Hromadske TV, Sep 17: “The President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko explained the problem Sboev: Kolomoisky could be arrested faster by the Russian FSB, eliminating his opportunity to testify in Lubyanka. He stated that the oligarch is being hunted by the Mossad and the security services of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Many will have been delighted by the Murid’s advice: “When you don’t know what to do – cook soup.” Well, it seems that this is not original with him, but that it was first enunciated as a general maxim on her TV show by Xenia Sobchak, voted “the most desirable single woman in Russia” in some poll, and incidentally of Jewish descent – RB
How the West Created the Islamic State
Nafeez Ahmed, Truthout, Sep 14 2014
“This is an organisation that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision which will eventually have to be defeated,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon press conference in August.
Military action is necessary to halt the spread of the ISIS/IS “cancer,” said President Obama. In his much anticipated address, he called for expanded airstrikes across Iraq and Syria, and new measures to arm and train Iraqi and Kurdish ground forces.
“The only way to defeat [IS] is to stand firm and to send a very straightforward message,”declared Prime Minister Cameron. “A country like ours will not be cowed by these barbaric killers.”
Missing from the chorus of outrage, however, has been any acknowledgement of the integral role of covert UKUSA regional military intelligence strategy in empowering and even directly sponsoring the very same virulent Islamist militants in Iraq, Syria and beyond, that went on to break away from AQ and form ‘ISIS’ or now simply the Islamic State (IS). Since 2003, UKUSA power has secretly and openly coordinated direct and indirect support for Islamist terrorist groups linked to AQ across the MENA. This ill-conceived patchwork geostrategy is a legacy of the persistent influence of neocon ideology, motivated by longstanding but often contradictory ambitions to dominate regional oil resources, defend an expansionist Israel, and in pursuit of these, re-draw the map of the Middle East. Now despite Pentagon denials that there will be boots on the ground, and Obama’s insistence that this would not be another “Iraq war,” local Kurdish military and intelligence sources confirm that US and German special operations forces are already “on the ground here. They are helping to support us in the attack.” Usaian airstrikes on ISIS positions and arms supplies to the Kurds have also been accompanied by Ukian RAF reconnaissance flights over the region and Ukian weapons shipments to Kurdish peshmerga forces.
Divide and rule in Iraq
“It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs,”said one Usaian government defense consultant in 2007.“It’s who they throw them at: Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
Early during the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, Usaia covertly supplied arms to AQ-affiliated insurgents even while ostensibly supporting an emerging Shi’a-dominated administration. Pakistani defense sources interviewed by Asia Times in Feb 2005 confirmed that insurgents described as “former Ba’ath party” loyalists who were being recruited and trained by “AQ in Iraq” under the leadership of the late Abu Musab Zarqawi, were being supplied Pakistan-manufactured weapons by Usaia. The arms shipments included rifles, RPG launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry. These arms “could not be destined for the Iraqi security forces because US arms would be given to them,” a source told Syed Saleem Shahzad, Asia Times’ Pakistan bureau chief who, “known for his exposes of the Pakistani military” according to the New Yorker, was murdered in 2011. Rather, Usaia is playing a double-game to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement,” said the Pakistani defense source. This was not the only way Usaian strategy aided the rise of Zarqawi, a bin Laden mentee and brainchild of the extremist ideology that would later spawn ‘ISIS.’ According to a little-known Nov 2005 report for the Usaian Joint Special Operations University (JSOU) and Strategic Studies Department, Dividing Our Enemies, post-invasion Iraq was “an interesting case study of fanning discontent among enemies, leading to ‘red-against-red’ [enemy-against-enemy] firefights.” While counterinsurgency on the one hand requires US forces to “ameliorate harsh or deprived living conditions of the indigenous populations” to publicly win local hearts and minds:
“… the reverse side of this coin is one less discussed. It involves no effort to win over those caught in the crossfire of insurgent and counterinsurgent warfare, whether by bullet or broadcast. On the contrary, this underside of the counterinsurgency coin is calculated to exploit or create divisions among adversaries for the purpose of fomenting enemy-on-enemy deadly encounters.”
In other words, Usaian forces will pursue public legitimacy through conventional social welfare while simultaneously delegitimising local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, knowing full-well that doing so will in turn escalate the number of innocent civilians “caught in the crossfire.” The idea is that violence covertly calibrated by US special operations will not only weaken enemies through infighting but turn the population against them. In this case, the ‘enemy’ consisted of Jihadis, Ba’athists, and peaceful Sufis who were in a majority but like the militants, also opposed the US military presence and therefore needed to be influenced. The JSOU report referred to events in late 2004 in Fallujah where “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” undertook to “set insurgents battling insurgents.” This involved actually promoting Zarqawi’s ideology, ironically, to defeat it, by encouraging the different factions to pick each other off:
The PSYOP warriors crafted programs to exploit Zarqawi’s murderous activities and to disseminate them through meetings, radio and television broadcasts, handouts, newspaper stories, political cartoons and posters, thereby diminishing his folk-hero image. By tapping into the Fallujans’ revulsion and antagonism to the Zarqawi Jihadis the Joint PSYOP Task Force did its ‘best to foster a rift between Sunni groups.’
Yet as noted by Dahr Jamail, one of the few unembedded investigative reporters in Iraq after the war, the proliferation of propaganda linking the acceleration of suicide bombings to the persona of Zarqawi was not matched by meaningful evidence. His own search to substantiate the myriad claims attributing the insurgency to Zarqawi beyond anonymous Usaian intelligence sources encountered only an “eerie blankness”. The Usaian military operation in Fallujah, largely justified on the claim that Zarqawi’s militant forces had occupied the city, used white phosphorous, cluster bombs, and indiscriminate air strikes to pulverise 36,000 of Fallujah’s 50,000 homes, killing nearly a thousand civilians, terrorising 300,000 inhabitants to flee, and culminating in a disproportionate increase in birth defects, cancer and infant mortality due to the devastating environmental consequences of the war. To this day, Fallujah has suffered from being largely cut off from wider Iraq, its infrastructure largely unworkable with water and sewage systems still in disrepair, and its citizens subject to sectarian discrimination and persecution by Iraqi government backed Shi’a militia and police. The Graun observed in 2005:
Thousands of bereaved and homeless Falluja families have a new reason to hate the US and its allies.
Thus did the US occupation plant the seeds from which Zarqawi’s legacy would coalesce into the Frankenstein monster that calls itself “the Islamic State.”
Bankrolling AQ in Syria
According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009. He told French television:
I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top Ukian officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Ukia, not in Usaia. Ukia was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.
Leaked emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor, including notes froma meeting with Pentagon officials, confirmed that as of 2011, UKUSA special forces training of Syrian opposition forces was well underway. The goal was to elicit the “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.” Since then, the role of the Gulf states , namely Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE and Jordan (as well as NATO member Turkey), in officially and unofficially financing and coordinating the most virulent elements amongst Syria’s rebels under the tutelage of Usaian military intelligence is no secret. Yet the conventional wisdom is that the funneling of support to Islamist extremists in the rebel movement affiliated to AQ has been a colossal and regrettable error. The reality is very different. The empowerment of the Islamist factions within the ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) was a foregone conclusion of the strategy. In its drive to depose Qaddafi in Libya, NATO had previously allied itself with rebels affiliated to the AQ faction, the Islamic Fighting Group. The resulting Libyan regime backed by Usaia was in turn liaising with FSA leaders in Istanbul to provide money and heavy weapons for the anti-Assad insurgency. The State Dept even hired an AQ-affiliated Libyan militia group to provide security for the US embassy in Benghazi, although they had links with the very people that attacked the embassy. Last year, CNN confirmed that CIA officials operating secretly out of the Benghazi embassy were being forced to take extra polygraph tests to keep under wraps what Usaian Congress critturs suspect was a covert operation “to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.” With their command and control centre based in Istanbul, Turkey, military supplies from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular were transported by Turkish intelligence to the border for rebel acquisition. CIA operatives along with Israeli and Jordanian commandos were also training FSA rebels on the Jordanian-Syrian border with anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. In addition, other reports show that British and French military were also involved in these secret training programmes. It appears that the same FSA rebels receiving this elite training went straight into ISIS: last month one ISIS commander, Abu Yusaf, said:
Many of the FSA people who the west has trained are actually joining us.
The UAE National thus confirmed the existence of another command and control centre in Amman, Jordan, “staffed by western and Arab military officials,” which “channels vehicles, sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, small arms and ammunition to FSA units.” Rebel and opposition sources described the weapons bridge as “a well-run operation staffed by high-ranking military officials from 14 countries, including Usaia, European nations and Arabian Gulf states, the latter providing the bulk of materiel and financial support to rebel factions.” The FSA sources interviewed by The National went to pains to deny that any AQ-affiliated factions were involved in the control centre, or would receive any weapons support. But this is difficult to believe given that “Saudi and Qatari-supplied weapons” were being funneled through to the rebels via Amman, to their favoured factions. Classified assessments of the military assistance supplied by Usaian allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar obtained by the NYT showed:
Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups are going to hardline Islamic Jihadis, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.
Lest there be any doubt as to the extent to which all this covert military assistance coordinated by Usaia has gone to support AQ-affiliated factions in the FSA, it is worth noting that earlier this year, the Israeli military intelligence website Debkafile, run by two veteran correspondents who covered the Middle East for 23 years for The Economist, reported:
Turkey is giving Syrian rebel forces, including the AQ-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, passage through its territory to attack the north-western Syrian coastal area around Latakia.
In August, Debkafile reported:
USrael and Jordan are quietly backing the mixed bag of some 30 Syrian rebel factions, some of which have just seized control of the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, the only transit point between Israeli and Syrian Golan. However, AQ elements have permeated all those factions. Israel has provided limited support to these rebels in the form of medical care as well as arms, intelligence and food. USrael and Jordan provide a support system for rebel groups fighting in southern Syria. Their efforts are coordinated through a war room which the Pentagon established last year near Amman. The USraeli and Jordanian officers manning the facility determine in consultation which rebel factions are provided with reinforcements from the special training camps run for Syrian rebels in Jordan, and which will receive arms. All three governments understand perfectly that, notwithstanding all their precautions, some of their military assistance is bound to percolate to AQ’s Syrian arm, Jabhat al-Nusra, which is fighting in rebel ranks. Neither Washington nor Jayloomia mor Amman would be comfortable in admitting they are arming AQ’s Nusra in southern Syria.
This support also went to ISIS. Although the latter was originally founded in Iraq in Oct 2006, by 2013 the group had significantly expanded its operations in Syria, working alongside Nusra until Feb 2014, when ISIS was formally denounced by AQ. Even so, experts on the region’s Islamist groups point out that the alleged rift between Nusra and ISIS, while real, is not as fraught as one might hope, constituting a mere difference in tactics rather than fundamental ideology. Officially, the Usaian government’s financial support for the FSA goes through the Washington DC entity, the Syrian Support Group (SSG), which was incorporated in Apr 2012. The SSG is licensed via the US Treasury Dept to “export, re-export, sell, or supply to FSA financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by EO 13582 in order to support the FSA.” In mid-2013, the Obama administration intensified its support to the rebels with a new classified executive order reversing its previous policy limiting US direct support to only non-lethal equipment. As before, the order would aim to supply weapons strictly to “moderate” forces in the FSA. Except the government’s vetting procedures to block Islamist extremists from receiving US weapons have never worked. A year later, Mother Jones found that the Usaian government has “little oversight over whether Usaian supplies are falling prey to corruption, or into the hands of extremists,” and relies “on too much good faith.” The Usaian government keeps track of rebels receiving assistance purely through “handwritten receipts provided by rebel commanders in the field,” and the judgement of its allies. Countries supporting the rebels, the very same which have empowered AQ-affiliated Islamists, “are doing audits of the delivery of lethal and nonlethal supplies.” Thus, with the Gulf states still calling the shots on the ground, it is no surprise that by September last year, eleven prominent rebel groups distanced themselves from the ‘moderate’ opposition leadership and allied themselves with AQ. By the SSG’s own conservative estimate, as much as 15% of rebel fighters are Islamists affiliated to AQ, either through Jabhut al-Nusra or its breakaway group ISIS. But privately, Pentagon officials estimate that “more than 50%” of the FSA is comprised of Islamist extremists and according to rebel sources, neither FSA chief Gen Salim Idris nor his senior aides engage in much vetting, decisions about which are made typically by local commanders.
Follow the money
Media reports following ISIS’ conquest of much of northern and central Iraq this summer have painted the group as the world’s most super-efficient, self-financed, terrorist organisation that has been able to consolidate itself exclusively through extensive looting of Iraq’s banks and funds from black market oil sales. Much of this narrative, however, has derived from dubious sources, and overlooked disturbing details. One senior anonymous intelligence source told the Graun’s Martin Chulov, for instance, that over 160 computer flash sticks obtained from an ISIS hideout revealed information on ISIS’ finances that was completely new to the intelligence community. “Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875m,” said the official on the funds obtained largely via “massive cashflows from the oilfields of eastern Syria, which it had commandeered in late 2012.” Afterwards, “with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5b to that.” The thrust of the narrative coming from intelligence sources was simple: “They had done this all themselves. There was no state actor at all behind them, which we had long known. They don’t need one.”
“ISIS’ half-a-billion-dollar bank heist makes it world’s richest terror group,”claimed the Telegraph, adding that the figure did not include additional stolen gold bullion, and millions more grabbed from banks“across the region.”
This story of ISIS’ stupendous bank looting spree across Iraq made global headlines but turned out to be disinformation. Senior Iraqi officials and bankers confirmed that banks in Iraq, including Mosul where ISIS supposedly stole $430m, had faced no assault, remain open, and are guarded by their own private security forces. How did the story come about? One of its prime sources was Iraqi parliamentarian Ahmed Chalabi, the same man who under the wing of his ‘Iraqi National Congress’ peddled false intelligence about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and ties to AQ. In June, Chalabi met with US ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft, and Brett McGurk, Deputy Asst Sec State for Iraq and Iran. According to sources cited by Buzzfeed in June, Beecroft “has been meeting Chalabi for months and has dined at his mansion in Baghdad.”
Follow the oil
But while ISIS has clearly obtained funding from donors in the Gulf states, many of its fighters having broken away from the more traditional AQ-affiliated groups like Jabhut al-Nusra, it has also successfully leveraged its control over Syrian and Iraqi oil fields. In January, the NYT reported:
Islamist rebels and extremist groups have seized control of most of Syria’s oil and gas resources, bolstering the fortunes of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and the Nusra Front, both of which are offshoots of AQ. They seized control of the oil and gas fields scattered across the country’s north and east, while Western-backed rebel groups do not appear to be involved in the oil trade, in large part because they have not taken over any oil fields.
Yet the west had directly aided these Islamist groups in their efforts to operationalise Syria’s oil fields. In Apr 2013, for instance, the Times noted that AQ rebels had taken over key regions of Syria: “Nusra’s hand is felt most strongly in Aleppo,” where the AQ affiliate had established in coordination with other rebel groups including ISIS “a Shariah Commission” running “a police force and an Islamic court that hands down sentences that have included lashings.” AQ fighters also “control the power plant and distribute flour to keep the city’s bakeries running.” Additionally, they “have seized government oil fields” in provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka, and now make a “profit from the crude they produce.” Lost in the fog of media hype was the disconcerting fact that these AQ rebel bread and oil operations in Aleppo, Deir al-Zour and Hasaka were directly and indirectly supported by Usaia & Euia. One account by the WaPo, for instance, refers to a stealth mission in Aleppo “to deliver food and other aid to needy Syrians, all of it paid for by the Usaian government,” including the supply of flour. “The bakery is fully supplied with flour paid for by Usaia,” the WaPo continues, noting that local consumers, however, “credited Jabhat al-Nusra, a rebel group that Usaia has designated a terrorist organisation because of its ties to AQ, with providing flour to the region, though he admitted he wasn’t sure where it comes from.” And in the same month that AQ’s control of Syria’s main oil regions in Deir al-Zour and Hasaka was confirmed, Euia voted to ease an oil embargo on Syria to allow oil to be sold on international markets from these very AQ-controlled oil fields. European companies would be permitted to buy crude oil and petroleum products from these areas, although transactions would be approved by the Syrian National Coalition. Due to damaged infrastructure, oil would be trucked by road to Turkey where the nearest refineries are located.
“The logical conclusion from this craziness is that Europe will be funding AQ,”said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.
Just two months later, a former senior staffer at the Syria Support Group in DC, David Falt, leaked internal SSG emails confirming that the group was “obsessed” with brokering “jackpot” oil deals on behalf of the FSA for Syria’s rebel-run oil regions.
“The idea they could raise hundreds of millions from the sale of the oil came to dominate the work of the SSG to the point no real attention was paid to the nature of the conflict,”said Falt, referring in particular to SSG’s director Brian Neill Sayers, who before his SSG role worked with NATO’s Operations Division. Their aim was to raise money for the rebels by selling the rights to Syrian oil.
Tacit complicity in IS oil smuggling
Even as AQ fighters increasingly decide to join up with IS, the ad hoc black market oil production and export infrastructure established by the Islamist groups in Syria has continued to function with, it seems, the tacit support of regional and western powers. According to Ali Ediboglu, a Turkish MP for the border province of Hatay, IS is selling the bulk of its oil from regions in Syria and Mosul in Iraq through Turkey, with the tacit consent of Turkish authorities:
They have laid pipes from villages near the Turkish border at Hatay. Similar pipes exist also at Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep. They transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash. They take the oil from the refineries at zero cost. Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey. This is worth $800m.
He also noted that the extent of this and related operations indicates official Turkish complicity:
Fighters from Europe, Russia, Asian countries and Chechnya are going in large numbers both to Syria and Iraq, crossing from Turkish territory. There is information that at least 1,000 Turkish nationals are helping those foreign fighters sneak into Syria and Iraq to join ISIS. The National Intelligence Organization (MIT) is allegedly involved. None of this can be happening without MIT’s knowledge.
Similarly, there is evidence that authorities in the Kurdish region of Iraq are also turning a blind eye to IS oil smuggling. In July, Iraqi officials said that IS had begun selling oil extracted from in the northern province of Salahuddin. One official pointed out:
The Kurdish peshmerga forces stopped the sale of oil at first, but later allowed tankers to transfer and sell oil.
State of Law coalition MP Alia Nasseef also accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of secretly trading oil with IS:
What is happening shows the extent of the massive conspiracy against Iraq by Kurdish politicians. The sale of Iraqi oil to ISIS or anyone else is something that would not surprise us.
Although Kurdish officials have roundly rejected these accusations, informed sources told the Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat:
Iraqi crude captured by ISIS is being sold to Kurdish traders in the border regions straddling Iraq, Iran and Syria, and shipped to Pakistan where it is being sold for less than half its original price.
An official statement in August from Iraq’s Oil Ministry warned that any oil not sanctioned by Baghdad could include crude smuggled illegally from IS:
International purchasers and other market participants should be aware that any oil exports made without the authorisation of the Ministry of Oil may contain crude oil originating from fields under the control of Daesh.
Luay al-Khateeb of the Brookings (Saban – RB) Doha Center said:
Countries like Turkey have turned a blind eye to the practice, and international pressure should be mounted to close down black markets in its southern region.
So far there has been no such pressure. Meanwhile, IS oil smuggling continues, with observers inside and outside Turkey noting that the Turkish government is tacitly allowing IS to flourish as it prefers the rebels to the Assad regime. According to former Iraqi oil minister Isam al-Jalabi:
Turkey is the biggest winner from the Islamic State’s oil smuggling trade. Both traders and oil firms are involved, with the low prices allowing for massive profits for the countries facilitating the smuggling.
Buying ISIS oil
Early last month, a tanker carrying over a million barrels in crude oil from northern Iraq’s Kurdish region arrived at the Texas Gulf of Mexico. The oil had been refined in the Iraqi Kurdish region before being pumped through a new pipeline from the KRG area ending up at Ceyhan, Turkey, where it was then loaded onto the tanker for shipping to Usaia. Baghdad’s efforts to stop the oil sale on the basis of its having national jurisdiction were rebuffed by Usaian courts. In early September:
Euia’s ambassador to Iraq, Jana Hybášková, told the Euian Foreign Affairs Committee, “Several Euian member states have bought oil from the Islamic State.” She however refused to divulge the names of the countries, despite being asked numerous times.
A third end-point for the KRG’s crude this summer, once again shipped via Turkey’s port of Ceyhan, was Israel’s south-western port of Ashkelon. This is hardly news though. In May, Reuters revealed that USraeli oil refineries had been regularly purchasing and importing KRG’s disputed oil. Meanwhile, as this triangle of covert oil shipments in which ISIS crude appears to be hopelessly entangled becomes more established, Turkey has increasingly demanded that Usaia pursue formal measures to lift obstacles to Kurdish oil sales to global markets. The KRG plans to export as much as 1 Mb/d by next year through its pipeline to Turkey. Among the many oil and gas firms active in the KRG capital Erbil are ExxonMobil and Chevron. They are drilling in the region for oil under KRG contracts, though operations have been halted due to the crisis. No wonder Steve Coll writes in the New Yorker :
Obama’s air strikes and arms supplies to the Kurds, notably not to Baghdad, effectively amount to the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state whose sources of geopolitical appeal as a long-term, non-Russian supplier of oil and gas to Europe, for example, are best not spoken of in polite or naïve company.
The Kurds are now busy working to “quadruple” their export capacity, while Usaian policy has increasingly shifted toward permitting Kurdish exports , a development that would have major ramifications for Iraq’s national territorial integrity. To be sure, as the offensive against IS ramps up, the Kurds are now selectively cracking down on IS smuggling efforts, but the measures are too little, too late.
A new map
The Third Iraq War has begun. With it, long-standing neocon dreams to partition Iraq into three parts along ethnic and religious lines have been resurrected. White House officials now estimate that the fight against the region’s ‘Islamic State’ will last years and may outlive the Obama administration. But this ‘long war’ vision goes back to nebulous ideas formally presented by late RAND Corp analyst Laurent Muraweic before the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board at the invitation of then chairman Richard Perle. That presentation described Iraq as a “tactical pivot” by which to transform the wider Middle East. Brian Whitaker, former Graun Middle East editor, rightly noted that the Perle-RAND strategy drew inspiration from a 1996 paper published by the Israeli Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, co-authored by Perle and other neocons who held top positions in the post-9/11 Bush administration. The policy paper advocated a strategy that bears startling resemblance to the chaos unfolding in the wake of the expansion of the ‘Islamic State’: Israel would “shape its strategic environment” by first securing the removal of Saddam Hussein. “Jordan and Turkey would form an axis along with Israel to weaken and ‘roll back’ Syria.” This axis would attempt to weaken the influence of Lebanon, Syria and Iran by “weaning” off their Shi’ite populations. To succeed, Israel would need to engender Usaian support, which would be obtained by Netanyahu formulating the strategy “in language familiar to the Usaians by tapping into themes of Usaian administrations during the cold war.” The 2002 Perle-RAND plan was active in the Bush administration’s strategic thinking on Iraq shortly before the 2003 war. According to US private intelligence firm Stratfor, in late 2002, then vice-Pres Cheney and Deputy Sec Def Wolfowitz had co-authored a scheme under which central Sunni-majority Iraq would join with Jordan; the northern Kurdish regions would become an autonomous state; all becoming separate from the southern Shi’ite region. The strategic advantages of an Iraq partition, Stratfor argued, focused on US control of oil:
After eliminating Iraq as a sovereign state, there would be no fear that one day an anti-Usaian government would come to power in Baghdad, as the capital would be in Amman. Current and potential Usaian geopolitical foes Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria would be isolated from each other, with big chunks of land between them under control of the pro-Usaian forces. Equally important, Washington would be able to justify its long-term and heavy military presence in the region as necessary for the defense of a young new state asking for Usaian protection, and to secure the stability of oil markets and supplies. That in turn would help Usaia gain direct control of Iraqi oil and replace Saudi oil in case of conflict with Riyadh.
The expansion of the ‘Islamic State’ has provided a pretext for the fundamental contours of this scenario to unfold, with UKUSA looking to re-establish a long-term military presence in Iraq in the name of the “defense of a young new state.” In 2006, Cheney’s successor Joe Biden also indicated his support for the ‘soft partition’ of Iraq along ethno-religious lines, a position which the co-author of the Biden-Iraq plan, Leslie Gelb of the CFR now argues is “the only solution” to the current crisis. Also in 2006, the Armed Forces Journal published a map of the Middle East with its borders thoroughly re-drawn, courtesy of Lt-Col (Retd) Ralph Peters, who had previously been assigned to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence where he was responsible for future warfare. As for the goals of this plan, apart from “security from terrorism” and “the prospect of democracy”, Peters also mentioned “access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself.” In 2008, the strategy re-surfaced, once again via RAND Corp , through a report funded by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command on how to prosecute the ‘long war.’ Among its strategies, one scenario advocated by the report was ‘Divide and Rule’ which would involve:
… exploiting fault lines between the various Salafi-Jihadi groups to turn them against each other and dissipate their energy on internal conflicts.
Simultaneously, the report suggested that Usaia could foster conflict between Salafi-Jihadis and Shi’ite militants by:
… shoring up the traditional Sunni regimes… as a way of containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf.
One way or another, some semblance of this plan is in motion. Last week, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Leiberman told Jackass Kerry:
Iraq is breaking up before our eyes, and it would appear that the creation of an independent Kurdish state is a foregone conclusion.
The rise of the ‘Islamic State’ is not just a direct consequence of this neocon vision, tied as it is to a dangerous covert operations strategy that has seen AQ-linked terrorists as a tool to influence local populations. It has in turn offered a pretext for the launch of a new era of endless war, the spectre of a prolonged Usaia-led military presence in the energy-rich Persian Gulf region, and a return to the dangerous imperial temptation to re-configure the wider regional order.
Russian Maidan (1)
El Murid, Sep 18 2014 14:21
I have already said that the events in Ukraine and Iraq interest me deeply from the point of view of the development of the technology of “colour revolutions.” (NB: political ‘technology’ in Russian usage includes the entire field of political strategy, tactics and implementation – RB). In many ways my interest in these events is of applied nature, and my articles here on LiveJournal are just drafts, in which I’m trying to organize the events for themselves. The book in which I tried to unite Ukraine, Iraq and of course, what is happening in Russia is almost complete, I’ll post drafts of two short extracts, one now, another in the evening. In the final version they will look different, but they and drafts. The Kiev Maidan and its consequences raise well-founded concerns about the possibility of a repetition of the Ukrainian events in Moscow and Russia in general. These suspicions are of a largely justified character due to many reasons. It makes no sense to list them all; let us assume as reality that its probability is clearly nonzero. You need to understand that any revolution, and “colour” in particular, is always someone else’s project, based on objective conditions that arise during the occurrence of large-scale socio-economic and systemic political crises; that is, crises of the system, which cannot be resolved through regulatory mechanisms of the system itself. In other words, a revolution requires two fundamental conditions: the existence of objective factors and the project, which is always formulated by some part of the elite (or counter-elites), calculating on using the revolution to achieve their own goals and objectives, which are impossible to achieve under normal conditions. It very often happens that the struggle involves several such projects, and the final result is determined by the result of the struggle between them and their ability to master the chaos that inevitably occurs during any revolution.
Another mandatory part of any revolution is of course, power. Its overthrow or reformatting is the political goal of the uprising. In this case, as a rule, the government bears full responsibility for the fact that the crisis in the state and society begins to wear all the signs of being systemic and intractable. Summing up, we can state some interim conclusion: the Maidan (as a general name of “colour revolution”) in Russia is possible, but only given the presence of a number of key conditions. The first condition is a systemic crisis, the responsibility for the emergence of which lies with the current government. The second condition is the presence of elite central groups seeking such a revolution or a coup, during which they expect to solve their group tasks in their own or others’ interests. The third condition is the existence of the project, i.e. an action plan for each group, including the concept of the purpose of the coup, the action sequences, reference points, for which the previous stage of the revolution becomes irreversible, the availability of resources and the social base by which these groups will be supported in a coup. Assessing the current situation in the country, it is safe to say that the first condition is almost done. A systemic crisis in the country is evident, and the crisis that has hit all areas of life: political and economic, coexists still with relative social stability, but the latter is largely illusory in nature, as it is based mainly on the social contract of “loyalty in exchange for stability. Quite abruptly and significantly, a shift in the sense of stability on the part of at least some of the population has produced a situation which has finally acquired all the signs of a systemic crisis.
You need to understand that the key place of any revolution is always the capital city. Moscow in this sense, an extremely difficult city, in which formed both objective and subjective reasons for breaking social stability. On the one hand, a significant part of Muscovites in one form or another is ready to support the ideas of the liberal opposition, and the most popular events of the so-called “White ribbon” (‘peace movement’ – RB) have already confirmed that there is a significant proportion of “angry citizens” who are extremely dissatisfied with their situation. Sporadic but fairly intense outbreaks of xenophobia which were shown at the Arena in 2011 and in Biryulyovo in 2013 show that the influx of exogenous aliens, alien in their mentality, overwhelms many Russian cities, which creates a very fertile ground for the spread of ethnic and religious hatred. Power, not resolving emerging problems, inevitably leads to a crisis, creating the first condition for the possibility of a coup. Unfortunately, the Russian government, traditionally tending to stiffness and no less traditionally producing constricted solutions to overripe problems, trailing not only with the solutions, but even with the setting of goals. An adverse selection and tenure of power only exacerbates the degradation processes of management personnel and further retards all its response.
As soon as the first and most important condition is created, the appearance of the rest becomes a matter of time. The delay is not always brief, it may be lengthy, but a systemic crisis becomes a trigger that starts an irreversible processes. History shows that after this there are only two possible outcomes and either is equally effective to overcome the crisis: the first is an internal shift through riot, revolution or coup, and the second is external, through war. If the war ends in victory, the government has the opportunity to carry out reforms on a wave of euphoria that would have been impossible to conduct in a “normal” time. If outcome of the war is defeat, this is the prelude to an internal explosion. In our information age, the concept of “victory” or “defeat” is greatly determined both by the actual situation and by its reflection in the media space. For example, the euphoria after the Crimea has now been replaced by a dull lack of understanding of the actions of the Russian authorities in the Donbass. The genocide being conducted by Nazi Kiev in relation to the Russian population of Donbass, is perceived in unequivocal terms in Russia, and our people will inevitably perceive the victory of Kiev over the rebellious Donbass as the defeat of Russia, although formally these events have no bearing on our country. Mar 4 2014 (Putin’s speech on Crimea – RB) gave rise to expectations that were too powerful to be fulfilled, and compared to them, what is happening now looks like the result of the inactivity of the Russian authorities in relation to the extermination of “compatriots”, so there is some trying somehow to cover the catastrophe with reflections on geopolitics or on some imagined “cunning plan” of the Russian leadership.
A situation arises that causes a very complex and ambivalent attitude. On the one hand, people for whom the concept of homeland is not an empty sound, can see that the government’s actions objectively lead to disaster, forcing the country into a systemic deadlock and creating the ground for a “colour” revolution stimulated from without or a social explosion from the inside. On the other, these same people are forced to support the ruling government, realizing that its demolition with a high degree of probability will be exploited by Western projects, and the West has extensive experience, resources and technology for the implementation of such projects. This creates a nearly one hundred percent probability that any coup becomes the final catastrophe, as the location of the existing and to put it mildly, not very usable power will come openly treacherous part of the Russian elite, as has already happened in the course of events of 1991 and 1993. However, in the opinion of the author, there is a way out of such a situation, extraordinary and very difficult in all respects though it is. For this purpose it is necessary to refer to modern foreign experience, realizing that not all of this experience is applicable to our conditions. However, technologies that have been applied in similar situations, can be used as a basis in Russia. We are talking about the events of the Arab spring in Egypt. Apart from the chronology of events, and in general from the drill took place in Egypt in 10-13 years, then you can explain what happened in this country is a little different than it usually is treated and tells.
By the beginning of the Arab spring, Egypt and the whole Middle East region was involved in a severe, prolonged and systemic crisis. The root cause of this crisis was the classical period of transition between the two types of population reproduction. The short version is that the first type (high fertility and high infant mortality) is characteristic of the weak economies of the third world. The second type of low fertility and low infant mortality is the prerogative of urbanized and economically developed countries. The post-colonial middle East, having received a sharp acceleration in its development, was in a transition period between these two types. Improving social and economic conditions of life, access to healthcare, food, improving quality of life, all led to a significant reduction in child mortality and increased average age of the population in most countries of the Middle East (except, perhaps, Yemen). The birth rate remained at the same level and began its decline, but too slowly. As a consequence, the population of Libya during the reign of Gaddafi increased 3 times, from 2 to 6 million people, Egypt’s population increased over 4 times, from 20 million to 85 million today. The economies of the Middle East were unprepared for such rapid population growth and began to experience serious disparities, exacerbated by the rapid growth of urbanization. One of the reasons the Libyan disaster, for example, was that the mentality of the Little Green Book, largely derived from the desert of Libya, ceased to be perceived as ideological dogma by the young urban population, which had increased from a million people to 4 million during the years of Qaddafi’s rule. Clamped to the rigid framework of the monolithic national state, fewer and fewer of the young people of the country felt fondness and respect for the ideas of the elderly dictator, who in the second half of his reign turned into a brake on the country he had initially developed so brilliantly.
Egypt has been more pragmatic, thanks to a less dogmatic and bigoted leadership. In addition, in one way or another, Egypt underwent changes in senior management, albeit usually through the deaths of the presidents of the country. In other countries the problem was compounded by the almost permanent nature of the supreme power, which further added to their lethargy and stagnation. In fact, the reign of Hosni Mubarak were also very similar to the rule of his neighbours: he was a progressive and largely mobile leader of the country in the first half of his reign, but in the second half, he acquired all the classic traits of the Oriental despot, and ceased to respond adequately to the challenges his country. To some extent the stability suited the Egyptians, who had become tired of the socialist experiments of Nasser and the martial escapades of Sadat. They quite welcomed a quiet and comfortable existence, but it was clear that this could not continue, and the issue of succession has exacerbated the situation. To some extent the issue of the succession to Hosni Mubarak was resolved. It was supposed to be his son Gamal, but due to many circumstances (including personal experience) Gamal really did not suit the Egyptian elite. In this sense, Syrian President Hafez al-Assad behaved in a much more far-sighted way to Mubarak. He began to prepare his son Basil for the post of the President long before his own death. Basil had a tremendous reputation among the Syrian elite and among the population. This Basil firmly gave guarantees to the Syrian elite (largely composed of Sunnis) that he would strictly observe the existing balance between religions and clans in Syria. After the accidental and tragic death of Basil, Hafez al-Assad was forced to begin to prepare for the role of the successor of the current President Bashar, who underwent quite a long period of preparation and coordination with the elite. The result was quite acceptable: after the death of his father, Bashar was forced to make some personnel changes and purge some of the “old guard,” but the basis of consensus within the elite was not affected, which led to today’s result: despite the severity of the war waged against Syria, the Syrian elite did not betray Bashar, and isolated cases only emphasize their own exceptional nature.
In Egypt, the elite were not developed with Gamal, and Mubarak decided many questions voluntaristically, gradually causing irritation in the higher military caste. However, a coup seemed impossible: the generals saw no possibility of solving the problem in such a radical way. The outbreak of the revolution in Tunisia that spread over Egypt, seems to have taken the regime by surprise, but at this point a very casual attitude to what was happening began to form in the bowels of the military leadership. In short, the decision was made “not to interfere”. To give all actors the opportunity to do everything that they wished, then to gently bring the situation under control. This strange behavior of the army, which showed strength and determination, but almost did not prevent mayhem and riot, was perceived as a kind of “unity” the army and people, but the pragmatic generals did everything possible to remain as the third force in the conflict, and consciously distanced themselves from it. Moreover, when the first phase of the revolution almost choked, it was the generals who managed to force Mubarak to make concessions to the rebels, which reanimated the evanescent waves. By the way, by a curious coincidence, the dead Maidan in Kiev was reanimated when it had actually subsided, by the inexplicable and completely unnecessary dispersal of the innocent students and the homeless. Deliberately harsh and even cruel, with the obligatory hype of this event in the media, all flared up again.
In Egypt, if you do not pay attention to the details, the course of events of the “second wave of the revolution” seems similar, but in reality it was much more organized, and the almost immediate resignation of Mubarak after initiation hurled event to a new level. The army continued to remain silent and gave the street to the rebels, but opposed any attempts to draw it into the events. This is not to say that everything went smooth and as planned; it seems that within the military establishment itself there were unexpected passions. In addition, at that point the Qatari-Usaian and Euian designs immediately started in the battle for power, as the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with secular Westerners. The Egyptian military preferred at this point if not to freeze then to sharply reduce the visibility of its activities. Meanwhile the army continued to maintain strict neutrality, forbidding the participation of soldiers in the events and refusing to support any of the parties. In fact, the military leadership of Egypt, appreciating the potential of their opposition to simultaneously unfolding projects of the West and the element of rebellion, decided in the current situation to slow down. As very figuratively Yulia Tymoshenko said in a similar situation in relation to the perspectives of the presidency, Hillary Clinton (who openly and shamelessly positions herself as a purely Western project) said, “Let them crap.” The Egyptian generals reasoned in about the same vein. The only condition that they put forward for themselves was, under no circumstances to cooperate with any of the forces which would eventually come to power. Not to be implicated in the coup was, in fact, the main task of the generals after the collapse of the situation.
The third stage of the Egyptian revolution began with a moment of infinite series of elections, as a result of which the formal power in the country came to “Muslim Brothers”. The military was not opposed to this parish, and even demonstrated loyalty by agreeing to the resignation of the top military leadership of the country. However, this was their first and last concession to the Islamists. From then on the entire Egyptian nomenclatura started the implementation of their main task, to sabotage any decisions of the new government and to discredit it. Just over six months in the Egyptian state apparatus (which largely consists of the same retired military and essentially with the army uniform bar) paralyzed the activities of the structures of power of the Islamists, drowned them in endless litigation, sabotaged and directly refused to implement the decisions of the political leadership. All negotiations coming to power of President Morsi’s new military leadership with requests to affect civilian colleagues ended in nothing. The people’s discontent with the results of the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood swung the pendulum in the other direction, has created all the conditions for a military takeover. In Feb 2013, e-mailed letters began to arrive from Egyptians who read my blog. They openly talked about the fact that the felul (as the Egyptian ruling nomenclatura is known) was preparing their own coming to power. Preparation for a military takeover were in the open, but there was nothing Morsi could do. He never managed to get the controls into his own hands. Moreover, in the heat of disbanding the security agencies, Morsi failed to create an adequate replacement, and he never turned in contrast to the army to have any viable force structure.
Over the course of spring and summer of 2013 the military takeover became a matter of ‘technology’ (see above – RB). They had the initiative, the advantage in resources and ever-increasing popular support. Most importantly, they had not been involved in any coup for 11 years, which provided substantial support in the eyes of a very serious majority of the population, which did not support the revolution or was disappointed in its results. In summary, it can be stated that the Egyptian military had quite a brilliant three-way combination against any possible hostile projects of “colour revolution”, managed to solve their own problems with the rotation of the top leadership of the country, and largely managed to clean the abscess of internal strife. Their tactics were not too graceful and partially relied on reflex actions, but the whole operation was planned with military thoroughness and bore all the signs of a deep and ongoing staff support.
We should not assume that the Egyptian experience is something very unique. To some extent, about the same scenario happened in the October revolution in Russia, in which, I believe, there was a group of influential and high-ranking military general staff. They were not satisfied with either the Czar or the liberal views of his opponents. As a result, whether planned or random, the same scheme was employed: the February revolution demolished the rotten and discredited Czarist power, which had brought the country various liberal experiments towards the introduction of Western capitalism before the crash, then for six months the Provisional government was given the opportunity to “crap”. And only then came the time of Lenin and his party, which entered into an alliance with the military-patriotic wing of the general staff, who saw the Bolsheviks as the force that would be able to pull the country out of the swamp of harmful experiments. The officers of the general staff were never supporters of socialism, but they believed that the Bolsheviks represented something more than Marxism (??? – RB). In the end, they were right, and the country received a new impulse to development, which led her to a position of a superpower. Though it seems paradoxical, ISIS today is very similar in technology and action structure. Its founders are the generals and officers of Saddam Hussein, hard nationalists and supporters of the construction of a national, ethnically and religiously pure state for Iraqi Sunnis. Their expansionist plans are not aimed at the mythical idea of world domination, but at a purely mundane plan of national state building. In the ideology of the military, the Ba’athist party plays in this case a purely supporting role. For example, the head of the military wing of ISIS, Haji Bakr long been irritated fellow Islamists in their appearance and only after a long time had agreed to release the beard. Here we can finish our historical discussion, and from analogies go back to our current situation.
Russian Maidan (2): risk strategy vs extensive strategy
El Murid, Sep 18 2014 20:14 pm
The second passage I have to precede with special warning. In this passage, one way or another, I mention Igor Strelkov. I know that there are a considerable number of people searching and digging their noses to the ground to accuse him of anything, from mass rape to executions, torture, terrorist attacks and preparing a coup. I want to say that my text is just my own understanding and vision of the situation. Strelkov will express his own understanding of the situation when it deems necessary.
In the opinion of the author, the above examples and analogies can be applied to the current situation of Russia, which carries the danger of a coup of the type of Kiev or the events of the Arab spring. Of course, no direct recipes can be gleaned from them, but the general approach is quite applicable to avoiding the dismantling of our country. For this you need to understand that there are two stages in the development of the situation, which are fundamentally different from one another. We are still in the first stage today. Let’s hope that the coup or attempted to conduct a “colour revolution” is still hypothetical. Hope always remains. Today, we must understand and accept the existence of the paradox of modern Russian authorities objectively creates all the prerequisites for the coming catastrophe, but it is also the guarantor of the preservation of at least some stability and existence of the state. What happens when the state suddenly ends its existence, we clearly see on the example of Libya, Egypt, Ukraine. There is still hope, albeit weak, even miniscule, that some miniscule fraction of sound instinct in the Russian leadership, will in the end cause them to start some much-needed reforms of the cannibalistic economic and political system that are leading our country to annihilation. That is why at this stage it is necessary to maintain the current regime as the lesser of the available evils. This does not negate our rights and obligations, to criticize the actions as radically as we wish. At this stage I completely agree with Strelkov’s view that we must support Putin, simply because any other course leads us automatically to the idea of a coup in one or another of its forms.
However, at exactly this moment, when the power still remains to seize the matter, before the creation of all necessary conditions for its collapse allow the malicious dismantling of Russian statehood, the paradigm of conduct of all normal people, for whom the notion of Russia is crucial, should radically and qualitatively change. We must understand that since the commission and especially the victory of the revolution, all of today’s political elite have either betrayed their stated goals or become demoralized. In the current political system of power and control that has developed in the last decades, there reign both adverse selection and betrayal. The strong devour the weak, the weak betray the strong: that’s the key to survival in the modern Russian elite. You do not need illusions. In the event of a coup, both the ruling United Russia party members, and the representatives of the systemic opposition parties will race to the winner, cursing and selling today’s cartridges. Just as Gaddafi, Mubarak, Ali Saleh and Yanukovych were betrayed, Putin will be betrayed in exactly the same way. The non-system opposition, too, will not be able to offer him support and protection from the coup. Part of it will be cannon fodder for the Russian Maidan, and the rest simply will not be able to organize. Professional provocateurs and business projects like the zealots of Kurginyan will marshal the power of the latter group, exactly to the second when their bosses will receive recompense. Money or any other cookies, no matter. As soon as the revolution will win or it will be announced that he won, the management of such sects will turn on their heels, leaving their faithful followers in the lurch.
Unfortunately, the emasculated and castrated political system of modern Russia is only able to generate either traitors or impotent. Regardless of the personal qualities of the individual, and particular politicians in general and the government and the opposition are in fact quite decent. In peacetime this situation personally guaranteed Putin peaceful existence as the one and only. This time, however, no Bolatnaya with its herbivores and caricature extras need be expected: the situation is that the West will resolve the issue quickly and most severely. Again, to avoid misunderstanding: Today, Putin is the guarantor of legality and existence of the state. With all the understanding of the negative consequences of many of his actions, this fact is undeniable. That is why his support and opposition to any attempts of coup d’etat under any slogans is the only reasonable model of the behavior of a normal person. However, it is impossible to eliminate the possibility of a hard scenario involving Western ‘technologies’ aimed at the destruction of our country. Therefore, a very pessimistic view of the possible consequences of the Russian Maidan would be justified, if not for one thing. Today appeared the factor of Strelkov, a conditional third force who can afford to run a counter-coup. At the time of start of a negative scenario, peaceful life (conditional plan “A”) must end and be included in the action plan (a conditional plan “B”), on liquidation of the consequences of the coup. The trick is that the current government will not be able to count in this situation on the support of this third force. Credibility cannot be infinite, and if the government still bring the matter to a catastrophic scenario, it should be written off and forgotten. Personal survival of these people from this point on should be a personal matter. In relation to the coup, everybody should act according to the same rule of Tymoshenko: “Let them crap.” And here it is necessary to understand another subtlety of what is happening.
From the point of view of analytic strategy, all the “colour revolutions” were achieved by Usaia in the framework of an extensive strategy; that is, the maximum use of all available and accumulated resources in advance. In this strategy, if the advancing side makes no mistakes, all transformations in the positions of the warring parties are mixed, and the coup, in essence, is a full-fledged military operation. Successful examples of effective resistance against the “colour revolutions” are always associated with a different strategy: the strategy of risk. This strategy is characterized by the fact that conversions of positions are ambiguous in nature. In other words, at any point of possible failure, this strategy gives you the chance to win due to the fact that the enemy is constantly forced to seek non-trivial and unexpected responses, which contradicts the nature of the extensive strategy. Any offensive operation is characterized by the existence of multiple critical points. The first critical point occurs at the breakthrough of the defense, when both opponents have completely depleted their resources, in defence and attack respectively. In order to achieve the breakthrough of the defense, the defending party must regroup its forces, focusing on breakthrough, with the aim of developing a counter-attack with operational depth. The German General staff explored this feature of the offensive in detail between the two world wars, trying to find a theoretical justification for the reasons for the failures of advances in the fields of WW1.
In relation to the coup and revolution this critical point can be illustrated by the example of the Kiev Maidan, after the expulsion of Yanukovych, the junta achieved his victory through the destruction of the state apparatus in the center. After solving the problem of the seizure of power in Kiev, the Nazis were forced to solve the problem of mastering the controls and retention of power. In the period from the beginning of March, almost to the end of April, the junta “hung in the air.” It had no tools to influence the situation and it was able to stay in power merely due to the fact that her opponents were even more disorganized, and also demoralized. At this point, perhaps if Moscow decided to return Yanukovych to his rightful position in Kiev, the junta would have had no opportunity to prevent it. In the case of the Russian Maidan, after victory of Moscow, a junta will have exactly the same situation: there would be a “window of opportunity” in which counter-forces could take control of the situation. At this point all the forces involved in the coup will manifest themselves, at this point all traitors will race to the winner, and at this point the junta will be at its most helpless. Russia is not Egypt. We have no army able to dominate the situation. We do not have any tools suitable for the confrontation of the “colour revolution” in its hard version. That against Russia will fight the most severe scenario, there can be no doubt. Just here, we can play a “risk strategy” which creates uncertainty and interferes with the extensive strategy of the Russian Maidan. We don’t have two or three years, like Egypt. All will be decided during the existence of this “window”. The third force is the strategy of risk, which can shoot and solve two problems: the demolition of the existing anti-people system of power and control by the hands of the anti-state revolution, and the elimination of traitors and collaborators who will participate in the Russian Maidan in the role of participants and joined themselves to it. The resource of the third force is the people’s trust and credibility. This is a disposable tool, there will be no second chance.
A critical factor in the implementation of such a non-trivial strategy is time. Strictly classics: “Yesterday was too soon, tomorrow will be too late.” This means that the third force must be prepared in advance the structure of the counter-Maidan, and first post. The start of the coup d’état in any form (from the “I’m tired, I’m leaving” form, to openly violent action) shall automatically terminate plan “A” and immediately go to plan “B”. Critical for counter-Maidan should be its localization. This means that at any variants coup should be limited to the MKAD, and even better the Garden ring (geography of central Moscow – RB). If the enemy will be able to carry out a coup, the first response should be to take the power in all the major cities of Russia under the control of a third force and the formation of militias. This militia will have to arrive in Moscow for the elimination of the coup at the appointed staff time. This drill for the scenario of the counter-coup, apparently, makes sense to finish. In fact, it is important to understand counter-measures and action sequences. You need to be aware that any revolution will be accompanied by paralysis of the organs of power and control, as we observed in 1991 and 1993. Therefore success depends very much on the preparedness of this conditional third force for the coup and its response to the coup, independently, without relying on the frozen government. The danger lies in the fact that the junta can take control and start the counter with the help of these same government agencies, which will make the elimination of the coup by the fact, if not hopeless, heavy and possibly bloody. In Ukraine, that’s exactly what happened; the army, being demoralized and preserving its neutrality during the failure of the junta from March to April, in May came under the control of the Nazis and the program of genocide in the Donbass. The price of delay was thousands and tens of thousands of lives, destroyed regions of the country, the national disaster.
Hopefully, in general terms, the logic of the script for this counterforce is clear. And here I would like to make a retreat, which will not be included in the book. I believe that at the moment, Igor Strelkov is the third force that can either help to prevent a coup, or eliminate it if you run such a script. On the basis of his personal authority we can rely on the support of tens and hundreds of thousands of people. Believe him, and this is important. That is why I support Igor Strelkov, regardless of my acquaintance with him. However, Strelkov will have the opportunity to make two errors, after which he will cease to be the third force and will lose the ability to resist negative scenarios. The first error is the path of General Lebed. As soon as he lost his independent status and become part of the system, he turned into it and played according to its rules. He will not be able to become part if the system without losing his authority and support of the people. The second error is marginalization. In that case, if he allows anyone to use his name in their own interest, he will cease to exist as an independent piece and will be associated only with those who will give him the right to be used. If he will be able to pass between these very possible probabilities and will retain his autonomy and authority, then he can be a unique phenomenon in our social scene. And then his support will remain unconditional. It is not easy and most importantly, this way depends on him alone. It’s his cross, and here he has no one to help him. I hope that his unconventional thinking and innovative solutions will compensate for his lack of political and life experience.
Former CIA deputy director says Khorasan more threatening than ISIS
Kurt Nimmo, Infowars, Sep 18 2014
Mike Morell, a former deputy director of the CIA, told CBS ‘News’ there is a terror group that poses a more serious and direct threat to Usaia than ISIS. Morell told the corporate media ‘news’ network:
Khorasan members came from Pakistan. They focus on attacks in the West. Khorasan is focused on threats to aviation. They believe that, if they damage the airlines, they can damage the Usaian economy, as we saw with 9/11. Unlike ISIS, which is believed at present to be largely engulfed in its fight for territory. Khorasan is developing fresh plots to target Usaian aviation, and it’s trying to recruit Westerners who have flocked to the fight in Syria, some of whom have joined the AQ franchise in the country, Jabhat al-Nusra. The fear is that Usaian & Euian passport-holders could more easily smuggle explosives onto airplanes.
Nusra has now pledged allegiance to ISIS. CBS ‘News’ reports Khorasan is especially dangerous because it supposedly has access to AQAP and its alleged master bomb-maker. As we noted in August, as the hyped ISIS threat began to pick up steam, AQ’s purported mastery with explosives is primarily the stuff of myth. From Faisal Shahzad and the Times Square plot to the pathetic attempt to blow up Northwest Airlines 253 by Umar Farouk Abd’ul-Mutallab, AQ’s track record is at best dismal. Ibrahim al-Asiri, a Saudi with a murky background, is said to be AQ’s master bomb-maker. He allegedly made the bombs discovered on cargo planes in Dubai. That bungled plot and the Northwest Airlines 253 caper were reportedly the work of Anwar al-Awlaki, the former FBI operative who dined at the Pentagon just months after 9/11. DCI Brennan recently told CBS ‘News’ that Usaian officials were “doing what we can” to track al-Asiri down, and said his “time will come.” The question is: why did the government conceal the supposed Khorasan threat to aviation until after Obama’s ISIS war speech and after weeks of hyperventilating about the terror threat by the establishment media and neocon Congress critturs? Only the Usaian government and its intelligence agencies are aware of Khorasan, and they have not provided evidence to verify that it and a threat to aviation actually exist. The unsubstantiated Khorasan threat is perfectly timed to coincide with the ISIS threat. It will be used as a multiplier as Usaia and soon the UN and NATO ramp up for the ISIS war.
this is yet another example of failing to factor in the jewish/israeli angle: russia is relying on minsk to head off a kolomoisky takeover
The Arithmetics of Diplomatic Theatre
Gleb Bazov, Slavyangrad, Sep 19 2014
The views expressed herein do not necessarily match those of Slavyangrad.org
It is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of the divine plan. Russia’s cunning plan in Ukraine belongs to the same category. In analyzing the statements made by Sergei Lavrov in his interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines on Sep 17 2014, some commentators have added a third concept, that of diplomatic theatre, to this duality. While it is generally bad form to over-analyze religious beliefs, let us apply some simple mathematics to understand the play behind the curtains of diplomatic theatre. The concept of diplomatic theatre is understood differently by commentators. Many of the definitions are clearly wrong. Diplomatic theatre is not magic, mysticism, or sleight of hand. The language of diplomacy is far more akin to mathematics than commonly understood. As in mathematics, every word has its place, and no phrase is spoken out of context or frivolously. The product of a diplomatic equation is directly dependent on the placement of definitions in a string of calculated statements. Like legal language, diplomatic language can be deciphered, broken down into components, and analyzed with precision. To a keen observer, there is nothing mysterious in what diplomats say. Bad diplomacy, on the other hand, is the opposite of this approach. And Lavrov is an excellent diplomat. Accordingly, let us parse out the meaning of Lavrov’s interview without resorting to magic or belief in the guiding hand that can do no wrong.
Setting Out the Equation
Lavrov’s interview contains a wealth of statements with respect to the crisis in Ukraine. Many of them have been made before: Russia’s steadfast commitment to investigating the Odessa massacre, the crash of MH17, and the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the Ukrainian troops in Donbass. All of these remarks are laudable, praiseworthy and notable in and of themselves. However, the immediate, short and medium term future of Novorossiya no longer depends on what happened in Odessa, Mariupol and Slavyansk. Far more important to the existence of the Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republics (respectively, “DRP” and “LPR”) is the document executed following consultations in Minsk on Sep 5 2014, the Protocol of the Trilateral Contact Group, more commonly known as the Minsk Protocol. Perhaps even more important to the continued existence of the DPR and the LPR is Russia’s commitment to the Minsk Protocol, which Russia signed along with the other participants, and the forms such commitment takes. For our purposes, the key statements in Lavrov’s interview, which evidence Russia’s understanding of the role and substantive impact of the Minsk Protocol, are excerpted for your convenience below:
- Our position is absolutely clear: we want peace in Ukraine, which can only be attained through a wide-ranging national dialogue involving all of the country’s regions and political forces.
- Russia has been actively assisting the emergence of favourable conditions for a peaceful solution to the serious problems confronting Ukraine.
- … in Minsk on Aug 26, Putin and Poroshenko stressed the need for an early end to the bloodshed and a transition to the political settlement of the entire set of problems in the country’s southeast.
- On Sep 3, Putin proposed a seven-point action plan for stabilizing the Ukrainian crisis.
- … in Minsk on Sep 5, Poroshenko’s representatives and the leaders of the DPR and the LPR signed a Protocol with regard to further joint steps aimed at, among other things, implementing Putin’s initiative.
- This understanding is an important step in the process of peaceful crisis settlement in Ukraine and designed to serve as a fulcrum point in starting an internal Ukrainian political dialogue that would seek the way toward national accord.
- We proceed from the assumption that all provisions of this document should be meticulously met.
We all want peace in Ukraine. While many of us differ in our opinions of the best means to achieve peace, most of Novorossiya’s supporters universally agree that the Minsk Protocol, as it stands, is tantamount to a betrayal of the struggle currently unfolding in the Donbass region. This note is not meant to elaborate on the writer’s opinion in this regard. Suffice it to say, for now, that a more extensive analysis of the Minsk Protocol is in the works. Nor does it matter, for the purpose of this analysis, if you believe that the Minsk Protocol is the solution to the Ukrainian crisis. As you will glean from what follows, so does Russia.
Understanding the Variables
What can we understand from Lavrov’s statements about Russia’s approach to achieving peace in Ukraine? Lavrov states:
[Peace] can only be attained through a wide-ranging national dialogue involving all of the country’s regions and political forces.
Recalling our discussion of the mathematics of the diplomatic language, this statement is significant because it speaks of only one country, Ukraine, and of the dialogue between all the regions of that country and the political forces within it. Judging by Lavrov’s statement here, Russia considers Novorossiya to be but a union between two constituent and integral regions of Ukraine, the DPR and the LPR, and does not conceive of these entities (or of Novorossiya, for that matter) as sovereign states. Moreover, Russia deems the groups that have been leading the struggle of the Donbass people against the Kiev authorities to be forces internal to Ukraine, rather than leaders of an independent country, Novorossiya. The same conclusions are inevitable when one considers statements such as “serious problems confronting Ukraine,” or “political settlement of the entire set of problems in the country’s southeast,” or “process of peaceful crisis settlement in Ukraine,” or “fulcrum point in starting an internal Ukrainian political dialogue that would seek the way toward national accord.” All these phrases irrevocably point to the same basic concept underlying Lavrov’s explanation of the Russian policy with respect to Novorossiya: the crisis is not a matter of self-determination of the Donbass people, nor is it evidence of the emergence of a new subject of international relations. On the contrary, all that has been happening is an internal Ukrainian matter. It is for Ukraine and no one else to deal with. Problems that confront Ukraine ought to be resolved in order to preserve Ukraine’s integrity. Moreover, these problems are not nationwide, but localized issues affecting the country’s southeast. In Russia’s opinion, a Ukrainian national dialogue ought to be pursued to ensure the preservation of the Ukrainian nation as a single entity. Russia believes that a national accord in Ukraine is still possible, and the meaning of Lavrov’s words is clear: Moscow intends to make all the necessary efforts to ensure that such reconciliation is reached. What has Russia done to secure this goal? Lavrov states that “Russia has been actively assisting the emergence of favourable conditions for a peaceful solution.” He further makes reference to the following specific events:
- the meeting between Putin and Poroshenko in Minsk on Aug 26;
- the seven-point action plan proposed by Putin on Sep 3; and
- the execution on Sep 5 of the Minsk Protocol with regard to further joint steps aimed at, among other things, implementing the Russian President’s initiative.
In other words, Russia has engaged in a consistent pattern of diplomacy aimed at securing the kind of agreement that was signed in Minsk on Sep 5, i.e. the Minsk Protocol. Every statement made by Lavrov in this regard indicates that the Minsk Protocol is the apex of Russia’s diplomatic efforts in resolving the Ukrainian crisis, maintaining the integrity of Ukraine and ensuring the survival of Ukraine as a single national unit. With so much preparation, effort and work put into the Minsk Protocol, it would be surprising if Russia was negligent in crafting this agreement together with the other participants of the Trilateral Contact Group. And we have no reason to think that she was. On the contrary, the clear implication from everything that Lavrov has said on the subject (including in the interview herein discussed) is that Russia supports each and every provision of the document. But there is no need to convince you with arguments. Lavrov indicated this position very clearly when he stated:
We proceed from the assumption that all provisions of this document should be meticulously met.
There can be no argument on the face of the record. Russia’s position, as elaborated by Lavrov could not be any clearer. The Minsk Protocol must be implemented, in each and every respect. However, this is precisely the point where the proponents of diplomatic theatre as a simulacrum of magic make their strongest case.
The Arithmetics of the Cunning Plan
In the argument of those who see a cunning plan at work behind Lavrov’s words, this statement is a trap carefully laid out for the bumbling Ukrainian halfwits. In fact, the argument goes, Russia expects Ukraine to fail in implementing the Minsk Protocol and is giving Poroshenko as much rope as he desires to hang himself, all the while slyly winking at the DPR and the LPR in a reassuring manner. An ironclad argument. If there is anything we have learned about the Ukrainian leadership in the course of this conflict (and, in fact, since the early days of the Euromaidan) is that it has a lot of difficulty keeping its word and performing its obligations. Fear not, brave defenders of Novorossiya, you know and we know, and everybody knows that Ukraine will fail, and that is precisely when we will strike, this time with impunity. Leaving aside, for the moment, the doubtful assertion of the lack of punitive response (if anything, the West has been eminently clear that it will always take the side of the Ukrainian fascists, whatever happens, and the very instances that Lavrov discusses elsewhere in the interview, the horror of Odessa, the false flag of MH17, and the Ukrainian crimes in the Donbass region, are perfect examples of the West’s resolve to defend Ukraine at all cost), let us examine the likelihood that Ukraine could falter in the implementation of the Minsk Protocol. Even more importantly, let us consider what Russia thinks of Ukraine’s performance to date.
The Traps of Mice and Men
The Minsk Protocol consists of twelve separate measures aimed at resolving the conflict in the Donbass region, which can be grouped as follows:
Political and Legal Measures
- Implement decentralization of power, including by means of enacting the Law of Ukraine “With respect to the temporary status of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” (Law on Special Status).
- Enact a law prohibiting the prosecution and punishment of persons in connection with the events that took place in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions of Ukraine.
- Ensure the holding of early local elections in accordance with the Law of Ukraine “With respect to the temporary status of local self-government in certain areas of the Donetsk and the Lugansk regions” (Law on Special Status).
- Provide personal security guarantees for the participants of the consultations.
Economic and Social Measures
- Conduct an inclusive national dialogue.
- Adopt measures aimed at improving the humanitarian situation in Donbass.
- Adopt a program for the economic revival of Donbass and the recovery of economic activity in the region.
Measures Aimed at the Cessation of Hostilities
- Ensure the immediate bilateral cessation of the use of weapons.
- Ensure monitoring and verification by the OSCE of the regime of non-use of weapons.
- Ensure permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification by the OSCE, together with the creation of a security area in the border regions of Ukraine and the Russian Federation.
- Immediately release all hostages and unlawfully detained persons.
- Remove unlawful military formations, military hardware, as well as militants and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.
Let us consider each group in turn in order to understand where Ukraine could go wrong, prompting Russia’s righteous indignation, allowing the Minsk Protocol to be rejected as a yet another agreement botched by the Ukrainian leadership, and triggering the cunning plan behind Lavrov’s masterful diplomatic theatre.
Political and Legal Measures
Political and legal measures are all clauses that Ukraine is responsible for. Moreover, their specific implementation appears to be in Ukraine’s absolute discretion. These clauses contain nothing into which Lavrov could sink the claw of “meticulous performance.” By error or by design, the political and legal clauses do not provide the specifics of the laws to be enacted by Ukraine pursuant to the Minsk Protocol. Moreover, such laws have already been drafted. Both the Law on Special Status and the amnesty legislation already exist as documents that can be examined and critiqued. Going back to the basic arithmetics of diplomatic language, the interview given by Lavrov was a perfect opportunity for Russia to indicate, clearly and unequivocally, whether Ukraine was complying with its obligations of implementing the political and legal measures called for by the Minsk Protocol. Not only did Lavrov not demonstrate even a hint of disagreement or displeasure with Ukraine’s steps in this regards, but he failed to even raise these issues. There is nothing left for us but to conclude that Russia is satisfied with Ukraine’s performance of its Minsk Protocol obligations pursuant to clauses 3, 6, 9, and 12.
Economic and Social Measures
The economic and social measures contained in clauses 7, 8, and 11 of the Minsk Protocol are even more lax than the preceding group. Not only are they entirely non-specific, and rather platitudinous, but also there is no explicit or implicit timeframe with respect to their implementation. We do not even need to refer to Lavrov’s interview in evaluating the potential for Ukrainian failure here. Other than an explicit and outright refusal to take these steps, nothing Ukraine does pursuant to these clauses is assailable. We have already witnessed the kind of “inclusive national dialogue” that Ukraine is fond of the last time there was a ceasefire: it was neither inclusive nor national. Any improvement over this standard would be lauded as a success and clear evidence of Ukraine’s liberal and progressive stance. It is even simpler with “improving the humanitarian situation in Donbass” and “adopting a program for [its] economic recovery.” It is entirely arguable that the last time Ukraine delivered humanitarian cargo to Slavyansk, which amounted to something like 200 grams of cereals and 100 grams of sugar per resident, it was improving the humanitarian situation in the beleaguered city. Just the same, reviving economic activity in the Donbass region does not necessarily need to result in the reconstruction of even one destroyed factory for the provisions of clause 11 to be satisfied.
Measures Aimed at the Cessation of Hostilities
The real crux of the argument made by the proponents of magical diplomatic theatre lies, of course, in the doubtful performance by Ukraine of the measures aimed at the cessation of hostilities. This is where Ukraine must and will fail. Keen observers of the conflict already know that the ceasefire has been breached, on numerous occasions, by Ukraine, and that it has failed to comply with its obligation to release hostages and unlawfully detained persons. That is the trap! There is no need to even look at the rest of Lavrov statements! Or is there? Well, of course there is, otherwise this note would not have been leading up to this very moment in a very inelegant fashion. Lavrov states the following:
We note that the ceasefire has been generally observed, although there are isolated incidents in which both sides are blaming the other. The important thing is to prevent them from escalating and leading to renewed hostilities. We are concerned about reports that the Ukrainian siloviki have been concentrating heavy weapons in an area. The Kiev authorities are assuring us that they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire. We will follow the developments closely. We support the DPR’s and the LPR’s proposal on the urgent deployment of an OSCE observer mission in areas where the conflicting sides are in contact. The order of priority and modality of measures contained in the Minsk Protocol will be additionally coordinated by the sides. We hope that the effort to implement the document’s provisions will be supported by our foreign partners.
So, a couple of points: according to Russia, the ceasefire has been observed, despite isolated incidents. Moreover, unlike before, Lavrov did not come out in support of Novorossiya by arguing that these isolated incidents have been the fault of the Ukrainian armed forces and its punitive battalions. On the contrary, he takes a neutral stance by stating that “both sides are blaming each other” for these isolated incidents. This statement is solely to the benefit of Ukraine, which is to blame, at the very least, for the majority of ceasefire breaches, and represents a marked departure from the usual Russian policy of wholeheartedly supporting the people of Donbass. With respect to Ukraine’s steps to concentrate troops and heavy weapons for a renewed assault on Novorossiya, Lavrov again departs significantly from Russia’s previous rhetoric in this conflict. Instead of, as before, referring to Ukraine’s pattern of failing to keep its word, he seems to take Kiev’s assurances that “they have no plans to disrupt the ceasefire” with a cold, but tacit acceptance. Finally, he applauds the DPR’s and the LPR’s “proposal” to deploy OSCE observers (he terms it a proposal even though it is a measure required by the Minsk Protocol), but does not criticize the lack of Ukrainian participation therein. As for the other provisions of the measures aimed at the cessation of violence, Lavrov does not even mention them, and we are left to conclude that Russia has no grievance with the manner in which Ukraine has been complying with its obligations in this regard. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in Lavrov’s interview indicating that Moscow considers Kiev to be anything other than an obstinate, but still a trustworthy partner in the long journey toward the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and the achievement of lasting national peace. For most of us, Lavrov’s failure to condemn Ukraine for the many dozens of victims that died at the hands of Kiev’s forces since the ceasefire came into effect is not only telling, but also monstrous. But it is not monstrous per se, it is simply an expression of Russian policy with respect to Ukraine and the implementation of the Minsk Protocol; Russia wants it to succeed, as written and executed. Russia is willing to overlook Kiev’s breaches. There is no hidden agenda, and there is no impenetrable political theatre.
The intentions of the Russian leadership are clear: unless Ukraine attacks again, Moscow will do whatever it takes to compel Novorossiya to comply with the Minsk Protocol. One could add “in order to bring about lasting peace,” but it should be clear to most of us that no lasting peace can be secured through the implementation of this agreement and that no reconstruction or revival of Donbass will ever come to pass if the Minsk Protocol is fulfilled. If you intend to lay out a trap, do not hide it in the bag. A diplomatic trap is a matter of making your claims known. If you do not stake out the basis for a future argument, no one will ever hear it or agree with it. Nowhere in his interview does Lavrov give any indication that Russia is anything other than carefully confident in the success of the Minsk Protocol. Moreover, despite all manner of breaches of the ceasefire by Ukraine, Lavrov does not acknowledge them or set out a basis for later claiming that Ukraine was the culprit that destroyed its own chances for lasting peace. On the contrary, Lavrov’s words whitewash the atrocities that Ukraine has engaged in since the ceasefire came into effect. There is no cunning plan or sabotage here. Russia’s intentions are clear: the Minsk Protocol shall be.
Postscriptum: There is one possibility that was not discussed in the analysis above: the possibility that Lavrov and Russia are simply being deceitful about their apparent acceptance of Ukraine’s conduct since the commencement of the ceasefire or about Russia’s acceptance of the Minsk Protocol in general. There is a reason why this possibility is discussed as a postscriptum. While diplomats are usually sly and misleading, such outright deception would do more damage to Russia’s international reputation than any fabricated evidence that the West has brought to the table to date. A diplomat who deceives is no diplomat at all. And, for that reason, I choose to believe that Russia is forthright in what it says.
it can be argued that everything usaia currently does is intended to single out countries suitable for its own pipelines and block those suitable for those of others
Euian Parliament Calls For Cancellation of South Stream Agreements
RIA Novosti, Sep 18 2014
MOSCOW – In a resolution adopted Thursday, the Euian Parliament called on the Euian leadership to cancel agreements with Russia, including on the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline. The Euian Parliament “calls on the Member States to cancel planned agreements with Russia in the energy sector, including the South Stream gas pipeline,” the resolution reads. Aiming to diversify export routes from Russia to Central and Southern Europe, Russia began construction of the South Stream gas pipeline across the Black Sea in 2012. The pipeline, which will allow gas transfers to travel to Europe without crossing Ukraine, is expected to become fully operational by 2018. The first gas supplies are scheduled for late 2015. Inter-governmental agreements were signed with Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia, Austria and Croatia in order to implement the construction of onshore pipeline sections. However, in August, Bulgaria suspended operations, saying that they did not meet the requirements of the European Commission. The commission has long been trying to hamper the project saying it violates Euia’s Third Energy Package, which stipulates that pipelines in Euia cannot belong to natural gas extractors. Moscow insists that the construction of the pipeline does not contradict the regulations in any way.
Euia guided by political considerations in dealing with South Stream project
ITAR-TASS, Sep 18 2014
SOFIA – Euian leaders are guided more by political rather than practical considerations in dealing with the South Stream project, Bulgaria’s former Economy and Energy Minister Dragomir Stoynev told ITAR-TASS on Thursday. Bulgaria’s ex-minister said:
I personally believe that Euian leaders are thinking more of politics and geopolitics rather than of economy or the position of European citizens. This should change. Economic interests, including in relations with Russia, should play the leading role. The Euian Commission is not taking necessary measures to guarantee stable gas supplies in the winter period for the Euian member countries. With winter approaching, Europe is getting closer to the energy crisis. We are extremely concerned with a situation which is linked directly to the Russia-Ukraine conflict. There is a high degree of probability that gas transits will stop for Europe, including Bulgaria. Ukraine’s gas reserves will run out by late October, while the Euian Commission is not taking additional measures to avoid possible problems and guarantee gas supplies to the Euia in winter. That is why Sofia insists on further construction of the South Stream gas pipeline which is supposed to remove all risks for transit to Bulgaria and other countries in south-eastern Europe. Gas storages in Europe are practically full, but that does not solve the problem. France, Italy and some other countries have access to energy resources in Northern Africa while Bulgaria, Slovakia and Hungary do not have this access. They can rely only on Russian gas. That is why we are insisting on swift decisions. Euia has imposed sanctions against Russia without due assessment of possible consequences. When sanctions are imposed against Russia, it is natural that it should retaliate. But that does not help anybody. I hope that the new Euian Commission will find the right solutions through dialogue with all the parties concerned. Unfortunately, all these decisions are directly linked to politics and will most likely be adopted at a much later stage. I doubt that anything concrete is going to be passed late in October for the reason that this theme is being considered in combination with the South Stream construction and the Ukraine conflict.