Trump Pushes War with Iran

Trump Pushes War with Iran

By Finian Cunningham

November 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  Iran has responded furiously to what it called “reckless” Saudi threats after the latter accused Iran of “an act of war” in carrying out a long-range ballistic strike near the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Iran categorically denied any involvement in the missile attack at the weekend, which reports say was mounted by Houthi rebels in Yemen on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

However, the Saudi rulers were quick to accuse Iran of supplying the Houthi militants with the ballistic weapon and thereby carrying out an act of war on Saudi Arabia. No evidence was presented in support of the Saudi claims.

Nevertheless, the Saudi position was immediately backed up by US President Donald Trump who, while on a tour of Asia, asserted: “Iran just took a shot at Saudi Arabia.”

This automatic concurrence of views between Trump and the Saudi rulers suggests a level of concerted thinking by Washington and Riyadh, with the aim of incriminating Iran.

In other words, Saudi Arabia’s provocative accusations against Iran – which could serve as a pretext for a military escalation – are not just isolated bluster from Riyadh.

The alarming thing is that the Trump administration has been coordinating its hostile rhetoric towards Iran for several months now, along with Saudi Arabia and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu. All three allies have been using virtually the same talking-points, making hollow accusations against Iran of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the Middle East region.

Trump’s threat to tear up the international nuclear accord with Iran and the reimposition of economic sanctions is also part of what appears to be an agenda of stoking a confrontation with the Islamic Republic. Before its 1979 revolution, Iran was a loyal client regime of the US. Washington, it seems, has never gotten over the loss of its Persian vassal state.

So, when the Saudi rulers accuse Iran of “an act of war” over the missile strike at the weekend, that suggests another step being taken in furthering a concerted agenda worked out by the US, Israel and the Saudis for setting up a conflict.

All of this has to be put in a much bigger regional context in which there has been a dramatic shift in geopolitical power. Russia, Iran, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah have emerged as new dominant political forces in the strategically vital Middle East.

The defeat of the US-led axis, including Saudi Arabia and Israel, in the proxy war in Syria is a momentous setback. The newly established dominance of Russia and Iran is anathema to the US and its regional clients.

This why the US and its client regimes are seeking to sow conflict elsewhere in the region and towards Iran in particular. It’s a nefarious consolation prize for having their regime-change plans spectacularly upended in Syria by Russia and Iran.

When Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri was summoned to Saudi Arabia at the weekend to tender his resignation, it was obviously a ploy to smear Iran and its ally Hezbollah. Hariri claimed in a Saudi television broadcast that he was running for his life to escape an assassination plot hatched by Iran and Hezbollah.

The sensationalist claims made by Hariri were dismissed by Iran as ridiculous. Even Lebanese President Michel Aoun treated the claims with derision, saying that he expects Hariri to return to Beirut immediately and explain his “surprise” resignation while standing in his own country, not from a TV studio in some foreign capital.

But the point is that the Saudi-Hariri publicity stunt appears to be yet another step in a concerted agenda to destabilize the region and provoke a confrontation with Iran.

Amid the turmoil over the past week, the Saudi royal family has embarked on a major purge of potential rivals within the kingdom. The purge is purportedly an “anti-corruption” crackdown. But it’s clear from the list of senior royals being arrested and detained that King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), are making an ambitious power grab to consolidate their autocratic rule.

MbS, the 32-year-old heir to the Saudi throne, has emerged as a vitriolic enemy of Iran, promising earlier this year that he would “take the battle to Iranian territory”. Saudi rulers and their Wahhabi fundamentalist version of Islam have always viewed Shia Iran as an apostate nation. But MbS has taken this traditional sectarian hostility to a higher level. And with Trump’s dubious blessing.

It is evident that the Saudi rulers are working hand-in-hand with the Trump administration and the Israeli leadership to deeply poison relations with Iran.

Trump’s first overseas visit as president was to Saudi Arabia, followed by Israel, during which he singled out and denigrated Iran as the region’s “number one” villain.

While dozens of Saudi royals, including government ministers, were being arrested over the weekend, Trump reportedly gave his tacit endorsement in a phone call with King Salman and the Crown Prince, according to the New York Times.

The NY Times also reported that only days before the crackdown, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner was in Saudi Arabia where he met with the rulers. There seems little doubt therefore that Trump was fully briefed on the forthcoming “night of the long knives” and that he gave a nod of approval.

What this points to is that the Trump administration is indulging the Saudi power grab as a quid quo pro in firming up the anti-Iran axis of Washington-Riyadh-Tel Aviv.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has long been urging a pre-emptive military strike against Iran. The previous US administration under Barack Obama rebuffed that belligerence, pursuing diplomacy instead with Iran, which resulted in the international nuclear deal that was signed in July 2015, along with Russia, China and the European Union.

Now, sinisterly, there is a wholly different and dangerous triumvirate in place – in the form of Trump, an ambitious young Saudi prince, and Netanyahu – all espousing overt hostility towards Iran.

The level of coordination in this US-led axis leaves one with the stark conclusion that Trump is willingly pushing a war with Iran.

It is just one more illustration of how destructive and nihilistic US foreign policy is in the Middle East.

Wars, deaths, violence, sectarian hatred never seem to satisfy Washington’s bloodlust.

But in taking on Iran, American intrigue may meet its final downfall. Especially too because the people of the region are increasingly becoming aware of how malicious American power operates.

Along with Iran, Russia has been vindicated as a power whose foreign policy is one of seeking genuine partnership and stability. A US-led war against Iran will be seen as a last desperate act of a decrepit American empire.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation –

See also – Trump may have pushed Saudi Arabia and Iran closer to war

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Anglo-American War Plan for North Korea

By Finian Cunningham

October 12, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The United States and Britain – the two countries responsible for so many recent wars and conflicts – are at it again. This time, the diabolical double-act has North Korea in its sights, despite the risk that such an attack could ignite a global nuclear war.

Over the past week, US President Donald Trump has sharpened his bellicose rhetoric towards North Korea, now declaring that “only one thing works” in regard to the security crisis over the Korean Peninsula. That “one thing”, according to Trump, is evidently the “military option”.

For the past several months, the Trump administration has indeed repeatedly threatened the North Korean state led by Kim Jong-un with military force over the latter’s nuclear weapons program. But the American threats have always been conveyed in the context that other options, including diplomacy, were also being considered, or even preferred.

Now Trump is openly admitting that the apparent option of diplomacy is no longer on the table. It’s a belated admission by Trump that the diplomatic option was only ever a cynical charade, not under genuine consideration.

Washington is instead moving towards war with North Korea.

Adding to the gravity of the moment are reports in the British media that Britain’s military chiefs have drawn up plans for deploying forces along with the US against North Korea.

British military chiefs are quoted as saying that they are ready to dispatch a new aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, as well as several destroyers and frigates, to the Korean Peninsula in support of its US ally.

Just last week Britain’s defense secretary Michael Fallon also delivered a belligerent speech to the Conservative Party conference in which he declared readiness to order “warships, aircraft and troops” in support of the US and other allies.

Fallon repeated earlier warnings that his government was fully prepared to order a first-strike nuclear attack against North Korea or any other “enemy state”.

The British minister accused North Korea of threatening Britain’s national security, saying that “Manchester and London are closer to Pyongyang than Los Angeles”.

Fallon’s shrill rhetoric echoed the scaremongering claims once made by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair back in 2003 when he justified the imminent Anglo-American war on Iraq because then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was allegedly capable of mounting a missile attack on Britain “within 45 minutes”. Blair’s war pretext turned out to be a vile fraud.

Britain’s long-standing readiness to join in American military operations around the world is a convenient political-legal cover that gives the impression of “an international coalition” acting in supposed defense of “the international community”.

But the historical record shows that such Anglo-American militarism is nothing other than illegal aggression carried out by Washington and London, which has led to the ruination of whole nations and the unleashing of sectarian conflicts and terrorism. The British-aided American wars against Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 continue to wreak havoc across the Middle East today.

Yet, in spite of these disasters, not to say criminal wars, Britain’s defense secretary “Sir” Michael Fallon arrogantly asserts that “we should not be squeamish” about committing to further military deployments elsewhere, and in particular with regard to North Korea.

This coupling of American and British military power focused on North Korea is an ominous sign that the Anglo-American war machine is cranking up again.

Earlier this month, President Trump issued an extraordinary rebuke to his secretary of state Rex Tillerson over the latter’s public comments about pursuing diplomatic contacts with North Korea. Trump rebuffed Tillerson for “wasting his time” in negotiations with Pyongyang.

Since then Trump has gone on to sharpen the rhetoric to the point now where he is saying the US is considering “only one option” – a military strike on North Korea.

Last week, while hosting US military leaders and their spouses at a dinner in the White House, Trump made the menacing remark that the gathering was the “calm before the storm”. He subsequently refused to clarify what he meant by that cryptic remark.

A couple of days later on October 7, Trump then declared through his usual Twitter feed that diplomacy with North Korea was over. He said the past 25 years of diplomacy under previous administrations had failed, adding, “only one thing will work!”

This is while the US is sending the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier and a full battle group of warships towards the Korean Peninsula to commence joint operations with allied South Korean forces over the coming days.

It also follows this week long-distance practice bombing raids by US strategic B1-B Lancer warplanes over the Korean Peninsula. It was reportedly the first time that these US warplanes were accompanied by both South Korean and Japanese fighter jets in the same maneuver.

When Trump and his officials, including defense secretary James Mattis, have previously warned of using military force against North Korea they have let it be known that the action would be “overwhelming” and “catastrophic”. This can be understood to mean the US using nuclear weapons in any action against Pyongyang.

Trump is now positioning the US on an all-out war footing against North Korea by contriving a situation whereby diplomacy has been forfeited.

This is a heinous travesty. American diplomacy towards North Korea to settle the decades-old conflict on the Peninsula has never been genuinely pursued, not under Trump nor previous administrations.

Trump is accelerating US war plans on North Korea. US Pentagon chief James Mattis this week warned American forces to be ready for action and said military plans were being furnished for Trump. Mattis’ willingness to defer to Trump shows that this is a government policy, not merely the depraved recklessness of a lunatic president.

The fact too that Britain, America’s loyal war accomplice, is concurrently drawing up military contingencies over North Korea is a disturbing indicator of how far the Anglo-American war machine is gearing up.

