CENTRAL ASIA’S RACE AGAINST TIME

South Front

Written and produced by SF Team: J.Hawk, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson; Voiceover by Harold Hoover

The Great Game, Part 3

The threat that faces Central Asia is particularly severe since the two sets of actors have asymmetrical objectives. Russia and China are rather interested in the political stability and economic success of the region which they view as essential to their own political and security objectives. It is not in the interest of either country to have half a dozen failed states in their immediate political neighborhood, riven by political, economic, and religious conflicts threatening to spread to their own territories. In addition to being a massive security burden to Russia and China, it would threaten the development of their joint Eurasian integration projects and, moreover, attract so much political attention that the foreign policy objectives of both countries would be hamstrung. The effect would be comparable to that of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq on the US political and military establishment. The monetary price of these wars, sheer political distraction, wear and demoralization of the armed forces, and unfortunately frequent killings of civilians amount to a non-tenable cost to the warring party, not to mention damage to US international “soft power” wrought by scandals associated with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and “black sites”. Even as these words are being written, a senior-ranking US Navy “SEAL” commando is facing a court-martial for the wanton killing of civilians in Northern Iraq during the US military’s anti-ISIS operations.

By contrast, this dismal scenario would be enough to satisfy the US foreign policy establishment which, at the moment, is wholly dominated by “hawks” determined to assure the continuation of US hegemony.  Preventing the emergence of a multi-polar international system by weakening China and Russia is their desire.  This sets the stage for another round of great power rivalry in Central Asia. While the pattern is roughly the same as during the 19th and late 20th centuries—one or more Anglo-Saxon powers seeking to diminish the power of Russia and/or China—the geography of the battlefield is considerably larger for it encompasses the entirety of post-Soviet Central Asian republics.  Also included is China’s province of Xinjiang which has suddenly attracted considerable Western attention, manifested, as usual, by concern for “human rights” in the region.  Historically, such “concern” usually precedes some form of aggressive action. Therefore the two sets of great power actors—the US and other interested Western powers on the one hand, with Russia and China on the other—are locked in a race against time. Will countries of the region be destabilized to the point of civil war, or will the integrative projects pursued by the two Eurasian powers induce prosperity and stability quickly enough to forestall this nightmare scenario?

The Belt and Road Initiative

An example of the benefits that may accrue for Central Asian states is already visible in places like the Khorgos-Nurkent pair of cities on the border between China and Kazakhstan, a location which has recently become the world’s largest “dry port”. First opened in 2015, in 2016 it handled 45 thousand containers, a figure that grew to over 150,000 in 2018 and is projected to continue increasing. Job opportunities in the region are such that Nurkent, which barely existed even few years ago, is expected to become one of Kazakhstan’s largest cities in the coming decades.

The success of Khorgos-Nurkent will be replicated in other parts of Central Asia, as the growing volumes of trade necessitate construction of additional infrastructure. The job opportunities thus created offer the countries of Central Asia an opportunity to diversify their economies which, at the moment, are heavily dependent upon the exploitation of natural resources. Furthermore, infrastructure expansion will facilitate the growth of yet another industry hitherto largely missing from the region, namely tourism. The region is dotted with cultural attractions such as the ancient cities of Bukhara and Samarkand, and the beauty of its nature is also likely to attract many tourists.

Yet all of these are fragile developments and highly vulnerable to any negative security developments. The recent uptick in attention focused on Xinjiang cannot help but have an adverse impact on the international perception of the region’s security and stability.

Collective Security Treaty Organization

Thus far the main entity tasked with providing security for the region is the CSTO. The CSTO includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, with Afghanistan and Serbia being non-member observers states. Uzbekistan exited the CSTO for the second time in 2012. The armed forces of CSTO member states’ stage regular joint exercises focusing on combating armed non-state actor formations, followed by peace enforcement and restoration components. Russia’s recent combat experience in Syria is perfectly relevant to the problems faced by the CSTO, given that the openness and low population density of the potential theater of operations mirrors conditions around Palmyra and Deir-es-Zor, while the potential adversary is actually the same—the Islamic State. While ISIS was purportedly “defeated” in Iraq and Western Syria by the US-led coalition, the fact that we have not seen any evidence of these fighters being taken prisoner or, better yet, put on trial for the well-documented atrocities they perpetrated and posted on social media for all the world to see, one should not be overly surprised if these very same individuals start appearing in Central Asia in order to promote chaos in that part of the world.

Another important actor is China. It is evident that China does not appear eager to involve its armed forces in operations outside the borders of its own state and its level of inter-operability with Russian and Central Asian militaries remains very low. Even the large-scale Vostok-2018 exercise, held in September of 2018 in Russia’s Far East where Chinese troops were present, did not demonstrate any great level of inter-operability between these two armed forces. While these factors might change in the coming decades, there may be a political dimension here, in the form of an informal “division of labor” agreement between Russia and China on how to manage their cooperation. It is entirely possible that China is perfectly happy to allow Russia to leverage its superior military experience for the sake of shared economic and political interests. Finally, China’s restraint from sending its military into Central Asia for exercises may be motivated by a desire to avoid a “sphere of influence” rivalry with Russia. There is some concern within Russia about China’s aims in Central Asia, and construction of Chinese military bases in the region would almost inevitably complicate Sino-Russian relations.

European Research Area

The “Russia-centricity” of Central Asia’s security environment is exemplified by the efforts of the “ERA Technopolis”, a military research and development center launched in 2018 in Anapa, on the coast of the Black Sea.  Expected to be completed in 2020, the purpose of the ERA is to promote the military inter-operability of CSTO member states. The military aspect of the potential challenge facing the CSTO is largely the same as was faced by Russian and Syrian forces around Palmyra—highly trained, well equipped, and extremely mobile detachments of jihadists relying on hit-and-run tactics rather than a stubborn defense of urban areas. Dealing with such an adversary places a premium on intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, rapid communications, and, of course, high mobility. In order to ensure that armed forces of CSTO member states are up to the task, their representatives are participating in the development of relevant technological solutions and then incorporating those solutions into their own military and security forces.

Conclusion

All of these collective security measures appear to be intended to provide a deterrent effect which is all the greater thanks to Russia’s demonstrated ability at combating these kinds of threats in Syria. Experience has shown that the Western “regime collapse” specialists are attracted to weakness and shy away from strength. Indeed, as soon as the covert action or proxy warfare component fails, they call for military action in order to salvage the situation.  That is a step that even the Obama and Trump administrations shied away from when confronted with the prospect of an armed clash with Russia and China. The best possible outcome for Central Asia is if the collective security arrangements for the region are perceived as being strong enough that any attempt to challenge them runs the risk of becoming yet another embarrassing failure.

 

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Georgian Rugby Players Kicked Out For Their Russophobic Gestures

South Front

July 17, 2019

Into an exile from the Moscow club “Glory” turned for two Georgian rugby players a demonstration of “support for the people of Georgia.” Now Revaz Brodzeli and Saba Ioseliani will have to make a sporting career someplace else…

An example of how to deal with the Euro-Georgians over Russophobia antics was shown by the leadership of the Moscow Rugby Club “Slava.” It ripped up the contracts with players who allowed themselves to gesture support on the field over anti-Russian protests in Georgia. This is how the exit of Brodzeli and Ioseliani looked like on the field:

*Clip plays* – 0:46

[Ed. – The one hand over eye gesture, which is also an esoteric occult symbol which can be seen often with celebrity images.]

*Clip ends* – 1:01

This gesture was addressed to blame Russia for the so-called “occupation of 20% of Georgia’s territory.” Which is constantly used by the disorderly protesters in Tblisi. This is how it originally looked like. For it to be understood that it was exactly that gesture, here is a link to the Instagram of Rezo Gigineishvil, who accepted money from [Russian director] Nikita Mikhalkov to make a film that glorifies terrorists that took hostages over anti-Soviet agitation.

Rezo Gigineishvili: “After the war in 2008, I went with my film crew to Georgia to shoot the movie “Love With An Accent.” Even back then, despite the post-war period, after the shock and stress that people in Georgia felt, I don’t remember my Russian colleagues feeling any discomfort. Then once again, I was struck by the dignity of my people. I am sure that clear-thinking people do not believe that Georgians are Russophobes.”

Clear-thinking people don’t watch that rubbish which is filmed with Russian money by Gigineishvili. And clear-thinking people see that this kreakl [Ed. – pro-West social media instigators] didn’t write a single word about the shock and stress of Russians over the murder of Russian peacekeepers and civilian Ossetians, by those same “worthy” Georgians.
By the way, he in particular was the one who filmed the Georgian “tourist commercial” by making the movie “Love With An Accent,” which had music by the Russophobe Nino Katamadze. So the question is about how the Bohemian Euro-Georgians were able to adapt in Russia? And about the rugby players who would probably not getting their job back.

Rezo Gigineishvili: Brodzeli told Georgian journalists that “the gesture was done in support of the people of Georgia, not the politicians.” “Although, they thought the gesture was political and anti-Russian” he emphasized, commenting after the termination of their contracts.

“They thought the gesture was anti-Russian” is completely correct, because the people of Georgia, whom the rugby players supported, somehow opened an uncomfortable topic of ethnic purges. Which was what these same people tried to arrange in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These rugby players expressed support to these purgers, so let them play in Tbilisi then.

And it would be not bad if in addition they could take the publisher who initiated this gesture on Instagram, Gigineishvili. He, unfortunately, is a Russian citizen, and he is refusing to leave our country. However, we could take away his opportunities to receive Russian budget financing for talentless movies that are created by this kreakl. I’ll remind you what our citizens wrote about [2017] movie “Hostages”:

*Clip plays* – 3:24

With the release of Gigineishvili’s film, “Hostages”, about non-sympathetic terrorists that hijacked an airliner in Tbilisi in 1983, this is what I have to say about it. Terrorism is objectively really bad in the moral reasoning for their crimes. Well, specifically Mazhor’s sons that hijacked the Tbilisi airliner, in their terrorist operation were unthinkable brutes. Two passengers and two crew members were shot by them immediately. Those killed weren’t fighting back the hijackers, they didn’t have a chance to cry for their moms.

When the hijackers realized that things aren’t going according to plan, and the pilots locked themselves in the cockpit, they out of anger started to beat the stewardess with their hands and pistol whipped them. The latter was even more cruel. Valentina Krutikova in the end after her torture was shot to death. Irina Himage survived because when they finished by smashing her head, she jumped off the plane on the concrete below. She became handicapped for the rest of her life, since she damaged her spine. Later, these freaks didn’t even let the passengers go use the bathroom.

When the Spetsnaz Alpha Group troops got on board and tied up the bandits, the entire plane stank worse than a dirty barrel. The main issue here is that none of this was needed. The terrorists were children of the local nomenklatura. Ones that could travel abroad. They could have ran away from the USSR very simply, and sneakily, by posing as tourists. But they particularly wanted noise and drama. So that they could get talked about by political “big faces.” Basically, this murder, taking hostages, beating of flight attendants, all of this was started only to leave the USSR… with noise and with thunder. These scum deserved their execution by firing squad, 100 times over.

*Clip ends* – 4:55

So now the Moscow kreakl, Gigineishvili, who filmed a movie about the justification for Americanized teens of the Tbilisi nomenklatura, shows us on Instagram the gesture of Georgian nationalists. The same gesture for what two Euro-Georgians are now kicked out of the Moscow Rugby Club. I sincerely thank the Rugby Club “Slava” for them showing how to deal with Euro-Georgians that demonstrate Russophobia.

I hope that this experience will be mercilessly used also on Katamadze, the former recipient of Nikita Mikhalkov’s money, and on anybody that dares to blurt out even a word about so-called “Russian occupation of 20% of Georgia.”

Shifting Alliances: Is Turkey Now “Officially” an Ally of Russia? Acquires Russia’s S-400. Exit from NATO Imminent?

Global Research, July 13, 2019

Turkey is taking delivery of Russia’s S 400 missile defence system. What this signifies is that Turkey and Russia are now “officially” allies. The first shipment of the S-400 landed in Ankara on July 12, according to Turkey’s Ministry of Defense. (see image below)

Two more shipments are due, with the third delivery of “over 120 anti-aircraft missiles of various types… [scheduled] tentatively at the end of the summer, by sea.” 

Reports confirm that the “Turkish S-400 operators will travel to Russia for training in July and August. About 20 Turkish servicemen underwent training at a Russian training center in May and June, …”(CNN, July 12, 2019)

How will the US respond?

In all likelihood, Erdogan’s presidency will be the object of an attempted regime change, not to mention ongoing financial reprisals directed against the Turkish Lira as well as economic sanctions. 

Bloomberg screenshot

What is unfolding is an all out crisis in the structure of military alliances. Turkey cannot reasonably retain its NATO membership while at the same time entering into a military cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation. 

Reminiscent of World War I, shifting alliances and the structure of military coalitions are crucial determinants of history.

