Archive | Europe

Nazi blocks EU lawmakers’ entry into besieged Gaza Strip

NOVANEWS

Image result for zionist and eu cartoon

The Tel Aviv regime has prevented five European parliamentarians from entering the Gaza Strip as the Palestinian enclave remains under an inhumane Nazi siege.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Neoklis Sylikiotis, a Cypriot Member of the European Parliament (MEP), denounced the Nazi obstruction of the lawmakers’ access to the Palestinian coastal sliver.

“The refusal of access to Gaza by the Israeli authorities to the European Parliament on arbitrary grounds is unacceptable,” the statement read.

However, Nazi claimed that the MEPs were not among those allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.

Similar European delegations have been barred from Gaza since 2011 though a team led by the head of the European Parliament’s budget committee was allowed to visit once, the statement added.

“What is there to hide from us?” it further asked, condemning Nazi “systematic” entry bans to Gaza.

It also called on the international community to pressure the Tel Aviv regime to lift the Gaza blockade that has been in place Since June 2007 and affected almost all the two million inhabitants of the enclave.

The World Bank and the United Nations say the Gaza siege has killed all exports and damaged the Palestinian territory’s economy.

Tel Aviv has waged three wars on Gaza since 2008, including the 2014 offensive that left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead.

Israel’s demolition plan ‘unacceptable’

Separately on Wednesday, Robert Piper, the UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, visited the Palestinian Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar in the occupied West Bank and voiced alarm over an Nazi plan to demolish structures there.

On Sunday, Nazi forces distributed demolition orders to 40 structures, including tents, huts and a school in the village.

According to Palestinian media outlets, Khan al-Ahmar residents were given until Thursday to vacate the village.

“Khan al-Ahmar is one of the most vulnerable communities in the West Bank struggling to maintain a minimum standard of living in the face of intense pressure from the Israeli authorities to move,” Piper said in a statement. “This is unacceptable and it must stop.”

International bodies and rights groups say Nazi regime sustained demolitions of Palestinian homes are aimed at uprooting Palestinians from their native territories, and expropriating more land for the expansion of Jewish Nazi illegal settlements.

Tel Aviv is has accelerated its land grab and settlement construction activities in the occupied Palestinian lands after pro-Nazi Zionist Donald Trump took office.

Nazi forces have demolished over 48,000 Palestinian homes and buildings since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian lands, according to the Committee Against House Demolitions.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Europe, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Pro-Palestine activism must be ‘managed’ under counter-extremism strategy, universities told

NOVANEWS

Image result for DAVID STAR AS NAZI LOGO

British universities have been advised to “manage” Palestinian activism on campus in order to comply with the UK government’s ‘Prevent’ counter-extremism strategy.

“Vocal support for Palestine,” “Opposition to Israeli settlements in Gaza,” and “Criticism of wars in the Middle East” are included in a list of “contentious topics” on the Safe Campus Communities website.

The website includes a training section set up by Universities UK and the government’s now defunct Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to help staff fulfill their Prevent obligations.

Since 2015, Prevent has required public sector workers to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.”

The website says the material is intended to promote free speech by encouraging universities to ensure “topics that may be seen as controversial” may be “debated in a safe environment.”

It advises institutions to take steps to manage events in which “extremist views are likely to be expressed” and ensure such views are challenged by “inviting additional speakers with opposing views.”

“Relevant higher education bodies also need to risk assess and manage events where these or similar views may be expressed,” it says.

Critics fear the guidance could stifle free speech and political expression, according to Middle East Eye.

On Tuesday, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) canceled an ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ event organized for next week by Friends of Palestine because of concerns it would not be “balanced,” Middle East Eye reports.

UCLan said it was concerned that the event, called ‘Debunking misconceptions on Palestine and the importance of BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement]’, would fall foul of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism adopted by the UK government.

The IHRA defines anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred towards Jews,” including “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.”

UCLan said: “We believe the proposed talk contravenes the new definition and furthermore breaches university protocols for such events, where we require assurances of a balanced view or a panel of speakers representing all interests.

“In this instance our procedures determined that the proposed event would not be lawful and therefore it will not proceed as planned.”

Ben Jamal, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said it was absurd to single out support for a Palestinian state or opposition to Israeli settlements as controversial or extremist.

“Given that all major political parties in the UK and the overwhelming majority of governments across the world support a Palestinian state and oppose settlements on the basis that they violate international law and are an obstacle to peace it is absurd to define these as extremist views.

“There is an urgent need for the relevant bodies to review these materials and ensure that any training offered to educational establishments truly reflects the stated intention to uphold academic freedom and freedom of expression,” he said.

Read more:

Israeli embassy backing campaign to topple Britain’s pro-Palestine student leader – report

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, UK0 Comments

BBC Fake News Reality Check

NOVANEWS

by BRIAN GERRISH 

Friday 13th January 2017 was the day we learned of the BBC’s ‘Reality Check’, described by the Guardian as a team to ‘debunk fake news’. If you feel that the BBC debunking fake news might be an oxymoron, then we would agree with you, and the reasons are not difficult to identify.

The BBC stated that their Reality Check team:

… will focus on content that is clearly fabricated and attempting to mislead the public into thinking it has been produced by a reputable news organisation.

The immediate implication here is that the BBC considers that as a £3.65 billion major news broadcaster, it is beyond reproach in reporting facts and truth, and is therefore happy to set itself up to monitor and police other news sources for the accuracy of their content.

BBC claims podium of truth

But what could have caused the BBC to have taken this narcissistic and egotistical stance in self-righteousness?

The clue does not take long to find:

False information around big events such as the UK’s referendum on leaving the EU and the US election has been especially rife, with numerous instances of completely fabricated stories, many of which are created with the sole aim of generating advertising revenue from people viewing the stories.

Both Brexit and the election of Trump have, according to the BBC, been beset with fabricated stories. The inference is that stories were so fabricated and so widespread that 17 million Britons were mistakenly swayed to vote to leave the EU, and millions more US voters were misled into voting for Trump rather than Hillary Clinton. Since the BBC has a track record of highly biased support for both the EU and Hillary Clinton we might just see why the BBC would be upset at competition in the world news circuit.

