Rare Opposition To Zionist Terror within The British Jewish Community

November 19, 2017  /  Gilad Atzmon

jcrethink.jpg

GA: The ultra Zionist Jewish Chronicle allowed a single voice of reason into its letters page this weekend.

https://www.thejc.com/comment/letters/letters-17th-november-1.448327

Misjudgment

In a rather belated response to Rosa Doherty’s article of October 24, concerning a public appearance of Gilad Atzmon, I would like to take issue with certain comments reported therein.

Rabbi Zvi Solomons is quoted as calling Mr  Atzmon “a notorious antisemite”, and says that “he has promoted Holocaust denial, compared Israelis to the Nazis” and  Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies, holds that no “reputable event should feature Gilad Atzmon”, opinions I respectfully but vigorously disagree with.

Firstly, is  Mr. Atzmon truly an antisemite? An antisemite as defined by who, and by what criteria? Should we not apply ourselves to these questions before we  brand anyone with such a grave charge, however objectionable (nay, offensive!) their opinions be? As far as I know, and I may be wrong, Mr Atzmon has never denied that the  Holocaust happened but rather has opposed laws which seek to prohibit its denial; and did Mr Atzmon really compare all Israelis to Nazis, or is his clumsy and admittedly provocative critique of Israeli policies being taken as proof of something much more sinister?

Even were Mr Atzmon to confess himself as a most virulent antisemite, both tactically and on principle, the last thing we should do is seek to ban him from “reputable” public events; rather, we should  welcome any  and every opportunity to debate him and people with similar ideas, with facts and well-reasoned arguments that will show any fair-minded, rational person how ill-founded Mr Atzmon’s discourse is.

And before anyone accuses me of being naive and unrealistic in adopting this response, I would counter that to silence or “shut him down” truly plays into genuine antisemites’ hands (eg: ”Look, the Zionists are trying to shut up honest dissenters again”) and leaves a  part of the intellectual field to them.

Robert Coleman
London W17

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Daily Mail: MBS Rounded up American Mercenaries To Torture, Interrogate and Hang up Arrested Princes

 

Local Editor

23-11-2017 | 10:47

A Saudi source informed the Daily mail that “princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in a power grab earlier this month are being strung up by their feet and beaten by American private security contractors.”

 

MBS


The group of the country’s most powerful figures were arrested in a crackdown ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman three weeks ago as he ordered the detention of at least 11 fellow princes and hundreds of businessmen and government officials over claims of corruption.

DailyMail.com disclosed that the arrests have been followed by ‘interrogations’ which a source said were being carried out by ‘American mercenaries’ brought in to work for the 32-year-old crown prince, who is now the kingdom’s most powerful figure.

‘They are beating them, torturing them, slapping them and insulting them. They want to break them down,’ the source told DailyMail.com.

‘Blackwater’ has been named by DailyMail.com’s source as the firm involved, and the claim of its presence in Saudi Arabia has also been made on Arabic social media, and by Lebanon’s president.

The firm’s successor, Academi, strongly denies even being in Saudi Arabia and says it does not engage in torture, which it is illegal for any US citizen to commit anywhere in the world.

The Saudi crown prince, according to the source, has also confiscated more than $194 billion from the bank accounts and seized assets of those arrested.

The source said that in the febrile atmosphere in the kingdom, Prince Mohammed has bypassed the normal security forces in keeping the princes and other billionaires at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh.

“All the guards in charge are private security because MBS [Mohammed Bin Salman] doesn’t want Saudi officers there who have been saluting those detainees all their lives,’ said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

According to the source: “Outside the hotels where they are being detained you see the armored vehicles of the Saudi special forces. But inside, it’s a private security company.”

“They’ve transferred all the guys from Abu Dhabi. Now they are in charge of everything,” said the source.

The source said that Salman, often referred to by his initials MBS, is conducting some of the interrogations himself.

“When it’s something big he asks them questions,” the source said, noting that “he speaks to them very nicely in the interrogation, and then he leaves the room, and the mercenaries go in. The prisoners are slapped, insulted, hung up, and tortured.”The source says the crown prince is desperate to assert his authority through fear and wants to uncover an alleged network of foreign officials who have taken bribes from Saudi princes.

When asked if Academi workers were involved in any kind of violence during these interrogations, the spokesperson said: “No. Academi has no presence in KSA. We do not have interrogators, nor do we provide any interrogators, advisors or other similar services.”

They added: “Academi does not participate in interrogative services for any government or private customer. Academi has a zero tolerance policy for violence.

We operate legally, morally, ethically and in compliance with local and US laws.”
The name Blackwater, however, has previously surfaced in the Middle East in the wake of the round-up.

A high-profile Saudi twitter account, @ Ahdjadid, which posts what is said to be inside information, also claimed Salman has brought in at least 150 ‘Blackwater’ guards.

Saudi whistleblower Ahdjadid tweeted: ‘The first group of Blackwater mercenaries arrived in Saudi Arabia a week after the toppling of bin Nayef [Salman’s predecessor as crown prince].

“They were around 150 fighters. Bin Salman sent some of them to secure bin Nayef’s place of detention and the rest he used for his own protection.”

The abuse claims were also raised recently in an article in the New York Times.

A doctor at a hospital in Riyadh and a US official told the Times that as many as 17 detainees had needed medical treatment.

Among those arrested on allegations of corruption is Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the Saudi King’s nephew who is worth more than $17bn according to Forbes, and owns stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup.

