US Moved Air Force Command From Qatar To South Carolina Fearing Iranian Attacks

US Moved Air Force Command From Qatar To South Carolina Fearing Iranian Attacks

Source

30.09.2019

The US Air Force Commander Center’s operation was moved from Qatar to South Carolina, after operating out of the Middle Eastern country for the last 13 years.

The Command Center was used to command fighter jets, bombers, unmanned aerial vehicles and other US Air Force assets from Northeast Africa, the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

On September 28th, the building of the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in al Udeid Air Base, Qatar was vacated.

All flights and operations were controlled from Shaw Air Base in South Carolina, US. Over 300 planes were in the air when the shift happened in Syria, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

On the next day, the CAOC in Qatar regained control, but this marked the first-time operation was transferred to the US since the CAOC was initially established in Saudi Arabia during the 1991 Gulf War.

Air Force Commanders said that new technology allowed the shift and it was a long-standing ambition. But it surely comes by no accident, as it happens during renewed tensions in the Middle East, with both US and Saudi Arabia having a tough rhetoric on Iran. The Islamic Republic also leaves no quarter in its responses.

“The functions that the CAOC provides for air power are so critical and so essential that we can’t afford to have a single point of failure,” said Maj. Gen. Chance Saltzman.

Air Force officials said that the increased tensions in the Middle East and the incidents blamed on Iran added urgency to possibly moving command away from the region – especially if a war would be coming.

“Iran has indicated multiple times through multiple sources their intent to attack U.S. forces,” said Col. Frederick Coleman, commander of the 609th Air and Space Operations Center.

“Frankly, as the war against ISIS winds down and as we continue to work through a potential peace process in Afghanistan, the region is calming down and potentially more stable than it has been in decades,” he said. “Except for Iran.”

Analysts, quite obviously, said that if a conflict arises the command center would likely be targeted.

“It doesn’t take a whole heap of imagination to look at it and think, if push came to shove and it was a full-blown conflict, it would be one of the priority targets,” said Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow specializing in aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London.

Most notably, the base is defended by Patriot batteries and other missile defense systems, whose capabilities were clearly presented in defending Aramco’s oil infrastructure on September 14th.

According to Saltzman, the practicalities of missile defense made complete protection impossible.

“It’s really probably better to think about this as an immune system,” he said. “There’s going to be germs that get into the body. It’s about how fast and how resilient you can fight it off.”

By making the CAOC mobile, the US could respond to a potential attack much more quickly.

Byron Pompa, AFCENT operations director at Al Udeid, said moving facilities and equipment often could compensate for not having a huge footprint across the region.

“In times like today,” he said, “we can’t have a ton of permanent-fixture operating bases throughout the area of responsibility.”

“Our goal is deterrence,” Saltzman said, not conflict. But the lack of communication with Iran can make sending that message difficult. The U.S. has to use other measures, he said, including turning off radar from time to time or planning flight routes to make it clear it does not intend to attack.

The plan is to operate the CAOC remotely once per month, while it would remain in Qatar during the remainder of the time. The idea is to reach 8 hours of distanced operation every 24-hour period, either from South Carolina or elsewhere.

There were no plans to close al Udeid permanently. Some of the 800 positions are to be transferred to US in the future.

“The goodness here is now we’re saving taxpayer dollars that we’re giving back to America,” Coleman said. “And, you know, America’s sons and daughters aren’t abroad in the Middle East. They’re home.”

Qatar, in particular, has invested heavily on Al Udeid in recent years, spending as much as $1.8 billion to renovate the base, the largest in the region, capable of housing more than 10,000 U.S. troops. Thus, shifting focus away from it may seem as a sort of loss on investment on Qatar’s side.

This is actually a development that leads to the consideration that the US and its allies may, in fact, be considering the highly likeliness of a war in the Middle East against Iran, showing the urgency of this shift of command capability.

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Why France’s 20- and 30-somethings hate the Yellow Vests

Why France’s 20- and 30-somethings hate the Yellow Vests

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

It’s a question which needs be asked, but we can’t wait for the French media to answer it because they have almost totally stopped reporting on the anti-government movement for several months.

The first poll on the Yellow Vests since late March (“!”, and then “?”) finally came out two weeks ago. It was so eagerly gobbled up by a French media hungry for objective knowledge on the Yellow Vests that as many as two media talked about it. I missed it because I have already wasted a minimum of 3 hours of my life doing fruitless Google news searches for “Yellow Vest poll”.

The headline of Ouest-France newspaper, by far the most read Francophone paper in the world, was typically “negative-no-matter-what”: “A majority of France have had enough of the Yellow Vests”.

That’s a pretty bold statement considering that this majority is just 52%, which must be within the poll’s margin of error.

The headline could have fairly been: “A majority of France still supports the Yellow Vests despite all the state repression and media negativity”. Considering what a historic anti-government movement this is – the French have just avoided a 9th consecutive austerity budget expressly because of the Yellow Vests – objective journalism would have prioritised the “support” angle and not the “oppose” angle.

More poll tidbits to munch on for those who care about public opinion (which means you are obviously not a Western politician):

Vesters are now openly opposed by retirees (63%), executives/management (61%) and technicians/professionals (58%). However, they are openly supported by workers (52%), rural citizens (47%), the National Front party (64%) and the (true, not far-) leftist Unsubmissive France party (80%). Per the pollers: “The Yellow Vests remain popular with those segments of the population which were at the origin of the movement.

One final poll petit-four: 93% of those who support Macron’s party are against the Yellow Vests, while another recent poll showed that 98% of Macronistas think he is doing a good job. What this reminds us is that there is a hard-core Macronista base for whom he can absolutely do no wrong. I assumed such adoration was limited to 60+ year old single women dreaming of a winter-spring romance (an incredibly winter-spring romance), but it is a solid quarter of the population. This rate of genuine support is actually unchanged since the election in 2017: a quarter of France just adores this guy, no matter what, and apparently no amount of violence can change that.

Let’s get to the point of this column

One segment of society which does not support the Yellow Vests is the 20- and 30-something crowd.

This is based on my regular attendance at Yellow Vest demonstrations, and also many months of informally talking with this age group (of which I am quite nearly a part of). I’d like to pass on what I think are the reasons for their opposition:

  • We must remember that the Yellow Vests are primarily a middle-aged phenomenon – the average of those marching is probably 50 years old. This age group is the one which is most motivated because they are nearing retirement and they see just how bad austerity will make things for them. This generation will not do anywhere as well as their parents, and they are rightfully upset – they really had no chance to “succeed”: they found jobs (or can’t find any job) which will provide the personal nest egg which is required in the Anglo-Saxon system, which is the system that neoliberal austerity seeks to disruptively impose on France. The main problem is that French wages have always been far lower, and taxes quite higher, than their Western counterparts because the deal was that they’d have low wages but a much better social safety net. This deal has been terminated during the Age of Austerity, and Macron’s absurd, inhuman “one-size-fits-all” pension reform is the coup de grâce. Therefore, this segment of society – not professional, working class, low savings, not university educated, not thrilled with their job but still as vital to the functioning of society as you or me – is leading the revolt because they know that if they don’t… they will be working their low-paying job until they are 64 or their knees give out (whichever comes first), and then have a pittance of a pension to boot.
  • What about the young adult Parisians? Firstly, this is an old persons’ town – you have to have money to live within its highway walls. But are you talking about those who were raised in Paris? I guess you mainly referring to those who grew up in the rich Western areas – that place I go and look at like a tourist (seems nice over there), with all their fancy little kids and quiet and trees. People who grow up in these areas are rich – these are the very Macronista urbanites who are young, terrifying and want to eat their elders. They view Macron as their leader, God and role model. So young adult Parisians manning the barricades? Fuggetaboutit. This holds true for all of France’s cities.
  • What about the working class adult urbanites? Like in my area? Do you mean the Chinese, the Hasidic or the Arabs? All of these worker bees crammed into small, noisy apartments were likely turned off by the immediate and totally false smear that the Yellow Vests were racist. Also, the working class is often quite busy working.
  • What about the poor city suburbs, surely they are sympathetic? Indeed, the poor Muslim, Arab and Black areas are all totally sympathetic to the Vesters. However, they are not stupid – they know that if they go to the Vester demonstrations in any city the cops will absolutely, undoubtedly wage police brutality on them first. This truth is so very, very, very self-evident to Muslims and people of Color that we cannot even imagine that many of you cannot accept this, and we just turn and walk away when we start getting blamed for not leading the Yellow Vest charge. People from these areas have been totally marginalised… but when you need cannon fodder, then we get an engraved invitation? LOL, thanks, but no thanks. Nobody cares about the opinion of these areas/groups anyway, but I can report that the Vesters do indeed have their sincere moral support. Finally, Muslims and Blacks probably compose around 5-8% of France – if they did join en masse only 1 out of every 20 Vesters or so would be a non-White, anyway.

And here is the main reason why French Whites – who are the majority among the 20- and 30-somethings in France – do not support the Vesters.

  • I was surprised at the immediate antipathy for the Yellow Vests among the young White French adults I talked with in Paris, but who are the young White French adults in Paris? These are the primarily the people from small towns who are creative types and who move to the urban areas in order to flee the small-town culture, people, mores and activities they found so very stifling. The Yellow Vests are a primarily rural movement, and – as I have described their primary social-class makeup – France’s young urbanites seem to view the Vesters as the older classmates/bullies who made fun of them for being arty and weird and urbanite-aping back in their small town – many 30-somethings in Paris moved expressly to get away from these types! Therefore, it is unthinkable for them to side with the Yellow Vests, and after only the very first couple of demonstrations Parisian young adults seemingly all turned against the Yellow Vests, in my experience. These Parisian young adults see a faded, generic, poorly drawn forearm tattoo on many a Vester, and then they look at their own fancy tattoo (a Chinese character, a magic symbol, or some emblem of personal motivation or social defiance) and they think: “To hell with those White Trash – I never got invited to their parties and I want to lead a different lifestyle.”

So there you have it in a nutshell. Many French people actually made the move to the big city from the small town because they fundamentally resent the people who primarily compose the Yellow Vests.

There are other reasons:

  • Paris attracts young adults from all over the world – where are they? The Western expatriates living in France feel similarly or even more hostile than their French counterparts, in my experience. Many absurdly view Yellow Vests as outright reactionaries, mainly because they have absolutely no idea what the hell they are talking about when it comes to “French culture + class struggle”. These Western White expats simplistically view Vesters as extensions of their own “Brexiteers”, “basket of deplorable American rednecks”, etc., and do not feel the need to dig any deeper than such a superficial comparison – many of these immigrants would have a hard time understanding even if they tried, such is their unfamiliarity with a class lens. Bottom line: they are not about to stop the “Western expat party” and get tear gassed for any Yellow Vest, that is certain.
  • France, contrary to Anglophone media claims, is not a socialist country: aristocratic snobbery permeates and runs amok in the culture here as only it can on the Old Continent. It’s worse in Paris, but “I reject you first” is the initial war a French person declares upon meeting someone. The young adult urbanites in France have not at all been inculcated with class warfare and class solidarity, but identity politics: they identify with their fellow “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians), hipsters, artists and pretty young people. Have a shoulder tattoo I can’t see and not a wrist tattoo? Not cool enough. Next please. Swipe left. Je m’en fous.
  • France was an individualist country even before the rise of neoliberalism, I imagine, but rapacious neoliberalism surely leads to a fundamental lack of sympathy: Young urbanites here simply cannot imagine – nor do they try to – the grim future which 50-year old Yellow Vesters know to be a rapidly encroaching fact.
  • Furthermore, young people are dumb, (If you were paying me for this I’d look it up and provide the link but you’ll have to just take my word for it): I read a recent poll which said that something like 10% of young French people think Macron’s radical reforms will not actually reduce their own pensions, LOL! Sure… you’ll be the one who is special. Vesters are old enough to know better to get involved with this movement.

Given all these facts, we must realise that these urbanites want revenge on the class which primarily composes the Vesters – they don’t want to see them win, and they have repeatedly told me they don’t want them marching anymore in their hipster paradise areas of Paris.

I use the strong word “revenge” because I have found this to be a hugely important motivator in Western capitalist society. These young (smug, stupid, classist, fake-leftist/rabid neoliberal) anti-Yellow Vesters want not only a huge chunk of the pie, but they also to show all the people they left behind what a big shot they lost.

This is not hyperbole – this is what “competition” truly is. Western society (being anti-socialist and rabidly individualist) is fundamentally predicted on competition, and thus these types of feelings can be found plastered on billboards as a form of encouragement.

Finally, it is not “cool” to be a Vester in the French mainstream, and 20- and 30-somethings in the West prize “cool” above all. If you think famous actors, musicians, artists, thinkers, ballplayers, etc. are showing up/have ever showed up to Yellow Vest demonstrations… you must think these people don’t fear losing their social status more than anything – then they would have to get a real job.

“But Ramin,” you object, “how can cool people not be at the Yellow Vest demonstrations when YOU are there?”

Thank you. It seems paradoxical, indeed, but there’s an easy explanation: I turn 42 next week.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.

Occupy Down Town Beirut! Is Lebanon’s Economy Collapsing beyond Resuscitation?

Occupy Down Town Beirut! Is Lebanon’s Economy Collapsing beyond Resuscitation?

By Fatima Haydar – Beirut

Lebanon, the tiny Middle Eastern country on the Mediterranean Sea, is still recovering from a devastating civil war. Almost three decades had passed and Lebanon is still suffering from the consequences of that war which ended in 1990.

The economic situation in Lebanon is beyond repair; and the situation is getting even worse. Thanks to the dire economy, it is the third-highest indebted country in the world in terms of the ratio of debt-to-GDP.

Economist and Professor of Finance at the Lebanese University, Dr. Ali Awdeh, tackles the economic crisis in Lebanon in an interview with al-Ahed News.

“We are facing a real crisis which is being exaggerated by the complex political situation,” Dr. Awdeh said, adding that “this is not the first time Lebanon has faced such a crisis. Indeed, we have had more difficult times than what we are currently facing.”

He compared the economic situation in Lebanon prior and post 2000, “If we are talking about the budget deficit, the public debt, the trade deficit, or the Balance of Payments [BoP] deficit, sometime after the war between 2000 and 2002, then Lebanon has experienced worse times; though, there was no state of panic.”

“However, nowadays, the gravity of what makes people feel how bad the situation is, is that the political situation is worse and more complicated than before; the danger lies in the polarity of division among the parties and the depth of political differences; Not to mention, the problem posed by corruption, which has become more deeply rooted than it has been in the previous period,” Dr. Awdeh explained.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese economist explained that both the financial and monetary situations in the country are facing difficulties. Though, he clarified that the situation was not as bad as it seemed, “there is stability in the banking sector in general, and the monetary sector is also fairly stable.”

Conversely, the scarcity of US dollars is causing a crisis for Lebanese citizens and businesses. Yet, this scarcity is not “spontaneous”, as Dr. Awdeh puts it, explaining that the Central Bank was following “this policy of withdrawing US dollars from Lebanese markets to keep as much of the American currency in Lebanon. But at the same time, the Central Bank cannot control the circulation of dollars.”

Dr. Awdeh shed light on the crisis caused by the budget deficit, specifically the balance of payments and trade deficits. He said that “due to lack of sound financial decision, the financial policies set forth for the coming 20 or so years were not on the right track.”

According to Dr. Awdeh, the monetary policy was trying to fill in the gaps caused by the financial decision, though the former was unable to cover all of the latter’s aspects.

The economist stressed the need for a sound financial decision, which will pave the way for a less dependent economy. “It is a chain or a cycle, the first step being a sound financial decision-making and financial reforms; and thus, directing public finance into the right direction,” Dr. Awdeh clarified.

Furthermore, he tackled the policies of Bank of Lebanon [BDL] – the central bank of Lebanon – and its governor Riad Salameh, which had been in place since 1993, noting that financial and monetary policies should be “more pragmatic” – in other words, according to the economist, they should be more flexible – to change with the changing economic circumstances.

Dr. Awdeh focused on the positive and negative aspects of these policies. He spoke of currency exchange rates, interest rates and dollarization.

“The fixed currency exchange rate has had some positive aspects at first, as people had no confidence in the Lebanese pound,” he said, adding that this policy led to a state of stability in the exchange rate and a stability – to some extent – in inflation.

Regarding interests, Dr. Awdeh saw that it would have been much better if the Lebanese government followed a more flexible approach – one that would increase and decrease in accordance with economic developments.

The dollarization – according to Dr. Awdeh – was another failure in the policies of the BDL. He explained that the Lebanese economy “is very much dollarized and a large amount of deposits at the banks are in US dollars. As a result, a large part of the loans granted by banks are in US dollars.

He said that the BDL “could not solve this problem, so the economy remained dollarized while the exchange rate was constant.”

Nonetheless, the expert came to conclusion that many of the BDL’s policies and measures aimed to enhance the situation, but what happened was the opposite. He said the BDL should have paid attention to what he called “side effects”.

Though, Dr. Awdeh stressed the necessity on the part of the Lebanese government to take the necessary measures to deal with the crisis saying, “This is an extraordinary situation – a situation that required greater alert from the government”.

In a parallel notion, the economist related the economic situation in Lebanon to the regional and international arena. Dr. Awdeh believed that “it is no one’s interest – at home or abroad – that the economic situation in Lebanon collapses.”

He further added, “Regardless of whether they are [regional and international states] on our side or not, there are about 2 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon; and if the economy collapses, they will leave and become other countries’ burden.”

“So, no one has an interest in the significant deterioration of Lebanon’s economic situation,” Dr. Awdeh concluded.

NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN VIDEO SHOWS MOMENT OF STRIKES ON SAUDI OIL INFRASTRUCTURE

Removed By You tube

South Front

On September 30, CBS News’ 60 Minutes released an interview with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud. The interview itself includes little new or non-mainstream points of views on the September 14 strike on Saudi oil infrastructure. Nonetheless, it includes videos showing the moment of the attack.

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زلزال نجران: اليمن يقـلب المعادلات

زلزال نجران: اليمن يقـلب المعادلات

نتائج العملية: 500 قتيل ومصاب، وأكثر من 200 قتيل بغارات طائرات التحالف، و2400 أسير

اليمن الأخبار

الإثنين 30 أيلول 2019

صنعاء | ثلاثة ألوية، بعديدها وعتادها الحديث، سقطت. العشرات من الضباط والجنود السعوديين والمئات من اليمنيين المقاتلين تحت إمرتهم في محور نجران أسروا، في أوسع عملية برية تنفذها القوات اليمنية المشتركة. العملية، التي لا تزال في مراحلها الأولى بمكاسب كبيرة على الأرض، كانت «الأخبار» قد كشفت جانباً منها. وقد بدأ تنفيذها فعلياً منذ شهرين بالاستطلاع لمعرفة حجم القوات المستهدفة ووضع الترتيبات اللازمة لمواجهة تلك القوات ووضع الكمائن المحكمة. ونفّذت وفق تكتيك عسكري حديث، عكس تطور القدرات العسكرية البرية اليمنية، إذ اعتمد عنصر المفاجأة والمباغتة، بعد أن أوهم المستهدفون بالانسحاب من مناطق واسعة قبالة نجران لتستدرج تلك القوات إلى فخ كبير، فيتم الانتقال من التخطيط للعملية إلى تنفيذها في الـ25 من آب أغسطس الماضي، حين انتهى حلم الرياض، التي دفعت بالمئات من المدرعات والآلاف من الجنود إلى مديريات كتاف شرقي صعدة، في غضون 72 ساعة فقط.

تم تنفيذ العملية بإدارة وزير الدفاع وإشراف مباشر من زعيم «أنصار الله» عبد الملك الحوثي

ومساء أمس، كشف المتحدث باسم القوات المسلحة، العميد يحيى سريع، بالصوت والصورة في مؤتمر صحافي عقد في صنعاء، تفاصيل مرحلة من الهجوم، استغرق تنفيذها 72 ساعة وبدأت فجر 25 آب، ومرّت بمرحلة إعداد وتخطيط كان للرصد والاستطلاع الحربي والاستخباري دور حيوي فيها، قبل العملية وأثناءها وبعدها. وأكد أن العملية التي نفذتها وحدات متخصصة من القوات البرية المتقدمة في محور نجران، بدأت بتطويق مجاميع كبيرة من قوات العدو، بعد تقدمها، وبأعداد كبيرة، إلى الكمائن والمصائد، بحسب الخطة. كما سمحت القوات بدخول تعزيزات جديدة لقوات العدو إلى مسرح العميات، ليتم بعد ذلك قطع خطوط الإمداد (الخطوط الخلفية) لقوات العدو من مسارين مختلفين، ومن ثم أحكمت القوات اليمنية الحصار على تلك القوات من الجهات الأربع، لتبدأ وحدات من المشاة والدروع والهندسة والمدفعية من قلب الجبهة بشن عملية هجومية واسعة. وأشار العميد سريع إلى أن من أبرز نتائج العملية خلال ساعاتها الأولى محاصرة مجاميع مختلفة من قوات العدو ومهاجمة مواقع عسكرية محصنة. كما أدت العملية خلال يومها الأول إلى وقوع خسائر كبيرة في صفوف قوات العدو، وكذلك اغتنام أسلحة إضافة إلى استسلام المئات من المخدوعين.

وحول نتائج العملية أكد العميد سريع أن قوات الجيش و«اللجان» نجحت في تحرير مساحة جغرافية تقدر بأكثر من 350 كلم مربع، إضافة إلى «السيطرة على كافة المواقع العسكرية والمعسكرات المستحدثة للعدو ضمن المساحة الجغرافية المحررة، وسقوط ثلاثة ألوية عسكرية تابعة للعدو كانت في المساحة الجغرافية المحررة أثناء تنفيذ العملية، كما عززت العملية الواسعة والنوعية من مواقع قواتنا المتقدمة والمطلة على مدينة نجران».
وحول خسائر تلك القوات، أفاد بأن إجمالي الخسائر البشرية لميليشيات السعودية يتجاوز الـ500 ما بين قتيل ومصاب، وأكثر من 200 قتيل بغارات الطائرات السعودية التي تعمّدت قصف مرتزقته بعشرات الغارات، وهناك من قتل أثناء الفرار، وآخرون أثناء عملية الاستسلام. وأفاد العميد سريع بأن قوات الجيش و«اللجان» حاولت تقديم الإسعافات الأولية لمصابي العدو جراء الغارات الجوية، إلا أن استمرار التحليق المكثف وشنّ غارات إضافية أدّيا إلى وقوع المزيد من الخسائر، وهو ما أوضحته الصور. واعتبر ما حدث «إبادة جماعية متعمّدة بهدف منع المخدوعين من الفرار وعدم تسليم أنفسهم… فكانت مهمة تأمين الأسرى كبيرة بعد أن تبين أنهم هدف لطائرات العدوان». وفي النتيجة، أوضح أن عدد الأسرى بلغ 2400 أسير سلموا أنفسهم طواعية بعد حصارهم من الاتجاهات كافة وتعرضهم للغارات.

نتائج العملية: 500 قتيل ومصاب، وأكثر من 200 قتيل بغارات طائرات التحالف، و2400 أسير

وأكد أن الغارات التي شنّتها القوات السعودية أثناء تنفيذ العملية بلغت أكثر من 100 غارة جوية، كما شنّت أكثر من 300 غارة بعد العملية. وفي الأرقام أيضاً، وأوضح أن القوة الصاروخية تمكنت من تنفيذ ضربات مزدوجة استهدفت مقار وقواعد عسكرية للعدو، منها مطارات تقلع منها الطائرات الحربية وتجمعات وتحركات للقوات السعودية وميليشياتها في محاور نجران وعسير وجيزان. وبدا لافتاً أن سريع أفاد بأن العملية اشتملت على عدد من الهجمات بالطائرات المسيّرة والصواريخ، بلغت في المرحلة الأولى من الهجوم تسع عمليات، منها ضرب مطار جيزان بـ10 صواريخ بالستية، وأكثر من 21 عملية لسلاح المسيّرات، «منها عملية استهدفت هدفاً عسكرياً حساساً في الرياض»، لم يوضح تفاصيله، كما لم يشرح العلاقة بين العملية الكبرى وهذه الهجمات.

الكشف عن العملية أثار موجة جدل في أوساط الأطراف السياسيين الموالين للتحالف السعودي، فحاولوا التشكيك في صدقية الإعلان أولاً، ووجهوا وسائل إعلامهم بالتشويش، وذلك بعد أن وصفها المئات من الناشطين الموالين لهم بالفضيحة والسقوط الذريع للتحالف بعد قرابة خمس سنوات من الحرب. ودفع الإعلان الكثير من الناشطين الموالين للرياض إلى الاعتراف بتعاظم قوات صنعاء مقابل تراجع القوات الموالية للتحالف، التي تمتلك أحدث الأسلحة، بدليل «نكسة أغسطس»، كما أطلق عليها البعض، التي أفقدت ثقتهم بالتحالف.

وأمس، رأى الناطق باسم «أنصار الله»، محمد عبد السلام، أن «السعودية تحاول عبثاً أن تتستر على مثل هذه الهزيمة المدوية التي مُنيت بها أمام المقاتل اليمني».

ومن المتوقع أن تكشف صنعاء عن تفاصيل ومشاهد أخرى للعملية، بينها ما يتعلق بالأسرى، في موازاة مبادرة لحل هذا الملف. في هذا الإطار، أكد رئيس لجنة شؤون الأسرى عبد القادر المرتضى، أن المئات من جثث مسلحي العدوان والجنود السعوديين لا تزال مرمية في الشعاب والأودية في محور نجران منذ ما بعد العملية «ولم تسمح قوى العدوان للجنة الصليب الأحمر بانتشالها»، معلناً انفتاح صنعاء على إنهاء معاناة الأسرى بصفقة تبادل مع الأطراف كافة.

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Russian Federation – Minister for Foreign Affairs Addresses General Debate, 74th Session

Source

September 27, 2019

Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, addresses the general debate of the 74th Session of the General Assembly of the UN (New York, 24 – 30 September 2019).

Transcript : http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/3822351

28 September 201900:13
Statement by H.E. Mr. Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 27, 2019

Unofficial translation

Distinguished Mr. President,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The 75th anniversary of the United Nations which was established as a result of the Victory in World War II and the realization of the need for a collective mechanism to maintain international peace and security, is getting closer. Regrettably, the events of the Cold War, which started soon after, prevented this tremendous creative potential from being unleashed.

The hope arose again almost 30 years ago when the Berlin Wall symbolizing confrontation of the two irreconcilable systems fell. It was the hope for the possibility to finally turn the grievous pages of wars – not only hot but also cold – and to join efforts for the benefit of all mankind.

However, we have to admit – although World War III was prevented thanks to the UN, the number of conflicts on the planet has not declined and enmity has not weakened. New most acute challenges emerged – international terrorism, drug trafficking, climate change, illegal migration, the growing gap between the rich and the poor. It is getting harder to address these and many other challenges from year to year. The fragmentation of international community is only increasing.

In our view, the reason for the current state of affairs lies, first and foremost, in the unwillingness of the countries which declared themselves winners in the Cold War to reckon with the legitimate interests of all other states, to accept the realities of the objective course of history.

It is hard for the West to put up with its weakening centuries-long dominance in world affairs. New centers of economic growth and political influence have emerged and are developing. Without them it is impossible to find sustainable solution to the global challenges which can be addressed only on the firm basis of the UN Charter through the balance of interests of all states.

Leading Western countries are trying to impede the development of the polycentric world, to recover their privileged positions, to impose standards of conduct based on the narrow Western interpretation of liberalism on others. In a nutshell, “we are liberals, and we can do anything”. Pursuing these aspirations, the West is less frequently recalling international law and more often and importunately dwelling upon the “rules-based order”.

The aim of such a concept is obvious – to revise the norms of international law which no longer suit the West, to substitute it for the “rules” adjusted to its self-serving schemes which are elaborated depending on the political expediency, and to proclaim the West and only the West as an indisputable source of legitimacy. For instance, when it is advantageous, the right of the peoples to self-determination has significance and when it is not – it is declared “illegal”.

In order to justify revisionist “rules” the West resorts to manipulation of public consciousness, dissemination of false information, double standards on human rights, suppression of undesirable media, bans on practicing journalism. Moreover, the West got “apt students” among its wards on the post-Soviet territory.

Instead of equal collective work, closed formats beyond legitimate multilateral framework are being created, and approaches agreed upon behind closed doors by a narrow group of the “select few” are then declared “multilateral agreements”. This is accompanied by the attempts to “privatize” the secretariats of international organizations, to use them in order to advance non-consensual ideas in circumvention of universal mechanisms.

Attacks on international law are looming large. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA endorsed by UNSC Resolution 2231 is broadly discussed. Washington not just repudiated its obligations enshrined in this Resolution but started demanding from others to play by American “rules” and sabotage its implementation.

The United States set a tough course for abolishing the UN resolutions on international legal framework of the Middle East settlement. It suggests waiting for some “deal of the century”, meanwhile it has taken unilateral decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. A two-state solution to the Palestinian issue – which is essential for satisfying the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people and providing security for Israel and the whole region – is under threat.

Apparently, when NATO members were bombing Libya blatantly violating the UNSC resolution, they were also guided by the logic of their “rules-based order”. It resulted in the destruction of Libyan statehood, and international community is still disentangling the disastrous repercussions of NATO’s adventure with African countries affected the most.

“Hidden agendas” in countering terrorism remain – despite the universally binding Security Council decisions on listing terrorist organizations, some countries made it a “rule” to cover terrorists and even to engage in cooperation with them on the ground as it is happening, for instance, in Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria. The United States has already been saying it loud that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is a rather moderate structure which “can be dealt with”. As recent discussions on the situation in the Syrian Idlib showed, the United States wants to induce members of the UNSC to such unacceptable logic.

The West also has its own “rules” regarding the Balkans where it is pursuing an open course for undermining the UNSC decisions on Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina settlement.

Universal conventions together with the SC resolutions are an integral part of international law. The West would like to substitute even them for its “rules” as it happened in the OPCW whose Technical Secretariat was illegally granted “attributive” functions through unlawful manipulations and unscrupulous pressure in direct violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and exclusive prerogatives of the Security Council.

Playing with Conventions obliging all countries to provide linguistic, educational, religious and other rights of national minorities continue. Even here our Western colleagues are guided by their “rules” – they turn a blind eye to the open denial of national minorities’ relevant rights and indulge the retaining of an ignominious phenomenon of statelessness in Europe.

The course for the revision of international law is more frequently observed in the persistent policy of rewriting the history of World War II, justifying an increasing number of manifestations of neo-Nazism, vandalism against the monuments to the liberators of Europe and Holocaust victims.

The key principles of the UN Charter – non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or the threat of force – are also undergoing durability tests.

We are now facing the attempts to add Venezuela to the list of countries whose statehood was destroyed before our eyes through aggression or coups inspired from abroad. Like the overwhelming majority of the UN members, Russia is rejecting the attempts to return the “rules” dating back to the times of Monroe Doctrine to Latin America, to change from outside regimes in sovereign states descending to the methods of military blackmail, unlawful coercion and blockade as it happens in relation to Cuba in defiance of the UN resolutions.

Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples adopted at the initiative of our country. However, a number of Western states are still clinging to the old “rules”, ignoring this Declaration and other decisions of the General Assembly on decolonization addressed directly to them, while keeping former overseas territories under their control.

This November marks another anniversary – 20 years since the adoption of the Charter for European Security and the Platform for Co-operative Security. These documents set out principles of cooperation for all countries and organizations in the Euro-Atlantic region. Heads of states and governments solemnly declared that no one should provide his own security at the expense of other’s security. Regrettably, the consensus reached back then today is substituted for taken as a “rule” NATO practice, the organization which continues thinking in terms of searching for enemies, while moving its military infrastructure to the East to the Russian borders and increasing its military budgets, although they already exceed the Russian one more than 20 times. We call on NATO to return to the agreements on shaping equal and indivisible security in the OSCE area. Recently, responsible European politicians have been speaking in favor of it, which, in particular, was demonstrated during the meeting of the Presidents of the Russian Federation and France in August.

The Asia-Pacific region needs a reliable and open architecture. It is dangerous to yield to the temptation and divide it into conflicting blocs. Such attempts will contradict the task to join efforts of all countries in the region in order to effectively address the continuing threats and challenges there, including the task to resolve a whole range of issues on the Korean Peninsula exclusively by peaceful means.

Actions taken by the United States, which, following its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, destroyed the INF Treaty with the overwhelming support of all NATO members, caused a huge damage to the global system of strategic stability which had been established for decades. Now the United States is questioning the future of the New START Treaty, refusing to ratify the CTBT. Moreover, it has lowered the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons in its doctrinal documents. The United States is setting course for transforming cyberspace and outer space into the arena for military confrontation.

In order to prevent further escalation of tensions, Russia proposed several initiatives. President Vladimir Putin announced the decision not to deploy land-based intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe or other regions if and as long as the Americans refrain from doing it. We called on the United States and NATO to join such a moratorium. We have also repeatedly suggested Washington that we start negotiations on prolonging the New START Treaty. Together with China we support the harmonization of a legally binding document on the prevention of an arms race in outer space. So far, the reaction of the United States and its allies has not been encouraging.

We are alarmed by the protracted lack of answer to our proposal made to American colleagues already a year ago – to adopt a high-level Russian-American statement on unacceptability and inadmissibility of the nuclear war which by definition cannot have a winner. We call on all countries to support this initiative.

Today I would like to make an announcement – at the current session of the General Assembly we are introducing a draft resolution on Strengthening and Developing the System of Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation Agreements. We invite everyone to conduct substantial talks. The adoption of the resolution would greatly contribute to the creation of conditions for a successful hosting of another NPT Review Conference next year.

Russia will continue to work persistently in order to strengthen universal security. In this sphere, we are acting with utmost responsibility, exercising restraint in enhancing defence capacity – obviously, without any damage to the effective delivery of national security and in full compliance with international law.

We support the consolidation of efforts to combat international terrorism under the auspices of the UN. In the interests of mobilizing the potential of regional organizations to suppress the terrorist threat Russia initiated a Ministerial meeting of the Security Council with the participation of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Among the most critical tasks of the world community is elaboration of generally acceptable approaches to the digital sphere management and understanding of the processes related to the creation of artificial intelligence. Last year, the General Assembly endorsed the beginning of the substantive work on discussing the rules of the responsible conduct of states in information space. Resolution on Combating Cybercrime was adopted at Russia’s initiative. It is important to work for achieving legally binding agreements on all aspects of international information security.

We need to step up efforts to facilitate the settlement of numerous crises and conflicts in all regions of the world. The main point is to seek compliance with already existing agreements from parties without allowing them to invent pretexts to refuse from implementing obligations already taken during negotiations. This also concerns conflicts on the post-Soviet territory, including the need to strictly follow the provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures to settle the crisis in the East of Ukraine.

In Syria, where major success in combating terrorism has been achieved, further advancement of the political process lead by the Syrians with the assistance of the UN is at the forefront. With the decisive contribution of Russia, Turkey, and Iran as guarantors of the Astana format, the establishment of the Constitutional Committee has been finished, which was announced by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres a few days ago. Post-conflict reconstruction and creation of conditions for the return of the refugees are the items on the agenda. Here the UN system is to play an important role.

Yet, on the whole, the Middle East and North Africa still face many challenges. We witness what is happening in Libya and Yemen. Prospects for the Palestinian settlement are on the verge of collapse. Efforts to play the “Kurdish card” – which is combustible for many countries – are alarming.

The Persian Gulf region is facing artificial escalation of tensions. We call on overcoming the existing disagreements through dialogue without baseless accusations. On our part, we made a contribution having presented this summer the renewed Russian concept of the collective security in this region.

Supporting the efforts of the African states to put an end to conflicts on their continent, yesterday Russia organized the meeting of the Security Council on strengthening peace and security in Africa. At the end of October, Sochi will host the first ever Russia-Africa Summit. We hope its outcomes will help increase the effectiveness of addressing modern challenges and threats and of work to overcome the problems of development African countries are facing.

The reform of the SC is aimed at improving the UN anti-crisis and peacekeeping activities. Given the realities of the multipolar world, the main task is to find a formula which would correct an obvious geopolitical imbalance in its current composition and would ensure increased representation of African, Asian, and Latin American countries in the Council with the broadest possible agreement of the UN Member States.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dividing lines are harmful not only to the world politics but also to the economy. Its inclusive growth is curbed as a result of the WTO norms being substituted for other “rules” – methods of unfair competition, protectionism, trade wars, unilateral sanctions, and open abuse of the American dollar status. All this leads to the fragmentation of the global economic space, negatively affects people’s standards of living. We believe it necessary to get back to the substantial work both in the UN system organizations and in the G-20. To this end, we will contribute to the creation of favorable conditions, including through the opportunities offered by BRICS, where Russia will assume the chairmanship in 2020.

Together with other like-minded countries we support the harmonization of integration processes. This philosophy lies at the core of President Vladimir Putin’s initiative of the Greater Eurasian Partnership involving the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), SCO, ASEAN, and which is open to all other Eurasian states, including the EU countries. We have already started moving in this direction by interconnecting development plans of the EAEU and the Chinese Belt And Road Initiative. Consistent implementation of these endeavors will contribute not only to increasing economic growth but also to laying a solid foundation in order to form the territory of peace, stability, and cooperation from Lisbon to Jakarta.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the run-up to the next anniversary of the United Nations, I would like to underline – the UN-centered system of the world order, despite all trials, is stable and has a great margin of safety. It is a kind of a safety net which guarantees – if the UN Charter is respected – a peaceful development of mankind through finding a balance of sometimes rather contradictory interests of various countries.

At the outcome of these 75 years the main conclusion is probably that the experience of de-ideologized cooperation of states at the face of common threat, gained in the years of that most severe war, is still relevant.

Today’s challenges and threats are no less dangerous.

Only working together we will be able to effectively address them. Half a century ago a prominent scientist and public figure, the Nobel Prize Laureate Andrei Sakharov wrote the following – The division of mankind threatens it with destruction. If mankind is to get away from the brink, it must overcome its divisions It was the unity which was considered the key task of the UN by its Founding Fathers. Let us be worthy of their legacy and memory.

Venezuela – Take 2

September 28, 2019

Venezuela – Take 2

by Jimmie Moglia for The Saker Blog

It is tacitly assumed that that the American information industry produces notices and descriptions of actual events. Whereas it routinely delivers a narrative of adulterated facts and improbable fiction – the whole blended with a top-down imposition of Zionist ideology masquerading as national interest. I say ‘Zionist’ because a country in which the word of command comes from elsewhere is nothing more than a province. Which may explain many events unequivocally alien to American interest.

All this the world well knows – at least the unknown percentage of those who like to think. However, especially with Venezuela, there has been, among media outlets and pundits, a remarkable recrudescence of the presumption of imbecility in the American public.

But it is unjust and unrealistic to blame large social groups for their assumed gullibility. No one can indict a people. Individuals are caught up in the workings of a mechanism that forces them into its own pattern. Only heroes can resist, and while it may be hoped that everybody will be one, it cannot be demanded or expected.

Nor the trend is limited to America. Western European media figures and sundry politicians, having been taught the art of the ridicule – often in ‘prestigious’ States-side universities – seldom fail to signalize themselves by zealous imitation.

Were we not dealing with the suffering of a people and the economic strangling of a nation to steal her resources, the sallies and patent ridicule of the puppets and puppet-masters involved would be a recurrent fund of merriment.

Nevertheless, it commonly happens to him who endeavors to obtain distinction by ridicule or censure, that he teaches others to practice his own arts against himself.

Trump and his cabal or cartel have tried inventive ways to revile the Venezuelan government. So far they have only succeeded in ridiculing themselves. And their narrative has reached peaks of paradox and parody, in the comical effort to give their news a semblance of credibility.

I will mention but a few instances later, so as not to leave a statement unproven, though most readers may already know some.

Still, for the contemporary Pangloss there may be a measure of consolation in the Trumpian Cabal’s orgy of ridicule. For the domineering powers are literally terrorized by the alternative narratives, official and unofficial, reaching the discerning public through social media, directly from Venezuela.

Therefore they wage a grotesque battle, a Waterloo of fake-news, attempting to choke the liberty of expression – which, in the instance, amounts to curbing the liberty of intelligence.

Given that the flux of alternative news is still relatively marginal, this censorious obsession shows that, even in the secret enclaves of power, some believe that we are nearing a turning point in collective perception, a consummation devoutly to be wished by us, and unwished by them.

It is historically interesting that in the 1960s the Jewish political-ideological machine was clamoring for freedom of expression, and succeeded in having the US Supreme Court declare that pornography is free-speech.

In turn, this opened the flood to a Weimar-Republic-style mass acculturation whose consequences do not need description – see Weinstein as emblem of Jewish Hollywood, and Epstein as emblem of Jewish pornography and pornomania.

But sixty years later, and in total control of all media channels – the same forces find free-speech hateful, and want their adversaries insulted without self-defense and censored without apologists. Witness the erasure of hundreds of alternative information channels from the web.

Meanwhile, that just about all Western European countries have joined in pretending to believe Trump’s charade, is no support for his credibility.

For “Western European countries” means their politicians. And all know well that avarice is an insatiate and universal passion – since the enjoyment of almost every object that can afford a pleasure to the different tastes and tempers of mankind, may be procured by the possession of wealth. Consequently, politicians at large rarely cease to follow the easiest path to keep, maintain and increase their wealth and emoluments. And shameless servility to the moment’s master is the commonest formula.

For one thing, the Trump cartel assumed that any populace worldwide, with its immemorial and traditional levity, would applaud any change of masters, if accompanied by suitable fanfare and the promise or prospects of bread and circuses.

Hence they believed that the Venezuelans would promptly switch their allegiance to the service of a US appointed puppet. While the fanfare could adequately dissemble the plotters’ appetite for plunder.

In one of his often-quoted related pronouncements, Trump said that,

“The problem with Venezuela is not that socialism was poorly implemented, but that socialism was faithfully implemented.”

Far from me to oppose an “ism” with another. The various ‘isms’, as used, are not fruitful principles, nor even explanatory formulae. They are rather names of diseases, for they express some element in excess, some dangerous and abusing exaggeration.

Consider ‘globalism’, ‘neo-liberalism,’ ‘fascism’, ‘communism’, ‘socialism,’ ‘radicalism’, etc. If there may be something positive in them (and there is some good sometimes in sundry “isms”) it slips through these categories.

To compare, traditional medicine classified men according to whether they were ‘sanguineous’, ‘bilious’ or ‘nervous’. But someone in good health is none of the above. Equally, a state contains (or should contain) opposing points of view, holding them as in a chemical combination, much as all colors are contained in a beam of light.

But for Trump and the deep state behind him – though it has been the same since Reagan – neo-liberal capitalism is a dogma, which to dispute is heresy, and to doubt infamy.

The recurrent self-praising claim by media pundits and politicians about America being a democracy is either misleading and cretinous information or bold and imaginative fiction. Whereas actually, in some ways, the United States is a socialist state.

For example, government statistics, easily verifiable online, show that in 2018 there were 40 million people on food stamps (read ‘very poor’). And social programs with different names but similar scope exist in every state, to provide healthcare for those on food stamps and others. Furthermore, the very ‘social security’ system has socialism imprinted in its name.

Applying the same broad analysis to the economy at large, let’s say that in one case a state-owned enterprise produces something needed. In another case a private company lobbies the state to receive the same money that the state company would have spent to manufacture the same product.

Given that both instances involve human beings, is one state ‘socialist’ because it produces directly what it needs, and another ‘capitalist’ because it lets a non-state-owned company produce the same thing?

This is not advocating one method versus another – but only to suggest that a state-owned enterprise does not imply that the state itself is ‘socialist’. In fact in many countries, including the US, the state owns many enterprises, partially or completely.

The argument is purely theoretical, and it excludes many related insoluble dilemmas and controversial questions. For example whether a state or a privately owned enterprise is more subject to corruption, etc.

Nevertheless, I do not think that Venezuela’s ‘socialism’ is the cause of Trump’s uncouth bullying, contempt and coarse insults. For, as much as it is concealed, Venezuela is actually a mixed economy.

Now, cause and effect in history can be more-or-less arbitrary patterns into which we can weave events to render them significant. Nevertheless, in the instance, greed for Venezuela’s resources cannot be, in my view, the sole explanation.

Behind Trump’s contempt and insults there is a psychological engine and the whole weight of the historical-cultural machine that actually keeps America running.

Especially the Americans (and the fever began with the industrial revolution), know very little of a state of feeling that involves a sense of rest, of deep quiet, silence within and without, a quietly burning fire, a sense of comfort, existence in its simplest form. And I apologize for the generalization that always excludes the many exceptions.

For them life is devouring and incessant activity. They are eager for gold, for power, for dominion; the aim is to crush men and to enslave nature. They show an obstinate interest in means, but little thought for the end. They confound being with individual being, and the expansion of the self with happiness — while tending to ignore the unchangeable and the eternal.

It could be described as living at the periphery of our own essence for being unable to penetrate to its core. They are excited, ardent, positive, because they are also superficial. ‘Superficial’ may suggest less intelligent but the opposite is true. Superficiality and intelligence are anything but incompatible.
Why so much effort, noise, struggle and greed? It seems a mere stunning and deafening of the self.

When death comes they recognize that it is so. — why not then admit it sooner?

Activity is beautiful when, in some ways, it also partakes of the divine in the Greek sense — that is to say, when it is spent in the service of that which does not fade and transcends the mere domain of matter.

Some readers may argue that what is true for America also applies elsewhere, in Europe for example. As I repeat, short of dogmatic assertions, the idea here is but an attempt to find a cause for a culture.

For, unlike America, Europe had, in the XIX century, the romantic movement, which thoroughly influenced millions across the continent. Its literature affected the mode of thought of multiple generations in different countries. Romanticism swept through Europe at the very time when education became universal. And I include the Russian classics as powerful agents for suggesting or imprinting images and perceptions of a view of life that could not possibly be more un-American.

Before virtually crossing to the Venezuelan shores and interpreting their view of things I should add another qualifying proposition.

An analyst or interpreter of current events (just as any historian of the past), depends on his own judgment as to what is important in human life. Even when he rigorously confines himself to one selected political or cultural phase of a country, he still has decided on what constitutes the best outcome of that phase, and on what constitutes an outcome of degradation.

The whole judgment on ideas and actions (in the instance on what happens in Venezuela), depends upon such implicit presuppositions. You cannot rate wisdom or folly, progress or decadence, except in relation to some standard of judgment and to some end in view. For, in considering the flow and the history of ideas, the notion of mere knowledge is an abstraction. Accessories of emotion and purpose always accompany knowledge.

In the instance and for what is worth, an image still comes to my mind, when I compare Venezuela with other South-American countries. In 2014 Brazil held the world’s soccer championship. Multiple TV stations from different countries could not mask on their screens that, not many yards away from a stadium, began the favelas, living emblems of almost unimaginable degradation.

Considering that stadiums and infrastructures built for such colossal events routinely decay into ruins after little time of use, a question arises as to their intrinsic and extrinsic worth.

In contrast, and even according to UN official statistics, the so-called Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela succeeded in dramatically reducing the number of people in dire poverty, while almost eliminating illiteracy. That programs of such scope are costly requires no demonstration. Whether it is preferable to invest in mass sports or in the relief of masses from illiteracy and degrading poverty, is a question that only single individuals can answer.

But it took the spirit and guts of Hugo Chavez to affect such a veritable revolution, possibly at a time when the US was not paying much attention, engaged as it was in bombing Yugoslavia and in establishing whether Clinton had or never had sex with that woman.

He who applauds the resurrection of a people, otherwise condemned as the irrelevant accessory of idle elites – who use the poor as a gauge to affirm their own ‘betterness’ – cannot feel but some sympathy towards the Bolivarian revolution. And he would feel so even without awareness of the enormous challenges and mixture of successes and defeats that accompany all epoch-making upheavals.

As for the Trump’s Cabal it would be interesting, anthropologically speaking, to understand the grotesque sociology of this flock. Their manners, as exhibited towards Venezuela, have shown a remarkable display of depravity – uniting the crimes that typically prevail among those immune from self-analysis, with the vices that spring from the abuse of power and immunity from prosecution.

Among the clowns of the Cabal, Marco Rubio deserves a special (dis)honorable mention, as the representative of a world upside-down. Including his showing a picture of Gheddafi assassinated and covered in blood, while threatening Maduro with the same outcome, should he not accede to American demands. As if the despotic power – which could take Gheddafi’s life without a trial and stigmatized his memory without proof – had any claim on using patent murder as an example of righteousness to be replicated.

Actually, I strongly doubt whether Rubio would even understand the implication of his words and gesture. Either he is a moron with the entertainment value of a tap-dancing oyster, or his head is as empty as a eunuch’s underpants.

Rubio is a senator (!) and, if I am not mistaken, was even spoken of as a candidate for president (!). Which prompts me to agree with Pythagoras that souls of animals infuse themselves into the trunks of men.

The happily departed Bolton is an equal competitor for the Olympic medal of ridicule. In the latest failed coup attempt, he proclaimed that Maduro was about to leave Venezuela for Cuba when ‘the Russians’ prevented him from boarding the plane.

As Jose’ Rodriguez – Venezuela’s Minister of Information – explained and documented on television, that ambulating Pinocchio called Guaido’ had assured Bolton that he had already corrupted and paid-off a sufficient number of generals so as to make the coup a done-deal. That wasn’t true but Bolton believed it.

All the while, the succeeding events of the failed coup make up the script of a proper farce.

Including Mike Pence’s outstanding arrogance when, in the UN assembly, had the gall to tell the Foreign Minister of Venezuela that he should not be there. As if the US had a divine right to make and unmake world governments at will. With his performance Mike Pence demonstrated to be worth less than six pence.

Of Pompeo it could perhaps be said what the historian Napier said of the British ambassador to Germany during the 1930s, “He is obtuse enough to be a menace, and yet not stupid enough to be innocuous.”

All in all, the Trump’s Cabal includes ambitious individuals, seemingly untaught or unable to observe, reason, deduce and infer, unless observation be blindness and madness logic.

Trump keeps labeling Nicolas Maduro as ‘corrupt’ and a ‘dictator’. Both words belong to the no-man’s-land of lexical ambiguity.

As for dictatorship, there have been six presidential elections, in Venezuela, since 2002. And, as readers who have followed the events know, in the last 2018 elections, the Trump Cabal ordered the opposition not to present candidates, after they had formally agreed to do so.

I will not offend the readers by proving what they already know – that charges of dictatorship may be levied against Trump and sundry predecessors on much stronger grounds.

The issue of corruption is trickier. I doubt if anyone who worked in, or had to do with, large corporations or government, never met with evidence of corruption. Without even touching on lobbying, a peculiar institution for bribing, bulldozing, and corrupting the legislators who are supposed to represent the people’s interests. Or on ‘financial engineering’, an inventive euphemism to suggest monetary genius instead of monetary fraud.

For what is worth, unable as I am to find a reliable method for measuring and assessing corruption, I pretend to do what Balzac did when he wrote his novels, though I write none.

He kept on his desk the Dictionary of Physiognomy – a monumental work in four massive volumes, written by the Swiss Abbot Johann Lavater, in the 18th century. In his novels, Balzac used Lavater’s physiognomy extensively. So that his characters, being accurately described as they are, cannot but logically behave as they do.

Physiognomy had its era of success and popularity before being dismissed as a pseudoscience. Though I suspect that many use it unconsciously when forming their first impression of an individual.

With all necessary reservations, amateurishly and therefore inaccurately, I suggest that Trump’s physiognomy reads, “Everything has a price and money buys everything. Conscience is but a word that cowards use to keep the strong in awe. Power (via money acquired from any source) is my conscience, my tool of operation and my law.”

For brevity’s sake I will not describe individual facial components of the specific physiognomy – as Lavater does in his work.

As a corollary derived from Trump’s physiognomy, “twitting” is the ideal communication tool and perfect match for his character. In his hands a ‘tweet’ means “I say so because it is and that’s it.”

By the way I am not passing judgment – however difficult it may be, the application of physiognomy should not be affected by emotional or philosophical preferences.

In fact, assuming his physiognomic profile correct, Trump is ethically consistent. Whereas, in my view, the other members of his Cabal are not. Routinely, they cannot even pretend to the smooth face of hypocrisy. They are sincere only when they are arrogant.

Again I do not pretend to be right. Two men observing the same person, or even object, will describe it diversely, according to the point of view from which either beholds it. Still, truth being the legitimate object of observation and history, it is better that she should be sought-for by many than few, lest for want of seekers, among the mists of prejudice and the false lights of interest, she’d be lost altogether.

Comparing Trump with Maduro, the difference could not be greater. Maduro’s physiognomy suggests that he takes his job as a mission. And that he has a frightful understanding of what Venezuela would revert to, if the Anglo-Zionists and their ‘lameculos’ took over. His oratory is incomparable with Trump’s. It is helped by the inherent majesty of the Spanish language, but is also evidence of a long and careful self-training and study. A remarkable achievement in itself, considering that Maduro’s political path began as a union leader among bus drivers.

For their own self-respect, we may think that the Venezuelan opposition should contain characters with greater respectability than what the world has seen so far.

The ‘interim’ president Guaido’ was recently shown holding an empty milk jug in the air while claiming that he had not enough money to buy milk for his daughter. Almost simultaneously, Venezuelan intelligence had caught Guaido’s assistant Marrero texting with other coup organizers. They were arguing about how and to assign and distribute among themselves the hundreds of millions that Uncle Sam had confiscated from the accounts of the Venezuelan bank in the US. A bank that is (was) necessary to handle the sales of Venezuelan oil to the US.

Among other exploits, Guaido’ had already ridiculed himself for believing the two Russian pranksters (’bromistas’ in Venezuelan Spanish), who faked a call from the President of Switzerland. In which the ‘president’ asked Guaido’ if the accounts of the Venezuelan government in Switzerland should be reassigned to Guaido’s name, and he agreed. And, when prompted by the bromistas, he also agreed to support the Russian pro-US candidate Navalny in a future attempt to unseat Putin.

In a theater, bad actors feel embarrassed towards the audience for their poor performance. With Venezuela it’s the audience that feels embarrassed for the actors.

Following the developments of the ongoing attempted Venezuelan coup, also yields some unusual and curious perspectives, along with the possibility of discovering other interesting Guaido’-style characters.

Readers may remember Victoria Nuland, Obama’s and Hillary’s factotum in Ukraine – passed into history for her “F-the-Europeans” pronouncement, while discussing which puppets to appoint in the US-financed, post-coup Ukrainian government.

Maybe some readers do not yet know that Victoria Nuland has a Venezuelan equivalent in the shape of a Vanessa Neumann, familiarly referred-to in the European press as “The Cracker from Caracas.”

As Wikipedia explains, Neumann is the “Venezuelan” (meaning Guaido’s) ambassador to “the court of St. James” (meaning England). Though Wikipedia modestly adds that, “The administration of Nicolás Maduro does not recognize Guaido’s diplomats.”

Besides also being Jewish, Neumann has the usual impeccable curriculum of the Vanity-Fair intellectualoids, who can read and therefore believe they can think, ever swimming with the tide of pomp that beats upon the high shores of the world. And of whom French author George Bernanos said that, “The intellectual is so often an imbecile that we should consider him as such, until he (or she) has demonstrated the contrary.”

Like others of that ilk, Neumann is the apotheosis of fake, but I mention her here for her involvement in a not-so-well-known ramification of the so-far unsuccessful coup in Venezuela.

Between Venezuela and Guyana there is a disputed territory, apparently an Eldorado of natural resources, called the Essequibo. The roots of the dispute lay in the 1600 when the Northern Provinces of Holland declared independence from Spain. The sequence of events being intricate, a summary is mandatory.

When Venezuela declared independence from Spain in 1810, thanks to Simon Bolivar, she also claimed the Essequibo as successor to the Spanish empire. For the Spaniards had originally discovered the region, established their sovereignty, settled and exercised political control.

In the meantime England also laid claims, and since England had helped Venezuela in her struggle for independence, Venezuela did not, at the time, interfere with the British claim.

Jumping many intermediate steps and disputes, in 1966 there was an agreement between Venezuela and the now independent Guyana, to delay a final decision on the settlement of the Essequibo. Even so, Venezuela maintains her claim to the rightful ownership of the territory.

Vanessa Neumann comes into the picture thanks to a telling conversation on the Essequibo between her and an assistant to Guaido’ called Manuel Avendano (link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjaSN_Hiq1I).

It appears that Neumann, or Guaido’, or both had already agreed – even prior to the attempted coup – to give ownership of the Essequibo to various American companies for exploitation.

Neumann tells Avendano that during her participation to an impending meeting of the so-called “Group of Lima” (read, the South-American countries supporting a coup in Venezuela) she will not answer any questions on the subject of the Essequibo, raised by the Guyana representative. Apparently the representative had already asked her about the related post-coup government’s intention. Or rather, officially, as she explains, “we will continue to uphold the line that we intend to appropriate ourselves of the Essequibo” – whereas they have already given it away to the American multinationals.

The current legitimate Venezuelan government has declared that the Neumann-Guaido’s arbitrary pronouncement on the Essequibo is evidence of treason by the ‘coupistas.’

Why Maduro allows Guaido’ to roam free in Venezuela, while he continues to plot for her subjugation by the US, is a puzzle for me and (I think) for those unfamiliar with the subtle tools of diplomacy. Though it is reasonable to guess that the more Guaido’ speaks and moves, the more he makes an ass of himself, hence discomposing his own cause – but it is only a supposition.

Given that Russia and China openly support and assist Venezuela, we may still hold some hope that evil may not prevail. While waiting for the verdict of time, that infallible controverter of false opinions.

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