JRL NEWSWATCH: “The U.S. and Russia have a rare opportunity to work together on a peace deal” – Washington Post/ David Ignatius

Map of Armenia and Environs

“… Russia and the United States … are co-chairs of a group … seeking to broker a peace deal [addressing] …. the long-frozen standoff between Armenia and Azerbaijan … with roots in ethnic and territorial disputes which this month became a hot war with barrages of artillery …. a rare convergence of interest between Russia and the United States, two […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russians Join Calls Urging Turkey Not to Revert One of Christendom’s Most Famous Churches into a Mosque” – CNS News/ Dimitri Simes

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“Russian lawmakers adopted a resolution … calling on Turkey not to change the status of Istanbul’s famed Hagia Sophia from … museum to … mosque, warning that Russia’s … relations with Turkey could be harmed …. Hagia Sophia was the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly 900 years before being turned into a mosque in the 15th century. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, Seeking to Bolster its Influence, Steps Up Intervention in Libyan Conflict” – CNSNews/ Dimitri Simes

U.S. Africa Command Screenshot from Defense Department Video of Russian Fighter Jet in Flight

“Russia is reportedly stepping up … involvement in the Libyan civil war … in recent years … a heated proxy conflict drawing in numerous foreign players … [with] a range of motives. … U.S. Africa Command issued a statement, … with satellite imagery, accusing Russia of deploying 14 fighter jets to Libya in support of the Wagner Group, a Russian […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s War in Syria” – CSIS

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“… Russia’s military and diplomatic campaign in Syria [has been] the largest and most significant Russian out-of-area operation since the end of the Cold War. … and will shape [Russia’s] military thinking, influence promotion and personnel decisions, impact research and development for its arms industry, and expand its influence …. [D]espite the importance of Russia’s involvement in Syria – especially […]

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Luis Alcalá: “Re: ‘Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows'”

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings

Subject: [UTExpertsDiscGrp] Re: “Three Russian doctors fall from hospital windows” Date: Thu, 7 May 2020 From: Luis Alcalá <luismalcala@gmail.com> It is a waste of time to comment on these news. In England and the USA, medical personnel commit suicide and nobody says it is the fault of Trump or Boris, but in the news about Russian suicides or accidents they […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Has a Syria ‘Headache’ and the Kremlin’s Blaming Assad” – Bloomberg/ Henry Meyer, Ilya Arkhipov

Syria Map

“… Putin is … impatien[t] … with Syrian ally Bashar al-Assad, who isn’t … [sufficiently] grateful for being kept in power by Russian intervention …. Consumed … by … twin shocks of collapsing oil prices and the coronavirus epidemic … eager to wrap up his Syrian military adventure by declaring victory, Putin is insisting that Assad show more flexibility in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Trump, Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Scramble to Fix Oil Markets” – Wall Street Journal/ Georgi Kantchev, Summer Said, Andrew Restuccia, Justin Scheck

Offshore Oil Rig file photo

All three leaders face economic threat from low prices. Moscow and Riyadh bury the hatchet. “… On Thursday, Saudi Arabia and Russia ended their stalemate and convinced a handful of other major oil producers to join them in the biggest monthly oil-production cut ever. … Mexico … [also] said it would reduce … production by 100,000 barrels a day …. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia will have to cut oil output by 1.8 mln bpd under OPEC+ deal” – Interfax

Oil Well file photo

MOSCOW. April 10 (Interfax) – OPEC+ countries agreed on Thursday to cut oil production by 10 million barrels per day from the October 2018 level, although for Russia and Saudi Arabia the baseline for the cut will be 11 million bpd, a communique from the meeting seen by Interfax shows. OPEC+ countries, the communique said, produced 43.85 million bpd in […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Syria gamble under pressure as Turkey attacks in Idlib; Erdogan threatens further escalation of hostilities before Moscow meeting” – Financial Times/ Henry Foy

Syria Map

“Turkish attacks on Russian-backed forces in the Syrian province of Idlib are testing Moscow’s relationship with Ankara …. Seeking to avenge the killing last week of 34 Turkish soldiers, … Erdogan has bombarded Syrian regime targets in the province … warning that the destruction of fighter jets and killing of more than 100 pro-regime combatants is ‘only the beginning.’ The […]

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Russia Is Defeating The U.S. In The Middle East Oil Game

