This is what it’s all about, U.S. arms sales VS. destruction and peace

America Sold $55.6 Billion in Weapons Abroad in FY18 – a 33 Percent Jump

Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, director, Defense Security Cooperation Agency head, says FY 2018 was a strong year for foreign arms sales. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Von Marie Donato)

The U.S. inked $55.6 billion in foreign military sales during fiscal year 2018, easily smashing past the previous year’s total — and the Pentagon’s point man for security cooperation expects more in the future.

“This is a 33 percent increase over last year and I’m very optimistic that this positive trajectory will continue,” said Lt. Gen. Charles Hooper, the head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, during a speech at the AUSA conference. “Our partners know a good thing when they see one.”

Included in that total are $3.52 billion for cases funded by the State Department’s Foreign Military Financing program; $4.42 billion for cases funded under Defense Department authorities; and $47.71 billion funded through pure FMS cases, per the State Department.

In FY17, the U.S. sold $41.93 billion in FMS deals, and the Pentagon has not been shy about hyping the final dollar total for this year. In July, Hooper said the department had already inked $46.9 billion in deals, and a Pentagon report released last year said that the U.S. had inked $54.45 billion through the end of August.

Sales totals are volatile year over year, depending on what partner nations seek to buy. In FY16, sales totaled $33.6 billion, while FY15 totaled just more than $47 billion and FY14 totaled $34.2 billion.

While this year’s total still falls short of FY12’s all-time record, there is reason for Hooper to be optimistic this is not a one-time boost.

In FY18 the State Department cleared roughly $70 billion in potential FMS deals, spread over 70 individual requests. Those are not hard dollars, but rather a listing of the potential agreements that the State Department has ok’d; if Congress does not object, those potential deals then go into negotiations. Among those requests are a Saudi request for THAAD ($15 billion) and a Polish request for Patriot PAC-3 batteries ($10.5 billion), either one of which would give a massive boost for a potential FY19 total if completed on time.

In addition, the Trump administration has made pushing foreign weapon sales a key part of its economic growth strategy, pushing out a new conventional arms transfer policy to make it easier to sell defense articles abroad.

And Hooper is not alone in his optimism. Speaking to reporters in September, Andrea Thompson, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said, “I would anticipate — I am an optimist and a realist — that next year’s numbers will be higher than this year’s numbers.”

 

Advertisements

Iran will slap US in face by defeating sanctions: Ayatollah Khamenei

Thu Oct 4, 2018 05:53AM

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says American sanctions are “more fragile than” Iran’s economy, emphasizing that the Iranian nation will “slap the US in the face” by defeating those bans​​​​, once again.

Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks during a speech to a large gathering of Iran’s Basij volunteer forces and senior military officials at the Azadi Stadium in the capital, Tehran, which has a capacity of 100,000 people.

“Following vast explorations, the enemy has arrived at sanctions [as a solution] to counter the Islamic Republic. It has no other solution but economic sanctions. Other paths in front of it are blocked,” said Ayatollah Khamenei, stressing, however, that “economic sanctions are more fragile than our national economy.”

“Our national economy can defeat sanctions,” said the Leader. “The defeat of sanctions will be America’s defeat, and the US, with this defeat, should once again be slapped in the face by the Iranian nation, God willing.”

“The enemy wants to bring the Iranian nation to the conclusion that there is a dead end, and that there is no solution except kneeling and giving in to the US,” The Leader said, adding that those promoting such a viewpoint at home are traitors to the country.

Ayatollah Khamenei, however, assured that he “will not allow that to happen in the country” with the help of the nation.

The Leader further said the Iranian nation has been blessed with “invincibility,” which is rooted in its 1979 Islamic Revolution, its eight-year Holy Defense of the country against the ex-Iraqi regime’s war in the following years, and in general, its steadfast resistance over the past 40 years in the face of all enemy plots.

“The grandeur and authority of the Islamic Republic and its invincibility are not empty talk or mere slogans. It is a fact that the enemies seek to keep us ignorant of,” stressed the Leader.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei delivers a speech to a large crowd of Iranian Basij volunteer forces at Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Iran, October 4, 2018. (Photo by khamenei.ir)

Ayatollah Khamenei said US President Donald Trump had recently told some European leaders that Iran’s Islamic establishment would be toppled in 2-3 months, adding that such comments are nothing new.

However, almost 40 years into the Revolution, the Islamic Republic has only grown more powerful, the Leader said. “The enemy of the Iranian nation has failed to gain an understanding of the Revolution and the revolutionary spirit; this wrong analysis has misled it [the enemy] in the course of these years.”

The US’s enmity towards the Iranian nation is not merely due to “Death to America” chants, Ayatollah Khamenei said. “They [the Americans] are afraid of Islamic power and the Revolution’s might.”

Ayatollah Khamenei further advised that “both youths and authorities should convey a message of power to the enemy not a message of weakness.”

The enemy, the Leader said, will retreat if it faces national unity, strength and firm determination, and if domestic rifts are set aside.

Source: Press Tv

Related Videos

Related Videos

Dr. Saïd Bouamama: “Bouteflika Symbolizes the Freezing of Several Trends and It Does Not Make It Possible To Build Anything”

“Why was there so much support for the creation of Israel as a state and then? It is simply because this state serves as a bridgehead for all interventions, all strategies of interference, and so on. And so, we should not consider the fight as being only between Palestinians and Israelis. In fact, in confronting Israel, the Palestinians – and that is why it is a central cause in the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle – clash with the entire imperialist camp.”

Said-Bouamama_4c0a6.jpgSaïd Bouamama is a sociologist, activist and political Algerian residing in France. A doctor in socio-economics, he has written mainly on topics related to immigration, such as discrimination and racism.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is your reading of the geopolitical situation that prevails in Syria at the moment?

Dr. Saïd Bouamama: The situation in Syria is at first a situation of failure of imperialism. In fact, what is happening in Syria has been an attempt to destabilize the Syrian state by supporting jihadist groups. We think what we want from Bashar al-Assad, but he has made a great service to mankind by stopping this destabilization and this attempt to balkanize Syria. Because in reality, it is a balkanization. If we look at all the last wars, what I call the new colonial wars, what is left? Iraq is cut in pieces, Afghanistan is a complete chaos, in Somalia, it is the slaughter, and Sudan is cut in two. In reality, there is such competition today between great powers that, in order to continue to make profits, it is necessary to destabilize states that may be states of resistance or states that do not accept the rules imposed by a number of large countries. This is what happened in Syria whose stake was first of all the control of the region and the access to the regional geostrategy, that is to say, the control of the oil resources of the region.

How do you explain that the Trump Administration threatens to strike at the positions of the Syrian Army, Iran, and Russia even though in reality, those who are encircled in Idlib are for the most part terrorists of Al Nosra and Daesh? Saving Idlib, isn’t that saving al-Nosra and Daech? Does the US want to save the imperialist soldiers al-Nusra and Daesh?

I think we need to become lucid and stop being naive. There is no consistent fight against terrorism on the part of the United States. In reality, they fight it when it suits them and they support it when it suits them. And it’s not new. It must be remembered that the first great advances of the so-called jihadist groups were in Afghanistan, and the pretext for supporting them was to oppose the Soviet Union. We must not forget that whenever the interest of the United States requires destabilization, they let these groups do. They are only fought when the interest of the United States is in question, and therefore there is not a consistent fight of the United States against them. There is a fight at a time, in pieces, and a support at other times. It’s important to keep in mind that the United States does not have a coherent policy, they know only the politics of their economic interest, even in destroying countries and provoking the massacre of the populations, and if it is necessary for that by supporting terrorist groups, well, they do it. Unfortunately, it was done before Syria and if we are not able to immunize, it will be done again elsewhere.

I interviewed Noam Chomsky a few years ago and he told me verbatim that Syria was going to be divided into several areas. There is currently a US redeployment in northern Syria. Do not you think there is a risk of total confrontation, especially between the United States and Russia?

In fact, the US project, at this stage, is part of a long process of destabilizing all states with an economic size, a geographical area, and oil and gas wealth or strategic minerals to balkanize them, to cut them into several pieces, because it’s easier to maintain domination in chaos. And so, we had a number of wars before. With Syria, it is the same project today, but there are other countries and, in particular, there is the will to balkanize Iran. Let us not forget that the United States has not given up on destabilizing Iran. But Iran, in terms of the balance of power, is another matter and the United States is extremely cautious. Russia has understood this very well and has made agreements. Russia is not naïve and understood if it continued to let this balkanization, it could be balkanized itself, this is the big project of the United States – and so Russia has understood very well that its interest was to stop this process.

Before the Chechen sector enters the game?

Exactly, and that is why we have such strong support from Russia to Syria and that agreements with Iran exist.

The Russians regard Syria and Iran as strategic depths.

Exactly. It’s like it’s an inside front. And the Russians are right. Every decline before the balkanization offensive is, in the long term, the danger of war with Russia which is increasing. And whenever there is a failure of this project of balkanization, it is the danger of war that recedes. And today, the good news is that they did not succeed in Syria. And so, it makes them a bit more cautious, but of course, they do not give up.

Do not you think that Algeria is another target of imperialism, especially US and Israeli?

Of course, it is a target and we can even say that if Syria had been defeated, Algeria would be the next target country. There is Iran and then Algeria. There are not thousands of other countries that have this geographical area and this economic depth, so Algeria is on the line of fire. Besides, there is a man to listen to, even if he is an idiot, it is Bernard-Henri Lévy. He often comes to unveil the strategies of imperialism because he wants to strut. This man has nevertheless declared publicly that Algeria actually means three countries and that it was necessary to separate South, North, and Kabylia, in three countries. We can see that behind this, there are spaces, places called think tanks in which they think about different types of divisions, and in Algeria, there is actually a cutting plan. If Algerians stop being patriots and to defend the integrity of the territory, excuses will be found to intervene.

According to you, are our revolutions, Algerians, and Africans, completed? Do not you think that we need a second wind to our revolutions to complete the struggle of our ancestors?

It is absolutely necessary. First, we must not feel guilty. We’ve come from so far. We must not underestimate what was the colonization of Algeria and what was slavery for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. That is to say that the work is immense to recover from such a trauma. We must not say “we are zero”, etc. On the other hand, it is clear that the emancipatory project that led to independence was a project that required going much further than what we have done today. Issues as important as the issues of economic development, the distribution of wealth, the involvement of people in decisions, are still tasks ahead and so, yes, there is a need for a second wind. We also know that independence has given birth to a whole series of parasites, people who take advantage of the state apparatus to divert income, etc. and so there is indeed a need to refocus the process on those who have actually done it, those who have an interest in leading Algeria to real independence.

That is to say, if I understand you correctly, the sincere Algerian patriots who can find themselves among the young, within the population and the healthy vital forces of the nation?

Absolutely. And the matter of youth is, of course, an essential issue. When a part of the youth turns to the jihadists, we can not pretend that it is not important. This means that we have failed on a number of things and we must resume the fight. You know, young people just want to build their future. It is when the future becomes unthinkable when they can no longer imagine it, that they turn to the past and that charlatans can come to divert their legitimate anger. And so, yes, there is a need to take this breath and there is a need to recover the dynamics of the first two decades of independence. Remember the atmosphere when young people graduated from university in the years 1974-1975. It was full of hope for the future, it was the idea of building the country, it was the idea of agrarian reform and going to see the farmers, etc. We have to find that breath that has been lost notably because of parasites who have hijacked the process.

Do not you think that there is a real danger due to the various separatist movements in Algeria? Should the political and economic elite not be self-critical and remain alert to the geopolitical challenges that lie in wait for us? Can Algeria, according to you, go towards a gradual positive change well controlled without being afraid? Second question: has the red and black decade not vaccinated us against Islamist terrorists?

On the first question, yes, there are real dangers with the separatist movements, which nevertheless remain extremely minor, including in Kabylia.

And in Ghardaia.

Yes. In fact, one of the reasons for the development of these movements is that we have been shy about the issue of identity. Today, things are catching up, the Amazigh language is recognized, etc. but it took too long for it and when a right claim is not taken into account, charlatans can come to pick up the frustration. Algeria is pluricultural and multilingual and it is a wealth. There is no reason to consider this as a weakness, therefore, it must be accepted and pull the rug from under the feet to all who would like to exploit this issue.

On the side of the elites, there is no secret, all those who are attached, whatever their political and economic opinions, to the territorial integrity of Algeria and to true independence, must have in mind that this can only be done if there is a minimum of economic redistribution. That is to say that if there is no economic redistribution, if poverty sets in if people are in misery, charlatans can come again instrumentalize. That’s why our youth, even the one who listened to charlatans, is first and foremost a victim because in reality, if it had could think about her future, it would never have listened to these thugs.

You talk about the 1990s. Today, when we talk about the presence of Algerians at Daesh, they are very minor in comparison with the other peoples of the Maghreb.

Absolutely.

How do you analyze this? Have not we been vaccinated by the red decade?

