"Step Into My Parlour", said The Spider to The Fly.

After giving M.K. Bhadrakumar a boost the other day I am now regretting it. He writes in “Obama may cede Iran's nuclear rights” (thanks, McJ, nice map!) that the US may offer to forego opposition to Iran's nuclear power program in exchange for agreeing to buy their enriched uranium fuel from Kazakhstan who would warehouse and supply it under “international” supervision or control. He goes on to describe (but not identify) quite a web of intrigue and a list of characters involved.

But Bhadrakumar seems to be spinning a web of his own. He prevaricates in introducing the topic (the web) and the chief characters (can we call them spiders?). For instance, “It (the US) sought a rethink of Washington's insistence on Iran jettisoning its pursuit of uranium enrichment as a pre-requisite of commencement of direct talks between the two countries.” Talks about what? Talks about “jettisoning its pursuit of uranium enrichment.” It's circular and nonsensical, no? Yes, but that is how Israel and the US “negotiate” but Bhadrakumar reframes it as something sensible or reasonable.
And there's more, “This was borne out of a growing realization that the US insistence was no longer tenable.” It would have been much clearer and upfront to say, “the bullying didn't work so we'll move to plan B”. The article seeks to present the US Administration as (now) being reasonable in their approach and demeanour. But since when do leopards change their spots?

McJ asks (somewhat rhetorically, perhaps), “I'm curious as to what the reason is that it is 'OK' for Kazakhstan to enrich and store uranium for fuel and not Iran”.
The implication in the article (and in the proposal from the US presumably) is that Kazakhstan is not going to produce nuclear weapons. But Iran has made that same commitment over and over. The Ayatollah Khamenei has even issued a fatwa against their developing them i.e. they are against God. How does Nurusultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan compare with that? Here's the Islamic Human Rights Commission view on him, “government oil and gas revenues, along with secret bribery payments from US oil company Exxon Mobil , amounting to one billion dollars were diverted to secret swiss bank accounts controlled by Nazarbayev and other senior Kazakh autocrats.
Following the freezing of Swiss bank accounts, Nazarbayev made a January 2003 trip to Switzerland, speculated to ensure his immunity from prosecution in return for testimonials against other senior Kazakh government officials.”
I think we can safely say, “he's in the bag”. And there's torture, too, but, hey, everybody is into that these days.

How could the Iranians ever be persuaded to trust Nazarbayev? They can't. Bhadrakuman describes him as “the veteran Kazakh statesman”. He may well be a veteran and be as cunning as a shithouse rat but he is no statesman and the Iranians would know that full well. And the Japanese are hardly neutral go-betweens. So what's gong on here?

In international diplomacy, nobody is honest. There's always a hidden agenda. So how do you get a hidden agenda past your opponent when every one is looking for it? Provide a decoy. So, what's the decoy here? It might be a number of things, of course, but I'll suggest one; the Iranians might see that the US is trying to use this “uranium bank” as a wedge between Russia, China and Iran. The Americans might be hoping that the Iranians will see this and (though they will never agree to “the Bank”) will try and use the situation to winkle more nuclear (or other) concessions out of the Russians. Meanwhile, this whole piece of theatre is occupying the Iranian leadership's attention (and everybody else's) and distracting them from something else that's going on; something that is very much to their detriment. And that something may well be the large troop and materiel buildups taking place on their borders right now.

There has been a recent troop increase in Iraq as a result of the “surge” and now there is a similar buildup on Iran's other flank in Afghanistan together with transit agreements entered into with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on their northern border and Kazakhstan, in turn, behind them. Tehran is in the north of the country and is roughly equidistant from Baghdad in Iraq, Baku in Azerbaijan, Ashabad in Turkmenistan and a little further away, but still close, is Herat in Afghanistan. This is the Silk Road (or part of it) and further on down this Road is China.

It is a standard tactic that when you are about ready to attack your enemy, you start peace negotiations. Remember Saakashvili telling South Ossetia that he has renounced military intervention as an option in Georgia's dispute with them? Within days, he attacked. This would certainly have been on instructions from the US and Israel.

It seems, too, that there was much more to the attack on South Ossetia than was first apparent. From “Eurasian Crossroads: The Caucasus In US-NATO War Plans - by Rick Rozoff,
“Last September Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said that "Russian intelligence had obtained information indicating that the Georgian military infrastructure could be used for logistical support of U.S. troops if they launched an attack on Iran. (This would presumably been obtained from Georgian military barracks raided by the Russians in their reciprocal invasion).
"'This is another reason why Washington values Saakashvili's regime so highly,' Rogozin said, adding that the United States had already started 'active military preparations on Georgia's territory' for an invasion of Iran."(31)
Other Russian sources affirmed that Russia's defeat of Georgia last August preempted a planned attack on Iran, and commentators in the Caucasus have speculated that had Saakashvili succeeded in South Ossetia not only would he have immediately turned on Abkhazia but Azerbaijan would have launched a similar assault on Nagorno-Karabakh which would have led to Armenia certainly, Turkey probably and Iran possibly being dragged into a regional conflagration.”

Between North and South Ossetia is the Caucasian Mountains with the Roki Tunnel the main link between them. If South Ossetia were in Georgian hands and the tunnel blocked, Russia would be severely handicapped in coming through Georgia with troops and tanks (more info in the comments section as well) to Iran's aid and attacking both NATO's supply lines and their invading troops from behind.

But back to the negotiating table; or is it a stage? The proposal over nuclear fuel also doesn't make sense when held up against the US and Israel's major motivation; their goal of dominating the whole world, the New American Century and with, perhaps, yet another “Pearl Harbour”. The prime motivation or goal must always be borne in mind.

