Russiagate Is Really Finished

Source

March 23, 2019

On February 12 we wrote that Russiagate Is Finished. The conclusion was based on an NBC report:

After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.

Democrats and other Trump opponents have long believed that special counsel Robert Mueller and Congressional investigators would unearth new and more explosive evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russians. Mueller may yet do so, although Justice Department and Congressional sources say they believe that he, too, is close to wrapping up his investigation.

Russiagate conspiracy theorist Marcy Wheeler countered by arguing that a conspiracy had been proven when Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort admitted to handing out polling data to some Ukrainian/Russian contact to curry favor with some Russian oligarch he owned money. But Manafort’s crimes, which he plead guilty for on September 14 2018, had nothing to do with “Russia” or with Trump and only peripherally with his election campaign:

On Friday, Manafort, who was chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign from June to August 2016, pleaded guilty in federal district court in Washington to two charges of conspiracy against the United States—one involving a lobbying scheme that involved financial crimes and foreign-agent registration violations, and the other involving witness tampering. In the course of his plea, Manafort also admitted guilt on bank-fraud charges on which a federal jury in Virginia hung last month.

Marcy and others held out hope that the Mueller investigation would come up with an indictment that would justify the utter nonsense she and other Russagaters promoted for over two years. Just two week ago former CIA director John Brennan, who likely conspired with British intelligence to frame Trump with the Russia affair, said (vid) that he expected further indictments:

During an appearance on MSNBC on March 5, Brennan predicted that Mueller would issue indictments related to a “criminal conspiracy” involving Trump or his associates’ activities during the 2016 election.

That last hope of the Russiagate dead-enders is now gone:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III submitted a long-awaited report to Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday, marking the end of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

A senior Justice Department official said the special counsel has not recommended any further indictments — a revelation that buoyed Trump’s supporters, even as other Trump-related investigations continue in other parts of the Justice Department.

None of the Americans charged by Mueller are accused of conspiring with Russia to interfere in the election — the central question of Mueller’s work. Instead, they pleaded guilty to various crimes, including lying to the FBI.The investigation ended without charges for a number of key figures who had long been under Mueller’s scrutiny …

Conclusions from the Mueller report will be released by the Justice Department over the next days.

That the Russiagaters were wrong for falling for the bullshit peddled in the Steele dossier and the “Russian hacking” lies of the snakeoil salesmen Clapper and Brennan was obvious long ago. In June 2017 we pointed to a long Washington Post piece on alleged Russian election hacking and remarked:

Reading that piece it becomes clear (but is never said) that the sole source for that August 2016 Brennan claim of “Russian hacking” is the absurd Steele dossier some ex-MI6 dude created for too much money as opposition research against Trump. The only other “evidence” for “Russian hacking” is the Crowdstrike report on the DNC “hack”. Crowdstrike has a Ukrainian nationalist agenda, was hired by the DNC, had to retract other “Russian hacking” claims and no one else was allowed to take a look at the DNC servers. Said differently: The whole “Russian hacking” claims are solely based on “evidence” of two fake reports.

The Steele dossier was fake opposition research peddled by the Clinton campaign, John McCain and a bunch of anti-Trump national security types. The still unproven claim of “Russian hacking” was designed to divert from the fact that Clinton and the DNC colluded to cheat Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. The stupid claim that commercial click-bait from a company in Leningrad was a “Russian influence campaign” was designed to explain Clinton’s election loss to the other worst-candidate-ever. The “Russiagate” investigation was designed to  prevent Trump from finding better relations with Russia as he had promised during his campaign.

All were somewhat successful because some media and some bloggers were happy to sell such nonsense without putting it into the big picture.

It is high time to start a deep investigation into Brennan, Clapper, Comey and the Clinton campaign and to uncover the conspiracy that led to the Steele dossier, the FBI investigation following from it and all the other bullshit that evolved from that investigation.

As for Marcy Wheeler, Rachel Maddow and other dimwits who peddled the Russiagate nonsense I agree with the advice Catlin Johnstone gives:

Every politician, every media figure, every Twitter pundit and everyone who swallowed this moronic load of bull spunk has officially discredited themselves for life.

The people who steered us into two years of Russiavape insanity are the very last people anyone should ever listen to ever again when determining the future direction of our world.

Posted by b on March 23, 2019 at 01:12 PM | Permalink

Advertisements

The Cold War Ides of March

March 21, 2019

US Cold Warriors escalate toward actual war with Russia.

By Stephen F. Cohen for The Nation MagazineThe Cold War Ides of March

Heedless of the consequences, or perhaps welcoming them, America’s Cold Warriors and their media platforms have recently escalated their rhetoric against Russia, especially in March. Anyone who has lived through or studied the preceding 40-year Cold War will recognize the ominous echoes of its most dangerous periods, when actual war was on the horizon or a policy option. Here are only a few random but representative examples:

§ In a March 8 Washington Post opinion article, two American professors, neither with any apparent substantive knowledge of Russia or Cold War history, warned that the Kremlin is trying “to undermine our trust in the institutions that sustain a strong nation and a strong democracy. The media, science, academia and the electoral process are all regular targets.” Decades ago, J. Edgar Hoover, the policeman of that Cold War, said the same, indeed made it an operational doctrine.

§ Nor is the purported threat to America only. According to (retired) Gen. David Petraeus and sitting Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, also in the Post on the following day, the “world is once again polarized between two competing visions for how to organize society.” For Putin’s Kremlin, “the existence of the United States’ rule-of-law world is intrinsically threatening.” This is an “intensifying worldwide struggle.” So much for those who dismissed post–Soviet Russia as merely a “regional” power, including former President Barack Obama, and for the myopic notion that a new Cold War was not possible.

§ But the preceding Cold War was driven by an intense ideological conflict between Soviet Communism and Western capitalism. Where is the ideological threat today, considering that post–Soviet Russia is also a capitalist country? In a perhaps unprecedented nearly 10,000-word manifesto from March 14 in the front news pages of (again) the PostRobert Kagan provided the answer: “Today, authoritarianism has emerged as the great challenge facing the liberal democratic world—a profound ideological, as well as strategic, challenge.” That is, “authoritarianism” has replaced Soviet Communism in our times, with Russia again in the forefront.

