[ Ed. note – Some pretty appalling developments in the last 24-48 hours. The Russian embassy in Damascus has been shelled, apparently by Al-Nusra, which, for all practical purposes, is a US-proxy. No one was injured, but it kind of echoes John Kirby’s comment about sending Russian troops home in “body bags.”
Meanwhile, as the video above makes clear, rogue elements within the US government that seem to be outside of the president’s control are pushing for military strikes on Syrian troops. This could very easily include a strike upon Damascus and all-out war with Russia. Perhaps no surprise, then, that Russia is sending additional war ships to the Mediterranean loaded with cruise missiles…while carrying out civil defense drills at home. I can’t help thinking at this point that Obama will go down as one of the weakest US presidents in history–however much longer “history” may last, which may not be a lot of time.
Below are some articles I’ve gathered. All in all, they do not paint a reassuring picture. ]
40 Million Russians Set to Drill for World War III
Originally appeared at Zero Hedge
Introduction by Sharon Tennison, President of the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI) and a prominent US citizen diplomat:
This is a very important statement to the world.
I’ve been searching for ways to wake up America to the immediate danger of a Nuclear War, given the situation in the Middle East. Little to nothing has been said about WWIII in American mainstream media. If I bring the subject up in conversation with educated, intelligent Americans they look at me as though I’ve gone crazy, yet all indictors are that the Syrian situation is quickly going in this direction.
If nothing else, this “preparedness event” of hopefully 40,000,000 Russians will put this discussion on the front burner here with American citizens, also European and other citizens across the world. Globally, this is an extremely wise move––and hopefully it is in time to force serious discussion on these issues.
Please let me know how it goes in your city and region.
I love all of you and am so sorry the situation has degenerated into this predicament. Give all of our CCI friends in your cities my deepest concern and apologies and hope that this will stimulate immediate world wide discussion and resolutions.
Blessings to us all,
As relations between Russia and the US disintegrate as a result of the escalating proxy war in Syria, which today culminated with Putin halting a Plutonium cleanup effort with the US, shortly before the US State Department announced it would end negotiations with Russia over Syria, tomorrow an unprecedented 40 million Russian citizens, as well as 200,000 specialists from “emergency rescue divisions” and 50,000 units of equipment are set to take part in a four day-long civil defense, emergency evacuation and disaster preparedness drill, the Russian Ministry for Civil Defense reported on its website.
According to the ministry, an all-Russian civil defense drill involving federal and regional executive authorities and local governments dubbed “Organization of civil defense during large natural and man-caused disasters in the Russian Federation” will start tomorrow morning in all constituent territories of Russia and last until October 7. While the ministry does not specify what kind of “man-caused disaster” it envisions, it would have to be a substantial one for 40 million Russians to take part in the emergency preparedness drill. Furthermore, be reading the guidelines of the drill, we can get a rather good idea of just what it is that Russia is “preparing” for.
The website adds that “the main goal of the drill is to practice organization of management during civil defense events and emergency and fire management, to check preparedness of management bodies and forces of civil defense on all levels to respond to natural and man-made disasters and to take civil defense measures.” Oleg Manuilov, director of the Civil Defence Ministry explained that the exercise will be a test of how the population would respond to a “disaster” under an “emergency” situation.
Some further details, on the 3-stage, 4 day drill:
I stage: organization of civil defense actions.
The stage is going to practice notification and gathering of senior officials of federal and regional executive authorities, local governments and civil defense forces, deployment of civil defense management system on all levels, readying civil defense communication and notification system. After the National Crisis Management Center have brought the management signals, all management bodies, state authorities, forces and facilities on duty and people will be notified through notification systems available.
II stage: Planning and organization of civil defense actions. Deploying a team of civil defense forces and facilities designed to respond to large disasters and fires.
The stage plans to practice deployment a mobile interagency multi-functional team of civil defense forces and facilities in each federal district in order to carry our rescue and other urgent operations, civil defense actions and to deploy special civil defense units in constituent territories; putting rescue military units, divisions of the federal fire service, rescue units on standby. The stage provides for the team to be reinforced, activation of backup control centers and practicing collecting and exchanging information in the field of civil defense.
III stage: Organization of actions of civil defense management bodies and forces for response to large disasters and fires.
The stage will deal with the use of the civil defense team to respond to large disasters and fires, setting up aerial and mobile control centers, revising of routes for save evacuation of people, organization of vital services; taking off fire and rescue units of the federal fire service to put out fires and conduct rescue operations at potentially dangerous facilities, including closed administrative territorial entities.
The drill will rehearse radiation, chemical and biological protection of the personnel and population during emergencies at crucial and potentially dangerous facilities. Fire safety, civil defense and human protection at social institutions and public buildings are also planned to be checked. Response units will deploy radiation, chemical and biological monitoring centers and sanitation posts at the emergency areas, while laboratory control networks are going to be put on standby.
The fact that among the measures tasked for the civil defense team will be a response to “disasters and fires” as well as the rehearsal of “radiation, chemical and biological protection”, makes it clear that Russia is about to hold its biggest nuclear war drill since perhaps the end of the Cold War.
Why now? Perhaps, in addition to the sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the west, where tensions are on par with the cold war, another answer may come from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, who last week warned Congress that the implementation of a No Fly Zone in Syria as proposed by John Kerry recently, and a centerpiece of Hillary’s foreign policy strategy, would result in World War III.
During testimony before the Senate Committee on Armed Services last week General Joseph Dunford rang the alarm over a policy shift that is gaining more traction within the halls of Washington following the collapse of the ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia in Syria saying that it could result in a major international war which he was not prepared to advocate on behalf of. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi asked about Hillary Clinton’s proposal for a no fly zone in Syria in response to allegations that Russia and Syria have intensified their aerial bombardment of rebel-held East Aleppo since the collapse of the ceasefire.
“What about the option of controlling the airspace so that barrel bombs cannot be dropped? What do you think of that option?” asked Wicker. “Right now, Senator, for us to control all of the airspace in Syria would require us to go to war against Syria and Russia. That is a pretty fundamental decision that certainly I’m not going to make,”said the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggesting the policy was too hawkish even for military leaders.
As a reminder, Hillary Clinton strongly argued in favor of a no fly zone ever since October 2015, just days after Russia began a bombing campaign aimed at maintaining the stability of the Syrian government. “I personally would be advocating now for a no fly zone and humanitarian corridors to try to stop the carnage on the ground and from the air, to try to provide some way to take stock of what’s happening, to try to stem the flow of refugees,” said Clinton in an interview with NBC in October 2015.
Despite the warnings, the former Secretary of State and current presidential candidate, who has a well-known hawkish position towards regime change and matters related to Russia, has continued to advocate this position which has gained traction in recent weeks among top US diplomats.
Clinton is note alone: as the WSJ reported in June, more than 50 US diplomats endorsed a notorious dissent memo, demanding that that the Obama administration employ military options against Assad, such as the implementation of a no fly zone if not a direct attack against the Syrian regime. The argument from the diplomats is that the situation in Syria will continue to devolve without direct action by the US military, an argument of dubious legality if undertaken unilaterally without a UN Security Council resolution but which as Sputnik reports, the US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power has been laying the groundwork for under the controversial “right to protect” theory of international law arguing that Russia’s opposition to a resolution should be ignored because they are a party to the conflict.
Russia, in turn, has countered that if the Assad regime falls then terrorist groups including ISIS and al-Nusra Front will likely fill the resulting power vacuum descending the country into an even greater harbor for international terrorism. Ultimately, the Syrian conflict is fundamentally about the transport of energy, and whether Russia maintains its dominance over European natural gas imports, or if – with the Syrian regime deposed – a Qatar natural gas pipeline can cross the territory and make its way to Europe.
As for the Russian nuclear war drill, we can only hope that any such rising hints of nuclear warfare remain in the realm of the purely theoretical.
2 Russian Ships Take Cruise Missiles to Mediterranean for Syrian Anti-Terror Op
Two Russian vessels will join up with Russia’s permanent naval fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, where they will assist in the military operation against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in Syria.
“It is planned that the Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol will go to the Mediterranean as part of a planned rotation that will join up with the permanent naval task force,” Russian Navy representative Nikolay Voskresensky told journalists.
The two guided missile fast attack craft left from the port of Sevastopol on October 4 and are currently sailing through the Black Sea in order to join up with the Russian fleet.
The Serpukhov and the Zeleny Dol already participated in Russia’s Syria operation in the Mediterranean in the middle of August, when they fired three Kalibr cruise missiles at Al-Nusra Front terrorists before returning to Crimea in September.
The US Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) is wary of the Kalibr missile, which “is profoundly changing its ability to deter, threaten or destroy adversary targets,” the report published in December said.
The weapon saw its first combat use in October 2015, when a salvo of missiles launched from four small Russian warships in the Caspian Sea hit targets in Syria. In December, the Russian Navy used the same long-range, low-flying cruise missiles to strike more terrorist targets in Syria from a submarine in the Mediterranean Sea.
In September, the Russian Navy announced that the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier would be joining up with the country’s naval group operating in the eastern Mediterranean as well.
“Currently, the Russian naval group in the eastern Mediterranean includes at least six warships and three or four support vessels from all fleets. To increase the combat capabilities of the group, [we] plan to include the cruiser Admiral Kuznetsov into its ranks,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at the time.
The aircraft carrier is expected to reach its intended destination by the middle of October and will spend between four and five months in the region.
Al-Nusra Front Shells Russian Embassy in Damascus
The Russian embassy in Damascus was shelled from the areas controlled by al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman militants, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“The Russian diplomatic mission came under mortar shelling on October 3. One of the mines exploded on the embassy area near its residential department. Fortunately, no one was wounded. The diplomatic mission sustained material damage. Another two mines went off next to the embassy.”
The Ministry said the shelling was conducted from the Jobar municipality controlled by al-Nusra Front and Faylaq al-Rahman terrorists.
“We view this shelling of the Russian embassy as a consequence of actions of those who, like the US and its allies, provoke the violent conflict in Syria, flirting with militants and extremists of different sorts.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry called for a coordinated international counterterrorist approach.
Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces loyal to President Bashar Assad fighting a number of opposition factions and extremist groups. The ongoing instability had caused numerous terrorist attacks across the country.
U.S. Proxies Panic: Russia Hikes Up Air Strikes on Al-Nusra Across Syria
(translated by J. Arnoldski)
Precision air strikes by Russian air forces on militants’ infrastructure and positions in the Hama and Idlib provinces have inflicted heavy losses on illegal armed formations. In Aleppo, terrorist leaders have begun to panic. This has been reported to Russian Spring by a military source.
“In the northern part of Hama province, one of the leaders of Jebat Al-Nusra, Abdul Jabbar Fawaz al-Ahmad, was liquidated. In the al-Latamna district, a commander of an Al-Nusra sniper battalion, Ahmad Nahlawi, was also killed,” the source told Russian Spring.
The source continued: “As a result of an airstrike on the building of the Sharia court in the area of Serakab (15 km southeast of Idlib), 12 Ahrar ash-Sham militants were destroyed along with 9 from Jebat Al-Nusra and 5 from Islam at-Turkestani.”
North of Serakab, around 30 Al-Nusra militants were killed and more than 50 wounded by an air strike,” the source added.
“In eastern Aleppo, following a series of successful Russian air force operations, an outright panic has spread among the war lords of Al-Nusra. It is known from reliable sources that in the southern part of blockaded Aleppo, incidents of militants refusing orders have been noted. In block 1070, leaders of the bandit group refused to attack the positions of Syrian government troops,” the source summarized.
Nukes on the Way: Can You Find a Bomb Shelter in 30 Minutes?
In the event of nuclear war, Russia has well prepared plans for sheltering its population. The United States government has none
By Stephen A. Molling
(The author is a US Navy veteran, IT Consultant, and writer. The Uragon Protocol is a fictional account of the likely undiplomatic resolution of the current conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States)
(Originally appeared at The Uragon Protocol)
I learn that 40 million Russians are supposed to take part in a civil defense drill. I do research about what to do when Russia fires ICBMs at the United States. I discover that after the launch, I will have thirty minutes to take action before the warhead explodes over my head.
I google “Civil Defense” and am shocked that the U.S. program stopped at the end of the Cold War. Worse yet, the Russians still have a civil defense system. In fact, they are building enough bomb shelters in Moscow for every inhabitant to reach safety in a few minutes. Something is wrong.
I check my local government site for information about where to go in case of a nuclear attack. They refer me to the Department of Homeland Security site: ready.gov. After searching for fallout shelters in my area, the site links me to maryland.gov . The State of Maryland has no information about fallout shelters and they link me back to ready.gov. There are only 25 minutes left before detonation.
I search for a safe place to go. I check the Nuclear Target Map and find that everywhere within a hundred miles of me is a red zone. I go back to Homeland Security in panic.
Amazingly there are no instructions on what to do to prepare for a nuclear attack, but there are instructions on what to do after the attack. I follow the link and find this:
Go as far below ground as possible or in the center of a tall building. The goal is to put as many walls and as much concrete, brick and soil between you and the radioactive material outside.
I go down to the basement of my house and nail a piece of wood over the window. I stuff some clothes in the dryer vent.
I hope the Patriot missiles will shoot down the incoming nukes. Maybe the Star Wars system will stop them.
I consider the odds that the federal government has done something right. I kiss my butt good-bye.
Assad: US Seeks to Enforce Global Dominance By Unleashing War on Countries Which Oppose Them
Washington’s pursuit of hegemony has fallen short of its goal, causing havoc and collapse of states, Bashar Assad said in a new interview. Syria’s head believes that US meddling in the conflict aims to “save what is left” from its fading global preeminence.
In an interview to Iranian magazine Tehran Foreign Policy Studies Quarterly on Wednesday, the Syrian president argued that the US resort to force every time it fears a challenge to its clout and ability to control the international agenda unilaterally.
“United States builds its position on hegemony over other states and it has been the case since they took advantage of the USSR collapse and established unilateral control over this world up to this day,” the president said, adding that the real motive behind US military interventions into foreign countries is to coerce them to submit to American authority, as in the case with Syria.
“Today, the United States are waging wars with the only goal to cement its project of total control by launching attack on everyone, who opposes its dominance,” Assad said, noting that Washington “rejects” and “refuses to acknowledge” the nascent balance of powers in the world affairs and the rise of other states.
Assad believes that while Washington has been losing its grip, it cannot accept the fact it’s not being in charge of the global affairs, and tries to reaffirm, if not to strengthen, its positions in the world.
“What is happening in Syria is an attempt to save what is left from the American and western hegemony in the world,”Assad said.
According to the Syrian president, “the only one thing the Americans have succeeded is creating problems and destroying states, no more than that.”
Washington spares no means to inflict losses on its ideological rivals, including “terrorism”, psychological and economical methods, Assad said. However, he thinks that a biased coverage of the conflict by mainstream media delivers one of the most significant blows.
“Here we are talking not only about the minds of the officials, but about the people, about the wrong analysis of what is happening and presenting things in a distorted way.”
If Syria manages to withstand the pressure and uproot the terrorism from its soil, the victory will pave the way for “spread of ideas of independent development [in the world], that is what the West fears most of all,” Assad said, adding that “what will happen in Syria will affect the political map.”
The Syrian president does not believe that that the US foreign policy may change its track in the foreseeable future, as wars are in the interest of American powerful lobby groups, in particular, arms and oil lobbies.
“There is no point in analyzing US politics on the basis of common sense, as it is guided by the factional interests,” Assad said.
Earlier, Moscow raised concerns about the possible impact of the US trying to ouster the Syrian president by means of a direct military aggression, with Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova warning it would lead to a “terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region”.
For its part, Russia has been assisting Syrian government in the fight against terrorism at the request of Assad since September last year. Russia’s UN envoy and the current UN Security Council President Vitaly Churkin on Monday said he believes “had it not been for our [Russian] involvement in Syria, it might well be that the black flags would be flying over Damascus.”
The assertion that Russia has been the main contributor to the Syrian anti-terror campaign and did not let it slip into the hands of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) militants was rejected by Mark Toner, State Department’s spokesperson in a briefing on Tuesday. Washington has been downplaying Russia’s role in helping to put an end to the Syrian bloodshed, even claiming that its bombing campaigns have been largely targeting the opposition forces instead of IS.
Despite the breakdown of US-Russian cooperation on Syria, Washington indicated it is not going to inflame the standoff by striking Syrian government targets as it is concerned it would put Russian and US forces on the brink of military confrontation.
“The president [Barack Obama], as he thinks through those options, is going to think very carefully about the consequences of taking different actions,” White House spokesman John Earnest said on Tuesday.
US-led coalition carried out airstrike on Syrian government troops in Deir ez-Zoir on September 19, killing 62 servicemen and injuring over hundred. In the wake of the attack, President Assad announced the end of the latest US-Russia brokered ceasefire in Syria.