Here is where all the US bases are located near Iran

The Pentagon doubled down on the deployment of its carrier strike group on Friday, saying it would beef up its Middle Eastern theatre command’s assets with additional Patriot missile defence batteries, an amphibious assault ship full of Marines and an amphibious dock ship to complement the recently deployed USS Abraham Lincoln and several nuclear-capable B-52 strategic bombers.

Iran has dismissed both Washington’s threats and President Trump’s simultaneous offer to negotiate with the country’s leadership, with a deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards saying the US was mistaken if it felt it could intimidate Tehran into talks with threats and sanctions.

Senior US officials have claimed that the troop buildup was a response to Iranian behaviour. Acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan called the carrier deployment a “prudent repositioning of assets in response to indication of a credible threat” by Iranian forces. National Security Adviser John Bolton said the move was a reaction “to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings,” and was aimed at sending “a clear and unmistakable message to [Tehran] that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.”

no one you follow@NerbieDansers

i wonder what pentagon PR flack came up with calling US military bases “lily pads”

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However, in light of the vast network of bases that the US has surrounding Iran from virtually all directions, it’s worth asking what the US’s real goal is in the present escalation. Because even without those fresh deployments, the US already has thousands of troops surrounding the Islamic Republic.

The US Navy’s 5th Fleet, whose area of responsibility includes the Middle East and North Africa, has at least 7,000 US troops at its permanent base in Bahrain. In Kuwait, meanwhile, the US Army’s Central Command has its forward command post, where some 13,000 troops are stationed.

ALSO READ  US sends B-52 bombers to Middle East to deal with Iran ‘threat’

Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates contains 5,000 plus US personnel, while Qatar’s massive Al Udeid Air Base has roughly US 10,000 troops.

Along with the bases, the US has special forces troops operating in Yemen, while Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan station thousands more troops, although some politicians in Baghdad have recently threatened to evict the estimated 5,200 troops based in their country.

Along with the bases, the US also has access to a large series of smaller ‘cooperative security locations’, also known as ‘lily pads’with 200 troops or less, as well as access to airfields and ports in countries including Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt.

On Saturday, Iranian Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi brushed aside US allegations about Iran posing a threat to US forces in the Middle East, accusing the Trump administration of using “fake intelligence.”

“These are all allegations which are being produced by the same people who, in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq, did the same,” Ravanchi said, likely referring to John Bolton’s role in pushing the invasion during his work as an adviser in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Given the presence of US troops at bases in virtually every one of Tehran’s neighbours, perhaps it’s Iran’s leaders who should be the ones complaining about “credible threats” and “escalatory indications.”

Source: Sputnik

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Hassan Nasrallah: Daesh is Still a US-Israeli Asset, Threatens Central Asia

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 2, 2019, on the occasion of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Commander Mostapha Badreddine, known as ‘Zulfiqar’, who was killed in Syria in May 2016.

 

 

Transcript:
[…] The other subject (I want to talk about), my second point, is very important: it is the battlefield where the Sayyed (descendant of the Prophet) Zulfiqar, God have mercy on him, was operating, where he spent the last years of his life, and from where he returned as a victorious martyr, namely Syria. We’ll talk a little about it.

Day after day, the validity of our decision and choice to go to Syria is confirmed more and more clearly. (I mention it) because today, we speak of a martyred leader who was killed in this battle. And we are constantly 
asked for accountability for all the blood (of our fighters we shed for Syria). Every time our friends or enemies write something (about the Syrian war), they ask us about this blood, about our martyrs, a large number of martyrs, a whole constellation of (Hezbollah members) who fought in Syria and got killed or wounded. They ask: who answers for this blood (who bears responsibility for it and justifies it)? We answer for this blood. We answer for these wounds (of war).

Moreover, as the days passed, more and more masks have fallen, more and more hideous faces (of conspirators) were brought to light, and more and more documents and evidence (of a foreign plot) as well as confessions and press conferences have multiplied: confessions from former Presidents, Kings, former Prime Ministers, Heads of governments and Foreign Ministers, or former Chiefs of Staff… Day after day, our confidence and certainty is reinforced: what we did was 100% just and absolutely right, and we went to the right place at the right time. 
Every day, it becomes clearer that what happened in Syria was very different from what happened in the rest of the Arab world (during the Arab Spring). In Syria, there was a US-Israeli-Saudi plot for which some countries from the Gulf and the region were used (Emirates, Qatar, Turkey…). The Syrian issue had nothing to do with – we have said so repeatedly, but it must be recalled today as we commemorate this martyr. It had nothing to do with elections, democracy, reforms, change, or with any of this nonsense we have heard since 2011. And the proof is that the United States, Saudi Arabia and those countries (who participated in the plot), who did they come up with and push forward for this supposed “humanitarian democratic change” in Syria? This formula should be put in inverted commas, highlighted with two red lines, and, as the Syrians say, followed up with one thousand question marks and a million exclamation marks… Who did they come up with (in this alleged purpose)? Democratic forces? Forces from the popular will? Forces whose culture and ideology tends to shape a (better) future? Where have you seen any such thing? 
In order not to talk in theoretical and blurry terms and invoke merely documents or (theoretical) evidence, let us talk about an obvious, visible and undeniable reality, namely Daesh (ISIS). Let us consider the example of Daesh. Today we’ll talk a bit about Daesh.

Daesh… How were they able to capture nearly 40% of the territory of Syria? 40 or 45% of Syria, as far as I can remember. That is to say, most of the East of the Euphrates, which is 25% (of Syria) if we add Manbij and (neighboring) regions. Most of the East of the Euphrates, Deir Ezzor, Abu Kamal, Mayadeen, all the Syrian desert, which is 5 times the size of Lebanon, up to Palmyra, the outskirts of Homs, the Yarmouk camp, part of the province of Suweida, East of Homs, East of Hama, East and North of Aleppo… We talk about 40 to 45% of Syria! And at the same time, Daesh controlled half or more than half of Iraq, a whole number of Iraqi provinces: Anbar, Mosul, Salahuddin, etc. They arrived at the gates of Karbala and the gates of Baghdad.Where did they come from? Who brought them here? Who armed them? Who eased up things for them and gave them all the opportunities? Who gave them money? Who opened all the borders for them? Who covered them favorably in the media? All the Arab satellite channels constantly repeated (with praise) “the Islamic State”! Who (did all that)? We must never forget! Neither the Lebanese who have pushed back Daesh in the Jurd of Ersal and in the Bekaa have the right to forget, nor the Syrian people, nor the Iraqi people, nor all the peoples of the region must ever forget (all the atrocities) perpetrated by Daesh, (the Western and regional countries & media that supported them), and everything that Daesh will continue to do, as I’ll mention later. 

