Once again we see further strengthening of the Gog-Magog alliance:
Russia and Iran have signed an agreement to expand their military ties and resolve a long-standing dispute over the sale of a controversial air defense system to the Islamic Republic.
In remarks carried by Russian news agencies, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in Tehran Tuesday that the new agreement includes expanded counter-terrorism cooperation, exchanges of military personnel for training purposes and an understanding for each country’s navy to more frequently use the other’s ports.
The deal provides for joint exercises and military training, as well as “cooperation in peacekeeping, maintaining regional and international security and stability, and fighting against separatism and extremism,” the Iranian Defense Ministry website said.
The Iranian general who was killed in an apparent Israeli airstrike near the border with the Golan Heights on Sunday was a ballistic missile expert who was visiting Syria as part of a project to set up a missile base near the border with Israel, according to a Tuesday report.
General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, whom Tehran acknowledged was killed in an Israeli missile strike near the Syrian city of Quneitra along with several Hezbollah fighters, was tasked with building four new Hezbollah missile bases near the Israel-Syria frontier, the London-based Times reported.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah is expected to deliver a speech Sunday, Lebanese news outlet Naharnet reported Tuesday. The speech had been scheduled for next month to mark the death of Imad Mughniyeh in 2008 in an alleged Israeli operation.
As many as 45 churches were set on fire in Niger’s capital city of Niamey during weekend protests against the publishing of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed, AFP reports, citing local police.
The protests were sparked by the decision of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly, to place a caricature image showing the prophet holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign on the cover of its first issue since the January 7 attack, which claimed lives of 12 people.
Representatives of the US Army Command will arrive in Ukraine in the coming days, Ukrainian military announced. The visit comes as the Kiev forces have launched a large-scale offensive on the militia positions in the south-east of the country.
“This week, a delegation from the US Army Command, headed by Commander of US Army Europe, Lt. Gen [Frederick Ben] Hodges, will arrive in Ukraine,” Vladislav Seleznyov, spokesman for Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces, said at a media briefing in Kiev on Monday.
The spokesman also said that Ukraine will take part in the NATO Military Committee conference on January 20-22.
The get-together will be dedicated to the issues of military cooperation between Ukraine and NATO as well as plans to reform the Ukrainian Armed Forces and the evaluation of the situation in south-eastern Ukraine, he said.
The fighting intensified in south-eastern Ukraine on Sunday as Kiev forces launched large-scale offensive, reportedly involving Grad multiple rocket launchers and aviation, against the militia in the Donetsk region.
According to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic count, at least nine civilians were killed and 44 injured in as the city endured some 50 artillery strikes from the Ukrainian military on Sunday.
There were also human casualties and destruction in the nearby towns of Makeevka and Gorlovka.
Earlier, in a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry urged Kiev to take steps to pull its heavy weapons out of Eastern Ukraine, saying that their militia opponents had already signed a roadmap for it.
“If Kiev truly prepared to pull back heavy weapons as would the militia do… this should lead to practical steps on the ground, especially considering that the leaders of [the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics] have already signed a roadmap for it,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.
The Ukrainian military launched the operation in the country’s southeast last April, after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions became the site of a rebel movement refusing to recognize the new, coup-imposed authorities in Kiev.
Globalization is the hitherto pinnacle of interdependency, crippling any nation that falls foul of those sitting at the center of this entangled geopolitical order. There are many examples of nations that haven fallen foul including Cuba, Iraq, Iran and more recently Russia. In each case, respective economies depended heavily upon imports or exports or both. The response in defense against crippling economic warfare is self-sufficiency.
Combined with the overall instability of a global system of interdependencies ran by an inept, greedy and self-destructive oligarchy centered upon Wall Street and London, economic warfare is a serious and continuous threat to all nations. And while headlines are dominated by America’s economic war on Russia at the moment, amid that war many of the United State’s closest allies have suffered as well.
Everything from industry to agriculture and even human health is becoming increasing dependent on advanced technology. Nations lagging behind in terms of education, research, and development are likely to fall prey to monopolies controlled from beyond their borders. A nation dependent on another is not only not truly a free and independent nation state, it is also immensely vulnerable to the meddling of those nations who control these monopolies.
Washington and Riyadh’s grip on the petrodollar is one example of this. Their ability to then manipulate global energy prices has been regularly used as an economic weapon against its enemies, most recently Russia. While a clumsy and unsustainable weapon to wield, the world would be a far better and more stable place if the firewalls of socioeconomic independence were stronger.
Should Russia prevail, it is hoped that while they will likely continue reaping the benefits of their resource-based export economy, they will also look inward for another source of strength to augment, then eventually replace their vulnerable interdependencies. Other BRICS nations would be wise to begin doing so long before it becomes a necessity. For nations like Brazil, who has invested decades in developing energy independence, such a proposition is much more in reach.
Ultimately, self-sufficiency as an individual or as a nation or bloc of nations does not mean isolationism. It means being able to thrive without, and thriving twice as much with. While it is difficult to convince industries and entrepreneurs to steer toward this more sustainable ground, tying self-sufficiency in with national defense can allow for measures otherwise shortsighted business sectors would reject. In the long run, say in Russia, business leaders who eagerly pursued globalism as a means toward riches are surely regretting their shortsightedness now. Sanctions force Russia, under pressure, to implement measures that should have been put in place years ago.
Tying self-sufficiency to national security, particularly now in Russia where jobs and prosperity are in peril is not a long stretch, especially considering that Russia’s current economic woes are part of what is essentially an attack on Russian sovereignty, peace and prosperity to begin with.