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(Oilprice.com – Simon Watkins – February 18, 2020) Historically, Russia goes to great lengths to hide or disguise its strategic intentions but it clearly feels empowered enough in the Middle East to very obviously stake its claim in the region – excluding, for the time being only, Saudi Arabia – by stating that a slew of Russian companies are to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Has Russia Discovered a New Foreign Policy Template? An Interview with Angela Stent” – Kennan Institute/ Angela Stent, Maxim Trudolyubov

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Angela Stent – October 22, 2019 – wilsoncenter.org/blog-post/has-russia-discovered-new-foreign-policy-template-interview-angela-stent) Maxim Trudolyubov is a Senior Fellow at the Kennan Institute and the Editor-at-Large of Vedomosti, an independent Russian daily. Following latest talks, Russia has agreed to help Turkey create a “safe zone” in northeastern Syria that is free of Kurdish fighters Ankara views as a […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Still possible to prevent Tehran’s possible withdrawal from JCPOA, NPT – Russian ambassador to Iran” – Interfax

Iran Map and Flag

MOSCOW. May 30 (Interfax) – Moscow will deeply regret Iran’s potential withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), but there is still a chance to avert this negative scenario, Russian Ambassador to Iran Levan Dzhagaryan said in an interview published in the newspaper Izvestia on Thursday. “Doubtlessly, Iran’s […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian Economy Gives Putin Reasons Not to Extend OPEC+ Deal” – Bloomberg/ Olga Tanas

Oil Well file photo

“The OPEC+ pact is hurting the Russian economy, potentially giving … Putin a reason not to agree on an extension …. While higher crude prices can bring … additional revenue, production cuts are weighing on one of the country’s biggest industries. … [Putin] may have to weigh his desire for faster economic growth against the benefits of his alliance with […]

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Interview: Russia Seeks To ‘Capitalize On Opportunities’ In Libya

File Photo of Ancient Roman Arch in Libya Framing Minaret and Palm Trees, adapted from image at cia.gov

(Article text ©2019 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tony Wesolowsky – April 10, 2019 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/interview-russia-seeks-to-capitalize-on-opportunities-in-libya/29873341.html) The situation is escalating in Libya, where more than 30 people have been killed since fighting broke out on April 4, when forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against the internationally […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian-Saudi Oil Cooperation Won’t Last; They say they will cut production. But it’s in the interests of both big oil producers to pump as much as they can.” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

Oil Well file photo

“There’s a nasty undercurrent to the surprisingly strong Saudi-Russian oil alliance behind the upcoming oil production cuts …. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may high-five … Putin in public, but … expect[s] that Russia will disappear from the oil market …. Eventually … the two big exporters may not be interested in production-cutting deals as they square off for […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What next for Russian-Israeli relations? Russia’s decision to install the S-300 in Syria increases the risk of unintended confrontation with Israel” – AlJazeera/ Yury Barmin/ Russian International Affairs Council

Middle East Map

“… The Israeli government rejected the accusations and even sent a defence delegation to Russia to provide clarification. Its efforts, however, do not seem to have pacified the Russian defence ministry, which on September 24 announced that it was going to deploy a modern S-300 system to Syria. This could curb Israel’s ability to launch air operations in Syria and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia to Supply Syria With Air-Defense System, Raising Tensions With Israel; The delivery of the S-300 raises the risks of escalation with Israel in a complex ground-and-air conflict involving multiple countries” – Wall Street Journal/James Marson/ Felicia Schwartz

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“… [Russia] plans to send a powerful air-defense system to Syria, escalating tensions with Israel following the downing of a Russian war plane last week that the Kremlin has blamed on Israeli forces.  Syrian air defense systems shot down the Russian reconnaissance plane, killing 15 service members on board, as they defended against Israeli military jets that were attacking Iranian […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian-Israeli military hotline must be improved – expert” – Interfax

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MOSCOW. Sept 18 (Interfax) – The Ilyushin Il-20 incident could have been avoided had Israel and Russia had efficient channels of military communication, according to Alexei Arbatov, the head of the International Security Center at the Russian Institute of World Economy and International Relations. “Improving interaction and mutual notification will be necessary, because if we had known in advance that […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Offers a Carrot to Embattled Syrian Rebels; Moscow is trying to wind down a war that has cost it billions, promising some groups an end to violence in exchange for loyalty to Assad” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas Grove

Syria Map

“More than 2,000 rebels who had been fighting the Syrian army abandoned their positions … and surrendered … heavy weaponry to Russian officers in July … as [Russia] tries to wind down a brutal military campaign that has cost Russia billions and [Russia] courts donors to help reconstruct[ion]. … Russia’s bombing raids turned … the war in favor of … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Turkey Shifts Toward Russia as Sanctions Sour U.S. Relations; Foreign ministers slam Western sanctions, as Erdogan plans boycott of U.S. electronic goods” – Wall Street Journal/David Gauthier-Villars

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“… Erdogan … stepped up his attacks on the U.S. … Tuesday, calling for a boycott of Apple … iPhones and other U.S. electronic goods … his foreign minister joined his Russian counterpart … criticizing Western sanctions. Turkey, a longtime [NATO] ally, has been caught between the West and Russia. This week, officials in Ankara were leaning decidedly toward Moscow. […]

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NEWSLINK/RUSSIALINK: “Shadows Over the Putin-Trump Summit” – PONARS Eurasia/Fyodor Lukyanov, Keith Darden

(PONARS Eurasia – Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor, Russia in Global Affairs; Keith Darden – MOSCOW, July 18, 2018 – ponarseurasia.org/article/shadows-over-putin-trump-helsinki-summit-commentary-lukyanov-darden) As the insightful U.S. diplomat and scholar Chas Freeman put it recently, in the age of social media, celebrity is authority. Few know that better than President Trump, for whom flamboyant appearance is more important than substance. What could generate broader […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Iran Role in Syria Key Item at Trump-Putin Summit” – AP

Syria Map

“As fighting wanes after seven years of war, the U.S. has made curtailing Iran’s influence in post-war Syria a strategic objective – one strongly backed by Israel. … officials from the U.S. and Russia have signaled that a broad framework for such a deal is likely to be the main outcome. But any agreement is likely to be carefully phrased […]

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Russia’s Finance Ministry Warns Of Another Price Collapse

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Irina Slav – July 9, 2018 – oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russias-Finance-Ministry-Warns-Of-Another-Price-Collapse.html) If prices remain at their current level, another collapse could be around the corner, the Russian Finance Ministry has warned in a report, cited by Sputnik. According to the report, the long-term equilibrium price level for crude oil is currently around US$50-60 a barrel, but actual prices are substantially higher […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “National Security Adviser John Bolton on ‘Face the Nation,’ July 1, 2018” – CBS

File Photo of John Bolton Raising Hand at United Nations, with United States Nameplate on Desktop in Front, adapted from image at state.gov

“… There are possibilities for … a larger negotiation on … get[ting] Iranian forces out  [of Syria] …. * * * [T]he Russians are always saying to us they want to cooperate on international terrorism …. * * * I had meetings … with … Putin and his foreign minister … defense minister and … diplomatic adviser … the [U.S.] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “As OPEC watches nervously, Russia and Saudi Arabia create a new axis – of oil; Russia is trying to be friends with everyone at once, and wielding growing influence” – Christian Scicence Monitor/Fred Weir

Middle East Map

“… Russia and Saudi Arabia ha[ve] agreed to ‘institutionalize’ their two-year old bilateral arrangement to coordinate oil production targets in order to smooth out global price fluctuations. Being two of the world’s three biggest oil producers – the third is the United States – their combined weight can be decisive. In 2016, Moscow and Riyadh agreed to slash production, and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia-Saudi Plans for Super-OPEC Could Reshape Global Oil Order” – Bloomberg/Will Kennedy, Elena Mazneva, Wael Mahdi

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

“… the group overseeing the so-called OPEC+ deal met last night [with] proceedings … dominated by … Saudi Arabia and Russia. … probably a snapshot of the oil market’s future.  Beyond … this week’s diplomatic efforts to agree to an increase in oil production, the more significant longer-term development may be moves to make Russia’s role in managing global supply […]

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NEWSLINK: “Top Russian pundit calls for Palestine talks in Moscow” – Asia Times/M.K. BHADRAKUMAR

Map of Israel, Palestine, Holy Land

“In an interview with the influential Russian daily Izvestiya, the well-known ‘Orientalist’ scholar and establishment figure, Vitaly Naumkin, has floated the startling idea that Moscow must play a role in resolving the Palestinian problem. He said, ‘Moscow has long urged for [organizing] a top-level meeting between Palestinians and Israelis in Russia, on a Moscow platform. It is necessary to turn […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Israel and Russia Agree to Remove Iranian Forces From Syrian Border, Report Says; Israel reportedly gets ‘green light’ to strike Iranian targets as long as it does not endanger Syrian regime. Report follows call between Netanyahu and Putin, meeting between Israel’s defense chief and Russian counterpart” – Haaretz (Israel)/

