>FOURTH WORLD WAR HIGHLIGHTS
LATIN AMERICAN THEATER
– KGB-Communist Dictator Putin Mocks Washington’s Concerns over Russian Military Presence in Venezuela, Casts Contempt on North American Security
– Revitalized Interest in Latin America Top Priority for Soviet Strategists: Russian Bombers to Begin Return Flight from Venezuela to Engels Airbase in Saratov Region Today
– Russian Vice-Premier Sechin Visits Hurricane-Ravaged Cuba for Second Time in as Many Months, Advances Bilateral Military Cooperation under Guise of Building Space Base for Cubans
– Sechin Travels to Caracas after Havana Pitstop; Venezuelan President Chavez to Reciprocate with Moscow Pilgrimage Later This Month, Eighth Time Since 1999 Inauguration, Last Trip to Russia Occurred in July
– Sandinistas Install Anti-American Former Foreign Minister/Liberationist Catholic Priest/Lenin Peace Prize Recipient as President of United Nations General Assembly
Seven days after they arrived in Venezuela, reports state-run Novosti, two Russian strategic bombers, armed with “dummy” missiles, have completed their second mission, a six-hour flight along the northern coast of South America toward Brazil, with the intent of simulating combat in a tropical climate. The Tu-160 Blackjacks flew from El Libertador airbase, where they were briefly based, to the capital of Venezuela, where they are being prepared for their 15-hour return flight to Russia, to begin later today. Since August 2007, when then President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of overseas bomber patrols after a 15-year hiatus, the Russian Air Force has carried out more than 90 strategic patrol flights.
In mid-August US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted that the White House was annoyed with flights by Russian strategic bombers near US airspace: “We’ve had Russian Bear flights along the Norwegian coast…even along the borders with the United States which…is a very dangerous game, and perhaps one the Russians want to reconsider. Nobody needs Russian strategic aviation along America’s coasts. Last week, during a meeting with Western academics in Sochi, Putin, now prime minister, insisted that the West was overreacting to Russia’s reassertiveness, especially its military presence in South America, and cast contempt on Washington’s concern for the security of North America. “God forbid,” he mocked, “there should be any sort of conflict over the [North] American continent, which is none other than the ‘holiest of the holies.’ Yet, they [NATO] send armed ships to sit just 10 kilometres from where we are here, the Black Sea, to deliver aid to Georgia? Is that normal? Is it proportional?”
The presence of Standing NATO Maritime Group One in the Black Sea and its involvement in shipping humanitarian aid to Georgia, which Russia invaded on August 8, provoked belligerent rumblings from the Kremlin. Although NATO’s Black Sea fleet reportedly departed from the region on September 10, the Kremlin has announced that its warships will patrol the coast of Abkhazia, one of Georgia’s secessionist republics, until all US naval vessels leave the Black Sea. “Russian intelligence,” Novosti propagandizes, “believes that U.S. ships are spying on the Russian Black Sea fleet and that along with humanitarian aid delivered military equipment to Georgia, including new air defense systems.”
While Venezuela’s armed forces, under the watchful presence of the visiting Tu-160 bombers, repelled yet another mock invasion by US forces this past Saturday, Russian Vice Premier Igor Sechin (pictured above) arrived in Caracas yesterday to firm up bilateral relations between the two Communist Bloc states. The Venezuelan military, which has been purged of officers opposed to the Chavezista regime, staged at least one previous mock US invasion in 2006. The Kremlin media reports, below, on Sechin’s latest Latin American foray: “The delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin includes representatives from large Russian companies and economic-related ministries.”
Pictured below: The flagship of the Russian Navy’s Northern Fleet, the nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Peter the Great. This vessel and others will arrive off the coast of Venezuela on or before scheduled exercises with Chavez’s navy between November 10 and 14.
Russian delegation visits Venezuela for partnership talks
11:28 16/ 09/ 2008
CARACAS, September 16 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian governmental delegation has arrived in Venezuela to hold talks on bilateral cooperation.
The delegation headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin includes representatives from large Russian companies and economic-related ministries.
On the sideline of the visit a number of working groups from the energy, financial, industry, transport, science, education and agriculture sectors will meet for talks.
Venezuela is the second country after Cuba that the Russian delegation has visited on its Latin American tour. Sechin said an agreement had been reached with Cuba to boost partnership in most economic sectors, including energy, pharmaceutics, agriculture and transport.
The Russian delegation also assessed the damage to Cuba following two recent hurricanes, Gustav and Ike. Russia was the first to send aid to Cuba after Gustav hit the communist island last month. The Russian delegation promised more aid, including food as well as equipment for the country’s damaged electricity grid.
If there’s any doubt in your mind as to the neo-Soviet leadership’s commitment to communism, then it is worth mentioning that Sechin presented Chavez with a new Russian biography of retired Cuban president and red revolutionary Fidel Castro.
“The two countries,” reports Flight International, “are preparing a big arms deal that would involve the sale of about 70 Russian aircraft, including Sukhoi Su-35 multirole fighters, Omsk-built An-74 STOL airlifters, Mi-17MTV-5 and Mi-28N hellicopters.” We have already chronicled Venezuela’s previous purchases of Russian weapons and military hardware. President Hugo Chavez, who is chummy with both Putin and communist party leader Gennady Zyuganov, is scheduled to visit Beijing, Moscow, and Lisbon later this month. This will be Chavez’s eighth trip to Moscow since assuming the Venezuelan presidency in 1999. Comrade Hugo’s last pilgrimage to the Russian capital occurred on July 21, only weeks before Soviet troops re-invaded Georgia.
Before touching down in Caracas, Vice Premier Sechin made a pitstop in hurricane-ravaged Communist Cuba–less than two months after his last trip to Havana with ex-FSB/KGB chief Nikolai Patrushev, who is also secretary of the Russian Security Council. At the time the neo-Soviet leadership promised to revitalize Russia’s “traditional relationship” with Cuba, including military cooperation. Then President Putin visited Cuba in 2000. “Russia,” reports Novosti, below, “was the first to send aid to Cuba after Gustav hit the communist island last month. The Russian delegation promised more aid, including food as well as equipment for the country’s damaged electricity grid.”
Russia, which is currently constructed a rocket base in French Guiana, has offered to assist Cuba in building its own space center, which could very easily serve as a cover for the Soviets to insert their own military assets onto the island in a replay of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Moscow supposedly withdrew its missiles from Cuba in 1962 and decades later closed down its electronic eavesdropping center in Lourdes after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Alexander Nemets contends that the Communist Bloc used this facility to guide the 911 skyjackers to their targets, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, on that fateful day.
Finally, Latin America’s Red Axis has secured a coup d’etat of sorts by installing former Nicaraguan foreign minister, Sandinista mouthpiece, and liberationist Catholic priest Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, whom the Vatican has only suspended rather than dismissed, as president of the United Nations General Assembly. Father d’Escoto was ordained into the Maryknoll congregation, which is known for its leftist political activism, was employed by the World Council of Churches, and is a recipient of the Soviet Union’s Lenin Peace Prize.
First item on the agenda for Father d’Escoto is to transfer the powers exercised by the Security Council, dominated by five permanent members including the USA, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and China, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the UN bureaucracy to the broad membership of the General Assembly. While the Moscow-Beijing Axis enjoys a privileged position on the UN Security Counci. Father D’Escoto’s scheme would enable the Communist Bloc to effectively eliminate most or all influence exercised by Washington in the UN venue. Father d’Escoto’s commitment to liberation theology is similar to that of Paraguay’s new President Fernando Lugo, the “Red Bishop” whom the Vatican suspended just prior to his inauguration on August 15.
In a related story that demonstrates the temperature drop between the USA and Nicaragua ever since President Daniel Ortega recognized Georgia’s breakaway regions’ independence and later expressed solidarity with embattled Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales, Commandante Ortega has refused to attend a summit of Central American leaders in Washington DC, to be held later this month.
EUROPEAN, CAUCASIAN, AND PACIFIC THEATERS
– Russian Navy Commences Concurrent Drills in Baltic Sea and Sea of Japan
– Legislative Coup in Kiev Ousts “Pro”-NATO/Georgia President Yushchenko’s Government, Brings Pro-Russian Fifth Columnists to Power Again
– Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev Scurries to Moscow to Pledge Loyalty to Soviet Strategists
Ahead of a joint Caribbean naval exercise with Chavez’s navy in November, Russia’s Kaliningrad-based Baltic Sea Fleet is preparing for open hostilities with NATO, while its Vladivostok-based Pacific Fleet is preparing for open hostilities with the US, Japanese, and South Korean navies. On September 15 the Chinese state media quoted Captain Yuri Kuroedov, Assistant Commander of the Baltic Fleet, as saying: “Landing operations of marines and paratroopers on a rough coast will also be performed.”
Russia’s Baltic Fleet on Monday started a large-scale war game in the Baltic Sea, Itar-Tass news agency reported. More than 20 warships and over 10 auxiliary vessels, 15 planes and helicopters will participate in the week-long drill, said Assistant Commander of the Baltic Fleet Captain Yuri Kuroedov. “The exercises aim to examine the combat readiness of the Baltic Fleet’s forces, which are deployed in the Kaliningrad region, for the last summer period,” he said. Those vessels and the coastal troops will hold missile and artillery fire exercises on coastal and air targets. There will be also bombing and other combat exercises. Landing operations of marines and paratroopers on a rough coast will also be performed, he said.
The Soviets have threatened to deploy “high-precision weapons,” meaning tactical missiles, in their Kaliningrad exclave with the express intent of knocking out proposed US anti-missile interceptors in Poland to the south. The Voice of America quotes General Viktor Zavarzin, chair of the State Duma Defense Committee, as saying that “there are proposals to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the Kaliningrad region bordering Poland, but that for now there is no need for such a move.” US warplanes, moreover, are scheduled to patrol the airspace over former Soviet republics-turned-NATO member states Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania next month. US fighter jets first patrolled Baltic airspace for a three-month stint in 2005, the year after the three countries joined NATO. Thus, it can be seen that the Baltic Theater will play an important role in the Fourth World War, which began on August 8 with the Russian re-invasion of Georgia and which is presently meandering through its deceptive “Sitzkrieg” phase.
Two days ago the Kremlin media covered the concurrent live firing drills by the Russian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, which are being held in conjunction with the test-firing of SLBMs by Russian submarines in the Okhotsk and Bering Seas, previously reported here. “The current drills are the third in a series of combat training exercises conducted by the Pacific Fleet in the past month,” the story below relates, adding: “Two previous exercises off Russia’s Far East coast involved over 50 warships and submarines, along with naval aircraft and naval infantry.” The Japanese government recently published a white paper expressing its fears about Russia’s renewed military drills in and over the Sea of Japan.
Pictured below: A Russian marine stands in front of the Soviet Navy flag during celebrations marking the 225th anniversary of the Black Sea Fleet in the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol, on May 11, 2008. You wouldn’t think that the Soviet Union disappeared into the dustbin of history with all of the hammer and sickle flags still kicking around.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet holds live firing drills in Far East
10:0915/ 09/ 2008
VLADIVOSTOK, September 15 (RIA Novosti) – A naval task force from Russia’s Pacific Fleet has started scheduled exercises involving live firing in the Sea of Japan, a fleet spokesman said on Monday.
“For the next few days the warships will conduct a series of training exercises, which mainly involve live firing at simulated targets,” the source said.
He said the Admiral Vinogradov and Marshal Shaposhnikov large ASW ships will practice on Monday AA artillery and SAM firing at a target drone.
“During the next stage of the exercise, the ships will fire anti-ship missiles at a surface target,” the source said.
The current drills are the third in a series of combat training exercises conducted by the Pacific Fleet in the past month. Two previous exercises off Russia’s Far East coast involved over 50 warships and submarines, along with naval aircraft and naval infantry.
Russia also announced last week that strategic submarines from the Russian Pacific Fleet would conduct test launches of ballistic missiles at the Kura test site in Kamchatka on September 15-20.
Although primarily a land power, Russia jealously guards her outlets to the world ocean, including St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Murmansk, Sevastopol, and Vladivostok. In particular, the port of Sevastopol in Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula has been home to Russia’s Black Sea fleet for 225 years and, under terms negotiated with Kiev, will remain so until 2017. The Crimea, which was ceded to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1954, is heavily populated by ethnic Russians. “Pro”-Western Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, however, has suggested that the Russian Navy’s lease may not be renewed, providing the Moscow Leninists with a convenient pretext to refurbish their Soviet-era naval base in Tartus, Syria.
Rear-Admiral Andrei Baranov, deputy chief of the Black Sea Fleet, is adamant that the Russian Navy should be under no obligation, legal or otherwise, to relinquish its base in Sevastopol: “I personally am not going to go away, and nor will our ships. It’s all up to our supreme commander to decide. We are not planning to go anyway. There are no options. You don’t have a better base for a fleet in the entire Black Sea … The geography of the harbour, you wouldn’t find anything like this in the whole of Russia.” Russia’s Black Sea Fleet consists of 50 warships and smaller vessels, 80 planes and helicopters, and employs 13,000 servicemen. Although less geographically advantageous, Baranov revealed that the Kremlin is considering the construction of a new naval base on the Black Sea, albeit located on undisputed Russian territory, in Novorossiisk.
In light of the collapse of Ukraine’s “NATO-friendly” government today, announced by the country’s parliamentary speaker, Rear-Admiral Baranov’s concerns appear to be unfounded. Ukrainian Prime Minister and Soviet Komsomol graduate Yulia Tymoshenko has parted company with President Yushchenko to form a new pro-Moscow government with “ex”-CPSU cadres Viktor Yanukovich and Piotr Simonenko. Yanukovich heads up the crypto-communist Party of Regions and was previously prime minister, while Simonenko heads up the Communist Party of Ukraine and paid a friendly visit to Communist Cuba in March.
Pictured above: Following an address to the Ukrainian parliament on September 16, Yanukovich walks past what appears to be deputies of the CPU, with whom he is in alliance.
Ever since the potemkin Orange Revolution in 2004, Kiev’s governing pro-American coalitions have been crippled by infighting, much to the delight, no doubt, of the Soviet strategists. Yushchenko condemned the Russian invasion of Georgia and Moscow’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, whereas Tymoshenko refused to support him because she intends to secure Russian support in Ukraine’s next presidential election, scheduled for 2010. “The collapse of the coalition will probably delay Ukraine’s bid to join NATO and the EU,” Oleksandr Lytvynenko, a political analyst at the Kiev-based Razumkov Center, is quoted by Bloomberg as saying. This, of course, is Moscow’s goal but not before war has been fomented between Russia and the Western Alliance. We have already documented the covert line of control between Moscow and Tymoshenko.
Ukraine’s Ruling Coalition Collapses, Elections Loom
By Daryna Krasnolutska and Halia Pavliva
Sept. 16 (Bloomberg) — Ukraine’s governing coalition collapsed as the parties of President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko failed to resolve their differences, pushing the country toward early elections.
Yushchenko’s party, which wants to forge closer ties with the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, quit the coalition on Sept. 3, after Timoshenko’s bloc teamed up with the pro-Russian opposition to strip the president of some powers. The parties had 10 days to re-unite.
“A pro-Kremlin parliamentary majority has been de facto formed by Timoshenko’s alliance and the Party of Regions” led by former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, said Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, a member of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party. “Our Ukraine has no other choice but to officially announce it is now in opposition.”
Yushchenko and Timoshenko teamed up four years ago to win the 2004 election in the bloodless Orange Revolution on promises to steer the country toward the EU and NATO. After a split in 2005, the two parties reformed an alliance before last year’s elections. This time they clashed over policies such as ways of damping Europe’s fastest inflation and the sale of state assets.
“Storm in a Teacup”
The collapse of the coalition will probably delay Ukraine’s bid to join NATO and the EU, Oleksandr Lytvynenko, a political analyst at the Kiev-based Razumkov Center, said by phone today.
“The government will keep working, no matter what,” Timoshenko said. “These events in the parliament that happened today aren’t very pleasant, but, after all, it’s a storm in a teacup, no more than that.”
Yushchenko condemned Russian rolling over Georgia’s army and recognition of the two Georgian breakaway regions. His officials said Timoshenko did not back him because she is seeking Russian support in Ukraine’s presidential election, scheduled for 2010. Timoshenko rejected the accusation, saying she is for “Georgian territorial integrity.”
Ukraine’s aspiration to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the EU has pit it against Russia since the Orange Revolution. Russia, which does not want its influence in the region to be eroded, threatened in February to aim missiles at Ukraine, a main conduit for Russian natural gas and crude oil exports to Europe, if it joins the military alliance.
U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has said she favors NATO membership for Ukraine and Georgia, even though that might commit the U.S. to a war with Russia.
Timoshenko now has one month to form a new coalition, most likely with Yanukovych. The Communist Party and an anti-NATO group may also be included in the government. Yushchenko has twice threatened to dissolve parliament should the premier fail to win enough support.
“We will probably have early elections, I do not see any possibility for a new coalition,” said Lytvynenko. “There will not be a major winner from the elections, but Yanukovych and Timoshenko will probably have more benefits from them, while Yushchenko and his party will probably lose.”
The earliest possible date for an election would be December.
“Moscow will welcome political changes in Ukraine that weaken the pro-NATO and pro-Georgian Yushchenko,” Tanya Costello, the London-based director for Eurasia Group, said in an e-mailed note. “The perceived involvement of either Washington or Moscow in supporting one party over another would accentuate existing tensions over NATO enlargement into the former Soviet space.”
In addition to maintaining a line of control to “post”-communist Ukraine, the neo-Soviet leadership has secured the loyalty of Azerbaijan’s crypto-communist leadership. Feigning pro-American sympathies as recently as US Vice President Dick Cheney’s September 3 visit to Baku, President Ilham Aliyev is in fact the son of Azerbaijan’s long-time KGB-communist dictator Heydar Aliyev, who died in 2003. In the early 1990s Heydar inked a deal with Lebanese-American oil magnate Roger Tamraz to build the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which Russian warplanes attempted to bomb during the August 2008 Caucasian War.
Following his meeting with Cheney, Ilham immediately related by telephone the details of the US vice-president’s conversation to Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev. Nearly two weeks later President Aliyev scurried to Moscow to meet Medvedev (pictured above) and PM Putin in person. “Azerbaijan has been a Western ally so far in the Caspian Basin energy game. The Kremlin is trying hard to woo Baku away from the West,” reports Baku-based EurasiaNet journalist Shahin Abbasov, below. According to Elshad Nasirov, vice president of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR), Gazprom is pressing SOCAR to acquiesce to a “large-scale” purchase of Azerbaijani natural gas. The chairman of Gazprom is “ex”-CPSU cadre and former prime minister Viktor Zubkov, who is also father in law of Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. See previous paragraph and connect the dots vis-a-vis the Kremlin’s energy imperialism.
AZERBAIJAN: ALIYEV KEEPS BAKU’S OPTIONS OPEN DURING MEETING WITH MEDVEDEV
Shahin Abbasov 9/16/08
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to Moscow on September 16 was notable mostly for what he did not say. Russia has pressed Azerbaijan to sell a large volume of natural gas to the Kremlin-controlled conglomerate Gazprom. But Aliyev and his Russian hosts did not announce a gas purchase deal following their talks.
Aliyev met with President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his daylong stay in Moscow. Medvedev indicated that the discussions were merely informational. Azerbaijan has been a Western ally so far in the Caspian Basin energy game.
The Kremlin is trying hard to woo Baku away from the West. “We had to check positions taking into account problems which appeared in the Caucasus after Georgian aggression. I informed the Azerbaijani president about steps that Russia undertook to provide security in South Caucasus,” Medvedev said.
Aliyev, like other regional leaders, is trying to avoid being backed into a situation where he would have to declare his preference for one side or the other. In Moscow, he was careful not to say anything that might offend Moscow. “There is necessity to consolidate efforts in order to provide peace and predictability,” he said. “We need to diminish tension. All problems have to be solved peacefully.”
Aliyev avoided commenting generally on Georgian-Russian tension, and specifically refrained from any comments concerning Russia’s decision to recognize the separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Baku’s sensitivities are heightened by concern over its own separatist enclave, Nagorno-Karabakh. Some Azerbaijani officials are evidently concerned that if Baku expressed support for Georgia, then Azerbaijan’s own efforts to regain control of Karabakh would suffer.
During the Moscow visit, Russian officials reassured Aliyev that he need not be concerned about Karabakh – yet. Medvedev stressed that the Kremlin did not see a connection between Karabakh and Georgia’s separatist entities. “Russia’s position has not changed,” Medvedev said, referring to the Karabakh peace process. “We also support continuation of direct talks between Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents.”
Neither Aliyev nor Medvedev touched on the possible Russian large-scale purchase of Azerbaijani gas. Experts in Baku believe that Aliyev’s administration has yet to reach a decision on the matter, and is playing for time.
On September 12, Elshad Nasirov, the vice president of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Company (SOCAR), said that “Azerbaijan tries to fully depoliticize the issue of export destinations for “large gas” which is expected after 2013.” According to Nasirov, Azerbaijan’s choice will mostly depend on commercial factors. “All destinations [of gas export] are equally possible and we will mostly consider the net-profit for SOCAR and its partners,” he said. Gazprom’s is reportedly willing to pay Baku $300 per 1.000 cubic meters. Nasirov added that Western Europe, Russia and Iran all remain possible export destinations. He added that exports to Asia via Turkmenistan could become a fourth option.
Aliyev and Medvedev also had no comment on a Turkish initiative to establish a “Caucasus platform for security and cooperation.” That concept was raised by Turkish President Abdullah Gul during his recent visits to Yerevan and Baku.
Reflecting on the visit, some Baku experts said they did not expect Baku to make up its mind on the gas-purchase question until after presidential elections in the fall. “Aliyev is hardly ready to answer these questions,” said Rauf Mirgadirov, a political columnist for the Zerkalo newspaper, referring to the issues of gas purchases and Azerbaijan’s security cooperation with the West.
Indeed, to try to maintain room for maneuver, Baku continues to explore ties with NATO. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov went to Brussels on September 16 to take part in discussions over NATO representatives. After that, he was scheduled to travel to London to meet with the British Foreign Minister David Miliband.