The End Of All Crossroads

Where the TAXI makes a stop, to ponder upon which road mayhap be true

Tag: russia

Russia will back Egyptian efforts to end Israeli aggression: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will back Egyptian efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza Strip.

 


In a telephone conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Friday, Putin said Russia planned to support Cairo’s efforts directed at normalizing the situation in the Palestinian territory, the Kremlin said in a statement.

The remarks come after Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil visited the Gaza Strip on Friday, where he urged the world leaders to stop Tel Aviv’s attacks.

Qandil promised to intensify Egypt’s efforts to “stop this aggression and achieve a lasting truce.”

On Thursday, President Morsi also condemned the Israeli aggression as “unacceptable” and warned it could lead to instability in the region.

Some 25 people have been killed and more than 250 others injured in the new wave of attacks since November 14.

The Israeli regime frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.

MAM/HMV

 

SOURCE:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/16/272661/russia-to-back-egypt-against-israel-putin/

Russia’s Tolbachik Erupts for First Time in 36 Years

By Erik KlemettiEmail AuthorNovember 27, 2012 | 8:52 pm

For the first time in 36 years, Tolbachik in Russia is erupting according to reports from Russia. KVERT, the volcano monitoring body for Kamchatka, released a bulletin describing a significant explosive eruption with the potential for ash explosions up to 10 km / 32,800 ft. With the many air routes across the northern Pacific, this eruption will need to be closely monitored for its impact on air travel over the eastern Siberian peninsula. The ash advisory from the Tokyo VAAC also mentions a report of ash at FL 330 (33,000 feet) that was spreading to the NNW. VolcanoDiscovery reported that seismicity had been creeping upwards around Tolbachik since at least early November as well. Trying to get information from some of the hastily-translated articles from Russia is, ahem, fun. One described the eruption as the “volcano’s top caldera is being filled with fresh and gushing lava” based on incandescence seen at the summit.

The last eruption of Tolbachik started in 1975 and was quite impressive, rating at least a VEI 4 with both explosive and effusive activity. However, that was a larger eruption than most over the last century at the Russian volcano and most are smaller VEI 2 eruptions. Interestingly, the 1975-76 was a mainly basaltic eruption (see above), the largest recorded in the northern Kamchatka peninsula — however, that activity did produce 13 km / 42,000 foot ash plumes as well during the creation of a series of cinder cones and a 15 square kilometer lava flow field.

Unfortunately, today’s passes by the Terra and Aqua satellite didn’t capture any plume – likely because the pass was too early, but some of the peninsula is obscured by clouds as well. However, this 2004 NASA Earth Observatory image shows the summit caldera at Tolbachik and its relative proximity to its more famous brethren, Bezymianny and Kliuchevskoi. As always, I will try to update with details as they arrive.

Update 11 PM EST 11/27: John Seach is reporting via Twitter that towns up to 35 km from the volcano have received 4 cm of ash fall from the eruption.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/first-images-of-the-tolbachik-fissure-eruption/?utm_source=Contextly&utm_medium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=MoreRecently

Ukraine Crushed in $1.1bn Fake Gas Deal

By Jen Alic | Thu, 29 November 2012 16:05

Certainly the folks at Gazprom are having a good snicker, reveling in the mockery that has been made of what should have been a landmark Ukraine-Spain gas deal that would have loosened Russia’s gas grip on Kiev.

Everyone wondered how Russia would respond to Ukraine’s attempt at gas independence. But this is what happens when you mess with Gazprom.

It was a horrible moment for Ukraine on Monday—all the more horrible because the whole event was televised—when the historical $1.1 billion deal it was about to sign with Spain’s Gas Natural Fenosa turned out to be fake.

Why was the deal historical? It would have secured $1.1 billion in investment for the construction of Ukraine’s first liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal on the Black Sea and a pipeline connecting the country’s vast gas network to the terminal.

More to the point, this would enable Ukraine to import by tanker up to 10 billion cubic meters of European gas at a price 20% cheaper than Gazprom. Even more to the point, it would be a major first step toward reducing Ukraine’s dependence on Russia.

The deal was that investors had apparently signed agreements through a newly formed consortium for the construction of the $1.1 billion LNG terminal.

Here’s how the ill-fated signing ceremony went down:

While Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko were cutting the ribbon on the construction of the terminal in a live televised ceremony, the country’s investment chief, Vladislav Kaskiv, was attending the official investment signing ceremony elsewhere, also via live video feed. This is where walls caved in very suddenly.

