معركة عفرين: ثمن الشراكة مع واشنطن

محمد بلوط, وليد شرارة

كان من الممكن تجنيب عفرين مصائر الميادين السورية الأخرى. كان الأمر يتوقف إلى حد كبير على «وحدات حماية الشعب» الكردية التي فوّتت على نفسها، وعلى مئات الآلاف من السوريين في أكثر من ٣٠٠ قرية في ريف المدينة، فرصة النجاة من العملية التركية الواسعة التي تبدو قدراً لا بد منه، على ضوء تمسك الأكراد بخيار الذهاب نحو كيان بدأت ملامحه تتبلور تدريجياً، في الأشهر الستة الأخيرة، وبناء مؤسسات الأمر الواقع.

وليس رفض «الوحدات» عودة الجيش السوري إلى عفرين والانتشار فيها بديلاً من الحرب، وتحييدها في الصراع مع تركيا، سوى تفصيل متأخر من المشهد. لم يفاجئ القيادي الكردي البارز، ألدار خليل، أحداً في رفضه عرضاً روسياً دخول الجيش السوري ورفع الأعلام السورية فوقها، إذ يفصل الرفض الكردي التأرجح الطويل بين الروس والأميركيين إلى اعتماد أميركا حليفاً وحيداً رغم غياب طائراتها عن سماء عفرين، فيما ذهبت «الوحدات» أبعد من ذلك بتحميل الوسيط الروسي «مسؤولية المجازر التي ستنتج من الاحتلال التركي».

ثلاثة عوامل رئيسة تضافرت خلال معارك شرق الفرات لتصفية «داعش»، أقنعت الأكراد أن مشروعهم بانتزاع كيان كردي أصبح ممكناً، تحت حدود «سايكس بيكو»، تجنّباً للاصطدام بالاعتراض التركي والإيراني بشكل خاص، مع مواصلة إضعاف الدولة السورية المركزية خلف برنامج فيدرالي، لم يتوافر له حتى اليوم دعم أيّ قوى سورية عربية وازنة: العنصر الأول هو القرار الأميركي بالبقاء في سوريا واعتبارها ميداناً لاحتواء إيران ومواصلة استنزاف روسيا والجيش السوري وحزب الله. الثاني هو الحصول على موارد نفطية ومالية كبيرة بعد الاستيلاء على حقول نفطية ومنشآت استراتيجية في دير الزور ووادي الفرات، والدعم الأميركي لتحويل القوة العشائرية العربية في وادي الفرات إلى حرس حدود لاحتلال شرق الفرات وحماية مكتسبات القوات الكردية من مؤسسات وتوسع في الأرض السورية يصل إلى ٢٥ في المئة منها، فيما يتعدى بكثير المعاقل الكردية التقليدية في الشمال السوري.

يبدو القرار الأميركي الاستراتيجي بالبقاء في الشرق السوري عاملاً أول حاسماً في تعزيز تيار قوي داخل حزب الاتحاد الديمقراطي، الفرع السوري لحزب العمال الكردستاني، يرى في الانخراط الأميركي فرصته التاريخية التي لن تتكرر لبناء مشروعه القومي. في البدء كان الاكتفاء بالشق العسكري وقتال «داعش» برنامج «البنتاغون» الوحيد، مع استبعاد أي شق سياسي، أو احتلال أو إدارة مناطق ما بعد «داعش»، أو محض المشروع الكردي الفيدرالي التأييد والقوة التي تفترض انخراطاً مديداً في الحرب السورية، لم تكن واشنطن قد عقدت العزم عليه. ويقول خبير دولي واكب تطور العلاقات الكردية الاميركية منذ بدايتها إن الانعطافة الاميركية للبقاء في سوريا منذ تشرين الاول الماضي هي التي تدفع الاكراد اليوم نحو المواجهة مع جميع الاطراف في المنطقة، باستثناء الاميركيين. وعوضاً عن الصفقة التي كان ينوي المرشح دونالد ترامب عقدها مع الروس في سوريا، اتجه مجلس الامن القومي، منذ تكليفه صياغة استراتيجية سورية لواشنطن، الى ربط سوريا، «ما بعد داعش»، بخطة احتواء إيران في سوريا وتغيير النظام في دمشق، وهما بندان تحدث عنهما وزير الخارجية الاميركي «المعتدل» ريكس تيلرسون، عكس فيهما طغيان الصقور في الادارة الاميركية، والقطيعة مع سيطرة كوادر وسطى كبيرت ماكغورك من إدارة أوباما السابقة، الفريق القديم الذي أشرف على تدخل الحد الأدنى السياسي في سوريا، ومنع الانزلاق في صراع طويل أو إدارة احتلال ما بعد «داعش».

اكتسب المشروع الكردي في سوريا خلال معارك دير الزور القدرة على توفير موارد نفطية واقتصادية وبنى تحتية مهمة، تجعل مشروع أي كيان كردي قابلاً للحياة اقتصادياً؛ فخلال معارك دير الزور، انضمت أكبر حقول سوريا النفطية وأغناها، كالعمر والجفرة والصيجان، إلى لائحة طويلة من الحقول التي بات الاكراد يسيطرون عليها، كالرميلان والشدادي وجبسة وكراتشوك والسويدية وعليان وحمزة ومعشوق وليلاك. وهي مكتسبات تجعل من سوريا المفيدة مفهوماً نظرياً لا قدرة له على الصمود وإعادة الاعمار من دونها، وهو هدف أميركي واضح من خلال دعم الاكراد، وتحميل المزيد من الأعباء على الحليفين الايراني والروسي. واستولى الاكراد على منشأة كونيكو للغاز، وهي أحدث منشأة سورية، كانت توفر أكثر من ١٣٠ مليون قدم مكعب من الغاز المسيل وألف طن من الغاز المنزلي. وكان الروس قد فشلوا في إقناع الاكراد بإشراكهم في إدارة المناطق التي استولوا عليها شرق الفرات خلال اجتماع عقده في الثالث من الشهر الماضي نائب قائد القوات الروسية، الجنرال الكسي كيم، في قرية الصالحية شمال شرق دير الزور، وعرض عليهم قيام الشركات الروسية بترميم جزء من المنشآت النفطية التي تضررت خلال العمليات العسكرية، على ما يقوله خبير دولي واكب ذلك اللقاء.

أما العامل الأخير في تفضيل الأكراد المواجهة على أي تسوية، فهو اتجاه الاميركيين الى مساعدتهم على ما بدأوه قبل أشهر لتهميش العشائر، ومأسسة القوة العسكرية العربية الرديفة التي كان يصل تعدداها داخل «قسد» إلى ٢٨ ألف مقاتل عربي نهاية الصيف الماضي، مع الإعلان عن قوة حرس حدود عربية رديفة للقوات الكردية في وادي الفرات، وتحويل النهر الى خط حدودي مهمته منع القوات السورية من مهاجمة الكيان المزمع إنشاؤه، أصبح يشكل للمرة الاولى في تاريخ الحركة القومية الكردية في سوريا حدوداً معروفة لمشروعها الذي لم يكن قادراً، حتى الأمس القريب، على وضع خريطة واضحة للمطالب الترابية الكردية في الاراضي السورية.

تحول الاكراد في سياق الصراع السوري الى قوة ارتكاز أميركية للتدخل شرق الفرات ضد سوريا واحتواء إيران واستنزاف الروس ما أمكن. وتجعل الضرورات الميدانية والسياسية الطرفين شركاء استراتيجيين لا يمكن لأحدهما أن يستغني عن الآخر، وتدفع تركيا وإيران وسوريا وروسيا الى إعادة تحديد أولوياتها واستراتيجياتها في الشمال السوري. فالأميركيون يستظلون مشروعاً كردياً «ديمقراطياً فيدرالياً» لتضخيم تموضعهم في الشرق السوري من دون الاضطرار الى نشر قوات كبيرة وتجديد شرعية بقائها بعد نفاد شرعية محاربة «داعش». والأكراد يتوسعون في سوريا بحجة مشروعهم الفيدرالي ويراكمون أوراقاً جديدة من أرض وموارد وقوات عربية رديفة في المناطق التي يدخلون اليها. وليست عفرين، التي كان من الممكن للأكراد تجنّب التضحية بها، سوى الاختبار الاول لقوة التحالف الجديد في مواجهة الجميع.

مقالات أخرى لمحمد بلوط

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Deliberate policy by the USA: Regime Change and Globalization Fuel Europe’s Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Regime Change and Globalization Fuel Europe’s Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Right-wing populists are exploiting the migration issue in both the United States and Europe, but dismissing their arguments would be a mistake. Instead, an honest assessment of the economic and regime-change policies that fuel migration is needed, reports Andrew Spannaus.

By Andrew Spannaus

Anti-establishment political forces in the both the United States and Europe have seized on the issue of illegal immigration, seen by many voters as a threat to both economic well-being and cultural identity, as a key components of their electoral strategies. While Donald Trump has made the wall with Mexico one of his priorities and has worked to uphold a ban on immigration from a number of Muslim nations, in Europe, numerous political parties have been following this script for many years.

Main irregular border crossing routes into Europe. Source: European Union

Drawing on the economic anxiety of the middle class, tied to fear of being undercut by low-wage work, and worries concerning terrorism and cultural changes, anti-immigrant sentiment has become a key weapon of right-wing populist forces. These forces have drawn on the narrative of governing elites that pursue their own, limited interests, while seeking to hold down the majority of society through policies that rob them of both economic opportunity and their cultural heritage.

The sentiment is significant and growing, contributing to the growth in support for populist causes in a series of recent elections in Europe – including in Germany and Austria – as well as a noticeable shift in attitudes towards immigration in the past two years, even among more moderate segments of the population.

A major factor has been the recent surge in migrants coming from the Middle East and Africa – mainly the consequence of the disastrous “regime change” wars starting with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, through to the more recent conflicts in Libya and Syria – and the resulting perception of an impossible-to-stop “invasion” that is changing the character of Europe.

International organizations that deal directly with the management of undocumented migrant flows are working actively to combat this perception. They stress not only the importance of defending the human rights of migrants under international law, but also that even with the recent peak – that exceeded one million in 2015, but dropped back to below 200,000 last year – the numbers involved are manageable.

Further, migration should not be seen as a threat, but rather as an opportunity, international organizations stress.

Counter-Narrative

This approach was discussed in depth in Vienna, Austria last month, during events for the “2017 International Migrants Day” sponsored by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which works closely with the United Nations on migration.

In opening a high-level panel discussion on Dec. 19 entitled “Perception is not reality; Towards a new narrative of migration”, OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger spoke of the need to develop a counter-narrative to that currently dominating public discussion. This involves highlighting the positive contributions of migrants in economic terms, based, for example, on the circulation of skills and knowledge among different countries.

Immediately afterwards, Gervais Apparve, Special Policy Advisor to the IOM, waded into the thorny issue of the relationship between migration and globalization. Apparve began by citing Thomas Friedman’s 2005 book “The World is Flat,” which speaks of the disappearance of barriers to trade, the exchange of resources, and the transfer of capital, creating an interconnected world. Apparve lamented that this interconnectedness has not yet been extended to the area of unrestricted mobility, which for the most part remains the province only of the well-to-do.

With this comment, the IOM representative inadvertently exposed the weakness in the approach taken by international organizations: the perceived link between migration and the economic policies of globalization in recent decades.

Globalization, Migration and Paranoia

There is a widespread, and understandable, reaction against the disappearance of barriers in areas such as trade and the transfer of capital, which have had negative effects for many in the Western world. The reduction of regulations on commerce and finance has often allowed large corporations to exploit low-cost labor and prioritize short-term financial gain over stable investment. The result has been a race to the bottom in numerous sectors, entailing job losses, instability and poverty for the (former) middle class.

Yet, the attempt to create a positive attitude towards migrants from impoverished areas by linking their plight to globalization can inadvertently stoke fears that migration is part of a deliberate process to lower the living standards of wide segments of the population, creating competition for scarce resources among those who are unable to access the massive wealth being concentrated near the top of society.

The organizations that seek to combat negative views of migration seem reluctant to recognize that aiming to build a positive narrative by emphasizing benefits rather than risks is not enough. Indeed, changing negative views without dealing with the underlying political and economic problems that fuel the current turmoil could prove impossible.

In political terms, the relationship is obvious. Opposition to political elites, as well as “political correctness,” is often linked to distrust of the elites’ economic policies. Indeed almost all of the populist groups that promote anti-immigration views also draw on economic discontent. In Europe, they attack European Union economic policies, just as outsiders attack Wall Street in the United States.

Although their solutions may be circumspect, it would be a mistake to call anti-establishment forces insincere, or to dismiss them as lacking serious policy proposals. Instead, the issues they raise should be tackled directly.

If governments ignore the issues, they contribute to the image of a political class refusing to admit mistakes, an image all too easily exploited by right-wing populists. The elite’s head-in-the-sand approach confirms the criticism from outsiders that status quo politicians are avoiding accountability and blocking change, which opens the door to whomever effectively identifies the problems felt by the population, regardless of whether they propose valid alternatives or not.

Reality-Based Discussion

On the issue of migration, moving towards what the international community calls a “reality-based discussion,” i.e. avoiding exaggerated fears that fuel racist attitudes and closure, will be difficult without facing head on the negative effects of economic globalization in recent decades, as well as the results of foreign interventions and regime change wars in the Middle East and North Africa.

As Swiss parliamentarian and chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Ad Hoc Committee on Migration Filippo Lombardi recently stated, policymakers must “honestly assess the political mistakes of recent years,” which have destabilized so many countries and created the conditions for mass migration from Africa and the Middle East.

“Only such an honest and responsible approach can lead to solving the crisis we are now facing,” he said.

Seeking to shift the overall view of migration from negative to positive, the new narrative of the international community is based on several assertions: first of all, that migration is perfectly normal, it has always existed, and neither can nor should be stopped. Indeed, the overall number of migrants to Europe, including those who move for work, study or family reasons, remains at a level of over two million per year; thus a few hundred thousand undocumented arrivals should be entirely manageable in this context.