The substance of Kagan’s “authoritarianism” as “an ideological force” is thin, barely enough for a short opinion article, often inconsistent and rarely empirical. It amounts to a batch of “strongman” leaders (prominently Putin, of course), despite their very different kinds of societies, political cultures, states, and histories, and despite their different nationalisms and ruling styles. Still, credit Kagan’s ambition to be the undisputed ideologist of the new American Cold War, though less the Post for taking the voluminous result so seriously.

The 40-year Cold War often flirted with hot war, and that, too, seems to be on the agenda. Words, as Russians say, are also deeds. They have consequences, especially when uttered by people of standing in influential outlets. Again, consider a few examples that might reasonably be considered warmongering:

§ The journal Foreign Policy found space for disgraced former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili to declare: “It is not a question of whether [Putin] will attack, but where.” (Saakashvili may be the most discredited “democratic” leader of recent times, having brought the West close to war with Russia in 2008 and since having had to flee his own country and then decamp even from US-backed Ukraine.)

§ NBC News, a reliable source of Cold War frenzy, reported, based on Estonian “intelligence,” an equally persistent source of the same mania, that “Russia is most likely to attack the Baltic States first, but a conflict between Russia and NATO would involve attacks on Western Europe.”

§ Also in March, in The Economist, another retired general, Ben Hodges, onetime commander of the US army in Europe, echoes that apocalyptic perspective: “This is not just about NATO’s eastern front.” (Readers may wish to note that “eastern front” is the designation given by Nazi Germany to its 1941 invasion of Soviet Russia. Russians certainly remember.)

§ Plenty of influential American Cold War zealots seem eager to respond to the bugle charge, among them John E. Herbst, a stalwart at the Atlantic Council (NATO’s agitprop “think tank” in Washington), and the Post’s deputy editorial-page editor, Jackson Diehl. Both want amply armed US and NATO warships sent to what Russians sometimes call their bordering “lakes,” the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. To do so would likely mean the “war” NBC envisages.

Lest readers think all this is merely the “chattering” of opinion-makers, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once termed it, consider a summary of legislation being prepared by a bipartisan US Senate committee, pointedly titled and with a fearsome acronym, DASKA (the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019). Again, Russia is ritualistically accused of “malign influence” and “aggression” around the world, the quality of the committee’s thinking succinctly expressed by one of the Republican senators: “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” There is no evidence for these allegations—Russian policy-makers are constantly citing international law, and the US “liberal global order,” if it ever existed, has done a fine job of undoing itself—but with “an outlaw regime,” there can be no diplomacy, nor do the senators propose any, only war.

A recurring theme of my recently published book War with Russia? is that the new Cold War is more dangerous, more fraught with hot war, than the one we survived. All of the above amply confirms that thesis, but there is more. Histories of the 40-year US-Soviet Cold War tell us that both sides came to understand their mutual responsibility for the conflict, a recognition that created political space for the constant peace-keeping negotiations, including nuclear arms control agreements, often known as détente. But as I also chronicle in the book, today’s American Cold Warriors blame only Russia, specifically “Putin’s Russia,” leaving no room or incentive for rethinking any US policy toward post-Soviet Russia since 1991. (See, for example, Nataliya Bugayova’s recent piece for the Institute for the Study of War.)

Still more, as I have also long pointed out, Moscow closely follows what is said and written in the United States about US-Russian relations. Here too words have consequences. On March 14, Russia’s National Security Council, headed by President Putin, officially raised its perception of American intentions toward Russia from “military dangers” (opasnosti) to direct “military threats” (ugrozy). In short, the Kremlin is preparing for war, however defensive its intention.

Finally, there continues to be no effective, organized American opposition to the new Cold War. This too is a major theme of my book and another reason why this Cold War is more dangerous than was its predecessor. In the 1970s and 1980s, advocates of détente were well-organized, well-funded, and well-represented, from grassroots politics and universities to think tanks, mainstream media, Congress, the State Department, and even the White House. Today there is no such opposition anywhere.

A major factor is, of course, “Russiagate.” As evidenced in the sources I cite above, much of the extreme American Cold War advocacy we witness today is a mindless response to President Trump’s pledge to find ways to “cooperate with Russia” and to the still-unproven allegations generated by it. Certainly, the Democratic Party is not an opposition party in regard to the new Cold War. Nancy Pelosi, the leader of its old guard, needlessly initiated an address to Congress by NATO’s secretary general, in April, which will be viewed in Moscow as a provocation. She also decried as “appalling” Trump’s diplomacy with Russian President Putin, whom she dismissed as a “thug.” Such is the state of statesmanship today in the Democratic Party.

Its shining new pennies seem little different. Beto O’Rourke, now a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, promises to lead our “indispensable country,” an elite conceit that has inspired many US wars and cold wars. Another fledgling would-be Democratic leader, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, seems to have bought into Russiagate’s iconic promotion of US intelligence agencies, tweeting on January 12, “The FBI had to open inquiry on whether the most powerful person in the United States is actually working for Russia.” Evidently, neither she nor O’Rourke understand that growing Cold War is incompatible with progressive policies at home, in America or in Russia.

Among Democrats, there is one exception, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who is also a declared candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. Not surprisingly, for lamenting Russiagate’s contribution to the worsening new Cold War and calling for new approaches to Russia itself, Gabbard was shrilly and misleadingly slurred by NBC News. (For a defense of Gabbard, see Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.) Herself a veteran of the US military forces, Representative Gabbard soldiers on, the only would-be Democratic president calling for an end to this most dangerous new Cold War.

This commentary is based on Stephen F. Cohen’s most recent weekly discussion with the host of The John Batchelor Show. Now in their fifth year, previous installments are at TheNation.com.

This book is a “must read”!