Both Russia and China have repeatedly urged restraint by all parties. This week, Moscow said the US naval build-up around the Korean Peninsula was a dangerous escalation. Russia also said that the newly deployed US anti-missile THAAD system in South Korea was targeting its territory, as well as that of North Korea and China.

If the US and Britain go ahead with their war plans on North Korea, as seems likely, they will ignite a war that threatens the whole planet.

How quintessentially Anglo-American is the arrogance and criminality.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by Strategic Culture Foundation –

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 18.08.2017 | OPINION

As Russia-Gate Story Stalls, Cue Trump Neo-Nazi Scandal

The political opponents of President Trump have found a new lever for sabotaging his presidency – his alleged embrace of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. He is now being labelled a «sympathizer» of fascists and bringing America’s international image into disrepute. Cue the impeachment proceedings.

Notably, the same power-nexus that opposed Trump from the very outset of his presidency is vociferously condemning his alleged racist leanings. Pro-Democrat media like the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN can’t give enough coverage to Trump «the racist», while the intelligence community and Pentagon have also weighed in to rebuke the president. Former CIA chief John Brennan said Trump’s comments on racial violence were a «national security risk».

This is not meant to minimize the ugliness of the various Neo-Nazi fringe groups that have lately rallied across Southern US states. Trump’s wrongheaded remarks which appeared to lay equal blame on anti-fascist protesters for deadly violence last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, were deplorable.

However, the concerted, massive media campaign to nail Trump as some kind of new Fuhrer seems way over the top. The media frenzy smacks of Deep State opponents scouring for a handy new pretext for ousting him from office.

The enthusiasm for whipping up the new anti-Trump campaign seems due in large part because the erstwhile Russia-gate story has patently failed to gain any traction. For nearly seven months since Trump’s inauguration, the relentless claims pushed by Democrats, the media and anonymous intelligence sources that his election last November was enabled by Russian interference have shown little impact in terms of discrediting Trump and ultimately forcing him out of the White House. The Russia-gate theme has failed in its soft coup objective.

Back in January, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration, the US intelligence agencies claimed that Russia had interfered in the presidential election with the aim of promoting Trump’s victory over Democrat rival Hillary Clinton. But seven months on, no evidence has ever been produced to support that sensational claim.

Despite this absence of «killer evidence» to damage Trump as a Russian stooge, the Congress continues to hold investigations into the vapid allegations. And, separately, a «special prosecutor» – former FBI chief Robert Mueller – continues to expand his investigation, forming a grand jury and this week opening enquiries into White House staff.

Thus the whole Russia-gate affair is in danger of becoming a giant farce from the lack of evidence. With so little to show for their herculean efforts to trap Trump as a «Russian patsy», his political opponents, including prominent media organizations, are at risk of being seen as ridiculous hoaxers.

A telltale sign of how bankrupt the Russia-gate story is was the publication of a lengthy article in Wired earlier this month. The California-based online magazine proclaims to be a cutting-edge technology publication. Wired is published by Condé Nast, a global American company, whose other prestige titles include Vogue, Vanity Fair andNew Yorker. With a claimed monthly readership of 30 million, and an editorial staff of over 80, Wired is supposed to be a global leader in new technology and communications.

According to its advertising blurb, «Wired is where tomorrow is realized», adding: «It is the essential source of information and ideas that make sense of a world in constant transformation».

Therefore, as a US technology forum, this publication is supposed to be the elite in insider information and «nerdy journalism». With these high claims in mind, we then turn excitedly to its article published on August 8 with the headline: «A guide to Russia’s high tech tool box for subverting US democracy».

On reading it, the entire article is a marathon in hackneyed cliches of Russophobia. It is an appalling demonstration of how threadbare are the claims of Russian hacking into the US election last year. Citing US intelligence sources, the Wired article is a regurgitation of unsubstantiated assertions that Russian state agencies hacked into the Democratic National Committee last July and subsequently used whistleblower site Wikileaks to disseminate damaging information against Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton.

«According to US investigators», says Wired, «the hack of the DNC’s servers was apparently the work of two separate Russian teams, one from the GRU [military intelligence] and one from the FSB [state security service], neither of which appears to have known the other was also rooting around in the Democratic Party’s files. From there, the plundered files were laundered through online leak sites like WikiLeaks and DCLeaks… Their impact on the 2016 election was sizable, yielding months of damaging headlines».

Nowhere in the Wired article is any plausible technical detail presented to back up the hacking claims. It relies on US intelligence «assessments» and embellishment with quotes from think tanks and anonymous diplomats whose anti-Russia bias is transparent.

Wired’s so-called Russian «tool box for subverting US democracy» covers much more than the alleged hacking into the DNC. It accuses Russia of using news media, diplomats, criminal underworld networks, blackmail and assassinations as an arsenal of hybrid warfare to undermine Western democracy.

Wired declares: «And they are self-reinforcing, because in Russia the intelligence apparatus, business community, organized crime groups, and media distribution networks blend together, blurring and erasing the line between public and private-sector initiatives and creating one amorphous state-controlled enterprise to advance the personal goals of Vladimir Putin and his allies».

This is an astoundingly sweeping depiction of Russia in the most slanderous, pejorative terms. Basically, Wired is claiming that the entire Russian state is a criminal enterprise. The Russophobia expressed in the article is breathtaking – and this is in a magazine that is supposed to be a leader in technology-intelligence.

Wired tells its readers of Russia having a «Grand Strategy» – to undermine Western democracies, and multilateral alliances from NATO to the European Union.

With foreboding, it warns: «[T]he Putin regime’s systematic effort to undermine and destabilize democracies has become the subject of urgent focus in the West… the biggest challenge to the Western order since the fall of the Berlin Wall».

The salient point here is that despite its grandiose professional claims, Wired provides nothing of substance to support the narrative that Russia hacked into the US election. If a supposed cutting-edge technology magazine can’t deliver on technical details, then that really does demonstrate just how bankrupt the whole Russia-gate story is.

Moreover, another nail in the coffin for the Russia-gate narrative was recently provided by a respected group of former US intelligence officers called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Last month, the group wrote to President Trump with their expert analysis that the DNC incident was not a hack conducted via the internet, but rather that the information came from a DNC insider. In other words, the information was a leak, not a hack, in which the data was transferred by person out of the DNC offices on a memory disk. In that case, Russian agents or any other internet agents could not have possibly been involved. The key finding in the VIPS analysis is that the information obtained from the DNC computers was so vast in file size, it could not have been downloaded over the internet in the time period indicated by meta-data.

It is relevant that Wikileaks editor Julian Assange has consistently denied US intelligence and media claims that his source was Russian hackers. Also, former British ambassador Craig Murray has confirmed that he knows the identity of the source for Wikileaks and that, as the dissenting veteran US intelligence people have assessed, the information was leaked, not hacked.

In sum, the Russia-gate story that the US Deep State and media have peddled non-stop for seven months is on its knees gasping for lack of credibility.

Even a supposed top technology publication, Wired, is embarrassingly vacant of any details on how alleged Russian hackers are supposed to have interfered in the US election to get Trump into the White House. As if to compensate for its dearth of detail, the Wired publication pads out its «big story» with hackneyed Russophobia worthy of a corny James Bond knock-off.

Not only that, but now technical details and expert analysis are emerging from credible former US intelligence personnel who are verifying that the Russia-gate story is indeed a hoax.

The Deep State and other political/media opponents of Trump are inevitably scrabbling for alternative means of sabotaging his presidency. They are finding that the Russia-gate ploy to get Trump out of the White House is in danger of collapsing from lack of evidence and from the emergence of a plausible explanation for the DNC breach that damaged Clinton’s election campaign. The bottomline is: it wasn’t the Russians, so all the hype about Trump being a Russian stooge is a case of fake news, just as Trump has long maintained.

The imminent death of the Russia-gate «scandal» is giving way to the next orchestrated campaign to oust Trump in the form of allegations that the president is a «Neo-Nazi sympathizer». Trump’s nationalistic America First views may be suspect, even reprehensible in their wider association. That’s not the point. The point is the concerted, orchestrated way that the Deep State will rail-road the new campaign to oust Trump in place of the failing Russia-gate ploy. The contempt for democratic process raises the question of who the more dangerous American fascists are?

Trump Putin Up Against US Deep State

By Finian Cunningham

July 09, 2017 “Information Clearing House” –  It was pleasing to see Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin greet each other cordially at the G20 summit. After their breakthrough first meeting, one hopes the two leaders have a personal foundation for future cooperation.

At a later press conference in Hamburg, where the G20 summit was held, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he believed there was a chance for restoring the badly frayed US-Russia relations. He praised Trump for being thoughtful and rational. “The TV Trump is quite different from the real life one,” quipped Putin.

Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement hailing the two-hour discussion (four times longer than originally scheduled) between the two leaders as a good start to working together on major world problems.

“No problems were solved. Nobody expected any problems to be solved in that meeting. But it was a beginning of a dialogue on some tough problem sets that we’ll begin now to work on together,” said HR McMaster, Trump’s top national security adviser.

Trump deserves credit for the way he conducted himself. He met Putin on equal terms and with respect. “It’s an honor to meet you,” said the American president as he extended a handshake.

The much-anticipated encounter comes nearly seven months after Trump was inaugurated in the White House. Over that period, large sections of the US media have run an unrelenting campaign accusing Trump of being a Russian stooge and alleging that Putin ordered an interference operation in last year’s US election to benefit Trump.

Apart from innuendo and anonymous US intelligence claims, recycled endlessly by dutiful news organizations, there is no evidence of either Trump-Russia collusion or Putin-sanctioned cyber hacking. Trump has dismissed the claims as “fake news”, while Moscow has consistently rejected the allegations as baseless Russophobia.

Against this toxic background of anti-Russian propaganda, President Trump met Putin at the weekend. The two men were due to talk face-to-face for 30 minutes. As it turned out, their discussions went on for two hours. They reportedly exchanged views on pressing matters of Syria, Ukraine and North Korea among other things. Trump brought up the issue of alleged Russian meddling in the US elections, and Putin responded in detail to assure his American counterpart it was a fabricated brouhaha in which Russia had nothing to do with it.

Only days before the big meeting, US media editorialists and pundits were warning Trump to confront Putin in an aggressive manner. The Washington Post, one of the leading anti-Russia voices, exhortedTrump to rap Putin on “US election meddling” as if the claim was a proven fact. It also urged the president to give notice to Putin that Russia had to accede to regime change in Syria. It was a get-tough order.

To his credit, Trump did not allow the Russophobia in the US media to influence his manner with Putin. He was cordial, respectful and open to listening to the Russian viewpoint on a range of issues. So much so that it appears both leaders have agreed to work together going forward.

The question now is: what next? Trump and Putin have evidently got off to a good start despite the inordinate delay and toxic background. But what does Trump’s willingness to engage positively with Moscow actually mean in practice?

The US Deep State comprising the military-intelligence nexus and their political, media machine in Washington does not want to normalize relations with Russia. Russian independence as a powerful foreign state under President Putin is a problem that rankles US global ambitions. That’s why the Deep State wanted anti-Russia hawk Hillary Clinton to win the election. Trump’s victory upset their calculations.

Under immense pressure, Trump has at times appeared to buckle to the US political establishment with regard to projecting hostility towards Russia, as seen in the prosecution of the covert war in Syria and renewed sanctions on Moscow.

The day before he met Putin in Germany, Trump was in Poland where he delivered a barnstorming speech in Warsaw in which he accused Russia of “destabilizing countries”, among other topics.  The American president also inferred that Russia was undermining “Western civilization”. It was provocative speech bordering on hackneyed Russophobia. It did not bode well for his imminent meeting with Putin. A clash seemed to be coming, just as the US media had been cajoling.

However, the meeting the next day with Putin was surprisingly congenial. And the substance of discussions indicates a genuine desire from both sides to cooperate.

It is good that both presidents have struck up a rapport and personal understanding. Nevertheless, it is important to not bank too much on that.

Immediately following the constructive meeting between the leaders, the US media started cranking up the Russophobia again. The US media are vents for Deep State hostility towards Trump and his agenda for normalizing relations with Moscow.

The New York Times reported another breathless story about Trump’s election campaign having contact with “Kremlin-connected” people. CNN ran opinion pieces on how the president had fallen into a trap laid by Putin.

It is hard to stomach this outlandish confabulation that passes for journalism. And it is astounding that a friendly meeting between leaders of nuclear powers should not be received as a good development.

But it shows that Trump his up against very powerful deep forces within the US establishment who do not want a normalization with Russia. The US Deep State depends on confrontation, war and endless militarism for its existence. It also wants a world populated by vassals over which US corporations have suzerainty. An independent Russia or China or any other foreign power cannot be tolerated because that upends American ambitions for unipolar hegemony.

Trump’s encounter with Putin was commendable because he did not succumb to toxic Russophobia and adopt a stupid, mindless tough-guy posture. Instead, Trump reached out to Putin in a genuine way, as two human beings should do.

The US Deep State is not about humanity or understanding. It is about maintaining perceived dominance over other humans, where anyone seen to be an obstacle is disposed of in the most ruthless way.

President John F Kennedy was assassinated in broad daylight by the US Deep State because he dared to seek a normalization and peaceful coexistence with Moscow. The Deep State does not want normalization or peace with Russia or anyone else for that matter because there are too many lucrative vested interests in maintaining the war machine that is American capitalism.

This is not to predict a violent demise for Trump. The Deep State has other methods, such as the orchestration of media and other dirty tricks.

Trump’s friendly overtures to Russia are at least a promising sign. But given the power structure of the US, and its incorrigible belligerence, it is doubtful that Trump will be allowed to go beyond promises. If he attempts to, we can expect the dark forces to step up.

What needs to change is the US power structure through a democratic revolt. Until that happens, any president in the White House is simply a hostage to the dark forces of the Deep State.

This article was first published by Sputnik News 

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.

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Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 02.07.2017 | OPINION

Trump-Putin’s Moment of Truth

The forthcoming meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit has got to be the most anticipated political moment of the year. The handshake, smiles, body language and words will all be scrutinized to parse significance in the encounter between the leaders of the world’s two superpowers.

Sections of the American media will no doubt be looking for secret signals between «agent Trump» and the former «KGB spy Putin» to confirm their suspicions it was the Kremlin that orchestrated the US presidential election to get Trump into the White House. That spy-thriller narrative has been running non-stop in prominent US news outlets – and yet six months after Trump’s inauguration not even a single bit of hard evidence has emerged to support the allegations of collusion. It’s a spy fantasy that has taken on a life of its own, which even the CNN channel – one of the biggest purveyors of the Trump-Russia trope – has recently been caught out disclosing quietly that it’s a «nothing burger».

Nonetheless, on a more serious level, the meeting between Trump and Putin on the sidelines of the G20 summit next weekend will have a «moment of truth» quality. It’s their first encounter, although the two leaders have held at least two phone conversations in the past six months.

Confirming that the Trump-Putin one-on-one is scheduled during the Hamburg summit, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that the meeting will «clarify» the state of bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow.

«We expect the Hamburg meeting between our presidents to clarify the prospects for Russian-US cooperation», said Lavrov speaking in Moscow last Friday at the Primakov Readings conference.

