Foreign Press Review (03.04-09.04)

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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threat, whereas now it has been abandoned and the real international cooperation in the fight against terrorists has been replaced by political games and conspiracy theories.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.

Syrian conflict

Another Dangerous Rush to Judgment in Syria

By Robert Parry

Consortiumnews.com

05.04.17

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.

Syria Strike Puts U.S. Relationship With Russia at Risk

By Peter Baker, Neil MacFarquhar and Michael R. Gordon

The New York Times

07.04.17

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.

Trump’s senseless Syria strikes accomplish nothing

By Moustafa Bayoumi

The Guardian

07.04.17

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.

What’s Next in Syria?

By Krishnadev Calamur

The Atlantic

07.04.17

After military strikes, the next steps are likely to be diplomatic.

Does this mean war? First great test of Russia-US relations could become clash between superpowers

By Roland Oliphant

The Telegraph

07.04.17

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin must avoid cold war nightmare come true in Syria.

St. Petersburg terror acts

What Monday’s subway bombings mean for Putin’s Russia

By Seva Gunitsky

The Washington Post

06.04.17

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.

Putin Is Soft on Terrorism

By Molly K. Mckew

Foreign Policy

04.04.17

While St. Petersburg mourns the dead, Russia’s president is calling for a war against terrorists. Don’t fall for it.

The Ugly Underbelly of Russia-gate

By James W Carden

Consortiumnews.com

06.04.17

The dangerous demonization of Russia has spilled over into the creepy behavior of U.S. pundits spinning ugly conspiracy theories when tragedy strikes Russians.

Russia-US relations

Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel

By Adam Entous, Greg Miller, Kevin Sieff and Karen DeYoung

The Washington Post

03.04.17

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.

How Trump Became a Russia Skeptic

By Adrian Karatnycky

The Wall Street Journal

03.04.17

The conventional wisdom about a Kremlin-friendly White House is dated. Reality forced a change.

A Former Trump Adviser Met With A Russian Spy

By Ali Watkins

BuzzFeed

04.04.17

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.

C.I.A. Had Evidence of Russian Effort to Help Trump Earlier Than Believed

By Eric Lichtblau

The New York Times

06.04.17

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.

Russia-NATO relations

Sen. Tom Cotton: Russia has subverted our treaty on cruise missiles for years. It’s time to act.

By Tom Cotton

The Washington Post

06.04.17

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.

Russia-Ukraine relations

How Ukraine and the West Could Push Putin out of Crimea

By Taras Kuzio

Newsweek

07.04.17

To increase the effectiveness of Western pressure on Russia, three additional policies are necessary.

Russia’s internal politics

Putin is part of a continuum that stretches back to the tsars

By Geoffrey Hosking

The Guardian

04.04.17

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.

Articles also deserving your attention

  1. The Real Targets of Trump’s Strike Were His Domestic Critics (07.04.17)
  1. The U.S. Air Strike in Syria: First Thoughts (06.04.17)
  1. The West has proved it cannot hold Russia to account in Syria. How many more have to die before it happens? (06.04.17)
  1. Donald Trump needs to start blaming Vladimir Putin for the Syria crisis, not Barack Obama, if he is serious about red lines (06.04.17)
  1. Russia condemns U.S. missile strike on Syria, suspends key air agreement (07.04.17)
  1. The main question after strikes on Syria: How does Russia respond? (06.04.17)
  1. Russians Take Terror Attack in Stride (04.04.17)
  1. Claims of Russian swing-state meddling a ‘red herring,’ say election experts (03.04.17)
  1. House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes recuses himself from Russia probe (06.04.17)
  1. Putin Loyalists Are Invading Washington (06.04.17)
  1. Hillary Clinton Still Blames Election Loss on Everyone but Herself (07.04.17)
  1. Trump’s shell game on Russia makes everything look suspicious (04.04.17)
  1. Is Trump Russia’s Useful Idiot, or Has He Been Irreparably Compromised? (03.04.17)
  1. The Russia Probes: How Will They Know and When Will They Know It? (06.04.17)
  1. Don’t Worry, It’s Worse for Putin (07.04.17)
  1. Kushner Omitted Meeting With Russians on Security Clearance Forms (06.04.17)
  1. Russia can be an ally to patriotic Americans (06.04.17)
  1. Russia Sets Out Agenda for Tillerson as Moscow Visit Announced (05.04.17)
  1. Top general: Russia treaty under review is not the one Trump attacked (04.04.17)
  1. S. Military Leaders Are Worried That A War With Russia Could Start By Accident (06.04.17)
  1. If Germany Goes Nuclear, Blame Trump Before Putin (03.04.17)
  1. Why are Russia and Turkey Holding Joint Naval Exercises in the Black Sea? (05.04.17)
  1. Poland accuses Russians in plane crash that killed president (03.04.17)
  1. Lithuania fears Russian propaganda is prelude to eventual invasion (03.04.17)
  1. Putin’s Serb Ally Claims Landslide Win in Presidential Vote (03.04.17)
  1. Russia Bans a Not-So-Manly Image of Putin (06.04.17)
  1. The Death of Russia’s Great Poet-Dissenter and the Lack of His Civic Courage in the US Establishment (05.04.17)
  1. Putin’s illiberal stagnation in Russia offers a valuable lesson (03.04.17)
  1. Putin Is Up, But Russians Are Feeling Down (03.04.17)
  1. A Brave New World for the Kremlin (06.04.17)

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