Sunday, May 27, 2018

Turkey, Russia agree on 10 pct discount on natural gas: Erdoğan

So is Putin helping Erdogan with the upcoming election with this deal?
Maybe a duo back washing for both parties since Turkey is purchasing the S-400?
I think there is some of the above mentioned cooperation going on. 
Perhaps some economic help since the west has been playing  hardball with Turkey for some time now.

Daily Sabah

"President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Saturday said Ankara and Moscow reached an agreement to reduce the price of the natural gas imported from Russia by 10.25 percent after long negotiations.
Speaking at a rally of the ruling Justice And Development Party (AK Party) in eastern Erzurum province, Erdoğan said Turkey demanded a discount on the price of the natural gas from Russia via the Blue Stream and the Western Line in 2015.
The President said Turkey will also get a refund of $1 billion for the purchases made in the last two years when Gazprom initially agreed on the discount in early 2016.
Gazprom later on unilaterally canceled the 10.25 percent discount applied to natural gas and Turkey applied to the international court of arbitration to resolve the dispute.
Turkey, the second biggest consumer of Russian gas after Germany, imports around 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia annually via the two pipelines."

Flashback: If Oil Was Really A Consideration- Turkey Would NOT Have shot the Russian Jet down

 Last week I was saying to my husband, it doesn't make sense that the nation state of Turkey would shoot down the plane, for the most obvious, simple, plain, common sense reason, Turkey is very reliant or dependent on Russia for it's energy needs!
That's a fact!
If oil was a consideration for the Turkish authorities in their decision to shoot down a Russian jet, they would have had good reason to hold fire.
Of course the Russian jet was shot down by the Turkish military heavily embedded with NATO prior to the coup- because it made ZERO sense for Turkey the nation state to engage in behaviour that was against their own interest- A point made repeatedly here by yours truly!
  Daily Sabah continues: "The private sector in Turkey imports 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year, representing over 30 percent of Russia's gas exports to Turkey. Out of 48 bcm, 38 bcm was imported by the state-owned crude oil and natural gas pipeline and trading company, BOTAŞ"

Contained in January 2018 post:  Construction of Turkish Russian Pipeline More then 50 percent done 

"More than 50 % of the construction pipeline that will supply Turkey with Russian natural gas under the Turkish Stream project has been completed"

From 2016:  Who Suffers From Russia, Turkey Pipeline Deal?

The deal is good for Turkey. It is not so good for Ukraine and Bulgaria, who will lose out now that the South Stream pipeline is no longer needed. Bulgaria was going to collect transit revenues from that deal.

So making the deal with Turkey makes life tough for Ukraine- I'm sure Putin has thought about that! 

Two previous posts related to the situation in and around Syria, including Russia and Turkey:

Putin: Turkey Will Not Yield to US Bullying on S-400 Purchase

Damascus- Gaziantep: Restoring Relations/Economic Interests or Both & More



Saturday, May 26, 2018

Putin: Turkey Will Not Yield to US Bullying on S-400 Purchase

Putin did not use the word "bully" I did for my headline, cause I like it! 
It's so very topical,  popular and  so easily understandable :)

Press TV

Readers here know I can’t abide by out of context quoting, therefore, I’m enjoying the inclusion of the full context of Putin’s statement, provided by Press TV, below:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has lashed out at the United States for pushing NATO member Turkey into abandoning its decision to purchase S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia, saying the US pressure will not produce any results.

"Turkey, a NATO ally, has decided to buy the world’s most advanced air defense system in its class, the S-400. So what? Why is it a crime?" Putin said at a meeting with global news agencies in St. Petersburg on Friday.

    "I am having a hard time to explain this pressure. Such attitude against Turkey is unfair," Putin said, adding, however, that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would not yield to Washington’s pressure.

    "As well as I know President Recep Tayyip Erdogan it is quite difficult to get any results by using pressure tools towards him. On the contrary, this will encourage Mr. Erdogan, and he will not make compromises while protecting national interests," said Putin.

There is more in the linked article from Pompeo- but, I’ll save that for a post on that topic alone.


Damascus- Gaziantep: Restoring Relations/Economic Interests or Both & More

Friday, May 25, 2018

Damascus- Gaziantep: Restoring Relations/Economic Interests or Both & More

Damascus-Gaziantep Road … Restoring Relations or Economic Interests?
  • Reopening these major roads will help restore neighbourly relations
  • Reconnect families
  • Ease the import of food, reducing prices
  • Give the populace more confidence in nation rebuilding
"The reopening of major roads in Syria will not only be good for relations with other countries, but will also come with major economic benefits reports Enab Baladi
 Ambiguity continues surrounding the outcomes of the most recent session of Astana talks which were held last week, especially with regards to the opening of two strategic roads — the first being the Aleppo-Damascus road, and the second being the Aleppo-Gaziantep road into Turkey, which passes through areas in northern Aleppo that are under rebel control.
Leaks from the Astana talks, between guarantor nations in Syria (Russia, Turkey and Iran), show that questions surround how the roads would be secured and the extent of economic interest for the conflicting parties; whether it will be in the interest of the regime and the opposition or for Turkey, who the administrating force in northern Syria.

There had been no official statements about this issue at the time this report was prepared, and there were also no movements on the ground.

The Aleppo-Damascus road has been closed since 2012 as a result of rebel groups taking over eastern Ghouta in Damascus and the Homs countryside, as well as sections of the road in Idleb and the Hama countryside.
The regime and Russia have tried repeatedly to open it through negotiations with rebel groups but to no avail. However, last month, Assad’s forces were able to open the road in Harasta north of Damascus and in the northern Homs countryside after rebel groups agreed to leave for northern Syria. Only a portion of the road now passes through opposition territories in Idleb, starting from the city of Murak in the northern Hama countryside. This section of road will be patrolled by Russia, Turkey and Iran and ten kilometers on each side of the road will be fully secured according to Ibrahim al-Idlebi, a military adviser in the Free Syrian Army.
The highway is a major strategic route that connects the political capital, Damascus, and the country’s southern region to the north and the economic capital, Aleppo. Its restoration would have economic benefits for the Syrian regime, in addition to the major benefits that it would have for citizens in that it would reduce the price of foodstuffs and goods because of the ease of transporting them between Damascus and Aleppo. Previously they had been arriving on the unsafe Athriya-Khanasar road which required more time and led to higher prices for goods.
The second route which has been discussed is the Aleppo-Gaziantep road which passes from Aleppo into the northern countryside of Afrin province, which is controlled by rebel groups backed by Turkey, following Operation Olive Branch, then reaches Azaz and from there goes into Turkey through the Bab al-Salama border crossing.
If there is an agreement to open the road, Turkey will be responsible for securing it from their borders, passing through the opposition areas and up to the al-Lermoun roundabout area north of Aleppo, before Russian police take on the task of monitoring it inside the city.

A researcher at the Syrian Economic Forum, Melham Jazmati, told Enab Baladi that the strategic road was an essential artery for commercial traffic between Syria and Turkey before the revolution, especially after the free trade agreement between the two countries in 2004, which allowed for goods to flow in both directions and established joint projects. Additionally, there were agreements between Aleppo and Gaziantep traders and at a meeting in 2009 they announced their intention to achieve five billion dollars worth of trade between the two countries.
Jazmati believes that opening the road will have benefits for opposition areas in the northern Aleppo countryside and for regime areas because of the flourishing of trade and the legal entry of Turkish goods.

