Friday, February 22, 2019

NASA’s space station live feed goes offline again; just after the sighting of a glowing object moving toward Earth

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by Ethan Huff, Natural News:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has been caught yet again hiding footage of anomalous objects flying through space – this time a strange object of unidentified origin that, before NASA cut its live online feed, was seen flying directly towards the earth’s atmosphere.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli captured a shot of the strange footage before it was quickly removed from NASA’s website. It depicts a glowing, fiery-looking object moving directly towards earth that members of the International Space Station (ISS) identified as space debris. But the skeptics aren’t convinced.

While some, including NASA, have suggested that this categorical unidentified flying object (UFO) was most likely a meteor based on footage captured by the ISS, Nespoli’s image suggests otherwise. It is clearly missing the characteristic tail that one would expect to see in a photograph of an actual meteor, which suggests that the object is of some other origin.

“I don’t think it’s a meteorite at all,” stated YouTube channel “SecureTeam10” owner Tyler Glockner to the DailyMail Online.

“What many people may not realize is that this video is a time lapse. You’re seeing the earth spinning at a high rate of speed and we see this flash of light coming from space … If you compare this to what they are calling a meteor in this new footage, at no time does this so called meteor look like anything that was captured back in 2011 – it just doesn’t.”

Anyone who uses common sense to ask questions is now a ‘crazy conspiracy theorist’

Based on the rotating speed of the earth, it is difficult to truly pinpoint how fast the object in question was moving. Glockner mentions a speed of 85 miles per hour (mph) that was reported by other sources, but also notes that the earth’s relative spin in relation to the object could have indicated that the object was moving at a much slower speed than NASA is claiming.

“Speeds that are slower than even the slowest meteorites,” Glockner notes.

But NASA was quick to label it a meteorite and be done with it, even though the evidence is contrary. Glockner compared this latest footage to that of the 2011 Perseid meteor shower noting significant variances between the two events. This latest object was “short” and “stubby,” he notes, while almost all other footage of actual meteors reveals them to look quite the contrary.

This wouldn’t be the first time that NASA has tried to cover up strange objects in space, as the agency’s live feed has on numerous occasions gone dead when unusual things appear on the feed. But this latest cover-up attempt has gotten many people talking because there’s no consensus as to the true identity of the object in question, despite NASA’s arbitrary declaration of it being a space meteor.

And the worst part about the whole thing is that honest astronomers who are simply asking logical questions about this strange event are reportedly being labeled as “conspiracy theorists” simply for using their brains. If an anomalous object event such as this warrants further inquiry, such inquiry should be done without fear of being regarded as a lunatic – and yet, this is exactly what is now happening.

Read More @ NaturalNews.com

At Least One State Is Going To Be Transformed By It, But The New Paradigm Is Still Blacked Out In America

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by Harley Schlanger, LaRouche PAC:

The President may pardon a turkey at Thanksgiving, but no one can pardon the turkeys of the U.S. media, who are denying Americans any knowledge of what their President encountered and accomplished in his summit meetings in Asia, and with President Putin of Russia.

China is spreading a new economic paradigm in the world, and with the trade and investment agreements President Trump struck there, the economy of at least one state — West Virginia — is going to be transformed for the better and for the long term. It is not giving away tax breaks and asset ownership, as states so often do when as desperate for economic progress as West Virginia is; and it is getting investments in power plants, energy and chemical production technologies, skilled employment — perhaps more than $80 billion over 20 years.

On West Virginia trade unionist said, “We really have no influence or power here, so that is interesting to me that he [trump] still kept his promise to us, something I suspect he will likely get little credit for in the national news.”

In fact, not only has President Trump gotten no coverage, but this investment — and the one which will probably save GE, and the others going into other U.S. states — are scarcely being mentioned in the media. An investment in West Virginia triple the size of the total budget of the U.S. Department of Energy is going unreported or scanted — for the most part even in West Virginia media.

The President’s Asia trip engaged him with the vast economic infrastructure initiatives coming from China, seconded by Russia and increasingly even in competition/collaboration with Japan. He has followed it by declaring his intention to remain fully engaged with Russian President Putin on Syria, North Korea, and the fight against terrorism in the Mideast as a whole.