Signing on behalf of Fenosa was one Jordi Sarda Bonvehi. At the 11th hour, Fenosa let it be known that they have no idea who Bonvehi is and that he certainly does not represent the company in any way. Fenosa apparently had no idea it was signing a landmark agreement with Ukraine.

Kiev was necessarily taken aback, and Bonvehi remained conveniently silent at the signing ceremony once the news broke out.

Of course, what no one knows is how Ukrainian authorities were led to believe—during multiple rounds of negotiations—that Bonvehi was a Fenosa representative.

The story being bandied about by authorities in Kiev is now that Bonvehi was under the impression that Fenosa would sign the deal with Ukraine and that he would be given the authority to sign the deal retroactively.

But Fenosa denies it has ever considered such a deal and continues to deny any relationship at all with Bonvehi.

So where does that leave us? It leaves Ukraine in the lurch. There is no way it can fund this terminal on its own, despite its claims to the contrary. We probably don’t have to look much further than Gazprom and the Ukrainian oligarchy to find where this beautifully crafted charade was hatched.

In the meantime, Bonvehi—if such a person of that name even exists—remains elusive. No one knows who he really is or who he really works for.

More than anything, it’s an advertisement for due diligence.

By. Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

SOURCE:
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Ukraine-Crushed-in-1.1bn-Fake-Gas-Deal.html

US-led NATO intervention begins in Syria war. Patriots in Turkey

“The positioning of US anti-missile missiles in Turkey coincides with the rebels’ success in destroying the Assad regime’s key air and radar stations in southern Syria and along the Jordanian border. The two thrusts add up to a coordinated military effort in northern and southern Syria to seize control of the skies in both regions from Assad’s control and push his forces back into central Syria.”

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 27, 2012, 9:47 AM (GMT+02:00)

Tuesday, Nov. 27, the Middle East military spotlight swung around from Gaza to the Syrian war with steps for the start of US and NATO intervention in that conflict. Without spelling this out, a game changer began unfolding when a joint Turkish-NATO team began making a site survey for the deployment of Patriot Air and Missile Defense Systems, manned by American military teams. The team, said the statement from Ankara, will assess where to station the missiles and how many would be needed. It reiterated that the system is “for defensive purposes” and not for a “no-fly zone or offensive operations,” but just for use “against an air or missile threat from Syria.”
However, the Patriots in combination with already installed elements of the missile shield, will command an area beyond the Turkish-Syrian border – all of northern Syria up to and including the embattled towns of Aleppo and Homs, debkafile’s military sources report.
Their presence will impede the operations of Assad’s most effective and lethal means of war against the rebels in that region – air force bombardment.
The positioning of US anti-missile missiles in Turkey coincides with the rebels’ success in destroying the Assad regime’s key air and radar stations in southern Syria and along the Jordanian border. The two thrusts add up to a coordinated military effort in northern and southern Syria to seize control of the skies in both regions from Assad’s control and push his forces back into central Syria.
A part of the US-Turkish plan affects Israel. Monday, debkafile reported exclusively that in a resounding blow to Bashar Assad’s ability to fight external enemies, Syrian rebels had destroyed the Assad regime’s most important electronic warning radar station facing Israel – M-1 – Monday, Nov. 26.

This Russian-built station monitored Israeli warplanes’ takeoff and landing activities at air bases in the Negev and Hatzerim in the south and tracked them up to the Syrian border. The facility was designed to guide Syrian missiles targeting any point on the Israeli map, in sync with air defense facilities south of Damascus and on the Golan Heights. The radar’s range also covered naval movements in Mediterranean waters off the shores of Israel and Lebanon.
Western military sources told debkafile that the destruction of this vital facility has blinded the two eyes which Syrian air, air defense and missile forces had trained on Israel. It has therefore crippled, though not completely dismantled, Bashar Assad’s ability to got to war against Israel, Jordan or Saudi Arabia.
M-1 radar also swept all parts of Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia where the important Tabuk air base is situated. Deployed there in addition to the Saudi Air Force are French fighter-bombers ready to go to war against Syria.
M-1 also relayed current data on Israeli military movements to Hizballah and would have been a vital source of intelligence in a potential Lebanese Shiites offensive against the Jewish state.
The Syrian ruler and his spokesmen have frequently threatened since the eruption of the popular insurrection that if Assad had his back to the wall, the entire Middle East would go up in flames, especially Israel.

In the last two days, the Syrian rebels have made additional gains: They were able to capture areas abutting on the Jordanian border, excepting only the Ramtha border crossing. They also seized the Marj al-Sultan military air field southeast of Damascus and adjoining Syrian Army 4th Brigade bases.
Most of the men of the 82nd Infantry Brigade guarding M-1 were killed in the fighting, fled or were taken prisoner.
Our military sources notes that after M-1, the Assad regime still retains two key radar stations: M-2 in Shanshar south of Homs, which covers central and northern Syria; and M-3 near Latakia which keeps an eye on the northern region up to the Turkish border and the eastern Mediterranean up to Cyprus.
All three radar stations were linked to the Syrian general staff, air force, air defense, missile and navy operations rooms and fed them the essential real-time intelligence data needed for decision-making at the highest level. However, the loss of M-1 seriously hampers the Syria army’s capacity to take on Israel or Jordan.

 

Goodbye Petrodollar, Hello Agri-Dollar?

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 11/24/2012 09:50 -0500

When it comes to firmly established, currency-for-commodity, self reinforcing systems in the past century of human history, nothing comes close to the petrodollar: it is safe to say that few things have shaped the face of the modern world and defined the reserve currency as much as the $2.3 trillion/year energy exports denominated exclusively in US dollars (although recent confirmations of previously inconceivable exclusions such as Turkey’s oil-for-gold trade with Iran are increasingly putting the petrodollar status quo under the microscope). But that is the past, and with rapid changes in modern technology and extraction efficiency, leading to such offshoots are renewable and shale, the days of the petrodollar “as defined” may be over. So what new trade regime may be the dominant one for the next several decades? According to some, for now mostly overheard whispering in the hallways, the primary commodity imbalance that will shape the face of global trade in the coming years is not that of energy, but that of food, driven by constantly rising food prices due to a fragmented supply-side unable to catch up with increasing demand, one in which China will play a dominant role but not due to its commodity extraction and/or processing supremacy, but the contrary: due to its soaring deficit for agricultural products, and in which such legacy trade deficit culprits as the US will suddenly enjoy a huge advantage in both trade and geopolitical terms. Coming soon: the agri-dollar.

But first, some perspectives from Karim Bitar on CEO of Genus, on what is sure to be the biggest marginal player of the agri-dollar revolution, China, whose attempt to redefine itself as a consumption-driven superpower will fail epically and very violently, unless it is able to find a way to feed its massive, rising middle class in a cheap and efficient manner. But before that even, take note of the following chart which takes all you know about global trade surplus and deficit when narrowed down to what may soon be that all important agricultural (hence food) category, and flips it around on its head.

Karim Bitar on China:

Structurally, China is at a huge disadvantage as it accounts for 20% of the world’s population, but only 7% of arable land. Compare that with Brazil which has the reverse of those ratios. What that does for a country like China is to incentivise the adoption of technification. Let’s look at their porcine market, which represents 50% of global production and consumption. In China, to slaughter roughly 600 mn pigs per year, which is about six times the demand in the US, they have a breeding herd of about 50 mn animals. In the US, the comparable number is only about 6 mn so there is a huge productivity lag.

Owing to its structural disadvantages, China is much more focused on increasing efficiency. For that, it needs to accelerate technification. So, we’re seeing a whole series of government incentives at a national level, a provincial level and a local level, focusing on the need to move toward integrated pork production because that’s a key way to optimise total economics, both in terms of pig production, slaughtering, processing and also actually taking the pork out into the marketplace.

The Chinese government is important as a customer to us because of its clarity of vision on food security. It has seen the Arab Spring, and it is cognisant of the strong socio-political implications of higher food prices. Pork prices could account for about 25% of the CPI, so it knows it can be a major issue. It’s because of all these pressures, that China is more focused on responding to the food challenge. It’s a sort of a burning platform there.

…Take milk production in China and India. China is basically trying to leapfrog and avoid small-scale farming by adopting a US model. In the US, you tend to have very large herds. Today about 30% of US milk production is from herds of 2,000 plus, and we expect that to reach 60% within the next five years. Today in China, there are already several hundred dairy herds of over 1,000. However in India, there’ll be less than 50. The average dairy herd size is closer to five, so it’s very fragmented. So the reality is that a place like China, because of government policies, subsidies and a much more demanding focused approach to becoming self-sufficient, has a much greater ability to respond to a supply challenge rapidly.

The problem for China, and to a lesser extent India, however one defines it, is that it will need increasingly more food, processed with ever greater efficiency for the current conservative regime to be able to preserve the status quo, all else equal. And for a suddenly very food trade deficit-vulnerable China, it means that the biggest winners may be Brazil, the US and Canada. Oh and Africa. The only question is how China will adapt in a new world in which it finds itself in an odd position: a competitive trade disadvantage, especially its primary nemesis: the USA.

So for those curious how a world may look like under the Agri-dollar, read on for some timely views from GS’ Hugo Scott-Gall.

Meaty problems, simmering solutions

What potential impacts could a further re-pricing of food have on the world? Why might food re-price? Because demand is set to rise faster than supply can respond. The forces pushing demand higher are well known, population growth, urbanisation and changing middle class size and tastes. In terms of economic evolution, the food price surge comes after the energy price surge, as industrialisation segues into consumption growth (high-income countries consume about 30% more calories than low income nations, but the difference in value is about eight times). Here, we are keenly interested in how the supply side can respond, both in terms of where and how solutions are found, and who is supplying them. We are drawn towards an analogy with the energy industry here: the energy industry has invested heavily in efficiency, and through innovation, clusters of excellence, and access to capital has created solutions, the most obvious of which are renewable energy and shale. The key question for us is, can and will something similar happen in food?

It’s hard to argue that the ingredients that sparked energy’s supply-side response are all present in the food supply chain. In food, there’s huge fragmentation, a lack of coordination, shortages of capital in support industries (infrastructure) and only pockets of isolated innovation. We suspect that the supply-side response may well remain uncoordinated and slower than in other industries. But things are changing. Those who disagree with Thomas Malthus will always back human ingenuity. As well as looking at where the innovators in the supply chain are (from page 10), and where there are sustainably high returns through IP (e.g., seeds, enzymes etc.), we need to think about the macro and micro economic impacts of higher food prices, and soberingly, the geo-political ones.

Slimming down

Could the demand destruction that higher energy prices have precipitated occur in food? There are some important differences between the two that make resolving food imbalances tougher. Food consumption is very fragmented and there is less scope for substitution.

Changing eating habits is much harder than changing the fuel burnt for power. And, ultimately, food spend is less discretionary that energy, i.e., the scope for efficient consumption is more limited and consumers will not (and cannot) voluntarily delay consumption, let alone structurally reduce it. This means that higher food prices, especially in economies where food is a greater portion of household spending, will lead to either lower consumption of discretionary items or a reduced ability to service debt (with consequent effects on asset prices). When oil prices spiked in the late 1970s, US consumers spent c.9% of their income on energy vs. an average of 7% over the previous decade. And yet, the total savings rate rose by c.2% as they overcompensated on spending cuts on other items. 2007-09 saw a similar phenomenon too. Even the most cursory browse through history shows that high food costs can act as a political tinderbox (so too high youth unemployment), and we believe there is a degree of overconfidence with regard to the economic impact of food prices in the West: food costs relative to incomes may look manageable, but when there is no buffer (i.e., a minimal savings rate) then there are problems. Food spend as a percentage of total household consumption expenditure is a relatively benign 14% in the US, versus c.20% for most major European nations and Japan. This rises to c.40% for China and 45% for India. Of course, as wages rise, the proportion of food within total consumption expenditure falls, but that is only after consumption hits a ceiling. Currently, India and China consume about 2,300 and 2,900 calories per capita per day, compared to a DM average of about 3,400. If the two countries eat like the West, then food production must rise by 12%. And if the rest of the world catches up to these levels then that number is north of 50%.

The scramble for Africa’s eggs

In terms of ownership of resources, food, like energy, can be broken into haves and have-nots. While there are countries that have been successful without resources, it is quite clear that inheriting advantages (in this case good soil, climate and water) makes life easier. But that, of course, is only half the battle; what is also required is organisation, capital, education and collaboration to make it happen. Take Africa. It has 60% of the world’s uncultivated land, enviable demographics and lots of water (though not evenly distributed). Basic infrastructure, consolidation of agricultural land and minimal use of fertilisers and crop protection could do wonders for agricultural output in the region. But that’s easier said than done. Several African economies also need better access to information, education, property rights and access to markets and capital. Put another way, it needs better institutions. If Africa does deliver over the coming decades, rising food prices will alter the economics of investing in the region. The next scramble for Africa should be about food (while it is about hard commodities now and in the late 19th century it was about empire size). Fertiliser consumption has a diminishing incremental impact on yields, but Africa (along with several developing economies elsewhere) is far from touching that ceiling. Currently, Africa accounts for just 3% of global agricultural trade, with South Africa and Côte d’Ivoire together accounting for a third of the entire continent’s exports. But if the world wants to feed itself then it needs Africa to emerge as an agricultural powerhouse.

Higher up the production curve is China, which has been industrialising its agriculture as it seeks to move towards self sufficiency. Power consumed by agricultural machinery has almost doubled over the last decade, while the number of tractors per household has tripled, driving per hectare output up by an average of more than 20% over the same period.

Even so, in just the last 10 years China has gone from surplus to deficit in several meat, vegetable and cereal categories. So a lot more needs to be done, and a shortage of water could also prove to be an impediment, especially in some of its remote areas.

The power of the pampas

With significant surpluses in soybeans, maize, meat and oilseeds, Brazil and Argentina have led the Latin American continent in terms of food trade. Current surpluses are 6x and 3x 2000 levels, versus only a 30% increase in the previous decade, and are rising. A key impediment to boosting exports is infrastructure. Food has to travel a long way just to reach the port, and then further still to reach other markets. Forty days is possibly acceptable for iron ore to reach China on a ship from Brazil, but that would prevent several perishable food items from being exported. And hence, solution providers in terms of durability, packaging, refrigeration and processing will be in demand. Also, while you could attribute a lot of the agricultural success of LatAm economies to good conditions, they have also benefitted from the adoption of agricultural innovation. For instance, more than a third of crops planted in the region are as seeds that are genetically modified, versus more than 45% in the US and about 12% in Asia. Genetically modified crops are not new. They provide solutions to some of the most frequent constraints on agricultural yields (resistance to environmental challenges including drought and more efficient absorption of soil nutrients, fertilisers and water) or add value by enhancing nutrient composition or the shelf life of the crop. And while the adoption of GM crops and seeds is far from wholehearted, particularly in Europe, it’s most certainly a key part of the solution in economies that are set to face a more severe food shortage.

The last mango in Paris?

Europe’s deficit/surplus makes for interesting reading. Seventeen of the 27 EU countries face a food trade deficit, and yet, the EU overall recorded a surplus (barely) in 2010 for only the second time in the last 50 years (see chart). Broken down further, the UK is the largest food importer, followed by Germany and Italy, while the Netherlands and France lead exports thanks to their very large processing industries. If Europe’s future is one of relative economic decline, then reduced purchasing power when bidding for scarce food resources is an unappetising prospect. Therefore, it needs all
the innovative solutions it can muster, or import substitution will have to increase. It’s important to note that being in overall surplus or deficit can mask variety at the category level, i.e., Europe is a net importer of beef, fruit & vegetables, and corn, while its exports are helped by alcohol and wine specifically. Japan, in particular, is very challenged. It is the only country in the preceding table to show a deficit in every single food category.

We conclude our trip around the world in North America. Large-scale production, access to markets, a home to innovation
and favourable regulation has meant that the US (and Canada) continues to dominate some of the key agricultural resources such as soybeans, corn, fodder, wheat and oilseeds. Put this self sufficiency together with the medium-term potential for energy self sufficiency and relatively good demographics (better than China), and a rosier prognosis for the US, versus the rest of the Western world and parts of Asia, begins to fall into place.

Agri-dollars on the rise

Before we conclude, we need to devote a few lines to the geo-political and macro economic consequences of higher food prices. It’s likely that countries will act increasingly strategically to secure food supply, and that protections (e.g., high export tariffs) may well rise. It is also likely that there are special bi-lateral deals to access stable and secure food supply.

This could obviously damage the integrity of the WTO-sponsored system. Another consequence might be the emergence of agri-dollars, in the same way that petro-dollars emerged in the 1970s. This may seem far fetched (the value of the world’s energy exports is US$2.3 tn compared to US$1.08 tn for agriculture) but it’s important to think through the consequences. The big exporters, especially those with the scope to grow their output, may well have sustainable surpluses that can be reinvested into their economies (or extracted by a narrow part of society). Similarly, the consequence of being a net importer will be an effective tax on consumption: disposable income in the US would jump if oil was US$25/bbl.

As we have said, we would expect the big gainers of a meaningful rise in food prices in real terms to be Brazil, the US and Canada, while Japan, South Korea and the UK would face challenges. The top chart is important: look how China’s surplus has turned to deficit. What will happen if the Chinese middle class swells as it is expected to? And that’s the rub; what we have been used to in terms of food’s importance is set to change. How food moves around the world is likely to change, and the flow of currency around the world will also likely be impacted.

 

SOURCE:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-11-24/goodbye-petrodollar-hello-agri-dollar

Russian expert warns of possibility of large-scale war in Middle East

Nov 24, 2012 22:17 Moscow Time

Turkey has asked NATO to deploy “Patriot” missiles on the Turkish side near the Turkish-Syrian border.

In an interview with the Voice of Russia, Russian analyst Konstantin Sivkov said: “Deploying these missiles in Turkey will be dangerous for Syrian military planes – this is obvious. A lesser obvious thing is that Turkey is getting ready for a war against Syria. If an attack on Syria from the territory of Turkey does take place, this will most likely be an attack not of the Turkish army, but of NATO’s forces.”


“The Middle East is getting ready for a large-sale battle which will very likely affect the Russian part of the Caucasus, and this, in its turn, will be reflected on the entire Russia,” Mr. Sivkov added.

Deployment of Patriots in Turkey means no-fly zone for Syria

The planned deployment by NATO countries of Patriot air defence systems on Turkey’s Syria border will actually amount to the imposition of a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft in circumvention of the UN Security Council.

The opinion has been voiced by the leading research fellow of the Russian Institute for Oriental Studies, Vladimir Kudelev.

He feels that Patriot systems may drastically influence the fighting between the government troops and the opposition in the north of Syria, since the militants will thus get a 200 kilometre – to 250 kilometre-wide “umbrella” all along the Syrian-Turkish border.

The deployment of Patriots would also undermine the role of the UN Security Council, which, experts feel, would hardly authorize any proposal to impose a no-fly zone for Syrian aircraft.

NATO shows great interest in deployment of Patriot missile air-defence systems

Plans for the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish-Syrian border are defensive in character, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a telephone talk with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Earlier Moscow voiced its concern over the militarization of that region.

The above-mentioned telephone talk was held on the initiative of the NATO Secretary General. Moscow says that Rasmussen wanted to clarify the situation with the deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on the Turkish territory. Ankara filed a relevant request to NATO on November 21st. The information that appeared in the press more than once last month said that Turkey was making preparations for appealing to Brussels. Possibly, acting in this way Ankara wanted to indirectly put pressure on its NATO allies. As you know, till recently NATO was strongly against getting involved in a conflict between Turkey and Syria, a political analyst, Stanislav Tarasov, says.

“They started asking NATO to interfere in the conflict, using the Alliance’s Clause No.5 – the defence of territories. Which means that they wanted to drag NATO into the conflict and thus, to ensure its military presence in the region. NATO said “No”. Then they resorted to Clause No. 4 – the provision of help”.

NATO said that it would consider Turkey’s request without any delay. And Germany’s Foreign Ministry said that Turkey’s request should be met without any delay. Media reports even said that Berlin was ready not only to provide the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems to Turkey but also to send 120 Bundeswehr soldiers to the region. Turkey has not only moved its forces to its border with Syria but has also approved a law enabling it to bring its troops into the territory of its neighbor in case of a military threat. The reason for such a large- scale militarization was firing missiles into the Syrian territory, which official Damascus called an accident. Any escalation of this conflict is inadmissible, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 23rd. Moscow is well aware of Turkey’s concern as well as of NATO’s arguments but what is important in this case is the potential, not intentions – that is why any militarization on the Turkish-Syrian border may lead to an uncontrollable turn of events, the Russian minister said.

“Any accumulation of arms creates certain risks and urges all those who would like like to resort to the exterior factor of force to finally use it. We believe that this will not happen, and that all outside players will display maximum responsibility in assessing the on-going developments in the region’.

In the diplomatic language this means that the events in Syria may start developing according to the Libyan Scenario, experts say. As you know, the opposition is losing its support, and Assad has a military superiority in Syria now, an Oriental studies expert, Azhdar Kurtov, says.

“The Syrian-Turkish border has a sophisticated mountain relief. Under such conditions, combat aviation is a very effective method of fighting against the rebels. Thus, if Turkey deploys the Patriot Missile Air-Defence Systems on its territory, it will be able to block Syria using its own aviation in the border regions on its own territory, which may change the turn of military developments in the region. When the overthrowing of the Gaddafi regime was under way, a no-fly zone was established over Libya. Something like that may be created near the Turkish-Syrian border”.

Moscow’s fears may also be caused by something that is not directly linked with the crisis in Syria, a Turkish political analyst, Barysh Adybelli, says.

“Moscow believes that in case the Patriot Misslile Air-Defence Systems are deployed in Turkey, they can be used as one of the elements of the early warning system – that is, as one of the elements of the European missile defence system which the USA is ardently defending by now”.

Official Ankara reacted to Moscow’s statements on November 23rd. Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called Moscow’s reaction to a possible deployment of the Patriot Missile Air-Defence systems erroneous, adding that Russia is trying to present Turkey’s domestic issue as its own problem. Fears remain though.

Rasmussen, Lavrov discuss Turkey`s request for Patriot missiles

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen assured Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that plans of the alliance to deploy Patriot air defense missiles in Turkey are of purely defensive.

Mr. Rasmussen and Mr. Lavrov had a phone conversation on Friday initiated by NATO chief.

A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry after the talks says that Mr. Lavrov expressed his concerns over NATO`s plans to place Patriot air missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border.

He mentioned Russia’s initiative to help Ankara and Damascus be able to discuss all differences directly amid the increasing military potential in the region in order to avoid incidents.

Russian reaction to Patriot missile deployment ‘erroneous’ – Turkish PM

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia’s reaction to the deployment of the Patriot air defense systems on the border with Syria, which Ankara requested from the NATO on Wednesday, was “erroneous”.

Answering the question about the Moscow’s reaction to Turkey’s request to NATO, the official representative of the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation Alexander Lukashevich noted on Thursday that Russia considered the militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border to be an alarm signal. “I believe Russia’s statement to be very erroneous”, – the Turkish Prime Minister said in this regard to accompanying journalists on his return from Pakistan from the summit of the “Islamic group of eight”.

Russia warns Turkey against Patriot missiles

Russia has expressed its concern over the militarization of the Turkish-Syrian border, the VoR correspondent Polina Chernitsa has cited the Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich who commented on Turkey’s request to deploy Patriot missiles on the Syrian border.

Moscow would like Turkey to contribute to the beginning of the inter-Syria dialogue rather than flex its military muscles, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday.

“The militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is a dismal signal,” Lukashevich said, referring to Turkey’s recent request to deploy Patriot anti-missile systems to protect its border with Syria.

He urged Turkey to interact more with the Syrian opposition so as to help start the inter-Syria dialogue as soon as possible.

Turkey already hosted the complex twice. in 1991 and 2003 during the two Iraqi campaigns but never used it.

Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA

 

SOURCE:
http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_11_24/Russian-expert-warns-of-possibility-of-large-scale-war-in-Middle-East/

Russia urges united action against Israeli aggression

Moscow has called on the Arab League and the Middle East Quartet comprising Russia, the European Union (EU), UN, and US, to work together to end frequent Israeli aggressions against the Palestinians.

“The Quartet needs…to work together with the Arab League representatives and work out solutions together…to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

Lavrov made the remarks after at least one Palestinian was killed and seven others were injured by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip despite an Egypt-mediated ceasefire agreement between the two sides on Wednesday.

Over 160 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed and about 1,200 others were injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza that were carried out during the eight-day period starting November 14.

In retaliation, the Palestinian resistance fighters fired rockets and missiles into Israeli cities, killing at least five Israelis.

The Russian minister had also on November 15 lashed out at the Middle East Quartet for its failure to establish peace in the region.

Israel frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the acts of aggression are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed and injured.

The attacks rage on while Israel keeps up its crippling blockade on Gaza, which it imposed on the enclave in 2007.

MAM/HMV/SS

SOURCE:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/11/23/274150/russia-urges-united-action-against-israel/

Russia criticizes Turkey’s request for NATO missiles on Syrian border

SPOILER: The article is from Fox. Be careful.

-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-x-

Published November 22, 2012
FoxNews.com

BRUSSELS – Moscow is criticizing Turkey’s request to NATO for missiles to defend against Syria’s civil war spilling over the border, as Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Turkey of “muscle flexing.”

“The militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is an alarming signal,” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said. “We have different advice for our Turkish colleagues — use their influence with the Syrian opposition to accelerate the start of a political dialogue.”

The Russian reaction could further complicate international efforts to deal with the increasingly volatile conflict.

Even if NATO quickly approves Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot missiles on its border with Syria, winning parliamentary approval, selecting sites for the air defense batteries and transporting them there means they probably wouldn’t be operational for weeks.

Syria’s civil war has left Turkey the target of artillery and mortar fire. Syria is believed to have several hundred ballistic surface-to-surface missiles in its arsenal capable of carrying chemical warheads.

Germany, the Netherlands and the U.S. have the advanced PAC-3 model Patriots that Turkey wants for intercepting ballistic missiles, but if they come from the two European countries, their parliaments may have to vote on that first.

NATO said Wednesday it will consider Turkey’s request “without delay,” and next week a NATO team will visit the alliance member for a site survey to consider a deployment. Officials say the Patriots would probably be sent by sea.

With events in Syria changing rapidly, and deaths already having occurred on the Turkish side of the border, the wait may leave NATO-member Turkey anxious about its vulnerability to air raids or even chemical attack from across the border.

President Bashar Assad’s embattled regime is believed to have one of the largest chemical weapons stockpiles in the world. Fears have risen that a cornered Assad might use them or that they could fall into the hands of extremists, including al-Qaida-inspired militants among the rebels.

Due to the complexity and size of the Patriot batteries, their radars, command-and-control centers, communications and support facilities, they cannot be sent quickly by air to Turkey, officials said.

“These are not drop-and-go systems,” said an official who could not be identified in line with standing NATO regulations.

Additional time will be needed to install the systems, realign their radars and link them into Turkey’s air defense network before the Patriots can be considered fully operational, the official said.

Speaking to reporters in Pakistan on Thursday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that the deployment was for defensive purposes only.

“This is a measure being taken against certain possible attacks from (the Syrian) side,” Erdogan said, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.

During the Iraq wars in 1999 and 2003, when the Netherlands dispatched Patriot batteries to protect Turkey’s border with that nation, the systems were transported by ship and then by road. They took between six weeks and two months to become operational.

No missiles were fired during those conflicts and the batteries were withdrawn soon after the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Unlike Hussein’s Iraq, Syria has never used chemical weapons. Analysts say the bigger threat is that the weapons fall into the wrong hands.

Such worries over the fate of advanced weaponry were highlighted last month, when a shadowy militant group known as Jabhat al-Nusra joined Syrian rebels in seizing a government missile defense base.

Dark blue: Members of NATO and the EU Blue: Members of NATO, but not of the EU Light blue: Members of EU, but not of NATO Dark red: Russia (Wiki)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

SOURCE: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/22/nato-russia-turkey-syria-patriot/#ixzz2D5nWpMWN

Russia will ‘React Sharply’ to US Aegis Ships – Deputy PM

“We have never placed our interceptor missiles near US borders on ridiculous fabricated pretexts such as ‘protecting our American friends from Canada and Honduras.’ But they do, on the pretext of protecting us and Europe from ‘bad guys in Iran and North Korea’”

-x-x-x-x-

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia will “react in the sharpest manner” to any US ships equipped with the Aegis combat system attempting to sail by its shores, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told RIA Novosti in an interview.

Rogozin did not elaborate on Russia’s possible reaction, but lambasted the US missile defense system – part of which involves ships equipped with the Aegis integrated naval weapons system – for fuelling “an arms race.”

Russia is developing new S-500 interceptor missiles and does not rule out stationing radar stations outside its territory.

But the country has no plans to station its missiles in other countries, unlike the United States, Rogozin said.

“We have never placed our interceptor missiles near US borders on ridiculous fabricated pretexts such as ‘protecting our American friends from Canada and Honduras.’ But they do, on the pretext of protecting us and Europe from ‘bad guys in Iran and North Korea,’” Rogozin said.

The United States plans to place elements of its missile defense, intended to protect itself from “rogue states” like Iran and North Korea, in Eastern Europe. Russia vehemently opposes the plan, claiming that its own ballistic missiles would also be covered by the US shield, disrupting the nuclear parity between the countries.