What’s Behind Nagorno-Karabakh Row Between Armenia and Azerbaijan By GPD

on April 2, 2016


Houses destroyed during the war in the town of Shusha in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

[ Editor’s note:  Key to understanding this article and areas it mysteriously misses is that Azerbaijan is a client state of Israel and the CIA and the regional operating center for Google Idea Groups, the real “shadow CIA.” … Gordon Duff ]


On April 2, Armenia and Azerbaijan declared a dramatic escalation of the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Baku and Yerevan traded blame for breaching the truce in the conflict and reported heavy fighting in the area.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported shelling and numerous ceasefire violations by the Armenian armed forces. In turn, Armenia reported offensive actions from the Azerbaijani side.

The conflict has its origins in the early 20th century, although the present conflict began in 1988. The region sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, before proclaiming independence after the USSR collapsed in 1991. As the war progressed, both post-Soviet republics entangled themselves into a protracted war.


The enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is a historic region in the Lesser Caucasus range, in Azerbaijan. The majority of its population is Armenians. As of January 2013, the population was 146,600 people.

According to Armenian and Azerbaijani sources, there are different views of the history of the region. According to Armenia, in the beginning of the 1st millennium BC, Nagorno-Karabakh (the Armenian name – Artsakh) was under political and cultural influence of Assyria and Urartu.

It was first mentioned in inscriptions of Sardur II, King of Urartu (763-734 BC).In the early Middle Ages, Nagorno-Karabakh was part of Armenia, according to Armenian sources. Then, the majority of the country was occupied by Turkey and Persia. At the same time, Armenian princedoms (Melikdoms) in the region were partially independent. In the 17-18th centuries Artsakh princes spearheaded the fight for independence against Persia and Turkey.

The town of Stepanakert in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
The town of Stepanakert in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

According to Azerbaijani sources, Nagorno-Karabakh is one of the Azerbaijan’s ancient regions. The official version says that the name “Karabakh” originates from the 7th century and means the “black garden” in Azerbaijani. In the 16th century Karabakh was part of the Safavid Empire, and then became the independent Karabakh Khanate.

In 1813, Nagorno-Karabakh became part of the Russian Empire.

In May 1920, Soviet rule was established in the region. On July 7, 1923, the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region was established within the Azerbaijan SSR in 1923.

On February 20, 1988, at an emergency session of the regional deputies’ council adopted appeals to the Supreme Councils of the Azerbaijan and Armenia, asking them to authorize the secession of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan to Armenia.The Soviet government and Baku rejected the appeal which provoked protests among Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and Yerevan.

On September 2, 1991, a joint session in Nagorno-Karabakh declared the creation of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. On December 10, 1991, several days before the USSR collapsed, a referendum was held in the region and 99.89 percent voted for full independence of Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan.

Baku designated the plebiscite as illegal and abolished the autonomy of the region. Shortly after, a military conflict erupted in which Azerbaijan tried to keep the region as its part while Armenian units fought for independence, backed by Yerevan and the Armenian diaspora from other countries.According to different estimates, both sides to the conflict lost up to 25,000 people killed. Another 25,000 were injured. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced. Over 4,000 people were unaccounted for.

As a result, Azerbaijan partially lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and fully or partially over its neighboring areas.

On May 5, 1994, representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan as well as the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Nagorno-Karabakh, brokered by Russia and Kyrgyzstan, signed a protocol, urging to cease fire on May 9. This document has been known as the Bishkek Protocol. It came into effect on May 12, 1994.

Troops in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
Troops in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The negotiating process began in 1991. Since 1992, peace talks have been held within the Minsk Group of the OSCE to settle the crisis. The Minsk group is co-headed by the US, France and Russia. It also comprises Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland and Turkey.

Since 1999, regular bilateral and trilateral meetings have been held between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan. The first meeting between Ilham Aliyev and Serzh Sargsyan took place on December 19, 2015 in Bern, Switzerland.

Despite the talks being confidential, it is known that they are based on the so-called Madrid principles passed by the Minsk group to the sides of the conflict on January 15, 2010. For the first time, they were presented on November 2007 in the Spanish capital.

