Behold the Breathtaking Weakness of the Empire!

 • APRIL 30, 2019

The Empire has suffered painful defeats in Afghanistan and Iraq, but one has to admit that these are “tough” countries to crack. The Empire also appears to have lost control of Libya, but that is another complex country which is very hard to control. We also saw all the pathetic huffing and puffing with the DPRK. But, let’s be honest, the US never stood a chance to bully the DPRK into submission, nevermind invading or regime-changing it. Syria was much weaker, but here Russia, Iran and Hezbollah did a world class job of repelling all the AngloZionist attacks, political and military. Besides, I for one will never blame Trump for not listening to Bolton and not triggering WWIII over Syria (yet?)

But Venezuela?!

No Hezbollah or Iran backing Maduro there. And Venezuela is way too far away from Russia to allow her to do what she did in Syria. In fact, Venezuela is in the proverbial “backyard” of the US and is surrounded by hostile puppet regimes. And yet, tonight, it appears that the US puppet Guaidó has failed in his coup attempt.

Moon of Alabama did a great job covering the events of the day, so I will refer you to the excellent article “Venezuela – Random Guyaidó’s New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke“. I fully concur that today’s coup was both a joke and very dangerous.

Russian readers can also check out this article by Vzgliad which also gives a lot of interesting details, including the fact that Guaidó launched his coup from the Colombian Embassy in Caracas (see here for a machine translation).

But the thing which amazes me most tonight is the truly breathtakingly pathetic weakness of the clowns who launched this latest failed operation: Pompeo and Mr MAGA. Check them out:

Let’s begin with Pompeo.

According to him, the coup failed because of Russia (what else is new?)! Not only that, but Maduro had already decided to run to Cuba, but then the Russians stopped him.

Really?

So are we to believe that the coup was a stunning success, yet another feather to the CIA’s “hat” of failed successful covert operations? Apparently so.

After all, why would Maduro want to run unless he realized that the situation was hopeless?

But then “Russia” called him and told him to stay put. The conversation must gone something like this:

Putin: Mr Maduro – you don’t need to worry about a thing. Just do what we tell you and stay put.
Maduro: but my people hate me! They all turned against me! The military is behind the coup!
Putin: no, no, it’s all under control, just stay put.
Maduro: but the mob will lynch me if I stay!!!!
Putin: no worries, nobody will touch you.

Does that dialog look credible to you? I sure hope not! I think that anybody with a modicum of intelligence ought to realize that Maduro’s decision to stay in place could only have been based on one of two possible considerations:

  1. The coup has failed and Maduro is safe or
  2. The coup is successful and Maduro will stay and fight till his last breath (like Allende did)

But tonight Maduro is safe in Caracas and the coup plotters are on the run.

The truth is that only a loser and imbecile like Pompeo could come up with such a lame excuse in a desperate attempt to “cover his ass” and blame his failure on the Neocon’s favorite scapegoat: Russia.

Now let’s check what his boss had to say:

Trump does not blame Russia. Instead, he blames Cuba!

I don’t know what kind of silly scenarios Mr MAGA ran in his head to come up with “the Cubans did it” but that is even more ridiculous than “the Russians did it”. Reading this “tweets” (how appropriate for this bird-brain!) one could get the impression that the Cubans launched a full-scale military attack (involving both the Cuban military and “militias”) and that they orchestrated a brutal crack-down on the Venezuelan people.

In the real world, however, Cuba did nothing of the sort.

But, really, who cares?!

In the Empire of Illusions fact don’t matter. At least to the leaders of the AngloZionist Empire who continue to believe that only spin matters.

In the case of Venezuela, spin alone failed.

So what’s next?

According to the typical scenario revealed to us by John Perkins, the next step should be a full-scale US invasion. And yes, he is right, that would be what the Empire would have done in its heyday. But nowadays?

Check out this interesting news snippet: Eric Prince wants Blackwater to send 5,000 mercenaries to Venezuela (does anybody know why and how these clowns came up with the 5,000 figure? First Bolton, now Prince. Do they really think that this is enough?!).

The point is not whether Prince will ever get to send mercenaries to Venezuela or whether the Trump administration is inclined to accept this offer. The point is that Prince would have never made this offer in the first place if the US military was up to the task. It is not, and Prince knows that very well.

The military stands by the Constitutional government of Venezuela
The military stands by the Constitutional government of Venezuela

As for Maduro, he seems to have the support not only of a majority of his people, but of the Venezuelan armed forces. As for the armed forces, they are clearly enjoying the support of the people.

This is a very bad combination for the Empire. Here is why:

Yes, Venezuela has immense problems. And yes, both Chavez and Maduro have made mistakes. But this is not about Chavez or Maduro, this is about the rule of law inside and outside Venezuela. This is about the people of Venezuela, even the suffering ones, not willing to renounce the sovereignty of their country. Yes, Chavez did not solve all of Venezuela’s problems, but to deliver the country to the Empire would mean crushing any hope of true, real, people power. The Venezuelan people apparently have no illusions about their Yankee neighbors and they don’t want the Empire-style “democracy” to turn Venezuela into the next Libya.

I should never say never, and God only knows what tomorrow (May 1st) will bring (Guaido has called for a mass protests) but my gut feeling is that the Empire “injected” itself into Venezuela just enough to trigger an immune reaction, like a vaccine, but not enough to infect Venezuela with a toxin powerful enough to kill it.

In the meantime, US aircraft carriers are in the Mediterranean trying to scare Russia, Syria and Iran all at the same time. I can just imagine the disgusted contempt with which this latest sabre-rattling with outdated hardware is received in Moscow, Damascus or Tehran. Even Hezbollah remains utterly unimpressed.

The truth is that the only people who have not come to the realization that the Empire is broken and defeated are the rulers of the Neocon deep state and those who still watch the legacy Ziomedia.

By now everybody else has realized who utterly impotent the Empire has become.

Conclusion:

The Empire only appears to be strong. In reality it is weak, confused, clueless and, most importantly, run by a sad gang of incompetent thugs who think that they can scare everybody into submission in spite of not having won a single significant war since 1945. The inability to break the will of the people of Venezuela is only the latest symptom of this mind-boggling weakness.

I will leave the last word to this charming lady who really said it all:

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Clash of Civilizations 2.0 Sponsored by Prince and Bannon

Wayne Madsen
April 26, 2019
Bannon, Prince, and other far-rightists are now attempting to impose on their followers and fellow-travelers the same sort of “groupthink” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels applied to Germany.

Blackwater mercenary company founder Erik Prince and the self-appointed leader of Fascist International, Steve Bannon, have joined forces and dusted off the old discredited neo-conservative theory of “Clash of Civilizations,” to threaten global stability with religious and ethnic nationalism.

One of the more important revelations in former Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the 2016 election is the close working relationship Bannon established with Prince. Sensing fertile political ground for their far-right beliefs, Bannon and Prince have established, under the aegis of their professed Catholicism, a movement that threatens both the current pope and the European Union.

The Clash of Civilizations was the main tenet of Harvard University’s Samuel P. Huntington. Huntington also defended the pro-fascist Mexican Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) of Mexico and the military dictatorship of Brazil. Huntington was also a champion of South Africa’s apartheid state and advocated its “reform” rather than its abolishment. Huntington’s approaches to Latin American immigration into the United States serves a basis for the draconian anti-immigration policies of Donald Trump and his “immigration czar,” Stephen Miller. Huntington saw Europe and Western Europe, including Croatia and Slovenia, along with Australia and New Zealand as a “core civilization” against the rest of the world. Huntington made it a point to exclude from the core civilization the Christian Orthodox nations of the Balkans, including Greece, as well as Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia.

To advance political domination by far-right political parties and politicians, Bannon has been busy establishing a training academy for far-right wing Christian zealots at the Trisulti Charterhouse in Collepardo in central Italy. Bannon has admitted that he is following George Soros’s global playbook. Instead of a neo-liberal global network, like that of Soros, Bannon is creating a far-right political movement in Europe that will extend its tentacles around the world, primarily in Huntington’s “core civilization” countries plus Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. With his political group, called “The Movement” in operation in Brussels and targeting upcoming European Parliament elections, Bannon has taken advantage of a schism within the Roman Catholic Church to convincing those opposed to Pope Francis I to permit him to set up shop in the 13th century monastery in Collepardo.

Bannon is clearly setting the stage for a revised “clash of civilizations” between Judeo-Christianity and the rest of the world. Fascism is seen as the preferred political system for the Western “core.”

Bannon’s colleague in the 2016 Trump campaign, Michael Ledeen, the notorious neo-conservative, wrote a book in 1972 that promotes the fascist political philosophy. Titled “Universal Fascism: The Theory and Practice of the Fascist International, 1928–1936,” Ledeen describes in glowing terms Mussolini’s efforts to create an international Fascist movement in the late 1920s and early 1930s. According to an interview Ledeen gave to the neo-con “National Review” in 2002, the Ledeen Doctrine boils down to the following credo: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” Mussolini’s template has largely been adopted by Bannon, who, still has, along with arch neo-con national security adviser John Bolton, still have Trump’s ear on foreign policy.

Bannon is attempting to purge the nexus of his Judeo-Christian core civilization of perceived enemies, who include Vatican loyalists of Pope Francis. Bannon – in cooperation with the extremely conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke and former Pope Benedict XVI – has been waging a political jihad against Pope Francis. Bannon believes the current pontiff to be a dangerous liberal and a “Cultural Marxist,” who supported many of President Barack Obama’s policies. Bannon and a right-wing Catholic group close to Burke, the Institute of Human Dignity, or Dignitatis Humana Institute, which runs Bannon’s new headquarters at the Trisulti Abbey, opposes Francis’s goal of avoiding a “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam.

Bannon, in cooperation with Cardinal Raymond Burke and former Pope Benedict XVI, has been waging a war against Pope Francis I. Bannon sees Francis as a dangerous liberal and a “Cultural Marxist,” who supported President Barack Obama’s policies. Bannon and a right-wing Catholic group close to Burke, the Institute of Human Dignity, or “Dignitatis Humana Institute,’ which owns Bannon’s new headquarters at the Trisulti Abbey, opposes Francis’s goal of avoiding a “clash of civilizations,” particularly one between Christianity and Islam.

Bannon’s financial firm, Bannon & Company, is investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, believed by many financial experts to be a giant scam. Cryptocurrencies are favored by neo-Nazis and fascists to fund their activities without the worry of financial surveillance from bank regulators and financial intelligence agencies. Bannon, as a former Goldman Sachs executive, understands how to avoid financial network roadblocks.

One of the mandatory studies at Bannon’s academy for neo-Nazis will most certainly be on the works and thoughts of Julius Evola (1898-1974), a far-right Italian philosopher, who provided the inspiration for several fascist terrorist attacks in Italy during the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, including the deadly Bologna central rail station bombing in 1980. Bannon is a promoter of Evola’s doctrine, which is known as Traditionalism. The followers of Evola are called the “Children of the Sun” and they include adherents of two leading neo-Nazi parties in Europe: Golden Dawn in Greece and Jobbik in Hungary. Other Traditionalist philosophers, all of whom dabbled in Indo-European Aryan occultism and, to varying degrees, embraced fascism in the interwar years, include Romanian Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), French/Egyptian René Guénon (1886-1951), and Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) Ananda Coomaraswamy (1887-1947).

US neo-Nazi leader and “alt-right” term creator, Richard Spencer, a college friend of Trump’s anti-immigration czar, Stephen Miller, is also a follower of Evola. Evola’s writings were an inspiration to Benito Mussolini Fascist movement and Heinrich Himmler’s Schutzstaffel (SS). Evola even visited SS headquarters in Germany to proselytize his philosophy of fascism to the SS rank and file.

Bannon’s and Prince’s intertwined political finances were exposed during the 2016 presidential campaign. Prince donated some $150,000 to the pro-Trump PAC “Make America Number 1 in 2016.” In turn, the PAC funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to Cambridge Analytica and Glittering Steel, a video production company. Bannon co-founded both companies. Bannon was also buoyed by generous funding from hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer. Currently, with a seemingly endless supply of funds, Bannon is waging a far-right insurgency in Europe involving neo-Nazi, fascist, and right-wing Catholic organizations close to Opus Dei.

Erik Prince abandoned the conservative Calvinism of his auto parts-manufacturing wealthy father to embrace Catholicism, Opus Dei, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta – based in Rome and a rival-laden headache for Pope Francis – and the Legionnaires of Christ. Opus Dei was founded by Spanish priest Josemaría Escrivá in 1928 as a pro-fascist and pro-Francisco Franco answer to the more liberal-minded Jesuits. It is noteworthy that Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff, is currently experiencing a virtual civil war within the catholic Church and Vatican hierarchy, spurred on by the likes of Bannon, Prince, former Pope Benedict, and other right-wing members of the College of Cardinals.

Bannon, Prince, and other far-rightists are now attempting to impose on their followers and fellow-travelers the same sort of “groupthink” Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels applied to Germany. In his seminal work, Yale University professor Irving Janis summed up “groupthink,” particularly how groups can, conversely to bringing out the best in people, also bring out the worst. Janis’s 1982 book, “Groupthink,” describes the phenomenon by quoting 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche: “Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.” Europe’s current fascination and widespread support for political parties that were largely banned and shunned after the Nazi defeat in 1945 have created an environment where Bannon, Prince, and their collaborators find ready audiences for their extremism. In such climates, a strategy of tension permits a clash of civilizations, which is nirvana for the neo-cons and extreme right.

The recent deadly Christchurch mosque attacks appear to have been the first act in a strategy of tensions conflict being waged by the far-right. The Easter Sunday bombings of churches in Negombo, Batticaloa, and Colombo, Sri Lanka, as well as three five-star hotels in Colombo – killing well over 300 people, were reportedly claimed by a hitherto unknown group called the National Thowheed Jamath or National Monotheism Organization. Sri Lanka’s government alleged the attacks were in retaliation for the Christchurch mosque bombings. Some things are known about the group claiming it carried out the attacks in Sri Lanka. It is not connected operationally to either the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, although the Islamic State made unverifiable claims of responsibility. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand’s intelligence has no indication that the Sri Lanka attacks were in retaliation for the Sri Lanka attacks. It should be noted that New Zealand, as a member of the FIVE EYES signals intelligence alliance, has access to countless communications intercepts.

While flames leaped from Paris’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, a fire broke out at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest shrine. In the weeks preceding the Notre Dame fire, vandals broke into Notre-Dame-des-enfants in Nîmes, France and smeared excrement on the crucifix and walls of the church. In March, a fire broke out at another famous Paris church, Saint-Sulpice. In February, a fire broke out in Lavaur Cathedral in Lavaur, France. That fire was preceded by vandalism of Saint Nicolas in Houilles and Saint Nicolas in Maisons-Laffitte in Yvelines.

Arson also destroyed three African-American churches in Opelousas, Louisiana. The son of a sheriff’s deputy was arrested for arson. Louisiana has recently been the scene of renewed activities by Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

All of the incidents – in New Zealand, Sri Lanka, France, and Louisiana – those confirmed as terrorism and those for which the jury is still out, should be viewed through the lens of the strategy of tensions and a final showdown between Christianity and Islam advanced by Bannon, Prince, and their supporters in Brussels and the Trisulti monastery.

The world has seen this particular play before. From the late 1960s to the 1980s, over two thousand people died in terrorist attacks blamed mainly on left-wing terrorists, including the Italian Red Brigades and West German Red Army Faction. The victims included the former Christian Democratic Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro. The deadliest attack was the bombing of the Bologna rail station in 1980. Originally, there was an attempt to blame all the attacks, mostly bombings, on the left-wing groups. In fact, most of the attacks were carried out by neo-fascist groups hoping to have the Communists blamed. Inquiry commissions later determined that the neo-fascists and far-left groups all had links to the Central Intelligence Agency – which once employed Erik Prince’s Blackwater as a contractor – and the intelligence services of NATO members. It was the late Turkish Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, who revealed the name of the sinister association of NATO spies and false flag terrorists: Gladio.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

العراق ساحة المواجهة المقبلة ونصر الشام يرسم معادلات العالم الجديد

يناير 14, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

تتقدّم موسكو بخطوات ثابتة ودقيقة متعكزة على محور المقاومة بهدف الارتكاز على سواحل المتوسط والاستحمام في مياهه الدافئة في تحوّل استراتيجي مهمّ كانت ترنو إليه منذ قرون.

لا شك في أنّ قرار روسيا بالتدخل العسكري المباشر، في الدفاع عن الدولة الوطنية السورية والمحافظة على وحدة البلاد وسيادتها، لم يكن يهدف لا إلى حماية الرئيس الأسد لأجل ذاته، ولا طمعاً في خيرات سورية وثرواتها الطبيعية مهما كانت مغرية.

إذ إنّ روسيا العظمى، التي تبلغ مساحتها سبعة عشر مليون كيلو متر مربع، ليست بحاجة الى خيرات أحد، وهي التي تملك احتياطيات هائلة من كلّ المواد الخام اللازمة لها ولغيرها، ولا هي تقيم علاقاتها مع الدول على أساس مواقفها من هذا الرئيس أو ذاك.

فلقد اتخذ قرار التدخل انطلاقاً من هدفين استراتيجيين هما:

أولاً: التصدي لسياسة سيطرة القطب الواحد على العالم، التي تمارسها الولايات المتحدة، والتي أدّت الى نشر الفوضى والقتل والدمار في أنحاء العالم كله وليس في بلد واحد منه، الى جانب تجاهل الولايات المتحدة لنصوص القانون الدولي، التي تمنع أي دولة في العالم من التدخل في شؤون الدول الاخرى الا اذا طلبت منها الدولة المعنية ذلك التدخل، وهو ما حصل في الحالة السورية بين الدولة الوطنية السورية وكلّ من روسيا وإيران.

ثانياً: الدفاع عن أسوار موسكو والأمن القومي الروسي انطلاقاً من حماية المصالح الاستراتيجية للاتحاد الروسي على صعيد العالم كله، ومن ثم للدول التي تتعاون أو تتحالف معها، كالصين وإيران وسورية وغيرها من الدول العربية وغير العربية في العالم، وذلك من خلال تعزيز التمركز العسكري، وبالتالي الدبلوماسي والسياسي، الروسي في منطقتنا العربية والاسلامية بشكل عام وعلى سواحل شرق المتوسط بشكل خاص. أيّ تعزيز تمركزها العسكري في سورية كقاعدة ارتكاز استراتيجية، لعمل الاسطول الروسي في الخاصرة الجنوبية لحلف شمال الأطلسي، أي في البحر المتوسط، والذي يشكل مسرح عمليات للسفن الحربية التابعة لدول حلف الأطلسي، ومن بينها سفن الاسطول السادس الأميركي الذي تتمّ قيادته، الى جانب الوحدات البحرية لدول الحلف الأخرى، من القاعدة البحرية الأميركية في مدينة نابولي الإيطالية.

وبالنظر الى السياسات العدوانية للولايات المتحدة الأميركية، تجاه روسيا وحلفائها في الصين وإيران بشكل خاص، إضافة الى سورية طبعاً، فإن واشنطن تواصل العمل على ما يلي:

أولاً: استكمال الحشد العسكري، ذي الطبيعة الاستراتيجية، على حدود الصين الغربية وفِي بحار الصين والمحيط الهادئ، الى جانب مواصلة واشنطن حشد العديد والعتاد على حدود روسيا الغربية، بهدف تطويقها وتهديدها استراتيجياً. علماً أنّ هذه الحدود الغربية لروسيا تمتدّ من استونيا، شمال شرق بحر البلطيق وبالقرب من مدينة لينينغراد الروسية، عبر دول لاتفيا ولتوانيا وبولندا وسلوفاكيا ورومانيا وبلغاريا، وجميعها أعضاء في حلف شمال الأطلسي، الى تركيا التي تشارك بلغاريا ورومانيا وأوكرانيا وجورجيا في شواطئ البحر الأسود. وهي دول معادية لروسيا، حتى لو كان بعضها ليس عضواً في الأطلسي كجورجيا وأوكرانيا.

ثانياً: تنفيذ مشاريع سكك حديدية، تمتدّ من حيفا في فلسطين المحتلة وحتى عُمان، وذلك في إطار الاستعدادات الأميركية لاحتمال قيام إيران بإغلاق مضيق هرمز وقيام الجيش اليمني واللجان الشعبية بإغلاق مضيق باب المندب، ما يعني وقف الملاحة عبر قناة السويس، الأمر الذي يجعل البحث عن بديل لهذه الممرات البحرية أمراً ذا أهمية استراتيجية عالية. وهو ما دفع الولايات المتحدة للتفكير بمشروع السكك الحديدية، وطرحه للتداول عبر الشريك الإسرائيلي هنا تظهر أهمية المخلب الصهيوني الذي رمي أخيراً على سلطنة عُمان !

وفِي ضوء كلّ هذه التطورات المتسارعة، على الصعيدين «الإقليمي» والدولي، وعلى الرغم من تحسّن العلاقات الروسية التركية، والنمو المتسارع لعلاقاتهما الاقتصادية والتجارية، وحتى الأمنية والعسكرية، في حدود تنحصر في معالجة مشاكل إقليمية، تتعلق بالوضع السوري على وجه الخصوص، وفِي ضوء ان تركيا هي الدولة ذات السيادة على مضائق البوسفور والدردنيل، التي تربط البحر الأسود بالبحر الابيض المتوسط، وذلك بموجب اتفاقية مونتري Montreux بلده في سويسرا الموقعة بتاريخ 20/7/1936 بين الدول المعنية وهي تركيا واليونان ويوغوسلافيا والاتحاد السوفياتي ورومانيا وبلغاريا وإيطاليا وفرنسا وبريطانيا واليابان، نقول إنه وفِي ضوء إعطاء السيادة الكاملة على هذه المضائق لتركيا، ورغم وجود نظام محدد يحكم حركة الملاحة، بما فيها السفن العسكرية، في هذه المضائق، فلا بد لروسيا أن تفكر دائماً في بديل لإمداد أسطولها العامل في البحر المتوسط والذي يتم حالياً من قواعدها في البحر الأسود عبر المضائق المشار إليها اعلاه. كما أن عليها أن تتخذ الإجراءات اللازمة لضمان تدفق الإمدادات لقواتها الجوفضائية العاملة في سورية أيضاً، بخاصة أن تفاصيل تنظيم حركة السفن التجارية والحربية، للدول المشاطئة وغير المشاطئة للبحر الأسود، وعلى ارضية سيادة تركيا الكاملة على تلك المضائق، فإنّ تركيا تتمتع بهامش كبير جداً في التحكم بحركة وحرية العبور في فترات الحرب.

وعلى الرغم من استبعاد حصول أية حروب بين تركيا وروسيا في المدى المنظور، وعلى الرغم من العلاقات الأخرى المتنامية، إلا أنّ تأمين طريق إمداد بديل، للقوات الروسية في المتوسط وسورية، يبقى أمراً استراتيجياً هاماً جداً وذلك في ضوء أن يقوم طرف ثالث، في حالة وقوع نزاع دولي مسلح، بإغلاق تلك المضائق او تقييد حرية الملاحة فيهما وخاصة السفن الروسية.

من هنا، وفي ضوء التحركات العسكرية الأميركية المريبة، في العراق بشكل عام وفِي محافظة الأنبار بشكل خاص، ومواصلة البنتاغون محاولات إقامة قواعد ونقاط قيادة وسيطرة أميركية في المنطقة الممتدة من التنف السورية وحتى مدينة القائم العراقية، بهدف قطع التواصل الجغرافي البري بين موسكو ودمشق، أي قطع طريق الإمداد الروسي البديل هذا والمبيَّن اعلاه، فإن روسيا ومعها إيران وسورية وقوى المقاومه في العراق ولبنان لا يمكن لها أن تتخلى عن هذا التواصل البري وجاهزيتها لأن تمنع الجيش الأميركي من السيطرة على تلك المناطق حتى لو بالقوة العسكرية، وهي التي لن تتوانى عن الانتقال الى استخدام ذلك لهزيمة المحتل الأميركي وإجباره على الانسحاب منها. أي من شرق سورية وغرب العراق وذلك لإفشال مخططاته في ربط محافظات العراق الشمالية والتي يطلق عليها البعض «إقليم كردستان العراق»، مع «إسرائيل»، عبر الاْردن الذي يعجّ بالقواعد العسكرية الأميركية والأوروبية والمنفتح، تنسيقاً وتعاوناً مباشراً، على الكيان الصهيوني.

وخير دليل على ذلك ما يتمّ تسريبه عبر الدوائر الاستخبارية ووسائل الإعلام الاسرائيلية عن زيارة عدة وفود عراقية لفلسطين المحتلة في الآونة الأخيرة. بالاضافة الى القرار الذي أصدره وزير المالية الإسرائيلي، كحلون، يوم أمس ألغى فيه كون العراق دولة معادية وسمح بالتالي بسفر الإسرائيليين الى العراق وإقامة علاقات تجارية في هذا البلد!

وهو الأمر الذي سبق أن عمل على تحقيقه المدعو خالد سلام / أو محمد رشيد / الكردي الأصل، والذي كان عميلاً «إسرائيلياً» اعتقلته الجبهة الديمقراطية لتحرير فلسطين في بيروت سنة 1977، بهذه التهمة وسجنته في بئر في بلدة الدامور جنوب بيروت لمدة ثلاثة أشهر، ثم أفرج عنه في ظروف غامضة. الى أن أصبح يطلق على هذا الشخص لقب المستشار الاقتصادي للرئيس الفلسطيني ياسر عرفات حتى نهاية سنة 2003 عندما انقلب عليه، بناء على أوامر مشغّليه، وانتقل الى العمل في أربيل وقام بإنشاء العديد من الشركات بالتعاون مع مسعود برازاني وابنه وبتوجيه مباشر من الموساد «الإسرائيلي»!

وبالعودة إلى الأهمية الاستراتيجية لحماية التواصل البري الاستراتيجي بين موسكو ودمشق، فإننا نذكّر بقيام دول الحلفاء باحتلال إيران، خلال الحرب العالمية الثانية، لتأمين الإمدادات الحيوية لجيوش الاتحاد السوفياتي، عبر بحر قزوين ونهر الفولجا الروسي. تلك الجيوش التي كانت تقاتل ما مجموعه 67 من الجيوش الألمانية كاملة وعلى جبهة تمتدّ من ستالينغراد في الجنوب حتى لينينغراد في الشمال على بحر البلطيق .

وعلى أهمية هذا التواصل البري، من الناحية الاستراتيجية عسكرياً، إلا أن أهميته الاقتصادية والسياسية لا تقل في حجمها عن تلك العسكرية إطلاقاً.

اذ انّ هذا التواصل، وبالنظر الى تحسن العلاقات الاقتصاديه التركية الروسية ونظراً الى الإمكانيات الهائلة، من موارد طبيعية وثروة مالية وتكنولوجيا متقدمة وعدد سكان كبير، يصل الى حوالي 400 مليون مواطن، لكلّ من روسيا وتركيا وإيران، الى جانب إمكانيات العراق الكبيرة والسوق السوري الواعد، والذي سيسجّل أعلى نسبة نمو في العالم لسنة 2019، حسب تقديرات الجهات الدولية المختصة، نقول إنه بالنظر الى هذه الوقائع فإن توجهات روسيا وقوى حلف المقاومة، مضافةً اليها الصين ومشروعها المعروف بمشروع الحزام والطريق، ستشكل منعطفاً استراتيجياً غاية في الأهمية لتعزيز الثقل الاقتصادي وبالتالي السياسي لهذه المجموعة في العالم، ما سيؤدي الى تغير جذري في موازين القوى الدولية وفِي تراجع دور سياسة الهيمنة الأميركية والسيطرة الاحادية الجانب، المستندة الى قانون الغاب وليس الى القانون الدولي…!

أخيراً على أميركا وأذنابها واتباعها الذين خاضوا في دماء شعوبنا لسنوات طوال أن يعرفوا بأن الاندماج الاقتصادي، وليس الحروب والدماء، هو الطريق الذي تبحث عنه قوى حلف المقاومة والصديقة روسيا وهو الطريق الوحيد القادر على ضمان الاستقرار والنمو الاقتصادي في منطقتنا والعالم، وهو الكفيل بأن يقودنا الى مزيد من التطور والتقدّم.

فيما التمترس وراء أوهام، أو حتى أهداف لا تتحقق إلا بالوسائل العسكرية وبالعدوان، كما هو موقف تركيا بالمقابل لا سيما نوع تعاطيها مع القضية السورية بوجه عام ومع مسألة الأكراد بوجه خاص، لن يقود إلا الى مزيد من التوتر والتصعيد والدمار…!

نقولها ونحن في خواتيم القضاء على أحلامهم الإمبراطورية والجهنمية بأن الحل لكل القضايا المتعلقة بالخلافات على الحدود او حقوق الأمم والشعوب وتقرير المصير لا يكمن إلا في احترام سيادة الدول وإقامة تعاون مشترك على هذه القاعدة.

وأخيراً وليس لا آخرا لا خلاص ولا أمن ولا استقرار ولا نجاح لكل ما تقدم من مشاريع الا بتفكيك القاعدة العسكرية الأميركية المزروعة على ارض فلسطين والمسماة «إسرائيل» وترحيل كل عديدها ومعداتها مع سائر قواعد الطغيان والعدوان الأميركي الأخرى لأنها اصل البلاء وبذرة الشر المطلق.

قيامتنا تقترب بزوال هذه الغدد السرطانية.

وشرط نجاح كل مشاريع السلم والتعاون لدينا رهن بذلك.

بعدنا طيبين، قولوا الله.

Will Trump Use Paramilitary Hired Guns in US War Theaters?

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Renamed Academi, Blackwater USA founder Erik Prince proposed getting Trump to privatize US warmaking in Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

The idea surfaced in July 2017 over endless years of war in Afghanistan, achieving nothing but more war. Trump reportedly questioned advice he was getting from military advisors.

Taliban fighters control much of the country, US operations doing nothing to change things. “We aren’t winning. We are losing,” he was quoted saying.

Unsaid is that war in Afghanistan is more about waging it than winning an unwinnable war no matter how long it goes on – unrelated to who’s commanding US forces on the ground or their superiors in Washington.

If US troops are replaced with private military contractors (PMCs) like Blackwater mercenaries, things will drag on endlessly at a far greater cost.

Paramilitary hired guns are expensive. They operate extrajudicially, unaccountable to US and local laws, free from culpability, licensed to kill and get away with it unchecked.

They’re professional killers, soldiers of fortune, dogs of war, operating with little or no civilian oversight, Congress largely out of the look on their operations.

Article 47 of the 1977 Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions defines a mercenary as anyone:

(a) specially recruited locally or abroad in order to fight in an armed conflict;

(b) …take(s) a direct part in the hostilities:

(c) is motivated to take part in the hostilities essentially by the desire for private gain and, in fact, is promised, by or on behalf of a Party to the conflict, material compensation substantially in excess of that promised or paid to combatants of similar ranks and functions in the armed forces of the Party;

(d) is neither a national of a Party to the conflict nor a resident of territory controlled by a Party to the conflict;

(e) is not a member of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict; and

(f) has not been sent by a State which is not a Party to the conflict on official duty as a member of its armed forces.”

Use of paramilitary hired guns began centuries ago in ancient Greece, Rome and elsewhere. The Pentagon’s transformation to using PMCs abroad began in the early 1990s. The Bush/Cheney regime escalated use of private companies in US war theaters.

They’re involved in a wide range of activities, including construction, maintenance, consulting, logistics support, combat, and other functions, PMCs involved in what used to be limited to America’s military.

Today they way exceed the number of Pentagon troops in US combat theaters – in Afghanistan by a three-to-one margin, according to the Congressional Research Service. 

In 2016, the Pentagon spent over $220 billion on PMCs in Afghanistan and Iraq alone. Whatever government can do, private business can do better so let is how the reasoning goes.

Privatizing America’s military penetrated the last frontier to let PMCs serve in place of Pentagon forces. The industry is huge, operating in scores of countries, the Pentagon far and away the largest user of what firms can provide.

The State Department, Homeland Security, CIA, other US intelligence agencies, along with other branches of government use PMCs, hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the services they provide – ordinary Americans none the wiser about the misuse of their tax dollars.

An earlier Congressional Research Service report said supporting a US soldier abroad costs around a million dollars annually – largely because of rampant unchecked waste, fraud and abuse.

Academi (Blackwater) signaled its aim to secure Trump regime contracts in US war theaters with a full-page ad in Recoil magazine, declaring: “We are coming.”

Outgoing US war secretary Mattis opposed the idea. His successor’s views likely won’t be known until on the job.

Trump’s way of cooling opposition to his announced withdrawal of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan may be by replacing them with paramilitary hired guns – regardless of the exorbitant cost and Blackwater’s disturbing past, including the 2007 unprovoked murder of 14 Iraqi civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square, wounding others.

The company’s contract to operate in Iraq was temporarily revoked for the incident. Permitting its hired guns back in US war theaters risks similar future incidents.

The way to avoid large-scale violent civilian deaths is by renouncing wars, declaring a new era of peace, abiding by rule of law principles the way they’re supposed to be observed.

What Else Is Washington Not Telling Us About US Participation in Yemen?

What Else Is Washington Not Telling Us About US Participation in Yemen?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 14.05.2018

What Else Is Washington Not Telling Us About US Participation in Yemen?

Randi NORD

For the past three years, the United States has attempted to disguise, manipulate, or outright deny its involvement in Yemen. Nonetheless, new facts come to light every so often that indicate Washington’s participation in the Saudi-led war is much more hands-on than officials let on.

The Covert Role of the US in Yemen

The recent news about Green Berets deployed along the Saudi border highlights the ever-growing U.S. role. So, what else is Washington not disclosing about the US in Yemen?

The United States regime has consistently downplayed its role in Yemen while news emerges that counters this narrative. Let’s take a look at everything the United States has done while insisting its role in Yemen is passive.

Green Berets Deployed Along the Saudi-Yemen Border

News emerged last week that Green Berets are stationed along the Saudi-Yemen border to assist Saudi troops. A report from the New York Times says 12 commandos arrived back in December. The NYT received this information from American officials and European diplomats who claim the Green Berets’ only mission is to destroy weapons caches belonging to Yemeni forces.

This timing coincides with a high-profile long-range missile launch by Yemeni forces targeting Riyadh in response to the ongoing airstrikes. The missile launch in question took place in early November. This is the same missile launch U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, used fragments from to suggest a U.S. war against Iran.

The NYT’s sources said that the Green Berets have not and will not participate in direct combat with Yemeni forces. Ansarullah (aka “the Houthis”) troops known as Yemen’s Army and Popular Committees have not shared any photos or reports indicating direct combat either. At this point, the “no direct combat” claim seems to stand.

It’s worth mentioning that the US deployed these Green Berets in December yet Yemen’s resistance forces have launched countless retaliatory missile attacks on Saudi targets since.

A U.S. Army Lieutenant Now Serves for the United Arab Emirates in Yemen — Seriously

This week, Buzzfeed reported that a former U.S. Army lieutenant now serves for the United Arab Emirates. Prior to joining the Emiratis, Stephen Toumajan served as a lieutenant colonel for the United States throughout most of his career.

But murdering Arabs in their own country isn’t Toumajan’s only passion — he also ran a breast enhancement company in Tennessee called “Breast Wishes.”

Although Buzzfeed broke the story, this information comes from Toumajan’s own admissions as well as an Emirati’s government website. The U.A.E. speaks highly of Toumajan as “his excellency” and promoted him from his previous U.S. Army lieutenant position. He now serves as a commander for the U.A.E. Joint Aviation Command manning helicopters.

Depending on who’s asking, Toumajan may deny his official status — it is, after all, a very gray area legality-wise. When it came to a recent child custody hearing, the American Emirati commander quickly back-peddled on his official involvement in the foreign military.

Speaking to Buzzfeed via WhatsApp, Toumajan called himself a “civilian contractor.”

This highlights the growing instances of using for-profit hires (bluntly: contract killers) to bypass standard military norms and international law. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates both utilize Blackwater mercenaries for boosting their military ranks.

These countries have flooded Yemen with foreign fighters to kill indigenous Yemenis on their own soil. Fighters often hail from Sudan and many Latin American countries like Columbia and Mexico.

The U.A.E. takes particular advantage of this market and it’s very common for foreigners to serve under the Emirati banner. Mike Hindmarsh, for example, is a retired Australian senior officer who now serves on the U.A.E. Presidential Guard.

This strategy allows the United States and western countries to station troops in Yemen without stationing troops in Yemen.

UAE and US in Yemen Establish 18 Black-site Torture Centers

Last year, reports emerged that the US in Yemen helped the United Arab Emirates establish a series of black-site detention centers throughout territory under their control.

Inmates at these 18 detention centers cited unspeakable torture. One device, known as “the grill,” roasted victims for interrogation. Guards smeared detainees with feces and crammed them into what looks like shipping containers in Yemen’s intense heat for indefinite amounts of time. Beatings and electrocutions are commonplace.

Conditions look similar — if not much worse — to the infamous Abu Graihb U.S.-run detention center in Iraq.

According to the Associated Press, U.S. and Emirati troops rounded up civilians without any justification as part of sweeps to flush out suspected al-Qaeda militants. It appears as though the prisons still function.

Low-key Raids by the US in Yemen

8-year old American-Yemeni Nawar al-Awlaki, killed by Navy Seal Team 6 during the botched raid in Yemen.

Eight-year-old Nawar Anwar Al-Awlaqi is said to have bled to death over two hours

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, Yemen made headlines. But the war-torn nation didn’t break news because of the genocidal bombing campaign. No, Yemen made headlines because a Navy Seal died in a disastrous raid against suspected al-Qaeda militants — the Trump regime’s first official military action.

Not satisfied with the result, Washington ordered a similar raid just months later.

The first raid left 25 civilians dead while the second killed at least five. Many readers may not know that a very young girl died during one of these low-key raids — she was an eight-year-old American citizen named Nawar al-Awlaki. A 70-year-old partially blind man also died.

Again, Navy Seals did not leave the scene unscathed. In fact, conflicting reports cast doubt on Washington’s official story. According to local Yemeni sources, tribal fighters (not aligned to any group) killed or injured at least 30 U.S. and Gulf troops during the second raid which took place in May.

Yemeni sources also say that al-Qaeda fighters were not present in this particular area of Marib province during the attack.

So, why did the U.S. conduct the raid if al-Qaeda wasn’t even in the area? This particular blunder may be attributed to a number of factors including

  • Securing oil-rich land from rogue (anti-U.S. but not “terrorist”) indigenous tribal groups.
  • Bad intelligence — highly likely considering the U.S.-Saudi coalition’s general military failures in Yemen and on other battlefronts.
  • Something else that Washington hasn’t (and probably won’t) disclose.

Considering that Yemen is known as the “secret war,” whatever the true goal of the mission was is anyone’s guess.

Occupying Socotra

Yemen is isolated: the blockade restricts access to both foreign and domestic journalists. As a result, detailed reporting about U.S. involvement is hard to find — especially in regards to remote Yemeni islands like Socotra and the Bab el Mandeb.  Socotra is a small island between Yemen and Somalia and its territory belongs to Yemen.

Abu Dhabi has used their war in Yemen as a springboard to challenge regional Saudi hegemony — with remarkable success. For just about every Saudi failure in Yemen, you’ll find a success from the Emirates. The United Arab Emirates began occupying Yemen’s Socotra — a UNESCO World Heritage Site — early on during the war.

Residents aren’t fond of their presence and have no desire to participate in the mainland’s war. Emirati troops recently bribed Socotris during a private door-to-door census: future cash and benefits for a possible vote to secede and become part of the U.A.E. Abu Dhabi’s assertiveness in Yemen has certainly rubbed their allies in Riyadh the wrong way.

Considering Washington’s close relationship with the Emirates, it’s hard to imagine that the U.S. is sitting on the sidelines during this land grab. This activity would require extreme stealth to avoid angering Washington’s allies in Riyadh.

Selling Internationally Banned Weapons to the Saudi Coalition

Saudi Arabia and the US in Yemen have used the war as a testing grounds for military action and weapons. Despite the United States condemning Syria for suspected chemical weapons, the US has no problem selling chemical weapons like white phosphorous to the Saudi coalition to use in Yemen.

In the war’s early days, Yemeni forces detained a large number of trucks in Marib province. The trucks contained materials which militants could use to manufacture sarin gas. Yemeni sources believed the weapons came from Turkish planes under the cover of humanitarian aid.

The United States also sold cluster munitions to the Saudi coalition before coming under international pressure from rights groups. Cluster bombs — previously manufactured in the United States until very recently — are internationally banned.

Even recent reports suggest the Saudis still use cluster bombs in Yemen. It’s unclear whether the United States or the United Kingdom provide the supply or if Riyadh is working through an old stockpile.

Occupying Oil Fields

The United States isn’t supposed to have any troops stationed in Yemen. Washington maintains that its role in Yemen involves two key goals: supporting the Saudi coalition and countering al-Qaeda influence.

Last summer, Emirati troops greeted U.S. soldiers in Yemen at a remote airport in eastern Yemen. Together, they conducted a special mission to push AQAP militants out of key oil fields. Now, the Emiratis and U.S. occupy some of Yemen’s vital oil supplies.

Fighting al-Qaeda in Yemen poses a significant challenge for the United States because their Saudi-allied fighters consider the terror group an ally against Ansarullah. For one thing, AQAP leader Qasim al-Raymi openly admits his men fight alongside U.S.-backed troops.

Terror attacks are common in territory controlled by U.S. allies. AQAP and ISIS militants frequently target Emirati-backed politicians and officials with car bombs or assassination attempts. When the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen visited the war-torn country, he could not visit specific areas controlled by the US-Saudi coalition due to the threat posed by terror groups. The UN Special Envoy did not have this same experience in Sana’a and territory under Ansarullah control.

What Else is Washington Not Telling Us About the US in Yemen?

U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign has produced over 36,000 casualties between killed and injured. The airstrikes typically target homes, schools, businesses, farms, fishing boats, water treatment facilities and just about anything else you can imagine.

Washington also helps enforce the Saudi-led blockade which restricts imports, exports, and the flow of movement. This has put roughly 22 million Yemenis into either food insecurity or direct famine. Medical supplies are scarce and thousands of patients suffer the consequences — cancer patients, those requiring kidney dialysis, and pregnant women are most at risk.

On top of this, the United States has carried out covert military actions in Yemen for over the past three years. From deploying Green Berets and occupying oil fields to running black-site torture centers, the US in Yemen has ignored all international laws and norms.

What else is Washington not telling the public about the US in Yemen?

mintpressnews.com

Photo: Middle East Monitor

Who Is Muhammad bin Zayed?

Darko Lazar

02-12-2017 | 08:00

During a 2007 meeting with the US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates gave his two cents on the ‘appeal’ of extremist groups.

MBZ

“I am an Arab, I am a Muslim, and I pray. And in the 1970s and early 1980s I was one of them,” Muhammad bin Zayed [MBZ] said.

Leaked US diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks later exposed the meeting’s disturbing exchanges.

All of the cables referring to MBZ were marked “secret” or “confidential”, and none left any doubt as to who the crown prince regards as his foes.

In the meeting that took place over 10 years ago – long before Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria – MBZ describes the Lebanese resistance group as being more dangerous than Al Qaeda.

He justified the claim by adding that Hezbollah “did a very tough job on “Israel” this summer”, in reference to the 2006 “Israeli” attack on Lebanon.

With all that in mind, it is hardly surprising that the UAE ended up playing a crucial role in bankrolling and aiding terrorist groups that attempted to overthrow the Damascus government – proving that MBZ was in fact “one of them”.

But this crown prince should not be confused for just another Daesh-supporting royal who desperately seeks the approval of Riyadh and Washington.

On the contrary, Muhammad bin Zayed wields enormous power, and his role in the Middle East is often understated.

The Seychelles meeting

Following the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January of this year, the UAE’s Bin Zayed was among the first foreign leaders to be hosted at the White House.

This fact alone testifies to MBZ’s importance, not just in the Middle East, but on the world stage as well. And if one is to believe the Washington Post, his global reach is significant.

In April of this year, the paper reported that MBZ brokered a meeting between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian national close to Vladi¬mir Putin.

The encounter, which reportedly took place around January 11 in the Seychelles islands, was designed to establish a back-channel line of communication between the Kremlin and the Trump White House.

No, Muhammad bin Zayed wasn’t hoping to ease tensions between Washington and Moscow. He was exploring whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria.

The purported role of Erik Prince, who has close ties to the Trump administration, is also interesting.

Best known as the founder of a security firm that became a symbol of US abuses in Iraq, Prince has been building a private paramilitary empire across the Middle East in recent years.

In 2010, he was contracted by MBZ to put together a secret American-led mercenary army for the UAE.

Since then, foreign mercenaries operating under the umbrella of Prince’s Frontier Services Group [FSG] have popped-up in every country where the UAE is attempting to exert its influence, including Yemen, Libya, Somalia, South Sudan as well as Saudi Arabia.

In late November, a source cited by the UK’s Daily Mail revealed that American private security contractors were brought in to work for Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman, and were “torturing” princes and billionaire businessmen arrested in MBS’s power grab.

“All the guards in charge are private security,” the source was quoted as saying. “They’ve transferred all the guys from Abu Dhabi. Now they are in charge of everything.”

If Erik Prince’s private little armies are indeed “in charge of everything”, then it is not too difficult to ascertain as to who is really calling the shots in Riyadh.

The mentee/mentor relationship

One of the region’s less talked about relationships is also one of its most important.

Earlier this year, the online portal Politico described the 56-year-old crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the 31-year-old crown prince of Saudi Arabia as the region’s “dynamic duo”, where the older MBZ tutors the younger MBS in the ways of the world.

“They appear to have a mentee/mentor relationship,” a Politico article reads.

As far back as 2015, MBZ’s man in Washington – the UAE’s ambassador to the US Yousef Al Otaiba – began laying the groundwork for Salman’s rise to the top.

Otaiba’s recently hacked emails reveal that he was promoting MBS among Washington’s political elites for years. Salman is now the Saudi king in everything but name.

According to the Intercept, “MBS is a project of the UAE.”

The Intercept cites one of Otaiba’s leaked emails in which the diplomat sums up Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Riyadh as one “based on strategic depth, shared interests, and most importantly the hope that we could influence them. Not the other way around.”

Testifying to MBZ’s “influence” in Saudi Arabia is the sheer fact that all his opponents in Riyadh have been completely sidelined by the rise of his “mentee”.

Some of the more prominent names on that list include Mohammed bin Nayef – the ex-crown prince who was removed as next in line to the throne in June and who MBZ compared to a monkey.

Meanwhile, the ousted Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who escaped house arrest in his home country, is now a prisoner in Riyadh over his enmity with the UAE.

The UAE-led coalition

The grotesque war in Yemen has dragged on for nearly three years now.

So far, tens of thousands have been killed, and the country is being ravaged by an outbreak of cholera.

This calamity is credited to Saudi Arabia’s Bin Salman, who started the war as defense minister in 2015.

More than two years later and the Saudis clearly lack the recourses to bring the war to a successful conclusion.

Legitimate military targets have been exhausted, and the indiscriminant bombing of civilians is drawing increasingly harsher international condemnation.

From a military standpoint, the so-called blockade is utterly useless as Yemen’s vast coastline and land border with Oman can never be completely sealed-off.

Moreover, there is no plausible scenario that would allow the Saudis to mount a successful ground invasion of northern Yemen where the Ansarullah movement is still capable of very stiff resistance.

Meanwhile, MBZ, who is described as a junior partner in the coalition bombing Yemen, has had far greater successes than his protégé in Riyadh.

The UAE now enjoys a considerable presence in southern Yemen, especially in Aden where it recently deployed a military brigade, tanks and other heavy armaments.

With the help of Erik Prince’s mercenaries, the Emirati-backed Aidarous al-Zubaidi – the former governor of Aden and leader of the newly formed Southern Transitional Council – has completely suppressed Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s influence and is fuelling a growing secessionist movement.

This brings MBZ one-step closer to fulfilling his goal of South Yemeni secession, which would translate into the creation of an Emirati protectorate, antagonistic towards the north.

The Emiratis have also extended their influence in the region surrounding the highly strategic Bab Al-Mandab Strait – a busy oil and gas route leading to Europe and North America.

Aside from colonizing the islands of Socotra and Abd al-Kuri, the UAE completed the construction of a naval base in the Eritrean port of Assab and is already building a second base in the nearby Somaliland port of Berbera.

As such, the UAE is the only actor in the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe in living memory to record very significant geopolitical gains.

There are no Berlin Wall moments in the Middle East

MBZ’s gains in Yemen come amid his catastrophic failures in Syria where the terrorist scourge was unsuccessful in undermining Iran, Hezbollah and its regional allies.

These developments have given rise to a highly erratic and unpredictable Riyadh, new frontlines, new alliances and the strengthening of some old ones.

But despite all the noise and commotion, don’t hold your breath waiting for something dramatic like the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the Middle East there are many walls.

The war against Daesh was only one theater in a much wider geopolitical struggle. New theaters are opening up, and many of the old actors are still around.

Source: Al-Ahed

The MBS – Blackwater marriage of convenience

November 23, 2017

by Ghassan Kadi for the Saker blog

Mohamed Bin Salman’s (MBS) royal Saudi coup is still in the making and its stories of mystery and intrigue are unfolding.

Some recent articles written about this unprecedented Saudi development have focused on whether or not MBS was actually desirous of instigating reform within the kingdom of sand and capable of putting together the infrastructure that made such reform possible and how. Other more cynical articles have cast little doubt on his ability to create any change and classified him as yet another puppet of the legacy that his grandfather King Abdul Aziz, the founder of the Saudi dynasty, has forged with the West. In between the two extremes, many perhaps waited in anticipation to see what was to happen next in the now quick-changing kingdom that did not change at all in essence for nearly a hundred years.

To put recent developments into perspective, we must objectively look at MBS’s achievements and failures since his rise to prominence; with a special emphasis on the developments of the last few weeks.

MBS has failed to turn previous Saudi Government failed policy on Syria to his advantage by distancing his own legacy from it. If anything, the outcome of the Syrian opposition conference that was held in Riyadh was a farcical outcome of Saudi diplomacy. Not only did this conference coincide with the 20th of November 2017 Putin-Assad Sochi victory summit, but it is still “demanding” the removal of Syrian President Assad from power.

The arrogant and seemingly naive Saudis seem to be still under the illusion that they are able to dictate terms of settlement of the “War on Syria” despite the fact that they have put all of their efforts into winning it but have lost decisively. However, the more painful fact for them is that they lost without a single bargaining chip remaining for them to capitalize on.

Whilst MBS can be “excused” for not being able to find a face-saving way out of Syria, he has failed abysmally in the war that he orchestrated in Yemen, and as this war drags on, the international community is beginning to wake up to the atrocities and genocide that the Saudi-led coalition is inflicting upon Yemen, and no one can be held more accountable for this military failure and crime against humanity than MBS himself.

MBS also failed to contain the loss he “inherited” from the failures of previous Saudi policies in Lebanon and Iraq. If anything, his determination to remain steadfast with these has turned regional Saudi policies into a total joke.

So where did MBS score any success, if any at all?

In my previous related articles and herein, I have mentioned and reiterate that MBS is increasingly gaining popularity within the ranks of young and educated Saudi men and women of all ages and in general amongst the grass-roots of the population. Hence, in this venture, he is scoring two birds with a single stone. In rounding up more popular support, he is confiscating and freezing badly-needed cash under the pretext of corruption.

The estimates of the number of incarcerated Saudi princes and businessmen are not any less subject to a game of guess work than the funds involved in this kerfuffle. Ignoring how many men have been put under detention, the tally of funds confiscated and frozen is estimated at a minimum of USD 150 bn to a maximum of USD 800 bn.

Given that the total official Saudi savings reserve is in the tune of “only” USD 700 bn after decades of high financial times, even the low estimate of USD 150 bn is a huge sum by proportion and by any proportion of course. It is little surprise that MBS is trying to replenish into the coffers of the state such sums, and if he manages to do it, it would be to his credit.

Whilst on the subject of official Saudi savings, after many decades of huge petroleum exports and at elevated prices, the Saudi savings reserve figure should be in the vicinity of a few trillion dollars. But a huge proportion of Saudi petro-dollars has been squandered on royal funds, holidays yachts, prostitutes, drugs, bribes, theft, corruption at all levels, and on this account and this account only, MBS can be acknowledged for bringing corrupt individuals to account.

But whether or not MBS is able to stamp out corruption and/or whether or not he is guilty of the same charge, as his cousins and some others argue, how much command does he have over the affairs of the kingdom, and over the royal family he staged a coup against?

Inside, unconfirmed reports allege that whether or not MBS has any command on traditional local troops that he can rely on, he is not taking any second chances.

To elaborate, the reader ought to be reminded that the Al-Saud legacy built its reign of power (and terror) on Wahhabism and money. Wahhabism was used as the doctrine, and money was the catalyst for buying loyalty and support.

With MBS’s purge on the royals, no traditional royal supporter with known wealth is left feeling safe. How can they feel safe if they hear reports of news of princes like Al-Walid bin Talal not only being in custody, but also getting tortured and his assets frozen and sieged by the state?

In my previous article, The Second Saudi Dynasty: MBS’s Reset Button, http://thesaker.is/the-second-saudi-dynasty-mbss-reset-button/ , I wondered how can MBS count on any local supporters. Apparently, he is not.

Recent inside information that was later on published in various media, reports that MBS has been using Blackwater to do his dirty work.

If those reports are true, MBS has hired Blackwater to arrest, with orders to kill whoever resists arrest, Saudi princes and high-ranking businessmen, and to answer to no one but him. In retrospect, the fatal shooting of Prince Abdul Aziz, son of former King Fahed, was highly unlikely to have been done by a Saudi as this would attract a death sentence in the event of the coup failing.

It has even been reported that Blackwater personnel are driving around in tinted Saudi Police and security agency personnel vehicles in a manner that is totally unbeknown and hidden from the Saudi public. This cannot be corroborated any more than they can realistically be dismissed.

If true, such reports indicate that MBS’s coup is not over. They indicate that he is not taking any chances, but most practically, they indicate that he trusts no one; no one expect Blackwater.

Most importantly and significantly however, such news, if confirmed, indicates that MBS does not have a true hold on power. If such is the case, and seeing the ambition he has, there is more reason to believe that MBS is going to have no choice but to go with his cousins all the way to the wire and until he has destroyed them all and confiscated all of their assets.

After all, he needs their money to achieve his dreams and get his kingdom out of its financial mess. He needs to blame his failure on them. He needs to eliminate any possible claim they can make for the throne.

Almost overnight, MBS has changed Saudi Arabia from a kingdom of sand upon which Al Saud reigned with a solid foothold and strong base, to a kingdom of quick-sand upon which princes and power brokers no longer have a leg to stand on. They either have to pledge total and unconditional loyalty to MBS or fear persecution. On the other hand, if they do pledge that loyalty, and MBS’s coup fails as a result of a counter-coup, then they will risk being seen as enemies of the winners of the counter-coup. It is a damned if you do and a damned if you don’t situation.

Not any less perplexing than the dilemma of the princes is the dilemma of the lower tiers of power in Saudi Arabia; especially senior military officers and their subordinates. With its tribal mentality, Saudi Arabia has had several tiers of armed forces, some of whom are loyal to particular princes rather than to the state itself. Prince Mutaib for example, the son of former King Abdullah, was until the 4th of November, the Minister of the National Guard. The hierarchy within the National Guard are loyal to him personally, and now the big boss is in jail. MBS therefore has a few options; either to coerce those military officers to become loyal to him under the risk of them stabbing him in the back, or, to throw everyone in jail and bring his own people in. But, where would he bring his own people in from and who are they to begin with? After all, and despite all the great power he gave himself, he is Mr Johnny-come–lately and he hasn’t had the advantage of time to slowly build his own army. His practical alternative was based on pragmatism and securing his own safety, and to that effect, he cannot find a more faithful and better trained army than Blackwater. And even though Blackwater does not come cheap, but clearly to MBS the objectives he seeks justify the costs.

Some may argue that Blackwater can also be bought by counter coup leaders and even foreign governments. Whilst this is possible, MBS remains to have no better alternative. However, one would imagine that for a company like Blackwater, to guarantee its business success and continuity, it would have a strict code of conduct that stipulates that it will refrain from entering contractual agreements that can generate conflict of interest between its clients. After all, and irrespective of its criminal and underhanded mercenary modus operandi, who would hire it knowing beforehand that it is in the habit of breaking contracts and replacing them with ones with the adversaries? Whilst it is arguable as to whether or not any client of Blackwater can actually take legal action against it and win is another story because, without any doubt, Blackwater, inhumane and criminal as it is, cannot afford to see its reputation ruined.

To sum it up therefore, whilst MBS’s coup is still in the making and its final outcome remaining unclear, what is evident is that MBS does not have enough local Saudi power base that he can rely on in the upper echelons of power. Whilst his grass root popularity among the general population is on the rise, traditional power brokers can neither be supportive of him, seen to be supportive or seen to be against him. Either way, and even though some of them could potentially become strong and faithful proponents of MBS, at the moment any pledges of allegiance are highly risky for all involved.

In his reliance on Blackwater however, MBS is achieving a more guaranteed short term objective. However, this policy can backfire very violently; because it is allowing certain key Saudi power brokers to sit on the fence for a little longer until they see who is the final winner in all of this for them to eventually back.

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