Obama announces more sanctions against Russia, citing alleged Russian
hacking during US election. However though the sanctions will annoy
the Russians, they will not seriously affect them. Their true purpose
is to create further embarrassment for Donald Trump by insinuating
that he owes the Russians the Presidency.
Obama ends his Presidency with the announcement of yet more sanctions
target Russia’s two intelligence agencies which were supposedly
concerned with the alleged cyber attacks during the US election –
the FSB and the GRU – and what appear to be three institutions
involved in IT work – the Professional Association of Designers of
Data Processing Systems, the Special Technology Centre, and
Zorsecurity, formerly known as Esage Lab or Tsor.
addition to these five entities four high ranking officials of the
GRU have also been added to the sanctions list.
has also announced the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats from the US,
giving them just 72 hours to leave, and has closed two Russian
diplomatic compounds in the US. He has also said that he will
provide Congress with a report on Russian cyber activity during this
and previous US election cycles.
many of Obama’s other recent moves, this one is not really targeted
at Russia. The additional sanctions will hardly affect Russia,
though the wholesale expulsion of Russian diplomats will undoubtedly
complicate the work of Russian diplomatic missions in the US.
true target of these sanctions is Donald Trump.
imposing sanctions on Russia, Obama is lending the authority of the
Presidency to the CIA’s claims of Russian hacking, daring Trump to
deny their truth.
Trump as President allows the sanctions to continue, he will be
deemed to have accepted the CIA’s claims of Russian hacking as
true. If Trump cancels the sanctions when he becomes President,
he will be accused of being Russia’s stooge.
is a well known lawyer’s trick, and Obama the former lawyer
doubtless calculates that either way Trump’s legitimacy and
authority as President will be damaged, with the insinuation that he
owes his Presidency to the Russians now given extra force.
many of Obama’s other moves in
the last weeks of his Presidency, it is an ugly and small minded act,
seeking to undermine his successor as President in a way that is
completely contrary to US tradition.
Trump – very wrongly – was one of those who cast doubt on Obama’s
American birth; a deeply personal issue which Obama would be only
human if he found difficult to forget or forgive. As for Putin,
Obama’s dislike and jealousy of Vladimir Putin, who has
consistently bested him throughout his Presidency, is hardly a
seems that as he quits the Presidency Obama cannot put these feelings
of jealousy and resentment aside, but is determined to use the few
weeks left to him to make life as difficult for Trump and Putin as he
can after he is gone.
on Obama's threats: If Washington takes new hostile steps, it will
receive a tough answer
new US sanctions against Russia are another manifestation of the
unpredictable and aggressive foreign policy by the Obama
administration, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin press-secretary, said.
our point of view such actions of the US current administration are a
manifestation of an unpredictable and even aggressive foreign
Peskov told the journalists.
regret the fact that this decision was taken by the US administration
and President Obama personally,"
it said before, we consider this decision and these sanctions
unjustified and illegal under international law,"
the presidential spokesman dded.
US restrictions won’t be left unanswered by Moscow, Peskov said,
will deliver significant discomfort to the US side in the same
he added that “there’s
no need to rush”
with the countermeasures against Washington.
the current transition period in Washington, we still expect that
we’ll be able to get rid of such clumsy actions… of behaving like
a bull in a china shop, and that we’ll be able to make mutual joint
steps to enter on the path of normalization of our bilateral
the spokesman said.
Thursday, Obama announced a set of countermeasures in response to
what he called “the
Russian government’s aggressive harassment of US officials and
cyber operations aimed at the US election.”
Russian diplomats have been expelled from the US, with the president
calling them “intelligence operatives” and also announcing the
closure of two Russian compounds, in New York and Maryland.
to Obama, nine Russian entities, including the GRU (Russian Military
Intelligence) and the FSB (Federal Security Service), have been
individual GRU officers and three companies that
Obama administration and the losing Democratic presidential
candidate, Hillary Clinton, have accused Moscow of being behind
cyberattacks that targeted Clinton and her campaign chairman, John
Podesta, during their campaign.
said that the whistleblower website WikiLeaks obtained the damaging
hacked emails, which dashed Clinton’s chances to win, from Russian
claims were denied by both WikiLeaks and Moscow on numerous
occasions, with Peskov earlier calling them“nonsense” in
an interview with RT.