Unfortunately, you are never totally vaccinated. But this has developed real resistance mechanisms and you must know that people who, at first, were able to listen to charlatans, turned away when they saw what this project of society was. There have been entire regions where huge votes have gone in favor of charlatans and which today do not want to hear about these people. So, we can see that it was a popular experience and, yes, there are antibodies in Algeria, stronger than in other countries, because there was this tragedy. We paid a high price for it. But be careful, as long as the causes are untreated, the disease can always come back and we return to the previous question about the distribution of economic wealth.

The fifth term of President Bouteflika is evoked. Do not you think that the time has come to accompany a process of renewal of the entire political class in Algeria, even at the level of “the opposition”, because, for me, the crisis is not only at the level of power, but also at the level of “the opposition”? Should the fifth term not be abandoned to inject new blood into Algeria and vaccinate the country against various risks, both internal and external? Should we not abandon this alternative of an additional term of the current president and go towards a change piloted – why not – by the army which remains the most structured force in Algeria? What is your opinion on this subject?

In any case, I am completely opposed to the idea of a fifth term. Today, Bouteflika symbolizes the freezing of several trends and it does not make it possible to build anything. I also think that there is a gap between the entire political class and the civil part of the nation. We must succeed in bringing to the political class all these young union activists, these doctors, all this generation that was born after. We must pass the baton on the basis, always, of territorial integrity and economic independence. It is time for a new generation to emerge.

President Bouteflika is very sick, very tired and he should give way to someone else.It’s common sense. What is your opinion about that?

Absolutely. It is an absolute necessity and we must also question the image we give to our own people and other peoples by keeping a sick president at all costs.

To say that we are against a fifth term is not to be unpatriotic or anti-national, on the contrary, we serve our country. Do not you think that those who are against a fifth term are the real patriots?

Absolutely. I think being a patriot today means being against the fifth term. Of course.

There is a country whose people are legally killed, it is Palestine. Do not you think that Israel, in addition to being a rogue state, is reaping all the benefits of the problems associated with the various US strategies to balkanize the Arab-Muslim region?

Of course. Why was there so much support for the creation of Israel as a state and then? It is simply because this state serves as a bridgehead for all interventions, all strategies of interference, and so on. And so, we should not consider the fight as being only between Palestinians and Israelis. In fact, in confronting Israel, the Palestinians – and that is why it is a central cause in the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggle – clash with the entire imperialist camp. And Israel is not isolated, because precisely, there is this support. In reality, let’s imagine that tomorrow there is a democratic and secular Palestinian state, where Muslims, Christians, atheists live together, the end of Israel would mean that the whole imperialist strategy has failed. Israel is a tool of the great powers and of course benefits from imperialist strategies.

What’s left of Frantz Fanon’s message?

Unfortunately, Fanon’s message has been largely forgotten. Fanon said: “pay attention to the emergence of business managers of the West in the newly independent countries”, that is to say, people who will do the work the West did before with its army. It tends to be forgotten. The message of hope is that, on Frantz Fanon, in particular, we see his name come back while he had completely disappeared. A new generation rediscovers Fanon, unfortunately after several decades of forgetfulness, and we see more and more Fanon quoted and more and more young people take back his image. There is a return to Fanon and this is good news.

What prompted you to write your book “Manuel stratégique de l’Afrique“?

What prompted me to write this book was the tiredness of the wars that followed each other. And in “wars”, I put the black decade in Algeria until the French intervention in Mali. The question was “what is happening on this continent?” and the need to answer all the theories that were given to us, which were culturalist theories, that is to say we were told the war in Algeria as an opposition between Muslims and military, elsewhere we were told that it was tribes that were fighting each other. All of this seemed completely wrong to me in relation to the realities. So I went to look at what was common in all these wars. Of course, I had intuitions and I actually came across the confirmation of my intuitions. All these wars have one thing in common: the economic challenge. Whether in Algeria, we must have in mind the interests of the major powers for Algerian oil and gas, whether it is in the Congo with these wars that do not end and the wealth of the Congo. In fact, the African continent is the richest continent and the continent where we still make discoveries of ores and oil in the sea offshore, and it is, therefore, an enormous challenge for the great powers and there are wars to control the spaces of raw materials. In addition, the great fear of Western countries was the emergence of new countries like China, India or Brazil that trade with African countries and trade with more egalitarian rules and with less domination. And, indeed, it is the direct interest of the great imperialist powers that is at stake. When Algeria makes a contract with China for the construction of roads, etc., you imagine that those who used to consider Algeria as their market are not happy. When it is the Congo that has a contract, Belgium cannot be happy. And so, there are these two factors that combine and explain the African drama, because it’s a real drama. From Algiers to the Congo, there have been dozens of wars since independence, and I have only spoken of wars since independence, I did not talk about wars of independence. I just reported the ones from 1960 until today. All these wars are the same.

Why did you choose the Investing’action editions of our friend Michel Collon? Have other publishers refused to publish your book? Is your book disturbing? Have you been censored?

No, I have not been censored. I did not even think of presenting this book to other publishers for the simple reason that I know very well where we are today in many publishing houses on anti-imperialist issues. This project was born following a number of articles that I wrote on the news and where, while talking with Michel, he told me: “But Saïd, you do not realize, you told us about Algeria, you told us about Congo, you told us about this and that, when do you make us an overall book?” This is how this book was made. Quite frankly, I do not see major publishers taking it back today. It is unimaginable in the French-speaking world. It is different in other countries, for example in England.

Or in the United States.

Yes, in the United States, it would be different, but in the French-speaking world, it is clear that publishing houses today are closed on these issues.

What the committed, anti-imperialist, intellectual that you are, can say to the anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist resistance fighters?

That we must never despair of peoples. There are times when we believe that things are over, there are times when we despair of seeing failures, but in reality, as long as oppression exists, resistance exists, and we are sometimes surprised that two years after our despair, well, there is an offensive in a country we did not think at all. I think we came out of the recoil period. We must not underestimate what happened in Syria, which is the end of this process of decline; we must not underestimate the resistance in Latin America, Venezuela, Nicaragua, etc.

In Cuba.

In Cuba, yes. All this points to one thing: since the collapse of the Soviet Union, we were going from recoil to recoil, people were losing, losing, losing. And there, there is a stop. Of course, we have retreated so much that we have trouble to learn the facts. But if we combine all this, if we look at the struggles in all countries, we see a youth that mobilizes, etc. So, yes, in the short term, at a year or two, there is no immediate change, but we see that people are beginning to learn from this period of twenty-five years of decline. And today, we have breakpoints. For example, they eliminated Gbagbo, but look at the number of protesters demanding that Gbagbo come back. It was unimaginable a few years ago. And so, we can see that something is moving in anti-imperialism and I think we are entering a new mobilization sequence. That’s for the southern countries. For here, it’s to us to be up to it, to live up to the challenge and to make known the struggles that will develop.

Do not you think that we need a global anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist front that will be decisive in the struggles ahead?

My previous book, just before the last one, is a book called “La Tricontinentale : les peuples du Tiers-Monde à l’assaut du ciel “. Why did I write this book? Because the tri-continental conference in Cuba in 1965-1966 was the moment in which there was a unity of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and that at the same time, all the progressive movements in Europe were in support of the Tricontinental. It was the moment when we were furthest, I think, in this movement. If I wrote this book, it’s because I think it’s time to find that kind of dynamic.

Source

US-Delisted MEK Terrorists Still Openly Committed to Violence

October 1, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – In 2012, the US State Department would delist anti-Iranian terrorist group – Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) – from its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list. Yet years later, MEK has demonstrated an eager desire to carry out political violence on a scale that eclipses the previous atrocities that had it designated a terrorist organization in the first place.
In the US State Department’s official statement published in September 2012, the rationale for delisting MEK would be as follows (emphasis added):

With today’s actions, the Department does not overlook or forget the MEK’s past acts of terrorism, including its involvement in the killing of U.S. citizens in Iran in the 1970s and an attack on U.S. soil in 1992. The Department also has serious concerns about the MEK as an organization, particularly with regard to allegations of abuse committed against its own members. 

The Secretary’s decision today took into account the MEK’s public renunciation of violence, the absence of confirmed acts of terrorism by the MEK for more than a decade, and their cooperation in the peaceful closure of Camp Ashraf, their historic paramilitary base.

Yet US policy before the State Department’s delisting, and events ever since, have proven this rationale for removing MEK as an FTO to be an intentional fabrication – that MEK was and still is committed to political violence against the Iranian people, and envisions a Libya-Syrian-style conflict to likewise divide and destroy the Iranian nation.

However, facts regarding the true nature of MEK is not derived from Iranian state media, or accusations made by MEK’s opponents in Tehran, but by MEK’s own US sponsors and even MEK’s senior leadership itself.

“Undeniably” MEK “Conducted Terrorist Attacks”

By the admissions of the United States and the United Kingdom, MEK is undeniably a terrorist organization guilty of self-admitted acts of terrorism. The UK House of Commons in a briefing paper titled, “The People’s Mujahiddeen of Iran (PMOI),” it  cites the UK Foreign Office which states explicitly that:

The Mojahedin-e Khalq (MeK) is proscribed in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000. It has a long history of involvement in terrorism in Iran and elsewhere and is, by its own admission, responsible for violent attacks that have resulted in many deaths. 

The briefing paper makes mention of “assiduous” lobbying efforts by MEK to have itself removed from terrorist lists around the globe.

A 2012 Guardian article titled, “MEK decision: multimillion-dollar campaign led to removal from terror list,” would extensively detail the large number of prominent US politicians approached and paid by MEK as part of this lobbying effort.
Yet there is more behind MEK’s delisting than mere lobbying. As early as 2009, US policymakers saw MEK as one of many minority opposition and ethnic groups that could be used by the US as part of a wider agenda toward regime change in Iran.

The Brookings Institution in a 2009 policy paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF), under a chapter titled, “Inspiring an Insurgency: Supporting Iranian Minority And Opposition Groups,” would openly admit (emphasis added):

Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S.  proxy  is  the  NCRI  (National  Council of Resistance of  Iran),  the  political  movement  established  by  the  MeK  (Mujahedin-e  Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.  

Brookings would concede to MEK’s terrorist background, admitting (emphasis added):

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MeK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main  political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed  credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on  Iranian civilian and  military targets between 1998 and 2001.

Brookings makes mention of MEK’s attacks on US servicemen and American civilian contractors which earned it its place on the US FTO, noting:

In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran.

And despite MEK’s current depiction as a popular resistance movement in Iran, Brookings would also admit (emphasis added):

The group itself also appears to be undemocratic and enjoys little popularity in Iran itself. It has no  political base in the country, although it appears to have an operational presence. In particular, its  active participation on Saddam Husayn’s side during the bitter Iran-Iraq War made the group widely  loathed. In addition, many aspects of the group are cultish, and its leaders, Massoud and Maryam Rajavi, are revered to the point of obsession.  

Brookings would note that despite the obvious reality of MEK, the US could indeed use the terrorist organization as a proxy against Iran, but notes that:

…at the very least, to work more closely with the  group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign  terrorist organizations. 

And from 2009 onward, that is precisely what was done. It is unlikely that the MEK alone facilitated the rehabilitation of its image or exclusively sought its removal from US-European terrorist organization lists – considering the central role MEK terrorists played in US regime change plans versus Iran.

While MEK propaganda insists that its inclusion on terrorist organization lists around the globe was the result of a global effort to curry favor with Iran’s clerical regime,” it is clear that the terrorist organization earned its way onto these lists, and then lobbied and cheated its way off of them.
The MEK is Still Committed to Violence Today 
 
While Iranians mourned in the wake of the Ahvaz attack, MEK was holding a rally in New York Cityattended by prominent US politicians including US President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani and former US National Security Adviser under the Obama administration, James Jones.
During the “2018 Iran Uprising Summit” Giuliani would vow the overthrow of the Iranian government.

MEK leader Maryam Rajavi would broadcast a message now posted on MEK websites. In her message she would discuss MEK’s role in fomenting ongoing violence inside of Iran.

She would admit:

Today, the ruling mullahs’ fear is amplified by the role of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) and resistance units in leading and continuing the uprisings. Regime analysts say: “The definitive element in relation to the December 2017 riots is the organization of rioters. So-called Units of Rebellion have been created, which have both the ability to increase their forces and the potential to replace leaders on the spot.” 

The roadmap for freedom reveals itself in these very uprisings, in ceaseless protests, and in the struggle of the Resistance Units.

Riots by definition entail violence. The riots taking place across Iran beginning in late 2017 and continuing sporadically since – of which Rajavi and her MEK take credit for organizing – have left dozens dead including police.
One police officer was shot dead just before New Year’s, and another three were killed in late February 2018 during such riots.
In the region of Ahvaz specifically, MEK social media accounts have been taking credit for and promoting ongoing unrest there. Ahvaz was more recently the scene of a terrorist attack in which gunmen targeted a parade leaving dozens dead and scores more injured.

Rajavi and MEK’s ultimate goal is the overthrow of the Iranian government. As Brookings admits in its 2009 paper, the Iranian government will not cede power to US-orchestrated regime change without a fight – and MEK was recruited as a US proxy specifically because of its capacity for violence.

Brookings would note:

Despite its limited popularity (but perhaps because of its successful use of terrorism), the Iranian regime is exceptionally sensitive to the MEK and is vigilant in guarding against it. 

It was for this reason that Brookings singled them out as a potential proxy in 2009 and recommended their delisting by the US State Department so the US could provide more open support for the terrorist organization.
It is clear that Rajavi’s recent admissions to being behind political violence inside Iran contravenes the US State Department’s rationale for deslisting MEK on grounds that the group had made a “public renunciation of violence.”

MEK is not only refusing to renounce violence, MEK’s most senior leader has just publicly and unambiguously declared MEK’s policy is to openly wield violence inside Iran toward destabilizing and overthrowing the government.

From the United States’ ignoring of its own anti-terrorism laws – aiding and abetting MEK while still on the US State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations list – to the US now portraying MEK as a “reformed” “resistance” organization even as its leader takes credit for ongoing political violence inside Iran, it is clear that once again the US finds itself a willing state sponsor of terrorism.

It was as early as 2007 that Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, “The Redirection Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would warn:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

It is clear in retrospect that the rise of the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, and other extremist fronts in Syria were a result of this US policy. It is also clear that there are many other extremist groups the US has knowingly whitewashed politically and is covertly supporting in terrorism aimed directly at Iran itself.

It is just a matter of time before the same denials and cover-ups used to depict Syrian and Libyan terrorists as “freedom fighting rebels” are reused in regards to US-backed violence aimed at Iran. Hopefully, it will not take nearly as long for the rest of the world to see through this game and condemn groups like MEK as the terrorists they always have been, and continue to be today.

Also in retrospect, it is clear how US-engineered conflict and regime change has impacted the Middle Eastern region and the world as a whole – one can only imagine the further impact a successful repeat of this violence will have if visited upon Iran directly.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

Bombing Libya: The Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis

By William Blum,

The world will long remember the present immigrant crisis in Europe, which has negatively affected countless people there, and almost all countries. History will certainly record it as a major tragedy. Could it have been averted? Or kept within much more reasonable humane bounds?

After the United States and NATO began to bomb Libya in March 2011 – almost daily for more than six months! – to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi (with the completely phoney excuse that Gaddafi was about to invade Benghazi, the Libyan center of his opponents, and so the United States and NATO were thus saving the people of that city from a massacre), the Libyan leader declared:

“Now listen you people of Nato. You’re bombing a wall, which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it. You’re idiots, and you will burn in Hell for thousands of migrants from Africa.”

Remember also that Libya was a secular society, like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, all destroyed by America while supporting Saudi Arabia and various factions of al Qaeda. It’s these countries that have principally overrun Europe with refugees.

Gaddafi, like Saddam Hussein, had a tyrant side to him but could in important ways be benevolent and do very valuable things. He, for example, founded the African Union and gave the Libyan people the highest standard of living in all of Africa; they had not only free education and health care but all kinds of other benefits that other Africans could only dream about. But Moammar Gaddafi was never a properly obedient client of Washington. Amongst other shortcomings, the man threatened to replace the US dollar with gold for payment of oil transactions and create a common African currency. He was, moreover, a strong supporter of the Palestinians and foe of Israel.

In 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the prime moving force behind the United States and NATO turning Libya into a failed state, where it remains today. The attack against Libya was one that the New York Times said Clinton had “championed”, convincing President Obama in “what was arguably her moment of greatest influence as Secretary of State.”

The American people and the American media of course swallowed the phoney story fed to them, though no evidence of the alleged impending massacre has ever been presented. The nearest thing to an official US government account of the matter – a Congressional Research Service report on events in Libya for the period – makes no mention at all of the threatened massacre.   Keep this in mind when reading the latest accusations against Russia.

The US/NATO heavy bombing of Libya led also to the widespread dispersal throughout North African and Middle East hotspots of the gigantic arsenal of weaponry that Gaddafi had accumulated. Libya is now a haven for terrorists, from al Qaeda to ISIS, whereas Gaddafi had been a leading foe of terrorists.

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War IIRogue State: a guide to the World’s Only Super Power . His latest book is: America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy. He can be reached at: BBlum6@aol.com

On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair

September 29, 2018

On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair

On the topic of the Russia-Israel-Syria affair, which has culminated in the downing of a Russian Il-20 on September 17th just off the coast of Latakia…

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

I will first start this article by saying that I have read, both intentionally and unintentionally (stumbled upon), lots and lots of opinions about this specific topic. The main bulk of these opinions recycle the usual blaming of Russia and offer suggestions for how things “should” have been done and “should” now be done. The consensus seems to be that it is Israel that is solely to blame, and it should thus be severely punished. However, even though Russia was lambasted by social media “experts” for the fact that the state of Israel still existed on September 18th (the day after the downing of the Il-20), the criticism of Moscow’s policy vis-a-vis Israel’s general airstrikes in Syria has been unwavering.

Examples of the criticism are:

  • “Russia doesn’t defend Syrian troops against Israeli airstrikes”;
  • “Putin doesn’t verbally threaten Bibi with retaliation should he strike again”;
  • “Russia doesn’t give Syria the S1/2/3/4/500”;
  • and so on and so forth (you get the idea).

So, let’s outline, once again, what Russia’s policy vis-a-vis Israel is in Syria:

  1. Q) Does Israel violate Syrian airspace?
    A) No.
  2. Q) Has Israel directly killed Russian troops?
    A) No.
  3. Q) Does Israel put Hmeymim in any direct danger?
    A) No.

These answers are important. Why?

    1. Israel violates LEBANESE airspace, and we all know that the government in Beirut – or more precisely, Mr Hariri – is very friendly with Riyadh. Where is Lebanon’s deterrent to make Israel think twice about flying over Lebanon? There isn’t one. Also, the core of fourth generation warfare is using simulacra to position a digital hologram over actual ground warfare in order to carve out space to manoeuvre diplomatically. So even though Israel violates its airspace on paper, in reality it can do so with impunity. I.e., Lebanon is not going to down an Israeli jet. Hence Tel Aviv’s impudence in Lebanese skies.

      I seem to recall that in February, 2018 the IDF decided to test the SAA’s air defences and came as close as they would like to violating Syrian airspace. The result? Two F-16’s were downed after dozens of S-200 missiles were fired at them. This incident was the result of Moscow giving the green light to the SAA to hit Tel Aviv on the teeth using the S-200 system. But social media “experts” were adamant that Israel had to be punished long before this. Any Israeli missile being launched towards Syria is a failure, they said.

      And it is here that we recall that Russia and Israel had an agreement in place whereby Russia would not impede Israel’s bombing of “Hezbollah compounds” in Western Syria. Why did Russia agree to this? Because these strikes achieved and still achieve NOTHING. With this non-announced agreement in place, Israel was given some limited space to play out its war against Iran, but the most important thing is that this space was a CONTROLLED environment. I.e., Russia always reserved the right to exercise its options to change the parameters of the playground.

      Now some will say that Israel should be completely shut out of Syria, and Russia is weak since it can’t implement this. Such a statement comes from the deep depths of idealism. The fact is that Russia cannot stop Israel meddling in Syria in one way or another, and doesn’t have an unlimited amount of resources to try to anyway. Not to mention the fundamental fact that Jews live all over the post-Soviet space and in Russia itself, which complicates the situation. How would those who are pro-Israel and pro-Russia react if Russia openly shot down and killed Israeli pilots? This is just one factor out of many.

      Another factor is that the zionist rats that are currently in power in Israel are only a transient phenomenon. Governments and their policies come and go. It’s perfectly possible that a leader will come to power in Israel one day who is in favour of peace with Palestinians/Arabs, in the same way that a Putin can arrive after a Yeltsin. So with this in mind, why on Earth would Russia, for example, bomb Israeli territory and kill/wound Israeli civilians/troops? Why mass punish the Israeli people just because of the actions of a bunch of Zionist crooks in the Knesset? It is idiotic at best and further perpetuates this cycle of aggression that Uncle Sam feeds off.

      Also, why jeopardise the possible emergence of a situation whereby a state of Israel can exist side by side with a Palestinian state in peace? Let’s be honest: in our lifetimes, the two-state solution is the only REALISTIC solution. I will be told that such a statement is unfair or disconnected from reality, but my response to that is: please explain to me how both the Israeli and Palestinian people can be integrated into Eurasia without bloodshed. Again, as I said, Russia isn’t interested in violence, it won’t solve anything and Trump said he’s in favor of two state solution. That’s why I use the word “realistic”. Furthermore, a two state solution can be the result of negotiations between all the major powers of the world, but mainly between US and Russia. Palestinians can be given much more territory than they currently have, but giving everything back, as romantic as it is, is simply not feasible. After all, what will happen to the Israeli people in the process of claiming all the stolen land back? Will they be massacred? If not, where will they go, and who will facilitate it? And who will enforce any return process and how long will it take to implement? Will a resolution in the UNSC be passed? And what happens when Israelis refuse to leave? They will be massacred?

    2. Israel has not, to date, directly killed any Russian troops. What happened on 17.09.18 was indirect, and there is a very big difference. And I am sure that Tel Aviv knows that this line must not be crossed whatsoever, since it will seriously threaten their own statehood, not to mention Gaza or the West Bank.
    3. Israel hasn’t yet, to date, caused any damage to Hmeymim or put the lives of the soldiers stationed there (on the ground) at risk. The incident on 17.09.2018 came very close to this, but it, all the same, did not cross this line. The consequence of this would be the same as the one mentioned in point No. 2.

So now the synthesis:

I won’t discuss the details of what happened on 17.09.18. Why? Because I consider it to be irrelevant (like how people discuss the exact temperature that the steel columns melted on 9/11). What is important is how the parties reacted to the incident. And it is here that things become interesting. In December 2017, I wrote the tweet below (part of a thread):

Take note of the expression “Russia needed as fewer names as possible on the ‘targets that the S-400 should – in the eyes of the media – shoot down’ list”. It is importantLet me explain what this means when inserted into the modern context. The S-400 in Hmeymim represents the Russian state. It represents Russia’s foreign policy. When the SAA fires SAM missiles into the sky, it represents not only the Syrian state (in the borders recognised by the UN), but also Syrian foreign policy. So, when have we really ever seen Russia fire any of its SAM systems in Syria? Yes, at militant drones. Jabhat al Nusra (or whatever it is called nowadays) is recognised by the UN as a terrorist organisation. And Russia affirms that these drones are sent from Nusrats in Idlib. I.e., the use of the SAM system in this context is completely in line with international law. And note how Russia thrusted this very fact into the face of the media in order to prevent any attempts to delegitimise the Idlib operation. This was a key factor that helped to prevent the West from treating us all to another Tomahawk show of weakness.

When the SAA fired its S-200 missiles at the Israeli jets in February of this year, was this in line with international law? Absolutely, since only Russia, Iran (IRGC), and Hezbollah were invited by Assad into Syria to combat terrorism. Hence why Russia okayed the launches. Now as I mentioned at the very beginning of this article, many social media “experts” reprimand the Kremlin because Israeli jets are not blown into pieces when they fire missiles at Syrian territory. It doesn’t enter their mind that there is a substantiated reason for this. But in order to delve into this topic, there is a need to explain what it is exactly that Russia (plus Eurasian friends) is trying to build here on this planet. For too long the West has used its airforce to firstly demolish and then vassalize sovereign states.

Using Yugoslavia as an example, the West stoked a sectarian civil war and then used the NATO airforce to steer the situation in the needed direction. Milosevic was given 2 bad options to choose from (intervene militarily or don’t). As a result, he was trapped. In Afghanistan and Iraq the US enjoyed the fruits of R2P and a crippled Russia (thanks to the CIA + Yeltsin combination!) to bulldoze statehood and install the needed political circle and economic direction. The aircraft carrier plus aircraft was a winning recipe, for now. But during all this time Russia wasn’t just sat twiddling its thumbs and waiting for some miracle to happen so that “superpower” status would arrive again. Serious work was being done to target the projected curve of development of the West’s war machine.

It was understood that the US can only exert its influence on MENA via aircraft carriers, and, where possible, by building military bases on the territory of vassalized failed states. Africa is actually one very large failed “state” that serves as a MIC “testing” terrain. It should be understood that the conception and implementation of the “Kinzhal”missile, for example, was not done on the basis of some whim or to sell weapons to make money. It was done in accordance with a very strict plan, targeting the vital “organs” of the Anglo beast.

The West (puppets of USA) was able to literally bulldoze Middle Eastern nations without facing any real resistance (the Libyan army didn’t even bring the SAM systems out of the warehouses). It is here that we see that “international law” is actually an equilibrium of the energy between “superpowers”. Yes, there is the UN charter and different treaties, but we all saw what happened in 2001/2002. We saw that definitions and concepts were very flexible, and that the US’ scheme of creating proxies, turning on them, and then removing them was almost flawless.

So how to stop this bulldozer from claiming more victims? We know that when it comes to MENA Israel calls the shots, and Uncle Sam and its EU puppets come to heel, and if they don’t, well… look at JFK. Furthermore, we’ve all heard Wesley Clark’s confession – 7 states in 5 years.

