India: DRDO starts work on ‘next-gen’ hypersonic weapon

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

DRDO starts work on ‘next-gen’ hyper-sonic weapon

Hyper-sonic weapons are specifically designed for increased survivability against modern ballistic missile defense systems. These missiles are capable of delivering conventional or nuclear payloads at speeds not imagined hitherto over long ranges.

INDIA Updated: Oct 21, 2019 05:47 IST

Sudhi Ranjan Sen

Sudhi Ranjan Sen

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Hypersonic weapons are specifically designed for increased survivability against modern ballistic missile defence systems. Image used for representational purpose only.
Hyper-sonic weapons are specifically designed for increased survivability against modern ballistic missile defense systems. Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo: MIB_India)

The Defence Research and Development (DRDO) has started work to produce a hyper-sonic weapon – missiles that travel at five times speed of sound, or a little over a mile every second. A wind tunnel to test and fine tune the technology will be operational soon, senior government officials who did not want to be named said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is expected to inaugurate the facility soon, they added.

“A hyper-sonic weapon system is one of the many niche technologies we are exploring seriously,” one of the officials said, asking not to be named.

Billed as a “next-gen” weapon system, the race to acquire hyper-sonic weapons technology is heating up. China, Russia, and the United States are testing hyper-sonic weapons of various types to enhance strategic nuclear deterrence and strengthen front-line combat units.

Existing intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) re-entry vehicles also travel at those super fast speeds, but the hyper-sonic glide vehicles now in development are far more maneuverable, making their tracking and interception nearly impossible.

Hyper-sonic weapons are specifically designed for increased survivability against modern ballistic missile defense systems. These missiles are capable of delivering conventional or nuclear payloads at speeds not imagined hitherto over long ranges.

In a bid to boost defence manufacturing in India, the DRDO is also offering 1,500 of its patents, including critical missile technology, life sciences, and naval technology, for use by Indian Industry, DRDO chairman G Satish Reddy said.

The patents can be accessed by free of cost even by start-ups and medium and small manufacturing enterprises.

Some of the patents offered for free include technologies to manufacture “man-mounted air-conditioning system”, aircraft arrester barrier system, a sliding mechanism for missile containers, lightweight high strength broadband microwave absorbing rubber, silicon-based lubricants for wide temperature range applications, low-density carbon foam, and anti-corrosive paint for application under immersed conditions, among others.

“DRDO is determined to encourage industry to develop advanced defense equipment thereby making the Make-In-India programmer a success. We have today an 1,800-industry basewe are determined to enlarge this base and take the technological capability to a higher level,” Reddy said, explaining the reason behind offering patents at no cost.

Indian industry will not have pay “license fee or royalty” for any of the patented technologies, said a second senior DRDO official who did not want to be named. “DRDO won’t be just offering the technology but will also be hand holding the industry and help them produce the product,” he said.

In a related development, DRDO has also tweaked its policy for “Transfer of Technology” (ToT) to the industry. No, ToT fee will be charged from the industry, DRDO Development Partners developing systems or sub-systems for military applications. And, for other industries, the ToT fee is reduced to 5% against an earlier rate of 20%. Also, no royalty is charged for supply to Indian Armed forces and other Govt departments. A nominal royalty of 2% will be charged for supply in the commercial market and for exports.

“Hyper-sonic weapons will become very critical in the near future. China has demonstrated that it has the technology. Others like US and Russia may already possess such weapons. It’s time that India also starts looking at these technologies,” Lieutenant General(retd) Vinod Bhatia, former Director General of Military Operations said.

First Published: Oct 20, 2019 23:50 IST

Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

Countries with the Highest Divorce Rates

There’s nothing more romantic than the sight of two people wedding in holy matrimony. Between the pretty clothes, the cover band, and the open bar, there’s a lot to enjoy. But the flip side of a harmonious wedding is a cantankerous divorce.

Does the U.S. have the highest divorce rate in the world? The most reliable data with international divorce rates is from 2016 (actual rates can be found here). But even then, every nation has its own reporting criteria, which can create inconsistencies. But let’s take a look at contributing factors on a national level and explore why divorce happens.

DAILY QUE

Global Divorce

Credit: zimmytws / Shutterstock.com

The countries with the highest divorce rates, measured as number of divorces per 1,000 people, as of 2016 are:

  1. Russia (4.7) *Latest available Russian data is from 2013.
  2. Aruba (3.5)
  3. Belarus (3.4)
  4. United States (3.2)
  5. Latvia (3.1)
  6. Lithuania (3.1)
  7. Denmark (3.0)
  8. Kazakhstan (2.9)
  9. Cuba (2.8)
  10. Costa Rico (2.7)

Notable mentions: Guam (4.0) and Puerto Rico (3.2), which are U.S. territories.

U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields

(This article is courtesy of NPR news)
(THIS IS LOGICAL FOR OUR PRESIDENT, PUT AMERICAN TROOPS LIVES IN DANGER FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF PROTECTING OUR ENEMIES INCOME AND FUEL FOR THEIR WAR MACHINES TO USE AGAINST SYRIAN CIVILIANS.)(oped: oldpoet56)

Some U.S. Troops May Remain In Northeast Syria To Protect Oil Fields

U.S. military vehicles drive on a road in the town of Tal Tamr on Sunday after pulling out of a base in northern Syria. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says some troops may remain in northeast Syria to secure oil fields.

Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. may now keep some troops in northeast Syria, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday. It is the latest in a series of consequential pivots the Trump administration has made in its Syria policy.

Esper said the troops are needed to secure oil fields from falling into the hands of ISIS and profiting from them, The Associated Press reports. But most recently it was Russian mercenaries, not ISIS fighters, who tried to seize the oil fields and who were repulsed by U.S. airstrikes, NPR’s Tom Bowman reports.

Despite President Trump’s earlier announcements that ISIS is defeated and that he is bringing the troops home rather than being entangled in “endless wars,” the U.S. forces are not heading immediately for home. Instead, they’re being moved to western Iraq to continue to fight ISIS there, Esper said during his overseas trip to Afghanistan and other countries.

Shortly after Esper spoke, President Trump acknowledged during a Cabinet meeting that the troops would be deployed to different areas first — but he added they would then return to the U.S.

“Well, they’re going to be sent initially to different parts, a different method,” Trump said. “Ultimately, we’re bringing them home.”

According to a White House pool report, Trump said of America’s allies in Syria, “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives.”

U.S. forces could be seen withdrawing on Monday. They left a base in Turkey and rolled into the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil, NPR’s Jane Arraf reports. Thousands of refugees are also flooding across the border into Iraq, doubtful that the ceasefire the U.S. brokered with Turkey last week will hold, and unsure of what will happen next.

As U.S. forces left the northeastern city Syrian of Qamishli, residents of the majority Kurdish city pelted American military vehicles with potatoes, the AP reported. “Like rats, America is running away,” a man was quoted shouting in Arabic.

There has been widespread criticism of President Trump’s decision two weeks ago to pull troops from northeast Syria, which cleared the way for Turkey to assault the Kurds, key allies with the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, says 120 civilians have been killed since Turkey began the operation it calls “Peace Spring” on Oct. 9. The group says 300,000 people have been displaced by the violence.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Monday that Turkish-aligned forces had violated the terms of the ceasefire. The SDF said violent clashes had broken out, with casualties among both the SDF and the Turkish-backed forces.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in Jordan on Sunday, leading a delegation meeting with leaders including Jordan’s King Abdullah II to discuss the crisis in Syria.

With the U.S. pulling out its troops, Kurdish commander Mazlum Kobani is predicting his people will be slaughtered.

“There will be ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people from Syria, and the American administration will be responsible for it,” he told The New York Times. He said the U.S. should work “to limit the damage of this past decision and preserve the areas we liberated together.”

Trump is hanging Israel and Netanyahu out to dry

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Trump is hanging Israel and Netanyahu out to dry

David A. Andelman, executive director of The RedLines Project, is a contributor to CNN, where his columns won the Deadline Club Award for Best Opinion Writing. Author of “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today,” he was formerly a foreign correspondent for The New York Times and CBS News. Follow him on Twitter @DavidAndelman. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.

(CNN)With a single stroke, President Donald Trump has effectively brought a newly resurgent and potent triad—Syria, Russia and Iran—to the very doorstep of their declared enemy, Israel, and given aid and comfort to Israel’s longtime and persistent foe, Hezbollah, in Lebanon.

David Andelman

The ceasefire and agreement with Turkey that Trump vaunted Thursday as “a great day for civilization,” had already been demonstrated to be a potentially epic challenge to one corner of the world—Israel. It was a reality only highlighted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo breaking off from Vice President Pence’s group in Ankara and taking a plane directly to Jerusalem to reassure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday morning.
Suddenly, with not even a token American force remaining to monitor or check military activities of Russia, Iran or the Syrian army main force of President Bashar al-Assad, the entire map of the Middle East was being redrawn, and Israel left with few viable defenders. When the United States had even a minimal military presence in Syria, it was able to act as some restraint on aid that Iran was seeking to channel to this terrorist forcewhich continues to operate out of Lebanon, targeting Israel at every opportunity.
In late August, anti-tank rocket attacks launched from Lebanon into northern Israel by Hezbollah led to the Israeli army responding with attacks on targets in southern Lebanon. Such effective shadow-boxing had been held in check by the apparent ability of Israel to interdict Iranian efforts to supply Hezbollah with arms and munitions through Syria. Now, with Syria reclaiming a large swath of the northeastern stretch of its country that had been held by the Kurds and their American allies, and with Russian forces moving as a backstop into the vacuum left by the US departure, Israeli efforts could become exponentially more complicated.
At the same time, there is ever more leeway now for Syria, Russia and Iran to work their malevolence on a Lebanese government that is striving desperately to carve a middle road in the region. Hezbollah and Iran share a common religion—Shiite Islam—which has only opened up a host of problems for Hezbollah’s principal host, Lebanon, as it tries to remain reasonably neutral in the Middle East and avoid a return to the decades of bloodshed during its civil wars of the 1980s. Hezbollah would like nothing better than a destabilized Lebanon bordering Israel’s northern frontier.
“Americans can’t be trusted at all since they break promise with anyone who depends on them,” said Seyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Hezbollah, in a speech to his followers in Beirut on Wednesday, adding that the Kurds’ “fate awaits anyone who trusts Washington.”
Trump’s new bond with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan—”a tough guy who deserves respect” and “my friend” as Trump described him after Wednesday’s truce talks in Ankara, is also likely to have done little to reassure Israel.
Turkey, which has moved into northern Syria with some impunity has demonstrated that it is no friend of Israel. Erdogan, accusing Israel of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, has called it “a terrorist state.” Until now, it has been possible for Israel largely to ignore Turkey’s impact on the Middle East, and its efforts of rapprochement with both Russia and Iran. But that may no longer be possible. On Tuesday, Erdogan is planning to travel to the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The American withdrawal and Wednesday’s ceasefire can have few positive results for Israel, where Trump’s actions “have stirred discomfort within Netanyahu’s conservative cabinet,” according to Israeli media reports. Amos Harel, military correspondent for the liberal Haaretz daily, said Trump’s moves have “forced Israel to rethink its Middle East strategy.” After his session with Pompeo, Netanyahu was only somewhat more circumspect. “We hope things will turn out for the best,” he told reporters. Indeed, Netanyahu is facing a Wednesday deadline to cobble together a new coalition government after the recent national elections and has still not managed to do so.
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In short, any number of nations in the region are beginning a frantic reassessment of just what this new map of the Middle East promises—beyond the immediate prospects of a new round of chaos and destruction, with the United States on the sidelines. Somehow Washington must find a way to channel to players like Israel and Lebanon military aid and diplomatic reassurance that can help neutralize an increasingly dangerous situation.

King Salman to Putin: We Look Forward to Working with Russia to Achieve Stability, Combat Terror

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

King Salman to Putin: We Look Forward to Working with Russia to Achieve Stability, Combat Terror

Monday, 14 October, 2019 – 11:00
King Salman receives Russian President Putin in Riyadh. (SPA)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz voiced on Monday Saudi Arabia’s appreciation of the role Russia is playing in the region and the world.

During official talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Riyadh, he said: “We look forward to working with Your Excellency on everything that will bring security, stability and peace, confront extremism and terrorism and promote economic growth.”

Putin’s visit, he said, presents a major opportunity to strengthen bonds of friendship.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, attended the Riyadh talks.

Putin, for his part, hailed King Salman’s role in boosting Russian-Saudi cooperation in all fields.

He stressed that his visit to Russia in 2017 bolstered these relations.

“Russia attaches particular importance to the development of friendly, and mutually beneficial ties with Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Putin had arrived in Saudi Arabia earlier on Monday on his first official visit to the Kingdom in 12 years.

He heads a delegation that includes Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and several ministers.

He will visit the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

The 10 Countries With The Most Billionaires

 

Countries With the Most Billionaires

The world is home to about 2,754 billionaires who together control $9.2 trillion in wealth, according to the 2018 Billionaire Census, compiled annually by Wealth-X.

While billionaires are spread out all over the globe, that wealth is concentrated in a small handful of countries. As it turns out, 40 percent of the world’s billionaires reside in the countries below.

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10. United Arab Emirates

Credit: DieterMeyri / iStock

The United Arab Emirates, or UAE, is an oil-rich Arab nation on the Persian Gulf. It’s also home to 62 billionaires who together have a total wealth of $168 billion.

Dubai, the capital city, is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to architectural wonders like the Burj Khalifa — which is currently the tallest building in the world. Dubai is also home to 65 percent of the nation’s billionaires, according to Wealth-X data.

9. Saudi Arabia

Credit: jamjoom / iStock

Saudi Arabia is a mecca for billionaires, literally and figuratively. The country ties its neighbor for the total number of billionaires with 62, but it’s got the UAE beat in terms of shared wealth. Saudi billionaires hold a total of $169 billion, $1 billion more than their Emirati counterparts.

Saudi Arabia is the largest economy in the Middle East, thanks to the more than 266,000 barrels of untapped oil lying beneath its desert sands. The nation exports more oil than any other country, and the size of its reserve is second only to Venezuela.

8. United Kingdom

Credit: Daniel Lange / iStock

The United Kingdom is home to 90 billionaires at last count, who together hold $251 billion.

You might be surprised to learn that Queen Elizabeth II isn’t among them; she’s worth only half a billion. The U.K. billionaire club includes a diverse list of business people such as steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal ($18.9 billion), bagless vacuum inventor Sir James Dyson and family ($12.3 billion), and Virgin Atlantic founder and space cowboy Richard Branson ($4.1 billion).

But you’ve probably never heard of the U.K’s richest man: Jim Ratcliffe, CEO of London-based chemical manufacturer Ineos. Ratliffe is entirely self-made, mortgaging his house to buy his first chemical assets.

7. Hong Kong

Credit: Nikada / iStock

We know, we know. Hong Kong isn’t really a country, per se. It is a semi-autonomous region of China. But its high concentration of billionaires makes it worthy of distinction. The city-state has a total of 93 billionaires worth a combined $315 billion.

In terms of billionaire cities, Hong Kong is ranked second, nestled between New York (#1) and San Francisco (#3). Hong Kong owes its wealth to more than a century of British rule, which came to an end in 1997. Possessing one of the world’s busiest shipping ports, Hong Kong became a manufacturing powerhouse.

The country’s richest person is 90-year-old entrepreneur Li Ka-shing. A high school dropout, Li made his fortune in plastic manufacturing, port development, and retail.

6. Russia

Credit: Mordolff / iStock

Russia is home to 96 billionaires worth a combined $351 billion. That number doesn’t include the net worth of President Vladimir Putin, who is rumored to be the world’s richest man with $200 billion in secret assets. But according to documents filed with the Russian election commission, Putin only claims to earn an average annual salary of $112,000.

Officially, Russia’s richest man is Leonid Mikhelson at $23.6 billion. Mikhelson is CEO of Novatek, Russia’s largest independent natural gas company. He’s among the politically powerful Russian oligarchs who rose to power after rapidly gobbling up assets when Russia’s state-owned companies went private.

5. Switzerland

Credit: AleksandarGeorgiev / iStock

Switzerland has 99 billionaires worth a total of $265 billion. That’s a high concentration of billionaires for such a small country, and once a year it gets even more concentrated. CEOs and heads of state from all over the world descend upon the snowy ski-town of Davos at the beginning every year for the World Economic Forum.

Many Swiss billionaires owe their riches to the banking and financial industry. Provided the country’s neutral status during both World Wars, and its centuries-long tradition of secrecy, Swiss banks became a global favorite. In 2018 it was estimated that Swiss banks held $6.5 trillion in assets, which is a quarter of all global cross-border assets.

4. India

Credit: Leonid Andronov / iStock

India is a country of extremes. About 58 percent of the population lives in extreme poverty, surviving off less than $3.10 a day. It is also home to one of the fastest-growing economies and 104 billionaires in total. Together India’s billionaires are worth $299 billion.

The country’s richest man is Mukesh Ambani, who is worth an estimated $49.6 billion. He owns 43 percent of Reliance Industries, which owns a little bit of everything: energy, oil, textiles, retail stores and telecom. Ambani also owns a professional cricket team, the Mumbai Indians.

3. Germany

Credit: bkindler / iStock

With 152 in total, you might be asking why Germany has so many billionaires. The answer is cars, machines, chemicals, electronics and groceries.

As it turns out, that “Germany engineering” you always hear about is a real thing, and it’s worth a lot of money. German billionaires control a total of $466 billion in assets, much of it earned from industrial and chemical manufacturing companies.

But the country’s richest person is Dieter Schwarz, whose company owns Europe’s largest supermarket chains, Lidl and Kaufland. At 79, Schwarz is worth a whopping $24.9 billion.

2. China

Credit: bjdlzx / iStock

At 338, China is home to 12 percent of the world’s billionaires who together possess $1 trillion in total wealth. Deng Xiaoping, who served as leader from 1978 to 1989, paved the way for the country’s growth by drastically reforming the economy. Flash forward to today where China generates a new billionaire every two days, according to UBS. The richest among them is Alibaba founder Jack Ma, with a net worth of $40.1 billion.

1. The United States

Credit: FilippoBacci / iStock

The United States is far and away the leader when it comes to billionaires with a total of 680. That is 25 percent of all billionaires in the world. U.S. billionaires have more than $3.16 trillion in assets combined.

America’s four richest billionaires are household names: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos ($120 billion), Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($95.5 billion), investing genius Warren Buffett ($82.5 billion) and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg ($65.9 billion).

 

 

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

President Trump Betrays The Kurdish People: Again

(OPED: by OLDPOET56)

 

I know that there are a lot of people who don’t even know who the Kurdish people are and that is a shame because they have been a Ally to the U.S. military for decades now. They have fought along side our troops in Syria for years now helping us to defang ISIS and other terrorists in that region. The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group of people in the whole world that does not have a country of their own. The eastern population of Turkey has a huge percent of Kurdish people within their borders as well as in N.W. Syria, Northern Iraq and N.W. Iran. We have armed and trained the Kurd people for many years now but now that ISIS is supposedly defunct in Syria President Trump has turned his/our back on these people again but even worse this time.

 

Turkey’s President Erdogan has been trying to commit genocide of the Kurdish people every since he took office. Now, with the help of Iran and Trumps good friend President Putin of Russia President Erdogan has his military set up 20 miles deep into Syria (against the Syrian governments wishes) for the purpose of killing the Kurd’s. This Turk military action is also against the wishes of President Trump’s other good friend the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia MBS. The only reason that I can think of why President Trump would commit treason against the Kurdish people is because of his butt buddy Putin asking him too. For President Trump to agree with this Genocide of the Kurdish people is beneath the dignity of a snakes belly but then again this plays all to true for this President.

TRUMP ‘FAWNING’ TO PUTIN AND OTHER AUTHORITARIANS IN ‘EMBARRASSING’ PHONE Calls

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWSWEEK)

 

TRUMP ‘FAWNING’ TO PUTIN AND OTHER AUTHORITARIANS IN ‘EMBARRASSING’ PHONE CALLS, WHITE HOUSE AIDES SAY—REPORT

As the spotlight on President Donald Trump’s interactions with foreign leaders intensifies, former and current White House officials have described Trump’s interactions with strongman leaders as fawning, deferential and embarrassing, with many of those in the administration “horrified” at his conduct.

The Washington Post spoke with 12 current and former White House officials who said that members of the administration were shocked at the president’s behavior during conversations with authoritarians like Russian President Vladimir Putin and members of the Saudi royal family.

“There was a constant undercurrent in the Trump administration of [senior staff] who were genuinely horrified by the things they saw that were happening on these calls,” one former White House official—who spoke on the condition of anonymity—told the Post.

“Phone calls that were embarrassing, huge mistakes he made, months and months of work that were upended by one impulsive tweet,” the official added.

Aides were particularly concerned about Trump’s calls with Putin. The first call came less than two weeks into the presidency on January 28, 2017.

The call was intended for Putin to congratulate Trump on his victory, but the new president was “obsequious” and “fawning,” even apologizing to the dictator for not calling him sooner, anonymous former White House aides told the Post.

“He was like, ‘Oh my gosh, my people didn’t tell me you wanted to talk to me,'” according to one person with direct knowledge of the call. And in another Putin call, Trump is said to have asked his Russian counterpart for advice on how to deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“We couldn’t figure out early on why he was being so nice to Russia,” a former senior administration official added.

Trump upended long-term U.S. strategy during his calls, for example promising to support Saudi Arabia’s entry into the G7 group of nations. “The G-7 is supposed to be the allies with whom we share the most common values and the deepest commitment to upholding the rules-based order,” one former official told the Post.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses mean it would not have been suitable for admission, but Trump said he would support the country’s efforts anyway, the former official claimed. Ultimately Saudi Arabia was not added to the group.

DOnald Trump, phone, calls, Putin, leaders
President Donald Trump speaks on the telephone in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on December 24, 2018.SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES/GETTY

The president also reportedly ignored the grave human rights abuses in the Philippines, where President Rodrigo Duterte has been waging a zero tolerance campaign against drug dealers and users, in which thousands have been killed.

During an April 2017 call, Trump told Duterte that he was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem,” the Post reported.

Officials said it was a constant battle to keep Trump on track. “You had two to three minutes max,” one former senior administration official said. “And then he was still usually going to say whatever he wanted to say.”

Another said aides quickly had to come to terms with his unconventional, and at times embarrassing, manner. “People had gotten really numb to him blurting out something he shouldn’t have,” one former national security staffer told the Post.

Officials were also concerned that calls with long-time U.S. allies often did not go as smoothly as those with strongmen and dictators. “People who could do things for him—he was nice to,” one former security official said. “Leaders with trade deficits, strong female leaders, members of NATO — those tended to go badly.”

Russia Mediates Between Syria, Turkey on Border Region

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Russia Mediates Between Syria, Turkey on Border Region

Thursday, 3 October, 2019 – 11:15
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (photo credit: AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Moscow – Raed Jabr
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow is working to reach an agreement between Syria and Turkey on the border arrangements.

Speaking at the Valdai Forum for Strategic Dialogue in Sochi, Lavrov asserted that Russia wants to keep the border issue active between Syria and Turkey, believing the parties may reach an agreement.

Moscow has avoided declaring a clear objection to Ankara’s plans to establish a safe zone along the border, saying it understands the legitimate demands to maintain Turkey’s security, however, it is necessary to open dialogue with the Syrian government.

The United States did not want Turkey to cooperate directly with the Syrian Arab Republic, Lavrov told the forum. He added that Washington wanted to control this issue as well as that of the border, and during the negotiations, it allowed Ankara to form a coalition of some military policemen and observers.

The Minister believes that reaching a deal will be good, but noted that it must be based on full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.

Lavrov added that the US does not respect Syria’s territorial integrity, nor does it take into account Turkey’s legitimate concerns about border security.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long warned that he cannot wait forever without solving the issue, so if there is no agreement with the US according to these principles within a few weeks, he has the right to solve this problem without them, said Lavrov.

Despite his strong criticism of Washington, Lavrov spoke of what he described as a glimpse of “sound thinking” that emerged during talks with US and Western officials.

Lavrov expressed Moscow’s hope that the United Nations will be impartial in its assistance to the Constitutional Commission, noting that the work that awaits everyone in the future is “much harder” than before.

He stressed that the Astana trio, meaning Russia, Turkey, and Iran, will not stand idly by and will do its utmost to prevent any outside interference in the negotiations between the Syrians.

Lavrov touched on Russia’s desire to maintain its military presence in Syria at the Hmeimim Air Base and Tartus naval base, pointing out that this presence comes with the approval of the legitimate government, which is a member state of the UN.

Russia intends to use this presence to support security and peace in this country and region only, without trying to impose its will on anyone, he concluded.

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