However at the same time, he said that there were important steps that needed to be taken before opening the road, which was opening the roads between Turkey and opposition areas in the northern Aleppo countryside, because there were still difficulties in bringing goods to the northern countryside and Syrian traders in Turkey accessing it.
Turkish-Russian agreement, not Turkish-Syrian
Discussions on opening the road are not limited to its economic importance. Analysts say that opening the road is a new stage in the restoration of relations between Syria and Turkey.
A member of the board of directors of the regime’s Economists Syndicate in the Aleppo countryside, Mohamed Bakour, said that the road would pave the way for the restoration of Syrian-Turkish economic relations, and pointed to the international desire to activate the international trade route from Syria. In this case more than one country who has an interest in marketing through Syria to other countries will benefit.
But the economic benefit would be bigger for Turkey than Syria, according to Jazmati, because Syria does not export anything to Turkey because of its lack of production, which has turned the country into a consumer of goods and not a producer. Therefore the biggest beneficiaries will be traders who are exporting to Syria and sending their goods to regime areas.
For the time being the benefit is larger for Turkey, but, in time that can change. Prior to the destabilization Syria and Turkey had a free trade agreement. The author is also not considering the sort of moral boost to Syrians that this road passage way can create.
The regime’s benefit will only be moral, according to Jazmati, as its supporters will see the opening of the roads as a victory while the agreement is actually a Turkish-Russian agreement and not Turkish-Syrian agreement.
Honestly, I think Syria has to be on board with this. Despite what the author is suggesting.
I'm wondering if this move is being considered to kind of shut the SDF/YPG/PKK out of the potential economic benefits to be had?

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Israeli Missile Strikes on Homs Syria, Intercepted.


A military source announced on Thursday that the Syrian Air defense intercepted a missile aggression on one of the Syrian military airbases in the central region.
The source added that the air defense confronted a hostile rocket strike on one of the military airbase in the central region and prevented it from achieving its goals.
The new aggression comes in coincidence with the successive continued defeats of terrorist organizations in front of the Syrian Arab army which fulfilled the purification of Damascus surroundings and forced the terrorists to hand over their weapons and get out of Homs and Hama countryside.

Israeli media is covering this most recent news:

Arutz Sheva
“One of our military airports in the central region was exposed to a hostile missile attack, and our air defense systems confronted the attack and prevented it from achieving its aim,” SANA reported Thursday evening.
The pro-Hezbollah Al Mayadeen outlet claimed that four missiles had been fired in the attack.
Video footage of a Russian-made S-200 surface-to-air missile launching from a Syrian position was later released to social media networks, purportedly showing Syrian air defense units firing on Israeli fighter jets.
Some Lebanese outlets claimed Israeli fighter jets had crossed over Lebanese airspace en route to Syria.
An Israeli army spokeswoman refused to comment on whether the IDF was responsible for the explosions, Reuters reported.
Some witnesses in Syria claimed that aircraft flying from Lebanese airspace conducted the strike, following earlier reports of Israeli aircraft being seen above Lebanon.

Times of Israel
"A military air base in western Syria was hit in an airstrikes Thursday night, sparking large explosions, which were heard throughout the area, state media reported.
The targets of the strike were munitions depots belonging to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group, located on an air base south of the city of Homs, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, which also said the strikes were most likely carried out by Israel.
“Six missiles were fired at the Daba’a military airport and surrounding area in the western sector of Homs province, targeting Lebanese Hezbollah weapons warehouses,” Rami Abd el-Rahman, director of the Observatory, told AFP."

From earlier:

US Led Coalition Attacks Syrian Army Positions in Deir Ez Zor Countryside


"U.S. Gave Jerusalem to Israel, Will Syria's Golan Heights Be Next?"

"U.S. Gave Jerusalem to Israel, Will Syria's Golan Heights Be Next?"

Yah, that's actually  the Newsweek headline

Talked about this a few days ago.

Congressman urges US to recognize Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory
"Israel has been pressuring the U.S. to recognize its self-proclaimed ownership of the Golan Heights, a southwestern Syrian territory seized by Israel during a 1967 conflict and later annexed without international recognition.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz made the revelation in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, saying such a follow-up to Washington's recognition of the disputed city of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would likely come within the upcoming months. Katz said accepting Israeli control of the Golan Heights would target not only longtime foe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but also an even more powerful enemy: Iran.

Israel has targeted Iranian and pro-Iran positions in Syria for years and Katz said President Donald Trump's recent decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and exit from the 2015 nuclear agreement meant it was "the perfect time" to escalate the administration's anti-Iran campaign.

"The most painful response you can give the Iranians is to recognize Israel’s Golan sovereignty—with an American statement, a presidential proclamation, enshrined [in law]," he told Reuters. "You want to destroy [U.S. ally Israel], to generate attacks [against it]? Look, you got exactly the opposite."
The Israeli/US push to recognize Golan as Israeli walks side by side with......

Likud MK Pushes Israel to Recognize Kurdistan as Independent

US Led Coalition Attacks Syrian Army Positions in Deir Ez Zor Countryside

Surely aiding and abetting ISIS, as usual
Deir Ezzor, SANA-The US-led “international coalition” aircrafts have carried out an aggression on some of the Syrian Arab Army’s positions in the south-eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor on Thursday at dawn.
“Some of our military positions between al-Bukamal and Hmeimea were hit this morning in an aggression by “American coalition” warplanes,” a military source said.
The source added that only material damage was caused .
The new attack comes in the framework of the coalition’s explicit support to the terrorist organizations and uncovers its fake claims  about fighting terrorism.
The aggression came less than 24 hours after the Syrian army and the allied forces thwarted a terrorist attack by Daesh on a number of military points in al-Mayadeen Badiya (Desert) in the countryside of Deir Ezzor; the army killed over 10 of the attacking terrorists, among them terrorists of foreign nationalities, injured scores others and destroyed a vehicle mounted by a heavy cannon.
ABC News:
 The Syrian government-run media blamed the strikes on the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war through a network of activists on the ground, said the fatalities were not Syrian nationals but foreign fighters. It said the coalition was likely behind the strikes.
The Pentagon said it had "no information" to substantiate reports the coalition was behind the latest airstrikes.
 ABC does not link to an original source for their out of context quote. 
Though, I will add if the Pentagon has "no information" to substantiate the claim- They have no information to discount the claim either? 
 We're left with SANA and SOHR both reporting the airstrikes occurred- both suggesting it was the coalition that was likely behind the strikes.  As the Pentagon claims to have "no information"? Where we seem to have discrepancy on the two validating reports of airstrikes is on casualty counts- SANA reports only material damage. SOHR reports a number of fatalities.

 If anyone wonders why I don't express 100 percent confidence in RT's reporting?
Or continue to question what RT is really about? The RT report linked below should help explain my non confidence in RT being the product it's alleged to be: Reports on US-led bombing of Syrian Army are incorrect – Russian military source 

The out of context quotations and alleged but unnamed Russian sourcing of information seem designed to muddy the waters.. Interesting that Pentagon reporting seems to be the actual basis of this report
"Overnight reports on US-led coalition strikes on Syrian Army positions are not “consistent with the reality,” according to a military source. (Alleged in the headline to be Russian??) Earlier, the Pentagon said it has no information on the operation. 
Early Thursday, Syrian state media reported that US-led coalition warplanes targeted Syrian Army positions in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor. The allegations, however, appear to not be completely accurate.
The information about the alleged attack on Syrian positions by the US-led coalition “is not consistent with the reality, a military source said.
Shortly after reports on the attack emerged, a Pentagon spokesman said the US military has “no operational reporting” about any operation against the Syrian government.
Though the reports on the strike appear to be untrue this time, the US-led forces have repeatedly hit Syrian Army positions or allied forces. In one infamous case, a US-led strike killed 60 Syrian troops near the city of Deir ez-Zor in 2016. The US military later admitted it was a mistake. 
Are these recent reports of an airstrike really untrue RT? SANA has actually, in my experience with them as a media outlet, been reliable. I'll be watching this one
However, that was not the only attack on pro-government forces gaining ground against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in Syria. In February, US forces launched a drone strike that destroyed a tank of the pro-government forces in eastern Syria, and earlier that month, a separate attack killed around 100 pro-government fighters. The Pentagon claimed both bombings came in retaliation for alleged attacks on the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – US allies in the region. 
The presence of the US contingent and its operations in Syria have not been sanctioned by either Damascus or the UN Security Council. The Syrian government has repeatedly called their presence an illegal aggression against a sovereign state"

I've often wondered if RT is the wolf in sheep's clothing?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Syria’s looming Deraa offensive risks raising Tensions with Israel

Israeli-supported rebel groups among the targets of an expected government offensive near Deraa

Nestled in southern Syria near the point where the edge of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights meets Jordan, the rebel-held town of Deraa has long been in the regime's sights. With the recent recapture of Eastern Ghouta and Yarmouk Palestinian camp on the edge of the Syrian capital, regime forces and their allies are looking to push south.
However, the offensive has the potential to be the powder keg that sparks a major regional escalation.
Israel has provided support for rebels and civilians on the border with the Golan Heights since at least 2013, (I'd say Israel was involved in 2011 and prior to that in preparation for the destabilization) treating them in their hospitals and providing weapons and other aid. After the United States ended a CIA-run program based in Jordan to support rebels in southern Syria in January, Israeli media reported that the Jewish state had increased aid to seven rebel groups in February.
Past Israeli beneficiaries have included extremist groups, such as Al Qaeda’s former Syrian affiliate.
Now, with the forces of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad beginning to mass in recent days and appearing to be preparing to start their push toward the southern border concerns are rising that the deployment of Tehran-backed forces could escalate the already tense standoff between Iran and Israel in the area.
The media, no matter from where on the planet, wants to make this all about Iran- It's such an Israeli friendly narrative

Iranian troops and Iranian-supported militia forces already play a key role in the Syrian government’s military capabilities.
Yazid Sayegh, senior fellow at Carnegie Middle East Center, told The National that he wasn’t sure if the offensive in the south was about to begin. However, he said Israel and the US knew it would be difficult to dislodge Iranian forces despite their acute and general attempts to impact Tehran’s abilities to operate.
The Iranians, faced with the possibility of escalation with the US, are going to be manoeuvring to try and push back — they are engaging in a sort of test of wills to see where the red lines are in Syria, whether it’s a response to recent Israeli strikes or a reminder that Iran hasn’t been deterred and they have the means to escalate in the south," he said.
“The Israelis probably know they can’t remove Iran from Syria fully — and probably what comes out of it is something halfway, a set of understandings worked out either through trial and error on the ground or with a bit of Russian negotiation,” Mr Sayegh said.
It is unlikely, though, that Iran would seek a wider confrontation with Israel in Syria right now, said Hanin Ghaddar, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
It's not likely Iran is looking to confront Israel- since that seems really irrational all things considered.  It seems to me that it's Israel looking for the confrontation. After all Israel has been bombing Syria for years and years now- long before the Iranian threat meme began to spread so widely.  Israel has been involved from day one of the Syrian destabilization

Recall?  March 30/2011: What role is this man, Fardi Ghadry, ready to play in Syria??

 "Don't fear the fall of Bashar Assad. Syria will not fall into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood," exile Farid Ghadry told Ynet Monday in a reassuring interview in the US.- Israel should not fear the prospect of Bashar Assad's downfall, as the Syrian people are not interested in war with Israel, a leading Syrian dissident says.

 April 2011: Farid Ghadry spins a tale, for a receptive audience

 Not only was this man previously grovelling to Israel, he is proclaiming his alleged knowledge to the world, via
I hate to even link to such crap, but, you gotta read this perception management garbage for yourself, I can only stomach posting so much of it here

June 2011: Israel warns Assad: Attack us and we will assassinate you

The (Israeli) government sent a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad in recent days, warning him that if he started a war with the Jewish state in order to divert attention from domestic problems, Israel will target him personally, Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported on Tuesday.

Israel has been involved from the get go! 

From earlier:

Life Sentence for “pure evil” acid attacker

Related to Syria:

The Age of Economic Warfare Begins. Will It Lead to a Conventional War?