Rise and Decline of the Welfare State in America

Global Research, December 11, 2017

 The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973.  Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Between the mid 1970’s to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted.  ‘Workfare’  (under President ‘Bill’ Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers.  Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

What started as incremental reversals during the 1990’s under Clinton has snowballed over the last two decades decimating welfare legislation and institutions.

 The earlier welfare ‘reforms’ and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East.

In the 1940’s through the 1960’s, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ‘social imperialism’, which ‘buy off’ the working class while expanding the empire.  However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health.

New Deals and Big Wars

The 1930’s witnessed the advent of social legislation and action, which laid the foundations of what is called the ‘modern welfare state’.

Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership.  Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility.

Author Prof. James Petras (right)

Social Security legislation was approved along with workers’ compensation and the forty-hour workweek.  Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.).  Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers.  Workplace shop steward councils organized ‘on the spot’ job action to protect safe working conditions.

World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers’ collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war.

The post-war period witnessed a contradictory process:  wages and salaries increased while legislation curtailed union rights via the Taft Hartley Act and the McCarthyist purge of leftwing trade union activists.  So-called ‘right to work’ laws effectively outlawed unionization mostly in southern states, which drove industries to relocate to the anti-union states.

Welfare reforms, in the form of the GI bill, provided educational opportunities for working class and rural veterans, while federal-subsidized low interest mortgages encourage home-ownership, especially for veterans.

The New Deal created concrete improvements but did not consolidate labor influence at any level.  Capitalists and management still retained control over capital, the workplace and plant location of production.

Trade union officials signed pacts with capital:  higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses.  Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (“thirty hours work for forty hours pay”).  Dissident local unions were seized and gutted by the trade union bosses – sometimes through violence.

Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism.  Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations.  While unionized workers’ incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow.  With the end of the GI bill, veterans’ access to high-quality subsidized education declined.

 While a new wave of social welfare legislation and programs began in the 1960’s and early 1970’s it was no longer a result of a mass trade union or workers’ “class struggle”.  Moreover, trade union collaboration with the capitalist regional war policies led to the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of workers in two wars – the Korean and Vietnamese wars.

Much of social legislation resulted from the civil and welfare rights movements.  While specific programs were helpful, none of them addressed structural racism and poverty.

The Last Wave of Social Welfarism

The 1960’a witnessed the greatest racial war in modern US history:  Mass movements in the South and North rocked state and federal governments, while advancing the cause of civil, social and political rights.  Millions of black citizens, joined by white activists and, in many cases, led by African American Viet Nam War veterans, confronted the state.  At the same time, millions of students and young workers, threatened by military conscription, challenged the military and social order.

Energized by mass movements, a new wave of social welfare legislation was launched by the federal government to pacify mass opposition among blacks, students, community organizers and middle class Americans.  Despite this mass popular movement, the union bosses at the AFL-CIO openly supported the war, police repression and the military, or at best, were passive impotent spectators of the drama unfolding in the nation’s streets.  Dissident union members and activists were the exception, as many had multiple identities to represent: African American, Hispanic, draft resisters, etc.

Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, the EPA and multiple poverty programs were implemented.  A national health program, expanding Medicare for all Americans, was introduced by President Nixon and sabotaged by the Kennedy Democrats and the AFL-CIO.   Overall, social and economic inequalities diminished during this period.

The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the American militarist empire.  This coincided with the beginning of the end of social welfare as we knew it – as the bill for militarism placed even greater demands on the public treasury.

With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline.  The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the “Volker Plan” – freezing workers’ wages as a means to combat inflation.

Guns without butter’ became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations.  The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations.

The Debacle of Welfarism

Private sector trade union membership declined from a post-world war peak of 30% falling to 12% in the 1990’s.   Today it has sunk to 7%.  Capitalists embarked on a massive program of closing thousands of factories in the unionized North which were then relocated to the non-unionized low wage southern states and then overseas to Mexico and Asia.  Millions of stable jobs disappeared.

Following the election of ‘Jimmy Carter’, neither Democratic nor Republican Presidents felt any need to support labor organizations.   On the contrary, they facilitated contracts dictated by management, which reduced wages, job security, benefits and social welfare.

 The anti-labor offensive from the ‘Oval Office’ intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders.  Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services.  Health care inflation was astronomical.  Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks.  De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor’s share of national income.

The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance.  Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy.

The ‘New Deal’ was, at best, a de facto ‘historical compromise’ between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite.  It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives.

The Second World War secured the economic recovery for capital and subordinated labor through a federally mandated no strike production agreement. There were a few notable exceptions:  The coal miners’ union organized strikes in strategic sectors and some leftist leaders and organizers encouraged slow-downs, work to rule and other in-plant actions when employers ran roughshod with special brutality over the workers.  The recovery of capital was the prelude to a post-war offensive against independent labor-based political organizations.  The quality of labor organization declined even as the quantity of trade union membership increased.

Labor union officials consolidated internal control in collaboration with the capitalist elite.  Capitalist class-labor official collaboration was extended overseas with strategic consequences.

The post-war corporate alliance between the state and capital led to a global offensive – the replacement of European-Japanese colonial control and exploitation by US business and bankers.  Imperialism was later ‘re-branded’ as ‘globalization’.  It pried open markets, secured cheap docile labor and pillaged resources for US manufacturers and importers.

US labor unions played a major role by sabotaging militant unions abroad in cooperation with the US security apparatus:  They worked to coopt and bribe nationalist and leftist labor leaders and supported police-state regime repression and assassination of recalcitrant militants.

Hand in bloody glove’ with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home.  The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers.  Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home.

Labor union officials had laid the groundwork for the demise of stable jobs and social benefits for American workers.  Their collaboration increased the rate of capitalist profit and overall power in the political system.  Their complicity in the brutal purges of militants, activists and leftist union members and leaders at home and abroad put an end to labor’s capacity to sustain and expand the welfare state.

 Trade unions in the US did not use their collaboration with empire in its bloody regional wars to win social benefits for the rank and file workers.  The time of social-imperialism, where workers within the empire benefited from imperialism’s pillage, was over.  Gains in social welfare henceforth could result only from mass struggles led by the urban poor, especially Afro-Americans, community-based working poor and militant youth organizers.

 The last significant social welfare reforms were implemented in the early 1970’s – coinciding with the end of the Vietnam War (and victory for the Vietnamese people) and ended with the absorption of the urban and anti-war movements into the Democratic Party.

Henceforward the US corporate state advanced through the overseas expansion of the multi-national corporations and via large-scale, non-unionized production at home.

The technological changes of this period did not benefit labor.   The belief, common in the 1950’s, that science and technology would increase leisure, decrease work and improve living standards for the working class, was shattered.  Instead technological changes displaced well-paid industrial labor while increasing the number of mind-numbing, poorly paid, and politically impotent jobs in the so-called ‘service sector’ – a rapidly growing section of unorganized and vulnerable workers – especially including women and minorities.

Labor union membership declined precipitously.  The demise of the USSR and China’s turn to capitalism had a dual effect:  It eliminated collectivist (socialist) pressure for social welfare and opened their labor markets with cheap, disciplined workers for foreign manufacturers. Labor as a political force disappeared on every count.  The US Federal Reserve and President ‘Bill’ Clinton deregulated financial capital leading to a frenzy of speculation.  Congress wrote laws, which permitted overseas tax evasion – especially in Caribbean tax havens.  Regional free-trade agreements, like NAFTA, spurred the relocation of jobs abroad.  De-industrialization accompanied the decline of wages, living standards and social benefits for millions of American workers.

The New Abolitionists:  Trillionaires

The New Deal, the Great Society, trade unions, and the anti-war and urban movements were in retreat and primed for abolition.

 Wars without welfare (or guns without butter) replaced earlier ‘social imperialism’ with a huge growth of poverty and homelessness.  Domestic labor was now exploited to finance overseas wars not vice versa.  The fruits of imperial plunder were not shared.

As the working and middle classes drifted downward, they were used up, abandoned and deceived on all sides – especially by the Democratic Party.  They elected militarists and demagogues as their new presidents.

President ‘Bill’ Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street.   His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard ‘Bernie’ Madoff.

Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor ‘workfare’, exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty.  Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities.

Provoked by an act of terrorism (9/11) President G.W. Bush Jr. launched the ‘endless’ wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and deepened the police state (Patriot Act).   Wages for American workers and profits for American capitalist moved in opposite directions.

The Great Financial Crash of 2008-2011 shook the paper economy to its roots and led to the greatest shakedown of any national treasury in history directed by the First Black American President.  Trillions of public wealth were funneled into the criminal banks on Wall Street – which were ‘just too big to fail.’  Millions of American workers and homeowners, however, were ‘just too small to matter’.

The Age of Demagogues

President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush’s two overseas wars to Obama’s seven.

Obama’s electoral ‘donor-owners’ stashed away two trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and looked forward to global free trade pacts – pushed by the eloquent African American President.

Obama was elected to two terms.   His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders.  Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ‘values’.

Obama’s war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe.

Obamacare’, his imitation of an earlier Republican governor’s health plan, was formulated by the private corporate health industry (private insurance, Big Pharma and the for-profit hospitals), to mandate enrollment and ensure triple digit profits with double digit increases in premiums.  By the 2016 Presidential elections, ‘Obama-care’ was opposed by a  45%-43% margin of the American people.   Obama’s propagandists could not show any improvement of life expectancy or decrease in infant and maternal mortality as a result of his ‘health care reform’.    Indeed the opposite occurred among the marginalized working class in the old ‘rust belt’ and in the rural areas.  This failure to show any significant health improvement for the masses of Americans is in stark contrast to LBJ’s Medicare program of the 1960’s, which continues to receive massive popular support.

Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump

 Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system:  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.   The remains of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society— are on the chopping block.

The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state.  The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the ‘Great Society’s’ gravediggers, while wailing at Trump’s allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave.

Conclusion

Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ‘labor movement’ has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ‘strike-breaker’Reagan, ‘workfare’ Clinton, ‘Wall Street crash’Bush, ‘Wall Street savior’ Obama and ‘Trickle-down’Trump.

Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire.  The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the ‘Great Financial Meltdown’ of the 21st century.

The war economy no longer fuels social welfare.  The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations.  Profits rise while wages fall.  Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor.  Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history.  The first trillionaire and multi-billionaire tax evaders rose on the backs of a miserable standing army of tens of millions of low-wage workers, stripped of rights and representation.  State subsidies eliminate virtually all risk to capital.   The end of social welfare coerced labor (including young mother with children) to seek insecure low-income employment while slashing education and health – cementing the feet of generations into poverty.  Regional wars abroad have depleted the Treasury and robbed the country of productive investment.  Economic imperialism exports profits, reversing the historic relation of the past.

 Labor is left without compass or direction; it flails in all directions and falls deeper in the web of deception and demagogy.  To escape from Reagan and the strike breakers, labor embraced the cheap-labor predator Clinton; black and white workers united to elect Obama who expelled millions of immigrant workers, pursued 7 wars, abandoned black workers and enriched the already filthy rich.  Deception and demagogy of the labor-liberals bred the ugly and unlikely plutocrat-populist demagogue:  labor voted for Trump.

 The demise of welfare and the rise of the opioid epidemic killing close to one million (mostly working class) Americans occurred mostly under Democratic regimes. The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump’s mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class.

 Who will the Democrats choose as their next demagogue champion to challenge the ‘Donald’ – one who will speak to the ‘deplorables’ and work for the trillionaires?

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America’s Enemies, Who’s On the List?

Prospects and Perspectives

Global Research, November 24, 2017

For almost 2 decades, the US pursued a list of ‘enemy countries’ to confront, attack, weaken and overthrow. 

This imperial quest to overthrow ‘enemy countries’ operated at various levels of intensity, depending on two considerations:  the level of priority and the degree of vulnerability for a ‘regime change’ operation.

The criteria for determining an ‘enemy country’ and its place on the list of priority targets in the US quest for greater global dominance, as well as its vulnerability to a ‘successfully’ regime change will be the focus of this essay.

We will conclude by discussing the realistic perspectives of future imperial options.

Prioritizing US Adversaries

Imperial strategists consider military, economic and political criteria in identifying high priority adversaries.

The following are high on the US ‘enemy list’:

1) Russia, because of its military power, is a nuclear counterweight to US global domination.  It has a huge, well-equipped armed force with a European, Asian and Middle East presence.  Its global oil and gas resources shield it from US economic blackmail and its growing geo-political alliances limit US expansion.

2) China, because of its global economic power and the growing scope of its trade, investment and technological networks.  China’s growing defensive military capability, particularly with regard to protecting its interests in the South China Sea serve to counter US domination in Asia.

3) North Korea, because of its nuclear and ballistic missile capability, its fierce independent foreign policies and its strategic geo-political location, is seen as a threat to the US military bases in Asia and Washington’s regional allies and proxies.

4) Venezuela, because of its oil resources and socio-political policies, challenge the US centered neo-liberal model in Latin America.

5) Iran, because of its oil resources, political independence and geo-political alliances in the Middle East, challenge US, Israeli and Saudi Arabia domination of the region and present an independent alternative.

6) Syria, because of its strategic position in the Middle East, its secular nationalist ruling party and its alliances with Iran, Palestine, Iraq and Russia, is a counterweight to US-Israeli plans to balkanize the Middle East into warring ethno-tribal states.

US  Middle-level Adversaries :

1)  Cuba, because of its independent foreign policies and its alternative socio-economic system stands in contrast to the US-centered neo-liberal regimes in the Caribbean, Central and South America.

2) Lebanon, because of its strategic location on the Mediterranean and the coalition government’s power sharing arrangement with the political party, Hezbollah, which is increasingly influential in Lebanese civil society in part because of its militia’s proven capacity to protect Lebanese national sovereignty by expelling the invading Israeli army and helping to defeat the ISIS/al Queda mercenaries in neighboring Syria.

3) Yemen, because of its independent, nationalist Houthi-led movement opposed to the Saudi-imposed puppet government as well as its relations with Iran.

Low Level Adversaries

1) Bolivia, because of its independent foreign policy, support for the Chavista government in Venezuela and advocacy of a mixed economy;  mining wealth and  defense of indigenous people’s territorial claims.

2) Nicaragua, because of its independent foreign policy and criticism of US aggression toward Cuba and Venezuela.

US hostility to high priority adversaries is expressed through economic sanctions military encirclement, provocations and intense propaganda wars toward North Korea, Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Syria.

Because of China’s powerful global market linkages, the US has applied few sanctions.  Instead, the US relies on military encirclement, separatist provocations and intense hostile propaganda when dealing with China.

Priority Adversaries, Low Vulnerability and Unreal Expectations

With the exception of Venezuela, Washington’s ‘high priority targets’ have limited strategic vulnerabilities. Venezuela is the most vulnerable because of its high dependence on oil revenues with its major refineries located in the US, and its high levels of indebtedness, verging on default.   In addition, there are the domestic opposition groups, all acting as US clients and Caracas’ growing isolation within Latin America due to orchestrated hostility by important US clients, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico.

Iran is far less vulnerable: It is a strong strategic regional military power linked to neighboring countries and similar religious-nationalist movements.  Despite its dependence on oil exports, Iran has developed alternative markets, like China, free from US blackmail and is relatively safe from US or EU initiated creditor attacks.

North Korea, despite the crippling economic sanctions imposed on its regime and civilian population, has ‘the bomb’ as a deterrent to a US military attack and has shown no reluctance to defend itself.  Unlike Venezuela, neither Iran nor North Korea face significant internal attacks from US-funded or armed domestic opposition.

Russia has full military capacity – nuclear weapons, ICBM and a huge, well-trained armed force – to deter any direct US military threat.  Moscow is politically vulnerable to US-backed propaganda, opposition political parties and Western-funded NGO’s.  Russian oligarch-billionaires, linked to London and Wall Street, exercise some pressure against independent economic initiatives.

To a limited degree, US sanctions exploited Russia’s earlier dependence on Western markets, butsince the imposition of draconian sanctions by the Obama regime, Moscow has effectively counteredWashington’s offensive by diversifying its markets to Asia and strengthening domestic self-reliance in its agriculture, industry and high technology.

China has a world-class economy and is on course to become the world’s economic leader.  Feeble threats to ‘sanction’ China have merely exposed Washington’s weakness rather intimidating Beijing.  China has countered US military provocations and threats by expanding its economic market power, increasing its strategic military capacity and shedding dependence on the dollar.

Washington’s high priority targets are not vulnerable to frontal attack: They retain or are increasing their domestic cohesion and economic networks, while upgrading their military capacity to impose completely unacceptable costs on the US for any direct assault.

As a result, the US leaders are forced to rely on incremental, peripheral and proxy attacks with limited results against its high priority adversaries.

Washington will tighten sanctions on North Korea and Venezuela, with dubious prospects of success in the former and a possible pyrrhic victory in the case of Caracas. Iran and Russia can easily overcome proxy interventions.  US allies, like Saudi Arabia and Israel, can badger, propagandize and rail the Persians, but their fears that an out-and-out war against Iran, could quickly destroy Riyadh and Tel Aviv forces them to work in tandem to induce the corrupt US political establishment to push for war over the objections of a war-weary US military and population. Saudi and Israelis can bomb and starve the populations of Yemen and Gaza, which lack any capacity to reply in kind, but Teheran is another matter.

The politicians and propagandists in Washington can blather about Russia’s interference in the US’s corrupt electoral theater and scuttle moves to improve diplomatic ties, but they cannot counter Russia’s growing influence in the Middle East and its expanding trade with Asia, especially China.

In summary, at the global level, the US ‘priority’ targets are unattainable and invulnerable.  In the midst of the on-going inter-elite dogfight within the US, it may be too much to hope for the emergence of any rational policymakers in Washington who could rethink strategic priorities and calibrate policies of mutual accommodation to fit in with global realities.

Medium and Low Priorities, Vulnerabilities and Expectations

Washington can intervene and perhaps inflict severe damage on middle and low priority countries.  However, there are several drawbacks to a full-scale attack.

Yemen, Cuba, Lebanon, Bolivia and Syria are not nations capable of shaping global political and economic alignments.  The most the US can secure in these vulnerable countries are destructive regime changes with massive loss of life, infrastructure and millions of desperate refugees . . . but at great political cost, with prolonged instability and with severe economic losses.

Yemen

The US can push for a total Saudi Royal victory over the starving, cholera-stricken people of Yemen.  But who benefits?  Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a palace upheaval and has no ability to exercise hegemony, despite hundreds of billions of  dollars of US/NATO arms, trainers and bases.  Colonial occupations are costly and yield few, if any, economic benefits, especially from a poor, geographically isolated devastated nation like Yemen.

Cuba

Cuba has a powerful highly professional military backed by a million-member militia.  They are capable of prolonged resistance and can count on international support.  A US invasion of Cuba would require a prolonged occupation and heavy losses.  Decades of economic sanctions haven’t worked and their re-imposition by Trump have not affected the key tourist growth sectors.

President Trump’s ‘symbolic hostility’ does not cut any ice with the major US agro-business groups, which saw Cuba as a market. Over half of the so-called ‘overseas Cubans’ now oppose direct US intervention.

US-funded NGOs can provide some marginal propaganda points but they cannot reverse popular support for Cuba’s mixed ‘socialized’ economy, its excellent public education and health care and its independent foreign policy.

Lebanon

A joint US-Saudi economic blockade and Israeli bombs can destabilize Lebanon.  However, a full-scale prolonged Israeli invasion will cost Jewish lives and foment domestic unrest.  Hezbollah has missiles to counter Israeli bombs.  The Saudi economic blockade will radicalize Lebanese nationalists, especially among the Shia and the Christian populations.  The Washington’s ‘invasion’ of Libya, which did not lose a single US soldier, demonstrates that destructive invasions result in long-term, continent-wide chaos.

