Thursday, July 28, 2016

S China Sea: Russia And China To Hold Joint Naval Drills As Tensions Escalate




South China Sea: Russia and China to hold joint naval drills as tensions escalate


Russia is to hold joint naval exercises with China in the South China Sea in September as tensions escalate over the fiercely contested islands.
China’s Defence Ministry insisted the “routine” drills were aimed at strengthening their co-operation and were not aimed at any other country.
But they come at a time of heightened tensions in the region after a UN-backed tribunal ruled this month that China did not have historic rights to the waters.
China rejected the ruling and refused to participate in the case.
“This is a routine exercise between the two armed forces, aimed at strengthening the developing China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership,” China’s defense ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a news conference.
“The exercise is not directed against third parties.”
China and Russia are veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council and have held similar views on many major issues such as the crisis in Syria, putting them at odds with the United States and Western Europe.
Last year, they held joint military drills in the Sea of Japan and the Mediterranean.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tension in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute.
The United States has sought to assert its right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea with its patrols and denies taking sides in the territorial disputes.

Russia has been a strong backer of China’s stance on the arbitration case, that was brought by the Philippines.
Yang said China and Russia were comprehensive strategic partners and had already held many exercises this year.
“These drills deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation, raise the ability to jointly deal with security threats, and benefit the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability,” he said.





White House spokesman Josh Earnest played down the significance of the exercises even though he conceded that the South China Sea was "a sensitive diplomatic topic right now". 
"I don't know what exercises they are planning, but in the same way the United States and China have a military-to-military relationship, I'm not surprised that Russia and China are seeking to build upon their military-to-military relationship as well," he told a regular briefing.
China has recently taken part in U.S.-led multinational naval drills in the Pacific and a U.S. defense official said he did not expect the China-Russia exercises to affect U.S. military activity or behavior in the South China Sea.
“We're not concerned about the safety of U.S. vessels in the region as long as interactions with the Chinese remain safe and professional, which has been the case in most cases,” the official said.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which more than $5 trillion of trade moves annually. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam have rival claims.
China has repeatedly blamed the United States for stoking tension in the region through its military patrols, and of taking sides in the dispute.
The United States has sought to assert its right to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea with its patrols and denies taking sides in the territorial disputes.
Russia has been a strong backer of China's stance on the arbitration case, which was brought by the Philippines.
Yang said China and Russia were comprehensive strategic partners and had already held many exercises this year.

"These drills deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation, raise the ability to jointly deal with security threats, and benefit the maintenance of regional and global peace and stability," he said.




Turkey Escalates Media Crackdown, Syrian-Russian Provocations Could Spark Golan Clash, Merkel Faces Backlash



Turkey Escalates Media Crackdown in Wake of Failed Coup


Two advocacy groups, NY based Committee to Protect Journalists, and DC based Freedom House, on Wednesday sounded an alarm about the arrests of more than a dozen Turkish journalists since the weekend, and the shutting down of dozens of media outlets by the Turkish government. The move was given a single, unified reasoning: all these individuals and outlets are accused of being affiliated with dissident Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who is living in exile in Philadelphia but, according to the Edrogan government was behind the recent military coup attempt.

CPJ Europe and Central Asia program coordinator Nina Ognianova told the Voice of America: “We’re obviously extremely concerned about the developments, particularly against journalists, but this sort of behavior from the government is nothing new. For months, the Turkish authorities have gone after journalists who were critical of their policies. It’s escalated now and in the post-coup period.”
News outlets in Turkey reported on Wednesday that the Turkish government had ordered the closing of 45 newspapers, 23 radio stations, 16 TV channels and three news agencies. An Istanbul prosecutor issued detention warrants for 47 former employees and executives of Zaman, a media group accused of links to Gulen.
Freedom House official Nate Schenkkan told VOA that unofficial lists circulating on pro-government social media sites suggest at least 150 other journalists could be targeted, many of whom may have no ties to Gulen.






As the military commanders of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) issue an ultimatum to the jihadist groups located in Syria’s largest city of Aleppo to lay down arms and leave the city, Russian media points out that the operation on the liberation of the settlement would have been long over if not for the US.

Russia and the Syrian government have launched a joint large-scale humanitarian relief operation in Aleppo, establishing three corridors for civilians and one for militants wishing to lay down arms, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Thursday.

Meanwhile Russian online newspaper Vzglyad notesthat the operation on the liberation of Syria’s largest city would have been long over if not for one problem – namely the US.


On Tuesday, an unnamed source told Sputnik that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) destroyed an al-Nusra Front command center located in the al-Zahraa neighborhood of Aleppo as Damascus-led forces were trying to take full control of the city.


“Dozens of militants inside the headquarters were killed” in the operation, the source added. An SAA tank has also managed “to cut off al-Nusra Front's supply route and destroy a heavy artillery gun that was directed at Aleppo's residential areas.”


Regardless of the intensive military actions in the area, mobile communication is working well in the city and on Wednesday many residents in the jihadist-occupied districts got text messages from the government forces which guaranteed them a safe passage through the checkpoint.

After the exit of all civilians from eastern Aleppo, the government forces will be able to launch the final clean-up of the city from jihadists and other mercenaries.







For four days since July 25, the Syrian army has been continuously firing artillery batteries - moved close to Israel’s defense lines on the Golan border - in a manner that comes dangerously close to provoking an Israeli response. This carefully orchestrated Syrian campaign goes on around the clock.

It is the first time in the six years of the Syrian war that Bashar Assad has ventured to come near to provoking Israel. But now he appears to be emboldened by his Russian ally.  

The IDF is holding its fire for the moment. But Israeli military and government leaders know that the time is near for the IDF to be forced to hit back, especially since it is becoming evident that the Syrian army’s steps ae backed by Russia.


  • The Syrian army’s 90th and 121nd battalions have been firing their artillery batteries non-stop across a 10km band along the Golan border from Hamadia, north of Quneitra, up to a point facing the Israeli village of Eyn Zivan. (See attacked map).
    This means that the Syrian army has seized the center of buffer zone between Israel and Syria and made it a firing zone.
  • This artillery fire fans out across a radius that comes a few meters short of the Israeli border and the IDF troops stationed there. It then recedes to a distance of 500 to 600 meters and sweeps across the outposts and bases of the Syrian rebel forces believed to be in touch with Israel or in receipt of Israeli medical aid.
  • The new Syrian attack appears to hold a message for Jerusalem: For six years, you supported the rebels against the Assad regime in southern Syria. That’s now over. If you continue, you will come face to face with Syrian fire.
  • Damascus is also cautioning those rebels:  For years, you fought us with Israel at your backs. But no longer. Watch us bring you under direct artillery fire, while the IDF sits on its hands.
  • On July 26, Russian media published an article revealing that Russia had delivered to the Syrian Air Force, advanced SU-24M2 front-line bombers, which is designed for attack on frontlines of battle. Israeli officials were unpleasantly taken aback by the news. Up until now, the Russians and Syrians refrained from deploying air strength in South Syria near the Israeli border. Now the Syrian air force has the means to do so.
  • DEBKAfile military sources report that the SU-24M2, following recent upgrades and modifications in Russian factories, is now capable of dropping smart bombs – ballistic bombs with a guidance system on their tails that enable them to hit targets with precision.This guidance system does not rely on US GPS satellites but rather the equivalent Russian GLONASS system which is linked to a network of 21 Russian satellites and partially encrypted for military usages.
    In addition, the SU-24M2 is equipped with a system that projects the information the pilot needs (flight details and battle details) on the plane’s windshield (head-up display) and on the pilot’s visor.
  • The Russians delivered to the Syrians two of these sophisticated airplanes this week, out of 10 that they will supply soon.
The IDF has concluded that it is only a matter of time before these planes appear in Southern Syria and so generate a new and highly combustible situation on Israel’s northern and northeastern borders.
The Russians are colluding with Damascus to inform Israel that it will no longer be allowed by either to continue backing the rebel forces in southern Syria or sustain the buffer zone which they man.
Israel may pay dear if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decide to continue to abstain from hitting back at the Syrian fire which is aimed every few hours at the vicinity of IDF posts or the impending arrival of Russian bombers. The price in store would be the weakening of the IDF’s hold on the Golan border.






German chancellor Angela Merkel faces a political backlash over her open-door policy for migrants after several attacks in the country.
The four brutal killings in Germany's south, three of which were carried out by asylum-seekers, have shocked Germans and emboldened critics of Merkel's welcoming refugee policy to blame her for the attacks. 
“People are scared, completely understandably, and right now they need a credible answer from politicians,” said minister president of Bavaria Horst Seehofer, adding that it was “finally time to address people’s fears”.
Seehofer, leader of CSU, the sister party to Merkel's CDU, has long been critical of Merkel's migration policy and now criticises her for "dodging the issue".
The “policy of open borders cannot be tolerated any more”, he said, adding that terrorists were “using the [refugee] routes to enter Germany”.
Merkel has tried to project calm, staying put in her summer cottage. 
But due to the mounting pressure on her, she has called for a news conference for Thursday. 