Azerbaijan has insisted on preserving its territorial integrity. Armenia has supported the interests of the self-proclaimed region, because the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is not a party to the talks.In 2015, political dialogue in the region was hampered, after tensions grew and the number of victims, especially among civilians, rose.

An Azerbaijani source close to the situation told Gazeta.ru that the current clashes in the region are different. Border skirmishes have been usual for Nagorno-Karabakh despite the ceasefire. According the source, now the clashes are large-scale, and a state of emergency has been declared in Azerbaijani security services.

Houses destroyed during the war in the town of Shusha in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic
Houses destroyed during the war in the town of Shusha in the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

Analysts made several assumptions on what could have fueled the escalation in the region.

First of all, the tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh may have been fueled by Azerbaijan, after the row escalated between Moscow and Ankara. The spat broke out after a Turkish jet downed a Russian Su-24 bomber involved in the military operation in Syria.

“Turkey is the closest ally of Azerbaijan. Their relations have grown stronger after ties between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated. The normalization between Russia and Turkey would not be in the interests of Baku,” Viktor Nadein-Raevskiy, a senior fellow at the Russian Academy of Sciences, said.

According to him, there are still no signs of a thaw between Moscow and Ankara, but Baku may have taken into account the latest developments over the Turkish-Russian row.

Last week, the Turkish government signaled that Ankara was ready to normalize ties with Russia. During his visit to the US, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said relations between Moscow and Ankara should be restored. On the same day, Turkish media reported that the militant suspected of killing Oleg Peshkov, the pilot of the downed Russian jet, was arrested. At the same time, Sergei Minasyan, a political analyst at the Yerevan-based Institute for Caucasus, underscored that further escalation of the conflict would only harm the interests of Baku which needs money from the West.

“Azerbaijan doesn’t want Nagorno-Karabakh to be independent. The current escalation may be provoked by Turkey’s growing role in the Syrian conflict. In this situation, Baku may have decided to expand its influence in the region,” historian Vladimir Stupishin told RT.


UK Steel Industry thanks to the Conservative Government by Mike Sivier – voxpoliticalonline.com

German firm buy UK steelworks? Posted by

 A potential saviour has emerged for the Port Talbot steel plant [Image: Alamy].
I think we all know the answer to that question!One of the saddest aspects of this is the fact that the company pension scheme has become a liability.

Are these schemes more trouble than they’re worth? We’re offered all sorts of incentives to join them and then their value drops, they get raided by the employer, or end up being used by potential buyers as a reason to let the firm fail.

As for “substantial financial support” from the UK government – this is another opportunity for Cameron and his cronies to prove they really couldn’t care less.

They have said they are committed to doing everything they can – but give them a chance to put their money where their mouth is and we can all guess what they’ll do.

A potential saviour for the Port Talbot steel plant has emerged in ThyssenKrupp, the German industrial conglomerate, as Tata Steel claimed it was committed to finding a buyer for its beleaguered UK business rather than closing the sites.

The Observer understands that just three months ago ThyssenKrupp was in talks with Tata about buying Port Talbot and its other UK sites as part of a deal to buy its European business, including its other major steelworks in the Netherlands. However, the German company walked away due to concerns about the losses of the UK business and its pension liabilities of almost £15bn.

A source close to Tata said “they could find a solution” and potentially rescue the deal with the Germans if the UK government provided substantial financial support and the pension scheme, which has 130,000 members, were restructured.

Source: Port Talbot steel plant could be rescued by German company | UK news | The Guardian

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If Cameron has ruled out nationalising Tata steel, he’s NOT doing everything he can

Steel production in the UK could disappear because David Cameron doesn’t want to nationalise it.

His ideological opposition to state ownership of anything could end the jobs of 40,000 skilled steel workers, but that’s a sacrifice he’s willing to make – it seems – because he won’t be affected.

Of course, if he can find a buyer, then he might escape the wrath of most UK voters when the May elections take place.

What’s the betting he’ll turn to the Chinese?

David Cameron has said the government is “doing everything it can” to resolve the steel crisis, but said nationalisation is not the right answer.

The prime minister was speaking after a meeting of ministers at Downing Street over the crisis surrounding Tata Steel’s British operations.

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, had called on the government to “get a grip” after Cameron began emergency discussions on the issue.

McDonnell reiterated Labour’s call for a temporary nationalisation of the Indian-owned company’s UK plants and said Cameron should swiftly come up with a plan to save an estimated 40,000 jobs, one on which he could get cross-party consensus.

“The prime minister could take a lead in this. The government’s been in a bit of disarray over the last 48 hours,” McDonnell told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, noting that the junior business minister Anna Soubry had hinted at possible nationalisation before the business secretary, Sajid Javid, ruled it out.

Cameron returned from holiday in Lanzarote on Wednesday, while Javid was flying back from Australia after Tata announced it would be selling off British plants including the Port Talbot steelworks in south Wales as well as sites at Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Corby in Northamptonshire and Shotton in Deeside.

The company said it was losing £1m a day, with a source claiming that the government’s failure to back calls in Europe for higher tariffs against cheap Chinese imports was the last straw.

Source: Nationalisation not the answer to steel crisis, says David Cameron | Business | The Guardian

Steel: Tories lied when they said they had talked with Tata

Yesterday, David Cameron told the world his government had been in talks with Tata Steel over the future of the company’s UK assets.

Cameron said yesterday (March 31):

“This industry is in difficulty right across the world. There’s been a collapse in prices, there’s massive over capacity but we’re doing everything we can.

“We were concerned that there was the chance that there could have been an outright closure of Port Talbot and that is why we work very hard with the company to make sure there is a proper sales process.

His words gave the impression that the Conservative Government had been in contact with Tata over the future of the UK steel operation.

There had been no such dialogue:

Tata steel has had no contact with senior government ministers since they announced they were selling its UK assets, ITV News has learned.

Correspondent Romilly Weeks told News At Ten: “Incredibly sources within Tata are telling us that they have had no contact, at this crucial juncture for the British steel industry, with any senior government ministers today.”

The British side of Tata Steel is currently losing £1 million a day and could close altogether if a buyer – or several buyers – are not found soon.

Source: ITV News

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Steel: Tories lied when they said they had talked with Tata

China’s steel levy seals the evidence: Tories are enemies of British industry

The Conservative Government has condemned British steel to commercial death by working very hard to become China’s lapdog.

How else are we to view these events?

Tory ministers stopped the EU slapping import levies on Chinese steel; they are doing as little as possible to prevent the soon-to-be former Tata steelworks in the UK from closing; and now China has imposed a huge levy on steel from the UK.

We can take only one message from this fiasco:

The Conservative Party is the biggest enemy British industry ever had.


Steelworkers are threatened today; who will be in jeopardy tomorrow?

Do you have a job? How long do you expect to keep it under a Tory government that simply doesn’t “give a sh*t” – as Paul Mason told us all yesterday?

Remember this when you vote in May.

China has said it will levy 46 per cent duties on a type of high tech steel produced by Tata Steel in Wales, Sky News has learned.

The Chinese Government argues that European Union exports of “grain oriented electrical steel” are causing “substantial damage” and “material injury” to China’s industry.

China’s Ministry of Commerce announced that the action against the EU would be the strongest of a series of so-called anti-dumping measures, which will also affect Japanese and South Korean producers.

Most of the political argument in Britain has been about how China’s massive overproduction of steel from bankrupt state-owned and subsidised steel mills is flooding world markets.

The Opposition and unions accuse the Government of not doing enough to stand up to China, under its strategy of becoming China’s “closest ally in the West”.

Last Autumn the EU determined that China itself was dumping a wide range of steel products in Europe, including electrical steels.

The European Commission advocates higher punitive tariffs in cases such as this, but Britain has led the defence of the principle of lower duties levied in such cases.

Source: China Hits Steel Made In UK With 46% Levy

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Tories fail to lift a finger as foreign firm votes to sell its UK operation  Posted by Mike Sivier 

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies has called for the National Assembly of Wales to be recalled after a meeting of Tata board members in Mumbai decided to sell off their entire British steel business, threatening thousands of jobs in Port Talbot.

