Exclusive: Resistance culture undergoing war – Jamileh Alamolhoda

January 23, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen

Private Dialogue | Dr. Jamila Alamolhoda – Wife of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, Jamileh Alamolhoda, tells Al Mayadeen that Iran is standing in the face of western patriarchal hegemony through cultural resistance.

Iran is one of the few countries that want to stand in the face of the West’s patriarchal standards, and this is why the West is suppressing Iran, Dr. Jamileh Alamolhoda, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s wife, told Al Mayadeen during an interview that aired Monday.

Alamolhoda explained to Al Mayadeen that there was a widespread media campaign aimed at undermining the culture of Iranian resistance, especially resistance stemming from Iranian women.

She went on to explain that media patriarchy was “taking over the world, and truth be told, they founded a new definition of the woman and introduced a new feminist culture based on their own standards, demanding that all other cultures yield. In the event that someone stands up to them, they suppress them.”

Alamolhoda underlined that if Iranian, Arab, Chinese, or Japanese women reject the Western standards regarding media patriarchy, they would be condemned because of the prevalent form of media repression, which props up only two options: fall in line or perish.

“This attack on women targets all cultures, but the culture of resistance against the culture of hegemony, or in better words, the cultural hegemony that America wants to impose on other cultures is manifested today in the countries of the axis of resistance and is engaging in cultural resistance,” she said.

“They usually look at the issue of resistance from the military aspect only, but the basis of that military resistance is cultural resistance acquired from women within the family and in their upbringing methods,” she stressed.

Furthermore, according to Alamolhoda, the culture of resistance may be acquired from schools and universities, allowing the main supporters of cultural resistance to be the mothers or wives of those martyred in occupied Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq, among other countries.

She also explained that both cultures were prevalent in Iran, “and the question remains, what is the woman’s true choice? But when some resort to riots and violence with the aim of destabilizing security and order, the government cannot but intervene.”

The doctor touched on the rallying of the media against Iran, saying there were around two hundred TV channels that were inciting the masses against the culture of Iranian resistance, especially when it comes to Iranian women. “We have a few friends in the world who share the same thinking, such as Al Mayadeen and Al Manar channels.”

Finally, she directed a message to the women of Iran, the Arab world, and the resistance, which she said also included the women of Africa and Latin America – “everyone seeking salvation from the hegemony of American culture.” She said: “we advise them to review the principles set by Imam Khomeini and those of the leader of the Revolution, reciting the Quran again, and going through the Hadiths to remind themselves of the views and opinions of the Noble Prophet (PBUH).”

This comes against the backdrops of the riots that took place in Iran over alleged violations of human rights and amid accusations of misogyny directed at Iran. 

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry and the Intelligence Organization of the IRGC issued a statement in late October taking a jab at the role of foreign spy agencies, especially the CIA, in puppeteering the riots in Iran that took place in September.

“Numerous examples and undeniable references of the all-out role of the American terrorist regime in designing, implementing, and maintaining” the riots were exposed as part of “continuous and precise” intelligence monitoring in the past year, supported by documents, the statement read.

The statement pointed fingers at the CIA as it “played the main role” while being buddy-buddy with the espionage services of the UK, “Israel” and Saudi Arabia.

“The main perpetrators were the CIA, the British and Saudi intelligence services, the Israeli Mossad, and the intelligence services of other countries,” it read. “the planning and the execution of the majority of the riots were carried out by the Mossad in collaboration with terrorist organizations.”

Related Stories

Biden ‘sleepwalking into disaster’: Experts

January 21, 2023 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

US President Joe Biden could go down in history for allowing his failed policies to trigger a world war, experts say.

US President Joe Biden, January 19, 2022 (Getty Images)

US President Joe Biden’s policies toward Russia, China, and Iran, among other countries, have the US on the verge of disaster as he begins the second half of his first term, experts told Sputnik.
 
Biden reached the midpoint of his presidency earlier today, a period in which the White House has claimed economic successes while critics have slammed him for record-high inflation, the border crisis, and a foreign policy that has escalated tensions with both Russia and China.
 
“I think he’s done better than some of us expected, but he’s still sleepwalking into disaster,” political commentator and US constitutional historian Dan Lazare told Sputnik
 
Like all US presidents, Biden was the victim of forces beyond his control, Lazare cautioned. He said that Biden entered the White House promising to be a big-spending FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt] and thus succeeded in pushing through his $1.9-trillion American Rescue Plan less than two months after taking office. However, it backfired due to mounting inflationary pressures, which it undoubtedly helped aggravate.
 
Lazare acknowledged that the “rapid and humiliating Taliban conquest of Afghanistan” in July 2021, during Biden’s first year in office, was a disaster that nearly everyone in Washington contributed to over the previous 40 years.
 
“Instead of fiddling while Rome burned, he flipped burgers while Kabul collapsed. The result was the worst foreign-policy setback since Vietnam from an imperial point of view,” he said. 
 
The Inflation Reduction Act, which was passed in November 2022, put new strains on the Atlantic Alliance, according to Lazare. “[The act] has left Europeans unnerved due to its outrageously protectionist industrial policies,” he added.

Dangers of Ukraine

The Biden administration announced on Thursday another $2.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine, bringing the total to around $27.5 billion since Biden took office. According to Lazare, the United States is on the verge of a world war.
 
He stressed that Biden looks pretty good “shepherding one military aid package after another through Congress,” warning that the longer the conflict goes on the more apparent it becomes that NATO’s “aggressively expansionist policies are leading to another 1914.”
 
Lazare predicted that Biden’s failure to pursue any serious means of resolving the conflict would exacerbate it, adding that “just as the Entente more or less maneuvered Austro-Hungary into going to war against crazy little Serbia, the Atlantic Alliance maneuvered Russia into going to war against Ukraine by engaging in actions that were increasingly provocative and confrontational,” he said. 
 
Biden risks going down in history alongside disastrous UK leader Herbert Henry Asquith, who led his country into a disastrous world war with Germany in 1914, according to Lazare.

Read next: Poll: Biden receives ‘failing grade’ in leadership and management

“I think history will, thus, end up looking at Biden the same way it looks at Asquith, the UK prime minister who thought he could get away with playing with fire in the Balkans. Once again, short-sighted imperial ambitions are plunging the world into catastrophe,” he said. 
 
Lazare believed that despite all this, the US media had covered Biden sympathetically so far in contrast to their unrelenting attacks on his predecessor. He added that Joe Biden may be a “B- president so far, but I’m sure his report card will be bristling with F’s before too long.”

Feckless mediocrity 

Retired Ambassador Chas Freeman, who served as the Democratic Clinton administration’s assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, noted that the Foreign Policy had assembled 20 analysts who had nothing but praise for Biden’s diplomatic performance.
 
Freeman told Sputnik that no oriental potentate employing praise singers could ask for more, but the Biden administration didn’t produce a ‘foreign policy for the middle class’, only one for what he described as feckless mediocrity.”
 
He added that Biden has also recklessly sparked conflict and crises with major superpowers
 
“Biden and his team have catalyzed and subsequently escalated a dangerous proxy war between the United States, Western Europe, and Russia in Ukraine [and] escalated tensions with China amidst rising concern about the possibility of a war over the status of Taiwan,” Freeman said. 
 
He also abandoned diplomatic efforts to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons development, which has brought Russia, China, and Iran together, according to Freeman.
 
Furthermore, Biden has increased protectionism and rejected the World Trade Organization’s “rules-based order,” causing friction with US allies in both Europe and Asia, he claims.
 
According to Freeman, Biden’s erratic policies had also resulted in a visible reduction in US influence in the Middle East, including a rift with Saudi Arabia and a failure to counter the replacement of apartheid in “Israel” with renewed ethnic cleansing.

Related Stories

    Global South: Gold-backed currencies to replace the US dollar

    The adoption of commodity-backed currencies by the Global South could upend the US dollar’s dominance and level the playing field in international trade.

    January 19 2023

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    Let’s start with three interconnected multipolar-driven facts.

    First: One of the key take aways from the World Economic Forum annual shindig in Davos, Switzerland is when Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan, on a panel on “Saudi Arabia’s Transformation,” made it clear that Riyadh “will consider trading in currencies other than the US dollar.”

    So is the petroyuan finally at hand? Possibly, but Al-Jadaan wisely opted for careful hedging: “We enjoy a very strategic relationship with China and we enjoy that same strategic relationship with other nations including the US and we want to develop that with Europe and other countries.”

    Second: The Central Banks of Iran and Russia are studying the adoption of a “stable coin” for foreign trade settlements, replacing the US dollar, the ruble and the rial. The crypto crowd is already up in arms, mulling the pros and cons of a gold-backed central bank digital currency (CBDC) for trade that will be in fact impervious to the weaponized US dollar.

    A gold-backed digital currency

    The really attractive issue here is that this gold-backed digital currency would be particularly effective in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of Astrakhan, in the Caspian Sea.

    Astrakhan is the key Russian port participating in the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC), with Russia processing cargo travelling across Iran in merchant ships all the way to West Asia, Africa, the Indian Ocean and South Asia.

    The success of the INSTC – progressively tied to a gold-backed CBDC – will largely hinge on whether scores of Asian, West Asian and African nations refuse to apply US-dictated sanctions on both Russia and Iran.

    As it stands, exports are mostly energy and agricultural products; Iranian companies are the third largest importer of Russian grain. Next will be turbines, polymers, medical equipment, and car parts. Only the Russia-Iran section of the INSTC represents a $25 billion business.

    And then there’s the crucial energy angle of INSTC – whose main players are the Russia-Iran-India triad.

    India’s purchases of Russian crude have increased year-by-year by a whopping factor of 33. India is the world’s third largest importer of oil; in December, it received 1.2 million barrels from Russia, which for several months now is positioned ahead of Iraq and Saudi Arabia as Delhi’s top supplier.

    ‘A fairer payment system’

    Third: South Africa holds this year’s rotating BRICS presidency. And this year will mark the start of BRICS+ expansion, with candidates ranging from Algeria, Iran and Argentina to Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has just confirmed that the BRICS do want to find a way to bypass the US dollar and thus create “a fairer payment system not skewed toward wealthier countries.”

    For years now, Yaroslav Lissovolik, head of the analytical department of Russian Sberbank’s corporate and investment business has been a proponent of closer BRICS integration and the adoption of a BRICS reserve currency.

    Lissovolik reminds us that the first proposal “to create a new reserve currency based on a basket of currencies of BRICS countries was formulated by the Valdai Club back in 2018.”

    Are you ready for the R5?

    The original idea revolved around a currency basket similar to the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) model, composed of the national currencies of BRICS members – and then, further on down the road, other currencies of the expanded BRICS+ circle.

    Lissovolik explains that choosing BRICS national currencies made sense because “these were among the most liquid currencies across emerging markets. The name for the new reserve currency — R5 or R5+ — was based on the first letters of the BRICS currencies all of which begin with the letter R (real, ruble, rupee, renminbi, rand).”

    So BRICS already have a platform for their in-depth deliberations in 2023. As Lissovolik notes, “in the longer run, the R5 BRICS currency could start to perform the role of settlements/payments as well as the store of value/reserves for the central banks of emerging market economies.”

    It is virtually certain that the Chinese yuan will be prominent right from the start, taking advantage of its “already advanced reserve status.”

    Potential candidates that could become part of the R5+ currency basket include the Singapore dollar and the UAE’s dirham.

    Quite diplomatically, Lissovolik maintains that, “the R5 project can thus become one of the most important contributions of emerging markets to building a more secure international financial system.”

    The R5, or R5+ project does intersect with what is being designed at the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), led by the Macro-Economics Minister of the Eurasia Economic Commission, Sergey Glazyev.

    A new gold standard

    In Golden Ruble 3.0 , his most recent paper, Glazyev makes a direct reference to two by now notorious reports by Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar, formerly of the IMF, US Department of Treasury, and New York Federal Reserve: War and Commodity Encumbrance (December 27) and War and Currency Statecraft (December 29).

    Pozsar is a staunch supporter of a Bretton Woods III – an idea that has been getting enormous traction among the Fed-skeptical crowd.

    What’s quite intriguing is that the American Pozsar now directly quotes Russia’s Glazyev, and vice-versa, implying a fascinating convergence of their ideas.

    Let’s start with Glazyev’s emphasis on the importance of gold. He notes the current accumulation of multibillion-dollar cash balances on the accounts of Russian exporters in “soft” currencies in the banks of Russia’s main foreign economic partners: EAEU nations, China, India, Iran, Turkey, and the UAE.

    He then proceeds to explain how gold can be a unique tool to fight western sanctions if prices of oil and gas, food and fertilizers, metals and solid minerals are recalculated:

    “Fixing the price of oil in gold at the level of 2 barrels per 1g will give a second increase in the price of gold in dollars, calculated Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar. This would be an adequate response to the ‘price ceilings’ introduced by the west – a kind of ‘floor,’ a solid foundation. And India and China can take the place of global commodity traders instead of Glencore or Trafigura.”

    So here we see Glazyev and Pozsar converging. Quite a few major players in New York will be amazed.

    Glazyev then lays down the road toward Gold Ruble 3.0. The first gold standard was lobbied by the Rothschilds in the 19th century, which “gave them the opportunity to subordinate continental Europe to the British financial system through gold loans.” Golden Ruble 1.0, writes Glazyev, “provided the process of capitalist accumulation.”

    Golden Ruble 2.0, after Bretton Woods, “ensured a rapid economic recovery after the war.” But then the “reformer Khrushchev canceled the peg of the ruble to gold, carrying out monetary reform in 1961 with the actual devaluation of the ruble by 2.5 times, forming conditions for the subsequent transformation of the country [Russia] into a “raw material appendage of the Western financial system.”

    What Glazyev proposes now is for Russia to boost gold mining to as much as 3 percent of GDP: the basis for fast growth of the entire commodity sector (30 percent of Russian GDP). With the country becoming a world leader in gold production, it gets “a strong ruble, a strong budget and a strong economy.”

    All Global South eggs in one basket

    Meanwhile, at the heart of the EAEU discussions, Glazyev seems to be designing a new currency not only based on gold, but partly based on the oil and natural gas reserves of participating countries.

    Pozsar seems to consider this potentially inflationary: it could be if it results in some excesses, considering the new currency would be linked to such a large base.

    Off the record, New York banking sources admit the US dollar would be “wiped out, since it is a valueless fiat currency, should Sergey Glazyev link the new currency to gold. The reason is that the Bretton Woods system no longer has a gold base and has no intrinsic value, like the FTX crypto currency. Sergey’s plan also linking the currency to oil and natural gas seems to be a winner.”

    So in fact Glazyev may be creating the whole currency structure for what Pozsar called, half in jest, the “G7 of the East”: the current 5 BRICS plus the next 2 which will be the first new members of BRICS+.

    Both Glazyev and Pozsar know better than anyone that when Bretton Woods was created the US possessed most of Central Bank gold and controlled half the world’s GDP. This was the basis for the US to take over the whole global financial system.

    Now vast swathes of the non-western world are paying close attention to Glazyev and the drive towards a new non-US dollar currency, complete with a new gold standard which would in time totally replace the US dollar.

    Pozsar completely understood how Glazyev is pursuing a formula featuring a basket of currencies (as Lissovolik suggested). As much as he understood the groundbreaking drive towards the petroyuan. He describes the industrial ramifications thus:

    “Since as we have just said Russia, Iran, and Venezuela account for about 40 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, and each of them are currently selling oil to China for renminbi at a steep discount, we find BASF’s decision to permanently downsize its operations at its main plant in Ludwigshafen and instead shift its chemical operations to China was motivated by the fact that China is securing energy at discounts, not markups like Europe.”

    The race to replace the dollar

    One key takeaway is that energy-intensive major industries are going to be moving to China. Beijing has become a big exporter of Russian liquified natural gas (LNG) to Europe, while India has become a big exporter of Russian oil and refined products such as diesel – also to Europe. Both China and India – BRICS members – buy below market price from fellow BRICS member Russia and resell to Europe with a hefty profit. Sanctions? What sanctions?

    Meanwhile, the race to constitute the new currency basket for a new monetary unit is on. This long-distance dialogue between Glazyev and Pozsar will become even more fascinating, as Glazyev will be trying to find a solution to what Pozsar has stated: tapping of natural resources for the creation of the new currency could be inflationary if money supply is increased too quickly.

    All that is happening as Ukraine – a huge chasm at a critical junction of the New Silk Road blocking off Europe from Russia/China – slowly but surely disappears into a black void. The Empire may have gobbled up Europe for now, but what really matters geoeconomically, is how the absolute majority of the Global South is deciding to commit to the Russia/China-led block.

    Economic dominance of BRICS+ may be no more than 7 years away – whatever toxicities may be concocted by that large, dysfunctional nuclear rogue state on the other side of the Atlantic. But first, let’s get that new currency going.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Going, Going, Gone: Fiddling While the West Burns

    January 19, 2023

    Source

    By Batiushka

    So when is the Russian winter offensive going to begin? Some thought it would be in December, when the ground had frozen. Now we are nearing February.

    However, just remember that the so-called Russian winter offensive was thought up by armchair generals. Of course, it may well exist as one of a number of scenarios among the Russian General Staff and may still happen and soon, but a winter offensive could also turn into a spring offensive, or even into a summer offensive. Planning needs to be flexible, given ever new ingredients in the mix. As long as the Kiev forces, unexpectedly, keep destroying themselves by throwing themselves into the artillery, missile and drone meat-grinder in the south-east of the Ukraine, between Soledar and Artemovsk, with minimal Russian losses, why hurry? There is no hurry. The only ones in a hurry are in the West. They need this conflict to finish and soon, because the West is on the verge of social, economic and political chaos.

    Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

    So a delay has occurred. Why take risks when Kiev wants to commit suicide? Just let them do it. Moreover, the latest events suggest more reasons for delay – internal splits.

    First of all, on 17 January there was the resignation of Arestovich as advisor to the President’s Office, ostensibly because he told the truth, that the shattered apartment block in Dnipro was directly or indirectly destroyed by a badly-aimed Ukrainian missile (not for the first time…).

    Then, the very next day, on 18 January, came the crash of the French Super Puma helicopter in Brovary (not Kiev). This killed several important figures, not least the Interior Minister and his deputy, as well as innocent children in a nursery school. A friend who lives nearby was able to provide me with facts and pictures soon later. Putting aside the suggestion that the Eurocopter was brought down by another misaimed Ukrainian missile, the crash seems to have occurred because the pilot was flying low in fog and hit a 14-storey apartment building. My friend says the skies above them are full of State helicopters every day, it is how the Zelensky regime travels. Too frightened to do it any other way. Sooner or later an accident was inevitable. Whatever the reason for the crash, it does mean that there are now convenient vacancies at the top. A power struggle is probably under way. And this is to be expected, because the Kiev forces have been chased out of the strategic town of Soledar, Artemovsk (Bakhmut) is about to fall and with it the rest of the Donbass. It is a rout because Ukrainian losses there are monumental, not to say suicidal.

    As a result, the Kiev regime is pleading with certain countries in the West for more tanks. At best it may receive about 200 (in reality, probably fewer than 100) assorted obsolete tanks and armoured vehicles from various Western countries, and probably only in a few months’ time. Whereas it needs 2,000 tanks and armoured vehicles yesterday. But for the moment the divided West is reluctant to give the Ukraine anything, apart from sweet words. Promises, promises…they are so cheap, especially when you are so short of cash and you know the Russians will probably destroy most of your donated equipment before it even gets to the front. Moreover, all this comes against the background of a Ukrainian economy on short-term (no-one will give it anything long-term), monthly Western life support (otherwise no salaries or pensions can be paid). And this is from a West which is on the verge of social, economic and political chaos and against the background of a Ukrainian energy system which, for the moment, has been 50% destroyed and a military logistics system which has been severely disrupted, by Russian missiles.