Note by The Saker:

You can order Prof. Cohen’s latest book here:

https://www.amazon.com/War-Russia-Putin-Ukraine-Russiagate/dp/1510745815

I consider this book a “MUST READ” and I highly recommend it to everybody

The Saker

Hezbollah-linked Analyst on reality of Russia’s alliance with Iran/Hezbollah – English Subs

Source

Hezbollah-linked Analyst on reality of Russia’s alliance with Iran/Hezbollah – English Subs

Here’s our first video translation after YouTube terminated our channel:

Description:

Senior political analyst Anees Naqqash, who has very close ties to Hezbollah and enjoys an authoritative status on various Lebanese, Syrian and Arab media outlets, was asked in a recent interview on Lebanese television: how can Iran & the ‘Resistance Axis’ be strategically allied to Russia while Moscow’s officials repeatedly announce their commitment to Israel’s security?

The ‘Resistance Axis’ here broadly refers to a strategic anti-Israel/anti-US imperialism alliance composed of, but not limited to, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi, Yemen’s Ansarullah, and various Palestinian armed factions.

Source: OTV Lebanon (YouTube)

Date: 20 February, 2019

Transcript:

Host:

However there is something that remains unclear till now, and that is the Russian-Iranian relationship. I’d like you to shed some light on this, and to clarify some ambiguities if they exist. How do you describe the relationship between Iran and Russia and its continuation in the region, especially in Syria?

Naqqash:

This ambiguity that can be seen is a media plan. Meaning that there is a ‘media kitchen’ whose aim is to portray as if there are contradictions, in order to undo this alliance. We can see that some of the political objectives of some Americans is to undo the Chinese-Russian alliance. Some (Americans) such as Trump, say that we must get closer to Russia in order to isolate China, while others say we must work with China to isolate Russia.

In this region here, some (Americans) believe that the Russian-Iranian alliance is a great threat, firstly because it brought a power – that is an adversary of the United States – to the Middle East region. Secondly, because (this alliance) strengthened the Resistance Axis – without (Russia) becoming a (formal) part of the Resistance Axis. The Resistance Axis became stronger because it now had air cover, air defence, (greater) intelligence (data), coordination e.t.c. According to (reliable) information, the ones who brought the Russians to the region – to Syria – were the Iranians, and not the other way around. (The Iranians) brought them, meaning they convinced them to come – ‘brought’ is probably not a nice word – what convinced them to come is the following, and these are the words of Jalili to President Putin – (Saeed) Jalili was the head of (the Supreme) National Security (Council):

‘The main weak point of the United States in the world is the Middle East region, and we are able to weaken it to a greater extent if we were to cooperate, because we have clear evidence that demonstrates how we have already weakened the United States (in the Middle East)’. This is the specific point that ‘clicked’ for President Putin, and so he took the decision at that time to come to Syria, after he took guarantees that the Resistance (Axis) is the one that will work on the ground, while (Putin) is to take care of the air power.

The second point which convinced (Putin) of this alliance is the issue of terrorism. This terrorism is not limited to Syria or Iraq, but rather, could (even) reach the Fergana Valley: the border region between Afghanistan and Russia (i.e. the Soviet Union), and it is well known that Chechnya was ablaze before President Putin came and ended this armed rebellion, you also have Tatarstan, Dagestan, and 7-8 Muslim republics in the Russian Federation, the British, American, and Saudi intelligence work day and night on (these republics) in order to ignite this region. Hence there is an interest (to fight terrorism), and so President Putin had said on many occasions that ‘we are fighting them in Syria so that they do not come to us’. This issue even extended to China, with the Uyghurs and the separatist threat, and today (China) has a problem, money is being pumped (into this region), and you have 4,000 Uyghurs who came to fight in Syria, I don’t know who brought them here from China and trained them…

Therefore these (Iranian-Russian) understandings are strategic. As for geopolitics, today the Chinese-Russian-Iranian understanding regarding Afghanistan, which is the heart of Central Asia, and which forms an intersection for more than one border and state, (this understanding) is in place and continues very strongly. Meaning that the Russian-Iranian strategic understanding does not stop at the Syrian file, but rather extends to international (geopolitical) equations related to confronting the United States’ influence, and relates to the safeguarding of the security of Russia and China. If you are protecting a state’s internal security, this is very important for such (major) states. For this reason (Russia) is a strategic ally in more than one way. Now in Syria on the ground, if you have differences like whether to start with Idlib first as opposed to Deir az-Zour, or should we suffice ourselves with (this or that)…all this goes back to the varying perspectives of both (Iran and Russia).

Iran is a first-degree regional power, which views (things) as a regional power, and Russia is a global power that views (things) as a global power. For this reason, the Iranians cannot say ‘I can attract the Turks 100% to my axis’, because there is a certain balance (of power) between the Turks and the Iranians. The Russians can dream, work on, and achieve this result, in the sense that they have the ability to pull the Turks out of NATO and bring it into the Shanghai (Organisation). The Iranians are unable to do this…and this (sometimes) causes a difference – to some extent – between Russian and Iranian tactics. With regards to Israel, the Russians are not with the liberation of Palestine in the sense that we talk about. However, (Russia) is not against the ‘Resistance Axis’ being strong (and capable) of confronting Israel, and the Israeli army, which is an American and Western tool, all its weapons are Western-made, when Russian weapons are victorious over Western weapons – we saw how the Kornet (anti-tank missile) began to be sold throughout the world, we saw how Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are buying today the S-400 and how everyone is rushing towards Russian weapons – all this is because of the manifestation (of the effectiveness) of Russian weapons in the region, beginning with the resistance Hezbollah, and ending with the (direct) Russian presence in the (Middle East).

Host:

But sorry…Russia, according to the words of prominent (Russian) officials, has pledged to safeguard the security of Israel. How does Iran reconcile between its strong alliance or partnership with Russia who in turn pledges to safeguard Israel’s security? And the Russians have said this and announce it every day. The Russians say we are committed to Israel’s security. It is as if the (Russians) reached an agreement with the Americans, telling the (Americans) ‘not to worry, you could leave Syria, leave the security of Israel to us. You don’t talk to Iran and (Hezbollah), but we’ll talk to them, you guys don’t worry’….