President Trump is making clear that he intends to pursue reasonable great-power diplomacy no matter what the “Russiagators” say or do. America is the great gainer from this, as is the prospect of peace after an era of “perpetual war.” To quote Helga Zepp-LaRouche on this determination for better U.S.-Russia relations in particular, “This is promising, but not yet accomplished.”

The United States would gain more if the President joins in China’s Belt and Road Initiative of great infrastructure projects.

Read More @ LaRouchePAC.com

Whose Private-Sector Debt Will Implode Next: US, Canada, China, Eurozone, Japan?

by Wolf Richter, Wolf Street:

Canadians, fasten your seat-belt. Here are the charts.

The Financial Crisis in the US was a consequence of too much debt and too much risk, among numerous other factors, and the whole house of cards came down. Now, after eight years of experimental monetary policies and huge amounts of deficit spending by governments around the globe, public debt has ballooned. Gross national debt in the US just hit $20.5 trillion, or 105{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP. But that can’t hold a candle to Japan’s national debt, now at 250{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP.

And private-sector debt, which includes household and business debts — how has it fared in the era of easy money?

In the US, total debt to the private non-financial sector has ballooned to $28.5 trillion. That’s up 14{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from the $25 trillion at the crazy peak of the Financial Crisis and up 63{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} from 2004.

In relationship to the economy, private sector debt soared from 147{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP in 2004 to 170{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP in the first quarter of 2008. Then it all fell apart. Some of this debt blew up and was written off. For a little while consumers and businesses deleveraged just a tiny little bit, before starting to add to their debts once again.

But the economy began growing again too, and private-sector debt as a percent of GDP fell to a low of 148{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} in Q1 2015. It has since picked up steam, growing once again faster than the economy, and now is at 151.7{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP, back where it was in 2005. This chart shows US private sector debt to the non-financial sector, in trillion dollars (blue line, left scale) and as a percent of GDP (red line, right scale):

In the Eurozone, the pattern looks similar before the Financial Crisis, with total debt growing sharply both in euros and as a percent of GDP. But after the Financial Crisis, private-sector debt continued to grow in euro terms. As a percent of GDP, it largely leveled off, and as the economy picked up steam over the past two years, this debt declined to 163{5f621241b214ad2ec6cd4f506191303eb2f57539ef282de243c880c2b328a528} of GDP:

These charts are based on data from the Bank for International Settlements and the St. Louis Fed.

Read More @ WolfStreet.com

134 Earthquakes Strike The San Andreas Fault As The Shaking Of The Earth’s Crust Intensifies

by Michael Snyder, The Economic Collapse Blog:

Within the last 7 days, 134 earthquakes “have hammered a three-mile stretch around Monterey County on the San Andreas fault”.  17 of those earthquakes were of magnitude 2.5 or greater, and many believe that these quakes could be a warning sign that a much bigger quake is imminent.  Let’s hope not, because when the “Big One” finally strikes California we will witness devastation on a scale that is unlike anything that we have seen before in modern American history.  The Northridge earthquake of 1994 was crippling, but it was only a magnitude 6.7 quake.  Experts tell us that when the “Big One” finally hits, we could be looking at a quake of magnitude 9.0 or greater, and such a disaster would make the Northridge earthquake look like a Sunday picnic.

The San Andreas fault stretches for more than 700 miles along the California coast, and in a previous article I discussed how seismologists have warned that it could potentially “unzip all at once”.  There is a reason why it is one of the most famous earthquake faults in the entire world, and all of the shaking that we have seen over the past 7 days has many scientists deeply concerned

In the last week 134 earthquakes have hammered a three-mile stretch around Monterey County on the San Andreas fault.

Of those earthquakes, 17 were stronger than 2.5 magnitude and six of them were stronger than 3.0, with more tremors expected in the coming weeks, experts warn.

It follows fears raised last week that the ‘Big One’ is about to hit after a series of ten ‘mini quakes’ struck the same area.

Let us hope that forecast about “more tremors” is wrong, but those that study these things do acknowledge that the probability of a very large earthquake goes up once we start seeing a bunch of smaller quakes.  For example, in a previous article I included the following quote from the director of the Southern California Earthquake Center

‘Any time there is significant seismic activity in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault, we seismologists get nervous,’ Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, told the LA Times last year.

