>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Air raid sirens, emergency broadcasts of “imminent airstrike” awaken residents of Russian city Borovichi

>Over 6,000 servicemen are on 24/7 combat duty, and at least 96% of all missile systems are ready for deployment within several dozen seconds. It is the highest readiness level among the components of the Russian nuclear triad.
– Colonel General Nikolai Solovtsov, Commander of Russian Strategic Missile Forces, quoted by Novosti, February 11, 2009

- Armenia Follows Belarus in Integrating Air Defense Network with Russia


- Crew of Ukrainian Freighter Faina Arrives in Kiev from Somalia, Ordered to not Discuss Hijacking and Hostage Taking

- Turkey’s Islamist President Arrives in Moscow to Cement Links with Russia in Vindication of Bible Prophecy

- Russian Space Agency Official: Debris from Collision of US Comsat and Russian Military Satellite Endangers Other Spacecraft

On several occasions we have at Once Upon a Time in the West focused on Russia’s civil defense activities as one element in the Kremlin’s stealthy and incremental plans for a preemptive military strike against the West. As in the days of the Cold War, a full civilian mobilization could be indicative of an imminent strategic nuclear attack against NATO countries and North America. The USA closed its bomb shelters after the “demise” of the Soviet Union and since 911, when Islamic terrorism killed thousands on US soil, only one municipality—Huntsville, Alabama—wisely moved to reactivate its fallout shelters in 2007.

Under the pretext of preparing its population to cope with a “Western military invasion,” this past September St. Petersburg’s Committee on Law, Order and Security activated 300 air raid sirens, silent since the Cold War, and interrupted radio and television broadcasts to announce that an emergency drill was under way. “Instructions on how to behave in the event of a military attack or emergency were then broadcast for 14 minutes,” reported Britain’s Telegraph, adding: “Critics of the Kremlin dismissed the exercise as a stunt, saying it was intended to give the impression that a Western invasion could easily happen and that it was therefore necessary to rally around the government at a time of national crisis.” This was no stunt but, rather, part of the Kremlin’s massive, multi-theater, multi-branch Stability-2008 war game, held in conjunction with Belarus’ armed forces and emergency officials.

Under the pretense of a “false alarm,” Russian authorities, this time in Borovichi, a city of 70,000 people between Moscow and St. Petersburg, awakened residents last night at 11:30 with air raid sirens and emergency announcements of an imminent airstike. “The long signal of the siren and the subsequent announcements not only alerted residents in the center of the city, but in the outskirts as well,” a regional police spokesman informed state-run Novosti today. “Many residents took the signal seriously and police received a large number of calls,” Novosti stated, quoting the same source, “asking how serious the threat was and what people should do in the event of an air raid.” Russia’s air raid sirens are operated by the Emergency Situations Ministry, the head of which is “ex”-communist Sergei Shoigu, son-in-law of Oleg Shenin, the hard-core Stalinist who masterminded the potemkin August 1991 coup against Mikhail Gorbachev. Borovichi police are considering the possibility that a “prankster” activated one emergency signal located on a dormitory roof or that a “malfunction” caused the signal to self-activate. Yeah, right.

On February 3 the “ex”-communist leaders of Russia and Belarus formally created a unified air defense network under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Today Novosti announced that Russia and Armenia will also establish an integrated air defense system. “The so-called Russian-Belarusian integrated air defense network is just a part of the cooperation within the Collective Security Treaty Organization,” explained CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha, a “former” Chekist, at a Moscow news conference, adding: “We are expecting Russia and Armenia to set up a similar joint network.” According to Bordyuzha, the CSTO–which consists of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan–will set up three regional air defense networks, one between Russia and Belarus, a second between Russia and Armenia, and a third between Russia and the Central Asian republics.

“After that we will advance to a higher level of cooperation, coordinating the activity of all regional networks and introducing common rules of engagement and information exchange,” Bordyuzha predicted. The combined air defense network for the Union State of Russia and Belarus, as previously reported, will include five air force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units, and one electronic warfare unit. The Union State air defenses will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian air force or air defense senior commander. This past Wednesday Kazakhstan announced that Russia will deliver the latest version of the S-300 air defense missile system to the Central Asian state in the near future.

In another story related to Russia’s remilitarization under KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, the Russian Navy has joined a United Nations-backed international armada off the coast of Somalia. The Peter the Great nuclear-powered missile cruiser, which lately conducted joint drills with India and Venezuela, detained three pirate vessels on Friday.

The incident began yesterday near Yemen’s Sokotra Island, where Russia reportedly plans to revitalized a Soviet-era naval base. A helicopter based on the missile cruiser spotted two speedboats moving toward a fishing boat under the Iranian flag. Upon spotting the Russian helicopter, the speedboat crews began hurling arms overboard. The helicopter crew continued surveillance until the Peter the Great arrived at the scene. Assault rifles, grenade launchers, drugs, and cash were discovered on board the speedboats and the Iranian fishing boat. “The detainees were in a state of narcotic intoxication,” explained Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo, a Russian naval spokesman.

At the same time, the crew of the Faina, a Ukrainian cargo ship hijacked by Somali pirates on September 25 and released on February 5, arrived today in Kiev. The crew of 17 Ukrainians, two Russians, and one Latvian were met at the airport by family members and Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. The Russian sailors will leave for St. Petersburg later in the day. The pirates received a US $3.2 million ransom, a figure somewhat less than the US$35 million originally demanded. The Faina was carrying 33 Soviet-made T-72 tanks and other heavy weaponry, to be delivered to Kenya or possibly the regional government of South Sudan, depending on which news source is consulted. The body of the Faina’s Russian captain, Vladimir Kolobov, who died of a heart attack soon after the hijackers seized the ship, is still in Nairobi. The body will be shipped to St. Petersburg after an autopsy is performed.

Significantly, reports Novosti, upon their arrival all of the sailors were given “strict orders not to say anything to anyone.” One crewmember dismissed reporters’ questions about how the pirates treated him by saying, “I don’t want to talk about it.” From the vantage of the long-range Soviet deception, it may be that the Faina hijacking was manufactured in or provoked by Moscow to provide a rationale for re-projecting Russia’s otherwise waning sea power into the strategically vital Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, Russian space experts are changing their tune with respect to the danger posed or not posed by Tuesday’s unprecedented orbital collision of two US and Russian satellites. According to Vladimir Solovyov, who directs Russia’s involvement in the International Space Station, the debris produced by the Iridium-33 telecommunications satellite and the supposedly defunct Cosmos-2251 military satellite is a real threat to other satellites in a 500-mile-high orbit. “Eight hundred kilometers is a very popular orbit for remote Earth sensing and telecommunications satellites,” Solovyov opined, adding: “There are a lot of communications satellites there, many of them still in operation. There are 66 Iridium series satellites alone on that orbit. The cloud from the collision is a serious threat to them.”

Notwithstanding the scenario of space junk disabling or destroying operational satellites and launch vehicles, the Progress M-66 cargo spacecraft, carrying 2.4 tons of oxygen, food, clothes, and medical equipment, docked with the ISS today. The Progress M-66 blasted off from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on Tuesday aboard a Soyuz-U carrier rocket. The current ISS crew consists of two US astronauts, commander Michael Fincke and engineer Sandra Magnus, and one Russian cosmonaut, engineer Yury Lonchakov. For the first time in many years, the launch of an ISS support rocket was moved to Pad No. 31. The refit of the alternate facility was necessary due to Russia’s record number of launches planned for this year from Baikonur’s main pad.

Modernizing military equipment, reforming the armed forces command structure, and resuming overseas aviation and naval missions, are only three components in the Kremlin’s plot to displace the USA as global “hegemon.” Building alliances with countries that were not previously part of the Soviet Bloc, such as Turkey, which is still a NATO member, is another core element in the Soviet strategy. The new Soviet-Turkish alliance, as we have previously blogged, is also significant from the vantage of Bible prophecy since Magog (Russia) and Togarmah (Turkey) are two countries that invade Israel during the seven-year tribulation at the end of this age. As it stands, the Moscow Leninists and Ankara’s Justice and Development regime are anti-Jewish/Zionist and pro-Arab/Muslim.

Today, reports state-run Russia Today, Turkey’s Islamist president Abdullah Gul arrived in the Russian capital, where he met counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. Energy cooperation and bilateral trade, which has tripled between Russia and Turkey in four years, is high on the two leaders’ agenda. Russia is in fact Turkey’s largest trading partner, while Turkish developers have played a major role in the recent real estate boom in Russia. Siberian natural gas delivered across the floor of the Black Sea accounts for two thirds of Turkey’s consumption. “There is a major cooperation potential in electric power generation, including the participation of Russian companies in the construction of nuclear power facilities in Turkey,” a Kremlin source was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying. “In August of 2008,” Russia Today continues, “Turkey was one of the few NATO countries that didn’t chastise Russia’s involvement in South Ossetia. This did not go unnoticed by the Kremlin.”

Twenty-five years ago KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn warned the West that the Soviet Union would attempt to undermine NATO solidarity by feigning its own demise, thereby removing NATO’s raison d’etre. The plan has been resoundingly successful. Putin’s disingenuous speech at the recent World Economic Forum provides some insight into the Soviets’ view of US military might maintained in the face of a global economic recession. Pleading for capitalism with a touch of social democracy, warning Americans against the evils of Soviet socialism, which he lauded only four years ago, and completely ignoring his own country’s remilitarization, Russia’s KGB-communist dictator piously enjoined:

The US should not exercise excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence. In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated. In the longer run, militarization won’t solve the problem but will rather quell it temporarily. What it will do is squeeze huge financial and other resources from the economy instead of finding better and wiser uses for them.

In other words, it’s OK for Russia, but not America, to build up its military. Be assured, the empty-headed “intellectuals” and ideologically challenged “experts” of the West will believe every word that emerges from the neo-Soviet leadership, including Putin’s latest poppy-cock.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Bear bombers approach Aleutians again; US, Russian satellites destroyed in unprecedented orbital collision

>Moscow Approves Transit of Non-Military NATO Cargoes over Russian Territory to Afghanistan

Two Russian Tu-95 strategic bombers carried out another routine patrol over the Arctic Ocean yesterday. The 12-hour mission included in-flight refueling and was accompanied by US Air Force F-15 Eagle fighter jets as the bombers approached the Aleutian Islands. A Kremlin spokesentity was quick to reiterate that “all Russian strategic patrols are performed in strict accordance with international rules on the use of airspace over neutral waters, without violating the borders of other states.” This assertion, though, is not true, as we have documented on countless occasions. The Kremlin’s strategic bombers regularly probe NATO-NORAD airspace. Indeed, on one occasion in August 2007 a Russian military aircraft reportedly flew more than 200 kilometres over Labrador before being repelled by Canadian warplanes.

In a story related to Kremlin military activities, on Tuesday an operational satellite owned by Iridium, a US telecommunications company, collided in orbit with an allegedly defunct Russian military satellite launched in 1993. Each satellite weighed more than 1,000 pounds. This unprecedented event in the history of space flight occurred 500 miles over Siberia and probably produced a flash that was more than likely visible from the ground. Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, insisted that the debris from the collision posed no threat to the International Space Station and its crew of three. “A collision occurred between an Iridium 33 satellite and a Russian Kosmos 2251 military satellite,” Major General Alexander Yakushin intoned on behalf of the Russian Space Forces. Iridium, however, described the collision as “extremely unusual” and a “low-probability event.” “This was the worst such incident that has ever occurred,” commented Nicholas Johnson at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Even though more than 6,000 satellites have been launched into orbit since 1957, orbital collisions are, dare we say, “once in a blue moon” events. Analysts expect the wreckage from the Iridium 33-Kosmos 2251 collision to burn up in the atmosphere. In this era of missile- and energy beam-equipped “killer” satellites, regular visitors to this blog are probably thinking the same thing yours truly is thinking: “Is it possible that the reportedly non-operational Russian military satellite not so accidentally bumped into or disabled in some way the US satellite?” Inquiring minds want to know.

Meanwhile, back on the Earth, Moscow has agreed to allow the transit of non-military NATO cargoes over Russian territory to Afghanistan, where Western Alliance forces have since 2001 been engaged in counter-insurgency operations against the Al Qaeda-linked Taliban. The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force will first transport goods via Russia and then transit Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Afghanistan. “The question has been settled, it only remains to agree on some technical issues,” a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry informed Interfax. The agreement was discussed during US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Patrick Moon’s visit to Moscow on February 10 and 11. “We are waiting for our American partners to provide us with details about the amount and character of the goods. When it happens we’ll give our approval,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov enthused.

Since US-led forces ousted the Taliban regime, Russia has cooperated with NATO by providing air corridors for planes carrying servicemen and military cargos. The Kremlin’s chummy support for NATO’s Afghan operation, it should be noted, is suspicious in light of the large financial incentives that Russia has awarded to Kyrgyzstan in return for terminating the US military’s lease on the Manas air base. It may be that the Moscow Leninists are buttering up the Obama White House in advance of possible talks to renegotiate the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in December.

>Red Terror File: Azerbaijan’s air force commander gunned down, Rzayev Baku’s pointman for negotiating US access to Russia’s Gabala radar base

>In what is possibly another brazen act of red terror in a Not-So-Former Soviet republic where Moscow and Washington DC are vying for control, Lieutenant- General Rail Rzayev, Azerbaijan’s air force commander since 1992, was gunned down outside his home in Baku this morning. This high-profile assassination, speculates the AFP news agency below, may have been a contract hit linked with Rzayev’s role in “large-scale” military acquisitions. Rzayev was also Baku’s pointman in negotiations between Russia and the USA over the latter’s proposed use of the Gabala radar station in the northern part of the country.

Azerbaijan air force chief shot dead
February 11, 2009

BAKU (AFP) — The powerful chief of Azerbaijan’s air force was shot dead outside his home Wednesday, the highest ranking military official to be killed in the oil-rich republic wedged between Russia and Iran.

Lieutenant-General Rail Rzayev, 64, was gunned down outside his home in the capital Baku as he left for work in the early morning, interior ministry spokesman Sadiq Gozalov told AFP.

“The general was shot and received a heavy wound to the head. He was sent to the military hospital in Baku, where he died,” Gozalov said.

Gozalov said police were on the scene investigating and that military prosecutors would be handling the case. He said he had no information regarding a possible motive for the shooting.

Experts said the killing may have been a contract hit linked with Rzayev’s role in large-scale military acquisitions Azerbaijan has made in recent years as government coffers surged from oil revenues.

“This is the most serious murder in the history of Azerbaijan’s defence ministry,” Baku-based military analyst Uzeir Jafarov said.

“Rzayev was the focal point for air force and air defence military acquisitions and the largest part of (Azerbaijan’s) military budget is being alocated for acquisitions in these spheres.”

He said he was unaware of any personal problems that may have been behind the killing.

Jafarov also said that Rzayev had no ambitions outside his role as air force chief and he doubted the killing may have been linked to an internal struggle within Azerbaijan’s military.

Azerbaijan’s ANS television reported that Rzayev had been the head of Azerbaijan’s air force and air defence forces since 1992.

Azerbaijan is in the strategic Caucasus region, where Russia and the US are vying for influence. The energy-rich mainly Muslim republic is also a major energy exporter and transit hub for oil and gas from the Caspian Sea.

The country has more than quadrupled its military budget in the last five years thanks to soaring oil revenues.

Azerbaijan remains technically at war with neighbouring Armenia over the separatist region of Nagorny Karabakh, which ethnic Armenian separatists wrested from Baku’s control during a war in the early 1990s.

Rzayev was also Azerbaijan’s point man in negotiations between Russia and the United States over the use of the Gabala radar station in northern Azerbaijan.

Russia in 2007 offered to share the Gabala station, which it leases from Azerbaijan, in exchange for the US dropping plans to deploy a radar station in the Czech Republic and missile interceptors in Poland as part of its missile defence systems.

It is possible that through the Rzayev hit the Moscow Leninists are sending a message to Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, whose father Heydar was the Caspian republic’s long-time KGB-Communist Party boss. The message is simple: Azerbaijan will not be permitted to leave Russia’s orbit to join NATO.

Ilham is surrounded by “ex”-communists. Prime Minister Artur Rasizada is an “ex”-CPSU cadre, while Ramiz Mehtiev, head of Ilham’s presidential administration, was the Communist Party of Azerbaijan’s chief ideologist during the 1980s. “During his last three years [2000-2003],” reported the International Crisis Group in 2004, “the elder [Heydar] Aliyev appointed younger ministers, many of them associates of his son. . . . Many of these younger figures, who were formerly active in the Communist youth organisation (Komsomol), helped pave the way for Ilham’s ascent to power.” ‘Nuff said.

>Middle East File: Kadima grabs one-mandate lead over Likud as rightist parties obtain overall majority; IDF votes to clinch victory for Netanyahu

>Israel’s Right Wing Committed to Destroying Hamas (Before Islamic Terrorism Destroys Israel)

Today, in the Middle East’s only properly functioning democracy, Israelis marched to the polls to grant an overall victory to the country’s rightist parties, in particular Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, although Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s centrist Kadima party gained one Knesset mandate over former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party. Granted, multiple parties compete in Lebanese and post-Saddam Iraqi elections, but Beirut politics are heavily twisted by Syrian machinations, while Iraq remains under US military occupation.

Both Livni and Netanyahu are claiming victory and the constitutional right to form the next government in Jerusalem. However, Israel’s diplomatic corp and the Israeli Defense Forces have yet to submit their ballots, which equal five mandates. As Arutz Sheva notes below, the IDF generally supports Israel’s nationalist and religious parties, thereby affording Likud a small edge over Kadima. In spite of Kadima’s unexpected electoral surge, tough-talking Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the next government’s kingmaker.

Pictured above: Netanyahu greets Likud supporters at the party’s election headquarters in Tel Aviv, where it is already February 11.

Soldiers’ Vote May Swing the Elections to a Tie
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
February 10, 2009

(IsraelNN.com) Voters gave Kadima 28 mandates in the next Knesset, one more than Likud, with almost all of Tuesday’s ballots counted but not including votes of diplomats and soldiers, whose votes will be counted on Wednesday and Thursday. Their ballots are equal to five mandates.

Following is the current number of estimated MKs for each party following the counting of 99% of the available votes: Kadima 28, Likud 27, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) 14, Labor 13, Shas 11, United Torah Judaism (UTJ) 5, Ichud Leumi (National Union) 4, Jewish Home 3, Meretz 3, and Arab parties 12.

The votes of the armed forces usually tilt to the nationalist and religious parties, and are likely to create at least a tie and may even put Likud in the lead. The votes of diplomats overseas and soldiers changed the results in the last election by taking one Knesset seat away from Kadima. The number of Arab MKs also will likely be reduced after the soldiers’ ballots are counted.

Kadima, headed by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, pulled ahead of the Likud by one MK, in a surprise finish. The biggest losers are the Meretz and Labor parties, while Arab parties are currently projected to place three more legislators in the Knesset than they currently have.

The Likud has the potential backing of 64 MKs, and the chances of Livni’s forming a national unity government appeared nil after Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman spelled out his conditions that it would not join a government that does not want to bring down the Hamas government in Gaza. The party also strongly favors pledging Israeli citizens to a loyalty oath, a move that Kadima rejects.

Livni has declared victory by virtue of apparently winning the most mandates, but Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman each said that the votes for the nationalist and religious parties clearly give them the right to control the next government.

Both Netanyahu and Lieberman have vowed to destroy Iran’s terrorist proxy regime in the Gaza Strip, a prospect that cannot in turn please Iran’s puppetmasters in Moscow. “At the end of the day there will be no alternative but to bring down the regime of Hamas, a terrorist organization pledged to our destruction,” Netanyahu told foreign reporters in Jerusalem last month. For his part, this evening, after the election results rolled in, Lieberman promised: “Our first goal is clear, to destroy Hamas, to take it down. Seven years in a row we wake up every morning, go to sleep every evening, with the news of a new Kassam attack. That must end.”

As the political horse trading commenced on February 11, Livni and Lieberman met to discuss the formation of a coalition government, while Netanyahu met with Eli Yishai, whose ultra-Orthodox Shas party received 11 seats. Lieberman, however, has also expressed his preference to join a right-wing government that includes Shas.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Obama hires Kissinger to wave white flag in Moscow, gut US nukes; CIS states plan Combat Commonwealth 2009 war game

>Since 2007 alleged Soviet agent Henry (“Bor”) Kissinger and ex-KGB chief Yevgeny Primakov have co-chaired a secretive committee that is committed to promoting US-Russian relations in an amicable atmosphere, but in reality is designed to bring about the disarmament of the USA in the face of Soviet aggression, nuclear blackmail, and plans for East-West convergence. Both Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush have hosted the Kissinger-Primakov Strategic Vision Group, at Putin’s private residence near Moscow and at the White House, respectively. The group attracts upper-echelon Council on Foreign Relations cadres and appears to meet once or twice each year.

Pictured above: Kissinger, left, talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov at the 45th annual Munich Conference on Security Policy, at the hotel “Bayerischer Hof” in Munich, on February 6.

When the committee was established two years ago, one of its functions was to grease the foreign policy transition between presidential administrations in Washington, DC. The plot worked admirably. Both presidential teams are devoted to submerging the USA into the Red World Order, Obama faster than Bush. “One of my goals is to prevent nuclear proliferation generally. I think that it’s important for the United States, in concert with Russia, to lead the way on this,” Obama explained during a White House news conference yesterday.

We previously reported that shortly after his inauguration President Obama extended an olive branch to the Soviets by offering to slash the US nuclear arsenal by 80 percent, provided the Russians do the same. Each country would thereby be left with 1,000 warheads. “Frequent visits by Mr. Kissinger to Russia since 2000,” reveals Adrian Blomfield, “have largely gone unreported in the Western press. But in 2007, the Russian news agency Novosti reported that Mr Kissinger and Yevgeny Primakov, a former KGB master, were appointed by Mr. Putin to co-chair a bilateral ‘working group’ of Russian and American political insiders to tackle issues such as global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and nuclear threats.”

The Telegraph journalist reports that in December, with then President-Elect Obama’s prompting, “Dr. K” again met with Putin at the KGB-communist dictator’s country residence, as well as with President Dmitry Medvedev for two days of secret negotiations. During that occasion President Richard Nixon’s former state secretary apparently enticed the Soviets with visions of America’s capitulation to world communism. A longer excerpt on Dr. K’s most recent international machinations follows:

The decision to send Mr Kissinger to Moscow, taken by Mr Obama when he was still president-elect, is part of a plan to overcome probable Republican objections in Congress.

Mr Kissinger is believed to have won a verbal rather than written undertaking for the deal. Tom Graham, a senior associate at Kissinger Associates and a former member of the national security council in the White House, on Thursday confirmed that Mr Kissinger had met Mr Medvedev but denied that any negotiations had taken place and said he had not met with Mr Putin.

However, a diplomatic source said that Mr Kissinger held two days of talks with Mr Putin at his country house near Moscow.

While the details of the ambitious initiative are yet to be revealed, the proposal to return to the negotiating table after eight years of reluctance in Washington has been welcomed in Britain and elsewhere.

Mr Obama apparently chose Mr Kissinger for his consummate diplomatic skills and his popularity in Moscow, an affection earned by his open acknowledgment of Russia’s international resurgence.

Despite his pariah status with many Left-wingers in Mr Obama’s Democratic Party, the president forged relations with Mr Kissinger during his campaign.

The compliment was returned when the 85-year-old veteran of the Nixon and Ford administrations said last month that the young president was in a position to create a “new world order” by shifting US foreign policy away from the hostile stance of the Bush administration.

He publicly supported Mr Obama’s notion of unconditional talks with Iran, though not at the presidential level.

Dr. K, the same source reveals, is not the only global political fixer in Obama’s employ. Two Republicans—US Senator Richard Lugar and George Schultz, formerly President Ronald Reagan’s state secretary—are sold out to Obamessiah’s deluded vision of a nuke-free world:

Further demonstrating his willingness to work with his opponents on foreign policy issues, Mr Obama turned to two veteran Republicans steeped in Cold War experience to press home his plans.

Shortly after Mr Kissinger’s trip, Richard Lugar, a Republican senator from Indiana who has worked on nuclear disarmament issues for 30 years, also visited Moscow. George Schultz, another former secretary of state, has also played a vital role.

Observers say signs of progress towards a new treaty could come as early as this weekend, when senior government officials meet at a security conference in Munich.

The Soviets, reports Blomfield, are desperate to retool the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expires on December 5 of this year, because most of their nuclear arsenal has passed the “sell by” date, requiring decommissioning even as Moscow phases in a new generation of ICBMs. Under START, the USA and the Soviet Union agreed to halve their stockpiles to 5,000 warheads apiece. An addendum drafted in 2002 under the START framework required both Moscow and Washington to further reduce the number of warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200 each.

In terms of nuclear disarmament, the neo-Soviet leadership is eager to push America’s back against the wall. Today, in an interview with Russia’s Vesti-24 TV news channel, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated:

We are ready for talks, which will allow us to preserve the mechanism of limitations and reductions of strategic offensive weapons and we are glad that the new U.S. administration is paying priority attention to this subject. We have noticed that the Obama team is ready to discuss the whole range of issues, including the mechanisms of verification and control, mutual inspections. We shall hope that when the disarmament team is formed in the State Department, which has not happened as yet, we will be able to start the talks immediately.

Meanwhile, the neo-Soviet leadership is proceeding with military reforms that will modernize the Russian Armed Forces by eliminating 30 percent of officers and reducing the total number of servicemen to one million by 2012. “In line with the current organizational changes we will have to reform 84% of all Air Force units. Of these, 10% will be disbanded, 22% reformed and 68% staffed according to new structural parameters,” Russia’s air force commander Colonel General Alexander Zelin stated at a news conference in Moscow on Monday. Zelin added: “The structural reform will ensure that the Russian Air Force receives advanced air and ground weapons systems, including modernized strategic bombers and tactical aircraft to neutralize potential military threats on the global and regional scale.” As we have blogged before, the Kremlin views the USA as the world’s primary “potential military threat.”

Modernizing Russia’s armed forces—which are not insignificant in firepower but plagued by aging equipment, underfunded maintenance regimes, and flagging troop morale—entails integrating the air defense networks of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The new treaty that will integrate Russia and Belarus’ regional air defense network will in turn be incorporated into the wider CIS air defense system, Zelin explained today. “The CIS integrated air defense network is intended to accomplish a variety of tasks, including missile early warning and countering attacks of a potential enemy. We [Russia] will certainly participate in the defense of any of the member-states, if their airspace is violated,” Zelin warned.

This summer CIS members plan to conduct “large-scale” air defense exercises at the Ashuluk training ground, in Russia’s Astrakhan region near the Caspian Sea. Russia’s air force commander outlined the forthcoming war game: “During the Combat Commonwealth 2009 exercise, which involves live-firing drills, we are planning to practice joint deployment of CIS integrated air defense network’s units on a theater-operational scale in simulated conditions of a military-political crisis in one of the regions included in the collective security zone.” In view of the last sentence quoted here, one can only speculate that Combat Commonwealth 2009 represents preparations for dislodging the “pro”-Western governments in Kiev and Tbilisi.

Over the next three years the Kremlin will allocate four trillion rubles (US$111 billion) on defense spending. “The Russian Defense Ministry’s budget for 2009 and for the planned period of 2010-2011 is primarily aimed at creating a fundamentally new army for the 21st century,” Deputy Defense Minister for Financial and Economic Work Lyubov Kudelina stated.

Military reform and weapon modernization accord with the long-range Soviet strategy for international supremacy, which Medvedev articulated today at a meeting of the Commission on Russian Federation Military Cooperation with Foreign States, which includes Russia’s Communist Bloc allies. “In terms of military-technical cooperation with foreign states we ended last year rather well,” the Soviet Komsomol graduate enthused. “The total volumes of supplies exceeded US$8.350 billion, a 800-million dollar increase against the previous year. It is obvious that this year will be not easy due to the fact that the world is going through a financial crisis. This affects the armaments purchase volume, but this notwithstanding we should try to preserve our achievements and maybe expand cooperation volumes in certain spheres.” Even though the ruble is tanking and Russian banks are on the verge of collapse, the Kremlin is evidently undaunted in its drive for regional and global mastery.

The Kremlin commission mentioned above consists of Foreign Minister Lavrov, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, Industry and Trade Minister Viktor Khristenko, Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB) Director Alexander Bortnikov, Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR/KGB) Director Mikhail Fradkov, Head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Mikhail Dmitriyev, Director General of the Rostekhnologii State Corporation Sergei Chemezov, Director General of the Rosoboronexport arms exporting company Anatoly Isaikin, presidential administration head Sergei Naryshkin, and presidential aides Sergei Prikhodko and Larisa Brycheva. Incidentally, Patrushev was FSB chief before fellow Chekist Bortnikov took over the Lubyanka last year.

Finally, the Moscow Leninists, following the old “divide and conquer” tactic, are enthusiastically endorsing a new Scandinavian Defense Union that will unite Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland in a military alliance separate from the US-dominated North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Kremlin-run Russia Today exposes the Soviets’ decades-old frustration and annoyance with NATO: “For Russia formation of the Nordic Alliance could possibly mean that it will be able to speak directly to the Arctic countries, thus by-passing NATO, for 60 years now wholly controlled by the US, which in turn could mean that purely economic interests would prevail. However, this is only if the US does not enter the new organization, because, strangely enough, it has Arctic territories too.”

>Latin America File: Cuban president, KGB asset Castro visits Cold War allies Angola and Algeria, Cuban military delegation heads for Moscow in summer

>Intense power networking continues this week among Communist Bloc leaders. No doubt personally bolstered by his week-long state visit to Russia, his first since 1984 or 1985, Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro popped in for tea with Cold War allies Algeria and Angola.

Yesterday in Algiers Castro conferred with Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika (pictured above), who represents the long-ruling National Liberation Front that forced France to pull out of its former colony in 1962. “The two leaders were aiming to reinforce bilateral ties and also planned to discuss regional and international questions of common interest,” the AFP news agency quoted the Algerian presidential office as saying. “Algerian-Cuban relations have always been clear and honest,” Castro intoned, “They have not just been maintained, but have been strengthened over time.” Algeria and Cuba established diplomatic relations shortly after Algerian independence. In 2005 the two countries inked cooperation agreements in the areas of health, sports, fisheries and culture. Fidel Castro visited Algiers seven times as Cuban president, while Bouteflika visited Havana in 2006, after the younger Castro brother took over the presidency. Cuban “health volunteers” serve in Algeria and Cuba manages several eye clinics in the north African country.

Last Wednesday, immediately after his pilgrimage to Moscow, Castro flew to southern Africa where he met Angolan counterpart Jose Eduardo dos Santos in Luanda. In tow was a large Cuban delegation to “reinforce relations” established between the Caribbean and African states in 1976, shortly after Angola’s independence from Portugal. Over the last 30 years, more than 10,000 Cuban doctors and health workers, as well as 16,500 teachers have been dispatched to Angola. In return more than 18,000 Angolans have studied in Cuba. Angola’s Marxist dictator dos Santos previously visited Cuba in September 2007 (pictured above).

The Cuban and Angolan leaders also discussed bilateral military linkages. “The visit officially is going to focus on the social and economic sectors, but I know from sources it’s also in terms of defence and military forces,” revealed Paula Roque, who works for the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. Cuban officers have trained their Angolan counterparts for years at a military institute in Luanda, Roque added. “No official information was released on defence issues,” the AFP news agency explains, “but military ties have long been a key component in Cuba’s relations with Angola.”

Upon Angola’s independence, Cuban forces were deployed to Africa to aid the Soviet-backed Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), which was backed by the USA and apartheid South Africa. The number of Cuban troops in Angola reached 30,000 in the 1980s, until Havana finally withdrew its forces at the “end” of the Cold War as part of a regional peace plan that required South Africa to grant independence to Namibia. Angola’s civil war, however, raged on until UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi died in 2002.

In a related story that reveals Russia’s attempt to establish a Red Dawn-style military coalition with Latin America’s predominantly leftist regimes, Cuban President Castro’s trip to Moscow last week will be followed up this summer by a military delegation from Havana. General Arnaldo Tamayo, who heads the foreign affairs section of Cuba’s Ministry of Revolutionary Armed Forces and chairs the Russia-Cuba Friendship Parliamentary Group, praised the results of a Russian parliamentary delegation’s visit to Havana in January. The visitors from Moscow were led by Viktor Ozerov, who chairs Russia’s Federation Council defense and security committee. “We had a fruitful exchange of views, and we told our Russian colleagues about our defensive doctrine and discussed various aspects of our military cooperation,” Tamayo gushed to Novosti, adding: “We have agreed that there is a need to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in the military sector.”

In November Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Havana to re-invigorate Soviet-Cuban relations and the following month, in a “post”-Cold War “first,” a Russian anti-submarine destroyer with a military delegation aboard docked in Havana harbor.

>MISSILE DAY ALERT: Russian Navy denies Black Sea Fleet preparing for "emergency action"; Turkish, Bulgarian presidents head for Moscow

>- Red Terror Whack’em and Stack’em File:

1) Kremlin Body Count Mounts with Assassination of Third Chechen Official in Moscow since September 2008

2) Human Rights Lawyer and Journalist Gunned Down in January, Killer Also Used Silencer-Equipped Pistol as in Today’s Incident

Pictured above: On January 28 Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, moored at Italy’s Messina harbor in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1908 Messina earthquake and Russia’s participation in the international relief effort.

In what might be a heads up for those waiting for Missile Day, that is, the expected surprise attack against the Western Alliance by the Soviet Bloc, the Russian Navy is today dismissing media reports claiming that the Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, Ukraine, had been placed on alert and preparing for “emergency action” at sea. “I’ve been authorized to categorically deny this information as being inconsistent with reality and providing fertile soil for rumors and speculation. It’s business as usual, and the Black Sea Fleet is performing its routine duties,” naval spokesentity Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo. He intimated that such reports could have been distributed to “deliberately fan tensions in the region.”

