The US warplans for the Ukraine (OPEN THREAD # 12) UPDATED

The US warplans for the Ukraine (OPEN THREAD # 12) UPDATED

April 16, 2021

Frankly, Biden’s address to the US nation (the first one in his life) was probably the lamest most clueless political speech I ever heard.  And I am not referring to Biden calling Putin “Clutin” or confusing “deescalation” with “vaccination”, I am talking about the actual contents of his speech.  I would sum it up as so: we will continue to constantly hurt and humiliate you, we will treat you like a misbehaving 10 year old in need of a good spanking, but we do want peace and good relations.  Clearly, Biden has zero understanding of things Russian.  But for “Biden” (collective “Biden”, no the confused veggie) does have a plan.  What could it be?

I already explained what the US plan for the Ukraine is: to encourage the Ukronazis to attack Russia while not involving the USA in a shooting war with Russia.

How would the US do that?  One example:

First announce with great fanfare that the US is sending 2 (according to some version 5!) USN ship into the Black Sea to “deter” Russia, show “support” to the Ukies and give them the feeling that when they attack they would be under US “cover”.  This is not unlike what the USA did with Saakashvili in 08.08.08 or what the USA did during the “Prague Spring”.  Frankly, this is an old trick the West has used innumerable times in its history.  And once the Ukies feel elated from being under Uncle Shmuel’s protection, quietly withdraw your plan to send any ships into what is de facto a Russian lake.

The US is walking a fine line here – they need to egg on the Ukies to attack, but the Ukies are terrified, so they have to give them as sense of “the world is with you!!”, “we will protect you”, “we will fight with you” and then when things appear to be coming to a head, ditch the Ukies and run to safety.  Of course, the united West will support the Ukronazis politically and economically (just to keep the Ukie economy barely alive), but most definitely not militarily as that would create a risk of a devastating war which the US+NATO would either lose or decide to go nuclear, which would be simply suicidal.

There is a chorus profoundly misguided opinions in both Russia and the West which now declares that Biden “blinked”, Russia won and peace will now break out.  That is a very naive point of view which mostly comes from not understanding the nature of modern warfare and psychological operations.

Again, what some can see as a zig-zagging “Biden” policy towards Russia mistakenly think that since “Biden” did not promise fire and brimstone for Russia that means that “Biden” folded.  That is an extremely dangerous misconception and I am confident that the Russian decision-makers see through this ruse (even while they say nothing about it, at least, those in office and, at least, so far).

Putin has still not announced what counter-measures (I prefer that notion to the idea of counter-sanctions, which are symmetrical) Russia will take next (against the US, UK and Poland primarily).  I have no idea what the Kremlin might decide, but I do observe very high levels of outrage and determination in the Russian media (both in the traditional media and the Runet).  The Russian society is clearly fed up and, again, Putin if facing a mounting levels of criticisms for being too soft and indecisive.  I hope and expect that Russia’s response this time around will be much less meek (and, therefore, ambiguous) than in the past.   We will soon find out.

The Saker

UPDATE: just as I was posting this, I saw the Sputnik article about the Russian counter-measures.  Frankly, I am utterly unimpressed and I believe that most Russians will feel the same way.  Of course, we don’t know what is going on behind the scenes and the Russians are under no obligation to divulge what else they might be doing.  However, I believe that measures such as closing the Kerch strait is a much better approach.  Let’s wait a few days before passing a final judgement on the quality of the Russian counter measures.

Palestinian Child’s Eye Blinded by Israeli Rubber Bullet in Al-Khalil (Hebron)

April 10, 2021

A 13-year-old Palestinian child lost his right eye today after he was shot at by Israeli occupation forces in the neighborhood of Bab al-Zawiya, in the southern West Bank city of Al-Khalil (Hebron), according to medical sources.

Izz el-Din Nedal al-Batsh lost his eye after Israeli occupation soldiers fired a rubber-coated round directly at him. The child’s father said his son was standing inside a commercial store in the neighborhood when the bullet hit his eye.

Clashes were taking place between the Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian teenagers near the area where the child was shot by the soldiers.

In November 2019, Palestinian videographer Muath Amarneh was blinded in one eye after being shot by an Israeli sniper while covering protests in Al-Khalil (Hebron).

Source: Agencies

NATO Junta at UN Monthly Chemical Weapons Meeting against Syria

 MIRI WOOD 

Colin Powell lied about chemical weapons in Iraq US continues to lie about chemical weapons in Syria.

The ruling NATO junta at the UN held its monthly chemical weapons lying meeting against Syria, on 6 April. The rabid hyenas once again vomited up and then ate each others’ emesis, though even they are becoming bored with their nonsense. The US ambassador did not bother to post a self-aggrandizing tweet, UK issued a blurb without statement, and the High Representative on Disarmament apparently also had better things to do than to issue a tweet on her statement to the UNSC. Colonialist France — which has never forgiven the Levantine republic for ejecting its occupiers, seventy-five years ago on 17 April — did issue an arrogant and menacing statement based on the NATO klansmen’s chemical weapons lies against the SAR.

UK’s tweet once again showed Great Britain’s support of al Qaeda in Syria. The Ltamenah chemical weapons lies came from terrorists of whom the OPCW FFM investigators were too terrified to actually investigate, so the team basically took the savages at their word, having “assessed the credibility of the allegations based on information collected from open sources and information received from several non-governmental organizations (NGOs).” In Khan Sheikhoun, the primary source of the lies came from the Brit illegal in Idlib, the fake doctor whose medical license in his home country was permanently revoked, and the place where the terrorists were too terrifying for the fake FFM to do any physical inspecting, as admitted in the OPCW report of 19 May 2017.

UK ambassador does not answer chemical weapons full admission question.


Regarding Douma, the Brits continue to lie that chemical weapons were used, and continue to lie that Syria — which immediately invited the OPCW investigators to come and investigate, but they first were inexplicably detained in Belgium — and Russia had blocked entry, after the team belatedly arrived. Though the criminal OPCW reports on the teams non-inspections of Ltamenah and Khan Sheikhoun were published in a timely fashion, it took almost a year for the once noble, and subsequently corrupted by NATO klansmen to jerry-rig a report that could barely concoct a meaningless conclusion that “the objects from which the samples were taken at both locations had been in contact with one or more substances containing reactive chlorine.” [2.6]. Syria News has provided massive evidence provided by the savages’ own videos and photographs, that al Qaeda’s Jaish al Islam faction, with the assistance of its humanitarian benefactors kidnapped dozens of civilians, especially woman and their children, slaughtered most of them, engaged in acts of necrophilia with their corpses, and terrorized children taken from their moms, stripped some half-naked and turned power hoses on them in a fake hospital setting on a chilly night.

The FFM team could not enter Douma until almost a week after arrival due to the
high security risk to the team, which included the presence of unexploded ordinance,
explosives and sleeper cells still suspected of being active in Douma. On 18 April,
during a reconnaissance visit to two sites of interest, the security detail was
confronted by a hostile crowd and came under small arms fire and a hand-grenade
explosion. The incident reportedly resulted in two fatalities and one injury. — 2.2 Summary, 106 pp OPCW report on Douma, 1 March 2019

The once-noble OPCW showed its turn to corruption when it ejected Jose Bustani per the dictate of neocon Dick Cheney, via his errand boy neocon, John Bolton, who threatened the lives of Bustani’s children. Since October 2020, this organization has shown its revulsion to integrity by ending open, civilized, discourse to its Twitter account.

OPCW only permits comments by its designated elites; the serfs who pay for the now phony watchdog group are excluded from civilized discourse.

The devastating photo posted by La France looks like it could be Libya after NATO obliterated it, or al Raqqa after the fascist coalition of war criminals led by the US bombed it, though it also could be CGI, as it is not found in a reverse image check of 46.7 billion images on the web.

France continues to threaten Syria over chemical weapons.

In her second consecutive monthly address on the never-ending Syria files dedicated to the never-ending implementation of UNSCR 2118 (2013), Zakamitsu sallied for against the difficulties regarding COVID being in the way, reported on previously unreported September 2020 samples having been analyzed with cryptically unexpected results to which the UNSC chemical weapons gathering is not yet privy. Due course has also not yet arrived as, per the UN press release, she made no mention of the collected November 2020 samplings.

Disarmament rep continues to throw shade on Syria regarding the chemical weapons scam

At the 4 March chemical weapons propaganda party.

In meticulously diplomatic language, First Deputy Permanent Representative Dmitry Polyanskiy told the Council of the upcoming, unprecedented plot by the NATO klan to illicitly remove Syria from the CWC at the upcoming Conference. Such an attempt to “incapacitate” Syria at the OPCW is a breach of the OPCW noble Charter and is based on the “illegitimate” IIT which “defied the principles of investigation, including the so-called ‘chain of custody.’” What Representative Polyanskiy diplomatically did not say is that the removal of the SAR from its membership to the CWC would facilitate new false flag chemical attacks by various al Qaeda terrorist factions, many of which have been thwarted over the recent period (here, herehereherehere.)

Presidents may change, but chemical weapons lying continues at the UNSC
Though POTUS’ and ambassadors may change, the chemical weapons lies at the SC are constant. Tweet from 5 October 2020.

His Excellency Bassam Sabbagh reaffirmed that Syria has never used chemical weapons, that it willingly ascended to the CWC, that it gave full accounting of its stockpile, and continues to work closely with the OPCW and the High Representative. He decried the ongoing politicization by ‘some members’ [NATO klan bullies who have hijacked the UN], the omission of any mention of the Courage Foundation of 11 March, which forcefully condemned the unscientific OPCW reports on the Douma ”chemical weapons” attack, as culled from the mass murderers and NGOs with charitable status, conveniently aligned with State Department and other NATO countries anti-Syria propaganda (

The seemingly long silence at the beginning of the Syrian ambassador’s statement is actually short, and likely part of the ongoing subtle sabotage of the Syrian Mission to the UN, which includes such things as getting stuck with the worst simultaneous translators on the planet, and introducers choking on the pronunciations of Syria, Arab, Syrian Arab Republic.

— Miri Wood

APPENDIX:

While in search of a criminal lie tweeted about Douma and the OPCW investigative team (not found), the author stumbled into a lengthy lying statement by the UK to the OPCW, issued two days after UK, France, and the US bombed Syria on behalf of al Qaeda kidnappers, mass-murderers, and necrophiliacs of Douma. The Couture Beauty Diamond Lipstick wearing pig lied about a chemical weapons attack, lied that breaching the Geneva Agreements was “humanitarian intervention.” The Couture-wearing pig flagrantly flaunted the use of open source — i.e., mass murderers and necrophiliacs of various al Qaeda factions – as ‘evidence’ of his war criminal lies.

Quite disturbing was his blanket statement that “The World Health Organization has reported that 500 patients, seen by its partners in Syria, had symptoms consistent with chemical weapons exposure.” While the WHO was ”deeply alarmed by reports of the suspected use of toxic chemicals in Douma city,” its actual statement does not say that, but does open up a can of maggots involving its unnamed Health Cluster partners, given that the reports all came from kidnappers and killers:

According to reports from Health Cluster partners, during the shelling of Douma on Saturday, an estimated 500 patients presented to health facilities exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals. In particular, there were signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems of those exposed.

The WHO also made the outrageous claims that “[m]ore than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, with 43 of those deaths related to symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals. Two health facilities were also reportedly affected by these attacks.”

The subsequent outrage demanded by WHO Deputy Director-General Peter Salama, “at these horrifying reports and images from Douma” should be directed to the criminally insane savages who slaughtered dozens, dumped them like garbage, next to empty dog food bowls and rusting bicycles, dumped them in a way that even persons forced to stand jammed like human sardines could not have possibly fallen when murdered, corpses shown as rearranged for more emotional impact, murdered children whose bodies have been stripped half naked, photographed with useless ambu bags nearby, EKG electrodes wrongly positioned, something unidentifiable placed between the legs of a murdered, half-naked child, non-existent hospitals where kidnapped children separated from their moms, were emotionally terrorized and physically abused.

Only idiots or degenerates who touch themselves watching murder porn videos could possibly see hospitals where none exist, or human beings slaughtered to give the NATO war criminals the excuse to murder more Syrians, would lie that these obscene photographs are evidence of civilians who died from a chemical weapons attack. Infamia.

Let us also finally put to rest the horror of perverts smearing shaving cream and other concoctions onto the faces of corpses — many in varying states of decomposition — so that the rabid hyenas can claim the “foaming at the mouth” reputedly caused by chemical toxins. “Foaming — or frothing — at the mouth” is a simplified way to describe pleural effusion, and the body’s attempt to excrete excessive fluid in the lungs, caused by a variety of diseases and disorders, including an acute episode of congestive heart failure (CHF). The excretion may look like small bubbles on the lips, which do not have the drama of shaving cream applied by perverts.

Look on these terrible works by the criminally psychotic, and despair, but do not dare to suggest these heinous atrocities perpetrated against Syrian human beings are anything other than mass slaughter for the unfettered rabid dogs of war.

More Here

Max Blumenthal debunks US accusation of China’s ‘genocide’ against Uighurs

Source

Max Blumenthal debunks US accusation of China’s ‘genocide’ against Uighurs

April 01, 2021

Max Blumenthal documents the deceptions behind the US government’s accusation that China is committing “genocide” against Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, picking apart NED-funded studies that rely on botched statistics and exposing extremist Adrian Zenz and his error-filled research

. This was part of a panel discussion held on March 19, 2021, hosted on Daniel Dumbrill’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdw1N…

إذا لم يقف المواطن مع مؤسسات الدولة في هذه الحرب فسوف تخسرها مهما قمنا من إجراءات If the citizen does not stand with state institutions in this war, it will lose it, regardless of the measures we take

المصدر

أكّد الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وجود معركة تقاد من الخارج ضد الليرة السوريّة، داعياً إلى معاقبة التجار المتربّحين من انهيار العملة المحلّية.

وأشار الرئيس الأسد في اجتماع حكومي إلى أن «مجموعة الإجراءات والتشريعات والقوانين التي صدرت في الآونة الأخيرة للتخفيف عن المواطن تؤكد فكرة أنه لا يوجد شيء مستحيل».

وأضاف «إذا لم نكن قادرين على حل كل المشاكل، فإننا نستطيع أن نحل جزءاً من المشاكل.. وعندما لا نستطيع اليوم أن نحل مشكلة معينة نستطيع أن نحل مشاكل أخرى تخفف عن المواطن».

كما أوضح الرئيس الأسد أن أحد الأمثلة على هذه الإجراءات هو معركة سعر الصرف التي تمكنّا فيها من تحقيق إنجازات لم تتحقق سابقاً».

كذلك لفت إلى أنه «من الخطأ في مثل هذه الحالة.. أو هذا النوع من المعارك أن يعتقد الناس أن هذا الموضوع هو موضوع إجرائيّ.. إذ إن الموضوع أوسع.. حيث هناك مضاربون ومستفيدون.. وهناك معركة تُقاد من الخارج».

وتابع قائلاً «أصبحت أدوات الأعداء في هذه المعركة واضحة بالنسبة لنا.. ومن خلال وضوحها ومعرفة الآليات التي استخدمت قمنا نحن باستخدام آليات معاكسة.. وقد أثبتت هذه المعارك التي خضناها أن سعر الصرف في سورية الجزء الأكبر منه هو حرب نفسية».

وشدّد على ضرورة «مواجهة هذا النوع من المعارك أن نقوم بتوعية الناس بأن ما يحصل الآن بالنسبة لسعر الصرف لا يقل أهمية عن المعركة العسكرية لاستقرار البلد.. مثله مثل الحرب.. مثل الأمن الغذائي.. مثل الكثير من العوامل الأخرى.. يجب أن يتم التعامل معها كمعركة.. فإذا لم يقف المواطن مع مؤسسات الدولة في هذه الحرب فسوف تخسر المؤسسات مهما قمنا من إجراءات».

Al-Assad: There is a battle being fought from abroad against the Syrian pound

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed the existence of a battle being led from abroad against the Syrian pound, calling for punishing the traders who profit from the collapse of the local currency.

In a government meeting, President al-Assad indicated that "the set of procedures, legislations and laws that were issued recently to alleviate the citizenry confirms the idea that nothing is impossible."

He added, "If we are not able to solve all the problems, then we can solve part of the problems ... and when we cannot solve a specific problem today, we can solve other problems that relieve the citizen."

President Al-Assad also made clear that one of the examples of these measures is the exchange rate battle, in which we were able to achieve previously unachievable achievements.

He also pointed out that "it is wrong in such a case ... or this type of battle, for people to believe that this issue is a procedural issue ... as the issue is broader ... as there are speculators and beneficiaries ... and there is a battle that is being fought from outside."

He added, "The enemies' tools in this battle became clear to us ... and through their clarity and knowledge of the mechanisms that were used, we used opposite mechanisms ... and these battles that we fought have proven that the exchange rate in Syria, the largest part of it, is a psychological war."

And he stressed the need to "face this kind of battle, to make people aware that what is happening now with regard to the exchange rate is no less important than the military battle for the stability of the country ... just like war ... like food security ... like many other factors .. must be done." Dealing with it as a battle .. If the citizen does not stand with state institutions in this war, the institutions will be lost, no matter what measures we have taken.

Land Day 2021: Existence, Resistance, Resurgence

March 30, 2021

A child raising a Palestinian flag on Land Day. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

“In 2019 I went to Palestine twice,” wrote Ibtisam Barakat, “one time with Palestine Festival of literature in April.” When an officer informed her at the border that she didn’t exist in Israeli records, Barakat started to cry. She “cried for two weeks nonstop. Nothing and no one could stop [her], not even a delicious falafel sandwich.” All that time, recalled the Palestinian-American poet, she “ate falafel and cried.”

On Land Day 2021, Barakat’s words are more relevant than ever. Forty-five years ago, on March 30, 1976, Israeli police murdered six Palestinian protestors as they were calling attention to the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunums of Palestinian land. Since then, notes Yara Hawari, March 30 has been commemorated as Land Day.

An important “event in the Palestinian collective narrative,” explains Hawari, it incorporates resistance to colonization, in particular “colonial policies of erasure,” efforts by Israelis to erase all Indigenous presence on the land. Indeed, since 1948, Palestinians have defied those policies with characteristic sumud (resilience), both by holding fast to a collective narrative that incorporates individual perspectives.

When Barakat returned to Palestine, an officer asked why she was coming back a second time in one year. At the time, she had no idea how to reply. “Now,” she explains, she knows “the world was going to change and the universe knew that I needed to see Palestine twice in a year” before it became impossible. “Seeing my Palestine or not seeing my Palestine is a spiritual experience for me,” she says, thereby calling attention to her individual refusal to be erased that is in turn part of a collective experience.

On March 30, 2018, Palestinians in Gaza began a series of weekly demonstrations that would last for months, resulting in a staggering number of deaths and injuries from Israeli snipers that drew the attention of the media. What did not get covered so much were the cultural aspects of the rallies—storytelling, cooking traditional dishes, performing dabke, and even weddings took place—thereby passing down traditions to a younger generation.

“What is largely missing from the discussion on Gaza is the collective psychology behind this kind of mobilization,” writes Ramzy Baroud, “and why it is essential for hundreds of thousands of besieged people to rediscover their power and understand their true position, not as hapless victims, but as agents of change in their society.”

In the same way that Barkat worked through her grief at being told of her non-existence, so Palestinians on a collective scale have maintained a narrative that resists the official story. As Baroud explains,

“For 70 years, Palestinians have embarked on that journey of recreation of the self. They have resisted, and their resistance in all of its forms has molded a sense of collective unity, despite the numerous divisions that were erected among the people. The Great March of Return is the latest manifestation of the ongoing Palestinian resistance.”

Two years later, in 2020, the spread of Coronavirus added to ongoing problems. In order to provide a safe space to commemorate the day, Samidoun: Palestinian Solidarity Network issued a virtual call to action:

“Mark Palestine Land Day (Yawm Al-Ard), a day of remembrance for six Palestinian citizens who were murdered by Israelis while protesting the Israeli government’s expropriation of thousands of dunums of their land. March together online on the second anniversary of the Great March of Return.”

Thanks to donations from Russia and the UAE, Gaza recently initiated a vaccine program in an effort to confront the virus pandemic and break the cycle of deaths.

According to Hawari, Land Day commemorates ongoing resistance, but it also “reminds us how the domination of space is an integral aspect of the Zionist settler-colonial project.” Moreover, she points out, “settler-colonial states the world over are in a constant process of colonizing more and more indigenous land while squeezing indigenous peoples into as little space as possible.”

In order to steal more land, colonists in both Israel and North America developed the myth of the vacant land. For example, on March 8, 1969, Golda Meir reportedly asked: “How can we return the occupied territories? There is nobody to return them to.”

Propaganda around the Indigenous in North America sounds much the same. As Steven Salaita tweeted: “you’ll never understand Zionism without a concomitant understanding of Manifest Destiny,” a phrase devised in 1845 to explain that the United States was destined—by God, its advocates believed—to expand its territory across the entire North American continent.

“Of all myths associated with American Indians,” explains Dina Gilio-Whitaker (Colville Confederated Tribes), “no myth is as pervasive as the myth of the vanishing Indian.”

In my American history classes, there would invariably be the student who said that Native people no longer exist, despite the fact that just by looking around the classroom that student might have reached a different conclusion. Nevertheless, because dominant society has been “indoctrinated with the idea of the vanishing Native their whole lives,” Gilio-Whitaker asserts, “the assumption that there is no such thing as real Natives anymore is like a software program constantly running in the background.”

To these deniers, the “real Indians were the ones who dressed in buckskins and hunted buffalo and deer for their living, and didn’t speak English,” Gilio-Whitaker notes, and, in reality, they have “been gone a long time.”

Despite all of the efforts to deny their existence, which makes it all the easier to steal land and resources, both Palestinians and Indigenous people in the States are still around. The commemoration of Land Day attests to that, as do efforts on the part of Native Americans to make their presence known.

Quoting Gerald Vizenor, a citizen of the White Earth Nation, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls attention to his notion of “survivance”:

“Survivance is an active presence: it is not absence, deracination, or ethnographic oblivion, and survivance is the continuance of narratives, not a mere reaction, however pertinent. Survivance stories are renunciations of dominance, the unbearable sentiments of tragedy, and the legacy of victimry” (An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, 2014, p. 217).

Decades after their displacement, the Palestinians long for a place, a homeland that could provide them with grounding to affirm that they exist. In the introduction to Nakba: Palestine, 1948 and The Claims of Memory (2007), Ahmad Sa’di and Lila Abu-Lughod write that “making memories public affirms identity, tames trauma, and asserts Palestinian political and moral claims to justice, redress, and the right to return” (p.2).

Memory, then, “continuance of narratives” as Vizenor calls it, serves as an expression of the need to officially exist. Manifested in events like Land Day, alternative histories affirm what happened in the past but also what should be done in the present to assure that all formerly oppressed peoples have a future.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Related

Sitrep China : Xinjiang backlash market shock

March 30, 2021

Sitrep China : Xinjiang backlash market shock

Selections from Godfree Roberts’ extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China, plus editorial notes. You can get it here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe


The last two weeks we’ve watched in awe the Chinese telling the US in Alaska that a more assertive China now is a reality as the empire has left it no choice.  Of course the Alaska meeting was spiked with sanctions poison minutes before the meetings started, to present a strongman ‘advantage’ (or so they thought) to empire.   This backfired spectacularly and lasted but 15 minutes of a blistering response by China, so perfectly translated by the Chinese translator that she immediately became a new sensation in the eyes of the Chinese people.   The Chinese response is continuing and the stance is now permanent.  I think it is fair to say that China will take no more empire so-called ‘rules-based’ international order.

We saw Mr.Biden calling President Putin a “killer with no soul”.  We saw Russia moving away from empire, in action and in (less than diplomatic) words, with Foreign Minister Lavrov completing a triumphant visit to China directly after the Alaska meeting, and in press conferences making it clear that the petrodollar is now oh so last century news.  New economic and financial mechanisms will put it in its place and we already see this.  Take a look:

China signed a currency swap agreement with Sri Lanka before $3.7 billion of its foreign debt matures this year. Sri Lanka is entitled to a $1.5 billion swap facility from the PBOC, valid for three years. More than 22% of the nation’s foreign purchases were from China last year. Read full article →.

And then these wild two weeks ended with China and Iran signing a 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership, of course, not using any last century petrodollars.

The US fought back fiercely, with nothing else but rumors and the rest of the west sanctioned everything that they could possibly think of.  The rumors and propaganda are about Xinjiang and included the bathwater and the baby, cold war style, threatening hot war style and seemingly quite out of step with developments in the rest of the world.  We will look at the market fall-out in some detail.

But why now? Why did both Russia and China stand up and declare that they are here to stay, while we were used to a more muted approach from both?

James W. Carden and Patrick Lawrence considers that it is a deep disappointment with discovering the “retrograde character of the Biden administration’s foreign policies”  “We thought too well of the United States” Mr Yang, Foreign Minister of China said.  They had hopes for Biden, in other words. Given his fading competence, we ought to add, we think these policies will be shaped and directed in large measure by Blinken and Sullivan, with an adjunct role for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. This will prove another competence problem.

https://thescrum.substack.com/p/our-cold-two-front-war

What has not had much media coverage, is foreign minister Wang Yi’s tour to the Middle East after the Iran agreement announcement.   He visited Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman, all Belt and Road member countries.   To cap off these two weeks of telling empire to become productive, take their rightful place in the world if they can, stop playing warmonger and policeman and economic hitman, the take-away statement from this tour is that Wang repeatedly said global powers should butt out of making the Middle East their arena for big-power rivalry.

(Imagine empire confusion while the penny drops that their empire is over.  Anyone hearing someone playing the fiddle or more accurately the lute?)


A short video from Professor Bill Brown at Xiamen University in southeast China’s Fujian province about the changes in China after spending 33 years there.

The empire struck back with an all-out attack against the province of Xinjiang.  The Xinjiang cotton industry was attacked with baseless rumors and propaganda about the Uyghur people and the propaganda and sanctions machines went into overdrive and we saw sanctions everywhere, mainly against anyone buying cotton from the region.  It is quite ludicrous to pretend to care for the Uyghurs if your sanctions are designed to deprive them of their major industry and their income, which is from cotton.  As fast as the western sanctions were announced, they were responded to with reciprocal sanctions.  Mr.Lavrov already mentioned that there will be a concerted effort throughout the world to do away with unilateral sanctions, so, it is almost as if they do not matter, as no country in the world can or should spare the resources to manage all the sanctions.

But China is striking back hard.  In addition, the cotton manufacturers out of Xinjiang are bringing legal action against Adrian Zenz, who stitched together the rumors of forced labor, labor camps, forced sterilization, and many others.  If you do not want to watch this video, just take a scroll through the comments though.

The Chinese people got angry and a major market kerfuffle commenced and is still ongoing.  For Australia with their thoughtless comments against China, their trade (excluding iron ore) has dropped by 40%.

H&M’s agony, Nike’s fear, the market strikes back. H&M craters after saying it would not source cotton from Xinjiang. All e-commerce platforms removed it from their websites. Searches for ‘H&M’ and ‘HM’ yielded no results, celebrities cut ties, and 200 million Weibo users boycotted H&M’s 450 stores. Nike and Adidas are under attack for using the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), which stopped licensing farms in Xinjiang. https://www.scmp.com/news/china/politics/article/3126828/hm-under-fire-china-over-refusal-buy-xinjiang-cotton

A-list Uyghur stars Dilraba Dilmurat (Dílì Rèbā), an actress with a huge Han fan base, and Liú Yìfēi, who starred in Mulanended their business relationships with Adidas. Nike, Calvin Klein, and Converse have lost their Chinese brand ambassadors. https://supchina.com/2021/03/24/hm-faces-boycott-in-china-over-year-old-xinjiang-cotton-ban/

Japanese fashion retailer Muji, with 17% of its total sales from China, said its stores in China will continue carrying products made with Xinjiang cotton. The company has conducted due diligence on all companies in Xinjiang involved in its supply chain. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Retail/Muji-features-Xinjiang-cotton-as-Chinese-netizens-lash-its-rivals

“H&M, Nike, and others are now suffering heavy losses to their reputations in the Chinese market. Enormous investment in public relations has been destroyed instantly. They need to complain to Western society, because they know that, whether they are active or passive, they have indeed done something intolerable to Chinese consumers”. – Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times.  https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202103/1219413.shtml

Why this focus on the Chinese province Xinjian?  Is it really caring deeply about the Uyghurs?  Of course not.  This is not how empire conducts its business.

“The investments and the infrastructure development under the BRI will bring an explosion of growth in Xinjiang. It will not just become a wealthy region, it will become ‘Dubai wealthy,’ said engineer Robert Vannrox, “the West does not want this. The more Chinese investment pours into Xinjiang, the louder the anti-China propaganda becomes.”


Cover Image: Chinese archaeologists announced Saturday that some new major discoveries have been made at the legendary Sanxingdui Ruins site in southwest China, helping shed light on the unified, diverse origin of the Chinese civilization.  https://www.shine.cn/news/nation/2103206280/

This is but a fraction of what I gleaned from the Here Comes China newsletter.  If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here: https://www.herecomeschina.com/#subscribe

Amarynth

Watch THREE Russian nuclear subs break through the Arctic ice together

Watch THREE Russian nuclear subs break through the Arctic ice together

Trump Laughs at How Biden Stumbled Down Air Force One Stairs: “I Didn’t Lose to Him”

‘I didn’t lose to him’: Trump mocks Biden’s Air Force One steps fall (VIDEO)

March 21, 2021

Former US President Donald Trump poked fun at President Joe Biden after the latter tumbled down the stairs to Air Force One on Friday.

“I watched as Joe Biden went up the stairs today on Air Force One and I said, ‘I didn’t lose to him’ – we didn’t lose to him,” Trump said in the short clip posted on TikTok, which was reportedly captured at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

“Almost 75 million votes and probably a lot more than that,” Trump continued on the footage, referring to his allegations of voter fraud during the presidential election.

In the above-mentioned video clip, the former US president referred to the recent footage of Joe Biden tumbling downstairs when walking up to Air Force One, the presidential jet.

The video of the 78-year-old slipping on stairs hard, then walking up and giving a salute, went viral immediately, triggering an avalanche of memes and jokes as well as concerns about the President’s health.

The White House blamed the weather for the incident, saying that “it’s pretty windy outside. It’s very windy”.

Donald Trump’s son also took the chance to crack a joke or two about the oldest person to assume the presidency tripping stairs to his jet.

Source: Agencies

Biden maintains Trump era economic war on Iran, Syria, China, Cuba

It’s 10 years since the war in Syria began, and Western media & pundits are still eager to keep it going

*Media headlines at the 10 year anniversary of the war on Syria.
moi

March 15, 2021, RT.com

-by Eva K Bartlett

After many wars built on lies over the decades, people might have developed a good BS radar. Instead, in March 2011, when media and human rights groups pushed propaganda about Syria, the public once again fell for it.

Front page, round-the-clock headlines were pumped out, and transparently hollow Western pundits tut-tutted Syria’s president and claimed the Syrian government was cracking down on “peaceful protesters.”

But this is March 2021, and while Western lies and fake concern have dominated news on Syria, Syrians deserve to have the reality – their suffering under some of the most heinous terrorism the world has known – highlighted instead.

In reality, March 2011 in Syria saw well-armed thugs attacking not only government buildings, but killing soldiers and civilians too.

In the months and years that followed, some of those who had been dubbed as “peaceful protesters” committed massacre after massacre of Syrian civilians and security forces.

Independent observers like Homs-based Dutch priest Father Frans van der Lugt witnessed “armed demonstrators who began to shoot at the police first.”

Flemish priest Father Daniel Maes, based in Damascus’ countryside, said:

I have seen with my own eyes how agitators from outside Syria organized protests against the government and recruited young people. Murders were committed by foreign terrorists, against the Sunni and Christian communities, in an effort to sow religious and ethnic discord among the Syrian people.

From my own fourteen visits from April 2014 and over the next seven years, what I’ve heard and experienced in Syria only confirmed my early suspicions that what Al Jazeera and Western media were purporting were lies.

– While people did aspire to political change (and the government made changes), from the start there was violence from well-armed “protesters.”

– Contrary to what the media would have us believe, there wasn’t wide support for what was dubbed a “revolution,” and it wasn’t actually a revolution. Predominantly Sunni Aleppo rejected the non-revolution.

– The core message of the protesters who continued beyond the first few protests was not about democracy but about driving out Christians to Beirut and killing Alawites. A sectarianism promoted by the West and its Gulf allies.

Although mass media attempted to paint events in Syria as a “civil war,” both Israel and Western nations have long been supporting terrorists in Syria, including Al-Qaeda in Syria (reportedly providing them medical treatment), and even Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).

And as I detailed, the West has long been working to change the government of Syria, even decades prior during Hafez al-Assad’s time.

How I saw Syria vs. what it looks like through al-Qaeda-tinted glasses

In April 2014, I met an American living in Latakia who recalled reading a LA Times blog post alleging a protest which had turned violent in her city three years prior, but which never happened. According to her, she had been to the places mentioned in the report that day, and there was no unrest.

Years later in Damascus, I met and interviewed a Syrian doctor who had been based in Dara’a province in March 2011. He described how his hospital operated at normal capacity at the time. At the same time he says he saw a repeated report on another mainstream outlet that said the facility was overwhelmed, not enough doctors were available, and moreover, that the hospital was denying treatment to civilians, when in fact the hospital directives were to treat civilians before soldiers.

Since a core message in regime-change reporting on Syria has been that the people want the president gone, it’s worth noting that President Assad is actually quite popular among Syrians. In fact, I was surprised to come across a January 2012 admission of this, one of the worst purveyors of lies and war propaganda on Syria.

Assad’s popularity has only steadily grown. From the early months of 2011 to late 20112012, and beyond, Syrians held mass demonstrations in support of their president.

In Lebanon in 2014, I witnessed a mass show of support during the presidential election. These were people determined to vote, and people I spoke with proudly declared their support for Assad.

From 2014 to my last visit in 2020, Syrians have maintained to me that while there are a host of changes they do want for the country, seeing President Assad step down is not one of them.

The Syrian government issues visas to journalists from the worst propaganda outlets (including the BBC, Channel 4, the New York Times, CBC). Yet, they have reported a vastly different Syria than that which I or my colleagues know.

In their Syria, the suffering of civilians in government-controlled areas doesn’t exist. If mentioned, they are dubbed “regime supporters,” thus somehow deserving of the shelling and other abuse perpetrated by terrorist factions.

The outlets don’t take into account the millions of internally displaced Syrians who have fled terrorism or fighting elsewhere in Syria and taken shelter in government-controlled areas, frequently coming under attacks of terrorists.

When greater Aleppo, with around 1.5 million people, were for years being attacked with gas canister bombs, mortars, grad missiles and sniping by terrorists occupying areas of the city (by November 2016 resulting in the deaths of nearly 11,000 civilians), media downplayed this, or simply didn’t mention it at all.

19 1
19 2
19 3
19 4

*From my February 2015 “University Hospital, Damascus: Meeting Victims of Western-backed Mortar and Rocket Terrorism

Even when mixed Christian and Muslim areas of Old Damascus were shelled by terrorists occupying eastern Ghouta—and they were shelled for years, until Ghouta’s liberation—this terrorism, and the many maimed and killed, was underreported, if reported at all.

In one instance, after an elementary school was mortared (killing one child and injuring over 60 more) the BBC’s reporter later disingenuously wrote, “the government is also accused of launching [mortar shells] into neighborhoods under its control.”

In summer of 2016, I travelled around Syria, meeting Syrians who had started their lives anew, displaced by terrorists, and meeting Syrians who had survived terrorist attacks only to be living within a few hundred metres proximity and daily at risk of sniping and shelling.

And all the while, the same war propagandizing, script-reading, media glossed over the horrific realities of life under terrorist rule, which included imprisonmenttorturestarvation, rape of women, and public executions of civilians by sword or point-blank assassination.

Fallen’ cities, ‘chemical attacks’ and other lies

I’ve gone to many key cities and towns post-liberation from terrorist factions. Western media inevitably said these areas had “fallen,” bizarrely trying to claim that life under the government would be worse than life under the extremists who easily and routinely murdered civilians in the street.

Civilians under terrorist rule were starving—not by the Syrian government, but by the terrorists—and were often imprisoned in ghastly often underground prisons.

From the old city of Homs, to the ancient Aramaic-speaking village of Maaloula, to eastern Aleppo, to Madaya and al-Waer, to eastern Ghouta and even areas of Idlib province, civilians I met spoke of the hell they had lived under terrorist rule, and of their relief at being liberated.

When mass media said those areas “fell,” they were lying. Those areas returned to peace and stability.

UN representatives may feign concern and neutrality in matters Syria, but the UN has been complicit in ignoring terrorists’ shelling of Damascus. And in silencing the voices of suffering civilians and Syrian representatives at the UN.

Then there is the issue of the alleged and never proven “chemical attacks” by the Syrian army.

I’ve written about the chemical weapons accusations, noting even a lead member of the UNHRC commission of Inquiry, blamed the “rebels.”

Many journalists, including myself, have gone to Douma, the location of the latest alleged chemical attack, and interviewed medical staff and civilians, concluding that a chemical attack did not take place.

Douma witnesses spoke at The Hague, including a boy featured in Western media’s claims. Instead of considering these Syrian sources, pundits and media sneered “obscene mascarade” regarding the testimonies.

Yes, the same media which uncritically endorsed the Twitter account of a seven year old English-illiterate Aleppo girl as gospel in the lead up to the liberation of Aleppo refused to consider the testimonies of seventeen civilians from Douma.

The same media refused the revelations of OPCW whistleblowers who spoke out, damning the final OPCW report for its glaring omissions—omissions that completely changed the narrative around Douma.

In October 2020, the UN Security Council itself refused to allow José Bustani, former General Director of the OPCW, to speak. I urge people to read Bustani’s words on the cover up of OPCW expert findings around the Douma allegations.

*Screenshot I took in 2020 when seeing CNN recycling their lies of 2018–as though it was happening in 2020

Still lying after all these years

Even now, five years after his image was plastered across global media as the “face of suffering in Syria,” allegedly hurt in a Russian or Syrian airstrike, the UK’s Independent has a photo of Aleppo boy Omran Daqneesh as its Twitter cover photo.

But this was a narrative debunked in mid-2017, when I met a healthy Omran and his father. The father specifically said there was no airstrike.

Still other lies that were debunked years ago are being recycled anew, in the West’s ceaseless attempt to criminalize Bashar al-Assad and legitimize the US coalition’s illegal presence in Syria.

But none of the media or pundits who claim to care about Syrians’ well-being address the actual causes (including terrorists) of their suffering, chief among which, the brutal Western sanctions against Syria, which directly impact on Syrian civilians’ ability to live and procure medicine, much less rebuild.

Also impacting on Syrians’ economy and sufficiency, the US’ theft of Syrian oil and cotton, and burning of wheat. And this, along with other US illegal polices in Syria, will only get worse under the Biden administration.

And if you peruse recent headlines, you’ll see the same old Western insistence that things won’t change until Bashar al-Assad is gone. They’ve blatantly said sanctions will continue until then.

And now they’re going after the first lady, a woman who is well-liked on the ground in Syria for dedicating her work to helping the country’s poorest through development and microfinance projects.

The West would have us believe she has, “incited and encouraged terrorist acts,” a claim, emanating from the UK (which most definitely incited and encouraged terrorism), that would be laughable were it not so revolting.

Russia has called this, “psychological pressure on the eve of the presidential election.”

look at the legal entity behind the absurd allegations reveals this isn’t the first time they’ve attempted a legal attack against the Syrian government.

To adequately write about the past ten years of war on Syria would take volumes. For the sake of brevity: it need never have happened, nor the deaths and destruction accompanying it.

This was a premeditated and cruel war on the people of Syria, spurned forth by media who truly do not care about the lives of Syrians.

To quote Father Daniel:

“The media can either contribute to the massacre of the Syrian people or help the Syrian people, with their media coverage. Unfortunately, there are too many followers and cowards among journalists.”

RELATED LINKS:

Deconstructing the NATO Narrative on Syria

The Terrorism We Support in Syria: A First-hand Account of the Use of Mortars against Civilians

Absurdities of Syrian war propaganda

Western media ignoring reality on the ground in Syria

Liberated Homs Residents Challenge Notion of “Revolution”

Overcoming Savagery and Treachery, Maaloula’s Heroic Defenders Fight for the Future

Where is the West’s compassion & condemnation following terror attacks in Middle East?

Torture, starvation, executions: Eastern Ghouta civilians talk of life under terrorist rule

Syria War Diary: What Life Is Like Under ‘Moderate’ ‘Rebel’ Rule

Order Returns To Western Cities as Syrian Civilians Recount Horrors Of ‘Rebel’ Rule

Liberate Syria’s Idlib, precisely for the civilians that America fakes concern over

Scoundrels & gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian narrative

The UK & US alliance brings the UNSC into disrepute by banning Syria chemical weapons briefing from ex-OPCW head

Statement of Concern: The OPCW investigation of alleged chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria

US sanctions are part of a multi-front war on Syria, and its long-suffering civilians are the main target

As Syria Struggles Under COVID-19 Lockdown, America’s Scorched Earth Policy Ensures Food Insecurity

Syria, Venezuela sanctions

Joe Biden Unlawful Aggression in Syria Signals the Endgame in the Region

Impressions From An Informal Meeting With Asma al-Assad, Syria’s First Lady

A DECADE OF SYRIAN PAIN | Mideastream

Mar 17, 2021

After a decade of unfathomable violence and human tragedy that has made Syria the west’s defining war of the early 21st century, the fighting has tapered off but the suffering hasn’t. In 2011,

Obama led the west in its largest adventure yet in west Asia, thinking that Syria looked like just another domino about to fall in the whirlwind of uprisings sweeping the Middle East. Ten years later, President Bashar Assad is still there leading the heroic SAA which eliminated western-backed Daesh terrorism from more than 70% of the country as reconciliation and reconstruction define the upcoming decade for Syria.

Gaza has suffered the longest, most barbaric, lockdown in the world – I know, because I lived through three years of it

*Jaber Rjila’s home and farmland in al-Faraheen, Gaza’s southeast, have been attacked, damaged or destroyed by Israeli tanks and bulldozers on many occasions.
moi
Eva Bartlett an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). Co-recipients included: John Pilger and political analyst Thierry Meyssan. She was also the first recipient of the Serena Shim award, an honour shared with many excellent journalists since. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, she has visited Syria 14 times, the last time being from March to late September, 2020. All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos

By Eva Bartlett 


March 8, 2021, RT.comWhile the rest of the world may rightly moan about the ways in which the miserable Covid-induced lockdowns have affected our lives, spare a thought for the 2 million Palestinians imprisoned in Israel’s brutal and illegal blockade.

“We’re all Palestinians now,” some say, as people around the world are under Covid-19 lockdown and rendered jobless. While the reference is apt, Palestinians in Gaza have been under the most severe lockdown in the world for 14 long years.

As 2021 has gone on, it has become increasingly clear that lockdowns are affecting people around the world in painful and deadly ways beyond the already awful effects of slashed incomes and isolation.

So imagine life where the lockdown isn’t for a period of weeks or months, but throughout the year, every year, with no end in sight, making life utterly unlivable.

That is life in the Gaza Strip, which although only 40 km long and 365 square km in size, is appropriately dubbed the world’s largest open-air prison.

And while there is absolutely no just reason for Israel’s imprisonment of two million people, it continues, year after year, in violation of Israel’s legal obligations under international law, as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) notes.

It is collective punishment. As the UN reminded“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

Blockade brutality

The power outages, fuel and cooking gas shortages, dramatic food insecurity, stunted growth in children, 50 percent unemployment, and 96 percent undrinkable water have been Gaza’s reality for years.

Since 2012, the UN has warned that Gaza would become “unlivable” by 2020.

It was already unlivable when I first set foot in Gaza in November 2008. From then until March 2013, I lived a cumulative three years (and two wars) there, the latter half of that time in the humble home of a Palestinian family in central Gaza.

The power was out for 20-22 hours daily, mostly a result of the 2006 Israeli bombing of Gaza’s power plant, which was never fully reconstructed, thanks to the blockade that prevents the import of much-needed materials.

Picture a functioning hospital with dialysis machines, working ICUs, etc. Now imagine it with limited or no electricity, for 14 years, and after three wars. That’s Gaza.

And every year, due to the Israeli restrictions on imports, Gaza has less than a month’s supply of essential medicines (48 percent in 2019; 42 percent in January 2021). In December 2019, for example, 58 percent of chemotherapy drugs and 41 percent of kidney dialysis medicines were at zero stock.

Gaza’s lockdown has rendered vast numbers jobless, unable to travel, and prevented university graduates with scholarships abroad from completing their studies.

Exports have ground to a trickle. Formerly, Palestinians used to export not only the succulent strawberries grown in Gaza’s north but also many other goods including furniture, clothing, food products.

Imports are even more severely limited. When I arrived in 2008, only between 30-40 items (vs 4,000 before) were permitted entry to Gaza’s merchants.

Dangerous things like diapers, shoes, A4 paper, livestock, seeds, refrigerators, washing machines, fabrics, light bulbs, musical instruments, crayons, clothing… and much more, were explicitly banned entry.

As was, of course, building materials, desperately needed in Gaza as the population grew, and to rebuild destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Banning the entry of seeds and livestock seems like an attack on Palestinians’ food sources, deliberately causing starvation.

Indeed, at the time, near-starvation, according to the Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, was the planThe security establishment had calculated the number of calories consumed by Gaza residents and used it to establish a ‘humanitarian minimum’, a bottom line to which it was possible to reduce food supply to Gaza without causing hunger or malnutrition…

Not quite dying of hunger, as the special adviser to numerous Israeli prime ministers, Dov Weissglass, said in 2006:

The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.

As of November 2020, Israel continues strictly restricting imports to Gaza. The UN’s Relief Web noted“The Israeli authorities officially list 62 items as “dual-use items” which include hundreds of goods and basic materials. The items on the “dual-use goods” list are essential to the life of the population…”

Attacking the food providers

Israel also puts Palestinians “on a diet” by firing on and abducting farmers and fishers, destroying wells and cisterns, destroying or stealing fishing boats and burning or spraying chemicals on farmland.

During my time in Gaza, I documented Israeli live machine gun and sniper fire, routinely coming under fire myself, including for extended periods.

3
10
11-1
19261_109441039065899_7188008_n
19261_109450819064921_4517456_n
25492_109881925688477_763530_n
269597_481226028554063_63711987_n
dsc09011
feb 2010

Were Israeli soldiers targeting ‘terrorists’?  No, these were farm labourers and families, including the elderly and women. None posing any threat to Israel.

Israeli soldiers also target labourers and children collecting rubble and metal from demolished or bombed homes, transporting it, usually on donkey carts, to places where it can be sold for re-use in construction.

Israel maintains its gunning down of farmers and labourers is about ‘security,’ and has long ago imposed a ‘buffer zone’ on the Gaza side, supposedly 300 metres from the fence. But in my own experience with farmers on land 500 metres or more from the fence, Israeli soldiers still shoot to maim and kill.

Like the 20-year old deaf farmer I accompanied one February 2009 morning. As he and other labourers pushed their stalled pick-up truck, Israeli soldiers began sniping, shooting around me and hitting him in his ankle.

A few weeks prior, an Israeli soldier had shot the man’s cousin in the neck, killing him. An extended family of 16 people depended on the meagre income of these young farm labourers.

Or the 17-year old girl an Israeli soldier shot in the knee when, a month after the 2008/2009 war ended, she returned to her southeastern Gaza destroyed home to see what remained. This was 800 metres from the fence.

Or the 20-year old farm labourer shot in his chest while working on land beyond the ‘buffer zone’. The 16-year old working beside him died from the bullets to his chest.

Or the youth left paralyzed after being shot by an Israeli soldier. His crime? Sitting outside the home of an aunt he was visiting.

The ‘buffer zone‘ robs Palestinians of a third of Gaza’s agricultural land – the best and most fertile bits. Decades and Israeli bulldozers prior, this same area was rich in olive, nut and fruit trees, and a variety of grain, legumes and vegetable crops.

Nowadays, if Palestinians are lucky, they can plant low maintenance crops, hoping they don’t get burned, or bulldozed before harvesting, testimonies of which I’ve taken time and time again, and have witnessed while it happened.

A 2020 UN report noted that at the time Gaza’s fishers were allowed to access water eight nautical miles off the coast (less than half the 20-mile distance agreed on under the Oslo Accords).

However, from my experience working with fishers when the limit was just six miles, Israeli gunboats would target them even less than one mile off the coast, machine-gunning, shelling, water-cannoning or kidnapping the fishers and boats.

As a special bonus, the Israeli navy often adds a chemical to the spray which leaves the soaked victims stinking of excrement for days.

dsc07866
dsc06048
dsc06077
dsc08009
dsc08017
dsc079931
dsc079951
dsc080041
dsc080611

The preventable stench

When travelling from central or southern Gaza on the coastal road, the shared taxi I was in would pass through Wadi Gaza, a slight valley which at times was overwhelmed by the stench of up to 90 million litres of raw and partially-treated sewage daily draining into the sea.

dsc_0403
dsc_0431

Because Gaza cannot treat its sewage and is not allowed to import materials needed to maintain or improve its sewage holding tanks, the only solution is dumping it into the sea. Otherwise, the sewage holding pools overflow into residential areas.

In 2007, a sewage treatment reservoir’s wall ruptured, overflowing into a village, drowning five people, including two children.

*Beit Lahia sewage treatment plant (photo November 2008). This pool overflowed in March 2007, killing numerous living in the surrounding area below.

Less dramatic but still terrible, heavy rains combine with the sewage to flood streets, leaving people to wade through the foul water, and damaging homes of people that have neither the money nor means to rebuild.

When, in December 2013, massive flooding and sewage overflow ruined 400 homes, a UNRWA spokesperson said“Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this.” 

That was over seven years ago, and nothing has changed.

End the lockdown

Protesting against the lockdown of Gaza, the “Great March of Return” from March 2018 to the end of 2019 saw 214 Palestinians killed by Israel, including 46 children, with 36,100 injured, including nearly 8,800 children, according to the UN.

Imagine the headlines were this in Russia or Syria.

As of January, the Rafah Crossing (the sole crossing controlled by Egypt, not Israel) remained closed. Over 7,000 Palestinians are registered to exit Gaza, and thousands are waiting to enter, the UN reported.

According to the UN, Gaza now gets 14 hours of power a day, the one improvement I’m aware of since my time living there.

The rest – the targeting farmers and fishers, the random Israeli bombings and psychological warfare, and most notably, the blockade – remains as per the many previous years.

Indeed, according to a March 3 statement by UNRWA’s Gaza director, conditions in Gaza have only gotten worse.

Conditions have become so bad that “the well-known definition of extreme or absolute poverty is no longer suitable, most of the Palestinian refugees in Gaza need help.”

Those under Covid-19 lockdowns now have experienced a mere fraction of what Palestinians in Gaza have endured for so long. I would hope that, as a result, more people might be moved to demand Israel end its 14-year lockdown of Gaza.

RELATED:

UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable today

Israeli tank and bulldozer invasion of Palestinian farmland

Dignified beyond losses:Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods destroyed by Israel

Homes and livelihoods destroyed by Israeli bulldozers

How israeli policies and attacks have ravaged Gaza’s agricultural sector

Israeli Navy Terrorism: Destroying Boats and Lives

Israeli naval abductions and shooting at Palestinian fishermen: it’s routine

stars and bombs: random israeli bombing a few hundred metres from home

Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis

Gaza drives

Leaving Gaza: Egypt’s treatment of “undesirables”…or, that time I was locked underground in an Egyptian airport with dozens of other civilians

Blockbuster/Exclusive: More Mossad Ties between ‘Bear Spray Killers’ , proof of Israel’s role in January 6

By VT Editors -March 16, 2021

January 6 was a last ditch attempt by Israel to save the Trump presidency and turn the US into a full-fledge colony of Israel.  How anti-Semitic does that sound?How true does it sound?VT Exclusive: We have been doing background on the January 6 killers of Officer Sicknick.  When Elie Khater was arrested getting off a plane from Israel and that was hidden, we knew there was something else.We then found this article from Newsweek, owned by former Congresswoman Jane Harmon, who was “busted” for trying to free Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who gave America’s NOC List to the Russians. This is the real story and why every top US intel official for 28 years demand he “burn in hell.”Now we find young Israeli “American’ Elie Khater, the alleged murder, was, with his mother, evacuated from Lebanon to save them from Hezbollah, in 2006, by the US military.Dad is never mentioned nor is why they were there serving in an unnamed intelligence capacity.  Fake people, fake restaurants, no murder charges…it keeps getting better and better…

Onscene: Pain, Joy, After Leaving Lebanon

BY NEWSWEEK STAFF 

Sitting aboard the USS Trenton as it leaves Lebanon, Elie Khater is crying. But unlike most Americans aboard this amphibious assault ship, her tears are not those of joy over escaping a country tumbling into war. The 43-year-old mother of four is sobbing because the clashes between Israel and Hizbullah have forced her out of her adopted home in Kherbert Kanafar, a small village where her husband’s family has a fruit orchard and where the New Jersey native has lived since 1994.

The Khaters decided to leave Lebanon after Israeli airstrikes hit nearby villages and roads, cutting off most escape routes. Their harrowing drive to Beirut on a bomb-damaged road was terrifying; now the prospect of going back to America breaks her heart. “Lebanon has become my country and it’s is horrible beyond words to be leaving behind my extended family, my friends, my life,” she weeps.

The Khaters were among the thousands of foreigners trapped in Lebanon when fighting broke out 10 days ago. On Friday, an estimated 4,000 Americans were scheduled to leave for Cyprus in what Brig. Gen. Carl Jensen, the U.S. Marine Corps officer commanding the operation, calls a “voluntary withdrawal.” A similar number have already been evacuated over the last two days, with the United States chartering ferry boats and rerouting seven naval ships to help Americans trying get out. Helicopters were also deployed to fly out humanitarian cases like the elderly and disabled.

Why aren’t they charged as cop killers?  Could it be because of reasons only VT will publish?  Arrested in the airport while exiting a plane from Tel Aviv…shouldn’t that fact be gotten out?  We think so…and hiding it tells us volumes…

VT: Julian Elie Khater was picked up today as he got off a plane from Tel Aviv at the Newark Airport. Both Khater and George Tanios are childhood friends who grew up in New Brunswick, New Jersey’s Jewish community, just outside Philadelphia.

Khater fled to Israel after the killing of Officer Sicknick during the January 6 coup attempt by Donald Trump.  Autopsy results have been withheld, particularly toxicology, but VT sources say Officer Sicknick died from a reaction to being soaked with powerful “Bear Spray”, listed as a “dangerous weapon.” 

Video exists showing both Khater and Tanios deploying bear spray against Officer Sicknick, but it also shows that both were coordinating deployment of chemical weapons with highly trained teams that were searching for members of Congress, teams allegedly in communication with GOP House members.

This is a separate FBI investigation. A House investigation has published 2000 pages of tweets from members of the House and Senate that were used, it is alleged, “in real time” to hunt Vice President Pence and his family and Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

We also found, with little effort, that Tanios’ restaurant, if you can call it that, is fake as well.

VT’s sources say both Khater and Tanios are former IDF intelligence and are Israeli citizens. We also learn that Tanio’s “restaurant” is not so much either, one review at Tripadvisor:

and from Yelp:

Every decent Mossad agent is taught to keep their cover and make money at their side business.  Certainly the Mossad’s highly paid journalists are proof of this.  Look at Hannity and Carlson…

WaPo: Federal authorities have arrested and charged two men with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick with bear spray during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot but have not determined whether the exposure caused his death.

Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania and George Pierre Tanios, 39 of Morgantown, W.Va., were arrested Sunday and are expected to appear in federal court Monday.

“Give me that bear s—,” Khater allegedly said to Tanios on video recorded at the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol at 2:14 p.m., where Sicknick and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks, arrest papers say.

About nine minutes later, after Khater said he had been hit with bear spray, Khater is seen on video discharging a canister into the face of Sicknick and two other officers, arrest papers allege.

Khater and Tanios are charged with nine counts including assaulting three officers with a deadly weapon — Sicknick, another U.S. Capitol Police officer identified as C. Edwards, and a D.C. police officer identified as B. Chapman. They are also charged with civil disorder and obstruction of a congressional proceeding. The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Prosecutors filed charges after tipsters contacted the FBI allegedly identifying Khater and Tanios from wanted images released by the bureau from surveillance video and officer-worn body camera footage, the complaint said. It said the men grew up together in New Jersey, and that Khater had worked in State College, Pa., and Tanios owns a business in Morgantown.

*

Arrested at Newark Airport getting off a plane from Israel in an FBI sting, something censored by the Washington Post

Khater was arrested Sunday in Newark, N.J., according to an unsealed arrest warrant signed by a magistrate judge on March 6. Family for Khater could not be immediately reached.

Questions remain about whether anyone will be held criminally responsible in Sicknick’s death. Autopsy results for Sicknick were still pending as of Monday, according to a spokeswoman for the deputy mayor of public safety in D.C.

Without a cause of death, his case has not been established as a homicide, although charging papers allege that evidence of an assault on Sicknick is clear on video.

This is, officially, the longest autopsy ever.  It it isn’t a coincidental natural death, then it is a homicide.  Why the games.  Both impeachment docs and US Atty. Rosen stated Sicknick was murdered and did so many weeks ago.

An FBI agent alleged in charging papers that publicly available video showed that after Khater asked for the bear spray, Tanios replied, “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet … it’s still early.” The agent said the exchange showed that the two allegedly were “working in concert and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement.”

The agent asserted that the men “appeared to time the deployment of chemical substances to coincide with other rioters’ efforts to forcibly remove the bike rack barriers that were preventing the rioters from moving closer to the Capitol building,” using their hands, ropes and straps.

All three officers were temporarily blinded and incapacitated for more than 20 minutes, and Edwards sustained scarring beneath her eyes for several weeks, charging papers said.

Sicknick died at a hospital about 9:30 p.m. Jan. 7, one day after 139 police officers were reportedly assaulted by an angry mob of Trump supporters wielding sledge hammers, baseball bats, hockey sticks, crutches and flagpoles. At least 800 people entered the Capitol after a smaller number forced entry, police have testified, seeking to block Congress from confirming the November presidential election victory of Joe Biden.

FBI focuses on video of Capitol Police officer being sprayed with chemicals

Referring to Sicknick, a House-passed article of impeachment charged Trump with inciting insurrection, alleging that members of a crowd he addressed “injured and killed law enforcement personnel.” Trump was acquitted after 57 senators voted to convict him for inciting the attack, 10 short of the two-thirds majority needed.

Then-acting U.S. attorney general Jeffrey A. Rosen said in a statement shortly afterward that Sicknick died of “the injuries he suffered defending the U.S. Capitol,” echoing a statement by Capitol Police.

Investigators determined that he did not die of blunt force trauma, people familiar with the matter said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. After more than two months, no autopsy or toxicology report has been made public.

This report, however, has been kept from the public.  Is it because every suspect arrested can be charged with full 1st Degree Murder, not simply trespass, as per well established legal precedent.

Officer Brian D. Sicknick recalled for his ‘shared humanity’The senator described Sicknick’s death as a “crime” that “demands the full attention of federal law enforcement.” He said “when white supremacists attacked our nation’s capital, they took the life of one of our officers. They spilled his blood, they took a son away from his parents. They took a sibling away from their brothers.”

Beaten, sprayed with mace and hit with stun guns: Police describe injuries to dozens of officers during assault on U.S. Capitol


Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios – charged and arrested in the Death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknick

Finally and yes it was captured on Body Worn Camera(s)

Both charged (these are incredibly serious charges);

18 U.S.C. §§ 111(a) and (b) – Assault on Federal Officer with Dangerous Weapon; 18 U.S.C. §§ 111(a) and (b) – Assault on Federal Officer with Dangerous Weapon; 18 U.S.C. §§ 111(a) and (b) – Assault on Federal Officer with Dangerous Weapon; 18 U.S.C. § 372 – Conspiracy to Injure an Officer; 18 U.S.C. § 231(a)(3) – Civil Disorder; 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) – Obstructing or Impeding Any Official Proceeding; 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(1), (2), (4), (b)(1)(A) and (b)(1)(B) – Physical violence on restricted grounds, while carrying dangerous weapon, and resulting in significant bodily injury; 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(f) – Violent entry and disorderly conduct, act of physical violence on Capitol Grounds; and 18 U.S.C. § 2 – Aiding and Abetting.

As the affidavit reads:

“Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of KHATER, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes…

….defendants, JULIAN ELIE KHATER and GEORGE PIERRE TANIOS, working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes….”

Again I’ll never understand why the “fire extinguisher” took root – I repeatedly tried to tell my readers that was disinformation that the death was likely caused by the excessive deployment of a chemical irritant;

“KHATER continues to talk animatedly with TANIOS. At approximately 2:20 p.m., KHATER walks through the crowd to within a few steps of the bike rack barrier. KHATER is standing directly across from a line of law enforcement officers to include U.S. Capitol Police (“USCP”) Officers B. Sicknick and C. Edwards, and Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) Officer D. Chapman, who was equipped with a functioning body worn camera (“BWC”) device.

Officer Chapman’s BWC shows that at 2:23 p.m., the rioters begin pulling on a bike rack to Chapman’s left, using ropes and their hands to pull the rack away. Seconds later, KHATER is observed with his right arm up high in the air, appearing to be holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side. Officer Chapman’s BWC confirms that KHATER was standing only five to eight feet away from the officers.

“Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of KHATER, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes, as described in further detail…

“KHATER is again observed raising his arm and continues to spray in the direction of law enforcement officers. MPD Lt. Bagshaw notices these actions and approaches KHATER. At 2:23 p.m., Lt. Bagshaw then sprays KHATER, as observed on both surveillance footage and Lt. Bagshaw’s BWC….”

“All three officers were incapacitated and unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered from the spray. Officer Edwards reported lasting injuries underneath her eyes, including scabbing that remained on her face for weeks…”

“Defendant KHATER was listed as subject number 190. Defendant TANIOS was listed as subject number 254. A tipster to the FBI provided information that TANIOS and KHATER knew each other and grew up together in New Jersey…”

So investigators received several tips and subsequently reviewed the defendant’s LinkedIn account and other social media accounts

It came down to the “Sandwich University” sweatshirt and a keen eye by both a former coworker and the investigators …

“kingofthefatsandwich.” no really that’s in the affidavit …

Redacted Affiliation Found here. According to the DOJ-OPA:

“…arrested on Sunday in connection with a complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., charging them with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting federal officers, among other charges, on Jan. 6.  Khater was arrested as he disembarked from an airplane at Newark Airport in New Jersey.  Tanios was arrested at his residence in West Virginia.

Motion for Detention filed by USA as to Defendant Tanios:

https://ecf.wvnd.uscourts.gov/doc1/19903090082

Or via my public drive https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xwceNNp-gLcaVKJte87Ds6ViR76Er1av/view?usp=drivesdk

Sorry more files incoming – paperless Minute Order WVDC- Defendant Tanios

United States v. 2012 White Jeep Grand Cherokee with West Virginia License Tag 53T507, VIN 1C4RJFAT2CC204303 (1:21-mj-00024) ECF

-and it is well worth reading the 65+page affidavit in support of the search warrant – I uploaded it to my public drive, found here. I literally have <27 minutes before I have to jump on a Teams Call – so I’m speedy racing through the Court Documents

United States v. 708 Beechurst Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26505 (1:21-mj-00025)

Seized)(mh) (copy USA, Agent) (Entered: 03/14/2021)

Document Number:1 Attachment Description Affidavit Agent – Attachment A – Property to be Searched and Attachment B – Description of Property to be Seized

United States v. 205 Blue Ridge Lane, Morgantown, WV 26508 (1:21-mj-00026) ECF

ABOUT VT EDITORS

VT EditorsVeterans Today

VT Editors is a General Posting account managed by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duff. All content herein is owned and copyrighted by Jim W. Dean and Gordon Duffe

ditors@veteranstoday.com

HOUTHI DRONES ONCE AGAIN POUND TARGETS IN SOUTH OF SAUDI ARABIA

South Front

Houthi Drones Once Again Pound Targets In South Of Saudi Arabia
ILLUSTRATIVE IMAGE

On March 15, the Yemeni Houthis (formally known as Ansar Allah) launched another strike in its long series of attacks on military targets in Saudi Arabia.

A Houthi military spokesperson said that three explosive-laden drones hit King Khalid Air Base in the Khamis Mushait province and the International Abha Airport targeted.

“The strike was accurate,” Yahya Sarei said adding that the attack came in response to Saudi Arabia’s continued blockade and attacks on Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition confirmed the attack claiming that it had destroyed a booby-trapped drone fired by the Houthis towards Khamis Mushait, according to the Saudi SPA News Agency.

Related Videos

The Yemeni Houthis released a video showing their recent raid on positions of Saudi-backed forces in the area Rashah Al-Gharbia in Najran province.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Has Damascus’ Time To Recapture Northern Syria Finally Arrived?

South Front

You can read this article in German. LINK

Chaos is brewing in the Aleppo countryside, as the Syrian Arab Army reportedly prepares for a decisive push on the Turkish-occupied areas.

All eyes are set on the town of Al-Bab and the surrounding area.

On March 7th, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) shelled the outskirts of the Turkish-occupied town of al-Bab. According to sources from the “moderate opposition”, at least ten mortar rounds fired by the SAA landed in the towns of Bratah and al-Dana near al-Bab.

There was one reported casualty, and one injury. The previous day saw shelling from the SAA on the same location, without any casualties and damage being reported.

These developments followed the incident on March 5 when, the Syrian military used ballistic missiles and rockets to pound Turkish-affiliated smugglers in the areas of al-Himran and Tarhin. According to reports, over 40 criminals were injured and more than 200 oil trucks and storage facilities were destroyed.

More than three years ago, the Turkish Armed Forces wrestled the city of al-Bab away from ISIS. Since then, the SAA has been waiting for an opportunity to liberate it from the successive occupations.

Nearby, in the northeastern part of Aleppo city itself, there appears to be a Turkish-funded insurgency rising.

On March 4th, saboteurs burned a minivan of the al-Quds Brigade in the district of Hannano. The al-Quds Brigade, made mostly of Palestinians, is one of the largest pro-government factions in Aleppo. The group Youth of Aleppo al-Shahba Regiment for Special Missions claimed responsibility for the attack. Their allegiance is formally unknown, but it is obvious.

It comes down to speculation, but pro-Turkish groups could have carried out the sabotage, in order to spread chaos and impede the SAA’s attack on the Turkish-occupied cities in the countryside.

Nearby, in Greater Idlib, the soon-to-be-rebranded Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) terrorists are attempting to merge with the Turkish-backed National Front for Liberation (NFL).

This proposed military council is clearly meant to provide a legitimate cover for the rebranded terrorist activities of HTS and other al-Qaeda factions in Greater Idlib.

Sure enough, on March 6th, an infamous propagandist of HTS, Tahir al-Omar, confirmed that work was ongoing to establish a “Defense Ministry” in Greater Idlib. HTS, in the past, has attacked the NFL occasionally, despite the fact they’ve been allied. For the purposes of the “moderate opposition” and the rebranding of terrorists, those issues have been left in the past.

Greater Idlib is still the greatest source of the terrorist threat, and no amount of rebranding of terrorists can change that.

A sense of urgency should be growing with in HTS and the Turkish-proxies in Greater Idlib, as their turn is likely coming shortly after any operation to recapture the Turkish-occupied towns in the Aleppo countryside.

The Charge of Anti-Semitism versus Israeli Behavior

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

March 9, 2021  

Posted by Lawrence DavidsonIsrael

The Charge of Anti-Semitism versus Israeli Behavior

Part I—The Misuse of Anti-Semitism

When it comes to anti-Semitism, the Israelis and their Zionist supporters are so deceitful that they risk the moral degradation of Judaism. How do these two things, deceitfulness and the moral degradation, that is the deterioration of ethical standards, go together in this case?

First, the Zionists are deceitful because they purposely conflate Zionism which is an ethnocentric political ideology adhered to by a subset of Jews, with Judaism, a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural religion. Then they insist that Israel’s allies—particularly the United States—adhere to this same propagandistic conflation.

Second, this deliberately instigated error is an attempt to stave off criticism of the Israeli state and its policies toward Palestinians. Those policies are harsh and include segregation, ethnic cleansing and other apartheid-style acts of discrimination. By insisting that (1) the political ideology that promotes and rationalizes this behavior is an expression of religion of Judaism and therefore (2) criticism of these policies is the equivalent of anti-Semitism, the Zionists insist that Israeli state behavior is sanctified by the religion. This is a direct attack on the ethical standards of Judaism, hence the moral degradation. The tactic also undermines the gravity of the charge of anti-Semitism due to chronic misapplication by the Zionists.

Part II—Saturday Night Live Tells a Joke

Let’s take a look at the background of this situation.

First, the sad truth is that Israeli state policies result in racist behavior towards the Palestinians.

The noted journalist Jonathan Cook, who covers Israel and Lebanon as a freelance reporter, has concluded the Palestinians “are viewed as an unwelcome, surplus population that serves as a demographic obstacle to the political realization of a Greater Israel. The severe economic and military pressures Israel imposes on these Palestinians are designed to engineer their incremental displacement, a slow-motion ethnic cleansing.”

This observation has been confirmed by the recent report put out by Israel’s most respected human rights organization, B’Tselem, entitled “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.” Among other points, the B’Tselem report demonstrates that “in the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, the Israeli regime implements laws, practices and state violence designed to cement the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians.”

Second, Israel and the Zionists insist that criticism of Israeli state policies is anti-Semitism.

Here is the most recent, admittedly rather absurd, example of the Zionists’ obsessive misuse of the charge of anti-Semitism—in this case directed toward a joke told on U.S. national television.

On February 24, the satiric comedy show, Saturday Night Live (SNL), joked about the Israeli discriminatory distribution of Covid-19 vaccine. It went as follows: “Israel is reporting that they vaccinated half of their population,” said the comedian Michael Che, “and I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” It is not a hilarious sort of joke, but it is attention-getting in a way that draws a smile and an affirmative nod. This is because those in the know, know it is close to the truth, but like the skeleton in the closet, it is not supposed to see the light of day.

The immediate response by American Zionist organizations and spokespeople was, as the saying goes, over the top. The American Jewish Committee (AJC) declared that “Saturday Night Live’s ‘joke’ is dangerous, a modern twist on a classic anti-Semitic trope that has inspired the mass murder of countless Jews throughout the centuries.” This description is such an exaggeration that it smacks of a guilty conscience.

The AJC also said that the assertion that Israel had only vaccinated that half of the population that is Jewish is “untrue.” If you are only counting Israel proper (1948 Israel) the AJC is technically correct. However, if you include the Occupied Territories, which Israel claims to be part of the Jewish state, it is absolutely true that Israel has been holding back on supplying vaccines to the bulk of the Palestinian population—they have transferred only about 5000 doses for a population of almost 5 million and interfered with the Palestinian Authority’s own efforts to import vaccines. So whose “mass murder” are we really talking about?

The AJC complaint was followed up by remarks by the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Gilad Erdan. He said that the SNL joke “isn’t funny. It’s ignorant. It perpetuates anti-Semitism.” Then he told us, “the fact is that the success of our vaccination drive is exactly because every citizen of Israel —Jewish, Muslim, Christian—is entitled to it.” Here he is being purposely misleading. While claiming the OT to be part of Israel, the Israeli government has denied the Palestinians in that territory Israeli citizenship. Nonetheless, Israel has responsibility for Palestinians in the OT under international law. So, the ambassador is hiding his country’s racist vaccine policy, and its violation of international law, by using the term “citizen” in an obfuscating manner.

For the other side of the joke-response story, the reader should see journalist Abby Martin’s YouTube presentation in defense of Saturday Night Live, as well as going to the Israeli progressive website, 972, which reported on the SNL joke under the headline, “SNL Tells the Uncomfortable Truth About Israel.” Their point is that “For over half a century, Israel has lorded over Palestinian society, plundered their land, erased the border of Israel Proper, and settled hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers in a territory slated for a Palestinian state. With this one-state reality firmly in place, Israel is now attempting to obfuscate who exactly counts as part of Israel’s ‘population’—and whether they are deserving of the country’s public health service.” When the Israelis are not trying to confuse the issue, they are using access to Covid-19 vaccines as bait in attempts to wring concessions out of the Palestinian Authority or the Hamas government in Gaza.

So there sure is more than a core of truth to the SNL joke. The non-Jewish half of the population is being discriminated against when it comes to health care, as well as all other aspects of state support. Consider the statement by the Israeli minister of health, Yuli Edelstein, who asserted that the “State of Israel had no more obligations to take care of Palestinians, than the Palestinian minister of health has responsibility to take care of dolphins in the Mediterranean.” Of course the Palestinian minister of health is a powerless figure who is not bound, as is his Israeli counterpart, by the Fourth Geneva Convention. And, now consider Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to reward some twenty foreign countries which “have done favors” for Israel with thousands of vials of Covid vaccine, while the Palestinians in the OT get almost nothing. The Israeli government appeared to back away from this policy only after it generated harmful publicity abroad.

Part III—Promoting a Tribal Worldview

Except for some newspaper editorials and the report from 972, most Israeli Jews have been silent. There seems to be a numbness when it comes to the Palestinians that, in this case, makes many Israeli Jews either accepting of the government’s biased approach to the delivery of vaccines, or too uncaring in the face of the pandemic to notice.

Actually, we should not be too surprised at this. Israeli society has been structured to produce a predetermined sort of Jewish citizen—one who, under normal circumstances, rarely comes in contact with Palestinians (again, it is a segregated society) and, if and when they do think of them, sees them as dangerous interlopers on Jewish land.

Consider the context determining this outlook.

—More than most states, Israel is a tribal nation—a tribe with a flag, if you will. This sense of strong ethnocentrism is the product of centuries of anti-Semitism. The core of this outlook lay with the Ashkenazi—the European Jews who suffered the brunt of anti-Semitism, pogroms, and finally the Europe-centered Holocaust. It was their surviving leadership, guided by the ideology of Zionism, who finally realized the founding of Israel.

—Zionism is the political ideology that combines the goals of ethnic survival, statehood and the reshaping of the modern Jew into a citizen dedicated to the defense and future of a Jewish state.

—In other words what Israel does, or equivalently what Zionism does, is to institutionalize a tribal group sensitivity and ongoing sense of grievance. An expression of this sensitivity is the charge of anti-Semitism against anyone who is critical of Israel and its policies.

—How does Israel maintain and hone this sense of grievance as a basis of tribal solidarity? Through the institutions of society, particularly the state’s educational system and military service, which are designed to realize the appropriate Zionist worldview.

—For this it helps to have enemies right now: the whole non-Jewish world in general and the Palestinians in particular.

—Drill this worldview into successive generations and you get a first-class citizenry which sees no problem with discriminating and ultimately cleansing all supposed second-class interlopers. Thus, the miserly and begrudging outlay of Covid-19 vaccines for those “others!”

Part IV—Conclusion

The promotion of such a skewered worldview is not peculiarly Israeli, and certainly is not inherently Jewish. Tribalism was the social unit of all human beings for millennia and really did not start to break down until modern times. This breakdown process is imperfect, and so there are any number of groups resisting the trend toward multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies. They still react, often violently, to immigrants and other strangers in their midst, and stick together based on ethnicity, religion, or other tribal-like identities. Here in the U.S., Donald Trump is the rather nasty leader of such a reaction.

However, as the growth of integrated societies testifies, tribalism isn’t inevitable. Rather, the modern tribal impulse for an ethnocentric state has to be artificially manipulated through incessant propaganda and organized miseducation.
This manipulation is exactly what is happening in Israel. As a result, the Israelis, and more broadly the Zionists, just can’t take a joke—particularly if it shines a light on their racist behavior.

New Symbolic Role for the Israeli Flag

About me
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.

(23 February 2021)

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Flying the Israeli Flag

During the January 6 insurrection, hardly any of the U.S. media took note of the following fact: amongst the signs and banners of rightwing organizations—the “South will rise again” Confederate states enthusiasts, the fascist-like Rambo militias, and the disparate run-amok MAGA maniacs—stood a very large Israeli flag.

If you are looking for comment and contextualization of this appearance, the best place to go is the Israeli progressive web-based magazine, 972.  There you will find a very good piece, dated 22 January 2021, by Ben Lorder. 

Lorder explains that the presence of the Israeli flag in this milieu is not a rarity. “It is hardly the first time,” he tells us. It has also shown up at “Straight Pride parades and pro-Trump car caravans.” Indeed, according to Lorder, “for the ascendant forces of right-wing populism in the United States and around the world … support for Israel takes on a special intensity.” Now, why would that be so? Not exactly for progressive and humanitarian reasons. It would seem that for the rightwing hate-groups presently feeling their time has come, “Israel has become a symbol for a set of values, an entire worldview. … A canvas to project their own fantasies of nationalist chauvinism.”

Interestingly, this rightwing admiration is limited to the Israeli state, which is seen as powerful, aggressive and xenophobic—all necessary qualities for the defense of the Caucasian West against “ethno-religious Others.” This admiration does not extend to diaspora Jews, because American and European rightwing revival is also anti-Semitic. This situation makes for strange bedfellows. Most of these rightist ideologues share the Zionist hope that all those diaspora Jews will pack up and leave—for Israel. 

Part II—Making the Identification—the Israeli State

One might raise the objection that this identification of a demonstrably racist Western rightwing movement with the Israeli state is a serious misinterpretation—resulting in a misappropriation of the Israeli flag. Israel just can’t be the fiercely xenophobic place these fanatics think it is. 

Unfortunately, this objection runs counter to the facts. There is abundant evidence the State of Israel is aggressive and xenophobic and, what is more, is willing to ally with the present Western rightwing movements. The flag, of course, comes along for the ride. For instance, in a Washington Post article by Ishaan Tharoor, entitled “Israel strengthens its ties with the West’s Far Right,” the author notes that “Under [Prime Minister] Netanyahu’s watch, Israel has amassed a conspicuous crop of illiberal allies. Some, like [Italy’s Matteo] Salvini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, represent political movements with histories of neofascism and anti-Semitism. Others, like Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, espouse the agenda and rhetoric of would-be strongmen, promising the destruction of their enemies while scoffing at pearl-clutching human rights activists.” 

This has not gone unnoticed among American Zionists such as Jeremy Ben-Ami, president of the Jewish American group 

J Street. Ben-Ami said that “In their zeal to maintain the occupation and reject all criticism of its policies towards the Palestinians, the Israeli Right clearly feels kinship with other ultranationalist leaders who are demonizing ethnic minorities, civil society groups and democratic institutions.”

Finally, one can point out that Prime Minister Netanyahu has hired Aaron Klein as his new campaign manager. Klein is a “former reporter for the right-wing Breitbart News site [and] worked with Steve Bannon on Donald Trump’s first presidential campaign. … Klein also collaborated with Bannon to support disgraced former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of sexually assaulting multiple women. The Yeshiva University graduate wrote articles in Breitbart in an effort to discredit Moore’s accusers.”  All one can say here is like finds like.

Part III—Making the Identification—the Israeli Jews

Yet, one can still raise a doubt. One can say that just because the Israeli government has gained racist allies who support its policies of ethnic cleansing, that does not mean that the majority of Israeli Jews are supportive of this. But again, the evidence is incriminating. After all, Israeli Jews democratically elect their prime minister and Netanyahu is certainly not an unknown politician. He leads the country’s rightwing Likud Party and has run the government since 2009. Obviously, he and his policies are both familiar and acceptable to at least a hefty plurality of Israeli Jews. Perhaps as a result of this fact, few Israelis are making a fuss about the use of their flag by the extremist right. 

Nonetheless, it is important to understand that the present Israeli ethnocentrism and the racist policies it engenders are not new. They do not have their origin with Benjamin Netanyahu’s time in office, or the current generation of Israeli Jewish citizens. The present culture and politics have a deeper origin. It lies with the nation’s founding ideology of Zionism.

Part IV—Zionism Sets the Direction

Let’s take a look at Israel’s founding ideology and the factors that historically shaped it in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

First: Zionism is the ideology that makes the claim that the Jews are a nation and they have the right to their own state. It arose as a predictable consequence of long periods of European (not Middle Eastern, Arab or Muslim) anti-Semitism. It also arose out of a 19th- and 20th-century European political culture wherein the standard organizational arrangement was nation-states, most of which were relatively homogeneous in population.  

Second: As a consequence of this political standard, the Zionist leaders concluded that the answer to the suffering caused by anti-Semitism was the creation of a Jewish state.

As the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann said, the goal was a state “as Jewish as England is English.” By the end of the 19th century, the World Zionist Organization had launched a campaign to convince Europe’s great powers to support the founding of such a state.

Third: The open question was where such a state would be founded. Although, most of the Zionists were not religious, they eventually fixated on Palestine because of its Biblical relationship to the ancient Hebrews. By 1917, in the midst of World War I, Chaim Weizmann managed to recruit British backing for the founding of a “Jewish national home” in Palestine.

Fourth: And “therein lies the rub,” as Hamlet would say. The mass influx of Europeans, in this case Jews, into a well-populated non-European land—according to British Mandate records, there were some 700,000 Arabs living in Palestine—presaged disaster. The fact that these Zionist immigrants sought domination, ultimately a state for one group alone, would inevitably introduce a corrosive racist element into the country. The indigenous population would eventually have to be segregated out and denied resources and rights—a process, which over time, would lead to an apartheid state of affairs. 

The fact that this predictable path discouraged neither the Zionist Jews nor their British patrons tells us that, when Weizmann made his deal with the British, it was done in a time and place operating on the racist assumptions of colonialism. Indeed, it turns out that Israel is the last great disaster of the age of colonialism—an age in which Europeans took their superiority (both physically and religiously) for granted. And, if they lorded over non-Europeans it could only be for the benefit of the latter, as was suggested by Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden.” All of this was shown to be both obsolete and obscene with the coming of the Nazis and World War II.

Fifth: The racist prognosis described above has been realized in Israel. Here is a snapshot of the present situation. B’Tselem, a leading Israeli human-rights organization, has been documenting the violations of human rights in Israel’s Judea and Samaria (more properly known as the occupied Palestinian territories) since 1989. Earlier this month, it issued a position paper announcing that it has decided to call out Israeli policy for what it is—organized, state-sponsored racism. The paper is titled “A Regime of Jewish Supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This Is Apartheid.” The paper makes the case that “what looks like apartheid—which the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court defines as inhumane acts committed under a regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups—ought to be called apartheid.”

Sixth: Present-day Israel came about in a predetermined way flowing from Zionism’s initial assumptions. In the first half of the 20th century, Europe and the United States saw nothing wrong with colonialism and helped the Zionists establish a Jewish national home in Palestine. Then came World War II, and the West’s attitude toward racism changed. Yet, in the shadow of the Holocaust, now stood Israel, whose leaders were convinced more than ever that only an ethnocentric, exclusively Jewish nation-state could guarantee survival. So their original purpose and their original racist practice never has changed.

Part V—Conclusion

The resulting apartheid state has attracted the rising wave of today’s rightist fringe like bears to honey. Whether they are white nationalists, Christian nationalists, or just nationalist thugs in suits, they all sense something laudable in Israel. It is a standard-bearer for their own hopes and dreams. To repeat Ben Lorder’s phrasing, the Zionist state has become “a canvas to project their own fantasies of nationalist chauvinism.” As a consequence, the Israeli flag is no longer just Israel’s. Its symbolism has become broader in an all-too-negative way. That is why it was so avidly displayed at the failed insurrection of January 6. 

Biden Continues US War on Venezuelan Social Democracy

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, March 06, 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).

***

Let’s not mince words.

Biden and hardliners around him are like their predecessors.

They’re hostile toward virtually everything just societies hold dear — notably democracy the way it should be.

The US and West have fantasy versions, the real thing virtually banned.

Established by Hugo Chavez in 1999, continued by Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelans have governance of, by, and for everyone equitably — social democracy.

US policymakers consider it a threat of a good example — why they’ve gone all out to replace it with fascist tyranny short of hot war that remains an ominous possibility.

Since establishment of Venezuelan social democracy, US regimes from the Clinton co-presidency to Obama/Biden, then Trump, and now Biden/Harris aim to return the country to client state status.

They seek control over its vast oil resources, the world’s largest.

In 2013, Obama/Biden killed Chavez. Poisoned or infected with cancer causing substances, four major surgeries in 18 months couldn’t save him.

At the time, William Blum explained that the CIA worked diligently to develop substances that could kill without leaving a trace.”

“I Personally believe that Hugo Chavez was murdered by the United States,” he said.

Coup plots against him and Maduro failed. Other dirty tricks worked no better, including intermittent, US orchestrated, street violence.

Virtually everything US regimes threw at Venezuela to eliminate its model social democracy failed.

Further attempts are virtually certain. The US is hellbent to transform all sovereign independent nations into subservient client states.

It’s likely just a matter of time before another attempted regime change plot surfaces.

At the same time, endless US war by other means continues.

In 2015, Obama/Biden declared Bolivarian social democracy an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (sic).”

On Wednesday, Biden/Harris reaffirmed the above, saying the following:

“(C)ircumstances described in Executive Order 13692 (2015), and subsequent executive orders issued with respect to Venezuela, have not improved (sic), and they continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States (sic).”

“Therefore in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 USC 1622(d), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13692 (sic).”

Bolivarian Venezuela prioritizes peace, stability, and cooperative relations with other countries — threatening no one, surely not the USA, armed and dangerous with nuclear and other super-weapons.

Biden’s new executive order maintains a US state of war by other means on the Bolivarian Republic.

No US national emergency exists with Venezuela or any other countries. No US enemies exist.

So time and again they’re invented by US policymakers to justify what’s unjustifiable under international and US constitutional law.

On March 2, Tony Blinken’s spokesman Ned Price said the following:

His boss spoke with widely despised, usurper-in-waiting, self-declared Venezuelan president with no legitimacy Guaido.

“Blinken stressed the importance of a return to democracy in Venezuela through free and fair elections (sic).”

After Maduro’s PSUV party won an overwhelming legislative majority last December with over two-thirds public support — a landslide triumph — the EU withdrew support for Guaido as (self-declared) interim president (with no legitimacy).

Jimmy Carter called Venezuela’s electoral process “the best in the world” for good reason. Elections when held are scrupulously open, free and fair.

When Maduro was reelected in May 2018, over 150 members of the International Electoral Accompaniment Mission said the following:

“The technical and professional trustworthiness and independence of the National Electoral Council of Venezuela are uncontestable.”

The Council of Electoral Experts of Latin America, one of the observer groups, said “results communicated by the National Electoral Council reflect the will of the voters who decided to participate in the electoral process.”

Similar assessments follow all Bolivarian elections.

They shame US fantasy democracy — a totalitarian police state, masquerading as democratic.

According to Price, Blinken is “increas(ing) multilateral pressure… for a peaceful, democratic transition (sic).”

Longstanding US policy calls for eliminating Bolivarian social democracy, wanting Venezuela transformed into a vassal state under US-installed puppet rule.

The above is how the scourge of US imperialism operates worldwide.

All nations free from its control are targeted for regime change — wars by hot and/or other means its favored strategies.

Illegal sanctions are weapons of war by other means.

Blinken said they’ll remain in place to continue US maximum pressure on the country.

Venezuelan social democracy conflicts with US imperial aims to dominate planet earth, control its resources, and exploit its people everywhere.

As long as Bolivarianism exists, both right wings of the US war party won’t likely cease trying to eliminate it.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

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

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/how-wall-street-fleeces-america/

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

https://www.claritypress.com/product/banker-occupation-waging-financial-war-on-humanity/

Featured image: Protest against U.S. intervention on Venezuela, in front of the White House, Washington DC. (Credit)

They say that great myths die hard

They say that great myths die hard …

February 28, 2021

By The Ister for the Saker Blog

They say that great myths die hard, but as it fades into obscurity will anyone really miss the Saudi state?

Because the Kingdom’s cosmopolitan elite longed to be like the West, they imported European sports cars and erected enormous skyrises using slave labor. Riyadh and Jeddah transformed into shopping centers and hubs of oligarchic largesse while the oil-rich sheiks appeased the conservative populace by sanctioning Wahhabist doctrine, public beatings and beheadings, and other backwards symbolic gestures.

Saudi Arabia is essentially based on this great contradiction: posturing itself as the hardline leader of the Islamic world while aligning with America and carrying out a foreign policy that has killed countless Muslims, a contradiction that exists because it is an artificial construct of imperialism.

In the early 1900s, British spies in the Middle East sought to partition off Ottoman claims in the Arab Peninsula with the help of Arab rebels such as Emir Faisal. These spies who included Edmund Allenby and the famous T E Lawrence led the Arab Revolt of 1916 and successfully revoked Ottoman control of the region.

A little-known fact is that Israel and Saudi Arabia share this same point of origin. In December of 1918 after the success of the Arab Revolt, Lord Walter Rothschild held a banquet for Emir Faisal culminating in the signing of the Faisal-Weizmann agreement, used to demonstrate Arab support for the Balfour Declaration: the document that laid the foundation for the state of Israel. The rebels who had been promised a unified Arab state stretching from Aden to Aleppo had been lied to however, as the leaked Sykes Picot agreement revealed a plot by imperial powers to divide and conquer the Middle East along sectarian lines.

Today the pan-Arab doctrine of the government of Bashar al-Assad is the ideological progenitor of those early rebels who fought to unite the Arab world against the wishes of imperialists. The stoking of the Syrian Civil War was just an extension of century-old divide and conquer tactics, as the West sought to enrage Sunnis against the secular Syrian Arab government for the betterment of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Israel. Recall too that neo-Ottoman Turkey is aware of the imperial history and sees Syria as Ottoman territory lost to the West.

If the Syrian revolution ever had a grassroots base it was in the impoverished Sunni Idlib governorate, where Turkey and Saudi Arabia had for decades financed Salafist mosques and imams with the intention of eventually breaking this region off from Syria. Although the remaining terrorists in Idlib have yet to be defeated, Saudi Arabia’s failure to achieve full regime change in the Syrian Civil War marks its waning power: previously both Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein spoke out in favor of pan-Arabism and denounced the Saudis at the cost of their lives. Unlike the ideological and religious bonds that tie America and Israel, America’s commitment to Saudi Arabia was always strategically contingent and several developments suggest that it is declining.

America has abandoned support for the war in Yemen

The war against the Houthi movement in Yemen has been fought with a threefold strategy: sanctions to starve the Yemeni population, targeted assassinations to kill Shia imams and others tied to the Houthis, and traditional military force by Saudi conscripts. The Kingdom’s force has performed poorly and relied heavily on support from America. In one case in 2019, the Saudis were planning an attack in the disputed town of Najran in retaliation for missile strikes on Riyadh oil facilities. They were baited into a trap and over 2,500 were captured by Houthi forces. In blind retaliation, they struck a Houthi prison in Yemen and killed over 290 of their own prisoners.

It is no surprise in such conditions that morale is low among the Kingdom’s soldiers and that Iran has supported the Houthi side with weapons and intelligence.

Why has America abandoned its ally in the conflict? Simply, we don’t need Saudi oil as much anymore. Shale gas technology completely changed the nature of the global oil and gas industry and broke the Saudi monopoly. Recall my article The Empire is Losing the Energy War. Since then, more confirmation of this thesis has come around as prices have risen – beneficial to Russia, and oil experts have broadly agreed that Russia has won the most recent price war with the Saudis. America’s withdrawal in Yemen is an acknowledgement of their diminishing role and a reason which under Trump’s “Middle East Peace Plan” Saudi Arabia panickedly sought to tie its future not to oil production but to the creation of a joint security bloc against Iran.

Pipeline developments: NordStream 2 and Goreh Jask

By mid-2020, two major new pipelines are expected to be built. The first is the NordStream 2, which will cement Russia’s control of European energy markets. Washington is moving in slow motion to try and stop this pipeline but it is basically already done. Only 100 miles of pipe remain and the Biden admin’s early smackdown of the American energy industry with the Keystone XL cancellation means that there will not be enough American gas to provide an alternative to Russia. The German public retains a dislike for Russia but the industrialists have pushed ahead regardless.

NordStream 2 serves two other geopolitical purposes. First, Ukraine will be deprived of $1-2 billion of energy transit revenue, a big deal for a country with a $150 billion GDP. This also lowers NATO’s interest in Ukraine, which will suddenly have less of an ability to bottleneck Russian energy shipments to Europe. Second, the pipeline also reduces Russia’s exposure to Turkey as an energy transit and will allow Russia to be more “gloves off” in northern Syria without risking economic retaliation.

Iran’s Goreh Jask pipeline is expected to be completed by June 2021, and the development will improve the country’s energy situation by limiting its reliance on the Strait of Hormuz and opening up Southeast Asian markets to Iranian oil. In addition to promoting economic ties with the rest of Asia the move also allows Iran to potentially shut off the Strait of Hormuz in a crisis situation, a hypothetical move which never made sense in the past given that it would kill its own energy exports. Naturally, sanctions have been applied to the project but this has simply been used as an opportunity to develop domestic industrial capacity: over 95% of the parts for the Goreh Jask pipeline have been sourced domestically.

Iran is increasing its influence in Iraq and Syria

The increased Iranian influence on Iraq suggests that supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein may have been a miscalculation by the Western bloc. The government of Hussein was aggressive on Iran-Iraq border issues and had a large and powerful military. With Iraq’s expensive military infrastructure largely destroyed and a diminished American presence, Iran has grown its soft power both through religious and economic outreach.

In southeastern Iraq, Iran is massively expanding and developing Shia shrines at sites like Kerbala as a method of promoting its influence. Some of these developments are enormous, for example the $600 million expansion of the Imam Hussein shrine, which was mostly constructed with Iranian funds and parts. These developments also give economic opportunity to both Shia and Sunni Iraqis who are paid to work in construction and benefit from increased tourism. Conducting business in eastern Iraq also gives Iran an opportunity to transact in a region unaffected by sanctions.

Political power is another way that Iran has expanded its reach. The prime minister of Iraq is aligned with the Saudis and Americans but outnumbered in parliament by pro-Iranian MPs, and has been able to do little to diminish the Iranian presence.

As far as Syria, the Iranian angle must be considered. In July of 2015, Quds force General Qasem Soleimani visited Moscow to work out the details of the Russian intervention with Vladimir Putin. Although Moscow denies this likely to maintain good relations with Israel, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah recently stated that it was Soleimani that convinced Putin to enter the conflict. What was exchanged during that conversation in July of 2015? It is impossible to know but it can be reasonably assumed based on how things unfolded that the Russian intervention was largely a cover for Iranian movement into Syria.

The majority of the leg work performed in the Syrian Civil War was done by Syrians and Iranians. While Russia provided crucial air support and logistics, the on-the-ground troop counts have remained small. What Russian intervention did however was to provide the stamp of legitimacy of a powerful, nuclear armed nation to the Syrian/Iranian side, to prevent any major invasion, and to quickly soften the tones on the Assad government. By clearing ISIS out of central Syria, Iran has now created a contiguous path through Syria and Lebanon and upheld its Syrian ally at the expense of the Saudis.

Pakistan is drifting to Iran

In recent history Pakistan has been heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia, in part due to a Sunni majority and a large amount of outstanding loans financed by the Kingdom. As Sheikh Imran Hosein put it unflatteringly, Pakistan has served as “a shoeshine boy for the Saudis.” Several wedges are growing between this strong historical relationship.

First, Pakistan is warming to its neighbor Iran and the new prime minister of Pakistan has accelerated ties with its western neighbor in many areas. One is the accelerated development of a massive Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad railway which highlights an emerging challenge to Saudi supremacy: the nascent Turkey/Iran/Malaysia/Qatar bloc in the Muslim world could potentially expand to include Pakistan. Keeping Pakistan away from Iran has long been an intention of the Saudis, who sought to fuel tensions with their neighbor by financing anti-Shia terrorism in Pakistan in the 80s and 90s. Nevertheless, the two countries seem to be getting over it and the populations of both nations rate each other positively in opinion polling.

Another sign of nervousness in the West about Pakistan-Iranian integration is the failed attempt to stop the construction of the new Iran-Pakistan oil pipeline with threats of sanctions. This will further pull Pakistan into the Iranian orbit.

A new major straining factor on the relationship with Saudi Arabia is Riyadh’s unwillingness to defend Pakistan’s claims to the disputed Kashmir border region. Pakistan has hoped that the Kingdom would defend its claim, but Saudi Arabia has been unwilling to do so.

Finally, there is the issue of Israel. Saudi Arabia would like to recognize Israel as soon as possible but doing so would cause massive protests in Pakistan and ruin the Saudi reputation there. Therefore it is trying to pressure Pakistan to first recognize Israel, something which would be unpopular and put the Pakistani government in a precarious situation domestically.

The Saudis are losing their status as the head of the Muslim world

Consider the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan’s recent comments while promoting the D-8 organization of Islamic nations:

“Countries like Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and China have the potential to form a new alliance for better future of the region”

None of this economic integration would be occurring if not for the US sanctions policy. The impact of sanctions has been to lay the groundwork for creation of a “Zone B” which circumvents the Empire entirely. A model that replaces proxy wars, regime change, and terrorist funding with peaceful economic integration and diplomacy. If Iran had full access to international markets it would have been content to sell its exports to the highest bidder and would not be forced to expand its influence regionally as it is currently doing.

What does this emerging “Zone B” look like? Well, let’s start with the Muslim countries labeled an “Axis of Evil” by George Bush and John Bolton:

Syria, Iraq, Iran. And of course we can add in Lebanon, Yemen, and Palestine right off the bat to this anti-imperial bloc. The growing ties between Sunni Pakistan, heterogeneous Syria, and Shia Iran foreshadow a geographically contiguous model of peaceful relations between Islamic nations untainted by the Takifirism of Saudi Arabia, with Syria and Lebanon serving as a tolerant bridge between the Sunni and Shia regions of the Arab world.

This bloc could then be combined with the D-8 Muslim countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. D-8 alone represents one billion people and over 60% of the Islamic world. Iran, as a major advocate of inter-Islamic integration through organizations such as D-8 would be the lynchpin connecting the resistance nations of the Arab world with the larger emerging Islamic economies in a new trade network to bypass sanctions. (It is worth adding that all D-8 nations other than Turkey supported Syria’s side against Saudi in the civil war, so such an alliance is not much of a stretch by any means.)

Add in China, Russia, Mongolia, Myanmar, and the ‘stans and this new Asian empire would come to span a lion’s share of the planet’s population, GDP, energy resources, and habitable surface area. Moscow and Berlin would emerge as gates between East and West while the sprawling trading network of China would provide an alternative to the overregulated and strings-attached commerce and financing available in the West. China has already replaced America as the major trading partner for most nations.

Though there are other concurrent factors at play, the state of Saudi Arabia which once served as the lynchpin for dividing the Islamic world is diminishing, as Eurasian integration progresses naturally. No color revolutions or regime change are required for this process to continue because:

Zone A’s claims to upholding human rights and other civil liberties increasingly appear like a bad joke: undermined by lockdowns, tech censorship, and politically correct speech codes

Zone B is working past historic rivalries in the pursuit of development while Zone A embraces legally enshrined racism and creates complex taxonomies of privilege to delineate tiers of citizenship

Zone B’s population is growing while Zone A’s is declining

Zone B’s share of global wealth is growing while Zone A’s is declining

Zone B has a burgeoning middle class while Zone A’s middle class is disappearing

Zone B is doing away with extreme politics while Zone A is swept by cultural revolution


The Ister is a researcher of financial markets and geopolitics. Author of The Ister: Escape America

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: