SCW NEWSWATCH: “The New Geopolitics of the Arctic; Russia’s and China’s Evolving Role in the Region” – RAND/ Stephanie Pezard/ Canadian House of Commons Testimony

Arctic Region Map

[click here to jump to embedded PDF of full document]

“Russia’s Arctic region is strategically important for the Kremlin …. First, it contains major population centers: With 350,000 inhabitants, Arkhangelsk is the largest Arctic town, followed by Murmansk, with 300,000 … Under … Putin, the Russian Arctic has been emphasized as a patriotic and nationalistic theme. Secondly, Russia’s economy relies heavily on its oil and gas industry, and such resources are heavily present in the Arctic, including in the Yamal region, where Russia has recently developed a massive liquified natural gas (LNG) plant and terminal. Russia … is particularly sensitive to security issues around energy infrastructure ….

Thirdly, the Northern Sea Route (NSR) … along Russia’s northern shore, between the Kara Sea and the Bering Strait [] is becoming increasingly navigable. … Russia’s Northern Fleet is based in the Kola Peninsula, near Murmansk, and contains two-thirds of Russia’s nuclear submarine fleet … the Arctic … protects Russia’s strategic deterrent and … allows a sizable share of its Navy to reach the northern Atlantic. Russia’s military capabilities in the Arctic have steadily increased over the past ten years. Russia has opened new airfields and refurbished old ones; created a dedicated northern command for the region; and set up two Arctic brigades. It also is planning to substantially increase its icebreaker fleet … already … the largest in the world. Russia’s new military base on Aleksandra Land is touted as the ‘largest building in the entire circumpolar high Arctic.’ …”

Click here for: “The New Geopolitics of the Arctic; Russia’s and China’s Evolving Role in the Region” – RAND/ Stephanie Pezard/ Canadian House of Commons Testimony 









Arctic Region Map



SCW NEWSWATCH: “Syrian rebels start to withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib buffer zone” – Reuters

Syria Map

“Syrian Turkey-backed rebel groups began to withdraw heavy weaponry from a demilitarized zone agreed [upon] by Turkey and Russia in northwest Syria on Saturday, rebels said. The Turkey-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL) rebel alliance said in a statement the process of withdrawing heavy weapons had begun, but the fighters would remain in their positions …. Under the deal … rebels will be required to withdraw by the middle of this month … and heavy weaponry must be withdrawn by Oct. 10. The NFL … said … rebels would remain … to assist Turkish troops monitoring and patrolling …. The main jihadist group in the Idlib area, Tahrir al-Sham, has yet to say whether it will comply with the agreement.”

Click here for: “Syrian rebels start to withdraw heavy weapons from Idlib buffer zone” – Reuters







 

SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Ukraine needs Azov Sea base to counter new Russian threat: military chief” – Reuters

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“Ukraine will build a military base on the Azov Sea and has sent more forces to the area to counter a worsening Russian threat, Ukraine’s armed forces head [said] … referring to an arm of the Black Sea [where Ukraine and Russia both have coastlines]. Ukraine has been at loggerheads with Russia since the 2014 annexation of Crimea and more than 10,000 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian troops and Moscow-backed separatists. Ukraine and NATO countries accuse Russia of supplying troops and heavy weapons to eastern Ukraine, which Moscow denies. Viktor Muzhenko, Chief of the General Staff, said Russia had moved beyond covert fighting in the Donbass region, home of a Kremlin-backed separatist insurgency, to building up its military presence on Ukraine’s borders and nakedly aggressive actions against ships sailing to Ukrainian ports. * * *

… Muzhenko said [U.S.-supplied] Javelin[] [anti-tank missiles] ha[ve] been tested … but … not … deployed in battle …. Asked whether Ukraine wanted to buy the U.S. Patriot air defense system, he said various options were being considered.”