And what is Daesh? What is its ideology? It is the Wahhabi ideology that is shaped in Saudi Arabia, in the Saudi Universities, in the Saudi religious schools, in Saudi mosques, and that was propagated around the world with Saudi money (originally to thwart Khomeini’s revolutionary Islam), by decision and at the request of the United States, as recognized by both the Americans and the Saudis. Before the confession of Mohammad Bin Salman about this fact, there was a video recording of Hillary Clinton where she acknowledged this, namely that it is the US who asked Saudi Arabia to support, propagate and disseminate the Wahhabi ideology worldwide. Where does the ISIS ideology come from? Saudi Arabia! At the request of whom? The United States! Who facilitated this? The Americans and their allies! Who funded it? Saudi Arabia! And the ISIS fighters, where did they come from? (They were brought) from all around the world! O my brothers and sisters, most of the suicide bombers in Syria and Iraq were Saudi nationals! And there were other nationalities as well. And they were brought to these cities (of Syria and Iraq).The (US and Saudi Arabia) are the ones who supported them, armed them, financed them, have opened all the borders for them and have staked so much on them. Daesh was (initially) required only against Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. And later, against Iran and against whoever was to be submitted, hit and destroyed.

What is the Daesh project? To establish a State in which there will be elections? A democratic State? A State in which the people can express (freely) his will? A State whose inhabitants will elect their MPs, their leaders and rulers? Never! For Daesh, according to the ideology of Daesh, elections are an act of disbelief (deserving of death)! Anyone who participates in elections is a disbeliever (in their eyes)! Whoever stands near a ballot box, his blood shall be shed, he is to be killed! Is it not what Al Qaeda and the Taliban did in Afghanistan? Is it not what happened in Iraq during all the elections that were held? Is Daesh able to shape a (better) future? And by whom were (these monsters) created? By the United States!

In the past, an individual named… Anyone can find (this video) over the Internet. I speak of General Wesley Clark – and it was on CNN, my brother, I don’t quote a TV channel of our friends or allies –, who was the Supreme Commander of NATO forces. (Wesley Clark) said on CNN that the Islamic State – they do not speak of Daesh (derogatory term), they keep saying ‘the Islamic State’ (to smear Islam) – : “ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies to fight to the death against Hezbollah.” He said: “To do this, you don’t put out a recruiting poster and say ‘Let’s go fight Hezbollah’. That is why we and our friends have created ISIS.” 
(Daesh was meant to fight) all that (Resistance) Axis, all these forces facing the US and the Israeli project. Syria rejected surrender and submission (to the US, and that’s why it had to be destroyed). There are people who have never done anything against Israel, but who spend their time denigrating Syria, saying that for decades, there has been no resistance in the Golan. It is enough for (the honor of) Syria, and its current and former leaders, to never have surrendered, to have remained steadfast (against Israel), to have held on and protected the (Lebanese and Palestinian) Resistance, not to have submitted to US dictates when the whole world was subject to them, with the exception of Iran and some popular forces (including Hezbollah). What was required was to break up Syria in the interest of the United States and Israel.As for Iraq, it expelled US forces from its territory by popular Resistance, armed Resistance, political Resistance and  the intransigence of its position (against US occupation). But the US wanted to resettle there. And about this point, I want to warn my Iraqi brothers. See what Trump is doing: it is clear that he wants to keep all his electoral promises. You may say that… Characterize him as you want: stupid, crazy, arrogant, whatever you like. But you know that my habit is to recognize the facts, even if they somewhat shed a positive light on our enemy. (In his foreign policy), Trump did everything he announced during the election campaign. He retreated from the Iranian nuclear deal, from such and such agreements and treaties – there must no longer remain a single international agreement to which the US is still committed to. He moved the US embassy to Al-Quds (Jerusalem). He acknowledged… The question of the ‘Deal of the Century’ (supposed to liquidate the Palestinian cause) is still ongoing. I do not know if he had spoken of the Syrian Golan (during his election campaign), so I will not include it in the list of broken promises. Everything he announced, he is doing it.

And among the things that Trump declared (back then), is that the US should take the Iraqi oil. The United States must seize it, that’s what he said. Of course, he also promised during his election campaign that Saudi Arabia is a milking cow that he’ll milk to the last drop (before getting rid of it). He has indeed milked it, and every day, he milks it even more! Isn’t it true?
So he said, among other things, that Iraqi oil is the rightful property of the United States: “We went into Iraq, we sent 150,000 soldiers, we made sacrifices, we paid a high price…” He often reminds the $ 7 trillion dollars spent, claiming (that because of that, this oil is rightfully theirs). He was asked how he would go about it. This happened during the election campaign, on television. I’m not inventing lies against this dude. He said they were to seize the oil fields area, stationing their forces there and isolating it (from the rest of Iraq). From there, they would take Iraqi oil and sell it until they have recovered their money. This is one of the electoral promises of Trump to which our Iraqi brothers should give their full attention. This idea has not left the mind of Mr. Trump. And when our Iraqi brothers follow every situation, every detail, every minor or major thing, they have to be very vigilant on this afterthought of Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump believes that Iraqi oil is rightfully his, and he must keep that promise. Daesh was the means that would allow the US to return to Iraq. And Daesh remains the pretext of maintaining US troops in Iraq.