The goal expressed by many participants in the Vienna event, for example, is to eliminate the distinction made between those who come through official channels, and the migrants who arrive undocumented, making the dangerous journey through Northern Africa and the Mediterranean Sea. This is not an easy sell with public opinion at this time though, as in the latter case the cost of the migrants’ survival is covered by the public welfare system, in the hope they will eventually be integrated into society and the work force.

This brings us to another argument: that migrants actually provide a positive contribution to the economy, with many European countries’ low birth rates lagging below replacement levels and the population aging rapidly. An influx of younger workers from other nations contributes to rebalancing the workforce in demographic terms, thus avoiding a situation in which the ratio of active workers to retirees becomes so low as to call into question the sustainability of pension and welfare systems.

Beyond Narratives

While the aging of European populations is a problem, here again there are some hidden assumptions that indicate the need for a deeper policy shift, beyond simply “changing the narrative.” Demographic surveys confirm that people marry and put off having children in part due to economic circumstances. Improving the financial prospects of young workers, or getting them out of the ranks of the unemployed, could have a rapid impact on birth rates and population trends in general.

It is also somewhat cynical to claim that poor immigrants provide a positive economic contribution based on the fact that they are willing to work low-wage jobs. It’s one thing to encourage the fruitful exchange of skills and knowledge among different populations, or celebrate diversity as a way of enriching culture; it is quite another to undermine wages by ensuring a vast pool of desperate workers available at any time.

This contradiction brings the discussion back to the economic policies associated with globalization, putting both low-wage European workers and migrants in the same boat, so to speak. Playing destitute migrants against unemployed Europeans is not a recipe for social cohesiveness; rather, it shows the deeper policy problems facing the Western world as a whole.

A return to an approach based on promoting a decent standard of living even among those doing labor-intensive jobs, could go a long way towards reducing the fears in European nations regarding the arrival of undocumented migrants. Extending such an approach globally, by making a serious commitment to combatting poverty in the least developed countries around the world, would also change the equation for many migrants, making migration a choice rather than a necessity in order to survive.

Andrew Spannaus is a journalist and strategic analyst based in Milan, Italy. He is the founder of Transatlantico.info, that provides news and analysis to Italian institutions and businesses. He has published the books “Perché vince Trump” (Why Trump is Winning – June 2016) and “La rivolta degli elettori” (The Revolt of the Voters – July 2017).

2017: Civilians Killed by US Tripled in Iraq, Syria

2017: Civilians Killed by US Tripled in Iraq, Syria

Says US Escalation Led to ‘Steep Increase’ in Killings

UK-based NGO Airwars has offered a reckoning of the 2017 air operations of the US-led coalition against ISIS, involving attacks in both Iraq and Syria. The number of civilians killed increased dramatically, with estimates suggesting that they roughly tripled from 2016.

In 2016, they documented an estimated death toll of between 1,243 and 1,904 non-combatants, but in 2017, the estimate was a minimum of 3,923, and potentially as many as 6,102 non-combatants killed.

That’s a huge increase, and a troubling one, in no small part because the US doesn’t admit it’s even happening, with Pentagon assessments putting deaths at no more than a few hundred annually, and around 800 over the entire past four years.

Airwars attributed the escalating toll in part to the fact that 2017 saw an increase in strikes, and an increased focus on densely populated cities. They also suggested the Trump Administration’s relaxing of restrictions on airstrikes, and view of the ISIS war as a “war of annihilation” are factors.

Media Lies About Fake News

Eric Zuesse

A major new Gallup report that was issued on January 16th headlined “American Views: Trust, Media and Democracy” (it’s issued in conjunction with the Knight Foundation) and it finds that “Internet-only news websites” are the least-trusted of all newsmedia.

54% trusted “Your local newspaper.”

52% trusted “National network news.”

51% trusted “Major national newspapers.”

46% trusted “Cable news.”

38% trusted “News aggregators.”

36% trusted “Internet-only news websites.”

How did you learn that Saddam Hussein was “only six months from developing a [nuclear] weapon”? It was from the U.S. President, and from all of the stenographic ‘news’media, which was all of them, but especially the most-trusted ones: newspapers, TV, radio, and magazines. They enabled George W. Bush to invade and destroy Iraq, and more.

How did you learn that Libya should be invaded? It was from the same ones. They enabled Barack Obama to invade and destroy Libya, and Syria, and more.

How did you learn that dictatorship ended in Ukraine in February 2014’s “Maidan revolution,” instead of that that democracy ended in Ukraine then, and that it was instead a U.S.-engineered coup d’etat which happened there, no authentic ‘revolution’ at all. And this major-media lie thus ‘justified’ and led to the destruction of Ukraine, by U.S. President Obama.

The fake ‘news’ that affected history the most came from newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio. But the truth (such as you’ll see documented at those last links, the first of which is to a news-report which was produced by a lone individual from observers on the ground who had uploaded from their cellphones etc.) was available only at “internet-only news websites” — the type of sites that Americans respect the least.

Why do the public trust most the worst liars, the pumpers of the most viciously fake ‘news’? They do it because they’ve been taught to believe the most-successful newsmedia the most.

They’ve been taught that in order to be successful in newsmedia, the newsmedium needs to be reliably truthful, instead of to pump what the billionaires want you to think — to manipulate your mind and warp your view of reality the way they want.

All of those lies came from the owners and advertisers of the U.S. newsmedia and of the U.S. Government (which are the same owners and advertisers), the people who control the ‘best’ (i.e., worst) Government that big-money can buy — and does buy.

The only newsmedia that enable the reader to click onto a link and come directly (or at least indirectly) to allegations’ sources, are online news-sites that have the journalistic integrity to demand their writers to provide the links for all contentious allegations that are being made, so as to enable the reader to verify (or else invalidate — but the reader is doing this; no one is imposing such judgments upon the reader) what the allegation’s source is, and thus to evaluate it on his or her own. TV doesn’t do that. Radio doesn’t do that. Newspapers (even online ones) don’t do that. Magazines (even most of the online ones) don’t do that.

Why don’t they do that? TV, radio, and print media can’t. The bad online media don’t do it, because their owners don’t want to empower their audience; they want to persuade their audience to believe what the owners and the advertisers want them to believe.

That’s the way to success in the news-business: to shape the ‘news’ in order to fool the public in the ways that the owners and advertisers want the public to be fooled. It’s salesmanship; it is PR; and, in America — where it’s often taught in some of the same academic departments, “Communications,” which teach both PR and ‘journalism’ — it is the management of the public’s perceptions, in the ways that the owners and advertisers want.

And the only way to get around it is to click onto links and find out what the real story is. Any merely passive access to ‘news’ is simply an invitation to being fooled, being manipulated by wealthy people’s ulterior motives, which are very private.

This is how America has come to be the way it now is — increasingly private, decreasingly public.

إيران تربح الجولة

Nuclear deal

يناير 13, 2018 

ناصر قنديل

– قبل ثلاثة شهور قرّر الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب تمديد رفع العقوبات عن إيران لتسعين يوماً، وهي مهلة يحدّدها قانون رفع العقوبات ما لم يوقّع الرئيس على تجديد العمل بالتفاهم النووي. وفي نهاية المهلة التي سبقتها توقعات عالية بإعلان الخروج من التفاهم النووي، جدّد الرئيس الأميركي تمديد رفع العقوبات لمرة أخيرة ما يعني وفقاً للقانون الأميركي نفسه الذي أبرم الاتفاق على أساسه، أنّ على الرئيس خلال مئة وعشرين يوماً أن يقرّر البقاء ضمن التفاهم أو الخروج منه.

– كان يمكن للرئيس الأميركي قبل ثلاثة شهور إعلان الخروج من التفاهم الذي وصفه بأنه سيّئ ويعمل ضدّ المصلحة الأميركية. وكان موعد تقرير الرئاسة السنوي للكونغرس مناسبة ليترجم دونالد ترامب وعوده الانتخابية بالخروج من الاتفاق. وها هو مرة بعد مرة يتهرّب من الخروج من التفاهم ويبتكر أسباباً يعلم أنها لن ترتب تغييراً يجيب طلباته، ليدّعي أنه جعل التفاهم مختلفاً ومستجيباً للمصالح الأميركية كما يراها ترامب.

– في المرة الماضية، وهذه المرة أوحى ترامب وإدارته بأنه ذاهب لإلغاء التفاهم ولم يفعل، وفي المرتين قال إنه يريد تعديل التفاهم ووضع بنوداً يعلم أنّ إيران لن تقبلها، فلا دمج للصواريخ البالستية بالاتفاق النووي، ولا لما يسمّى بالنفوذ الإقليمي، ولا استعداد إيرانياً لتعديل بنود دار حولها التفاوض أصلاً، وكاد الرفض الإيراني لما طلبته واشنطن يطيح التفاهم، من دون أن تتراجع إيران، كمثل زيادة مدة التفاهم، أو التفتيش المفتوح.

– يرمي ترامب الكرة في الملعب الأوروبي إعلامياً، لكن الجواب الأوروبي واقعياً بسيط، وهو أنّ أوروبا لا تمانع بجولات تفاوض مع إيران حول الطلبات الأميركية، لكن ماذا لو تتمكّن عملية التفاوض من بلوغ نتائج مرضية للأميركيين والأوروبيين، هل نخرج من الاتفاق الأصلي، والجواب الأوروبي هو النفي بالمطلق، لأنّ الخروج من التفاهم سيعني عودة إيران للتخصيب وسرعة بلوغ عتبة القنبلة النووية، فماذا تفعل أميركا وأوروبا، وهل الذهاب للحرب هو وصفة عاقلة ومفيدة؟

– المعادلة الثانية تنطلق من أنّ سقوط التفاهم النووي يعني عملياً سقوط لغة التفاوض والتفاهمات، التي يشكّل التفاهم النووي إثباتاً لكونها فرضية ممكنة لحلّ المشاكل والقضايا الخلافية وسقوطه يعني إغلاق باب التفاوض والذهاب للتصعيد في قضايا الخلاف الإقليمي والدولي كافة، وأوروبا تشارك أميركا وحلفاءها القلق من برنامج الصواريخ البالستية أو من أشياء أخرى، لكنها تشارك إيران رفض الربط بينها وبين التفاهم على الملف النووي، والدعوة لإعلان تثبيت التفاهم الأصلي كمقدمة لفتح تفاوض منفصل حول ملفات خلافية أخرى.

– ماذا سيفعل ترامب بعد أربعة شهور، هل سيعلن الخروج من التفاهم النووي، وهل ستلتزم أوروبا بنظام العقوبات الأميركية، وكلّ الوقائع الخاصة بالملف معلومة سلفاً، الشهور الأربعة ستكون شهور تصعيد في المنطقة من بوابة فلسطين إلى اليمن إلى سائر الساحات، بما فيها الداخل الإيراني وربما الداخل الروسي أملاً بتغيير المعادلات لترضخ أوروبا لقرار واشنطن بالضغط لتعديل التفاهم النووي تحت طائلة التهديد بإلغائه، لكن الذي جرى في طهران ويجري في القدس واليمن يقول إنّ الزمن المقبل سيكون أسوأ لأميركا، وأنّ إيران التي ربحت الجولة مرتين تتّجه لربح الحرب.

 

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The Empire’s “Lefty Intellectuals” Call for Regime Change. The Role of “Progressives” and the Antiwar Movement

Global Research, January 09, 2018

What is now unfolding in both North America and Western Europe is fake social activism, controlled and funded by the corporate establishment. This manipulated process precludes the formation of a real mass movement against war, racism and social injustice.  

The anti-war movement is dead. The war on Syria is tagged as “a civil war”.

The war on Yemen is also portrayed as a civil war.  While the bombing is by Saudi Arabia, the insidious role of the US is downplayed or casually ignored. “The US is not directly involved so there is no need for us to wage an anti-war campaign”. (paraphrase)

War and neoliberalism are no longer at the forefront of civil society activism. Funded by corporate charities, via a network of non-governmental organizations, social activism tends to be piecemeal. There is no integrated anti-globalization anti-war movement. The economic crisis is not seen as having a relationship to US led wars.

In turn, dissent has become compartmentalized. Separate “issue oriented” protest movements (e.g. environment, anti-globalization, peace, women’s rights, LGBT) are encouraged and generously funded as opposed to a cohesive mass movement against global capitalism.

This mosaic was already prevalent in the counter G7 summits and People’s Summits of the 1990s and also from the inception of the World Social Forum in 2000, which rarely adopted a meaningful anti-war stance.

Through staged protest events sponsored by NGOs and generously funded by corporate foundations, the unspoken objective is to create profound divisions within Western society, which serve to uphold the existing social order as well as the military agenda.

Syria

It is worth underscoring the role of so-called “progressive” intellectuals in paying lip service to the US-NATO military agenda. This is nothing new.

Segments of the anti-war movement which opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq are tacitly supportive of  Trump’s punitive airstrikes directed against Syria’s “Assad regime” allegedly involved in “killing their own people”, gassing them to death in a premeditated chemical weapons attack. According to Trump “Assad choked out the lives of helpless men women and children”.

America’s Noam Chomsky in an April 5 2017 interview with “Democracy Now” (aired two days before Trump’s April 2017 punitive airstrikes against Syria) favors “regime change”, intimating that a negotiated “removal” of Bashar al Assad could lead to a peaceful settlement.

According to Chomsky: “The Assad regime is a moral disgrace. They’re carrying out horrendous acts, the Russians with them.” (emphasis added) Strong statement with no supporting evidence and documentation provided. Apology for Trump’s war crimes? The victims of imperialism are casually blamed for the crimes of imperialism:

…You know, you can’t tell them, “We’re going to murder you. Please negotiate.”That’s not going to work. But some system in which, in the course of negotiations …[with the Russians], … he [Bashar al-Assad] would be removed, and some kind of settlement would be made. The West would not accept it, …  At the time, they believed they could overthrow Assad, so they didn’t want to do this, so the war went on. Could it have worked? You never know for sure. But it could have been pursued. Meanwhile, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting jihadi groups, which are not all that different from ISIS. So you have a horror story on all sides. The Syrian people are being decimated.

(Noam Chomsky on Democracy Now, April 5, 2017, See the video of the Democracy Now interview with Chomsky here

Update, Scan of Chomsky Interview Democracy Now, April 26, 2017

Similarly in Britain, Tariq Ali,  tagged by the U.K. media as the Left’s  prime leader of Britain’s anti-war movement going back to the Vietnam war,  has also called for the removal of president Bashar al Assad. His discourse is not dissimilar from that of  the Washington war hawks:

“He [Assad] has to be pushed out,… [ for which] the Syrian people are doing their best… The fact is that the overwhelming majority of people in Syria want the Assad family out – and that is the key thing that we have to understand and he [Assad] should understand…

Syria needs a non-sectarian national government to prepare a new constitution… If the Assad clan refuses to relinquish their stronghold on the country, sooner or later something disastrous will happen…That is the future that stares them in the face, there is no other future,” ” RT 2012 interview 

Tariq Ali, who is a spokesperson for Britain’s Stop the War Coalition, fails to mention that US-NATO and their allies are actively involved in the recruitment, training and arming of a (largely foreign) terrorist mercenary army.

Under the “progressive” mantle of Britain’s anti-war movement, Ali tacitly provides legitimacy to Western military intervention on humanitarian grounds under the banner of the “War on Terrorism” and the so-called “Responsibilty to Protect”(R2P). The fact that both Al Qaeda and ISIS-Daesh are supported (covertly) by US-NATO is not mentioned.

According to British author William Bowles, Tariq Ali is one among many of the Empire’s Lefty intellectuals who has served to distort anti-war activism in both North America and Western Europe:

It exemplifies the contradiction of being an alleged socialist at home and enjoying the privilege of being part of the Empire’s intellectual elite and paid very well thank you very much, whilst dictating to Syria what it should and shouldn’t do. I fail to see the distinction between Ali’s arrogance and that of the West, that called for exactly the same thing! Assad has to go!

The Existing Anti-War movement

Global capitalism finances anti-capitalism: an absurd and contradictory relationship.

There can be no meaningful anti-war movement when dissent is generously funded by those same corporate interests which are the target of the protest movement. In the words of McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation (1966-1979),Everything the [Ford] Foundation did could be regarded as ‘making the World safe for capitalism’”. And several “Lefty intellectuals” serve the role of “making the World safe” for the warmongers.

Today’s antiwar protest does not question the legitimacy of those to whom the protest is addressed. At this juncture, “progressives” –funded by major foundations and endorsed by the mainstream media– are an obstacle to the formation of a meaningful and articulate grassroots antiwar movement acting both nationally and internationally.

A consistent antiwar movement must also confront various forms of cooption within its ranks, namely the fact that a significant sector of so-called “progressive” opinion tacitly supports US foreign policy including “humanitarian interventions” under UN/NATO auspices.

An antiwar movement funded by major corporate foundations is the cause rather than the solution. A coherent antiwar movement cannot be funded by warmongers.

The Road Ahead

What is required is the development of a broad based grassroots network which seeks to disable patterns of authority and decision making pertaining to war.

This network would be established at all levels in society, towns and villages, work places, parishes. Trade unions, farmers organizations, professional associations, business associations, student unions, veterans associations, church groups would be called upon to integrate the antiwar organizational structure. Of crucial importance, this movement should extend into the Armed Forces as a means to breaking the legitimacy of war among service men and women.

The first task would be to disable war propaganda through an effective campaign against media disinformation.

The corporate media would be directly challenged, leading to boycotts of major news outlets, which are responsible for channelling disinformation into the news chain.  This endeavor would require a parallel process at the grass roots level, of sensitizing and educating fellow citizens on the nature of  the war and the global crisis, as well as effectively “spreading the word” through advanced networking, through alternative media outlets on the internet, etc. In recent developments, the independent online media has been the target of manipulation and censorship, precisely with a view to undermining anti-war activism on the internet.

The creation of such a movement, which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of the structures of political authority, is no easy task. It would require a degree of solidarity, unity and commitment unparalleled in World history. It would require breaking down political and ideological barriers within society and acting with a single voice. It would also require eventually unseating the war criminals, and indicting them for war crimes.


Order Directly from Global Research Publishers

Michel Chossudovsky

original

America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine —coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.

This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history.

It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.

The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.

NYT: Trump’s Twitter Threats Put US Credibility on the Line

08-01-2018 | 13:24


US President Donald Trump has begun 2018 where he left off. Since the first of the year, he has attacked a variety of countries in Twitter posts, urging protesters to overthrow the Iranian government, threatening to blow up North Korea and calling for cuts in aid to the Palestinians.