Iran is very definitely the next stepping stone to that goal. Control of Iran's oil and gas is crucial and this leopard ain't about to change its spots any day soon.


McJ's picture

I love your title - very

I love your title - very apropos!

Following your link to Lawyers, Guns and Money I found this comment by one of the posters:
"The most likely place that Russia would have invaded, if the Roki Tunnel had been blown, would have been the ancient Georgian Military Road. This was the road built from Vladivostok [sic -Vladikavkaz] to Tbilisi during the time of the Czars. It's still there, and still usable. It is immediately to the east of South Ossetia, and invading via that route would have put the Russians at the gates of the Georgian capital within about 12 hours after leaving [Vladikavkaz]. Tbilisi is sort of the "king" of this game. That would have gotten the Georgians out of South Osettia *real* quick, if the Russians started shelling their capital..."

I am wondering if this may have been a further reason (then the one in the linked article) that Saakashvili (or his US/Israeli handlers) wouldn't have wanted to blow that tunnel. I can't help noting that this road ends in Tbilisi which is on the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline route. I also can't help noting that Russia was well prepared and ready for this attack. As you quoted from Rozoff's article: "Other Russian sources affirmed that Russia's defeat of Georgia last August preempted a planned attack on Iran.."
It's hard to know whose the spider and whose the fly in all this. I'm glad you are at work on the case!
Another map at link: http://web.stratfor.com/images/fsu/map/GeorgiaWarMap800.jpg


"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

The Russians started their

The Russians started their own wargames in response to Georgia's ones just prior to the attack. With the US and Israeli trainers everywhere in Georgia, the Russians would have been on high alert. They play chess!
I remember at the time of the attack on South Ossetia, one commentator saying it was designed as an ethnic cleansing operation (no surprise there given Israel's involvement!). So the tunnel would have been left open to achieve that. Of course, there's always straight out incompetence and there's no shortage of that with the US and Israel nevermind Saakashvili.

McJ's picture

"They play chess!" "

"They play chess!"
" ...there's always straight out incompetence and there's no shortage of that with the US and Israel nevermind Saakashvili"

Yes, I was thinking that. And factoring out Saakashvilli, out of the US/Israel, Iran and Russia the first mentioned is probably the dullest tool in the shed (no offense meant to any individuals smiling ) but surely they must have known unless of course it was pure hubris. Do you rule out any chance the Russians set a trap for them?

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson


While watching out for hubris on my own part(!), I'd say, "Yes", they US/Israel suffer from hubris bigtime. They demonstrably don't learn a damned thing. I bet the Russians ask themselves all the time, "can they be that dumb?"!
Russia and Iran have outfoxed them every time. Lebanon was very instructive and still is. First Hezbollah defeated the IDF and have not reacted to provocation since. They, Iran and Russia are playing their own game and waiting for Israel and US to overstretch themselves which is exactly what happened in Georgia. And it's going to happen again. It is tragic that many many people are going to have their lives destroyed in what these psychopaths call "The Great Game".

I doesn't look like the Russians set a trap to me, but I just sit in front of a terminal! It appears they can anticipate the dunderheads and wait for them. Well, shit, if I can see what's coming, they can.!

I should add that the main problem with hubris is that it blinds you. It is a disconnect with reality. You only see what you want to see. It's like walking around a minefield with a map drawn up from wishful thinking!

McJ's picture

From bizarro world and the

From bizarro world and the 'they're all in this together' or 'it's about the money' or the 'wtf' category...
Spy drones purchased by Russians as result of lack of realiable intelligence for military during war with Georgia
April 9, 2009
A contract signed with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) envisions the purchase by Russia of the Bird-Eye 400 mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), I-view MK 150 tactical UAV, and Searcher MK II medium-range UAV, Moscow-based daily Kommersant reports. Russia has inked a $50 million deal with the Israeli company, although under the US pressure it was denied sale of some sensitive models, Heron and similar class of UAVs made by IAI, according to media reports.
Quoting sources, the paper said the Russian Defence Ministry has already paid half of the contractual amount to cover the creation technical facilities and the training of personnel for the operation of UAVs.
"This indicates that the Russian purchases of drones from Israel will not be limited to this particular deal. The Russian Army needs about 50-100 UAVs and 10 control complexes," Kommersant noted.
After five-day war with Georgia last August, which had widely used Israeli drones made by Elbit Systems, the Russian military had felt the lack of reliable intelligence for effective use of smart weapons although a range of indigenously developed UAVs were used by it.

head spins then explodes...

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Re Bizarro business

Well from the Israeli side, all I can say is "business id business"! From the Russian side of things, what's wrong with this statement? - "the Russian military had felt the lack of reliable intelligence for effective use of smart weapons although a range of indigenously developed UAVs were used by it."
The Russians are saying that their intelligence gathering was deficient and that their UAVs aren't as good as the Israeli's and they're going to need lots of them. If either of these statements were true, the Russians would not say so out of pride and/or fear of their vulnerability being exploited. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and say those naughty Ruskies are telling pork pies (which is kinda apt).

Who knows what they're up to but maybe it is to reverse engineer them to find and exploit their vulnerabilies. The Russians think like this. The don't necessarily counter by building bigger and better. Sometimes they exploit vulnerabilities like with their sunburn missiles-
" Many years ago, Soviet planners gave up trying to match the US Navy ship for ship, gun for gun, and dollar for dollar. The Soviets simply could not compete with the high levels of US spending required to build up and maintain a huge naval armada. They shrewdly adopted an alternative approach based on strategic defense. They searched for weaknesses, and sought relatively inexpensive ways to exploit those weaknesses. The Soviets succeeded: by developing several supersonic anti-ship missiles, one of which, the SS-N-22 Sunburn, has been called “the most lethal missile in the world today.” . . . . . . . .
The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes “violent end maneuvers” to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution –– not enough time to take out the intruding missile.". . . . . .
"The Sunburn’s combined supersonic speed and payload size produce tremendous kinetic energy on impact, with devastating consequences for ship and crew. A single one of these missiles can sink a large warship, yet costs considerably less than a fighter jet"

The whole article is well worth reading. After reading it, you will know the significance of a future news report, if it ever appears, that quizically wonders why the entire US Fleet is leaving the Persian Gulf and why I think that if an invasion of Iran happens it will be from the north using the Silk Road as the supply line. Which brings us back to Georgia and also to the Black Sea.

Turkey is unlikely to allow its territory to be used for military transit so the Black Sea becomes indepensible. NATO is going to try to counter Russia's Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol somehow. I expect more trouble in the Crimea.

McJ's picture

Turkish Straits

"Turkey is unlikely to allow its territory to be used for military transit so the Black Sea becomes indepensible. NATO is going to try to counter Russia's Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol somehow. I expect more trouble in the Crimea."

I added this brief article to the Silk Road Strategy forum:
Russia, Turkey declare new era with ‘strategic’ document
Global Research, February 14, 2009

Russia, meanwhile, had denounced US and NATO naval presence in the Black Sea, which can only be accessed via the Turkish Straits, as a "provocation." Later, however, a statement appreciating appropriate implementation of the 1936 Montreux Convention, which governs passage through the Turkish Straits, came from the Russian capital.
Babacan, speaking in Riga ahead of the Moscow visit, advised the United States, NATO and the European Union not to adopt a confrontational attitude in their dealings with Russia.
Babacan said Thursday that Turkey and Russia enjoyed "normal, friendly relations," while noting that Russia is Turkey's largest trading partner.
"The key term is cooperation. A strategy of confrontation with Russia is not going to give positive results and risks producing lose-lose outcomes," he warned in response to a question about Russian plans to station Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad Baltic enclave in response to US plans for a "missile shield" in central and Eastern Europe.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

McJ's picture

Just can't resist

I just can't resist posting this - It's one of favs from the Stones. And your sending me to the dictionary James - "winkle" - to pry, extract, or force from a place or position. laughing out loud

I said, my! my! my! like a spider to a fly
Jump right ahead in my web!

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

McJ's picture

Kazakh minister arrested in Israeli arms sales bribe case

From Haretz.com:

Kazakh minister arrested in Israeli arms sales bribe case
By Yossi Melman

Kazakhstan's deputy defense minister was arrested yesterday as local security service KNB issued a public statement accusing several other senior officers and officials in the ministry of purchasing flawed military equipment from Israel.

Deputy Defense Minister Khazimurat Mayermanov is reportedly suspected of accepting bribes in his position as responsible for weapon purchases for the state.

The purchases were said to include artillery systems and other gear. The names of the Israeli companies involved were not given in the KNB statement, but earlier publications suggest that these might be Soltam Systems and Israel Military Industries (IMI). Israeli businessman Boris Sheinkman, a former Soviet army colonel and an agent of Soltam and IMI, had been arrested several weeks ago.

Sheinkman is suspected of promoting the deal through his personal connection to the Kazakh defense establishment, including Mayermanov. Local sources denied there was any connection between the two arrests.

A source in the Kazakhstan embassy in Tel Aviv noted that media in his country said that Indian businessman Sudhir Choudrie was also linked to the case. Choudrie, who owns about half of Soltam, is wanted in India on suspicions of bribing Indian defense and military officials to promote weapon deals with Israel.

The KNB statement said the sum of the purchases by Kazakhstan ran up to $82 million but Israeli sources said earlier that local arms sales to Kazakhstan amounted to $300 million.

The deal now under investigation was supposed to improve Kazakh truck-mounted artillery, bringing the Soviet-made guns up to Western standards of technology. IMI also provided 40km-range rocket launchers and drones. Elbit, which developed the control software for the system, was also involved in the deal.

The Israeli Defense Ministry Spokesperson did not respond to requests for comments. Soltam owner Miko Gilat declined to comment.

And from Press TV:

KNB: Israel defrauded Kazakhstan
Mon, 13 Apr 2009 23:21:16 GMT

Kazakh officials say Israel has sold faulty military hardware to the country, accusing the Defense Ministry of collusion with Israeli firms.

The country's security service announced on Monday that it had launched an investigation into the case and would grill several officials with the Defense Ministry over the contracts.

The shipment of faulty arms included artillery and other defense systems, Reuters reported.

"These systems had not been completed properly, they are still in the phase of research and development," Kenzhebulat Beknazarov, a spokesman for Kazakhstan's security service (KNB) told reports.

"The KNB is investigating actions by a number of Defense Ministry officials during the signing of contracts with Israeli companies," he said adding that the contracts have caused 82 million dollars of damage.

According to the Kazakh official, an Israeli businessman, Boris Sheinkman, was briefly arrested and questioned in March in connection with the case. Sheinkman was acting on behalf of the Israeli arms firms that had sold the military equipment.

Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry, however, claimed that KNB was informed about the contacts between the ministry and the Israeli sides and that they had earlier uncovered that some hardware did not work properly.

The ministry added Israeli firms promised to fix the problems.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Let's do this.


or simple?

McJ's picture

Boris Sheinkman

29.03.200915:49 (GMT)

One week ago in Alma-Ata the security services of Kazakstan detained Boris Sheinkman who mediated between the Israel’s defence industry and Kazakhstan, daily Maariv reports today. Sheinkman has been detained in an Alma-Ata street and later transported to the capital city of Astana. The Israeli consul was not allowed to see Sheinkman and he was also not allowed to meet his lawyers.
According to Maariv, Sheinkman, 61, represented in Kazakhstan the interests of four Israel’s enterprises, Soltam, military-industrial concern TAAS, Elbit and Aeronotics. In 2007 and 2008, these firms concluded transactions with Kazakhstan in the amount of $300 million.
In an interview to Maariv, representatives of the Israeli defense industry informed that thanks to these deals Kazakhstan received modern arms which were not at the disposal neither of Russia, nor the United States.
Before repatriation Sheinkman was a staff military and had the rank of the Colonel in the Soviet army. Together with his family he repatriated to Israel in 1991 from Kazakhstan. He lives in Netaniya, however, the most part of time he spends in Kazakhstan.
According to Maariv, the reason of Sheinkman’s detention could have become disagreements between the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan and local secret services. Besides it is not excluded, that intervention of Russia was taking place in this case as Moscow is not interested in selling modern arms to Kazakhstan by Israel, NEWSru.co.il writes.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Would you buy a used car

Would you buy a used car from ANY of these guys? They just can't help themselves. Always along with corruption comes incompetence. Satan must be livid! I hear him squealing now, " You just can't get good help anymore" rolling on the floor laughing

McJ's picture


laughing out loud

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

I know.

Messiah Yeshua is just a joke.


In fact, James,

shouldn't we reject all technology?

Or what? I proudly call myself a neo-luddite.

Yet I love tools.

Tell me to not be angry.

NATO Vs Russia in Georgia

"Russia demands NATO call off exercises in Georgia" from Reuters via Yahoo news.

Link cortesy of Moon of Alabama
This is deliberate provocation, of course. You do this when you think you can control the consequences. But you can never be anywhere near sure. With the stakes so high, this goes way past hubris deep into the land of lunacy.

Perhaps this is the planned excuse for NATO to bring many extra ships into the Black Sea to counter the Russian fleet.

McJ's picture

Gates warns against Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities

Gates warns against Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities
Paul Richter and Julian E. Barnes
Los Angeles Times
Thu, 16 Apr 2009 01:31 UTC

The Defense secretary tells a group of Marine students that such a strike would only delay the nuclear program while strengthening the Iranians' resolve.

Reporting from Washington -- Amid increasing suggestions that Israel may attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned this week that such a strike would have dangerous consequences, and asserted that Tehran's acquisition of a bomb can be prevented only if "Iranians themselves decide it's too costly."

Using his strongest language on the subject to date, Gates told a group of Marine Corps students that although a strike probably would delay Tehran's nuclear program one to three years, it would unify Iranians, "cement their determination to have a nuclear program, and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them." Israeli officials fear that the Islamic Republic may gain the know-how to build a bomb as early as this year, and several of them have warned that Israel could strike first to eliminate what it considers an existential threat.

Center for Strategic & International Studies: Israel likely to strike Iran, success unlikely
Press TV
Thu, 16 Apr 2009 19:26 UTC
An Israeli mission to take out Iranian nuclear facilities is unlikely to be a success, says a new report from a Washington think tank.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington has carried out an assessment of Israeli options for striking Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

The Washington think tank provided an analysis of "Israeli capabilities, possible flight paths, sorties requirements, battle damage capabilities, and the other details of possible Israeli strikes."

While the CSIS analysis confirmed that an Israeli military strike against Iran is possible, it said it is highly probable that the Israeli military would be blocked by many obstacles before getting through to the country.

"A military strike by Israel against Iranian Nuclear Facilities is possible and the optimum route would be along the Syrian-Turkish border then over a small portion of Iraq then into Iran, and back the same route," reads the report.

"However, the number of aircraft required, refueling along the way and getting to the targets without being detected or intercepted would be complex and high risk and would lack any assurances that the overall mission will have a high success rate," warned the assessment.

The Washington-based think tank goes on to cite the unwillingness of Iran's neighboring countries to attack the country "under the pretext that Iran poses an existential threat to Israel and a security threat to the whole region, whilst Israel has some 200 to 300 nuclear weapon[s]."

...Earlier on Wednesday Israel's Home Front Command announced plans to mobilize the Israeli army as well as the public to hold the largest military exercise in its history on June 2.

The head of Israel's Department for Population at the Home Front Command Colonel Hilik Sofer said by holding the weeklong military exercise Israel seeks to "transform the population from a passive to an active one... We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning."

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Good cop, bad cop

This is more good cop/ bad cop schtick.
Turn the sound down and watch what they do, as you've highlighted, McJ.

McJ's picture

Start date

I note the start date for the Israelis is the day after the NATO exercises are to finish.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

McJ's picture

Russia moves troops closer to Georgia's capital

Russia moves troops closer to Georgia's capital
By LYNN BERRY, Associated Press Writer
Tue Apr 21, 4:31 pm ET

AKHMAJI, Georgia

...Russia has troops just 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Georgian capital, in violation of the European Union-brokered cease-fire that ended last year's brief war. And in recent weeks, it has put even more soldiers and armored vehicles within striking distance of the city ahead of street protests against Georgia's president.

...Russia has strongly objected to NATO military exercises scheduled to begin May 6 in Georgia and has warned the U.S. against helping Georgia rebuild its army.

The military checkpoint near Akhmaji enforces a new boundary between Georgia and South Ossetia, the Russian-supported region that was at the center of the fighting.

...The actions by Russia reflect both its military strength and its willingness to challenge the West to reclaim a dominant role in Georgia and elsewhere in its former sphere of influence.

...Georgia's Interior Ministry said Russia has 15,000 soldiers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which would be far more than in past months. Since the beginning of April, Russia has moved 130 armored vehicles toward the boundary line from elsewhere in South Ossetia and 70 more have entered South Ossetia from Russia, ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili said.

