Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump

    Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump

    By MICHAEL R. GORDON FEB. 14, 2017


    President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia last week. Russia’s reported deployment of a new type of missile presents another challenge to its relations with the United States. CreditPool photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko

    WASHINGTON — Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints from American officials that it violates a landmark arms control treaty that helped seal the end of the Cold War, administration officials say.

    The move presents a major challenge for President Trump, who has vowed to improve relations with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and to pursue arms accords.

    The new Russian missile deployment also comes as the Trump administration is struggling to fill key policy positions at the State Department and the Pentagon — and to settle on a permanent replacement for Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser who resigned late Monday. Mr. Flynn stepped down after it was revealed that he had misled the vice president and other officials over conversations with Moscow’s ambassador to Washington.

    The ground-launched cruise missile at the center of American concerns is one that the Obama administration said in 2014 had been tested in violation of a 1987 treaty that bans American and Russian intermediate-range missiles based on land.


    The Obama administration had sought to persuade the Russians to correct the violation while the missile was still in the test phase. Instead, the Russians have moved ahead with the system, deploying a fully operational unit.

    Administration officials said the Russians now have two battalions of the prohibited cruise missile. One is still located at Russia’s missile test site at Kapustin Yar in southern Russia near Volgograd. The other was shifted in December from that test site to an operational base elsewhere in the country, according to a senior official who did not provide further details and requested anonymity to discuss recent intelligence reports about the missile.

    American officials had called the cruise missile the SSC-X-8. But the “X” has been removed from intelligence reports, indicating that American intelligence officials consider the missile to be operational and no longer a system in development.

    The missile program has been a major concern for the Pentagon, which has developed options for how to respond, including deploying additional missile defenses in Europe or developing air-based or sea-based cruise missiles.

    Russia’s actions are politically significant, as well.

    It is very unlikely that the Senate, which is already skeptical of Mr. Putin’s intentions, would agree to ratify a new strategic arms control accord unless the alleged violation of the intermediate-range treaty is corrected. Mr. Trump has said the United States should “strengthen and expand its nuclear capability.” But at the same time, he has talked of reaching a new arms agreement with Moscow that would reduce arms “very substantially.”

    The deployment of the system could also substantially increase the military threat to NATO nations, depending on where the highly mobile system is based and how many more batteries are deployed in the future. Jim Mattis, the United States defense secretary, is scheduled to meet with allied defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday.

    Before he left his post last year as the NATO commander and retired from the military, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove warned that deployment of the cruise missile would be a militarily significant development that “can’t go unanswered.”

    Coming up with an arms control solution would not be easy. Each missile battalion is believed to have four mobile launchers with about half a dozen nuclear-tipped missiles allocated to each of the launchers. The mobile launcher for the cruise missile, however, closely resembles the mobile launcher used for the Iskander, a nuclear-tipped short-range system that is permitted under treaties.

    “This will make location and verification really tough,” General Breedlove said in an interview.
    While senior Trump administration officials have not said where the new unit is based, there has been speculation in press reports that a missile system with similar characteristics is deployed in central Russia.
    American and Russian relations were on a better footing in December 1987 when President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, signed an arms accord, formally known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and commonly called the I.N.F. treaty.
    As a result of the agreement, Russia and the United States destroyed 2,692 missiles. The missiles the Russians destroyed included the SS-20. The Americans destroyed their Pershing II ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles, which were based in Western Europe.
    “We can only hope that this history-making agreement will not be an end in itself but the beginning of a working relationship that will enable us to tackle the other urgent issues before us,” Mr. Reagan said at the time.
    But the Russians developed buyer’s remorse. During the George W. Bush administration, Sergei B. Ivanov, the Russian defense minister, suggested that the treaty be dropped because Russia still faced threats from nations on its periphery, including China.
    The Bush administration, however, was reluctant to terminate a treaty that NATO nations valued and whose abrogation would have enabled Russia to build up forces that could potentially be directed at the United States’ allies in Asia, as well.
    In June 2013, Mr. Putin complained that “nearly all of our neighbors are developing these kinds of weapons systems” and described the Soviet Union’s decision to conclude the I.N.F. treaty as “debatable to say the least.”
    Russia began testing the cruise missile as early as 2008. Rose Gottemoeller, who was the State Department’s top arms control official during the Obama administration and is now the deputy secretary general of NATO, first raised the alleged violation with Russian officials in 2013.
    Get the Morning Briefing by Email

    What you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.

    Sign Up

    Receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.

    After years of frustration, the United States convened a November 2016 meeting in Geneva of a special verification commission established under the treaty to deal with compliance issues. It was the first meeting in 13 years of the commission, whose members include the United States, Russia and three former Soviet republics that are also party to the accord: Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
    But Russia denied it had breached the treaty and responded with its own allegations of American violations, which the Americans asserted were spurious.
    The Obama administration argued that it was in the United States’ interest to preserve the treaty. Having failed to persuade the Russians to fix the alleged violation, some military experts say, the United States needs to ratchet up the pressure by announcing plans to expand missile defenses in Europe and deploy sea-based or air-based nuclear missiles.
    “We have strong tools like missile defense and counterstrike, and we should not take any of them off the table,” General Breedlove said.
    Franklin C. Miller, a longtime Pentagon official who served on the National Security Council under Mr. Bush, said the Russian military may see the cruise missile as a way to expand its target coverage in Europe and China so it can free its strategic nuclear forces to concentrate on targets in the United States.
    “Clearly, the Russian military thinks this system is very important, important enough to break the treaty,” Mr. Miller said.
    But he cautioned against responding in kind by seeking to deploy new American intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe.
    “The last thing NATO needs is a bruising debate as we had in the late ’70s and early ’80s about new missile deployments in Europe,” Mr. Miller added. “The United States should build up its missile defense in Europe. But if the United States wants to deploy a military response, it should be sea-based.”
    Jon Wolfsthal, who served as a nuclear weapons expert on the National Security Council during the Obama administration, said the United States, its NATO allies, Japan and South Korea needed to work together to put pressure on Russia to correct the violation. The response, he wrote on Twitter, should be taken by the “alliance as a whole.”
    The Trump administration is in the beginning stages of reviewing nuclear policy and has not said how it plans to respond.
    “We do not comment on intelligence matters,” Mark Toner, the acting State Department spokesman, said. “We have made very clear our concerns about Russia’s violation, the risks it poses to European and Asian security, and our strong interest in returning Russia to compliance with the treaty.”


    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

    Sign in and post comments here.

    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

    Sign in and post comments here.

    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Russia and Assad bombing of civilians continues as UN peace process staggers on

    By George Russell
    Published February 15, 2017

    Russian warplanes and the aircraft of dictator Bashar al-Assad are still bombing civilians and civilian infrastructure in opposition areas, attacking U.S.-backed opposition forces to advantage radical jihadists, and consolidating Assad’s grip on major parts of the battered country, even as a United Nations-sponsored effort to produce peace in Syria staggers toward a Geneva meeting on Feb. 23.

    But those forces, especially Assad’s rag-tag military and militia, though bolstered by thousands of Iranian and Iranian-trained foreign irregulars and members of radical Hezbollah, are still not enough to win outright victory.

    Net result: behind a façade of preparations for peace talks, “the scale of attacks is going back up again” after a decline following the fall of the rebel stronghold of east Aleppo City last December, warns Dr. Ahmed Tarakji, president of the Syrian American Medical Society.

    SAMS is a non-profit organization that maintains more than 100 medical facilities in Syria, mostly in non-government areas, and has been deeply involved in training doctors and other medical personnel to cope with the havoc of the civil war..

    Tarakji’s organization is receiving “hourly” reports of the destruction, he said, but declined to put numbers to the resulting civilian casualties, saying instead that “the pattern of injuries is scaling up” as a result.

    “The regime has not ceased fire anywhere,” says Valerie Szybala, executive director of The Syria Institute, an independent non-profit research institute based in Washington that is focused on the battered country. “There is constant bloodletting. We are just waiting for the next large-scale atrocity.”

    One definite casualty, if not fatality, is the peace process itself -- even a portion being orchestrated by Russia, Iran and Turkey, with the U.S. and Europe on the sidelines, has been wounded.

    A two-day meeting of Syrian government and opposition representatives, slated to start on Feb. 15 in the Kazakh city of Astana, was postponed for at least a day, “for technical reasons,” a spokesman for Kazakhstan’s foreign ministry reportedly told journalists.

    The purpose of the session is ostensibly to consolidate a ceasefire in advance of the broader U.N. meeting. Some opposition groups have said they did not receive invitations to the session and others are apparently still holding back on participation, reportedly due to the lack of a ceasefire or other “confidence-building steps.”

    No matter how the peace negotiations go—or don’t go--the likely outcome is grim for Syrians, according to experts who closely follow the Russian and Syrian military campaigns.

    They foresee a continuing spiral of violence, including the possibility of new major Assad offensives in coming months; significant fresh flows of refugees escaping the country; an even greater humanitarian crisis straining international resources--and greater opportunities for the spread of Al Qaeda and its fanatical Syrian counterparts.

    Other humanitarian sources with experience in Syria also see a winnowing down by the Assad government of independent local aid organizations in reconquered territory, putting more of the relief effort in the hands of the United Nations—which depends on government permissions to make its deliveries successfully.

    The independent organizations “are a fulcrum of how the system works right now,” says Christy Delafield, senior global communications officer for Mercy Corps, one of the world’s largest independent aid organizations, which was especially active in areas around the fallen stronghold of east Aleppo City.

    “Mercy Corps and the entire international aid community have been able to reach millions in need in large part thanks to the bravery of anonymous Syrian aid workers across the country,” she said.

    “These people need legal protections and international support.”

    Delafield notes that of 32 local organizations Mercy Corps was tracking, where government “reconciliation” efforts are taking place in former opposition territory, only five remain.

    (The toll of devastation in east Aleppo itself, after months of encirclement and years of blasting of civilian centers, schools, markets, and medical facilities, is still being analyzed, most recently in an exhaustive study sponsored by the Atlantic Council, Breaking Aleppo. It provides no definitive figures, even of the population inside the city in its last days, noting that a U.N. humanitarian center in Assad’s capital of Damascus used numbers ranging from 70,000 to 137,500.)

    Moreover, life will likely become even worse, if possible, for as many as 1 million Syrians by some estimates, are still trapped in besieged areas, where U.N. food and medical aid deliveries are virtually non-existent, attacks have included continuing alleged use of illegal chlorine barrel bombs, and where in some areas the regime’s meat-grinder tactics have recently made slow headway.

    (For its part, the U.N. has officially reduced the number of officially besieged areas, to 13—others say there are 30—and the number of people in them to fewer than 650,000.)

    “The scorched-earth policy is making life impossible for people,” said Dr. Basel Termanini, vice president of SAMS. “There is definitely less attention from the media but people are still suffering.”

    That analysis of Syria’s six-year civil war contrasts sharply with recent hosannas of hope from top U.N. officials about the likely peace prospects for Syria—predictions that have become more muted as planned U.N. peace talks in Geneva between the regime and opposition forces have been delayed, first from Feb. 8 to Feb. 20, and then for an additional four days.

    As recently as the end of January, Stephen O’Brien, the U.N.’s Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, declared that he saw “some emerging reasons to hope” at the start of 2017.

    Among other things, he said that since the end of 2016, “a nationwide ceasefire continues to hold, despite some breaches,” which he called “a rare moment of respite for many.”

    The amount of the respite may be debatable, but it is even more rare now.

    All of the dire prospects, including the faltering peace efforts, are the deliberate results of Russia’s and the regime’s scorched-earth and starvation strategies, which reached an apogee of success in east Aleppo, and which never faced strenuous resistance over the years from the Obama Administration. Nor, so far, have they faced anything different from the Trump Administration.

    “Russia is only willing to conclude a political settlement on its own terms,” observes Jonathan Mautner, who analyzes the pattern of Russian air strikes in Syria for the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW), an independent think tank specializing in Middle East military operations.

    The terms are brutally straightforward: to force greater international acceptance of the Assad government by changing the military facts on the ground, tilt the opposition military balance away from more moderate forces that can get international backing to extremists that both Russia and the West agree must be fought, and guarantee the permanence of still expanding Russian naval and air bases in Syria.

    One paradoxical result, Mautner notes, is that “the Russian air campaign has worked by design to accelerate the radicalization of the opposition. They are trying to make it a true narrative that Assad is fighting nothing but terrorists.”

    But the air campaigns are not, in his opinion, “a substitute for competent ground forces that the regime does not have. We don’t assess that Russian air strikes alone will enable them to secure all of Syria.” But they do enable regular and Iranian-enhanced Syrian forces to “degrade and depopulate” areas in their wake.

    But while it does, Russia in some ways is also helping the extremists grow stronger.

    Clashes between jihadist and other opposition forces have been increasing under the Russian and Iranian-supported military pressure—and so have mergers between some of the non-jihadists with more extreme forces, along with the ability of jihadists to mount more attacks on their own.

    “It’s a misconception that Syria is going to quiet down,” says Genevieve Casagrande, another ISW analyst who focuses on the Syrian opposition. “The violence is going to continue to escalate.”

    Both Russia and the Iranian backed forces,” she said, “are preparing to launch operations in Syria’s Idlib governate. But I don’t think they are going to be capable of cleaning it out.”

    The devastating air campaign, however, “will continue to drive population away from Syria.”

    Casagrande adds that “it’s a real question whether the refugees will ever return home to areas held by Al Qaeda”—which include the stronghold in Idlib.

    Moreover, while most of the recent military action in the civil war has occurred in the north, where Aleppo was situated, or in areas around Damascus, new opposition offensives have recently begun in the south.

    That in turn, spells greater and even longer term pressure on humanitarian resources both inside the country, where as many as 7 million Syrians have been displaced, and in neighboring nations, where the bulk of some 4.9 million Syrian refugees are located.

    The resources are already far from adequate. Of some $3.2 billion requested by the U.N.’s 2016 Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan, only $1.57 billion, or about 49 per cent, has so far been funded, according to U.N. websites. For a $$.5 billion “regional refugee and resilience plan,” only $2.75 billion, or 61 per cent, has been handed over by the international community.

    (The U.S. government contribution to the Syria plan is some $295.3 million; to the regional plan, $667.8 million, according to the U.N.)

    The U.N. peace process is supposed to be followed by another U.N. conference on Syria in April, which, according to Stephen O’Brien, “will be an opportunity for the international community to reiterate and pledge their commitment to support the Syrian people.”

    Translation: promise more money.

    But he also noted that U.N. humanitarian efforts in non-government-controlled areas of Syria, which had never been large, had tapered off dramatically—as it happens, in tandem with the final ferocious offensive against Aleppo.

    According to O’Brien the U.N. had asked permission from the Damascus regime to deliver assistance to more than besieged 930,000 people under what he called the “December inter-agency convoy plan.” The Assad regime allowed through aid for 6,000 people—and removed more than 23,000 medical items from the convoy.

    Results since then, he said, are “not much better,” even as he hailed efforts in the rest of the country as greater successes.

    The difficulties are also growing for medical organizations like SAMS, which relies heavily on private donations for support, and estimates it will need some $60 million this year to meet “basic medical needs,” according to president Tarakji—without additional destruction.

    SAMS work has an additional importance amid the devastation, he notes. It is “bringing the values of U.S. civil society” to the crisis—something as rare, elusive and endangered as peace itself in Syria’s scorched-earth reality.


    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.

    Sign in and post comments here.

    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here

Similar Threads

  1. Obama To Ignore Senate, Sign 2nd Amendment-Violating U.N. Gun Treaty
    By AirborneSapper7 in forum General Discussion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-07-2013, 07:17 AM
  2. Replies: 3
    Last Post: 05-28-2013, 09:45 PM
  3. Medvedev: US Nullifys Strategic Missile Treaty New Cold War
    By AirborneSapper7 in forum Other Topics News and Issues
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-21-2011, 07:45 PM
  4. Russia to detain any ship violating Abkhazia's maritime bord
    By carolinamtnwoman in forum Other Topics News and Issues
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-19-2009, 12:25 AM
  5. US Missile Deployment Would Force Russia
    By carolinamtnwoman in forum Other Topics News and Issues
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-14-2009, 04:57 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts