BRI-LED REGIONALIZATION ROLLS ON AS GWADAR PORT OPENS AFGHAN TRADE TO THE WORLD

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

29 APRIL 2020

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated.

The speculative talk about the coronavirus supposedly signaling the impending end of globalization was thrown into doubt last week after Gwadar Port was opened to Afghanistan. That facility is the terminal point of the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will be used to facilitate trade with the South Asian state’s landlocked neighbor, according to the announcement by Abdul Razak Dawood, the adviser for commerce and investment to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He also said that “16,000 MT of diamonium phosphate and World Food Programme cargo of 500,000 MT of wheat for Afghanistan will arrive next month” and that “Ships from China will also offload at Gwadar.” This development is remarkable in more ways than one and thus deserves to be analyzed a bit more in depth in order for the reader to better understand its grand strategic significance in the context of contemporary geopolitics.

First off, it’s especially important that war-torn Afghanistan will receive much-needed aid through this port. Those supplies will help its people better survive the hardships that they’ve been experiencing for decades already, and they come at a crucial time when the country is struggling to counter COVID-19. Not only could Gwadar become a humanitarian lifeline for Afghanistan, but also an economic one too since it opens up its trade to the rest of the world and can therefore help it rebuild after the war finally ends.

The very fact that CPEC is expanding along the northern vector suggests that a branch corridor prospectively called N-CPEC+ could enter into fruition in the future if the project expands into the Central Asian Republics and even further afield to Russia, thus creating a new North-South connectivity corridor in the Eurasian Heartland. Even in the event that the aforementioned scenario doesn’t unfold right way, it’s still noteworthy that BRI’s flagship project is strengthening regionalization between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This objective observation powerfully refutes the rumors that globalization is destined to die due to the consequences of the world’s uncoordinated lockdowns in response to COVID-19. There will always be a need for countries to import whatever they can’t make at home and export the wares that they produce abroad, which in the Afghan context refers to agricultural imports and prospective mineral exports via CPEC. The present lockdowns will inevitably end, after which globalization will resume, bolstered by regionalization.

Regionalization and globalization are two sides of the same coin since they both involve international trade, albeit to differing geographic extents made obvious by their names. There’s some credence to the claims that regionalization will benefit more in the short term than globalization, though the success of regionalization would strengthen globalization through the creation of more consolidated economic spaces. In the present example, CPEC brings China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan closer together, thus boosting trade between all three.

The successful opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan lays the basis for expanding this trade network to Central Asia and Russia via N-CPEC+, as was earlier explained, which sets a positive example for how BRI-led regionalization can rejuvenate globalization after the coronavirus is finally defeated. Both interconnected trends are pivotal to the world’s economic recovery, and seeing as how they’re being championed by China, it can be said that the People’s Republic is taking the leading role in helping humanity return back to normal.

With all of this in mind, while casual observers might have dismissed the opening of Gwadar Port to Afghanistan as an unimportant event compared to everything else going on in the world nowadays (if they were even aware of it in the first place, that is), it’s actually one of the most significant non-health-related developments of the year. China showed that its desire to create a Community of Common Destiny through BRI hasn’t slowed down as a result of the virus, which speaks to its commitment to carry through with this noble vision no matter what.

Russia Threatens Massive Response if US Deploys Low-Yield Nukes on Subs

Russia Threatens Massive Response if US Deploys Low-Yield Nukes on Subs

By staff, Agencies

Russia is warning that any US attempt to use a low-yield nuclear weapon against a Russian target would set off a massive nuclear response.

The Russian foreign ministry was reacting to a State Department paper released last week that says placing low-yield nuclear weapons on ballistic missiles launched from submarines would counter what it sees as possible new threats from both Russia and China.

Experts describe a low-yield weapon as the kind the United States dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

The US State Department asserts that the low-yield weapons “reduce the risk of nuclear war by reinforcing extended deterrence and assurance.”

It alleges Russia is considering using such nonstrategic nuclear arms in a limited war. 

Russia denies it is a threat to the US and accuses Washington of “lowering the nuclear threshold.”

“Any attack involving a US submarine-launched ballistic missile [SLBM], regardless of its weapon specifications, would be perceived as a nuclear aggression,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday. “Those who like to theorize about the flexibility of American nuclear potential must understand that in line with the Russian military doctrine such actions are seen as warranting retaliatory use of nuclear weapons by Russia.”

Russia says it wants to extend the 2010 New START treaty limiting the number of deployed nuclear missiles, warheads, and bombers along with strict inspection regimes. The pact is set to expire next year.

The Trump administration says it wants a new arms control agreement that also includes China — which Russia calls impractical.

OPCW’s Own Scientists Say OPCW Is Now Just a U.S.-Propaganda Agency

OPCW’s Own Scientists Say OPCW Is Now Just a U.S.-Propaganda Agency

April 29, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog

The formerly respected global authority on whether or not a chemical-weapons attack has occurred, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, has now so continuously ignored its own hired expert investigators, so that in an April 28th news-report, at “The Gray Zone” investigative-news site, anonymous “OPCW Insiders” have issued a public statement saying that:

A number of impartial and principled professionals no longer wish to be associated with the politically motivated reports being issued by the OPCW FFM  [Fact-Finding Mission] and now the IIT [Investigation and Identification Team]. Many consider this work and these reports to be procedurally and scientifically flawed. Some of us believe they should not be seen as representing the work of OPCW inspectors at all.

The recent publication of the IIT report into alleged chemical attacks at Ltamenah [in Syria — a country whose non-sectarian Government the U.S. regime has been trying since 2009 to overthrow and replace by a fundamentalist-Sunni government that would be controlled by the Saudson March 24, 25 and 30 2017, has highlighted again the misuse of the OPCW by influential state parties to further their political and foreign affairs objectives.

The news-reports that are listed below provide the essential background to this, indicating that the “influential state parties” which are being referred-to are the U.S. and its allied regimes (such as UK).

If the quoted statement is, in fact, a leak by “OPCW Insiders,” as “The Gray Zone” alleges, then it’s yet another nail in the coffin of the OPCW’s international credibility. Coming after a lengthy string of such OPCW scandals as are documented in the below-listed articles, all international funding organizations will then cancel their commitments to OPCW, except for organizations that represent the U.S. regime; and, then, the only international organizations that will continue to publicize the ‘findings’ from the OPCW will be organizations that themselves are agencies of the U.S. regime.

In that case, of course, no national delegations to the United Nations, except ones that represent regimes which themselves likewise front for (are vassals of) the U.S. regime, will continue to cite OPCW ‘findings’, in any other way than to deny the credibility of OPCW reports.

The background on all of this, including an explanation of what the main objectives of the U.S. regime are in Syria — what the purposes of this OPCW propaganda against Syria’s Government are — is provided here.

And, now, following, are the news-reports that describe the events building up to the “OPCW Insiders” statement, that “Some of us believe they should not be seen as representing the work of OPCW inspectors at all” (these events will be listed starting with the latest, and working backwards in time, to the earliest):

“As an employee of the OPCW I was horrified” 12 March 2020

“Deluge Of New Leaks Further Shreds The Establishment Syria Narrative” 15 December 2019

“Fresh Evidence that UN Watchdog Suppressed Evidence Casting Doubt on Assad Gas Attack” 15 December 2019

“New WikiLeaks Bombshell: 20 Inspectors Dissent From Syria Chemical Attack Narrative” 14 December 2019

“Newsweek reporter resigns after accusing outlet of SUPPRESSING story about OPCW leak that undermines Syria ‘gas attack’ narrative” 8 December 2019

“Second whistleblower exposes cover-up at OPCW & Syria chemical weapons report (Video)” 16 November 2019

“SUPPRESSED OPCW FINDING: War-Crime Likely Perpetrated by U.S. Against Syria on 14 April 2018 (Update)” 19 May 2019

“A memo from a member of the OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) in Douma to the OPCW Director General Fernando Arais” 14 March 2019

“Douma Videos and Photos” 24 April 2018

“Did Al Qaeda Dupe Trump on Syrian Attack?” 9 November 2017

“The Trumped-Up Syria-Sarin Case” 4 November 2017

“UN On Khan Sheikhoun – Victims Hospitalized BEFORE Claimed Incident Happened” 29 October 2017

“The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels” 17 April 2014

“Possible Implications of Faulty US Technical Intelligence in the Damascus Nerve Agent Attack of August 21, 2013” 14 January 2014

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Al-Jaafari urges Security Council to adopt deterrent action against the countries supporting terrorism in Syria

Source

Wednesday, 29 April 2020 19:30

NEW YORK’ (ST )-Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bashar al-Jaafari has urged the Security Council to adopt deterrent action against the countries that have been supporting terrorism in Syria and called for backing the Syrian state’s counterterrorism efforts in order to complete the process of restoring security and stability in the country and achieving a Syrian-led political solution.

Al-Jaafari, who was speaking during a UN Security Council session on the situation in Syria via video, said that besides not abiding by its obligations pursuant to Astana and Sochi agreements and supporting the terrorist organizations, the Turkish regime tries to enhance its illegal presence on Syrian territories through sending reinforcements and convoys carrying weapons and heavy military equipment on a daily basis to its occupying forces and to the terrorists.

He referred to the Turkish Defense Minister’s infiltration into Idleb province to hold meetings with leaders of the terrorist groups in an attempt to continue investing in terrorism. 

 In a flagrant violation of international laws, the Turkish regime has deployed Turkish air defense systems in Idleb and supplied its occupying forces with US Hawk anti-aircraft missiles, al-Jaafari went on to say, warning of the threat that may result if the Turkish air defense means fall into the hands of terrorist organizations in Idleb.

Al-Jaafari pointed out that the terrorist organizations took advantage of the period of calm following  the Moscow agreement and the world’s preoccupation with efforts to confront the Corona epidemic, to reorganize its forces with the support of the American and Turkish occupation troops. He pointed out that Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization announced mid-this month that it has reorganized its ranks and formed three new brigades in preparation for  the coming confrontations in the northwest of Syria.

He also said that the Turkish regime is currently expanding its sponsorship of terrorism by openly recruiting foreign and Syrian terrorists and sending them to Libya, pointing out that the regime has transported thousands of terrorists by Turkish planes to Libya. He noted that this Turkish behavior poses a serious threat to the security of Europe and the world.

The senior Syrian diplomat affirmed Syria’s adherence to its sovereignty and territorial integrity, reiterating the country’s determination to liberate its territories from occupation be it the American, the Turkish, or the Israeli occupation or the terrorist organizations.

He reiterated that the presence of any foreign troops on Syrian territories without the permission of the Syrian government is considered as an aggression and occupation and that Syria will deal with this presence in accordance with its national constitution.

Hamda Mustafa

Deadly Afrin Explosion: Fratricide or NATO False Flag?

Rouhani to US: Our Waterway Is Not ‘New York or Washington’ Gulf

Rouhani to US: Our Waterway Is Not ‘New York or Washington’ Gulf

By Staff, Agencies

In light of Washington’s incessant acts of military adventurism in the Gulf region, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has once again reminded the United States to whom the waterway truly belongs.

“The Americans should know that this waterway is called ‘the Persian Gulf.’ It is not called ‘the New York Gulf’ or ‘the Washington Gulf,’” Rouhani told a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday, in remarks on the occasion of the National Persian Gulf Day.

“They should understand the circumstances [surrounding the body of water] by taking into consideration both its name and the nation that has preserved it for thousands of years, and, therefore, stop hatching plots against the Iranian nation every day,” Rouhani stated.

The Americans, he added, can clearly witness how the Iranian nation has been and continues to be successful in all areas, including providing security for the maritime area.

The Iranian Armed Forces, including the naval forces serving either the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] or the Army, as well as the forces enlisted with Iran’s Law Enforcement Force and volunteer Basij force have invariably guaranteed the security of the waterways and its coastline, Rouhani explained.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump alleged in a recent tweet that he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that “harass” American ships, following a recent confrontation between US warships and Iranian military boats in the waters.

The IRGC denounced the American vessels for their “unprofessional and perilous” behavior in the waterway, and said they had “caused trouble” for one of the elite force’s logistics ships that was on a routine patrol.

رياض سلامة: رجاءً… ارحلْ

رياض سلامة: رجاءً... ارحلْ!

ابراهيم الأمين 

الخميس 30 نيسان 2020

يتعامل رياض سلامة مع الإعلام بكلّ ما يضمن له اللعب ضمن المربّع الذي يريد. فهو، منذ تولّيه منصبه، لم يخرج إلى الإعلام بشروط الإعلام والشفافية، بل وفقاً لشروطه هو. ولطالما كانت مقابلاته التلفزيونية «مهندسة» تماماً، وهامش المفاجأة فيها شبه معدوم. كما بقية مقابلاته الصحافية التي تقع تحت عنوان «مدفوع الأجر».

أمس، هرب سلامة، مجدّداً، من الأسئلة المتراكمة أمامه منذ ربع قرن. الأسئلة التي تحاكي من يفترض به لعب دور تعزيز الاقتصاد المنتج لا الاقتصاد الريعي. وهو واحد من مهندسي الاقتصاد الريعي، وابن أصيل لمدرسة الرأسمال الاستهلاكي الذي قاد العالم منذ ثمانينات القرن الماضي. وكان رفيق الحريري وجهه الشرق أوسطي، وسلامة حيلته النقدية. طار الحريري وطارت معه الرؤوس والحكومات والسلطات، لكنّ سلامة بقي في موقعه. يريدون إقناع العالم بأن الجماهير كانت تتظاهر يومياً لبقائه. ويريدون لنا أن ننسى أنه الركن الثابت في سلطة تمثّل جميع وجوه النظام البائس، وأن نتجاهل كونه ممثل الرأسمالية العالمية في بلادنا، والوديعة الحقيقية للنظام الاقتصادي الاستعماري الذي تقوده أميركا في العالم.

لم يقبل سلامة يوماً المثول أمام لجنة عامة في مناظرة عامة. هو لا يقف في وجه خصم له. ولا يناقش علناً معارضين لسياساته. يُحضّر الأسئلة التي تناسبه ويقدّم الإجابات التي لا مجال لمناقشتها، مثله مثل رجال الدين في عظاتهم وخطبهم الأسبوعية. يقفون على منابر أعلى من الناس المصطفّين للاستماع من دون نقاش. سلامة لا يحبّ إلا هذا النوع من التواصل مع الناس. وهذا ما يوجب عليه معرفة أنه لا مجال لاحتساب ما يقوله. بل يمكن احتساب ما يفعله فقط، وما يصلنا منه على شكل نتائج. وبالتالي، عليه توقّع الأفعال المضادّة لسياساته بالطريقة التي تناسب خصومه، ووفق المسرح الذي يختاره هؤلاء، وبشروطهم، طالما أنه قرّر اللعب بنظام الركلات الترجيحية وعن بُعد.
كان على سلامة الإجابة عن أسئلة حقيقيّة تُطرح في وجهه طوال الوقت، وليس خلال الأشهر الماضية:
– كم كانت كلفة سياسة تثبيت سعر الصرف على الاقتصاد كلياً، وعلى القوة الشرائية للعملة الوطنية؟

كم كانت سياسة الفوائد عامل تنشيط للاقتصاد الحقيقي؟ وكم وفّرت من فرص عمل جدّيّة؟ وكم خفّفت من عجز الميزان التجاري؟

كم كانت مفيدة سياسة تفريخ المصارف مثل النقابات والدكاكين؟ وكم كانت مفيدة سياسة استخدام المال العام لمصلحة مُرابين تخلّوا عن زبائنهم عند أول مفترق؟

كم كانت هندساتك المالية مفيدة في حماية مصارف سقطت بالضربة القاضية، وأفلست حتى ولو رفضت هي وأنت إشهار إفلاسها؟

– كم كانت سياسات الدعم ناجعة في خلق اقتصاد منتج، لا حماية لمنظومة استهلاك تافهة تعرف اليوم أنها لا تفيد في شيء؟

كم كنت أميناً لعمليات التطوير واللحاق بالعصر في مجال العمل المصرفي تحديداً، وكم سهّلت انتقال النظام المصرفي عندنا ليصير شبيهاً بما يجري في دول قريبة لا في العالم الحرّ المتقدّم الذي تعشقه أنت ورفاقك؟

كم مرّة استخدمت صلاحياتك لكبح جماح المُرابين من حولك، على الأقل بالتوازن مع استخدامك المُفرط لصلاحياتك من أجل تعزيز نفوذهم وأرباحهم، إلا إذا كنت شريكاً فعلياً لهم؟

كم مرّة فكّرت أن العمل العام له نظام وإطار زمني، وأنه يجب التقاعد الطوعي لا الإخراج القسري المحتوم – كما هو متوقّع الآن – حيث لا تنفع معك لا مساعي الشركاء من زعماء الطوائف، ولا رشاوى المُرابين من حولك، ولا دعاء رجال الدين المتملّقين لك بصورة مُهينة، ولا ضغوط العم سام.

أمس، هرب سلامة، مجدّداً، من الأسئلة المتراكمة أمامه منذ ربع قرن

رياض سلامة يعرف، ولا يجرؤ على القول، بأنّ أزمة نظامه هو، لا أزمة النظام في لبنان، قد تفاقمت يوم قرّر الأميركيون بالمشاركة مع السعودية ممارسة أقسى الضغوط على لبنان. هو لا يريد أن يقول لنا حجم تأثير اعتقال السعودية لسعد الحريري على التحويلات المالية، ولا كم كلّفتنا عملية التجديد له في منصبه. كما لا يريد القول لنا كم هرّب أترابه في العام الأخير من أموال إلى الخارج بعلمه وتحت رعايته. ولا يريد أن يقول لنا ما هو الحجم الفعلي للقطاع المصرفي اليوم، وما الصالح منه للبقاء. كما أنه لا يريد أن يقول لنا الرقم السحري الخاص بكمية المبالغ التي مرّت عليه خلال ربع قرن، ومن أين أتت وإلى أين ذهبت، لا أن يكتفي بتعداد ما أنفقته الدولة ولو ضمن برامج خاطئة.

رياض سلامة: كل عمليات التجميل لم تعد تنفع، رجاءً… ارحلْ!

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Yemeni Armed Forces Liberate 95% of al-Jawf: Our Strategic Options Will Make the Enemy Regret its Escalation

Yemeni Armed Forces Liberate 95% of al-Jawf: Our Strategic Options Will Make the Enemy Regret its Escalation

Translated by Staff

Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Yehya Saree announced the liberation of the 95% of al-Jawf Province.

In an interview with Yemeni al-Masirah network, Brigadier General Saree announced that the latest phase of the “Operation Allah Empowered You over Them” included cleansing several camps in the province, naming al-Labinat, al-Aqsha’, al-Khasf, and nearby areas in al-Maraziq and al-Mahashima.

The spokesman further confirmed that the number of those killed among the aggression forces over the course of the aforementioned operation was 1200 militants.

Saree also explained that the recently liberated area stretches over 3500 square kilometers, which means the entire al-Hazm Desert as well as areas in Khabb and al-Shaaf.

He also pointed out that al-Jawf Desert has been used as the most important hideout of the US-Saudi-Emirati-backed so-called al-Qaeda and Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group].

“The importance of the al-Labinat Camp is that it was the last stronghold of the mercenaries in al-Jawf and it is a key to enter Marib Province,” Saree added.

The Yemeni Armed Forces Spokesman further stated that the forces of aggression have been hugely escalating their attacks in the previous period and the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees have been responding to them.

“We have strategic options that will make the enemy regret its escalation. They have to bear the consequences,” Saree emphasized.

Brigadier General Saree also noted that the aggression’s warplanes have waged more than 256 airstrikes against al-Jawf Province between March and April.

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