Zionism and Hindu Nationalism Bring Israel and India Together

June 7, 2021

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) visit the “Hall of Names” in the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial museum in Jerusalem on July 4, 2017. Photo by Abir Sultan, AFP via Getty Images

Why Hindu nationalists have found a brother in arms in Israel and supported recent Israeli escalation in Gaza, which killed 253 Palestinians, 66 of whom are children

hen Israeli warplanes, artillery positions and armed drones rained missiles and bombs upon Gaza for 11 consecutive days last month, killing 253 Palestinians, 66 of whom were children, the Israeli Government received predictable support from the United States, but the words of solidarity it received from India has raised eyebrows around the world.

Whereas Congressional Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. offered boilerplate talking points in defense of Israeli military aggression against a largely defenseless civilian population, members of India’s ruling party – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – and its allies unabashedly pontificated their solidarity with the self-proclaimed Jewish state on social media.

For more than a week, the hashtags #IndiaWithIsrael, “#ISupportIsrael, #IndiaStandsWithIsrael and #PalestineTerrorists were the top trending topics on Twitter in India, demonstrating widespread popular support for the Israel and its heavy-handed military response to Palestinian resistance.

Indian journalist Rana Ayyub reviewed tweets posted under these hashtags and found that “a common thread that runs through is a visceral hatred for Muslims and a bloodlust to see Muslims massacred and shown their place,” adding, “Most handles followed by one or more BJP minister or the PM himself.”

Read: Hindutva Ideology: India’s Gradual Move Towards Genocide

These tweets echoed pronouncements made by members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Government, including Member of Parliament Tejasyi Surya, who posted on Twitter, “We are with you. Stay strong, Israel,” and a BJP spokesperson, Guarav Goel, who posted, “Dear Israelis, you are not alone, we Indians stand strongly with you.”

These expressions of solidarity with Israel by members of India’s ruling party and its supporters make it easy to forget that the Indian relationship with Israel has been anything but close or even cordial, with previous Indian administrations expressing hostility towards Israel for its persecution of the Palestinian people and occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French,” Mahatma Gandhi wrote in 1938. A decade later India would become one of only 13 countries to vote against the United Nations Partition Plan, which divided historic Palestine into two separate states – thus forming the foundation of the Israeli state in 1948.

Read: What is the Future for India’s Muslims with the Rise of Hindu Nationalism?

India also voted for a UN resolution that condemned Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination,” stating, “The racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being.”

India’s Cold War alliance with the Soviet Union also made it a natural opponent of the United States’ geopolitical orbit, while its large Muslim population helped the country maintain close ties with the Arab world, particularly the Palestinians – but when the Communist superpower collapsed in 1991, New Delhi hit the reset button on its relationship with Tel Aviv.

A natural thawing of relations between the two former British ruled colonies has blossomed into a full blown “special friendship,” with many likening the bond between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Modi as a full blown “bromance,” one that oversaw a record $1.5 billion arms deal in 2016, making Israel the second-largest weapons exporter to the Indian state. Bilateral trade between the two countries has ballooned from $200 million in the early 1990s to nearly $6 billion today.

This fledgling Modi-Netanyahu “bromance” is not only driven by trade deals, but also by shared values, as both Hindu nationalism and Zionism draw from the same spring of hate – ethno-nationalist ideologies. Whereas Hindu nationalists seek to transform India into a Hindu Rashtra (nation), one absent non-Hindu religious minorities, but particularly Muslims, Zionism aims to cleanse the Palestinian Territories of non-Jews, but particularly Muslims.

Read: India Makes the Lives of Kashmiri Prisoners Worse During COVID19

At the core of the Modi Government’s ideological DNA is the militant Hindu organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which has long admired Israel’s brutality of the Palestinian people. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat gave voice to this sentiment when he said in 2016, “Israel was attacked by surrounding Islamic countries on five occasions, but the Israeli people repulsed their aggressions and extended their boundaries due to strong resolve to save motherland.”

Somdeep Sen, an associate professor of international development studies at Roskilde University in Denmark, accurately observes, “The electoral successes of the BJP have meant that what was once a fringe Hindu nationalist love affair with Israel has now become a matter of public policy.”

It’s no surprise then that India has modelled its settler-colonial-project in Kashmir on Israel’s settler enterprise in the Palestinian Territories by turning military outposts into settlements, and settlements into bona fide towns and even small cities. In both projects, the occupying force rules over a restive Muslim majority population, and it’s for this reason India has turned to Israel for its supply of occupation management tools and strategies.

Gaza: Visualizing Destruction – Palestine Chronicle Short Documentary

June 17, 2021

Gaza: Visualizing Destruction is a short documentary produced by the Palestine Chronicle. (Image: The Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

What does ‘toppled to the ground’ actually mean in real life? What happens to a neighborhood once a missile explodes and the bodies of dead and wounded are collected?

In this latest video production by The Palestine Chronicle team, we attempt to visualize destruction and locate the names of those who died in the homes and neighborhoods in which they once lived.

A Gaza-based Palestinian Journalist, Wafaa Aludaini takes us on this emotional but necessary journey throughout the war-torn Gaza Strip. 

“Numbers without names, stats without faces and charts without the human being that gives them true meaning, are insufficient to tell the story of Palestine,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud said. 

“At the Palestine Chronicle, we have always defied that norm, which plagues much of the media. The Palestinian people are not sound bites and are not faceless, passive victims. This short video is our attempt at helping our readers visualize Gaza, the destruction of the last Israeli war and the people who underwent that harrowing experience,” Baroud added. 

“It is extremely important for the world to see how Gaza looks like right now, after the latest, bloody Israeli offensive. It is important to visually experience the destruction, to know that our attention towards Palestine cannot be limited to the days in which Israel bombards Gaza,” Romana Rubeo, managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle said.

“During the 11-day war, at The Palestine Chronicle, we tried to provide as much information as we could. I think that associating words with images is a powerful tool to keep attention high. For each child, for example, a home is a safe haven. Seeing how Israel turned these safe havens into heaps of rubble in a matter of seconds is as painful as it is necessary,” Rubeo added.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

London: pro-Palestine activist defies death during solidarity action

Wednesday, 16 June 2021 12:52 AM  [ Last Update: Wednesday, 16 June 2021 12:52 AM ]

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Robert Carter
Press TV, London

The area surrounding the US embassy in London was brought to a total standstill early on Tuesday as a pro-Palestine activist staged, what’s been described as a “courageous stunt.” The action came after a disappointing debate was conducted at the Westminster, where MPs failed to convince the government to sanction Israel over its crimes to the Palestinians.

The area surrounding the US Embassy in London was brought to a complete standstill on Tuesday morning after a 69 year old pro-Palestine activist climbed atop a nearby crane.

Carrying nothing but some minor equipment and a large Palestinian flag, Nicholas Georges hopes his death defying stunt will help raise further awareness of the Palestinians suffering.

This action comes following a parliamentary debate held at Westminster the day before. Despite the demands from over 300,000 Brits to sanction Israel, the government sided with Tel Aviv.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

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America’s Soup-Brained President Says the U.S. Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections

America’s Soup-Brained President Says the U.S. Never Interferes In Other Countries’ Elections

June 17, 2021

By Caitlin JOHNSTONE

During an astonishingly sycophantic press conference after the Geneva summit with Vladimir Putin, President Biden posited an entirely hypothetical scenario about what the world would think of the United States if it were interfering in foreign elections and everybody knew it.

When AP’s Jonathan Lemire asked the president of the most powerful government in the world what “consequences” he’d threatened the Russian leader with should the Kremlin interfere in US elections going forward, Biden meandered his way through one of his signature not-quite-lucid word salads, and then said the following:

“Let’s get this straight: How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everybody knew it? What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he is engaged in? It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power.”

The fact that the entire press corps did not erupt in side-splitting laughter at this ridiculous utterance is in itself proof that western news media is pure propaganda. The United States has directly interfered in scores of foreign elections since it began its ascent to global domination at the end of the second World War, to say nothing of all the coups, color revolutions, proxy conflicts and regime change military invasions it has also participated in during that time. The US openly interfered in Russia’s elections in the nineties, and literally just tried to stage a coup in Bolivia by interfering in its democratic process. The US is far and away the single most egregious offender in the world on this front, which is largely why it is perceived around the world as a greater threat to democracy than any other government.

This is not a secret, internationally or in the United States. Anyone who has done any learning about the US government’s actual behavior on the world stage knows this. Hell, a former CIA director openly joked about it on Fox News a few years ago.

Fox’s Laura Ingraham unsurprisingly introduced former CIA Director James Woolsey as “an old friend” in a 2018 interview about Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 alleged members of a Russian troll farm, in which Woolsey unsurprisingly talked about how dangerous Russian “disinformation” is and Ingraham unsurprisingly said that everyone should actually be afraid of China. What was a bit surprising, though, was what happened at the end of the interview.

“Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries’ elections?” Ingraham asked in response to Woolsey’s Russia remarks.

“Oh, probably,” Woolsey said with a grin. “But it was for the good of the system in order to avoid the communists from taking over. For example, in Europe, in ’47, ’48, ’49, the Greeks and the Italians we CIA-”

“We don’t do that anymore though?” Ingraham interrupted. “We don’t mess around in other people’s elections, Jim?”

Woolsey smiled and said said “Well…”, followed by a joking incoherent mumble, adding, “Only for a very good cause.”

And then they both laughed.

The fact that not one person in the press pool questioned or criticized Biden’s outrageous remarks tells you everything you need to know about the western media and what its real function is. This is further illustrated by the rest of the behavior of these odious propagandists during the summit, which was illustrated quite well by the glowing praise of Democratic Party insider Andrea Chalupa on Twitter:

“The winners of #GenevaSummit2021 are the White House press corp,” Chalupa said. “Excellent questions confronting Putin and challenging Biden on holding a summit with a ruthless dictator. And they literally held their ground when shoved by Putin’s security and propagandists.”

That actually says it all. Western reporters are forbidden by their oligarchic owners from ever confronting power in any meaningful way; the closest they’re ever allowed to get to punching up is challenging the leaders of CIA-targeted governments, and demanding to know why their own officials aren’t being more hawkish and aggressive toward those leaders.

As RT’s Murad Gazdiev pointed out, “ABC, NBC, BBC, CNN, and many other Western outlets were invited for Putin’s press conference. No Russian media was invited to Biden’s press conference.” The whole thing was a navel-gazing, masturbatory cold war propaganda orgy where western “journalists” made up fantasies about their soup-brained leader staring down Putin, where they yelled nonsense about Alexei Navalny at the Russian president and then fangirled at Biden’s response.

Can anyone imagine a US corporate journalist screaming at Biden: “Why do you fear Assange so much?”

Always easy to condemn the acts of the governments your country tells you to see as Enemy. Much harder – and way more meaningful – to challenge your own government’s repression. https://t.co/CtzeU37pn3

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 16, 2021

Real journalists go to Belmarsh Prison for exposing US war crimes. Western propagandists ask Putin why he’s such a doodoo dumb dumb poopy head and then dream about Pulitzers all night.

Western news media exists to funnel propaganda into the minds of the public. It is controlled by plutocrats who work in alliance with opaque government agencies to weave narratives about why the US government needs to do the things it had already planned on doing anyway. This gets more obvious by the day.

caityjohnstone.medium.com

A Western-backed war couldn’t destroy Syria, now sanctions are starving its people

June 16, 2021, RT.com

moi

-by Eva K Bartlett

A little over a decade ago, Syrians lived in safety and financial security. After ten years of war on Syria, while safety has largely returned, Syrians are struggling to exist under increasingly crippling Western sanctions.

As Syrian analyst Kevork Almassian noted“Were it not for the CIA regime change war, arming & training tens of thousands of multinational terrorists, draconian sanctions, foreign occupation of North & East, looting the oil & burning the wheat, Syria would’ve now a brilliant economy & high standard of living.”

When I first visited Syria in 2014, and in the years following, mortars and missiles fired from terrorist groups occupying eastern Ghouta pummeled Damascus on a daily basis. Likewise in government-controlled areas of Aleppo, and elsewhere around Syria.

Parents never knew if their children would return from school, or be shelled while at school. Untold numbers of Syrian civilians have been maimed over the past decade by such shelling, untold numbers more killed.

So one might expect that in 2021, with most of the terrorism in Syria eradicated, Syrians would have begun returning to the normal lives they had ten years prior. But the brutal sanctions have truly wrought hell on Syrians over the years, and under the latest ones, life has gotten exponentially worse.

Last year, I was in Syria for half of the year, after the borders closed due to Covid confusion. With ample time on my hands, I walked for hours around Damascus daily. One afternoon, wanting to get a good view of the city, I walked along narrow lanes going up the side of Qasioun mountain, encountering locals who spoke of community and supporting one another in hard times.

I had stopped to take a photo of the vista when a young girl’s voice called out to me. Shortly after, I was seated in her family’s humble sitting room, drinking cold water and talking with the family.

Only by chance did I learn that the father was ill with prostate cancer and suffering greatly for a want of affordable medications, increasingly difficult to get a hold of due to the sanctions. And that was in April, before the sadistically-named Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into effect months later.

I say sadistically, because these sanctions, while ostensibly intended to target the Syrian government and its allies in order to punish and discourage supposed “war crimes” against civilians, in reality inflict endless misery on those same Syrian civilians. This is, as I wrote, something former US envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, boasted about, reportedly saying that the sanctions “contributed to the collapse of the value of the Syrian pound.”

It’s a pattern we’ve already seen with Western sanctions – in Venezuela, they have not only made people’s lives hell, but as I also wrote, have killed up to 40,000 Venezuelans in the span of one year, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

A recent guest article in the Financial Times addressed Syria’s ongoing (and orchestrated) economic crisis, with particular attention to the sanctions, noting that 60% of Syrians are suffering from food insecurity.

That number might actually be significantly higher, as in a July 2020 article detailing the illegality of the sanctions, the author cited 83% of the population living below the poverty line. That article noted, of the Caesar sanctions:

“Unlike the pre-existing sanctions, they apply to transactions anywhere in the world that engage the Syrian Government or certain sectors of the Syrian economy, even when those transactions have no connection to the United States.

“Such sanctions cripple a state’s economy; disrupt the availability of food, medicines, drinking water, and sanitation supplies; interfere with the functioning of health and education systems; and undermine people’s ability to work.”

These are not unintended effects – they are the whole idea.

The FT article notes that after the Caesar Act came into effect, the Syrian pound, “lost almost 70% of its value against the dollar in the following months. This spurred an inflationary spiral affecting food prices, which more than tripled in 2020.”

And, in contrast to how the US pretends to “protect” Syrians with these sanctions, the Caesar Act is, “severely affecting the local economy especially in the construction, energy, and financial sectors, blocking any possibility of reconstruction in this phase of lower-intensity conflict.”

Although I continued to follow events in Syria after leaving in late September 2020, when I returned in the last week of May this year, even I was surprised at the skyrocketed cost of basic things. About half a kilo of hummus that was 400 Syrian pounds last year is 2,200 now. At the current official exchange rate of 2,500 that’s slightly less than a dollar – but the average salary in Syria is around 50-60,000 Syrian pounds/month.

The FT article noted a kilogram of beef “costs about a quarter of a public employee’s average monthly salary. For perspective, in Italy this translates as €700 per kg. In the UK? £300 per lb.”

I chatted with a friend who has just one child. He described spending 15,000 (about $6) on vegetables, that would last several days. That’s a quarter of his salary gone, and many expenses still to pay.

In the Midan district of Damascus—an area usually brimming with shoppers coming for the famous sweet shops there, but not crowded the day I went—a cigarette vendor I spoke with described how he struggles to provide food for his wife and two sons. Like the majority of Syrians, selling cigarettes is a second job for him. Some are working three jobs, morning to late evening, and still can’t make ends meet.

He spoke of the self-sufficiency Syria had prior to the war, how everyone had work, but now, people are suffocating.

“We are rationing! I used to buy a kilo of meat every month, but now I buy 200 grams. My salary is 55,000, and if I can earn 50,000 from this second work, I will have 100,000 Syrian pounds. But, this amount is still not enough.”

“Yesterday, I bought some yogurt, cheese, a box of mortadella (meat), and a box of tissues. I paid 11,000 Syrian pounds. This is for one day, and just breakfast.”

He said a dearth of fertilizers and insecticides, due to sanctions, is directly impacting the agricultural sector.

While in Damascus, I also met with French humanitarian, Pierre Le Corf, who has lived in Syria for six years, most of that time in Aleppo. Le Corf, working and living with some of the poorest and most affected Syrians in Aleppo, spoke of how the sanctions are designed to kill hope, in addition to killing civilians.

“You might not see people starving in the street, but that’s not what suffering is. People are suffering in silence. More and more, the youth are leaving the country, not because they want to leave Syria or feel oppressed, but because they feel that they have no hope anymore.

The currency went from 50 Syrian pounds [for a dollar, before the war] to 4,000 Syrian pounds. People work from morning to night, and at the end of the day, their kids might ask for a banana. One kilogram of bananas is 5,000 Syrian pounds. When you earn 60,000 a month…”

He spoke of the pressure the US puts on every company and person who deals with Syria, that they can be imprisoned, fined. “They are forcing companies to not work with Syria,” to isolate Syria.

“I know families for who I’m trying to figure out how to bring them medicines that they can’t find any more. A week ago, I went to bury a guy who we had been bringing medicine, because we couldn’t find it any more. It became 90,000 pounds a box, he needed four boxes a month. He needed more medicine and better treatment that we can’t have, because it’s forbidden. Forbidden why? Because they pretend it’s ‘double use’, maybe it could be used for the army. The people are paying the price, no one else.

In an interview on Syria Insider, British journalist Vanessa Beeley condemned the sanctions against Syria, saying:

“Western governments are starving the Syrian people. They are depriving them of their right to return home, because the rebuilding process is being delayed. They are punishing the Syrian people for the resistance of the Syrian people against what they want to impose upon them. It’s nothing to do with the Syrian government or President Assad.”

Sanctions are never ever non-lethal practises. They are almost the most lethal of all weapons used in the hybrid war against the people of a targeted nation.

“At the same time as the sanctions are in place, the West is stealing the oil, burning the food resources, selling the food resources outside of Syria, all to deprive the Syrian people of their own resources, of the abundance of their own country.”

In a recent, detailed, presentation focussing on the sanctions, Beeley highlighted their effects not only on incomes, food, medicines, but also on fuel, industry, agriculture, health care and hospitals, electricity and water.

She aptly noted: “One could argue that the US Coalition is responsible for genocide in Syria under Genocide Convention article II (e) – deliberately inflicting on the group, conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”

“The US Coalition is effectively following a policy of collective extermination of the Syrian people by military and economic means. This is a crime against Humanity, a war crime and a flagrant violation of the right to life & a life of dignity.”#Syria https://t.co/m8YxqIlUHR— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 14, 2021

In US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin today, perhaps among the scripted talking points there was tut tutting of Syria and Russia’s alleged preventing of humanitarian aid, a tired old trope debunked but still trumpeted by hypocrites in the West.

And while such integrity-devoid Western representatives launch accusation after accusation at Syria and Russia, it is abundantly clear that the suffering of Syrians is a product of the illegal war on Syria and the deadly, criminal, sanctions against the Syrian people.

RELATED:

Western leaders, screw your ‘Sanctions Target the Regime’ blather: Sanctions KILL PEOPLE

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

The Geneva Summit: Nothingburger or Watershed?

THE SAKER • JUNE 17, 2021 

The long awaited summit between Presidents Putin and Biden has finally taken place, but was it a success? Will it change anything? The answer to this question very much depends on one’s expectations. Let’s take a closer look beginning with the context.

Context of the summit

Just about the only thing which both US and Russian observers agree on is that the state of the Russian-US relations is about as bad as can be (in my personal opinion, it is even much worse than during the Cuban Missile Crisis or any other time in the Cold War). As I have mentioned many times, I believe that the AngloZionist Empire and Russia have been at war at least since 2013. Remember Obama with his “Russian economy in “in tatters”? That was the outcome Obama promised the people of the USA (Quick factcheck: the company Deloitte recently polled the CEOs of major Russian corporations and only 4% of them felt “pessimistic” about their financial perspectives as “negative”, 40% replied “same as before” and 56% replied “optimistic”). Of course, this was was not a conventional war, it was about 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic. This, however, does not change the fact that this war was an existential war for both sides, one in which only one side could prevail while the other would, if not quite disappear, then at least totally lose its superpower status. This is a civilizational war, which pitted western and Russian civilizational (cultural, social and even religious) models against each other roughly along the following lines:

The US/Anglo-Zionist worldview: we are the “city upon a hill”, the beacon of light and hope for mankind. Our “manifest destiny” is to “expand the area of freedom” worldwide. We have the best armed forces in history, the strongest economy, the best everything. We are the “leaders of the free world” whose “responsibility” is to lead the world. This is not imperialism, this is the “duty” and “responsibility” placed upon us by history. Our values are universal values and must be universally accepted by all. Those refusing to join our model are authoritarian “rogue states”. Russia must accept that because she lost the Cold War and that western values have prevailed. Those who refuse to accept this are “revanchists” who want to overturn the outcome of the Cold War and rebuild the Soviet Union. The US had to expand NATO to the East to protect Europe from “Russian aggression”. Now “America” is back and, with our allies and friends, we will create a “rules based” international order which we will benevolently enforce to the immense gratitude of all of mankind.

Russian worldview:

Russia rejects any form of imperialism, for herself and for others. Russia wants a multilateral world order, based on international law and the full sovereignty of nations. Each nation should have the right to pursue its own cultural, economic, spiritual and civilizational model without being threatened, sanctioned, bombed, subverted or invaded. Russia rejects the so-called “western values” (turbocapitalism, imperialism, wokeness, multiculturalism, militant atheism, critical race theory, gender fluidity, etc.). The US is welcome to fly homo-flags on its embassies, but it has no business telling others how to live. In fact, the US has to accept two closely related realities: first, the US does not have the means to impose its ideology on the rest of the planet and, second, the rest of the planet sees the total hypocrisy of a country claiming to stand for values which itself gets to violate as much as it wants. Any comparisons are immediately dismissed with the words “but this is completely different!!!”.

Again, Russia agrees that the US is welcome to live in a post-truth, post-reality, delusion if it wants, but she also believes, and says so, that the West has no right to try to impose its pretend-values on others, especially when it constantly violates them all when convenient.

The core issue

The core belief underlying these very different worldview is extremely simple: the US sees itself as exceptional and, therefore, endowed with special rights and sees Russia as a much inferior interlocutor which needs to accept the US hegemony upon the world. In sharp contrast, Russia denies the USA any special status and demands that the US leaders accept Russia as an equal interlocutor before any meaningful dialog or cooperation could even be discussed.

I think that it would be fair to say that roughly between 2013 and 2020 both countries exerted immense efforts in a kind of a massive arms wrestling match to show that it, and not the other guy, would prevail.

For a very short while, Trump tried to get some kind of dialog going, but he was quickly and completely neutered by the Neocons and the messianic imperialists in his own camp (I think of Pompeo for example) and his efforts, however sincere, yielded absolutely nothing: Trump was not able to put an end to the war started by Obama.

Then came Biden and, at first, things looked hopeless. Seeing the massive failure of the first US-China meeting in Alaska, one could have been excused to expect a similar, or even worse, outcome from any meetings between Biden and Putin. Many (on both sides) believed that such a meeting was pointless at best since the US had painted itself into a zero-sum corner in which anything short of an exchange of insults would be seen by the US media (and the public opinion it shapes) as a “defeat”, “surrender” and possibly even “treason” by Biden. That is definitely the message conveyed by much of the US media, including Fox.

 


I want to express my total disgust with US Republicans who, for four years, were literally hounded by the US media for Trump’s alleged “caving in” to Putin or even for being a “Manchurian candidate” put in power by “Putin”. Now the Republicans are using the exact same language accusing Biden of “weakness” and for “caving in” to Putin. Truly, the Dems and the GOP are like Coke and Pepsi: different labels, same product. Worse, both the Dems and the GOP place their petty interests above the well-being of the United States and its people. I consider both parties traitors to the US and its people.


What actually happened

In spite of all the nay-sayers (on both sides!), Putin and Biden did meet. True, the meeting did not yield any spectacular results, but it would be wrong to conclude that nothing of importance happened.

First, the tone of the Biden administration towards Russia and Putin did change, remarkably so, especially after Biden’s infamous “uhu, he is a killer”. Some sanctions were lifted, the US basically gave up on trying to prevent North Stream 2 (NS2) from being completed, and a number of small steps were achieved, including:

  • An agreement to discuss cybersecurity on an expert level (something the Russians had been demanding for years, but which the USA rejected out of hand).
  • joint declaration strategic stability (more about that below)
  • An agreement to discuss outstanding issues on an expert level
  • A return of both US and Russian ambassadors to their former positions
  • A discussion on a possible prisoner swap
  • A discussion on possible future arms control agreements

Also of interest are the points which were mentioned in passing, mostly by the US side, but which were clearly not focused on. These include:

  • The Ukraine and Belarus
  • Human Rights (aka “Navalyi” & Co.)
  • Russian alleged interference in western elections
  • Russian alleged covert operations against the US
  • The alleged Russian threat to the EU or in the Arctic
  • Russian ties to China and Iran

That is the official picture. But let’s be a little more wise about this: the US and Russian delegations (about 400 people each) included some very high ranking officials, including the Russian Chief of General Staff. Neither side would have bothered with such a massive undertaking only for the purpose of exchanging threats, ultimatums or insults. And such summits are never organized unless the parties have at least a reasonable prospect of some kind of understanding (this is why the return of the ambassadors was announced before the summit!).

So what really happened here?

To answer that question, we first need to look at what did not happen.

First, it is quite clear that the language/tone of the Biden administration has dramatically changed. This was immediately noticed by the (mentally infantile) US media which attacked Biden in his press conference for not putting enough pressure on Putin. Oh sure, Biden did pay lip service to the usual russophobic nonsense the US media seems to be forever stuck on, but it is quite clear what the US legacy ziomedia did not get what it wanted: they wanted Biden to “unite the West behind the USA” and then “tell” Putin to “behave” and admit something – anything – about the Russian “wrongdoings”. Putin gave them absolutely and exactly nothing. If anything, we could say that he held up a mirror to Uncle Shmuel and that Uncle Shmuel had nothing to say to that.

Second, and for the first time in a very long while, the US did not engage in any threats or ultimatums. If anything, it was quite amazing to see Biden getting angry at an imbecile journo from CNN (I think) who asked Biden why he expected Putin to “change his behavior” when the latter admitted no wrongs. Later Biden apologized, but he was clearly frustrated with the level of imbecility of the US press media.

 


The US media truly showed its true face during both press conferences. With Putin, they asked stupid, leading questions, based on their own delusional assumptions, and Putin easily swatted down these questions by pointing out at undeniable and well-known facts. The Biden press conference was, as usual, completely sanitized with a prepared list of reporters and questions, and with no Russian journalists allowed (pluralism, free media or free speech anybody?!). The infantilized US public did not think much about this, but in the rest of the world – in Zone B if you wish – people immediately noticed the startling difference between the two leaders and between the two press conferences. It will be awfully hard for the US to speak of “freedom of speech” when its President cannot be trusted to talk to his counterpart alone (Bliken never left his side, just like Dick Cheney did for Bush Jr. or Don Regan did for Reagan in his latter years) and cannot take unscripted questions from the (supposedly) “free” media. The US media clearly wanted Biden to go to Geneva, and tell Putin “now you submit or else…” and only the completely ignorant and infantilized US public could actually take that nonsense seriously. When that did not happen, they turned on Biden and accused him of weakness for “making no threats”!


Third, and crucially, by NOT discussing silly issues but by focusing on the real, important, topics underlying the US-Russian relations, Biden de-facto admitted two things:

  1. The US policy towards Russia since 2013 has failed and
  2. Russia is an equal partner to the USA who cannot be bullied, threatened or attacked

So much for “talking to the Russians from a position of force” which ALL the western leaders mantrically promised us. In sharp contrast, the Kremlin did not have to make any threats: the recent military exercises, which truly freaked out NATO and the EU, made any posturing by Russia quite unnecessary.

I am not so naive as to believe that any of this is set in stone.

First, we know that US politicians typically meet with their Russian counterparts and say “A” only to later come back home, cave in to the war lobby, and then declare “non-A”. Trump did that, as did Kerry and many others. US diplomats are mostly ignorant political appointees and/or warmongering Neocons who simply are not intellectually equipped to deal with their Russian counterparts (James Baker was probably the last truly sophisticated US Secretary of State). Second, we all understand that Biden is really “Biden” (the man himself is just a front, real decisions are taken by the collective “Biden”), which means that while he and even Bliken can agree on something, but that by no means implies that they will stand by what they agreed on. Finally, is is objectively really hard to undo that which was done: eight years of self-defeating delusions about itself and the rest of the world have done immense damage to the United States and it would take something pretty close to a miracle to now reverse a course which at least two US administrations have so foolishly insisted on pursuing.

Yet, what Biden did and said was quite clearly very deliberate and prepared. This is not the case of a senile President losing his focus and just spewing (defeatist) nonsense. Therefore, we must conclude that there are also those in the current US (real) power configuration who decided that Biden must follow a new, different, course or, at the very least, change rhetoric. I don’t know who/what this segment of the US power configuration is, but I submit that something has happened which forced at least a part of the US ruling class to decide that Obama’s war on Russia had failed and that a different approach was needed. At least that is the optimistic view.

The pessimistic view would suggest that, just like a boxer who has thrown so many punches that he now needs to catch his breath, the leaders of the Empire just needed a short time break, to “catch their breath”, before resuming the endless cycle of petty attacks, threats and accusations against Russia.

Time will show which group is right. My money is on the pessimists (as usual).

What we can say now is this: the period 2013-2021 saw a huge decline in US power abroad and the explosion of an equally huge internal political and social crises which are still catastrophically hurting the United States (Obama and Trump were truly the weakest and worst Presidents in US history). In sharp contrast, the same 2013-2021 years saw a huge rise in Russian military, political, economic and social power. Denying this reality forever is simply not an option for the USA (even if the US media never reports about this). It appears that the Biden Administration decided to keep up the same infantile language as its predecessors for internal consumption, but decided that a change of attitude on the international front was urgently needed, if only in order to avoid taking on both Russia and China (and, possibly, Iran) at the same time. History also shows that even just talking to Russia from a presumed “position of strength” was useless at best and suicidal at worst. The history of western imperialism in China offers a more ambiguous image, but the current revival of Chinese power under Xi also suggests that the Chinese won’t cave in to their former colonial masters.

What about China?

If China was mentioned at all, it is not official. The Kremlin had already indicated in numerous statements that trying to turn China and Russia against each other was not a realistic option, so on the Russian side there were no expectations of anything changing on that issue. Besides, while China has a lot to offer Russia, the USA has literally absolutely nothing Russia would want or need. The same goes for Iran, albeit at a lesser degree. There are those in the US ruling class who believe that China is a much more dangerous enemy for the AngloZionist Empire than Russia and it is possible that these are the interests which pushed Biden into a more realistic stance. The truth is that anybody who knows anything about the Sino-Russian relationship (which the Chinese now officially call the “strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era”) understands that these two countries vitally need each other. Did the US diplomats really hope that they could sway Russia to the US side? Probably not. So, at most, what they needed was a short time break or, at least, some kind of temporary stabilization of the “Russian front”.

What about the Europeans?

The Europeans are stuck in some kind of political no man’s land: some want a confrontation at all cost (3B+PU), especially since the EU stopped funding them, while others are clearly fed-up (Germany, France, Italy, etc.) with the current situation. They all realize that something has just changed, but they appear unsure as to what, why and how. And how shall the EU now treat Biden? First, while hating Trump was seen as “politically correct” by the EU ruling classes, hating Biden is quite unthinkable. Second, while Biden did “consult” with the G7 and NATO, these “consultations” yielded no meaningful result. Unlike the summit with Putin, these “preparatory summits” were just nice PR, a feel-good, “rah-rah, we are all united” kind of symbolic event. Think of it as an imperial king visiting his colonies: fun but not very important. But meeting the leader of a “gas station masquerading as a country” required the presence of 400 or so top US officials and months of preparations. Finally, the fact that “Biden” had to yield to Germany on NS2 shows that the grip of Uncle Shmuel on Germany is weakening, “another writing on the wall” which “Biden” apparently read.

So who won?

At this point I don’t think that we can say that anybody won. In fact, the existential war opposing the AngloZionist Empire to Russia is not over. At most, this will be a temporary ceasefire allowing Uncle Shmuel to catch his breath. But I think that we can also fairly conclude that Obama’s war on Russia has failed and that the Biden Administration is more in touch with reality than Obama ever was. How long this new realism will last is anybody’s guess. I don’t think we should put much stock in the idea that now a new era of peace or collaboration has begun. But maybe, just maybe, the USA will stop playing what I call a “game of nuclear chicken” with a superpower which is at least a full decade ahead in military (and civilian!) nuclear technology and delivery vehicles and a superpower which is now working as a binomial with another nuclear superpower, China.

Conclusion: the US-Russian Joint Statement on Strategic Stability

This is the full text of the US-Russian Joint Statement on Strategic Stability I mentioned above: (emphasis added)

We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war. The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.

The language here is very important: it is the repudiation of a major US delusion which began with Ronald Regan’s “Star Wars” and which was shared by each following President: the notion that the US can win a nuclear war against Russia by technologically or economically defeating Russia. The website “Defense One” (which is hardly a “Russian disinformation outlet”) had this to say about this decades long illusion:

Biden can correct the mistakes of the past. The future of missile defense will be thoroughly studied as part of a broader nuclear posture/deterrence review that will be started in the few weeks. Mindful that less expensive offensive weapons can always be developed to overwhelm, sabotage, or destroy any conceivable defensive system, his administration can return to diplomacy, seek verifiable mutual reductions, prevent the development of new threats, and address rising concerns such as the weaponization of space and cyber threats. That would allow the transfer of funds from the weapons that don’t work to programs that will rebuild and add to America’s security.

If this is really what is happening (and we need to wait before coming to any hasty conclusions!) then this is good news. Good news for Russia which has nothing to gain from any “reloaded Cold War” with the West, good news for the Europeans which need to recover at least a modicum of agency, good news for the USA, which is bled dry and is quickly becoming a underdeveloped third world country, and good news for the entire planet which would be devastated by any nuclear war between any combination of superpowers. If this is really what happened.

For the time being, the “crazies in the basement” are still every bit as crazy as before (see here and here for a few good examples). So are the woke-freaks (see here and here). So is the homo-lobby (see here and here). They all hate Russia and Putin with a passion, and they ain’t going away anytime soon. Besides, it is not like “Biden” will do anything other than give them all a standing ovation, full support and millions of dollars to their cause: these “minorities” (more accurately: this coalition of minorities) are the ideological foundation for Biden’s entire presidency, they brought him to power and he cannot renounce them.

How long brainwashed doubleplusgoodthinking sheep will continue to “take a knee” against “systemic racism” is anybody’s guess, however.

On the external front, the US cannot give up its messianic ideology and claims of exceptionalism. This would be truly unthinkable for the vast majority of US Americans. This does not change the fact that, as I have written many times, the AngloZionist Empire and the current US political system are neither sustainable, nor reformable. Besides, empires are almost impossible to reform. That is why they usually end up collapsing. And when they do, they often try to lash out at those they blame for their own failures. This is exactly what has been going on since 2013 and this will not and, in fact, cannot change until the final – and inevitable – collapse.

There will be no friendship or even partnership between the USA and Russia for as long as the USA will continue to serve as the latest host for the parasitic AngloZionist Empire. Аs the spokesman for Putin, Peskov, just declared “So far, there are no reasons to exclude the United States from the list of unfriendly countries“.

Finally, did Putin “win”?

I would answer both yes and no. Yes, he did win in the sense that his strategy of dealing with an Empire on the warpath against Russia has been proven extremely effective. All the nay-sayers (liberal or neo-Marxists) have been accusing Putin of caving in to pretty much everything everywhere, yet it is the USA which had to eat crow, drop all its preconditions and ask for a summit. None of the many propaganda attacks against Russia (MH17, Skipal, chem weapons, Belarus, the Karabakh war, Navalnyi, doping, sports and flags, the seizure of Russian diplomatic offices, the kidnapping of Russian citizens, economic and political sanctions, threats, sabre-rattling at the borders, etc. etc. etc.) have worked or even yielded any meaningful results. In that sense, yes, Putin did win. But that existential war is not over, not for the US, not for Russia and neither it is over for China, Iran and any other country wanting true sovereignty.

In that sense, what happened in Geneva is not the beginning of the end (primarily because that beginning of the end has already long taken place, even if it was never reported in Zone A), but it is definitely a chance to change some dynamics on the international scene. The infinite arrogance of the likes of Trump and Pompeo has been replaced by a much more cautious and realistic approach, at least in superpower relations. But Putin/Russia will only have truly won once the US accepts the reality that the Empire is dead and that the USA, like all ex-empires, must now become a “normal” country (like all former empires had to). Sounds easy, but this is almost infinitely hard when imperialism is what you were born, raised, educated and conditioned to live with and when you sincerely believe that your brand of imperialism is somehow benevolent, even altruistic. Russia/Putin will only have truly won once the last empire in history finally gives way to a civilized international world order. Until then, the struggle of Russia – and all the other members of the resistance against the Empire – will continue.

ثلاثيّة الصيغة اللبنانيّة وراء الحرب بين عون وبرّي

18/6/2021

د. وفيق إبراهيم

التزم رئيس المجلس النيابي نبيه برّي بمنع العودة إلى أحادية إنتاج السلطة السياسيّة في لبنان.

هذه من المسلمات السياسية في لبنان التي يمكن استنتاجها من الحرب الضروس التي نشبت بين الرئيسين بري وعون. فرئيس المجلس النيابي أدرك ومنذ عدة أيام فقط بأن هناك محاولات حاسمة من أنصار أحادية إنتاج السلطة للإمساك الكامل بالدولة على طريقة السيطرة على مجلس الوزراء. وهذا يعني باللغة السياسية اللبنانية الاستفراد الكامل بالسلطة والتأكيد على أحادية إنتاجها من بيت الطائفة المارونيّة حصراً أي كما كان يحدث منذ 1920 في عصر الانتداب الفرنسي وحتى السيطرة السورية على لبنان في السبعينيات.

يمكن اذاً القول إن أحادية إنتاج السلطة انتقلت من الرؤساء الموارنة في تلك المرحلة واستقرّت في الثياب العسكرية لقائد الجيش السوري في لبنان غازي كنعان الذي كان يتدخّل حتى في تعيين السياسيين والعسكريين اللبنانيين من دون أي تمييز.

لكن عودة الجيش السوري إلى سورية أعاد الدور الماروني الأساسي الى جانب صعود سني نسبي كان يعكس دائماً الأهمية الخليجية في لبنان.

لذلك عاد الموارنة الى المساهمة بنحو ثلثي معادلة إنتاج السلطة في لبنان مقابل 20 في المئة تقريباً للسنة وعشرة في المئة للطائفة الشيعية مع الضالين التائهين في بقية النواب ومذاهبهم.

هذا الوضع بقي مترنّحاً لا يستقرّ على وضع ثابت الى أن انحدر لأسباب تعود الى الصعود السوري – الإيراني في كامل الإقليم والدور المقاوم لحزب الله في الجنوب وسورية.

لقد نجح الرئيس نبيه بري بما يشكله من أهميات في تجسيد هذا المحور الجديد، فلم يستعمل العصا لإفهام الموارنة والسنة الممسكين بالسلطة بحصرية لم تعد تعكس أبداً موازين القوى لا في الإقليم ولا في الداخل اللبناني.

لكنه أدرك أنّ الفارق بين العصبيات الثلاث الموارنة والسنة والشيعة لم يعد كبيراً، فالرابح الخليجي في شبه جزيرة العرب انعكس على الأهمية السياسية للسنة اللبنانيين والتداخل الفرنسي – الأميركي تحول بدوره الى مرجعية للاضطرابات في لبنان، فلم يعد باستطاعة أحد أن يتفرّد بالقرار السياسي اللبناني باستثناء الرئيس بري الذي كان ملمّاً بتطوّر اللعبة السياسية، لكنه كان يختار التوقيت المناسب لإطلاقها.

يبدو هنا أنّ أبا مصطفى، لاحظ بتمعّن مدى تراجع الدور السعودي واستنكافه عن العودة الى المشاركة في القرار السياسي اللبناني، مع كامل الخليج، مدركاً بعيون صقر يرى من بعيد أنّ رعاية الأميركيين والفرنسيين للمارونية السياسية لم تعد مجدية في ظلّ صعود الدورين السوري والإيراني الذي يسجل النصر تلو الآخر في بلاد الشام وفلسطين.

داخلياً أدرك الرئيس بري أنّ القوى الحزبية التي يمثلها في حركة أمل وحزب الله والأحزاب والقوى الوطنية، أصبحت طاغية على أحزاب تقليدية تتراجع ولا تكبر أبداً كما انتبه الى انّ الطائفة الشيعية تخضع لسيطرة أمل وحزب الله بشكل شبه كامل ما يجعلها أقوى من بقية الطوائف والأحزاب.

لذلك كانت مداخلات بري في إنتاج مجلس الوزراء صامتة تصل الى حدود التجاهل في بعض الأحيان، مع إظهار نوع غريب من عدم الاكتراث يخفي ما يدور في العقول مانحاً الوجوه صفة التربص.

فما الذي حدث حتى اعتبر الرئيس بري انّ موعد الإعلان عن الطرف الثالث القوي في حركة إنتاج السلطة قد حان، لقد لاحظ ابو مصطفى انّ العصبية المارونية الأولى في الصيغة بدأ رأسها يكبر، كما انتبه الى محاولاتها لضرب الدور السياسي للطائفة السنية، وهذا يعني عودة الموارنة من خلال الرئيس عون وحزبه الى الإمساك بكامل آلية إنتاج السلطة بشكل منفرد. وهذا ما لا يقبله الرئيس بري القائد الفعلي لأحزاب ومذاهب هي أقوى بكثير من إمكانات عون والتيار الوطني الحر.

وهكذا جاءت الفرصة الموآتية لما يريده بري، بدليل أن الطائفة السنية بدار إفتائها ورؤساء الحكومات السابقين وأحزابها والعصبية الحريرية، كل هؤلاء أعلنوا التمرّد على محاولات عون وصهره جبران باسيل لإنتاج مجلس وزراء يسيطر على الغالبية فيه عون وحزب التيار الوطني الحر، بذلك يستطيع أداء أدوار تدريجية لعودة الموارنة الى الإمساك بكامل القرار السياسي.

لقد بدأ سعد الحريري في زيارته الأخيرة للرئيس بري كغريق يحتاج الى النجدة السريعة لأنه مهدّد بواحدة من حالتين: إما إبعاده عن تشكيل الحكومة ومحاولات جبران لتكليف فيصل كرامي أو دعمه في رئاسة حكومة ضعيفة لمجلس وزراء لا يمسك فيه بالأكثرية فيتحوّل بذلك الى رئيس حكومة لا علاقة له بحكومته.

هذا الاستنجاد الحريري تلقفه بري مفجّراً معركة عدم تهميش سعد الحريري وإسقاط الدور السني الثاني في حركة إنتاج السلطة، أما الدليل على القوة الساحقة عند بري فهي في توقف كلّ محاولات إبعاد سعد الحريري مع إمكانية تركه ليشكل الحكومة التي يراها مناسبة.

بذلك يتحمّل سعد نتائجها في المجلس النيابي عند طرحها للثقة أو يشكل حكومة تحفظ له سيطرته على طائفته السنية مع بعض الوزراء المسيحيين أو ربما من طوائف أخرى.

فهل تنجح ثورة بري؟ في أضعف الحالات يستطيع الرئيس بري أن يعلن ولادة العصب الثالث الذي لا يقلّ أساسية عن العصبين السني والماروني، فتتحوّل آليات إنتاج السلطة الى ثلاثة رؤوس متساوية تكبر أو تصغر استناداً إلى علاقاتها مع الخارج الإقليمي والدولي مع معدلات هيمنتها على مذاهبها في الداخل.

يتبيّن أنّ الرئيس بري يجسّد حالياً العصب الأقوى في لبنان القادر على إقناع سورية وإيران مع نيل بركات مصر وبعض القوى الخليجية وربما الفرنسية.

بانتظار الانتهاء من “المفاوضات الحربيّة” بين بري وما يجسّده مع عون والتيار الوطني الحر يمكن الجزم أنّ مفاوضات عنيفة تجري خلف الستار بين بري وعون ولا تطول نتائجها المرتقبة باعتبار أن الأوضاع الاقتصادية المنهارة في لبنان تحتاج الى عنصر السياسة او ما يشبهها لوقف زحف جهنم على كل لبنان بدءًا من القصر الجمهوريّ.

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Between the lines of the Biden-Putin summit

Between the lines of the Biden-Putin summit

June 17, 2021

Biden hinted US wants Russia ‘back in the fold’ but Putin won’t being leaving China’s embrace any time soon

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at AsiaTimes

Let’s start with the written word.

In Geneva, the US and Russia issued a joint statement where we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Assorted Dr. Strangeloves will cringe – but at least the world has it in writing, and may breathe a sigh of relief with this breakthrough of sorts. That doesn’t mean that a “non-agreement capable” US industrial-military complex will abide.

Moscow and Washington also committed to engage in an “integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust.” The devil in the details is in which “near future” the dialogue will progress.

A first step is that ambassadors are returning to both capitals. Putin confirmed that the Russian Foreign Ministry and the State Department will “start consultations” following the new START-3 treaty extension for five years.

Equally important was the actual Rosebud in Geneva: the Minsk protocol. That was one of the key drivers for the White House to actually request the summit to the Kremlin – and not the other way around.

The US establishment was shaken by the lightning-flash military buildup in Russian territory contiguous to Donbas – which was a response to Kiev provocations (Putin: “We conduct exercises on our territory, but we do not conduct exercises dragging equipment and weapons to the US border”).

The message was duly received. There seems to be a change of posture by the US on Ukraine – implying the Minsk protocol is back.

But that can all be – once again – shadow play. Biden said,

“We agreed to pursue diplomacy related to the Minsk agreement.”

To “pursue diplomacy” not necessarily means strictly abiding by a deal already endorsed by the UN Security Council which is being disrespected by Kiev non-stop. But at least it implies diplomacy.

A benign reading would reveal that some red lines are finally being understood. Putin did allude to it: “In general, it is clear to us what our US partners talk about, and they do understand what we say, when it comes to the ‘red lines.’ But I should say frankly that we have not gone as far as placing the emphases in detail and distribute and share something.”

So no detail – at least not yet.

Giving away the game

Talking before boarding Air Force One out of Geneva, a relaxed Joe Biden seems to have given away the game – in a trademark self-deluded way.

He said, “Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now… They are being squeezed by China. They want desperately to remain a major power.”

This reveals a curious mix between zero knowledge about the complex, always evolving Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership and outright wishful thinking (“squeezed by China”, “desperate to remain a major power”).

Russia is a de facto major power. Yet Putin’s vision of complete Russian sovereignty can only flourish in a true multipolar world coordinated by a Concert of Sovereigns: a realpolitik-based Balance of Power.

That’s in sharp contrast to the unipolarity privileged by the Hegemon, whose establishment considers any political player calling for sovereignty and multipolarity as a sworn enemy.

This cognitive dissonance certainly was not removed by what Putin, Biden and their extended teams discussed at Villa La Grange.

It’s quite enlightening to revive the arc from Anchorage to Geneva – which I have been chronicling for Asia Times for the past three months. In Alaska, China was hurled into a dingy environment and received with insults at the diplomatic table – responded in kind by the formidable Yang Jiechi. Compare it with the Hollywood-style ceremonial in Geneva.

The difference in treatment offered to China and Russia once again gives away the game.

US ruling elites are totally paralyzed by the Russia-China strategic partnership. But their ultimate nightmare is that Berlin will understand that once again they are being used as cannon fodder – which they are as it’s been clearly visible throughout the Nord Stream 2 saga.

That might eventually propel Berlin into the ultimate Eurasian alliance with Russia-China. The recently signed Atlantic Charter signals that the ideal scenario for the Anglo-Americans – shades of WWII – is to have Germany and Russia as irreconcilable opposites.

So the main American goal in the somewhat quirky Putin-Biden photo op (Putin smirk meets Biden looking into the distance) was to trick Putin into thinking Washington wants Russia “back into the fold”, moving Moscow away from Beijing and avoiding a triple alliance with Berlin.

What about regional stability?

There were no substantial leaks from Geneva – at least not yet. We don’t know whether Lavrov and Blinken actually did much of the talking when only the four of them – plus translators – were in the library room.

At the extended meeting, notorious Maidan cookie distributor Victoria ‘F**k the EU’ Nuland had a seat on the table. That might imply that even if US-Russia agree on nuclear stability, regional stability remains largely off the table (Putin: “What is stable in supporting a coup in Ukraine?”)

Biden vaguely referred to US and Russia possibly working together on humanitarian aid to Syria. That was code for Idlib – where NATO’s Turkey is actively supporting jihadis of the al-Nusra kind. Not a word on illegal American occupation of Syrian territory – complete with oil smuggling, and the fact that the real humanitarian crisis in Syria is a direct result of US sanctions.

None of this was asked in both pressers. A passing word on Iran, another passing word on Afghanistan, not even a mention of Gaza.

Putin, in full command of the facts and insisting on logic, was clearly accommodating, emphasizing “no hostility” and “a willingness to understand each other”. Biden, to his credit, said disagreements were not dealt with in a “hyperbolic atmosphere” and his “agenda” is not directed against Russia.

Putin went into extreme detail explaining how Russia is “restoring lost infrastructure” in the Arctic. He’s “deeply convinced” the US and Russia should cooperate in the Arctic.

On cybersecurity, he was adamant that Moscow provided all information on US requests about cyber attacks, but never receives answers from the Americans. He emphasized most cyber attacks originate in the US.

On human rights: “Guantanamo is still working, does not comply with any international law”. And “torture was used in American prisons, including in Europe.”

Very important: they did touch upon, “casually”, the vaccine wars, and the “possibility” was evoked of mutual recognition of vaccines.

For the record: US mainstream media was invited for Putin’s presser – and felt free to lodge accusatory “questions” faithful to the “rogue Kremlin behavior” script while no Russian media whatsoever was allowed on Biden’s presser.

In a nutshell: applying Kissinger’s Divide and Rule to put a spanner in the Russia-China works was D.O.A. when you’re dealing with ultra-savvy players such as Putin and Lavrov.

Putin, in his presser, said, “I have no illusions, and there can be no illusions”. Later, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked if Geneva would lead to the US being removed from Russia’s Unfriendly Nations list: “No…there are no grounds yet.”

Still, there are glimmers of hope. Stranger geopolitical things have happened. If warmongers are sidelined, 2021 might even end up as The Year of Strategic Stability.

رحيل نتنياهو وقدوم رئيسي Netanyahu’s departure and Raisi’s arrival

رحيل نتنياهو وقدوم رئيسي

17/06/2021

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يرمز بنيامين نتنياهو الى آخر ملوك «بني إسرائيل» بالنسبة لكل معسكر اليمين في كيان الاحتلال، رغم انتماء خليفته الضعيف نفتالي بينيت إلى المعسكر ذاته. فالظروف التي أملت رحيل نتنياهو ترافقت مع ضعف الكيان وفشله العسكري، سواء بقبته الحديدية التي عجزت عن صد صواريخ المقاومة عن كبريات مدن الكيان التي تقصف للمرة الأولى منذ قيامه، أو بعجزه الناري عن تدمير الصواريخ ومنصات إطلاقها وأنفاق تخزينها، أو بهروبه من عملية برية كانت تنتظره فيها صواريخ الكورنيت، وقبوله بوقف النار بقرار من نتنياهو، رغم ذلك، كما ترافق الرحيل مع إنهاء زمن استقلال الكيان وبدء خضوعه للوصاية الأميركية بالتزامن مع العودة الأميركية المحسومة للاتفاق النووي مع إيران، كما قال نتنياهو، وهو محقّ بذلك، ما يجعل من رحيل نتنياهو نهاية مرحلة وبداية مرحلة، والمرحلة الجديدة عنوانها الأفول لحضور الكيان كقوة كبرى في الإقليم.

يرمز المرشح الرئاسي الإيراني الأوفر حظاً السيد إبراهيم رئيسي الى الشرائح السياسية والنخبوية الداعمة للحرس الثوريّ في إيران، والتي تضع مشروع الاستقلال عن الغرب واتباع خطط تنمية تعتمد على توطين التكنولوجيا وتحقيق الاكتفاء الذاتي، وبناء مقدرات عسكرية تمنح إيران القدرة على مواجهة أية تحديات عسكرية، وفي طليعتها المضي ببرنامج صاروخي متصاعد، وتلتزم بدعم حركات المقاومة في المنطقة، وتعتبر فلسطين قضيتها المركزية، ما يجعل من وصوله علامة على صعود إيران وتثبيتاً لمكتسبات تحققت للمحور الذي تقوده طهران، وإعلاناً عن تبلور مشروع محور المقاومة بصورة رسميّة، كقوة تعاظم قدراتها ويتنامى حضورها، وتشكل الشريك الندي الذي لا يمكن تجاهله للقوى الكبرى، الصديقة وغير الصديقة على مستوى كل ما يتصل بالمنطقة.

ليس تزامن الأفول والصعود صدفة إلا لجهة تقارب أيام الاستحقاقات، أما جوهر التزامن فحتمي، لأنه ما كان ممكناً أن يبدأ زمن أفول الكيان كقوة عظمى في المنطقة إلا لأن هناك من نجح باستنزاف هذا الكيان، ووضعه أمام تحديات مثلها نمو مقدرات حركات المقاومة المدعومة من إيران، وصولاً إلى تحول هذه التحديات للطبيعة الاستراتيجية، وعجز الكيان عن حلها، وبدء تحوّلها الى تحديات وجودية، فكما يبشر رحيل نتنياهو بتعمق مأزق الكيان، يبشر صعود رئيسي ومعه إيران ببدء حقبة جديدة في المنطقة هي حقبة محور المقاومة.

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Netanyahu’s departure and Raisi’s arrival

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Benjamin Netanyahu symbolise the last “Israelites” king of all the right-wing camp in the occupying entity. His weak successor, Naftali Bennett, belongs to the same camp. The circumstances that dictated Netanyahu’s departure were accompanied by the weakness of the entity and its military failure, whether with an Iron Dome, which failed to repel the resistance’s missiles from the major cities of the entity that were bombed for the first time since the entity’s inception, and his inability to destroy missiles and storage tunnels, and to escape from a ground operation that the Kornet missiles were waiting for, The acceptance of the ceasefire by Netanyahu’s decision also coincided with the beginning of the entity’s submission to the American guardianship in conjunction with the return of the United States to resolve the nuclear agreement with Iran, as Netanyahu said, and rightly so, which made Netanyahu’s departure the end of a stage and the beginning of a stage. The new phase ends the presence of the entity as a major force in the region.

The most fortunate Iranian presidential candidate, Mr. ُEbrahim Raisi, symbolises the political and elite segments that support the Revolutionary Guards in Iran, which lay the project of independence from the West and follow development plans based on the localisation of technology, achieving self-sufficiency, and building military capabilities that give Iran the ability to face any military challenges, and at the forefront Proceeding with an escalating missile program, and is committed to supporting the resistance movements in the region, and considers Palestine its central issue, which makes his success a sign of Iran’s rise and confirmation of the gains achieved by the axis led by Tehran, and announcing the crystallisation of the project of the resistance axis, as a force that is growing its capabilities and growing presence, and constitutes a dewy partner that cannot be ignored by the major powers, friendly and unfriendly in all related to the region.

The synchronicity of decline and rise is not a coincidence except in terms of the convergence of the days of maturity. As for the essence of the synchronisation, it is inevitable, because it was not possible to start the time of the demise of the entity as a superpower in the region only because there were those who succeeded in draining this entity, and placed it in front of the challenges of the growth of the capabilities of the resistance axis, which turned into existential strategy challenges that the entity was unable to solve, with Netanyahu’s departure, the entity’s predicament deepened, which heralds the beginning of a new era in the region, the era of the axis of resistance.

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Saudi-Iranian talks are an attempt to pre-empt the American return to nuclear deal, says sociologist

June 16, 2021 – 17:12

By M. A. Saki

TEHRAN – Head of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Lebanon says that the Saudi desire to negotiate with Iran is an attempt to pre-empt the American return to the nuclear deal.

“The Saudi-Syrian normalization is a positive step and the Saudi-Iranian dialogue is an attempt to pre-empt the American return to the nuclear deal,” Dr. Talal Atrissi tells the Tehran Times.

 “Saudi Arabia sees tangibly that all of its previous bets failed, and I assure that this step was by American encouragement and support, especially since Saudi Arabia failed in the war on Yemen and today it is trying to get out of the Yemeni quagmire at any cost,” Atrissi notes.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you evaluate the ongoing talks over revitalizing the Iran nuclear deal?

A: Most of the statements, whether from the Iranian side or the American side, confirm that the negotiations are heading to yield results. The statements are optimistic, and the announcement of the formation of committees to study how to lift the sanctions implies that all sides are nearing an agreement. 

The statements of the Russian, Chinese and even European delegates indicate progress and seriousness in the negotiations. But this does not mean that things will go quickly. The United States, for its part, will not lift the sanctions so easily, and even not all sanctions will be lifted. It will try to negotiate to lift only parts of the sanctions in exchange for Iran’s return to full commitment to the terms of the nuclear deal.

As for Iran, it has an interest in negotiating and has a direct interest in lifting the sanctions, which have caused great damage to the Iranian economy, and for this reason, Iran has returned to the negotiating table. But Iran has no interest in prolongation of the talks. I mean, you go back to the negotiation table again, as if we need a new agreement. With regard to Iran, this is unacceptable, as the Leader of the Islamic Revolution warned about prolonging the negotiations, while America wants to extract the largest number of concessions from Iran before lifting the sanctions.

This is what is happening today in the successive rounds of the Vienna talks. 

Q: How would the revival of the Iran nuclear pact affect the region?

A: If this agreement occurs, of course, it will reflect positively on the relations among the countries of the region. I believe that Saudi Arabia’s desire for dialogue with Iran began with America’s encouragement, not on a self-initiative, meaning that the new American administration wants some kind of stability in the Middle East (West Asia) and mitigating Persian Gulf-Iranian tension. 

The main tensions have been from the Israeli side while the Biden administration looks forward to a kind of stability and dialogue, and this is one of the reasons for thinking about reviving the nuclear agreement with Iran.

The biggest strategic challenge for the Biden administration is China, and this means that the United States is reluctant to get involved in the Middle East (West Asia) again. It is also withdrawing from Afghanistan. Afghanistan was a major failure for America and its policies in the world and the region.

So, if the negotiations for an agreement succeeds, the allies of the United States, including Saudi Arabia in the first place, will return to stable relations and understanding with Iran, and this could contribute to solving problems in Lebanon, Yemen and other countries of the region.

Q: What are Israel’s options to undermine the nuclear talks in Vienna? Do you think Israel will start a war to block the path for reviving the nuclear pact?

A: From the beginning, Israel and the U.S. administration have been at odds over the 2015 nuclear deal, and Netanyahu considered the agreement signed by Obama a “historical mistake” rather than a “historic achievement,” as Obama called it. Israel tried to obstruct the path of the agreement and worked with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to prevent the conclusion of the pact, but the agreement was achieved in 2015.

 When Trump came to power in 2016, Israel considered it a great opportunity to push America to pull out of the nuclear deal.

As for the possibility of Israel carrying out some kind of operation or sabotaging Iran’s nuclear facilities to change the balance and impede a possible revival of the nuclear agreement between Iran and America, I rule out that this would happen.

First, Israel faces a domestic crisis, and Netanyahu is accused of having failed in the battle of “the sword of Jerusalem,” and therefore the victory that has been achieved by the Palestinian resistance is a victory for Iran. The resistance in Palestine expressed its thanks to Iran for its role in supporting Palestine.

For Israel, it is very difficult to contemplate such an option, especially since Netanyahu has moved to the ranks of the opposition and is no longer prime minister.

Q: How do you read Saudi-Syrian normalization, especially when we put this alongside the Iranian-Saudi talks? What caused the Saudi policy change in the region?

A: The Saudi-Syrian normalization is a positive step and the Saudi-Iranian dialogue is an attempt to pre-empt the American return to the nuclear deal.
Saudi Arabia sees tangibly that all of its previous bets failed, and I am sure that this step was by American encouragement and support, especially since Saudi Arabia failed in the war on Yemen and today it is trying to get out of the Yemeni quagmire at any cost.

She believes that dialogue with Iran can help it get out of this war, and thus Saudi Arabia’s return to the negotiation table with Iran and Syria is an indirect acknowledgment of the failure of its previous policies.

I mean, the policy of toppling the government in Syria has failed, and the policy of forming an Arab-(Persian) Gulf-Israeli axis against Iran has failed, as well as normalization with Israel and the deal of the century, after what happened recently in occupied Palestine.

So, this step on the part of Saudi Arabia is an affirmation that Iran and the axis of resistance are in a better position than before and that the past decade was a period of steadfastness and resistance in the face of all attempts to ruin the region, Syria, and Yemen in particular.

 Today, after the battle of Palestine, the axis of resistance is in a position of strength, and this is what prompts the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to engage in dialogue with the parties to this axis.

Q: What is the significance of the Iran-China partnership for the region and the larger world?

A: The importance of the Iran-China partnership is that it opens up broad prospects for Iran at various levels of development in the areas of investment, oil and communications. On the other hand, this may be an alternative even to the nuclear agreement with the West. Even if the nuclear deal is not revived, Iran can be satisfied with the partnership with China.

 Even if Iran complies fully to the nuclear agreement and agrees with the United States, it will have balanced relations with East and West, with the preference of China, especially since China is not a colonial country and did not create problems in the region.

 So, the Chinese-Iranian partnership is an important strategic agreement that may block the way for the U.S. to put pressure on Iran.

In addition, the Iranian-Chinese partnership as an economic agreement is inseparable from China’s vision and its historical and strategic project to restore the Silk Road (One Road, One Belt). 

Iran will be a major station in this project. For this reason, China is counting on partnership with Iran and wants Iran to remain a strong and pivotal country in the face of the American hegemony, and this is not in the interest of the West and the United States in particular.

RELATED NEWS

HOUTHIS LAUNCHED BALLISTIC MISSILE AT MA’RIB, SUICIDE DRONE AT SAUDI ARABIA’S ‘ASIR

17.06.2021 

Source

Houthis Launched Ballistic Missile At Ma’rib, Suicide Drone At Saudi Arabia's ‘Asir
Illustrative image, source: the Houthis media wing

The Houthis (Ansar Allah) are still carrying out successful missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia and its proxies in Yemen.

Late on June 16, a ballistic missile stuck the central Yemeni city of Ma’rib, which is held by the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies. According to several sources, the missile was launched by the Houthis.

The ballistic missile landed in a residential area inside the city. Nevertheless, no casualties were reported. The Houthis’ have not claimed responsibility for the attack, yet.

According to the UAE-based al-Arabiya TV, the Saudi-led coalition and its proxies responded with a series of strikes on Houthi positions in Ma’rib. Houthi fighters have been leading a large-scale offensive on the province city center for well over three months now.

A day later, the Houthis launched two Qasef-2K suicide drones at a “military position” in Abha International Airport in the southern Saudi province of Jizan. The Qasef-2K is a copy of the Iranian Ababil-2 drone with a range of around 150 kilometers.

“This attack comes as a natural response to the crimes of the aggression [Saudi-led coalition] and its continuous siege on our dear country,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Sari, a spokesman for the Houthis, said in a brief statement.

Only one of the two drones was intercepted by the Saudi-led coalition air-defense forces. It is still unclear if the second reached Abha International Airport.

On June 10, the Houthis launched four ballistic missiles and a suicide drone at Ma’rib city, killing eight people and injuring many others. Within a few hours, the group attacked an unspecified target in Saudi Arabia’s ‘Asir with a suicide drone.

The Houthis’ ability to launch attacks on several fronts simultaneously pose a real challenge to the Saudi-led coalition and its Yemen proxies.

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Dirty, dark secrets of D Day France, 1944, with crucial background in World War II China and Japan

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Statements after Putin / Biden summit

June 16, 2021

Source

Statements after Putin / Biden summit

Russian-American consultations began with a restricted-format meeting that included Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

After that the talks continued in an expanded format.

Following the summit, the US – Russia Presidential Joint Statement on Strategic Stability was adopted.

U.S. – Russia Presidential Joint Statement on Strategic Stability

June 16, 2021

We, President of the United States of America Joseph R. Biden and President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, note the United States and Russia have demonstrated that, even in periods of tension, they are able to make progress on our shared goals of ensuring predictability in the strategic sphere, reducing the risk of armed conflicts and the threat of nuclear war.

The recent extension of the New START Treaty exemplifies our commitment to nuclear arms control. Today, we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Consistent with these goals, the United States and Russia will embark together on an integrated bilateral Strategic Stability Dialogue in the near future that will be deliberate and robust. Through this Dialogue, we seek to lay the groundwork for future arms control and risk reduction measures.

http://en.kremlin.ru/supplement/5658


President Putin: News conference Q&A following Russia-US talks

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

I am at your service. I think there is no need for long opening remarks since everyone is familiar with the topics of discussion in general: strategic stability, cyber security, regional conflicts, and trade relations. We also covered cooperation in the Arctic. This is pretty much what we discussed.

With that, I will take your questions.

Question: Good evening,

Perhaps, you can name the topics that were discussed especially closely? In particular, Ukraine is of great interest. In what context was it touched upon, was the situation in Donbass and the possibility of Ukraine joining NATO discussed?

One more thing: before the talks, there were great expectations about the ambassadors of the two countries returning to their stations in the respective capitals. In particular, your assistant, Yury Ushakov, said that this was possible. Have these decisions been made? How did the talks go in general?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: With regard to the ambassadors returning to their stations – the US ambassador to Moscow, and the Russian ambassador to Washington, we agreed on this matter, and they will be returning to their permanent duty stations. When exactly – tomorrow or the day after tomorrow – is a purely technical issue.

We also agreed that the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation and the US State Department would begin consultations on the entire range of cooperation on the diplomatic track. There are things to discuss, and an enormous backlog [of unresolved issues] has piled up. I think both sides, including the American side, are committed to looking for solutions.

With regard to Ukraine, indeed, this issue was touched upon. I cannot say that it was done in great detail, but as far as I understood President Biden, he agreed that the Minsk agreements should be the basis for a settlement in southeastern Ukraine.

As for Ukraine’s potential accession to NATO, this issue was touched upon in passing. I suppose there is nothing to discuss in this respect.

This is how it was in general terms.

Question: Mr President, you said strategic stability was one of the topics. Could you tell us in more detail what decisions were made on this issue? Will Russia and the United States resume or start talks on strategic stability and disarmament, and, in particular, on the New START Treaty? Do they plan to start talks on extending New START, perhaps revising its parameters or signing a new treaty altogether?

Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: The United States and the Russian Federation bear special responsibility for global strategic stability, at least because we are the two biggest nuclear powers – in terms of the amount of ammunition and warheads, the number of delivery vehicles, the level of sophistication and quality of nuclear arms. We are aware of this responsibility.

I think it is obvious to everyone that President Biden made a responsible and, we believe, timely decision to extend New START for five years, that is, until 2024.

Of course, it would be natural to ask what next. We agreed to start interdepartmental consultations under the aegis of the US Department of State and the Foreign Ministry of Russia. Colleagues will determine at the working level the line-up of these delegations, the venues and frequency of meetings.

Question: Hi, Matthew Chance from CNN. Thank you very much for giving me this question.

First of all, could you characterise the dynamic between yourself and President Biden? Was it hostile or was it friendly?

And secondly, throughout these conversations did you commit to ceasing carrying out cyberattacks on the United States? Did you commit to stopping threatening Ukraine’s security? And did you commit to stop cracking down on the opposition in Russia?

Vladimir Putin: I will begin with a general assessment. I believe there was no hostility at all. Quite the contrary. Our meeting was, of course, a principled one, and our positions diverge on many issues, but I still think that both of us showed a willingness to understand each other and look for ways of bringing our positions closer together. The conversation was quite constructive.

As for cyber security, we have agreed to start consultations on this issue. I consider this very important.

Now about the commitments each side must make. I would like to tell you about things that are generally known, but not to the public at large. American sources – I am simply afraid to mix up the names of organisations (Mr Peskov will give them to you later) – have said that most cyberattacks in the world come from US cyberspace. Canada is second. It is followed by two Latin American countries and then the United Kingdom. As you can see, Russia is not on the list of these countries from whose cyberspace the most cyberattacks originate. This is the first point.

Now the second point. In 2020 we received 10 inquiries from the United States about cyberattacks on US facilities – as our colleagues say – from Russian cyberspace. Two more requests were made this year. Our colleagues received exhaustive responses to all of them, both in 2020 and this year.

In turn, Russia sent 45 inquiries to the relevant US agency last year and 35 inquiries in the first half of this year. We have not yet received a single response. This shows that we have a lot to work on.

The question of who, on what scale and in what area must make commitments should be resolved during negotiations. We have agreed to start such consultations. We believe that cyber security is extremely important in the world in general, for the United States in particular, and to the same extent for Russia.

For example, we are aware of the cyberattacks on the pipeline company in the United States. We are also aware of the fact that the company had to pay 5 million to the cybercriminals. According to my information, a portion of the money has been returned from the e-wallets. What do Russia’s public authorities have to do with this?

We face the same threats. For example, there was an attack on the public healthcare system of a large region in the Russian Federation. Of course, we see where the attacks are coming from, and we see that these activities are coordinated from US cyberspace. I do not think that the United States, official US authorities, are interested in this kind of manipulation. What we need to do is discard all the conspiracy theories, sit down at the expert level and start working in the interests of the United States and the Russian Federation. In principle, we have agreed to this, and Russia is willing to do so.

Give them a microphone – part of the question remained unanswered.

Remark: That’s correct and thank you very much for coming back to me, sir.

So, there were two other parts to the question. The first one is: did you commit in these meetings to stop threatening Ukraine? Remember the reason this summit was called in the first place, or the timing of it, was when Russia was building up lots of forces close to border. And the second part of the question, third part of the question was: did you commit to stopping your crackdown against the opposition groups inside Russia led by Alexei Navalny?

Vladimir Putin: I did not hear that part of the question – either it was not translated, or you just decided to ask a second question.

With regard to our obligations regarding Ukraine, we have only one obligation which is to facilitate the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. If the Ukrainian side is willing to do this, we will take this path, no questions asked.

By the way, I would like to note the following. Back in November 2020, the Ukrainian delegation presented its views about how it was planning to implement the Minsk Agreements. Please take a look at the Minsk Agreements – they are not a confidential document. They say that, first, it is necessary to submit proposals on the political integration of Donbass into the Ukrainian legal system and the Constitution. To do so, it is necessary to amend the Constitution – this is spelled out in the agreements. This is the first point. And second, the border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine along the Donbass line will begin to be occupied by the border troops of Ukraine on the day following election day – Article 9.

What has Ukraine come up with? The first step it proposed was to move Ukraine’s armed forces back to their permanent stations. What does this mean? This means Ukrainian troops would enter Donbass. This is the first point. Second, they proposed closing the border between Russia and Ukraine in this area. Third, they proposed holding elections three months after these two steps.

You do not need a legal background or any special training to understand that this has nothing to do with the Minsk Agreements. This completely contradicts the Minsk Agreements. Therefore, what kind of additional obligations can Russia assume? I think the answer is clear.

With regard to military exercises, we conduct them on our territory, just like the United States conducts many of its exercises on its territory. But we are not bringing our equipment and personnel closer to the state borders of the United States of America when we conduct our exercises. Unfortunately, this is what our US partners are doing now. So, the Russian side, not the American side, should be concerned about this, and this also needs to be discussed, and our respective positions should be clarified.

With regard to our non-systemic opposition and the citizen you mentioned, first, this person knew that he was breaking applicable Russian law. He needed to check in with the authorities as someone who was twice sentenced to a suspended prison time. Fully cognisant of what he was doing, I want to emphasise this, and disregarding this legal requirement, this gentleman went abroad for medical treatment, and the authorities did not ask him to check in while he was in treatment. As soon as he left the hospital and posted his videos online, the requirements were reinstated. He did not appear; he disregarded the law – and was put on the wanted list. He knew that going back to Russia. I believe he deliberately decided to get arrested. He did what he wanted to do. So, what is there to be discussed?

With regard to the people like him and the systemic opposition in general, unfortunately, the format of a news conference precludes a detailed discussion, but I would like to say the following. Look, I think I will not say anything complicated, it will be clear for everyone. If you find it possible to objectively convey this message to your viewers and listeners, I would be very grateful to you.

So, the United States declared Russia an enemy and an adversary. Congress did this in 2017. US legislation was amended to include provisions that the United States must maintain democratic governance rules and order in our country and support political organisations. This is in your law, US law. Now let’s ask ourselves a question: if Russia is an enemy, what kind of organisations will the United States support in Russia? I think not the ones that make the Russian Federation stronger, but the ones that hold it back, since this is the goal of the United States, something that has been announced publicly. So, these are the organisations and the people who are instrumental in the implementation of the United States’ policy on Russia.

How should we feel about this? I think it is clear: we must be wary. But we will act exclusively within the framework of Russian law.

Transcript to be continued.


Remarks by President Biden in post-summit Press Conference

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2021/06/16/remarks-by-president-biden-in-press-conference-4/June 16, 2021 • Speeches and Remarks

Hôtel du Parc des Eaux-Vives
Geneva, Switzerland

7:20 P.M. CEST

(There is some French bleedthrough at the start of the audio for a few moments)

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s been a long day for you all.  (Laughs.)  I know it was easy getting into the — the pre-meeting.  There was no problem getting through those doors, was it — was there?

Anyway, hello, everyone.  Well, I’ve just finished the — the last meeting of this week’s long trip, the U.S.-Russian Summit.

And I know there were a lot of hype around this meeting, but it’s pretty straightforward to me — the meeting.  One, there is no substitute, as those of you who have covered me for a while know, for a face-to-face dialogue between leaders.  None.  And President Putin and I had a — share a unique responsibility to manage the relationship between two powerful and proud countries — a relationship that has to be stable and predictable.  And it should be able to — we should be able to cooperate where it’s in our mutual interests.

And where we have differences, I wanted President Putin to understand why I say what I say and why I do what I do, and how we’ll respond to specific kinds of actions that harm America’s interests.

Now, I told President Putin my agenda is not against Russia or anyone else; it’s for the American people: fighting COVID-19; rebuilding our economy; reestablishing our relationships around the world with our allies and friends; and protecting our people.  That’s my responsibility as President.

I also told him that no President of the United States could keep faith with the American people if they did not speak out to defend our democratic values, to stand up for the universal rights and fundamental freedoms that all men and women have, in our view.  That’s just part of the DNA of our country.

So, human rights is going to always be on the table, I told him.  It’s not about just going after Russia when they violate human rights; it’s about who we are.  How could I be the President of the United States of America and not speak out against the violation of human rights?

I told him that, unlike other countries, including Russia, we’re uniquely a product of an idea.  You’ve heard me say this before, again and again, but I’m going to keep saying it.  What’s that idea?  We don’t derive our rights from the government; we possess them because we’re born — period.  And we yield them to a government.

And so, at the forum, I pointed out to him that that’s why we’re going raise our concerns about cases like Aleksey Navalny.  I made it clear to President Putin that we’ll continue to raise issues of fundamental human rights because that’s what we are, that’s who we are.  The idea is: “We hold these truths self-evident that all men and women…”  We haven’t lived up to it completely, but we’ve always widened the arc of commitment and included more and more people.

And I raised the case of two wrongfully imprisoned American citizens: Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed.

I also raised the ability of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty to operate, and the importance of a free press and freedom of speech.

I made it clear that we will not tolerate attempts to violate our democratic sovereignty or destabilize our democratic elections, and we would respond.

The bottom line is, I told President Putin that we need to have some basic rules of the road that we can all abide by.

I also said there are areas where there’s a mutual interest for us to cooperate, for our people — Russian and American people — but also for the benefit of the world and the security of the world.  One of those areas is strategic stability.

You asked me many times what was I going to discuss with Putin.  Before I came, I told you I only negotiate with the individual.  And now I can tell you what I was intending to do all along, and that is to discuss and raise the issue of strategic stability and try to set up a mechanism whereby we dealt with it.

We discussed in detail the next steps our countries need to take on arms control measures — the steps we need to take to reduce the risk of unintended conflict.

And I’m pleased that he agreed today to launch a bilateral strategic stability dialogue — diplomatic speak for saying, get our military experts and our — our diplomats together to work on a mechanism that can lead to control of new and dangerous and sophisticated weapons that are coming on the scene now that reduce the times of response, that raise the prospects of accidental war.  And we went into some detail of what those weapons systems were.

Another area we spent a great deal of time on was cyber and cybersecurity.  I talked about the proposition that certain critical infrastructure should be off limits to attack — period — by cyber or any other means.  I gave them a list, if I’m not mistaken — I don’t have it in front of me — 16 specific entities; 16 defined as critical infrastructure under U.S. policy, from the energy sector to our water systems.

Of course, the principle is one thing.  It has to be backed up by practice.  Responsible countries need to take action against criminals who conduct ransomware activities on their territory.

So we agreed to task experts in both our — both our countries to work on specific understandings about what’s off limits and to follow up on specific cases that originate in other countries — either of our countries.

There is a long list of other issues we spent time on, from the urgent need to preserve and reopen the humanitarian corridors in Syria so that we can get food — just simple food and basic necessities to people who are starving to death; how to build it and how it is in the interest of both Russia and the United States to ensure that Iran — Iran — does not acquire nuclear weapons.  We agreed to work together there because it’s as much interest — Russia’s interest as ours.  And to how we can ensure the Arctic remains a region of cooperation rather than conflict.

I caught part of President’s — Putin’s press conference, and he talked about the need for us to be able to have some kind of modus operandi where we dealt with making sure the Arctic was, in fact, a free zone.

And to how we can each contribute to the shared effort of preventing a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan.  It’s very much in — in the interest of Russia not to have a resurgence of terrorism in Afghanistan.

There are also areas that are more challenging.  I communicated the United States’ unwavering commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

We agreed to pursue diplomacy related to the Minsk Agreement.  And I shared our concerns about Belarus.  He didn’t disagree with what happened; he just has a different perspective of what to do about it.

But I know you have a lot of questions, so let me close with this: It was important to meet in person so there can be no mistake about or misrepresentations about what I wanted to communicate.

I did what I came to do: Number one, identify areas of practical work our two countries can do to advance our mutual interests and also benefit the world.

Two, communicate directly — directly — that the United States will respond to actions that impair our vital interests or those of our allies.

And three, to clearly lay out our country’s priorities and our values so he heard it straight from me.

And I must tell you, the tone of the entire meetings — I guess it was a total of four hours — was — was good, positive.  There wasn’t any — any strident action taken.  Where we disagreed — I disagreed, stated where it was.  Where he disagreed, he stated.  But it was not done in a hyperbolic atmosphere.  That is too much of what’s been going on.

Over this last week, I believe — I hope — the United States has shown the world that we are back, standing with our Allies.  We rallied our fellow democracies to make concert — concerted commitments to take on the biggest challenges our world faces.

And now we’ve established a clear basis on how we intend to deal with Russia and the U.S.-Russia relationship.

There’s more work ahead.  I’m not suggesting that any of this is done, but we’ve gotten a lot of business done on this trip.

And before I take your questions, I want to say one last thing.  Folks, look, this is about — this about how we move from here.  This is — I listened to, again, a significant portion of what President Putin’s press conference was, and as he pointed out, this is about practical, straightforward, no-nonsense decisions that we have to make or not make.

We’ll find out within the next six months to a year whether or not we actually have a strategic dialogue that matters.  We’ll find out whether we work to deal with everything from release of people in Russian prisons or not.  We’ll find out whether we have a cybersecurity arrangement that begins to bring some order.

Because, look, the countries that most are likely to be damaged — failure to do that — are the major countries.  For example, when I talked about the pipeline that cyber hit for $5 million — that ransomware hit in the United States, I looked at him and I said, “Well, how would you feel if ransomware took on the pipelines from your oil fields?”  He said it would matter.

This is not about just our self-interest; it’s about a mutual self-interest.

I’ll take your questions.  And as usual, folks, they gave me a list of the people I’m going to call on.

So, Jonathan, Associated Press.

Q    Thank you, sir.  U.S. intelligence has said that Russia tried to interfere in the last two presidential elections, and that Russia groups are behind hacks like SolarWinds and some of the ransomware attacks you just mentioned.  Putin, in his news conference just now, accepted no responsibility for any misbehavior.  Your predecessor opted not to demand that Putin stop these disruptions.  So what is something concrete, sir, that you achieved today to prevent that from happening again?  And what were the consequences you threatened?

THE PRESIDENT:  Whether I stopped it from happening again — he knows I will take action, like we did when — this last time out.  What happened was: We, in fact, made it clear that we were not going to continue to allow this to go on.  The end result was we ended up withdrawing — they went withdrawing ambassadors, and we closed down some of their facilities in the United States, et cetera.  And he knows there are consequences.

Now, look, one of the consequences that I know — I don’t know; I shouldn’t say this; it’s unfair of me — I suspect you may all think doesn’t matter, but I’m confidence it matters to him — confident it matter to him and other world leaders of big nations: his credibility worldwide shrinks.

Let’s get this straight: How would it be if the United States were viewed by the rest of the world as interfering with the elections directly of other countries, and everybody knew it?  What would it be like if we engaged in activities that he is engaged in?  It diminishes the standing of a country that is desperately trying to make sure it maintains its standing as a major world power.

And so it’s not just what I do; it’s what the actions that other countries take — in this case, Russia — that are contrary to international norms.  It’s the price they pay.  They are not — they are not able to dictate what happens in the world.  There are other nations of significant consequence — i.e. the United States of America being one of them.

Q    Mr. President, just a quick follow on the same theme of consequences.  You said, just now, that you spoke to him a lot about human rights.  What did you say would happen if opposition leader Aleksey Navalny dies?

THE PRESIDENT:  I made it clear to him that I believe the consequences of that would be devastating for Russia.

I’ll go back to the same point: What do you think happens when he’s saying, “It’s not about hurting Navalny,” this — you know, all the stuff he says to rationalize the treatment of Navalny — and then he dies in prison?

I pointed out to him that it matters a great deal when a country, in fact — and they asked me why I thought that it was important to continue to have problems with the President of Syria.  I said, “Because he’s in violation of an international norm.  It’s called a Chemical Weapons Treaty.  Can’t be trusted.”

It’s about trust.  It’s about their ability to influence other nations in a positive way.

Look, would you like to trade our economy for Russia’s economy?  Would you like to trade?  And, by the way, we talked about trade.  I don’t have any problem with doing business with Russia, as long as they do it based upon international norms. It’s in our interest to see the Russian people do well economically.  I don’t have a problem with that.

But if they do not act according to international norms, then guess what?  That will not — that only won’t it happen with us, it will not happen with other nations.  And he kind of talked about that — didn’t he, today? — about how the need to reach out to other countries to invest in Russia.  They won’t as long as they are convinced that, in fact, the violations —

For example, the American businessman who was in house arrest.  And I pointed out, “You want to get American business to invest?  Let him go.  Change the dynamic.”  Because American businessmen, they’re not — they’re not ready to show up.  They don’t want to hang around in Moscow.

I mean, I — look, guys, I know we make foreign policy out to be this great, great skill that somehow is, sort of, like a secret code.  Pract- — all foreign policy is, is a logical extension of personal relationships.  It’s the way human nature functions.

And understand, when you run a country that does not abide by international norms, and yet you need those international norms to be somehow managed so that you can participate in the benefits that flow from them, it hurts you.  That’s not a satisfying answer: “Biden said he’d invade Russia.”  You know, it is not — you know.  By the way, that was a joke.  That’s not true.

But my generic point is, it is — it is more complicated than that.

David Sanger.  I thought I saw David.  There he is.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  In the run-up to this discussion, there’s been a lot of talk about the two countries spilling down into a Cold War.  And I’m wondering if there was anything that you emerged from in the discussion that made you think that he —

THE PRESIDENT:  With your permission, I’m going to take my coat off.  The sun is hot.

Q    — anything that would make you think that Mr. Putin has decided to move away from his fundamental role as a disrupter, particularly a disrupter of NATO and the United States?

And if I could also just follow up on your description of how you gave him a list of critical infrastructure in the United States.  Did you lay out very clearly what it was that the penalty would be for interfering in that critical infrastructure?  Did you leave that vague?  Did he respond in any way to it?

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me answer your first — well, I’ll second question, first.

I pointed out to him that we have significant cyber capability.  And he knows it.  He doesn’t know exactly what it is, but it’s significant.  And if, in fact, they violate these basic norms, we will respond with cyber.  He knows.

Q    In the cyber way.

THE PRESIDENT:  In the cyber way.

Number two, I — I think that the last thing he wants now is a Cold War.  Without quoting him — which I don’t think is appropriate — let me ask a rhetorical question: You got a multi-thousand-mile border with China.  China is moving ahead, hellbent on election, as they say, seeking to be the most powerful economy in the world and the largest and the most powerful military in the world.

You’re in a situation where your economy is struggling, you need to move it in a more aggressive way, in terms of growing it.  And you — I don’t think he’s looking for a Cold War with the United States.

I don’t think it’s about a — as I said to him, I said, “Your generation and mine are about 10 years apart.  This is not a ‘kumbaya’ moment, as you used to say back in the ’60s in the United States, like, ‘Let’s hug and love each other.’  But it’s clearly not in anybody’s interest — your country’s or mine — for us to be in a situation where we’re in a new Cold War.”  And I truly believe he thinks that — he understands that.

But that does not mean he’s ready to, quote, figuratively speaking, “lay down his arms,” and say, “Come on.”  He still, I believe, is concerned about being, quote, “encircled.”  He still is concerned that we, in fact, are looking to take him down, et cetera.  He still has those concerns, but I don’t think they are the driving force as to the kind of relationship he’s looking for with the United States.

Jennifer.  Jennifer Jacobs.

Q    Thank you, Mr. President.  Is there a particular reason why the summit lasted only about three hours?  We know you had maybe allotted four to five hours.  Was there any reason it ran shorter?

Also, did — President Putin said that there were no threats or scare tactics issued.  Do you agree with that assessment, that there were no threats or scare tactics?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    And also, did you touch on Afghanistan and the safe withdrawal of troops?

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.  Yes, yes, and yes.  Let me go back to the first part.

The reason it didn’t go longer is: When is the last time two heads of state have spent over two hours in direct conversation across a table, going into excruciating detail?  You may know of a time; I don’t.  I can’t think of one.

So we didn’t need, as we got through, when we brought in the larger group — our defense, our intelligence, and our foreign — well, our — my foreign minister — wasn’t the foreign minister — my Secretary of State was with me the whole time — our ambassador, et cetera.  We brought everybody in.  We had covered so much.

And so there was a summary done by him and by me of what we covered.  Lavrov and Blinken talked about what we had covered.  We raised things that required more amplification or made sure we didn’t have any misunderstandings.  And — and so it was — it was — kind of, after two hours there, we looked at each other like, “Okay, what next?”

What is going to happen next is we’re going to be able to look back — look ahead in three to six months, and say, “Did the things we agreed to sit down and try to work out, did it work?  Do we — are we closer to a major strategic stability talks and progress?  Are we further along in terms of…” — and go down the line.  That’s going to be the test.

I’m not sitting here saying because the President and I agreed that we would do these things, that all of a sudden, it’s going to work.  I’m not saying that.  What I’m saying is I think there’s a genuine prospect to significantly improve relations between our two countries without us giving up a single, solitary thing based on principle and/or values.

Q    There were no threats issued?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, no, no.  No.  There were no threats.  There were — as a matter of fact, I heard he quoted my mom and quoted other people today.  There was — it was very, as we say — which will shock you, coming from me — somewhat colloquial.  And we talked about basic, basic, fundamental things.  There was a — it was — and you know how I am: I explain things based on personal basis.  “What happens if,” for example.

And so, there are no threats, just simple assertions made.  And no “Well, if you do that, then we’ll do this” — wasn’t anything I said.  It was just letting him know where I stood; what I thought we could accomplish together; and what, in fact — if it was — if there were violations of American sovereignty, what would we do.

Q    Can you share what you asked him about Afghanistan?  What was your particular request for Afghanistan and the U.S. troops?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, he asked us about Afghanistan.  He said that he hopes that we’re able to maintain some peace and security, and I said, “That has a lot to do with you.”  He indicated that he was prepared to, quote, “help” on Afghanistan — I won’t go into detail now; and help on — on Iran; and help on — and, in return, we told him what we wanted to do relative to bringing some stability and economic security or physical security to the people of Syria and Libya.

So, we had those discussions.

Yamiche.

Q    Thanks so much, Mr. President.  Did you — you say that you didn’t issue any threats.  Were there any ultimatums made when it comes to ransomware?  And how will you measure success, especially when it comes to these working groups on Russian meddling and on cybersecurity?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s going to be real easy.  They either — for example, on cybersecurity, are we going to work out where they take action against ransomware criminals on Russian territory?  They didn’t do it.  I don’t think they planned it, in this case.  And they — are they going to act?  We’ll find out.

Will we commit — what can we commit to act in terms of anything affecting violating international norms that negatively affects Russia?  What are we going to agree to do?

And so, I think we have real opportunities to — to move.  And I think that one of the things that I noticed when we had the larger meeting is that people who are very, very well-informed started thinking, “You know, this could be a real problem.”  What happens if that ransomware outfit were sitting in Florida or Maine and took action, as I said, on their — their single lifeline to their economy: oil?  That would be devastating.  And they’re like — you could see them kind of go, “Oh, we do that,” but like, “Whoa.”

So it’s in — it’s in everybody’s interest that these things be acted on.  We’ll see, though, what happens from these groups we put together.

Q    Can I ask a quick follow-up question?

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughs.)  The third one, yes.  Go ahead.

Q    Mr. President, when President Putin was questioned today about human rights, he said the reason why he’s cracking down on opposition leaders is because he doesn’t want something like January 6th to happen in Russia.  And he also said he doesn’t want to see groups formed like Black Lives Matter.  What’s your response to that, please?

THE PRESIDENT:  (Laughs.)  My response is kind of what I communicated — that I think that’s a — that’s a ridiculous comparison.  It’s one thing for literally criminals to break through cordon, go into the Capitol, kill a police officer, and be held unaccountable than it is for people objecting and marching on the Capitol and saying, “You are not allowing me to speak freely.  You are not allowing me to do A, B, C, or D.”

And so, they’re very different criteria.

Steve.  Steve Holland, Reuters.

Q    President — sorry — President Putin said he was satisfied with the answer about your comment about him being a “killer.”  Could you give us your side on this?  What did you tell him?

THE PRESIDENT:  He’s satisfied.  Why would I bring it up again?  (Laughs.)

Q    And now that you’ve talked to him, do you believe you can trust him?

THE PRESIDENT:  Look, this is not about trust; this is about self-interest and verification of self-interest.  That’s what it’s about.  So, I — virtually almost — almost anyone that I would work out an agreement with that affected the American people’s interests, I don’t say, “Well, I trust you.  No problem.”  Let’s see what happens.

You know, as that old expression goes, “The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”  We’re going to know shortly.

Igor, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty.

Q    Hello, Mr. President.  Hello, Mr. President —

THE PRESIDENT:  You want to go on the shade?  You can’t — can you see?

Q    Thank you.  Yeah.  Yeah, yeah.  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  All right.

Q    Yeah.  So, I think you know attacks in civil society and the free — free press continue inside Russia.

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    For example, Radio Free Europe —

THE PRESIDENT:  Yes.

Q    — Radio Liberty; Voice of America; Current Time TV channel, where I work, are branded foreign agents — and several other independent media.  So, we are essentially being forced out in Russia 30 years after President Yeltsin invited us in.

My question is: After your talks with President Putin, how interested do you think he is in improving the media climate in Russia?

THE PRESIDENT:  I wouldn’t put it that way, in terms of improving the climate.  I would, in fact, put it in terms of how much interest does he have in burnishing Russia’s reputation that is not — is viewed as not being contrary to democratic principles and free speech.

That’s a judgment I cannot make.  I don’t know.  But it’s not because I think he — he is interested in changing the nature of a closed society or closed government’s actions relative to what he thinks is the right of government to do what it does; it’s a very different approach.

And, you know, there’s a couple of really good biogra- — I told him I read a couple — I read most everything he’s written and the speeches he’s made.  And — and I’ve read a couple of very good biographies, which many of you have as well.

And I think I pointed out to him that Russia had an opportunity — that brief shining moment after Gorbachev and after things began to change drastically — to actually generate a democratic government.  But what happened was it failed and there was a great, great race among Russian intellectuals to determine what form of government would they choose and how would they choose it.

And based on what I believe, Mr. Putin decided was that Russia has always been a major international power when it’s been totally united as a Russian state, not based on ideology — whether it was going back to Tsar and Commissar, straight through to the — the revolution — the Russian Revolution, and to where they are today.

And I think that it’s clear to me — and I’ve said it — that I think he decided that the way for Russia to be able to sustain itself as a great — quote, “great power” is to in fact unite the Russian people on just the strength of the government — the government controls — not necessarily ideologically, but the government.

And I think that’s the — that’s the choice that was made.  I think it — I — I’m not going to second guess whether it could have been fundamentally different.  But I do think it does not lend itself to Russia maintaining itself as one of the great powers in the world.

Q    Sir, one more question —

Q    One more on COVID — on COVID-19, Mr. President —

Q    Sir, could we ask you one more question, please, sir?  Thank you, sir.  Did military response ever come up in this conversation today?  Did you — in terms of the red lines that you laid down, is military response an option for a ransomware attack?

And President Putin had called you, in his press conference, an “experienced person.”  You famously told him he didn’t have a soul.  Do you now have a deeper understanding of him after this meeting?

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Q    Mr. President —

Q    But on the military — military response, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  No, we didn’t talk about military response.

Q    In the spirit, Mr. President, of you saying that there is no substitute for face-to-face dialogue, and also with what you said at NATO that the biggest problems right now are Russia and China — you’ve spoken many times about how you have spent perhaps more time with President Xi than any other world leader.

So is there going to become a time where you might call him, old friend to old friend, and ask him to open up China to the World Health Organization investigators who are trying to get to the bottom of COVID-19?

THE PRESIDENT:  Let’s get something straight.  We know each other well; we’re not old friends.  It’s just pure business.

Q    So, I guess, my question would be that you’ve said that you were going to press China.  You signed on to the G7 communiqué that said you — the G7 were calling on China to open up to let the investigators in.  But China basically says they don’t want to be interfered with anymore.  So, what happens now?

THE PRESIDENT:  The impact — the world’s attitude toward China as it develops.  China is trying very hard to project itself as a responsible and — and a very, very forthcoming nation; that they are trying very hard to talk about how they’re taking and helping the world in terms of COVID-19 and vaccines.  And they’re trying very hard.

Look, certain things you don’t have to explain to the people of the world.  They see the results.  Is China really actually trying to get to the bottom of this?

One thing we did discuss, as I told you, in the EU and at the G7 and with NATO: What we should be doing and what I’m going to make an effort to do is rally the world to work on what is going to be the physical mechanism available to detect, early on, the next pandemic and have a mechanism by which we can respond to it and respond to it early.  It’s going to happen.  It’s going to happen.  And we need to do that.

Thank you.

Q    Any progress on the detained Americans, sir?

Q    What did Putin say about Paul Whelan and Trevor Reed?

Q    Sir, what do you say to the families of the detained Americans?

Q    President Biden, why are you so confident Russia —

THE PRESIDENT:  The families of the detained Americans, I have hope for.

Q    Say it again; we can’t hear you.

THE PRESIDENT:  I said the families of the detained Americans came up and we discussed it.  We’re going to follow through with that discussion.  I am — I am not going to walk away on that issue.

Q    Why are you so confident he’ll change his behavior, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior.  Where the hell — what do you do all the time?  When did I say I was confident?  I said —

Q    You said in the next six months you’ll be able to determine —

THE PRESIDENT:  I said — what I said was — let’s get it straight.  I said: What will change their behavior is if the rest of world reacts to them and it diminishes their standing in the world.  I’m not confident of anything; I’m just stating a fact.

Q    But given his past behavior has not changed and, in that press conference, after sitting down with you for several hours, he denied any involvement in cyberattacks; he downplayed human rights abuses; he even refused to say Aleksey Navalny’s name.  So how does that account to a constructive meeting, as President — President Putin framed it?

THE PRESIDENT:  If you don’t understand that, you’re in the wrong business.

Thank you.

The real B3W-NATO agenda

June 16, 2021

The real B3W-NATO agenda

By Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The West is the best

The West is the best

Get here and we’ll do the rest

Jim Morrison, The End

For those spared the ordeal of sifting through the NATO summit communique, here’s the concise low down: Russia is an “acute threat” and China is a “systemic challenge”.

NATO, of course, is just a bunch of innocent kids building castles in a sandbox.

Those were the days when Lord Hastings Lionel Ismay,

NATO’s first secretary-general, coined the trans-Atlantic purpose: to “keep the Soviet Union out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.”

The Raging Twenties remix reads like “keep the Americans in, the EU down and Russia-China contained”.

So the North Atlantic (italics mine) organization has now relocated all across Eurasia, fighting what it describes as “threats from the East”. Well, that’s a step beyond Afghanistan – the intersection of Central and South Asia – where NATO was unceremoniously humiliated by a bunch of Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs.

Russia remains the top threat – mentioned 63 times in the communiqué. Current top NATO chihuahua Jens Stoltenberg says NATO won’t simply “mirror” Russia: it will de facto outspend it and surround it with multiple battle formations, as “we now have implemented the biggest reinforcements of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War”.

The communiqué is adamant: the only way for military spending is up. Context: the total “defense” budget of the 30 NATO members will grow by 4.1% in 2021, reaching a staggering $1.049 trillion ($726 billion from the US, $323 billion from assorted allies).

After all, “threats from the East” abound. From Russia, there are all those hypersonic weapons that baffle NATO generals; those large-scale exercises near the borders of NATO members; constant airspace violations; military integration with that “dictator” in Belarus.

As for the threats from China – South China Sea, Taiwan, the Indo-Pacific overall – it was up to the G7 to come up with a plan.

Enter “green”, “inclusive” Build Back Better World (B3W), billed as the Western “alternative” to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). B3W respects “our values” – which clownish British PM Boris Johnson could not help describing as building infrastructure in a more “gender neutral” or “feminine” way – and, further on down the road, will remove goods produced with forced labor (code for Xinjiang) from supply chains.

The White House has its own B3W spin: that’s a “values-driven, high-standard, and transparent infrastructure partnership” which will be “mobilizing private-sector capital in four areas of focus – climate, health and health security, digital technology, and gender equality – with catalytic investments from our respective development institutions”

The initial “catalytic investments” for BW3 were estimated at $100 billion. No one knows how these funds will be coming from the “development institutions”.

Seasoned Global South observers already bet they will be essentially provided by IMF/World Bank “green” loans tied to private sector investment in selected emerging markets, with an eye on profit.

The White House is adamant that “B3W will be global in scope, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa and the Indo-Pacific”. Note the blatant attempt to match BRI’s reach.

All these “green” resources and new logistic chains financed by what will be a variant of Central Banks showering helicopter money would ultimately benefit G7 members, certainly not China.

And the “protector” of these new “green” geostrategic corridors will be – who else? – NATO. That’s the natural consequence of the “global reach” emphasized on the NATO 2030 agenda.

NATO as investment protector

“Alternative” infrastructure schemes already proliferate, geared to contain “Russia bullying” and “Chinese meddling” off from the EU. That’s the case of the Three Seas Initiative, where 12 EU member-states from Eastern Europe are supposed to better interconnect the Adriatic, Baltic and Black Seas.

This initiative is a pale copy of China’s 17+1 mechanism of integrating Eastern Europe as part of BRI – in this case forcing them to build very expensive infrastructure to receive very expensive American energy imports.

The offensive against “threats from the East” is bound to fail.

Dmitry Orlov has detailed how “Russia excels at building and operating huge energy, transportation and materials production systems” and, in parallel, how “the technosphere…has quietly relocated and is now busy telecommuting between Moscow and Beijing.”

As every geek knows, China is way ahead in 5G and is the world’s top market for chips. And now the Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law – significantly approved right before the G7 in Cornwall – will “safeguard” Chinese companies from “unilateral and discriminatory measures imposed by foreign countries” and the US “long arm jurisdiction”, thus forcing Atlanticist capital to make a choice.

It’s China as a rising global power that in fact has proposed an “alternative” to the Global South in the first place, a counterpunch to the endless IMF/World Bank debt trap of the past decades. BRI is a highly complex sustainable development trade/investment strategy with the potential to integrate vast swathes of the Global South.

That’s a direct connection to Chairman Mao’s famous theory on the division of the Three Worlds ; the emphasis then on the post-colonial Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), of which China was a stalwart, now encompasses the whole Global South. In the end, it’s always about sovereignty against neocolonialism.

B3W is the Western, essentially American, reaction to BRI: try to scotch as many projects as possible while harassing China 24/7 in the process.

Unlike China or Germany, the US hardly manufactures products the Global South wants to buy; manufacturing accounts for only 5% of a US economy essentially propped up by the US dollar as reserve currency and the – dwindling – Pentagon’s Empire of Bases.

China churns out ten top engineers for every US “financial expert”. China has perfected what is known among bilingual tech experts as an effective system to make SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound) development plans – and implement them.

The notion that the Global South will be convinced to privilege B3W – a hollow PR coup at best – over BRI is ludicrous. Yet NATO will be regimented to actively protect those investments that follow “our values”. One thing is certain: there will be blood.

Palestinian Lady Martyred by ‘Israeli’ Fire Over Alleged Car-ramming, Stabbing Op In West Bank

17/06/2021

Palestinian Lady Martyred by ‘Israeli’ Fire Over Alleged Car-ramming, Stabbing Op In West Bank

By Staff, Agencies

‘Israeli’ occupation forces have shot dead a Palestinian lady in the central part of the occupied West Bank over an alleged car-ramming and stabbing operation against the Zionist regime’s troops.

The Zionist military claimed in a statement that the incident occurred near the Palestinian town of Hizme, located seven kilometers from the Old City of occupied al-Quds, on Wednesday morning.

It further alleged that the Palestinian lady tried to run down a group of soldiers who were conducting work along the separation barrier, and then tried to stab them.

The lady was shot and martyred. No Zionist troops were injured in the purported incident.

Palestine TV later identified the victim as 29-year-old Palestinian doctor Mai Yousef Afaneh, a resident of Abu Dis village outside occupied al-Quds.

In the same respect, Zionist occupation forces shot dead a Palestinian woman on Saturday over an alleged stabbing attempt at Qalandia checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.

The Zionist regime’s police alleged that the 27-year-old woman, identified as Ibtesam Khaled Kaabneh, had kept walking towards guards at the crossing, despite repeated warnings to stop.

It further claimed that the woman, a resident of Aqabat Jabr refugee camp near the West Bank town of Ariha, had approached them with a knife. A Zionist soldier then opened fire at her.

Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported that Kaabneh was left bleeding helplessly on the ground for a few minutes before she was pronounced dead.

Many Palestinians sustained injuries or lost their lives in similar incidents due to allegations that they attempted stabbing or car-ramming operations.

The occupation troops have on numerous occasions been caught on camera brutally killing Palestinians, with the videos going viral online and sparking international condemnation.

The Tel Aviv regime has been criticized for its extensive use of lethal force against and extrajudicial killing of Palestinians who do not pose an immediate threat to the occupation forces or to the Zionist settlers.

نقاش لنيّات إصلاحيّة مكبوتة أحبطها الحليف: هل يمكن جمع التموضع الطائفيّ مع الإصلاح؟

 ناصر قنديل

يُصرّ بعض قادة ورموز عدد من التيارات السياسيّة على تأكيد تطلعاتهم الإصلاحية، ويدافع عنهم مريدون بحماسة واقتناع، ويستحضرون هذا الإصرار في محاكمة الأزمة الراهنة التي يمر بها لبنان، لتيبرأوا من الشراكة بالمسؤوليّة عن هذه الأزمة وامتلاك حق حصريّ بالتصرّف في توزيع نصاب المسؤوليّة على خصومهم وحلفائهم.

الأمر الذي يفوت هؤلاء أن السرقات الشخصية المصنفة تحت عنوان الفساد ودورها في الأزمة الراهنة ليست إلا نتيجة للأسباب الحقيقيّة للانهيار، ولا يمكن لكل الحديث عن أرقام وتقارير تتناول الثروات الشخصيّة لقادة او لتهريبهم أموالهم إلا ان تؤكد هذا الاستنتاج. فالجوهر هو نظام سياسي مالي قام على معادلة، استدانة بلا برامج وأولويات بهدف اجتذاب الدولارات لحماية سعر الصرف، وبالتوازي الإنفاق عبر مؤسسات الدولة على توظيف بلا قواعد وتلزيم المشاريع بلا رقابة، وكل القوى الكبرى التي تمثل طوائفها في الحكم بلا استثناء كانت شريكاً في هذه الثنائية، طالما انها كانت شريكاً بتمثيل طائفتها في مواقع السلطة، فلم تضع الفيتو على الاستدانة واستعمال عائداتها في حماية سعر الصرف، وترك اللبنانيين ينفقون أضعاف ما تمثله مداخيلهم الحقيقيّة، لرشوتهم سياسياً وانتخابياً، وطالما أنه لم يستعمل الفيتو لمنع إنفاق الديون على الدولة ومؤسساتها توظيفاً وتلزيمات، وارتضى ان يكون شريكاً يستخدم الفيتو لنيل حصص ومنع حصص على غيره في التوظيف وفي التلزيمات، ولو أقسم اليمين صادقاً أنه ليس بين قيادييه أي سارق او مرتشٍ.

هل بين القوى الكبرى من لم يستعمل الفيتو او يدّعي أنه لا يملكه، فكيف يفسر لنا إذن كيف استطاع فرض حصوله على مواقع سيادية في الدولة رئاسية ووزارية يعرف اللبنانيون أن الجميع فرض حضوره فيها بقوة الفيتو الطائفي، الذي لم يُستعمل ولا مرة، ولا مرة، لوقف السياسات المالية، ولا سياسات التوظيف والتلزيمات الانتخابية الهادفة لإعادة إنتاج النظام بالطريقة ذاتها التي يستخدمها الجميع مهما تحدث بعضهم عن تمايزه في الاختيارات الفردية لمرشحيه في التوظيف او لنظافة تعامله في التلزيمات، لأن هذا الجانب على أهميته لن يمنع وقوع الانهيار ولو تساوى فيه الجميع. فالانهيار نتاج انفجار بالون اللعبة الجهنمية، ديون بلا قدرة سداد تنفق على حماية سعر الصرف لرشوة الناس بمستوى معيشة وهميّ، ولإنفاق لا يخضع لحساب أولويّات صحيح في التوظيف والتلزيمات، وأين كان الفيتو الجاهز للاستعمال في فرض حصة رئاسية او وزارية وتعطيل البلد لشهور وسنوات طلباً له، والجاهز للاستعمال لرفض وفرض توظيفات بحساب طائفيّ أو حزبيّ في الطائفة، ولفرض حصص من التلزيمات تحت عنوان الإنماء المتوازن، وهو يعلم أن الإنماء خطة غير موجودة وليس موجوداً منها إلا حصصٌ انتخابية؟

إذا كان هناك فريق بين الكبار نأى بنفسه عن المحاصصة فهو حزب الله، ورغم ذلك فهو يتواضع في الأستذة الإصلاحيّة على الآخرين ويقول كلنا مسؤولون، لكن بنسب الشراكة في رسم السياسات، لكنه شريك بعدم استعمال الفيتو الذي أشهره لفرض وصول العماد ميشال عون للرئاسة، وقبلها لفرض حصّة التيار الوطني الحر الوزاريّة، أكثر مما استعمله لحصة طائفته، لكنه لم يستعمل هذا الفيتو بوجه السياسات الماليّة والإنفاقيّة والنقديّة. وهذه شراكة بالمسؤولية.

الأرقام في لبنان وجهة نظر، فعندما يُحكى عن رقم 40 مليار دولار كلفة الكهرباء دون أن تحل أزمتها، ولا يقال إن الدولة تدفع كل سنة ملياري دولار لشراء الفيول، اي 40 مليار بعشرين سنة، لان أحداً لا يريد ان يعترف ان السبب، هو أن لا أحد، لا أحد بالمطلق، يريد تحمّل مسؤولية رفع التعرفة وتحسين الجباية لتصبح الكهرباء ذات جدوى اقتصادية، والاعتبار انتخابي تشارك فيه الجميع. وفي هذا يُظلم التيار الوطني الحر بتحميله وحده المسؤولية، لكن بالمقابل فإن التيار عندما يتحدّث عن فشل تحالفه مع حزب الله لأن الحزب وضع حساب وحدة الطائفة فوق السير بالإصلاح، يفعل الشيء نفسه الذي يلقي به الآخرون عليه بعبء مسؤولية ظلماً، فهل يمكن للتيار عندما يتحدّث عن معركته للإصلاح التي عطلها حزب الله بسبب أولوية الحزب الطائفية، أن يخبرنا متى حدث ذلك، في ظل الحكومة المشتركة بين التيار والرئيس سعد الحريري، وشهر العسل الناتج عن التسوية الرئاسية، أم في مرحلة اتفاق معراب الذي لا صفة له إلا السعي لوحدة الطائفة، أم بعد سقوط حكومة التسوية الرئاسية وقد دخلنا في الانهيار، وكان عنوان الثورة الملوّنة إسقاط التيار ووقف الحزب مدافعاً وفق معادلة العهد خط أحمر، طالما أنه يتحدث عن عهد الرئيس ميشال عون حصراً، لأنه قبل ذلك كان الحزب يستعمل حق الفيتو ليفرض حصة التيار الوزارية وصولاً لفرض رئاسة الجمهورية؟

اذا نسينا كل هذا، وقبلنا أن الحديث يدور عن انتفاضة إصلاحيّة بعد دخولنا الانهيار، وقراءة نقدية للتسوية الرئاسية لم نسمع عنها، ومثلها لاتفاق معراب لم نسمع عنه أيضاً، وان التيار وفق عدد من ناشطيه يريد تغييراً جذرياً، وقد نصدق ذلك، لأن أحداً لا ينكر خلفيات العماد ميشال عون الإصلاحية واللاطائفية، فيصير السؤال لبعض رموزه الذين ينطلقون من اعتبار الرئيس سعد الحريري خصماً ويضعون الرئيس نبيه بري بين الخصوم، ويصفون النائب وليد جنبلاط بحليفهما الثالث، ويوجهون سهام التصعيد بوجه حزب الله ويعتبر بعضهم أن التحالف معه صار عبئاً على التيار، من حقنا السؤال، بمن يريد هؤلاء خوض معركة الإصلاح، فهم يقولون إن رئاسة الجمهورية لا تملك الصلاحيات اللازمة لذلك وبهذا يفسرون مرحلة التسوية الرئاسية، فهم اذن يرفعون راية الإصلاح لنيّة مشروع آخر، وهل بقي غير انهم يريدون أخذ التيار بعيدا عن الخط الذي رسمه العماد عون كتعبير عن الالتزام بوحدة لبنان، كتعبير عن تماهيهم الضمني مع حزب القوات اللبنانية ومحاولة استعمال عنوان التيار لترويج سياساتها الفدرالية؟

التواضع شرط أخلاقي في ممارسة السياسة، ومشكلة لبنان أن جميع قواه السياسية النافذة والفاعلة مبتلية بالداء الطائفي وتجد له أعذاراً فيما يخصّها، وتضع شروطاً تعجيزية على غيرها لتخطيه، وترغب بممارسة دور الواعظ الإصلاحيّ بإلقاء المسؤولية عن الانهيار الشامل على الغير خصماً او حليفاً، والرئيس فؤاد السنيورة يقول إنه لو اتبعت نصائحه لما وصل البلد الى ما وصل اليه! عجيب غريب لبنان!

مقالات متعلقة

Hezbollah’s Arab, International Relations Chief to Al-Ahed: Victorious Syria Strengthens Arabs

16/06-2021

Hezbollah’s Arab, International Relations Chief to Al-Ahed: Victorious Syria Strengthens Arabs

By Mohammed Eid

Damascus – The Head of Hezbollah’s Arab and International Relations Unit, Sayyed Ammar al-Moussawi, said that a victorious Syria gives strength to the Arab and Islamic worlds, and that its great position in the July 2006 war made it the main partner of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon in all its victories.

This comes as a delegation from the Arab Islamic National Conference is visiting Damascus to meet with President Bashar Al-Assad and the Palestinian resistance factions.

Al-Moussawi explained that the purpose of the visit was for the delegation to congratulate Al-Assad on his re-election as leader of Syria and to congratulate the Syrian people for their “clear” victory in the uprising of consciousness, which they expressed so clearly at the ballot boxes.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Ahed News, the head of Arab and International Relations in Hezbollah pointed out that the popular turnout in the Syrian presidential elections at home was not strange because internal sentiments are known. 

“Those who remained in Syria sided with the state, but the influential phenomenon was the Syrians abroad. This is an important and influential indicator, which is the culmination of all victories, including the military victory. It indicates that the Syrians are returning to build their state, which will be better, more beautiful, and stronger than before,” he confirmed.

Al-Moussawi pointed out that Syria has always been an incubator for resistance movements, “and Hezbollah considers it a partner in the victory that was achieved by the men of the Islamic Resistance in the July war and the rest of the victories such as the Resistance and Liberation Day in May 2000.”
 
Prior to the anniversary of the July 2006 war and the victory of the resistance, al-Moussawi recalled the role of Syria in supplying the resistance with various types of weapons, especially the Kornet missiles, which contributed to disabling the “Israeli” Merkava tanks in a way that was unseen in previous Arab-“Israeli” wars. 

He also recalled how Syria embraced hundreds of thousands of Lebanese people who were displaced by the Zionist aggression machine in Lebanon in July 2006.
 
Al-Moussawi stressed that Syria was an incubator of Arab nationalism and all the issues of the nation, and that it will undoubtedly return to be a key link in the Axis of Resistance.

Yemeni army releases pictures of Saudi troops, Sudanese mercs captured during Jizan operation

By VT Editors -June 15, 2021

This picture released by the media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center on June 14, 2021 shows some Saudi troops and Sudanese mercenaries captured during a recent operation in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan.

The media bureau of Yemen’s Operations Command Center has published the pictures and interviews of a number of Saudi troops and Sudanese mercenaries captured during a recent operation in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan region, with an eye to swapping them with Yemeni prisoners held by the Saudi-led coalition forces.

Press TV: In their confessions broadcast on Yemen’s al-Masirah television, the captives identified themselves, and talked about military units they were affiliated with.

They said they were being treated humanely at the hands of the Yemeni Armed Forces and fighters from Popular Committees, and assured their families that they were in good health.Spokesman: Yemeni forces’ drone carried out new attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha Intl. Airport

The spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces says army troops have carried out a retaliatory drone strike against Saudi Arabia’s Abha International Airport.

They also appealed to Saudi authorities to secure their freedom, describing the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen as “unjust and unreasonable.”

They were captured after Yemeni troops and fighters from allied Popular Committees carried out a major military operation in Saudi Arabia’s strategic Jizan region over the past few days, establishing control over many military sites.

Dozens of Saudi army troops, Sudanese mercenaries and Saudi-sponsored militiamen loyal to Yemen’s former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi were either killed or captured in the process, and large quantities of munitions and military equipment were seized from them.

A military source said Yemeni army forces wrested control over MBC mountains, in addition to Tabab al-Fadhia, al-Tabba al-Bayda, al-Qambora, al-Amoud, Tawaleq and Eastern Qa’im Sayab areas during the multi-pronged operation.

The source said more than 80 Saudi army troops and Sudanese mercenaries were killed in the offensives, while 29 military vehicles were destroyed and set on fire.Saudis seek ‘face-saving way out’ of their ‘unwinnable war’ on Yemen: ICG

Richard Atwood, the interim head of the International Crisis Group, says Riyadh’s war against Yemen “generates fury” toward the Saudi rulers.

Saudi Arabia, backed by the US and regional allies, launched a devastating war on Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing Hadi’s government back to power and crushing popular Ansarullah movement.

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees have, however, gone from strength to strength against the Saudi-led invaders, and left Riyadh and its allies bogged down in the country.

The Saudi war has left hundreds of thousands of Yemenis dead, and displaced millions more. The war has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure and spread famine and infectious diseases across the Arab country.

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Syrians in Farfarah Village Expel US Oil Thieves Army and their SDF Militia

 ARABI SOURI  

Syrians in Farfarah village kick out US oil thieves and their Kurdish SDF proxies

Syrians in the village of Farfarah confronted and expelled a convoy of US oil thieves along with their Kurdish SDF armed terrorists from their village earlier today, Tuesday 15 June 2021.

The people of Farfarah, a small town in the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakah, blocked a convoy of 4 armored US vehicles packed with oil thieves of the US army accompanied by a vehicle carrying Kurdish SDF armed terrorists that tried to pass through their village.

A video filmed by one of the men in the village shows the brave confrontation between the unarmed residents facing heavily armed US Army and Kurdish SDF terrorists and forcing them to leave, SANA said some of the US vehicles were damaged when the villagers rained it with stones.

The video is also on  Bitchute.

In the video the people who expelled the US Army shouting at them to leave their village: ‘You stole our oil, you stole our wheat, get out, yalla (move it).. Also telling them: ‘there’s no oil in our village, get out’.

Farfarah is a tiny town of brave Syrians who stood up to the army of one of the world’s superpowers, another example from Syria how the people do not welcome oil thieves and do not welcome the US-styled democracy of hegemony, oppression, and wealth plundering.

Many similar incidents occurred in the same region most notably when a convoy of US oil thieves working for Trump last year tried to go through the town of Khirbet Ammo in February of last year, the villagers blocked the convoy, threw stones and garbage cans against the oil thieves of the US Army who in return shot dead a child in the village.

The most inclusive and diverse junta of Joseph Biden continued the same policies of the disgraced Trump in beefing up their forces illegally deployed in Syria, supporting the terrorist groups of ISIS, Nusra Front, and the separatist Kurdish SDF, and increased the stealing of Syrian wheat and oil.

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كلام الأسد في المسألة القوميّة

16/06/2020

رئاسة السورية تقول إن الرئيس بشار الأسد بحث مع وفد من “المؤتمر القومي الإسلامي” في فكرة القومية العربية والهوية والانتماء، وشدّد على ألاّ يُنظَر إلى الدول العربية إلاّ كساحة قومية واحدة.

الأسد لوفد “المؤتمر القومي الإسلامي”: القومية هي انتماء ولا يمكن أن ننظر إلى الدول العربية إلا كساحة قومية واحدة

استقبل الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد اليوم الثلاثاء وفداً من “المؤتمر القومي الإسلامي” ضم رؤساء أحزاب ونواباً وشخصيات سياسية ونقابية من عدد من الدول العربية والإسلامية، وفق بيان صادر عن الرئاسة السورية.

ووفق البيان، بحث الأسد مع الوفد، خلال اللقاء، في فكرة القومية العربية، والهوية والانتماء. وتمّ التأكيد أن ما حدث مؤخراً في قطاع غزة، والانتصار الذي تحقق هناك، وتحرّك الشعب الفلسطيني في جميع المناطق، وتحرّك الشعب العربي وتفاعله مع هذا الحدث، أثبتت أنه على الرغم من كل المخططات التي تمّ تحضيرها وتسويقها للمنطقة العربية، فإن الشعب العربي في كل أقطاره ما زال متمسكاً بعقيدته وهويته وانتمائه. 

وشدد المجتمعون على أهمية التوجّه إلى الشباب، وضرورة التجديد في اللغة التي يتم توجيه فكرة القومية من خلالها إلى الأجيال الشابة.

واعتبر الأسد أن فكرة القومية، في معناها الأساسي والجوهري، هي فكرة انتماء، ويجب عدم تقديم الفكرة القومية في الإطار النظري العقائدي المجرد، وإنّما يجب أن تكون هذه الفكرة مبنية على الحقائق، وأن يتم الربط بين الأفكار المبدئية والعقائدية، وبين مصالح الشعوب.

وأشار الرئيس السوري إلى أن التحدي الذي يواجه النخب الفكرية العربية هو “إقناع الناس بأن هناك علاقة مباشرة بين الانتماء والمصلحة”، معتبراً أنّ “الحالات التقسيمية والانعزالية والطائفية إذا حدثت في دولة عربية، فإنها ستنتقل إلى الدول الأخرى، وبالتالي لا يمكن أن ننظر إلى الدول العربية إلا كساحة قومية واحدة”.

بدورهم، أكدّ أعضاء “المؤتمر القومي الإسلامي” للرئيس السوري، أن صمود الشعب السوري وثباته في وجه كل ما تعرض له خلال السنوات الماضية “أعادا الاعتبار إلى المشروع القومي”. وأشاروا  إلى أن سوريا دفعت ولا تزال ثمن مواقفها القومية ودعمها للمقاومة، وتصديّها للمخططات والمشاريع في المنطقة.

ورأى المجتمعون أن “من حق سوريا على كل الشعوب العربية والإسلامية، وكل القوى الحرة في العالم، أن تقف إلى جانبها، لأن الدفاع عن سوريا  هو دفاع عن النفس وعن المصير والمستقبل، ولأن الانتصارات التي حدثت في لبنان أو في فلسطين لم تكن لتحدث لولا صمود الشعب السوري”. 

كذلك، وجّه وفد “المؤتمر القومي الإسلامي” التهنئة إلى الشعب السوري على النجاح في الاستحقاق الانتخابي الرئاسي، معتبراً أنه “أظهر عبر هذا الاستحقاق روح التحدّي التي تمكّن من خلالها من الصمود والثبات، وبرهن أن الحربين الإرهابية والاقتصادية اللتين تعرض لهما لم تتمكنا من كسر إرادته الحرة وقراره المستقل”.

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