——————–

A commitment to the security of Israel, is different to defending Israel. The United States says ‘we are committed to ensuring that Israel remains stronger than all Arab states, and we are committed to its security and defending it’. Russia does not (tell Israel) I am committed to defending you, because (Russia) acts within international law. Any state that respects international law and is a member of (the UN) – Israel is a recognised member (of this body) and hence (Russia) says that it abides by this. Meaning that (Russia) does not (officially support) a full-scale regional war. (However) is (Russia) able to prevent the Resistance Axis or Syria from taking a decision to retake the Golan (Heights)? No he is not, because this also falls under international law.

Host:

So why did (the Russians) move Iran and Hezbollah away from southern Syria?

Naqqash:

I take you back to President Putin’s statement that ‘we must go back to the ceasefire agreement, and to remind (all sides) that the Golan (Heights) is occupied land’. (Putin) did not forget to say this last part. Whether (the Russians) moved the Iranians away from the Golan (Heights) or brought them closer to it, these are really just details. Why are they just details? Let me tell you what the Israelis (themselves) say today, after Netanyahu got all happy, the Israelis today say that: ‘we now have intelligence that (the Iranians & Hezbollah) took off their military uniforms and put on Syrian army uniforms’.

Host:

Oh okay, I get it.

Naqqash:

The (Israelis) are saying this, not me. Secondly, (it is a fact) that the Resistance Axis is present in Syria, and that it has committed itself – in an official Iranian-Syrian agreement – to rebuilding the Syrian Armed Forces to the highest level, such that it can thwart all dangers. What does this mean? It means we wish to make the Syrian army stronger than what it was, and we want it to have a missile capability – what kind of missile capability? If Israel is afraid of the Lebanese missile capability (of Hezbollah), what about if this same capability was also now present in Syria? Despite the fact that – and I don’t hide things from our people, things that the Israelis already know – that 90% of the missiles in Lebanon are Syrian-made, or come via Syrian capabilities, so if (the Syrians) are giving me, does that mean they don’t have (such missiles)?

Host:

Are they Syrian-made or Iranian-made in Syria?

Naqqash:

No no, today technology can be transferred, just like when you get the ‘under license’ right you can manufacture yourself.

Host:

Franchise..

Naqqash:

Yes franchise, or through cooperation, sometimes you have experience in something and I have experience in something – they are openly cooperating, (Iran & Syria) made an agreement, they officially signed it between the two states, with the aim of building up the Syrian Armed Forces.

So today Israel’s problem is that you have a Resistance Axis whose presence has extended, between Syria and Lebanon, and so things have now changed. Where do the Russians stand regarding these developments? Will they tell (President) Assad you are not allowed to arm yourself, or you are not allowed to retake the Golan (Heights), or that you must become weaker?

Ofcourse, if some think that the Resistance Axis was going to come and place the flag of Hezbollah in Dara’a or on the Syrian borders with the Zionist entity, this would be considered as a type of incitement for the international community…yet who will prevent a Syrian decision today to militarily take back the Golan (Heights)? International law allows them to do this, international law! And Russia allows (the Syrians) to do this and (in fact) wish they actually do (retake it). And the Resistance Axis does not want from Syria anything more than this. The issue of the liberation of Palestine will be pursued by the Resistance Axis via other contexts.

Therefore, there are no real (Iran-Russia) contradictions…to the contrary, coordination, especially between the Russian forces and Hezbollah, is at its highest level. And the Russians are greatly impressed by Hezbollah’s fighters, as resistance fighters who fought in 50-degree Celsius temperatures in the (Syrian) deserts, and they fought in -14 degree Celsius temperatures during the snowstorms in the mountaintops. This all occurred under the eyes of the Russians, who saw (Hezbollah’s) coordination abilities, and (Hezbollah’s) ability to move not only small groups of guerrilla forces but also an entire ground force brigade.

When Sayyed Hassan (Nasrallah) said that they brought him the news that ‘we liberated a (Syrian) land mass five times the size of Lebanon’, it is true, (Nasrallah) said he was abit surprised at this news, but it is true, 50,000 square kilometres, (Hezbollah) was able to liberate and take control of this whole land area.

Host:

That’s right, using armoured and tactical brigades and…

Naqqash:

Yes all types of forces – thus huge, fundamental transformations have occurred.
For this reason when I say today (Nasrallah commands) half a million (trained) fighters (within the Resistance Axis), I am not exaggerating, and (the resistance enjoys) tactical, command, and operational capabilities much greater than what they were during the 2006 (war). For this reason (Nasrallah) said that we have 40 (military) regions in Lebanon today, just one of these regions contains within it more capabilities than the entire capabilities of (Hezbollah) in the year 2000. Thus there are very great transformations occurring in the balance of power.


The best way to stay up to date with MEO’s content is to subscribe to its website mailing list (see below), and/or to be following as many of its media channels as possible (also below).

Support MEO on Patreon: Help their work continue and grow with as little as $1/month: https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver

Subscribe – Website Mailing List: http://middleeastobserver.net/subscribe/

Follow – Daily Motion channel: https://www.dailymotion.com/MiddleEastObserver

Like – Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MEO.Translation/

Breaking Brussels

By Darko Lazar

During a July 2017 meeting with leaders from the Visegrad nations, also known as the V-4 group, “Israel’s” prime minister sent a stern warning to Brussels.

“I think Europe has to decide if it wants to live and thrive or if it wants to shrivel and disappear,” Benjamin Netanyahu said at a closed-door gathering in Budapest.

Moments earlier, he had supposedly forgotten to turn off his microphone and the conversation was picked up by journalists who had conveniently just been handed earphones.

“The EU is the only international organization that predicates its relations with ‘Israel’ – which provides it with technology – on political considerations,” Netanyahu could be heard saying.

He then instructed his V-4 partners – Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia – to pass on a message to their European colleagues that when they undermine “Israel”, they undermine their own security.

Since then, Netanyahu has made sure that his words are not dismissed merely as empty threats but have a chilling effect on policy makers in Brussels.

In February of this year, he succeeded in bringing together three of the V-4 group leaders in the occupied city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), which the Trump White House unilaterally declared as the capital of “Israel” in December 2017.

Following bilateral talks with Netanyahu, Hungary’s Viktor Orban announced the opening of a trade office with “diplomatic status” in al-Quds, while Slovakia’s Peter Pellegrini followed suit with a similar move.

Although both stopped short of relocating their embassies from Tel Aviv, the maneuver contradicts the established position of the European Union on the issue of occupied Palestine.

At the end of 2017, Europe’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini greeted Netanyahu in Brussels with a message of “full EU unity” on al-Quds becoming the capital of both a future Palestinian state and “Israel”.

However, Netanyahu’s expanding alliance with the V-4 group, the Baltic states, Greece, Cyprus and even candidate EU states in the Balkans, has successfully eroded any consensus in Brussels on Palestine, as well as the Iran-led Resistance axis.

Observers agree that a united foreign policy stance on all matters pertaining to “Israel”, which requires the consensus of all 28 EU nations, is no longer possible.

The revival of European nationalism

Netanyahu’s efforts to “disappear” a disobedient EU are centered on exploiting deepening rifts on the European continent over the waves of migration and the expansion of global terrorism.

Far-right governments like that of Orban blame the policies and ‘values’ of liberal elites in both Brussels and Washington for the decline of Western civilization. With Netanyahu’s help, they have placed themselves squarely in the pro-Trump camp, which is working on a facelift for the Western political establishment.

One of the chief architects of this plan is the self-professed “Christian Zionist” and Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon.

Since leaving the Trump administration, Bannon has taken his populist mission across the world, and now has the 2019 EU parliamentary elections in his crosshairs.

He has spent months circling European cities with speeches about the revival of nationalism. And although running a European political campaign has proven far more challenging than managing one in the US, Bannon still believes that the rightist bloc and Eurosceptic parties will triumph come May.

Speaking to the UK’s Guardian newspaper last year, Bannon described Brussels as the “beating heart of the globalist project.”

“If I drive the stake through the vampire, the whole thing will start to dissipate,” he added.

But a speech delivered by Bannon at the Zionist Organization of America one year earlier suggests that Brussels is not the only vampire he hopes to eliminate with his populist silver bullet.

“There are so many games being played by the establishment,” Bannon told the gathering of Zionists in November 2017.  “You get double-dealt all the time.”

“That’s how you get the Iran Deal,” he added. “We have a long, dark valley to go through, folks. Iran, Turkey, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Middle East right now is on a knife’s edge. It’s going to take strong leadership.”

Meanwhile, recently leaked e-mails revealed that Bannon also had a hand in aiding the proponents of the UK’s exit from the EU.

And although the British government has publicly sided with Brussels over its continued adherence to the Iran nuclear deal, London’s decision to designate Hezbollah’s political wing as a “terrorist organization” in February demonstrates that this charade can easily be overturned.

Just days before plans for Hezbollah’s “terror designation” were unveiled, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which recently struck a £9 million deal to advise the Saudi monarchy, hosted an event in the British parliament.

The participants were all Zionist politicians and lobbyists who pushed for the blacklisting of the Lebanese resistance movement.

Interestingly, the former British premier, Tony Blair, appears to be growing more sympathetic to Bannon’s views, declaring last September that there was a need to “build bridges” with the far-right strategist.

A common enemy

It is important to remember that this very diverse array of political currents, from Washington to London, and from Budapest to Tel Aviv, are not being unified by their shared hostility toward Iran and its allies.

Aside from Brussels’ “beating heart”, their common enemy is the pillar of the leftist establishment – Jewish-American billionaire George Soros, who is accused of utilizing his vast fortune to interfere in the internal affairs of countless states.

Hungary’s Orban even passed legislative and constitutional amendments bearing the name “Stop Soros,” which forced the billionaire to relocate his European headquarters from Budapest to Berlin.

For his part, Donald Trump has accused “Soros and others” of bankrolling protests in the US, while Netanyahu regularly attacks him in his fight against left-wing NGOs.

Whatever the truth is about Soros’ influence, his opponents are up to their necks in legal battles, which, in the case of Netanyahu and Trump, is threatening to oust them from office sooner than they would like.

Netanyahu is up for reelection in April, when he will face off against “Israel’s” newfound liberal darling, Kahol Lavan – a party that sprung out of the blue in recent months, led by three former “Israeli” generals.

If he is triumphant both at home and abroad, Europe’s foreign policy agenda is certain to become more geared toward Netanyahu’s vision of tomorrow and naturally more hostile towards Tehran.

At the same time, the incumbent’s now very open and public political struggles against liberals at home, in Europe and the US have clearly gained him some friends in the Kremlin.

Netanyahu is a frequent guest of President Vladimir Putin, who grants him an audience regardless of how many Russian servicemen the “Israelis” kill in Syria.

For Putin, this relationship underscores the opportunities on offer by the political polarization in the West, and the hope that a divided kingdom cannot stand for long.

But with Netanyahu and Trump’s political futures looking increasingly shaky, the question remains who would pick up the pieces and take the reins with such zeal. Would their dethronement stall Steve Bannon’s global populist project or serve as a rallying call to its advocates?

With the “Israeli” elections just around the corner, the first piece of that puzzle will soon get its answer – and there’s a lot riding on it.

نتن ياهو يواصل الخداع والأميركان يتمدّدون في العراق خوفاً من إيران

مارس 7, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

في الوقت الذي يواصل فيه رئيس الوزراء «الإسرائيلي»، متكئاً إلى الآلة الإعلامية الاسرائيلية العفنة، التي تأتمر بأوامر أجهزة الاستخبارات الاسرائيلية، والغارقة في فضائح الرشاوى المتهم بها نتن ياهو رسمياً، نقول في هذا الوقت فإنّ نتنياهو يواصل كذبه وخداعه للجمهور «الإسرائيلي» من أجل مصلحته الشخصية فقط، وليس حتى من أجل مصلحة كيانه. إذ انّ هدفه الأسمى هو حماية نفسه من المصير المحتوم خلف القضبان ولعشر سنوات على الأقلّ، وذلك من خلال رفضه الاستقالة، بعد توجيه النائب العام تهماً خطيرة جداً له، والعمل على انتخابه رئيساً للوزراء بعد الانتخابات البرلمانية «الإسرائيلية»، في شهر نيسان المقبل.

