China: A New Philosophy of Economics

Global Research, November 16, 2018

China’s economic philosophy is a far cry from that of the west. 

The west consistently seeks to undermine the interests of their partners, be it for trade or political agreements; be it partners from the west, their smaller and weaker brothers; or from the east; or from the south – there is always an element of exploitation, of “one-upmanship”, of outdoing a partner, of domination. Equality and fairness are unknown by the west.

Or, when the concept was once known, at least by some countries and some people, it has been erased by indoctrinated neoliberal thinking – egocentricity, “me first”, and the sheer, all-permeating doctrine of “maximizing profits”; short-term thinking, instant gratification – or more extreme, making a killing today for a gamble or deal that takes place tomorrow. Futures trading – the epitome of manipulating economic values. Only in the capitalist world.

This has become a key feature of western commerce and trading. It’s manipulation and exploitation over ethics; it’s Profits Über Alles! – Doesn’t it sound like fascism? – Well it is. And if the partner doesn’t fall for the ruse, coercion becomes the name of the game – and if that doesn’t work the western military move in with bombs and tanks, seeking regime change – destroying the very country the west wants to dominate. That’s western brutal economics – full hegemony. No sharing.

China’s approach is quite different. It’s one of sharing, of participating, of mutual benefits. China invests trillions of dollars equivalent in developing countries – Asia, especially India and now also Pakistan, Africa, South America, largely for infrastructure projects, as well as mining of natural resources. Unlike the gains from western investments, the benefits of China’s investments are shared. China’s investment and mining concessions are not coerced, but fairly negotiated. China’s investment relationship with a partner country remains peaceful and is not ‘invasive’ and abusive, as are most of those of the west – which uses threats and guns to get what they want.

Of course, the west complains about Chinese investments, lying how abusive they are, when in reality the west is upset about Chinese competition in Africa and South America – Continents that are still considered part of the western domain, as they were colonized for about thousand years by western powers and empires – and as of today, African and Latin-American countries are neo-colonized, no longer (for now) with brute military force, but with even more ferocious financial strangulation, through sanctions, boycotts and embargos; all highly illegal by any international standards. But there aren’t any international laws that are upheld. International courts and judges are coerced to obey Washington’s dictates, or else… literally “or else”; and these are serious threats.

Take the case of West and Central Africa, former French colonies. The French West African zone includes eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo; and the French Central African area comprises six countries – Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. All 14 countries have a common currency, the CFA franc (CFA = Communauté financière africaine – African Financial Community). 

They are two separate currencies, though always at parity and therefore interchangeable. The Western and Central African monetary union have separate central banks, the Banque Centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, BCEAO, headquartered in Dakar, Senegal; and the Banque des États de l’Afrique Centrale, BEAC, in Yaoundé, Cameroun. Both currencies are guaranteed by the French treasury. This means in fact, that the economy of these 14 countries not only depends on France, but setting the value of the currency (at present one € = 655 CFA francs) is entirely the prerogative of the Banque de France (French Central Bank). This ultra-complicated setup between the two groups of former and new French colonies is not only a matter of French accounting, but foremost a means to confuse and distract the mostly innocent observer from a flagrant abusive reality.

With the French control over the West- and Central African currencies, the foreign trading capacity of these countries is reduced to what France will allow. France has a de facto monopoly on these countries’ production. Should France stop buying their “former-new” colonies goods, the countries go broke, as they have been unable to develop alternative markets under the French yoke. Thus, they are always at the mercy of France, the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank. – From labor slaves up to the early 1960s, they have become debt slaves of the neoliberal age. 

In addition, to back this French Treasury guarantee, 85% of the countries’ foreign exchange reserves are blocked by the French Central Bank and may only be used by the respective counties against specific permission – and – as a loan. – Imagine! – The “former” French colonies have to borrow their own money from the French Central Bank. Similar debt enslaving is going on in former British and Portuguese colonies, though, none of them is as abjectly abusive as are the French. 

Big wonder that Chinese investors are highly welcome in Africa. And knowing western manipulating and deranged mindsets, no wonder that China is demonized by the west as exploiting Africa to the bones, when exactly the contrary is the case. But almighty western lie-propaganda media has the brainwashed western populace believe China is stealing African natural resources. Chinese fairness is indeed tough competition against the usual western trickery and deceit.

In Africa, China is not only focusing on buying and trading natural resources, but on training and using local African brainpower to convert Africa from a western slave into an equal partner. For example, to boost African autonomy, China is using an approach, Ghadaffy intended to apply – entering the wireless phone system, conquering some of the market with efficient batteries, and providing cheaper and more efficient services than the west, hence directly competing with the western exploited African telephone market. Chinese phones also come with their own browsers, so that internet may eventually be accessed in the remotest places of Africa, providing a top tool for education. Challenging the EU and US dominated multi-billion-dollar market, is just one of the reasons Ghadaffy was miserably murdered by French-led NATO forces. Of course, China’s presence is a bit more difficult to kick than was Ghadaffy’s. 

This is just one more signal that China is in Africa – and Asia and Latin America – not just for the legendary American Quick Buck, but for genuine investments in long-term economic development which involves developing transportation networks, efficient and independent financial systems which may escape the western SWIFT and FED / Wall Street banking system through which US sanctions are imposed. This may involve the creation of government controlled blockchain currencies – see also Venezuela’s hydrocarbon-backed Petro – and linking African currencies to the Yuan and the eastern SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) monetary system – freeing Africa from the dollar hegemony. With the help of China and Russia, Africa may, in fact, become the forerunner of crypto-currencies – and, in the case of west-and central Africa, the 14 countries would be able to gain financial autonomy, and to the chagrin of the French Central Bank, manage their own financial resources, breaking loose from under the little-talked about French yoke. It is quite conceivable that with Chinese development assistance Africa will become an important trading partner for the east, leaving western exploiting and abusing business and banking magnates behind in the dust.

The Overseas Private Investment Cooperation (OPIC), a US private lending as well as investment guarantee agency – is upset about US investors losing out to Chinese and wants US corporations to compete more aggressively – which is precisely what Africa rejects, America’s violent bombing approach to impose her trade and concession rules with the coercing help of the IMF and the World Bank. Africa is seeking – finally – sovereignty, deciding over her own financial and political destiny. This includes choosing investors and trading partners of their liking.

Many African and South American countries prefer China’s yuan-investments, rather than Washington’s US-dollar investments. Its ‘softer’ money coming from the Chinese. For China it’s also a way of diverting the world from the US-dollar, providing incentives for countries to divest their dollar reserves into yuan reserves. That’s is already happening at accelerating speed. 

China’s outlook at home and abroad is nothing less than spectacular. On the home front, they are building cutting-edge technology transport infrastructure, such as high-speed railways, for example, connecting Shanghai and Hangzhou, cutting travel time from one and a half hour in half. China’s high-speed bullet train connects for the first time Hong Kong with the mainland, cutting travel time Hong Kong to Beijing from 24 hours to 9 hours.

In October 2018, after nine years construction, President Xi Jinping opened the world’s longest sea crossing bridge, linking Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. The bridge is 55 km long – about 20 times the length of San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge. In urban development, existing and new multi-million people cities are planned, expanded and stamped out of the ground in less than a generation.

China has just built a US$ 2.1 billion AI (Artificial Intelligence) industrial park, and is not sleeping either on the environmental protection and development front, investing billions in research and development of alternative clean energies, especially solar power and its storage potential, next generation beyond lithium batteries, ranging from lithium solid state to electrolyte materials to graphene batteries and eventually to copper foam substrate. And that’s not the end of the line. Each battery technology offers increased capacity, safety and charging and discharging speed.  

On the domestic and international front, the Belt and Road (B and R) Initiative – the New Silk Road – is China’s President Xi’s phenomenal geo-economic initiative to connect the world from China with several transport routes and develop in a first step Western China, Eastern Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe – all the way to the frontiers of western Europe. This massive economic development program includes industrial parks, trade and cultural interchanges, research and development through existing universities and new science and learning centers. Maritime routes are also foreseen entering Africa through Kenya and Southern Europe and the Middle East via the Greek port of Piraeus and Iran – a southern route is also planned to enter the southern cone of Latin America.  

The endeavor is so huge, it has recently been inscribed into the Chinese Constitution. It will mobilize in the coming decades and possibly century trillions of yuan and dollar-equivalent of investments, mostly from China, Russia, the other SCO countries, as well as European partners  – and foremost the Beijing-based AIIB (Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank) which has already 70 member countries, among them Australia, Canada, Western European nations and close to 20 prospective new countries; but not the United States of America.

This giant project, is of course, not without challenges. While the need for proof of “credit worthiness” by being tied to the IMF and World Bank of the eighties and nineties had since long faded into oblivion, China is still bound to the IMF and WB. – Why? – In my opinion it proves two things, The People’s Bank of China – the Chinese Central Bank – is still controlled by the FED and BIS (Bank for International Settlement, alias, central bank of all central banks), and a strong Fifth Column that doesn’t yield an inch of their power. The Chinese leadership could implement the necessary changes towards full financial sovereignty – but, why is that not happening? – Western threats and their secret services have become ever more sophisticated abduction and “neutralizing” machines over the past 70 years. 

The next question is what’s the Chinese lending limit to countries who have already or will subscribe to the Belt and Road Initiative to help them repay western debt and integrate into the new eastern economic model and monetary system? The question is relevant, because China’s money supply is based on China’s economic output; unlike western currencies which are purely fiat money (hot air). 

Also, how will ownership of foreign assets, i.e. infrastructure funded and perhaps built, dealt with? – Will they become Chinese property, increasing China’s capital base and flow of money? – Or would they be negotiated as long-term concessions, after which a country may repay to acquire sovereign ownership, or transfer part or all of the assets to China as a shareholder. These are relevant considerations, especially with regard to the huge B&R investments foreseen in the coming years. These decisions should be made autonomously by Chinese leadership, totally outside the influence of western monetary czars, like IMF and WB. 