...Peter Semneby, the EU special representative for the South Caucasus, said the Russian military presence is clearly "significantly larger" than it was.

...vehicles appeared during the first week of April and are the Russian forces closest to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. "A tank needs only 40 minutes...

More at link - http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090421/ap_on_re_eu/eu_georgia_russian_troops

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

This article is a great

This article is a great example of Assoc. Press spin. From the linked news item-
"The demonstrations have been fed by public anger over Georgia's humiliating defeat in the August war, which left Russian troops on previously Georgian-controlled territory and drove tens of thousands of Georgians from their homes."
The protestors are not bitter about defeat. They're bitter at the murders of innocent people and the destruction the idiot Saakashvili brought down on their heads in attacking South Ossetian civilians and the shower of shit that is about to be launched on them through his aquiesence to NATO's plans to start a war with Russia on their soil.

The AP article is typical of the genre in that it provides some facts but accompanies it with a misleading and edited narrative. It does not comment, for instance, on the hugely provokative action of stationing NATO troops in the country and practising for an invasion. Hello?

Shall we make this official then?

I am the big cheese around here? j/k

(I suffer from the Truman Show delusional syndrome. of course.)

I also am a 911 conspiracy theorist. (Wild, man!)

Truth will out though. Let us not give up, I say to myself.

McJ's picture

West traps Russia in its own

West traps Russia in its own backyard
By M K Bhadrakumar

In the normal case, pushing the reset button should not be a difficult thing to do. Yet, it is almost two months since United States Vice President Joseph Biden offered to do just that.

When he addressed the Munich security conference in February, Biden offered to reset the button in US-Russia relations. However, despite many positive signals and an overall lowering of rhetoric, the moves so far have been by and large symbolic. Across Eurasia, the signs are to the contrary. The Great Game is picking up momentum. The sharp fall in oil prices has complicated Russia's economic recovery, which in turn would disrupt the dynamics of the integration processes under Moscow's
leadership - political, military and economic - in the post-Soviet space.

US diplomats are scouring the region for chance to drive wedges

in the ties between Moscow and the regional capitals. Tajikistan, one of Russia's staunchest allies, has distinctly warmed up to the US. Uzbekistan is once again ducking, which suggests it is open to the highest bidder. But Turkmenistan could be the jewel in the crown of the US's regional diplomacy.

A concerted US effort has begun to somehow detach Ashgabat from the Russian sphere of influence and thereby kill the prospects of Russia's plans for laying new gas pipelines for the European market. Alongside, there is also a determined bid to develop a northern supply route to Afghanistan via the Caucasus and the Caspian that would bypass Russia. While Russian cooperation is welcome, the US will not want its vulnerability in Afghanistan to be exploited for a reciprocal accommodation of Russian interests in Europe.

As of now, Moscow is keeping cool. Any excitement would only play into the hands of the hardliners in Washington. It reacted calmly in early April in the face of the attempt to stage a "color revolution" in Moldova to replace the democratically elected government friendly toward Moscow. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov cautioned that the US and Russia should not "force" former Soviet republics to choose between an alliance with Washington or Moscow, nor should there be any "hidden agendas" in US-Russia relations. "It is inadmissible to try to place a false choice before them [former Soviet republics], either you are with us or against us. Otherwise, this will lead to a whole struggle for spheres of influence," Lavrov pointed out.

Attention at the moment is on the so-called Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer military exercise that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) proposes to hold from May 6 through June 1 in Georgia. The drill aims to improve "interoperability" between NATO and its partner countries. But, clearly, the US choreographed the initiative as a reiteration of the West's security commitments to the Georgian regime. In the event, the US had a hard time persuading its NATO partners to participate. Germany and France, which are opposed to NATO needlessly provoking Russia, declined.

A NATO military exercise in the highly combustible security environment in the Caucasus is indeed controversial. Russia sees it as a "back-door" attempt by Washington to involve NATO with Georgia's security and as a creeping expansion by the alliance into the Caucasus. Indeed, the geopolitical consequences of the conflict last August are yet to be assimilated.

more at link - http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/KD25Ag02.html

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson


NATO does not need Turkmenistan to supply their troops in Afghanistan. There is in place a supply line now through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. NATO does, however, need Turkmenistan to supply troops in an invasion of northern Iran to suppliment troops and supplies coming in through Azerbaijan and Afghanistan (Herat). Map here

NATO countries pulling out of Georgia war"game"

"The Moldovan government has withdrawn from involvement in NATO-led drills scheduled for May 6 through June 1 in Georgia, according to the Interfax news agency.

The reasons behind the decision have not been explained.

Earlier, the Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia, as well as Kazakhstan in central Asia and Serbia in Eastern Europe announced that they were pulling out of the exercises."

Perhaps Russia is explaining what is really going on. Hence no reasons given for withdrawing.

McJ's picture

Armenia Pulls Out Of Nato Exercises

"...military experts in Tbilisi suggested the mutiny could be linked with plans to use troops to end opposition road blocks that have paralysed the capital for weeks, and that some officers had refused to participate.

Matthew Collin, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Tbilisi, said the growing instability in the region would not help Georgia's attempts to join Nato.

He said it was not clear whether the rebellion would affect the upcoming Nato exercises, which will be taking place at a "very different military base".

But the events appeared to have led Armenia, a Russian ally, to pull out of the exercises.

In a statement on Tuesday its defence ministry cited the "current situation" in Georgia as its reason for not participating in the games."

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

A Curious Thing

Last week we had the report of yet another tragic and seemingly senseless mass shooting by a "lone gunman" who then obligingly kills himself, but this time in Azerbaijan, of all places. There is no context given in the news reports because there is, presumably, no context because there is no reason, of course, for this "senseless" shooting. But there is always a reason.

Here is a possible context. Azerbaijan holds the key to whether the Nabuco pipeline from Central Asia to Europe skirting around Russia will be viable. Azerbaijan is talking to Russia, however.

Next we have a number of countries pull out of the wargames scheduled in Georgia this month. Azerbaijan has already committed to join in and there have been no anouncements that it is thinking of doing otherwise.

Then we have the Baku shooting. It's at Baku’s prestigious Azerbaijan State Oil Academy (where, no doubt, the ruling clique have children or relatives attending) and there are TWO gunmen involved. "Some survivors reported seeing more than one gunman. "We were attending a lecture. Someone began to kick the door. Suddenly two [gunmen] burst into the room and shot at the students sitting in the front row. " (This reminds me of the classic movie "Parallax View" and all those other shootings where more than one gunman is seen by witnesses but not acknowledged by "the authorities")

The very next day we have this announcement from the Aberbaijani Defence Ministry, "Azerbaijan Confirms Participation in Military Drills in Georgia". There is no reason given for this seemingly redundant announcement. But there is always a reason.

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Georgia accuses Russia of financing a coup before NATO war games

Georgia says foils rebellion; as it points finger at Russia
05/05/2009 18:35

By Niko Mchedlishvili

MUKHROVANI, Georgia (Reuters) - Georgia said it put down a mutiny at a military base on Tuesday and accused Moscow of financing a coup on the eve of NATO war games in the former Soviet republic.

Russia, which fought a war with Georgia last year, denied any involvement and said President Mikheil Saakashvili was trying to shift the blame for his domestic problems.

Georgia's opposition said the incident was "a show" to deflect attention from protests against the president.

Saakashvili called the rebellion at the Mukhrovani tank base a "serious threat." Police kept reporters at a distance and it was not clear how many of the 500 soldiers there were involved.

About three hours after news broke of a military uprising, around 30 tanks and armoured personnel carriers entered the base, followed later by Saakashvili and the ministers of defence and interior, a Reuters reporter said.

Officials said officers had surrendered and their commander had been arrested.

Earlier, Russia's Interfax news agency said Mukhrovani base commander Mamuka Gorgishvili had made a statement criticising Saakashvili's government but pledging not to use force.

"One cannot look calmly at the process of the country falling apart, at the ongoing confrontation. But our tank unit will not resort to any aggressive actions," the agency quoted Gorgishvili as saying.

Defence Minister David Sikharulidze told Reuters the plotters wanted to undermine month-long NATO exercises beginning this week in Georgia which Russia has criticised.

Sikharulidze told Rustavi 2 television the rebellion was also "an attempt at a military coup." Saakashvili accused the plotters of links to Moscow and demanded neighbouring Russia "refrain from provocations."

Russia said the Georgian accusations were insane.

"Today what is happening is what we have always feared -- the Georgian leadership are trying to shift their domestic problems on to Russia," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told reporters.

"Instead of dialogue inside the country, the Georgian leadership is trying to accuse Russia of totally insane things."

Military experts in Tbilisi suggested the rebellion could be linked with plans to use troops to end weeks of opposition road blocks that have paralysed Tbilisi, and that some officers had refused to participate.

"This chimes with what we are hearing from military sources," a senior Western diplomat said.


The Georgian Interior Ministry said several former and serving security officials were being investigated, and at least one was detained.

Georgia lost a brief war against neighbouring Russia last August. Russia crushed in a matter of days a Georgian assault on the rebel pro-Moscow region of South Ossetia, drawing criticism from the West for a "disproportionate" response.

The conflict slammed the brakes on Georgia's bid for membership of NATO, which the Kremlin fiercely opposes as an encroachment on its traditional sphere of influence.

Ties between Moscow and NATO have come under renewed strain since the announcement of the military exercises and the expulsion last week of two Russian diplomats from the Western military alliance.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has dropped plans to attend a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this month in protest at NATO's expulsion of the Russian diplomats.

NATO said it regretted Russia's decision and hoped a new date would soon be agreed for the talks.

The mutiny had little impact on financial markets. Georgian assets are little traded and investors have been sceptical in the past of official statements until facts were clear.

Fitch ratings agency said it would likely cut Georgia's B+ debt rating if political instability continued.


Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin said NATO would be better off holding its exercises in a madhouse since "Georgia's military cannot properly receive their colleagues because they are rioting against their own president."

The NATO exercises from May 6 to June 3 are a gesture of solidarity for Georgia, which sits at the heart of a region crucial for energy transit from the Caspian Sea to Europe.

Around 1,000 soldiers from more than a dozen NATO member states and partners will practice "crisis response" at an army base east of Tbilisi, around 70 km (44 miles) from the nearest Russian troop positions in breakaway South Ossetia.

Opposition protesters blocking streets in Tbilisi are demanding Saakadhvili resign over his record on democracy and the war, and said on Monday they would broaden street blockades to the main east-west highway and entrances to the capital.

On Tuesday they postponed new road blocks for several days. "It's very clear the government just wanted to transfer attention to this from the protests," said opposition Conservatives leader Kakha Kukava.

(Additional reporting by Margarita Antidze and Matt Robinson in Tbilisi, Oleg Shchedrov and Dmitry Solovyov in Moscow, writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Matt Robinson and Michael Stott, editing by Robert Woodward)

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Bernstein, Berkowitz and Cohen

From the BBC

"The summit seeks to end years of haggling over the 3,300km (2,050-mile) Nabucco pipeline by convincing key suppliers like Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan that the EU is a serious customer; promising a quick energy deal with Iraq; and putting pressure on Turkey - which is both the main transit country and an EU candidate - to agree a deal by June.
A Czech official involved in the talks said the EU had no time to lose."

What's the rush?!

McJ's picture

Bernstein, Berkowitz and Cohen??

Bernstein, Berkowitz and Cohen?? puzzled

From the Heritage Foundation:
The Proposed Iran-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline: An Unacceptable Risk to Regional Security
by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Lisa Curtis and Owen Graham
May 30, 2009

Obama does his Bush impression
By Pepe Escobar

"...The relentless warnings on the collapse of Pakistan may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Were it to happen, the balkanization of Pakistan would do wonders for the Pentagon's long-term strategy in the "arc of instability".

From a Pentagon dream scenario point of view, the balkanization of Pakistan would mean dismantling a "Terrorist Central" capable of contaminating other parts of the Muslim world, from Indian Kashmir to the Central Asian "stans". It would "free" India from its enemy Pakistan so India can work very closely with Washington as an effective counter power to the relentless rise of China.

And most of all, this still has to do with the greatest prize - Balochistan, as we'll see in part 2 of this report on Friday. Desert Balochistan, in southwest Pakistan, is where Washington and Islamabad clash head on. From a Washington perspective, Balochistan has to be thrown into chaos. That's about the only way to stop the construction of the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline, also known as the "peace pipeline", which would traverses Balochistan.

In a dream Washington scenario of balkanization of Pakistan, the US could swiftly take over Balochistan's immense natural wealth, and promote the strategic port of Gwadar in Balochistan not to the benefit of the IPI pipeline, but the perennially troubled Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline - Caspian gas wealth flowing under US, and not Russian or Iranian, control.

As for the Taliban, whether in FATA or Swat or anywhere else, they are no threat to the US. Usman Khalid, secretary general of the Rifah party in Pakistan, has nailed it, "The population dread the Taliban-style rule but they dread being split into four countries and to go under Indian suzerainty even more. The Taliban appear to be the lesser evil just as they were in Afghanistan."

History once again does repeat itself as farce: in fact the only sticking point between the Taliban and Washington is still the same as in August 2001 - pipeline transit fees. Washington wouldn't give a damn about sharia law as long as the US could control pipelines crossing Afghanistan and Balochistan.

Yes, Pipelineistan rules. What's a few ragged Pashtun or Balochis in Washington's way when the New Great Game in Eurasia can offer so many opportunities?

"Peace" Pipeline!! rolling on the floor laughing That's like that 'Peace' Canal that Israel wants to build through Jordan.


The proposed tri-nation gas pipeline will bring much-needed natural gas to several Indian and Pakistani cities.



"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

Bernstein, Berkowitz and

Bernstein, Berkowitz and Cohen?? It's cryptic. Two clues - my first line and "Gaza Appeal". Perhaps a little too obscure. smiling

"In a dream Washington scenario of balkanization of Pakistan, the US could swiftly take over Balochistan's immense natural wealth, and promote the strategic port of Gwadar in Balochistan not to the benefit of the IPI pipeline, but the perennially troubled Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline - Caspian gas wealth flowing under US, and not Russian or Iranian, control."

There's a large Baloch population across the border in Iran. No prizes for guessing what the US has promised the Balochi militants for their co-operation. I have to wonder if the the Balochi leaders that were strung up a month or two ago refused an "offer they can't refuse" from the US. (See Ralph Peters map. This map is curious in that it shows israel having pre '67 borders - an extraordinarily unlikely event)

It sure would be handy to have another land base from which to invade Iran from; this one in the south. They could advance on the missile sites lining the Persia Gulf from behind. Shades of Singapore in WW11

McJ's picture

I get the BBC part

Ok I get the BBC part.
The Gaza Appeal - the BBC refusing to advertise the appeal for aid to Gaza?
I'm still solving.... smiling

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

McJ's picture

The Growing City of KAFstan

This is from an April 13, 2009 post by the Globe and Mail's intrepid reporter, Jessica Leeder - inbed with the Canadian troops in Afghanistan. She is writing about the base in Kandahar that the troops have dubbed KAFstan.

The Growing City of KAFstan
"It's been five months since I left Afghanistan but as soon as my boots hit the ground last week I was struck by the sense that I'd never actually left. Much about this airfield felt the same: the blinding sun, punishing heat, the ever-present, chest-clogging tonic of jet fuel, exhaust and ubiquitous sandy dust.
But after a few laps around the ballooning base in the rickety German minivan used by the generous public affairs team to chauffer us around, I could see that much had in fact changed.

In place of the brick walls that were slowly being built last fall entire buildings and compounds have cropped up. Back then, Barack Obama had only just been elected. The rumours of an influx of American troops were just that – rumours. The base, with 10,000 people then, seemed in no rush to change shape.

Fast-forward five or so months and it's impossible not to notice that we're in the midst of something big. An entire sphere of the base that was a no-go zone full of landmines and old war garbage last year has been cleared to house thousands of troops expected imminently. Rows and rows of fortified vehicles await them, forming what appears to be a military equivalent of a massive rural car sales lot.

Small tent cities have been replaced by actual buildings, some of them brick and supposedly built to withstand rocket attacks. The red-brick apartment-style barracks have the appearance of something built to last a long time.

The creature comforts that this base has become famous for among military types (they call it KAFstan, because it often feels like a bubble-protected country within the broader country) have grown as well. Not only is business at Subway and Pizza Hut (24 hour delivery, folks) and Tim Horton's chugging along, a French Patisserie, complete with warm pain au chocolate and a garden patio has been added to compete.

Sadly, the popular Thai massage boutique has closed down. But there is a Kebab place! A new oriental-inspired dining facility (the walls are painted an enlivening red!) and an Italian restaurant is rumoured to be on the way.

Before, if traffic on the air strip seemed heavy; now, it's all-out. Jets thunder in an out of here day and night, as do the increasing fleet of helicopters that are now the preferred mode of transportation to anyone leaving this base."

How sad...they've lost the massage parlour but at least they can buy French pastries and Kebabs!

I can't help but note Kandahar's proximity to Baluchistan (and Iran!) and that is part of the route for the proposed TAPI pipeline.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

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EU Signs Gas Deal in Bid to Cut Russian Dependence

EU Signs Gas Deal in Bid to Cut Russian Dependence
May 8, 2009

The European Union on Friday signed an agreement with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Egypt and Turkey to boost plans for a southern energy corridor from the Caspian Sea region and the Middle East aimed at reducing the EU's reliance on gas from Russia.

The agreement declares the group's support for the EU's planned Nabucco pipeline, which would run from the Caucasus to the EU via Turkey. The signatories also pledged to secure key transit terms through Turkey by June, as well as an energy agreement with Iraq as soon as possible.

The joint statement also agreed to accelerate efforts at building a pipeline across the Caspian Sea, which would connect Nabucco to the huge gas reserves of Central Asia. Only Azerbaijan so far has pledged to provide gas for Nabucco that could currently reach the pipeline. Central Asia, Iran, Iraq and Egypt are also seen as potential suppliers, but the project faces huge obstacles.

In January, for the second time since 2006, a pricing dispute between Russia and Ukraine, a key transit country for EU gas supplies, led to shortages across the bloc. Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. attended the Prague meeting as observers. Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan were also present.

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson


From Mr. Cohen at the WSJ-

"Only Azerbaijan so far has pledged to provide gas for Nabucco that could currently reach the pipeline."
That's not my understanding of it at all. Azerbaijan is holding out because Turkey wants to buy the gas at the border at way below market price which makes sense of this quote from the same article above-
"The signatories also pledged to secure key transit terms through Turkey by June,"
The rest of the sentence, "as well as an energy agreement with Iraq as soon as possible" mentions Iraq. I think that should read Iran as the Nabucco plan has a feeder pipeline from Tabriz in Iran not Iraq. The BBC article made the same mistake which means they're both following the same script with no source credited.
I would think the mention of an agreement with Iran is a decoy.

Pentagon Preparing For War With The Enemy: Russia

Pentagon Preparing For War With The Enemy: Russia

by Rick Rozoff

"From June 8-16 Sweden will host a NATO drill, Loyal Arrow, described as "biggest air force drill ever in the Finnish-Swedish Bothnian Bay," [24], also not far from St. Petersburg, with a British aircraft carrier and more than 50 fighter jets participating.

That exercise will begin exactly a week after the US-led NATO Cooperative Lancer 09 war games end in Georgia on Russia's southern flank.

In speaking of the dangers of the last-named but with equal application to all that has preceded it, the South Ossetian Ministry for Press and Mass Media website recently quoted political scientist Irina Kadzhaev as warning:

"Today the situation is much more serious than before August 2008. The then threat endangered only South Ossetia and Abkhazia, but after Russia's recognition of these states' independence and the conclusion of agreements envisaging the presence of Russian armed forces on their territories, a possible recurrence of war will not be limited to the Caucasus.

"The new President of the United States did not bring about any crucial changes in relation to Georgia, but having a dominant role in NATO he still insists on Georgia's soonest joining of the Alliance. If it happens, the world would face a more serious threat than the crises of the Cold War.

"Under the new realities, Georgia's war against South Ossetia may easily turn into NATO's war against Russia. This would be a third world war."

McJ's picture

Moscow warns of future energy wars

Moscow warns of future energy wars

"Russia has warned that military conflicts over energy resources could erupt along its borders in the near future, as the race to secure oil and gas reserves gains momentum.

A Kremlin policy paper, which maps out Russia's main challenges to national security for the next decade, said "problems that involve the use of military force cannot be excluded" in competition for resources.

The National Security Strategy's release coincides with a deadline for countries around the world to submit sea bed ownership claims to a United Nations commission, including for the resource-rich Arctic.

The paper, signed off by Dmitry Medvedev, Russia's president, says international relations in the next 10 years will be shaped by battles over energy reserves.

"The attention of international politics in the long-term perspective will be concentrated on the acquisition of energy resources," it said.

"Amid competitive struggle for resources, attempts to use military force to solve emerging problems can't be excluded.

"The existing balance of forces near the borders of the Russian Federation and its allies can be violated," it added.

The document said regions including the Middle East, the Barents Sea, the Arctic, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia could all be at the centre of competing claims for resources.

Russia, the world's biggest natural gas producer, has already accused the United States, with which it shares a small sea border, of coveting its mineral wealth.

But Moscow is also finding its control over natural gas exports under threat, as the European Union seeks alternative supply routes that would bypass Russia and the Ukraine.

The country is also embroiled in a territorial dispute with Norway over claims to the Arctic sea bed, where around 25 per cent of the world's untapped reserves are believed to lie underneath the ice.

Global security threats

The National Security Strategy also pointed to the US and Nato as major threats to global security.

It criticised a US plan to deploy a global missile shield in Eastern Europe, which has already infuriated Russia.

"The opportunity to uphold global and regional security will substantially narrow if elements of the US worldwide missile defence system are deployed in Europe," the document said.

But it added Russia would pursue a "rational and pragmatic" foreign policy and avoid a new arms race.

The document said Moscow would seek an "equal and full-fledged strategic partnership" with Washington "on the basis on coinciding interests".

"The most unpleasant truth in the long run is a far safer traveling companion than the most agreeable falsehood." Emerson

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