‘Because we recognize that the probability of having a large earthquake goes up.’

And Mac Slavo recently pointed out that USGS seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones has warned that the “Big One” is way overdue…

Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones, from the US Geological Survey, warned in a dramatic speech that people need to act to protect themselves rather than ignoring the threat. Jones said people’s decision not to accept it will only mean more suffer as scientists warn the ‘Big One’ is now overdue to hit California. In a keynote speech to a meeting of the Japan Geoscience Union and the American Geophysical Union, Dr. Jones warned that the public is yet to accept the randomness of future earthquakes.

People tend to focus on earthquakes happening in the next 30 years but they should be preparing now, she warned. Jones said there are three key reasons why the peril is so frightening – it cannot be seen, it is uncertain, and it seems unknowable. This means people bury their heads in the sand and pretend it won’t happen when they should be prepared and soon for the “big one.”

Of course the shaking that we are currently witnessing in California is far from isolated.

All over the planet we are seeing some very unusual things happen right now.  For example, an enormous volcano in Iceland that has not erupted in 290 years is starting to come to life

A massive ice cauldron measuring one km in diameter has formed at the epicentre of the Öræfajökull volcano.

Stunning satellite images taken during a flyover of the region show the new ice cauldron has developed within the volcano in the last week.

This suggests that activity at the volcano, located in Vatnajökull, Iceland’s largest glacier, is increasing, according to the Icelandic Met Office (IMO).

And officials in Indonesia are warning that Mt. Agung may be about to experience a major eruption for the first time since 1963.  The following comes from TruNews

Indonesia’s Mt. Agung volcano on the island of Bali has erupted, prompting officials to prepare for possible mass evacuations from the popular tourist destination.

Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency was already warning residents and tourists to stay away from an exclusion zone of roughly five miles around the crater. Their warning states the eruption could result in ash clouds that “severely disrupt air travel,” or cause disastrous environmental hazards.

While a main blast has not yet occurred, officials believe it is likely to happen soon. The last such eruption occurred in 1963 and resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people.

Read More @ TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com

Alwaleed Bin Talal Reportedly Hung Upside Down And Beaten By US Mercenaries

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from ZeroHedge:

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be worried that some of the royals rounded up during his “corruption crackdown” cash grab are holding out on him. Because the Saudi prince has reportedly hired a crew of American mercenaries who haven’t hesitated to employ an array of “enhanced interrogation” techniques.

As the Daily Mail reports, mercenaries purportedly employed by Academi, a successor to infamous US security contractor Blackwater, have been stringing up some of MBS’s “guests” at the Riyadh Ritz Carlton by their feet and savagely beating them during interrogations. The claims have spread rapidly on Arabic-language social media, and even Lebanon’s president Michel Aoun has accused MbS of using mercenaries. Still, the Daily Mail isn’t the most reputable news organization, so these reports should be taken with a grain of salt.

‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them, insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.

‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.

The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any U.S. citizen to commit anywhere in the world.

The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested, and could eventually end up with $800 billion in cash and assets to replenish Saudi’s rapidly diminishing reserves. Given the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, and the tacit support for the crackdown among Saudi citizens, who have seen their jobs and generous government subsidies cut, MbS has been able to circumvent the country’s legal system.

  Alwaleed bin Talal
Alwaleed bin Talal

He’s using mercenaries because, according to the Mail, Saudi soldiers might balk at torturing powerful men like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whom they’ve been saluting their entire lives. According to the Mail, Talal, who is (or was, until recently) one of the richest men in the world, has also been hung upside down and beaten.

‘All the guards in charge are private security because MBS (Mohammed Bin Salman) doesn’t want Saudi officers there who have been saluting those detainees all their lives,’ said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

‘Outside the hotels where they are being detained you see the armored vehicles of the Saudi special forces. But inside, it’s a private security company.

‘They’ve transferred all the guys from Abu Dhabi. Now they are in charge of everything,’ said the source.

The source said that Salman, often referred to by his initials MBS, is conducting some of the interrogations himself.

‘When it’s something big he asks them questions,’ the source said.