A US-Israeli-Saudi war would totally destroy Lebanon but it will destabilize the region and exacerbate conflicts in neighboring countries – Syria, Iran and possibly Iraq.  And Europe will be flooded with millions more desperate refugees.

Syria

The US-Saudi proxy war in Syria suffered serious defeats and the loss of political assets.  Russia gained influence, bases and allies.  Syria retained its sovereignty and forged a battle-hardened national armed force.  Washington can sanction Syria, grab some bases in a few phony ‘Kurdish enclaves’ but it will not advance beyond a stalemate and will be widely viewed as an occupying invader.

Syria is vulnerable and continues to be a middle-range target on the US enemy list but it offers few prospects of advancing US imperial power, beyond some limited ties with an unstable Kurd enclave, susceptible to internecine warfare, and risking major Turkish retaliation.

Bolivia and Nicaragua

Bolivia and Nicaragua are minor irritants on the US enemy list. US regional policymakers recognize that neither country exercises global or even regional power.  Moreover, both regimes rejected radical politics in practice and co-exist with powerful and influential local oligarchs and international MNC’s linked to the US.

Their foreign policy critiques, which are mostly for domestic consumption, are neutralized by the near total US influence in the OAS and the major neo-liberal regimes in Latin America.  It appears that the US will accommodate these marginalized rhetorical adversaries rather than risk provoking any revival of radical nationalist or socialist mass movements erupting in La Paz or Managua.

Conclusion

A brief examination of Washington’s ‘list of enemies’ reveals that the limited chances of success even among vulnerable targets.  Clearly, in this evolving world power configuration, US money and markets will not alter the power equation.

US allies, like Saudi Arabia, spend enormous amounts of money attacking a devastated nation, but they destroy markets while losing wars.  Powerful adversaries, like China, Russia and Iran, are not vulnerable and offer the Pentagon few prospects of military conquest in the foreseeable future.

Sanctions, or economic wars have failed to subdue adversaries in North Korea, Russia, Cuba and Iran.  The ‘enemy list’ has cost the US prestige, money and markets – a very peculiar imperialist balance sheet.  Russia now exceeds the US in wheat production and exports.  Gone are the days when US agro-exports dominated world trade including trade with Moscow.

Enemy lists are easy to compose, but effective policies are difficult to implement against rivals with dynamic economies and powerful military preparedness.

The US would regain some of its credibility if it operated within the contexts of global realities and pursued a win-win agenda instead of remaining a consistent loser in a zero-sum game.

Rational leaders could negotiate reciprocal trade agreements with China, which would develop high tech, finance and agro-commercial ties with manufacturers and services.  Rational leaders could develop joint Middle East economic and peace agreements, recognizing the reality of a Russian-Iranian-Lebanese Hezbollah and Syrian alliance.

As it stands, Washington’s ‘enemy list’ continues to be composed and imposed by its own irrational leaders, pro-Israel maniacs and Russophobes in the Democratic Party – with no acknowledgement of current realities.

For Americans, the list of domestic enemies is long and well known, what we lack is a civilian political leadership to replace these serial mis-leaders.

George Soros’s Self-Contradictory Positions on Racism

George Soros’s Self-Contradictory Positions on Racism

ERIC ZUESSE | 30.11.2017 | WORLD / AMERICASMIDDLE EAST

George Soros’s Self-Contradictory Positions on Racism

The international financier George Soros is condemned by the Israeli regime because he opposes that apartheid state — he regards its two-tier system that privileges Jews and disadvantages non-Jews who are Muslims, “Palestinians,” as being the barbarism that it so obviously is (except to the governments of the United States and its allies, who support — and the US even outright donates $3.8 billion per year to — the apartheid Jewish regime there). Earlier, in 1979, Soros had similarly opposed the anti-Black apartheid regime of South Africa. So, his opposition to apartheid is clear, and it is consistent.

However, in regards to bigotry against Russians, Soros intensely champions and funds that particular form of racism, and he has even carried out a major campaign to get EU taxpayers to pick up $50 billion of the cost to impose that racism specifically against Russians and against supporters of Russians who live in Ukraine, and against Russians and pro-Russians who still survive in the parts of Ukraine that in 2014 broke away from Ukraine after US President Barack Obama’s bloody anti-Russian coup just months before, had overthrown the democratically elected President of Ukraine, who was seeking to have good relations with both the United States and Russia. (The Obama regime perpetrated a coup which replaced that Ukrainian President and his allies in the legislature, replaced them by a racist-fascist or ideologically nazi Ukrainian regime that quickly began an ethnic-cleansing operation to kill or drive out the residents in the part of Ukraine that had voted more than 90% for the overthrown President and that refused to be ruled by the Obama-imposed anti-Russian nazis.)

In order to understand these self-contradictions (the anti-apartheid Soros, versus the rabidly bigoted-against-Russians Soros), one needs to understand their origins in Soros’s past, going all the way back to his childhood in an anti-Semitic secular-Jewish home (see page 22) with upper-class parents who had hoped that their having had Jewish ancestors wouldn’t be an insuperable barrier to their achieving personal financial success and personal fulfillment — they had hoped that they would be treated by their fellow-Hungarians as non-Jews because they didn’t believe in Judaism (the literal truthfulness of the Torah, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Christian Bible).

Hungary was strongly anti-Semitic, and it became conquered first by Nazi Germany’s intensely anti-Semitic Adolf Hitler, who was even-more anti-Semitic, and then by the Georgian former theological student, Joseph Stalin’s, leadership of the communist Soviet Union, from which communist regime Soros fled, after his having thrived under the Nazis by having helped the Nazis to find, and strip the assets from, other Hungarians whom Hitler’s regime labelled to be “Jews.” Soros’s father had been imprisoned by the Soviet Union during and after World War I, and hated Russians. Then, Soros himself, having lived well under the Nazis, moved in 1947 to England to study at the London School of Economics, from which he received an MS in Philosophy in 1952, and then became hired in 1954, entry-level, by the Jewish merchant-banking firm of Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander, which was the only financial company that would hire him. In 1956, he moved to NYC, working then for a succession of investment-firms, until setting up in 1969 his Soros Fund Management, which brought in other extremely wealthy people and grew exponentially.

Soros attributes his financial success to the ideas from his former philosophy Professor, Karl Popper, who actually had nothing to do with Soros’s success, but inside information had lots to do with his success, as normally is the case in the financial field.

Then, in 1979, “When I had more money than I needed”, he established his Open Society Foundation, which seemed to be at least vaguely adhering to his former philosophy professor’s philosophy, which was anti-dictatorial and pro-democratic, but increasingly after the 1991 end of communism in Russia, Soros’s Foundation has been functioning more and more clearly as a funder of Soros’s childhood hatred (even to the extent of ethnic cleansing or even genocide) of Russians, certainly not as any funder of democracy.

Therefore, Soros, who previously was understood in a naive fashion, as being simply anti-communist, is now much more clearly understandable as being anti-Russian.

Just as his father had hoped to be viewed without bigotry because he didn’t believe in Judaism, Russians had hoped to be viewed without bigotry because they don’t any longer believe in communism. However, George Herbert Walker Bush, and the US aristocracy which he represents, and of which Soros is actually a part, refuse to accept Russians as being just another group of human beings, with equal rights to all others, and insist upon crushing them, and crushing all who support their right to equal treatment along with the rest of humanity — including their national sovereignty (the rights of the residents in a land controlling that land), in peace.

If this sounds like it can’t be true, because it sounds like a portrayal of a psychopath, and because Soros has been so favorably described in the liberal press, then consider how else the portrayal of Soros has been slanted by ideological blinders: On 17 October 2017, a news-report in the liberal New York Times headlined “George Soros Transfers Billions to Open Society Foundations”, and indicated that:

In recent years Mr. Soros has moved about $18 billion of his own money into Open Society, making it the second largest foundation in the United States by assets, according to the National Philanthropic Trust. The only larger charity is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has an endowment worth some $40 billion and focuses on global health and development issues.

The benefits of such ‘charities’ were described, but the subtraction of those billions of dollars from the tax-rolls and the consequent increase in the tax-burden that non-billionaires must pay, went unmentioned, as did the increase in the billionaires’ control of public issues by privatizing these powers to such ‘charities’ and by their thereby diminishing democracy (i.e., diminishing control by the public — by the general electorate — moving these issues increasingly to control by the wills of billionaires). Beyond a certain point, the only usefulness to the owner that an added billion dollars has, is to increase his/her power — not to consume that added billion, in any case — and these ‘charities’ are thus intrinsically scams, against all non-billionaires.

An excellent description of the hypocrisy of the liberal Soros’s (and other such) ’charities’ was provided in an entirely accurate opinion-piece in the conservative Wall Street Journal, on 23 November 2017, titled “George Soros’s $18 Billion Tax Shelter”. The facts presented there would disabuse any political progressive of the deceit that Soros is, at all, one of them. There are few, if any, progressive billionaires — and none of them will be ‘donating’ anything to any ‘charity’, except to the Government, in a democracy, via taxes. The aristocracy is intrinsically this way — vastly more taking from the public than giving to the public — but aristocrats are ideologically treated as ‘heros’ by whichever commentators happen to admire a particular aristocrat’s ‘ideology’, which in reality is none at all except endless greed (differing from one-another only in their respective business-plans, because that’s all they actually are).

So: Soros’s hypocrisy regarding racism is part of a broader picture, which includes not only the rest of himself, but also includes all extremely wealthy individuals and their intrinsically destructive relationships toward the society-at-large, and especially toward democracy itself, because endless greed for power is what drives all of them, even the “loafers” amongst them (such as typically are second-and-more generation wealth, the IIs, IIIs, IVs, etc. aristocrats, who don’t have to work for anything).

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY | 29.11.2017 | OPINION

Bombing Afghanistan for Peace and Prosperity

In May this year the Carnegie Endowment for Peace assessed that “The security environment in Afghanistan is still precarious… the government remains heavily dependent on foreign aid… the combination of a weakening Afghan regime and an unchecked Taliban resurgence could lead to the catastrophic collapse of the Afghan government and state…”

It is essential that a policy be constructed in order to move the country towards security, peace and prosperity, and this, so far, has involved an increase in US combat troops and expansion of the aerial bombing campaign.

According to the US Air Force, 3,554 bombs and rockets were directed at targets in the first ten months of 2017, including 653 in October, the greatest number since November 2010. Some of the most recent strikes were on 10 supposed drug-production facilities in Helmand Province, and the complexity and expense of the operation were considerable.

The commander of foreign forces in Afghanistan, US General John Nicholson, told the media

that the attacks were “a demonstration of our new authorities… And specifically, in striking northern Helmand and the drug enterprises there, we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances.”

According to Nicholson there are 400-500 opium production facilities in Afghanistan, so there is some way to go before the drug evil is eradicated at the factory stage, and if the effort to destroy them is confined to air power, the cash cost is going to be prodigious.

The bombing included strikes by some Afghan air force Tucano aircraft, but the main assault was by the US Air Force which for the first time in Afghanistan used its F-22 Raptor aircraft, flown from the United Arab Emirates, and B-52 strategic nuclear bombers based in Qatar. F-16s joined in from the Bagram base near Kabul, and the operation also involved KC-10 and KC-135 refuelers, surveillance aircraft and command and control aircraft.

General Nicholson explained that the Raptor aircraft was used “because of its ability to deliver precision munitions, in this case a 250-pound bomb, small-diameter, that causes the minimum amount of collateral damage.”

It has been calculated that the Raptor “costs $68,362 an hour to fly” and thus the expense of its excursion, including tankers, “could have approached $400,000” exclusive of bombs. The Pentagon’s budget for 2015 show that 246 of these bombs cost 219.1 million dollars. This means that the US taxpayer pays $890,000 for each one, which makes the cost of the Raptor strike a remarkably expensive operation. Then General Nicholson said that one of his B-52s dropped “six 500-pound, low-collateral-damage, precision-guided munitions” in order “to keep the collateral damage to an absolute minimum, and we did.”

While it is laudable that General Nicholson wants to minimise collateral damage by using 500 pound bombs, he appeared to veer off course slightly and showed a video of “another B-52 strike on another Taliban narcotics production facility. Now, this particular facility was the largest one we struck last night [November 19], with over 50 barrels of opium cooking at the time of the strike… So this was a B-52 strike, several 2,000-pound bombs, and it completely obliterated the facility.” Presumably the 2000 pound bombs were also precision-guided, in order to avoid collateral damage in accomplishment of complete obliteration.

The general noted that in Afghanistan “We’ve dropped more munitions this year than in any year since 2012. These new authorities give me the ability to go after the enemy in ways that I couldn’t before” and he intends to expand the bombing campaign next year.

The “new authorities” are the orders of President Trump to increase the intensity of the war because “I took over a mess, and we’re going to make it a lot less messy,” and General Nicholson is pleased that “we’re hitting the Taliban where it hurts, which is their finances,” although he did say “we are not going after the farmers that are growing the poppy.”

Of course the US air force should not target Afghan farmers — but bombing opium factories will not result in financial ruin of the Taliban. The heroin industry is extremely lucrative, and in Afghanistan the beneficiaries include very many more people other than Taliban adherents. It is, after all, the eighth most corrupt country in the world.

After the Helmand blitz, Reuters reported a poppy farmer, Mohammad Nabi, as saying that “The Taliban will not be affected by this as much as ordinary people. Farmers are not growing poppies for fun. If factories are closed and businesses are gone, then how will they provide food for their families?” Has General Nicholson got an answer to that?

The Voice of America reported in May 2017 that “Since 2002, the US has spent more than $8.5 billion on counternarcotics in Afghanistan — about $1.5 million a day” while “only 13 of the country’s 34 provinces were reported poppy-free in 2016, and this number has dropped into single digits this year.” The UN Office on Drugs and Crime published its Afghanistan Opium Survey on November 15, and observed that “many elements continue to influence farmers’ decisions regarding opium poppy cultivation. Rule of law-related challenges, such as political instability, lack of government control and security, as well as corruption, have been found to be main drivers of illicit cultivation.”

What a shambles. And Washington’s solution is to bomb it.

Nicholson said that farmers “are largely compelled to grow the poppy and this is kind of a tragic part of the story.” Of course the farmers are “compelled to grow” a crop for sale. And it’s more than “kind of tragic.” It’s a catastrophe, because Afghanistan remains the world’s leading producer of opium.

The farmers would stop producing poppy if there were markets for other crops whose cultivation would provide them a decent living. As long ago as 2004 the US Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics, Robert Charles, told Congress that “To destroy Afghanistan’s opium economy, alternatives to the pernicious cycle of opium credit, cultivation and harvest must be available to rural communities.” So billions of dollars were poured into anti-narcotics campaigns and the result is that after twelve years “the level of opium poppy cultivation is a new record high.”

In March 2012 Donald Trump tweeted that “Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don’t know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind.” Little has changed, except that 45 percent of Afghanistan’s districts are controlled or contested by the Taliban, and General Nicholson acknowledges that “we are still in a stalemate.” But Trump has been persuaded to declare that the US will “fight to win”. So the campaign of airstrikes will continue, and Afghanistan will be bombed towards peace and prosperity.

The Raqqa Exodus: The US Coalition’s “Secret Deal” to Allow ISIS-Daesh Terrorists to Escape…

Global Research, November 27, 2017

Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis confirmed in May Washington’s resolve to annihilate the ISIS-Daesh terrorists:

“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so… (emphasis added, quoted in the BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret)

That was the “political narrative” of the Pentagon. The unspoken truth is that Uncle Sam had come to the rescue of the Islamic State. That decision was in all likelihood taken and carried on the orders of the Pentagon rather than the US State Department.

Confirmed by a BBC report entitled “Raqqa’s Dirty Secret, the US-led coalition facilitated the exodus of ISIS terrorists and their family members  out of their stronghold in Raqqa, Northern Syria.

Screen Shot of BBC Report

While the BBC report focussed on the details of the smuggling operation, it nonetheless acknowledges the existence of a “Secret Deal” involving the US and its indefectible British ally to let the terrorists escape from Raqqa.

Screenshot BBC Report

The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.

But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.

Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?

Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal. …

This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of [the] so-called Islamic State.

(Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati, Raqqa’s Dirty SecretBBC, November 2017, emphasis added)

US-led coalition warplanes had been monitoring the evacuation of the ISIS terrorists, but visibly the convoys of buses and trucks were not the object of coalition bombings.

“The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air. [but no actual aerial bombardment of the convoys took place] …

In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal….” (Ibid)

If they had wanted to undermine the ISIS convoy of buses and trucks, this would have been a simple operation for the US Air Force. On the other hand, they could have chosen to block rather than destroy the convoys of trucks and buses (to minimize the loss of life) and detain and incarcerate the foreign fighters.

US officials casually claimed they did not take part in the negotiations and were therefore unable to prevent the exodus of the terrorists:

“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.

“It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.

While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, … (Ibid)

What is revealing is that most of the ISIS fighters were foreign from a large number of countries pointing to a carefully organized recruitment and training program:

“… There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt…”

“Most were foreign but there were Syrians as well.” …

He now charges $600 (£460) per person and a minimum of $1,500 for a family.

In this business, clients don’t take kindly to inquiries. But Imad says he’s had “French, Europeans, Chechens, Uzbek”.

“Some were talking in French, others in English, others in some foreign language,” he says. (Ibid)

Screenshot of BBC article

The BBC report suggests a carefully formulated plan to ensure the safe evacuation of the terrorists. The official explanation was that the deal has been brokered by the US supported Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The US-led coalition “let it happen”, they did not intervene militarily to prevent the exodus and smuggling of the foreign fighters out of Raqqa.

This should come as no surprise. From the very outset in 2014, ISIS-Daesh was supported by the US-led coalition, with the active support of Saudi Arabia. The US and its allies are the State sponsors of the Islamic State (ISIS-Daesh).

Weapons, training, logistics: the ISIS is a US intelligence construct. The ISIS-Daesh terrorists are the foot-soldiers of US-NATO.

The US-led bombings of Iraq and Syria–under the guise of a phony “war on terrorism”– were not directed at ISIS-Daesh. The terrorists were protected by the US led Coalition. The unspoken objective was to kill civilians and destroy the civilian infrastructure of both Syria and Iraq.

Déjà Vu:  

Exodus of ISIS from Raqqa, Syria (2017) vs. Exodus of Al Qaeda “Enemy Combatants” out of  Kundus, Afghanistan (2001)

Is there a pattern in the evacuation of U.S. sponsored terrorists?

Flashback to another US led war. Afghanistan 2001. The objective for the U.S. is ultimately to protect their “intelligence assets”.

The October 2017 ‘Raqqa exodus” bears a canny resemblance to the November 2001 “Getaway” out of Kunduz, ordered by Donald Rumsfeld. In both cases the objective was for the Pentagon and the CIA to organize the escape (and relocation) of US sponsored foreign jihahist fighters.

In late November 2001, according to Seymour M. Hersh, the Northern Alliance supported by US bombing raids took control of the hill town of Kunduz in Northern Afghanistan:

‘[Eight thousand or more men] had been trapped inside the city in the last days of the siege, roughly half of whom were Pakistanis.  Afghans, Uzbeks, Chechens, and various Arab mercenaries accounted for the rest.” (Seymour M. Hersh, The Getaway, The New Yorker, 28 January 2002.

Also among these fighters were several senior Pakistani military and intelligence officers, who had been sent to the war theater by the Pakistani military. The presence of high-ranking Pakistani military and intelligence advisers in the ranks of Taliban/ Al Qaeda forces was known and approved by Washington.

President Bush had intimated: “We’re smoking them out. They’re running, and now we’re going to bring them to justice.” (see CNN, November 26, 2001). They were never smoked out. They were airlifted to safety.

On the orders of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the exodus (airlifting) of Al Qaeda fighters had been facilitated by US forces in liaison with the Pakistan military:

“The Administration ordered the US Central Command to set up a special air corridor to help insure the safety of the Pakistani rescue flights from Kunduz to the northwest corner of Pakistan”

… According to a former high-level American defense official, the airlift was approved because of representations by the Pakistanis that “there were guys- intelligence agents and underground guys-who needed to get out.” (Seymour Hersh, op cit)

In other words, the official story was: it was not our decision:  “we were tricked into it” by the Pakistani ISI.

Out of some 8000 or more men, 3300 surrendered to the Northern Alliance, leaving between 4000 and 5000 men “unaccounted for”. According to Hersh’s investigation, based on Indian intelligence sources, at least 4000 men including two Pakistani Army generals were evacuated. (Ibid)

The same sense of denial prevailed. US officials admitted, however, that

“what was supposed to be a limited evacuation apparently slipped out of control, and, as an unintended consequence, an unknown number of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters managed to join in the exodus.”  (quoted in Hersh op cit)

“Unintended evacuation” of Al Qaeda fighters?

 “Terrorists”  and “Intelligence Assets” 

Compare Seymour Hersh’s account in the “Getaway” out of Kunduz pertaining to the US sponsored evacuation of  hard core Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to the “Escape” of ISIS-Daesh fighters out of the besieged city of Raqqa in Northern Syria.

The foreign and Pakistani Al Qaeda fighters were flown to North Pakistan, to the areas which were subsequently the object of US drone attacks. Many of these fighters were also incorporated into the two main Kashmiri terrorist rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Mohammed”).

What is the next destination of the foreign fighters who have been evacuated out of Raqqa, with the support of the US Military?

To read the complete BBC report entitled Raqqa’s Dirty Secret,by Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati click here 

US BUFFER ZONE IN NORTHEASTERN SYRIA AND LAND-BRIDGE FROM TEHRAN TO BEIRUT

24.11.2017

Written by Elijah J. MagnierOriginally appeared in Arabic at alraimedia.com and in English HERE;

Following the victory of the Syrian army and its allies over the “Islamic State” group in the town of Albu Kamal in the north-east of the country, the road has been opened for the first time since the declaration of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 between Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut and become safe and non-hostile to the four capitals and their rulers.

The United States tried to block the road between Tehran and Beirut at the level of Albu Kamal by forcing the Kurdish forces into a frantic race, but Washington failed to achieve its goals.

US Buffer Zone In Northeastern Syria And Land-Bridge From Tehran To Beirut

Click to see the full-size map

The Syrian Army along with allied forces (the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba’) liberated the city, opening the border with Iraq at al-Qa’im crossing. ISIS militants fled to the Iraqi al-Anbar desert and east of the Euphrates River where US and Kurdish forces are operating.

The United States established a new rule of engagement in the east of the Euphrates, informing the Russian forces that it will not accept any ground forces (the Syrian army and its allies) east of the Euphrates River and that it will bomb any target approaching the east of the river even if the objective of the ground forces was to pursue ISIS.

Thus, the US is establishing a new undeclared no-fly-zone without bothering to deny that this can serve ISIS forces east of the Euphrates and offer the terrorists a kind of protection. Moreover, the US-led international coalition air bombing against ISIS has reduced noticeably.

With this US warning, it is clear that Washington is declaring the presence of an occupying force in Syria, particularly as the presence of the coalition was linked to fighting ISIS as previously announced. Today ISIS has lost all cities under its occupation since July 2014 in Iraq and before this date in Syria. Therefore there is no legal reason for the presence of the US forces in the Levant.

By becoming an occupation force, the US troops expose themselves, along with the proxy Kurds operating under its command, to attacks similar to the one in Iraq and the one in Lebanon in 1982 during the Israeli invasion.

The United States will no longer be able to block the Iraqi-Syrian road (Al-Qaim-Albu Kamal) because it is related to the sovereignty of the two countries. But this does not mean Tehran will use this route to send weapons across Baghdad and Damascus to Hezbollah in Lebanon, for two reasons:

First, Iraq has sovereignty and the Prime Minister Haider Abadi will not allow any Iraqi armed party to keep its weapons because the Iraqi armed forces are responsible for holding security, especially after the defeat of ISIS in all cities.

Abadi’s next step will be to disarm all Iraqi movements and organizations by the year 2018 and most likely after the forthcoming elections in May. According to well-informed sources Iran and the Marjaiya in Najaf (and the majority of the Iraqi parties) want Abadi to be re-elected for another term.

This means that Iraq will not allow its territory to be used to finance non-state actors, even if these have taken part in the elimination of ISIS. Neither will he allow weapons to cross his country to an ally that fought alongside the Iraqi forces – such as Hezbollah – because he is not positioning himself against the United States and the countries of the region. This is not Iraq’s battle.

Secondly, Hezbollah does not need the land route from Tehran to Beirut because the sea and air links with Tehran are open through Syria and from it to Lebanon. Moreover, Hezbollah is no longer in need of additional weapons in Lebanon, especially since the Lebanese-Syrian front is unified against any possible future Israeli war.

As for Syria, the preparations for starting the challenging and complex rounds of negotiation to open the way for political talks have begun in Sochi, Russia. Naturally, these talks are difficult because the United States has demands, as does Turkey, which has shown its intention to stay for a very long in the north of Syria.

In this context, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is ready to prepare for a new constitution, on which work began several months ago. Syrian and international human rights experts and law specialists have been discussing with various groups how to establish new constitutional foundations for Syria, aiming to invite the numerous anti-Damascus parties to lay down their arms and join in the negotiations for the future of Syria.

The only problem remains with al-Qaeda in Bilad al-Sham, and the thousands of foreign fighters in Idlib, waiting for the results of the Turkish-Syrian negotiation.

The war was long and complex, mainly because of shifting alliances. But the peace will be no less complex to construct if future wars based on revenge and a greedy desire for territory are to be avoided.

جسر طهران – بيروت… حقيقي أم وهمي؟

تقرير / منطقة أميركية عازلة شمال شرقي سورية

بعد الانتصار الذي حققه الجيش السوري وحلفاؤه باستعادة مدينة البوكمال السورية شرق البلاد من تنظيم «داعش»، فُتحت الطريق – للمرة الأولى منذ إعلان الجمهورية الاسلامية في ايران العام 1979 – بين طهران وبغداد ودمشق وبيروت وأصبحت آمنة وغير عدائية للعواصم الأربع وحكّامها.

وحاولت الولايات المتحدة قطع الطريق البرية بين طهران – بيروت وإعاقتها عبر البوكمال من خلال دفْع القوات الكردية (قسد) التي تعمل بإمرتها نحو البوكمال في سباقٍ محموم أدى الى فشل واشنطن في تحقيق أهدافها. وقد وصلت القوات السورية ومعها القوات الرديفة (حزب الله اللبناني والحرس الثوري الايراني وحركة النجباء العراقية) الى المدينة وحرّرتْها وفتحتْ الحدود البرية مع العراق، بعدما كانت سيطرت قواته البرية على الحدود من ناحية القائم وطردت «داعش» الذي فرّ رجاله إلى الصحراء العراقية في الأنبار وإلى شرق نهر الفرات حيث توجد القوات الأميركية وتلك الكردية العاملة بإمرتها.

وعملت الولايات المتحدة على إرساء قواعد اشتباك جديدة شرق الفرات، إذ أبلغت الى القوات الروسية انها لن تقبل وجود أي قوى للجيش السوري وحلفائه شرق نهر الفرات وأنها ستقصف أي هدف يقترب من شرق النهر حتى ولو كان الهدف قوات «داعش»، وتالياً فإن أميركا فرضت منطقة حظر طيران من دون الإعلان عنها ولم تُخْفِ حمايتها حتى لقوات «داعش»، وخصوصاً أن وتيرة الغارات الأميركية والتحالف الدولي الذي تقوده واشنطن تراجعتْ في شكل ملحوظ. وبغرض منْع عبور نهر الفرات، تكون أميركا أعلنت عن بقائها في شمال شرقي سورية، الأمر الذي تعتبره دمشق احتلالاً لأن الحرب على «داعش» اقتربت من نهايتها مع خسارة التنظيم كل المدن التي كان يحتلّها في سورية والعراق.

وهذا التوصيف للقوات الأميركية قد يعرّضها ومعها القوات الموالية لها لعمليات شبيهة بتلك التي تعرّضت لها العام 2003 مع بداية احتلالها للعراق وأيضاً العام 1982 في لبنان إبان الاجتياح الاسرائيلي.

ولن تستطيع الولايات المتحدة قفل الطريق العراقي – السوري (القائم – البوكمال) لأن الأمر يتعلق بسيادة البلدين. الا أن هذا لا يعني ان طهران ستستخدم هذه الطريق لعبور الأسلحة الى «حزب الله» لسببين:

اولاً: ان للعراق سيادة وتالياً فإن رئيس الوزراء حيدر العبادي لن يسمح لأي طرف مسلّح عراقي بالوجود في العراق لان القوات المسلحة العراقية كافية للإمساك بالوضع الأمني – خصوصاً بعد إنهاء سيطرة «داعش» على المدن – وتالياً الخطوة التالية للعبادي ستكون سحب السلاح من كل الحركات والتنظيمات العراقية بحلول السنة المقبلة وعلى الأرجح بعد الانتخابات. وعلمت «الراي» أن إيران والمرجعية العليا في النجف وغالبية الأحزاب العراقية تريد التمديد للعبادي لولاية ثانية. وهذا يعني أن العراق لن يسمح بأن تُستخدم أراضيه لتمويل جهات غير حكومية – حتى ولو كانت صديقة وشاركت بالقضاء على «داعش»، مثل «حزب الله» – لانها بهذه الطريقة تضع نفسها بالواجهة ضدّ الولايات المتحدة ودول المنطقة وهذا ما لا تريده بغداد.

ثانياً: لا يحتاج «حزب الله» الى الطريق البرية لأن الخطوط البحرية والجوية مفتوحة عن طريق سورية والداخل اللبناني، إضافة الى ان الحزب لم يعد يحتاج إلى أسلحة إضافية في لبنان، وخصوصاً ان الجبهة اللبنانية – السورية أصبحت موحّدة ضد أي عدوان اسرائيلي محتمل في المستقبل. اما بالنسبة إلى سورية فالتحضيرات لبدء الجولات الصعبة والمعقّدة لفتح الطريق أمام المحادثات السياسية قد بدأت في سوتشي – روسيا، ومن الطبيعي ان تكون هذه المحادثات شاقة لأن الولايات المتحدة لها طلبات وكذلك تركيا التي ثبتت نفسها في المناطق الشمالية لسورية وكأنها باقية لأمد طويل.

وفي هذا السياق فإن الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد مستعدّ للتحضير لدستور جديد بدأ العمل من أجله منذ أشهر وقد عُرض على الخبراء الحقوقيين ويُناقَش مع جهات مختلفة لوضع أسس دستورية جديدة لسورية تجبر الأطراف المتنوعة المشارب على إلقاء السلاح. وتبقى عقدة «القاعدة» في بلاد الشام والمقاتلين الأجانب الموجودين بالآلاف في إدلب على حالها في انتظار القرار التركي – السوري في شأن مصيرهم.

Israel’s 100th birthday party

Rehmat

Posted on  |

The Zionist Jews and their Christian collaborators are celebrating the 100th birthday of their plot to solve Europe’s centuries-old Jewish Problem – known as Balfour Declaration (watch a video below).

British prime minister Theresa May says British people are proud of British part in creating the Zionist entity. In fact, most of its credit goes to Soviet Russia and United States which poured trillions of dollars and one million Russian Jews to survival the anti-Muslim project to this day.

British main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has defied Jewish Lobby pressure to attend the 100th birthday party of the Zionist baby conceived on November 2, 1917. The birthday party is also attended by the world’s greatest psychopath Benjamin Netanyahu.

Neither Britain nor Zionists had the right to dictate the fate of Palestine. Even at the time, many Britons denounced the double dealing and contempt for indigenous people that underlay the Balfour Declaration – most prominently J.M.N. Jeffries in 25 dispatches in the London Daily Mail in January and February, 1923. Pointing to a clause in the Declaration, he wrote, “The people of Palestine are referred to as ‘non-Jewish communities.’ Does Lord Balfour call the British people ‘the non-foreign community in England?’ Today there can be no excuse for celebrating this sordid chapter in settler-colonialist injustice, especially in light of the ongoing al-Nakba: the catastrophe that Palestine’s “non-Jewish communities” continue to suffer in consequence,” professor George P. Smith (University of Missouri) wrote on November 5, 2017.

On Saturday, over ten thousands Brits protested against the celebration of the notorious Balfour Declaration. They marched from the US embassy in London to British parliament. Some protester carried banners declaring Balfour Declaration as British Holocaust of Palestinian. The rally was addressed by Jeremy Corbyn and Baroness Jenny Tonge.

On May 17, 2017, Israel-British author Gilad Atzmon said that Balfour Declaration is proof of a Century of Jewish Power in the West.

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