Syria Map

“Israel and Russia have reached an understanding on pulling Iranian forces out of southern Syria, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat reported …. reached after … Netanyahu spoke to … Putin … [by] telephone, while Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had held talks with his Russian counterpart. … the sides [reportedly] agreed it was necessary to remove Iranian forces from southern Syria and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Endgame in Syria Has Arrived; It’s not an Assad victory – it’s a frozen conflict” – Foreign Policy Magazine/Jonathan Spyer

Syria Map

“Syria increasingly seems to be moving toward de facto partition accompanied by ongoing low-level military conflict and a functional, but sluggish politics – a so-called frozen conflict. This may have been the goal all along for … Putin, who has initiated and managed such conflicts elsewhere, including in Georgia and Ukraine. * * *  Russia has … preserved the integrity […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Flexes Its Soft Power Muscles; Extending output cuts deepens its role in global affairs” – Bloomberg/Julian Lee

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

“Oil has … [surpassed] $80 a barrel for the first time since November 2014. OPEC’s inventory target for output cuts has been met. … even though [Russian] oil companies want to turn on the taps and its finance ministry may be worried about prices rising too far, Russia won’t [end] its output deal with the group … when … participants […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russian-U.S. dialogue on Syria still intensive – Ryabkov” – Interfax

Syria Map

MOSCOW. May 17 (Interfax) – Russia is not phasing out a dialogue on Syria, and it is still quite intensive, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. While talking to journalists on Thursday, Ryabkov was asked whether there were any concerns about Russian-U.S. dialogue on Syria in light of the absence of a U.S. delegation at the last round of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Will Russia’s involvement in Syria end up burning its ties with Israel?” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Middle East Map

“… despite … mutual determination [by Russia and Israel] to steer clear of the global storm [between Russia and the West], things may be reaching a breaking point in Syria. While Russia and Israel have hitherto been able to manage their differences there so far, Israel is becoming increasingly concerned as Iran, Russia’s ally in Syria and Israel’s main enemy, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia wants U.S. military out of Syria. But it still needs U.S. to help bring peace.” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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“… Analysts say that Moscow was serious when it hinted that it would strike back against U.S. warships in the Mediterranean or other launch platforms if any Russian lives were endangered by U.S. missiles. But … they say that the exchange of explosive declarations last week turned out to be mostly theater. Kremlin-connected analysts say that US and Russian military […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Turkey visit brings S-400 missile and nuclear plant headway” – bne Intellinews

Turkey and Environs Satellite Image

“… Erdogan received … Putin in Ankara … with a crowded agenda … including … Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system and progress with the TurkStream natural gas pipeline …. even more challenging … with the scheduled arrival of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and … the complicated task of finding an end-game […]

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73% of Russians Believe Military Has Achieved Syria Goals

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – February 27, 2018) A state-run poll has shown that nearly three-quarters of surveyed Russians believe their military has achieved its stated goals in Syria. Russian warplanes have been engaged in air raids in support of the Syrian government against rebels since October 2015. Late last year, President Vladimir Putin declared victory and ordered Russian troops […]

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Russia Gets $41.5 Billion Boost From OPEC Deal

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Tsvetana Paraskova – February 13, 2018) Since the start of the OPEC-Russia production cut deal, Russia’s oil companies and government have received the equivalent of around US$41.5 billion more in proceeds, thanks to the higher oil prices, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday. Due to the higher oil prices as a result of the pact, Russia’s […]

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Can Russia Sustain Its Foreign Policy Power Plays in 2018?

File Photo of U.S. Embassy Moscow, with Russian Foreign Ministry Building in Distance

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jonathan Brown, Editor, Moscow Times – January 31, 2018) When Vladimir Putin landed in Syria late last year, he was greeted by President Bashar Assad not as a foreign dignitary, but as the guardian of the embattled nation. “Syria has been preserved as a sovereign and independent state,” Putin told soldiers assembled at the Khmeimim […]

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Drones that attacked Russian military bases in Syria could have been shipped only from U.S. – Russian senator

