Tag Archive: russia

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Syria Safe-Zones-Plan Takes Effect

RUSSIA, IRAN AND TURKEY have agreed to a memorandum establishing four safe zones across the north, central, and southern parts of Syria. This plan took effect on 05 May at 21:00 GMT. Consequently fighting has eased in parts of Syria as the Russian-led initiative to halt the country’s six-year war has come into force. Russia, backed by Iran and Turkey, unveiled the deal of setting up four “de-escalation zones” on 01 May. Russian Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said that there had been no bombing raids by Russian aviation in the four zones since 01 May.

© Photo: Reuters

Russia Grants 9 Arab Countries Visa-Free Entry

The Russian government released on Monday a list of 18 countries whose citizens have been granted the right to enter far-east Russia without an official entry visa; this list includes nine Arab countries but not Egypt. The Arab countries granted this visa-free status are Algeria, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Morocco, the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, according to a statement released by the Russian government and reports by state-run news outlet Russia Today,

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Assad in the Ascendant?

Back in the glory days of the so-called “Arab Spring”, when Middle Eastern dictators were falling like ninepins, it seemed that the overthrow of Ben Ali of Tunisia, Mubarak of Egypt, Gaddafi of Libya and Saleh of Yemen would inevitably be followed by the downfall of President Bashar Assad of Syria. But, it now seems, providence had reserved a different fate for Assad. A determination to cling to power, however ruthless or inhumane the methods, allied to a favourable concatenation of political circumstances, has enabled Assad to emerge from a long, multi-faceted combat battered, depleted territorially and logistically, but still…
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Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad stand inside the Umayyad mosque CREDIT: REUTERS

Aleppo: Symbol of Action and Inaction

SYRIA – Assad army, backed by Russian and Iranian allies, has recaptured the city of Aleppo, which might be a major victory for President Assad in Syria’s six-year-long civil war. It is not the same city the rebels and the regime were first fighting for. It has dramatically changed. Much of it has become in ruins. Much of it has been lost. Most of its people have been traumatised as thousands have died and many more have been detained or displaced. . Aleppo, as it was before the civil war, has become a memory. Thousands have died and many more…
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A mural of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump outside a bar in Vilnius, Lithuania, in May. Image©: Mindaugas Kulbis/AP mpc-journal.org

A Trump-Putin Axis?

US President-elect Donald Trump admires Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. That much became clear during Trump’s presidential campaign, as did his intention when in office to repair the US’s damaged relations with the Russian Federation. At the moment the US and Russia, although both nominally combating Islamic State (IS) in the Syrian civil war, are so far from allies that they are very nearly belligerents. In September 2014 the Obama administration brought together a coalition of countries to undertake a twin-objective military effort in Syria: to defeat the rampant IS that had seized large swathes of the country, and to remove…
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A Syrian woman cries as she leaves a residential block reportedly hit by an explosives-filled barrel dropped by a government forces helicopter on March 18, 2014, in Aleppo. Khaled Khatib / AFP

The War Criminals of Syria

“It is difficult to deny that Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes.” This is the charge laid by the British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, in a vituperative meeting of the Security Council on 25 September 2016. In comments unrestrained by the normal diplomatic niceties, Britain, France and the US openly condemned Russia as “an international pariah”. The war crimes accusations centred on the widespread use of bunker-busting and incendiary bombs on the 275,000 civilians living in the rebel-held east of the city, weapons that Moscow’s accusers say were dropped by Russian aircraft.

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Iran’s Winning Ways

The Iranians, heirs to the ancient civilization of Persia which stretches back into the mists of time, have inherited both its ruthless and its subtle and devious ways of achieving its purposes. Persia was once the superpower of the ancient world, and Iran’s current repressive Islamist rulers seek again the hegemony the nation once enjoyed. Undeterred by apparent reversals of fortune, they are relentless in their pursuit of their objectives – jihad against western values in general, and the US and Israel in particular; jihad against Sunni states and peoples whom they regard as apostates against the true faith of…
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Putin’s Task in Syria Image©:Getty Image mpc-journal.org

Putin’s Task in Syria

Since Russia has been declared officially in the Middle East, and following the extended presence of its military in all forms in Syria, speculations splashed media platforms across the globe. Observers saw in Russia’s decision to enter Syria a long-term strategy, albeit the abrupt announcement of Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw most of the Russian forces from Syria put friends and foes alike in bewilderment. Task Fulfilled? Putin ordered a pull out of “the main part” of his troops in Syria and the exact words he uttered to his defence minister Sergey Shoigu were “The task presented to the…
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Russia and the US Battle It out in Syria Image ©: GETTY IMAGES mpc-journal.org

Russia and the US Battle It Out in Syria

Despite the fragile ceasefire that has brought a brief respite to the indiscriminate bombing of soldiers and civilians alike, the situation that has developed in Syria is fraught with dangers, contradictions and ironies.   In September 2014, in pursuit of restoring stability to that war-ravaged country, a US-led coalition of nations engaged in a twin-objective military effort – in itself almost a recipe for disaster.  The first aim was to defeat the rampant Islamic State (IS) that had seized large swathes of the country; the second to remove President Bashar Al-Assad from power and establish democratic governance.  There was one proviso:  There were…
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