Autor: João

The epicenter of the Syrian war is shifting — and it could mean ‘a near total defeat’ for Turkey’s Syria policy

 Natasha Bertrand, Dec. 16, 2015, 1:09 PM Umit Bektas/ReutersErdogan and top military officials attend the funeral of the two pilots of an F-4 jet shot down by Syria in June 2012. Russian airstrikes across northern Syria have been steadily shifting the epicenter of the war toward a corridor north of Aleppo, through which Turkey smuggles aid and supplies to the rebel groups it supports. A stepped-up Russian bombing campaign in the Bayirbucakregion of northwest Syria, near the strategically important city of Azaz, has primarily targeted the Turkey-backed Turkmen rebels and civilians — and the Turkish aid convoys that supply them. As a result, Turkey’s policy in Syria of bolstering rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime — and establishing a “safe zone” for displaced Syrians that might hinder the regime’s efforts to take Aleppo — is quickly unraveling. Another important component of Turkey’s strategy in Syria is also at risk of collapse as a result of Russia’s campaign in the north — namely, restricting the movements of the Kurdish YPG, with whom Turkey has clashed, along the Turkish-Syrian border. In September, Russian President Vladimir Putin offered to help the Kurds consolidate their territorial gains in northern Syria by linking the Kurdish-held town of Kobane with Afrin. That could feasibly be accomplished if the Kurds were able to advance west across the Euphrates — Turkey’s “red line” for the YPG — and seize the rebel-held Azaz....

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John Kerry just made a key admission about the US’s policy in Syria

Armin Rosen, Dec. 15, 2015, 6:27 PM Thomson Reuters John Kerry. US Secretary of State John Kerry signaled a seemingly significant shift for the US’s policy in Syria on Tuesday, after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. “The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change,” Kerry said in reference to the US’s preferred outcome to the Syrian civil war, according to The Associated Press. The statement appears to conflict with years of US policy. US officials, including US President Barack Obama, have insisted since August 18, 2011, that embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad step down from power. But the US has also hoped that Assad could be “eased out” as part of a Russian-brokered political transition since mid-2012. And the US has done little to actually affect regime change. A US-led train-and-equip program aimed at assisting anti-regime forces was scaled back amid criticism before it was ended in October. It might seem incoherent for US officials to advocate Assad’s removal without assisting in or even endorsing regime change. After all, the Assad family has ruled Syria since 1970 and the current Syrian state — with its security and intelligence apparatus largely under the control of family loyalists and members of the country’s Alawite religious minority — is essentially a creation of the Assads. Assad is a crucial and perhaps irreplaceable legitimizing figure for the often-fractious alliance of interests that has held the regime together through four-plus years of...

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Russia, China Develop High-Precision Navigation System Draft for SCO, BRICS

17:55 15.12.2015(updated 18:01 15.12.2015) Russian and Chinese experts have developed a draft project to create a global international navigation system based on China’s BeiDou and Russia’s GLONASS satellite navigation for the member states of BRICS group and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Russian Space Systems company said in a statement on Tuesday. © SPUTNIK/ SERGEY PYATAKOV Russian Defense Ministry Conducts Final GLONASS Tests – Developer MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, Russia’s GLONASS Union said Russia and China would also finalize a deal this month to establish two joint ventures to develop, manufacture and sell new satellite navigation devices that would receive signals from three major navigation systems, BeiDou, GLONASS and US Global Positioning System (GPS).”The project was approved at the second meeting of the Chinese-Russian committee for important projects in the sphere of strategic cooperation on the satellite navigation,” the statement reads. © SPUTNIK/ VLADIMIR FEDORENKO BRICS Bank Could Start Borrowing in Yuan – Vice President The Chinese-Russian project is based on advanced Precise Point Positioning technologies, according to the statement.The implementation of the project will extend the use of global and regional navigation satellite systems in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and Pakistan as well as in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. On May 8, China and Russia signed the BeiDou-GLONASS system compatibility and interoperability cooperation agreement, marking a new stage of navigation cooperation between the two countries. See...

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The Syrian War and the return of great power politics

If the line between peace and war is being blurred, so is that between fact and fiction. BY JOHN BEW, 15 DECEMBER 2015 Wars have a nasty habit of creeping up on you, especially when you are unprepared or disinclined to fight them. There was a time, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the notion of a third world war seemed so fanciful as to belong to the realm of science fiction. As it stands, the prospect of a global conflagration, involving two or three simultaneous theatres of great power conflict, in which the goals of the major actors are conjoined, is unlikely. Neither the second or third most powerful militaries on the globe – China or Russia – wants to take on the strongest, the US. That said, they are not averse to giving its less powerful allies, the UK included, a bloody nose or a fright. So while it is alarmist and irresponsible to talk of a third world war, the notion of sparks flying on the borders of a Nato country, or in the South China Sea, is more than plausible. These problems require greater situational awareness and dynamism – both of which have been in short supply in our foreign policy in recent times. We cannot afford to go through a traumatic process of introspection every time we need to make a decision about the...

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Vasconcelos no lugar de Cunha

15:57 – Mensagem ao senador: Vasconcelos no lugar de Cunha Caro Senador, Crescem os rumores de que Eduardo Cunha pode deixar a presidência da Câmara em troca de não ser cassado, enquanto a oposição do governo Dilma articula a candidatura de Jarbas Vasconcelos para o seu lugar. Abr.,...

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