Click here for: “Ukraine needs Azov Sea base to counter new Russian threat: military chief” – Reuters





Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia





SCW RUSSIAWIRE: “Russia begins missile system delivery to Syria, warns West on peace talks” – Reuters

Syria Map

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday Moscow had started delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria … Russia, along with Iran, has helped Assad recover huge amounts of lost territory in Syria without persuading him to agree to any political reforms. It has also pushed its own talks with Iran and Turkey, known as the Astana process.

… Some diplomats have said [an] Israeli incident [involving Syria shooting down a Russian plane during an incursion by Israeli jets] and a Turkish-Russian deal to suspend an offensive on the last rebel-held stronghold of Idlib could provide a window to push for … U.N. Security Council [UNSC] resolution 2254 [aiming to end the] conflict in Syria. The [UNSC] … has mandated [that] U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura … get a deal on a new constitution, new elections and a reform of Syria’s governance. …”

Click here for: “Russia begins missile system delivery to Syria, warns West on peace talks” – Reuters







Brett Kavanaugh, Trump Supreme Court Nominee, Clerked for Pro-Abortion Anthony Kennedy, Year After Kennedy Cast Deciding Pro-Abortion Vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey

Supreme Court Facade with Parkland and Blossoming Trees, adapted from image at supremecourt.gov

For the second time in a row, President Donald Trump has nominated to the Supreme Court someone who chose to clerk for pro-abortion Justice Anthony Kennedy not long after Kennedy cast the deciding vote to keep abortion decriminalized, despite abortion being the biggest threat to American lives and one of the most grotesque human rights violations of this era.



Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which modified yet, nevertheless, reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, was argued April 22, 1992 and decided on June 29, 1992.

Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, signed on to be a law clerk for Kennedy for the October term of 1993, according to Kavanaugh’s public biography on the D.C. Court of Appeals web site.

By comparison, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is listed as having clerked for Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy in 1993 and 1994.  (Gorsuch’s path was a bit more circuitous.  He was hired as a kind of retirement benefit for a newly retired Justice White, similar to former presidents being provided a secretary.  While on the scene, he benefited from the opportunity for such “clerks” to also be added to the work done for actual, active Justices.)



The willingness to clerk for a pro-abortion jurist, especially so soon after Kennedy cast the deciding vote to keep abortion alive as judicial precedent, would ordinarily call into question the moral compass of a legal professional; his commitment or lack thereof to respect for human life; or his willingness to sacrifice moral principles for the sake of wealth, status and advancement.

Many questions remain — is Kavanaugh himself pro-abortion; does he simply not care that much about the matter; is he willing to “go along to get along” to gain wealth and status.  He later became a partner at the prominent Kirkland and Ellis law firm with little or no apparent law practice experience, with his main resume points being the Supreme Court clerkship and several years of assisting Ken Starr’s special prosecutor activities.



Any temptation to seek to minimize the significance of Kavanaugh’s actions because of the passage of time or his comparatively younger age would have to ignore the fact that he already was a grown man a few years out of law school, with other judicial clerkship experience already behind him.

Yet most glaring is his willingness, like Gorsuch, to ratify and make current his moral failing by saluting Anthony Kennedy in his remarks at the White House during the announcement of his own nomination to the Supreme Court.

With that action, his moral apathy and lack of a properly formed moral conscience was not simply part of a career stepping stone in his twenties.  It was updated to become part of his reality today.

Given the mind-boggling, and therefore treasonous scope of so-called abortion, apparently nearing 60 million Americans dead in their mother’s wombs from surgical abortions alone since Roe v. Wade, the logical response should be to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination and begin the process of replacing Trump.

Trump still has time to reverse course and find a more appropriate nominee.  Yet there is little indication that he would do so, especially considering his insistence of repeating his praise of his own mistaken choice of Gorsuch.

Even though Trump promised to “drain the swamp” and assist a Culture of Life, two times in a row he has nominated a former Washingtonian insider child of privilege who clerked for the same pro-abortion Supreme Court Justice.  He has done so in a climate of moral quietism that tries to treat the unthinkable horror of abortion as “business as usual” or settled law.

For thinking Americans who care about American lives, right and wrong and a solid national foundation in rule of law, the best choice is to oppose the Kavanaugh nomination and begin the process of replacing Trump with someone more suitable.