    Little wonder that the Kiev regime distrusts the West. The latter does not have bottomless pockets. Zelensky is probably coming to an end. He already got the cold shoulder in Washington before Christmas. Now he appears to be opposed by the Kiev Armed Forces commander, Zaluzhny, who seems to have had conversations with his US counterpart in Poland behind Zelensky’s back. Generally, speaking, military men hate wars; they are the work only of politicians. After all, politicians do not face the risk of freezing, getting maimed or dying in agony. Maybe we are coming to a reshuffle in Kiev. Whatever the American puppeteers order. But the problem here is do the American puppeteers know what they want to order? They seem to be divided among themselves.

    While Washington and its NATO allies have no strategy to win the war in the Ukraine, let alone an exit strategy, the Russians do. In the four months since Russia ordered partial mobilisation, 300,000 additional reservists have joined their units in the east or along Ukraine’s northern border. Meanwhile in the south the Russian Black Sea Fleet patrols. So far Russian infantry have not really taken part in this war. So far most of the work has been done by local anti-Kiev Ukrainian (Donbass) freedom-fighters and the Wagner contract group. The stage is set for a ground war, either from the east, or from the north, or from the south, or maybe all together. Washington’s nightmare. For nobody in Washington, used to fighting ill-trained, suicidal fanatics armed only with kalashnikovs, ever foresaw this. 500,000 + armed Russians are waiting on the borders of Kiev-held territory to liberate their Ukrainian brothers and sisters from the US puppet regime in Kiev. And the only ill-trained, suicidal fanatics here are the Kiev forces.

    Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

    Let us not forget that the conflict in the Ukraine is about the struggle of the United States to maintain its dinosaur’s status as the world’s last superpower. More exactly, it is about America’s attempt to destroy China as a rival. For since China, allied with Russia, is unbeatable, China has to be attacked through Eurasian Russia. In this crazed neocon video-game fantasy, the USA has overlooked Western Europe. In one sense that is understandable, since its leaders are just a pack of mindless Pavlovian dogs, intent on copying their master in Washington – and a pile of dollars greatly helps their salivating capacity for imitation. However, the US mistake is as usual to look only at its puppets. This was the same mistake as in Baghdad and Kabul, or for that matter in Tehran and Saigon, not to mention in Manila and a host of capitals in Latin America. Appoint an English-speaking yes-man, give him a Swiss bank account full of dollars and a US passport, ensure he has control over the capital and its TV and radio station and then you will control the whole country. Only Hamid Karzai didn’t and you won’t either.

    Western Europe, the EU and the UK, with a few other bits and pieces, is also inhabited by 500 million people (the other 50 odd million belong to the elite). Some, especially from the elites, live in the capitals. The vast majority do not live there and generally despise those who do live in the capitals. Ask a Frenchman what he thinks of ‘les sales parisiens’ (filthy Parisians), ask a Romanian what he thinks of the elite in Bucharest, a Pole what he thinks of those in Warsaw or an Englishman what he thinks of Londoners. If you don’t believe me, ask Macron in France. Alternatively, ask any Frenchman what he thinks of France’s real rulers – the grossly overpaid super-elite in Brussels. The English hated them so much, they had Brexit. A lot of Germans, who by a huge majority never wanted to give up the Deutschmark, got quite jealous of that, even though the incompetent and perfidious British elite totally mishandled the Brexit negotiation process.

    If in Western Europe, the vast majority don’t like their leaders, they will eventually – even the passive British – get rid of them and they will appoint leaders whom Washington does not like, Le Pen, Farage etc. Remember Orban? He is already in power, as is Erdogan (though he is in Turkey). The Ukrainian conflict is already reshaping Europe’s totally outdated (1945) security architecture and forcing a reconfiguration. The realignment will not be in Washington’s favour. Demonstrations against NATO are already starting in various European countries. But what is more likely to topple the US puppet elite is strikes and protests. Europeans hate their elites. The spoilt elites may tell their peoples: ‘Let them eat cake’. But they have forgotten that what the people want is bread.

    Once Western Europe, including even the UK, has gone, the end of the short unipolar era will be here. The domino effect, from Kiev to Dublin, is surely only a matter of time. Remember the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989? Within twenty-five months the whole of the Soviet Eastern European Empire fell, one country after another, until in December 1991, the Soviet Union itself fell. Berlin to Vladivostok. Well, the time is now up for the American Empire in its turn. It will also fall, and for the same reasons. The SU (Soviet Union) went. So will its reverse, the US (United States). Red stars, white stars, they have both had their time. Keep your eyes on Western Europe.

    Going, going, gone. In Moscow there are those who can fiddle while the West burns.

    19 January 2023

    Sayyed Nasrallah: We Want a President Who Does Not Flutter with One US Blow! (Videos)

    January 19, 2023

    Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in a speech delivered on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

    Batoul Wehbe

    Confident and relaxed he seemed with intermittent jokes levelled sporadically, indulging audience and attendees at once. Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah delivered a speech today (January 19, 2023), his third since the beginning of the new year.

    Marking 30th years on the establishment of the Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation, which had the lion’s share in his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah tackled several local and regional issues.

    Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in a speech delivered on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

    His eminence began his speech by extending sincerest gratitude to “my esteemed brothers who have shouldered the responsibility of overseeing this center, as well as to all the brothers and sisters who have dedicated themselves to this center’s operation over the course of three decades,” believing that achievements were the result of ‘blessed collective efforts.’

    “Hezbollah has been concerned with the livelihood of its people for the past 30 years, despite its significant involvement in resistance and the various challenges that existed at the time. Hezbollah has, from its inception, and continues to maintain a steadfast commitment to basing its operations on a foundation of scientific and technical expertise,” Hezbollah’s leader said.

    “The Consultative Center has consistently served as the go-to resource for guidance and direction for our leadership, units, and diverse departments within Hezbollah. We have made it clear to our brothers that it is their duty to accurately represent our organization to the outside world, regardless of any challenges or unfavourable circumstances that may arise, rather than presenting a skewed or idealized version that may be more palatable,” he added.

    Additionally, Sayyed Nasrallah said, the objective of this center is to provide insightful and constructive recommendations, perspectives, and alternatives that are grounded in the vast wealth of human and humanitarian experiences that have come before us. “It is essential that we tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that exists within our community, by leveraging the intellectual and specialized capabilities of all individuals within it, in order to achieve our goals.”

    He went on to say that Hezbollah in its efforts to find solutions for development, advancement and problem-solving, always strives to explore the full range of possibilities within the resources and capabilities that are readily available to it.

    “The Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation serves as the vital link between us and the diverse pool of intellectual and visionary resources that we rely on to guide our actions. From the outset, our aim for this center was to establish it as an intellectually rigorous, analytical, evaluative, and visionary entity that is deeply engaged and attuned to the realities of the current situation on the ground,” Sayyed Nasrallah indicated.

    “As the leadership of Hezbollah evaluated the name of the center that was to be established as a public and inclusive entity, catering to all segments of society, We selected a more general name in order to ease work and communication. The outputs produced by the center were always heavily invested in and utilized by Hezbollah, its institutions, and its affiliated organizations.”

    “Who stands behind the Loyalty to Resistance parliamentary bloc in many studies, discussions, and observations?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered, then he answered: It’s the Consultative Center.

    Economic Crisis in Lebanon Deepening

    Turning to the Lebanese set of crises, Sayyed Nasrallah said: No one argues that the economic situation is perplexing in Lebanon, this matter is not exceptional for Lebanon. Rather, there are many countries threatened with collapse

    “It is not permissible for us to despair, although there are attempts to spread hopelessness in the country, this is a perilous matter. It is not permissible to remain in a state of confusion, as was the case in the past years, and somewhere the competent authority must take the initiative to develop a vision to address the economic situation. On this basis, plans and programs can be drawn up based on a complete and elaborate vision.”

    “Corruption was rooted deep in the state long time ago, if each sect presented its best thoughts and expertise to assume administrative responsibilities in the state, we would not have reached this stage. One of the most important causes of the crisis is the misconception of the economic vision in the 1990s and some corrupt and deceitful economic policies. Our positions on them were clear in Parliament, the first of which was the debt policy,” Hezbollah’s S.G. affirmed.

    A more serious matter, Sayyed Nasrallah warned, was disrupting the production and making quick profits. “Thus, our economy has turned into a fragile one,” he said.

    “Also, among the reasons are sectarian quotas, absence of sustainable development, repercussions of internal wars, reconstruction, and displacement file,” he added.

    Lebanon under US Siege 

    Concerning the US blockade against Lebanon, Sayyed Nasrallah said: It is unfortunate that some people suggest that the blockade on Lebanon is not in place, as it is not only implemented by placing a battleship off the Lebanese coast, but also through the actions and attitudes of the American administration towards the Lebanese authority. The blockade is implemented through a variety of means, including preventing external assistance, grants, and loans from reaching Lebanon, as well as blocking the Lebanese government from accepting donations and investments, and from addressing the issue of Syrian refugees.

    “Returning to the vision that has been adopted by misguided policies, particularly that the region is moving towards resolving the conflict with the Zionist entity, that led us to the status co nowadays.”

    Sayyed Nasrallah also delved into the fact that the economic situation is being employed as means to normalize ties with the Zionist entity. In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah warned that whoever wants to put in place new economic policies must not build a vision at the expense of a settlement in the region, assuring that there is no two-state solution, especially in light of the new corrupt and terrorist government in ‘Israel’.

    “There is no settlement with Syria, too. What happened in Syria is one of the attempts to come up with a political regime that gives the Golan Heights to the Zionist entity.”

    He also insisted on working on an economy plan that provides food security and does not rely on foreign aid and assistance.

    “The situation in the region is heading towards more tension: No settlements, no peace, and all of this will be reflected in our region,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

    “One of the means for strength is the issue of oil and gas, as it is a huge wealth in the sea of Lebanon,” His eminence said, assuring that today, the European decision is decisive to dispense with Russian gas, as its priority is the Mediterranean wealth, because costs are lower. Therefore, he said, we have to search for companies to benefit from our national wealth.

    “We definitely have oil in our land, and our facts say that politics have forced it to stop, and the same is true in Palestine and Syria, as there is exploration and extraction of oil near our borders.”

    Abounding Strengths in Lebanon 

    Other than security with Sayyed Nasrallah enumerated as a strength to the country, he said that expatriates are also one of its main strengths, calling them “the most important financial source for the livelihood of the Lebanese.”

    “There are great hopes and points of strength. Lebanese are able to rise, they need the will, the right plan, and seriousness in action. Expatriates are exposed today to danger, harassment, and aggression by the USA through putting merchants and rich personalities on sanctions lists on unjust charges. This needs a follow-up by the state, which unfortunately ‘does nothing’,” he said.

    Ending up the part of economic blockade, Sayyed Nasrallah once again called on Lebanon to ‘look to the East’: “We must have the courage and willingness to sacrifice in the face of sanctions and in accepting donations, and we must have the audacity to say to the Chinese, “Go ahead.” Why are countries in the world allowed to invest with China while Lebanon is forbidden from doing so?”

    Referring to the refugees file, Sayyed Nasrallah said: “We need courage in dealing with the Syrian displaced file, and stop the racism accusations. This is a crisis from which all the Lebanese suffer, and we can find a decent solution for them.”

    Many people speculate that if Lebanon says it is outside the conflict with “Israel”, then everything will be resolved, his eminence noted. “I invite you to observe the situation in Egypt, the first country that made peace with the Israeli enemy,” he said, referring to the economic crisis that Egypt is suffering from despite its normalization of ties with the Zionist entity.

    “Egypt has the best relations with the US and Saudi Arabia, and it is with the International Monetary Fund. What situation is Egypt in?” Sayyed Nasrallah wondered.

    It’s worth noting that Egypt’s external debt is expected to bypass $200 billion by early next year, an almost 400 percent increase since 2016.

    In a report issued yesterday, the Financial Times said that last year, Cairo was forced to go to the IMF for the fourth time in six years. Even before that $3bn loan was secured in October, Egypt was the fund’s second biggest debtor after Argentina.

    Strong, Independent President

    In this context, Hezbollah’s secretary general warned that the next six years are crucial for Lebanon. “If we continue in the same way, the country is on the verge of collapse.”

    To this level, Sayyed Nasrallah sarcastically said “We want a president who, if the Americans blow on him, wouldn’t flutter from the Baabda Palace to the Mediterranean,” hinting at a strong president who’s able to withstand US pressure.

    “We want a brave president who is ready for sacrifice and who is not concerned with the American threats,” he said in other words, pledging patience among people as though Lebanon needs a president with a certain calibre.

    Since President Michel Aoun left the Baabda Palace in October 30, 11 parliamentary sessions have been held to elect a new president, but none bore fruit due to lack of consensus.

    Source: Al-Manar English Website

    Related Videos

    US to allies: No more ‘free’ military support; terms, conditions apply

    January 19, 2023 

    Source: The National Interest

    By Al Mayadeen English 

    The National Interest report says that the war in Ukraine has turned the tables on the US foreign policy approach to its allies.

    Illustration of a US tank emerging from behind the American flag (Rob Dobi)

    Washington has a new message to its allies: Relying on American military leadership will have to come with terms and conditions, no more “free rides”, a report by The National Interest revealed on Thursday.

    The media outlet said that the earlier discussions have addressed the “free riding” problem in general, especially when it comes to US foreign policy.

    In short, free riding refers to American allies earning US military protection and privileges acquired through Washington’s global influence and hegemony, without providing anything – or barely anything –  in return.

    US international allies, during the cold war era and what came after, were at the center of criticism by Washington for “relying on the United States to spend its national treasure in terms of higher military expenditures to provide them with global security,” the report continued.

    “If anything, the message coming from Washington these days is that if the allies want to be able to continue to rely on U.S. military leadership, they are the ones who would have to accept the economic conditions set by the Americans,” the report said.

    The conditions, according to the media outlet, are “ending their energy deals with Russia, sanctioning it, and joining the United States in a long and costly economic-technological war with the Chinese.”

    US “subsidies” to its allies’ defense budgets have enabled them [allies] to spend less on their military industry and focus more of their revenue on their social and economic needs, “while fiscal tightening forces Americans to cut expenditures on education and health,” according to the news sites.

    According to the report, this begs the question:

    “Why should America continue bankrolling the defense budgets of countries like Japan, surplus economies whose companies compete with American businesses in the global arena?”

    The dominating position of the US in the Middle East, which has been sustained through large military and financial expenses, allowed Washington’s allies that are dependent on foreign energy imports to have freedom of access to the energy resources in the Gulf region, the report noted.

    In addition to all the abovementioned points, there is also the current world reality where the US is committed to deploying its nuclear arsenal to defend its NATO and Asian allies in the case that they [allies] come under threats from adversaries with nuclear arms.

    “Hence, the Americans are supposedly ready to see New York and San Francisco being nuked in order to save Berlin and Tokyo from annihilation,” said the outlet.

    Thus, pressing NATO states to raise their defense budgets and their military and economic contributions to the coalition has become a bipartisan ritual of sorts in Washington “until President Donald Trump’s behavior made it look faux pas,” the report said.

     Anti-globalization sentiments in the United States

    Americans are expressing unwillingness to “continue supporting the liberal economic order while the allies were breaking free-trade principles,” the media outlet stated.

    “But then that was the way the industrial miracles of Germany and Japan had happened, very much at the expense of American economic interests,” it continued.

    The cost implications on the United States from the wars it fought in the “Greater Middle East” started to challenge the de facto rhetoric in Washington regarding the US role on the global stage.

    According to the report, the US is “supposedly ready” to help out its allies who resort to it and protect their access to energy resources in the Gulf region, “while the allies pay very little in exchange, and even try to force the United States into costlier military interventions in the Middle East, as France did in the case of Libya.”

    War in Ukraine; turning point

    After the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine and amid growing “Chinese threats to Taiwan,” the report said that – “according to the conventional wisdom” – US allies may have finally realized that “free riding” is not an option anymore when it comes to dealing with the United States.

    “They need to start playing a more activist role in the protection of Western interests against the threat of powerful global disruptors” and now have to “contribute to the production of that international public good”.

    Allies will have to step up their roles, “since alone the United States will not continue to provide it cost-free,” the report said.

    ‘American Hegemony Lite’

    The media site pointed out Germany’s response to the Ukraine war and Japan’s reaction to growing tension with China as examples that allies are, indeed, making a shift in their role as US allies.

    “These developments seemed to have changed the balance of power in Europe and Asia, where America can supposedly now count on its allies to play their roles as its deputies while the United States remains primus inter pares (first among equals), call it American Hegemony Lite,” the site said.

    No more free pass for allies practicing protectionism

    Toward the beginning of the Cold War, “liberalizing American trade policies while dealing with nations that practiced protectionism made some sense,” the report noted, arguing that some allied economies, such as Germany and Japan, were still in a state of recovery from the destructive outcomes of WWII, thus had to protect their local industries from outside competitors.

    “But those who assumed that Trump’s economic nationalist policies would change under the more internationalist President Joe Biden are discovering now that that approach enjoys bipartisan support,” the report stressed.

    The news site continued that the decision made by Biden not to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which would have required the US to cut tariffs on some Asian imports, and his administration insisting on providing subsidies to electric-vehicle despite outrage from European allies in particular, who accused the US of practicing unfair protection to US-made products, are signs that Washington has turned upside-down the Cold-War-era deal with the allies.

    In its concluding statement, the report said that despite the conventional discussion that it is in the US interests to stop allies from establishing independent military powers, which could make the world a “more dangerous place,” the United States was one of the countries that launched a “series of wars in recent decades that have made the world more dangerous.”

    “It was based on the expectations that the United States needed to win the geostrategic commitment of its allies through concessions in the geo-economic area,” the report said.

    US allies developing nuclear programs could not have been a bad idea

    “In retrospect, if Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Ukraine had nuclear weapons, the world would have probably been less dangerous today,” the news site claimed.

    ‘Fragmented world’ sleepwalks into World War III

    Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:31 AM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 21 January 2023 4:22 PM ]

    By Pepe Escobar

    The self-appointed Davos “elites” are afraid. So afraid. At this week’s World Economic Forum meetings, mastermind Klaus Schwab – displaying his trademark Bond villain act – carped over and over again about a categorical imperative: we need “Cooperation in a Fragmented World.”

    While his diagnosis of “the most critical fragmentation” the world is now mired in is predictably somber, Herr Schwab maintains that “the spirit of Davos is positive” and in the end we may all live happily in a “green sustainable economy.”

    What Davos has been good at this week is showering public opinion with new mantras. There’s “The New System” which, considering the abject failure of the much ballyhooed Great Reset, now looks like a matter of hastily updating the current – rattled – operating system.

    Davos needs new hardware, new programming skills, even a new virus. Yet for the moment all that’s available is a “polycrisis”: or, in Davos speak, a “cluster of related global risks with compounding effects.”

    In plain English: a perfect storm.

    Insufferable bores from that Divide and Rule island in northern Europe have just found out that “geopolitics”, alas, never really entered the tawdry “end of history” tunnel: much to their amazement it’s now centered – again – across the Heartland, as it’s been for most of recorded history.

    They complain about “threatening” geopolitics, which is code for Russia-China, with Iran attached.

    But the icing on the Alpine cake is arrogance/stupidity actually giving away the game: the City of London and its vassals are  livid because the “world Davos made” is fast collapsing.

    Davos did not “make” any world apart from its own simulacrum.

    Davos never got anything right, because these “elites” were always busy eulogizing the Empire of Chaos and its lethal “adventures” across the Global South.

    Davos not only failed to foresee all recent, major economic crises but most of all the current “perfect storm,” linked to the neoliberalism-spawned deindustrialization of the Collective West.

    And, of course, Davos is clueless about the real Reset taking place towards multipolarity.

    Self-described opinion leaders are busy “re-discovering” that Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain was set in Davos – “against the backdrop of a deadly disease and an impending world war” – nearly a century ago.

