Bruno Maçães, a former Portuguese Europe minister, has given an insight in the powerful Russian President and outlined some of his potential plans for the future. The 47-year-old said President Putin has an unusual way of operating and likes to send “ambiguous messages to his deputies”, in a move likely to spark “chaos”.
Writing in the New Statesman, Mr Maçães said: “He [Putin] will have everyone guessing at the meaning of his words.
“In the case of things going wrong, it was simply because this meaning was not accurately interpreted.
“Under these conditions, chaos is bound to grow, but it is seen as productive and capable of reinforcing state power.”
The former European official noted the growing influence of Russia around the world – and cited the ongoing situation in Belarus and Europe’s energy supply woes.
“Some leaders side with order, others choose chaos. Putin believes that nature has a preference for chaos, so the latter are destined to win.
“Russia may be a sick man but a sick man with a gun is still a dangerous man, and in a world in turmoil we may all end up sick anyway. That is the Russia Putin plans to leave behind.”
Speaking at the plenary, President Putin said Covid has served as a “reminder of how fragile our community is”.
He added climate change has become “so obvious that even the most careless people can no longer dismiss”, and noted the raging wildfires in Siberia.
The Russian leader also reignited the prospect of war with Ukraine after more than 100,000 troops were deployed to the region already this year.
He said: “Formal [Ukrainian] NATO membership may never happen, but military expansion on the territory is already underway, and this really poses a threat to the Russian Federation, we are aware of this.”
Opinion | Trump’s effort to thwart the Jan. 6 committee probe takes an ominous turn as Jeffrey Clark faces contempt
As it is, theraises important questions. Biden, as sitting president, has declined Trump’s requests for its invocation. Yet Trump insists he can assert it as a former president, to keep buried information to thwart an inquiry — into an effort to disrupt a presidential election’s conclusion — that is obviously very much in the national interest.
Blanket travel bans will not prevent spread of Omicron variant of Covid-19: World Health Organization
Passengers wait to get tested at an airport in South Africa, the country where the Omicron variant of Covid-19 was first detected.  |  Photo Credit: Reuters
- More than a dozen countries have reported cases of the new variant, which reportedly is even resistant to anti-Covid vaccines
- Around 56 countries have supposedly re-imposed stricter travel measures, including India
Geneva: With the new, highly-contagious variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus – Omicron – spreading across the world, several countries have started imposing stricter travel guidelines in order to check the spread of the virus.
But, the World Health Organization on Tuesday warned that blanket travel bans will not prevent the spread of the Omicron strain, despite the global health watchdog classifying it as a ‘variant of concern’.
“Blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread, and they place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods. In addition, they can adversely impact global health efforts during a pandemic by disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data,” the WHO said in its travel advisory statement.
The WHO further said that countries should rather apply “an evidence-informed and risk-based approach” while imposing travel restrictions in the backdrop of the Omicron variant, such as screening or quarantine of international passengers.
“Measures may include screening of passengers prior to travel and/or upon arrival, and use of SARS-COV-2 testing or quarantine of international travellers after thorough risk assessment,” it said.
More than a dozen countries have reported cases of the new variant, which reportedly is even resistant to anti-Covid vaccines.
Around 56 countries have supposedly re-imposed stricter travel measures, including India.
The Indian government today advised all states and Union Territories to enhance testing and undertake effective surveillance of international travellers, adding that the new variant does not escape the RT-PCR and RAT tests. India has also extended the nationwide Covid-19 containment measures till December 31, though Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said that there are no cases of Omicron in the country so far.
Iranian terror plot must make West end its appeasement of murderous regime in Tehran – Struan Stevenson
This is not some Hollywood fantasy, but reality. A Belgian court has just passed sentence on four Iranians who were involved in a plot to kill and maim hundreds of people at a rally of the National Council of Resistance of Iran at Villepinte near Paris in June 2018.
There were dozens of Americans and Europeans at the rally, including well-known politicians like Newt Gingrich, ex-speaker of the US House, Theresa Villiers MP, a former UK Cabinet minister, and Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada. I was there myself and was a plaintiff at the trial in Antwerp on Thursday, sending recorded evidence.
Assadollah Assadi was a senior diplomat from the Iranian Embassy in Vienna. He was arrested by police in Germany after being filmed handing over a powerful explosive device and detonator to two Iranian co-conspirators, Amir Saadouni, 40, and his wife Nasimeh Naami, 36. A third co-conspirator, Mehrdad Arefani, was present at the Villepinte rally as a lookout.
Although all three lived in Belgium as registered refugees, they were in fact trained Iranian agents. Assadi had told them to detonate the bomb as close to Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi as possible.
That is where I was standing, with all of the other political figures. The court heard Assadi had told his co-conspirators that if they couldn’t get close enough to Mrs Rajavi, they should simply throw the bomb into the crowd and detonate it.
