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January 17, 2017 / 19 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Putin’

Senior US Officials: Putin Directly Involved in Hacking Election

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Two senior intelligence officials with direct access to CIA information have told NBC News they believe with “a high level of confidence” that President Vladimir Putin was directly involved in the Russian interfere in the US presidential election. They said their information comes from diplomatic sources and spies working for “US allies.”

Putin’s objectives were multifaceted, a high-level intelligence source told NBC News.

According to the officials, the hacking campaign began as a “vendetta” against Hillary Clinton, then evolved into an attempt to expose how corrupt American politics have become, in an attempt to “split off key American allies by creating the image that [they] couldn’t depend on the US to be a credible global leader anymore.”

The CIA apparently believes that from discrediting the US, the campaign evolved eventually into an all out effort to elect Donald Trump.

The FBI, which has done its part to discredit the Clinton campaign, is yet to endorse the CIA view, but, according to NBC News, US security agencies recognize across the board that the Russians were behind the leaking of embarrassing emails from the account of chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign John Podesta.

A former CIA official told NBC News that the US will find it difficult to retaliate by embarrassing Putin, for the same reason the Russians didn’t bother to release embarrassing information about Donald Trump. In both cases the Russian and the American public is already familiar with the allegations about them, most of which came, in Trump’s case, from the President-Elect himself. In Putin’s case, the Russian public has so far accepted and forgiven, reports that he has grown rich through corruption and has ordered the killings of political adversaries.

David Israel

Putin Sending 2 Giant Firefighting Planes to Israel

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday spoke by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin who acceded to Israel’s request for assistance in extinguishing the wave fires plaguing the country and promised to immediately send two giant Beriev be-200 firefighting aircraft to save the day.

The Beriev Be-200 Altair is a multipurpose amphibious aircraft designed by the Beriev Aircraft Company and manufactured by Irkut. Marketed for fire fighting, search and rescue, maritime patrol, cargo, and passenger transportation, it has a capacity of 12 tons (3,170 gallons) of water, or up to 72 passengers.

Beriev developed unique fire-fighting equipment for the Be-200, allowing it to scoop water while skimming the water surface at 90-95% of takeoff speed. This system was developed using a specially modified Be-12P, coded “12 Yellow.”

In 2006 the Be-200 was leased by the Portuguese Fire Fighting Services for evaluation during the forest fire season. On July 6, 2006, the Russian crew of the Be-200 were carrying out a water pick-up from the Aguieira dam near Santa Comba Dão, when on climbing away they clipped treetops and at least one of the engines suffered ingestion damage and had to be shut down.

In October 2006, two Be-200 were leased to Indonesia to fight fires for 45 days, to the tune of $5.2 million. These operations prompted press reports that the Indonesian government had agreed to purchase two Be-200s, each with a projected price of $40 million. China bought 4 Be-200 during Zhuhai Airshow 2016.

Two Be-200 also operated in Greece, fighting the 2007 forest fires for the entire season.

In August 2016 two Be-200s were sent to Portugal to help in extinguishing forest fires. Four days later it was reported that thanks to the work of the Russian pilots, the fire was prevented from spreading in the direction of two settlements — Castro Laboreiro with a population of 1,000 people and Viaden de Baixo, where 15 farms were saved from fire, and Peneda-Gerês National Park.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked Russian President Putin for the response and the assistance.

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

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

Putin, Netanyahu, Talk Peace Process on Phone

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday, the Kremlin press service reported, adding that the conversation was initiated by Israel.

“The leaders exchanged opinions on Middle East settlement issues and topical aspects of the general situation in the region. They agreed to continue active Russian-Israeli contacts at different levels,” the report said.

On Wednesday August 17, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, Putin’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa, discussed prospects for advancing Palestinian-Israeli peace talks with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. Bogdanov also delivered a personal message from Putin to Abbas.

The Russian Foreign Ministry later issued a statement saying “the talks were meaningful and trustful. The sides considered prospects for advancing the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in strict compliance with the principles of international law. They also discussed the restoration of Palestinian national unity along the PLO’s political platform designed to create an independent Palestinian state, which would live in peace and security with its neighbors, including Israel.”

To be clear, in its current situation, the PA only has two neighbors: Israel and Jordan, so it’s a relief to read that it plans to live in peace with both. This considering the fact that Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, also has only two neighbors, Israel and Egypt, and it is maintaining a perpetual state of war with both.

JNi.Media

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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