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What You’ll Find Here & on Channels

This site is for occasional longer analysis and backgrounders on current news topics that I discuss on my channels and that I want to get into more generally or in a more detailed way. The posts here are intended to provide additional information. The publishing schedule is infrequent.

Most work happens on my channels on Telegram and VK, where I offer translations of original news sources, usually with no comments, except where needed for clarification or context. The focus there is on the areas of the former USSR, Near- and Middle East and occasionally norther Africa and southern Asia.
The translation channels are intended to give access to foreign language resources, mainly in Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusian, Turkish, Persian, Arab and Hebrew media and social media news sources, and give an insight into what’s going on outside the mainstream media filters. All translations are provided with links to original sources, for those who want to go and investigate themselves.
I often abbreviate News OFehr Media as NOFM.

Main news, comment & analysis channels:
Channels with geopolitics & translations:
conflict map middle east

World Adjusting to New Realities

The uptick in conflict activities in the last few months is noticeable. While in many places there have been conflicts going on for a while, for example in Sudan, others, that were dormant, have become hot again, for example also Sudan, but Israel, Yemen and more recently Iran and Pakistan as well.

In my view, this is due to the decline of European power1 and dominance in world affairs. What we see now is the world adjusting and re-calibrating to a new order, in which Europe is not the predominant power setting standards anymore.

Local conflicts are flaring up in several locations, where local or regional powers try to fill in the void left behind after the retreat/collapse of European power.
We can see what Hamas, the Houthis and Iran are doing in this context. They are trying to shift their positions to a more advantageous, influential one.

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U.S. Extended Continental Shelf Project Claims parts of the Bering Sea and the Arctic

The U.S. have, on December 19, very quietly published its new claims on what they consider to be their ‘Extended Continental Shelf’. In that it refers to international law, or more specifically, Part VI of UNCLOS, which deals with the continental shelf.
As required by UNCLOS, the U.S. back up their claim with ‘charts and geodesic data’

Full Map of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf claims.

The areas that might be of interest and be claimed by others are, of course, in the Arctic and in the Bering Sea. Canada and Russia might have something to say about the US claims there. Let’s have a closer look at these areas.

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NATO Russia flags overlays

About Hersh’s “General to General” Piece

Seymour Hersh in his latest piece claims that ‘direct military-to-military negotiations are taking place between Zaluzhniy and Gerasimov

You can read Seymour Hersh’s piece on Substack, however, it’s for paying subscribers. So I guess this might be one motivation for him to write such a story. In general, I think there’s not much substance to the claim.

Hersh’s recent works, as is the one being discussed here, are relying to a great extent – if not exclusively – on ‘unnamed sources in the government’, and since we have no idea who these sources might be, we don’t have a great way to assess their credibility and the veracity of the information.
Relying on ‘unnamed US government sources’ also has its well-known dangers, as it is a great way for the government to float some ideas and narratives to see what the reaction is in the public, without committing anyone in government to it.

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Pakistan Unrest – What Caused it?

This short introduction into events in Pakistan is by no means complete, but can serve as a starting point for your own research on the subject.

You may have heard that former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, has been arested while undergoing biometric process at his appearence in Islamabad High Court (IHC) for two court cases.
The arrest was a forceful one. Imran Khan’s lawyer and a body guard were injured, he was ripped from his wheelchair and walked to a car, which took him away to a unknown location.
The immediate and official reason given for this is that a few court cases – it seems there are over one hundred of them – have been filed agains Imran Khan, including corruption allegations, which were the reason for arrest.

Indian Express (India) citing Dawn (Pakistan) writes:

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Violence in Manipur – What’s Going on in India?

You may have heard about about violence in India’s Manipur state, news about it runs under the hashtag #ManipurViolence on Twitter.
I provide some background about the situation in Manipur, which by no means complete, can serve as a concise starting point for your own research on the subject.

A Few Manipur Key Stats

From Indian press sources we learn that ’52 people have been killed in Manipur since ethnic violence broke out between Meitei and Kuki communities on May 3′, so let us look at Manipur and its population, its ethnic and religious make-up a bit closer. But first, where is Manipur anyway? It’s in the North-East of India, bordering Myanmar:

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Cybersecurity and Voting Machines

Gateway Pundit has an article, that is quite interesting for those interested in Cyber Security. Unfortunately, the article is not very well written, but thankfully, the videos contain much better description of what the issue is with these voting machines in question.

In a nutshell

A cyber security expert tested the ‘software image’ used on Voting Machines. He used his notebook to install the image – the Software is based on Microsoft Windows, uses Microsoft SQL Server (SQLS) and a visual database administration software called Microsoft SQL Management Server (SMSS).

On that notebook, the cyber security expert was able to start SMSS log in to the SQLS and change the vote counts using a few mouse clicks.
Later, the cyber security expert showed, how to change vote counts with an SQL Script on an USB stick.

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Statement of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia

March 9, 2023

Employees of the relevant unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were mobilized on March 8, in Tbilisi, in the vicinity of the legislative body and on Rustaveli Avenue, in order to protect public order and ensure the peaceful conduct of the rally.
The protest went on peacefully for several hours.
Later, one of the participants of the rally, during his speech, called the gathered people to picket the legislative body, after which the participants of the rally started massively blocking the entrances of the parliament and picketing the building. During the rally, police forces were stationed in the parliament building to prevent verbal and physical confrontations with the rally participants.

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Switzerland to Rephrase its Neutrality

In the wake of the general degradation of adherence to laws, and a demonstration that every problem can be solved by re-definining the premises that gave rise to it, even if that includes the rewriting of history, Switzerland wants to re-define what 'neutrality' means for them.

To that end, a change in the Law on the Export of War Material (French: loi sur le matériel de guerre) was proposed in the lower chamber of the Swiss Federal Parliament, the National Council, by the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party members, that would, if accepted, allow the ‘the ban of re-export of war material from non-warring countries to sides in an armed conflict’.
The change reads as follows (translated from the French version):

Read more: Switzerland to Rephrase its Neutrality

The Federal Council is responsible for amending Article 18 of the Federal Law on War Material and for presenting a message to Parliament to this effect:

Art. 18 Declaration of non-re-export; exceptions

1 …

2 …

3 (new) At the request of a foreign government, the Federal Council may revoke the declaration of non-re-export, if the requested non-re-export relates to a situation which the United Nations Security Council has declared, in a resolution, contrary to the prohibition of the use of force provided for by international law and if no overriding foreign policy interest of Switzerland opposes it.

4 (new) If no decision is taken by the UN Security Council due to a veto, the UN General Assembly must have found, with a two-thirds majority, a violation of the ban international law on the use of force within the meaning of art. 2 para. 4, of the Charter of the United Nations, before the implementation of art. 18, para. 3.

Original in French

So, just on the fly, in point 4 they re-define what International Law means and how it is to be interpreted. As a reminder, if the UN Security Council has not adopted a resolution, there’s no legal basis on which to claim your following international law – within the UN legal framework, at least. What Swiss politicians want to do here is to replace those rules and laws with their own. Now, according to them, a ‘two third majority of a resolution of the UN General Assembly’ shall suffice to establish what ‘International Law’ is.
We have here another example of people willing to trash all existing (international) laws and replace them with their own version, while declaring loudly and honestly they are following and are concerned about (international) laws being followed.

In case you had any doubts why some people think this might be a good idea, here’s their ‘Putin-made-me-do-it’ argument – I hesitate to call this ‘reasoning’ or ‘justification’ because it is neither:

The war of aggression waged by Russia in Ukraine has shown that there is a need to specify the declaration of non-re-export according to Art. 18 of the Federal Law on War Material (LFMG). In particular, a derogation should be created when there is a violation of the prohibition on the use of force referred to in Art. 2 para. 4 of the Charter of the United Nations. The possibility of lifting the declaration of non-re-export should be introduced in the LFMG in the event that governments wish to provide assistance to a State which has been attacked in its territorial integrity.

Switzerland recognizes that each State must respect the territorial integrity of other States as well as the prohibition of the use of force in accordance with art. 2 para. 4, of the Charter of the United Nations and needs these principles to be respected Russia has recently attacked Ukraine in its territorial integrity by resorting to military force, which is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations. The United Nations Security Council is tasked with finding such violations of international law. The measures adopted by the United Nations Security Council are also binding for Switzerland. The aforesaid possibility must be enshrined in art. 18. It must be presented as an exception, based on international law, which can be envisaged in certain cases in order to lift the ban on re-export. However, in the concrete case of the invasion of Ukraine, the United Nations Security Council cannot find a violation of the prohibition on the use of force, because of the veto oppose by Russia. This is why it would also be appropriate to introduce in the LFMG a provision covering the case in which the United Nations Security Council cannot take a decision due to a veto by one of its members.

If the Federal Council refuses to modify the LFMG for other reasons, it would be possible to propose to the Federal Assembly a Federal Assembly ordinance of similar content in order to clarify the situation in a case of self-defence such as that of Ukraine.

Original in French

Again, you can see that their definition of what International Law says is their own opinion what they think it should say.
Again, if the UN Security Council has not found in a resolution, that a ‘war of aggression’ is being waged, or it has not found in a resolution, that ‘provisions and rules of the UN had been broken by a member’, than there is no legal basis for anyone to claim otherwise within the UN legal framework.

Conclusion: The West has got way to many cretins in charge, that lead it into decline by thrasing all its values, laws and rules, while vehemtly claiming to want to uphold them.

Fluid News Situation Around Iran

It’s an unclear situation around Iran this morning. Some news are confirmed, while others remain in the realm of rumours – or disinformation, if you prefer.

First, the news of an attack by small drones on a factory of the Ministry of Defense of Iran has been confirmed by the Ministry of Defense itself. An English translation of their statement is here.

Second, the news about a 5.9 earthquake in Khoy, West Azerbaijan province of Iran are also correct. Some images can be found at the Fars News (Persian) website, here.

Third, news about ‘military planes in the sky’ or an ‘Israeli operation inside Iran’ are rumours at this point. There’s no confirmation, and civilian air-traffic is working normally over Iran. Websites in Iran are accessible normally.