L’étrange duo Poutine-BHO
• Malgré tous les obstacles, subsiste une complicité entre Poutine et Obama. • Mais à quoi servira-t-elle ?
L’étrange duo Poutine-BHO
• Malgré tous les obstacles, subsiste une complicité entre Poutine et Obama. • Mais à quoi servira-t-elle ?
U.N. condemns Assad forces, but unease grows about rebels | Reuters
The U.N. General Assembly condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and praised the opposition on Wednesday, but a decline in support for the resolution suggested growing unease about extremism among Syria’s fractious rebels.
While the non-binding text has no legal force, resolutions of the 193-nation assembly can carry significant moral and political weight. There were 107 votes in favor, 12 against and 59 abstentions - a drop in support compared with a resolution condemning the Syrian government that passed in August with 133 votes in favor, 12 against and 31 abstentions.
U.N. diplomats cited concerns that Syria could be headed for “regime change” engineered by foreign governments and fears about a strengthening Islamist extremist element among the rebels as reasons for the decline in support for the resolution.
Syrian Opposition “Rearranging Cards” in Preparation for Geneva II | Al Akhbar English
It is as if the marching order has come from the US Secretary of State John Kerry in Moscow: Forward unto Geneva II, the follow-up conference to a June 2012 meeting to end the conflict in Syria. A renewed sense of realism has pushed the administration of US President Barack Obama to finally agree to share the ‘Syrian pie’ with the Kremlin.
Évaluation des attaques israéliennes en Syrie
Article du 13 mai 2013 – contribution de Conflicts Forum
Notes sur la danse de Saint-Guy du bloc BAO
• A Moscou, tout était plié, “en carré”, selon l’enthousiaste John Kerry. • Les déclarations de Kerry à Moscou ont été extraordinairement amicales, proches de l’obséquiosité. • A Rome, l’enthousiaste John Kerry a commencé à rétropédaler. •Les commentateurs “sérieux” sont unanimes : les USA se sont alignés sur Moscou. • Pourtant, non, rien n’est “plié”, encore moins “en carré”. • A Washington, on serait passé d’un enthousiasme pro-russe à la suggestion des positions classiques concernant le sort d’Assad. • On ne se (...)
Has the Obama administration Given into Russia on Syria?
There seems little doubt that the Obama administration took a big step back from the brink in Moscow this week, and that rumors of an American push to arm the rebels are, in the light of this diplomacy, overblown.
Information à prendre avec précaution - elle vient de sources officielles israéliennes qui l’aurait transmise à Washington - un accord de vente d’armes serait sur le point d’avoir lieu entre Moscou et Damas pour la vente de missiles sol-air S-300, selon le Wall Street Journal. Précision : ces missiles S-300 capables d’abattre des avions de combat et des missiles guidés étaient les mêmes que ceux que l’Iran avait souhaité acquérir auprès de la Russie :
Israel has warned the U.S. that a Russian deal is imminent to sell advanced ground-to-air missile systems to Syria, weapons that would significantly boost the regime’s ability to stave off intervention in its civil war.
Et voilà le résumé du problème pour les partisans d’une intervention directe en Syrie :
According to an analysis by the U.S. military’s Joint Staff, Syrian air defenses are nearly five times more sophisticated than what existed in Libya before the NATO launched its air campaign there in 2011. Syrian air defenses are about 10 times more sophisticated than the system the U.S. and its allies faced in Serbia.
While the effectiveness of Syria’s aging air force is unclear, most experts believe its air-defense missile system, considerably upgraded after a 2007 Israeli strike on a suspected nuclear site, remains more potent than any the United States has faced since it bombed Serbian forces in 1999.
“These recent events have not changed our assessment of the sophistication of the Syrian air defense system,” said a senior U.S. official.
That said, the United States does indeed have the power to wipe out Syria’s air defenses.
Syria has little or no protection against hard-to-stop weapons in the U.S. arsenal like B-2 stealth bombers or ship- and submarine-launched cruise missiles. Still, it would require a huge assault involving cruise missiles, and jets possibly flying either from aircraft carriers or bases in neighboring countries.
Israeli jets managed to avoid Syrian defenses twice again in recent days, but the raids were surprise strikes that experts said would have been difficult to defend against. U.S. officials said last week the Israelis did not even enter Syrian airspace in Friday’s bombing, firing missiles instead from the skies over neighboring Lebanon.
Une entente russo-américaine pour mettre fin à la guerre en Syrie par la négociation ?
Syrian opposition insists on Assad’s departure before any deal - Alarabiya.net English | Front Page
Syria’s main opposition National Coalition on Wednesday said any political settlement to the country’s two-year-old conflict must start with President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster, implicitly rejecting a U.S.-Russian initiative for dialogue with the regime.
U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, meanwhile, hailed the agreement between Washington and Moscow to push both sides in the Syrian conflict to end the bloodshed and sit down for talks.
“The National Coalition welcomes all international efforts which call for a political solution to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people and their hope for a democratic state, so long as they begin with the departure of Bashar al-Assad and his regime,” the opposition umbrella group said.
The response could be a blow to the U.S.-Russian initiative, which is based on an international deal agreed in Geneva last year that makes no mention of Assad stepping down.
The opposition has long insisted that the embattled president cannot stay on, but the regime insists that Assad’s future will be decided in elections, with a presidential vote scheduled for 2014.
“This is the first hopeful news concerning that unhappy country in a very long time,” Brahimi said of the deal announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russia counterpart Sergei Lavrov after talks in Moscow on Tuesday.
“The statements made in Moscow constitute a very significant first step forward. It is nevertheless only a first step,” said Brahimi, who an aide said has been mulling resignation over the apparent absence of a political track to resolve a war that has killed more than 70,000 people.
“There is every reason to expect” backing for the accord from the remaining U.N. Security Council permanent members” – Britain, China and France, the veteran Algerian diplomat added.
“It is equally important that the entire region mobilizes in the support of the process.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Wednesday he will fly to the Russian resort of Sochi on Friday to discuss the Syrian conflict with President Vladimir Putin.
The U.S.-Russian deal was announced at a joint press conference, with Lavrov saying the two countries were ready to use all their resources to bring “the government and opposition to the negotiating table.”
“We agreed that Russia and the United States will encourage both the Syria government and opposition groups to find a political solution,” he said.
Lavrov and Kerry said they hoped they could convene an international conference by the end of May to build on a deal agreed by world powers in Geneva last June for a peaceful solution in Syria.
The Geneva deal, which calls for a transitional government but makes no mention of Assad’s fate, “should be the roadmap... by which the people of Syria can find their way to the new Syria and in which the bloodshed, the killing, the massacres can end,” Kerry said.
U.S., Russia push for rapid talks to end Syria carnage: Russia and the United States agreed to bury their differences over Syria and to try to convene international talks with both sides in the civil war to end the carnage that is inflaming the Middle East. Visiting Moscow after Israel bombed targets near Damascus and as President Barack Obama faces new calls to arm the rebels, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia had agreed to try to arrange a conference as early as this month involving both President Bashar al-Assad’s government and his opponents. (Reuters)
Syrie-Russie-Israël-Négociations israélo palestiniennes.
Poutine met en garde Netanyahou contre toute nouvelle intervention en Syrie et fait savoir que de nouvelles armes russes pourront être fournies à Damas. John Kerry, en visite à Moscou, reçoit un discours similaire : « pas question de renverser Assad ». En préalable à la visite de Netanyahou en Chine, le Président Xi rend public ses idées sur le règlement du conflit israélo-palestinien (le « plan de paix chinois » dans l’article).
US to arm Syrian rebels: Putin’s rebuke, Chinese “peace plan” mar Netanyahu’s Chinese trip
DEBKAfile Special Report May 7, 2013, 2:19 PM (IDT)
Negative diplomatic ricochets are pursuing Israel in the aftermath of its air force attacks on Syria. In the first place, they are seen to have had no effect on Hizballah’s successful military intervention on the side of the Assad regime or the Syrian war at large. In the second, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while in Shanghai, was given a sharp dressing-down by President Vladimir Putin Monday, May 6, a warning that Russia would not tolerate further Israeli attacks on Damascus and would respond.
Putin did not say how, but he did announce he had ordered the acceleration of highly advanced Russian weapons supplies to Syria.
debkafile’s military sources disclose that the Russian leader was referring to S-300 anti-air systems and the nuclear-capable 9K720 Iskander (NATO named SS-26 Stone) surface missiles, which are precise enough to hit a target within a 5-7 meter radius at a distance of 280 kilometers.
In his phone call to Netanyahu, the Russian leader made no bones about his determination not to permit the US, Israel or any other regional force (e.g. Turkey and Qatar) overthrow President Bashar Assad. He advised the prime minister to make sure to keep this in mind.
Our sources add: Since Syrian air defense teams have already trained in Russia on the handling of the S-300 interceptor batteries, they can go into service as soon as they are landed by one of Russia’s daily airlifts to Syria. Russian air defense officials will supervise their deployment and prepare them for operation.
Moscow is retaliating not just for Israel’s air operations against Syria but in anticipation of the Obama administration’s impending decision to send the first US arms shipments to the Syrian rebels.
Intelligence agencies in Moscow and the Middle East take it for granted that by the time Washington goes public on this decision, some of the Syrian rebel factions will already be armed with American weapons (…)
The Chinese president unveiled his peace plan before meeting the Israeli prime minister. This plan emphasizes, as the key to a settlement, the Palestinian right to a state on the basis of 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital. It also adopts Abbas’s preconditions for talks, including a stop to settlement activities, an end of the Gaza blockade and “proper handling” of the Palestinian prisoners issue. (…)
Tamerlan, de la Géorgie à Boston
• Une “piste” intéressante pour l’attaque de Boston. • Un effet direct de l’“agression douce” du bloc BAO contre la Russie.
News from The Associated Press
RUSSIA BARS PLANES FROM USING SYRIAN AIRSPACE
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has banned its airlines from flying over Syria after a civilian plane was reported to have come under an unspecified threat in Syrian airspace.
The ban was announced Tuesday by the state air transport agency, Rosaviatsiya.
Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan: Between Russia and the West
Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan: Between Russia and the West
By Dr Kevork Oskanian.
Since their independence, the three South Caucasian states have come to adopt widely divergent strategic responses to the complex structural realities underlying their region’s security landscape. Following the 2003 Rose Revolution, Georgia became unequivocally pro-Western: the goals of EU and NATO integration were firmly inscribed in two National Security Concepts, adopted in 2006 and 2011, which were recently confirmed in a rare bi-partisan parliamentary resolution uniting the otherwise fractious supporters of President Saakashvili and Prime Minister Ivanishvili.
35 arguments contre les #GoogleGlass
I put forth the modest proposition that Google Glass, conjured and constructed and conceived only in terms of “cool” and propped up by ostensible “journalists” who have never thought to question Mr. Brin’s brilliant PR, could pose more problems to our world than any digital invention we have seen in some time. Contrary to Mr. Brin’s suggestions, his device will not “free” us. It will quite possibly destroy several vital qualities of life we now take for granted, preying upon kind and decent and hardworking people who are still playing pickup from an economic blitzkrieg in which they had no power, little hope, and no control. One would think that a man born in Moscow under Brezhnev would grasp the cruel irony of being directly responsible for an entirely new set of encroachments upon freedom and human possibility. On the other hand, great hills of money often move mountains in other ranges.
• “My Moscow” by photographer Igor Moukhin
#Photographie #Moscou #Russie
Retour sur la rencontre entre le président Morsi et Vladimir Poutine en Russie (et ce qui devrait en découler)
Israeli visit another sign of thaw with Turkey | Reuters
The prospect of a rapprochement has also piqued the interest of energy investors, who see potential for a radical change in the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean, allowing newly-discovered Israeli gas to be pumped to energy-hungry Turkey and on to other markets, undermining Russia’s supply dominance.
