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October 27, 2020

Belarus - Opposition Call For 'Crippling General Strike' Fails To Reach Workers

On April 30 2019 some Random Guyaidó in Venezuela got snookered into a coup attempt which turned him into a laughingstock when the troops he had expected to support him failed to show up:

The whole coup attempt was run within a 500 x 200 meter corridor with nothing of significance happening outside of it. A dangerous propaganda stunt but so far nothing more than that.

This slight modification of the Guaidó/López picture above seems appropriate. These dudes are mere comic figures, wannabe fantasy heroes.


bigger

One would have thought that such a comical failure would have put an end to similar schemes of 'western' supported regime change attempts.

Unfortunately it didn't.

In June 2020 it became obvious that a U.S. directed color revolution was planned to unseat the President Lukashenko of Belarus. It happened as usual after the election results were put into doubt. But just a few days later it became obvious that the attempt had failed:

While President Alexander Lukashenko claimed to have won 80% of the votes during last Sunday's election, the 'western' candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya claimed that she had won. (While the 80% is certainly too high it is most likely that Lukashenko was the real winner.) Protests and riots ensued. On Tuesday Tikhanovskaya was told in no uncertain terms to leave the country. She ended up in Lithuania.

Lukashenko then proceeded to make a deal with Russia which promised him protection in exchange for progress in the creation of a Russian-Belarus Union State.

Even the NATO lobby-shop Atlantic Council admitted that the coup attempt had failed:

Cont. reading: Belarus - Opposition Call For 'Crippling General Strike' Fails To Reach Workers

Posted by b at 14:32 UTC | Comments (50)

October 26, 2020

Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

Over the last years the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has managed to alienate so many of his countries international partners that it is hard to keep count. He at times did so on purpose to distract his voters from a sinking economy and other local calamities. But there are signs that he has now exceeded the patience of the adversaries he has created. He is now finally receiving the rebukes he has seemed to be seeking.

While Russia has emphasized friendly relations with Turkey, it is in conflict with it in Syria, Libya and most recently in the war over Nagorny-Karabakh.

Russia at times has a not-so-subtle way to communicate that its patience has run out. Last Thursday Russian ships in the eastern Mediterranean fired missiles on a oil smuggling center near Jarablus, Syria:

More than 15 militants from the Turkish-controlled Syrian armed opposition were killed and injured in a missile strike by an unknown military aircraft on a smuggling market for oil products in the city of Jerablus, bordering Turkey, in northern Syria, local sources reported.

It is noted that the rockets were also fired at two fuel tankers, which were moving along the highway near the village of Kus in the direction of the market. Eyewitnesses reported that at the time of the strikes, several powerful explosions occurred in the border area.

The oil was smuggled from eastern Syria and was on its way to Turkey.

Today a Russian air attack on a graduation ceremony of Turkish financed 'Syrian rebels' killed or wounded more than 200 of them.


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Cont. reading: Erdogan Is Again Under Pressure And Therefore Likely To Escalate

Posted by b at 16:03 UTC | Comments (156)

October 25, 2020

The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-85

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Michael Tracey @mtracey- 18:34 UTC · Oct 24, 2020

Tried to get into Biden’s “drive-in” event with Bon Jovi this afternoon in Dallas, PA and was told attendance is limited to “party officials and donors.” Registration is not open to the general public. Kinda weird how these campaign rallies have effectively become private affairs

Mark Sedwill said the UK had sought to exploit Moscow’s “vulnerabilities”, including through the deployment of its recently declared offensive cyber-capability.

He said the aim of such actions had been to “impose a price greater than one they might have expected” in response to aggressive Russian behaviour.

---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2020-85

Posted by b at 13:31 UTC | Comments (262)

October 24, 2020

Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Most of the commentators on yesterday's post were right. It was the Russian President Vladimir Putin who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

It was a part of a talk he gave at this year's Valdai Discussion Club meeting.

I found the excerpt remarkable because it included this, on might say, anti-capitalistic statement:

.. an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

That 'green' statement will rile those people who argue for free markets and a right to sell bullshit in ever more flavors. In their view the fight against such 'communists' thinking must be renewed.

As the full English transcript of Putin's speech and the two and a half hour Q&A is now available I can also quote another interesting passage where Putin talks about capitalism and the role of the state. His standpoint seems very pragmatic to me:

Cont. reading: Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Posted by b at 18:00 UTC | Comments (94)

Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Most of the commentators on yesterday's post were right. It was the Russian President Vladimir Putin who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

It was a part of a talk he gave at this year's Valdai Discussion Club meeting.

I found the excerpt remarkable because it included this, on might say, anti-capitalistic statement:

.. an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

That 'green' statement will rile those people who argue for free markets and a right to sell bullshit in ever more flavors. In their view the fight against such 'communists' thinking must be renewed.

As the full English transcript of Putin's speech and the two and a half hour Q&A is now available I can also quote another interesting passage where Putin talks about capitalism and the role of the state. His standpoint seems very pragmatic to me:

Cont. reading: Putin On The Role Of The State In The Economy

Posted by b at 17:53 UTC | Comments (8)

October 23, 2020

Guess Who Said This

Guess who said this:

Many of us read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when we were children and remember what the main character said: “It’s a question of discipline. When you’ve finished washing and dressing each morning, you must tend your planet. … It’s very tedious work, but very easy.”

I am sure that we must keep doing this “tedious work” if we want to preserve our common home for future generations. We must tend our planet.

The subject of environmental protection has long become a fixture on the global agenda. But I would address it more broadly to discuss also an important task of abandoning the practice of unrestrained and unlimited consumption – overconsumption – in favour of judicious and reasonable sufficiency, when you do not live just for today but also think about tomorrow.

We often say that nature is extremely vulnerable to human activity. Especially when the use of natural resources is growing to a global dimension. However, humanity is not safe from natural disasters, many of which are the result of anthropogenic interference. By the way, some scientists believe that the recent outbreaks of dangerous diseases are a response to this interference. This is why it is so important to develop harmonious relations between Man and Nature.

No cheating please. Guess. Who said the above?

Please let us know your first guess in the comments.

Posted by b at 17:43 UTC | Comments (137)

October 22, 2020

Open Thread 2020-84

News & views ...

Posted by b at 17:04 UTC | Comments (222)

Silly Season

Washington Post, November 19, 2017

Justice Department pushing Iran-connected charges in HBO hack, other cases

Last month, national security prosecutors at the Justice Department were told to look at any ongoing investigations involving Iran or Iranian nationals with an eye toward making them public.

The push to announce Iran-related cases has caused internal alarm, these people said, with some law enforcement officials fearing that senior Justice Department officials want to reveal the cases because the Trump administration would like Congress to impose new sanctions on Iran.

Washington Post, October 22, 2020

U.S. government concludes Iran was behind threatening emails sent to Democrats

U.S. officials on Wednesday night accused Iran of targeting American voters with faked but menacing emails and warned that both Iran and Russia had obtained voter data that could be used to endanger the upcoming election.

The disclosure by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe at a hastily called news conference marked the first time this election cycle that a foreign adversary has been accused of targeting specific voters in a bid to undermine democratic confidence — just four years after Russian online operations marred the 2016 presidential vote.

The claim that Iran was behind the email operation, which came into view on Tuesday as Democrats in several states reported receiving emails demanding they vote for President Trump, was leveled without specific evidence.
...
Metadata gathered from dozens of the emails pointed to the use of servers in Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, according to numerous analysts.

Reuters, October 22, 2020

U.S. intelligence agencies say Iran, Russia have tried to interfere in 2020 election

The emails are under investigation, and one intelligence source said it was still unclear who was behind them.
...
... the evidence remains inconclusive.

The claims that Iran is behind this are as stupid as the people who believe them.

I for one trust (not) those 50 former intelligence officials who say that all emails are Russian disinformation. They are intended to 'sow discord' which is something the U.S. has otherwise never ever had throughout its history.

Politico, October 19, 2020

Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say

More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails ... “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
...
While the letter’s signatories presented no new evidence, they said their national security experience had made them “deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case” and cited several elements of the story that suggested the Kremlin’s hand at work.

“If we are right,” they added, “this is Russia trying to influence how Americans vote in this election, and we believe strongly that Americans need to be aware of this.”

No, this doesn't make any sense. It is not supposed to do that.

Posted by b at 7:21 UTC | Comments (114)

October 21, 2020

Nagorno-Karabakh Talks Again Fail - No End Of War In Sight

As we had expected the ceasefire in the war on Nagarno-Karabakh did not hold. Azerbaijani units, supported by Turkish mercenaries from Syria, have gained new ground (yellow, blue) on the lower grounds of the southern front.


via ISW news - bigger

The topographic map shows that Armenian troops have left the hard to defend lower grounds and retreated towards the mountains. For Azerbaijahn to proceed onto higher ground will be much harder than the previous fighting.


via Imago Pyrenaei - bigger

The low ground also offered little protection for the Armenians from the massive aerial attacks by the Turkish and Israeli drones that Azerbaijahn is using. Armenian units had big losses of tanks and other equipment to aerial attacks.

However, during the last 36 hours, Armenia has shot down 8 drones. It seems to have finally found a way to detect and hit them. Canada has stopped the export of gimbal targeting turrets to Turkey. Without these the drones are blind. One recently destroyed Turkish Bayraktar drone had a very recent manufacturing date of September 2020. It is thus not a stock item. That together means that Erdogan's son in law, who produces these drones, will soon have problems to supply more of them.

Another round of talks with Armenian and Azerbaijahni representatives has been held in Moscow today.

After today's talks had ended the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan offered a rather dark outlook for the conflict:

Cont. reading: Nagorno-Karabakh Talks Again Fail - No End Of War In Sight

Posted by b at 15:15 UTC | Comments (98)

October 20, 2020

U.S. Again Moves Goalposts For Nuclear Treaty Extension

The Trump administration wants to abandon all nuclear arms treaties with Russia. It has already left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that restricted some classes of shorter range nuclear weapons. It left the Open Sky treaty which allowed for verification flights. It is now letting the New-START treaty with Russia run out.

New-START limits the number of deployed strategic weapons and nuclear warheads that can be used for intercontinental attacks. These include long range bombers, silo based nuclear missiles and the number of submarine launched nuclear missiles. The treaty does not limit the number of short range nuclear weapons or the number of nuclear warheads which are not deployed but held in reserve.

The current treaty will end on February 5 2021 unless Russia and the U.S. agree to extend it for up to 5 year as that the treaty foresees. The Trump administration has said that it wants a new agreement before the upcoming election. There are now only two weeks left to negotiate an extension.

While the Trump administration wants to abandon New-Start it does not want take the blame for doing so. It first tried to include China, which has far fewer weapons than the U.S, and Russia, into the treaty. China did not want to part of the treaty even as the U.S. practiced childish diplomacy theatre to 'shame' China into negotiations.

The talks were going nowhere as the U.S. rejected the five year extension Russia wanted and demanded that other Russian arms, not covered by the current treaty, should also be included. On October 16 Russia's President Putin held a meeting with his national security cabinet. They discussed the treaty negotiations:

President of Russia Vladimir Putin:

Before we get to the main item on today’s agenda, I would like to ask Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov whether there has been any progress in the dialogue with the United States to extend one of the central documents in terms of international security and arms control. I am referring to the New START, the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

Where are we in the talks with the Americans?

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Mr President,

In keeping with your instructions, we remain quite proactive in our contacts with our American colleagues on strategic stability matters in all their aspects, including by emphasising our initiative to take a decision without delay to extend the New START, set to expire in February 2021, for a new five-year term without any preconditions. This initiative remains on the table.
...

Vladimir Putin: It would be extremely sad, if this Treaty ceased to exist and was not replaced by another fundamental document of this kind. During all the previous years, the New START worked and worked properly, performing its fundamental role as a constraint curtailing the arms race and a tool of arms control. It is clear that we have new weapons systems that the American side lacks, at least for the time being. But we are not refusing to discuss this aspect of the matter as well.

In this regard, I have a proposal, namely, to extend the Treaty now in effect unconditionally for at least a year in order to have a chance to hold substantive talks on all the parameters of problems that are regulated by treaties of this kind, lest we leave our countries and all nations of the world with a vested interest in maintaining strategic stability without such a fundamental document as the Strategic Offensive Arms Limitation Treaty.

Please, formulate our position to the US partners and try to obtain at least some comprehensible reply from them as soon as possible.

Sergei Lavrov: We will do it as soon as we can, Mr President.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you.

The U.S. rejected the offer:

Cont. reading: U.S. Again Moves Goalposts For Nuclear Treaty Extension

Posted by b at 17:00 UTC | Comments (148)