DailyMail.com’s source claims the crown prince lulled Alwaleed into a false sense of security, inviting him to a meeting at his Al Yamamah palace, then sent officers to arrest him the night before the meeting.

“Suddenly at 2.45am all his guards were disarmed, the royal guards of MBS storm in,” said the source.

“He’s dragged from his own bedroom in his pajamas, handcuffed, put in the back of an SUV, and interrogated like a criminal. They hung them upside down, just to send a message. They told them that we’ve made your charges public, the world knows that you’ve been arrested on these charges.”‘

After the arrests, a picture was given to DailyMail.com of the Saudi royals sleeping on thin mattresses in the ballroom of the five star Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh.

Source: Dailymail, Edited by website team

The Saudi System and Why Its Change May Fail

The Saudi System and Why Its Change May Fail

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 21.11.2017

The Saudi System and Why Its Change May Fail

The Saudi clown prince Mohammad Bin Salman is an impulsive tyrant. But what accounts for the urge to purge the country of any potential competing power center Why does he run a such an activist foreign policy? The answer might be Iran. Not Iran the country, but Iran the system.

Since the U.S. war on Iraq the sclerotic Saudi Arabia continuously lost standing in its region. The Iranian model gained ground. A decade later the authoritarian Arab systems were challenged by the so called “Arab spring”. While the movements in the various countries -as far as their were genuine- have failed, they were a warning sign for things to come.

Saudi Arabia reacted to the challenges by moving away from a sedate, consensual run family business towards a centrally controlled, supercharged tyranny. The move allows for more flexible and faster reactions to any future challenge. But it also increases the chance of making mistakes. To understand why this endeavor is likely to fail one needs look at the traditional economic and social system that is the fabric of the country. The fate of the Hariri dynasty is an example for it.

Since Salman climbed the throne he has moved to eliminate all competition to his rule. The religious establishment was purged of any opposition. Its police arm was reigned in. First crown prince Murqrin was removed and then crown prince Nayef. They were replaced with Salman’s inexperienced son. Economic and military powers were concentrated in his hands. During the recent night of the long knives powerful family members and business people were detained. The Wall Street Journal reported of a second arrest wave. More higher ups have been incarcerated. This round includes senior military commanders and very wealthy business people.

As the prison for the arrested VIPs, the Ritz-Carlton hotel, is fully booked, the next door Mariott is now put to use. Qualified personal was hired to handle the prisoners:

As many as 17 people detained in the anti-corruption campaign have required medical treatment for abuse by their captors, according to a doctor from the nearest hospital and an American official tracking the situation.

The former Egyptian security chief, Habib el-Adli, said by one of his advisers and a former Egyptian interior minister to be advising Prince Mohammed, earned a reputation for brutality and torture under President Hosni Mubarak.

After the torture reports spread due to employees of local hospitals, a medical unit was established in the Ritz itself.

My assertion in earlier pieces, that one motive of the arrest wave was to fleece the prisoners, is confirmed. The arrested rich people are pressed into “plea deals” in which they give up their assets in exchange for better treatment and some restricted kind of freedom. The aim is to “recover” up to $800 billion in so called “corruption” money. Thousands of domestic and international accounts have been blocked by the central bank of Saudi Arabia. They will eventually be confiscated. But Saudi billionaires have long been looking for ways to park their money outside of the country. The accounts which were now blocked are likely small change compared to their total holdings in this or that tax haven. Historically the recoveries of such assets is problematic:

Asset recovery programs never really go quite to plan. They are beset by obstacles — most often in the form of wealth squirreled away offshore and political infighting over wealth seized onshore.

Most likely, Saudi Arabia will obtain a sliver of these assets — say in the tens of billions of dollars — a useful, but temporary, gain. What happens after that depends on how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman re-sets relations with business.

The financial success of the MbS raids will be insignificant. The financial damage he causes with his jihad against his own family members will be significant. It ruins his plans for attracting foreign investment:

“Half my Rolodex is in the Ritz right now. And they want me to invest there now? No way,” said one senior investor. “The wall of money that was going to deploy into the kingdom is falling apart.”

One can not steal money from some people and then expect other people to trust assurances that such could never happen to them. MbS’s big plans for Neom, a $500 billion artificial city financed by foreign investors, will fall apart.

To accuse princes and high officials of “corruption” is a fancy excuse. “Corruption” is how business is done in Saudi Arabia. It is tightly connected to the traditional ruling system. The king and his son are trying to change both:

Foreign investors tend to enter the Saudi market via partnerships with established business franchises or princes as they seek to exploit their domestic clout to navigate a complicated bureaucratic landscape.

The same goes for any state tender. To contract for building a road or public housing a company will have to find a prince or high official with the necessary clout. To get a tender signed it will have to promise, or pay upfront, a share of the expected profits. When the job is finishes it will need to come back to get its bill paid. No money will flow for the delivered work unless another bribe is paid. Contracts are calculated with 40% on top to compensate for these necessary lubricants.

The systems works. It becomes problematic when a contractor delivers shoddy work, but can still bribe his patron into accepting it. Drainage man-hole covers in Saudi streets, without the necessary drainage tunnels below them, are a well known and despised phenomenon.

Rafic Hariri, the father of the Lebanese premier minister Saad Hariri, built a construction empire in Saudi Arabia by paying the right people. He was also a capable manager who ran his business, Saudi Oger, well. He was also the Saudis man in Lebanon and did his best to fulfill that role.

His son Saad never got a grip on the business site. By 2012, seven years after Rafic Hariri had been assassinated, the family business in Saudi Arabia ran into trouble:

Almost a year ago, the Saudis began keeping an eye on Hariri’s company, which reeked of corruption. Several high-ranking officials – some close to Saad Hariri – were accused of theft and extortion. But Hariri could not find a solution to the crisis, nor was he able to restore the confidence that the company lost in the market.

So he began a major pruning operation, laying off lower-level employees without any indication of objections to their job performance. The dismissals did not even spare Saudi nationals, leading to widespread dissent.

The Saudis once treated the company with care, providing it with contracts in the region’s biggest oil economy. Now, the company is suffering from internal disputes and theft. It became closer to a scrapyard for the Kingdom.

Saad Hariri had the wrong contacts, bribed the wrong people and delivered shoddy work which made his company an easy target. He also failed to be a reliable Saudi asset in Lebanon. There the Shia Hizbullah gained in standing while the Sunnis, led by Hariri, lost political ground.

The Hariri company took up large loans to finance its giant construction projects for the Saudi government. But by 2014 oil prices had fallen and the Kingdom simply stopped paying its bills. It is said to own $9 billion to the Hariri enterprises. Other Saudi constructions companies, like the Bin Laden group, also had troublesome times. But they were bailed out by the Saudi government with fresh loans and new contracts.

No new contracts were issued to Hariri. No new bank loans were available to him and his bills were not paid. The Saudis demanded control over Lebanon but Hariri could not deliver. In July, after 39 mostly successful years, Saudi Oger went out of business. The Hariri family is practically bankrupt.

Hariri’s two youngest children, 16 and 12 years old, are kept hostage in Saudi Arabia. After the recent trip to Paris his wife also returned to Riyadh. The French President Macron had intervened and Hariri was allowed to leave Saudi Arabia. But Macron failed (intentionally?) to free him from Saudi influence. Hariri’s financial means and his family are under control of the Saudi tyrant. He is not free in any of his political, business and personal decisions.

Hariri is pressed to now drive a political hardline against Hizbullah in Lebanon. He knows that this can not be successful but his mischievous Saudi minder, the Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer, does not understand this. His boss, MbS, believes that the whole world can and should be run the same way he wants to run his country.

Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker has long observed how business is done in Saudi Arabia. He had portrait the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. His recent observations at a nightly desert picnic explains how the al Saud family used to run the country:

It was almost midnight when the prince held a Majlis, a traditional Bedouin ceremony in which tribesmen come to pay their respects and ask for charity. A line of men in white robes and red-and-white Arab headdresses stretched into the darkness. One by one they approached, removing their sandals, bowing and handing him pieces of paper. Some recited poetry. The prince scribbled on each cover sheet and put the papers on a stack.

Saudi Arabia used to run on patronage:

Saudi society is divided by tribe, region, sect, degree (or nature of religiosity), and class. Although these various groups are only rarely organized in formal structures outside of the state, many developed special connections with specific state bodies, turning the sprawling state apparatus into constituencies of sorts.

Middle East expert Steffen Hertog has aptly described how the Saudi state emerged in the oil era: leading princes carved out structures they could dominate; state institutions worked in silos and coordinated poorly; and networks of beneficiaries, contractors, and influence brokers populated various bureaucracies. The Saudi state expanded rapidly into an uncoordinated group of what Hertog goes so far as to call “fiefdoms.”

High up princes take care of lower ranking ones. Each has common folks, clans or whole tribes he is supposed to take care of. Obedience is bought by controlling the “social” spending that trickles down through this pyramid. The princes make their money by having their fingers in, or “taxing”, all kind of state businesses. It is this money that sponsors their luxurious life as well as the benefits they distribute. This was never seen as corruption as it is understood in the west. For decades these tribute payments were simply owned to the princes. They had a birth-right to them.

MbS “corruption” ride is destroying that system without him having a replacement. Saudi Arabia has been run as a family business. Decisions in recent decades were taken by consensus. Every part of the family was allowed to have its cash generating fiefdom and patronage network. The rule of King Salman and his activist son are trying to change that. They want to concentrate all business and all decisions in one hand.

Mohammad bin Salman’s view of the world is that of Louis XIV – “L’etat, c’est moi” – I am the state. In his own view MbS is not just a crown prince or the future king of the state of Saudi Arabia. He, and he alone, is Saudi Arabia. He is the state. He let this view known in an interview with the Economist in January 2016:

[W]e have clear programmes over the next five years. We announced some of them, and the rest we will announce in the near future. In addition to this, my debt-to-GDP is only 5%. So I have all points of strength, and I have the opportunities to increase our non-oil revenues in many sectors, and I have a global economic network.

As I remarked at that time:

The young dude not only thinks he owns the country, he actually thinks he is the country. He has debt-to-GDP, he has ten million jobs in reserve, he has all women of Saudi Arabia as productive factor and he has scary population growth.

Does the guy understand that such an attitude guarantees that he personally will be held responsible for everything that will inevitably go wrong with his country?

Saudi Arabia and its state apparatus have for decades been build on an informal but elaborate system of personal relations and patronage. MbS expects that he can take out one part of the system, the princes and businessmen, and the rest will follow from that. He will be the one to control it all.

That is a doubtful endeavor. The ministries and local administrations are used to do their business under tutelage. Eliminating the leadership caste that controlled them will not turn them into corruption free technocracies. Seeing the exemplary punishments MbS hands out at the Ritz the bureaucracies will stop working. They will delay any decisions out of fear until they have the okay from the very top.

Ten-thousands of tribal and clan leaders are bound to and depend on the patronage system. The hundreds of people who sought audience with Alwaleed bin Talal at the desert picnic will turn whereto? Who will take up their issues with higher authorities? Who will provide them with hand outs and the “trickle down” money they depend on?

Another target of Mohammed bin Salman’s activities have been the religious authorities. Some critical sheiks have been incarcerated, others are held incommunicado. The Salman “revolution from the top” extends into their judiciary role:

Historically, Saudi leaders have propounded the view that the sharia is the country’s highest law and the overall legal system operates within its bounds.

the domination of the religious establishment in law is ending. The king and crown prince are clearly favoring (and fostering) religious figures who repudiate some long-standing official views.

Bin Salman is purging the religious establishment, the military, the competing members of the families, the business people and the bureaucracy. He wants to run the state by his own. He demands the right to review any decision in the legal, business and foreign policy realm. He has authority to punish people responsible for decisions he dislikes. Under this concept any personal initiatives will become extinct.

The country is too big for one person to control. MbS can not take all decisions by himself. No large system can work like that. The people will soon become unhappy with his centralized and unresponsive control.

That is already visible in his failing foreign policy. MbS wants to be seen as the indisputable “leader of the Islamic world”. His hate for everything Iran originates there. The Iranian system of a participatory and democratic Islamic state is a living alternative to the autocratic model he wants to implement in Saudi Arabia. The western model of a “liberal democracy” does not adapt well to the historic social models that are prevalent in the Middle East. But the Iranian system is genuine and fits the local culture. It is the sole competition he fears. It must be destroyed by any means.

But all his attempts to counter Iran (even where it was not involved) have been unsuccessful. Saudi interventions in Yemen, Qatar, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have been disastrous. Over the weekend the Arab League delivered the usual criticism of Iran but decided on nothing else. Half of the Arab League states, including the powerful Egypt, are not willing to follow the aggressive Saudi course. Mohmmed bin Salman’s grant scheme of using Israel and the U.S. to fight Iran in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iran itself is unraveling.

The Saudi response to the competition of the Iranian system is a move towards more authoritarian rule. This is hoped to allow for more agile policies and responses. But the move breaks the traditional ruling system. It removes the sensible impediments to impulsive foreign policies. It creates the contitions for its very failure.

moonofalabama.org

Putin is My Flunky (satirical essay)

 

Russia, Iran And Turkey Converge On One Point

Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo

Written by Dmitri Evstafiev; Originally appeared at eurasia.expert, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

On November 22, in Sochi, an unusual summit will be held [SF comment: It already took place] – talks between the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey. At the centre of attention will be the settlement in Syria, where the three countries come out as guarantors of peace. Along with that, cooperation in the Moscow-Ankara-Tehran triangle can go beyond the Syrian scope. Professor of the NRU “Higher School of Economics” Dmitry Evstafiev assessed the prospects of the “axis” formed between the three countries and the accession of Azerbaijan.

Preparing to Redraw Maps

On the main agenda of the meeting of the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Sochi on November 22 are issues related to the necessity to start the political reconstruction process of Syria and the prevention of its transformation into a platform for the development of Islamic radicalism, however on an internal socio-economic basis. It is possible, if there are no effective political mechanisms created, reflecting the new system of interests and influence, which arose both inside and around Syria.

In addition, the three countries are concerned that in the issues of the Syrian settlement the United States are beginning to take a more and more unconstructive position, which can bring destabilisation. Especially considering that the USA in today’s Syria and Iraq will “lose” almost nothing, and they may not particularly care for the fate of their assets and allies.

It is difficult not to notice, however, that the tripartite summit of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Sochi has become a kind of an “answer” to the APEC summit of Da Nag (Vietnam) and the preceding Sino-American negotiations. Agreements between the United States and China stayed away from the “strategic partnership”, but were clearly marked as “pre-freezing” strategic rivalry between the two countries, which was seen as the epicentre of processes in the Asia-Pacific region over the last few years.

World politics abhors a vacuum, especially if politics are in a transition period. In conditions of stagnation in key economic and political terms, Asia-Pacific region (obviously in the absence of a force majeure by the DPRK) will intensify attempts to change the situation in other regions. At a minimum, approaching the new cycle of showdowns in the Asia Pacific region relations with new opportunities. And at a maximum, protecting oneself from possible economic and political destabilisation.

Neither Russia, Iran or Turkey claim for global leadership, but have the status and capacity substantially greater than what the term “regional power” attributes. Three countries, although Turkey to a lesser extent, were focused on the connecting processes for the formation of a new economic space in South-East Asia. Now comes the time for them to restructure their own relationships in order to approach the new “points of bifurcation” with the best outcome.

The Potential of the Moscow-Istanbul-Tehran «Axis»

And from this point of view the potential of the “troika” Russia-Iran-Turkey is much more than just cooperative interaction in Syria or even in the Middle East. Speaking of development prospects of the Moscow-Istanbul-Tehran “axis” it is necessary to note three conditions that makes this geopolitical project not just interesting but also potentially of leadership.

First, the basis of the Moscow-Istanbul-Tehran “axis”, without a doubt, is the economic interests. Primarily, it is the formation of the logistics corridor “North-South”, which now can be viewed in an operational way. There is sufficient transit and, most importantly, non-transit goods for it.

But beyond the economic factors the “axis” brings together a shared vision of military-political issues and security. Not only in Syria or in general in the Middle East, but also in the broader context of South Asia and partially in Africa, in the Horn of Africa.

As practice shows, political and military components of the coalition are now the most enduring elements of the partnership.

This is due to the deceleration of globalisation and preparation of key governments of the world to the significant redistribution of markets in the calculation of the new industrial revolution and the restructuring of global political institutions. As counter-examples we can cite the fate of the Trans-Atlantic economic partnership and NATO.

Second, challenges of industrial modernisation stand before the partner countries. And in circumstances when former concepts of development, based on the idea of connection to the centre of economic growth in the EU, with variations, they lose their relevance. Over a potential range of industrial goods the countries practically do not compete with each other with the exception of certain areas. But they do not appear crucial against the background and can be harmonised in the development process of foreign markets.

The countries are too different for the “intraspecific” competition to emerge. The industrial modernisation will allow to further “spread” competitive “zones”. The partner countries stand before necessary new industrial modernisation but for each it will be different at the sectorial and technological focus.

It is important as well that the “axis”, for the economic cooperation to be successful, becomes a community with a base population of over 300 million people, which is sufficient for the development and initial commercial implementation of technologically rich projects. The community potentially has good chances for the formation of self-sufficient financial investments and billing cycles, with a high level of resistance to external pressure. Problems with access to financial tools are experienced, at the least, by two of the three countries of the “core”, Russia and Iran, and it seems that in the near future, Turkey will begin to experience it as well.

Third, at the “core” the axis naturally formed its own “semi-periphery” and “periphery” countries, which objectively will be pulled in into the “core’s” economic processes and projects. Moreover, these countries are different as to their status and capabilities and development. This gives the “core” of the “axis” sufficient flexibility to secure economic and political interests at the national level.

Around the “core” partnerships can be built with other countries ranging from Syria (logistically important territories and valuable agricultural space) and ending with Qatar (financial resources and a favourable geographical position), not excluding Egypt, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and several other countries.

With such allies, each participant of the “core” can find its own specific niche interest, both political and economic. This does not mean that there will not be any conflicts. On the contrary, in such strong members of the “core” contradictions are inevitable. However, a compromise will be easier to find amid the multiplicity of opportunities, facilitating economic and political “exchanges”.

Challenges for the New Coalition

The paradox of the relations in the Russia-Iran-Turkey triangle is that separately at the level of bilateral relations, the three countries are doomed to contradictions and the absence of long-term prospects, not to mention a strategic partnership. Any bilateral partnership will trigger a reaction not only from foreign players but also from the inside of the respective states. Indeed, the economic and political interests of partner countries are more than contradictory. This is obvious by looking at the confused and not yet successful cooperation of Russia and Iran, despite the good prospects.

But within the coalition, the objectives directed not against each other but on the “development” of the outer space, these three states may well create a relatively self-contained vector with a minimum of internal contradictions, which, of course, will not be able to completely avoid.

A key issue stands in front of the three “core” countries of the coalition. The answer to it depends on how the “troika” will be able to outgrow the framework of the situational alliance. The talk is about the formation of a new system of relations in the Caspian region. And the key issue will be the resolution, or at least long-term stabilisation, of the Karabakh conflict. Otherwise the level of political risks, limited investment processes in the “core” and around it, in the North-South corridor space, will be too considerable. But most importantly, the partnership system will not be able to include Azerbaijan, which in its potential in the future may become the fourth member of the “core”. The leadership of Azerbaijan clearly has the political will and common sense to do this.

The development of the “troika” partnership with Azerbaijan could significantly change the balance of power and relations not only in the Caspian region but also in the whole post-Soviet space.

And, of course, it must be understood that the potential geo-economic “axis” Moscow-Ankara-Tehran is highly vulnerable to information and political manipulations. This requires in-depth and thoughtful interaction at the expert and information level. Moreover, such manipulations are simply predetermined by the situation not only in Syria, but also in general in the Middle East.

The future of the Moscow-Tehran-Ankara “axis” is largely a matter of development and alignment of interests, not an immediate political institutionalisation. The formation of a new coalition will unlikely to resemble a geopolitical “revolution”. Its success will be judged initially by how and in what form the inclusion of the relative “semi-peripheral” countries will occur.

It is important as well that the new geopolitical and geo-economic “troika”, if its development is successful, will become a project, in many respects, an alternative EEU, at least because of the focus on the real industrialisation, not only the formation of the free regime and participation in logistics projects. For Russia, the economic success in filling the new coalition will be a real step towards not only political, but also a geo-economic multi-direction. This will be for the Eurasian states fundamentally a new challenge.

Dmitri Evstafiev, professor NRU “Higher School of Economics”

Daesh Defeat in Iraq and Syria Means Beginning of the End for Saudi Arabia and israel

Daesh Defeat in Iraq and Syria Means Beginning of the End for Saudi Arabia and Israel

Saudi ISIS 7ab74After years of suffering and violence, Iraq and Syria now seem to be rid of Daesh, sometimes referred to as ISIS or ISIL, thanks mainly to the efforts of Iran. On Tuesday, November 21, Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani sent Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei a congratulatory message on Daesh’s defeat in these countries, and thanked him for his leadership.

Although his own work with the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) was key to this victory, Major General Soleimani also praised the armed forces of Syria and Iraq, their governments and people, in their determination to expel foreign terrorists from their countries.

While this is a great victory for peace in these war-torn countries, it is not news that is welcomed in every corner of the world. When one looks at Daesh’s founding and financing, one sees why some nations are bitterly disappointed with Major General Soleimani’s news.

A senior employee of the Dutch Justice Ministry’s National Cyber Security Center, Yasmina Haifi, ‘tweeted’ the following in August, 2014: “ISIS (Daesh) has nothing to do with Islam. It’s part of a plan by Zionists who are deliberately trying to blacken Islam’s name.”

The following month, a research scholar at Harvard University, Garikai Chengu, said that Daesh “is made-in-the-USA, an instrument of terror designed to divide and conquer the oil-rich Middle East and to counter Iran’s growing influence in the region.”

And herein we have the answer to many questions: the U.S. desperately wants to ‘counter Iran’s growing influence in the region’.

For decades, Israel was the Middle East’s strongest nation. Relying on $4 billion annually from the United States, it violated international law and human rights with complete impunity; it oppressed the Palestinians and stole their land, assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists, and practiced its particularly brutal version of apartheid within its ever-expanding, illegal borders.

Yet with hapless U.S. support, it slowly overstepped its bounds. Urging the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the U.S. Congress that ‘enormous benefits’ would accrue if Saddam Hussein were overthrown. In the power vacuum that that immoral and illegal invasion caused, Iran stepped in and built new ties with Iraq, which the U.S. and Israel had not anticipated.

When Israel decided that Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad must go, so that a weaker government that would bow to Israel’s demands could be installed, it didn’t anticipate Iranian and Russian support for Syria. The U.S. accommodated Israel’s demands by calling for ‘regime change’ in Syria, and supported, with arms and training, what it called ‘moderate rebels’, who were, in actuality, brutal foreign forces with no respect for human dignity, or human life. The suffering these U.S.-supported terrorists caused is beyond description.

With Iran’s influence demonstrated in Syria, to the point that U.S.-supported forces were defeated, Israel looked to block Iran’s growing geopolitical strength, by supporting the drive for Kurdish independence in northern Iraq. This, too, failed.

Perhaps the biggest tactical mistake that apartheid Israel and the oligarchy known as the United States made was underestimating the IRGC. U.S. forces quickly vanquished Iraq a decade ago; Syrian forces, on their own, would have been no match for the terrorists being supported by the U.S. Without this powerful assistance, it’s likely that Daesh would have overrun Syria, and it, like Libya and Iraq, would be in ruins, leaving Israel hegemony with little competition in the Middle East. That racist nation would then have been able to annex all of Palestine, completing the genocide it began in 1948, and which has continued to this day.

Alas for Israel, this was not meant to be! Iran, a nation that believes in self-determination and peace (Iran has not invaded another country since 1798), came to the assistance of its ally, Syria. Thus, Daesh, and Israel’s dreams for uncontested power in the Middle East, were destroyed.

Political affiliations can be unusual. It has now been reported that Israel and Saudi Arabia have been in contact to determine how best to confront Iran. Israel and Saudi Arabia have two of the most dismal human rights records in the entire Middle East; Israel is a brutal occupier, and Saudi Arabia is slaughtering Yemenis, including men, women and children, even as this is written. In Saudi Arabia, a decree was issued in September of this year, allowing women to drive; this new law is to be implemented by June 24, 2018. This very basic right is revolutionary in the oppressive nation of Saudi Arabia. In July, when this writer visited Iran, he saw as many women driving as men. Women cannot vote in Saudi Arabia; women in Iran have had that right since 1963.

It is not surprising that two nations with no interest in human rights would become allied to try to hold onto their fading power. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for the Middle East and the rest of the world, there are many factors weighing against them:

  • The U.S. government is in complete disarray. While the money flow to Israel continues unabated, the current government seems unable to formulate any cohesive policy on almost anything, foreign or domestic. This is a good thing, since its policies in the past have always supported brutal dictators against the human rights of the majority.
  • Israel’s isolation from the world community continues to increase. The Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement continues to negatively impact Israel’s economy, academics, athletics and reputation. The alarm that the BDS movement has caused in Israel and the United States is evidence of its strength.
  • Russian power leans toward Iran, and away from Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States. Russian officials are scheduled to meet with officials from Turkey and Iran on November 22, to discuss Syria. The U.S. has not been invited. Russia’s and Iran’s leaders apparently see no reason to involve the U.S.; the situation simply doesn’t concern the U.S. Relations between the U.S. and Russia today are at their worst point since the end of the Cold War.
  • The strength of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. In numbers, strategic ability and experience, the IRGC has no peer in the Middle East. Israel has nuclear weapons, but it is unlikely that any of its allies, including the United States, would support their use in a war with Iran. And while Israeli society may be slowly imploding under the weight of its own injustices, even Israel’s leaders must recognize that the use of nuclear weapons would cause a murder-suicide of historic proportions: they may destroy their target nation, but there are too many other nations that are nuclear-armed that would retaliate in kind. A nuclear attack on any other nation by Israel would mean the end of Israel. That fact hardly escapes its leaders.
  • Saudi Arabia’s leaders will not formally ally with Israel unless there is a final peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, assuring an independent Palestinian state. Israel has no interest in accomplishing this, which will hamper its ability to work with Saudi Arabia. Even if Saudi Arabia’s leaders drop that requirement, which is not unlikely, the other issues mentioned herein are too big for Israel and Saudi Arabia to overcome.

With decreasing interference from the U.S., Syria and Iraq will rebuild, supported by Iran and Russia. U.S.-supported terrorists have been defeated there; people have begun to return to their homes, and in time, they will return to a degree of normalcy. Israel’s next move to re-establish hegemony on the international stage is anyone’s guess, but much of the world has grown tired of its barbarity and violation of international law. As its power and influence fade, and Iran’s grows, the Middle East can hope for a more peaceful future.

Pentagon Trained Syria’s Al Qaeda “Rebels” in the Use of Chemical Weapons

Source

The Western media refutes their own lies

This article was first published in April 2017 following the accusations directed against the Syrian government of using chemical weapons against its own people.

The issue is now once more before the UN Security Council. Read carefully.

The Western media refute their  own lies.

Not only do they confirm that the Pentagon has been training the terrorists in the use of chemical weapons, they also acknowledge the existence of a not so secret “US-backed plan to launch a chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad’s regime” 

London’s Daily Mail in a 2013 article confirmed the existence of an Anglo-American project endorsed by the White House (with the assistance of Qatar) to wage a chemical weapons attack on Syria and place the blame on Bashar Al Assad.

Update; April 8, 2017) Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian airbase in retaliation for Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against his own people confirms that the “False Flag” Chemical Weapons attack scenario first formulated under Obama is still “on the table”.  Our analysis (including a large body of Global Research investigative reports) confirms unequivocally that Trump is lying, the Western media is lying and most of America’s allies are also lying.

The following Mail Online article was published and subsequently removed. Note the contradictory discourse: “Obama issued warning to Syrian president Bashar al Assad”, “White House gave green light to chemical weapons attack”.

This Mail Online report published in January 2013 was subsequently removed from Mail Online. For further details click here

The Pentagon’s Training of  “Rebels” (aka Al Qaeda Terrorists) in the Use of Chemical Weapons

CNN accuses Bashar Al Assad of killing his own people while also acknowledging that the “rebels” are not only in possession of chemical weapons, but that these “moderate terrorists” affiliated with Al Nusra are trained in the use of chemical weapons by specialists on contract to the Pentagon.

In a twisted logic, the Pentagon’s mandate was to ensure that the rebels aligned with Al Qaeda would not acquire or use WMD, by actually training them in the use of chemical weapons (sounds contradictory):

“The training [in chemical weapons], which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.

The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American. (CNN, December 09, 2012, emphasis added)

screenshot of the CNN article, the original link has been redirected to CNN blogs,

The above report by CNN’s award winning journalist Elise Labott (relegated to the status a CNN blog), refutes CNN’s numerous accusations directed against Bashar Al Assad.

Who is doing the training of terrorists in the use of chemical weapons?  From the horse’s mouth: CNN

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons

And these are the same terrorists (trained by the Pentagon) who are the alleged target of  Washington’s counterterrorism bombing campaign initiated by Obama in August 2014:

“The Pentagon scheme established in 2012 consisted in equipping and training Al Qaeda rebels in the use of chemical weapons, with the support of military contractors hired by the Pentagon, and then holding the Syrian government responsible  for using the WMD against the Syrian people.

What is unfolding is a diabolical scenario –which is an integral part of military planning– namely a situation where opposition terrorists advised by Western defense contractors are actually in possession of chemical weapons.

This is not a rebel training exercise in non-proliferation. While president Obama states that “you will be held accountable” if “you” (meaning the Syrian government) use chemical weapons, what is contemplated as part of this covert operation is the possession of chemical weapons by the US-NATO sponsored terrorists, namely “by our” Al Qaeda affiliated operatives, including the Al Nusra Front which constitutes the most effective Western financed and trained fighting group, largely integrated by foreign mercenaries. In a bitter twist, Jabhat al-Nusra, a US sponsored “intelligence asset”, was recently put on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

The West claims that it is coming to the rescue of the Syrian people, whose lives are allegedly threatened by Bashar Al Assad. The truth of the matter is that the Western military alliance is not only supporting the terrorists, including the Al Nusra Front, it is also making chemical weapons available to its proxy “opposition” rebel forces.

The next phase of this diabolical scenario is that the chemical weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda operatives will be used against civilians, which could potentially lead an entire nation into a humanitarian disaster.

The broader issue is: who is a threat to the Syrian people? The Syrian government of Bashar al Assad or the US-NATO-Israel military alliance which is recruiting “opposition” terrorist forces, which are now being trained in the use of chemical weapons.” (Michel Chossudovsky, May 8, 2013, minor edit)

Syria, Russia & Iran shift to Diplomacy, While US and Allies Push for War

By Finian Cunningham

November 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – In a big week for Syrian peace talks, President Assad was hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, where the leaders of Iran and Turkey are also to convene. Fittingly, perhaps, the US had no input into the renewed effort for peace in Syria.

Putin said that with the defeat of ISIS (Daesh, Islamic State) and other terror groups in Syria now virtually achieved, the parties to the conflict must underpin the political means to win the peace. Significantly, the talks in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi reinforce the earlier Geneva accord which assents to President Bashar Assad and his government in Damascus as the sovereign authority of Syria.

The demand by Washington and its European allies for Assad to “stand down” has long ago expired. That void is a tacit acknowledgment the nearly seven-year covert war in Syria for regime change has been defeated or at least the covert war in its guise of Western-backed proxy militant groups.

The absence of US and European officials at the peace talks in Sochi this week speaks volumes about their pernicious role in the Syrian war.

While Syria, Russia, Iran, and Turkey endeavor to revamp the peace negotiations, it is significant that Pentagon chief James Mattis was last week saying that US military forces would be digging in further on Syrian territory.

The reluctance of US forces to pack up in Syria despite the demise of the terror groups is perhaps best viewed as part of a regional resurgence of an American military presence. Under President Trump – despite his election campaign promises – the level of US forces has increased substantially in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deployment in Syria fits into this pattern of a regional buildup.

The increasing level of US military strength in the region also underlines the ominous signs of Saudi Arabia and Israel ramping up hostility toward Iran and Lebanon.

Last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said American forces would be staying in Syria despite the contradiction of terror groups being routed. Mattis’ claims that US forces have a legal United Nations’ mandate for their presence in Syria were dismissed by Russia and Syria as a flawed understanding of international law.

But even on Mattis’ own faulty reasoning, his claims are dubious. If US forces have a mandate to be in Syria to defeat terrorists, as claimed, then why are they there given the terrorists have been largely defeated?

Mattis said the new purpose of US forces were to “prevent ISIS 2.0” arising. Despite the fact that the Americans hardly ever engaged in fighting against ISIS, and indeed, as the BBC evenreported, gave the militants safe passage, including helicopter airlifting commanders out of harm’s way.

It was the Syrian Arab Army, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah who did all the heavy lifting to roll back the terror groups, which had been covertly armed and financed by the US and its NATO and regional client regimes. ISIS, Nusra, and all the other alphabet-soup terror groups were only ever a pretext for the US to deploy its warplanes and Special Forces in Syria – a presence which actually constitutes foreign aggression, as the Syrian government and Russia have repeatedly pointed out.

And yet here we have Mattis claiming that it was the US which defeated ISIS in Syria, and warning that the specter of this American asset reemerging as ISIS 2.0 is grounds for continuing to occupy Syrian territory. The Americans’ handy phantom-enemy is serving twice over. That is to “legitimize” the US intervening in Syria; and now to justify US forces staying there – just when the real victors against the terrorists, Syria, Russia, and Iran are trying to demilitarize the country.

RT@RT_com

‘There never was ‘revolution’ in #Syria, it was a premeditated war by foreign powers’ (Op-Ed by @EvaKBartletthttps://on.rt.com/8rai 

8:15 AM – Nov 3, 2017

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda — RT Op-Edge

Сorporate media continues to recycle accusations of starvation, chemical weapons, and more, in the propaganda war on Syria.

rt.com

Far from the public view, US forces are scaling up their presence in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Politico has called it an “official charade.” The Trump administration and the Pentagon are going behind the American people’s backs to deploy thousands more troops across the Middle East.

Much to the displeasure of Washington, Turkey disclosed last week that the US has 13 military bases in Syria. Russia, apparently, has only five bases, even though that country had a much greater military impact on defeating ISIS and other terrorist networks over the past two years.

One of the biggest US bases is near Kobani, about 140 kilometers from the northern city of Raqqa. This is the location no doubt where Mattis was referring to when he said last week that US forces would be digging in.

The US airbase at Kobani has been dramatically upgraded over the past year from what was a rough airfield accommodating only a select few types of aircraft to one now where “every type of air frame” in the Pentagon’s fleet can be landed, including the largest troop-carrying and cargo planes.

The US base at Kobani is also part of a chain of new airfields that connect from Qayarrah West in northern Iraq, to the Taqba Dam, also north of Raqqa.

Officially, there are supposed to be only 500 troops in Syria under the Pentagon’s Force Management Level policy. But as with Afghanistan and Iraq, the real numbers are believed to be much higher than what is officially acknowledged.

A large part of the false accounting arises because the Pentagon doesn’t count units which spend less than 120 days in the country. These units include engineers and troops who are charged with building bridges, roads, and landing strips.

There is a direct analogy here with how US and NATO forces underestimate force levels in the Baltic and Black Sea regions by arbitrarily not counting troops, warplanes and ships described as “rotating presence.” But if you rotate frequently enough, the force levels in effect become permanent and are much larger in practice than is officially admitted.

In addition to ensuring its proxies don’t come back as “ISIS 2.0” (how’s that for chutzpah!), Mattis also said that the expanded US forces were there to ensure the future peace talks in Geneva, resuming on November 28, would gain “traction.”

“We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has traction,” said Mattis last week while in London meeting his British counterparts.

What this suggests is that Washington is using its illegitimate military occupation of Syrian territory as a way to leverage the political process. By forcibly holding on to Syrian territory, Washington is perhaps calculating that the Assad government might cede to its demands on standing down or allowing a defeated opposition more say in drawing up a new constitution.

If the US were genuinely committed to a political process in Syria, then why aren’t its diplomats giving momentum to the Russian-brokered talks in Sochi this week in preparation for the subsequent Geneva summit?

But even more sinister is the region-wide context of US force buildup – largely in secret unknown to the American public. With Washington’s client regimes, Saudi Arabia and Israel,pushing for a confrontation with Iran, directly or via Lebanon and Yemen, the expanding military presence in Syria indicates war in that country is far from over. Instead, it could be but a prelude to a more devastating regional conflagration.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by RT –

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