Iran’s fascist dictatorship boasts of its ‘different’ human rights as the execut…
The courthouse was surrounded by Iranian opposition supporters and heavily guarded by armed police and military personnel. Helicopters hovered overhead.
The public were prohibited from entering the court on security grounds as the judges announced the maximum 20-year sentence on Assadi for terrorist offences. Naami was sentenced to 18 years, her husband Saadouni to 15 years and the lookout Arefani to 17 years.
The jail terms mark the culmination of an unprecedented trial of an accredited diplomat. Assadi refused to testify or attend court, claiming diplomatic immunity, which was rejected by the judges and has now, following his conviction, been revoked. His co-conspirators have been stripped of Belgian citizenship and will be deported after serving their sentences.
The court case comes as no surprise to those of us familiar with the Iranian regime. The mullahs have a history of deploying their assassins in the guise of diplomats and using their embassies as bomb factories.
In 2018, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama expelled the Iranian ambassador and his first secretary on the grounds they posed a risk to security. Once again these ‘so-called’ diplomats were revealed as trained Ministry of Intelligence and Security (Mois) agents who had been plotting bomb attacks and assassinations of the regime’s opponents.
Since seizing power in the 1979 revolution, the theocratic regime has ruthlessly bombed and shot its opponents around the globe, while torturing and executing political prisoners at home. But this is the first time a diplomat has been caught red-handed and jailed for acts of terror.
Lies and propaganda
The Antwerp court’s verdict must surely mark a turning point in relations with Tehran. There can be no return to business as usual. There can be no more arguments that diplomacy is the answer.
Indeed, on January 19, an Iranian-American, Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi, appeared in a US federal court, 13 years after he allegedly began taking payments from the Iranian regime while presenting himself as an independent expert on foreign relations and political science.
Court documents state that he was paid at least $265,000 for his service to Iran’s theocratic dictatorship, before finally being arrested by the FBI and charged with extensive violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act. [Mr Afrasiabi denies the charges*].
The mullahs’ regime has embedded agents around the world, feeding lies and propaganda to the media and to policy-makers.
The arch-criminal and Supreme Leader of the mullahs is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. There can be no doubt that he, together with his senior ministers, president Hassan Rouhani, foreign minister Javad Zarif and minister of intelligence Mahmoud Alavi, ordered the spying, the bomb plots and the assassinations.
Khamenei is praying that President Joe Biden will quickly restore Barack Obama’s deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal that was unceremoniously dumped by Donald Trump.
He is praying the US will lift the sanctions which prevented Iran from selling oil, crippling its economy. Biden has repeatedly confirmed this is one of his foreign-policy priorities. It will be a grave mistake.
Crimes against humanity
Biden need not think that lifting sanctions will put food back on the table for impoverished Iranians. In fact, it will enable Khamenei to reinforce his funding of Bashar al-Assad’s bloody civil war in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the brutal Shi’ia militias in Iraq and the terrorist Hezbollah in Lebanon. It will also enable the mullahs to accelerate their development of a nuclear weapon and ballistic missile delivery systems, which has never ceased.
It is time for a complete change of direction in US, EU and UN policy towards Iran. The people of Iran expect the West to be on their side.
They expect their calls for democracy to be taken seriously. The appeasement policy, lamely followed by the EU, is dead in the water.
Now, following the Antwerp trial, the EU will have to reassess completely its relationship with Iran. The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, must recall his ambassador from Tehran and every Western nation should follow suit.
Any country that seeks to use terror as statecraft should be debarred from civilised assemblies and held to account in the international courts of justice, their leaders indicted for crimes against humanity.
Struan Stevenson is the coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change, an international lecturer on the Middle East and president of the European Iraqi Freedom Association
*An editor’s note has been added to this article to state that Kaveh Lotfolah Afrasiabi denies the charges against him
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this article. We’re more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.
If you haven’t already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.
News7 months ago
Download Lucifer (Season 1-5) Hindi Dubbed English Dual Audio All-Episodes 480p [150MB] 720p [350MB]
News7 months ago
Scam 1992 download filmyzilla Hindi
News5 months ago
The Conjuring 3 The Devil Made Me Do It (2021) Dual Audio [Hindi+English] HQ Studio Dubbed Download | 480p [410MB] | 720p [730MB]
News5 months ago
Download Loki (Season 1) (2021) Dual Audio Hindi-English 480p | 720p | 1080p – Moviesflix – TheMoviesFlix.com |Moviesflix | Movies flix
News5 months ago
Download Jinde Meriye (2020) Punjabi Full Movie 480p [400MB] | 720p [1.2GB]
News5 months ago
The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021) English [Subtitles Added] Bluray Download | 480p [350MB] | 720p [850MB]
News6 months ago
Lucifer Season 1-5 (Season 5 Part 2 Added) Dual Audio [Hindi ORG 5.1+English] Web-DL HD | 480p | 720p
News3 months ago
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) Dual Audio [Hindi+English] HDCam v2 Download | 480p [300MB] | 720p [1.1GB]