Today’s military alliances, including “cross-cutting coalitions” between “Great Powers” are markedly different and exceedingly more complex than those pertaining to World War I. (i.e  the confrontation between “The Triple Entente” and “the Triple Alliance”).

Turkey’s de facto exit from NATO points to a historical shift in the structure of military alliances which could potentially contribute to weakening US hegemony in the Middle East as well as creating conditions which could lead to a breakup of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

NATO constitutes a formidable military force composed of 29 member states, which is largely controlled by the Pentagon. It is a military coalition and an instrument of modern warfare. It constitutes a threat to global security and World peace. 

Divisions within the Atlantic Alliance could take the form of one or more member states deciding to “Exit NATO”. Inevitably an NATO-Exit movement would weaken the unfolding consensus imposed by our governments which at the this juncture in our history consists in threatening to wage a pre-emptive war against Iran and the Russian Federation.  

Sleeping with the Enemy

While Turkey is still “officially” a member of NATO, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (right) has for the last two years been developing “friendly relations” with two of America’s staunchest enemies, namely Iran and Russia.

US-Turkey military cooperation (including US air force bases in Turkey) dates back to the Cold War.

Turkey by a long shot has the largest conventional forces (after the US) within NATO outpacing France, Britain and Germany,

#NATOExit

Broadly speaking, the US-Turkey rift and its implications for the Atlantic Alliance have sofar been ignored or trivialized by the media.

NATO is potentially in a shambles. The delivery of the S-400 almost a year ahead of schedule will contribute to further destabilising the structure of  military alliances to the detriment of Washington.

Turkey is also an ally of Iran. Inevitably, Turkey’s possession of the S-400 will affect ongoing US war plans directed against Iran (which will also be acquiring the s-400).

Does this mean that Turkey which is a NATO member state will withdraw from the integrated US-NATO-Israel air defense system? Such a decision is tantamount to NATOExit.

Moreover, Turkey’s long-standing alliance with Israel is no longer functional. In turn, The US-Turkey-Israel “Triple Alliance” is defunct.

In 1993, Israel and Turkey signed a Memorandum of Understanding leading to the creation of (Israeli-Turkish) “joint committees” to handle so-called regional threats. Under the terms of the Memorandum, Turkey and Israel agreed “to cooperate in gathering intelligence on Syria, Iran, and Iraq and to meet regularly to share assessments pertaining to terrorism and these countries’ military capabilities.”

Image on the right: Sharon and Erdogan in 2004

The triple alliance was also coupled with a 2005 NATO-Israeli military cooperation agreement which included “many areas of common interest, such as the fight against terrorism and joint military exercises.”  These military cooperation ties with NATO were viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.”

The “triple alliance” linking the US, Israel and Turkey was coordinated by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. It was an integrated and coordinated military command structure pertaining to the broader Middle East. It was based on close bilateral US military ties respectively with Israel and Turkey, coupled with a strong bilateral military relationship between Tel Aviv and Ankara. In this regard, Israel and Turkey were close partners with the US in planned aerial attacks on Iran since 2005. (See Michel Chossudovsky, May 2005). Needless to say, that triple alliance is defunct.

With Turkey siding with Iran and Russia, it would be “suicide” for US-Israel to even consider waging aerial attacks on Iran.

Moreover, the NATO-Israel 2005 military cooperation agreement which relied heavily on the role of Turkey is dysfunctional. What this means is that US-Israeli threats directed against Iran are no longer supported by Turkey which has entered into an alliance of convenience with Iran.

The broader Realignment of Military alliances

The shift in military alliances is not limited to Turkey. Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map below)

The Al-Udeid military base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East, which hosts US Central Command’s forward headquarters in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

A profound shift in geopolitical alliances is also occurring in South Asia with the instatement in 2017 of both India and Pakistan as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).  Inevitably, this historic shift constitutes a blow against Washington, which has defense and trade agreements with both Pakistan and India. “While India remains firmly aligned with Washington, America’s political stranglehold on Pakistan (through military and intelligence agreements) has been weakened as a result of Pakistan’s trade and investment deals with China.”  (Michel Chossudovsky, August 1, 2017)

In other words, this enlargement of the SCO weakens America’s hegemonic ambitions in both South Asia and the broader Eurasian region. It has a bearing on energy pipeline routes, transport corridors, borders and mutual security and maritime rights.

Pakistan is the gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia, where US influence has been weakened to the benefit of China, Iran and Turkey. China is involved in major investments in mining, not to mention the development of transport routes which seek the integration of Afghanistan into Western China.

Where does Turkey fit in? Turkey is increasingly part of the Eurasian project dominated by China and Russia. In 2017-18, Erdogan had several meetings with both president Xi-Jinping and Vladimir Putin. Turkey is currently a dialogue partner of the SCO.

The Antiwar Movement: #NATOExit People’s Movement

Of crucial significance, the crisis within NATO constitutes a historic opportunity to develop a #NATOExit people’s movement across Europe and North America, a people’s movement pressuring governments to withdraw from the Atlantic Alliance, a movement to eventually dismantle and abolish the military and political apparatus of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Image right; logo of the No Guerra No Nato Florence Movement to Exit NATO

Part of this updated article was taken from an earlier text by the author.

السعودية: العودة إلى لبنان لتعويض خسارة اليمن

العدد:2994 تاريخ:17/07/2019

ناصر قنديل

– كما هربت إسرائيل نحو الخليج تسعى لتحقيق مكتسبات تقدمها لجمهورها تعويضاً عن الفشل بوجه حزب الله والمقاومة في لبنان، والطريق المسدود أمام أي محاولة لتحسين الأوضاع على جبهة لبنان، تبدو السعودية مقتنعة ببلوغ الطريق المسدود في جبهة اليمن، ليصير لبنان وجهتها البديلة مجدداً. فالحرب في اليمن في سنتها الخامسة لم تعد فيها أي آمال لتحقيق تقدم عسكري يصرَف في السياسة، والمبادرة العسكرية صارت بيد أنصار الله في استهداف العمق السعودي وتعريضه للخطر، والتجارة العالمية في أسواق النفط التي تشكل السعودية أحد أكبر اللاعبين فيها باتت رهينة لمعادلة الحرب اليمنية بعدما وضع أنصار الله لدخولهم حرب الناقلات والأنابيب عنواناً هو الردّ على العدوان السعودي الإماراتي على اليمن، وجاء التراجع الأميركي عن حماية المصالح السعودية والإماراتية التي كانت مشمولة بمهام الحشود العسكرية الأميركية في الخليج قبل أن تتراجع واشنطن، وبعده الانسحاب الإماراتي من حرب اليمن، ليجعل السعودية تستشعر خطورة العناد بإبقاء نيران الحرب مشتعلة.

