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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

Russia Announcing Delivery of S-300 Missiles to Syria in Wake of Collapsed Talks with US

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Monday’s suspension of nuclear disarmament talks with the US over the latter’s challenge of Russian involvement in Ukraine and Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that it had delivered one battery of the air defense system S-300 to Syria.

“It is true that one battery of the S-300 air defense systems has been delivered to Syria. It is to provide protection for the naval logistics facility in Tartus and the Russian Navy’s task force,” Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters in Moscow.

Last year, Russia moved to Syria its newest air defense system S-400, and last March Putin announced that the S-400 systems and the short-range systems Pantsir-S1, a combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system, would remain on permanent combat duty in Syria.

As the website Liberty Unyielding noted Wednesday, “nothing about the fight against the rebels in Syria requires an S-300V4-enabled, full-scale land war according to Russian doctrine. Nothing about it requires the level of air defense represented by the S-400, for that matter. The rebels don’t have anything at all that requires bringing either system to the fight.” Instead, the same website contends, “the system is being put there to mark and hold Russian territory against the US, our most advanced allies, and (potentially, someday) China.”

The White House has been watching helplessly as Putin suspended the treaty with Washington on cleaning up weapons-grade plutonium. Over the past three decades, Russia and the US have signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals. All that good work is being threatened now with Putin’s decree that suspended a 2000 agreement binding the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium intended for use in nuclear weapons.

Asked by a reporter on Monday, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest admitted the Administration was “disappointed” by Putin’s move.

“The decision by the Russians to unilaterally withdraw from this commitment is disappointing, and the reason for that is that this agreement that went into force in 2011 pledged the disposal of thousands of nuclear weapons’ worth of plutonium,” Earnest stated, adding, “And this was an agreement that was reached by the United States and Russia because we’re the two countries that have the largest amount of this material and both leaders in Russia and the United States have made nonproliferation a priority. And certainly the United States is interested in limiting proliferation and trying to reduce the risk associated with potential nuclear terrorism. And again, we know that Russia’s leadership has recognized this risk. The United States has been steadfast since 2011 in implementing our side of the bargain, and we would like to see the Russians continue to do the same thing.”

Konashenkov responded to Earnest’s statement by saying the US “is to blame for the disruption of all September 9 ceasefire agreements on Syria and for letting the militants build up reserves again.” He continued: “It is the United States that has fallen through with a crash regarding the implementation of the September 9 ceasefire agreements. It failed to separate a single group of the so-called opposition from  [Al Qaeda offshoot] Jabhat al-Nusra, thus letting the terrorists regroup themselves and replenish reserves.”

“Isn’t it the right moment for our US counterparts to recognize in public that the whole opposition in Syria they have reared all along and still keep under control are part and parcel of the same ‘umbrella brands’ Al-Qaeda and Jabhat Al-Nusra?” Konashenkov asked, and invited Earnest “to come down to earth from the sky.”

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post-Cold War US-Russia disarmament, according to Reuters, which suggests that the practical implications from the suspension of the deal will be limited. It comes down, instead, to “powerful symbolism.”

This also comes down to a growing realization in the West that President Obama, in his zeal to foment the “Arab Spring,” has enlarged the political vacuum created by President GW Bush in the Middle East, and with the current White House’s policy of avoiding at all cost a “boots on the ground” military intervention in Syria or Iraq, Putin’s Russia is never going to leave, regardless of who gets elected President come November. Putin is grabbing this opportunity offered by a reluctant Obama to flank the West and guarantee naval access in the Eastern Mediterranean.

So far, Putin has planted Russian troops in Syria, forged long term relations with Iran, flirted with Egypt and with Israel — which receive about $6 billion annually in US aid, and patched up his relations with Turkey, a NATO member.

And, as Sen. Pence mentioned in Tuesday night’s debate (although he was off by a couple trillions), Putin’s Russia managed these sound regional gains with a mere $1.3 trillion GDP, compared with the US’ $17.9 trillion GDP (which is 13.7 times stronger).

It could be time for extensive language courses for Washington officials, except this time it’s the optimists who will study Mandarin, while the pessimists will take up Russian.

JNi.Media

Security Guard Shot, Critically Wounded in Attack on Moscow Choral Synagogue

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

A security guard was shot by an assailant during an attack over the Sabbath at Moscow’s largest synagogue, the Moscow Choral Synagogue.

This is the same synagogue which then-Israeli Ambassador Golda Meir and the first official Israeli delegation to Russia visited and attended services during their posting to Moscow.

Interior of Moscow Choral Synagogue, Russia's largest and most prominent Jewish house of worship.

Interior of Moscow Choral Synagogue.

Svan Ivan Borisovich, age 40, arrived at the scene with a gun and a canister of flammable liquid during later afternoon prayers, according to Interfax, and attempted to enter the building with 150 worshipers inside, saying he was going to burn down the building.

The house of worship, located on Bolshoy Spasogolinschevsky Lane in central Moscow, is the largest and most prominent Jewish house of worship in Russia.

Security guards at the site blocked him from entering and attempted to take the man across the street, at which point he withdrew the gun and shot one of them. The guard sustained gunshot wounds in the head and chest.

The other guards overpowered the attacker and held him until police arrived and arrested him. The wounded guard was rushed to a hospital, where he is listed in critical condition, according to Mediazone.

The suspect told reporters as he was taken away by police that he had opened fire and carried out the attack “for Russia.”

Hana Levi Julian

Judea, Samaria, Golan Communities Bypassing BDS, Taking Products Directly to US Consumers

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

This week, Yesha Council, the umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria this week joined forces with the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs to promote their products as well as products from the Golan Heights at the annual IAC National Conference in Washington. Representatives of the council and ministry handed out five thousands Medjoul dates from the Jordan Valley, two hundred bottles of wine, and hundreds of samples of Ahava cosmetics and other products to conference participants.

The imitative was part of a broader plan to educate and encourage Israel supporters worldwide to buy blue and white and support businesses most threatened by the BDS campaign. Three months ago, a similar program was held in Moscow, and many more such events are anticipated worldwide in the coming months.

Oded Revivi, Chief Foreign Envoy of Yesha Council said in statement: “Israeli industrial zones in Judea and Samaria are islands of peace and coexistence where Israelis and Palestinians work together for a better future. With no political solution on the horizon, it’s time to tell the world that Israelis and Palestinians can live and work together in peace without being pushed into an agreement that neither side wants. Boycotting Israeli companies in Judea and Samaria actually harms Palestinian workers far more than the Israeli economy and is therefore and act against peace.”

While in Washington, Revivi met with more than a dozen Senators, Congressmen and staffers on Capitol Hill from both the Republican and Democrat parties, where he stressed that Yesha Council would welcome continued dialogue and cooperation with both sides of the aisle.

Yesha Council reps having lunch with Sheldon Adelson. / Courtesy

Yesha Council reps having lunch with Sheldon Adelson. / Courtesy

The Yesha Council delegation met privately with casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and requested his assistance with new initiatives to strengthen the connection between the Jewish people and their ancestral homeland. They reported that Adelson was extremely excited to hear about a new Amazon-like Boycott website that the Council is in the process of launching. He also agreed to come on a VIP tour of the thriving Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

Revivi told Adelson that “businesses in Judea and Samaria are on the frontline of the battle against BDS, [which is] currently targeting Ariel and Efrat but their ultimate goal is the destruction of the entire Jewish State. The Yesha Council is now going on the offensive launching a new Boycott website to promote Israeli goods directly to consumers.”

JNi.Media

Roll Over John Kerry, Russia Eager to Host Abbas-Netanyahu Moscow Summit

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

The Russian state news agency Interfax on Thursday afternoon released two short statements, one saying, “Russian Foreign Ministry confirms willingness to host Netanyahu-Abbas meeting in Moscow, preparations continue,” followed by, “Israeli, Palestinian leaders agree in principle to meet in Moscow – Russian Foreign Ministry.”

Russian Foreign Ministry official spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Tass on Thursday: “Responding to the appeals of the Palestinians and Israelis, we confirmed our readiness to arrange a meeting in Moscow between Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

The Russian diplomat said she was concerned over the “deadlock in the Israeli-Palestinian settlement,” stressing that this could leads to the deterioration of the situation on the ground.

Zakharova said that after US mediation efforts in 2013 and 2014 had failed, direct dialogue between the parties to the conflict had come to a grinding halt. “We are convinced that there is a need to resume the negotiations, which would be a factor in normalizing the situation,” Zakharova said.

Zakharova confirmed that the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed in principle to meet in Russia. “It is most important to choose an appropriate moment for it, the intense contacts continue, including on this issue,” she said. “We are satisfied by how Russia’s role is in demand in the Middle East peace process.”

JNi.Media

Document Shows Abbas Was KGB Agent

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was a KGB agent in 1983, according to a report on Israel’s Channel 1 News which presented Soviet-era documents from the archive of Vasili Mitrokhin, a former Soviet intelligence archivist who defected to the UK with a treasure trove of historic documents after the fall of the USSR. Mitrokhin died in 2004. The report was broadcast Wednesday night, during a week that had seen Russian President Vladimir Putin pushing for a prestigious peace summit in Moscow between Abbas and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On Tuesday, Abbas told reporters in Poland that he had been on his way to a preliminary meeting in Moscow with the Israelis September 9, when Jerusalem issued a call for a delay.

The timing of the revelation did not escape PA Arab representatives, who have been flooding Israeli media Thursday morning with profuse denials of the charges, as well as accusations that the Netanyahu government is trying to torpedo the peace efforts.

The document, which lists people the KGB was recruiting in 1983, names “Abbas, Mahmoud,” born 1935 in Palestine, as “Krotov,” or mole, in Damascus, Syria. Abbas was born in 1935 in British Palestine, and after 1948 fled with his family to Damascus, where he grew up.

And, in the clandestine spy world John le Carré books are made of, where being together at the same place and time is proof for plots and conspiracies, the following has to be a fine nugget: Mikhail Bogdanov, the Russian deputy foreign minister who has been Putin’s envoy pushing Abbas and Netanyahu to meet in Moscow, was stationed in Damascus from 1983-89 and from 1991-94. Put that in your hookah and smoke it.

Dr. Isabella Ginor of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, who together with Gideon Remez, an Israeli journalist and analyst of post-Soviet affairs, researched the Mitrokhin documents, rejected the claims by senior PA Arabs saying she and her colleague have no ties to the Israeli government and they certainly do not receive their orders from Netanyahu. As to the Timing of the revelation, Ginor told Israel Radio on Thursday morning that there has always been tension between Netanyahu and Abbas, meaning that whenever her team’s revelations were to be publicized it would have boosted Israel’s case against the PA Chairman.

Ginor added that the KGB also had an agent in the Israeli government, starting in 1972, a relatively unknown person who came to Israel from Moldova.

The PA officials argued that there was no need for the Soviets to recruit Abbas as a Soviet agent because the PLO was openly collaborating with Moscow. Indeed, Abbas was the head of a Palestinian-Soviet friendship foundation and as such served as a liaison to Moscow for PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat.

The documents are now in storage at the Churchill Archives Center of Cambridge University and have been open to the public for the past two years. Ginor and Remez came across the document naming Abbas while researching the Soviet involvement in the Middle East.

JNi.Media

Russia, Abbas, Pushing for Moscow Summit with Netanyahu

Wednesday, September 7th, 2016

The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday pointed out the importance of Russia’s role in organizing the Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the meeting of President Putin’s special envoy to the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, with high-ranking PA and PLO officials.

“During a confidential exchange of opinions on the entire set of Palestinian problems, special attention was paid to the development of the situation in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip in light of Palestinian municipal elections set for early October,” the ministry’s statement said.

“The task to restore as soon as possible Palestinian national unity based on the PLO political platform aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian independent state coexisting in peace and security with Israel was also considered,” the statement continued. “The Palestinian leadership representatives underscored Russia’s prominence in organizing a reliable Palestinian-Israeli negotiating process, including the possible organizing of a meeting in Moscow between the leaders of Palestine and Israel,” the statement said.

After the Ramallah meeting, Bogdanov spoke on the phone with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting Poland. “Abbas confirmed his unchanged readiness for continuation of active Russian-Palestinian political contacts in the interests of a solid and just peace in the Middle East,” the Russian statement said.

However, according to Abbas, who spoke to reporters following a Tuesday meeting with Polish leader Andrzej Duda, the Israelis have suggested postponing the initial talks in Moscow which had been scheduled, he claimed, for September 9.

“President Putin offered to meet in Moscow on September 9,” Abbas said. “I agreed. I was to fly to Moscow from here (Warsaw) to meet with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Unfortunately, in talks held in Jerusalem yesterday between representatives of President Putin and Prime Minister Netanyahu, the Israeli representative proposed to postpone this meeting.”

“So, the meeting will not take place,” Abbas complained, telling reporters, “I am prepared to travel to Moscow or any other country for the next meeting, since dialogue is the only way to peace for the Palestinian people and the only opportunity for our independent country to live side by side with Israel.”

Speaking at a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I am prepared to meet with Abbas at any time for direct talks without preconditions. I have said this hundreds of times and I am reiterating it now. I do not care about the place, be it in Holland, Moscow or anywhere else – this is not a problem, and it certainly could be in Moscow. I have said this to President Putin. I said this on Sunday to his envoy Bogdanov.”

“The main question is, of course,” Netanyahu said, “whether Abbas is prepared to meet without preconditions. We hear contradictory reports about this. Just yesterday, Palestinian spokespersons made it clear that they are ready to meet but they have conditions – releasing prisoners, they want to know if the talks will have results, etc. If Abbas is ready to meet for direct talks without preconditions, I am ready at any time. I have been calling on him to do this for almost seven years already and if he agrees to do this – there will be a meeting.”

For the record, though, Putin’s spokesperson said that while Moscow supports the Israeli-PA peace process, so far there have been no specific agreements between the two leaders on meeting in Moscow.

JNi.Media

Netanyahu Talks Moscow Summit with Putin’s Special Envoy

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday morning met with Mikhail Bogdanov, President Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, in Jerusalem.

In mid-August, Bogdanov discussed prospects for advancing PA-Israel peace talks with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman, and delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas. Since then, Bogdanov has met twice with the head of the PA mission in Moscow Faed Mustafa and with Israeli ambassador Zvi Hefetz. One of Bogdanov’s meetings with Hefetz was on August 24, the day of a Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation that received much attention.

According to a statement from the PM’s office, Netanyahu and Bogdanov on Monday discussed the possibility of coordinating a meeting between the Prime Minister and Chairman Abbas. They also discussed President Putin’s proposal to host a face-to-face meeting between Netanyahu and Abbas in Moscow.

The Prime Minister presented Israel’s position that he is always ready to meet with Chairman Abbas directly and without preconditions. He said he was therefore reviewing the Russian President’s proposal and the timing of a possible meeting.

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-talks-moscow-summit-with-putins-special-envoy/2016/09/05/

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