Last week has become a sad page for the world’s common fight against terrorism. First of all, on Monday a terror attack, which claimed 14 lives, was carried out in the St. Petersburg metro. Unfortunately, instead of concentration on looking for effective ways for combating terrorists the western media was actively disseminating statements by some Russian opposition and western political figures, who tried to link this Monday tragedy with recent anti-corruption protests, and was discussing how Putin could benefit from the situation. It seems that previously there existed, at least, an understanding that terrorism is a common global threat, whereas now it has been abandoned and the real international cooperation in the fight against terrorists has been replaced by political games and conspiracy theories.
Secondly, the situation in Syria has sharply escalated as after a chemical attack, which killed dozens of civilians, Donald Trump ordered a massive missile strike against Syrian government forces. The West was fast to blame Assad for carrying out the attack while Russia called for a thorough investigation and pointed at the fact that the Syrian government does not have chemical weapons as they had been dismantled under a 2013 Russia-US agreement and this fact was verified by OPCW. The Kremlin also characterized the US strike “as an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext”.Russia’s defense ministry believes that toxic agents were released as a result of a Syrian airstrike against rebel chemical weapons arsenal and factory.
Experts think that now the risk that the conflict will widen is even higher than in 2013 since now Russian forces are deployed in Syria (very close to the Syrian army), including air defense systems. Moreover, considering US actions as a grave breach of the existing memorandum, Moscow responded to the US move by suspending the 2015 “deconfliction” agreement, which was aimed at minimizing the risks of air incidents between Russian and US military jets (later the press published information that the communication channels are still maintained). Some American experts already asserted that Trump’s decision was too impulsive and its real target was domestic critics rather than Assad. It is well-known that amid the Russia-related investigation the US president has been highly criticized by the American establishment and the mainstream media for his alleged close ties with Vladimir Putin, and this time Trump just decided to placate them by showing his independence and readiness to counter Russia (the president didn’t even get congressional approval). Taking into account that Assad had no motivation for a chemical attack (recently many experts noted that the West was not so vocal on his stepping down), this tragic event certainly needs a proper investigation while the US attack only aggravates the situation distancing conflict resolution.
By Robert Parry
The U.S. government and the mainstream media rushed to judgment again, blaming the Syrian government for a new poison-gas attack and ignoring other possibilities.
By Peter Baker, Neil MacFarquhar and Michael R. Gordon
The New York Times
The American military strike against Syria threatened Russian-American relations on Friday as the Kremlin denounced President Trump’s use of force and the Russian military indicated it would suspend an agreement to share information about air operations over the country that was devised to avoid accidental conflict.
By Moustafa Bayoumi
The US bombing of a Syrian airfield is flip-floppery at its worst. And it signals to America’s foes that Trump can be easily dragged into military quagmires.
By Krishnadev Calamur
After military strikes, the next steps are likely to be diplomatic.
By Roland Oliphant
Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin must avoid cold war nightmare come true in Syria.
By Seva Gunitsky
The Washington Post
Monday afternoon’s bombing of the St. Petersburg subway, which killed 14 people and injured dozens, brought all-too-familiar images of panicked crowds and bodies in the rubble. But the biggest consequences of the bombing may be not in the attack itself but what it means for the short-term future of Russian politics.
By Molly K. Mckew
While St. Petersburg mourns the dead, Russia’s president is calling for a war against terrorists. Don’t fall for it.
By James W Carden
The dangerous demonization of Russia has spilled over into the creepy behavior of U.S. pundits spinning ugly conspiracy theories when tragedy strikes Russians.
By Adam Entous, Greg Miller, Kevin Sieff and Karen DeYoung
The Washington Post
The United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting in January between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a back-channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump, according to U.S., European and Arab officials.
By Adrian Karatnycky
The Wall Street Journal
The conventional wisdom about a Kremlin-friendly White House is dated. Reality forced a change.
By Ali Watkins
Carter Page told BuzzFeed News that he had been in contact with at least one Russian spy working undercover out of Moscow’s UN office in 2013.
By Eric Lichtblau
The New York Times
The C.I.A. told senior lawmakers in classified briefings last summer that it had information indicating that Russia was working to help elect Donald J. Trump president, a finding that did not emerge publicly until after Mr. Trump’s victory months later, former government officials say.
By Tom Cotton
The Washington Post
Russia’s new cruise missile is an incredibly dangerous threat to the United States and our allies. Unless we act now, Russia will only continue its campaign of aggression.
By Taras Kuzio
To increase the effectiveness of Western pressure on Russia, three additional policies are necessary.
By Geoffrey Hosking
In aggressively asserting his country’s strength, Putin wants Russia to regain its status among the great nations contesting power and wealth with one another.
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