Last night (July 26, 2016) at the Democratic National Convention, during the roll call vote to nominate Hillary Clinton as the party’s presidential candidate, some Bernie Sanders delegates undertook a peaceful protest in the convention hall with a sit-in, their mouths taped shut.


Democratic Party operatives called a SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team on the peaceful protesters!
Beginning at the 3:05 mark of the video below, FoxNews reporter Dough McKelway says:

“As you well know, the theme of this convention is ‘United together’. But the reality is something quite different — this is ununited and not terribly together.
We saw further evidence of that last night inside the auditorium when, during the role call vote and Bernie Sanders moved to nominate Hillary Clinton by acclimation, that many of his delegates stormed out of the convention center and they made their way to the media center not far from where we are. They staged a sit-in there, mouths taped shut, amongst the reporters. (Can you imagine trying to write a story on a deadline under circumstances like that?)
Well, decision was made to bring in a SWAT team. The SWAT team made the decision to contain the situation by quite literally containing the delegates.
And while all that was going on, back inside the auditorium, there was a celebratory feel to the whole affair as Hillary Clinton spoke to the delegations combined via video hookup.”
This is just a preview of what America will be under a Hillary presidency.





Next World War To Be Initiated By EMP?, Kerry Tries To Quell Tensions In S China Sea Before War Erupts





There has been a tremendous amount of technological interchange between North Korea, the Russians, and the Chinese.  North Korea has also been working for years in the refinement (development) of its nuclear arsenal, especially in partnership with Pakistan and Iran.  In a press conference at the Pentagon on October 24, 2014 reporters were briefed by General Curtis Scaparrotti, the U.S. Military Commander in Korea.  This is what the general had to say:
“I believe they [the North Koreans] have the capability to have miniaturized the [nuclear] device at this point, and they have the technology to potentially, actually deliver what they say they have.”

On March 9, 2016, Kim Jong-Un for the first time stated that North Korea had accomplished the miniaturization of nuclear warheads that are compatible with ICBM’s.  Admiral William Gortney, Commander of US NORTHCOM was in front of a Senate Committee on March 10, 2016 briefing them on the potential North Korean nuclear threat.  The Admiral stated it was “prudent to assume Pyongyang had the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead” and deliver it via ICBM that could actually strike the continental U.S.

Finally, (and the most compelling proponent of the danger posed by North Korea), Dr. Peter V. Pry, the foremost expert on EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) threats by established and rogue nations has long upheld that Iran and North Korea hold an EMP first strike as central to their current military doctrines.  Pry has spent countless hours briefing Senate Investigating Committees on the dangers of an EMP strike by these two nations.

The frightening thing about this teteatete is that neither side’s leaders or elites will face any kind of danger or peril that would result from a nuclear conflagration, but the populations of both countries would suffer immeasurably.  A general and an admiral have stated their belief in the miniaturization capabilities of North Korea regarding nuclear warheads.  The foremost expert on the EMP has provided prima facie evidence before the Senate and numerous commissions attesting to those capabilities.  Each day North Korea ramps up its tests and its threats.  Russia and China publicly whisper their disapproval of such actions and words while taking no steps to actually stop them.
The next world war will be initiated by a first strike utilizing an EMP weapon.
There is no timetable.  The threat is real, and it is imminent.  It is a matter of time before it is carried out.  




Increased militarization by the US and its allies against Beijing tell a very different story as war may ultimately breakout as Washington seems to have "overplayed their hand."

On Tuesday evening, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Manila, conveying Washington’s interest in avoiding a "confrontation" in the South China Sea, following Beijing’s refusal to submit to the judgment of the Hague arbitration court’s ruling that rejects China’s claim to most of the waters in the region.
Beijing blasted the ruling and has steadfastly denied its findings, arguing, as a majority of international legal scholars have, that the court lacks jurisdiction over the country under a treaty which requires both parties to a dispute to first submit to being bound by the court’s decisions, what is known as conditional jurisdiction.
China has also expressed its growing disdain with United States meddling in the region, part of the Obama Administration’s "pivot towards Asia," with the express goal of empowering China’s regional competitors to encircle the regime. Chinese President Xi Jinping also warned this weekend against Japan intervening in the territorial dispute, given that Tokyo has no active claim to the waters.
Kerry called on China and the Philippines to join in two-party talks to try to establish a compromise, one that will certainly leave Beijing with less regional control than they believe themselves entitled to.
"We hope to see a process that will narrow the geographic scope of the maritime disputes, set standards for behavior in contested areas, lead to mutually acceptable solutions, perhaps even a series of confidence-building steps," said Kerry.
The statement comes in the wake of Beijing accusations that the US, Japan and Australia, all not parties to the dispute, are “fanning the flames” of regional tensions by making a joint statement on the South China Sea.



