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by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Egypt, Russia, Syria, and, a Valentine’s Fray

12:15 am in Uncategorized by CTuttle

A most interesting interview…! Here’s a short snippet:Islam v West? ‘Major civilizations on collision course’

Now, delving into current MENA affairs, in the recent ‘State’ visit of al-Sisi to Moscow…

Egypt, Russia pledge close bilateral relations

In a 2+2 meeting in Moscow, Egypt’s defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and foreign minister Nabil Fahmy discuss arms deal, stress closer relations.

In his first trip outside the country since ousting former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi met with his Russian counterparts in Moscow to discuss a planned $2 billion arms deal.

The deal includes a Russian air defence system and, if signed as expected, will be the biggest military purchase from Russia since the Soviet era, marking a possible rekindling of a historic alliance that ended in the 1970s when former president Anwar Sadat reoriented Egypt’s position in favour of the US.

El-Sisi insisted in an interview earlier this week that closer relations with Russia are no replacement for existing relations with other countries.

His high-profile visit to Russia, in the company of Egypt’s foreign minister Nabil Fahmy, featured a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who expressed his firm support for El-Sisi’s presidential bid, not yet announced from the field marshal but widely anticipated.

El-Sisi stressed that the meeting represents “a new departure” for Egyptian-Russian military and technological cooperation, reported Egypt’s state news agency MENA.

Aside from Putin, the two-day talks were headed by Russia’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov.

Now, what is not reported by most…

Russian television reveals what Russia wants from Egypt

The goal behind the Russian-Egyptian cooperation and arming Egypt is Russia’s need for another base and focus point in the Mediterranean Sea, other than Syria, as it is unstable and its fate is unknown, Konstantin Sivkov, First Vice President at the Academy for Geopolitical Issue said.

Speaking during the Russia Today programme which was aired on Russian TV on November 13, 2013, Sivkov said Russia’s need for this base are many, the least of which is the water, fuel and food supply, as well as a place for sailors to rest.

During the programme Dimitri Jantiv, Middle Eastern Studies expert at the Institute of Asian and African Countries, noted that the American’s anger over this will be limited since the Egyptian army is in control of a number of things, including “the aircraft that freely flies over Egypt’s airspace, the warships that sail through the Suez Canal, the joint manoeuvres and the intelligence information.”

The interviews revealed the expected outcomes of Egyptian Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s visit to Russia and the reason behind Russia’s support for him.

A Russian naval base was established, just as Russia wanted, and, as mentioned in the video, it was established to coincide with Al-Sisi’s last visit to Russia.

Now, I question whether a naval base has been set in concrete, but, I’m positive that Israel, muchless the US, must be none-to-thrilled with that agreed-upon Russian Air Defense battalion in Egypt…!

Most especially, considering the fact the Israelis don’t have the same back-door accessibility to the Russian ADA systems, like they do with all the US/Nato ADA systems…!

Russia’s Putin supports Egypt’s General Sisi for president Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Friday News Dump

7:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Shir Hever makes abundantly clear in that clip, the I/P Peace Farce is nothing but a charade…! Now, I swear it’s Déjà vu, all over again, as I wrote back when Hillary was the SoS… The Fork Is Stuck In The Peace Farce’s Dead Carcass In reflecting back on that golden oldie, and but for a few personnel changes, much of it reflects exactly what’s happening today…!

However, one of those characters I’d cited, Tzipi Livni, has certainly roiled the waters recently…

Tzipi Livni claims she had sex with two Palestinian figures, Erekat and Abed Rabbo and threatens them with video proof

The chief Israeli negotiator and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said this week that she has had sex with the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority in the peace negotiations with Israel, Saeb Erekat and the Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation(PLO) Yasser Abed Rabbo.

Livni’s sexual misdemeanours have been the fodder of the political Arab rumour mill for years, but until now, what the foxy Israeli politician got up to behind closed doors was all guess work.

Lebanese newspaper Al Diyyar broke the story earlier this week that the Knesset Beauty had publicy stated that she and the chief Rabbi of Israel had decided that “It was ok for her to sleep and have sex with strangers, as long as it benefits Israel”.

According to Al Diyyar, Livni said :“The room where I had sex with Palestinian figures as Saeb Erekat and Yasser Abed Rabbo was equipped with cameras.”

She also confirmed that the videos show Palestinian officials, nude, having sex with her.

Livni is now threatening a number of Arab figures to post these shot videos on YouTube if they do not execute what she orders them.

That seemingly paints those Palestinian Negotiators into the same pathetic corner, as Abu Mazen’s complete cop-out throughout the Peace Farce, as the Palestine Papers have made so abundantly clear…!

So anyways, there’s a ton more of MENA news and views to cover…

An optimistic Arabic article…

‘A nuclear deal in sight for Iran at Geneva talks’

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi says an initial nuclear deal is likely to be reached on Iran’s nuclear program after a planned meeting between Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva.

“I’m a bit optimistic,” Araqchi told reporters after the first day of talks between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and Germany.

The hoped-for agreement — seen as a first step ahead of further talks on a final deal — could see Tehran to decide about changes on the dimension of its nuclear activities for as long as six months in exchange for some relief from the Western sanctions.

However the administration of US President Barack Obama says it is “premature” to criticize a deal being discussed in Geneva over Iran’s nuclear energy program.

“There is not an agreement at this point,” John Kerry told reporters shortly after arriving in Geneva Friday to help seal what is hoped to be a landmark deal with Tehran.

Kerry, who broke off a Middle East tour to join the ongoing negotiations in the Swiss city, stressed that “there are still some very important issues on the table that are unresolved.”

In addition to Kerry, the foreign ministers of France, Britain and Germany also arrived Friday following last-minute announcements they would join the talks.

As Bloomberg wrote today…

Iran Accord Seen Near as Top Diplomats Flock to Geneva

World powers are sending their top diplomats to Geneva for an unscheduled third day of talks with Iran, signaling a possible agreement to break the decade-long stalemate over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

The Chinese and Russian foreign ministers are due to join their French, German, U.K. and U.S. counterparts today in the Swiss city, where negotiators have been seeking for the past two days to complete an initial accord.

“Foreign ministers don’t show up to be embarrassed,” said Jim Walsh, a security analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, who has traveled to Iran for talks with nuclear officials. “They’re in town because they’re close enough to a deal to come.”

Naturally, the PePs, and Neo/Ziocons are completely freaking out, from today’s WSJ…

Emerging Iran Deal Brings Jitters to Washington

As Secretary of State John Kerry and European foreign ministers met Friday with Iranian officials to finalize a deal curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for reduced sanctions, legislators back home weighed in on the possibility of a deal.

Several members of Congress blasted the administration for being too open to what they consider a substandard deal that doesn’t require Iran to fully suspend its uranium enrichment programs. {…}

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers were concerned about the deal emerging in Geneva, which would have Iran roll back its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. Negotiators emphasized Friday that important details remained unresolved.

“If Iran intends to show good faith during these talks, it must at a minimum abide by United Nations Security Council resolutions calling for a halt to enrichment, and it is my hope that we achieve much more,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.) in a statement Friday. “I forcefully reject any notion that Iran has a ‘right’ to enrichment, a view which the administration has publicly articulated on numerous occasions.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) called the deal being pursued “terrible” and said it would endanger the country.

To put it all into it’s proper perspective, on why on earth, Rep. Engel and Sen. Cruz should happen to be on the same page, Philip Giraldi, penned another awesome essay, yesterday…

Israel and You and Me

What’s in it for us, Mr. President?

If the United States fails to take advantage of the opportunity to come to terms with Iran over its nuclear program it will be because of pressure from Israel. If the unthinkable happens and Washington actually attacks Iran, initiating another major war that will have far reaching and possibly disastrous consequences, it will likewise be because of Israel. Folks in the progressive media who find that fact unpalatable or, quite frankly scary, tend to attribute the White House’s inability to articulate a more benign and responsible foreign policy that would serve true national interests to other factors, including imperialism, capitalism, the military industrial state and misguided humanitarianism, but they are possibly deliberately missing the point. Imperialism and capitalism do not explain Syria, nor does the increasingly militarized American national security state, witness the fact that the Pentagon knows its limitations and is actually reluctant to get more involved anywhere in the Middle East. {…}

All of the above is intended to demonstrate that what passes for United States national interests have been manipulated and distorted, so much so that they have little or nothing to do with reality. Where is the “you” and “me” in what the White House is doing? We Americans have an interest in peace and prosperity but instead the president sits down with five heads of organizations who only want war on behalf of a foreign land, with more American soldiers likely dying for nothing as a result as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan. And there is domestic blowback that comes part and parcel with the fractured foreign policy: homeland security in the United States is a response to the international terrorism that has plagued our country in large part because of Washington’s uncritical support of Israel. Our national security state not surprisingly incorporates many Israeli practices as America becomes more and more like Israel, not vice versa. And Washington pays for making us “safe” on a credit card, as the economy sinks and burns…

Now, moving along to other blockbuster news… Following hot on the heels of the recent Turkish, seismic shift… Turkey’s shift to China instead of NATO Egypt, seemingly, is working on a very similar Arms Deal with Russia…!

Egypt Eyes $4Bln Arms Deal With Russia

Egypt is considering spending up to $4 billion on advanced weaponry from Russia following the partial suspension of military aid and equipment deliveries from the United States, a Palestinian online newspaper said Thursday.

According to Donia Al-Watan, Moscow has offered Cairo “a historic deal giving Egypt an option to buy the most advanced weaponry without any restrictions.”

To be sure… Russian Defense, Foreign Ministers to Visit Egypt

In more news, the constant rants from the infamous Moustache of Fury, amongst numerous others, in Geneva today… US loses Unesco voting rights after stopping funds over Palestine decision along with Israel…!

Ironically, on Twitter’s big IPO, Bibi, had declared… Netanyahu launches ‘Real face of Iran’ Twitter campaign against Khamenei

Funny thing tho, today… Our negotiators are not ‘compromisers,’ Khamenei tweets Oh Snap…!

Meanwhile, Obama calls Netanyahu amid Israel fury at proposed Iran deal…!

Stay tuned…! *gah*

by CTuttle

MENA Mashup: Bandar Bush, Code Pink, and Friends of Syria

7:10 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

I’ve been absent too long, pups! My apologies…!

There has been a slew of foreign f*ckery afoot and a whole bunch of it leads up to the House of Saud’s stoop…

Saudi Arabia warns of shift away from U.S. over Syria, Iran

* Riyadh signals anger over U.S. policy in Middle East

* Source says shift could affect arms, oil trade

* Prince Bandar set to end cooperation over Syria war

* In Washington, Saudi prince assails Obama’s Mideast moves

…Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

“The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,” the source close to Saudi policy said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.” {…}

The growing breach between the United States and Saudi Arabia was also on display in Washington, where another senior Saudi prince criticized Obama’s Middle East policies, accusing him of “dithering” on Syria and Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In unusually blunt public remarks, Prince Turki al-Faisal called Obama’s policies in Syria “lamentable” and ridiculed a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Assad’s chemical weapons. He suggested it was a ruse to let Obama avoid military action in Syria.

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious. And designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down (from military strikes), but also to help Assad to butcher his people,” said Prince Turki, a member of the Saudi royal family and former director of Saudi intelligence…

As the ever-intrepid, Pepe Escobar wrote today…

The self-beheading House of Saud

…As much as the House of Saud is completely paranoid regarding the Obama administration’s latest moves, throwing a fit will not change the way the geopolitical winds are blowing. Iran’s geopolitical ascent is inevitable. A Syrian solution is on the horizon. No one wants batshit crazy jihadis roaming free from Syria to Iraq to the wider Middle East.

The Saudi spin about creating “a new security arrangement for the Arab world” is a joke – as depicted by Saudi-financed shills such as this.

The bottom line is that an angry, fearful House of Saud does not have what it takes to confront benign protector Washington. Throwing a fit – as in crying to attract attention – is for geopolitical babies. Without the US – or “the West” – who’s gonna run the Saudi energy industry? PhD-deprived camels? And who’s gonna sell (and maintain) those savory weapons? Who’s going to defend them for smashing the true spirit of the Arab Spring, across the GCC and beyond?

Perennial Foreign Minister Prince Saud is gravely ill. He will be replaced by a recently appointed deputy prime minister.

Guess who?

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the king’s son. Instead of a “principled” stance against “double standards”, the House of Saud move at the UN feels more like nepotism.

Emptywheel delved further into Bandar’s perfidy today…

Read the rest of this entry →

by CTuttle

Whitewashing NATO on Libya, Next Stop Syria/Iran

7:30 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~Albert Einstein

While NATO gathers in Chicago for their ‘peaceful’ million-dollar soirée, I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of this right away…

Nato urged to investigate civilian deaths in Libya

A leading human rights organisation has urged Nato to investigate fully the deaths of civilians in air strikes in Libya last year.

Human Rights Watch believes Nato air strikes killed at least 72 civilians and says the organisation needs to bear responsibility where appropriate.

“We’re calling for prompt, credible and thorough investigations,” HRW’s Fred Abrahams told BBC News.

Nato insists it took unprecedented care to minimise civilian casualties.

It argues that it cannot take responsibility because it has had no presence on the ground to confirm the deaths

I’m positive somebody has already ‘inadvertently’ deleted all the Drone and/or other aerial footage of the BDA results…!

Meanwhile, Dubai’s Khaleej Times really spelled out the horrendous situation in Syria, today…

Disaster in Syria

Deadly clashes have been reported from Syria. The new flare in fighting has come at a time when efforts to restore normalcy have literally flared.

The rebels and the security forces are in action and don’t seem to be aware of consequences, as the society is slipping deep into the abyss of lawlessness and chaos. Reports say that more than 30 soldiers were killed in an eyeball-to-eyeball interruption with the gunmen on streets, which sounds quite alarming taking into account the perfection with which the siege has been laid. Three troop carriers were also destroyed in the fighting, posting the casualties figures up to 12,000 in the 14-month long uprising.

In a kneejerk reaction, apparently, the European Union has slapped a new phase of sanctions on Syria, hoping that it would compel the iron-man, President Bashar Al Assad, to step down. The sanctions, the 15th of their kind, to make a point against the ongoing relentless repression are unlikely to even raise an eyebrow in the corridors of power in Damascus, as the regime sits pretty cool — unconcerned for what makes the Arab country go down the drain. Yet, the international community and especially the EU, which holds the purse as far as developmental and trade activities are concerned for many of the developing countries in Asia and Africa, is clueless as to what would make Damascus oblige to the demands of its own people and the world at large. This is certainly not working. The option of sanctions, as a case in history, has always resulted in emboldening the dictatorial regimes and exhausting the efforts of peace brokers. The people who have been the real victims have had to face the onslaught not only from socio-economic perspective but also in terms of horrendous nightmare in their lives

Now, to update my prior post…Why Is The Terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army Training The Syrian Opposition On Our Dime?

Kosovo voices strong support for Syria opposition

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj voiced strong support on Monday for Syria’s opposition, saying his government had already established diplomatic contacts with Syrians fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad.

Hoxhaj was responding to comments by Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who warned the U.N. Security Council that Kosovo should not be allowed to become a training center for rebels.

Speaking after a regular council meeting on Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, Hoxhaj made clear that Pristina was offering political support to the Syrian opposition, which is locked in a 14-month-old battle with forces loyal to Assad.

“We were among the first governments in Europe who was supporting the opposition in Libya and in other Arab countries last year, because we were fighting for the same aspirations, for the same values,” he said.

We have the same approach to Syria and have some diplomatic contacts between my government and (the) Syrian opposition,” Hoxhaj said. “We are supporting very much their cause.

Asked if Kosovo had established training centers for Syrian rebels, Hoxhaj said: “Not at all.”

Not at all, indeedy…! Anyways, in dispelling any notions that the Syrian crisis could be ‘contained’…

Alawite-Sunni fighting erupts in Lebanon port city

Three people were killed when fighting erupted overnight in the Lebanese city of Tripoli between members of the Alawite minority loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and members of the Sunni majority, witnesses and security officials said on Sunday.

Rocket-propelled grenades and automatic rifles were used in the fighting in an Alawite enclave and surrounding Sunni neighbourhoods in the port city, 70 km (44 miles) north of Beirut.

“The clashes peaked at dawn. The sound of gunfire is still echoing in the city,” a Lebanese security official said.

The official Lebanese state news agency said a soldier hit by sniper fire was among those killed.

A statement from the army said reinforcements were being sent to the city and that troops were “pursuing armed men to return the situation to normality.”

A Reuters correspondent in the city said most of Tripoli’s main intersections were blocked by burnt tires and that the Lebanese army had deployed in an area separating the Alawite enclave from the rest of the city.

The fighting underlines how sectarian tensions in Syria can spill over into neighbouring Lebanon

Now, Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett are right on the money, again…

…The real tragedy is that, if Rice becomes Romney’s running mate, the only voices that will criticize her tenure in government will come from neoconservative quarters. The Obama administration will treat her public record with kid gloves—notwithstanding candidate Obama’s 2008 pledge not just to end the war in Iraq but to end the “mindset” that produced such a colossally bad choice in the first place. Far from changing this mindset, Obama and his team have internalized it as their own.

If anyone harbors any doubts about Oily Bomber’s complete abdication to the Neo/Ziocon ‘mindset’…

Iran Exile Group Nears U.S. Rebirth

State Department Is Moving to Take MeK Off Banned List at Risk of Angering Iran

The Obama administration is moving to remove an Iranian opposition group from the State Department’s terrorism list, say officials briefed on the talks, in an action that could further poison Washington’s relations with Tehran at a time of renewed diplomatic efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear program.

The exile organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK, was originally named as a terrorist entity 15 years ago for its alleged role in assassinating U.S. citizens in the years before the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and for allying with Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein against Tehran.

*gah*