Another issue which is steadily and increasingly cropping up in the west, of course to demonize China and discourage “western civilized” (sic) countries to associate themselves with socialist China – is China’s concept of “Social Credits”. It is largely based on what the west calls a dictatorial, freedom-robbing surveillance state – with cameras and face-recognition everywhere. Of course, totally ignoring the western own Orwellian Big Brother Surveillance and lie apparatus which calls itself democracy – and in fact is a democracy for then the elite of the plutocrats, gradually and by heavy propaganda brainwashing converting what’s left of ‘democracy’ into outright fascism – we, in the west, are almost there. And this, to the detriment of the “Silent Lambs” – as per Rainer Mausfeld’s latest book, in German, “Why are Lambs Silent” (German Westend-Verlag). Yes, that’s what we have become: “Silent Lambs”.

It is too easy to demonize China for attempting to create a more harmonious, cohesive and peaceful society. Granted, this surveillance in China as in the west, demolishes to a large extent individualism, individual thinking, thereby limiting human creativeness and freedom. This is a topic which the Chinese socialist government, independent of western critique, may have to address soon to keep precisely one of the key principles of Chinese society alive – ‘social cohesiveness’ and a sense of equality and freedom. 

What is the “Social Credit” system? – It is a digital footprint of everything the Chinese do, as private citizens, as corporate managers in production as well as banking, workers, food sellers, in order to basically create an ambiance of full transparency (that’s the goal – far from having been reached), so as to establish citizens’ and corporations’ “creditworthiness”, in financial terms, but also assessing crime elements, political inclinations, radicalism, to prevent potential terror acts (interestingly, in the case of most western terror acts, officials say the ‘terrorists’ were known to the police – which simply leaves you to conclude that they acted in connivance with the forces of order); and to enhance food safety in restaurants and by other food sellers. 

In other words, the aim is to establish corporate and individual “score cards” which will work as a rewards and punishment system, a “carrot and stick” approach. Depending on the crime or deviation from the rule, you may be reprimanded and get ‘debits’ – which you may wipe out by changing your behavior. Living under the spell of debits may limit, for example, your access to comfortable or speedy travel, better and speedier trains, air tickets, certain cultural events and more.

Yes, the idea of creating a stable domestic society has its drawbacks – surveillance – demolition of much of individualism, creativity, by implanting conformity. The government’s axiom is “we want a society where people don’t desire to break the rules, but the earliest stage is that they are afraid to break the rules.”  

In the end, the question is, will the “Social Credits” approach to societal living, meaning a total surveillance state with every data recorded into a network of total control, be beneficial or detrimental for the Chinese goal to push ahead with her extraordinary and mostly egalitarian economic development approach, transport and industrial infrastructure, scientific research and cultural exchange – called Belt and Road, alias the New Silk Road? – Only the future will tell; but the Chinese are not alone. They have solid partners in the SCO – and long-term economic development endeavors never work in linear values, but with the unknown of dynamics to which humans are uniquely adapted to adjust. 

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Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organizationaround the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; RT; Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; TeleSUR; The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, the New Eastern Outlook (NEO); and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image is from NEO

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#BREXIT – Finally Laid Bare For All To See

BREXIT – Finally Laid Bare For All To See

https://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/brexit-finally-laid-bare-for-all-to-see/

BREXIT - The Final Truth

By Graham Vanbergen: The dream of Brexit, that of the so-called ‘ultras,’ the buccaneering Brexiteers is finally being laid bare for what it really is – a fantasy. The tally of Theresa May’s appointments who have walked out has now reached 18. The record-setting turnover rate in Theresa may’s government is only trumped in the democratic West by the master of chaos himself – Donald Trump, who to date, has lost 68 members of his Executive office staff – including the Whitehouse physician. And this is the man the ‘ultras’ are courting.

This dream has now turned into a constitutional and political nightmare – it is humiliating to witness. Britain, once a diplomatic titan in an uncertain world is now in catastrophic freefall. Political implosion is what now beckons.

The walkouts in the Tory party have one thing in common, it is what binds them. Not one of them has stated what they would do, or how they would replace Theresa May’s proposal. The only option they are providing – without being honest enough to say so – is a no-deal Brexit.

These political chancers include Boris Johnson – the ex-Foreign Secretary, ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Dominic Raab who has also abandoned his post as the Brexit Secretary and chief negotiator with the European Union. Then there’s Shailesh Vara, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Jo Johnson – Transport Minister, Guto Bebb – Minister for Defence Procurement, Suella Braverman – another Brexit Minister, Esther McVey – the Works and Pensions Secretary.

Less well known are Rehman Chisti who left his role as Conservative vice-chairman, Ranil Jayawardena – Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Nikki da Costa – the director of legislative affairs at Downing Street, Parliamentary Private Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley, Maria Caulfield, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative Party, Scott Mann – a Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Treasury, and yet another Parliamentary Private Secretary, Robert Courts. Then there’s Andrea Jenkyns – Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and finally Chris Green, who was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Transport.

Two and half years into negotiations and the sixth wealthiest country on the planet has proved just one thing – it is incapable of negotiating any deals whatsoever – even with itself.

More cabinet resignations will likely lead to a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. That vote, if successful will spark a Tory leadership battle right at the moment that crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on some sort of deal with the world’s biggest trading bloc should be done with smiles and handshakes all around.

The Brexiteers who promised us so much mislead everyone. John Redwood said – “getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards“. David Davis said – “there will be no downside to Brexit,” and my favourite bad guy of them all – Liam Fox, who famously said – “the free trade agreement that we will do with the EU should be one of the easiest in human history.” They were all ruinously misguided at best.

So what now? Well, if Theresa May does survive the next round with her knife-throwing colleagues, the chances of getting her deal through parliament now looks a bit belly up – euthanised by misadventure. In turn, a politically cataclysmic fight for a second referendum will open the doors to the proverbial abyss of chaos, as if we weren’t already most of the way there. And even if Ms May does win the day, what do we get? When politicians and political commentators were working through the options last year they spoke of EEA countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein or the Norway/Canada deal, but this deal is none of those. May has effectively put on paper a deal she herself said no British Prime Minister should do.

Throughout all of this – Britain has not taken back control. A hard Brexit might give us control but at an economic cost that would prove much worse than the effects of the 2008 financial crash where taxpayers bailed out a bunch of irresponsible louts in Lambougini’s.

To be fair to Theresa May she was dealt a bad hand but has proved beyond any doubt she is no card player. Her appointments, designed to keep enemies close – betrayed her, and her strategic decisions throughout have had all the hallmarks of political despair, like a cornered animal facing the final moments with its attacker.

Much as I dislike Theresa May for her bad form in the Home Office, she has at least stuck to her guns – unlike the pitiful shards of a political party that boasted about strong and stable leadership, now forced to the edge of its own cliff. The ‘resigners,’  those that have chosen to walk away from their self-imposed dilemma are much worse though. They have abandoned the people they represent and the country they serve and now wait like salivating wolves ready for the final slaying in the glory hunting hope of being the next leader of the pack.

This shambles all started with Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister, David Cameron, stating in some sort of ‘moment of Blairism’ that he “thought he was right all along” to call the referendum. He wasn’t. This hoodie-hugging pig lover’s other decision of delusion was to blow up the wealthiest county in Africa and turn it into a slave-trading nation, which created the migrant crisis currently destabilising Europe.

Today, the two main political parties of Gt. Britain have literally torn themselves limb from limb. The third has already been cremated and is now dust. Now we have thugs from the DUP calling the shots. Society is fully divided, the country has been reduced to the status of international laughing stock and the very union of Britain is now at threat.

Theresa May’s terrible plan is to make us subservient to a political union next door that is itself fracturing. The ‘ultras’ want to make us subservient to a political union across the Atlantic that would be even worse. Heads we lose, tails we lose.

Brexit is a politically generated crisis and a crisis of their ongoing mismanagement. In reality, it was a contest between the centre-right and radical right – now it’s turning into a fight for all of society.

There’s no way out of this crisis. No matter which way you turn it is a conundrum – like a riddle with no answer.

The fact that David Cameron, who let this uncontrollable genie out of its bottle, was so tragically mistaken is one thing, but the rest of this mess really only demonstrates that many of those walking the corridors of power are psychologically flawed and unfit for office.

This is not Brexit, it’s Brex-Shit – and nothing else.

All anti-government jihadists in Syria are US supported terrorists

Refuting the Myth of Moderate Rebels in Syria

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

All anti-government jihadists in Syria are US supported terrorists, used as imperial foot soldiers against the country’s sovereign independence. 

No so-called moderate rebels exist, one of many Big Lies about Washington’s war since launched in March 2011, now in its eighth year, with no prospect for near-term resolution – because the US wants endless war and regime change.

Washington, NATO, Turkey, the Saudis and Israel want pro-Western puppet rule replacing overwhelmingly popular Bashar al-Assad and his government.

Russia’s good faith efforts so far failed to find common ground for ending years of war. Given Washington’s rage for toppling Assad, it could continue years longer.

Afghanistan is the prototype for endless US wars of aggression, forever war in the country, raging unresolved in its 18th year with no prospect for ending it.

Syria and US wars in other theaters follow the same pattern. All US wars launched post-9/11 continue because Republicans and undemocratic Dems oppose resolution – in deference to America’s military, industrial, security, media complex.

Russia’s involvement in Syria prevented the US from gaining another imperial trophy, along with its aim to isolate Iran ahead of a similar campaign to topple its sovereign independent government.

The Islamic Republic is Israel’s main regional rival, forthrightly opposed to its mistreatment of Palestinians and Washington’s imperial agenda.

It’s why the US targeted its government for regime change since its 1979 revolution, Trump regime hardliners more hellbent for it than their predecessors.

They’re waging intense sanctions war against Iran’s economy and population – perhaps intending hot war if current tactics fail like every time before.

Tehran is aiding Syria combat US supported terrorists, Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) military advisors alone involved, operating from Syrian bases, not Iranian ones as Israel and the US falsely claim.

The battle to liberate Idlib province from US supported terrorists remains to be waged, their last major stronghold in the country.

Perhaps it’s imminent in the coming days. On Saturday, SouthFront reported that Syrian forces are “preparing to launch limited military operation(s) in greater Idlib…respond(ing) to the repeated violations of the Russian-Turkish deconfliction agreement.”

According to Russian General Vladimir Savchenko, head of its reconciliation center in Syria, since the September 17 Russia/Turkey Idlib demilitarized zone agreement, “more than 530 violations” by US-supported terrorists were documented.

They killed 25 Syrian soldiers, wounding another 67, including five civilians. They’re using Idlib as a platform to launch terrorist attacks – supported and encouraged by Washington and its imperial partners.

On Friday, AMN News reported that Syrian forces attacked al-Nusra and allied terrorists in Idlib, responding to their attack, killing and wounding government forces.

Fars News reported that al-Nusra and allied terrorists “intensified attacks on Syrian army (forces from Idlib’s) demilitarized zone.”

On Saturday, RT explained that (US-supported) al-Nusra and likeminded jihadists in Idlib “unit(ed) under (a) single anti-Assad command, eroding whatever thin line ever existed between the so-called ‘moderate’ militants and hardcore jihadists.”

RT stopped short of explaining that all anti-government jihadists in Syria and elsewhere regionally are “hardcore” terrorists. No so-called  “moderate rebels” exist.

Most anti-government jihadists are recruited from scores of countries, deployed to Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and wherever else Washington wants them used as imperial proxies.

All ongoing US wars of aggression in multiple theaters are waged this way. The idea of using jihadists originated in the 1980s against Soviet Russia in Afghanistan, mujahideen fighters recruited by the CIA, today’s Taliban the US considers terrorists.

In 1985, meeting with their leaders in the White House, Ronald Reagan called them “the moral equivalents of America’s founding fathers.”

Liberating Idlib and remaining Syrian territory from the presence of US-supported terrorists requires force, the only language they understand.

The history of war in Syria shows the only times diplomacy worked was after military action weakened terrorists enough to know continuing to fight meant their demise.

Delaying Idlib’s liberation has given al-Nusra and other jihadists time to more heavily arm, likely increase their ranks, dig in, and prepare for whenever an assault on their positions begin by government forces.

Liberating the province is long overdue – essential for Syria to be free from the scourge of US-supported terrorists, key as well for Russian airpower to be heavily involved in the campaign.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – NOV. 16, 2018: U.S. EXPOSES ASSAD’S ‘EVIL PLAN’ TO HURL MIDDLE EAST INTO CHAOS

South Front

On November 15, US Ambassador to Syria James Jeffrey exposed an evil plan of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to create ISIS and to hurl the Middle East, particularly Syria and Iraq, into chaos.

“We also think that you cannot have an enduring defeat of ISIS until you have fundamental change in the Syrian regime and fundamental change in Iran’s role in Syria, which contributed greatly to the rise of ISIS in the first place in 2013, 2014,” Jeffery said during a press briefing.

“The Syrian regime produced ISIS,” the diplomat added saying that the actions of the Damascus government created an opportunity for ISIS to grow.

By these remarks, Mr. Jeffrey just re-invented an old-fashioned propaganda narrative used by the so-called Syrian opposition to explain how it appeared that the main forces opposing the Assad government in Syria is ISIS and al-Qaeda. Then, Western-sponsored pro-opposition media outlets were claiming that the Assad government is somehow guilty that the main opposition to it is the internationally recognized terrorist groups.

In 2018, this narrative became useful for Washington to justify its further military presence in the war-torn country. The US-led coalition is contributing significant efforts to combat ISIS in its last real stronghold in the country – in the Hajin pocket – in a way that would not deliver significant damage to the terrorist group. However, the multi-month operation to defeat ISIS in Hajin cannot last endlessly. Therefore, some new formal pretext to keep troops in Syria will be very useful.

The real goals of the US are to limit the influence of Russia in the region and to assist Israel in its long-standing standoff against Iran.

Meanwhile, in the area of al-Safa where ISIS cells are also presented the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has also temporarily halted its advance on the terrorist group. This time due to poor weather conditions.

The new SAA push designed to put an end to ISIS presence in al-Safa started on November 11. Since then, the SAA had advanced several km deep into the ISIS-held area and captured several new positions. Should the weather improve, the SAA will continue its advance on the terrorists’ positions.

In the so-called Idlib de-escalation zone, northern Hama has been the most hot point where violations of the ceasefire have been reported several times. Particularly, Jaish al-Izza and other militant groups once again attacked SAA positions from the directions of al-Lataminah and al-Zakat.

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الهزات الارتدادية لهزيمة غزة تضع الكيان على مفترق طرق

نوفمبر 17, 2018

محمد صادق الحسيني

أجرت مجلة «شتيرن» الألمانية مقابلة صحافية مع رئيس الموساد السابق، اسحق هوفي في ثمانينيات القرن الماضي، والتي كانت يومها هي الأولى التي يجريها رئيس للموساد مع أي وسيلة إعلام في العالم، بما في ذلك وسائل الإعلام الإسرائيلية.

وقد سأله الصحافي الذي أجرى المقابلة يومها عن سر هذه النجاحات الكبرى التي يحققها الموساد والسمعة العالمية التي يتمتع بها هذا الجهاز في كل أنحاء العالم وعما يتمتع به قادته من نجومية بين قادة الأجهزة الأمنية في العالم…!

فأجابه رئيس الموساد قائلاً: إن السبب في غاية البساطة. فنحن لسنا سوبر مان ولا نحن من غير جنس البشر وإنما يعود سبب كل هذه النجاحات لأننا نقوم بعملنا الاستخباري بشكل علمي ومدروس ومبني على منهج ثابت بينما أعداؤنا، أي الأجهزة الأمنية العربية، لا يقومون بعملهم كما يجب ولذلك فهم فاشلون.

أما الآن وبعد إبداع غزة فإننا نستطيع القول:

لقد ولّى هذا الزمن يا قادة الموساد وقادة أمان الاستخبارات العسكرية وقادة الشاباك الاستخبارات الداخلية .

وإذا كان نظراؤكم من قادة الأجهزة العربية لم يعملوا سابقاً وقد لا يعملون لاحقاً للتصدي لنشاطاتكم الإجرامية، وإن عملهم يتركز على قمع شعوبهم ولنا في جريمة قتل الخاشقجي الحية خير مثال.

لكن غيرها من أجهزة الأمن العربية المقاومة هذه المرة صممت وقرّرت أن تعمل بشكل يفوق مستوى عملكم بكثير.

فها هي أجهزة الأمن في محور المقاومة تثبت يوماً بعد آخر قدرتها على الإبداع وتحقيق الانتصارات الكبرى على أجهزتكم، رغم الفرق الهائل في الإمكانيات المتوفرة لدى الطرفين، خاصة بعد تولي محمد بن سلمان ومنذ حزيران 2016 ورغم التمويل المتعاظم لعمليات الموساد في الخارج والتي تزداد من المركز الخارجي لقيادة هذا الجهاز أي من العاصمة الأردنية عمان.

وهكذا فقد كان اكتشاف مقاتلي المقاومة الفلسطينية، شرق خان يونس، لقوة خاصة إسرائيلية من لواء غولان، قبل أيّام، والتصدي لها ببسالة والاشتباك معها وإيقاع قتلى وجرحى في صفوفها ومنعها من الانسحاب من ميدان المعركة واضطرار القيادة العسكرية الإسرائيلية لاستخدام سرب مقاتلات من طراز أف 16 بالإضافة الى سربي مروحيات حربية أقامت لهم خيمة نارية تحركوا تحتها حتى تمكنوا من عبور الحدود.

وهذا يعني أن أجهزة المقاومة الفلسطينية، الأمنية والعسكرية، كانت في أعلى حالات الجهوزية والاستعداد للتصدي لكم وإفشال جهود أجهزتكم الاستخبارية الثلاثة التي خططت لعملية خطف القيادي في حماس، مروان عيسى من خان يونس، وفشلت في ذلك فشلاً ذريعاً، وألحقت بكم هزيمة أمنية وعسكرية قاتلة في الوقت ذاته.

لا بل إن المقاومة الفلسطينية لم تقف عند هذا الحد، بل إنها وبعد دفن شهدائها، سرعان ما انتقلت الى الرد الهجومي على جيشكم العاجز فأمطرت مستوطناتكم ومواقعكم العسكرية، المحيطة بغزة، بوابل من الصواريخ جعلت صراخ مستوطنيكم يصل الى آذان نتن ياهو العاجز عن تقديم أي حل لهم ما اضطرهم الى النزول الى الشوارع والتظاهر ضد الحكومة الإسرائيلية، في محيط غزة وفِي تل أبيب أيضاً، تعبيراً عن غضبهم وإحباطهم من عجز جيشكم عن حمايتهم. خاصة بعد ما شاهد العالم هذا العجز عبر عملية الكورنيت الذي فجّر حافلة النقل العسكري الإسرائيلية شرق غزة وعملية العلم الإبداعية اللتين كان لهما أثر الصاعقة الكهربائية في أوساط جيشكم ومستوطنيكم.

وهنا لا بدّ من تسجيل هزيمة عسكرية ونفسية عميقة أصبتم بها مما اضطر هذا العنصري والعنجهي، نتن ياهو، الى التوسل لدى مصر كي تطلب من المقاومة الفلسطينية في غزة الموافقة على وقف إطلاق النار، الذي تمّ التوافق عليه بعد التدخل المصري على عكس أكاذيبه، حيث ادعى في تصريحاته لوسائل الإعلام أن المقاومة هي مَن طلب وقف إطلاق النار.

أي أن بيت العنكبوت هذا، «إسرائيل»، لم يحتمل هزيمة أمنية تبعتها، بعد أقل من ثمانٍ وأربعين ساعة، هزيمة عسكرية مدوية انتهت بوقف إطلاق النار.

الأمر الذي كان حمل معه هزة ارتدادية قوية، ذات طبيعة عسكرية سياسية، ففي تل أبيب أطاحت الهزيمة بوزير الحرب الإسرائيلي افيغادور ليبرمان، والذي شكلت استقالته من الحكومة ضربة قوية لرئيس الوزراء، ليس على الصعيد السياسي والصراعات القائمة على السلطة بين الأحزاب الإسرائيلية فحسب، بل وكان لهذه الاستقالة تأثير أكثر عمقاً على علاقات أعمدة دولة الكيان في ما بينها.

فللمرة الأولى، منذ إنشاء «إسرائيل»، يتدخل الجيش بصورة مباشرة في السياسة الإسرائيلية، وذلك رداً على اشتراط نفتالي بينيت، رئيس حزب البيت اليهودي، حصوله على منصب وزير الدفاع مقابل بقاء حزبه في الحكومة، الأمر الذي دفع برئيس أركان الجيش الإسرائيلي وقيادة الأركان كاملة بالطلب رسمياً من نتن ياهو عدم إخضاع موضوع اختيار وزير «الدفاع» الإسرائيلي لأمزجة الأشخاص والقوى السياسية وإنما إخضاع هذا الأمر لمصلحة إسرائيل العليا.

مما يعني أن قيادة الجيش الإسرائيلي الأركان العامة ، وبعد تنفسها الصعداء إثر استقالة ليبرمان، الذي لم يكن يتمتع لا باحترام ولا محبة الأركان العام له، نقول إن هذا التحرك يعني أن الجيش الإسرائيلي قد وضع فيتو قوياً ومباشراً، ليس فقط على أشخاص بعينهم، من الذين يدور الحديث حول رغبتهم في تولي هذا المنصب فقط وإنما هم بذلك يعترضون بشدة على مبدأ المحاصصة والمساومات والابتزاز السياسي الذي تتعامل به القوى السياسية الإسرائيلية في ما بينها ويرفضون أن يكونوا ضحية هذا الواقع.

هذا إن دلّ على شيء فإنما يدلّ على أن الجيش الإسرائيلي بدأ يشعر لأول مرة في تاريخه أن زعماءه الفاشلين والذين يهزمون في المعارك بدأوا يضعون الكيان برمّته في الميزان…!

ثمّة من يذهب إلى أبعد من ذلك فيقول إن ارتدادات هزيمة قادة الكيان على يد المقاومة الفلسطينية ستكون له سلسلة من الانعكاسات المتوالية التي ستظهر آثارها بشكل هزائم لحلفاء الكيان على مستوى الإقليم، وربما المعادلة الدولية أي ان الهزيمة الكبرى هذه المرة ستمتد الى سواحل باب المندب وهرمز وغيرها من ميادين المواجهة بين حلف المقاومة وأصدقائها روسيا والصين وبين القوى الصهيوأميركية وحلف شمال الأطلسي عامة!

بعدنا طيّبين، قولوا الله…

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US warns of ‘consequences’ as Palestine joins international bodies

US warns of ‘consequences’ as Palestine joins International Bodies 

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 15, 2018. (Photo by AFP)Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chairs a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 15, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

The United States has threatened “consequences” as Palestinians step up efforts for statehood demanding accession to almost a dozen international bodies and conventions.

The threat came after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the documents on Thursday to join the Universal Postal Union, a UN agency that coordinates international postage, and 10 international protocols and conventions.

The move infuriated the US, Israel’s staunch ally, with a State Department official claiming that the Palestinian efforts to join international institutions were “premature” and “counterproductive.”

“We are currently reviewing possible consequences of the Palestinians’ recent actions,” the official said in a statement published by the Times of Israel on Sunday.

In November 2012, the UN General Assembly upgraded Palestine’s status from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel.

Since then, the Palestinians have joined dozens of international or organizations and agreements, among them the International Criminal Court, as part of a campaign to garner support for the recognition of their homeland as a sovereign state.

Washington has asked the Palestinians not to join international agencies, citing laws dating to the early 1990s that require the US government to cut off funding to any UN organization that grants the Palestinians full membership.

Abbas, however, said a Palestinian agreement with the US not to join international bodies was conditioned on the US not ending aid payments, not moving its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds and not changing the status of the Palestine Liberation Organization mission in Washington.

The US withdrew some funding for UNESCO after the Palestinians joined the cultural and education organization back in 2011. It also pulled out of the agency altogether in 2017.

Most recently, Washington cut funds to the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

The US-Palestine ties deteriorated last December when President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel.

The American embassy was also relocated from Tel Aviv to the ancient city in May, sparking angry reactions from Palestinians and severe criticism from the international community.

At that time, Abbas formally declared that Palestinians would no longer accept the US as a mediator to resolve the conflict because Washington was “completely biased” towards Tel Aviv.

#Brexit: The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

Theresa May has a Brexit deal. Now a group of feckless Conservatives wants to torpedo everything.

The pro-Brexit, Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg speaking to the media outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

LONDON — I am scared. The markets are scared. The politicians I have been talking to are scared, or livid.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her deal with the European Union. Within 48 hours, Britain’s government spun into crisis. Mrs. May’s survival is threatened as furious prominent Brexiteers go public with their intention to unseat her. Four ministers have resigned, more resignations may follow and nobody believes that she has the votes to get her deal through Parliament. What happens after that is a conundrum.

The cause of this paralysis is the hard-line Brexiteers, a frighteningly powerful cohort within Mrs. May’s Conservative Party, a group that is heedless about economic damage to Britain in pursuit of a political goal.

The first minister to resign was Mrs. May’s Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, a cold-eyed man in a hurry, a flintily ambitious Thatcherite. The bid to topple Mrs. May was initiated by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a vain, drawling member of Parliament, a financier who once campaigned alongside his nanny in a Mercedes and has built a career as a political rock star and possible leader on the back of such affectation. They join an earlier defector, the flailing, floppy-haired Boris Johnson, a man who is half-crazed by his repeated failure to become the Conservative Party’s leader and who is desperate to grasp at his last chance, even if it means undermining the country.

Everything is up in the air in Britain’s tumultuous politics right now, but there is one certainty: There is no limit to the practical, economic and psychological damage these Brexiteers are prepared to inflict on the rest of us in the pursuit of their delusions or their demented desire for power.

They savage Mrs. May’s deal and offer no practical suggestions for anything else. This is an utter failure of responsibility. Yes, the prime minister’s deal is pitiful, an awkward compromise that will hobble Britain’s economy and diminish our power. But the truth is — and everyone knows this — there is no better, purer Brexit available without a permanent economic hit.

If they were reasonable people, the pro-Brexit faction would now be shocked into facing reality. But they are not. These are the same politicians who tricked voters out of Europe by promising them that leaving would be all gain and no pain. Britain would become proud, sovereign, powerful, more prosperous. It could slash immigration, enrich its health service, cut magnificent and profitable trade deals with the rest of the world, opt out of European Union laws and still trade with and travel freely in Europe.

It was always rubbish, marketed by people deliberately indifferent to facts. The European Union was never going to let us leave the club while retaining all the advantages of belonging, any more than a tennis club allows ex-members to use the facilities for free. It said so, patiently, repeatedly. The agonizing negotiations of the past 18 months proved that over and over

Mrs. May finally managed some wriggling round the edges, reducing part of the huge and unavoidable economic penalties of Brexit by keeping Britain in the European Union Customs Union and parts of the single market. It is a valuable concession, and one the European Union has agreed to principally in order to not inflame sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, which would otherwise have to rebuild a border with the Irish Republic. The price that must be paid for remaining in the market is that Britain agrees to faithfully track and follow its rules, while no longer having any voice in how they are made.

These restrictions have sent the hard-line Brexiteers into a cold fury, but they were inevitable. You can’t even join a tennis match if you insist on drawing your own courts and deciding your own scores. The Brexit fanatics blindly ignore that. They have learned nothing, acknowledged nothing.

Rather than accepting their shameful role in deceiving voters over what was possible, they are doubling down on denunciation. They accuse Mrs. May of betrayal, of trapping and binding the country, of breaking her word. It is sheer selfish manipulation, political destructiveness on a huge scale, because they cannot get what they want; indeed, they cannot agree among themselves on what they want. They want the prime minister removed, but while they may secure the votes to challenge her, they’re unlikely to get enough to unseat her.

Even if they succeed in wounding her so deeply that she decides to step down and a hard-line Brexiteer takes her place, a new prime minister cannot negotiate a harder Brexit; the European Union has made it clear that the withdrawal deal is closed. If these craven politicians did find their way to power and tried to force a “no deal” Brexit — leaving the European Union without any kind of agreement in place — Parliament and the country would revolt. Nearly four out of five voters thought Brexit was going badly this July. In some areas that voted Leave, there have been big swings toward staying in the European Union.

In their grab for power, these monstrous, preening egos, desperate for validation and vindication, are already steering the Brexit process out of control, knocking Mrs. May’s deal sideways, increasing the speed at which investors and businesses flee. This chaos could last weeks or months. But the group’s ruthlessness in mowing down the middle ground of a compromise Brexit may give them whiplash. For members of Parliament, who must pass the final vote on any Brexit deal, the recent Brexiteer extremism has made their choices far starker and has raised the stakes.

If Mrs. May’s deal cannot get through Parliament, and the nightmare of a no-deal looms, then it becomes much more likely that a decisive number of members of Parliament will resolve that the final decision has to be returned to the electorate, in a second referendum that is being called the People’s Vote. Last month, an estimated 700,000 people marched in London in support of such a referendum.

The People’s Vote could offer the British electorate three choices: no deal, Mrs. May’s deal and remaining in the European Union. A recent poll found support for such a vote is now running at almost 60 percent, while the Remain vote has shifted from 48 percent in the referendum to 54 percent now.

A few weeks ago, I feared that a second vote would feel illegitimate, that a compromise Brexit, though bad for the country, should go ahead. The dangerous intransigence of the hardest Brexiteers has changed my calculation, and may change that of many others.

These hard-liners are ruthless. They aren’t prepared to accept a compromise that the prime minister has constructed for them. Instead, they are blowing it up. By eliminating the center option, they intend to push Britain to the hardest possible Brexit, toward the wrecked economy and shattered lives that would follow. They have destroyed any sense that I — and many others — had, that we owe it to them to honor and accept the original referendum. They are polarizing and galvanizing us. If no deal is the Brexiteers’ preferred option, I can with a clear conscience campaign for Remain in a People’s Vote. Anyone else could, too.

It’s just possible that the crash the Brexiteers are engineering could also be their own.

Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) is a columnist for The Times of London and a contributing opinion writer.

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