Iraq was no problem for the US to bulldoze in 2002 onwards – no other powerful nation had influence there. Somalia and Sudan is in Africa, which was brought to its knees after the USSR’s influence disappeared forever. Libya was easy to squash. But IranYemen, and Syria seemingly didn’t go according to plan. Yemen has strategic ports and access to waters. It’s no secret that Iran enjoyed and still enjoys influence in Yemen, in the same way the Anglos did via their puppet Hadi. Iran developed a nuclear program, albeit a peaceful one. But it is a deterrent all the same. The Houthis are being supported by the members of “Eurasia”, and this is a) not a secret, and b) completely legitimate, since the West staged a coup first (and is feeding Al Qaeda’s presence in the East of the country) and we are now in the era of proxy warfare, since the emergence of nuclear weapons put an end to the traditional colonisation blitzkrieg. And Syria was always going to be problematic for Washington & Co because Russia already has a naval base there – in Tartus. But make no mistake, the West knew this very well, but now was the time to confront Russia in a “neutral”venue, in a “controlled” environment.

Why do I say “controlled” and “neutral”? The actual warfare is taking place thousands of miles away from US territory, and US citizens on that territory are thus not at risk (US troops are a different case). Thus, any blowback that may be incurred will have a delayed action. However, there was a need to activate a process that would gradually attack Russia’s rear. And et voila – the coup in Kiev in 2014 served as exactly this. Even knowing that Russia can potentially enter Syria, they took comfort knowing that they had the Ukraine card in play. If they didn’t do the coup in Ukraine, then Russia could enter Syria and risk very little in the process of reclaiming that “superpower” status by cementing itself in the middle of the globe, with access to important waters. Nusra and ISIS would’ve been crushed in the same way (maybe even quicker since it would be deprived of time to grow and expand).

So, in order to buy time and slow down Russia’s approach to Syria, the war in Donbass was launched. It was designed by the West in such a way that Putin would surely suffer the same fate as Milosevic, entering his troops into Donbass and starting an irreversible bloodbath. A man named Girkin, on the CIA’s payroll, tried his best to drag Russia into Donbass and to start the extermination of the Russian nation. But Putin, of course, isn’t dumb and didn’t bite on it. Instead, he engineered the Ilovaisk and Debaltsevo cauldrons, which were failsafe ways of ensuring that the West’s Ukrainian front was halted in its tracks. This resulted in the signing of the Minsk Agreements. What are they? They are the same as what the US did to Milosevic – they presented the West with 2 bad options: implement the agreements, Russia wins (collapse of statehood); don’t implement them, Russia wins (collapse of statehood).

The West had to sign the Agreements since their proxies had been encircled in Donbass and project Bandera risked being aborted early. And that, in short form, is how Putin negated the parallel process that aimed to prevent Russia from entering Syria with a lower risk level. So coming back to the key problem of the US’ bulldozing machine, the West took a gamble in Syria simply because they knew that a financial crisis is catching up with them with each passing day. Furthermore, Netanyahu doesn’t care about the consequences for the West; he wants to expand Israel in accordance with the Oded Yinon plan.

But for Russia, isn’t not just about saving Syrian statehood (note that I use this word and not Assad) and safeguarding strategic assets, it is also about shaping the next 100 years. De-dollarisation is already ongoing. But this is only one element of the greater picture. In order to counter this Anglo war machine there is a need to think laterally. By this I mean not attacking it head on, but instead flanking it. After all, the West provokes Russia so much because it WANTS a reaction. It wants to control Russia’s actions and reactions, for them to become predictable and for the room for manoeuvre to be like a sardine tin.

And it is here that we can return back to the topic of Israel’s airstrikes in Syria. Since Tel Aviv’s token airstrikes in Syria achieve absolutely nothing and de-rail nothing in the grand Eurasian scheme, this is why Russia didn’t want to completely shut Israel out. Earlier in this article I explained (see the embedded S-400 tweet) that there was a complex game ongoing whereby the West wanted to push Putin into publicly committing to firing the S-400. In the past I explained that the S-400 constitutes a philosophy and not a weapon. The philosophy is based on the notion of DEFENCE, and not pseudo R2P defence, but actual defence, against violators of international law and generally unstable/erratic actors. This actually follows in the footsteps of the very essence of what the Red Army did nearly 80 years ago, when it had the opportunity to exterminate the German nation – having the full moral right to do so, but it refrained from doing so.

The philosophy is also based on RISK. And by this I mean the now well-known expression “skin in the game”. I.e., the very foundation of international law should be based the fact that there will be consequences for one’s actions. And the UN here must be actually impartial. The problem is that the UN has been monopolised by the US (and its bullying) and its vassalized puppets for so long. The process of changing this is long, but people in general are impatient and want to eat their cake now, before they die. In other words, the S-400 embodies the notion that cooperation and diplomacy is a more effective guarantor of mass prosperity than colonisation and violent coercion. Militarily, the S-400 can act as a no-fly zone, but it is its position in the wider picture that really matters here.

This “Eurasian” project unfolding before our eyes embodies this notion of cooperation that in reality Americans have never known, since their country was founded on the back of bloodshed and spitting on the human soul. I hope I don’t offend Americans by stating this, but it’s the truth. Russia and friends want to incorporate as many nations into this project as possible, and not to make big bucks in profit, but to pull us away from this abyss that the Anglo-Saxons so badly want to throw us into.

So back to the main topic here: Israel. It’s true that Israel’s airstrikes were acting like a pest in Syria. They didn’t change anything in even the short-term, but they are a nuisance all the same, least of all because it generates this whining on the internet about “Putin/ Russia being weak”. The situation was such that if Russia downed an Israeli jet (using the tools at Hmeymim to do it), Russia would flush down the toilet all progress it has made since Putin came to power. It would be the most idiotic move imaginable and would warrant harsh criticism. Russia would become just as ugly as the Anglo Saxons are, also elbow-deep in human blood.

So, Russia instead manufactured a neat little trap for Tel Aviv. Remember what happened in December 2015? Yes, Turkey was used as a lab rat by the CIA in order to test Russia’s reactions at that moment in time, not only in Syria but in Ukraine too. We all know what Russia did – it severed the link between Turkey and its proxies in Syria and started the process of implosion. Takfiri groups were merging, disbanding, or just straight up massacring each other. The “FSA” multi-layered pyramid started to crumble. Turkey had been removed from the game. It was invited (forced via leverage of economic sanctions and the threat of ending Turkish Stream project, thus leaving Erdogan to the fate of the Gulenists) by Russia to mop up its mess in the North of Syria and end Tel Aviv’s little Rojava project. Turkey was forced to start the process of rebranding Nusra into “moderate” FSA troops and to transfer them to the “Euphrates Shield” forces. This is still ongoing today, although it’s not simple and Erdogan has problems inside Turkey to deal with at the same time.

In other words, Turkey’s room to manoeuvre was reduced in size, and not voluntarily, but because Turkey (whether it was forced to by NATO or not) tried to raise the stakes but failed to secure the needed chips beforehand. It backfired on the West, big time. Hello S-400. So now Israel has tried the same thing, essentially because it had no choice. I wrote the following on 10.05.18:

Thus, if follows from this that Russia knew that sooner or later Israel would make a mistake. And in order for the mistake to arrive, Russia needed to show patience. Does this mean that Russia waited for 15 troops to die? Certainly not. But to put things into context – 27 million Soviet people died during WW2, and it was the cost for liberation. War is war. People die in war. And troops know the danger they put themselves in when they sign up and are deployed.

Again, I stress, being outside observers who want to stop children being bombed and Anglo Saxon aggression, it is frustrating to see Israel walk all over international law and to sh*t on Syrian soil with impudence, but aggression was never the right response. The two occasions when the SAA did give Israel a little slap (February and May, 2018 – authorised by Moscow) was part of a deliberate plan to keep Israel honest; to show Tel Aviv that it risks losing much more than it gains by remaining in the Syrian “game”. And so Israel gave Russia the perfect pretext to give Syria the S-300. Israeli can’t complain to Russia about this, because of behind the curtain affairs that I will not discuss here. Tel Aviv accepts its punishment, and now pressure has indeed been taken off the S-400. By the way, many social media“experts” were flapping around like headless chickens, demanding Putin to nuke Tel Aviv, then 5 hours later demanding to send every SAM system under the sun. Here is what I said immediately after the IL-20 incident:

So I guess the question that is on people’s minds is: “Why didn’t Russia give the S-300 to Syria earlier, say, in 2011?”. The answer: without the Minsk Agreements, Russia’s actions in Syria simply couldn’t be possible. I.e., the S-300 constitutes a threat to Israel. And in geopolitics the ability to use the threat that something poses as a deterrent, rather than actually using the deterrent itself, is a very powerful mechanism. Knowing that the Syrian war would last approximately 10 years, Russia milked every piece of leverage it had to influence the behaviour of the belligerent parties. One should never ever use an Ace just like that, failing to fully utilise its potential. The S-300’s time came on September, 2018.

By the way, I will say that the story with the IL-20 is extremely bizarre. The only plausible explanation, in my opinion, is that what we are told is just a narrative for public consumption. Russian troops died, and Israel stabbed Russia in the back by using the plane as a human shield, but the exact circumstances we will never know. Now Israel is faced with a choice: if it tries to bomb Syria in the same way that it has been doing, then the SAA will respond in a much stronger way than it did before (and Israel will suffer more embarrassment as a result). This takes pressure off Russia to deliver some big hit to please social media entertainment seekers.

The IDF cannot risk using the F35 and flying it into an ambush, and Lockheed most certainly won’t want the PR disaster. But now Israel will be kept honest, and the token airstrikes on “Hezbollah warehouses” will cost Tel Aviv much more than they did before. Remember  – the “multipolar order” that is so highly spoken about is, in reality, a transition away from “buying” the ability to wage war and prop up one’s economy, to cooperation and the mutual investment in economies, based on a joint vision of the future.

I guess this article can be summarised as: everything the Kremlin does is done for a reason. In the meantime, enjoy Putin’s masterclass. In order to have peace, someone has to stop shooting. Russia is strong enough to take that burden upon itself and to set the example for everyone else.

End of the war 1945 – Advance of the Red Army in the streets of Berlin, April 1945.

Iranians respond to MEK (terrorist) troll farm: #YouAreBots

Iranians Respond to MEK Troll Farm: #youarebots

Anyone who has been active on Twitter and tweeted about Iran in the past year can attest that the online debate over events in the country has taken a dramatic turn for the hostile.

Many Iran observers are perplexed by the sharp increase in vitriol spewed at journalists and analysts. Some speculate that regime-change advocates were encouraged by US President Donald Trump’s electoral victory and are seizing their chance to influence the online debate about Iran while there is a sympathetic ear in the White House. Others felt that the nationwide protests in January were a turning point in the Islamic Republic and that the public discourse had moved on from Reformism and into much starker choices. However, an investigative report by Al Jazeera has shed light on a third reason for the spike in Twitter activity: what many Iran observers had suspected from the outset, a Twitter troll factory meant to influence the already contentious debate over Iran.

According to the Al Jazeera report, the exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK) has set up a center at its headquarters in Albania, where 1,000-1,500 “online soldiers” are instructed to promote hashtags in support of overthrowing the Islamic Republic. Two former MEK members told Al Jazeera that they would receive specific daily orders on what to highlight regarding Iran and also which specific Iran analysts to attack on social media, often sharing the White House’s critical messages against Iran and amplifying their tweets via bots.

In response to the report, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted to Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, “Hello @Jack. Twitter has shuttered accounts of real Iranians, incl TV presenters & students, for supposedly being part of an ‘influence op’. How about looking at actual bots in Tirana used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda spewed out of DC? #YouAreBots

In August, Twitter claimed to have closed 284 accounts originating in Iran for “engaging in coordinated manipulation.” One popular account from inside Iran that was shut down then belonged to SeyedMousavi7, who shortly afterward released a video through friends saying that he is a university student and had only sought to present a different narrative of Iran. Another belonged to Iran’s English-language news channel Press TV journalist Waqar Rizvi. A Sept. 17 special Etemaad report described the apparent discrepancy in Twitter’s actions as “strictness with Iran, silence in the face of fake anti-Iranian accounts.”

Iranian lawmaker Amirhossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi also tweeted to Dorsey, “You suspended my official account as MP of Iran for my violation of not determined twitter rules, but why you have not blocked bots of MEK in Tirana, a group that killed 17000 Iranian people, used to prop up ‘regime change’ propaganda? #YouAreBots” The figure is a reference to a bombing campaign by the MEK after losing a power struggle with members of the Islamic Republican Party after the 1979 revolution.

Meanwhile, there has been some criticism of Zarif’s call for Twitter to shut down the reported MEK accounts. Britain-based Manoto, an outlet broadly viewed as sympathetic to the monarchist camp, told its viewers that the foreign minister “described [all] opponents of the Islamic Republic as bots.”

Other social media users also brought up one irony of the Twitter battle: that the microblogging platform, with which the foreign minister, the president and the supreme leader all have either verified accounts or unofficial accounts that are run through their offices, is still officially blocked in Iran.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/09/iran-mek-twitter-troll-farm-al-jazeera-zarif-criticism-jack.html#ixzz5RWuw55qO

%d bloggers like this: