Wars and rumors of wars are now filling the headlines as listed below with the most immediate top-level rumors of war being created by Russia among its own citizens.
Rumors of wars directly from the Kremlin
As tensions between the US and Russia have reached their highest since the Cold War, Russia denounced American duplicity last week and asked its own citizens whether they are ready for a nuclear attack. The Russian government cautioned people to know where their nearest bomb/fallout shelters are and know where their gas masks are in a drill that involved 40 million Russians. The Russia defense ministry explained to the public how the government would run under military control in the event of war. Russia deployed additional nuclear missiles in response to the US missile shield in Eastern Europe and tested new intercontinental ballistic missiles. Not bad for a week’s news. (ABC News)
Yet, that was just one small part of the many rumors of war in the past week because the US government also issued top-level rumors of war.
Rumors of war directly from the White House
The Obama administration made formal accusations that Russia is engaged in cyber war with the US by interfering directly in US elections as more of Hillary Clinton’s hacked emails went public. Russia slammed unprecedented US threats of retaliation against such cyber attacks, pointing out that the US has never demonstrated any evidence that the hacking came from Russia. Russia vowed to respond to what it said are false accusations but did not say what kind of response it meant.
After US Vice President Joe Biden’s formal complaint against Russia, NBC reported that the CIA is planning a retaliatory cyber attack. Sources said the CIA has already begun selecting targets that will harass and embarrass the Russian government. The US has made such plans and then backed away in the past because such a move could launch an all-out cyber war in which Russia could be expected to retaliate with even worse measures, such as a shut down of the US electrical grid, rather than just exposure of embarrassing emails.
The Kremlin’s spokesman replied, “The threats directed against Moscow and our state’s leadership are unprecedented because they are voiced at the level of the US vice president. To the backdrop of this aggressive, unpredictable line, we must take measures to protect (our) interests.” Russia’s foreign minister said the claims were “flattering” but baseless. (Yahoo News)
Russian rumors of permanent military presence in Middle East
On Friday, the Kremlin announced that Putin just ratified an agreement with Syria that allows Russia to use one of its air bases indefinitely, creating a more permanent Russian presence in the Middle East. Russia also announced last week plans to build a permanent naval base in the Syrian port town of Tartus. (The Jerusalem Post)
As mentioned in my previous article, Russia also announced during the prior week that it would start shooting down any unidentified jets flying over Syria. These would most likely be US stealth bombers. In response, the UK ordered Royal Air Force pilots to shoot down any Russian jets flying over Syria and Iraq if they feel endangered by them — pilot’s discretion. “We now have a situation where a single pilot, irrespective of nationality, can have a strategic impact on future events.” (Zero Hedge)
Other rumors of wars from the US
My article last week also reported that Russia had terminated cooperation with the US on one of its key nuclear disarmament agreements with the US on the basis that the US was not following through with anything it had promised. This after the Obama Admin. said it would (on Friday) be considering direct air attacks against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria — the first direct moves being considered by the US to overthrow Assad’s regime. Previous moves were against ISIS in Syria. (Reuters)
Turkey’s deputy prime minister said, “If this proxy war continues, after this, let me be clear, America and Russia will come to a point of war,” adding that the world was “on the brink of the beginning of a large regional or global war.” (RT)
US proxy war with Iran in Yemen
These wars are now more than just rumors from the top, though it is quite something to be living through a time when there are so many rumors of war that do come directly from the top. We are seeing an expansion of real, hot wars.
Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen fired repeatedly on American ships last week, and Americans returned fire with cruise missiles against the radar towers that targeted them. No US ships were hit, but the attacks and reprisal launched a real two-sided hot war in Yemen that quickly became more than just a US strike against Yemeni terrorists.
Iran deployed war ships in Yemen in response, flexing its own muscles against the US. Iran’s moves were seen as being essentially Iranian harassment of the US over control of the Red Sea. Fox News went a step further in calling the war in Yemen a proxy war between the US and Iran since the stations the US struck are backed by Iranian support.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said President Barack Obama authorized the strikes at the recommendation of Defense Secretary Ash Carter and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.
As an indication that the fight is about more than terror operations in Yemen, but also over control of access to the Red Sea, a Chinese war ship and Russian intelligence ship were also seen in the same region last week. (Fox News)