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November 4, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8346

Russian Expert Danilov: State Disinformation Will Lead Russia Over A Cliff

November 4, 2019
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8346
Russian expert Yuri Danilov, a senior researcher at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), denounces the manipulation of macro-economic data by the Russian authorities. He recalled that such statistical rigging had existed in Soviet history and played a certain role in the USSR's collapse. Danilov argues that if such manipulations persist, Russia could at best land in deep trouble, and at worst could go off a cliff. Below is Danilov's article:[1] (Source: Novayagazeta.ru) "During the late Soviet era, this anecdote was in circulation. The train stops because railway tracks go no further. Here is the reaction [typical] of various Soviet leaders to this situation. Stalin: 'Shoot the engine driver, arrest the passengers and let them carry the train forward in their arms.' Khrushchev: 'Disassemble the rails at the back and lay them in front.' Brezhnev: 'Close the curtains, rock the train.' "Now we are observing the latter choice – 'Close the curtains, rock the train.' Rosstat, which was transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development's authority, reports on the growth rate of the most important macroeconomic indicators, which cannot be confirmed upon their comparison with dependent indicators. "Based on the results of 2018, a 5% increase in construction work has to be accompanied by an increase in transportation, production of building materials, etc. But this was absent in the Rosstat figures. If this [increase] was a one-time occurrence as hinted to the public ('completing the construction of a large secret object'), then in 2019 there should have been a decrease, but that did not occur. In other words, going in both directions of a simple verification (a comparison by sector and a comparison by time series), it turns out that this 5% increase was simply painted on. In my opinion, no one has any doubts about this. "Data on the dynamics of industrial production, construction, investment in fixed assets is being highly falsified quite openly. True there is possibly another explanation - it is in these areas that cost parameters are most easily compared with natural ones, and therefore falsifications are simply more noticeable. Rosstat figures on the growth rate of industrial production in June, July and August 2019 (against the corresponding period last year) - 3.3%; 2.8%; 2.9% are absolutely implausible. "This is clearly seen, for example, when comparing them with the freight turnover of transport, which even decreased during these three months or with the dynamics of electricity consumption and etc. In 2019, for the first time in Russian domestic history, a situation developed when the range of assessments of analytical centers involved in assessing macroeconomic dynamics did not even closely overlap with Rosstat figures. "The consensus of leading think tanks on growth rates for industrial production (arithmetic means estimates) in June – August: 0.4%; 1.8%; 1.2%. "Almost all authoritative macroeconomists during the current year criticized the activities of the statistical agency, exposing the inconsistency of certain indicators with concrete examples. "Such coarse cheating on economic statistics is apparently connected with two circumstances. Firstly, the cheating possibilities via less glaring tools have been exhausted. For a long time 'adjustment for the 'gray' sector of the economy' helped considerably to increase the numbers on paper, because the share of the 'gray sector' in the economy was estimated quite arbitrarily. If one year this share was estimated at 33% of the 'white sector', and next year it would be estimated at 35%, giving a markup of about 1.5%, when the actual growth of the 'white sector' was 5%. But forcing the share of the grey sector to over 50% is somehow completely obscene and politically dangerous. Therefore, other methods were required. "I cannot say that Russia is the only country where a politicized adjustment of macroeconomic indicators exists. But it gives me simply aesthetic pleasure to observe how the Chinese comrades elegantly and with most profound knowledge of the interconnections between economic parameters, recalculate indicators, keeping all proportions within credible limits. And here the second circumstance comes into force. "Secondly, in Russia, the qualifications of specialists involved in the processes of 'performance adjustment' are, to put it mildly, low. […] Graduates of Russian universities of the 21st century who have joined the public service do not seem to understand what the economy is at all. "The manipulation of statistics existed in Soviet history [...]. And we must admit that it played its part in the collapse of the USSR. "The decline in real disposable income is also apparently embroidered; the real decline is likely to be greater. The main element of real disposable income is real salary; its index is considered to be a correlation of indices of nominal salary and consumer prices. If you rely on the official figures of Rosstat, this ratio is maintained. But ever increasing questions appear as to the adequacy of inflation estimates, especially after the advent of alternative estimates. The official Rosstat data, on the one hand, and population estimates, information on which is collected by the Bank of Russia while setting the key rate on the other hand, differ significantly in Russia, way more than similar indicators in other countries do. "In recent years, my colleague at RANEPA, Alexander Abramov, has been monitoring his family budget to identify real inflation. And I must say that this pioneering work provides estimates that also differ significantly from official data. By the way, the economist Grigory Khanin in 2017 in an interview with 'Ogonyok' magazine estimated unaccounted inflation at 2%. The population as a whole is impoverished, and the pace of this impoverishment is likely to be higher than Rosstat shows. This is also being indicated by the annual increase in the tax ratios in the structure of household expenses and the debt obligations ratio in their savings observed in the last 3 years. […] "All these shenanigans are unsafe. Rosstat is the eyes of the state. They are already wearing pink glasses with already broken lenses (how else to evaluate the gaps in the data series after the introduction of new methods?), But this year, it seems, they decided to also attach quite crudely a large magnifying glass on top of the preexisting enhancement inflation of the reality. "Where will such a state arrive at? In the optimistic scenario- into deep trouble, in the pessimistic one, it will go over the cliff. "The misinformation of state and society actually deprives people who make economic decisions of the opportunity to rely on scientific justifications. Using the data of the Federal State Statistics Service, it is already impossible to construct a correct regression, not to mention the construction of time series suitable for forecasting: the numbers do not meet; the rows diverge. Under these conditions, decisions can only be made blindly, at random." Yuri Danilov (Source: Youtube.com)     [1] Novayagazeta.ru, October 13, 2019.

