Russia Says Embassy Staff In Libya Evacuated After Attack

Soccer-Russia says FIFA investigator Garcia unwelcome

The statement sought to underline cooperation by the two countries to reestablish Russia’s full diplomatic presence in Libya and reduce any long-term impact. CLAN DIVISIONS Clan and tribal rivalries, as well as Islamist groups, have flourished in the absence of strong central government in Libya. Security services have struggled to maintain order. Militant groups have staged a number of attacks on Western diplomats. Militants linked to al Qaeda affiliates attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012. “When Gaddafi was in charge, ties (between Libya and Russia) were good. He was buying our weapons and there was talk of a railroad being built,” said Moscow-based analyst Georgy Mirsky. Asked about the attack, he said: “This kind of thing happens all the time, there is no reason to exaggerate it.” Russia says it lost billions of dollars in arms deals after the fall of Gaddafi, who was captured and killed in October 2011 after months of civil war. The violence prompted Russian companies, which had pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into Libya’s oil and natural gas sectors, to put their investments on hold. The attack on the embassy occurred as a Russian delegation was planning to visit Libya to try to put commercial relations back on track, the head of a business council said. “Unfortunately these kinds of things happen, not regularly, but they happen, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop business.

At the urging of Vice President Aleksandr Rutskoi, violent armed mobs had assaulted the Ostankino broadcast center and the Moscow Mayor’s Office. Parliamentary speaker Ruslan Khasbulatov had even encouraged them to storm the Kremlin. So after vanquishing the retrograde legislature so decisively, the argument went, Yeltsin and his team could finally get on with the business of setting up a working democracy and functional market economy. Except that it didn’t quite work out that way. On the contrary, the violent resolution of Russia’s 1993 constitutional crisis set a series of precedents that continue to plague Russia to this day. The seeds of many of the elements of Vladimir Putin’s “managed democracy,” in fact, were planted during that fateful autumn, two decades ago. “We survived that time and we should have learned something from it, but unfortunately we didn’t learn anything,” Sergei Filatov, Yeltsin’s chief of staff at the time of the crisis, told RFE/RL’s Russian Service recently. “For the last 20 years, we’ve continued to use the same methods.” The executive-heavy power vertical, the unaccountable super-presidency, and the decorative pocket parliament otherwise known as the State Duma were the direct result of the way the 1993 crisis was resolved. So is the fact that the rule of law is an illusion at best, consistently trumped by a much older principle: Might makes right. Yeltsin’s reliance on the military and security services to solve the crisis presaged the central place the siloviki would occupy in politics — from KGB veterans like Aleksandr Korzhakov in Yeltsin’s time to Sergei Ivanov in Putin’s. Yeltsin’s decision not to hold early presidential elections as well as new parliamentary elections, as he initially announced he would when he dissolved the Supreme Soviet, also telegraphed another feature of Russian politics — the tendency to change the rules in the middle of the game.

Russia 2018: ‘We have nothing to hide’ in World Cup bid investigation

Football’s world governing body FIFA awarded the 2018 competition to Russia and the 2022 World Cup to Qatar in December 2010, a decision which has been dogged by allegations of corruption and wrongdoing. Michael Garcia, a former New York attorney, is head of the investigative arm of FIFA’s ethics committee and will visit all of the countries involved in the bidding process for the two tournaments, beginning in London next week. Garcia has always insisted he is completely independent from FIFA and would not hesitate to take action against president Sepp Blatter or other top FIFA officials if he found evidence that they broke the rules. Qatar 2022: Too hot for football? Winter World Cup in 2022? Are Qatar 2022 migrant workers abused? Qatar ‘slave state’ for World Cup workers The head of media for Russia 2018 says the committee will co-operate fully with Garcia’s fact-finding investigation. “We can confirm the local organizing committee (LOC) will fully support Mr Garcia’s work if he contacts us,” read a statement issued to CNN. “The Russia 2018 committee ran a bid campaign in full compliance with FIFA rules and ethics, and we were awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup because of the unique and compelling proposition we put together. “The LOC continues to conduct itself with exactly the same degree of transparency, commitment to excellence and spirit of fair play.” Blog: Can the Qatar World Cup be moved? How and where Garcia’s potential meeting with Russia takes place is open to question given in April he was one of 18 people barred from entering the country over what Moscow said were human rights abuses, linked to the lawyer’s arrest and charging of Viktor Bout, a Russian, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S. for arms trafficking.

Russia’s Original Sin

Garcia is stepping up his inquiry into voting procedures for the 2018 and 2022 soccer World Cups. He plans to visit every country directly involved in the voting for the finals awarded to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022. But Garcia, a former U.S. federal prosecutor, is on a blacklist Moscow issued in June after Washington named 18 Russians barred from the United States for alleged involvement in lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death or other gross rights abuses. Garcia is barred from Russia because of his role in the prosecution of Viktor Bout, a Russian who was long wanted by U.S. authorities on suspicion of arms trafficking and is now serving a 25-year prison term in the United States. Russia’s “Guantanamo List” includes Americans it accuses of involved in torture at prisons and those involved in what it says have been the unfair, politically motivated arrests of Bout and other Russians by U.S. authorities. “Let there be no doubt: We intend to react firmly to unfriendly attacks and unceremonious infringements on the rights of Russian citizens,” the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. “Anyone who is involved in such things should think hard.” The ministry said the United States would be to blame for any consequences of Garcia’s inability to enter Russia. “Questions arising in connection with visa blacklists should be addressed to the initiators and executors of the extraterritorial and discriminatory ‘Magnitsky Act’, which contradicts norms of international law,” it said. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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