With heady professional passion and an ego the size of a rhinoceros, James Harding, head of BBC News, led the BBC’s rhetoric:

The BBC can’t edit the internet, but we won’t stand aside either … We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media. We are working with Facebook, in particular, to see how we can be most effective. Where we see deliberately misleading stories masquerading as news, we’ll publish a Reality Check that says so.

Climbing even higher onto his podium of BBC truthful self-righteousness, Harding added:

And we want Reality Check to be more than a public service, we want it to be hugely popular. We will aim to use styles and formats – online on TV and on radio – that ensure the facts are more fascinating and grabby than the falsehoods.

Thank goodness the BBC has stepped up to be the guardian of truth, and thank goodness that James Harding has volunteered himself to champion and head the new Reality Check team. We can now all sleep much easier in our beds knowing that the BBC and Mr Harding are looking out for truth.

Mr Harding apologies to Leveson Inquiry

Let’s forget the BBC’s own slight weaknesses in the field of truth for a moment and consider Mr Harding. This is the same man who previously served as Editor of Murdoch’s Times newspaper – itself a bastion of truth and respectability, especially in the City and Westminster circles. Well not quite. Poor James was forced to apologise to the Leveson Inquiry into press ‘respectability’, for his role in running the Times news team whilst reporters for whom he was responsible (his statement) broke the law to hack other people’s emails.

Perhaps he didn’t know, perhaps he wasn’t told, perhaps he didn’t care. No matter, he had the responsibility for editorial standards and the professional behaviour of his team. Heaven forbid that similar such dirty dealings would be going on in the vast organisational black hole of the BBC – or even perhaps, a little fabrication of the truth here and there by BBC reporters. It might be me, but I don’t get good vibes for Harding’s claim of the moral high ground in world-wide truthful reporting.

The launch of BBC Reality Check indicated two key things. Firstly, that despite the rampant BBC propaganda supporting and promoting UK, US and European Union political agendas, which they have churned out for years, the work of many amateur journalists, and especially those broadly known as the web-based alternative media, has clearly upset the BBC’s propaganda apple cart. Secondly, the damage has been so great that the BBC has had to launch a counter-attack against free speech.

Understanding the BBC’s role

At this point we should perhaps remember what the BBC says it is there to do. Its ‘Mission’ is to:

enrich people’s lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.

And their ‘Vision’ is

to be the most creative organisation in the world.

Of these two self-proclaimed goals, it is perhaps the latter that has a distinctly ‘scary’ feel about it. The most creative organisation in the world! What does that actually mean? Creating what? In reality, what does the BBC create? It clearly doesn’t create a better world. On the contrary, and as we shall see, the BBC specialises in the dark media arts. Are they there to create truth?

As a propaganda machine the BBC is outstanding. Aside from ‘normal’ news reporting, the BBC has operated BBC Monitoring, part of the World Service Group, since the Second World War.

First funded by the FCO, and now the TV licence payer, BBC Monitoring is still intimately linked to the British intelligence services, especially GCHQ. It employs a team of highly trained language specialists to monitor overseas radio and television broadcasts. Their job is to listen to and interpret what the broadcast message and messenger is really saying. If, for example, there are indications of political decisions or objects hitherto unknown to HM GOVERNMENT, or indications of military movements, threats or internal political strife, then BBC Monitoring flags up their findings and analysis to the secret services.

So innocent people on the Indian subcontinent, for example, may listen in the BBC World Service broadcasts believing that they are listening to friendly transmissions and truthful news from Britain, but in reality the BBC is spying on political, social, economic, and military events in their country. Perhaps India is big enough to look after themselves, but few people realise that the BBC spies on hundreds of countries around the world in this way, and especially those within trouble spots. After all, the BBC likes nothing better than reporting violence, riots, mass shootings, rape, torture and wars.

Enter BBC proxy charity BBC Media Action

Unfortunately the BBC does not just stop there. It also boasts that its ‘charity’ BBC Media Action is “transforming lives through media around the world”, backed up by its mission “To inform, connect and empower people around the world.”

These are heady claims by a charity that is funded by the UK government’s Department for International Development (£14.7m) and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (£4.1m), the US State Department (£0.5m), the Government of Norway (£0.7), the UN (£3.0m), the EU (£2.4m), and receives money from many other NGOs, agencies and change agents.

We must also mention Bill and Melinda Gates. The happy couple, who seem to have a deep interest in helping the world’s poor through population control, vaccinations, and easing in Western banking and debt based financial systems to many poor and thus highly vulnerable countries, have scraped their loose change barrel to give BBC Media Action £4.5m. Why?

At this point, as we probe into BBC media truth concerning Syria, we encourage our readers to read our article ‘BBC Media Action: Subversion from Broadcasting House to Kazakhstan.’

This concise analysis delves into the dark political, subversive and propaganda origins of BBC Media Action, including the ‘Marshall Plan for the Mind’, and sets out its dirty media work amongst the unsuspecting people of Kazakhstan.

We should also note that Juliette Harkin, a former BBC Media Action Project Manager, was kind enough to give a little more than a glimpse into the aims of her work, and thus the real agenda of BBC Media Action, in their Country Case Study: Syria. She boasted that they had been working inside Syria to help foment regime change:

We [BBC Media Action] worked in 2004 with individuals within the ministry who wanted change and tried to get them to be the drivers of that. All media development work that has been done in Syria has, in my opinion, been predicated upon this idea that there can be change from within – you have an authoritarian regime and you find who the reformers are within that (individuals) and you work with them.

Was she aware of what she was doing, was she used, or an innocent in her work, or didn’t care?

Understanding BBC Fake News in Regime Change

In terms of Fake News, just think what Juliette Harkin’s comments really mean. In both the UK and worldwide, the BBC was reporting the unrest and uprising of the Syrian population against the Assad government, as if it was autonomous.

According to the BBC, Syrians were rebelling, of their own accord, due to their own dissatisfaction with their government. Yet the reality was (and still is) that the BBC was reporting events which it had itself helped to foment from inside Syria.

The BBC attacked Assad at every opportunity, accusing him of every brutal action possible, including gassing his own people, when in fact the BBC was itself actively working inside Syria to subvert peaceful life, and to assist the UK’s clearly stated political aim of regime change. Never mind Fake News – this BBC action is duplicitous, obscene and must surely be a hostile act on an unsuspecting overseas nation state.

Just imagine the furore if the BBC discovered that President Assad had been using teams inside the UK to help oust the Prime Minister David Cameron, on the basis that Syria found him to be an aggressive warmonger – a man prepared, for example, to unleash unlawful bombing attacks on Libya, Syria and Yemen.

Getting straight to the heart of the matter, The Huffington Post’s article Hillary Clinton’s Enthusiasm for Regime Change Wars grips the regime change agenda:

The presumption of dictating to an independent nation the form of its government is so arrogant, so atrocious, that indignation as well as moral sentiment enlists all our partialities and prayers in favor of one and our equal execrations against the other.

Wars for regime change also violate international law. Article 2 (4) of the United Nations Charter generally prohibits ‘the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…’ Article 51 creates a narrow exception for wars in self-defense ‘if an armed attack occurs… Regime change wars do not fit that narrow exception.’

Yet Syrian regime change was the repeatedly declared policy of the US, UK and EU from the outset, and these collective Western powers ultimately trained, armed, funded and unleashed the ‘ISIS’ terrorists to fight their proxy war against Assad. Follow the simple path of deceit. Western governments pay BBC Media Action to run ‘projects’ galvanising rebellion against Assad, whilst those same Western governments work in the margins to set up and equip the terrorists which the BBC was to deliberately and misleadingly label ‘moderate’ anti-Assad rebels.

Follow the Government Money

We must surely be fully justified in asking: just who was BBC Media Action to intervene in the internal politics of the nation state of Syria?

The clue to this pernicious action comes from the old adage: follow the money. BBC Media Action claims to be a charity, but we have clearly revealed that in reality it is a paid agent of the Western collective state. It can only have operated in Syria, and against Assad, on the basis that its work would help the underlying UK, US and EU collective governmental regime change agenda.

Clues are not hard to find. BBC Media Action is a major partner of European External Action Service (EEAS), which promotes their project:

Bridging Syria’s divides: Mass media programming and platforms to build resilience and social cohesion to counter violent conflict and radicalism across all sections of Syrian society.

But what does this description really mean? A secondary sentence in the flyer spells it out:

The project will develop and produce radio series relevant to the topic of radicalisation in Syria and entertain dynamic debate.

Here we can see the BBC up to its old tricks: devise and broadcast programming, preferably with the help of innocent local people, which injects the views, values and agenda of the BBC to foment a change agenda in all areas of the target society. By focusing on radicalism and creating ‘dynamic debate’, the real effect is to create discord, unrest and uncertainty. This is insidious and dangerous interference in a nation state, be it Syria or any other.

So BBC Media Action was working to help undermine Syrian social cohesion and inflame those hostile to Assad, and the EU paid them a mere €2,409,751 to do so. That sum was only just one contribution to the cost of this work, and a fraction of their other government and non-governmental agency funding.

European External Action Organisation

The blatant hypocrisy could not be clearer since the European (Union) External Action Organisation declares that:

it is the European Union’s diplomatic service, which helps the EU’s foreign affairs chief – the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy – carry out the Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy.

In this one example BBC Media Action was thus paid to help further the political agenda of the EU, and that agenda was, and remains, Syrian regime change.

The EEAS website reveals a string of other EU-backed political projects to further the anti-Assad agenda:

– Supporting transition towards democracy in Syria through preparing for a[n] engendered constitution building process. The overall objective of the action is to contribute to a democratic transition in Syria inclusive of gender equality.

– Strengthening social cohesion for a democratic and inclusive Syrian civil society. To enable key individuals and community based groups from Syrian civil society to undertake community capacity building in key sectors to foster an effective future transition process in post-conflict Syria.

– Supporting Syrian professionals to prepare for leading roles in a future transition to a peaceful, democratic and inclusive Syria. Qualified Syrians will be enabled to become key actors in a future transition process and are willing and capable to contribute actively in the fields of transitional justice, security sector reform, urban planning and local administration. Exchanges with experts from within the EU are established.

– Promoting social cohesion and moderate voice in Syria. To provide Syrian civil society actors with a tailor-made approach for supporting new and existing initiatives through capacity building, networking, sub grants and continual mentoring to promote social cohesion and non-violent mobilisation and to amplify moderate narratives.

The list — for a number of different executing agencies (alongside BBC Media Action) — goes on, with a never-ending supply of EU funding to drive the agenda. The last of the above programmes is funded to over €1 million by the EU.

Syrian Regime Change aka Transition

Whilst these EU programmes are sold in terms of humanitarian need and aid to help people and society, the language reveals much more. Transition is a key word. The inference is that selected Syrian professionals will be trained to become EU actors to help drive (transform) Syria towards an EU style society – a new sociopolitical economic society and order that will completely replace traditional Syria lifestyles.

Only yesterday, EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini announced that she will host an international conference in Brussels on the future of Syria and the region. The announcement came following the first meeting in 2017 of EU foreign ministers, which she herself chaired. Mogherini’s weasel words contained a repeated theme, and that was ‘transition’. Her conference, for example, would have two main objectives:

on the one side taking stock of the implementation of commitments of the donor community at the London conference, on which the EU has delivered in full [here, we may ask, is she talking the donation of aid or bombs or both?] … most of all it will be a political conference, hoping that could be the moment for the international community to together turn the page and start the political transition, the reconciliation process and the reconstruction of Syria.

Against this background of very dirty political ‘soft power’ by the West in Syria, the BBC flooded UK and world news with highly biased Syrian news describing how “dictator” Assad murdered babies, used chemical weapons against his own people and murdered all those that opposed him. As we have already stated, this BBC propaganda was supported with descriptions of the Western-backed terrorists and their sadistic killing machine as ‘moderate rebels’ suffering under that very same brutal dictator, Assad.

BBC shocked at desire for profit

Let’s go back to the BBC and Mr Harding’s Reality Check, and remember that he described his concern over:

numerous instances of completely fabricated stories, many of which are created with the sole aim of generating advertising revenue from people viewing the stories.

The key point of interest here is his theatrical shock horror that other media outlets might want to generate advertising revenue from their stories. If the BBC is a £3.65 billion media machine working hand in glove with the UK government and intelligence services, then consider also the existence of the £1.1 billion BBC Worldwide, and £91 million BBC Global News Ltd. All supported by the bully boy muscle of Capita, which does the heavy door-to-door collections should anyone dare not to pay their BBC licence fee in the UK.

Mr Harding acts as if the BBC is a non-profit organisation. Far from it; BBC money and resources, such as pension funds, have been used to create the slick BBC Worldwide corporate media empire, which has profits of some £156 million. Not bad on the back of public money collected by Capita for, yes, you’ve guessed it, profit. BBC Global News has not yet delivered the cash cow, and profits are slim, but give it time.

So against this big money and big profit background, are we to assume then that these BBC companies are so squeaky clean that they will not spin facts to create the best profit-making story?

BBC Reality Check

Hopefully, the BBC’s Reality Check team will read this article. I would very much like them to challenge our investigation into the dirty dealings of the BBC, and their skewed political reporting which has been particularly prevalent in war zones worldwide:

Afghanistan (no mention of the US & UK involvement in the opium poppy drug trade);
Libya (no professional investigation of the funding, training and arming of terrorists by the UK and US to help assert regime change);
Syria (no real investigation of anything – just the regurgitation of UK, US and EU anti-Assad anti-government propaganda);
Yemen (where the BBC has also failed to investigate this UK- and US-created civil war and their funding, training and arms, which features particularly vile military brutality by the British government’s old friend Saudi Arabia).

BBC Reality Check Oxymoron

I encourage readers to watch and read reports by Vanessa Beeley, who has reported the facts from Syria and Aleppo. Her work has established without doubt that BBC reports on the Syrian conflict have ranged from poor to deliberately misleading Fake News.

Taking a ‘Reality Check’, it is apparent the BBC is a master of propaganda, and its duplicitous senior management is happy to betray the thousands of staff who still believe they work for a trustworthy, truthful and reliable organisation, along with the wider viewing and listening public. For the BBC to suggest it is the guardian of media truth is indeed an oxymoron.

Posted in Syria, UK0 Comments

Syria – A Confused Trump Strategy Lets Erdogan U-Turn Again

NOVANEWS
 
Erdogan

There are two new developments on the Syrian front. The Islamic State suddenly changed its tactic and the Turkish President Erdogan again changed his policy course.

In the last 24 hours news announcements about victories against the Islamic state (ISIS) rapidly followed each other:

  • The Kurdish U.S. proxy forces in east Syria (SDF) announced that it had reached the northern bank of the Euphrates between Raqqa and Deir Ezzor. This cuts the ISIS communication line between the two cities.
  • Turkish forces and their “Syrian rebel” mercenaries have been attacking Al-Bab east of Aleppo for nearly four month. They made little progress and incurred huge losses. Late yesterday they suddenly broke into the city and today took control of it. Various sources claim that a deal was made between the Turkish forces and ISIS for the later to evacuate Al-Bab unharmed and with its personal weapons. It is not yet known what price Turkey paid in that deal.
  • South of Al-Bab the Syrian Army is moving further east towards the Euphrates and took several villages from ISIS. The Syrian move is largely designed to cut the roads between the Turkish forces around Al-Bab and the Islamic State forces in Raqqa. (This now might become a race.)
  • Further south another Syrian Army group is moving east towards Palmyra.
  • In the eastern city of Deir Ezzor the Syrian army garrison is under siege by Islamic State forces. A few weeks ago the situation there looked very dire. But with reinforcements coming in by helicopter and massive Russian air force interdiction the position held out quite well. In recent days the defenders took several hills from a retreating ISIS.
  • In Iraq the army, police and the various government militia are pushing towards south Mosul. Today the airport south of the city fell into their hands with little fighting. Like everywhere else ISIS had stopped its resistance and pulled back. Only a few rearguards offered tepid resistance.

While ISIS was under pressure everywhere the sudden retreat on all fronts during the last 24 hours is astonishing and suggest some synchronicity. A central order must have been given to pull back to the buildup areas of Raqqa in Syria and south Mosul in Iraq.

But ISIS has nowhere to go from those areas. Mosul is completely surrounded and Raqqa is mostly cut off. After the massacres they committed everywhere ISIS fighters can not expect any mercy. They have made enemies everywhere and aside from a few (Saudi) radical clerics no friends are left to help them. The recent retreats are thereby likely not signs of surrender. ISIS will continue to fight until it is completely destroyed. But for now the ISIS leaders decided to preserve their forces. One wonders what they plan to stage as their last glorious show. A mass atrocity against the civilians in the cities it occupies?

When in late 2016 the defeat of the “Syrian rebels” proxy forces in east-Aleppo city was foreseeable the Turkish President Erdogan switched from supporting the radicals in north-west Syria to a more lenient stand towards Syria and its allies Russia and Iran. The move followed month of on and off prodding from Russia and after several attempts by Erdogan to get more U.S. support had failed. In late December peace talks started between Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran with the U.S. and the EU excluded.

But after the Trump administration took over the Turkish position changed again. Erdogan is now back to betting on a stronger U.S. intervention in Syria that would favor his original plans of installing in Syria an Islamic government under Turkish control:

Ankara understands today that Trump is aggressive toward Iran and gave his blessing to Saudi Arabia. Therefore Erdogan is taking a new position: hiding behind Saudi Arabia, mimicking the US hostility towards Iran and, in consequences, declaring himself once more against the Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The new Turkish position was confirmed by Senator John McCain’s visit to the Kurdish YPG and U.S. Special Forces in Kobani. McCain came via Turkey. An earlier visits to the YPK by U.S. special envoy Brett McGurk had been condemned by Ankara. Outside of a wider agreement such McCain’s antics would not be allowed.

The U.S. is allied with the Kurdish YPK in Syria who are blood-brothers of the Kurdish PKK group in Turkey which the Turkish government has been fighting for decades. The YPG fighters are good and reliable light infantry fighters. They work together with U.S. special forces and are well regarded.

Turkey offers to send its own ground troops together with Saudi forces to liberate Raqqa from ISIS. <snark>The expertise the Saudi military shows in Yemen combined with the Turkish military prowess in its “Euphrates Shield” operation in Syria will surely will be welcome by the U.S. military. </snark>

But there are bigger strategic issues at stake and some agreement between the U.S., Turkey and the Saudis has been found (adopted machine translation):

[T]he sudden transformation of the Turkish position occurred after a lengthy conversation conducted with the US president, Donald Trump, and the visit by the head of the U.S. intelligence agency (CIA). A re-shuffling of the cards took place which induced another turn in Ankara on the Syrian file.

The new U.S.-Turkish understandings that fixed the bridge between President Erdogan and the old U.S. ally is based on the escalation of hostility to Iran and the (re-)establishment of a “Sunni axis” led by the Turkish president. It includes the establishment of a buffer zone in Syria as a prelude to a partitioning [of Syria] scenario.

This is essentially a fall back to the positions taken by the Obama administration in 2011/12. The lessons learned since will have to be relearned. The signals from the U.S. military now suggest the introduction of additional regular ground troops in support of a U.S. proxy force and an eventual U.S. protected enclave in east-Syria. The YPK is the only reliable proxy force available to the U.S. and it needs heavier weapon support to take on Raqqa. But U.S. boots on ground in the Middle East have never been a solution. They are a guarantee of extended fighting and eventual failure.

The strategic view is contradictory. The U.S. wants to fight the Sunni radical forces that Saudi Arabia grows and pampers. Even while ISIS gets diminished new such forces are already growing in Iraq. Any anti-radical strategy that builds on cooperation with the Saudis will fail.

It is impossible to get Turkey and the YPK/PKK to fight on one side – McCain visit or not. The U.S. would loose its only reliable proxy force in Syria should it make common cause with Erdogan in the fight about Raqqa. Any anti-Kurdish Turkish-U.S. controlled “safe zone” in north Syria will come under fire from all other sides on the ground. Any U.S. base in Syria will be the target of various regular and irregular forces. In the long term the new plans are doomed and Erdogan’s latest u-turn is unlikely to be rewarded.

But until then we can expect more bloodshed and more fighting in Syria. As Eljah Magnier comments:

The US policy in Syria seems frantic and far-fetched without efficient powerful allies on the ground, and is unable to retake cities from ISIS with its Kurdish proxies alone. And the “honeymoon” between Washington and Riyadh will certainly have a substantial negative effect on the war in Syria. This will increase the closeness between Russia and Iran, but the tension between US and Russia is also expected to increase: one side (the US) wants partition and the other (Russia) wants a unified Syria without al-Qaida and ISIS, and without Turkey occupying the north of Syria and a Saudi Arabia return to the Bilad al-Sham. At this stage, it is difficult to speculate on what this clash of incompatible objectives will produce on the ground in Syria.

Posted in USA, Syria, Turkey0 Comments

Turkey Poses a Bigger Threat to Syria than ISIS

NOVANEWS
 
Erdogan 2

Reports that ISIS have been defeated in al-Bab may superficially being joy to many readers. But the reality is far from good.

In scoring a strategically important victory against ISIS, Turkey and its band of jihadists called the Free Syrian Army have replaced a barbaric terrorist group who seeks the death of the Syrian Arab Republic with the second largest army in NATO, complete with a modern air force.

Turkey like ISIS, seek the destruction of the Syrian Arab Republic, one way or another.  They are illegally occupying the territory of Syria. One illegal occupier has been replaced by another, vastly more powerful occupier.Crucially, the Turks didn’t even kill most of the ISIS fighters, instead allowing them to peacefully leave al-Bab.

Added to this is the presence of the Free Syrian Army who implement ISIS style techniques to terrorise local populations, especially Shia’s Muslims, Christians and those leading a secular lifestyle.

To put it another way, would a country, part of whose territory was under occupation, rather have it occupied by a gang of savages with some tanks, armoured vehicles and crude missiles, or by a NATO army that is only second in size to that of the United States?

Thus far, Russian diplomacy has avoided the very real possibility of the Turkish armed forces and the Syrian Arab Army engaging in a direct clash, but now that Turkey occupies al-Bab, there is once again a renewed chance that such a clash could take place.

Russia’s diplomatic hands are fuller than ever in this respect.

I have no doubt that eventually ISIS will be defeated and disappear. But Turkey is a large state and is not going anywhere. The question is, where are they going in Syria? If they do not leave Syria, it means that things have got a lot worse for Syrians, not better.

UPDATE: An ISIS suicide bomb has killed 41 people in al-Bab. Erdogan’s bloody hands now have even more trouble to content with.

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Putin: About 4,000 Russians Among Islamic Insurgents in Syria

NOVANEWS
 
putin

During the meeting with the naval officers on Thursday, Putin said Russian military intelligence estimated that about 4,000 Russians are in Syria and fighting alongside insurgents there. He noted than an additional, estimated 5,000 from former Soviet republics also are fighting alongside insurgents there.

The presence of Islamist insurgents in Syria has repeatedly been noticed by Syrian as well as Russian military and intelligence services. Putin did not break down the numbers, but reports about captured and/or killed fighters from the Russian Federation and material posted by the insurgents themselves strongly suggests that the majority come from Chechnya and other Caucasus regions.

Putin defended military operations in Syria saying that they have dealt a blow to international terrorism. Russia stood alone in this fight, Putin added, hampered by resistance from “so-called partners” in the West. Later on Thursday Putin noted that he planned to further strengthen Russia’s military. Among the priorities, he said, are new investments in strategic nuclear defense and aerospace forces.

Putin’s statement concurred with a statement by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin who seized the occasion of a military holiday to congratulate Russia’s principal allies, “They are the [Russian]army, the navy, and the military-industrial complex”, tweeted Rogozin.

Posted in Middle East, Russia0 Comments

Remembering Vitaly Churkin

NOVANEWS
 
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Vitaly Churkin

On Monday, on the eve of his 65th birthday, Russia’s UN envoy died – cause of death so far not announced, perhaps a heart attack, though given US hostility toward Russia, foul play remains a possibility unless forensic analysis rules it out.

Family, friends, colleagues and admirers like myself mourn his tragic loss. Vladimir Putin “express(ed) condolences to (his) family and friends, and to the entire Foreign Ministry following” his death. “The head of state highly valued Churkin’s professionalism and diplomatic talent,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called him “a rock against which attempts of our enemies to undermine all that makes the glory of Russia break.”

It will be impossible, very difficult to replace him as a symbol of Russia’s foreign policy and Russia’s voice on a key international platform in the Security Council.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhavova said he was “admired not only by those who loved him. His opponents also admired him.”

A Foreign Ministry statement said he he “died suddenly in New York on February 20…The outstanding Russian diplomat died in harness.”

In early February, he said diplomatic positions are “much more hectic” than they used to be, very “stressful” because of instability worldwide.

On April 8, 2006, he was appointed Russia’s UN envoy, serving in this capacity honorably and effectively with distinction until his tragic death.

In 1981, he earned a doctorate in history from Soviet Russia’s Diplomatic Academy. After graduating from Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1974, he joined Soviet Russia’s Foreign Ministry as a translator.

From 1974 – 1979, he was a USSR Strategic Arms Limitation Talks staff member. From 1979 – 1982, he served as Foreign Ministry US desk third secretary.

From 1982 – 1987, he was USSR’s Washington embassy second, then first secretary. From 1987 – 1990, he served as Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) International Department staff member, then special advisor and press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Eduard Shevandnadze.

From 1990 – 1991, he was Foreign Ministry Information Department director. From 1992 – 1994, he served as Russian Federation deputy foreign minister, and special representative of Russia’s president to talks on the former Yugoslavia.

From 1994 – 1998, he was Russia’s ambassador to Belgium, then liaison ambassador to NATO and the Western European Union (WEU).

From 1998 – 2003, he served as ambassador to Canada. From 2003 – 2006, he was ambassador at large, along with other diplomatic responsibilities before his appointment as permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.

In February 2012, then President Dmitry Medvedev awarded him the Order of Merit to the Fatherland 4th class – Russia’s highest civilian honor.

Admired by allies and adversaries alike, he’s survived by his two children, Anastasia and Maksim.

Posted in Russia, UN0 Comments

Russian Scientists Learn How to Identify Suspected Terrorists by Their Walk

NOVANEWS

Crowd

© Photo: pixabay
Researchers at the National Research Nuclear University/Moscow Engineering Physics Institute are developing a computer program capable of recognizing unusual behavior by an individual in a crowd environment, including by his or her manner of walking. The invention may prove extremely useful in helping to prevent acts of terror in public places.

According to a university press service obtained by RIA Novosti, the program operates by analyzing complex images from conventional security cameras. The program helps recognize and focus on suspicious individuals in a crowd environment based on the manner in which they walk, their physique, clothing style, etc. Development work aimed at providing the program with these capabilities is entering its final stages.

According to Vadim Danishin, the project’s lead developer, the program does not require any additional expensive hardware; the computing power of a conventional smartphone is sufficient.

“We have plans to test this invention, tasking it with the collection and analysis of statistics on the behavior of buyers and sellers in large shopping centers,” Danishin explained. “In the future, our algorithms can be used to identify unusual behavior, affixed to surveillance cameras in airports, train stations and on public transport,” he added. “This is a priority for contemporary IT security systems.”

In addition to its security applications, the new program could be used for virtual reality gaming, interactive advertising in shopping centers, and to create simulators providing automatic classification of behavior for drivers, pilots, doctors, firefighters, military personnel.

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Posted in Russia0 Comments

The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch Hunt

NOVANEWS

Exclusive: Democrats, liberals and media pundits – in their rush to take down President Trump – are pushing a New McCarthyism aimed at Americans who have talked to Russians, risking a new witch hunt, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

In the anti-Russian frenzy sweeping American politics and media, Democrats, liberals and mainstream pundits are calling for an investigative body that could become a new kind of House Un-American Activities Committee to hunt down Americans who have communicated with Russians.

Red Square in Moscow with a winter festival to the left and the Kremlin to the right. (Photo by Robert Parry)

The proposed commission would have broad subpoena powers to investigate alleged connections between Trump’s supporters and the Russian government with the apparent goal of asking if they now have or have ever talked to a Russian who might have some tie to the Kremlin or its intelligence agencies.

Such an admission apparently would be prima facie evidence of disloyalty, a guilt-by-association “crime” on par with Sen. Joe McCarthy’s Cold War pursuit of “communists” who supposedly had infiltrated the U.S. government, the film industry and other American institutions.

Operating parallel to McCarthy’s Red Scare hearings was the House Un-American Activities Committee (or HUAC), a standing congressional panel from 1945-1975 when it was best known for investigating alleged communist subversion and propaganda. One of its top achievements was the blacklisting of the “Hollywood Ten” whose careers in the movie industry were damaged or destroyed.

Although the Cold War has long been over – and Russia has often cooperated with the U.S. government, especially on national security issues such as supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan – Democrats and liberals seem ready to force Americans to again prove their loyalty if they engaged in conversations with Russians.

Or perhaps these “witnesses” can be entrapped into perjury charges if their recollections of conversations with Russians don’t match up with transcripts of their intercepted communications, a tactic similar to ones used by Sen. McCarthy and HUAC to trip up and imprison targets over such secondary charges.

Ousted National Security Advisor Michael Flynn has already encountered such a predicament because he couldn’t recall all the details of a phone conversation with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016, after Flynn took the call while vacationing in the Dominican Republic.

When Obama administration holdovers at the Justice Department decided to gin up a legal premise to go after Flynn, they cited the Logan Act, a law enacted in 1799 to prohibit private citizens from negotiating with foreign adversaries but never used to convict anyone. The law also is of dubious constitutionality and was surely never intended to apply to a president-elect’s advisers.

However, based on that flimsy pretext, FBI agents – with a transcript of the electronic intercept of the Kislyak-Flynn phone call in hand – tested Flynn’s memory of the conversation and found his recollections incomplete. Gotcha – lying to the FBI!

Under mounting media and political pressure, President Trump fired Flynn, apparently hoping that tossing Flynn overboard to the circling sharks would somehow calm the sharks down. Instead, blood in the water added to the frenzy.

Iran-Contra Comparison

Some prominent Democrats and liberals have compared Trump-connected contacts with Russians to President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal or President Reagan’s Iran-Contra Affair, an issue that I know a great deal about having helped expose it as a reporter for The Associated Press in the 1980s.

President Ronald Reagan, delivering his Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 1981.

The key difference is that Iran-Contra was an unconstitutional effort by the Reagan administration to finance an illegal war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government in defiance of a congressional ban. The Trump-connected communications with Russians – to the degree they have occurred – appear to have been aimed at preventing a new and dangerous Cold War that could lead to a nuclear holocaust.

In other words, Iran-Contra was about enabling a paramilitary force to continue its brutal marauding inside a country that was no threat to the United States while the current “scandal” is about people trying to avoid hostilities between two nuclear superpowers, an existential threat that many mainstream and liberal pundits don’t want to recognize.

Indeed, there is a troubling denial-ism about the risks of an accidental or intentional war with Russia as the U.S. media and much of Official Washington’s establishment have lots of fun demonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin and jabbing the Russians by shoving NATO troops up to their borders and deploying anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe. For some crazy reason, the Russians feel threatened.

False Narratives

This Russia-bashing and Russia-baiting have been accompanied by false narratives presented in the major U.S. newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, to justify increased tensions.

The Washington Post building in downtown Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Washington Post)

For instance, the Post’s senior foreign affairs writer Karen DeYoung on Friday described the civil war in Ukraine this way: “That conflict began when Russia invaded and annexed Crimea in 2014, then backed separatists in eastern Ukraine in what has become a grinding war, despite a deal to end it, called the Minsk agreement, negotiated with Putin by the leaders of France and Germany.”

But DeYoung’s synopsis is simply not true. The crisis began in the fall of 2013 when Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of what he regarded as a costly and unacceptable association agreement with the European Union, a move which prompted protests by Ukrainians in Kiev’s Maidan square.

The Obama administration’s State Department, U.S. neocon politicians such as Sen. John McCain, and various U.S.-backed “non-governmental organizations” then stoked those protests against Yanukovych, which grew violent as trained ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi street fighters poured in from western Ukraine.

In early 2014, a coup to overthrow the democratically elected Yanukovych took shape under the guidance of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt who were caught in a phone call in late January or early February 2014 conspiring to impose new leadership inside Ukraine.

Nuland disparaged a less extreme strategy favored by European diplomats with the pithy remark: “Fuck the E.U.” and went on to declare “Yats is the guy,” favoring Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the new leader. Nuland then pondered how to “glue this thing” while Pyatt ruminated about how to “midwife this thing.”

On Feb. 20, 2014, a mysterious sniper apparently firing from a building controlled by the ultranationalist Right Sektor killed both police and protesters, setting off a day of violence that left about 70 people dead including more than a dozen police.

The next day, three European governments struck a deal with Yanukovych in which he agreed to early elections and accepted reduced powers. But that political settlement wasn’t enough for the U.S.-backed militants who stormed government buildings on Feb. 22, forcing Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives.

Instead of standing by the Feb. 21 agreement, which the European nations had “guaranteed,” Nuland pushed for and got U.S. allies to accept the new post-coup regime as “legitimate,” with Yatsenyuk becoming prime minister and several top government posts given to the ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.

Spreading Violence

In the ensuing days, the right-wing violence spread beyond Kiev, prompting Crimea’s legislature to propose secession from Ukraine and readmission to Russia, whose relationship to the peninsula dated back to Catherine the Great.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Crimea scheduled a referendum that was opposed by the new regime in Kiev. Russian troops did not “invade” Crimea because some 20,000 were already stationed there as part of a basing agreement at the Black Sea port of Sevastopol. The Russians did provide security for the referendum but there was no evidence of intimidation as the citizens of Crimea voted by 96 percent to leave Ukraine and rejoin Russia, a move that Putin and the Russian duma accepted.

Eastern Ukrainians tried to follow Crimea’s lead with their own referendum, but Putin and Russia rejected their appeals to secede. However, when the Kiev regime launched an “Anti-Terrorism Operation” against the so-called Donbass region – spearheaded by ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi militias – Russia provided military assistance so these ethnic Russians would not be annihilated.

Karen DeYoung also framed the Minsk agreement as if it were imposed on Putin when he was one of its principal proponents and architects, winning its approval in early 2015 at a time when the Ukrainian military was facing battlefield reversals.

Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland during a press conference at the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, on Feb. 7, 2014. (U.S. State Department photo)

But Assistant Secretary Nuland, working with Prime Minister Yatsenyuk and the Ukrainian parliament, sabotaged the agreement by requiring the Donbass rebels to first surrender which they were unwilling to do, having no faith in the sincerity of the Kiev regime to live up to its commitment to grant limited autonomy to the Donbass.

In other words, Kiev inserted a poison pill to prevent a peaceful resolution, but the Western media and governments always blame the Minsk failure on Putin.

If Karen DeYoung wanted to boil all this history down to one paragraph, it might go: “The Ukraine conflict began when U.S. officials supported the violent overthrow of elected President Viktor Yanukovych, prompting Crimea to rejoin Russia and causing ethnic Russians in the east to rise up against the U.S.-backed coup regime in Kiev, which then sought to crush the rebellion. The Kiev regime later torpedoed a peace deal that had been hammered out by Russian, Ukrainian and European negotiators in Minsk.”

But such a summary would not have the desired propaganda effect on the American people. It would not present the U.S.-backed side as the “white hats” and the pro-Russia side as the “black hats.”

The simple truth is that the story of Ukraine is far more complex and multi-sided than The Washington Post, The New York Times and most mainstream U.S. news outlets want to admit. They simply start the clock at the point of Crimea’s rejection of the post-coup regime and distort those facts to present the situation simply as a “Russian invasion.”

A Whipped-Up Hysteria

The major media’s distortion is so egregious that you could call it a lie, but it is a lie that has proved very useful in whipping up the current anti-Russian hysteria that is sweeping Official Washington and that has given birth to a New Cold War, now accompanied by a New McCarthyism that deems anyone who doesn’t accept the “groupthink” a “Russian apologist” or a “Moscow stooge.”

Wintery scene at Red Square in Moscow, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

Since last November’s election, this New McCarthyism has merged with hatred toward Donald Trump, especially after the outgoing Obama administration lodged unproven accusations that Russia undercut Hillary Clinton’s campaign by hacking into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and those of her campaign chairman John Podesta – and slipped that information to WikiLeaks.

Those emails showed how the DNC undercut the rival campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders and revealed the contents of Clinton’s speeches to Wall Street banks as well as pay-to-play aspects of the Clinton Foundation, information that Clinton wanted to keep from the voters.

But no one thought the emails were a major factor in the Clinton-Trump race; indeed, Clinton blamed her stunning defeat on FBI Director James Comey’s last-minute decision to reopen and then re-close his investigation into security concerns about her use of a private email server as Secretary of State.

But the script on how Clinton lost was flipped during the Trump transition as President Obama’s intelligence agencies floated the Russia-hacked-the-election scenario although presenting no public evidence to support the claims. WikiLeaks representatives also denied getting the material from Russia, suggesting instead that it was leaked by two different American insiders.

A Ministry of Truth

Still, during the post-election period, the anti-Russian hysteria continued to build. In November, The Washington Post highlighted claims by an anonymous group called PropOrNot accusing some 200 Web sites, including Consortiumnews.com and other major independent media outlets, of disseminating Russian “propaganda.”

New York Times building in New York City. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The New York Times joined in the frenzy by calling for leading technology companies to marginalize Web sites that are deemed to be publishing “fake news,” a vague term that was applied not just to intentionally false stories but to information that questioned official narratives, no matter how dubious those narratives were. The New McCarthyism was morphing into a New Orwellianism.

The movement toward a Ministry of Truth gained further momentum in December when Congress passed and President Obama signed a military authorization bill that included a new $160 million bureaucracy to identify and counter alleged “Russian propaganda.”

The anger of Democrats and liberals toward President Trump in his first month has added more fuel to the Russia-bashing with some Democrats and liberals seeing it as a possible route toward neutralizing or impeaching Trump. Thus, the calls for a full-scale investigation with subpoena power to demand documents and compel testimony.

While the idea of getting to the full truth has a superficial appeal, it also carries dangers of launching a witch hunt that would drag American citizens before inquisitors asking about any contacts – no matter how innocuous – with Russians.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, HUAC also claimed that all it wanted was the truth about whether some Americans were allied with or sympathetic to Moscow. Sen. Joe McCarthy offered a similar rationale when he was trying to root out “disloyal” Americans with the question, “are you now or have you ever been a communist?”

That Democrats and liberals who hold the McCarthy era in understandable disdain would now seek to rekindle something similar reeks of rank opportunism and gross hypocrisy – doing whatever it takes to “get Trump” and build an activist movement that can revive the Democratic Party’s flagging political hopes.

But this particular opportunism and hypocrisy also carries with it the prospect of blindly ramping up tensions with Russia, diverting more taxpayer money into the Military-Industrial Complex and conceivably sparking – whether planned or unplanned – a nuclear Armageddon that could eliminate life on the planet. Perhaps this anti-Trump strategy should be rethought.

Posted in Russia0 Comments

Global arms trade at highest level since Cold War

NOVANEWS

__________
Daily Sabah
US, Russia account for more than half of global arms trade, which hit highest level since Cold War

Worldwide arms trade has risen to its highest level since the Cold War in the last five years, driven by a demand from the Middle East and Asia, a study said Monday.

Between 2012-2016, arms imports in terms of volume by countries in Asia and Oceania accounted for 43 percent of global imports, a 7.7 rise compared to the previous 2007-2011 period, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

“Transfer of major weapons in 2012-16 reached their highest volume for any five-year period since the end of” the Cold War, the independent institute said in a statement.

The share of Asia and Oceania in international imports was slightly higher (44 percent) between 2007 and 2011.

The share of countries in the Middle East and the Gulf monarchies jumped from 17 percent to 29 percent, far ahead of Europe (11 percent, down seven points), the Americas (8.6 percent, down 2.4 percentage points) and Africa (8.1 percent, down 1.3 points).

“Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the USA and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities”, said Pieter Wezeman, Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

“Despite low oil prices, countries in the region continued to order more weapons in 2016, perceiving them as crucial tools for dealing with conflicts and regional tensions,” he added.

SIPRI said worldwide arms imports and exports over the last five years have reached a record level since 1950.

Saudi Arabia was the second largest importer of weapons in the world (up 212 percent), behind India, which unlike China, does not have a production at national level yet. India accounted for 13 percent of global arms imports between 2012 and 2016, while second-placed Saudi Arabia stood at 8 percent.

The think tank estimated that India acquired 68 per cent of its arms from Russia, five times more than what the Asian heavyweight bought from the US. India was tipped to remain a major importer due to its failure to develop an indigenous arms industry, SIPRI said.

Saudi Arabia’s main suppliers were the US – which accounted for half of the Gulf monarchy’s imports – Britain and Spain.

China, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Algeria were the other biggest importers.

The United States remains the top weapons exporter with a 33 percent market share (up 3 point), ahead of Russia (23 percent, down 1 point), China (6.2 percent, up 2.4 points) and France (6.0 percent, down 0.9 points) passing Germany (5.6 percent, down 3.8 points).

These five countries account for almost 75 percent of global exports of heavy weapons.

The US sold arms to at least 100 countries, far more than any other major exporter. Combat aircraft and missile defense systems were among its most lucrative products.

Russia sold arms to 50 states, although over two thirds of its exports went to India, Vietnam, China and Algeria.

France’s boost in the export ranking is a result of important contracts signed with Egypt, which acquired Mistral-style warships and Rafale combat aircraft.

Aude Fleurant, head of the armaments program at SIPRI, told AFP that “competition is fierce among European producers” with France, Germany and Britain in the lead.

Europe accounted for 11 per cent of global imports, down by over a third compared to the 2007-2011 period in the wake of defense cuts.

The region of Asia and Oceania accounted for 43 per cent of all imports in the period with Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines increasing their demand for naval vessels, submarines and combat aircraft.

The Middle East’s combined share stood at 29 per cent – almost double compared to the 2007-2011 period.

“Over the past five years, most states in the Middle East have turned primarily to the US and Europe in their accelerated pursuit of advanced military capabilities,” Wezeman said.

Imports declined in Latin America, notably by Venezuela and Colombia, while Mexico bucked the trend.

Africa also saw imports dip, with Algeria accounting for almost half of the region’s imports.

The arms transfers database does not include small arms and is based on public sources ranging from national and regional newspapers to specialized international journals, as well as government and industry reports.

SIPRI uses a five-year cycle to even out fluctuations caused by a big order during any specific year.

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