NEWSWATCH: “Exiled #Kremlin Critic Killed In Kyiv In Brazen Daylight Shooting” – RFE/RL

Map of Ukraine and Environs, Including Russia

“A former #Russian lawmaker who defected to #Ukraine and aired damning criticism of #Russia’s leadership has been gunned down in broad daylight in the heart of Kyiv in what Ukraine’s president called ‘An act of state #terrorism by Russia.’ … ex-#Duma Deputy Denis #Voronenkov was killed by a gunman as he and his bodyguard were approaching the five-star Premier Palace Hotel …. the attacker fired at least eight shots at the 45-year-old Voronenkov with an ‘old Soviet pistol.’ … caught on security cameras.  The attacker was shot in the ensuing gunbattle with Voronenkov’s lone bodyguard and apprehended by police on the street nearby. He later died in hospital … there was initially no word on his identity. … the bodyguard, who was wounded in the exchange of gunfire … was provided by Ukrainian authorities in the past month because there was ‘reason to fear’ that Voronenkov’s life might be in danger. … Voronenkov had become a vocal critic of Kremlin policy toward Ukraine, including its military invasion and annexation of Crimea. But the former communist lawmaker was also unpopular among Ukrainian nationalists, some of whom were dubious of his loyalties and critical of authorities fast-tracking a Ukrainian passport ….”

Click here for: “Exiled Kremlin Critic Killed In Kyiv In Brazen Daylight Shooting” – RFE/RL







NEWSWATCH: “Denis Voronenkov: ex-#Russian MP who fled to #Ukraine killed in Kiev; Vladimir #Putin’s spokesman dismisses claims that Moscow is linked to the killing of #Kremlin critic who left #Russia last year and renounced citizenship.” – The Guardian (UK)

Map of European Portion of Russia and Environs

“A former #Russian MP who had fled to Ukraine was shot dead on a busy street in central Kiev …. Denis #Voronenkov, who had spoken out against … #Putin and #Kremlin policies, was shot three times outside the upmarket Premier Palace hotel. #Ukraine’s president, Petro #Poroshenko, quickly pointed the finger at Russian authorities, calling the killing an act of ‘state #terrorism’. …”

Click here for: “Denis Voronenkov: ex-Russian MP who fled to Ukraine killed in Kiev; Vladimir Putin’s spokesman dismisses claims that Moscow is linked to the killing of Kremlin critic who left Russia last year and renounced citizenship.” – The Guardian (UK)







NEWSWATCH: “French President Links Nice Attack to Iraq, Syria Conflict” – ABC

Middle East Map

… French President Francois Hollande linked the deadly ‘terrorist attack’ in Nice to the conflict in Iraq and Syria — and said France will intensify its military operations there in the aftermath of today’s tragedy. * * * Prior to tonight’s tragedy, France had been targeted in two major terrorist attacks within the last year and a half. In January 2015 extremists linked to both al Qaeda and ISIS killed 12 people in an assault on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. In November the same year, an ISIS cell killed 130 people in coordinated attacks also in Paris. … In the past, both ISIS and al Qaeda have encouraged their followers to kill Westerners by using vehicles as weapons. After the Nice attack, online ISIS supporters expressed jubilation at the carnage ….

Click here for ABC: French President Links Nice Attack to Iraq, Syria Conflict



 

 

NEWSWATCH: “At least 80 dead, 18 seriously injured in Bastille Day terror attack in France” – Fox News

Map of France

At least 80 people were killed … 18 others … seriously injured Thursday when a terrorist drove a large truck loaded with guns and hand grenades into a crowd … gathered for a Bastille Day fireworks display in the southern French city of Nice.

…  no immediate claim of responsibility, but two sources, including a U.S. counterterrorism source who collects and monitors jihadist social media, told Fox News that accounts linked to ISIS were ‘celebratory’ and their followers were told to use the hashtag ‘Nice’.

Click here for Fox News: “At least 80 dead, 18 seriously injured in Bastille Day terror attack in France”