– تقول مصادر يمنية إن العمليات الانتقامية التي كانت تعقب كل صاروخ يطال العمق السعودي تراجعت كثيراً، وإن البلاغات العسكرية السعودية عن إحباط عمليات قصف يمنية في أغلبها مفبركة لكسب الرأي العام، وإن تفاوضاً يجري بين القيادة العسكرية الأميركية للمنطقة الوسطى وأنصار الله في مسقط عبر وساطة عمانية طلبها الجانب الأميركي تحت شعار صياغة قواعد اشتباك تمنع التصادم في الخليج، سرعان ما تطورت لأكثر من ذلك. ويعتقد العمانيون أن السعوديين يتوجّسون من تفاهمات أميركية يمنية على حسابهم، وأن استئناف مساعي المبعوث الأممي مارتن غريفيت في الحديدة وتمهيده لإنعاش فرص الحل السياسي لاحقاً يحظيان بتغطية أميركية للنجاح، وأن الرياض أعطت موافقتها على تفاهم لتطبيق اتفاق ستوكهولم بصورة رضائية لم يكن مقبولاً منها ومن مؤيديها اليمنيين في حكومة عبد ربه منصور هادي من قبل، لأن الرياض بدأت تقترب من قرار الخروج من حرب اليمن بأقلّ الخسائر، وأنها تفهم معنى الكلام الأميركي عن إخراج إيران من اليمن كتغطية أميركية على فرصة تسوية تمنح حلفاء إيران مكاسب في اليمن الجديد، وتحرج السعودية إذا عارضت ومؤيديها اليمنيين، بينما ستكون إيران قوة دعم لتحصيل حلفائها اليمنيين لمكاسب قاتلوا من أجلها طويلاً، وترتضي منح الأميركيين الاستعراض الإعلامي بادعاء تحقيق الأرباح، فما فعله أنصار الله في حرب الناقلات والأنابيب حقق لإيران الكثير، لكنه فرض أنصار الله لاعباً إقليمياً وازناً، وإيران ستدعم ترجمة ذلك الوزن في أي تسوية للحرب في اليمن.

– اليمن قد يشكل مخرجاً من التجاذب الضاغط في الملف النووي الإيراني، ويمنح الفرصة بفتح قنوات التسوية السياسية، وفقاً للرؤية الفرنسية التي تقول بالتسليم بمكانة لأنصار الله في الخليج وأمنه تشبه مكانة حزب الله في المشرق وأمنه، كي تبدأ التهدئة الأميركية الإيرانية، وينفتح الباب التفاوضي أمام الأوروبيين وفي طليعتهم الرئيس الفرنسي ومبادرته للتوسّط التي تحظى بدعم الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، وتمنح إيران مطالبها الاقتصادية من أوروبا، بقبول أميركي، مقابل عودة إيران إلى التزاماتها في الإتفاق النووي، تمهيداً للدخول في التفاوض حول حدود تطوير البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني، الذي كان شرط إيران للبحث فيه إيفاء أوروبا بالتزاماتها المتضمنة في الاتفاق النووي، وتعتبره واشنطن الثمن الذي يوفر لها فرصة العودة الضمنية للاتفاق النووي والنزول عن شجرة التصعيد.

– بالتوازي مع كل ذلك تظهر الحركة السعودية نحو لبنان، من تمويل صحف جديدة، واستدعاء رؤساء حكومات سابقين، والدفع بمواقف تصعيدية لمكونات قوى الرابع عشر من آذار، سواء حركة رئيس الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي التي ظهرت مفاجئة في حادث قبرشمون الدموي وما تلاه في السياسة من شعارات عن المناطق والأبواب، أو في حركة رئيس حزب القوات اللبنانية سمير جعجع تحت عنوان الموازنة والاشتباك المفتوح بوجوه متعددة على التيار الوطني الحر. وهو هجوم تلاقيه الصحافة السعودية بصورة لافتة باستهداف التيار ورئيسه بمقالات نافرة، فتبدو هذه الحركة كتعويض عن خسارة اليمن، تحظى بغطاء أميركي لتسهيل التراجع السعودي في اليمن، كبند في أي تهدئة مطلوبة مع إيران، ووفقاً لبعض المصادر فإن العقوبات الأميركية الأخيرة على قيادات من حزب الله ليست منفصلة عن مسعى تزخيم العملية السعودية نحو لبنان، والتي لا يبدو رئيس الحكومة سعد الحريري جزءاً منها، بل ربما كانت تستهدفه قبل سواه، تحجيماً تمهيداً للترويض والتطويع، لأهداف عملية الريتز ذاتها قبل عامين، ولكن بوسائل وظروف مختلفة.

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Turkey Will Get a Chunk of Syria: An Advantage of Being in NATO

Source

July 14, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The success of Turkey’s takeover of Syria’s most pro-jihadist province, Idlib, is making less and less likely that Syria will be able to continue maintaining Idlib as being a part of Syria. (This is something I had predicted, back on 14 September 2018, to be possible or even likely, and now it is actually happening.) On July 10th, Reuters headlined “Assad hits a wall in Syrian war as front lines harden”, and reported that, “More than two months of Russian-backed operations in and around Idlib province have yielded little or nothing for Assad’s side. It marks a rare case of a military campaign that has not gone his way since Russia intervened in 2015. While resisting government attacks, the insurgents have managed to carve out small advances of their own, drawing on ample stocks of guided anti-tank missiles that opposition and diplomatic sources say have been supplied by Turkey.” It continues:

Moscow has appeared keen to preserve its ties with Ankara even as its air force bombs in support of Assad: Turkey says Russia has intervened to stop attacks on Turkish forces from Syrian government-held territory. … The Idlib area is dominated by Tahrir al-Sham, the jihadists formerly known as the Nusra Front. [And before that, they were called Al Qaeda in Syria, but Western news-agencies, such as Reuters, prefer not to mention that fact, especially because the U.S. used_Nusra to train ‘our’ proxy boots-on-the-ground ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria to bring down Syria’s Government. Elsewhere, the Reuters article calls them ‘insurgents’.] Some 300,000 people fleeing bombardment have moved toward the Turkish border since April, prompting the United Nations to warn that Idlib was on the brink of a “humanitarian nightmare”.

