Pubblicato in: Geopolitica Africa, Putin, Russia

Putin. La Russia alla conquista dell’Africa.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-23.

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2019-06-15__Russia_Africa__002

Gli occidentali hanno fatto nei confronti di popoli africani una lunga serie di errori alcuni dei quali madornali quali per esempio, il voler imporre loro la visione del’l’ideologia liberal, elemento loro alieno.

Kenyatta: Gay rights is a non-issue for Kenya

La Francia ha gestito l’Africa Centrale al rango di colonia schiavista.

China: France’s Macron Should Press Xi on Rights

Macron in visita nel Burkina Faso. Per poco lo accoppano. Incidente diplomatico.

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La Cina ha invece dispiegato tutta la sua maestria diplomatica, impegnandosi con rapporti bilaterali equiparitari alla costruzione di un largo numero di infrastrutture essenziali.

Cina. Consolida il suo impero in Africa.

Cina ed Africa. I rapporti collaborativi si stanno consolidando.

Cina ed Africa. Una politica di rapporti internazionali paritetici.

Cina. Grande Muraglia contro la Germania. – Handelsblatt.

I nuovi enormi investimenti della Cina in Africa

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Se le mosse diplomatiche ed economiche della Cina e dell’occidente sono alquanto evidenti se non altro perché riportate dai giornali internazionali, quelle russe sembrerebbero azioni fantasma, ben poco chiacchierate. Ma il classico riserbo russo non significa assolutamente che Mr Putin sia inerte, anzi.

«Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”»

«The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region»

«Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say»

«On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo.»

«Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend»

«The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.»

«Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”.»

«In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.»

«Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon»

«More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.»

«Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics.»

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I piani di Mr Putin sono a lungo termine.

Sembrerebbe quindi difficile poter vedere risultati immediati od a breve. Ma l’esperienza insegna come questo approccio per piccoli passi discreti ponga delle solide basi durature.

Attenzione!

L’Africa odierna è povera, spesso misera. Ma è nella stessa situazione della Cina trenta anni or sono, e trenta anni passano velocemente. Pensiamo solo a come cambierebbe il mondo quando l’Africa entrasse tra i paesi emersi.


Guardian. 2019-06-11. Exclusive: Kremlin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin leading push to turn continent into strategic hub, documents show

Russia is seeking to bolster its presence in at least 13 countries across Africa by building relations with existing rulers, striking military deals, and grooming a new generation of “leaders” and undercover “agents”, leaked documents reveal.

The mission to increase Russian influence on the continent is being led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a businessman based in St Petersburg who is a close ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. One aim is to “strong-arm” the US and the former colonial powers the UK and France out of the region. Another is to see off “pro-western” uprisings, the documents say.

In 2018 the US special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” because of his Kremlin catering contracts. According to Mueller, his troll factory ran an extensive social media campaign in 2016 to help elect Donald Trump. The Wagner group – a private military contractor linked to Prigozhin – has supplied mercenaries to fight in Ukraine and Syria.

The documents show the scale of Prigozhin-linked recent operations in Africa, and Moscow’s ambition to turn the region into a strategic hub. Multiple firms linked to the oligarch, including Wagner, are known by employees as the “Company”. Its activities are coordinated with senior officials inside Russia’s foreign and defence ministries, the documents suggest.

Putin showed little interest in Africa in the 2000s. But western sanctions imposed in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea have driven Moscow to seek new geopolitical friends and business opportunities.

Russia has a military presence and peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. CAR is described as “strategically important” and a “buffer zone between the Muslim north and Christian south”. It allows Moscow to expand “across the continent”, and Russian companies to strike lucrative mineral deals, the documents say.

On 24 May the Kremlin announced it was dispatching a team of army specialists to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. According to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s press spokesman, they will service Russian-made military equipment. So far Moscow has signed military cooperation deals with about 20 African states.

Five days later the Kremlin said it would host the first ever Russia-Africa summit in October in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Putin and Egypt’s president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, will chair the event. About 50 African leaders are due to attend. The aim is to foster political, economic and cultural cooperation.

The leaked documents were obtained by the Dossier Center, an investigative unit based in London. The centre is funded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian businessman and exiled Kremlin critic.

Prigozhin has been approached for comment. He has previously denied any links to the troll factory and has said of Wagner that it does not exist. Putin has previously said that entities linked to Prigozhin do not constitute the Russian state.

A map from December 2018 seen by the Guardian shows the level of cooperation between the “Company” and African governments, country by country. Symbols indicate military, political and economic ties, police training, media and humanitarian projects, and “rivalry with France”. Five is the highest level; one is the lowest.

The closest relations are with CAR, Sudan and Madagascar – all put at five. Libya, Zimbabwe and South Africa are listed as four, according to the map, with South Sudan at three, and DRC, Chad and Zambia at two.

Other documents cite Uganda, Equatorial Guinea and Mali as “countries where we plan to work”. Libya and Ethiopia are flagged as nations “where cooperation is possible”. The Kremlin has recently stepped up its ground operation in Libya. Last November the Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar travelled to Moscow and met the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu. Prigozhin was spotted at the talks. Egypt is described as “traditionally supportive”.

The graphic gives an overview of “Company” activities and achievements. It claims credit in CAR for getting of rid of politicians who are “orientated to France”, including national assembly representatives and the foreign minister. This appears to be Charles-Armel Doubane, sacked in December. It has “strengthened” the army and set up newspapers and a radio station. Russia is an “83% friend”, it says.

In Madagascar the new president, Andry Rajoelina, won election with “the Company’s support”, the map says. Russia “produced and distributed the island’s biggest newspaper, with 2 million copies a month”, it adds. Rajoelina denies receiving assistance.

Another key territory is Sudan. Last year Russian specialists drew up a programme of political and economic reform, designed to keep President Omar al-Bashir in power. It included a plan to smear anti-government protesters, apparently copy-pasted from tactics used at home against the anti-Putin opposition. (One memo mistakenly says “Russia” instead of “Sudan”.)

One ploy was to use fake news and videos to portray demonstrators in Khartoum and other Sudanese cities as “anti-Islam”, “pro-Israel” and “pro-LGBT”. The government was told to increase the price of newsprint – to make it harder for critics to get their message out – and to discover “foreigners” at anti-government rallies.

In a leaked letter Prigozhin wrote to Bashir complaining that the president had not actually followed through on the advice. Prigozhin mentioned “lack of activity” by the Sudanese government and its “extremely cautious position”.

The military deposed Bashir in April in a coup. Last week Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces opened fire on pro-democracy protesters, killing over a hundred. The Russian advisers had urged Sudan’s military council to suppress the activists with “minimal but acceptable loss of life”, one former regime source told CNN.

Meanwhile, Moscow is keen to exploit a long-running territorial dispute in Comoros, the documents say. France directly controls one out of four of the Indian Ocean islands, Mayotte. In 2018 Prigozhin employees flew to Comoros via Belarus. Their objective was to test if “political technologies” might be used to inflame the row between Paris and the Comoros government.

Other suggestions in the documents include trans-African road and rail-building schemes. A railway could be built linking Dakar in Senegal with Port Sudan in Sudan, along the “old hajj [pilgrimage] route”. A separate 2,300-mile (3,700km) toll road was proposed connecting Port Sudan with Douala in Cameroon. Neither has so far happened.

A plan to revive “pan-African consciousness” appears closely modelled on the idea of Russkiy Mir, or Russian world. The concept has become fashionable under Putin and signifies Russian power and culture extended beyond current borders.

One working paper is titled “African world”. It calls for a developing “African self-identity”. It recommends collecting a database of Africans living in the US and Europe, which might be used to groom “future leaders” and “agents of influence”. The eventual goal is a “loyal chain of representatives across African territory”, the March 2018 paper says.

More immediate practical measures include setting up Russian-controlled non-governmental organisations in African states and organising local meetings.

It is unclear how many Prigozhin initiatives have actually gone forward. There is evidence that media projects mentioned in the documents are now up and running – albeit with marginal impact. They include a website, Africa Daily Voice, with its HQ in Morocco, and a French-language news service, Afrique Panorama, based in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.

Russian operatives also offer thoughts on global politics. One policy paper, titled “Russian influence in Africa”, says Moscow needs to find “reliable partners among African states” and should establish military bases.

Annunci
Pubblicato in: Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, India, Materie Prime, Russia

Oro schizzato a 1,387.25 dollari/oncia.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-20.

2019-06-20__Gold__001

E siamo solo agli inizi.


Gold soars to five-year high after Fed hints at interest rate cuts

Gold prices shot to levels not seen since 2013 on Thursday, as investors flocked to the metal after the U.S. Federal Reserve left key interest rates unchanged but shifted away from its “patient” stance on monetary policy.

In electronic trading, August gold GCQ19, +2.76% soared $33.50, or 2.5%, to $1,382.20 an ounce. The contract slipped $1.90 to settle at $1,348.80 an ounce. On a continuous contract basis, gold was trading at its highest level since September 2013, according to FactSet data.

Gold began climbing higher in electronic trading Wednesday after a statement that followed the gold futures’ settlement. While the Fed held benchmark interest rates steady between 2.25%-2.50%, officials said that over the last six weeks, “uncertainties” have increased about the outlook, hinting at the trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Fed officials appeared at odds about whether the central bank will cut interest rates this year, judging from the central bank’s projections of future interest rate moves, known as the “dot plot.” Precious metals like gold tend to attract buyers in a low interest-rate climate.

The yield for the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, -1.95%  dropped to just under 2%, at 1.983%, a level not seen since 2016. Such a move can make government debt less attractive to buyers seeking haven assets compared against bullion.

“As long as real rates are headed lower, the pool of negative yielding bonds increases (currently $12.3t) then gold is only going one way,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone, in a note to clients.

Gold has gained over 2% week to date, as investors have bought the metal owing to uncertainty over an import tariff dispute between China and the U.S. and fears that the global economy is weakening. On Tuesday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi suggested that the ECB could introduce more stimulus if the eurozone economy weakens further. The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee will also make a policy announcement later on Thursday.

In other metals dealings, July silver SIN19, +2.35%  rose 27 cents, or 1.8% , to $15.225 an ounce, while July copper HGN19, +1.27% rose 1% to $2.709 a pound.

July platinum PLN19, +1.18%  rose 0.9% to $812.70 an ounce and September palladium PAU19, +0.41%  gained 0.3% to $1,496.50 an ounce.

Pubblicato in: Cina, Devoluzione socialismo, Economia e Produzione Industriale, Materie Prime, Putin, Russia

Russia. Varato il rompighiaccio atomico Ural. Alla fine saranno 13 navi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-20.

Yamal 001

«Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.»

«Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.»

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«The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas»

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«The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activThe Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activityity»

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«The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity»

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La Russia di Mr Putin ha da tempo lanciato una lunga serie di programmi volti a sfruttare le risorse energetiche rinvenibili nelle zone artiche, che detengono grosso modo il 22% delle riserve di petrolio e gas mondiali.

Due i grandi problemi da risolvere, e, si direbbe, risolti.

Il primo inerisce le difficoltà di allestire gli impianti estrattivi in condizioni climatiche particolarmente avverse.

Il secondo verte invece sulla trasportabilità del minerale estratto, essendo impossibile al momento attuale la costruzione di oleodotti o di gasdotti.

Artico. 50% delle riserve minerarie.

Dall’Artico la sfida russa al gas Usa: Yamal Lng ultimato in tempi record

Russia. Un gigantesco rompighiaccio per Lng. – Bloomberg.

Russia. Akademik Lomonosov. Prima centrale atomica mobile e galleggiante.

Putin avvia lo sfruttamento del mega campo Kharasaveyskoye.

Yamal. Gli Usa hanno perso, la Russia ha vinto e raddoppia. – Bloomberg

Cina, Groenlandia e ‘Polar Silk Road’.

Cina. Centrali elettriche nucleari. 37 reattori attivi, 60 in costruzione, 179 programmati.

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La centrale atomica montata su di una chiatta trasportabile e la flotta dei 13 rompighiaccio pesanti, sette dei quali a propulsione atomica ed in grado di sfondare strati di tre metri di ghiaccio, dovrebbero essere in grado di mantenere la rotta artica agibile sia di estate sua di inverno.

La Russia si avvia a diventare la maggior produttrice di petroli e gas naturale del mondo. Poi, avere limitrofa la Cina in espansione economica sempre più rapida, garantisce un immenso mercato, per di più servibile con rotte militarmente sicure.


Reuters. 2019-05-26. Russia, eyeing Arctic future, launches nuclear icebreaker

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors.

The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe.

Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick.

Pubblicato in: Devoluzione socialismo, Medio Oriente, Russia, Stati Uniti

Gerusalemme. Summit dei servizi segreti degli Usa, Israele e Russia.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-19.

Animali. Bocca aperta. Civetta. 002

I servizi segreti traggono il loro nome proprio dal fatto che devono lavorare nell’ombra, in modo del tutto illegale. Nessun governo mai ammetterà che i servizi del proprio stato siano solo una banda criminale al servizio della ragion di stato, ma nei fatti sono segreti proprio perché le loro azioni sono tutte illegali.

Il loro personale è composto da gente pratica, che sa come funziona il mondo e di quale razza sia il cuore e la mente umana.

Scoperto un reato, la polizia e la magistratura si attivano per identificare il colpevole e processarlo. I servizi segreti al contrario registrano tutto e tengono in archivio: useranno quei documenti per ricattare la persona. Sempre poi che non siano stati loro stessi ad indurla al reato. Il caso Stracher dovrebbe essere ben chiaro, così come il caso Palamara in Italia.

Il termine russo ‘kompromat‘, компромат, indica un dossier contenente informazioni, documenti, o altri materiali riguardanti un uomo politico, o altro personaggio di rilevanza pubblica, il cui contenuto, se divulgato, sarebbe in grado di denigrarne la figura o metterla in cattiva luce, magari portarla alle dimissioni, se non a processo. Negli Stati Uniti questa tecnica va sotto il nome di opposition research.

Si resta soltanto esterrefatti della grande moltitudine di gente importante che cade in trappole tutto sommato banali: lo honey trapping è proprio trappola per pollastri, parlare ‘liberamente’ al cellulare o con persone sconosciute è appannaggio dei presuntuosi pieni di sé stessi.

Da molti punti di vista, sono più potenti i capi dei servizi segreti che gli stessi governanti, tranne i rari casi in cui le due figure siano assommate nella stessa persona, come nel caso di Mr Putin.

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«A summit of the three national security advisors from the United States, Israel and Russia will be held in June 2019 in Jerusalem. This unique event has already given rise to numerous «revelations» and «denials» about the subjects which will be discussed. Almost all commentators are spreading erroneous ideas which are then copied in unison.»

«Russia has been present in the Levant (except for the period 1991-2011) since Tsarina Catherine II, who, at the request of the inhabitants of the region, sent its Navy to defend Beïrut»

«In 2011, Russia was the only state which distinguished the colour revolutions in the Maghreb (the «Arab Springs») from the wars against Libya and Syria.»

«The Western powers, who have their own explanation of these events, still have not made the effort to understand their interpretation by Russia»

«there are two totally different readings of the facts»

«it was not the Russians, but Western imperialism which created the problem we are facing today.»

«Finally, Washington and Moscow met in Geneva, in presence of the Western powers but the absence of the Middle Eastern actors, to formalise a shared suzerainty over the Middle East. That was in June 2012. The honeymoon lasted no more than a few days. It was destroyed by France, acting on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.»

«Finally, Washington and Moscow met in Geneva, in presence of the Western powers but the absence of the Middle Eastern actors, to formalise a shared suzerainty over the Middle East. That was in June 2012. The honeymoon lasted no more than a few days. It was destroyed by France, acting on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.»

«From the beginning of the Cold War, the United States, busy with their policy of containment of the Soviets, were perfectly aware of this Israeli expansionism which upset the stability of the region. They armed Syria so that it could resist Israel – not attack it – and also armed other forces, including Iraq. It was Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and no-one else, who created the « Axis of Resistance ». In this way, he guaranteed that Syria and Iraq would not turn to the USSR in order to defend themselves and to obtain its military assistance»

«The religious leaders of Iran often use the expression «Axis of Resistance» to designate the alliance against Israel. Yet there exists no treaty formalising this axis. The leaders have never held a summit to discuss it»

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«John Bolton (USA), Meir Ben-Shabbat (Israel) and Nikolaï Patrouchev (Russia), the three national Security advisors, have the same functions, but not the same experience.»

«Bolton is persuaded of the ontological superiority of his country over all others …. he is quite capable of stepping back when he thinks he is wrong»

«Meir Ben-Shabbat is a man of faith, persuaded, in his case, that he belongs to a chosen but cursed people. He is not a diplomat, but an expert in counter-espionage. However, he directed the Shin Bet,»

«Nikolaï Patrouchev is a lord of the superior Russian public civil service. Of the three advisors, he is without doubt the man who has the clearest view of the world chess-board. When he succeeded Vladimir Putin at the head of the FSB, he had to face up to attempts by the United States and Israel to steal his directors»

«He then had to handle the destabilisation of Ukraine by the United States and the European Union, which was finally terminated by the adhesion of Crimea to the Russian Federation.»

«He will not be negotiating one dossier against another, but on the contrary, will take care that all the decisions taken will be coherent»

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Cosa abbia prodotto questo summit non è dato saperlo.

Ma se in questa evenienza fosse valido il proverbio ‘post hoc, ergo propter hoc‘, si potrebbe trovare una spiegazione dell’inusitata attività diplomatica di queste tre nazioni.


Oriental Review. 2019-06-16. Secret Tripartite Summit In Jerusalem

A summit of the three national security advisors from the United States, Israel and Russia will be held in June 2019 in Jerusalem. This unique event has already given rise to numerous « revelations » and « denials » about the subjects which will be discussed. Almost all commentators are spreading erroneous ideas which are then copied in unison. We have to rectify this situation before evaluating what is at stake in the summit.

The game of the major Powers in the region

During the Cold War, the US strategy of containment managed to counter Soviet influence in the Middle East. After the collapse of the USSR, Russia withdrew from the region, and only returned during the Western war against Syria.

Russia has been present in the Levant (except for the period 1991-2011) since Tsarina Catherine II, who, at the request of the inhabitants of the region, sent its Navy to defend Beïrut. Its policy was aimed primarily at protecting the the foundation of Russian culture, the cradle of Christianity (which is in Damascus, not Jerusalem). By doing so, Russia extended its influence in the Eastern Mediterranean and entered into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

In 2011, Russia was the only state which distinguished the colour revolutions in the Maghreb (the « Arab Springs ») from the wars against Libya and Syria. The Western powers, who have their own explanation of these events, still have not made the effort to understand their interpretation by Russia. The point here is not to determine who is right and who is wrong – that is another subject – but to admit that there are two totally different readings of the facts. We should note that the Western powers agree that Moscow has not accepted the way in which they violated the resolution intended to protect the civil populations in Libya. They therefore recognise that it was not the Russians, but Western imperialism which created the problem we are facing today.

On the basis of its own analysis, Russia began to oppose its veto to the Western resolutions concerning Syria at the Security Council. Simultaneously, at the request of Syria, it began negotiations with Damascus with a view to deploying peace-keeping troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Syria. Finally, Washington and Moscow met in Geneva, in presence of the Western powers but the absence of the Middle Eastern actors, to formalise a shared suzerainty over the Middle East. That was in June 2012. The honeymoon lasted no more than a few days. It was destroyed by France, acting on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Seven years later, Moscow demanded its due. Indeed, it was Russia – not the CSTO – which had deployed its military in Syria and, together with the Syrian Arab Army and Hezbollah, had defeated the jihadists – and absolutely not Washington and its allies who, on the contrary, had armed them. Russia claimed its part from Jerusalem, because a million Russian- speakers are Israeli citizens, and because one of them, Avigdor Lieberman, has recently caused the fall of Netanyahu’s government – twice.

This evolution is difficult to admit for those who are still thinking in terms of the US/Israeli alliance which characterised the Bush Jr. era. Nonetheless, since the defeat of Daesh, the Israeli authorities have visited Moscow much more frequently than Washington.

The game of the regional powers facing Israel

It is accepted as self-evident that the forces of the « Axis of Resistance » (Palestine-Lebanon-Syria-Iraq-Iran) are determined to annihilate the Israelis just as the Nazis were committed to destroying the Jews. This is a grotesque mash-up of copy and paste.

In reality, Hezbollah was originally a network of Chiite Resistance to the Israeli occupation of Lebanon. It was at first armed by Syria, then, after the withdrawal of the Syrian peace force from Lebanon, by Iran. Its objective was never to « push the Jews into the sea », but on the contrary, it has never ceased to affirm its intention of establishing equality for all according to the Law. The Israeli occupation of Lebanon was a reality that massively surpassed the intentions of the Israeli government, which was overtaken by General Ariel Sharon’s initiative to seize Beïrut. It was also due to the Collaboration between the Christian militias and the Lebanese Druzes, including those of Samir Geagea and Walid Joumblatt.

In the same way, Syria reacted to Israeli expansionism first of all by defending itself, then by moving to support the Palestinian populations. This was perfectly legitimate, given that what are now Palestine and Syria formed a single political entity before the First World. No-one, not even the United States, denies that for seventy years, Israel has been stealing land from its neighbours, and continues to do so.

From the beginning of the Cold War, the United States, busy with their policy of containment of the Soviets, were perfectly aware of this Israeli expansionism which upset the stability of the region. They armed Syria so that it could resist Israel – not attack it – and also armed other forces, including Iraq. It was Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, and no-one else, who created the « Axis of Resistance ». In this way, he guaranteed that Syria and Iraq would not turn to the USSR in order to defend themselves and to obtain its military assistance.

The Dwight Eisenhower administration knew that Israel was the fruit of the wishes of Woodrow Wilson and David Lloyd George, but he considered it to be a crazy horse which had to be both protected and controlled.

Washington therefore allied itself with the British ideas: the Military Assistance Programme between Damascus and Teheran, then, in 1958, the Baghdad Pact which enabled the creation of CenTO (the regional equivalent of NATO). The context has changed, the actors have changed, but the motives remain the same.

The case of Iran is the main problem today. Indeed, the majority of its leaders do not approach this question from a political point of view, but from a religious standpoint. A Chiite prophecy assures that the Jews will reform a state in Palestine, but that it will quickly be destroyed. The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holds this text to be canon law. He follows the countdown, and has affirmed that Israel will have disappeared within six years (in 2025).

The growing tension of positions, in Iran concerning this prophecy, and in Israel concerning the « Basic Law: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People » (2018), is the source of the continuation of this conflict, which could be unblocked with a minimum of intelligence. This is what Donald Trump and Jared Kushner tried to do, and it is here that they failed: while economic development might do away with the question of reparations, no progress could be possible without the evolution of the world visions professed by the Jews, the Arabs and the Persians.

What is the « Axis of Resistance »?

The religious leaders of Iran often use the expression « Axis of Resistance » to designate the alliance against Israel. Yet there exists no treaty formalising this axis. The leaders have never held a summit to discuss it.

Since the US invasion of Iraq, in 2003, the forces of this Axis have slowly split apart so that today, their internal conflicts have become more important than their exterior combat.

In 2003, the chief Iraqi Chiite leader, Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, was assassinated. Rightly or wrongly, his followers believed that the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani was responsible. al-Sistani is an Iranian living in Iraq, from whence he directs Chiite seminars. Progressively, the Iraqi Chiite community has become divided between al-Sistani’s pro-Iranians and the pro-Arabs of the dead man’s son, Moqtada al-Sadr, who successively broke with Damascus, then with Teheran in 2017, and then went to Riyadh to side with Prince Mohamed ben Salmane.

In 2006, profiting from its victory during the legislative elections in the Palestinian Territories, Hamas carried off a coup d’état against the Fatah, and proclaimed that it was autonomous in the Gaza Strip. In 2012, its political directors, who were living in exile in Damascus, suddenly moved to Doha, while Qatar was financing the jihadists against Syria. Hamas declared itself to be the « Palestinian Branch of the Muslim Brotherhood », a political party which is forbidden in Syria. Its men and agents of the Israeli Mossad entered the Syrian city of Yarmouk in order to assassinate their Marxist rivals of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command. The Syrian army encircled the town, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas assured them of his support.

It is absurd for the Western powers to seek to destroy the « Axis of Resistance », which they wanted and created, if only because they have lost control of it. All they need to do is wait, it will collapse on its own.

The Iranians are faithful friends, but they have a cultural tendency to drag their friends into their own affairs. The Syrians have never expelled the Iranians, who protect them from Israeli expansionism, and to whom they owe their resistance at the start of the war (2011-14). But if the Iranians were truly the friends of the Syrians, they would operate a military withdrawal from the country, leaving it to Russia, so that the United States could recognise the legitimacy of Bachar el-Assad’s government. Instead of which, they are using the presence of their troops to provoke Israel and fire rockets from Syria on Israeli territory.

The three national Security advisors

John Bolton (USA), Meir Ben-Shabbat (Israel) and Nikolaï Patrouchev (Russia), the three national Security advisors, have the same functions, but not the same experience.

Bolton is persuaded of the ontological superiority of his country over all others. He acquired his experience of international relations during the disarmament negotiations, and above all, while he was the ambassador to the Security Council (2005-06). Although he can sometimes adopt flamboyant initiatives, he is quite capable of stepping back when he thinks he is wrong. It is in fact because he has this capacity of assuming personal responsibility for the errors of his side that President Trump has maintained him in this function.

Meir Ben-Shabbat is a man of faith, persuaded, in his case, that he belongs to a chosen but cursed people. He is not a diplomat, but an expert in counter-espionage. However, when he directed the Shin Bet, he showed genuine finesse in fighting Hamas, manipulating it, and finally negotiating with it. His excellent knowledge of the multiple forces in the Middle East enables him to understand instantly what can last and what will fade away.

Finally, Nikolaï Patrouchev is a lord of the superior Russian public civil service. Of the three advisors, he is without doubt the man who has the clearest view of the world chess-board. When he succeeded Vladimir Putin at the head of the FSB, he had to face up to attempts by the United States and Israel to steal his directors. In the end, though, after years of turbulence, he was able to regain control over the FSB machine. He then had to handle the destabilisation of Ukraine by the United States and the European Union, which was finally terminated by the adhesion of Crimea to the Russian Federation. He will not be negotiating one dossier against another, but on the contrary, will take care that all the decisions taken will be coherent.

These three strategies will have to define the boundaries of a new deal which will thereafter be negotiated by diplomats. Their role is to imagine a viable long-term agreement, while the role of the diplomats will be to compensate the losses of the vanquished in order to make this agreement acceptable for them.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Putin, Russia

Russia. Riserve Valutaria a 502.7 miliardi Usd. Variata la composizione.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-06-14.

2019-06-14__Russia_Riserve__001

«Non siamo noi a lasciare il dollaro, è il dollaro che lascia noi». Vladimir Putin.


The Central Bank of the Russian Federation ha rilascito il dato sull’ammontare delle riserve valutarie: 502.7 miliardi Usd.

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La settimana scorsa ammontavano a 495.2 miliardi, mentre ad inizio anno erano 466.0 miliardi Usd.

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Diamo atto a Mrs Elvira Nabiullina di essere una persona quanto mai determinata.

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Così la Russia prende le distanze dal dollaro a favore delle riserve in euro, yuan e yen

Lo spettro di sanzioni americane che vadano a colpire le banche russe e il debito sovrano di Mosca sembrerebbe recedere, proprio per la consapevolezza del Tesoro Usa dell’impatto che misure così draconiane potrebbero avere, non solo sulla Russia. E tuttavia la de-dollarizzazione dell’economia russa – il desiderio di ridurre il numero di asset vulnerabili al rischio di eventuali nuove sanzioni – prosegue per la sua strada: la Banca centrale russa non ha mai fatto mistero, in questi ultimi mesi, di voler diversificare il proprio portfolio di investimenti dopo aver rapidamente e drasticamente tagliato di quattro quinti (81 miliardi di dollari tra maggio e giugno) il numero di Treasuries in possesso di Mosca, fino a poco tempo fa tra i primi dieci Paesi investitori in titoli americani.

Equilibri rivoluzionati: lo sguardo su Pechino

La Banca di Russia pubblica ogni sei mesi il dettaglio geografico e valutario degli investimenti in oro e riserve internazionali: e il quadro che emerge dai dati pubblicati mercoledì sera – relativi dunque alla primavera scorsa – cambia drasticamente gli equilibri. Al termine del secondo trimestre 2018 le riserve internazionali russe, tra le prime al mondo (in giugno 458 miliardi di dollari, saliti attualmente a 466,9) avevano trasferito 101 miliardi dal dollaro a euro, yuan e yen: investendo l’equivalente di 44 miliardi ciascuno in euro e yuan (per un totale rispettivamente di 147 e 67 miliardi), e 21 miliardi in valuta giapponese. In questo modo, la quota cinese nel paniere valutario balza dall0 0,1% di un anno fa al 5% del primo trimestre e al 14,7% del secondo, mentre gli asset in dollari (metà, si ritiene, detenuti fuori dagli Usa) scendono dal 43,7% al minimo storico del 21,9% e quelli in euro vanno al 32%. Inoltre, secondo Morgan Stanley, nella prima metà dello scorso anno la Russia è stata nettamente il principale acquirente di bond cinesi.

Una scelta strategica dal punto di vista geopolitico, non economico, fanno notare gli analisti. E che ha la benedizione di Vladimir Putin, che più di una volta ha auspicato il passaggio all’uso di valute diverse dal dollaro nelle transazioni internazionali: passaggio non certo semplice per un Paese impegnato soprattutto nell’esportazione di materie prime, scambi basati sul dollaro nei mercati globali. «Noi non abbiamo l’obiettivo di prendere le distanze dal dollaro – aveva detto Putin poco più di un mese fa -, ma siamo costretti a farlo. E, vi assicuro, lo faremo. Solo, non vogliamo fare mosse improvvise che possano danneggiarci. Non siamo noi a lasciare il dollaro, è il dollaro che lascia noi».

L’Italia a confronto con Francia e Germania

Il rapporto della Banca centrale russa va nel dettaglio degli investimenti effettuati nel trimestre concluso a fine giugno 2018. Una parte delle attività trasferite sull’euro riguarda titoli di Stato francesi: la quota degli investimenti che fanno capo alla Francia, secondo i dati di Bank Rossii, è cresciuta nel trimestre dal 12 al 15,5% del totale. Leggermente inferiore la quota di attivi tedeschi, scesi nel trimestre dal 12,9 al 12,7. Nel rapporto che accompagna i dati, la Banca centrale dedica un paragrafo all’Italia, spiegando che il programma politico del nuovo governo entrato in carica in maggio «contiene tra l’altro un aumento radicale del deficit di bilancio». Uno scenario che «ha contribuito alla caduta dell’euro, e anche all’aumento della domanda di titoli di Stato di Germania e Francia, più affidabili a confronto con quelli italiani».

Pubblicato in: Armamenti, Putin, Russia

Russia. Varato il Belgorod, Project 09852.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-05-28.

2019-04-25__Belgorod__001

Il segreto militare più gelosamente custodito dal Kremlin è come faccia Mr Putin a sfornare in continuazione sofisticati sistemi d’arma, allo stato dell’arte, ma spesso anche precursori, spendendo quattro rubli.

Il 23 aprile è stato varato il Belgorod, Project 09852 KC-139 Belgorod (KS-139 “Белгород”).

Covert Shores ne riporta il dettaglio tecnico sia di questo sottomarino sia del suo armamento.

«One of the largest submarines in the world, the unique Project 09852 KC-139 Belgorod (KS-139 “Белгород”) will play a key role in building military infrastructure deep under the Arctic as well as carrying the new Poseidon Intercontinental Nuclear-Powered Nuclear-Armed Autonomous Torpedo. She is an unfinished OSCAR-II cruise missile submarine which is being converted to serve as a Special Missions host submarine (known as Project 09852). It will be crewed by the Russian Navy but operated under GUGI, the secretive Main Directorate Deep Sea Research organization. In order to conduct covert special missions, it will carry a deep diving midget submarine, large payloads and the new KANYON (Status-6) strategic nuclear torpedo weapon. The project started in 2010, with the refit commencing in 2012, and is expected to be completed this year.»

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«Pr09852 Belgorod Specifications (Provisional)

Displacement: greater than 14,700 tonnes surfaced (est. 17,000 tonnes), 24,000 tonnes submerged (estimated 30,0000 tonnes)
Length: 184 meters

Beam: 18.2 meters

Speed: < 32 knots

Range: Unlimted

Endurance: Approximately 4 months

Operating depth: Estimated as 500-520 meters per OSCAR-II SSGN

Propulsion: nuclear (2 x pressurized water reactor OK-650M.02 with a capacity of 190 MW driving two steam turbines and twin screws. Plus at least two outboard thrusters.

Crew: TBC. estimated 110

Armament: 6 x Poseidon (KANYON) nuclear torpedoes (if fitted), 6 x 533 mm (21″) torpedo tubes with up to 28 torpedoes»

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«Russia has launched the Project 09852 Special Mission Submarine KC-139 Belgorod at the Sevmash Shipyard, located in Severodvinsk in northern Russia, on April 23»

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«It is reportedly the first nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying the nuclear-capable underwater drone “Poseidon,” alternatively referred to as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), or simply an intercontinental-range, nuclear autonomous torpedo»

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«The Belgorod is slated to enter service with the Russian Navy in 2020 following nuclear reactor and dockside trials»

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«The submarine, based on the 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine (SSGN), while crewed by the Russian Navy, will be operated by the Main Directorate Deep Sea Research (GUGI) organization»

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«Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research (Military Unit 40056).

The Defense Ministry Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research 10th Department (or the submarine intelligence service) was established in 1976, responsible for Russian ‘underwater engineering’. Hydronauts [“Deep-sea spetsnaz”] is a term that is relatively new, even to long-time students of Russian military affairs. A check of sources within the Russian military indicates that the topic is rarely discussed in the open press, if at all. The force, which uses submarines, is an Army and not a Navy unit. The force’s focus is to bug communications cables, install movement sensors, and collect the wreckage of ships, aircraft, and satellites from the seabed. These divers work at depths of 3000-6000 meters in miniature submarines.

These submarines were officially referred to as “nuclear deep-water station” and abbreviated AU. Sailors call them “kids” – assigned to the Ministry of Defense and worked on the instructions of the Main Intelligence Directorate. Only the 1986 were the submarines added to the lists of the navy. However, the management of their activities was still carried out directly from Moscow.

Project 1910 nuclear powered deepwater stations were designed to perform specific tasks in the depths of the oceans, and were intended to replace the previous generation of deep-towed vehicles “Seliger”.

In 1979, for basic maintenance and operation of the ACS carriers at the Northern Fleet at Gadzhiyevo [Bay of deer] initiated the formation of the 29th separate brigade of submarines.

According to the site editor MilitaryRussia Dmitry Kornev, in 1980-2000 years of the machine with the main management of deep-sea research carried out special missions in the Japan Sea, the North Atlantic and the Arctic. The 45707 military unit was stationed in the city of Peterhof Leningrad region. Structurally related to the General Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry deep-sea research.

Izvestiya was told by former naval officer and hydronaut Vladimir Ashik that his colleagues’ job was to collect intelligence information about enemy equipment, protect and service Soviet deep-water communications lines, and bring up from the bottom the wreckage of secret equipment left behind after tests or accidents.

In the early 2000s the Defense Ministry’s special center in Moscow was reorganized to form the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research, whose work was classified.»

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Solo a scopo esplicativo del lavoro svolto:

«According to figures from the Comptroller’s Office auditors, the hydronauts were the most highly paid employees in the military — they were receiving 500,000-600,000 [rubles] a month. For comparison, the commander of a motorized rifle brigade in Siberia and the Far East receives no more than 80,000 rubles a month, while the commander of a strategic bomber base with the rank of colonel receives no more than 180,000.»

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Ufficialmente, questo nuovo sommergibile servirà per una migliore esplorazione pacifica dei fondali oceanici e per la preservazione delle specie animali che vi albergano.

Ciò che farà non interessa nulla a nessuno: è per questo motivo che non si rilasciano particolari.


The Diplomat. 2019-04-23. Russia Launches Project 09852 Special Purpose Submarine

The first nuclear-powered submarine reportedly capable of carrying the Poseidon underwater drone was launched on April 23.

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Russia has launched the Project 09852 Special Mission Submarine KC-139 Belgorod at the Sevmash Shipyard, located in Severodvinsk in northern Russia, on April 23. It is reportedly the first nuclear-powered submarine capable of carrying the nuclear-capable underwater drone “Poseidon,” alternatively referred to as an unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV), autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), or simply an intercontinental-range, nuclear autonomous torpedo.

The Belgorod is slated to enter service with the Russian Navy in 2020 following nuclear reactor and dockside trials. The submarine, based on the 949A Oscar II-class nuclear-powered guided missile submarine (SSGN), while crewed by the Russian Navy, will be operated by the Main Directorate Deep Sea Research (GUGI) organization. The submarine, according to the website Covert Shores, will carry a deep diving midget submarine for covert special missions. It is expected to be deployed under the Arctic and used for the covert installation of a Russian underwater sonar network.

During the April 23 launch ceremony, Vice-Admiral Alexei Burilichev, Head of the Main Directorate of Deep-Sea Research of the Russian Ministry Defense (MoD), specifically singled out the Arctic as a future area of operations for the sub: “With the advent of this ship in the fleet, the Russian Federation will increase its ability to study the oceans, including the Arctic,” he was quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

The submarine was laid down at the Sevmash Shipyard in July 1992 but its construction was suspended in 1997. Work on the unfinished 949A Oscar II-class SSGN began again in 2012 following a redesign of the sub undertaken by the Rubin Central Design Bureau in St. Petersburg as a special purpose submarine. With a reported lengths of 184 meters, the Belgorod is set to become the Russian Navy’s largest submarine by its length. (The sub has a reported  displacement of around 15,000 tonnes when surfaced.)

There is no official confirmation that the new sub will carry the Poseidon UUV, also known under Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6 or “Kanyon” by the U.S. intelligence community. As I reportedly previously, the Russian Navy is expected to receive up to 30 Poseidon UUV with the first batch slated for delivery in the late 2020s. It remains unclear the UUV serves only as a nuclear-warhead delivery platform or could be used for other purposes including intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.

According to a Russian defense industry source, the Project 09852 submarine will be able carry up to six Poseidon UUVs, although as mentioned previously, some sources cited eight. “Two Poseidon-carrying submarines are expected to enter service with the Northern Fleet and the other two will join the Pacific Fleet,” a Russian defense industry source told TASS news agency in January. “Each of the submarines will carry a maximum of eight drones and, therefore, the total number of Poseidons on combat duty may reach 32 vehicles.”

The second Poseidon-carrying sub will reportedly be the Project 09851 submarine Khabarovsk, purportedly a downsized variant of the Borei-class of nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The sub is slated to be launched in the spring of 2020 and handed over to the Russian Navy in 2022, according to another source.

Pubblicato in: Banche Centrali, Cina, Russia

Russia. Riserve valutarie a 494.7 mld Usd. Cina riduce i Treasury a 1,120 mld.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-05-16.

2019-05-16__Russia__001

The Central Bank of the Russian Federation

ha rilasciato il Report sulle sue consistenze in riserve valutarie, che ammontano a 494.7 miliardi Usd.

2019-05-16__Russia__002

Il 1° gennaio 2019 le riserve erano 466.9 miliardi Usd.

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Come la Cina, anche la Banca Centrale Russia ha ridotto in modo sostanziale la sua esposizione in dollari americani.

2019-05-16__Tresaury China 001

Pubblicato in: Cina, Russia

Belt & Road. Accordi per 64 mld Usd. Il pianto degli esclusi.

Giuseppe Sandro Mela.

2019-04-28.

Cina

«President Xi Jinping on Saturday hailed deals worth more than $64 billion signed during China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) this week …. almost 40 heads of state and government from around the world »

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«More and more friends and partners will join in Belt and Road cooperation»

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«China said it signed a memorandum of understanding with various countries including Italy, Peru, Barbados, Luxembourg, Peru and Jamaica»

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«a summit on his Belt and Road Initiative and more nations would join the global infrastructure program»

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«to reinvent the ancient Silk Road to connect Asia to Europe and Africa through massive investments in maritime, road and rail projects»

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«The gathering included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose nation became the first G7 member to join Belt and Road, and Pakistan’s Imran Khan»

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«Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. As the only country in the group of the seven leading industrialized nations (G7), Italy has formally declared its readiness to participate in the project»

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64 miliardi di dollari americani sono una gran bella cifra, e si tenga conto che saranno impiegati in infrastrutture.  Sicuramente il finanziamento rappresenterà un debito, ma i debiti contratti per costruire infrastrutture sono ammortizzabili, perché produttivi.

Germania e Francia non partecipano, anche se hanno qualche collaborazione in essere. Specie la Germania di Frau Merkel è fortemente prevenuta.

«the lack of environmental compatibility, for example, of coal or hydroelectric power plants»

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«Germany is skeptical of the Chinese prestige project – as well as other large EU states»

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«One allegation is that China does not comply with social, environmental and human rights standards»

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«It is also criticized that it would be mainly Chinese state companies in the construction of bridges or roads to train»

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«The initiative, which is supposed to connect, should not be a one-way street, demands German industry»

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Queste frasi sembrerebbero spiegare molto bene la situazione.

La Germania di Frau Merkel non è disponibile a trattare con la Cina, la quale, a suo modo di vedere, non rispetterebbe gli standard tedeschi sociali, ambientalistici e di visione dei diritti umani. E questo Frau Merkel lo dice chiaramente ad alta voce.

Poi i tedeschi si stupiscono di essere stati tagliati fuori dal giro.

Le persone che prendono a pesci in faccia non li ringraziamo, riverenti.

Che poi, se riguardassero meglio le offerte che hanno fatto, presentavano costi tre volte maggiori di quelli prospettati delle imprese cinesi.

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Una sola, ultima considerazione.

Mr Conte ha fatto quello che avrebbero dovuto fare i suoi predecessori, che non ne furono all’altezza: portare a casa solidi contratti e denaro fresco che genererà lavoro.

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Reuters. 2019-04-27. China’s Xi touts more than $64 billion in Belt and Road deals

President Xi Jinping on Saturday hailed deals worth more than $64 billion signed during China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) this week as he sought to reassure skeptics the project will deliver sustainable growth for all involved. ….

“More and more friends and partners will join in Belt and Road cooperation,” he said in his closing remarks. “The cooperation will enjoy higher quality and brighter prospects.” ….

In a separate statement China said it signed a memorandum of understanding with various countries including Italy, Peru, Barbados, Luxembourg, Peru and Jamaica. ….»

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Abs Cbn. 2019-04-27. Xi says more nations joining Belt and Road, $64 billion in deals signed

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday $64 billion in deals were signed at a summit on his Belt and Road Initiative and more nations would join the global infrastructure program as he sought to ease concerns over the colossal project.

Xi and 37 world leaders wrapped up a three-day forum in Beijing with pledges to ensure that projects in his new Silk Road are financially sustainable and green following concerns about debt and environmental damage.

“We are committed to supporting to open, clean and green development and rejecting protectionism,” Xi told journalists at the end of the forum, without taking questions.

His signature foreign policy aims to reinvent the ancient Silk Road to connect Asia to Europe and Africa through massive investments in maritime, road and rail projects — with hundreds of billions of dollars in financing from Chinese banks. ….

The gathering included Russian President Vladimir Putin, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose nation became the first G7 member to join Belt and Road, and Pakistan’s Imran Khan.»

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International News. 2019-04-27. Beijing Summit: Conference on the Silk Road ends with billionaire contracts

For three days, almost 40 heads of state and government from around the world had met in the Chinese capital and talked about the next phase of the so-called New Silk Road. ….

Critics warn that financially vulnerable countries may be in debt trap and growing dependency on China. Sri Lanka, for example, was unable to repay its debt to Beijing, leaving China in control of a deep water port for 99 years. Another point of criticism is the lack of environmental compatibility, for example, of coal or hydroelectric power plants. ….

Germany is skeptical of the Chinese prestige project – as well as other large EU states. One allegation is that China does not comply with social, environmental and human rights standards. It is also criticized that it would be mainly Chinese state companies in the construction of bridges or roads to train. The initiative, which is supposed to connect, should not be a one-way street, demands German industry. ….

Among the participants in the meeting were Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. As the only country in the group of the seven leading industrialized nations (G7), Italy has formally declared its readiness to participate in the project.»