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Diplomacy for Dummies: Adding Sanctions

by Oui Sat Jun 27th, 2020 at 10:22:27 PM EST

[Update-1] Title change from: "The Salisbury Plot - Next Episode".

Germany tells US to 'mind its own business' over Nord Stream 2 | EuroActiv - Dec. 12, 2019 |

More below the fold ..,

Trump Threatens Merkel With Pipeline Sanctions, U.S. Troop Cut | Bloomberg |

The Western Intelligence community putting political pressure on Trump's White House by introducing a conspiracy theory into the compliant mass media ...

Key words | Afghan Civil War `80s | CIA supply Stinger missiles | KSA funds and OBL | Pakistan's ISI and Taliban | Chechnya Freedom Fighters |

Russia offered bounty to kill UK soldiers | The Guardian |

According to the paper, Trump was briefed on the activity months ago, but no discernible action has been taken. The UK received the intelligence last week. The 29155 unit of the GRU, an arm of Russia's military intelligence agency, was responsible for executing the plan, according to the paper. In recent years, it has been linked to assassination attempts aimed at destabilising the West.
Unit 29155 has been linked to an attempted coup in Montenegro, the poisoning of a Bulgarian arms manufacturer and subversion in Moldova.
British prosecutors have charged two of its agents with the attempted murders of Skripal, the former GRU officer who defected to the UK, and his daughter, in Salisbury in 2018.

"Russian attempts to undermine Nato efforts in Afghanistan are not new," said Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. "We've seen incidents in the past but these accusations of encouraging the targeting of British and US forces are a step change and echo the warlike actions of the GRU in Salisbury. We need to recognise that we are in a contest that others are fighting even if we are not."

Outrage mounts over report Russia offered bounties to Afghanistan militants for killing US soldiers

It is not clear if bounties were ever paid out for successfully killing American soldiers. The White House denied that either Trump or the vice-president, Mike Pence, were briefed on such a matter.

Taliban reject claims Russia aided fighters in attacks on US troops | Dawn Pakistan |

The Taliban on Saturday rejected a newspaper report claiming their fighters had received rewards from Moscow's spies to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported on Friday that bounties offered by a notorious arm of Russia's military intelligence service gave incentives to Taliban fighters to target US forces, just as US President Donald Trump tries to withdraw troops and end America's longest war.

"The nineteen-year jihad of the Islamic Emirate is not indebted to the beneficence of any intelligence organ or foreign country," the Taliban said in a statement issued in Kabul. The group also denied previous US accusations it was given arms by Russia.

"The Islamic Emirate has made use of weapons, facilities and tools ... that were already present in Afghanistan or are war spoils frequently seized from the opposition in battles." The Taliban said home-made explosives accounted for most of the casualties among US forces.

The group reiterated it was committed to an accord signed with Washington in February that paves the way for withdrawing all foreign forces from Afghanistan by mid next year.


by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 07:19:48 AM EST
by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 10:12:35 AM EST

Anonymous intelligence sources, no evidence, no link to actual deaths, nearly two decades of US and NATO fight for "our Freedom" at the direction of George Bush ... primarily Afghans are dying in great numbers!

by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 10:23:10 AM EST
US Wary of Russian Role in Afghanistan as Moscow Holds Talks | VOA News - April 21017 |

Afghan security forces take position during a gun battle between Taliban and Afghan security forces in Laghman province, Afghanistan March 1, 2017.

US State Department / Islamabad - As the United States and Russia clash on Syria, another war-torn nation could play out as a renewed theater for the U.S.-Russia rivalry: Afghanistan.

U.S. forces dropped what was being called the largest non-nuclear bomb on a reported Islamic State militant complex in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar.

The U.S. strike came a day before Russia is to host multi-nation talks on prospects for Afghan security and national reconciliation, the third such round since December.

Eleven countries are set to take part in Friday's discussions in Moscow, including Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan and India. Former Soviet Central Asian states have been invited to attend for the first time.

The Afghan Taliban said Thursday that they would not take part.

"We cannot call these negotiations [in Moscow] as a dialogue for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told VOA. "This meeting stems from political agendas of the countries who are organizing it. This has really nothing to do with us, nor do we support it."

The spokesman reiterated insurgents' traditional stance that U.S.-led foreign troops would have to leave Afghanistan before any conflict resolution talks could be initiated.

Undermining NATO

American military officials suspect Russia's so-called Afghan peace diplomacy is aimed at undermining NATO and have accused Moscow of arming the Taliban.

"I think it is fair to assume they may be providing some sort of support to [the Taliban], in terms of weapons or other things that may be there," U.S. Central Command Chief General Joseph Votel told members of the House Armed Services Committee in March. He said he thought Russia was "attempting to be an influential party in this part of the world."

For its part, Moscow has denied that it is supporting the Afghan Taliban.

"These fabrications are designed, as we have repeatedly underlined, to justify the failure of the U.S. military and politicians in the Afghan campaign.There is no other explanation," said Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin's special envoy to Afghanistan.

Just a reminder ... Dutch PM Mark Rutte stayed silent for years after a Dutch F-16 air strike killed over seventy civilians in an allied coordinated bombing attack above Iraq in 2015.

Government confirms involvement in two air strikes killing over 70 civilians in total | NL Times - Nov. 2019 |

    The first of the two airstrikes was on a bomb factory in Hawija on June 3rd, 2015. At least 70 people, including children according to eye witnesses, were killed and an entire neighborhood was destroyed. It is considered one of the bloodiest attacks by the international coalition in the fight against ISIS.

Dutch gov't understands US assassination of Iranian general, Defense Min. says | NL Times - Jan. 7, 2020 |

Dutch gov't doesn't understands Iranian assassination of the Ace of Terror, Foreign Affairs Min. says
Dutch Gov't Hard Facts and Lies/Propaganda about Syria

by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 11:32:38 AM EST

Afghanistan: Remembering the fallen of 2019

Twenty-two American service members were killed in Afghanistan in 2019, the highest number since NATO combat operations in the country ended at the end of 2014.

Since then, the United States has continued a separate counterterrorism mission.

The deaths came as Washington held direct peace talks with the Taliban aimed at the ending the war, the U.S.'s longest, throughout most of the year. The talks are ongoing. Roughly 13,000 American troops were deployed to Afghanistan at the start of 2020.

Taliban, US Spar Over Al-Qaida Presence in Afghanistan | VOA News - June 11, 2020 |

Putting blame on the Russians, nothing new to see here from Democrats and Obama's VP from 2009-16 ...

The regime in Washington DC may change, but not the perception of its archenemies.

by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 11:57:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Putin and the the 2020 presidential election - Michael Morell | CBS News |

by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 12:04:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UN: 'Alarming' spike of 82 percent in Afghan child casualties | Al Jazeera |

Worsening security across Afghanistan has led to 14,000 violations against children in the past four years, including nearly 3,500 killed and 9,000 injured, a UN report said.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned "the alarming level" of grave violations committed by all sides in the 18-year war and the fact that children "continue to bear the brunt of the armed conflict".

Of serious concern, he said, was the nearly 12,600 children verified to have been killed or injured in 2015-2018 represented almost one-third of all civilian casualties.

US State Dept counterterrorism report 'disappointing': Pakistan

    Islamabad calls report 'self-contradictory and selective' as US singles out Pakistan for allegedly supporting Taliban.

by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 12:26:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Oui on Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 12:07:59 PM EST
If there was any substance to the intelligence, would the CIA wait six months to share the "high risk" threat with your closest military ally the UK?!

NSC: 'Veracity of underlying allegations continues to be evaluated'

Russia and the Taliban have denied the existence of the programme.

Among the coalition of Nato forces in Afghanistan, the British were briefed late last week on the intelligence assessment, though other alliance governments were not formally informed.

by Oui on Mon Jun 29th, 2020 at 08:54:05 PM EST
The sacred constitutional change ... following the lead of conservative, evangelical America of Donald Trump and his Red States.

Explainer: What Are Russians Voting for in Putin's Constitution Poll? | The Moscow Times |

Putin unleashed a political storm in January with the plan to overhaul the Russian Constitution for the first time since 1993. His proposal triggered the cabinet's resignation and the appointment of a new, technocratic prime minister.

National law

The amendments prioritize the Russian Constitution over international treaties and other acts.

Experts view the change as targeting Europe's top human rights court, where Russia remains the runaway leader in the number of cases and has amassed millions of euros in fines for violating citizens' rights.

Heterosexual marriage

The amendments would add language defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman to Russia's basic law, one of the most widely discussed constitutional changes among the Russian public.

Faith in God

The amendments also enshrine the mention of "faith in God" in the Constitution. While most Russians identify as Orthodox Christians, the country is officially secular and is home to Muslims, Buddhists and people of other faiths.

How will constitutional amendments unfold in Putin-led Russia? | CGTN |

On January 15, Putin in his annual state-of-the-nation speech, called for broad changes to the constitution, and the process of the constitutional amendments was basically over within two months.

On March 11 the State Duma adopted the third and final reading of the amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. On the same day, these amendments were approved by the Federation Council.

Russians Wrap Up Vote On Constitutional Changes That Open Way For Putin To Stay In Power Until 2036 | RFERL |

by Oui on Wed Jul 1st, 2020 at 07:02:57 AM EST

Enhancing Security and Stability In Afghanistan | Report to Congress - June 2020 |


Russia very likely continues to support U.S.-Taliban reconciliation efforts in the hope that reconciliation will prevent a long-term U.S. military presence. As of February, the Russian government was working with the central government, regional countries, and the Taliban to gain increased influence in Afghanistan, expedite a U.S. military withdrawal, and address security challenges that might arise from a withdrawal. As of late February, Kremlin officials expressed support for the U.S.-Taliban Agreement and offered to facilitate IAN, which Russian officials supported as the best path towards forming an interim government. Russia has politically supported the Taliban to cultivate influence with the group, limit the Western military presence, and encourage counter ISIS operations, although Russia publicly denies their involvement. As of late 2019, Russian military forces stationed in Tajikistan have routinely conducted unilateral and multilateral exercises to maintain preparedness to defend against potential cross-border violence originating from northern Afghanistan. The Department of State has worked to leverage regional actors to support the U.S.-Taliban agreement. On March 6, the United States and Russian Federation issued a Joint Statement on the Signing of the U.S.-Taliban Agreement.

[h/t Sputnik News]

Top Democrat introduces amendment to sanction Putin for alleged Russian bounties | Axios |

Rated a third-world nation, the U.S. is out of control and quite dysfunctional. No leadership and no true democracy - voter suppression beyond bounds.

by Oui on Thu Jul 2nd, 2020 at 07:30:19 AM EST
Moscow 4-Party Meeting Seeks Resumption of US-Taliban Talks | VOA - Oct. 25, 2019 |

Russia, China and Pakistan have called for an early resumption of negotiations between the United States and the Taliban to reach an agreement about ending the war in Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump in early September abruptly halted the yearlong dialogue with the Taliban  after a series of deadly insurgent attacks in the Afghan capital, Kabul, resulted in the death of an American soldier, among others.

On Friday, Moscow hosted U.S. chief negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad, along with Chinese and Pakistani representatives to review their joint efforts to reach sustainable settlement in the war-hit country by political and diplomatic means.

"Russia, China and Pakistan expressed their support for the earliest resumption of negotiation process and reaching an agreement between the United States of America and the Taliban movement, which will pave the way for launching intra-Afghan talks," a post-meeting statement noted.  

It said that participants stated their expectations that all sides will observe a cease-fire for the duration of intra-Afghan negotiations, calling on the Afghan government and the Taliban to release "significant numbers of prisoners at the start of intra-Afghan negotiations."

Muhemmed Aejaz, head of the Pakistani delegation, tweeted after the meeting that participants "are hopeful about and agreed to expedite the earliest peaceful resolution of the issue through an Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process."

Russia initiated the dialogue process this year and also has hosted intra-Afghan meetings in recent months to help end the war because it believes continued instability is encouraging terrorist groups like Islamic State to establish strongholds on Afghan soil to threaten Central Asian allies.

by Oui on Thu Jul 2nd, 2020 at 07:31:22 AM EST
by Oui on Sun Jul 5th, 2020 at 07:30:34 PM EST
Delusionary Nicholas Burns ... failed in ME policy and rejected diplomacy towards Iran.

Stalemate in the UN Security Council. A New "Cold War" with Iran? by verchenceto @EuroTrib on March 29, 2006

East-West Schism: Destruction Process Inside Europe

From the pen of Vicky Nuland, former assistent to Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton ... same old ...

But today's Russia is neither monolithic nor immutable. Inside the country, low oil prices, the coronavirus pandemic, and Russians' growing sense of malaise all bring new costs and risks for the Kremlin. Abroad, Putin has played a weak hand well because the United States and its allies have let him, allowing Russia to violate arms control treaties, international law, the sovereignty of its neighbors, and the integrity of elections in the United States and Europe.

by Oui on Mon Jul 6th, 2020 at 06:23:40 PM EST

No kidding now? 🎭 🌑

by Oui on Thu Jul 9th, 2020 at 12:48:40 PM EST
Still no evidence, claim came from CIA or other civilian intelligence agency ...

Top US general vows response if military confirms reports of Russian bounties | The Guardian |

Gen Mark Milley tells lawmakers Pentagon is investigating reports Russia paid for attacks on US soldiers in Afghanistan.

The defence secretary, Mark Esper, who was testifying alongside Milley, said that the original reports did not come from any of the nine of the total of 17 US intelligence agencies under Pentagon's authority, implying the information leaked to the press in recent weeks came from the CIA or another civilian agency.

Esper said the reports were first reviewed by the Pentagon in January, when they were shown to Milley and the head of US central command, Gen Kenneth McKenzie, and the defence secretary became aware of them in February.

"They got some initial reporting on the ground that they began pursuing. Neither thought the reports were credible, as they dug into them," Esper said.

by Oui on Fri Jul 10th, 2020 at 06:19:35 AM EST

by Oui on Sun Jul 12th, 2020 at 11:41:45 AM EST
Balance of Power ... an interesting development.

by Oui on Sun Jul 12th, 2020 at 08:49:47 PM EST
by Oui on Mon Jul 13th, 2020 at 06:19:27 AM EST

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