than 100 NAM states are supporting Iran in the nuclear case and Muslim foreign ministers too have been supporting Iran. The US is impudently saying the big lie that there is global consensus against Iran," he added.

The cleric then compared the higher popularity rate of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the US President George W. Bush, saying whenever the Iranian president goes to a country, all try to have a precedence in shaking hands with him but there are huge demonstrations against the US President whenever he visits a country.

Cleric condemns Zionists' atrocities in Gaza (

Title: Ahmadinejad says UNSC composition dates back to 60 years ago
Post by: Shammu on July 01, 2006, 04:22:35 PM
 Ahmadinejad says UNSC composition dates back to 60 years ago
Banjul, Gambia, July 1, IRNA

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that composition of the UN Security Council dates back to 60 years ago and the body has failed to accurately perform its responsibility.

"The hegemonic and bullying nature of certain powers created problem for humanity," President Ahmadinejad said in his address to African Union (AU) summit.

"Certain powers which reserve the right for themselves to use force to support their illegitimate rights and resort to political pressure, propaganda campaign to cause crisis and split among nations, which has unfortunately become a habit since World War II, do not have commitment to any principles of the human community."
He said that creating crisis to exert pressure on governments and people and threat and extortion are the other methods used by bullying powers, a clear example of which is forcing the European Jews to move to Palestinian territory in the guise of supporting the bereaved Jewish families who lost their members in the War.

"The Palestinian territory has nothing to do with the European Jews.

"Unfortunately, in the past 60 years, the Palestinians have been subject to the worst kind of human rights violation by Israel." He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports Palestinians and has denounced the fact that certain states are using the leverage of human rights to denounce countries which objected to their practices.

President Ahmadinejad said that the United Nations proved inefficient in the past 60 years after World War II.

"Structure of the United Nations reflects the power blocs among big powers dating back to 60 years ago. It has failed to accurately deal with crises after World War II, because of unfair composition and decision making process of the UN Security Council," President Ahmadinejad said.

President Ahmadinejad said that nations of the world are living under threat of big powers which possess Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) adding that the big powers sound boastful of their military might to exert pressure on other nations and violate their rights.

He deplored that other countries are being occupied in the name of democracy and several hundred thousand people are being killed by the so-called advocates of human rights--the occupiers.

Ahmadinejad says UNSC composition dates back to 60 years ago (

Title: The UN's moment of truth: Kofi Annan
Post by: Shammu on July 01, 2006, 04:24:36 PM
 The UN's moment of truth: Kofi Annan
Tehran, July 1, IRNA

The United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan made public the need of reforms in the UN, United Nations Information Center said in a press release on Saturday.

"A minor storm broke out recently when my deputy, Mark Malloch Brown, made a speech suggesting that the United States should engage more fully and wholeheartedly with other members of the United Nations to bring about reform. That is absolutely right, but he and I believe the same message needs to be heard in many other countries besides the US," said Kofi Annan.

The UN now faces a moment of truth. Last December, member states adopted a budget for the current "biennium" (2006-2007), but gave us in the Secretariat authority to spend only enough to carry us through the first six months. The main contributors to the budget, led by the US, insisted that this spending cap should be lifted only when there is significant progress on UN reform.

"We are now perilously near the deadline, and it is far from clear that enough reform to satisfy them has been achieved. Neither side has found a way of engaging with the other to agree on further reforms," he said.

Sir Brian Urquhart, the UN's elder statesman, once said that there is never really a financial crisis at the UN, only political crises.

Brian is right. The US is trying to use the power of the purse to force through badly needed management reforms, and these tactics have provoked a reaction among developing countries.

Most of these are well aware of the need to reform - not least because it is in those countries that the UN provides many vital services - from peacekeeping and peace-building through emergency relief to strengthening human rights, helping organize elections, and fighting infectious disease. That means they are the ones who have most to gain from a UN that is well-managed and really gives value for money. Their quarrel is much less with the detail of proposed reforms than with what they see as the overwhelming influence of a few rich countries, in an organization supposedly "based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members".

That was what I meant in London last January, when I referred to the "feeling of frustration and exclusion that prompts many states to exercise the only power they do have: the power to block other reforms, such as better management -- since some see even this as an attempt by the big boys to grab yet more power for themselves".

In the long run this means that, as Prime Minister Tony Blair recognized in a speech in Washington two weeks ago, the whole UN structure has to be reformed, including the Security Council. And so even these current reforms are only a small down-payment on what must follow. Public policy is simply getting more global. From terrorism to poverty, drugs and crime, disease to trade, no states can settle matters alone.

"But even while we wait for the political vision to catch up with the scale of today's challenges, we have vital work to do right now - programs which have been mandated by member states and which provide essential services to people in acute danger or need," he said.

"However important the debate on reform, we must not let that work be stalled. It's in the interest of all member states to keep the UN running , and to adapt it to the specific work that they are asking it to do," he underlined.

And that means that both sides in the current argument need to turn down their rhetoric and engage with each other in serious negotiations, to work out a sensible compromise now as a basis for more fundamental change later.

It is not just the composition of the Security Council that is stuck in the mid 20th century. Both the management and the attitudes of many governments to the Organization are caught in the same time warp. Neither has fully adjusted to the new reality of a UN which no longer simply holds conferences and writes reports, but is managing complex, multi-billion dollar operations to help keep peace and combat poverty and humanitarian disasters. As a result, "We do not have the institutions that we need to confront this century's global challenges."
"It is vital that we escape from this bind. The blueprint for reform that I put forward last year was very clear about this. It reminded us all that the UN is founded on three legs - development, collective security and human rights. Each of the three strengthens the other two, but is also dependent on them. And like any good chair they need a fourth: major management reform."
The UN has to help its members advance on all three fronts at once. That is why it needs not only a Security Council but also an effective Human Rights Council, and why the Economic and Social Council must be transformed into a true development chamber that allows development and finance ministers to pursue progress and track results in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, the world's effort to halve extreme poverty by 2015.

Some reforms have been achieved. Both the new Human Rights Council and the new Peacebuilding Commission will meet for the first time next week. All member states have accepted their responsibility to protect people threatened by genocide and other comparable crimes.

"We have in place a much improved emergency relief fund, a democracy fund, an ethics office, and a much tougher system for protecting whistleblowers. Now we need better accountability and oversight arrangements, a stronger procurement system, more financial flexibility, and better rules for recruiting and managing our staff," he said.

"Set against the scale of the tasks we have to undertake, these re not such ambitious demands. Surely governments can agree on how to make these reforms happen without bringing the whole organization to a halt. It is time for those who really care about reform to come together and form a new coalition - one that bridges the artificial, destructive divide between North and South, and brings together all those who are willing to work together because they share the vision of a UN that really works, for the benefit of all the world's peoples," said the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

The UN's moment of truth: Kofi Annan (

Title: Iran criticizes US for violating Palestinians' rights
Post by: Shammu on July 01, 2006, 04:27:42 PM
 Iran criticizes US for violating Palestinians' rights
New York, July 1, IRNA

Deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs Seyed Abbas Araqchi here Saturday strongly criticized the US and deplored that as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, US fails to comply with its commitment and constantly violates Palestinian rights by misusing its right of veto.

The Iranian deputy foreign minister made the remark at the UNSC urgent meeting on the latest crime committed by the Zionist regime in Gaza Strip, which was held in response to a call by Iran and a number of Arab states.

He said that the Zionists escaping punishment for their acts undoubtedly accounts for the continued trend of such crimes.

Araqchi appreciated the UNSC meeting held to discuss such a critical issue threatening global security and peace and said that the international community once more witnessed another military attack launched by the Zionists against the innocent people of Palestine, in complete violation of the basic principles of international rules.

He referred to the major cases of recent crimes of the Zionist regime in their attack on Gaza Strip, during which they hit civilian infrastructures, including bridges as well as its only power plant, and dismissed the Zionists pretext as baseless, given the disastrous condition in the occupied territories.

"No excuse can justify the acts of the Zionist forces, which blatantly violate basic international laws," he said.

Then he pointed to the fate of thousands of Palestinians, including women and children and asked, "How long have they been in Zionists prisons?"
Elsewhere in his speech, he regretted the failure of the occupying forces and their supporters to learn a lesson from their historical blunders, adding that now after 50 years, they still hope to make the Palestinians yield to them by suppressing them.

"This is while only promotion of justice can put an end to the sufferings in the region and establish peace once more," he added.

Araqchi expressed concern over the possible extension of crisis to the whole region, given the violation of Syria's air space and said, "We strongly condemn the Zionists recent criminal act and consider it as a mass punishment and violation of international rights.

"We believe that the international community should mediate effectively and prevent such terrorist actions against the Palestinian people."
The deputy minister stressed the significance of UNSC role in ending the Zionist regime's disregard for the will of the
international community.

He urged that they should be underlined properly in resolutions of the UN, Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Turning to the threats facing the international peace and security on account of such violations against Palestinians, he stressed the great responsibility of the UNSC in this respect within the framework of the UN Charter.

The foreign ministry official hoped that all members of the UN Security Council will fulfill their tasks and tackle the situation properly, given the latest violation of the occupied territories.

Iran criticizes US for violating Palestinians' rights (

Title: Russia Puts $10 Million Bounty on Heads of Killers of Iraqi Embassy Staff
Post by: Shammu on July 01, 2006, 04:53:28 PM
Russia Puts $10 Million Bounty on Heads of Killers of Iraqi Embassy Staff

Created: 30.06.2006 16:41 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 16:41 MSK


Russia offered a $10 million reward Friday for information on the killers of five Russian Embassy staff workers in Iraq, according to a report, The Associated Press reported.

The offer came two days after President Vladimir Putin ordered special services to hunt down and “destroy” those responsible for the deaths. The slayings shocked Russia and prompted an angry outcry against the U.S.-led coalition.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday that four Russians seized in early June had been killed. A videotape purported to show the deaths of some. A fifth staffer was slain during the abduction.

The kidnappers had demanded the Kremlin pull its troops out of Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in southern Russia where separatists have been fighting for independence.

“For information which will lead to the result being achieved, the National Anti-terrorist Committee of the Russian Federation will pay a reward of $10 million,” the head of the Federal Security Service, Nikolai Patrushev, according to the RIA-Novosti news agency.

Russia Puts $10 Million Bounty on Heads of Killers of Iraqi Embassy Staff (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on June 21, 2008, 05:08:41 PM

Understanding the New Russian Threat


The rise of the newly aggressive Russia carrying out international assassinations, threatening its neighbors, distributing weapons to America's enemies, confronting US forces and seemingly bent on resurrecting all its old bad habits baffles many who thought that the Cold War had ended with the fall of Communism.

Many Americans have been taught to associate Russian warmongering with Communism. Understanding the real history of the USSR, Russian Communism and particularly the KGB which is running the show these days, is crucial to understanding the new Russian threat.

(For the purpose of simplicity, the various incarnations of the KGB, including the historic NKVD and the modern FSB will all be referred to as the KGB)

In what is called the July 20 plot of 1944, a number of high ranking German officers sought to assassinate Hitler and take control of Germany to avert disaster. (Of passing interest is the presence of the head and former deputy head of German military intelligence among their number. ) We know about this plot primarily because it failed.

In March 1953 a similar plot took place in the Soviet Union to kill Stalin and take control of the USSR. The plot involved much more high ranking figures than its German equivalent, including the man in control of the Soviet secret police, Beria and first secretary of the Communist Party Nikita Khrushchev. We don't know about this plot, primarily because it succeeded.

What drove them to act was Stalin's own plan to unleash the USSR's largest purge and mass murder that would exceed Hitler while at the same time destroying the entire political and military leadership of the USSR in one stroke, consolidating complete and perfect control over much of the world.

The conspirators who killed Stalin in 1953 knew about the plan and instead they poisoned Stalin at his own home, likely with rat poison, and watched him die slowly and in great agony. The man who had brought them together and who boasted of personally killing Stalin was Beria, a brilliant and evil figure who headed the Soviet secret police. Beria had his own plan as well for a KGB coup that would put him in power afterward.

Beria's attempted KGB coup was aborted with the use of the Russian military. Beria was executed and Khrushchev took power while slowly liberalizing Russia. However, Khrushchev himself was overthrown in 1964 with the help of the KGB and in 1971 the actual head of the KGB, Yuri Andropov took power. While Andropov attempted to reform the Soviet Union, the system had decayed too far to make that possible. Andropov was shot in the kidney, however, by the wife of a former Soviet Interior Minister whom he had helped put away. The bullet did not kill him, but it did severely damage his health leading to his eventual death by renal failure.

A third KGB led coup brought down Gorbachev and wittingly or unwittingly ended the Soviet Union. In its place came a chaotic free market system and the renaming of the KGB into the FSB. Much of the KGB disintegrated and turned into the new Russian mob that spread across Russia and around the world.

This was however a very different KGB than the old Cheka or the NKVD that had once terrorized the Soviet Union and the world. Where the Cheka had been fiercely Communist and ideological, it had for the most part been purged by Stalin. Successive purges of the KGB based on political loyalty turned it into an organization based on patronage. The KGB typically recruited family members, with fathers and sons, husbands and wives, serving together in the KGB (as in the case of Putin and his own father).

Along the way the new KGB had lost any real attachment to Communist ideology. It had become a family business and it structure was virtually identical to that of organized crime. It saw Communism as an obstacle to its members' main occupation, business. The KGB's Russian members were Russian nationalists who favored a strong authoritarian government along with a limited amount of capitalism under an oligarchic system in which they were the new oligarchy.

Putin, who took power in the 4th KGB coup, was perfectly representative of this New Guard of the KGB. The son of a KGB family, Putin was Michael Corleone, with an academic and business background, who knew that Russia and the KGB had to change with the times, but whose idea of reform was very different from the West.

The fourth KGB coup was a bloodless consensual coup as Yeltsin having been humiliated and defeated by Bill Clinton over Yugoslavia agreed to step down in deference to the creation of a new strong and authoritarian Russia, non-Communist, but strongly nationalist and expansionist. And that is the Russia we face today.

Under Putin the KGB has taken control of Russia's major industries and used them to generate great personal and national profits while spreading influence abroad. Bribery and protection money form a major section of Russia's economy and political assassinations are commonplace. The old Yeltsin era businessmen have either been purged or sworn allegiance to Putin. Every aspect of Russia from the press to religion has been centralized and independence is discouraged, punished and suppressed.

The new Russia is a totalitarian state ruled by the new guard of the KGB as robber barons. They have spread their influence across the West, from Putin cronies like Alisher Usmanov who is one of the richest men in England to Lukoil which controls much of the gas stations across America's Northeast to the Russian emigre media which is now nearly wholly controlled from Moscow.

Across the third world, Russia is busy providing weapons, building ports and bases and creating an anti-Western alliance based around its own oil and gas resources, that unites oil producing Latin American nations with leftist governments such as Venezuela with Arab OPEC nations to form a common front against America and Europe.

On its own borders Russia is doing its best to push back NATO expansion while preparing for its own great project to reclaim the lost territories of the USSR, not in the name of Communism, but in the name of greed, power and Russian nationalism. The old rivalries with England and the US have been resumed and the KGB is active everywhere that Russian trade goes.

The KGB's New Guard have learned from Communism's failures and they don't intend to repeat the same mistakes. They respect the achievements of the USSR but their goal is to build a great Russian Empire ruled by themselves. They are the crime syndicate which now rules Russia and is expanding across the world. Fueled by the energy boom, they have a great deal of wealth and while the system they run is corrupt and incompetent, it is not nearly as corrupt or incompetent as the old Communist system was.

The West defeated the USSR through trade. The New Russia intends to defeat the West through trade and it is doing it. But not only through trade. The profits of trade are going to fuel a new Russian war machine and where Russian trade goes, the KGB goes as well, buying influence and public officials, from the former German Chancellor who now openly works for Russian oil interests to a newly minted member of the New York State Assembly with a background in the Russian security services.

The Cold War is back but it is no longer about Communism, if it ever really was except briefly into the 20's. It's about power. It's about wealth. And it's about national greatness. The long held Russian belief in their own destiny to rule the world has come to the surface again and the bear is once again set to rampage across the world.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on June 21, 2008, 05:10:11 PM
Moscow Looks To Expand Military Presence In Central Asia


Earlier this month, Russian media quoted Russian Air Force commander Colonel General Aleksandr Zelin as saying Moscow will deploy more personnel and equipment -- including more aircraft -- to its air base in Kant, outside the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

And last week, the Russian State Duma, the lower house of parliament, ratified an agreement with Tajikistan on the mutual use of military forces. The document was first signed in November 2006 and has already been approved by the Tajik parliament.

Military and political experts both in Russia and Central Asia say the timing of Russia's ratification of the bilateral agreement with Tajikistan and its plans to reinforce the Kant air base are not coincidental, and show Moscow's seriousness about fortifying its influence in Central Asia.

Vladimir Mukhin, a Moscow-based journalist and expert on military affairs, says that while Central Asia is an important region in terms of energy resources and geopolitics, Russia "has apparently come to the conclusion that military cooperation is the first and the most important step in regaining influence in the region."

Mukhin adds that "Military and military-technical cooperation is -- should be -- of foremost importance in former Soviet countries. The security and sovereignty of these countries depend on the level of their military integration and military-technical cooperation because all armaments in the CIS are Russian-made weaponry [leftover from the Soviet era]. And Russia still produces and exports these armaments."

With some 7,000 troops from Russia's 201st Motorized Rifle Division, the military base in Tajikistan is the largest Russian deployment outside its borders.

The air base in Kant hosts some 400 personnel and is reportedly equipped with Russian Su-25, Su-27, An-24, and Il-76 aircraft as well as Mi-8 helicopters. The base was established in 2003. Sources at the base have denied reports that additional reinforcements will be sent there by Russia.

But Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Secretary-General Nikolai Bordyuzha, a Russian, has reportedly confirmed the imminent reinforcement at Kant, even suggesting that the additional troops and equipment will increase the significance of Russia's military presence in Central Asia.

Russia The 'Most Realistic Partner'

Some Central Asian governments are welcoming the increased Russian military presence in their region. According to the Russian presidential office, the "further expansion of military-technical cooperation" was high on the agenda earlier this month when President Dmitry Medvedev met with his Tajik counterpart, Emomali Rahmon, in St. Petersburg.

Ismoil Rahmatov, an expert on political affairs at the Strategic Studies think tank in Dushanbe, says that "after a few years of courtship with other world players -- the U.S., Europe, and China -- Central Asian countries have realized that Russia is their most realistic partner."

Rahmatov notes that while China shares a border of more than 570 kilometers with Tajikistan and the United States is "the most powerful country in the world and it provides significant assistance" to Tajikistan, "all their aid can't come close to the assistance the Tajik people get from Russia -- [that is], the money Tajik migrants make in Russia. Russia is the only country that has always been-- and will be -- by Tajikistan's side."

According to the Tajik expert, there were times -- especially after the terrorist attacks against the United States in 2001 -- that Central Asian countries were willing to expand their cooperation with the West and to decrease their dependency on Russia.

However, such cooperation did not meet all of their expectations, and two main reasons are suggested for their general disappointment in cooperating with the West.

First, most of the Western aid was conditioned on an improvement of human rights and the implementation of democratic changes in Central Asia, something the mainly authoritarian governments of Central Asia were not looking to make anytime soon.

The second reason is the great geographical distance between the West and Central Asia. Millions of families in Central Asia depend heavily on their seasonal jobs at construction sites, markets, and factories in Russia for their livelihood. Their physical connections to Europe, China, and the United States pale in comparison.

Wider Regional Cooperation To Come?

Some observers say Russia and Central Asian countries are entering a new phase in their relationships -- both in the framework of bilateral cooperation with Moscow and in the framework of regional treaties, such as the CSTO, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec).

Uzbek President Islam Karimov recently suggested that the CSTO and the Eurasec should merge to create a "powerful union capable of becoming a counterbalance to NATO and the EU."

That's because none of the numerous regional organizations set up in the region after the collapse of the Soviet Union have united the "newly independent states," with most such organizations -- particularly the CSTO and the Eurasec -- having been dismissed as ineffective talk shops.

And while Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev's idea to form a Central Asian union has received some acceptance, it is opposed by Uzbekistan and faces far too many hurdles to become a reality any time in the near future.

So, with multiple but unsatisfying regional organizations to turn to, Central Asian countries seem to be welcoming Russia back with open arms -- though they haven't yet closed their doors to greater ties with the West.

Not far from the Russian air base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan hosts a U.S. military base at its Manas International Airport that has some 1,000 personnel. The base reportedly contributes $50 million to the Kyrgyz economy every year and is one of the greatest sources of foreign currency for the impoverished country.

There are also some 200 French troops stationed in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, and the country gets significant financial aid from the United States and the EU, including funds for constructing a bridge linking Tajikistan with Afghanistan and funds to train its border guards.

And Uzbekistan, which closed a U.S. military base on its territory in 2005, recently allowed its reuse by NATO forces involved in Afghanistan and is reconsidering its "current state of affairs" with the United States.

Even Turkmenistan, which was a reclusive country with few ties to the West, has greatly opened itself up and has even been cooperating with NATO in recent months under President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov.

All prime reasons why Moscow undoubtedly believes it has no time to lose in expanding its ties -- including militarily -- with all the Central Asian countries.

Title: Russia flexes muscles in Caucasus as U.S. urges calm
Post by: Shammu on July 11, 2008, 12:25:34 AM
Russia flexes muscles in Caucasus as U.S. urges calm

Thu Jul 10, 2008 5:40pm EDT

By Guy Faulconbridge and Margarita Antidze

MOSCOW/TBLISI (Reuters) - Georgia recalled its ambassador from Moscow on Thursday after Russia said it had sent its fighter jets into its neighbor's airspace to prevent Georgian troops attacking a separatist region.

Russia acknowledged the fighter sorties a few hours after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, on a visit to the Georgian capital, urged Moscow to help ease tensions in the strategic region instead of adding to them.

Georgia's pro-Western government is locked in a confrontation with Russia over two Georgian regions -- South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- which have rejected Tbilisi's rule and are receiving support from Moscow.

"We will take some aggressive diplomatic steps in order to respond adequately to Russia's actions. One such step is that from today, we are recalling our ambassador in Russia for consultations," Georgian Foreign Minister Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili told a news briefing.

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili later told Reuters in Ukraine: "Obviously we cannot fight with Russia. I mean we have to use all international diplomatic and political tools."

He said the overflights showed Russia's disdain for international law and added: "Not only does Russia keeps surprising, but sometimes the inability of some parts of the international community to adequately react (is surprising)."

Rice, speaking in Tbilisi after meeting Saakashvili, said Russia "needs to be a part of resolving the problem and solving the problem and not contributing to it".

Rice backed Georgia's bid to join NATO, but also urged all sides to halt a surge of violence in the breakaway regions this month in which at least six people have been killed.

Russia has accused Georgia of orchestrating the violence, a charge Tbilisi denies.

"The violence needs to stop, and whoever is perpetrating it, and I have mentioned this to the president, there should not be violence," Rice told a news conference.


Russia's Foreign Ministry said the air force was compelled to act after it received reports Georgian forces were preparing to launch a military operation on South Ossetia.

"In order to clarify the situation, aircraft of the Russian air force carried out a brief flight over the territory of South Ossetia," it added.

"As subsequent events showed, this step allowed (us) to cool hot heads in Tbilisi and prevent events developing along military lines, the likelihood of which was more than real."

It was Russia's first admission for at least a decade that its air force has flown over Georgian territory without permission. Georgia has said in the past that Russia trespassed in its airspace but Moscow has always denied it.

Russia's Rossiya television channel quoted a military commander as saying Russia could deploy troops to the breakaway regions to reinforce peacekeepers it already has there.

"Russia's troops in the North Caucasus region could be sent ... in the event of an escalation of the situation," the station quoted Colonel-General Sergei Makarov, commander of the North Caucasus military district, as saying.

Moscow is competing with the United States and European Union for influence over Georgia. The country hosts the only pipelines pumping gas and oil from the Caspian Sea to world markets without going through Russia.

Early this year Russia established semi-official ties with the separatist administrations in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and beefed up the peacekeeping forces it has had in Abkhazia since the end of a war in the 1990s.

Georgia accused Russia of trying to annexe its territory and Tbilisi's Western allies said Russia was stoking tensions. Russia said it acted to defend the breakaway regions from Georgian aggression.

Russia flexes muscles in Caucasus as U.S. urges calm (

Title: Russia threatens military response to US missile defence deal
Post by: Shammu on July 11, 2008, 12:48:49 AM
Russia threatens military response to US missile defence deal
July 9, 2008

David Charter, Europe Correspondent

Russia threatened to retaliate by military means after a deal with the Czech Republic brought the US missile defence system in Europe a step closer.

The threat followed quickly on from the announcement that Condoleezza Rice signed a formal agreement with the Czech Republic to host the radar for the controversial project.

Moscow argues that the missile shield would severely undermine the balance of European security and regards the proposed missile shield based in two former Communist countries as a hostile move.

“We will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry did not detail what its response might entail.

Dr Rice, the US Secretary of State, hailed the agreement as a step forward for international security.

After 14 months of negotiations, the US is struggling to clinch agreement with its other proposed partner - Poland - where it hopes to locate the interceptor missiles designed to shoot down any incoming rockets.

Washington insists that the system will not be targeted at Russia, but will act as a safeguard for Europe against regimes such as Iran. The plan was endorsed by Nato in April.

"This missile defence agreement is significant as a building block not just for the security of the United States and the Czech Republic, but also for the security of Nato and the security of the international community as a whole," Dr Rice said. "Ballistic missile proliferation is not an imaginary threat."

A change of government in Poland last November saw the country introduce a range of demands including US investment in its air defences in return for siting the missiles.

Poland's tough negotiating position has even led to a threat from the Pentagon to find an alternative site in the Baltic state of Lithuania.

"There are remaining issues, but the United States has made a very generous offer [to the Poles]," said Dr Rice.

A year ago at the G8 in Germany, President Vladimir Putin of Russia surprised the US by suggesting that the radar could be hosted in Azerbaijan so that the technology could be shared.

The signing ceremony seemed to bury that idea. Addressing Russian anxiety about the anti-missile system in what used to be its backyard, Ms Rice added: "We want the system to be transparent to the Russians."

Mirek Topolanek, the Czech Prime Minister, said that the deal was an example of "our joint desire to protect the free world" and said his country could not afford to miss out as it had done after the Second World War, when it fell under Soviet influence.

"We were in the past in a similar situation and then we failed. We did not accept the Marshall Plan...we should not allow a second error of this kind," he said.

In Prague, where polls consistently show a majority of Czechs opposed to hosting the US radar, protestors from Greenpeace unrolled a large banner proclaiming "Do not make a target of us."

After Prague, Dr Rice will visit Bulgaria and Georgia where she will stress US support for Tblisi's application for Nato membership, another annoyance for Russia.

She will also appeal for calm between Moscow and Tblisi over the separatist Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

"We have said both Georgia and Russia need to avoid provocative behaviour but frankly some of the things the Russians did over the last couple of months added to tension in the region," Dr Rice said.

"Georgia is an independent state. It has to be treated like one. I want to make very clear that the US commitment to Georgia's territorial integrity is strong."

The radar agreement still has to pass through the Czech parliament where the government only has a slim majority.

Russia threatens military response to US missile defence deal (

Title: Russia eyes new nuclear missiles aimed at Europe MOSCOW
Post by: Shammu on July 16, 2008, 12:08:03 AM
Russia eyes new nuclear missiles aimed at Europe
July 14, 2008

MOSCOW (UPI) -- Russia is making contingency plans for new nuclear missiles aimed at Europe as a response to United States missile shield moves, sources said Sunday.

The Sunday Times of London, quoting unnamed diplomatic sources, says Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his parliamentary supporters have scouted locations in western Russia, such as Kaliningrad and Belarus, which could host ballistic missiles for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

They would be deployed as an answer to United States efforts to put missile defense shield installations in Poland and the Czech Republic, the sources told the newspaper. United States officials say the missile defense efforts are aimed at “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea, but Russia doubts this and sees them as provocative.

“How would Washington feel if we placed interceptor missiles on Cuba or Venezuela?” a Russian source said.

“These missiles would be pointed at Europe. It would be a perfectly legitimate step,” he added. “If America wants to expand its military capabilities in Europe, then we have the right to act accordingly.”-

Russia eyes new nuclear missiles aimed at Europe (

Title: Russia and Kazakhstan to hold joint war games in 2009-2011
Post by: Shammu on July 16, 2008, 12:09:20 AM
Russia and Kazakhstan to hold joint war games in 2009-2011
July 15, 2008

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) -- Russia and Kazakhstan will hold joint military exercises in 2009-2011, the two countries' defense ministers announced in Moscow on Monday.

Anatoly Serdyukov and Danial Akhmetov ordered their respective offices to draft the details of the joint drills, including the timeframe, locations and forces to be involved. The military exercises will be held on the territories of both states.

The two ministers said that joint tactical drills to be held this autumn as part of Center-2008 staff exercises in the Chelyabinsk Region in the Urals, ""will contribute to the further development of a united outlook and approach to the planning of joint actions to maintain the national security of the two countries.""

Serdyukov and Akhmetov, who is currently on a two-day trip to Moscow, also praised the military skills displayed by around 2,000 Russian and Kazakh paratroopers who took part in a joint counterinsurgency tactical exercise last Friday.

A Kazakh Defense Ministry spokesman said earlier that the 2008 Kazakh-Russian military cooperation program included a series of joint operational and combat training activities.

Russia, which is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), has been strengthening military ties with its allies amid growing tensions over NATO expansion and U.S. missile shield plans for Central Europe. An agreement was recently signed by Washington and Prague on deploying a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic, a move that did little to assuage Russian concerns for its national security.

The CSTO is a post-Soviet security alliance, which also comprises Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

About 4,000 troops from Armenia, Russia, and Tajikistan will take part in the four-stage Rubezh-2008 military exercises in Armenia and Russia this summer.

Russia and Kazakhstan to hold joint war games in 2009-2011 (

Title: Russia hopes to boost ties with Saudi Arabia
Post by: Shammu on July 16, 2008, 12:10:18 AM
Russia hopes to boost ties with Saudi Arabia

1 day ago

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia hopes to further boost ties with Saudi Arabia, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Monday during talks with Saudi Arabia's Security Council chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

"Our relations are developing well, the trade turnover is growing though in absolute terms it still looks modest, but considering our good ties, we have good perspectives and a good basis," Putin said as quoted by ITAR-TASS news agency.

The prince voiced hope that he "will be able to convey the king's thoughts on perspective in economic, political, military and security spheres as well as others."

The two sides signed a military cooperation treaty, news agencies reported.

Relations between Russia and Saudi Arabia have warmed recently after a period of tensions because of accusations by Moscow that Riyadh tolerated Muslim charity groups funding separatist rebels in the southwestern Russian province of Chechnya.

Trade turnover between the two countries grew up to 437 million dollars in 2007, with Russia exporting metals, paper, cartons, wood and cargo trucks.

Russian oil producer Lukoil has been allowed to participate in investigating and equipping gas fields in south-east Saudi Arabia.

Russian RusAl aluminium producer is holding talks with Saudi Arabia on constructing an aluminium factory and a power station.

Russia hopes to boost ties with Saudi Arabia (

Title: Russia 'distributing passports in the Crimea'
Post by: Shammu on August 18, 2008, 10:40:55 PM
Russia 'distributing passports in the Crimea'
Ukraine is investigating claims that Russia has been distributing passports in the port of Sevastopol, raising fears that the Kremlin could be stoking separatist sentiment in the Crimea as a prelude to possible military intervention.

By Adrian Blomfield
Last Updated: 7:42PM BST 17 Aug 2008

The allegation has prompted accusations that Russia is using the same tactics employed in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abhkazia and South Ossetia in order to create a pretext for a war.

Russia handed out passports to the residents of the two provinces, which have long looked to Moscow for support, five years ago. The Kremlin has justified its invasion of Georgia in terms of defending its citizens in Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgian "aggression".

Mykola Stretovych, an MP with Ukraine's ruling orange coalition, claimed that Russia was engaged in a massive operation to hand out passports in Sevastopol, home to 400,000 people, many of whom have historic ties with Russia.

Anatoly Gritsenko, chairman of the Ukrainian parliament's national security committee, launched a probe into the claims which, if true, would represent "a threat to national security", he said.

Tensions between Moscow and Kiev have grown in recent days after Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's pro-western president, imposed restrictions on Russian ships entering the Black Sea Fleet's base in Sevastopol.

The decision to place limitations on movement to and from the base, which Russia rents from Ukraine, was taken after ships from the Black Sea Fleet were used in military operations in Georgia.

Ukraine further infuriated the Kremlin last week by offering Europe and the United States access to its missile warning systems.

Mr Yushchenko's alliance with Georgia has caused further resentment among the Crimea's overwhelmingly Russian-speaking population. The territory was historically part of Russia but was awarded to Soviet Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954.

The head of Ukraine's security service, however, said that despite nationalist tensions in the territory, a rebellion in the Crimea with or without Russian support was inconceivable.

"Prosperity, peace and calm in the Crimea is the very foundation on which the interests of Ukraine and neighbouring Russia coincide," Valentin Nalivaichenko said.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, warned Russia that its actions in Georgia would further increase the alienation of Ukraine towards Moscow. Mr Yushchenko has applied for Ukraine's membership of Nato, a move bitterly opposed by the Kremlin.

"If the Russians intended this as intimidation, they have done nothing but harden the attitudes of the small states around them," she said. "I think the Russians have made a significant mistake here."

Russia 'distributing passports in the Crimea'  (

Title: Russian military entrench themselves deeper
Post by: Shammu on August 18, 2008, 10:42:38 PM
Russian military entrench themselves deeper
Far from pulling out, Russian military units are entrenching themselves in new positions deeper into Georgia.
By Adrian Blomfield in Gori
Last Updated: 11:34PM BST 17 Aug 2008

Trenches have been dug and tanks, camouflaged with tree branches, are scattered through fields and in forests ever closer to the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

In the town of Gori, under occupation for a fifth day, residents are cut off from the outside world and running short of food. Orthodox priests handed out a loaf of bread to each of the few remaining residents in the eerily deserted town.

"When is it going to stop?" said Rusudan Kardzikidze, a 78-year-old pensioner. "When are they going to leave?"

Justified by Russian claims of atrocities committed by Georgia in the provocative advance through breakaway South Ossetia that provoked the conflict, the reprisals in Gori have been swift and brutal.

Guja Chumburidze, an unemployed 26-year-old resident, was one of those who fell victim to the wrath of rampaging South Ossetian irregulars, who were able to enter the town as their Russian allies advanced into undisputed Georgian territory.

With his two-month-old son and his ageing mother Iamze, Guja cowered in his home on the outskirts of Gori, listening to the sounds of breaking glass and bursts of gunfire as the irregulars embarked on drunken looting sprees.

Then everything went quiet. Refusing to listen to the pleas of his mother, Guja ventured outside to see if it was safe to look for food.

Within seconds, he was stopped by a gang of looters. They had seen him, they said, on the streets of Tskhinvali, the Ossetian capital. He was a war criminal and a looter and there was only one punishment for looters and war criminals.

"They beat him until he fell to the ground," said Iamze, who had rushed onto the street to plead for her son's life. "They shot him in the back of the head."

Most of the Ossetians, as well as the Chechen irregulars who joined them, were more interested in pillaging, as evidenced by smashed in windows of Gori's shops, restaurants and banks or robbing motorists of their cars at gunpoint. South Ossetia has long doubled as Georgia's principal stolen car market.

But many, according to witnesses whose accounts have yet to be verified, also went house-to-house in Georgian villages, both in South Ossetia and outside the breakaway province, on raping and murdering sprees.

Last week, until orders came from Moscow to rein them in, the Russian troops occupying Georgian territory either did little to stop the irregulars from looting or committing atrocities or actively encouraged them.

Manning a checkpoint outside the Georgian town of Kaspi, 25 miles southeast of Gori, four young Chechen soldiers admitted that their South Ossetian allies had carried out reprisals against Georgian civilians - but insisted they were justified.

"Do you know what the Georgians did in Tskhinvali," demanded one fighter, who identified himself as Sulim. "They killed 2,000 people. Georgians were crushing small children with their tanks."

From the beginning of hostilities, officials in Moscow were quick to declare that "genocide" was taking place and that up to 2,000 people had been killed in attacks deliberately aimed at Tskhinvali's civilian population.

Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, went on television to claim that Georgian tanks were crushing children and Georgian soldiers were beheading civilians.

Yet the first independent human rights activists attempting to calculate the civilian death toll have so far only been able to confirm the deaths of 44 people according to records from Tskhinvali's only hospital.

According to Human Rights Watch, the respected New York-based body, the Kremlin's deliberate exaggeration of the civilian death toll was inevitably contributing to the scale of reprisals against Georgians.

Asked whether he had personally seen any children crushed by Georgian tanks, Sulim replied: "No, but I heard Putin say it so it must be true."

Russian propaganda has been so convincing that not even the few independent media outlets that normally criticise the Kremlin in Russia have spoken out against the Georgia war.

Instead, many Russians believe that the West has rushed to support Georgia, despite the fact that President Mikheil Saakashvili is, in their eyes, guilty of genocide.

Sulim and his fellow fighters are convinced that Ukrainians, Estonians and even Chinese and westerners were fighting against them in South Ossetia. They claimed that dents in the front of their tank were caused by a bomb dropped from an American jet.

Believing that the world is against them but that right is on their side, the Russian people are convinced that, ceasefire or no ceasefire, their army must stay in Georgia for as long as is necessary.

Russian military entrench themselves deeper (

Title: Russian president slams Georgia's 'morons'
Post by: Shammu on August 18, 2008, 10:53:19 PM
Russian president slams Georgia's 'morons'
27 minutes ago

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Russia's president launched a verbal volley at Georgia's leaders on Monday, as Georgia hit back with renewed accusations that the Russian invasion was premeditated.

President Dmitry Medvedev said: "The world has seen that even today, there are political morons who are ready to kill innocent and defenseless people in order to satisfy their self-serving interests, while compensating for their own inability to resolve complicated issues by using the most terrible solution -- by exterminating an entire people.

"I think that there should be no mercy for that. We will do our best not to let this crime go unpunished."

He was speaking at a visit to the military headquarters at Vladikavkaz, near the Russian-Georgian border.

Each side accuses the other of "ethnic cleansing" during the conflict over South Ossetia, which erupted August 7.

In Washington, Georgia's ambassador to the United States said the Russian push into Georgia the following day had been long planned.

"You just don't move more than 1,200 tanks and 15,000 soldiers into a country within 12 hours without previous planning," Ambassador Vasil Sikharulidze said.

The conflict began more than a week ago when Georgian troops entered the breakaway territory of South Ossetia to attack pro-Moscow separatists. Russia responded by invading the country on August 8, prompting heavy fighting with Georgian forces that spread to another breakaway territory, Abkhazia.

The Georgian troops withdrew and Russian forces took control of several areas -- prompting an international outcry. After diplomatic efforts led by France on behalf of the European Union, Georgia and Russian signed a cease-fire. France is the rotating EU head.

Russia's military says its withdrawal from Georgia has begun, but a senior Pentagon official told reporters Monday evening that there has been little evidence of Russian troops pulling out. The official did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the issue. VideoWatch more on Russian withdrawal »

"We're talking about pulling our troops away to the borders of South Ossetia. They will not be on Georgia territory," Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, the Russian armed forces deputy chief of staff, said Monday.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Russia needs to start pulling back "without delay," saying the "Russians have committed to withdrawing, and they need to withdraw. And so that is what we are looking for."

A Georgian Interior Ministry official said there have been "no signs" of a Russian troop withdrawal despite Russia's pledge to start moving back on Monday.

News footage showed Russian tanks pushing away Georgian police cars about 20 miles (32 km) south of Georgia's capital, Tbilisi. VideoWatch tanks deal with the police car »

Witnesses said Georgian police cars had been blocking the road and the police told Russian tank commanders that they were carrying out orders. The tanks proceeded to plow ahead, damaging the police cars in the process.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said a Russian armored column had been seen moving a bit deeper into Georgian territory, traveling south from Kashuri to Borjomi. Kashuri is about 10 miles (16 km) south of South Ossetia. Another column was moving north from the Kashuri area to Sachkhere.

Nogovitsyn told reporters Russian troops were leaving Gori on Monday, the Interfax news agency said.

He did not say how many troops were withdrawing or how many would return to South Ossetia or Russia.

However, CNN journalists in Gori, near South Ossetia, said it was still under Russian control and there was no evidence the Russians were pulling out. Also, Russian tank and artillery positions were seen extending nine miles (15 km) south of Gori.

Nogovitsyn said Russia was not yet moving vessels in the Black Sea from their positions near Georgia, but they would return to Sevastopol after the settlement of the conflict.

He said Russia's deputy foreign minister had presented the U.S. ambassador to the country with a timetable of the events that led to Russia's actions and clearly indicated Georgia's responsibility.

He said a prisoner exchange involving the transfer of 12 Russians and 15 Georgians had been set up.

"We were all set and then the Georgians came up with a bunch of new requirements with no time for us to act so the time to exchange prisoners was interrupted," Nogovitsyn said.

Georgia said Russia was spreading "false" accusations and that it was ready to pursue an exchange.

The six-point deal gives no timetable for a Russian withdrawal, nor any other specifics, according to a copy of the agreement provided by Georgia's government.

A U.S. defense official told CNN about evidence of Russian SS-21 missiles and launchers in South Ossetia. Lt. Gen. Nikolai Uvarov, a Russia Defense Ministry spokesman, disputed that, telling CNN that "no, they are not present."

The U.S. official said while "Russian forces continue to consolidate their enclaves in South Ossetia and Abkhazia," they "are expected to slowly remove forces from Georgia."

Diplomatic discussions continued Monday. Finland's Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb, representing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was in Brussels, Belgium, to meet with representatives from the European Union, NATO, and the United Nations.

The OSCE is working on a plan to increase its observers in the region to 100 people.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch said there was "mounting evidence that Russian and Georgian military used armed force unlawfully during the South Ossetian conflict" and it emphasized that this "highlights the need for international fact-finding missions in Georgia."

"This conflict has been a disaster for civilians," said Rachel Denber, Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia deputy director.

The conflict has devastated parts of Georgia and South Ossetia, with many casualties reported. The U.N. refugee agency said more than 158,000 people had been displaced by fighting in Georgia, mostly from districts outside the breakaway territories where the fighting began.

Russian president slams Georgia's 'morons' (

Title: Re: Russian president slams Georgia's 'morons'
Post by: Shammu on August 18, 2008, 10:58:07 PM

Israel and Georgia are similar to miniature U.S.A's in their respective regions. While they are not clones, they are more like offspring, having the traits and mannerisms of the parent.

They are in the middle of forces that wish to operate in darkness and with evil intent. Any light that shines either, as a beacon to attract more of the same, or illuminates that evil, must be extinguished.

That is the simplest explanation, I can provide.

But Georgia is not the end of Russia's goals by any means, it is simply a good foothold being established to the next step.

God is in control people. Nothing shocks, or takes Him by surprise. We need to rest on His promises

Title: Russia Looking to Send a Navy Fleet to Caribbean, Chavez Says
Post by: Shammu on August 18, 2008, 11:06:36 PM
Russia Looking to Send a Navy Fleet to Caribbean, Chavez Says

By Daniel Cancel

Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Russia has expressed interest in sending a naval fleet to the Caribbean. He said Venezuela would welcome the visit.

The naval fleet would come to Caribbean waters on a trip of ``friendship and work,'' Chavez said in comments on state television. Venezuela has bought Sukhoi fighter jets from Russia and is evaluating the purchase of submarines, Chavez said.

``We've been informed that the Russian government wants to visit Venezuela,'' Chavez said. ``They want a Russian fleet to come to the Caribbean. If they come, they'll be welcomed.''

Venezuela has spent billions of dollars in modernizing its armed forces in recent years, purchasing arms mainly from Russia. The South American country has also criticized the U.S.'s reactivation of the Navy's Fourth Fleet to patrol the Caribbean on anti-narcotics missions.

Chavez said he's interested in buying K-8 Chinese training jets after the U.S. stopped selling replacement parts for existing Venezuelan aircraft. He said he'll visit China in September.

Russia Looking to Send a Navy Fleet to Caribbean, Chavez Says   (

Title: Re: Russia Looking to Send a Navy Fleet to Caribbean, Chavez Says
Post by: Shammu on August 18, 2008, 11:11:10 PM

Chavez is a wannabe, he want's to be important. he wants to be George Bush. he wants to be significant in the world (the motto of men like Chavez is if you can't make them love you, make them fear you.

Chavez is a creepy dictator. I think that Chavez is a megalomaniac, I think ImaNutJob is, too. I don't think that Chavez has nukes like ImaNutJob is devoloping. However, in a sense, I don't think Chavez would be as dangerous with nukes as ImaNutJob, because Chavez, I don't think, feels that he as a divine mission like the Iranian president does.

Title: Russians flex muscles in Georgian Black Sea port
Post by: Shammu on August 20, 2008, 11:21:52 PM
Russians flex muscles in Georgian Black Sea port
August 19, 2008

Russian soldiers held blindfolded Georgian servicemen at gunpoint on top of military vehicles today and commandeered US Humvees in the key Black Sea port of Poti.

Elsewhere, Russia exchanged POWs with Georgia and pulled back some troops from the strategic city of Gori.

It was a day of deeply mixed messages that left the small, war-battered country full of anxiety about whether Russia was aiming for a long-term military presence in Georgia or was just trying to inflict the maximum damage before adhering to a troop withdrawal that Russia promised under a EU-brokered cease-fire.

At an emergency meeting in Brussels, Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, and her 25 Nato counterparts demanded that Russia immediately withdraw its troops from Georgia, a US ally that wants to join the alliance. The ministers announced that Nato “cannot continue with business as usual" with Russia as long as its troops remain in Georgia.

But it was in Poti - Georgia’s key oil port city - where Russia flexed its military muscle most visibly.

Russian forces blocked access to the city’s naval and commercial ports this morning and towed the missile boat Dioskuria, seen as the flagship of the Georgian navy, out of sight of observers. A loud explosion was heard minutes later.

Several hours later, an Associated Press photographer saw Russian trucks and armored personnel carriers leaving the port with about 20 blindfolded and handcuffed men riding on them. A port spokesman said that the men were Georgian soldiers.

The Russians also took with them four Humvees that were at the port awaiting shipment back to the United States, equipment that had been used in earlier US-Georgian military exercises.

The deputy head of Russia’s general staff, Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, said in Moscow that Russian forces plan to remain in Poti until a local administration is formed, but did not give further details. He also justified previous seizures of Georgian soldiers as a necessary crackdown on soldiers who were “out of any kind of control ... acting without command”.

An AP television crew has seen Russian troops in and around Poti for days, with local port officials saying the Russians had destroyed radar, boats and other Coast Guard equipment there. Russian troops have also been busy at the nearby Georgian military base in Senaki.

Convoys of Russian trucks and armored vehicles moved in and out of the base all day yesterday. Late in the afternoon, three separate blasts appeared to destroy the base’s runway and shook the leaves off trees up to a mile away.

Russian troops and tanks have controlled a wide swath of Georgia for days, including the country’s main east-west highway where Gori sits. The Russian presence threatens President Saakashvili’s efforts to keep the country from losing territory to Russia after a short but intense war over the separatist areas of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

In central Georgia today, a small column of Russian tanks and armoured vehicles left Gori. Colonel Igor Konashenkov, a Russian military spokesman, said that the headed for South Ossetia and, ultimately, back to Russia.

He gave no timetable for when the unit would reach Russia but it appeared to be the first sign of a Russian pullback of troops from Georgia.

The column, which also apparently included a mobile rocket-launcher, passed the village of Ruisi, outside Gori on the road to South Ossetia, this afternoon.

Earlier today Russia and Georgia also exchanged 20 prisoners of war Tuesday in an effort to reduce tensions. Two Russian military helicopters landed in the village of Igoeti, the closest that Russian forces have advanced to the Georgian capital of Tbilisi.

Georgian Security Council head Alexander Lomaia told reporters in Igoeti that 15 Georgians and five Russians were exchanged. “It went smoothly,” he said.

Mr Lomaia said the exchange removed any pretext for Russians to keep holding positions in Igoeti, 50km (30 miles) west of Tbilisi, or anywhere else on Georgia’ only significant east-west highway.

Russians flex muscles in Georgian Black Sea port (

Title: Russia to freeze NATO military ties
Post by: Shammu on August 20, 2008, 11:40:58 PM
Russia to freeze NATO military ties
NATO had suspended formal contacts with Russia Tuesday

Aug. 20, 2008

OSLO, Norway - Russia has informed Norway that it plans to suspend all military ties with NATO, Norway's Defense Ministry said Wednesday, a day after the military alliance urged Moscow to withdraw its forces from Georgia.

NATO foreign ministers said Tuesday they would make further ties with Russia dependent on Moscow making good on a pledge to pull its troops back to pre-conflict positions in Georgia. However, they stopped short of calling an immediate halt to all cooperation.

The Nordic country's embassy in Moscow received a telephone call from "a well-placed official in the Russian Ministry of Defense," who said Moscow plans "to freeze all military cooperation with NATO and allied countries," Espen Barth Eide, state secretary with the Norwegian ministry said.

Eide told The Associated Press that the Russian official notified Norway it will receive a written note about this soon. He said Norwegian diplomats in Moscow would meet Russian officials on Thursday morning to clarify the implications of the freeze.

"It is our understanding that other NATO countries will receive similar notes," Eide said. The ministry said the Russian official is known to the embassy, but Norway declined to provide a name or any further identifying information.

A Kremlin official declined to comment on the report, and the Russian ambassador to NATO did not reply to messages left on his cell phone. But the Interfax news agency, citing what it called a military-diplomatic source in Moscow whom it did not identify, reported that Russia is reviewing its 2008 military cooperation plans with NATO.

Officials at NATO headquarters in Brussels said Moscow had not informed the alliance it was taking such a step.

Move is 'unfortunate'
Washington described the reported move as unfortunate.

"If this indeed is the case, it would be unfortunate. We need to work with Russia on a range of security issues, but we are obviously very concerned about Russian behavior in Georgia," U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.

Under a 2002 agreement that set up the NATO-Russia Council, the former Cold War foes began several cooperation projects. They include occasional participation of Russian warships in NATO counterterrorism patrols in the Mediterranean Sea, sharing expertise to combat heroin trafficking out of Afghanistan and developing battlefield anti-missile technology.

Last week, Russia's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin warned the Western alliance against cutting off cooperation, saying it would hurt both sides.

The Interfax news agency, citing a military-diplomatic source in Moscow, reported Wednesday that Russia is reviewing its 2008 military cooperation plans as a result of NATO's decision to suspend meetings of the NATO-Russia Council.

Eide said he hoped NATO and Moscow would get back on track with dialogue and cooperation but said that Russia would first have to comply with a cease-fire in Georgia.

"I regret the situation has come to this," he said.

The hostilities between Russia and Georgia began earlier this month when Georgia cracked down on South Ossetia. The region is internationally recognized as being within Georgian borders but leans toward Moscow and regards itself as independent. Russia answered by sending its troops and tanks across the Georgian border.

Russia to freeze NATO military ties (

Title: Pentagon considers next moves to counter Russia
Post by: Shammu on August 20, 2008, 11:44:01 PM
Pentagon considers next moves to counter Russia

14 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States has ruled out the use of US military force in Georgia, but the Pentagon will almost certainly be looking for other chess pieces to move to check a more aggressive Russia, analysts say.

Will it rebuild and strengthen the militaries of Georgia and other countries on Russia's perifery? Reverse a drawdown of US forces in Europe? Rethink its military investments? Intensify missile defense efforts?

The answers to those questions will depend on how the current crisis unfolds, analysts say. Few predict a return of the Cold War.

But the Russian invasion of Georgia has already called into question the "entire premise" of a cooperative US-Russian strategic relationship, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned last week.

The Pentagon has cancelled upcoming military exercises with Russia, and NATO ministers warned Tuesday that there would not be a return to "business as usual."

"I think that the whole world is looking at Russia through a different set of lenses than just a week and a half or two weeks ago, so there are already consequences," Gates said in a television interview Sunday.

"I think they may not appreciate the magnitude of those consequences yet," he added.

Among the near term issues facing the United States and its allies is how to rebuild the battered Georgian military.

Trained and equipped by the United States for deployments in Iraq, it proved no match for the Russian military.

Frederick Kagan, a military expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said one reason was that Georgia and other similarly situated countries were discouraged from developing large military reserves, air defenses and anti-tank capabilities.

Their militaries should be rebuilt "to turn each of those states into a daunting porcupine capable of deterring the Russian bear," wrote Kagan, who is best known as an early advocate of the US surge strategy in Iraq.

He called for an expanded military advisory presence in "threatened states" on Russia's perifery.

"I think one area of US military spending that will definitely get bolstered by the Russian invasion of Georgia is spending on strategic defense, meaning defenses against nuclear weapons," said Loren Thompson, who heads the Lexington Institute, a non-partisan think tank.

In a situation like the conflict over Georgia, he said, the threat posed by Russia's nuclear arsenal "trumps any other consideration."

"Most US missile defense efforts over the last 20 years have been focused on countries like North Korea. That may now change," he said.

Other analysts, however, said nuclear deterrence -- not missile defense -- will remain at the core of the US strategy for dealing with Russia's nuclear arsenal.

But the United States may move to provide theater missile defenses to countries in Russia's shadow, they said.

It has promised Poland a US-manned Patriot missile battery and other unspecified military upgrades in return for hosting interceptor missiles for a US missile defense system aimed at threats from Iran.

Russia vehemently opposed the installation of missile defense sites so near its borders, but Poland quickly reached agreement on them with Washington after the invasion of Georgia.

The uncertainties created by a resurgent, oil-rich Russia also is likely to raise questions here about the broader US military posture, and whether or not to scrap plans to bring more US troops home from Europe.

Even before the current crisis, the US military had put brakes on the drawdown, opting to keep 40,000 troops in Europe for at least the next couple of years.

"The US decision to pull troops out of Europe was based on a belief that Russia had become democratic, and peaceful," said Thompson. "Many policymakers in Washington will now be rethinking whether that will be prudent or not."

Michele Flournoy, a former Pentagon strategist, said a new administration will weigh the tensions with Russia against US military requirements elsewhere.

She said the crisis over Georgia "is a signal that all is not well, and Russia is making choices that people think will take them down a very nasty road."

The Pentagon will watch Russia's defense investments very closely "and make sure we have hedges that position us to respond appropriately as necessary."

"But I don't think we're at the point where we upend all our planning assumptions, and put this new threat front and center," she said.

Pentagon considers next moves to counter Russia (

Title: Russia warns Ukraine not to interfere at navy base
Post by: Shammu on August 20, 2008, 11:59:20 PM
Russia warns Ukraine not to interfere at navy base

Russia`s foreign minister warned Ukrainian leaders Tuesday against trying to restrict the Kremlin`s use of a Crimean naval base it leases from Ukraine, adding to tensions that have heated up since Russian troops invaded Georgia, AP informs.

Ukraine`s pro-Western president, Victor Yushchenko, has sided with Georgia and moved last week to restrict Russian warships at the leased military base at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol, saying the vessels` movements were subject to Ukrainian approval.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed that argument in a sharply worded barb Tuesday, saying Russia`s ships don`t need any permission to use the port.

The lease agreement says "nothing about us needing to explain to someone why, where to and for how long the Black Sea Fleet ships are leaving their walls," Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia`s state-controlled ITAR-Tass news agency.

Ukraine`s Defense Ministry said it was considering Russia`s request to allow four Russian warships to enter Sevastopol on Wednesday, but declined further comment.

However, Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko sought to cool tensions, saying his country wouldn`t physically prevent Russian ships from entering or leaving the naval base.

Many Ukrainians worry that after dealing with Georgia, the Russians might set their sights on Ukraine, which like Georgia is a former Soviet republic government that has angered by Moscow by seeking closer ties with the West and membership in the NATO military alliance.

Russia`s critics say the conflict in Georgia heralds a new, worrying era in which an increasingly assertive Kremlin has shown itself ready to resort to military force outside its borders in pursuing its goals.

Many Ukrainians fear the Kremlin`s fierce opposition to Ukraine`s drive to join NATO and Moscow`s desire to regain control of the palm-lined Crimea peninsula and the Sevastopol naval base might put Ukraine at a risk of a military conflict with its giant neighbor.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has warned Ukraine that it still isn`t too late to return "what doesn`t belong to it" — a reference to Crimea.

Ukraine is also important to Russia because its pipelines carry Russian oil and natural gas westward. The country also has a huge Russian-speaking population in its east and south that wants to remain linked with Russia.

While siding with Georgia, Ukrainian officials have acknowledged that Moscow`s quick military victory exposed their nation`s own vulnerability.

"I think that Russia is looking for a reason to have a serious conflict with Ukraine," said Iryna Mezentseva, a 21-year-old secretary in Kyiv.

Russia warns Ukraine not to interfere at navy base (

After what has happened in Georgia, I'm sure the Russian bear is wanting the Ukraine back.

Title: Russian ships to Crimea August 22
Post by: Shammu on August 21, 2008, 12:01:42 AM
Russian ships to Crimea August 22

The arrival of Russian Black Sea Fleet ships to Sevastopol (the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine) has been postponed to August 22.

An UNIAN correspondent has learnt this from an informed source.

According to the information of the source, the Russian BSF leadership, following the Ukrainian President’s decree, gave 72 hours’ notice of the ships movement to the Ukrainian side.

The Russian ships are expected to enter the Sevastopol Bay in the morning of August 22. The source was not informed about the reasons of postponing the return of the Russian ships.

As reported earlier, Russian Black Sea Fleet ships – “Moskva” missile cruiser, Smetlivy patrol boat, Mirazh missile boat, and Turbinist minesweeper – planned to enter Sevastopol in the morning of August 20. According to the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, the leadership of the Russian fleet submitted to the Defense Ministry of Ukraine the official information about the planned entrance of four ships to Sevastopol. They followed the procedure of informing the Ukrainian side determined in the Decrees of the Ukrainian President №705/2008 and №706/2008 “On Decision of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine dated August 13”, concerning the movement of Russian military objects on the Ukrainian territory.

President Yushchenko of Ukraine signed a decree requiring the fleet, based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol, to give 72 hours’ notice of any ship movements. But General Nogovitsyn in Moscow said that the restrictions would be ignored. “We have one general commander for the Black Sea Fleet,” he said. “It is the President of Russia and all commands from outside are illegitimate to us.”

Russian ships to Crimea August 22 (

Title: Russians dig in but still promise Georgia pullout
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 12:22:31 AM
Russians dig in but still promise Georgia pullout

By MIKE ECKEL, Associated Press Writer Thu Aug 21, 7:53 PM ET

GORI, Georgia - Russian forces lingered deep in Georgia on Thursday, digging trenches and setting up mortars a day before Kremlin officials promised to complete a troop withdrawal from this former Soviet republic.

But a top Russian general said it could be 10 days before the bulk of the troops left, and the mixed signals from Moscow left Georgians guessing about its intentions nearly a week after a cease-fire deal.

Strains in relations between Russia and the West showed no improvement. NATO, Moscow's Cold War foe, said Russia had halted military cooperation with the alliance, underscoring the growing division in a Europe that had seemed destined for unity after the Soviet Union collapsed.

Western leaders remained adamant that Russia remove its troops and do it quickly. "The withdrawal needs to take place, and needs to take place now," Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said in Crawford, Texas.

While refugees from the fighting over the South Ossetia region crammed Georgian schools and office buildings, a scattering of people left in a half-empty village said they were badly in need of basics.

"There is no bread, there is no food, no medicine. People are dying," said Nina Meladze, 45, in the village of Nadarbazevi, outside the key crossroads city of Gori. She said she stayed because she could not leave elderly relatives behind while other villagers fled to the capital, Tbilisi.

She said the village has been virtually abandoned since the war broke out. "I cannot go on like this anymore, I cry every day," she said.

Russian troops still controlled nearby Gori, which straddles Georgia's main east-west road, and the village of Igoeti about 30 miles west of Tbilisi. On the road between Gori and Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's battered capital, Russian soldiers built high earthen berms and strung barbed wire in at least three spots.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev promised earlier that his forces would pull back as far as South Ossetia and a surrounding security zone by Friday.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov reiterated that late Thursday, saying the troops would begin pulling back toward South Ossetia on Friday morning and be finished by day's end.

But the commander of Russian land forces, Gen. Vladimir Boldyrev, said it would take about 10 days for troops not involved in manning the security zones to complete their withdrawal to Russia, moving "in columns in the established order."

That suggested Russian soldiers could still be holding territory in Georgia up to the end of August.

The European Union-sponsored cease-fire says both Russian and Georgian troops must move back to positions they held before fighting broke out Aug. 7 in South Ossetia, which has close ties to Russia. The agreement says Russian forces also can be in a security zone that extends 4.3 miles into Georgia from South Ossetia.

Russian troops are also allowed a presence on Georgian territory in a security zone along the border with Abkhazia, another separatist Georgian region, under a 1994 U.N.-approved agreement that ended a war there.

Around Georgia's main Black Sea port city of Poti — outside any security zone — signs seemed to point to a prolonged presence. Russian troops excavated trenches, set up mortars and blocked a key bridge with armored personnel carriers and trucks. Other armored vehicles and trucks parked in a nearby forest.

Officials in Poti said the city had been looted by the Russians over the past week. Associated Press journalists saw Russian troops carry tables and chairs out on armored personnel carriers Thursday as residents protested. An AP photographer and TV crew were briefly detained by armed soldiers near Poti, who seized their digital memory cards and videotapes.

Poti Mayor Vano Taginadze said Russian troops were setting up new roadblocks and "moving around in the city and looking and searching in different places." Residents in Poti demonstrated against the Russian presence, waving red-and-white Georgian flags and banners and shouting "Russian occupants go home" in English.

Some Russian troops and military vehicles were on the move, including 21 tanks an AP reporter saw heading toward Russia from inside South Ossetia. Elsewhere, tanks, armored personnel carriers and trucks were seen moving in both directions on the road from Gori to Tskhinvali.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner hailed the report of tank movements.

"We are waiting ... for the Russians to respect their word," Kouchner told reporters in Paris. "We waited twice with dashed hopes. This time, it appears that there is at least the beginning of a fulfillment."

Outside the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, several ethnic Georgian villages were burning Thursday — many days after fighting ended — and bore evidence of destruction from looting. Some Ossetians said they were not prepared to live alongside ethnic Georgians anymore.

"It's not they, it's we who will erase them from the face of Earth," said Alan Didurov, 46.

Renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, who is Ossetian, led a requiem concert for the dead Thursday night in Tskhinvali — part of an effort to win international sympathy for Russia's argument that its invasion was justified by Georgia's attempt to regain control of South Ossetia by force.

"We want everyone to know the truth about the terrible events in Tskhinvali ... with the hope that such a thing will never again happen on our land," Gergiev said before the concert, held in front of the badly damaged South Ossetian legislature before a crowd flanked by two armored personnel carriers.

In a move sure to heighten tensions, a U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer loaded with humanitarian supplies headed toward Georgia through Turkey's straits between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It was the first of three U.S. warships carrying blankets, hygiene kits and baby food to Georgia.

Paul Farley, a spokesman at the U.S. naval base in Crete, said all three would reach Georgia "within the next week." He did not give their exact destination.

The United States has carried out 20 aid flights to Georgia since Aug. 19. The U.N. estimates 158,000 people have fled their homes.

"We anticipate staying as long as there is need and helping to set up the economy, because it's very important that the economy begins to take on its normal aspects. But it depends on our ability to do full assessments throughout Georgia," Henrietta Fore, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told reporters Thursday in Washington.

Russians dig in but still promise Georgia pullout  (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 12:25:38 AM
Russia troops still in Georgia after pullout

By Gareth Jones 1 hour, 57 minutes ago

TBILISI (Reuters) - Russian soldiers stood guard at checkpoints deep inside Georgia's heartland on Saturday, drawing accusations from Washington that Moscow's military pullback did not match up to what it had promised.

Russia says it will permanently station what it calls peacekeeping troops inside Georgia to prevent new bloodshed, but Georgia and its Western allies suspect the Kremlin will use the force to keep a stranglehold on the ex-Soviet state.

Moscow sent in troops after Georgia tried to retake its breakaway South Ossetia region. Russia crushed Georgian forces and pushed on further, crossing the country's main East-West highway and moving close to a Western-backed oil pipeline.

Convoys of Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and soldiers left their positions on Friday and headed back into rebel-held territory -- a redeployment Russia said complied with a French-brokered ceasefire deal.

But Reuters reporters saw Russian soldiers digging trenches near Georgia's main Black Sea port of Poti, while Moscow said it had set up checkpoints in a "security zone" extending beyond South Ossetia into undisputed Georgian territory.

"It is my understanding that they have not completely withdrawn from areas considered undisputed territory and they need to do that," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was "deeply concerned" that Russian forces had not withdrawn to their positions before the outbreak of hostilities, as agreed.


The continued presence of Russian troops is an emotive issue for Georgians, who threw off Kremlin rule when Georgia won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

It also challenges the growing U.S. influence in the region -- a major overland trade route between Europe and Asia and a transit corridor for oil and gas exports from the Caspian Sea that is favored by the West because it bypasses Russia.

NATO has frozen contacts with Russia in a show of support for Georgia, an aspiring member of the military alliance. But despite angry rhetoric, Western states have avoided talk of specific sanctions against Moscow.

Russia's defense ministry said it had complied with the pullback set out in a ceasefire deal brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"The pullout was carried out without any incidents and was completed according to plan at 19:50 Moscow time (1550 GMT)," the ministry said in a statement.

"Peacekeeping checkpoints in the security zone have started carrying out the tasks set before them. In this way, the Russian side has implemented the agreements set out (by the presidents of Russia and France)," it said.

Russia has denied any plans to annex Georgian territory, saying it only wants to protect South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a second Georgian breakaway region, from a pro-Western Georgian leadership it accuses of dangerous aggression.

Most people in the two rebel regions hold Russian passports and do not want to be part of Georgia.


Residents in the Georgian town of Gori, occupied by Russian forces since they stormed in earlier this month, watched the soldiers pack up and leave on Friday.

"We're peaceful people," said one soldier as he waited for the order to leave the town. "We're peacekeepers."

But the Russian checkpoints still dotted across undisputed Georgian territory -- including on the highway linking the capital to the Black Sea -- emerged as the new battleground.

The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said in a report that the long-term presence of Russian troops would undermine Georgia's statehood.

"This should be strongly rejected by Western states as guaranteed to keep the dispute at boiling point, with negative ramifications for wider East-West relations," the report said.

Russia troops still in Georgia after pullout  (;_ylt=AomyNLy2qwvgRIIUbJBubyBbbBAF)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 12:30:10 AM

Yea, right. They said they would be out earlier this week per the cease fire. Seems the hook, is surely set in the jaw of the Russian machine.

They are digging in like locusts were they will assimilate in numbers then they will come forward again in larger numbers. They aren't going to leave, they will claim they need to stay for stability purposes. Well this is, my opinion only. :o :o :P

Title: Russian Flotilla"Led By Admiral Kuznestov headed for Syrian Port
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 01:07:56 AM
Russian Flotilla"Led By Admiral Kuznestov headed for Syrian Port
20 August 2008
David Eshel

Moscow is flexing its muscles again in the eastern Mediterranean, and aims to reactivate old cold war naval installations with its ally, Syria. President Bashar Assad, on his way to the Kremlin to finalize what looks to become a high profile deal invited Russia to position surface/surface missiles on his land in response to US deployment of missile interceptors in Poland. The Russians have sent their only aircraft carrier “Admiral Kuznetsov” from its home base in Murmansk, towards the Mediterranean and the Syrian port of Tartus. The mission comes after Syrian President Bashar Assad said he is open to a Russian base in the area.  The Admiral Kuznetsov, part of the Northern Fleet and Russia’s only aircraft carrier, will head a Navy mission to the area. The mission will also include the Black Sea fleet flagship, the missile cruiser Moskva, and several submarines.

On December 2007 Russia launched their frist north sea flotilla to the Mediterranean, to demonstrate its military strength. It was when Russian President Vladimir Putin alarmed Europe by finally declaring Russia's official rejection of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE), (the treaty entered into force on July 17, 1992 limiting the number of combat elements that Russia could deploy along its borders with Europe). Immediately following this declaration, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov announced sending a sortie of six Russian warships to the Mediterranean, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier. Other vessels escorting the carrier as part of the task force are Admiral Levchenko and Admiral Chabanenko anti-submarine ships, and the Sergei Osipov and Nikolai Chiker support ships. The group is expected to be joined by the flagship Moskva a guided missile cruiser and four additional ships as it arrives in the Mediterranean.

This will be the first prolonged stay of a Russian carrier to the eastern Mediterranean in waters dominated with regular patrolled by the US Sixth Fleet and in vicinity of Israel’s shores. On its decks Admiral Kuznetsov carries 47 warplanes (mostly Su-33) and 10 helicopters. The Russian Black Sea Fleet contingent, which has already set out for its new mission from Sevastopol, will rely on the naval facilities at Syria’s Tartous port. Its presence for several months will be a complication for the Israel navy’s operations opposite the Lebanese and Syrian coasts, especially if the Russians could be joined at Tartous by Iranian extended Kilo class submarines armed with the Russian-made "Sizzler" Klub-S (3M54) missile, as some unofficial Israeli sources reported. The Rusian Kuznetsov carrier group will conduct three tactical exercises, including real and simulated launch of missiles, said Serdyukov, adding 11 port visits are expected to be made.

Update - January 20, 2008: Following last week's joint exercises in the Mediterranean, the Russian naval strike group joined the Moskva missile cruiser, which left Sevastopol on January 12. The group is expected to conduct an exercise in the Atlantic Ocean, beginning January 20. The two months mission is expected to end early in February. "After this visit to the Mediterranean and France, the first in 15 years, we will establish a permanent presence in the region," Vice-Admiral Nikolai Maksimov said.

Last week, the group was split into two elements which performed joint naval exercises with the Italian and French Navies. The Russian and Italian navies practiced rescue and counter-terror operations. The two Italian vessels participating in the drill were the Frigate Espero and Bersagliere. Following the exercise part of the Russian flotilla sailed to the French naval port of Toulon, for a short rest. Their Mediterranean voyage will continue on January 17th as the elements from the Northern Fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Nicholas Maximov, will be joined by the Black Sea Fleet flagship, missile cruiser Moskva, which left Sevastopol on the 13th. The Moskva is commanded by the Vice-Admiral Vasily Kondakov, Deputy Commander of the Black Sea Fleet. As with their Italian counterparts, the French Navy is planning to hold naval exercises with the Russian visitors.

Sending such powerful Russian warships onto the Mediterranean, for any amount of time, is no small matter. With the Mediterranean having been a "NATO lake" for the past 15 years, since the demise of the Soviet Union, the simple presence of a naval Russian force will require reviewed strategy and tactics of many of western and Israeli navies.

But making matters even more complicated for NATO, the Kremlin has also decided to send a sortie of warships to the northeastern Atlantic. No less that eleven vessels from the Northern Fleet have set sail on a range of voyages that will cover much of the globe. Extending to more than 12,000 miles they are scheduled to enter ports of six countries in 71 days.

The Russian Federation Navy ASW destroyer Admiral Chabanenko at sea, tracked by the Royal Navy ship HMS Exeter. Photo: Royal NavyIn the latest twist to worsening East-West relations, NATO submarines and surface ships, which may include Royal Navy vessels, are already engaged in trying to gather information on the new Amur stealth class boat, being secretly tested by the Russian Navy in the Baltic. Adding to this greater-than-normal scrutiny effort is in part, a response to Russia's recent decision to resume long-range bomber flights close, or even penetrating into NATO airspace, which has revived memories of Cold War confrontation between the two blocs. In fact, twice during last summer, Russian Tu-95 Bear nuclear bombers have been spotted heading towards British airspace off Scotland, prompting the RAF to send fast reaction interceptors to head them off.

cont'd next post

Title: Re: Russian Flotilla"Led By Admiral Kuznestov headed for Syrian Port
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 01:08:36 AM
The prospect of Russia reactivating its cold war naval bases in Syria's Tartus and Latakia ports, could have a most dramatic strategic impact. High-profile air defense missiles and surveillance systems deployment around any Russian-manned installations in Syrian ports, might also shift the military balance to Israel's disadvantage, or even threaten a clash between Israel and Russian forces, as happened during the later stages of the so-called War of Attrition in 1970, along the Suez Canal.

The Russian Black Sea fleet's 720th Logistics Support Point at Tartus has been in disuse since 1991, when the Soviet Union imploded. Yet it remains the only Russian military base outside the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States territory. Last year Russia reportedly dredged Tartus and began building a new dock at Latakia.

The Syrian ports are invaluable for the Russian navy as an alternative naval base, provided that their security could be assured, by a viable air defense barrier - The Moskva with 64 SN-A-6 missiles on board (navalized S-300) will be able to provide such capability

Israeli analysts believe that the present and rather unprecedented Russian strategic decision - sending such an impressive naval sortie into the eastern Mediterranean - could have resulted from Israel's still mysterious foray into Syrian air defense, during the air strike on an alleged nuclear development or weapon assembly site. According to Aviation Week - who interviewed the retired Brigadier General Pinchas Burchris, director general of Israel's Ministry of Defense, before the Israeli fighter aircraft ingress, a main Syrian radar site was struck with a combination of electronic attack and precision weapons, causing complete black-out of the entire Syrian air defense system which relied exclusively on Russian produced and installed equipment. Aviation Week claims this event may have been one of the first examples of offensive and defensive network attacks that included higher-level, non-tactical network penetrations.

No precise information, nor confirmation of the AW&ST report was released by Israeli official authorities, but the very fact that non-stealth jet fighters managed to enter unscathed into the highly sophisticated Russian supplied air defense barrier, built painstakingly during decades, since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, speaks for itself. It certainly must have caused Moscow considerable embarrassment, over the lack of performance of their latest sophisticated air defense systems sold for hard cash to Mid Eastern Muslim nations.

But not embarrassment alone, painful as it was, could have triggered Moscow to such a rapid reaction. The Russian navy is under growing pressure from Ukraine to withdraw the Black Sea Fleet from its traditional deployment at Sevastopol by 2017. Some recent incidents has sharpened this into, sofar minor, clashes with local elements, but the warnings are out in clear: "get out - you are no longer wanted here"!

The 'Kiev Post' noted that the Black Sea fleet's lease on its Sevastopol base is "hostage" to Ukraine's volatile relations with Moscow - which will expire in 2017, necessitating a renegotiation or withdrawal. The Russian Black Sea Fleet base already boosted security at its navigational facilities, amid a dispute with Ukraine authorities, over a lighthouse, linked to the fleet in the Crimean city of Yalta. The Russian move came after Ukraine threatened to take over all the navigational facilities of the Black Sea Fleet. The dispute emerged when the staff of a Ukrainian state company seized the lighthouse and denied Russian servicemen access to the lighthouse.

All this would render the Syrian ports invaluable for an alternative naval base, provided that their security could be assured, by a viable air defense barrier, safeguarding them from any future Israeli, or US attack, or even surveillance activities. Bolstering such an air defense can be enhanced by the long-term presence in off-shore deployment of high-profile warships, mounting sophisticated airpower (Su-33 fighters) and air defense armament, such as the Admiral Kuznetsov's 3K95 Kinzhal missile system, the navalized version of the TOR and the Slava class Moskva's SA-N-6 Grumble navalized version of the S-300 (SA-10).

Another aspect of the new Russian Med deployment is intelligence. Israeli electronic warfare experts warn that the presence of a strong Russian naval force, most likely based in the Syrian port of Tartus, would represent a significant strengthening of Russian intelligence gathering capabilities in the region. The Russian navy is considered to have high-quality electronic equipment capable of observing new weapons systems and intercepting communications, which could become high-value assets to Syria and Iran. Russian intelligence maintained constant presence for several decades in international waters, where listening ships, camouflaged as fishing boats were positioned continuously off the Israeli coast, gathering electronic and communications. This activity continued at least through the 1990s.

Whatever the latest Russian foray might signal, one thing is clear, the Mediterranean will soon become a new 'Cold War' type contest between Western and Russian navies, which will heat up substantially once the new Russian fourth generation Project 955 Borey class submarines, armed with Bulava missiles also enter into the fray.

Russian Flotilla"Led By Admiral Kuznestov headed for Syrian Port (

Title: Russia-Syria weapons deal alarms US
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 05:54:24 PM
Russia-Syria weapons deal alarms US
The United States has said it is "very concerned" about reports that Russia was planning to sell weapons to Syria.
22 Aug 2008

Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said he was ready to deliver "defensive" weapons to the Arab state when the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Moscow on Thursday.

"We are obviously very concerned about reports that Russia may be providing weapons systems to Syria," said the State Department spokesman Robert Wood. "We have always said to the Russians that these sales should not go forward, they don't contribute to regional stability and, again, I urge them not to go through with these sales if there is any intent to go through with them."

The warning followed an Israeli statement that the weapons sales could "destabilise" the balance of power in the Middle East.

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, now plans to visit Moscow in early September to try to persuade President Dmitry Medvedev to abandon any arms deal.

"Depending on the nature of the deal, he may try to block it," an aide to Mr Olmert said of the planned trip.

The Jewish state is particularly worried about the prospect of Syria obtaining anti-tank or anti-aircraft missiles that could then be channelled to Hizbollah in Lebanon.

Israel fears its own history of arms sales to Georgia could provoke Russia into a retaliatory move after the recent conflict in the Caucasus.

"A reinforcement of links between Damascus and Moscow amounts to a very negative development," said Tazhi Hanegvi, head of the Israeli parliament's foreign affairs committee. "It would push Syria to adopt an irresponsible and adventurist policy."

Despite the tension, however, Israel and Syria are engaged in indirect peace talks for the first time in eight years.

Syria is hoping to negotiate an Israeli withdrawal from territory in the Golan Heights, which Israel seized during the six day war in 1967.

Russia-Syria weapons deal alarms US (

Title: Russian forces at Georgian port despite pullback
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 05:56:18 PM
Russian forces at Georgian port despite pullback

By Niko Mchedlishvili 11 minutes ago

POTI, Georgia (Reuters) - Russia said on Saturday its troops would patrol one of Georgia's main Black Sea ports, defying Western demands for a complete pullback to positions held before fighting broke out over a Georgian rebel region.

Moscow said it had honored a ceasefire deal by pulling back most of its forces, but troops remained deep inside Georgia on what the Kremlin calls a peacekeeping operation.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped broker a ceasefire in the two-week-old confrontation, urged Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to order his forces out of the port of Poti in a telephone conversation on Saturday.

"President Sarkozy insisted it was important that Russian troops present at the Poti/Senaki area should withdraw as soon as possible," said a statement from the French government, which holds the EU presidency.

The tone contrasted with the Kremlin readout of the same conversation, which said Sarkozy had given a "positive assessment" of the Russian pullout.

The conflict erupted on August 7-8 when Georgia tried to retake South Ossetia in a conflict in which hundreds were killed and tens of thousands displaced.

A Russian counter-offensive pushed into Georgia proper, crossing its main East-West highway and nearing a Western-backed oil pipeline. They also moved into Western Georgia from Abkhazia, a second rebel region on the Black Sea.

Poti, which is economically vital for Georgia, lies outside the security zone Russia says is covered by its peacekeeping mandate and is hundreds of kilometers (miles) from breakaway South Ossetia province, the focus of the war.

A group of 20 Russian soldiers manned a checkpoint on the main road leading to Poti on Saturday, but did not stop traffic. Up to 1,000 Georgians gathered to protest.

"While we are still alive we will not allow them to stay here," said 60-year-old Roland Silagava.

Russia says the patrols are in line with the French-brokered ceasefire which said Russian troops must return to positions held before the war over South Ossetia. But it allowed peacekeepers to take unspecified "additional security measures."


Sarkozy said on August 16 such measures could only be used in the "immediate proximity of South Ossetia."

Paris said Sarkozy and Medvedev agreed on the urgency of setting up an international mechanism under the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to replace Russian patrols in the buffer zone south of South Ossetia.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said only peacekeepers from countries acceptable to South Ossetian and Abkhazian separatists could be effective in the region, and made clear they will not accept anyone apart from Russians.

Moscow says its peacekeepers are needed to prevent further bloodshed. Tbilisi and its Western allies say they will help give Russia a stranglehold over a country that lies on a transit route for energy exports from the Caspian Sea.

The U.S. envoy to the Caucasus said Russia had hastened Georgia's bid for NATO membership with its military actions. Moscow sees Georgia and other ex-Soviet republics as part of its legitimate sphere of influence and opposes them joining NATO.

"I think what Russia has done now is the strongest catalyst it could have created to get Georgia in NATO," U.S. envoy Matthew Bryza told Ekho Moskvy radio.


The Georgian parliament voted to keep its armed forces on a state of heightened readiness and reservists mobilized.

The conflict has left the United States, NATO and the European Union groping for a response. Beyond freezing NATO's contacts with Russia, the West looks to have little influence over Russia, one of its main energy suppliers.

A U.S. trade official said Russia's actions could affect its membership of the Group of Eight industrialized nations and its bid to join the World Trade Organization.

Moscow set itself a deadline of Friday night to complete its pullback and by Saturday large swathes of Georgia were free of Russian forces for the first time in two weeks.

A Reuters cameraman saw Russian armor queuing two to three kilometers to get through the Roki tunnel which leads out of South Ossetia to Russia, and Reuters witnesses saw troops and armor leaving Abkhazia, about 80 km (50 miles) from Poti.

Russian checkpoints were gone from the main highway linking the capital to the Black Sea, an economic lifeline.

In the town of Gori near to South Ossetia, the target of Russian bombing and extensive looting, the food market re-opened and elderly women swept up broken glass from the streets.

But 6 km (4 miles) to the north, a Reuters reporter saw Russian soldiers at a checkpoint in the village of Karaleti, where Georgia says Moscow has no right to station troops.

Russia denies any plans to annex Georgian territory but also says it is hard to envisage the rebel regions rejoining Georgia.

Russian forces at Georgian port despite pullback (;_ylt=AnxF8eEIHpDP5esYdoySCC6s0NUE)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 05:58:18 PM
Russia aims to keep control of Georgian port city

By BELA SZANDELSZKY, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 39 minutes ago

POTI, Georgia - Thousands of Georgians demanded that Russian troops leave the outskirts of this strategic Black Sea port on Saturday and took to the streets in protest, while a top Russian general said his country's forces would keep patrolling the area.

The comments by deputy head of the general staff Col.-Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, reported by Russian news agencies, showed that despite protests from the United States, France and Britain, Russia was confident enough to occupy whatever part of Georgia it deemed necessary.

"Russian military: You are not a liberating military, you are an occupying force!" one man shouted at the Poti protest. Banners read "Say No to War" and "Russia go home."

On Friday, Russia said it had pulled back forces from Georgia in accordance with a EU-brokered cease-fire agreement.

"There are very specific requirements for Russian withdrawal. Putting up permanent facilities and checkpoints are inconsistent with the agreement. We are in contact with the various parties to obtain clarification," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's office said he had pressed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a phone conversation Saturday to quickly remove Russian troops from an axis between the Georgian towns of Poti and Senaki.

Russia's pullback on Friday came two weeks to the day after thousands of Russian soldiers roared into the former Soviet republic following an assault by Georgian forces on the separatist region of South Ossetia. The fighting left hundreds dead and nearly 160,000 people homeless.

It also has deeply strained relations between Moscow and the West. Russia has frozen its military cooperation with NATO, Moscow's Cold War foe, underscoring a growing division in Europe.

On Saturday, residents of the strategic central city of Gori began returning. Chaotic crowds of people and cars were jammed outside the city as Georgian police tried to control the mass return by setting up makeshift checkpoints.

Those who were let through came back to find a city battered by bombs, suffering from food shortages and gripped by anguish.

Surman Kekashvili, 37, stayed in Gori, taking shelter in a basement after his apartment was destroyed by a Russian bomb. Several days ago, he tried to bury three relatives killed by the bomb, placing what body parts he could find in a shallow grave covered by a burnt log, a rock and a piece of scrap metal.

"I took only a foot and some of a torso. I could not get the other bodies out," he said.

His next-door neighbor, Frosia Dzadiashvili, found most of her apartment destroyed, leaving only a room the size of a broom closet to stay in.

"I have nothing. My neighbors feed me if they have food to share," the 70-year-old woman said.

The Russian tanks and troops are now gone from Gori — but other Russian troops are just up the road at a new Russian checkpoint. On Saturday afternoon, several thousand protesters waving Georgian flags approached the Russian position on the outskirts of Gori. Some soldiers came out of their trenches, but there was no clash.

Russian troops also held positions in trenches they had dug near a bridge that provides the only access to Poti. Tanks and armored personnel carriers were parked nearby. Russian troops hoisted both Russian flags and the flag of the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS, the union of former Soviet republics that Georgia recently announced it had left.

Emotions ran high as protesters approached a Russian position, but direct confrontation was avoided.

"They have the CIS flag, and that flag is not our Georgian flag," said protester Sulkhan Tolordava. "Georgia is not a member of this organization, so the troops must leave very quickly."

Russia interprets the cease-fire accord as allowing it to keep a substantial military presence in Georgia because of earlier peacekeeping agreements that ended fighting in the separatist areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the 1990s.

But even though Poti is completely outside the buffer zone for Abkhazia, Nogovitsyn said Russian troops are not leaving and will patrol the city.

"Poti is not in the security zone, but that doesn't mean that we will sit behind the fence and watch as they drive around in Hummers," Nogovitsyn said, making an acid reference to four U.S. Humvees the Russians seized in Poti this week. The vehicles were used in previous joint U.S.-Georgian military exercises.

Russian forces also set up a checkpoint near Senaki, the home of a major military base in western Georgia that Georgian troops retook on Saturday. AP video footage of the base Saturday showed it had been heavily looted.

And in South Ossetia, Russian troops erected 18 peacekeeping posts in the "security zone" and planned to build another 18 peacekeeping posts around Abkhazia. A total of 2,600 heavily armed troops the Russians call peacekeepers will be deployed in those regions.

Russia, Georgia and the West are certain to continue the diplomatic struggle over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Russian parliament was expected to discuss recognizing the independence of the separatist regions Monday.

In some devastated Georgian towns, the only visitors Saturday were looters, arriving in trucks and cars to take whatever they could find.

In the village of Kekhvi, the ethnic Georgian homes had been burned. An AP reporter saw Ossetian men hauling away cutlery, electronics, blankets, foodstuffs and even Orthodox icons in a looting campaign driven by opportunism and revenge. Some looters even came to pluck ripe peaches off the trees.

"This is not looting, this is trophies," said Garik Meriyev, 32, a stubbled South Ossetian dressed in green camouflage pants, a black baseball cap and dusty jackboots.

He and four other men loaded their yellow Russian-made minibus Saturday with metal pipes, timber and bricks from a burned down house.

"All of this will be destroyed anyway," he said. "But now these things will serve me."

Russia aims to keep control of Georgian port city  (;_ylt=AiHnpjnVWn1BaR_eN2KRtMlg.3QA)

Title: Talk of Russia-Cuba ties seen as warning to U.S.
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 06:01:07 PM
Talk of Russia-Cuba ties seen as warning to U.S.

By Jeff Franks Sat Aug 23, 7:38 AM ET

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba and Russia have stirred memories of their Cold War alliance with recent talk of restoring "traditional" ties in what experts said was a warning to their old adversary, the United States.

Russia, once the island's top economic benefactor and military ally, has hinted at re-establishing a military presence in Cuba in a tit-for-tat for U.S. activities in Eastern Europe, including plans for a missile defense system, they said.

"Russia is clearly irritated at what it perceives as U.S. meddling in its neighborhood," said Cuba expert Phil Peters at the Lexington Institute in Virginia. "It seems to be sending a message that if you play on our periphery, we'll play in yours."

The ghost of Cuba-Russia relations past was raised last month by a news report that Russia might use Cuba as a refueling base for its nuclear-capable bombers. The Russian Defense Ministry later denied the report.

Such action would cross a "red line," said a U.S. Air Force general in language that brought to mind the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when the United States and Russia, then the Soviet Union, almost went to war over Soviet missile bases on the island 90 miles from Florida.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin went to Havana this month on what was billed as an economic trip and, accompanied by Russian Security Council Secretary Gen. Nikolai Patrushev, and met with Cuban President Raul Castro.

The security council, which guides Russian national security policy, said in a following statement the two countries planned "consistent work to restore traditional relations in all areas of cooperation."

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin chimed in later, saying, "We need to re-establish positions on Cuba and in other countries."

But analysts said Russia was a lot more likely to get increased trade with Cuba than it was military cooperation.

"It's impossible to imagine that anyone in the Cuban leadership would want to put their country in the bull's eye of another superpower showdown reminiscent of the missile crisis," said Brian Latell, a former CIA analyst now at the University of Miami.


"The military talk seems to be bluster on Moscow's part," Peters said. "Cuba has nothing to gain from a military relationship, which would be high-risk and out of character with the steady renovation of diplomatic relationships" under Raul Castro.

Moscow gave Cuba billions of dollars worth of aid during their long alliance and at the height of their dominance, stationed thousands of troops and advisers on the island.

When the Soviet Union unraveled in 1991, the aid dried up, Cuba plunged into a deep economic crisis and then-leader Fidel Castro accused his former communist ally of betrayal.

That bitter experience has not been forgotten in Havana and may contribute to Cuban reluctance to do anything more than business deals with the Russians, said Frank Mora at the National War College in Washington.

"As I've heard dozens of times over the years from Cubans on the island, the 'bolos' (Russians) are not to be trusted," he said.

The Soviet collapse also taught the Cubans the danger of depending on one ally, which dovetails with another Russian goal, said Dan Erikson at Inter-American Dialogue in Washington.

"Russia seeks to reassert itself as a world power, which includes a renewed presence in Latin America, while Cuba wants to diversify its economic partners to reduce its dependence on Venezuela," he said, referring to Cuba's current top ally and trading partner.

Venezuela did $2.7 billion in trade with Cuba last year, compared to just $362 million for Russia.

After Sechin's visit, the Cubans described the Russians' talk with Raul Castro as "cordial and friendly" and said both sides stressed the "reactivation of economic ties."

They did not mention possible military ties but on August 10 Raul Castro issued a declaration supporting Russia in its military clash with Georgia after the former Soviet republic sent troops to try to reclaim the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia.

He accused Georgia of launching its attack "in complicity" with its ally, the United States.

Talk of Russia-Cuba ties seen as warning to U.S. (;_ylt=AtrnpoPNrVqkKiyukkyd7rN0bBAF)

Title: How Strong Is Russia?
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 06:02:57 PM
How Strong Is Russia?
Experts Are Divided, but U.S. Intelligence Believes Russia's Military May Be World's Second Strongest

Aug. 22, 2008 —

Is the bear back?     (I believe so..... DW)

The Russian bear is roaring angrily as its former Soviet satellites forge closer ties with the West. But as Russia makes threats and takes steps to curb perceived Western encroachment on its border, just how much of a threat is it?

Experts say Russia's options are limited, but warn it should not be ignored.

Independent experts are divided on the extent of Russia's strength. However, American intelligence believes Russia's military may have rebounded to become the second most powerful in the world, behind only the United States, after suffering from mismanagement and insufficient resources after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Military spending increased several-fold under former President Vladimir Putin, buoyed by booming oil and gas revenues.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice voiced her concern about Russia's military might in an interview with ABC News during a trip to Moscow last year.

"I think the rapid growth in Russian military spending definitely bears watching," she told ABC's Jonathan Karl.

This week Russia threatened Poland, its former Soviet satellite, after Warsaw inked a deal allowing the United States to place 10 interceptor missiles on Polish territory.

"Russia, in this case, will have to react and not only through diplomatic protests," Russia's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, this just days after a top Russian general warned Warsaw it could face a nuclear attack if it went ahead with the deal.

The United States insists the missiles are meant to defend against attacks from rogue countries like Iran, but Russia feels threatened by a U.S. missile system so close to its border.

Rice downplayed Russia's threat and reminded Moscow that Poland's membership in NATO means the United States is obligated to defend it against attack.

"An attack upon one is an attack upon all, and that's the strongest possible guarantee you can have," Rice told reporters.

So, how credible is Russia's threat against Poland?

"The Russians aren't about to launch some military action to the Poles, but they might take some specific measures to counter it, like moving short-range missiles closer to the border," said Stephen Flanagan, director of the International Security Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies.

"I think it's mostly saber rattling, but we ignore it at our own peril -- as we learned in Georgia," Flanagan said.

While Poland can count on NATO ensuring its security, Georgia, a fellow former Soviet republic, failed to get into NATO earlier this year and recently had to defend against Russia alone.

Just hours after Georgia struck targets in the separatist region of South Ossetia two weeks ago, Russian troops rolled into the breakaway territory. They swept through South Ossetia and moved swiftly into undisputed Georgian territory without much resistance from Georgian troops.

Soon, thousands of Russian troops and hundreds of tanks had crossed the border. Within days, Russian troops, with support from aerial bombers, had secured Georgian towns, military installations and key transport routes throughout the country.

Experts on the Russian military, however, offer mixed reviews of its performance in Georgia.

"The way they conducted the operation was like a well-oiled machine, but that's not to say the Russian military is a well-oiled machine," said Felix Chang, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

However, Chang was quick to point out that in the conflict, Georgia's smaller army was hardly a challenge to the Russians.

"By Saturday morning, the Georgian political leadership decided not to resist and began a military withdrawal, so it was not a true test," he said.

In an analysis of the conflict published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute, Chang argued that Russia's offensive in Georgia "does demonstrate the Russian military's renewed ability to prosecute a relatively complex, high-intensity combined arms operation."

Retired Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, a former defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, however, was not impressed with the Russian troops, saying they looked "ragtag."

"The Russians were not that stellar in the execution of this operation," he said. "I think it's more a case of the lack of an opponent in South Ossetia and a lack of an army to fight when they got there than it is a credit to the Russians."

Russia's push into Georgia was not perfect. Several Russian military planes were shot down by the Georgians, despite a Georgian air defense system that Flanagan described as "limited."

That all may be welcome news to Ukraine, another of Russia's neighbors that is seeking to enter NATO and is wary Moscow may try to head off its plans for a closer relationship with the West.

Experts caution, however, that the situations in Ukraine and Georgia are very different.

"Ukraine's military is much larger. It's a much larger country," Flanagan said. "It's not an easy target."

During the 1990s, Russia's military capability declined significantly. After the Soviet Union's collapse, the military was underfunded and under-resourced.

Nowhere was that more evident than in Chechnya, where Russia was bogged down for years fighting separatist forces that were more lightly armed.

Although Russia may now have a larger and more powerful military, experts also argue it lacks the ability to project that power far from its border.

"But most people don't want to find out how credible [that] threat is," Flanagan said.

How Strong Is Russia? (

Title: Russia, Iran, Libya, Jordan, Abdullah, Medvedev discuss cooperation agreement
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 06:09:04 PM
Russia, Iran, Libya, Jordan, Abdullah, Medvedev discuss cooperation agreement
Jordanian king makes official visit to Moscow ahead of possible signing of collaboration agreement between countries
Roee Nahmias

Russian-Jordanian cooperation received a "very strong push" with a visit conducted by King Abdullah II of Jordan to Moscow, the London-based al-Hayat reported Saturday.

The Jordanian king arrived Friday for an official visit to Russia after being invited by President Dmitry Medvedev. During his two-day stay Abdullah met with Russian Premier Vladimir Putin and discussed a number of subjects with him. 

Russian sources were quoted by al-Hayat as saying that both sides are willing to sign a new collaboration agreement.

On Friday Abdullah toured a Russian military camp near Moscow, where he was treated to a presentation of Russia's advanced weaponry. As part of the show, Abdullah watched the launching of a shoulder-held RPG-32 anti-missile rocket, still in experimental stages.

According to the report, the two countries plan to construct a model similar to the experimental rocket in Jordan. Jordanian officials said the rocket would provide for the country's military needs and that Jordan would receive product marketing rights in the Middle East and other regions.

The Jordanian king also plans to travel to the Black Sea coastal town of Sochi, where a meeting with Medvedev is scheduled for Sunday. Recently Medvedev visited Sochi in order to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

During the meeting, Assad offered Medvedev the right to deploy Russian missiles within Syrian territory, in response to US military involvement in Poland.

The Syrian president may have been referring to the Russian S-300 anti-plane missiles, which could threaten US aircrafts in the Middle East. The missiles, placed on Syrian territory, would also make an Israeli air strike more difficult.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that his country is considering fulfilling Assad's bid for new Russian artillery, but did not specify the type of weaponry Damascus has asked to buy.

Russia's Itar-Tas news agency reported Lavrov said the weapons were defense related, and "would not harm the region's strategic balance." The foreign minister spoke about the matter after a meeting with Medvedev and Assad.

Russia, Iran, Libya, Jordan, Abdullah, Medvedev discuss cooperation agreement (,2506,L-3586514,00.html)

Everyone of these players have a major role to play in the near future...........

Russia's Itar-Tas news agency reported Lavrov said the weapons were defense related, and "would not harm the region's strategic balance."

I wonder if he blinked, and missed the news.

Title: RMoscow 'lying about pullout'
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 06:12:47 PM
Moscow 'lying about pullout'
23 August 2008

GORI, Georgia: Russia said yesterday it had completed its pullout of troops from Georgia proper, but the White House swiftly rejected Moscow's claim that it was now in compliance with a French-brokered ceasefire.

Russia said it had left peacekeepers manning checkpoints inside Georgia. But a senior Georgian official accused Russia of lying about having completed its troop pullout, saying Russian forces still occupied areas of the country.

"It is not true that the withdrawal is complete," Interior Ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said, adding that Russian forces continued to hold positions in the west of the country.

"They cannot stay in Senaki and Poti. Their presence there is illegal," he said.

"The pullout was carried out without any incidents and was completed according to plan," the Russian Defence Ministry said.

Washington said the pullout remained unsatisfactory. The top US general in Europe John Craddock, on a visit to Tbilisi, described the Russian pullout, after fighting that has killed hundreds and made refugees of tens of thousands, as "far too little, far too slow".

"The fact of the pullout of occupying forces from the main towns, under enormous pressure from the international community, is a good start and a step in the right direction," Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy spoke with his US counterpart George W Bush and a statement from Sarkozy's office said the two men had spoken by telephone, but it did not directly say they agreed that Russia was not in compliance with the ceasefire agreement.

Georgian police were back in control of Gori after Russian troops pulled out of the city. National Security Council secretary Kakha Lomaia said Russian troops had left Gori but they appeared to have mined a military base.

South Ossetia's leader Eduard Kokoity assured the UN that Georgians returning to the breakaway region would not face discrimination.

Russian buffer zones inside Georgia would violate the spirit of the ceasefire agreement, Alexander Stubb, chairman of the Organisation of Security and Co-operation in Europe said.

Moscow 'lying about pullout'  (

Title: Ukraine fears it may be the next target for Russia
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 06:14:47 PM
Ukraine fears it may be the next target for Russia
Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:22pm EDT

By Elizabeth Piper

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine fears it could be the next target of Russia's campaign to reassert influence over countries it long dominated in the Soviet Union, with Moscow well placed to foment separatist feelings in its Russian-speaking regions.

Ukraine stood by Georgia in its war with Russia over the region of South Ossetia. President Viktor Yushchenko traveled to Georgia to show his support and announced tougher rules on Russian naval movements from a base in Ukraine.

And in a departure from his usual careful balancing act between Russian and Western interests, Yushchenko attacked Russia over South Ossetia in a way more akin to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Some political analysts say that could heighten the risk.

"When Ukraine prioritizes its national interests, it goes against Russia's interests and, of course, there will be conflict," said Viktor Chumak, an analyst for Ukraine's International Centre for Policy Studies.

"And Russia has broken through a psychological barrier to start this kind of war on former Soviet territory ... Georgia had created itself in the shape of an enemy of Russia, and many in Russia already see us in the same way ... We probably rank third in the list of Russia's leading enemies."

Both born out of bloodless revolutions, one orange and one rose, Yushchenko and Saakashvili's administrations want to join NATO, the European Union and secure close ties with the United States.

Like Georgia, Ukraine was not put on the fast-track to NATO membership at the alliance's summit last April, but was promised it would be allowed in one day.

All of this has angered Russia which is fearful of having the Western military alliance on its doorstep.

Other former Soviet republics have also been considering their rankings. Moldova, whose Communist government has courted the West rather than traditional ally Russia, fears it has taken the same path as Georgia and has Russian peacekeepers patrolling in its separatist Transdniestria region.

Even Belarus's leader, Alexander Lukashenko, initially distanced himself from the war, which was criticized in the West. But subsequently, at Moscow's prompting, he praised Russia's "wisdom" in the way it handled the crisis.


Analysts say the Crimea region in southern Ukraine could be used by Russia to destabilize Ukraine. It hosts Russia's Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol and the majority of people living there are ethnic Russians.

Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine could also provide fertile ground, the analysts say.

Chumak said Russia could take advantage if Ukrainian politicians failed to resolve their differences and continued to let legislation slide. Yushchenko and his prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, have sparred over almost all policy decisions since she came to power in December.

"In that situation then Russia will start playing games, start provoking Ukraine, especially with Crimea," he said.

Yushchenko was quick to call on the West to protect Georgia's territorial integrity.

"When we think about our position on Georgia, I have no doubts ... The loss of sovereignty, putting into doubt the territorial integrity of Georgia -- this means revising the sovereignty of all," Yushchenko, swept to power by the 2004 "Orange revolution", said in a statement.

Russia could also hold Ukraine ransom over its gas supplies. Moscow controls about 80 percent of Ukraine's supplies and in 2006 Russia cut supplies to Ukraine over a pricing dispute.

"There is a reason to be wary in the short-term future, there is a threat in that Ukraine is similar to Georgia in terms of what has happened in recent years," said political analyst Oleksander Dergachev.

"But I find it difficult to think that the threat posed is a military one. Russia relies on the fact that it has more of an influence over Ukraine economically."

Most analysts cautioned against scare-mongering and said Ukraine could avoid confrontation by taking a pragmatic stance first and then reforming its economy in the long-term.

"If Ukraine sorts out its domestic situation and consolidates its foreign policy in terms of European and Atlantic integration and this goes at a good pace then we can avoid the South Ossetian scenario," Chumak said.

"I mean there is no stronger enemy to Ukraine than Ukraine itself, especially its politicians."

Ukraine fears it may be the next target for Russia (

Title: Re: Moscow 'lying about pullout'
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 06:19:25 PM

Russia is using the Iranian playbook. The Russian  idea of "peacekeeping" certainly is interesting, isn't it?? Invade a country and then sit there!! Yet all the Russians seem to do is talk, talk, talk, and talk some more.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 23, 2008, 06:51:25 PM
Russia is using the Iranian playbook. The Russian  idea of "peacekeeping" certainly is interesting, isn't it?? Invade a country and then sit there!! Yet all the Russians seem to do is talk, talk, talk, and talk some more.

The "Mother-Land" sure seems to be a busy little bee.  This will be interesting.

Title: Russia seeks to restore its prestige in the Holy Land
Post by: Shammu on August 23, 2008, 07:08:41 PM
Russia seeks to restore its prestige in the Holy Land

by Catherine Dupeyron Fri Aug 22, 12:19 PM ET

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Eager to revive its prestige in the Holy Land, Russia is pressing a claim to ownership of an historic Jerusalem building formerly owned by a tsarist prince and which once housed aristocratic pilgrims.

The 19th century Sergei Building is in the centre of Jerusalem and at the heart of complex negotiations in which even British royal consort Prince Philip has been mentioned as a potential, though unlikely, heir.

The Russian state had initially hoped to take possession in June of the impressive property that once belonged to Prince Sergei, a brother of Tsar Alexander III.

Since 1948, the building, topped by a crenellated tower, has housed the Israeli agriculture ministry and other agencies and been administered by the government's custodian general, responsible for property listed as abandoned.

A tangle of legal issues has held up the transfer, but Moscow remains determined to push the deal through and revive the building's past.

"We want to restore our historic heritage in the Holy land," says Russia's charge d'affaires in Israel, Anatoli Yurkov, who believes the deal could be completed as early as next month.

Imperial Russia was, in the 19th century, the first European power to organise mass pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Sergei Building, then known as the Sergei Imperial Hospice, was a kind of five-star hotel for pilgrims, housing only aristocrats and other well-heeled Russians.

It is now one of several historic buildings in the Russian Compound, which also includes the 19th century Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Some of the land in the Russian Compound was sold to Israel by the Soviet Union in the 1960s in what became known as the "oranges deal" because the young and cash-strapped Jewish state made part of the payment in citrus fruits.

Officially atheist during the decades of communist rule, Russia's political establishment is now "responding in part to the Russian Church's desire to return to the Holy Land," says Alexandre Zanemonets, who teaches Byzantine history at Haifa University.

The desire to reclaim ownership of the historic buildings also "reflects the Russian people's interest in their Christian roots," he says.

Negotiations over the Sergei Building have been complicated by the fact the building was the private property of Prince Sergei. "That means the Russian state was not automatically entitled to this property," says Zanemonets.

Prince Sergei, who died in 1905, had no children.

But because of the British royal family has distant ties to the Romanovs, Prince Philip is a potential heir. "This may be the case, but it's an indirect right, and as far as I know he is not claiming the property," says Yurkov.

The diplomat says a deal was reached in January but that "problems on the Israeli side have caused delays."

Israeli officials say once the ownership hurdle is cleared, further negotiations will be needed to end the lease of the current tenants, the agriculture ministry and the society for the protection of nature.

Once the tenants have left, Russia wants to turn the building back to its original use, to house pilgrims.

In the Soviet era, barely 1,000 Russian pilgrims a year visited the Holy Land, but since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union the number of Russians retracing the steps of Jesus Christ has grown steadily, reaching 200,000 in 2007, a 163 percent increase over the previous year.

A further increase is expected now that Israel and Russia have reached a bilateral agreement to do away with visa requirements as of October.

Russia seeks to restore its prestige in the Holy Land  (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 23, 2008, 11:53:46 PM
Russia really has no shame.  I can see the writing on the wall....

Title: Russia warns Moldova against "Georgian mistake"
Post by: Shammu on August 25, 2008, 11:46:45 PM
Russia warns Moldova against "Georgian mistake"
Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:31am EDT

By Denis Dyomkin

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned ex-Soviet Moldova on Monday against repeating Georgia's mistake of trying to use force to seize back control of a breakaway region.

Russia sent peacekeepers to Moldova in the early 1990s to end a conflict between Chisinau and its breakaway Transdniestria region and is trying to mediate a deal between the two sides.

Transdniestria, one of a number of "frozen conflicts" on the territory of the former Soviet Union, mirrored the standoff between Georgia and its rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia until they erupted in war earlier this month.

Russia sent troops to Georgia to crush Tbilisi's military push into South Ossetia and Moscow says Georgia has now lost the chance of ever re-integrating the breakaway provinces.

"After the Georgian leadership lost their marbles, as they say, all the problems got worse and a military conflict erupted," Medvedev told Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin.

"This is a serious warning, a warning to all," he added. "And I believe we should handle other existing conflicts in this context."

As the two leaders spoke in Medvedev's Black Sea residence in Sochi, Russian lawmakers were voting non-binding resolutions urging the Kremlin to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states.

That would be a nightmare scenario for Moldova which fears Russia could recognize Transdniestria, a pro-Moscow region in Moldova.

Medvedev, keen to limit diplomatic damage caused by the Russian operation in Georgia, made clear Moldova had no reason to worry for now.

"We have agreed ... to meet and discuss the Transdniestria settlement," he told Voronin. "I think there is a good reason to do this today. I see good prospects of reaching a settlement."

Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalya Timakova later told reporters the two leaders had agreed to hold a fresh round of talks on Transdniestria soon.

"Russia is ready to continue its efforts towards finally solving the Transdniestrian crisis," she told reporters.

Russia is currently trying to forge a deal between Chisinau and Transdniestrian separatists which would keep the rebel region as part of Moldova but give it broad autonomy.

The Russian-brokered deal would also allow Transdniestria to leave Moldova should the former Soviet state decide to join their ethnic kin in EU member Romania.

Several years ago, Moldova rejected a similar deal under a strong pressure from NATO. But now Voronin appears to treat the Russian mediation more favorably.

The Moldovan leader told Medvedev he had indeed learned the lesson: "Thank God, during all these years...we had enough brains and reserve not to allow a similar deterioration of situation."

"Frozen conflicts are a real volcano which can blow up anytime," Voronin added. "That is why taking into account what had happened elsewhere it would be useful if we exercised again such wisdom not to allow such things to repeat in our country."

Russia warns Moldova against "Georgian mistake" (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 26, 2008, 03:26:59 AM
"After the Georgian leadership lost their marbles, as they say, all the problems got worse and a military conflict erupted," Medvedev told Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin.

"This is a serious warning, a warning to all," he added. "And I believe we should handle other existing conflicts in this context."

I have noticed and I'm too tired to try and find the quotes from other articles tonight, that the Russians sure aren't lead to use any diplomacy or political correctness when they talk.   
;D :o ;D  Quite barbaric.

Title: Russia seeks Chinese support as West warns of new dangers
Post by: Shammu on August 27, 2008, 11:36:31 PM
Russia seeks Chinese support as West warns of new dangers
By Damien McElroy
27 Aug 2008

Russia sought to bolster its diplomatic position in its stand off with the West over Georgia today by dispatching President Dmitry Medvedev to meet his Chinese counterpart.

Mr Medvedev was to meet President Hu Jintao at a Central Asian security summit in Tajikistan in an encounter that is unlikely to yield the sort of criticism that Russia has attracted from Europe and America over its actions in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

China has kept a diplomatic silence over events in Georgia so far. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang refused to endorse Russia's decision to recognise the two enclaves. "We have noted the latest developments of the situation, and we hope relevant parties find a proper resolution of the issue through dialogue."

But Russia also continues to play its military cards in the region. A senior military spokesman said that Moscow had ordered the navy to monitor Nato vessels in the Black Sea.

Russian relations with the West continue to deteriorate. A Kremlin statement hinted that President Medvedev held a tense telephone call with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. "Dmitry Medvedev gave an exhaustive explanation in relation to questions Angela Merkel had on this issue, confirming Russia's commitment to realising agreed principles," it said.

Afterwards the German cabinet said it would send an additional 15 military personnel as observers to Georgia.

The French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, declared that Europe could never accept the Russian-backed independence declarations by the two regions and warned that Moscow would set its sights on Ukraine if it was unchallenged over Georgia. "That is not impossible," he said. "I repeat that it is very dangerous, and there are other objectives that one can suppose are objectives for Russia, in particular the Crimea, Ukraine and Moldova."

David Miliband, the foreign secretary, arrived in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev today for a visit designed to demonstrate Western support for the former Soviet republic, which hosts Russia's Black Sea fleet at the Crimean port of Sevastopol.

Russia's ambassador to another divided country in the former Eastern bloc, Moldova held up the example of Georgia as a warning over its internal divisions. Valeri Kuzmin told the Moldovan leadership to avoid a "bloody and catastrophic trend of events" in a separatist region of Trans-Dniester. It broke away from Moldova in 1990 and is supported by Russia but is not recognised internationally. Russia has 1,500 troops stationed there to guard weapons facilities.

Russia seeks Chinese support as West warns of new dangers  (

Title: Re: Russia seeks Chinese support as West warns of new dangers
Post by: Shammu on August 27, 2008, 11:41:11 PM

Russia and China continue to forge ahead with billions of dollars in new investments that will enable Iran to finance its military buildup and fund terrorist groups. Washington has had some success in persuading European allies not to go forward with projects that would provide capital for Iranian weapons-of-mass-destruction programs and terror.

Chinese oil giant Sinopec, in which the firm agreed to purchase Iranian natural gas and help develop one of Iran’s largest oil fields. In exchange, Tehran agreed to export 150,000 barrels of oil per day to China at “market prices.” THE BOTTOM LINE is that, even as Washington and its allies work to tighten sanctions against Tehran, RUSSIA & CHINA, permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, are doing everything they can to negate any beneficial effect that sanctions could have.

Title: Russia threatens military response to US missiles
Post by: Shammu on August 27, 2008, 11:47:47 PM
Russia threatens military response to US missiles

Tue Aug 26, 2:53 PM ET

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is warning his country may respond to a U.S. missile shield in Europe through military means.

Medvedev says that the deployment of an anti-missile system close to Russian borders "will of course create additional tensions."

"We will have to react somehow, to react, of course, in a military way," Medvedev was quoted as saying Tuesday by the RIA-Novosti news agency.

Russian officials have already warned of a military response to the U.S. plans, but the statement by the Russian leader was likely to further aggravate already tense relations with the West. The comments come after Medvedev recognized two Georgian regions as independent nations, prompting criticism from the U.S. and Europe.

Russia threatens military response to US missiles  (;_ylt=AnMAilnOCKx8hvh5OFCPJ610bBAF)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on August 27, 2008, 11:49:03 PM
Western nations warn Russia to `change course'

By JIM HEINTZ, Associated Press Writer 28 minutes ago

TBILISI, Georgia - Western leaders warned the Kremlin on Wednesday to "change course," hoping to keep the conflict from growing into a new Cold War after tensions broadened to imperil a key nuclear pact and threaten U.S. meat and poultry trade with Russia.

Moscow said it was NATO expansion and Western support for Georgia that was causing the new East-West divisions, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States for using military ships to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia.

Meanwhile, Georgia slashed its embassy staff in Moscow to protest Russia's recognition of the two separatist enclaves that were the flashpoint for the five-day war between the two nations earlier this month.

The tensions have spread to the Black Sea, which Russia shares unhappily with three nations that belong to NATO and two others that desperately want to, Ukraine and Georgia. Some Ukrainians fear Moscow might set its sights on their nation next.

In moves evocative of Cold War cat-and-mouse games, a U.S. military ship carrying humanitarian aid docked at a southern Georgian port, and Russia sent a missile cruiser and two other ships to a port farther north in a show of force.

The maneuvering came a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had said his nation was "not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a Cold War." For the two superpowers of the first Cold War, the United States and Russia, repercussions from this new conflict could be widespread.

Russia's agriculture minister said Moscow could cut poultry and pork import quotas by hundreds of thousands of tons, hitting American producers hard and thereby raising prices for American shoppers.

Russians sometimes refer to American poultry imports as "Bush's legs," a reference to the frozen chicken shipped to Russia amid economic troubles following the 1991 Soviet collapse, during George H.W. Bush's presidency.

And a key civil nuclear agreement between Moscow and Washington appears likely to be shelved until next year at the earliest.

On the diplomatic front, the West's denunciations of Russia grew louder.

Britain's top diplomat equated Moscow's offensive in Georgia with the Soviet tanks that invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring democratic reforms in 1968, and demanded Russia "change course."

"The sight of Russian tanks in a neighboring country on the 40th anniversary of the crushing of the Prague Spring has shown that the temptations of power politics remain," Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.

Western leaders have accused Russia of using inappropriate force when it sent tanks and troops into Georgia earlier this month. The Russian move followed a Georgian crackdown on the pro-Russian South Ossetia.

Many of the Russian forces that drove deep into Georgia after fighting broke out Aug. 7 have pulled back, but hundreds are estimated to still be manning checkpoints that Russia calls "security zones" inside Georgia proper.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a phone call to immediately fulfill the EU-brokered cease-fire by pulling all troops out of Georgia.

The Kremlin rejected Western criticism, and Tuesday even suggested the conflict could spread. It starkly warned another former Soviet republic, tiny Moldova, that aggression against a breakaway region there could provoke a military response.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Russia of trying to redraw the borders of Georgia. His foreign minister went further, suggesting Russia had engaged in "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia, one of the two Georgian rebel territories.

And the seven nations that along with Russia make up the G-8 issued a statement that underlined Russia's growing estrangement from the West.

The seven — United States, Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Japan and Italy — said Russia's decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries violated the Georgia's territorial integrity.

Two weeks ago, officials had told The Associated Press that the G-7 were weighing whether to effectively disband what is known as the G-8 by throwing Moscow out.

Georgia's prime minister put damage from the Russian war at about $1 billion but said it did not fundamentally undermine the Georgian economy. Georgia, which has a national budget of about $3 billion, hopes for substantial Western aid to recover.

The United Nations has estimated nearly 160,000 people had to flee their homes, but hundreds have returned to Georgian cities like Gori in the past week.

In the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, boxes of aid were sorted, stacked and loaded onto trucks Wednesday for some of the tens of thousands of people still displaced by the fighting. Some boxes were stamped "USAID — from the American People."

In the Black Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas, carrying 34 tons of humanitarian aid, docked in Batumi. The missile destroyer USS McFaul was there earlier this week delivering aid, and the U.S. planned to leave it in the Black Sea for now.

A spokesman for Putin, quoted by Interfax news agency, observed: "Military ships are hardly a common way to deliver such aid."

The U.S. has used military ships to deliver humanitarian aid before, including in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The U.S. Embassy in Georgia had earlier said the Dallas was headed to the port city of Poti but then retracted the statement. A Georgian official said the port in Poti could have been mined by Russian forces.

Poti's port reportedly suffered heavy damage from the Russian military. In addition, Russian troops have established checkpoints on the northern approach to the city, and a U.S. ship docking there could have been seen as a direct challenge.

Meanwhile, the Russian missile cruiser Moskva and two smaller missile boats anchored at the port in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, some 180 miles north of Batumi. The Russian Navy says the ships will be involved in peacekeeping operations.

Russian Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned that NATO has already exhausted the number of forces it can have in the Black Sea, according to international agreements, and warned Western nations against sending more ships.

"Can NATO — which is not a state located in the Black Sea — continuously increase its group of forces and systems there? It turns out that it cannot," Nogovitsyn was quoted as saying Wednesday by Interfax.

Western nations warn Russia to `change course'  (;_ylt=AoD2iwe8_bRTWCjpIph8eEJbbBAF)

Title: Medvedev looks east for support on Georgia
Post by: Shammu on August 27, 2008, 11:50:01 PM
Medvedev looks east for support on Georgia
Wed Aug 27, 2008 7:16pm EDT

Jon Boyle

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev looked east on Thursday for support for Moscow's tough line over Georgia, which has inflamed relations with the West and prompted talk of a new Cold War.

The Kremlin leader flew to Tajikistan for a summit of a regional security forum with China and four Central Asian states at which the crisis in Georgia was likely to be discussed.

Moscow's allies in the former Soviet Union, Asia and elsewhere usually side with the Kremlin against the West on contentious issues, but have been notable for their silence since Russia fought a brief war with Georgia this month.

Citing the need to avert a "genocide" against civilians, Moscow sent troops and tanks into Georgia's breakaway South Ossetia and a second pro-Moscow region, Abkhazia, this month.

On Tuesday the Kremlin recognized them as independent states, prompting Georgia to withdraw all but two of its diplomats from Moscow. The Georgian parliament was to debate the future of ties with its giant northern neighbor on Thursday.

Georgia's close ally, the United States, and European powers have demanded Russia respect a French-brokered ceasefire and withdraw all its troops from Georgia, including a Moscow-imposed buffer zone whose legitimacy is disputed.

The Group of Seven rich nations, in a joint statement on Wednesday, also condemned Russia's recognition of Georgia's rebel regions and what it described as its excessive use of military force in Georgia.

Analysts see Moscow's actions as a bid to halt expanding Western influence in the Caucasus, a major oil and gas transit route from the Caspian Sea to the West that bypasses Russia.

The biggest prize for Russia would be to win the support of China when Medvedev meets President Hu Jintao at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Tajik capital Dushanbe.


The SCO is dominated by Russia and China and comprises Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It claims the role of a security guarantor in Central Asia, earning the sobriquet "NATO of the East" by some observers.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing that South Ossetia would likely be discussed. But with most SCO members facing separatist rebellions of their own, outright support for Moscow's actions is seen as unlikely.

"China, which has own separatists, will be the biggest problem," said Alexei Mukhin, head of the Centre of Political Information think-tank. "The recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is unacceptable for Beijing."

Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province and bristles at talk of anyone opening diplomatic relations with Taipei. The other four SCO members have their own reasons to adopt a "wait-and-see" position.

The four, all in ex-Soviet Central Asia, have built their foreign policy strategies on trying to maintain a balance between loyalty to Moscow and building ties with the West.

Analysts say the most Medvedev can hope for is that SCO leaders will say they understand Russia's motives, without going any further.

Moscow said it did not fear being isolated over recognizing Georgia's rebel provinces, saying drumming up support for its position was not its primary goal.

"We're not going to twist anyone's hands to make them support (recognition)," said Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.


Russia's continued military presence in Georgia has angered the West -- European leaders are to discuss their response at an emergency summit on Monday.

Moscow says the troops are needed to protect civilians from Georgian aggression and that their presence is provided for under a French-brokered ceasefire, a view disputed by Paris.

The Georgia crisis has alarmed other former Soviet republics with sizeable Russian minorities, particularly Ukraine and the Baltic states. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday that Russia might have its eye on neighboring countries such as Ukraine and Moldova.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, on a visit to NATO aspirant Ukraine, said Medvedev had a big responsibility not to start a new Cold War.

But in reality, the West has little leverage over a newly confident Russia rolling in cash from high oil and gas prices.

Many Europeans states rely heavily on Russia for its hydrocarbons, transit routes to resupply Western forces in Afghanistan and diplomatic support for international pressure over Iran's nuclear program.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who like Saakashvili has irked Moscow by seeking to join NATO and move out of Moscow's orbit, has condemned Russia's war with Georgia.

Yushchenko told Reuters he wanted to raise the question of increasing Russia's rent on its Sevastopol base in Ukraine's Crimea region, the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea fleet.

Moscow says any renegotiation would break a 1997 deal under which Moscow leases the base for $98 million a year until 2017.

Medvedev looks east for support on Georgia (

Title: Georgia begs the West for help as Russia recognises rebel regions
Post by: Shammu on August 28, 2008, 12:03:45 AM
Georgia begs the West for help as Russia recognises rebel regions
August 27, 2008
James Hider in Akhalgori, and Catherine Philp, Diplomatic Correspondent

The champagne corks were popping and there was dancing in the streets yesterday as the tiny Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia celebrated Russia’s decision to recognise them as independent states.

But President Medvedev’s announcement was greeted elsewhere with widespread condemnation, and President Saakashvili of Georgia likened it to the way the Nazis carved up Czechoslovakia in 1938 — which led to the Second World War.

In a sombre television address, Mr Medvedev declared: “I have signed decrees on the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia calls on other states to follow its example.”

In Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, office workers thronged the streets, drinking champagne while celebratory gunfire rang out. A giant green, white and red Abkhazian flag adorned the main square. “We feel happy. We all have tears in our eyes. We feel pride for our people,” said Aida Gubaz, a 38-year-old lawyer. “Everything we went through, now we are getting our reward.”

As America, Britain, France and Germany denounced Russia’s unilateral move, President Saakashvili held an emergency session of Georgia’s national security council. He described the Russian declaration as an annexation and accused his giant neighbour of seeking to provoke renewed fighting that would allow Russian armoured divisions to move around Tbilisi, the capital, and wipe Georgia off the map. “I have appealed to all leaders concerned to speed up Georgia’s Nato and EU integration,” he said — adding that he had received some positive signals from Western allies.

Russia’s recognition of the two disputed territories is seen widely as a payback for the West’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, a Russian ally. That stinging blow to Russian diplomacy, combined with the eastwards expansion of Nato in recent years, has raised the stakes in a power struggle that now stretches from the Balkans and Eastern Europe to the Caucasus and beyond.

Earlier Mr Saakashvili had told The Times that Russia was trying to build up forces near Akhalgori, only 20 miles (32km) from Tbilisi. From there, he said, they could control the hills around the capital in the same way the Serbian forces ringed Sarajevo in the Bosnian war. Asked if he feared a fresh Russian invasion, Mr Saakashvili said: “If there is no strong reaction from Europe, at any moment.”

He said that Vladimir Putin, at the time the President of Russia, had threatened him in 2006 with turning South Ossetia into “northern Cyprus”, a breakaway republic that has endured for three decades despite being recognised only by Turkey.

“I think the West has to rethink its strategy, Putin has been thinking about his strategy for a long time,” said Mr Saakashvili, who claimed that Russian forces had deployed SS20 missiles aimed at his chancery in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali.

He called on the West to squeeze Russia by freezing foreign assets and denying Russian officials visas. “These are people in Moscow for whom there are two things, nationalism and capitalism,” he said. “All their money is in the West.” Mr Saakashvili said Britain had already denied visas to several senior Russian officials, without naming them.

He also called for the international community to cancel Russia’s right to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, just up the coast from Abkhazia.

“It reminds me of the 1936 Olympics,” he said, referring to the games held in Berlin and hosted by Adolf Hitler. He also compared Moscow to Hitler’s regime when he likened Russia’s diplomatic and military backing for South Ossetia and Abkhazia to Nazi Germany’s annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938.

The best way for the West to halt Russian encroachments, he said, was to accept Georgia into Nato at a December meeting and grant a massive reconstruction project to jumpstart the shattered economy.

“We are in a very precarious situation right now,” he said. “We need assistance now.”

Georgia begs the West for help as Russia recognises rebel regions (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on August 28, 2008, 12:04:45 AM
Russia 'Not Afraid' of a New Cold War
Russian President Says His Country Does Not Want a new Cold War, But Is Not Afraid of One Either

MOSCOW, Aug 26, 2008 —

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking in the midst of one of the lowest points in the Russia-West relationship since the breakup of the Soviet Union 17 years ago, said Tuesday that his country did not seek a new Cold War  but neither was it afraid of one.

"We are not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a new Cold War," Medvedev was quoted as saying Tuesday by the ITAR-Tass news agency. "But we don't want it and in this situation everything depends on the position of our partners."

The statement comes hours after Medvedev recognized the independence of two Georgian rebel provinces, defying the West. The recognition  which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described as "extremely unfortunate"  follows a short but intense war with Western-allied Georgia earlier this month.

"If they want to preserve good relations with Russia in the West, they will understand the reason behind our decision," Medvedev said.

Medvedev said that he had signed a decree on the decision to recognize the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Few other nations are likely to follow the move.

Rice said the United States continued to regard both breakaway regions as "part of the internationally recognized borders of Georgia."

Speaking in Texas, White House spokesman Tony Fratto on Tuesday said Russia is making a number of "irrational" decisions that puts its place in the world at risk.

Fratto said the U.S. will use its veto power on the U.N. Security Council to make sure any effort to change the provinces' international status is "dead on arrival."

On the heels of Russia's first post-Soviet invasion of a foreign country, recognition was another stark demonstration of the Kremlin's determination to hold sway in lands where its clout is jeopardized by NATO's expansion and growing Western influence.

Meanwhile, the the United States dispatched military ships bearing aid to a port city still controlled by Russian troops.

Rice also accused Medvedev of failing to honor his nation's commitments under an internationally backed cease-fire.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Russia's recognition of the breakaway areas was "absolutely not acceptable." She insisted Medvedev's decision violates international agreements.

Medvedev said Georgia forced Russia's hand by launching an attack targeting South Ossetia on Aug. 7 in an apparent bid to seize control of the breakaway region.

In response, Russian tanks and troops drove deep into the U.S. ally's territory in a five-day war that Moscow saw as a justified response to a military threat in its backyard and the West viewed as a repeat of Soviet-style intervention in its vassal states.

"This is not an easy choice but this is the only chance to save people's lives," Medvedev said Tuesday in a televised address announcing Russia's recognition of the breakaway territories.

Russian forces have staked out positions beyond the de-facto borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The two territories have effectively ruled themselves following wars in the 1990s.

"Georgia chose the least human way to achieve its goal  to absorb South Ossetia by eliminating a whole nation," Medvedev said.

Russia's military presence seems likely to further weaken Georgia, a Western ally in the Caucasus region, a major transit corridor for energy supplies to Europe and a strategic crossroads close to the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia and energy-rich Central Asia.

Medvedev ignored Western warnings against recognizing the independence claims of the two regions, which broke from Georgian government control in early 1990s wars and have run their own affairs with Russian support.

After Russia's parliament urged the move in unanimous votes Monday, the U.S. State Department said recognition would be "unacceptable" and President Bush urged the Kremlin against it.

Russia 'Not Afraid' of a New Cold War (

Title: Russia is Selling Hezbollah surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles
Post by: Shammu on August 29, 2008, 11:48:30 PM
Russia is Selling Hezbollah surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles

Posted on Thu Aug 28, 2008 at 08:53:26 AM PST
By: Elias Bejjani

Hezbollah's Leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned that his terrorist armed militia is now much, much, stronger than before the devastating war that took place in 2006 between his militia and Israel. He rhetorically and pompously alleged that his militia would destroy Israel if its army wages any attacks against Lebanon.

Nasrallah issued this threat last Saturday at a Boy Scout ceremony in Beirut, as a response to Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's remark last week that "if Lebanon becomes a Hezbollah state, then we won't have any restrictions" in striking the country.  Olmert claimed that during the last war, Israel did not use all of its firepower because the enemy was Hezbollah and not its host country Lebanon.
Nasrallah would not have been in this threatening position if the free world countries, Arab nations and the UN General Council have been seriously addressing the numerous violations against the UNSCR Resolutions 1559 and 1701 Hezbollah, Syria and Iran committed.
Israel and the rest of the Middle East countries, as well as the USA and its European allies, are all fully aware that Hezbollah has been stockpiling all kinds of lethal weapons in its huge arsenal, and preparing for another war against Israel once the Iran masters instruct its leadership to instigate it.
Nasrallah, other prominent Hezbollah Military and religious dignitaries, as well as the Iranian Mullahs, are not keeping their hostile and aggressive schemes a secret. On the contrary they all have made them public and in crystal clear straightforward warnings and threatening messages. They have been saying loudly that in case Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked by Israel or the USA, Israel will be an actual target for Hezbollah's missiles.
One wonders why, for heaven's sake, all the free world countries and the UN are cajoling and appeasing this terrorist militia, and accordingly succumbing more and more to its threats and blackmails. They all with deadly silence have witnessed time after time Hezbollah's blatant infringements on all the UN Resolutions regarding Lebanon, especially UNSCR 1559 and UNSCR 1701 that stipulates the disarmament of this militia, and for the implementation of the Armistice Accord between Lebanon and Israel.

Not even one free world country lifted a finger when Hezbollah recently conquered West Beirut, and attempted to take over Mount Lebanon. And now they are again so indifferent while Hezbollah is adding to its arsenal Russian advanced surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles.
The Italian newspaper "Corriere della Sera" reported last week that Hezbollah's terrorist organization representatives visited Russia in early July, and signed a deal to purchase surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles. The newspaper stated that three high-ranking Hezbollah officials showed great interest to buy Russian weapons which have been effective in the recent 2006 war with Israel.
Noting that the three men entered Russia with Iranian passports, and visited the Sixth International Russian Weapon Exhibition under the status of distinguished guests.

In an interview with the Israeli newspaper "Maariv", the Italian reporter who broke this piece of news stated that Hezbollah's representatives kept a very low profile during the visit, and did in fact sign a number of private contracts to buy air defense systems and anti-tank missiles after the exhibition was closed.

Very briefly, and without any personal opinion or analysis, this important report states openly that Hezbollah, the terrorist organization is violating clause eight of  the UNSCR 1701 which stated: "No sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government."
UNSCR 1701 clause eight :"
8. Calls for Israel and Lebanon to support a permanent ceasefire and a long-term solution based on the following principles and elements:
*Full respect for the Blue Line by both parties;
*security arrangements to prevent the resumption of hostilities, including the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed *personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL as authorized in paragraph 11, deployed in this area;
*Full implementation of the relevant provisions of the Taif Accords, and of resolutions 1559 (2004) and 1680 (2006), that require the disarmament of all armed *groups in Lebanon, so that, pursuant to the Lebanese cabinet decision of July 27, 2006, there will be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than that of the Lebanese state;
*No foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government;
*No sales or supply of arms and related materiel to Lebanon except as authorized by its government;
*Provision to the United Nations of all remaining maps of land mines in Lebanon in Israel's possession;

Why are the UN and the Lebanese authorities turning a blind eye to this dangerous matter, which is a clear breach of UNSCR 1701 and Lebanese laws?

We call on the UN Security Council and the Lebanese government to open an immediate judicial inquiry into what was published in regards to the Hezbollah-Russian missile deal

Meanwhile Hezbollah that recently was given veto power in the newly appointed Lebanese government keeps openly and on daily basis carrying on its illegal activities at all levels and in all domains.
Hezbollah, the Iranian Army in Lebanon, is devouring Lebanon's institutions bit by bit through force, money, terrorism and intimidation, and enforcing day after day the Iranian Mullah's "Wilayat al-Faqih" religious-sectarian education, doctrine and culture.

In the same context of  Hezbollah's on going flagrant violations to all Lebanese and international laws, it has for the last two years been publishing media reports and announcements about the death of  its fighters "under the Martyrdom operations" tag.
Not even one of these mysterious reports and announcements indicated how, when and where these fighters "martyrs" were killed. The Lebanese Government, the Lebanese politicians, and the country's judiciary have all been keeping silent about this "Martyrdom" phenomenon. Meanwhile some reports stated lately that these so called "fighters" are dying either during training they are undergoing in Iran, or through guerrilla operations in Iraq against the US army.
The last of these mysterious reports was published by the Lebanese National Agency on August 23/08 under the title:" The Islamic Resistance carried a burial procession for a Martyr In Arab Saliem". The Arabic report stated that the "Islamic Resistance" and the Arab Saliem southern town residents participated in the burial procession that was carried out for "Martyr Jihadist", Ali Hassan Abu Zayied, who was killed while performing his Jihadist operation". The report did not say where, how or when this "Hezbollah Jihadist" was killed. 
In this same context, but in the regional realm, Jim Kouri, in a report he published in the "Renew America web site", wrote on August 23/08: "Coalition forces picked up two suspected associates of the Kataib Hezbollah criminal network during operations this morning in Baghdad's New Baghdad district, military officials reported during a teleconference with bloggers and Internet journalists. Acting on intelligence tips, coalition forces raided the home of a suspected Kataib Hezbollah propaganda expert who is believed to have uploaded more than 30 attack videos to the criminal ring's now-defunct Web site. Coalition forces entered the house, where they detained two of the wanted man's brothers, who are believed to be involved in his criminal enterprises. Coalition forces have detained more than 15 suspected members of Kataib Hezbollah in the last two months, officials said. Kataib Hezbollah is reported to receive funding, logistics, and weapons such as improvised rocket-assisted mortars from Iran. The group also is believed to receive guidance or direction from the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps".

The crucial question here, does Lebanon really has a functional and free Government and a Judiciary? If so, both and with no hesitation must prove their authority in practice by pursuing these critical reports with impartially, courage, seriousness, national conscience, and in full accordance with the country's law. The same applies to the UN General Council who should immediately look into the matter and address the UNSCR 1701 violations committed by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

Russia is Selling Hezbollah surface-to-air and anti-tank missiles  (

Title: The Truth About Russia in Georgia
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:06:55 AM
The Truth About Russia in Georgia
Michael Totten
August 26, 2008

Virtually everyone believes Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili foolishly provoked a Russian invasion on August 7, 2008, when he sent troops into the breakaway district of South Ossetia. “The warfare began Aug. 7 when Georgia launched a barrage targeting South Ossetia,” the Associated Press reported over the weekend in typical fashion.

Virtually everyone is wrong. Georgia didn't start it on August 7, nor on any other date. The South Ossetian militia started it on August 6 when its fighters fired on Georgian peacekeepers and Georgian villages with weapons banned by the agreement hammered out between the two sides in 1994. At the same time, the Russian military sent its invasion force bearing down on Georgia from the north side of the Caucasus Mountains on the Russian side of the border through the Roki tunnel and into Georgia. This happened before Saakashvili sent additional troops to South Ossetia and allegedly started the war.

Regional expert, German native, and former European Commission official Patrick Worms was recently hired by the Georgian government as a media advisor, and he explained to me exactly what happened when I met him in downtown Tbilisi. You should always be careful with the version of events told by someone on government payroll even when the government is as friendly and democratic as Georgia's. I was lucky, though, that another regional expert, author and academic Thomas Goltz, was present during Worms' briefing to me and signed off on it as completely accurate aside from one tiny quibble.

Goltz has been writing about the Caucasus region for almost 20 years, and he isn't on Georgian government payroll. He earns his living from the University of Montana and from the sales of his books Azerbaijan Diary, Georgia Diary and Chechnya Diary. Goltz experienced these three Caucasus republics at their absolute worst, and he knows the players and the events better than just about anyone. Every journalist in Tbilisi seeks him out as the old hand who knows more than the rest of us put together, and he wanted to hear Patrick Worms' spiel to reporters in part to ensure its accuracy.

“You,” Worms said to Goltz just before he started to flesh out the real story to me, “are going to be bored because I'm going to give some back story that you know better than I do.”

“Go,” Goltz said. “Go.”

The back story began at least as early as the time of the Soviet Union. I turned on my digital voice recorder so I wouldn't miss anything that was said.

“A key tool that the Soviet Union used to keep its empire together,” Worms said to me, “was pitting ethnic groups against one another. They did this extremely skillfully in the sense that they never generated ethnic wars within their own territory. But when the Soviet Union collapsed it became an essential Russian policy to weaken the states on its periphery by activating the ethnic fuses they planted.

“They tried that in a number of countries. They tried it in the Baltic states, but the fuses were defused. Nothing much happened. They tried it in Ukraine. It has not happened yet, but it's getting hotter. They tried it in Moldova. There it worked, and now we have Transnitria. They tried it in Armenia and Azerbaijan and it went beyond their wildest dreams and we ended up with a massive, massive war. And they tried it in two territories in Georgia, which I'll talk about in a minute. They didn't try it in Central Asia because basically all the presidents of the newly independent countries were the former heads of the communist parties and they said we're still following your line, Kremlin, we haven't changed very much.”

He's right about the massive war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, though few outside the region know much about it. Armenians and Azeris very thoroughly transferred Azeris and Armenians “back” to their respective mother countries after the Soviet Union collapsed through pogroms, massacres, and ethnic-cleansing. Hundreds of thousands of refugees fled savage communal warfare in terror. The Armenian military still occupies the ethnic-Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh region in southwestern Azerbaijan. It's another so-called “frozen conflict” in the Caucasus region waiting to thaw. Moscow takes the Armenian side and could blow up Nagorno-Karabakh, and subsequently all of Azerbaijan, at any time. After hearing the strident Azeri point of view on the conflict for a week before I arrived in Georgia, I'd say that particular ethnic-nationalist fuse is about one millimeter in length.

“Now the story starts really in 1992 when this fuse was lit in Georgia,” Worms said. “Now, there's two territories. There's Abkhazia which has clearly defined administrative borders, and there's South Ossetia that doesn't. Before the troubles started, Abkhazia was an extremely ethnically mixed area: about 60 percent Georgian, 20 percent Abkhaz, and 20 percent assorted others – Greeks, Estonians, Armenians, Jews, what have you. In Ossetia it was a completely integrated and completely mixed Ossetian-Georgian population. The Ossetians and the Georgians have never been apart in the sense that they were living in their own little villages and doing their own little things. There has been inter-marriage and a sense of common understanding going back to distant history. The Georgians will tell you about King Tamar – that's a woman, but they called her a king – and she was married to an Ossetian. So the fuse was lit and two wars start, one in Abkhazia and one in South Ossetia.”

South Ossetia is inside Georgia, while North Ossetia is inside Russia.

“The fuse was not just lit in Moscow,” he said. “It was also lit in Tbilisi. There was a guy in charge here, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, a little bit like [Serbian Nationalist war criminal in Bosnia Radovan] Karadzic. He was a poet. He was an intellectual. But he was one of these guys who veered off into ethnic exclusivism. He made stupid declarations like Georgia is only for the Georgians. If you're running a multi-ethnic country, that is really not a clever thing to say. The central control of the state was extremely weak. The Russians were trying to make things worse. There was a civil war between Georgians and Tbilisi. But the key thing is that here there were militias, Georgian militias, and some of them pretty nasty.”

Thomas Goltz then interjected his only critique of Patrick Worms' explanation of events that led to this war. “It started in 1991,” he said, “but it went into 1992 and 1993, as well.” Then he turned to me. “This guy, [Zviad] Gamsakhurdia, was driven from power from across the street. They bombed this place.” He meant the Marriott Hotel. We stood in the lobby where Worms had set up his media relations operation. “There's a horrible picture in my Georgia book of this facade.”

“Of this building?” I said.

“Yeah,” Goltz said. “That was December 1991. He fled in December 1991.”

“Where did he go?” I said.

cont'd next post

Title: Dispatches & The Truth About Russia in Georgia
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:08:50 AM
“To Chechnya,” Goltz said. “Of course. He led the government in exile until he came back in 1993 then died obscurely in the mountains, of suicide some people say, others say cancer. Then he was buried in Grozny.” He turned then again to Patrick Worms. “1991,” he said. “Not 1992.”

“1991,” Worms said. “Okay.”

So aside from that quibble, everything else Worms said to me was vouched for as accurate by the man who literally wrote the book on this conflict from the point of view of both academic and witness.

“So in 1991,” Worms said, “things here explode. And basically it gets pretty nasty. Thomas can tell you what happened. Read his book, it's worth it. And by the time the dust settles, there are between 20,000 and 30,000 dead. Many atrocities committed by both sides, but mostly – at least that's what the Georgians say – by the Abkhaz. And the end result is everybody gets kicked out. Everybody who is not Abkhaz or Russian gets kicked out. That's about 400,000 people. 250,000 of those still live as Internally Displaced Persons within Georgia. As for the rest: the Greeks have gone back to Greece, the Armenians to Armenia, some Abkhaz to Turkey, etc.

“When it's over,” he said, “you've got two bits of Abkhazia which are not ethnic Abkhazia. You've got Gali district which is filled with ethnic Georgians. And you've got the Kodori Gorge which is filled with another bunch of Georgians. So there the end result was a classic case of ethnic-cleansing, but the world didn't pay much attention because it was happening at the same time as the Yugoslav wars. Ossetia was different. Ossetia also had a war that started about the same time, and it was also pretty nasty, but it never quite succeeded in generating a consolidated bit of territory that Ossetians could keep their own. When the dust settled there, you ended up with a patchwork of Georgian and Ossetian villages. Before the war, Ossetians and Georgians lived together in the same villages. After the war they lived in separate villages. But there were still contacts. People were talking, people were trading. It wasn't quite as nasty as it was in Abkhazia.

“Now fast forward to the Rose Revolution,” he said.

The Rose Revolution was a popular bloodless revolution that brought Georgia's current president Mikheil Saakashvili to power and replaced the old man of Georgian politics Eduard Shevardnadze who basically ran the country Soviet-style.

“The first thing that Misha [Mikheil Saakashvili] did was try to poke his finger in [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's eyes as many times as possible,” Worms said, “most notably by wanting to join NATO. The West, in my view, mishandled this situation. America gave the wrong signals. So did Europe.”

“Can you elaborate on that a bit?” I said.

“I will,” he said. “But basically the encouragement was given despite stronger and stronger Russian signals that a Georgian accession to NATO would not be tolerated. Fast forward to 2008, to this year, to the meeting of NATO heads of state that took place in Bucharest, Romania, where Georgia was promised eventual membership of the organization but was refused what it really wanted, which was the so-called Membership Action Plan. The Membership Action Plan is the bureaucratic tool NATO uses to prepare countries for membership. And this despite the fact that military experts will tell you that the Georgian Army, which had been reformed root and branch with American support, was now in better shape and more able to meet NATO aspirations than the armies of Albania and Macedonia which got offered membership at the same meeting.

“Just a little bit of back story again, in July of 2007 Russia withdrew from the Conventional Forces Treaty in Europe. This is a Soviet era treaty that dictates where NATO and the Warsaw Pact can keep their conventional armor around their territories. Russia started moving a lot of materiel south. After Bucharest, provocations started. Russian provocations started, and they were mostly in Abkhazia.

“One provocation was to use the Russian media to launch shrill accusations that the Georgian army was in Kodori preparing for an invasion of Abkhazia. Now if you go up there – I took a bunch of journalists up there a few times – when you get to the actual checkpoint you have a wall of crumbling rock, a wooden bridge, another wall of crumbling rock, a raging torrent, and a steep mountainside filled with woods. It's not possible to invade out or invade in unless you've got air support. Which is why the Abkhaz were never able to kick these Georgians out. They just kept that bit of territory.”

He paused and looked over at Thomas Goltz as though he was bracing for a critique.

“I'm just doing what I've done already,” he said, “but this time I'm getting advice from an expert on how I'm doing.”

Thomas Goltz silently nodded.

“Kodori provocations,” Worms continued, “and other provocations. First the Russians had a peacekeeping base under a 1994 agreement that allowed them to keep the peace in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia. They added paratroopers, crack paratroopers, with modern weaponry there. That doesn't sound a lot like peacekeeping. A further provocation: they start shooting unmanned Georgian aircraft drones out the sky. One of them was caught on camera by the drone as it was about to be destroyed. The United Nations confirmed that it was a Russian plane that did this. It probably took off from an airbase that the Russians were supposed to have vacated a few years ago, but they never let the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] in to check.

“The next provocation: On April 16 Putin signs a presidential decree recognizing the documents of Abkhazians and South Ossetians in Russia and vice versa. This effectively integrates these two territories into Russia's legal space. The Georgians were furious. So you have all these provocations mounting and mounting and mounting. Meanwhile, as of July, various air corps start moving from the rest of Russia to get closer to the Caucasus. These are obscure details, but they are available.

“Starting in mid July the Russians launched the biggest military exercise in the North Caucasus that they've held since the Chechnya war. That exercise never stopped. It just turned into a war. They had all their elite troops there, all their armor there, all their stuff there. Everyone still foolishly thought the action was going to be in Abkhazia or in Chechnya, which is still not as peaceful as they'd like it to be.

Cont'd next post

Title: Re: Dispatches & The Truth About Russia in Georgia
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:10:07 AM
“The Georgians had their crack troops in Iraq. So what was left at their central base in Gori? Not very much. Just Soviet era equipment and not their best troops. They didn't place troops on the border with Abkhazia because they didn't want to provoke the Abkhaz. They were expecting an attempt on Kodori, but the gorge is in such a way that unless they're going to use massive air support – which the Abkhaz don't have – it's impossible to take that place. Otherwise they would have done it already.

“So fast forward to early August. You have a town, Tskhinvali, which is Ossetian, and a bunch of Georgian villages surrounding it in a crescent shape. There are peacekeepers there. Both Russian peacekeepers and Georgian peacekeepers under a 1994 accord. The Ossetians were dug in in the town, and the Georgians were in the forests and the fields between the town and the villages. The Ossetians start provoking and provoking and provoking by shelling Georgian positions and Georgian villages around there. And it's a classic tit for tat thing. You shell, I shell back. The Georgians offered repeated ceasefires, which the Ossetians broke.

“On August 3, the head of the local administration says he's evacuating his civilians. You also need to know one thing: you may be wondering what these areas live off, especially in Ossetia, there's no industry there. Georgia is poor, but Ossetia is poorer. It's basically a smuggler's paradise. There was a sting operation that netted three kilograms of highly enriched uranium. There are fake hundred dollar bills to the tune of at least 50 million dollars that have been printed. [South Ossetian “President” Eduard] Kokoity himself is a former wrestler and a former bodyguard who was promoted to the presidency by powerful Ossetian families as their puppet. What does that mean in practice? It means that if you are a young man, you have no choice. You can either live in absolute misery, or you can take the government's dime and join the militia. It happened in both territories.

“On top of that, for the last four years the Russians have been dishing out passports to anyone who asks in those areas. All you have to do is present your Ossetian or Abkhaz papers and a photo and you get a Russian passport on the spot. If you live in Moscow and try to get a Russian passport, you have the normal procedure to follow, and it takes years. So suddenly you have a lot of Ossetian militiamen and Abkhaz militiamen with Russian passports in effect paid by Russian subsidies.

“So back to the 3rd of August. Kokoity announces women and children should leave. As it later turned out, he made all the civilians leave who were not fighting or did not have fighting capabilities. On the same day, irregulars – Ingush, Chechen, Ossetians, and Cossacks – start coming in and spreading out into the countryside but don't do anything. They just sit and wait. On the 6th of August the shelling intensifies from Ossetian positions. And for the first time since the war finished in 1992, they are using 120mm guns.”

“Can I stop you for a second?” I said. I was still under the impression that the war began on August 7 and that Georgian President Saakashvili started it when he sent troops into South Ossetia's capital Tskhinvali. What was all this about the Ossetian violence on August 6 and before?

He raised his hand as if to say stop.

“That was the formal start of the war,” he said. “Because of the peace agreement they had, nobody was allowed to have guns bigger than 80mm. Okay, so that's the formal start of the war. It wasn't the attack on Tskhinvali. Now stop me.”

“Okay,” I said. “All the reports I've read say Saakashvili started the war.”

“I'm not yet on the 7th,” he said. “I'm on the 6th.”

“Okay,” I said. He had given this explanation to reporters before, and he knew exactly what I was thinking.

“Saakashvili is accused of starting this war on the 7th,” he said.

“Right,” I said. “But that sounds like complete bs to me if what you say is true.”

Thomas Goltz nodded.

I later met wounded Georgian soldiers in a Tbilisi hospital who confirmed what Patrick Worms had told me about what happened when the war actually started. I felt apprehensive about meeting wounded soldiers. Would they really want to talk to someone in the media or would they rather spend their time healing in peace?

My translator spoke to some of the doctors in the hospital who directed us to Georgian soldiers and a civilian who were wounded in South Ossetia and felt okay enough to speak to a foreign reporter.

“Every day and every hour the Russian side lied,” Georgian soldier Kaha Bragadze said. “It must be stopped. If not today, then maybe tomorrow. My troops were in our village, Avnevi. On the 6th of August they blew up our troops' four-wheel-drives, our pickups. They blew them up. Also in this village – it was August 5th or 6th, I can't remember – they started bombing us with shells. Two soldiers died that day, our peacekeepers. The Ossetians had a good position on the hill. They could see all our positions and our villages, and they started bombing. They went to the top of the hill, bombed us, then went down. We couldn't see who was shooting at us.”

“Which day was this?” I said. “The 5th or the 6th?”

“I don't remember,” he said. “But it started that day from that place when two Georgians were killed.”

“Were they just bombing you the peacekeepers,” I said, “or also civilians and villages?”

“Before they started bombing us they took all the civilians out of their villages,” he said. “Then they started damaging our villages – houses, a gas pipe, roads, yards. They killed our animals. They evacuated their villages, then bombed our villages.”

Another Georgian soldier, Giorgi Khosiashvili, concurred

“I was a peace keeper as well,” he said, “but in another village. I was fired upon on August 6th. On the 5th of August they started shooting. They blew up our peacekeeping trucks. They put a bomb on the road and when they were driving they were blown up. They also mined the roads used by civilians. On the 6th of August they started bombing Avnevi. And at this time they took the civilians out of Tskhinvali and sent them to North Ossetia [inside Russia].”

“I saw this on TV,” said Alex, my translator. “They took the civilians, kids, women, and put them on the bus and sent them to North Ossetia.”

A civilian man, Koba Mindiashvili, shared the hospital room with the Georgian soldiers. He, too, was in South Ossetia where he lived outside Tskhinvali.

“When they started bombing my village,” he said, “I was running away and the soldiers wounded me. They robbed me and shot me in the leg with a Kalashnikov. I don't know if it was Russians or Ossetians. They took my car, took my gold chain, and shot me.”

“They didn't care if it was a house or a military camp,” Giorgi Khosiashvili said. “They bombed everything.”

“You actually saw this for yourself?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “I saw it. It was the Russian military airplanes. If they knew it was a Georgian village, they bombed all the houses. Many civilians were killed from this bombing.”

“It was Russians or Ossetians who did this?” I said.

“It was Russians,” he said. “The Ossetians don't have any jets.”

Back at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Tbilisi, Patrick Worms continued fleshing out the rest of the story. “Let me tell you what happened on the 7th,” he said. “On the 6th, while this is going on, the integration minister who was until a few months ago an NGO guy and who believes in soft power things, tried to go there and meet the separatist leadership. The meeting doesn't happen for farcical reasons. The shelling intensifies during the night and there is, again, tit for tat, but this time with weapons coming from the South Ossetian side which are not allowed under the agreement. By that time, the Georgians were seriously worried. All their armor that was near Abkhazia starts moving, but they are tanks, they don't have tank transporters, so they move slowly. They don't make it back in time. On the 7th, this continues. That afternoon, the president announces a unilateral ceasefire, a different one from the previous ones. It means I stop firing first, and if you fire, I still won't fire back. That holds until the next part of the story.

“On the evening of the 7th, the Ossetians launch an all-out barrage focused on Georgian villages, not on Georgian positions. Remember, these Georgian villages inside South Ossetia – the Georgians have mostly evacuated those villages, and three of them are completely pulverized. That evening, the 7th, the president gets information that a large Russian column is on the move. Later that evening, somebody sees those vehicles emerging from the Roki tunnel [into Georgia from Russia]. Then a little bit later, somebody else sees them. That's three confirmations. It was time to act.

Cont'd next post

Title: Re: Dispatches & The Truth About Russia in Georgia
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:10:54 AM
“What they had in the area was peacekeeping stuff, not stuff for fighting a war. They had to stop that column, and they had to stop it for two reasons. It's a pretty steep valley. If they could stop the Russians there, they would be stuck in the tunnel and they couldn't send the rest of their army through. So they did two things. The first thing they did, and it happened at roughly the same time, they tried to get through [South Ossetian capital] Tskhinvali, and that's when everybody says Saakashvili started the war. It wasn't about taking Ossetia back, it was about fighting their way through that town to get onto that road to slow the Russian advance. The second thing they did, they dropped a team of paratroopers to destroy a bridge. They got wiped out, but first they managed to destroy the bridge and about 15 Russian vehicles.

“The Georgians will tell you that they estimate that these two actions together slowed the Russian advance by 24 to 48 hours. That is what the world considered to be Misha's game. And you know why the world considers it that? Because here in South Ossetia was the head of the peacekeeping troops. He hasn't been in Iraq, he's a peace keeper. What have they been told for the last four years? They lived in a failed state, then there was the Rose Revolution – it wasn't perfect but, damn, now there's electricity, there's jobs, roads have been fixed – and what the Georgians have had drummed into them is that Georgia is now a constitutional state, a state of law and order. And everybody here knows that Ossetia is a gangster's smuggler's paradise. The whole world knows it, but here they know it particularly well. The peacekeepers had a military objective, and the first rule of warfare when you're talking to the media is not to reveal to your enemy what you're going to do. So they weren't going to blather into a microphone and say well, actually, I'm trying to go through Tskhinvali in order to stop the Russians. So what did he say instead? I'm here to restore constitutional order in South Ossetia. And that's it. With that, Georgia lost the propaganda war and the world believes Saakashvili started it. And the rest of the know.”

“Let me make a couple of comments,” Goltz said.

“That,” Worms said, “to the best of my knowledge, is all true.”

“Let's just start at the ass end,” Goltz said to me. “This is your first time to the lands of the former Soviet Union?”

“Yes,” I said.

“The restoration of constitutional order,” he said, “may sound just like a rhetorical flourish with no echo in the American mindset. What it means in the post-Soviet mindset is what Boris Yeltsin was doing in Chechnya. This was the stupidest phrase this guy possibly could have used. That's why people want to lynch him.”

Goltz was referring to the head of the Georgian peacekeeping forces in South Ossetia. He turned then to Patrick Worms. “Your presentation was deliciously comprehensive. Perhaps it was...we'll ask our new friend Michael...too much information out of the gate to absorb.”

“I absorbed it,” I said.

“Okay,” Goltz said.

“Am I making any mistakes?” Worms said to Goltz. “Am I forgetting anything?”

“Well,” Goltz said, “there are some details that I would chip in. Who are the Ossetians and where do they live? This is the question that has been lost in all of the static from this story. This autonomy [South Ossetia] is an autonomous district, as opposed to an autonomous republic, with about 60,000 people max. So, where are the rest of the Ossetians? Guess where they live? Tbilisi. Here. There. Everywhere. There are more Ossetians – take a look around this lobby. You will find Ossetians here. Of those Ossetians who are theoretically citizens of the Republic of Georgia, 60,000 live there and around 40,000 live here.”

“What do they think about all this?” I said.

“They're scared as gotcha2,” Goltz said.

“Are they on the side of those who live in South Ossetia?” I said.

“No,” he said. “One of them is Georgia's Minister of Defense. [Correction: Georgia's Minister of Defense is Jewish, not Ossetian.] Georgia is a multi-ethnic republic. And the whole point of the Ossetian ethnic question is this: South Ossetia is part of Georgia.”

“Are reporters receptive to what you're saying?” I said to Worms.

“Everyone is receptive,” he said. “Everyone, regardless of nationality, even those who love Georgia, genuinely thought Saakashvili started it.”

“That's what I thought,” I said. “That's what everyone has been writing.”

“Yes,” he said. “Absolutely. We've been trying to tell the world about this for months. If you go back and look at the archives you'll see plenty of calls from the Georgian government saying they're really worried. Even some Russian commentators agree that this is exactly what happened. Don't forget, they sent in a lot of irregulars, Chechens, Cossacks, Ossetians, Ingush – basically thugs. Not normal Chechens or Ingush – thugs. Thugs out for a holiday. Many Western camera crews were robbed at gunpoint ten meters from Russian tanks while Russian commanders just stood there smoking their cigarettes while the irregulars...that happened to a Turkish TV crew. They're lucky to still be alive. Some of the Georgians were picked up by the irregulars. If they happened to be female, they got raped. If they happened to be male, they got shot immediately, sometimes tortured. Injured people we have in hospitals who managed to get out have had arms chopped off, eyes gouged out, and their tongues ripped out.”

Russian rules of engagement, so to speak, go down harder than communism. And the Soviet era habits of disinformation are alive and well.

“You also have to remember the propaganda campaign that came out,” he said. “Human Rights Watch is accusing the Russian authorities of being indirectly responsible for the massive ethnic cleansing of Georgians that happened in South Ossetia. The Ossetians are claiming that the Georgians killed 2,000 people in Tskhinvali, but when Human Rights Watch got in there a few days ago and talked to the hospital director, he had received 44 bodies. There was nobody left in that town. Plus it's the oldest law of warfare: have your guns in populated areas, and when the enemy responds, show the world your dead women and children.

“Right,” I said. “That goes on a lot where I usually work, in the Middle East.”

“Yes,” he said. “That's exactly what the Russians were doing.”

I can not post the link because of paypal donations.

Title: Georgia War Shows Russia `Force to Be Reckoned With'
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:17:23 AM
Georgia War Shows Russia `Force to Be Reckoned With'

By Sebastian Alison

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- When British General Sir Michael Rose commanded United Nations forces protecting Bosnia in the mid-1990s, he gained first-hand knowledge of Russia's army, which participated in the mission.

``They were worse than useless,'' the 68-year-old retired officer said in an interview.

Not any more.

Russia's five-day drubbing of the U.S.-trained and equipped Georgian military this month followed a 5 trillion ruble ($200 billion) buildup undertaken in 2006 and lessons learned from misadventures in Afghanistan and Chechnya.

``Today they're a reinvented institution and a military force to be reckoned with'' after ``10 years of humiliation and pressure from NATO,'' Rose said.

The resurgent military deployed in Georgia gives Russia a credible threat of force as it seeks to check the pro-Western aspirations of its neighbors. Backed by the U.S., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in April promised Georgia and Ukraine, both former Soviet republics, eventual membership in the military alliance.

``The Russians regard the Georgian episode as merely the start of a sustained campaign to restore their country's sphere of influence,'' wrote Jonathan Eyal, director of International Security Studies at London's Royal United Services Institute, on its Web site. ``It is now impossible to persuade the East Europeans that a Russian threat is remote.''

Booming Economy

Supported by a booming, oil-fueled economy, Russia has been increasing military spending since Vladimir Putin, now prime minister, became president in 2000, said Konstantin Makiyenko, a Russia defense analyst for the Center for Strategy and Technology Analysis.

The 2006 buildup increased spending further. Russia's annual military budget likely will rise to 1.029 trillion rubles this year and 1.267 trillion rubles in 2009, up from 841 billion rubles in 2007, according to Finance Ministry data published Aug. 22 by UralSib Financial Corp.

The budget is cloaked in secrecy, so it isn't known exactly how the money is spent. Makiyenko said the armed forces in recent years have procured more advanced weapons, including T-90 battle tanks, Iskander missile complexes, the S-400 air defense system and more than 30 fighter jets.

Russia also has raised pay for its troops, which numbered 1.13 million in June, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Yury Ivanov. Russia plans to cut the payroll, mainly by reducing non-combat positions, to 1 million by 2013 so it can increase wages more as its conscript army is honed into a more professional force.

Weaponry Display

The military is ``gaining in strength and power like all of Russia,'' President Dmitry Medvedev said May 9, presiding over its biggest weaponry display since the Soviet era, in Moscow's Red Square on the 63rd anniversary of the World War II victory over Germany.

A day earlier, Putin urged Parliament to keep increasing spending because ``only a battle-ready, well-equipped military with strong morale can defend'' Russia's ``sovereignty and integrity.''

The renewed strength allowed an estimated 10,000 troops to storm into Georgia almost unimpeded. Columns of troops and armaments rolled through South Ossetia, the pro-Moscow breakaway region that sparked the war after Georgia tried to retake it. Fighter jets bombed military bases as tanks ruined parts of the regional capital, Tskhinvali.

Stalin's Birthplace

Within three days, Russia controlled a third of Georgia, including the port of Poti and the central city of Gori, birthplace of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Russian General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the General Staff, said no new arms were tested during the war. Instead, the Russians used T-72 tanks fitted with explosive- reactive armor, BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry vehicles, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers and MT-LB multipurpose tracked vehicles, said Jane's Information Group, a defense intelligence service. It also used self-propelled guns and rocket-launchers.

Georgia suffered more troop casualties -- 215 killed and 1,200 wounded -- than Russia, with 64 killed and 323 wounded, according to figures from both governments.

About 2,100 South Ossetian civilians also died, Nogovitsyn said. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Boris Malakhov said the military minimized collateral damage, comparing its performance favorably with NATO's 1999 air attack of Serbia, when bombs fell on hospitals, a television tower and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

`Confident Military'

``The Russian incursion into Georgian territory -- and the air campaign against Georgian military targets -- show a confident Russian military,'' Jane's analyst Nathan Hodge wrote in a report. ``This is not the degraded Russian military of the 1994-1996 Chechen War, when Russian fighting units were plagued by corruption, poor leadership and lack of funding.''

Putin, 55, came to power after a decade of economic chaos following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 hollowed the once- vaunted Red Army. Morale and pay were so low during the second war against Chechnya separatists, starting in 1999, that soldiers sold arms and ammunition to rebels, Russian novelist and journalist Vladimir Voinovich wrote in 2003. Some officers sold their men to Chechen warlords as slaves, he wrote.

Nogovitsyn said Russia learned strategic lessons from that war. ``Chechnya taught us many things, including how to use units as part of battalion tactical groups,'' he said Aug. 19.

Russia plans to garner additional lessons from Georgia. Medvedev, 42, on Aug. 18 said the war should be used to develop new approaches to arms procurement and assigned Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov to come up with them.

`Practical Action'

``There will be a decisive switch towards practical action,'' Nogovitsyn said. ``When there were no resources, we shuffled papers in academies, but now a new era has started. We will teach our troops whatever they need to know'' with exercises that replicate battle conditions and aircraft that ``no longer sit on the runway.''

Makiyenko, the defense analyst, said the military could have been even more effective in Georgia. The kind of weaponry ``it really needed was not there,'' he said. Modern aircraft, intelligence and communication should be the military's new focus, he added.

Russia's military is unlikely ever to match the might of the U.S. and NATO. Russia devoted 3.9 percent of its gross domestic product to the military in 2005, compared with 4.1 percent by the U.S., according to the CIA's World Factbook. But the U.S.'s GDP is $14 trillion, almost 11 times Russia's. NATO's 26 members have a combined GDP of about $25 trillion.

``Ultimately Russia's ability to spend on its military is dwarfed by NATO,'' said Nick Day, a former British intelligence officer who's now heads Diligence LLC, a business-intelligence firm.

Georgia War Shows Russia `Force to Be Reckoned With' (

Title: Western Nations Warn Russia to `Change Course'
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:19:21 AM
Western Nations Warn Russia to `Change Course'
West warns Russia to `change course;' fallout from conflict stretches from nukes to chicken
The Associated Press

TBILISI, Georgia

Western leaders warned the Kremlin on Wednesday to "change course," hoping to keep the conflict from growing into a new Cold War after tensions broadened to imperil a key nuclear pact and threaten U.S. meat and poultry trade with Russia.

Moscow said it was NATO expansion and Western support for Georgia that was causing the new East-West divisions, and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin lashed out at the United States for using military ships to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia.

Meanwhile, Georgia slashed its embassy staff in Moscow to protest Russia's recognition of the two separatist enclaves that were the flashpoint for the five-day war between the two nations earlier this month.

The tensions have spread to the Black Sea, which Russia shares unhappily with three nations that belong to NATO and two others that desperately want to, Ukraine and Georgia. Some Ukrainians fear Moscow might set its sights on their nation next.

In moves evocative of Cold War cat-and-mouse games, a U.S. military ship carrying humanitarian aid docked at a southern Georgian port, and Russia sent a missile cruiser and two other ships to a port farther north in a show of force.

The maneuvering came a day after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had said his nation was "not afraid of anything, including the prospect of a Cold War." For the two superpowers of the first Cold War, the United States and Russia, repercussions from this new conflict could be widespread.

Russia's agriculture minister said Moscow could cut poultry and pork import quotas by hundreds of thousands of tons, hitting American producers hard and thereby raising prices for American shoppers.

Russians sometimes refer to American poultry imports as "Bush's legs," a reference to the frozen chicken shipped to Russia amid economic troubles following the 1991 Soviet collapse, during George H.W. Bush's presidency.

And a key civil nuclear agreement between Moscow and Washington appears likely to be shelved until next year at the earliest.

On the diplomatic front, the West's denunciations of Russia grew louder.

Britain's top diplomat equated Moscow's offensive in Georgia with the Soviet tanks that invaded Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring democratic reforms in 1968, and demanded Russia "change course."

"The sight of Russian tanks in a neighboring country on the 40th anniversary of the crushing of the Prague Spring has shown that the temptations of power politics remain," Foreign Secretary David Miliband said.

Western leaders have accused Russia of using inappropriate force when it sent tanks and troops into Georgia earlier this month. The Russian move followed a Georgian crackdown on the pro-Russian South Ossetia.

Many of the Russian forces that drove deep into Georgia after fighting broke out Aug. 7 have pulled back, but hundreds are estimated to still be manning checkpoints that Russia calls "security zones" inside Georgia proper.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel pressed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a phone call to immediately fulfill the EU-brokered cease-fire by pulling all troops out of Georgia.

The Kremlin rejected Western criticism, and Tuesday even suggested the conflict could spread. It starkly warned another former Soviet republic, tiny Moldova, that aggression against a breakaway region there could provoke a military response.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Russia of trying to redraw the borders of Georgia. His foreign minister went further, suggesting Russia had engaged in "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia, one of the two Georgian rebel territories.

And the seven nations that along with Russia make up the G-8 issued a statement that underlined Russia's growing estrangement from the West.

The seven — United States, Britain, France, Canada, Germany, Japan and Italy — said Russia's decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent countries violated the Georgia's territorial integrity.

Two weeks ago, officials had told The Associated Press that the G-7 were weighing whether to effectively disband what is known as the G-8 by throwing Moscow out.

Georgia's prime minister put damage from the Russian war at about $1 billion but said it did not fundamentally undermine the Georgian economy. Georgia, which has a national budget of about $3 billion, hopes for substantial Western aid to recover.

The United Nations has estimated nearly 160,000 people had to flee their homes, but hundreds have returned to Georgian cities like Gori in the past week.

In the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, boxes of aid were sorted, stacked and loaded onto trucks Wednesday for some of the tens of thousands of people still displaced by the fighting. Some boxes were stamped "USAID — from the American People."

In the Black Sea, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas, carrying 34 tons of humanitarian aid, docked in Batumi. The missile destroyer USS McFaul was there earlier this week delivering aid, and the U.S. planned to leave it in the Black Sea for now.

A spokesman for Putin, quoted by Interfax news agency, observed: "Military ships are hardly a common way to deliver such aid."

The U.S. has used military ships to deliver humanitarian aid before, including in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian tsunami.

The U.S. Embassy in Georgia had earlier said the Dallas was headed to the port city of Poti but then retracted the statement. A Georgian official said the port in Poti could have been mined by Russian forces.

Poti's port reportedly suffered heavy damage from the Russian military. In addition, Russian troops have established checkpoints on the northern approach to the city, and a U.S. ship docking there could have been seen as a direct challenge.

Meanwhile, the Russian missile cruiser Moskva and two smaller missile boats anchored at the port in Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia, some 180 miles north of Batumi. The Russian Navy says the ships will be involved in peacekeeping operations.

Russian Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn warned that NATO has already exhausted the number of forces it can have in the Black Sea, according to international agreements, and warned Western nations against sending more ships.

"Can NATO — which is not a state located in the Black Sea — continuously increase its group of forces and systems there? It turns out that it cannot," Nogovitsyn was quoted as saying Wednesday by Interfax.

Western Nations Warn Russia to `Change Course' (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:20:26 AM
Georgia to cut diplomatic ties with Moscow

By MISHA DZHINDZHIKHASHVILI, Associated Press Writer Fri Aug 29, 5:57 PM ET

TBILISI, Georgia - Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Moscow on Friday to protest the presence of Russian troops on its territory. Russia said the move would only make things worse.

With European Union leaders set to discuss on Monday in Brussels how to deal with an increasingly assertive Russia, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin angrily warned Europe not to do America's bidding and said Moscow does not fear Western sanctions.

Russia has faced isolation over its offensive in Georgia and stands alone in its recognition of breakaway regions South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The U.S. and Europe have closed ranks in condemning Russia's actions but are struggling to find an effective response.

EU leaders are not expected to impose sanctions on Russia at their summit but may name a special envoy to Georgia to ensure that a cease-fire is observed, French and Belgian officials said.

Georgia's diplomats in Russia will leave Moscow on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry said. Georgia's leadership followed through on a call from lawmakers who voted late Thursday to break off ties with Russia.

Russia criticized the move, saying it would not help mend ruined ties.

Both nations' consulates, however, will remain open — important for the many Georgian citizens living in Russia. Under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, breaking off diplomatic ties does not automatically lead to a cut in consular relations.

The diplomatic break will require Georgia and Russia to negotiate through third countries if they negotiate at all — a sticky situation because Russia sees Western nations as biased in Georgia's favor. Georgia, which had pushed for a greater role for international organizations, could see it as an advantage.

"We found ourselves in an awkward situation when a country militarily invading and occupying our country, then recognizing part of its territories, is trying to create a sense of normalcy" by maintaining diplomatic relations, Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili said in Sweden.

But the move may bring little practical change, because there were few signs of any productive diplomacy even before the war. Trade between Russia and Georgia is also minimal, following Russian bans in 2006 on Georgia's major exports — wine and mineral water — and other products.

Only a fraction of foreign investment in Georgia comes from Russia, while a Russian ban on direct flights to and from Georgia was lifted this year but flights were halted again as the war erupted. Overland travel is already severely restricted because of impassable mountain ranges, and main routes linking Georgia and Russia pass through South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The five-day war broke out Aug. 7 when Georgia attacked South Ossetia in a bid to wrest control from separatists. Russia sent in tanks, troops and bombers, and has maintained a powerful military presence.

Kurt Volker, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO, said Georgia shouldn't be blamed for sparking the crisis.

"It wasn't a Georgian attack on Tskhinvali that launched all of this," Volker said in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corp., referring to South Ossetia's capital. "It was Russian pressure over a long period of time and then shelling coming from South Ossetians."

Still, he said Georgia's attack on South Ossetia "was not a wise thing to do because as we've seen Russia was prepared to launch a major invasion."

Russia further angered the West and startled its supporters by recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia on Tuesday.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili applauded the lack of global support for recognition of the breakaway regions.

"Today it is a fight between the civilized and the uncivilized worlds," Saakashvili said on visit to Poti, a Black Sea port still shadowed by Russian forces who have set up positions nearby.

Putin said Russia defended the lives of its citizens during the war in Georgia.

"Such a country will not be in isolation," Putin said in an excerpt of an interview with Germany's ARD television shown on state-run Russian television.

Georgia to cut diplomatic ties with Moscow  (;_ylt=AitFogLLk_ZsGKhJWgjvirAUewgF)

Title: The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas at Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi today,
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:22:00 AM
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas at Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi today, carrying what the U.S. says is humanitarian aid

Top military figure Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Studies in Moscow, alleged that the US and NATO had been arming Georgia as a dress rehearsal for a future military operation in Iran.

"We are close to a serious conflict - U.S. and NATO preparations on a strategic scale are ongoing. In the operation the West conducted on Georgian soil against Russia - South Ossetians were the victims or hostages of it - we can see a rehearsal for an attack on Iran."

He claimed Washington was fine tuning a new type of warfare and that the threat of an attack on Iran was growing by the day bringing "chaos and instability" in its wake.

With the real architect of the worsening Georgian conflict - prime minister Vladimir Putin - remaining in the background, Medvedev followed up on Rogozin's broadside with a threat to use the Russian military machine to respond to the deployment of the American anti-missile defence system in Poland and the Czech republic. 

Poland agreed this month to place ten interceptor missiles on its territory, and Moscow has already hinted it would become a nuclear target for Russia in the event of conflict.   

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Dallas at Georgia's Black Sea port of Batumi today, carrying what the U.S. says is humanitarian aid (

Title: Serbia and Kosovo ponder their positions after the war in Georgia
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:23:37 AM
Serbia and Kosovo ponder their positions after the war in Georgia
Aug 28th 2008

RUSSIA’S road to South Ossetia went through Kosovo. Or so many Russians and even some Western diplomats believe. It has become commonplace to assert that Russia’s invasion of Georgia and its recognition this week of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia flowed directly from Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in February, which was recognised by many Western countries. The parallels are superficial at best, but they have led to new calculations in Serbia and Kosovo over which stands to gain or lose the most from the war in Georgia.

Russia has long supported Serbia’s claim that Kosovo, 90% of whose 2m people are ethnic Albanians, has no right to independence. The reasoning is that it was a province of Serbia and not, like Montenegro, a republic in the federation of Yugoslavia. Only former republics within the old communist federations, together with the two parts of former Czechoslovakia, have become independent since 1989. Yet America and 21 out of 27 European Union countries have endorsed Kosovo’s independence.

Now the West and the Russians seem to have exchanged arguments. Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, says that the world can forget about Georgia’s territorial integrity, whereas Western countries are demanding that it be respected. With their patrons apparently flip-flopping like this, it is no wonder the authorities in Belgrade and Pristina feel embarrassed—and that both have been largely mute over Georgia.

An early test will come on September 17th. A United Nations committee will decide whether to put on the agenda of the UN General Assembly a Serbian motion to request from the International Court of Justice an opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s declaration of independence. If the motion were proposed, Serbia would need only a majority of those voting to get it passed.

The Russian action in Georgia “may have helped us”, claims one senior Serbian official, noting that many countries agnostic about breakaway states were frightened by Russia’s war. Or maybe not, retorts Lulzim Peci, a Kosovar foreign-policy analyst. Since Russia backs both the motion and self-determination for the South Ossetians and Abkhaz, it may seem no more than a cynical manoeuvre, “because Russia’s claim to be helping Serbia will no longer seem like a matter of principle but rather like a political game. Russia has now lost credibility.”

Serbian sympathies have always lain with Russia because of its support over Kosovo. But it is clear to Serbia’s leaders that they are to some extent in the same boat as Georgia. However, Veton Surroi, publisher of Kosovo’s main daily, insists that, if one wants comparisons, “we are Georgia”. He argues that since Kosovo is independent, the Serb-run north of the country is the new potential breakaway, no longer Kosovo itself.

Serbia and Kosovo ponder their positions after the war in Georgia (

Title: Russians long-range missile test a success
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:29:01 AM
Russians long-range missile test a success
Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:53pm EDT

By Chris Baldwin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia successfully tested a long-range Topol missile designed to avoid detection by anti-missile defence systems from its Plesetsk launch site, a Russian military spokesman said on Thursday.

"The launch was specially tasked to test the missile's capability to avoid ground-based detection systems," said Colonel Alexander Vovk of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces.

Washington and Warsaw formally signed a deal last week to station elements of a U.S. missile defence shield in Poland, a move that has aggravated Russian-Western tensions already raw from Moscow's intervention in Georgia.

Russia has heaped scorn on the missile defence system, which the U.S. says is aimed at Iran, and through its Foreign Ministry last week vowed "to react, and not only through diplomatic protests."

The RS-12M Topol, called the SS-25 Sickle by NATO, has a maximum range of 10,000 km (6,125 miles) and can carry one 550-kiloton warhead.

Last October former Russian President Vladimir Putin, now the prime minister, said the country was working on new types of nuclear weapons as part of a "grandiose" plan to boost the country's defenses.

"As part of the commander in chief's order there will be a few more launches of this particular missile before the end of the year," Vovk said.

Russia has reconfigured earlier Topol models to expand their life-span to 23 years and has been evaluating the reliability of flight stabilizers that allow the missile to fly to a target in a manner similar to cruise missiles.

Russians long-range missile test a success (

Title: Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 12:39:13 AM
Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation
August 28, 2008

Michael Evans, Defence Editor

A new Cold War between Russia and the West grew steadily closer yesterday after the Kremlin gave a warning about “direct confrontation” between American and Russian warships in the Black Sea.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister, declared that Russia was taking “measures of precaution” against American and Nato naval ships. “Let’s hope we do not see any direct confrontation in that,” he said.

Any attempt by countries in the West to isolate Russia would “definitely harm the economic interests of those states”, he said.

A day after the Kremlin said that it was ready to fight a new Cold War, both sides gave the impression that they were preparing for a protracted stand-off. Foreign ministers of the G7 leading industrialised nations condemned Russia’s excessive use of force and the decision to recognise the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, while the US and Russia shelved a key nuclear agreement that would have given the Americans access to Russian nuclear technologies and Russia help from the US in establishing an international nuclear fuel storage facility for spent fuel.

David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, also flew to Ukraine to assemble the “widest possible coalition against Russian aggression”, while Georgia downgraded its diplomatic relations with Russia, recalling all but two of its diplomats from Moscow in protest at the continuing occupation of its country.

Russia criticised the US for using naval ships to deliver aid to Georgia. The US Coast Guard cutter Dallas delivered supplies to the Georgian port of Batumi yesterday, three days after the guided-missile destroyer USS McFaul docked in the port. The US sailors were greeted with chants of “USA! USA!”

By choosing Batumi, the US opted for a less confrontational move than docking at Poti, another Georgian port where Russian troops are dug in. The US may have also suspected that the Russians had mined the harbour at Poti, possibly one of the precautionary measures referred to by Mr Putin’s spokesman.

General Anatoli Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, accused Nato of “ratcheting up tension” in the Black Sea. Mr Peskov said: “It’s not a common practice to deliver humanitarian aid using battleships.”

The Russian rhetoric was matched in the US by Dick Cheney, the Vice-President, who will visit Georgia next week. He called the Russian occupation of Georgia an unjustified assault, and pledged to ensure the country’s territorial integrity.

The G7 — Britain, the US, France, Canada, Germany, Italy and Japan — said in a statement released by the US State Department: “We deplore Russia’s excessive use of military force in Georgia and its continued occupation of parts of Georgia.”

For now, US help has been confined to delivering aid to Georgia by sea and air, but with Russian troops and tanks still occupying parts of Georgia, US military planners are now openly considering how to rearm Georgia’s forces, which fought as allies of the US in Iraq. “Down the road we will be looking at what may be required to rebuild the Georgian military \ right now the mission of the United States military is to provide humanitarian assistance,” a Pentagon spokesman said.

A former British ambassador to Tbilisi said that Nato might have to send troops to the region. Donald McLaren, who was Ambassador to Georgia from 2004 to July last year and is now retired, told the Today programme on Radio 4: “I think we shouldn’t be too complacent or too scared in a situation like this.”

He suggested that a peacekeeping force made up of troops from the US, Britain, France, Germany and Russia should be sent to Georgia to replace the Russian units. If Moscow rejected such a proposal, he said, Nato had only two choices: “To give up and surrender and say to the Russians, ‘It’s your backyard, you’ve won’, or to put men on the ground to protect Georgia’s sovereignty and the east-west oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian and Central Asia.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said that there was no prospect of troops being deployed to Georgia.

Nato diplomatic sources said that no one within the alliance was speaking about sending troops. “We have no mandate to act in the Caucasus,” a source said. Even the European Union, which is to hold a summit next month, has downgraded its most likely response to the Russian military presence in Georgia from deploying peacekeepers to sending observers.

Masha Lipman, of the Moscow centre of the Carnegie Endowment, told Today that Russia was in a belligerent mood and that if the West sent a force into Georgia, the situation would escalate.

The Ministry of Defence has decided to postpone a military exercise in Georgia involving the Territorial Army and the Georgian Army. The exercise, planned for next month, was to help the Georgians with peacekeeping. The MoD said that the Georgian Defence Ministry had requested the delay because of the current situation.

Cold War tension rises as Putin talks of Black Sea confrontation (

Title: Russia 'could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes'
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 01:16:05 AM
Russia 'could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes'
29/ 08/ 2008

MOSCOW, August 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet is capable of destroying NATO's naval strike group currently deployed in the sea within 20 minutes, a former fleet commander said on Friday.

Russia's General Staff said on Tuesday there were 10 NATO ships in the Black Sea - three U.S. warships, the Polish frigate General Pulaski, the German frigate FGS Lubeck, and the Spanish guided missile frigate Admiral Juan de Borbon, as well as four Turkish vessels. Eight more warships are expected to join the group.

"Despite the apparent strength, the NATO naval group in the Black Sea is not battle-worthy," Admiral Eduard Baltin said. "If necessary, a single missile salvo from the Moskva missile cruiser and two or three missile boats would be enough to annihilate the entire group."

"Within 20 minutes the waters would be clear," he said, stressing that despite major reductions, the Black Sea Fleet still has a formidable missile arsenal.

However, Baltin said the chances of a military confrontation between NATO and Russia in the Black Sea are negligible.

"We will not strike first, and they do not look like people with suicidal tendencies," he said.

In addition to its flagship, the Moskva guided missile cruiser, Russia's Black Sea Fleet includes at least three destroyers, two guided missile frigates, four guided missile corvettes and six missile boats.

NATO announced its decision to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia after the conclusion of hostilities between Tbilisi and Moscow over breakaway South Ossetia on August 12. Moscow recognized on Tuesday both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway Georgia republic, despite being urged by Western leaders not to do so.

Russia's General Staff later said the alliance's naval deployment in the Black Sea "cannot fail to provoke concern", with unidentified sources in the Russian military saying a surface strike group was being gathered there.

According to Russian military intelligence sources, the NATO warships that have entered the Black Sea are between them carrying over 100 Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

Russia 'could destroy NATO ships in Black Sea within 20 minutes' (

Title: Russia tests out new lethal nuke
Post by: Shammu on August 30, 2008, 01:37:10 AM
Russia tests out new lethal nuke

Political Editor

Published: 29 Aug 2008
RUSSIA last night provoked fresh fears of a Cold War by boasting it has tested a new long-range nuclear missile.

Moscow’s military chiefs revealed their Topol intercontinental stealth rocket had been fired successfully.

The chilling declaration was aimed at sparking international alarm about the conflict in the Caucasus, diplomats claimed.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband tried to calm the crisis by saying no country wants “all-out war” with Russia.

But he admitted the invasion of Georgia has brought an end to peace in Europe.

Russia’s Interfax agency said: “The experimental warhead section of the rocket hit its pre-determined target with high accuracy at the firing range.”

The RS-12M Topol, designed to dodge defence systems, has a range of 6,125 miles — enough to reach Britain — with a 550-kiloton warhead capable of devastating a 14-mile wide area.

It was launched from the spaceport at Plesetsk to the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East. But Russia’s own allies condemned leaders Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation slammed the Kremlin for its aggression against neighbouring Georgia.

The SCO, made up of China and Black Sea states, said: “Relying on the use of force has no prospects and hinders a settlement of local conflicts.

“We urge the sides to solve problems peacefully.”

The EU talked of sanctions unless Moscow backs down.

Britain postponed September’s military exercises in Georgia — a day after Moscow warned such moves could be tantamount to a declaration of war.

But Russia last night accused the UK of direct involvement in helping Georgia’s armed forces.

General Anatoly Nogovitsyn alleged the charity Halo Trust, once linked to Princess Diana, is training bomb technicians.

The conflict in Georgia continues with South Ossetia claiming to have shot down an unmanned Georgian spy plane.

Russia tests out new lethal nuke (

Title: Kremlin announces that South Ossetia will join 'one united Russian state'
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:04:48 AM
Kremlin announces that South Ossetia will join 'one united Russian state'
August 30, 2008
Tony Halpin in Moscow

The Kremlin moved swiftly to tighten its grip on Georgia’s breakaway regions yesterday as South Ossetia announced that it would soon become part of Russia, which will open military bases in the province under an agreement to be signed on Tuesday.

Tarzan Kokoity, the province’s Deputy Speaker of parliament, announced that South Ossetia would be absorbed into Russia soon so that its people could live in “one united Russian state” with their ethnic kin in North Ossetia.

The declaration came only three days after Russia defied international criticism and recognised South Ossetia and Georgia’s other separatist region of Abkhazia as independent states. Eduard Kokoity, South Ossetia’s leader, agreed that it would form part of Russia within “several years” during talks with Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian President, in Moscow.

The disclosure will expose Russia to accusations that it is annexing land regarded internationally as part of Georgia. Until now, the Kremlin has insisted that its troops intervened solely to protect South Ossetia and Abkhazia from Georgian “aggression”.

Interfax news quoted an unidentified Russian official as saying that Moscow also planned to establish two bases in Abkhazia. Sergei Shamba, Abkhazia’s Foreign Minister, said that an agreement on military co-operation would be signed within a month.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that agreements on “peace, co-operation and mutual assistance with Abkhazia and South Ossetia” were being prepared on the orders of President Medvedev. Abkhazia said that it would ask Russia to represent its interests abroad.

Georgia announced that it was recalling all diplomatic staff from its embassy in Moscow in protest at the continued Russian occupation of its land in defiance of a ceasefire agreement brokered by President Sarkozy of France. The parliament in Tbilisi declared Abkhazia and South Ossetia to be under Russian occupation.

Gigi Tsereteli, the Vice-Speaker, dismissed the threat of South Ossetia becoming part of Russia, saying: “The world has already become different and Russia will not long be able to occupy sovereign Georgian territory.

“The regimes of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should think about the fact that if they become part of Russia, they will be assimilated, and in this way they will disappear.”

Lado Gurgenidze, the Prime Minister of Georgia, scrapped agreements that had permitted Russian peacekeepers to operate in the two regions after wars in the early 1990s. He called for their replacement by international troops.

Vyacheslav Kovalenko, Moscow’s Ambassador to Georgia, described Tbilisi’s decision to sever relations as “a step towards further escalation of tensions with Russia and the desire to drive the situation into an even worse deadlock”.

Russia attacked the G7 after the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan condemned its “excessive use of military force in Georgia”. In a joint statement, they had called on Russia to “implement in full” the French ceasefire agreement.

The Foreign Ministry said that the G7 was “justifying Georgian acts of aggression” and insisted that Moscow had met its obligations under the six-point agreement.

Having been rebuffed on Thursday by China and four Central Asian states, Russia will seek support next week from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) for its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The CSTO comprises Russia and the former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The signing of the military agreement with South Ossetia will take place the day after an emergency summit of European Union leaders to discuss the crisis. The French presidency of the EU said that sanctions against Russia were not being considered, contradicting an earlier statement by Bernard Kouchner, the Foreign Minister.

Russia told the EU that any sanctions would be damaging to both sides. Andrei Nesterenko, a Foreign Ministry official, said: “We hope that common sense will prevail over emotions and that EU leaders will find the strength to reject a one-sided assessment of the conflict . . . Neither party needs the confrontation towards which some countries are being energetically pushed by the EU.”

Russia also lashed out at Nato, saying that it had “no moral right” to pass judgment on the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Foreign Ministry said: “Further sliding to confrontation with Russia and attempts to put pressure on us are unacceptable, as they can entail irreversible consequences in the military-political climate and in stability on the continent.”

The US confirmed that the flagship of its Sixth Fleet, the USS Mount Whitney, would deliver aid to Georgia next week. Two other warships are moored off Georgia’s Black Sea port of Batumi, and Russia has ordered its fleet to take “precautionary measures”.

Mr Medvedev has accused the US of shipping weapons to Georgia along with aid, a claim dismissed as “ridiculous” by the White House.

Kremlin announces that South Ossetia will join 'one united Russian state' (

Title: Re: Kremlin announces that South Ossetia will join 'one united Russian state'
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:06:46 AM

Anyone who has studied Bible prophecy knows, this must happen.

Title: CNN interview with Vladimir Putin
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:27:30 AM
CNN interview with Vladimir Putin
August 29, 2008
(CNN) -- CNN's Matthew Chance interviewed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Thursday.

Matthew Chance: Many people around the world, even though you're not the president of Russia anymore, see you as the main decision maker in this country. Wasn't you that ordered Russian forces into Georgia and you who should take responsibility for the consequences?

Vladimir Putin: Of course, that's not the case. In accordance with the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the issues of foreign policy and defense are fully in the hands of the president. The president of the Russian Federation was acting within his powers.

As is known, yours truly was at that time at the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing. This alone made it impossible for me to take part in preparing that decision, although of course, President Medvedev was aware of my opinion on that issue. I'll be frank with you, and actually there is no secret about it, we had of course considered all the possible scenarios of events, including direct aggression by the Georgian leadership.

We had to think beforehand about how to provide for the security of our peace-keepers and of the citizens of the Russian Federation who are residents of South Ossetia. But, I repeat, such a decision could only be taken by the president of the Russian Federation, the commander in chief of the armed forces, Mr. Medvedev. It's his decision.

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.

More generally, Matthew, I will say this: We must take a broader view of this conflict.

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.

But I would like to recall that all these state entities, each in its own time, voluntarily integrated into the Russian Empire. Back in the mid-18th century, in 1745-1747, Ossetia was the first to become part of the Russian Empire. At that time, it was a united entity; North and South Ossetia were one state.

In 1801, if my memory serves me, Georgia itself, which was under some pressure from the Ottoman Empire, voluntarily became part of the Russian Empire.

It was only 12 years later, in 1812, that Abkhazia became part of the Russian Empire. Until that time, it had remained an independent state, an independent principality.

It was only in the mid-19th century that the decision was taken to incorporate South Ossetia into the Tiflis province. Within a common state, the matter was regarded as not very important. But I can assure you that subsequent years showed that the Ossetians did not much like it. However, de facto they were put by the tsar's central government under the jurisdiction of what is now Georgia.

When, after World War I, the Russian Empire broke up, Georgia declared its own state while Ossetia opted for staying within Russia; this happened right after the events of 1917.

In 1918, as a result of this, Georgia conducted a rather brutal punitive operation there, and in 1921, it repeated it.

When the Soviet Union was formed, these territories, by Stalin's decision, were definitively given to Georgia. As you know, Stalin was ethnically Georgian.

Therefore, those who insist that those territories must continue to belong to Georgia are Stalinists: They defend the decision of Josef Vissarionovich Stalin.

Yet, whatever has been happening recently and whatever the motives of those involved in the conflict, there is no doubt that all that we are witnessing now is a tragedy.

For us, it is a special tragedy, because during the many years that we were living together the Georgian culture -- the Georgian people being a nation of ancient culture -- became, without a doubt, a part of the multinational culture of Russia.

There is even a tinge of civil war in this for us, though of course Georgia is an independent state, no doubt about it. We have never infringed on the sovereignty of Georgia and have no intention of doing so in the future. And yet, considering the fact that almost a million, even more than a million Georgians have moved here, we have special spiritual links with that country and its people. For us, this is a special tragedy.

And, I assure you, while mourning the Russian soldiers who died, and above all the innocent civilians, many here in Russia are also mourning the Georgians who died.

The responsibility for the loss of life rests squarely with the present Georgian leadership, which dared to take these criminal actions.

I apologize for the long monologue; I felt it would be of interest.

cont'd next post

Title: CNN interview with Vladimir Putin Pt.2
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:28:55 AM
Matthew Chance: It is very interesting that you are talking about Russia's imperial history in this region because one of the effects of Russian intervention in Georgia is that other countries in the former Soviet Union are now deeply concerned that they could be next, that they could be part of a resurgent Russian empire ... particularly countries like Ukraine, that have a big ethnic Russian populations, but also Moldova, the central Asian states and even some of the Baltic states. Can you guarantee to us that Russia will never again use its militarily forces against a neighboring state?

Vladimir Putin: I strongly object to the way this question is formulated. It is not for us to guarantee that we will not attack someone. We have not attacked anyone. It is we who are demanding guarantees from others, to make sure that no one attacks us anymore and that no one kills our citizens. We are being portrayed as the aggressor.

I have here the chronology of the events that took place on August 7, 8 and 9. On the 7th, at 2:42 p.m., the Georgian officers who were at the headquarters of the joint peacekeeping forces left the headquarters, walked away from the headquarters -- where there were our servicemen, as well as Georgian and Ossetian servicemen -- saying that had been ordered to do so by their commanders. They left their place of service and left our servicemen there alone and never returned during the period preceding the beginning of hostilities. An hour later, heavy artillery shelling started.

At 10:35 p.m., a massive shelling of the city of Tskhinvali began. At 10:50 p.m., ground force units of the Georgian armed forces started to deploy to the combat zone. At the same time, Georgian military hospitals were deployed in the immediate vicinity. And at 11:30 p.m., Mr. Kruashvili, brigadier general and commander of the Georgian peacekeeping forces in the region, announced that Georgia had decided to declare war on South Ossetia. They announced it directly and publicly, looking right into the TV cameras.

At that time, we tried to contact the Georgian leadership, but they all refused to respond. At 0:45 a.m. on August 8, Kruashvili repeated it once again. At 5:20 a.m., tank columns of the Georgian forces launched an attack on Tskhinvali, preceded by massive fire from GRAD systems, and we began to sustain casualties among our personnel.

At that time, as you know, I was in Beijing, and I was able to talk briefly with the president of the United States. I said to him directly that we had not been able to contact the Georgian leadership but that one of the commanders of the Georgian armed forces had declared that they had started a war with South Ossetia.

George replied to me -- and I have already mentioned it publicly -- that no one wanted a war. We were hoping that the U.S. administration would intervene in the conflict and stop the aggressive actions of the Georgian leadership. Nothing of the kind happened.

What is more, already at 12 noon local time, the units of the Georgian armed forces seized the peacekeepers' camp in the south of Tskhinvali -- it is called Yuzhni, or Southern -- and our soldiers had to withdraw to the city center, being outnumbered by the Georgians one to six. Also, our peacekeepers did not have heavy weapons, and what weapons they had had been destroyed by the first artillery strikes. One of those strikes had killed 10 people at once.

Then the attack was launched on the peacekeeping forces' northern camp. Here, let me read you the report of the General Staff: "As of 12:30 p.m., the battalion of the Russian Federation peacekeeping forces deployed in the north of the city had beaten off five attacks and was continuing combat."

At that same time, Georgian aviation bombed the city of Dzhava, which was outside the zone of hostilities, in the central part of South Ossetia.

So who was the attacker, and who was attacked? We have no intention of attacking anyone, and we have no intention of going to war with anyone.

During my eight years as president, I often heard the same question: What place does Russia reserve for itself in the world; how does it see itself; what is its place? We are a peace-loving state and we want to cooperate with all of our neighbors and with all of our partners. But if anyone thinks that they can come and kill us, that our place is at the cemetery, they should think what consequences such a policy will have for them.

Matthew Chance: You've always enjoyed over your period as president of Russia, and still now, a very close personal relationship with the U.S. President George W. Bush. Do you think that his failure to restrain the Georgian forces on this occasion has damaged that relationship?

Vladimir Putin: This has certainly done damage to our relations, above all government-to-government relations.

But it is not just a matter of the U.S. administration being unable to restrain the Georgian leadership from this criminal action; the U.S. side had in effect armed and trained the Georgian army.

Why spend many years in difficult negotiations to find comprehensive compromise solutions to inter-ethnic conflicts? It is easier to arm one of the parties and push it to kill the other and have it done with. What an easy solution, apparently. In fact, however, that is not always the case.

I have some other thoughts, too. What I am going to say is hypothetical, just some suppositions, and will take time to properly sort out. But I think there is food for thought here.

Even during the years of the Cold War, the intense confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States, we always avoided any direct clash between our civilians and, most certainly, between our military.

We have serious reasons to believe that there were U.S. citizens right in the combat zone. If that is the case, if that is confirmed, it is very bad. It is very dangerous; it is misguided policy

But, if that is so, these events could also have a U.S. domestic politics dimension.

If my suppositions are confirmed, then there are grounds to suspect that some people in the United States created this conflict deliberately in order to aggravate the situation and create a competitive advantage for one of the candidates for the U.S. presidency. And if that is the case, this is nothing but the use of the called administrative resource in domestic politics, in the worst possible way, one that leads to bloodshed.

Matthew Chance: These are quite astounding claims, but just to be clear, Mr. Prime Minister, are you suggesting that there were U.S. operatives on the ground assisting Georgian forces, perhaps even provoking a conflict in order to give a presidential candidate in the United States some kind of talking point?

Vladimir Putin: Let me explain.

Matthew Chance:
And if you are suggesting that, what evidence do you have?

Vladimir Putin: I have said to you that if the presence of U.S. citizens in the zone of hostilities is confirmed, it would mean only one thing: that they could be there only at the direct instruction of their leaders. And if that is so, it means that in the combat zone there are U.S. citizens who are fulfilling their duties there. They can only do that under orders from their superiors, not on their own initiative.

Ordinary specialists, even if they train military personnel, must do it in training centers or on training grounds rather than in a combat zone.

I repeat: This requires further confirmation. I am quoting to you the reports of our military. Of course, I will seek further evidence from them.

Why are you surprised at my hypothesis, after all? There are problems in the Middle East; reconciliation there is elusive. In Afghanistan, things are not getting any better; what is more, the Taliban have launched a fall offensive, and dozens of NATO servicemen are being killed.

In Iraq, after the euphoria of the first victories, there are problems everywhere, and the number of those killed has reached 4,000.

There are problems in the economy, as we know only too well. There are financial problems, the mortgage crisis. Even we are concerned about it, and we want it to end soon, but it is there.

A little victorious war is needed. And if it doesn't work, then one can lay the blame on us, use us to create an enemy image, and against the backdrop of this kind of jingoism once again rally the country around certain political forces.

I am surprised that you are surprised at what I'm saying. It's as clear as day.

cont'd next post

Title: Re: CNN interview with Vladimir Putin Pt.3
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:30:07 AM
Matthew Chance: It sounds a little farfetched, but I am interested because I was in Georgia in the time of the conflict, and the country was swirling with rumors. One of the rumors was that U.S. personnel had been captured in combat areas. Is there any truth to that rumor?

Vladimir Putin: I have no such information. I think it is not correct.

I repeat: I will ask our military to provide additional information to confirm the presence of U.S. citizens in the conflict zone during the hostilities.

Matthew Chance: Let's get back to the diplomatic fallout of this conflict, because one of the consequences is that action is being threatened at least against Russia by many countries in the world. It could be kicked out of the G-8 group of industrialized nations. There are threats it could have its contacts with the NATO militarily alliance suspended. What will Russia's response be if the country is diplomatically isolated as a result of this tension between Russia and the West?

Vladimir Putin: First of all, if my hypothesis about the U.S. domestic political dimension of this conflict is correct, then I don't see why United States allies should support one U.S. political party against the other in the election campaign. This is a position that is not honest vis-à-vis the American people as a whole. But we do not rule out the possibility that, as happened before, the administration will once again be able to subordinate its allies to its will.

So what's to be done? What choice do we have? On one hand, should we agree to being killed in order to remain, say, in the G-8? And who will remain in the G-8 if all of us are killed?

You have mentioned a possible threat from Russia. You and I are sitting here now, having a quiet conversation in the city of Sochi. Within a few hundred kilometers from here, U.S. Navy ships have approached, carrying missiles whose range is precisely several hundred kilometers. It is not our ships that have approached your shores; it's your ships that have approached ours. So what's our choice?

We don't want any complications; we don't want to quarrel with anyone; we don't want to fight anyone. We want normal cooperation and a respectful attitude toward us and our interests. Is that too much?

You have mentioned the G-8. But in its present form, the G-8 already doesn't carry enough weight. Without inviting the Chinese People's Republic or India, without consulting them, without influencing their decisions, normal development of the world economy is impossible.

Or take the fight against drugs, combating infectious disease, fighting terrorism, working on non-proliferation. OK, if someone wants to do it without any involvement of Russia, how effective will that work be?

That's not what we should be thinking about, and it's pointless to try to intimidate anyone. We are not afraid, not at all. What's needed is a realistic analysis of the situation, looking to the future so as to develop a normal relationship, with due regard for each other's interests.

Matthew Chance: The raw as you've mentioned areas of cooperation still between the United States and Russia, particularly for instance over the issue of Iran's very controversial nuclear program.

Are you suggesting that you may withdraw your cooperation with the United Nations in tackling that problem from the United States if the diplomatic pressure were to be ruptured up between Russian and the West?

Vladimir Putin: Russia has been working very consistently and in good faith with its partners on all problems, those that I've mentioned and those that you added. We do so not because someone asks us and we want to look good to them. We are doing it because this is consistent with our national interests, because in these areas, our national interests coincide with those of many European countries and of the United States. If no one wants to talk to us about these problems and cooperation with Russia becomes unnecessary, God bless, do this work yourself.

Matthew Chance: And what about the issue of energy supply, because obviously European countries in particular are increasingly dependent on Russian gas and on Russian oil. Would Russia ever use the supply of energy to western Europe as a leaver to apply pressure should the diplomatic tensions be ratcheted up?

Vladimir Putin: We have never done it. Construction of the first gas pipeline system was started during the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, and for all those years, from the 1960s until this day, Russia has been fulfilling its contract obligations in a very consistent and reliable way, regardless of the political situation.

We never politicize economic relations, and we are quite astonished at the position of some U.S. administration officials who travel to European capitals trying to persuade the Europeans not to buy our products, natural gas for example, in a truly amazing effort to politicize the economic sphere. In fact, it's quite pernicious.

It's true that the Europeans depend on our supplies but we too depend on whoever buys our gas. That's interdependence; that's precisely the guarantee of stability.

And since we are already talking about economic matters, I would like to inform you about a decision that will be taken in the near future. Let me say right from the start that it is in no way related to any crisis, not to the situation in Abkhazia nor in South Ossetia; those are purely economic matters. Let me tell you what it's about.

For some time, we have had a debate about supplies of various products from different countries, including the United States. And of course the debate is particularly intense, as a rule, as regards agricultural products.

In July and August, our sanitation services conducted inspections of U.S. plants that supply poultry meat to our market. It was a spot-check inspection. It revealed that 19 of those plants ignored the concerns that our specialists had raised back in 2007. These plants will be removed from the list of poultry exporters to the Russian Federation.

Twenty-nine plants were given warnings that they must, in the near future, rectify the situation that our sanitation specialists find unacceptable. We hope the response will be rapid and that they will be able to continue supplying their products to the Russian market.

That information has just been reported to me by the minister of Agriculture.

Let me say once again that I would hate these things to be lumped together: the problems caused by conflict situations, politics, economics, meat. They all have their own dimension and are unrelated.

Matthew Chance: Prime Minister Putin, this appears or may be interpreted in the United States as tantamount to economic sanctions. Specifically, one of these 19 agricultural enterprises been importing to Russia that you've found to be flawed?

Vladimir Putin: Well, I am not an agricultural expert. This morning, the minister of agriculture gave me the following information.

I have already said it and want to repeat it. In July and August of this year, spot checks were made at U.S. plants that supply poultry to the Russian market. It was found that some of the concerns raised by our specialists earlier, in 2007, had been ignored and that the plants had done nothing to correct the deficiencies identified during the previous inspections. For that reason, the Ministry of Agriculture decided to remove them from the list of exporters.

At 29 other plants, certain problems have been found. They have been properly documented, with instructions as to what needs to be changed in order for the previous agreements on deliveries from those plants to Russia to remain in effect. We hope that they will quickly rectify the problems identified during those checks.

It has been found that their products contain excessive amounts of some substances that are subject to certain controls in our country. They contain excessive amounts of antibiotics and perhaps some other substances such as arsenic. I don't know; it's for the agricultural experts to consider. This has noting to do with politics. These are not some kind of sanctions. Such measures were taken here on several occasions in the past. There is nothing catastrophic here. It just means that we should work on this together.

What's more, when the minister called me, he said, "Frankly, we don't know what to do. It'll look like sanctions, but we need to take a decision. Of course, we could take a pause, too."

I think they said it's arsenic. But we have our rules. If you want to export to our market, you must adjust to our rules. They know all about it. They were told about it back in 2007.

Matthew Chance: The U.S. won't like it.

Vladimir Putin: We too do not like some of the things being done. They need to work closer together with our Ministry of Agriculture. Such things have happened before.

We closed it, and then we allowed them in again. It happened not only with regard to U.S. suppliers but Brazilian, too.

cont'd next post

Title: Re: CNN interview with Vladimir Putin Pt.4
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:31:04 AM
Matthew Chance: To conclude --

Vladimir Putin: We could go on. I am in no hurry.

Matthew Chance: Prime Minister Putin, perhaps more than anyone else, you're credited with restoring a degree of international prestige to this country. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, after the chaos of 1990s, are you concerned that you're squandering that international prestige by your actions over Georgia, by actions like these banning of bird meat imports from the United States? Is that something the concerns you?

Vladimir Putin: Well, I have told you that there is no ban on U.S. poultry. It's a ban on some plants that did not respond to our concerns for a whole year.

We have to protect our domestic market and our consumers, as is done by all countries, including the United States.

As for Russia's prestige: We don't like what's been happening, but we did not provoke this situation. Speaking of prestige, some countries' prestige has been severely damaged in recent years. In effect, in recent years our U.S. partners have been cultivating the rule of force instead of the rule of international law. When we tried to stop the decision on Kosovo; no one listened to us. We said, don't do it, wait; you are putting us in a terrible position in the Caucasus. What shall we say to the small nations of the Caucasus as to why independence can be gained in Kosovo but not here? You are putting us in a ridiculous position. At that time, no one was talking about international law; we alone did. Now, they have all remembered it. Now, for some reason, everyone is talking about international law.

But who opened Pandora's box? Did we do it? No, we didn't do it. It was not our decision, and it was not our policy.

There are both things in international law: the principle of territorial integrity and right to self-determination. What's needed is simply to reach agreement on the ground rules. I would think that the time has finally come to do it.

As for the public perception of the events that are taking place, of course this in large part depends not only on the politicians but also on how cleverly they manipulate the media, on how they influence world public opinion. Our U.S. colleagues are of course much better at it than we are. We have much to learn. But is it always done in a proper, democratic way, is the information always fair and objective?

Let's recall, for example, the interview with that 12-year-old girl and her aunt, who, as I understand, live in the United States and who witnessed the events in South Ossetia. The interviewer at one of the leading channels, Fox News, was interrupting her all the time. All the time, he interrupted her. As soon as he didn't like what she was saying, he started to interrupt her, he coughed, wheezed and screeched. All that remained for him to do was to soil his pants, in such a graphic way as to stop them. That's the only thing he didn't do, but, figuratively speaking, he was in that kind of state. Well, is that an honest and objective way to give information? Is that the way to inform the people of your own country? No, that is disinformation.

We want to live in peace and agreement; we want normal trade; we want to work in all areas: to assure international security, to work on problems of disarmament, on fighting terrorism and drugs, on the Iranian nuclear problem, on the North Korean problem which is now showing a somewhat alarming tendency. We are ready for all that, but we want this work to be honest, open and done in partnership, rather than selfishly.

It is wrong to make anyone into an enemy; it is wrong to scare the people of one's own country with that enemy and try to rally some allies on that basis. What we need is to work openly and honestly on solutions to the problem. We want that and we are ready for that.

Matthew Chance: Let's go back to the assertion that the U.S. provoked the war. Diplomats in the United States accuse Russia of provoking the war by supporting the separatists in Abkhazia and South Ossetia by arming them, by increasing forces in the territories and by recognizing their institutions ... basically giving them the green light to go ahead and operate de facto. Wasn't it Russia that really caused this conflict?

Vladimir Putin: I can easily reply to this question. Since the 1990s, as soon as this conflict started, and it started in recent history because of the decision of the Georgian side to deprive Abkhazia and South Ossetia of the rights of autonomy. In 1990 and 1991, the Georgian leadership deprived Abkhazia and South Ossetia of the autonomous rights that they enjoyed as part of the Soviet Union, as part of Soviet Georgia, and as soon as that decision was taken, ethnic strife and armed hostilities began. At that time, Russia signed a number of international agreements, and we complied with all those agreements. We had in the territory of Abkhazia and South Ossetia only those peacekeeping forces that were stipulated in those agreements and never exceeded the quota.

The other side -- I am referring to the Georgian side -- with the support of the United States, violated all the agreements in the most brazen way.

Under the guise of units of the Ministry of the Interior, they secretly moved into the conflict zone their troops, regular army, special units and heavy equipment. In fact, they surrounded Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, with that heavy equipment and tanks. They surrounded our peacekeepers with tanks and started shooting at them point blank.

It was only after that, after our first casualties and after their number considerably increased, after tens of them had been killed -- I think 15 or 20 peacekeepers were killed, and there was heavy loss of life among the civilian population, with hundreds killed -- it was only after all that that President Medvedev decided to introduce a military contingent to save the lives of our peacekeepers and innocent civilians.

What is more, when our troops began moving in the direction of Tskhinvali, they came across a fortified area that had been secretly prepared by the Georgian military. In effect, tanks and heavy artillery had been dug into ground there, and they started shelling our soldiers as they moved.

All of it was done in violation of previous international agreements.

It is of course conceivable that our U.S. partners were unaware of all that, but it's very unlikely.

A totally neutral person, the former Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ms. Zurabishvili, who is I think a French citizen and is now in Paris, has said publicly, and it was broadcast, that there was an enormous number of U.S. advisers and that of course they knew everything.

And if our supposition that there were U.S. citizens in the combat zone is confirmed -- and I repeat, we need further information from our military -- then these suspicions are quite justified.

Those who pursue such a policy toward Russia, what do they think? Will they like us only when we die?

Matthew Chance: Thank you.

Vladimir Putin:
Thank you very much.

CNN interview with Vladimir Putin (

Title: Re: CNN interview with Vladimir Putin
Post by: Shammu on August 31, 2008, 01:33:53 AM

Putin's lying through his teeth. Of course, it's not surprising, seeing as, like the Chinese government in Beijing, the Russian government is based on deception. Just as satan is the father of lies, Russia uses those lies.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 31, 2008, 01:26:24 PM
   God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble.  And so we need not fear even if the world blows up, and the mountains crumble into the sea.  Let the oceans roar and foam: let the mountains tremble!
   There is a river of joy flowing through the City of our God - the sacred home of the God above all gods.  God himself is living in that City; therefore it stands unmoved despite the turmoil everywhere.  He will not delay his help.  The nations rant and rave in anger - but when God speaks, the earth melts in submission and kingdoms totter into ruin.
   The Commander of the armies of heaven is here among us.  He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us.  Come, see the glorious things that our God does, how he brings ruin upon the world, and causes wars to end throughout the earth, breaking and burning every weapon.  "Stand silent!  Know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation in the world!"
   The Commander of the heavenly armies is here amoung us!  He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us!

Psalms 46 - The Way


Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 01, 2008, 12:13:41 PM
Russia Warns West Against Georgia Support
Monday , September 01, 2008


Russia warned the West on Monday against supporting Georgia's leadership and called for an arms embargo against the ex-Soviet republic nation until a different government is in place.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's remarks are likely to anger the United States and Europe and enrage Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili. He made it clear Moscow wants Saakashvili out of power in Georgia.

"If instead of choosing their national interests and the interests of the Georgian people, the United States and its allies choose the Saakashvili regime, this will be a mistake of truly historic proportions," he said.

"For a start it would be right to impose an embargo on weapons to this regime, until different authorities turn Georgia a normal state," he said in an address at Russia's top foreign policy graduate school.

Lavrov spoke as the European Union prepared for a summit Monday to discuss the Georgia crisis and further relations with Russia.

"Today's EU summit should clear up a great deal. We hope the choice they make will be based on Europe's fundamental interests," he said. He said Russia's relations with NATO are facing a "moment of truth."

Russia's ties to the West have been driven to their lowest point since the Soviet collapse of 1991 by the war last month in Georgia, where Saakashvili angered Moscow by courting the West and seeking NATO membership.

Russia repelled a Georgian offensive against the breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia and sent troops, tanks and bombers deep into undisputed Georgian territory, where some still maintain positions. Moscow last week recognized South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, as independent countries.

The U.S. and Europe have accused Russia of using disproportionate force and of violating the terms of a cease-fire that called for the sides to withdraw their forces to pre-conflict positions. They have also denounced Russia's recognition of the separatist regions, saying Georgia's borders must remain intact.

Russia says it was provoked. Russian peacekeeping forces were stationed in South Ossetia before the war and Moscow had given most of South Ossetia's residents Russian passports in recent years, enabling the Kremlin to argue that it was defending its citizens when it responded to Georgia's Aug. 7 offensive in the separatist province.

"With its reaction to the Georgian aggression, Russia has set a certain standard of responding that fully complies with international law," Lavrov said. Russian soldiers, he said, followed "our deeply Christian tradition of dying for our friends."

The reactions of some Western countries to the crisis "illustrates a deficit of morality," he said. "It's high time for Europe to get back to simple, non-politicized and non-geopolitical values," Lavrov said.

Lavrov reserved particular criticism for the United States, which has trained Georgian troops, saying such aid had failed to give the U.S. sufficient leverage to restrain the Georgian government.

Instead, he said, "It encouraged the irresponsible and unpredictable regime in its gambles."

While Western governments have expressed regret at the Georgian offensive targeting South Ossetia, the Russian call for an arms embargo on a nation still bristling with Russian forces is likely to irritate the U.S. and Europe.

Lavrov's remarks will likely deepen Georgian suspicions that Russia's aim throughout the crisis has been to remove the pro-Western Saakashvili from power.

European Union leaders seeking to punish Russia for its war with Georgia and its recognition of independence for two breakaway Georgian provinces have few options and are likely to choose diplomatic pressure to isolate Moscow at their summit Monday.

Lavrov's implication that continued support for Saakashvili would further undermine relations with Russia were the latest in a bitter back-and-forth between Moscow and the West, with each saying it is up to the other to avoid plunging the world into a new Cold War.

"It's up to Russia today to make a fundamental choice" and to engage neighbors and partners in settling disputes peacefully," French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote in a pre-summit letter to EU leaders. "Russia's commitment to a relationship of understanding and cooperation with the rest of Europe is in doubt."

Title: Russian PM Putin vows 'an answer' to NATO's naval buildup in Black Sea
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 11:16:02 AM
Russian PM Putin vows 'an answer' to NATO's naval buildup in Black Sea

1 day ago

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia will respond calmly to an increase in NATO ships in the Black Sea in the aftermath of the short war with Georgia, but promised that "there will be an answer."

Meanwhile, President Dmitry Medvedev sternly warned the West that it would lose more than Moscow would if it tried to punish Russia with sanctions over the war with Georgia.

Russia has repeatedly complained that NATO has too many warships in the Black Sea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said Tuesday that currently there are two U.S., one Polish, one Spanish and one German ship there.

"We don't understand what American ships are doing on the Georgian shores, but this is a question of taste, it's a decision by our American colleagues," Putin reportedly said. "The second question is why the humanitarian aid is being delivered on naval vessels armed with the newest rocket systems."

Russia's reaction to NATO ships "will be calm, without any sort of hysteria. But of course, there will be an answer," Interfax quoted Putin as saying during a visit to Uzbekistan.

Asked by exactly what measures Russia would take in response to NATO ships in the Black Sea, Putin was quoted as answering, "You'll see."

As if to emphasize the country's strength - its control over a growing percentage of European energy supplies - Putin travelled to Uzbekistan to announce a deal that would tighten Russia's hand on Central Asian energy exports to the West.

In an interview with Italy's RAI television broadcast Tuesday, Medvedev said that Russia doesn't fear expulsion from the Group of Eight leading industrialized countries.

"The G8 will be practically unable to function without Russia, because it can make decisions only if they reflect the opinion of top global economies and leading political players of the world," Medvedev said. "That's why we don't fear being expelled from the G8."

U.S. presidential candidate John McCain is among those who called for Russia's expulsion from the elite club of the world's richest countries.

Medvedev also warned that NATO would suffer more than Russia if its ties with Moscow were severed.

"We don't see anything dramatic or difficult about suspending our relations if that's the wish of our partners," Medvedev said. "But I think that our partners will lose more from that."

NATO nations depend on Russia as a transit route for supplies going to the alliance's troops in Afghanistan.

At a summit Monday, the European Union issued a declaration saying Russia was violating the terms of its ceasefire with Georgia. It warned that talks on a political and economic agreement with the Kremlin would be postponed unless Russian troops pulled back from positions in Georgia.

Britain and eastern European countries held out for a tougher line, but Europe's dependence on Russian oil and natural gas deterred stronger sanctions.

Russia supplies the EU with a third of its oil and 40 per cent of its natural gas, a dependence that the EU's administrative body says will rise significantly in the future.

Putin announced Tuesday that Russia and Uzbekistan will build a new natural gas pipeline that will pump Turkmen and Uzbek gas into Russia's pipeline system, which Russia will re-export to Europe.

The project, which has been under discussions for several months, will strengthen Moscow's hold over Central Asian gas and undermine western-backed efforts for a rival trans-Caspian route.

Russian PM Putin vows 'an answer' to NATO's naval buildup in Black Sea (

Title: New Russian world order: the five principles
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 11:20:40 AM
New Russian world order: the five principles
1 September 2008
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent BBC News website

In the aftermath of the Georgian conflict, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has laid down five principles that he says will guide Russian foreign policy.

The new Moscow rules are not a blueprint for a new "Cold War". That was a worldwide ideological and economic struggle. This is much more about defending national interests.

Going back to the 19th Century?

The principles, with their references to "privileged interests" and the protection of Russian citizens, would probably seem rather obvious to Russian leaders of the 19th Century. They would seem rather mild to Stalin and his successors, who saw the Soviet Union extending communism across the globe.

In some ways, we are going back to the century before last, with a nationalistic Russia very much looking out for its own interests, but open to co-operation with the outside world on issues where it is willing to be flexible.

President Medvedev's principles do not, for example, necessarily exclude Russian agreement to continuing the strong diplomatic stance against Iran. And energy contracts are not necessarily threatened.

Above all, what they tell us is that the Georgia conflict was for Russia, in Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's words, a "long-cherished moment of truth", which has created a new "clarity".

Here are the principles, in the words which President Medvedev used in an interview with the three main Russian TV channels (translated by the BBC Monitoring Service).

1. International law

"Russia recognises the primacy of the basic principles of international law, which define relations between civilised nations. It is in the framework of these principles, of this concept of international law, that we will develop our relations with other states."

2. Multi-polar world

"The world should be multi-polar. Unipolarity is unacceptable, domination is impermissible. We cannot accept a world order in which all decisions are taken by one country, even such a serious and authoritative country as the United States of America. This kind of world is unstable and fraught with conflict."

3. No isolation

"Russia does not want confrontation with any country; Russia has no intention of isolating itself. We will develop, as far as possible, friendly relations both with Europe and with the United State of America, as well as with other countries of the world."

4. Protect citizens

"Our unquestionable priority is to protect the life and dignity of our citizens, wherever they are. We will also proceed from this in pursuing our foreign policy. We will also protect the interest of our business community abroad. And it should be clear to everyone that if someone makes aggressive forays, he will get a response."

5. Spheres of influence

"Russia, just like other countries in the world, has regions where it has its privileged interests. In these regions, there are countries with which we have traditionally had friendly cordial relations, historically special relations. We will work very attentively in these regions and develop these friendly relations with these states, with our close neighbours."

Asked if these "priority regions" were those that bordered on Russia he replied: "Certainly the regions bordering [on Russia], but not only them."

And he stated: "As regards the future, it depends not just on us. It also depends on our friends, our partners in the international community. They have a choice."

The implications

Those therefore are the stated principles. What implications do they have?

To take them in the order he presented them:

The primacy of International Law: This on the face of it sounds encouraging. But Russia signed up to Security Council resolution 1808 in April this year, which reaffirmed "the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Georgia... " - and has since abandoned that position.

It argues that a Georgian attack on South Ossetia on 7/8 August invalidated its commitment and required that it defend its citizens there. But it perhaps cannot proclaim its faith in international law and at the same time take unilateral action.

This principle therefore has to be seen as rather vague.

The world is multi-polar: This means that Russia will not accept the primacy of the United States (or a combination of the US and its allies) in determining world policy. It will require that its own interests are taken into account.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hinted at what this really means. "There is a feeling that Nato again needs frontline states to justify its existence," he said in a speech. He was putting down another marker against the extension of Nato membership to Ukraine and Georgia.

Russia does not seek confrontation: Again this sounds hopeful but it is based on the requirement that Russia's needs are met first. If the world agrees to its demands, then it is happy to be friends. But if not... therein lies the warning.

Protecting its citizens: The key phrase here is "wherever they are". This was the basis on which Russia went to war in South Ossetia and it contains within it the potential for future interventions - over Crimea, for example, populated by a majority Russian-background population yet owned by Ukraine only since 1954. If Ukraine looked set to join Nato, would Russia claim the protection of its "citizens" there?

Privileged interests: In this principle President Medvedev was getting down to the heart of the matter. Russia is demanding its own spheres of influence, especially, but not only, over states on its borders. This has the potential for further conflict if those "interests" are ignored.

New Russian world order: the five principles  (

Title: Moscow claims victory at EU climbdown
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 12:02:54 PM
Moscow claims victory at EU climbdown

1 day ago

MOSCOW (AFP) — Moscow claimed victory Tuesday after EU leaders stepped back from imposing sanctions over Russia's partial occupation of neighbouring Georgia.

As Russia and its critics kept up their diplomatic offensives, US Vice President Dick Cheney was to head to Georgia in a show of support while Russia's foreign minister visited Turkey.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who retains huge power after leaving the presidency earlier this year, praised what he called the European Union's "common sense."

EU leaders decided at an emergency summit in Brussels on Monday to freeze talks on a new strategic EU-Russia accord.

But the bloc did not accept proposals by Britain and eastern European nations for harder measures, including sanctions, over Russia's August military offensive in Georgia and recognition of two separatist regions.

"Thank God, common sense prevailed. We saw no extreme conclusions and proposals, and this is very good," Putin said in comments shown on NTV television.

However, Georgia's pro-Western president, Mikheil Saakashvili, pointed to the freezing of EU-Russia partnership talks as proof of Western solidarity behind Georgia.

"Russia failed to break the unity at the heart of Europe," he told France 24 television.

US President George W. Bush, one of Moscow's harshest critics during the crisis, also "expressed appreciation for the EU sending strong messages," the White House said.

The Russian foreign ministry said that "the intention to freeze talks about a new partnership agreement is a cause for regret."

President Dmitry Medvedev also criticised what he called the European Union's failure to understand Russian motives for going to war in Georgia.

"Unfortunately there is still no full understanding of the motives of the leadership of the Russian Federation when it took the decision to repel the aggression of Georgia," Medvedev said, according to state news agency ITAR-TASS.

"This is sad, but not fatal," he was quoted as saying.

Moscow says that troops were sent to repulse an attempt by Georgia to restore control over South Ossetia, a tiny region where the local ethnic Ossetian population broke away with Russian backing in the 1990s.

Last week the Kremlin recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. No other country has yet followed suit.

Georgia says the Russian incursion was part of a plan to annex its territory and bring down Saakashvili's government, which wants Georgia to join NATO and has positioned the country as a key export route for Caspian Sea energy.

On Tuesday, Georgia confirmed that it had cut diplomatic ties with Moscow. The previous day, hundreds of thousands of people -- one million, according to the authorities -- demonstrated against Russia's occupation.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a visit to NATO-member Turkey that the alliance had been arming Georgia ahead of the conflict.

He also reiterated Russia's support for sending an international police mission to Georgia to help maintain security around South Ossetia and the similarly secessionist region of Abhkazia.

However, the Russian envoy to the European Union was cautious on this issue, saying that the rebel governments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia would also have to agree.

"So far they said they would accept only Russian peacekeepers," he said.

Both rebel areas have made formal requests to host Russian military bases -- a move that Georgia says underlines Moscow's desire to annex the territories and weaken its statehood.

"Russian military bases are a guarantee of stability and security. There has been such a request from our administration," Abkhaz president Sergei Bagapsh told journalists Tuesday.

Moscow claims victory at EU climbdown (

Title: Re: Moscow claims victory at EU climbdown
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 12:05:22 PM

If people think that appeasement will win the Muslims, then why not win Russia. This is very dangerous and will cause more bad than good. The world should, but won't stand up to Russia, Iran, or North Korea. Unfortunately the Europeans are stuck between a rock and a hard place and this will only make Russia bolder in it's actions.

Title: Eurasian alliance against the U.S.??
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 12:10:53 PM
Eurasian alliance against the U.S.??

Aleksander Dugin, a popular theorist in hard-line circles, advocates an alliance between the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. He says Georgia crisis could be start of a real conflict with U.S.

By Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 4, 2008

MOSCOW -- Writer, political activist and father figure for contemporary Russian nationalism, Aleksandr Dugin is the founder of Russia's International Eurasian Movement and a popular theorist among Russia's hard-line elite. He envisions a strategic bloc comprising the former Soviet Union and the Middle East to rival the U.S.-dominated Atlantic alliance. The Times interviewed Dugin this week at his Moscow office, a room draped with flags bearing the slogan "Pax Russica." The following are excerpts.

What is your assessment of Russia's place in the world now, and how should Russia be behaving with respect to the West?

First of all, I advocate strongly a multipolar construction of the world. I think that the pretension of the United States to be the unique pole of the world . . . is completely wrong, immoral and unacceptable by the other great centers of power.

We support the creation of great space, a few great spaces, instead of only one point of decision, the United States' decision. We think Russia should be in the vanguard of this process.

We consider -- not only myself, not only I, but our political chiefs -- we consider that in Georgia, [President Mikheil] Saakashvili has committed not only a moral crime, but also he tested what is behind the Russian words, behind the Russian protests against American domination. They wanted to test up to which point is this only words, and what Russia could oppose directly, in concrete acts.

Many in the West believe that Moscow deliberately provoked a confrontation over Georgia's breakaway republics. Who do you believe is responsible for the eruption of armed conflict?

It was too risky for us to begin it. And I think, also, that as long as I have known [Russian Prime Minister Vladimir V.] Putin and [President Dmitry] Medvedev, they would like to avoid at any price direct confrontation with the United States.

Their idea was that they should gain the time to prepare Russia to attack or to withstand the possible attack of the United States, and they needed 10 years. The reaction of Putin -- of Putin and Medvedev -- was such as it was only because they considered this an offensive, impossible and unacceptable provocation from the Georgians. And that was a reaction, not a planned strategic offensive. . . . [Putin and Medvedev] were not ready to start by themselves, by their will, such a difficult situation and a difficult war that doesn't seem to end. We political analysts we see that we could start such a war, but we could not end it.

It is very far from the end. It is only the beginning of a real, and maybe very serious, and very dangerous for all of the sides, confrontation between us and Americans.

What was the strategic purpose in recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia? Russia is, so far, completely alone in the recognition.

First of all, by this step Russia confirmed its will to go until the end in this conflict. . . . It was a kind of demonstration of our serious and profound will to continue.

Second, we needed, and now we have gotten, juridical explication of what our armed forces were doing on the Georgian territory. Now it is more or less clear. . . .

Regarding recognition, I think that if Russia will stay in this confrontation, if Russia will continue this demonstration of the firm decision and power, the other countries will, little by little, step by step, join the attitude toward South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

It is not the rule that from now on we will recognize all the separatist regions. Absolutely no. We will recognize those separatists' regions that would be geopolitically on our side -- either on our side or on our friends' -- and opposed to the United States.

The United States showed us this double morality. They recognized pro-American Kosovo and don't recognize anti-American, pro-Russian South Ossetia and Abkhazia. They don't recognize the integrity of Serbia, but they recognize the integrity of Georgia.

How does Russia view the development of friendly relations between the United States and former Soviet republics such as Ukraine and Georgia?

As a declaration of war. As a declaration of psychological, geopolitical, economic and open war.

Putin was pro-Western at the beginning. He was pro-American. That was the reason of our criticism of his conduct. For example, after Sept. 11 we were against his help to United States and his steps toward United States.

But little by little, he was confronted with the complete neglect of all Russian interests. With these neoconservatives, with Richard Perle or Dick Cheney, we always were helping. "We will sign here, it is so."

Step by step, with the economy and the trade of energy resources, we finally found the force and the will to respond against this war. Because this war was not desired by us. It was a challenge. It was imposed on us by the United States.

We consider that all of the post-Soviet space -- except the Baltic states -- we are dealing with Eurasian civilization. Not with European, not with the West. And to try to get these spaces out of our control, or out of our dialogue, or out of our special relations with them, based on history -- it was a kind of attack, a declaration of war. It is not, as Americans like to put it, a competition. . . . It was perceived to be not a competition but an act of aggression, as Napoleon or Hitler, and nothing else.

cont'd next post

Title: Re: Eurasian alliance against the U.S.??
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 12:11:32 PM
When Russia faced a separatist movement in Chechnya, it reacted with a large-scale military attack and an air assault that turned [the Chechen capital of] Grozny to rubble. Yet Moscow has been quick to criticize [the Georgian capital of] Tbilisi for launching a military operation in its breakaway republic. Isn't there a double standard at work here?

Yes. Yes. . . . It was reaction to a double standard by a double standard. I agree.

If it's going to be a reaction to a double standard with another double standard, where does the cycle end?

The United States behaves as a unique pole that could define what is good and what is bad. . . . It will never end if something would not say, "stop it." . . . So we should demonstrate, stop it or you will repent. Maybe we also will repent, but you will repent. Stop it.

You have been banned from visiting Ukraine. Do you believe that Ukraine will join NATO, and if so, how will Russia react?

I think that most of the population of Ukraine doesn't want to come into NATO. The majority of the population, after the Georgian case more than before, wants to have a good relationship with Russia. Entrance to NATO will signify complete abolishment of any kind of relationship, and real, hard confrontation.

Half the Ukrainian population consider themselves to be Russian -- politically, geopolitically, culturally, ethnically and so on.

We could not conserve Ukraine without either a split or a compromise between two parts.

President [Viktor] Yushchenko hollered to put me out of Ukraine and to prohibit me from entering in this state. I think it is his right. It's a sovereign state. . . . But I think by doing so he diminished his respect for different kinds of Ukrainian people. Because, you know, my ideas are very popular in eastern Ukraine and Crimea and there are many, many hundreds of thousands of people who are supporters of the Eurasian movement there.

If Ukraine were to move into NATO, what do you think the Russian reaction would be?

I think that Russian reaction would be to support an uprising in eastern parts and Crimea and I could not exclude the entrance of armed force there, as in the Ossetian scenario.

But the difference is that half of the Ukrainian population is Russian, is directly Russian, and this half of the population regards itself as being oppressed by the values, by the language, by the geopolitical issues, completely against their will. So I don't think that, in this case, direct intervention of Russian armed force will be needed. I think on the eve of the entrance into NATO there will be public riots and the split of Ukraine into two parts.

What do you think would happen if Ukraine were to push Russia's Black Sea Fleet out of [the Ukrainian port of] Sevastopol?

I think it could be armed conflict there, because now we feel ourselves at ease, more or less.

We are ready to continue in Georgia. But at the same time, we haven't finished in Georgia. It's far from the end, the situation there. We need Saakashvili's head. We consider him to be an aggressor and author of war crimes.

Morally, I think our army and our political leaders are completely prepared to play hard, to play tough with the Ukrainian leader because we consider him to be an accomplice of Saakashvili.

You have spoken of Iran as an alternative to American power. Are you still thinking of Tehran in this light?

I think that Iran should and could be an ally of Russia. . . . Working with Iran, exchanging weapons and the possibility of resources and the base to transport natural resources from Eurasia and Iran, to combine our efforts in strategy, military, economy and energy -- we could create a real force to influence the whole Middle East. . . .

With Iranians we have common interests . . . because I consider that to stop American unipolarity is the most important thing, the absolute thing. . . . These parties, these pro-Westerners here in the Russian government, they insisted that Iran, being fundamentalist, could at some time aggress us. But . . . that was a kind of propaganda against Iranians made by pro-American, pro-Western forces in Moscow.

Your views on Vladimir Putin have fluctuated.

I appreciated very much his concrete steps to reinforce political order in Russia, his steps to get away the oligarchs, to diminish influence of Westerners and to save Russian territorial unity in the Chechnya situation.

But also I saw that he was encircled by pro-Western, pro-liberal politicians and advisors and experts . . . and that was main reason for my criticism toward him.

But I think that now, after [Russia's military intervention in Georgia on] Aug. 8, Putin and Medvedev have passed the irreversible point. They have shown that the will and the decision to put the words into practice are in fact irreversible. So my support to Putin and Medvedev is now absolute.

I was deceived by these circles. But at the same time, maybe the West also was deceived by them.

And by Medvedev, also! Because I considered Medvedev to be the revenge of the liberals, and I protested. I think Washington and Brussels also saw the same and we were all deceived. Medvedev proved to be a real hard-core Russian patriot and statesman. So I admire such deception -- even if I was also the victim.

Is Moscow overplaying its hand? Many analysts question whether Russia has the military strength and economic stability to risk isolation.

Russia will be not isolated -- not from Europe nor from Asia. From the United States, maybe, but that doesn't mean anything for us.

Eurasian alliance against the U.S.?? (,0,3979602,print.story)

Title: Russia: US needs Georgia to strike Iran
Post by: Shammu on September 04, 2008, 08:47:20 PM
Russia: US needs Georgia to strike Iran

Thursday, September 04, 2008
A senior Russian official says the White House assists Georgia in a bid to secure Georgian territory for a potential attack on Iran, PressTV reported.

LONDON, September 4 (IranMania) - A senior Russian official says the White House assists Georgia in a bid to secure Georgian territory for a potential attack on Iran, PressTV reported.

In an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, Russian Duma Deputy Sergei Markov said Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili 'brought some support from Israel' before he launched an attack on South Ossetia.

Georgian military forces launched a large-scale military offensive against South Ossetia on August 7. Russia, in response, moved its forces into the region.

The conflict in South Ossetia claimed the lives of some 2,000 people and displaced 40,000 others.

When asked if an attack on South Ossetia was a prelude to an attack on Iran, the State Duma Deputy said, "We know that this war in South Ossetia is somehow connected with the aggression of Washington against Iran, possible bombing of Iran."

"Washington helped Georgia to take control of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia, (because) Washington needs Georgian territory to use for bombing against Iran," he added.

The US and Israel have long threatened to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear installations under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has plans to develop nuclear weaponry.

This is while the UN nuclear watchdog has confirmed that Iran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent - a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

Currently suffering from electricity shortage, Iran has been forced to adopt a rationing program by scheduling power outages - of up to two hours a day - across both urban and rural areas in the country.

Russia: US needs Georgia to strike Iran (

Title: Russia sends cash, builders to S. Ossetia
Post by: Shammu on September 05, 2008, 12:40:29 AM
Russia sends cash, builders to S. Ossetia

By YURAS KARMANAU, Associated Press Writer Wed Sep 3, 3:19 PM ET

TSKHINVALI, Georgia - Russia has sent hundreds of workers to rebuild this shattered rebel capital just weeks after its military routed Georgian forces here, and has promised cash payments for every South Ossetian — the latest in efforts to shore up its alliance with the breakaway Georgian province.

Russian builder Igor Semyonov is proud just to be a part of the substantial reconstruction effort his country is funding.

Semyonov stood in the center of what is now called Three Tank Square, where the scorched remains of Georgian tanks are surrounded by battle-scarred buildings including one with a tank turret sitting on its front steps.

"It will be more beautiful than ever," the he promised as he worked to reconstruct a shattered labor union headquarters.

Moscow is matching in South Ossetia what the U.S. and its allies are doing in Georgia, pouring in aid to support its ally along the new confrontation line that has grown up between Russia and the West.

Russian authorities have dispatched 500 construction workers to repair and rebuild scores of damaged or destroyed administrative buildings and schools, as well as the region's main hospital in Tskhinvali. It's a massive effort made possible by Russia's oil-fueled economic resurgence.

Znaur Gassiyev, speaker of South Ossetia's legislature, said it will cost $400 million to repair the destruction.

In addition to the construction effort, South Ossetian Prime Minister Boris Chochiyev said that Russia has promised to pay South Ossetians up to $2,000 each in compensation for war damage.

Russia has provided financial, military and political support to South Ossetia, as well as another separatist-held Georgian territory, Abkhazia, since the early 1990s. Last year alone, Russia spent an estimated $66 million in subsidies for South Ossetia, Gassiyev said.

The territory has no economy of its own and Russian subsidies are its only source of income, officials here said.

Russia is the only country to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations. Over the next few years, many expect Moscow formally to annex one or both of them — calling their citizens victims of Georgian aggression.

In the meantime, there is plenty of work to do.

Both areas bear the scars of earlier conflicts from the 1990s, and both show the ravages of struggling for nearly two decades with barely functioning economies. Tskhinvali's newest apartment building was built in 1989, a few years before the region sank into the bloody chaos of its first separatist war.

A Georgian artillery shell hit the regional prison during the latest fighting, prompting its warden to open the gates and let all inmates run free. Now prison chief Valentin Gobozov is looking to Moscow to pay for the repairs.

"I hope that Russia will come to our rescue," he said.

The Kremlin isn't the only source of reconstruction aid. The city of Moscow has promised to build a new residential area on Tskhinvali's northern outskirts — to be named Moskovsky.

Ethnic Ossetians are grateful for the support.

"Together with united Russia!" declares a sign painted on a fence. "Thank you, Russia!" trumpets another.

But Tskhinvali residents, many of whom live in half-shattered houses, are increasingly impatient about receiving their promised compensation. A disappointed Madina Ikoyeva, 48, shows a reporter what she has received so far: a box of spaghetti with a Russian flag.

"We have got no other aid, and I have been begging for mattresses and blankets for a week," she said, huddling amid the rubble in a corner of her half-destroyed house.

Ikoyeva said her husband was killed on the first day of fighting as he sought shelter for his family. She fled to neighbors' basement with her daughter and two young granddaughters.

Although the reconstruction of Tskhinvali has begun, it will take part without the ethnic Georgians who lived here before the war in August. Almost all Georgians fled in the aftermath of the fighting, and many ethnic Ossetians don't want them to return.

"I hate the Georgians, there is no place for them here," said the 69-year old Sonya Gagloyeva, who lives in a tent because her house was ruined in the fighting.

Her grandson, Alan Kadzhayev brought her a trolley filled with wooden panels, pillows and half-broken pottery from the nearby ethnic Georgian village of Prisi. Asked whether he stole the items, he said: "Everyone has been doing it."

"These things are nothing compared to what I lost, look at my ruined house," Gagloyeva snapped.

Both Russian troops and local authorities have turned a blind eye to the extensive looting and burning of ethnic Georgian homes.

David Sanakoyev, South Ossetia's human rights ombudsman, even says the destruction of Georgian homes is understandable.

"Look at what they have done to Tskhinvali!" Sanakoyev said. "Now the time has come to even the score."

Still, some Ossetians are uncomfortable with the postwar lawlessness.

"Ossetians have had trouble maintaining order in the city," admitted Zarema Kukoeva, a 40-year old drug store clerk. "Shooting and robberies are going on all around. But the main thing is that my children will live in an Ossetia that will be independent from Georgia."

Russia sends cash, builders to S. Ossetia  (;_ylt=Ahm3xelEUaXWtyhLAOT73np0bBAF)

Title: Medvedev adopts tough tone, echoing Putin
Post by: Shammu on September 05, 2008, 12:41:45 AM
Medvedev adopts tough tone, echoing Putin

By DOUGLAS BIRCH, Associated Press Writer Thu Sep 4, 3:00 AM ET

MOSCOW - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose name derives from the Russian word for bear, has been showing his claws.

On Tuesday, he used some of his harshest rhetoric to date, calling Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili a "political corpse" and suggesting the U.S. somehow instigated the war in Georgia to bolster Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.

Does this tough talk mean Medvedev is eclipsing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as Russia's leading political figure? Not likely.

It has been Putin who throughout the crisis has set Russia's defiant tone — a line that others in the Kremlin team, from Medvedev down to Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin, have echoed, clarified and amplified.

It was Putin, for example, who first accused the U.S. of encouraging Georgia's military assault on South Ossetia last week, claiming it was engineered by the party in power — presumably the Republicans — to help their presidential candidate.

Putin was also the one who first suggested that U.S. aid deliveries to Georgia masked arms shipments. The statement was followed up by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who called for an arms embargo against Georgia.

Squaring his shoulders, looking grim and punctuating his speeches with uncharacteristically blunt language, the 42-year-old Medvedev has in recent months sounded like Putin, his predecessor and mentor. On Aug. 11, he used the words "lunatic" and "bastard" in talking about Saakashvili.

But Russia's prime minister has been the harshest and most consistent critic of the West in general and the U.S. in particular during the war and in its aftermath.

Putin, for example, accused the U.S. of fanning the flames of anti-Russian sentiment so it can maintain troops in Europe. The prime minister also compared Georgia's attack on South Ossetia with the organized execution of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys by Serbian forces near Srebrenica in 1995.

And it was Putin who really got down and dirty in terms of rhetoric Thursday, when he accused a U.S. television correspondent of doing everything but defecate in his pants to interrupt a South Ossetian girl from criticizing Georgia during a live interview.

Putin may no longer occupy the president's office in the Kremlin, but many suspect he still calls Russia's shots as prime minister and the head of United Russia, which dominates Russia's national and regional governments.

He talks to Medvedev daily and has created a mini-cabinet of his own to shadow that of the president's.

Experts, business analysts and journalists here scrutinize every move and utterance by Medvedev and Putin, looking for signs of a rift between the two or for evidence that Medvedev's power is on the rise and Putin's is finally on the wane.

Any signs of a shift of power in Russia could send shockwaves through the world, thanks to Russia's surging economy, its role as a major energy supplier to Europe and its assertive new foreign policy. Many believe that, left to his own, Medvedev would be more sympathetic to Western political and economic reforms.

So far, though, there has been no seismic shift of power in the Kremlin. Only a few small tremors.

There certainly seems to be a strong rivalry between those who work with Putin in Russia's White House, the location of the prime minister's offices, and those who work with Medvedev in the Kremlin. This judgment is based on the whispers in the press and the comments of experts with links to one camp or the other.

But so far there are few signs Medvedev is chafing at the power sharing arrangement.

Certainly the Russian public does not view Medvedev as the senior figure in the Russian government. According to a July poll by the respected Levada center here, more than one-third of Russians thought Putin held real power in the country while just 9 percent thought Medvedev was the true leader.

Almost half, 47 percent, said they thought both shared power equally — the Kremlin's line, which is repeated in Russia's state-controlled television networks — while 8 percent didn't answer.

So far, Medvedev has not deviated from the policies laid down by Putin, who during his eight years as president sought to restore the dominance of the Kremlin at home and Russia's influence abroad.

Days after Medvedev agreed to sanctions against Zimbabwe with Group of Eight leaders in Japan in July, Russia vetoed United Nations sanctions against the African country. Someone, it appeared, had overruled the young Russian president.

In mid-August, Medvedev had a chance to break decisively with his predecessor when a Siberian court held a parole hearing for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former chief of Yukos Oil, now serving time in a Siberian prison on fraud and tax evasion charges.

Medvedev has repeatedly complained of the country's "legal nihilism" as part of his highly publicized campaign for court reform and against government corruption.

The case against Khodorkovsky was widely regarded as emblematic of Russia's weak court system — a court system critics charge was manipulated by the Kremlin to jail a powerful political foe and bring Yukos' rich assets under state control.

But the Siberian court denied the former oil tycoon parole on what appeared to be dubious grounds — that he failed to keep his hands behind his back during a stroll through the prison grounds.

Some urged Medvedev to pardon the former tycoon, but he declined to intervene.

Medvedev's recent harsh statements are a break with the usual pattern. After Putin's sometimes angry statements, Medvedev has generally followed up with softer language that nonetheless drives home Putin's point.

Following Putin's recent broadsides against the U.S. and warnings to Europe, Medvedev followed with a round-table interview Sunday with Russia's Kremlin-controlled television networks, in which he laid out Russia's five-point foreign policy.

He said that "regions in which Russia has privileged interests. These regions are home to countries with which we share special historical relations and are bound together as friends and good neighbors."

Stripped of the soothing diplomatic euphemisms, Medvedev appeared to assert Russia's right to intervene militarily in what it regards its sphere of influence — a zone of "privileged interests" along its borders.

It was precisely the policy that Putin has long pursued.

Medvedev adopts tough tone, echoing Putin (;_ylt=Am2Db450BBtDcruBI0svd190bBAF)

Title: Russia threatens to target US missile shield sites
Post by: Shammu on September 10, 2008, 08:50:54 AM
Russia threatens to target US missile shield sites
09.10.08, 5:38 AM ET

 MOSCOW - Russia could point missiles at strategic US targets in central Europe, including planned American missile shield sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, a senior Russian general said Wednesday.

'I can't exclude that if such decisions are taken by our military-political leadership, the missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic and other such objects could be chosen as designated targets for some of our inter-continental ballistic missiles,' General Nikolai Solovtsov said, quoted by Interfax.

Moscow 'is obliged to take corresponding measures that prevent under any circumstances the devaluing of Russia's nuclear deterrent.

'We should be sure that the current and future strategic missile forces... are guaranteed to fulfil the task of strategic deterrence,' said Solovtsov, the head of Russia's strategic missile forces.

Solovtsov added that by the end of the year Russia planned to carry out four strategic missile tests, including a test of the new RS-24, capable of carrying a clutch of independently targetable warheads.

The comments came as tensions mounted between Russia and the United States over last month's Russian military surge into Georgia and the fraught question of missile defence.

While the 10 missile interceptors planned for Poland could not themselves undermine Russia's arsenal, Moscow was troubled by a lack of transparency in the project, Solovtsov said.

Moscow sees the plans for new US missile defence facilities in central Europe as part of an effort to encircle Russia.

Washington insists the planned facilities are directed against 'rogue states' such as Iran and in no way threaten Russia.

Russia threatens to target US missile shield sites (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 11, 2008, 09:11:22 PM
Russia to establish long term presence in Georgia with close to 8,000 troops 

Prophecy News Watch


Russia will station nearly 8,000 troops in two breakaway Georgian provinces, officials said Tuesday, announcing an imposing long-term presence less than a day after agreeing to pull forces back from areas surrounding the provinces.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told President Dmitry Medvedev about 3,800 troops will each be based in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia — a far larger presence than before last month's war with Georgia.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that level of military staffing was needed to prevent Georgia from trying to regain control of the two regions, which Russia has recognized as independent.

In a goodwill gesture, Russia pulled troops back from a Georgian town outside Abkhazia on Tuesday, one of 24 positions in Georgia that officials say are still held by the Russians.

It was the first sign of Russia's promised pullback from posts outside Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgian television showed residents of Ganmukhuri rejoicing.

Georgian security council chief Alexander Lomaia said the Russians had maintained three or four armored personnel carriers and a few dozen troops at Ganmukhuri.

On Monday, Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy revised the European Union-brokered deal to end the fighting between Russia and Georgia, whose European and American allies have struggled to respond to Moscow's assertion of regional military clout.

"Russian troops will remain on the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on request of their leaders in parliament," Lavrov said at a briefing. "They will remain there for a long time. Their presence there will be needed at least for the foreseeable future to prevent any relapses of aggressive actions."

Russia has established diplomatic relations with the two regions.

Lavrov said he and his counterparts in the two regions also worked out treaties that envisaged close military and other links.

"Russia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia will take all the necessary measures to avert threats to peace," Lavrov said. "They will provide all kinds of assistance to each other, including in the military field."

The deal with Sarkozy envisaged the deployment of at least 200 EU monitors in the area surrounding the two breakaway regions by next month. The deal obliges Russia to pull out of those regions in 10 days following the deployment of EU monitors.

Lavrov cast the deal, accompanied by the EU guarantees that Georgia would not use force against the two provinces, as a victory for Russia.

He said Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be represented at an international conference on security in the region in Geneva next month.

War erupted between Georgia and Russia erupted on Aug. 7 when Georgia launched an attack to regain control over South Ossetia. Russia sent in troops who quickly routed the Georgian forces and pushed deep into Georgia.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 11, 2008, 09:12:30 PM
Russia aims to corner energy market: U.S. official   

Prophecy New Watch

Russia aims to extend its control over energy deliveries to the West and it is important that European countries push forward on efforts to diversify routes for oil and gas supplies, a senior U.S. official said on Monday.

As Vice President Dick Cheney visited Italy to seek support for Georgia after its brief war with Russia, the official, said: "The fact is Russia has worked hard to try to corner the market, so to speak, and is working to foreclose options to transit for those energy products across Russia.

"They want everything to come out through Russia and a lot of us think it's more important that there be diverse means of gaining access to those resources," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"No one country ought to be able to totally dominate those deliveries."

Italy was the last stop on a weeklong trip for Cheney that began with Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine to reinforce U.S. support for the former Soviet states after the conflict between Tbilisi and Moscow.

The crisis erupted in early August when Georgia tried to retake the breakaway region of South Ossetia and Russia responded with overwhelming force. Cheney, in a weekend speech in Cernobbio, Italy, called Moscow's actions "brutality against a neighbor".

In those remarks, he also accused Russia, the world's second largest oil producer, of using "energy as a tool of force and manipulation" in Central Asia, the Caucasus and elsewhere by threatening to interrupt the flow of oil or natural gas.

Europe and the United States are concerned about transit routes for oil and gas through eastern European countries which are seen as alternatives to Russian supplies.

"We think diversity of supply is important," the U.S. official told reporters traveling with Cheney.

Azerbaijan and Georgia are links in a Western-backed energy corridor that bypasses Russia, which the West fears could be in jeopardy following Moscow's military actions on Georgia.

In discussions with private sector representatives and public officials, "there were concerns expressed that one of the things that happened as a result of the Russian military operations in Georgia was to raise questions about the security of that trans-Georgian corridor for moving Caspian energy resources out to the West," the U.S. official said.

Europe is interested in finding ways to move forward with projects like the Nabucco pipeline project, the official said of a U.S.- and EU-backed project that would take Azeri gas to Europe through Georgia and Turkey. But concern about instability in the Caucasus has been scaring off investors.

Europe also wants to ensure that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which ships 850,000 barrels per day of high quality Azeri crude from the Caspian to the Mediterranean, remains open and functioning, the U.S. official said.

Title: CNN Getting Kicked Out of Russia?
Post by: Shammu on September 12, 2008, 02:28:56 PM
CNN Getting Kicked Out of Russia?
By Yasha Levine, eXiled Online
September 12, 2008

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 gotcha8ed 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.

The word on the street here is Putin is out for blood. It's payback time. According to a source with high-level government connections, the Russians are planning punitive actions against CNN. At this point, it is just a rumor, but they are preparing to kick out about half of the half-dozen Western journalists working at CNN's Moscow bureau. Sooner or later they're going to have to apply for a visa renewal and that's when it's gonna go down. They'll be denied, clean and quiet like. We can only pray that the tool Matthew Chance is up for a new visa soon.

So why did CNN decide to cut the interview? The thing is, Putin came off pretty darn well. Sure, the chicken embargo was embarrassing, but the McCain/neocon conspiracy theory wasn't as crazy as some would want you to believe. Gary Brecher has been saying all along that this little war had the mark of a half-baked neocon plan for world domination. As Gary says, Georgia's move makes no sense at all from a Georgian perspective. Somebody must have told those idiots they'd be safe to retake South Ossetia. And who better than Cheney?

In general, Putin was able to strike an unusually sympathetic chord during the interview. It sure wasn't anything like the grotesque interview he gave eight years ago, where he made that cruel "it sank" Kursk joke. This time around, he was level headed, reasonable and, most importantly, very convincing and believable -- not what you'd expect from the evil Stalin/Hitler hybrid personality being pushed on the American public. And that worried the hell out of CNN editorial staff, enough to make them crudely censor the entire thing and hope no one noticed.

So, what parts of Putin did CNN leave on the cutting room floor?

Putin the anti-Stalinist:

    Therefore, those who insist that those territories must continue to belong to Georgia are Stalinists: They defend the decision of Josef Vissarionovich Stalin. [It was Stalin who first split up Ossetia and gave the southern half to Georgia.]

Putin the caring:

    For us, it is a special tragedy, because during the many years that we were living together the Georgian culture -- the Georgian people being a nation of ancient culture -- became, without a doubt, a part of the multinational culture of Russia.[C]onsidering the fact that almost a million, even more than a million Georgians have moved here, we have special spiritual links with that country and its people. For us, this is a special tragedy.

Putin the peaceful:

    You and I are sitting here now, having a quiet conversation in the city of Sochi. Within a few hundred kilometers from here, U.S. Navy ships have approached, carrying missiles whose range is precisely several hundred kilometers. It is not our ships that have approached your shores; it's your ships that have approached ours. So what's our choice?

    We don't want any complications; we don't want to quarrel with anyone; we don't want to fight anyone. We want normal cooperation and a respectful attitude toward us and our interests. Is that too much?

Putin the conscientious business man:

    Construction of the first gas pipeline system was started during the 1960s, at the height of the Cold War, and for all those years, from the 1960s until this day, Russia has been fulfilling its contract obligations in a very consistent and reliable way, regardless of the political situation.

    We never politicize economic relations, and we are quite astonished at the position of some U.S. administration officials who travel to European capitals trying to persuade the Europeans not to buy our products, natural gas for example, in a truly amazing effort to politicize the economic sphere. In fact, it's quite pernicious.

    It's true that the Europeans depend on our supplies but we too depend on whoever buys our gas. That's interdependence; that's precisely the guarantee of stability.

CNN Getting Kicked Out of Russia? (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 19, 2008, 04:28:30 AM

Russia to sell Iran missiles for defense of nuke sites

Prophecy News Watch


Russia snubbed its nose at the United States today by announcing plans to sell military equipment to both Iran and Venezuela.

The head of the state arms exporter said that Russia was negotiating to sell new anti-aircraft systems to Iran despite American objections.

"Contacts between our countries are continuing and we do not see any reason to suspend them," Anatoly Isaikin, general director of Rosoboronexport, told Ria-Novosti at an arms fair in South Africa.

Reports have circulated for some time that Russia is preparing to sell its S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran, offering greater protection against a possible US or Israeli attack on the Islamic republic's nuclear facilities. The missiles have a range of more than 150 kilometres and can intercept jets approaching at low altitudes.

Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, said that it was logical to conclude a lucrative contract with Iran "in the current situation, when the US and the West in general are stubbornly gearing toward a confrontation with Russia".

Russia has already delivered 29 Tor-M1 missile systems under a $700 million deal with Iran in 2005.

Sergei Chemezov, the head of state-owned Russian Technologies also disclosed that Venezuela's leader Hugo Chavez wanted to buy anti-aircraft systems, armoured personnel carriers, and new SU-35 fighter jets when they come into production in 2010.

US plans to site an anti-missile shield in eastern Europe to deter surprise attacks from Iran have outraged Russia, which believes the system in Poland and the Czech Republic is aimed at weakening its defences.

Strains between Nato and Russia after the war in Georgia have also contributed to a sharp deterioration in relations.

Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, one of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's closest allies, has visited Venezuela and Cuba this week. Kommersant said that Russia was forming "alliance relations" with the two anti-American regimes as a response to US involvement in former Soviet republics.

Mr Sechin said that "military-technological cooperation" between Russia and Venezuela was increasing, adding that the two sides were also in talks on oil and shipbuilding projects.

President Chavez is expected to visit Moscow next week. Two Russian long-range strategic nuclear bombers landed in the Venezuelan capital Caracas last week, the first time they had visited the Latin American state.

The TU-160 Blackjack supersonic bombers took off last night for the return journey to Russia after completing their patrol mission along the South American coast, air force spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vladimir Drik said.

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, voiced concern at Russian bomber flights close to American shores last month and warned Moscow that it was playing a "dangerous game".

Mr Sechin travelled to Nicaragua yesterday as part of Russia's efforts to revive its influence on America's doorstep in Latin America. Nicaragua was the only state to join Russia in recognising the independence of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and President Daniel Ortega is also due to visit Moscow soon.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 28, 2008, 02:27:37 PM

"Dangerous gulf" opens between Russia and West

Prophecy News Watch

The West's pillorying of Moscow over last month's invasion of Georgia has kindled a fierce Russian resentment that poses dangers for security in Europe and in trouble spots beyond.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lectured Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a United Nations gathering in New York, telling him Russia was now isolated. Lavrov countered that his appointment book for the meeting had never been fuller.

Behind the studiedly gentle riposte lay a sense, echoed on the streets in Russia, that the West was not granting resurgent Russia the respect it feels it merits. Animosities ascribed in earlier times to ideological schism between communism and capitalism are proving hardier than many might have expected.

Russia's sense of grievance over the Georgian war stems from Western governments' unwillingness to acknowledge publicly what many say privately -- that Tbilisi started the conflict.

Adding insult to injury for the Russians is strong Western support for Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili -- loathed by Moscow -- and Western media coverage which has overwhelmingly favored Georgia during the conflict.

"Never in the past quarter century have Russia and the West differed so much over the interpretation of the same event," wrote political commentator Georgy Bovt in an opinion piece entitled "Divorce with the West" on the news site.

"Never before has the behavior of Russia been presented in Western media in such a diametrically opposite way to the way that behavior is perceived in Russian public opinion."

Further stoking resentment is a string of recent Western moves seen as hostile by Moscow.

In Russian eyes, the West snubbed it by recognizing the independence of Kosovo, ignored its objections to a U.S. anti-missile system in eastern Europe, didn't listen to its criticism of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and broke a promise made to Moscow in the 1990s not to expand NATO to its borders.

Now Russia's patience has snapped.


Top diplomats stationed in Moscow privately despair over how, as one put it, "we have lost Russia completely over Georgia." Even normally pro-Western intellectuals and their own Russian embassy employees had turned against them.

"There's no one in this society who sees things our way," one senior Western diplomat commented.

"Russians are reacting to 18 years of condescension and being ignored by the West. They have had enough."

President Dmitry Medvedev summarized the changed public mood in his remarks at a meeting with Western analysts on September 12.

"I think for a vast majority of our citizens the events in the Caucasus means the loss of the remaining illusions of the period when Russia emerged as an independent state," he said referring to Russia's 1990s honeymoon with the West.

Russia's loss of trust in the West over Georgia could have serious consequences for peace in Europe, with neighboring Ukraine looming as the next potential battleground between a fearful and mistrustful West and an angry, emboldened Russia.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Moscow Jack Matlock criticized moves to draw Georgia and Ukraine into NATO, a policy that he said could split Ukraine. As long as the West followed this course, true strategic co-operation with Moscow was impossible.

"We are in a deep crisis," a second senior Moscow diplomat said. "We have embarked on a confrontation course which it is very difficult to pull back from."

The West seeks Russian co-operation in a host of security problems from Iran's nuclear program to Islamist militancy from the Caucasus to Afghanistan.

In an echo of Cold War posturing, Moscow has dispatched a flotilla of warships to America's backyard for joint maneuvers proposed by Venezuela's anti-American President Hugo Chavez. On a weightier issue, Moscow signaled it would not back any move for major powers to discuss Iran's nuclear program at the U.N.

Opinion polls show overwhelming popular support for President Dmitry Medvedev's decision to send troops into Georgia and a dramatic hardening of attitudes toward the West.


A regular survey by the independent Levada Centre published this week showed Russians' views of relations with the United States plummeting by 40 points between July and September to their most negative level since polling began in 1997. There was a 29-point drop in support for relations with Europe.

"It's quite difficult to be pro-Western in the current situation," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs, a Moscow-based foreign policy journal.

"The consensus is there in Russia that the West cannot be trusted."

At the same time, some Western media, drawing on Cold War stereotypes, have painted a picture of an aggressive and dangerous Russian bear on the prowl.

"I understand the value of investing in this place but my biggest problem is that back home, a lot of people watching CNN think this place is one notch above North Korea," said one frustrated U.S. fund manager visiting Moscow last week.

Andrew Somers, president of the American-Russian Chamber of Commerce, said a number of large U.S. corporations already active in Russia were putting big future investment projects on hold, partly because of the hostile media coverage.

"The image of Russia is very bad and some of the press coverage is way out of context," he said.

President Vladimir Putin, renown for his acid comments about the West, took a swipe at Western media coverage of the Georgian war at a meeting with the Western analysts on September 11.

"I was surprised by the power of the Western propaganda machine," he said. "I congratulate all who were involved in it. This was a wonderful job. But the result was bad and will always be bad because this was a dishonest and immoral work."

To be fair, the public mood over the war in Russia is not totally spontaneous. Russia's Kremlin-controlled television channels have worked hard to keep popular wrath high.

Images of destroyed houses and dead civilians in South Ossetia dominated television screens. Newsmakers denounced "Georgian Nazism" and condemned the West which backed Tbilisi.

One unintended result of the media war: Western criticism of Russia's generally Kremlin-friendly media will now fall on deaf ears. Many feel the Western press is as biased as their own.

"Discussion about freedom of the press is over here," the second diplomat said.

"Our Russian colleagues tell us how they have seen how Western television channels manipulate and distort the truth over Georgia so they need no lessons from us on press freedom."

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on October 06, 2008, 01:57:15 PM
Russia Preparing For Confrontation with US & Nato?


Russia announced an overhaul of its strategic nuclear forces and army yesterday, in the clearest sign yet that Moscow may be preparing for a possible full-scale military confrontation with the US and Nato.

Speaking after Russia carried out its biggest military exercises since the cold war, Dmitry Medvedev, the president, said Russia would build a space defence system and a fleet of nuclear submarines by 2020.

This summer's brief war with Georgia, which led to a further rift between Moscow and the west, showed the need for Russia to have a strong military in a state of "permanent readiness", Medvedev said.

His defence initiative is the biggest in Russia for at least a decade. It comes amid bitter opposition from Moscow to Washington's plan to site a missile defence system in central Europe - a project the Kremlin says upsets Europe's strategic balance. The move is also a riposte to US-backed plans for Georgia and Ukraine to join Nato.

Moscow opposes Nato's further expansion, arguing that it challenges its regional "privileged interests". Moscow also accuses the US of encouraging, and even participating in, Georgia's attack on the breakaway enclave of South Ossetia.

"Just recently we had to rebuff aggression unleashed by the Georgian regime. As we discovered, a local smouldering conflict - even occasionally a frozen one - can flare up into a genuine war," Medvedev said, addressing Russian troops.

He said Russia needed a "guaranteed nuclear deterrent system" in place by 2020. The armed forces had to be prepared for "various political and military scenarios," he warned.

He promised large-scale construction of warships, including nuclear submarines armed with cruise missiles, and also announced plans for a system of air and space defence. The president promised to improve living conditions for Russian soldiers, as well as better military education and training.

He was speaking after watching an military exercise in the southern Urals. Yesterday one leading analyst said the exercise - which involved 40,000 troops, 7,300 pieces of heavy equipment and nuclear-capable missiles - was designed to simulate a war with the US.

"This is very significant. Right now the present Russian leadership believes that a war with Nato is very much possible," Pavel Felgenhauer, a Moscow-based defence analyst, told the Guardian. "This is the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union that the Russian military is actually preparing for an all-out nuclear war with America."

He added: "I believe we [the Russians] are sending the west a serious message. The message is treat us with respect, and if you don't go into our backyard we won't go into yours. Russia wants to divide the world into spheres of influence. If not, we will prepare for nuclear war."

Felgenhauer said Russia's military was old but still effective. "Our military is backward in its development. But we still have a sizeable nuclear potential. It can kill a hell of a lot of people," he said.

Russia's conflict with Georgia worsened tensions with the US that had been building since Vladimir Putin, a former KGB spy and Medvedev's predecessor, came to power in 2000 and began reasserting Russia's status as a world power.

Russia's military endured years of under-funding following the collapse of the Soviet Union, with its warships and aircraft sitting idle for long periods. Analysts say the nuclear deterrent did not suffer the same neglect.

The Kremlin, now sitting on a large cash pile after several years of high oil and gas prices, has already injected large sums into reviving the military.

Putin, now prime minister, announced earlier this month that nearly $95bn (£51.5bn) would be allocated to defence and security in 2009. That is a 27% increase on the previous year.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on October 06, 2008, 02:08:49 PM
Russian nuclear stealth bomber was able to fly within 90 seconds of the British coast without being picked up by radar

Prophecy New Watch --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Russian nuclear stealth bomber was able to fly within 90 seconds of the British coast without being picked up by radar, it was revealed today.

The supersonic ‘Blackjack’ jet flew completely undetected to within just 20 miles from Hull in one of the worst breaches of British security since the end of the Cold War.

RAF radar eventually picked up the plane, but the only two pairs of fighter jets used for air alerts were on other duties.

The embarrassing breach late last year has called into question Britain's defence capabilities after four jet squadrons were cut from the RAF’s budget four years ago.

One senior RAF pilot told The Sun: ‘The Russians made us look helpless. It was a disaster - it basically gave the Russians the green light to fly wherever they want.’

The supersonic jet had taken off from Engel's Air Base near Saratov on Russia's Volga delta.

The Ministry of Defence confirmed the incursion took place but said it had a ‘multi-layered’ approach to deterring enemy aircraft.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on October 06, 2008, 02:10:03 PM
Russian nuclear missile cruiser to dock at Syrian port on Yom Kippur eve

Prophecy News Watch ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Russian Navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo disclosed Wednesday, Oct. 1, that a four-ship squadron led by the Peter the Great nuclear missile cruiser will call in at the Libyan port of Tripoli and “other Middle East ports” before heading out to the Caribbean for joint maneuvers with Venezuela.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that one of those ports is Tartus, Syria, where preparations are afoot to receive the visiting Russian flotilla.

Peter the Great , one of the most advanced naval vessels afloat, may in fact anchor at the new facility the Russians are building at Syria’s second major port, Latakia, for its first visit to Syria; the rest of the squadron, the Admiral Chabanenko submarine, a reconnaissance vessel and a fourth ship, will dock at Tartus.

Peter the Great is designed to sink large surface vessels such as aircraft carriers. The ship’s Granit (Nato designated SS-N-19 Shipwreck) anti-ship cruise missiles (20 missile launchers) can destroy vessels up to 500 km distant in ripple-fire mode.

An S-300F defense missile complex is installed on Peter the Great , with 12 launchers and 96 vertical launch air defense missiles.

The Navy spokesman in Moscow said the Russian warships will perform maneuvers in the Mediterranean, without adding details. They will pass through the Strait of Gibraltar Sunday, Oct. 5, visit Tripoli next and on Oct, 8 or 9, put in at a Syrian port.

Coinciding with the 35th anniversary of the Egyptian-Syrian Yom Kippur attack on Israel, the Russian warships’ arrival in Syria has serious connotations:

1. It means that prime minister Ehud Olmert will be wasting his time if he intends using his talks in Moscow next week with president Dmitry Medvedev and prime minister Vladimir Putin to ask them to drop their plan for a permanent base at a Syrian port. That plan is clearly going full steam ahead.

2. The Yom Kippur War of 1973 is recorded in Russian and Arab military annals as the high point of Russian-Arab military and intelligence cooperation. The Soviet Union as it was then was responsible for the great deception which disguised Arab war preparations behind a screen of misdirection and gulled Israeli intelligence into complacence.

Moscow is signaling Jerusalem on this sensitive date that it has decided to revert to its old military ties with Damascus on the same scale as its historic 20th century partnership.

3. The precedence the Russian navy is awarding to visiting Middle East ports before Venezuela attests to the importance Moscow attaches to its new Damascus-Tehran-Caracas alignment opposite the US-Israel alliance.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on October 06, 2008, 02:21:34 PM
Russia using food exports to expand influence 

Prophecy News Watch

The largest wheat harvest in 15 years is expected to yield 51 million tons, of which a record-breaking 15 million are earmarked for export. Only the US and Canada are expected to export more.

The boom comes as the Kremlin’s influence in the Middle East grows, with trade volumes at record levels and increasing collaboration in the energy sector.

Russia’s grain trade may prove as controversial as its involvement in energy markets, because it was announced in July that the industry, now mainly in the hands of private traders, would soon be amalgamated into one trading company under Kremlin control.

Iraq has bought 200,000 tons of Russian hard milling wheat at $300 a ton. It is the second large sale of Russian wheat since July.

“In the last few years there has been an increase in Russian wheat exports not just in absolute terms, but also in terms of global market share,” said Abdolreza Abbassian, a grain analyst at the Food and Agriculture Organisation at the United Nations. “This year Russia will export perhaps twice as much wheat as Argentina, one of the top five traditional wheat exporters.”

In the 19th century Russia and Ukraine were the bread basket of Europe, but production dropped under Josef Stalin’s forced collectivisation policy and by the end of the Cold War the Soviet bloc had become a net wheat importer.

Now thanks to rising world food prices and a new law allowing foreigners to own land, Russia is once again exporting. With the proximity of Black Sea ports to wheat-deficient Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Russian wheat has a competitive edge.

Experts believe that Russia has huge potential for growth – millions of acres of farmland lie fallow and vast expanses of fertile land have never been farmed at all.

“Russia is replacing the EU as a supplier in North Africa and also in parts of the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa,” said Mr Abbassian. “This was not expected in such a short space of time.”

Title: Russian influence in mid-eastl issues very important to Israel
Post by: Shammu on October 08, 2008, 12:43:06 AM
Russian influence in mid-eastl issues very important to Israel
Roni Sofer

MOSCOW - During a meeting with outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert at the Kremlin on Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accepted an invitation to visit Jerusalem and said his country would "continue to play an important role in the (Middle East)."

Olmert responded that "Russia is a world power and, as such, its influence in regional issues is very important – also to Israel.

The two leaders were also expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear program and the transfer of Russian arms to Syria, Iran and terror groups such as Hizbullah. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also participated in the meeting.

Medvedev told Olmert that the relations between the two countries were "very important," adding that he hopes to develop joint humanitarian projects in the future.

After years of contacts, Olmert's cabinet agreed Sunday to hand over the small tract known as Sergei's Courtyard to Russian control. Medvedev thanked the Israeli PM for the gesture.

Olmert said the handover was a "small, symbolic matter that underscores Russia's bond to the Land of Israel."

Russian influence in mid-eastl issues very important to Israel (,2506,L-3606515,00.html)

Title: Re: Russian influence in mid-eastl issues very important to Israel
Post by: Shammu on October 08, 2008, 12:47:26 AM

"Russia is a world power and, as such, its influence in regional issues is very important – also to Israel."

Well, Medvedev is right. Prophecy foretells a major role for Russia in the Mideast.

But the role that Medvedev, Putin, and other Russian leaders are planning for Russia in the Middle East is not the one the Lord will allow them to accomplish.

Title: Moscow calls for anti-US alliance
Post by: Shammu on October 10, 2008, 02:12:42 AM
Moscow calls for anti-US alliance
Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
October 10, 2008

THE President of Russia has called on Europe's leaders to create a new world order that would minimise the role of the United States.

Confident that a row with Europe prompted by Russia's invasion of Georgia in August was over, Dmitry Medvedev arrived in the French spa town of Evian on Wednesday determined to woo his fellow leaders into creating an anti-US front.

Gone was the kind of wartime rhetoric that saw Mr Medvedev lash out at the West and describe his Georgian counterpart, Mikheil Saakashvili, as a "lunatic". Instead Mr Medvedev spoke of a Russia that was "absolutely not interested in confrontation", and outlined plans for a new security pact to ban the use of force in Europe.

Yet there was little doubt that Mr Medvedev was playing the divide-and-rule tactics of Vladimir Putin, his predecessor and now Prime Minister, by seeking to pit the US against its European allies.

In a speech delivered to European leaders at a conference hosted by the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, to discuss the international financial crisis, Mr Medvedev sought to show that the US was at the root of all the world's problems. He blamed Washington's "economic egotism" for the world's financial woes and then accused the Bush Administration of taking Europe to the brink of a new cold war by pursuing a deliberately divisive foreign policy.

He also maintained that the US was once again trying to return to a policy of containing Russia.

"After toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, the United States started a series of unilateral actions," Mr Medvedev said.

"As a result, a trend appeared in international relations towards creating dividing lines. This was in fact the revival of a policy popular in the past and known as containment."

While he called for a cooling of the noxious rhetoric that had blighted East-West relations over the past two years, Mr Medvedev clearly laid the blame for the deterioration on the US, which he said was again viewing Russia through the prism of the Cold War. "Sovietology, like paranoia, is a very dangerous disease, and it is a pity that part of the US Administration still suffers from it," he said.

In order to end the "unipolar" model in which the world depended on the US, he proposed creating new financial systems to challenge the dominance of the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation, both of which had fallen under Washington's spell.

Attacking the enlargement of NATO, which he said had advanced provocatively towards Russia, he proposed a new European security treaty.

The new European pact would include "a clear affirmation of the inadmissibility of the use of force - or the threat of force - in international relations" and would be built on the principle of the territorial integrity of independent nations.

While Russia has insisted it was not intending to supplant NATO, Mr Medvedev made it clear that the US-dominated alliance was partly responsible for the war in the Caucasus by its failure to rein in Georgian "aggression".

The Russian President won praise from Mr Sarkozy after he announced that all Russian troops had been withdrawn from buffer zones around Georgia's rebel enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia before today's deadline.

Describing his guest as a man who had "kept his word", Mr Sarkozy immediately declared that talks on an EU-Russia partnership deal, suspended as punishment for Russia's military operation in Georgia, could resume.

Moscow calls for anti-US alliance (

Title: Russian scientist 'helped Iran with nuclear weapons programme'
Post by: Shammu on October 12, 2008, 12:34:08 AM
Russian scientist 'helped Iran with nuclear weapons programme'
A Russian scientist may have helped Iran to design advanced detonators whose only possible use would be in a nuclear weapon, according to United Nations inspectors.

David Blair
6:53PM BST 10 Oct 2008

The Russian's alleged role was disclosed in a document, obtained by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which describes complex and highly sensitive experiments supposedly conducted inside Iran.

In total, the IAEA possesses 18 official documents which cast doubt on Iran's explanation that its nuclear programme is a peaceful endeavour intended only to generate electricity.

This evidence - which Tehran claims has been faked - suggests that Iran has studied the crucial stages for building a nuclear weapon. Some documents focus on how to install a warhead in the Shahab-3 missile, while others describe facilities for testing a nuclear device.

The latest document covers the problem of detonating a nuclear device. Its suggestion that a Russian scientist was involved is the first evidence that foreign experts had a direct hand in Iran's nuclear programme.

But the IAEA believes this individual was not working on behalf of the Russian authorities and was present in Iran on a freelance basis. After the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991, some Russian nuclear experts are known to have left to work for other governments.

This evidence was presented to diplomats by Olli Heinonen, the IAEA's chief inspector, during a closed door meeting in February. When Iran's representative denied that this showed the existence of a nuclear weapons programme, Mr Heinonen said the experiments were "not consistent with any application other than the development of a nuclear weapon", according to the "New York Times".

He added that the detonators described in the document were "key components of nuclear weapons".

The IAEA has repeatedly asked Iran to explain these studies in order to assure the world of the allegedly peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.

British officials believe the UN inspectors have correctly "zeroed in" on the central issue.

They consider the documents outlining these studies to be the strongest evidence that Iran has sought a nuclear weapon.

Iran's representatives had hoped to persuade the IAEA to confirm the peaceful aims of their nuclear programme. But the inspectors' focus on Iran's alleged studies of how to build a weapon appears to have dashed this plan.

Tehran's continued enrichment of uranium, in breach of five UN Resolutions, has attracted most attention. But this is classic dual use technology.

Uranium enriched to low levels of purity could be used in nuclear power stations. So an enrichment programme alone does not amount to proof of an effort to build a nuclear weapon. British officials believe that the documents allegedly showing that Iran studied the problems involved in making a bomb do provide this proof.

Russian scientist 'helped Iran with nuclear weapons programme' (

Title: Russia test-fires ballistic missile to mid-Pacific
Post by: Shammu on October 12, 2008, 12:42:02 AM
Russia test-fires ballistic missile to mid-Pacific
Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:38am EDT

MURMANSK, Russia (Reuters) - Russia for the first time test-launched a strategic missile to the equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, a navy spokesman said.

The spokesman said a Sineva missile had been launched from the nuclear-powered submarine Tula in the Arctic Barents Sea in the course of military exercises observed by President Dmitry Medvedev.

"For the first time in the history of the Russian navy, the target of the missile was in an equatorial part of the Pacific Ocean rather than the Kura testing ground on the Kamchatka Peninsula," he said.

Russia test-fires ballistic missile to mid-Pacific (

Title: Russia Fails to Meet All of EU-Negotiated Ceasefire Obligations
Post by: Shammu on October 12, 2008, 12:46:42 AM
Russia Fails to Meet All of EU-Negotiated Ceasefire Obligations

Friday , October 10, 2008

TKVIAVI, Georgia  —
Russia has only partially met its obligations under an EU-negotiated cease-fire, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner declared Friday as he toured damaged villages and spoke to Georgians displaced by the war.

He confirmed that Russia had met the Friday deadline to withdraw hundreds of troops from strips of land in Georgia outside the separatist regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But Kouchner suggested Moscow has not met all its obligations under the cease-fire, which also stipulated that Russia must withdraw to positions held before the five-day war broke out Aug. 7.

"The withdrawal is complete on the first part of the agreement. Of course, the agreement is not complete at all, and it is not a perfect agreement," Kouchner said at a refugee camp in the central city of Gori, which was heavily bombed in war.

Kouchner said further talks were needed to resolve disputes over the two separatist regions, which are still under Russian control.

But Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, speaking on a visit to Kyrgyzstan, insisted Friday that Russia had fully met its pledges under the plan brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

"We have fulfilled all the obligations," he said.

Besides touring ravaged villages near South Ossetia, Kouchner also visited a headquarters for EU monitors who are patrolling territory surrounding South Ossetia now that the Russians had withdrawn.

Georgian refugees are returning to their homes, but many houses have been destroyed by arson and vandalism that locals blame mostly on Ossetians.

"I'm glad that he's come here so that he can see what happened with his own eyes. That way no one can erase it," said Jimal Tibilashvili, 53, who fled with his wife during the war.

He returned Friday to his village of Tkviavi to find his home destroyed — and he plans to go back to Tbilisi, Georgia's capital, because he fears unexploded ordnance. A neighbor was injured by what appeared to be a cluster bomb.

Kouchner stopped at a damaged police station — its windows shattered and debris strewn across the floor. Its commander said Russians forces and their local allies were both responsible for the wreckage.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent nations after the war and plans to keep 3,800 troops in each region — a much bigger presence than before the war.

Russia has also made clear it has no plans to pull troops out of portions of the breakaway regions that had been under Georgian control before the war, including Abkhazia's Kodori Gorge, a broad swath of South Ossetia, and the town of Akhalgori.

"Akhalgori is South Ossetian territory," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told The Associated Press in Kyrgyzstan.

Kouchner said the issue of Akhalgori and the Kodori Gorge should be discussed at international talks being held Oct. 15 in Geneva on security in Georgia.

The United States, EU and NATO have sharply criticized Russia for recognizing the breakaway regions as independent nations, insisting that Georgia's borders should remain intact.

German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said Friday that NATO could resume regular talks with Russia that were suspended after its invasion of Georgia. But the United States and other allies said it's premature to rush into reconvening the NATO-Russia Council.

"We are not at that stage yet," NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters.

The war erupted when Georgia launched an attack to regain control over South Ossetia, which broke from Georgian control in the early 1990s. Russian forces swiftly repelled the attack and drove deep into Georgia.

The war followed years of increasing tension between Russia and Georgia, whose pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili has cultivated close ties with Washington and pushed for NATO membership. Georgia straddles a key westward route for Caspian Sea oil and gas.

Russia Fails to Meet All of EU-Negotiated Ceasefire Obligations (,3566,436081,00.html)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on October 16, 2008, 11:45:23 AM
Russia moves into the Mediterranean with Syrian presence

During balmy evenings in the sleepy Syrian port of Tartous locals promenade along the seafront or suck on hookahs discussing the two great pillars of their society: business and family.

Politics, such as it is in the tightly controlled one-party state, rarely gets a mention, and certainly not in public. But few could fail to wonder about the foreign sailors dockside and the grey warship dominating a harbor that was once a trading hub of the Phoenician empire and is now the centre of a new projection of power, this time by Syria's old ally Russia.

Tartous is being dredged and renovated to provide a permanent facility for the Russian navy, giving Moscow a key military foothold in the Mediterranean at a time when Russia's invasion of Georgia has led to fears of a new cold war.

The bolstering of military ties between Russia and Syria has also worried Israel, whose prime minister, Ehud Olmert, was in Moscow yesterday seeking to persuade the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, to stop Russian arms sales to Syria and Iran. Mr Olmert later said he had received assurances that Russia would not allow Israel's security to be threatened, but offered no indication he won any concrete promises on Russian arms sales.

Igor Belyaev, Russia's charge d'affaires in Damascus, recently told reporters that his country would increase its presence in the Mediterranean and that "Russian vessels will be visiting Syria and other friendly ports more frequently".

That announcement followed a meeting between Medvedev and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, at the Black sea port of Sochi in the immediate aftermath of Russia's victory over Georgian forces and its recognition of the breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia - actions Assad supported.

Now, with Ukraine threatening to expel Russia's Black sea fleet from its base in Sebastopol, the only route for the Russian navy into the Mediterranean, military cooperation between Moscow and Damascus appears to have taken on a new zeal.

"Israel and the US supported Georgia against Russia, and Syria thus saw a chance to capitalize on Russian anger by advancing its long-standing relations with Moscow," said Taha Abdel Wahed, a Syrian expert on Russian affairs. "Syria has a very important geographical position for the Russians. Relations between Damascus and Moscow may not yet be strategic, but they are advancing rapidly."

Tartous was once a re-supplying point for the Soviet navy at a time when Moscow sold Syria billions of dollars worth of arms. "Tartous is of great geopolitical significance considering that it is the only such Russian facility abroad," a former Russian navy deputy commander, Igor Kasatonov, said, following a meeting on September 12 in Moscow between the naval leaders from Russia and Syria.

Syrian-Russian relations cooled after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But they have taken on a new dynamic since Assad succeeded his father in 2000. After a state visit to Russia in 2005, he persuaded Moscow to wipe three-quarters off a £7.6bn debt Syria owed, mainly from arms sales.

Since then the two countries have been in talks about upgrading Syria's missile defenses with Russia's advanced Strelets system, provoking condemnation from Israel, whose fighter jets in September 2007 flew unchallenged into north-east Syria to bomb a suspected nuclear site.

Last month Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Moscow would consider selling Damascus new weapons that "have a defensive character and that do not in any way interfere with the strategic balance in the region". Though no defense pact has been signed between the two, as it has between Syria and Iran, observers suggest the very presence of Russian warships in Tartous would bolster Damascus's military standing in the region.

"Israel would think twice about attacking Syria again with Russian ships stationed in Tartous," said Abdel Wahed, an analyst.

A senior Israeli colonel has also accused Russia of passing intelligence about Israel to Syria and indirectly to Hizbullah.

Describing electronic eavesdropping stations on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights believed to be operated by Russian technicians, Ram Dor, information security chief for the armed forces, told an Israeli newspaper: "My assessment is that their facilities cover most of the state of Israel's territory. The Syrians share the intelligence that they gather with Hizbullah, and the other way around."

During the 2006 July war Hizbullah fighters used advanced Russian tank-buster missiles to cripple at least 40 of Israel's Merkava tanks, a key tipping point in a war that Israel later admitted it lost.

Title: Russia not yet ready to lend to Iceland
Post by: Shammu on October 19, 2008, 09:07:48 PM
Russia not yet ready to lend to Iceland
Fri Oct 17, 2008 3:57pm EDT

By Patrick Lannin and Toni Vorobyova

REYKJAVIK/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is not yet convinced it should make a loan to Iceland to help dig it out of a financial crisis, a Russian source said on Friday.

But as the island ran down more of its meager foreign reserves, Iceland said it hoped its biggest bank, Kaupthing, would next week be able to re-open its Luxembourg branch to pay back Belgian and Luxembourg depositors.

Two weeks after a banking collapse destroyed the value of its economy and currency, Iceland has still to decide whether to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde said a decision was still expected within a week. In the meantime, talks with Russia this week on a loan have not yet led to a deal.

"At the current moment, we do not yet have enough reasons to give them credit," a senior Russian government source told Reuters. "We did not refuse. We are continuing the talks."

The island of 300,000 people is the most serious state victim of the global credit crunch. But banking problems in Ukraine and Hungary have also sent those countries scrambling to the IMF and European Central Bank amid fears they might be next.

Billions of dollars in foreign savings are locked up inside Iceland's banks, attracted by some of the highest interest rates in Europe. One such group is people from Belgium and Luxembourg.

Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme met Haarde, to discuss these depositors and Haarde said Iceland hoped the receiver running Kaupthing could re-open the Luxembourg branch.

"If that is the case then it looks like the problems with respect to the depositors will be solved within a relatively short period of time," Haarde told a news conference.

Leterme said he hoped a solution could be found by next Tuesday to bring the bank back into operations.

Leterme said no loan to Iceland had been discussed.


But with banking debts several times its gross domestic product, Iceland needs money badly.

Analysts have also wondered what price Russia -- suffering its own economic problems and increasingly at odds with the West in the aftermath of the Georgia war -- might exact.

Iceland has repeatedly said it will not offer Russia use of a former U.S. airbase but one analyst said Russia might be keener on a deal if Iceland was successful in being elected to a temporary post on the U.N. Security Council.

But Iceland lost out to Turkey and Austria for the two European seats on offer on Friday, apparently in part because of its financial crisis, gaining only 87 votes from the 192 member assembly.

Facing a brutally hard landing from years of prosperity, Iceland this week slashed interest rates and raised controls to stimulate the economy and prevent capital flight.

The central bank has also been selling foreign currency to local banks -- whose domestic assets have been nationalized -- at almost half the rate at which the crown has been trading internationally. Firms are only allowed foreign exchange for essential purchases such as food and fuel.

"Effectively, you have a dual exchange rate which isn't that unusual in this sort of case," said one analyst, asking not to be named to avoid damaging commercial relationships.

"What the government is doing is giving away foreign exchange locally at much cheaper than the market rate."

Meanwhile Iceland hopes its currency collapse will attract more tourists drawn by its nightlife, spas and volcanoes. For now bars and restaurants along Reykjavik's main street are doing a roaring trade -- perhaps in part because of the crisis.

"Actually, when people get depressed they drink more," said bar manager Friesteinn Gislasson. "The crisis has not hit us so much so far."

Russia not yet ready to lend to Iceland (

Title: Russia-backed rebels accuse Georgia over shooting
Post by: Shammu on October 19, 2008, 09:09:41 PM
Russia-backed rebels accuse Georgia over shooting

1 day ago

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia-backed separatists in South Ossetia on Saturday accused Georgian forces of firing on their soldiers in the first such reported incident since a brief war in the region in August.

A spokesman for Georgia's interior ministry confirmed shooting in the area near the Georgian village of Nikozi but said it was coming from drunken Russian soldiers at a border post and that they were firing into the air.

The spokesman also said that a Russian spy plane had been spotted flying briefly into Georgian airspace near the same village on Saturday in what was "obviously" a violation of an EU-brokered ceasefire agreement.

"The Georgian side has fired on security force posts of the Republic of South Ossetia," the separatist government said on its official website, quoting the de facto interior minister of the province, Mikhail Mindzayev.

No casualties were reported from the shooting, the statement said.

"South Ossetian security force posts near the Georgian village of Nikozi came under fire from machine guns and other firearms this morning. It happened as South Ossetian positions in the border zones were being set up," he said.

Georgia's interior ministry gave a very different account of the incident.

"Drunk Russian soldiers were firing into the air" at a security post near Nikozi, which is located on the Georgian side along the de facto border with South Ossetia, said Shota Utiashvili, a spokesman for the ministry.

Utiashvili also said: "A Russian drone flew over Nikozi this morning and then returned to Tskhinvali," the capital of South Ossetia. He said the spy plane was in Georgian airspace for up to 20 minutes.

This is the first time South Ossetian authorities have reported shooting from Georgian positions since a conflict in August between Russian forces and South Ossetian militias on one side and Georgian forces on the other.

Georgia has reported several shootings from the South Ossetian side.

Following the conflict with Georgia, Russia recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway province of Georgia, as independent states in a move that was roundly condemned by Western powers and Georgia.

Tensions remain high despite a ceasefire in place in the region as Georgian authorities have said Russia must pull all its forces out of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in order to comply with the ceasefire agreement.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from the rest of Georgia with Russian backing in the early 1990s in conflict that killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands of Georgians to flee their homes.

Russia-backed rebels accuse Georgia over shooting (

Title: Russia Proposes Setting Up Council of Religions As UN Consultative Body
Post by: Shammu on October 19, 2008, 09:26:23 PM
Russia Proposes Setting Up Council of Religions As UN Consultative Body

Friday, October 17, 2008 11:56 PM
(Source: Daily News Bulletin; Moscow - English)trackingASTANA. Oct 17 (Interfax)

Russia has come up with an initiative to establish a council of religions as a consultative body under UN auspices that will provide support for the Alliance of Civilizations international project, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told an international conference of foreign ministers from several countries in Astana on Friday.

"It is important that politicians and diplomats should contribute to the creation of a favorable environment for the further development of inter-confessional dialogue, which helps find areas of common interest, especially in issues related to the settlement of conflicts that have a religious component," Lavrov said during the "One Common World: Progress Through Diversity conference."

"Russia welcomes all early developments that have taken place in this area," he said.

"In our opinion, the creation of a consultative council of religions as part of the UN's general efforts aimed at supporting the Alliance of Civilizations will be timely," the foreign minister said.

"This idea is sometimes treated with suspicion. But this approach is wrong. It is not intended to replace mechanisms functioning in the inter-civilization field. It does not infringe on anyone's prerogatives, and it is not aimed at creating a dominating position in inter-religious dialogue for anybody," he said.

"We hope that this objective coincidence of common interests will make it possible to form a permanent platform for religious figures' dialogue," Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister said he is convinced that the main result of the conference in Astana will be steps to maintain the determination to improve tolerance in international affairs and to respect each other's culture and religion.

Russia Proposes Setting Up Council of Religions As UN Consultative Body (

Title: Georgia Says Russia Has Massed 7,000 Troops in South Ossetia
Post by: Shammu on October 23, 2008, 11:55:15 PM
Georgia Says Russia Has Massed 7,000 Troops in South Ossetia

By Helena Bedwell

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Russia has deployed as many as 7,000 soldiers in the separatist region of South Ossetia, leading Georgia to suspect ``further provocations'' following a five-day war in August, a Georgian Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Shota Utiashvili said Georgia has been monitoring ``suspicious movements'' by Russia's military in South Ossetia, the object of Georgia's war with Russia. ``Up to 2,000 soldiers have entered the region which, added to troops already in the area, make at least 7,000,'' he said by telephone today in the capital Tbilisi.

The South Ossetian government denied Georgia's claim about a Russian troop buildup. ``What Mikheil Saakashvili's government says about us and our Russian allies is nonsense,'' spokeswoman Irina Gagloyeva said by telephone from the regional capital Tskhinvali. ``Some troops are here, but we feel safe with them around since we face continual provocations from the Georgian side.''

Russia recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another breakaway region, Abkhazia, from Georgia on Aug. 26. Only Nicaragua has followed suit. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Sept. 8 that his decision to recognize the regions was ``final'' and ``irrevocable.'' Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said the following day that Russia had agreed to deploy about 3,800 soldiers in each region.

A European Union-brokered cease-fire agreement that ended the fighting in Georgia requires Russia to remove its forces to their pre-conflict positions. Russia sent about 10,000 soldiers into Georgia during the fighting, according to state-run news service RIA Novosti.

Under a subsequent deal reached by Medvedev and his counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy of France, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, Russia agreed to withdraw its forces from ``Georgian territory outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia,'' Sarkozy said on Sept. 8. He said the agreement was ``the maximum we could get.''

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried said on Oct. 20 that Russia had failed to meet its obligations under the cease-fire.

Georgia Says Russia Has Massed 7,000 Troops in South Ossetia   (

Title: Russia test-fires ballistic missile
Post by: Shammu on October 24, 2008, 12:25:00 AM
Russia test-fires ballistic missile

Wed Oct 22, 8:29 am ET

MOSCOW – The Russian military says it has successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile as part of regular efforts to check the readiness of Soviet-built missiles.

Russia's Strategic Missile Forces spokesman Alexander Vovk says the RS-18 Stiletto missile was launched Wednesday from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Vovk said in a statement the launch was intended to confirm the missile's reliability as part of efforts to extend the lifetime of this type of missile.

Russia's strategic forces have conducted regular test launches of Soviet-built ballistic missiles to check their performance. The military has repeatedly extended the lifetime of Soviet-built weapons as the government lacks the funds to replace them quickly with new weapons.

Russia test-fires ballistic missile (

Title: Russia Sends Out The Nuke Bombers For Week Long Exercises
Post by: Shammu on October 24, 2008, 12:33:55 AM
Russia Sends Out The Nuke Bombers For Week Long Exercises
by Martin Sieff
Washington (UPI) Oct 22, 2008

Russia's front-line long-range strategic nuclear bombers have carried out a new series of major weeklong exercises, the Russian air force announced last week.

The operations were carried out within the framework of the Stability-2008 strategic command and staff exercises, from Oct. 6-12 under the command of three-star Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, the commander in chief of the Russian air force. More than 30 bombers were involved, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"A total of 40 sorties have been flown with an aggregate of 300 flying hours clocked," according to Maj. Gen. Pavel Androsov, commander of Russian Long-Range Aviation Forces.

The Stability-2008 operations have been carried out all over the huge Russian federation and the former Soviet republic of Belarus to improve the strategic deployment of the Russian armed forces, including the nuclear triad of land-, submarine- and air-launched nuclear missiles. They began on Sept. 22 and were scheduled to conclude Tuesday, Oct. 21, the report said.

The Oct. 6-12 component of the exercise involved Tupolev Tu-160 White Swans (NATO designation Blackjack) and Tupolev Tu-95MS (NATO designation Bear-H). The aircraft operated carrying full combat payloads and, as planned, fired all of their standard-issue X-55 air-launched cruise missiles -- ALCMs. It was the first time cruise missiles had been live-fired from Russian bombers in major tactical exercises in nearly a quarter-century since 1984, during the last major flare-up of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Tupolev Tu-95MS Bears have a payload of six KH-55 (NATO designation AS-15 Kent) long-range cruise missiles, and the gigantic Tu-160s, with their 99,000-pound payload -- twice that of a U.S. B-2 Stealth bomber -- has a payload of 12 KH-55s, RIA Novosti said.

The Russian air force described the scale of the Oct. 6-Oct. 12 operations as unprecedented, RIA Novosti said. The maneuvers also included Tupolev Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers, air superiority fighters, interceptors and aerial tankers, the report said.

RIA Novosti said the Russian air force was believed to currently be operating 16 Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, 40 Tu-95MS Bear bombers and 141 Tu-22M3 Backfire bombers.

In an earlier RIA Novosti report previously cited in these columns, the former Russian air force commander, four-star General of the Army Pyotr Deynekin said Tu-95 Bear bombers had carried out live-firing of all their cruise missiles only on one previous occasion in all their operational service, in 1984.

"Tu-160 bombers have never done this, because it is very expensive," the general said.

Aerojet wins Kill vehicle DACS contract
Aerojet, a GenCorp company, announced Oct. 13 it had won a contract for the Kill Vehicle -- KV -- Commonality Pathfinder Divert and Attitude Control System -- DACS -- from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

The Sacramento, Calif.-based Aerojet said its propulsion system could direct the KV through the firing of individual thrusters as the KV was heading to hit a ballistic missile or its warhead. The company will now construct and perform integration work on a test KV DACS. Then the DACS system and the reliability of its technical components, what the company calls "component technical maturity," will be checked out in a static hot-fire test before it is incorporated into a KV configuration and simulated flight test.

"Aerojet is proud to offer more than 20 years of hardware development, qualification and production under MDA programs," said Aerojet's Manager of Programs Warren Yasuhara. "Our experience results in high mission assurance and a low-cost approach for future applications."

Boeing wins new deal for more ATL tests
Boeing announced Oct. 14 it had won a new $30 million U.S. Air Force contract to carry on with tests of the Advanced Tactical Laser.

The company said in a statement that it had signed a new Extended User Evaluation contract with the Air Force's Air Armament Center on Sept. 30 "to operate and maintain the ATL system, enabling the Air Force and other potential users to assess ATL's capabilities."

Boeing's ATL is a Lockheed Martin C-130H Hercules military transport aircraft that has been adapted to carry a high-energy chemical laser and beam control system. The ATL is to be subjected to a new program of ground and flight tests during the EUE process. Boeing described its new EUE contract as "a follow on" to the Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration contract that was awarded previously to Boeing to create and perform integration work on the ATL system.

"The Extended User Evaluation will expand the envelope of the Advanced Tactical Laser and further demonstrate how this ultra-precision engagement capability can significantly reduce collateral damage," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "ATL has the potential to perform a wide range of important missions for the war fighter."

"The Extended User Evaluation will give the war fighter the opportunity to conduct hands-on operation of ATL and determine how this transformational laser-gunship technology can be integrated into the battlefield," said Gary Fitzmire, vice president and program director of Boeing Directed Energy Systems.

The ATL system is designed to hit its designated targets with pinpoint accuracy, vastly reducing the dangers of collateral damage, especially in heavily populated urban environments.

Boeing's ATL industry team has L-3 Communications/Brashear, the company that constructed the laser turret, and HYTEC Inc., the firm that constructed some of the structural elements of the weapon system.

Russia Sends Out The Nuke Bombers For Week Long Exercises (

Title: Russia military offers Cuba air defense aid
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2008, 01:27:50 PM
Mon Oct 27, 2008 6:49am EDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will offer to share its air defense expertise with Cuba when a military delegation visits the Caribbean island this week, Interfax news agency reported on Monday.

"The Russian and Cuban military will exchange experience in organizing tactical air defense and in training officers," Interfax quoted Russian Land Forces spokesman Igor Konashenkov as saying.

The two sides will "discuss the prospect of training Cuban servicemen at the tactical air defense academies and training centers in Russia, using upgraded Russian-made military hardware," Interfax quoted him as saying.

The delegation, led by the chief of Russia's tactical air defense headquarters, Lieutenant General Alexander Maslov, will also look at "ways to strengthen relations between the Russian armed forces and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba," Konashenkov was quoted as saying.

The delegation will be in Cuba from Monday until November 3, Konashenkov was quoted as saying. Reuters could not immediately reach Konashenkov for comment.

In 1962, Cuba became the focus of the deepest crisis of the Cold War after the Soviet Union installed missiles there, prompting a standoff with Washington. The island's government remains hostile to the United States.

In the past few months, Moscow has stepped up contacts with both Cuba and Venezuela, another South American critic of the United States.

Russia military offers Cuba air defense aid (

Title: Russia opposes EU monitors in Georgian rebel regions
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2008, 01:56:08 PM
Russia opposes EU monitors in Georgian rebel regions
28 Oct 2008, 1608 hrs IST, AFP

SAINT PETERSBURG: Russia opposes the deployment of European Union monitors in two Georgian rebel provinces and will enforce security there itself, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

"Security in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is assured by Russian military contingents after the recognition of their independence by Russia," Lavrov said at a press conference with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

"As far as the European Union monitors are concerned, we believe the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan should be respected. It says they should be deployed in areas adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia," Lavrov said.

The European monitoring mission, comprising 225 unarmed observers, deployed in Georgia on October 1 as part of a ceasefire agreement agreed by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and French President Nicolas Sarkozy to end an August war between Georgia and Russia.

The EU has called for its monitors to be allowed into the rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia to monitor the ceasefire, but Moscow and rebel leaders have so far refused.

Russia and the breakaway regions have criticised the monitoring mission, with Moscow accusing observers of taking a "light view" of alleged ceasefire violations by the Georgians.

Russian forces moved into Georgia on August 8 to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake South Ossetia, whose breakaway administration had long enjoyed extensive support from Moscow.

Sporadic violence has continued despite the ceasefire, under which Russian forces later withdrew to within South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which Moscow has recognised as independent states.

Russia opposes EU monitors in Georgian rebel regions (,prtpage-1.cms)

Title: Russia wants presence at Czech missile defense sites - Lavrov
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2008, 02:55:21 PM
Russia wants presence at Czech missile defense sites - Lavrov

■ YEREVAN (RIA Novosti) - Russia's foreign minister said on Monday that the country will only lift its objections to a U.S. anti-missile radar in the Czech Republic if Russian observers are permanently posted at the facilities.

"A one-off visit would not change anything, but only increase our suspicions," Sergei Lavrov told journalists.

The agreement to station a U.S. tracking radar in the Czech Republic was signed on July 8 by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

On September 19, Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova and U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The pact governs the deployment of U.S. military personnel at the radar station.

The radar is part of a planned missile shield system which would also include the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland. The U.S. says it needs the Central European shield to protect against attacks by "rogue states" such as Iran.

The plans are fiercely opposed by Russia, which sees the missile shield as a threat to its national security and the international system of nuclear deterrence.

Russia wants presence at Czech missile defense sites - Lavrov  (

Title: Russia sees clear path for Iran reactor launch: report
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2008, 02:56:19 PM
Russia sees clear path for Iran reactor launch: report

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia sees no political obstacles to the start-up of the first reactor at Iran's Russian-built nuclear plant at Bushehr, a senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying Monday.

"From a political point of view, there are no problems with this," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by the official ITAR-TASS news agency after visiting Tehran over the weekend.

"Right now, the final stages of preparing the station for launch are under way," he said.

"Among the six parties, there is a full understanding that the work at Bushehr has no proliferation risks," he said, referring to the six countries that have been negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program.

Russia is among the six countries talking with Iran over the nuclear issue, along with the United States, Britain, China, France and Germany. Moscow has resisted calls for tougher sanctions on Tehran.

Russia wants presence at Czech missile defense sites - Lavrov  (

Title: Libya’s Qaddafi plans visit to Russia
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2008, 02:57:16 PM
Libya’s Qaddafi plans visit to Russia


Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi is due to visit Moscow October 31 for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev on arms purchases and other deals, Russian business daily Vedomosti reported Monday.

The Libyan leader last visited Russia in 1985 in the days of the Soviet Union. Ties between Tripoli and Moscow have again warmed since Vladimir Putin visited Libya last April shortly after he left the Kremlin.

On Tuesday, Russian Fo­reign Minister Sergei Lavrov confirmed the report and said that Qaddafi will visit Moscow in the near future. "The visit is being planned and the sides will coordinate and announce a date [for the visit]," Lavrov told reporters.

Topics for the visit will include possible delivery of Russian Su-30 fighter planes and advanced T-90 battle tanks, the report said, quoting an unnamed foreign ministry source and another source in the state technology agency.

Russia could also sell Libya Tor-M2E air missile defence systems and spare parts for Russian-made weapons it already possesses, it said.

Recent contacts between Libya and Russia have centred on Tripoli's 4.6 billion dollar (3.4 billion-euro) debt to Moscow which could be settled through a variety of business contracts, the report said.

In addition to possible weapons sales, the largest of the contracts under con-sideration is the construction by Russia's rail monopoly of a 554-kilometre (344-mile) rail line between the Libyan cities of Surt and Banghazi.

That project was valued at around 2.2 billion euros (2.9 billion dollars), the paper said.

Russian energy giant Gazprom has also signed a provisional agreement with Libya on establishment of a joint venture that would develop projects in Libya and other countries in Africa, Vedomosti said.

Libya’s Qaddafi plans visit to Russia (

Title: Russia to join interfaith dialogue efforts
Post by: Shammu on October 28, 2008, 03:40:44 PM
 Russia to join interfaith dialogue efforts – Medvedev
By Muhammad Kinani
28 October 2008

JEDDAH – Russia has vowed to strengthen its ties with the Muslim world and advance the cause of the interfaith-dialogue sponsored by King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in a speech delivered on his behalf by President of Tatarstan Mintimer Shaimiev at the Conference Palace here Monday night.

“As an observer at the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Russia is determined to widen its effective cooperation with the Muslim World,” Medvedev said in his speech.

The speech of the Russian president came within the activities of ‘Russia and the Muslim World: the 4th Forum of the Strategic Vision Group’ held under the auspices of Prince Saud Al-Faisal, Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The thee-day forum, organized by the Islamic Affairs Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was themed “King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz’s Initiative for Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue: A New Vision for International Relations.”

The forum was launched after King Abdullah said Saturday he would attend a meeting at the United Nations (UN) next month to discuss his initiative to promote interfaith dialogue.

Russia’s idea to create a UN Consultative Council for Religions will enhance the ethical principles of world politics and widen interfaith communication and dialogue of world cultures, he added.

“I am confident that the effective cooperation between Russia and the Muslim World will also help create a more just system of international relations where power loses its political clout to resolve conflicts,” he concluded.

Dr. Nizar Obaid Madani, the Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that dialogue is a basis to human existence.

The world is witnessing many military and intellectual conflicts, plaguing the world with violence and hatred instead of finding a common ground and mutual interests towards a better and safer future for the coming generations,” Madani said.

He pointed out that the divine messages and world cultures have many things in common as they promote moral principles and abhor injustice, violence, and destruction of the human and his environment, he said. “So, followers of Divine messages and human civilizations should have visions and solutions to the challenges threatening their co-existence,” he added.

Reflecting on King Abdullah’s call for dialogue among world nations, Madani quoted the King’s words in a previous dialogue conference as saying “If we want any dialogue to be a success, we should focus on what brings us together, mainly: deep belief in God and moral values that make the core foundation of religions and philosophies.”

Madani said that with these words, the King has established his vision for an effective dialogue to achieve a peaceful coexistence.
Madani also added that the Madrid Conference has given the start signal to combat extremism through spreading the culture of dialogue and reinforcing its principles among nations, especially at these uncertain times.

Russia to join interfaith dialogue efforts (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on November 02, 2008, 10:52:19 AM
Libya offers to host Russian military base: report   

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, who visits Moscow Friday for the first time since 1985, will offer to host a Russian naval base in his north African country, a Russian newspaper reported.

"Libya is ready to host a Russian naval military base," the Kommersant reported, citing a source close to the preparations for Kadhafi's first visit here since the days of the Soviet Union.

The base could be located at the port of Benghazi, the source said.

"The Russian military presence will be a guarantee of non-aggression against Libya from the United States, which is not in a hurry to embrace Kadhafi despite gestures of reconciliation," the newspaper said.

Kadhafi is scheduled to visit Russia from Friday to Sunday.

Relations between Russia and Libya, a former pariah state that has pushed to get back into the international fold in recent years, showed signs of significant warming this year after a long chill.

Earlier this month, a Russian warship docked in Tripoli as part of a global show of force that is to include joint naval exercises between Russia and Venezuela in the Caribbean in November.

In April, during a visit to Tripoli by then-president Vladimir Putin, Moscow agreed to cancel billions of dollars of Libyan Soviet-era debt in exchange for multi-billion-dollar contracts with Russian companies.

During his visit, Russian gas giant Gazprom signed a cooperation agreement with Libya's national energy company while Russia's rail monopoly signed a 2.2-billion-euro contract to build a railway line in Libya.

During the Cold War, Libya bought many of its weapons from Moscow.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on November 03, 2008, 10:22:44 PM
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, who visits Moscow Friday for the first time since 1985, will offer to host a Russian naval base in his north African country, a Russian newspaper reported.

Biblical prophecy is in action, there is no escape for Libya. This is a exciting time to be alive, watch prophecy happening right before our eyes.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on November 08, 2008, 12:06:08 PM

Putin may return to Kremlin in 2009, extend rule to 2021

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev could resign from his post in 2009 to pave the way for Vladimir Putin to return to the Kremlin, Vedomosti newspaper reported on Thursday, citing an unidentified source close to the Kremlin.

Medvedev Wednesday proposed increasing the presidential term to six years from four years, a step the newspaper said was part of a plan drawn up by Vladislav Surkov, who serves as Medvedev's first deputy chief of staff.

Under the plan, Medvedev could implement changes to the constitution and unpopular social reforms "so that Putin could return to the Kremlin for a longer period," the newspaper said.

"Under this scenario Medvedev could resign early citing changes to the constitution and then presidential elections could take place in 2009," the newspaper said, citing the unidentified source close to the Kremlinl.

The paper said Putin, who is currently prime minister, could then rule for two six year terms, so from 2009 to 2021. The paper cited Putin's spokesman as saying he saw no reason for Putin to return to power in 2009.

Investors, already jittery over the impact of the financial crisis on Russia's economic boom, are trying to work out who is really in charge of Russia, the biggest question for those seeking to ascertain political risk.

They are seeking any details on how the current set up -- with Medvedev as president and Putin as prime minister -- could change. During Medvedev's speech Wednesday the Russian stock market erased most of the gains it made earlier in the day.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on November 08, 2008, 12:07:09 PM
Russia determined to broaden interaction with Islamic world - Medvedev

President Dmitry Medvedev has sent greetings to the fourth meeting of the Russia - Islamic World strategic vision group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Kremlin reported on Tuesday.

"Russia's developing cooperation with the Islamic states remains highly dynamic. Your Group is playing no small part in this," Medvedev writes.

"Russia, a country with observer status in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, intends to abide firmly to its course to expand active interaction with the Islamic world. I think in connection with this, that a broad discussion of the initiative to further develop interregional dialogue, proposed by King Abdallah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saudi of Saudi Arabia, is of crucial importance, taking into account a significant role the religious factor is playing in international affairs," he said.

"I am also convinced, that the implementation of the Russia-proposed idea of forming a consultative council of religions under UN aegis, will help strengthen the moral principles of world politics, facilitate deeper inter-confessional communication and, in a broader context, promote the dialogue of civilizations," the Russian president writes.

"The illusion of the uni-polar world is becoming a thing of the past in front of our eyes. Forums like yours can contribute significantly to the search for ways to make the situation in the world healthier and to attain a new level of global partnership," Medvedev said.

"I am convinced that Russia's active interaction with the Islamic world will help build a fairer system of international relations, where the factor of force will finally stop playing the role of universal instrument of settling all emerging problems," he said.

The message of greetings was read out at the meeting by Tatarstan President Mintimer Shaimiyev on behalf of the Russian president.

Title: Russian leader Medvedev heading to Cuba, Venezuela
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2008, 11:53:27 PM
Russian leader Medvedev heading to Cuba, Venezuela
Fri Nov 14, 6:40 am ET

MOSCOW – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev plans to travel this month to Cuba and Venezuela, which have increasing military and trade ties with Moscow.

The U.S. has objected to Russia's greater links with the two countries that have antagonistic relations with Washington.

Medvedev will visit Cuba on Nov. 27, the Kremlin press service said. He will also visit Brazil during the trip.

The Soviet Union was a stalwart supporter of Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the Cold War. Under Hugo Chavez, Venezuela has moved to buy millions of dollars in Russian weaponry and invited Russian energy giants to drill in the country's oil fields.

A Russian naval flotilla is on its way to the Caribbean to hold joint military exercises with Venezuelan forces.

Russian leader Medvedev heading to Cuba, Venezuela (;_ylt=AuCYTP_dSwBCbBfztfrvgHNbbBAF)

Title: Russian lawmakers back extending presidential term
Post by: Shammu on November 14, 2008, 11:55:38 PM
Russian lawmakers back extending presidential term
By DAVID NOWAK, Associated Press Writer David Nowak, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 14, 4:02 pm ET

MOSCOW – Russian lawmakers moved to lengthen the presidential term from four to six years on Friday with a vote that opponents called a step toward Vladimir Putin's return to power.

The change means that the powerful prime minister could serve a total of 20 years as president if he returns to the position as many expect.

The office of Russian president "already has more power than the General Secretary (of the U.S.S.R.), the czar and the pharaoh together," Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov complained shortly before the State Duma voted 388-58 to approve the constitutional amendment. It faces two more votes in the Duma, or lower house of parliament, and appears certain to be enacted. The Communists were the only Duma faction to vote against it.

Political analysts and Kremlin foes predict that President Dmitry Medvedev could step down as early as next year, making his former patron acting president and triggering elections in which Putin would run and likely win.

Vladimir Ryzhkov, a liberal democratic critic of the Kremlin and former member of parliament, described the amendment as just the first step in Putin's choreographed return to the presidency.

"Absolutely, I believe that," Ryzhkov said. "There is a small group of people in the Kremlin who want power for life."

State Duma speaker Boris Gryzlov denied that Medvedev planned to leave office before his term ends in 2012.

"Everyone must work to the end of his term," he said, according to the state-owned Russian news agency RIA-Novosti.

Asked whether the longer term was intended to benefit Putin in an interview broadcast on state television earlier this week, Medvedev avoided the question.

"I can say only one thing for sure, and that is that the new terms will benefit only whoever is elected to the office of President once the necessary amendments have entered into force," Medvedev said.

The former chess champion Garry Kasparov called the proposed change "a cynical message to the Russian population and the rest of the world. This regime — this clique — is saying, 'We are staying no matter what.'"

Kasparov joined about 100 opposition activists at a Moscow demonstration. They chanted and held banners with slogans such as "Hands off the Constitution!" and "Enough lies, enough blood, enough Putin!"

Putin stepped down as president in May after serving two four-year terms. He was succeeded by Medvedev, a lawyer and former aide.

In the run-up to the March presidential elections, Putin refused repeated calls to seek a constitutional amendment allowing him to run for a third consecutive term, saying the constitution was sacrosanct.

But Medvedev proposed extending the presidential term last week in his first state-of-the-nation address this month. Putin had earlier endorsed the same idea.

Supporters say the change will bring Russia in line with other Western democracies that have presidential terms of similar length.

But the speed with which the proposal is sailing through parliament has left many wondering whether Putin's allies are already preparing for Medvedev's departure.

If Putin is planning an early return, he may find his path eased by the current financial crisis, some observers say.

Putin is widely credited with having rescued Russia from one crisis — the aftermath of Russia's default on its debts in 1998.

The legislation also requires approval by the upper house of parliament and by two-thirds of Russia's regional legislatures. The Kremlin-backed United Russia party — led by Putin — dominates all of Russia's legislatures.

Ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky said the measure would bring Russia "into conformity" with other nations, such as France, where the president is elected for five years.

But Zhirinovsky suggested other legislators were merely rubber-stamping the Kremlin's proposal.

"The only thing that makes me upset is that had the president offered to cut the term to three years, we would have applauded and voted the same way," he said.

Lawmakers also voted to extend Duma terms from four to five years.

Russian lawmakers back extending presidential term (;_ylt=AuCYTP_dSwBCbBfztfrvgHNbbBAF)

Title: The Russian Church stands for a new feast – The Day of Pregnant
Post by: Shammu on November 15, 2008, 12:58:08 AM
The Russian Church stands for a new feast – The Day of Pregnant
12 November 2008

Moscow – The Day of Pregnant should be included in the calendar of Russian feasts, the Synodal Youth Department of the Russian Orthodox Church believes.

“Such a step can have a positive resonance. We can offer people to take special care of the pregnant women at least once a year,” Hieromonk Dimitry (Pershin), head of informational and publishing administration of the Youth Department said at a round table held in frames of the Pravoslavnaya Rus (Orthodox Russia) exhibition-forum.

Fr. Dimitry suggests celebrating the new feast on the Day of the Feodorovskaya Icon of the Mother of God as people traditionally pray for pregnancy health and labor before this icon or on the Day of the Intercession of the Mother of God.

“Our informational task is to change people’s mind, their attitude to abortions, labor and child-bearing. The new feast can help introduce another theme of traditional family values,” Fr. Dimitry hopes.

The Russian Church stands for a new feast – The Day of Pregnant (

Title: Russian ships to Venezuela in show of power
Post by: Shammu on November 22, 2008, 06:00:02 PM
Russian ships to Venezuela in show of power
By: Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press Writer
Nov 21, 1:26 pm ET

MOSCOW – The voyage of the cruiser Peter the Great, scheduled to arrive in Venezuela next week with a squadron of other Russian warships, was meant to showcase the Kremlin's ability to project naval power abroad and reassert its claim to great power status.

But the arrival of the 24,000-ton nuclear-powered vessel and its escorts may mark the end of an era of rising ambitions for the Russian navy, not its beginning.

Russia's plans to conduct exercises in the Carribean for the first time since the Cold War were made before the global financial crisis mauled the country's energy-based economy. Plunging oil prices, some believe, could end Moscow's aspirations for a stronger presence in the Western Hemisphere.

The Peter the Great, a missile destroyer and two support vessels from Russia's Northern Fleet set off for Venezuela late September, in what was widely seen as a show of the Kremlin's anger over the U.S. dispatch of warships to deliver aid to Georgia after its August war with Russia. A pair of Russian strategic bombers visited Venezuela for a week in September. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union sent its planes and navy ships to Cuba.

The squadron's arrival next week is timed to coincide with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's planned trip to Venezuela and other Latin American nations. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, an unbridled critic of the U.S. policy, said his nation needs a strong friendship with Russia to reduce U.S. influence and keep the peace in the region.

Some experts, though, question the military value of the exercise.

"The Kremlin is continuing its anti-American course in the nineteenth century style," said Alexander Golts, an independent military analyst. "But it makes no sense militarily. A couple of ships struggling to make it to South America aren't going to strengthen Russia's posture against the United States."

Medvedev vowed in September that Russia will follow up on the Venezuelan cruise with other maneuvers worldwide. But its navy capability is limited.

"Russia simply lacks ships for the purpose," said Alexander Khramchikhin, a top analyst with Moscow-based Institute for Political and Military Analysis, an independent think-tank.

He and other analysts say that the Peter the Great and its destroyer escort, the Admiral Chabanenko, are among a few vessels in the Russian navy capable of long ocean cruises.

The construction of the Peter the Great began before the 1991 Soviet collapse but was completed a decade later. It was designed to destroy aircraft carriers with an array of supersonic cruise-missiles. It's the largest ship in the Russian fleet and the only surface vessel powered by a nuclear reactor, which gives it enormous range and autonomy.

The cruiser suffered a deadly accident in 1996 when a high-pressure steam line ruptured, killing four seamen. In 2004, the Russian navy chief abruptly declared the ship so decrepit it could explode any moment.

Adm. Vladimir Kuroyedov quickly retracted his words, saying he was misquoted, and some media attributed the statement to a personal conflict with the cruiser's captain.

The Russian squadron has called at several Mediterranean ports as part of its current cruise, which the Navy said will cover 15,000 nautical miles — three times the distance between the Venezuelan shores and home base on the Arctic Kola Peninsula. After completing joint maneuvers with Venezuela, the ships will sail for the Indian Ocean for further exercises, the navy said.

Of all branches of the Russian military, the navy suffered most after the Soviet collapse. Sharp cuts in military spending left many Russian warships rusting berthside and forced the navy to scrap dozens of comparatively modern vessels.

Booming oil prices during President Vladimir Putin's eight-year tenure led to steady increases in military spending, allowing the navy to repair some vessels and train new crews. But the Russian navy is still a shadow of what it was in the Soviet era, when Moscow dispatched warships on regular patrols of the world's oceans.

"Most big surface warships which were built during the Soviet times have closely approached the end of their service time," Khramchikhin said. "It can't be extended indefinitely unless they want to see them sink in the middle of their cruise."

The Kursk nuclear submarine catastrophe, which killed all its 118 seamen in August 2000, and a steady string of other deadly accidents highlighted the poor state of the Russian navy.

Earlier this month, 20 people suffocated and 21 others were injured aboard a new nuclear-powered submarine when a firefighting system switched on by accident and pumped the sub full of Freon gas, displacing the vessel's oxygen. The mishap, which officials blame on a seaman's tinkering with the firefighting system's controls, occurred while the sub was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan.

"Badly-trained crews on poorly-maintained ships pose the danger of new catastrophes," said military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer.

Russia now has just one Soviet-built carrier, which is much smaller than any U.S. carrier and has been dogged by unreliable turbines and other technical problems. Experts say tumbling oil prices and the global financial slowdown have likely scuttled all plans for massive new military spending, including a plan to build new carriers, at least in the short term.

"Russia lacks money, industrial resources and qualified industry personnel for that," Khramchikhin said.

Russian ships to Venezuela in show of power (;_ylt=AuCYTP_dSwBCbBfztfrvgHNbbBAF)

Title: Russia test-fires new ballistic missile
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2008, 02:55:38 PM
Russia test-fires new ballistic missile
Wed Nov 26, 10:28 am ET

MOSCOW – A spokesman for Russia's Strategic Missile Forces says the military has test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile.

Col. Alexander Vovk says the RS-24 missile lifted off from a mobile launcher at the Plesetsk launch pad in northern Russia.

He says the missile's multiple warheads successfully hit the designated targets at the Kura testing range in the far eastern Kamchatka Peninsula on Wednesday.

It was the third test launch of the new missile, which is intended to gradually replace the aging Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles that still form the core of Russia's nuclear arsenal.

Russian military officials have boasted that the RS-24 would be able to penetrate any prospective missile defense.

Russia test-fires new ballistic missile (;_ylt=AuCYTP_dSwBCbBfztfrvgHNbbBAF)

Title: Russia's Medvedev Renews Cold War
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2008, 03:23:02 PM
Russia's Medvedev Renews Cold War
Nov. 24, 2008
Alexsei Kuznetsov in Moscow

Appearances can be deceiving. Six months ago, when Dmitry Medvedev was inaugurated as Russia’s new president, many hoped there would be a thaw in U.S.-Russia relations.

The soft-spoken lawyer has never worked for the KGB. His reputation as a liberal seemed to contrast sharply with his predecessor, Vladimir Putin.

However, for the past six months it seems that President Medvedev has been working hard to dismantle his liberal image and revive memories of the Cold War.

Putin had a reputation for being tough, but it was under Medvedev that Russia used excessive force against Georgia, occupying part of its territory and crushing its military. Medvedev then defied world opinion by accusing the United States of instigating the war and by recognizing the independence of Georgia's two separatist regions.

The Cold War rhetoric continued with the Kremlin blaming the United States for the global financial crisis.

"Russia has warned many times of the potentially negative situation that had built up in the American financial system, and that has now transformed into a full-scale international financial crisis," Medvedev said.

Moscow has pursued close ties with countries like Venezuela and has even sent warships to the Caribbean for joint naval exercises.

The latest from President Medvedev is a threat to deploy missiles on the border with Poland as a response to the U.S. missile-defense program in eastern Europe. It is the first time in decades that Russia's leader has officially announced his readiness to target a NATO country with tactical weapons.

"The Iskander missile system will be deployed in the Kaliningrad region in order to neutralize, if necessary, the missile defense system," he said.

Medvedev's ultimatum was widely acclaimed, not only behind Kremlin walls, but also in the streets. Many Russians see this as an opportunity for the country to expand its military influence over Europe.

"It gives Russia a perfect pretext to deploy its missiles in Kaliningrad, so that we could blanket Europe if need be," said one Russian.

Russia’s parliament also fully supports the president on this issue.

"You need two to dance a tango," said Konstantin Kosachyov, Chairman of the International Affairs Committee in the Russian Parliament. "And in case the other side continues to be assertive - we have no space to be more liberal, more cooperative. We have to protect our national interests."

Iskander missiles have a declared range of only 175 miles, but Russian top brass insist that the range could be extended in order to strike the proposed radar installation in the Czech Republic.

Medvedev’s message was delivered just hours after Barack Obama was elected - an unmistakable signal to the incoming U.S. administration.

The two leaders are certain to discuss the possibility of a new arms race when they have their first meeting. Whether or not Obama decides to go ahead with missile defense in Europe, the outcome of the summit will set the tone for the next chapter in U.S.-Russian relations.

Russia's Medvedev Renews Cold War (;topStoryHeadline)

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on November 26, 2008, 03:28:06 PM
Russian navy conducts war games in Caribbean
Russian warships have arrived in the Caribbean for war games with Venezuela in their first military exercise in the region since the end of the Cold War.

By Jeremy McDermott, Latin America Correspondent
25 Nov 2008

Their arrival came on the eve of the first visit to Caracas by President Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian leader, who is due to meet his strategic ally President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday.

Venezuelan sailors greeted the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko with a 21-gun salute, while Russians sailors stood to attention on the deck in their dress uniforms.

The Russian flotilla, headed by the flagship, the nuclear powered cruiser Peter the Great, has timed its arrival to coincide with the latest leg of a by Mr Medvedev of South America, which has included Peru and Brazil and will finish with Cuba.

Both Russia and Venezuela have a great deal to gain in closer relations, apart from poking Washington in the eye. Russia wants to sell yet more weapons to Mr Chjavez, a former paratrooper colonel, having already wracked up some $4bn (£2.6 billion) in sales of Kalashnikov assault rifles, helicopters and top of the range Sukhoi fighter jets.

President Chavez wants Russia to help him build a nuclear reactor, which he insists is just for peaceful purposes, like that being developed by his other ally Iran. He also wants Russian investment in oil and natural gas projects, having seen the withdrawal of western multinational companies or a marked reduction in their investment after he ripped up previously negotiated contracts for concessions.

Mr Chavez has already visited Moscow three times this year and has been offered a billion-dollar credit line by Russia for further arms purchases.

Neighbouring Colombia, one of the last nations in South America to be an unconditional US ally, is watching with unease as Mr Chavez refits his armed forces and expands his influence across the region. Sources in the Colombian government indicated unease after the election of President-elect Barak Obama who has refused to sign a free trade agreement and may well end or change the aid programme worth some $600 million a year that Colombia has enjoyed since 1999.

Russian navy conducts war games in Caribbean  (

Title: Medvedev raises Russia's profile in Latin America
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2008, 11:27:10 PM
Medvedev raises Russia's profile in Latin America
By Rachel Jones
Nov 27, 2:44 am ET

CARACAS, Venezuela – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed to help Venezuela start a nuclear energy program on Wednesday as President Hugo Chavez hailed Moscow's deepening ties in Latin America as a reflection of declining U.S. influence.

It was the first visit to Venezuela by a Russian president, and it came as Medvedev's government raises its profile in a region long dominated by Washington. Medvedev arrived from Brazil, where he announced an upcoming summit with China, India and Brazil to create new rules for the global economy.

In Caracas, Russian and Venezuelan officials signed a series of accords, including one pledging cooperation in nuclear energy for peaceful uses. Russia also agreed to work with Venezuela in oil projects and building ships.

Chavez, one of Latin America's most outspoken critics of Washington's foreign policy, thanked Medvedev for Russia's role in helping to create a "multipolar" world no longer dominated by the United States.

"Russia is playing the role it must play in today's world," he said.

Medvedev called Venezuela "one of our most important associates in Latin America" and vowed to continue supplying the oil-rich South American nation with weapons. But he said arms sales to Venezuela "are not aimed against any other country."

Sergey Kirienko, head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency, said Russia is planning to work out a concrete program of nuclear cooperation with Venezuela by the end of next year.

"We are ready to teach students in nuclear physics and nuclear engineering," he said through an interpreter. "Research and development in the sphere of geology. Looking for uranium in the territory of Venezuela."

Medvedev's visit came as Russian warships, docked in a Venezuelan port, prepared to hold training exercises in Moscow's first major naval deployment in the Caribbean since the Cold War.

The military show of force is widely seen as a demonstration of Kremlin anger over the U.S. decision to send warships to deliver aid to Georgia after its conflict with Russia, and over U.S. plans for a European missile-defense system.

But U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said there is no question the United States retains the "preponderance of power" in the Western hemisphere, despite the Russian warships' presence. Rice told reporters in Washington that "a few Russian ships is not going to change the balance of power" in the region.

Chavez backed Russia in its conflict with Georgia, and views the fellow oil producer as a key player in moving toward a world freed from U.S. dominance. He welcomed Medvedev's visit saying it's one step toward "a new world that's being born."

The two leaders plan a visit on Thursday to the flagship vessel — the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, the largest in the Russian fleet. Joint naval exercises are planned off Venezuela next week.

"There's certainly a political message that Moscow wants to send to Washington, and that is: 'If you meddle in Georgia, we are going to come into your territory.'" It's a simplistic view, but nevertheless that's clearly the signal," said Johanna Mendelson Forman, a Latin America analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union sent planes and navy ships to Cuba.

Nowadays, however, Moscow's motivations are different. Mendelson Forman noted that Russia has growing economic interests, including energy investments and arms deals — and she says 80 percent of Moscow's arms sales in the region are going to Venezuela.

Chavez's government has bought more than $4 billion in Russian arms, including Sukhoi fighter jets, helicopters and 100,000 Kalashnikov rifles, and more deals for Russian tanks or other weaponry could be discussed by Medvedev and Chavez.

"Venezuela holds a primarily economic importance for Russia, in terms of being a major military export destination," said analyst Anna Gilmour of Jane's Intelligence Review. But she said "Russia is not keen to align itself with Chavez' Bolivarian ideology and deliberately avoids making statements regarding political links."

Mikhail Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council's foreign affairs committee, denied that Russia's growing presence in Latin America is aimed at challenging Washington.

"Russia is not trying to use its relations with Latin America as a counterbalance to the U.S.," said Margelov, speaking to reporters at the presidential palace. "Russia is back in the region. We don't want to intimidate anybody."

Russia has shown signs of trying to engage President-elect Barack Obama.

Both Russia and Venezuela may also be forced to limit their plans for Latin American investments and aid due to declining oil revenues that have hit their economies during the financial crisis.

In Brazil, Medvedev agreed to host a summit of Brazil, Russia, India and China next year to discuss creating a new global financial structure — a reflection of how economic power is shifting from the United States and Europe.

Medvedev raises Russia's profile in Latin America (;_ylt=AuCYTP_dSwBCbBfztfrvgHO9IxIF)

Title: Russia and Venezuela sign nuclear energy deal
Post by: Shammu on November 27, 2008, 11:28:48 PM
Russia and Venezuela sign nuclear energy deal

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opened his visit to Caracas with the signing of a nuclear energy deal that will deepen Moscow's ties with left-leaning Venezuela.

27 Nov 2008

The nuclear cooperation accord involves civilian and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Mr Medvedev, who arrived on Wednesday for the first visit by a Russian head of state to Venezuela, received an ornate welcome featuring spear-wielding soldiers singing the two countries' anthems in a palace courtyard decorated with palm trees, fountains and statues of classical gods.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was first to propose nuclear cooperation with Venezuela when Mr Chavez visited Moscow in September.

The nuclear deal coincides with joint Russian-Venezuelan naval exercises about to begin in the Caribbean, which Washington dismissed as insignificant.

"Our collaboration in recent years has strengthened considerably and is flourishing. I think that it has great prospects for the future and we will actively work on it," Mr Medvedev said after the nuclear pact was signed.

Apart from the nuclear deal, other accords included oil exploitation, industrial cooperation, and removing visa requirements for each country's citizens.

"I'm convinced that this visit will give a boost to our collaboration and relations between Russia and Venezuela ... which is one of our most important partners in Latin America," Mr Medvedev said.

The Russian leader said that both countries wished to promote a "multi-polar" world and said that they had "great potential" to find ways to overcome the difficult economic period together.

Russia and Venezuela sign nuclear energy deal (

Title: Russia seeks new missiles due to U.S. shield plans
Post by: Shammu on November 28, 2008, 03:00:16 PM
Russia seeks new missiles due to U.S. shield plans
By Conor Sweeney Conor Sweeney – 32 mins ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia's military said on Friday it had intensified efforts to develop new ballistic missiles in response to U.S. plans to deploy an anti-missile system in Europe and Russia's navy test fired a new generation rocket.

The decision by the United States to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic has angered Moscow, which says Russia's national security will be compromised by the U.S. anti-missile system.

Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, was quoted by Interfax as saying that Russia had bolstered its efforts to develop new missiles.

"At the present time, work has been intensified to create the research and technical foundation for new missile systems, which will be needed after 2020," Solovtsov said.

A few hours later, the Dmitry Donskoy nuclear submarine launched a Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile from the White Sea, a navy spokesman said. The missile hit the Kura testing site on the Kamchatka peninsula in the Pacific.

Russia's RIA news agency quoted an unidentified source in the Defense Ministry as saying it was the most successful test of the Bulava to date, after a string of failures and delays.

The previous test of the Bulava on September 18 was pronounced a success by the navy. Several launches of the Bulava, which is designed for Russia's new generation of Borei class nuclear submarines, have failed however.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced on November 5 that Moscow would install Iskander short-range missile systems near the Polish border if Washington proceeds with its missile plans.

Medvedev also said Russia would try to electronically jam the U.S. system.

Russia's relations with Washington this year hit their lowest ebb since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union after a row over the war against U.S. ally Georgia and Moscow's recognition of two Georgian rebel regions as independent states.

Kremlin officials say the U.S. has failed to listen to their concerns about the missile shield, which Washington says is needed to protect against "rogue states" such as Iran.

Russia's missile forces commander said the first of a new generation of Russian RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles would enter service in December 2009, Interfax reported.

Russia test fired one of the RS-24 missiles on November 26, the third such test in two years.

Russian generals say the RS-24 can pierce any anti-missile system. It can be armed with up to 10 different warheads and is intended to replace Russia's earlier generation intercontinental missiles such as the RS-18 and RS-20.

Solovtsov said the global financial crisis probably would impose some limits on funding, although Russia would test 13 missiles next year, almost double the seven tests this year, Interfax reported.

"Due to the world financial crisis, certain resource restrictions will be applied but still the (missile) force should be able to fulfill its duties," he was quoted as saying.

Civilian personnel in Russia's military forces also will be cut by 150,000 to 600,000 as part of ongoing reforms to defense structures, Interfax separately reported, quoting a source in the Defense Ministry.

Russia seeks new missiles due to U.S. shield plans (;_ylt=Aiz.Pvth5vRWcF6ELCPnGFZ0bBAF)

Title: Medvedev in Cuba to improve ties
Post by: Shammu on November 28, 2008, 09:42:24 PM
 Medvedev in Cuba to improve ties

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has described Russian-Cuban ties as "especially intense", after meeting Cuban President Raul Castro in Havana.

He also met the president's ailing brother, former leader Fidel Castro.

Cuba is his last stop on a four-nation tour of Latin America intended to build up Russia's ties in the region.

Mr Medvedev arrived in Havana from Venezuela, where he and President Hugo Chavez signed a deal on nuclear energy and discussed military co-operation.

The Russian president also visited Brazil and Peru.

After meeting his Cuban counterpart, Mr Medvedev told reporters: "We have a systematic dialogue. Our relations have been generally good, but in the past six months they have become especially intense."

Mr Medvedev said he wanted to boost Russia's presence in a region it had previously neglected - a region traditionally of strategic importance to the US.

Russian companies are interested in drilling for oil in Cuban waters and investing in a nickel processing plant.

Cuba is unlikely to want to antagonise the US with President-elect Barack Obama taking office in January, says the BBC's Michael Voss in Havana.

Naval exercises

In Venezuela, Mr Medvedev signed an accord with Mr Chavez to help Venezuela build a nuclear energy plant. Joint gas projects were also approved.

Military co-operation was also high on the agenda of Mr Medvedev's talks with Mr Chavez.

Russian and Venezuelan warships are scheduled to hold joint military exercises later this week.

Russia is already a major arms supplier to Venezuela, with contracts worth some $4.4bn (£2.39bn).

The Russian leader travelled to Venezuela from Brazil, where he and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva held talks on boosting trade and technical co-operation.

In Rio de Janeiro, the two presidents expressed their view that the "Bric" countries - Brazil, Russia, India and China - should hold their first summit in Russia in 2009.

Mr Medvedev's visit takes place just a few days after the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, toured several Latin American nations with a view to strengthening ties.

Medvedev in Cuba to improve ties  (

Title: Russia, Venezuela to start naval exercises Monday
Post by: Shammu on November 29, 2008, 11:31:44 PM
Russia, Venezuela to start naval exercises Monday
Nov. 29, 2008
Associated Press , THE JERUSALEM POST

Three days of joint naval exercises with Russia will kick off in Venezuelan waters on Monday, Venezuela's state news agency reported.

The state-run Bolivarian News Agency said the operation involving 11 Venezuelan and four Russian ships has been christened Venrus 2008.

Saturday's report said exercises will include anti-aircraft defense and tactics to combat terrorism and drug trafficking. Some will involve helicopters and planes.

The Russian squadron arrived in Venezuela on Tuesday, led by the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great - the first deployment of its kind since the Cold War.

Russia, Venezuela to start naval exercises Monday (

Title: Russian warship to cross Panama Canal
Post by: Shammu on December 04, 2008, 09:35:46 PM
Russian warship to cross Panama Canal     
Dec 3 04:28 PM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

MOSCOW (AP) - A Russian warship will sail through the Panama Canal this week for the first time since World War II, the navy announced Wednesday, pushing ahead with a symbolic projection of Moscow's power in a traditional U.S. zone of influence.

The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko will arrive Friday at a former U.S. naval base in Panama's Pacific port of Balboa for a six-day visit after carrying out joint maneuvers with the Venezuelan navy in the Caribbean Sea, navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said in a telephone interview.

The Panama Canal has long been a symbol of U.S. clout in Latin America, and Dygalo said no Soviet or Russian military ship has sailed through it since World War II. The wartime alliance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union swiftly gave way to the mistrust, military buildups and proxy conflicts of the Cold War.

In a throwback to those times, the Russian navy statement announcing the plans referred to the base the Admiral Chabanenko will visit as Rodman naval base—its name when it was a U.S. base many years ago.

Rodman was the hub for all U.S. naval activities in South America and supported fleet units transiting the 50-mile (80-kilometer) canal. But control of the facility shifted to Panama a decade ago, and it is now called the Balboa naval base.

Monday's joint maneuvers with Venezuela, which brought the Admiral Chabanenko and the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great across the Atlantic along with two support ships, were widely seen as a show of Kremlin anger over the U.S. use of warships to deliver aid to Georgia after its August war with Russia.

Russian warships tailed U.S. ships in the Black Sea, where Russia borders Georgia, on that mission.

The Russian squadron's voyage to Venezuela was Russia's first such deployment to the Western Hemisphere since the Cold War era, aimed to showcase the Kremlin's global reach and reassert its claim to great-power status. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is a staunch U.S. foe.

The voyage coincided with a trip to Latin America late last month by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who visited four nations in what he acknowledged was an effort to raise Moscow's profile in a region he said it has long neglected.

U.S. officials have mocked the Russian show of force, saying that the Russian navy is a shadow of Moscow's Soviet-era fleet and suggesting that the U.S. retains far more influence in the region than Russia.

"Are they accompanied by tugboats this time?" U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack joked to reporters in Washington last week ahead of the Russian ships' arrival off Venezuela.

Dygalo would not say where the Peter the Great, which led the Russian squadron, would be located while the destroyer visits the Panama base.

Russian warship to cross Panama Canal (

Hmmmmm I wonder if Russia is rattling their saber. They're showing off to the Venezuelans, that is for sure. One thing I DO think is they are testing the waters.

Title: Russia's 2nd military drill in US 'backyard'
Post by: Shammu on December 14, 2008, 12:04:44 AM
Russia's 2nd military drill in US 'backyard'
Fri, 12 Dec 2008

A Russian missile destroyer will arrive in Nicaragua for a joint naval exercise amid growing tensions between Moscow and Washington.

Navy spokesman, Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo, said on Thursday that Admiral Chabanenko missile destroyer and two support ships would arrive in Nicaragua on Friday.

"After crossing the Panama Canal, the Admiral Chabanenko and two support ships will visit the port of Bluefields in Nicaragua on December 12-15," Dygalo told Ria Novosti.

After a joint military exercise with Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea, Russia planned to have another maneuver with Nicaragua.

Last week, the Russian nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great participated in the VenRus-2008 naval exercise in the Caribbean.

Tensions between the White House and the Kremlin have intensified after the August conflict between Russia and Georgia, a US ally, in South Ossetia.

The war began when Georgian military forces launched an offensive into South Ossetia to retake the independence-seeking region. In response, Russia sent its troops into the region, which many of its people enjoy Russian citizenship.

After the conflict, when Russia recognized the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega supported the measure.

Earlier, Russia announced that its Navy would build up a constant presence throughout the world's oceans, including its current naval task groups.

Meanwhile, a task force from Russia's Pacific Fleet, comprising the Admiral Vinogradov, an Udaloy class missile destroyer, left its main base in Vladivostok on Tuesday to take part in joint naval drills with the Indian navy in the Indian Ocean.

Russia's 2nd military drill in US 'backyard'   (

Title: Russia retakes Georgian village near South Ossetia
Post by: Shammu on December 14, 2008, 12:19:00 AM
Russia retakes Georgian village near South Ossetia
By MATT SIEGEL, Associated Press Writer Matt Siegel, Associated Press Writer Sat Dec 13, 12:21 pm ET

TBILISI, Georgia – Russian troops retook a village near the breakaway region of South Ossetia Saturday just hours after withdrawing, Georgia's Interior Ministry and European Union peace observers said.

The move drew criticism from Georgia, the EU and U.S. Senator John Kerry, who was on a half-day visit to Tbilisi.

Georgian police had already moved into Perevi on Saturday to remove Russian-built roadblocks when Russian troops and helicopters unexpectedly returned, said Shota Utiashvili, an Interior Ministry spokesman.

"They left, and we went in with about 40 people to remove the roadblocks," he said. "While they were doing this, the Russians deployed a battalion of special forces with helicopters and armor and told the Georgian policemen to get out immediately," he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry refused immediate comment and South Ossetian officials could not be immediately reached.

The European monitoring mission, which is observing an EU-brokered cease-fire, quickly issued a statement calling on Russia to pull back once more.

"The renewed Russian military occupation of the Perevi checkpoint, and in addition, the Perevi village, is incompatible with the provisions of the ... peace plan," the statement said.

The mission added that it was unacceptable that Russian troops had stopped EU ambassadors from visiting Perevi.

The Baltic News Service reported that ambassadors from France, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Romania were among those refused entry.

"We saw 20 to 30 soldiers. We don't know the number of troops inside the village," Lithuania's ambassador to Georgia, Mecys Laurinkus, was quoted as saying by the agency.

Laurinkus was quoted as saying the diplomats had to return to Tbilisi after waiting about an hour. Laurinkus said the soldiers had not spoken with them, and that that information about their visit had been received in advance, the news agency reported.

Kerry, meanwhile — in Tbilisi to meet with the government, the opposition and President Mikhail Saakashvili — addressed reporters at the airport before leaving.

"My judgment is that Georgia as a sovereign country needs to be upheld and respected," Kerry said. "And the agreement that the Russians have signed up to needs to be upheld."

Perevi has been under Russian control since an August war that saw Russian forces drive deep into Georgia.

EU monitors had welcomed the initial pullback, saying Perevi was clearly outside South Ossetia.

Russia and Georgia severed diplomatic ties after the war, recalling embassy staff. The Swiss Embassy in Tbilisi has opened a Russian section to represent Moscow in Georgia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow on the logistics of the agreement Saturday with his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey.

Russia removed several military posts and checkpoints from Georgian territory outside South Ossetia earlier this fall under a French-brokered cease-fire agreement. Georgian police and EU monitors moved in to patrol the area.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent nations after the August war and has stationed thousands of troops in the regions — including a swath of South Ossetia that was controlled by Georgia before the conflict.

Georgia's government and Western nations say the Russian military presence violates the cease-fire agreement, which called for a return to pre-conflict positions.

Russia retakes Georgian village near South Ossetia (;_ylt=AjsaDRl_uq7AQlCX8nCVUD9bbBAF)

Title: Russian warships to visit Cuba
Post by: Shammu on December 17, 2008, 07:44:06 AM
Russian warships to visit Cuba
Mon Dec 15, 12:39 pm ET

MOSCOW – Russian warships will visit U.S. foe Cuba for the first time since the Soviet era, the navy said Monday.

The destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two support ships from a squadron that has been on a lengthy visit to Latin America will put in at Havana on Friday for a five-day stay, navy spokesman Capt. Igor Dygalo said.

It will be the first visit by Russian warships to the Communist-led island just 90 miles (145 kilometers) from the United States since the 1991 Soviet collapse, Dygalo said.

The Admiral Chabanenko, the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great and support ships arrived in the Caribbean last month in a deployment also unprecedented since Soviet times. The voyage is widely seen as a show of force close to U.S. shores and a response to the U.S. use of warships to deliver humanitarian aid to Russia's neighbor Georgia after their war in August.

The ships' visit coincided with a Latin American tour by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who raised Russia's profile in the region and met with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The United States has maintained an economic embargo against Cuba since 1962, after a failed U.S. attempt to overthrow Castro's fledgling Cuban government. Later that year, the world came close to war when the Soviet Union placed nuclear missiles on Cuba. That crisis ended two weeks later after the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles for a U.S. pledge not to invade the island.

From 1969 until the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet naval groups regularly called in Cuba, where there was a major intelligence collection station, says military analyst Nathan Hughes of Stratfor online intelligence service.

Several thousand Soviet soldiers and their families were stationed in Cuba, which once received $5 billion annually in Soviet largesse.

Moscow's support for Cuba sharply decreased after the 1991 Soviet collapse, but Russia has moved to bolster ties to the island recently.

The Russian ships in Latin America now have held joint exercises with the navy of Venezuela, whose President Hugo Chavez is a fierce U.S. critic, and the Admiral Chabanenko became the first Russian warship to sail through the Panama Canal since World War II.

The destroyer and two support vessels left Nicaragua on Sunday after delivering $200,000 worth of medicine, computers and other humanitarian aid, Nicaraguan Lt. Col. Juan Morales said. Dygalo said, however, that the ships left Nicaragua on Monday. Their visit stirred heated political debate there.

The Peter the Great remains in the Caribbean but will not visit Cuba, Dygalo said.

Russian warships to visit Cuba (;_ylt=AjsaDRl_uq7AQlCX8nCVUD9bbBAF)

Title: Russian military mulls buying Israeli drones
Post by: Shammu on December 17, 2008, 07:46:10 AM
Russian military mulls buying Israeli drones

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer Vladimir Isachenkov, Associated Press Writer – Tue Dec 16, 9:24 am ET

MOSCOW – Russia is negotiating with Israel to buy a batch of spy drones, the head of the Russian armed forces said Tuesday, in what would be its first ever purchase of military hardware from the Jewish state.

Israel sparked concern in Moscow after it previously sold drones to Georgia that were used successfully before and during its August war with Russia.

Russia's weapons industries have failed to supply the military with drones, developing only experimental models that experts have described as outdated.

Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces, said that Russia would like to buy an unspecified number of drones from Israel, the Interfax news agency reported.

"We are working on this issue. We are talking about a test batch of Israeli drone planes," it quoted Makarov as saying.

If finalized, the deal would mark an unprecedented delivery of Israeli military technology to the Russian military.

During the Cold War years, Moscow supplied weapons worth billions of dollars to the Arab nations which fought Israel and barred Jews from living the Soviet Union.

Israel Aerospace Industries' spokesman Doron Suslik would not comment on Tuesday's report.

But Israeli defense officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of Russia-Israel ties, confirmed the Russians had asked to buy the drones and said that Israel is considering the request.

Israeli Defense Ministry envoy, Amos Gilad, will head to Russia Wednesday to try to persuade Russia not to sell advanced air defense missiles to Iran, the defense officials said.

Gilad will also discuss the drone sale in his talks with Russian officials, they said.

Russia's relations with Israel have improved steadily since the Soviet collapse, but some tensions remain.

Israel has been concerned that Russia could sell its enemies, Iran and Syria, advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems. That would make any potential strike at Iran's first nuclear power plant — which Russia is helping to build — more difficult.

Russian military mulls buying Israeli drones (;_ylt=AhMjW1XqoXboaDgihxgZxih0bBAF)

Title: Russia in talks with Iran over sale of anti-aircraft missiles, despite Israeli o
Post by: Shammu on December 17, 2008, 07:50:36 AM
Russia in talks with Iran over sale of anti-aircraft missiles, despite Israeli objections
By Barak Ravid

Israel plans to send one of its most senior security officials to Moscow tomorrow to express concern over Russia's decision to renew contacts with Iran for the sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles, Haaretz has learned.

Israeli officials said the government will send the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau Maj.-Gen. (res) Amos Gilad to try to dissuade the Kremlin from supplying Iran with S-300 missiles - which would significantly complicate any military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

During his two-day visit in Moscow, Gilad will meet with the Russian chief of staff, the head of intelligence as well as senior defense officials and diplomats. In addition to talks on the S-300 sale, Gilad is expected to bring up the Iranian nuclear program and Syria's supplying of Russian-made weapons to Hezbollah.
Earlier this year, Russia said it would not move forward with the transaction. In October, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Russia, where he met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and with his foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov. The meeting was set up to try and persuade the Russians to drop two deals in the works - one to sell S-300 missiles to Iran and the other to sell them to Syria.

The Russian foreign ministry's spokesman said Russia will not go ahead with the Iranian deal. "We have declared more than once at the very highest political level that we do not intend to supply those types of armaments to countries located in regions that are, to put it mildly, unstable areas," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko.

The Russian official added that the Kremlin makes decisions on selling such systems based on "both preserving the balance of power in the given region, and taking into account the need to provide stability and security in the region."

But in spite of these statements, Israeli officials say Russia and Iran renewed negotiations on the purchase of the missile system several weeks ago. The sources confirmed a report that appeared in the foreign press on the matter two weeks ago.

In a recent internal discussion on the matter, Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave ministry officials instructions to put in a request for clarifications from the Russian administration's highest levels.

The weapons sales are a very sensitive issue for Israeli diplomats, who view it as a form of leverage that Russia is trying to apply on Washington. Some in the Foreign Ministry believe Russia has decided to move forward with the deal in order to demonstrate a hard line ahead of Barack Obama's entry into the White House as U.S. President.

The S-300 missile, called the SA-10 in the West, has a range of 150 kilometers and is capable of striking a plane at altitudes of up to 30,000 meters. The movable launchers are operational within minutes, and the system's radar is able to simultaneously acquire and engage dozens of targets.

Russia in talks with Iran over sale of anti-aircraft missiles, despite Israeli objections  (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on December 20, 2008, 11:40:11 AM
Russia provides 10 MiG fighter jets to Lebanon for free    

Russia gave Lebanon ten MiG fighter jets yesterday in a deal to boost defence cooperation.

The MiG29 Fulcrum fighters would be provided free to Lebanon under an agreement on military-technical assistance, the head of Russia’s defence cooperation service said. Mikhail Dmitryev said that the jets would come from Russia’s existing stock.

He said that Moscow was also in talks to supply Beirut with heavy armour, adding that supplies of such weaponry were “now possible after the situation in this nation has stabilised”.

He said: “We view the Lebanese army as the main guarantor of this nation’s stability, therefore the armed forces of this country must be strengthened.” The deal followed a meeting in Moscow between Anatoly Serdyukov, the Defence Minister, and Elias Murrhis, his Lebanese counterpart. Mr Serdyukov said that Russia had received a detailed list of armaments sought by Lebanon.

When details of the deal emerged on Tuesday it was suggested that the aircraft would be sold at a discount. Mr Dmitryev confirmed yesterday however that they would be free, with delivery paid by the Russian Defence Ministry. He said: “Military-technical assistance, this means assistance in budgetary funds.”

The MiG29s, one of Russia’s best fighter jets, will provide considerable additional firepower for the Lebanese air force, which currently has only five outdated Hawker Hunter jets and 16 helicopters.

The gift is certain to strengthen Russian influence in the Middle East as Moscow seeks to restore a position that was lost with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The agreement is likely to prompt concern in Israel and the United States, given the continuing power and influence of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah in Lebanon. Ria-Novosti news agency reported that Lebanese officials were also seeking tanks, antitank rockets, air defence systems and helicopters.

Russia is already a major weapons supplier to neighbouring Syria, which is keen to acquire the latest MiG29s and was reported to be seeking the latest Sam S300 air defence missiles earlier this year.

Moscow denied that it would sell the systems to Syria.

The northern Syrian port of Tartus has also been identified as a possible base for the Russian navy to gain a permanent presence in the Mediterranean. Russian warships visited Cuba this week for the first time since the Cold War after taking part in their first war games with Venezuela.

Russia announced plans in September to sell antiaircraft systems to Iran despite American objections. It is already building a nuclear power plant for Iran that the West suspects is part of Tehran’s plans to acquire an atomic bomb.

The Kremlin is rearming Russia’s military too. Colonel-General Nikolai Solovtsov, head of the Strategic Missile Forces, told Russian news agencies yesterday that Russia would commission a new intercontinental ballistic missile, the RS24, next year with multiple warheads.

He said that Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces planned 13 practice launches in 2009, almost double the number this year. They would include five test launches of new missiles as part of plans to overhaul Russia’s Soviet-era nuclear arsenal by 2020 and counter American defence systems.

“By 2015-2020 the Russian strategic rocket forces will have new complete missile systems with improved combat characteristics,” General Solovtsov said. “They will be capable of carrying out any tasks, including in conditions where an enemy uses antimissile defence measures.”

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on December 20, 2008, 11:48:50 AM
Return to Soviet era continues - Russian authorities to label any government critic a traitor     

New legislation backed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would allow Russian authorities to label any government critic a traitor—a move that rights activists said Wednesday was a chilling throwback to times of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

The bill, which is expected to become law, would expanded the definition of treason to include damaging Russia's constitutional order, sovereignty or territorial integrity. That, rights activists said, would essentially let authorities interpret any act against state as treason—a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Activists said that would catapult Russia's justice system back to the times of Stalin's purges, calling it "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler."

"It returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s," the activists, which included Moscow Helsinki Group head Lyudmila Alexeyeva and Civic Assistance director Svetlana Gannushkina, said in a joint statement.

Existing law defines state treason as actions harming external security by passing information to "foreign organizations."

Putin's bill would add non-governmental organizations based anywhere in the world that have an office in Russia to the list of banned recipients of state secrets. The government has repeatedly accused foreign spy agencies of using NGOs as a cover to foment dissent.

But critics warned the loose wording will give authorities ample leeway to prosecute those who cooperate with international rights groups.

That may jeopardize the rights of Russia's citizens to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, which is done through NGOs. Alexeyeva said a person who reports government abuses to an NGO—for example Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch—could be deemed to have harmed Russia's interests.

As for the rest of the proposed bill, the activists believe each additional phrase deliberately targets potential threats to the Kremlin.

"Constitutional order," for example, would outlaw opposition protests, they said. "Territorial integrity" would forbid regional calls for independence, an issue of particular concern in Russia's volatile North Caucasus, where Chechnya is located.

The legislation likely to be quickly approved by parliament, which is dominated by Kremlin loyalists.

During Putin's eight-year presidency, the government has systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet political freedoms and that has shown no signs of stopping under Putin's successor and protege, Dmitry Medvedev.

Alexeyeva said the government was pushing the law quickly to head off possible protests resulting from the global financial crisis, which has hit Russia hard.

"The people ruling the government are afraid of the reaction of its citizens to their inability to cope with the crisis," she said.

Lev Ponomaryov, an outspoken government critic, said the legislation creates "a base for a totalitarian state."

In a separate development Wednesday, the Russia's upper house of parliament passed legislation that would end jury trials for those facing charges of terrorism and treason. Instead they would face judges.

The bill's authors say the change was necessary because they claim juries have acquitted many suspects despite strong incriminating evidence. Critics denounced the bill as another blow to democratic principles.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Soldier4Christ on December 21, 2008, 04:21:38 PM
Russia starts missile delivery to Iran
'The delivery of this system is a display of good relations'

 Russia has begun delivering S-300 air defense systems to Iran which could help repel any Israeli and U.S. air strikes on its nuclear sites, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday.

"After few years of talks with Russia ... now the S-300 system is being delivered to Iran," IRNA quoted Email Kosari, deputy head of parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Security committee, as saying.

Kosari did not say when the deliveries began. Iran's Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the report. Russia's Foreign Ministry also declined comment, saying it may react on Monday.

The United States, its European allies and Israel say Iran is seeking to build nuclear arms under the cover of a civilian atomic energy program. Iran denies the charge.

Israel's insistence that Iran must not be allowed to develop an atomic bomb has fueled speculation that the Jewish state, widely assumed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, could mount its own pre-emptive strikes.

In October, Russia's Foreign Ministry denied media speculation that Moscow would sell the medium-range S-300 system, adding Moscow had no intention of selling weapons to "troubled regions."

But Russia's RIA news agency last week quoted "confidential sources" as saying that Russia was fulfilling a S-300 contract with Iran.

The most advanced version of the S-300 system can track targets and fire at aircraft 120 km (75 miles) away. It is known in the West as the SA-20.

Russian arms sales and nuclear cooperation with Iran have strained relations with Washington, which says Tehran could use them against their interests in the region and also against its neighbors.

Russia, building Iran's first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr, says Tehran does not have the capability to make nuclear weapons.

Kosari said the S-300 system would be used "to reinforce Iran's capability to defend its borders."

"The delivery of this system is a display of good relations between Iran and Russia, which cannot be harmed by Israel," IRNA quoted Kosari as saying.

Title: Russia, EU spar over human rights
Post by: Shammu on February 07, 2009, 01:52:12 PM
Russia, EU spar over human rights

1 day ago

MOSCOW (AP) — The EU commission chief and the Russian prime minister have sparred over human rights issues during a joint news conference.

Speaking after talks Friday, EU commission president Jose-Manuel Barroso said the recent killings of a human rights lawyer and a journalist on a Moscow street caused the EU concern. He added that human rights and the rule of law are much more important than diplomacy.

A visibly angry Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cut in and accused the EU of breaching the human rights of ethnic Russians, migrants and prisoners.

The incident has underlined tensions in relations between Russia and the EU that have been strained by Russia's recent war in Georgia and a chilling two-week cutoff of Russian gas supplies to the EU via Ukraine in January.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia and the European Union tested the troubled waters of their relationship Friday, holding the first top-level meetings since a chilling two-week cutoff of Russian gas supplies via Ukraine.

European Commission President Jose-Manuel Barroso, who angrily accused Russia and Ukraine of holding Europe hostage last month in their politically charged price dispute, was to meet with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Barroso is leading a delegation of EU commissioners, including the energy, trade and foreign policy chiefs, in a bid to put relations back on track after their worst year ever.

It will be a tough task. Russia and the EU are linked closely by trade, but their ties have been strained for years by disputes on issues ranging from timber tariffs and overflight fees to the Kremlin's human rights record and its support for separatists in Georgia and Moldova.

The already-wary relationship was badly soured by Russia's recent war with Georgia and its subsequent recognition of the independence claims of the breakaway Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where Moscow's military buildup is increasingly a thorn in the side of the West.

Supplies of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine resumed less than three weeks ago, and the cutoff has deepened EU concerns about its reliance on Russia for a quarter of its natural-gas needs.

Russia lays full blame on Georgia for the war and on Ukraine for the gas cutoff. But that has done nothing to ease EU concerns about an increasingly assertive Russia. Those in turn have led to Kremlin accusations that the West is hopelessly biased in favor of former Soviet republics whose leaders strive to shed Moscow's influence.

The EU suspended talks with Russia on a new partnership agreement after its invasion of Georgia. In October it announced a decision to resume those talks, drawing accusations from the U.S. and other critics that it was bowing to Russian aggression, but no visible progress has been made.

The EU now hopes Moscow will want to soothe relations as its economy is hit by the global meltdown and sharply lower prices for oil, the backbone of its economy. The EU is by far Russia's largest export market.

Ahead of the visit, Barroso said he would not dwell on the gas cutoff and would try to improve relations across the board. It is "urgent to get this relationship to work to our best advantage, acknowledging our differences, (and) work together to build up trust," he said Thursday.

The EU's agenda includes the global economic crisis, energy relations, climate change, Russia's World Trade Organization membership, prospects for concluding a "strategic partnership" and sorting out enduring trade spats such as Russian wood export duties and high charges on Siberian overflights.

But Russia and the 27-nation EU are also at odds over broader issues including energy and security.

Russia has rejected EU pleas to join the Energy Charter, a treaty that aims to boost the rule of law in energy matters, and has made noises about the need for an entirely new arrangement. Russia is also pushing for a new trans-Atlantic treaty governing security in Europe, which many in the West see as a bid to undermine NATO.

Russia, EU spar over human rights (

Title: 7 Ex-Soviet Nations to Form Rapid Reaction Force
Post by: Shammu on February 07, 2009, 01:54:10 PM
7 Ex-Soviet Nations to Form Rapid Reaction Force
04 February 2009The Associated Press

Seven former Soviet republics including Russia will form a joint rapid reaction force, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia, Armenia, Belarus and four Central Asian nations — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — had reached the agreement to form a new security force during a summit of the Moscow-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization on Wednesday.

The force would add a military dimension to the Moscow-dominated alliance, which so far has served mostly as a forum for consultations.

"We all have agreed on the need" for the force, Medvedev said, but he did not give details of how the force would be composed.

On Tuesday, he said Russia and Belarus would also be forming a joint military system to monitor and defend their air space.

Wednesday's announcement about the joint rapid reaction force was made just a day after Kyrgyzstan said it would end its U.S. lease of a key air base that supports military operations in Afghanistan. Evicting U.S. troops from Kyrgyzstan would mark a victory for Moscow in its battle for influence in what it considers its historic backyard.

Russia, the United States and China have been vying for influence in the Caspian and Central Asia region, which is believed to contain the world's third-largest energy reserves.

When the U.S. launched the war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, then-President Vladimir Putin welcomed U.S. troops in Central Asia. The move helped to temporarily improve U.S.-Russia relations, but as relations worsened again Moscow became impatient about the U.S. presence.

Moscow set up its own air base in Kyrgyzstan in 2003, and then scored another point in 2005, when Uzbekistan evicted U.S. troops from an air base near the Afghan border.

7 Ex-Soviet Nations to Form Rapid Reaction Force (

Title: Russia and allies to create joint air defence
Post by: Shammu on February 07, 2009, 01:56:54 PM
Russia and allies to create joint air defence
Feb 6, 8:44 am ET
by Oleg Shchedrov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia and its post-Soviet allies are planning to create a joint air defense system stretching from NATO's borders to China, news agencies quoted an official from their Moscow-led regional security group as saying on Friday. Russia and Belarus, which borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania, agreed Tuesday to merge their air defense systems in a move seen by many experts as a response to U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

"The united air defense system of Russia and Belarus will become part of a joint air defense system of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB)," Interfax news agency quoted general secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying.

The seven-member ODKB also includes the Caucasus republic of Armenia and four Central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

"We are planning to create within the framework of our organization three regional air defense systems including Russia-Belarus, Russia-Armenian in the Caucasus region and the Central Asian air defense system," Bordyuzha added.

The joint air defense project, which would combine early warning systems of member states and create a single control center, has been talked about for years. Bordyuzha did not say when the project would finally be accomplished.

Out of seven ODKB states only Russia has a major modern air defense system capable of detecting and destroying both airplanes and missiles. Russia also has several major radars in ex-Soviet states.

Moscow has recently stepped up efforts to reinforce economic, military and security ties with ex-Soviet allies most of whom are being actively courted by the West and show some willingness for a more balanced foreign policy less dependent on Moscow.

Russia and Belarus decided on the creation of the joint air defense system Tuesday, a day before ODKB leaders agreed to set up a joint fast reaction force at their summit in Moscow.

The decisions have been accompanied by hefty Russian financial aid to allies struggling with the global crisis.

Russia has promised to consider nearly $3 billion in fresh credits to Belarus and agreed to contribute up to $7 billion to a $10 billion regional emergency fund.

Analysts say the creation of a joint air defense system may also be a response to the U.S. missile shield plans in Europe viewed by Moscow as a direct threat to national security.

Moscow is seeking to persuade new U.S. President Barack Obama to review a decision by his predecessor George W. Bush to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech republic.

Stronger regional alliances may give Russia a stronger say in talks with Washington, which will also include the sensitive issues of NATO membership for ex-Soviet Ukraine and Georgia and Russia's support to the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, Kyrgyzstan announced it would close a U.S. air base near its capital Bishkek, a key element in supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The decision was made after Russia offered Kyrgyzstan a life-saving aid package of over $2 billion.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who has sought to persuade NATO and the European Union to review global security arrangements, has said he will speak to Western partners on behalf of ODKB allies as well.

Russia and allies to create joint air defence (;_ylt=AhfCCACnmUpZWn7k40rsaiV0bBAF)

Title: Re: Russia and allies to create joint air defence
Post by: Shammu on February 07, 2009, 01:58:54 PM
"The united air defense system of Russia and Belarus will become part of a joint air defense system of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (ODKB)," Interfax news agency quoted general secretary Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying.

Tick, Tick, Tick, as time goes by, we are getting closer by the hour.

Title: Russia's Medvedev orders crackdown on extremists
Post by: Shammu on February 27, 2009, 12:50:29 AM
Russia's Medvedev orders crackdown on extremists
Wed Feb 25, 2009

 MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a crackdown on Wednesday on extremist groups which he said were trying to exploit Russia's economic crisis by sowing instability.

Russian officials traditionally mean racist groups and radical religious and political organisations when speaking about "extremism".

"Extremist actions are especially dangerous in the current conditions," Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev as telling a meeting with top prosecutors. "In many instances they are directly linked to attempts to destabilise ... our society."

"You have the right to ask courts to liquidate relevant public and religious organisations and suspend their activities pending a court decision," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Medvedev said this month racist attacks were on the rise and were a threat to national security in Russia, whose economy has been hit hard by the global economic slowdown and the fall in the price of oil and other commodities.

But human rights activists and some opposition groups accuse the Kremlin of using tough new legislation on extremism as a pretext to clamp down on legitimate forms of dissent.

The Moscow-based rights group SOVA said at least 96 people were killed and more than 400 were wounded in racist attacks last year.

Millions of foreign workers, many from former Soviet republics in Central Asia, have poured into Russia in the past few years to take up construction and retail jobs.

But some 2 million people have lost their jobs in Russia in the last six months and at least 1 million more lay-offs are expected in 2009.

Russia's Medvedev orders crackdown on extremists (

They talk about Christian extremists here as well. I think it will not be too long until, we Christians are called Extremists. At least those of us who believe that Jesus is the only way to God the Father and only through Him can we be given eternal life.

Title: Russia hits back at Canada about bomber flights
Post by: Shammu on February 27, 2009, 10:18:01 PM
Russia hits back at Canada about bomber flights

Updated Fri. Feb. 27 2009 8:02 PM ET News Staff

Moscow hit back at Defence Minister Peter MacKay on Friday, calling the minister's comments about the flight of two Russian bombers a "farce," the Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported Friday.

The rhetorical sparring comes after two long-range Russian bombers flew near Canadian airspace in the arctic less than 24 hours before President Barack Obama visited Ottawa on Feb. 19 - an occurrence which MacKay called a "strong coincidence."

Two Canadian CF-18 fighters intercepted the Russian aircraft and MacKay warned Russia on Friday to "back off" from flying near the Canadian border.

The incident has ignited a fierce debate about territorial sovereignty as European nations, Canada and the U.S. squabble about claims in the arctic.

But Russia sent a clear response to MacKay's warnings.

"The Canadian defense minister's statements concerning the flights of our long-haul aircraft are totally unclear," a Russian military source said Friday, adding that the flight was routine.

"The countries adjacent to the flight path had been notified and the planes did not violate the airspace of other countries. In this light the statements by the Canadian Defense Ministry provoke astonishment and can only be called a farce," the source told Ria Novosti.

At a press conference Friday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the incident happened on Feb. 18.

"At no time did Russian airplanes enter Canadian airspace but within 24 hours of the president's visit here to Canada last week we did scramble two CF-18 fighter planes from Norad (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and Canada command," MacKay said.

The jets took off from Cold Lake, Alta., to intercept the aircraft, which has been reported as either a Tupolev Tu-95 bomber or its newer sister, the Tu-160.

"They met a Russian aircraft that was approaching Canadian airspace and, as they have done on previous occasions, they sent very clear signals that are understood that that aircraft was to turn around, turn tail, and head back to its own airspace -- which it did," MacKay said.

CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife said the plane was intercepted about 190 km northeast of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.

"Obviously what they were doing was testing Canadian security knowing full well that all of our security attention would be focused in Ottawa around the president's visit," Fife said.

MacKay said similar incidents have happened in the past. However, he said the frequency of the incidents is increasing.

"For that reason, it puts the emphasis back on the importance of Norad, the importance of our being diligent in defending our airspace, exercising that sovereignty," he said.

"The most obvious way to do that is by using the equipment at our availability, using the existing systems that are there at Norad for this very purpose."

MacKay was in Ottawa Friday meeting with Gen. Walter Natynczyk, Canada's chief of defence staff, and Gen. Gene Renuart, the commander of Norad and USNORTHCOM, to discuss Canada-U.S. military relations.

Renaurt said it was vital that Canada and the U.S. maintain "the solid, integrated air defence posture that we have."

Political fallout widens

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Russian intrusions are a "real concern" to his government.

"We will continue to respond, we will defend our airspace," Harper told reporters in Saskatoon.

A Russian air force spokesman said Friday that the flight was planned in advance and was part of routine patrols.

Canadian navy Lt. Desmond James, a spokesman at Norad headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., told The Canadian Press that the Russians include long-range flights as part of their training.

"On our part, we go up to make sure they know that while they are doing their training, we do know that they're there and we are watching, prepared to respond should they decide that they're going to alter their course in a threatening manner," James said.

"We have to let the Russians -- any aircraft -- know that we are in a position to respond."

Norad spokesperson Michael Kucharek said it is not atypical to see Russian aircraft engaging in training exercises so close to Canadian airspace.

"This has happened quite often, this is a pattern that we generally see through Russian exercises of this type," he told CTV Newsnet on Friday afternoon.

He estimated that Norad had seen Russian fighters undertaking similar training exercises at least 20 times "over the course of the last couple of years."

During the Cold War, Russian aircraft frequently entered into North American airspace and were often escorted back to international air space by Canadian and American jets.

Brewing international dispute

After the Soviet Union collapsed, the flights were suspended but have resumed in recent years as Russia tries to push its claim on the Arctic.

In total, five countries claim parts of region -- Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark, and the United States.

Canada has claimed the Northwest Passage.

"The Russians have been very strict about following international rules but they're going right up to the limits," Rob Huebert, with the University of Calgary's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, told CTV Newsnet Friday.

"If in fact we see the Americans pushing us on the Northwest Passage and ultimately somehow it becomes accepted that it's an international strait I would suspect you'd be seeing Russian bombers coming through the Northwest Passage."

Last summer, then-foreign affairs minister David Emerson said recent actions of Russia in the Far North were of "great concern" to the government.

He said Canadian officials had "seen much increased activity in terms of Russian overflights of Canadian airspace."

Emerson also said the Americans were seeing the same thing around Alaska.

Russia hits back at Canada about bomber flights (

Title: Ukraine shuts Soviet radars as Russia launches new one
Post by: Shammu on February 27, 2009, 10:23:12 PM
Ukraine shuts Soviet radars as Russia launches new one
26 February, 20:37 | Reuters

KYIV/MOSCOW, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Two Ukrainian early-warning radar systems ceased data sharing with Russia overnight after a post-Soviet agreement between the two countries was cancelled, Ukraine's Space Agency said on Thursday.

Quoting Moscow defence ministry officials, Russian media said Moscow had put into service its own facility in Armavir in the southern Krasnodar region to protect its southern flank, after the loss of data from the Ukrainian-based radars.

Russia cancelled a 1992 agreement on sharing radar information last year, saying the systems were outdated and that it would be "unthinkable" to have such installations in a country aspiring to join NATO.

"According to the agreement, last night the transmission of information was stopped. These stations are working properly and being used for the monitoring of space," a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Space Agency said. Ukraine's President Viktor Yushchenko wants the country to join NATO, an ambition that infuriates Moscow which sees any NATO expansion on its borders as a threat.

Ukrainian officials said they could instead integrate the radar systems -- in Mukachevo at the Hungarian border to the far west of the country and in Sevastopol in the southern peninsula of Crimea -- with European Union and NATO countries.

Quoting the Russian military, who describe their system codenamed "Voronezh" as "state-of-the-art", Russian media said the deal on the use of Ukrainian-based radars had expired at midnight on Feb. 26.

Unnerved by U.S. plans to build a missile shield in eastern Europe -- complete with interceptor missiles to be deployed in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic -- Moscow repeatedly offered Washington access to the Armavir radar and a site in Azerbaijan, to scan airspace as far as Iran, a U.S. foe.

Washington eventually turned down the offer.

Ukraine shuts Soviet radars as Russia launches new one (

Title: Lavrov arrives in Washington to plan Obama’s visit to Moscow
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2009, 02:39:44 AM
Lavrov arrives in Washington to plan Obama’s visit to Moscow

07.05.2009, 06.40

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Washington for a visit on Thursday. He will meet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the leaders of the U.S. Congress.

Lavrov will also deliver a speech at the Carnegie Foundation.

The development of a dialogue between Moscow and Washington in new conditions will be the main subject of these talks.

“The visit’s main task is to restart the Russian-American relations and designate areas in which it’s necessary to work to ensure a successful visit of the U.S. President Barrack Obama to Russia in July,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Andrei Nesterenko said.

“We hope that we’ll manage to have a full-scaled discussion of Russian-American cooperation and use this newly emerged ‘window of opportunities’ for its further development,” the diplomat emphasized.

Nesterenko also said that the modalities of a new START treaty would also be discussed.

The agenda of the talks with American leadership includes urgent problems of interaction between Russia and the North Atlantic Alliance.

“During my visit to Washington I hope to discuss an entire range of cooperation within the Russia-NATO Partnership Council,” Lavrov told journalists before departure for the United States.

“We’ll discuss the alarming situation in the Caucasus which is being preserved primarily because of the provocative actions undertaken by the Georgian leadership,” Lavrov said.

Sergei Lavrov will leave Washington for New York on May 8 for consultations at the United Nations headquarters. The Russian foreign minister will deliver a speech at a special U.N. Security Council meeting on the Middle East.

Lavrov’s visit to the United States will last until May 11.

Lavrov arrives in Washington to plan Obama’s visit to Moscow (

Title: Parade shows off renewed military
Post by: Shammu on May 11, 2009, 02:41:59 AM

Parade shows off renewed military

Rows of missiles and tanks rumbled through Moscow’s Red Square and dozens of combat jets streaked overhead in the Victory Day parade Saturday in Russia’s largest display of military might since Soviet times.

President Dmitry Medvedev warned sternly that Russia was ready to respond to any challenge and said its military has proven that in real action —- a clear reference to the war with neighboring ex-Soviet Georgia.

Russia and NATO sought recently to rebuild ties frozen over the war, but tensions soared again over NATO’s military exercises in Georgia launched earlier last week.

Parade shows off renewed military (

Title: Dmitry Medvedev at Moscow missile parade: 'Russia will teach aggressors a lesson
Post by: Shammu on May 12, 2009, 10:29:47 PM
Dmitry Medvedev at Moscow missile parade: 'Russia will teach aggressors a lesson'

Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, has warned at a military parade in Red Square that Moscow will teach foreign aggressors the "lessons" of the Second World War.

By Adrian Blomfield in Moscow
09 May 2009

Nuclear missile launchers and battle tanks were driven through the centre of Moscow, while air force bombers flew above the city's skyline, as Russia celebrated victory over Nazi Germany 64 years ago. Mr Medvedev ordered the Soviet-style parade of might to remind the world that Russia remained a powerful military force.

With Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, standing beside him, Mr Medvedev told thousands of troops drawn up on the cobbles of Red Square that Russia still faced external threats to its security.

"The victory over fascism is a great example and a great lesson for all people and is still current today when people are again starting military adventures," he said.

The president's comments seemed to be primarily directed at Georgia, with which Russia fought a five-day war last year, but could also be a coded warning to the United States, some observers said. Washington is planning to build a missile defence shield in central Europe, a project that has been repeatedly condemned in Moscow.

Mr Medvedev said that foreign designs against Russia would meet the same response it gave the Nazis during the War.

"We are sure that any aggression against our citizens will be given a worthy reply," he said.

The parade was the biggest show of force since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Last year, under an initiative from Mr Putin, tanks and intercontinental ballistic missiles reappeared in Red Square after a 17-year hiatus as part of a drive to show off Russia's military resurgence.

The parade saw the first public appearance of Russia's much vaunted S-400 Triumph air defence system, which Moscow says can engage enemy aircraft, including those equipped with Stealth technology, at a distance of 250 miles.

Known by Nato as the SA-21 Growler, it is reportedly much more powerful than the MIM-104 Patriot, its closest US rival. The United States has expressed concern that Russia could sell the system to Iran.

The increasingly nationalistic tone of Victory Day, while welcomed overwhelmingly by ordinary Russians, has prompted concern from leaders of other ex-Soviet states, who say it is evidence of Moscow's growing belligerence.

At Victory Day commemorations in Kiev, Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian president, called on Europe not to tolerate the revival of authoritarianism on the continent, in an apparent dig at Russia.

"You went through the hell of the war against fascism," he said. "Today, in the modern era, it should be unthinkable to tolerate even the smallest hint of a revival of a totalitarian or authoritarian system that violates the sacred right of sovereign peoples to exist independently."

Like Georgia, its fellow pro-western ally, Ukraine has been at odds with Russia since the state abandoned its pro-Kremlin course following the Orange Revolution of 2004.

An increasing reluctance among ex-Communist states on Russia's western border to see the Soviet Union as liberators rather than occupiers has incensed the Kremlin.

On the eve of the Victory Day parade, Mr Medvedev appeared to give backing to a controversial proposal that would make it a criminal offence, carrying up to five years in prison, to make such an argument -- a move that could see some foreign leaders banned from entering Russia.

The legislation, which is to be introduced in the next few weeks, would punish anyone who denied the Soviet Union's victory in the War and could be extended to target those who criticized Stalin's tactics or described Moscow's seizure of the Baltic states as "occupation".

"We will not allow anybody to cast doubt on the achievements of our nation," Mr Medvedev said.

Soviet troops invaded the Baltic states -- Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia -- in 1939 after being "awarded" the territory under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact with Germany, then an ally of Moscow. The Nazis then forced the Soviets out in 1941.

Soviet troops returned in 1944, but the Baltic States deny this amounted to liberation as they argue that the Nazis had already abandoned their territory without a fight. The Soviets remained for 46 years, a period that saw of tens of thousands of civilians deported to labour camps in Siberia.

Latvia has called on the European Union to condemn the proposed legislation.

"The EU should make clear that such legislation is not acceptable," said Inese Vaidere, a Latvian member of the European Parliament. "Its implementation would endanger the most basic freedom of speech, as all conclusions and reflections made in contrast to the official Russian rhetoric would lead to criminal liability."

Dmitry Medvedev at Moscow missile parade: 'Russia will teach aggressors a lesson'  (

Title: Russia warns foes in Soviet-style show of might
Post by: Shammu on May 12, 2009, 10:30:59 PM
Russia warns foes in Soviet-style show of might     
May 9 2009

Russia on Saturday sternly warned its foes not to dare attempt any aggression against the country, as it put on a Soviet-style show of military might in Red Square including nuclear capable missiles.

The display to mark the 64th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II came amid renewed tensions with Georgia after NATO's decision to hold war games in the Caucasus country infuriated Moscow.

"We are sure that any aggression against our citizens will be given a worthy reply," President Dmitry Medvedev said in a speech in Red Square side-by-side with powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

"The victory over fascism is a great example and a great lesson for all peoples and is still current today when people are again starting military adventures," he added.

Russia's war with Georgia in August over Georgian breakaway regions sent Moscow-NATO ties to their worst level since the Cold War and tensions have flared again over the alliance's decision to go ahead with the exercises.

Moscow, which remains at loggerheads with Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili, angrily condemned the war games that started this week as a provocation that risk stoking instability in the region.

"Protecting the motherland is our holy duty, it is a moral foundation for all generations," said Medvedev. "The future of Russia will be peaceful, happy and successful."

Before handing over to Medvedev as president last year, Putin resurrected the Soviet practice -- dropped after Communism -- of having missiles and heavy tanks rumbling over the Red Square cobbles in front of Russia's leaders.

Thousands of soldiers and more than 100 items of hardware featured in the Red Square parade, which was matched by similar demonstrations across Russia involving almost 30,000 troops, officials said.

Thousands of soldiers marched past Medvedev and Putin, before dozens of heavy tanks, including the main T-90 battle tank and the Sprut self-propelled anti-tank gun, thundered through Red Square to the sound of martial music.

There was a rare public showing for some of Russia's best known missile systems, including the S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missiles, the short range Iskander-M and the medium-range Buk.

As in 2008, Russia proudly showed off a half dozen examples of its nuclear-capable Topol intercontinental ballistic missile which has a range of more than 10,000 kilometres (6,500 miles).

Squadrons of fighter jets also flew over Red Square.

The parade was overseen by Defence Minister Anatoly Serdukov, a civilian ex-furniture salesman implementing a hugely controversial military reform to eliminate Soviet-era structures and prepare the army for modern warfare.

"Greetings comrades! I congratulate you on the 64th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War," Serdukov, dressed in a suit, told the soldiers from an open-top car.

"Hurrah!," shouted the soldiers, creating a huge wave of sound with the traditional Russian victory cry that shook Red Square.

According to the Russian authorities, 8.6 million Soviet soldiers and 27-28 million civilians were killed in the conflict. Officials have repeatedly emphasised that Russia's role in defeating Hitler should never be forgotten.

Moscow has been festooned with official posters with slogans like "May 9, a holiday in our homes and in our hearts" while state television has repeatedly played archive footage of the war.

The restoration of the heavy weaponry to the parade is a throwback to the days when reclusive Soviet leaders would observe the proceedings from the top of Lenin's mausoleum on Red Square.

However as in 2008, Putin and Medvedev avoided embarrassing comparisons with the past by surveying events from a podium rather than the mausoleum, which was largely hidden by a festive hoarding.

Russia warns foes in Soviet-style show of might (

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on May 29, 2009, 11:15:55 AM
Russia's first Persian Gulf naval presence coordinated with Tehran

Russian warships are due to call Wednesday, May 27, at the Bahrain port of Manama, seat of the US Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf, DEBKAfile's military sources reveal. They will be following in the wake of the Russian vessels already docked at the Omani port of Salalah, the first to avail themselves of facilities at Gulf ports.

Their arrival is fully coordinated between the Russian and Iranian naval commands.

According to our sources, this is the first time a Russian flotilla will have taken on provisions and fuel at the same Gulf ports which hitherto serviced only the US Navy. Moscow has thus gained its first maritime foothold in the Persian Gulf.

The flotilla consists of four vessels from Russia's Pacific Fleet: The submarine fighter Admiral Panteleyev is due at Manama Wednesday, escorted by the refueling-supply ship Izhorai, The supply-battleship Irkut and the rescue craft BM-37 are already docked in Salalah.

DEBKAfile's military sources report that the Russians, like the Iranians, cover their stealthy advance into new waters by apparent movements for joining the international task force combating Somali pirates. While Iranian warships have taken up positions in the Gulf of Aden, the Russians are moving naval units southeast into the Persian Gulf.

Monday, May 25, the Iranian naval chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, announced that six Iranian warships had been dispatched to "the international waters" of the Gulf of Aden in a "historically unprecedented move… to show its ability to confront any foreign threats." He did not bother to mention the pirates.

Russian and Iranian naval movements in the two strategic seas are clearly synchronized at the highest levels in Tehran and Moscow.

Our military analysts find Russia and Iran seizing the moment for supplanting positions held exclusively by the US and other western fleets. They are taking advantage of two developments:

1. The number of US warships maintained in the Gulf has been reduced to its lowest level in two years; President Obama quietly reduced their presence near Iran's shores in order to generate a positive atmosphere for the coming US dialogue with the Islamic Republic. Not a single US aircraft carrier is consequently to be found anywhere in the Gulf region.

2. Monday, May 25, President Nicolas Sarkozy inaugurated France's first naval facility in the Gulf in Abu Dhabi. The Russian and Iranian policy-makers see no reason why Moscow cannot set up a military presence in the region if Paris can.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on June 20, 2009, 01:05:02 PM
Barak: Mousavi is a fundamentalist too

A day after US President Barack Obama said that the policies of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and election opponent Mir Hossein Mousavi were similar, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that both Iranian presidential candidates were fundamentalists.

"Whatever happens," he said in an interview with Army Radio, "this is an Ayatollah regime. We should not be confused about Mousavi - these people are fundamentalist Muslims."

Barak called the mass protests by Mousavi supporters "fascinating," explaining that "we must keep in mind that this is an Ayatollah's dictatorship, and the more force is used against the dissidents, the more the regime loses its legitimacy."

The defense minister also called on the world to respond quickly in order to prevent the Iranian government from advancing the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

"Iran is in the midst of a very dangerous process. Short-term plans must be made. We don't have too much time; we decided to leave all courses of action open and we expect others to do the same," Barak told the radio station.

On Tuesday, Israeli intelligence officials said that while the Iranian regime's decision to allow a partial recount of the presidential vote was "interesting," it was "highly unlikely" Mousavi would be declared the winner of last Friday's vote.

Defense officials told The Jerusalem Post there was little chance the Guardian Council would overturn its declaration that Ahmadinejad was the winner since it would be an embarrassment to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who endorsed the results.

The most that could be expected, officials said, was that the results would be changed by a few percentage points in Mousavi's favor.

Khamenei on Monday ordered the Guardian Council, an unelected body composed of 12 clerics and experts in Islamic law closely allied to the supreme leader, to investigate the election results after he met with Mousavi on Sunday. Mousavi also sent a letter to Khamenei outlining his allegations.

A spokesman for the Guardian Council, Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, was quoted on state TV as saying the recount would be limited to voting sites where candidates claim irregularities took place. He did not rule out the possibility of canceling the results, saying doing so was within the council's powers, although nullifying an election would be an unprecedented step.

In Paris, Barak said the council's decision was an indication that the Iranian regime "was not indifferent" to the hundreds of thousands of pro-Mousavi demonstrators.

Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "what matters is the position of the [supreme] leader and this has not changed. The riots are taking place only in Teheran and one additional region. They won't last for long." Dagan said he didn't believe the riots would become a full-fledged revolution.

The violence in the wake of the allegations of vote-rigging was not different from "any other democracy," he said, adding that the discussion over the elections currently involved only a small sector of the Iranian population.

"What ultimately determines it is the spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and that has not changed. This is an argument within the Iranian elite. There is an argument regarding sources of influence, but this is an internal matter," he said.

Dagan also warned the Islamic republic could have an operational nuclear bomb ready for use by 2014, and dismissed claims that a second revolution was brewing in the streets of Teheran.

"In terms of the nuclear project, it's no longer a technical issue, because the Iranians have solved their technical problems," said Dagan. "If there aren't any technical errors, Iran will have a bomb ready for deployment by the end of 2014. This is a significant threat to the existence of the State of Israel and we need to distance this threat from us." Israel would actually have an easier time explaining the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons to the world if the country continued to be led by a hard-line, fanatical president [Ahmadinejad] than if Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is seen as a moderate, had won the election, Dagan said.

However, "we mustn't forget Mousavi is the one who started the nuclear program." Also Tuesday, government sources said their curiosity had been perked by European hints over the last few days that its relationship to Iran on the nuclear issue could be linked to how it dealt with the protests sweeping the country.

The 27 EU foreign ministers issued a statement on Monday saying the EU would continue to follow developments in Iran.

"It remains a priority for the EU that Iran engages with the concerns of the world community, above all on the issue of Iran's nuclear program," the statement said. "The [European] Council wishes to engage with the Islamic Republic of Iran on the basis of mutual respect, but it requires Iran to recognize and act urgently on its responsibilities and obligations."

According to government sources in Jerusalem, this was one of a few small hints popping up here and there indicating that an Iranian iron fist clamping down on the protesters could lead the international community to take a more forceful position on the nuclear issue.

The sources noted that both Germany and France on Monday summoned the Iranian ambassador to their capitals to express concern and receive explanations.

The sources warned, however, against overstating the case, saying the situation in Iran was still delicate and fluid, and it was much too early to tell how it would play out regarding the world's relationship with the Islamic republic.

The sources said the international community had for months largely been in a holding position regarding Iran for the past few months, waiting to see how the elections played out. It was quite possible, though again too early to tell, that the pictures coming out of Teheran would leave some kind of impression on the West that would impact on the diplomacy surrounding the nuclear issue, they said.

"When the Iranians are at their worst, the international community tends to pull back from them and sober up regarding any illusions they have that the regime might be more flexible," one source said. "In that case one of the things the Iranians can do is possibly send out 'warm and fuzzies' on the nuclear issue."

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on June 27, 2009, 12:43:12 PM
Russia determined to be a key player in the Middle East - all parties agree to peace conference in Moscow

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev claimed Tuesday to have secured the support of Israel and all other involved parties for a Middle East peace conference in Moscow.

A "Moscow conference on the Middle East should become an important stage in our actions" toward peace talks, Medvedev said in a speech to the 22-member Arab League in Cairo. "Today we have principal agreement from all parties."

The Russian president also warned against forcing democracy on Arab states and praised US President Barack Obama's address to the Arab world, saying it showed more tolerance.

"There are things to learn from the Arab world and therefore, mentoring, forcing democracy and especially direct interference are absolutely inadmissible," Medvedev said. "Understanding of this is growing in the world. One example is President Barack Obama's speech."

Medvedev also said he supports a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital as a result of a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Earlier Tuesday, after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Medvedev told reporters that Egypt was playing a constructive role in attempting to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "to establish mutual confidence on this issue."

"Now the two sides are taking some steps and attempts to resume the peace process and together with the international community we support this trend," Medvedev said.

Russia has aimed to be a key player in the Middle East peace process and has promoted the idea of an international conference in Moscow for the past year and a half. The plans have repeatedly stalled. Israel and the United States had resisted conference participation by Hamas, while Moscow continues engagement with the group.

Mubarak backed the conference idea and said "we consider any Russian effort as the correct way to peace."

Following Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Israel last year, government sources told The Jerusalem Post that Russia was determined to go ahead with the Middle East conference whether Israel likes it or not.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 29, 2009, 04:57:45 PM
Russia determined to be a key player in the Middle East

Russia will also be a key player in Ezekiel 38 & 39. Though the destruction of Russian land, and mid-east will make people cry. God's plans will take place, as a warning to mankind. God has already written on this and we know the out come, Jesus wins. Israel will not be harmed by Russia during the war, of Ezekiel 38 & 39.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: nChrist on June 29, 2009, 06:39:09 PM
Just think - the entire world could read about what will most certainly happen by just picking up the Holy Bible. The so-called wise of the world don't have a clue. The world just refuses to believe what God has foretold, and the time appears to be growing near. All will take place exactly as God said they would, and no combination of powers can stop a single detail.

Ezekiel 38:14-23 ASV   14  Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In that day when my people Israel dwelleth securely, shalt thou not know it?  15  And thou shalt come from thy place out of the uttermost parts of the north, thou, and many peoples with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company and a mighty army;  16  and thou shalt come up against my people Israel, as a cloud to cover the land: it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring thee against my land, that the nations may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.  17  Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Art thou he of whom I spake in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, that prophesied in those days for many years that I would bring thee against them?  18  And it shall come to pass in that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord Jehovah, that my wrath shall come up into my nostrils.  19  For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;  20  so that the fishes of the sea, and the birds of the heavens, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.  21  And I will call for a sword against him unto all my mountains, saith the Lord Jehovah: every man's sword shall be against his brother.  22  And with pestilence and with blood will I enter into judgment with him; and I will rain upon him, and upon his hordes, and upon the many peoples that are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.  23  And I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself, and I will make myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.

Ezekiel 39:1-7 ASV   1  And thou, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal:  2  and I will turn thee about, and will lead thee on, and will cause thee to come up from the uttermost parts of the north; and I will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel;  3  and I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand.  4  Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy hordes, and the peoples that are with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.  5  Thou shalt fall upon the open field; for I have spoken it, saith the Lord Jehovah.  6  And I will send a fire on Magog, and on them that dwell securely in the isles; and they shall know that I am Jehovah.  7  And my holy name will I make known in the midst of my people Israel; neither will I suffer my holy name to be profaned any more: and the nations shall know that I am Jehovah, the Holy One in Israel.

Ezekiel 39:17-29 ASV   17  And thou, son of man, thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Speak unto the birds of every sort, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh and drink blood.  18  Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.  19  And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.  20  And ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord Jehovah.  21  And I will set my glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.  22  So the house of Israel shall know that I am Jehovah their God, from that day and forward.  23  And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity; because they trespassed against me, and I hid my face from them: so I gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they fell all of them by the sword.  24  According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions did I unto them; and I hid my face from them.  25  Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: Now will I bring back the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for my holy name.  26  And they shall bear their shame, and all their trespasses whereby they have trespassed against me, when they shall dwell securely in their land, and none shall make them afraid;  27  when I have brought them back from the peoples, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations.  28  And they shall know that I am Jehovah their God, in that I caused them to go into captivity among the nations, and have gathered them unto their own land; and I will leave none of them any more there;  29  neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord Jehovah.

Isaiah 2:1-5 ASV   1  The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2  And it shall come to pass in the latter days, that the mountain of Jehovah's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.  3  And many peoples shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Jehovah from Jerusalem.  4  And he will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  5  O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of Jehovah.

Isaiah 9:2-7 ASV   2  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.  3  Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased their joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.  4  For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as in the day of Midian.  5  For all the armor of the armed man in the tumult, and the garments rolled in blood, shall be for burning, for fuel of fire.  6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  7  Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah 65:17-25 ASV   17  For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.  18  But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.  19  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people; and there shall be heard in her no more the voice of weeping and the voice of crying.  20  There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed.  21  And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.  22  They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.  23  They shall not labor in vain, nor bring forth for calamity; for they are the seed of the blessed of Jehovah, and their offspring with them.  24  And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.  25  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith Jehovah.

Love in Christ,


Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: Shammu on June 30, 2009, 12:34:25 AM
Just think - the entire world could read about what will most certainly happen by just picking up the Holy Bible. The so-called wise of the world don't have a clue. The world just refuses to believe what God has foretold, and the time appears to be growing near. All will take place exactly as God said they would, and no combination of powers can stop a single detail.

Love in Christ,


Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on July 04, 2009, 12:50:13 PM

Russia Is Back on the Warpath

With President Barack Obama's trip to Moscow on Monday, you might expect Russia to avoid stirring up any trouble. Yet the Russian media are now abuzz with speculation about a new war in Georgia, and some Western analysts are voicing similar concerns. The idea seems insane. Nonetheless, the risk is real.

One danger sign is persistent talk of so-called Georgian aggression against the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia recognized as independent states after the war last August. "Georgia is rattling its weapons . . . and has not given up on attempts to solve its territorial problems by any means," Gen. Nikolai Makarov, who commanded Russian troops in Georgia in 2008, told the Novosti news agency on June 17. Similar warnings have been aired repeatedly by the state-controlled media.

Independent Russian commentators, such as columnist Andrei Piontkovsky, note that this has the feel of a propaganda campaign to prepare the public for a second war. Most recently, Moscow has trotted out a Georgian defector, Lt. Alik D. Bzhania, who claims that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili "intends to restart the war."

Yet Russia is the one currently engaged in large-scale military exercises in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and adjacent regions. Russia has also kicked out international observers from the area. On June 15, Moscow vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution renewing the mandate of U.N. monitors in Abkhazia because it mentioned an earlier resolution affirming Georgia's territorial integrity. Negotiations to extend the mission of monitors for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have broken down thanks to Russian obstruction. Now, 225 European Union monitors are the only international presence on the disputed borders.

The expulsion of neutral observers seems odd if Russia is worried about Georgian aggression. But it makes sense if Russia is planning an attack.

What would the Kremlin gain? A crushing victory in Georgia would depose the hated Mr. Saakashvili, give Russia control of vital transit routes for additional energy resources that could weaken its hold on the European oil and gas markets, humiliate the U.S., and distract Russians from their economic woes. Mr. Piontkovsky also believes the war drive comes from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is anxious to reassert himself as supreme leader.

Still, the costs would be tremendous. Last year the Kremlin repaired some of the damage to its relations with Europe and the U.S. by portraying the invasion of Georgia as a response to a unique crisis, not part of an imperial strategy. Another war would cripple Russia's quest for respectability in the civilized world, including its vanity project of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

And after the patriotic fervor wears off, domestic discontent would likely follow. Moreover, Russia would almost certainly find itself mired in a long guerilla war. This would further destabilize a region where Russia's own provinces, Ingushetia and Dagestan, are plagued by violent turmoil.

Given all this, a war seems unlikely. What's more probable is that Russia will seek to destabilize Georgia without military action. This saber-rattling may be meant to boost Georgian opposition to Mr. Saakashvili.

Still, Moscow's actions are not always rational. If the pro-war faction believes that the Western response to an assault on Georgia would be weak and half-hearted, it could be emboldened. In a June 25 column on the Web site, Russian journalist Yulia Latynina writes that the probability of the war "depends solely on the Kremlin's capacity to convince itself that it can convince the world that the war is its enemies' fault."

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on July 12, 2009, 02:14:24 PM
India Joins Russia, China in Questioning U.S. Dollar Dominance

Suresh Tendulkar, an economic adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said he is urging the government to diversify its $264.6 billion foreign-exchange reserves and hold fewer dollars.

“The major part of Indian reserves is in dollars -- that is something that’s a problem for us,” Tendulkar, chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, said in an interview yesterday in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he was attending an economic conference.

Singh is preparing to join leaders from the Group of Eight industrialized nations -- the U.S., Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia -- at a summit in Italy next week which is due to tackle the global economy. China and Brazil will also send representatives to the summit.

As the talks have neared, China and Russia have stepped up calls for a rethink of how global currency reserves are composed and managed, underlining a power shift to emerging markets from the developed nations that spawned the financial crisis.

“There should be a system to maintain the stability of the major reserve currencies,” Former Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said in a speech in Beijing yesterday, highlighting China’s concerns about a global financial system dominated by the dollar.

Fiscal and current-account deficits must be supervised as “your currency is likely to become my problem,” said Zeng, who is now the head of a research center under the government’s top economic planning agency. The People’s Bank of China said June 26 that the International Monetary Fund should manage more of members’ reserves.

Russian Proposals

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has repeatedly called for creating a mix of regional reserve currencies as part of the drive to address the global financial crisis, while questioning the dollar’s future as a global reserve currency. Russia’s proposals for the Group of 20 major developed and developing nations summit in London in April included the creation of a supranational currency.

“We will resume” talks on the supranational currency proposal at the G-8 summit in L’Aquila on July 8-10, Medvedev aide Sergei Prikhodko told reporters in Moscow yesterday.

Singh adviser Tendulkar said that big dollar holders face a “prisoner’s dilemma” in terms of managing their holdings. “That’s why I’m telling them to do this,” he said.

He also said that world currencies need to adjust to help unwind trade imbalances that have contributed to the global financial crisis.

“The major imbalances which led to the current situation, the current account surpluses and deficits, have to be addressed,” he said. “Currency adjustment is one thing that suggests itself.”

Emerging-Market Dependence

For all the complaints about the dollar, emerging markets such as India remain dependent on the currency of the U.S., the world’s largest economy and a $2.5 trillion export market. The IMF said June 30 that the share of dollars in global foreign- exchange reserves increased to 65 percent in the first three months of this year, the highest since 2007.

Tendulkar said that the matter needs to be taken up in international talks, and that it emphasizes the need for those talks to go beyond the traditional G-8.

“They can meet if they want to,” he said. “The G-20 has a wider role, has representation of the countries that are likely to lead the recovery process.”

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 01, 2009, 12:23:47 PM
For the first time, Russia and Iran will hold a joint naval maneuver in the Caspian Sea    


For the first time, Russia and Iran will hold a joint naval maneuver in the Caspian Sea, The Iranian Mehr News Agency reported Wednesday.

According to the report, the maneuver will include 30 Russian and Iranian ships, as well as helicopters.

A senior official in the Iranian ports authority was quoted by the report as saying that the maneuver would increase the coordination between the two countries, and focus on search and rescue operations and the prevention of pollution.

Russia enjoys extensive trade ties with Teheran and has been opposed to imposing further sanctions on Iran over its uranium enrichment program.

Moscow is building Iran's first nuclear power plant in Bushehr, has provided Teheran with weapons and needs Iranian assistance on the Caspian Sea and other regional issues.

In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained that Iran is "our neighbor, it's a country which can play a very important role in solving a number of acute international issues, such as the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq and different aspects of Mideast peace settlement."

In June, a Russian news agency reported that the completion of Iran's first nuclear plant was being delayed by Russian banks refusing to work with Iran.

Iran is paying Russia more than $1 billion (€630 million) to build the light-water reactor and has already received several shipments of enriched uranium for its operation.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: nChrist on August 01, 2009, 09:43:17 PM
Ezekiel 38:1-23 KJV  And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,  2  Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,  3  And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:  4  And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:  5  Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:  6  Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.  7  Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.  8  After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.  9  Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.  10  Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:  11  And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,  12  To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.  13  Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?  14  Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it?  15  And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army:  16  And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.  17  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?  18  And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.  19  For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;  20  So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.  21  And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother.  22  And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.  23  Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 07, 2009, 01:01:34 PM
Why Are Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.?     


A pair of nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines has been patrolling off the eastern seaboard of the United States in recent days, a rare mission that has raised concerns inside the Pentagon and intelligence agencies about a more assertive stance by the Russian military.

The episode has echoes of the cold war era, when the United States and the Soviet Union regularly parked submarines off each other’s coasts to steal military secrets, track the movements of their underwater fleets — and be poised for war.

But the collapse of the Soviet Union all but eliminated the ability of the Russian Navy to operate far from home ports, making the current submarine patrols thousands of miles from Russia more surprising for military officials and defense policy experts.

“I don’t think they’ve put two first-line nuclear subs off the U.S. coast in about 15 years,” said Norman Polmar, a naval historian and submarine warfare expert.

The submarines are of the Akula class, a counterpart to the Los Angeles class attack subs of the United States Navy, and not one of the larger submarines that can launch intercontinental nuclear missiles.

According to Defense Department officials, one of the Russian submarines remained in international waters on Tuesday about 200 miles off the coast of the United States. The location of the second remained unclear. One senior official said the second submarine traveled south in recent days toward Cuba, while another senior official with access to reports on the surveillance mission said it had sailed away in a northerly direction.

The Pentagon and intelligence officials spoke anonymously to describe the effort to track the Russian submarines, which has not been publicly announced.

President Obama spoke by telephone with President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia on Tuesday, but it was not clear whether the subject of the submarines came up, although another source of friction between the two countries did. Mr. Medvedev called Mr. Obama to wish him a happy birthday and the White House said the president used the opportunity to urge Russia to work through diplomatic channels to resolve rising tensions with Georgia.

The submarine patrols come as Moscow tries to shake off the embarrassment of the latest failed test of the Bulava missile, a long-range weapon that was test fired from a submarine in the Arctic on July 15. The failed missile test was the sixth since 2005, and some experts see Russia’s assertiveness elsewhere as a gambit by the military to prove its continued relevance.

“It’s the military trying to demonstrate that they are still a player in Russian political and economic matters,” Mr. Polmar said.

One of the submarines is the newer Akula II, officials said, which is quieter than the older variant and the most advanced in the Russian fleet. The Akula is capable of carrying torpedoes for attacking other submarines and surface vessels as well as missiles for striking targets on land and at sea.

Defense Department officials declined to speculate on which weapons might be aboard the two submarines.

While the submarines have not taken any provocative action beyond their presence outside territorial waters of the United States, officials expressed wariness over the Kremlin’s motivation for ordering such an unusual mission.

“Anytime the Russian Navy does something so out of the ordinary it is cause for worry,” said a senior Defense Department official who has been monitoring reports on the submarines’ activities.

The official said the Navy was able to track the submarines as they made their way through international waters off the American coastline. This can be done from aircraft, ships, underwater sensors or other submarines.

“We’ve known where they were, and we’re not concerned about our ability to track the subs,” the official added. “We’re concerned just because they are there.”

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on August 07, 2009, 01:15:58 PM

Iran is ready to build an N-bomb - it is just waiting for the Ayatollah's order     


Iran has perfected the technology to create and detonate a nuclear warhead and is merely awaiting the word from its Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to produce its first bomb, Western intelligence sources have told The Times.

The sources said that Iran completed a research program to create weaponized uranium in the summer of 2003 and that it could feasibly make a bomb within a year of an order from its Supreme Leader.

A US National Intelligence Estimate two years ago concluded that Iran had ended its nuclear arms research sources have told The Times that Tehran had halted program in 2003 because of the threat from the American invasion of Iraq. But intelligence the research because it had achieved its aim — to find a way of detonating a warhead that could be launched on its long-range Shehab-3 missiles.

They said that, should Ayatollah Khamenei approve the building of a nuclear device, it would take six months to enrich enough uranium and another six months to assemble the warhead. The Iranian Defense Ministry has been running a covert nuclear research department for years, employing hundreds of scientists, researchers and metallurgists in a multibillion-dollar program to develop nuclear technology alongside the civilian nuclear program.

“The main thing (in 2003) was the lack of fissile material, so it was best to slow it down,” the sources said. “We think that the leader himself decided back then (to halt the program), after the good results.”

Iran’s scientists have been trying to master a method of detonating a bomb known as the “multipoint initiation system” — wrapping highly enriched uranium in high explosives and then detonating it. The sources said that the Iranian Defense Ministry had used a secret internal agency called Amad (“Supply” in Farsi), led by Mohsin Fakhri Zadeh, a physics professor and senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Council.

The system operates by creating a series of explosive grooves on a metal hemisphere covering the uranium, which links explosives-filled holes opening onto a layer of high explosives enveloping the uranium. By detonating the explosives at either pole at the same time, the method ensures simultaneous impact around the sphere to achieve critical density.

“If the Supreme Leader takes the decision (to build a bomb), we assess they have to enrich low-enriched uranium to highly-enriched uranium at the Natanz plant, which could take six months, depending on how many centrifuges are operating. We don’t know if the decision was made yet,” said the intelligence sources, adding that Iran could have created smaller, secret facilities, other than those at the heavily guarded bunker at Natanz to develop materials for a first bomb. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency only keep tabs on fissile material produced at monitored sites and not the number of centrifuges that Iran has built.

Washington has given Iran until next month to open talks on resolving the nuclear crisis, although hopes of any constructive engagement have dimmed since the regime’s crackdown on pro-reformist protesters after June’s disputed presidential elections.

Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister, last week reiterated that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities was still an option, should the talks fail. Israeli officials estimate that a raid on Natanz and a nuclear facility at Arak, in central Iran, would set Iran’s nuclear program back by two to three years.

An Israeli official said that Iran had poured billions of dollars over three decades into a two-pronged “master plan” to build a nuclear bomb. He said that Iran had enriched 1,010kg of uranium to 3.9 per cent, which would be sufficient for 30kg of highly enriched uranium at 95 per cent. About 30kg is needed to build one bomb.

British intelligence services are familiar with the secret information about Iran’s experiments, sources at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said. Although British agencies did not have their own “independent evidence” that Iran had successfully tested the explosive component of a nuclear warhead, they said there was no reason to doubt the assessment.

If Iran’s leader does decide to build a bomb, he will have two choices, intelligence sources said. One would be to take the high-risk approach of kicking out the international inspectors and making a sprint to complete Iran’s first bomb, as the country weathered international sanctions or possible air strikes in the ensuing crisis. The other would be to covertly develop the materials needed for an arsenal in secret desert facilities.

Last week, during a series of high-level US visits to Israel, officials outlined Washington’s plans to step up sanctions on Iran, should Tehran fail to agree on talks. Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary, and General James Jones, the National Security Adviser, said that Iran had until the end of next month, when the UN General Assembly is to meet, to make a positive move towards engagement.

If Tehran fails to respond, Washington aims to build a tough international coalition to impose harsh sanctions focusing on petroleum products — an area where Iran is particularly vulnerable because it sends almost all of its crude abroad for refinement.

Experts believe that the unrest of the summer will make Iran particularly vulnerable to sanctions. They would also hit the Revolutionary Guards Council, which finances its operations by running a huge conglomerate of international companies, rather than drawing directly from state coffers.

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: nChrist on August 07, 2009, 07:00:40 PM
It's terribly naive to think that anyone can negotiate with "ImANutJob". Kindergarten graduates would know this is a waste of time. "ImANutJob" has already boldly announced what he wants to do and will do MANY TIMES. Was anyone listening? Should we all say "DUH!"?

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 06, 2009, 12:34:04 PM
'Russia confirms MiG jet sale to Syria'     


Russia has a contract to provide Syria with powerful MiG fighter jets but has not begun delivering the planes, according to a Russian newspaper report.

Kommersant cited the head of Russia's state-run United Aircraft Corporation, Alexei Fyodorov, as saying that a 2007 contract to sell MiG-31E interceptor fighters to Syria has not entered into force.

The paper said Russian arms sales officials have denied that such a contract exists.

The speedy MiG-31E can fire simultaneously at several targets up to 180 kilometers away. Deliveries to Syria would be liable to alter the balance of power in the region.

Kommersant cited Fyodorov as saying a contract to provide Syria with Mig-29M fighters is being implemented.

State arms sales company Rosoboronexport declined to comment on the report.

In May, outgoing head of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency Lt.-Gen. Michael D. Maples told the Senate that Damascus will take receipt of advanced MiG-31E fighter jets in the near future.

Reports of the sale surfaced in 2007 but were quickly denied by Moscow and the official state arms-trading monopoly Rosoboronexport, which issued a statement saying "Russia has no plans to deliver fighter jets to Syria."

In his "annual threat assessment" testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Maples provided the first official confirmation that the advanced fighter jets will be delivered to Damascus soon.

"With regard to its external defense, Syria's military remains in a defensive posture and inferior to Israel's forces, but it is upgrading its missile, rocket, antitank, aircraft and air defense inventories," Maples told the committee. "Recent Syrian contracts with Russia for future delivery include new MiG-31 and MiG-29M/M2 fighter aircraft."

Israeli defense officials said they were not surprised by Russia's intention to sell Syria the advanced jets but expressed concern that if the deal went through it would alter the balance of power in the region.

"Syria currently has an obsolete air force based on outdated MiGs," one official explained. "If Syria gets new MiG-31s then this will pose a definite threat to our air force."

Title: Re: Gog and Magog in the news
Post by: HisDaughter on September 09, 2009, 12:25:30 PM
Russia oil production overtakes Saudi Arabia

Russia is extracting more oil than Saudi Arabia, making it the biggest producer of "black gold" in the world, figures show.

The statistics, from the oil cartel OPEC, reflect a trend that has seen the Russians periodically surpass the Saudis as the world's biggest oil producers on and off since 2002.

These latest figures are being hailed in Russia as evidence that such periodic production spikes are not one-offs though and that Moscow really does have a right to lay claim to the No 1 spot.

According to OPEC, Russia extracted 9.236 million barrels of oil a day in June, 46,000 more than Saudi Arabia.

The statistics also showed that Russian production in the first half of this year increased to 235.8 million tons, a year-on-year improvement of 2.3 per cent.

Traditionally, Saudi Arabia has been regarded as the world's undisputed primary source of oil and Russia has had to settle for second place.

But in recent years Russia has renationalised and modernised much of its industry and that policy now appears to be paying off.

Even Russian analysts concede that Moscow's cause is helped by the fact that Saudi Arabia is subject to Opec output restrictions.

The Saudis are famous for their ability to access spare capacity and raise production at short notice and if they really wanted to reassert their leadership role the feeling is they could do so easily.

Unconcerned by such "details", Russia's "toppling" of the Saudis was welcomed domestically yesterday.

The populist Komsomolskaya Pravda daily newspaper ran a story headlined "Russia takes first place in oil output rankings".

With oil prices hovering above $70 a barrel for London Brent crude because of uncertainty over Iranian supply and BP's pipeline crisis in Alaska, Russia is enjoying an unprecedented bonanza.

But analysts say its oil industry is already working close to capacity and that it will be able to manage output increases of up to only 2 per cent a year between now and 2009.

There are also fears that Russia is becoming too addicted to what politicians call "the oil needle" and is doing too little to develop future revenue streams.

Money from oil and gas accounts for 52.2 per cent of all revenues to the state treasury and more than 35 per cent of Russia's exports.

Such riches can make a country complacent,according to Alexei Kudrin, the Russian Finance Minister.

"At present, we are in a dangerously carefree zone," he said recently.