An Israeli flag in flames on the streets of Philadelphia took the Democratic Party by surprise on Tuesday night, prompting a strong response from senior advisers to Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, who called for his rival to denounce the vandalism.

Protesters shouted “Long live the intifada” as the flag burned – an explicit call to violence against Israelis, in direct contravention of the Democratic Party platform agreed upon here earlier this week.

Protests have shrunk substantially since the first night of the convention, when thousands of liberal activists crisscrossed the city to rally against their presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, and for a slate of decades-old, stubborn causes, from civil rights to climate change and, of course, the freedom of Palestinians.
“Unfortunately, anti-Israel activists have always been part of these sorts of protests,” said Aaron Keyak, a Jewish Democratic consultant attending the Democratic convention.
One of Trump’s top two Israel advisers, Jason Greenblatt, noted that Palestinian flags were flying inside the convention arena itself.
Clinton has “failed to condemn the desecration of the American and Israeli flags and the glorification of the Palestinian intifada mere feet away from their convention hall,” Greenblatt said in a statement on Wednesday. “Their silence is deafening.”




Left-wing billionaire George Soros is once again opening his wallet to help Democrats win an election. It didn’t work out so well for Soros when he dumped $27 million into the 2004 election to defeat George W. Bush. Since then Soros has reportedly held back on going all in but, as Politico reports, that is changing in 2016:

People close to Soros say he seems more politically engaged than he’s been in years, motivated they say by a combination of faith in Clinton and fear of her GOP rival Donald Trump, who Soros has accused of “doing the work of ISIS” by stoking fears.

Eventually Politico gets to a list of Soros’ donations:

Through the end of June, Soros had donated $7 million to a super PAC supporting Clinton called Priorities USA Action, according to FEC filings, making it the biggest recipient of his political largesse this cycle. And three Democratic operatives say he’s considering donating another $3 million to the group.
FEC records also show Soros gave $2 million to American Bridge 21st Century, an opposition research super PAC that has been targeting Trump and other Republican candidates, and $700,000 to an assortment of Democratic party committees, PACs and campaigns, including Clinton’s.

American Bridge is the SuperPAC founded by Clinton crony David Brock, who also runs Media Matters. In addition, Soros is reportedly giving $5 million to a Latino voter outreach group called Immigrant Voters Win and $5 million to the Voting Rights Trust, a group that fights in court against state laws requiring ID to vote. That latter commitment is one Soros made more than a year ago according to the NY Times.





The latest confirmation that Germany's troubled banking giant Deutsche Bank is unable to navigate the troubled waters of NIRP came on Wednesday when the bank announced that its second-quarter net income fell 98% from a year earlier, hurt by weaker performances in trading, investment banking and other core areas. The lender said net income tumbled to €20 million ($22 million) from €818 million a year earlier, modestly better than the €22mm loss expected, while net revenue dropped 20% to €7.4 billion. 
After rebounding modestly on the beat, the bank’s shares fell tumbled 5% on Wednesday morning, their lower level in 2 weeks; today's decline has dragged DB stock 45% lower in 2016, making it one of Europe's worst performers YTD (the Stoxx 600 is down 27% in 2016).
Investors were unimpressed, and the shares now trade for two thirds less than their tangible book value, a steeper discount than even during the depths of the financial crisis. 
What is more troubling is that as Bloomberg adds, the worst is yet to come.



Hamas is digging more than six miles of tunnels each month toward Israel, which has no guaranteed techniques for detecting them, Israeli officials said Wednesday.
Amid an ongoing argument among politicians and bereaved Israeli families over whether the Netanyahu government dealt with the Hamas tunnel threat appropriately and effectively before and during the 2014 war in Gaza, the unnamed Israeli defense and diplomatic officials were quoted by Channel 2 news as saying that Israel knows that Hamas is constantly extending its underground network.
“We have no perfect solution” to the threat, the officials were quoted as saying, “and neither does any other country.”
Israel located and destroyed two Hamas attack tunnels in April and May. Both were discovered in the southern Gaza Strip and ran into Israeli territory.