Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The New Great Game Round-Up: December 14, 2016

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Russia Stepping Up its Game in Tajikistan to Counter Chinese Competition 

At the end of November, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that Russia will supply Tajikistan with "large quantities" of military aircraft over the next year, indicating that China's growing influence in Tajikistan has not gone unnoticed in Moscow.

As defense ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) gathered in the Russian capital for a regular meeting, Shoigu and his Tajik counterpart Sherali Mirzo signed a defense cooperation plan for 2017.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The World’s Biggest Hostage Crisis Comes to an End

As Syrian government forces recapture more parts of eastern Aleppo, many civilians are risking their lives to flee the besieged opposition-controlled areas, telling the world that the so-called “rebels” stop at nothing to prevent people from leaving.

The Syrian government and its Russian allies have long accused armed opposition groups in Aleppo of holding civilians hostage, whereas western governments and media have been promoting a different narrative in tune with “rebel” and “activist” sources. This narrative is now falling apart.

Read the full article on NewsBud

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The New Great Game Round-Up: November 30, 2016

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

China Urges Turkey to Extradite Embassy Bombing Suspects to Kyrgyzstan

 
Three months after the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek was hit by a suicide car bomber, Kyrgyz authorities are still trying to catch several suspects accused of ordering, financing and preparing the attack.

The trace leads to Turkey, but Kyrgyzstan's suspect list has left more questions than answers.

On September 6, Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (GKNB) identified the suicide bomber as an ethnic Uyghur carrying a Tajik passport with the name Zoir Khalilov. According to the GKNB, he was a member of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) in Syria.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Disastrous Track Record of the New 'Leader of the Free World'

Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the U.S. presidential election came as a shock to many, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Merkel has made no secret of her admiration for Hillary Clinton. "I admire her strategic thinking and her strong commitment to the trans-Atlantic partnership," Merkel told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper in an interview earlier this year. “Whenever I was able to work with Hillary Clinton, it was a great pleasure.”[1]

But instead of congratulating her old friend Hillary, the German Chancellor was forced to congratulate Republican candidate Donald Trump on winning the U.S. presidential election.


Read the full article on NewsBud

Monday, November 14, 2016

The New Great Game Round-Up: November 14, 2016

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Turkish-Russian Rapprochement bodes ill for NATO's Chechen 'Rebels'


Long before NATO member Turkey started flooding neighboring Syria with arms and fighters, the country already played a major role in destabilizing Russia's North Caucasus with a similar approach. Back in the day, the "Syrian rebels" were called "Chechen rebels" and NATO was doing its best to support them.

The Turkish government generously provided refuge to Chechen fighters and refugees, using them later as cannon fodder in Syria or as bargaining chips vis-à-vis Russia.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Germany’s Social Democrats to Challenge Merkel with ‘Pro-Russian’ Ostpolitik 2.0

In June of this year, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier shocked the political and media establishment in Germany and other NATO countries when he criticized NATO military exercises in Eastern Europe, saying:

"What we should not do now, however, is further inflame the situation with loud sabre-rattling and war cries. Anyone who believes that symbolic tank parades on the Alliance’s eastern border will increase security is wrong. We would be well advised not to deliver up any excuses for a new, old confrontation."[1]


Steinmeier instead called for dialogue and cooperation with Russia, just a few days before the July 8 NATO summit in Warsaw.

Read the full article on NewsBud

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Porkins Great Game: Episode #16 - Moderate Rebels & Heroin Warlords

After a long hiatus, Pearse Redmond and I are finally back with a new episode of Porkins Great Game. We start off by looking at the recent parliamentary elections in Georgia and the latest Saakashvili scandal. 
Our second segment focuses on Afghanistan. We talk about Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's return, the Qatar talks and the growing rift between the Taliban and Pakistan.
Afterwards we move on to Syria. Pearse and I discuss the situation in Aleppo, the push for war and the risk of a direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.
Staying with the Syria theme, we try to make sense of the strange case of Jaber al-Bakr, certainly a worthy addition to our collection of weird terrorism stories.
At the end of this episode, we reflect on the death of Uzbekistan's leader Islam Karimov and the appointment of Shavkat Mirziyoyev as his successor.



Monday, October 31, 2016

The New Great Game Round-Up: October 31, 2016

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

China's Growing Security Role in Central Asia

China appears to be taking a more proactive role in maintaining security and stability in Central Asia amid rising concerns over the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan and threats to Chinese assets and interests in the region.

At the end of August, Beijing's worst fears came true when an ethnic Uyghur crashed a car through the gates of the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan's capital Bishkek before detonating an explosive device inside the vehicle, killing himself and injuring three embassy staff.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Washington War Party Urges Obama to Go to War against Assad & the Russians

On October 21, The Washington Post published a noteworthy op-ed titled “Bring Syria’s Assad and his backers to account now,” written by retired U.S. Marine General John Allen and self-proclaimed Syria expert Charles Lister.

Allen is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and serves on the board of advisors of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) cutout. The retired four-star general attracted a lot of attention earlier this year when he delivered a forceful endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention.

Read the full article on NewsBud

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The New Great Game Round-Up: October 18, 2016

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Georgia Elections: Russia Wins, Saakashvili Loses

The run-up to the parliamentary elections in Georgia underlined how much was at stake for the ruling Georgian Dream coalition and its main rival, the United National Movement (UNM), when Georgians cast their votes on October 8. 

Opinion polls had suggested a head-to-head race as many voters were undecided and disappointed by both parties. This disaffection was reflected in the low turnout of 51.6%, reportedly the lowest ever for a parliamentary election in the country.

In the end, Georgian Dream celebrated a much bigger victory than expected while former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili was forced to postpone his return to Georgia indefinitely.

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Jaber al-Bakr Story: How a White Helmets Volunteer Almost Blew Up Berlin Airport

The two-day manhunt, spectacular arrest and shocking death of a Syrian terrorism suspect in Germany have attracted a lot of attention and raised a lot of questions.

On October 8, German police raided an apartment in the eastern city of Chemnitz after being tipped off by Germany’s domestic intelligence agency. They found 1.5 kilograms of TATP, the explosive of choice for ISIS terrorists, but the target of the raid, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee named Jaber al-Bakr, managed to escape.


Read the full article on NewsBud

Monday, October 10, 2016

Syria 'Cease-Fire' Brings U.S. & Russia Closer to War

On October 3, the United States announced that it is suspending talks with Russia over the conflict in Syria, accusing Moscow of not living up to its commitments under the September 9 cease-fire agreement as well as its obligations under international humanitarian law and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.[1]

When the U.S. State Department was asked, if the U.S. had lived up to its obligations, State Department Press Director Elizabeth Trudeau responded: “We believe we did.”[2]

Read the full article on NewsBud
 

Monday, October 3, 2016

The New Great Game Round-Up: October 3, 2016

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Afghanistan Rehabilitates the 'Butcher of Kabul'

After months of talks and several setbacks, the Afghan government recently reached a peace agreement with Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami (HIG).

On September 29, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed the agreement at the presidential palace in Kabul during a ceremony broadcast live on television.

Warlord Hekmatyar, who is believed to be hiding out in Pakistan, addressed the gathering in Kabul in a recorded video message that showed him signing the peace deal in a small room at an undisclosed location. He called on the Taliban and other parties to join the peace process and urged the Afghan government to fulfill a number of demands not mentioned in the agreement, such as releasing key Taliban prisoners.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Porkins Great Game: Episode #15 - Turkey Coup Special

On this special episode of Porkins Great Game, Pearse Redmond and I talk about the recent coup attempt in Turkey. We lay out the timeline of events on July 15 and explain why the coup failed before offering our take on the various theories floating around about what really happened that night. Pearse and I also touch upon the interesting aftermath and discuss how this might affect Turkey's role in the U.S.-NATO alliance and its position on the global chessboard.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Porkins Great Game: Episode #14 - Is Kazakhstan in Trouble?

On this episode of Porkins Great Game, Pearse Redmond and I finally get to talk about a Central Asian country that we have been meaning to talk about for quite a while: Kazakhstan. We take a look at the recent clashes in Aktobe and explain why the Kazakh government prefers to look abroad for the reasons behind the attacks. In our second segment, Pearse and I focus on the killing of Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Pakistan, which raises many questions. After giving an update on the situation in Afghanistan, we move on to Turkish President Erdogan and his passion for German comedy shows. We discuss the ongoing row between Germany and Turkey over Germany's parliamentary recognition of the Armenian Genocide and Erdogan's talent for making things worse. Our segment of weird terrorism stories deals with CIA-Pentagon disagreements over supporting Jabhat al-Nusra, Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and our favorite "Turkmen rebel" leader Alparslan Çelik. Pearse and I close out this episode by introducing our new Patreon site that you can use to support our podcast. 


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Western-Backed Chechen "Freedom Fighter" Named as Istanbul Attack Mastermind


First details begin to emerge about the suspected Islamic State attack on Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport that left at least 44 people dead and more than 230 injured.

A senior Turkish government official announced on Thursday that the three suicide bombers who carried out the attack were nationals of Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.[1]

Turkish pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak quoted police as saying that eight terrorists were involved in the operation. Three of them were killed, one was detained and four others remain at large.

According to the Yeni Safak report, well-known Chechen Islamic State commander Akhmed Chatayev organized the deadly attack.[2] 

Read the full article on Boiling Frogs Post

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Porkins Great Game: Episode #13 - Fethullah Gülen Lives

On this episode of Porkins Great Game, Pearse Redmond and I focus on the recent Four-Day War in Nagorno-Karabakh. We briefly go over the history of the conflict before taking a closer look at the latest escalation and the various regional and global actors that could be pulled into the conflict. In our second segment we continue our discussion on the ongoing fight between Turkey and Russia, which plays out in Syria and elsewhere. Pearse and I talk about Fethullah Gülen's motivations for entering the stage, Turkish-Russian spy games and Alparslan Çelik's role in a possible rapprochement between Moscow and Ankara. We finish off this segment with the recent clashes between Kurds and Turkish nationalists in Germany. After giving a final farewell to our favorite Georgian jihadist, Tarkhan Batirashvili aka Omar al-Shishani, Pearse and I close out this month's episode by taking a look at the Panama Papers. 


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Newsbud Phase 1 Kickstarter Campaign

Our first Newsbud Kickstarter campaign didn't reach its ambitious goal but we haven't given up on creating a 100% people-funded, nonpartisan news alternative. We are now planning to run 4 smaller Kickstarter fundraising campaigns over an 18-month period. Phase 1 starts today. For more information check out our new Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/141490519/support-a-100-people-funded-online-news-outlet-pha

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Newsbud Kickstarter Campaign

The day has finally come for your chance to help us create Newsbud--a 100% people-funded news alternative. Our Kickstarter campaign is now live, and we’re counting on your support. For us to realize our collective dream of a major independent, nonpartisan media platform, we need your help. Without you, we cannot build the independent news source that we the people deserve. We can only do that when we are 100% publicly funded, and that means we need you, your voice, and your commitment to our cause. Please make a pledge and help us put the word out: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/141490519/support-a-100-people-funded-nonpartisan-online-new


Friday, February 12, 2016

Porkins Great Game: Episode #12 - Inside Turkey's War in Syria

On this special Newsbud edition of Porkins Great Game, Pearse Redmond and I focus on the battle between Russia and Turkey in Syria. We discuss Russia's reaction to Turkey's downing of a Russian jet over Latakia's Turkmen-populated Bayırbucak region and the recent appearance of Turkmen militia leader/Turkish nationalist Alparslan Çelik at a funeral in Istanbul. Pearse and I explain why the FSB linked the Grey Wolves to the crash of a Russian passenger plane in Egypt and we dissect John Schindler's recent article dealing with this issue. After giving an update on the situation in northern Syria, we explore the possibility of a Turkish military intervention and touch upon the current propaganda war. Pearse and I also talk about our participation in Newsbud and explain why fans of Porkins Great Game should support our Kickstarter campaign that will go live on Sunday, February 14 (Valentine's Day).


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Syrian Turkmens, Turkish Nationalists, Russian Jets and the Battle for Bayırbucak

Within hours after the first Russian airstrikes in Syria, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Western journalists began to explain why Russia’s intervention “is doomed to fail.”[1][2] A few days later, Western media gleefully announced that Russia’s intervention has failed.[3]

But four months into Russia’s Syria campaign, it is now becoming increasingly difficult to deny that the Kremlin is actually pursuing a viable military strategy in Syria. Therefore, Western media has recently resorted to explaining why it is a bad thing that the Russian airstrikes are working.[4]

Read the full article on Boiling Frogs Post

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Introducing Newsbud

On this edition of the BFP Roundtable, James Corbett talks to Sibel Edmonds, Peter B. Collins and Pepe Escobar about Newsbud, a 100% people funded, independent, nonpartisan, online news source to take the alt media to the next level.



For more information about this new media venture check out our main page and threads for everything Newsbud and join the Newsbud Email List: