RUSSIAN FEDERATION SITREP 8 October 2015
10 DAYS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD. They did, don't you think? Gilbert Doctorow describes the interlocking parts of Moscow's actions: coalition assembled, the UNGA, the military moves, the demonstration that Russia has full-capacity armed forces, Ukraine.
SYRIA. Clearly the big story. Others have commented: I recommend Dyer, Escobar and Buchanan. But there are plenty more. All I have to add are a few observations. Re the "Russian invasion" of Ukraine and grainy photos of combine harvesters or whatever somewhere or other, this is what real satellite photos look like: colour, detail, precision. Russia's intervention has exploded the US fantasy of "moderate opposition" (but weren't there only four or five of them?) and its incoherent two-horse scheme (watch McCain lump "barrel bombs" and beheaders together as if Assad and ISIS were the same at 6:51). As to Russia being "doomed to fail", its strikes are coordinated with the forces on the ground that are actually fighting ISIS; Syrian forces have begun an offensive. And with Iraq too. Egypt as well. Israel even? Is Iran coming? There are suggestions that both Iraq and Afghanistan would welcome Russian assistance because ISIS has only grown stronger in the year of the US-led operation, despite its claims. Moscow prepared the ground, did everything legally, assembled a coalition and moved quickly and decisively. Not Putin vs Obama, or "standing up to Putin", but a direct challenge to the New American Century crowd; "the most powerful, good and honorable nation... the exceptional nation": "Do you at least realise now what you have done?" (Вы хоть понимаете теперь, что вы натворили?).
WESTERN VALUES™. No sooner had the US and its allies complained about "civilian casualties" (on faked evidence) than US forces struck a hospital in Afghanistan. The American story is now in its fourth iteration but still no response to the three main charges – that they knew where the hospital was, that there was no firing from it, that the hospital was repeatedly struck after MSF had called on the US authorities to stop. Meanwhile, on Russia's "violation of Turkish airspace", look at this screen from a Western source: the green are NATO aircraft in Syria. Whose violations there? Turkey has been violating Syria airspace for some time. And here's a Deutsche Welle report on the ISIS supply route from Turkey.
PAST AND PRESENT. Wikileaks tells us that Qadaffi was willing to talk but Clinton was not willing to listen. The former Defense Intelligence Agency head says the Administration made a "wilful decision" to ignore its warnings about the growth of ISIS; nor does he believe the "moderate opposition" exists.
INTENTIONS. Don't know what Russia's intentions are? Stop speculating and read Putin's speech. A clue: "we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world" (что терпеть складывающееся в мире положение уже невозможно). He's been saying this since the famous Munich speech and now he's found a time and place to act. He seems to have a lot of support in the West, too – see below. Read Xi's speech as well, not as blunt, but the same message.
THE WORM TURNS. Read the comments on this story, this story, this story and this story. The first two condemn Russia's actions, the second two approve. But, in all cases the readers' comments are overwhelmingly supportive of Russia's attacks. I have suspected for a while – why else all the talk about "Putin trolls", Putin's "information war" and the closing of comments sections? – that an increasing proportion of the Western audience sees through the spin and propaganda. Syria may burst the dam. The last words go to Paul Craig Roberts: "By telling the truth at a time of universal deceit, Putin committed a revolutionary act".
RUSSIA INC. I highly recommend this from the perceptive Mr Mercouris on how Russian economy measurements miss something important. While the USA undeniably leads his super trio, how much longer can it with so much of its manufacturing out-sourced?
CORRUPTION. Is a big problem in Russia and no one hides it. I've said before that I'll believe a serious anti-corruption effort is really happening when someone in an office next to Putin's or Medvedev's is taken away. It almost happened with Serdyukov but he seems to have got away with it. Ditto the Luzhkovs. Well, maybe something more significant than busting traffic cops is beginning. We'll see.