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Nov 03, 2019
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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: We must Not Engage in Negotiations with America in Order to Prevent It from Entering Iran Again

#7573 | 03:28
Source: Channel 1 (Iran)

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with students ahead of the November 4 anniversary of the U.S. embassy takeover. At the meeting, Khamenei said that the youth must be reminded that the Islamic Revolution was carried out against America. He stated that Iran must not engage in negotiations with America and that this will be tough for America. Khamenei said that Iran produces missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers and a margin of error of only one meter. Khamenei said this is also tough for America, which in turn says that Iran must destroy these missiles. However, Khamenei said: “If you accept this you are done for and if you refuse to accept this, things will remain the same.” Khamenei’s speech was aired on November 3, 2019 on Channel 1 (Iran).

Following are excerpts:

 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: In principle, the Islamic Revolution was a revolution against America. You should know this, dear youth.

 

[...]
 

During that period – the 41 years that have passed since 1979 – American has done everything it could in its enmity towards the Iranian people.

 

[...]
 

Obviously, we have not been sitting idly by either. We have also done all that we could against America and in many cases, we have managed to push this enemy to the corner of the ring. [America] failed to defend itself properly. This is clear. The whole world sees it. But the most important response by the Islamic Republic to America's schemes – and I want you young people to pay attention to this point...The most important response by the Islamic Republic was to block America from penetrating the country politically once again.

Audience: Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Khamenei is the leader! Death to those who oppose the Rule of the Jurisprudent! Death to America! Death to England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels! Death to Israel!
 

[...]
 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "Preventing the negotiations – we say that we must not engage in negotiations – is one of our tools to prevent and block America from entering [Iran] again. Obviously, this is very tough on the Americans.
 

[...]
 

Today, with the grace of God, our youth produce accurate missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers. They can hit any target within 2,000 kilometers, with a margin of error of one meter. This is tough on [the Americans].

Audience: Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Khamenei is the leader! Death to those who oppose the Rule of the Jurisprudent! Death to America! Death to England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels! Death to Israel!

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: They say that we must destroy these missiles, and we can only have missiles with a range of 150 kilometers. This is what they propose. If you accept this, you are done for and if you refuse to accept this, things will remain as they are.

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Oct 28, 2019
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Australian Islamic Scholar Ismail Al-Wahwah: Advocates of Homosexuality are Child-Killers

#7572 | 04:30
Source: The Internet - "ALWaqiyahTV on YouTube"

In a Friday sermon delivered in an Australian mosque, Ismail Al-Wahwah, of Hizb Ut-Tahrir in Australia spoke about homosexuality. He said that homosexuality is a form of birth prevention, intended to reduce the population of the world. He continued to say that anyone who advocates homosexuality is "a child-killer without a gun". Al-Wahwah referred to advocates of homosexuality as "killers of children" and "childhood killers". The video was uploaded to YouTube on October 28, 2019. Ismail Al-Wahwah returned to Australia in April 2019 after serving a one-year sentence in a Jordanian prison for incitement against the regime. (See MEMRI Special Dispatches 7893 and 5119, MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis 973, and MEMRI TV clips 5440, 5112, 4826, 4672, 4403, and 3695)

Following are excerpts:

 

Ismail Al-Wahwah: From the perspective of the shari'a, there is nothing to talk about. It is clear and goes without saying [that homosexuality is prohibited]. We will not compromise and we will not give up in this regard – unlike some other religions that have succumbed to the pressure of the lobbies. They gave up, and changed their religion, their gospels, and everything... It got to the point where they conduct [same-sex] weddings in churches. Allah willing, this will never happen [in Islam], even if it is done by some immoral people who subscribe to Islam. Islam has a firm stance on this issue. We will not compromise, nor have any dialogue, with people who hold the opinion... This is not about having an opposing view. In Islam, [homosexuality] is absolutely haram. Islam's position regarding this crime must remain clear to us, to our children, and to the generations to come. We are the defenders of humanity. Humanity is to be defended by Islam. If we move from studying what is haram and what is halal in Islam to talking about genes, medicine, and whatever – we are done with.


[...]
 

