Turkey, Russia strike strategic Turkish Stream gas pipeline deal
Turkey and Russia signed the strategic Turkish Stream gas pipeline agreement on Oct. 10. The pipeline will carry Russian natural gas to Turkey and on to Europe under the Black Sea.
During the signing ceremony with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said ministers and experts will continue to hold bilateral talks after the deal, adding that they will also hold talks focusing on economy, politics, defense, tourism and culture.
The president also said they reached consensus on the acceleration of the process for the Akkuyu nuclear plant.
In addition, Putin also added that the two countries also reached consensus on discount in natural gas prices as a part of the deal.
He stated that Moscow also lifted restrictions on citrus exports.
President Erdogan also said they discussed Syria and the Euphrates Shield Operation in detail as well as strategies and cooperation regarding humanitarian aid to Aleppo. Putin said Moscow was on the same page with Ankara about delivering humanitarian aid to Aleppo.
According to the Russian leader, Moscow and Ankara also agreed to intensify military contacts.
The signing of the deal came after a bilateral meeting between Erdogan and Putin who was in Istanbul to attend the 23rd World Energy Congress.
Strategic bombers have flown over 6,000 miles from a Russian base,
with in-flight refueling on two occasions, to strike ISIS & Al-Nusra targets
in Syria with cruise missiles.
Meanwhile, Moscow has started communicating with Trump's team
over Syria. Mikhail Bogdanov expressed hope on Thursday that the
new US government will adopt a new approach to help resolve the
crisis in Syria, Russian news agencies reported. _________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
Saudi Arabia’s Succession Shake Up: Russia’s Perspective
PETER KORZUN | 27.06.2017 | WORLD
The unexpected appointment of Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the position of Crown Prince and heir to King Salman of Saudi Arabia, augurs well for Russia-Saudi relations. He has overseen the ties with Moscow and has visited the country many times.
Unlike his predecessor, Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince bin Salman is less dependent on the United States. His elevation can facilitate the visit of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to Russia, which will be the first trip of Saudi monarch to the country. Crown Prince bin Salman retains his role as Defence Minister and adds the position of Deputy Prime Minister to his portfolio. He also chairs a weekly cabinet meeting that focuses on all aspects of Saudi society. The crown prince launched «Vision 2030» – a program to reform the Saudi Arabia's economy away from its dependence on energy exports towards real-sector output and high-tech projects.
Dr. Anwar Eshki, Retired Saudi Major General, the founder and the head of the Saudi-based Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, believes that the appointment will promote the Russia-Saudi bilateral relationship.
The crown prince is respected in Russia as the right person to make deals with. Russian President Vladimir Putin has called him a «very reliable partner with whom you can reach agreements, and be certain that those agreements will be honored».
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman met with the Russian president on May 30, just one week after the US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh (May 20-21). It was the second meeting between them over the past year. «Relations between Saudi Arabia and Russia are seeing one of their best stages at the moment», said Prince Mohammed attending the Saint Petersburg’s International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in May, 2017. «We have achieved much in the preceding period, but we have to do still more», he added.
The fact that the prince arrived in Russia one week after the historic «Muslim NATO» summit in Saudi Arabia demonstrated that the Kingdom was eager to keep balance in its foreign policy and diversify its ties. Muhammed Bin Salman and Vladimir Putin discussed stabilizing the world oil market and Syria.
The Russia-Saudi relationship is focused on preventing a free-fall in the price of oil. In November last year, OPEC members and other major oil producers, including Russia, agreed to cut oil production by 1.8 million barrels per day. The agreement has been recently extended until March 2018. This year, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. Both nations pump more than 10 million barrels of oil daily.
During the talks, it was revealed that there are 25 mutually beneficial investment projects totalling $10 billion under examination. The parties are exploring joint ventures in construction and upgrade of railways. Russia and Saudi Arabia have stressed their readiness to spur the relationship, including trade, economic and energy cooperation, which has a solid potential for growth.
Russia's leading oil company Rosneft has said it is interested in buying Saudi oil giant’s shares after the privatization takes place next year as planned. Both sides agreed to establish a joint energy investment fund during the talks at the St. Petersburg economic forum.
In 2015, the Saudi military delegation led by Mohammed bin Salman in the capacity of Defense Minister went to the Kubinka international military-technical forum ‘Army 2015.’ The Kingdom is interested in negotiating both defensive and offensive weapon systems including the S-300 and/or the S-400 air defence systems, T-90 main battle tanks and also the Russian tactical missile system Iskander-E.
According to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, the newly appointed crown prince is expected to visit Russia again soon.
For Saudi Arabia, Russia’s influence in Iran, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, and even Qatar, is a strategic asset. Hence, the Saudis see Russia in the role of negotiator on all political issues. The policy of engagement with Moscow may produce positive results.
Since Moscow is also allied with Iran in Syria, it provides the Saudis with an indirect, and useful communications channel to Iran. The Kingdom may have a very important role to play when the de-escalation zones are established in Syria. With all other major Middle East actors having taken sides in the conflict between the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni states and Qatar, Russia remains the only one left what makes it perfectly suited to act as an intermediary to ease tensions. It has remained neutral and has good working relations with all parties involved in the conflict.
There is each and every reason to believe that Saudi Arabia’s succession shake-up will result in the Saudi-Russian relationship taking off in a new direction of cooperation.
_________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
ISIS Hunters @ISIS_Hunters Sep 18
Finally there! #ISIS_Hunters are first to traverse and intrench
on the left side of #Euphrates #ISIS #Syria #DeirEzzor #ديرالزور #سوريا
A GOOD DAY FOR ISIS HUNTERS
The Syrians with Russian support just crossed the Euphrates river,
effectively securing their advance against Islamic State in the area.
Syrian engineering divisions deploying a pontoon for troops and equipment
to to the eastern Euphrates banks, consolidating their position and allowing
for access to the northern sector of Deir-ez-Zor, where the self-proclaimed
Islamic State recently lost their three-year hold.
The SDF can SAY that they don't allow the SAA on the Eastern bank, but unless they're actually going to use force there's not a whole lot that they can DO about it. Attacking the SAA would be a declaration of war that neither side has wanted so far. Nor would it be possible because that would bring the US and Russia directly into conflict with each other as well, which neither side wants.
So far the SDF's strategy has been two fold. Deprive the SAA access by taking crucial territory it wanted instead, then smile and feign innocence as neither side wants to start hostilities over them. So it became a race who got to certain key objectives first.
The rapid advance of the Tiger Forces in Southern Raqqa bypassing the SDF bridgehead in Tabqa deprived the SDF of a chance to use this tactic. Now they're trying it again east of the Euphrates. But it would appear that the best and brightest of the SDF are still engaged in Raqqa, and the rapid advance of the SAA to Deir Ezzor forced the SDF to use lesser troops before they were ready. They were helped that apparently ISIS had few if any troops facing them at first, allowing for the SDF's swift advance, but that seems to have run out of steam.
If the SAA manages to quickly expand its bridgehead and place a pontoonbridge to the other side to bring in heavy equipment a swift advance to the Iraqi border would again bypass the SDF units and leave them with just a useless sailliant.
I think there's another part of the SDF's strategy working here. I don't think they're that much interested in the Deir Ezzor oil fields, they could have taken those any time they wanted these past months. But I do think they realize what their usefulness is to the US. As boots on the ground against ISIS. Right now they're only into contact with ISIS in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor province.
The moment the SAA crosses the Euphrates in force and goes for the Iraqi border that only leaves Raqqa. In which case once Raqqa falls the SDF is as useful to the US as the FSA was in the Damascus desert after the SAA reached the Iraqi border and left them without an ISIS to fight. And who are now being abandoned by the US as useless. In order to be useful to the US the SDF has to have a frontline with ISIS.
_________________ Minds are like parachutes.
They only function when open.
The end is in sight in Syria IMO there is a private understanding among DJT /Putin/Iran and Bashar Assad as to the desired outcome in Syria.:
It is reported that the State Department and DoD were "blindsided" by Trump's instruction for them to stop supplying the SDF/YPG with arms and munitions. This fits with information reaching me from the field that CENTCOM has been ordered to cease kinetic air operations west of the Euphrates River.
The head of SDF/YPG has now indicated willingness to accept integration into the SAA in a post war federated Syria.
Avigdor Lieberman the Israeli Minister of Defense has now stated that there are no Iranian combat units in Syria only advisors, logistic people and trainers, and that Israeli concern is for a future Iranian presence. That is a marked softening of previous Israeli positions.
The Astana process and a constitutional and legislative conference in Damascus seem to be making progress.
Putin and Assad met last week in Sochi for a "come to poppa" style meeting at which understandings were reached.
HTS and IS are busy chopping each other up in the giant Idlib pocket. A clean up there can be expected once the mopping up between Deir al-Zor and Al-Qaim is completed.
The Turks are reduced to muttering their usual snarls about what they expect or do not expect from people like Trump. In this case Erdogan hints darkly at yet more ill will if the Trump allows the Kurds to be further armed. I don't think Trump cares at all about the Kurds and no much about Turkey. Why should he?
Syrian refugees are returning in large numbers from exile.
IMO the DEAL will include autonomy for the Syrian Kurds within a re-united Syria. There will be a new constitution that will modernize a number of outdated restrictions as to inclusiveness in Syrian government.
There will then be internationally supervised national elections in which Bashar Assad will be re-elected by an electorate that includes refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Europe.
Odd how in all the videos and text re Syria I had never heard of Timber Sycamore, and dropped by an establishment guy like Jeffery Sachs, but indeed this is the grail of Syrian war information. Open the Wikipedia link for more information.
Timber Sycamore was a classified weapons supply and training program run by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and supported by various Arab intelligence services, most notably that of Saudi Arabia. Launched in 2012 or 2013, it supplied money, weaponry and training to rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War. According to U.S. officials, the program has trained thousands of rebels. President Barack Obama secretly authorized the CIA to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013. However, the CIA had been facilitating the flow of arms from Libya to Syria "for more than a year" beforehand in collaboration with "the UK (United Kingdom), Saudi Arabia and Qatar."
Early in life I have noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which did not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie. I saw great battles reported where there had been no fighting, and complete silence where hundreds of men had been killed. I saw troops who had fought bravely denounced as cowards and traitors, and others who had never seen a shot fired hailed as the heroes of imaginary victories; and I saw newspapers in London retailing these lies and eager intellectuals building emotional superstructures over events that had never happened. I saw, in fact, history being written not in terms of what happened but of what ought to have happened according to various ‘party lines’.
George Orwell, Looking back on the Spanish War, Chapter 4
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