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MOSCOW. Jan 9 (Interfax) – The drones that attacked Russia’s military bases in Syria could have been shipped to the country only from the United States, Russian Federation Council Defense and Security Committee head Viktor Bondarev said. “I think it’s clear to everyone who stands behind the militants. Only a technologically powerful state could have supplied the drones that bombarded […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Putin Toughens Penalty for Bomb Threats Plaguing Russia” – AP

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Putin has signed a law doubling the penalty for false reports of impending explosions or fire to a possible 10 years in prison. … Since September, authorities have received false bomb reports allegedly targeting more than 3000 structures in about 180 Russian cities. The subsequent building evacuations have sometimes caused severe traffic problems. A top Interior Ministry official said […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin’s Plan for Syria; How Russia Wants to End the War” – Foreign Affairs/ Dmitri Trenin

Syria Map

“… Moscow … means to secure its own core interests in Syria, whatever the balance of political power in the country. Among these is a permanent air and naval presence in the country. Under the lease agreements signed in 2015 and 2016 with Damascus, both the Khmeimim air force base and the Tartus naval facility, which is being upgraded to a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Backed by Putin, Russian Military Pushes Into Foreign Policy” – Reuters

Sergei Shoigu file photo

“From Damascus to Doha … Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has been showing up in unexpected places, a sign of the military’s growing influence under … Putin. … at times wearing his desert military uniform, Shoigu has held talks with Syria’s president in Damascus, met Israel’s prime minister in Jerusalem and been received by the Emir of Qatar in Doha. The defense ministry’s […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Vladimir Putin visited Khmeimim Air Base in Syria” – KremlinRu

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(Kremlin.ru – December 11, 2017) At the air base, Vladimir Putin was met by President of the Syrian Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad, Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu and Commander of the Russian military group Sergei Surovikin. The Commander-in-Chief ordered the withdrawal of the Russian military group from Syria back to their permanent bases. Vladimir Putin thanked the Russian service […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Latest U.S.-Russian Effort on Syria: Good for Preventing Accidents, So-So for Everything Else” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Syria Map

“The one concrete result to emerge from … Trump and … Putin’s informal meetings on the sidelines of … APEC … has been the Nov. 11 U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Syria. … [which] has elicited some official optimism, but what does it amount to really? … a promising step forward to end the strife in that war-torn land and ‘save tremendous numbers of lives,’ as Trump […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Joint U.S.-Russia statement calls for U.N.-supervised elections in Syria” – Politico/ Nancy Cook

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“… a new joint statement on Syria between the U.S. and Russia … [says] Syria must eventually hold U.N.-supervised elections to bring new leadership to the country as part of … ending its … civil war [say] two senior State Department officials. … follow[ing] … U.N. Security Council resolution … 2254. … [the election is to] include the ballots of the Syrian diaspora, displaced from the country […]

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Is This The Geopolitical Shift Of The Century?

Middle East Map

(Oilprice.com – Cyril Widdershoven – October 7, 2017) Dr. Cyril Widdershoven is a long-time observer of the global energy market. Presently, he holds several advisory positions with international think tanks in the Middle East and energy sectors in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically. The impact of […]

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NEWSWATCH: “OPEC Pushes Russia to Continue Helping on Oil Prices” – Wall Street Journal/ Benoit Faucon, Summer Said, Nathan Hodge

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

As King Salman becomes the first Saudi Monarch to visit Moscow, The Wall Street Journal reports on efforts by OPEC to keep Russia in an ad hoc coalition to suppress global oil production. “Saudi Arabia and OPEC are lobbying Russia to stay on board with their efforts to raise oil prices, amid signals that Moscow wants to end its participation in costly […]

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Putin Is Filling the Middle East Power Vacuum

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Henry Meyer, Donna Abu-Nasr – October 3, 2017) The Israelis and Turks, the Egyptians and Jordanians — they’re all beating a path to the Kremlin in the hope that Vladimir Putin, the new master of the Middle East, can secure their interests and fix their problems. The latest in line is Saudi King Salman, who on […]

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Saudi Arabia to Plan Russia Deals, Deepening Energy Ties

File Photo of King Salman of Saudi Arabia Seated Next to Saudi Flag and Gesturing, adapted from image at defense.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Wael Mahdi , Elena Mazneva, Ilya Arkhipov – October 3, 2017) Saudi Arabia is looking at unprecedented deals to acquire #oil and #gas assets in Russia, deepening ties between the world’s largest energy exporters as the Saudi king prepares to visit Moscow later this week. OPEC’s biggest crude producer is considering investing in Russia’s largest oil […]

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