Us President Donald Trump

Two things stand out about the foreign policy messages Trump has posted on Twitter since taking office: How far they veer from the traditional ways American presidents express themselves, let alone handle diplomacy. And how rarely Trump has followed through on his words.

Indeed, nearly a year after he entered the White House, the rest of the world is trying to figure out whether Trump is more mouth than fist, more paper tiger than the real thing.

Countries are unsure whether to take his words as policy pronouncements, or whether they can be safely ignored. If Trump’s threats are seen as hollow, what does that do to American credibility?

In a series of Twitter posts on Saturday, Trump reacted to questions about his mental fitness by calling himself a “very stable genius.”

Even if there is a recognition that Trump’s tweets may be largely intended to let off steam or reassure his domestic base, there is an increasing sense that the credibility of the administration, and the presidency itself, is being eroded.

However, Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, said the words of the US president matter, he added in a Twitter message: “That is why so many of this president’s tweets alarm. The issue is not just questionable policy on occasion but questionable judgment and discipline.”

The bottom line, Haass said, is that Twitter posts should be handled as seriously as any other White House statement, lest the currency of what the president says comes to be devalued.

But the Twitter posts have already devalued the president’s words, argues R. Nicholas Burns, a former career diplomat and ambassador to NATO.

“Even when Mr. Trump is right, … there’s always some excess or some objectionable statement that undermines American credibility, and it’s hard to win that back,” he said. “Allies and opponents invest in your judgment and common sense.”

He pointed to Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to al-Quds [Jerusalem], however delayed or symbolic. That broke with years of international policy consensus, which called for the status of al-Quds to be settled in so-called “peace” talks.

“When you give away the status of Jerusalem [al-Quds] unilaterally and get nothing from ‘Israel’ and anger the Palestinians and challenge the world and then you lose, it’s a disastrous example of lack of US credibility,” Burns said.

The decision infuriated the Palestinians and the Europeans. Then, Trump and his United Nations envoy, Nikki R. Haley, threatened to cut off aid to any country that opposed the new US position in a vote in the General Assembly.

In the end, the vote was a humiliating rebuke of the US, 128 to 9, with 35 abstentions. Most European allies voted against the US, and even European allies in Central Europe, who consider Washington a key guarantor against Russia, did not vote with Washington but abstained.

A senior European diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly, called the al-Quds episode destabilizing and said it had come when the Middle East and the world did not need it.

As much as the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, has annoyed Trump with his criticism of the al-Quds move, saying that it disqualified Washington from a serious role in any so-called “peace” talks, even the “Israeli” entity has urged Trump to abandon his threat to cut off aid to the United Nations agency that looks after millions of registered Palestinian refugees.

On North Korea, despite Trump’s Twitter posts, Pyongyang has gone ahead with tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and has given no indication that it will agree to denuclearize in exchange for talks with Washington. Instead, it has gone around Washington to reopen talks with Seoul.

Even on Pakistan, where Trump followed through last week on threats to suspend aid over the country’s ambiguous support for the American battle against the Taliban, the president was for the Pakistanis before he was against them.

In one of his first calls with a foreign leader after being elected, Trump spoke with the Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, and gushed that he was a “terrific guy.”

“Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people,” Sharif’s office said in a statement describing the call. “Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people.”

More recently, Trump switched to threatening them, saying on Twitter that Pakistan had “given us nothing but lies & deceit” and accusing it of providing “safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan.”

The public humiliation outraged Islamabad, giving an opening to China, which moved within 24 hours to praise Pakistan’s fight against terrorism. Pakistan then agreed to adopt the Chinese currency for transactions, to improve bilateral trade.

François Heisbourg, a French defense and security analyst, commented tersely about Trump’s anger this way: “Pushing Pakistan into an exclusive relationship with China.”

Trump has been equally changeable with the Chinese, whom the president repeatedly threatened to punish for what he termed trade dumping and currency manipulation, only to say in December that he had “been soft” on Beijing, needing its help on North Korea.

Some suggest that Trump’s Twitter posts should not be taken so seriously. Daniel S. Hamilton, a former State Department official who directs the Center for Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, said that Trump “uses these tweets and social media to secure his political base,” and “whether the tweets turn into a policy or not is a whole different question.”

While allies do not necessarily take his Twitter posts as policy pronouncements, they still create significant confusion, said Pierre Vimont, former French ambassador to Washington and former top aide to the European Union foreign policy chief.

Even in areas where allies agree – for example, on the threat posed by North Korea and its leader, Kim Jong-un – “we have a hard time understanding the real policy line from Washington,” Mr. Vimont said.

Source: NYT, Edited by website team

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