فبعد قيامه، عبر زبانيته في أجهزة الإعلام «الإسرائيلية»، بالإعلان عن شراء الولايات المتحده الأميركية اثنتي عشر بطارية صواريخ مضادة للصواريخ، من منظومة مقلاع داود «الإسرائيلية» الصنع، ودون صدور أية بيانات حكومية أميركية أو «إسرائيلية» رسمية أو نشر أيّ اتفاقيات رسمية، توثق هذه الصفقة المزعومة، ها هو نتن ياهو شخصياً يدلي بتصريحات، عقب زيارته الأخيره لموسكو، يدّعي فيها أنه اتفق مع الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين على تشكيل لجنة عمل مشتركة لإخراج «القوات الإيرانية» من سورية…!

بينما حقيقة ما جرى خلال لقائه مع الرئيس بوتين هو انّ هذا المصاب بالهلوسة، من شدة خوفه من تنفيذ حلف المقاومة للمرحلة الأخيرة من هجومه الاستراتيجي، والتي ستنتهي بتحرير القدس وإعادتها، كما كانت منذ الأزل، لأن تصبح عاصمة لكلّ فلسطين المحرّرة إلى الأبد، نقول انّ ما حصل في هذا اللقاء، حسب ما أفادت مصادر استخبارية عدة، هو أنّ نتن ياهو قد توسّل الرئيس بوتين ان يتدخل لدى حلف المقاومة ويطلب منه الامتناع عن تنفيذ الهجوم الاستراتيجي، المُشار إليه أعلاه، والذي سينتج عنه تفكك دولة الاحتلال «الإسرائيلي» وزوالها عن الوجود وتحرير فلسطين كلها، من البحر إلى النهر.

وعندما لم تنجح هذه الأكذوبة في تهدئة روع الجمهور «الاسرائيلي» فقد لجأ نتن ياهو، عبر الناطق العسكري باسم الجيش «الإسرائيلي»، العقيد جوناثان كونريكوس Jonathan Conricus، لجأ بتاريخ 4/43/2019 إلى الإعلان عن وصول عدة بطاريات من الصواريخ المضاده للصواريخ، من منظومة ثادTHAAD الأميركية، وعلى وجه السرعة، كما قال كونريكوس في تصريحه، وذلك لتعزيز الدفاعات الجوية «الإسرائيلية في ظلّ تصاعد التوتر، بين «إسرائيل» من جهة وإيران وحزب الله من الجهة الأخرى.

أيّ أنه أكد على الخوف الوجودي الذي يعتري هذا الكيان الصهيوني، من مستوطنين إلى قادة سياسيين، وصولاً إلى القادة العسكريين الذين من المفترض أن يكونوا من الشجاعة بحيث لا ترتعد فرائصهم عندما يفشل رئيس وزرائهم في إقناع الرئيس الروسي بالقيام بدور لا يتناسب لا مع المصالح القومية الروسية ولا مع طبيعة العلاقات التي تربطه بكلّ من إيران وسورية، أيّ مع خط الدفاع الأول عن جنوب وجنوب شرق روسيا، وبالتالي عن موسكو نفسها.

كما يجب أن لا ننسى، في هذه العجالة، أكذوبة الطائرة «الإسرائيلية» المسيّرة، من طراز Mini Harpy، التي روّجت لها الدعاية «الإسرائيلية»، نهاية الشهر الماضي عندما عرضت في معرض جوي في الهند، بأنها قاتلة صواريخ «أس 300» و «أس 400»، ليتبيّن بُعيد ساعات قليلة على بدء حملة الترويج والتهريج «الإسرائيلية أنّ طائرات غزة الورقية أكثر أهمية بكثير من الطائرة المُشار إليها أعلاه. إذ قال أستاذ أكاديمية العلوم العسكرية الروسية البروفيسور فاديم كوزيولين، انّ منظومة الحرب الالكترونية الروسية المتطورة جداً، من طراز كراسوخا Krasucha، قادرة «على دفن» جميع الطائرات المسيّرة «الإسرائيلية».

وبالاستناد إلى العديد من المصادر الاستخبارية العسكرية الأوروبية فإنّ الحقيقة تختلف جذرياً عما تروّج له «إسرائيل» ويمكن تلخيصها في ما يلي:

1 ـ انّ الإعلان «الإسرائيلي» عن شراء الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بطاريات صواريخ مضادة للصواريخ، من طراز مقلاع داود، ليست إلا هراء. أما حقيقة الأمر هي أنّ واشنطن قد سمحت لـ «إسرائيل» بنشر هذه البطاريات في محيط قاعدة التنف الأميركية ومحيط مخيم الركبان على الحدود الاردنية السورية، بحجة التصدي للصواريخ الإيرانية والعراقية التي ستطلق على «إسرائيل» مستقبلاً. وهذا ما يفسّر الرفض الأميركي لإرسال قوافل مساعدات إنسانية لسكان المخيم ومنع إخلائهم، إنهاءً لمأساتهم الإنسانية، وذلك لأنها تتخذهم دروعاً بشرية لحماية بطاريات الصواريخ «الإسرائيلية» المنصوبة على مقربة من المخيم.

2 ـ بالإضافة الى القواعد المذكوره أعلاه، فإنّ الولايات المتحده و«إسرائيل» تعملان على نشر المزيد من هذه القواعد «الإسرائيلية»، على الأراضي العراقية تحت غطاء أميركي، بهدف إنشاء حزام صاروخي يمتدّ من التنف السورية، عبر الرطبة العراقية، وصولاً الى عرعر السعودية، وذلك حماية لـ «إسرائيل» من هجمات صاروخية محتملة.

وفي هذا الإطار أكدت مصادر استخبارية مختصة في شبكات الدفاع الجوي الصاروخي، بأنّ الولايات المتحدة قد أنجزت إنشاء قاعدة عسكرية للجيش الأميركي، في حرم القاعدة الجوية العراقية، التي كانت تسمّى H 3، والواقعة غرب الرطبة وإلى الشمال من الخط الدولي الرابط بين بغداد ودمشق وعمّان، كما تقوم بتنفيذ عمليات إنشائية لقاعدة عسكرية أخرى جنوب الخط الدولي بقليل، واللتين ستستقبلان بطاريات صواريخ «إسرائيلية» مضادّة للصواريخ بعد استكمال العمل فيهما.