The tone of anticipation in Moscow is understandable. As Lavrov pointed out, the relation between the US and Russia is critical for addressing a wide range of pressing global issues. Yet, as he noted, that relation has been distorted into an «abnormal» state because it is «held hostage by domestic political struggles in the US».

When Trump was campaigning for the presidency, he pitched himself as being a leader who would return US-Russia relations to a new normal of friendly cooperation. This contrasted with his Democrat rival Hillary Clinton who was vowing to take a tough confrontational line on Moscow over international issues like Ukraine and Syria. It is a fair assumption that Trump won the election partly because the American electorate preferred his ticket of restoring relations with Russia. After decades of reckless overseas wars, the American voters did not want more of Clinton’s jingoistic posturing.

However, since Trump entered the White House, the promised normalization of US-Russia relations has not materialized. Indeed, with the imposition of new rounds of economic sanctions by Washington and the stepped-up US military intervention in Syria, one could say that relations have deteriorated even further.

Both sides acknowledge that relations between the world’s two largest nuclear powers have sunk to a worrying level. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov openly stated the deplorable situation during their first bilateral meeting in Moscow earlier this year in April.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently said in an interview with American film director Oliver Stone that there has been no discernible improvement in bilateral relations between the US and Russia since Trump became president.

This is in spite of the fact that both the White House and the Kremlin have expressed a desire to seek better relations.

Of course, much of US policy towards Russia is out of Trump’s control. The hawkish Republican and Democrat dominated Congress is pushing through more hostile anti-Russia sanctions independent of Trump’s personal views. The latest bill on increasing sanctions has been tabled in such a way that it curtails Trump’s ability to use his executive power to revoke sanctions.

Also, what we are seeing too are the limits of US democracy. The people may have voted for a president who wants to pursue friendlier relations with Russia, but the American political establishment and its powerful media organizations refuse to accept that democratic expression. The US establishment and large sections of the military-security apparatus wanted Clinton and her Cold War-style foreign policy to win the election. She lost. But the powers-that-be then resorted to Plan B of coercing the new president into adopting its policy goal of hostility toward Russia.

Is Trump being held hostage by the American «deep state» and its influential media machine? No doubt there seems to be a big factor of that at play here. But it is still not clear what Trump’s own intentions are. As well as the Congress slapping on new harsher sanctions against Russia, Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also signed off on a separate round of punitive measures. Surely, if the White House had an intention of normalizing relations with the Kremlin then Trump could have stopped the Treasury from hatching more sanctions?

There is also the question of Trump’s policy on Syria. The ratcheting up of air strikes on Syria under Trump’s watch has escalated tensions with Russia which, rightly, views the American military attacks as a grave violation of Syrian sovereignty and international law. Russia has even intimated that future US air strikes will not be tolerated. Will Trump heed this warning, or is he intent on provoking an all-out confrontation with Syria’s ally, Russia?

Trump’s meeting with Putin in Hamburg will certainly be a moment to watch, if not exactly a vaunted moment of truth. If Trump does adopt a tough-guy posture, then it suggests that the US president is indeed a hostage to reactionary anti-Russia circles in Washington. In a pathetic way, he will be seen has having been cowed by the obsessive Russophobia that is deranging US government.

Alternatively, the bets are that Trump will greet Putin with gusto and a cordial vibe. But in that case the moment will also be telling. In the context of ongoing provocative hostility towards Russia in Washington, the «friendly Trump» shows that he is a non-entity president. Someone who really has no power and ultimately cannot be trusted to make meaningful policy.

Either way, the real moment of truth will be that US democracy is a fiction.

Saudi Hijinks, US Policy Stinks

June 22, 2017

US President Donald Trump - Saudi King Salman

Finian Cunningham

The whimsical Saudi rulers are playing musical chairs again, with the king’s favorite son jumping the succession queue in what some observers have called a “soft coup” to become heir to the oil kingdom throne.

The medieval-like House of Saud has always been a lynchpin in US foreign policy for the Middle East. More so under President Donald Trump who has struck up a chummy relationship with the young Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This relationship is like the blind leading the blind. No wonder US policy is fast becoming a disaster for the restive region.

America’s deepening and reckless military involvement in Syria is a result of Trump cozying up with the Saudi despots. That, in turn, is leading to the US brazenly flying air force cover for Saudi-sponsored terrorists in Syria at the risk of going to war with Russia and Iran. Russia has warned that any more US shoot-downs of Syrian jets will not be tolerated.

This week the obscurantist Saudi rulers decided to shake up their bizarre rules of succession in the kingdom. The ailing King Salman (81) decreed, overnight, that his heir Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef would no longer be the heir. Bin Nayef was pushed aside, to be replaced by the king’s own son, Mohammed bin Salman.

At age 31, the new Crown Prince could soon become the future Saudi ruler who will govern the country for the next half century. On one hand, the shake-up is aimed at giving the impression of stability in a strategic American ally, given that, potentially, Mohammed bin Salman could rule for several decades to come, owing to his youthful age.

On the other hand, however, the upending of Saudi succession rules is fraught with risk that the Arab state could become even more unstable from internal power rivalries and social discontent. Not to mention that the country has already become more embroiled in regional problems with neighbors Yemen, Qatar and Iran. All of which stems from the rapid elevation of the young prince to a position of immense autocratic power.

The United States’ decades-long “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia has always carried major downsides. Yes, the Saudis are a pillar in maintaining the American petrodollar system to prevent the collapse of the US economy; and, yes, the Saudi rulers are lavish spenders on US weapons, which props up the Pentagon military-industrial complex – another lifeline for American capitalism.

However, the Saudi rulers are also longtime sponsors of Wahhabi fundamentalism which has injected deadly sectarian poison into the Middle East region and beyond. Washington is complicit in fomenting sectarianism through its relationship with Saudi Arabia, and the price for that Faustian pact is a world in turmoil from terrorism.

Donald Trump’s presidency is an unfortunate marriage of interests with Saudi Arabia. Trump is capricious, ignorant and impetuous. His understanding of international relations and history seems woefully inadequate. He also appears to be unscrupulous and reckless. It’s all about making money that matters to him.

From the earliest opportunity, the Saudi prince wheedled his way into Trump’s court. He was greeted in the White House back in March, one of the first foreign leaders to do so. Then two months later, Trump ventured on his maiden foreign trip as president in which he made Saudi Arabia his first stop. Trump was royally received by the House of Saud with sword-waving ceremony. And then the Saudis signed record arms deal with the US worth up to $350 billion – the biggest ever in history.

It was during Trump’s Saudi visit that the policy of increased hostility towards Iran and isolation of erstwhile Saudi and American ally Qatar was hatched. This reckless, clueless embrace of Saudi Arabia by Trump has led to a dangerous escalation in tensions across the Middle East, which are seen playing out in Syria and towards Iran and Russia.

Trump the tycoon and the Saudi upstart-prince are a duo who are plunging the world into danger of all-out war. The pair are a match made in hell, both being rash and irresponsible in their behavior.

Nobody outside Saudi Arabia had heard of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman until his father become king in January 2015 on the death of King Abdullah. In the space of two years, the young prince has been made defense minister and de facto chief of Saudi’s oil economy. Now, this week he has been shunted into becoming heir to the throne, sidelining his elder cousin and nephew to the king.

The precocious prince has only enjoyed this meteoric rise in the House of Saud because of his father’s favoritism. Other more senior royals feel ousted and see the new Crown Prince as undeserving of his assigned authority. In short, he is out of his depth.

In the Saudi succession rules, the royal line is supposed to pass from brother to brother. There are still surviving brothers of the Saudi founding king, Ibn Saud, who have been removed from the succession. The present King Salman first broke the rules when he made his nephew Mohammed bin Nayef the Crown Prince back in April 2015. Now he has broken the rules again by making his own son the heir and unceremoniously pushing bin Nayef to the side. Such are the hijinks of despots.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the architect behind the disastrous war in Yemen, which is turning into a Vietnam-style quagmire for Saudi Arabia, costing the kingdom billions of dollars every month. He is also reportedly the architect behind the policy of renewed hostility towards Iran. In an interview before Trump’s Saudi trip, Mohammed bin Salman said he would never talk to Iran and even threatened to unleash violence on Iranian territory. That threat was followed by the deadly terror attack in Tehran on June 7 in which up to 17 people were killed by Daesh suicide squads.

The hiked-up hostile policy towards Iran has, in turn, led to Saudi Arabia blockading Qatar and causing a bitter rift in the Persian Gulf because Qatar is perceived as being too soft on Iran.

The power-struggle antics among the absolute rulers of the House of Saud have promoted a prince who has a reckless outsized ego and lust for dominance. President Donald Trump seems cut from the same cloth. Courting the young Saudi heir may be lucrative for American weapons-dealing and no doubt the Trump business brand in the oil-rich region. But the consequences of such capricious and clueless “leadership” are throwing the region and the world into increasing conflict.

This week the US State Department flatly contradicted Trump’s policy of supporting the Saudi-led blockade on Qatar. It said it was mystified that the Saudis had not presented any evidence to justify the blockade. This is just one example where Trump is being made to look a total fool by following stupid Saudi policy – policy that is made by a prince who has gathered a record for disaster in several other spheres.

What a double act. Saudi despotism marries Trump cluelessness. And the world is reaping the calamity of clowns.

Almanar.com.lb is not responsible for the content of this article. All opinions expressed are solely those of the author

Source: Sputnik

Corbyn’s Labour Triumph Despite UK Election Defeat

 

Corbyn’s Labour Triumph Despite UK Election Defeat

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 10.06.2017 | OPINION

Corbyn’s Labour Triumph Despite UK Election Defeat

Finian CUNNINGHAMAgainst all the odds, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn scored a landmark victory of sorts in the British general election. Under his leadership, he has brought the party back as a major political force with future momentum.

Only a few weeks ago, he was written off as a «loony left» no-hoper who would crash the Labour party into oblivion. This week, however, his confident socialist manifesto has been vindicated as a winner among voters, especially the younger ones. That bodes well for the future.

Granted, Labour did not win the election with an outright majority. But the dramatic gains in new parliamentary seats brings the party into a position where it is able to propose forming a minority government if the ruling Conservatives implode from infighting.

For the Conservative party under Prime Minister Theresa May the result is a «disaster», reported Bloomberg News. The rightwing Sun blasted its front page with one word playing on the premier’s name: ‘Mayhem’. While the more sober pro-Conservative Daily Telegraph headlined gravity of the setback with: ‘May’s gamble backfires’.

Back in April, Theresa May was so confident of thrashing Labour at the ballots she made the extraordinary call to hold a snap election – three years ahead of the scheduled parliamentary cycle. May, who took over from David Cameron last year after his Brexit referendum debacle, wanted to boost her mandate with an election victory carried under her own leadership.

When she called the early election, her party enjoyed a 20-plus point lead ahead of Labour in various opinion polls. However, that lead was slashed over the weeks running up to election held this week, to the point where Labour has managed to increase its national share of the votes to 40 per cent compared with the Conservatives, who won 42 per cent, according to a BBC summary report.

That outcome marks a stupendous personal victory for Corbyn’s style and substance of leadership. It wasn’t just the opposition Conservatives and largely rightwing British media who were denigrating him as a «Marxist» and «terrorist sympathizer». Many of his own parliamentarians on the Blairite right of the Labour party were casting him as a «loser» and dead-end throwback to the party’s traditional socialist policies. It was being predicted that Corbyn would be sacked in the anticipated electoral wipe-out. As it turns out though, Labour under Corbyn has soared with the voters. He has ignited a new political energy across Britain, especially among younger voters, to give socialist ideals a renaissance.

In terms of seat numbers, Labour won some 30 new parliamentarians, while the Conservatives lost 13 seats. Rather than increasing its majority, Theresa May’s party has ended up losing its overall majority. It can only form a minority government if it manages to negotiate a working coalition with one of the fringe parties, such as the Democratic Unionists from Northern Ireland who have 10 seats. It’s hardly a ringing endorsement of stable government.

If the Conservatives fail to produce a working minority government, then in theory Labour could form an alternative administration if it can align with the Scottish Nationalists and the Liberal Democrats in an ad hoc progressive alliance. Corbyn said after the result that his party is «ready to serve the country».

It’s hard to overstate the scale of defeat for Theresa May. The BBC called the result for her «humiliating». And while she might remain as prime minister in the short term in order to maintain a modicum of political stability in British governance, the knives are already out for her ouster among rivals within her party. The gaffe-prone foreign secretary Boris Johnson is being touted as the next Conservative leader and premier.

May gambled that a strong electoral win would give her more leverage to negotiate the Brexit from the European Union on more advantageous terms for Britain. As it transpires, the Brexit process is now thrown into even more disarray because of May’s diminished mandate. Those negotiations between Brussels and London were set to begin later this month. But it seems that the talks will have to be put on hold – much to the annoyance of EU leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel. It can be expected that the EU will drive a tough bargain and not give Britain the concessions on trade and immigration control it was rather arrogantly demanding.

May’s pitch to the voters of electing a «strong leader» to negotiate a super Brexit deal with Brussels just didn’t deliver.

Labour under Corbyn is also committed to leaving the EU as per the referendum result last July, even though the party campaigned on a remain ticket. May’s calculation that voters would view him as unreliable was way off target.

What seems to have mattered most to British voters was not the politics of Brexit, but rather the more traditional issues of socio-economic concerns and class interests.

Corbyn bravely put forward a Labour manifesto which confidently called for socialist policies such as a progressive tax on the wealthy, increased government spending on public services and social welfare, and generally shifting governing power in favor of the working majority of people, the unemployed, the elderly and poor. In many ways, it was a complete repudiation of the neo-liberal capitalist agenda that has dominated British governments for the past four decades, including Labour governments of the Blair and Brown eras.

Corbyn’s socialist manifesto was lambasted as «ludicrous» and «loony left». The Conservatives and the British media arrogantly assumed the electorate would spurn Labour.

But the opposite happened. His courage, humility and tenacity under fire won voters over. Corbyn managed to capture the electorate’s imagination, courage and desire to create a new break from the failed neo-liberal orthodoxy. He dared to make voters hope again for a more democratic politics. And while not winning outright in this election, the dramatic gains made by Labour under Corbyn have put the party back as a serious contender for government.

There are several insights to be drawn from the shock British election this week. One is that the voters have been galvanized by an unabashed socialist vision of Britain. One where the economy is taken under control to serve the «many, not the few».

Another revelation is that the British voters have shown an independence of judgement that is not swayed by the propaganda of elite power, as has happened in the past. This reflects a general demise in establishment politics and oligarchic power, as seen in many other countries.

Corbyn was savagely, relentlessly denigrated for allegedly being a Marxist maverick and of being «soft on terrorism» and towards Russia. The latter because he is opposed to NATO expansion in Europe and refused, despite intense media pressure, to yield on his commitment to nuclear disarmament.

Corbyn, who has been an MP for nearly 35 years, stuck to his socialist principles and his vision for a more just and peaceful British foreign policy (vowing, for example, to cancel weapons sales to Saudi Arabia). The British establishment dismissed his politics and gave him no chance in the election. Well, guess what, the British people are increasingly with Corbyn and his socialist vision.

Theresa May won a Pyrrhic victory, by shooting her party in the head as one Conservative MP put it.

Jeremy Corbyn, by contrast, has returned Labour to being a real political force, with the future on its side. Why? Because, in short, it’s the democratically, morally and intellectually sustainable way to go.

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