    Well, nowadays the “disease” – fully bioweaponized – is not exactly deadly per se. And the “impending World War” is in fact being actively encouraged by a cabal of US Straussian neo-cons and neoliberal-cons: an unelected, unaccountable, bipartisan Deep State not even subject to ideology. Centennary war criminal Henry Kissinger still does not get it.

    A Davos panel on de-globalization was rife on non-sequiturs, but at least a dose of reality was provided by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

    As for China’s vice-premier Liu He, with his vast knowledge of finance, science and technology, at least he was very helpful to lay down Beijing’s five top guidelines for the foreseeable future – beyond the customary imperial Sinophobia.

    China will focus on expanding domestic demand; keeping industrial and supply chains “smooth”; go for the “healthy development of the private sector”; deepen state enterprise reform; and aim for “attractive foreign investment.”

    Russian resistance, American precipice

    Emmanuel Todd was not at Davos. But it was the French anthropologist, historian, demographer and geopolitical analyst who ended up ruffling all the appropriate feathers across the collective West these past few days with a fascinating anthropological object: a reality-based interview.

    Todd spoke to Le Figaro – the newspaper of choice of the French establishment and haute bourgeoisie. The interview was published last Friday on page 22, sandwiched between proverbial Russophobic screeds and with an extremely brief mention on the bottom of the front page. So people really had to work hard to find it.   

    Todd joked that he has the – absurd – reputation of a “rebel destroy” in France, while in Japan he’s respected, featured in mainstream media, and his books are published with great success, including the latest (over 100,000 copies sold): “The Third World War Has Already Started.”

    Significantly, this Japanese best seller does not exist in French, considering the whole Paris-based publishing industry toes the EU/NATO line on Ukraine.

    The fact that Todd gets several things right is a minor miracle in the current, abysmally myopic European intellectual landscape (there are other analysts especially in Italy and Germany, but they carry much less weight than Todd).

    So here’s Todd’s concise Greatest Hits.

    – A new World War is on: By “switching from a limited territorial war to a global economic clash, between the collective West on one side and Russia linked to China on the other side, this became a World War”.

    – The Kremlin, says Todd, made a mistake, calculating that a decomposed Ukraine society would collapse right away. Of course he does not get into detail on how Ukraine had been weaponized to the hilt by the NATO military alliance.

    – Todd is spot on when he stresses how Germany and France had become minor partners at NATO and were not aware of what was being plotted in Ukraine militarily: “They did not know that the Americans, British and Poles could allow Ukraine to fight an extended  war. NATO’s fundamental axis now is Washington-London-Warsaw-Kiev.”

    – Todd’s major give away is a killer: “The resistance of Russia’s economy is leading the imperial American system to the precipice. Nobody had foreseen that the Russian economy would hold facing NATO’s ‘economic power’”.

    – Consequently, “monetary and financial American controls over the world may collapse, and with them the possibility for the US of financing for nothing their enormous trade deficit”.

    – And that’s why “we are in an endless war, in a clash where the conclusion is the collapse of one or the other.”

    – On China, Todd might sound like a more pugnacious version of Liu He at Davos: “That’s the fundamental dilemma of the American economy: it cannot face Chinese competition without importing qualified Chinese work force.”

    – As for the Russian economy, “it does accept market rules, but with an important role for the state, and it keeps the flexibility of forming engineers that allow adaptations, industrial and military.”

    – And that bring us, once again, to globalization, in a manner that Davos roundtables were incapable of understanding: “We have delocalized so much of our industrial activity that we don’t know whether our war production may be sustained”.

    – On a more erudite interpretation of that “clash of civilizations” fallacy, Todd goes for soft power and comes up with a startling conclusion: “On 75 percent of the planet, the organization of parenthood  was patrilineal, and that’s why we may identify a strong understanding of the Russian position. For the collective non-West, Russia affirms a reassuring moral conservatism.”

    – So what Moscow has been able to pull off is to “reposition itself as the archetype of a big power, not only “anti-colonialist” but also patrilineal and conservative in terms of traditional mores.”

    Based on all of the above, Todd smashes the myth sold by EU/NATO “elites” – Davos included – that Russia is “isolated,” stressing how votes in the UN and the overall sentiment across the Global South characterizes the war, “described by mainstream media as a conflict over political values, in fact, on a deeper level, as a conflict of anthropological values.”

    Between light and darkness

    Could it be that Russia – alongside the real Quad, as I defined them (with China, India and Iran) – are prevailing in the anthropological stakes?

    The real Quad has all it takes to blossom into a new cross-cultural focus of hope in a “fragmented world.”

    Mix Confucian China (non-dualistic, no transcendental deity, but with the Tao flowing through everything) with Russia (Orthodox Christian, reverencing the divine Sophia); polytheistic India (wheel of rebirth, law of karma); and Shi’ite Iran (Islam preceded by Zoroastrianism, the eternal cosmic battle between Light and Darkness).

    This unity in diversity is certainly more appealing, and uplifting, than the Forever War axis.

    Will the world learn from it? Or, to quote Hegel – “what we learn from history is that nobody learns from history” – are we hopelessly doomed?

    Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.


    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

    www.presstv.ir

    www.presstv.co.uk

    Painful Similarities Between the German and Aztec Collapses

    January 18, 2023

    Painful Similarities Between the German Collapse and the Aztec Empire – with Some Clarification On The Transformation Of Europe Against Mesoamerica

    Source

    By Thorsten J. Pattberg

    JUST IN, so funny: ‘Shove Your Democracy Up Your Ass’ went viral in China and Taiwan. My sense of humor! If you can, grab five mint copies for your study group!

    Part I. The Arrival

    The Aztec Empire, also known as “the Triple Alliance” or “the Empire Mexica,” was one of the most powerful blocks in pre-Columbian America. At their peak, the Aztecs controlled much of present-day Mexico and parts of Central America. Then, at the dawn of the 16th Century, 11 shiploads of Europeans arrived.

    Despite the Aztecs’ supreme confidence in their spiritual, technological, and economic lizardry, their Empire of 500 tribes —or 3.2 million people—ultimately collapsed due to political infighting, foreign interference, immigration of young men from Europe, and, above all, the ridiculous ‘Welcome Policy’ of the idiot Aztec ruler Moctezuma II.

    IMAGE 0 Some Say, Woke King ‘Mocti’ Moctezuma II Single-Handely Dropped the Aztecs, the Mayans, and the Incas

    Contrary to common belief, the Aztecs were not an Ancient civilization on par with, say, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Xia Chinese, or the Hindu Guptas. The Aztecs under Moctezuma II were still a relatively young, recent “Empire” that lasted 170 years (about 1350 till 1521), comparable, perhaps, to the first unified German Empire under Wilhelm I, but which only lasted 47 years (1871-1918) [and could be #stillweeping from its shallow grave, not sure].

    In most history books today, it is written that the Aztec Empire’s fate was sealed when the Spanish megalomaniac Hernán Cortés arrived in Mexico in 1519. We read stories, always repeated by the same clique of Western scholars, about how the Aztecs initially “welcomed the Spanish as possible representatives of the god Quetzalcoatl”—as if the Mexica people were that illustrious and funny. Moctezuma’s ‘Welcome Policy’ and collaboration with the first batch of sextourists “led to a fatal misunderstanding,” we are told; the misunderstanding being that the foreign invaders probably did not want your land, your gold, and your ladies.  

    IMAGE 1 Left Cortez Enters the Lizardman City Right Aztec Dictator – As Imagined in Tabletop Wargaming in the West

    At last, “Conquistador Cortés” [literally: “Corti the Conqueror”] and his 500 men force-clarified the misunderstanding. He ultimately praised Moctezuma II for “his commitment to the Spanish ‘Inclusion, Diversity and Multiculturalism-Act’, as pronounced by the late Pope Clement the VII or whomever in Rome, Italy.” The Spanish occupiers used Mocti as a puppet governor, much like the American occupiers used Tirard to govern the German Rhineland in 1918.

    Well, we all know that the Germans rose up against the foreign occupation. This ended badly for the Germans, leading to the greatest bloodshed the world had ever seen, World War 2 and Germany’s spectacular downfall.

    Believe it or not, the Aztecs did the exact same thing, just 400 years earlier, which led to their own unique, spectacular demise. It so happened that a dictator rose against the Spanish occupation. He was Moctezuma’s own brother, Cuitlahuac—someone we today would call Un fascista—who declared himself the Leader and said he “would drain the swamp” and “make Aztecs great again.” He expelled the foreign money lenders, geared up the Aztec war economy, and declared a brand-new 1000-Years-“AztecReich”. Symbols matter big time. He didn‘t consider the rolling Swastika, though, because Buddha wasn’t a thing yet in the drenches. Thus, he picked the moving Ollin, basically an eye of cunning Toad-God Xolotl.

    IMAGE 2 The Ollin Eye of Toad Xolotl (Way Cooler Than The Buddha Wheel)

    Sadly, the 30,000 men strong Aztec army was too blase, too friendly, and no real match for the Spanish refugees who by now had European-sponsored 30 horses, 100 guns, and 3 advanced cannons. Worse, the Spanish were no longer just Spanish, but also Portuguese, Italian, slave Negroes, other European mercenaries, and allied Mexica turncoats.

    The Aztec Empire’s fall was impressive. If you trust the history books (don’t!), an estimated 95% of all Aztecs “disappeared.” The Europeans, to this day, insist that they did NOT mass-murder, starve, or brainwash the Mexica into infertility in any way, shape, or form. Rather, just like with all the other Mesoamerican civilizations conquered, the Europeans claimed that the Aztechnicians simply “had zero immunity to the diseases brought to you by our modern sailors,” sorry! [We come back to that in a minute.]

    Part II. The Clean Sweep

    In modern times, Aztec parallels can be drawn with the situation in Europe. Of course, the European Union did not start as a “Triple Alliance,” but as a “Sextuple Alliance” between Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Luxembourg, and The Hague. Under US occupation and US-NATO expansion, the Alliance grew eastwards and to an impressive 27 members. But those new members are not at all native Germanic tribes, and not at all loyal. It is a bit as if we added to the Aztecs also the Olmec, the Incas, the Mayas, and —while we are at it— the Apache, Comanche, Cherokee, Seminoles, and all those other “Native American tribes,” collectively known as “the missing Indians.”

    Europe is of course politically unified; I am not denying that. However, Europe is also being militarily, culturally, and economically occupied by the US Empire of Sanctions [and Lies], partly since 1918, totally so since 1945. The United States made sure to reward pro-American traitors, install pro-American puppet regimes in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome, Luxembourg, and The Hague, and to punish any nationalist uprising (Nazis! Communists! Terrorists! Racists!…)

    The modern times “Moctezuma” in Europe was Angela Merkel, the German chancellor from 2005 to 2021. She collaborated with the US foreign occupiers, the international money lenders, and various other foreign interest groups and, finally, in 2015, she initiated the “Open Borders” policy for Germany and all of Central and Northern Europe. Syria alone sent 1.5 million “conquistadors”—men of military age. Once the foreign men arrived, they were instructed to ask their siblings, parents, uncles, and even multiple wives to join them. Germany steadily grew by 1 million Muslims and/or Arabs and Africans each year, while 500,000 native Germans a year left for better shores. If today you visit the city centers of Berlin, Duisburg, Cologne, Dortmund, Essen, Bochum and hundreds more, they clearly look decapitated and Oriental.

    IMAGE 3 Germany‘s Insane Welcome Refugees Mass Hypnosis and Open Borders Madness

    The 2015 invaders were euphemistically called “poor refugees” and the next round of settlers in 2018 were tarnished as “cultural enrichment.” They quickly subjugated the locals and dominated schoolyards, shopping malls, swimming pools, and New Year parties. The next five million foreign invaders, from 2020 onwards —were called Facharbeiter, figuratively: “trained experts.” And while in any other country in the world, work permits for foreigners are often extremely hard to get by, Germany actually pays 5,000 euros a month [$5k] to the invaders for not working. After a while, the bred-and-fed migrant forces also demanded more land, better housing, easy women, positions of power, and, always always, privileged treatment.

    Just as the deluded Aztec leadership “welcomed the Spanish as possible representatives of their gods,” the retarded German leadership welcomed the poor refugees with open arms as if they were sent by Jesus the Christ. The Germans even gave away their apartments, schools, gym halls, free transport, free medicare, and expenses accounts to these poor, strong foreign men. It felt so good to “share wealth” and to “give back” to complete strangers. In return, those strangers looked so pretty with their dark hair and caramel-chocolate skin, and everything German they touched they made “a better person” indeed. Said the Aztec Social Democrat Martin Schulz from the European El Dorado, in 2016: “What the migrants bring us is more valuable than gold!”

    The parallels are hilarious. The indigenous Germans pay for their leaders’ betrayal just like the indigenous Aztecs did. They already live a slave-like existence and must part 50% of their incomes to the rulers. With the rest, they pay rent, charges, fees, arbitrary fines, transport to work. They pay income tax, property tax, consumer tax, solidarity tax, inheritance tax, tax on tax. And the rulers take all that unearned money, send most of it to America and the money lenders, and the rest they trickle into the pockets of the “New Germans.”

    In effect, the classical Germanic tribes, the “Old Germans,” the Teutons, the Franks, the Saxons, the Goths, the Norse, and so on, are now economically drained, dispossessed, and spit on their racist graves. And, would you believe it, many Germans now apparently die “suddenly and unexpectedly,” due to “the lack of immunity from some foreign-born virus,” you’ve heard that scholarship before.

    With new masters in town, you cannot simply arrest the new masters, right? Police, courts, and political parties were ordered to tiptoe around them and turn a blind eye on the crimes and misbehaves of the new settlers, and prosecute the indigenous people more for being “a witness and a nuisance to the alienation and Great Replacement.”

    The official German narrative is that of the invaders being just innocent, traumatized victims, having found their deserved Eden Europe, “where everyone wants to live,” we are told, because “we Europeans are so nice and tolerant to everyone.” [Interestingly, the King of Spain, Charles I, back then in 1521 said the same about “the nicest and most tolerant Mexica people.”]

    And just as Moctezuma collaborated with hostile outsiders, so did Angela Merkel collaborate with the historic adversaries of the Germans, which led to a number of irreversible consequences, including the rise of right-wing populists (the resistance movement) and, increasingly, anti-immigrant sentiments. These, of course, would be crushed ruthlessly. This “torture” of the indigenous Germans had commenced much earlier, in the 1960s, with birth control, the destruction of the family, and miscegenation policies [interbreeding]. However, 2015 was the critical tipping point, when the center of gravity passed outside of what the few remaining Germans could support as “Vaterland”—land of thy fathers. Between 1977 and 2015, the number of German babies born had halved. For every two comrades I had in my childhood, one is not born today. The Germans born in 2022 have no comrades. They sit opposite one Oriental and another Asian usurper, who turn increasingly antagonistic.

    IMAGE 4 Germans, Know, When It Is Time To Give Up

    Example 1. The Turkish diaspora in Germany’s industrial belt of North-Rhine Westphalia alone now numbers in the 4.5 million. Those “German-Turks” still have their motherland, Turkiye, which has 85 million inhabitants, more than Germany. Do not fall for the “official” German regime statistics, they are totally fake and manipulated. For example, one year they just list 1.2 million Turkish nationals, while in reality, another 3.3 million Turks in North-Rhine Westphalia are “sleeper Turks” with German passports.

    If the US Empire of Sanctions [and Lies] one day so decided to punish Berlin for disobedience, like not joining the war against Iraq, Russia, or China, far away Ankara, also a US-NATO satellite, could be asked to mobilize the 4.5 million Turks in Germany and break up most of the Ruhr region, and turn cities like Hagen, Wuppertal, and Hamm complete hostile. You don’t believe it? A ‘color revolution’ is easily provoked. For instance, “German authorities are desperately suppressing Turkish language and culture!” You didn’t know that? This message could make global headlines tomorrow morning. This is totally out of control from the German leadership. The German US-puppet regime wants to keep the German-Turks largely out of power, understandably, but how long, you think, this can last, once the Zionist sow first discontent? The Turks want what is theirs, now, in 10 years, or in 30 years. Doesn’t matter when, but it will matter if—blackmail! Already Berlin reckons another 2,200 mosques will have to be built in West Germany by 2040. Islam is now everywhere. So, just wait and see.

    Example 2. Over 60% of children born in 2020 in major German cities like Berlin or Frankfurt now have a so-called migration background. They are non-white. Naturally, the non-whites call the remaining white Germans “racists” and “anti-foreign,” and demand so-called “people of color” to replace the hateful German natives in public offices, in the police force, in hospitals, in nurseries, in schools, on company boards, but also on TV and in advertising and film. The German rulers must persecute the Germans to get favors from the invaders… until the invaders will usurp the rulers. It is that simple. Ask Moctezuma II. He gave his last shirt and favorite daughter to Cortés.

    In two or three generations, most remaining German women will either choose a dominant migrant man with so-and-so-many privileges and god-like status to procreate with… OR she will have no children at all with defeated, emasculated, and disenfranchised native men. Ask Hernán Cortés. He took 20 more Aztec spouses and forced thousands of childless indigenous men to slave on his brand-new foreign plantation.

    Part III. The Turnover

    “Not too fast,” objects the German regime. “There is one big difference between the two situations,” so the defenders of inclusion, diversity, and multiculturalism exult: “The Aztecs,” they say, “were overwhelmed by a technologically superior military force!” And, this: “The European Union is a developed and affluent continent!” So, they claim, in essence, that the millions of migrants from Africa, South-East Asia, and the Middle East are unfit and below Europe.

    That is a rather risky position for any government to take worldwide, though, because it rates the ambitions, intelligence, and creative prowess of half-whites, non-ideal whites, and associate-whites as subpar too. Weren’t the Irish to America once pisspoor and considered mental gretchins? Even if the Ghanaian, Afghans, or Iraqis really were mentally inferior and without guns, all it takes is one intelligent leader, right? As to the guns, Germans bear no weapons either. The United States disarmed the Germans, starting in 1948. Besides, didn’t the American history books just tell us that 95% of the Aztecs did not die from gunfire but from diarrhea and Spanish measles?

    The defenders of total subjugation further argue that present-day European countries are more equipped to handle and integrate our immigrants than the Aztecs were capable of appeasing their immigrants. But that argument is prejudiced, too. It says, in so-and-so-many other words, that if it’s a monkey, we have European rules for monkeys to follow. The “monkey’s now boxed, Madam Merkel!”

    And isn’t this “boxing” of all creatures, stuff, and thinking the very imperialistic quintessence of European control —that dehumanizing bureaucracy! Even without saying “foreigners” or “monkeys,” most of us know exactly what a ‘migrant economy’ entails. The ‘migrant economy’ in Germany is worth 100 billion euros, more than the war in Ukraine costs [which, by the way, brought us another 2 million refugees, this time Slavs]. It entails soulless human farming. The regime just promoted slave laborers to laboring expert Facharbeiter slaves or whatnot. The basis of such downplaying of [the trope of] ‘helpless victim migrants’ is that the Europeans somehow believe that other races cannot conquer them, at all, because Europeans are so well organized, technologically advanced, and intellectually superior. Tell this to the organized, advanced, and very superior rulers of Athens in Greece who were run over by dilapidated barefoot Spartans on Persian subsidies. Hence the Greeks transpired the important lesson of ὕβρις ‘hubris’—Latinized, this: @#$%&! Outrage”!

    This @#$%&! probably was the last Mesoamerican cry of defiance, too; and that of the superior Sinitic and Hindu and Roman civilizations before them: “We can handle any foreign barbarians,” Empress Dowager Cixi once boasted. “We are so brilliant! We are the El Kitai for gold-diggers! See, they come to us, because we are the richest and bestest! It is evident!” she bragged. Then, three summer solstices later, Qing China broke to pieces… @#$%&! Outrage.

    So what?—better domesticate your people: No pride, No patriotism, No Honor! This is really happening in Germany, since I was born and can remember. They have been telling us since childhood that bloodline, hereditary, and history are but grotesque “Hitlerian” ideas and concepts— and very antisemitic and undemocratic! “You must unlearn them!” As to the motive of (childless) tyrant Merkel, her case is proven clear: Forget about the horrible ideas of homeland and ancestry. “Everyone who lives here,” she told the leaders of the world, “is the People.” Which is exactly what Moctezuma also said, back then. He said: “Aztecia is a land of immigrants!” That’s what he said, yes! [He couldn’t write, though.]

    IMAGE 5 German Merkel Gave Total Control To Washington and the Iews Then Finished The Germans

    With a backstabbing leader like this, who needs foreign invaders with primitive bullet dispensers? Modern migrants are handed advanced weapons such as US smartphones, foreign interest groups cheering you on, your family networks, US intelligence support systems, massive globalist propaganda media, and US-NATO military to protect your migrant human rights interests. What can ordinary Germans do against this, nothing! It is over.

    The Merkel retired in 2021, but the Germans are so finished. She is respected by all foreign powers in the world, just like Moctezuma was hailed ‘the God of Rainbows’ and ‘Him who held us all together’, just not his own people whom he sold down the river. Merkel even prognosticated that all 10 million aliens in Germany would be handed German passports soon, probably by 2024! And isn‘t that exactly what Mocti did in Tenochtitlan? When his councilors said, “Look, the Spaniards raped chief Xhotl’s daughter, and gave her the flu, too,” the Emperor smacked them over their heads and cried: “You fools, there are no Spaniards here, we are all Tenochtitlans!”

    Diversity is our strength, Inshallah! If I were to draw an unfair comparison, I would say that the 900,000 Muslim “experts and skilled workers” being cheap-bussed, container-shipped, and air-trafficked into Bonn, Stuttgart, and Nuremberg every year since 2018 are far more effective and better equipped for total take-over than the illiterate 30 or so Spanish conquistadors back then in Inner Aztec City. People without a university degree just read too many textbooks. They have no clear idea about how many people are required to do what exactly? Example: 9 people left in charge by Cortés made speech laws for 140,000 Tenochtitlans. Another example. Cortés was never just once assaulted by his unhappy 3,000 workers slaves. It just takes one to rule many, in all situations, each and every time.

    If you are still unsure about the severity of the German transformation, because Washington, Brussels, Berlin, and the US-NATO media propaganda machine are lying to you non-stop and saying you’ve got nothing to fear from the 60 million migrants from Ham and Eden ready to march into EU-Idiotistan, consider this: They are telling you “The 60 million refugees have nowhere else to go because of climate change.” Just how naïve you have to be…, for there are 1.4 billion of Ham and Eden people who stayed home… also because of climate change!

    There is one time-proven, sure-fire test to find out how “outraged the Greeks truly are”: If in “the most tolerant and diverse Europe of all time,” you cannot criticize US endless wars, regime changes, and the deliberate attack on our civilization, and if that would make you instantly a right-wing extremist Aztec conspiracy theorist, that means that 95% of you will probably die in the next 100 years. Just saying.

    Which brings me to my final issue with history textbooks for today. Think! If 95% of the Mexica people REALLY disappeared, how come they grew from 3 million in 1519 to @#$%&! 132,354,424 in 2023? It’s a hoax, that’s what it is.

    Let me explain this phenomenon about those allegedly missing people in world history: What the 95%-propaganda historian really wanted to disguise was ‘the turnover’. A former Aztec people in (almost) its entirety was simply turned over to a new, Spanish historian. It’s a metaphor.

    So, this new historian, figuratively speaking, erases 95% of the Aztec Empire’s stock there, and adds them to his Spanish Empire here. And every corrupt scholar hence simply repeated this outrageous numbers hoax. European History, which is World History really, is actually a set of heterogeneous [varying] data with vast amounts of legacy source [say, Christianity] still using the LATIN alphabet on pressed cellulose fibre (books). Aztec history, on the other hand, was conspicuously burnt absent or never found. What you think you’ve read about pre-European Mesoamerican history is actually postconquest rewrite. You don’t believe that court historians are bullshitting us, and all the time? Here’s just twelve academic textbooks purporting to the 95% Aztec/Mesoamerican “extinction hoax” (see image):

    IMAGE 7 The Fake 95 Percent Extinction Myth Perpetuated By Court Historians

    Likewise, it is perfectly “scholarly” to say that “the Germans as a civilization are finished,” with 95% of them likely to go extinct (as did Professor Sieferle alluded to in his Finis Germania), while the next ‘EU reset-historian’ is pining for a whopping 100-million-people-strong Centerland. No contradiction here, just a new, “trusted” court historian at the black board. Who was the first person a few thousand years ago who added or subtracted negative numbers; was it a Greek, or a Brahmin, or a Mandarin?  Well, let me tell you this… a “little secret,” if you will… about our bought-and-paid-for ‘textbook academicians’: Those manipulators regularly add or subtract negative people. [You didn’t know this, did you?] It is perfectly academic to write that 3,000,000 Mesoamericans were massacred there, and show up again here.

    IMAGE 8 Systematic Demolition of Reich (Realm), Germanness, Christianity, and Historic Persons

    Any cry from the negative natives for help, any lament from the negative native women, any fight of resistance against the positive dark hordes from the East, is now persecuted as “unforgivable racism and despicable hate crime.” Our new court historians will make them the Process.

    Conclusion

    The public discourse is thus closed on this matter. The old historians who protected you died. The two truly evil psychopaths, Moctezuma and Merkel, who destroyed their countries and their people without remorse, so much alike in bringing forth the downfall of their wonderful civilizations, simply declared that “the migration crisis and the policies to deal with it are too complex and too multifaceted to discuss, and […] with no clear resolution anyway, and so it would not be right to draw a direct parallel between the collapse of the Aztec empire and the current collapse of Europe.” And that’s that. The court gets a new court historian. Yuval Noah Harari, perhaps?

    IMAGE 9 Crackdown and Persecution The Victims Of Conquest Will Be Called The Racists

    The very name “Deutschland” (land of the Germans) is non-inclusive, discriminatory, and outright offensive to the 25 million non-German people who now live here. Away with “Deutschland”! And so is the distinction “das Volk” (the People), because it is former Nazi-speak and evokes strong nationalism. Away with “das deutsche Volk”!

    The Spanish conquistadors never recognized any Aztec realm. It had to be dismantled. An Aztec nation would really be racist and offensive. Similarly, American conquerors couldn’t allow a sovereign German realm to exist. I‘m not saying what follows will not be important. Just saying there’s a turnover, and things will first get a lot more messier. The Germans, as well as the Europeans, already possess neither Germany nor Europe.

    Just go there and look for yourself. It is scary.

    END.

    The author is a German writer and cultural critic. BULK ORDERS, PLEASE!

    IMAGE 10 Leaders Whose WELCOME Policy Collapsed Their Civilizations – Merkel (2015), Dowager Cixi (1908), Moctezuma II (1519)

    ‘Fragmented world’ sleepwalks into World War III

    Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:31 AM  [ Last Update: Wednesday, 18 January 2023 10:31 AM ]

    By Pepe Escobar

    The self-appointed Davos “elites” are afraid. So afraid. At this week’s World Economic Forum meetings, mastermind Klaus Schwab – displaying his trademark Bond villain act – carped over and over again about a categorical imperative: we need “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”.

    While his diagnosis of “the most critical fragmentation” the world is now mired in is predictably somber, Herr Schwab maintains that “the spirit of Davos is positive” and in the end we may all live happily in a “green sustainable economy.”

    What Davos has been good at this week is showering public opinion with new mantras. There’s “The New System” which, considering the abject failure of the much ballyhooed Great Reset, now looks like a matter of hastily updating the current – rattled – operating system.

    Davos needs new hardware, new programming skills, even a new virus. Yet for the moment all that’s available is a “polycrisis”: or, in Davos speak, a “cluster of related global risks with compounding effects.”

    In plain English: a perfect storm.

    Insufferable bores from that Divide and Rule island in northern Europe have just found out that “geopolitics”, alas, never really entered the tawdry “end of history” tunnel: much to their amazement it’s now centered – again – across the Heartland, as it’s been for most of recorded history.

    They complain about “threatening” geopolitics, which is code for Russia-China, with Iran attached.

    But the icing on the Alpine cake is arrogance/stupidity actually giving away the game: the City of London and its vassals are  livid because the “world Davos made” is fast collapsing.

    Davos did not “make” any world apart from its own simulacrum.

    Davos never got anything right, because these “elites” were always busy eulogizing the Empire of Chaos and its lethal “adventures” across the Global South.

    Davos not only failed to foresee all recent, major economic crises but most of all the current “perfect storm”, linked to the neoliberalism-spawned deindustrialization of the Collective West.

    And, of course, Davos is clueless about the real Reset taking place towards multipolarity.

    Self-described opinion leaders are busy “re-discovering” that Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain was set in Davos – “against the backdrop of a deadly disease and an impeding world war” – nearly a century ago.

    Well, nowadays the “disease” – fully bioweaponized – is not exactly deadly per se. And the “impending World War” is in fact being actively encouraged by a cabal of US Straussian neo-cons and neoliberal-cons: an unelected, unaccountable, bipartisan Deep State not even subject to ideology. Centennary war criminal Henry Kissinger still does not get it.

    A Davos panel on de-globalization was rife on non-sequiturs, but at least a dose of reality was provided by Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

    As for China’s vice-premier Liu He, with his vast knowledge of finance, science and technology, at least he was very helpful to lay down Beijing’s five top guidelines for the foreseeable future – beyond the customary imperial Sinophobia.

    China will focus on expanding domestic demand; keeping industrial and supply chains “smooth”; go for the “healthy development of the private sector”; deepen state enterprise reform; and aim for “attractive foreign investment.”

    Russian resistance, American precipice

    Emmanuel Todd was not at Davos. But it was the French anthropologist, historian, demographer and geopolitical analyst who ended up ruffling all the appropriate feathers across the collective West these past few days with a fascinating anthropological object: a reality-based interview.

    Todd spoke to Le Figaro – the newspaper of choice of the French establishment and haute bourgeoisie. The interview was published last Friday on page 22, sandwiched between proverbial Russophobic screeds and with an extremely brief mention on the bottom of the front page. So people really had to work hard to find it.   

    Todd joked that he has the – absurd – reputation of a “rebel destroy” in France, while in Japan he’s respected, featured in mainstream media, and his books are published with great success, including the latest (over 100,000 copies sold): “The Third World War Has Already Started”.

    Significantly, this Japanese best seller does not exist in French, considering the whole Paris-based publishing industry toes the EU/NATO line on Ukraine.

    The fact that Todd gets several things right is a minor miracle in the current, abysmally myopic European intellectual landscape (there are other analysts especially in Italy and Germany, but they carry much less weight than Todd).

    So here’s Todd’s concise Greatest Hits.

    – A new World War is on: By “switching from a limited territorial war to a global economic clash, between the collective West on one side and Russia linked to China on the other side, this became a World War”.

    – The Kremlin, says Todd, made a mistake, calculating that a decomposed Ukraine society would collapse right away. Of course he does not get into detail on how Ukraine had been weaponized to the hilt by the NATO military alliance.

    – Todd is spot on when he stresses how Germany and France had become minor partners at NATO and were not aware of what was being plotted in Ukraine militarily: “They did not know that the Americans, British and Poles could allow Ukraine to fight an extended  war. NATO’s fundamental axis now is Washington-London-Warsaw-Kiev.”

    – Todd’s major give away is a killer: “The resistance of Russia’s economy is leading the imperial American system to the precipice. Nobody had foreseen that the Russian economy would hold facing NATO’s ‘economic power’”.

    – Consequently, “monetary and financial American controls over the world may collapse, and with them the possibility for the US of financing for nothing their enormous trade deficit”.

    – And that’s why “we are in an endless war, in a clash where the conclusion is the collapse of one or the other.”

    – On China, Todd might sound like a more pugnacious version of Liu He at Davos: “That’s the fundamental dilemma of the American economy: it cannot face Chinese competition without importing qualified Chinese work force.”

    – As for the Russian economy, “it does accept market rules, but with an important role for the state, and it keeps the flexibility of forming engineers that allow adaptations, industrial and military.”

    – And that bring us, once again, to globalization, in a manner that Davos roundtables were incapable of understanding: “We have delocalized so much of our industrial activity that we don’t know whether our war production may be sustained”.

    – On a more erudite interpretation of that “clash of civilizations” fallacy, Todd goes for soft power and comes up with a startling conclusion: “On 75 percent of the planet, the organization of parenthood  was patrilineal, and that’s why we may identify a strong understanding of the Russian position. For the collective non-West, Russia affirms a reassuring moral conservatism.”

    – So what Moscow has been able to pull off is to “reposition itself as the archetype of a big power, not only “anti-colonialist” but also patrilineal and conservative in terms of traditional mores.”

    Based on all of the above, Todd smashes the myth sold by EU/NATO “elites” – Davos included – that Russia is “isolated”, stressing how votes in the UN and the overall sentiment across the Global South characterizes the war, “described by mainstream media as a conflict over political values, in fact, on a deeper level, as a conflict of anthropological values.”      

    Between light and darkness

    Could it be that Russia – alongside the real Quad, as I defined them (with China, India and Iran) – are prevailing in the anthropological stakes?  

    The real Quad has all it takes to blossom into a new cross-cultural focus of hope in a “fragmented world”.

    Mix Confucian China (non-dualistic, no transcendental deity, but with the Tao flowing through everything) with Russia (Orthodox Christian, reverencing the divine Sophia); polytheistic India (wheel of rebirth, law of karma); and Shi’ite Iran (Islam preceded by Zoroastrianism, the eternal cosmic battle between Light and Darkness).

    This unity in diversity is certainly more appealing, and uplifting, than the Forever War axis.

    Will the world learn from it? Or, to quote Hegel – “what we learn from history is that nobody learns from history” – are we hopelessly doomed?

    Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.

    (The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


    Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

    www.presstv.ir

    www.presstv.co.uk

    Turkey and Syria Meeting in Moscow May Result in Peace Plan

    Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

    Steven Sahiounie

    Tomorrow, the Foreign Ministers of Turkey and Syria will meet in Moscow.  This is the highest level meeting between the two countries who have been on opposite sides of the US-NATO war on Syria for regime change since 2011.

    The outcome of that meeting, and the expected follow-up meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, may form the basis for the recovery of Syria, circumventing the UN resolution 2254, which has failed to produce results.

    The US has lost the war, but has used armed militias to remain occupying parts of Syria, and to impose a stalemate which prevents a peaceful solution and recovery for Syria.  America is no longer the only superpower, and decisions made in the new Middle East no longer depend on orders from the US State Department.

    Erdogan is up for re-election in June and faces heavy opposition. The economy is dismal, and people blame the Syrian refugees for lost jobs and social ills.  Erdogan and the opposition promise to send the refugees packing.

    The Turkish export market to Syria in 2011 represented half of the entire global export market for Turkey.  That was lost when Damascus banned all Turkish imports because of their participation in the war on Syria. Erdogan could get the Syrian market restored by repairing the relationship.

    In order to win re-election, Erdogan proposes a rapprochement with Assad.  The US has voiced its displeasure at any attempt of any country to repair relations with Syria.  However, Erdogan will not be swayed by US opinion or threats, in light of the fact that the US supports, trains and supplies weapons to the Kurdish militia (SDF and YPG) linked to an internationally banned terrorist organization (PKK), which have killed thousands in Turkey over three decades of terrorism. The Kurds know that Turkey is a much more important ally to the US, and the US will never fight Turkey to save the Kurds.  Former US envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, told the Kurds they should repair their relationship with Damascus for protection. The US never supported a “homeland” for the Kurds.

    Syria and Turkey are united in their goal to demilitarize the Kurdish northeast of Syria.  Syria and Turkey share a common enemy (the Kurds), and a common ally (Russia). This may be the basis of forming a new foreign policy between the two neighbors.

    Syria

    Syrian officials have met with Turkish officials and Arab Gulf officials.  Some Arab embassies in Damascus were re-opened, and Assad made a visit to the UAE.

    The Assad administration in Damascus controls the vast majority of the Syrian territory.  The exceptions are: Idlib province in the northwest is under the occupation of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a Radical Islamic terrorist group which was the former Al Qaeda branch in Syria, and the Kurdish administration region in the northeast under the occupation of about 600 US troops and two local Kurdish militias (SDF and YPG) which follow a communist political ideology first promoted by the jailed PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

    Syria and Russia have been prevented from attacking and liberating Idlib from terrorist control. The US uses the three million civilians living under occupation as human shields to prevent attack. The US and its allies in the UN demand that the UN food and medical supplies be delivered to Idlib. The civilians are being fed and clothed, but the terrorists and their families are as well. The international community is supporting the welfare of the terrorists, who are there at the behest of the US, to prevent peace and recovery in Syria.  Despite the UN protocol which demands all UN members to fight Al Qaeda, or their affiliates, anywhere on earth, the US and Turkey have circumvented the protocol and use the terrorists as guards of the political stalemate which the US imposed on Syria.

    The US

    America has maintained an iron grip on Syria through the use of US sanctions and a brutal military occupation which has prevented the Syrian citizens from fuel for transportation and home heating, and to generate electricity.  Syrian houses, hospitals, schools and businesses have between 15 minutes to 1 hour of electricity in four intervals per day because of the US imposed sanctions, which have not affected the Syrian government, but have brought the Syrian people to desperation. Kidney dialysis machines require electricity constantly.  A gasoline powered generator can suffice when there are blackouts, but the US sanctions also prevent the importation of gasoline.  How can Syrians survive?

    Despite Richard Haass writing in 1998 that US sanctions are ineffective and immoral against civilians, the US State Department hangs on to sanctions as a tool for regime change.

    Iran

    Iran and Syria have been united in their resistance to the occupation of Palestine Golan Heights and Shebaa Farms.  Iran stood firmly with Syria during the US-NATO attack on Syria because it is a key in the land route from Iran to Lebanon. Recently, there are some cracks appearing in the relationship between Damascus and Tehran.  Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s meeting in Damascus was postponed recently. Some experts feel Iran has been asking too much of Syria, and with new opportunities for improved relations with the Arab Gulf and Turkey, Syria may be taking time to evaluate its options.

    Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab countries want to see Iran out of Syria.  As long as Iran is in Syria the Israeli airstrikes will continue, which have been deadly and destructive.

    There were 32 Israeli raids in 2022 that destroyed and struck 91 targets, including civilian infrastructure, buildings, weapons caches and vehicles. Eighty-eight military personnel were killed and 121 wounded in the attacks.

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia is the United States’ largest foreign military sales customer, with more than $100 billion in active cases.  In the US there is a saying, “The customer is always right.”

    Perhaps this may explain why the US takes no action against Saudi Arabia even when there have been deadly issues, or when Biden asked the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to pump more oil, and he refused.

    MBS is making huge reforms, which includes loosening restrictions on women, and creating new tourism and international sports opportunities.

    MBS and Netanyahu are united in a common issue: to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, despite Iran insisting on wanting nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes, such as energy production and medical research.  Netanyahu has stated one of his main priorities in office will be to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.

    The Arab League

    The upcoming Arab League Summit will take place in Saudi Arabia, traditionally scheduled yearly in March.  Depending on the outcome of meetings between now and spring, Syria could possibly be reinstated and occupy their seat at the table.  Big changes have been taking place in the region involving the relations between Arab countries and the US, China and Russia. Saudi Arabia is in the driver’s seat and will use their hosting of the summit to project their ranking as the Middle East’s power broker.

    Israel

    Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has announced that the next Abraham Accords summit will be held in Morocco in March 2023.

    The US had brokered in 2020 the Abraham Accords for the normalization of relations between Israel, Morocco, the UAE and Bahrain. Later, Sudan joined the accords.  Areas of shared interests are: defense, investment, agriculture, tourism, and energy.

    The meetings and realignments between Syria and Turkey, mediated by Russia, may produce lasting changes in the Middle East, and bring enemies together as new friends.  The Israeli occupation of Palestine will continue to be the primary cause of instability and violence in the region.  It fuels religious extremism and terrorism. If Israel values the establishment of relations with their Arab neighbors, they must first look at their closest neighbors in Gaza and the West Bank.  The Middle East and the world wait for a peace summit to begin the process of peace for Israel and Palestine, and the host country will not likely be the US.


    Steven Sahiounie is a two-time award-winning journalist

    Related News

    قبل ذوبان الثلوج: أميركا تتجه لتوسيع نطاق الحرب!

    السبت 14 كانون الثاني 2023

    د. عدنان منصور

    لم تكتف الولايات المتحدة بسياساتها الاستفزازية حيال روسيا، منذ أن بدأت بتوسيع النطاق الجغرافي للحلف الأطلسي اعتباراً من عام 1999، الذي كان يضمّ في ذلك الحين 16 دولة، ليتمدّد في ما بعد، ويصل الى حدود روسيا، بعد أن ضمّت واشنطن الى الحلف ثلاث دول أوروبية عام 1999، وسبع دول عام 2004، وثلاث دول عام 2017، وأخيراً مقدونيا الشمالية عام 2020. بذلك يرتفع عدد أعضاء الحلف الأطلسي الى ثلاثين دولة، منها ما يلامس مباشرة روسيا.

    لم تكتف واشنطن بهذا القدر، بل لجأت الى سياساتها الاقتصادية والمالية العدائية ضدّ موسكو، وآثرت على جرّ أوكرانيا الى فلكها وجعلها وقوداً لحرب استنزاف طويلة ضدّ روسيا بغية تحجيم وتعطيل مكانتها الأوروبية، والحدّ من دورها العالمي، ما يتيح لواشنطن عودتها مجدّداً للاستئثار بالقرار الدولي، والتربّع على عرش الأحادية القطبية العالمية.

    بعد أربعين يوماً، ستنهي الحرب الأوكرانية عامها الأول، بعد أن زجّت واشنطن بدول الاتحاد الأوروبي، والحلف الأطلسي، في حرب غير مباشرة، كانت بغنى عنها. إذ كان على هذه الدول اليوم، أن تدفع الثمن الباهظ نتيجة انقيادها الأعمى لواشنطن، والتزامها بسياسات أميركا وقراراتها لعقود طويلة.
    لم يكن مفاجئاً، أو غريباً، أو بعيداً عن الحقيقة الدامغة، حديث السياسي بيار ديغول، حفيد الزعيم الفرنسي شارل ديغول، العليم والخبير بحقيقة السياسة الأميركية أهدافها ومصالحها، وأبعادها، في مقابلة أجرتها معه مؤخراً، جمعية الصداقة الفرنسية الروسية في باريس جاء فيه: «إنّ روسيا تدافع عن نفسها ضدّ آلاف العقوبات والاستفزازات. وأنّ واشنطن ودول الناتو، هي من خطط للحرب باستخدام أوكرانيا لزعزعة أوروبا في محاولة لإنقاذ الهيمنة الأميركية المفقودة.»

    رغم أنّ واشنطن تعلم جيداً، كما دول الحلف الأطلسي، أنّ روسيا لم ولن تتراجع عن قرارها، أو تضحّي بأمنها القومي، ووحدة شعبها وأراضيها، حتى ولو ذهبت بعيداً في استخدام ما لديها من مقومات القوة والردع الكفيل بإحباط المؤامرة الأميركية ـ الأوروبية عليها، والمكشوفة للعالم كله.

    واشنطن تخوض حرباً غير مباشرة ضدّ روسيا، وقودها الاقتصادات الأوروبية، والمتطوّعون، والمقامرون من قادة دول أوروبا، وعلى رأسهم المغفل رئيس أوكرانيا زيلينسكي، الذي كان السبب الأول في دمار بلاده وخرابها، بعد أن كان أداة طيّعة في يد واشنطن، والمنفذ لرغباتها.
    أميركا لا يهمّها دمار أوكرانيا، أو سقوط عشرات آلاف القتلى نتيجة الحرب التي تريدها، او ضرب اقتصادات أوروبا. ما يهمّها أن تكون في زمن السلم والحرب صاحبة القرار الأول، والمستفيد الأول، والموجهة والمهيمنة على العالم.

    واشنطن وضعت في حسابها خوض حرب استنزاف طويلة ضدّ روسيا، تزداد شراستها أكثر فأكثر قبل انتهاء فصل الشتاء في أوروبا وذوبان الثلوج فيها. وهي تستعدّ لتقديم المزيد من الدعم العسكري والمالي المتواصل لكييف، وتوفير الكمّ الكافي من الأسلحة المتطورة، والدبابات وبطاريات الصواريخ لشلّ القدرات العسكرية الروسية، وإحباط مفاعيلها.

    قرار الولايات المتحدة بمواجهة روسيا ودعمها لأوكرانيا، وتطويق خصومها في أنحاء عديدة من العالم، كشفته بصورة واضحة من خلال قانون الموازنة الفدرالية الأميركية لعام 2023. إذ لحظ القانون موازنة دفاع قدرها 858 مليار دولار بزيادة تبلغ 88 مليار دولار عن موازنة عام 2022 البالغة 778 مليار دولار، وهي أكبر ميزانية عسكرية في تاريخ الولايات المتحدة والعالم. إذ انّ الإنفاق العسكري الأميركي وحده يشكل %36 من مجمل الإنفاق العسكري في العالم كله البالغ 2 تريليون و113 مليار دولار عام 2021 وفقاً لبيانات معهد ستوكهولم الدولي لأبحاث السلام SIPRI بموجب الموازنة العسكرية هذه، ستعمد واشنطن إلى تطوير البرامج النووية، وسيتمّ أيضاً تخصيص 45 مليار دولار مساعدات عسكرية، واقتصادية، وإنسانية لأوكرانيا.

    كما لحظت الموازنة إنفاق 6 مليارات دولار من أجل تمويل مبادرة الاحتواء الأوروبية الموجهة ضدّ موسكو، وضرورة تقليل الاعتماد على موارد الطاقة الروسية.

    يبقى ذلك أن ضغطت الولايات المتحدة على دول حلف الناتو لزيادة موازناتها العسكرية، بحيث انّ ثماني دول أعضاء في الحلف، خصصت %2 أو أكثر من الناتج المحلي على الإنفاق العسكري.

    سياسة واشنطن والاتحاد الأوروبي، والعقوبات الاقتصادية، والتجارية، والمالية ضدّ روسيا نتيجة لحرب أوكرانيا، أدّت الى ارتفاع تكاليف الطاقة في دول الاتحاد الأوروبي 1.06 تريليون دولار عام 2022، وفقاً لتقرير بلومبورغ الأميركي، وهو تقرير يتوافق مع تقديرات صندوق النقد الدولي في هذا الشأن.
    أميركا بتطلعاتها لعام 2023، ترصد أيضاً منطقة الشرق الأوسط بكلّ قوة، للحفاظ على مواقعها وتعزيز نفوذها. فالموازنة العسكرية الأميركية ركزت على الاهتمام بالمنطقة، والعمل على تشديد المراقبة على البرنامج النووي الإيراني، و»أذرع طهران» المسلحة، التي «تهدّد» حلفاء واشنطن، وعلى رأسهم «إسرائيل»، ومتابعة التطورات والقدرات النووية، والصاروخية، وبلورة استراتيجية فاعلة لتعميق وتقوية التعاون بين الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها في الشرق الأوسط، بغية رفع مستوى الجهوزية الدفاعية للتصدي لأنشطة إيران.

    لم يغب شرق وجنوب شرق آسيا، لا سيما تايوان عن قلق واهتمام واشنطن بها. ففي 8 كانون الأول عام 2022، أقرّ مجلس النواب الأميركي قانوناً، يمنح بموجبه مساعدات عسكرية، ومبيعات أسلحة لتايوان بقيمة 10 مليارات دولار. وقد اعتبر رئيس لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في مجلس الشيوخ بوب ميننديز Bob Menendez انّ هذا القانون «سيعزز الى حدّ بعيد شراكة الولايات المتحدة الدفاعية مع تايوان». مع العلم انّ هذا القانون قبل تعديله كان يلحظ منح تايوان وضع «حليف كبير خارج الحلف الأطلسي»، مما كان سيشكل تحدياً كبيراً واستفزازاً مباشراً للصين، التي شهدت علاقاتها مع واشنطن تدهوراً ملحوظاً في السنوات الاخيرة.

    واشنطن في عام 2023، تكشر عن أنيابها من جديد، مندفعة لملء الفراغ الذي تركته في أكثر من مكان في العالم، ولاستعادة دورها الأحادي ونفوذها الواسع والمهيمن على العالم، الذي يشهد تراجعاً عاماً بعد عام، مع بروز قوى دولية كبرى بدأت تشكل لها تحدياً خطيراً لإزاحتها عن زعامتها العالمية التي كانت ولفترة قصيرة دون منازع.

    شهية الولايات المتحدة على الحروب منذ نشوئها، شهية لا حدود لها، ولم تتوقف على مساحة العالم كله. فمن حرب الى حرب تتنقل، ولا ندري ما الذي تخبّئه في جعبتها وهي تستعدّ عام 2023 للمغامرة في أكثر من مكان في العالم، بعد أن سبق لها أن كانت العلة في دمار وخراب العديد من البلدان، وما أوكرانيا إلا آخرها، والباقي على الطريق…

    *وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق.

    By the numbers: The de-dollarization of global trade

    Data suggests that US dollar reserves in central banks are dwindling, as is the influence of the US on the world economy. This presents a unique opportunity for regional currencies and alternative payment systems to enter the vacuum.

    January 13 2023

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By F.M. Shakil

    The imposition of US trade restrictions and sanctions against a number of nations, including Russia, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, and Syria have been politically ineffectual and have backfired against western economies. As a result, the US dollar has been losing its role as a major currency for the settlement of international business claims.

    Because they do not adhere to the policies of the US and other western powers, over 24 countries have been the target of unilateral or partial trade sanctions. These limitations, nevertheless, have turned out to be detrimental to the economies of the Group of Seven (G7) nations and have begun to impact the US dollar’s hegemony in world trade.

    In its space, a “new global commercial bloc” has risen to the fore, while alternatives to the western SWIFT banking messaging system for cross-border payments have also been created.

    Geopolitical analyst Andrew Korybko tells The Cradle that the west’s extraordinary penalties and seizure of Russian assets abroad broke faith in the western-centric paradigm of globalization, which had been declining for years but had nonetheless managed to maintain the world standard.

    “Rising multipolar countries sped up their plans for de-dollarization and diversification away from the western-centric model of globalization in favor of a more democratic, egalitarian, and just one – centered on non-western countries in response to these economic and financial disturbances,” he adds.

    Dwindling dollar reserves  

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recorded a decline in central bank holdings of US dollar reserves during the fourth quarter of 2020—which went from 71 percent to 59 percent—reflecting the US dollar’s waning influence on the world economy.

    And it continues to worsen: Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that the bank’s holdings of dollar claims have decreased from $7 trillion in 2021 to $6.4 trillion at the end of March 2022.

    According to the Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) report by the IMF, the percentage of US dollars in central bank reserves has decreased by 12 percent since 1999, while the percentage of other currencies, particularly the Chinese yuan, have shown an increasing trend with a 9 percent rise during this period.

    The study contends that the role of the dollar is waning due to competition from other currencies held by the bankers’ banks for international transactions – including the introduction of the euro – and reveals that this will have an impact on both the currency and bond markets if dollar reserves continue to shrink.

    Alternative currencies and trade routes

    To boost global commerce and Indian exports, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) devised in July last year a rupee-settlement mechanism to fend off pressure on the Indian currency in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and US-EU sanctions.

    India has recently concluded agreements for currency exchanges of $75.4 billion with the UAE, Japan, and various South Asian nations. New Delhi has also informed South Korea and Turkey of its non-dollar-mediated exchange rates for each country’s currency. Currently, Turkey conducts business utilizing the national currencies of China (yuan) and Russia (ruble).

    Iran has also proposed to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) a euro-like SCO currency for trade among the Eurasian bloc to check the weaponization of the US dollar-dominated global financial system.

    Mehdi Safari, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy, informed the media earlier in June last year that the SCO received the proposal nearly two months ago.

    “They must use multilateral institutions like BRICS and the SCO to this aim – and related ones, such as currency pools and potentially even the establishment of a new currency whose rate is based on a basket of their currencies, to mitigate the effects of trade-related restrictions,” Korybko remarked.

    The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is being revived as a “sanctions-busting” project by Russia and Iran. The INSTC garnered renewed interest following the “sanctions from hell” imposed by the west on Moscow. Russia is now finalizing regulations that will allow Iranian ships free navigation along the Volga and Don rivers.

    The INSTC was planned as a 7,200 km long multimodal transportation network including sea, road, and rail lines to carry freight between Russia, Central Asia, and the Caspian regions.

    Ruble-Yuan Payment System

    On 30 December, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held a video conference in which Putin reported that bilateral trade between the two countries had reached an all-time high with a 25 percent growth rate and that trade volumes were on track to reach $200 billion by next year, despite western sanctions and a hostile external environment.

    Putin stated that there had been a “substantial growth in trade volumes” between January and November 2022, resulting in a 36 percent increase in trade to $6 billion. It is likely that the $200 billion bilateral trade target, if achieved by next year, will be conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, even though the details of the bilateral trade settlement were not specified in the video conference broadcast.

    This is because Moscow and Beijing have already set up a cross-border interbank payment network similar to SWIFT, increased their gold purchases to give their currencies more stability, and signed agreements to swap national currencies in several regional and bilateral deals.

    In addition, both Russia and China appear to have anticipated a potential US seizure of their financial assets, and in 2014 they collaborated on energy-centered treaties to strengthen their strategic trade links.

    In 2017, the ruble-yuan “payment against payment” system was implemented along China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In 2019, the two countries signed an agreement to replace the dollar with national currencies in cross-border transactions and converted their $25 billion worth of trade to yuan (RMB) and rubles.

    Independence from the dollar

    This shift decreased their mutual reliance on the dollar, and currently, just over half of Russia’s exports are settled in US dollars, down from 80 percent in 2013. The bulk of trade between Russia and China is now conducted in local currencies.

    Xinjiang in western China has also established itself as a key cross-border settlement center between China and Central Asia, making it a major financial hub in the region. Cumulative cross-border yuan settlement handled in Xinjiang exceeded 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) as early as 2013 and reached 260 billion yuan in 2018.

    According to analyst Korybko, significant progress has been made in reducing reliance on the US dollar in international trade, but there is still much work to be done. He notes that the US is not likely to simply accept the challenges to its financial hegemony and is more likely to act to defend it.

    “For this reason, it is expected that the US will try to enlist the support of key players by offering them preferential trade deals or the promise of such deals, while simultaneously stoking tensions between Russia, China, India, and Iran through information warfare and possibly threatening to tighten its secondary sanctions regime as ‘deterrence’.”

    Eurasian Economic Union

    Russia has been working to establish currency swap agreements with a number of trading partners, comprising the five-member Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which includes Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

    These agreements have enabled the Russian Federation to conduct over 70 percent of its trade in rubles and other regional currencies. With a population of 183 million and a GDP over $2.2 trillion, the EEU poses a formidable challenge to western hegemony over global financial transactions.

    Iran and the EEU have recently concluded negotiations on the conditions of a free trade agreement covering over 7,500 categories of goods. When the next Iranian year begins on 21 March, 2023, a market with a potential size of 700 billion dollars will become available for Iranian goods and services.

    BRICS is driving de-dollarization

    The trend towards de-dollarization in international trade, particularly among the BRICS nations, has gained significant momentum in recent years – together they represent 41 percent of the world’s population, 24 percent of its GDP, and 16 percent of its commerce

    In 2015, the BRICS New Development Bank, recommended the use of national currencies in trade. Four years later, the bank provided 25 percent of its $15 billion in financial assistance in local currencies, and plans to increase this to 50 percent in the coming years.

    This shift towards de-dollarization is an important step for emerging economies as they seek to assert their role in the global economic system and reduce their reliance on the US dollar. While the adoption of de-dollarization may present some challenges and uncertainties, it is an important step towards a more diverse and balanced global economy.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    The 2023 War – ‘Setting the Theatre’

    January 13, 2023

    Source

    Alastair Crooke

    The China-Russia axis are lighting the fires of a structural insurrection against the West across much of the Rest of World. Its fires are aimed at ‘boiling the frog slowly’

    A top US Marine General, James Bierman, in a recent interview with the Financial Times, explained in a moment of candour how the US is “setting the theatre” for possible war with China, whilst casually admitting as an aside, how US defence planners had been busy inside Ukraine years ago, “earnestly preparing” for war with Russia — even down to the “pre-positioning of supplies”, identifying sites from which the US might operate support, and sustain operations. Simply put, they were there,readying the battle space for years.

    No surprise really, as such military responses flow directly from the core US strategic decision to actuate the 1992 ‘WolfowitzDoctrine’ that the US must plan and preemptively act, to disable any potential Great Power — well before it reaches the point at which it can rival or impair US hegemony.

    NATO today has progressed to war with Russia in a battlespace, which in 2023, may or may not stay limited to Ukraine. Simply put the point is that the shift to ‘War’ (whether incremental or not) marks a fundamental transition from which there is no going back to ab initio — ‘war economies’ in essence, are structurally different to the ‘normal’ from which the West began, and to which it has grown accustomed over recent decades. A war society — even if only partly mobilised — thinks and acts structurally differently from peacetime society.

    War is not about gentlemanly conduct… either. Empathy for others is its first casualty — the latter being a requirement for sustaining a fighting spirit.

    Yet, the carefully curated fiction in Europe and the US continues that nothing really has, or will ‘change’: we are in a temporary ‘blip’. That’s all.

    Zoltan Pozsar, the influential finance ‘oracle’ at Credit Suisse, has already made the point in his latest War and Peace essay (subscription only) that War is well underway – by simply listing the events of 2022:

    • The G7’s financial blockade of Russia (The West setting the battle space)
    • Russia’s energy blockade of the EU (Russia begins setting its theatre)
    • The U.S.’s technology blockade of China (America pre-positioning of sites to sustain operations)
    • China’s naval blockade of Taiwan, (China demonstrating preparedness)
    • The U.S.’s “blockade” of the EU’s EV sector with the Inflation Reduction Act. (The US defence planners preparing for future ‘supply-lines)
    • China’s “pincer movement” around all of OPEC+ with the growing trend of invoicing oil and gas sales in renminbi. (The Russia-China ‘Commodity Battlespace’).

    This list amounts to one major geo-political ‘upset’ occurring, on average, every two months — moving the world decisively away from the so-called ‘normal’ (for which so many in the Consuming Class ardently yearn) to an intermediate state of War.

    Pozsar’s list shows that the tectonic plates of geo-politics are seriously ‘on the move’ — shifts, which are accelerating and becoming ever more intertwined, yet that still remain far from arriving at any settled place. ‘War’ will likely be a major disruptor (at the very least), until some equilibrium is established. And that may take some years.

    Ultimately, ‘War’ does make its impact on the conventional public mindset — albeit slowly. It seems to be fear of the impact on an unprepared mindset that is behind the decision to prolong Ukraine’s suffering, and thus trigger the War of 2023: An admission of failure in Ukraine is seen to risk spooking volatile western markets (i.e. higher interest rates for longer). And frank-talking represents a hard option for a western world — used to ‘easy decisions’, and ‘can kicking’ — to take.

    Pozsar, being a finance guru, understandably is focussed in his essay on finance. But conceivably, the reference to Kindleberger’s Manias, Panics and Crashes is therefore not whimsical, but included as a hint to the possible ‘hit’ to the conventional psyche.

    In any event, Pozsar leaves us four key economic takeaways (with brief comments added):

    1. War is history’s principle driver of inflation, and the bankruptcy for states. (Comment: war-driven inflation and Quantitative Tightening (QT) enacted to fight inflation, are policies working in radical opposition to each other. Central Banks’ role attenuates to supporting war needs — at the expense of other variables – in wartime.
    2. War implies an effective and expandable industrial capacity for producing weapons (rapidly), which, in itself, requires secure supply-lines to feed that capacity. (A quality which the West no longer possesses, and which is costly to recreate);
    3. Commodities which often serve as collateral to loans become scarce – and with that scarcity, show up as commodity ‘inflation’;
    4. And finally, War cuts new financial channels i.e. “the m-CBDC Bridge project” (see here).

    The point needs underlining again: War creates different financial dynamics and shapes a different psyche. More importantly, ‘War’ is not a stable phenomenon. It can start with petty tit-for-tat strikes on a rival’s infrastructure and then — with every incremental ‘mission creep’ — slip along the curve towards full war. NATO is not just mission creeping in its war on Russia, it is mission jogging — fearing a Ukraine humiliation in the wake of the earlier Afghanistan débacle.

    The EU hopes to halt that slide well short of full war. It is nonetheless a very slippery slope. The point of War is to inflict pain and attrit your enemy. To this extent it is open to mutation. Formal sanctions and caps on energy quickly metamorphose into the sabotage of pipelines or the seizure of tankers.

    Russia and China however, are certainly not naïve, and have been busy setting their own theatre, ahead of a potential wider clash with NATO.

    China and Russia can now claim to have built a strategic relationship, not only with OPEC+, but with Iran and key gas producers.

    Russia, Iran, and Venezuela account for about 40% of the world’s proven oil reserves, and each of them are currently selling oil to China for renminbi at a steep discount. GCC countries account for another 40% of proven oil reserves — and are being courted by China to accept renminbi for their oil — in exchange for transformative investments.

    This is a significant new battlespace being readied — ending Dollar hegemony through boiling the frog slowly.

    The contesting party made the initial strike, sanctioning half of OPEC with those 40% of the world’s oil reserves. That thrust failed: the Russian economy survived — and unsurprisingly — the sanctions ‘lost’ those states to Europe, ‘handing them’ over instead to China.

    China meanwhile is courting the other half of OPEC with an offer that is hard to refuse: “Over the next “three to five years”, China will not only pay for more oil in renminbi – but more significantly, ‘will pay’ with new investments in downstream petrochemical industries in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the GCC more broadly. It will, in other words, build out the successor generation economy” for these fossil fuel exporters whose energy sell-by date approaches.

    The key point here is that in the future, much more ‘value-added’ (in the course of production) will be captured locally — at the expense of industries in the West. Pozsar cheekily calls this: “Our commodity, your problem… Our commodity, our emancipation”. Or, in other words, the China-Russia axis are lighting the fires of a structural insurrection against the West across much of the Rest of World.

    Its fires are aimed at ‘boiling the frog slowly’ — not just that of the dollar hegemony, but also that of a now uncompetitive western economy.

    Emancipation? Yes! Here is the crux: China is receiving Russian, Iranian and Venezuelan energy at a big 30% discount.Meanwhile, Europe still gets energy for its industry — but only at a big mark-up. In short, more, and occasionally all, product added-value will be captured by cheap-energy ‘friendly’ states, at the expense of the uncompetitive ‘unfriendlies’.

    “China – the nemesis – paradoxically has been a big exporter of high mark-up Russian LNG to Europe, and India a big exporter of high mark-up Russian oil and refined products such as diesel – to Europe. We should expect more [of this in the future] across more products – and invoiced not just in euros and dollars, but also renminbi, dirhams, and rupees’ ‘, Poszar suggests.

    It may not look so obvious, but it is a financial war. If the EU is content to take the ‘easy way’ out of its fall into uncompetitiveness (via subsidies to allow for high-mark-up imports), then as Napoleon once remarked when observing an enemy making a mistake: Observe silence!

    For Europe, this means much less domestic production – and more inflation — as price inflating alternatives are imported from the East. The West taking the ‘easy decision’ (since its renewable strategy has not been well thought through), likely will find the arrangement to be at the expense of growth in the West — a course prefiguring a weaker West, in the near future.

    The EU will be particularly hard-hit. It has elected to become dependent on US LNG, just at the moment that production from US shale fields has peaked, with what output there is likely ear-marked to the US domestic market.

    Thus, as general Bierman outlined how the US prepared the battlespace in Ukraine, Russia and China and the BRICS planners have been busy setting their own ‘theater’.

    Of course, it doesn’t have to be like it ‘is’: Europe’s stumble towards calamity reflects an embedded psychology of the Western ruling élite. There is no strategic reasoning, nor ‘hard-decisions’ being taken in the West at all. It is all narcissistic Merkelism (hard decisions postponed, and then ‘fudged’ through subsidy handouts). Merkelism is so called after Angela Merkel’s reign at the EU, where fundamental reform was invariably postponed.

    There is no need for thinking-things-through, or for hard decisions, when leaders are held by the unshakable conviction that the West IS the centre of the Universe. It is sufficient to postpone, awaiting the inexorable to unfold itself.

    The recent history of US-led forever-wars is further evidence of this western lacuna: These zombie wars drag on for years with no plausible justification, only to be unceremoniously dropped. The strategic dynamics were easier suppressed and forgotten however, when fighting insurgency wars — as opposed to fighting two well-armed, peer competitor-states.

    The same dysfunctionality has been apparent in many slow-rolling western crises: Nevertheless, we persist… because protecting the fragile psychology of our leaders — and an influential sector of the public — takes precedence. The inability to countenance losing drives our élites to prefer sacrifice by their own people, rather than see their delusions exposed.

    Hence, reality has to be abjured. So, we live a nebulous between-times — so much happening, but so little movement. Only when the outbreak of crisis can no longer be ignored — by even the MSM and Tech censors — might some real effort be made to address root causes.

    This conundrum however, places a huge burden on the shoulders of Moscow and Beijing to manage the War escalation in a careful fashion — in face of a West for whom losing is intolerable.

    UN Security Council Extends Al Qaeda Lifeline in Idlib, Again

    JANUARY 9, 2023

     ARABI SOURI

    United Nations Security Council extended its Resolution 2642, the Al Qaeda lifeline supplies through Turkey breaching Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity officially for an additional six months.

    The resolution which was supposed to be met with at least Russia’s veto provides thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists in the province of Idlib enough material and a direct internationally-secured supply route from NATO member state Turkey to occupied Idlib province through the Bab Al Hawa border crossing currently manned by Al Qaeda terrorists.

    The NATO-controlled United Nations Security Council with Russia and China despite being permanent members of it and despite being opposed to NATO proxy armies of terrorists have condemned up to 4 million Syrians to continue living under the mercy of the Al Qaeda terrorists for an additional six months as if the past decade is not already more than enough for them.

    United Nations Security Council lists Al Qaeda Levant, aka Nusra Front – HTS (Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham) and its affiliated groups as terrorist organizations, yet this particular resolution seems to acknowledge the control of these terrorists over Syrian territories against the will of the Syrian people and the Syrian state, a founding member of the United Nations and one of the victims of the biased acts of the United Nations and its different entities.

    UNSC Resolution 2642 is a continuation of a series of resolutions regarding Syria starting with resolution 2042 in 2012 adopted by the international body entrusted to preserve peace and security around the world, none of these resolutions favor the Syrian people despite its wordings unless some still believe that NATO is a defensive alliance responsible for spreading democracy and freedoms in the world and ignoring this ‘defensive’ alliance’s role, collectively sometimes, and unilaterally in others in the illegal invasions of a number of countries with Libya and Iraq as horrible examples with millions of people killed, maimed, raped, displaced, their countries ruined, and their riches plundered by the ‘defensive’ alliance.

    UNSC 2642 Extending lifeline supplies for Al Qaeda in Idlib - Syria
    https://tass.com/politics/1462691

    The Syrian people continue to suffer with this same Security Council that refused to convene to discuss and condemn the repeated Israeli bombings against Syria the latest of which the bombing of Damascus International Airport, or the continuous illegal occupation of parts of Syria including not coincidentally the main oil fields and food basket farmlands by the US Army.

    Meanwhile, 90% of the Syrians, especially those in the areas under the control of the Syrian government are living under the poverty line and watching the US Army stealing their oil, and wheat, and occupying their main gas field depriving them of their basics while the USA and its European Union cronies impose a complete blockade preventing them from importing these basic needs from other countries.

    We have no clue yet why Russia did not veto the extension of Resolution 2642 this time, its officials signaled on earlier occasions that their previous approvals to extend the same resolution would be the last yet they still allow the resolution to be extended.

    Those concerned about the well-being of the Syrians trapped in regions occupied by Al Qaeda and the army of NATO member state Turkey could rely on the humanitarian corridors into Idlib under the control of the Syrian authorities, bypassing these corridors implies that the intention of extending the 2642 resolution in its shape is meant to allow the continuous supplies of weapons to the terrorists in Idlib from their sponsors in Turkey and other NATO member states and to hold the Syrian people hostages to the conceits and control of Al Qaeda fanatics in Idlib.

    Syria News is a collaborative effort by two authors only, we end up most of the months paying from our pockets to maintain the site’s presence online, if you like our work and want us to remain online you can help by chipping in a couple of Euros/ Dollars or any other currency so we can meet our site’s costs.

    button-PayPal-donate

    You can also donate with Cryptocurrencies through our donate page.
    Thank you in advance.

    Why the CIA attempted a ‘Maidan uprising’ in Brazil

    The failed coup in Brazil is the latest CIA stunt, just as the country is forging stronger ties with the east.

    January 10 2023

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    A former US intelligence official has confirmed that the shambolic Maidan remix staged in Brasilia on 8 January was a CIA operation, and linked it to the recent attempts at color revolution in Iran.

    On Sunday, alleged supporters of former right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court, and  presidential palace, bypassing flimsy security barricades, climbing on roofs, smashing windows, destroying public property including precious paintings, while calling for a military coup as part of a regime change scheme targeting elected President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva.

    According to the US source, the reason for staging the operation – which bears visible signs of hasty planning – now, is that Brazil is set to reassert itself in global geopolitics alongside fellow BRICS states Russia, India, and China.

    That suggests CIA planners are avid readers of Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar, formerly of the New York Fed. In his ground-breaking 27 December report titled War and Commodity Encumbrance, Pozsar states that “the multipolar world order is being built not by G7 heads of state but by the ‘G7 of the East’ (the BRICS heads of state), which is a G5 really but because of ‘BRICSpansion’, I took the liberty to round up.”

    He refers here to reports that Algeria, Argentina, Iran have already applied to join the BRICS – or rather its expanded version “BRICS+” – with further interest expressed by Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Indonesia.

    The US source drew a parallel between the CIA’s Maidan in Brazil and a series of recent street demonstrations in Iran instrumentalized by the agency as part of a new color revolution drive: “These CIA operations in Brazil and Iran parallel the operation in Venezuela in 2002 that was highly successful at the start as rioters managed to seize Hugo Chavez.”

    Enter the “G7 of the East”

    Straussian neo-cons placed at the top of the CIA, irrespective of their political affiliation, are livid that the “G7 of the East” – as in the BRICS+ configuration of the near future – are fast moving out of the US dollar orbit.

    Straussian John Bolton – who has just publicized his interest in running for the US presidency – is now demanding the ouster of Turkey from NATO as the Global South realigns rapidly within new multipolar institutions.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his new Chinese counterpart Qin Gang have just announced the merging of the China-driven Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Russia-driven Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). This means that the largest 21st century trade/connectivity/development project – the Chinese New Silk Roads – is now even more complex, and keeps expanding.

    That sets the stage for the introduction, already being designed at various levels, of a new international trading currency aimed at supplanting then replacing the US dollar. Apart from an internal debate among the BRICS, one of the key vectors is the discussion team set up between the EAEU and China. When concluded, these deliberations will be presented to BRI-EAEU partner nations and of course the expanded BRICS+.

    Lula at the helm in Brazil, in what is now his third non-successive presidential term, will offer a tremendous boost to BRICS+, In the 2000s, side by side with Russian President Putin and former Chinese President Hu Jintao, Lula was a key conceptualizer of a deeper role for BRICS, including trade in their own currencies.

    BRICS as “the new G7 of the East,” as defined by Pozsar, is beyond anathema – as much for Straussian neo-cons as for neoliberal.

    The US is being slowly but surely expelled from wider Eurasia by concerted actions of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

    Ukraine is a black hole – where NATO faces a humiliation that will make Afghanistan look like Alice in Wonderland. A feeble EU being forced by Washington to de-industrialize and buy US Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) at absurdly high cost has no essential resources for the Empire to plunder.

    Geoeconomically, that leaves the US-denominated “Western Hemisphere,” especially immense energy-rich Venezuela as the key target. And geopolitically, the key regional actor is Brazil.

    The Straussian neo-con play is to pull all stops to prevent Chinese and Russian trade expansion and political influence in Latin America, which Washington – irrespective of international law and the concept of sovereignty, continues to call “our backyard.” In times where neoliberalism is so “inclusive” that Zionists wear swastikas, the Monroe Doctrine is back, on steroids.

    All about the ‘strategy of tension’

    Clues for Maidan in Brazil can be obtained, for instance, at the US Army Cyber Command at Fort Gordon, where it’s no secret the CIA deployed hundreds of assets across Brazil ahead of the recent presidential election – faithful to the “strategy of tension” playbook.

    CIA chatter was intercepted at Fort Gordon since mid-2022. The main theme then was the imposition of the widespread narrative that ‘Lula could only win by cheating.’

    A key target of the CIA operation was to discredit by all means the Brazilian electoral process, paving the way for a prepackaged narrative that is now unraveling: a defeated Bolsonaro fleeing Brazil and seeking refuge at former US president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion. Bolsonaro, advised by Steve Bannon, did flee Brazil, skipping Lula’s inauguration, but because he’s terrified he may be facing the slammer sooner rather than later. And by the way, he is in Orlando, not Mar-a-Lago.

    The icing on the stale Maidan cake was what happened this past Sunday: fabricating a 8 January in Brasilia mirroring the events of 6 January, 2021 in Washington, and of course imprinting the Bolsonaro-Trump link on people’s minds.

    The amateurish nature of 8 January in Brasilia suggests CIA planners got lost in their own plot. The whole farce had to be anticipated because of Pozsar’s report, which everyone-who-matters has read across the New York-Beltway axis.

    What is clear, is that for some factions of the powerful US establishment, getting rid of Trump at all costs is even more crucial than crippling Brazil’s role in BRICS+.

    When it comes to the internal factors of Maidan in Brazil, borrowing from novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, everything walks and talks like the Chronicle of a Coup Foretold. It is impossible that the security apparatus around Lula could not have foreseen these events, especially considering the tsunami of signs on social networks.

    So there must have been a concerted effort to act softly – without any preventive big sticks – while just emitting the usual neoliberal babble.

    After all, Lula’s cabinet is a mess, with ministers constantly clashing and some members supporting Bolsonaro even a few months ago. Lula calls it a “national unity government,” but it is more like a tawdry patchwork job.

    Brazilian analyst Quantum Bird, a globally respected physics scholar who has returned home after a long stint in NATO lands, notes how there are “too many actors in play and too many antagonistic interests. Among Lula’s ministers, we find Bolsonarists, neoliberal-rentiers, climate interventionism converts, identity politics practitioners and a vast fauna of political neophytes and social climbers, all well aligned with Washington’s imperial interests.”

    CIA-stoked ‘militants’ on the prowl

    One plausible scenario is that powerful sectors of the Brazilian military – at the service of the usual Straussian neo-con think tanks, plus global finance capital – could not really pull off a real coup, considering massive popular rejection, and had to settle at best for a “soft” farce. That illustrates just how much this self-aggrandizing and highly corrupt military faction is isolated from Brazilian society.

    What is deeply worrying, as Quantum Bird notes, is that the unanimity in condemning 8 January from all quarters, while no one took responsibility, “shows how Lula navigates virtually alone in a shallow sea infested by sharpened corals and hungry sharks.”

    Lula’s position, he adds, “decreeing a federal intervention all by himself, without strong faces of his own government or relevant authorities, shows an improvised, disorganized and amateurish reaction.”

    And all that, once again, after CIA-stoked “militants” had been organizing the “protests” openly on social media for days.

    The same old CIA playbook though remains at work. It still boggles the mind how easy it is to subvert Brazil, one of the natural leaders of the Global South. Attempted old school coups cum regime change/color revolution scripts will keep being played – remember Kazakhstan in early 2021, and Iran only a few months ago.

    As much as the self-aggrandizing faction of the Brazilian military may believe they control the nation, if Lula’s significant masses hit the streets in full force against the 8 January farce, the army’s impotence will be graphically imprinted. And since this is a CIA operation, the handlers will order their tropical military vassals to behave like ostriches.

    The future, unfortunately, is ominous. The US establishment will not allow Brazil, the BRICS economy with the best potential after China, to be back in business with full force and in synch with the Russia-China strategic partnership.

    Straussian neo-cons and neoliberals, certified geopolitical jackals and hyenas, will get even more ferocious as the “G7 of the East,” Brazil included, moves to end the suzerainty of the US dollar as imperial control of the world vanishes.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Not a good strategy (Douglas Macgregor – MUST SEE!)

    January 09, 2023

    Why BRI is back with a bang in 2023

    January 06 2023

    As Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative enters its 10th year, a strong Sino-Russian geostrategic partnership has revitalized the BRI across the Global South.

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    By Pepe Escobar

    The year 2022 ended with a Zoom call to end all Zoom calls: Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping discussing all aspects of the Russia-China strategic partnership in an exclusive video call.

    Putin told Xi how “Russia and China managed to ensure record high growth rates of mutual trade,” meaning “we will be able to reach our target of $200 billion by 2024 ahead of schedule.”

    On their coordination to “form a just world order based on international law,” Putin emphasized how “we share the same views on the causes, course, and logic of the ongoing transformation of the global geopolitical landscape.”

    Facing “unprecedented pressure and provocations from the west,” Putin noted how Russia-China are not only defending their own interests “but also all those who stand for a truly democratic world order and the right of countries to freely determine their own destiny.”

    Earlier, Xi had announced that Beijing will hold the 3rd Belt and Road Forum in 2023. This has been confirmed, off the record, by diplomatic sources. The forum was initially designed to be bi-annual, first held in 2017 and then 2019. 2021 didn’t happen because of Covid-19.

    The return of the forum signals not only a renewed drive but an extremely significant landmark as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched in Astana and then Jakarta in 2013, will be celebrating its 10th anniversary.

    BRI version 2.0

    That set the tone for 2023 across the whole geopolitical and geoeconomic spectrum. In parallel to its geoconomic breadth and reach, BRI has been conceived as China’s overarching foreign policy concept up to the mid-century. Now it’s time to tweak things. BRI 2.0 projects, along its several connectivity corridors, are bound to be re-dimensioned to adapt to the post-Covid environment, the reverberations of the war in Ukraine, and a deeply debt-distressed world.

    Photo Credit: The Cradle
    Map of BRI (Photo Credit: The Cradle)

    And then there’s the interlocking of the connectivity drive via BRI with the connectivity drive via the International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC), whose main players are Russia, Iran and India.

    Expanding on the geoeconomic drive of the Russia-China partnership as discussed by Putin and Xi, the fact that Russia, China, Iran and India are developing interlocking trade partnerships should establish that BRICS members Russia, India and China, plus Iran as one of the upcoming members of the expanded BRICS+, are the ‘Quad’ that really matter across Eurasia.

    The new Politburo Standing Committee in Beijing, which are totally aligned with Xi’s priorities, will be keenly focused on solidifying concentric spheres of geoeconomic influence across the Global South.

    How China plays ‘strategic ambiguity’

    This has nothing to do with balance of power, which is a western concept that additionally does not connect with China’s five millennia of history. Neither is this another inflection of “unity of the center” – the geopolitical representation according to which no nation is able to threaten the center, China, as long as it is able to maintain order.

    These cultural factors that in the past may have prevented China from accepting an alliance under the concept of parity have now vanished when it comes to the Russia-China strategic partnership.

    Back in February 2022, days before the events that led to Russia’s Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine, Putin and Xi, in person, had announced that their partnership had “no limits” – even if they hold different approaches on how Moscow should deal with a Kiev lethally instrumentalized by the west to threaten Russia.

    In a nutshell: Beijing will not “abandon” Moscow because of Ukraine – as much as it will not openly show support. The Chinese are playing their very own subtle interpretation of what Russians define as  “strategic ambiguity.”

    Connectivity in West Asia

    In West Asia, BRI projects will advance especially fast in Iran, as part of the 25-year deal signed between Beijing and Tehran and the definitive demise of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – or Iran nuclear deal – which will translate into no European investment in the Iranian economy.

    Iran is not only a BRI partner but also a full-fledged Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member. It has clinched a free trade agreement with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), which consists of post-Soviet states Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

    And Iran is, today, arguably the key interconnector of the INSTC, opening up the Indian Ocean and beyond, interconnecting not only with Russia and India but also China, Southeast Asia, and even, potentially, Europe – assuming the EU leadership will one day see which way the wind is blowing.

    Map of INSTC (Photo Credit: The Cradle)

    So here we have heavily US-sanctioned Iran profiting simultaneously from BRI, INSTC and the EAEU free trade deal. The three critical BRICS members – India, China, Russia – will be particularly interested in the development of the trans-Iranian transit corridor – which happens to be the shortest route between most of the EU and South and Southeast Asia, and will provide faster, cheaper transportation.

    Add to this the groundbreaking planned Russia-Transcaucasia-Iran electric power corridor, which could become the definitive connectivity link capable of smashing the antagonism between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

    In the Arab world, Xi has already rearranged the chessboard. Xi’s December trip to Saudi Arabia should be the diplomatic blueprint on how to rapidly establish a post-modern quid pro quo between two ancient, proud civilizations to facilitate a New Silk Road revival.

    Rise of the Petro-yuan

    Beijing may have lost huge export markets within the collective west – so a replacement was needed. The Arab leaders who lined up in Riyadh to meet Xi saw ten thousand sharpened (western) knives suddenly approaching and calculated it was time to strike a new balance.

    That means, among other things, that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) has adopted a more multipolar agenda: no more weaponizing of Salafi-Jihadism across Eurasia, and a door wide open to the Russia-China strategic partnership. Hubris strikes hard at the heart of the Hegemon.

    Credit Suisse strategist Zoltan Pozsar, in two striking successive newsletters, titled War and Commodity Encumbrance (December 27) and War and Currency Statecraft (December 29), pointed out the writing on the wall.

    Pozsar fully understood what Xi meant when he said China is “ready to work with the GCC” to set up a “new paradigm of all-dimensional energy cooperation” within a timeline of “three to five years.”

    China will continue to import a lot of crude, long-term, from GCC nations, and way more Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Beijing will “strengthen our cooperation in the upstream sector, engineering services, as well as [downstream] storage, transportation, and refinery. The Shanghai Petroleum and Natural Gas Exchange platform will be fully utilized for RMB settlement in oil and gas trade…and we could start currency swap cooperation.”

    Pozsar summed it all up, thus: “GCC oil flowing East + renminbi invoicing = the dawn of the petroyuan.”

    And not only that. In parallel, the BRI gets a renewed drive, because the previous model – oil for weapons – will be replaced with oil for sustainable development (construction of factories, new job opportunities).

    And that’s how BRI meets MbS’s Vision 2030.

    Apart from Michael Hudson, Poszar may be the only western economic analyst who understands the global shift in power: “The multipolar world order,” he says,” is being built not by G7 heads of state but by the ‘G7 of the East’ (the BRICS heads of state), which is a G5 really.” Because of the move toward an expanded BRICS+, he took the liberty to round up the number.

    And the rising global powers know how to balance their relations too. In West Asia, China is playing slightly different strands of the same BRI trade/connectivity strategy, one for Iran and another for the Persian Gulf monarchies.

    China’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Iran is a 25-year deal under which China invests $400 billion into Iran’s economy in exchange for a steady supply of Iranian oil at a steep discount. While at his summit with the GCC, Xi emphasized “investments in downstream petrochemical projects, manufacturing, and infrastructure” in exchange for paying for energy in yuan.

    How to play the New Great Game

    BRI 2.0 was also already on a roll during a series of Southeast Asian summits in November. When Xi met with Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in Bangkok, they pledged to finally connect the up-and-running China-Laos high-speed railway to the Thai railway system. This is a 600km-long project, linking Bangkok to Nong Khai on the border with Laos, to be completed by 2028.

    And in an extra BRI push, Beijing and Bangkok agreed to coordinate the development of China’s Shenzhen-Zhuhai-Hong Kong Greater Bay Area and the Yangtze River Delta with Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).

    In the long run, China essentially aims to replicate in West Asia its strategy across Southeast Asia. Beijing trades more with the ASEAN than with either Europe or the US. The ongoing, painful slow motion crash of the collective west may ruffle a few feathers in a civilization that has seen, from afar, the rise and fall of Greeks, Romans, Parthians, Arabs, Ottomans, Spanish, Dutch, British. The Hegemon after all is just the latest in a long list.

    In practical terms, BRI 2.0 projects will now be subjected to more scrutiny: This will be the end of impractical proposals and sunk costs, with lifelines extended to an array of debt-distressed nations. BRI will be placed at the heart of BRICS+ expansion – building on a consultation panel in May 2022 attended by foreign ministers and representatives from South America, Africa and Asia that showed, in practice, the global range of possible candidate countries.

    Implications for the Global South

    Xi’s fresh mandate from the 20th Communist Party Congress has signaled the irreversible institutionalization of BRI, which happens to be his signature policy. The Global South is fast drawing serious conclusions, especially in contrast with the glaring politicization of the G20 that was visible at its November summit in Bali.

    So Poszar is a rare gem: a western analyst who understands that the BRICS are the new G5 that matter, and that they’re leading the road towards BRICS+. He also gets that the Quad that really matters is the three main BRICS-plus-Iran.

    Acute supply chain decoupling, the crescendo of western hysteria over Beijing’s position on the war in Ukraine, and serious setbacks on Chinese investments in the west all play on the development of BRI 2.0. Beijing will be focusing simultaneously on several nodes of the Global South, especially neighbors in ASEAN and across Eurasia.

    Think, for instance, the Beijing-funded Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, Southeast Asia’s first: a BRI project opening this year as Indonesia hosts the rotating ASEAN chairmanship. China is also building the East Coast Rail Link in Malaysia and has renewed negotiations with the Philippines for three railway projects.

    Then there are the superposed interconnections. The EAEU will clinch a free trade zone deal with Thailand. On the sidelines of the epic return of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to power in Brazil, this past Sunday, officials of Iran and Saudi Arabia met amid smiles to discuss – what else – BRICS+. Excellent choice of venue: Brazil is regarded by virtually every geopolitical player as prime neutral territory.

    From Beijing’s point of view, the stakes could not be higher, as the drive behind BRI 2.0 across the Global South is not to allow China to be dependent on western markets. Evidence of this is in its combined approach towards Iran and the Arab world.

    China losing both US and EU market demand, simultaneously, may end up being just a bump in the (multipolar) road, even as the crash of the collective west may seem suspiciously timed to take China down.

    The year 2023 will proceed with China playing the New Great Game deep inside, crafting a globalization 2.0 that is institutionally supported by a network encompassing BRI, BRICS+, the SCO, and with the help of its Russian strategic partner, the EAEU and OPEC+ too. No wonder the usual suspects are dazed and confused.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    War in Ukraine: A conflict that will decide the global system’s fate

    5 Jan 2023

    Source: Al Mayadeen English

    By Ali Jezzini 

    With the war in Ukraine almost entering its second year, much more is at stake now, as both parties have invested immensely and the outcome might decide their fate, so what will happen in 2023?

    Ukraine 2022, a Recap

    The war in Ukraine could be the most significant geopolitical event in this century, as it represents an embodiment of the shift in the global balance of power. Such an action made by Russia, intervening to protect what it describes as its non-negotiables, and the actions of many countries taking the decision not to side with the collective West, could not have even been imagined two decades ago. It is safe to assume that the undeniable shifts in the global political and economic epicenter to the East permitted states seeking a more independent approach and autonomy from western hegemony to undertake risky political actions. Clausewitz had announced centuries ago that war is a mere continuation of political action with other means.

    Plowing through the narratives of both sides regarding the factors that drove the event the way they went would take much more than this article can discuss, so we will try to stick to concrete events and numerical data in analyzing this conflict, its aspects, and the possible outcomes that the coming year might hold.

    A hotter-than-usual February 

    Despite Russia revealing the goals behind the actions it took, which are the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine, it did not provide a timeframe nor the extent to which the situation might escalate. NATO, on the other hand, started ramping up its arms shipments to Kiev on the eve of the conflict, a trend that would continue throughout the war and would consume a hefty chunk of the alliance’s military equipment stockpiles. In addition, an assumption was spread by Western media that the war would only take three days, despite the lack of any Russian official statement backing such a claim. Consequently, when the war entered its 10th month, the assumption was used to bash Russia’s military capabilities.

    Utilizing several axes of attack, the Russian forces and their allies in the Donbass advanced. A few months into the conflict, the initial advances seemed to be aimed at having a shock effect on the Ukrainian political and military leadership, consequently leading to their sudden collapse, rather than being a part of a military plan that involved the surrounding and destruction of enemy forces. The initial Kiev push failed to break the will of the Kiev authorities to continue the fight, and the lack of an initial Russian Western-style Shock & Awe strategy contributed to inflating Kiev’s hopes of victory, leading to a prolonged grinding conflict. 

    In pursuing an initial strategy that intended to limit the damage to Ukraine’s civilian and military infrastructure and seeking a short conflict, Russia led to the exact opposite. When the initial offensive failed to collapse the Kiev authorities, the most logical decision at this point was to attempt a withdrawal and stabilize the frontlines while regrouping the retreating forces that sustained combat losses and damages. A static situation had developed during the months between Russia’s withdrawal from the Kiev district and the North of Ukraine, and the subsequent Ukrainian summer offensive that managed to push the Russians out of the Kherson and Kharkov districts. This period was characterized by an artillery duel, in which Russia had the upper hand, and a Ukrainian build-up that led to their consequent victory. 

    The Ukraine build-up was fueled by nine waves of mobilization and an endless train of Western military equipment that Russia had little success in derailing. Despite Kiev’s heavy losses in manpower and equipment, it was still capable of conducting cohesive military actions that were sustained by NATO’s whole massive intelligence-gathering apparatus. Russia, on the other hand, was stuck with what it had at the beginning of the war; around 150-200 thousand regulars plus its Donbass allies defending a frontline stretching thousands of kilometers. The juridical limits of the use of force imposed by the nature of “the special military operation” hindered Russia’s efforts in increasing pressure on Kiev and slowing down its buildup. What happened next was Russia withdrawing from some areas it took at the beginning of the war in an attempt to avoid huge losses that could result in its units being cut off or surrounded. 

    Shifting winds

    Following the Ukrainian attack on the Crimean bridge and the appointment of a new commander to the Russian forces in the operations zone, Sergey Surovikin, Russia seemed as if it was starting to take the glove off. The start of this new phase of military operations was signaled by a mass strike against Ukraine’s dual-use infrastructure, such as various components of the electrical grid system using its arsenal of cruise and ballistic missiles that Western media and experts had claimed had been exhausted several times during the conflict. A newcomer also took its toll on Ukraine’s military and dual-use infrastructure, highlighting an important aspect of modern warfare: suicide drones, the Geran-2 or the Shahed-136. Western countries and Kiev have accused Iran of supplying Russia with an arsenal of such drones, a claim that both Russia and Iran have refuted. We won’t delve into the details of both statements, yet we must state that it highlights growing military cooperation between parties opposed to the unipolar global system, an occurrence that causes great concern to the collective West.

    Russia also undertook a partial mobilization that involved calling around 300,000 of its reserves. Arming and retraining such numbers is not a simple task, and in fact, it is still taking place today, according to Russian sources. Scores of these soldiers started arriving at the frontlines and taking part in the ongoing combat, but turning the balance of numbers around is going to take a while. Russia also is mainly targeting anti-air defense systems and munitions now by making use of a dual-strategy: destroying them using anti-radiation missiles and miniature suicide drones such as the Zala drone on one hand, and depleting their costly ammunition using cheap but effective drones, such as the Geran-2, on the other. The cost ratio between an interception and that of the intercepted can be as big as ten-fold, since the drone costs around $20,000 and an AD missile could reach half a million USD easily, starting from around $150,000. A losing bargain in the long term to say the least.

    The same artillery grind is also ongoing and taking a toll on Ukrainian losses, but this time Russia is making use of the shorter contact lines to fill the defenses with an inferior number of troops in comparison with their adversaries until it finishes training its reserves. Despite the arrival of troops to the frontline, Russia will still not have the numerical superiority, but such numbers will serve primarily to consolidate the current lines of contact, and to give the Russians more options if they want to utilize their fire superiority to level the playing field around the Donbass and in the held part Zaporozhye regions east the Dnieper River. 

    Difficult situation, tough decisions

    The political and military leaderships in the West and Kiev on one hand, and Moscow on the other, are faced with tough decisions with a tight timeline before them. These decisions will draw the outcomes of the conflict in the short and long term. The scale of the conflict is global, as the West sees Russia as a rogue state trying to undermine the Western-dominated so-called rules-based order, and it seems like it is willing to go above and beyond to guarantee another century of dominion over the planet. Russia has many reasons to fight in Ukraine that go beyond NATO expanding east and protecting the lives and rights of the Russian people in Ukraine. Russia is genuinely worried that the direction that Kiev was heading revealed a long-term plan to transform Ukraine into another “big Israel”, which the Ukrainian President hinted at in one of his speeches. A highly militarized society built around a fascist ideology that its raison d’etre is being anti-something, as in “Israel” being a “shield protecting the West from Eastern barbarism,” hinted by “Israel’s” fathers. Ukrainian leaders and media don’t waste an opportunity to remind the West that they are fighting the battle of the collective West, and thus they earned a blank check in exchange for providing the meat for the carnage.

    If what some commentators say about Russia overestimating its military capabilities is true, then the West for sure overestimated its political and economic capabilities. Faced with an internal crisis and trapped in the loop of financing a state living off external aid, the West is facing the threat of a wedge forming between its components on both sides of the Atlantic as Europe, which is hit more by the effects of the crisis, sees that the US is trying to bail itself at its expense. This view has been expressed by various Western leaders.

    Russia, faced with a nuclear bomb of Western sanctions, managed to surpass the worst, according to the head of its central bank. With hundreds of billions of dollars frozen abroad, the Russian economy is still holding. The Ruble has long stabilized, and alternative market opportunities have revealed themselves to the Western market. But will this be enough? Many countries across the globe refused to side with the West in its campaign, namely the Arab, African, and Latin countries, as well as India, China, Iran, and Turkey. Despite these countries not forming a cohesive block, their decisions gave Russia breathing space in this lengthy battle nevertheless.

    A protracted conflict?

    Both the West and Russia have invested so much in this conflict but still have not fully committed, as both parties still have many cards up their sleeve. For instance, even if NATO faces severe military equipment shortages, it can still provide Ukraine with new types of arms at the expense of its combat readiness, like tanks, warplanes, or maybe long-range precision munitions. Russia, on the other hand, has not undergone a full mobilization yet, both in the military and economic sense of the word, as it still spends only a small fraction of its GDP on the war, and its biggest “ally”, namely China, did not even start providing it with a significant amount of military hardware. China ramping up its aid to Russia is not so far-fetched since it benefits from a change in a global shift from the Western-dominated global system into a multipolar international system.

    We are not dealing with isolated opposing parties, as any actions by one of them can trigger an escalation from the other as if we are witnessing the checkerboard of a chess game. Such security dilemmas imposed by the nature of the conflict taking place in Ukraine draw a gloomy scene of a protracted and bloody conflict that decides the outcome of the world. If Russia wins, we might actually witness the birth of a new multi-polar world where formerly dominated and exploited countries can have more options and thus a brighter future. If the West wins, however, it might add a century to the life of this global system that grants only a small portion of humanity, namely the collective West, the ability to impose the way of thinking, living, and governing on the rest of the world. A thermonuclear annihilation war is always a possibility too, but hopefully not.

    So what will be the outcome?

    Related Stories

    Iran’s 2022: Riots, Drones and Diplomats!

    January 4, 2023

    Source: Al Mayadeen English

    By Karim Sharara 

    Between the riots in Iran, the war in Ukraine, and the talks to revive the JCPOA, Iran has certainly had a busy year. Perhaps it would be good for us to look over the year from an eagle’s eye view so that we can get a feel of how 2023 might play out in Iran.

    Between riots, drones, and diplomats, 2023 looks like it’s going to be one heck of a year, both for Iran, and the world.

    This was certainly a busy year for the world. We left 2021 pondering on the prospects of a possible JCPOA revival (though to be fair, I did say it was highly unlikely it would happen at the time), looking forward to the winter Olympics, and thinking about what would unfold in the newest episodes of Boris Johnson and the party bunch.

    But here we are now, amid a war in Ukraine, fully-backed and stoked by NATO, a continued escalation of tensions with China, a cost-of-living crisis in the West (alongside an energy crisis), full-on riots that quickly turned into armed attacks on security forces in Iran, and the death of Barbara Walters.

    This has certainly been a whirlwind of a year, so perhaps looking into how things progressed, at least as far as Iran is concerned, could help us get a feel for how 2023 might unwind?

    Perhaps the easiest place to start would be the beginning. Looking back into the early days of 2022, one main idea was being repeated in Iranian diplomatic circles on all levels for several months: We are very close to reaching a deal, but the move necessitates a serious, realistic decision by the US.

    Really, you’d think the US would’ve been able to make a decision by now. But it isn’t about a sovereign decision so much as it was hoping for a repeat of 2015. Meaning a deal that it can go into and leave at will. 

    One of the main reasons the Vienna Talks took so long really goes back to a simple principle. Iran had seen firsthand the consequences of US deception: The US signed the JCPOA, did not implement it, and suffered no consequences, then left it unilaterally and still suffered no consequences, and then sanctioned Iran through its maximum pressure campaign and still, suffered no consequences.

    Meanwhile, the EU stood idly by, twiddling its fingers, also failing to abide by its side of the bargain, calling on Iran to implement the deal in full.

    For a recap of last year: 2021 Roundup: A JCPOA revival in 2022?

    So now, the matter was simple, if the US needed to return to the deal, the Iranians needed to make sure that there would be no loopholes that Washington could use to leave the deal without consequences, and moreover, if that were to happen, then Iran also needed to make sure it could easily go back to where things were before the deal, in terms of the nuclear program.

    As far as the US was concerned, there were two main issues driving it to drag its feet…The first was the fact that no loopholes meant that it would become more difficult to leave the deal, as it had been hoping for what Alastair Crooke called “A Pop-in, Pop-out JCPOA”, a doggie door if you will.

    The second was due to political circumstances: Biden had been afraid of how the outcome of the Midterm elections might play out, and so was working the two sides by making headway in the talks (which explains the recurring statements that a deal was close to being reached) while also looking out for his administration’s and Democrats’ numbers in the Midterms, so it wouldn’t look like they were being weak on Iran, which the GOP could then exploit to boost its Midterm numbers.

    One unforeseen event was the riots in Iran. Although they were stoked by the West – primarily the US, which is trying to push for regime change –if it hadn’t been for the riots, the US would have probably agreed to go back to the deal once the Midterms were done. 

    But why would the US go back to the deal if it considers it so binding? The reasoning’s pretty straightforward, and also has to do with geopolitical shifts. The disruption of global energy supplies following Western sanctions on Russia has the West scrambling to look for alternatives to Russian gas and oil, and the EU is pushing for Iran to be brought back to the global energy market, while the US is still dragging its feet, ostensibly hoping at the moment for regime change through the Iran riots. 

    Iran riots

    Ah yes, the Iran riots, which the West rather impetuously calls protests. It’s funny how when some people take to the streets armed with weapons to use against security forces and civilians, they’re called peaceful protests by Western mainstream media who go out of their way to challenge any narrative that brings any evidence showing the violent intent of the rioters to light. 

    Can it get any clearer than the interview that famed war hawk and mustache aficionado John Bolton had with BBC Persian’s Rana Rahimpour? 

    Bolton, of all people, went out of his way to show that the rioters were being armed by weapons being smuggled from Iraqi Kurdistan, while the BBC Persian host, Rana Rahimpour, of all people, went out of her way to change subjects while also ‘correcting’ Bolton that there was no evidence to the rioters being armed, which led to Bolton replying that they indeed were, as videos on social media clearly showed (You can find the 8-minute video of the interview here, the part I’m referring starts at 5:16. However, it’s in Farsi, so you may want to get your Iranian friend to translate it for you over some Chelo Kebab and Doogh).

    Former US National Security Advisor John Bolton said on UK state owned BBC Persian that the Iranian opposition is armed. The BBC Persian host tried to refute him & change the topic.

    Meanwhile, the terrorists shoot at the armed forces & send footage to US state owned Persian TV! pic.twitter.com/TWa7Iy4euY— Seyed Mohammad Marandi (@s_m_marandi) November 9, 2022

    By the way, this was the same Rana Rahimpour who just a few days earlier had an audio leaked from a conversation with her mother, saying that some media outlets (namely the Saudi-funded Iran International) were clearly working toward an end goal of weakening and dividing Iran.

    Or how about the blatant way in which none other than famed media personality, broom-riding extraordinaire, and lover of gingerbread houses, the US-paid, VOA-employed, and friendly neighborhood spider woman Masih Alinejad was pushing for more riots in Iran, and constantly calling for even more sanctions against her own country, whose people were suffering because of the US-imposed sanctions.

    The #CIA-backed instigator, #MasihAlinejad, is making a lot of money in exchange for inciting violence in #Iran and even using victims’ mothers to provoke more riots in the country. pic.twitter.com/k4svccmz96— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) November 20, 2022

    Perhaps it’s telling that the same countries that have sanctioned Iran for its ‘crackdown’ on ‘protestors’ had earlier resorted to more forceful measures in their crackdown on actual, unarmed protestors in their countries. It may be useful for us to remember Canada and its crackdown on anti-vaccine mandate protestors, which went as far as to freeze their bank accounts. How about Freedom Convoy protestors? Or how about the French police’s violence against protestors and racism against minorities? Or how about Australian police shooting anti-lockdown protestors?

    It’s understandable from the Western point of view of course: You see Iranians are so ‘repressed by their government’ that they’re not allowed to leave their homes once they finish working, and by ‘protesting’ they’re actually running and getting their fair share of exercise; but Europeans get enough exercise as it is, so police aren’t actually using violence! They’re sparring with them because they’re so physically fit and need the challenge!

    But seriously, let’s keep in mind that the West cannot expect the riots to end and for Iran to go back to how things were before pre-riots. Germany, France, the UK, Saudi Arabia, “Israel”, and the US all stoked the riots, overtly supporting them. Although Iran is very pragmatic, it also possesses a very good collective memory, and diplomatic relations and economic opportunities won’t mean that it will forego hostile actions taken against it.

    Of course, that’s not to forget the impact that the war on Ukraine left on Western-Iranian relations, which further cemented Iran’s pivot to the Global South.

    The war in Ukraine

    Although at the start of the war in Ukraine, relations between Iran and the West went unaffected, they devolved as the war progressed on account of Western accusations that Iran had sent Russia drones for use against Ukraine. The problem for the West wasn’t that Iran denied supply of the drones for use during the war; as far as they were concerned, they were dead set on implicating Iran against Ukraine, regardless of the circumstances, rather it was that the drones were very effective in a battleground the West was using to test out its own arsenal.

    Just to be clear, Iran’s stance on the war in Ukraine is still unchanged. It’s only natural that Tehran would want to further its ties with Moscow as part of its strategy to deepen its ties with the Global South and push for a new world order of multilateralism. That doesn’t mean that it ever supported the war in Ukraine, as in fact it said it was against the war, favoring a diplomatic resolution, but made it clear NATO was the party who instigated the war through its attempts to expand eastward.

    To put things in perspective, Iran’s ties with Russia will only grow in the future, regardless of the war in Ukraine. The focus on Iran and the Global South creating international and regional institutions to counter US hegemony is only set to increase amid NATO’s policy to create new coalitions and alliances in Central Asia and the Asia Pacific. Moreover, the war in Ukraine served to stretch the US’ forces around the world even thinner, as it continues to make overtures against China in the Asia Pacific, while also announcing support for “Israel” and the normalization process in West Asia, in a bid to create an anti-Iran coalition. This is perhaps best evidenced during a recent June 24, 2022, policy speech made by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Hudson Institute:

    “Moving past our current geo-strategic focus, the United States must help in building of the three lighthouses for liberty. These beacons should be centered on nations that have great strife: Ukraine, ‘Israel’, and Taiwan. They can be the hubs of new security architecture that links alliances of free nations globally, reinforcing the strengths of each member state, in time, linking these three bastions with NATO, as well as the new and expanded security framework for the Indo-Pacific will form a global alliance for freedom. This will benefit America.”

    Although it might be a bit difficult to hear someone who used the words ‘lie, cheat, and steal’ in the same context as a mugger would talk about “lighthouses for liberty”, this person — by a rather strange twist of fate and improbable circumstances, without a doubt due to a great disturbance in the force brought on by the birth of the antichrist — was a decision-maker in the former US administration, and apparently what he says has some measure of weight.

    Maybe it is also telling, in this regard, that Pentagon upgraded its security ties with “Israel”, making it a full military partner, meaning that “Israel” has been transferred to CENTCOM, in a development that hasn’t happened in the US military establishment since 1948 (go figure, Pompeo might have been right!).

    The Pentagon announcement made it clear that both were preparing for a potential war against Iran by both elevating “Israel’s” position and paving the way for a regional alliance against Iran.

    “The easing of tensions between ‘Israel’ and its Arab neighbors subsequent to the ‘Abraham Accords’ has provided a strategic opportunity for the United States to align key partners against shared threats in the Middle East. ‘Israel’ is a leading strategic partner for the United States, and this will open up additional opportunities for cooperation with our US Central Command partners while maintaining strong cooperation between ‘Israel’ and our European allies,”.

    Ok, so where does this leave us next year?

    If we ever thought 2022 would be uneventful, then brace yourselves for next year! Russian, Iranian military cooperation is still in its early stages, as is a cooperation between Iran and Asian powers that would prefer a multilateral world order. It is without a doubt that we will see an increase in tensions around the globe, but West Asia hinges on the provocations of a very important actor: The Israeli occupation.

    How the Israeli occupation’s incoming government, the most extremist to date, chooses to deal with Palestine and the Resistance Factions will leave a great impact on the region as a whole. 

    Sure, we can opine on whether or not the JCPOA might be revived, because it’s still comatose, regardless of what the Americans say in the media; but the most significant variable, and certainly the hottest flashpoint as of the beginning of this new year in West Asia, is Palestine. If the Palestinian Resistance continues its victory streak and manages to pacify the Israeli occupation, then it is assured that “Tel Aviv” will seek to increase its regional power through alliances, while continuing to work for the next few years: Biding time until it overhauls its airforce, waiting for a change in the US administration that places “Israel” higher up on its list of priorities, and attempting to destabilize Iran’s domestic through intelligence, while at the same time attempting to drag the US into a regional war that it is wholeheartedly against.

    As for the riots in Iran, they’re not completely over, yes they’ve fizzled out to a large extent, but it wouldn’t be farfetched to expect that Iran may have some changes in store on the domestic scene. That’s not to say the hijab law will be removed because of pressure from the riots, that is a resounding no, but what’s going to change is how the law is enforced.

    Aside from the riots, a more interesting development for Iran was certainly the unfolding of Merkel’s confessions on the Minsk agreements. The whole point behind the color revolution that happened in Ukraine and the subsequent Minsk agreements was not appeasing Russia, inasmuch as it was about buying time for Ukraine and disarming Russia. This was the same trap that the Iranian team fell into during the 2015 JCPOA when it agreed to restrict its arms exports for years (five years for heavy arms, and eight for ballistic missiles). Though thankfully, Iran never stopped expanding its drone and ballistic missile program, although it would have been in a more advanced position now had it not agreed to that at the time.

    This time, Iran will go into the talks with Merkel and the Minsk accords in mind, and an eye out for Western attempts to disarm it or pull the rug from under its feet.

    Related Videos

    Israeli concern about Iranian-Russian military cooperation / Al-Ain Al-Israeli with journalist Hassan Hijazi
    The nuclear agreement

    Related Stories

    In 2022 We Have the Explanation of 2023

    January 04, 2023

    Source

    by Hugo Dionísio

    While the numbers of Ronaldo and his “triumphant” signing for the “competitive” Saudi league are being discussed in Portuguese and European news, the world outside is spinning in such a way that the corporate press of the North Atlantic has a hard time keeping pace, opting to summarize the history of international politics in two main facts: the war in the East and Covid in the far-East. They don’t broaden the scope too much to avoid running the risk of fooling themselves.

    Even within a framework of permanent confirmation of the premises perceived as real, constantly corroborated by the army of opinion makers, analysts, commentators and political analysts on duty, who, appearing to be very rational and pluralistic, never distance themselves from the essential and fundamental questions, the facts that will shape the year 2023, if debated and analyzed, would not fail to produce in the most immovable minds – those who only have certainties – the most inopportune questions.

    If the conflict in the East will continue to shape much of the year to come, insofar as it was designed for this very purpose, it is important to remember two pieces of data that help to understand the ultimate reasons behind the aggression, violence and destruction that we are witnessing.

    On the World Bank’s website (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/MS.MIL.XPRT.KD?locations=RU-US), the data on “arms exports” show that since 2001 Russian exports in this field have not only approached those of the United States, but in some years (2002, 2013) have even exceeded the value exported by the United States.

    It is not curious that the last year in which there was real value competition between the two countries was 2013. Between November 2013 and February 2014 Euromaidan took place, and in that very year a huge package of sanctions against the Russian federation (which had been in place at least since 2008) was passed, focusing especially on technologies imported by Russia for its largely public military industrial complex. As early as 2014, data from the World Bank show the sharp decline in Russian arms exports, which now account for a little more than 1/3 of US sales.

    This data is not only relevant for us to understand the reason for Euromaidan, the imposition of a Russophobic regime and an entire escalation of weaponry that is well evidenced in the preparation that, for 8 years, was initiated by the neo-Nazi regime, building a totally disproportionate army and a network of fortifications in the Donbass reminiscent of Albanian bunkers. This data, together with others, confirms a number of premises that will shape our near future.

    The problem is not just a “commercial substitution” problem. Not by a long shot. Martyanov explains to us, in 3 very important books, part of the problem. Under Putin’s reign, there was a reuse, modernization and optimization of all the installed potential left by the USSR and present in Russian society, not totally destroyed in the 90s, which allowed to offer to the world market more effective options from the military point of view, and, above all, much cheaper, considering the cost/benefit binomial. Today, the conflict between the two Slavic nations, has shown that US weaponry not only brings no substantial difference, but is outdated, especially in the field of artillery (long, short and medium distances) and air defense.

    What Martyanov allowed us to foresee is that the U.S. could not allow an enormous number of world countries (from Algeria, to Saudi Arabia, to Turkey, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, or even NATO countries such as Greece…) to start buying technologies superior to theirs (such as the case of the S-400 bought by Turkey, which he says is superior to any American air defense system), but which, even when they are not superior, are incompatible with the NATO standard, which in itself raises two problems: 1. If the country joins or remains in the military allies, the fact of having different weapons systems raises interconnection problems taking away defensive and offensive effectiveness; 2. If it becomes an enemy country, it will rely on offensive systems against which NATO defensive systems are not experienced or tuned, and vice versa.

    To see how important this is, look at the reluctance on the part of the US to supply large quantities of HIMARS or PATRIOTs, and even then, to supply only the most limited capabilities. As for drones, the same is true. Their massive use, namely the most advanced capabilities, will allow the enemy army to test, experiment and fine-tune their systems in relation to them. That’s why they don’t want to supply them. There is still the problem of the enemy capturing one of these systems (it seems that they already got the unexploded HIMAR missile warhead). On the other hand, their use in the conflict, without being able to point to substantial victories and a reversal in the direction of the trend, would bring very bad marketing for these weapons systems.

    The reverse is also true. This is the reason why, in my humble opinion, the Russian army is reluctant to field its S-500 or even S-400 (betting more on modernized S-300, BUK and others), has only launched 1 or 2 hypersonics and there is no record of using Su-57 yet. In other words, we must not show everything to the enemy, because the battlefield is swarming with NATO sensors looking for tactical, technological, logistical and doctrinal information.

    The effectiveness of the small Russian contingent in fighting ISIS, when compared to the means spent by the US in the same “fight”, raised an international security need, which already existed, but became of urgent resolution to US neocons. If the official discourse continued – and continues – in the direction of belittling and ridiculing the Russian potential, because sales had to keep increasing on one side and decreasing on the other, the fact is that the pentagon’s military analysts will not have failed to think that it was better to pay attention. Arrogance is often a show-off and deep down, it hides concern.

    There are facts that help reinforce this perception. The fact that we know how NATO and the G7 have classified their threats and the entire policy of “containment” and “dismantling” of their military and economic power, which requires in-depth work of attrition, study and fine-tuning of strategies, which for many specialists already constitute what will be the antechamber of World War III (this time, hopefully, with its epicenter further to the east), gives us clues as to the direction of action.

    The creation of funds for the construction of a negative image of opponents confirms this direction: For example, on page 89 of the US federal budget, chapter “Department of State and Other International Programs”, we can read “$400 million for the Fund against the malign influence of the People’s Republic of China. Additionally (…) the budget allocates 682$ million for Ukraine and an increase of 219$ million above what was given in 2021, to continue to counter the malign influence of Russia.” It is in the final part of the paragraph that we realize what these 1.2$ billion are really for, namely “disinformation” (should be read as: counter-information) or “civil society resilience” (should be read as: money for NGOs). After this can anyone still believe everything they read and see in the corporate press about these two countries? Even knowing that US pays to produce and publish information to combat these countries? And knowing that the so-called “media” is in deep economic crisis and tremendously dependent on the use of such funds? Only if the belief is religious!

    But the data on the European Union trade with the Russian federation, confirm in which plan(s) the action is played. According to Eurostat, with the exception of the small Baltics, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark and Finland, ALL the others imported more than they did in 2021. And this is all despite the 10th package of sanctions that is already on the way. Explain this? Where is the “don’t contribute to Putin’s coffers”, “don’t contribute to war funding” or “let’s wipe out the Russian economy”? As written in the Times of India, the US knew very well that they were not going to affect the Russian economy. What they knew was that they were going to kill the German and European economy, thereby fattening their own.

    In other words, it’s all talk for the herd. This talk can be translated as “buy everything more expensive, because we buy without long term contracts”, “buy energy more expensive so that American shale oil and shale gas become the EU’s main focus”, ” no way buying weapons to them”, “to end cooperation in sensitive areas such as nuclear fusion, a project that was being developed in France with promising results and in which Russia was a fundamental partner, and it is not by chance that the USA also competes in this field and does not want competition”, “not to export cutting edge technology to the Russian Federation” and “to suppress the country’s main commercial partner, which was the EU, with the exit of most multinationals from that country”.

    This is where we can confirm the real goals of the war that started in 2014. Aligned with the founding objectives of NATO, the first “Russia out” is already achieved; the second “German down” has already been achieved with the election of Sholz and his bunch of very “well” Ivy League-trained woke boys, girls and half boys and half girls; the third “Europe in” is achieved with the sanctions, which force the EU to give up one of its main economic partners, the main one in cheap raw materials and energy, and, in time, also having to give up its main trading partner, China. All under the guise of the fight against dictatorship and the violation of human rights.

    There are already two other facts that will have enormous importance in predicting the events that await us. One is the mobilization in Poland of 250,000 reservists, aged up to 55, which has led to thousands of men fleeing the country, a fact that is not reported on the “credible” TV stations of the North Atlantic. If we link this event to the annual increase for some years now in the military budget of that country (far above NATO’s requirements), it is easy to see which people will be the next to be thrown under the crusher. Thousands of mercenaries, many former soldiers of the Polish armed forces, have died in Bahkmut. But there are plans for all sorts of things, whether by some Polish elite to occupy the Galician region, or by the Neocons to use Poland as the next guinea pig to “weaken” the “enemy”.

    The other, which foreshadows the preparation of what is to come, is further east. First they used their CIA-funded boys, mobilized from Taiwan and Hong Kong (yes, the ringleaders have been identified), to mobilize small demonstrations in China against Zero Covid policy. The Zero Covid policy had the power to stall and somehow freeze the attack that the US was preparing on the country, using the predictable deaths to bring about regime change. During these almost three years the country was able to prepare for the fight against the pandemic, but Washington did not want to give them that much time. That is why, after having pushed for the lockdown – as if it never existed here – they are now attacking the country because… it ended with Covid Zero.

    This is what is called being arrested for having a dog, and arrested for not having one, which shows the seriousness and the real intentions of these people. Now, they accuse China of “hiding data”, calling the leaders liars and treating the people of this millennial country as fools, they accuse the “hospitals of being crowded”, as if ours were not crowded EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME, and after having died MILLIONS of people in the U.S. and colonies, they say they are “very concerned about the number of cases”. As if over here Covid is over.

    Of course, and this is hilarious, the song-seller Van Der “Lies”, who happens to be the wife of the director of one of the main laboratory that works with Pfizer, went running to “offer vaccines to China”. For our pockets this “offer” would mean a few more billions paid in taxes, for Ursula it would mean another lost cell phone, but for the Chinese, whose civilization is 5000 years old… It takes more to fool them. Very little, almost nothing, has been discussed about the real effects of this mass vaccination, but the payment to Twitter (proven by the Twitter Files) to shape the information about the vaccine, does not bode well for what we will find out in the future.

    Consequently, as early as 2023, we may well have to brace ourselves for empty shelves. The intended closing of the European borders with China that US will try to impose, would not fail to have this effect. The increased funding to the WHO (the same one that lied about the masks, remember?), also provided for in the federal budget under the guise of “Strengthening US Leadership in International Institutions,” has already delivered its first fruit with news such as “WHO doubts the data provided by Beijing.” Of course it doubts!

    Whether it is because we pay the highest prices for energy and raw materials, or because the attack on our main trading partner is going to accelerate and reach top speed… there we will have to pay dearly for what we previously thought was cheap!

    And at this pace we will discover that we had no reason to leave 2022 behind!

    Hugo Dionísio, lawyer, policy adviser, analyst and researcher at the Portuguese workers trade union confederation (CGTP-IN).

    %d bloggers like this: