Russia

Russia’s Putin softens pension reforms after outcry

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has softened planned pension changes following angry protests and a slump in his approval rating. BBC He said the retirement age for women would be increased from 55 to 60 instead of to 63. But a five-year increase for men, to 65, would stay. In a rare TV address, Mr Putin said the country’s working-age population was shrinking, making change essential. Unions have warned that many will not live long enough to claim a pension. Russian ... Read More »

Russia: Chechen Leader Threatens Human Rights Defenders

International Rights Groups Urge Putin to Curb Kadyrov (Moscow) – Russian President Vladimir Putin should condemn recent statements by Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s leader, threatening human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch said today. HRW Kadyrov vowed to carry out collective punishment against families of alleged insurgents. In a joint open letter, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Front Line Defenders urged Putin to ensure that Kadyrov is not permitted to carry out his unlawful threats against human rights defenders and suspects’ ... Read More »

Putin and Erdoğan Knock Again at Merkel’s Door

Sanctions force the two autocrats to negotiate with Germany over Syria. By Josué Michels theTrumpet Germany’s diplomatic relations with Turkey and Russia are warming up again. For several years, these relationships have been frosty. Reuters reported last week “But now, a diplomatic firework erupted” (Trumpet translation throughout). German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a three hour discussion on August 18. A meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planned for September. Ahead of the meeting ... Read More »

America’s illegitimate president

Washington: Donald Trump probably would not have become president without his victory in seven of the 11 primaries held on Super Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Max Boot Brisbane Times Washington Post Now his presidency is in danger of being undone by Terrible Tuesday – August 21, 2018. This was the day when his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was convicted of eight felony counts in a Virginia courtroom and his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty to eight felony counts in ... Read More »

Germany ‘unlikely to prosecute’ Nazi guard deported from US

Nazi hunter Jens Rommel says 95-year-old Jakiw Palij will probably never face trial for alleged war crimes Kate Connolly The Guardian German authorities are unlikely to ever bring to trial a 95-year-old former second world war concentration camp guard who was deported from the US earlier this week, the country’s leading Nazi hunter has said. Jens Rommel, who heads the Central Office for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Ludwigsburg, said there was not enough evidence to prosecute Jakiw Palij, ... Read More »

Turkey will reportedly start getting Russia’s advanced missile defense system in 2019, despite US efforts to block it

Russia will start delivering its advanced S-400 missile defense system to Turkey in 2019, the Interfax news agency cited Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport as saying on Tuesday. Christopher Woody and Reuters Business Insider A Turkish defense official said in April that the delivery of the S-400 batteries had been brought forward from the first quarter of 2020 to July 2019. Turkey and Russia negotiated the purchase throughout 2017, finalizing a deal worth some $2.5 billion at the end of ... Read More »

Is Washington pushing Turkey and Europe toward each other?

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking new allies to offset Ankara’s worsening ties with Washington, which have come to a breaking point over Turkey’s continued detention of American pastor… Semih Idiz Al-Monitor Erdogan’s remarks show that his heart is set on Russia and China. Ironic as it may seem, though, Turkey’s crisis with the United States is rekindling its ties with Europe, even though these ties had hit rock bottom not so long ago. Recent European statements of support for ... Read More »

Russia Considers Its Next Moves in Syria

The Syrian civil war has entered a new phase since the government takeover of Daraa and Quneitra in the country’s southwest. Stratfor Now, for the first time in the conflict’s seven-year history, all meaningful territory in Syria is either under the direct control of loyalist forces or subject to a significant foreign presence. The Syrian Democratic Forces and allied U.S. troops control the northeastern portion of the country, while Turkish troops are embedded in northern Aleppo province and Idlib province, ... Read More »

Defiant Erdogan Gets Political Support From Russia, China and Qatar

“The Turkish crisis is not in any way shape or form a financial one. It’s an unequivocal attempt to punish Erdogan for his geopolitical transgressions against the Pax Americana. Ivan Danilov Sputnik The crisis will either break Turkey or help radically reshape the global order.” US-Turkish relations are at their lowest point in recent history. The crisis only appears to be financial, even though it has some painful financial implications for Turkey. Although Erdogan’s incompetent monetary policy made Turkey excessively vulnerable to American economic sanctions, ... Read More »

A Nuclear Armed Germany Would Be a Mistake

It was a mistake to consider it in 1957 under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and it is a mistake to consider it now in 2018. Tobias Fella The National Interest In German post-war mythology, the Federal Republic’s first chancellor Konrad Adenauer is synonymous with Western Integration and unshakeable trust in America. Yet, if push came to shove, he did not want to have to trust in U.S. nuclear protection. Thus, in a cabinet meeting in December 1956, he called for the Bundeswehr to ... Read More »

America is Addicted to Sanctions

Ukraine is a good case study in the ineffectiveness of sanctions. The best way to think about the role of sanctions in American foreign policy is to regard it as an addiction. Nicolai N. Petro The National Interest Think about it. The inability to change the behavior of even the most rinky-dink nations must be enormously frustrating to those at the helm of the world’s lone superpower. This leads, not surprisingly, to the search for ways to assuage this sense ... Read More »

The fallout from Turkey’s crisis will cause damage far beyond its borders

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hubris has destablised a nation of pivotal regional importance Simon Tisdall The Guardian Hubris begets nemesis, as the ancient Greeks opined. It’s a life lesson Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s arrogant leader, appears unable to absorb as his country teeters over an abyss of his making. Erdoğan argued in June’s elections that an all-powerful executive presidency was the best way to govern – and he was the best man for the job. His wish was granted. Now Turkey ... Read More »

Economic war on Iran is war on Eurasia integration

US sanctions on Iran should be interpreted as a piece in a much larger chessboard Hysteria reigned supreme after the first round of US sanctions were reinstated against Iran over the past week. Pepe Escobar Asia Times War scenarios abound, and yet the key aspect of the economic war unleashed by the Trump administration has been overlooked: Iran is a major piece in a much larger chessboard. The US sanctions offensive, launched after Washington’s unilateral pullout from the Iran nuclear ... Read More »

Turkey’s lira crisis: ‘economic war’ sees Erdoğan look east for new allies

Global markets are on edge once again, this time thanks to the Turkish lira. It crashed more than 15% against the US dollar, euro and pound sterling on August 10 and continued to fall when markets reopened after the weekend on August 13. Emre Tarim The Conversation The latest trigger was Donald Trump’s announcement that he would double import tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium. But the lira has been falling consistently over the past year as markets fear for ... Read More »

Trump and Erdoğan are impatient players in a chess match – Hareetz

The fraught relations between the United States and Turkey may resemble a chess game, but neither President Donald Trump nor President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have the patience or the… Ahval Turkey’s reconciliation with Russia after Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane over the Syrian border in 2015, leading to an impasse in relations between the two countries, shows that… In June 2016, Erdoğan sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, apologising for the death of the Russian pilot and ... Read More »

US suspends military training program for Pakistan

The United States has started cutting scores of Pakistani military officers from the education and training program, Pakistani media reported on Aug. 11. ISLAMABAD – Anadolu Agency Hurriyet The U.S. military institutions are “struggling” to fill the 66 slots,  which they had kept aside for Pakistani officers, for next academic year, the daily Dawn quoted anonymous sources as saying. The move comes a few days after Pakistan and Russia signed an  agreement to allow Pakistani military officers to receive training in Russian military institutions. “The fund for ... Read More »