And all the Daeshites who were East of the Euphrates, where have they gone, O my brothers? Where? Some went to Iraq, some were sent inside Syria, and another part has been transferred to Afghanistan. O my brother, who transferred them to Afghanistan? Who? We can understand the situation ourselves. Who transferred them to Afghanistan? (The US!) I’ll come back to it in a moment. Therefore, Daesh still has a role to play (at the service of the United States).Anyway, Daesh’s goal is to destroy (Arab and Muslim) armies, societies and peoples. Therefore if someone asks me whether Daesh was defeated, I will answer yes, but they did achieve great successes. It’s unfortunate to say but Daesh has done great things for the United States, for Israel and for all the enemies of the (Islamic) Community. Daesh destroyed armies, peoples and entire societies. Daesh poured torrents of blood among the peoples and inhabitants of our region. Daesh erected very high walls of hatred and rancor that will not disappear before decades or centuries. These are achievements that serve the interests of Israel and the United States. We must recognize it. We must recognize this reality in order to remedy it. We mustn’t merely recognize it and do nothing about it, it must be remedied.

What I want to say before concluding this point is that Daesh, my brothers and sisters, and I address all the peoples of the region, Daesh is still a danger. Let no one consider that Daesh is over. Yes, the Daesh caliphate, this false caliphate is no more. Their pseudo-State is no more. The Daesh army who controlled much of the area of ​​Iraq and Syria no longer exists. But Daesh as an ideology, Daesh as the leadership they showed us on TV two days ago (al-Baghdadi)… How (are they still a threat)?… Daesh as lone wolves, Daesh as terrorists and suicide bombers (sleeping) cells, this Daesh still exists, and will be activated and instrumentalized in Syria. It’s not idle talk, but I speak on the basis of data and information. What remains of Daesh will be activated and instrumentalized in Iraq. This is why the current cooperation between Iraq and Syria on their shared border is a duty and a necessity of the utmost importance. For Daesh is a threat for the two peoples, the two armies and the two States.

Daesh today has a role to play in Afghanistan, killing the Afghan people, and spreading more death and chaos in Afghanistan. Afghanistan has become a base for spreading Daesh in Central Asia. And this is what the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense Minister denounced yesterday and today. So who transferred Daesh to Afghanistan? (The United States !)
 

***

And up to Sri Lanka. After the horrific massacre in Sri Lanka, many countries of the world expressed their condemnation: the European Union has condemned it, as did European negotiators, the UN, the US, etc. But has someone asked about the ideology that perpetrated the suicide operations and (atrocious) massacres in Sri Lanka against (innocent) men, women and children in churches and hotels? Where does it come from? Who stands behind this ideology? Who supports it, finances it, revives it, defends it? Is it not the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Why do you condemn (only) the instruments, and say nothing about the true and essential reason (of this terrorism, namely Wahhabism)?Daesh is still a security risk, and we must all behave as facing a (permanent) threat. We must face it politically, culturally, in the media, militarily, in terms of security, and on every field. Furthermore, this threat will never be far from Lebanon. It is true that the army and the Resistance, embraced by the people and through a national consensus, liberated our land (Jurd Ersal) from Daesh and its ilk, but this danger is not far from us and is not finished. It is true that we have achieved great victories on all fronts in the fight against Daesh and its ilk, and against the whole (US-Israeli-Saudi) project in the region, but we must consider that the danger persists and act accordingly to remedy it.

And on this issue, we must not forget the identity of those responsible, because it is one of the challenges today: the main culprits are the US and Saudi Arabia. What Daesh perpetrated against the peoples of our region, against Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, what it still perpetrates in Yemen, in Nigeria, what it has perpetrated in Sri Lanka, all these horrible crimes, this massive destruction, those billions of dollars in economic losses, hundreds of thousands of martyrs and wounded, dishonor (inflicted on women raped and subjected to slavery), the (Christian and Muslim) holy places desecrated and destroyed… All these losses, shall we forget them? Everything is fine? May God forgive past mistakes? How could this be so?

And the United States and some Gulf countries have the impudence to organize conferences against impunity, wanting to prevent that so and so who committed such a thing would escape punishment for his actions (in general African leaders). But as for the invasion of peoples, destruction of whole countries, killing of hundreds of thousands of innocent people… It is not such a big deal. This issue is forgotten with a simple hug. Why? Because those who do this are the United States and Saudi Arabia: this bloody alliance currently at work, frankly, must be fought and condemned, (as) their insistence to continue the war against Yemen.

Yesterday, the United Nations said that the number of deaths in Yemen is probably 250,000 martyrs killed (by the bombing) or victims (of disease, famine…). 250,000 !!! But that is a (minor) information that appears briefly at the bottom of TV screens, and no more. There is nothing at all (neither outrage nor denunciation…). Did we see a movement in the Arab world? In the Muslim world? O my brother, is there any reaction at all in the whole world? It is the UN that gives this number, not the (Yemeni) TV channel Al-Masira, not AnsarAllah, not Sayed Abd-al-Malik (al-Houthi). The UN declares: ‘O people, a massacre unfolds before your eyes, 250,000 Yemenis have been killed so far !!!’ It is the UN that says that! Did a single hair of beard, mustache or head shudder (when people heard this information)? No way. Why? For the butcher is Saudi-American. It is forbidden to condemn them. It is impossible to say anything (against them).

Up to these (37) executions of young people in Saudi Arabia. One of them is a noble scholar. There were ordinary citizens, young men and women, some personalities. Some were under 15 when they were arrested. What is their sin? What is their crime? Having participated in a protest, a sit-in, posting something on a blog or social network… They are executed. Without trial. Their secret trials without appeal (are a travesty of justice). Is it not (an abominable crime)? But we talk about it no more. For an hour or two, some countries have condemned this act, and then, nobody talks about it anymore. And the relations (of all countries with Saudi Arabia) are completely normal because there is (lots of) money involved.

Today, my brothers and sisters, we live in a world… We must realize and understand that it is in such a world we live in. There are neither international law, nor international organizations, nor countries with principles or pride, nor values, ​​nor morality, nor laws. There is none of that. Only power and money (matter). The powerful are respected. The wealthy can do anything they want. They can seize a journalist like Khashoggi in a Consulate, and subject him to what has never been done in History. But nobody has the right to open his mouth because it is Saudi Arabia. The US perpetrates massacres every day, but no one has the right to open his mouth, because it is the United States. And if we dare say something, we will find ourselves condemned. Tomorrow, voices will rise in Lebanon saying that the Sayyed (Nasrallah) wants to create problems for our country, as if we did not have enough problems. Even if that were true, where is our humanity? Where are our moral values? Where are our human emotions (compassion, outrage…)? This situation asks us to stop (and take a stance).And after that, and worse than that, everything that happens in our region is at the service of Israel, its influence and hegemony, in order to complete the ‘Deal of the Century’ (liquidating the Palestinian cause), and at the service of the United States, politically and financially. Who can say otherwise? Someone dare tell us otherwise, and defend Saudi Arabia, claiming that it acts in the interests of the Arab community! This insistence on waging wars and financing of wars, (in whose interest is it)?

Today, there is an ongoing war in Libya. May God preserve us from (chaos) in Sudan. May God preserve us from (chaos) in Algeria. If the peoples of Sudan and Algeria do not behave with awareness and national responsibility, God knows what will happen to those countries. God knows where Libya is heading. God knows in what other countries (the Saudis and US) will interfere (to foment chaos). This insistence to display hostility against Iran, plot against Iran and besiege Iran, up to the announcement of Saudi Arabia and the Emirates that they’ll compensate for the absence of Iranian oil on international markets, where will this lead?“(In the long run) evil in the extreme will be the End of those who do evil.” (Quran, 30, 10). Just see the end (promised by God to evil people). And it is only their fate in this world (their punishment in the hereafter will be much worse).And (despite all that), Mr. Trump mocks (the Saudis) and constantly humiliates them. One would expect him to respect his friends, thank them, express his gratitude, invoke God’s blessings upon them, compliment them, and so on and so forth… But every day, he denigrates them. Every day, he humiliates them. We all saw Trump’s last speech (in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 27). He laughed a lot, as well as his audience, (boasting about the ease with which he extorted money from Saudi Arabia). Yesterday, in a meeting with some (Hezbollah) brothers, I told them… I’ll tell you frankly. I do not like King Salman, I hate his guts. I hate him from the bottom of my heart. But listening to the way Trump talked about him, I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for him. See how Trump insults them, humiliates them, crushes them, degrades them… Where is the Arab pride? Where is Islam? Where are the two holy places (Mecca and Medina)? Where are the clans? Where are the tribes? Where are the… I do not know what to call them… these swords with which they dance? Where is their honor? Not a single word! Not a single word!

Some people in Lebanon, whenever I or some of my brothers speak and say bad things about Saudi Arabia, they meet us on the spot (to defend the Saudis). Show us your courage, O heroes, O proud, dignified and noble knights of Arabism! Go answer him! The Trump insulted your (beloved) King! He insulted your (beloved) King! Where are you? Nobody dares to even breathe (in front of Trump)! Are they (real) men?! No way! They did not open their mouth! Even the inhabitants of the tombs speak more than (the Lebanon’s March 14 coalition, pro-Saud and pro-US)! At least, when we enter a cemetery, there is an inscription on the tombstones. But (as for our Lebanese opponents), their faces are blackened, and there is nothing written on them! Please do not resent me for these colloquial words (spoken in Lebanese dialect). That’s how we speak in our villages.

Trump said (to King Salman), “Oh King! I like you !” Of course he likes him! “You have lots of money! And we spend a lot of money to defend you! So you have to pay!” And he made all kinds of (derogatory and explicit) signs. All his gestures and words were nothing but mockery and humiliation! Mockery and humiliation (from the beginning to end)! And after that, what did Trump say? “They want us to abandon Saudi Arabia? I do not want to lose Saudi Arabia! We have squeezed 450 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia, in arms sales and more!” I have a question: 450 billion dollars from Saudi Arabia? Because I speak only of Saudi Arabia. We have not mentioned (the sums squeezed from) the rest of the Gulf countries. All this money, is it Saud’s money, their personal funds?

First, there is no Saudi Arabia and no Saudi people, it is only the Hijaz, and the people of the Arabian Peninsula (usurped by the Saud family, with the help of Britain, who gave it their own name). This money is the property of the people of this (Islamic) Community. According to Islamic law and jurisprudence, all Muslim scholars will tell you that this money belongs to the public treasury, and is the property of all Muslims. What right do you have to take ownership of 450 billion dollars of Muslims’ money to give to Trump? On what (legal or moral) basis? While there are Muslims starving from Somalia to Indonesia? They are starving! There are famines, earthquakes, poverty, misery, diseases, illiteracy (that this money should relieve)… How to describe this situation?

Let me conclude this point with Pompeo. I’m done talking about the situation in the region, just two more words (before I speak about Lebanon internal politics). Pompeo… Two or three days ago, my (Hezbollah) brothers (who follow the Western media) sent me the speech of Pompeo on a CD in English, informing me of what he said. I asked them to make sure of it, so that the excerpts I’ll read in my speech be strictly accurate. This Pompeo, who is Secretary of State of the United States (equivalent to Minister of Foreign Affairs), is a diplomat who must inspire confidence, political trust, diplomatic trust, because he has to manage global affairs, to ensure peace in the world, give their rights to people, etc. [Laughs] The frankness he has shown is very positive and appreciable (for us).

He talks about his role in the CIA. This comment was also broadcast on US channels. The US Secretary of State acknowledged practicing lies, deception and theft. He confessed to lies, deceit and plunder! All this while he was director of the main US intelligence agency (CIA). He said: “I was the Director of the CIA. We lied, cheated and stole.” He is therefore a liar, a traitor and a thief, a robber. An international brigand, an international raider. Imam Khomeini, God have mercy on him, called them the “plunderers”. In addition to the “tyrants”, the “arrogant,” he called them “Plunderers of the world (resources) and of the peoples.” “We stole”, said Pompeo.

He was asked about the slogan of the military school where he studied (West Point). He was asked the question, or maybe he asked the question to himself, and he replied: “Our slogan was ‘Do not lie, do not cheat, do not steal, nor tolerate those who do.’ But when I was the Director of the CIA, we lied, cheated and stole. We had entire training courses.” When asked about his position with regard to Saudi Arabia, he says it’s different.

Imagine, then, that the leading US diplomat –we do not speak of the CIA or the US military, he is the Foreign Minister of the United States– confesses to be a liar, a cheater and a thief. It’s not me who described him! He described himself in these words! This man who was in Lebanon just a few days ago! And who came to tour the world, Europe, etc.

