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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

Turkish Forces Invading Syria Again

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

Turkish Armored vehicles entered the Syrian town of Cobanbey in the northwestern Aleppo province Saturday, as part of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield aimed at clearing ISIS from its border region, military sources told the Anadolu Agency. The sources said the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which is being supported by the Turks, took control of the town of Cobanbey, near the Turkish border in Aleppo.

Saturday’s invasion took place 36 miles west of Cerablus, opening a second front for the Turkish Army in Syria. The move could cut in half the territory controlled by ISIS along the Turkish border and isolate its drifting troops along the border.

The town, which shares a border with the city of Azaz which is controlled by Syrian opposition forces, has frequently changed hands between the FSA and ISIS.

Turkish fighter aircraft have been striking the villages along a highway where ISIS fighters are regrouping after having fled Cerablus, DHA reported Saturday. Three Turkish air force sorties have hit Gandıra Village in Cerablus. Syrians living in Gandıra, Bozhüyük, Küllü and Zugara have fled their villages to the Turkish border.

DHA reports that the area near the Turkish border has been cleansed of ISIS and is being supervised by the FSA, which is clearing the Cerablus fields from mines and explosives. Turkish Armed forces are monitoring civilian safety in the area.

The Turkish government launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24 with Moscow’s approval and in coordination with the US Special Forces who are operating in the area. It aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using FSA fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery, and jets.

JNi.Media

Russian Programmer Wanted by US Flees Armenia to Moscow

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Sergey Mironov, 30, a Russian citizen who had been arrested last Friday in Armenia’s Zvartnots Airport on charges of an illegal transfer of military technologies and money laundering, on Wednesday fled for Russia, TASS reported. On Tuesday, an Armenian court refused to remand Mironov, after the US had placed him the international wanted list. Mironov, 30, who had arrived in the capital Yerevan with his wife Yulia on vacation, was detained at the request of US authorities.

According to a report in RIA Novosti, Mironov is employed by the Moscow office of Synesis, a company developing intelligent video surveillance and business intelligence based on computer vision analysis.

Mironov’s attorney, Karen Nersisyan, told TASS, “My client had a return ticket to Moscow for August 31. Based on the court ruling, the motion for his arrest was turned down and we found in the court’s decision no grounds for keeping my client from leaving Armenia.”

Nersesyan told RT his client was wanted “”for alleged money laundering crimes worth $50,000.”

Nersisyan told Rossiya 24 TV earlier that since the US search for Sergei Mironov was riddled with legal irregularities, his client should be extradited to Russia, rather than to the US. “The Americans and Interpol violated my client’s elementary rights against illegal search and seizure,” he said, suggesting that “because of these violations, Armenia’s law enforcement and justice system must hand the Russian citizen over to Russia, and urge the Americans to follow procedure and contact Russia’s judiciary and, naturally, Interpol.”

The US has been chasing after Mironov since May for the illegal transfer of US military technology to an unnamed foreign country.

JNi.Media

Russia Denies Plan for Israel-Palestinian Authority Summit in Moscow

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

The Kremlin issued a statement late Monday denying any plans to hold a summit between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

“There are no specifics on this matter yet,” said Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov in a briefing with reporters quoted by the TASS news agency.

“Moscow maintains rather trust-based and active relations with both the Israelis and Palestinians, but there are no specifics yet.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said earlier in the week that Moscow might host a summit that would include the two sides this fall.

Russia supports the “Palestinian-Israeli settlement process,” Peskov said, “but there are no specific agreements on holding a meeting of the sides’ leaders in Moscow.”

Hana Levi Julian

Report: Putin to Host Netanyahu Abbas Summit in Moscow

Monday, August 29th, 2016

Advanced talks have been conducted recently in preparation for a summit conference with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Abbas in Moscow this fall, according to the daily Yediot Aharonot. The paper reported on Monday that both PA and Israeli officials have confirmed that the summit is scheduled to take place in October or shortly thereafter, under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Abbas has personally expressed his willingness, in principle, to partake in a Moscow summit. However, according to Yediot, the PA Chairman still insists that Israel first commit to freezing settlement construction and carry out the fourth phase of terrorist prisoners release which was halted when Secretary of State Kerry’s peace initiative collapsed in 2015. Abbas also insists on setting a specific date for the end of negotiations and for reaching a final agreement.

Political sources in Jerusalem have told Yediot that when Netanyahu and Putin spoke on the phone last week, the summit plan was part of their discussion. But they stress that the summit idea at this point is “mere speculation, it’s too soon.” Still, the same sources say Netanyahu is willing to meet with Abbas directly any time.

On Wednesday, August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing PA-Israel peace talks with 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 the Putin-Netanyahu phone conversation.

JNi.Media

Palestinian Authority (Again) Rejects New Attempt at Final Status Talks

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

Palestinian Authority leaders have rejected another attempt by world leaders to arrange final status talks with Israel, this time brokered by Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently expressed willingness to host Israeli and Palestinian Authority leaders for direct talks, an idea first raised last week by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

But as has happened with prior such efforts, including an attempt in July by Cairo, and similar efforts by Jordan’s King Abdullah II and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the bid was rejected.

The Arabic-language Jordanian al-Ghad daily newspaper quoted senior Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Wasel Abu Yousef on Sunday as saying the United States was notified of the entity’s “firm stance” on pre-conditions for such talks: 1. total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and anywhere in Jerusalem restored to the capital from 1967 onward; 2. release of the fourth contingent of prisoners listed for freedom during the failed 2014 “peace talks” in spring 2014.

Abu Yousef said “any meeting requires the conditions to be implemented in order to ensure the talks are not just for public relations,” journalist Nadia Sa’ad Eddin reported. “The Occupation Authorities persist in their refusal to meet their obligations while pressing ahead with escalating their aggression against the Palestinian people,” he added.

In any case, he said, the Palestinian Authority is “busy nowadays with the arrangements for local elections, scheduled for October 8…. with a national consensus on the need to make it a success…. and achieve national unity.”

Israel has consistently insisted on “direct bilateral negotiations with no preconditions,” pointing out the obvious fact that agreement to any preconditions would preclude the need for negotiations since acquiescence would have already determined the conclusion.

Israel has rejected the so-called “French initiative” which champions the Palestinian Authority cause and which pressures Israel to accept regionally-determined conditions regardless of the effect on her citizens within a limited timetable.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkish PM Denies Russia Demanding to Use NATO Nuke Base

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Russia is not demanding to land its planes in the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey, as several Russian news services have claimed. “Russia had no demands to use İncirlik air base, those reports are not true,” Yildirim told foreign correspondents in Istanbul on Saturday, according to Hurriyet Daily News. However, the prime minister did agree that should Russia wish to use the base for its operations against ISIS, it would be welcome to do so. Still, Yildirim added, “Russia doesn’t need to use the base. They have bases in Syria.”

Yildirim’s statement concluded an anxiety-filled few days in which Russian news sources were announcing that Russia has been demanding that Turkey give its air force access to the NATO air base in İncirlik, which is where US and coalition air forces take off on their strikes in Syria. Located some 65 miles from the Syrian border, Incirlik is also where an estimated 50 US B-61 nuclear warheads (think 100 Hiroshimas times 50) are kept.

According to Izvestia, a Russian lawmaker named Igor Morozov said it was only a matter of time before Turkish president Erdogan hands over the NATO base at Incirlik to the Russians, to intensify the war against ISIS. “You’ll see, the next base will be İncirlik,” Morozov told Izvestia, shortly after the Kremlin had revealed that Russian bombers have been using an Iranian airbase for their attack on Syria. He predicted İncirlik would be “one more victory for Putin.”

Those statements came against the background of a report by EurActiv, a Belgian foundation focusing on European Union policies, that the US has begun to transfer its nuclear weapons stationed in Turkey to Romania, for fear of the worsening relations between Washington and Ankara.

EurActiv cites a Stimson issue paper from August 2016, suggesting that during the July failed coup in Turkey, the Incirlik base power was cut, and US planes were not allowed to fly in or out of the base. As the coup was being suppressed, the base commander was arrested. Another source told EurActiv that US-Turkey relations have so deteriorated after the coup that Washington no longer trusted Ankara with the nuclear weapons, and so the warheads are being moved to the Deveselu air base in Romania.

Foreign Policy on Friday debunked the story, quoting a tweet from nuclear weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis, the director of non-proliferation studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, that said Romania does not have the special WS3 vaults needed to store the weapons safely. Also, the Romanian Defense Ministry released a statement saying “so far there have not been any plans or discussions on this topic.”

Of course, this entire brouhaha is borne by Erdogan’s obsession with his former ally and current enemy Fetullah Gulen, whose extradition from the US the Turks have been demanding since the failing of the coup (which Gulen’s supporters may or may not been responsible for). As long as the US insists on following the rule of law on the Gulen extradition, the Turks will persist in these shenanigans, until someone gets seriously hurt.

So far, as that Moscow parliamentarian has put it so aptly, one more victory for Putin.

JNi.Media

Moscow Calming Israeli, American Fears of Russia-Turkey-Iran Coalition

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

Tuesday’s meeting in St. Petersburg between the two former feuding foes Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan “drew considerable attention,” government-run news agency TASS reported, noting that the Russian-Turkish rapprochement is coming while Russia has been expanding its relations with Iran and Ankara and Tehran have also been bridging the gaps between them, born by almost four decades of a volatile Islamic Republic on Turkey’s border. In fact, right after the failed coup last month, Erdogan announced, “We are determined to cooperate with Iran and Russia to address regional problems side by side and to step up our efforts considerably to restore peace and stability to the region.”

Should Israel be concerned? Apparently, the Russian news organ is eager to spread a message of calm regarding the new developments in the northern part of the region. And so an unsigned article this week polled experts who were skeptical regarding a developing strategic triangle of those three powers. According to the TASS experts, the most that will come out of the current statements are tactical political interaction and an upturn in economic cooperation. But even if it were true, and Russia, Turkey and Iran were to forge a strategic alliance, TASS continues its calming message, it would be for the best, because “these three countries can play a positive role, for instance, in overcoming the Syrian crisis.”

It isn’t clear who is panicking more at the moment—Jerusalem or Washington—over the possibility that Turkey, a NATO member, would switch sides and coalesce with Russia and Iran. Clearly, the US has a whole lot more to lose from such an emerging outcome. US Middle East policy traditionally relied on the “three-legged stool” comprised of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey. As long as those three major local powers were in the Western camp, Soviet manipulations elsewhere could be mitigated. When Iran was lost under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, the US attempted for the longest time to substitute Iraq for the missing stool leg, but the Iraqi regime never provided the stability the US enjoyed with the Shah. This is why the US is so determined to keep Turkey in the Western camp, because without a Western-allied Turkey, the US presence in the region would be severely downgraded.

Hence the need for the TASS calming story. It interviewed senior research fellow Vladimir Sazhin, of the Oriental Studies Institute under the Russian Academy of Sciences, who reassured the Western readers “there will be no trilateral union, of course. It should be ruled out for many reasons. At best one can expect some tactical alliance. This is so because Iran, Turkey and Russia have certain problems in their relations with the West and with the United States.” That’s code for Turkey would be punished severely, economically and otherwise, if it ever jumped ship.

Sazhin continued, “If one takes a look at the economic interests they share, it should be remembered that Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan … are countries that produce and export hydrocarbons. They have a great deal to discuss in view of the current strained situation on the world market. As for Turkey, its role in delivering hydrocarbons to the West may be significant. But I don’t think that this triangle will be of strategic importance.”

Sazhin sees no fundamentally new geopolitical aspects in sight. “It’s about getting back to where we had been all the time. Arabs constitute an overwhelming majority of the population in the Middle East. Non-Arab countries are few – Israel, Turkey and Iran. They had very close relations up to [the emergence of] the Islamic revolution in Iran.”

“In Iran, with its 80-million population, Turks and Azerbaijanis, who are ethnically very close to Turkey, constitute an estimated 18 to 25 million,” Sazhin said. “Bilateral relations existed not only at the Tehran-Ankara level. There were very strong people-to-people bonds. Plus the long-standing economic ties. But in politics post-revolution Iran and NATO member Turkey have drifted apart, of course.”

Research fellow Irina Zvyagelskaya, of the Arab and Islamic Research Center at the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Oriental Studies Institute told TASS, “I don’t believe in the emergence of new political triangles. I don’t think some strategic changes will follow overnight to bring about changes to the configuration of alliances. A number of steps we’ve seen our friends and partners and those we are not on very friendly terms with us take are tactical. They stem from the current situation.”

Zvyagelskaya believes that to a large extent this is true of Turkey. “It is to be remembered that Erdogan’s wish to have closer relations is a result of certain internal political events, on the one hand, and soaring tensions in his country’s relations with the United States and the European Union, on the other. These steps by Erdogan are purely pragmatic and we should treat them accordingly. As far as I understand, nobody has any illusions on that score.”

JNi.Media

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/moscow-calming-israeli-american-fears-of-russia-turkey-iran-coalition/2016/08/11/

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