“Everything depends on our ties with Israel,” said a senior Turkish official, asking not to be named. “We can consider such a proposal if ties are restored. But until then, all such deals have to wait.”
Despite belated realization of the conflict’s horrendous costs — by the end of the year, aid agencies predict, there will be 3.6 million refugees and 6 million in need inside the country, out of a population of 23 million — outside players show no sign of willingness to agree among themselves to help Syrians find a solution. Much mooted Russian-American negotiations have led nowhere, as Moscow stubbornly continues to back Asad and Washington is unwilling to offer incentives to alter that calculus. Meanwhile, countries united only by their rejection of Asad give priority to their own differing interests and rivalries as they vie to lift their clients above others within the opposition, exacerbating its fissiparous nature.
Syria’s all-out civil war, if it comes to that, will no doubt go down in conventional wisdom as an outburst of communal hatred inevitable within a mixed society. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is the product of an international standoff and cannot be rolled back without an international tradeoff. However much Syrians suffer, the war in their country is not in their hands. It is a conflict that disfigures Syrian society more than reflects it. And that is the Syrian heartbreak.
Relations Russie-USA sur “liste noire”
• Washington a publié des noms de sa “liste Magnitsky”, de Russes interdits d’accès sur le territoire US. • Moscou riposte avec autant de noms US sur sa propre liste. • Les relations Russie-USA de pire en pire, de plus en plus soumis aux caprices et impulsions d’un Congrès radical et radicalement antirusse. • Obama continue à se montrer si faible face à ce Congrès qu’il en est de plus en plus l’otage. • Poutine a beau chercher un arrangement avec les USA pour les conditions générales de la politique, il en (...)
Lire absolument l’article de Jean Aziz sur les dangers (pour le Liban) de la « guerre froide » que mènent à Beyrouth l’ambassadrice étatsunienne et l’ambassadeur russe : US, Russia Diplomatic Cold War in Beirut
Another, more exciting element accompanies this particular war. On March 17, it was announced that Beirut would soon receive a visit by three Russian warships from the Baltic fleet. On the occasion — for which Zasypkin organized a welcoming celebration — the ambassador donned military garb, being himself a retired military officer. So attired, he declared, “Moscow is working to preserve the stability of the region.” He also pointedly remarked, “The Russian fleet is always present in the Mediterranean,” and let it be known that “Moscow is working to contain the tension in Syria from spreading to its neighbors.” Zasypkin announced the signing of an official document between Beirut and Moscow regulating the reception of Russian warships at the capital’s port.
A former Lebanese minister, who asked to remain anonymous, described this stagecraft as only understandable in light of reports concerning the existence of an operational US military base in the region of Hamat, some 60 kilometers [37 miles] north of Beirut and less than 25 kilometers south of Tripoli. The area contains an old runway built by one of the Christian militias during the civil war that was used as a private airport. After the end of the war, it became a military base for the Lebanese Army. A surprising official report released by the US Embassy in Beirut on May 24, 2011, revealed that US C-130 military planes had arrived at the Hamat airport for the first time. They were carrying equipment supplied by the US government to the Lebanese Army. As with Zasypkin’s presence at the port of Beirut to welcome the Russian warships, so too Ambassador Maura Connelly appeared at the unofficial airport to observe the US equipment’s delivery.
Beijing’s westward pivot will make the Gulf a critical ally
Where does the Arabian Gulf fit in China’s emerging new diplomacy? Based on the recent flurry of diplomatic activities involving the Gulf and China (Chinese premier Wen Jiabao visited three Gulf states in January last year and the speaker of the Federal National Council of the UAE, Mohammed Al Murr, met last week in Beijing the head of the Chinese parliament), the Gulf remains an essential part of China’s resource-focused diplomacy.
China, already the world’s largest importer of crude oil, depends on the Gulf for 44 per cent of its oil imports.
Given the worsening air-pollution in China, Beijing must also find the Gulf’s abundant natural gas supply attractive. To be sure, China has massive deposits of shale gas, but the geological challenges, lack of infrastructure, scarcity of water and uncertain property rights make it unlikely that China will start tapping into its shale gas as a source of energy any time soon.
In the meantime, any sensible Chinese official in Beijing knows that he must get his hands on as much clean natural gas as possible. Compared with Russian gas, which will not start shipping until 2018, gas from the Gulf can be imported immediately.
To some, Beijing may even have a long-term military design on the Arabian Gulf. With its growing military might, China will naturally want to protect its own energy sources. However, it is unlikely that Beijing would risk confronting the Americans by deploying its navy to the Gulf (at the moment, it simply does not have a blue water navy capable of being deployed far away from China). The Chinese are experienced free-riders. As long as the United States is keeping the international shipping lanes open for them, China needs not waste its own money duplicating the task.
‘Russian Banksy’ dies: ’Expressing your opinion is form of civil defense’ — RT News
Last April, Pavel pulled off his most daring stunt, which provoked panic among the city’s police force.
An area in an industrial zone in Moscow was cordoned off and a bomb disposal team was called in after a report came in of a suspicious object underneath a railway bridge.
Much to everybody’s surprise, instead of a bomb the police detected a model of a space invader from the popular 80s arcade video game.
Pavel told RT that his project was called “a traffic jam fighter.”
A sentence like “On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point” becomes simply “Tram-mļöi hhâsmařpţuktôx.”
Ça semble, euh. Simple, oui.
the Australian Aboriginal language Guugu Yimithirr doesn’t use egocentric coördinates like “left,” “right,” “in front of,” or “behind.” Instead, speakers use only the cardinal directions. They don’t have left and right legs but north and south legs, which become east and west legs upon turning ninety degrees. Among the Wakashan Indians of the Pacific Northwest, a grammatically correct sentence can’t be formed without providing what linguists refer to as “evidentiality,” inflecting the verb to indicate whether you are speaking from direct experience, inference, conjecture, or hearsay.
Inspired by all the unorthodox grammars he had been studying, Quijada began wondering, “What if there were one single language that combined the coolest features from all the world’s languages?” Back in his room in his parents’ house, he started scribbling notes on an entirely new grammar that would eventually incorporate not only Wakashan evidentiality and Guugu Yimithirr coördinates but also Niger-Kordofanian aspectual systems, the nominal cases of Basque, the fourth-person referent found in several nearly extinct Native American languages, and a dozen other wild ways of forming sentences.
Cet article est fascinant de bout en bout. Long, mais fascinant.
Article de Russia Today en réaction à la décision de la Ligue arabe d’octroyer le siège de la Syrie à la Coalition Nationale [Rassemblement de l’opposition syrienne]. Moscou juge « anti-syriennes » et « malheureusement [favorables] à une solution militaire » les mesures qui viennent d’être prises à Doha. Le porte-parole du ministère des Affaires étrangères russe indique « qu’au regard du droit international, les décisions que la Ligue [arabe] vient de prendre à l’égard de la Syrie sont illégales et indéfendables dans la mesure où le gouvernement de la République arabe syrienne demeure le représentant légal d’un Etat membre des Nations Unies. ».
Giving Syrian opposition seats at Arab League is ‘illegal, indefensible’
Moscow Published time : March 27, 2013
“ The Arab League’s move to hand the Syrian opposition the country’s official seat at a summit in Doha and the decision to give military backing to the rebels are both against international law, Moscow has said. “
CIA director faces a quandary over clandestine service appointment - The Washington Post
Non content de ne pas tenir ses engagements concernant Guantanamo, Obama promeut une tortionnaire en chef qui avait de surcroît fait fi des injonctions du Congrès (1)
As John Brennan moved into the CIA director’s office this month, another high-level transition was taking place down the hall.
A week earlier, a woman had been placed in charge of the CIA’s clandestine service for the first time in the agency’s history. She is a veteran officer with broad support inside the agency. But she also helped run the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and signed off on the 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called torture.
(1) Voir : La Maison Blanche et la CIA ont dissimulé à la Commission du 11 septembre les vidéos relatives à la torture lors d’interrogatoires