‘He speaks to them very nicely in the interrogation, and then he leaves the room, and the mercenaries go in. The prisoners are slapped, insulted, hung up, tortured.’

The source says the crown prince is desperate to assert his authority through fear and wants to uncover an alleged network of foreign officials who have taken bribes from Saudi princes.

Read More @ ZeroHedge.com

Saudi Arabia shelling out $7bn more for US munitions amid escalating war against Yemen

from Press TV:

Saudi Arabia has struck a $7 billion deal with American arms manufactures for precision-guided munitions, sources say, a sign that the kingdom and its allies are adamant in pushing ahead with a years-long war on Yemen despite international pressure.

The weapons deal with Raytheon and Boeing is part of a $110 billion agreement between Washington and Riyadh that coincided with US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The US State Department has yet to formally notify the US Congress of the contract, which is expected to draw fire from a growing number of lawmakers who think such deals make the US an accomplice in Saudi Arabia’s war against its impoverished southern neighbor.

The unprovoked war, which began in March 2015, has so far killed over 12,000 Yemenis while destroying the country’s infrastructure, according to the United Nations.

The Saudi-led coalition began the brutal aggression in an attempt to crush the Houthi Ansarullah movement and reinstate former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of the Riyadh regime.

On the ground, however, the outcome has been very different.

The incessant aerial campaign has seen hundreds of schools and medical centers getting destroyed. Saudi-led aircraft have even targeted fuel depots and power plants, according to Yemen’s Human Rights Center.

The rights group added that Saudi military assaults have also destroyed airports, docks, harbors, bridges and hundreds of roads across Yemen.

  PressTV-'Saudi siege leaves 3 Yemeni cities without water'    The International Committee of the Red Cross says the Saudi blockade has put three cities in Yemen in a clean water crisis.
PressTV-‘Saudi siege leaves 3 Yemeni cities without water’ The International Committee of the Red Cross says the Saudi blockade has put three cities in Yemen in a clean water crisis.

The UN has blamed the airstrikes and a strict blockade on Yemen’s only functioning ports and airports as the main reason for deadly outbreak of Cholera in the conflict-ridden country. Some 2,100 people have died of cholera since April and an average of around 2,600 new cases is reported per day.

There are also reports of a diphtheria outbreak in Yemen’s southern parts.

UK-based charity Save the Children warned in November that an estimated 130 or more Yemeni children were losing their lives everyday due to the “extreme hunger and disease” resulting from the Saudi-led war.

‘Precision-guided weapons’

Stuck in what seems to be a deepening quagmire, the Riyadh regime’s outreach for precision-guided munitions is a desperate attempt at convincing observers that civilians were not the target of what many experts believe is a pointless war.

The agreement is likely to be held up in Congress, where Bob Corker, the Republican senator who chairs of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has promised to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other members of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council.

Read More @ PressTV.com

Google’s Eric Schmidt Says Americans Too Dumb To Detect Fake News, Plans to “Derank” Russian News

by Derrick Broze, Activist Post:

Eric Schmidt has made news with his latest announcement that Google is working on ways to “derank” Russian media in the search engine’s results.

At this weekend’s Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and current executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., discussed Google’s efforts to deal with the apparent rise of fake news. Specifically, Schmidt was talking about how the search engine giant might limit the spread of “Russian Propaganda.” Mr. Schmidt said Google might “derank” fake news stories, going as far as mentioning Russian news stations Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik.

“We are working on detecting and deranking those kinds of sites – it’s basically RT and Sputnik,” Schmidt said. “We are well of aware of it, and we are trying to engineer the systems to prevent that [the content being delivered to wide audiences]. But we don’t want to ban the sites – that’s not how we operate.”

Schmidt said Google was not in favor of censorship, but would rather focus on ranking. “I am very strongly in favor of ranking. It’s what we do,” he stated. “It’s a very legitimate question as to how we rank, A or B, right? And we do the best we can in millions and millions of rankings every day.”

The comments about Russian state-owned media broadcasting in English to Americans are the latest consequence of the continued propaganda about Russians “hacking” or “interfering” with the 2016 election. The media claims Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and used WikiLeaks to disseminate the information to the American public. Even if the DNC was hacked by a hacker originating in Russia there has never been any evidence that “the Russians” forced Americans to vote one way or the other.

The corporate media continues to push the narrative despite the biggest bombshell being that Russian intelligence agencies MAY have created FB accounts for the purpose of creating ads aimed at influencing Americans’ election choices. Releasing factual information barely counts as “interference” and does not qualify as hacking by any stretch of the imagination. Regardless, the American politicians and compliant media push forth with the narrative that the Russians stole the election from the American people. As part of this blame game, Twitter recently announced they would no longer accept ads from RT and Sputnik. Just last week RT had to register as a “foreign agent” with the US Department of Justice or face fines and confiscation of property.

Interestingly, Schmidt stated that the 2016 election shows that American audiences are incapable of distinguishing between fake news and real news. Instead, Schmidt believes it is up to tech-giants and their buddies in the government to decide what stories the people are allowed to see and read.

“We started with the default American view that ‘bad’ speech would be replaced with ‘good’ speech, but the problem found in the last year is that this may not be true in certain situations, especially when you have a well-funded opponent who is trying to actively spread this information,” Schmidt stated at the forum.

The idea that both Trump and Clinton were not backed by powerful, wealthy interests is laughable. Both the Democratic and Republican corporate parties are beholden to forces with power and connections beyond the imagination of the average American. Schmidt himself is one of the wealthiest people on the planet worth an estimated $12 billion. In 2012 he was an adviser on digital operations for the Obama campaign and, according to John Podesta’s emails, Schmidt offered the same services to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2015.

Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan responded to Eric Schmidt’s comments with the following statement:

Good to have Google on record as defying all logic and reason: facts aren’t allowed if they come from RT, ‘because Russia’ – even if we have Google on Congressional record saying they’ve found no manipulation of their platform or policy violations by RT.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

Twitter hate speech police ready to punish users for sites they visit on the web

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by Alex Christoforou, The Duran:

Twitter begins monitoring user behavior from “off platform”.

Hit with a serious case of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” coupled with a dose of “Russian Meddling Disease”, Twitter executives are ramping up their hate-speech surveillance to include not only the Twitter platform, but also monitoring sites visited by users outside the Twitter eco-system.

Think twice before accepting Twitter’s cookie policy…you will be tracked and punished for sites you visit by the Twitter hate speech police.

According to Zerohedge, in what amounts to a major shift in Twitter policy, Mashable’s Kerry Flynn reports that the company announced on Friday that it will be monitoring user’s behavior “on and off the platform” and will suspend a user’s account if they affiliate with violent organizations, according to an update to Twitter’s Help Center on Friday.

Abusive Behavior
We believe in freedom of expression and open dialogue, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we prohibit behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.

Context matters when evaluating for abusive behavior and determining appropriate enforcement actions. Factors we may take into consideration include, but are not limited to whether:

  • the behavior is targeted at an individual or group of people;
  • the report has been filed by the target of the abuse or a bystander;
  • the behavior is newsworthy and in the legitimate public interest.

Violence: You may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people. This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism.

You also may not affiliate with organizations that – whether by their own statements or activity both on and off the platform – use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.

Abuse: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.

Hateful conduct: You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.

Hateful imagery and display names: You may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header. You also may not use your username, display name, or profile bio to engage in abusive behavior, such as targeted harassment or expressing hate towards a person, group, or protected category.

Read More @ TheDuran.com

Preparing for an EMP Strike

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from HomesteadPrepper:

Human Rights Leader: Fusion GPS Paid “a Whole Bunch” of Reporters in Cash to Spread Smear on Trump (Video)

by Jim Rickards, Daily Reckoning:

The scandal of the century

The scandal behind the discredited Russia-Trump dossier deepened this week as it was discovered that Fusion GPS received money from the Russians and DNC to write their slanderous report on Donald Trump.

And then it was discovered that Fusion GPS paid at least three journalists during and after the election to push the phony dossier. The three reporters were on the record reporting negative stories about Donald Trump.

And on Wednesday night investigative reporter Todd Shepherd from the Washington Examiner joined Brian Kilmeade to discuss the scandal. Thor Halvorssen, who was a victim of a Fusion GPS smear campaign, then dropped this bomb.

Thor Halvorssen: What Fusion GPS does is create fake news. They get paid to smear people. And the fact that the House investigators have found that these three journalists have been paid, they should unredact that. And I should note that just because it’s in their banking records doesn’t mean that there was a whole bunch of other journalists who didn’t get paid in cash. I have no doubt that they also paid journalists in cash. It’s what Fusion GPS does. And a lot of journalists don’t want it on the record so they take it in cash. This is a massive scandal.

Thor Halvorssen is a Venezuelan human rights advocate who was viciously smeared by Fusion GPS at the behest of the Marxist Chavez regime.

Via Tucker Carlson Tonight with Brian Kilmeade:

Read More @ DailyReckoning.com

Russia, India, Iran and Turkey Forge Ahead with Eurasian Integration

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by Pepe Escobar, Russia Insider:

“You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows across Eurasia; integration, all the way.” – Despite Washington’s best efforts …

Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hassan Rouhani will hold a summit this Wednesday in Sochi to discuss Syria. Russia, Turkey and Iran are the three power players at the Astana negotiations – where multiple cease-fires, as hard to implement as they are, at least evolve, slowly but surely, towards the ultimate target – a political settlement.

A stable Syria is crucial to all parties involved in Eurasia integration. As Asia Times reported, China has made it clear that a pacified Syria will eventually become a hub of the New Silk Roads, known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – building on the previous business bonanza of legions of small traders commuting between Yiwu and the Levant.

Away from intractable war and peace issues, it’s even more enlightening to observe how Turkey, Iran and Russia are playing their overlapping versions of Eurasia economic integration and/or BRI-related business.

Much has to do with the energy/transportation connectivity between railway networks – and, further on the down the road, high-speed rail – and what I have described, since the early 2000s, as Pipelineistan.

The Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, a deal brokered in person in Baku by the late Dr Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski, was a major energy/geopolitical coup by the Clinton administration, laying out an umbilical steel cord between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.

 

Now comes the Baku-Tblisi-Kars (BTK) railway – inaugurated with great fanfare by Erdogan alongside Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, but also crucially Kazakh Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and Uzbek Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov. After all, this is about the integration of the Caucasus with Central Asia.

Erdogan actually went further: BTK is “an important chain in the New Silk Road, which aims to connect Asia, Africa, and Europe.” The new transportation corridor is configured as an important Eurasian hub linking not only the Caucasus with Central Asia but also, in the Big Picture, the EU with Western China.

BTK is just the beginning, considering the long-term strategy of Chinese-built high-speed rail from Xinjiang across Central Asia all the way to Iran, Turkey, and of course, the dream destination: the EU. Erdogan can clearly see how Turkey is strategically positioned to profit from it.

Of course, BTK is not a panacea. Other connectivity points between Iran and Turkey will spring up, and other key BRI interconnectors will pick up speed in the next few years, such as the Eurasian Land Bridge across the revamped Trans-Siberian and an icy version of the Maritime Silk Road: the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic.

What’s particularly interesting in the BTK case is the Pipelineistan interconnection with the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP), bringing natural gas from the massive Azeri gas field Shah Deniz-2 to Turkey and eventually the EU.

Turkish analyst Cemil Ertem stresses, “just like TANAP, the BTK Railway not only connects three countries, but also is one of the main trade and transport routes in Asia and Europe, and particularly Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan ports. It connects Central Asia to Turkey with the Marmaray project in Istanbul and via the Caspian region. Along with the Southern Gas Corridor, which constitutes TANAP’s backbone, it will also connect ports on the South China Sea to Europe via Turkey.”

It’s no wonder BTK has been met with ecstatic reception across Turkey – or, should we say, what used to be known as Asia Minor. It does spell out, graphically, Ankara’s pivoting to the East (as in increasing trade with China) as well as a new step in the extremely complex strategic interdependence between Ankara and Moscow; the Central Asian “stans”, after all, fall into Russia’s historical sphere of influence.

Add to it the (pending) Russian sale of the S-400 missile defense system to Ankara, and the Russian and Chinese interest in having Turkey as a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

From IPI to IP and then II

Now compare the BTK coup with one of Pipelineistan’s trademark cliff-hanging soap operas; the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India), previously dubbed “the peace pipeline”.

Read More @ Russia-Insider.com