I watched a video interview with a woman, who is a secretary [sic] in the United Nations. Her name is Christian Figueres. Her name sounds Greek, or maybe she's from Latin America, God knows... In any case, she is the [Executive] Secretary [of the UNFCCC] in the United Nations and she deals with the issue of climate change. She deals with the environment and with global warming. This is a widely debated issue in the world today. The video is on YouTube. The interviewer begins by asking her: 'Wouldn't reducing the world's population help to reduce the danger of global warming?' Reducing the world's population... Her answer was: 'Yes, absolutely.' She said that today's population is larger than it should be, and that in 2050, the world's population will reach nine billion, which will be dangerous for the environment, as well as for the human resources... sorry, I mean for the natural resources. This is dangerous. We have to reduce the number of people... nine billion. The interviewer asked her: 'Can we do anything about this figure? Nine billion is a frightening figure...' She said: 'Yes, we can certainly do something about this figure.' My question is: What can they do with this figure? How can they prevent the world's population from reaching nine billion by 2050? This is the introduction to my address. We can go about this in two ways, in order to avoid this figure. On the one hand, we can deal with the people of today's world: men, women, and children. How can we reduce their numbers? Through wars, diseases, denying medicine, refraining from caring for the elderly, and not procreating... No children, and all that... All this will lead to the reduction of this figure.

 

[...]

 

But there is another, hidden, way: Not to give birth to children. This is a hidden form of murder. Not to give birth. Instead of so-and-so millions or billions of children being born by 2050, people will not have children. Therefore, in my sermon today, I will refer to those who advocate for homosexuality as 'killers of children,' and as 'enemies of childhood.' Whoever advocates [homosexuality] is a child-killer without a gun and an enemy of childhood.

 

[...]

 

I am not talking about those who are dancing in the streets and waving colored flags. These people are victims who do not know what they are doing. But the minds that engineer all this are murderers par excellence. They kill childhood, which is the most beautiful thing in this world. Then they talk to you about progress and freedom... No! You are murderers, in the full sense of the word.

 

[...]

 

The world today is threatened by the products of liberalism: Nuclear weapons, chemical weapons, climate change... These issues are the result of liberal Western civilization, and homosexuality is one of those widespread evil.

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Oct 23, 2019
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Former Kuwaiti Information Minister Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: Arabs Should Stop Accusing British Colonialism of Preventing Arab Unity; We Are the Ones Who Failed to Unite After Sykes-Picot Agreement; Pan-Arab Historians Are Liars

#7571 | 05:07
Source: The Internet - "Diwan Al-Mulla Internet TV Show"

Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf said in an October 23, 2019 interview on Diwan Al-Mullah Internet TV (Kuwait) that the Arabs gained Mosul, South Sudan, and other territories from the British as part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and that Arabs should stop accusing the British and British colonialism of having prevented Arab unity. He said that it was the Arabs themselves who failed to unite and that the Arabs should similarly stop blaming the Balfour Declaration for the establishment of Israel, which he said was ultimately established as a result of WWII and the actions of Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem between 1917 and 1947, who he accused of never having made a correct decision. In addition, Al-Nesf said that since the British started abandoning colonialism after 1945, any praise of post-1945 Arab “heroes” who fought off British colonialism is nonsense. He further said that Arabs are generally ignorant about history and that Arab historians are liars who fabricate history and twist shameful events into victories for the Arabs. He added that the Middle East has become the “sick man of the world.”

Following are excerpts:

 

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: The English [signed] the Sykes-Picot Agreement. The Arabs did not lose anything in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. On the contrary, they gained Mosul. The Arabs received Mosul’s 90,000 square kilometers from the English. They did not have the right to it. There had been a ceasefire agreement between the English and the Turkish army, and the English moved in and annexed Mosul. We never give the English credit for adding Mosul to the Arab world. They got us South Sudan in its entirety. Even when they ruled Egypt, they annexed Uganda to the Egyptian Crown, along with Sudan and other areas. The English annexed to the Arab world areas that we later neglected, like South Sudan, which seceded in our days and not in the days of the British. The size of South Sudan is 620,000 square kilometers. [it is claimed that] the British prevented Arab unity, but did the Arabs unite when the British left, or did they split into 22 countries? Now we fear for Iraq because Kurdistan and the south might secede.

Interviewer: We fear for Lebanon, too…

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: Even Lebanon. All our countries. Syria… So why do we blame the British and say that they prevented our unity? Even the Balfur Declaration could have been dissolved in the annals of history… But we sanctified it…

Interviewer: We made it into a big deal.

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: The declaration itself did not create a [Jewish] state. You could say that the declaration had 10% of the responsibility [for Israel’s establishment]. Hitler alone – whom the Arabs sanctify and whose picture you can see everywhere – had 30-40% of the responsibility for the establishment of Israel, because he made what was a political issue into a humanitarian issue.

Interviewer: True.

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: I would say that Hajj Amin Al-Husseini, who made all those mistakes, has 40% [of the responsibility for Israel’s establishment], because his decisions…

Interviewer: Why do [the Arabs] sanctify Amin Al-Husseini? If you look at his record, you see…

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: A very dubious man.

Interviewer: Dubious!

