Compilation – Amerika: who we are!

Are You sure about that Joe?

MILITARY AND POLITICAL TRENDS OF 2020 THAT WILL SHAPE 2021

South Front

2020 was a year full of surprises. It marked the advent of a new reality which may, with an equal probability, lead humanity to a new dark age or to a global digital dystopia. In this context, there is little room for a positive scenario of sustainable development that would benefit people in general, as opposed to just a group of select individuals and special interest groups. The heft of shifts in 2020 is comparable to what European citizens felt on the eve of another change of the socio-economic formation in the early 17th  and 20th centuries.

The past year began with the assassination of the Iranian military genius General Qasem Soleimani by the United States, and it ended with the murder of the prominent scholar Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by the Israelis.

Iran's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated near Tehran -  YouTube

In early January, Iran, expecting another aggressive action from the West, accidently shot down a Ukrainian civil aircraft that had inexplicably altered its course over Tehran without request nor authorization. Around the same time, Turkey confirmed the deployment of its military in Libya, beginning a new phase of confrontation in the region, and Egypt responding with airstrikes and additional shows of force. The situation in Yemen developed rapidly: taking advantage of the Sunni coalition’s moral weakness, Ansar Allah achieved significant progress in forcing the Saudis out of the country in many regions. The state of warfare in northwestern Syria has significantly changed, transforming into the formal delineation of zones of influence of Turkey and the Russian-Iranian-Syrian coalition. This happened amid, and largely due to the weakening of U.S. influence in the region. Ankara is steadily increasing its military presence in the areas under its responsibility and along the contact line. It has taken measures to deter groups linked to Al-Qaeda and other radicals. As a result, the situation in the region is stabilizing, which has allowed Turkey to increasingly exert control over most of Greater Idlib.

ISIS cells remain active in the eastern and southern Syrian regions. Particular processes are taking place in Quneitra and Daraa provinces, where Russian peace initiatives were inconclusive by virtue of the direct destructive influence of Israel in these areas of Syria. In turn, the assassination of Qasem Soleimaniin resulted in a sharp increase in the targeting of American personnel, military and civil infrastructure in Iraq. The U.S. Army was forced to regroup its forces, effectively abandoning a number of its military installations and concentrating available forces at key bases. At the same time, Washington flatly rejected demands from Baghdad for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops and promised to respond with full-fledged sanctions if Iraq continued to raise this issue. Afghanistan remains stable in its instability. Disturbing news comes from Latin America. Confrontation between China and India flared this year, resulting in sporadic border clashes. This situation seems far from over, as both countries have reinforced their military posture along the disputed border. The aggressive actions of the Trump administration against China deepen global crises, which has become obvious not only to specialists but also to the general public. The relationship between the collective West and the Russian Federation was re-enshrined in “the Cold War state”, which seems to have been resurrected once again.

The turbulence of the first quarter of 2020 was overshadowed by a new socio-political process – the corona-crisis, the framework of which integrates various phenomena from the Sars-Cov2 epidemic itself and the subsequent exacerbation of the global economic crisis.  The disclosure of substantial social differences that have accumulated in modern capitalist society, lead to a series of incessant protests across the globe. The year 2020 was accompanied by fierce clashes between protesters professing various causes and law enforcement forces in numerous countries. Although on the surface these societal clashes with the state appear disassociated, many share related root causes. A growing, immense wealth inequality, corruption of government at all levels, a lack of any meaningful input into political decision making, and the unmasking of massive censorship via big tech corporations and the main stream media all played a part in igniting societal unrest.

In late 2019 and early 2020 there was little reason for optimistic projections for the near future. However, hardly anyone could anticipate the number of crisis events and developments that had taken place during this year. These phenomena affected every region of the world to some extent.

Nevertheless, Middle East has remained the main source of instability, due to being an arena where global and regional power interests intertwine and clash. The most important line of confrontation is between US and Israel-led forces on the one hand, and Iran and its so called Axis of Resistance. The opposing sides have been locked in an endless spiral of mutual accusations, sanctions, military incidents, and proxy wars, and recently even crossed the threshold into a limited exchange of strikes due to the worsening state of regional confrontation. Russia and Turkey, the latter of which has been distancing itself from Washington due to growing disagreements with “NATO partners” and changes in global trends, also play an important role in the region without directly entering into the confrontation between pro-Israel forces and Iran.

As in the recent years, Syria and Iraq remain the greatest hot-spots. The destruction of ISIS as a terrorist state and the apparent killing of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not end its existence as a terror group. Many ISIS cells and supporting elements actively use regional instability as a chance to preserve the Khalifate’s legacy. They remain active mainly along the Syria-Iraq border, and along the eastern bank of the Euphrates in Syria. Camps for the temporary displaced and for the families and relatives of ISIS militants on the territory controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in north-eastern Syria are also breeding grounds for terrorist ideology. Remarkably, these regions are also where there is direct presence of US forces, or, as in the case of SDF camps, presence of forces supported by the US.

The fertile soil for radicalism also consists of the inability to reach a comprehensive diplomatic solution that would end the Syrian conflict in a way acceptable to all parties. Washington is not interesting in stabilizing Syria because even should Assad leave, it would strengthen the Damascus government that would naturally be allied to Russia and Iran. Opposing Iran and supporting Israel became the cornerstone of US policy during the Trump administration. Consequently, Washington is supporting separatist sentiments of the Kurdish SDF leadership and even allowed it to participate in the plunder of Syrian oil wells in US coalition zone of control in which US firms linked to the Pentagon and US intelligence services are participating. US intelligence also aids Israel in its information and psychological warfare operations, as well as military strikes aimed at undermining Syria and Iranian forces located in the country. In spite of propaganda victories, in practice Israeli efforts had limited success in 2020 as Iran continued to strengthen its positions and military capabilities on its ally’s territory. Iran’s success in establishing and supporting a land corridor linking Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Iraq, plays an important role. Constant expansion of Iran’s military presence and infrastructure near the town of al-Bukamal, on the border of Iraq and Syria, demonstrates the importance of the project to Tehran. Tel-Aviv claims that Iran is using that corridor to equip pro-Iranian forces in southern Syria and Lebanon with modern weapons.

The Palestinian question is also an important one for Israel’s leadership and its lobby in Washington. The highly touted “deal of the century” turned out to be no more than an offer for the Palestinians to abandon their struggle for statehood. As expected, this initiative did not lead to a breakthrough in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Rather the opposite, it gave an additional stimulus to Palestinian resistance to the demands that were being imposed. At the same time, Trump administration scored a diplomatic success by forcing the UAE and Bahrain to normalize their relations with Israel, and Saudi Arabia to make its collaboration with Israel public. That was a historic victory for US-Israel policy in the Middle East. Public rapprochement of Arab monarchies and Israel strengthened the positions of Iran as the only country which not only declares itself as Palestine’s and Islamic world’s defender, but actually puts words into practice. Saudi Arabia’s leadership will particularly suffer in terms of loss of popularity among its own population, already damaged by the failed war in Yemen and intensifying confrontation with UAE, both of which are already using their neighbor’s weakness to lay a claim to leadership on the Arabian Peninsula.

The list of actors strengthening their positions in the Red Sea includes Russia. In late 2020 it became known that Russia reached an agreement with Sudan on establishing a naval support facility which has every possibility to become a full-blown naval base. This foothold will enable the Russian Navy to increase its presence on key maritime energy supply routes on the Red Sea itself  and in the area between Aden and Oman straits. For Russia, which has not had naval infrastructure in that region since USSR’s break-up, it is a significant diplomatic breakthrough. For its part. Sudan’s leadership apparently views Russia’s military presence as a security factor allowing it to balance potential harmful measures by the West.

During all of 2020, Moscow and Beijing continued collaboration on projects in Africa, gradually pushing out traditional post-colonial powers in several key areas. The presence of Russian military specialists in the Central African Republic where they assist the central government in strengthening its forces, escalation of local conflicts, and ensuring the security of Russian economic sectors, is now a universally known fact. Russian diplomacy and specialists are also active in Libya, where UAE and Egypt which support Field Marshal Khaftar, and Turkey which supports the Tripoli government, are clashing. Under the cover of declarations calling for peace and stability, foreign actors are busily carving up Libya’s energy resources. For Egypt there’s also the crucial matter of fighting terrorism and the presence of groups affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood which Cairo sees as a direct threat to national security.

The Sahel and the vicinity of Lake Chad remain areas where terror groups with links to al-Qaeda and ISIS remain highly active. France’s limited military mission in the Sahara-Sahel region has been failure and could not ensure sufficient support for regional forces in order to stabilize the situation. ISIS and Boko-Haram continue to spread chaos in the border areas between Niger, Nigeria, Cameroun, and Chad. In spite of all the efforts by the region’s governments, terrorists continue to control sizable territories and represent a significant threat to regional security. The renewed conflict in Ethiopia is a separate problem, in which the federal government was drawn into a civil war against the National Front for the Liberation of Tigray controlling that province. The ethno-feudal conflict between federal and regional elites threatens to destabilize the entire country if it continues.

The explosive situation in Africa shows that post-colonial European powers and the “Global Policeman” which dominated that continent for decades were not interested in addressing the continent’s actual problem. Foreign actors were mainly focused on extracting resources and ensuring the interests of a narrow group of politicians and entities affiliated with foreign capitals. Now they are forced to compete with the informal China-Russia bloc which will use a different approach that may be a described as follows: Strengthening of regional stability to protect investments in economic projects. Thus it is no surprise that influential actors are gradually losing to new but more constructive forces.

Tensions within European countries have been on the rise during the past several years, due to both the crisis of the contemporary economic paradigm and to specific regional problems such as the migration crises and the failure of multiculturalism policies, with subsequent radicalization of society.

Unpleasant surprises included several countries’ health care and social protection networks’ inability to cope with the large number of COVID-19 patients. Entire systems of governance in a number of European countries proved incapable of coping with rapidly developing crises. This is true particularly for countries of southern Europe, such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Greece. Among eastern European countries, Hungary’s and Romania’s economies were particularly badly affected. At the same time, Poland’s state institutions and economy showed considerable resilience in the face of crisis. While the Federal Republic of Germany suffered considerable economic damage in the second quarter of 2020, Merkel’s government used the situation to inject huge sums of liquidity into the economy, enhanced Germany’s position within Europe, and moreover Germany’s health care and social protection institutions proved capable and sufficiently resilient.

Coronavirus and subsequent social developments led to the emergence of the so-called “Macron Doctrine” which amounts to an argument that EU must obtain strategic sovereignty. This is consistent with the aims of a significant portion of German national elites. Nevertheless, Berlin officially criticized Macron’s statements and has shown willingness to enter into a strategic partnership with Biden Administration’s United States as a junior partner. However, even FRG’s current leadership understands the dangers of lack of strategic sovereignty in an era of America’s decline as the world policeman. Against the backdrop of a global economic crisis, US-EU relations are ineluctably drifting from a state of partnership to one of competition or even rivalry. In general, the first half of 2020 demonstrated the vital necessity of further development of European institutions.

The second half of 2020 was marked by fierce mass protests in Germany, France, Great Britain, and other European countries. The level of violence employed by both the protesters and law enforcement was unprecedented and is not comparable to the level of violence seen during protests in Russia, Belarus, and even Kirgizstan. Mainstream media did their best to depreciate and conceal the scale of what was happening. If the situation continues to develop in the same vein, there is every chance that in the future, a reality that can be described as a digital concentration camp may form in Europe.

World media, for its part, paid particular attention to the situation in Belarus, where protests have entered their fourth month following the August 9, 2020 presidential elections. Belarusian protests have been characterized by their direction from outside the country and choreographed nature. The command center of protest activities is officially located in Poland. This fact is in and of itself unprecedented in Europe’s contemporary history. Even during Ukraine’s Euromaidan, external forces formally refused to act as puppetmasters.

Belarus’ genuinely existing socio-economic problems have led to a rift within society that is now divided into two irreconcilable camps: proponents of reforms vs. adherents of the current government. Law enforcement forces which are recruited from among President Lukashenko’s supporters, have acted forcefully and occasionally harshly. Still, the number of casualties is far lower than, for example, in protests in France or United States.

Ukraine itself, where Western-backed “democratic forces” have already won, remains the main point of instability in Eastern Europe. The Zelenskiy administration came to power under slogans about the need to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine and rebuild the country. In practice, the new government continued to pursue the policy aimed at maintaining military tension in the region in the interests of its external sponsors and personal enrichment.

For the United States, 2020 turned out to be a watershed year for both domestic and foreign policy. Events of this year were a reflection of Trump Administration’s protectionist foreign policy and a national-oriented approach in domestic and economic policy, which ensured an intense clash with the majority of Washington Establishment acting in the interests of global capital.

In addition to the unresolved traditional problems, America’s problems were made worse by two crises, COVID-19 spread and BLM movement protests. They ensured America’s problems reached a state of critical mass.

One can and should have a critical attitude toward President Trump’s actions, but one should not doubt the sincerity of his efforts to turn the slogan Make America Great Again into reality. One should likewise not doubt that his successor will adhere to other values. Whether it’s Black Lives Matter or Make Global Moneymen Even Stronger, or Russia Must Be Destroyed, or something even more exotic, it will not change the fact America we’ve known in the last half century died in 2020. A telling sign of its death throes is the use of “orange revolution” technologies developed against inconvenient political regimes. This demonstrated that currently the United States is ruled not by national elites but by global investors to whom the interests of ordinary Americans are alien.

This puts the terrifying consequences of COVID-19 in a new light. The disease has struck the most vulnerable layers of US society. According to official statistics, United States has had about 20 million cases and over 330,000 deaths. The vast majority are low-income inhabitants of mega-cities. At the same time, the wealthiest Americans have greatly increased their wealth by exploiting the unfolding crisis for their own personal benefit. The level of polarization of US society has assumed frightening proportions. Conservatives against liberals, blacks against whites, LGBT against traditionalists, everything that used to be within the realm of public debate and peaceful protest has devolved into direct, often violent, clashes. One can observe unprecedented levels of aggression and violence from all sides.

In foreign policy, United States continued to undermine the international security system based on international treaties. There are now signs that one of the last legal bastions of international security, the New START treaty, is under attack. US international behavior has prompted criticism from NATO allies. There are growing differences of opinion on political matters with France and economic ones with Germany. The dialogue with Eastern Mediterranean’s most powerful military actor Turkey periodically showed a sharp clash of interests.

Against that backdrop, United States spent 2020 continuously increasing its military presence in Eastern Europe and the Black Sea basin. Additional US forces and assets were deployed in direct proximity to Russia’s borders. The number of offensive military exercises under US leadership or with US participation has considerably increased.

In the Arctic, the United States is acting as a spoiler, unhappy with the current state of affairs. It aims to extend its control over natural resources in the region, establish permanent presence in other countries’ exclusive economic zones (EEZ) through the use of the so-called “freedom of navigation operations” (FONOPs), and continue to encircle Russia with ballistic missile defense (BMD) sites and platforms.

In view of the urgent and evident US preparations to be able to fight and prevail in a war against a nuclear adversary, by defeating the adversary’s nuclear arsenal through the combination of precision non-nuclear strikes, Arctic becomes a key region in this military planning. The 2020 sortie by a force of US Navy BMD-capable AEGIS destroyers into the Barents Sea, the first such mission since the end of the Cold War over two decades ago, shows the interest United States has in projecting BMD capabilities into regions north of Russia’s coastline, where they might be able to effect boost-phase interceptions of Russian ballistic missiles that would be launched in retaliatory strikes against the United States. US operational planning for the Arctic in all likelihood resembles that for South China Sea, with only a few corrections for climate.

In Latin America, the year of 2020 was marked by the intensification of Washington efforts aimed at undermining the political regimes that it considered to be in the opposition to the existing world order.

Venezuela remained one of the main points of the US foreign policy agenda. During the entire year, the government of Nicolas Maduro was experiencing an increasing sanction, political and clandestine pressure. In May, Venezuelan security forces even neutralized a group of US mercenaries that sneaked into the country to stage the coup in the interests of the Washington-controlled opposition and its public leader Juan Guaido. However, despite the recognition of Guaido as the president of Venezuela by the US and its allies, regime-change attempts, and the deep economic crisis, the Maduro government survived.

This case demonstrated that the decisive leadership together having the support of a notable part of the population and working links with alternative global centers of power could allow any country to resist to globalists’ attacks. The US leadership itself claims that instead of surrendering, Venezuela turned itself into a foothold of its geopolitical opponents: China, Russia, Iran and even Hezbollah. While this evaluation of the current situation in Venezuela is at least partly a propaganda exaggeration to demonize the ‘anti-democratic regime’ of Maduro, it highlights parts of the really existing situation.

The turbulence in Bolivia ended in a similar manner, when the right wing government that gained power as a result of the coup in 2019 demonstrated its inability to rule the country and lost power in 2020. The expelled president, Evo Morales, returned to the country and the Movement for Socialism secured their dominant position in Bolivia thanks to the wide-scale support from the indigenous population. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that these developments in Venezuela and Bolivia would allow to reverse the general trend towards the destabilization in South America.

The regional economic and social turbulence is strengthened by the high level of organized crime and the developing global crisis that sharpened the existing contradictions among key global and regional players. This creates conditions for the intensification of existing conflicts. For example, the peace process between the FARC and the federal government is on the brink of the collapse in Colombia. Local sources and media accuse the government and affiliated militias of detentions and killings of leaders of local communities and former FARC members in violation of the existing peace agreement. This violence undermine the fragile peace process and sets conditions for the resumption of the armed struggle by FARC and its supporters. Mexico remains the hub for illegal migration, drug and weapon trafficking just on the border with the United States. Large parts of the country are in the state of chaos and are in fact controlled by violent drug cartels and their mercenaries. Brazil is in the permanent state of political and economic crisis amid the rise of street crime.

These negative tendencies affect almost all states of the region. The deepening global economic crisis and the coronavirus panic add oil to the flame of instability.

Countries of South America are not the only one suffering from the crisis. It also shapes relations between global powers. Outcomes of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the global economic crisis contributed to the hardening of the standoff between the United States and China.

Washington and Beijing have insoluble contradictions. The main of them is that China has been slowly but steadily winning the race for the economic and technological dominance simultaneously boosting own military capabilities to defend the victory in the case of a military escalation. The sanction, tariff and diplomatic pressure campaign launched by the White House on China since the very start of the Trump Presidency is a result of the understanding of these contradictions by the Trump administration and its efforts to guarantee the leading US position in the face of the global economic recession. The US posture towards the South China Sea issues, the political situation in Hong Kong, human rights issues in Xinjiang, the unprecedented weapon sales to Taiwan, the support of the militarization of Japan and many other questions is a part of the ongoing standoff. Summing up, Washington has been seeking to isolate China through a network of local military alliances and contain its economic expansion through sanction, propaganda and clandestine operations.

The contradictions between Beijing and Washington regarding North Korea and its nuclear and ballistic missile programs are a part of the same chain of events. Despite the public rhetoric, the United States is not interested in the full settlement of the Korea conflict. Such a scenario that may include the reunion of the North and South will remove the formal justification of the US military buildup. This is why the White House opted to not fulfill its part of the deal with the North once again assuring the North Korean leadership that its decision to develop its nuclear and missile programs and further.

Statements of Chinese diplomats and top official demonstrate that Beijing fully understands the position of Washington. At the same time, China has proven that it is not going to abandon its policies aimed at gaining the position of the main leading power in the post-unipolar world. Therefore, the conflict between the sides will continue escalating in the coming years regardless the administration in the White House and the composition of the Senate and Congress. Joe Biden and forces behind his rigged victory in the presidential election will likely turn back from Trump’s national-oriented economic policy and ‘normalize’ relations with China once again reconsidering Russia as Enemy #1. This will not help to remove the insoluble contradictions with China and reverse the trend towards the confrontation. However, the Biden administration with help from mainstream media will likely succeed in hiding this fact from the public by fueling the time-honored anti-Russian hysteria.

As to Russia itself, it ended the year of 2020 in its ordinary manner for the recent years: successful and relatively successful foreign policy actions amid the complicated economic, social and political situation inside the country. The sanction pressure, coronavirus-related restrictions and the global economic crisis slowed down the Russian economy and contributed to the dissatisfaction of the population with internal economic and social policies of the government. The crisis was also used by external actors that carried out a series of provocations and propaganda campaigns aimed at undermining the stability in the country ahead of the legislative election scheduled for September 2021. The trend on the increase of sanction pressure, including tapering large infrastructure projects like the Nord Stream 2, and expansion of public and clandestine destabilization efforts inside Russia was visible during the entire year and will likely increase in 2021. In the event of success, these efforts will not only reverse Russian foreign policy achievements of the previous years, but could also put in danger the existence of the Russian statehood in the current format.

Among the important foreign policy developments of 2020 underreported by mainstream media is the agreement on the creation of a Russian naval facility on the coast of the Red Sea in Sudan. If this project is fully implemented, this will contribute to the rapid growth of Russian influence in Africa. Russian naval forces will also be able to increase their presence in the Red Sea and in the area between the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Both of these areas are the core of the current maritime energy supply routes. The new base will also serve as a foothold of Russia in the case of a standoff with naval forces of NATO member states that actively use their military infrastructure in Djibouti to project power in the region. It is expected that the United States (regardless of the administration in the White House) will try to prevent the Russian expansion in the region at any cost. For an active foreign policy of Russia, the creation of the naval facility in Sudan surpasses all public and clandestine actions in Libya in recent years. From the point of view of protecting Russian national interests in the Global Oceans, this step is even more important than the creation of the permanent air and naval bases in Syria.

As well as its counterparts in Washington and Beijing, Moscow contributes notable efforts to the modernization of its military capabilities, with special attention to the strategic nuclear forces and hypersonic weapons. The Russians see their ability to inflict unacceptable damage on a potential enemy among the key factors preventing a full-scale military aggression against them from NATO. The United Sates, China and Russia are in fact now involved in the hypersonic weapon race that also includes the development of means and measures to counter a potential strike with hypersonic weapons.

The new war in Nagorno-Karabakh became an important factor shaping the balance of power in the South Caucasus. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc achieved a sweeping victory over Armenian forces and only the involvement of the Russian diplomacy the further deployment of the peacekeepers allowed to put an end to the violence and rescue the vestiges of the self-proclaimed Armenian Republic of Artsakh. Russia successfully played a role of mediator and officially established a military presence on the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan for the next 5 years. The new Karabakh war also gave an additional impulse in the Turkish-Azerbaijani economic and military cooperation, while the pro-Western regime in Armenia that expectedly led the Armenian nation to the tragedy is balancing on the brink of collapse.

The Central Asia traditionally remained one of the areas of instability around the world with the permanent threat of militancy and humanitarian crisis. Nonetheless, despite forecasts of some analysis, the year of 2020 did not become the year of the creation of ISIS’ Caliphate 2.0 in the region. An important role in preventing this was played by the Taliban that additionally to securing its military victories over the US-led coalition and the US-backed Kabul government, was fiercely fighting ISIS cells appearing in Afghanistan. The Taliban, which controls a large part of Afghanistan, was also legalized on the international scene by direct talks with the United States. The role of the Taliban will grow and further with the reduction of the US military presence.

While some media already branded the year of 2020 as one of the worst in the modern history, there are no indications that the year of 2021 will be any brighter or the global crises and regional instability will magically disappear by themselves. Instead, most likely 2020 was just a prelude for the upcoming global shocks and the acute standoff for markets and resources in the environment of censorship, legalized total surveillance, violations of human rights under ‘democratic’ and ‘social’ slogans’ and proxy wars.

The instability in Europe will likely be fueled by the increasing cultural-civilizational conflict and the new wave of newcomers that have acute ideological and cultural differences with the European civilization. The influx of newcomers is expected due to demographic factors and the complicated security, social situation in the Middle East and Africa. Europe will likely try to deal with the influx of newcomers by introducing new movement and border restrictions under the brand of fighting coronavirus. Nonetheless, the expected growth of the migration pressure will likely contribute to the negative tendencies that could blow up Europe from inside.

The collapse of the international security system, including key treaties limiting the development and deployment of strategic weapons, indicates that the new detente on the global scene will remain an improbable scenario. Instead, the world will likely move further towards the escalation scenario as at least a part of the current global leadership considers a large war a useful tool to overcome the economic crisis and capture new markets. Russia, with its large territories, rich resources, a relatively low population, seems to be a worthwhile target. At the same time, China will likely exploit the escalating conflict between Moscow and the US-led bloc to even further increase its global positions. In these conditions, many will depend on the new global order and main alliances within it that are appearing from the collapsing unipolar system. The United States has already lost its unconditional dominant role on the international scene, but the so-called multipolar world order has not appeared yet. The format of this new multipolar world will likely have a critical impact on the further developments around the globe and positions of key players involved in the never-ending Big Game.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية

ناصر قنديل

Photo of المضاربون وحدهم استفادوا
من الأرجوحة الحكوميّة

البحث في شخصية القائد الشهيد قاسم سليماني والمكانة التي احتلها في المقاومة التي خاضتها شعوب ودول المنطقة في مواجهة مشروع الهيمنة الأميركية من فلسطين الى لبنان وسورية والعراق واليمن وباكستان وأفغانتسان، لا بد أن يوصلنا إلى اكتشاف حقيقة أولى تتصل بكونه قد نجح دون تكليف رسمي أو قرار سياسي في الانتقال داخل وجدان حركات المقاومة من قائد إيراني يتولى تنسيق العلاقة بين قوى المقاومة والجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، ويرعى حاجات هذه المقاومات المختلفة ويتابع معاركها كحليف صادق وصديق، إلى أن يصبح بالنسبة لكل من هذه الحركات والحكومات المعنية بمواجهة الهيمنة الأميركية، كأخ كبير ينتمي لكل من هذه الحركات والحكومات على حدة، بداية بصفة المستشار الخبير والحريص ولاحقا بصفته شريكا في القيادة التي تحمّل فيها خلال المعارك الميدانية مسؤوليات جسامًا وتعرض فيها لمخاطر كبيرة، سواء حيث تجسدت هذه الهيمنة بنسختها العدوانية التي يمثلها كيان الاحتلال، أو بنسختها التي يمثلها الاستبداد الخليجي، أو بنسختها التي تمثلها قوى الإرهاب التكفيري، أو بما جسده الاحتلال الأميركي المباشر.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية | ناصر قنديل

مع هذا التسلسل الزمني والخط البياني الذي رسمته مسيرة القائد سليماني، صار التنسيق بين حركات وقوى المقاومة متجسدا عمليا بوجود رئيس أركان لجيوش وقوى المقاومة مجمع عليه دون تكليف أو تعيين أو قرار، فقد صار سليماني العارف بظروف ومقدرات كل جبهة وخصوصياتها هو المؤهل ضمنا وبصورة فريدة وسلسة لتولي مهمة لم تنل صفة أو توصيفا، لكنها كانت عمليا رئاسة أركان جيوش وحركات تمسك بالكثير من نقاط القوة في المنطقة، وشكلت هذه الوضعية التمهيد الطبيعي لوجود محور مقاومة يتكامل ويتساند في الميدان قبل تظهيره كمحور، كان معلوما ان القائد سليماني هو رئيس أركان قواته .

لم يكن القائد سليماني بحاجة لصياغة نظرية عن أن القتال ضد الاحتلال في فلسطين وجنوب لبنان والتصدي للعدوان الرجعي الخليجي على اليمن ومواجهة المشروع التكفيري الإرهابي في العراق وسورية ولبنان والنضال لإزالة الاحتلال الأميركي عن أرض العراق وسورية، هي مجموعة معارك في حرب واحدة، وأن الرابط الأعمق بين الذين يقاتلون على كل هذه الجبهات يجب أن يكون إيمانهم بمكانة فلسطين والقدس في قلب مشروعهم الإستراتيجي، كي يستقيم قتالهم نحو الهدف المباشر الذي يتولون السعي إليه، لأن كل شيء يجري في المنطقة يرتبط عضويا بمصير هذا الكيان الغاصب لفلسطين، والقتال لإنهاء هذا الكيان هو ما يجد فيه القائد سليماني ترجمة مهنية عسكرية لتسمية القوة التي يقودها بفيلق القدس في الحرس الثوري الإسلامي.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية | ناصر قنديل

تاريخيا تبلغ الثورات مراحل نضجها التاريخي، وتثبت أهليتها للاستمرار كقوة دفع تاريخية، بعد أن يتثبت مركزها الجغرافي في قلب صناعة الأحداث، وتمتلك مشروعا تاريخيا وقيادة تاريخية، بأن تصنع رموزها الذين ترسم سيرتهم للشعوب والحركات النضالية مثالا وقدوة، ويتحولون الى ايقونات تجمع النظرية والممارسة، وتترجم بأعلى حالات التضحية مفهوم الثورة، فالإسلام كمحرك ثوري كرس رمزيته الثورية المستمرة بنموذج الإمام الحسين عليه السلام، وقبله وجدت المسيحية نموذجها النضالي المضحي في السيد المسيح عليه السلام. ومن يقرأ تاريخ الحركات التي استوحت من المسيحية والإسلام منهاجها الثوري سيجد لتجربة كل من السيد المسيح والإمام الحسين عليهما السلام مكانة خاصة، وسيجد لظروف عذاباتهما وتضحياتهما وبطولاتهما مكانة أشد خصوصية.

في تجربة اليسار العالمي يتميز اسم تشي غيفارا ويسطع كرمز للثورية والتضحية والنضال، خصوصا للبعد العابر للقوميات والوطنيات الذي جسده غيفارا ولظروف استشهاده على يد العدو الذي يختزن مشروع الاستعمار العالمي الذي تمثله أميركا، ومضمون ما مثله بأدائه الشخصي كجواب على قضية الدولة والثورة.

قاسم سليماني أيقونة الثورة الإسلامية | ناصر قنديل
القدس سره

في المسار الذي رسمه الإمام الخميني (قدس سره) للثورة الإسلامية في إيران، وجسده من بعده الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي، ثمة مفهوم ودور لبناء الدولة في الحفاظ على مفهوم الثورة، وكانت فلسطين تقع في قلب المشروع التاريخي للثورة الإسلامية، وكان بناء جيش من المؤمنين المتعبدين الطالبين للشهادة الهادف لتحرير فلسطين وحماية القدس، يشكل جوهر هذه الإستراتيجية، وكان هذا يستدعي نهضة إسلامية في الدول وبين الشعوب تحت عنوان فلسطين والقدس. ومنذ البدايات كان واضحا أن الثورة الإسلامية قد تعلمت الكثير من قراءة تجارب الثورات العالمية وتاريخ الحركات العابرة للوطنيات والقوميات، ولذلك سعت لتفادي تكرار تجربة الأحزاب الشيوعية، ووضعت الأمانة لفكرة المقاومة وفلسطين معيارا وليس الولاء للجمهورية الإسلامية والتبعية لها. وهكذا تشكّلَ خليط من التحالفات يضم حركات المقاومة في فلسطين على تنوعها وعدم تطابق مفاهميها الفكرية وتباين عدد من الاتجاهات الإسلامية بينها مع نظرة الجمهورية الإسلامية للإسلام، ويضم المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان، والدولة السورية التي يقودها حزب قومي عربي علماني ، وحركات عراقية إسلامية ومثلها في باكستان وأفغانستان واليمن، لا تتطابق فيما بينها في الكثير من وجوه النظرة العقائدية والسياسية، لكنها تجمع بلا تردد او شبهة على مكانة قضية فلسطين ومشروع المقاومة. واذا كانت المقاومة الإسلامية في لبنان هي النموذج الأشد قربا بينها من الجمهورية الإسلامية فهما ودورا وموقفا، فإن هذه المقاومة بقيادة سماحة السيد حسن نصر الله، نجحت في تجسيد مفهوم محور المقاومة حتى شكلت مع القائد سليماني القاسم المشترك بين جميع هذه الجبهات.

