Reports: Chinese ships head to Syria
September 25, 2015
Translated by Kristina Rus
Translated by Kristina Rus
China deploys troops to help Russia in Syria
Remember the joint military exercises of Russia and China in the sea and on land? With landing on shore and fighting against terrorists?
And here is the answer to the question of why they trained together.
"An Arab news source [Al Masdar News] reports that a military contingent of the PRC is on the way to Latakia and will arrive in Syrian ports any day. Chinese transport with military cargo was spotted on Tuesday morning, passing through the Suez canal.
Information about the Chinese military experts heading to Tartus was confirmed by the commander of the Syrian army. The report concludes that Moscow will create in Syria an anti-terrorist coalition that will become the alternative version of the military alliance formed by the US for dropping supplies to ISIS. Military entrance of China into the struggle for Syria will be an important addition to today's statement by the Iranian Foreign Ministry. At a press conference with "Russia Today" deputy foreign minister of Iran, Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that Iran will fight ISIS together with Russia. Notably Amir talked not just about an alliance, but a creation of a broad military coalition.
"We welcome the Russian President's proposal on establishment of a common front in a fight against terrorism and are even ready in realizing this initiative to carry out joint operations and cooperate together," - said deputy foreign minister of Iran.
That Russia will fight terrorists with Iran's hands, English resources have been writing for a week. And the joining of China into the support group has exceeded all imaginable expectations. The presence of the international coalition significantly changes the balance of power in favor of Moscow, untying Russian hands for direct military action in the Middle East."
"Doomsday" Arctic Seed Vault Tapped For First Time In History As Syrian Civil War Threatens Biodiversity
24 September, 2015
With Russian boots officially on the ground at Latakia and with rumors circulating that the PLA may arrive within weeks, Syria has officially replaced eastern Ukraine as the most likely theatre for the start of World War 3.
While we certainly hope that cooler heads will prevail, the determination on the part of Washington, Riyadh, and Doha to oust the Assad regime simply isn’t compatible with Tehran and Moscow’s efforts to preserve the existing global balance of power which means that something will ultimately have to give and if it becomes clear that Iran is set to benefit in any way from whatever the outcome ends up being, expect Benjamin Netanyahu to make another trip to The Kremlin, only next time, he won’t be so cordial.
For those who - much like a certain CIA “strategic asset” - are looking for signs that Syria’s four-year old, bloody civil war might mark the beginning of the apocalypse, look no further than the Svalbard Global Seed Vault which was tapped for first time in history in response to the uncertain future of Aleppo. Here’s Reuters:
Syria's civil war has prompted the first withdrawal of seeds from a "doomsday" vault built in an Arctic mountainside to safeguard global food supplies, officials said on Monday.
The seeds, including samples of wheat, barley and grasses suited to dry regions, have been requested by researchers elsewhere in the Middle East to replace seeds in a gene bank near the Syrian city of Aleppo that has been damaged by the war.
"Protecting the world's biodiversity in this manner is precisely the purpose of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault," said Brian Lainoff, a spokesman for the Crop Trust, which runs the underground storage on a Norwegian island 1,300 km (800 miles) from the North Pole.
The vault, which opened on the Svalbard archipelago in 2008, is designed to protect crop seeds - such as beans, rice and wheat - against the worst cataclysms of nuclear war or disease.
It has more than 860,000 samples, from almost all nations. Even if the power were to fail, the vault would stay frozen and sealed for at least 200 years.
The Aleppo seed bank has kept partly functioning, including a cold storage, despite the conflict. But it was no longer able to maintain its role as a hub to grow seeds and distribute them to other nations, mainly in the Middle East.
In other words, the violence in and around Aleppo now poses a threat to global food supplies by curtailing the production of seeds for drought-resistant crops.
As far-fetched as that might sound on the surface, the threat is apparently real enough to have prompted the first withdrawal in history from a seed bank built into the side of a frozen mountain. Here's more on the Svalbard "doomsday" vault from the official website:
Worldwide, more than 1,700 genebanks hold collections of food crops for safekeeping, yet many of these are vulnerable, exposed not only to natural catastrophes and war, but also to avoidable disasters, such as lack of funding or poor management. Something as mundane as a poorly functioning freezer can ruin an entire collection. And the loss of a crop variety is as irreversible as the extinction of a dinosaur, animal or any form of life.
Remote by any standards, Svalbard’s airport is in fact the northernmost point in the world to be serviced by scheduled flights – usually one a day. Its remoteness enhances the security of the facility, yet local infrastructure in the nearby small Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen is excellent. The Vault is thus accessible, and seeds can easily be transported to and retrieved from Svalbard.
The Seed Vault has the capacity to store 4.5 million varieties of crops. Each variety will contain on average 500 seeds, so a maximum of 2.5 billion seeds may be stored in the Vault.
Currently, the Vault holds more than 860,000 samples, originating from almost every country in the world. Ranging from unique varieties of major African and Asian food staples such as maize, rice, wheat, cowpea, and sorghum to European and South American varieties of eggplant, lettuce, barley, and potato. In fact, the Vault already holds the most diverse collection of food crop seeds in the world.
The focus of the Vault is to safeguard as much of the world’s unique crop genetic material as possible, while also avoiding unnecessary duplication. It will take some years to assemble because some genebanks need to multiply stocks of seed first, and other seeds need regenerating before they can be shipped to Svalbard.
A temperature of -18ºC is required for optimal storage of the seeds, which are stored and sealed in custom made three-ply foil packages. The packages are sealed inside boxes and stored on shelves inside the vault. The low temperature and moisture levels inside the Vault ensure low metabolic activity, keeping the seeds viable for long periods of time.
And here's a look at the outside and inside of the repository that would be tapped in the event a cataclysm threatens global food supplies:
From DEBKA – confrmed by no one – so to be treated with UTMOST caution
Before dawn on Thursday, Sept. 24, Russian marines went into battle for the first time since their deployment to Syria, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal. Russian Marine Brigade 810 fought with Syrian army and Hizballah special forces in an attack on ISIS forces at the Kweiris airbase, east of Aleppo.
This operation runs contrary to the assurances of President Vladimir Putin to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sept. 21 – just three days ago - that Russian forces in Syria were only there to defend Russian interests and would not engaged in combat with the Syrian army, Hizballah or Iranian troops.
The ISIS force defending the air base is dominated by Chechen fighters under the command of Abu Omar al-Shishani, who is considered one of the terrorist organization’s leading commanders in the last two years. The 27-year-old al-Shishani hails from the Chechen enclave....
Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks with his US counterpart, Barack Obama, during his stay at the UN General Assembly, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press secretary, said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing for unilateral air strikes against Islamic State in Syria if the United States rejects his proposal to join forces, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.
Russia has increased its military presence inside Syria and its arms supplies to the Syrian army as it steps up support of longtime ally President Bashar al-Assad, drawing warnings of further destabilization from Western countries that oppose Assad.
A Russian diplomatic source told Reuters on Wednesday that Moscow sees a growing chance to reach international agreement on fighting terrorism in Syria and end the crisis that has stretched into its fifth year.
Bloomberg reported that Putin's preferred course of action was for the U.S. government and its allies to agree to coordinate their campaign against Islamic State militants with Russia, Iran and the Syrian army. It cited a person close to the Kremlin and an adviser to the Defense Ministry in Moscow.
Bloomberg cited a third person as saying Putin's proposal called for a "parallel track" of joint military action accompanied by a political transition away from Assad, a key U.S. demand. Russia has communicated the proposal to the United States, according to the news service.
But one source told Bloomberg that Putin was frustrated with U.S. reticence to respond and was ready to act alone in Syria if necessary.
DAMASCUS: Russia and the United States have reached a "tacit agreement" on ending Syria's bloody crisis, a senior adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad has said.
"The current U.S. administration wants to find a solution to the crisis in Syria. There is a tacit agreement between the U.S. and Russia to reach this solution," Bouthaina Shaaban said in an interview with state television late Wednesday.
"The U.S. recognizes now that Russia has profound knowledge of this region and a better assessment of the situation," she said.
"The current international climate is heading towards detente and towards a solution for the crisis in Syria."
Shaaban said there was a "change in the West's positions" over Syria's war, which has killed more than 240,000 people and displaced millions since 2011.