For Ankara, the Syrian opposition’s last major state sponsor, preventing another major influx of Syrian refugees is of paramount importance: Turkey already hosts 3.6 million of them. …

A Russian private military contractor who was based near Idlib province told Reuters that rebel fighters there are far more professional and motivated than their adversary. Pro-government forces cannot win the battle for Idlib unless Moscow helps them on the ground, he said. …

Of course the regime [that’s the legitimate Government, but Western ‘news’-agencies such as Reuters call it ‘the regime’, and most of their audience don’t even recognize that their own intelligence has just been insulted by calling Syria’s Government a ‘regime’ while calling the invading regimes, Turkey and U.S., not that] has the desire to recover Idlib by force [as if the sovereign Government of Syria doesn’t have this right], but … without the Russians it can’t[those nasty Russians, who are defending Syria from U.S.-Saud-backed proxy-armies that are led mostly by Al Qaeda in Syria], because there are many militants and the Russians are completely committed to the Turks,” the source said.

Syria’s Government is fighting hard against jihadist forces in Idlib who meet Turkey’s standard of being ‘moderate rebels’ against Syria’s Government, but unless Russian forces there — which were invited in by Syria’s Government, instead of being invaders there like Turkey and the United States are — will commit far more forces for the defense of Syria (which seems increasingly unlikely), Turkey will win Idlib as being a part of Turkey.

Consequently, Turkey is already starting to build infrastructure even immediately to the north and east of Idlib in order to stake its claim to a yet larger portion of Syria than just Idlib. This might not have been part of the deal that was worked out by Russia’s Putin, Iran’s Rouhani, and Turkey’s Erdogan, in Tehran, on 9 September 2018, which agreement allowed Turkey only to take over — and only on a temporary basis — Idlib province, which is by far the most pro-jihadist (and the most anti-Assad) of Syria’s 14 provinces. Turkey was instead supposed to hold it only temporarily, but the exact terms of the Turkey-Russia-Iran agreement have never been publicly disclosed.

Until that 9 September 2018 Tehran conference, Idlib had been the province to which Syria’s Government was busing defeated jihadists who had surrendered instead of choosing to stay and die where they were. Syria’s Government had given its surrounded jihadists this final option, in order to reduce as much as possible the numbers of jihadists’ civilian hostages who would also likely be killed in an all-out bombing campaign there. So, the existing population of Idlib, which was already the most pro-jihadist in Syria, was now starting to overflow with the additional thousands of defeated jihadists who had chosen to surrender instead of to be immediately killed.

At that time, just prior to the Tehran conference — and this was actually the reason why the conference was held — the U.S. and its allies, and the U.N., were demanding that an all-out invasion of Idlib, which had been planned by the Governments of Syria and of Russia, must not take place, for ‘humanitarian’ reasons. There was all that ‘humanitarian’ concern (led by the United States) for the world’s biggest concentration of Nusra and Nusra-led jihadists — and for Syria’s most jihadist-supporting civilian population. So much ‘kindness’, such ‘admirable’ ‘humanitarianism’. Furthermore the U.S. Government was threatening to greatly increase its forces against Syria if that invasion by Syria and by Russia into Idlib (which is, after all, part of Syria — so, what business is it, even of the U.N., at all?) were to be carried out. The Tehran conference was meeting in order to resolve that emergency situation (mainly America’s threats of a possible war against Russia), so as to forestall this attack.

However, now that it’s clear that Erdogan will not  follow through on his generally understood promise that this would be only a temporary military occupation of Idlib, the question is: what can Syria and Russia and Iran do to keep Idlib inside Syria, and whether they even want to do so. If Syria loses those jihadists, then not only will it lose the perhaps hundred thousand surviving jihadists there — many of whom came from other countries in order to fight against Syria’s secular Government — but also will lose some of those Idlib natives, who were always against Syria’s secular Government. Since those people would no longer be voting against Bashar al-Assad, because they would become Turks, this would actually be a Syrian political advantage for Assad. Yet, he has been resisting it, in order to hold Syria together. He has always been committed to holding Syria together.

Turkey’s negotiating position is exceptionally strong, because Turkey now is riding the fence between the U.S. alliance, NATO (of which Turkey has been the only predominantly Muslim member ever since it joined in 1952), versus Russia. According to a major report in English from Iran’s Fars News Agency — which had translated from published Arab sources in many countries and which report hasn’t been denied by any of them — Russia had saved Erdogan’s life on 15 June 2016, when there was a coup-attempt to get rid of him. Headlining on 20 July, just five days after the failed coup, “Erdogan Warned of Incoming Coup by Russian Alert”, Fars said that,

Several Arab media outlets, including Rai Alyoum, quoted diplomatic sources in Ankara as saying that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, known locally as the MIT, received intel from its Russian counterpart that warned of an impending coup in the Muslim state.

The unnamed diplomats said the Russian army in the region had intercepted highly sensitive army exchanges and encoded radio messages showing that the Turkish army was readying to stage a coup against the administration in Ankara.

The exchanges included dispatch of several army choppers to President Erdogan’s resort hotel to arrest or kill the president.

In any case, after that event, Turkey’s foreign policies definitely switched away from being clearly U.S.-allied, to being on the fence and calculated purely to serve Turkey’s advantage, no longer tied, at all, to NATO or the U.S., and, in many important respects, very much contrary to the U.S. regime. In fact, Erdogan has been emphatic that this coup had been led by Fethullah Gulen, a billionaire Muslim cleric, formerly allied with Erdogan, who since moving to the U.S. in 1999 has been his bitter enemy. In fact, some of NATO’s forces in Turkey were participating in the attempted coup. However, Erdogan holds on tenaciously to that NATO membership, because it gives Turkey enormous leverage it can use in order to grab territory from Syria, which the U.S. regime wants Turkey to do.

Here is how Erdogan has clearlly committed Turkey to taking at least parts of Syria’s northeast:

On 6 June 2018, Reuters headlined “Turkish university to open campus in northern Syria” and reported that, “Turkey’s Harran University, in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa [Turkey], said it is preparing to open a faculty in Al-Bab [Syria] for students in towns under Turkish control. … The Turkish cabinet has also approved opening a vocational high school in Jarablus [Syria] affiliated with Gaziantep University, Turkey’s official gazette said on Tuesday.”

On 30 July 2018, Syria.LiveuaMap headlined “Turkey start[s] to build highways starting from Cobanbey-al-Bab to Jarablus-Manbij in Syria” — all of which is in the parts of Syria’s north that Turkey controls.

On 23 May 2019, Gaziantep University posted an announcement of “The Global Syrian Refugee Crisis” conference to be held in Gaziantep, Turkey, on 14-18 October 2019, and also announced that: “The medium of instruction of our university is entirely English in %80 of faculties and Turkish in some faculties. However, after the ferocious civil war in Syria, we opened four departments (Engineering, Architecture, Administration and Theology) that teach in Arabic language. This was achieved by hiring Syrian academic staff in these programs which created opportunities for refugee students who want to continue their studies in Arabic.” So, it does seem to be Erdogan’s intention that directly across the border in Syria, this part of what has, until recently, been a part of Syria, is to be instead a part of Turkey. This would be the chief favorable outcome for the U.S. regime resulting from the Syrian portion of the CIA-planted “Arab Spring” rebellions in 2011.

On 27 May 2019, the Daily Sabah headlined “Turkey to Build New Faculties to Promote Higher Education in Northern Syria” and reported that

Gaziantep University, located in southern Turkey close to the Syrian border, decided to offer education for Syrians living in the northern part of the war-torn country, the areas that were liberated by Turkey’s two cross-border operations. … 

The university applied to Turkish education officials to set up four faculties in northern Syria’s al-Bab, Azaz and Mare districts, which is planned to focus on economics, business, teaching and engineering; some 2,700 prospective students have already taken proficiency exams. The faculties will be the second move by Gaziantep University as it previously opened a vocational school last year in Aleppo’s Jarablus district. While vocational education currently continues in five departments, the university is planning to expand it with four more and to provide education for 500 students.

In 2016, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield and cleared about 2,000 kilometers of area in northern Syria, which was once dragged into darkness by the Daesh terrorist organization.

This seems to reflect Syria’s actual capitulation to Turkey, which henceforth is to control that area — permanently. The only question now is how large the seized area will turn out to be.

The first person, it seems, who recognized quickly the significance of this takeover was the tweeter “domihol” who on 28 May 2019 posted

Turkey is also throwing serious money at its seemingly permanent slice of Syria.

You don’t build universities just so Damascus can take it over soon.

Right below that is his:

I’m sorry to say – my prediction for Syria’s near and possibly medium term future still holds …

Dominic | دومينيك added,

[15 December 2018]  prediction:

TRUMP gets the oil & gas

ERDOGAN gets the water

PUTIN gets the “mission accomplished” moment …

9:49 AM – 28 May 2019

However, his predictions there (as is routine for tweets, which are good for communicating only bumper-stickers) are unsupported by anything. For example: Where is Turkey’s oil and gas? Is it actually anywhere near to the Turkish border? Here’s a map which shows where it is, and that’s certainly not near the Turkish border.

In addition, the U.S. regime is evidently preparing to assist Turkey’s takeover of parts of Syria, but focuses it specifically against Iran. On 24 May 2019, the U.S. State Department advertised a “Grant Opportunity” for NGOs to be “Supporting Local Governance and Civil Society in Syria” and are offering up to $75 million to each, in order to “Counter extremism and disinformation perpetuated by Iranian forces” and “End the presence of Iranian forces and proxies in Syria” and otherwise support America’s war against Iran. Perhaps the U.S. and Turkey have agreed that U.S. operations against Syria will continue in the Turk-seized areas after the U.S. occupation of the remaining parts of Syria has ended.

If Assad were to give a press conference now, the first question to ask would be: “Is Syria going to allow Turkish universities and highways to be built on Turk-seized Syrian territory?” Because, if the answer to that is anything like yes, then not only would it seem that Turkey has won against Syria and Russia and Iran, but so too has the U.S., whose fall-back position, ever since it first tried a coup in Syria in 1949, has been to at least break off a piece of Syria, when and if it failed to take the whole thing. The construction of a Turkish university, highway, and/or etc., in Syria, would be a huge apparent win for Donald Trump, but an even bigger apparent victory for Tayyip Erdogan, who now seems to be, yet again, a member of America’s alliance against Russia. (And Iran, too, would seem to be endangered by Syria’s apparent defeat in that part of Syria. But maybe not: is Turkey going to end altogether its alliance with the U.S.?)

Usually, successful aggression is impossible without allies, and the U.S., again, seems to have Turkey as one — and as an extremely important one (more important, perhaps, than ever before).

The U.S. Government wants to remove land from Syria’s Government. The Turkish Government wants to be the Government that actually takes it. So, U.S. and Turkey seem to have made a deal. Turkey took Syrian territory while promising (as the Qatar regime’s Al Jazeera headlined on 5 June 2018 — “YPG confirms withdrawal from Syria’s Manbij after Turkey-US deal”). Al Jazeera reported there that, “The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said its military advisers would leave the town of Manbij a day after Turkey and the United States said they reached an agreement on the armed group’s withdrawal.” Those two foreign invaders against Syria (Turkey and U.S.) came to this agreement in Washington DC, regarding their respective invasions: Turkish forces won’t conquer YPG (separatist-Kurd) forces in any part of Syria unless and until that part has already become instead a part of Turkey — swallowed-up by Turkey. The U.S. will be protecting those Kurds until the U.S. ends its military occupation of Syria. After that, those Kurds will be on their own.

Back on 10 January 2018, Elijah J. Magnier had commented,

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad also considers Turkey to be another occupying force in northern Syria. He would like to liberate the entire Syrian territory, which is not the case with Russia, which would prefer to end the war as soon as possible and undertake the work at the negotiating table.”

Magnier seems to have been correct: Russia appears not to be objecting to Turkey’s land-seizures in Syria. Therefore, Turkey is a “middle-man” between both U.S. and Russia — strategizing with both.

On 19 January 2018, Tony Cartalucci commented,

The Syrian government with support from its Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies has embarked on a major military operation to retake parts of Syria’s northern governorate of Idlib. As it does so, the US and its regional allies are rushing to position themselves to ensure the permanent partition of Syria is achieved.”

He continued (all of which has likewise subsequently been borne out):

It should be noted that Afrin is located between [Idlib and] territory Turkey is currently occupying. Turkish troops, should they seize Afrin [which they soon did], would effectively have expanded Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” by 30 miles (53 km) and present an opportunity for its troops to link up with troops of Turkey’s “Idlib Shield.” This would create a large, singular buffer zone within which US-NATO forces could harbor militants driven back by Syria’s most recent offensive.

Depending on Turkey’s success, the zone could be expanded even further, even as far as including Idlib city itself[which happened in September of that year] – thus granting the US an opportunity to present it as a second Syrian “capital” much in the way Benghazi was used in Libya during US-led regime change there. There remains, however, the fact that Idlib is openly occupied and administered by Al Qaeda, making the proposal of transforming it into an “opposition capital” particularly dubious.

Meanwhile, the US itself continues its own uninvited, illegal occupation of Syrian territory east of the Euphrates, having previously justified the invasion and occupation of Syrian territory under the guise of fighting the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS). …

The US occupation of Syrian territory will be difficult for Damascus and its allies to contest without being drawn into a direct military confrontation. Turkey’s occupation may be easier to confound, but if sufficient political will exists to maintain it along with US backing, it could effectively result in a Golan Heights-style occupation of Syrian territory [by Turkey] that provides a long-term geopolitical pressure point versus Damascus for years to come.

And while US efforts to destroy Syria have fallen short, the US now permanently occupies territory within one of Iran’s closest and most important regional allies. Like a splinter under the skin turning septic, the US occupation will remain a constant potential source of wider infection both for Syria and the rest of the region.

Perhaps Cartalucci was the first person publicly to recognize what has been happening here.

On 8 February 2018, Russia’s RT bannered, “US-led coalition conducts ‘defensive’ airstrikes against Syrian forces”, and reported,

The US-led coalition has also firmly stressed its ‘non-negotiable right to act in self-defense,’ since its service members are embedded with the [anti-Syrian] ‘partners’ on ground in Syria. … ‘It’s very likely that the Americans have taken a course of dividing the country. They just gave up their assurances, given to us, that the only goal of their presence in Syria – without an invitation of the legitimate government – was to defeat Islamic State and the terrorists,’ Lavrov said.

All of this, likewise, has since been borne out. Key was the September 2018 Tehran summit of Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani (Syria not even being represented there), to decide how to handle Syria’s most pro-jihadist province: Idlib. (It’s even more jihadist than Raqqah, where ISIS was headquartered, and which is the second-most-jihadist.)

On 9 September 2018, the Turkish-Government-controlled (and this also means anti-Syrian) Daily Sabah newspaper bannered “The outcome of the Tehran summit” and reported that:

We know for a fact that Erdoğan’s goal was to prevent the Russians and the Assad regime from carrying out a comprehensive operation in Idlib. In this sense, he got what he wanted. At the joint press conference, the Russian president announced that the three countries, at the request of President Erdoğan, urged all parties to lay down their arms. As such, it became possible to prevent another humanitarian disaster, a new influx of refugees, the collapse of the Astana process [which Putin had established to replace the U.N.’s peace process immediately after Obama bombed on 17 September 2016 Syria’s Army at Deir Ezzor, thus violating the ceasefire agreement that his Secretary of State John Kerry had just signed with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on 9 September 2016and the radicalization of moderate opposition, who would have moved closer to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) [Al Qaeda in Syria]. At the same time, a clear distinction was made between ‘terrorists’ and opposition groups. At the same time, there is no doubt that the Iranian president’s proposal to remove the United States from the east of the Euphrates river was in line with Erdoğan’s own agenda.

Actually, however, the truthfulness of that last sentence is still very much in doubt.

The ultra-reliable Al Masdar News reported on 10 September 2018 that

Russia and Iran have already informed Turkey that they will not accept any jihadist factions inside of Idlib; however, the latter is attempting to convince Moscow and Tehran to avoid carrying out the attack in favor of Ankara clearing these groups.”

Putin and Rouhani accepted Erdogan’s promise there (of “Ankara clearing those groups”), and consequently allowed Turkey’s troops to handle Idlib. But, evidently, Erdogan had been lying about that. He didn’t eliminate the jihadists — he has instead been protecting them (except that his forces attack the Kurdish-independence forces against Syria’s Government, the anti-Assad fighters whom Erdogan authentically has been obsessed to kill).

The very next day, on September 11th, Paul Mansfield at Syria News headlined “Erdogan Buys Time for Terrorists at the Tehran Summit” and he observed that

The Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah released the components of Turkey’s plan for Idlib. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out it effectively means annexing Syrian territory, entrenching Turkish proxy Free Syrian Army forces, while falsely legitimizing their presence through a trilateral agreement, one made (it should be mentioned) without the presence of the country it concerns: Syria.

On 18 September 2018, another of the Turkish regime’s major newspapers, Yeni Safak, headlined “Turkey tells 50,000 FSA fighters to be ready for deployment as tensions rise in Idlib” and reported that,

As the Assad regime and Russian warplanes viciously attack the last opposition-held stronghold of Syria’s Idlib, Turkey ramped up its military reinforcements in northern Syria and instructed over 50,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) [that being the Turkish-led anti-Assadfighters stationed in Afrin, Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab and al-Rai to ‘be ready for military deployment.’”

This anti-Syrian report continued, “The Bashar al-Assad regime recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in Idlib, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups.” It didn’t mention that those “armed opposition groups” were the members of Al Qaeda-led forces defeated elsewhere in Syria who had chosen to be bused by the Syrian Government into the most pro-jihadist Syrian province, Idlib, instead of to be outright shot to death on-the-spot by Syrian troops, where they had been fighting. Such crucial information was left out of Western news-reports.

It went on: “An attack on Syria’s Idlib, the last opposition-held stronghold, would be a massacre,” and (since this newspaper reflected Erdogan’s anti-Assad, meaning anti-Syrian, viewpoint) it alleged that “Russia and Assad regime target civilians” instead of try to exterminate jihadists — especially now in Idlib itself, to which Syria’s Government had, indeed, been busing the surviving defeated jihadists. (As was previously noted, the only alternative that Syria’s Government had had regarding those hold-out fighters would have been simply to go in and slaughter not only them but the human shields behind whom they were fighting, which would have enormously increased the civilian casualties, which the ‘barbaric’ Assad-led Government was always trying to avoid doing. So: that’s how and why so many of the Al Qaeda-led forces came to be collected inside Idlib to begin with.)

NOTE:

Erdogan might be a double-agent here. But how could Turkey be building infrastructure in Syria and not be permanently taking that land? All of those “seems to be” could be wrong, but it’s hard to see how Syria’s Government could accept any such blatant grab of land away from their nation. I had written on 14 September 2018 about Erdogan’s duplicity, headlining “U.S. Protects Al Qaeda in Syria, Proven”:

Erdogan is in both camps — America’s and Russia’s — and playing each side against the other, for what he wants. But he could turn out to be the biggest loser from ‘his’ success here.

If he exterminates Idlib’s jihadists, then the U.S. side will condemn him for it. But if he instead frees those jihadists to return to their home-countries, then both sides will condemn him for having done so.

The biggest apparent ‘winner’ from all this, Erdogan, could thus turn out to be the biggest real loser from it. And the biggest apparent ‘loser’ from it, Assad, could turn out to be the biggest real winner from it.

Then, three days later, on September 17th, I argued that the big winners from this will probably be Putin, Erdogan, Rouhani, and Assad. The headline of that was “Putin and Erdogan Plan Syria-Idlib DMZ as I Recommended”, and the basic case was presented that this would turn out to be only a feint on Erdogan’s part, and that he and Putin and Rouhani (and Assad) would all benefit from this feint by Erdogan, and take home the win. It still could be that. But only Erdogan himself probably knows. And who can read his mind? The main sign I would look at is whether Putin and Rouhani just ignore, as much as possible, Turkey’s ‘seizures’ of Idlib and of the most-jihadist parts of Aleppo province bordering Idlib to Idlib’s immediate east. (For example, this fundamentalist-Sunni family from Sweida — which is perhaps the most pro-jihadist southern province — migrated during the war to Al-Bab, which is Turk-controlled.) If Putin and Rouhani ignore Turkey’s solidification of its control over those areas of northwestern Syria, then this is how the U.S. side and proxy forces — jihadists and Kurdish fanatics — might lose in Syria, and be forced out of there. This Turkish ‘win’ would entail a loss for both the U.S. and its proxy-forces, especially the Kurds. But it would also entail Syria’s loss of the areas that were always the greatest thorn in Assad’s side. In that case, America’s former proxy-forces in northwest Syria — Al Qaeda’s surviving Syrian forces, plus the separatist Kurdish forces — would henceforth be under Erdogan’s control. If Putin, Rouhani and Assad won’t object to that, then the main loser could be the U.S. regime, which would cede to Erdogan not only America’s last holdout in Syria but also all of its proxy-forces in Syria, henceforth to be totally subject to whatever Erdogan has in mind for them. However, the biggest losers could still be the Turkish and the American regimes. But that would be true only if the surrounded U.S. forces in Syria’s northeast become forced out. If the U.S. occupation stays in Syria, then the U.S. and Turkey will have taken all of northern Syria. But no oil or gas is there, either. (It’s south of there.) What, consequently, is this war even about, any longer? Is it about contending national leaders who refuse to acknowledge defeat? Is that now the only real reason for all of this ongoing death, and destruction? Is it just pure ego?

If Turkey quits NATO, then the biggest loser from the end-part of the Syrian war would be the U.S. and its allies. But, of course, the biggest losers from the entire war are the Syrian people. There’s no doubt, whatsoever, about that.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

US anti-Iran bullying failed on all fronts: Rouhani

Source

Sun Jul 14, 2019 05:44PM

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) addresses a gathering of local officials in North Khorasan Province. (Photo by president.ir)Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (C) addresses a gathering of local officials in North Khorasan Province. (Photo by president.ir)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says all attempts by the United States to “bully” Iran have fallen flat as a result of an expanding global front against Washington’s mischief.

Rouhani said Sunday that Tehran has managed to defeat the administration of US President Donald Trump on various fronts with its patience and measured policies.

“The US made attempts and was defeated in the International Atomic Energy Agency, the International Court of Justice at The Hague, the Warsaw Conference,” he told local officials in North Khorasan Province. “This is a victory for the Iranian nation and we were able to show our power in major challenges.”

The president further said Washington failed to persuade the world community to follow in its footsteps and was left alone because no country in the world bought into its anti-Iran policies save for a few “tiny regimes.”

“Only a fake regime and one or two tiny countries supported the US while the whole world resisted America and its bullying and praised our strategic patience against it, which was a difficult task to accomplish,” he added.

Rouhani then referred to Trump’s decision in May 2018 to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Upon announcing his departure from the landmark agreement, Trump said he would launch a pressure campaign against Iran that will make use of sanctions and other hostile measures to force Iran into renegotiating a new deal that would address its ballistic missile program and curb its regional influence.

Since then, the US has imposed sanctions against Iranian oil exports while also sending troops and military equipment to the Persian Gulf region to confront what it refers to as “threats” coming from Iran.

Rouhani said Washington has tried in vain to rally the world behind it in forcing Iran to leave the JCPOA through sanctions and “economic warfare.”

“As a seasoned nation and a [seasoned] government, we are dealing with an inexperienced administration in the US,” he said.

Russia, China did well on JCPOA unlike Europeans

Rouhani added that Russia and China did well to meet their commitments as signatories of the JCPOA but the European parties to the deal — the UK, France and Germany — either “refused or couldn’t” follow suit.

The three European countries (E3) have repeatedly expressed support for the deal but have done little to meet Iran’s expectations.

Having grown impatient with the E3, Iran has been cutting back on its commitments under the deal by increasing enriched uranium stocks and enrichment purity beyond the limits set by the JCPOA.

Tehran has made it clear that it won’t reverse the decisions unless the E3 deliver on their pledge to protect bilateral trade from US sanctions through the special payment channel known as the INSTEX.

‘Iran always ready for talks’

Rouhani noted that Iran was always prepared for direct talks with other countries, including the US, long as they treated it with respect and didn’t resort to bullying.

“We are always ready for negotiations, even at this very hour and very second, if you drop bullying and sanctions and come back to your senses and the way of logic,” he added.

Trump and several of his hawks, including State Secretary Mike Pompeo, have expressed readiness for talks without any preconditions.

Iran, however, has made it clear that it won’t come to the table under pressure.

Syrian army units repel foreign terrorists’ large-scale attack in Hama

Created on Friday, 12 July 2019 16:19

HAMA, IDLEB, (ST)_ Syrian army units have repelled a large-scale attack launched by terrorist groups on Hmamiyat town axis in the northern countryside of Hama where many terrorists were killed and injured.

According to the Syrian news agency (SANA), the attack was launched by foreign terrorists and a fierce clash erupted between them and the Syrian army units.

“Armored cars and vehicles for terrorists were destroyed,” SANA said, asserting that the terrorist attackers were inflicted heavy losses.

The terrorists had got the cars and the sophisticated weapons from the Turkish regime and they pushed foreign suicide bombers  to start the attack in order to capture Hmamiyat hill, but the army units foiled their plan and repelled the attack.

Recently, Local sources affirmed that the Turkish regime provided al-Nusra Front terrorists and affiliated groups with armored cars and anti-missiles weapons in order to attack Syrian army posts  to break through army’s frontlines.

Moreover, Syrian army units continued to target terrorist groups’ movements and hideouts in Ariha and Ma’arret al-No’aman areas in the southern countryside of Idleb, killing and injuring many terrorists.

Basma Qaddour

Military Situation In Northwestern Syria On July 13, 2019 (Map Update)

MILITARY SITUATION IN NORTHWESTERN SYRIA ON JULY 13, 2019 (MAP UPDATE)

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