في التجسيد الفكري ورمزية الدور كان القائد سليماني قد قطع نصف المسافة نحو ترجمة مفهوم الثورة الإسلامية، المتخذ من قضية المواجهة مع مشروع الهمينة الأميركية عنوانا له، وحيث لفلسطين مكانة الروح من الجسد، لكن القيادة في هذا المشروع تحتاج رجلا تكاملت فيه خصال الأولياء والشهداء والقديسين، بدرجة الإيمان والتشبع بأخلاق الأنبياء والأئمة، ليرمز للثورة كثورة إسلامية، بأبهى عناوين الحضور وتفاصيلها النابعة من عاطفة صادقة متدفقة نحو النبي والأئمة وأهل بيت الرسول (ص)، وبشجاعة وعلم حرب يقدمان نموذجا لا يضاهى بين قادة الجيوش مستوحيا من تجربة الإمام علي عليه السلام الكثير، واستعداد مفتوح لبذل الدم وصولا لطلب مستديم للشهادة على طريق الإمام الحسين عليه السلام، وصولا لسيرة عملية جمعت الانتصارات التي بلغ بعضها حد الإعجاز العسكري، كمواجهات الأيام الأولى مع تنظيم داعش الإرهابي حول بغداد، الى نماذج شديدة التعقيد في التخطيط والقيادة كانت في قلبها المعركة التاريخية لتحرير حلب التي أشرف على تفاصيلها وقادها في الميدان، وانتهاء بالاستشهاد غيلة على يد الأميركيين، لينتج للثورة الإسلامية أيقونتها التي تعمدت بها تجربة هذه الثورة كمسار تاريخي يقود الطريق نحو فلسطين.

اذا كانت سيرة القائد سليماني ورمزية قيادته لفيلق القدس منحت المصداقية لمشروع الثورة الإسلامية، فإن شهادته أكملت عدتها التاريخية نحو فلسطين.غرد النص عبر تويتر
(*) رئيس تحرير جريدة البناء | نائب سابق في البرلمان اللبناني

مقالات ذات صلة

Russia and Pakistan: the Fifth Year of “Friendship”

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Author: Dmitry Bokarev

10.12.2020

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The changing political situation in the world, and the growing threat of terrorism, require that the world’s powers periodically expand the areas in which they cooperate at an international level, and this includes defense. As far as Russia goes, what is interesting is how it is gradually developing the scope of its interaction with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan (IRP).

For many years, the IRP was more inclined to be an ally of the United States, including on defense-related matters. The Pakistani military was trained by American instructors, inside Pakistan, during the 1979-1989 Afghan war, and with support provided by the United States camps for mujahideen fighters were set up; back then, not even a word could be uttered about cooperation between the IRP and the USSR/Russia.

But times change, and now a gradual rapprochement can be observed between Pakistan and the Russian Federation – and against the backdrop of that, it is slowly moving away from the US. One thing that is of no small importance is that both Russia and the IRP feel the pressure from the growing threat of international terrorism, and that particularly concerns Afghanistan. Both countries are at the forefront in combating this phenomenon, but Washington seems to have begun to withdraw from Afghan affairs in recent years, shifting more of its attention to China.

Since 2016, Russia and Pakistan have begun to conduct their annual joint military exercise, which is dubbed “Friendship”. The Russian side is represented by military service personnel from its Southern Military District. The exercise has taken on anti-terrorism overtones, and they take turns holding it in both countries: “Friendship” was first held in the IRP; in 2017 it took place in the Russian republic of Karachay-Cherkessia, and Friendship-2018 was held in Pakistan again. The Friendship-2019 exercise took place in October 2019 in the Russian area of Kuban, and will be remembered for how the new Russian Mi-8AMTSh transport and assault helicopter, known as the Terminator, was used during it.

The venue for the fifth Russian-Pakistani exercise Friendship-2020 was the training base for IRP special operation forces in the village of Tarbela (Pakistan), and the IRP’s national counterterrorism center in Pabbi. Special forces soldiers from the 49th Combined Arms Army in Russia’s Southern Military District arrived in the IRP to take part in the event. The opening ceremony for the exercise took place on November 9, 2020, and besides Russian and Pakistani military the Russian Ambassador to the IRP, Danila Ganich, took part in it; this underscored the event’s political component. For almost two weeks, the Russian and Pakistani military practiced counterterrorism activities in the Pakistani mountains and forests, after which they ended the exercises with a spectacular assault on a simulated adversary’s base.

It is worth noting that while military cooperation between the two countries usually speaks to the fact that they interact politically at a very high level, in Pakistan’s case this is twice as true since in Pakistan the army is not just an armed force, but also a state-forming institution that unites the country – and has great influence on the foreign and domestic policies taken by the IRP. At the opening of the Friendship-2020 exercises, Russian Ambassador Danila Ganich spoke about this, calling the Pakistani army “the core of Pakistani statehood and society”.

It is believed that fostering military and political cooperation between Russia and Pakistan may elicit discontent from Russia’s principal military partner in South Asia, India, since relations between Pakistan and India are extremely complex, and have often spilled over into bloodshed. The last time an armed clash between Indian and Pakistani military forces occurred in February-March 2019, was accompanied by participation on the part of Pakistani illegal armed groups, and resulted in dozens of casualties on both sides. In this regard, according to some experts, the Russian-Pakistani “Friendship” exercises could either cause – or be a sign of – cooling relations between New Delhi and Moscow. However, other experts believe that conclusions like this are premature. First, both Russia and India are aware that each country has its own interests and its own policies – therefore, for example, the Russian Federation cannot lodge any complaints against India owing to its strategic partnership with the United States. Incidentally, from November 3-20, 2020, at about the same time that the Friendship exercises were taking place, India held its scheduled Malabar exercise – its 24th one already – jointly with the United States (the opinion also exists that, to a certain extent, “Friendship” is Russia’s response to that), and this did not cause any issues on the Russian side.

Finally, it is worth reiterating that both countries – India and Pakistan – share a border with Afghanistan, where large swaths of territory are controlled by terrorist groups, and constitute a source of the terrorist threat for the entire world, especially for adjacent countries. And right now the terrorist threat from Afghanistan may intensify to an extreme degree by virtue of the decision made by the US to withdraw its troops from the country. Despite their various differences, New Delhi and Islamabad must be aware that this situation is dangerous for everyone. It is also clear that a huge role in combating Afghani terrorism belongs to the leadership in Pakistan. The border between the IRP and Afghanistan is very porous, and militants from terrorist organizations like the Taliban (banned in the Russian Federation) move across it freely, and control areas of territory on both sides. It is common knowledge that Pakistan’s leadership has led a relatively peaceful coexistence with the Taliban for a long time now. However, in recent years the IRP Armed Forces have been waging an increasingly active struggle against it.

After the Americans withdraw, terrorists in Afghanistan could reinforce their positions to such an extent that they could launch an offensive in areas that they control, including in those located in Pakistan. In this instance, both India and the rest of the region’s countries will be forced to provide all the necessary assistance to Pakistan’s lawful government to keep these Afghani-Pakistani terrorists in the bounds of certain pockets and not allow them to turn Pakistan into a springboard to perform their activities throughout all of Asia. And the fact that even now, without waiting for American troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, or for there to be an upward swing in the terrorist threat, Russia and Pakistan are practicing joint counterterrorism activities, holds tremendous importance for the entire region, including India – and New Delhi should have an understanding of this.

Dmitry Bokarev, political observer, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Freedom of Expression: Good for the Western Goose, Forbidden for the Muslim Gander

By Kim Petersen

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Aussie soldier gulping beer 43f4f

When French President Emmanuel Macron was pilloried in some quarters for defending freedom of expression as a French value, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison backed his European counterpart: “We share values. We stand for the same things.” This professed French/Australian value for freedom of expression has now come back to bite the backside of the Australian prime minister.

When it comes to publication of inflammatory western depictions of the prophet Mohammed that raise the ire of many Muslims worldwide, many western voices will step forth to defend freedom of expression. However, this fidelity to the freedom of expression will often change when what is being expressed casts the West in a negative light; a case in point being an image of an Australian soldier slitting a Muslim child’s throat.

News.com.au featured a 60 Minutes Australia report about “disturbing allegations of the murder of children and a ‘killing as a sport’ culture” among Australian fighters deployed in Afghanistan.

A sociologist, Samantha Crompvoets, spent months interviewing Special Forces soldiers about alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. Among the insouciant acts noted were soldiers tallying their kills on wall boards — kills that included civilians and prisoners.

60 Minutes described the killers as a “rogue band” of special forces soldiers. One especially “disturbing allegation” described how Australian Special Forces soldiers mercilessly slit the throats of 14-year-old boys, bagged their bodies, and tossed them in a river.

Guardian exclusive exposed depravity with a photo of an Australian soldier drinking beer from a Taliban fighter’s prosthetic leg.

The findings by Crompvoets and the 60 Minutes report were corroborated by the Australian government’s redacted Brereton Report of “possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history”:

… 39 unlawful killings by or involving ADF members. The Report also discloses separate allegations that ADF members cruelly treated persons under their control. None of these alleged crimes was committed during the heat of battle. The alleged victims were non-combatants or no longer combatants.

What particularly stuck in the craw of political Australia was a tweet by a Chinese official, Zhao Lijian, of a gruesome throat-slitting image.

Australian prime minister Morrison was apoplectic, calling the post “repugnant,” “deeply offensive to every Australian, every Australian who has served in that uniform,” “utterly outrageous,” and unjustifiable noting that it was a “false image.” Morrison demanded an apology from the Chinese government, the firing of Zhao Lijian, and for Twitter to remove the post.

“It is utterly outrageous and cannot be justified on any basis whatsoever, the Chinese Government should be totally ashamed of this post,” Morrison said.

First, calling the image false is deflection because anyone who gives more than a cursory glance to the image will right away realize that it is has been photo-shopped and does not purport in any way to be an untouched photograph.

Second, the Australian prime minister obviously has backward moral priorities. I submit that what should be deeply offensive to Morrison and every human being — not just Australians — and especially offensive for every Australian who has served in the Australian military are the egregious war crimes committed by those wearing the same uniform. The starting and focal point for condemnation must be the war crimes. Logically, if the spate of gruesome war crimes had not been committed by Australians in uniform, then outcry at the crimes would not have been filliped.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying did address the outrage by Morrison in a TV address.

“These cruel crimes have been condemned by the international community,” said Hua.

“The Australian government should do some soul searching and bring the culprits to justice, and offer an official apology to the Afghan people and make the solemn pledge that they will never repeat such crimes. Earlier, they said the Chinese government should feel ashamed but it is Australian soldiers who committed such cruel crimes.”

“Shouldn’t the Australian government feel ashamed? Shouldn’t they feel ashamed for their soldiers killing innocent Afghan civilians?”

According to Afghanistan’s president Ashraf Ghani, Morrison did express — not a full-fledged apology — but “his deepest sorrow over the misconduct by some Australian troops.” Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne also wrote to her Afghan counterpart to extend “apologies for the misconduct identified by the inquiry, by some Australian military personnel in Afghanistan.” The wording would seem to diminish the atrocities as “misconduct.” There is also a overarching emphasis that the crimes were committed by some troops, seeking to exculpate the bulk of the troops from bad apples among them.

It would seem Australia is trying to distract from its horrendous war crimes. Colloquially put, Australia’s political honcho is trying to cover the military’s bare ass.

World Socialist Web Site was scathing in denouncing the Australian Establishment’s response,

The tweet by a mid-ranking Chinese official, condemning Australian war crimes in Afghanistan, has been met with hysterical denunciations by the entire political and media establishment. The response can only be described as a staggering exercise in hypocrisy, confected outrage and an attempt to whip-up a wartime nationalist frenzy.

The illustration is based on an investigative report by the Australian Department of Defense, Hua pointed out, noting that “although it is a painting, it reflects the facts.”

Hua pointed to Morrison’s real purpose: to divert attention and shift pressure from Australian war crimes to criticism of China.

Australia Liberal MP Andrew Hastie preferred that the war crimes had been kept buried. Hastie (who as a captain in the Special Air Services was cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation into soldiers under his command who chopped the hands off dead Taliban fighters in Afghanistan) criticized the Australian Defence Force for releasing allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan, saying it has allowed China to malign Australian troops.

Bipartisan support was forthcoming for Australian government indignation as Labor leader Anthony Albanese also criticized the image and shadow foreign affairs minister Penny Wong called it “gratuitous” and “inflammatory.”

Prosecuting Western War Crimes

At the end of World War II war crimes tribunals were set up. In Europe there was the Nuremberg Tribunal and in Asia the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal. It was victor’s justice and no Allies were tried. This although the United States and, to a lesser degree France, engaged in a deliberate policy of starving German prisoners of war (who the US re-designated as disarmed enemy forces to evade the Geneva Conventions on POWs, as president George W Bush would later similarly do in Afghanistan when he refused to recognize POWs, labeling them instead as unlawful enemy combatants) and civilians. Germans stated that over 1,700,000 soldiers alive at the end of the war never returned home.

In the Far East, there were no allies prosecuted at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial. It must be noted that just as Nazi scientists were brought back to work at the behest of the US, class A Japanese war criminals were also protected by the US from prosecution.

Australia is not alone in the commission of war crimes. Canadian Airborne Regiment troops tied and blind-folded 16-year-old Shidane Arone, beat him with a metal bar, and burned with cigarellos for hours (he was later found to have burns on his penis), and took “trophy pics.” Arone was dead the following morning. The Canadian Airborne Regiment would be disbanded. US war crimes are numerous. They include My Lai in Viet Nam, Bagram in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, etc.

Western war criminals are seldom punished, or when punished, then not in a meaningful way proportionate to the crimes committed. In fact, if you expose the war crimes perpetrated by a western allied country, then you risk becoming targeted for imprisonment. Such is the situation that Julian Assange finds himself in today. Although an Australian citizen, Morrison has been unsympathetic to the WikiLeaks founder and publisher who exposed egregious US war crimes. Said Morrison, “Mr Assange will get the same support that any other Australian would … he’s not going to be given any special treatment.”

This is what adherence to the tenet of freedom of expression genuinely signifies in much of the western world. In other words, freedom of expression is good for the western goose but bad when it is for the Muslim gander.

For further background view the damning allegations of serious war crimes, including the execution of innocent civilians and detainees.

UAE stops issuing new visas to citizens of 13 Arab and Muslim-majority countries

By MEE and agencies

Published date: 25 November 2020

There has been no official explanation as to why the countries, which include Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, were targeted by the ban

The flags of US, Israel, UAE and Bahrain are projected on the ramparts of Jerusalem’s Old City on 15 September 2020 in a show of support for Israeli normalisation deals (AFP)

The United Arab Emirates has stopped issuing new visas to citizens of 13 mostly Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Syria, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, Somalia, Yemen and Algeria.

According to Reuters, the decision was seen in a document issued by a state-owned business park, which was sent to companies operating in the park.

The document cited an immigration circular that came into effect on 18 November.

It said applications for new employment and visit visas had been suspended for nationals who are outside the UAE of the 13 countries – which also include Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan, Kenya, and Iraq – until further notice.

It was not clear if there were any exceptions to the ban.

The move comes in contrast to the UAE’s decision to waive visas for Israeli citizens following a controversial normalisation agreement signed in September. The agreement was perceived by Palestinian and Arab public opinion as an act of betrayal of the struggle against Israeli occupation. 

The UAE’s Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship had no immediate comment when contacted by Reuters.

A source briefed on the matter told Reuters the UAE had temporarily stopped issuing new visas to Afghans, Pakistanis and citizens of several other countries over security concerns.

The source did not say what those concerns were, but said the visa ban was expected to last for a short period.

Last week, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the UAE had stopped processing new visas for its citizens and those of some other countries.

It said it was seeking information from the UAE on the reason for the suspension, but that it thought it was related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Pakistani ministry and the source said those holding valid visas were not affected by the new restrictions and could enter the UAE.

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will Saturday meet negotiators from the Taliban and Afghan government amid signs of progress in their talks as the United States speeds up its withdrawal.

The State Department said late Friday that Pompeo will meet separately with the Afghan government and Taliban negotiation teams in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Pompeo will also see Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the foreign minister on his stop in the capital Doha, the Taliban’s base for diplomacy, the State Department said on its public schedule.

The outgoing top US diplomat is on a seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would soon pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, speeding up the timeline established in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to end “forever wars,” including in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever conflict that began with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

US President-elect Joe Biden, in a rare point of agreement, also advocates winding down the Afghanistan war although analysts believe he will not be as wedded to a quick timetable.

The Taliban for the first time are speaking to Afghanistan’s government.

The talks started September 12 in Doha but almost immediately faltered over disagreements about the agenda, the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.

Several sources told AFP on Friday that the two sides appear to have resolved some of the issues, however.

Among the sticking points so far, the Taliban and the Afghan government have struggled to agree on common language on two main issues.

The Taliban are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shiite, and other minorities.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future Afghan peace deal and how it will be referred to.

The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees and a Taliban promise to start talks.

Despite the talks, violence has surged across Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up daily attacks against Afghan security forces.

Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 – less than a week before his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to office – has been criticized by Kabul residents who fear it will embolden the Taliban to unleash a new wave of fighting.

Afghan civilians have long borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

Officials in Kabul also worry it will harden the Taliban position at the negotiating table, where the future of hard-won gains including women’s rights are on the line.

How Joe Biden Plans to Make The American Empire Great Again

Joe Biden Foreign Policy Feature photo

By Dan Cohen

Source

Throughout his campaign, Joe Biden railed against Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy, claiming it weakened the United States and left the world in disarray.

He pledged to reverse this decline and recover the damage Trump did to America’s reputation. While Donald Trump called to make America Great Again, Biden seeks to Make the American Empire Great Again.

Among the president-elect’s pledges is to end the so-called forever wars – the decades-long imperial projects in Afghanistan and Iraq that began under the Bush administration.

Yet Biden – a fervent supporter of those wars – will task ending them to the most neoconservative elements of the Democratic party and ideologues of permanent war.

Michele Flournoy and Tony Blinken sit atop Biden’s thousands-strong foreign policy brain trust and have played central roles in every U.S. war going back to the Clinton administration.

In the Trump era, they’ve cashed in, founding Westexec Advisors – a corporate consulting firm that has become home for Obama administration officials awaiting a return to government.

Flournoy is Biden’s leading pick for secretary of defense and Blinken is expected to be national security advisor.

Biden’s foxes guard the henhouse

Since the 1990s, Flournoy and Blinken have steadily risen through the ranks of the military-industrial complex, shuffling back and forth between the Pentagon and hawkish think-tanks funded by the U.S. government, weapons companies, and oil giants.

Under Bill Clinton, Flournoy was the principal author of the 1996 Quadrinellial Defense Review, the document that outlined the U.S. military’s doctrine of permanent war – what it called “full spectrum dominance.”

Flournoy called for “unilateral use of military power” to ensure “uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.”

As Bush administration officials lied to the world about Saddam Hussein’s supposed WMD’s, Flournoy remarked that “In some cases, preemptive strikes against an adversary’s [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities may be the best or only option we have to avert a catastrophic attack against the United States.”

Tony Blinken was a top advisor to then-Senate foreign relations committee chair Joe Biden, who played a key role in shoring up support among the Democrat-controlled Senate for Bush’s illegal invasion of Iraq.

As Iraq was plunged into chaos and bloodshed, Flournoy was among the authors of a paper titled “Progressive Internationalism” that called for a “smarter and better” style of permanent war. The paper chastised the anti-war left and stated that  “Democrats will maintain the world’s most capable and technologically advanced military, and we will not flinch from using it to defend our interests anywhere in the world.”

With Bush winning a second term, Flournoy advocated for more troop deployments from the sidelines.

In 2005, Flournoy signed onto a letter from the neoconservative think tank Project for a New American Century, asking Congress to “increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps (by) at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.”

In 2007, she leveraged her Pentagon experience and contacts to found what would become one of the premier Washington think tanks advocating endless war across the globe: the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

CNAS is funded by the U.S. government, arms manufacturers, oil giants, Silicon Valley tech giants, billionaire-funded foundations, and big banks.

Flournoy joined the Obama administration and was appointed as under secretary of defense for policy, the position considered the “brains” of the Pentagon.

She was keenly aware that the public was wary of more quagmires. In the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, she crafted a new concept of warfare that would expand the permanent war state while giving the appearance of a drawdown.

Flournoy wrote that “unmanned systems hold great promise” – a reference to the CIA’s drone assassination program.

This was the Obama-era military doctrine of hybrid war. It called for the U.S. to be able to simultaneously wage war on numerous fronts through secret warfare, clandestine weapons transfers to proxies, drone strikes, and cyber-attacks – all buttressed with propaganda campaigns targeting the American public through the internet and corporate news media.

Architects of America’s Hybrid wars

Flournoy continued to champion the endless wars that began in the Bush-era and was a key architect of Obama’s disastrous troop surge in Afghanistan. As U.S. soldiers returned in body bags and insurgent attacks and suicide bombings increased some 65% from 2009 and 2010, she deceived the Senate Armed Services Committee, claiming that the U.S. was beginning to turn the tide against the Taliban.

Even with her lie that the U.S. and Afghan government were starting to beat the Taliban back, Flournoy assured the senate that the U.S. would have to remain in Afghanistan long into the future.

Ten years later – as the Afghan death toll passed 150,000 – Flournoy continued to argue against a U.S. withdrawal.

That’s the person Joe Biden has tasked with ending the forever war in Afghanistan. But in Biden’s own words, he’ll “bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan” implying some number of American troops will remain, and the forever war will be just that. Michele Flournoy explained that even if a political settlement were reached, the U.S. would maintain a presence.

In 2011, the Obama-era doctrine of smart and sophisticated warfare was unveiled in the NATO regime-change war on Libya.

Moammar Gaddafi – the former adversary who sought warm relations with the U.S. and had given up his nuclear weapons program  – was deposed and sodomized with a bayonet.

Flournoy, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, and corporate media were in lockstep as they waged an extensive propaganda campaign to deceive the U.S. public that Gadaffi’s soldiers were on a Viagra-fueled rape and murder spree that demanded a U.S. intervention.

All of this was based on a report from Al Jazeera – the media outlet owned by the Qatari monarchy that was arming extremist militias to overthrow the government.

Yet an investigation by the United Nations called the rape claims “hysteria.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch found no credible evidence of even a single rape.

Even after Libya was descended into strife and the deception of Gadaffi’s forces committing rape was debunked, Michele Flournoy stood by her support for the war.

Tony Blinken, then Obama’s deputy national security advisor, also pushed for regime change in Libya. He became Obama’s point man on Syria, pushed to arm the so-called “moderate rebels” that fought alongside al-Qaeda and ISIS, and designed the red line strategy to trigger a full-on U.S. intervention. Syria, he told the public, wasn’t anything like the other wars the U.S. had waging for more than a decade.

Despite Blinken’s promises that it would be a short affair, the war on Syria is now in its ninth year. An estimated half a million people have been killed as a result and the country is facing famine,

Largely thanks to the policy of using “wheat to apply pressure” – a recommendation of Flournoy and Blinken’s CNAS think tank.

When the Trump administration launched airstrikes on Syria based on mere accusations of a chemical attack, Tony Blinken praised the bombing, claiming Assad had used the weapon of mass destruction sarin. Yet there was no evidence for this claim, something even then-secretary of Defense James Mattis admitted.

While jihadist mercenaries armed with U..S-supplied weapons took over large swaths of Syria, Tony Blinken played a central role in a coup d’etat in Ukraine that saw a pro-Russia government overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated color revolution with neo-fascist elements agitating on the ground.

At the time, he was ambivalent about sending lethal weapons to Ukraine, instead opting for economic pressure.

Since then, fascist militias have been incorporated into Ukraine’s armed forces. And Tony Blinken urged Trump to send them deadly weapons – something Obama had declined to do.

Trump obliged.

The Third Offset

While the U.S. fuelled wars in Syria and Ukraine, the Pentagon announced a major shift called the Third Offset strategy – a reference to the cold war era strategies the U.S. used to maintain its military supremacy over the Soviet Union.

The Third Offset strategy shifted the focus from counterinsurgency and the war on terror to great power competition against China and Russia, seeking to ensure that the U.S. could win a war against China in Asia. It called for a technological revolution in warfighting capabilities, development of futuristic and autonomous weapons, swarms of undersea and airborne drones, hypersonic weapons, cyber warfare, machine-enhanced soldiers, and artificial intelligence making unimaginably complex battlefield decisions at speeds incomprehensible to the human mind. All of this would be predicated on the Pentagon deepening its relationship with Silicon Valley giants that it birthed decades before: Google and Facebook.

The author of the Third Offset, former undersecretary of defense Robert Work, is a partner of Flournoy and Blinken’s at WestExec Advisors. And Flournoy has been a leading proponent of this dangerous new escalation.

In June, Flournoy published a lengthy commentary laying out her strategy called “Sharpening the U.S. Military’s Edge: Critical Steps for the Next Administration”.

She warned that the United States is losing its military technological advantage and reversing that must be the Pentagon’s priority. Without it, Flournoy warned that the U.S. might not be able to defeat China in Asia.

While Flournoy has called for ramping up U.S. military presence and exercises with allied forces in the region, she went so far as to call for the U.S. to increase its destructive capabilities so much that it could launch a blitzkrieg style-attack that would wipe out the entire Chinese navy and all civilian merchant ships in the South China Sea. Not only a blatant war crime but a direct attack on a nuclear power that would spell the third world war.

At the same time, Biden has announced he’ll take an even more aggressive and confrontational stance against Russia, a position Flournoy shares.

As for ending the forever wars, Tony Blinken says not so fast.

The end of forever wars?

So Biden will end the forever wars, but not really end them. Secret wars that the public doesn’t even know the U.S. is involved in – those are here to stay.

In fact, leaving teams of special forces in place throughout the Middle East is part and parcel of the Pentagon’s shift away from counterinsurgency and towards great power competition.

The 2018 National Defense Strategy explains that “Long-term strategic competitions with China and Russia are the principal priorities” and the U.S. will “consolidate gains in Iraq and Afghanistan while moving to a more resource-sustainable approach.”

As for the catastrophic war on Yemen, Biden has said he’ll end U.S. support, but in 2019, Michele Flournoy argued against ending arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Biden pledged he will rejoin the Iran deal as a starting point for new negotiations. However, Trump’s withdrawal from the deal discredited the Iranian reformists who seek engagement with the west and empowered the principlists who see the JCPOA as a deal with the devil.

In Latin America, Biden will revive the so-called anti-corruption campaigns that were used as a cover to oust the popular social democrat Brazilian president Lula da Silva.

His Venezuela policy will be almost identical to Trump’s – sanctions and regime change.

In Central America, Biden has proposed a 4 billion dollar package to support corrupt right-wing governments and neoliberal privatization projects that create even more destabilization and send vulnerable masses fleeing north to the United States.

Behind their rhetoric, Biden, Flournoy, and Blinken will seek nothing less than global supremacy, escalating a new and even more dangerous arms race that risks the destruction of humanity. That’s what Joe Biden calls “decency” and “normalcy.”

Is Trump’s Afghan Drawdown Driven By Principles Or Machiavellian Motives?

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Trump’s decision to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500 raised questions about whether he’s simply fulfilling a campaign promise out of principle or whether he’s hedging his bets in a Machiavellian way by preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that his opponent successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election.

Americans are divided along partisan lines over whether Trump is a man of his word or just a sore loser after he decided to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500. His supporters recall how he previously campaigned on doing just that with the ultimate goal of completely withdrawing the American military presence from Afghanistan while his opponents believe that he’s preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that the Democrat candidate successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election. The reality is probably somewhere in between. The President is moving forward with his original plans out of confidence that he’ll be certified the winner but also understands very well that this move would make Biden’s plans much more difficult to implement in that region in the worst-case scenario that he replaces him.

Although Trump is criticized even among some of his supporters for controversially bombing Syria in 2017 and assassinating Major General Soleimani at the start of this year, he nevertheless holds the distinction of being the first president in nearly four decades not to embroil America in a new war. To the contrary, despite his heavy-handed “America First” policy of so-called “surgical strikes”, “maximum pressure”, and other coercive measures against his country’s adversaries, Trump has remained committed to ending the US’ “endless wars” across the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in Afghanistan, which is the longest war in American history. So serious is Trump about executing on this ambitious vision that he even approved talks between his administration and the Taliban, the latter of which is still officially designated as a terrorist group and thus contradicts his 2016 campaign pledge to show zero tolerance towards what he calls “radical Islamic terrorists”.

For Trump, pragmatism is more important than politics, which is something that his base in general sincerely appreciates about him in contrast to his predecessors. Unlike what his opponents claim, however, he’s not just recklessly withdrawing from a war-torn region without any backup plan in mind, but actually envisions American engagement with that landlocked country and the Central Asian region beyond to be more economically driven in the future as elaborated upon by Pompeo in February. The author analyzed this new vision at the time in a piece about how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Succeed”. The gist is that the US might expand upon Pakistan’s recent infrastructural gains under CPEC to use the “global pivot state” as a platform for pioneering a trans-Afghan trade corridor to Central Asia. This would be a more peaceful way for the US to compete with Russia, China, and Turkey in that strategic region.

Biden, however, has signaled that he might appoint neoliberal war hawk Michele Flournoy as his Secretary of Defense if he “wins” the election. She’s been previously criticized by many as a warmonger who risks returning the US back to its destabilizing strategy of “endless wars” and “humanitarian interventions”, which would be the exact opposite of how it’s conducted its foreign policy over the past four years under Trump. Democrats are already decrying his Afghan drawdown as dangerous so it’s likely that they intended to at the very least retain the previous troop numbers there for a bit longer than he did, or possibly even expand them under a milder variation of the Obama-era “surge”. It doesn’t seem like there’s much appetite even among those ideologues for doubling down on the war in any traditional sense, especially since the geostrategic situation there has tremendously changed since the Obama era, but their plans would still be less peaceful than Trump’s.

Since it’s still uncertain whether or not the incumbent will remain in office next year, it makes sense that he’d also try to obstruct his potential successor’s policies, not just out of petty spite, but also in order to ensure his own legacy. By reducing the US military presence in Afghanistan by almost half of its current number (which is already much less than what he inherited), Trump would make it more difficult for Biden’s team to sabotage the sensitive peace process that he oversaw across the past four years. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t still ruin everything in the event that they seize power, but just that they’d have to try harder and their subversive efforts would be much more noticeable. It’s therefore with these points in mind that the author concludes that Trump made his Afghan drawdown decision for both principled and Machiavellian reasons.

Why Trump Has Been Unable to End Endless Wars. US Troop Withdrawals from Afghanistan?

By Keith Lamb

Global Research, November 19, 2020

The Times of London reported, on November 16, that Trump’s recent installation of loyalists in top Pentagon jobs is likely to be for the purpose of fulfilling his long-term pledge to bring an end to the U.S.’ “endless wars”. It is expected that Trump will order the withdrawal of 4,500 troops from Afghanistan and so end 19 years of occupation.

There are two prominent objections to Trump’s likely proposal. Firstly, a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces, that would have to take place before January, will bring logistical chaos. However, the daily state of chaos which occupation brings to the lives of millions is barely considered.

Secondly, an “early” withdrawal will disrupt efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Christopher Miller the current U.S. Acting Defense Secretary sent out a memorandum saying, “we are on the verge of defeating Al Qaida and its associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.” A fair point, but if not now then when? Furthermore, who gets to define when a mission is accomplished?

If 19 years of occupation, by the mightiest military force of our modern age, has not led to a suitable conclusion then unlikely will another year make any difference. The fact is the U.S. occupation, of Afghanistan, has been an unmitigated disaster that next to Libya, Syria, and Iraq represents a litany of the greatest human rights violations of the 21st century.

There are now 2.7 million Afghani refugees worldwide while Afghanistan’s GDP per capita stands at a paltry $531. Afghanistan now cultivates over two-thirds of global opium and has 2.4 million opium addicts. Tragically, the U.S. spent $52 billion occupying Afghanistan, in 2019, which is more than twice Afghanistan’s GDP at $20.68 billion.

With the devastating suffering which occupation has brought to the Afghani people, notwithstanding the criticisms of an abrupt exit, Trump’s efforts to bring an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and end U.S. wars are commendable.

In contrast, unlikely will the mild-mannered, but often hawkish, Biden take the same line. While he has not always supported military action he nevertheless believes in the U.S. hegemonic right to use hard force. For example, Biden supported the catastrophic 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq and he pushed for NATO’s expansion eastwards.

However, Trump’s actions, in regards to Afghanistan, may be too little too late. Instead of concentrating on ending U.S. global occupation, he has been busily engaged with a self-destructing economic war with China who could have been a useful ally in ending the Afghanistan quagmire. Why then has President Trump been distracted by China at the expense of fulfilling his pledge to “bring home the troops”?

Trump’s problems stem from being able to recognize the unease of working-class America that arise from both national and transnational capital, i.e. the one-percent, while concurrently being beholden to the propaganda of the one-percent used to control the ninety-nine percent.

For example, Trump, in contrast to previous presidents, captures the zeitgeist of a large section of traditional working-class Americans who serve in the military. It is they who make needless sacrifices, through their blood and taxes, for the service of an elite who care little for their subaltern. However, due to Trump’s billionaire status, and his own willingness to swallow the propaganda fed to the working-man, he has been ideologically crippled.

Firstly, being a billionaire, he has been unable to see that unfettered U.S. capital, both in their national and transnational forms, represents the nucleus of where the U.S.’ primary contradiction emanates from. On one hand, Trump has supported capital with avaricious tax breaks. On the other hand, the military-industrial-complex, that has resisted Trump, is a business itself that feeds on the suffering of never-ending wars.

Secondly, Trump’s rightly sees that the American worker has been disempowered due to U.S. transnational capital shifting production to Asia. However, Trump unfortunately falls into the trap of jingoism by predominantly vilifying China for events beyond China’s own control. China then is as much an innocent party as the American working-class who are taught to hate China.

In addition, Trump, when it suits him, is quick to criticize the disseminating of “fake news” by the U.S. mass-media itself controlled by transnational capital. However, Trump like much of the U.S. working-class has nevertheless been indoctrinated to accept simplistic narratives this mass-media propagates. It is these narratives which justify and distract Americans from their home-grown problems which stem from U.S. class contradictions.

For example, the mass-media’s constant China-bashing, which has been a feature long before Trump’s arrival, along with their support of U.S. foreign interventions work hand in hand. Threats are used to justify war at an ideological level, to the masses, while the war itself is used to achieve the strategic and economic goals of the one-percent.

In addition, foreign threats and wars work to distract Americans from their own deep-state’s machinations. This in turn drums up a national fanaticism that provides an “emasculated” working-class with a masculinized American identity linked to the U.S.’ global supremacy and “righteous wars”. Trump, of course more than any other president, has tapped into this masculinized American “tough man” image.

While the existence of a corporate media, along with deep-state interests, negate U.S. democracy and make the country ungovernable for the ordinary citizen, it is, these same external influences which form the “embodying features” of Trump who being from the swamp has been unable to extradite himself from the swamp.

Thus, the very quagmire that is U.S. democracy and that is Trump is also the quagmire of Afghanistan today. Regrettably, transnational capital, who Trump calls the globalists, has played Trump well throughout his presidency. As such, unless serendipity allows the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, in the next two months, Biden, who cannot be accused of being ideologically naïve will be ready to take over the reins from where Bush and Obama left off which is the never-ending journey to war.

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Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Keith Lamb, Global Research, 2020

Trump Must Choose Between a Global Ceasefire and America’s Long Lost Wars

Neocons Poised to Join New Government

Victoria Nuland was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

November 12, 2020

Philip GIRALDI
Ph.D., Executive Director of
the Council for the National Interest.

Philip Giraldi

Donald Trump was much troubled during his 2016 and 2020 campaigns by so-called conservatives who rallied behind the #NeverTrump banner, presumably in opposition to his stated intention to end or at least diminish America’s role in wars in the Middle East and Asia. Those individuals are generally described as neoconservatives but the label is itself somewhat misleading and they might more properly be described as liberal warmongers as they are closer to the Democrats than the Republicans on most social issues and are now warming up even more as the new Joe Biden Administration prepares to take office.

To be sure, some neocons stuck with the Republicans, to include the highly controversial Elliott Abrams, who initially opposed Trump but is now the point man for dealing with both Venezuela and Iran. Abrams’ conversion reportedly took place when he realized that the new president genuinely embraced unrelenting hostility towards Iran as exemplified by the ending of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad. John Bolton was also a neocon in the White House fold, though he is now a frenemy having been fired by the president and written a book.

Even though the NeverTrumper neocons did not succeed in blocking Donald Trump in 2016, they have been maintaining relevancy by slowly drifting back towards the Democratic Party, which is where they originated back in the 1970s in the office of the Senator from Boeing Henry “Scoop” Jackson. A number of them started their political careers there, to include leading neocon Richard Perle.

It would not be overstating the case to suggest that the neoconservative movement has now been born again, though the enemy is now the unreliable Trumpean-dominated Republican Party rather than Saddam Hussein or Ayatollah Khomeini. The transition has also been aided by a more aggressive shift among the Democrats themselves, with Russiagate and other “foreign interference” being blamed for the party’s failure in 2016. Given that mutual intense hostility to Trump, the doors to previously shunned liberal media outlets have now opened wide to the stream of foreign policy “experts” who want to “restore a sense of the heroic” to U.S. national security policy. Eliot A. Cohen and David Frum are favored contributors to the Atlantic while Bret Stephens and Bari Weiss were together at the New York Times prior to Weiss’s recent resignation. Jennifer Rubin, who wrote in 2016 that “It is time for some moral straight talk: Trump is evil incarnate,” is a frequent columnist for The Washington Post while both she and William Kristol appear regularly on MSNBC.

The unifying principle that ties many of the mostly Jewish neocons together is, of course, unconditional defense of Israel and everything it does, which leads them to support a policy of American global military dominance which they presume will inter alia serve as a security umbrella for the Jewish state. In the post-9/11 world, the neocon media’s leading publication The Weekly Standard virtually invented the concept of “Islamofascism” to justify endless war in the Middle East, a development that has killed millions of Muslims, destroyed at least three nations, and cost the U.S. taxpayer more than $5 trillion. The Israel connection has also resulted in neocon support for an aggressive policy against Russia due to its involvement in Syria and has led to repeated calls for the U.S. to attack Iran and destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon. In Eastern Europe, neocon ideologues have aggressively sought “democracy promotion,” which, not coincidentally, has also been a major Democratic Party foreign policy objective.

The neocons are involved in a number of foundations, the most prominent of which is the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), that are funded by Jewish billionaires. FDD is headed by Canadian Mark Dubowitz and it is reported that the group takes direction coming from officials in the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Other major neocon incubators are the American Enterprise Institute, which currently is the home of Paul Wolfowitz, and the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University. The neocon opposition has been sniping against Trump over the past four years but has been biding its time and building new alliances, waiting for what it has perceived to be an inevitable regime change in Washington.

That change has now occurred and the surge of neocons to take up senior positions in the defense, intelligence and foreign policy agencies will soon take place. In my notes on the neocon revival, I have dubbed the brave new world that the neocons hope to create in Washington as the “Kaganate of Nulandia” after two of the more prominent neocon aspirants, Robert Kagan and Victoria Nuland.

Robert was one of the first neocons to get on the NeverTrump band wagon back in 2016 when he endorsed Hillary Clinton for president and spoke at a Washington fundraiser for her, complaining about the “isolationist” tendency in the Republican Party exemplified by Trump. His wife Victoria Nuland is perhaps better known. She was the driving force behind efforts to destabilize the Ukrainian government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych, an admittedly corrupt autocrat, nevertheless became Prime Minister after a free election. Nuland, who was the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department, provided open support to the Maidan Square demonstrators opposed to Yanukovych’s government, to include media friendly appearances passing out cookies on the square to encourage the protesters.

A Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton protégé, Nuland openly sought regime change for Ukraine by brazenly supporting government opponents in spite of the fact that Washington and Kiev had ostensibly friendly relations. Her efforts were backed by a $5 billion budget, but she is perhaps most famous for her foul language when referring to the potential European role in managing the unrest that she and the National Endowment for Democracy had helped create. The replacement of the government in Kiev was only the prelude to a sharp break and escalating conflict with Moscow over Russia’s attempts to protect its own interests in Ukraine, most particularly in Crimea.

And, to be sure, beyond regime change in places like Ukraine, President Barack Obama was no slouch when it came to starting actual shooting wars in places like Libya and Syria while also killing people, including American citizens, using drones. Biden appears poised to inherit many former Obama White House senior officials, who would consider the eager-to-please neoconservatives a comfortable fit as fellow foot soldiers in the new administration. Foreign policy hawks expected to have senior positions in the Biden Administration include Antony Blinken, Nicholas Burns, Susan Rice, Valerie Jarrett, Samantha Power and, most important of all the hawkish Michele Flournoy, who has been cited as a possible secretary of defense. And don’t count Hillary Clinton out. Biden is reportedly getting his briefings on the Middle East from Dan Shapiro, former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who now lives in the Jewish state and is reportedly working for an Israeli government supported think tank, the Institute for National Security Studies.

Nowhere in Biden’s possible foreign policy circle does one find anyone who is resistant to the idea of worldwide interventionism in support of claimed humanitarian objectives, even if it would lead to a new cold war with major competitor powers like Russia and China. In fact, Biden himself appears to embrace an extremely bellicose view on a proper relationship with both Moscow and Beijing “claiming that he is defending democracy against its enemies.” His language is unrelenting, so much so that it is Donald Trump who could plausibly be described as the peace candidate in the recently completed election, having said at the Republican National Convention in August “Joe Biden spent his entire career outsourcing their dreams and the dreams of American workers, offshoring their jobs, opening their borders and sending their sons and daughters to fight in endless foreign wars, wars that never ended.”

Pakistan Made A Compelling Case That India Is A State Sponsor Of Terrorism

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Pakistan released a detailed dossier during a press conference on Saturday strongly making the case that India is a state sponsor of terrorism whose intelligence services have weaponized this phenomenon as part of the proxy war that they’re fighting with respect to the UNSC-recognized international Kashmir dispute and against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with it now being the responsibility of the international community to investigate these scandalous claims in order to decide whether India deserves to be sanctioned by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other related bodies for its rogue behavior.

This year’s Diwali celebration got off to a very symbolic start after Pakistan shined some light on the dark activities that it accused India of carrying out in the region. Islamabad released a detailed dossier during a press conference on Saturday strongly making the case that India is a state sponsor of terrorism whose intelligence services have weaponized this phenomenon as part of the proxy war that they’re fighting with respect to the UNSC-recognized international Kashmir dispute and against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). These claims aren’t anything new, but what’s novel is the amount of detail devoted to proving them this time around.

According to Pakistan, Indian diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan are being used to coordinate the training of various terrorist groups on that landlocked country’s territory, including efforts to unite relevant Baloch and Pashtun ones as well as create a new ISIS branch dedicated to attacking Pakistan. Islamabad mentioned names, dates, bank accounts, phone numbers, and other identifying information such as exposing the Indian mastermind of these regionally destabilizing activities to make its case that India is a rogue state whose behavior should be investigated by the international community, which might find it fitting to sanction the country through the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and other related bodies.

Pakistan’s diplomatic masterstroke puts India in a very uncomfortable position because it had hitherto been the latter making such claims about the former and not the reverse. The comparatively muted reaction from the international community in the 24 hours since the dossier was revealed suggests that they feel uncomfortable about the accusations and aren’t too sure how to respond. India is a close military and economic partner of a growing number of influential players such as the US and “Israel” who might now be embarrassed for so closely associating with a country that’s been convincingly accused of such rogue behavior. At the same time, however, “birds of a feather flock together”, as they say.

For reasons of self-interest, it might turn out that the international community as a whole doesn’t react the same way to Pakistan’s accusations as they’ve done in the past whenever India made similar but much less detailed ones. Nevertheless, what’s most important to pay attention to is how these revelations might shape Chinese-Indian relations considering their clashes along the Line of Actual Control this summer and ongoing state of ever-intensifying cold war. The grand strategic interests of the People’s Republic are directly threatened by India’s Hybrid War of Terror on Pakistan, which aims to destabilize CPEC’s northern and southern access points in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan respectively.

In fact, the timing of this dossier’s release might have been connected to those two countries’ rivalry. To explain, India was handily defeated by China during their clashes over the summer, which might be why it’s doubling down on its proxy war of terrorism against Pakistan in response. After all, Islamabad warned that New Delhi would soon seek to intensify its terrorist efforts in the coming future, so the dossier might have been intended to preemptively thwart that by exposing these plans in order to put pressure on India to reconsider its actions. Of course, it also took plenty of time to assemble all the details that were disclosed, but the timing was at least very convenient from the Pakistani perspective even if it was ultimately coincidental.

All told, the dossier heralds the advent of a new phase of Pakistani diplomacy where Islamabad confidently exposes India’s Hybrid War of Terror on the world stage. Since it can be assumed that China considers these claims credible considering the fact that its interests are directly threatened irrespective of the country’s public reaction (or potential lack thereof in line with its diplomatic traditions), the conclusion can thus far be made that this report already had a significant impact. It might very well end up being the case that Chinese-Indian relations will never return to their former friendliness, especially if Beijing begins to wonder whether Washington might be tacitly supporting New Delhi’s proxy war on CPEC.

The Empire Has Collapsed

October 28, 2020

The Empire Has Collapsed

by Paul Craig Roberts, cross-posted by permission

Paul Craig Roberts

The Saker has written another interesting article in which he gives us the date of the collapse of the AngloZionist or American Empire:  January 3, 2020, the day when Washington did not retaliate against Iran for Iran’s retaliation against Washington for murdering General Qasem Soleimani.

You can read The Saker’s case and make up your mind:  https://thesaker.is/when-exactly-did-the-anglozionist-empire-collapse/

An equally good case could be made that the American Empire collapsed on September 11, 2001.  This was the day that two symbols of American power—the World Trade Center and the Pentagon—were successfully attacked, according to the US government itself, by an old and dying Osama bin Laden and a handful of Saudi Arabians armed with box cutters.  This unlikely group was able, according to Washington, to overcome the entire intelligence networks of the United States, NATO, and Israel’s Mossad, and deliver the most humiliating blow ever suffered by a ruling Superpower.

It was the day when nothing in the National Security State worked.  US Airport Security failed four times on the same morning, allowing four US airliners to be hijacked. The US Air Force was unable to put fighters in the air to intercept the hijacked airliners, and two of them were flown into the World Trade Center towers and one into the Pentagon itself, while the Great Superpower was unable to defend itself from an old man in a cave in Afghanistan and a handful of young Saudis.

September 11, 2001, was the day that the world realized that the emperor had no clothes.  If Osama bin Laden and a handful of Saudis could defeat the United States, anyone could.

I think The Saker is wrong about Donald Trump. Trump wanted to save American influence by ceasing its fruitless attempts to impose hegemony on the world.  Trump wanted to bring the US soldiers home from the Middle East and to normalize relations with Russia.  This was a major threat to the power and budget of the military/security complex and to the zionist neoconservatives’ desire to use American military power to make the Middle East into Greater Israel.  If 9/11 did not end the American empire, the attack on President Trump from within the government did.  The internal demonization of the American president called to mind the internal conflicts that destroyed the Roman Empire.

I agree with The Saker that the Empire is finished.  Even if Trump wins and manages to be inaugurated, what can he do?  He faces the same powerful forces that stymied his first term. If the crook Biden and the anti-white racist Kamala win, The Camp of the Saints will continue to unfold in the US as the majority white population is demonized, its memorials and history erased, and its power exterminated.

No white American will fight for a government that has demonized him, torn down his statues,  and erased his people’s history.  An army of feminists, transgendered, Hispanic immigrants, disaffected blacks, and displaced Muslims will not fare well against Russian, Chinese, and Iranian forces.  Such a collection is not imbued with pride of country, a requirement for a fighting force.

More than the empire is dead. The country itself is dead.

Trump is trying to resurrect America, but are the people too far gone to respond?  We will soon know.

The 2020 Election: Nothing Will Change

By Robert Fantina

Global Research, October 25, 2020

With the first of three scheduled presidential debates (aka brawl) between President Donald Trump and his opponent, former vice-president Joe Biden, now history, the pundits will fall all over themselves to determine what it all means. Who won? Did either candidate deliver a fatal blow to the election chances of the other? Did Biden disprove the Trump-encouraged rumors about his senility? Did Trump manage to sway any undecided voters?

We will not dwell here on the fact that many other, highly-qualified candidates are running for president (this writer, a U.S. citizen who moved to Canada fifteen years ago, will vote for Gloria La Riva of the Party for Socialism and Liberation for president).

No, with all the discussion about Trump and Biden, it is beneficial, this writer thinks, to consider what continues to happen in the world, that has lost the attention of the press, and therefore, the public. We will present a short, albeit incomplete, list.

Internationally:

  • Millions of people in Yemen, many of them children, risk starvation due to the U.S.-supported Saudi Arabian assault on that nation.
  • Palestinians still live under the harshest and most brutal conditions in the world, all financed and supported by the United States.
  • The U.S. war against the people of Afghanistan continues in it’s nineteenth year. A large segment of the Afghan population now has never known anything but war.
  • The people of Iran continue to struggle in many ways – economically and medically – against U.S. sanctions, imposed when the U.S., against the wishes of the other participants of the agreement and most of the world community, violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • The people of Venezuela struggle against sanctions, also imposed by the United States, because they had the temerity to re-elect a president displeasing to the U.S. Trump and his cohorts say that Nicholas Maduro is not the legitimate president, forgetting or ignoring the fact that Trump himself did not win the majority vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. His odious opponent in that election, Hillary Clinton, did.
  • Migrant children continue to be caged at theS. – Mexico border.
  • The U.S. continues to maintain the most cordial relations with some of the world’s major violators of human rights, including Israel and Saudi Arabia. This should not be surprising, since the U.S. itself made the list of ’10 Global Hotspots for Major Human Rights Violations in 2017’, and things have only worsened since then.
  • As India heads towards genocide in Kashmir, the U.S. government, not wanting to annoy the Indian government, ignores it, as it ignores the Israeli genocide of the Palestinians.

Domestically Trump vs Biden: Lose/Lose for Palestine

It is, perhaps, whimsical for this writer to hope that the public will concern itself with these issues, and ponder carefully the upcoming election. Yes, another Supreme Court appointment by Trump could turn back the U.S. clock to a time of very limited consumer protections, a further reduction of environmental regulations, and greater racial inequality (even worse than it is today), and a host of other hard-won victories. Black lives will not matter; international law will continue to be held in contempt (although that is business-as-usual for the U.S.), and U.S. warmongering and war-making will continue, with all the destruction and slaughter of innocent men, women and children that that always brings.

There are some people who believe a Biden presidency will usher in change. Has hell frozen over? He has a long record in government of ‘business as usual’, so looking for change from him and the Democratic Party is an exercise in futility.

Others praise Trump as an effective leader, one who has done much to help the people of the nation.  This narrative deserves a prominent place with ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk’ and other fairy tales. It, like them, has no basis in reality and is simply a figment of the collective right-wing imagination.

The United States, from its earliest years, has a been a force for violence, destruction and death on the global stage. As its wealth and power have increased, so have its violent tendencies. It overthrows foreign governments, invades sovereign nations, issues crippling sanctions against governments and individuals that displease it, and threaten its allies if they don’t follow along.

The 2020 election will change none of this.

It is said that a sign of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Unless and until the public stops looking to the Democratic and Republican Parties for solutions to problems, leadership in troubled times and assistance in creating and maintaining a peaceful world, no election will alter the tragic and violent trajectory of the United States. The longer that recognition is delayed, the more people will suffer, in the U.S. and around the globe.

*

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Featured image is from InfoWarsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Robert Fantina, Global Research, 2020

أميركا تستجدي وقف العمليات ضدها في العراق.. هل تبحث عن كسب الوقت؟

المصدر: الميادين 12

تشرين اول 00:10

تبحث الإدارة الأميركية عن تهدئة في المناطق التي تحتلها قواتها، ولا سيما في العراق تجنباً لما ينغص على ترامب رهاناته الانتخابية، وقد وصل الأمر حد استجداء وقف العمليات، فهل ستشهد مرحلة ما بعد الانتخابات تصعيداً ضد الأميركيين في المنطقة؟

“فلترحل القوات الأجنبية طوعاً أو كرهاً” بذلك حسم العراقيون موقفهم سياسياً.. ومن بعد بالسلاح

تقر القوانين الدولية والأعراف، وتجمع الدساتير المحلية، على حق أي شعب بمقاومة الاحتلال. وفي التاريخ شواهد على أن الاحتلال مهما تجبر، فإنه لا يدوم. وتثبت التجارب أن القوة وحدها السبيل إلى ضمان الحرية وصون الكرامة.

“فلترحل القوات الأجنبية طوعاً أو كرهاً”، بذلك حسم العراقيون موقفهم سياسياً، ومن بعد بالسلاح.

لا فرق عند المقاومة العراقية أن يحدث انسحاب أميركي كامل بين رئاستين أو في حال استمرار الرئاسة الأميركية الحالية، فلا بديل أمام الأميركيين إلا جدولة انسحابهم بشكل واضح ودونه تصعيد في القتال.

لكننا قلما نسمع عن احتلال يستجدي المقاومة عدم استهداف جنوده حتى ينسحبوا، كحال الاحتلال الأميركي للعراق، وفقاً لما كشفه الناطق باسم كتائب حزب الله العراق للميادين.

من اللافت أن ترسل أميركا برسائل استجداء للمقاومة العراقية تناشدها وقف عملياتها ضد القوات الأميركية، خطوة أبلغتها الميادين على لسان المتحدث باسم كتائب حزب الله العراق محمد محيي، فبعد أن تمادى الاحتلال في جرائمه، وبعد طلب رسمي نيابي وحكومي بخروج القوات الأجنية من العراق، كان الحل الرد على المماطلة، عسكرياً.

مشاريع الأميركي وخططه فشلت في أفغانستان والعراق وسوريا، وبات أمام خيارين الانسحاب طواعية أو الانسحاب بالقوة.

قد يكون تكتيكاً من الرئيس الأميركي الذي يريد استخدام التهدئة كورقة انتخابية، وقد ينسحب الأمر على سوريا إذ تخاطب واشنطن الحكومة السورية خطاباً دبلوماسياً، فتدعوها إلى اتخاذ إجراءات لمكافحة الحرائق حماية للأرواح.

وفي غزل متبادل، تشيد طالبان بالرئيس الأميركي وتبرق بأمنياتها أن يكون الفوز من نصيبه، ما يثير تساؤلات حول ذاك الخطاب إن كان بناء على طلب من إدارته.

تبدو أميركا في انقطاع كامل عما يحدث في العالم، فصمتها ميزة رافقت حرب القوقاز رغم تداخل المصالح وتضاربها إقليمياً ودولياً، وأهمية المنطقة استراتيجياً، فهل تحاول إدارة ترامب إيهام الناخبين بنجاحات دبلوماسية في بؤر عديدة للتوتر؟ 

يؤكد الباحث السياسي والاستراتيجي، ريتشارد ويتز، أن “واشنطن ترغب بوقف الهجمات ضدها في العراق”، لافتاً إلى أن “واشنطن تعزل نفسها عن الازمات الخارجية حتى لا تلحق أي ضرر بالانتخابات”.

وقال ويتز للميادين، إن “الانسحاب الأميركي لن يتم خلال شهر أو اثنين لكن هو أمر تريده واشنطن”، مشيراً إلى أن “التطورات الميدانية والسياسية في العراق أدت الى تراجع النفوذ الأميركي هناك”.

من جهته، الباحث في مركز الهدف للدراسات، كاظم الحاج، يقول إن “المشروع الأميركي في العراق على وشك الانهيار، وقرار الشعب العراقي سيسرع ذلك”.

وأضاف الحاج للميادين، أن “الشعب العراقي لا يهتم من هو رئيس أميركا، وقرار إخراج القوات الأميركية لا رجعة فيه”، مؤكداً أن “مؤشر محور المقاومة ماض في اتجاه صحيح بافشال المشروع الأميركي في المنطقة”.

الحاج أوضح أن “في العلاقة بين طالبان وواشنطن تبادل منفعة ومصالح”، لافتاً إلى أن “أحلام الأميركيين في المنطقة تم دفنها عام 2006 بعد هزيمة إسرائيل في لبنان”.

 وقال إن “دول محور المقاومة واعية لما يخطط له الأميركي في المنطقة”، معتبراً “الإرادة والشجاعة لدى محور المقاومة ستنهي الأحلام الأميركية في المنطقة”.

وشدد الحاج على أن “الوكيل الأميركي في المنطقة أوهن من بيت العنكبوت”، منوهاً إلى أن “لا الوكيل الإسرائيلي ولا الأصيل الأميركي يستطيع فرض أي شيء على شعوب المنطقة”.

بدوره، الكاتب والمحلل السياسي، مهند الضاهر، قال إن “ما يفكر به ترامب حالياً ليس الانسحاب بل الفوز بالانتخابات”.

وأضاف الضاهر للميادين، أن “المشروع الأميركي وصل إلى مرحلة الانحسار في المنطقة”، مشيراً إلى أن “لغة السفارة الأميركية في دمشق تجاه سوريا ليست لغة دبلوماسية”.

الضاهر اعتبر أن “الأميركي يبحث عن المزيد من الفوضى في سياسته في المنطقة”، مؤكداً أن “الأميركي يدرك أن القادم من الأيام صعب جداً عليه”.

The story of ammonium nitrite and linking it to Hezbollah for years Why?

قصة نتريت الأمونيوم وربطها بحزب الله لسنوات لماذا؟

9/11 ended the American dream, says Lebanon’s Talal Atrissi

By Mohammad Mazhari

September 12, 2020 – 18:21

TEHRAN- Head of the Center for Political Studies at the University of Lebanon says the American dream promoted by its cinema has come to an end and “we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy and kill.” 

 In an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times, Dr. Talal Atrissi says that the American dream has become an “ugly image” for the nations around the globe.
“There is no longer what we call the American dream,” adds Atrissi.
Following is the text of the interview: 

 Q: Who are the main beneficiaries of the September 11 attacks?

A: The September 11 attacks helped neoconservatives in the U.S. advance their project of changing the Middle East (West Asia) under the pretext of “war against terror.” 

After 9/11, Washington was involved in regional wars, and its policy turned into a direct military offensive policy.

 It occupied Afghanistan and then occupied Iraq, and demanded Syria close Palestinian organizations’ offices, and encouraged Israel to launch the 2006 war on Lebanon. 

So, after the September 11 attacks, American foreign policy turned into a direct occupation policy in order to implement the vision and project of the neoconservatives in the world.

Q: What are the repercussions of the wars that the U.S. launched against Afghanistan and Iraq after 9/11?

A: The wars launched by the United States on Afghanistan and Iraq showed the fact that the United States has become a direct occupying power in the region.

 In Afghanistan, the U.S. becomes a neighbor to Iran and Russia, and other countries in Asia.

 In Iraq, it became close to Iran and Syria, with a large military force that could threaten the countries that disagreed with its policies or oppose American hegemony.

As a result, the United States faced violent resistance, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, as far as U.S. presidents from Obama to Trump have admitted that the country has paid thousands of billions of dollars and human losses due to these wars.

That is why Obama decided to withdraw from Iraq, and Trump came to say that he does not want to wage new wars in the region. As a result of these wars, the United States of America is declining and losing its influence in the region.

The resistance has become stronger and more experienced, and the idea of resistance has been welcomed and has spread, whether in Iraq, Lebanon, or even Afghanistan.

So, the occupation brought complete havoc for the United States besides failure for neoconservatives in their projects.

Q: Why have the Americans embraced negotiations with the Taliban, whom they called terrorist, after two decades of war?

A: The U.S. negotiations with the Taliban reveal that Washington does not make a deal according to principles, but rather uses slogans and then outweighs its interests.

 During the war against the Soviet army in Afghanistan, America and its media used to call the fighting groups, including the Taliban, “Mujahideen,” and not terrorists.

After the Soviet army left Afghanistan, and these groups started to fight the U.S., these groups were classified as “terrorists.”

So, the United States of America is negotiating today with the Taliban because it really failed in Afghanistan. This means the admission of failure in Afghanistan after paying huge losses. 

 For this reason, the U.S. wants to withdraw the largest number of its forces from there and negotiate with the Taliban about its participation in the government of Afghanistan.

But Al-Qaeda organization is originally an American-backed entity that was exploited in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, and when its date expired, Trump accuses Clinton and Obama of being involved in the manufacturing of al-Qaeda.

This is why all America’s claims about terrorism are uncovered and unacceptable, and it has become known that the United States allied with al-Qaeda in more than one place in West Asia. 

“All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks.”

Q: What happened to the American dream after 9/11?

A: The American dream is over, and the United States no longer can present itself as a globally attractive destination.

After September 11, using force, oppression, occupation, torture, and prisoning of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan has become the United States’ predominant face.

The mutual accusations between the American presidents showed the true face of America. 

Even the American lifestyle is no longer the one that anyone in the world dreams of having, and therefore there is no longer what we call the American dream. 

The American dream was ruined, in a cracked structure, which was no longer coherent. The American dream created by cinema has ended, and we are facing a country that hires soldiers to fight, occupy, and kill, and does not respect human rights.

 From that time until now, we can say that the American dream has become an ugly image for the world’s nations.

Q: Why doesn’t the U.S. sue Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 attacks? 

A: The U.S. doesn’t want to sever its relations with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while it has become clear that most of those who carried out the September 11 attacks were Saudis.

 Although there were discussions and calls to cut ties with Saudi Arabia or impose sanctions on it, the matter met American silence because the relationship with Saudi Arabia is profitable for Washington.

The Saudi Kingdom is the largest buyer of weapons, and it is an ally of the United States in the face of Iran; and therefore, the United States is silent about such an operation and does not directly accuse the Saudis.

 All evidence indicates that Saudi authorities indirectly were involved in the 9/11 attacks, but the Trump administration tries not to ruin the ties.

 So, the issue of terrorism is an optional issue to Washington.  The U.S. president is who chooses when to fight terrorism or fight the countries accused of being behind terrorism. 

That’s why the United States of America was silent and did not talk about accusing Saudi Arabia directly, although some information indicates that some figures in the Saudi ruling family provided funding to the attackers. 

Q: What have been the consequences of 9/11 for U.S. internal security, especially when the freedoms were restricted under the pretext of fighting terrorism?

A: On the American domestic level, what happened was the U.S. policy reversed into a militant policy, a policy of suppressing freedoms and spying on citizens.

Suppressing freedoms under the pretext of fighting terrorism and concerns about individuals’ relations with terrorists has become a prevailing issue in the U.S. A big debate heated in the United States on the importance of freedoms, but the government continues to restrict citizens. The Americans lost a large part of their freedoms under the motto of “fighting terrorism.”

Q: How could the September 11 attacks spread Islamophobia in the West? 

A: Islamophobia is a complex topic that has historical roots and cultural reasons and causes related to terrorist operations. The American and Western media, in general, shed light on the September 11 attacks and emphasized that Muslims were the main actors who carried out this operation.

Of course, this approach contributed to creating an anti-Muslim atmosphere in the United States of America for a long time.

But at the same time, Islamophobia is also widely widespread in Europe, and this is partly because of terrorist operations that were carried out on European territories.

Still, Islamophobia has been misused inside the United States and Europe in the struggle between political forces and accusing Muslims of economic, social, and cultural problems.

In fact, some Muslims cannot integrate into Western culture. Thus they face the isolation process and tend to engage in terrorist groups.

In addition to that, Muslims in Europe, for example, live in the suburbs and lack adequate services, which encourages young generations to join extremist organizations.

The United States of America, because of its anti-Muslim policies, has created an atmosphere of extremism among some Muslims. That’s why it can be said that the September 11 attacks contributed to the spread of Islamophobia.

Moreover, the American media has a pivotal role in creating this Islamophobia wave by inciting Muslims and covering up the Saudi Kingdom’s crimes.

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U.S. exploited 9/11 attacks to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan: Iraqi expert

By Saeed Kh. Mavedat

September 10, 2020 – 17:54

TEHRAN – The U.S. plans to invade Iraq and Afghanistan gained stream immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks on civilian and military targets in the United States. An Iraqi expert tells the Tehran Times that the Americans “exploited” the attacks to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan.

The attacks, carried out by al-Qaeda, killed almost 3,000 American and foreign citizens and sent shock waves across the world. In the wake of the attacks, the U.S. administration sought to pave the way for a military response to al-Qaeda and those allegedly supporting it.

Addressing the American people on the same day at 9 pm, then-President George W. Bush said, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”

Only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed a special law allowing President Bush to punish the people who had aided or abetted the 9/11 attackers. The law, which was passed on September 18, 2001, stipulates “that  the  President  is  authorized  to  use  all necessary  and  appropriate  force  against  those  nations,  organizations,  or  persons  he  determines  planned,  authorized,  committed, or  aided  the  terrorist  attacks  that  occurred  on  September  11,  2001, or  harbored  such  organizations  or  persons,  in  order  to  prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

A few weeks later, the U.S. led a coalition to overthrow the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, and two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq under the pretext of countering terrorism.

Nearly two decades after the 9 /11 attacks, the U.S. is still bogged down in “endless wars” in the region, which yielded no results in terms of combating terrorism, according to Reza Alghurabi, an Iraqi expert who closely monitors the situation in Iraq and Iran.

In order to assess one of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in the region, the Tehran Times interviewed Alghurabi. He weighed in on the situation in Iraq in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of the country. He also touched on the U.S.-Iran relations in Iraq since 2003.
The following is the full text of the interview:

Q: In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the issue of “counterterrorism” became prominent in U.S. foreign policy and eventually, it became one of the reasons for the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you think the United States really wanted to fight terrorism in Iraq? And if so, how successful was it? How do you assess the U.S. presence in Iraq in terms of the fight against terrorism since 2003?

A: In addition to leading to the emergence of the U.S. counterterrorism agenda and the introduction of new concepts in the field of terrorism and international law, the 9/11 attacks led to one of the largest U.S. military campaigns and military interventions in recent decades in the ever sensitive region of West Asia.
Regardless of any assessment of the truth of 9/11, Washington’s subsequent exploitation of it shows that the Americans behaved in a completely political and abusive manner that led to the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.

It was clear at the time that the terrorists were mostly Saudi nationals, and that if the United States was to be honest in its counterterrorism plan, it would have had to deal with the source of religious extremism in the region, which is the Saudi regime and some other countries whose religious muftis kept playing role in the death of thousands of people and the spread of extremism and violence by issuing hundreds of fatwas [religious decrees] and sending financial aid through charities after the occupation of Iraq.

Despite spending billions of dollars on the counterterrorism project since 2001, Washington has failed to fight terrorism, and the growing spread of extremism, violence, and terrorism in recent years in areas where the Americans themselves have been present was not only a sign of Washington’s failure to fight terrorism, but it also raised serious doubts about its direct role in the spread of terrorism and violence.

Iraq is clearly still grappling with terrorism 17 years after [the American occupation], and from 2003 to 2011, when U.S. troops were officially present in Iraq, violence was widespread in the country and the United States failed to contain it.

Q: How many human rights violations did the United States commit in the years following the occupation of Iraq? In terms of human rights violations, can Abu Ghraib prison be compared to Guantanamo?

A: While the U.S. was present in Iraq as an occupying force, numerous reports were published by Western and American think tanks on individual and organized ill-treatment of prisoners. Some of the initial information was released by U.S. troops themselves. Various forms of torture of prisoners, such as waterboarding in the United States itself, sparked controversy in the U.S. Congress.

U.S. human rights abuses were not limited to detainees. There were also numerous reports of civilians being harassed during house searches or checkpoints and street raids by soldiers and mercenaries of private security companies such as Blackwater. In this respect, there was no difference between Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Perhaps Abu Ghraib can be considered a worse case than Guantanamo because in this prison even young Iraqi girls were sexually tortured by the American military.

Q: How do you assess Iran-U.S. relations in Iraq after 2003? It is said that Iran had reached understandings with the United States during the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, but why did the United States turn these understandings into hostility and include Iran in the “axis of evil”?

A: Iran-U.S. relations have always been tense for the last four decades. After 9/11, the Americans took a more hostile stance against the Iranians. The use of the term “axis of evil” in reference to Iran by George W. Bush in 2002 indicated the adoption of an escalatory strategy against Iran. With the occupation of Iraq by the U.S., this country became the scene of confrontation between Tehran and Washington. Iran was concerned and dissatisfied with the full U.S. military presence in Iraq and the repeated threats by White House officials about the need for regime change in Iran. The Americans in Iraq were also reluctant to vacate the battlefield for Tehran. Therefore, Iraq has since become the scene of confrontation between the two axes.

The U.S. is a longtime enemy of Iran and the prospect of its troops being deployed along Iran’s borders as well as [U.S.] provocative actions were a source of potential and tense hostility that threatened any possible understanding.

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Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, September 05, 2020

9 September 2006

Osama bin Laden

Author’s note

The following article was first published 14 years ago on the 9th of September 2006, in the context of the 2006 commemoration of the tragic event of September 2001.  

***

“Going after bin Laden” has served  to sustain the legend of the “world’s most wanted terrorist”, who  “haunts Americans and millions of others around the world.”

Donald Rumsfeld has repeatedly claimed that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden remain unknown:  “It is like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

In November 2001, US B-52 bombers carpet bombed a network of caves in the Tora Bora mountains of eastern Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden and his followers were allegedly hiding. These caves were described as “Osama’s last stronghold”.

CIA “intelligence analysts” subsequently concluded that Osama had escaped from his Tora Bora cave in the first week of December 2001. And in January 2002, the Pentagon launched a Worldwide search for Osama and his top lieutenants, beyond the borders of Afghanistan. This operation, referred to by Secretary of State Colin Powell as a “hot pursuit”, was carried out with the support of the “international community” and America’s European allies. US intelligence authorities confirmed, in this regard, that

“while al Qaeda has been significantly shattered, … the most wanted man – bin Laden himself remains one step ahead of the United States, with the core of his worldwide terror network still in place. (Global News Wire – Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, InfoProd, January 20, 2002)

For the last five years, the US military and intelligence apparatus (at considerable expense to US taxpayers) has been “searching for Osama”.

A CIA unit with a multimillion dollar budget was set up, with a mandate to find Osama. This unit was apparently disbanded in 2005. “Intelligence experts agree”, he is hiding in a remote area of Pakistan, but “we cannot find him”:

“Most intelligence analysts are convinced that Osama bin Laden is somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistan border. Lately, it has been said that he’s probably in the vicinity of the a 7700m Hindu Kush peak Tirich Mir in the tribal Chitral area of northwest Pakistan.” Hobart Mercury (Australia), September  9, 2006)

President Bush has repeatedly promised to “smoke him out” of his cave, capture him dead or alive, if necessary through ground assaults or missile strikes. According to a recent statement by president Bush, Osama is hiding in a remote area of Pakistan which “is extremely mountainous and very inaccessible, … with high mountains between 9,000 to 15,000 feet high….”. We cannot get him, because, according to the president, there is no communications infrastructure, which would enable us to effectively go after him. (quoted in Balochistan Times, 23 April 2006)

The pursuit of Osama has become a highly ritualized process which feeds the news chain on a daily basis. It is not only part of the media disinformation campaign, it also provides a justification for the arbitrary arrest, detention and torture of numerous “suspects”, “enemy combatants” and “accomplices”, who allegedly might be aware of Osama’s whereabouts. And that information is of course vital to “the security of Americans”.

The search for Osama serves both military and political objectives. The Democrats and Republicans compete in their resolve to weed out “islamic terrorism”.

The Path to 9/11, a five-hour ABC series on “the search for Osama” –which makes its debut on the 10th and 11th of September to marks the fifth anniversary of the attacks– casually accuses Bill Clinton of having been  “too busy with the Monica Lewinsky scandal to fight terrorism.” The message of the movie is that the Democrats neglected the “war on terrorism”.

The fact of the matter is that every single administration, since Jimmy Carter have supported and financed the “Islamic terror” network, created during the Carter administration at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war. (See Michel Chossudovsky, Who is Osama bin Laden, 12 September 2001). al Qaeda is a instrument of US intelligence: a US sponsored intelligence asset.

Where was Osama on Septembers 11? 

There is evidence that the whereabouts of Osama are known to the Bush Administration.

On September 10. 2001, “Enemy Number One” was in a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan, as confirmed by a report of Dan Rather, CBS News. (See our October 2003 article on this issue)

He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as George W’s speeches in the course of the last five years.

According to Dan Rather, CBS, Bin Laden was hospitalized in Rawalpindi. one day before the 9/11 attacks, on September 10, 2001.
https://www.youtube.com/embed/dUj2905unnw

“Pakistan. Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI) told CBS that bin Laden had received dialysis treatment in Rawalpindi, at Pak Army’s headquarters.

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.

“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.

(…)

PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.

(voice-over): But it was Pakistan’s President Musharraf who said in public what many suspected, that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death. His evidence, watching this most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don`t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden`s health, I just am — don`t have any knowledge.

PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.

Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) END

(CBS News,  28 January 2002 emphasis added, the complete transcript of CBS report sis contained in annex to this article)

It should be noted, that the hospital is directly under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. U.S. military advisers based in Rawalpindi. work closely with the Pakistani Armed Forces. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive, but then maybe bin Laden was serving another “better purpose”. Rumsfeld claimed at the time that he had no knowledge regarding Osama’s health. (CBS News, 28 January 2002)

The CBS report is a crucial piece of information in our understanding of 9/11.

It refutes the administration’s claim that the whereabouts of bin Laden are unknown. It points to a Pakistan connection, it suggests a cover-up at the highest levels of the Bush administration.

Dan Rather and Barry Petersen fail to draw the implications of their January 2002 report.  They suggest that the US had been deliberately misled by Pakistani intelligence officials. They fail to ask the question:

Why does the US administration state that they cannot find Osama?

If they are to stand by their report, the conclusion is obvious. The administration is lying. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known.

If the CBS report is accurate and Osama had indeed been admitted to the Pakistani military hospital on September 10, courtesy of America’s ally, he was either still in hospital in Rawalpindi on the 11th of September, when the attacks occurred or had been released from the hospital within the last hours before the attacks.

In other words, Osama’s whereabouts were known to US officials on the morning of September 12, when Secretary of State Colin Powell initiated negotiations with Pakistan, with a view to arresting and extraditing bin Laden. These negotiations, led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, head of Pakistan’s military intelligence, on behalf of the government of President Pervez Musharraf,  took place on the 12th and 13th  of September in Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage’s office.

He could have been arrested at short notice on September 10th, 2001. But then we would not have been privileged to five years of Osama related media stories. The Bush administration desperately needs the fiction of an “outside enemy of America”.

Known and documented Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda is a construct of the US intelligence apparatus. His essential function is to give a face to the “war on terrorism”. The image must be vivid.

According to the White house, “The greatest threat to us is this ideology of violent extremism, and its greatest public proponent is Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden remains the number one target, in terms of our efforts, but he’s not the only target.” Recent Statement of White House Assistant for Homeland Security Frances Townsend, 5 September 2006).

The national security doctrine rests on the fiction of Islamic terrorists, led by Osama who are portrayed as a “threat to the civilized World”. In the words of President Bush, “Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say? We are on the offensive. We will not rest. We will not retreat. And we will not withdraw from the fight until this threat to civilization has been removed.” (quoted by CNN, September 5, 2006)

The “hot pursuit” of Osama in the rugged mountainous areas of Pakistan must continue, because without Osama, referred to ad nauseam in news reports and official statements, the fragile legitimacy of the Bush administration collapses like a deck of cards.

Moreover, the search for Osama protects the real architects of the 911 attacks. While there is no evidence that Al Qaeda was behind the 911 attacks, as revealed by nuerous studies and documents, there is mounting evidence of complicity and coverup at the highest levels of the State, Military and intelligence apparatus.

The continued arrest of alleged 911 accomplices and suspects has nothing to do with “national security”. It creates the illusion that Arabs and Muslims are behind the terror plots, while shunting the conduct of a real criminal investigation into the 911 attacks. And what were dealing with is the criminalization of the upper echelons of State.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best America’s “War on Terrorism”  Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization. 

To order Chossudovsky’s book  America’s “War on Terrorism”, click here

Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with a view to spreading the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader Middle East war. Please indicate the source and copyright note.

media inquiries crgeditor@yahoo.com

CBS Evening News with Dan Rather;

Author: Dan Rather, Barry Petersen

CBS, 28 January 2002

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into this military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. On that night, says this medical worker who wanted her identity protected, they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them. She says it was treatment for a very special person. The special team was obviously up to no good.

“The military had him surrounded,” says this hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he says, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.” Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments, back and stomach problems. Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, says the military was often there to help before 9/11.

AHMED RASHID, TALIBAN EXPERT: There were reports that Pakistani intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines. And the rumor was that these were wanted for Osama bin Laden.

PETERSEN (on camera): Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they refused our request to see any records. Government officials tonight denied that bin Laden had any medical treatment on that night.

(voice-over): But it was Pakistan`s President Musharraf who said in public what many suspected, that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death. His evidence, watching this most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don`t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden`s health, I just am — don`t have any knowledge.

PETERSEN: The United States has no way of knowing who in Pakistan`s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Laden maybe up to the night before 9/11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the United States may not know if those same people might help him again perhaps to freedom.

Barry Petersen, CBS News, Islamabad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) END

Copyright CBS News 2002

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/28/eveningnews/main325887.shtml

Hospital Worker: I Saw Osama

Jan. 28, 2002

Quote

“They military had him surrounded. I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden.” Hospital employee

(CBS) Everyone remembers what happened on Sept. 11 and, reports CBS News Correspondent Barry Petersen, here’s the story of what may have happened the night before.

In a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS Evening News has been told that the night before the Sept. 11 terrorists attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.

Pakistan intelligence sources tell CBS News that bin Laden was spirited into a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment.

“On that night,” said a medical worker who wanted her identity protected, “they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them.” She said it was treatment for a very special person and “the special team was obviously up to no good.”

“They military had him surrounded,” said a hospital employee who also wanted his identity masked, “and I saw the mysterious patient helped out of a car. Since that time,” he said, “I have seen many pictures of the man. He is the man we know as Osama bin Laden. I also heard two army officers talking to each other. They were saying that Osama bin Laden had to be watched carefully and looked after.”

Those who know bin Laden say he suffers from numerous ailments — back and stomach problems.

Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively on the Taliban, said the military was often there to help before Sept. 11.

“There were reports that Pakistan intelligence had helped the Taliban buy dialysis machines and the rumor was that these were for wanted for Osama bin Laden,” said Rashid.

Doctors at the hospital told CBS News there was nothing special about that night, but they declined our request to see any records. Government officials reached Monday night denied that bin Laden received any medical treatment that night.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday the United States has seen nothing to substantiate the report.

It was Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf who said in public what many suspected: that bin Laden suffers from kidney disease, saying he thinks bin Laden may be near death.

His evidence — watching the most recent video, showing a pale and haggard bin Laden, his left hand never moving. Bush administration officials admit they don’t know if bin Laden is sick or even dead.

“With respect to the issue of Osama bin Laden’s health, I just am…don’t have any knowledge,” said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The U.S. has no way of knowing who in Pakistan’s military or intelligence supported the Taliban or Osama bin Lade, maybe up to the night before Sept. 11 by arranging dialysis to keep him alive. So the U.S. may not know if those same people might help him again — perhaps to freedom.

Copyright CBS News 20029/11 ANALYSIS: Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020

مخلب الناتو وحلم السيطرة على القوقاز… أردوغان على حدّ سيوف النازيّة

محمد صادق الحسيني

مرة أخرى يجري أردوغان مسرعاً إلى حتفه من دون قراءة موازين القوى ومعطيات التاريخ والجغرافيا السياسية الجديدة التي بدأت ترسم ملامح العالم الجديد…!

إنّ سبر الدوافع الكامنة وراء تحرّك تركيا أردوغان السريع لـ «دعم» أذربيجان في الاشتباكات الحدودية الجارية بينها وبين جارتها أرمينيا، في منطقة ناغورني كاراباخ / أو كاراباخ الجبل /، يجب أن يسبقه إلقاء نظرة فاحصةٍ، على الوضع الحالي وكذلك التاريخي لهذه المنطقة الهامة من العالم. كما يجب النظر بدقةٍ الى ميزان القوى العسكري، بين الدولتين المنخرطتين في هذه الاشتباكات، أرمينيا وأذربيجان.

يشير ميزان القوى العسكري الى رجحان كبير في كفته لصالح أذربيجان، سواءٌ في القوات البرية او الجوية (أرمينيا لا تملك قوات بحرية لأنها غير مشاطئة لأي من بحار المنطقة). إذ إن عديد الجيش الأرمني يصل الى 26000 جندي فقط وحوالي ضعفهم من الاحتياط، بينما يبلغ عديد الجيش الأذري العامل 216000 جندي، يضاف اليهم 850000 (ثمانمئة وخمسزن ألفاً) من جنود الاحتياط. كما انّ ميزان القوة في سلاح الجو لدى البلدين هو انعكاس لميزان القوى في البر. ايّ انّ سلاح الجو الأذري يتفوّق على الأرميني بخمس مرات.

بالإضافة الى هذا الاختلال الكبير في ميزان القوى العسكري، فلا بدّ أن نأخذ بالاعتبار العديد من العوامل اللوجستية الهامة، التي تجعل أذربيجان أفضل تجهيزاً وعتاداً من أرمينيا. إذ إنّ أذربيجان تتلقى:

مساعدات عسكريّة مباشرة من «إسرائيل»، التي تزوّدها بمنظومات دفاع جويّ من طراز باراك ٨ وطائرات مسيّرة وتجهيزات حرب إلكترونية وعدد كبير من المستشارين العسكريين والأمنيين، الذين يتحكمون بمفاصل الجيش والأجهزة الأمنية الأذرية.
كما أنّ أذربيجان تتلقى مساعدات عسكرية كبيرة من تركيا، التي تشرف بالكامل على برامج تدريب القوات الخاصة الأذرية، بالتعاون مع مدربين من لواء غولاني «الإسرائيلي». يضاف الى ذلك ما تقدّمة تركيا من عتاد مختلف وعربات قتال مدرّعة وغير ذلك.
من هنا فإنّ الحملة الإعلامية، التي أطلقتها تركيا، حول تزويدها لأذربيجان بعدد من الطائرات المسيّرة من طراز بيرقدار / ت.ب.2 / ليست الا ذراً للرماد في العيون، وذلك لأنّ لدى أذربيجان ما يكفي من الطائرات المسيّرة الإسرائيلية ولأنّ هذه الطائرة التركية ليست هي العصا السحرية القادرة على قلب موازين القوى في الميدان، كما تدّعي صحافة أردوغان الصفراء.
إذاً ما هو الدافع الحقيقي وراء خطوات أردوغان العسكرية المتهورة في القفقاس؟

يجب أن لا ننسى، عند الإجابة على هذا السؤال، ان تركيا عضو أساسي في حلف شمال الاطلسي، وبالتالي فهي مخلب أميركي، يستخدم تارةً في سورية، وأخرى في ليبيا، وبعدها العراق، والآن حان وقت تفعيل هذا المخلب الهدام، في منطقة القفقاس، أيّ على حدود روسيا الجنوبية. خاصة أنّ لأردوغان أطماعاً واسعة في هذه المنطقة، تمتدّ الى حدود الصين الغربية.

وبالتالي فإنّ تحرك أردوغان هذا لا يمكن وضعه في خانة المغامرات العسكرية غير المحسوبة، وإنما يجب وضعه في إطاره الصحيح. هذا الإطار الذي يهدف الى تغيير الوضع الاستراتيجي في تلك المنطقة لصالح الولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الأطلسي، وذلك من خلال:

أ) نشر التطرف الديني والفوضى العسكرية والأمنية الشاملة، ليس في أذربيجان فحسب، وانما في كل جمهوريات الاتحاد السوفياتي السابقة هناك، وذلك من خلال نقل آلاف المسلحين الإرهابيين، من بقايا فلول داعش والنصرة، المنتشرين في منطقة عنتاب، داخل تركيا، وفي مناطق شمال وشمال غرب سورية، خاصة أن تقارير الجهات الأمنية الأوروبية، المتخصصة بمتابعة الحركات الإرهابية في العالم، تؤكد وجود ما لا يقلّ عن ثمانين ألف مسلح في مناطق سيطرة الجيش التركي في سورية وفي مناطق الحدود السورية التركية.

ب) تعزيز سيطرة قوات حلف شمال الاطلسي، على الدول المحاذية لحدود روسيا الجنوبية الغربية، كأوكرانيا وجورجيا، واضافة اذربيجان اليها والتي يخطط الحلف لاستخدامها كمنصةٍ للوثوب شرقاً، باتجاه تركمانستان وطاجيكستان واوزباكستان وقرقيزستان، استكمالاً لتطويق روسيا من الجنوب وفصل إيران عن محيطها الإقليمي في وسط آسيا، وما يعنيه ذلك من محاولات لتعطيل تنفيذ مشاريع برنامج/ طريق واحد وحزام واحد الصيني العملاق، الذي يشمل هذه الدول ايضاً الى جانب إيران وغيرها من الدول العربية.

ولكن أردوغان، الذي يحلم بإعادة عجلة التاريخ الى الوراء ويهلوس بإمكانية نجاحه في السيطرة على الجغرافيا الواقعة بين بحر الادرياتيك، في البلقان، وبين الحدود الصينية، لا يمكن ان تصل أحلامه الى ابعد مما وصلت إليه احلام الامبراطورية البريطانية، عندما كانت امبراطورية، وحاولت ان تسيطر على افغانستان بحجة مواجهة التوسع الروسي في منطقة وسط آسيا. قامت بريطانيا آنذاك، سنة 1838 بتجريد حملة عسكرية، انطلقت بها من الهند، لاحتلال افغانستان، ودخلت في حرب مع المقاتلين الأفغان الموالين للملك محمد خان، الذي حاولت بريطانيا خلعه واستبداله بعميل لها. وقد استمرت تلك المغامرة البريطانية حتى شتاء 1842 عندما اصدرت القيادة العسكرية البريطانية أوامرها لقواتها المهزومة بالانسحاب سيراً على الأقدام، عبر ممر خيبر، حيث تمكن المقاتلون الأفغان من إبادتها بالكامل ولم يصل منهم أحد الى الهند، مكان انطلاق حملتهم.

وقد اعاد البريطانيون هذه التجربة الفاشلة، في اطار استراتيجية جديدةٍ لمواجهة نفوذ روسيا، أسموها استراتيجية التقدم الى الامام. فقاموا بتنظيم حملة عسكرية جديدة في افغانستان، سنة 1878، استمرت حوالي عام كامل مُنيت خلاله القوات البريطانية بهزائم نكراء واضطرت للانسحاب من افغانستان. ولكنها عاودت هذا الجنون مرة أخرى سنة 1919 انتهت بتوقيع اتفاق وقف إطلاق نار، أفغاني بريطاني، اعطيت افغانستان بموجبة حق الاستقلال الكامل وانسحبت القوات البريطانية بشكل كامل. تماماً كما يحصل حالياً بين الولايات المتحدة وقوات الناتو من جهة وحركة طالبان من جهة أخرى… عشرون عاماً من الحرب الفاشلة للوصول الى اتفاق على انسحاب آمن للقوات الأميركيّة.

إن روسيا الاتحادية الحاليّة ليست هي التي كانت في القرن التاسع عشر، حيث كانت دولة ضعيفةً نسبياً بالمقارنة مع الدول الاستعمارية الأوروبية آنذاك، ولا هي روسيا سنة 1919، التي كانت تشهد ثورة غيرت وجه التاريخ ونتج عنها نظام سياسي لم يعهده العالم سابقاً. آنذاك حاولت تلك الدول التدخل في شؤون روسيا الداخلية، متوهّمة انها دولة ضعيفة. فقامت تلك الدول بعمليات إنزال بحري في جنوب غرب روسيا على البحر الاسود، وفي اقصى الجنوب الشرقي في منطقة المحيط الهادئ (مدينة فلاديفوستوك) وفي القطب الشمالي (منطقة موراميسك). ولكن روسيا انتصرت على جميع هذه الحملات وأفشلتها.

ولعل من المفيد أيضاً تذكير «السلطان» أردوغان بأن زميله في الاحلام المكنونة، زعيم المانيا النازية، ادولف هتلر، قد حاول، سنة 1941/1942 الاستيلاء على منطقة القفقاس، ووصل بجيوشه الى مدينة ستالينغراد، التي لا تبعد سوى ألف كيلومتر عن مدينة باكو، عاصمة اذربيجان وقلب الصناعة النفطية الروسية / السوفياتية / آنذاك، والتي كانت تشكل هدفاً استراتيجياً له. ورغم انّ الحظ قد حالفه، في الوصول الى ستالينغراد، إلا أنه ارتكب بذلك خطأ تاريخياً، ادى الى ابادة الجيش الألماني السادس وجيش المدرعات، بقيادة الجنرال باولوس، وخسارة 600 الف جندي ألماني وهزيمة منكرة حسمت نتيجة الحرب العالمية الثانية.

فهل لك أن تقرأ التاريخ وتستخلص منه العبر، ايها السلطان الحالم!؟

ان الوضع الاستراتيجي لمنطقة وسط آسيا كاملةً قد حسم لصالح روسيا في صراع الدول العظمى الامبراطورية في شهر شباط سنة 1942، بتحرير الجيوش السوفياتية لمدينة ستالينغراد ومنع تقدم الجيوش الالمانية الغازية باتجاه جنوب القفقاس. أي باتجاه اذربيجان.

لقد قضي الأمر مذّْاك الزمن.

آسيا الوسطى لن تكون منطلقاً لتهديد وحدة الأراضي الروسية، ولا مسرحاً لنشر الحروب والاقتتال والفوضى فيها، وفرض حالة من انعدام الاستقرار الاستراتيجي في كل دولها.

لان ميزان القوى الدولي لا يسمح لك بذلك، وعليك ان تتذكر بان ابناء هذه الدول، كتفاً الى كتف مع اخوانهم المواطنين الروس، قد قدموا ما يزيد على 27 مليون شهيد للانتصار على النازية والحفاظ على بلدانهم.

كما لا بد من تذكير السيد أردوغان بأنّ التغيرات، التي شهدها العالم، منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الثانية، أعمق بكثير مما يمكن لعقله أن يستوعب. ومن ضمن أهم تلك المتغيرات بروز الصين كدولةٍ مستقلةٍ معاديةً لأسياده في البيت الابيض، وتملك اقتصاداً سيبلغ حجمه ضعفي الاقتصاد الأميركي، خلال العقد الثالث من هذا القرن.

اذن، هناك استقرار استراتيجي في منطقة آسيا الوسطى، في عهدة روسيا الاتحادية وجمهورية الصين الشعبية، ولا يمكن لأحلامه البهلوانية ان تغيّر فيه شيئاً. تماماً كما أن طائراته المسيرة، من طراز بيرقدار، التي أرسلها لأذربيجان لاستفزاز روسيا ومناكفتها، ولا لطائرات حلفائه الموضوعيين في «إسرائيل»، وهي من طراز اطلس برو صناعة شركة اطلس داينامكس الإسرائيلية، والتي أرسلوها، قبل ايام معدودة، كما نشر موقع الجروساليم بوست الإسرائيلية بتاريخ 16/7/2020، الى أقصى شمال شرق النرويج، بحجة المشاركة في عمليات بحث وإنقاذ، بينما هي في الحقيقة تقوم بمهمات تجسس على أسطول الشمال الروسي، في ميناء مورمانسك في القطب الشمالي وعلى قطع هذا الأسطول المنتشرة في بحر بارينتس.

ما يعود بالفائدة على الشعب التركي وعلى الدولة التركية ويفتح أمامها ابواب التطور والازدهار اللامحدود بعيداً كل البعد عن سياساتك الحالية. إن الطريق الى ذلك يكمن في ان تستمع جيداً لكلمة السيد حسن نصر الله، التي دعا بلاده فيها للتوجه شرقاً… الى الصين والى روسيا وإيران، وتفهم عمق ما جاء فيها وعمق التغيرات التي يشهدها العالم، وعلى مختلف الصعد، كي تقود شعبك وبلادك الى نتيجة تختلف عن النتيجة، التي وصل اليها زعيم المانيا النازية، ادولف هتلر.

مواكبة العصر هي طريق النجاح وليست المغامرات العسكرية الفاشلة المعبّرة عن ضيق أفق خطير لا يليق برئيس دولة اقليمية على جانب كبير من الأهمية كالجمهورية التركية.

ومكر أولئك يبور.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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