Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Владимир Путин подарил Патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Кириллу сборник литографий «Средневековые крепости и монастыри России» российского художника-графика, литографа Игоря Задеры. | В Севастополь из дальнего похода вернулся морской тральщик ЧФ «Иван Голубец»

Владимир Путин подарил Патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Кириллу сборник литографий «Средневековые крепости и монастыри России» российского художника-графика, литографа Игоря Задеры.

Владимир Путин подарил Патриарху Московскому и всея Руси Кириллу сборник литографий «Средневековые крепости и монастыри России» российского художника-графика, литографа Игоря Задеры.

В Севастополь из дальнего похода вернулся морской тральщик ЧФ «Иван Голубец»

The brief life of the idea for the creation of NATO black sea fleet

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Bulgaria -SOFIA – During the Warsaw Summit in July important decisions were taken in order to secure NATO’s Eastern flank. The adopted measures were explicit for the territories of Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. For the rest of the Eastern flank, which includes the Black Sea region, decisions were postponed. The idea behind this is to provide the three member-states – Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey, and the partners Georgia and Ukraine – with time to reach a consensus around a single vision and approach. However, it is now evident that coalescing around a common approach will be very difficult as seen in the situation with Romania’s proposal to create a NATO Black Sea fleet.
The idea for creating a NATO Black Sea Fleet was announced as early as January 2016 by the Romanian Defence Minister Mihnea Motoc. He described it as a means of securing the Eastern Flank. According to the Minister the possibility of creating such a fleet might be discussed at the next NATO summit in July and for that reason Romania has to develop a clear plan and proposal.
Mr. Motoc’s idea was also supported by President Klaus Iohannis, who initiated consultations with his colleagues from NATO members and partners in the Black Sea. At the meeting of the Presidents of Romania and Ukraine in April 2016 Mr. Poroshenko declared support to the Romanian initiative  and readiness to join it after the approval by the Alliance.
However, the initiative met no support from Bulgarian Government. After the meeting between Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and Presidet Klaus Iohannis in June of 2016 in Sofia, Mr. Borissov said: ‘I want to see sailboats, yachts, tourist, peace, and love in the Black Sea. I do not want to see frigates travelling back and forth around our resorts. […] But to face off warships as a fleet against Russian ships is crossing the line.’
It is a noteworthy difference of positions of Romania and Ukraine on the one hand, and Bulgaria on the other. Behind these positions clearly stand specific interests, risk assessment, and views on ensuring regional security. Romania takes into account the risks that Russia poses to its security and strives to be the most active country in the region, calling for a more active role of NATO, while developing very active relations with the United States on a bilateral level. This is a long-term policy. For its part, Ukraine appreciates Russia as a direct threat to its security, especially after the annexation of the Crimea and Russia’s role in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. For Kiev, the two major formats for security cooperation between littoral Black sea countries – BLACKSEAFOR and Document on Confidence and Security Building, have become ineffective as a result of Russian aggression and we must offer new approaches and new vision. For Ukraine NATO can offer the guarantees which the country is seeking.
Bulgaria’s decision to reject Romania’s initiative can be explained mainly through domestic political processes and specific aspects of the relationship with Russia. A few days prior to the visit of the Romanian President in Bulgaria it became clear that Sofia will have to pay the Russian company ‘Atomstroyexport’ EUR 550 million for commissioned but undelivered equipment for the construction of a second nuclear power plant in Bulgaria; an amount which is very high for Bulgaria budget. Given the decision not to build a new nuclear power plant, Bulgaria depends entirely on the will of Russia to realize the acquired equipment either in Bulgaria or sell it to a third party.
Furthermore, Bulgaria is very much dependent on Russian supplies of oil and gas, fuel and equipment for the first nuclear power plant, as well as maintenance of military aviation, composed of Soviet MIG 29 and SU 25. Moreover, given the scheduled November Presidential elections, Bulgarian politicians did not want to lose the “Russian vote”, as many Bulgarians have traditionally positive attitudes towards Russia.
The development of the Romanian initiative to create a Black Sea fleet once again shows different attitudes of individual states of NATO and the EU to Russia. It would be interesting to know the position of Turkey in the Romanian initiative, but it was never clearly articulated. We can assume that Turkey, which has the largest navy in the Black Sea among the NATO countries and a dominant position in the straits due to the Montreux Convention of 1936 would not have supported the idea of Black Sea fleet because it will automatically reduce its influence in the region.
However, the thawing of Turkey – Russia relations would have also played a deterrent to possible support from Ankara. We have to take into account the fact that in the past, namely Turkey opposed the creation of the NATO operation in the Black Sea or the extension of Operation Active Endeavor of the Mediterranean in Black Sea ten years ago. It would be interesting to speculate whether Turkey would have been more favorable to the Romanian initiative in the period following the downing of the Russian aircraft by the Turkish Air Force and the chilled relations between the two countries. However, that is in the past and of no practical importance any longer.
Nevertheless, the question with the initiation of a Black Sea fleet, the discussions surrounding it, and its cancelation for the time being, clearly indicates that it is of great difficulty to coalesce around a common approach within the EU and NATO. What is more, the adopted approach will largely depend in the interests and views of the individual member-states. Russia, in turn, will use all means possible to find weak points in order to influence individual states, and, by extension, the EU and NATO.
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NATO's Sea Shield drills start in Black Sea | KyivPost

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War ships of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 take part in a military drill on the Black Sea, 60km from Constanta city March 16, 2015.
Photo by AFP

NATO flexes military muscle near Russia

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Story highlights

  • The Black Sea is becoming an increasingly contested space between Russia and NATO
  • American tanks and troops also took part in military drills in Zagan, Poland
(CNN)NATO members flexed their military muscle in Russia's backyard Monday, as allied warships headed toward the Black Sea while American tank fire echoed across Polish plains.  
The naval force "Standing Maritime Group 2," which consists of eight vessels from eight NATO member states, is going to the Black Sea to participate in an exercise off the coast of Romania known as "Sea Shield."
The Black Sea, like the Baltics, is becoming an increasingly contested space between Russia and NATO as Moscow has militarized Crimea, according to the alliance.
"This is a demonstration of the alliance's resolve to defend all allies against any threat, and to enhance maritime security in the region," said a NATO official.
While "Sea Shield" is not technically a NATO exercise according to officials, it will include a number of NATO countries, including Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, Romania, Spain, the USA and Turkey.
American tanks and troops on Monday also took part in military drills in Zagan, Poland, sending a message to the Kremlin amid concerns that US President Donald Trump's commitment to NATO allies and partners is wavering.
Trump's statements earlier this month that NATO is obsolete and that he wants to improve relations with a Russia that has been testing the borders of post-Cold War Europe have triggered alarm on the other side of the Atlantic.
Russia says US troop buildup is 'a threat'
us troops in poland mann pkg_00002013


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However, Trump's newly confirmed defense secretary, retired Gen. James Mattis, a former supreme allied commander of NATO, has voiced unequivocal support for the alliance and said he had said as much to Trump.
The US forces that participated in Monday's joint drills were part of a 4,000-soldier deployment earlier this month.
The Pentagon has said these troop rotations to Europe are intended to bolster ties with NATO allies and send a clear message to Russia.
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Sea Shield - Google Search

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Story image for Sea Shield from Kyiv Post

NATO's Sea Shield drills start in Black Sea

Kyiv Post-1 hour ago
INSTANBUL – Naval ships from eight countries will take part in NATO's Sea Shield training drills, during which standard methods for defending ...
Story image for Sea Shield from CNN

NATO flexes military muscle near Russia

CNN-Jan 30, 2017
While "Sea Shield" is not technically a NATO exercise according to officials, it will include a number of NATO countries, including Bulgaria, ...
Story image for Sea Shield from ACTmedia

Multinational exercise Sea Shield 17 , February 1 through 10,

ACTmedia-Jan 30, 2017
The militaries with the Naval Forces will participate, February 1 through 10, in the multinational exercise Sea Shield 17 in which NATO standard ...
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NATO to Shore Up Black Sea Presence By ‘Land, Sea and Air’

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NATO is nearing the final stages of a plan to shore up allied defences on land, sea and air in the Black Sea region, the organization’s top diplomat said on Tuesday.
Speaking after a meeting with newly elected Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO would not act aggressively in the region but felt compelled to react to Russia’s reinforcements in its Black Sea ports.
“NATO does not want confrontation with Russia,” he said at NATO’s headquarters on Tuesday. “We don’t seek confrontation with Russia. We don’t want a new Cold War so our response is measured. It is transparent and it is defensive.”
The Black Sea is of prime importance to Russia’s naval strategy, according to a statement made by the head officer, admiral Victor Chirkov in 2014, and Russian are troops active in two disputes on the sea’s coasts—in Ukraine and Georgia. Moscow officials have also said they would respond to an increased presence from non-regional powers such as the U.S. in the Black Sea, which they see as part of a wider NATO encroachment on Russia’s sphere of influence.
The Black Sea initiative follows a series of NATO measures in the Baltic Sea region, which have also riled Russia.
Stoltenberg said the Black Sea measures would be finalized during next month’s two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers. “We are strengthening our presence in the Black Sea region, with a package of measures on land, at sea and in the air,” he said. “And we will finalize this work at our meeting of defense ministers in February. And several Allies have already indicated they will contribute to this presence.”
During the last such meeting in October ministers discussed the possibility of deploying a multinational brigade, led by Romania, in the Black Sea region.
A NATO official told Newsweek that the organization plans to build NATO’s Black Sea presence on land around this Romanian-led multinational framework brigade. Nations who have pledged to contribute include Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey and the United States.
“We are also working on measures in the air and at sea,” the official said but did not expand further. “We expect to be able to endorse a full package of measures at the next meeting of Defense Ministers on February 15 and 16.”
Stoltenberg also welcomed the Bulgarian president, saying that Rumen Radev’s arrival in Brussels on his first foreign visit since his election in November signified that “all allies are ready to protect each other.”
Both Stoltenberg and Radev highlighted the symbolic significance of the president’s visit and his previous work in support of the alliance as head of Bulgaria’s air force. The comments came after an election campaign during which Radev was backed by Bulgaria’s pro-Russian Socialist Party and worried pro-EU circles with his criticisms of western sanctions on Russia. Even prior to the election of Radev, Bulgaria’s pro-Western government was reluctant to set up a multinational fleet off its shores.
During his stay in Brussels, however, Radev was explicit in his support for NATO, calling the organization “exceptionally important” and pledging “maximum efforts” to increase defense spending to two percent of GDP, as demanded by NATO since 2014.
“Over the last three years NATO has undergone a truly serious adaptation,” Radev added, though he did not explicitly mention Russia’s military build-up or the situation in Ukraine. “Bulgaria is part of this adaptation and this process will continue because this is what the international situation requires at the moment.”
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Black sea nato - Google Search

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Story image for Black sea nato from Newsweek

NATO to Shore Up Black Sea Presence By 'Land, Sea and Air'

Newsweek-17 hours ago
NATO is nearing the final stages of a plan to shore up allied defences on land, sea and air in the Black Sea region, the organization's top ...
Story image for Black sea nato from CNN

NATO flexes military muscle near Russia

CNN-Jan 30, 2017
(CNN) NATO members flexed their military muscle in Russia's backyard Monday, as allied warships headed toward the Black Sea while ...
Story image for Black sea nato from Kyiv Post

NATO's Sea Shield drills start in Black Sea

Kyiv Post-1 hour ago
War ships of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 take part in a military drill on the Black Sea, 60km from Constanta city March 16, 2015.
Story image for Black sea nato from Sputnik International

Russian MoD Sees, Controls NATO Activities During Black Sea Drills

Sputnik International-3 hours ago
The Russian Defense Ministry sees and controls everything that is taking place at the NATO drills in the Black Sea, Russian Defense Minister ...
Read the whole story
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Путин подарил патриарху Кириллу сборник литографий - Российская Газета

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Российская Газета

Путин подарил патриарху Кириллу сборник литографий
Российская Газета
На встрече в Кремле Владимир Путин подарил предстоятелю РПЦ сборник из семнадцати литографий "Средневековые крепости и монастыри России" российского художника-графика, литографа Игоря Задеры. Президент поблагодарил патриарха за вклад в развитие диалога ...
Путин подарил патриарху Кириллу сборник литографий о крепостях и монастырях РоссииТАСС
Владимир Путин поздравил патриарха Кирилла с годовщиной интронизацииПервый канал
"Спасибо за то, что создаете церковно-государственную идеологию". Путин встретился с ПатриархомНакануне.RU
ТВ Центр - Официальный сайт телекомпании
Все похожие статьи: 64 »

Reports: Russian Lawyer Says Ex-FSB Officers, Kaspersky Manager Charged With Treason

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Two former Federal Security Service (FSB) officers and a manager at Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab have been charged with treason and accused of betraying Russia in the interests of the United States, Russian news agencies cited a defense lawyer as saying on February 1.

Минобороны надеется, что учения НАТО в Черном море пройдут без эксцессов 

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From: Russia News Videos
Duration: 03:37

Подпишитесь на канал Россия24:
В ходе селекторного совещания в Минобороны РФ министр обороны РФ Сергей Шойгу заявил, что российские военные следят за черноморскими учениями НАТО.
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Россия и мир в цифрах -
Вести в субботу с Брилевым -
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NATO admits it fears new COLD WAR with Russia as desperate leader says Trump IS on board -

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NATO admits it fears new COLD WAR with Russia as desperate leader says Trump IS on board
President Donald Trump has repeatedly hinted he may withdraw US support for NATO altogether, calling it “obsolete” and a waste of American taxpayers' dollars. But with Russia-NATO relations at an all time low, American support for the military alliance ...
What Russia Expects from the Trump AdministrationThe National Interest Online
Trump's Russia connection and the threat to democracyPeople's World
NATO's Future Depends on 'What Relationship Trump Forms With Putin'Sputnik International
Kasmir Monitor
all 19 news articles »

ФОМИН Александр Васильевич : Министерство обороны - Google Search

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Story image for ФОМИН Александр Васильевич : Министерство обороны from Аргументы и факты

Кто такой Александр Фомин, ставший замминистра обороны РФ?

Аргументы и факты-Jan 31, 2017
Александр Васильевич Фомин родился 25 мая 1959 года в городе ... Фомин был назначен заместителем министра обороны РФ.

Кто такой Александр Фомин, ставший замминистра обороны РФ? | Справка | Вопрос-Ответ | Аргументы и Факты

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Александр Фомин.
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Президент подписал Указ «О назначении на должность в некоторых федеральных органах исполнительной власти» • Президент России

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Текст Указа:
Фомина Александра Васильевича – заместителем Министра обороны Российской Федерации, освободив его от занимаемой должности;
Шугаева Дмитрия Евгеньевича – директором Федеральной службы по военно-техническому сотрудничеству.

Министр обороны России прибыл с рабочей поездкой в войска Южного военного округа

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Генерал армии Сергей Шойгу проинспектирует в Ростовской области ход строительства объектов военного городка воссозданной 150-й Идрицко-Берлинской мотострелковой дивизии и инфраструктуры полигона Кадамовский.

Сегодня в Москве под руководством Министра обороны Российской Федерации генерала армии Сергея Шойгу состоится заседание Коллегии Минобороны России

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В работе Коллегии примут участие руководящий состав Вооруженных Сил Российской Федерации, представители органов государственной власти, а также общественных и других организаций.

В Севастополь из дальнего похода вернулся морской тральщик ЧФ «Иван Голубец»

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Сегодня в Севастополе прошла торжественная церемония встречи из дальнего похода морского тральщика Черноморского флота «Иван Голубец».

В Москве состоялось заседание Коллегии Министерства обороны России

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Основными темами повестки дня стали вопросы, связанные с ходом реализации Плана деятельности Южного военного округа, повышением безопасности авиационных полётов, совершенствованием порядка проведения проверок в Вооружённых Силах.

Минобороны России 1 февраля 2017 года запускает арабскую версию официального сайта

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Для пользователей из более чем 20 арабоговорящих стран на родном языке станут доступными основные разделы официального сайта военного ведомства.

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Министр обороны России генерал армии Сергей Шойгу провел очередное селекторное совещание

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Во вступительном слове глава военного ведомства заявил, что Минобороны России видит и контролирует все, что происходит на учениях НАТО в Черном море.

Минобороны надеется, что учения НАТО в Черном море пройдут без эксцессов - YouTube

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Published on Feb 1, 2017

Fear of Protesters Prompts Cancellation of Trump Trip

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Trump's defense chief heads to Asia, eying China, North Korea threat

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Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan - Google Search

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Story image for Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan from Livemint

Is Iran Planning War? Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan Confirms ...

International Business Times-39 minutes ago
Iran recently test-fired a missile, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan confirmed, according to a Wednesday report by local Tasnim News ...
Iran confirms new missile test
The Australian-1 hour ago

Is Iran Planning War? Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan Confirms Latest Missile Test, Claims Nuclear Deal Not Violated

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Iran recently test-fired a missile, Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan confirmed, according to a Wednesday report by local Tasnim News Agency. The confirmation came after U.S. officials said Sunday that Tehran launched a medium-range missile — the first since President Donald Trump took office.
"The recent test was in line with our plans and we will not allow foreigners to interfere in our defense affairs," Dehghan said, adding that the test did not breach its nuclear program deal or the United Nations Security Council’s resolution.
On Sunday, reports citing U.S. officials said that the Islamic Republic launched the missile in direct violation with United Nations resolution 2231, signed July 20, 2015. The missile is reported to have traveled about 600 miles before detonating.
The U.S. State Department condemned Iran for launching the missile.
"We're aware of reports that Iran conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test in recent days," Mark Toner, deputy spokesman for the State Department, told International Business Times on Tuesday. "We are looking into these reports. We are, however, well aware of and deeply troubled by Iran's longstanding provocative and irresponsible activities and we call on Iran to cease such provocations. All countries, including Iran, must fully and effectively implement all the provisions of resolution 2231."
"When actions are taken that violate or are inconsistent with the resolution, we will act to hold Iran accountable and urge other countries to do so as well," Toner added. "We vigorously enforce the measures contained in UNSCR 2231 related to the transfer of items related to ballistic missiles."
Iran is listed in Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. Iran has threatened to take "proportionate legal, consular and political action and ... will take reciprocal measures in order to safeguard the rights of its citizens until the time of the removal of the insulting restrictions of the government of the United States against Iranian nationals."
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Iran confirms new missile test, says did not violate nuclear deal

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's defense minister said the Islamic Republic had tested a new missile, confirming earlier reports, Tasnim news agency quoted him as saying on Wednesday.

Azeri security forces kill four men suspected of terror plot

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BAKU (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's security forces killed four members of a group that had been planning to carry out terror acts in the country, the state security service said on Wednesday.

Iran’s president calls Trump a dangerous ‘newcomer’

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Iran’s state TV is reporting that President Hassan Rouhani has lashed out at the recent executive order by U.S. president Donald Trump to suspend immigration and visa processes for nationals from seven majority-Muslim countries, including Iran.

Russia says Trump should be more specific on Syria safe zones plan

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that U.S. President Donald Trump should be more specific about his proposal to set up safe zones in Syria and said attempts to implement a similar policy in Libya had been tragic.

Pakistan's Middle Class Soars as Stability Returns

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Pakistan, often in the headlines for terrorism, coups and poverty, has developed something else in recent years: a burgeoning middle class that is fueling economic growth and bolstering a fragile democracy.

Russia Sends Chechens to Win Hearts in Aleppo

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Russia has reinforced its military presence on the ground in Aleppo, Syria with a police unit drawn largely from the Muslim-majority region of Chechnya, in a local outreach effort.

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Germany: Man arrested over bombing that wounded 10 migrants 

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German police have arrested a suspect in connection with a bombing at a train station 17 years ago in which 10 immigrants were wounded, six of them Jewish.

Turks threaten to close Incirlik

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A US Air Force E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System lands at Incirlik Air Base. Source: Wikimedia
Government members in Ankara are questioning the presence of US forces at the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, claiming the personnel there are giving too little support to Turkish operations against so-called Islamic State in Syria.
Turkey said it had the right to close the air base, as tensions mount between the Nato allies.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said there was no need for a « rushed evaluation » of Incirlik, which is used by Nato forces to launch air strikes against Islamic State in Syria.
He asked why Washington, which supports some Kurdish groups opposing Isis in northern Syria, had not helped Turkey’s recent attempts to seize the Syrian town of al-Bab back from the extremist organisation.
« In the past month-and-a-half, we have seen and understood that this support was not given at the sufficient level and effectiveness, » Kalin told Kanal 24 TV, saying « excuses are not acceptable ». « We always have in our hands the right to say ‘we will close it’ but as I said, the conditions will be assessed. »
Turkey has been angered by US support for Kurdish groups it sees as an extension of PKK “terrorists” which oppose Ankara in the southeast of Turkey. The US sees Syrian Kurdish militias as an effective ground force against Isis. Kalin said he hoped Donald Trump would be more aware of Turkish sensitivities.
Incirlik, which houses US tactical nuclear weapons, was also a key flashpoint in the botched July 15 coup and several former Turkish commanders stationed there have since been arrested.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said this week that Ankara had seen no support from the US as it sought to take al-Bab, amid fierce fighting.
« Our people ask, ‘why are you letting them be based at Incirlik?' » he reportedly told the NTV broadcaster.
Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said the US had rarely used Incirlik to join Turkish operations and the Syrian rebels it supported.
« Their presence is being questioned by our people and nation, and this issue is on the agenda of the government, » he told Turkish broadcaster A Haber.
In August Turkey launched an operation into Syria to push Isis away from its border and prevent Kurdish militias taking the territory.
A Pentagon spokesman said the US was in talks with Turkey about support around al-Bab, where Turkish military activity in Syria is currently focused.
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Questions About Turkish Military's...

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Trump and the Art of the Syrian Peace Deal

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For almost half a decade, the world's only superpower has mostly abdicated its role in helping to resolve the world's most consequential conflict. Now former President Barack Obama's excessive caution about Syria has given way to President Donald Trump ...

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What Does Russia Want From President Trump? – Analysis – Eurasia Review

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By Stephen Blank*
(FPRI) — As the Trump administration begins to formulate its policies, it is clear that both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin want to improve ties between Moscow and Washington. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev correctly described U.S.-Russia relations as having hit rock bottom. Indeed, signifying his desires to improve those ties, Trump has apparently spoken more to Putin than to any other foreign leader since his election, and even before his inauguration, Trump’s advisors and Russian officials were already talking to each other about Syria’s civil war. Since then, during Putin’s conversation with Trump on January 28, 2017, the two sides apparently agreed to find ways to cooperate in Syria’s civil war. Concurrently, many commentators on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to persuade Trump to follow their ideas on how to deal with Moscow.

Prospects for Rapprochement

But few, if any, of the commentaries written since Trump’s victory have examined in any detail what Moscow has said it wants from Trump or what giving Russia what it wants might mean for U.S. interests, values, and allies abroad. While Russo-American re-engagement and rapprochement are desirable in principle, to achieve those outcomes, there must be a basis of common interest. In other words, anyone urging the resumption of a dialogue with Russia that goes beyond a standard exchange of views must also understand and demonstrate for the U.S. government on what basis this rapprochement must occur.
Unfortunately, at present, there is little basis for rapprochement. After analyzing what Moscow has stated what it wants from a Trump administration, it becomes clear that the U.S. government or its allies cannot accept outcomes that, among other things, legitimate naked aggression and destroy NATO’s cohesion. Moreover, in Asia, Russia continues to ally with China against U.S. and allied interests in Korea and the South China Sea. The failure to achieve Russo-Japanese normalization also shows that Moscow still prefers Beijing over Tokyo and is not likely to be an American partner in Northeast Asia, either.
Indeed, the main component of current Russo-American relations is that Vladimir Putin continues to wage an information war against the United States even after the election. Its most fundamental political institutions have done this with impunity. The idea that Putin did not actually want Trump to win is sheer nonsense. It is clear that the Russian government invested much time and money into a massive information warfare campaign—which has yet to be disrupted and can resume at any moment—against the Democratic Party. They also targeted Republicans and apparently the Republican Party, but did not disseminate any information about Republicans to the American electorate and wholly omitted any mention of Republican Party failings or Mr. Trump.[1]
This is not to say that Trump is a Manchurian candidate. But the connections of Trump, his family, and advisors to Russian elites raise serious and disturbing questions. Trump’s financial indebtedness to Russian investors who are laundering dirty money in his real estate projects, his son’s contacts with Russian clients and Russians over Syria before the election, his statements during the campaign in favor of Russian policy and Putin, and his advisors’ political and financial ties to Russia as well as their ignorance about such institutions all raise the most serious questions concerning Trump’s and his team’s Russian connections.[2]

Russia and the West

Putin continues to wage a cold war against our allies in Europe. Russian intelligence forces recently launched an unsuccessful coup in Montenegro to kill Prime Minister Djukanovic to force a change of government due to Montenegro’s joining NATO and refusing to give Russia a naval base in the Adriatic Sea. Worse, it used Serbian extremists for this purpose, highlighting the consequences of Moscow’s unsavory connections to right and left wing extremist parties across Europe. Also, Moscow continues to wage an incessant information war against our allies; the Russians intend to unseat Prime Minister Angela Merkel of Germany, President Francois Hollande of France, and leaders in other countries like Sweden and Finland. It is also important to note the naked nuclear and conventional threats to Scandinavian, Baltic, and Balkan states.
In other words, war with the West for resisting Russia is the foundation of Russian foreign policy. Or as Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s former chief of Staff and Defense Minister, told the Financial Times, “We regard the Cold war as a fact of life.” Therefore, we must make clear what the Kremlin’s objectives are in any rapprochement with the U.S., and Trump quickly needs to make clear what U.S. interests vis-à-vis Russia are if this rapprochement is not to be an undisguised surrender of U.S. interests and allies.
Russian spokesmen have made clear what they want. First, they want a reversal of NATO’s current military buildup in response to Russian aggression and incessant conventional and nuclear threats in Europe. This movement of NATO forces away from proximity to Russia also includes the demolition of the missile defense base opened in early 2016 in Deveslu, Romania. Thus, essentially, Moscow is demanding that NATO and its partners like Sweden and Finland be defenseless for it has clearly demonstrated that it regards any effort by European states to defend themselves as a threat to Russia. Implicitly, the world has returned to an era when Russia explicitly made clear that its security depends upon the insecurity of all its interlocutors.
Second, the record of Trump’s conversations with Vladimir Putin clearly signaled Russia’s desire to see an end to sanctions, which are seriously injuring Russia’s economy despite Putin’s rhetoric to the contrary, and to see a return of Western and U.S. trade and investment in Russia. Third, Moscow insists that the U.S. repudiate any support for anti-Assad forces in Syria and accept Assad’s continued rule as a precondition for any participation in a joint anti-terrorist campaign, presumably against ISIS. Moreover, Moscow will demand an equal leading role in any joint campaign against ISIS.
Fourth, in that conversation, Putin also stated his desire for an end to what he calls “U.S. intervention” in the internal affairs of other countries. In other words, Putin and his government want an end to all efforts to promote democracy in Europe and the former USSR, if not elsewhere. The call to desist from supposed political interference in other countries’ internal affairs represents a call for the West to allow Russia a free hand to do as it pleases at home and abroad and thus close the former Soviet space to any Western influence, essentially recreating a no-go political sphere for the West that would be under Moscow’s effective control. At the same time, such freedom of action would embolden Russia to promote its campaign to export Putinism (i.e., authoritarian and wholly criminalized regimes) all across Eurasia.
Fifth, Moscow demands that the West not only accept the annexation of Crimea, but also end sanctions and force Ukraine to accept the Minsk II accords, which Russia violated before the ink was dry on the text. The Minsk II accords would convert Ukraine into a confederation with two provinces completely controlled by Moscow in ways that would make it all but impossible for an independent Ukrainian state to function. Ultimately, Putin demands what Russians obsessively call an equal standing with the U.S. to determine the fate of other countries—as they imagine things to have been at the 1945 Big Three Summit at Yalta.

Prospects for Deal Making

To be sure, there are opportunities to cooperate with Russia that might advance U.S. interests, specifically regarding Syria. Such a deal means accepting the consequences of the Obama administration’s mistakes in Syria, particularly in approving Assad’s continued rule. The only way we can realize U.S. interests, humanitarian or otherwise, in Syria is by invading it with U.S. forces or arming pro-American forces to the hilt. Neither alternative is remotely possible—let alone acceptable (in the case of invasion)—to the U.S. Congress and public. So a deal could be consummated here to wipe the slate clean and begin afresh, but the quid pro quo should not be in the Middle East because Washington does not need Moscow to defeat ISIS.
For these reasons, the quid pro quo for recognizing Assad and taking our irretrievable losses up front should be in Europe or in East Asia regarding North Korea. In theory, agreement with Moscow on ways to reduce North Korea’s nuclear and missile threat to our allies might be attainable. But, in practice, Moscow has allied itself with Beijing across Northeast Asia. Consequently, Russo-Chinese statements assign responsibility for the North Korean nuclear program to the U.S. for supposedly threatening North Korea. Its leaders and analysts regard North Korea’s nuclearization as the fault of the U.S. and insist on giving Pyongyang more economic benefits supposedly to induce it to stay friendly with Moscow.[3] This Russian policy, whatever its merits, will hardly bring about nonproliferation or for enhanced security in Northeast Asia. Instead, it is a strategy driven in equal parts by anti-Americanism, dependence, even if resented, upon China, and the habitual Russian inclination to see its Asian policy as a means to leverage gains against Washington in Europe.[4]
Europe, indeed, is the crucial sector in this relationship because Moscow’s continuing multi-dimensional war against the U.S. and its allies is most deeply expressed in Europe. One reason for Russia’s intervention in Syria was to induce Western leaders to reverse sanctions. This notion that Russia is an enemy of terrorism is misbegotten because Russia actually is a sponsor of state terrorism, thanks to its continued arming of and collaboration with Hezbollah and Iran; its terrorism in Ukraine, specifically in Khar’kiv and Odessa as well as the downing of flight MH17; its acts of terrorism against its own citizens in the North Caucasus; its support for Kurdish terrorists in Turkey; and its efforts to launch coups d’état abroad (e.g., in Montenegro).[5]
In fact, all of Moscow’s demands regarding European security aim at the destruction of NATO as a factor of European security. Removing NATO forces from the Baltic, Balkans, and the Black Sea areas means leaving Europe defenseless against a force that has shown it has no respect for any of the treaties signed after 1989, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors, or arms control treaties. Russia’s goal is a totally free hand to do as it pleases, while the West would be bound by the fear of losing business with Russia and treaties that for Moscow are mere scraps of paper.
The demand to end sanctions and resume trade and investment in Russia means Western support for the economic revival of a state, economy, and military oriented to the destruction of the sovereignty and integrity of U.S. allies. It would truly be a manifestation of the capitalists selling the rope with which to hang themselves, as the old Soviet phrase went. Beyond that, it would allow Russia to continue using its energy and other economic capabilities to fund the wholesale subversion of Western media, commercial, financial, and political sectors by bribes, takeover, corruption, and the threat of withholding energy sales or trade from European countries. Removing sanctions without a meaningful quid pro quo, like withdrawing from Ukraine (the actual cause of the sanctions), merely gives Russia a free hand to continue waging economic warfare against Europe and its neighbors without having to answer for its activities, while Western actors would be excluded from influence on Russia. If Moscow wants investment, it should learn from China’s past example and give investors real chances to profit and stop waging economic warfare upon its would-be partners.
Similarly, the call to desist from supposed political interference in other countries’ internal affairs represents a call for the West to allow Russia a free hand to do as it pleases at home and abroad and thus close the former Soviet space to any Western influence, essentially recreating a no-go political sphere for the West that would be under Moscow’s effective control. Moreover, it would hardly constrain Russia from carrying out its systematic information war against the U.S. and Europe, subsidizing extremist political parties, or using Russian organized crime to subvert and corrupt governments along with its clients in Europe who receive support from the security services. At the same time, such freedom of action would embolden Russia to promote its campaign to export Putinism (i.e., authoritarian and wholly criminalized regimes), all across Eurasia. In these Russian policies, espionage and subversion through multiple channels of influence play, as they did in Soviet times, a prominent role. As a matter of fact, by every account, Russian espionage in Europe and the U.S. is at its height—signifying Moscow’s deeply rooted belief that it is at war with the West—so any such agreement would fracture allied morale, demonstrate a lack of support for Western values, and open up every Western government to Russian political warfare abroad.
Russia will also strengthen its use of economic, political, and information warfare, including organized crime, operating in conjoined fashion to undermine the EU, European integration, and the spread of democracy: the only factors that have ensured that Europe does not once again explode into major war. It will continue its military buildup, fortified by Western infusions of capital and use the new capabilities it acquires to threaten a demoralized West with conventional and/or nuclear attack. The Kremlin will also continue to use its energy assets as a weapon of economic warfare to blackmail Western governments into concessions along with the European Union which it will seek to neuter as a force for European integration and governance. Russia will also not stop trying to spread Putinism and corruption abroad to check the advance of liberalism and democracy in Europe, and it will champion restive national minorities everywhere to destabilize neighboring governments as it has done for centuries.

Prospects for Peace

Too many analysts of Russia fail to grasp that Putin’s programs entail war whether it be hot or cold. They entail war because at home, no reforms to his system are conceivable as long as his system remains in power. Therefore, since he cannot give bread, like Roman Caesars before him, he must resort to circuses, and in this case, those circuses are imperial adventures that are constantly reinforced by incessant domestic mobilization against imaginary foreign and domestic enemies. The idea that Russia is a besieged fortress fighting to save its identity and Christian values against a decadent and threatening West will remain a hallmark of the regime’s self-presentation. Likewise, the structural militarization of the economy, polity, and readiness to use force abroad will, for the same reasons, continue to be a second hallmark of Putin’s Russia. But beyond these reasons, war is the ultimate outcome of Putin’s policies. Even Russia’s Muslims have been fighting in the North Caucasus for over twenty years. Putinism entails war because it mandates that for Russia to be secure, the country must be a great power (i.e., an empire whose neighbors are secure only to the degree that Russia allows them to be secure). If Russian security is contingent upon its neighbors’ insecurity and diminished sovereignty, two classic signs of empire, those neighbors will resist and fight. Thus, we will see more protracted conflicts all over Eurasia if not even bigger wars. Indeed, the U.S. Army already believes that within five years, a war in Europe is quite likely.
Therefore, for there to be a meaningful rapprochement with Russia, we must demand an end to the intervention in Ukraine, a withdrawal from Crimea, and the restoration of Ukraine’s sovereignty as well as a renewed commitment to the treaties that have been broken regarding states’ security, sovereignty, integrity, and arms control between Russia and its partners, both nuclear and conventional. While Russia represents an increasingly clear and present danger to its neighbors, it is only in the fevered imagination of Putin and company that the West threatens Russia. A deal or deals that allows the Russian threat to stand and further disarms Europe militarily, economically, politically, and morally cannot be the basis for U.S. or European security. Instead, it will be the basis for future war. While re-engagement and rapprochement with Russia are possible, they are only feasible if there exists a basis of common interest and, more importantly, common or shared truth upon which both sides can build. And from everything we have seen, Putin’s Russia is unlikely to even grasp that fact, let alone implement it.
About the author:
*Dr. Stephen J. Blank
 is an FPRI Senior Fellow and a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.
This article was published by FPRI
[1] Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution, January 5, 2017, p. 3.
[2] Tom Hamburger, Rosaline S. Helderman, and Michael Birnbaum, “Inside Trump’s Financial Ties To Russia and His Unusual Flattery of Vladimir Putin,” <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>, June 17, 2016; Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Patrick Revell, “From Russia With Trump: A Political Conflict Zone,” September 22, 2016; “ Natasha Bertrand, “Memos: CEO of Russia’s State Oil Company Offered Trump Adviser, Allies a Cut of Huge Deal If Sanctions Were Lifted,” Business Insider, January 27, 2017; <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a>.
[3] Stephen Blank, ”Russia and North Korea’s Nuclear and Missile Tests, Eurasia Daily Monitor, February 26, 2016,; Stephen Blank, ”Missile Defense in Korea Further Roils US-Russian Relations,” Eurasia Daily Monitor, July 22, 2016
[4] (Editor’s Note:  For a contrary view, see “Russia can curb North Korea’s nuclear ambitions,” East Asia Forum, January 21, 2017, by Rens Lee of the Foreign Policy Research Institute and Artyom Lukin of the Far Eastern Federal University.)
[5] Higgins; Alexander J. Motyl, “Putin’s Russia as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” World Affairs Journal, April 14, 2014 Affairs, April 14, 2014; Taras Kuzio, “Is Russia a State Sponsor of Terrorism? New Eastern Europe, January 22, 2015,; “Iran Looks to Spend $8bn on Russian Arms,”, February 16, 2016; Jesse Rosenfeld, “Russia Is Arming Hezbollah, Say Two of the Group’s Field Commanders,” The Daily Beast January 16, 2016,; “Turkey’s Erdogan Accuses Russia of Arming Kurdish Militants,” Newsweek, May 31, 2016, <a href=";" rel="nofollow">;</a> Valery Dzutsev, “Repercussions of Moscow’s Expansionist Foreign Policy in North Caucasus,” Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, September 17, 2014.
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Family discovers huge moose in their cellar

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Don Giovanni - Wikipedia

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Don Giovanni (Italian pronunciation: [dɔn dʒoˈvanni]K. 527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, namely Don Giovanni or The Libertine Punished) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater (of Bohemia), now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787.[1] Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.
A staple of the standard operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni for the five seasons 2011/12 through 2015/16 was ninth on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.[2] It has also proved a fruitful subject for writers and philosophers.
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S. Ramey & K. Moll "The Commendatore Scene" Don Giovanni - YouTube

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Ferruccio Furlanetto as Leporello. 1990

Song of Solomon - Google Search

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Song of Solomon 1 KJV

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5am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
6Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
7Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?

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