His demand can only be seen as an attempt to limit the damage done to Tory election chances by his colleagues in Westminster. While the Labour MP for Aberavon, Stephen Kinnock, was in Mumbai fighting for his constituents’ jobs, the UK’s business minister, Sajid Javid, was off on a junket to Australia where he is to deliver a speech to the British Chamber of Commerce there.

Doesn’t that tell you exactly how much value the Conservative Party ascribes to the UK steel industry?

The Huffington Post reports:

Instead of flying to Mumbai to put pressure on the company to support a turnaround plan, [Sajid] Javid is due to go to Australia this week, where he will address the British Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.

No other Government minister is scheduled to travel to India.

Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, who is in Mumbai representing hundreds of his constituents who face losing their jobs, claimed Javid’s no show symbolised the UK Government’s “abject failure” when it came to helping the steel industry.

He told The Huff Post UK: “This is deeply disappointing but not surprising. It reflects their abject failure to lift a finger for the British steel industry since 2010.

“They would rather just roll out the red carpet to China.”

A spokesman for Community, the steelworkers’ union, said Javid’s presence would have shown Tata how “serious” the potential job losses were to the UK.

They said: “That would have been very helpful. It would have been great to have somebody over there. “

The UK steel industry has taken a battering in recent years, and since last September thousands of jobs have Scotland, the North East and Wales.

Cheap steel from China is one of the reasons behind turmoil in the industry, with allegations the Asian country is selling the product at unrealistically low prices on the world stage.

The Labour Party has shown strong solidarity with steel workers ever since the first closures were announced. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the Tories to part-nationalise the steel industry after 4,000 jobs were lost in October.

Yesterday, he said:

“I am deeply concerned at the news coming out of Tata’s board meeting in Mumbai.

“Ministers must act now to protect the steel industry and the core of manufacturing in Britain.

“It is vital that the Government intervenes to maintain steel production in Port Talbot, both for the workforce and the wider economy, if necessary by taking a public stake in the industry.”

Considering the state of the steel market, the best course of action now would be for the UK government to nationalise the Tata steelworks, but under a Tory government the chances of that happening are remote.

The Tories are, after all, partly to blame for the UK steel crisis. George Osborne keeps handing contracts to foreign firms:


As for job losses – when did Tories ever care about those?

Ah yes – when it suits them.

As Vix Horn pointed out on Twitter: “They won’t care about British jobs until they need to defend obscene spending on Trident – “Think of the jobs!”

It will be our job to point out their double-standards to them when that happens – and to Andrew RT Davies now.

Tories fail to lift a finger as foreign firm votes to sell its UK operation

The real economic free-riders are the privileged, not the poorest citizens

If anyone really does not understand how Tory policy enables the wealthiest to prosper at the expense of the poorest then please read this article and learn.

Politics and Insights

The government’s undeclared preoccupation with
behavioural change through personal responsibilityisn’t therapy. It’s simply a revamped version of Samuel Smiles’s bible of Victorian and over-moralising, a Conservative behaviourist hobby-horse: “thrift and self-help” – but only for the poor, of course.

Smiles and other powerful, wealthy and privileged Conservative thinkers, such as Herbert Spencer, claimed that poverty was caused largely by the “irresponsible habits” of the poor during that era. But we learned historically that the socioeconomic circumstances caused by political decision-making creates poverty. Meanwhile, the state abdicates its democratic responsibilities of meeting the public’s needs and for transparency and accountability for the outcomes and social consequences of its own policies.

Conservative rhetoric is designed to have us believe there would be no poor people if the welfare state didn’t somehow “create” them. If the Tories must insist on peddling the myth of meritocracy, then surely…

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Barzani Kurds Outed by VT Forced to Cut Off ISIS Oil By GPD

on March 31, 2016

AFP file photo of an oil tanker transporting petrol sold by ISIS.
AFP file photo of an oil tanker transporting petrol sold by ISIS.


…by Rekar Aziz

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish Peshmerga forces have cut the Islamic State’s (ISIS) oil smuggling routes from Kirkuk, stopping what was reportedly a burgeoning trade between the militants and oil pirates, a top Kurdish official told Rudaw.(through the middle of Kurdish controlled Iraq)

Kirkuk police chief Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qadir denied reports that the city was a market for ISIS oil and a gateway to world markets.(

“All routes between ISIS and Peshmerga lines, starting in Hawija, Riadh and Rashad, have been blocked,” said Qadir, referring to key towns that are under ISIS control and which connect to Kirkuk city, where security is in Kurdish hands.

“Even a bicycle can’t make it through,” he said.

A report by the International Business Times (IBT) on Tuesday criticized a Western anti-ISIS campaign and US authorities for not cutting off ISIS oil revenues, claiming that the “illicit business” begins in Kirkuk.

“The story of how the Islamic State group profits from crude that makes its way to refineries and storage facilities around the world begins in the central Iraq town of Kirkuk,” the IBT report said.

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Meanwhile, Qadir revealed that Kurdish forces have so far arrested three smuggling networks, each comprised of about 10 oil pirates involved in buying oil from ISIS.

In 2014, Kurdish Interior Minister Karim Sinjari announced that 11 people were arrested for smuggling oil produced in territories controlled by ISIS. Analysts estimated at the time that ISIS was earning as much as $3 million a day in oil sales from fields in Iraq and Syria, although a German intelligence agency had reported that this figure was probably closer to $274,000 a day.

Since ISIS toppled Mosul and gained control of a third of Iraq in June 2014, various reports emerged of Kurdish oil traders smuggling oil from ISIS areas in Iraq and Syria into Turkey, Iran, or the Kurdistan Region itself for sale.

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Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani had warned that “smuggling oil to ISIS is considered high treason,” and that his government had “pursued every legal recourse to prevent that.”

The main smuggling route, the IBT claimed, is a Kurdish oil pipeline that runs from Kirkuk to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, from where the oil is shipped around the globe.

It said that revenues from the contraband help fund attacks such as the recent one in Brussels.

ISIS “makes money to fuel attacks like the ones in Brussels last week by selling a steady stream of oil that flows from ISIS-controlled territories in Iraq to the U.S., parts of Europe and Israel,” the report added.

The report quoted analyst Andrew Tabler  as saying that Iraq’s economy depends on both smuggled oil and goods.

“ISIS was able to take advantage of these kind of smuggling networks that are impervious to politics,” he told the IBT.

Mass grave found in northern Palmyra | Al-Masdar News

The Fourth Revolutionary War


The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has uncovered a mass grave of 25+ victims that were allegedly massacred by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) during the first days of their invasion in May of 2015. According to a report from the Syrian Armed Forces, the mass grave was uncovered in the Military Housing Area of Palmyra, where the families of Syrian officers were living when ISIS invaded the city. The report added that most of the bodies discovered in this mass grave were of women and children.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/breaking-mass-grave-found-northern-palmyra/ | Al-Masdar News

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How the US Continues to Arm Al-Qaeda (Moon of Alabama) 

Originally appeared at Moon of Alabama
Exhibit 1
According to rebels in the Turkish border zone, weapons have flowed steadily into Syria since the ceasefire began. Even those who hope for a political settlement aren’t betting on one any time soon. Instead they’re stockpiling for the next round, which they expect will be as desperate as the last.

“We ask the Friends of Syria and they give us,” [Colonel Hassan Rajoub, commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) Division 16], said with a smile. “They have just now given us new supplies of everything. But we want some special weapons to give us a little bit of leverage.”

[S]everal FSA commanders said the United States had been forthcoming during the ceasefire period, replenishing arms stocks and leaving open the possibility that some anti-aircraft missiles might be released into northern Syria.
“We expect a surprise,” said one satisfied commander.

“The U.S. military commanders are always with us,” Rajoub said. “We ask. They are very cooperative. They understand our needs.”

Around Aleppo, It’s Not Peace—Just a Break, Thanassis Cambanis, Century Foundation, March 28 2016
Exhibit 2

Hard-core Islamists in the Nusra Front have long outgunned the more secular, nationalist, Western-supported rebels. According to FSA officers, Nusra routinely harvests up to half the weapons supplied by the Friends of Syria, a collection of countries opposed to Assad, and has regularly smashed FSA factions that were corrupt and inefficient — or that Nusra thought were getting too strong or too popular.

The Syrian Revolution Against al Qaeda, Thanassis Cambanis, Foreign Policy, March 29 2016