Friday, September 18, 2015

Morning Briefing - September 17, 2015 - Russia, CSTO Meeting, Syria,

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United Front Against Austerity
September 17, 2015

Yesterday’s summit conference of the Collective Security Treaty Organization Council in Dushanbe, Tadjikistan has set into motion the machinery which will lead to a formal diplomatic demarche at the United Nations Security Council during the yearly session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City in about 12 to 14 days. This demarche will express the intent of the CSTO member states Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, and Tadjikistan to send military forces to Syria to fight against terrorist groups, starting with the organization variously known as ISIS, ISIL, IS, the Islamic State, and the Caliphate. The proposed military intervention would be conducted on precisely the same juridical basis as the current operations of the United States led coalition, which has been rendered ineffective in its operations by the internal sabotage of the Petraeus-Allen faction. The CSTO proposes a more vigorous struggle against terrorists of all stripes, free from the ulterior motives which have plagued the US effort.

Thierry Meyssan’s Voltaire Network has provided the following dispatch from the conference site:

“Meeting in Dushanbe (Tadjikistan) on the 15th September 2015, the heads of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) strongly denounced terrorism in Iraq and Syria, particularly that of the phony Islamic Emirate (« Daesh »). The heads of the member states of the CSTO stated that their organization could now deploy under the auspices of the UNO, in the same way as NATO. They agreed to coordinate their interventions at the UNO General Assembly at the end of September, with the aim of creating a global Coalition against terrorism. The CSTO includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kirghizistan, and Tadjikistan. Russia is to preside over the UN Security Council during the month of September 2015. In June 2012, during the Geneva Conference, President Putin had considered deploying the CSTO in Syria, but France restarted the war before the Organization was ready.”[i]

In addition, a highly reliable Middle East source has communicated the following scenario:

“Putin will most likely be in New York between September 28 and September 30 for his address to the United Nations General Assembly. On September 28, he is reportedly planning to deliver an address, which will (1) Condemn the unilateral sanctions by the United States and the European Union as measures in violation of international law and the United Nations charter; (2) Putin will call for a worldwide military coalition against ISIS; and (3) Putin is also expected to make some comments about the Donbas (Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republic) and about Syria. On September 30, Putin will act as chairman of a session of the United Nations Security Council [since the rotating presidency of the UNSC falls to Russia during this month of September] and will announce the commitment of the CSTO against ISIS, with or without the United States.”

According to a highly reliable Eastern European source, Putin’s first speech to the United Nations General Assembly in 10 years will be a landmark presentation, rivaling in importance his legendary address to the Munich Security Conference (Wehrkunde) in February 2007. This source described the draft text as “consequential and incisive.”
Putin’s Remarks at Today’s Dushanbe Conference

The following are key remarks by President Putin at today’s conference, the including answers to reporters’ questions:

“Extremists from many countries of the world, including, unfortunately, European countries, Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) undertake ideological and military training in the ranks of Islamic State [IS, formerly known as ISIS/ISIL]. And certainly we are worried that they could possibly return.”

“Simple common sense, responsibility for global and regional safety require uniting efforts of the international community [to fight] such a threat. It is necessary to set aside geopolitical ambitions, drop so-called double standards, the policy of direct or indirect use of separate terrorist groups for achieving own goals, including removing the governments and regimes.”

“We give technical-military support to Damascus and will continue doing it…And we call on other countries to join us in this.”

“Now we have to unite the efforts of the Syrian government and the Kurdish self-defense forces and the so-called moderate opposition, and other countries in the [Middle East] region to fight the threat to Syria’s statehood and terrorism.”

“Russia, as you know, has proposed to form a wide coalition to fight extremists without any delay. This coalition should unite everyone who is ready and is already contributing to tackling terrorism.”

“Unfortunately the situation in the country [Afghanistan] is degrading after the withdrawal of most foreign troops,”

“People are fleeing Syria, first of all, because of military actions … from atrocities of terrorists – we know they are committing brutalities there, and destroying cultural heritage.

“If Russia had not been supporting Syria, the situation in the country would have been worse than in Libya and the refugee flow would have been even bigger,”

Putin asserted that it was not Russia who destabilized the situation in such countries as Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and other regions of the world.

“It was not us who destroyed government institutions there creating the power vacuum, which is immediately filled by terrorists,” Putin concluded.[ii]
Putin’s Address To Collective Security Treaty Organization Security Council, Dushanbe, Tadjikistan, September 15, 2015

Here is the full text of President Putin’s formal address to the public session of the CSTO today, as furnished by the Kremlin:

[The presidents of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met in narrow format and then continued their talks with their delegations present. The summit’s main focus was on effective response to the biggest current military and political challenges, including an upsurge in activity by terrorist and extremist groups and destabilization of the situation on the CSTO countries’ borders. The meeting ended with a package of documents being signed, including a statement by the CSTO Collective Security Council’s member states. In particular, documents were signed concerning cooperation in the transit of military formations and military products; readiness inspections for carrying out the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces’ objectives, their composition and deployment, as well as the CSTO’s budget.]

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr. Rahmon [CSTO Chairman] !

First of all, I would like to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work in Tajikistan today.

I would like to note that Tajikistan is our strategic partner and ally. We see that here in Tajikistan, you also face problems with certain forays and attempts to destabilize the situation. I would like to say straight away that we are assessing these threats adequately and you can always count on our help and support, although we see that your law enforcement agencies and armed forces are handling the problems that come up effectively.

Just now, in the restricted format, we had a detailed discussion on the CSTO’s zone of responsibility, as well as urgent regional and international problems, and outlined steps to further strengthen our organization. We noted the increase in threats faced by CSTO member states in various areas.

We are concerned by the state of affairs in Afghanistan. International security forces have been in that nation a long time, carrying out certain work, including positive work; however, it still has not brought qualitative, definitive and decisive improvements to the situation. Unfortunately, the situation in that country is deteriorating following the withdrawal of most foreign military forces.

There is an increase in the real danger of terrorist and extremist groups entering nations that neighbor Afghanistan, and the threat is made worse by the fact that in addition to the well-known organizations, the influence of the so-called Islamic State has also spread to Afghanistan. The scope of the organization’s work has reached far beyond the borders of Iraq and Syria. Terrorists are carrying out mass executions, plunging entire nations into chaos and poverty and destroying cultural monuments and religious shrines.

The outcomes of the fight by international security forces against the production of narcotics is no less dispiriting. We know how this threat is growing from year to year; unfortunately, it is not decreasing.

I mentioned the situation in Syria and Iraq; they are the same as the situation in Afghanistan, in that they worry all of us. Please allow me to say a few words on the situation in this region, the situation around Syria.

The state of affairs there is very serious. The so-called Islamic State controls significant stretches of territory in Iraq and Syria. Terrorists are already publicly stating that they have targets set on Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Their plans include expanding activities to Europe, Russia, Central and Southeast Asia.

We are concerned by this, especially since militants undergoing ideological indoctrinations and military training by ISIS come from many nations around the world – including, unfortunately, European nations, the Russian Federation, and many former Soviet republics. And, of course, we are concerned about their possible return to our territories.

Basic common sense and a sense of responsibility for global and regional security require the international community to join forces against this threat. We need to set aside geopolitical ambitions, leave behind so-called double standards and the policy of direct or indirect use of individual terrorist groups to achieve one’s own opportunistic goals, including changes in undesirable governments and regimes.

As you know, Russia has proposed rapidly forming a broad coalition to counteract the extremists. It must unite everyone who is prepared to make, or is already making, an input into fighting terrorism, just as Iraq and Syria’s armed forces are doing today. We support the Syrian government – I want to say this – in countering terrorist aggression. We provide and will continue to provide the necessary military technology assistance and urge other nations to join in.

Clearly, without active participation by the Syrian authorities and military, without participation by the Syrian army, as the soldiers fighting with the Islamic State say, you cannot expel terrorists from this nation, as well as the region overall, it is impossible to protect the multi-ethnic and multi-faith people of Syria from elimination, enslavement and barbarism.

Of course, it is imperative to think about the political changes in Syria. And we know that President Assad is ready to involve the moderate segment of the opposition, the healthy opposition forces in these processes, in managing the state. But the need to join forces in the fight against terrorism is certainly at the forefront today. Without this, it is impossible to resolve the other urgent and growing problems, including the problem of refugees we are seeing now.

Incidentally, we are seeing something else: we are currently seeing attempts to practically put the blame on Russia for this problem, for its occurrence. As if the refugee problem grew because Russia supports the legitimate government in Syria.

First of all, I would like to note that the people of Syria are, first and foremost, fleeing the fighting, which is mostly due to external factors as a result of supplies of arms and other specialized equipment. People are feeling the atrocities of the terrorists. We know that they are committing atrocities there, that they are sacrificing people, destroying cultural monuments as I already mentioned, and so on. They are fleeing the radicals, first and foremost. And if Russia had not supported Syria, the situation in that nation would have been even worse than in Libya, and the flow of refugees would be even greater.

Second, the support of the legitimate government in Syria is not in any way related to the flow of refugees from nations like Libya, which I already mentioned, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many others. We were not the ones that destabilized the situation in those nations, in whole regions of the world. We did not destroy government institutions there, creating power vacuums that were immediately filled by terrorists. So nobody can say that we were the cause of this problem.

But right now, as I said, we need to focus on joining forces between the Syrian government, the Kurdish militia, the so-called moderate opposition, and nations in the region to fight the threat against Syria’s very statehood and the fight against terrorism – so that together, with our efforts combined, we can solve this problem.

I already spoke about the other issues that currently concern us, which we discussed today. In this respect, I would like to note that we plan to continue strengthening cooperation between our armed forces. We plan a whole set of activities in this area. I would like to also stress that our cooperation within the CSTO framework is certainly not directed against anybody. We are open to constructive cooperation, and that is precisely the approach that is reinforced in the final statement that will be signed today.

I am certain that we must resume concrete discussions on creating Euro-Atlantic systems for equitable and indivisible security; we need to carry out a full inventory of existing problems and disagreements. This analysis can be used to achieve a discussion of the principles of sustainable political development. The OSCE and other international organizations can be used to agree on legally binding guarantees concerning the indivisibility of security for all nations, achieve observance of important fundamental principles of international law (respecting the sovereignty of states, not meddling in their domestic affairs), and strengthen regulations on the inadmissibility of appeasing anti-state, anti-constitutional coups and the promotion of radical and extremist forces.

I would like to thank Mr. Rahmon for his work as chairman of the CSTO, as well as my other colleagues, and to wish our Armenian partners and friends success in chairing the organization. Thank you very much for your attention.[iii]

[ii] “Putin: ISIS has designs on Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, endangers Europe & Russia, RT, September 15, 2015