الأميركي وفرضية عدم عودة إيران للاتفاق

التعليق السياسي

أعلنت واشنطن عن سلسلة مشاورات تشمل كيان الاحتلال ودول الخليج لمناقشة فرضية فشل مساعي العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، وأوردت واشنطن الفرضية بناء على معطيات يوردها الأميركيون تحت عنوان عدم رغبة إيران بالعودة للاتفاق، وتضعها إيران تحت عنوان مواصلة واشنطن لعبة التذاكي لعودة مشروطة تتبنى ما كان الرئيس السابق دونالد ترامب يسعى الى تحقيقه ولا يمكن لإيران القبول به.

التسريبات الأميركية تقول ان إيران تواصل السعي لتطوير برنامجها النووي، وانها باتت قريبة من بلوغ اللحظة النووية الحرجة، أي امتلاك إيران لما يكفي لإنتاج سلاح نووي، ويضيف الأميركيون انه إذا أرادت إيران تأجيل العودة للاتفاق الى ما بعد هذه اللحظة، فإن واشنطن لن تكون مستعدة لذلك.

المسؤولون الأميركيون يتحدثون عن خطة عمل، والوقائع الحاضرة في المنطقة تقول ان هذه الخطة وضعت قيد التطبيق، ففي افغانستان تحول تنظيم “داعش” من تفجيرات عشوائية ضد “طالبان” أو الأجانب الى تفجيرات تسهدف قومية الهزارة القريبة من إيران حيث سقط العشرات كضحايا بتفجيرين كبيرين، وفي العراق خطر انفجار سياسي وربما امني على وقع الإمساك بنتائج الانتخابات النيابية والدفع بها الى نقطة مواجهة داخل البيت الشيعي الذي يشكل بيئة التحرك القريب من إيران، وفي لبنان تحقيق قضائي في انفجار مرفأ بيروت لم يعد خافياً حجم الدعم الذي يلقاه أميركياً، وتوجيه التحقيق نحو حزب الله وحلفائه، وتأتي مجزرة الطيونة لتقول ان المخاطرة بأخذ لبنان نحو الحرب الأهلية فرضية قائمة ضمن سلة الخيارات البديلة.

تتجه واشنطن بعد الانسحاب من افغانستان لترك قواتها للمنطقة، على قاعدة حرق الأخضر واليابس وراءها ما يضع قوى المقاومة امام مسؤوليات جسام، قد يكون بيان غرفة عمليات حلفاء سورية الذي يتضمن إعلاناً عن العزم على رد قاس على الغارات الإسرائيلية أول رسائل محور المقاومة للأميركي نحن عنوان وصلت رسالتكم وإليكم جوابنا.

مقالات متعلقة

Terrorist Blast Targets Shia Mosque in Afghanistan’s Kandahar: At Least 46 Martyred, Others Injured

October 16, 2021 

Terrorist Blast Targets Shia Mosque in Afghanistan’s Kandahar: At Least 46 Martyred, Others Injured

By Staff, Agencies

An explosion has gone off inside a Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar, according to security sources.

At least 46 people were martyred and 200 others injured in the suicide blast near the Shia mosque in the southern province of Kandahar, according to preliminary information.

According to reports, the explosion was staged by a suicide attacker, and multiple fatalities and injuries have been reported.

The blast occurred at the Imam Bargah Mosque, which has a capacity of 4,000 worshipers, and is considered among Kandahar’s biggest mosques.

The blast came a week after an explosion at another Shia mosque in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province. At least 46 people were martyred and 143 others injured in the blast; Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] claimed responsibility.

Afghanistan, Taliban, the Resistance, and the Region

October 05, 2021

by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog

Afghanistan, Taliban, the Resistance, and the Region

Disproportionate attention has been paid to Cirque du Soleil-style departure by the United States armed forces from Afghanistan, the scene of the West’s most dragged out heist. Clumsily-written roles for Russia, China, and others that seem to be pre-scripted are bandied about in the media (right, left, and center).

The Taliban, attired in quasi-reformed dunces and utilized as convenient props for more than three decades, have now been shoved into the center stage for their final participatory act dressed as independent defiance. Initially, they were dumbfounded with the position in which they had found themselves and kept glancing at their rears with dazed looks to figure out who was it that pushed them. If it were not so tragic for the people of Afghanistan, it would be comedic.

Here, I would like to sidestep catchpenny thrills for a moment and describe the events through a regional historical and contemporary wide-angle Iranian lens. Specifically, I would like to offer evidence that fracturing Afghanistan into what is dubbed as “zones of influence” but more accurately “fragmented infernos” is a mechanism to thrust a lethal sword into the heart of the heartland of the world[1] and to force Afghanistan to metastasize spreading instability and chaos into the entire region, and more specifically into Iran, China, and Russia, in order to unravel serious economic and political upturns and advancements.

There are two overarching goals for the West, US/England to be exact, to achieve. One is to “buy time” to recuperate economically, militarily, and politically while trying to keep the rising powers down. In an article was titled “Injustices Deadline and a Nation’s Ajal” published by the Saker last year, addressed the whole “buying time” preoccupation (See Here). In that article, I discussed why I believe the AngloZionist regimes’ time is up. The other overarching goal is to disperse and reposition the Resistance forces away from the vicinities of the Occupied Palestine/Zionist Regime west of Iran to Afghanistan in its east.

Afghanistan is a major keystone species in this ecosystem. Disintegration of Afghanistan means the new “Silk Road” will first turn into a “Rough Road” and then into an “Abandoned Road” and ultimately destroys the concord among the main players in Asia. In addition, it can serve as a tool for the application of internal-external clamp-style customized and separate pressures on Iran, Russia, China, and other countries in the region.

When the Taliban took over Kabul and the US military put its full power on display last month, Ayatullah Khamenei likened their newly emerging image as a deceitful fox. He stated:

“To be fair, [US] America, behind the scene of diplomacy, is a savage wolf. The appearance is diplomacy, smiles, and talks, occasionally self-righteous and seemingly truthful talks. But in its essence, it is wolf, a wild savage wolf that one sees around the world. Of course, sometimes it takes different shapes, sometimes a wolf and sometimes a deceitful fox, a manifestations of which has been put on display in Afghanistan today.”[2]

Very well. In this article, I would present information and discuss key players in Afghanistan from an angel I have not seen discussed in other essays. First though, I would conceptualize the image of the events (and the crux of this article) in the collage below (I am not a good artist). We shall see what unfolds amounts to unzipping or zipping up.

Afghanistan: Unknown Demographics

Notable facts on the ground regarding Afghanistan are helpful in understanding the past, deciphering the present, and predicting the future. There are some facts & figures, like demographics, that serve as foundations for quantitative analysis of things. These figures must, therefore, have certain level of reality and accuracy.

Take any source of information regarding Afghanistan’s demographics, be it the UN, the CIA “fakt” book, World Bank, IMF, etc. Take any analytic and/or opinion article that uses maps and figures containing descriptive data on ethnicity, religion, and geographic distribution of people in Afghanistan. Let’s take a look at an article posted on this very blog as an example:

“Before the 1979 Soviet incursion and the 1980s jihad, that accounted for 40% to 55% of Pashtuns, 35% to 45% to Persian-speaking ethnic groups, and 10% to 15% to Turkish-speaking ethnic groups. It hasn’t changed much since.”

Let us look at a critical fact as well: In the history of Afghanistan, there has been absolutely no official or unofficial census count taken in full. Ever. Efforts undertaken by Soviet Union for an official population census count that began in 1979 amounted to little, the endeavor was aborted, data collection was abandoned midway, and the whole project was left unfinished.

Another decision was made by the so-called transition Afghan government in 2008 to take a count. The efforts then, too, suffered early miscarriage. A third attempt, planned and funded by the United Nations’ Population Fund in 2013 began a door-to-door census count beginning with the “most secure” districts at the time. That attempt ended in abortion in the first trimester. These are the facts on the ground.

In a 2013 article with a rather telling title, “Afghan census dodges questions of ethnicity and language,” The Guardian reporter, Emma Graham-Harrison wrote:

“[T]he complexity of Afghanistan’s ethnic politics means any kind of counting is controversial. The first results, from normally calm central Bamiyan province, showed an actual population barely half official estimates. The area is mostly home to Hazaras, a Shia minority who have often been persecuted in Sunni-dominated Afghanistan, and many took the findings as another form of attack. ’Death to the enemies of Bamiyan! The statistics are wrong!’ shouted more than 1,000 demonstrators as they marched on UN offices in the small town this summer, the Pajhwok news agency reported. A previous attempt to end the decades-long wait for a count of the Afghan people, in 2008, was scrapped, with the government citing security problems. In December officials even dropped plans to unveil a new estimate of the population.”[3]

Things are, of course, even more interesting than they appear. The Guardian article I cited above included a reference to a 170-pages 2012 report by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In there, I came across a particularly noteworthy, albeit flippant, remark. It states,

“Several sources for detailed data on Afghanistan provide an amazing amount of precision for a country at war, that has had massive population displacements, and that has been in a crisis or civil war for more than three decades. The fact that such data are generated, however, in no way makes them reliable or useful. Trend data are particularly suspect because many past estimates are either made long after the fact, or rely on estimates that had to be made at a time when the Afghan government either did not have any real sources for such data, had nothing approaching its current CSO [Central Statistics Organization], and/or did not have a functioning presence in many districts throughout the country.”[4]

Even for the partial attempts of telephone or door-to-door surveys by young locals hired for the task, CSIS report is even blunter:

“This is particularly true when the analysis does not provide maps of the collection effort or relies on phone sampling and interview numbers where the collector is effectively paid by the claim or simply for providing output, and not by a validated collection effort. Corruption is not simply the privilege of senior power brokers and the wealthy.”

If precise and accurate demographic information do not serve an important function in our assessments, then we should not base any of our assessment on that. If, however, they do, it would be a good start to say, “We really don’t know what percent of who is where.” Even more importantly, if this information were not that important and guestimates with wide margins would have sufficed, why were so many attempts made and why did they all fail? Assumptions based on non-existing data are counter-productive to deep understanding of things.

At any rate, I recommend a thorough read of the above somewhat dated (almost a decade old) CSIS report for those who are interested to see into what sort of a quagmire the US had gotten itself which had become quite evident in the very first years. In addition, it gives clear and detailed description of how and why the US/West plan for Afghanistan had already fallen apart. The report exudes frustration since billions upon billions of funding were tied to specific population sub-groups, regions, and the like, all adorned with extremely meticulous stats that were fabricated year after year:

“Unfortunately, however, no one knows how much outside money is being spent on, much less inside, Afghanistan. There are no reliable figures for how the US and other ISAF countries are actually spending on the war. Moreover, there is a major security aspect of this issue. In early 2011, the US and ISAF were planning on spending some $7-9 billion a year after Transition in 2014 on the ANSF for a force of over 300,000 through 2020 – most of the financing coming from the US. As of June 2012, the US was talking about a total of $4.1 billion a year for a force of 230,000, with only 25% to come from the US, 50% from other donors, and 25% from the Afghan government. This may be a more credible and sustainable figure, but it presents a real risk that Afghanistan cannot sustain the forces it needs and will see large numbers of young men with arms and military/police experience thrust back on an economy that cannot give them anything like the same job opportunities or income.”

The plan and process appear to have been set up to fail right from the beginning.

The Taliban

Ethnically, the Taliban is Pashtun, with an apparent twist. On January 17, 2010, The Guardian headlined a report titled: “Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel: Genetic study sets out to uncover if there is a 2,700-year-old link to Afghanistan and Pakistan.” An excerpt from the article read:

“Some leading Israeli anthropologists believe that, of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case. Paradoxically, it is from the Pashtuns that the ultra-conservative Islamic Taliban movement in Afghanistan emerged. Pashtuns themselves sometimes talk of their Israelite connection, but show few signs of sympathy with, or any wish to migrate to, the modern Israeli state. Now an Indian researcher has collected blood samples from members of the Afridi tribe of Pashtuns who today live in Malihabad, near Lucknow, in northern India. Shahnaz Ali, from the National Institute of Immuno­haematology in Mumbai, is to spend several months studying her findings at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa.”[5]

Allow me to give a bit of background so that you could better contextualize the events. In the past few decades, projects to “Jewrize” several local populations in India, that is, to convince them they are actually one of the lost tribes of Jews and revert them back to becoming Jews, appeared to have been going rather smoothly.

Shavei Israel, a supposed non-profit organization, “has been spearheading the movement to bring back Jews from the lost tribe looking to immigrate to Israel and have coordinated the aliyah (immigration) of most of the Bnei Menashe community members living in Israel[6]. On May 31, 2021, it was reported that: “Some 160 Jews from the north-eastern Indian community of Bnei Menashe reached Israel on Monday but 115 others were left behind in India after 38 of them tested positive for COVID-19, according to authorities here.”[Ibid]

I must also note that evidence on the ground, however, shows the communities inside Israel are not that receptive to this sort of “grafting” and, in fact, said efforts have had destabilizing effects inside the Israeli society itself. On the other hand, in the communities within India, where a noteworthy number of people have been convinced of their “Jewish” origin 27 centuries later, good many have been trained to serve as 5th columns, pressure levers, and sticks over Indian government’s head.

Since 1970’s into 1980’s, Israel has been busy with similar projects to wake the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan to their “Jewish” origins. Just a few days ago, on September 9th, 2021 to be exact, the Jerusalem Post ran an article titled: “Are the Taliban descendants of Israel?” The article goes on to assert:

“The Pashtuns, or Pathans, are said to number in the tens of millions, with the bulk living in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. They consist of several hundred clans and tribes that have fiercely preserved their heritage amid waves of foreign conquest and occupation. Prior to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region, many of the Pashtuns declared themselves to be what they referred to as Bani Israel (Sons of Israel), an oral tradition that their ancestors passed down through the generations.”

“The mere possibility of a shared historical identity could serve as a basis for discussion between Jews and Pashtuns, one that could lead to a dampening of hostility and suspicion and perhaps lay the groundwork for a stronger relationship in the future. In light of their fanatical theology, the Taliban are of course not an address for such efforts. But there are plenty of other Pashtuns worldwide with whom we should seek to build bridges, whether or not one believes them to be our long-lost cousins.”[7]

There your have it, Taliban! Your “cousins” are knocking. What’s going to be? While Taliban is pondering “to be or not to be” a Zionist or a Zionist puppet, at the least, a bit more specific background might be useful. An Iranian specialist on Afghanistan, Muhammad Ruhi, who was interviewed by IRIB a few months back, stated: “During 70’s and 80’s, Zionist organizations conducted significant activities to ‘Jewrize’ various Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan by employing and developing young Pashtuns in Beirut, Lebanon, and some other Western countries.”[8]

A well-known character who benefited from those sorts of activities was none other than Zalmay Khalilzad. An anthropologist who was formerly with Northern Illinois University, Dr. Muhammad Jamil Hanifi, who is also a contributor to the website Khorasan Zamin, wrote an essay (2015) titled: “Afghanistan in the Claws of Zionized Imperial Feminism.” In that essay, he referenced Khalilzad’s and Ghani’s past and presented interesting thoughts on the role they and their respective Zionist wives have been playing in Afghanistan. The essay followed the broadcast of an interview Rula Ghani (Ashraf Ghani’s wife) had done with BBC. Hanini stated,

“Rula Saade Ghani’s desire for Afghan men to become like her father or husband, her aspirations to Christianize the women of Afghanistan, her demand of more respect for Afghan women, and her consciousness about the presence of Judaism (see below) in her matrilineage, offer an opportunity to speak to her laments, longings, and aspirations and to identify and historicize the social context in which her cosmologies for changing social life in Afghanistan were constructed. An important layer of this context consists of a quartet: two Kabuli young boys—Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Zalmay Khalilzad—seeking “higher education” and two hypermodern young women—Rula Saade, a Europeanized Lebanese Zionist Christian and Cheryl Benard, a Euro-American staunch Zionist Jew. All four contemporaneously attended the ultra-liberal American University of Beirut (AUB) during the early 1970s. Ashraf Ghani and Zalmay Khalilzad are prominent names in the American political discourse about the occupation of Afghanistan from its first step during October 2001 to the present.”

“Here I wish to draw attention to the young women (especially Rula Ghani) in this quartet and reflect on how these two women and the two Kabuli boys coalesced into one of the most influential bands of Zionized feminists and feminized compradors in the service of the American imperial savagery in Afghanistan. How did two Western-struck Kabuli boys and their Western Zionist wives end up playing such crucial roles in the bloody American destruction of Afghanistan? Specifically, how did a Westernized hypermodern fiery feminist Lebanese Christian woman (with Zionist genes) end up being the “banu-ye awal” (Farsi, first lady) of Afghanistan being interviewed by the BBC in the presidential palace of Afghanistan?” [9]

It is useful to remember that Zalmay Khalilzad was in charge of negotiation with Taliban and served under Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden until he fully handed Afghanistan back to Taliban.

Just as a side note, it might be interesting for you to note that Wikipedia reports the following information about Dr. Hanifi, the author of the essay quoted above:

“Hanifi received his Master’s degree from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Hanifi was a faculty member at Northern Illinois University and under consideration for the chairmanship of the Department of Anthropology when allegations of plagiarism in his dissertation surfaced. He wound up resigning from the university. He is no longer affiliated with the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University.”[10]

People in the US have “freedom of speech” but whoever interpreted it to mean “freedom of consequences of speech” is beyond me.

It is well beyond the reasonable length of this essay to go into more details. I think there is enough material to give the gist of events that are unfolding. I would like to go back to the Muhammad Ruhi’s interview referenced earlier and quote him in the conclusion of his interview in which he summed the situation with a question posed to Taliban:

“This is a critical test to verify the truthfulness of Taliban’s knowledge of Islam and their love of the motherland. For Taliban, cleansing their hands and garbs of collaborating with Islam’s oldest sworn enemy and rejecting Zionist Regime’s claim regarding Jewish origin of Pashtun and Taliban is at the moment more critical and necessary than talks with the [US] America to obtain all seats to power in Afghanistan. This is also a test for other groups and tribes who claim some sort of Islamic rule in Afghanistan. At what price are they going to achieve their claims to power?”[8]

He went further and called for unity among all people of Afghanistan:

“It is, therefore, imperative for all ethnic groups, warriors, fighters, opposing groups, Ansar, all Afghans, young and old, regardless of their religion, school of thought, and tradition, to save the territorial integrity of Afghanistan. Of the utmost importance at this juncture is preserving Afghanistan as one cohesive nation and cutting off the hands of the ill-wishers. Let Afghanistan not to become another Occupied Palestine. With collaboration and participation of all groups and respect for all religions of God, the people of this country could ward off the danger the [US] America and the occupying regime of Al-Qos has concocted for our region.”[Ibid]

Taliban Not Involved in Iranian diplomats’ Massacre. On Mordad 17, 1377 [August 8, 1998], a group of armed men dressed like Taliban stormed into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Consulate in Mazar Sharif, Afghanistan. They took nine Iranian diplomats and a reporter to a room in the basement of the Consulate, opened fired on 9 diplomats and an Iranian reporter. Taliban returned to the Consulate that night, threw the bodies of 8 diplomats and the reporter in a well in Sultan Razi school yard right behind the Consulate. One severely injured diplomat by the name of Allah Madad Shahsevan managed to escape and return to Iran. In an interview with Iranian Students News Agency on Bahman 27, 1393 [February 16, 2015], he described the events as follows:

“I dislike speaking about myself. However, since this story concludes with me, I am forced to speak. Seventeen years has passed since Mazar Sherif’s incident. For 17 year, for specific reasons, they left me in isolation. Although I love life and work hard, but I received treatments that I wished I would have been martyred, too. The martyrdom of those beloved people was bitter but since this one person had survived that event, it was sweet. I review the scenes with myself and I realize without a doubt, it was a real miracle. I journeyed 800 kilometer, sometimes on foot and sometimes in a vehicle, to get myself to the border. I did not show any weakness.”

“I had communicated with Tehran two months earlier and had explained the situation in Mazar Sharif. In Mazar Sharif, the amount of work was so much that I would begin work in the morning while it was still dark. I found out the Balkh Brigade had fallen and Taliban commanders had bought this brigade and Afghanistan’s Minister of Interior had told the commander of this brigade they will send a helicopter to get him over the border. When I heard this, I knew everything was finished. I immediately began hiding and destroying the special files. I woke everyone up and told them Mazar Sharif had fallen. I helped [Martyr] Saremi to communicate the news [to Tehran].”

“My work was such that I knew a lot. When [Martyr] Rigi who was the head consular told me I must stay, I obeyed. Otherwise, the conditions were such that I wanted to collect my belonging and return to Tehran. They told me to stay and I stayed but I also told them about the threats.”

“After these events, I found out this was an operation conducted by Pakistan since before then, they had told us from Tehran that ‘we have put you under the protection of Pakistanis.’ When this group came in, it was clear they were operating separately from Taliban. They had an order. They executed it and immediately left the scene. When one of those who had stormed in [to the Consulate] asked if he could contact Pakistan, I began to doubt them. Right then and there, I knew this was Pakistan’s work. After I had reached the Foreign Ministry and told them this, Mr. Brojerdi who was a special envoy in Afghanistan affairs just confessed that the operation had been done by Pakistan.”[11]

Alaeddin Brojerdy was then President Khatami’s special envoy to Afghanistan at that time. In an interview published on Mehr 16, 1391 [Oct. 7, 2012] by Mashregh News, he explained:

“Two to three days later, group of Taliban came to Mazar Sharif and killed our people. Of course, they had an order to do this. Mr. Jafarian (who has made a documentary about this) told me something that was quite significant. He told me a high-ranking ISI officer [Pakistani Intelligence] who had some position at that time had somehow relayed the news our embassy in Pakistan about a month before it happened that ISI has made this decision and was going to carry it out. He had said he was baffled as to why the information was not sent back to Iran.”[12]

When directly asked if indeed Taliban had killed the Iranian diplomats, Mr. Brojerdi said, “Multiple evidence show that this massacre was not the work of Taliban. Even Mr. Jafarian believes that Pakistan feared a closer relationship between Taliban and Iran.

Mohammad Hussain Jafarian was the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cultural attaché in Afghanistan from 1375 to 1377 [1996 to 1998]. He also made a documentary titled “Who killed us?” and was interviewed by Quds Online News and said, “Taliban had not part in the martyrdom of our diplomats.” In making the documentary, he explained how he went to that building in Mazar Sharif with “Allah Madad Shahsavan” so that the scene can be fully constructed. He also interviewed Wahidullah Mojdeh who had been one of Taliban’s commanders at the time:

“He [Mojdeh] vigorously denied Taliban’s role. He was quite logical. ‘For what would we want the dead bodies of diplomats? Could we have obtained important intelligence from them? Could we have used them as hostages to exert pressure on Iran for something? If the goal was punishing Iran, we could have constructed some sort of scene in which two or three people would be injured or killed. What sane mind would say this would have had any benefit what so ever for Taliban to order the massacre of the diplomats?’ Why of all foreign consulates in the city of Mazar Sharif, only the Iranian diplomats suffered that fate?!”[13]

At the same time, the Zionist-driven media outlets were quite busy beating the drums of war between Iran and Afghanistan:

Inside September 11, 1998 article, it was written though: “The Taliban, who control most of Afghanistan, said the Iranians had been killed by renegade forces who had acted without orders. But Iran, which had responded to the diplomats’ disappearance with a major military buildup along the Afghan border, appeared in no mood for swift forgiveness.”

And September 12, 1998 article reported: “Some Iranian officials took pains today to emphasize that Iran would not be drawn into hasty action. But the public declarations compounded an atmosphere of heavy tension already overlaid by an Iranian troop buildup along the Afghan border.”

CNN, Guardian, and multiple other mainstream media were salivating over the prospect of a war. However, getting the Islamic Republic of Iran into a war of attrition with Taliban in Afghanistan while reconstruction of the country after 8-year Iraq-Iran war was still ongoing was a dream of the US Inc. that never materialized.

I conclude this section by an excerpt from Ayatullah Khamenei, the Leader for piloting this ship in very turbulent waters:

“I quoted something from a well-known [US] American officials. Later s/he denied it. Apparently, they confessed that they themselves created these currents. Even if they had not confessed, we have evidence. We know. I don’t forget, late Sheykh Saeed Sha’ban – brining up his name now is not a problem – he was a well-known Sunni scholar in Mashhad. At that time, it was during the war [Iraq-Iran war during ‘80’s]. He told me, ‘I have information they are working to get you busy and involved in your eastern borders.’ I said, ‘Well, to our east is Afghanistan.’ He said, ‘Yes. From Afghanistan.’ This was before any of those talks about Taliban and Al-Qaedah in Afghanistan had taken shape. He had connections with all sorts of political and religious circles of Ahl-e Sunnah. He was present in sensitive places and was a very respectable character and had become aware of this. He said to me, ‘I feel it was my obligation to tell you.’”

“Before long, these events occurred and we understood they were as he said. There is no doubt that these currents are created by these very Western powers and their agents in the region. Now, sometimes they do not enter into the scene directly and enter others. But sometimes they act directly.”[14]

The Fatemiyoun

The Fatemiyoun unit is the Afghan arm of Qods Force and a significant fighting unit in Syria against ISIS and other terrorists. In a video documentary “The Time to Be,” the formation of the Fatemiyoun, why they joined the Qods Force, and some of their operational encounters are explained.

The documentary is in Farsi and I have chosen to translate specific excerpts of the transcript for you in this article. The excerpts are limited. However, they could give some clues into why there might be a sudden surge in media propaganda (especially in Western-funded Persian language media) urging the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the Fatemiyoun into some sort of “intervention” in Afghanistan:

“It was around the year ’90 [2011], some events in Syria had taken place the news of which got to us as well. People protests were happening…and these people’s protests began to gradually take a new shape. Gradually, it transformed into chaos and armed battle and increasingly fighters from other countries began to pour into Syria. They advanced their ways toward Muslims’ holy places to destroy them…And we began to feel the danger that this movement of theirs go towards Hazrat Zeynab’s (Salaamullah Alayha) holy shrine. Our honor was threatened and we needed to do something.”

“One day Mr. Tavasolli, we were friends, we knew each other, he came and said, ‘have you heard the news? Of what has happened?’ I said, ‘yes.’ He said, ‘Are you to be?’ I asked, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, “Right now, there is a war in Syria. This war has advanced to haram of Hazrat Zaynab (SA). There is a probability the desecration that happened to the tomb of Hujr Ibn Aday to be brought upon the tomb of Hazrat Zaynab (SA).’ I said, ‘Of course we are. Why wouldn’t we Be?!’ Mr. Tavasolli said, ‘So, what should we do? What is the solution? How can we enter?’”

“There were all these questions and we had no information. So, there was not much talk after that. He said, ‘Very well, then. We will let you know. But you just be alert and prepared so that whenever we called you, you would be ready.’ I said, ‘For sure.’ That was it. We made our decision right then and there.”

Thus the time “to Be” arrived and the journey began. Over the following few months and after much ups and downs, a small group of Afghans were deployed to Syria on Ordibehesht of 1392 [April 2013]. They had no formal unit and were placed with Heydarioun unit of Iraqi forces. Sayyad Mousavi narrates:

“Because there were very of us, they didn’t take us seriously at first. In the very first operation in Ferrosiah, they sent us to an area and told us to go and take that area and secure it. Iraqi brothers were to our right and Hizbullah brothers were to our left. So, we were all supposed to conduct a coordinated attack and take the region.”

“As soon as the operation began, our kids went and got the entire area and even took a few houses beyond that. That means, before Lebanese kids and Iraqi kids did anything, our kids took the region and secured it and went a few houses beyond that. So, they kept on asking through the wireless where we were and we told them where, they kept on saying, ‘no, that is impossible because the terrorists are herehere and here. We want to make sure to know where you are so that we could begin the operation and hit those points.’”

“So, we told them not to hit because we were there. They said, ‘there is no way possible that you are there.’ We told them that no, we were there and gave them signals to show them we had secured the region… Here was when they realized these kids are good warriors. Gradually, Afghan forces increased and experience showed that any operation in which they participated they gained victory…That was when they gave these kids an axial position and more ammunition.”

“One day we were at Forousiyyah base, Mr. Tavasolli said that every group here has a name and we should choose a name for our unit. He said, ‘Iraqis are called Haydariyoun; Lebanese are Hizbullah, so, we, too, should have an identity.’ So, we said we came for the love of Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (SA), we call ourselves Fatemiyoun.”

The above excerpts give some information about the formation of the Fatemiyoun. However, it is at 15:31 into the documentary that things get more interestingly relevant. Three warriors (one of whom, Abu Hamed aka Mr. Tavassoli who was martyred later) are standing atop a hill overlooking Golan Heights in the horizon. It is the voice of Abu Hamed:

“Here is now Tal Mari’ah [Mari’ah mount]. The final mission is that white high mountain ahead of us which is Golan Heights and in the hands of Israelis. And now we are very close to Israel.”

Another voice says,

“Haj Agha, what is the plan? When are we going to go to there, Inshallah? Abu Hamed responded, ‘In the Summer!’ ‘Tal-a-Qarin, under a heavy bombardment by the enemy…’ In Tal-a-Qarin different and unusual events happened. The kids [i.e. Fatemiyoun fighters] were now in a one-to-one fight with the enemy [Israelis] …gun-to-gun and face-to-face in a real face off…”

Abu Hamed (Marty Alireza Tavasolli) was martyred in Tal-a-Qarin on Esfand 9, 1393 [February 28, 2015]. In the final few minutes of the video, the crux of the presence of Fatemiyoun in Syria is explained:

“The hardships of which I spoke were not even a fraction of the hardship the kids endured. The kids in Edlib, too, were fighting for the love of fighting with Israel. The battles in Edlib and Tedmore is just a preparation for the Fatemiyoun kids for a fight against Zionists. We truly love fighting these cowards. They are more of cowards than what is talked about them. Israel and [US] America with the help of their sycophants began this fire so that they could increase Israel’s security and reduce the power of the Resistance. But they committed a grave mistake because a force like Fatemiyoun was added to the Resistance’s camp. And till we have not brought the life of Zionists to its end, we are not going to let go. In remembering Abu Hamed an in his memory, we will continue his path until there is no Zionist is left.”

When some previews of that documentary had been released, newspapers in Israel went into a panic mode[15].

Fork in the Taliban’s Road

Atlantic Council headlined an article on August 20, 2021, that read: “Iran spent years preparing for Taliban victory. It may still get stung.”[16] Within the first few opening paragraphs and in the closing paragraphs, the article did not fail in being quite predictable:

In opening paragraphs: “Twenty-three years ago, the Taliban murdered eleven diplomats and a journalist at Tehran’s mission in Mazar-i-Sharaf, nearly sparking a war between the two countries.”

In closing paragraphs: “Even as Iranian officials boasted that the embassy in Kabul and consulate in Herat would remain open, the foreign ministry revealed on August 15 that it quietly shuttered missions in Jalalabad, Kandahar and, of course, Mazar-e Sharif, where the Taliban murdered Iranian personnel.”

I am not too sure whether Atlantic Council is more worried about the Iranians’ safety and security or is anxious to separate the Pashtun cousins from their Muslim roots so that they could find and embrace their supposed Jewish roots in isolation from the region.

I am dead certain, however, that only Taliban and Pashtun could demonstrate with their actions whether they are with the Zionists or with the people of Afghanistan and their Muslim brothers in the region.

References

[1] Mackinder HJ (1904). “The Geographical Pivot of History.” The Geographical Journal, No. 4, Vol. 23, Pages 421-437.

[2] Ayatullah Khamenei. Speech delivered during visit with the new president [Ayatullah Raisi] and the members of the 13th Administration on Shahrivar 6, 1400 [August 28, 1400]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=48588

[3] Graham-Harris E. “Afghan census dodges questions of ethnicity and language: Door-to-door interviewers embark on controversial project to count population of country for first time since 1979.” Thu 3 Jan 2013 17.47 GMT. Accessed online at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/03/afghan-census-questions-of-ethnicity

[4] Cordesman AH, Gold B, and Mann ST (2012). “The Afghan War: Creating the Economic Conditions and Civil-Military and Efforts Needed for Transition.” Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Sept. 18, 2012. Accessed online at: http://www.CSIS.org/burke/reports

[5] McCarthy R. (2010). “Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel.” The Guardian, Sunday, January 17, 2010. Accessed online at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/17/israel-lost-tribes-pashtun

[6] Harinder Mishra (2021). 160 Indian Jews immigrate to Israel, several left behind after testing positive.” Outlook, 31 May 2021; Last Updated at 7:14 pm. Accessed online at: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/160-indian-jews-immigrate-to-israel-several-left-behind-after-testing-positive/2093378

[7] Michael Freund (2021). “Are the Taliban descendants of Israel?” The Jerusalem Post, September 9, 2021 @ 04:16. Accessed online at: https://www.jpost.com/opinion/are-the-taliban-descendants-of-israel-678995

[8] Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency, “[US] America’s peace with Taliban or Jewrizing Afghanistan?” Ordibehesht 15, 1400 [May 5, 2021] @ 7:10; News Code: 3096197; Accessed online at: https://www.iribnews.ir/00CzSf

[9] M. Jamil Hanifi (2015). “Afghanistan in the Claws of Zionized Imperial Feminism.” Khorasan Zamin, January 30, 2015. Accessed online at: https://www.khorasanzameen.net/php/en/read.php?id=2873

[10] M. Jamil Hanifi, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Jamil_Hanifi

[11] Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA). “Untold Account of the only survivor of Terror of the Iranian Diplomats.” Monday, Bahman 27, 1393 @ 14:23 pm, News Code: 93112715048. Accessed Online at: https://www.isna.ir/news/93112715048/

[12] Mashregh News. “Broujerdi interview, Khatami Administration had recognized Taliban Government.” Mehr 16, 1391 [October 7, 2012], @ 16:57; News Code: 160945. Accessed online at: mshrgh.ir/160945

[13] QUDSonline: News-Analytical Website. “A documented account of the martyrdom of Iranian diplomats in Mazar Sharif.” Azar 6, 1393, @ 00:51; News Code: 249169. Accessed online at: http://www.qudsonline.ir/news/249169/

[14] Ayatullah Khamenei. Speech delivered in a visit with members of the Assembly of Khobregan Rahbari on Shahrivar 13, 1393 [September 4, 2014]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=27356

[15] Seth J. Frantzman. “Iran’s Afghan mercenaries threaten Israel: Final target is the Golan.” The Jerusalem Post, December 24, 2019 @ 14:23. Accessed online at: https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/irans-afghan-mercenaries-threaten-israel-from-golan-611967

[16] Borzou Daragahi. “Iran spent years preparing for a Taliban victory. It may still get stung.” Atlantic Council, Friday, August 20, 2021. Accessed online at: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/iransource/iran-spent-years-preparing-for-a-taliban-victory-it-may-still-get-stung/

Taliban Killed 13 Members of Hazara Ethnic Group – Report

OCTOBER 05, 2021

Taliban Killed 13 Members of Hazara Ethnic Group - Report

By Staff, Al Jazeera

The Taliban killed at least 13 members of the Hazara ethnic group, including a 17-year-old girl, in the central province of Daykundi, shortly after they took power in Afghanistan, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

On August 30, a convoy of 300 Taliban fighters entered Khidr district and killed at least 11 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF], nine of whom were taken to a nearby river basin where they were executed shortly after having surrendered, the rights group said in its report published on Tuesday.

A teenager, identified by the name of Masuma, was killed in crossfire after the Taliban targeted Afghan forces who were attempting to flee the area. Another civilian, Fayaz, a newly-wed in his 20s, was also among those killed in the crossfire.

The ANSF members who were killed ranged in age from 26 to 46, Amnesty said. All the victims were Hazara, who were persecuted during the Taliban’s first stint in power between 1996 and 2001.

It is the second killing of Hazaras documented by Amnesty. At least nine Hazara men were killed by Taliban fighters in Ghazni province in July before the group captured power, Amnesty reported on August 19.

Both the Taliban and their rivals, the so-called ‘Islamic State’ Khorasan Province, ISKP [ISIS-K], a Daesh affiliate, have been accused of targeting the Hazara people, who make up the majority of Afghanistan’s Shia population.

By September 1, the Taliban had denied the killings. Saidqullah Abed, the Taliban appointed police chief for Daykundi, would only confirm that one of their fighters had been injured in the crossfire.

Raihana Azad, a former Member of Parliament for the province, also verified Amnesty’s report to Al Jazeera, saying the events of August 30 amounted to “inhumane mass killings” carried out by the Taliban.

She said what transpired in Khidr was in direct violation of the Taliban’s claims of a nationwide general amnesty for former security forces and government workers.

“These cold-blooded executions are further proof that the Taliban are committing the same horrific abuses they were notorious for during their previous rule of Afghanistan,” said Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general.

During their five-year rule in the 1990s, the Taliban were accused of massacring hundreds of Hazaras in the provinces of Balkh and Bamiyan.

Zaman Sultani, South Asia researcher at Amnesty International, said the killings in Daykundi follow a clear pattern by the Taliban.

He points to a statement that interviewees attributed to a senior Taliban official as proof: “I have killed people for the past 20 years. Killing is easy for me. I can kill again,” the official reportedly told Daykundi residents.

Azad, the former MP, said the Taliban’s abuses in Daykundi do not end with the killings.

She says that since the Taliban captured the province on August 14, a day before former President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, thousands of families have been forced from their homes in the Gizab and Pato districts of the mountainous province.

A list compiled by residents shows that as many as 20,000 families were forcibly displaced across at least 10 different villages over the last month and a half.

Daykundi residents speaking to Al Jazeera said that when the Taliban came to their homes, they claimed that the families had been illegally occupying the land or that a Taliban shura had decided the land “belongs to the people.”

A Severe Blow to the CIA: Iraqi Security Captures 25 ISIS Terrorists

OCTOBER 1, 2021

 ARABI SOURI

Iraqi National Security Service forces arrest ISIS terrorists

In a severe blow to the destabilizing and terrorism sponsored by the CIA and its affiliates, the Iraqi security forces captured 25 terrorists all from the US-sponsored ISIS terrorist organization in several provinces.

Iraqi National Security Service forces managed to arrest 25 terrorists in a security operation that lasted several days in the so-called states of Nineveh, Dajleh (Tigris), Jazira, and Salah al-Din of ISIS. The terrorist organization calls itself (Islamist State in Iraq and Sham – Levant), and calls the sectors in which it operates as states following the lead of the ‘state of Israel’.

The Iraqi official media reporting the news said that the detainees confessed to being members of the terrorist organization and that they have committed a number of crimes against the civilians and Iraqi forces, adding that ‘all the terrorists were referred to the competent legal authorities to take fair measures against them.’


As the US and Turkey are recycling their terrorists from Iraq and Syria to other new fronts like the newly opened in Afghanistan, the Iraqi security in coordination with the Iraqi PMU have intensified their counter-terrorism operations. A joint force of the Popular Mobilization Units and the Iraqi security forces carried out a pre-emptive security operation to pursue the remnants of the ISIS organization on the island of Salah al-Din, where several dens and tunnels that were used by the organization’s members to hide and move on the island were destroyed.

This comes three days after a security operation carried out by the Iraqi PMU in coordination with the Iraqi National Security Service forces led to the eliminating of two ISIS terrorists in the Tarmiyah town in the Salah al-Din governorate north of the capital Baghdad, one of the eliminated ISIS terrorists was a suicide bomber.

It’s no secret anymore that the USA created these terrorist groups starting with the ‘Mujahideen’ in Afghanistan from who Al Qaeda emerged in the 80s of last century and it created the ISIS terrorist group where it trained them in special camps in Jordan and Turkey, and smuggled them into Syria and Iraq loaded with state of the art weapons, satellite communication devices, hundreds of machine-gun mounted brand new 4 x 4 Toyota pickup trucks, and provided them with top intelligence information to effect regime change in Syria and to return to Iraq after the withdrawal of the US troops from it.

Former US Secretary of State, the dinosaur politician traveling in his private jet preaching about the dangers of climate change John Kerry put it during a meeting with the so-called Syrian opposition leaders this way: ‘We saw ISIS growing, we saw them heading to Damascus, we thought Assad will be pressured to give (us) concessions, and instead, he (Assad) brought Russia in and now it’s a different situation.

We saw ISIS growing and threatening Assad, he called in Russia and it’s a different situation now.’ ~John Kerry, he’s not in prison!

Now you know why Trump killed Iranian Revered General Qassim Soleimani and Deputy Commander of the Iraqi PMU Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis?

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Avert Afghanistan from a catastrophe

SEPTEMBER 30, 2021

Avert Afghanistan from a catastrophe

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans working for the US government, directly or indirectly, have been evacuated, either by air or by road, direct to destinations’ or via transit from any third country. It was a massive migration operation. Yet, Many Afghans are trying to slip away to destinations in the Western developed world.

The US was ruling Afghanistan through such agents and they were informers and used for a special operation. They were working under the CIA directly or through various NGOs. The US has established a wide network of its loyal in Afghanistan and was operating through them. Now the US is helping them to leave Afghanistan. If such people exposed the US atrocities and brutalities in Afghanistan, the US may not be able to face world condemnation. The Jails, Torture Centers, Detention centers. And interrogation cells were the worst places of human rights violations.

There are still many Afghans, working for the US and may not find any way to leave Afghanistan. This is a threat to Afghan peace and stability. The defense contractors working in Afghanistan, some of them, preferred to stay in Afghanistan, creates a lot of doubts and fears of creating chaos in Afghanistan. The UD, by design, shifted ISIS-K to Afghanistan long ago and equipped them, trained them, and funded them, for fighting against the Taliban, moving toward civil war.

The US cannot forget its Two Trillion investment in Afghanistan and the sacrifices of thousands of its Servicemen and women. It was forced to leave Afghanistan, but, has not forgiven the humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. The US does not want a stable and prosperous Afghanistan, especially do not wish a smooth and stable Taliban rule. It has the potential to destabilize the country and planned to do so.

The recent bill in the US 117th Congress 1st Session is a comprehensive strategy to create chaos and destabilize the country. It is sanctioned as a tool to achieve such objectives. It is very much obvious from the language of the bill that the US is determined to take revenge.

Strange! Taliban is the son of the soil and true Afghans, rule by locals is not acceptable to the US? Americans were the invaders and destroyed the country, yet not happy? And still devising conspiracies, what a state of unfairness! The cruelty is the UN’s silence. Afghans want to rule their country according to their traditions, tribal customs, and local culture, why the US has objection? Imposed governments, installed governments, planted governments, puppet governments. And invaders, aggressors, failed to rule Afghanistan in history and will fail in the future too. Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of big empires. Has a long history of defeating outsiders, aggressors, invaders, the world should learn their history and then make any decision. If the people of Afghanistan have not accepted USSR-backed Dr. Najeeb, or Babrak Karmel, or Hafizullah Ameen, or Noor Muhammad Turkey, in the same manner, have not accepted US-backed Hamid Karzai or Ashraf Ghani, what’s wrong with it? It is their country, and they wanted to rule themselves, is it not their fundamental right? Why does the international community not allow them to exercise their fundamental right?

Taliban are popular in the country and have not faced any resistance while recapturing it. They fought against the foreign occupation for twenty years, they sacrificed the lives of close relatives and friends, faced jails, tortures, and all types of hardships. Finally, they won and forced the US to leave Afghanistan. Is it not in their right to rule their own country? Why do Americans oppose it?

Since the Taliban recaptured their country, the law and order situation has improved, people are happy and feel safe. Taliban has granted general amnesty to all, including those who have been fighting against them along with the US. They have not killed a single person, not arrested a single person, not harassed a single person. Society is calm and quiet. The bureaucracy is functioning in a routine manner. Women are working, as usual, girls are going to school as usual. Shops are opened, traffic is normal, everything is smooth, except, economy.

The US has frozen Afghan assets, and imposed sanctions, coercing them economically. A war-torn country, damaged by the foreign aggressor, has devastated the whole country, the economic situation is rather pathetic. There is an acute shortage of food and consumer products. Humanitarian assistance is needed urgently. If the international community may not respond immediately, 40 million Afghan’s lives are at stake. If due attention is not spared toward Afghanistan, a catastrophe is unavoidable. We foresee a major humanitarian disaster in the country. The people of Afghanistan are not the people of lesser God. Care for them, rescue them, extend humanitarian assistance on an emergency basis. All nations and individuals with human consciousness must try their best to save humankind. The UN and its organizations must extend assistant open-hearted and generously, without conditions.

Usually, the UN helps needy communities through NGOs, and the US implants their agents in such NGOs, who are not helping hands but conspirators and implementing the American agenda. They exploited destitute people and achieve their objectives. It has been witnessed that, in many vulnerable communities, many agents were implanted and undercover, they were engaged in the implementation of their agenda, instead of real service to humanity. The UN may take serious notice and avoid similar practices in Afghanistan. However, there are also some good NGOs, and working for the welfare of humanity, must be appreciated and applauded.

It is a rare opportunity that permanent peace and stability may be achieved in Afghanistan. It will help to promote stability and prosperity not only in this region but also globally. Afghanistan is on the major traditional trade route and connects East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, China, Russia, and Eurasia, with Africa, Europe, and Middle-east through Pakistan (Arabian Ocean – Karachi and Gwadar). A stable Afghanistan is a prerequisite for trade and economic activities in this region and leading toward developments and prosperity.

Taliban, after passing through a tough war against superpowers has learned a bitter lesson from their experiences. They have become more mature and sensible. It is now reformed and refines the Taliban. They are wise, smart, and understand global implications. To date, their behaviors are much mature and sensible. They have honored the peace deal reached between the US and them on 29 February 2020, in Doha. They have implemented the deal in true letter and spirit. They have capture Kabul peacefully, without losing any human life. They controlled the country and brought the Government writ amicably, they have not taken any revenge from anyone and provided protection to all. They have allowed and facilitated all foreigners and Afghans to leave the country at their own wish. They have provided full rights to women according to their social norms and culture. They are trying to broaden the Government inclusive of all factions, ethnic groups, etc. However, the American demand for the inclusion of Hamid Karzai, or Ashraf Ghani, or their group is irrational. They should not share power with traitors, puppets, foreign agents, etc. It is their country, they should rule it according to domestic values and traditions. The world has seen and witnessed that the Taliban are wise, gentle, kind, smart, and capable people. They can rule the country very well, they have proved their capabilities since the take over on 15 August 2021. Any interference from outside or dictation should be rejected immediately.

The international community should extend heling hand instead of putting harsh conditions. The US should fulfill its part of the obligation reached under the Doha peace deal, recognize Taliban rule, remove them from the terrorist list, release their assets, and keep out of domestic politics. Let the Afghans decide their future.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

How the Pentagon Leaned on Hollywood to Sell the War in Afghanistan

September 28th, 2021

By Alan Macleod

Source

Visual search query image
In hundreds of films and TV shows, every single word and image has been closely scrutinized and signed off on by senior military figures, all in an effort to convince viewers into supporting deadly and grossly immoral campaigns around the world.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA — The (official) 20-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan has come to a close, with the military beating a hasty and ignominious retreat. The puppet Afghan government NATO installed lasted fewer than two weeks on its own, with President Ashraf Ghani fleeing for the UAE, allegedly with around $169 million in cash.

If the occupation was so unpopular and weak, how was it able to last so long? The Afghanistan Papers  — a trove of military documents leaked to The Washington Post — showed that high-ranking government officials knew that the war was unwinnable but were openly lying to the public about how it was going, all while NGOs and military contractors made billions

But documents obtained by journalist Tom Secker under the Freedom of Information Act and shared with MintPress also show that Hollywood also played a significant role, knowingly collaborating with the Pentagon to produce pro-war propaganda about Afghanistan, ultimately helping to artificially buoy public opinion on the unwinnable campaign. This typically included giving the Pentagon direct editorial control over scripts and even removing any anti-war content or scenes that would show the military in a negative light. In exchange, the military offered its human resources, its bases as locations for filming, and its wide range of hi-tech vehicles to be used in movies. This quid pro quo effectively turned much of Hollywood, and the entertainment industry more generally, into cheerleaders for imperialism. 

The military-industrial-media complex

Reading through the documents, what becomes clear is the sheer scale of the military’s involvement in the silver screen, and in pop culture more generally. For instance, between 2015 and 2017, the U.S. Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs West (OCPA-W) — based just outside of Hollywood, CA — was generally working on between 40 and 70 entertainment media projects at one time. The OCPA-W is one of three Army regional offices, the others being in Chicago and New York City. The Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, CIA and other government organizations all have similar agencies and programs aimed at manipulating their image in mass media. 

The OCPA-W’s weekly summary of its affairs for the week of December 22, 2016, for example, notes that it is involved in 63 working projects; 15 in pre-production, 26 in production and 22 in post-production. According to research by Secker  and Matthew Alford for their 2017 book “National Security Cinema,” the Department of Defense has supported at least 814 movies and 1,133 separate TV shows, the majority of those in recent years.

Afghanistan is generally far from American minds. This is by design: few at the top of American society want the public to be scrutinizing U.S. actions there. When the country is portrayed on American screens, the military works extremely hard to present the war in a way most conducive to its interests. Hollywood has been a willing collaborator in this. Below is a selection of case studies of movies about or featuring the war in Afghanistan and a discussion about how the U.S. military has had those movies sanitized before they ever met the public eye. 

12 Strong (2018)

“12 Strong” is a jingoistic action film based on a true story about a small unit of 12 U.S. Special Forces who invaded Afghanistan immediately after the September 11 attacks, thus being the first American boots on the ground of a two-decade campaign that cost the lives of an estimated 176,000 Afghans, displacing almost 6 million more. 

The film entails the elite group attempting to capture the city of Mazar-i-Sharif before NATO forces arrive. The team, so they say, is outnumbered by “50,000 Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces,” as if the two were close allies. This is despite the fact that the Taliban immediately condemned the 9/11 attacks and that Western estimates put al-Qaeda’s global forces at the time at below 100 members. “If we don’t take that city, the World Trade Center is just the beginning,” says one of the heroes of the film, whose tagline is “twelve soldiers gave us a reason to hope.”

Documents show that the military was eager to help with such a nationalistic film, and matched what they called the production company’s “breathtaking” list of asks, including access to a number of military bases in New Mexico for shooting; army uniforms for actors; “target” vehicles they could blow up; the hire of a number of aircraft, including Chinook and Seahawk helicopters; and appropriate Soviet tanks for the enemy to use. They also aided the company in finding military extras to appear in minor roles.

Despite the movie’s strongly pro-war message, the OCPA-W, Air Force, and other military organizations still insisted on going through the script with a fine-toothed comb, removing even minor details it did not like. This included demanding that writers changed their plans to present the 12 soldiers as rugged men with full beards and tattoos. An email from OCPA read: 

My other concern is that during the loadout sequences at Fort Campbell that occurred shortly after 9/11 our soldiers did not have full length beards and neck tattoos. That came later. I hope [REDACTED] guys are going to Shave for those sequences.

A few weeks later, the seemingly minor point had not been resolved. In a show of just how much control over creative direction the military had, the OCPA threatened to pull out of the movie, reminding the production company of the agreement they had signed up for: 

The production company agrees to cast actors, extras, doubles, and stunt personnel portraying military men and women who conform to individual Military Service regulations governing age, height / weight, uniform, grooming, appearance, and conduct standards. DoD reserves the right to suspend support in the event that disagreement regarding the military aspects of their portrayals cannot be resolved in negotiation between the production company and DoD within the seventy-two hour cure-period. The DoD Project Officer will provide written guidance specific to each Military Service being portrayed.

  1. U.S. Army.

(1) The depiction of Soldiers in the Continental United States prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks should be in accordance with U.S. Army Regulation 670-1, West and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia. Soldiers would meet height/weight standards, be clean shaven, with a well-groomed haircut and be wearing the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). Load bearing equipment would be olive drab or the BDU pattern.

(2) The depiction of deployed Soldiers following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks would be in accordance with the tactical situation. Soldiers would still meet height/weight requirements (appear physically fit) with relaxed grooming standards for extended operations. The deployed Soldiers would be wearing the Desert Combat Dress Uniform (DCU) with olive drab or BDU pattern load bearing equipment.

The Department of Defense is well aware that the sort of assistance they offer (free equipment, filming locations, etc.) would be enormously expensive, if not impossible, to otherwise obtain. Therefore, they leverage their considerable influence into what amounts to control over every aspect of a movie or TV show they work on. This often even means jettisoning reality in favor of a relentlessly pro-war message.

Emails show that OCPA instructed the production company to change the minor criminal backstory of one of the 12 soldiers, despite the fact it was perfectly real. As one OCPA official wrote: 

I told him our two biggest issues were the background story of Cpt [REDACTED]

being any FNG [“Fucking New Guy,” a derogatory military term for recruits] when he was actually a Team Leader for two years and the comment about Sergeant [REDACTED] having a choice between Jail and the Army.

According to the book the bar fight incident did happen, [REDACTED] attorney

was able to plea deal it down to a misdemeanor with a probation period. He

did lose his job as a school teacher and he started to work construction. I [sic]

period of time later, he decided to join the US Army.

Production quickly agreed to the changes, a few weeks later sending a new script for the OCPA and Air Force’s approval. “Here is a revised draft of Horse Soldiers,” they replied. “We changed [REDACTED]’s backstory per your suggestion. Please let me know if this works for you. [PERSON’s NAME REDACTED], would you send this draft to the appropriate Air Force personnel and let me know whom to follow up with?” (Cross referencing the documents with the book it is based on makes it clear that the sergeant in question is Sam Diller, one of the main characters in both book and movie). 

None of the military’s demands appear to have caused much resistance from the company. Indeed, towards the end of filming, a senior member of the team even emailed the OCPA and the Office of the Secretary of Defense to offer his profound gratitude for their services: 

[The] Army and the entire team have been absolutely fantastic and helped us achieve an amazing air-to-air shoot this evening. They are the utmost professional highly trained crew. We know if it wasn’t for your great efforts to make this movie badass we would have never gotten such a team. We promise to make the Army proud, so THANK YOU!!!!!

Lone Survivor (2013)

“Lone Survivor” is the largely true story of a Navy SEAL team that was discovered and attacked by the Taliban while carrying out a special operation to assassinate the organization’s commander, Ahmad Shah. The SEALs suffered devastating losses, leaving only one man — Marcus Luttrell — to tell the story. 

The plot of the film revolves around the squad being discovered by local goat herders and their supposedly heart-wrenching decision on whether to kill the shepherds to cover their tracks, or let them go, the assumption being that the old man and two children in question would immediately alert the Taliban to their whereabouts. The group decided to let their captives go, which almost immediately turned out to be a deadly mistake. 

The story is based upon the book by Luttrell, who is now a Trump-loving media anchor on Glenn Beck’s conservative TV network “TheBlaze.” At times, Luttrell’s book reads like the manifesto of a white-nationalist mass-shooter, and is peppered throughout with his seething hatred of liberals. Luttrell is extremely regretful that he went along with the decision to let the Afghans go and did not stick to his gut feeling and insist they murder an old man and two children (all unarmed). “It was the stupidest, most southern-fried, lamebrained decision I ever made in my life,” he wrote. “I’d turned into a fucking liberal, a half-assed, no-logic nitwit, all heart, no brain.” By way of explanation, he said that it was his certainty that the liberal media would betray the troops and side with the Taliban that made him release them, telling his fellow SEALs at the time: 

Just so you all understand, their bodies will be found, the Taliban will use it to the max. They’ll get it in the papers, and the U.S. liberal media will attack us without mercy. We will almost certainly be charged with murder.

Apologizing for not carrying out what amounts to a war crime, he writes: 

That situation might look simple in Washington, where the human rights of terrorists are often given high priority. And I am certain liberal politicians would defend their position to the death. Because everyone knows liberals have never been wrong about anything. You can ask them. Anytime.

The book is a glorification of supposedly righteous violence against a subhuman opponent. As he explains: 

“In the global war on terror, we have rules, and our opponents use them against us. We try to be reasonable; they will stop at nothing. They will stoop to any form of base warfare: torture, beheading, mutilation. Attacks on innocent civilians, women and children, car bombs, suicide bombers, anything the hell they can think of. They’re right up there with the monsters of history.

The original script stayed close to Luttrell’s interpretation of events. Needless to say, however, the military demanded major rewrites. In the finished version, the Navy SEAL commander simply decides to let the goat herders go, with no arguments about whether to kill them and hide their bodies and certainly no long soliloquies about the treachery of the liberal media, as happens in the book.

The military often claims that they aid the film industry merely to ensure depictions of themselves are more accurate. Yet reading through 131 pages of declassified emails between them and production company, Film 44, it is clear that this is not the case. Indeed, Philip Strub, the Department of Defense’s chief Hollywood liaison, made this explicit, writing in a now-declassified email:

While maximizing historical authenticity is our mandate, we share responsibility for the reputations of the four SEALs and to their families’ memories of them.

What also becomes apparent after reading the documents is the level of intimacy between the movie industry and the military, and the latter’s fastidious attention to detail, poring over every single word of dialogue to ensure each frame is as pro-war as the film can get. Strub and his associates even insisted minor touches, like visible tattoos on the SEALs, be written out of the script. They also demanded the deletion of a scene in which Luttrell and another SEAL have a conversation about Power Bars, taunting each other, with Luttrell shouting “blow me, fag,” then loudly farting. This was presumably in an effort to ensure members of the Navy SEALs did not come across as uncouth as Lutrell does in his own book. 

“I just learned from Film 44 (Sarah and Braden) that they are ready to submit Pete’s latest rewrite to us. They say that they have used our notes as a kind of check-list, and addressed all of our concerns. You’ll be receiving the watermarked script via email very shortly,” Strub wrote in an email that suggests that every draft script needed to meet the military’s exacting standards. Strub is one of the most powerful men in the entertainment industry. The list of movies and TV shows for which he is (publicly) credited is staggering, surely more impressive than virtually any other director or producer in Hollywood. Yet his name is all but unknown to the public.

According to the documents, the military categorized their role in the movie into four parts: “script review and vetting,” “production department consulting,” talent training” and “on-set coaching.” In exchange for what amounts to total content control, the military provided “Lone Survivor’s” producers with the use of Kirtland Air Force Base in a rocky and sandy part of New Mexico that could easily pass for Afghanistan; the use of a multitude of expensive aircraft, including Black Hawk and Apache helicopters; and parachute jumpers and other general military personnel.

One reason for this continued involvement is obvious, and made explicit in the emails. “One of the criteria for DoD to support the movie is recruiting,” wrote an officer from U.S. Special Operations Command. 

What is particularly noteworthy about this movie is that its entire premise — that if the SEALs chose not to kill the goat herders they would be found out — is demonstrably incorrect. Interviews with locals (including the man who hid and protected Luttrell, ensuring he was the lone survivor) establish that everybody in the area knew the SEALs were there, thanks to the elite unit’s own incompetence when it came to stealth. An enormous American helicopter landing in a remote part of rural Afghanistan was enough to raise suspicions among locals. If that was not enough, the SEAL team failed to dispose of evidence of their landing. 

Unsurprisingly, Strub and his colleagues insisted this scene, which threatened to introduce a potential alternative reading of the movie — in which bungling Americans get caught, outmaneuvered, then slaughtered — was changed. This helped ensure the movie was as relentlessly pro-military as possible, despite the fact that it was telling the story of one of the deadliest U.S. military blunders of the entire war.

Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)

“Charlie Wilson’s War” tells the story of the eponymous Texas politician most famous for being the driving force behind Operation Cyclone — the CIA’s funding and training of the Afghan Mujahideen (an action that also turned the country into the world’s largest heroin producer).

The original script did not portray Wilson or his endeavors especially sympathetically, explicitly noting how he was supporting extremists like Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda. One of these ultra-radicals was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a brutal warlord widely accused of starting the trend of throwing acid in women’s faces. Throughout the original script, 9/11 is presented as a foreseeable consequence of the U.S.’s decision to empower these violent fanatics. Indeed, the original end scene took place at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, with Wilson hearing the deafening screech of an airliner hitting the building.

However, all this — al-Qaeda, Hekmatyar, and the 9/11 scene — was cut from the script after the CIA reviewed it. Instead, the finished film ends with Wilson receiving a medal for his services to freedom in Afghanistan. Also removed was a scene discussing the Sabra and Shatilla Massacres, where Israeli-backed forces slaughtered hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian refugees.

Earlier versions of the script also portrayed the Soviets somewhat sympathetically, with one character noting that Soviet atrocities in Afghanistan included “forc[ing] them [Afghans] to learn to read and write.” This was also cut in favor of portraying Soviet soldiers as brutal and unthinking monsters slaughtering the local population. 

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) 

The comedy-drama — which stars Tina Fey, Margot Robbie and Martin Freeman as Western journalists covering the Afghan War — was something of a flop at the box office. Still, it managed to reduce losses significantly by filming at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico (just as “Lone Survivor” did) and using real U.S. Marines as extras. In exchange, producers handed over significant editorial control of the story to the military, which insisted on changing a scene where a U.S. military truck crashed into a crowd of civilians. In the final movie, there are no images of this, and the incident is referred to only in a 20-second news segment that describes it merely as “a fatal traffic accident involving a coalition truck.” 

The crash was a real incident. In 2006, the truck plowed through Kabul during rush hour, killing at least three civilians and injuring many others. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is based on American journalist Kim Barker’s memoir “The Taliban Shuffle.” The incident plays a major role in her book as the point where she finally understood how pointless and unwinnable the war was, how there was no accountability for the rich and powerful and no justice for the “have nots.” She described it and the following anti-U.S. riots as “a major breaking point in Afghanistan, the time when we first saw just how angry some Afghans were, just how ripe the country was for a Taliban comeback, just how leaderless Afghanistan really was.” Yet in the movie, the crash is mentioned only in passing, making the rioting Afghans appear irrationally angry and violent, a typical stereotype of Afghan War films. 

Iron Man (2008)

The original “Iron Man” script was decidedly pacifist, with protagonist Tony Stark attempting to use his enormous manufacturing empire to battle against war profiteers and the military industrial complex. However, after the Pentagon got involved, with Philip Strub again acting as the military liaison, the tone of the movie was radically altered. Much of the fighting in the movie takes place in modern-day Afghanistan, with the U.S. military serving the role of the good guys. In this sense, the film’s stance on war was reversed.

In exchange, the production agreement notes that the military would allow the movie to be shot at Edwards Air Force Base, just north of Los Angeles; provide “approximately 150 extras at Edwards AFB to play military members from various services and Afghan nationals;” help produce around 100 uniforms; and provide the opportunity to use a range of expensive aircraft.

Tom Secker, when asked by MintPress to assess the U.S. film industry’s role in prolonging the Afghan war, responded: 

Hollywood’s coverage of NATO’s war in Afghanistan has been notable by its absence, its silence, and its use of contextless microcosms which represent the war, rather than explore or explain it. “Iron Man” and “Lone Survivor” — two Pentagon-supported blockbusters — are both set during the U.S. occupation, but the scale of that occupation and the mess it was making of the country are ignored by both narratives, in favor of tightly-focused cinematic synecdoches which conveniently avoid the suffering of everyone involved.

Secker concluded:

In that sense, of course Hollywood has played a crucial role in perpetuating the war. They either failed to remind people that the war was still going on, or painted it in heroic, decontextualized colors that make it seem like a benevolent adventure halfway round the world, rather than the crushing, destructive geopolitical ratfuck it truly is.  

A mediated war 

It is not just big-budget Hollywood movies that the Pentagon works on, however. Practically every medium is used to spread a pro-war message. Declassified documents show that the Army flew Arnold Schwarzenegger to Afghanistan for the global-warming documentary TV series “Years of Living Dangerously.” This was, laughably, an effort to present the U.S. military — the single largest polluter in the world — as a force for good with regard to climate change, showing the former bodybuilder their supposed efforts to set up renewable energy systems across the Middle East. 

Likewise, pop culture is full of strategically inserted pro-war messages. For instance, declassified documents show that the OCPA-W carefully placed uniformed service members in opportune spots in the audience of the game show “The Price is Right.” The military pays the National Football League millions of dollars to put troops on the field or fly aircraft over the stadium before big football games, turning the entire event into a recruitment drive. It also has a video-games team called “U.S. Army Esports,” helping to associate the military with fun in the minds of the children watching. They have also been accused of using the same grooming techniques pedophiles use, only to recruit children into joining the war machine. 

Meanwhile, the music video for pop star Katy Perry’s song “Part of Me” was shot at Camp Pendleton Military Base in California, and shows Perry getting over a bad breakup by joining the Marines. The training process shows her finding herself again and growing as an individual. When Fox News asked Perry’s team if they had been paid by the military for the video, they refused to answer. The video currently has 887 million views on YouTube.

“The whole videography … is straight out of [Nazi film maker] Leni Riefenstahl: the same angled, heroizing upward shots, the same fetishization of physical power, of gleaming armaments, and of the rigor and mechanism of human beings cohering into living militarized units,” wrote feminist critic Naomi Wolf, who labeled the song “war propaganda.”

TV news is also filled with former high-ranking military officials who play the role of neutral expert while sticking, laser-like, to pro-war talking points, helping to give cable news coverage of the conflict a decidedly jingoistic bent. 

What these documents ultimately underline is the deep interlocking connections between Hollywood and the national security state. Few Americans experience the war from close up. Even fewer realize that depictions of the conflict come heavily mediated through the military. In hundreds of films and TV shows, every single word and image has been closely scrutinized and signed off by senior military figures, all in the effort to convince viewers into supporting deadly and grossly immoral campaigns around the world. Long ago, the military realized the power of Hollywood. It is high time that Americans realized that, when watching movies and TV shows about war, all too often they are not seeing neutral works of art, but carefully constructed pieces of national security propaganda.

Decentralization of Afghanistan – the road to peace

September 30, 2021

Decentralization of Afghanistan – the road to peace

by Batko Milacic – Independent analyst – for The Saker Blog

The Taliban really wants to prove to the whole world their legitimacy and readiness for dialogue. The radical Islamists who have established control over most of the territory of Afghanistan have learned from their mistakes 20 years ago. They even created an anti-terrorist structure, however, the question is, who will it catch? Now the Taliban need international recognition and diplomatic relations with the leading players in international politics.

True, they do not intend to hold elections and referendums, having taken power by force, which is not very welcomed by international law. However, as long as there is even a drop of hope in the West and in Russia that the Taliban will be able to turn Afghanistan into some kind of a stable country, the Taliban can really count on the actual recognition of their power. China, which simultaneously persecutes its own citizens, the Islamist Uyghurs, and supports Pakistan, which actually lives according to Sharia law, is not afraid of the Taliban. China’s tough laws allow Beijing to believe that the People’s Army and Security Services will easily eliminate any threat of terrorism.

However, the West should not flatter itself for two reasons. First, because of democratic values. They are the cornerstone of European democracy, which is at the heart of the very existence of the EU. Only a democratically elected government is legitimate. And in Kabul, radical Islamists have not held and will not hold anything even remotely resembling an election. Secondly, the Taliban is not a political party, but a very radical political and religious organization. It pursues the goal of spreading its ideology to at least all the historical lands of Muslims from Chinese Xianjing to Spain! And their weapons are terror, sabotage, propaganda.

Seeing Taliban Afghanistan as a way to distract Russia from European problems is like taking napalm to ants in your house. The ants will burn, but the house also will burn with them. Terror has no boundaries. So, whether old Europe wants it or not, the only alternative to the Taliban now is the abandoned leader of the National Resistance Front, Ahmad Masud, who continues to fight in the Panjshir Gorge! However, he has enough potential allies. It must be known that the Taliban are, first of all, the Pashtun movement – an ethnic group that makes up 50% of the population of Afghanistan.

Massoud, on the other hand, represents not only the democratic forces, but also 23% of local Tajiks. He, in turn, is supported by the Hazaras (10%) and Uzbeks (9%).

In addition, the danger of ethnic cleansing of local Tajiks and Uzbeks is forcing Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to support the last stronghold of democratic forces in Afghanistan. Namely, relying on the ethnic diversity of Afghanistan, Masood, who still remains in the country and controls part of the Panshir province, repeatedly declares the need to create a more decentralized government and de facto federalization of the country.

He started talking about it back in August after giving up his decorative position in the Taliban government and continues now. According to Massoud’s plan, the regions should receive more autonomy, and ethnic groups more rights. This, at least, will allow them to protect themselves from the Taliban laws at the local level. This is especially significant if we keep in mind that Taliban laws are contrary to all modern legal norms. In support of Massoud’s ideas, rallies are held in the provinces inhabited by Uzbeks and Hazaras. For example, in the mountainous Bamiyan, 130 kilometers from Kabul. There, under the pro-Masudian slogans, the riots have been going on for days. Locals are asking the Taliban to leave, and radical Islamists are afraid to take tough measures …

Russia also demands an inclusive, democratic government from the Taliban, although it is obvious that Moscow, will in any case, be forced to communicate with the new masters of Kabul. Without the intervention of the Kremlin, the region will face a big war, and this is not good for Europe. The flow of refugees, and with it the terrorists, will rush not to the north, to Russia, but along the old routes through Turkey and Greece to prosperous Europe.

So, Ahmad Massoud remains the only hope for containing the Taliban, and perhaps those who can transform Afghanistan into a relatively peaceful federation, where there will be no ethnic cleansing that radical Islamists have already begun in Panjshir. And the Western world is simply obliged to support him, to support pro democratic forces – perhaps even enlisting the support of Russia.

Who Really Runs the Middle East?

September 25, 2021

Who Really Runs the Middle East?

By Cynthia Chung for the Saker Blog

Afghanistan is on many people’s minds lately, though the sentiment is rather mixed. Some think of it as a cause for celebration, others for deep concern, and then there are those who think it an utter disaster that justifies foreign re-entry.

Most of the western concern arises out of 9/11 and the Taliban’s supposed connection to this through Al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, however, as Scott Ritter (who was the lead analyst for the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade on the Soviet war in Afghanistan) wrote:

The entire Afghan conflict must be examined considering this reality – everything is a lie. Every battle, every campaign, every contract written and implemented – everything was founded in a lie…

Admiral McRaven, when speaking of the operation to kill Bin Laden, noted that there wasn’t anything fundamentally special about that mission in terms of the tactics. ‘I think that night we ran 11 or 12 [other] missions in Afghanistan,’ McRaven noted. Clearly there was a military focus beyond simply killing Bin Laden. It was secretive work, reportedly involving the assassination of Taliban members, that often resulted in innocent civilians beings killed.

It should be noted that, as of 2019, McRaven believed that this kind of special operations activity should be continued in Afghanistan for years to come. So much for the US mission in Afghanistan being defined by the death of Bin Laden. The mission had become death, and the careers that were defined by those deaths.

The fact is the war in Afghanistan did not need to be fought. We could have ended the threat posed by Bin Laden simply by negotiating with the Taliban in the aftermath of 9/11, providing the evidence we claimed to have linking Bin Laden to the terrorist attacks on the United States. Any student of Afghanistan worth their salt knows the fundamental importance of honor that is enshrined in the concepts of Pashtunwali, the unwritten ethical code that defines the traditional lifestyle of the Pashtun people. If, as we claimed, Bin Laden carried out an attack on women and children while he was living under the protection of Pashtunwali, then his dishonor is that of the Pashtun tribes. To clear their honor, they would seek justice – in this case, evicting Bin Laden and his followers from Afghanistan.

In fact, the Taliban made precisely this offer.

For America, however, this would have been an unsatisfying result. We needed blood, not justice, and we sent our troops to Afghanistan to stack bodies, which they did, in prodigious numbers. Most of these bodies were Taliban. We excused this by claiming the Taliban were providing safe haven to Bin Laden, and as such were complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

Which was a lie.

Scott Ritter (who was a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq from ’91-98) had also played a leading role in bringing to the public’s attention the lies told to justify the illegal war in Iraq, which was based off of cooked British intelligence.

It was not just based on the illusion of “justice,” there was a deeper and much more disturbing agenda under the patriotic trumpet blaring.

In this light, Afghanistan is indeed an incredible American “failure,” not only in failing to install their puppet government; it has also failed the American people, however, not in the way most are talking about.

The 20 year, some say occupancy others say terrorizing, of Afghanistan, is estimated at $1-2 trillion. This is only for the case of Afghanistan, it does not account for the total cost thus far of the War on Terror. Such extravagant spending with really nothing to show for it but destruction, the slaughter of innocents, instability and chaos; you would think the United States must be a very rich country to afford such a budget with no clear goal or objective. Instead, what we find is that the American economy is tanking and the living standard is plummeting, while drug use and overdose rates are sky-rocketing and suicide is among the top causes of death in the United States, especially among their youth.

What is going on here? Have the Americans gone mad? Or is there something much much more sinister afoot?

This situation cannot just be explained away as incompetence or the money-making business of war, or even the crazed end-of-world ideologies of neo-conservatives or Zionists, although these are all major factors.

The reason for this is because there has been something operating within the Middle East for much longer, it is even the reason why we call the Middle East and the Far East by such a name, it is the reason for why many countries in this region have the boundaries they do, and was the originator of the Palestine/Israel conflict.

It is also found at the center of the origin and funding of Islamic terrorism as we see in its modern form today.

Whose “Arab Awakening”?

The renunciation will not be easy. Jewish hopes have been raised to such a pitch that the non-fulfilment of the Zionist dream of a Jewish state in Palestine will cause intense disillusionment and bitterness. The manifold proofs of public spirit and of capacity to endure hardships and face danger in the building up of the national home are there to testify to the devotion with which a large section of the Jewish people cherish the Zionist ideal. And it would be an act of further cruelty to the Jews to disappoint those hopes if there existed some way of satisfying them, that did not involve cruelty to another people. But the logic of facts is inexorable. It shows that no room can be made in Palestine for a second nation except by dislodging or exterminating the nation in possession.” [emphasis added]

– the concluding paragraph of George Antonius’ “The Arab Awakening” (1938), graduate from Cambridge University, civil servant in the British Mandate of Palestine

Much of what is responsible for the war and havoc in the Middle East today has the British orchestrated so-called “Arab Awakening” to thank, led by characters such as E.G. Browne, St. John Philby, T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, and Gertrude Bell. Although its origins go as far back as the 19th century, it was only until the early 20th century, that the British were able to reap significant results from its long harvest.

The Arab Revolt of 1916-1918, had been, to the detriment of the Arab people, a British led rebellion. The British claimed that their sole interest in the affair was the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire and had given their word that these Arab territories would be freed and allowed independence if they agreed to rebel, in large part led and directed by the British.

It is a rather predictable feature of the British to lie and double cross and thus it should be of no surprise to anyone that their intentions were quite the opposite of what they had promised and thanks to the Sykes-Picot Russian leak, were revealed in their entire shameful glory.

Once the Arab Revolt was “won” against the Ottoman Empire, instead of the promised Arab independence, the Middle East was carved up into zones of influence under British and French colonial rule. Puppet monarchies were created in regions that were considered not under direct colonial subjugation in order to continue the illusion that Arabs remained in charge of sacred regions such as Mecca and Medina.

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In central Arabia, Hussein ibn Ali, Sharif of Mecca, the puppet leader of the Arab Revolt laid claim to the title Caliph in 1924, which his rival Wahhabite Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud rejected and declared war, defeating the Hashemites. Hussein (British Cairo Office favourite) abdicated and Ibn Saud (British India Office favourite), was proclaimed King of Hejaz and Najd in 1926, which led to the founding of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Al Saud (House of Saud) warriors of Wahhabism were a formidable strike force that the British believed would help London gain control of the western shores of the Persian Gulf.

Hussein ibn Ali’s son Faisal (under the heavy tutelage of T.E. Lawrence, Cairo Office) was bestowed as King of Iraq and Hussein’s other son, Abdullah I was established as the Emir of Transjordan until a negotiated legal separation of Transjordan from Britain’s Palestine mandate occurred in 1946, whereupon he was crowned King of Jordan.

While the British were promising Arab independence they simultaneously were promising a homeland in Palestine to the Jews. The Balfour Declaration of November 2nd, 1917 states:

“His majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object…”

Palestine had been seized by the British during the so-called “Arab Revolt” on December 11th, 1917 when General Allenby marched into Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate and declared martial law over the city. Palestine has remained occupied ever since.

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Britain would receive the mandate over Palestine from the League of Nations in July 1922.

Throughout the 1920s and 1930s violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs took place in Palestine costing thousands of lives. In 1936 a major Arab revolt occurred over 7 months, until diplomatic efforts involving other Arab countries led to a ceasefire. In 1937, a British Royal Commission of Inquiry headed by William Peel concluded that Palestine had two distinct societies with irreconcilable political demands, thus making it necessary to partition the land.

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The Arab Higher Committee refused Peel’s “prescription” and the revolt broke out again. This time, Britain responded with a devastatingly heavy hand. Roughly 5,000 Arabs were killed by the British armed forces and police.

Following the riots, the British mandate government dissolved the Arab Higher Committee and declared it an illegal body.

In response to the revolt, the British government issued the White Paper of 1939, which stated that Palestine should be a bi-national state, inhabited by both Arabs and Jews. Due to the international unpopularity of the mandate including within Britain itself, it was organised such that the United Nations would take responsibility for the British initiative and adopted the resolution to partition Palestine on November 29th, 1947. Britain would announce its termination of its Mandate for Palestine on May 15th, 1948 after the State of Israel declared its independence on May 14th, 1948.

The Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood

“We do not cut the head of religion except by sword of religion.”

– Jamal al-Din al-Afghani

In 1869, a man named Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, the intellectual founder of the Salafiyya movement, went to India where British led colonial authorities welcomed him with honors and graciously escorted him aboard a government owned vessel on an all-expenses paid voyage to the Suez. [1]

In Cairo he was adopted by the Egyptian prime minister Riad Pasha, a notorious enemy of the emerging nationalist movement in Egypt. Pasha persuaded Afghani to stay in Egypt and allowed him to take up residence in Cairo’s 900 year old Al Azhar mosque considered the center of Islamic learning worldwide, where he received lodging and a monthly government stipend (paid for by the British).[2]

While Egypt was fighting its nationalist fight from 1879-1882, Afghani and his chief disciple Muhammad Abduh travelled together first to Paris and then to Britain, it was in Britain that they would make a proposal for a pan-Islamic alliance among Egypt, Turkey, Persia and Afghanistan against Czarist Russia.[3]

What Afghani was proposing to the British was that they provide aid and resources to support his formation of a militant Islam sect that would favour Britain’s interest in the Middle East, in other words, Afghani was offering to fight Islam with Islam to service British interests, having stated in one of his works “We do not cut the head of religion except by sword of religion.[4]

Although it is said that the British refused this offer, this is not likely considering the support Afghani would receive in creating the intellectual foundation for a pan-Islamic movement with British patronage and the support of England’s leading orientalist E.G. Browne, the godfather of twentieth century Orientalism and teacher of St John Philby and T.E. Lawrence.

E.G. Browne would make sure the work of Afghani would continue long beyond his death by lionising him in his 1910 “The Persian Revolution,” considered an authoritative history of the time.

In 1888, Abduh, the chief disciple of Afghani, would return to Egypt in triumph with the full support of the representatives of her Majesty’s imperial force and took the first of several positions in Cairo, openly casting his lot with Lord Cromer, who was the symbol of British imperialism in Egypt.

Abduh would found, with the hold of London’s Egyptian proconsul Evelyn Baring (aka Lord Cromer) who was the scion of the enormously powerful banking clan (Barings Bank) under the city of London, the Salafiyya movement.[5]

Abduh had attached himself to the British rulers of Egypt and created the cornerstone of the Muslim Brotherhood which dominated the militant Islamic right throughout the twentieth century.

In 1899, Abduh reached the pinnacle of his power and influence, and was named mufti of Egypt.

***

In 1902, Riyadh fell to Ibn Saud and it was during this period that Ibn Saud established the fearsome Ikhwan (translated as “brotherhood”). From the 1920s onward, the new Saudi state merged its Wahhabi orthodoxy with the Salafiyya movement (which would be organised into the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928).

William Shakespear, a famed British agent, forged the first formal treaty between England and Saudi Arabia which was signed in 1915, which bound London and Arabia for years before Saudi Arabia became a country. “It formally recognized Ibn Saud as the independent ruler of the Nejd and its Dependencies under British protection. In return, Ibn Saud undertook to follow British advice.[6]

Harry St. John Bridger Philby, a British operative schooled by E.G. Browne and father to the legendary triple agent Kim Philby, would succeed Shakespear as Great Britain’s liaison to Ibn Saud under the British India Office, the friendly rival of the Cairo Arab Bureau office which was sponsoring T.E. Lawrence of Arabia.

In Egypt 1928, Hassan al-Banna (a follower of Afghani and Abduh) founded the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimeen), the organization that would change the course of history in the twentieth century Middle East.

Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood was established with a grant from England’s Suez Canal Company[7] and from that point on, British diplomats and intelligence service, along with the British puppet King Farouq would use the Muslim Brotherhood as a truncheon against Egypt’s nationalists and later against Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser. (For more on this refer to my paper.)

To get the Muslim Brotherhood off the ground, the Suez Canal Company helped Banna build the mosque in Ismailia that would serve as its headquarters and base of operation.[8] The fact that Banna created the organization in Ismailia is itself worthy of note. For England, the Suez Canal was the indispensable route to its prize possession, India, and in 1928 the town Ismailia happened to house not only the company’s offices but a major British military base built during WWI. It was also, in the 1920s a center of pro-British sentiment in Egypt.

In the post-WWI world, England reigned supreme, the flag of the British Empire was everywhere from the Mediterranean to India. A new generation of kings and potentates ruled over British dominated colonies, mandates, vassal states, and semi-independent fiefdoms in Egypt, Arabia, Iraq, Transjordan and Persia. To varying degrees those monarchies were beholden to London.

In the half century between 1875 and 1925 the building blocks of the militant Islamic right were cemented in place by the British Empire.

Islamic Banking Made in Geneva/London

Islamic banking [that is the banking system dominated presently by Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States] was born in Egypt and financed by Saudi Arabia and then spread to the far corners of the Muslim world. Eventually the Islamic banking movement became a vehicle not only for exporting political Islam but for sponsoring violence. However, Islamic banking did not get off the ground on its own, as Ibrahim Warde (a renowned scholar of international finance) explains in his book “Islamic Finance in the Global Economy,” Islamic banking:

operates more out of London, Geneva, or the Bahamas than it does out of Jeddah, Karachi or Cairo…Ideologically, both liberalism and economic Islam were driven by their common opposition to socialism and economic dirigisme…Even Islamic Republics have on occasion openly embraced neo-liberalism…In Sudan, between 1992 and the end of 1993, Economics Minister Abdul Rahim Hamdi – a disciple of Milton Friedman and incidentally a former Islamic banker in London – did not hesitate to implement the harshest free-market remedies dictated by the International Monetary Fund. He said he was committed to transforming the heretofore statist economy ‘according to free-market rules, because this is how an Islamic economy should function.’ ” [emphasis added]

Perhaps the best case study to this phenomenon is the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).

BCCI was an international bank founded in 1972 by Agha Hasan Abedi, a Pakistani financier. The bank was registered in Luxembourg with head offices in Karachi and London. A decade after opening, BCCI had over 400 branches in 78 countries in excess of $20 billion USD, making it the seventh largest private bank in the world.

In the 1980s investigations into BCCI led to the discovery of its involvement in massive money laundering and other financial crimes, and that the BCCI had illegally and secretly gained the control of a major American bank, First American, according to Robert Morgenthau (Manhattan DA) who had been investigating the bank for over two years.

BCCI was also to be found guilty for illegally buying another American bank, the Independence Bank of Los Angeles, using a Saudi businessman Ghaith Paraon as the puppet owner. The American depositors lost most of their money when BCCI was forced to foreclose since it was essentially operating a Ponzi scheme to fund illegal activity of all sorts.

According to Elizabeth Gould and Paul Fitzgerald’s book “The Valediction”:

Afghanistan offered the opportunity for BCCI to migrate the lucrative heroin business from Southeast Asia [Laos/Cambodia/Vietnam] to the Pakistani/Afghan border under the cover of destabilization. President Carter supported Brzezinski’s provocations into Soviet territory from the minute they got into the White House. He then sanctioned Brzezinski’s plan to use Afghanistan to lure the Soviet Union into its own Vietnam and lied to the public about it when they fell into the trap on December 27, 1979.

…The destabilization kills three birds with one stone. It weakens the Soviets…It acts as a cover for moving the heroin business out of Vietnam/Laos and Cambodia to a safe haven on the Pakistan frontier with Afghanistan – a trade that propped up the British Empire financially for over a hundred years.

…Afghan drug dealer and CIA asset Gulbuddin Hekmatyar…[then organizes] a deal with the renegade gangster, Afghan prime minister, and possible CIA asset Hafizullah Amin…to make Kabul the center of the world heroin trade…pays for the off-the-books operation with drug money brought in by Hekmatyar and laundered through a Pakistani bank…known as BCCI. Everything goes smoothly until the new US Ambassador Adolph Dubs launches a campaign against the destabilization…

US Ambassador Adolph Dubs was assassinated, just seven months after taking his post, under an extremely suspect situation, on February 14, 1979, to which Gould and Fitzgerald do a superb investigation of, as well as what really happened in Afghanistan in 1979, in their book “The Valediction.

Investigators in the United States and the UK determined that BCCI had been “set up deliberately to avoid centralized regulatory review, and operated extensively in bank secrecy jurisdictions. Its affairs were extraordinarily complex. Its officers were sophisticated international bankers whose apparent objective was to keep their affairs secret, to commit fraud on a massive scale, and to avoid detection.[9]

This is an incredibly sophisticated operation, and interestingly, uses the very same methods that the City of London has been using for centuries and presently operates to a diabolical perfection today. There is no way that a solo Pakistani financier, even if he was financed by the Sheik of Abu Dhabi, could rise in less than a decade, operating on the turf of ancient banking channels that go back several centuries, to rise to become the seventh largest bank in the netherworld of finance without a little help from the big boys.

On July 29th, 1991, a Manhattan grand jury indicted BCCI on twelve accounts of fraud, money laundering and larceny. Robert Morgenthau (Manhattan DA), who was in charge of the investigation, has described BCCI as “the largest bank fraud in world financial history.”

Through the Rabbit Hole and Out Again

Today, the actions of the United States can best be understood in the context of the Anglo-American Empire, with Wall Street operating as an extension of the ancient banking channels of the City of London and Geneva.

The disastrous foreign policy of namely Britain and the United States in the War on Terror Crusade has been exposed multiple times. That is, that the very governments who have been shouting the loudest against Islamic extremism and for stability in the Middle East, are the very ones who have been weaponising, training and funding such terrorist groupings. The Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, ISIS (and all its viral variants) would not exist today if it were not for namely Britain’s age old strategy.

So what is the goal?

Well, what does any empire seek? Global domination.

In this light, the War on Terror is exposed for what it truly is. It is meant to impoverish and destroy the national sovereignty of the people, not only of the Middle East (or more accurately Southwest Asia), but as we are seeing clearly today, it has also acted as a slow blood-letting of the western people, whose economies are much weaker today than they were 20 years ago.

While western countries are increasingly unable to provide a proper standard of living, with mass unemployment, lack of healthcare, increased crime and suicide rates, and increased overdoses and homelessness, and pretty much everything you would expect to rise during a Dark Age straight out of a Goya painting, these “first-world” governments are applying further austerity measures on the people, even after prolonged lockdowns, while openly pumping trillions of dollars into wars that not only fund the destruction of entire nations, but funds the global drug, arms and sex-trafficking trade. All of this dirty money then circles back into the London-Geneva fondi, benefitting a select class that has existed and thrived for centuries on this sort of backdrop.

Nobody has benefitted from this War on Terror except the global elite.

So stop getting sucked into the same old same old lies; stop being a slave to the system and let us finally unite and stand up against the true common enemy of the people of the world.

The author can be reached at https://cynthiachung.substack.com/

  1. Elie Kedourie, “Afghani and Abduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Modern Islam” 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. The proposal to London from Jamal al-Din al-Afghani was reported by a British Orientalist and author W.S. Blunt, a friend of Afghani’s. It is cited in C.C. Adams, “Islam and Modernism in Egypt.” 
  4. Elie Kedourie, “Afghani and Abduh: An Essay on Religious Unbelief and Political Activism in Modern Islam.” 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. David Holden and Richard Johns, “The House of Saud.” 
  7. Richard P. Mitchell, “The Society of the Muslim Brothers.” 
  8. Ibid. 
  9. John Kerry “The BCCI Affair: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations.” 

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s news conference to sum up the high-level meetings week at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2021

SEPTEMBER 27, 2021

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s news conference to sum up the high-level meetings week at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, New York, September 25, 2021

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4867149

Question: Which opportunities and risk factors does the new Taliban’s Islamic Emirate in Afghanistan present? Does Russia fear that the presence of Taliban could somehow feed Islamic extremism in the region? If so, what can be done?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, Afghanistan is now on everyone’s mind. We believe, and we did believe from the outset, that what has happened there is a reality. Unfortunately, the hasty pull-out, let’s call it this way, by the United States and other NATO countries of their troops was carried out without any consideration of the consequences. As you are aware, many weapons were left behind in Afghanistan. We all need to see to it that these weapons do not serve any unconstructive purposes.

The reality on the ground is based on statements made by the Taliban who proclaimed their commitment to fighting extremism and terrorism, including ISIS and Al-Qaeda, not to project instability on their neighbours. They committed themselves to respecting women’s rights and to creating an inclusive government. You know all this. What matters the most at the moment is that they fulfil their promises.

The first step to form a transitory government structure fails to reflect the whole gamut of the Afghan society in its ethnic, religious and political diversity. We remain engaged with the Taliban, and these contacts have been continuing for several years now. We are doing this, inter alia, within the expanded troika of Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan. Only recently, Russian, Chinese and Pakistani representatives travelled to Doha, and after that they visited Kabul where they engaged with the Taliban, as well as with representatives of the secular authorities. I am referring to former President Hamid Karzai and former Head of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah. These contacts primarily focused on the need to form a genuinely representative government structure. The Taliban claim to be moving in this direction, and the current architecture is only temporary. What matters the most is to make sure that they keep the promises that they made in public. For us, the top priority is precisely what you just mentioned: it is unacceptable that extremism spills over into neighbouring countries, and the terrorist threat must not persist on Afghan soil. We will do everything we can to support the Taliban in their determination, as you have said, to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups, and to try to make sure that this determination paves the way to some practical progress.

Question: Does Russia consider easing or lifting its national sanctions against the Taliban members who become part of the new Afghan government in order to facilitate contacts with them? What position will Russia take during UN talks on easing or lifting sanctions against the Taliban?

Sergey Lavrov: As things stand at the moment, nothing is restraining or hindering our contacts with the Taliban. Moreover, the UN Security Council sanctions, as set forth in the corresponding resolutions, are not preventing us from engaging in such contacts. On the contrary, UN Security Council resolutions stipulate the need to advance a political process, and without working together with the Taliban this is impossible.

We have been engaged in contacts with this movement for some years now, and these contacts have been primarily geared towards ensuring the safety ofr Russian nationals, facilitating intra-Afghan reconciliation and political process. I have not heard any suggestions within the UN Security Council about the need to ease or lift international sanctions at one of the forthcoming meetings. There is no need for this for us to be able to engage with the Taliban movement at this stage.

We all expect the Taliban to honour all the good-minded promises they made. For this reason, we will see whether the terrorist and drug trafficking threats are actually eliminated.

Question: The UN Secretary-General has warned of disastrous consequences of a putative economic collapse in Afghanistan. What do you think about the idea to unfreeze Afghan assets held by international organisations?

It appears from your remarks that your policy is to judge the Taliban by their deeds. In what way does the Taliban ideology differ from that of other Islamic groups in other parts of the world, such as the groups in Syria, which you are opposing and showering with bombs?

Sergey Lavrov: Syria, as you may know, is where the seat of terrorism is located. Practically the entire Syrian territory has been liberated, but the so-called de-escalation zone in Idlib province is under the sway of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an offspring of Jabhat al-Nusra. All the UN Security Council resolutions point out the nature of these terrorist organisations. I see no problem here from the point of view of destroying the terrorists in Syria.

We are holding talks with our Turkish partners, who signed with us, a couple of years ago now, a special agreement whereby they undertook to fight terrorists in the Idlib de-escalation zone and to separate them from armed groups that are not terrorist ones and to cooperate with the Turkish military. In just a few days from now, President of Russia Vladimir Putin will have yet another meeting with President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The presidents will thoroughly analyse how this commitment is being implemented. It is being implemented at a rather slow pace. This is obvious.

As for the Taliban and comparisons between them and other groups, we cannot divide the terrorists into good guys and bad guys. There is a sufficient number of exemptions from sanctions imposed on the Taliban. This has been made on purpose to enable [the international community] to have a dialogue with them. It means that the UN Security Council recognises the Taliban as an inalienable part of Afghan society, which, for Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham are not. This is what makes the difference.

We will induce those who have seized power in Kabul following the flight of the foreign contingents to behave in a civilised way.

We have mentioned the unfreezing of the assets. We think that this matter should be given a practical consideration from the positions you have mentioned in quoting the UN Secretary-General.

Question: The Taliban Government have decided on the candidacies for their ambassador to Russia. Will Russia be prepared to issue an agreement to people proposed by the Taliban?

Sergey Lavrov: We have no information of anyone applying to us for an agrement. Serving in Moscow today is the ambassador appointed by the previous government. No one is urging an international recognition of the Taliban. We will proceed precisely from this principle if and when we receive a request regarding the appointment of a new ambassador.

Question: We have heard US President Joe Biden’s statement. He said that the period of relentless war has ended, and that the era of relentless diplomacy has been ushered in. Do you believe this?

What about Russia’s diplomatic property? Has there been any progress?

Even some of the members of the delegation had problems with their visas, let alone the fact that there was a danger that the Russian delegation would not be allowed into the UN General Assembly because of the vaccination requirements, with vaccines that were approved in the United States. Are they just trying to annoy us whenever they can?

Sergey Lavrov: I do not think that this is an attempt to annoy us in any way. Most likely they are just a bit at a loss over the resumption of in-person UN General Assembly meetings. I cannot blame the New York authorities for being overly cautious. This is a serious event, and a lot of people come here from all around the world. There are quite a few different variants of the virus already, so safety measures do not hurt.

It is another question, as you have so rightly put it, that we do not accept any attempts to discriminate against vaccines that are not registered in the United States but have proven time and again to be effective. Sputnik V is a case in point. Several EU countries, for example, Hungary and Slovakia, have approved our vaccines, and this should serve as an example for other EU and NATO members.

As for visas for our delegation, apart from the epidemiological situation, the delay in the granting of visas was obviously caused by political considerations. We have seen through this. A number of our employees have yet to obtain their visas, including State Duma members who are part of the delegation. We will see to it that the UN Secretariat leadership fulfils its duties as to ensuring compliance with all the provisions of the agreement between the UN and the United States, the headquarters host country. Instances of flagrant violation of this agreement and repeated failures to comply with the UN headquarters host country commitments have been piling up, including the confiscation of diplomatic property, as you have just mentioned. The UN Committee on Relations with the Host Country has said that this is unacceptable and wrong. The Secretary-General should have launched arbitration proceedings against the actions by the United States several years ago. We had a meeting yesterday, and I reminded him of this fact. I was glad that his Legal Counsel, Miguel de Serpa Soares, was present at this meeting, since it is his duty to initiate these steps. They have been long overdue.

United States President Joe Biden said that the United States will no longer use force to change regimes abroad. “Never say never,” as the saying goes. We have seen how the Donald Trump administration pulled out of the Iranian nuclear deal that was concluded by the Barack Obama administration. Now that talks on fully restoring the JCPOA to settle the situation around the Iranian nuclear programme are underway, one of the questions the Iranians are asking the Americans is whether the agreement to restore this plan can include a clause binding future administrations to respect it? The Americans say that they cannot do this, since this is how their system works. International law is one thing, but their law is a nose of wax, and can be twisted about any way they so desire.

United States President Joe Biden said that an era of “relentless diplomacy” has been ushered in. This means that the Americans will seek to impose on other countries what they deem right for them by other means. This could include colour revolutions. They do not require any use of force, but are equally destructive. Just look at Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine, our neighbour.

We want the United States to make the next step and move beyond the commitment not to use force for reshaping other countries by actually refraining from doing this altogether. They must recognise that we are all different. We have different cultural, civilisational roots, but we share the same planet and must respect each other.

Question: According to our information, preparations for Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria’s Nuland’s visit to Moscow are underway. Where do these talks stand at this point? Can you give us a timeline for the visit? What does Moscow expect to receive in response to the temporary lifting of restrictions from someone who is on Russia’s black list?

Sergey Lavrov: If you have sources of information that let you know about this, I encourage you to ask them this question. The Foreign Ministry and the US State Department are working on a number of contacts. This is not the only matter under discussion.

When both parties decide on a date for contact to take place in order to discuss a specific issue, we will make a corresponding announcement.

Question: I have a question about the JCPOA. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that swift action is needed, because we are running out of time. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said yesterday that they were ready for that. They appear to be receiving mixed signals from the United States, but they should come up with an agreement soon. You were involved in making this deal happen. As a negotiator, have you any idea what will happen if the United States does not return to the agreement and Iran continues its nuclear programme? What is the worst-case scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: Iran is not doing anything illegal, because it is complying with the Non-Proliferation Treaty and an additional protocol to a comprehensive safeguards agreement. Iran is not complying with most of its obligations included in the JCPOA which are now not binding, because the Americans have destroyed the agreement.

The issue is about restoring it in full so that Iran has no reason to make exceptions to its commitments. The IAEA, including in the person of its Director General, is in contact with the Iranians. They have a complete picture of what is happening there. They are not being denied access to the work that Iran is doing as part of its nuclear programme. The IAEA has no reason to believe that the 2015 findings to the effect that there were no signs of the nuclear programme being re-oriented towards military needs have become outdated. They have no reason to revise these findings. They speak about this explicitly.

Of course, we want the talks on the full restoration of the JCPOA to resume as soon as possible. But, first, the government in Iran has just been formed. They say they will need a week or two (hopefully not more) to put together their negotiating team. There have been personnel changes. Second, when the United States withdrew from the JCPOA, Iran, for over a year, had been conscientiously complying  with its commitments under this document in hope that the United States would come to its senses and return to the deal. Of all people, our counterparts in Washington are not in a position to say that time is up. Indeed, it was carried out by the administration which is now gone, but this is the legacy of the current administration, especially since the JCPOA is its brainchild. It is only fair that it deliver bold action in addressing all related issues.

There are also sanctions that the US has illegally imposed on Iran, allegedly for violating the JCPOA. But the sanctions concern not just Iran. They have also imposed sanctions on everyone who carry out legal trade with Iran, including the supply of military products, which are no longer subject to a ban. These sanctions must be lifted as part of the reinstatement of the JCPOA. And Iran’s trading partners across all areas of commercial exchange must not be affected by America’s unilateral move.

Question: Will Iran’s economy collapse if the JCPOA is not restored?

Sergey Lavrov: We are not even considering scenarios like that. There is serious hope and cautious optimism that we will be able to achieve a result. At least everyone wants it, including the United States and Iran.

Question: The calm in the northwest of Syria has changed with Russia’s intense airstrikes in recent weeks, particularly ahead of the summit between President Erdogan and President Putin. Why is Russia stepping up its attacks just ahead of this summit?

And another question on Syria as well. Is there an agreement or consensus between Russia and the US following the meeting between the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and US National Security Council Coordinator Brett McGurk, which took place in Geneva? Thank you.

Sergey Lavrov: We are using force in northwestern Syria in conformity with the requirements contained in UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which provides for an uncompromising struggle against terrorism in Syria.

I have mentioned that there was a special agreement on Idlib between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Our Turkish colleagues have committed themselves to separating the normal and sensible opposition forces from the terrorists. This should have been done long ago. So far, this has not happened. There is slow progress, but the threats of terrorism from the militants in the Idlib de-escalation zone are constantly renewed. These people are attacking the positions of the Syrian army and have repeatedly tried to launch strike drones to attack the Russian Khmeimim Air Base.

Our Turkish friends are well aware that we will not put up with this behaviour and with these militants’ attitude to the role performed by the Turkish military in the Idlib de-escalation zone. We will have detailed discussions as part of preparations for the presidential meeting. The September 29 summit will focus on ways to achieve what we have agreed upon and prevent the terrorists from ruling the roost.

As for contacts with the US regarding the right bank of the Euphrates, they are held periodically. We draw their attention to the fact that the US presence in Syria is illegitimate, to the outrageous situation in the 55-kilometre zone called Al-Tanf, which they have occupied, and to the situation at the Rukban camp located in the US-controlled territory. This is a long story.

The contacts taking place between the foreign ministries and the security councils are mostly about the fact that the Americans are present [in Syria] illegally, illegitimately, but they are there.  This is the reality. Given their tendency to fire all their guns with or without reason, we are negotiating the so-called deconflicting mechanism with them.   It is working. Let me draw your attention to the fact that it is functioning despite the legal bans on contacts between the militaries imposed by the US Congress. Not so long ago, the heads of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff officially announced that this was unreasonable and that the bans on military contacts should be lifted. I think this will do good both to the deconflicting process in Syria and our further arms dialogue as a whole.

Question: Turkey has expressed concerns about the voting in Crimea in the recent State Duma elections. This is despite the fact that Russia has provided humanitarian assistance for COVID-19 to Turkey, as well as military cooperation. My question is: could you address the imbalance, what is your analysis of the imbalance in relations?

Sergey Lavrov: Turkey was not the only one to voice “concerns” or “denounce” the vote in Crimea. I can give you two explanations for this “commotion.” First, five years ago, when the previous State Duma elections were held, no one made any statements of this kind, at least not that strong. Had this been the case, I would have remembered it, but no such thing occurred.

However, now they are pouncing on this issue, including the hectic efforts to convene the so-called Crimea Platform in Kiev, and all the commotion around the election. I think that this is an attempt to divert attention from the fact that Kiev, under President Vladimir Zelensky’s leadership, has shamefully failed to honour its commitments under the Minsk Agreements on overcoming the intra-Ukrainian conflict in the east of the country. It is obvious. The adopted laws have been a de-facto obstacle to granting southeastern Ukraine the status required under the Minsk Agreements.

We drew the attention of our German and French colleagues, as well as the European Union to the fact that their “clients” are negating UN Security Council resolutions, because it was the Security Council that approved the Minsk Agreements. Unfortunately, they are all bashfully looking the other way, while President Vladimir Zelensky understood that all he needed to do was divert attention from his own failures and the fact that the Minsk Agreements were sabotaged. Therefore, they are now playing the Crimean card.

A lack of professionalism in foreign policy is the second reason why they are doing this. Professionals know all too well that the Crimea question is closed once and for all.

Question: My second question is regarding Mali. France has expressed concern about the presence of military contractors from Russia in Mali. They are now being joined by their European allies speaking about this concern. My question is: what is Russia’s position on this?

Sergey Lavrov: I have heard these questions. Foreign Minister of France Jean-Yves Le Drian, and EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, have raised them with me.

Mali currently has a transitional government. Those authorities are undertaking efforts to restore the constitutional order, prepare elections and return to civilian rule. The elections are scheduled to take place in February under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union.

Mali’s transitional government has emphasised its commitment to international obligations and is combatting terrorism. It has called upon a private Russian military company because, to my understanding, France intends to substantially reduce its military presence there, and these troops were tasked with fighting terrorists entrenched in the north, in an area called Kidal. But they did not succeed, and terrorist are still in control there.

The Malian authorities considered their own capabilities insufficient without support from abroad, but those who had promised to eliminate terrorism in this country decided to draw down their presence. So they went to a Russian private military company. We have nothing to do with this. This activity is legal and consists of a relationship between the host country, which is a legitimate government recognised by everyone as a legitimate transitional structure, on the one hand, and those offering their services as foreign experts.

Let me emphasise that apart from private military companies, the Russian state has been making its own contribution to ensuring Mali’s defence capability and combat readiness for eliminating the terrorist threat and other threats. We do this by supplying military equipment as part of our assistance. We also work within the UN Security Council to devise the best approaches to further peacebuilding efforts.

I do not see any reason to question this. Yesterday I had a meeting with Mali’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, who talked to the press on this matter. There are no questions here. In fact, the problem lies elsewhere. Our colleagues from the European Union, as Josep Borrell told me, are asking us to stop working in Africa altogether, because this is “their place.” It would be better for the EU and the Russian Federation to align their actions in fighting terrorism not only in Mali, but in the Sahara-Sahelian region in general. Claiming that “they were there first, so we must leave” is, first, an insult to the Bamako government that has invited its foreign partners, and second, it is not the way to treat anyone.

Question: Shortly before the Russian parliamentary elections, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling on the European Commission to refuse to recognise the results of the vote. Did you discuss this with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell? Will the EU recognise the results of the Russian State Duma elections?

Sergey Lavrov: We have not heard any assessments from the European Union proper because the European Parliament is not a body that determines EU policy. I spoke about this with Josep Borrell; I quoted some of the assessments made during his remarks in the European Parliament, including the absolutely unacceptable statements that the European Union distinguishes between “the regime” in Moscow and the Russian people.

He made some rather awkward and vague excuses. It was quite obvious that he realised the phrasing was lame at the very least. I hope that was just a phrase, not the idea. This happens. Sometimes we let something slip only to regret it later.

We have no information about anyone officially rejecting the results of our elections, which have just been announced.

Question: France calls for a review of the recent nuclear submarine deal between the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom to verify its compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). What is your opinion on this matter? What do you generally think of this new triple alliance, which has created such a stir and runs counter to the partnership agreements in NATO and beyond?

Sergey Lavrov: This deal, signed immediately after the flight from Afghanistan, inevitably raises questions from the parties to these alliances. Probably, in addition to a commercial grievance, France is also thinking how reliable these alliances are and how this has increased the relevance of Europe’s strategic autonomy? These are big questions for the Western camp, and they have to address them.

We are not going to interfere in these matters. Yet, we might feel the consequences of what is happening there. This may affect our relations with the European Union, may spur the EU’s interest in cooperating with us, in using the obvious geopolitical and geostrategic advantages of being on one huge continent, especially since the global growth centre is shifting towards Asia.

I have discussed this with many participants here who represent the European Union and who do not like what is happening. Especially when the EU says they should “push back against, constrain, and engage” with Russia. I asked Josep Borrell how they were going to “engage with us,” exactly. Do you know what he answered? “Get out of Mali.” That is all there is to this policy, to this triad. That’s what it is worth. I am being honest. I do not think there is a violation of any ethical norms here because they are also talking about this publicly. I am just giving examples to illustrate their way of thinking.

As regards the Non-Proliferation Treaty, this matter is being discussed a lot on the sidelines in Vienna. The IAEA is responsible for the non-proliferation regime and for ensuring that nuclear research is not diverted to military needs. For a submarine, uranium must be enriched to 90 percent. This is weapons-grade uranium. We will probably have to ask for an IAEA expert review.

A similar attempt to develop such submarines by a non-nuclear country was made a few decades ago. The project was eventually scrapped then, and that settled the whole matter. But now, this deal has been signed. If the IAEA confirms it is in line with nuclear safety and non-diversion to military needs, there will be a queue for such submarines.

Question: In the lead up to the high-level week, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a warning that the world might be drawn into a new vastly more dangerous cold war if the US and China fail to mend their completely collapsed relations. He called for the avoidance of a new confrontation at any cost, and also warned that it would be more dangerous than the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States and dealing with its aftereffects would be much more difficult. What does Russia have to say to these statements?

Sergey Lavrov: Make no mistake, we had this issue on our radar screen even before UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres mentioned it. We see that tensions in China-US relations are escalating. We are aware of who is “playing the first violin” in this not too pleasant turn of events. This worries us. Confrontational schemes do not help the people of our planet to live a normal life: be it the recently announced Indo-Pacific Strategy, which explicitly proclaimed containing China, including in the South China Sea, one of its main goals, or QUAD that was formed as part of these strategies, or, by the same token, the purported AUKUS “triple alliance,” the purpose of which is to help Australia contain the “Chinese threat.”

Yesterday and today, I met with a number of ministers representing ASEAN member countries and asked them how things were going. Talks are underway between China and ASEAN to draft a legally binding code of conduct in the South China Sea. Things are not moving fast, but this is the most reliable way to ensure freedom of navigation and everything else that worries our Western partners to the extent that they keep holding provocative and non-provocative naval manoeuvres and creating anti-Chinese geopolitical schemes. We stand for mutually respectful relations between the great powers that never escalate into a nuclear war. The presidents of Russia and the United States, Vladimir Putin and Joseph Biden, confirmed the unacceptability of this at the Geneva summit. Any kind of war between nuclear powers is unacceptable, because the risks of it escalating into a nuclear conflict are enormous. Humanity has not come up with anything new in this regard. We must talk and strive to find a compromise and get along. As President Trump put it, we must “make a deal.” This is the right expression to use not only in business, but in politics as well. Politics is needed to create a proper environment for normal life, rather than for someone to promote their ambitions, so that everyone agrees that they are “the coolest guy on Earth.” This is obvious to normal people. Great powers must act responsibly with regard to their people and the rest of humanity.

President Putin proposed holding a UN Security Council permanent members’ summit. The pandemic has delayed this work. We have resumed it now. We aim to come to an agreement with our partners from China and the three Western permanent members of the UN Security Council on specific issues which will then be included in the agenda, and on the format of discussions (we may start out online). Talks are the only way to resolve the issues at hand. The five permanent members of the UN Security Council must set an example to other countries.

Question: In connection with the withdrawal of foreign contingents – official and informal mercenaries – from Libya, disputes arose about over whether it would be better to withdraw them only after the elections, upon receipt of an official request from a new government. Some say this should take place before December 24 to ensure fair and legitimate elections. The spokesman for the Presidential Council said today that you highlighted two points at a meeting with Mohammed al-Menfi: the need for a settlement between the Libyan parties and the withdrawal of foreign troops. Does Russia think it should be done before or after the elections?

Sergey Lavrov: Before or after the elections is not a critical matter. Most importantly, the final document of the second International Conference on Libya held in Berlin in June reads as follows: all foreign armed people must leave Libya. Our Turkish colleagues made a reservation saying they had been invited there by the legitimate leadership in the person of the Prime Minister of the Government of National Accord, Fayez al-Sarraj. However, the other part of Libyan society – the Tobruk Parliament – is no less legitimate. Both of these bodies were created under the Skhirat Agreement. The legitimate parliament along with the legitimate Libyan national army invited armed personnel, whom they have on their payroll, to come and join them from abroad. Concurrently, there were people who can be referred to as mercenaries. People are being transferred from Syria (to both sides), Chad and other African countries.

From the outset, the moment it came up in our discussions, we said that we were in favour of doing this. Considering that foreign military forces are on both sides of the Libyan confrontation, we must make sure that they move out in small groups and simultaneously, so as not to create a military advantage on one side at any point in time. A ceasefire has been observed in Libya for over a year now. No one should be tempted to think that they can return to military methods and try to use force to resolve that country’s problems.

Question: Is Russia facilitating the withdrawal of troops from Libya?

Sergey Lavrov: They should deal with this in their 5+5 commission. We are ready to help, but if they continue to address non-priority matters, there will be no elections on December 24, 2021. They have just adopted the legislative framework for the elections. Then the Parliament voted on the legitimacy of Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh’s Government of National Unity. They need to be pushed towards an earnest discussion about how to live on. There are already speculations about whether the current leaders can run for office (reportedly, there was an agreement that they would not participate, but they want to). Our colleagues in the Secretariat are trying to create artificial difficulties when it comes to the format of the UN presence in Libya. They had better concentrate on fulfilling what we agreed on a year ago now. Nobody expected this. They should not be trying to change this to promote someone’s interests or advance hidden agendas.

Question: At what stage are the US-Russia strategic stability talks at the moment? As for nuclear weapons, what is Russia’s reaction to the recent missile launches in North and South Korea? What could work as an incentive for Kim Jong-un to return back to the negotiating table?

Sergey Lavrov: I heard that Pyongyang is sending signals about North Korea’s interest in normalising relations with South Korea. We have always stood for a direct dialogue between the North and the South. However, it was not always supported by the previous US administration, which wanted to control the process. I hope that in the new situation, the Biden administration will be ready to make more constructive steps to encourage the resumption of normal contacts between North and South Korea.

Missile launches don’t help. We noticed that this time, Seoul tried not to over-dramatise. I think this is the right thing to do. Once we begin to resort to public condemnation and strong rhetoric, this significantly reduces our incentives for diplomatic, professional, and calm dialogue. The final agreement can only be reached through confidential and quiet negotiations, rather than mutual recriminations through loudspeakers.

As regards the strategic stability talks with the United States, the first round took place in July. The second is due next week.

Question: As the UN General Assembly is meeting in New York, the Southern District Court in New York has again denied Russian citizen Konstantin Yaroshenko’s appeal. He continues to be held in American dungeons, as does Viktor Bout. There have been occasional reports in the media about their possible exchange for Americans. Whose court is the ball in? How realistic is the exchange scenario?

Sergey Lavrov: It is difficult to make any predictions or promises on behalf of the United States. We have tried many times to change our citizens’ situation by invoking the Council of Europe Convention on Transfer of Sentenced Persons. The United States is a party to this Convention, just as we are. They categorically refuse to hear anything, including our arguments that both Yaroshenko and Bout (as well as a number of others) have been actually lured into a trap by provocations. They have been literally kidnapped, which is against the law. In Bout’s case, the Thai laws were violated – not all procedures were followed; with Yaroshenko, it was Liberia’s. There was also a case where they took Roman Seleznev in the Maldives in a gangster manner – they just put him on an aircraft and he was flown away. Nobody knew anything. Such methods of provoked attacks on our people are being used to achieve something. Either to persuade them to cooperate, or for some other reason. This is unacceptable.

About prisoner exchanges – Presidents Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden touched upon this matter in Geneva, among other things. They agreed that the respective Russian and US security services in charge of this matter will try to negotiate some mutually acceptable options. So far, we haven’t come to any agreement. The United States is only interested in getting its citizens back and does not seem to take our interests very seriously. They are interested in Paul Whelan, who is convicted of espionage. He was caught red-handed. This crime cannot be even compared with the reasons Yaroshenko and Bout got their sentences in excess of 20 years in prison. We are ready to talk. There are other American citizens as well. For some reason, they are not of interest to the administration in Washington. But talking is always better than not talking.

Question: On the JCPOA, the United States wants to discuss [inaudible] the Middle East. Will this be included into the JCPOA?  And on Syria, why doesn’t Damascus allow the UN to have humanitarian trips there? I know that there is a compromise made in the UN Security Council, but it does not seem to make sense. Does Syria or Damascus think that UN workers are Trojan horses?

Sergey Lavrov: Regarding the JCPOA, all we want is for it to resume without any preconditions. Attempts to add them as a requirement to expand the talks to include the Iranian missile programme or to discuss Iran’s “behaviour” in the region, as our Western colleagues say, have no future. This is like comparing apples and oranges. The agreement on the nuclear programme is a separate subject. If there are any concerns as to someone’s behaviour, Iran’s regional partners are not the only ones to have such concerns. Teheran has its own misgivings regarding them, which is totally normal for any region of the world.

The Persian Gulf countries engage in far-reaching foreign policy activities far beyond their regions. This must be taken into consideration. In this connection, we noted that many years ago Russia drafted a Collective Security Concept for the Persian Gulf region suggesting a dialogue inspired to some degree by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. This included discussing confidence-building measures, military transparency and attending each other’s exercises, as well as engaging in positive joint projects. Political scientists from the region and other countries have already discussed this topic. In August 2021, we updated our collective security approach for the Persian Gulf region and released it as an official UN General Assembly and Security Council document. We believe that it is at a forum of this kind, and we hope that we will succeed in convening it, that we need to discuss concerns over the presence of missiles in this region, since Iran is not alone in this regard, and what kind of policies various parties follow. The conflict in Yemen is a case in point in terms of exposing the interests of Arab countries and Iran. There is a need to reach agreements. We believe that this forum should reach beyond the Gulf region. You cannot separate Iraq, Egypt and Jordan in terms of their engagement in shaping a new common platform for constructive dialogue. The Arab League, and the five permanent members of the UN Security must all be involved. Probably, the European Union will also be interested. We believe this approach to be concrete and realistic, at least I had the impression that our colleagues were interested in it. Yesterday, I met with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and they are interested in this topic. We agreed to make it a priority as we resume our ministerial contacts.

As for humanitarian aid to Syria, yesterday I had a lengthy conversation on this topic with Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. We cannot be satisfied with a situation where double standards are being used in the most flagrant and blatant manner. There are six million refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, or maybe even more. In November 2020, Russia and 20 other countries helped Damascus hold a conference on refugees. It focused on creating conditions that would enable refugees to return home, which is what most of them want. The fact that the United States did everything to intimidate those who were expected to attend this conference in Damascus, and the fact that the UN did not take part in the conference was a real shock for us. In fact, the UN representative in Damascus was the only person representing the UN as an observer. At the time, I wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres saying that this amounted to a failure to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 that provides a framework for the UN’s activity on the Syrian track. It clearly stipulates efforts to facilitate humanitarian deliveries and creating conditions that would enable refugees to return to Syria.

Early in 2021, the European Union held an annual conference on Syrian refugees in Brussels, without the Syrian Arab Republic, but co-chaired by the EU and the UN Secretary-General. How perplexing. Not only was Syria not present, which is already a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, but the funds collected at the conference went towards paying for the accommodation of refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, instead of being used to restore infrastructure in Syria. For this reason, I ask those of our friends from the media who worry about ordinary people in conflict zones, to note that initiatives of this kind make a mockery of international humanitarian law.

We adopted the compromise resolution in July. It is true that it extends the so-called cross-border humanitarian aid mechanism for another six months, with deliveries primarily coming from Turkey to the Idlib de-escalation zone. However, considering that the West clings to this mechanism that has not been agreed with Damascus and runs counter to the international humanitarian law, we have every reason to believe that there is some kind of hidden agenda there. We do not get any information on what is in the lorries heading to the Idlib de-escalation zone. The UN swears that they inspect every lorry, but there is no way this can be verified. Even more so, no one knows how this aid or whatever these boxes contain is distributed in the Idlib de-escalation zone, or whether terrorists from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and other unacceptable structures benefit from this aid.

Unless specific measures are taken to unblock humanitarian aid deliveries through Damascus, as required under international humanitarian law, we will put an end to this untransparent cross-border activity. Moreover, since the adoption of the resolution requiring that aid be sent into Syria through Damascus as well, there was only one convoy, and even it was far from complete. About half of the supplies that had been waiting to be delivered for almost a year could not reach their destination. The convoy organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent back in April 2020 remained where it was. Those who care about the starving population must, first, appeal to the Western countries that can influence this situation, and second, reach out to the UN leadership so that it complies with the relevant resolution. Apart from purely the humanitarian aspects, on assisting Syria and humanitarian deliveries, this resolution calls for the so-called early recovery projects, including water supply, electricity, housing, schools and healthcare. This must be done, and the UN Secretariat knows this. Syrians currently face so much hardship. Throughout the Syrian crisis the UN Secretariat did little to create conditions facilitating the return of refugees. However, the UN Security Council Resolution is there. It has been adopted unanimously, and has to be carried out.

Question: Yesterday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared that the Palestinians would withdraw their recognition of the State of Israel, if Israel did not cease its occupation within one year.  This will lead to chaos in the Middle East. What can the Russian Federation as a friend of the Palestinians and a country maintaining good relations with Israel do to avoid this scenario? After the Palestinians lost faith in the efficacy of the peace process, do they have the right to defend themselves and resist the occupation?

Sergey Lavrov: All right, let’s talk about the Palestinian-Israeli problems. These problems are certainly grave ones. They were not helped by the “casting about” we observed during the previous US administration. I am referring to both their recognition of the Golan Heights and the attempts to promote what was actually an annexation inscribed in the context of the efforts to create a quasi Palestinian state. What is important here is that the Biden administration has confirmed its commitment to the two-state approach. But the Israeli prime minister is not confirming this commitment, although there are politicians in Israel and in the Israeli parliament, who have different views on how to ensure security of the Jewish State without living under constant strain and hitting targets threatening Israel. [According to them], the alternative is to come to an agreement and build a stable and peaceful life through a two-state safe and prosperous coexistence in keeping with the principles of a settlement endorsed by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. The current Israeli leaders are maintaining contacts that mostly boil down to keeping security in the Palestinian territories.

We believe that it would be a major mistake if the processes in the region – Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc. – make us forget about the Palestinian question. After all, it is the outgrowth of this planet’s longest-lasting modern conflict, a conflict that other powers sought to settle through the creation of two states. One state was established in no time, but the other state is still to be created.

I believe that the decision approved by the Arab League at the initiative of the King of Saudi Arabia almost 20 years ago now was a wise decision. I am referring to the Arab Peace Initiative, which said that the Arab countries would normalise their relations with Israel immediately after the creation of a viable Palestinian state conforming to all the UN-defined criteria. That was quite a specimen of statecraft. But the Trump administration attempted to turn everything upside down. The Abraham Accords promoted by a number of Arab countries were based on the logic that the first thing to do was to normalise relations between the Arabs and Israel, with the Palestinian problem to be considered afterwards. We welcome any kind of normalisation between any states. Not at the expense of Palestine in this case. It is gratifying that all the signatories of the Abraham Accords, including Bahrain, the UAE, the Sudan, and Morocco stressed that they were fully committed to the UN decisions on the Palestinian problem. This is where we should stand.

You asked whether they have the right to fight. They will not ask [for anyone’s permission]. The unregulated state of the Palestinian problem is the gravest factor feeding radical sentiments on the Arab “street.”  The extremist preachers are saying that their people have been wronged, that they were promised a state of their own 80 years ago but it was a deception. Young people, particularly uneducated ones, are highly sensitive to this sort of propaganda. But my Israeli colleagues get offended when I explain to them this aspect of the Middle East situation and the impact of the lack of a settlement of the Palestinian problem is exerting on stability in the whole of the region. They say I am wrong and that the problem is not very serious. But this is a shortsighted approach.

This is the reason why we are supporting Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas’ proposal to convene an international conference. But we are confident that it must be thoroughly prepared, for which purpose we would like to resume the activities of the Quartet of international intermediaries consisting of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations and to recruit for joint work, for example, the foursome of Arab countries – Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, and Bahrain – that have relations with Israel.   Probably Saudi Arabia, the author of the Arab Peace Initiative, should be invited as well. This makes 4+4+1+2 (Israel and Palestine). If some parties believe that it is still too early to meet in this format, we are ready to offer our territory as a venue and support any other invitation for Israel and Palestine to meet for direct talks. The important thing is to avoid procrastination. We will seek to support this approach in every way we can.

Most importantly, while what we have just discussed depends on many factors (some depend on Israel, some on other members of regional organisations), there is one matter that depends on no one but the Palestinians themselves. I am referring to Palestinian unity. Attempts were being made to restore it a couple of years ago now. Certain agreements seemed to be reached and a circle of elections was announced. But eventually nothing came of it.  The lack of rapport between Ramallah and Gaza carries a negative charge. If the Palestinians restored their unity, it would be easier and more effective for them to talk to Israel at future negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once said that he did not know who to hold talks with, when it was unclear whom Mr Abbas was representing.  It looked like he had Ramallah alone, while Gaza was controlled by other people. These matters have a strong influence on any attempts to achieve major political results. The Palestinians are unwilling to restore unity. But we are actively working with all the Palestinian factions. I repeatedly invited them to Moscow. During the discussions they agree they should reunite, but later it all somehow goes amiss.

Question (retranslated from English): This week, the European Commission accused Russia of engaging in hacker attacks against European politicians and media representatives, in particular, German politicians and officials, in the run-up to tomorrow’s election in which they are participating. What is your response to these accusations? Do you have any expectations regarding the outcome of elections in Germany?

Trevor Reed’s family believes he was unjustly indicted and sentenced to an unreasonably long term. Could you comment on these statements as well?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already covered Trevor Reed and Paul Whelan, for that matter. Paul Whelan was arrested on espionage charges. He was caught red-handed. Trevor Reed was arrested for attacking and hitting a police officer several times. I am not sure how many years in prison people in the United States would get for violent attacks against a police officer. I think, many. Konstantin Yaroshenko and Viktor Bout were simply lured by deception into a deal where they used an aircraft for some purpose, which got them implicated into a case of arms and drug smuggling. They were sentenced to over 20 years in prison without having hurt anyone or having any intention to violate international rules for trading in particular types of goods. So, our US colleagues need to be consistent, if they are offended over someone being arrested here. The same standards should be applied to all situations. In the case of an attack on police officers, see what is happening at the trial on the “Capitol attack.”

With regard to the accusations advanced by the European Commission, we are willing to review the facts, but they simply will not give us any. We are being unfoundedly charged with the alleged poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko with polonium in London in 2007. They have not yet provided a single piece of evidence, but closed the process to the public and made it “official,” meaning that the judges can now consider secret materials behind closed doors. Now, they want to do the same with the process regarding the woman who died in Salisbury in the context of the Skripal case. They also want closed hearings on the causes of her death in order to avoid disclosing some secret documents. Nobody is making them available to us, but they blame us for everything. As with the Skripal case, they are also blaming us for the Malaysian Boeing case. The court in The Hague ruled that they had reason to believe the United States, which stated it had satellite images to prove that Russia had done it. But they did not show these images to anyone. The Dutch court considers this normal. They believe whatever the Americans say. Arnold Schwarzenegger famously said “trust me” in one of his films, and Ronald Reagan added “but verify.” So, we want to conduct verification. In the case of the MH17 flight, we provided the data from the radars and much more. The Ukrainians refused to share the data from their radars. Allegedly, they “went dead” during the crash. They refuse to provide the exchange between the air traffic controller and the pilots. This speaks volumes. And much more.

We’re being accused of interfering  in the US elections. I discussed this matter with my colleagues on many occasions, in particular, with former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. He once said they had irrefutable evidence of Russia’s interference in the 2016 US elections, and I asked him to show it to me. He said they would not let us see it and that we should contact our special services for they would know what it was all about. That was all that was said. Is that okay?

The same goes for cyber attacks. The US authorities accused us (President Biden brought this issue up at a meeting with President Putin) or, rather our ransomware hackers, of attacking a meat processor and a fuel pipeline in the United States demanding them to pay ransom. Nobody showed us any evidence. President Biden, however, said their data show it is not the Russian Government that is doing this, but some people who are based in  Russia.

We let them know that most (about half) of the hacker attacks on our resources over the past year were carried out from the United States. Some originated in Germany and other countries. We have sent 45 official inquiries to our US colleagues indicating concrete facts that needed investigation. We received nine replies. We have received about 10 official inquiries and answered every one of them. I am heartened to know that the Americans agreed to move away from sporadic accusations and complaints and to begin systematic work on this matter after President Putin discussed this issue with President Biden in Geneva. The services that deal with cyber security have established dedicated communication channels. We hope that things will get going now.

With regard to the election in Germany, we wish every success to all its participants.

Question: Last week, the preliminary results of an investigation conducted by Justice Department special counsel John Durham into “Russiagate” were made public in the United States. The indictment mentioned one of the probe’s initiators. It is not the first paradoxical situation reported in the United States. American officials are overturning the US accusations against Russia.

The paradox is that the sanctions adopted against Russia have not been lifted despite the refutation. What is Moscow’s position on this score and what are its American partners saying?

Sergey Lavrov: You have answered your own question. It was unreasonable to do this before pondering the matter or investigating the situation. And it is a pity that after the situation was clarified they have not retraced their steps so as not to harm our bilateral relations. This is what American manners are all about. We have become accustomed to this. We will never ask for the sanctions to be lifted. The “limit” has been exhausted by neighbouring Ukraine, which continues making requests, unable to get its bearings of what is happening.  We are not going to act in this manner.

We do not have any other partners [in the US]. However, dialogue is gradually taking shape in some spheres, such as strategic stability and cybersecurity, which gives hope that we will bit by bit develop dialogue based on mutual respect at least in some spheres of international relations.

Question (retranslated from English): My question concerns Palestine. Many people say that Palestinian settlements are occupying too much land, that there are already half a million settlers. Do you think it’s time for the international community to settle the problem by creating one state for two peoples? Could you comment on this please?

As you are aware, WFP Executive Director David Beasley said just two days ago now that at least 50,000 Yemenis are starving and millions need humanitarian aid and food. Do you think that the international community, which includes Russia, has let the Yemeni people down by failing to put sufficient pressure on all the conflicting parties, including Saudi Arabia?

Sergey Lavrov: I would not say that the international community is not doing enough to convince the conflicting parties to sit down at the negotiating table not only to exchange accusations but also to come to some agreements.  There are a number of factors involved here, which are, regrettably, absolutely subjective and have to do with the desire of certain individuals to remain in power as long as possible, which is having a negative effect on the negotiating process and the possibility of compromise. I will not go into any details right now, but Yemen is indeed a country with the world’s largest humanitarian disaster, which was pointed out long ago, when the conflict had only just started and was in the hot phase.

We are involved through our Embassy. Our ambassador to Yemen is currently working from Riyadh, where a group of ambassadors are acting together to support the process and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen. I hope that everyone will gradually come to see the futility of trying to put off the necessary agreements.

As for the [Palestinian] settlements, we have always condemned the settlement policy, saying, just as you have so rightly pointed out, that this would create facts on the ground that will prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. I have heard about the one state solution where all people would have equal rights. I believe that this is unrealistic. Many academics say that this, if this should happen, will undermine the Jewish nature of the State of Israel. But if equal rights are not granted to everyone in Israel, it might become an apartheid state.

I am quite sure that the two-state solution is the only option. I would just like to point out that many people in the Israeli political elite share this same view and believe that this option must be promoted more actively.

Eurasian consolidation ends the US unipolar moment – Part 2 of 2

SEPTEMBER 24, 2021

Eurasian consolidation ends the US unipolar moment – Part 2 of 2

By Pepe Escobar, posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Part 1 is here

The 20th anniversary summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, enshrined no less than a new geopolitical paradigm.

Iran, now a full SCO member, was restored to its traditionally prominent Eurasian role, following the recent $400 billion-worth trade and development deal struck with China. Afghanistan was the main topic – with all players agreeing on the path ahead, as detailed in the Dushanbe Declaration. And all Eurasian integration paths are now converging, in unison, towards the new geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm.

Call it a multipolar development dynamic in synergy with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The Dushanbe Declaration was quite explicit on what Eurasian players are aiming at: “a more representative, democratic, just and multipolar world order based on universally recognized principles of international law, cultural and civilizational diversity, mutually beneficial and equal cooperation of states under the central coordinating role of the UN.”

For all the immense challenges inherent to the Afghan jigsaw puzzle, hopeful signs emerged this Tuesday, when Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah met in Kabul with the Russian presidential envoy Zamir Kabulov, China’s special envoy Yue Xiaoyong, and Pakistan’s special envoy Mohammad Sadiq Khan.

This troika – Russia, China, Pakistan – is at the diplomatic forefront. The SCO reached a consensus that Islamabad will be coordinating with the Taliban the formation of a government also including Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras.

The most glaring, immediate consequence of the SCO not only incorporating Iran but also taking the Afghan bull by the horns, fully supported by the Central Asian “stans”, is that the Empire of Chaos has been completely marginalized.

From Southwest Asia to Central Asia, a real reset has as protagonists the SCO, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI and the Russia-China strategic partnership. The missing links so far, for different reasons – Iran and Afghanistan – are now fully incorporated to the chessboard.

In my frequent conversations with Alastair Crooke, one of the world’s foremost political analysts, he evoked once again Lampedusa’s The Leopard: everything must change so everything must remain the same. In this case, imperial hegemony, as interpreted by Washington: “In its growing confrontation with China, a ruthless Washington has demonstrated that what matters to it now is not Europe, but the Indo-Pacific region.” That’s Cold War 2.0 prime terrain.

With very little potential to contain China now that it’s been all but expelled from the Eurasia heartland, the fallback position had to be a classic maritime power play: the “free and open Indo-Pacific”, complete with Quad and AUKUS, the whole set up spun to death as an “effort” attempting to preserve dwindling American supremacy.

The sharp contrast between the SCO continental integration drive and the “we all live in an Aussie submarine” gambit (my excuses to Lennon-McCartney) speaks for itself. A toxic mix of hubris and desperation is in the air, with not even a whiff of pathos to alleviate the downfall.

The Global South is not impressed. Addressing the forum in Dushanbe, President Putin remarked that the portfolio of nations knocking on the SCO’s door was huge, and that was not surprising at all. Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are now SCO dialogue partners, on the same level with Afghanistan and Turkey. It’s quite feasible they may be joined next year by Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Serbia and a cast of dozens.

And it doesn’t stop in Eurasia. In his meticulously timed address to CELAC, Xi Jinping no less than invited 33 Latin American nations to be part of the Eurasia-Africa-Americas New Silk Roads.

Remember the Scythians

Iran as a SCO protagonist and at the center of the New Silk Roads restores it to a rightful historic role. By the middle of the first millennium B.C., Northern Iranians ruled the core of the steppes in Central Eurasia. By that time the Scythians had migrated into the Western steppe, while other steppe Iranians made inroads as far away as China.

Scythians – a Northern (or “East”) Iranian people – were not necessarily just fierce warriors. That’s a crude stereotype. Very few in the West know that the Scythians developed a sophisticated trade system, as described by Herodotus among others, linking Greece, Persia and China.

And why’s that? Because trade was an essential means to support their sociopolitical infrastructure. Herodotus got the picture because he actually visited the city of Olbia and other places in Scythia.

The Scythians were called Saka by the Persians – and that leads us to another fascinating territory: the Sakas may have been one of the prime ancestors of the Pashtun in Afghanistan.

What’s in a name – Scythian? Well, multitudes. The Greek form Scytha meant Northern Iranian “archer”. So that was the denomination of all the Northern Iranian peoples living between Greece in the West and China in the East.

Now imagine a very busy international commerce network developed across the heartland, with the focus on Central Eurasia, by the Scythians, the Sogdians, and even the Xiongnu – who kept battling the Chinese on and off, as detailed by early Greek and Chinese historical sources.

These Central Eurasians traded with all the peoples living on their borders: that meant Europeans, Southwest Asians, South Asians and East Asians. They were the precursors of the multiple Ancient Silk Roads.

The Sogdians followed the Scythians; Sogdiana was an independent Greco-Bactrian state in the 3rd century B.C. – encompassing areas of northern Afghanistan – before it was conquered by nomads from the east that ended up establishing the Kushan empire, which soon expanded south into India.

Zoroaster was born in Sogdiana; Zoroastrianism was huge in Central Asia for centuries. The Kushans for their part adopted Buddhism: and that’s how Buddhism eventually arrived in China.

By the fist century A.D. all these Central Asian empires were linked – via long-distance trade – to Iran, India and China. That was the historical basis of the multiple, Ancient Silk Roads – which linked China to the West for several centuries until the Age of Discovery configured the fateful Western maritime trade dominance.

Arguably, even more than a series of interlinked historical phenomena, the denomination “Silk Road” works best as a metaphor of cross-cultural connectivity. That’s what is at the heart of the Chinese concept of New Silk Roads. And average people across the heartland feel it, because that’s imprinted in the collective unconscious in Iran, China and all Central Asian “stans”.

The Revenge of the Heartland

Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing the process of Eurasia integration in depth.

His latest book practically spells out the whole story in its title: Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World.

Diesen shows, in detail, how a “Greater Eurasia region, that integrates Asia and Europe, is currently being negotiated and organized with a Chinese-Russian partnership at the center. Eurasian geoeconomic instruments of power are gradually forming the foundation of a super-region with new strategic industries, transportation corridors and financial instruments. Across the Eurasian continent, states as different as South Korea, India, Kazakhstan and Iran are all advancing various formats for Eurasia integration.”

The Greater Eurasia Partnership has been at the center of Russian foreign policy at least since the St. Petersburg forum in 2016. Diesen duly notes that, “while Beijing and Moscow share the ambition to construct a larger Eurasian region, their formats differ. The common denominator of both formats is the necessity of a Sino-Russian partnership to integrate Eurasia.” That’s what was made very clear at the SCO summit.

It’s no wonder the process irks the Empire immensely, because Greater Eurasia, led by Russia-China, is a mortal attack against the geoeconomic architecture of Atlanticism. And that leads us to the nest of vipers debate around the EU concept of “strategic autonomy” from the US; that would be essential to establish true European sovereignty – and eventually, closer integration within Eurasia.

European sovereignty is simply non-existent when its foreign policy means submission to dominatrix NATO. The humiliating, unilateral withdrawal of Afghanistan coupled with Anglo-only AUKUS was a graphic illustration that the Empire doesn’t give a damn about its European vassals.

Throughout the book Diesen shows, in detail, how the concept of Eurasia unifying Europe and Asia “has through history been an alternative to the dominance of maritime powers in the oceanic-centric world economy”, and how “British and American strategies have been deeply influenced” by the ghost of an emerging Eurasia, “a direct threat to their advantageous position in the oceanic world order”.

Now, the crucial factor seems to be the fragmentation of Atlanticism. Diesen identifies three levels: the de facto decoupling of Europe and the US propelled by Chinese ascendancy; the mind-boggling internal divisions in the EU, enhanced by the parallel universe inhabited by Brussels eurocrats; and last but not least, “polarization within Western states” caused by the excesses of neoliberalism.

Well, just as we think we’re out, Mackinder and Spykman pull us back in. It’s always the same story: the Anglo-American obsession in preventing the rise of a “peer competitor” (Brzezinski) in Eurasia, or an alliance (Russia-Germany in the Mackinder era, now the Russia-China strategic partnership) capable, as Diesen puts it, “of wrestling geoeconomic control away from the oceanic powers.”

As much as imperial strategists remain hostages of Spykman – who ruled that the US must control the maritime periphery of Eurasia – definitely it’s not AUKUS/Quad that is going to pull it off.

Very few people, East and West, may remember that Washington had developed its own Silk Road concept during the Bill Clinton years – later co-opted by Dick Cheney with a Pipelineistan twist, and then circling all back to Hillary Clinton, announcing her own Silk Road dream in India in 2011.

Diesen reminds us how Hillary sounded remarkably like a proto-Xi: “Let’s work together to create a new Silk Road. Not a single thoroughfare like its namesake, but an international web and network of economic and transit connections. That means building more rail lines, highways, energy infrastructure, like the proposed pipeline to run from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan, through Pakistan and India.”

Hillary does Pipelineistan! Well, in the end, she didn’t. Reality dictates that Russia is connecting its European and Pacific regions, while China connects its developed east coast with Xinjiang, and both connect Central Asia. Diesen interprets it as Russia “completing its historical conversion from a European/Slavic empire to a Eurasian civilizational state.”

So in the end we’re back to…the Scythians. The prevailing neo-Eurasia concept revives the mobility of nomadic civilizations – via top transportation infrastructure – to connect everything between Europe and Asia. We could call it the Revenge of the Heartland: they are the powers building this new, interconnected Eurasia. Say goodbye to the ephemeral, post-Cold War US unipolar moment.

Eurasia takes shape: How the SCO just flipped the world order

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With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia.Photo Credit: The Cradle
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SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and cross-posted with The Cradle

Part 1 of 2 on Eurasia

With Iran’s arrival, the SCO member-states now number nine, and they’re focused on fixing Afghanistan and consolidating Eurasia.

As a rudderless West watched on, the 20th anniversary meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was laser-focused on two key deliverables: shaping up Afghanistan and kicking off a full-spectrum Eurasian integration.

The two defining moments of the historic 20th anniversary Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan had to come from the keynote speeches of – who else – the leaders of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

Xi Jinping: “Today we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO.”

Vladimir Putin: “I would like to highlight the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed today between the SCO Secretariat and the Eurasian Economic Commission. It is clearly designed to further Russia’s idea of establishing a Greater Eurasia Partnership covering the SCO, the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union), ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI).”

In short, over the weekend, Iran was enshrined in its rightful, prime Eurasian role, and all Eurasian integration paths converged toward a new global geopolitical – and geoeconomic – paradigm, with a sonic boom bound to echo for the rest of the century.

That was the killer one-two punch immediately following the Atlantic alliance’s ignominious imperial retreat from Afghanistan. Right as the Taliban took control of Kabul on August 15, the redoubtable Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s Security Council, told his Iranian colleague Admiral Ali Shamkhani that “the Islamic Republic will become a full member of the SCO.”

Dushanbe revealed itself as the ultimate diplomatic crossover. President Xi firmly rejected any “condescending lecturing” and emphasized development paths and governance models compatible with national conditions. Just like Putin, he stressed the complementary focus of BRI and the EAEU, and in fact summarized a true multilateralist Manifesto for the Global South.

Right on point, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan noted that the SCO should advance “the development of a regional macro-economy.” This is reflected in the SCO’s drive to start using local currencies for trade, bypassing the US dollar.

Watch that quadrilateral

Dushanbe was not just a bed of roses. Tajikistan’s Emomali Rahmon, a staunch, secular Muslim and former member of the Communist Party of the USSR – in power for no less than 29 years, reelected for the 5th time in 2020 with 90 percent of the vote – right off the bat denounced the “medieval sharia” of Taliban 2.0 and said they had already “abandoned their previous promise to form an inclusive  government.”

Rahmon, who has never been caught smiling on camera, was already in power when the Taliban conquered Kabul in 1996. He was bound to publicly support his Tajik cousins against the “expansion of extremist ideology” in Afghanistan – which in fact worries all SCO member-states when it comes to smashing dodgy jihadi outfits of the ISIS-K mold .

The meat of the matter in Dushanbe was in the bilaterals – and one quadrilateral.

Take the bilateral between Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Chinese FM Wang Yi. Jaishankar said that China should not view “its relations with India through the lens of a third country,” and took pains to stress that India “does not subscribe to any clash of civilizations theory.”

That was quite a tough sell considering that the first in-person Quad summit takes place this week in Washington, DC, hosted by that “third country” which is now knee deep in clash-of-civilizations mode against China.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was on a bilateral roll, meeting the presidents of Iran, Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The official Pakistani diplomatic position is that Afghanistan should not be abandoned, but engaged.

That position added nuance to what Russian Special Presidential Envoy for SCO Affairs Bakhtiyer Khakimov had explained about Kabul’s absence at the SCO table: “At this stage, all member states have an understanding that there are no reasons for an invitation until there is a legitimate, generally recognized government in Afghanistan.”

And that, arguably, leads us to the key SCO meeting: a quadrilateral with the Foreign Ministers of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi affirmed: “We are monitoring whether all the groups are included in the government or not.” The heart of the matter is that, from now on, Islamabad coordinates the SCO strategy on Afghanistan, and will broker Taliban negotiations with senior Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara leaders. This will eventually lead the way towards an inclusive government regionally recognized by SCO member-nations.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was warmly received by all – especially after his forceful keynote speech, an Axis of Resistance classic. His bilateral with Belarus president Aleksandr Lukashenko revolved around a discussion on “sanctions confrontation.” According to Lukashenko: “If the sanctions did any harm to Belarus, Iran, other countries, it was only because we ourselves are to blame for this. We were not always negotiable, we did not always find the path we had to take under the pressure of sanctions.”

Considering Tehran is fully briefed on Islamabad’s SCO role in terms of Afghanistan, there will be no need to deploy the Fatemiyoun brigade – informally known as the Afghan Hezbollah – to defend the Hazaras. Fatemiyoun was formed in 2012 and was instrumental in Syria in the fight against Daesh, especially in Palmyra. But if ISIS-K does not go away, that’s a completely different story.

Particular important for SCO members Iran and India will be the future of Chabahar port. That remains India’s crypto-Silk Road gambit to connect it to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The geoeconomic success of Chabahar more than ever depends on a stable Afghanistan – and this is where Tehran’s interests fully converge with Russia-China’s SCO drive.

What the 2021 SCO Dushanbe Declaration spelled out about Afghanistan is quite revealing:

1. Afghanistan should be an independent, neutral, united, democratic and peaceful state, free of terrorism, war and drugs.

2. It is critical to have an inclusive government in Afghanistan, with representatives from all ethnic, religious and political groups of Afghan society.

3. SCO member states, emphasizing the significance of the many years of hospitality and effective assistance provided by regional and neighboring countries to Afghan refugees, consider it important for the international community to make active efforts to facilitate their dignified, safe and sustainable return to their homeland.

As much as it may sound like an impossible dream, this is the unified message of Russia, China, Iran, India, Pakistan and the Central Asian “stans.” One hopes that Pakistani PM Imran Khan is up to the task and ready for his SCO close-up.

That troubled Western peninsula

The New Silk Roads were officially launched eight years ago by Xi Jinping, first in Astana – now Nur-Sultan – and then in Jakarta.

This is how I reported it at the time.

The announcement came close to a SCO summit – then in Bishkek. The SCO, widely dismissed in Washington and Brussels as a mere talk shop, was already surpassing its original mandate of fighting the “three evil forces” – terrorism, separatism and extremism – and encompassing politics and geoeconomics.

In 2013, there was a Xi-Putin-Rouhani trilateral. Beijing expressed full support for Iran’s peaceful nuclear program (remember, this was two years before the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the JCPOA).

Despite many experts dismissing it at the time, there was indeed a common China-Russia-Iran front on Syria (Axis of Resistance in action). Xinjiang was being promoted as the key hub for the Eurasian Land Bridge. Pipelineistan was at the heart of the Chinese strategy – from Kazakhstan oil to Turkmenistan gas. Some people may even remember when Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was waxing lyrical about an American-propelled New Silk Road.

Now compare it to Xi’s Multilateralism Manifesto in Dushanbe eight years later, reminiscing on how the SCO “has proved to be an excellent example of multilateralism in the 21stcentury,” and “has played an important role in enhancing the voice of developing countries.”

The strategic importance of this SCO summit taking place right after the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) in Vladivostok cannot be overstated enough. The EEF focuses of course on the Russian Far East – and essentially advances interconnectivity between Russia and Asia. It is an absolutely key hub of Russia’s Greater Eurasian Partnership.

A cornucopia of deals is on the horizon – expanding from the Far East to the Arctic and the development of the Northern Sea Route, and involving everything from precious metals and green energy to digital sovereignty flowing through logistics corridors between Asia and Europe via Russia.

As Putin hinted in his keynote speech, this is what the Greater Eurasia Partnership is all about: the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), BRI, India’s initiative, ASEAN, and now the SCO, developing in a harmonized network, crucially operated by “sovereign decision-making centers.”

So if the BRI proposes a very Taoist “community of shared future for human kind,” the Russian project, conceptually, proposes a dialogue of civilizations (already evoked by the Khatami years in Iran) and sovereign economic-political projects. They are, indeed, complementary.

Glenn Diesen, Professor at the University of South-Eastern Norway and an editor at the Russia in Global Affairs journal, is among the very few top scholars who are analyzing this process in depth. His latest book remarkably tells the whole story in its title:  Europe as the Western Peninsula of Greater Eurasia: Geoeconomic Regions in a Multipolar World. It’s not clear whether Eurocrats in Brussels – slaves of Atlanticism and incapable of grasping the potential of Greater Eurasia – will end up exercising real strategic autonomy.

Diesen evokes in detail the parallels between the Russian and the Chinese strategies. He notes how China “is pursuing a three-pillared geoeconomic initiative by developing technological leadership via its China 2025 plan, new transportation corridors via its trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, and establishing new financial instruments such as banks, payment systems and the internationalization of the yuan. Russia is similarly pursuing technological sovereignty, both in the digital sphere and beyond, as well as new transportation corridors such as the Northern Sea Route through the Arctic, and, primarily, new financial instruments.”

The whole Global South, stunned by the accelerated collapse of the western Empire and its unilateral “rules-based order, now seems to be ready to embrace the new groove, fully displayed in Dushanbe: a multipolar Greater Eurasia of sovereign equals.

Fake News on Invented US Enemies: Focus on Russia

The Stephen Lendman Blog

Virtually all nations free from US control prioritize world peace, stability, cooperative relations with other countries and compliance with international law.

At peace with their neighbors and other countries, their foreign policy is polar opposite how hegemon USA and its imperial co-conspirators operate.

Ahead of Russia’s lower house State Duma elections — to conclude on Sunday — the Washington Post recited its customary litany of bald-faced Big Lies about the country and Vladimir Putin.

It lied claiming “the deck (was) stack(ed) for Putin (sic).”

It lied accusing Russia of running “fake candidates and jailing opposition figures (sic).”

Last month, Putin expressed “hope that the United Russia (party) will maintain its position and have an opportunity at the legislative level to take relevant decisions in the interests of the country,” adding:

“The party’s program is an important, fundamental document.”

“It is a living document that must respond to what is happening…

View original post 523 more words

Imposing Human Rights conditions on Afghan Government.

September 15, 2021

Imposing Human Rights conditions on Afghan Government.

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

The US is exerting pressure on the Afghan Government for respecting human rights. Also, the US is lobbying with its allies to exert pressure on Afghanistan and should not recognize their legitimacy unless they meet few demands, among which is Human rights at the top of the list.

What the US was doing in Afghanistan for twenty years? Was it in respect of Human rights? Bombing Marriage parties, funeral ceremonies, Mosques, Shrines, Schools, Hospitals, was respecting Human rights? Dropping Mother of all bombs, extensive use of force, weapons, and ammunition was it the respect of Human rights? Use of dirty tricks, and high-tech weapons and technologies, was in respect to Human rights? The US was maintaining several jails in Afghanistan, was it in respect of Human Rights? Keeping many detention centers, was it in respect of Human rights? Creation of so many torture cells, was it the rest of Human rights? So many investigation centers, was am to protect human rights? The US involved 46 countries to attack Afghanistan was it human rights exercise? Additional 11 countries also supported in war against Afghanistan, was it aimed to protect human rights? Keeping 150,000 troops in Afghanistan (peek time), was it respecting human rights? Killing innocent citizens, children, civilians, women, elder people, was part of the American Human Rights adventure? Use of drones and killing Taxi driver along with his two young children, was it also the respect of Human right? Excessive use of powers, draconian laws, and extrajudicial killings, was part of US policy of Human Rights? How many women were raped, insulted, humiliated, is this American rest to Human rights? Child abuse was a common phenomenon, is this the American way of resting human rights? Shame! Shame! Shame!

The US has no moral authority to talk about Human Rights and put extraordinary conditions on the Afghan Government and irrational excuses to coerce Afghans. The entire world knows, what happened in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and in many other countries, the American role is very much obvious and known to everyone. The US is a partner in extreme violations of Human rights in Palestine and Kashmir. The US is extending extraordinary support to Israel and India, which are notorious for Human rights violations. Yet, if the US is talking about human rights, is beyond our imaginations. A country, who is committing the worst human rights violations, is talking about Human rights, is not matching its actions and words. Even, inside America, what so ever is happening with minorities, immigrants, and black people, is well-known to everyone.

American human rights violations and war crimes in Afghanistan must be trial and fix responsibilities on all individuals involved. Punish them according to respective law according to the degree of crime and level of involvement.

However, in Afghanistan, life is rapidly restoring toward normalcy. 20 years of American illegitimate occupation has ended and the Taliban are restoring peace, stability, and law & order situation, which is improving gradually. Now people feel safer and secure. Government offices are functioning properly. Women are working with full confidence as usual. Girls are getting an education in a routine matter. Taliban government has ensured the safety of all its citizens. People of Afghanistan are happy and have welcomed the Taliban.

Taliban are real representatives of Afghanistan and very much loyal and sincere with their country and enjoy public support and trust. Unlike President Noor Muhamad Turkey, President Hafizullah Amin, President Babrak Karmal, and President Dr. Najeeb, who were traitors and planted by the USSR, and were working on foreign agenda, the Taliban are keeping the Afghan interest at the top. Unlike President Hamid Karzai, and President Ashraf Ghani, who were CIA agents, and puppets, and installed by the US. Both of them were implementing and serving their masters. Taliban are Afghans and serving Afghans only.

If the US demands to include such traitors, it may not be possible, as it is illogical to bring traitors and foreign agents back. Taliban fought for twenty years for freedom and finally defeated the US. Taliban has sacrificed many precious lives, close relatives, suffered jails, tortures, and exiles, and now after victory, they have the right to form their own government. It is their legal and legitimate right, the world must accept this fact and realize it, the sooner the better.

Taliban are true Afghans, they understand their culture, traditions, and tribal society, and they will form a system of government, which suits Afghanistan. There is no need for any dictation from the outside world. Let Afghans lead their country and manage their affairs in the best possible manner, which suits them. Outside interference needs to reach an end. The status of human rights in Afghanistan under Taliban rule is much better than in the last twenty years of American occupation. People feel relaxed and thank the Taliban for providing them dignity, safety, respect, and protection. Under American occupation, no one was sure that if he or she leaves home, and come back safe. Any time anywhere anything can happen, as the US troops were wild and treating Afghans just like sheep and goats, mistreating them, insulting and humiliating them. Especially, the women can be raped, tortured, humiliated by troops. How many young Afghan girls were smuggled and trafficked to America and Europe to work in the sex industry? Can Americans justify it as human rights? Taliban has provided respect and protection to women. Majority of women are very happy with Taliban rule. Exceptions must be there, we may not deny exceptional cases, but vast majority of women are happy and satisfied.

Taliban were freedom fighters and won the long war of twenty years against a superpower and they are competent and equipped with all modern knowledge. They understand how to manage a country and how to run a country. Of course, they are facing huge challenges, but these challenges are created artificially by the US and its allies. Like freezing Afghan assets, using IMF, World Bank, International Financial Institutions, and donors, to coerce Afghans.

The US has planned something else, but what happens is the opposite. The US evacuated its troops from Afghanistan in a haphazard manner to create a vacuum, leading toward civil war. The US deployed around twenty thousand private defense contractors to create unrest and civil war in Afghanistan. The US shifted ISIS-K to Afghanistan, equipped them, funded them, and provided those training, to create unrest and civil war in Afghanistan. But on the ground Taliban has managed very well and avoided any civil war or unrest on the ground. The US is desperate, taking measures to destabilize the new government in Afghanistan.

The US is using various tricks to destabilize Afghanistan, it includes economic measures, human rights excuses, women’s rights, etc. to create unrest. The US is pursuing allies and other countries to exert pressure on Afghanistan to achieve its ill-designs. Pakistan is facing such pressure from the US. Unfortunate!

However, the Taliban performed very well on grounds, and the world has seen and witnessed that the Taliban are capable and honest, kind, gentle, competent. Taliban got international recognition already. The Qatar deputy foreign Minister has already paid an official visit. Many other countries are ready to establish good relations with the new Government as soon as they announce formally.

The Whole region suffered a lot due to the American invasion of Afghanistan for twenty years, and cannot afford any further unrest. All the regional countries with a stable, safe, and prosperous Afghanistan. If few countries like America, want to spoil it, may not succeed.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan. (E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com).

Why’s The EU’s Infowar Outlet Implying A Conspiracy About US Policy Towards The Taliban?

14 SEPTEMBER 2021

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Why

American officials should investigate what’s really going on with this infowar outlet, even if they do so discretely considering how sensitive this provocation is.

The EU is generally regarded as subservient to America’s grand strategic interests, but one of its infowar outlets just surprisingly implied a conspiracy about US policy towards the Taliban by hinting that it might be influenced by a Russian “conspiracy narrative”, as incredulous as this innuendo sounds. “EU vs. Disinfo”, the self-described “flagship project of the European External Action Service’s East Stratcom Task Force” (the EEAS being the self-described “EU’s diplomatic service”) that functions as one of the bloc’s top infowar instruments against Russia, already had its claim about last summer’s Belarus-Wagner provocation debunked by CNN just last week.

It’s now further worsening its already fraught credibility through its recent article about “9/11 And Russia’s Descend From Dialogue To Feeding Conspiracy Narratives”. The unnamed writer began their piece by informing readers that “A closer look at how disinformation found its way into Russian state-owned and pro-Kremlin media illustrate the instrumentalisation of conspiracy theories.” The portion of pertinence to this analysis is that article’s final section titled “2021: The Next Phase – Down With US, Moderate Taliban” where the anonymous author pushes forth what can objectively be described as a genuine conspiracy theory.

They very strongly implied that the description of “the Taliban as moderate, sensible and pragmatic” is part of the earlier speculated “instrumentalisation of conspiracy theories” by the Kremlin, yet this innuendo directly contradicts the US’ policy towards that group. This very strongly suggests that one of Russia’s alleged “conspiracy narratives” is successfully influencing America’s stance towards the Taliban. After all, US officials including President Joe Biden, Chair of the Joint Chiefs Of Staff Mark Milley, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have publicly articulated policies which imply that the group is “moderate, sensible and pragmatic”.

The American leader explained on 26 August after ISIS-K‘s Kabul Airport terrorist attack that his country was cooperating with the Taliban during the ongoing withdrawal from the country at that time not because they trust one another but due to the group’s “self-interest”. This is the very definition of pragmatism, especially since he acknowledged going as far as having his government give the names of fleeing Americans and others to Taliban members in order to help them pass through the group’s checkpoints en route to the airport. Quite obviously, the Commander in Chief regards the Taliban as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic”.

His top military leader is no different. General Milley said on 1 September that “It’s possible” that the Pentagon might cooperate with the Taliban against ISIS-K. It’s difficult to imagine that he’d ever publicly countenance doing this if he didn’t share President Biden’s implied assessment of the group as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic”. Secretary of State Blinken, meanwhile, confirmed on 3 September that “We continue to maintain channels of communication with the Taliban, on issues that are important.” The only reason why he’d do such a thing is if he also regards the Taliban as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic” enough to talk with the US.

There have been no credible claims that any of these three leading officials have been exposed to so-called Russian “conspiracy narratives” or “disinformation”, let alone are operating under their influence, yet that’s what “EU vs. Disinfo” wants those in its audience who are aware of the US’ policy towards the Taliban to think. There’s no other sensible reason why they’d describe any assessment of the Taliban as “moderate, sensible and pragmatic” as allegedly being the result of Russian “conspiracy narratives” and “disinformation” unless their taxpayer-funded writers were simply unaware of US policy and thus just made a major narrative blunder.

The EEAS should be publicly challenged to account for this infowar product which arguably implies the genuinely false narrative that was exposed in this analysis. American officials should also investigate what’s really going on with this infowar outlet, even if they do so discretely considering how sensitive this provocation is. It’s either a clever attack against their country’s political, military, and diplomatic leaderships by a supposed ally or an example of gross professional incompetence which should result in the writer and their supervisor being held accountable for insinuating that US policy as supposedly being influenced by Russia.

Taliban seeking vital Chinese investments to rebuild Afghan economy: Video Report

September 13, 2021

Taliban seeking vital Chinese investments to rebuild Afghan economy: Video Report

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/taliban-seeking-vital-chinese-investments-to-rebuild-afghan-economy-video-report/https://www.youtube.com/embed/V_wVtjTaiY0?feature=oembed

Description:

News report on the Taliban movement’s efforts to secure vital Chinese investments to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy and infrastructure.https://thesaker.is/taliban-seeking-vital-chinese-investments-to-rebuild-afghan-economy-video-report/

Source: Al Jazeera (YouTube)

(Please help MEO keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a sustainable monthly amount https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Transcript: 

Reporter:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s reception of leaders of the Taliban movement at the end of July is the first indicator of the nature of future cooperation between the two sides, even before the movement’s entry into the Afghan capital of Kabul in mid-August.

The Taliban has a cooperative relationship with China, which shares a border with Afghanistan that is only 76 kilometers long. The (Taliban) movement says it hopes to secure much-needed economic benefits and Chinese investment in Afghanistan.

The Taliban spokesman noted that China’s assistance will help the movement to revitalize the country’s economy, and added that China is a vital outlet for Afghanistan into the international market, especially because access to foreign markets is hampered by sanctions and the absence of international recognition. Thus, cooperation with China is a timely opportunity for the Taliban movement.

Access to these markets requires a modern transportation network, which prompted the Chinese Sany Group to express its willingness to invest in Afghanistan. The company contributes to establishing what is known as the Belt and Road Initiative, a project (through which) China plans to expand its international trade influence.

China has long sought to include Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan economic corridor, a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Taliban confirmed that it supports this initiative since it serves the development and prosperity of the region.

Another vital challenge for the Taliban movement is the power crisis, an (area) which would form a major investment opportunity, as only 35% of Afghans have access to electricity, and 70% of Afghanistan’s electricity needs are imported from abroad.

As for the rich natural wealth and reserves that Afghanistan enjoys, they seem to be a priority in the joint plans for cooperation, considering that the Taliban confirmed that copper mines in Afghanistan will be back in operation with the help of China.

عالم متحوّل… «إسرائيل» مجرد حاجز طيار وكيانات البترودولار ستختفي قريباً

 محمد صادق الحسيني

الخبر الآن هو سحب واشنطن لبطاريات پاتريوت من السعودية على رغم تزايد هجومات أنصار الله عليها.

‏ وأنّ الأميركيين يغادرون المنطقة نهائياً وإن بالتدريج على رغم خطورة التحولات.

ويقولون للعرب كما لليهود:

‏دبّروا حالكم بأنفسكم وكل واحد يقلع شوكه بأظافره…

البداية من أفغانستان والأمر سارٍ على سائر البلدان، وكذلك لبنان.

‏هذا هو لسان حال الدوائر الأميركية لمن يقرأ جيداً، الموازين في الميدان والتقارير في الكواليس.

والتي تقول :لن يطول الزمان الذي ستصبح فيه حتى القاعدة الأميركية المتقدمة المقامة على اليابسة الفلسطينية والتي اسمها «إسرائيل»، إلا وتكون على جدول الإغلاق مثلها مثل مئات القواعد الأميركية المنتشرة في العالم، وذلك في إطار تطبيق برنامج أو خطة أميركا أولاً..!

‏الكيان إلى زوال إذن ولو بعد لأي.

 وإمارات النفط والغاز والبنزين تختفي قريباً من خريطة الوطن العربي، بخاصة بعد تقرير اقتصادي للأمم المتحدة يتوقع إفلاسها في عام 2024.

وما سيسرع في ذلك انتهاء وظيفتها الكيانية التي استحدثت من أجلها.

باختصار مكثف: أميركا إذن تقرر تغيير عقيدتها العسكرية للمرة الأولى منذ الحرب العالمية الثانية. وتأخذ قرارها النهائي بسحب عديدها وعتادها من مراكز الانتشار العالمي لإعادة الحياة إلى دورة الاقتصاد الأميركي الداخلية الكاسدة.

والصين في المقابل تتقدّم بخطى حثيثة بناء على رؤية استراتيجية ثاقبة لوصل شرق الصين بشرق المتوسط بطريق سريع يمرّ عبر أفغانستان وإيران من دون وجود عسكري غربي.

في هذه الأثناء نشرت وكالة «أسوشيتد برس»: صوراً فضائية قبل أيام تظهر سحب واشنطن منظومات «باتريوت» من السعودية على رغم تواصل الهجمات من اليمن كما أشرنا.

من جهة أخرى فقد علم من مصادر أوروبية استخبارية رفيعة، بأن واشنطن أبلغت الدوحة قبل أيام عبر وزير خارجيتها بلينكن، بأنّ ملف أفغانستان سيتمّ نقله بالكامل إلى ألمانيا، وأنّ دور الدوحة سيتحول إلى دور لوجيستي محض.

واشنطن هذه كانت قد أبلغت تل أبيب عبر وزير خارجيتها بينيت وغيره بأنها لم تعد مهتمة في أي خطط قد تفكر بها تل أبيب ضد طهران أو سورية أو حتى لبنان، فهي لديها ما يكفيها من مشاكل داخلية ودولية، وتتجه بقوة نحو مضيق «مالاقا» وبحر الصين.

إن أسباب ما ذكر أعلاه يمكن وضعه في تقدير الموقف الذي يستنتجه كل من يطالع بدقة التقارير التي يتم تداولها في الكواليس والأروقة الخلفية على المستوى الدولي والتي تؤكد ما يلي:

1 ـ كان قرار القوى الخفية، التي قررت أن ترشح ترامب إلى الرئاسه يتلخص في استخدامه لإنهاء الوجود العسكري الأميركي في أفغانستان و»الشرق الأوسط» أولاً ومن مناطق أخرى في العالم لاحقاً بعد هزيمتها في كل الحروب التي شنتها منذ ما بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية.

2 ـ فشل ترامب في ذلك بسبب ضغوط مجموعات الضغط اليهوديه في أميركا، ومنعه من ذلك بحجة الخوف على أمن «اسرائيل».

3 ـ لكنه بقي مصراً على تنفيذ الانسحابات وهو يسألهم عما تريده «إسرائيل» لضمان أمنها ؟ فجاء الجواب: تطبيع مع الدول العربية/ اعتراف أميركا بيهودية الدولة/ نقل السفارة الأميركية إلى القدس/ الاعتراف بضم الجولان.

4 ـ تمّ ذلك ولكن القوى الخفية لم تتراجع عن قرار تصفية الوجود العسكري الأميركي تدريجياً في «الشرق الأوسط»/ غرب آسيا.

من هنا جاء تنفيذ قرار الانسحاب من أفغانستان على يد بايدن، الذي وصل إلى الحكم بموافقة نفس القوى الخفية التي جاءت بترامب.

5 ـ لا تراجع عن هذا القرار لأسباب استراتيجية تتعلق بالأمن القومي الأميركي على صعيد الصراع الدولي بين القوى العظمى.

6 ـ إذ إنّ الصراع لم يعد يقتصر على النواحي العسكرية وإنما اتخذ شكلاً اقتصادياً أكثر أهمية من الفترات السابقة.

فالصراع أصلاً اقتصادياً ينتج منه الصراع السياسي الذي يتحول، عند استحالة حسمه سياسياً إلى صراع عسكري…

هذا ما عرفه الجنرال الألماني كارل فون كلاوسيڤيتس بالقول «إنّ الحرب هي استمرار للسياسة بأدوات أخرى».

7 ـ إذن الصراع الاقتصادي الدائر بين روسيا والصين هو صراع وجودي بالنسبة لواشنطن. إذ لا يمكن لأميركا منافسة الصين اقتصادياً، على الصعيد الدولي بسبب شحّ الأموال الأميركية (النقدية) وتوفرها مع الذهب لدى الصين وروسيا والجزائر وإيران.

أي أن القوة العسكرية الأميركية لم تعد قادرة على تأمين المصالح الأميركيه من دون استثمارات أميركية ضخمة، كتلك التي قامت بها واشنطن بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، أي خطة مارشال لإعادة إعمار أوروبا، والتي أدّت إلى استحواذ رأس المال الأميركي على ما يقارب 40 في المئة من الاقتصاد الأوروبي. وهذا هو سر سيطرة واشنطن على قرار أوروبا/ بواجهة حلف شمال الأطلسي.

8 ـ إذن لا بدّ لأميركا من إعادة بناء البنى التحتية الأميركية، بما في ذلك البنى التحتية العلمية والتكنولوجية، حتى تتمكن من الصمود، إلى حد ما، أمام التحدي الروسي الصيني الذي بات يفوقها بمراتب، والذي ستنضمّ إليه الهند، مضطرةً، في القريب من السنوات. وهذا يتطلب تقليص الوجود العسكري الأميركي في العالم.

 إنّ مجموع هذه التحولات الكبرى هي من سيسرّع في ضمور دور الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار، المقام على أرض فلسطين أولاً ومن ثم زواله في أقرب الآجال.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Taliban danger

SEPTEMBER 12, 2021

Taliban danger

by Batko Milacic for the Saker Blog

During the 20 years of Afghan occupation, which was initially quick and successful, the Americans and their allies failed to give Afghanistan anything. The impression is that successive US administrations initially had no strategy to pacify the country. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the country’s secular regime, abandoned by the Russians, held out for three years and collapsed only after being completely deprived of all assistance from Moscow. The allied international forces were still in the country when the government of President Ghani, which they controlled, left the capital at the mercy of the Taliban. Why?!

When Russians were in Afganistan, they not only fought, but taught the Afghans, sending one of them into space and building hospitals, roads and factories. Therefore, the Afghans, who fought on the side of the country’s last truly secular government, knew what they were fighting for.

What did the soldiers of the current Afghan army, let alone ordinary Afghans, have to die for? For the president who stole so much money that it didn’t fit into his plane? For kickbacks from US arms manufacturers who supplied Afghanistan with the equipment, all of which was inherited by the Taliban? Maybe for freedom and universal human values, which had allegedly been promoted for 20 years by numerous NGOs that squandered the money of American and European taxpayers?!

Ordinary Afghan people lives by the same rules as their distant ancestors; they don`t understand the advantages of Western culture. Two decades of US rule have cost Afghans nearly a million lives. They faced killings of civilians “by mistake,” cleansing of villages, forced prostitution and humiliation. And a small sliver of “Europeanized Afghans,” supporters of women’s rights, religious tolerance and freedom, are just as alien to ordinary Afghans as are the arrogant US military. Therefore, some Afghans greet the Taliban as liberators, while others have learned to tolerate them and believe that life will not get any worse than it is now!

However, there are still others, who have no other choice than to fight! These are representatives of ethnic minorities. Nine percent of the country’s population are ethnic Uzbeks, and 27 percent – Tajiks. Pashtuns make up 42 percent of the Afghan population and they are the main source of the support for the Taliban`s. The Pashtuns are backed by neighboring Pakistan, and provide most of the volunteers for the militants. As for the Tajiks and Uzbeks, they were the main pillars of the secular state. Their leaders, Ahmad Shah Massoud, Sr. and Marshal Dostum, fought the Taliban throughout the initial period of their rule. They are less religious and not all of them are willing to spend the rest of their lives living according to strict Sharia law. Fully aware of this, the Taliban were all set not to repeat the mistakes they made in 1996-2001. The ethnic minorities must not only submit; they must be deprived of any chance to rebel. Given the fact that the country’s new rulers are divided into several groups, this goal was even easier to achieve. For example, the Haqqani Network, which is even more radical than the Taliban themselves (impossible as it may seem), and has in its ranks a large number of Arabic-speaking immigrants from ISIS and al-Qaeda, has sent out its militants to Panjshir and other northern provinces, while the Taliban still pretended to negotiate with them.

Panjshir is a small mountain valley in the north of the country, which has never really submitted to any conqueror. The passes leading to it are easy to block, and the terrain of the province itself is very conducive to guerrilla warfare. At the same time, routes go through the province to China and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, making it an important logistics hub. In addition, the sparsely populated valley (around 100,000 inhabitants) is rich in minerals, including emeralds, which actually allowed Massoud Sr. to hold out there for five years. This is why the Taliban are so eager to nip the local resistance in the bud. The only reason they needed negotiations was to improve their image in the world. In Washington, they have already been recognized as a “different” Taliban, not those who are responsible for the attacks on and killings of civilians. Well, you demonstrate to the outside world your flexibility and readiness for dialogue, and, who knows, maybe one day they will also give you diplomatic recognition! Naturally enough, Ahmad Massoud Jr. and Amrullah Saleh (also an ethnic Tajik), who had declared himself the legitimate head of Afghanistan, had no desire to leave the autonomy, give up their ability to maintain self-defense units and exercise real control over part of the government. Meanwhile, the “Haqqani Network” has already put the defense capability of the “lion cub of Panjshir” to the test.

The rest we know from news reports. After the Taliban and their allies suffered their first setbacks, drones suddenly appeared in the air, flown by Pakistani operators. According to numerous reports, Pakistani special OPs helped the Taliban break into the valley, resulting in videos from its center and from the mausoleum of Ahmad Shah Massoud being posted online on the morning of September 6. The “Lion” announced the continuation of the resistance and went into the mountains. Fearing for their life (and with good reason too) most of the local civilian population left with him. Well, the pro-Soviet forces in Afghanistan once also controlled the valley, while Massoud Sr. fought and eventually defeated them in the surrounding mountains. There is a big difference though. The best anti-guerrilla tactic is to deprive the militants of any support – in other words, “scorched earth” or genocide. With Panjshir completely cut off from the outside world, the Taliban simultaneously solve two problems – they will get rid of the disloyal population by killing them or squeezing them out to Tajikistan, and reward their supporters by handing them the houses and property left behind by the escaped local residents, thereby ensuring their loyalty and creating a formidable base against Massoud’s supporters. All of this comes as very good news for Pakistan, which has given the Taliban full control over the country and received access to the resources of the potentially very rich Panjshir.

Massoud Jr., who represents Afghanistan’s eight million Tajiks, will apparently be forced to fight to the bitter end. However, it looks like he will not be getting any outside help now that the White House has apparently decided to leave the region completely and has clinched some kind of secret deals with the Taliban or their patrons from the neighboring countries. How else to explain the position of Dushanbe? The Tajik authorities obviously ignore the situation, refusing to support their fellow country folk. Have the Americans allegedly guaranteed the Central Asian republic security against the Taliban if Dushanbe does not interfere in the process of Afghan unification? But how can one believe an old fox telling the sheep that the wolf will not touch them? All the more so, if the wolves have just bitten the red-haired deceiver?

A much similar situation has developed in Uzbekistan – the country that Marshal Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek and a graduate of Soviet military schools, who is considered a man of great courage, has fled to. However, this brave man with all his associates, including loyal fighters, has crossed the Uzbek border and disappeared. Unusual behavior for a combat-hardened general who fought for 35 years and never accepted Islamists. What was he promised? Security for the Uzbek minority? Or was he simply bought out? Or blackmailed? In any case, the last hero of all wars disappeared from the media radar without firing a single shot.

The information vacuum will allow the Taliban to quickly take control of the whole country. The world media will not write about the millions of victims of ethnic and religious cleansing simply because it will know nothing about that. If the “young lion of Panjshir” and Saleh do not receive real support in the coming days, they are doomed, along with their compatriots. Back in 1975, the world was blissfully unaware of the insane atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge, who killed a third of their own population, simply because there was no one to write about this in a country shuttered from the outside world. In 2021, they will also try to hide the death of several million people, if only this is what Washington wants. And the White House does want a dialogue with the Taliban, forgetting about the victims of September 11, forgetting about the terrorist attacks across Europe and the hundreds of young men and women who died for “democracy” in Afghanistan. But what will the Taliban do after they crack down on Afghan minorities? Will it be peaceful construction? No, because radical Islam presupposes an eternal struggle against infidels in the name of a global caliphate and constant expansion. Its supporters have no need for music, literature, cinema – all these wonderful things created by mankind. They go to God through blood and violence, and they will go beyond their immediate neighbors. With a solid base and money from the sale of resources to China and Pakistan, the new Afghan authorities will become a unifying center for all like-minded Islamists – the holdovers from al-Qaeda and ISIS. As for the Taliban’s promise to get rid of the sprawling drug industry, which, during the 20 years of US occupation spiked from 120 tons a year to a whopping 10,000 tons, it is hardly credible. Indeed, why destroy what can be sold to infidels with profit and then be spent on a “holy war” bombing peaceful American and European cities. This is exactly what the Western world will get if it fails to figure out (and fast!) how to check the triumphant advance of terrorism from Afghanistan. True, judging by its escape from Kabul, the world policeman now urgently needs to talk this over with Moscow and Beijing. Otherwise, a new 9/11 may not be too far off.

9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

September 11, 2021

9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

An 8 part tweet stream by Pepe Escobar and posted with his permission

Pepe has two requests as follows:

  • Please retweet as much as possible
  • Please alert the Saker community – because at least parts of this thread may be “disappeared”, post-Allende-style, in no time. These are the parts that totally destroy the official narrative.

9/11: A U.S. DEEP STATE INSIDER SPEAKS Old school. Top clearance. Extremely discreet. Attended secret Deep State meetings on 9-11. Tired of all the lies. The following is what’s fit to print without being redacted.

Part 1 THE PHONE CALL. Up next.

“An emergency phone conference was held in the early afternoon of 9/11 based on the fact that WTC Building Number Seven was still standing. Demolitions were engineered to cause the building, as well as the others, to fall into its own footprint. I attended this call.”

Part 2 On WTC7: “No plane hit Building Number Seven.” “The CIA was brought to cover it up. The CIA set up failed asset bin Laden to blame as misdirection, then pulled the plug on Building Number Seven.” “The CIA doctored boarding tapes to show Arabs entering the planes.”

Part 3 On Mullah Omar: “Our CIA Arabists knew that if we blamed Osama, who was innocent of 9-11, Mullah Omar would not give him up in violation of the laws of Islamic hospitality. Mullah Omar requested evidence: then he would turn Osama over. Of course, we did not want that.”

Part 4 On heroin: “The Afghanistan heroin war was justified by 9-11. No one in Afghanistan was involved in 9/11. No member of Islam was involved. We invaded Afghanistan for only one purpose, which was to restart heroin production shut down by a righteous act of Mullah Omar.”

Part 5 On CIA and heroin: “CIA heroin plantations in Afghanistan funded external, clandestine operations and lined some important people’s pockets. That was common practice when the CIA ran the heroin operation in the Golden Triangle.”

Part 6 On MOTIVE: “It was never in the U.S. strategic interest to lay a curse on Islam in the West.” “9-11 was a kind of Gulf of Tonkin false flag operation justifying a war on Islam and the invasion of Iraq, followed by other invasions of Islamic nations.”

Part 7 Afghanistan-Iraq: “The Taliban loved us as they did not know that we lured Russia into Afghanistan. It was idiotic to think that they wanted to hurt their ally on 9-11.” “With Iraq invaded over a new falsity, the neocons created a war of hatred against Islam.”

Part 8 Who’s in charge: “The apex of the U.S. command structure is not the presidency. It’s the Deep State. I use that term even though we did not as it is commonly used.”

Deer Show | How US returns Afghanistan to Taliban in 20 years’ efforts?

September 11, 2021

Deer Show | How US returns Afghanistan to Taliban in 20 years’ efforts?

When you feel life is going nowhere, just think: with 4 U.S.

presidents 20 years 2 trillion dollars 2,300 soldiers’ lives… the regime of Afghanistan changes from Taliban to… Taliban

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