In the event that the Kremlin decides to launch a preemptive missile strike against targets in Western Europe and North America, sending its navy out to sea would be a militarily prudent move. As it turns out, much of Russia’s navy is presently conducting tours of duty in international waters, the largest such surge since the Cold War. The Kremlin’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is presently holding maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea, while two landing ships from the Black Sea Fleet weighed anchor at Russia’s naval maintenance facility in Tartus, Syria, less than a week ago.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet currently uses a range of naval facilities in Ukraine’s Crimea as part of a 1997 agreement, under which Ukraine agreed to lease the bases to Russia until 2017. Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, who like most leaders in “post”-communist Eastern Europe started his career in the old Soviet regime, announced last summer that Ukraine would not extend the lease of the base in the Crimean city of Sevastopol beyond 2017, and urged Russia to start preparations for a withdrawal. Russia has already reactivated its Soviet-era naval maintenance facility at Tartus, Syria, and is constructing another facility at Latakia, while Russian media previously reported that Moscow was also considering resuscitating Soviet-era naval facilities in Yemen and Libya, among other countries. Russian military officials are also on record as saying Moscow could build up its presence in the Mediterranean to make up for the loss of Sevastopol.

Meanwhile, in a development that evokes the Bible’s prophecies concerning the early-tribulation invasion of Israel by Russia, Turkey, Iran, Libya, and various Arab states, the first two countries continue to consolidate their alliance. This is a troubling situation from the Western perspective since Turkey is a NATO member. From February 12 to 15 President Abdullah Gul will become the first Turkish head of state to pay an official visit to Russia. Gul, who along with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, represents Turkey’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party, is expected to hold a series of meetings with high-ranking Russian government officials and to visit Kazan, capital of Russia’s internal Republic of Tatarstan. On several occasions during Israel’s December-January military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Erdogan strongly condemned the Jewish state for punishing the Hamas terrorist regime.

Between 2001 and 2006 Russian-Turkish trade increased 250% and continues to expand. Russia pumps natural gas to Turkey through the Blue Stream pipeline under the Black Sea. Turkey is also one of the most popular destinations for Russian tourists.

Moscow is also shoring up its alliances with the “post”-communist regimes in the Balkan Pensinula, which is adjacent to Turkey. Today Bulgaria’s “ex”-communist President Georgi Parvanov began a two-day trip to Moscow, where he intends to raise the issue of compensation after the Balkan country was deprived of Russian natural gas for almost two weeks during last month’s pricing spat between Moscow and Kiev. Speaking to reporters before Parvanov’s arrival, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s assistant Sergei Prikhodko revealed that the two heads of state would discuss “practical steps to carry out strategic projects in the energy sphere.” These joint Soviet-Bulgarian projects include the Belene nuclear power plant that Russia is building in northern Bulgaria; the South Stream pipeline that will pump Central Asian and Russian gas to the Balkans and other European countries; and a second pipeline that will pump Russian and Caspian oil from the Bulgarian port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis.

Prikhodko also mentioned that Medvedev and Parvanov would discuss the Kremlin’s new proposed security arrangements for Europe and the ongoing global credit crunch. In harmony with the long-range Soviet objective of ejecting the USA from NATO, Medvedev last June proposed a new security structure that instead embraces Russia and Europe.

Finally, the Kremlin body count increased by one more cadaver today with the assassination of Gilani Shepiyev, a former deputy mayor of Grozny. Shepiyev was shot dead near his Moscow home last night. The killer’s gun was equipped with a silencer. Between 2004 and 2006 Shepiyev supervised law enforcement agencies in the North Caucasus republic. In 2006 he moved to Moscow after being seriously injured in an assassination attempt in the Chechen capital. This is the third high-profile murder of a Chechen in the Russian capital since September 2008. Ruslan Yamadayev, a former member of the Russian State Duma, was gunned down in central Moscow in late September. Yamadayev’s family opposes the Moscow-backed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, who denied complicity in that murder. Next, Movladi Baisarov, who formerly commanded a special police force unit in Chechnya, was murdered in Moscow in November.

More recently, on January 19 a masked man, armed with a silencer-equipped pistol as in the Shepiyev case above, gunned down human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova in Moscow in broad daylight. And so the Red Terror in “post”-communist Russia continues unabated . .

>Latin America File: Cuban president, KGB asset Raul Castro wraps up week-long Moscow visit with raft of aggrements in hand, Morales heads for Kremlin

>Today Cuban President/Tyrant and known KGB asset Raul Castro completed his official week-long trip to Russia, the first such trip since 1985. Castro left Moscow with a raft of bilateral agreements in hand. Among other developments, Castro and Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, a frontman for the neo-Soviet leadership, signed a memorandum on strategic cooperation. Russia also granted the Caribbean state a US$20 million loan to buy Russian-made construction, electricity-generating, and agricultural equipment to rebuild the island’s economy, which was adversely impacted by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in September 2008. Russia’s foreign trade bank Vnesheconombank also stated that it has opened credit lines totaling US$44.5 million to fund Cuba’s purchases of Tu-204CE civilian cargo aircraft and equipment.

“Castro’s visit will open up a new page in the history of Russian-Cuban relations,” Medvedev gushed and called the Cuban dictator’s presence in Moscow “historic” and a “milestone event.” On February 2 Castro also conferred with Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (pictured above). Putin visited Havana in 2000, while Medvedev showed up at the Cuban capital in late November of last year.

Other Soviet-Cuban projects include a joint scientific research center for information technologies and a yet-to-be-announced joint enterprise between state-run Aeroflot and Cubana de Aviacion. Although its in-flight service has improved since the Cold War, Aeroflot has yet to ditch its Soviet-era hammer and sickle logo. More than 40,000 Russian tourists dug their heels in Cuba’s sandy beaches in 2008. We have already documented the growing military alliance between Moscow and Havana, revitalized after nearly 20 years.

Incidentally, Kremlin-run Vnesheconombank is preparing to assume control of a 49 percent stake in AirBridge Zrt., the company that owns Malév Hungarian Airlines. In order to ensure that Malév retains its status as Hungary’s national airline and, thus, does not forfeit its European Union operating license, two Hungarians–Magdolna Költő and Kálmán Kis–will together control 51 percent of the company’s shares. “Despite the assurances, there is no doubt that Russian state interests will now dominate Malév,” reports one blog that monitors Hungarian politics, adding: “According to the terms of the new deal, the Hungarian flag carrier will strike a partnership with Aeroflot, Russia’s state-owned national airline.”

Not to be outdone by Cuba’s veteran communist dictatorship, new communist on the bloc Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, will also pay a visit to Moscow on February 16 to formalize a number of agreements with the Kremlin. Russian energy giant Gazprom and Bolivia’s state hydrocarbons company YPFB are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding during the visit. Last September Gazprom and France’s Total finalized an agreement with Bolivia on the joint exploration and production of natural gas in the South American country. The total trilateral investment is expected to reach US$4.5 billion. Bolivia has more gas reserves than any other Latin American country except Venezuela. In May 2006 Morales nationalized Bolivia’s gas industry.

Morales will be the third Latin American leftist leader to make a pilgrimage to Moscow since December. Nicaragua’s Sandinista president Daniel Ortega made his first “post”-Cold War junket to Russia just under two months ago.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Tu-95 bombers probe Danish airspace; Moscow, Minsk form joint air defense; Kyrgyzstan boots US base for Kremlin cash

>- Flashback: US Soldier at Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan Shot Dead “Ethnic Russian” Trying to Enter Compound in Fuel Truck

Two Russian Bear bombers carried out a “routine” 12-hour patrol over the Norwegian Sea last night, Novosti reports, practicing in-flight refueling. “En route, the Russian long-range aircraft were accompanied by a pair of F-16s from Norway and Denmark as well as a Eurofighter Typhoon of the British Royal Air Force,” Russian Air Force spokesentity Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Drik explained. The Copenhagen Post states that the Tu-95s were “repelled” by the Danish Air Force as they “probed” Danish, Norwegian, and British airspace.

Novosti reports in another article that the Obama White House would like to slash the number of nuclear warheads on both sides to 1,000, or an 80% reduction. The Strategic Arms Reduction (START-1) Treaty signed between the “defunct” Soviet Union and the USA in 1991 expires on December 5, 2009. Expect increased Russian military activity, such as bomber flights, as that date approaches and the Kremlin looks for any means to gut the US nuclear arsenal while secretly bolstering its own capacity to launch a preemptive strike.

Pictured above, left to right: Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, President Dmitry Medvedev, and Belarusian President Lukashenko at the Kremlin on February 3. Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov lurk in the background.

In a story related to Russia’s two-year-old resumption of long-range aviation missions, Russia and Belarus, which are politically and economically united in the Union State of Russia and Belarus, yesterday inked an agreement on the joint protection of the Union State’s airspace and the formation of an integrated regional air defense network. The document was signed at a meeting of the Union State Supreme Council, co-chaired in Moscow by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko. The Kremlin boasted that: “The document is a serious step in the development of military and military-technical ties between Russia and Belarus and it will significantly boost the defense capabilities of both countries.”

Colonel General Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian Air Force, previously explained that the integrated air defense system would embrace five air force units, 10 anti-aircraft units, five technical service and support units, and one electronic warfare unit. At the discretion of the two national presidents, the system will be placed under the command of a Russian or Belarusian Air Force or Air Defense Force senior commander. Belarus operates Russian-made S-300 air defense battalions and is negotiating the purchase of S-400 systems from Russia, which will be delivered by 2010.

Meanwhile, the Not-So-Former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan has announced the closure of a US military base on its territory. NATO uses the Manas base to support anti-terrorism operations in neighboring Afghanistan. While on a two-day visit to Moscow, “ex”-communist Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev secured deals to write off his country’s US$180 million debt to Russia and to receive a US$2 billion discounted loan and $150 million in financial aid from Russia in exchange for terminating the lease with NATO. Bakiyev cited Washington’s refusal to consider a higher rent and reluctance to address the December 2006 killing by a US soldier of Kyrgyz civilian Alexander Ivanov as reasons for booting out the US military. Regarding the latter incident RFE/RL reported at the time: “Kyrgyz media say the man was an ethnic Russian who was requesting permission to enter the base with his fuel truck.”

The base closure comes about as new US President Barack Hussein Obama promises a troop surge in Afghanistan. Manas currently houses more than 1,000 NATO military personnel. Although the Kremlin initially backed the US-led campaign to depose the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001, its relations with NATO have deteriorated over the alliance’s expansion into the “old” Soviet Bloc, and most recently Russia’s re-invasion of Georgia. Russia also maintains an air base in Kyrgyzstan under the provisions of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The CSTO is a military alliance comprising the Not-So-Former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. Armenia’s “ex”-communist president Serzh Sargsyan announced today that CSTO approved the formation of a collective rapid reaction force that will repel military aggression, conduct anti-terrorist operations, fight transnational crime and drug trafficking, and neutralize the effects of natural disasters. The force will be permanently based in Russia and placed under a single command with CSTO member countries contributing special military units. Uzbekistan will not participate in the collective force on a permanent basis but will delegate subunits to take part in operations on an ad hoc basis. Sargsyan stated that the CSTO Security Council would next meet in Moscow in June.

Pictured here, left to right: Lukashenko, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Bakiyev, Medvedev, Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon, and Sargsyan at today’s EurAsEc summit at the Kremlin. Every leader here is connected to the old Soviet regime.

Beginning today, however, the Russian capital will host a combined two-day summit of CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEc), which embraces Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan as full members. High on the agenda for summit participants will be addressing the impact of the global financial crisis and, in particular, organizing a joint assistance fund. Established in 2000, EurAsEC also involves Armenia, Moldova, and Ukraine as observers. The creation of a common economic space for Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus may be launched on January 1, 2010, Medvedev predicted in December.

Last November Russia signed friendship, cooperation, and mutual assistance treaties with Georgia’s separatist regimes in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Under the pacts, Russia has pledged to provide security for the two regions, while the signatories have granted each other the right to set up military bases in their respective territories. The treaties gant dual citizenship since the majority of South Ossetians and Abkhazians are Russian passport holders. Russia has also agreed to extends its transportation, energy, and communications infrastructure into the republics.

In South Ossetia the Russian Defense Ministry has finished constructing key infrastructure for the new Russian military base in the regional capital Tskhinvali, including four residential buildings for commissioned officers and their families. In Abkhazia, another separatist regime that is claimed by Tbilisi, Russia has promised to build a naval base. Last week, the US State Department expressed its displeasure with Kremlin plans to essentially annex Abkhazia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza warned: “The possible deployment of a naval base in Abkhazia, an airbase in Abkhazia and a military base in South Ossetia seems to be moving in the wrong direction Russia pledged to reduce its troops to the levels and locations of before the Russia-Georgia war. Russia is already in violation of those commitments . . . Deploying a naval base would be another violation.”

>End Times File: Russian carrier-based warplanes finish 18 missions over C. Mediterranean, landing ships arrive in Syria; Qaddafi elected AU president

>And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. — Ezekiel 38:3-6

- 200 African Traditional Leaders Hail Libyan Strongman Qaddafi “King of Kings” in 2008; Soviet Ally Promotes “Isratine,” Binational One-State “Solution” for Jews and Arabs

- Union for the Mediterranean Architect Sarkozy Wants Obama to Help Him “Change the World”

- Communist Cyprus Detains “Russian-Owned” Mystery Arms Ship Allegedly Bound for Hamas

Biblically significant developments are taking place in the Mediterranean Basin that relate to the seven-year tribulation period described in Daniel’s prophecy, John’s prophecies in Revelation, Isaiah’s prophecy of the destruction of Damascus, Zephaniah’s prophecy of the demise of Gaza and Philistia, and Ezekiel’s vision of the Magog invasion of Israel. In the 38th and 39th chapters of the book of Ezekiel, the Hebrew prophet describes an end-times military coalition, consisting of Magog (Russia), Persia (Iran), Togarmah (Turkey), Libya (by name), and Ethiopia (by name), that attacks Israel at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th prophetic week (D70W). These very countries, along with Syria and the Palestinians, are presently dominated by communist or Islamic regimes and aligned against the Jewish state.

Russia’s revived military presence in Syria is particularly worth watching. Following naval aviation exercises in Greek airspace, a joint drill with the Turkish Navy, and a visit to the Soviet-built naval maintenance base in Tartus, aircraft based on the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov completed another exercise over the central Mediterranean Sea last week. On January 30 state-run Itar-Tass reported: “Carrier-based aircraft of the Russian Northern Fleet carried out 18 missions from the heavy aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov over the past 24 hours–14 flights by Su-33 planes and four by deck landing helicopters. The pilots and sailors carried out the set tasks successfully, the fleet headquarters told Itar-Tass. The Admiral Kuznetsov continues its trip. The aircraft carrier is in the central part of the Mediterranean Sea this Friday.” The Sukhoi Su-33 (Flanker-D) multirole combat aircraft is one of Russia’s most advanced fighter jets and represents the carrier-based version of the Su-27 (Flanker).

Shortly after the Admiral Kuznetsov departed from Tartus, two Russian landing ships, the Azov and Yamal, docked at the Syrian port last Thursday, en route from the Black Sea to the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. There a Russian naval task force was slated to carry out a joint maneuver with the Indian Navy called Indra-2009, the fourth in a series of biennial exercises since 2003. Together the Ropucha II class Tank Landing Ship RFS Yamal (BDK 156) and Ropucha III class Tank Landing Ship RFS Azov (BDK 151, pictured above) can carry about 450 troops, or essentially one “reinforced company” of marines.

The purpose of the Azov and Yamal’s visit to Tartus was reportedly to replenish supplies but, as it turns out, these ships did not join Indra-2009. Last August, after Russia re-invaded Georgia, the anti-Zionist communist cabal that still runs the Kremlin indirectly denounced Israel’s role in training and equipping Tbilisi’s armed forces. Now up to 450 Russian marines are apparently visiting Syria, with which Israel is still technically at war 36 years after the Yom Kippur War.

The Russian and Indian navies actually wrapped up their drill this past Saturday with a reduced complement of ships that included only the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great and the Indian destroyer INS Delhi. Citing “technical reasons,” the Russian Navy withdrew the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Vinogradov from the scheduled war game. For its part, the Indian Navy withdrew a frontline frigate imported from Russia, a submarine, and helicopters that New Delhi had planned to use for Indra-2009. Following a “basic” exercise that lasted only a “few hours,” Peter the Great made a port of call at the Indian city of Goa. Incidentally, Goa is a favorite destination for Russian tourists and was probably a welcome pitstop for the sailors aboard the Russian missile cruiser. In November Peter the Great carried out a joint exercise with Venezuela’s navy in the southern Caribbean Sea.

Meanwhile, long-time Soviet ally, socialist revolutionary, champion of African integration, and erratic Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi has been elected chairman of the African Union, vowing to implement a vision of a United States of Africa. On Monday Colonel Qaddafi (“Duck”) was elected by the heads of state of the 53-member union behind closed doors at a summit in Ethiopia, replacing the Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete. Qaddafi will hold the rotating post for one year. Wearing a golden brocade robe and cap, Qaddafi sat with traditional African leaders, rather than in the seat for the Libyan delegate. “I shall continue to insist that our sovereign countries work to achieve the United States of Africa,” he announced in his inaugural speech. “In principle, we said the ultimate is the United States of Africa. How we proceed to that ultimate–there are building blocks,” outgoing AU president Kikwete explained.

Last July Qaddafi spurned membership in Nicolas Sarkozy and Hosni Mubarak’s new Union for the Mediterranean, which we hold to be the revived Roman Empire of Bible prophecy. In many previous posts we have also presented our case for Sarkozy, a Gentilized Jew, possibly being Israel’s coming false messiah-king, the Antichrist. Last month Sarkozy declared that he intends along with new US President Barack Hussein Obama to “change the world.” “We are eager to see him go to work so that we can change the world with him,” Sarkozy boasted.

The following month, 200 African kings, princes, sultans, sheikhs, and traditional leaders hailed Qaddafi as “king of kings.” Last month Uganda’s communist regime prohibited Qaddafi’s forum of African traditional rulers from meeting in that country, insisting that the meeting would be “too political.” The Libyan strongman’s “support group” had planned to discuss Qaddafi’s plans for African unity, such as a single currency and army.

In December Libya attempted to penetrate Israel’s economic blockade of the Gaza Strip by sending a “supply ship” from Port Said in Egypt to deliver humanitarian aid to the Hamas terrorist state. The Israeli navy, however, intercepted the Al Marwa, which was forced to return to Libya. “The Israeli warships are making it difficult for the ship to reach the Gaza coast, in spite of the fact that this is a civilian ship sent to help Palestinians during the siege,” a spokesentity of the Libyan regime complained. In response, Tripoli referred to the Israeli Defense Forces as a “terrorist, Zionist army.” The decision to prevent the Al Marwa’s entry into Gaza was made by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, reports the Jerusalem Post. Since September, Israel has allowed into the Gaza Strip three boats chartered by the US-based Free Gaza movement, which set embarked from Cyprus.

In January Qaddafi reiterated his 2003 plan for a binational one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to be called “Isratine.” This formula, relates the Iranian media, quoting Qaddafi, “would allow the people in each party to feel that they live in all of the disputed land and they are not deprived of any one part of it.” Press-TV reports: “The Libyan official was among a handful of world leaders who strongly opposed Israel’s Operation Cast Lead. . . . Earlier in the month, Qaddafi urged the Arab world to volunteer and fight alongside Palestinians against Israel.”

In view of Libya’s role in the Magog invasion of Israel, the blasphemous assumption by Qaddafi of the role of “king of kings”–a title that rightly belongs only to the Son of God (Revelation 19:16)–and Qaddafi’s anti-Zionist sentiments, the student of Bible prophecy should give serious consideration to the possibility that the rapture of the church and D70W are just around the corner, so to speak.

Finally, in a related story Cypriot authorities are holding the “Russian-owned,” Cypriot-flagged freighter Nochegorsk at the port of Limassol on suspicion that its cargo of rockets and artillery is destined for Syria or the Hamas regime in Gaza. The US Navy intercepted the vessel in the Red Sea last week, before Egyptian authorities briefly detained the Monchegorsk, which began its journey in Iran. Cyprus’ communist president Dimitris Christofias, a close ally of Moscow, reassured reporters last Friday that his government was “handling things very seriously and without too much noise in the media.” We previously reported that the mystery arms ship allegedly bound for Gaza, at least according to the Israelis, was “Iranian-owned.”

>Asia File: DPRK unilaterally scraps peace accords with South, threatens nuclear war; Communist Party of China demands "absolute obedience" from PLA

>- South Korea, Japanese Media: Pyongyang Preparing to Test-Launch Long-Range Taepodong-2 Missile (source)

Today the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) reiterated its refusal to forsake its small nuclear arsenal until the Republic of Korea and the USA, Seoul’s main ally, demonstrate peaceful intentions. The Stalinist regime in Pyongyang also warned that continued tensions could lead to nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula. The latest hostile missive from the North was communicated by state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Relations between North and South Korea have deteriorated since conservative President Lee Myung-bak, whom North Korea labels a “disgusting stooge” of Washington, terminated a decade of unconditional aid to the North and implemented a rigorous policy linking aid to disarmament. “No one knows when the hostile policy desperately pursued toward [North Korea] . . . will lead to a nuclear war,” the KCNA rumbled.

Pictured above: DPRK leader Kim Jong-il visits the 131rd military unit at an undisclosed site, in this undated picture released by KCNA on February 1, 2009. KCNA did not indicate when the photograph was taken. In recent months Western media outlets have been unable to positively ascertain Kim’s health and whereabouts.

This past Friday, on January 30, the DPRK announced that it was unilaterally scrapping all peace accords with the Republic of Korea and declared a “state of heightened confrontation” along the border, especially at the western end, which terminates in the Yellow Sea, the scene of bloody naval clashes in 1999 and 2002. “But South Korean officials,” media in the Republic of Korea, reports, “said there have not been any special movements of troops or weapons on the northern side of the border.” The South has deployed a destroyer near the disputed border and stepped up surveillance by radar, drones and other reconnaissance planes, the South Korean government’s Yonhap news agency revealed.

“The North is apparently paving the way for military provocations,” Yoo Ho-Yeol, a professor at Korea University, rightly informed the AFP news agency, adding: “It is also seeking to shift responsibility for a possible military clash to the South.” Political analyst Paik Hak-Soon warns that “armed clashes may break out soon,” but Baek Seung-Joo counters by saying that the North Korean statements are likely designed to apply pressure on South Korean President Lee. The South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff declined to comment on North Korea’s latest saber rattling. “We are preparing for every contingency,” a Seoul military spokesman told AFP.

Pictured here: South Korean special forces soldiers ford a river during a winter military exercise in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, on January 19.

This past weekend’s provocations from Pyongyang represent the latest in several weeks of escalating belligerent rhetoric. On January 26 the North accused South Korea of holding military exercises to prepare for a war against the communist regime and threatened to “wipe out” the invaders. A commentary published in Minju Joson, the newspaper of the North’s cabinet, contended that Seoul’s “severe winter training” was “aimed to deliberately get on the nerves of the army and people of the DPRK in a bid to invent a pretext for provoking a war of aggression against it.” Seoul officials responded by telling Yonhap that the winter training exercises are part of a regular training scheduled throughout the year.

According to a report released by the Council on Foreign Relations last Wednesday, South Korea and the United States should maintain about 460,000 troops to deal with any “unusual situation” on the Korean Peninsula that results from internal instability in North Korea. In 1999 the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command drew up an action plan to respond to “sudden changes” in North Korea, codenamed CONPLAN 5029. Contingencies include a mass influx of North Korean refugees, a civil war sparked by a revolt or coup, South Koreans being held hostage in the North, and natural disasters. The plan also contains measures to prevent Pyongyang’s weapons of mass destruction from being smuggled out of the country, if the regime experiences a “domestic crisis” or suddenly collapses.

Prior to US President Barack Hussein Obama’s inauguration on January 20, South Korean troops were already intensely monitoring North Korean military activity, in case the Stalinist regime decided to carry out its “all-out confrontational posture” against South Korea or enforce its claim over the disputed Yellow Sea border. “If we analyze the background, it is reasonable to understand [North Korea's moves] in connection to the U.S. presidential inauguration,” explained Won Tae-jae, spokesman for the South Korean Ministry of National Defense, adding: “We’re monitoring their moves by raising maximum watch.” Another South Korean defense official told Yonhap that the air force has lengthened its reconnaissance missions to observe North Korean troop movements and that, moreover, communications between US and South Korean intelligence officials has increased.

In a related story, China’s Central Military Commission, which can refer to one of two inter-related organs representing the Chinese state and the ruling Communist Party of China, called for the absolute obedience of the People’s Liberation Army to the party. This injunction was released in in the wake of growing unrest sparked by secessionist movements in Tibet and Islamist-infested Xinjiang and the global credit crunch, which has provoked an economic recession in China. “All military forces should ensure that they uncompromisingly obey the Party and Central Military Commission’s command at any time and under any circumstances,” warned the commission in a statement reported by Xinhua news agency. China’s military budget in 2008 was 417.77 billion yuan ($61.09 billion), up 17.6 percent from 2007, but Sinologists estimate that real defence spending could be triple the published figure. Another scenario that might require the PLA’s “uncompromising obedience” to the CPC leadership is the eruption of war between North and South Korea, where Beijing would more than likely ally itself with Pyongyang.

>USSR2 File: Communist Party of the Russian Federation, other reds, Islamists unite under banner of Left Front to oust potemkin Putinist regime

>This past October an important political development occurred in Russia in which the openly communist forces of that country, with Gennady Zyuganov’s Communist Party of the Russian Federation at the helm, organized under the banner of the Left Front. The main objective of the Left Front is to oust the potemkin Putinist regime, which in any case is staffed by individuals who began their careers in the old Soviet regime, and openly re-implement Marxism in Russia and the Not-So-Former Soviet republics. The current global financial crisis, which has also adversely affected the Russian economy, will provide overt communists like Zyuganov and August 1991 coup mastermind Oleg Shenin with considerable ammunition to leverage some sort of coup in Moscow, whether by bullets or ballots.

The Red Youth Vanguard (AKM), which is affiliated with Shenin’s faction of the continuing Communist Party of the Soviet Union, occupies the Left Front’s leadership. According to AKM leader Sergey Udaltsov: “The Left Front will unite the majority of healthy, progressive, energetic, and, for the most part, young, left-wing forces of Russia. We finally agreed on combined actions, and agreed to reject ambitions, and ignore offences and ideological differences and act together.” Last month Udaltsov and other AKM thugs were arrested outside the Greek embassy in Moscow, where they were expressing solidarity with the communist-inspired riots that rocked Greece following the shooting death by police of an Athens teenager. AKM was formerly part of the Other Russia coalition, of which chess champion Garry Kasparov was the most internationally recognizable leader. Pictured above: Udaltsov in past confrontation with Russian police.

According to State Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomarev, an “ex”-communist who represents the supposedly pro-Putin Just Russia party, “In the current situation of crisis, the purpose of the Left Front is the creation of a new society. We must interrupt the capitalist set-up.”

In a not-very-surprising development Russia’s Islamist groups are also involved in the Left Front. The banned National Bolsheviks also joined the new umbrella organization for Russia’s leftists. The article below was published at the English site of Prima News, the publication of the Moscow Human Rights News Agency, but is no longer accessible. A copy can be found here.

Pictured below, from left to right: The leaders of the constituent congress of the All-Russian Movement Left Front, including Islamic Committee of Russia leader Heidar Jemal, Udaltsov, Russian Communist Party-Communist Party of the Soviet Union leader Alexei Prigarin, Krasnodar journalist and Russian Communist Party activist Olga Ivanova, and Ponomarev.

Left Front of Russia founded
21.10.2008 19:55 MSK

RUSSIA, Moscow. A new oppositional movement has been founded in Russia – The Left Front. On October 18, in Moscow at the Izmailov Hotel Complex, a Constitutive Congress was held, where 143 delegates from 32 regions of the Federation were gathered, reported the Organizing Committee of the Left Front (LF) on October 19.

The following organizations participated in the work of the congress: the Advance Guard of Red Youth (AKM), the Russian Communist Party-CPSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union) (RKP-CPSU), the Union of Communist Youth (SKM), the Russian Young Communist League (RKSM), Russian Communist Working Party-Revolutionary Party of Communists (RKRP-RPK), Communist Party of the Russian Federation, the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (VKPB), the movement “Working Russia”, the Associations of Marxist Organizations, the Islamic Committee [of Russia], the National Bolsheviks, and anarchists and activists of other social movements.

At the congress, members of the Organizing Committee of the Left Front spoke, including Aleksey Prigarin, Ilya Ponomarev, Sergey Udaltsov, Aleksey Sakhnin, Gemal Dzhemalya, Constantine Bakulev, Dmitriy Galkin, and Karin Kleman, and then the session took place.

According to AKM leader Sergey Udaltsov, the Left Front will unite “the majority of healthy, progressive, energetic, and, for the most part, young, left-wing forces of Russia. We finally agreed on combined actions, and agreed to reject ambitions, and ignore offences and ideological differences and act together”.

According to Gosduma Deputy Ilya Ponomarev, in the current situation of crisis, the purpose of the Left Front is the creation of a new society. “We must interrupt the capitalist set-up”, added Ponomarev. He also stated that all left-wing organizations are regarded as allies of the newly created movement.

RKP-CPSU leader Aleksey Prigarin stated that a new type of party can be created on the basis of the Left Front: a party that is “flexible and capable of both decisive action and of propagandistic work”.

In the opinion of the Chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia, and member of the Organizing Committee, Gemal Dzhemalya, in modern Russia “…there is a vacuum of political space; authority has been usurped by the bureaucracy”. Left-wing organizations are attempting to fill this vacuum and expect to overcome the bureaucratic heritage. National minorities, says Gemal, are forced to resist political persecution, and this is possible only through the left platform.

Director of the “Collective Action” Institute and member of the Organizing Committee of the Left Front, Karin Kleman, spoke about the role of social movements. She focused attention on the current politicization of these movements and named values general to all social activists: self-organizing, self-guidance, social justice, and public control over authority.

The following documents were accepted at the congress: a political platform and the Organizational Principles, Strategy, and the Tactics of the Left Front, which will be published after modification by the editorial commission. The congress also affirmed symbols of the movement – the flag and emblem. Leadership of the Left Front will be governed by a council which consists of more than 50 people, and an executive committee will guide coordination of activities. LF members are leaders of organizations which joined the Left Front, and representatives of regional departments of the LF. The Congress of the Left Front passed without the incident, in spite of strict control by the police, noted the LF communication.

Translated by OM Kenney PRIMA-News Agency [2008-10-20-Rus-19]

>USSR2 File: Global recession hits Russia hard, communists call for national protests, Putin’s resignation; regional officials side with demonstrators

>Soviet Strategists Manipulate Global Recession to Oust Potemkin Putinist Regime, Reassert Open Communist Control in Moscow

Pictured here: Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev meets with representatives of Russia’s parliamentary parties at Barvikha, outside Moscow, on January 28, 2009. In attendance are Gennady Zyuganov of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (right), Sergei Mironov of Just Russia (second from right), Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party (third from right), and Boris Gryzlov of United Russia (second from left). Every politician seated at this table, per KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn’s 25-year-old warnings, is connected to the old Soviet regime.

According to the British media, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is defying a Kremlin ban on marches by calling for country-wide protests this Saturday that will demand improved living conditions and the resignation of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his cabinet. Even though Putin enjoys a public approval rating of 83 percent, Russian officials expect at least 600,000 people to take part in demonstrations held across dozens of cities. “Government figures show the Russian economy shrank 0.7 per cent in December, the first year-on-year decline since the 1990s,” The Telegraph reports, “One million people lost their jobs in the same month as falling oil prices undermined Russia’s energy driven economy.” In Kazan, for example, KamAz, Russia’s largest truck manufacturer, is suspending operations until February 12. In a similar development, Ford’s St. Petersburg plant shut down its assembly lines on December 24, only to reopen on January 21.

Attempting to divine the inner workings of the neo-Soviet leadership, The Telegraph states: “The Kremlin’s unease has been deepened by the spectacle of mass protests on Russia’s periphery and beyond. Police have broken up violent anti-government protests in Latvia and Lithuania, whilst smaller demonstrations have erupted in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, all of which are struggling to deal with the financial crisis. Protests in Iceland forced the government to call early elections last week.” “The number of unhappy people is still manageable but is on the rise,” The Telegraph quotes Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at the Moscow Carnegie Centre, as saying, “There is especial danger in cities and towns where local industry has collapsed.”

In a noteworthy development, regional and local officials in Russia are starting to side with anti-Putin demonstrators. For example, last month in Vladivostok police defied orders to quell demonstrations against a car import tariff. United Russia officials in the country’s Far East publicly articulated their support for the protests. Unimpressed by this breakdown in the command structure, the Kremlin flew in special troops from Moscow to break up the Vladivostok protests. As a result, dozens of demonstrators were injured and 200 others arrested. “The rebellion by state officials,” opines The Telegraph, “is unprecedented in the Putin era and raises doubts over how strong loyalty to the prime minister really is in Russia’s far slung regions.”

Yesterday, while speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Putin revealed his true color (red) by blaming the global credit collapse on the practice of using the US dollar as a reserve currency:

The one reserve currency has become a danger to the world economy: that is now obvious to everybody. The pride of Wall Street investment banks don’t exist any more. We are witnessing a truly global crisis. The speed of developments beats every record, and the strategic difference from the Great Depression is that under globalisation this touches everyone. This has multiplied the destructive force. It looks exactly like the perfect storm.

Although we expected that they might do so during the 2007-2008 election season in Russia, the Soviet strategists may once again attempt to manipulate the global recession to oust the potemkin Putinist regime and reassert open communist control in Moscow. This may now be feasible in view of the fact that Latin America has all but succumbed to the region’s Red Axis, while the US and European economies have ground to a halt, undermining the long-term financial sustainability of NATO’s armed forces.

In addition to Iceland, the banking systems and governments of the United Kingdom and Greece, two important European Union countries; Latvia and Ukraine, two “former” Soviet republics; and Nicaragua, once again under open Sandinista control; face ruin as a result of the global recession. A Canadian columnist, citing Foreign Policy, a journal founded by US political scientist Samuel P. Huntington (died 2008), writes:

In its latest edition, Foreign Policy magazine includes an alarming look at five countries that could follow Iceland down the path to “to economic ruin and political meltdown.” As previously detailed, Iceland is a mess: its banks have collapsed, the government has been ousted and normally stoic Icelanders have taken to pelting political leaders with eggs and toilet paper. Foreign Policy suggests the same could happen in Britain, Ukraine, Greece, Latvia and Nicaragua.

Other signals that the global economy has lurched to a halt are the collapse of international shipping rates, the multitudes of shipping containers piling up in ports worldwide, and idle longshoremen. “They have already hit zero,” said Charles de Trenck, a broker at Transport Trackers in Hong Kong, referring to freight rates. “We have seen trade activity fall off a cliff. Asia-Europe is an unmit­igated disaster.” The Telegraph describes the importance of the Baltic Dry Index as an indicator of the health, or lack thereof, of global commerce:

The Baltic Dry Index (BDI) which measures freight rates for bulk commodities such as iron ore and grains crashed several months ago, falling 96pc. The BDI – though a useful early-warning index – is highly volatile and exaggerates apparent ups and downs in trade. However, the latest phase of the shipping crisis is different. It has spread to core trade of finished industrial goods, the lifeblood of the world economy.

A report by ING earlier this month revealed that shipping activity at US ports has crashed. Outbound traffic from Long Beach and Los Angeles, the country’s two busiest ports, has fallen by 18pc year-on-year. “This is no regular cycle slowdown, but a complete collapse in foreign demand,” remarked Lindsay Coburn, ING’s trade consultant. The World Bank, the article concludes, provoked “shockwaves” last month when it issued a warning to the effect that global trade may decline in 2009 for the first time since the Second World War.

Economic crisis. Political crisis. War. Hunger. These are the revolutionary situations that communists and their fellow travellers will grasp to revitalize the war against property, nation, family, and God.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Bear bombers fly near Alaska; 4th Indo-Soviet naval maneuver begins; Russia accuses Georgia of capturing soldier

>I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.
– US President Barack Hussein Obama, on campaign trail, quoted by NewsMax.com, June 10, 2008

- Cuban President/Tyrant Castro Arrives in Moscow on First State Visit since 1984, Promotes “Defense-Related” Cooperation between Moscow and Havana

- American Enterprise Institute Analyst: Russia Playing Double Game with North Korea by Offering Stalinist Regime Nuclear Technology, Brokering Six-Party Disarmament Talks

The Russian Air Force’s weekly long-range missions, which officially resumed in August 2007, continued yesterday with the flight of two Tu-95 bombers over the Arctic Ocean, near Alaska. “Two Tu-95MS strategic bombers took off from an airbase in eastern Russia on Tuesday and successfully carried out a patrol mission over the neutral waters of the Arctic Ocean and near Alaska,” Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Drik, who regularly comments on this subject, informed state-run Novosti. Drik elaborated: “During the 10-hour mission, the crews practiced instrumental flight maneuvers in Arctic climate conditions. En route, the bombers were accompanied for 10 minutes by four USAF F-15 Eagle fighters.” The Bear bomber’s powerplant technology may be 50 years old, but the Tu-95s are robust air-launched cruise missile platforms and should not be mocked.

Meanwhile, power networking among Communist Bloc leaders continues apace with Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro beginning an historic one-week visit to Moscow today (pictured above, arriving in Moscow). “Raul Castro’s visit will give a serious impetus to the development of bilateral relations,” Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, a Soviet Komsomol graduate, was quoted by state-run Itar-Tass as saying. “The friendship between Russia and Cuba haspassed the test of time,” gushed Medvedev. Castro, a known KGB asset like his older brother Fidel, last visited Moscow in 1984, while Medevedev made an official visit to Havana last November. “After the pause in 1990s relations began restoring when the then president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, visited our country in 2000,” Castro, Fidel’s younger brother, informed Itar-Tass in an exclusive interview. “We consider this visit very important. This was the visit of the Russian leader that we name the second stage of our relations. We restored certain agreements, which were now being implemented.” Castro continued:

This is the base of relations between Russia and Cuba. I can justly say – today our countries maintain excellent relations. My upcoming visit to Moscow will continue strengthening and developing today’ s relations between Russia and Cuba. What do we hope for this visit? We hope to strengthen and consolidate what we achieved earlier and take one more step towards this direction. Both sides accumulated big experience. Our people know each other very well that is the solid base of our relations. We hope that these relations will be developed and strengthened in the future.

Last Friday, the Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation, meeting in Moscow, drafted a memorandum of understanding that will facilitate Russian-led oil exploration in Cuban waters. The consortium of companies includes the Cuba Petroleum Corporation and the Russian National Oil Consortium, itself consisting of Gazprom-neft, TNK-BP, Zarubezhneft, Rosneft, and Surgutneftegaz. In a related story, earlier this month former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a shameless Kremlin stooge, was appointed to TNK-BP’s board of directors. On January 15 Bloomberg reported: “Schroeder has close personal ties with Putin and chairs OAO Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline venture, which plans to build a link under the Baltic Sea to supply Russian natural gas directly to Germany. President Dmitry Medvedev was Gazprom’s chairman before being elected to the presidency last year.” In the face of Moscow’s annual pricing spats with Kiev, which (not so) coincidentally occur in winter when Europe is most dependent on Russian natural gas shipments pumped via Ukraine, the Germans may wish to reconsider the wisdom of Nord Stream.

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who was the Soviet Union’s pointman for weapons smuggling to Latin American insurgents during the 1980s, indicated that Moscow and Havana also plan to further cooperation in “defence-related technologies.” “Defense-related cooperation is part and parcel of our cooperation in general and we conduct it in full conformity with international agreements,” Sechin explained, defending the Moscow-Havana defense pact, “Everyone understands the importance of continued work in this sphere perfectly well, as our relations there aim to guarantee common security of our countries. Both Russia and Cuba have a sovereign right to cooperate with each other in this sphere.” We have previously documented Russia’s incremental assembling of a Red Dawn-style military coalition in Latin America.

Last month Castro’s Nicaraguan comrade President Daniel Ortega also made his first “post”-Cold War trek to Moscow, cap in hand. In our assessment Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela constitute Latin America’s communist troika, the pro-Soviet core of the region’s Red Axis. Hugo Chavez, for example, has visited Moscow no less than eight times since becoming Venezuela’s president in 1999, hosted Russian strategic bombers on his soil, and conducted a joint naval drill with the Russian Navy in the USA’s “backyard pool,” the Caribbean Sea.

Admittedly, Russia’s military is a shadow of its former strength in the “old” Soviet era. However, in spite of the global economic recession and the embarrassing poverty of Russia’s well-educated populace, the Putinist-Medvedevist regime is throwing a mass of rubles at the country’s military to modernize the Strategic Missile Forces and other branches of the armed forces, reform command structures, and improve troop morale. Deficiencies in all three areas were duly noted by Kremlin military planners during Russia’s re-invasion and occupation of Georgia last August.

In East Asia Moscow is cementing its relations with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin began his visit to Pyongyang yesterday. There the Russian diplomat met with North Korean counterpart Kang Sok-un. Borodavkin’s consultations with Kim Kye-gwan, the DPRK’s chief negotiator at the six-party talks on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, are scheduled for Thursday. “Our agenda is rather extensive,” Borodavkin told Itar-Tass, “We’ll discuss the development of bilateral ties, the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and, naturally, we’ll speak about our interaction within the framework of the six-party talks on nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula. I hope that the consultations will be held in the spirit of our traditional friendly relations with the DPRK and give an additional impetus to the development of ties.”

From the vantage of the long-range Soviet strategy in East Asia, which is to subvert non-communist states like the Republic of Korea, the Republic of China, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines into the Communist Bloc, the Kremlin has every good tactical reason to covertly support North Korea’s nuclear energy program. The last resulted in the underground test-detonation of the Stalinist regime’s first atomic bomb in October 2006. Nicholas Eberstadt, a North Korea expert at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, commented several months before that event: “Russia often seems more ambitious to restore that influence than to play a positive role in international affairs. We’ve got no reason to doubt that Moscow is playing a double game with North Korea. It’s not entirely surprising considering Vladimir Putin himself came up with the harebrained suggestion some years ago that Moscow, as a protector and provider for the North Korean regime, launch a North Korean satellite.”

In South Asia Moscow is consolidating its strategic partnership with India via the latter’s observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, military hardware sales, joint military research and development projects, and regular combined military exercises. Yesterday, the Russian and Indian navies commenced the fourth biennial Indra drill, the first having taken place in 2003, ostensibly designed to counter high seas piracy, terrorism, and drug smuggling. “The first stage of a PASSEX type exercise involves practicing combat interoperability and communications drills,” Novosti quoted one source as saying. The Northern Fleet’s Peter the Great missile cruiser and the Indian guided-missile destroyer INS Delhi are participating in the first stage of the drill, which will last until January 29. Afterward, the Russian cruiser will visit the Indian port of Marmugao until January 31, before making waves for the Somali coast. There Peter the Great will carry out the second stage of the drills in cooperation with a task force from Russia’s Pacific Fleet, comprising the Admiral Vinogradov, a tugboat and two fuel tankers, which are carrying out anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.

In a related story, the Indian Navy announced last Friday that there is “no delay” in its acquisition of a Russian nuclear-powered Akula-class submarine following a lethal technical glitch during last November’s sea trials. At the same time India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation admitted today that a supersonic cruise missile jointly developed by Moscow and New Delhi failed to hit its target in a test previously reported as successful. “The missile performance was absolutely normal till the last phase, but it missed the target, though it maintained the direction,” BrahMos project chief Sivathanu Pillai told the Press Trust of India. The missile was fired from the Pokhran range in the western desert state of Rajasthan, bordering Pakistan, that was also the site of India’s nuclear tests in 1998. The missile is named after India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.

In the Caucasus region Russia, in what appears to be a Kremlin-inspired provocation to justify expanding its occupation of Georgia, is accusing the “pro”-Western regime in Tbilisi of kidnapping one of its soldiers in the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russian military spokesentity Alexander Drobyshevsky responded angrily to a video of Russian army deserter Alexander Glukhov tucking into a fast-food meal at McDonald’s in downtown Tbilisi: “This was a media provocation obtained under physical and moral pressure under which anything possible can be obtained.” The Georgian interior ministry, however, countered the Russian assertion by insisting that the soldier had surrendered to Georgian police and requested Georgian citizenship because of “unbearable conditions” in the Russian Ground Forces. “The soldier said he was serving in unbearable conditions in Akhalgori, with poor food supply and not even minimal sanitary conditions. The soldier wants to stay in Georgia and to ask the president to grant him Georgian citizenship,” Interior Ministry spokesman Zurab Gvenetadze told the AFP news agency. Soviet forces have illegally occupied Georgia’s two separatist regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia since last August’s brief Caucasian War.

Finally, the Kremlin continues to test the resolve of newly installed US President Barack Hussein Obama by officially denying Russian media reports that Moscow has decided to suspend plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. Russian Defense Ministry officials called the reports “premature” and added: “Russia has not taken any practical steps to deploy the short-range Iskander missiles and therefore one can not speak of a suspension.” Within hours of Obama’s electoral victory in November, President Medvedev threaten to counter US plans to install 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic by deploying tactical missiles in the Baltic Sea exclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania. Russia considers the US National Missile Defense program a threat to its security. On the campaign trail last year Obama’s pledge to essentially scrap implementation of the treaties signed with Warsaw and Prague must have been music to the ears of the Soviet strategists:

I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. I will set a goal for a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop nuclear weapons; I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material; and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair-trigger alert, and to achieve deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal.

Got bunker?

>Breaking News: Middle East truce shattered as Israeli tanks roll back into Gaza, avenge RPG attack on soldier; US, Egypt intercept Iranian arms ship

>The Israeli-Hamas cease-fire, barely 10 days old, is effectively over. According to Arutz Sheva, the Israeli Defense Forces sent their tanks and infantry back into the Gaza Strip this afternoon to avenge the death of a soldier killed by Hamas in a rocket-propelled grenade attack. Three other Israeli soldiers were wounded in the incident. Within hours IDF troops reached Khan Yunis in central Gaza. “This is a serious attack,” rumbled Defense Minister Ehud Barak (pictured above), who was present near the Tzeelim army base where and when the attack occurred. “We cannot accept it and we will retaliate. I do not think there is any point in saying how.”

Ground Troops, Tanks Return to Gaza; Hamas Attacks Negev
by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

January 27, 2009

(IsraelNN.com) IDF tanks rolled back into Gaza along with foot soldiers Tuesday afternoon following an early morning roadside bomb explosion and a rocket-propelled grenade attack that killed one soldier and wounded three others, one seriously.

Hamas warned that it has not agreed to a “calm” and that its previous ceasefire announcement is dependent on Israel’s re-opening Gaza crossings to all commercial traffic.

“This is a serious attack,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told soldiers during a visit near a base close to the scene of the attack and at the same time it occurred. “We cannot accept it and we will retaliate. I do not think there is any point in saying how.”

He carried out his threat within hours as troops reached Khan Yunis in central Gaza. Local residents reported tank fire and Israel Air Force jets over the area. Arab sources also reported that the Air Force struck a terrorist target on a motorcycle, killing or wounding two people. The IDF say the cyclist was responsible for the morning attack.

Hamas responded with mortar fire on the Eshkol region, causing no damages or injuries but returned the area to the status quo of the days before the Cast Lead operation against the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza.

The attack on the IDF patrol occurred around 8 a.m., after two or three terrorists were seen by local Arabs to be planting the roadside explosive that was detonated as an army vehicle passed.

Troops opened fire immediately, and one Arab was killed. His identity was not confirmed, and Gaza sources claimed he was a farmer. The attack came at the same time United States Middle East envoy Sen. George C. Mitchell was scheduled to confer with Egyptian officials prior to his arrival in Israel later this week.

In related story, reported by the Jerusalem Post below, the US and Egyptian navies have intercepted the Iranian-owned Cypriot-flagged Nochegorsk in the Red Sea. The former Russian freighter is laden with arms apparently destined for Gaza’s terrorist regime. Troops from the USS San Antonio, namely, Combined Task Force 151, first boarded the ship on January 19 and 20. The international naval task force discovered artillery shells but amazingly, according to Fox News, was legally unable to confiscate the arms–despite the violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution that prohibits Iran from selling arms–because there is no enforcement mechanism in place. Now the Egyptian Navy is holding the vessel at a Red Sea port just to the south of the Suez Canal. The article below reports that “. . . since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, large quantities of explosives, machine guns and other weaponry had arrived in the Sinai peninsula, but the Egyptians were taking measures to prevent them from being smuggled into Gaza, including erecting road blocks near Rafah and increasing patrols in the area.”

Cairo intercepts Iranian arms ship
Jan 26, 2009 23:43 Updated Jan 27, 2009 16:11

Israel is closely tracking an Iranian freighter believed to be carrying weaponry for Hamas that is currently docked in the Red Sea outside the Suez Canal, after Egypt refused to permit it to cross the waterway to the Mediterranean.

According to a report received at the Defense Ministry from the Pentagon, the US Navy recently boarded an Iranian vessel that was carrying artillery shells and other weaponry.


“This is a big test for the Egyptians,” a senior defense official said. “So far the Egyptians have prevented the ship from crossing the Suez and we hope it will stay that way.”

Defense officials said that Iran is trying to supply Hamas with new Grad-model Katyusha rockets and to replace high-grade explosives that were exhausted or destroyed by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead.

“There are two main smuggling routes,” one official explained. “Some of the weaponry comes by ground from Somalia, Sudan and then into Egypt and through a tunnel into Gaza, while some comes by boat.”

The boats sometimes unload the shipments in the Sinai’s Port Said, where it is smuggled into Gaza by land. Other times, the shipments are dropped overboard in waterproof containers and are picked up by Palestinian fishermen or divers.

As reported in The Jerusalem Post last week, the IDF is concerned that Iran will supply Hamas with long-range Fajr missiles that are capable of reaching Tel Aviv.

According to the London Times, Combined Task Force 151 of the US Navy, which is fighting pirates in the Gulf of Aden, has been instructed to track Iranian arms shipments to Gaza.

Last week, the report claimed, troops from the USS San Antonio boarded a former Russian cargo vessel that was flying a Cypriot flag and was reportedly carrying weaponry destined for Hamas.

In addition to the US, the French have also dispatched a frigate to the Mediterranean to participate in the clampdown on the Gaza Strip and to prevent weapons shipments from reaching Hamas.

The frigate is carrying a helicopter that can support reconnaissance missions off the Gaza coast.

Israeli officials said they are impressed with the international community’s efforts to curb the flow of weapons to Gaza, but also expect Egypt to take practical steps along the border with Gaza to uncover and destroy the smuggling tunnels.

Head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad will head to Egypt in the coming week to continue discussions on the new mechanism established to counter the smuggling.

The new mechanism Israel has set up with the Egyptians consists of three layers – intelligence cooperation, obstacles in Sinai and the deployment of new tunnel-detection technology along the Egypt-Gaza border.

Defense officials said that, since the conclusion of Operation Cast Lead, large quantities of explosives, machine guns and other weaponry had arrived in the Sinai peninsula, but the Egyptians were taking measures to prevent them from being smuggled into Gaza, including erecting road blocks near Rafah and increasing patrols in the area.

>Latin America File: Cuban leader, KGB asset Raul Castro heads for Moscow; FMLN wins legislative election, eyes presidency; FARC operating in Venezuela

>

- Romanian Securitate Defector Ion Pacepa: Cuban President Raul Castro “Brutal,” “Cruel,” and “Ruthless”

- Beginning in 1950s Raul’s KGB Handler Was Nikolai Leonov, Later Vladimir Putin’s Mentor

- From Russia with Shove: Communist Cuba Welcomes Strategic Bomber Crews and at Least Two High-Level Military Delegations from Moscow in 2008

- Argentina’s Leftist President Kirchner Travels to Cuba and Venezuela, Signs Raft of Agreements in Both Countries, Discusses Ramifications of New Obama Presidency with Fidel

- FMLN Candidate Mauricio Funes’ Vice Presidential Running Mate Salvador Sanchez Ceren “Orthodox Hard Leftist,” Ordered Assassinations during Civil War in 1980s

- Miskito Indian Leaders, Opposition Candidates Charge Sandinistas with Fraud in Elections Held in Nicaragua’s Caribbean Region

- Chavez Political Advisor Admits Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia Operating on Venezuelan Soil, Recruiting Indian Youths

This week Latin America’s Red Axis leaders continued to intensely network as they consolidate their grip on the Western Hemisphere and revitalize Cold War-era links with Moscow. On January 30, reports state-run Novosti, Raul Castro is slated to make his first state visit as Cuban president to Russia, thereby reciprocating Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev’s stopover in Havana last November. Raul is known to have last travelled to Moscow in 1984, when he was First Vice President of Cuba. However, the Western Hemisphere’s top communist leader first materialized in Moscow in the mid-1950s, when General Alexander Sakharovsky, boss of the KGB’s First Chief Directorate (PGU), or foreign intelligence service, invited the revolutionary to meet Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev. Therein lies the tale of the Communist Bloc’s establishment of a beachhead only 90 miles from the Florida Keys.

In 1953 Raul and elder brother Fidel, then members of the Marxist 26th of July Movement, participated in an attack against the Cuban army’s Moncada Barracks. Following a 22-month prison stint, the Castro Bros. fled to Mexico where they plotted to overthrow the US-backed regime of General Fulgencio Batista. In Mexico City Raul reportedly befriended Argentine-born terrorist Ernesto “Che” Guevara and established contact with a 25-year-old KGB agent named Nikolai Leonov, who eventually became Vladimir Putin’s mentor. In 2006 Ion Mihai Pacepa, former two-star general in Communist Romania’s Securitate, wrote of his meetings with the young Raul on “many occasions” and the clandestine linkages between the Castro Bros. and their KGB handler that persisted until the revolutionaries took over Cuba in January 1959:

At Khrushchev’s order, Sakharovsky had given Raúl an intelligence adviser: Nikolay Leonov, the PGU’s best expert on Latin America. Leonov (today a retired KGB lieutenant general and member of the Duma) provided Raúl with intelligence on the military forces of the then Cuban dictator, Batista, and helped Raúl plan his guerrilla war. In June 1957, Leonov gave him documents and photographs showing that Washington was providing weapons and logistical support to Batista, and he suggested that Raúl take a few dozen Americans hostage to force Eisenhower to withdraw from the conflict. Raúl did so. On June 26, 1958, his guerrilleros kidnapped fifty American and Canadian military and civilian personnel working in Cuba. Fearing for the lives of the hostages, Batista declared a cease-fire. That enabled the Soviets to bring new weapons into Cuba.

Pacepa paints a less-than-flattering portrait of the Cuban president, referring to him as the “brutal,” “cruel,” and “ruthless” murderer of thousands of Cuban dissidents:

Raúl is generally perceived as a colorless minister of defense, but he has also been the brutal head of one of Communism’s most criminal institutions: the Cuban political police. I met him in that capacity. He was cruel and ruthless. Fidel may have conceived the terror that has kept Cuba in the Communist fold, but Raúl has been the butcher. He has been instrumental in the killing and terrorizing of thousands of Cubans, and there is no question in my mind but that he would fight tooth and nail to preserve his powers. Otherwise, sooner or later Raúl would have to account for his crimes, and I do not know him to be suicidal.

Pictured here: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner visits Cuba’s grandfatherly revolutionary in Havana this past week.

The Moscow-Havana Axis was first revitalized in 2000, when then President Vladimir Putin showed up in the Cuban capital to rub elbows with the Castro Bros. In 2006 Russia’s rubber-stamp parliament passed a resolution condemning the US trade embargo against Cuba. In July 2008 the Kremlin media leaked reports from sources in the Russian Defense Ministry to the effect that Moscow’s strategic bombers could be deployed to Cuba in a repeat of the 1962 missile crisis that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. The reason for Russia’s aggressive posture was to counter the USA’s burgeoning strategic parternship with Georgia, an alliance formalized earlier in January. At the same time, Novosti reported that last year Russian bomber crews staked out potential sites on the island for refueling their aircraft. During the Cold War Tu-95 Bear bombers regularly flew along the US East Coast, making pitstops in Cuba.

Then, between October 27 and November 3, a high-ranking military delegation from Russia arrived on the island to assess the state of Cuba’s air defenses, the main purpose of which is to detect and repel a hypothetical US sneak attack. General-Lieutenant Alexander Maslov, Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ air defense units, met with Army General Alvaro López Miera, deputy minister and chief of the Cuban General Staff, and General Pedro Mendiondo Gómez, chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Air Force.

Most recently, in late December 2008 a second Russian military delegation arrived in Havana. Although the Soviets and Venezuela carried out a high-profile naval drill in late November, below-the-radar snippets from various news sources indicated that Russia’s naval task force in the Caribbean Basin also intended to hold combined drills with Nicaragua and Cuba’s navies. Two days ago the Dutch media once again made reference to a Soviet-Cuban military exercise: “Cuba and Russia recently held a joint naval exercise in the Caribbean.”

These maneuvers did not appear to come to pass, but President Castro did hold talks with the crew of the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which weighed anchor in Havana harbor in an historic “post”-Cold War visit several days before Christmas. Present at the meeting (pictured above), which took place on December 22, were Army General Julio Casas Regueiro, minister of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces; Army General Alvaro López Miera, mentioned above; Vice Admiral Pedro M. Pérez Betancourt, chief of Cuba’s Revolutionary Navy; and Brigade General Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez. The Russian delegation consisted of Mijail L. Kaminin, Moscow’s ambassador in Cuba; Vice Admiral Vladimir I. Koraliov, acting chief of Russia’s Northern Fleet; Colonel Vladimir A. Androsov, Moscow’s military, naval and air force attaché in Cuba; Lieutenant General Alexander M. Kasheiev; and Ship Captain Anatoli P. Dolgo, commander of the Admiral Chabanenko.

We have documented in previous posts our belief that Russia is incrementally assembling a Red Dawn-style military coalition in Latin America, principally with Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, with the intent of either attacking the USA or at least countering US influence around the Caribbean Sea.

In order to further cement Soviet-Cuban relations, the ninth Cuba-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is underway this week in Moscow. On Friday participants will apply the final touches on more than 20 agreements. The new accords address bilateral cooperation in areas such as tourism, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, information technologies, communications, agriculture, culture, and education. The commission’s Cuban co-chairman is Ricardo Cabrisas, Vice President of Cuba’s Council of Ministers. Cabrisas stated that “Cuba and Russia should take advantage of every opportunity to take economic and trade relations up to the same level the two countries used to have in the past.” Along the same theme, Igor Sechin, the commission’s Russian co-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, stated that “Russia and Cuba have intensified economic collaboration actions and the expectations are to strengthen such bonds through new joint projects.”

In addition to cementing ties with the neo-Soviet leadership, Communist Cuba is also consolidating its relationship with Peronist Argentina, neo-Sandinista Nicaragua, and Guatemala.

On January 19 Argentine President Cristina Kirchner arrived in Havana to formalize 11 bilateral agreements with the Castro regime. An official meeting was scheduled with Raul (pictured above), while a private meeting was slated with Fidel, the godfather of Latin American revolutionaries (also pictured above). Cristina, incidentally, succeeds her husband Nestor as Argentina’s head of state. The Cuban and Argentine presidents signed memorandums of understanding in the areas of nuclear energy production, agriculture, fishing, forestry, food production, biotechnology, and rural development. Argentina, it should be pointed out, boasts a civilian nuclear energy program, while Cuba does not. President Kirchner summarized her impressions of Fidel’s health and the elder Castro brother’s reflections on current events, especially the inauguration of US President Barack Hussein Obama:

He [Fidel] looked very good. We were talking with Comandante Fidel Castro about my visit to Cuba and sharing things on the international situation. Obviously, the first issue we dealt with was the coming to power of President Obama. Obama sincerely believes in what he’s saying and doing. I hope he can do it or that they let him do it, said Castro. I said yesterday that Obama’s speech seemed to me to confirm our expectations and it seemed to me a reaffirmation of my perception, the perception that he [Fidel] also had had about the remarks of President Obama, of the sincerity of his ideas.

Along with embracing the communist regime in Havana, Kirchner then flew to Caracas, where she huddled with the region’s No. 2 Communist Thug Hugo Chavez, signing another raft of agreements with the Venezuelan president that will firmly entrap Argentina in the region’s Red Axis. During their meeting (pictured here), Hugo referred to Cristina as “sister” (presumably in an ideological sense) and declared that Venezuela was prepared to supply Argentina with oil and liquefied natural gas for the “next 100 years.” Kirchner and Chavez then agreed to meet at least every three months. The Argentine president, it should be noted, already made her pilgrimage to Moscow last month, at which time the two countries confirmed a strategic partnership and security and defense pact that Russia has also established with Venezuela and Ecuador.

Yesterday Cuba’s Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque arrived in Managua, where he was welcomed by Nicaraguan counterpart Samuel Santos, Cuban ambassador Luis Hernandez, and Rafael Ortega, representing President Daniel Ortega. In a brief statement to the media, Perez Roque revealed that he intended to meet President Ortega for the purpose of discussing the “current world crisis” as it affects Central American countries, the political integration processes in Latin America, and specific “integration mechanisms” like the Havana/Caracas-led Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). Pictured below: Perez Roque and Ortega.

After touching down in the Nicaraguan capital, Perez Roque flew to Guatemala today to participate, on behalf of the Cuban presidency of the Non Aligned Movement (NAM), in the opening ceremony of NAM’s Second Ministerial Conference on the Advancement of Women. In addition, Perez Roque’s was slated to meet with President Alvaro Colom and Cuban personnel working in the Central American country. Colom’s social democratic government is Guatemala’s first since President Jacobo Arbenz Guzmán was ousted in a CIA-orchestrated coup in 1954. Although his demise is portrayed sympathetically by leftist historians, Arbenz himself joined a group of army officers in overthrowing the dictator Jorge Ubico in 1944. Upon Fidel Castro’s invitation, Arbenz sought exile in Cuba in 1960. When Arbenz’s widow Maria Cristina Villanova de Arbenz, then living in Costa Rica, died on January 5, 2009, Colom was quick to send his condolences to surviving family members.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is poised to join the Communist Bloc as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which was a Soviet/Cuban-backed guerrilla army until 1992, secured a slim majority in last Sunday’s Legislative Assembly election, with the promise of obtaining the presidency in March. Although the incumbent FMLN mayor of the capital San Salvador conceded defeat to the long-ruling ARENA party candidate on Monday, El Salvador’s main leftist party was projected to win a majority of the country’s 262 municipal posts. “They now have a real shot at the presidency,” opined Bernard Aronson, referring to Mauricio Funes, the FMLN’s “moderate” presidential candidate who never fought in the Salvadoran Civil War. Aronson was US President George H.W. Bush’s assistant secretary of state for inter-American affairs from 1989 to 1993.

Recent public opinion polls indicate that Funes, a former CNN en Español journalist, led ARENA candidate Rodrigo Avila by up to 14 percent among likely voters. Funes’ vice-presidential running mate is Salvador Sanchez Ceren, an “ex”-guerrilla who represents the FMLN’s Marxist heart and soul. Journalist John R. Thomson, writing for the Hispanic American Center for Economic Research, describes Sanchez’s career in the Salvadoran Civil War:

The commanding general who approved every assassination, with the alias “Leonel Gonzalez,” was none other than Salvador Sanchez Ceren, vice presidential candidate of the FMLN in the country’s March presidential elections. Sanchez Ceren has long been a top FMLN leader and is considered one of the most orthodox hard leftists in the organization, together with party secretary-general Melando Gonzalez, whose terrorist moniker was “Milton.”

With a presidential FMLN victory, El Salvador will join other Latin American countries that have elected leftist leaders in recent years, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Brazil.

The FMLN’s ideological brethren in Nicaragua can be found in the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN), which allegedly enjoyed on-the-ground support from FMLNistas during Nicaragua’s post-election violence. Nicaragua’s controversial November municipal elections provoked numerous street battles between cadres of the ruling FSLN and the Liberal Constitutionalist Party (PLC), as well as political gridlock in the National Assembly, where opposition deputies refused to approve the 2009 budget. President Ortega, citing damaged created by Hurricane Felix in September 2007, postponed mayoral elections in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region (RAAN) until January 2009, banning several parties in the process.

Pictured here: Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Ortega (looking at camera) hosted the Central American Integration System (SICA) summit in Managua on January 15. He is president pro tempore of this mechanism for uniting Central America under one political and economic roof. SICA, in fact, is one of several such regional integrative mechanisms in the Western Hemisphere. Others include ALBA, mentioned above, the Caribbean Community, and the Union of South American Nations.

Following the January 18 elections in RAAN, leaders of the Miskitos, Nicaragua’s indigenous community on the Caribbean coast, accused the ruling Sandinistas of stealing the mayoral elections in several key municipalities. The Costa Rican media received unconfirmed reports of “strong bouts” of post-election violence in the jungles around Waspam, near the Honduran border. On Monday afternoon the country’s Supreme Electoral Council announced that the FSLN was positioned to win four of seven municipalities in the RAAN, including the regional capital Puerto Cabezas. Osorno “Comandante Blas” Coleman, the PLC’s candidate for mayor of Puerto Cabezas, informed The Nica Times that he refused to accept defeat in an election he insists was “marred by fraud.” Coleman claims that the Sandinistas bused in some 700 cadres from different municipalities to vote in Puerto Cabezas, and that some 1,500 soldiers, who do not live in the area, also voted in the elections.

Although the post-election conflict between rank-and-file supporters of the FSLN and PLC appears genuine, any animosity between the leadership of Nicaragua’s two major parties is supect in view of El Pacto, the agreement that former President Arnoldo (“Fatso”) Aleman inked with Ortega 10 years ago and which gave the two politicians lifetime parliamentary seats and immunity from prosecution. This week Aleman reaped the benefits of El Pacto when Nicaragua’s Supreme Court overturned the 2003 decision that convicted him of looting tens of millions of dollars during his 1997-2002 presidential administration. The Latin American Herald Tribune describes the unholy union between the Sandinistas and the PLCistas: “Nicaraguan media outlets speculated a year ago that the court ruling converting Aleman’s jail term to probation was the fruit of a deal between the right-leaning Liberals and President Daniel Ortega’s left-wing Sandinistas. Those press accounts linked the favorable ruling for Aleman to the pact the then-president sealed in 1999 with Ortega, under which the Liberals and Sandinistas agreed to share the spoils of power in the form of government posts and judgeships.”

Elsewhere among the benighted nations of Latin America, the Chavezista regime’s logistical and financial support for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia has become blatant in recent months. “Members of Colombia’s largest rebel group,” reported the Los Angeles Times on January 21, “live openly on or near several Indian reservations in western Venezuela with at least the tacit approval of President Hugo Chavez, indigenous leaders here charge.” Venezuelan Congressman Arcadio Montiel, a Wayuu Indian, is quoted as saying: “Chavez sees the rebels as a line of defense in the event of U.S. interference or a civil war.” Montiel asserts that the FARC operates camps in the Perija Mountains, where the Colombian rebels recruit and train Venezuelan Indian youths. In an interview last year, Chavez’s political advisor Alberto Muller Rojas acknowledged the presence of FARC insurgents on Venezuelan soil, but insisted that the rebels are Colombia’s responsibility, not Venezuela’s. However, Indian leaders warn that FARC is corrupting their culture with arms, drugs, and Marxism. No, really?

>Useful Idiots Bin: Conspiracymonger Alex Jones interviewed by Russia Today, articulates Kremlin line, denounces Obama, bankers, globalists

>“We Love Obama! We Hate Obama!”: The Soviet Strategists Conquer America Via Dialectical Materialism

On Inauguration Day, Russia Today, the Kremlin’s slick, English-language propaganda platform, interviewed faux rightist “investigative journalist” Alex Jones, host of Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com. There Jones shamelessly parroted the Leninist lies of communist organ Pravda by insisting that “international bankers” and the “US military-industrial complex” own the Democratic and Republican parties, orchestrated the global financial crisis to centralize economic power and install Barack Hussein Obama as president, and are provoking a new cold war with Russia.

Pictured above: Russia Today takes over New York City.

This is not the first time that Jones has shilled for the Kremlin. In a past interview with Russia Today, Jones, referring to Georgia’s so-called provocation against Abkhazia and South Ossetia last August, stated: “I’m ashamed as an American. My country has been taken over by a private international military industrial complex, and they launched a sneaky attack on the Russian enclaves.”

Jones and countless other peddlers of “new world order” conspiracy theories are serving the Soviet cause well by pitting the political left against the right and providing ammunition for militias, racists, left-wing anti-Semites, and neo-Nazis. On the one hand, we have documented how the USA’s new socialist president was Moscow’s preferred candidate. On the other hand, the Soviet strategists, following the ideological zig-zags of dialectical materialism, do not hesitate to denounce Obama through shills like Jones. In the process, they have successfully organized an army of disloyal citizens who are ready to overthrow the current form of government in favor of a type they never expected to embrace–communism.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: NATO/NORAD jets shadow Russian bombers over Arctic, near Aleutians; Russian hackers cripple British defense computers

>- Internet Virus Disables British Ministry of Defense Computers on January 6:

1) Diverts Royal Air Force Emails to Russian Server

2) Affects 24 RAF Bases, Including Those Tasked with Countering Russia’s Strategic Bombers

3) Penetrates Computer Systems Aboard 75% of Royal Navy Warships, Including Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal

4) British Defense Officials Cover Up Russian Involvement in Cyberattack

- Two Russian Landing Ships from Black Sea Fleet to Participate in Joint Indo-Soviet Drill Indra-2009

Pictured above: Royal Air Force pilot and Tornado interceptor aircraft at Leuchars base in Scotland.

Since we posted last Thursday, Israel and Hamas implemented a conditional cease-fire that will certainly allow the Gaza Strip’s terrorist government to rearm with Iran’s covert assistance, while the USA entered a new era of “mature socialism,” which we may for now call the Obama Presidency. The neo-Soviet leadership is no doubt keenly observing developments in both the Middle East and North America and will employ their agents, assets, and dupes to advance communism’s long-range strategy in these regions.

On January 16, while speaking at a Moscow news conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov articulated the party line by commenting that he “looks forward to working with the new US administration on a wide range of issues,” since the policies of the Bush White House were, to the Kremlin’s way of thinking, “unsatisfactory.” “Instead,” reports Voice of America, “he would like to see a continuity of principles that Moscow and Washington agreed upon at a high level.”

No doubt the removal of the USA’s four-decade trade embargo against Russia’s primary ally in the Western Hemisphere, Cuba, will be the chief topic of discussion when Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro visits Moscow later this month. In November 2006 Russia’s rubber-stamp State Duma unanimously passed a resolution condemning Washington for politically and economically isolating the communist regime in Havana. “I am particularly grateful for this resolution that condemns the unacceptable and illegal trade embargo on Cuba by the United States,” Ricardo Alarcon, chairman of the Cuban National Assembly, told Russia’s potemkin legislators at the time.

Preparing for the next stage in the military conflict known as the Fourth World is another important component in the Kremlin’s drive for global domination.

In the first such flights reported since early December, the Kremlin-run media relates that today two Tu-160 bombers carried out a “routine” 12-hour mission over the Norwegian Sea and Arctic Ocean, while two Tu-95 bombers simultaneously carried out a 10-hour patrol over the Arctic and near the Aleutian Islands. In the first case, the supersonic Blackjack bombers, the largest operational combat aircraft in the world, were periodically accompanied by NATO F-16 Falcon and Tornado fighter jets, while the hardy Bears, the fastest propeller-driven bomber in military history, were shadowed by US F-15 Eagle aircraft. “The shadowing of Russian warplanes by NATO fighters,” remarks Novosti, “has been common practice since Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans in August 2007.” Indeed, the Cold War, if it ever really went away, has resumed, but few denizens of the shopping mall regimes are paying attention.

In a related story, several weeks ago Russian hackers, presumably under the direction of the Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), breached the security of Britain’s Ministry of Defense computers, diverting email traffic among Royal Air Force bases to a Russian internet server. The Times quoted an RAF source as admitting that the Russian computer virus originated from the “former eastern bloc” and demonstrated a high degree of technical “sophistication.” The virus affected at least 24 RAF bases and damaged the computer systems of 75% of Royal Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Not so coincidentally, the RAF bases affected included those from which Tornado interceptor aircraft are scrambled to counter Russian bombers testing British air defences. One such RAF group is the quick response squadron stationed at Leuchars in Scotland.

Pictured here: Kremlin energy imperialism: In Moscow this past Monday Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, follows Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko, a Komsomol graduate, as they prepare to sign a 10-year natural gas supply deal that will clear the way for the resumption of supplies to Europe. For nearly three weeks Europeans have been rubbing their hands to stay warm while the two “ex”-Soviet states wrangled over the price of gas.

Russia’s Strategic Moves in the Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean, and Southwest Asia

Meanwhile, the Russian Navy is beefing up its presence in the pirate-infested waters near Somalia, a country that has lacked an effective central government since communist dictator Said Barre was overthrown in 1991. Over 130 pirate attacks took place near the east African nation in 2008, the vast majority on commercial shipping. Elements of the Soviet-era regime in Mogadishu remain in power in several provincial capitals. Earlier this month the missile destroyer Admiral Vinogradov from Russia’s Pacific Fleet replaced the missile frigate Neustrashimy as part of Russia’s contribution to the international armada off the Horn of Africa.

Today, according to the Yemeni media, the Admiral Vinogradov made a scheduled visit to Yemen’s largest port, Aden, to replenish supplies. Aden was the site of a Soviet naval base during the Cold War. Since Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh has enjoyed a long, chummy relationship with Moscow, Aden, along with Tartus and Latakia in Syria and Benghazi in Libya, have been selected for reactivation by the Russian Navy. The resuscitation of Russia’s Yemeni naval base may not sit well with locals, who this week accused the crew of the Admiral Vinogradov of accidentally ramming a fishing boat and killing one of its crew members.

Three more vessels from the Russian Navy are en route to the Indian Ocean, including the missile destroyer Admiral Chabanenko from the Northern Fleet, which underwent repairs at the Yantar shipyard in Kaliningrad following a multi-nation tour of the Caribbean Sea; Yamal and Azov, two large landing ships from the Black Sea Fleet that will join other Russian and Indian warships in upcoming joint drills known as Indra-2009; and Peter the Great, an imposing, nuclear-powered missile cruiser, also from the Northern Fleet, that completed a joint drill with Venezuela’s navy in November before making an historic port of call in Cape Town en route to Indra-2009.

“The ships will shortly start passing through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits. Later the two large landing ships will cross the Suez Canal and set off for the coast of Somalia to fight the local pirates,” Novosti, at the link above, quoted a source in the Russian Defense Ministry as saying. “Admiral Chabanenko urgently left the Baltiisk naval base on January 20 after receiving orders for a mission of state importance,” explained Sergei Mikhailov, a spokesentity at the Yantar shipyard. The Admiral Chabanenko will presumably also transit the Suez Canal en route to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Incidentally, in a “first ever” for the history books, two destroyers from the People’s Liberation Army Navy, reports state-run Xinhua, joined the United Nations-sanctioned anti-piracy mission in Somalia earlier this month.

Elsewhere in southern Asia, Russia has jumped at the opportunity to rearm the Afghan military, even though 70,000 NATO troops, including US forces, have propped up the government in Kabul since 2001, whent the Al Qaeda-linked Taliban regime was ousted. In November Afghan President Hamid Karzai dispatched a letter to Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, requesting modern weapons and aircraft to replace the country’s Soviet-era hardware. “The equipment of our national army, our helicopters and tanks are Russian-made so this (request) has a technical aspect. We have strategic commitment to NATO and the United States,” Chief presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada informed Reuters. “Medvedev, in a letter addressed to Karzai, has said that Russia is ready to help Afghanistan in the defensive sectors,” an official statement from Kabul disclosed.

Indeed, the Kremlin is not only eager to re-equip the “pro”-Western regime in Afghanistan, but also Iraq’s “pro”-Western government, where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reviewing the possibility of purchasing 2,000 T-72 main battle tanks. The latter may be a militarily unwise purchase since US and allied forces destroyed 400 of these MBTs during the 2003 invasion that removed Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime.

In a related story, US officials announced today that General David Petraeus, commander of US Central Command, secured a deal with the government of Tajikistan to permit the transit of US troops through Central Asia en route to Afghanistan. US military planners, who expect to implement a troop surge of 30,000 personnel this summer, sought this alternative route in the wake of heightened political and military tensions between neighboring Pakistan and India. This, however, is probably only one reason. Barely one week ago The Telegraph reported that, in exchange for billions of dollars of Russian investments, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is considering the closure of the US air base in Manas, which has supported the US-NATO operation in Afghanistan since 2001. Kyrgyzstan also hosts a Russian air base at Kant. The Kant air base is a strategic component of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s Collective Rapid Reaction Forces, as well as the Russian Ground Forces’ 201st Motor Rifle Division.

>Latin America File: US Joint Forces Command report: Mexican state ripe for collapse as drug war rages; FMLN poised to win Salvadoran elections

>In a new troubling report published by the US Joint Forces Command, it is apparent that the US Department of Defense views both Mexico and Pakistan as failed states featuring weak, ineffective governments that are unable to maintain internal security in the face of, in the first case, out-of-control drug cartels and, in the second case, the Taliban/Al Qaeda/Islamist insurgency. The prospect of Mexico’s federal government losing control over the military and police forces and the loyalty of the populace, however, poses greater immediate risks for the USA. The Mexican security apparatus is corrupted by drug money at the highest levels, as evidenced by the arrest of the last “drug czar” Noe Ramirez Mandujano, on suspicion of accepting a US$450,000 bribe from the cartels. An excerpt from the US military report follows:

In terms of worse-case scenarios for the Joint Force and indeed the world, two large and important states bear consideration for a rapid and sudden collapse: Pakistan and Mexico.

The Mexican possibility may seem less likely, but the government, its politicians, police and judicial infrastructure are all under sustained assault and press by criminal gangs and drug cartels. How that internal conflict turns out over the next several years will have a major impact on the stability of the Mexican state. Any descent by Mexico into chaos would demand an American response based on the serious implications for homeland security alone.

An overwhelming, northward flood of refugees–interspersed with criminal-terrorist elements, such as the Gulf Cartel’s heavily armed Los Zetas, recruited from both Mexican and Guatemalan special forces units–across the US-Mexican border is only one likely scenario that would follow the collapse of the Mexican government. The current illegal alien invasion of America would be dwarfed by comparison. In 2007 Mexican scholar Raul Benitez was quoted as saying “Los Zetas have clearly become the biggest, most serious threat to the nation’s [Mexico's] security.”

Pictured above: US President George W. Bush meets with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon at the White House on January 13. Calderon’s visit was Bush’s last meeting in the Oval Office with a foreign head of state before the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama on January 20.

There is no question that Latin America’s Red Axis, with Moscow’s quiet approval, would definitely seize the opportunity presented by a power vacuum in Mexico City to install a radical left administration, possibly headed by failed presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. After all, communist regimes throughout the hemisphere–primarily Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia–and leftist insurgents–like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–are along with Russia the prime movers behind the narco-subversion of the USA. El Paso Times reporter Diana Washington Valdez concludes: “Despite such reports, El Pasoan Veronica Callaghan, a border business leader, said she keeps running into people in the region who ‘are in denial about what is happening in Mexico.'”

Meanwhile, writing today for the Miami Herald, Marifeli Perez-Stable summarizes the various elections that will be taking place this year in Latin America, including this Sunday’s legislative poll in El Salvador. There the rightist Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) has held the presidency since that country’s civil war ended in 1992. At the same time, neither ARENA nor guerrilla army-turned-political party Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) has an outright majority in the Legislative Assembly.

In 2009, Latin America’s electoral calendar speeds up. Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama and Uruguay hold presidential elections. In Argentina, Mexico and El Salvador, citizens cast ballots in legislative contests. Referendums are set to take place in Bolivia and Venezuela. I’ll highlight a first set here, a second in the Jan. 29 column.

On March 15, Salvadorans elect their next president. In mid-December, Mauricio Funes — the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) candidate — held a 10-to-15 point advantage over Rodrigo Avila from the ruling Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA). Funes, a 50-year-old civilian and social democrat, couldn’t be more different from Schafik Handal (1930-2006), the FMLN’s 2004 candidate, once guerrilla leader and mostly unreconstructed communist.

Should Funes win, there would be no downplaying his victory. ARENA would end two decades in power. The FMLN would have to prove its mettle governing. El Salvador would inaugurate an opposition president, the ultimate test in young democracies. If the FMLN bests ARENA in Sunday’s legislative elections as polls indicate, it would be a good omen for Funes.

Several weeks ago, Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega indicated that should the FMLN win both the legislative and executive office ballots, El Salvador will more than likely become the next member of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas. In November, while he visited Hugo Chavez, Ortega, and Evo Morales in Caracas, President Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia was also interested in joining Latin America’s socialist bloc.

>WW4 File: Still more rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon on Thursday; Iranian media: IDF massing army on northern border, Hezbollah on "red alert"

>- Israel’s Channel 10 TV News: Russian Aircraft Carrier at Syrian Port to Monitor Regional Air Traffic

- Western Intelligence Sources: Hezbollah Relocates Command and Control and Logistics Centers from Beirut to Bekaa Valley

For the second time in as many days and for the third time overall, unknown militants in southern Lebanon have fired rockets into northern Israel. Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) also fired two rounds of artillery in return. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) announced that there were no reports of damage or injuries from the cross-border firing, but the UN is investigating whether Hezbollah, the de facto rulers of Lebanon, are trying to open a new front in the Israel-Hamas conflict. “UNIFIL Force Commander Major-General Claudio Graziano once again yesterday urged maximum restraint and is working with both parties to maintain the cessation of hostilities . . . ,” one source reported. A joint UNIFIL-Lebanese patrol, while scouring the area of El Hebbariye after Thursday’s rocket fire, found three live rockets prepared for launch and deactivated them on site.

According to the Thursday edition of Middle East Newsline, Hezbollah is in fact preparing for another war with Israel by relocating its command and control and logistics centers from Beirut to the Bekaa Valley, near the Syrian border:

The Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah has relocated its commandand control centers in what could signal preparations for another war with Israel. Western intelligence sources said Hizbullah has intensified military preparations over the last few weeks amid the Hamas war with Israel. The sources said Hizbullah was transferring command and control and logistics centers from Beirut to southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border. “Hizbullah is reorganizing its military assets in a way that suggests preparations for an escalation along the Israeli border,” an intelligence source said.

Meanwhile, even as an Egypt-brokered cease-fire initiative was under consideration in Cairo, Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired at least 25 rockets at southern Israel today. Two Soviet/Russian-built Grad rockets injured six people, including two seriously, in Beersheba. Pictured above: An Israeli mobile artillery unit shells Gaza City from its position outside the northern Gaza Strip on January 15. The IDF began its heaviest shelling on Thursday in what might be a “final push” against Hamas before the cease-fire, already accepted in principle by the terrorist group, is implemented.

In a related development, Iran’s state-controlled Press TV, citing the Lebanese daily Al Safir, reported yesterday that the IDF was building up its forces along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, including tanks, armored vehicles, and Apache helicopters. “The Israeli army has mobilized its troops along the border from the western Lebanese village of Naqurah to the southern border village of Al Wazzani,” Al Safir related, adding that Israeli forces had also fired flares over Lebanese territory. The Lebanese army is on “high alert,” while Hezbollah militiamen were on “red alert,” “informed sources” explained to Press TV’s correspondent in Beirut.

Last fall Syria, in an effort to combat “smuggling,” has deployed troops adjacent to the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981, and the northern and eastern borders of Lebanon. Presumably, those forces are still there. In the previous links we posted information revealing that Syrian and Iranian operatives and special forces have already taken up positions in northern and southern Lebanon.

Considering Tehran’s antipathy for Israel, this report could be disinformation, designed to portray the beleaguered “Zionist regime” as warmonger. On the other hand, Israel is surrounded by enemies. If the country’s political and military leadership has any strategic sense, then the Israelis will guard their back while engaged in the Gaza offensive.

Incidentally, Syria, like Iran, is little more than a client state for Soviet weaponry, while the ruling Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party (BASP) enjoys a cozy relationship with the secretly ruling Communist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2008 BASP leaders Mohammad Said Bkheitan and Abdullah al-Ahmar signed an inter-party cooperation agreement with CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov. Following the self-congratulatory back-patting typical of dictatorships, the BASP website reported: “Mr. Zyuganov praised Syria’s national stances and its vital role in establishing the just and comprehensive peace and commitment to the international legitimacy resolutions.”

On Monday Russia’s sole aircraft carrier arrived at the Syrian port of Tartus, where the Soviets have maintained a supply base for their navy since the Cold War. According to Israel’s Channel 10 television news, reports the Jerusalem Post, the Admiral Kuznetsov will be monitoring air traffic in the region. Although the military situation in the Gaza Strip is not apparently under discussion, a Russian business delegation is currently visiting Damascus. Today, reports the Syrian Arab News Agency, Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-Otari received Yuri Chavranic, Chairman of the Federation of Oil and Gas Producers of Russia, to “develop bilateral cooperation in the fields of oil and gas exploration and power generation.”

In previous posts, we have considered the renewed Russian military presence in the Middle East from the vantage of Bible prophecy.

>WW4 File: Three rockets fired from Lebanon land in N. Israel, IDF returns fire; follows 2 missile salvos on Jan. 8; sirens wail in Jerusalem

>- Hamas Accepts Egypt-Brokered Cease-Fire Deal, Awaits Israel’s Response (While No Doubt Regrouping and Rearming) (source)

- The Australian: Hamas’ Poor Performance in Ground Battles, Lack of Apparent Command Structure May Be Ruse to Disorient, “Trap” IDF (source)

- Iranian “Humanitarian” Vessel Makes Second Attempt to Breach Israeli Navy’s Gaza Blockade, Heads for Egyptian Port

While Israeli soldiers engage in house-to-house combat with Hamas terrorists in Gaza City, the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet frets and fumes in Cairo, the Global Islamic Caliphate breathes out Allah’s imprecations against Jews and Christians, and Evo Morale’s red cocaine republic in Bolivia follows Hugo Chavez’s example by severing relations with Israel, this morning Hezbollah, or possibly Palestinian insurgents, lobbed a few more rockets from Lebanon into northern Israel.

“The rockets, fired Wednesday morning,” reports the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, “landed near Kiryat Shemona. No damage or injuries were reported. A fourth Katyusha fell short, landing in Lebanon, Lebanese officials confirmed.” The Isreali Defense Forces returned fire, while residents of northern Israel were ordered to bomb shelters during the attacks and remained near the shelters in case of subsequent attacks.

Pictured above: Smoke rises during Israel’s offensive in the northern Gaza Strip today.

It is apparent that Israel’s enemies are endeavoring to open another front in the 60-year-old Arab-Israeli war, but few political leaders in the West appreciate the fact that Israel, more than any other Western country, is at the vanguard of the War on Terror. “Anything else will be met with the Israeli people’s iron fist,” Ehud Olmert vowed on Monday, speaking from the partly deserted city of Ashkelon, “We will continue to strike with full strength, with full force until there is quiet and rearmament stops.” (See first link above.) Courageous words from Israel’s prime minister, but if Olmert’s mentor, former PM Ariel Sharon had not withdrawn Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, then the Hamas coup d’etat of 2007 and Operation Cast Lead might have been avoided and lives spared.

This morning Hamas fired 16 rockets into southern Israel, missing a kibbutz in the Sdot Negev region. The towns of Ashdod, Ashkelon, Sderot, and Beersheba were also hit. Two Grad rockets also struck the Shfela region, in the central district, while rockets fired in the direction of Jerusalem caused panic among civilians when the missiles activated air raid sirens throughout the city. However, as the Jerusalem Post shows in the graph here, the IDF operation in the Gaza Strip has severely impacted Hamas’ capacity to launch missiles at Israel.

Today, in an interview with Itar-Tass, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni stated: “Israel seeks Russia’s pressure on Syria and Iran to stop their support for Palestine’s Hamas. Israel is interested in informing Hamas that it will gain no recognition through terror, in exerting pressure on Syria and Iran to stop their support for Hamas. There were certain ideas as concerns the monitoring of the borders, but we need effective measures against Hamas and not monitoring alone.” The fact that Jerusalem rightly recognizes that Moscow exerts “pull” with Syria, Iran, and Hamas should be an important consideration in the formulation of any Western country’s Middle East policy.

For months there was speculation that Israel would attack Iran’s nuclear program before Barack Hussein Obama is sworn in as US president on January 20. “We are prepared and ready to do whatever Israel needs us to do and if this is the mission we’re given then we are ready,” Israeli Air Force Commander Ido Nehushtan informed German magazine Der Spiegel in November, “A strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities is a political decision, but if I understand it correctly, all options are on the table … The Air Force is a very robust and flexible force. We are ready to do whatever is demanded of us.” The current Hamas missile assault on Israel, which ramped up again on December 20, when the last cease-fire terminated, may very well have been a Tehran-orchestrated distraction to tie down Israeli political and military leaders.

Today, reports Debkafile, the Israeli Navy turned back an Iranian vessel as the Shahed attempted to again breach the blockade that Israel imposed on Gaza on December 27. The Israelis first intercepted the Shahed on Tuesday, although some official sources deny this incident occurred. The ship then tried to unload its cargo of food, medicines, and clothing at Port Said but was prevented by Egyptian authorities. After the second encounter with the Israeli Navy, the Iranian vessel sailed for the Sinai port of El Arish, where the Egyptians again prevented the Shahed from docking. In view of the terrorist training and weapons that Hamas operatives have received at camps in Iran and Syria, one can only wonder if the Shahed contains more than “humanitarian” cargo.

>End Times File: Magog invasion of Israel approaching: Russian aircraft carrier deploys to Syria, IDF troops come under fire from Syria, Jordan

>Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’s anger come upon you [Second Coming of Jesus Christ]. Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’s anger. For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites [Philistia/Palestine]! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines [Palestinians], I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. – Zephaniah 2:1-6

- Zephaniah’s Prophecy Fulfilled Before Your Eyes:

1) Since December 27 40% of Ashkelon Residents Have Fled Hamas Rockets for Relative Safety of Northern Israel (source)

2) Defense Ministery Assumes Control over Local Government Functions in Southern Israel, Extends “Special Situation” Radius to Include Ashdod (source)

- Turkey: The Missing Link in the End-Times Russian-Arab Military Coalition against Israel

1) Jerusalem Post: Turkey under AKP Regime No Longer a Reliable NATO Ally, Drifting into Alliance with Russia and Iran

2) Ankara Offers to Send Troops to Gaza; Proposal Receives Warm Welcome from Hamas, Would Be First Turkish Troops in Vicinity of Israel since 1917

For students of Bible prophecy–particularly the end-times prophecies concerning the Magog invasion of Israel (Daniel 38 and 39), the obliteration of Damascus (Isaiah 17), and the demise of Gaza (Zephaniah 2, Zechariah 9)–an intriguing alignment of nations against Israel and its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead, has emerged in recent weeks and months. This alliance is led by the Russian Bear (Magog), which emerged from a 17-year hibernation last August when the Soviets re-invaded Georgia. Tbilisi’s army, much to the Kremlin’s displeasure, was trained and equipped by the USA and Israel. This may very well constitute the “hook in Gog’s jaws” (Ezekiel 38:4), which draws Magog to its supernatural doom on the mountains of Israel.

The modern coalition, per Ezekiel’s prediction, includes Iran (“Persia” until as recently as the early 20th century), Libya and Ethiopia (both by name in the Holy Scriptures), and Turkey (Togarmah), a secularized Muslim country that holds NATO membership and which has never before been in alliance with the Soviets or the Islamic states. Isaiah’s prophecy refers to Syria (Damascus), while Zephaniah’s prophecy mentions Syria (Assyria), Jordan (Moab, Ammon), and the Palestinians (Philistines). The King of Jordan’s website admits: “The Iron Age (c. 1200-332 BCE) saw the development and consolidation of three new kingdoms in Jordan: Edom in the south, Moab in central Jordan, and Ammon in the northern mountain areas.” Incidentally, in identifying themselves as Palestinians, Israel’s modern enemy is also identifying with the ancient pagan nation of Philistia, which caused so much grief for the ancient Hebrews.

The exact timing between these three prophecies is not clear, at least to your resident blogger, but it would appear that they will unfold in close proximity to one another.

First of all, the Russian Navy has reactiviated its Soviet-era maintenance and resupply site in Tartus, Syria, which can accommodate a dozen warships and presently hosts about 50 naval personnel and three floating piers. Russian media reports have suggested the facility could be turned into a base for the country’s Black Sea Fleet, which could lose its base in Sevastopol, Ukraine in 2017. On Monday, reports Novosti, Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the destroyer Admiral Levchenko arrived at Tartus on their tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea. “Our sources,” explains Debkafile, “believe Moscow may be signaling its disapproval of Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.”

More than a week ago the Admiral Kuznetsov’s deck-based fighter jets carried out drills in Greek airspace around the islands of Rhodes and Crete, before weighing anchor at the Turkish naval port of Aksaz, which is near Rhodes. Earlier on Monday the Russian and Turkish navies, presumably under the foolish provisions of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program, completed joint search and rescue operations. Greece and Turkey are both NATO member states but have growing military relations with Russia, the country that NATO was supposedly designed to hold at bay. During the Cold War joint military exercises between NATO and Soviet Bloc states would have been unthinkable.

Second, Turkey has positioned itself to become a key player in peace talks between Israel and its Arab Muslim enemies, especially Syria and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. On January 8 the Turkish media quoted government spokesman Cemil Iek as saying: “We can send troops to the region [Gaza] if it is going to contribute to peace.” Last week Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with his Syrian counterpart Walid al-Moallem in Turkey to discuss the implementation of a cease-fire in Gaza. “The international community must act in unity. Nothing is more valuable than the lives of people,” Babacan told reporters at a joint press conference, “Any ceasefire should be monitored by international groups. Turkey would not shy away from undertaking such a mission if it were asked to contribute.” Finally, a Turkish diplomat complained, “We were disappointed when the indirect peace talks we had been mediating since May between Syria and Israel were dealt a blow by Israel’s military incursion into Gaza. Turkey has a privileged position: it is anchored in the West but also has an influence in its region.”

Although Egypt’s government, which is theoretically at peace with Israel, has rejected suggestions concerning the deployment of international monitors on its border with Gaza, the embattled Hamas welcomes the presence of Turkish troops. “We trust Turkey and its role as an Islamic country,” Hamas officials opined, referring to a proposal submitted by Turkish officials to Hamas’ exiled political chief Khaled Meshal in Damascus. Turkish troops were last present in Israel in 1917, when the forces of British Field Marshal Lord Allenby routed the Ottoman Turks from “Palestine.” The same year the Balfour Declaration expressed the British government’s sympathetic view of the restoration of the Jewish homeland.

Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently condemned Israel for its invasion of the Gaza Strip, invoking Allah’s judgment upon the Jewish state. While visiting a Palestinian patient at a Turkish hospital today, Erdogan once again uttered harsh words against Israel, accusing the IDF of using white phosphorus shells against civilians. On January 14 the Jerusalem Post acknowledged that Turkey is no longer a reliable NATO ally but, rather, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is drifting into alliance with Russia and Iran. Svante E. Cornell editorializes:

Ankara’s deep links to the US and Europe are too strong to be reversed anytime soon. But as long as the AKP remains in power, these ties are likely to gradually erode even further. Rather than a part of the West, Turkey could rather become equidistant between the West and powers like Russia or Iran. Were that to happen, it would require strategic thinkers in Washington, Brussels and Tel Aviv to reconsider some of their earlier assumptions.

France, whose President Nicolas Sarkozy is co-president of the new Union for the Mediterranean, has also offered to deploy soldiers from his country to monitor a proposed cease-fire.

Third, since the Israeli Defense Forces began Operation Cast Lead on December 27, tensions along Israel’s borders with the Arab states of Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan have risen. Last Thursday, “Lebanese militants” launched two barrages of rockets on northern Israel. Israeli forces responded with mortar fire. No one claimed responsibility for the initial rocket attack, but Israeli defense commentators suspect that Hezbollah militimen, Lebanon’s de facto rulers, were behind the salvos.

On Sunday IDF soldiers in the Golan Heights came under cross-border fire, producing no casualties. “In the afternoon, there were a number of bullets fired from Syria at an Israeli army force doing engineering work near the fence,” an IDF spokesman related, “No one was hurt but a vehicle was damaged. Forces in the field are examining the incident and a complaint was sent to UNDOF which sent a team there. The circumstances of the incident are still unclear.” The IDF believes that Palestinian militants based in Syria, rather than the regular Syrian army, were reponsible for the small arms fire.

Earlier today, moreover, an IDF patrol near the Israel-Jordan border at Eilat, on the Gulf of Aqaba, came under small arms fire from unknown sources. Israeli forces returned fire. Jordanian authorities denied that their soldiers were reponsible. Eilat is adjacent to the Egyptian village of Taba, to the south, and the Jordanian port city of Aqaba, to the east. Jordan has been at peace with Israel since 1994, while a state of war has continued between Israel and Syria since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

Fourth, the Islamo-Nazi regime in Iran is carefully monitoring the Israeli offensive in Gaza, as evidenced by the arrival of Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Ankara to discuss Operation Cast Lead with Turkish officials. Contrary to claims by the Iranian media, the Israeli Navy denies intercepting an Iranian vessel carrying “humanitarian aid” to the Palestinians, 20 miles from the Gaza coast.

Last week Ashiyaneh, a cell of Iranian computer hackers, stated that they carried out a cyberattack against Mossad’s website to protest the ongoing Israeli incursion of Gaza. “The Zionist Regime considers the merciless killing of the defenseless people in Gaza as its right and assumes that the world people will keep silent about it,” the hackers declared. Mossad, which means Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, is Israel’s national intelligence agency. Leftists and faux rightists erroneously believe that Mossad, as well as the US Central Intelligence Agency, are the chief sources of the world’s ills.

Fifth, the Free Gaza Movement, a consortium of troublesome terrorist sympathizers, leftists, and peaceniks organized by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), is also meddling in Israel’s Gaza offensive by trying to deliver “food and medicine” to the Palestinians. Free Gaza is using communist Cyprus as a staging ground for their “relief efforts,” probably because the government in Nicosia has also condemned Operation Cast Lead. Two weeks ago the Israeli Navy ordered one such ship, which was transporting a diverse crew including one Cypriot parliamentarian and CNN journalists, back to Cyprus in order to maintain its blockade of Gaza. Two days ago another “aid ship,” also carrying politicians from Greece, Spain, and Belgium, returned to Cyprus as a result of mechanical problems.

Pictured here: The ruins of the al-Taqwa Mosque in Gaza City, bombed by the Israeli Air Force. The IDF contends that Hamas uses mosques as ammo dumps and missile platforms and that, therefore, the religious facilities are legitimate military targets. Utilizing extensive ground-based intelligence, the IAF has bombed a number of such sites across the Gaza Strip. Airborne video shows secondary explosions that reveal the presence of ammunition stored in the mosques.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government has respectfully rejected calls by the United Nations Security Council to unilateraly impose a cease-fire on Operation Cast Lead. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak explained: “Yesterday, we heard, and we respect the calls of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and, of course, we are also monitoring developments on the Egyptian initiative, but the fighting goes on and the IDF is continuing to apply force.” Today Israeli ground forces continued to clash with Hamas gunmen in Gaza City and endeavored to destroy the terrorist organization’s extensive, Vietcong-like smuggling tunnels under the Palestinian exclave. The IDF estimates that at least 450 Hamas gunmen have been killed, along with an additional 500 Palestinians. The Israeli military also believes that among the remaining 500, a significant percentage were also Hamas operatives.

Defense Ministry Director-General Pinchas Buchris, the Jerusalem Post reports, made a “lightning trip” to Washington yesterday for talks with the Pentagon about a “wide range of issues,” including the Iranian nuclear threat and ongoing IDF operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Last week the Pentagon denied that a large arms shipment bound for Israel, with a little help from the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command, was related to Operation Cast Lead. Although the USA does not figure in Bible prophecy, at least not by direct mention, America’s support for Israel over the years has probably served as a shield against God’s judgment on a country that has by and large turned its back on its Christian heritage.

The latest developments in the Middle East are prophetically significant because they portend the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week, a seven-year period of war, desolation, and God’s judgment on the nations. The last will witness the death of more than one quarter of the world’s population (Revelation 6:8). We believe that the Magog invasion of Israel occurs at the beginning of this period as the Jews will require seven years to dispose of the invading armies’ weapons. See Ezekiel 38:4 and 39:9 where the weapons of modern warfare are portrayed under imagery understandable to the ancient Jews.

Current events also point to the soon fulfillment of the rapture, or the physical translation of the saints to heaven prior to the tribulation period (1 Thessalonian 4, Revelation 3:10). The instantaneous removal of millions of Bible-believing, born-again Christians from the earth might be a welcome relief to militant communists, atheists, and Muslims, but the rapture will deprive Israel of its staunchest supporters in the face of ever-growing hatred toward Jews and the Jewish state.

In the wake of the IDF’s offensive in Gaza, anti-Semitism is once again resurgent throughout the world. The attempt on January 6, presumably by French Muslims, to ram a car through the gates of a Toulouse synagogue and then torch the vehicle is but one example. A lecture was in progress in the synagogue when the incident occurred. Three petrol bombs were found in a second car nearby.

>Latin America File: Panama snuggles up to Cuba, communists worldwide rally around neo-Sandinista regime, Nicaragua’s post-election violence continues

>Panama Canal Well and Truly Under Communist Influence:

- Panamanian President Visits Havana for Sixth Time, Panama Canal Authority Board Member Coddles Cuban Dictatorship

- Previous Posts: Red Chinese Front Company Controls Canal Ports, Russian Warship Visits Balboa under Nose of US State Secretary Rice (post 1, post 2)

As the Red Spread engulfs Latin America, preparing to consume El Salvador during that country’s March presidential election, diehard revolutionaries Hugo Chavez, Daniel Ortega, and Evo Morales took advantage of the new year to heap hosannahs on Cuba’s 50-year-old communist dictatorship. “The Cuban Revolution was the mother of all Latin American freedom movements and the vanguard of people’s pursuit for dignity in the continent,” Chavez gushed in Caracas. Panama’s social democratic President Martin Torrijos, son of former strongman Omar, took advantage of the region-wide love-fest to actually visit Cuba on Tuesday, as did Ecuador’s socialist President Rafael Correa yesterday.

Pictured above: Cuba’s President/Tyrant Raul Castro (right) hugs Torrijos during a ceremony at the Palace of the Revolution in Havana on January 5. On this occasion, his sixth visit to Cuba, Torrijos was awarded with a medal of the Order of Jose Marti, the country’s highest distinction, during his three-day official visit to the all-inclusive gulag resort known as Cuba. The Cubans also unveiled a monument to Martin’s deceased father, who negotiated the repatriation of the Panama Canal with a little help from former US president and veteran international meddler Jimmy Carter. Torrijos, in return, decorated the leader of the Cuban Revolution himself, the cadaverous Fidel Castro, with the Division General Omar Torrijos Herrera Order in the degree of Great Extraordinary Cross.

Reflecting upon Martin’s latest trip to Havana, Adolfo Ahumanda recalled that in the 1970s the elder Torrijos “ignored warnings and threats by the United States to avoid reestablishment of relations with Cuba.” According to Ahumanda, Omar received a letter from the US Secretary of State warning that Panama would face “consequences” for reestablishing relations with Cuba. Ahumanda emphasized that Omar’s monument in Havana is a “permanent reflection of the existing relations between both countries.” Ahumanda should know. He served as a member of the Panamanian committee assigned to the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaty negotiations and, in 1995, joined the Panama Canal Treaty Consultative Committee, in which he represented Panama as co-president. Ahumanda currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Panama Canal Authority.

In a total “disconnect” regarding the network of subversive relations between Latin America’s communist regimes and insurgent armies, President Martin Torrijos visited the border region where Panamanian border guards clashed in early December with guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. There he bestowed Panama’s Medal of Valor on 23 members of the National Border Service for repelling the incursion by a “group of armed bandits” and promised to beef up security along the porous border. Panama’s jungle province of Darien is a hotbed for Colombian drug traffickers, guerrillas, and right-wing paramilitaries.

Pictured here: Latin America’s leaders begin a new year’s parade to Communist Cuba. “It is always a joy to arrive in Cuba for a visit on the 50th anniversary of its Revolution,” enthused President Correa upon his arrival in Havana, “It is an honor for me to visit the sister Republic of Cuba, a land full of dignity, solidarity and Latin Americanism.” Joy? Honor? Dignity? What are Castro, Correa & Co. smoking down there? More than Cuban cigars, it would appear.

Meanwhile, on December 26, 2008, at the behest of the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front, communists and other leftists worldwide signed a manifesto, “In Defense of Nicaragua,” in support of Daniel Ortega’s government in Nicaragua. The introduction of the manifesto states:

In November 2006, the Nicaraguan people elected the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) to guide their destiny and since January 10, 2007, the new government has restarted the process of rebirth begun on July 19, 1979 but abandoned for 17 years by three capitalist, neo-liberal, anti-democratic governments. Nicaragua has regained the national dignity of an independent government from the imperial powers, and has again put the poor at the center of development policies.

As part of this process, Nicaragua joined the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). With the generous support of many people and governments, especially Cuba and Venezuela, the Sandinista government has implemented various programs through which the Nicaragua people have recovered much of their social and economic rights, opening the possibility for national, democratic, and socialist progress.

The signatories vowed:

1. Our unconditional support for the Nicaraguan people’s right to self-determination and national sovereignty, without foreign interference of any kind.
2. Our support for the independent, sovereign, and popular path adopted by the FSLN government led by President Daniel Ortega.
3. Our celebration over the Sandinista victory in 105 of 146 municipal governments.

The signatories rejected and condemned:

1. The alleged foreign, especially US and European, interference in the internal affairs of Nicaragua.
2. The US government and European Union’s alleged policy of blackmail with respect to Nicaragua.
3. The alleged campaign of lies and disinformation unleashed by multinational corporations about the FSLN government.

Pictured here: Ortega’s panegyric for the Cuban Revolution and mentor Fidel. The poster notes that 2009 represents the 50th anniversary of the communist takeover in Cuba and the 30th anniversary of the Sandinista revolution.

As of December 29 more than 1,200 individuals, organizations, and political parties–most from Latin America but also other regions–endorsed the manifesto, including:

- Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the United Nations General Assembly and foreign minister during first Sandinista regime
- Gustavo Porras, National Front of Workers, Nicaragua
- Julio Briceño Dávila, Nicaraguan Marxist Revolutionary Movement
- Jacinto Suarez Espinoza, FSLN faction leader in Central American Parliament
- Mensaje de Alberto Muller Rojas, National Vice-President, (ruling) United Socialist Party of Venezuela
- Patricio Echegaray, General Secretary, Communist Party of Argentina
- National Director, Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, El Salvador
- Jaime Caycedo, Secretary General, Colombian Communist Party, Alternative Democratic Pole
- Silvia Solórzano, Committee for Solidarity with the Peoples of Guatemala, Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity Party
- Victor Oliva, Secretary General, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Peru
- Ivan Pinheiro, Secretary General, (ruling in coalition) Communist Party of Brazil
- Iván Rodríguez, Secretary General, (ruling in coalition) Dominican Workers’ Party, Dominican Republic
- Manuel Salazar, Communist Party of Labor, Dominican Republic
- Humberto Vargas Carbonell, Secretary General, Popular Vanguard Party, Costa Rica
- Carlos Eduardo and Alejandro Mendez, (ruling) Broad Front, Uruguay
- Secretary of International Relations, (ruling) Movement toward Socialism, Bolivia
- Osvaldo Chato Peredo, Che Guevara National Foundation, Bolivia
- Catalina Fernandez, Director, National Organization of Militant Peronism, Argentina
- Ruben Mendoza, Speaker of National Bolivarian Circles, Venezuela
- Jose Mendoza, spokesman, (ruling) United Socialist Party of Venezuela Battalions
- Aldo Vera, Secretary of International Relations, Movement toward Socialism, Paraguay

There are numerous signatories from the ruling Socialist Party of Chile, the Communist Party of Chile, and assorted Allende groupies:

- Gonzalo S Meza Allende, grandson of former Marxist Chilean President Salvador Allende and member of Salvador Allende Foundation
- Manuel Cortes Iturrieta, President of Association of Former Members of Security Staff of President Salvador Allende; member of Central Committee, Socialist Party of Chile
- Carlos Moya, Central Committee, Socialist Party of Chile
- Rafael Araya, Central Committee, Socialist Party of Chile
- Paddy Ahumada, Central Committee, Socialist Party of Chile
- Guillermo Teillier, General Secretary Communist Party of Chile
- Jorge Insulza, Political Committee, Communist Party of Chile
- Lautaro Carmona, Communist Party of Chile

Beyond Latin America the following communist organizations have given their imprimatur to the new FSLN regime in Managua:

- World Federation of Democratic Youth, Budapest
- World Federation of Trades Unions
- Miguel Figueroa, General Secretary, Communist Party of Canada
- Marie Nassif-Debs, Politburo, Communist Party of Lebanon
- Dr. Gyula Thurman, President, Hungarian Communist Workers’ Party
- Luke Weyland, Socialist Alliance and Democratic Socialist Perspective, Australia
- Walid Ahmad, Member, Central Committee, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine
- Feidias Pairidis, Editor of Aristera! (Left!), organ of Communist Organization of Greece, Athens

Nicaragua’s post-election violence, reports the Costa Rican media, spilled into the new year on Thursday when Sandinistas and supporters of the Liberal Constitutional Party (PLC) in the contested municipality of Nindirí reportedly attacked the homes of each other’s candidates. Suspects under the influence of alcohol fired mortar bombs at the house of former PLC mayoral candidate Lucas Reyes around 2 a.m. yesterday morning. The attack was allegedly in response to the bullets that were fired at the house of Nindirí’s Sandinista mayor-elect, Clarisa Rivas. Violence was also reported in the northern border outpost of Wiwilí, where the mayor’s office was burned to the ground yesterday morning. Eighty percent of the building and many official documents were destroyed. The violence in Nindirí and Wilwilí came one day after Sandinistas attacked and injured four Liberals in yet another contested municipality, La Concepción.

>WW4 File: Hamas claims missile hit Tel Nof air base near Tel Aviv, facility allegedly houses nukes; Israel ignores UN resolution, pursues Gaza op

>The United Nations Security Council, which is dominated by communist superpowers Russia and China, passed a resolution today calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government, however, ignored the resolution, citing the security of citizens and territory as justification for continued suppression of the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza City. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rightly rejected the UN resolution, saying on Friday morning, “The (Hamas) rocket attacks this morning on the residents of the south only prove that the U.N.’s resolution is not practical and will not be upheld by the Palestinian murder organizations.” Hamas fired more than 30 rockets toward Israel this morning.

Although additional confirmation has yet to surface, al-Aqsa television quoted Hamas officials as contending that today one of their Grad rockets hit Tel Nof, an important air base on the outskirts of Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv. Tel Nof, which is home to several fighter jet and helicopter squadrons, allegedly houses Israel’s nuclear weapons.

Today Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov, after holding talks with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Damascus, travelled to Israel where he conferred with that country’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. At the time Saltanov warned of the eruption of a wider conflagration in the Middle East: “The continuation of Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip could spread beyond the coastal sliver. The large-scale offensive in Gaza threatens the security of other regions as well.”

Meanwhile, BBC reports that Palestinians protesting against the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip clashed with Israeli security forces in the West Bank today: “At the Qalandiya checkpoint, an entrance to the city of Ramallah, Palestinian youths threw stones at soldiers who again fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters. In the West Bank village of Bilin, protesters dressed as Holocaust concentration camp inmates and threw stones at Israeli soldiers, who responded with tear gas.”

The AFP news agency also reports that in Alexandria the Muslim Brotherhood rallied more than 50,000 Egyptians to protest Israel’s suppression of the Hamas insurgency. Hamas represents the Gaza chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Anti-Israel protests also occurred in other Arab states like Algeria, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Asia and Europe. In the latter, the Greek Communist Party urged more than 2,000 rioters in Athens and Thessaloniki to burn the United States and European Union flags outside the US embassy and the Israeli flag outside the Israeli mission.

>EU File: European governments declare states of emergency as Moscow turns off gas supply in row with Kiev, Ukraine militarizes border with Russia

>January 9, 2009 Updates

-Kurt Volker, US Ambassador to NATO: Military Coalition Might Intervene in Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute to Assist Member States Bulgaria and Romania (source)

- Poking the Soviet Bear: Ukraine’s Top General: Troops Could Join NATO Reaction Forces, EU Tactical Units by 2011

On January 1 Russia’s Gazprom turned off the natural gas supply to client Ukraine, the USA’s new strategic partner, in a row over unpaid bills. About one quarter of Europe’s gas is supplied by Russia, an estimated 80 percent of which passes through pipelines across the “former” Soviet republic. The Kremlin’s petulant energy imperialism previously manifested itself in the depths of winter 2005-2006 and again in winter 2006-2007. A week later, The Times reports that twelve countries have received no Russian gas: Austria, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. France, Italy, Germany, and Poland reported that their supplies from Russia were markedly down.

In response, governments across Europe declared states of emergency and ordered factories and schools to close. Sven Alkalay, Bosnia’s Foreign Minister, complained: “Four million of our citizens are in danger.” Almir Becarevic, the manager of Bosnia’s state gas company, said: “If this lasts it could turn into a humanitarian disaster. We pray that someone can find a solution.”

Pictured above: Yesterday natural gas workers control a valve at the FGSZ Natural Gas Transmission Closed Company, the largest station in Vecses, outside Budapest, Hungary.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, an “ex”-communist from Portugal, charged both countries with holding the European Union’s energy supply “hostage” amid a cold snap across the continent. He feebly urged them to reopen the pipelines post haste. To reopen the gas taps, the EU offered to send independent monitors to scrutinize the guages on the pipelines at Ukraine’s borders. Russia claims that Ukraine is diverting gas from these pipelines, reducing the onward supply to Europe. The Kremlin has responded by cutting supplies by the amount Ukraine is supposedly stealing.

Barroso has also offered to mediate the dispute between Vladimir Putin, Russia’s Prime Minister, and Ukrainian counterpart, Yulia Tymoshenko, who will send officials to Brussels today to resolve the issue. The European Commission President conversed with both leaders yesterday, commenting:

Prime Minister Putin told me that Russia is providing the gas destined for the EU, Prime Minister Tymoshenko told me that they have created no problems with transit through Ukraine. The conclusion is clear: if both Russia and Ukraine behave as they say they are behaving, there should be no problem. If Ukraine is trying to be closer to the European Union, it should not create problems when it comes to the supply of gas to the EU.

Since the political leadership of both Russia and Ukraine are connected to the old Soviet regime–Putin is “ex”-KGB/CPSU, while Tymoshenko is ex-Komsomol–there is good reason to believe that the spat between Moscow and Kiev is contrived to advance the long-range Soviet deception strategy of turning the EU into Russia’s vassal state. Part of the deception appears to be the militarizing of the Ukraine-Russia border.

In November Novosti, citing the Russian-language business daily Delo, reported that Kiev plans to deploy more troops along the common border. “The events in the Caucasus have forced every country in this region to think about security. It turns out that not everything is so calm, that even Europe may experience military conflicts,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov was quoted as saying by Delo. Yekhanurov identified raising the combat readiness of air defense units and increasing security around strategically important assets as “priority tasks” for 2009. According to Delo, the modernization of the existing S-300, Buk-M1, Osa, and Tunguska air defense systems is also under consideration. Another Novosti article, citing the UNIAN news agency, appeared a week later. “Moscow should not worry about this redeployment – it does not threaten Russia,” assured Yekhanurov.

Last month, the chief of the Ukrainian General Staff, Army General Sergey Kirichenko, revealed that “certain units of Ukraine’s armed forces could take part in the first rotations of NATO reaction forces and EU tactical units starting in 2011.” This proposal, if implemented, would no doubt enrage the Moscow Leninists–which is exactly what they want: a pretext to nuke the West.

>Breaking News: "Lebanese militants" launch 2nd rocket attack on N. Israel, Home Front Command opens bomb shelters, IDF: Beiruit culpable in attacks

>A northern front in the latest phase of the 60-year-old Middle East war may be opening along the Israeli-Lebanese border. The Israeli media reports that “Lebanese militants” have launched a second barrage of rockets into northern Israel:

Radio and TV stations say air-raid sirens have gone off in two northern towns. There have been no reports of injuries. But the attack follows an earlier salvo on northern Israel. Israeli officials have been concerned that Hezbollah guerrillas may try to open a second front against Israel as it presses on with an offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israel has activated thousands of reserve troops to guard the north and repeatedly warned Hezbollah against attacking.

According to the Jerusalem Post, after the first barrage of Katyusha rockets at communities in the north this morning, the Home Front Command instructed all municipalities there to open bomb shelters, even though, “defense officials carefully assessed that the incident was an isolated case and not indicative of an escalation on the northern border.” In this case, watch what the Israeli government does, not what it says.

The Israeli Defense Forces’ Northern Command also held consultations at this time and announced that “Israel holds the government of Lebanon and the Lebanese armed forces responsible for preventing rocket fire into Israel.” Army representatives insisted that Palestinian terrorists were interested in “dragging Lebanon into a war.” Meanwhile, the Iranian media reports that the Israeli Air Force conducted overflights in southern Lebanon following the initial salvo of missiles.

>WW4 File: Hezbollah denies responsibility for rocket attack on N. Israel, IDF returns fire; Russia evacuates more nationals from Gaza, delivers aid

>In the wake of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s implied threat of opening a second front along the Israeli-Lebanese border, three Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon struck the northern Israeli city of Nahariya earlier today. One rocket exploded in a retirement home, injuring two persons. Lebanon’s minister of labor, Mohammed Fneish, a member of Hezbollah, denied that his party/terrorist organization was responsible for the incident. In response to the rocket attack, Israeli troops returned mortar fire across the border. “Nothing happens in Lebanon without a green light from Hizbullah,” an Israeli defense official commented, “Even if it was a Palestinian group who fired the rockets, Hizbullah would have to at least have turned a blind eye to allow the rocket fire.”

Pictured above: This morning Israeli Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defence Minister Ehud Barak, and Yoav Galant, chief of the army’s Southern Command met at the Tzeelim military base in southern Israel to assess the situation in Gaza. Photo provided by the Israeli Government Press Office.

Fighting between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas insurgents continue in the Gaza Strip today, amidst predictable condemnation from Islamic and communist regimes. The Jerusalem Post reports that an IDF officer was killed and a soldier lightly wounded in a clash with Hamas gunmen in the central Gaza Strip. Citing Palestinian sources, the Israeli media reported that the air force carried out two dozen strikes on Thursday, killing one Hamas operative and wounding 1o others in Gaza City. An air strike in northern Gaza killed three members of a rocket-launching cell.

Pictured here: Equating Zionism and nationalism in general with oppression, leftists throughout the world reject Israel’s attempt to defend its citizens and territory from the Palestinian insurgency, which is largely Marxist in orientation. On January 2, cadres of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in New Delhi burned a joint effigy of Olmert and US President George W. Bush.

Latin America’s Red Axis is also united in denouncing Israel over the Jewish state’s extirpation of the Hamas insurgency in Gaza. Last Sunday Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega ranted: “I want . . . to ask the international community to make all necessary efforts to stop the criminal acts of the Israeli government against the suffering Palestinian people.” Today 100 Palestinians living in Nicaragua marched through downtown Managua before demolishing a menorah-shaped monument in the city center. The seven-branched candelabrum is Israel’s national emblem. The Palestinian Ambassador to Nicaragua Walid Al-Mua’qat took part in the demonstration, which was endorsed by mass organizations affiliated with the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front.

In Canada left-wing anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head in the form of a proposed ban on Israeli academics teaching in the province of Ontario’s universities. “In response to an appeal from the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, we are ready to say Israeli academics should not be on our campuses unless they explicitly condemn the university bombing and the assault on Gaza in general,” piously intoned Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Len Rudner, regional director of the Canadian Jewish Congress in Ontario, branded the resolution “unbalanced, unfair and unhelpful.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday Russia evacuated a second group of nationals from the Palestinian territory. The first such airlift occurred on January 2. Moscow is also heavily involved in relief missions for the Palestinian National Authority. Today a fourth humanitarian flight, carrying 28 tons of food and five tons of medicine, arrived in the Egyptian town of Larish, which will then be trucked into the Gaza Strip. KGB-trained PNA President Mahmoud Abbas, like his predecessor Yasser Arafat, another KGB asset, is closely aligned with the Soviet strategists.

>Blast from the Past File: Resurgent elements of Rawlings’ communist regime reassert control over Ghana, President Atta Mills an "ex"-Marxist-Leninist

>Today John Evans Atta Mills, who ran on the social democratic platform of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), was sworn in as Ghana’s new president. Between 1997 and 2001 Atta Mills was vice president under “former” Marxist military dictator Jerry Rawlings, a slavish Cold War ally of both the Soviet Union and Libya. Rawlings (pictured here) attended his compliant protege’s inauguration in Accra on Wednesday. Atta Mills won by a very slim majority, ousting the conservative New Patriotic Party that ruled Ghana for the last eight years. Examining their rhetoric, though, we find that Rawlings and Atta Mills are little more than warmed-over communists who survived Africa’s Cold War.

Writing before last month’s hotly disputed Ghanaian presidential election, journalist Kofi Akosah-Sarpong of the Expo Times Independent Sierra Leone writes of Rawlings’ political vehicle, the NDC, which belongs to the Moscow-controlled Socialist International:

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has always been a one trick horse. In its first eight years after emerging from military roots, the NDC ran on befuddled socialism under its founder Jerry Rawlings who ruled Ghana for almost 20 years. Out of power for almost eight years in a new democratic dispensation, it transformed itself and ran on social democracy. In the upcoming 2008 December General Election, the NDC appears to run without the benefit of either. Marxist-Leninist ideology via socialism is on the shelf. Social democracy is in the rear-view mirror, the ruling National Patriotic Party (NPP) and minority Convention Peoples Party (CPP) having virtually encroached into the NDC ideological terrain and appropriated its social democracy ethos.

Of Professor Atta Mills, a former law instructor and self-avowed “Marxist-Leninist socialist,” the same political analyst wrote last September that “Atta-Mills is seen as the puppet of Rawlings, who has iron grip on the NDC and whose democratic commitment is suspect.” A larger excerpt follows from the Akosah-Sarpong article:

When I listen to Atta-Mills, and hear him talk about the NDC’s social democracy, I get flash of his years as a Marxist-Leninist socialist. While both the NDC and the CPP are social democrats, there are philosophical differences. While Atta-Mills is sincere, his NDC, as the main opposition party, hasn’t campaigned fully on freedoms and democratic growth. Atta-Mills is seen as the puppet of Rawlings, who has iron grip on the NDC and whose democratic commitment is suspect. Atta-Mills body language doesn’t look like somebody who wants to be president, more because of the brutal shadow of Rawlings whirling around him. With the national view that he is not-his-own-man; Atta-Mills is a mismatch within the overwhelming Rawlings machine within the NDC. Atta-Mills don’t have the freedom to consolidate democracy.

Just in time for Ghana’s neo-Rawlingist regime, old allies Russia and Libya, operating through the Kremlin’s Technopromexport and Tripoli’s African Investment Portfolio, are moving in to town to build a power plant in the West African country. The Libyan media reported last month that the newly founded consortium “Laptechno-Power” will also build and operate power facilities in Libya, Uganda, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen, and Namibia. The African Investment Portfolio will finance the projects through a US$6.73 billion investment fund. Although the Soviets, the Libyans, and assorted Third World revolutionaries like Rawlings have toned down their Cold War rhetoric, it seems like old times in Africa.

Resurgent elements of old communist regimes have appeared in other West African states in recent months. Last year the All People’s Congress, which ruled Sierra Leone as a single-party dictatorship between 1978 and 1991, was voted back into power. Under the guidance of former President Siaka Stevens (1967-1985) the APC implemented “pragmatic socialism.” Although it is not clear whether the new generation of leadership in the APC, including President Ernest Bai Koroma, is still committed to socialism, Libya continues to extend its baleful influence throughout West Africa. On January 3 the ruling APC and opposition parties bestowed Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi, who was then visiting Freetown, with honorary membership in the Sierra Leonean House of Parliament. Since Koroma became president, Sierra Leone has been the recipient of Libyan buses, tractors, shipments of rice, and a large, ultra-modern mosque in Rokupa, in the eastern dictrict of Freetown.

After his stopover in Sierra Leone, veteran revolutionary and advocate of pan-Arab/African unity Qaddafi flew to neighboring Guinea, where he held talks with the new ruling military junta. The AFP news agency did not disclose the substance of those discussions.

>WW4 File: Russia, Turkey, ME allies close ranks against Israel, Hezbollah hints at 2nd front; Chavez expels Israeli ambassador, rants against Jews

>- Palestinian President Conferred with Ex-SVR Chief Primakov, His Former PhD Thesis Supervisor, in April 2008; Kommersant Daily: Abbas Has “Many Friends” in Moscow

- Russian Envoy Saltanov Meets Exiled Hamas Chief Mashaal in Damascus

- Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Lashes Out at Israel with Imprecations of Allah’s Judgment

- London-Based Al-Quds al-Arabi Newspaper: US Engineering Corps Deployed in Rafah to Monitor Gaza-Egypt Border and Locate Smuggler’s Tunnels (source)

Pictured above: Ludmilla Mashavisky mourns beside the flag-draped coffin of her son Alex during his funeral at a cemetery in Beersheba today. Mashavisky was killed yesterday during Israel’s offensive in Gaza. One of the objectives of Operation Cast Lead, ignored by Islamists and their leftist sponsors worldwide, is to neutralize Hamas’ capability of launching rocket attacks against the Jewish state.

The storm clouds of war, stirred up by the relentless drive for global domination by the Kremlin and its Islamic allies, continue to swirl about the Middle East as Israel prosecutes the fifth day of its ground offensive in the Gaza Strip. Clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian insurgents, reports Reuters, resumed in the city of Gaza today after the termination of a three-hour truce to permit the admission of humanitarian aid.

Unmoved by a cease-fire plan proposed by France, Egypt, Turkey, and Syria, Moussa Abou Marzouk, the exiled deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, rejected calls for a permanent truce with Israel. France and Egypt hold the co-presidency of the new Union for the Mediterranean. As if on cue, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, the de facto ruler of the failed state known as Lebanon, today warned Israel, Egypt’s “moderate” leadership, and the world:

We have to act as though all possibilities are real and open (against Israel) and we must always be ready for any eventuality. I say to [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert, the loser, the vanquished in Lebanon that you cannot overcome Hamas or Hezbollah. Your 2006 war will be but a walk in the park compared to what we have prepared for you in the event of a new offensive. We are ready to sacrifice our souls, our brothers and sisters, our children, our loved ones for what we believe in. We will not abandon the fight or our weapons. Does the government in Egypt need more than 650 martyrs and 2,500 wounded to open the Rafah crossing once and for all to help the people of Gaza toward victory? I am simply asking for the opening of a crossing and not another front.

Nasrallah also commended Venezuela’s red dictator Hugo Chavez for expelling Israel’s ambassador to Caracas and urged all Arab states to follow that example: “Chavez’s decision is a slap in the face for all countries that host an Israeli ambassador. Arab governments must learn from this great Latin American leader.” Jordan and Egypt are the only two countries in the Middle East to have diplomatic relations with Israel.

Yesterday, with typical communist hypocrisy, Chavez ranted on state televsion: “Now I hope that the Venezuelan Jewish community speaks out against this barbarism. Do it. Don’t you strongly reject all acts of persecution? How far will this barbarism go? The president of Israel should be taken before an international court together with the president of the United States, if the world had any conscience.” In light of the fact that Chavez accused the Israelis of acting like “Nazis” in their war against Hezbollah in 2006 and dispatched two dozen heavily armed policemen to search for “subversive activities” at the Hebraica community center in Caracas in December 2007, Venezuelan Jews would do well to look over their shoulders. “We’re facing the first anti-Jewish government in our history,” Simon Sultan, president of Hebraica, opined at the time.

The Kremlin continues to intrude its baleful influence into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict under cover of its membership in the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet. Palestinian President/Archterrorist Mahmoud Abbas enjoys a cozy relationship with the neo-Soviet leadership, especially ex-Foreign Intelligence Service chief Yevgeny Primakov, who was Abbas’ PhD thesis supervisor at Moscow’s State Institute of Oriental Studies in 1982. Referring to Abbas’ April 2008 trip to Moscow, Kommersant Daily reveals:

It’s the fourth time Mahmoud Abbas visits Moscow as President of the Palestinian National Authority, although he’d come to Russia’s capital many times before. Since the Soviet times, Abbas has had a lot of friends here. The Palestinian President met with one of them, Russia’s ex-Prime Minister, ex-Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), now President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Yevgeny Primakov right after his arrival Wednesday night. In his time Mahmoud Abbas defended a Ph.D. thesis at Moscow’s State Institute of Oriental Studies, with Mr Primakov being his scientific advisor. Of all the official contacts of the Palestinian President in Moscow, that meeting was probably the most informal one.

On December 22 Abbas flew to Moscow again for face-to-face talks with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev and this past Monday held telephone talks with the same. In addition to encouraging the Palestinian National Authority in its quest to destroy Israel via either a two-state or binational one-state solution, the neo-Soviet leadership is also briefing Hamas, Gaza’s terrorist government.

Today, in a rare meeting, Russian envoy Alexander Saltanov conferred with the head of the Hamas politburo Khaled Mashaal (or Meshaal) in Damascus, where the terrorist chief lives in exile. A post-meeting statement declared: “Khaled Meshaal expressed his readiness to take part in such a solution to the conflict. But he added that the imposition of capitulatory conditions by Israel were unacceptable. Saltanov called on the leadership of Hamas to behave responsibly towards the fate of the people in the Gaza Strip and take constructive decisions.” In a separate meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem, Saltanov insisted upon a “swift resolution to the crisis, which would put an end to the suffering of the civilian population.”

Meanwhile, in a related development, the Russian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov and the destroyer Admiral Levchenko continue their port of call at the Turkish naval base of Aksaz, across from the Greek island of Rhodes, where its deck-based fighter jets carried out exercises last weekend. State-run Novosti quotes naval spokesentity Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo as saying: “The Levchenko will dock at the base while the Kuznetsov remains at sea. The visit will last until Thursday, after which the carrier group will carry out joint exercises with the Turkish Navy before returning to its duties in the Mediterranean Sea.” Thus, in addition to utilizing Greek (NATO) airspace for its own naval aviation drill, the Russian Navy will be holding an exercise with (NATO member) Turkey. On Friday the naval task force and its aircraft will carry out a second set of maneuvers near Crete.

As we pointed out in a previous post, should Moscow’s intervention be summoned, the Admiral Kuznetsov is but a hop, a skip, and a jump across the Mediterranean Sea from the conflict in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s support for the pro-Western government of Georgia earned Moscow’s displeasure last year. The willingness of incoming US President Barack Hussein Obama, moreover, to stand up against neo-Soviet adventurism is questionable at best.

We suspect that Greece and Turkey’s amicable view of Russia’s revitalized naval presence in the Mediterranean Basin is probably taking place within the context of the foolish NATO initiative known as Partnership for Peace. According to the NATO website, this program permits NATO member states, Russia, and other “post”-communist countries to engage in “practical bilateral cooperation between individual Partner countries and NATO. It allows Partner countries to build up an individual relationship with NATO, choosing their own priorities for cooperation.” Seeking an opening to advance the long-range Soviet strategy through East-West convergence, a key communist objective, the Moscow Leninists have driven a wedge into the southern flank of NATO.

In what could be another related development, Turkey’s Interior Ministry has intercepted a suspicious shipment bound for Venezuela from Iran, two countries that are openly united in their hatred of the USA and Israel. Last month Turkish customs officials seized 22 containers labeled “tractor parts” at the Mediterranean port of Mersin, only to discover that the shipment contained lab equipment capable of producing explosives. A Turkish customs spokesman explained: “Experts from Turkey’s Atomic Institute determined there were no traces of radioactive material, but said the equipment was enough to set up an explosives lab. We have asked the military to send experts to determine whether to resume the shipment.”

Finally, last Sunday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced Israel’s Gaza offensive, insisting that the Jewish state was “perpetrating inhuman actions which would bring it to self-destruction. Allah will sooner or later punish those who transgress the rights of innocents.” The Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv refused to comment on Erdogan’s tirade, reports the Jerusalem Post. For students of Bible prophecy, however, the current alignment of Russia(Magog), Turkey (Togarmah), Iran (Persia), Libya (by name), and Ethiopia (by name) against Israel dovetails nicely with Ezekiel’s prediction in chapters 38 and 39 of an end-times military coalition that will invade the Jewish state during the early part of Daniel’s seven-year tribulation period.

>End Times File: French president, UPM architect Sarkozy rushes to Ramallah, Jerusalem; Tony Blair: secret Israeli-PNA peace deal exists

>- Senior Palestinian Negotiator: Olmert Ready to Give Away Temple Mount; Israeli Prime Minister Denies Such Claims

- Bible Prophecy Expert J.R. Church: Hamas Attacking Israel at Iran’s Prompting to Preempt IAF’s Reported Plan to Take Out Tehran’s Nuke Capability Prior to Obama Inauguration (Monday webcast)

The man whom we suspect is the most likely candidate for the Antichrist of Bible prophecy, French President Nicholas (“Prince of Darkness”) Sarkozy, rushed to Israel and the West Bank today, seeking to broker a ceasefire between the Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas, the Gaza Strip’s terrorist government. Until December 31 Sarkozy was also European Union (EU) President, but he remains, along with Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, co-president of the new Union for the Mediterranean (UPM), which includes the EU, North Africa, and the states of the eastern Mediterrean Basin, including Israel. The UPM is, in fact, Sarkozy’s offspring and encompasses all of the territory of the ancient Roman Empire and then some. The rotating EU presidency transferred to the “ex”-communist Czech Republic on January 1. Prague has defended Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas’ missile strikes.

In Ramallah, reports the AFP news agency, Sarkozy conferred with KGB-trained Palestinian President/Archterrorist Mahmoud Abbas, accusing Hamas of “irresponsible and unforgivable” actions in connection with its rocket attacks against Israel. However, he also urged Israel to terminate its four-day-old ground invasion of the Gaza Strip:

I will tell President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in all frankness that the violence must halt. We, Europe want a ceasefire as soon as possible. Time is working against peace. The weapons must be silence and there must be a temporary humanitarian truce. Hamas acted in an irresponsible and unforgiveable manner … Hamas is to blame for the suffering of the Palestinians.

For his part, Abbas demanded “an immediate and unconditional end to the Israeli aggression against my people in the Gaza Strip.”

If Sarkozy, a Gentilized descendant of Jacob/Israel, is “the prince who will come” to rule the world during Daniel’s 70th week, then it can be expected that he will broker a seven-year covenant with the “many,” including’s the prophet Daniel’s people, Israel. Among other provisions, this covenant will permit the Jews to rebuild their Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Several Orthodox Jewish sects, as we have reported in past months, are in an advanced state of readiness to reinstitute the Levitical worship system, having ordained men to this ministry and fashioned the required Temple furniture and accessories.

According to the Palestinian media, a secret covenant establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinians, needing only public confirmation and political enforcement by a pretended friend of Israel like Sarkozy, already exists. On December 4 Al Quds, the largest daily newspaper in the Palestinian territories, interviewed former British prime minister Tony Blair, who is presently Special Envoy for the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet:

He [Tony Blair] stressed that the ongoing meetings between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas with Olmert and negotiations conducted by the Palestinian negotiating team and Israel, which he said focused on the issues of the final stage, has resulted in an agreement and a demand for clarification. He said that both sides decided to refrain from talking about it openly or disclosing it.

About the same time, World Net Daily reported that an anonymous senior Palestinian negotiator contested Israeli Prime Minister Olmert’s public claim that the Temple Mount was not on the bargaining table:

What Olmert said is absolutely false. I think he’s not yet ready to tell the Israeli public and is waiting for the right time and he fears his coalition with religious extremists will fall apart if he announces it now. We had intense debates on many topics, which remain open and unsettled, but the Harem Al-Sharif [Temple Mount] is not a sticking point. The Israelis didn’t argue with us. We were pleasantly surprised Olmert didn’t debate about giving the lower section of the Mount either, which was a sticking point in the past.

Israel recaptured the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and eastern Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, during the Six Day War in 1967. According to the Palestinian source above, Olmert agreed to evacuate the Temple Mount but only if joint control of the holy site is granted to the PNA, Egypt, and Jordan.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russia’s navy approves permanent redeployment of warships overseas; Medvedev, Assad discuss Israel’s Gaza offensive

>Russian Military Undeterred by Failed Test Launch of Bulava MIRV-able SLBM on December 23, Testing to Continue Throughout 2009

Although the Russian Navy is a shadow of the old Soviet Navy, yesterday Russia’s military brass approved a plan to permanently station warships at friendly ports around the world. “The General Staff has given its position on this issue and it fully supports the position of the (Navy’s) main committee,” Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, deputy chief of the Russian General Staff, is quoted by Novosti and Reuters as saying, “Nobody can predict where problems could flare up. What we need are permanent bases, but these are very costly. They need to be considered very carefully.”

Pictured above: The Sukhoi Su-25 close support aircraft was introduced to the Soviet Air Force in 1981. A squadron of these warplanes is stationed on Russia’s sole aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (see below), presently carrying out a drill near NATO member Greece.

The Kremlin has already reactivated and is in the process of modernizing its two Soviet-era naval facilities in Syria, Tartus and Latakia. Incidentally, on Saturday Syrian President/Tyrant Bashar al-Assad conversed by telephone with Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, at which time the allies discussed Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip’s Iranian-backed Hamas terrorist government, which expanded into a full-blown ground invasion on the same day.

In recent months, the Moscow Leninists have also expressed an interest in redeploying warships to Soviet-era ports at Aden, Yemen, and Cam Rahn, Vietnam, which was closed down as recently as 2002. In North Africa long-time Soviet ally Muammar al-Qaddafi has offered the port of Tripoli to Russian warships, while in Central America Moscow, Tehran, and Caracas have pledged to dredge a deep-water port at Monkey Point, on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. The pro-Soviet Sandinista National Liberation Front returned to power in Nicaragua’s 2006 elections. This past summer, the neo-Soviet leadership indicated that it wishes to build a naval port in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, the Russian-occupied region on Georgia’s Black Sea coast.

In another sign that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is no longer united as an effective bulwark against Soviet militarism, two warships of Russia’s Northern Fleet, the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier and the Admiral Levchenko destroyer, reports Novosti, arrived at the Turkish naval base of Aksaz today for a four-day visit. Aksaz is near the Greek island of Rhodes. Over the weekend, fighter jets based on the Admiral Kuznetsov completed the first of several exercises near the Greek island of Rhodes, while additional exercises will take place near Crete later this week. Although the carrier remained in international waters, its deck-based fighter jets flew in Greek airspace, a scenario that obviously required permission from the Greek Defense Ministry. Taking into account the wider geopolitical picture, the flagship of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet, not so coincidentally, is only a hop, a skip, and a jump across the Mediterranean Sea from Israel and Gaza.

Meanwhile, the Russian Navy reveals that the Admiral Chabanenko, which paid visits to Venezuela, Panama, Nicaragua, and Cuba last month, is plying the waters of the North Atlantic back to its base in Murmansk. The nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, to which the Admiral Chabanenko was assigned during Russia’s combined war game with Venezuela, is making waves through the South Atlantic, where it will pay an historic visit at Cape Town this Friday, en route to joining an Indo-Soviet naval drill in the Indian Ocean. South Africa fell under communist domination in 1995 after the first post-apartheid election, while communists hold the balance of power in the Indian parliament.

In summary, the Russian Navy, apart from many years of proposed but expensive expansion, is no match for its US counterpart. However, the Kremlin is sending a significant political message to Washington: Russia has allies worldwide, while America is surrounded by enemies.

Meanwhile, Colonel-General Nogovitsyn yesterday brushed aside the failed test launch of a Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile, which took place on December 23 from the Dmitry Donskoi submarine, then submerged in the White Sea. The latest test launch was Bulava’s tenth and the fifth failure. “The missile will be a success. We see what we started from and at which stage of development it is now. This is a big contrast,” Nogovitsyn pontificated. The previous test of the Bulava missile occurred on November 28. The launch, which successfully engaged a target on the Kamchatka Peninsula, was also carried out by the Dmitry Donskoi in the White Sea.

In earlier announcements, the Russian Navy stated that the Bulava would enter service in 2009, but more test launches will be carried out this year before a final decision is made to admit the SLBM into service. The Bulava (SS-NX-30) carries up to 10 nuclear warheads, boasts a range of 5,000 miles, or 8,000 kilometers, and is designed for deployment on Borey-class Project 955 nuclear-powered submarines.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Putin’s warning to West; Russian warplanes to use Greek airspace for exercise, Turkey buys 32 Havoc gunships

>Poking the Soviet Bear: USA Signs Strategic Accords with Ukraine and Georgia as Russia Subverts NATO’s Southern Flank

Neo-Soviet Russia continues to probe for cracks between NATO member states. A crack has definitely emerged along the military coalition’s southern flank, as evidenced by Russia’s latest naval aviation exercise in Greek airspace and pending sale of military helicopters to Turkey. While both Greece and Turkey belong to the Western Alliance, hatreds fester between the two nations, especially over Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus in 1975. Last February a slavishly pro-Moscow communist, Dimitris Christofias, was elected president of the Republic of Cyprus and promptly took up the torch of reuniting Greek and Turkish Cypriots under one state.

Regarding the Kremlin’s baleful influence over Greece, Novosti and Reuters report that aircraft based on Russia’s sole carrier Admiral Kuznetsov will utilize Greek airspace and the skies near the capital Athens with the approval of the Greek National Defense General Staff. “The exercises will take place on January 3-4 and on January 8-10 southeast of Rhodes Island and on January 11 south of Crete,” explained the Greek Defense Ministry, which has apparently taken leave of its senses as well as patriotism. “The Kuznetsov, which is sailing in the southeast Mediterranean, asked Greece’s civil aviation authority to operate within the Athens Flight Information Region (FIR),” the ministry related in a statement. “The request was granted. Sukhoi 25 and Sukhoi 33 fighter aircraft will take part in the operations, as well as Kamov helicopters. It is the first time that such a request was made.”

The Admiral Kuznetsov has begun a tour of duty in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea in a bid to re-project Russia’s naval presence overseas. The aircraft carrier itself will remain in international waters. In view of Greece’s capitulation to the Soviet long-range deception, we must pose the following question: Will the Kremlin be requesting use of US airspace next to test its Strategic Missile Forces?

Last month Greece was rocked by violent, communist-led protests against the faux rightist New Democracy government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis. In April 2008 Karamanlis travelled to Moscow where he signed a deal that will involve Greece’s participation in Gazprom’s South Stream project, increasing Russia’s grip on European natural gas supplies. This is the same Gazprom, incidentally, that turned off the natural gas tap to Ukraine yesterday, just as it did in January 2006. The Kremlin’s energy imperialism, however, will not stop the Greek army from taking delivery of 420 Russian-built BMP-3M infantry fighting vehicles in a deal inked last October.

Across the Agean Sea, Turkey has given up attempts to purchase US-made Cobra and SuperCobra helicopter gunships and, instead, plans to buy 32 used Mi-28 choppers in an arms package worth US$1 billion. Pictured above, the Mi-28 enjoys the NATO designation “Havoc” and is manufactured by the Rostvertol plant in southern Russia. Novosti reports: “Russian helicopters will tide Turkey over until deliveries of Agusta A-129 Mangusta helicopters, co-produced with Italy’s Agusta Westland, are received by the Turkish Armed Forces. The Italian company won a tender for the production of 52 helicopters in 2007.” Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov made an official visit to Turkey last November.

Pictured here: US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice holds a joint press conference with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, whom we suspect is a tool of the Moscow Leninists.

The two communist superpowers, Russia and China, continue to close ranks in their new, “post”-Cold War military coalition, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, by implementing a hotline that will for the first time permit Russian and Chinese military leaders to directly converse without first negotiating multiple layers of bureaucracy. The first-ever Sino-Soviet war game took place in 2005, a second transpired in 2007, and a third is slated for later this year. Ostensibly billed as “anti-terrorism drills,” Peace Mission 2005 and Peace Mission 2007 clearly represented the Moscow-Beijing Axis’ intention of eventually confronting the USA and its few remaining allies.

The latest growlings from Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, prove this point. On December 20, which is Chekist Day in Russia, Putin addressed a meeting of top security and intelligence officials. At this time he warned his colleagues in the Federal Security Service (FSB) that unnamed foreign enemies were still seeking to “destabilize” Russia, a theme that Putin raised at least four years ago after the FSB’s provocation in Beslan, North Ossetia:

Any attempts to weaken or destabilise Russia, damage the country’s interests and its citizens will be toughly suppressed. We are counting on your efforts to preempt the very possibility of carrying out terror acts in Russia, as well as on your active work in other priority directions too. These are countermeasures against corruption, organised crime, fighting narcotics aggression against the country’s citizens. And also protection of economic security.

The primary unnamed enemy of Russia, of course, is the USA, which is perceived as the aggressor in view of Washington’s new strategic parternships with “former” Soviet republics Ukraine and Georgia. Along the same theme, in November Leonid Kagansky, senior adviser for European affairs to deceased Soviet tyrant Leonid Brezhnev, was quoted as saying: “The USA will be at war with Russia within five years.” Kagansky, who lives in retirement in Israel, “believed the US will be drawn into a battle for control over these former communist countries.” In the 17 years since Eastern European communism “collapsed,” the Soviet strategists have not been idle in portraying America as the world’s most dangerous “terrorist state.”

>Red Terror File: India Daily: Chinese military intelligence aided Mumbai attackers with weapons, speedboats; Beijing protecting Pakistan’s top general

>In our first post on the November Mumbai terrorist attacks we considered the “Kremlin trace” behind the “Deccan Mujahideen,” the mysterious (possibly fictitious) organization that claimed responsibility for the four-day bombing and shooting spree in India’s financial capital. New Delhi, however, attributes the attacks to Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic terrorist outfit based near Lahore, Pakistan, and elements of Islamabad’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

Pictured above: On New Year’s Eve Indian police guard Mumbai’s Taj Majal Hotel, which terrorists stormed on November 26.

Yesterday the Indian media adopted a new tack, intimating that Chinese military intelligence was also behind the Mumbai atrocities. “The shadow ISI, the unofficial intelligence militia of [General] Kiani,” reports India Daily, “may have received direct help and intelligence from Chinese secret military intelligence in carrying out the Mumbai massacre.” The same source adds: “Some very advanced intelligence organization helped the terrorists and their sponsors to cause maximum panic and destruction with a limited resource. Pakistan’s ISI is not that capable just alone working with its mediocre intelligence and espionage personnel.”

Specifically, the India Daily points out that the terrorists from Pakistan used Chinese-made arms and ammunition, and alleges that Red Chinese operatives in India may have provided the terrorists with the rubber speedboats used to enter Mumbai harbor. The same source insists that Beijing is protecting Pakistan’s top general General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, spelled “Kiani” above, under a shroud of lies, denials, and inaction. In a previous post we noted that on December 15 of last year Pakistan’s General Tariq Majid travelled to China on a weeklong official visit, during which time he met with General Chen Bindge, Chief of the PLA General Staff.

Incidentally, Chinese military intelligence is carried out by the Second Department of the General Staff Headquarters of the People’s Liberation Army. “The PLA Institute of International Relations at Nanjing,” relates the Federation of American Scientists’ Intelligence Resource Program, “comes under the Second Department of the General Staff Department and is responsible for training military attaches, assistant military attaches and associate military attaches as well as secret agents to be posted abroad.”

“Sooner or later,” concludes India Daily perceptively, “RAW and CBI will find out the secret Chinese connections but Indian public will be kept in the dark for international political reasons.” RAW refers to Research and Analysis Wing, India’s foreign intelligence agency, while CBI refers to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The theory advanced by the Indian media is very possible since Pakistan is openly allied with China, which is openly allied with Russia, which is openly allied with India, which is Pakistan’s archenemy. Confused? The Moscow-Bejing Axis isn’t. The two communist superpowers are simply stirring the pot of strife so that New Delhi and Islamabad are either sorely tempted to nuke each other into oblivion or, better still, seek peace and security through full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

>Middle East File: Russia brokers peace deal after Lavrov, Mashaal confer: Hamas to halt missile attacks against Israel if Gaza blockade lifted

>Russia is the only member of the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet, which includes the United Nations, European Union, and the USA, to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political entity. Today, reports CNN, Khaled Mashaal, the exiled leader of this terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, spoke by telephone from his Damascus base with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. During this conversation, he outlined Hamas’ position on the resumption of the Middle East “peace process.” In exchange for Israel ending its economic blockade of Gaza, Mashaal related to Lavrov, Hamas will stop lobbing missiles at southern Israel.

Pictured above: After being drafted, Israeli reservists carry kit-bags as they leave an army base in the southern city of Beersheba today. The Israeli government announced on Wednesday that the defense forces would continue to prosecute Operation Cast Lead against Gaza militants after a Hamas rocket hit a (fortunately empty) Beersheba kindergarten.

Mashaal cozied up to Russia years ago. In a previous phone conversation with Lavrov that took place in July 2007, the Hamas leader reassured the Russian foreign minister that there were “no obstacles for cooperation between Fatah and Hamas in creating a Palestinian state. At the time Mashaal acknowledged Mahmoud Abbas as the Palestinian National Authority’s legitimate president. Earlier still, in March 2006, the Hamas leader, upon KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin’s invitation, actually flew to Moscow where Lavrov scolded the archterrorist:

We are counting on Hamas … making a contribution to the full and all-embracing fulfillment of all former agreements. Hamas will have no future if it fails to transform itself into a political institution. There is a need for Hamas, having been elected to a political body, to transform itself into a political party and to be sure that the military wing of Hamas becomes a legitimate part of the Palestinian security structures.

At the time, the Kremlin urged Hamas to reverse its policy of non-recognition of Israel but Mashaal retorted: “The issue of recognition of Israel is a decided issue. We don’t intend to recognize Israel. Israel must withdraw to the 1967 borders, abide by Palestinian refugees’ Right of Return if it wants peace.” Apparently unwilling to totally ruin diplomatic relations with Jerusalem, Putin decided against personally meeting the Palestinian delegation. “Hamas won’t listen to Russia because Moscow has no real levers of influence over them,” opined Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of Russia in Global Affairs. “This is not the time of the Soviet Union, when we had real clout in the region.” That may be so, but be assured that the Kremlin will endeavor to reassert control over the Islamo-Marxist groupings throughout the Middle East.

In April 2005 Putin visited both Israel and the Palestinian territories, the first-ever Soviet/Russian leader to do so. At the time he offered to sell 50 armored personnel carriers and two helicopters to the Palestinians, to replace vehicles destroyed during more than four and one-half years of Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Two years later Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, over the prudent objections of his own security forces and the livid denunciations of the country’s rightist opposition, authorized the transfer from Russia to Palestinian security forces of 25 APCs, 1,000 rifles, and 2 million rounds of ammunition.

>Middle East File: IAF pounds Hamas militants in Gaza for 4th day, Abbas scurries to Moscow before Israel’s offensive, Russia evacuates nationals

>Israeli Defense Forces Post Video Footage of Operation Cast Lead on YouTube.com (link)

Fed up with countless breaches of a worthless truce declared by Hamas in June and seeking to protect its southern cities from rocket attack, Israel launched a crushing military operation against Hamas strongholds in the Gaza Strip on Saturday. Intense warfare continues today, reports Fox News, with the Israeli Air Force targeting a government complex, security installations, and the homes of Hamas commanders. Nearly 300 militants have been killed under the Israeli aerial bombardment. Since collateral damage is nearly impossible to avoid in all military combat, a fact exploited by the Palestinian terrorist leadership, more than 60 Gazan civilians have tragically been killed. “Hamas is targeting deliberately kindergartens and schools and citizens and civilians because this is according to their values. Our values are completely different. We are trying to target Hamas, which hides among civilians,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni explained.

Pictured above: A rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip heads for a target in southern Israel today.

From 2001 through May 2008, Fox News relates, Hamas launched more than 3,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks against Israeli targets. Since Saturday, three days of IAF strikes have largely crippled Hamas’ ability to launch rockets, but the group still managed to fire dozens yesterday, deep into southern Israel. One medium-range rocket fired at Ashkelon killed a man and wounded several others. This was the second fatality in Israel since the IDF offensive began, and the first person ever to be killed by a rocket in Ashkelon.

The White House rightly acknowledged that in the midst of the current warfare Hamas was flying its “true colors as a terrorist organization.” National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe stated: “In order for the violence to stop, Hamas must stop firing rockets into Israel and agree to respect a sustainable and durable ceasefire.”

Pictured here: Israeli soldiers stand on tanks at a staging area near Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip today.

Not surprisingly, the usual suspects–offended Islamic regimes, terrorist outfits like Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and their allies among the confused leftists and pacificists of the world–have taken to the streets to express dismay and horror that Israel would dare defend itself from the terrorist enemy poised on its border. Unmoved, a senior Hamas official based in Damascus, Moussa Abu Marzouk, insisted that his organization has the “right to strike everywhere in Israel” and demanded that Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel, namely Egypt and Jordan, promptly trash those agreements. This sustained, vicious propaganda, however, has not prevented Israelis from extending mercy to their Arab neighbors by treating wounded Gazan civilians in Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital, the staff and equipment of which relocated to a bomb shelter on Sunday.

From Russia with a Smile: Higher Education the KGB Way

Meanwhile, yesterday Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev ordered the foreign ministry to evacuate 200 citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States residing in Gaza. “The evacuation lists,” relates Novosti, “contain 122 Russians, four Belarusians, 38 Ukrainians, 30 Moldovans and five Kazakhs.” The Russian envoy to the Palestinian National Administration (PNA) acknowledged that thus far there were no reports of casualties among Russians in Gaza. “We have an evacuation plan in case of an emergency. If we think that the situation is becoming a threat, we will evacuate them via Jordan as we did before,” Sergei Kozlov explained. The same source continues by noting that there are “250 Russian citizens in the Gaza Strip, most of them wives and children of Palestinians who studied at Russian universities.” Palestinians who studied at Russian universities? What meaneth this?

During the Cold War the Palestine Liberation Organization, which presently controls the “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria), sent its followers to study at the Patrice Lumumba University (PLU) in Moscow, where the KGB indoctrinated future leaders of the Third World’s “national liberation” movements in Marxism-Leninism and guerrilla tactics. Two of those future leaders were Ilich (“Carlos the Jackal”) Ramirez Sanchez, still cooling his heels in France’s Clairvaux Prison, and Mahmoud Abbas, the PNA President.

The Cold War is over, we are told by the sages in dot.gov, but PLU, known as People’s Friendship University of Russia (PFUR) since 1992, continues to attract students from Russia’s client states in the Third World. The rector of PFUR, Vladimir Filippov, is unapologetic about the institution’s legacy of mass producing terrorists. In 1996 he was quoted as saying: “I always tell visiting journalists and ambassadors: where you are sitting once sat the chief terrorist of the Arab world, Yasser Arafat. And in that seat was South Africa’s leading terrorist who spent more than 20 years in prison, Nelson Mandela. Now they are statesmen and holders of the Nobel Peace Prize, both very respectable people.” Respectable communists and terrorists, indeed!

Last Monday respectable terrorist Abbas scurried to Moscow where he met Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who backed the Fatah leader in his low-level civil war with Hamas. “We support Mahmud Abbas’s effort to maintain Palestinian unity despite many provocations,” Lavrov informed a news conference. Both Abbas and Lavrov indicated that they “looked forward” to the summit of the Middle East Diplomatic Quartet that Moscow will host next year. Barely hours after Abbas conferred with his masters in Moscow, Hamas instigated another barrage of rocket attacks on Wednesday.

>EU File: Belgrade, Moscow finalize deal for Gazprom to acquire state-run Serbian Petroleum Industry; "ex"-red Socialist Party holds key cabinet posts

>- Belgrade’s Precarious Balancing Act Juggles Strategic Partnership with Russia and Integration with European Union

- Serbia’s “Ex”-Communist Deputy Prime Minister Portrayed Himself as “New” Josep Tito on 2004 Presidential Election Billboards

After an eight-year interregnum, prompted by the 2000 Bulldozer Revolution that ousted warmongering communist chief Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia’s “ex”-reds again hold key posts in Belgrade’s pro-European Union coalition government. Cadres of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) in Prime Minister Mirko Cvetković’s cabinet include: Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Minister of the Interior, SPS leader; Milutin Mrkonjić, Minister of Infrastructure; Žarko Obradović, Minister of Education; and Petar Škundrić, Minister of Energy and Mining. Serbia is Russia’s number one ally in the Balkans, while the leadership of the SPS, formerly Slobodan Milosevic’s League of Communists of Serbia, is closely aligned with the Moscow Leninists.

As Interior Minister, the 42-year-old Dacic is in charge of law enforcement throughout Serbia, including local and federal police units, special police like the Anti-Terrorism Unit (PTJ) and Special Anti-Terrorism Unit (SAJ), surveillance and community relations, and martial law implementation. The Serbian Interior Ministry’s jurisdiction does not extend to Kosovo, which is administered by the United Nations and European Union although, ironcially, many UN and EU states do not recognize Kosovar independence.

Pictured above, right: Dacic attends press conference in Belgrade today, at which time, according to Serbia’s B92 news source, he commented on Friday’s police raids that led to the arrest of 10 former Kosovo Liberation Army guerrillas in southern Serbia.

In 2004 Dacic ran for the Serbian presidency on the SPS ticket. Nenad Lajbenšperger describes Dacic’s attempt to portray himself as a new Josip Tito, the founder of communist Yugoslavia, during the campaign:

Ivica Dacic, candidate for president in front of Serbian Social Parti (SPS), had a different slogan: “In the name of all off us”. These words are from one very famous song in Serbia. They meant that the older generations should count on younger generations. Song was glorifying values of communism and devotion to Tito and our former communist country. Picture of Dacic on the billboards vas very interesting too, and it was strongly suggesting on Tito. It was remodeled so that looks like picture of Tito. Picture which was put on large boards. Signature of this candidate was referring to Tito’s signature too. It is very obvious that his campaign counted to attract voters who remembered Tito’s time as a good time.

For his part, PM Cvetković belongs to Serbia’s Democratic Party, itself a member of the Socialist International, the parties of which are unwavering in their support for European integration. Due to its warmongering in the 1990s the SPS, unlike other “ex”-communist parties in the Not-So-Former Soviet Bloc, was prevented from joining the SI until this year.

Following months of negotiations between Serbia and Russia, last week officials from both countries finalized a deal for Kremlin-run Gazprom to acquire a controlling interest in state-run Serbian Petroleum Industry (NIS). SPS cadres are intimately involved in handing over Serbia’s oil monopoly to the Soviet strategists. On November 26 Deputy PM Dacic led a delegation to Moscow where the Serbians hammered out the details of the Gazprom-NIS deal during two days of talks with Russia’s Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu and other representatives of the Russian-Serbian intergovernmental committee. Pictured above: The Russian delegation is seated on the far side of the table, with Shoigu second from right, while the Serbian delegation is seated with their backs to the camera, with Dacic apparently second from right.

On December 24, reports Reuters, Serbian President Boris Tadic and Energy Minister Skundric, like Dacic an SPS cadre, arrived in Moscow to actually sign the agreement.

Incidentally, “ex”-CPSU cadre Viktor Zubkov, father in law of Russia’s defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov, sits at the helm of Gazprom, while Shoigu is related by marriage to August 1991 anti-Gorbachevist coup mastermind Oleg Shenin. In short, Zubkov and Shoigu are well plugged into the neo-Soviet hierarchy.

SPS founder Milosevic, who was also formerly president of Yugoslavia and Serbia, died at The Hague in March 2006 while on trial before the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Milosevic groupies insist their leader was murdered. This is possible, although we would speculate that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB), rather than NATO or the ICTY, was the culprit. If that is so, then it may be that the Kremlin feared that Milosevic, wittingly or not, would expose the long-range Soviet strategy for the Balkans under interrogation. Upon learning of Milosevic’s death, Dacic lamented, “Milosevic’s death is a great loss for Serbia, for the entire Serb nation and for the Socialist party. Milosevic was carrying out not only his own defense but also the defense of Serb honor. The entire country must thank him for this.”

In February 2008 then Serbian Justice Minister Dusan Petrovic signed an extradition request for Milosevic’s family currently living in Russia. The ex-president’s widow, Mirjana Markovic, known as “The Red Witch,” and son, Marko Milosevic, are wanted in Serbia for organizing a cigarette smuggling ring in the early 1990s, which investigators charge netted the family several million dollars. Milosevic’s brother Borislav, who was Yugoslavia’s ambassador to Russia, also lives in Moscow. “Taking into account that Milosevic and Markovic were granted political asylum in Russia, the justice minister decided to send a request for their extradition,” Serbia’s Justice Ministry related in a statement.

Pictured here: Dacic walks past a portrait of his predecessor at an SPS congress.

In another story that exposes Dacic’s ambivalent attitude toward Yugoslavia’s communist past, this past summer the newly appointed interior minister admitted that the State Security Agency (SDB) protected Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive Radovan Karadzic during part of his 12-year run from international justice. According to Axis Information and Analysis, Karadzic obtained a false identity from the SDB in 1998. The founder of Bosnia’s Serbian Democratic Party was finally arrested on July 18, 2008.

“Karadzic’s arrest,” explained AIA in another story, “placed Dacic, the interior minister and head of the late president Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist party, in an awkward position.” Appearing eager to wash his hands of the matter, Dacic was quoted by the Belgrade Daily Press as saying: “BIA had protected him and BIA has now turned him over.” The Serbian Intelligence Agency, or BIA, is the new name that the SDB adopted in 2002. The AIA continues: “Dacic seemed to blame former Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who was ousted by president Boris Tadic’s pro-European coalition in the May election for dragging his feet on arresting Karadzic.” “What Dacic says is basically right,” analyst Misa Brkic informed Inter-Press Service, continuing:

The secret police that provided Karadzic with a false identity, and his financial supporters were slowly leaving him since 2000. They were apparently the creators of the myth that Karadzic hid in the eastern Bosnian or Montenegrin mountains for years. It is only the secret police that could have given him the new identity, places to work, a magazine to write a column in. Until the coming of the new government, there was no political will in Serbia for the arrest.

Like the deceased Milosevic, Karadzic is now awaiting trial before the ICTY. Former military commander Ratko Mladic, one of Karadzic’s colleagues and an ardent communist, is still on the run.

In reaction to the February 2008 declaration of Kosovo independence, Dacic called for a ban on all political parties and non-governmental organizations in Serbia that recognize Kosovo’s independence. According to BalkanInsight.com, “Dacic singled out Natasa Kandic, a human rights activist and director of the Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, who attended the Kosovo Parliamentary Session where ethnic Albanian leaders proclaimed independence last Sunday.”

Seeking reconciliation with the West and participation in a new government, in May Dacic modified his rhetoric and travelled to Athens to meet Socialist International President George Papandreou. The latter is also president of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, Greece’s main party of the democratic left. In Athens Dacic indicated that his party was finally ready to join the SI, a request that was received favorably by Papandreou. Earlier this month, reports B92, Dacic airbrushed his party’s communist legacy by supporting Serbia’s bid for integration into the EU:

I don’t think that the SPS’s acceptance into the Socialist International is of seminal importance, but for us it’s symbolic. We belong there, not with the right-wing or communist parties. If there’s no room for us in the world family of socialist parties, then the essence of our existence, as a socialist party in this country, is pointless.

[EU Enlargement Commissioner] Olli Rehn told us that the EU supported the European path that the SPS had taken and our membership of the Socialist International, regardless of the fact that Rehn is not a socialist. After many years, an SPS official was in Brussels, in the EU, which was certainly a historic moment for the SPS.

In the same breath, Dacic’s continued sympathy for the Milosevic clan, though, is evident in the following comment:

Mirjana Marković’s request to inherit Milošević’s pension is not an issue of a pension, per se, because it is a symbolic issue. We believe that regardless of the person in question, the law needs to be respected, and the issue should be resolved as soon as possible. She, like any other widow, has a right to receive her late husband’s pension, if it’s larger than hers.

Only two weeks later, reports B92 in another story, SPS official Branko Ružić revealed that despite his party’s attempt to cozy up to the EU, the Serbian government’s foreign policy will remain staunchly pro-Russian:

The SPS has never turned away Russia, and I think that we have proven the wisdom of our insistence the whole time on maintaining good relations with Russia. By returning to Russia, we are returning balance to our foreign policies. If the Russian Federation and the EU have a common denominator which is mutual interests, why wouldn’t we satisfy our interests with both Russia and the EU.

Russia has never questioned, indeed it has always strongly affirmed Serbia’s wish to join the EU, and the EU has never questioned the need for countries to protect their individual state and national interests, or to focus on partners that are most compatible for achieving these interests. The gas-energy agreement is not just an economic issue, but also a political and security issue.

Thus, we see that Russia supports Serbia’s absorption into the EU because the federalization, socialization, and neutralization of Europe was, as we documented several years ago, a project of the Moscow Leninists to begin with. At the time we quoted former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky as revealing:

In 1992 I had unprecedented access to Politburo and Central Committee secret documents which have been classified, and still are even now, for 30 years. These documents show very clearly that the whole idea of turning the European common market into a federal state was agreed between the left-wing parties of Europe and Moscow as a joint project which Gorbachev in 1988-89 called our “common European home.

>Latin America File: Cuba’s communist dictator Raul Castro to visit Moscow in early 2009, Russian firms to develop Nicaragua’s energy sector

>Notwithstanding the global credit crunch and decline in crude oil prices, which have also adversely affected Russia, the Kremlin is moving ahead quickly to restore Cold War-era links with Cuba and Nicaragua, as well as expand its new relationship with Venezuela. Together we view the last three countries as Latin America’s communist troika, providing a nucleus for the region’s Red Axis. Other important countries in that hemispheric bloc of socialist nations include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, and Ecuador.

Pictured above: Not a nice man: Cuba’s President/Tyrant Raul Castro gestures at the plenary session of the National Assembly of People’s Power in Havana yesterday.

Reciprocating Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev’s trip to Cuba last month, President Castro, reports state-run Novosti, will dutifully journey to Russia next year to receive orders in person from his Moscow masters. There Raul and Dmitry will no doubt address each other as “comrade,” just as Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega and the Russian president did a little more than one week ago.

On December 26 Russia’s ambassador to Cuba, Mikhail Kamynin declared: “Russian-Cuban relations will serve as the starting point to advance Russia’s interests in the entire Latin American region. Cuba holds a key role in Russia’s foreign policy because Cuba has much authority and a lot of influence in the region. Cooperation with Cuba is not simply bilateral, but more of a starting point for Russian interests in Latin America and the Caribbean.” From vantage of the long-range Soviet deception strategy “Cuba holds a key role in Russia’s foreign policy” because the island is merely 90 miles from the Florida Keys. Kamynin elaborated on the restored relationship between the Soviets and Cuba:

In January, there is already an intergovernmental session planned in Moscow and preparations for a Russian Federation Council delegation to visit Havana, headed by the chair of the Audit Chamber, Sergei Stepashin. There will also be an official visit by Cuban President Raul Castro to Moscow in early 2009. During 2008 there was an increase in joint cooperation between the two countries in energy, transportation, tourism, pharmaceuticals, mining and construction, among other spheres.

Reflecting on the visit of the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko’s visit to Havana last week (see previous link), the first such occurrence since the Cold War, the good ambassador reflected: “This was a huge political event that supplemented other important events within the framework of bilateral relations and demonstrated that Russia has returned to Cuba with all seriousness and for a long time to come. Kamynin then confided that during the port of call President Castro expressed a wish that such visits become “regular occurrences.”

Finally, pining for the good ol’ days of Soviet glory, the ambassador noting that nearly 100,000 Cubans received their education in the Soviet Union between the 1960s and 1980s. “Back then, Russian was taught as a foreign language in all of the Cuban schools,” Kamynin lamented.

Meanwhile, Comrade Ortega’s first-ever “post”-Cold War trip to Moscow followed the controversial visit of the Admiral Chabanenko to Nicaragua. The presence of the Russian warship off the Caribbean port of Bluefields, another “first-ever post-Cold War event,” was controversial because the foreign military vessel was not welcomed by Nicaragua’s political opposition, which probably remembered a previous attempt by the Soviets to subvert the country in the 1980s. In any case, Ortega was forced to issue an executive order permitting the Russians to offload “humanitaian aid” to the Nicaraguan military and police.

Among the raft of agreements signed by Ortega and Medvedev several days later was the Kremlin’s pledge to develop Nicaragua’s meager energy sector. “Russian companies will assist Nicaragua in building hydroelectric and geothermal plants,” Ernesto Tiffer, president of the Nicaraguan Electricity Company, informed the country’s TV Channel 4 this past Tuesday, an interview later picked up by Novosti. Tiffer, who accompanied Ortega to Moscow, added: “At least two power generating plants, with capacities of 150 MW and 100 MW, are under consideration in Nicaragua’s volcanically active parts.” During the first four months of 2009, he explained, Nicaraguan and Russian “experts” will assess potential construction sites. “This is Russia’s gesture of solidarity, and the Nicaraguan government will obtain 10% of the generating companies’ shares without investing a single centavo,” Tiffer gushed.

Oh great, just what the USA needs: Russian “experts” in Central America . . . again. Unless Oliver North steps out of retirement, however, there will be little support for Nicaragua’s beleaguered anti-Sandinista opposition.

>Middle East File: Kremlin denies shipping S-300 air defense system to Tehran; Russia, NATO unload arms on Hezbollah-infiltrated Lebanese military

>Yesterday, state-run Novosti reports, Russia’s deputy foreign minister denied that his country has supplied S-300 air defense systems to strategic partner Iran. “I am very surprised by the fuss this story has caused recently,” huffed Sergei Ryabkov, “I think this is due to a lack of interesting international news in the run-up to the holidays that many of our Western neighbors are celebrating. This causes an influx of interest in information, which has nothing to do with anything that is going on or will happen.”

Last Sunday, the Islamic Republic News Agency–quoting Esmaeil Kosari, deputy chairman of the parliamentary commission on national security and foreign policy–asserted that Moscow has already begun delivery of components of the surface-to-air missile system to Tehran. Iran’s Foreign Ministry neither denied nor confirmed the report.

Pictured above: In this TV snapshot taken on December 25 by Britain’s Sky News, Iranian President/Tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers an alternative Christmas message to rival Queen Elizabeth II’s annual address. Presuming to speak for his Creator, Ahmadinejad declared: “If Jesus Christ were alive today, he would oppose ill-tempered and expansionist powers.” Quite possibly, but the Son of God would also no doubt oppose the bloodthirsty religion of Islam and its deity, the Arabian moon god Allah.

Since the S-300 system is an effective defense for thwarting air strikes, during his October meeting with Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pressed his concern over a possible sale of this hardware to Tehran. “We dealt with weapons sales, or the possibility of weapons sales,” Olmert was quoted as saying by the Moscow News Weekly after the Kremlin meeting. Olmert continued: “The highest levels of Russian government understand well the Israeli position and are aware of the ramifications that such sales would have on stability in the region.”

The Kremlin was noncommital, seemingly leaving open a door for a future sale of the S-300 system. “We consider Israel a friendly country and we have good, sound relations although we were concerned by their military aide to Georgia,” Sergei Karaganov, director of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy. He added: “We have underlined that we don’t want weapons proliferation in Iran. But we are not interested in ostracizing Iran either.”

Iran, according to the Novosti report above, recently took delivery of 29 Russian-made Tor-M1 air defense missile systems under the terms of a US$700 million contract inked in late 2005. The contract obligated Russia to train Iranian Tor-M1 specialists, including radar operators and crew commanders.

The advanced version of the S-300 missile system, called S-300PMU1 (SA-20 Gargoyle), boasts a range of more than 150 kilometers (100 miles) and can intercept ballistic missiles and aircraft at low and high altitudes. The latest development in Soviet air defense systems, reports Novosti in another story, is the S-400 Triumf (SA-21 Growler), with a range of 250 miles. The S-400 was first tested last year, is currently being deployed with air defense units according to Russian Air Force commander Colonel General Alexander Zelin, and will be fully deployed across 18 battalions between 2020 and 2025.

Meanwhile, Russia and NATO are in a race to rearm the failed state of Lebanon, the government of which is dominated by Hezbollah, the avowed purpose of which is to annihilate Israel, while the military of Lebanon is reportedly infiltrated by the same Iranian/Syrian-backed terrorist party. Following a December 16 meeting with Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr announced that Russia will “donate” at a discount rate 10 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters to the Lebanese air force. In a troubling admission, Serdyukov stated: “The fighter deliveries will provide a fresh impetus to military cooperation between our two countries.” The Kremlin media describes the state of the Lebanese air force as “deplorable” and possessing no airworthy craft among its US-built, 1950s-era Bell UH-1 Iroquois combat helicopters and Robinson R44 Raven II civilian helicopters. In 2007 Beirut received nine SA342L Gazelle helicopters from the United Arab Emirates.

At the same time the US Department of Defense is preparing to ship 66 M60 tanks to the Lebanese army by May 2009. “The M60 main battle tanks are capable of defeating enemy forces,” explains the Lebanese media, “They are suitable as an assault weapon in offensive operations and can also be employed at night and under conditions of limited visibility.” Next month, reports Azerbaijan’s Trend News Agency, a German military delegation is slated to arrive in Beirut and hold discussions with pro-Hezbollah, anti-Israel President Michel Suleiman, at which time the Germans will offer to sell 50 Leopard tanks and to the Lebanese.

Since 2006 the USA has sold $410 million dollars of light weapons and vehicles to Beirut. Revealing their gross deficit of strategic acumen, Trend states: “Western countries believe that strengthening the Lebanese army is a key element to enhance political stability in Lebanon.” In November Suleiman travelled to Tehran, where he requested “medium arms” from the Iranian dictatorship for the Lebanese army “to help combat terrorism and maintain national security.”

In July, following its abortive coup d’etat against the “pro”-Western regime of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Hezbollah was awarded veto power over Lebanese cabinet decisions. Moreover, in 2006 The Telegraph revealed: “American officials believe the Lebanese military has been complicit in allowing arms shipments from Iran into Lebanon and that the large number of Shias in its ranks has led to it being infiltrated by Hezbollah.”

Thus, we see the following geopolitical portrait emerge in the Middle East: 1) Lebanon’s pro-terrorism president asks one of the world’s most notorious state sponsors of terrorism for assistance in defeating home-grown terrorism, while 2)
NATO member states equate “enhanced political stability” in the region with re-arming Lebanon’s Hezbollah-infiltrated regular armed forces. Brilliant, just brilliant.

>WW4 File: New Delhi imposes December 26 deadline for Islamabad to crack down on Mumbai attack plotters, US prepares for "worst-case" scenario

>- Indian Government Holds “War Room” Meeting This Past Saturday, Top General Kapoor Arrives in Jammu and Kashmir Today to Assess Operational Preparedness of Troops

- Pakistani Warplanes Carry Out Second Day of Patrols over Lahore, Rumors of Joint Indo-Israeli Air Strikes Provoke Civilians to Panic

- Chief of General Staff Kayani Rejects US Admiral Mullen’s Reported Plea to Permit Indian Air Force to Bomb Terror Bases on Pakistani Soil, Warns Islamabad Will Retaliate against such Military Action “within Minutes”

- Pakistan and China Sign Defence Cooperation Agreement, Taliban Threatens to Hurl “Hundreds” of Suicide Bombers at Indian Forces

- Collateral Damage: Nuclear Exchange between India and Pakistan Could Possibly Place 32,000 US Troops in Afghanistan in Harm’s Way, Troop Strength to Double in 2009

According to a report from today’s edition of Stratfor, following the November 26 Mumbai terrorist attacks India imposed a 30-day deadline on Pakistan to crack down on the plotters and accomplices. New Delhi attributes the bloody plot that killed 173 people to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and elements of Islamabad’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency. The Stratfor report was subsequently picked up by the ARY Television Network, which is owned by Dubai-based Pakistani businessman Haji Abdul Razzak Yaqoob (“ARY”). ARY One World states:

The report said India using time to prepare its military forces, and waiting when the time comes to act. However, the report said, it is still unclear how far India will take this military campaign and to what extent the US operations in Afghanistan will be affected. The intelligence publisher reported that the US, knowing its “limitations” of the relationship with New Delhi, is already preparing for “a worst-case scenario.”

Pictured above: The Taj Mahal Hotel, which was stormed and occupied by terrorists from Pakistan on November 26, burns in Mumbai.

Although we previously blogged that the Indian government is pursuing a policy of “opaque mobilization” with respect to preparing air strikes against LeT camps in Pakistan, the Pakistani media is finally reporting on Indian troop movements near the common border. These are apparently related to the Indian Air Force’s endeavor to strengthen the country’s air defenses. Yesterday’s edition of India Today picked up the Pakistani story:

India has started deploying troops along Rajasthan border facing Pakistan and tightened security in and around Indian defence airstrips, a leading Pakistani online portal Geo News claimed on Monday quoting unnamed sources.

In a Jaisalmer-datelined despatch, the portal said the security around places of strategic importance has been stepped up. More radars and quick reaction teams have been deployed along the India-Pakistan border.

The Indian defence authorities didn’t confirm the reports on the troop build-up in the Rajasthan sector or any other location along the India-Pakistan border.

The portal said the Indian Air Force had initiated these measures to strengthen its air defence to face any eventuality at a short notice. Additional hangars and runways have been prepared and all the radars have been put on high alert. Tight radar surveillance is being maintained to keep a watch on any suspected movements along the border.

Indian forces were on regular firing exercises at locations like Lathi Firing Range in Jaisalmer, Mahsan in Bikaner, Suratgarh and Ganganagar.

These military deployments, Pakistan’s Nation reports, follow Saturday evening’s four-hour “war room” meeting chaired by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. Present at the meeting were Defence Minister A.K. Antony, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan, and the chiefs of all three military branches and India’s intelligence agency. Meeting participants evaluated the country’s security and troop response preparedness, and selective strikes on terror camps across the border.

Today, reports the Times of India, army chief General Deepak Kapoor arrived at Siachen Glacier and “forward areas” of Jammu and Kashmir to assess the operational readiness of the troops, before returning again to New Delhi with a report to the Indian government. “Since the Mumbai carnage, Army units along the borders with Pakistan have been maintaining a close vigil,” the news source relates, “Some of IAF fighter aircraft squadrons in bases in forward areas have been on a ‘cockpit alert’ under which the force remains ready for military operations.” The same source confirms that PM Singh and senior government ministers held deliberations with top brass at the Prime Minister’s Office in South Block this past Saturday. As a result of that meeting DM Antony ordered that all military leave will be cancelled until April 2009 “in view of the situation along the borders.”

The Times of India also reports today that there is heavy aerial traffic around Chandigarh Air Force Station, primarily Soviet/Russian-built Il-76 and AN-32 troop transports en route to Jammu and Kashmir: “Sources in [the Indian Air Force's] Western Air Command said on Monday that the latest moves have been taken to maintain ‘optimum operational preparedness’ and added a consistent increase in average flying effort had contributed to this.”

In Islamabad, the Indian media reported yesterday, rumors of an imminent military attack from India are circulating in the wake of a warning pronounced on Monday by Pakistani Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar Chaudhry: “If India tried to thrust war, then the armed forces of Pakistan have all the potential and right to defend the country. The defence of Pakistan is in strong hands. India would never want war because if it breaks out, then god forbid the situation might develop into a nuclear war.”

On Monday Pakistani Air Force (PAF) warplanes, whose pilots are on high alert, flew over the cities of Lahore and Rawalpindi, igniting fears that India had already launched attacks against LeT sites. Flights bound for Dubai from Lahore and another from Quetta were cancelled while all entry passes at Lahore airport have been revoked. These measures were apparently taken to permit PAF aircraft flying over Lahore and Rawalpindi to land in case of any emergency. However, Pakistani officials denied that PAF fighter jets were flying to counter Indian attacks. PAF warplanes continued to patrol the skies over Lahore today, reports Pakistan’s GEO TV.

According to “reliable sources” cited by Pakistan’s Post today, the reason for this flurry of flights by the PAF was a report that the Indian and Israeli air forces allegedly planned to attack the country’s nuclear installations on Monday: “Pakistan’s Nuclear Control and Command Authority was directed to take necessary measures to deal with any emergency situation.” Yesterday, Pakistan’s Nation presented a similar scenario, sans Israeli involvement:

Indian Air Force intends to hit certain target in Lahore and Azad Kashmir during the next 24 hours in the same way as the US Air Force is doing in the tribal areas of Pakistan, the sources confided. As per source Pakistan military leadership has refused to accept US pressure and deployed F-7 fighter jets at Lahore Air-base which are fully capable of not only intercepting Indian strikes but also counter-attacking effectively. All the air-force stations have been put on high alert and military leadership has made it clear on the US that in case of Indian attack, Pakistan will at once discontinue logistic support to US and shift it army from the western front to the eastern.

The tense situation between India and Pakistan is further complicated by Islamabad’s alliance with Beijing and the stateless Taliban, ousted from Afghanistan in October 2001 and now operating from bases in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. On December 15 Pakistan’s General Tariq Majid travelled to China on a weeklong official visit, during which time he met with General Chen Bindge, Chief of General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army. After the talks, both countries signed an agreement that reaffirmed their commitment to combat terrorism and enhance military cooperation. PLA General Chen “appreciated Pakistan’s role in war against terrorism and assured China’s full support.”

No doubt Pakistan appreciates China’s support, but the Pakistani government is probably not so eager to accept the endorsement of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. In a telephone interview from an “undisclosed location” with Pakistan’s The News, Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the outlawed and exiled terrorist government, threatened to hurl hundreds of suicide bombers at invading Indian forces:

Hundreds of our fighters have been given suicide jackets and explosive-laden vehicles for protection of the border in case of any aggression by the Indian forces. The time has come, to wage a real jihad that the Taliban had been waiting for. We know very well that the visible and invisible enemies of the country have been planning to weaken this lone Islamic nuclear power. But the mujahideen will foil all such nefarious designs of our enemies.

The Taliban may have already infiltrated India and Pakistan’s armed forces, as revealed in a story filed by New York Times journalists based in southern Asia, where it is already December 24:

The police in Indian-administered Kashmir announced Tuesday the arrests of three suspected suicide bombers who they said were Pakistani nationals using fake Indian identity cards. The men were found at a hotel in Jammu, the winter capital of Kashmir state. The police declined to say how they were tipped off. Kuldeep Khoda, the state director general of police, told reporters in Jammu that they were members of the banned Jaish-e-Muhammad organization, based in Pakistan. Indian police described one of the men as a Pakistani soldier.

Meanwhile, in an effort to thwart another Indo-Pakistani war, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, hastened today to Islamabad, where he met with President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, and national security head Mehmood Ali Durrani. During these meetings, contends the Pakistani media, Mullen urged the country’s leadership to stand down in the event that the Indian Air Force bombs terrorist bases on Pakistani soil. Unimpressed by such a suggestion General Kayani rumbled that his forces will retaliate against Indian surgical strikes “within minutes.” “The armed forces are fully prepared to meet any eventuality, as his men are ready to sacrifice for their country,” General Kayani assured President Zardari.

This is Mullen’s second trip to Pakistan this month. No doubt he is also concerned about the presence of 32,000 US troops in neighboring Afghanistan, fighting the Tablian insurgency, should a nuclear exchange occur between India and Pakistan. Incoming President Barack Hussein Obama has pledged to support a troop surge in Afghanistan that will double the number of US soldiers on the ground by redeploying them from Iraq.

>Blast from the Past File: Three more "Grenada 17" plotters released; Austin, McBarnett, Ventour belonged to People’s Revolutionary Government

>Just in time for Christmas, Radio Jamaica reports, three former members of the “Grenada 17,” convicted for killing the island’s Marxist prime minister Maurice Bishop in 1983, were released on December 18. On the advice of the country’s Mercy Committee, former army general Hudson Austin, Colville “Kamau” McBarnett, and John “Chalkie” Ventour walked free after 25 years behind bars (pictured above, left to right). “Prison reports show all three men have given leadership to the prison population during their incarceration at Richmond Hill,” intoned a government statement published in the Caribbean media. These men, however, were also members of the Marxist People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) that ruled Grenada with Soviet and Cuban assistance between 1979 and 1983, until the Reagan Administration hurled the US military at the regime in Operation Urgent Fury.

Seven members of the Grenada 17, including plot mastermind and former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, a devout Stalinist, remain in prison. Earlier this month Coard, interviewed in jail, buttered up Grenada’s current prime minister Tillman Thomas: “This man has put those things that were done to him aside to work with people who had previously put him in jail. He does not talk reconciliation, it’s his way of life.” Tillman was incarcerated for two years under the New Jewel Movement (NJM) regime. Fellow jailbird and former NJM/PRG Minister of Mobilization Selwyn Strachan chimed in: “I had to do that because I was a part of a government that put Mr. Thomas in prison for his beliefs. Now I have cleared my conscience.” The flattery emanating from “ex”-reds seeking release from prison is highly suspect.

Where Latin American communism failed to conquer the region by armed insurgency in the 1980s, former insurgents now govern by way of fraudulent elections and neo-Soviet Russia brazenly sends her warships to the Caribbean Sea to flout US influence in the region. Yesterday, reports the AFP news agency, Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro welcomed the crew of the anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, under the command of Vice Admiral Vladimir Koraliov, to Havana Bay. Also present at the meeting were Cuba’s most senior military officers and Moscow’s envoy to Havana. “The meeting took place in an environment of friendship … that characterizes relations between the people, governments and armed forces of Cuba and Russia,” Cuban state-controlled television announced.

“What’s interesting for us about how Russia is engaging in the region is that this is not the Soviet Union,” US Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon sighed yesterday, totally oblivious to Moscow’s multi-decade perestroika deception. He added: “They do not bring an ideological purpose to their engagement. This is really an engagement based on interests and a big part of those interests are commercial.” No ideological purpose behind the policies, actions and business of the neo-Soviet leadership? No ideological purpose? Hello, Earth to State Department, Earth to State Department. So why did Russian and Nicaraguan Presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Daniel Ortega, meeting in Moscow last week, address each other as “comrade”?

Although everyone in the “Free” World, especially the US State Department, wants to put the Cold War behind them, Grenadian authorities would be well advised to keep an eye on the activities and associations of the supposedly repentant “Grenada 17″ communists.

>Middle East File: Ortega swings by Libya after panhandling mission to Moscow; Iran, Venezuela, Nicaragua discuss cooperation at Tehran ALBA ag fair

>Following President Daniel Ortega’s first “post”-Cold War mission to Moscow last week, Nicaragua’s head of state swung by old ally Libya on Friday evening, the second such trip to Tripoli that Ortega has made since re-assuming the presidency in January 2007. There the long-time leader of the Sandinista National Liberation Front conferred with long-time Libyan strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi, “Leader and Guide of the Libyan Revolution” since 1969. In the 1980s Qaddafi visited Managua in a show of solidarity with the first Sandinista regime. Envio Digital, a publication of the University of Central America that promotes liberation theology, notes that between his electoral defeat in 1990 and electoral “victory” in 2006, Ortega made “annual” visits to Tripoli. Both dictators, in turn, are staunch Soviet allies. Today Ortega is slated to depart for another staunch Soviet ally, Iran, which he also visited last year on an aircraft provided by Qaddafi.

Not surprisingly, the MSM is absolutely silent on Ortega’s second visit to Libya and Iran in as many years, which will coincide with an agricultural fair in Tehran sponsored by Latin America’s socialist bloc, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). Only the Libyan state media and FSLN website are covering Ortega’s sidetrips to Tripoli and Tehran. “In his meeting with the Libyan leader,” reports La Voz del Sandinismo:

Ortega stressed the importance of integration and cooperation among the countries of Latin America and Africa to the total breakdown of the capitalist economic system. He also stressed the significance of the recent summit of presidents and heads of state of Latin America and the Caribbean held in Brazil, where he met Fidel Castro’s dream of seeing united in a single bloc all those nations.

The summit to which Ortega refers took place last week and actually featured meetings of four international organizations, the First Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development, the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the new Union of South American Nations (Unasur), and the Rio Group.

Both Russia and Iran are seeking closer ties with ALBA, which consists of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Honduras, and three Caribbean island states. The compatibility between Iran’s Islamic revolution and the Red Axis in Latin America was revealed in November when Tehran and Caracas teamed up to found the “University of Civilizations,” a postsecondary program inculcating socialist principles at Venezuela’s Bolivarian University.

Pictured here at left: Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom, a center-left politician but not left enough for Nicaragua’s past and present communist dictator Ortega.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua’s membership in ALBA has the potential to complicate Ortega’s temporary presidency over the Central American Integration System (SICA), which he was handed on December 5. “We need to go further than integration, toward a unification of the Central American region and from there toward a unification of Latin America and the Caribbean. We are already advancing in this direction with initiatives such as ALBA, where Central American countries are participating,” Ortega urged his Central American colleagues during the SICA summit in Honduras. Nicaragua’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Relations, Manuel Coronel Kauz, also reveals the true intent behind regional integration ala ALBA:

Our experience in ALBA is what makes us want to continue in relations that we are creating with other countries in the world, both bilaterally and regionally. In ALBA, we have found an element of solidarity that doesn’t normally exist in relations with other countries. This has an enormous effect on relations because it creates great confidence. ALBA has two projects: One project is to create a platform of solidarity between the countries of ALBA; and the other is to expand the group of countries so that we can create our own OAS [Organization of American States], our own organization, and not be in an organization where the [US] empire is managing all the decisions. What we want is to be our own leaders.

Kauz also revealed that the neo-Sandinista regime hopes that El Salvador will be the next Central American country to join ALBA, assuming that front-running Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front candidate Maurico Funes wins the presidential elections in March. In previous posts we reported on the possible presence of FMLNistas among the Sandinista thugs who terrorized Nicaragua’s opposition after the contested results of the November 9 mayoral elections.

However, Guatemalan President Colom is not convinced that joining ALBA is the right policy for his country. During the SICA summit in Honduras he declared: “We have been categorical. We are in PetroCaribe but not in ALBA.” Costa Rica has also declined to join ALBA. Incidentally, Petrocaribe is another Caracas-led initiative providing subsidized oil to the Caribbean Basin’s impoverished countries so Colom’s attempt to hold Chavez at arms length is destined for failure.

>Latin America File: Russian destroyer sails into Havana Bay, navy’s 1st "post"-Cold War visit to Cuba; Medvedev, Ortega refer to other as "comrade"

>Medvedev and Ortega Issue Joint Statement Denouncing US Blockade of Cuba, Interference in Nicaragua’s Internal Matters

Following last month’s joint naval exercise with Venezuela, a first-ever transit of the Panama Canal since the Second World War, and ports of call at Panama City and Bluefields, Nicaragua–all countries under the thumb of communist and allied regimes–the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko sailed into Havana Bay today. “During the Cold War, the Soviet Union had a significant military presence in Cuba,” relates Reuters, “and Soviet warships were a common sight in Havana Bay.” This is the Russian Navy’s first “post”-Cold War visit to Cuba, 90 miles south of Florida, and signals yet another attempt by Moscow to poke a finger in Washington’s eye.

“In public statements, U.S. officials have placed little importance on the Russian naval visit to Latin America,” the same source adds. Dot.gov’s nonchalant response to Kremlin saber-rattling in the Caribbean Basin, however, fails to take into account the dangerous and devious objectives of the Soviet long-range strategy. The latter includes the construction of a coalition of hostile, leftist regimes throughout the Western Hemisphere, underway even at this time. “A series of Russian officials have come to Cuba in recent months, including President Dmitry Medvedev who stopped in Havana on November 28 after visiting Venezuela, Brazil and Peru,” Reuters reports. At the time Medvedev described Russian-Cuban relations as “especially intense” after talks with Cuban counterpart Raul Castro and his older brother Fidel, still the leader of the Communist Party of Cuba.

Meanwhile, Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega wrapped up his first “post”-Cold War journey to Moscow today by issuing a joint statement with President Medvedev. Ortega, who is rapidly subverting Nicaragua’s fledgeling democracy, founded in 1990, is a vocal supporter of the communist regime in Havana. Like neo-Soviet Russia and nearly all of the states in Latin America, he opposes the US economic blockade against the island country. Today, reports the Cuban News Agency, Ortega and Medvedev denounced the nearly five-decade embargo and condemned all “external pressure,” whether political, economic, or financial, against Nicaragua itself, an obvious reference to Washington’s threat to discontinue monetary aid to Managua following the November 9 municipal elections. These are widely perceived as having been rigged by the ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front. “Russia hasn’t criticized Ortega for Nicaragua’s democratic breakdown,” the Costa Rican media observes, moreover, “and has instead chided the U.S. government for meddling in domestic Nicaraguan affairs.”

Although the MSM frequently refers to heads of state like Ortega and Medvedev as “former communists,” any real journalist who does just a little research will soon discover that the leaders of Nicaragua and Russia are still committed to world revolution. “We had dense and substantive negotiations with the President of Nicaragua, Comrade Daniel Ortega,” gushed Medvedev today, adding: Their main outcomes are reflected in the joint declaration we just signed and I hope that after the visit we will be able to conclude that Russian-Nicaraguan cooperation is growing much more actively and dynamically, and that we are achieving new and positive results.” The Russian president concluded: “Nicaragua is a key strategic partner in Latin America for Russia.” For his part, the visiting Ortega enthused: “Thank you dear brother, Comrade President Dmitry Medvedev!” Nicaragua’s president then expounded on the importance of Russia’s proposed participation in Latin America’s socialist bloc called the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA):

And President Medvedev’s visit to Latin America, his meetings with the presidents of countries that belong to ALBA – all this constitutes the best proof that we are now experiencing a new era in international relations, and a new era in relations between Russia and Latin America. Never before in the history of the former Soviet Union and Russia were we able to create such optimal, favourable and extremely positive conditions as the present ones.

Upon assessing the intense networking taking place these days between the leaders of Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other Communist Bloc states, the USA’s profound strategic failures should be apparent to any unbiased observer. How much more proof is needed to demonstrate that the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe 17 years ago was a total sham?

>Breaking News: Damaged undersea cables near Egypt disrupt 70% of intercontinental phone/Internet traffic; similar incident took place in January

>There is a reason the Internet is as slow as molasses today. Egyptian authorities have acknowledged that submarine communications cables in the Mediterranean Sea were damaged today. Alexandria, Egypt was in fact the site of another Internet cable failure this past January. “The incident,” reports The Guardian, “comes less than a year after a similar outage brought a halt to communications between Europe, Africa and Asia. Those problems were believed to have been caused by ships’ anchors ripping through another section of the same cables, but were exacerbated by simultaneous damage in lines throughout the Middle East.”

Prior to the Communist Bloc launching a military assault against the West, expect a massive, intentional disruption of the Internet, effectively shutting down a major source of news for millions. A regional disruption might take place in the event that Israel decides to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities. In both instances, military communication links will probably remain secure.

We can only speculate at this time on the origin of today’s incident: Scuba-diving jihadists? Spetsnaz frogmen? A large, hungry, but disoriented fish?

>USSR2 File: Ortega begins talks with Soviet leadership, St. Petersburg communist group urges naming of Moscow subway station in honor of Sandinistas

>- MSM Blackout: Central America’s New Cold War

- Nicaraguan President Ortega Expresses Wish to Visit Georgia’s Breakaway Regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

- Nicaragua, Along with Cuba and Venezuela, to Possibly Join Russia’s Satellite-Based Navigation System GLONASS

- Russian Destroyer to Dock in Havana Harbor Tomorrow in Symbolic Port of Call, First Such Visit since “Collapse” of Communism

- There Goes the Neighborhood: Mexico’s Faux Rightist Government Praises Cuba’s Admission to Rio Group, Revitalized Soviet Influence in Latin America

Yesterday Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega arrived in Moscow on his first state visit to Russia since 1987 (although some news sources are reporting 1985). Today, in the Green Parlor of the Grand Kremlin Palace (pictured below), Ortega began official bilateral talks with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev. Russia’s “president” is a Soviet Komsmol graduate and frontman for KGB-communist dictator Vladimir Putin, who is himself a frontman for the covertly ruling Communist Party of the Russian Federation/Soviet Union, as we have copiously documented at this blog.

Pictured above: Far away from his tropical homeland, President Ortega salutes while reviewing an honor guard, after a wreath laying ceremony at Moscow’s Tomb of Unknown Soldier. The 63-year-old former guerrilla commander is chief of Nicaragua’s ruling Sandinista National Liberation Front.

At the Kremlin Ortega addressed his host as “brother” (comrade?), thanked Medvedev for the “humanitarian aid” delivered by Russian warship to Nicaragua this past weekend, and with a swipe at the USA, declared: “Multi-polarity is a reality despite what some countries may think. Latin America isn’t a backyard of any superpower.” The Nicaraguan media reports that the country’s top general, Omar Hallesleven, a Sandinista, is part of Ortega’s retinue.

Ahead of the presidential meeting, Russian and Nicaraguan officials prepared a package of agreements on cooperation in power generation, agriculture, telecommunications, space exploration (of all things), and other areas. The results of the talks will be announced in a joint statement of the two presidents. “Intensive contacts between the two countries began in 1979,” relates state-run Itar-Tass, “In 1979-1990 Nicaragua had been second most important strategic partner of the Soviet Union after Cuba.”

Soviet delegations headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin visited Managua in September and November of 2008. In October a group of Russian experts arrived in Nicaragua to inspect locations for large-scale joint projects, such as an interoceanic canal and the renovation of the never-used military runway at Punta Huete. The anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which weighed anchor near the Caribbean port of Bluefields last Friday unloaded a gift from the Russian Defense Ministry to Nicaragua’s army, police, and hospitals, namely, US$200,000 worth of electric generators, computers, office equipment, medical equipment, and medicine.

In the 1980s, the last widely recognized decade of the Cold War, commerce between Russia and Nicaragua amounted to more than US$230 million. After Ortega was democratically ousted from power in 1990, mutual trade dropped almost thirty fold. Last year bilateral trade turnover was a mere US$6.8 million and over the first nine months of 2008 totaled US$5.6 million. Russian exports to Nicaragua mainly include machinery, equipment, and transport vehicles, and chemical products, while Nicaraguan exports to Russia mainly include foodstuffs and tobacco products.

According to Novosti and Russia Today, Ortega and Medvedev also discussed Russian participation in Latin American integration, in particular the Havana-Caracas-led Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA); visa-free travel between Russia and Nicaragua, a new policy that will no doubt facilitate the unmolested entrance of numerous Soviet military and civilian personnel into Central America; Nicaragua’s participation, along with communist allies Cuba and Venezuela, in Russia’s satellite-based navigation system GLONASS; and Ortega’s request to personally visit Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Managua recognized on September 5. Of the last the Nicaraguan dictator enthused today: “I am sure that we will visit the two fraternal countries in the near future. We fully support Russia’s stand on South Ossetia and Abkhazia. We have solidarity with those peoples.” Ortega also invited Medvedev to visit Nicaragua at a time convenient for both parties.

Incidentally, Russia’s invitation to Latin America’s communist troika to join GLONASS is one of several reasons we believe that Moscow is assembling a Red Dawn-style military coalition in Latin America. In September Roscosmos chief Anatoly Perminov denied, incredibly in our opinion, that the proposed construction of ground-based space communications facilities in the Western Hemisphere has military application.

Russia Today quotes journalist Vladimir Travkin as referring to Ortega as “a man of compromise,” which is not usual for a communist, since reds will resort to pragmatism to advance revolution. Travkin contends that compromise enabled Ortega return to office in 2007. “He created a coalition,” Travkin writes, “First he reconciled with the Catholic Church. Nicaragua is extremely religious. Then his candidate for vice president was the leader of Contras, the U.S. backed guerillas who fought against Ortega and his counterparts. And he softened his anti-American rhetoric.” After re-securing Nicaragua’s executive office, Ortega quickly removed the social democratic mask and once again presented himself as an ardent foe of “capitalist tyranny” and the “North American Empire.”

Meanwhile, a small communist group based in Putin’s hometown, the Communists of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, is urging authorities to name one of three new subway stations in Moscow “Nicaragua” or “Sandinista.” A statement released by the group announced that bestowing this honor on the Central American country would be “a sign of Russia’s recognition and serious intentions to return to Latin America. We communists are convinced that such a decision would get the full backing of people in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” The St. Petersburg communist group, which is separate from the much larger CPRF, would like the Kremlin or Moscow’s “ex”-CPSU mayor Yuri Luzhkov to issue such an announcement before Ortega leaves Russia on Friday.

Yesterday, Eduardo Montealegre, former leader of the Nicaraguan Liberal Alliance, sent a letter to Medvedev via Russia’s ambassador in Managua, protesting the unconstitutional presence of the Russian Navy in Nicaraguan waters and outlining Ortega’s dictatorial response to his critics.

“Mega-Summit” in Brazil Promotes Regional Integration in Latin America, Unasur Founds South American Defense Council

Elsewhere in Latin America, the Admiral Chabanenko will dock in Havana harbor tomorrow, the first such visit by a Russian warship since the First Cold War (1945-1991). Cuban President/ Tyrant Raul Castro recently completed his first state visit to Venezuela. There he conferred with reliable revolutionary protege Hugo Chavez on December 14 and 15, before attending the First Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development underway this week in the northeastern Brazilian resort of Costa de Sauípe (pictured above).

Actually, Costa de Sauípe was the site of a four-organization “mega-summit” that also included meetings of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), the new Union of South American Nations (Unasur), and the Rio Group. At these historic meetings, Unasur, which unites the countries of South America in an EU-style architecture, formally inaugurated the South American Defense Council to coordinate national military policies. The SADC, which was heavily promoted by Brazil, will hold its first meeting in Chile next month. It is not clear how Venezuela’s proposed ALBA Defense Council, limited obviously to the eight members of ALBA, will interact with Unasur’s newly born defense council.

On the sidelines of the summit, an emergency meeting of the Rio Group formally received Cuba into membership and urged the US government to lift its 46-year-old economic, commercial and financial blockade of the island state. “We welcome Cuba to the Rio Group. We are certain that your participation will strengthen this policy-coordinating forum,” the Rio Group’s current head, faux rightist Mexican President Felipe Calderon trilled. The Rio Group is widely viewed as a counterweight to the Washington-led Organization of American States.

The Mexican government also recently praised Russia’s revitalized influence in Latin America. “It is important for Mexico that more countries including Russia have closer ties with Latin American countries and that’s why we are saying to Moscow: welcome to Latin America,” Mexico’s Deputy Foreign Minister Maria de Lourdes Aranda Bezaury said last week, adding: “We think that the world’s leading players should be present in this region. This concerns both political, trade and economic spheres, that’s why we see no obstacles in Russia taking its deserved place in Latin America.” In October Russia’s communist-controlled rubber stamp parliament condemned the US embargo against Cuba in a formal resolution.

The presidents of Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru, the Western Hemisphere’s three top US allies, were conspicuously absent from all four summits.

>USSR2 File: Ortega in Moscow on 1st "post"-Cold War trip, will discuss Russia’s accession to ALBA, renovation of Soviet-built Punta Huete air base

>Documenting Neo-Soviet Russia’s Incipient Red Dawn Military Coalition in Latin America

In an historic event, reports state-run Itar-Tass, Nicaragua’s past and present Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega made his first “post”-Cold War visit to Moscow today. This event was initially floated in April 2007, several months after Ortega’s re-inauguration, but failed to materialize. Tomorrow he will confer with Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev, with whom Ortega last met in Caracas on November 26, on the sidelines of a summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). As far as we can determine, the last time Ortega undertook a state visit to Moscow was in November 1987. At the time Ortega, then known for his penchant for designer sunglasses, gushed: ”Undoubtedly it would have been difficult to defend our revolution without the rifles the Soviet Union has given to our people.”

High on the agenda for Ortega and his long-time Soviet masters, 23 years later, will be Nicaragua’s recognition of Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Russia’s accession to the socialist ALBA bloc, developing Nicaragua’s infrastructure, including an interoceanic canal, and the renovation of a Soviet-built air base north of Lake Managua, Punta Huete. Completed in 1986 but never used, the 10,000-foot runway, the longest in Central America, can accommodate Russia’s Tu-160 supersonic strategic bomber. From that location, Blackjacks can reach the coast of Southern California or Texas in less than 90 minutes after Moscow issues an order to attack the USA.

The arrival of the Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko at Bluefields, on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, this past weekend, sparked the outrage of the country’s opposition, which demanded that the Nicaraguan military repel the Russians. Due to a political stalement in the National Assembly, President Ortega was required to issue an executive order to permit foreign warships in Nicaraguan waters.

Pictured below: “The Man Who Makes Reagan See Red”: A previous incarnation of Nicaragua’s head of state. Will incoming socialist US President Barack Hussein Obama “see red” when dealing with the neo-Sandinista regime in Managua? A leader of Ronald Reagan’s character and convictions is sorely needed by the disunited states of the “Free World” today.

Nicaraguan president arrives Russia on official visit
17.12.2008, 22.33

MOSCOW, December 17 (Itar-Tass) — President Daniel Ortega Saavedra of Nicaragua arrived in Moscow on an official visit on Wednesday for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev to discuss bilateral cooperation and international issues.

The talks between Ortega and Medvedev will be held on December 18, the presidential press service said.

The Nicaraguan leader told Itar-Tass in Managua earlier he would like “to discuss with Russian leaders the contribution we could make to the cause of relaxing tension, to the pooling of our efforts within the United Nations to build up a new multi-polar world, to draw up a comprehensive and fair agenda for international commercial negotiations in order to surmount the protectionism of European countries and of the United States”.

The two leaders may discuss Abkhazia and South Ossetia because Nicaragua is the only country, except for Russia, that ahs officially recognised the independence of these republics and has established diplomatic relations with them.

Ortega stressed Nicaragua’s readiness “to promote bilateral relations with Russia in every area, including economy, trade, culture, sports, science, technology and military-technical cooperation”.

Possible projects may include the modernisation of the Pachito aerodrome in Punta-Huete, built in the 1980s with the help of Soviet specialists.

Nicaragua also needs investments in port infrastructure, including on the Atlantic coast.

The country is also interested in buying Russian trucks and buses. Specialists believe that oil and gas prospecting projects in Nicaragua’s offshore fields may hold promise.

The task has been set to increase the number of Nicaraguan students studying in Russia. There are also plans to open a Russian centre in Managua.

Medvedev had a meeting during his Latin American tour at the end of November with members of the ALBA group, Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas, who had gathered at that time in the Venezuelan capital. The leader of Nicaragua took part in it side by side with the presidents of Venezuela, Bolivia, Honduras, and Ecuador. During that meeting the Russian president raised the question of promoting Russia’s cooperation with these countries.

Medvedev did not exclude then the possibility of Russia’s accession to the ALBA Association.

“We are also ready to discuss our participation in the work of the Association maybe as an associated member or in some other way, provided it is of benefit to the development of Latin American countries and in line with our vision for a multi-polar world and division of labour,” he stated.

The ALBA group was formed at the end of 2004 on the initiative of Cuba and Venezuela to counterweight the abortive U.S. proposal to establish a Free Trade Zone for the Americas.

Russian-Nicaraguan cooperation is steadily gaining strength. A squadron of warships of the Russian Northern Fleet, consisting of the big submarine killer craft “Admiral Chabanenko” and two auxiliary vessels has called at the Bluefields port of Nicaragua. President Ortega had specially decreed to give “the green light” to the visit of Russian warships to that Nicaraguan port and to the participation of up to 650 Russian navy men in a joint military exercise to practice methods of humanitarian operations. The country’s president is expected to come to Bluefields to meet the Russian sailors.

The ships have brought humanitarian aid, including medicines, computers, office supplies, and power generators.

Responding to Washington’s threat last month to cut monetary aid to the Central American country, Ortega lashed out at the USA yesterday: “A Latin American nation is under attack … [by] the decision of the Yankee government and the Europeans to suspend financing for Nicaragua. Nicaragua has been singled out because it does not accept orders from the capitalist tyranny.” Clearly, Ortega has not changed his communist stripes in 20 years.

During last month’s four-nation tour of Latin America, President Medvedev made the startling admission that Russia is contemplating membership of some sort in ALBA, Latin America’s new socialist political-economic-cultural bloc. ALBA consists of Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Honduras, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Dominica. Ecuador’s membership is pending. In January, at a previous meeting of ALBA leaders, Venezuela’s Marxist dictator Hugo Chavez and ally Ortega revealed their plan to transform ALBA into an anti-USA military coalition called the ALBA Defense Council. Chavez elaborated:

The countries of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, and now Dominica should work to form a joint defense strategy and start joining our armed forces, air forces, armies, navies, National Guards, and intelligence forces, because the enemy is the same, the empire. The defense ministers of each ALBA member-nation must begin preparation for an ALBA Defense Council, to unite our military forces and have the nations of ALBA united. If [the USA] messes with one of us, they are messing with all of us, because we will respond as one.

Ortega chimed in: “If they touch Venezuela, it will light up the region. No one is going to stand idly by, because to touch Venezuela is to touch all of Latin America.”

There is no single army in Central America, South America, or the Caribbean Basin that can take on the USA’s military might, overcommitted though it may be in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Even a combination of Latin American militaries would probably be no match for the US Armed Forces. However, the following scenario appears to be under contemplation by the Communist Bloc: 1) a nuclear decapitation strike executed by the Soviets against high-value political-military targets in the Continental USA, followed by 2) a Russian ground invasion of Alaska, and 3) a Sino-Latin American ground invasion of California and Florida via Cuba and possibly the Chinese-owned container transshipment facility in Freeport, Bahamas.

No doubt the Soviet strategists will publicly rationalize their rapid re-penetration of Central America by pointing to the USA’s alleged “aggressive” designs in Central Asia. “American military bases are dotted throughout the world,” Novosti quotes General Nikolai Makarov, Chief of the Russian General Staff, as saying yesterday. Makarov added: “The U.S. has opened bases in Romania and Bulgaria, and according to our information plans to establish them in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.” Thus we see, without exaggaration, the formation of a Soviet-led Red Dawn-style alliance that, although in its incipient stage, currently involves the modernization and expansion of the participating armed forces and, in the near future, multinational exercises along the lines of Ven-Rus 2008.

The US Departments of Defense and State, though, are not impressed by Russia’s muscle-flexing in America’s backyard. US Navy Rear Admiral Tom Meek, deputy director for security and intelligence at Southern Command, opined: “I don’t think that Russia and Venezuela are really serious about putting together a military coalition that would give them any kind of aggregate military capability to oppose anybody. Frankly, the maneuvers they conducted down here were so basic and rudimentary that they did not amount to anything, in my opinion.”

In an interview with the AP news agency this past Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sighed: “A few aging Blackjacks flying unarmed along the coast of Venezuela is — I don’t know why one would do it, but I’m not particularly going to lose sleep over that.” That may be so, but the US Air Force’s fleet of B-52 and B-1 bombers is also aging, while the airframes of some of Russia’s propeller-driven Bear bombers were constructed as recently as the 1990s. Expect dot.gov’s interest in neo-Soviet subversion in Latin America to dwindle even more under an Obama Presidency.

>USSR2 File: OPEC, Russia coordinate oil production cut, boost price; OPEC head urges Russia to join group, Moscow still coy about membership

>- Communist Allies Russia and Venezuela Dump the Dollar in Bilateral Trade, Opt for Ruble and Bolivar

- Back in the USSR:

1) Prime Minister Putin’s Cabinet Drafts Law Defining All Opposition to Government Policy as “Treason,” Punishable by up to 20 Years Imprisonment

2) New Soviet-Style Bill Follows Legislation Ending Jury Trials in Treason or Terrorism Cases, and Extension of Presidential Term from Four to Six Years

3) CPRF Chairman Zyuganov Threatens to Use Russian Economic Woes to Build Case for Ousting (Crypto-Stalinist) United Russia Regime

In Oran, Algeria today delegations from the 13 member states of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, one of which, Ecuador, recently defaulted on its foreign debt payments, combined with Russia, the world’s largest oil producer outside OPEC, to slash production and boost world oil futures. Russia, The Telegraph reports today, has been under pressure from OPEC leaders to cut as many as 300,000 of the 9.75 million barrels produced each day.

Pictured above: Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin attends today’s opening of the 151st Extraordinary Meeting of OPEC in the Algerian city of Oran.

Yesterday, OPEC President and Algeria’s Minister for Energy and Mines Chakib Khelil was quoted by India’s Economic Times as confiding: “We have always wanted Russia to join OPEC. Russia would be of special importance to group if it joined, as it would increase OPEC’s strength in terms of production share, raising it to about 50 per cent of world output, from the current level of 40 per cent.” The same source goes on to say: “Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia was ready to join forces with OPEC to stem a plunge in oil prices. Earlier, Khelil had said that Russia would be represented at the forthcoming OPEC meeting in Oran by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin and Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, at the head of a delegation consisting of 20 members.” Clearly, the Soviet strategists consider the coordinated manipulation of world oil prices as a bludgeon to use against the capitalist economies.

In 2005 Randy Kirk, writing for the Energy Bulletin, stated: “Russia, (to the author’s knowledge), has not stated the size of their reserves, but at a daily consumption of oil of 2.6 million bpd, a SPR sufficient for a 30 day consumption would equal 78 million barrels. At a rate of 100,000 bpd, this would require 2.1 years to achieve.” It is unlikely that the Soviets, who sent their long-range bomber fleet aloft again last year, have neglected the development of a strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), especially for military consumption.

Last week, state-run Novosti admitted that the Russian economy is in recession and faces at least two quarters of economic decline. Deputy Economics Minister Andrei Klepach was quoted as saying: “A recession has started. We will face two quarters of economic decline.” Russia’s KGB-communist dictator, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, previously insisted that Russia would experience GDP growth of 6.8-6.9%, industrial production growth of 4.8%, and 13% inflation for 2008, against a target of 11.8%. Klepach adjusted the industrial output forecast to 1.9%.

The AP news agency, citing the Russian Federal Statistics Service, reports that industrial output actually fell 10.8 percent from October to November. “Production contracted 8.7 percent in November from the same month last year, marking the biggest falls since the 1998 financial crash,” the same source explains, “Manufacturers have been strangled by choked credit markets and plunging demand for commodities, particularly metals.” Klepach was rebuked for his candor, above, when Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin stated on Monday that the Russian economy could expand by three percent next year. The Russian Central Bank has since August expended one quarter of its enormous international reserves, the third largest in the world after China and Japan, to support the ruble through the global credit crunch.

To protect domestic car manufacturers, most of whom are located in Russia’s Volga region, the Kremlin has also imposed a higher duty on imported vehicles, a new policy that sparked a large and rare public protest in Vladivostok this past Saturday. In Russia’s primary Pacific port city Japanese cars are popular.

In yet another move to protect their economies from the global financial crisis, communist allies Russia and Venezuela agreed to not only shore up oil prices to a level favorable to Moscow and Caracas, but also to dump the US dollar in bilateral transactions and instead use the ruble and Venezuelan bolivar. This decision was communicated by Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev and Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez during the former’s historic November 26 visit to Caracas.

Meanwhile, India’s Times Now, under the title “Putin favours ‘Communist Agenda’ on tackling fin[ancial] crisis,” contends that the Kremlin, by dipping into the country’s Stabilization Fund to modernize domestic industries, has “hijacked” the Communist Party of the Russian Federation’s economic agenda. The CPRF, as we previously posted, held its 13th annual congress in Moscow over the last weekend of November.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin favoured boosting the manufacturing sector and investing huge oil windfall funds for the modernisation of domestic industries to weather the global financial turmoil, thereby virtually hijacking the Communist Party’s economic agenda on November 20 (2008). The Communist Party of Gennady Zyuganov, highly critical of Putin government’s policy of parking billions of dollars of the stabilisation funds in the US securities and bonds, had been demanding investment in the development of manufacturing sector and modernisation of the industry.

Not content to allow the Putinist regime to swipe its demand for the total nationalization of the economy, which is already heavily controlled by the Kremlin in strategic sectors, Russia’s open communists, “expect the global financial crisis will cause social unrest and help them challenge for power.” During a typically long-winded speech to the party congress, CPRF Chairman Gennady Zyuganov, Reuters reports, demanded:

We should make maximum use of the growing public discontent caused by the economic downturn to try to restore our political strength. The wind of history is blowing in our sails again … At this time of crisis the world of imperialism is starting to die. We are standing on the threshold of political and social shifts.

The authorities are clearly not coping with managing the country … A mass social protest is brewing and it is hard to predict now when and in what shape it will explode. We should secure the support of society well before the political crisis comes … We have to squeeze everything we can from this situation.

This confluence of ideology between the covertly ruling CPRF and the crypto-Stalinist United Russia is not new and should come as no surprise to those who recognize the deceptive nature of “democratization” in neo-Soviet Russia.

Just in time for the CPRF to openly re-assume control over Russia, Putin’s cabinet, reports the AP news agency today, has drafted a law that will enable authorities to label any critic of the government as a traitor and imprison them for up to 20 years. The draft extends the definition of treason from breaching Russia’s external security to damaging the nation’s constitutional order, sovereignty, or territorial integrity. Despite criticism from Russia’s cowed human rights groups, the draft is likely to receive a quick approval by the State Duma and Federation Council, both of which are dominated by communists and “ex”-communists. In a related move, the upper house of Russia’s parliament passed a bill today that will end jury trials for those facing charges of terrorism and treason. The Federation Council, controlled by Putin lackey and Just Russia party leader Sergei Mironov, approved the bill 147-0 with two abstentions. It must be signed by “President” Medvedev, another Putin lackey, to take effect.

Incidentally, Russian political analysts are still speculating that PM Putin could return to the Kremlin as president by next summer. If he does, then the election this past March of compliant Komsomol graduate Medvedev will be seen for the communist-scripted farce that it is.

>Asia/Middle East Files: Indian DM Antony denies readying air strikes on Pakistan, Islamabad augments forces on Indian border, Iran on Pakistani border

>- How to Enrage Islamists: USA’s Incoming “Apostate Muslim” President to Place Israel Under America’s Nuclear Umbrella

Apparently pursuing a policy of “opaque” mobilization, Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony denied today that his country is preparing to launch air strikes on terrorist camps in neighboring Pakistan. Antony, however, hinted that New Delhi might take military action if Pakistani authorities fail to extirpate Islamist terror networks in that country. Indian officials believe that the Pakistani-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) group carried out the November 26-29 Mumbai terrorist attacks, possibly with logistical support and training from Islamabad’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

“We are not planning any military action but at the same time unless Pakistan takes actions against those terrorists who are operating from their soil against India and also against all those who are behind the Mumbai terrorist attack, things will not be normal ,” the Indian media quotes Antony as saying, while attending a ceremony marking the 37th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh Liberation War. “I cannot say what course of action we will take, but unless Pakistan shows sincerity in whatever they are saying through their actions, things will not be as usual,” he repeated. Antony denied that India is augmenting its troops along the border with its enemy, admitting only that “Everything is normal because our forces are always ready. We do not plan to call off our five-year-old ceasefire with Pakistan. Nothing like that.”

Pictured above: Pakistani children from schools run by Islamic charity organization Jamaat-ud-Dawa protest in Karachi today. After the Mumbai attacks, Pakistani authorities detained scores of JuD members, acknowledging that the charity is a front for LeT.

The Indian media, confirming a previous post at this blog, reports that the Pakistani Army, which recently completed a war game in the region, is in fact augmenting its border forces in the Rajasthan sector:

The Pakistan army has heightened its activities close to the Indian border in Rajasthan sector. According to sources, Pakistan army troops, withdrawn from Afghan border, is being deployed close to the Indian border on Rajasthan and Punjab. Not only have the soldiers’ strength increased in these areas, but Pakistan officials have been spotted frequenting these posts. Along with the Pakistani Rangers, who usually occupy the check-posts, there is an increased presence of Pakistani army. Movement of Army vehicles and other activities are also been observed in this area. According to reliable sources, even after the Pakistan Army’s war excercise on the border adjoining Rajasthan and Punjab, the troops have not been withdrawn. Troops belonging to the Karachi-based corps is spotted in these drills.

In a related and possibly troubling development, Iran is bolstering its troops along Pakistan’s southwestern border, supposedly to halt any exodus of refugees should war erupt between India and Pakistan, as well as suppress the Jundullah, an insurgent army of Sunni Muslims who oppose the Shi’a Islamic republic in Tehran and establish a Greater Balochistan. The Iranian dictatorship contends that US and British special forces are aiding the Jundullah insurgency.

Iran has been manoeuvre its troops along Pak-Iran border following Indo-Pakistan tension. According to reports, Iran has moved its forces and deployed them close to Pak-Iran border in the wake of tension between Pakistan and India. These troops are equipped with modern weapons. These troops have been posted along the border to stop possible influx of people in case of any war between Pakistan and India from Pakistan.

It may be recalled that Iranian officials have repeated indicated Government of Pakistan about organised activities of Jundullah at Pakistani soil. Action has been taken against Jundullah inside Iran and in Pakistani areas of Dalbandin, Girdi Jungle. Jundullah activists have also claimed to have killed dozens of Iranian troops by carrying out attacks against them.

Iranian authorities are of the view that Jundullah enjoys support of America and Iran wants serious action against it at Pakistani soil.

Citing “authoritative sources” and alluding to “a joint Indo-Israeli strategy to increase pressure on Pakistan,” the Pakistani media reported yesterday on the presence of an Israeli submarine off the coast of Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Israel, like India, is a target of Islamic terrorism. This past Saturday, Israel’s ambassador to New Delhi Mark Sofar urged India to “exert diplomatic pressure on Pakistan rather than embarking on a military adventure to root out terrorists.” He added that “A dilapidated Pakistan is neither healthy for India nor for the world.”

On December 11 Israel’s Haaretz reported the astonishing news that incoming US President Barack Hussein Obama “will offer Israel a ‘nuclear umbrella’ against the threat of a nuclear attack by Iran, a well-placed American source said earlier this week. The source, who is close to the new administration, said the U.S. will declare that an attack on Israel by Tehran would result in a devastating U.S. nuclear response against Iran.” While this pledge to defend Israel from nuclear annihilation by the maniacal regime in Tehran sounds encouraging to friends of the Jewish state, merely articulating such a promise will further enrage Islamists against the “Zionist entity” and America’s “apostate Muslim” president.

>Communist Bloc Military Updates: Russian destroyer unloads generators, computers for Nicaraguan army, heads for final regional stopover Cuba

>Latin America’s Red Spread: WWOD, or What Would Obama Do?

Russian naval visits to Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela signify long-term prospects for developing cooperation among these countries’ navies in the interest of building stability and trust on the world’s oceans.
– Statement from Russian naval headquarters, December 15, 2008

Over the past weekend the Russian destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which weighed anchor near Nicaragua’s Caribbean port town of Bluefields on Friday, unloaded US$200,000 worth of electric generators and computers, billed as “humanitarian aid” for hospitals, but also earmarked for the Nicaraguan police and army. This represented Russia’s first-ever naval deployment to the Central American country–once again under the control of the Sandinista National Liberation Front–since the Cold War. Due to a tropical storm in the region or possibly the strident objections of Nicaragua’s political opposition, Russia’s joint naval drill with Nicaragua’s (rather small) navy was apparently scrapped. Russian Navy spokesentity Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo soothed: “The visit has no political tone and has been agreed through military and diplomatic channels in compliance with all the necessary formalities.”

Pictured above, left to right: Cesar Aviles, Chief of the Nicaraguan General Staff, Igor Kondrasev, Russian ambassador to Nicaragua, Rene Darce, chief of the medical corps of the Nicaragua Army, and Olga Smith, a regional government official, inspect a gift from the Kremlin, a box of medicine, which was apparently transported by air from Bluefields to Managua on Saturday.

Prior to the November 2006 election that returned Marxist dictator Daniel Ortega to the Nicaraguan presidency, the commander in chief of the army, General Omar Halleslevens, insisted that the army would remain “apolitical,” regardless of who won the election. “We have a professional army that follows the Constitution and the law and will not be used for political or partisan purposes,” huffed Halleslevens at the time. “In 1989, Nicaragua’s army had more than 73,000 men. That was an army that was created for war,” Halleslevens, a Sandinista, admitted, adding “Now the army has 11,000 men.” In October of this year Halleslevens confirmed that he has requested military aid from Russia to repair or replace Nicaragua’s arsenal, 90 percent of which is Soviet built, including transport aircraft and five Mil Mi-24 attack helicopters. Despite the revitalized relationship with Moscow, the Nicaraguan armed forces also cooperate with the USA, France, Spain, Mexico, Taiwan, and other Central American countries.

Nicaragua represented the third pitstop on the Russian Navy’s much-trumpeted Caribbean tour that included a joint war game with Red Venezuela, a transit of the Panama Canal, and a stayover at Panama’s Balboa Naval Base, located on that country’s Pacific shore, where the destroyer replenished its supplies. Today, reports the AFP news agency, in another attempt to poke America in the eye, the Russian Navy announced that the Admiral Chabanenko will also visit Communist Cuba, another first-ever, post-Cold War event.”This will be the first visit to Cuba by Russian warships since the Soviet era,” Russian naval headquarters boasted in a statement, adding: “Russian naval visits to Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela signify long-term prospects for developing cooperation among these countries’ navies in the interest of building stability and trust on the world’s oceans.” The Admiral Chabanenko and its two support ships will remain in Havana between December 12 and 23.

During the largely ceremonial Havana stopover, Cubans will be permitted to tour the Russian ships, while Russian officers will pay their respects at the monument of nineteenth-century Cuban independence leader Jose Marti. “US officials,” states the AFP news agency, “have said they see no military threat from Russia’s naval manoeuvres but continue to keep a close eye on the situation.” The same source rightly notes: “Despite the growing Russian assertiveness, defence experts have said Russia’s navy remains severely weakened following years of post-Soviet neglect.” Be that as it may, the Kremlin probably does not intend to hurl its enfeebled fleet against US shores but rather its ballistic missiles. In selecting Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba as ports of call, the Kremlin is signalling to the USA that this Latin American communist troika falls under Russia’s sphere of influence.

The joint Ven-Rus 2008 naval drill, which involved the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great, and subsequent tour by the Admiral Chabanenko are widely seen as a tit-for-tat response to Washington’s deployment of warships to the Black Sea during Russia’s August invasion of Georgia. The flagship of the Northern Fleet is still lurking somewhere in the Caribbean Sea. “The Peter the Great remains in the Caribbean but will not visit Cuba,” Dygalo explained.

Meanwhile, reports the Cuban News Agency, on Saturday Cuban President/Tyrant Raul Castro travelled to Caracas, where he is conducting his first-ever official visit to communist ally Venezuela. Following his arrival in Venezuela, Castro and host President Hugo Chavez laid a wreath at the tomb of Latin American independence hero Simon Bolivar, toured the Plaza Bolivar, and then held official talks. Pictured above: Comrades Hugo and Raul, the two most dangerous communist heads of state in the Western Hemisphere.

During the tour Raul recalled his stint in Venezuela as a student more than 50 years ago: “We are here once again like we did some 55 years ago when I came as a student, and the first thing we did was paying homage to Simon Bolivar, the Liberator; it is the first thing we will do today.” For his part, Chavez, who views Raul’s elder brother Fidel as an ideological mentor, gushed: “It is an honor to have you with us; we are welcoming you as well as we are welcoming Fidel Castro and the Cuban people. In receiving you, Venezuela is also welcoming the Cuban rebels who fought on the Sierra Maestra mountain range and the 50th Anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, which is an example for all our sister nations.” Perhaps, among other agenda items, Castro and Chavez discussed Ecuador’s default on interest payments on foreign bonds, declared by ideological comrade Rafael Correa last week.

After consolidating bilateral relations with the Chavezista regime, Castro will head for Brazil to participate at the Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Integration and Development, to be held December 16 and 17, in Salvador de Bahia. Regional integration, encompassing political, economic, military, and cultural integration, is a core objective of Latin America’s predominantly leftist leaders and represents the fulfillment of a long-standing communist dream.

As we document the Red Spread in the Western Hemisphere we are faced with an inevitable question, raised last week by Newsweek journalist Jorge Castañeda: “Would what Obama do?” He writes:

Latin America, with few exceptions, prefers today to look the other way when electoral fraud takes place (Nicaragua), when authoritarian rule threatens (Venezuela) and when human rights are systematically violated (Cuba). As long as nothing else occurs, Washington can also simply look the other way. But if matters get out of control in Nicaragua, in Venezuela, or in Cuba, what will Obama do?

The Kremlin Attempts to Drive a Wedge between NATO and Member States Portugal and Greece

In the Caribbean Basin and elsewhere, such as in Europe, the Soviet strategists are pursuing at least three objectives in order to undermine the Western Alliance: 1) portray Russia as a robust military power, 2) promote leftist, pacifistic regimes throughout Europe, and 3) build political-economic-military linkages with the latter as this weakens Europe’s commitment to the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Thus, in the case of Europe we witness the Russian Navy’s friendly visit to Portugal and the shipment of arms to the Greek government.

In yet another attempt to project its naval power throughout the world, Russia is dispatching a second missile warship, the Admiral Levchenko, to Lisbon on Friday. The Udaloy class destroyer is part of a task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which is currently making waves for the Mediterranean Sea. “The visit will last until December 22,” the ubiquitous Captain Dygalo revealed, adding “Russia currently has three naval task groups on tours of duty in the world’s oceans.” In Portugal the Socialist Party (PS), which is affiliated with the Moscow-controlled Socialist International, has been in power since 2005. However, since Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to NATO, it would appear that the arrival of a Russian warship in Lisbon may be an attempt to interfere with Portugal’s otherwise secure role within the North Atlantic military coalition.

Incidentally, Mário Soares, Portugal’s first democratically elected prime minister after the fall of Antonio Salazar’s fascist dictatorship, co-founded the PS, but only after a stint in the Portuguese Communist Party, which attempted to hijack the Carnation Revolution in 1974.

Greece is another country that enjoys a relatively secure role within the Western Alliance, but not without Kremlin disapproval. Moscow’s Trojan horse in Athens is the Greek Communist Party (KKE), which is linked to the Communist Party of the Russian Federation through organizations like the International Communist Movement and the International Meeting of Communist and Workers’ Parties, both of which meet annually in countries worldwide.

The KKE is utilizing the memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old boy shot dead by police on December 6, as a pretext to stage a slow-motion coup d’etat against Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis’ center-right government. Since then, rioters expressing anger against the Greek government have taken to the streets in France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, and Italy. The last parliamentary election in Greece took place only last year. However, the government’s pledge to drop 100,000 public service jobs next year has prompted another spate of riots that many street-level observers are calling a “popular uprising.” Utilizing university campuses–which police are legally prohibited from storming–as bases to strategize and build gasoline bombs, student mobs in Athens erupted in another frenzy of violence on Saturday.

>Asia File: Pakistan alleges Indian fighter jets violate airspace; missile units of both countries on alert; New Delhi pursues "opaque" mobilization

> - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Visits Kashmir on December 15, Warns Relations with Pakistan Will not Be Normalized until Militants Eliminated in that Country (source)

- CNN Cites Three Pentagon Officials, Confirms Indian Air Force Preparing to Strike Terror Bases in Pakistan (source)

Since the November 26-29 Mumbai terrorist attacks–perpetrated it would appear by Al Qaeda-linked Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) with training supplied by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency–India and Pakistan have inched closer to war day by day. Today, reports Pakistan’s Dawn News, a Pakistani Air Force (PAF) spokesman alleged that Indian warplanes violated the Kashmir and Lahore sectors of Pakistan’s airspace on Saturday. Pakistani fighter jets escorted the intruders back to Indian airspace. Islamabad issued a mild warning to New Delhi, to the effect that Pakistan “did not wish to escalate the situation.” The Indian Defence Ministry denies the incursion took place.

The same source, though, states that some travellers between Lahore and Rawalpindi witnessed “heavy movement” of the Pakistan army in that region. “Long convoys of military trucks were heading towards Lahore from Jehlum,” motorist Jawad Khan told Dawn. “The movement of army towards border area is a sign that tension between the two nuclear rivals, already heightened following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai,” concludes Dawn, “is likely to increase in the days to come.”

In a related incident, the first of its kind since Mumbai, last Saturday and Sunday Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire, using small arms and mortar guns along the Chakoti Line of Control in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. The civilian population panicked as a result and fled to safer locations.

These incidents are noteworthy because India’s armed forces have been in a state of war readiness since November 27, when Pakistan’s involvement in the Mumbai attacks became apparent. While India has implemented no general mobilization of troops to the common border, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has adopted a state of “passive air defense,” reports DNA India. This means that fighter jets have been armed with missiles and pilots are prepared to scramble at a moment’s notice. The IAF, moreover, has reduced the number of personnel on leave to just 10 percent, from the average 30 percent of its total strength, and recalled several “key” officers from leave. In the western and southwestern air commands, adjacent to the Pakistani border, all leave has been cancelled. The state of high alert extends to air stations in the southern part of India too. In addition to fully arming fighters and placing pilots in operational rooms, the IAF has moved some surface-to-ar missile units and other air defense assets close to the Pakistan border.

For its part, the Indian Navy’s western command, based in Mumbai, is “aggressively patrolling” the Arabian Sea with two dozen warships.

A source quoted by DNA India on December 10 contends that New Delhi, upon reviewing mistakes made during the country’s conflict with Pakistan in 2001 following the Indian parliament attack, is purposely refraining from a widespread mobilization of ground forces at this time and, instead, pursuing an “opaque” military mobilization. In other words, the Indians are probably mobilizing troops but as discreetly as possible.

According to this past Wednesday’s edition of the Irish Sun, the Pakistani Air Force has also been placed on “high alert” in response to “India’s aggression,” while the Pakistani Navy is “closely watching” the movements of its Indian counterpart in the Arabian Sea. Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani informed reporters in the eastern city of Multan: “If there is any provocation in India, you will have to use diplomacy. Pakistan is a responsible state. Being a nuclear power, we are cautious in reaction.” In a recent editorial in The New York Times, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari assured India that “Pakistan is committed to the pursuit, arrest, trial and punishment of anyone involved in these heinous attacks.”

Gilani pledged that Pakistan would participate in a binational investigation of the Mumbai attacks and has already arrested two terrorist commanders accused by India of organizing the Mumbai attacks: Zaki-ur-Rhman Lakhvi, top operational commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Maulana Masood Azhar, leader of Jaish-e-Muhammad. Reuters confirms that last Sunday Pakistani security forces raided a LeT camp, in Shawai on the outskirts of Muzaffarabad, capital of the Pakistani side of the disputed Kashmir region. “LeT was formed with the help of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies,” reveals the news agency, “to fight Indian rule in Kashmir, but analysts say it is now part of a global Islamist militant scene.”

While holding out the olive branch, however, Pakistan is mobilizing for war, reports the Times of India. The Pakistani Army, this source contends, has extended the “Zarab Alwar” war game to the end of December. Zarab Alwar began some time in October, “intensified” during the third week of that month, and was originally slated to terminate on November 28. The exercise includes elements of all three branches of the Pakistani military. Geographically, Zarab Alwar parallels the Indian border from Jammu and Kashmir to Gujarat. Pakistani forces are testing their extended strike capability in desert, swamp, and sea scenarios, with new armoured equipment and artillery. The Pakistan Army has also redeployed a large number of its forces away from the Afghan border and toward India, a development that confirms the Dawn report above and bodes well for Al Qaeda militants and Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province.

Both India and Pakistan are observer states in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the mutal security pact that embodies the Moscow-Beijing Axis. Both states, too, are also ruled by leftist parties affiliated with the Moscow-controlled Socialist International, namely the Pakistan People’s Party and Indian National Congress. During the Cold War and to this day, the Moscow-Beijing Axis has pursued a divide and conquer strategy with respect to India and Pakistan, designed to lure the two feuding countries into full compliance with the Communist Bloc. Russia has traditionally sided with India, as witnessed by “President” Dmitry Medvedev’s “convenient” post-Mumbai trip to New Delhi, while China sides with Pakistan, as witnessed by Beijing’s support this past week for the United Nations Security Council’s ban against LeT. Russia’s strategic partnership with India is reflected in a joint naval drill slated for January 2009, although last year Beijing and New Delhi staged their first combined military exercise in southwestern China, “Hand by Hand 2007.”

In our first report on this subject we explored the “Kremlin trace” in the Mumbai terrorist attacks, noting elements that suggested either Russia’s arms-length involvement in the event, or possibly even the covert presence of Russian special forces on the streets of Mumbai.

>Latin America File: Admiral Chabanenko anchors at Bluefields with "humanitarian" cargo, Nicaraguan opposition lodges protest with Russian ambassador

>The Russian anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two support ships belonging to the Northern Fleet anchored in Nicaragua’s Caribbean port of Bluefields yesterday, the first such deployment since the Cold War. The city’s dock is apparently unable to accommodate the destroyer. Ostensibly on a “humanitarian” mission to the hurricane-battered Central American country, the Russian warships previously made ports of call at Panama’s Balboa Naval Base, requiring the Admiral Chabanenko to cross and re-cross the canal–a first for the Russian Navy since 1944–and Venezuela’s port of La Guaira , where Russian and Venezuelan sailors and airmen carried out a much-trumpeted joint naval drill.

Pictured above: In this photo published today in La Prensa, a Nicaraguan Navy launch greets the Russian destroyer at the port of Bluefields on Friday.

Admiral Juan Jose Estrada, Commander of the Nicaraguan Navy, Igor Kondrashev, Russian ambassador to Nicaragua, Russian military attache Dmitry Babichuk, and various Nicaraguan officials were present in Bluefields to welcome the Russian flotilla. Intending to board the destroyer by motorboat, reports state-run Itar-Tass, the dignitaries were forced back to shore by rough seas. The weather forecast indicates that the storm will not subside over the weekend, even though the warships are slated to leave on Monday. President Ortega was also scheduled to welcome the Russians, but no mention of his presence in Bluefields is made in the Itar-Tass report.

The Russian and Iranian media also reported yesterday that the Russian and Nicaraguan navies–both in fact mere shadows of their former strength during the Cold War–were slated to hold a combined maneuver over the weekend. However, the Admiral Chabanenko, reports Itar-Tass, arrived at Bluefields in the midst of a storm and it is not clear, therefore, whether that part of the visit will proceed.

Moreover, reports the AP news agency, “The arrival of Russian navy ships at the Caribbean port of Bluefields caused heated debate Friday in an already deeply divided Nicaragua.” As we blogged yesterday, “Leftist President Daniel Ortega claims he is authorized to approve the visit, but opposition lawmakers say the constitution requires congressional approval for visits by foreign military forces. They presented a letter to the Russian ambassador asking for the ships to stay out of Nicaraguan waters.” La Prensa, like other opposition newspapers in Nicaragua, is critical of the neo-Sandinista regime and in the article linked above refers to the Russian military presence in Nicaraguan waters as “illegal,” “unconstitutional,” and a “violation of sovereignty.”

In spite of the political division in Managua and the tropical storm over Bluefields, the Russian ambassador portrayed the event in a positive light: “This friendly visit will last three days. Our ships brought humanitarian cargoes for Nicaragua, including medical supplies, computers, office equipment and electricity generators,” Kondrashev informed Itar-Tass by telephone. “Changes are being made in the program of the visit because of the storm. Anyway, we shall do our best for taking the humanitarian cargoes ashore. Probably, this will be done with the help of helicopters.”