كما انّ وحدات من القوات الخاصة الأميركية، التابعة للفرقة 101، تقوم بعمليات استطلاع واسعة ومتواصلة في محيط بلدة النخيب العراقية تمهيداً لإنشاء نقطة ارتكاز الى الجنوب الغربي من المدينة.

3 ـ أما حقيقة حالة الرعب الشديد، التي يعاني منها قادة دولة الاحتلال، فلا داعي للمزيد من الخوض في تفاصيلها. اذ انّ ما طلبه نتن ياهو من الرئيس بوتين، في التدخل لمنع إزالة الكيان الصهيوني من الوجود من قبل قوات حلف المقاومة، لهو الدليل الأنصع على الحالة النفسية التي يعيشها هذا الكيان، جمهوراً وقيادة.

4 ـ وفي ما يتعلق ببطاريات الصواريخ المضادة للصواريخ الأميركية، من طراز ثاد THAAD، التي أعلن عن وصولها العقيد جوناثان كونريكوس، الناطق باسم الجيش الإسرائيلي يوم 4/3/2019، فهي بطاريات موجودة في عدة قواعد جوية «إسرائيلية»، في جنوب ووسط البلاد، منذ مدة طويلة، وهي جزء من الدرع الصاروخية الأميركية، الموجه بشكل خاص ضدّ كلّ من روسيا والصين، ثم ضدّ إيران وكوريا الشمالية.

اذن فهي ليست بطاريات صاروخية وصلت قبل أيّام وإنما هي جزء من الحشد الاستراتيجي الأميركي الهادف لمحاصرة الصين وروسيا تمهيدا للعدوان عليهما أو على أحدهما.

ومن نافل القول طبعاً ان نؤكد على انّ القيادة الروسية على علم تامّ بأدق التفاصيل، عن هذا التواجد لقواعد الدرع الصاروخية الأميركية في «إسرائيل»، الأمر الذي يعني انّ روسيا لا تعتبر «إسرائيل» جزءاً من المخطط العسكري الأميركي المعادي لروسيا فحسب، بل انّ هذه القواعد، وغيرها طبعاً داخل الكيان، ستكون هدفاً للصواريخ الروسية، في حال حصول أي مواجهة عسكرية أميركية روسية، بسبب نشر الولايات المتحدة صواريخ نووية متوسطة المدى في أوروبا الشرقية.

اذن فالحقيقة هي انّ نتن ياهو لم يحصل على أية وعود من الرئيس الروسي بحماية كيانه، وهو يعيش كابوساً اسمه إيران وسيقوم بفبركة المزيد من الأكاذيب في محاولة منه لخداع جمهوره وتلبية مصالحه الشخصية مضحياً بكلّ ما عداها.

والله غالب على أمره ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلمون.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Russia Slides Towards Internal Political Crisis (MUST SEE SouthFront video report!)

Source

February 26, 2019

Saker note: a rather harsh criticism of the Russian Government and the Kremlin in this SouthFront analysis.  Sadly, I cannot say that I disagree with what they say.  In fact, I think that they are spot on and that all the “loyal” Kremlin-bots who deny that there is a serious problem in Russia are wrong.  Supporting Vladimir Putin’s struggle to truly make Russia sovereign again and built a new multi-polar world does not at all entail being blind to all the very real mistakes and even faults of the Russian government.  I can only say that I hope that SF is right and that the current lack of support of the Russian people of the government’s neo-liberal/capitalist policies will force Putin to correct the course and return to the kind of social policies the Russian people clearly want.  It is also high time for Russia to take a harsher stance on the Ukraine, if only because the situation in the Ukraine (political and economic) is a total disaster and because some kind of military escalation in the Ukraine seems inevitable.  All in all, yet another absolutely superb report by SouthFront who sober analysis contrasts favorably with what both flag-wavers and fear-mongers typically produce.

https://southfront.org/wp-content/plugins/fwduvp/content/video.php?path=https%3A%2F%2Fsouthfront.org%2Finternal-political-crisis-russia%2F&pid=1583

Transcript:

This is a critical look at the situation in Russia. The video is based on an article of one of our readers and additional data.

The Russia of 2019 is in a complicated economic and even political situation. Smoldering conflicts near its borders amid continued pressure from the US and NATO affect the situation in the country negatively. This is manifested in society and in national politics. The approval rating of the Russian government and personally of President Vladimir Putin has been decreasing.

According to VCIOM, a state pollster, in January 2019, Putin’s confidence rating was only 32.8%. This is 24% less than in January 2018 when it was 57.2%. At the same time, the confidence rating of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was 7.8%. The approval rating of his cabinet is 37.7% while the disapproval rating is 38.7%. Opposition sources show data, which is far worse for the current Russian leadership.

This tendency is not linked to the foreign policy course of the Kremlin. Rather, it’s the result of the recent series of liberal-minded economic reforms, which look similar to the approaches exercised by the Russian government in the mid-1990s. The decision to increase Value Added Tax amid the slowing Russian economy, especially in the industrial sector, and a very unpopular pension reform increasing the retirement age were both factors contributing to the further growth of discontent in the population.

Russia’s GDP increased by 2.3% in 2018 compared to 1.6% in 2017. However, the Ministry of Economic Development, in its document entitled “Economic Picture” stated that this is linked to “one-time factors” and is not “stable”. The ministry maintained its earlier forecast stating that GDP growth in 2019 will be 1.3%. It confirmed increasing capital outflow. In this case, the repayment of funds to Western creditors by the Russian private sector is one of the causes.

The Ministry of Economic Development also pointed out that the expendable income of the population decreased by 0.2%. Statutory charges, including the increased taxes, are named as one of the reasons. The document says that statutory charges grew by 14.8% in 2018.

Additionally, the population is facing an increasingly restrictive administrative pressure: new fines and other penalties for minor violations in various fields and additional administrative restrictions limiting the freedom of actions of citizens. Restrictive traffic management of big cities, increasing fees for using federal highways as well as policies that are de-facto aimed at small business and self-employed persons are among its landmarks.

Meanwhile the general population has no effective levers of pressure to affect or correct government policy. The public political sphere has become a desert. United Russia (Edinaya Rossiya) is the only political party still de—facto existing in public politics. By now its ideological and organizational capabilities have become exhausted. Other “political parties and organizations” are just media constructs designed to defend the interests of a narrow group of their sponsors. It is hard to find a lawmaker in the State Duma or the Federation Council, who is not affiliated with the cliquish top political elite and oligarch clans.

In the media sphere, the government has failed to explain its current course to the population. A vast majority of the initiatives of Medvedev’s cabinet face a negative reaction from the population. A spate of scandals involving high and middle level government officials made the situation even worse. These cases revealed blatant hypocrisy and the neglectful attitude to duties of some Russian officials.

Some of the officials even became heroes of nationwide memes. Probably, the most prominent of these heroes are Minister of Labour and Employment of the Saratov region Natalia Sokolova and Head of Department for Youth Policy in the Sverdlov Region Olga Glatskikh.

Sokolova advised Russian pensioners to eat “makaroshki” [a derogatory term for maccheroni] to save money and to thus become able to survive on the subsistence minimum of 3,500 RUB [about 50 USD] per month.

“You will become younger, prettier and slimmer! Makaroshki cost is always the same!”, she said during a meeting of the regional parliamentary group on social policy in October 2018 adding that discounted products can be used to create a “balanced, but dietic” menu.

Glatskikh became a meme hero thank to her meeting with young volunteers during the same month. Commenting on the possible financing of youth projects, she told volunteers that the government did not ask their parents “to give birth” to them. So, they should expect nothing from the state.

In the period from 2018 to 2019, there were multiple arrests of officials caught exceeding the limits of their authority and being involved in corruption schemes. In comparison to previous periods, this number had increased by 1.5-2 times. The most recent detention took place right in the Parliament building on January 30. A 32-year-old senator, Rauf Arashukov, is suspected of being a member of a criminal group involved in the 2010 murders of two people and in pressuring a witness to one of the killings. On the same day, authorities detained his father, an adviser to the chief executive of a Gazprom subsidiary, Raul Arashukov. He is suspected of embezzling natural gas worth 30 billion rubles ($450 million).

However, these actions do not appear to be enough to change the established media situation. After a large-scale corruption scandal in the Ministry of Defense in 2012, which led to almost no consequences for key responsible persons including former Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who even continued his carrier in state-linked corporation Rostec. The general public has serious reservations about any real success of anti-corruption efforts.

The aforementioned factors fuel the negative perception of the Medvedev government and Vladimir Putin as the head of state among Russian citizens.

The 2014 events in Crimea showed to the Russian population that its state is ready to defend the interests of the nation and those who describe themselves as Russians even by force of arms. This was the first case when this approach was openly employed in the recent history of Russia. Therefore, the population was enthusiastic and national pride was on the rise. However, the Kremlin failed to exploit these gained opportunities and did not use them to strengthen the Russian state. In fact, up to February 2019, the policy towards eastern Ukraine has been inconsistent. At the same time, Moscow continues to lose its influence in post-Soviet states. This can be observed in both the Caucasus and Central Asia. Even, their close ally, Belarus, occasionally demonstrates unfriendly behavior and focuses its own efforts on the exploitation of economic preferences granted by Russia.

Evaluating the current internal political situation in Russia and its foreign policy course, it’s possible to say that the Russian leadership has lost its clear vision of national development and a firm and consistent policy, which are needed for any great power. Another explanation of this is that the Russian leadership is facing pressure from multiple agents of influence, which stand against vision of a powerful independent state seeking to act as one of the centers of power on the global stage. One more factor, often pointed out by experts, is the closed crony-caste system of elites. This system led to the creation of a leadership, which pursues its own narrow clannish interests. Apparently, all of these factors influence Russian foreign and domestic policies in one way or another.

The aforementioned large-scale anti-corruption campaign, regarding the people’s show-me attitude towards its result, could be a sign of a new emerging trend, which would lead to a purge of the corrupt elites and to strategic changes in Russian domestic policy.

It is highly likely that Russia will face hard times in the next two years (2019-2020) and face various threats and challenges to its economy, foreign policy course and even to its statehood.

Russian Media Reveals 5 US Targets for ‘Zircon’ Missiles in Case of Aggression

February 24, 2019

Zircon missile

Russian media presented a list of five US decision making centers that will become likely targets for Russia’s Zircon hypersonic missiles deployed on submarines if Washington decides to attack Moscow using its missile arsenal.

According to State TV channel Russia-1, the Pentagon will be one of the primary targets because it houses top military command centers, as well the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The next target could be Camp David — the US president’s retreat, located around 100 kilometers from Washington. The place is equipped with a bunker and communications center called Site R.

Another possible target for Russian Zircons, according to the TV channel is Fort Ritchie, Maryland, which served as a support facility for Site R. It’s unclear why the channel included the base in its list, since it was officially closed in 1998.

Another target for Zircons named by the Russia-1 channel is McClellan Air Force Base, California, which officially ceased operating in 1995.

The last target, named by the Russian media was Jim Creek Naval Radio Station responsible for maintaining communications with US submarines in a submerged state, using very low frequency radio transmissions.

During his annual address to the Federal Assembly Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian submarines will be heavily equipped with 3M22 Zircon (NATO reporting name SS-N-33) hypersonic missiles that will be used to strike enemy decision making centers in the event of aggression against Russia

Rear Adm. Vsevolod Khmyrov said on 21 February that a Russian submarine is capable of firing 40 Zircons at once to successfully hit US-based Armed Forces’ control centers operating the missile systems deployed in Europe in the event Washington uses them to attack Russia.

Moscow insists, that anti-missile defense system Aegis Ashore presents a threat to Russia’s security and violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Source: Sputnik

%d bloggers like this: