Feds Finally Confirm That Trump Campaign Data Ended Up in Russian Intel Hands

By VT Editors -April 15, 2021

Daily Beast: The U.S. will escalate sanctions against the Russian government for hacking American government networks during the 2016 election, the Treasury Department said Thursday. But, in announcing the sanctions, the government went even further than Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in connecting the dots between the Trump campaign and Russian intel agencies.

The statement outlined the pipeline as this: President Trump hired Paul Manafort to run his campaign, who then asked Rick Gates to come aboard. The pair then provided an old colleague, Konstantin Kilimnik, with internal campaign polling and strategy information. Kilimnik then handed it to Russian intelligence officials.

“Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” the statement said.

It took a long time to connect the dots because Kilimnik was not interviewed by Mueller, and Manafort lied about the affair, The Washington Post reports. It’s still unclear whether Trump knew about the sharing of information, and what Russia did with the information.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/feds-finally-say-manafort-and-gates-gave-trump-campaign-info-to-konstantin-kilimnik-who-gave-to-russian-intel?ref=home

Trump Can Now Be Prosecuted As Government Confirms His Campaign Worked With Russia

For the first time, the US Treasury Department has confirmed that the Trump campaign shared strategy and polling data with Russia in 2016.

Via: The US Treasury Department:

Konstantin Kilimnik (Kilimnik) is a Russian and Ukrainian political consultant and known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf. During the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, Kilimnik provided the Russian Intelligence Services with sensitive information on polling and campaign strategy. Additionally, Kilimnik sought to promote the narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

In 2018, Kilimnik was indicted on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice regarding unregistered lobbying work. Kilimnik has also sought to assist designated former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych. At Yanukovych’s direction, Kilimnik sought to institute a plan that would return Yanukovych to power in Ukraine.

It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign government in an election. Trump and his campaign broke many laws in 2016. A candidate that accepts anything worth more than $2,000 is committing a misdemeanor, and it is a felony to accept anything valued at more than $25,000.

The Russians spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook and Twitter ads to help Trump in 2016.

The missing piece to the Trump/Russia puzzle has always been how the Russians knew where to target their efforts to help Trump. The Russians knew which voters to target because Trump told them. The Trump campaign was a joint effort by Trump and Russia to cheat to win an election.

The truth is out, and nothing is stopping Trump from being prosecuted.

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More official proof of US supporting al-Qaeda terrorism in Syria

Where are the war crimes tribunals when you really need them?

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor

…by PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: This is a rare open admisssion by a US senior diplomat, that using proxy terrorists to pursue ‘US interests’ was fair game, even if the group slaughtered innocent civilians in the process. Politicians often refer to this generically as ‘exporting American values’.

Ambassador James Jeffrey uses the typical weasel word language to couch his support for aiding and abetting terrorists, that it was “the least bad option” for implementing US strategy in Syria. The US has used drone assassinations against others doing just this.

This will be my shortest article lead in ever, due to there really being not anything else to say other than where are the war crimes tribunals when you really need them? But I do thank Mr. Jeffrey for the quote… Jim W. Dean ]

First published … April 03, 2021

Top US diplomat James Jeffrey has admitted that a Syrian rebranded al-Qaeda affiliate was a US “asset” for pursuing Washington’s hegemonic policy in the Middle East.

Jeffrey, who served as a US ambassador under both Republican and Democrat administrations and most recently as former US President Donald Trump’s special representative for Syria and later as the special envoy to the global anti-Daesh coalition, said the Syrian al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group known today as the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group was “an asset” to the US to undermine the democratically-elected government of Bashar Assad.

The top US diplomat said the HTS militant group, which had emerged from Jabhat al-Nusra and later Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, was the “least bad option” for the United States for implementing its strategy in Idlib, Syria.

In an interview with FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith, Jeffrey said that Idlib was one of the crucial locations in the Middle East conflict.

“They are the least bad option of the various options on Idlib, and Idlib is one of the most important places in Syria, which is one of the most important places right now in the Middle East,” he said in the March 8 interview.

The US State Department had said that the group’s leader, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, aimed to topple Assad’s government, making him an ally for the US.

Jolani’s “ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Syrian regime,” it said, noting that attacks carried out by his group “killed innocent Syrian civilians.”

US supported Al -Qaeda in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

*

James Jeffrey

James Franklin Jeffrey (born February 8, 1946) aka Jim Jeffrey is an American diplomat who served most recently as the United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy to the International military intervention against ISIL.[1][2]

He has held senior assignments in Washington, D.C., and abroad, including as United States Ambassador to Iraq (2010–2012); United States Ambassador to Turkey (2008–2010); Deputy National Security Advisor (2007–2008); and United States Ambassador to Albania (2002–2004). In 2010 Jeffrey was appointed to the highest rank in the U.S. Foreign Service, Career Ambassador. From 1969 to 1976, Jeffrey was a U.S. Army infantry officer, with service in Germany and Vietnam.

Jeffrey is a visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a member of the CIA External Advisory Board, a member of the American Council on Germany, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He serves on the advisory board for America Abroad Media.[3] He is a frequent commentator on broader foreign policy, national security, and economic trends.

BIOGRAPHYJim W. Dean, Managing Editor

Managing Editor

Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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A television report on the ‘historic, strategic’, 25-year agreement reached between Iran and China.

April 01, 2021

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/historic-25-year-strategic-agreement-between-iran-china-tv-report/

Description:

A television report on the ‘historic, strategic’, 25-year agreement reached between Iran and China.

Source: Al Mayadeen (YouTube)

Transcript:

Reporter:

Iran and China are entering a new phase of bilateral relations. After years of talks and discussions, both sides are tying up loose ends within the framework of a strategic cooperation document covering all fields.

The two sides describe this document as the roadmap for the future of their bilateral relations, with its clauses encompassing trade, economic, military, and cultural cooperation.

Jawad Mansouri, former Iranian ambassador to China:

While Iran enjoys diverse capabilities internally, it also has huge markets and an important regional, geographical location that enables it to cooperate with China in all fields. We are working on our local capabilities to defeat the US sanctions, and we do not reject the cooperation of friends in this regard.

Reporter:

It is true that economic cooperation forms the pillar of this treaty, but according to our observers, it nevertheless poses a political challenge for the common opponents of these two countries, as it opens the door for a new type of confrontation against the Euro-American camp.

Jawad Mansouri, former Iranian ambassador to China:

The current political and international circumstances, along with the pressure from Europe and the US, have caused China’s desire for cooperation with Iran to grow more than ever. In other words, when America imposes pressure on any two countries, it is natural for those two countries to increase their economic cooperation and exchange.

Reporter:

The two parties are aware of the challenges and risks awaiting the implementation of this agreement. The two sides, therefore, stress on the necessity of strengthening their ties on all levels.

Iranian-Chinese relations have reached a new critical, historical juncture, one drawn up by Tehran and Beijing according to a long-term joint strategic vision. Tehran considers today’s event an achievement that can be reached in every field, and one that can be achieved by (other) states of the region as well.

Malik Abed, Tehran, Al Mayadeen(Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

UK’s Baroness Caroline Cox Slams the “Undeclared Economic War” on Syria

Transcript by Rawan Mahmasa

By Baroness Caroline Cox

Global Research, March 26, 2021

Mark Taliano 20 March 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

Caroline Cox Stock Photos, Editorial Images and Stock Pictures |  Shutterstock

Well, I’ve had personally the privilege of witnessing the poverty, the trauma, the displacement due to suffered by local communities in Damascus, Sydnaya, Latakia, Homs and at last of Aleppo, visited several times. And I continue to seek to raise the suffering of the people in parliament. Just as a reminder, over nine million Syrians are food insecure at the moment, and an estimated nine out of 10 live below the poverty line and million Syrians in parliament and the suffering of the people.

And in January this year, I sent a letter to the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, to urge the lifting of economic sanctions against Syria. The letter was signed by 80 other people, including many colleagues in the House of Lords, two former British ambassador to Syria, one of them, my friend Peter Ford, and other people from different arenas, George Tenet, the former chief of general staff of the British Army, north west of spitted former first sea lord and chief of naval staff.

And someone you heard earlier, of course, the right Reverend Dr Ted Williams, the former archbishop of Canterbury and many other people. It was also signed by international diplomats, human rights experts and some of the most senior church leaders in the Middle East. They briefly on this is the prime minister for the call to the United Nations, special rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures. And they don’t do it. Who appealed at the end of December, the United States, to lift its complex web of economic sanctions that severely harm the people of Syria.

Sanctions that have not been approved by the UN Security Council. The special rapporteur stated that US sanctions, I quote, violate the human rights of Syrian people and also could exacerbate the already humanitarian situation in Syria, especially in the case of Covid-19 pandemic, end of quote. They suffer what they call suffering by blocking the aid, trade and investment necessary, the serious health system and economy to function. The special rapporteurs findings reflect a growing consensus within humanitarian aid and human rights communities that the sanctions are driving Syria into an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe. I could give a lot more details. You’ve had enough already, and I know speaking out of turn because of our network connections. But I would just highlight the sanctions cure just as surely as bombs dropped.

Bombs can be aimed at military targets and sometimes, unfortunately, civilian targets and the sanction regimes nearly everyone suffers from in Syria. Effects have been devastating. Millions of people out of work, skyrocketing prices and poverty, a crippled health care system and hunger and death for many of the most vulnerable. It is high time the undeclared economic war being waged against the Syrian people by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and their allies to come to an end.

And I hope very much that the important conference will help to bring that around.

So moving from there tonight, from there, sorry, I move to what I should do, which is to have the great privilege of giving what I just like to offer a very profound vision thanks to all the distinguished people, because this is very, very important conflict.

We’ve been so fortunate to work with speakers from Syria, from the front line of faith and freedom and other experts from around the world, and most importantly, to hear voices in country who don’t hear enough of in Britain and to hear the heartbreaking realities that exist in Syria today and to hear the truths that are so often hidden in mainstream narratives.

And you have to just the BBC like I do, I’ve complained again and increased the coverage of Syria related to areas in the region.

So a huge many of those who face the pressure, so many people have a lot of pressure not to take part in such a conference.

They’ve had the courage to speak out and they will pay a high price. But we’re here because we believe we believe in the truth. We believe in the need because of the suffering. The people of the Syrian crisis began 10 years ago today. The suffering of the Syrian people has gone on, as we all know, to be here for far too long. And the current policies of the international community are only prolonging violence and instability in the country and compounding the profound suffering of millions of people, innocent people.

So I passionately hope that the voices today will promote. A path to stability and peace. And finally, of course, thank you so much, Dr. Makram and the European Center for the Study of Extreme Extremism. And disorganized, because I’ve been running around trying to get my network and organize this very important event, but seriously, I’m sure we all hope and pray that what we have heard today echoes in the corridors of power. And challenges the people to reflect on the too often unreported realities in this context.

And as I say, very, very biased reporting. I’m sure we’re all aware and to support Syria to decide its own future and to rebuild your magnificent country, its wonderful history in a way that is the wishes of the Syrian people and to bring hope, peace and freedom for your people. You’ve suffered for far too long without it. You’ve deserved it for a long time. And I’m sure everyone has taken part in this very, very important conference, which we do thank you very much for arranging, will agree that it is long overdue that the people of Syria are respected for wonderful history, respected for your civilization, and respected for the contribution you can make the world when countries such as the United States in my own country stop penalizing you and allow you to develop your own justice, peace, freedom and democracy.

*

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions following talks with Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi, Guilin, March 23, 2021

March 23, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks and answers to media questions following talks with Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi, Guilin, March 23, 2021

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to be in this wonderful place, enjoying the unique nature of this province. We really do admire these landscapes, but I can assure you that this has not prevented us from holding extremely business-like and practical talks. They were held in a traditionally friendly and trust-based manner.

We pointed out once again that Russia and China continue their close and fruitful cooperation in virtually all spheres on the international stage despite the coronavirus pandemic, in all the spheres which have been identified as our priorities during contacts between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of China Xi Jinping.

We will continue to strengthen our relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction. We have had a useful discussion on ways to boost our practical cooperation in the conditions created by the current epidemiological restrictions.

We highlighted the preparations being made for Russian-Chinese contacts at the high and highest levels. We have submitted to our partners a draft joint statement of our heads of state on the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.

We discussed our positions on the main international topics and found them similar. Moscow and Beijing stand for developing interstate relations on the principles of mutual respect and a balance of each other’s interests, justice and non-interference in others’ internal affairs. We reject zero sum political games and the illegal unilateral sanctions, which our Western colleagues have been using increasingly more often.

We share the opinion that Russian-Chinese foreign policy interaction remains a vital factor in global affairs. We pointed out the destructive character of US aspiration to undermine the UN-centric international legal framework by using the military-political alliances of the Cold War period and creating similar closed alliances. We noted the growing importance of the joint activities of Russia, China and a wide range of other countries to preserve the current system of international law in the context of the increasing Western attempts to promote its concept of a rules-based international order.

We expressed our appreciation for the high level of coordination at various multilateral platforms, including the UN, the G20, the SCO, BRICS, RIC, APEC, as well as EAS and other ASEAN-based regional cooperation bodies. We spoke about the preparations for the summit of the UN Security Council permanent members, which has been proposed by President Putin and supported by President Xi Jinping.

As Minister Wang Yi said, we have signed a joint statement, which reflects the views of Russia and China on vital issues such as democracy, human rights, international law and the necessity to find collective approaches to solving global problems.

We signed an annual plan for consultations between our foreign ministries. It stipulates numerous contacts this year at the level of deputy foreign ministers and the heads of relevant departments designed to hold practical discussions on a wide range of global and regional matters.

Speaking on behalf of our delegation, I would like to once again express our deep gratitude to our Chinese friends for their hospitality and for substantive joint work.

Question: How does Russia plan on moving away from using international payment systems controlled by the West? Are there any specific agreements with China to create a common system as opposed to the Western ones? What can it be based on? Russia’s Mir card or China’s UnionPay system?