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: He was also wrong. He was elected but never held accountable. Over the course of 30 years – from 1917 to 1947 – he did not make a single right decision. All his decisions were wrong. Should we not have paid a price for that? Of course we should have. Imagine that I chose you to negotiate on my behalf, but you turned out to be unqualified – am I supposed to pay the price? Yes, I am. We shouldn’t exaggerate in blaming the British. [People talk] about British colonialism even after 1945. In 1945, after World War II, the government of Clement Attlee, who wrote the book My Last Victory, decided that colonialism was useless, and they moved to end colonization. So everything that was said after 1945 about this-or-that patriotic hero, who fought colonialism and liberated countries… It’s all nonsense. When the UAE, along with Qatar and Bahrain, became independent, and when the [Iranian] Shah was still powerful… Some of these Gulf states tried to delay the British withdrawal because they feared the Shah. But Britain refused. It insisted on pulling out. Much of what has been said about Britain is not true – like in 90% of cases in our history. Maybe sometimes we can sit together and discuss case by case, and you will see that it is all the complete opposite of the truth.

Interviewer: For many years, we studied some politicians who were influenced by the Arab Revolution without giving any thought to the record of the people who wrote about the revolution and whatever… We glorified some people only to find out that they had nothing to contribute…

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: They all fabricated history. One of them was [Hassanein] Heikal, the greatest fabricator of history. Heikal turned the shameful defeat of 1956 into victory. He even found justification for the [defeat] in 1967. He would justify anything that could harm Egypt and the Arab world. Even today we have the same kind of fabricating writers.

Interviewer: Nothing has changed.

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: Nothing has changed.

Interviewer: To this day, the public listens to people who are liars and who fabricate history – the history of Kuwait and the history of the Arabs.

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: And some Arabs even sanctify them…

Interviewer: Very much so, sadly. This is due to the general level of ignorance.

 

[…]

 

What’s going on today is perhaps more dangerous than Sykes-Picot. Today, the countries of the region…

Sami Abdullatif Al-Nesf: More dangerous than Sykes-Picot?

Interviewer: Yes, much more dangerous. In the days of Sykes-Picot, the Ottoman empire was the “Sick Man of Europe.” Today, our region, with its countries and resources, constitutes the “Sick Man of the World.”

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Oct 09, 2019
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Former Jordanian Health Minister Dr. Zaid Hamzeh: We Arabs Supported Hitler during WWII Because He Hated the Jews

#7570 | 03:02
Source: A One TV (Jordan)

Former Jordanian Health Minister Dr. Zaid Hamzeh said in an October 9, 2019 interview on A One TV (Jordan) that nations oftentimes only progress after having suffered for centuries and that future Arab generations must suffer before progressing. In addition, he said that he had supported Adolf Hitler during World War II like other Arabs, and recalled that in fourth grade his school had participated in demonstrations and chanted "Long live Abu Ali," which he said had been a reference to Hitler. Dr. Hamzeh said that the Arabs supported Hitler because he hated the Jews, although he added the Arabs have a general tendency to admire dictators.

 

Following are excerpts:

 

Interviewer: "After all those years, did you expect to see what has happened in recent years? Did you expect in the 40s, 50s, and 60s that we would reach where we are at?"

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "With all modesty, I would have to say 'yes'. It's no prophecy... It was based on political and historical analysis.

 

[...]

 

"Other nations have progressed after having suffered for centuries."

 

Interviewer: "Centuries? So we should leave it to our children, and our children's children? We want to resolve the problem now."

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "They must suffer. Of course. They must suffer like other nations that have gone through wars and lost... We are sad about the martyrs and victims we lose, but other nations have paid the price for their progress in millions of people. Millions! Most recently, in the first and second World Wars..."

 

Interviewer: "Yes, yes. It is said that in WWII, Russia alone lost 20 million people."

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "Right."

 

Interviewer: "It was the Soviet Union at the time. Do you remember WWII?"

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "Of course."

 

Interviewer: "Did you support Hitler, like all the Arabs?"

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "Yes. The first demonstration I participated in... They took us out of fourth grade. I was exactly nine years old. I asked: 'What's the demonstration for?' [The slogan was:] 'Down with X, but long live Abu Ali!' Abu Ali was a reference to Hitler, but we didn't know that. They didn't tell us. We took to the streets to support him when the Rashid Ali Al-Gailani revolution broke out in Iraq. We supported the revolution, and, of course, [we supported] Hitler, because he hated the Jews, and we have been mad at the Jews ever since those days."

 

Interviewer: "Was that really the reason, or was it because we Arabs, by nature – and I don't have time to give a historical review... We love dictators."

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "No."

 

Interviewer: "Really?"

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "Nobody loves dictators, except for people who have been led astray, and I don't want to use..."

 

Interviewer: "We love people who kill and slaughter. We consider this to be a sign of manliness."

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "Unfortunately, many people do, but we shouldn't generalize."

 

Interviewer: "Right, not everybody..."

 

Zaid Hamzeh: "But with regard to dictators, you are right. We laud the dictator and wish he would come back. We want him to come riding in on a white horse and to liberate the land, while the people here are in a slumber or watching from the sideline."

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ISIS Claims Attacks On French Forces, Malian Army, In Northeastern Mali

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November 3, 2019


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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Al-Qaeda Supporters Alarmed By Success Of Al-Baghdadi Raid, Fear Al-Qaeda Operatives Will Be Targeted Next

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November 3, 2019


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The Cyber & Jihad Lab

The Cyber & Jihad Lab monitors, tracks, translates, researches, and analyzes cyber jihad originating from the Middle East, Iran, South Asia, and North and West Africa. It innovates and experiments with possible solutions for stopping cyber jihad, advancing legislation and initiatives federally – including with Capitol Hill and attorneys-general – and on the state level, to draft and enforce measures that will serve as precedents for further action. It works with leaders in business, law enforcement, academia, and families of terror victims to craft and support efforts and solutions to combat cyber jihad, and recruits, and works with technology industry leaders to craft and support efforts and solutions.

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Nov 01, 2019
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In a Qom Friday Sermon on the Eve of the Anniversary of the 1979 Takeover of U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Ayatollah Saidi Incites Iraqis against U.S. Embassy in Baghdad: It Is the Source of All the Strife in Iraq; The Iraqis Should Draw Lessons from Iran

#7569 | 01:57
Source: Channel 2 (Iran)

Ayatollah Mohammad Saidi, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative in Qom Province, said in a November 1, 2019 Friday sermon in Qom that the main source of strife, lack of security, backwardness, dispute, and plundering of property in Iraq is the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He recalled the 1979 student takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, which led to the Iran hostage crisis, and said that the Iraqi people should “draw the lesson” from Iran. The audience chanted: “Allah Akbar! Khamenei is the Leader... Death to America! Death to England… Death to Israel!” The sermon aired on Channel 2 (Iran).

Following are excerpts:

 

Ayatollah Mohammad Saidi: The main source of the lack of security, the backwardness, the disputes, and the plundering of property in Iraq is the American embassy in that country. The main source of all the strife is the American embassy in Iraq. If the students who followed the path of Imam [Khomeini] had not taken over the American embassy at the beginning of the Revolution, and had they not exposed America’s crimes… Rest assured that if Imam [Khomeini] had not authorized this measure, the second revolution – with the struggle against America at its core – would not have crystallized.

 

[…]

 

Right now, the only way for salvation, healing, and release from the American strife in Iraq is for the Iraqi people to draw the lesson from the successful experience of Islamic Iran.

Audience: Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Allah Akbar! Khamenei is the Leader! Death to those who oppose the Rule of the Jurisprudent! Death to America! Death to England! Death to the hypocrites and the infidels! Death to Israel!

Ayatollah Mohammad Saidi: The honorable Iraqi people must know that the American embassy in Baghdad is the cornerstone and center of strife in Iraq.

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November 3, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8345

Russia This Week – Focus On Russia's Foreign Relations – November 3, 2019

November 3, 2019
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 8345
Russia This Week is a weekly review by the MEMRI Russian Media Studies Project, covering the latest Russia-related news and analysis from media in Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Photo Of The Week Putin speaking at the plenary session of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum. (Source: Kremlin.ru) In The News: Russia-Africa Relations Russia-China Relations Russia-Cuba Relations Russia-Hungary Relations News In Brief: Russia In Syria; Russia-Iran-Turkey Relations; Russia-Egypt Relations; Defense; ASEAN; Russia-Gulf Relations; Kalashnikov's Anniversary; Thefts In Construction Of President Putin’s Residence Russia-Africa Relations Putin meeting with President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, African Union Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Russia-Africa Summit Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. (Source: Kremlin.ru) Putin: Russia And Africa Are Bound By Traditionally Friendly Ties The Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum were held on October 23-24, 2019 in Sochi. During the summit, Putin delivered an address speech, stressing Russia-African ties. Putin said: "… Russia and Africa are bound by traditionally friendly ties. Our country has consistently supported the national liberation movements of the peoples of Africa, we have made a significant contribution to the formation of young states and the development of their economies, as well as building up combat-ready armed forces. "Our cooperation, rooted in the period of the joint fight against colonialism, is strategic and long-standing. Of course, there are significant opportunities for intensifying Russian-African cooperation in various fields… "We are grateful to our African partners for supporting the resolutions that are of priority for us, namely, to combat the glorification of Nazism, the non-deployment of weapons first in outer space, confidence-building measures in outer space, and international information security. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Russia is determined to continue taking an active part in charting the strategic line of the international community and practical measures as regards strengthening peace and stability in Africa and maintaining regional security…" (Kremlin.ru, October 24, 2019) Putin: 'Our Country Is Participating In An Initiative To Ease The African Countries’ Debt Burden' At the plenary session of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum, Putin said: "Our country is participating in an initiative to ease the African countries’ debt burden. To date, the total amount of write-offs stands at over $20 billion. Joint programs have been launched with a number of countries involving the use of debt to finance national economic growth projects." (Kremlin.ru, October 23, 2019) Kommersant Columnist Drize: 'For Guests Even Billions Are Not A Problem' In an article, titled "For guests even billions are not a problem", Kommersant columnist Dmitry Drize commented on the assets that Russia expended on the Russia-Africa Summit. Drize noted that the Russia-Africa summit cost the national budget about 4.5 billion rubles (according to the “RBC” investigation). This sum exceeded the amount spent on the annual St. Petersburg Economic Forum, which cost approximately 2 billion rubles. On October 25, the summit was officially closed. One of the most discussed topics was the words of Vladimir Putin about writing off debts to African countries in the amount of $ 20 billion. Kommersant's political observer Drize believes that the Soviet past still haunts Russia. Below is Drize's article: "The Russia-Africa Summit is one of the three most expensive events paid by the state budget over the past ten years according to the RBC calculations. The World Festival of Youth and Students in 2017 and the APEC Summit in Vladivostok in 2012 were more expensive. At the same time, the amount of concluded contracts is also impressive - 800 billion rubles. Although the money for the organization of the event has already been spent, and the contracts still need to be fulfilled, so far these are virtual funds. "Strange as it may seem, the main news of the summit was not the unprecedented event itself, but the cancellation of debts owed by African countries in the amount of 20 billion USD. All this was so mindboggling that Dmitry Peskov had to make a separate explanation that this money anyway would not come back anyway … and it was worthwhile [for Russia] to enter the [African] continent and we would get more as a result. Companies will earn and pay the budget money written off via taxes. "In fairness, it is worth noting that Russia has not just written off $ 20 billion, but participated in an international program to help poor countries. "Every other country wrote off everything - and so did we only the total amount is so big. Nevertheless, the sheer size was a "hit". Indeed, in today's Russia, such money would come in handy. The 4.5 billion rubles that went to the reception of numerous African delegations in Sochi would not hurt as well. And that's not all. Some malicious tongues are asking themselves: is it only about the economy or is there something else? "Of course it would be nice for Russia to return to its former greatness: what we showed the Americans in Syria, we are showing them in Africa. Let’s show Washington that the whole continent has come to us, everyone is ready to be friends with us. But on the other hand, why not come if one has been invited and generously accommodated? Russia is a hospitable country - we don’t feel sorry for the guests and billions spent. But did the greatness ever exist? The Soviet Union at once pumped billions into Africa to help national liberation movements. "Take Egypt for example, how many weapons we gave and even helped the country implement the great project - the Aswan Dam. Where is the return on the investment made? The proud Arab Republic has safely lost numerous wars. As a result, she made peace with Israel and established relations with the Americans, built up hotels and now is making money on tourism. The USSR, as a result, was torn apart. "Money is being written off as part of assistance to poor countries. And in modern Russia people are perplexed: 'these funds would be useful back home.' "We are drawn to former power, which was never there. "One could say: we are doing a good deed - saving the world, building a new architecture of international relations, destroying the monopoly of one country and its influence on other states. But I would like it to be not so expensive just in the case it does not work out in the end." (Kommersant.ru, October 25, 2019) Read More: Arms, Oil and Influence: What You Need to Know About Russia's First-Ever Africa Summit. (Themoscowtimes.com, October 24, 2019; read the full article) Russia Delivers New Batch of Weapons to Central African Republic. (Themoscowtimes.com, September 27, 2019; read the full article)    Russia-China Relations We Are Convinced That The Real Reason That Prompted Washington To Unilaterally Withdraw From The INF Treaty Is The Deterrence Of China And Russia Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke at the IX Xiangshan Forum, held on October 21 and 22 in Beijing. “We are convinced that the real reason that prompted Washington to unilaterally withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is the deterrence of the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation”, Sergey Shoigu specified, adding that “the Treaty ceased to be in the interests of the United States amid growing "China’s military and economic power, the restoration of Russia's defence potential and the expansion of military and military-technical cooperation between the two states". (Mil.ru, October 21, 2019; read the full article) Russia-Cuba Relations Putin with the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez. (Source: Kremlin.ru) Cuban President Diaz-Canel: We Are Closely Monitoring The Growing Role That Russia Is Playing In Order To Break The Superiority That The United States Is Trying To Establish On October 29, Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez who arrived in Russia on a working visit. During the meeting Putin said: "… Our permanent contacts continue at the highest level as well as at a high level. We are actively cooperating and supporting one another on the international arena. Russia has always had a particularly good understanding for Cuba’s independent stand and sovereign policy…" The President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez stated: "… For us, the visit by Mr Medvedev in October meant a lot. It was a very interesting and positive visit marked by the fact that a top official visited our country in challenging times when the United States is escalating its aggression against Cuba. This visit showed that Russia and Cuba’s positions remain unchanged under threats from the United States. Also, we had the opportunity to evaluate the progress in implementing our projects during his visit. More ideas about new areas of cooperation and new projects appeared during the visit. "I would like to say that there are moments dedicated to Russia in our daily routine and feelings. Primarily, because we are closely monitoring the growing role that Russia is playing in order to break the superiority that the United States is trying to establish. We are also monitoring Russia’s progress and our projects with Russia on a daily basis. "I am grateful to you for the opportunity to carry out this working visit. "I am grateful for the invitation to take part in celebrating the 75th anniversary of Victory over Nazism next year, and I am here to confirm that we will attend this event. It is a holiday for Russia, but it is also a holiday for the entire world, mainly in terms of its importance to the entire world. "New areas of cooperation are opening up. We devoted part of our visit to gaining information about these issues. This is also why we visited the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg. Our Minister of Energy visited the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant. We have ideas and proposals that we will work through together. "We are very happy to be in Russia and to be able to speak with you. We are very excited by how our projects and programs are being implemented." Putin the concluded: "Thank you very much for the invitation. I will definitely use it. Please convey my best wishes to Comrade Castro." (Kremlin.ru, October 29, 2019) Read More: The President of Cuba in Moscow: A Litmus Test for Russia-US Relations. Russian expert Stanislav Tkachenko said: "… Today, just like many years ago, US leaders are inclined to consider the strengthening of Moscow's military presence on Cuban territory an existential threat that requires immediate and decisive action." (Valdaiclub.com, October, 28, 2019; read the full article) Russia-Hungary Relations (Source: Kremlin.ru) On October 30, Putin met with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban in Budapest. The two leaders discussed Russian-Hungarian cooperation, above all in the field of trade, the economy and culture, as well as several topical international and regional matters. Following the meeting, a package of agreements was signed in the presence of the leaders, including a plan of measures on implementing a comprehensive program of Russian-Hungarian interregional cooperation and a treaty between the Russian Federation and Hungary on social security. The documents signed also include memorandums on cooperation in oncology, physical fitness and sports, and railway transport. In addition, the sides signed a number of agreements on cooperation between Russian oil companies LUKOIL and Transneft and the Hungarian oil and gas corporation MOL Group. Orban: 'Hungary Is A NATO And EU Member, And It Will Stay There. However, This Does Not Rule Out The Possibility Of Cooperation With Russia On The Political Level Too' During the press conference Orban said: "… Hungary’s policy is to get every country in the world interested in Hungary’s success, particularly the countries which play a decisive part for us from a regional point of view. Cooperation between Hungary and the Russian Federation fits this description. "Of course, Hungary is a NATO and EU member, and it will stay there. However, this does not rule out the possibility of cooperation with Russia on the political level too. We are seeking it now and will seek it in the future. "Our political cooperation has many important areas. Today we will also meet with the hierarchs of Christian churches in the Middle East, because protecting Christian values is important for us. It is a continuation of the traditions started by Saint Stephen, the first King of Hungary. "We understand each other, we know what dangers it is fraught with. We know about the 96,000 migrants on the Balkan route which are heading north. It poses challenges for us and forces us to provide our borders with special protection. Of course, Russia also has such problems of a different nature concerning border protection and migrants. "Hungary absolutely knows its size, its importance and its place, but it knows its interests too. Hungary also has interests in the Middle East, because if that territory is destabilized, then a great number of migrants will move to Europe and will try to get there via Hungary. Hungary is interested in military and political stability in the Middle East and Syria. "The press usually overlooks it, but I want to emphasize that our cooperation also extends to the Kurds because Hungary is supporting the Kurds in Erbil. "In addition, Hungary is interested in the improvement of relations between NATO and the Russian Federation. "We have such a historical and political experience that if relations between Western and Eastern Europe are tense, Hungary always loses, but if these relations are good, then Hungary stands to gain. Therefore, we are interested (and will be interested in the future) in seeing the best possible relations between Western entities and the Russian Federation…" Following Orban's speech, Putin said: "… As you have seen, during this visit, LUKOIL, Transneft and the Hungarian oil and gas corporation MOL Group have signed various agreements. Their implementation will make it possible to increase Russian fuel exports to Hungary via the Druzhba [Friendship] pipeline until 2025. "Russian gas is delivered to Western Europe via Hungary. Its underground gas storage facilities hold enough gas for uninterrupted delivery to customers, including at a time of peak demand. "We view Hungary as one of our priority partners in the field of gas distribution in Europe via both the existing and new northern and southern routes. "We set a high value on Rosatom’s project of building two new power units for the Paks nuclear power station in Hungary. The station’s four power units currently produce over 40 percent of the electricity consumed in Hungary. "The commissioning of additional power units will make it possible to double electricity production and met the growing requirements of the Hungarian economy… "We touched upon various international and regional matters during the talks. In particular, we exchanged opinions on prospects for normalizing relations between Russia and the European Union. We also discussed the resolution of the crisis in Ukraine. This primarily concerns energy routes and Russian fuel and energy supplies for Hungary and our main consumers in Europe. We informed the Prime Minister of Russia’s efforts to facilitate the resolution of the Syrian conflict. We will have another opportunity, and we will discuss this matter once again at a meeting with the heads of churches. "The work of the Constitutional Committee will facilitate the political resolution of the Syrian crisis. Russia made a major contribution to establishing the Constitutional Committee, together with its partners from Turkey and Iran. As you may know, the Committee’s members gathered for their first meeting in Geneva several hours ago. "Within the Committee, Syrian Government and the opposition, as well as representatives of Syrian civil society, will be able to work directly and without external interference on a constitutional reform, national state building tasks and the country’s sustained development. I believe that this is also important for Hungary, in the context of migration processes, and for Europe in general. "The agenda of our talks with Mr Orban also included a discussion of the position of Christian communities living in the Middle East and North Africa. We will also review this subject in greater detail right after this press conference at a meeting with heads of the region’s Christian churches. This meeting was organized at the initiative of the Prime Minister of Hungary, and I would like to thank him for this. "I would like to note that Russia is ready to collaborate with Hungary and other parties concerned for the purpose of supporting Christians in conflict-ridden areas of the Middle East and North Africa. We consider it unacceptable that representatives of any denomination are persecuted for their religious beliefs. "In conclusion, I would like to once again thank my colleague, the Prime Minister, for his invitation and for the very friendly and business-like atmosphere that was created during today’s work. Thank you." (Kremlin.ru, October 30, 2019) Read More: Meeting with heads of Middle East Christian churches. Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban had a meeting with the heads of Christian churches of the Middle East held with the assistance of Hungary. (Kremlin.ru, October 30, 2019; read the full article) News In Brief Russia In Syria The United States smuggles Syrian oil to other countries, the convoys are guarded by US private military companies and special operations forces, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. "Tank trucks guarded by US military servicemen and private military companies smuggle oil from fields in eastern Syria to other countries. In the event of any attack on such a convoy, US special operations forces and combat aviation are immediately used to protect it," Konashenkov stressed. (Tass.com, October 26, 2019; read the full article) Russia-Iran-Turkey Relations Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu following trilateral talks on Syria, Geneva, October 29, 2019. Lavrov said: "… Today we will distribute the text of the trilateral statement approved by the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran. This statement reaffirms our full commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, our resolve to root out terrorism in all its forms in Syria and our rejection of any separatist aspirations in that country…" (Mid.ru, October 30, 2019; read the full remarks) Russia-Egypt Relations The first Russian-Egyptian air defense drills, the Arrow of Friendship-2019, kicked off at a practice range of the Egyptian air defense troops’ training tactical center on Sunday, the press service of the Southern Military District has said. (Tass.com, October 27, 2019; read the full article) Defense The US must begin the discussion of the conditions for the prolongation of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) without delay, US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, nominated for the position of US Ambassador to Russia, said during a hearing of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on reviewing his candidacy. (Tass.com, October 30, 2019; read the full article) Commenting on Sullivan's remarks, first deputy chair of the State Duma defense committee Andrey Krasov said: "…It’s about dialogue and not a monologue, Russia will be ready for cooperation, when the both sides listen and hear each other." (Ria.ru, October 30, 2019; read the full article) Commenting on the START agreement, Senator Franz Klintsevich, member of the Federation Council's Committee on Defense and Security, said: "The US once again wants to deceive Russia, weaken it and then accuse Moscow of breaching the treaty." (Ria.ru, October 30, 2019; read the full article) Commenting on Sullivan's statement, Evgeny Buzhinsky, a former Russian lieutenant general, said: "… Are we talking about negotiations on one-sided disarmament of Russia? That cannot happen." (Ria.ru, October 30, 2019; read the full article) Moscow never avoided discussing Russia’s 9M729 missile, it was Washington that did it, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said, addressing participants in the Ninth Dialogue in the Name of the Future event, hosted by the Gorchakov Public Diplomacy Fund. (Tass.com, October 25, 2019; read the full article) Moscow is keeping an eye on Washington’s developing its cruise missiles program, which causes serious concern, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said. (Tass.com, October 29, 2019; read the full article) ASEAN Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the US concept of a "free and open Indo-Pacific region." It is a serious challenge for ASEAN, he noted in an interview with Bangkok Post on the eve of the ASEAN Business Investment Summit and the 14th East Asia Summit. (Tass.com, November 3, 2019; read the full article) Russia-Gulf Relations The Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported, citing an anonymous source, that the Saudi military is interested in discussing the purchase of Pantsir systems (NATO reporting name SA-22 Greyhound) with Moscow, without specifying which model. The source said that the UAE, in turn, is eying buying the Tor missile system (NATO reporting name SA-15 Gauntlet), specifically the latest model – Tor-M2E. (Vedomosti.ru, October 23, 2019; read the full article in Russian; Sputniknews.com, October 23, 2019; read the full article in English) Kalashnikov's Anniversary Russia's Education Ministry releases plans for anniversary lessons on Kalashnikov that involve assembling rifles in school. (Meduza.io, October 29, 3019; read the full article) Embezzlements In The Construction Of Putin’s Presidential Residence The court will consider the case of embezzlement during the reconstruction of the presidential residence behind closed doors. At the first hearing, the judge decided that there were materials in the case that should be classified. (Crimerussia.com, October 30, 2019; read the full article)

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