By mentioning all this, I want to come to this conclusion: whoever trusts and pins his hopes in the United States to settle our problems and concerns for us, and help our causes… May God help us if they were to be the intermediary to solve the problem of our land and maritime borders (with occupied Palestine)! They want to impose their terms, they want to impose themselves in Lebanon (in the interests of Israel). The United States does not negotiate, they just impose their conditions and give ultimatums! Such are Trump and Pompeo! Liars, cheaters, thieves. They support and favour Israel at the expense of the whole world! Not only at the expense of Arabs, Muslims and Christians of the region, but at the expense of the whole world!Regarding the bloody and monstrous  Saudi-American alliance, we must be clear and firm. And regarding Daesh, no one should act as if this danger was over: this danger still threatens us, and has new roles in the region. We must always and constantly be ready to face this danger, and not be neglectful in this regard. […] 

See also: Hassan Nasrallah: Israel is Unable to Launch a New War, Beware of the Media

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah 

الأمير والإمارة

Image result for ‫العميل وليد جنبلاط‬‎

مايو 4, 2019

ناصر قنديل

– يتشابه كثيراً وضع الإمارة التي صنعها النائب السابق وليد جنبلاط لزعامته، مع الإمارة التي تبوأ أمير قطر حمد بن ثاني قيادة الربيع العربي عبرها. فكل من الأميرين والإمارتين بلغ مراتب من الأدوار والأحجام تفيض عن مقدراته الحقيقية بفائض قوة افتراضي، وفّرته لأمير قطر ثلاثية ثروة الغاز وقناة الجزيرة ومكانته الأخوانية، ومعها شجاعة المغامرة طلباً للأدوار الكبيرة، ووفّرته لجنبلاط ثلاثية الجغرافيا والديمغرافيا والقدرة على التموضع بانقلابات سريعة دون مساءلة أو محاسبة. فمن جهة وضعية الجبل اللبناني الجغرافية في الحروب من حمانا إلى خلدة وإمساكه بطريقي بيروت دمشق وبيروت الجنوب، ومن جهة ثانية التطهير الديمغرافي الذي فرضه على الجبل وأمسك به على أساسه، ومن جهة ثالثة توظيفه لهذه وتلك في التغييرات الكبرى في الإقليم كمستثمر مغامر أو مقامر قادر على الانسحاب وتبديل موقعه قبل نهاية المباراة.

– راهن الأميران على شراكة غير معلنة في الحرب على سورية، ووضع كل منهما في هذه المقامرة كل الرصيد، «صولد وأكثر»، وخسرا، فأعلن أمير قطر الاعتزال كي ينقذ ما تبقى من الإمارة لولده من بعده، ولو على حجم أصغر، وواصل الأمير اللبناني لعبة الرهانات متطلعاً لاستعادة الإمارة رغم تغير الأزمان.

– يدرك وليد جنبلاط أنه خسر الحرب، ويدرك أن لا حرب مقبلة يسرج لها خيله في مغامرة جديدة، ويدرك أن تسويات كثيرة تجري تحت الطاولات ووراء الكواليس لا تشبه الكلام التصعيدي الذي يملأ الإعلام، وهو ممن يعلمون ماذا يجري في الحرب في ليبيا ومكانتها في التصادم الروسي الأميركي سابقاً والتفاهم الروسي الأميركي راهناً. ويعلم أن سقف العقوبات على إيران هو عدم التشدّد فيها لبلوغها حد استفزاز إيران لحرب في الخليج، وعدم التراخي فيها لبلوغها حد تمكين إيران وحلفائها من شنّ حرب على «إسرائيل»، ويدرك أن لا مفاعيل فعلية تقلق أحداً مما يقول أو ما قد يفعل، لكنه يحاول تكرار لعبة تنغيص احتفالات النصر، كما قال لسيمور هيرش قبل سنوات، لمقايضتها بالحصول على أفضل الممكن، بعدما جرّبها بعد حرب تموز 2006 وأنتجت له مصالحات جدّدت الدور، فيرفع السقوف إعلاناً للاستعداد للمقايضة، لكنه يتجاهل أن مكانة الجغرافيا تغيّرت وأن الديمغرافيا لن تبقى إلى الأبد مع تحولات في العلاقات الطائفية نحو التوازن، وأن لا تغييرات كبرى يستثمر عليها بمغامرة جديدة.

– يدرك جنبلاط أنه لم تكن هناك ثورة مدنية في سورية تعرّضت لمؤامرة كما زعم قبل أيام، قائلاً إن التطرف قد جلب من الخارج لصالح هزيمة هذه الثورة، فهو يعلم ماهية قادة مَن سمّاهم بالثوار في سورية، وهو مَن دعا مبكراً وعلناً لتتويج جبهة النصرة ممثلاً شرعياً للشعب السوري. وهو يعرف أنها فرع رسمي لتنظيم القاعدة، وهو مَن دعا لتسمية جبال القلمون بـ «النصرة لاند» ومنحها خصوصية عسكرية تشبه وضع منطقة العرقوب في السبعينيات يوم تسميتها بـ «فتح لاند». ويدرك أن المغامرة والمقامرة التي خاضها هذه المرة لم تكن تعني أبناء الطائفة التي أرادها وقوداً لمراهنته، على عكس حرب الجبل قبل عقود، خصوصاً سعيه المحموم هذه المرة لتوريط السوريين من أبناء طائفته لجعل منطقة السويداء مشروع إمارة بحماية إسرائيلية ومال سعودي، وقد وعدها بضمانات من جبهة النصرة، كما يدرك أن زعامته في الثمانينيات قامت على قضية، ولا زعامة بلا قضية. والقضية كانت يومها أنه جزء من جبهة تقودها سورية لإسقاط نتائج الغزو الإسرائيلي للبنان وفي طليعتها إخراج المارينز وإسقاط اتفاق السابع عشر من أيار، وأنه قام بتحويل رصيده في هذه المواجهة إلى تهجير للمسيحيين وجعل الجبل بقوة الجغرافيا والديمغرافيا أداة لابتزاز حلفائه الذين صنعوا له فرصة الزعامة، وأن هزيمة مشروعه في السويداء تتزامن مع نهاية مفاعيل نصره الذي حوّله طائفياً في الجبل. والأهم هو ما يعلمه جنبلاط أن أي تلويح بلعبة شارع بوجه حزب الله لاستدراجه للتفاوض ستجعله يجد نفسه في المواجهة مع حركة أمل، بدلاً من حزب الله، ورئيسها آخر ملاذ لجنبلاط. وقد باتت هذه العلاقة عبئاً على رئيس حركة أمل لا يتحمّل منها المزيد، خصوصاً بعد الكلام عن مزارع شبعا.

– كلام جنبلاط عن مزارع شبعا معروض للبيع، لكنه لن يجد مَن يشتريه، فلا واشنطن ولا تل أبيب قادرتان على التصرف بالبضاعة، ولا المقاومة قلقة من قانون العرض والطلب، ومعادلة السين سين التي عاش عليها جنبلاط بما تعنيه من تفاهم سوري سعودي يتمتع ضمنه بمكانة مميّزة ذهبت إلى غير رجعة، وبديلها مأزوم. فالسين سين الجديدة، هي السويداء سبلين، أي الزعامة والمال، فالسويداء ورقته الخاسرة لحرب الزعامة وسبلين مورده المالي لحماية الزعامة ولو على حساب البيئة، والذي لأجله يقاتل المنافسة المفترضة على مبيعات الإسمنت للسوق الواعدة في سورية، تحوّلا معاً سين وسين، من رهانات ربح إلى رهانات خاسرة.

– عندما علم أمير قطر بالخسارة المحققة ذهب إلى الرئيس التركي وطلب إليه رعاية ولده الأمير الصغير وتنحّى، ويستطيع جنبلاط أن يجد من يذهب إليه ليفعل شيئاً مشابهاً، لأن الطرق الأخرى لا تبدو سالكة. فاللعبة كما يبدو قد انتهت، أو شارفت على النهاية، ولا أدوار افتراضية في تسوياتها، وفي الجبل زعيم سابق هو كميل شمعون وصل إلى رئاسة لبنان وزعامته بلغت في الشرق مكاناً وفي العالم مكانة، لكنه لم يفعل المناسب في الوقت المناسب ففقد أبناؤه من بعده كل زعامة، والزعماء هم الذين يتقنون فن الخسارة وليس التصرّف بالربح فقط.

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gallery Sri Lanka Blasts: Terrorism Targets Another Ally of China?

Global Research, April 27, 2019

The recent, tragic Easter attack in the South Asian state of Sri Lanka – killing and injuring hundreds – follows a now unfortunately all too familiar formula.

The New York Times has reported in its article, “What We Know and Don’t Know About the Sri Lanka Attacks,” that:

The authorities in Sri Lanka said a little-known radical Islamist group, the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, [believed to have ties to the Islamic State] carried out the attacks, with help from international militants.

It is also reported that these extremists received assistance for the large-scale attack from foreign sponsors. The attack has put Sri Lanka on the map for many in the general public for the first time – but for all the wrong reasons.

Countering OBOR: Divide and Destroy 

Sri Lanka has recently and decisively pivoted toward Beijing as a major partner of the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. This is despite Washington’s best efforts to prevent it from doing so.

Consequently, extremists fuelled by Washington’s “clash of civilizations” have helped set the stage for growing violence between Sir Lanka’s majority Buddhists and its minority Muslim communities. The resulting violence serves as a medium for US coercion, destabilization, and intervention aimed at undermining Sri Lanka’s unity as a nation, and thus its viability as a partner for China.

A nearly identical ploy has been used in nearby Myanmar where US-backed Buddhist extremists battle against US-Saudi-Qatari backed extremism rising from the ranks of the nation’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

The resulting violence and growing humanitarian crisis – without coincidence – is unfolding in Myanmar’s Rakhine state – precisely where China is attempting to build another leg of its region-spanning OBOR initiative.

Sri Lanka has signed on to OBOR in a big way, with major railport, airport, and highway projects all moving forward with Beijing’s support. Sri Lanka is also considered by Western policymakers as one of several among China’s strategic “String of Pearls,” strong points where China can secure maritime routes through waters traditionally dominated by the United States.

These projects are derided across the Western media with headlines like the New York Times’ article, “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port” and France24’s article, “In Sri Lanka, the new Chinese Silk Road is a disappointment” – characterizing Washington’s growing opposition to China’s expanding influence across Asia – a region Washington has long presumed primacy over.

Washington’s ability to compete with China regarding regional development is nonexistent. Instead, the US has tried to tempt nations like Sri Lanka with military aid.

AFP in an article titled, “US gives Sri Lankan military US$39 million, countering China’s investments in strategic island,” would claim:

The US funding for Sri Lanka is part of a US$300 million package Washington is setting aside for South and Southeast Asia to ensure a “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region”.

This “free, open, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region,” is how the US regularly refers to US primacy in Asia throughout policy papersdiplomatic statements, and even political speeches.

It is obvious that “military aid” can in no way compete with massive investments by China aimed at spurring national development through tangible infrastructure projects.

America’s inability to compete openly and on equal economic footing has given way to political interference and even the use of violence.

Sri Lanka’s Crisis Linked to US-Driven Crisis in Myanmar 

In Myanmar, the US is documented to have supported ethnic violence for years. The US all but installed current “State Counsellor” Aung San Suu Kyi into power along with her political party – the National League for Democracy (NLD) lined top to bottom with US State Department-funded “activists.

Despite the liberal facade constructed by the Western media around Suu Kyi, her political party, and factions supporting both – rampant bigotry and racism pervades all three.

Simultaneously, US-funded fronts posing as nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have worked to co-opt and wield Rohingya communities as an equal but opposing political weapon while US-allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar have begun radicalizing and arming factions within Rohingya communities to carry out armed violence across Rakhine state.

The resulting conflagration affords the US and its partners a pretext to intervene on an ever expanding scale – giving Washington access to and leverage over Myanmar to counter Beijing’s growing influence.

And in precisely the same way the US has inserted itself into the heart of Myanmar’s political affairs – it is attempting to do so again in other Asian nations – including now Sri Lanka.

Articles from across the Western media including the UK Independent’s 2018 article titled, “Violent Buddhist extremists are targeting Muslims in Sri Lanka,” even establish direct links between Myanmar’s and Sri Lanka’s growing conflicts.
The article would admit (emphasis added):

Currently, Sri Lanka’s most active Buddhist extremist group is Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist power force, or BBS). BBS entered politics in 2012 with a Buddhist-nationalist ideology and agenda, its leaders claiming that Sri Lankans had become immoral and turned away from Buddhism. And whom does it blame? Sri Lankan Muslims.

BBS’s rhetoric takes its cue from other populist anti-Muslim movements around the globe, claiming that Muslims are “taking over” the country thanks to a high birth rate. It also accuses Muslim organisations of funding international terrorism with money from Halal-certified food industries. These aren’t just empty words; in 2014, one of their anti-Muslim protest rallies in the southern town of Aluthgama ended with the death of four Muslims.

BBS also has links to Myanmar’s extremist 969 movement. Led by nationalist monk Ashin Wirathu, who calls himself the “Burmese Bin Laden”, it is notorious for its hardline rhetoric against the Rohingya Muslim community.

The West’s use of “Islamophobia” to sell its serial wars of aggression and to divide nations around the globe is a classic example of “divide and conquer.

While the West no longer possesses any real means to “conquer” the nations it is now targeting – it does possess the capacity to use resulting divisions to destroy them. If the US cannot hold primacy over Asia – no one will. It is a “War on Peace” waged under the guise of a “War on Terrorism.”

Sri Lanka appears to be but the latest victim of Washington’s now trademark “slash and burn” foreign policy – where it is fueling conflict to consume political orders that oppose its interests, and building upon the ashes ones that do serve them instead.

In the coming days, weeks, and months – not only will more information emerge linking the recent attacks in Sri Lanka to Washington, Riyadh, and Doha’s global network of terrorism – but additional pressure will also be mounted upon Sri Lanka to divest from Beijing and pivot back toward the West.

In reality – Sri Lanka’s violence is an artificial construct carried out by a tiny minority of extremists on either side of an equally artificial ethnoreligious divide. The nation and the region must unite in purpose – as peace and stability benefit them all – while chaos benefits only a handful of waning interests from afar.

*

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

Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from NEO

Profile of MBS: Suspense, Games of Thrones and Fear of Democratic Win in the US Elections!

By Staff

In a paper entitled “Profile of a Prince: Promise and Peril in Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030” submitted to the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Karen Elliott House wrote:

Relaxing with “Game of Thrones”

When the prince relaxes, he usually plays video games or watch television series like Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. More recently, he has also taken to cardio workouts in his palace gym to control his weight and enhance his endurance.

Much of MBS’ energy continues to be devoted to marketing his vision of Saudi Arabia as a ‘strong world actor.’

He also evinces enormous confidence in his political instincts though they have been far from unerring. The risk inherent in change, he tells associates, is less than the risk of doing nothing. If he errs, he can correct it. If he dawdles, the country suffers.

Intrigue plays a large part in Saudi politics. So, too, does brutality. Western sensibilities are offended by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the Crown Prince’s insistence he played no role. Yet frightening opponents and cunningly avoiding entrapment are admired traditions in much of the Arab world.

Secretiveness and Surprise

Secretiveness is another political instinct of MBS. He is said to confide in no one and to make every effort to keep his aides guessing. In meetings with staff to discuss options, one aide says it does no good to focus on which proposal the prince seems to support. Often he selects one option simply to force his aides to provide even better arguments for one he will choose later. Certainly, his lightening-speed dawn arrests of his royal cousins and their incarceration in the Ritz Carlton in November 2017 was a well-kept secret.

Whether one man can single-handedly wrench a nation into modernity and transform his people into self-reliant citizens is a very open question. Daring decisiveness has been the hallmark of MBS’ brief tenure in power. First came subduing the religious police, then locking up his royal cousins for corruption. Soon followed the decision to let Saudi women drive. And most recently the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

King Salman does seem to be trying to at least put some guardrails around his son’s impulsive tendencies. Some close to MBS say that when he reaches a decision now he sometimes tells his team, “Let’s think on it.” Whether that is a genuine desire to check his thinking or a tactic to leave the appearance of doing so isn’t clear.

Political Crackdown

MBS has two broad responses to the dimming prospects of strong progress on economic reforms. The first is to distract Saudi citizens with a plethora of new entertainment from concerts, cinemas and sporting events described previously in this report. The second is to suppress any dissent.

Saudi Arabia, never an open society, is now the most repressive in at least the past 40 years.

With Vision 2030, MBS essentially proclaimed weaning the Kingdom off oil a national emergency with a strict deadline for success. As a result, he seems to view debate on any issue as potentially disruptive of the essential and urgent measures he is taking. If the Saudi house is on fire, citizens need to shut up and follow him to the prescribed exit seems to be his rationale. Given this mandate against any discussion, most Saudis no longer engage in even tepid tweets on social media, much less criticism.

US-Saudi Partnership under Duress

MBS’ penchant for political repression coupled with the Kingdom’s fumbled explanations for the death of Jamal Khashoggi have strained the US-Saudi alliance more than at any point since the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. Only a year ago the Crown Prince was welcomed by the president in Washington, D.C., by New York’s business elite, by Hollywood’s biggest moguls and by Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs as a young reformer eager to cooperate with America to transform his backward kingdom into a modern nation. A year later he dares not come to America. Hollywood moguls like Ariel Emmanuel have pulled out of plans to invest there. Emmanuel ended his company’s planned $400 million investment in the Kingdom in early March, though other Americans quietly continue to pursue the opportunity to make money in Saudi Arabia.

While Trump is sticking by MBS, accepting his denials of any involvement in the Khashoggi murder, the CIA concluded otherwise and many in Congress are determined to punish him for Khashoggi’s death. And Saudis during January visit there expressed deep concern about the future of the Kingdom’s relationship with the US if a Democrat wins the White House in 2020. “We are going to be singled out for retribution,” frets one Saudi who closely watches his country’s relations with Washington, D.C.

Undeniably, many of MBS’ foreign policy ventures have proved costly. The Saudi boycott of Qatar, which Riyadh accuses of spreading terrorism, has driven that small sheikdom closer to Iran and Turkey without precipitating any change in Qatar’s policies. More importantly to the US, it has undermined American efforts to build greater security cooperation among Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations to reduce the security burden on Washington as the ultimate guarantor of stability in the Persian Gulf. Because the largest US Mideast airbase is in Qatar, the enmity between Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been especially trying for the Pentagon. MBS, who also is Saudi Defense Minister, seems completely unconcerned at his US ally’s discomfort. He continues to resist compromise with Qatar.

The stalemated war in Yemen is costing Saudi Arabia both financially and geopolitically. While Riyadh doesn’t disclose the cost of the war, those in a position to know estimate it consumes at least $25 billion annually. But beyond the financial costs, the growing international opprobrium over the rising number of civilian casualties there is robbing Saudi Arabia of valuable political support. Germany has ended arms sales to the Kingdom until September and made resumption conditional on progress to end the Yemen war. Pressure is growing in Britain and Canada to do likewise. Moreover, the US Congress is vowing to punish MBS for Khashoggi’s murder by blocking weapons sales to Riyadh for the war in Yemen. Trump has vetoed that congressional resolution but the damage to US-Saudi relations likely won’t end there.

Congress and the Trump Administration are also at odds over Saudi Arabia’s effort to purchase nuclear power plants to provide its domestic energy needs leaving its oil available for export. The Kingdom, considering buying nuclear technology from the US, South Korea, China or Russia, hasn’t yet agreed to safeguards that ensure it can’t enrich uranium to weapons grade. A bipartisan congressional resolution seeks to block any US nuclear technology sale without such safeguards leaving the Kingdom free to buy from Russia or China who don’t insist on such safeguards.

Beyond all the threats of tit for tat, what is going on in both Saudi Arabia and the US is a reassessment of the relationship. Since at least the presidency of George W. Bush, Saudi Arabia has been contemplating how to hedge its interests in a post-US Middle East.

Libya – U.S. Reveals Support For Hafter’s Side

By Moon Of Alabama

April 19, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – The Libyan National Army (LNA) troops of General Hafter attack the militias which support the UN recognized government in Tripoli from the south. The LNA still lacks forces for a larger break through. Several objects at the front changed hands several times. There are bloody skirmishes but no big fights. Those are still to come.


Map by South Front – bigger

Some people doubt that Hafter can be successful:

Analysts believe that Haftar over-estimates the strength of his LNA.

They say the controversial field marshal, who backs an administration rival to the GNA based in eastern Libya, was counting on a quick collapse of Tripoli militias.

But pro-GNA reinforcements from around Tripoli rushed to assist in driving back his forces.

It was never clear if Hafter really hoped that a lightning attack on Tripoli would achieve a fast victory, or if his sudden move was intended to rally support from outside. He is now certainly getting such support and that will be to his decisive advantage in the longer play.

As we described it:

Hafter has open support from France, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia. The Trump administration is not interested to step into the mess. Hafter is an old CIA asset and if he takes control there is a good chance that the U.S. will have influence over him. As long as Libyan oil flows and keeps the global oil price down Trump will be happy. Russia is trying to stay in the background to not give the anti-Russian forces in Washington an excuse to intervene.

The Muslim Brothers, supported by Turkey and Qatar, are still in play in Misrata but have otherwise lost their influence on the ground.

Since then the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia pledged tens of millions of dollars to support Hafter’s move on Tripoli. During the last week Hafter visited President Sisi of Egypt.

Europe is disunited over the issue. Italy wants to keep its influence in its former colony Libya and its historical position in the Libyan oil industry. It is also concerned about a new wave of refugees. It supports the government in Tripoli. France is supporting Hafter with an eye on taking over some oil business. It is also concerned about Islamist activities in former French colonies west and south of Libya. With Italy and France in a clinch, the European Union only issued a weak statement that called for a stop of fighting without naming any side.

Concern over the militias which support the Tripoli government increased too. They not as harmless as many seem to have thought:

A week after an aspiring strongman launched a surprise attack on the Libyan capital, an assortment of criminal gangs and extremists are rushing into the fight against him, raising new questions for the United States and other Western powers that have condemned his attack.

But an increasingly unsavory cast has joined the coalition against him, including a group closely tied to a militia sanctioned as a terrorist organization by the United States and the United Nations; an extremist warlord sanctioned for undermining Libya’s stability; and other militia leaders sanctioned for migrant trafficking. That mix so alarms Western powers that some may deem General Hifter the lesser evil.

Yesterday the U.S., which had said little when Hafter launched his assault on Tripoli, came out of the closet:

The United States and Russia both said Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.

The United States gave no reason for its position on the draft resolution …

Today we learn that Trump spoke with Hafter several days ago:

President Donald Trump spoke on Monday with a Libyan strongman whose forces are advancing on the nation’s capital, the White House said, in a move that may undermine support for the country’s internationally recognized government.

Trump discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya” with Haftar, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. Gidley called Haftar by the title “field marshal.”

“The president recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system,” Gidley said.

The key point for Trump is the oil price. His administration put sanctions on sales of Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Since the beginning of the year crude oil prices rallied from the low $50 per barrel to over $70 per barrel. Trump plans to reduce waivers he gave to some of the countries that continue to buy Iranian oil. That would further decrease Iran’s output. Any additional disruption of Libya’s oil production would increase the oil price and harm the U.S. economy. It would thereby make Trump’s plan for total sanctions on Iranian oil impossible.

Hafter controls most of Libya’s oil supplies. With open backing from the U.S., Russia and France, support from the military in Egypt, and with enough Saudi cash to finance his army, he surely has all the needed support to sustain a longer fight.

His next move will likely be against the small air force the Misrata gangs assembled. The U.S. might give him a helping hand in that. Hafter could then close down the airspace for flights from Turkey and Qatar. That would cut into the resupply Misrata and Tripoli need for a longer fight.

Those who say that “there is no military solution” to the situation in Libya will likely be proven wrong. Hafter has all he needs to win the fight.

This article was originally published by Moon Of Alabama” –

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran:

“Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance). It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance) , again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis (Axis of Resistance), with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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