Moscow lawmaker to NATO: Focus on Terrorism, not ‘Mythical Russian Threat’

Polish troops land with parachutes at the military compound near Torun, central Poland, on June 7, 2016, as part of the NATO Anaconda-16 military exercise

 

In the wake of the Nice Terror attacks and the coup attempt in Turkey that almost fractured the defense alliance, NATO remains obsessed chasing the ghost of nonexistent Russian aggression.

The tragedy in Nice, France was yet another illustration about the perverse mission creep that NATO has suffered in its longstanding ambition to relive the Cold War and that its failure to focus its resources on a joint effort to tackle the specter of international terrorism has real-life consequences suggested first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov said on Friday.”Unfortunately, ironically, when a few days ago NATO spoke publicly of the so-called Russian threat and contemplated moving its troops closer to our borders, the terrorists showed at this moment that the NATO member-countries should fight international terrorism rather than Russia,” said Dzhabarov.

“This summit should have focused on efforts to combat terrorism rather than a mythical Russian threat,” the senator said commenting on Thursday’s Bastile Day tragedy,” he continued.

Instead of NATO focusing its strength towards tackling Daesh terrorism, the defense alliance has been preoccupied in its summer of provocation engaging in ever escalating war games culminating in the Anaconda exercises that featured over 30,000 troops led by the Germans along the Russian-Polish border on the 75th anniversary of the Nazi invasion during World War II.

Even Western politicians are starting to question the wisdom of NATO’s myopic Russia-centric defense strategy, among them US Republican nominee Donald Trump who argues that if “Russia wants to go get ISIS, let them go get ISIS” and who has suggested that Washington and Moscow put their heads together to combat Daesh terrorism rather than working at loggerheads in Syria.

Dzhabarov agrees with Trump’s proposal that the world’s leading military powers join forces to combat terror suggesting that Washington, Brussels, and Moscow “need to establish contacts between intelligence services and set up a terrorism data exchange to fight [Daesh] mercilessly.”

The Nice terror attacks were just the latest in a long-line of recent international horrors that US Secretary of State John Kerry has just started referring to as the “daily fare.” The attack took the lives of 84 people while several hundred others were injured when a Tunisian-born Daesh terrorist drove a 19-tonne truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, commemorating the French Revolution, and open fired on others.

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NATO Commander Admits There’s No Threat of Russia Invading the Baltics

Lithuania NATO Exercise

 

NATO has launched an unprecedented buildup in Eastern Europe, specifically focusing on the Baltic region, continuously citing “Russian aggression.” But one alliance general has suggested that the West has no reason to believe Moscow has any intention to invade its neighbors.

Last Tuesday, NATO agreed to deploy “four robust multinational battalions” that will serve in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Poland on a rotational basis. According to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, these troops are necessary to show that the alliance will “continue to protect and defend all Allies against any threats coming from any direction.”

While NATO continues to publicly accuse Russia of aggression, some have expressed concern that the alliance could consider an even larger buildup. But General Petr Pavel, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, has assured reporters that additional troops will not be needed, as Russia does not actually pose a threat.

“Deployment of substantial military force is not being considered,” he told reporters on Monday.

“It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing.”

If NATO doesn’t believe Russia to be a threat, then why are rotational deployments necessary?

As Jason Ditz points out writing for AntiWar.com, Pavel’s comments are starkly at odds with his peers in the alliance.

“That’s the exact opposite of what most US commanders have suggested, but Gen. Pavel insisted that the deployments in the Baltics were a ‘political’ question and not a military one, and that no further escalation should be considered,” Ditz writes.

Political pressure may be one explanation, but another could be financial. More troops mean more money, and Stoltenberg has put pressure on member states to put more money into defense.

“For the first time in many years, in 2015 we registered a small increase in defense spending amongst European allies and Canada,” he told reporters earlier this month.

“And our estimates for 2016 indicate a further increase of 1.5% in real terms this year. This is progress. But I will call on allies to keep up the momentum, and to do more.”

The United States currently covers approximately 75% of NATO’s budget, up from 50% in 2001.

“Where there seems to be consensus, a fierce debate is actually going on behind closed doors,” German magazine Focus Online reported. “According to diplomats, the Americans are having a hard time forcing European countries to strengthen NATO troops in the east.”

Citing a Russian boogeyman is a standard legacy tool for many hawks in the West, and no less useful in the present day, especially when profits are involved.

Chomsky: ‘One of Clinton’s Many Crimes Was to Expand NATO to the East’

Six batteries of NATO-backed missile defense systems have been set up in southeastern Turkey to protect against aerial attacks from war-torn Syria (File)

 

As the US presidential race moves toward a head-to-head contest between billionaire Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, linguist Noam Chomsky has expressed that he isn’t thrilled with America’s options.

“Trump is appealing to those who sense and experience the breakdown of American society – to deep feelings of anger, fear, frustration, hopelessness, probably among sectors of the population that are seeing an increase in mortality, something unheard of, apart from war,” Chomsky said in an interview with Truthout.

But while Chomsky is no Trump supporter, he doesn’t have kind words for Clinton either, given her family history.

“One of [former president Bill] Clinton’s crimes in my opinion – and there were many – was to expand NATO to the East, in violation of a firm pledge to Gorbachev by his [Clinton’s] predecessors after Gorbachev made the astonishing concession to allow a united Germany to join a hostile military alliance.

“These very serious provocations were carried forward by Bush, along with a posture of aggressive militarism which, as predicted, elicited strong reactions from Russia. But American redlines are already placed on Russia’s borders.”

Hillary Clinton would likely follow her husband’s path, according to the acclaimed author.

“But by and large European elites have preferred passivity, following pretty much in Washington’s footsteps,” he said

NATO has dramatically increased its presence in Eastern Europe under President Obama. Citing “Russian aggression,” the alliance has held large-scale military exercises in the region and increased deployments in the Baltic countries.

“Based on the advice of our military planners, we will agree to deploy, by rotation, four robust, multinational battalions in the Baltic States and in Poland,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday.

“This will send a clear signal that NATO stands ready to defend any ally.”

Chomsky also pointed out Bill Clinton’s role in propping up Turkey.

“Turkey of course has been a very significant US ally, so much so that under Clinton it became the leading recipient of US arms,” Chomsky said. “Clinton poured arms into Turkey to help it carry out a vast campaign of murder, destruction, and terror against its Kurdish minority.”

 

Cooperation Within NATO-Russia Council Essential

 

June 10 – The resumption of cooperation within the NATO-Russia Council is crucial, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said.
“The resumption of the NATO-Russia Council work after an almost two-year break is essential. Even when the activities of the сouncil are not particularly aimed at specific results, for the reasons of political security it is important that we keep the channels of communication open and work on transparency and restoration of confidence,” Gabriel told the publication of the German-Russian forum, Russlandkontrovers.
The economy minister stressed that it was in the interest of all the European actors to avoid the escalation of confrontational sentiment.
The council was created in 2002 as a consultative mechanism. NATO suspended all practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia after the Ukraine crisis broke out in April 2014, although channels for political dialogue and military to military communication remained open.
The first Russia-NATO Council meeting at the level of permanent envoys in two years was held on April 20, but failed to yield any significant results due to the sides’ disagreement on a number of geopolitical issues.

Russia to Return Israeli Tank Seized by Syria During First Lebanon War

Israeli M48 tank

 

Russia is preparing to return an Israeli tank captured by Syrian troops in early 1980s and exhibited in the Kubinka Tank Museum near Moscow, the Israeli government said Sunday.

TEL AVIV  The Magach tank, based on the US tank M48 Patton, was seized by the Syrian troops during the battle of Sultan Yacoub and then sent to Russia where it was exhibited in the tank museum.

“At the end of the week, Israel got the notification that Russian President Vladimir Putin acceded to the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to return the tank that the Syrians gave the Russian army and that is now being exhibited in the tank museum,” the statement of the Israeli government’s press service said.

Last month, Netanyahu asked Putin to return the tank, saying the vehicle stood testament to the memory of three Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers, who went missing during the war.

An Israeli military delegation is currently working out details for the tank’s return with Russian counterparts in Moscow.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday for his decision to return to Israel a tank seized by the Syrian troops in 1982 during the First Lebanon War.

“I thank Russian President Vladimir Putin for acceding to my request to return to Israel the tank from the Battle of Sultan Yacoub,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement published on the website of his office.

He pointed out the importance of the step for the families of three Israel Defense Forces (IDF) servicemen, who went missing during the war.

“To the families of MIAs Zechariah Baumel, Zvi Feldman and Yehudah Katz, there has been nothing to remember the boys by and no grave to visit for 34 years now. The tank is the only evidence of the battle and now it is coming back to Israel thanks to President Putin’s response to my request,” Netanyahu stated.

 

Moscow’s Missile Shield Will Last for Decades to Come

Almaz Antei Air Defense Holding company

 

Moscow’s air defense system will be able to effectively protect the Russian capital against any attack for many decades, a senior Aerospace Forces commander said in a radio interview on Saturday.

“The A-135 Amur system will stay ahead of the emerging threats  for the next few decades…. We are constantly upgrading our pride and joy – the Don-2N radar — and deploying new missiles that will double the system’s combat characteristics,” Colonel Andrei Cheburin told Russian News Service radio on Saturday.The missile defense system protecting Moscow and the Central Industrial Region consists of a number of silo-based antimissiles traveling at twice the speed of a bullet.

“That’s why the Americans call them ‘gazelles’…Their state-of-the-art homing system ensures 100 percent acquisition and destruction on incoming ballistic targets. Righty now we are modernizing our antimissiles to further improve their combat characteristics,” Colonel Cheburin said.

 

18th Weapons and special technics exhibition “Interpolitex 2014” in Moscow

22.10.2014 ITAR-TASS

From 21 to 24 October in Moscow an international exhibition of state security “Interpolitex 2014” is held. It is attended by more than 470 organizations, including 64 companies from 19 foreign countries. The exhibition represents  a variety of weapons systems and the protection of personnel of the Ministry of Emergency Situations  and Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as devices for mine clearance and assistance to people in an emergency situation.