Sergey Lavrov: This work has been underway for quite a long time now in different areas. We have our own financial messaging system. The respective financial departments of Russia and China plan to expand its use.

For many years now we have been trying to transfer trade to settlements in national currencies. There’s a corresponding mechanism which is quite effective. We are switching to the national currency in our trade with other major partners.

This is the imperative of our time. The people behind the global monetary system suddenly decided they were unhappy with the way other countries, in particular China, are using this system. China is beating the West at its own game. Hence, the reaction of the United States. Wang Yi covered this in detail. You cannot do global business by means of ultimatums and sanctions, or force other countries to behave as expected of them. We have a proverb: You can’t force your love on another person. Unfortunately, the United States has not learned this and is acting from the opposite position.

I’m convinced that Russia and China will do their best to ensure their safety and protection against the threats coming from the states that are unfriendly towards our respective countries. This also applies to ways of conducting trade, mutual settlements and everything else that makes us stronger.

Question (translated from Chinese and addressed to Wang Yi): Chinese and Russian vaccines are being delivered to dozens of countries all around the world. There are unfounded speculations that China is promoting “vaccine diplomacy” and Russia is trying to increase its influence. What can you say about this?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Wang Yi): I fully support what Wang Yi said. From the outset of the pandemic, Russia and China have been showing an example of openness, cooperation and mutual assistance. This interaction continues to this day, including in the sphere of vaccine production and distribution. Our respective institutions remain in contact on these matters.

On March 22, President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on vaccine production and distribution. He clearly spoke in favour of everyone being guided solely by considerations of humanity and the interest of saving lives rather than geopolitical or commercial approaches to overcoming competition. Everyone, including our partners in the West who are trying to portray Russia and China as vaccine diplomacy scammers, must keep this in mind. This is not true.

Question: China and Russia are under sanctions pressure from the United States and the EU. Do our countries plan to share their experience of confronting this pressure? How justified is the opinion that both countries’ tense relations with the Western powers make them move ever closer to one another?

Sergey Lavrov: We have covered Russia and China’s reaction to sanctions and the illegitimate unilateral restrictions already today. We share the understanding that these methods are unacceptable in international life. We have more than once stated our position on this score, including in the Joint Statement. I’m convinced that this approach will be reiterated in a clear and unambiguous manner in the document on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Treaty on Good-Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation between Russia and China that our leaders will approve.

In addition to our principled approaches that are set forth in public documents, we closely cooperate with many countries at the UN in order to counter these practices. As you are aware, the UN has a Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures. This is already a fairly serious practical move to clarify the unacceptability of this policy. The United States, Europe and the West in general are, in fact, replacing diplomacy, the art which they are losing, with the steps seeking to impose their own rules on everyone else. In their opinion, these rules rather than international law must underlie the international order. Sanctions are among these rules.

Russia and China do not ally against anyone. Geographically, our country is located on the vast Eurasian continent. China is our good neighbour, as is the EU. We have always been interested in promoting our relations across all areas. Europe has severed these relations and destroyed the mechanisms that have been created over many years. There are only a few European partner countries that have a desire to act based on their national interests.

Objectively, this led to cooperation between Russia and China developing faster than what is left of relations with the European countries. Importantly, there are no relations with the EU as an organisation. The infrastructure was destroyed by unilateral decisions made by Brussels. If and when the Europeans decide to eliminate this anomaly in contacts with their largest neighbour, we will be ready to build up relations between us on the basis of equality and a search for a balance of interests. But so far, all has been quiet on the Western front, whereas the East offers a very intense agenda, which is getting more varied every single year.


Further press conferences by Mr.Lavrov during this auspicious visit to China.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks during talks with Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China Wang Yi, Guilin, March 23, 2021 – https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4647593

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with Chinese media, Moscow, March 22, 2021-https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4646592

Complete press conference:  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi take part in a joint press conference after holding bilateral talks in Guilin, China on Tuesday, March 23.

22.25

The U.S. system could very well collapse if reforms are not instituted immediately

By Abayomi Azikiwe

The U.S. has been experiencing various social developments in recent years. There were several factors which have led to the existing social crisis in the U.S. The failure of the capitalist system to provide adequate jobs, incomes and amenities to tens of millions of people while the ruling class is becoming wealthier,

inherently weakened national institutions. When the pandemic hit during 2020, the economic impact was catastrophic. Then rather than adequately addressing the problems, the Trump administration sought to ignore the increasing impoverishment and uncertainty, which fuelled anger and righteous discontent. 

The mass demonstrations and rebellions across the country beginning in May 2020, further exposed the contradictions between the foreign policy rhetoric of the U.S. as being a leader in international human rights, where in reality the police and vigilante killings of African American and Latin American peoples suggest just the opposite. It was amazing to witness the United Nations Human Rights Council holding hearings on racist violence in the U.S. This event was held at the aegis of the African Union (AU) utilizing a resolution submitted by Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik Shabazz) and adopted during his intervention at the July 1964 second summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the AU. It will be important for progressive elements within the international community to continue their condemnation of U.S. foreign policy related to race relations and Washington’s dealing with developing countries, particularly those holding anti-imperialist sentiments.

I think the established political structure in the U.S. is not able to cope up with these challenges and solve the social problems. The system needs a complete overhaul. The profit motive in economics cannot be maintained if the aim of the government is to seek stability. The longer the capitalist and imperialist system is in operation the world will know no peace.

The U.S. system could very well collapse if reforms are not instituted immediately. Even with substantial reforms, there are structural weaknesses and contradictions which will not go away if a new system is not brought into existence. However, even if the American system is in decline, it could continue to function for many years to come causing havoc domestically and internationally. For example, ancient Rome took several centuries to be completely stripped of its power. Even with the collapse becoming inevitable, it did not prevent the invasion of the Horn of Africa during the late 19th century and North Africa in the early 20th century. Fascism arose out of the desire of Mussolini to rebuild Rome as an imperialist state. It would take the defeat of Fascism in the 1940s to eliminate its strength as an imperialist power. A similar historical trajectory could occur in relationship to the U.S. if the people domestically and internationally are capable of eliminating imperialism as a continuing threat to humanity.

 *Abayomi Azikiwe is the editor of the Pan-African News Wire. Azikiwe is a graduate of Wayne State University in Detroit. He has worked for several decades in solidarity with various liberation movements and progressive governments in Africa, the Caribbean and other geo-political regions. 

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Syria: a long road to peace. A Russian documentary.

The Arab yacht summit plotters have fallen out

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DYxJNIWWAAMxxsb.jpg
George Nader (fourth from left) organised a secret summit of Arab leaders on a yacht in the Red Sea in late 2015
David HearstDavid Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

15 March 2021 15:09 UTC 

An alliance of regional rulers that put so much effort into suppressing democracy is weakening now as its participants bear substantial grudges against each other

For the past decade, an alliance of rulers has bent every sinew to halt the onward, and irreversible, fight for human rights in the Arab world.

To preserve their own decaying regimes, this alliance has laid waste to once proud and civilised nations. It has waged wars in Yemen, Libya and Syria, reducing much of them to rubble. It has funded coups in Egypt, and attempted them in Tunisia and Turkey. The blood of hundreds of thousands has been shed in these interventions.

They were fought in the name of defending the region from Islamism and extremism. In this, they attracted the credulous, or cynical, support of former colonial powers France and Britain. But in reality their “jihad” had nothing to do with defending liberalism or secularism.

These regimes had no qualms about enlisting religious forces for political ends. Their quest was for hegemony, or how to transfer autocracy from one generation to another. For them, power was part of the family silver.

Late in 2015 – two years after their first major success, that being the military coup in Egypt, the leaders of this alliance – crown princes and rulers of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan – met secretly on a yacht to plot their plans for the region. To summon the same cast of characters on a yacht in the Red Sea today, six years on, would, however, be more difficult. 

For one thing, the fixer of this secret summit is in prison. George Nader is serving ten years on child sex charges. For another, the participants today bear substantial grudges against each other.

Money like rice?

Relations between Saudi Arabia and Egypt have cooled fastest. The Saudis no longer have “money like rice” as the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi once bragged to his chief of staff Abbas Kamel. And any way King Salman is not as generous as his late brother Abdullah was, even if he had the money, which he doesn’t.

Sisi has no interest in following Mohammed bin Salman into the camp of pariah dictators

Sisi tried to get a new line of funding from Riyadh by giving it two uninhabited but strategically placed Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to much protest at home. But the Saudis are no longer interested in such baubles like the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aqaba.  

Their eyes light up when contemplating cheaper and faster ways to the Mediterranean – through Israel. Egypt is not saying it, but it is getting increasingly irritated by plans to bypass the Suez Canal, which it enlarged to the tune of $8.2bn.

Whether it is reversing a once-secret desert pipeline that ran from Iran to Israel during the time of the Shah, or the development of ports and free zones in Israel, or Blue Raman, a new fibre optic cable for the Middle East, it’s all pointing in one direction for Cairo – a huge loss of money and regional influence. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AFP)

It is not as if there have not been past divergences between banker and client state. Egypt’s refusal to send troops to fight in Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen was one. It has refused to be as hostile to Iran and its allies in Lebanon. But two new factors are persuading Egypt that its national interests are not always best served by its regional allies. 

The Biden factor

The first is the arrival of US President Joe Biden and his obvious antipathy to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – even though he refuses to sanction him. Sisi has no interest in following bin Salman into the camp of pariah dictators. Rather, he has a strong motive to distance himself from that clan.For Trump’s Middle East allies, Joe Biden is a new nightmareRead More »

Bin Salman’s international reputation has been tarnished by the release of the US intelligence report into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. When it was released, Mohammed bin Salman expected that every member of his club, and even those that were not, like Qatar, to send a message of support. 

Most did. King Abdullah II of Jordan; Sudan’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, flew to Riyadh. Others like Bahrain and the UAE issued statements. The only country to fall silent was Egypt.

The second factor was the military defeat of the Libyan general Khalifa Haftar, when his forces were repulsed from Tripoli and retreated to Sirte. The Turkish intervention, and the effectiveness of its drones, came as a shock to Egypt, whose agenda in Libya was driven by the Emirates. Egypt, however, invested considerably in training, arming and supplying Haftar’s forces.

When both the UAE and Egypt discovered that they were on the losing side – and this was sometime before Haftar pushed Sisi to invade – some in the Egyptian media began to question publicly why Egypt was in this position. Libya is important to its neighbour, not least because of the millions of Egyptians who – in times of peace – work there. When Libya prospers, so does Egypt. Haftar’s defeat opened the way for direct talks with the government in Tripoli, and covert talks with Turkish intelligence chiefs. 

As a result, the candidates of the list which lost the election to the post of prime minister had been agreed beforehand by both Turkey and Egypt. When the Libyans rejected those candidates, it did not disturb the tacit understanding between Ankara and Cairo. Nor are things as close between Cairo and Abu Dhabi. The froideur started over a question of money. But it rapidly went much further over Abu Dhabi’s recognition of Israel

The second wave

The second wave of normalisation with Israel displaced the first. Both Egypt and Jordan lost influence as the gatekeepers of the Arab world to Israel, in the same degree to which the UAE gained it.

It’s no coincidence that two of the nations that attended that yacht summit are in the process of softening their hostility to Ankara

When Abu Dhabi announced it would invest $10bn in Israeli energy, manufacturing, water, space, healthcare and agri-tech, it was no coincidence that Jordan at first refused permission for Benjamin Netanyahu’s jet to use its airspace, and he had to cancel his trip to pick up the prize money in person. Netanyahu’s office said the dispute with Amman stemmed from Israel’s decision to cancel the Jordanian crown prince’s plans to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque the day before.  

Much of the legitimacy of the Hashemite dynasty rests on its role as custodian of the holy sites in Jerusalem, a role that is now being overtly threatened by its Saudi cousin with Israel’s encouragement. Bin Salman is playing a zero-sum game. By advancing his own relationship with Israel, he is weakening the stability of Israel’s safest border. 

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends the closing session of an African summit meeting (AFP)
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (AFP)

The yacht summit was convened to counter Turkey and Iran’s resistance to their schemes. So it’s also no coincidence that two of the nations that attended that summit are in the process of softening their hostility to Ankara.

Enters Turkey

Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are being pushed into each other arms by a US president who is hostile to the Saudi crown prince and the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mohammed bin Salman was told by his advisers that if Biden won, he would have to open relations with Turkey. 

Where foreign relations are based on secret pacts between leaders each of whom have good reason to fear their own people, they are built on sand

Bin Salman is not convinced, and can’t overcome the feeling that Erdogan was out to get him for having ordered Khashoggi’s murder. But the relationship between his father, King Salman, and Erdogan was never ruptured and so halting attempts are being made.

Qatar has offered to mediate, which is ironic, because when the boycott of the Gulf peninsula states started, the Turks offered to mediate. Turkey maintains strong relations with Oman and Kuwait and both Ankara and Riyadh have an interest in showing Washington they are regional players.

But is more going on under the table? Recently the Houthis claimed to have shot down a drone that “had proven its worth in Azerbaijan”, an oblique reference to Turkey. It was a Turkish drone, but not one used in Azerbaijan. Last year the Saudi government signed a deal with a local company to supply armed drones after getting a technology transfer from a Turkish defence firm, Vestel Karayel. Six drones were delivered. 

Turkey denies there was anything official about this technology transfer. A Turkish source familiar with the defence industry said Vestel did not seek government authorisation to make such a tech transfer to Riyadh. Still, the incident raised eyebrows. Janes defence news said the Karayel has not been previously known to be in service with the Saudi military.

In any case the Saudi boycott of Turkish goods still continues.

Repairing ties with Egypt

Last week’s flurry of statements from the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, chief counsellor to the president Ibrahim Kalin and the president himself about turning the page with Egypt have been downplayed by Cairo.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, confirming contacts with Cavusoglu, said that Turkey must “align with Egypt’s principles” before relations could return to normal. And the editor in chief of Egypt’s al Watan newspaper published ten conditions before relations could be restored.

This will have the same effect on Ankara as the 13 demands the blockading countries laid on Qatar.

The optimism in Ankara started when Egypt announced an oil and gas exploration bid in the Eastern Mediterranean which acknowledged the coordinates of the continental shelf declared by Ankara. The Greek foreign minister, Nikos Dendias, claims to have since “adjusted” those coordinates after a trip to Cairo.Turkey-Egypt relations: What’s behind their new diplomatic push?Read More »

Turkish intelligence chiefs have, however, met their Egyptian counterparts several times. Apart from Libya, Turkey is offering the Egyptians help in their dispute with Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. UAE is doing the opposite by offering help to the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmet. 

Mohammed Dahlan, the Abu Dhabi-based former Fatah security chief, visited Addis in an announced visit. What was not announced was that his boss Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed went with him, according to one informed source. Egypt is baulking at the Turkish charm offensive and there has been no breakthrough.

“Egypt wants Ankara to take at least a symbolic step on the presence of Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey,” an official told MEE. 

If that is what is needed, it will not materialise. The Muslim Brotherhood does not have a physical presence like a regional office in Turkey. So there is nothing to close down. To go against individual members of the large expatriate Egyptian community in Istanbul would mean extraditing individuals, which Turkey is not going to do. Nor is there any discernible Turkish pressure on the Egyptian opposition media in Istanbul. Cairo would particularly like Al Sharq television off air.

“The Turkish authorities have nothing to offer nor withdraw when it comes to Al Sharq Channel because we are not funded by Turkey or Qatar,” its owner Dr Ayman Nour, the Egyptian opposition politician, told MEE. “We have not sensed any change on the Turkish side with regard to Al Sharq.”

But the axis itself is weakening and the lessons for everyone in the region are clear. Where foreign relations are based on secret pacts between leaders, each of whom have good reason to fear their own people, they are built on sand. Where they are based on the strategic interests of their peoples, they are more durable. The more national interests are based on the interests of their peoples rather than the rulers, the greater the stability of the region

Thus far it has been warm embraces one day, and stabs in the back the next.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

Related

Biden Forces Continue Trump Legacy of Stealing Syria’s Wheat

 MIRI WOOD 

Biden forces stealing Syrian wheat from Hasakah into Iraq

Biden forces have continued the fetid Trump legacy of stealing Syria’s wheat, this time targeting the silos of Tal Alou, in the eastern countryside of Hasakah.

Over the last two weeks, the Biden regime illegals have filled more than 112 trucks with wheat stolen from these silos, criminally and arrogantly driving these convoys through Syria which is not in the USA through the illegal al Walid crossing into northern Iraq. The American illegals in the SAR, these military members who do not defend their country but invade other countries to loot, pillar, plunder have been idiotically escorted from Tal Alou into Iraq, by the US created and armed SDF terrorist-cannon fodder.

The ongoing criminal actions of the Biden forces illegally in the Levantine republic are literally taking food from the mouths of Syrian people. This wholesale theft of Syrian food is made more egregious by the fact that the Biden occupation forces moved their criminal military base from Tal Alou, into Iraq, last month, and now returning to ensure there is not a grain left.

Syrian TV – Biden forces stealing Syrian wheat from Tal Alou and smuggling them into Iraq guarded by SDF terrorists
Syrian Wheat crops - القمح السوري
Symbol for Syrian Wheat – after NATO terrorists burned out wheat fields in northern Syria

This most recent, flagrant grand theft of Syria’s foodstuffs by the Biden forces comes on the heels of the western supremacist humanitarian bastards shedding their crocodile tears over the terrible humanitarian conditions that these same malignant sociopaths created, with their NATO Spring against the Syrian Arabs — who, despite a 10,000-year-old history, are painted as though in collective, starving stupor whilst awaiting white savior rescuing.

In between the Biden handlers (yes, Virginia, even Newsweek had to report that the White House cut the feed to separate the President of the United States from the American people after he asked “Nance” if he was supposed to take questions from reporters) bombing Syria and stealing what was left in the Tal Alou grain silos, came the hybrid in-person/VTC meeting of the lying liars of the European Union’s European Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operation (or, perhaps a meeting with another name that incorporated this subdivision’s NATO principles, a meeting which weather-boy — Climate Envoy — John Kerry jumped onto a private plane to attend). This EU/EC/ECPHAO gathering was held at NATO headquarters, in Brussels.

Kerry with Borrell, meeting to work out details on imposing humanitarian colonialism on the non-NATO world.

Siguiendo los eventos en #Bolivia. Las acusaciones por los hechos de 2019 deben resolverse en el marco de una justicia transparente y sin presiones políticas, respetando la independencia de poderes. Diálogo y reconciliación son cruciales. La #UE continuará apoyando a Bolivia. — 13 March tweet of EU supremacist Borrell, shamelessly referring to the violent military coup against Bolivia and President Evo Morales — whose modest home was trashed by the rabble — as “accusations,” and arrogantly demanding “transparent justice” upon the recent arrest of coup-terrorist-traitor Janine Anez. More ominous, is the threat that the EU will “continue helping.”

On 9 March, Borrell gave an anti-Syria speech to the NATO klan in NATO headquarters repeating the criminal lies indictable under Nuremberg, Principle VI, Crimes against PeaceFetishistic lies about chemical weapons, lies about an uprising, lies of omission regarding the EU countries dumping their human detritus into Syria and criminally supplying weapons and funding said refuse, lies involving the impunity of illicit economic terrorism regarding ”sanctions” prohibited by UNGA member states without explicit Security Council Resolutions, and — of course — spewing supremacist condemnation of Syria’s upcoming presidential election. Also not shocking — coming from another great white hope, a western, NATO, supremacist — is the utterly shameless concern that the atrocities that the EU and US dumped into Syria are fake chillingly, at Europe’s doorstep.

Liars lie, and shamelessly so.

Here is a small sampling of NATO — and NATO best friends’ — garbage dumped almost three thousand miles from the European continent, into the country of Syria, which is in a different continent (including, but not limited to Belgium’s Michel:

Shortly before the attacks in France, Paris Match ran a lovely report on Belgian Michel’s life after returning from ”fighting’ in the SAR
French – Belgian terrorist Abdo Rahman Ayashi
dutch terrorist yago riedijik
Dutch terrorist/illegal, Yago Riedjk, Begum’s concubinator and alleged sire of her alleged children
Illegal alien and German terrorist Denis Caspert was killed by the SAA in 2013. Caspert was one of hundreds of pieces of human garbage Germany dumped into Syria. This is a war crime.
weapons-crimes-against-syria
Italian national Saqar slaughtering kidnapped Syrian soldiers, Idlib 2012

“So they put conditions for Syria to meet or die, and Syria responded we kicked your fathers or grandfathers out we won’t let you back in” — a Syrian’s paraphrase of the humorous response by the Foreign Ministry

The following day, Assistant Foreign and Expatriates Minister, Ayman Sousan, held a press briefing, and, without mentioning the name of the terrorist in the expensive suit and with the expensive haircut, charmingly addressed the lies of the supremacist EU as delusional neo-colonialism, noting that “the EU policy and the policy of Daesh are two sides for the same coin, which is the US coin.”

Minister Sousan diplomatically noted that the neocolonial EU is nothing more than the US-Biden lapdog.
Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Damascus
Syrian Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs – Damascus

Borrell subsequently gave a speech that could have been construed as humanitarian concern; MEP Clare Daly immediately rectified the situation:

What is the difference between these two Syria-hating terrorists, other than an expensive manicure?

Borrell feigned the concern of the humanitarian bastards, then exposed using it as phony cover for recolonizing Syria.
Idlib 2013. The FSA terrorist grilled the severed head of a Syrian soldier. What degenerate normalizes such atrocities?
Idlib 2013. The FSA terrorist grilled the severed head of a Syrian soldier. What degenerate normalizes such atrocities?

…permanent humanitarian access means NATO klansmen plan recolonization.

On 13 March, the Biden forces stole the remnants of wheat in the Tal Alou silos.

The Biden forces continue the Trump legacy of stealing Syria’s food — and other forms of neocolonial supremacy, that’s the policies of NATO, that’s why the organization continues on and on full steam for decades after its main purpose of opposing the Warsaw Pact was no longer the case.

— Miri Wood

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The Russians aren’t coming—the Israelis are

If you think that Russia is or has been a threat to America and much of the West, I think you are mistaken.

By Jonas E. Alexis -March 8, 2021

If you think that Russia is or has been a threat to America and much of the West, I think you are mistaken. It was the same delusion that poison the mind of people like George Soros, who wrote in the Guardian back in 2016 that Vladimir Putin “is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis.”[1] Without the slightest evidence, Soros posited:

“The leaders of the US and the EU are making a grievous error in thinking that president Vladimir Putin’s Russia is a potential ally in the fight against Islamic State. The evidence contradicts them. Putin’s aim is to foster the EU’s disintegration, and the best way to do so is to flood Europe with Syrian refugees.

“Russia has also launched a large-scale air attack against civilians in northern Syria. This was followed by a ground assault by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s army against Aleppo, a city that used to have 2 million inhabitants. The barrel bombs caused 70,000 civilians to flee to Turkey; the ground offensive could uproot many more.”[2]

Complete fabrication! If Russia were liquidating Syrian civilians, why Syrian civilians appreciated the presence of the Russians in the region? One needn’t be a politician to realize that Soros’ formulation is generally dumb.

In any event, we shouldn’t be paying attention to people like Soros, particularly when they are postulating things that simply don’t make sense at all. Russia is not an enemy of the West. If there is one country that has been weakening the very foundation of what the founding fathers stood for, then it must be Israel. Perhaps people who doubt this statement should pay close attention to Philip Weiss here.

10-20 American mouthpieces for Israeli government had unrivaled access to Obama White House — Rhodes—Philip Weiss

Ben Rhodes, former deputy national security adviser under President Obama, says that he had to meet with Israel lobbyists as much as all other interest groups combined; that these lobbyists were a tiny segment of the American Jewish community, the same 10 to 20 individuals; they invariably took the position of the Israeli government; and were apparently scripted by the Israelis in some cases.

He also said that White House national security aides were expected to appear at the Israel lobby group AIPAC’s annual conference, but if they paid attention to Arab-American or peace groups, they could “get in trouble.”

The Israel lobby’s access was reinforced by compliant media and Congress, with members of Congress at times warning Rhodes about the “acute” financial threat of taking on the lobby.

Rhodes detailed the financial “threatening” from the Israel lobby in a podcast with Peter Beinart on February 10:

On Iran, the members would call me at the beginning of the August recess in 2015, when we’re having the Iran fight, and be like, AIPAC put out a press release saying they’re going to spend $40 million on ads on this. The money issue became acute. And people started to say, AIPAC told me they’d cancel my fundraisers if I vote this way. We’re never supposed to name the issue of money. But like when it became very acute and AIPAC is spending money and threatening people that they’re going to cancel fundraisers, suddenly you’re having that conversation in a way where you’re not even allowed to allude to it in normal circumstances.

Recall that in 2019 when Rep. Ilhan Omar dared to say that AIPAC used “benjamins” to command support for Israel in Congress, she was denounced far and wide and compelled to apologize for “antisemitic tropes,” though she was only saying what Rhodes says here.

Rhodes’s discussion of money echoes his 2018 memoir of the Obama years in which he said that after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu lectured Obama in the White House in 2011, about why Israel could not accept the ’67 lines as a border, Rhodes had to get on the phone to “a list of leading Jewish donors . . . to reassure them of Obama’s pro-Israel bona fides.” The concern then was the 2012 election.

Here are extended excerpts of Rhodes’s comments on the Israel lobby to Beinart. (I did a separate post on Israel’s disrepect for Obama per Rhodes yesterday, including Rhodes’s “shame” that the Obama White House pretended that Netanyahu believed in a two-state solution when he never did; and how the Biden team is forgetting the “history,” that Israel made life hell for Obama, sometimes in racially offensive terms).

On the omnipresence of the Israel lobby:

You meet more with outside, organized constituency groups on Israel than any other foreign policy issue. I’d actually go as far to say that . . . as a senior White House official working on national security . . . the number of people you meet from the organized pro-Israel community equals all the other meetings that you might do with kind of diaspora or constituency groups on all the other issues. It’s that degree of dwarfing. I’m pretty confident that’s consistent across [presidential] administrations . . .

You just have this incredibly organized pro-Israel community that is very accustomed to having access in the White House, in Congress, at the State Department. It’s taken for granted, as given, that that’s the way things are going to be done.

Rhodes said that any time there’s “daylight” between the U.S. government and the Israeli government, the White House hears from Democratic members of Congress.

The degree of congressional interest again dwarfs any other issue I worked on in the Obama years. Anything with a nexus to Israel, be it Iran or the Palestinian issue, the two dominant ones in our time, you’re going to hear from members of Congress, you’re going to be expected to be briefing members of Congress. If there’s any daylight between the US and the Israeli government, even Democratic members are going to be upset, concerned about that.

Netanyahu also applied pressure by calling on “vast” rightwing media resources in the U.S.

The media interest is dramatically intensified [on this issue]. And that’s both a very aggressive kind of pro-Likud media in the United States. It’s also just the mainstream media delights in any Israel controversies. Netanyahu knew that he could gin up the rightwing pro-Likud media in the United States, which is pretty vast, but he also knew that if he needled Obama he would create a week-long political story, because political reporters view Israel as a domestic political story, not a foreign policy issue.

So in all those ways, the outside pressure, the Congressional interest, the media interest, there’s just a much greater spotlight on anything with a nexus to Israel than on anything else. And inevitably that weighs on the minds of politicians and policymakers. You can’t act like it doesn’t.

Beinart asked how often aides had meetings with representatives of the pro-Palestinian side, and Rhodes laughed and said he was the only one to do so, because such meetings can get you “into trouble”– and they weren’t with Palestinians as such.

I would be the one to take those meetings. I actually did it like pretty regularly. Here’s the thing. Usually with me those types of meetings were either peace groups, sometimes Christian religious groups, Quakers and others advocating for peace. Sometimes Arab-Americans. Less Palestinian, but more broadly Arab-American. So there wasn’t a significant just-Palestinian or Palestinian-American organized constitutency that you would meet with… I ended up taking those meetings because look, not everyone wants to take those meetings. Because you can get into trouble if you’re seen as solicitous. I would get creamed in the rightwing press. I spoke at NIAC [National Iranian American Council] . . . Not on the Palestinian issue, but the Iran nuclear deal. You’d think I had dinner with the supreme leader of Iran. There’s a kind of chilling effect.

But everyone goes to AIPAC!

You are expected — every senior US government official in national security — is almost expected to turn up at AIPAC. You are not expected to turn up at NIAC.

Rhodes, who is half-Jewish, discussed the fact that Jews are heavily involved in policymaking and Arab-Americans are not.

I remember being in a meeting once early in the Obama years on Israel . . . I’m just acknowledging something and not suggesting that there’s anything inherently wrong with it. It just is what it is. I remember looking around the Situation Room on a meeting on the Israel/Palestine issue and every single one of us in the meeting was Jewish or of Jewish origin like me . . . Which again, I don’t want to sound conspiratorial. I’m not trying to advance a trope. I’m really not. I think it’s great that a lot of Jewish-Americans go into foreign policy and national security. I just remember thinking what if everybody in this room was Arab-American, you’d have a different [discussion].

We understand the Israeli fears and grievances and concerns intuitively as Jewish-Americans. Maybe not as much as Israelis . . . [but] we have some understanding with it in our unconscious literally . . . in a way that — intellectually, I can try to understand the Palestinian experience, but I don’t.

Rhodes said that the Israel lobby is a tiny subset of American Jews.

Over the eight years I met so many times with like the usual suspects from the organized American Jewish community. And part of what you start to realize is this is a pretty small number of people. The American Jewish community is a large, sprawling, raucous wonderful community, and it’s kind of like 10 to 20 people that you find yourself meeting with all the time, some of whom are by the way wonderful people. Some of whom, less so.

And they’re mouthpieces for the Israeli government.

And look, again — not a conspiracy, it is what it is. People are advocating a position. But it’s a common position. Whatever the tension point between us and the Israeli government was at a given time, they were usually coming in to represent what I knew to be the Israeli government’s view in that circumstance. There was a big push at the beginning of the Obama administration after Netanyahu’s election for the US to recognize Israel formally as a Jewish state, which actually had not been U.S. policy before 2009 . . . There was a big push on us to pressure the Palestinians into talks though it wasn’t clear those talks would lead anywhere.

Whenever there was an international incident like the Goldstone Report or the Turkish Flotilla, you have to make sure that you’re doing everything that you can at the U.N. to kind of block this from going forward.

The advice Rhodes got was at times intrusive and high-handed.

But I would also get advice on how to talk about these issues. I remember, to give you an example, they would complain that we dealt more with Palestinian grievances than Israeli grievances, which I did not think was the case frankly. One of these people said to me, “You’re right Ben–” cause I had showed him all the things we’d said about Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its history– he said, “But you put the Palestinians second.” So [having them first was] suggesting that you think they’re more important. You flip the order. It would get very specific. Language that Obama needed to use, reassurances that he needs to give.

During the Iran deal, the lobby piped the Israeli government line.

The nuclear deal was insane, the number of armchair centrifuge experts . . . We have nuclear scientists in the government, and I have someone from an organization yelling at me about advanced nuclear centrifuge issues! I think Ernie Moniz [former energy secretary] understands this. It’s not a conspiracy because other organizations do the same thing on their issues, but not as effectively frankly. But you could tell that somebody else had briefed them. In most instances, and whether that was the Israeli government or their own staff, I’m not suggesting . . . And in this case it was always whatever Netanyahu’s party’s difference was with Obama at the moment.

The Israel lobby’s talking points were laughably transparent.

I had members of Congress . . . talking to me about what the inspection regime needs to be about traces of isotope at Parchin [military site in Iran]. The talking points were so specific on Iran, that you knew . . . This was such an echo chamber; every member you’re meeting just conspicuously happens to be obsessed with the inspections regime at Parchin . . . You understood that everyone’s working off the same set of points.

Beinart, who is an observant Jew, and Rhodes agreed that Jews in government are granted a special place in discussion of these issues. Rhodes:

I will give you the obvious example. Congress. I would brief throughout the Iran process the Jewish Democrats in Congress. That was a group. And Sandy Levin, wonderful man, phenomenal human being, would pull it together and it wasn’t subtle. I was going up every few weeks to brief every Jewish Democrat, which is a pretty sizable group, about the particularities of the Iran negotiations. And by the way there was a Jewishness to it, like we had bagels. And so I think there is a kind of default to an assumption that you need to be informed by something of a Jewish perspective.

But then even in that, I sensed, I’m not a practicing Jew, and I sensed at times a bit of a vibe, Well who are you — and like I was called a fake Jew. There were these narratives of Jewishness that kind of informed this stuff.

By the way, it’s not as if anyone plans to “decenter” Jews! Today it is no coincidence that the top three officials in the Biden State Department — Tony Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Nuland — are all Jewish. These appointments are meant to reassure the Israel lobby of Biden’s support. The same reason Obama hired Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in 2008 by reaching out to an Israel lobbyist to be the intermediary. The same reason that for many years all of the Treasury undersecretaries for counter-terrorism, enforcing Iran sanctions, were Jewish.

Rhodes dealt with the Jewish part of the Israel lobby, but he says the Jewish lobby was able to use the “firewall” of the evangelical Christian Israel lobby in the Republican Party to shrink the debate and to “bludgeon” the Democratic Party.

The people who came to me knew that they had a Republican party that would be in total lockstep, total hawks — total wherever Netanyahu was. Debates about Israel . . . were entirely inside the Democratic party because the development of the last 20 years is that Republicans/evangelicals have completely embraced the rightwing Israeli side.

Weirdly, the evangelical firewall, if you will, of support for Israel really empowered the more conservative, in the political sense, rightwing Jewish perspective inside the American Jewish community because they knew they had the cavalry behind them of the entire Republican Party. Even though these were often debates with Jews in the room, the presence which wasn’t in the room, the evangelical conservative community, was very powerful. It gave them a . . . Trump card. If the Democrats didn’t fall into line they knew . . . the Republicans could bludgeon us with it. That’s the story of the whole Iran fight.

Rhodes said the Israel lobby is “not unique,” that it’s akin to the fossil fuel and gun lobby. “It’s not a Jewish specific thing. It’s just the combination of money and passion and organization coupled with this evangelical piece that has emerged in the last several decades that is not about Jews.”

The congresspeople are often craven. Rhodes related the occasion in 2015 when Netanyahu made a racist appeal at the end of his campaign, warning that “Arabs are voting in droves.” Asked about the remarks, Obama spokesperson Josh Earnest was critical, saying that the White House had serious concerns about “divisive rhetoric” and would communicate as much to Israeli government.

Rhodes:

And a member of Congress was complaining to me about this. I’m like, “What do you want us to do about this? The guy’s being a racist, he’s come out against the two-state solution, he’s talking about the Arabs coming out in droves, and we’re asked what we think about it. How can we not give an answer that’s somewhat honest?”

He said, “Why can’t you just blame the Palestinians?”

I said, “For what?”

He started talking about incitement. The pivot was not subtle.

Read Part 1 of the Rhodes comments here— how he feels “shame” that the Obama White House pretended that Netanyahu believed in a two-state solution when he never did; and how the Biden team is forgetting the “history” of Israel making life hell for Obama in sometimes racially offensive terms.

[1] George Soros, “Putin is a bigger threat to Europe’s existence than Isis,” Guardian, February 11, 2016.

[2] Ibid.

BIOGRAPHY

Jonas E. AlexisJonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, history of Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He is currently working on a book tentatively titled, Kevin MacDonald’s Abject Failure: A Philosophical and Moral Critique of Evolutionary Psychology, Sociobiology, and White Identity. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.

The Bamiyan Buddhas: an Afghan tale

The Bamiyan Buddhas: an Afghan tale

March 03, 2021

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

In the beginning, they were the Bamiyan Buddhas: the Western Buddha statue, 55 meters high, and the Eastern, 38 meters high, carved for decades since 550 A.D. from porous sandstone cliffs, the intricate details modeled in clay mixed with straw and coated with stucco.

Xuanzang, the legendary traveling monk of the early Tang dynasty who journeyed to India in search of Buddhist manuscripts, saw them in all their – colored – glory in the 7th century.

Then, with Islam taking over these high central lands of Afghanistan, local Hazara folklore slowly turned them into the Romeo and Juliet of the Hindu Kush.

They became “Solsol” (“year after year”, or, more colloquially, the prince of Bamiyan) and “Shahmana” (“the king’s Mother”, or colloquially a princess from a remote kingdom). As lovers, they could not be united as a couple in this world; so they chose to turn into statues and stand close to each other forever.

And then, twenty years ago, after a millennium and a half of living history, the Taliban blew them up.

Killing Romeo and Juliet

Solsol and Shahmana lived since their inception among the Hazaras, who speak Dari, a Persian dialect with numerous words of Mongol and Turk origin. The Hazaras are partly descendants of Genghis Khan’s troops who infiltrated these mountains in the 13th century. Hazaras – who I had the pleasure to meet mostly in Kabul in the early 2000s – remain essentially Mongols, but linguistically Persianized, having adopted the old agricultural tradition of the Iranian mountains.

The Hazaras are diametrically opposed by the Pashtuns – who had an extremely complex ethno-genesis before the early 18th century, when they coalesced into great federations of nomad tribes. Their code of conduct – the Pashtunwali – is straightforward, regulating most of all a mechanism of sanctions.

The number one sanction is death: this is a poor society, where sanctions are physical, not material. Islam added moral elements to pashtunwali. And then there are juridical norms imposed by hereditary noblemen – which function like the carpet tying the room together: these come from the Turk-Mongols.

The modern Afghan state was created in the late 19th century by Abd-ur-Rahman, the “Iron Emir”. He pulled that off via a “Pashtunization” of the region that was locally known as the north of Turkestan. Then he integrated the Hazaras in the central mountains via bloody military campaigns.

Hazara lands were opened to Pashtun nomad tribes – who featured not only shepherds but also merchants and caravan entrepreneurs. Increasingly plunged into debt, the Hazaras ended up becoming economic hostages of the Pashtuns. Their way out was to emigrate to Kabul – where they hold mostly menial jobs.

And that brings us to the heart of the problem. Hazaras are Shi’ites. Pashtuns are Sunni. Pashtuns consider themselves the owners of Afghanistan – even as there’s persistent, major infighting among Pashtun groups. Pashtuns simply detest the Westphalian concept of the nation-state: most of all they see themselves as an empire within an empire.

This implies that ethnic minorities are marginalized – if they can’t find some sort of accommodation. Hazaras, because they are Shi’ites, were extremely marginalized during Taliban rule, from 1996 to 2001.

The Taliban rolled out en masse from Pakistani madrassas in 1994: the overwhelming majority were Pashtuns from rural areas between Kandahar and Paktiya. They had spent many years in camps scattered along the Pakistani tribal areas and Balochistan.

The Taliban became instantly successful for three reasons:

1 – Implementation of Sharia law.

2 – Their fight against the lack of security after the 1980s jihad instrumentalized by the Americans to give the USSR its “own Vietnam” (Brzezinski’s definition), and the subsequent warlord anarchy.

3 – Because they incarnated the return of the Pashtuns as the leading Afghan force.

No reincarnation?

All of the above supplies the context for the inevitable destruction of Solsol and Shahmana in March 2001. They were the symbols of an “infidel” religion. And they were situated in Shi’ite Hazara land.

Months later, after 9/11, I would learn from Taliban officials close to ambassador Abdul Salam Zaeef in Islamabad that first they blew up “the little one, which was a woman” then “her husband”; that implies the Taliban were very much aware of local folklore.

The destruction process started with the legs of the Great Buddha: one of them was already cut at the knee and the other at the femur. It took them four days – using mines, explosives and even artillery. The Taliban forced local Hazara youth to drill holes in the statues: those who refused were shot dead.

Yet that was not enough to kill oral tradition. Even the young Hazara generation, born after the smashing of the Buddhas, still delights in the tale of Solsol and Shahmana.

But will they ever reincarnate as living statues? Enter the usually messy “international community”. In 2003, Unesco declared the site of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the surrounding caves a “World Heritage Site in Danger.”

Still, Kabul and Unesco can’t seem to agree on a final decision. As it stands, Solsol will not be rebuilt; Shahmana, maybe. On and off, they resurrect as 3-D holograms.

What happened so far is “consolidation work at the Eastern Buddha niche”, finished in 2015. Work at the Western Buddha niche started in 2016. A Bamiyan Expert Working Group gets together every year, featuring the administration in Kabul, Unesco experts and donors, mostly German and Japanese.co

Ishaq Mawhidi, the head of the Culture and Information Department of Bamiyan, is sure that “90 percent of the statues can be rebuilt with the debris”, plus fragments of smaller statues currently preserved in two large warehouses on site.

The Afghan Ministry of Culture correctly argues that reconstruction work will require a formidable team, including Buddhism scholars, archeologists specialized in Gandhara art, historians, ethnographers, historiographers specialized in the first centuries of the first millennium in Afghanistan.

It will have to be eventually up to wealthy donors such as Berlin and Tokyo to willingly finance all this – and justify the costs, considering Hazara lands barely have been granted with working roads and electricity by the Kabul central government.

It’s always crucial to remember that the Bamiyan Buddhas blow up is a crucial case of deliberate destruction of world cultural heritage – alongside appalling instances in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya and Mali. They all connect, directly and indirectly, to the causes and consequences of imperial Forever Wars and their spin-offs (never forget that the Taliban initially were fully courted by the Clinton administration).

The Buddha of Dushanbe

In the end, I never managed to see Solsol and Shahmana. The Taliban would not issue a travel permit for foreigners under any circumstances. After 9/11 and the expulsion of the Taliban from Kabul, I was negotiating a safe passage with Hazara fighters, but then something bigger came up: bribing a Pashtun commander to take a small group of us to Tora Bora to see the Empire B-52 Show against Osama bin Laden.

Instead of Solsol and Shahmana – either standing up in their niches, or blown up to smithereens – I finally managed to see the next best option: the reclining Buddha of Dushanbe.

Afghanistan may be the “graveyard of empires” – the last act being enacted as we speak. And, to a certain extent, a graveyard of Buddhas. But not neighboring Tajikistan.

The original Buddha of Dushanbe saga was published by Asia Times in those heady 9/11 days. It happened as my photographer Jason Florio and myself were waiting for days for a helicopter to take us to the Panjshir valley in Afghanistan.

Eighteen years later, like a Jorge Luis Borges short story, it all came down full circle before I traveled the Pamir highway in late 2019. I went to the same museum in Dushanbe and there he was: the 13 meter-long “sleeping lion”, found in the Buddhist monastery of Ajinateppa, resting on pillows, in glorious parinirvana, and fully restored, with help from an expert from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Somewhere in unknown spheres beyond space and time, Solsol and Shahmana will be benevolently smiling.


Recommended to open this Wikipedia page for existent photography of Pepe’s tale.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamiyanbrz

Book review: “Disintegration” by Andrei Martyanov

Indicators of the Coming American Collapse

Book review: “Disintegration” by Andrei Martyanov

THE SAKER • MARCH 1, 2021

This is the third book by Andrei Martyanov that I am reviewing, the first one was “Book Review – Losing Military Supremacy: the Myopia of American Strategic Planning by Andrei Martyanov”, while the second one was “Book Review: Andrei Martyanov’s The (Real) Revolution in Military Affairs”. I also interviewed Andrei about this second volume here. The book I am reviewing today, “Disintegration: Indicators of the Coming American Collapse” can be pre-ordered from Clarity Press here and from Amazon here.

If the first two volumes mostly focused on issues of force planning and military power, this third volume addresses the wider context and shows example after example that the United States is not only failing at its attempts to remain a world hegemon, but the US is, in fact, in a process we could call “full-spectrum collapse” or, like Martyanov, simply “disintegration”. Specifically, the book looks into the manifestation of disintegration in the following spheres:

  1. Consumption
  2. Affluenza
  3. Geoeconomics
  4. Energy
  5. Making Things
  6. Western Elites
  7. Losing the Arms Race
  8. Empire Über Alles – Including Americans
  9. To Be or Not To Be
  10. Conclusion: Not Exceptional, Not Free, Not Prosperous – Not America?

These are tantalizing subject headings which I will not further describe because I really want to really encourage as many people as possible to read this book. Why?

Mainly because while Martyanov’s first two books were dealing primarily with military and geostrategic issues, this one goes much wider and looks at the wider socio-cultural reasons which create the context for such a dramatic lack of real military capabilities.

A month ago I wrote an article I called “Zone B Exists, Thus There Is Hope, I Promise You!” in which I tried to show that the pseudo “reality” in which most people in the West are artificially kept in by the most effective (and insidious) propaganda machine in history is not the “real reality” at all! Not only that, but that most of the planet has been living in “Zone B” for quite a while. In fact, this “Zone B” has already moved on, even if the legacy ziomedia never reports about this.

Well, you can think of Martyanov’s books like the perfect example of a “Zone B book”: not only does Martyanov debunk most of the myths of the US propaganda machine, he contrasts these delusions with examples from the real world.

You could buy only one or two of Martyanov’s books, and each of them stands on its own, but I really think of them as a trilogy which should be read and discussed by as many people in the West as possible. In fact, you could think of them as each a kind of “crash course on debunking delusions and returning to reality”. The overarching message of all three volumes is this: “People of the United States, your ruling elites are lying to you just like the chamber orchestra on the Titanic that was playing music while the supposedly “unsinkable” Titanic was sinking!”.

Interestingly, Martyanov adds that, of all nations, Russians understand these processes better than anybody else because they they too suffered the same fate during the “democratic nightmare of the 1990s” (I would add that descendents of White Russians like myself also remember the “democratic nightmare” under Kerenskii in 1917). Martyanov writes:

“The collapse of the Soviet Union and the economic catastrophe which followed taught Russians a lot, and also left an aftertaste of the humiliation of losing power – a process the United States is going through right now”

Truth be told, Martyanov is hardly the first person to have mentioned the uncanny similarities between the Soviet Union of the late 80s, or the Russia of the 90s, with the US of the last two decades (or more). For example, Martyanov mentions Dmitry Orlov whose many books have looked into what he calls the “stages of collapse” (financial, economic, political, social, cultural and, later, he added ecological) and have became a precious analytical tool for many researchers. Many decades earlier, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whom Martyanov intensely dislikes, also often mentioned that the West of the 80s reminded him of the Russia of the early 20th century. This is just to illustrate Martyanov’s point that,

“Speaking in layman’s terms, the Russians get it. They, unlike any other people in the world, can relate to what the United States is going through right now. Russians can read the signs extremely well, while the U.S. elite not only has no experience with it, but is completely insulated from understanding it. This is America’s tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. Not only is America’s crisis systemic, but its elites are uncultured, badly educated and mesmerized by decades of their own propaganda, which in the end, they accept as a reality”

I couldn’t agree more. I would also add that those Russians who write books and articles desperately trying to warn the people of the US of real catastrophe taking place do that not because they are hostile to the United States, but precisely because they are sympathetic to the people of the US. The flag-waving pseudo-patriots who accuse these Russians of being “anti-American” simply don’t understand the “evil Russians” they hate so much (mostly because modern Russia under Putin has been fantastically successful, in spite of sanctions, threats, subversion, etc., while the US is in agony – that is why these folks are willing to believe anything bad, no matter how self-evidently stupid, about Russia and/or Putin).

Yes, of course, Russians hate and despise the US ruling Nomenklatura, just as they despised their own, Soviet, Nomenklatura. But that in no way implies what many mistake for “anti-American” hostility.

In my almost 58 years of life I have been blessed with the chance to travel a lot and speak six or so languages, yet I have never come across what I would call “anti-Americanism”. Even in countries supposedly hostile to the US the actual focus of the anger and disgust of people are the actions of the AngloZionist Empire, the ugly parasite feeding off its US host. Take a country like, say, Brazil. Anti “yankee” feelings have always been strong there, yet Brazilian musicians are known to beautifully fuse US and Brazilian music (see this superb example). The same is true elsewhere: people hate US policies, but very rarely the people of the US. Right now, judging by the Runet and emails from friends, Russians mostly feel pity for the people of the US, not hate, and this is so because they “get it” as Martuyanov correctly states. Of course, there are stupid and/or bigoted people in all countries and I am sure that there are those who hate the United States as a country, but I am confident that this is a small minority. There is one interesting category left: those who become critical of the US society after having lived in the US; a famous example of that would be Sayyid Qutb

None of that is meant to whitewash all the violence and ugliness of the short but extremely violent US history. But violence and ugliness exist in the history of probably every country on the planet (there sure was plenty of violence and ugliness in the history of Russia!). True, the US was probably one of the most bloody and violent regimes in history, but that violence ought to be attributed to imperialism and capitalism and not to something unique to the US (the British Empire was possibly the most criminally violent in history). Even more important to the understanding of US history is that most of its violence had its roots not in national or racial causes, but in the many social or, better, class struggles which peppered the history of the US. Again, discussions of class issues have been comprehensively blotted out from all the school books in Zone A, depriving those who had the misfortune to be educated in the West from one of the most important tools of political and economic analysis.

The importance of the above cannot be overstated and this is why Martyanov comes back to the topic of the education of the western ruling classes over and over again. In the last pages of Disintegration Martyanov writes:

Thus, no viable ideas or solutions to the current unfolding economic, social and cultural catastrophe can originate within these elites, who see the world only through the Wall Street and New York Times lenses. Real intellect, courage and integrity are simply not there: they all have been traded for the perks and sinecures of what many correctly describe as the Washington D.C. blob, whose only purpose for existence is self-perpetuation.

I would only add that there is a karmic irony in the fact that it is precisely because these ruling classes have no other purpose in life than self-perpetuation (and consumption, I would add) that they are driving themselves, and the country which they exploit, into extinction.

Conclusion: these are “must read” books for all of Zone A! (and even Zone B!)

Finally, it is precisely because Martyanov’s books are like “messages from Zone B” that I urge every person living in the US or in the EU to read them. As I said, each of these books stands on its own, but together they reach a kind of intellectual critical mass which makes them truly “must read” books, especially for those who hate their ruling regime but love their country.

These books are all pretty short, very well written, they have decent (but not perfect) indexes and are an easy read. If you want to get a superb summation of what is really going on in the United States (as opposed to the frankly laughable AngloZionist propaganda or the inchoate and outright childish slogans of the flag-waving “Trump patriots”) – read these books. If you have brainwashed friends, give them any (or, better, all of) these books: they are like a “crash course in reality studies”. If you have family members who still believe all the nonsense about “American exceptionalism”, challenge them to read these books.

Folks living in Zone B would also immensely benefit from reading Martyanov’s books. Not because these books will tell them much they weren’t already at least vaguely aware of, but because these books are also a very truthful “state of the United States” kind of SITREP. In my experience, while most folks (at least the well-read ones) in Zone B do mostly understand that the Empire is dead (or very close to death) and while they also feel the US are undergoing a massive internal catastrophe, most of these folks in Zone B do not fully appreciate the magnitude and severity of these crises. For them too Martyanov’s books will be an eye opener. This is also why I hope that all three of Martyanov’s books will be quickly translated into Russian: they will become instant blockbusters and, what is even more important, they will be read in Russian academies and universities. French and Spanish are another two languages I hope that these books will be translated into.

But, most of all, I hope (against any common sense or logic) that these books will be read by truly patriotic US officers, force planners, analysts, political decision-makers, etc. Right now, there is a real threat of these folks stumbling into a shooting war with Russia which the US will never survive (nor would Russia or much of the rest of the world, of course). But even if by some miracle this potential war remains non-nuclear, the US will still be destroyed, at least as a functioning country, by Russian conventional capabilities. This is the single biggest danger and possible disaster authors like Myartyanov are so desperately trying to prevent: a major war caused by a clueless ruling Nomenklatura involving a country (the US) which has never fought a defensive war in its history and which has never experienced real warfare, especially not against a competent adversary. I can only add that in case of a conventional war, Russia now has the means to defend not only her airspace, but a conceptual “Russian border proximity zone” of roughly 800km-1000km (and this range is steadily increasing). The US cannot. Neither can the EU or NATO. And for all the silly MIC+Pentagon promises of super-duper missiles, this is not something which will change in the short to medium time frame.

The more people in the US realize this, the better the chances avoid a terrible catastrophe. Hence the timely importance of Andrei Martyanov’s books.

Israel Reportedly Points Finger at Iran After Cargo Ship Explosion in Gulf of Oman

Ship fire Gulf of Oman
A video grab shows a fire and smoke billowing from a ship in the Gulf of Oman (photo by Gulf Today).

Source

15:03 GMT 27.02.2021

An explosion that ripped through an Israeli-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday could be the work of Iran, The Times of Israel reports, citing unnamed Israeli officials as saying.  

Unsourced reports from the Israeli media outlets Haaretz and Channel 13 claimed that Iran knew that the vessel was owned by an Israeli businessman – who himself rejected the speculation pertaining to the Islamic Republic.

A separate unsourced report by Israel’s Channel 12 asserted that the explosion was caused by a missile fired by an Iranian warship.

This was echoed by the maritime risk-management firm Dryad Global, which tweeted on Friday that the blast could possibly stem from “asymmetric activity by Iranian military”. Tehran has not commented on the matter yet.

The company identified the ship as the MV Helios Ray, claiming that the blast took place as the vessel with 28 crew members on board was about 44 nautical miles (50 miles) from Oman’s capital Muscat.

No one was reportedly hurt in the blast, which ostensibly caused several holes in the port and starboard sides of the ship, owned by Israeli businessman Abraham Ungar, founder of Ray Shipping Ltd.

The maritime risk intelligence company Ambrey Intelligence posted a raft of photos on its Twitter page, thought to show damage to the Helios Ray as a result of the explosion. The authenticity of the images has yet to be confirmed.

The Israeli media reports come as the satellite-tracking data from the website MarineTraffic.com showed that the explosion-hit cargo ship arrived at a Dubai port earlier on Saturday.

This was preceded by Ungar being quoted by the Ynet news outlet as claiming that the explosion was most likely caused by “missiles or a mine placed on the bow”.

“Israeli authorities will investigate this together with me. I don’t think this deliberately targeted an Israeli-owned ship. That has not happened to me before”, the businessman added.

He reportedly went even further by asserting that the blast could be “part of the game between Iran and the US, that’s why they are hitting Western ships”.

The claims come after the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said, without providing further details, that a ship was hit by an explosion in the Gulf of Oman at 20:40 GMT on Thursday. The UKMTO added that “investigations are ongoing” and that the “vessel and crew are safe”.

Iran-US Tensions

The developments come amid increasing tensions between Tehran and the US, Israel’s ally, which escalated on 25 February, when two F-15 jets launched seven missiles in Syrian territory, following an order from US President Joe Biden.

The attack destroyed nine facilities and partially damaged two facilities, making them unsuitable for use. The facilities were used, according to Washington, by Shia militia group Kata’ib Hezbollah and other formations that are believed to be behind attacks against American military assets in Iraq.

Iran denounced the US airstrikes as “aggression” and a “violation of international law”, insisting that the US presence in Syria is illegal. The attack was also condemned by Syrian authorities as a “cowardly aggression” that will “lead to consequences that will escalate the situation in the region”.

President Biden, for his part, said that Thursday’s US airstrikes are a message to Iran: “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful”.

US-Iranian tensions have been in place since then-President Donald Trump announced Washington’s unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and the reinstatement of strict economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Exactly a year later, Tehran announced that it had started scaling down some of its JCPOA obligations, including those related to uranium enrichment.

As far as Israel and Iran are concerned, relations between the two sides remain frozen, with Tehran denying the Jewish state’s right to exist and frequently pledging to destroy it.

Over the last few years, Israel has reportedly carried out a number of airstrikes on Syria, which Tel Aviv says are aimed at countering the alleged Iranian military presence in the Arab Republic. Damascus condemns such attacks as violations of Syria’s national sovereignty, while Tehran insists that there are only Iranian military advisers in the country to help the government fight terrorists.


Related Articles

Moscow Warns Israel on Repeated Bombing: Syria May Lose Patience

 ARABI SOURI 

Russia Envoy to Syria Lavrentiev with Israel War Criminal Netanyahu

‘Syria may lose patience’; Putin’s envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev (featured image – center) warned Israel about its repeated bombing and called on Israel to stop its violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

Lavrentiev: “Sooner or later, patience may run out, and there will be a response from the Syrian side, so I call on Israel to stop its bombing.”

Syria is so far avoiding being dragged to an additional war, it has an open war for the past 10 years against the world’s largest terrorist army sponsored by half of the world’s superpowers and the world’s super-rich politically retard Gulfies regimes, in addition to the full support of NATO’s 2nd strongest country Turkey which is literally being bankrupt by its madman Erdogan just to keep his Al Qaeda and other anti-Islamic Muslim Brotherhood terrorists continue.

Israel has repeatedly and countlessly carried out attacks against Syria escalating during the past year taking advantage of the Syrian army is busy fighting against the mushroom of hundreds of terror groups with their tens of thousands of suicide bombers all over the country, Israel is breaching international law with the full support of the same sponsors of the terrorist groups in Syria, most notably the USA and on the accounts of every US citizen, especially the taxpayers.

Without the full protection and support from its patrons, the USA and its NATO cronies and regional stooges, and with the full cost shouldered by the US taxpayers, Israel wouldn’t dare to open a new front against anybody in the region after its humiliating defeat in the 2006 war it waged against the Lebanese Hezb Allah resistance militia. The defeat in a war they started against a very smaller armed group proved how weak Israel is in reality and it can only survive with the lifeline it gets from its patrons whose people are now suffering from increasing poverty and one of the reasons is the ‘7 trillion dollars the US wasted in the Middle East’ for Israel, as the unindicted, yet, war criminal and former US President Trump said.

Lavrentiev’s warning to Israel is an attempt by the Russian political leadership to save Israel from its own evildoing. The Russian political brass does not want a new conflict that would bring back up to a million Russian speakers who migrated to occupied Palestine and got used to the lawless life there. Russia cannot, at the same time, hold Syria’s hands back in retaliating as the Israeli attacks are becoming more brazen and rude and the Israeli officials started bragging about it publicly.

A Syrian response is inevitable, Syria prefers to have its retaliation at a time it chooses and after reducing much of the other threats it’s facing on all fronts including the presence of the US Army’s Oil Thieves Regiment and their Kurdish terrorists in the northeast of the country, the NATO-sponsored al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists, in the southeast in the Al Tanf and in the northwest in Idlib, and the open borders with nearby Iraq that is also facing a rise of terrorist attacks to give the USA an excuse not to withdraw its forces voluntarily from the country.

The Russian envoy Lavrentiev has also stated that his country supports a Syrian – Kurdish dialogue to reach a middle ground. The Syrian government cannot afford a middle ground in this case where former foreign refugees have carried out an armed insurrection against their hosts with the help of enemy states and have since worked to Israelize large parts of Syria, the parts where Syria’s main oil wells and the food basket are. The Kurds need to live like other citizens or return to their home countries.

About the US illegal military presence in Syria, Lavrentiev added: “Moscow does not accept the American military presence in Syria, which it considers illegal, nor does it accept the practices of the United States in plundering Syria’s natural resources.”

Israel and the USA have increased their bombing against Syria in the past year after the defeat of their proxy ISIS, the Pentagon warned that it would revive ISIS to try to win the war of terror and attrition it’s losing in Syria, and so it did.

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Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

Source

Zone B exists, thus there is hope, I promise you!

The Saker

Today it appears that the triumph of our adversaries is total. I want to post this column saying that I don’t believe for one second that this is true. All I want to do today is explain why. Thus, just to make clear to those alternatively gifted, this is not a comprehensive analysis and I will be leaving many things out.

So, here we go:

First, notice how totally paranoid our adversaries are! Depending on how you count and whom you ask, they had 25k to 65k folks in arms “defending” them. Of course, the primary goal of this nonsense is to make it appear as if there was a terrible domestic terrorist force out there, ready to take over DC and open Gulags for minorities. This, in turn, will make it easier to sell a massive crackdown on civil liberties under the guise of “protecting” the (supposed but, in reality, already defunct) “democracy”. But the fact that they had to engage into a witch hunt even to carefully vet every national guardsman (and probably even more people) shows that they are truly afraid. I think that they are wrong, there is no credible domestic terrorist threat in the USA, other than the government itself, of course. But what matters here is not what I think, but what they think, and they seem to have developed a serious case of paranoia.

Second, while I don’t believe in the existence of US domestic terrorists, I do believe that millions of US citizens are convinced that the vote was stolen. These people are understandably disgusted and angry. Many might be desperate or even despondent. Let’s call them the “deplorables” and consider it a badge of honor. Well, these deporables won’t take DC by force, but they will never trust a Dem or GOP politician again, and neither will they ever trust the corporate media. One of the blessings in disguise of this stolen election is that the GOP and Fox News have shown their true faces, and their faces are evil, stupid and ugly. 4 years ago millions of US citizens did not so much vote for Trump as much as they voted against Hillary whom they (correctly) saw as a symbol and metaphor for the entire “deep state”, or “swamp” or “ZOG” or whatever other expression you prefer. These deplorables first trusted Obama (“change we can believe in”) and, later, Trump (MAGA). Now they know that both sides are equally evil and false.

In the past, both factions of the Big Money Party had safety valves (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, Rand Paul, Tulsi Gabbard, Bernie Sanders, etc.). I think that now the two parties are literally standing naked and boy is that an ugly sight!

Third, and this point I primarily address to my readers in the USA and that will force me to make a sidebar primarily directed at them:

[Sidebar: the planet can be divided into 2 rough parts: ZONE A full controlled by the AngloZionist Empire and, ZONE B, which includes everybody else. The vast majority of Americans are only really aware of Zone A. Why? For the following reasons:

  • Most Americans have never traveled outside Zone A.
  • Those Americans who have traveled outside Zone A typically did so without speaking the local language, thus cutting themselves off the locals and the local media.
  • Most Americans get their news from US-based outlets, often combined with a few from elsewhere in the Anglosphere (UK, AUS).
  • US media outlets lie even more about what happens in Zone B than they lie about Zone A.
  • US schools have pretty much stopped teaching history, and when they do, it is all propaganda about the “city on the hill” and all the rest of the imperialist claptrap about how exceptional the US is. As a result, when most Americans are exposed to factoids about Zone B they are not equipped to understand their meaning or importance.
  • Most Americans simply assume that people in Zone B are very similar to those in Zone A. Most Americans also assume that most governments in Zone B are even more evil than Uncle Shmuel.
  • Most Americans also believe in what I call the “immigration fallacy”: the belief that people come to the USA from all over the planet because they prefer the USA to their home country and people. Anybody living in the USA and speaking Spanish knows that totally false this belief is, of course. But few non-Hispanic Americans ever speak in Spanish to the Hispanics in the USA (FYI – I do). Anglos generally seem to have a hard time with languages…
  • Sadly, most Americans are not educated by their parents, their religious leaders, their communities, or their schools. Most Americans get most of their education from watching TV. Since all the US TV channels offer almost the exact same mix of vulgar entertainment, propaganda and commercials, this “education” resulted in a huge amount of massively dysfunctional families and communities. This addiction to a flickering screen (be it the Idiot Tube or You Tube – same difference) gives them a very short attention span and a limited ability to process large amounts of written information, which is what is needed to be able to analyze a situation]

As a direct consequence of these factors, most Americans live in a “mental space” where Zone B simply does not exist, and when it is mentioned, it is invariable in the “same old clichés” mode.

Finally, considering all of the above, it is truly a miracle that the deplorables completely ignored a massive brainwashing campaign (waaaay worse than anything the Commies or the Nazis ever came up with!) against “Trump the New Hitler” and still voted for him twice, both in 2016 and 2020! It really goes to show that most Americans quietly but passionately hate the regime in DC and that they use every opportunity they get to at least to try to change their country and their lives by means of voting. Makes you wonder what these “disobedient” deplorables will do the next time around now that voting became clearly a waste of time, don’t it?]

Now here is the good news: Zone B does exist! In fact, it is huge, rich, truly diverse and it has long figured out that both the AngloZionist Empire and even the USA as we knew them have basically died, all that’s left from it is some residual momentum and many bad habits by ignorant, arrogant and delusional US politicians.

Why is that so important?

Because if we allow the Great Satan (actually a very good and exact expression, I think that it fits the new regime perfectly, I will use it more often) to convince us that reality is all contained in Zone A, we could really fall into despair. Yeah, the USA is screwed, and so is all of the EU. As for US colonies like AUS or NZ, not only are they screwed (say by siding with the USA against a much, MUCH more powerful China), they also seem to have a morbid desire to outstupid even the USA in terms of crazy laws and insane ideological positions (say on COVID, for example). But all this in ONLY true inside Zone A. Very few people in Zone B still believe that the USA matters a great deal. Most of them already know otherwise, even if this is never reported by Zone A media.

There is even more good news: neither the (rump) AngloZionist Empire nor the (rump) USA represent any credible threat to most countries in Zone B. Oh sure, US politicians can call Russia a “gas station masquerading as a country” or a “regional power”, the truth is that the united West has completely failed to break, or even meaningfully hurt Russia, despite 46 sanction packages (that’s just by Trump, not counting the “change we can believe in” crook). Heck, even COVID only marginally hurt Russia (which, unlike the flag-waving pseudo-patriotic crap spewed by western politicians took COVID seriously, very seriously in fact, as early as March and prepared the country for no less than two major outbreaks, both which happened, and both which Russia successfully dealt with; this is why the EU is now in full COVID-hysteria mode, while Russia does not bother to impose any lockdowns at all!).

Now let’s place two US propaganda items side by side and take a look, ok?

  1. The USA has the most powerful economy on the planet.
  2. Russia is the #1 adversary of the USA (at least according to the Dems, the GOP places China as #1 and Russia only as #2)

Do you see the problem?

If the USA is so powerful, how is it that it failed to crush Russia? What about Iran? Or, in extremis, Venezuela? Yet, even the the last case, the “best” this supposed World Hegemon did was send a few clueless ex-special ops to get caught and give case of hysterical laughter to the entire Latin American continent!

And these folks want to take on China or Russia?!

Peuhleeze!

So here is the other very good news: Zone A presents no real threat to Zone B!!!

Yes, of course, the USA can still nuke China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela or some other country. But let’s look at the consequences of such a strike:

  • Against Russia: the USA simply vanishes as a country. Completely and forever.
  • Against China: the USA as a society completely collapses for a very long time.
  • Against Iran: the USA gets stuck in a major regional war it can only lose with massive geostrategic consequences (still, the new regime might try to pull this one off, never say never, no matter how stupid this idea can seem to you – always remember that the ignoramuses in DC are as delusional as they are ignorant!)
  • Against the DPRK: the USA gets stuck in a major regional war it can only lose with massive geostrategic consequences.
  • Against Venezuela: the USA gets stuck in a counter-insurgency war it can only lose. The comprador regime in Bogota will not survive such a war and Colombia will also “fall”.
  • Against any other Zone B country: the US successfully nukes this/these country/countries only to find itself being treated like a pariah by the entire planet (including quite a few US colonies), including the real military powers. NATO and the EU will also collapse is that happens (the US being their cornerstone).

The bottom line is that while the US triad is still fully functional and capable of waging a full-scale nuclear war against any adversary (including Russia and, even more so, China), the truth is that all this triad really achieves is making it impossible for another nuclear power to use nukes against the USA. Which is not minor or irrelevant, the problem here being that the US nuclear triad provides with with exactly zero help when trying to deal with any adversary not using nukes (either because this adversary choose not to use nukes due to the effective deterrence of the US nuclear triad or simply because it has no nukes in the first place).

As I have mentioned in the past, the US submarine force is, along with the nuclear triad, the other truly effective and powerful force which the US can count on in case of war. However, other than launching large numbers of outdated and, therefore, easily countered cruise missiles there is little this force can do to assist a US ground (or, for that matter) air operation against anything but a very weak adversary. The problem with so-called “sub-peer” adversaries is that they have relatively few lucrative targets to strike with cruise missiles (think Venezuela here). Most of these subpeer adversaries do not have the air defenses needed to deal with any halfway determined US missile and bomb attack and the US can quickly destroy whatever air defenses such “sub-peer” countries have. So yes, I admit it. If tomorrow the USA wants a “short and triumphant war”, say to boost morale or distract from internal problems, they could still attack countries like, say, Antigua and Barbuda or Santa Lucia, but such a farce will hardly would qualify as “brilliant victory” of the “best armed forces in the galaxy”, now would it? Or maybe would, who knows? Ff the united propaganda machine wants to present that as a triumph for US forces, like they did with the Grenada invasion (one of the worst military operation in history!) they can do that, of course. But that would only serve to further ridicule that propaganda machine since 2021 is not 1983, there are now millions of deplorables out there who will never buy this kind of silly nonsense.

Besides, considering how the joint efforts of the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia (the “Axis of Kindness”) completely failed to deal with the Houthis, my money would not be on any US invasion force in the Caribbean (with the possible exception of a re-invasion of Haiti or the Dominican Republic, but these are already US protectorates, what would be the point?!).

Why does all that matter so much?

Because the Dems are clearly up to no good. Next, not only will we see a wave of repression against free speech internally, but the Dems are already making noises about, you guessed it, China and Russia (again!) and, when that inevitably yield exactly zero results, they will turn to “hate on” Iran and Venezuela again. But even these comparatively weaker countries are now very much capable of making Uncle Shmuel pay an immense price in blood and hell to pay in terms of political blowback on to many fronts to count.

The “power” of a nation (or a coalition of nations) can be measured using very many different type of metrics, but the three most common ones would probably be: economic power, military power and political power. If we use those three to compare Zone A to Zone B, it would be reasonable to posit the following:

  • Economic power: more more or less equal, with Zone A quickly going down and Zone B quickly rising. Zone A still has A LOT of comprador regimes willing to defend it not only at the UN, but in most international bodies (including non-government ones like the IOC for example, or WADA).
  • Military power: Zone A very much weaker than Zone B (just think RU+CN+IN for starters!)
  • Political power: Zone A still stronger, but that is also changing fast. You can say that most world rulers are still serfs for Zone A, but most people worldwide have long switched their support for Zone B countries. The recent triumph of the people of Bolivia over their oppressors is a very telling sign of this trend.

And here is the key factor to keep in mind: there is nothing, absolutely nothing, the Biden/Harris Admin can do to change these trends. It is simply too late and when the initiation of the internal collapse of the USA, these trends will only accelerate.

Yes, the bad guys did win, but only over Trump and his clueless pseudo-allies (did they betray him faster than he betrayed them, or was it the other way around?), but they only won one a battle against the deplorables and they have won exactly nothing against Zone B.

The Dems are now busy with vengeance in all its forms. They also relish in humiliating Trump and those who dared to support him. This is the political equivalent of torturing people in basements, not winning glorious battles. But they don’t realize that, they are too vain, too ideologically hateful, and too cowardly to understand that.

Still, brainwashing, like torture (including mental torture!), is real. In this case, this is a battle for the minds of the deplorables who now have to be beaten down into a catatonic state of total submission and compliance. The Dems are using lies, their favorite weapon, but their assault is real, nonetheless. And this is the battle which we, those who opposed imperialism, have to fight – the battle for the minds of the people in Zone A: we need to show them that the pseudo-reality of Zone A has no real existence outside the Idiot Box and the vapid rhetoric of US decision makers.

We have to mentally prepare for a sharp increase in the amount and scope of the lies the US propaganda machine will be telling us (if you thought the last 4 years were bad, prepare for much, much worse; good example here). And, of course, expect LOTS of false flags, especially to demonstrate the reality of the alleged danger coming from the “domestic terrorists”. That will all go down against a background of a full-spectrum attack on free speech, dissent and any form of actual (as opposed to pretend) thought, really.

The irony is, of course, that the coming witch hunt (it will be way worse than Salem or McCarthy) will be waged in the name of diversity and ostensibly against “hate”. In reality, of course, what the regime wants is to crush real diversity because the leaders of the US Nomenklatura absolutely hate everything besides their sorry selves. Like all ideologues, what these folks want is 1) total power and 2) total uniformity. All those rejecting these modern dogmas will be branded has criminals, terrorists, heretics, racist and, of course, Russian and Chinese agents.

And that is why this regime will also fail.

Conclusion: diversity WILL win. The REAL diversity, of course!

Our planet is wonderfully diverse, especially outside the uniformity sector of Zone A. There IS a Zone B out there, and the leaders of Zone A will be defeated by our real common and shared humanity (and their hatred for us!). Somewhere between Obama and Trump, the world has moved on, and it is now very busy dealing with the immense challenges and opportunities facing it in Zone B. And no, neither Russia nor China is busy trying to sabotage or undermine the USA – US leaders are doing that much better job of that than any Russian or Chinese ever could. So why even bother (and nevermind the risks!)?

We cannot predict what will happen next, there are simply too many variables to do that. But what we can do is predict with a great degree of confidence that the new regime in power in DC will do no better than all the other regimes which came to power by means of color revolutions in the past couple of decades. There is no hope left for the Empire, as for the USA, there will be plenty of hope left for them, but only after a long and painful process of collapse and rebirth (both of which are inevitable by now). The truth is that US is not that unique as empires go, sorry, it is just your typical arrogant and narcissistic empire which will collapse just as all the other arrogant and narcissistic empires in history have collapsed, mostly under their own obscene weight. And those poor souls who sincerely believe that China (or Russia) want to replace the USA simply don’t understand that these two countries already have been empires, it was a disaster, thank you very much, and they have no desire to repeat their past mistakes. This desire for non-exceptionalism and normalcy will, with time, also become the object of a large social consensus in the USA. And, with time, the USA will finally be welcomed into a truly free Zone B or, should I say, a Zone-free world.

Iran Uses Its Grip On Strait Of Hormuz To Fight Back US-imposed Sanctions

South Front

Iran has found an original way of dealing with sanctions and limitations imposed on it by the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign launched by the Trump administration.

On January 4, the Navy of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained a South Korea-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz over an alleged environmental pollution issue. The chemical tanker HANKUK CHEMI was inbound to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Ahead of the incident, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations naval authority reported that an “interaction” between Iranian authorities and a merchant vessel in the Strait of Hormuz led the ship to alter its course and proceed into Iranian waters.

Following the incident, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that it will send its anti-piracy Cheonghae unit, normally based in the Gulf of Aden, along with helicopters to the Persian Gulf. The 302-strong Cheonghae unit operates a 4,500-ton destroyer, a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter and three speed boats.

The deployment of this unit is a rather a symbolic move than a practical step that should allow to protect South Korea-flagged ships in the region as Iranian forces have an overwhelming dominance there and using its conventional and asymmetric capabilities can even challenge the US military in the event of a limited military confrontation there.

Two days before the seizure of the tanker, Iran said a South Korean diplomat was due to travel to the country to negotiate over billions of dollars in its assets now frozen in Seoul. The total amount of Iranian money blocked in South Korea is up to $8.5 billion and Tehran declared its readiness to barter its money for deliveries of a variety of goods and commodities, including raw materials, medicine, petrochemicals, auto parts, home appliances.

Apparently, Iran thinks that South Korea needs some additional motivation to go contrary to the will of its Big Brother and accept the Iranian proposal.

Another important diplomatic achievement was made by Qatar, which is known as not only a Turkish ally, but also the Gulf monarchy that has constructive relations with Iran. On January 4, Saudi Arabia lifted the 4-year air, sea and land blockade that it together with the UAE, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain imposed on Qatar. In June 2017, the blockading countries accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and of being too close to Iran. They severed economic and diplomatic ties with Doha and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it. Qatar rejected all the allegations and refused to comply with a long list of demands announced by the blockading countries. So, now the anti-Qatari coalition is in retreat. The main factors that contributed to this scenario are the following:

a deep crisis faced by Saudi Arabia due to the failed intervention in Yemen and its oil war adventure;
the UAE-Saudi tensions that reached a new level due to the declining power of the Saudi Kingdom;
the growth of the influence of Iran and its popularity among the population of the Middle East due to the public rapprochement of the Gulf monarchies with Israel; the stern stance of Qatar itself that used the blockade to develop alternative alliances and strengthen relations with Turkey, Iran and even Russia to contain the pressure it faced.

The Israeli-aligned Gulf monarchies will likely try to use the lifting of the blockade to convince Doha to officially join the US-led pro-Israeli coalition. However, even if Qatar does this under the pressure of the United States and with hopes of restoring economic relations with its neighbors, this does not mean that Doha would change its de-facto regional strategy as the previous years already demonstrated that the national-oriented approach is much more useful in times of crises than empty hopes on large revenues from Israeli love.

Washington uses DAESH and Iraqi traitors to fragment the country

Eurasian Economic Union Enjoying Broader Cooperation

By Vladimir Odintsov
Source: New Eastern Outlook

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Noteworthy events to do with increased integration within the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) took place in the first half of December 2020.

On December 7, representatives of the EAEU and China met during the special negotiation session called “Towards a bigger Eurasia via the integration of nations, businesses and people”, which was organized by the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) and the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) within the framework of the First Eurasian Congress. The head of the PRC delegation, Deputy Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua, made a number of fairly interesting proposals aimed at expanding cooperation between China and the EAEU member states. For instance, he suggested adding an economic dimension (a feasibility study) to it so that a free trade zone agreement between the PRC and the EAEU could be implemented. Such a deal will, unquestionably, promote all aspects of mutual cooperation, strengthen the foundations of global trade, foster bilateral dialogue and lead to more unified standards. A joint commission for implementing the agreement between the EAEU and China will facilitate the adoption of measures that will ease global trade involving e-commerce to ensure an uninterrupted supply of goods.

Participants at the joint session discussed another proposal made by the Chinese delegation regarding the creation of a steel caravan of the Eurasian continent in order to establish joint logistics and warehouse hubs comprising networks of cross-border railways, which will cover the entire Eurasia with trade routes for cargo transportations, thus encouraging the construction of economic corridors, similar to the New Eurasian Land Bridge. Yu Jianhua emphasized that to ensure the trade ties between the PRC and the EAEU continued to strengthen and all the participants of the initiative derived benefits from the process of integration, it was important to facilitate the smooth functioning of green transport corridors and to streamline customs procedures at relevant border harbors.

At present, Central Asia has the necessary infrastructure on the basis of which a broad range of opportunities for continent-wide collaboration could be created. That is why, the session participants actively discussed all the proposals on increased integration. Kairat Kelimbetov, the head of Astana International Financial Centre and the Chairman of the Agency for Strategic Planning and Reforms, pointed out that it would be easy to create a framework for cooperation within the nations of the region, which would, for instance, provide access to sea routes to those countries (such as Kazakhstan) that did not have it.

During the session, Vladimir Chizhov, the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Union (EU), stated that there could be a reshuffle among the global players. Such processes occur naturally, which means that the ever-expanding and transforming Greater Eurasia may become one the new global centers as a result.

Another important event in the region, from the point of view of further Eurasian integration, was the online meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) on December 11, which not only leaders of the 5 core member-states took part in but so did heads of observer states (Moldova) and of nations vying for such a status (Uzbekistan and Cuba). The agenda included more than 20 issues that directly dealt with the resolution of outstanding integration-related problems and the provision of economic support to member-states still facing socio-economic hardships, such as Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

During the SEEC discussion of the points tied to integration, the participants backed an initiative on strategic directions for promoting EAEU integration by 2025, focusing on completing the creation of a common market for goods, services, capital, workers as well as an integrated digital environment. Essentially, the aim is to stimulate the growth of member states’ economies, and to improve the well-being and quality of life of these nations’ inhabitants.

Another important achievement of the recent SEEC video conference, aside from the approval of strategic directions to encourage integration by year 2025, was Uzbekistan and Cuba obtaining observer status within the EAEU.

According to Article 109 of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, observer states can, upon invitation, attend meetings of EAEU bodies but without the right to participate in decision-making processes and receive any documents approved by the Union that are not confidential in nature.

Incidentally, the EAEU began its life on January 1, 2015, and its member states include Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. In year 2020, Belarus has the chairmanship within the EAEU. Moldova has been an observer state within the organization since May 2018. The EAEU is an economic union only.

Uzbekistan has been fostering ties with its member states for a long time. As a result of these joined efforts, bilateral trade worth $4.5 billion in 2016 increased two-fold by the end of 2019 to more than $9 billion. In fact, transactions with the Eurasian Economic Union account for one third of all of Uzbekistan’s external trade in value, while their share in the agricultural sector exceeds 75%.

Uzbekistan gaining the observer status with the EAEU was the result of ongoing policies, pursued by the its government and its President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, aimed at promoting an open national economy and at utilizing the country’s transport corridors and logistics networks. Hence, at present, the common EAEU market with its 180 million consumers is increasingly becoming the target for products from Uzbekistan, and of all of this is, in turn, laying the groundwork for closer collaboration and mutual cooperation within Eurasia. The observer status will enable Uzbekistan to build up capabilities in its economy to better meet the demands of the EAEU common market and to increase the share within it taken up by Uzbek manufacturers and suppliers.

Similarly, Cuba also became an observer state in the EAEU. Thus, the organization is expanding not only its economic but also its geopolitical reach. This new status within the Eurasian Economic Union allows Cuba to foster closer economic ties and cooperation not only with Russia and Belarus (which it already collaborates with) but also with other EAEU member states. Cuba needs to increase revenues it earns from its global exports, particularly, from the products and services of the economy’s medical sector. Sugar production is a key sphere of Cuba’s economy, and sugar cane is a crucial agricultural commodity. Recently, the Cuban economy has been experiencing a two-fold crisis: due to the COVID-19 pandemic and tightening US sanctions. In 2020, the nation’s economy will have contracted for the first time in 26 years. Its government has put forward an economic strategy focused on opening up the country to international travelers, stimulating Cuba’s food production sector and introducing economic reforms faster. Hence, a closer relationship between this nation and the EAEU could, in the opinion of the Cuban government, help, in large part, to resolve the country’s current economic woes.

Vladimir Odintsov, a political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Blood Gold

Blood Gold

PressTV Interview with Peter Koenig

Transcript

Background

The Middle East Eye reports  there are no gold mines under Dubai’s sands with artisanal miners or children toiling away trying to strike gold. But there is the Dubai Gold Souk and refineries that vie with the largest global operations as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strives to expand its position as a major gold hub.

In recent years, the UAE, with Dubai in particular, has established itself as one of the largest and fastest-growing marketplaces for the precious metal, with imports rising by 58 percent per annum to more than $27bn in 2018, according to data collated by the Observatory for Economic Complexity.

With no local gold to tap, unlike neighboring Saudi Arabia, the UAE has to import gold from wherever it can, whether it be legitimately, smuggled with no questions asked, sourced from conflict zones, or linked to organized crime.

Blood gold

The Sentry’s investigation (Sentry Investigations specialize in private and corporate investigations in the UK) found that 95 percent of gold officially exported from Central and East Africa, much of it mined in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, ends up in the Emirates.

Gold has become so important to Dubai’s economy that it is the emirate’s highest value external trade item, ahead of mobile phones, jeweler, petroleum products and diamonds, according to Dubai Customs.

And it is the UAE’s largest export after oil, exporting $17.7bn in 2019. Gold’s importance has only increased as Dubai’s oil reserves have dwindled and the UAE has tried to diversify its economy.

The Swiss connection

Dubai is not the only gold player with dirt, and even blood, on its hands.

“It is not just Dubai, it’s also Switzerland. The Swiss get large quantities of gold from Dubai. The Swiss say they are not getting gold from certain countries [connected to conflict gold], but instead from Dubai, yet the gold in Dubai is coming from these countries. Dubai is complicit, but Swiss hands are equally dirty as they can’t cut Dubai from the market,” said Lakshmi Kumar, policy director, at Global Financial Integrity (GFI) in Washington DC.

Switzerland is the world’s largest refiner, while [more than half] of all gold goes through the country at some point, according to anti-corruption group Global Witness. Switzerland’s trade is tied to the UK, which imports around a third of all gold.

—————-

RT Question:
Gold has become such an important commodity for the UAE, that it is the largest export after oil, exporting $17.7bn in 2019. But there is the other side to this story. A report by the UK’s Home Office and Treasury earlier in December also named the UAE as a jurisdiction vulnerable to money laundering by criminal networks because of the ease with which gold and cash could be moved through the country. Is this the case?

PK Reply
First, International Gold Laundering is a gigantic Human Rights abuse, foremost because laundered gold stems from many countries in Africa and South America where massive child labor is practiced. Children not only are put at tremendous risk working in the mines, in narrow rickety underground tunnels that could collapse anytime, and often do – but they are also poisoned on a daily basis by chemicals used in extracting gold ore from the rock, notably cyanide and mercury – and others.

Second, Gold laundering is an international crime, because it illegal and it is mostly run by mafia type organizations – where killing and other type of violence, plus sexual abuse of women – forced prostitution – is a daily occurrence.

There should be an international law – enforceable – issued by the UN – and enforced by the International Criminal Court against anything to do with gold laundering. Infractions should be punished. And countries involved in gold laundering should be held responsible – put on a black list for illegal financial transactions and for facilitating human rights abuses.

The United Arab Emirates — has no gold, so all of the $17.7 billion of their gold exports is being imported and “washed” by re-exporting it mainly through the UK into Switzerland and other gold refining places, like India. With a worldwide production of about 3,500 tons, there are times when Switzerland imports more gold than the annual world production, most of it coming from the UK, for further refining or re-refining, for “better or double laundering” – erasing the gold’s origins.

From the refinery in Switzerland, it goes mostly into the banking system or is re-exported as “clean” gold coming from Switzerland. And its origins are no longer traceable.

Worldwide about 70% of all gold is refined in Switzerland.

Gold mine production totaled 3,531 tons in 2019, 1% lower than in 2018. About 70% of all gold, worldwide is refined in Switzerland. So, it is very likely that the UK, receiving gold from United Arab Emirates, re-exports the gold to Switzerland, for re-refining, for further export to, for ex. India. – Coming from Switzerland it has the “label” of being clean. How long will this reputation still last?

Metalor is the world’s largest gold refinery – established in Switzerland. And they are absolutely secretive, do not say where they buy their gold from, because the Swiss Government does not require the origin when gold enters Switzerland.

Once it is refined – the origin can no longer be determined, because gold does not have a DNA.

RT Question
The Sentry’s investigation found that 95 percent of gold officially exported from Central and East Africa, much of it mined in Sudan, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, ends up in the emirate, through what’s known as blood gold: gold obtained through brutal mining practices and illicit profits, including the use of children, how do you see this?

PK Reply
Yes, this is absolutely true.

As mentioned already before – much of the gold from Africa / Central Africa, Ghana and South America, notably Peru, is blood gold. Of course, it passes through many hands before it lands in a refinery in the UK, Switzerland or elsewhere, and therefore is almost untraceable.

But, the company that buys the gold, like Metalor, they know exactly where the gold is coming from, but, as mentioned before, since the Swiss government does not require the importing company to divulge the origin of the gold – the human rights abuses will never come to light, or better – to justice.

It is estimated that up to 30% of all gold refined in Switzerland is considered blood gold. Imagine the suffering, disease, and even death – or delayed death through slow reacting chemicals like cyanite and mercury.

However, if there is no international law – a law that is enforced – that puts the criminals to justice – and put countries that facilitate gold laundering on an international list – for the world to see – and hold them accountable, with for example financial sanctions, little will change.

Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

The Dangerous Alliance of Rothschild and the Vatican of Francis

22.12.2020 

Author: F. William Engdahl

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Holy Moly! The most globalist and interventionist Pope since the Crusades of the 12th Century has formalized an alliance with the largest figures in global finance led by none other than that noble banking family, Rothschild. The new alliance is a joint venture they call “Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican.” The venture is one of the more cynical and given the actors, most dangerous frauds being promoted since Davos WEF guru and Henry Kissinger protégé, Klaus Schwab, began to promote the Great Reset of the world capitalist order. What and is behind this so-called Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican?

On their website they proclaim in a typical UN doublespeak, “The Council for Inclusive Capitalism is a movement of the world’s business and public sector leaders who are working to build a more inclusive, sustainable, and trusted economic system that addresses the needs of our people and the planet.” A more sustainable, trusted economic system? Doesn’t that sound like the infamous UN Agenda 21 and its Agenda 2030 daughter, the globalist master plan? They then claim, “Inclusive Capitalism is fundamentally about creating long-term value for all stakeholders – businesses, investors, employees, customers, governments and communities.”

They continue, “Council members make actionable commitments aligned with the World Economic Forum International Business Council’s Pillars for sustainable value creation—People, Planet, Principles of Governance, and Prosperity—and that advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

In announcing the deal with the Vatican, Lynn Forester de Rothschild declared, “This Council will follow the warning from Pope Francis to listen to ‘the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor’ and answer society’s demands for a more equitable and sustainable model of growth.”

Their reference to Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum is no accident. The group is yet another front group in what is becoming a globalist bum’s rush to try to convince a skeptical world that the same people who created the post-1945 model of IMF-led globalization and giga-corporate entities more powerful than governments, destroying traditional agriculture in favor of toxic agribusiness, dismantling living standards in industrialized countries to flee to cheap labor countries like Mexico or China, will now lead the effort to correct all their abuses? We are being naïve if we swallow this.

Rothschild and pals

First off it is useful to see who are the “inclusive” capitalists joining forces with the Pope and Vatican. The founder is a lady who carries the name Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild. She is the wife of the 90-year old retired mega-billionaire head of London’s NM Rothschilds Bank, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. Lady Lynn however is from “commoner” roots, born into a US working class family in New Jersey whose father, as she tells, worked two jobs to put her and her brothers through law and medical schools. She seemed to have had some influential mentors, as she went to Wall Street then to telecoms including Motorola and made reported tens of millions before hooking up with Sir Evelyn and his reported $20 billion in assets. Reports have it that Henry Kissinger played a personal role in encouraging the Transatlantic union of the two.

Lady Lynn is interesting as well beyond her famous husband. According to the list of names of those who flew on the private jet of convicted child sex trafficker and reported Mossad operative Jeffrey Epstein, one name that appears is “de Rothschild, Lynn Forester.”

It is interesting to note, that the same Lynn Forester in 1991, before she took Sir Evelyn as her husband, generously let a British friend have full use of one of Lynn’s Manhattan apartment properties, following the apparent murder of the woman’s father, British media tycoon and Mossad agent, Robert Maxwell. The British friend of Lynn, Ghislaine Maxwell, today is awaiting trial for complicity in child sex trafficking as the partner of Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell reportedly maintained the Manhattan address of Lady Lynn until very recently to register a bizarre non-profit called Terramar that she and Epstein set up in 2012, allegedly aimed at saving our oceans. When Epstein was arrested she quickly dissolved the non-profit. One of the donors to Ghislaine’s TerraMar was something called the Clinton Foundation, which leads to the next friend.

Lady Lynn has another long-time friend named Hillary Clinton, whose husband, Bill, was also logged on Epstein’s Lolita Express private jet, around two dozen times. Lynn and her new husband, Sir Evelyn, in fact were so close to the Clintons that in 2000 the Rothschild newlyweds spent part of their honeymoon as guests at the White House of Mr and Mrs Clinton. Lady Lynn after that became a major fund-raiser in 2008 and again 2016 for a possible Hillary bid for President, called a “bundler.” She also advised Hillary on her economic program, a free market one based on Adam Smith as she described it in an interview once.

Lady Lynn’s “Guardians”

The Rothschild venture with the Vatican at this point, in addition to co-founder Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, includes hand-picked money moguls and their select foundations who pompously call themselves the “Guardians.” That’s a term sounding more like a South Side Chicago gang or some kind of mafia overlords. They call themselves the moral guardians, together now with their new friends at the Vatican, for reform of capitalism.

The Guardian member list includes Rajiv Shah, the CEO of the Rockefeller Foundation, and former partner of the Gates Foundation’s AGRA scam to introduce GMO seeds in Africa. The Rockefeller Foundation has been involved in promoting a pandemic “lockdown” since 2010, and is a core part of the WEF Great Reset agenda. He just released a Rockefeller report, Reset the Table: Meeting the Moment to Transform the US Food System.

Rothschild’s Guardians also include Darren Walker the CEO of the Ford Foundation. Those two foundations, Ford and Rockefeller, have done more to shape an imperial American foreign policy than even the US State Department or CIA, including the funding of the failed Green Revolution in India and Mexico, and the creation by Rockefeller funds of GMO crops.

The head of DuPont, a GMO giant and chemicals group is another Guardian as well as scandal-ridden vaccine and drug companies, Merck and Johnson & Johnson. Merck lied about the risks of its arthritis drug Vioxx until more than 55,000 users died of heart attacks. Johnson & Johnson has been involved in numerous frauds in recent years including around negative effects of its anti-psychotic drug Risperdal, illegal presence of cancer-causing asbestos in its baby powder, and potentially thousands of legal actions for its role as a leading supplier of the opioid in Purdue Pharma’s deadly prescription painkiller OxyContin.

Other Guardians include CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, Bank of America, Allianz insurance, BP. In 2016 Visa along with USAID were behind the catastrophic Modi experiment to introduce a cashless economy in India.

Notable also is Guardian Mark Carney, former Bank of England head and also advocate of cashless digital central bank currencies to replace the dollar. Carney is now United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance.

Carney is also a Board member of the Davos World Economic Forum, the public promoter of the Global Reset of capitalism to impose the dystopian Agenda 2030 “sustainable” economy. In fact several of Rothschild’s Guardians are on the WEF Board, including billionaire Marc Benioff, founder of cloud computing Salesforce, and OECD head Angel Gurria. And ex-Credit Suisse CEO, Tidjane Thiam is on the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum.

Other Guardians of the inclusive capitalism transformation include the head of Bank of America, which bank was sued by the US Government for fraud connected with the 2008 US subprime mortgage crisis, as well as for laundering money for the deadly Mexican drug cartels and Russian organized crime. The select Guardian list also includes Marcie Frost, the controversial head of CalPERS, the huge fraud-ridden California state pension fund managing over $360 billion.

The head of State Street Corporation, one of the world’s largest asset management companies with US$3.1 trillion under management, is another Guardian. In January 2020 State Street announced it would vote against directors of companies in major stock indices that do not meet targets for environmental, social and governance changes. This is what is called Green Investing, as part of so-called Socially Responsible Investing. The WEF strategy, pushed also by WEF board members like Larry Fink of BlackRock, reward companies that they deem “socially responsible.” This is the key to the inclusive capitalism agenda of not just Rothschild’s inclusive capitalism Guardians, but also the WEF.

Their website claims that the Guardians manage more than $10.5 trillion dollars and control companies that employ 200 million workers. Now a brief look at their new Vatican partner.

Vatican Morals?

Ironically, or maybe not, Pope Francis, the partner chosen to give Rothschild’s group of mega-capitalists “moral” credibility, is himself embroiled in what could be the largest financial scandals, fraud and misuse of church funds in the modern history of the Vatican. That, despite the fact Pope Francis declared as new Pope in 2013, one of his main tasks would be to clean up the scandal-ridden Vatican finances. That has hardly taken place even after more than six years. Some Vatican observers even claim the financial corruption has worsened.

The unravelling scandal revolves around now-disgraced Cardinal Angelo Becciu who until 2018 was de facto chief-of-staff to the Pope and regular confidante. Becciu was Substitute for General Affairs in the Secretariat of State, a key position in the Roman Curia until June, 2018 when the pope elevated him to Cardinal, ironically enough, responsible for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. Becciu, clearly no saint, was able to invest hundreds of millions even billions over years of Church funds, including donations for the poor in Peter’s Pence, into projects he chose with a former banker from Credit Suisse. Projects included €150 million share in a luxury London real estate complex and $1.1 million into a film, Rocketman, about the life of Elton John. That comes to light as the ongoing Vatican child sex scandals caused Pope Francis to defrock Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, the first Cardinal to fall in the Church’s deep sexual abuse charges.

Italian press reports that the Pope knew about the dubious investments of Becciu and even praised them before the depth of the scandals broke. In November, 2020 Italian police raided the residence of Becciu’s former Vatican accountant and found €600,000 in cash and evidence the Vatican employee received $15 million in fake invoicing over years.

With a background like this, the new Council for Inclusive Capitalism with the Vatican of Lynn de Rothschild warrants close scrutiny as they clearly plan big things along with Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum to “reform” the world economy, and it won’t be nice or moral we can be sure.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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