Multipolarity was triggered by the 2003 US invasion of Iraq

March 20 2023

Twenty years after the unlawful and destabilizing US-led invasion of Iraq, Washington must face the ultimate consequence of that war: UNSC powers China and Russia laying the foundation for a genuine, UN Charter-based system of multipolarism. 

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Karin Kneissl

On the night of 19-20 March, 2003, the US air force began bombing the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The EU and NATO were deeply divided on whether to join the aggression: While newer NATO members from Central and Eastern Europe were in favor of the war, European heavyweights Paris and Berlin opposed it.

The Iraq war also marked the onset of diplomatic coordination between Moscow and Beijing at the UN Security Council (UNSC). The two countries began in 2003 to apply similar voting patterns in the Council, first on Iraq, then on Libya in 2011, and over Syria in several key votes. That early Russia-China UN coordination has, 20 years later, transformed into a determined joint policy toward “guarding a new world order based on international law.” 

Looking back at March 2003 from the vantage point of March 2023, the invasion of Iraq unleashed geopolitical consequences far beyond the obvious ones, like the proliferation of terrorism, a decline of US power, and regional chaos. In 2003, a foundational, global shift in the balance of power was surely the last possible consequence envisioned by the war’s planners in Washington and London.

Disconnecting the dots

The destruction of Iraq, the disbanding of the Iraqi Army by the first “US Consul” Paul Bremer in May 2023, the outflow of refugees to neighboring states such as Syria and Jordan, and the exponential growth of extremism and terror attacks are among the consequences of this misguided war.

The flimsy reasons for the war, such as non-existent weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and Baghdad’s alleged support of terror groups like Al Qaeda, were debunked extensively in the following years. By the spring of 2004, evidence was already rife – whether from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or from the CIA’s Iraq Survey Group (ISG) – that Iraq had no WMD program at all.

Rarely before had disinformation campaigns – what is now commonly referred to as “fake news” – been so meticulously executed. The “with us or against us” narrative had firmly taken hold: Western think tanks were out in full force promoting regime change and “democracy” (not a stated goal of the US-led invasion) in Iraq, while those who opposed it were labeled anti-Israel or anti-America.

Despite unprecedented, massive public protests across western capitals in opposition to the Iraq war, the US and its allies had already set in motion their considerable war machine, led by figures such as British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar.

A false narrative linking Baghdad and the September 11 attacks had already been well-seeded, despite there being no connection whatsoever between the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the bombers. It should be noted that there were no Iraqi or Afghan citizens among the terrorists who piloted the 9-11 planes, who were predominantly Saudi nationals.

Unfinished Business

In the autumn of 2001, war scenarios for an invasion of Iraq and regime change were already being laid out in Washington. Johns Hopkins University dean Paul Wolfowitz – an avid supporter of regime-change and US military expansion into Iraq – was named deputy secretary of defense in February 2001, a full seven months before the 9-11 attacks. Wolfowitz’s working hypothesis was that Iraq, with the liberalization of its oil industry, would be able to finance a post-war reconstruction from its own petroleum exports.

The group around Vice President Dick Cheney, which included Wolfowitz and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, was influential in shaping President George W. Bush’s position on Iraq. Unlike his father, George H. Bush, who was an experienced CIA director and analyst, the younger Bush lacked a distinct personal worldview on foreign policy, which he outsourced to his hawkish coterie.

Nevertheless, he was determined to finish what he saw as his father’s “unfinished business” from the 1991 ‘Gulf War’ aimed at expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait. That conflict was executed under a UN Security Council resolution, authorizing legal measures against Iraq as a state, but which did not constitute a war under international law.

In 1991, only Jordan‘s King Hussein took a position supporting Saddam Hussein, with all other nations backing the coalition assault against Baghdad. The US government adhered to the UN resolution, which aimed to restore Kuwait‘s territorial integrity – but not to overthrow the Iraqi government.

Instead, the US supported Iraqi Kurds in the north of the country and encouraged them to revolt against Baghdad. The Iraqi army crushed that rebellion, as it did an uprising in the Shia-dominated south. Perhaps the rebels had hoped for more concrete military aid from the US, but regardless, Hussein remained firmly in power despite military defeat elsewhere.

From Washington’s perspective, the US had failed to unseat Hussein, and within the Bush family, there was a desire to settle a score. For George W. Bush, the invasion of Iraq provided an opportunity to step out of his powerful father’s shadow by executing the elusive regime-change goal. The September 11 attacks provided a justification for this obsession – what remained was to connect Iraq to the US terror attacks and galvanize public and political support for a war, both domestically and internationally.

The UN Security Council in turmoil

In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, there was a great deal of division among UN Security Council (UNSC) members. US Secretary of State Colin Powell presented questionable evidence of Iraq’s possession of weapons of mass destruction, while the foreign ministers of Germany and France publicly opposed the aggression, for which they occasionally received applause in the Council.

China and Russia, who vehemently opposed the war, began coordinating their decisions and responses, in part because of their respective oil interests in Iraq. This cooperation between Moscow and Beijing set the stage for a coordinated multilateral approach between the two nations. Both governments understood that a war would open Pandora’s box, leading to the collapse of Iraqi institutions and resulting in widespread regional disharmony.

Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened. The subsequent years saw weekly attacks, an expansion of Salafi terror groups like Al Qaeda, the rise of ISIS in 2014, and perpetual internal Iraqi conflict. Anyone familiar with the country‘s conditions was aware of the looming catastrophe when the illegal invasion of Iraq began on 20 March, 2003.

China and Russia and the multipolar order  

Twenty years to the day, Chinese President Xi Jinping will embark on a three-day state visit to Moscow, and the focus will extend beyond bilateral energy relations, which have been a consistent priority since 2004.

As previously stated in their joint declaration in Beijing in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart aim to coordinate their foreign policy and advance it together. Their discussions may also touch on the Ukraine dossier, although media expectations in the west may be overestimated.

It may be pure coincidence that the meeting coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Yet it also highlights how extensively Russian and Chinese strategies have intertwined over the past two decades.

Today, increasingly, “orientation comes from Orient.” Cooperative geostrategic leadership and sound alternative propositions to resolve global conflicts are being shaped in Beijing and Moscow – because the old centers of power can offer nothing new.

Twenty years after the US invasion of Iraq, a failed ‘war on terror,’ the proliferation of extremism, millions of dead and displaced in West Asia, and never-ending conflict, China and Russia have finally teamed up to systematically advance their view of the world, this time with more resolve and global clout.

As catastrophic as it was, the Iraq war ended the practice of direct US military invasions, ushering in a war-weary era that desperately sought other solutions. That global division of opinion that began in 2003 over Iraq is, 20 years later, being institutionalized by emerging multipolar powers that seek to counter forever wars.

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

Arab leaders offer Syria billions in aid, sanctions relief if Assad pushes back against Iran: WSJ

March 16 2023

Arab leaders offered Assad help in lobbying the west to lift crushing economic sanctions, despite Washington’s disinterest in loosening its grip on Damascus

By News Desk

(Photo Credit: SANA via AP)

Arab leaders are offering Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a deal that includes billions of dollars for reconstruction efforts and a pledge to lobby the west to lift sanctions in exchange for “[asking] Iran to stop expanding its footprint in the nation,” according to Arab and European officials that spoke with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Other conditions set by the leaders of the unnamed Arab nations include a pledge from Damascus to engage with opposition and rebel groups, accept Arab troops to “protect returning refugees,” and crack down on the captagon drug trade.

The secret talks reportedly gained momentum following the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkiye and Syria last month, killing 6,000 in the Levantine nation alone.

Nonetheless, a Syrian government adviser told the WSJ that Assad “has shown no interest in political reform or a willingness to welcome Arab troops.” Western powers have also made little effort to lift crushing sanctions or stop politicizing humanitarian aid deliveries.

Last month, US State Department spokesman Ned Price urged the international community not to let humanitarian assistance to Syria be accompanied by normalization, stressing: “[Washington’s] position on the Assad regime has not changed.”

The talks between Damascus and Arab leaders are reportedly backed by Saudi Arabia, which recently agreed to restore ties with Iran in a China-brokered deal. In recent weeks, Saudi officials have called for an end to the isolation of Syria to allow a response to its dire humanitarian crisis.

“There is a consensus building in the Arab world that the status quo is not tenable. And that means we have to find a way to move beyond that status quo,” Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said earlier this month.

European and Arab officials also confirmed to the WSJ that Syria’s regional reintegration would be high on the agenda at the next Arab League summit, set to be held later this year in Saudi Arabia.

In recent weeks, Jordan and Egypt sent their foreign ministers to Damascus for their first diplomatic visits since the war erupted in 2011.

Cairo in particular is spearheading a reconciliation plan which proposes restoring relations between Syria and Arab states to pre-2011 levels, returning Syria to the League of Arab States, and negotiating the deployment of joint “Arab forces” on the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to exclusive information made available to The Cradle.

Other Arab nations responsible for fueling the war in its early stages, such as Tunisia,  have announced plans to restore diplomatic ties.

Even before the earthquake hit, Arab nations had slowly started to rebuild ties with Syria after more than a decade of war and isolation, citing the failure of the US-sponsored war and concerns about Iran’s growing presence in the country.

Despite these concerns, Iran has welcomed progress between Syria and the Arab world. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called it “a realistic approach” and “a positive step toward Islamic solidarity.”

Damascus has repeatedly denied “inaccurate reports about Iranian military forces in Syria” and asserts that “the number of Iranian advisors in Syria does not exceed 100.”

On ‘Prisoners of Conscience’ Who Fell Through the Cracks of EU Values

March 15, 2023

President of the Srebrenica Historical Project

Stephen Karganovic

A Spanish journalist has been rotting in a Polish prison for the past year. And nobody knew or cared, Stephen Karganovic writes.

Those who watched Duran associate Alex Christoforou’s podcast the other day [at 18 to 19:45 minutes] must have been as taken aback as I was by Alex’s revelation of the unsavoury fate of Spanish journalist Pablo Gonzales in European “values” stronghold Poland.

Gonzales, a Spanish (another “EU values” country) citizen, it turns out has been rotting in a Polish prison for the past year. Not a week, not a month or even a couple of months, but for just over a year. And nobody knew or cared. He is not being detained on any specific charges to which he could mount a legal defence. He is listed simply as “under investigation” for the somewhat vague offence of being an agent of Russia. If that is what indeed he is, so far it seems no judicially cognisable evidence to support such an allegation has been produced by the Polish authorities. After just over a year that Gonzales has been kept in prison, the Polish “investigation” has failed to turn up any incriminating facts that might form the basis for even a flimsy indictment. As a result, no charges have been filed and no trial is in prospect for Gonzales. As trite as that may sound, it is also disturbingly accurate: in the Europe that, with its gallant overseas allies, fights for democracy in Ukraine, European journalist Pablo Gonzales is languishing in a Kafkaesque predicament.

In his expose, Alex Christoforou asks the natural question, “Where is the Spanish government in all this?” [at 19:20 minutes]. The answer is bound to disillusion everyone who imagined that in situations such as this morality had any influence over political decisions. It all comes down to the odious principle of raison d’état. Spain has issues with Catalan and Basque troublemakers and is loath to create a precedent that would provide foreigners a pretext to meddle in the way it treats its prisoners. For Spain the convenient solution therefore is to downplay the incarceration in Poland of one of its own citizens and hope that no one will notice.

Thankfully, Alex Christoforou did. And he informs us that since February of last year, in Poland, Spanish and EU citizen Gonzales has been kept in solitary confinement in an EU country, his wife and children have been denied all but a few brief visits, his lawyer’s efforts to communicate with his client have been systematically thwarted, and that, scandalously, the prisoner has been left essentially without consular protection. The Spanish government has signalled its disinterest to Gonzales’ Polish jailers.

As for the international media silence, broken belatedly by Christoforou, it has been shameful. It would perhaps be too bold to expect a moral colossus like Greta Thunberg to bother taking up Gonzales’ cause, but how about Amnesty International? This sordid case, replete with human rights violations of every imaginable sort, would seem to be right up their alley. On the AI website we read the following unctuous lines: “Amnesty International is a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights … Amnesty International finds the facts, exposes what’s happening, and rallies people together to force governments and others to respect everyone’s human rights.” Well Amnesty, do something then.

Pablo Gonzales would undoubtedly appreciate a smidgeon of attention and support from a Nobel Prize winning human rights conglomerate such as Amnesty International. A quick check of the AI website, however, while producing an appeal for financial donations laced with a tear-jerking reminder that “after one year, Russian missiles are STILL raining down on families and children in Ukraine . .. Help us document human rights violations and war crimes – your gift will be matched,” does not mention Pablo Gonzales. And what was that about “after one year”? Ukrainian missiles have been raining down indiscriminately on families and children (it is a moot point whether Ukrainian or Russian, all the victims are human beings); not, however, since last year but since 2014, and at last count killing about 15,000 people. But Amnesty International’s eagle eyed human rights monitors missed that, just as they missed the plight of NATO and EU Poland’s prisoner of conscience, Pablo Gonzales.

It turns out that Pablo’s case is not unique.

In Serbia, there is another “prisoner of conscience” and hardly anyone has heard of him, either. He is also a journalist, like Pablo Gonzales, and is similarly doing time without any charges or judicial procedure. His name is Dejan Zlatanovic and he is rotting not in an EU but a Balkan dungeon. True, unlike Poland Serbia is not a part of EU and strictly speaking is not obligated to adhere to EU “values,” whatever they are. But as an aspiring EU member, it could at least try. Unfortunately, as the treatment of Zlatanovic shows, it is trying and succeeding remarkably well, except not by adhering to those values in beautiful theory but by copy-pasting the deplorable Polish practice.

In essence, what happened in Serbia is the following. On February 15, 2023, Serbian police arrested Dejan Zlatanovic, editor of internet news portal Srbin-Info, for a remark he made at a protest rally in Belgrade. Denouncing the possibility that government officials might sign an agreement to recognize the secession of Kosovo, and under the naïve impression that public expression of his views was constitutionally protected speech, Zlatanovic remarked: “Whoever signs is sure to be killed.” The reference was to an entirely reasonable apprehension shared by many Serbs, both those who attended the rally and those who did not. They suspect that high government officials are preparing to sign off on a European “peace” plan which requires Serbia to recognize the secession of NATO occupied Kosovo, considered the heart of Serbian identity, culture, and spirituality.

Both in the original and in translation, Zlatanovic’s remark was general and did not mention any political functionary by name. Furthermore, even on the strictest reading it could not even remotely be framed as a threat, imminent or implied. Rather, it contemplated the possible outcome of a hypothetical action. To anyone with a legal background, that much is clear. But for saying publicly only that and no more, as he was being arrested Zlatanovic was beaten to a pulp by the police, which cared not for the fact that he is a congenitally handicapped person.

The actual moments of Zlatanovic’s arrest can be heard in a mostly audio recording where he screams in anguish “Vucic’s thugs are kidnapping me!

Zlatanovic has been kept in detention ever since. Apparently being applied is the “values” manual from the Gonzales case. No formal charges have been filed. Zlatanovic’s open ended incarceration was decreed on the basis of police authorities’ gratuitous interpretation that his statement constituted a direct threat to assassinate the country’s President and to violently overthrow the government. So far, a month into the illegal detention, no court hearing to present charges and air the evidence has been held, so it is uncertain what Serbian judges, who presumably do have some legal training, might have to say about the police interpretation of the prisoner’s words.

But is anyone listening? Another quick check reveals that on the website of Amnesty International there is no record of Dejan Zlatanovic or comment about his case.

The operational similarities that connect these two cases of human rights abuse are striking and they do no honour to the governments involved, the “values” hypocritically invoked, or the international advocacy organizations pretending not to notice.

الرياض مستعدّة للانسحاب… والعين على موقف واشنطن: لا ملحق يمنيّاً لـ«إعلان بكين»

 الأربعاء 15 آذار 2023

لقمان عبد الله  

كانت المفاوضات بين الجانبَين اليمني والسعودي قد قطعت أشواطاً كبيرة بالفعل (أ ف ب)

حفّز إعلان السعودية وإيران استعادة علاقتهما الثُنائية، تساؤلات كثيرة حول تفاصيل الاتفاق وما إنْ كان يحتوي ملحقات سرّية، خصوصاً في شأن الملفّ اليمني الذي انعقدت جولات تفاوض عديدة بشأنه بين الرياض وصنعاء في مسقط. الأكيد أن الاتّفاق ليس مثار قلق لدى حلفاء طهران، بقدْر ما هو كذلك من وجهة نظر أصدقاء الرياض الذين بنوا برامجهم واستراتيجيّاتهم على تأجيج الصراع بين الجانبَين الإيراني والسعودي. بالنسبة إلى دول «محور المقاومة» وقِواه، فإن الخلاف الرئيس مع المملكة يتمثّل في التصاقها بالمشروع الأميركي، وتماهيها معه، وتمويلها تطبيقاته الهدّامة في كلّ من سوريا واليمن والعراق ولبنان؛ وعليه، فكلّما ابتعدت الرياض عن واشنطن في أيّ ساحة من ساحات المنطقة، كلّما سنحت الفرصة لتكون أقرب إلى خصوم الولايات المتحدة.

ومن هنا، لا خشية مطلقاً لدى هؤلاء من أيّ ملحق سرّي أو غير معلَن للاتفاق الإيراني – السعودي، خصوصاً في شأن اليمن. فطوال السنوات الماضية، طُرح الملفّ اليمني على الجانب الإيراني من قِبَل أطراف وازنة مِن مِثل روسيا والاتحاد الأوروبي، ودول خليجية كقطر وسلطنة عُمان، وأخرى آسيوية على رأسها باكستان، وأيضاً من قِبَل الأمم المتحدة، لكن الجواب الإيراني كان واحداً في كلّ المرّات والفترات، ومفاده أن مناقشة هذا الملفّ مكانها في صنعاء وليس في أيّ مكان آخر. كذلك، حاول الجانب السعودي طرْح المسألة اليمنية في مفاوضات بغداد مع الوفد الإيراني، ولكن من دون جدوى، فيما لم تفوّت الرياض وسيلة لتفادي التواصل المباشر مع حركة «أنصار الله»، إلى أن اقتنعت العام الماضي بعقم خيارها تجاهُل صنعاء، وانسداد كلّ الأبواب لتجاوزها، فلجأت مرغمة إلى التفاوض المباشر معها.

يُضاف إلى ما تَقدّم، أن المفاوضات بين الجانبَين اليمني والسعودي كانت قد قطعت أشواطاً كبيرة بالفعل، ليس في ما يختصّ بوقف إطلاق النار وتوسعة الهدنة فقط، بل وصولاً إلى مناقشة صيَغ للحلّ النهائي. وبحسب معلومات «الأخبار»، فإن من جملة ما طُرح في تلك المفاوضات، مسألة خروج القوّات الأجنبية من اليمن تمهيداً للبدء بحوار يمني – يمني. وفي هذا المجال، لم تمانع الرياض تلبية مطالب صنعاء، بل وأبدت استعدادها للانسحاب خصوصاً أن كلّ ما تملكه من قوّات على الأرض لا يتجاوز الـ200 جندي وضابط، بالإمكان إجلاؤهم خلال دقائق، لكنها أوضحت أنه ليس في مقدورها دفْع واشنطن أو لندن أو أبو ظبي إلى اتّخاذ قرار مماثل، وهو ما مثّل إحدى الإشكاليات التي اعترت طريق التفاوض. إذ اعتبرت «أنصار الله» أن السعودية التي قدّمت نفسها بوصفها قائدة لـ«التحالف» الذي يضمّ الأميركيين والبريطانيين والإماراتيين، مسؤولة عن إيجاد الحلّ المناسب لإقناعهم بالخروج، مصرّةً على ضرورة انسحاب جميع «القوّات الأجنبية» بلا استثناء. وبالنتيجة، كاد الاتّفاق بين صنعاء والرياض يُعلَن لولا التدخّل الأميركي الخفيّ لعرقلته، بدافعٍ من سعي الولايات المتّحدة إلى إبقاء الوضع الراهن ورقة مزدوجة بيدها، تُستخدَم من جهة من أجل ابتزاز وليّ العهد السعودي، محمد بن سلمان؛ ومن جهة أخرى في الاستمرار في خنْق اليمن وشلّ قدراته ومنْعه من استخدام موقعه الاستراتيجي، أخذاً في الاعتبار خصوصاً مصالح إسرائيل.

جرت أخيراً نقاشات شاركت فيها موسكو وطهران وصنعاء بهدف إيجاد مخرج للرياض من المستنقع اليمني

في الفترة الأخيرة، جرت نقاشات شاركت فيها موسكو وطهران وصنعاء وعواصم أخرى، في محاولة لإيجاد مخرج للرياض من المستنقع اليمني، يحافظ في الوقت نفسه على المطالب اليمنية الأساسية. أريدَت، من خلال ذلك، خصوصاً من جانب روسيا، محاولة تكبير المسافة الفاصلة بين السعودية والولايات المتحدة، على رغم إدراك الجميع أن الخلاف متركّز حالياً مع الحزب «الديموقراطي»، فيما لا تزال علاقة المملكة بالدولة العميقة الأميركية قائمة، وفق ما يؤشّر إليه مثلاً وجود خمس مجموعات عمل أميركية في الرياض لتعزيز التعاون الأمني والعسكري والسياسي بين الجانبَين. لكن الإيرانيين والروس، وحتى الصينيين، يُجمعون على ضرورة السعي إلى الابتعاد بالسعودية عن أن تكون «أداة» بيد الولايات المتحدة في النزاعات الإقليمية، وهو ما يصبّ في خانته اتّفاق عودة العلاقات الديبلوماسية بين طهران والرياض، برعاية صينية.

على أن الأطراف كافّة، بمَن فيهم الأميركي، يدركون أن حجر الرحى في ما يتّصل باليمن قائم في صنعاء. صحيح أن «أنصار الله» لا تُنكر تلقّيها مساعدات عسكرية من طهران، لكنها تؤكّد أن هذه المساعدة ليست مشروطة، وأنها مستعدّة لتلقّي أيّ معونة من الدول الصديقة الراغبة في ذلك، على أساس احترام السيادة الوطنية للبلاد، فيما تتعاطى إيران، من جانبها، بواقعية سياسية مع حلفائها، مدرِكةً ضرورة مراعاة خصوصيّاتهم الوطنية. وفي هذا المجال، أكد السفير اليمني في طهران، إبراهيم الديلمي، أن «السعودية طلبت من إيران في الجلسات السرّية في بغداد ومسقط خلال الأعوام الماضية، الاتّفاق أوّلاً على الملفّ اليمني، فكان ردّ الإيرانيين صريحاً وواضحاً بأن القرار في ما خصّ هذا الملفّ موجود في صنعاء وليس في طهران». كما اقترح الجانب الإيراني على السعوديين وقْف العدوان ورفْع الحصار، وأبدى استعداده، بالاتّفاق مع اليمنيين، للعبِ دور الميسّر من خلال استضافة مفاوضات بين المملكة و«أنصار الله»، منبّهاً إلى أن إيران ليست وسيطاً في هذا النزاع، بل هي دائماً ما أعلنت انحيازها إلى جانبه اليمني. ومن هنا، انحصر النقاش في مسألة استعادة العلاقات الديبلوماسية، علماً أن إيران كانت تخضع حينها لعقوبات أميركية قصوى، مترافقة مع تهديد بشنّ حرب عليها، فيما كان اقتصادها يعاني أزمة كبرى. وإذا كانت تلك هي حالها في ذروة الحصار، فما الذي سيوجب عليها اليوم، بينما تعاظمت قدراتها العسكرية، وتعزَّز حضورها السياسي، وتَحسّن وضعها الاقتصادي، تقديم تنازلات سواءً ربطاً بملفّاتها الداخلية، أو الملفّات الإقليمية ذات الصلة بها؟

من ملف : اتفاق بكين: لا «ملحق» يمنياً

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

Syrian sanctions relief: An ‘American trick’

March 14 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

The temporary lifting of Washington’s sanctions on earthquake-stricken and war-torn Syria is ‘misleading’ at best, and stands in the way of relief efforts.

By The Cradle’s Syria Correspondent

Four days after the devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkiye and northern Syria on 6 February, the US announced it would temporarily ease its Syrian sanctions in an effort to speed up aid deliveries to the country.

Specifically, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued Syria General License (GL) 23, which allows a 180-day Syrian sanctions exemption for “all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts.” The EU followed suit later by also freezing some of its sanctions on Damascus.

But do these measures really represent a comprehensive freeze on sanctions against Syria? And are these partial suspensions proportional to the scale of the disaster that leveled the Syrian north?

A more detailed examination of these US “sanction exemptions” reveals that this humanitarian gesture was little more than a public relations stunt to placate growing Arab and Global South displeasure with Washington’s efforts to starve out Syria – sentiments that spiked quite notably after the earthquake.

The US sanctions suspension, for all practical purposes, is limited to the sending of emergency funds from “acceptable” sources. Washington, after all, still controls the process entirely – sanctions can be imposed on remittance senders at any time.

Furthermore, US sanction exemptions have not reduced the reluctance of foreign institutions and individuals to participate in Syria’s economy – even in sectors that are not explicitly targeted by the US and EU. The UN calls this unfortunate byproduct of western sanctions regimes “excessive compliance with sanctions,” because of the fear of running afoul of western financial regulators.

Suffocating sanctions

Damascus has been targeted by US sanctions since 1979 for siding with Tehran in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988). With the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011, US President Barack Obama expanded previously imposed sanctions under the Syria Accountability Act (2004) as part of a western effort to create political, economic, and military pressures on the Syrian government.

These new sanctions covered practically all sectors, imposing financial restrictions on individuals, entities, facilities, institutions, ministries, the medical sector, and state banks. They were pervasive and punished all Syrians: banning passenger flights, restricting oil exports (the US, through its Kurdish proxy, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), controls the oil fields in northeastern Syria), preventing the export or re-export of US goods to Syria, preventing the export of Syrian products overseas, freezing Syrian assets abroad, and severing diplomatic relations with Damascus.

This sanctions overload reached a climax with the ominous Caesar Act (2019) and Captagon Act (2022). The former granted Washington the power to impose sanctions against any individual or entity, regardless of their nationality, who engages with Syria in infrastructure and energy projects, provides financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian government, or provides the Syrian military forces with goods or services.

In 2022, the US Congress passed the Captagon Act, which targeted Syria’s pharmaceutical industry, one of the country’s most successful commercial sectors, which provides more than 90 percent of Syria’s medicine needs. This US domestic legislation grants itself the authority to monitor Syrian borders, and seeks to “legitimize” its military forces’ illegal presence in Syria.

License to chill

On 10 February, the administration of President Joe Biden issued Syria General License (GL) 23, which temporarily eases sanctions on Syria and allows for the additional flow of much needed humanitarian aid into the country. However, the statement issued alongside the decision indicates that this “exemption” has many limitations.

While removing sanctions entirely requires US congressional approval, suspending the ban on certain financial transactions with Syria for a short duration is the prerogative of the American president, and is often used as leverage to gain political concessions from US-sanctioned states.

An example of this is the 2015 nuclear negotiations with Tehran, when Obama issued licenses to freeze some US sanctions on Iran before his successor, Donald Trump, withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reactivated the sanctions.

press release issued by OFAC stated that GL 23 “provides the broad authorization necessary to support immediate disaster relief efforts in Syria.” It added that “U.S. and intermediary financial institutions should have what they need in GL23 to immediately process all earthquake relief transactions.”

The GL 23 “authorized all transactions related to earthquake relief efforts in Syria that would be otherwise prohibited by the Syrian Sanctions Regulations (SySR).” Importantly, it also states that “US financial institutions and US registered money transmitters may rely on the originator of a funds transfer with regard to compliance with this general license, provided that the financial institution does not know or have reason to know that the funds transfer is not in compliance with this general license.”

This language ensures that Washington retains the authority to investigate any transfers and punish money senders at any later date, on charges that the transfers are not related to relief efforts.

Another caveat, as per OFAC’s press release: “The Department of the Treasury will continue to monitor the situation in Syria and engage with key humanitarian and disaster assistance stakeholders, including NGOs, IOs, and key partners and allies.”

This essentially excludes dealings with Syrian government institutions, and prevents money transfers directly to state entities, including the Central Bank of Syria. Keep in mind that the distribution of all international humanitarian aid is directed via the Syrian government, as per the regulations and laws of the state.

This US “sanctions relief” caveat elicited a high-pitched response from the Syrian Foreign Ministry, in which it described Washington’s offering as “misleading, and aims to give a false humanitarian impression.”

Last May, the US lifted sanctions on foreign investments in areas outside of Syrian government control. The Treasury Department issued an authorization that now allows for “activities” in 12 different economic sectors in parts of northeast and northwest Syria without fear of US sanctions. This move was aimed at stimulating economic growth in areas controlled by US-backed Kurdish militias and Turkish-backed militants.

Hindering relief efforts

Washington’s sanctions have had direct consequences on international relief efforts following the earthquake. The United Nations and relief organizations were delayed in providing urgent life-or-death assistance to Syria, which the UN blamed on road and infrastructure obstacles and a “lack of fuel” – an implicit reference to the western sanctions that have deprived the country of its critical oil wealth.

Syria’s entire health sector has suffered directly from US sanctions because of power outages and the inability to purchase vital medical equipment needed to treat patients. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 20 medical facilities were damaged by the earthquake and need rehabilitation, but US sanctions prevent the restoration of these facilities, either through a direct ban or because foreign medical companies fear sanctions repercussions for dealing with the Syrian Ministry of Health.

Sanctions have doubled the suffering of Syrian earthquake survivors in terms of securing urgent relief materials and rehabilitating their damaged housing units. As such, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for the lifting of sanctions that impede relief efforts.

“This is a moment in which everybody has to make very clear that no sanctions of any kind interfere with relief to the population of Syria in the present moment,” he said.

A Syrian relief source, who asked not to be named, informs The Cradle that the response of international organizations to the Syrian disaster still remains below standard due to poor funding and the difficulty of sending relief and medical materials because of the sanctions.

He explains that the impact of the US exemption license is almost negligible, as “the disaster will have a very long term impact. In normal circumstances, we need years of work, let alone the [additional burden of] sanctions.”

US ignores global calls to lift sanctions

In her preliminary report after a 12-day visit to Syria in November 2022, UN Special Rapporteur on Unilateral Coercive Measures and Human Rights Alina Dohan presented detailed information about the catastrophic effects of unilateral sanctions on Syrian citizens and the decline in their living standards.

Douhan called for the western sanctions imposed on Syria to be lifted immediately and stressed that they are illegal under international law.

The goal of US sanctions is to continue the wholesale destruction of a regional adversary that it wasn’t able to achieve during a decade-long, brutal war. Millions of Syrians were killed, injured, and displaced in a conflict funded and armed by external parties.

The February earthquakes just exacerbated the suffering that Syrians have endured for years, with official Syrian statistics claiming around half a million people affected, in addition to the damage of tens of thousands of housing units.

In a preliminary report, the World Bank estimates the direct damages of the earthquake in Syria at $5.1 billion. The destruction has affected four of Syria’s 14 governorates, which are home to approximately 10 million of the country’s population. These include Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia, which are under the control of the Syrian government, and Idlib, which is under the control of Al-Qaeda-affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Aleppo, with a population of 4.2 million people, was the most affected ($2.3 billion), followed by Idlib ($1.9 billion) and Latakia ($549 million).

Despite exemptions for humanitarian aid, the impact of US sanctions on Syria has been significant, hindering the ability of humanitarian organizations to operate effectively in the country. The negative impact of these sanctions undermines any claims by Washington to support the Syrian people, especially in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

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

Sergey Glazyev: ‘The road to financial multipolarity will be long and rocky’

In an exclusive interview with The Cradle, Russia’s top macroeconomics strategist criticizes Moscow’s slow pace of financial reform and warns there will be no new global currency without Beijing.

March 13 2023

Photo Credit: The Cradle

By Pepe Escobar

The headquarters of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) in Moscow, linked to the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is arguably one of the most crucial nodes of the emerging multipolar world.

That’s where I was received by Minister of Integration and Macroeconomics Sergey Glazyev – who was previously interviewed in detail by The Cradle –  for an exclusive, expanded discussion on the geoeconomics of multipolarity.

Glazyev was joined by his top economic advisor Dmitry Mityaev, who is also the secretary of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s (EEC) science and technology council. The EAEU and EEC are formed by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Armenia. The group is currently engaged in establishing a series of free trade agreements with nations from West Asia to Southeast Asia.

Our conversation was unscripted, free flowing and straight to the point. I had initially proposed some talking points revolving around discussions between the EAEU and China on designing a new gold/commodities-based currency bypassing the US dollar, and how it would be realistically possible to have the EAEU, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and BRICS+ to adopt the same currency design.

Glazyev and Mityaev were completely frank and also asked questions on the Global South. As much as extremely sensitive political issues should remain off the record, what they said about the road towards multipolarity was quite sobering – in fact realpolitik-based.

Glazyev stressed that the EEC cannot ask for member states to adopt specific economic policies. There are indeed serious proposals on the design of a new currency, but the ultimate decision rests on the leaders of the five permanent members. That implies political will – ultimately to be engineered by Russia, which is responsible for over 80 percent of EAEU trade.

It’s quite possible that a renewed impetus may come after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow on March 21, where he will hold in-depth strategic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On the war in Ukraine, Glazyev stressed that as it stands, China is profiting handsomely, as its economy has not been sanctioned – at least not yet – by US/EU and Beijing is buying Russian oil and gas at heavily discounted prices. The funds Russians are losing in terms of selling energy to the EU will have to be compensated by the proposed Power of Siberia II pipeline that will run from Russia to China, via Mongolia – but that will take a few more years.

Glazyev sketched the possibility of a similar debate on a new currency taking place inside the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) – yet the obstacles could be even stronger. Once again, that will depend on political will, in this case by Russia-China: a joint decision by Xi and Putin, with crucial input by India – and as Iran becomes a full member, also energy-rich Tehran.

What is realistic so far is increasing bilateral trade in their own currencies, as in the Russia-China, Russia-India, Iran-India, Russia-Iran, and China-Iran cases.

Essentially, Glazyev does not see heavily sanctioned Russia taking a leadership role in setting up a new global financial system. That may fall to China’s Global Security Initiative. The division into two blocs seems inevitable: the dollarized zone – with its inbuilt eurozone – in contrast with the Global South majority with a new financial system and new trading currency for international trade. Domestically, individual nations will keep doing business in their own national currencies.

The road to ‘de-offshorization’

Glazyev has always been a fierce critic of the Russian Central Bank, and he did voice his misgivings – echoing his book The Last World War. He never ceases to stress that the American rationale is to damage the Russian economy on every front, while the motives of the Russian Central Bank usually raise “serious questions.”

He said that quite a few detailed proposals to reorient the Central Bank have been sent to Putin, but there has been no follow-up. He also evoked the extremely delicate theme of corruption involving key oligarchs who, for inscrutable reasons, have not been sidelined by the Kremlin.

Glazyev had warned for years that it was imperative for Moscow to sell out foreign exchange assets placed in the US, Britain, France, Germany, and others which later ended up unleashing sanctions against Russia.

These assets should have been replaced by investments in gold and other precious metals; stocks of highly liquid commodity values; in securities of the EAEU, SCO, and BRICS member states; and in the capital of international organizations with Russian participation, such as the Eurasian Development Bank, the CIS Interstate Bank, and the BRICS Development Bank.

It seems that the Kremlin at least is now fully aware of the importance of expanding infrastructure for supporting Russian exports. That includes creating international exchange trading marketplaces for trade in Russian primary goods within Russian jurisdiction, and in rubles; and creating international sales and service networks for Russian goods with high added value.

For Russia, says Glazyev, the key challenge ahead in monetary policy is to modernize credit. And to prevent negative impact by foreign financial sources, the key is domestic monetization –  “including expansion of long and medium-term refinancing of commercial banks against obligations of manufacturing enterprises and authorized government bodies. It is also advisable to consistently replace foreign borrowings of state- controlled banks and corporations with domestic sources of credit.”

So the imperative way to Russia, now in effect, is “de-offshorization.” Which essentially means getting rid of a “super-critical dependence of its reproduction contours on Anglo-Saxon legal and financial institutions,” something that entails “systematic losses of the Russian financial system merely on the difference in profitability between the borrowed and the placed capital.”

What Glazyev repeatedly emphasized is that as long as there’s no reform of the Russian Central Bank, any serious discussion about a new Global South-adopted currency faces insurmountable odds. The Chinese, heavily interlinked with the global financial system, may start having new ideas now that Xi Jinping, on the record, and unprecedentedly, has defined the US-provoked Hybrid War against China for what it is, and has named names: it’s an American operation.

What seems to be crystal clear is that the path toward a new financial system designed essentially by Russia-China, and adopted by vast swathes of the Global South, will remain long, rocky, and extremely challenging. The discussions inside the EAEU and with the Chinese may extrapolate to the SCO and even towards BRICS+. But all will depend on political will and political capital jointly deployed by the Russia-China strategic partnership.

That’s why Xi’s visit to Moscow next week is so crucial. The leadership of both Moscow and Beijing, in sync, now seems to be fully aware of the two-front Hybrid War deployed by Washington.

This means their peer competitor strategic partnership – the ultimate anathema for the US-led Empire – can only prosper if they jointly deploy a complete set of measures: from instances of soft power to deepening trade and commerce in their own currencies, a basket of currencies, and a new reserve currency that is not hostage to the Bretton Woods system legitimizing western finance capitalism.

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

Macron’s Problem Is That He’s Losing Africa but Still Wants to Be a Player

March 9, 2023

Martin Jay is an award-winning British journalist based in Morocco where he is a correspondent for The Daily Mail (UK) who previously reported on the Arab Spring there for CNN, as well as Euronews. From 2012 to 2019 he was based in Beirut where he worked for a number of international media titles including BBC, Al Jazeera, RT, DW, as well as reporting on a freelance basis for the UK’s Daily Mail, The Sunday Times plus TRT World. His career has led him to work in almost 50 countries in Africa, The Middle East and Europe for a host of major media titles. He has lived and worked in Morocco, Belgium, Kenya and Lebanon.

Martin Jay

Viewing Africa with double standards is part of why Africans are breaking their ties with Europe, Martin Jay writes.

The paternalism isn’t uniquely France’s. It’s a malaise of western elites and viewing Africa with double standards is part of why Africans are breaking their ties with Europe.

The row in front of the cameras was thrilling as it was unprecedented. The president of Congo made the point in front of the journalists that France’s foreign minister’s comments about the president’s election being some kind of compromise of democracy was unacceptable as France itself is guilty of election irregularities. But they are not reported with the same zealous paternalism and are not even presented the same way as they are in reality, but distorted by media. Macron responded that the foreign minister’s comments were distorted and that the French media doesn’t represent France, a point which Felix Tshisekedi did not accept at all, which raised a round of applause from the journalists present in Kinshasa.

It was Macron’s last day of his Africa tour and one which he will remember as being a PR disaster. The point of the tour was to shore up support from old allies on the continent but, in this context, it could hardly be a success when you look at the YouTube footage of the DRC press conference.

In so many ways, the speech of Tshisekedi was so pertinent though. It felt like he was trying to avert another catastrophe to prevent his own country going down the same road as Mali, Burkina Faso and probably Chad soon. France is losing its former colonies in Africa faster than Macron can say “FrancAfrique” and Tshisekedi is clearly conscious of this historic time for France.

“Look at us differently by respecting us, by considering us as true partners and not always with a paternalistic look with the idea of always knowing what is necessary for us” Tshisekedi said, wagging his finger at Macron.

“Francafrique no longer exists. We must establish a policy of equals.”

He urged for an equitable relationship between the two nations and pushed France to impose sanctions on Rwanda for the ongoing violent conflict in the country’s Goma area.

But what happened next was both shocking and ominous in how Macron reacted to the problem of militias in Rwanda controlling parts of the Congo’s border region and sums up so perfectly what is wrong with France’s delusional views about itself and even its contemporary history in Africa.

Macron denies all responsibility and waves the finger.

“Since 1994, and it is not France’s fault, I’m sorry to say it in such blunt terms, you have not been able to restore the sovereignty, neither military, nor security, nor administrative, of your country. This is also a reality. We must not look for culprits outside this affair,” said the French President.

The DRC government has accused Rwanda of backing the militia group M23, which re-emerged from dormancy in late 2021, subsequently occupying swathes of territory in North Kivu.

If only Macron’s statement was even half true, perhaps it could garner a shred of ephemeral credibility at the press conference. In fact, it was a bare-faced lie and Macron knew perfectly what he was saying and how he was papering over a genocide in Rwanda which is entirely the fault of France and the government of Mitternand who ordained his son to run an information terror campaign called “Network Zero” which installed so much fear in uneducated Hutus that they took the responsibility of butchering the Tutsis themselves. France set it up, ran it and then washed its hands of it when the then president of Rwanda, an Elysee puppet and a Hutu moderate, was murdered when his plane was shot down in April 1994 on its way back from a peace conference which agreed to re-integrate Tutsis back into Rwanda, an event which sparked the Rwandan genocide itself.

For Macron, he and France had nothing to do with the problems or Rwanda and its militias is like saying that Adolf Hitler was only a bystander in the second world war. Perhaps it is this kind of bare-faced lying which African elites are so tired of when they deal with French leaders?

It is preposterous for Macron to attempt to play such a role at a press conference. This extraordinary French shoulder shrug of abandonment of responsibility, combined with the outdated moral tutelage which most French leaders revel in when dealing with African leaders is appalling on so many levels.

The Rwanda question and who bears responsibility is an important one though as the DRC president firmly points the finger at Macron. Despite Macron himself even admitting that the days of Francafrique being over, few people in Africa itself believe this is a genuine statement and are convinced that France still has strategic interests in the Rwandan regime, despite it being English-speaking and created from a geopolitical shift of a CIA-backed coup in 1994 where the Elysee lost a satellite. Rwanda 1994 was actually the beginning of the end for France’s big role in the continent and yet Macron is still trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the Congolese when he pulls such a shameful stunt as the one at the press conference.

The US scapegoat: Europe dragged into yet another conflict

27 Feb, 2023

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Mohammad Al-Jaber 

The United States, like the great ally that it is, has dragged Europe into another conflict, this time right at home, and bleeding it dry economically and politically under the pretext of fighting Russia.

The US scapegoat: Europe dragged into yet another conflict

    It is a tale as old as time; ever since their declared allyship in the wake of World War II and the global status quo amid the Cold War, the United States and Europe – at least Western Europe – have been as close as allies can be. However, the United States is quite the abusive partner, forcing Europe to bear the brunt of any conflict it gets into as it emerges unscathed from its far-away lands across the Atlantic Ocean, and the Ukraine war serves as another prime example of how the US treats its allies.

    Months before the Ukraine war, the United States and its European allies began bolstering their eastern flank through NATO member states. Little did Europe know what it was diving headfirst into: years of brewing tensions between Russia and the United States over Ukraine and its treatment of the people of the Donbass, as well as its usage as a political tool in the face of Moscow, exploded, and Europe was covered in ash while Washington was watching everything unfold from the comfort of its distant lands.

    The situation hit the fan; Russia was now knee-deep in Ukraine and the United States started using everything in its power, including Europe, to curb Moscow and bolster Kiev’s standing. Washington had many tools at hand, most notably sanctions on Russia and arms shipments to Ukraine, both of which would be quite costly for Europe, especially due to how inconvenient the time was, given that the world was just now going back into full throttle after the pandemic brought the entire global economy into a grinding halt. 

    The West, somehow underestimating the repercussions of an economy as tremendous as Russia’s being thrown out of the global market, sanctioned the country in a bid to “punish” it for going against their expansionist aspirations, and the sanctions in question were not your run-of-the-mill sanctions because we are not talking about your run-of-the-mill economy here. The sanctions at hand affected everything from natural gas to gold – key pillars in any economy aspiring not to crash – which had massive reverberations throughout the West, all the way from Germany to the United States. 

    Gas prices reached all-time highs, and the global economy was bracing for disaster as inflation was affecting some of its biggest players. Economic powerhouses such as Germany, France, and the United States were being driven up walls due to the economic woes they were experiencing, all of which they were attributing to Russia itself rather than admitting to having committed numerous mistakes when it came to the measures they took against Russia.

    US economy holding up better

    A swift study of inflation rates and energy prices would be more than sufficient to exhibit the suffering inflicted on the West in the wake of war:

    According to Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistical office, inflation in the EU in November 2022 was 11.1%, a stark year-on-year increase from November 2021’s 5.2% inflation rate. The Eurozone, meanwhile, was also suffering, just a little less. In November 2022, the inflation rate in the Eurozone was 10.1%, a less significant year-on-year increase from November 2021’s 4.9%. 

    Energy prices, on the other hand, are something else entirely. What had been 82.81 euros per megawatt-hour in terms of monthly electricity wholesale prices months before the war in August 2021 in Germany rose to a whopping 469.35 euros per megawatt-hour, an increase of 466.7%, a year later in August of 2022, six months after the start of the Ukraine war and about three months after the West to decided to try and take Russia entirely out of the global energy market.

    Other countries were not better off. In fact, some were dealt even worse hands, as energy prices in Italy soared 382.4% to 543 euros per megawatt-hour, in Hungary, they rose 354.4% to 495.65 euros per megawatt-hour, and in Switzerland, they rose 490.5% to 488.14 euros per megawatt-hour. France was by far the worst off, with a striking increase of 536.9% to 492.99 euros per megawatt-hour.

    At the same time, energy prices in the US averaged $167 per megawatt-hour in August 2022, a very mild year-on-year increase from August 2021’s $144 per megawatt-hour, showing that the energy crises barely affected the United States as it was not at all reliant on Russian gas.

    Historic lows

    Of course, the governments of the EU states had to heavily subsidize electricity as their citizens would not be able to pay off their bills if they were as high as they were driven up due to the sanctions on Russia, which led the governments in question to print more money in order to cover all the new, extra costs they had, plunging the Eurozone into record-high inflation, the likes of which had not been seen in decades. 

    The euro had not gone down below a dollar per since the early 2000s when it hit the low of $0.98 in January 2000, a year-on-year depreciation of 15% against the USD. The euro went through more woes, dropping to as low as $0.83 before bouncing back above the threshold three years later. What must be understood is that the decline of the euro in 2000 was the consequence of a free market reigning in the West, with many investors selling the euros they were holding in anticipation of an appreciation in the Eurozone’s currency after it had been tied with the greenback for some time at that point, with impatience prevailing, which led the euro to lose value. Securities had dominated in the euro, but as it had been at near-parity with the USD, investors felt forced to sell as the US government was making various moves that made the US economy more attractive for investors, such as the US Treasury’s 30-year bond posting strong gains and the US government reporting that orders for durable goods sharply increased before the new years, prompting experts to speculate incoming interest rate hikes. 

    Many things just happened to go right for the USD at the same time, making the greenback tremendous gains and putting it above the euro until the dollar fell in 2003 and made for one of the causes of the 2000s energy crisis. All in all, the euro was holding strong against the USD for nearly two decades before it made a sharp drop throughout 2022 that culminated in the Eurozone’s currency briefly dipping below parity against the USD in August amid fears of a worse energy crisis. 

    The euro was doing tremendously for decades, but European countries being forced to subsidies energy for their citizens and businesses so as not to leave their economies in shambles led the USD to rise above the euro due to the inflation the money-printing machines caused. The euro reached a low of $0.97 in September 2022 after having been at $1.17 a year earlier. It managed to slightly recover since, selling at $1.10 in early February, nearing pre-war levels, but the latest data shows that the euro is now on a downturn even against a struggling USD that is being bolstered by austerity measures from the Federal Reserve.

    Struggling across the Atlantic, still doing better

    In light of all the suffering in Europe, the United States was doing quite badly for itself. With energy prices reaching all-time highs and inflation soaring uncontrollably, Washington was between a rock and a hard place.

    However, it wanted to ensure that Europe was just in a bad a position and wanted to ensure its own prosperity at the expense of the Europeans’, selling them energy with stark hikes that were unbearable, which largely affected the euro and gave further impetus to the USD. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Mair even went as far as taking shots at Washington, saying it should not be allowed to dominate the global energy market as the EU suffers the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine, stressing that it was unacceptable to let the US export LNG at prices four times higher than those paid by companies in the country.

    According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measurement, inflation in the United States increased by 7.7% in a year until October of 2022, rising at its slowest rate in nine months after topping a forty-year high of 9.1% in a year until June of 2022. The inflation rates, though better than the EU’s, were mitigated by the Federal Reserve raising interest rates consecutive times, increasing the rate by 4.25% between March and December of last year.

    Meanwhile, as the US economy showed growth in Q4 of 2022, increasing by 2.9%, the Eurozone was left in the dust with a mere 0.1% in growth after experts were expecting a recession for one of the most significant economic players in the international arena. At the same time, the European Union’s economy was stagnant, remaining stable in Q4 of 2022.

    Despite the lack of a recession in the Eurozone as a whole, the German economy contracted by 0.2% in the last quarter of 2022, prompting experts to believe that the economic powerhouse was heading into a recession. 

    Italy, the EU’s third-largest economy, also experienced negative growth, as its GDP contracted by 0.1% in Q4 of 2022. Both Germany and Italy were among the hardest hit due to their heavy reliance on Russian gas, the stream of which was cut off from Europe in light of the Ukraine war.

    The latest signs are showing that the Eurozone is heading for a recession in Q1 or Q2 of 2023, with experts saying that the European Central Bank’s policy of economic tightening through various austerity measures will cause the region’s economy to struggle as households themselves struggle with the cost of living crisis and sluggish demand.

    Buddy-buddy with the wrong guy

    One key aspect of the crisis that the EU and the Eurozone have been hit by is that they were caused by a conflict that spurred out between Russia and the United States that Washington sought to turn into a proxy war by using its allies in Europe against Moscow rather than embroiling itself in any direct conflict.

    The European Union is no stranger to getting dragged into conflict by the United States, but the extent to which Washington is alienated from the ongoing war is quite stark in comparison to previous wars.

    As discussed previously in “Analysis of Euro-paralysis: Uncle Sam’s last Afghan stand” while shedding light on the United States dragging Europe into the Afghanistan war, when Washington dragged NATO into a multi-generational war in Afghanistan, the organization’s first commitment outside European territories, the United States is not the best ally one could have by their side.

    In the end, the European hand was forced into Afghanistan, and the burden was basically split in half, with Europe reaping fewer benefits, the US was in control of a geopolitically significant country, and it was intimidating its regional foes, namely Russia, China, and Iran.

    Europe has been the chief bearer of consequences whenever there was a US-related flop anywhere in the Eastern hemisphere, such as the Syrian refugee crisis that took place in the wake of the war on Syria. Alongside many other crises, this is a fine testament to Washington’s strategy toward Europe.

    All that Europe gained from Afghanistan was more refugees, more dead soldiers, and wasted taxpayer money. The UK and Germany, the second-largest troop contributors, spent an estimated $30 billion and $19 billion, respectively, throughout 20 years of war in Afghanistan.

    The situation today is not too different from how it was back during and after the Afghan war, as the United States is now emerging with loads of profits made from the war after having Europe spend hundreds of millions on Ukraine, with the Kiel Institute for the World Economy reporting that: “The United States, for example, spent more than 3 times as much per year compared to their expenses in the Afghanistan war after 2001 (measured as a percent of GDP). Germany committed more than 3 times as much to Allies in the Gulf War of 1990/91 compared to what it has committed to Ukraine (again measured in percent of GDP).”

    According to the institute, “The Americans have earmarked a total of just over 73.1 billion euros for Ukraine support. For the EU, the comparable figure is 54.9 billion euros.”

    The head of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce said the Ukraine war will have cost the German economy around 160 billion euros ($171 billion), or some 4% of its gross domestic output, in lost value creation by the end of the year.

    ‘Give’ only to take

    Though the United States gave more aid to Ukraine, around $20 billion more, Europe is still doing worse than the US. The US economy is doing far better than expected, especially as key companies, especially energy companies, and firms within the military-industrial complex, are making bank off the suffering of Europeans and Ukrainians alike.

    The share price of Lockheed Martin was up 37% by the end of 2022 as the production of Javelin anti-tank missiles by the company increased from 2,100 to about 4,000 a year. The arms company signed a $7.8 billion contract on the modification of the F-35 aircraft and $431 million to deliver new HIMARS and “support services for the US Army and its foreign allies.”

    Meanwhile, in November last year, the US awarded Raytheon a $1.2 billion contract for the supply of six National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS) to Ukraine. Last year, it was reported that Washington was intending to send 6,500 Javelin anti-tank missile systems made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin to Ukraine. Other contractors, such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman, are among other profiteers from the war.

    The EU is not making similar profits in light of all the losses it is dealing with. Even when it comes to post-war reconstruction efforts. “The Ministry of Economy of Ukraine and BlackRock, the world’s largest investment company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing on a framework for consultative assistance in developing a special platform to attract private capital for the recovery and support of Ukraine’s economy,” the Ukrainian government announced in November, meaning the US is making profits when it comes to the destruction of Ukraine and is making profits when it comes to its reconstruction. 

    One conclusion can be drawn from the whole debacle surrounding Ukraine: The United States is using the situation to subvert Europe and leave its economy in shambles, prompting many to talk about the de-industrialization of the European Union, with numerous economic sectors, such as glass, chemicals, metals, fertilizer, pulp and paper, ceramics, and cement suffering in light of the ongoing crisis.

    Additionally, with gas prices four times that of the US and six times higher than they were before, several industries are considering the option of relocating abroad for cheaper energy prices, meaning that at the end of the day, many European powerhouses might be left with nothing, or just crumbs, if this situation is upheld.

    Europe is before a grim reality once again because of the United States, with its economy heading toward the ghastly unknown and its industry dealing with the repercussions of terrible policy-making. Europe, once a US ally, might become a vassal for Washington as it grows more dependent on a country that only seeks to exploit it to bolster its standing in the international arena.

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    سنة على حرب أوكرانيا فمن فرض إرادته؟

    السبت 25 شباط 2023

    التعليق السياسي

    عندما يحتفل الغرب بمرور سنة على حرب أوكرانيا تحت عنوان أن أوكرانيا صمدت وأن روسيا تعاني العزلة، وأن السنة الثانية للحرب هي سنة التراجعات الروسية العسكرية والسياسية والاقتصادية، فهل علينا أن نصدّق؟

    عندما بدأت روسيا ما وصفته العملية العسكرية الخاصة، وضعت حربها بين سقفين، الأول أن يقابل الأوروبيون الموقف الروسيّ بعقلانية، فلا ينضمّون إلى منطق العقوبات العدائية التي تنادي بها أميركا وتستدرجهم إلى ساحتها لتجعلهم رهائن للسياسات الأميركية في مجال الطاقة، وبالتالي تحولهم الى دول هشة ضعيفة عاجزة عن الاستقلال. وفي هذه الحالة تكتفي روسيا بالسقف الأوكراني للحرب، أي ترتيب مريح لذوي الأصول الروسية في أوكرانيا الجديدة، ضمن صيغة اتحادية لعدة دول مستقلة، يجمعها الحياد. وسقف آخر يرتبط باستجابة أوروبا لنداء العداء لروسيا الذي تقوده واشنطن. وفي هذه الحالة تتحوّل الحرب الى سقف عنوانه إعادة صياغة العلاقات الدولية على المسرح الأوروبيّ بصورة خاصة.

    في الحالة الأولى كانت حلقة الهيمنة الأميركية ستضعف في أوروبا وتتحوّل أوروبا الى شريك أمني اقتصادي لروسيا في بناء نظام عالمي متعدّد الأقطاب تحفظ فيه أوروبا مقعدها المستقل، أما في الحالة الثانية فتسقط العناوين الأوكرانية المباشرة للحرب وتحلّ مكانها العناوين الدولية، وتتحول أوكرانيا الى ساحة منازلة مع حلف الناتو، كما هو الحال، وفي حرب استنزاف تتقن روسيا أصولها تزيد أهمية القدرة على تلبية الميدان بالقدرات البشرية والعتاد والسلاح والذخائر على أهمية الجغرافيا، وعندما سلكت الأمور هذا الاتجاه أظهرت روسيا براعة فائقة في تحمّل التخلي المؤقت عن الجغرافيا لتحقيق أهداف حرب الاستنزاف، وأوصلت الناتو إلى استنزاف مخزونات ذخائره، وأوكرانيا إلى استنزاف مقدراتها البشرية، واحتوت بنجاح العقوبات الغربية المالية ونجحت بحماية الروبل من الضغوط المفترضة بذكاء رغم مصادرة مئات مليارات الدولارات من أصولها.

    الآن تدخل الحرب مرحلة جديدة لا ينفع فيها التغني الغربي بتصويت الأمم المتحدة على مبدأ الانسحاب الروسي من أوكرانيا، وهو مبدأ يبدو طبيعياً أن تؤيده غالبية دولية، هي ليست متوافرة للعقوبات المفروضة على روسيا وهي الأهم، حيث يتمرد أقرب حلفاء أميركا عليها في الاستجابة لنداء العقوبات، كحال تركيا التي تمسك بمداخل البحر الأسود، والسعودية التي تمسك بعصب سوق الطاقة. والواضح أن المرحلة الجديدة التي يدخلها العالم ليست مرحلة عزلة روسيا، بل مرحلة فقدان اميركا لسطوة قبضتها على أقرب الحلفاء.

    في الميدان سيكشف الربيع ومن بعده الصيف حجم التحولات التي تتراكم لصالح روسيا في الجغرافيا، ومحدودية القدرة الغربية على مجاراة الروس في تأمين المزيد من السلاح الفعال وسلاسل توريد الذخائر، ويبدأ الاقتصاد الروسي بدورته الجديدة التي أسست لها إجراءات احتواء العقوبات، والتي يتوقع الخبراء أن تتيح نمواً في ظل الحرب يتجاوز الـ 5% سنوياً.

    نجحت روسيا بفتح الطريق لعالم جديد يتشكل.

    مقالات متعلقة

    الوحدة المصرية السورية في ذكراها.. أعداء الوحدة يتجدّدون والحاجة لها تتضاعف

    2023 25 شباط

    أثارت استراتيجية القوس المصري – السوري أحقاد ومخاوف الاستعمار البريطاني

    موفق محادين 

    سنبقى نراوح مكاننا إذا لم تقم تجربة جديدة لبناء القوس المصري – السوري، كرافعة تاريخية مناهضة بالضرورة للتحالف الإمبريالي – الصهيوني- الرجعي – العثماني.

      شكّلت مصر وسوريا، أهم قوس استراتيجي في تاريخ الأمة التي اعتمد نهوضها في كل مرة على هذا القوس وتكامله ضمن خطاب سياسي – اجتماعي متصادم بالضرورة مع موجات الغزو المتتالية، من أوروبا الإقطاعية، مرحلة ما يعرف بالحملات الصليبية، إلى أوروبا الرأسمالية ثم المنظومة الإمبريالية العالمية ومن يتصدّرها في كل حقبة. 

      إضافة إلى الأدبيات الناصرية وخاصة فلسفة الثورة والميثاق لجمال عبد الناصر، وكتابات نديم البيطار وأنور عبد الملك وعصمت سيف الدولة وسمير أمين وياسين الحافظ، فإن كتابات المفكّر المصري، جمال حمدان، شكّلت ولا تزال الخلفية الاستراتيجية لبناء تصوّرات جيوبولوتيكية تدعم وتؤطر فكرة القوس المصري السوري وأهميته الحيوية لاشتباك تاريخي مع الغزاة وللتأسيس للرافعة الكبرى لنهوض الأمة ووحدتها. 

      وليس بلا معنى أن محاولات الاقتراب من هذا القوس، اتسمت بملامح وقواسم مشتركة على الصعيدين الإقليمي والدولي، بصرف النظر، أولاً، عن السمات الاجتماعية والطبقية للقوى السياسية النافذة التي تتطلّع إلى دور إقليمي انطلاقاً من هذا القوس، وثانياَ بصرف النظر عن المرحلة التاريخية. 

      التجربة الأولى.. محمد علي

      في العقود الأولى من القرن التاسع عشر، اصطدم حاكم مصر القوي، محمد علي باشا، بقوى محلية وإقليمية ودولية لم ترق لها نهضة مصر وترجمة هذه النهضة بدور محوري، يتكامل مع بلاد الشام من موقع الشوكة والاستقلال في مواجهة الغزاة. 

      بداية، وبالتقاطع مع مخاوف الباب العالي العثماني من التحالف الوهابي – السعودي (آل السعود وآل الشيخ) اندفعت القوات المصرية إلى الحجاز ثم إلى نجد وخاصة الدرعية وتمكّنت من تصفية الحركة الوهابية، التي كانت قد ارتبطت مع قلم الاستخبارات في شركة الهند الشرقية البريطانية، وفق اعترافات بيركهارت، الذي تحوّل من عالم آثار سويسري إلى مبعوث للمخابرات البريطانية باسم الشيخ عبد الله اللوزاني، وكان من أهم قنوات الاتصال مع الوهابيين وتزويدهم بالمال والبنادق الحديثة. 

      في مرحلة لاحقة، وبعد أن استشعر محمد علي ضعف الاحتلال العثماني وسلاطينه في إسطنبول، دفع قواته إلى سوريا الطبيعية (سوريا الحالية أو الشام بلغة القوميين السوريين، فلسطين، الأردن ولبنان)، وتمكّنت القوات المصرية بقيادة إبراهيم باشا من سحق الجيوش العثمانية وقتل وأسر عشرات الآلاف منها، ثم الزحف إلى إسطنبول وضرب حصار عليها مقدّمة لإنهاء السلطنة فيها ونقل المركز إلى القاهرة. 

      خلال هذه السنوات، أطلق المصريون مشروعاً جديداً في المناطق التي حرّروها من الاحتلال العثماني ومن ربقة التحالف السعودي الوهابي، ومن ذلك تحديث الإدارة والجيش وسك العملة، وفرض نمط من الضرائب الحديثة بدل الجباية العثمانية الإقطاعية، وكذلك توسيع البيمارستانات وإقامة العديد من مدارس التجهيز الإعدادية، كما أطلقوا موجة واسعة من التسامح بين المذاهب والطوائف وحوّلوا الأزهر إلى مرجعية فقهية ضمن التوجّه الجديد. 

      بالطبع وبالتأكيد وبسبب الطبيعة الطبقية للحكم الجديد ونزعاته الرأسمالية المبكرة بالتعاون مع الفرنسيين، ترافقت هذه الإدارة مع أساليب وسياسات استخدمت من قبل خصوم محمد علي للتحريض عليه. 

      في المقابل، أثارت استراتيجية القوس المصري – السوري أحقاد ومخاوف الاستعمار البريطاني إضافة إلى الباب العالي العثماني، وكذلك قوى عديدة عشائرية وطائفية منها الحركة الوهابية، فتجمّعت كل هذه القوى حول البعثات البريطانية ومعظمها من الجواسيس وشكّلت (جبهة) واسعة ضد المصريين، ومن ذلك: 

      – تحريض تجار الشام وبيروت والقبائل في فلسطين وشرق الأردن ضد محمد علي وشن حملة واسعة في الصحافة البريطانية نفسها، ويشار هنا إلى حصار إبراهيم باشا، قائد الجيوش المصرية لقلعة الكرك في شرق الأردن، بعد أن هرب إليها عدد من قادة التمرد في جبال نابلس المدعومين من المخابرات البريطانية، ومن المؤسف أن هناك من اعتبر التحالف بين قادة التمرد في نابلس والكرك ضد توحيد مصر وسوريا جزءاً من التاريخ الوطني. 

      – بيد أن الأخطر من كل ذلك هو مؤتمر لندن الذي عقد بدعم ورعاية عائلة روتشيلد اليهودية وبالتنسيق مع رئيس وزراء الإمبريالية البريطانية آنذاك، وهو دزرائيلي (من أصول يهودية). وقد شارك في المؤتمر إضافة إلى ممثلي الحكومة البريطانية وروتشيلد نفسه، ممثلون عن إمبراطورية النمسا – المجر، وروسيا القيصرية، وقرّروا حشد قوة بحرية وبرية لإجبار محمد علي على فك الحصار عن إسطنبول والانسحاب من سوريا. وعندما أدرك محمد علي صعوبة هذا الموقف بعد تخلّي فرنسا عنه، انصاع لمطالب مؤتمر لندن. 

      التجربة الثانية.. عبد الناصر

      بعد أقل من قرن على تجربة الوحدة المصرية السورية الأولى، تشكّلت ظروف شبيهة إلى حد ما من حيث، ظهور زعيم قوي بكاريزما تاريخية هو جمال عبد الناصر، ومن حيث الدور البريطاني ومعه القوة الإمبريالية الجديدة ممثلة بالولايات المتحدة، ومن حيث الدور التركي، وكذلك دور الوهابية وجماعات التجار وأوساط من القبائل وتجار الدين. 

      بعد سنوات قليلة من ثورة تموز/يوليو 1952 في مصر، وجدت الثورة نفسها بقيادة جمال عبد الناصر في مواجهة تحديات داخلية وخارجية متشابكة: الكيان الصهيوني، رواسب الإقطاع، وشركة قناة السويس البريطانية وأصابعها من البرجوازية الطفيلية وبقايا حكم الملكية الفاسدة وجماعات حسن البنا مؤسس الإخوان المسلمين والإسلام السياسي المموّل من هذه الشركة.

      فكان تأميم قناة السويس في الداخل والتصدي لحلف بغداد في الخارج (الحلف هو الذراع العسكري الجنوبي لحلف الأطلسي ومركزه الإقليمي، التركي – العراقي)، كما أدركت الثورة الناصرية مبكراً أن المعركة في بر مصر شديدة الصلة بالمعركة في بر سوريا والأمة عموماً، بل أن المتروبولات الإمبريالية وخاصة لندن وواشنطن سرعان ما راحت تطوّق الثورة المصرية من خلال محاولات الاستحواذ على الشرق العربي وخاصة سوريا.

      وعندما فشلت في جر دمشق إلى حلف أنقرة – بغداد، دفعت القوات التركية إلى احتلال شمال سوريا 1957 وشق الجيش السوري (الفتي) بمجموعات منشقة تحت عنوان (الجيش الحر) مرتبطة بحكومة انتقالية تديرها بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة من تركيا (النسخة الأصلية لما شهدته سوريا في العشرية السوداء)، وقد شارك في حكومة الائتلاف العميلة آنذاك بقايا الرواسب الإقطاعية والبرجوازيات الطفيلية وأوساط ليبرالية وجماعة الإخوان المسلمين والإرهاصات الأولى للوهابية خارج حدود السعودية وقطر.

      في هذه اللحظة التاريخية، أصرت القوى الوطنية السورية بكل تياراتها على إقامة وحدة كاملة مع مصر برئاسة جمال عبد الناصر، ومع أن مصر لم تكن مستعدة تماماً لهذه التجربة، فقد تجاوبت معها بسرعة.

      وكما في مشهد القرن التاسع عشر، وجدت الوحدة المصرية السورية الجديدة (1958 – 1961) نفسها أمام قوى وأساليب وأدوات وتحالفات وسياسات تشبه سابقتها: بريطانيا من جديد ومعها الولايات المتحدة، تركيا المحمولة من الغرب الرأسمالي الاستعماري، والوهابية بثوبها الجديد، إضافة إلى رشوة وتحريض واسعين في أوساط قبلية وطائفية تحت العنوان نفسه (التخلص من الاستعمار المصري). 

      أيضاً، إذا كانت اليهودية العالمية قد تحرّكت ضد محمد علي من خلال روتشيلد وبيوتاته المالية في القرن التاسع عشر، فقد عادت في التجربة الجديدة من خلال الروتشيلدية الجديدة وأداتها الكولونيالية الاستياطنية باسم الكيان الإسرائيلي، بل إن هذا الكيان وبتوصية روتشيلد من خلال ما عرف بصندوق اكتشاف فلسطين لتمويل الاستيطان اليهودي، هو الذي نصح بريطانيا والغرب بإقامة “بافر ستيت” يهودي في فلسطين بعد احتلالها، يفصل مصر عن سوريا الطبيعية ولا يسمح بتكرار تجربة محمد علي.

      ومن المؤسف أن مصير الوحدة الجديدة لم يكن أفضل من سابقتها بعد الانفصال الذي شاركت فيه قوى متعددة، ولم تشكّل أخطاء الوحدة مبرّراً حقيقياً للانفصال الذي يعود في حقيقته إلى التآمر الخارجي ودور المخابرات البريطانية والأميركية وأعوانهما السياسيين وقوى البرجوازية التي تضرّرت من قوانين التأميم والإصلاح الزراعي. ومن المؤسف كذلك أن مواقف قوى محسوبة على الحركة الوطنية قدّمت غطاء لهذا الانفصال، إضافة إلى رفض جمال عبد الناصر الدفاع عن الوحدة بالقوة، متجاهلاً أنه ما من وحدة قومية في التاريخ قامت بطريقة سلمية ومن دون شلال من الدم.

      وما زلنا وسنبقى نراوح مكاننا إذا لم تقم تجربة ثالثة لبناء القوس المصري – السوري كرافعة تاريخية مناهضة بالضرورة للتحالف الإمبريالي – الصهيوني- الرجعي– العثماني، فإما هذا القوس التاريخي وإما كيانات برسم التشظي إلى هويات قاتلة وكانتونات طائفية وجهوية ومجالات حيوية يتقاسمها العدو الصهيوني والعثمانيون الجدد تحت سقف الإمبريالية العالمية.

      إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

      Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s “State of the Nation” address

      February 19, 2023

      Good afternoon.

      Former Presidents Áder and Schmitt and your Dear Wives, Mister Speaker, Leaders of Hungarian communities from beyond our borders, Ladies and Gentlemen,

      As you are certainly aware, around two weeks ago a devastating earthquake shook Türkiye and Syria. The death toll is now over 44,000, and sadly this is not yet the end. Sorrows come suddenly, without warning, without knocking on the door, but simply smashing it open on us. In our sorrow, we find out who we can count on. We Hungarians can be counted on: 167 of our compatriots took part in the rescue work, and thirty-five people were rescued from the rubble by experts and volunteers who risked their lives in the process. Some of them are here with us now; let us salute our heroes, who have honoured us with their presence here. Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your sacrifice, a country is proud of you! Please stand up and let us see you!

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      So much has happened in the past year – an election, the war, an energy crisis, inflation – that in fact I should spend several hours talking about it. Please do not start making for the door: it is too late now, if you are here, you are here. Tomorrow, on Sunday, you can rest yourselves after a speech of Atatürk or Fidel Castro proportions. But I will keep it shorter after all, because during a long political speech people lose their zest for life – and we are not here to lose our zest for life, but to renew our zest for life. And with that I have dived headlong into what I have to say. Today the most important question for the future is whether the enormous changes taking place in European life – which are bringing us new intellectual, political, economic and military challenges – will enhance or diminish Hungarians’ zest for life. These changes are putting pressure on the whole of Hungarian life and are confronting us with new questions. The success of the year 2023 will depend on whether we are energised by them or deflated by them.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      As I circulate in international politics, I often think of the old Hungarian song: “Mother, I Didn’t Want That Kind of Horse”. And indeed, we Hungarians did not want to live in such a chaotic world. But, as my mother would say, “Son, life is not a request show.” And she is right.

      Everything had been so well thought out: we had cut our way through the piles of rubble left behind by the socialist governments ousted in 2010, through the ruins of Wild-East socialism, through unemployment, through an economy gasping for breath, through foreign currency loans, through disaffected envy, through prostration to the West, through sky-high utility bills, through illicit gratuities in the healthcare system, through cheating the system while living on welfare benefits, and through resigned acceptance of the second-rate. We were just beginning to believe that there would be a place in the sun for every Hungarian, and that such a place would be here. It turned out that it is possible to live better from one’s work than from benefits, that having children is not a burden but a joy – or, to be more precise, a burden that is a joy. We were beginning to believe that life here would be fruitful, that there would be enough for everyone. We came to think that in order to get ahead we do not need to take from one another or take that which belongs to others, because the cake we can bake will be much bigger than any we have seen so far. One million people have been given work, and never before in Hungary have so many people been in work. The Hungarian economy has tripled in size and the minimum wage is now higher than the average wage was under our Socialist predecessors. We have brought forth a national Christian constitution that is worthy of us. We have reorganized the Hungarian state with courage that if not death-defying is at least Brussels-defying. And, brushing off the naysayers, we have built a new Hungarian economy in which everyone has received the chance to find their own destiny. True, it has been an arduous ten years, we have sweated a lot, our knees and elbows have been grazed and bruised, and we have collected our fair share of blisters; but we feel that it has been worthwhile. We have learned how to make headway in the renewed Hungary, we have seen that the effort has not been in vain, and it has dawned on us Magyars that “once more our name and story shall match our ancestors’ in glory”. This is why, after our first historic two-thirds majority in 2010, we won a two-thirds majority in each of the three subsequent parliamentary elections. We still gained such a majority now, even though the entire Left in Hungary combined their forces against us, even though Brussels tried to starve our treasury, and even though Uncle George [Soros] rolled 4 billion forints here from America to provide his comrades with ammunition – to shoot at us. They came a cropper, they shot wide: not a little, a lot. They fell flat on their faces, and I think they will pay the price.

      Do you remember the film “Once Upon a Time in the West?” The dialogue at the beginning of the film? The Charles Bronson character, “Harmonica”, questions the three bandits waiting for him:
      “And Frank?”
      “Frank sent us”, they reply.
      “Did you bring a horse for me?”
      Seeing their three horses, Harmonica says, “You brought two too many.”

      This is what happened in Hungary in 2022. And as far as I can see, right now the Hungarian Frank, our “Feri” [Ferenc Gyurcsány], is trying to round up the horses that are left without owners. The lesson is that when you look at your opponent you should judge them not by their numbers but by their ability. It seems that God loves us.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Election victories – especially two-thirds majorities – are not something that people just hand you on a plate. There is work behind them, and the result of that work is appreciated by the people. Otherwise there will be no victory – and certainly no two-thirds majority. Of course, there are always malcontents, who think that we were just lucky. Fine, call it luck – once. But four times? If you are always lucky, it is also possible that you have something to offer; for example, you love your country and you are prepared to fight for it – at home, if need be, or in the world at large, if need be. The Left should understand that for victory millions of dollars and influential patrons are not enough. For victory, Dear Friends, luck is not enough: you need heart.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Just when we thought we were finally standing up straight, COVID hit us, in the spring of 2020 – three years ago now. It brought us pain and irretrievable losses. But we were right to hope that we would pull through it, get back on our feet and pick up where we had left off. I thought that we would arrive at where we always wanted to be. We would occupy the level in the world entitled to us by our talent, hard work and history. We would be among the best, somewhere in the vanguard. Once again, there would be many children, many millions of hearts who awaited the good news of an orderly, attractive and safe country, a green Carpathian Basin that can withstand climate change. And even though the lion and the lamb would not lie down together, we hoped that the Left would finally understand that this is a common homeland, and that we have no other.

      And then war struck – or broke out. It is now one year old, and by every reckoning it could last for a long time – even several years, it seems. Everything has changed – including in politics and in the economy. The West has moved firmly in the direction of the Wild West. From the years of COVID the world has not got back on track, but we have moved into the years of war. In fact, since March 2020 – for almost three years – we have been living our lives under constant pressure. And this could easily turn into four or even five years. Of the thirty-two years since the fall of communism, 2022 was the most difficult. It was the most difficult year.

      When the West entered the war with sanctions, we had to rethink everything. That occupied the months following the April election. We had to rethink economic policy, defence policy, military policy, and all of our foreign policy. In the glare of war, we had to re-examine all the major goals we had set ourselves in 2010, after our first two-thirds victory. We are nearing the end of this work. As I see it, there is no need to abandon or give up the goals, only to change the means by which they will be achieved. Our foreign policy remains: we want to continue to make friends, not enemies; we want everyone – East and West, North and South – to have a stake in the success of the Hungarians. The creation of connections instead of the formation of blocs. National unification will continue, and Hungarians beyond our borders can continue to count on us, because we are of the same blood. Our family policy will remain, our work-based economy will remain, our agreement with pensioners and the thirteenth month’s pension will remain, and so will the protection of reductions in household utility bills. We will continue the linking of universities to the economy. We can keep the strategic sectors – the banking sector, the energy sector and the media industry – in Hungarian hands, and we will even revive Hungarian ownership in the telecommunications and infocommunications sector. And we will not stop there, the windsock is already blowing in the wind. Sorry! And the promise made to the provinces remains: we are launching unprecedented developments and providing more resources than the Hungarian provinces have ever seen – even under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Alongside agricultural production, we are building up agricultural processing. We will revive the Hungarian food industry, which has been devastated by privatisation, and we will have national champions in the food industry who will also be able to compete in the world market. We shall not tolerate Hungarians having to buy food that is dumped on us from abroad. And we are retaining our plan for the eastern part of our country to catch up with the rest. It is time to finally unite Hunnia and Pannonia – both economically and in terms of living standards. This is why we are building bridges on the Danube, why the one at Paks will be completed, and why the one at Mohács will soon be started. We are placing the Debrecen-Nyíregyháza-Miskolc triangle alongside the Győr-Szombathely-Veszprém industrial zone. This will require energy, a lot of energy – more than ever before in Hungary. This is why we will build power stations and pipeline systems, even if Brussels is unwilling to play a role. Later there will be more. And we will not give up our most daring plan: to ensure that families with children are better off financially than those who do not have children. So, war or no war, we will have new family support decisions every year. The same is true this year, with women committing to having children paying no personal income tax until the age of 30. This is how it will be. But I know that for us Hungarians this is not enough. We know the joke we inherited from socialism: “We know what will happen, but the question is this: what will happen until then?”

      Dear Friends,

      If 2022 was the hardest year, 2023 will be the most dangerous year since the fall of communism. Alongside migration, which is gradually becoming a permanent feature, two new enemies and two new dangers are lurking: one is war, and the other is inflation. If we want to return to the upward trajectory from which the COVID pandemic pushed us, we must fend off these two threats: we must overcome them, we must fight our way through them. But how? Today this is what I will talk about.

      How do we overcome the danger of war? We want to simply put an end to it, but we do not have the power to do so – we are not in that league. Therefore, if we want to protect Hungary, if we want a peaceful life for ourselves, we have only one choice: we must stay out of the Russo-Ukrainian war. So far this has not been easy, and it will not be easy in the future, because we are part of the Western world, we are members of NATO and the European Union, and everyone there is on the side of war – or at least acts as if they are. Can Hungary afford to remain on the side of peace in such circumstances, in a way that is directly opposed to that of our allies? Of course we can, because Hungary is an independent, free and sovereign state, and we recognise no one but God above us. But is it right – morally right – for us to stay out of the war? I am convinced that it is the right thing – and indeed the only right thing. Russia has attacked Ukraine, so we must let Ukrainian refugees into our country, and we have done well in supporting them with the largest humanitarian aid operation in our country’s history. This is the imperative of basic humanity, and we are complying with it. But we also see that the war in Ukraine is not a war between the armies of good and evil, but a war between the troops of two Slavic countries: a war limited in time and – for the time being – in space. It is their war, not ours. Hungary recognises Ukraine’s right to self defence, to fight against external aggression; but it would not be right from any point of view – including any moral point of view – to put the interests of Ukraine before those of Hungary. The Left in Hungary is also on the side of war: it would supply arms, take on the financial burden of war and sever relations with Russia. We are not doing this. We are not supplying arms. We are also being careful with money, because in the end the money due to us will be given by Brussels to Ukraine. For us, humanitarian support for Ukraine does not mean severing our ties with Russia, because that would run counter to our national interests, which we have the right to define for ourselves. Therefore we shall not agree to gas, oil or nuclear sanctions that would ruin Hungary. From the national consultation we know that there is national unity on this. This is why we are maintaining our economic relations with Russia; and indeed we are advising the whole Western world to do the same, because without relations there will be neither a ceasefire nor peace negotiations. This is why we do not agree with priests and church leaders being placed on sanctions lists; it is bad enough that this could happen to artists and athletes. And it is also important not to narrow our vision, and not to be provincial. Let us look beyond Brussels. Every country outside Europe is aware of the limited significance of the war in Ukraine and the primacy of its own national interest. Let us not isolate ourselves from the level-headed part of the world. The Hungarian viewpoint is an exception only in Europe – across the world it is the norm. The Hungarian government does not consider it realistic to assume that Russia is a threat to the security of Hungary or of Europe. Such an assumption is valid at most in relation to nuclear weapons; but the war in Ukraine is increasing the risk of their use, rather than reducing it. As far as conventional warfare is concerned, the Ukraine war has shown that Russia would not stand a chance against NATO. We understand that the Ukrainians are trying to convince Europe that the Russians will not stop until they reach the Atlantic, but the Hungarians are not buying that threat. The whole world has seen that Russian forces are not in a position to attack NATO, and will not be in such a position for a long time. I recall that a decade ago Hungary proposed the creation of a joint European force, and today we can see how unfortunate it was that this proposal fell on deaf ears.

      Dear Friends,

      While our pro-peace position and the pro-war position of others accentuate differences between us, they also obscure the fact that we are in full agreement on strategic objectives. We want Russia not to be a threat to Europe, and we want there to be a sufficiently broad and deep area between Russia and Hungary: a sovereign Ukraine. The difference between us is in our view of the means to achieve this: those who support the war think that this can be achieved by defeating Russia; and we think that it can be achieved by an immediate ceasefire and negotiations. There is another strong argument in favour of our proposal: the only thing that can save lives is a ceasefire. Loss of life is already being expressed in the hundreds of thousands. The pain, widowhood, growing numbers of orphans and oceanic waves of suffering can only be calmed by a ceasefire.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      The war has also revealed some instructive and weighty truths. Let us not pass them by without speaking of them. First of all, there is the question of our membership of NATO. Let us make it clear that for Hungary NATO membership is vital. We are too far to the east – on the eastern edge of the western world – to renounce it. It would of course be easier if we were further in: following the example of Austria and Switzerland, we too could play with the idea of neutrality. But history has not given us that luxury. NATO is a defence alliance. It is a military defence alliance which was formed so that we can defend one another. This is why we joined, and this is why – thinking back to 45 years of Soviet occupation – I experienced the historic satisfaction of signing the Treaty of Accession. It is at least as important to clearly understand what NATO is not. NATO is not a war alliance. NATO is not a war coalition. Membership of NATO does not imply any obligation beyond joint defence, nor can member countries expect any other member to jointly attack a third country for some joint military objective. If some NATO members, or a group of them, want to carry out acts of war outside the territory of the member countries, they must do so outside the framework of NATO: those who want to will participate; those who do not want to will not.

      Dear Friends,

      No matter how strong and powerful, anyone who thinks they can supervise, manage and gradually calibrate the conduct of war is overestimating their own power and underestimating the risky nature of war. Those who make such mistakes are usually far removed from the devastating realities of frontline warfare. But we live here, and the war is on the soil of a neighbouring country. Brusselites have not yet sacrificed their lives in this war, but Hungarians have. While Hungarian symbols are being taken down in Munkács/Mukachevo, while Hungarian principals are being dismissed from our schools, many are dying heroes’ deaths on the front. The Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia does not deserve this. More respect for Hungarians from Munkács/Mukachevo, Kyiv/Kiev, Brussels and Washington!

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Europe is drifting towards war. It is balancing on a narrow plank. Indeed its countries are already indirectly at war with Russia. If you supply weapons, if you provide the satellite information for military action, if you train the soldiers of one of the belligerents, if you finance the entire state apparatus of one of the belligerents and impose sanctions on the other, then, no matter what you say, you are at war – indirectly for the time being. The risk of being drawn in is now chronic. It started with helmets, it has continued with the delivery of non-lethal equipment, we are now seeing tanks being sent, fighter planes are on the agenda, and soon we will hear about so-called “peacekeeping troops”. It reminds one of sleepwalkers on a roof. We also need to understand how the pro-war people succumbed to somnambulism and how they ended up on the rooftops. Despite all our differences of opinion, we understand our Polish and Baltic friends: their history explains a great deal. But the others?

      It did not have to happen this way – or rather it could have happened differently. We could have given a guarantee that we would not admit Ukraine to NATO; but we did the opposite, and confirmed our earlier decision in 2008 that we would admit them. We could also have followed the solution that we adopted in 2008 when the Russo-Georgian war broke out, and Russia occupied 20 per cent of Georgia’s territory. Back then we decided to prevent the fire spreading, and under the leadership of President Sarkozy – who negotiated brilliantly – the conflict was localised and a ceasefire was achieved. We could have done what we did in 2014 under Angela Merkel, when Russia attacked Ukraine and annexed Crimea. Then we could have opted for war, like the present one, but we – the West – chose a different option: negotiation instead of combat, peace instead of war. I remember that there were pro-war people then, but there was also strong German and French leadership, which was brave and took timely action. That is how war was avoided and the Minsk agreement was reached. A year ago the West decided otherwise. When Russia launched an attack, the West did not isolate the conflict, but elevated it to a pan-European level. It could have classified it as a local, regional war or as a military conflict between two Slavic states, as Hungary proposed. What happened is yet another argument against the Brussels superstate and in favour of strong nation states. When the Member States decided, there was peace; when the imperial centre decided, there was war.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Looking to the future, it is also instructive to note how we lost our pro-peace allies. A year ago we were not alone in the peace camp. There were, for example, the Germans, who supplied no weapons, only helmets. By comparison, in a few weeks’ time Leopard tanks will be rolling eastwards across Ukrainian soil, down towards the Russian border. Perhaps even the old maps are still around. The Germans turned together with the others, or the others turned together with the Germans. That is how the peace camp faded away. It is hard to believe that the Germans took this turn of their own accord. Today they act as if they were always on board. The modern German school: they do not simply change sides, but openly announce that they are jumping right to the front. They are thorough people, and when they do something, they do it seriously. And the other countries thought that if the Germans could not resist that kind of external pressure then they, too, would be unlikely to. And so they seeped from the peace camp into the war camp. That left two of us: Hungary and the Vatican. We cannot complain about the company, but we need to address some serious consequences.

      We need to honestly face the fact that the war is getting wilder and more brutal, and so we had better be prepared for the tone used against us to get harsher and more abusive: provocations, insults, threats and blackmail. I cannot promise that it will be easy, but I can promise that we shall stand our ground. Long gone are the days when we were subject to diplomatic pressure which still respected sovereignty. Where are the good old days, when in 2014 Hillary Clinton sent just one “good friend” to persuade the Hungarians of the error of their ways with anti-government protests and a few travel bans? We manoeuvred well then, our calculations worked, and in the form of Donald Trump friendly relief troops arrived – fortunately not here, but in Washington. Since then a lot of water has flowed down the Potomac. Fortunately the White House has retained its sense of humour, and instead of a “good friend”, President Biden has sent us a “press man”, an ambassador to ratchet up the pressure on us and do whatever it takes to press the Hungarians into the camp of war: to press a statement out of us in which we commit ourselves to joining in. This is fine, humour can help friendship survive hard times. But we should avoid the possibility that next time they send someone called Puccini!

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      We see that in 2024 America will have another election, and our Republican friends are flexing their muscles in preparation for their return. I also expect that democracy will show its strength in Europe, that public opinion will become increasingly pro-peace, demanding a ceasefire, peace talks, more sanity and – if necessary – new governments. It will not be a walk in the park, but then the smoother and more leisurely roads all lead to war.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      We have no illusions, we are not naive, and neither are we the flower children of ‘68 or dreaming pacifists. We know that the negotiations will not be between the Ukrainians and the Russians: peace will come when the Americans and the Russians negotiate with each other. That will inevitably happen, but the later it happens, the higher the price we will all pay. War enthusiasts believe that time is on the side of the Ukrainians and the West, so the fight must go on: it will change the balance of power, there will be victory over Russia, and victory will bring peace. The Hungarian government, however, believes that continued fighting will not bring victory and will not bring peace, but the deaths of hundreds of thousands more people, a widening conflict, countries engaged in open warfare, years of war, destruction, suffering and the threat of world war. So let us Hungarians stand by peace, but let the Defence Minister keep his powder dry. That is all I have to say about the war.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      If we want to fight inflation, we must start with understanding. Why is there inflation all over Europe? Brussels has unleashed this affliction on us, with its sanctions on energy. The disease is called sanction inflation and the virus is the Brussels sanctions. Sanctions are the weapons in Brussels’ war policy. They target Russia, but they hit Europe. It was not so long ago that Brussels promised that these sanctions would bring an end to the war. A year has passed, and the end of the war is not getting closer, but ever more distant. They also promised that they would not extend the sanctions to energy. But then they did. The price of natural gas multiplied, reaching 350 euros at the end of August. That is a record, something not seen in living memory. The situation has improved, but the price of natural gas is still several times higher than the 20-euro level of two years ago. Moreover, and few people know this, in Brussels the price of gas was linked to the price of electricity. Together with the Poles we protested, but to no avail. The rise in gas prices has therefore been immediately accompanied by a rise in electricity prices – even when that electricity is not produced by gas turbines, but by solar, wind, hydro, coal or nuclear power. It is economics 101 that energy price hikes drive up the price of all products. This is especially true if you import most of your energy from abroad, as Hungary does. Moreover, it has turned out that we have not deprived Russia of revenue, but have given them more money. In 2022 the profits of the world oil and gas industry increased by 70 per cent, without the mammoth corporations concerned renewing anything or producing more: they just pocketed the extra profit from sanctions, which they made Europeans pay for. In 2022 the sanctions took four thousand billion forints out of the pockets of Hungarians. Four thousand billion forints! This is how much more money Hungarian companies, the state and families in Hungary have spent on energy alone, because of the sanctions. This amount could have been spent by companies on wage increases, by the state on tax cuts or family support, and by families on buying a home or on their children.

      One just stands amidst the glass palaces of Brussels, not wanting to believe what is going on there. We have to face reality: instead of help, Brussels is giving us more sanctions. The Brussels bureaucracy, with well-considered bad intentions, has not given Hungary or Poland their share of the European Recovery Programme. In 2022, in the most difficult year, we did not receive money that the Member States took out as a joint loan, according to which we Hungarians will have to pay back our share. They are looking for nits to pick out of Hungary’s rule of law, while a police van is on permanent standby at the European Parliament building. In reality it is the Member States that should be monitoring Brussels, not Brussels monitoring the Member States. I hope this will be the case after the European elections in 2024. If Brussels wants to go to war under any circumstances, then it should go to war against inflation. It is not doing so. But we are continuously fighting our own war on inflation. We have already enacted two dozen or so measures to protect families and businesses.

      The most important thing now, my friends, is not to see inflation as an inescapable scourge. And even though inflation is peaking and placing a heavy burden on families, it should not frighten us, it should not chill us, and we should not be resigned to it. Action must be taken, and it will yield results. I learned from Sándor Demján that in times of crisis there is no such thing as normativity. You must intervene in the economy with courage. This is what we are doing, which is why the average family today is saving 181,000 forints a month in reduced utility bills. This is unique in the whole of Europe. The Left is calling for the food price freeze to be withdrawn, but it will remain until we can bring inflation down. The Left – together with the banks, unsurprisingly – is also calling for the lifting of the retail interest rate freeze. But the interest rate freeze is protecting 350,000 families from interest rate rises, and until interest rates start to fall, the freeze should stay in place. Instead of withdrawing it, we have extended it to student loans. So today we are protecting 200,000 students from inflation. Student loans are interest-free, and the interest rate on a free-use student loan is half the market rate. And now we are introducing a reduced-rate county travel pass. From 1 May, we will offer monthly nationwide and county passes valid for both bus and rail travel. The monthly pass will cost 9,450 forints, and the monthly nationwide pass will cost 18,900 forints. Those who travel to work by public transport can save a considerable amount.

      Ladies and Gentlemen,

      Forging a good shield – one that can absorb heavy blows – is expensive. Therefore windfall profits must be taken from where they occur. We have taxed banks, energy companies and multinational retail chains. And the windfall profits taken are put into the fund to preserve cuts in household utility bills.

      In summary, 2022 was a year that could have broken the backbone of the Hungarian economy. The official doomsayers, respected former central bank governors and former right-wing economists were also expecting this, and were already administering the last rites to us. Bankruptcies, unemployment, currency collapse, insolvency, Armageddon: that was what the Left predicted. Now, in February, employment is higher than ever, foreign exchange reserves are at record levels, and the forint has stabilised. The truth is that, alongside and in spite of painfully high inflation, in 2022 the Hungarian economy broke three records. A hat-trick. I hope coach [Marco] Rossi is listening. Never have so many people been in work in Hungary. Our exports have broken records, and never before has there been so much investment in Hungary as there was in 2022. This is why we are still on our feet despite high prices, and this is why the economy will not stall in 2023. Inflation is like a tiger, and you only have one bullet. If you miss, it will eat you up. Please trust us, we will hit it. You can bet on it: by the end of the year we will have inflation in single digits.

      Dear Friends,

      As we can see, the situation is serious, but not hopeless – in fact it is encouraging. Hungarians’ survival instincts are operating, they can see things clearly, and – as the national consultation has shown – there is broad agreement on the main objectives. Here today I thank all those who took part in the national consultation. We will stay out of war, Hungary will remain an island of peace and security, and we will conquer inflation – this is always the Government’s job, and there will be no mistakes. But there is something else that a government, however confident it may be, will not be able to do on its own. You know, everyone has heard, what a despicable thing happened in one of our schools. One cannot understand why the sky does not fall, why the earth does not open up to swallow up those whose place is under it.

      Dear Friends,

      Let us say it how it is: paedophilia cannot be forgiven. Children are sacred to us, and it falls to adults to protect children at all costs. We do not care that the world has gone mad. We do not care what repellent aberrations some people indulge in. We do not care how Brussels excuses and explains the inexplicable. This is Hungary! And this is where the strictest child protection system in Europe should be! The legislation is there, and the missing pieces will be found, but even the most determined government cannot succeed in this matter on its own. It will require everyone: parents, grandparents, mothers and fathers, teachers and educators. Because gender propaganda is not just an entertaining caper, not just rainbow chatter, but the greatest threat stalking our children. We want our children to be left alone, because enough is enough! This kind of thing has no place in Hungary, and especially not in our schools. I am counting on you, we are counting on all Hungarian people of goodwill, so that we can do this job together, once and for all, in 2023.

      God above us all, Hungary before all else! Go, Hungary, go Hungarians!


      Nord Stream Sabotage Backfires With Historic Demolition of U.S. Image and Lies Over Ukraine War

      February 17, 2023


      Washington is a war-criminal state par excellence along with its European Quislings.

      The Hersh report is a devastating revelation of U.S. and NATO international terrorism as well as Western media complicity. It exposes the lawlessness of U.S. government, the total disregard by Washington for its so-called European allies, the supine nature of European governments, Germany in particular, and the real geopolitical reasons behind the war in Ukraine, and subsequently the shocking servility of Western media in refusing to cover what is an astounding act of criminality.

      This is an explosive story in more ways than one and indeed in more ways than we can perhaps even calculate at this stage. Only one week after its publication, the fallout and reverberations continue to amplify. Such is the parlous and pathetic state of Western journalism, Hersh was obliged to publish his account on his resources, knowing that mainstream outlets would not touch it. That systematic media censorship and exposure of propaganda functioning is itself a huge scandal that will grow further. This is while the European Union sanctions and bans Russian media, even though Russian media have been vindicated by Hersh’s revelations while Western media is shown to be an utter disgrace.

      On September 26, 2022, the Nord Stream pipelines were blown up. European states have since acknowledged that, albeit with muted reports. For its part, Russia has from the outset blamed Western powers for an act of terrorism. Washington initially made the preposterous claims that Russia had carried out the attacks in revenge against Europe. And Western media went along with the ridiculous ride.

      There is no disputing that the damage was deliberate sabotage. The 1,222-kilometer undersea civilian infrastructure was the biggest of its kind in the world, involving a consortium of companies from Russia, Germany, France and the Netherlands. It took more than a decade to construct at an estimated cost of over €12 billion. The enormous loss of natural gas volumes from the explosion could also be monetized in billions of euros.

      State-Sponsored Terrorism

      So, without even attributing specific culpability, this sabotage constitutes an egregious act of state-sponsored terrorism that violates international law on numerous counts. And yet Western media have acted like the proverbial monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.

      At the time of the spectacular event, many critical observers immediately suspected foul play. In our Strategic Culture Foundation weekly editorial of September 30, the headline stated: “Blatantly Obvious Who Gains From Nord Stream Sabotage”.

      We postulated back then only days after the incident that a plausible cause was “deliberate sabotage” by the United States and its NATO allies.

      “If that’s the case, then it is an act of terrorism against civilian infrastructure and a grievous blow to Russia’s national interests. It could be construed as a criminal act of war,” we wrote.

      Our editorial cited U.S. President Joe Biden’s own words of warning issued at a White House press conference when he spoke on February 7, 2022. Biden appeared to stray off script and cryptically asserted to reporters that the Nord Stream would be “brought to an end” if Russia were to intervene militarily in Ukraine, as Russia did two weeks later on February 24 (as a result of deadly NATO provocations, we should add).

      “His [Biden’s] cryptic assertion, over-riding European governments, suggests that a contingency plan had already been authorized to take out the Nord Stream. And, it seems, the nefarious action duly went ahead this week,” we wrote.

      (We modestly take pride in the objective perspicacity of our assessment. And yet this online journal is smeared and banned by the United States and European governments as a Russian propaganda tool.)

      Seymour Hersh’s investigative report published last week corroborates what many observers had suspected at an early stage. The irrefutable fact is the Nord Stream gas pipelines were blown up by U.S. military forces. Not only that, but the Americans were aided and abetted by NATO member Norway, and quite possibly by other NATO members including Poland, Denmark and Britain.

      This is an earth-shattering scandal. The repercussions are going to keep cascading and cascading. Hersh has followed up with promises of more indicting details in forthcoming articles. Other journalists are now corroborating his details about U.S. navy divers planting explosives under the cover of NATO war games in the Baltic Sea last June. Hersh claims that some of the C4 bombs did not detonate as planned. That means there could still be evidence to be found on the seabed conclusively implicating the United States.

      Then there was the earlier report by Swedish divers who had inspected the site in the aftermath of the explosions. Did they try to clean up the crime scene? The Swedish authorities have refused to disclose the contents of their report. They have a case to answer, as do the Danes, the Norwegians, the Brits and most of all the Americans.

      Russia has called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to convene next week on the subject, based on the latest investigative report by Seymour Hersh. China has also called for an independent international commission to study the matter.

      Questions are also urgently required from the German government on what it knew about the sabotage. As our columnist Martin Jay pointed out this week, Chancellor Olaf Scholz was in the White House on February 7 last year when Biden made his clumsy threat to take out the Nord Stream. The implication is that Scholz knew in advance of the demolition plan.

      Western Media’s Damning Silence

      We are talking here about multiple malfeasance and cardinal crimes. Terrorism, destruction of sovereign property, aggression and incitement of war, treason and an orchestrated media cover-up involving supposed bastions of Western journalism. The New York Times and Washington Post have so far ignored the Hersh report. Western media have stubbornly refused to investigate this urgent story. How damning is that?

      Internationally renowned legal expert Professor Francis Boyle has assessed (in email correspondence with SCF) that a prosecution case can be brought against the United States over the Nord Stream incident under the auspices of the International Criminal Court. The U.S. is not a signatory to the foundational Rome Statute but the incident occurred in territory belonging to European states that are. Whether such a prosecution proceeds and whether the UN Security Council takes action later this week are moot points. But at the very least, the whole scandal is blowing up in the court of international public opinion.

      Seymour Hersh (now aged 85) is to be commended for his journalistic service. We may quibble about some details in his report. Has he covered the full picture of all the actors involved? Perhaps not. His report is not a geopolitical analysis and some of his premises suggest he is not critical of the U.S. or NATO involvement in the war in Ukraine. These reservations are relatively minor to his main point of understanding what actually took place.

      Those caveats aside, however, one can say that Hersh’s report is a blockbuster. His lifetime work is impeccable. He uncovered the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968 when hundreds of men, women and children were murdered gratuitously by American troops. Hersh also exposed in 2004 the torture practices by the US military in Iraq at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison.

      Historic Impact

      Hersh’s reporting in the past has had a historic impact. It mobilized public understanding and opinion about the nefarious nature of U.S. wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

      As many analysts and our own weekly editorials at SCF have repeatedly pointed out, the war in Ukraine is a bigger geopolitical cause than the absurd narrative put out by Western governments and news media about “defending Ukraine and Western freedom from Russia aggression”. We have consistently analyzed that the expansion of NATO, the weaponization of Ukraine, and the current conflict are all about the American imperialist ambition for hegemonic control. Destroying normal relations between Europe and Russia and most especially destruction of the strategically important energy trade are all part of the objective. Pursuing that objective has created a most dangerous war that could escalate into a nuclear conflagration.

      As eminent American commentator Jeffrey Sachs has noted, the criminal conduct of Washington regarding the blowing up of the Nord Stream is totally characteristic of U.S. criminal behavior that has been practiced over many decades since World War Two. The difference now is that this criminality directly impinges on many more people’s lives – from the danger of catastrophic war to the economic misery caused by wanton American aggression.

      The Hersh article – despite the Western media shamefully ignoring it thereby exposing their own criminal complicity in U.S. terrorism – has made the world more aware than ever of the rogue state that is the United States and its capitalist, imperialist dynamics.

      Inciting war in Europe, antagonizing a nuclear Russia with unprecedented aggression, inflicting mass poverty and hardship on European civilians, and lying about it all the time through its propaganda media. Washington is a war-criminal state par excellence along with its European Quislings.

      As Russian President Vladimir Putin remarked several weeks ago, the historic situation is revolutionary.

      U.S. Sanctions Agravate Earthquake Response in Syria

      W. T. Whitney Jr.

      Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

      The son, right, and friends of Syrian refugee Naziha Al-Ahmad carry her body to be buried in a cemetery after she died during an earthquake, in Elbistan, southeastern, Turkey, Feb. 10, 2023. The U.N. says Turkey hosts about 3.6 million Syrians who fled their country’s 12-year civil war, along with close to 320,000 people escaping hardships from other countries. | Francisco Seco / AP

      Suffering in Syria and Turkey caused by a strong earthquake on Feb. 6 has elicited an immense worldwide humanitarian response. The toll as of press time for this article was 36,000 people dead, with the number of recorded deaths steadily rising as rubble from collapsed buildings is removed. Unusually cold weather and snow add to the grief and difficulties in delivering aid material to survivors.

      Compounding matters is the longstanding internal conflict in both countries aggravated by foreign interventions. The Turkish government contends with a Kurdish insurgency formerly active within its own borders and now based across the southern border in Iraq and Syria.

      The Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, has confronted U.S.- and European-supported rebel forces fighting in northern Syria since 2011.

      The humanitarian disaster from the earthquake is further aggravated by the warlike interference in Syria’s affairs that has gone on for years and is still underway, particularly the role of economic sanctions employed by nations led by the U.S. government. Of concern is U.S. imperialism’s seeming disregard of human suffering and deaths as it wields the weapon of economic war.

      A civil war has raged in Syria for 11 years. The U.S. government, in conjunction with allies, supports elements of the anti-Assad resistance. They hold territory in northern Syria, where even U.S. troops are deployed.

      The civil war has led to displaced populations of refugees, some living in government-controlled Syria, 3.6 million others living precariously in Turkey, and 4.1 million more living in conflict-ridden northern Syria; they were dependent on humanitarian aid prior to the earthquake. Kurdish rebels, anti-Assad rebels, and radical Islamists control their own portions of that area.

      The earthquake has caused more death and destruction in Turkey than in Syria. Turkey registered 31,643 deaths as of Feb. 13 and Syria 4,574 deaths, of which 3,160 occurred in rebel-held areas.

      The delivery of humanitarian aid material is always difficult in situations of natural disaster. The Turkish government reports offers of assistance from 71 countries. Search and rescue teams and shipments of materials have arrived there from dozens of them.

      Conditions in Syria, however, are different. Western countries are contributing relatively little. Shipments of aid material have entered Syria from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Egypt, Algeria, United Arab Emirates, and India.

      Rescue teams and aid shipments have been promised or have arrived from China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, and Algeria. Venezuela sent teams to both affected countries, and its teams were the first foreign rescuers to arrive in Northern Syria.

      Physical barriers further complicate matters in Syria. Only the Bab al-Hawa crossing of the Turkish-Syrian border remains open; three others are closed due to Russian and Chinese pressure in the United Nations Security Council. Those countries regard U.S.-supported rebels active in the region as “terrorists.”

      The Assad government is requiring that aid for areas under its control enter through Damascus. Air shipments to the capital, though, have been hobbled due to runway damage left over from an Israeli attack in January.

      Economic sanctions against the Assad government, in force since 2011, pose the main difficulty for countries that would provide assistance to Syria. Governments worldwide have joined the United States, leader of the pack, in sanctioning Syria.

      Speaking to the press on Feb. 6, State Department spokesperson Ned Price insisted, “We are determined to do what we can to address the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.” He indicated that any U.S. aid would be delivered exclusively to NGOs, the implication being that economic sanctions remain in effect.

      The head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent called upon the United States and its allies to “lift their siege and sanctions on Syria so that rescue and relief work can proceed unimpeded.”

      Speaking for China’s foreign ministry, Mao Ning likewise called for an end to sanctions, pointing out that U.S. “military strikes and harsh economic sanctions have caused huge civilian casualties,” while U.S. troops have assured the “plunder … [of] more than 80% of Syria’s oil production.”

      A UN Special Rapporteur had already urged in November 2022 that sanctions against Syria be ended on grounds of “destruction and trauma suffered by the Syrian people since 2011.”

      On Feb. 9, the U.S. government blinked. The Treasury Department provided authorization lasting for 180 days for “all transactions related to earthquake relief.” Other nations may follow suit.

      The difficulty remains: An aggressive U.S. government is prone to trivializing claims that economic sanctions threaten human lives. The economic measures against Syria’s government revive the spectacle of sanctions aggravating humanitarian catastrophe from another cause. That was Cuba’s situation in having to deal with both U.S. sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic.

      The current situation in Syria calls for a critical look at the U.S. government’s frequent resort to economic sanctions as it wages what amounts to permanent war. Sanctions offer the advantage of impunity. An aggressor’s profile is lowered even as threats of ungovernability and human suffering mount.

      As has long been known, those who suffer most from sanctions aimed at a national economy are a society’s poorest citizens. Sanctions violate human rights, particularly the right of citizens to lead economically sustainable lives and their right to benefit from social programming that is determined collectively, notably healthcare, education, and social security for elders.

      Although legal experts have identified criminal aspects of U.S. sanctions, even crimes against humanity, the upshot has been impunity for the U.S. government, in part due to U.S. disregard for the International Criminal Court.

      Frequent use of economic sanctions represents one aspect of non-stop war-making on the part of the U.S. government and of nations following the U.S. lead. Sanctions are in the same category as the use of one’s own military forces, the use of proxy warriors and other agents, and internal subversion leading to destabilization and/or coups.

      Syria’s people have been on the receiving end of all that for years, and now, even with the devastation of the earthquake, they’re not getting much respite.

      Nord Stream Terror Attack: The Plot Thickens

      February 14, 2023

      by Pepe Escobar, widely posted on the Internet, reposted with the author’s permission

      What’s left for all of us is to swim in a swamp crammed with derelict patsies, dodgy cover stories and intel debris.

      Seymour Hersh’s bombshell report on how the United States government blew up the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea last September continues to generate rippling geopolitical waves all across the spectrum.

      Except, of course, in the parallel bubble of U.S. mainstream media, which has totally ignored it, or in a few select cases, decided to shoot the messenger, dismissing Hersh as a “discredited” journalist, a “blogger”, and a “conspiracy theorist”.

      I have offered an initial approach, focused on the plentiful merits of a seemingly thorough report, but also noting some serious inconsistencies.

      Old school Moscow-based foreign correspondent John Helmer has gone even further; and what he uncovered may be as incandescent as Sy Hersh’s own narrative.

      The heart of the matter in Hersh’s report concerns attribution of responsibility for a de facto industrial terror attack. Surprisingly, no CIA; that falls straight on the toxic planning trio of Sullivan, Blinken and Nuland – neoliberal-cons part of the “Biden” combo. And the final green light comes from the Ultimate Decider: the senile, teleprompt-reading President himself. The Norwegians feature as minor helpers.

      That poses the first serious problem: nowhere in his narrative Hersh refers to MI6, the Poles (government, Navy), the Danes, and even the German government.

      There’s a mention that on January 2022, “after some wobbling”, Chancellor Scholz “was now firmly on the American team”. Well, by now the plan had been under discussion, according to Hersh’s source, for at least a few months. That also means that Scholz remained “on the American team” all the way to the terror attack, on September 2022.

      As for the Brits, the Poles and all NATO games being played off Bornhom Island more than a year before the attack, that had been extensively reported by Russian media – from Kommersant to RIA Novosti.

      The Special Military Operation (SMO) was launched on February 24, almost a year ago. The Nord Stream 1 and 2 blow up happened on September 26. Hersh assures there were “more than nine months of highly secret back and forth debate inside Washington’s national security community about how to ‘sabotage the pipelines’”.

      So that confirms that the terror attack planning preceded, by months, not only the SMO but, crucially, the letters sent by Moscow to Washington on December 2022, requesting a serious discussion on “indivisibility of security” involving NATO, Russia and the post-Soviet space. The request was met by a dismissive American non-response response.

      While he was writing the story of a terror response to a serious geopolitical issue, it does raise eyebrows that a first-rate pro like Hersh does not even bother to examine the complex geopolitical background.

      In a nutshell: the ultimate Mackinderian anathema for the U.S. ruling classes – and that’s bipartisan – is a Germany-Russia alliance, extended to China: that would mean the U.S. expelled from Eurasia, and that conditions everything any American government thinks and does in terms of NATO and Russia.

      Hersh should also have noticed that the timing of the preparation to “sabotage the pipelines” completely blows apart the official United States government narrative, according to which this a collective West effort to help Ukraine against “unprovoked Russian aggression”.

      That elusive source

      The narrative leaves no doubt that Hersh’s source – if not the journalist himself – supports what is considered a lawful U.S. policy: to fight Russia’s “threat to Western dominance [in Europe].”

      So what seems a U.S. Navy covert op, according to the narrative, may have been misguided not because of serious geopolitical reasons; but because the attack planning intentionally evaded U.S. law “requiring Congress to be informed”. That’s an extremely parochial interpretation of international relations. Or, to be blunt: that’s an apology of Exceptionalism.

      And that brings us to what may be the Rosebud in this Orson Welles-worthy saga. Hersh refers to a “secure room on the top floor of the Old Executive Office Building …that was also the home of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board”.

      This was supposedly the place where the terror attack planning was being discussed.

      So welcome to PIAB: the President Intelligence Advisory Board. All members are appointed by the current POTUS, in this case Joe Biden. If we examine the list of current members of PIAB, we should, in theory, find Hersh’s source (see, for instance, “President Biden Announces Appointments to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and the National Science Board”“President Biden Announces Key Appointments”“President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions”“President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions”; and “President Biden Announces Key Appointments to Boards and Commissions”.

      Here are the members of PIAB appointed by Biden: Sandy WinnefeldGilman LouieJanet NapolitanoRichard VermaEvan BayhAnne FinucaneMark AngelsonMargaret HamburgKim Cobb; and Kneeland Youngblood.

      Hersh’s source, according to his narrative, asserts, without a shadow of a doubt, that “Russian troops had been steadily and ominously building up on the borders of Ukraine” and that “alarm was growing in Washington”. It’s beggars belief that this supposedly well informed lot didn’t know about the massing of NATO-led Ukrainian troops across the line of contact, getting ready to launch a blitzkrieg against Donbass.

      What everyone already knew by then – as the record shows even on YouTube – is that the combo behind “Biden” were dead set on terminating the Nord Streams by whatever means necessary. After the start of the SMO, the only thing missing was to find a mechanism for plausible deniability.

      For all its meticulous reporting, the inescapable feeling remains that what Hersh’s narrative indicts is the Biden combo terror gambit, and never the overall U.S. plan to provoke Russia into a proxy war with NATO using Ukraine as cannon fodder.

      Moreover, Hersh’s source may be eminently flawed. He – or she – said, according to Hersh, that Russia “failed to respond” to the pipeline terror attack because “maybe they want the capability to do the same things the U.S. did”.

      In itself, this may prove that the source was not even a member of PIAB, and did not receive the classified PIAB report assessing Putin’s crucial speech of September 30, which identifies the “responsible” party. If that’s the case, the source is just connected (italics mine) to some PIAB member; was not invited to the months-long situation-room planning; and certainly is not aware of the finer details of this administration’s war in Ukraine.

      Considering Sy Hersh’s stellar track record in investigative journalism, it would be quite refreshing for him to elucidate these inconsistencies. That would get rid of the fog of rumors depicting the report as a mere limited hangout.

      Considering there are several “silos” of intel within the U.S. oligarchy, with their corresponding apparatuses, and Hersh has cultivated his contacts among nearly all of them for decades, there’s no question the allegedly privileged information on the Nord Stream saga came from a very precise address – with a very precise agenda.

      So we should see who the story really indicts: certainly the Straussian neo-con/neoliberal-con combo behind “Biden”, and the wobbly President himself. As I pointed out in my initial analysis, the CIA gets away with flying colors.

      And we should not forget that the Big Narrative is changing fast: the RAND report, the looming NATO humiliation in Ukraine, Balloon Hysteria, UFO psy op. The real “threat” is – who else – China. What’s left for all of us is to swim in a swamp crammed with derelict patsies, dodgy cover stories and intel debris. Knowing that those who really run the show never show their hand.

      Syria Earthquake: US & EU Refuse to Help Syrians

      Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360°

      سورية وإنسانيّة المطبّعين (السّامية)!

      الخميس 10 شباط 2023

      شوقي عواضة

      لم يهتزّ ضمير الغرب (السّامي) جراء الزّلازل التي ضربت المناطق السّورية والتّركيّة مثلما اهتزّ لأميركا عندما اجتاحتها الأعاصير على مراحل وسنوات متعدّدة. لم تجرؤ الأمم العوراء المتحدة التي لم ترَ إلّا بعينٍ واحدةٍ ما أصاب تركيا من دمارٍ وسقوط ضحايا في حين كفّت عينها الأخرى عن مشاهدة ما حلّ بسورية من كوارثَ نتيجة الزّلازل نفسها. ولم تثر (النّخوة العربيّة) متسابقة بشهامتها لتضميد جراح قلعة العروبة وقلبها سورية. كما فعلوا حين تبارز (النشامى) سعياً لكسب رضا سيّدهم الأميركيّ ويحتلّون المراتب الأولى في تقديم المساعدات الإنسانيّة للولايات المتحدة الأميركيّة على أثر إعصار ماثيو أو كاترينا وفلورانس عام 2018 حيث صنّفت الدّول العربيّة بالأولى في تقديم المساعدات على مدار السّنوات التي ضربت الأعاصير أميركا. أمّا في سورية صمّت الآذان العربيّة وكفّت عيون من جادوا بأموالهم في (الرّبيع العربي) وسخوا بهباتهم من انتحاريين ومرتزقة لتدمير سورية.

      أمّا إنسانيّة أوروبا الاستنسابيّة والمجتزأة فقد عصف بها الزّلزال الذي حطّم العقوبات الأميركيّة وحطم هامة قيصر الأميركي على أعتاب دمشق، ومعه فقد ذلك الغرب وفي مقدّمته أميركا وأوروبا إنسانيّته التي تتوهّج تضامناً مع تل أبيب في مواجهة الشّعب الفلسطيني الأعزل وتزداد شعلتها توهّجاً في تركيا ومع كلّ من يتحالف مع الكيان الصّهيوني أو يسخّر نفسه لخدمة المشاريع الأميركيّة في المنطقة. بالرّغم من ذلك لم يخلُ الأمر من وقوف الشّرفاء إلى جانب سورية التي وقفت تاريخيّاً ولا زالت بعزمٍ وحزمٍ إلى جانب قضايا العرب والمسلمين وفي مقدّمتها القضية الفلسطينيّة التي لا زالت حتى اليوم تدفع ثمن تبنّيها للقضية غير آبهة بكلّ العقوبات والحصارات الأميركيّة التي حطّمها الشّرفاء والأحرار من الأمة بدءاً من طهران التي كانت أوّل المبادرين لإرسال المساعدات وفرق الإنقاذ وفتح جسرٍ جوي بين طهران ودمشق مروراً بالعراق ولبنان الذي يواجه عقوباتٍ أميركيّةً لم تمنعه من اتخاذ قرارٍ رسميٍّ عبّر عنه رئيس حكومة تصريف الأعمال نجيب ميقاتي بإرساله فرقاً من الصليب الأحمر والجيش اللّبناني إلى سورية للمشاركة في عمليّات الإنقاذ إضافةً، إلى تكليف وزير الأشغال العامّة علي حمية بتشكيل وفد ضمّ وزراء الخارجية والمغتربين عبدالله بو حبيب، الأشغال العامّة والنقل علي حمية، الشّؤون الاجتماعيّة هكتور حجار، والزّراعة عباس الحاج حسن، الأمين العام للهيئة العليا للإغاثة اللواء محمد خير ومدير العناية الطّبية في وزارة الصّحة جوزف حلو لزيارة دمشق من أجل التباحث في المساعدات وعمليّات الإغاثة والمساعدات الإنسانيّة التي بادرت إليها بعض الجمعيّات الأهليّة والمؤسّسات الرّسمية في لبنان. إضافةً إلى تكليف وفدٍ آخر الذهاب إلى تركيا والمساعدة في عمليّات البحث وتقديم المساعدات.

      رغم كبر المأساة في سورية وتركيا ثمّة ازدواجيّة في المعايير على المستوى الدّولي والإقليمي في التّعاطي بين البلدين اللذينِ جمعتهما كارثة الزلازل فالدّول العربية والغربيّة التي قدّمت الملايين من الدّولارات لتمويل المنظمات الإرهابيّة في سورية من داعش وغيرها هي ذاتها التي تؤيّد الحصار والعقوبات على سورية التي أفشلت مشروعها الإرهابي وخرجت منتصرة.

      رغم كلّ ذلك فإنّ صعوبة الوضع الإنساني نتيجة حصار قيصر والزّلازل تضع كلّ الدول الملتزمة بقانون قيصر أمام موقفٍ تاريخيٍّ يدفعها لتأكيد إنسانيّتها من خلال المبادرة إلى إرسال المزيد من المساعدات لا سيّما الدّول الأوروبيّة وبعض الدّول العربية التي ألزمت نفسها بقرار العقوبات الأميركيّة على سورية لعدم إدراكها أنّ الإنسانيّة استثناء في الحروب لا تخضع لحصارٍ أو عقوباتٍ وأنّ المبادرة للعمل الإنسانيّ لا يحتاج إلى توقيع بروتوكولاتٍ أو اتفاقياتٍ فهو خارج عن إطار التبعية لأميركا وغيرها وإلّا فليعلم الجميع أنّه لا معنى لإنسانيّةٍ ممهورةٍ بختم البيت الأبيض ولا قيمة لها إنْ لم تغث ملهوفاً وتضمد جراحاً وترسم بسمةً على وجه منكوبٍ وبائسٍ.
      تلك هي إنسانيّة سورية التي فاضت على العرب والعالم ودونها تسقط كلّ معايير الإنسانيّة المزيفة التي ينشدها الغرب سمفونية يتراقص على أشلاء ضحايا كلّ الظالمين.

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      Roger Waters interview to Berliner Zeitung

      February 09, 2023

      Note: reading these moronic questions+statements only confirms to me my conviction that Europe is sub-pathetic and deserves what will come its way.  This is sad, of course, but indisputable.  As for Roger Waters, his willingness to reconsider his views only inspires even more admiration in me.




      Against the backdrop of the outrageous and despicable  smear campaign by the ISRAELI LOBBY to denounce me as an ANTI-SEMITE, WHICH I AM NOT, NEVER HAVE BEEN and NEVER WILL BE. Against he backdrop of them trying to silence me because I lend my voice to the seventy five year old fight for equal human rights for all my brothers and sisters in Palestine/Israel, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion or nationality. Against the backdrop, of the ISRAELI LOBBY trying to cancel my 85% SOLD OUT series of concerts in Germany, the National Newspaper BERLINER ZEITUNG, has today, courageously, published an in depth interview with me in their Saturday Magazine. Thank you so much gentlemen.

      And to MY FANS who have purchased tickets for my  forthcoming shows in Europe,







      Interview translated into English from German:

      Roger Waters can rightly claim to be the mastermind behind Pink Floyd. He came up with the concept of and wrote all the lyrics for the masterpiece “The Dark Side of the Moon”. He wrote the albums “Animals”, “The Wall” and “The Final Cut” single-handedly. On his current tour “This Is Not A Drill”, which comes to Germany in May, he therefore wants to express that legacy to a large extent and play songs from Pink Floyd’s classic phase. The problem: Because of controversial statements he has made about the war in Ukraine and the politics of the state of Israel, one of his concerts in Poland has already been cancelled, and in Germany Jewish and Christian organizations are demanding the same. Time to talk to the 79-year-old musician: What does he mean by all this? Is he simply misunderstood – should his concerts be cancelled? Is it justifiable to exclude him from the conversation? Or does society have a problem banning dissenters like Waters from the conversation?

      The musician receives his visitors in his residence in southern England, friendly, open, unpretentious, but determined – that’s how he will remain throughout the conversation. First, however, he wants to demonstrate something special: In the studio of his house, he plays three tracks from a brand new re-recording of “The Dark Side of the Moon”, which celebrates its 50th birthday in March. “The new concept is meant to reflect on the meaning of the work, to bring out the heart and soul of the album,” he says, “musically and spiritually. I’m the only one singing my songs on these new recordings, and there are no rock and roll guitar solos.”

      The spoken words, superimposed on instrumental pieces like “On The Run” or “The Great Gig in the Sky” and over “Speak To Me”, “Brain Damage” “Any Colour You Like and Money” are meant to clarify his “mantra”, the message he considers central to all his work: “It’s about the voice of reason. And it says: what is important is not the power of our kings and leaders or their so-called connection with God. What is really important is the connection between us as human beings, the whole human community. We, human beings, are scattered all over the globe – but we are all related because we all come from Africa. We are all brothers and sisters, or at the very least distant cousins, but the way we treat each other is destroying our home, planet earth – faster than we can imagine.” For instance, right now, suddenly here we are in 2023 involved in a year old proxy war with Russia in Ukraine. Why? Ok, a bit of history, in 2004 Russian President Vladimir Putin extended his hand to the West in an attempt to build an architecture of peace in Europe. It’s all there in the record. He explained that western plans to invite the post Maidan coup Ukraine into NATO posed a completely unacceptable existential threat to The Russian Federation and would cross a final red line that could end in war, so could we all get round the table and negotiate a peaceful future.  His advances were brushed off by the US and its NATO allies. From then on he consistently maintained his position and NATO consistently maintained theirs: “F… you”. And here we are.

      Mr Waters, you speak of the voice of reason, of the deep connection of all people. But when it comes to the war in Ukraine, you talk a lot about the mistakes of the US and the West, not about Russia’s war and the Russian aggression. Why don’t you protest against the acts committed by Russia? I know that you supported Pussy Riot and other human rights organizations in Russia. Why don’t you attack Putin?

      First of all, if you read my letter to Putin and my writings around the start of the war in February….

      …you called him a “gangster”…

      …exactly, I did. But I may have changed my mind a little bit in the last year. There is a podcast from Cyprus called “The Duran”. The hosts speak Russian and can read Putin’s speeches in the original. Their comments on it make sense to me. The most important reason for supplying arms to Ukraine is surely profit for the arms industry. And I wonder: is Putin a bigger gangster than Joe Biden and all those in charge of American politics since World War II? I am not so sure. Putin didn’t invade Vietnam or Iraq? Did he?

      The most important reason for arms deliveries is the following: It is to support Ukraine, to win the war and to stop Russia’s aggression. You seem to see it differently.

      Yes. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I am now more open to listen what Putin actually says. According to independent voices I listen to he governs carefully, making decisions on the grounds of a consensus in the Russian Federation government. There are also critical intellectuals in Russia, who have been arguing against American imperialism since the 1950s. And a central phrase has always been: Ukraine is a red line. It must remain a neutral buffer state. If it doesn’t remain so, we don’t know where it will lead. We still don’t know, but it could end in a Third World War.

      In February last year, it was Putin who decided to attack.

      He launched what he still calls a “special military operation”. He launched it on the basis of reasons that if I have understood them well are: 1. We want to stop the potential genocide of the Russian-speaking population of the Donbas. 2. We want to fight Nazism in Ukraine. There is a teenage Ukrainian girl, Alina, with whom I exchanged long letters: “I hear you. I understand your pain.” She answered me, thanked me, but stressed, I‘m sure you’re wrong about one thing though, “I am 200% certain there are no Nazis in Ukraine.” I replied again, “I’m sorry Alina, but you are wrong about that. How can you live in Ukraine and not know?”

      There is no evidence that there has been genocide in Ukraine. At the same time, Putin has repeatedly emphasised that he wants to bring Ukraine back into his empire. Putin told former German Chancellor Angela Merkel that the saddest day in his life was in 1989, when the Soviet Union collapsed.

      Isn’t the word origin of “Ukraine” the Russian word for  “Borderland”? It was part of Russia and the Soviet Union for a long time. It’s a difficult history. During the Second World War, I believe there was a large part of the population of western Ukraine that decided to collaborate with the Nazis. They killed Jews, Roma, communists, and anyone else the Third Reich wanted dead. To this day there is the conflict between Western Ukraine (With or without Nazis Alina) and Eastern The Donbas) and Southern (Crimea) Ukraine and there are many Russian speaking Ukrainians because it was part of Russia for hundreds of years. How can you solve such a problem? It can’t be done by either the Kiev government or the Russians winning. Putin has always stressed that he has no interest in taking over western Ukraine – or invading Poland or any other country across the border. What he is saying is: he wants to protect the Russian-speaking populations in those parts of Ukraine where the Russian speaking populations feel under threat from the far right influenced post Maidan Coup Governments in Kiev. A coup that is widely accepted as having been orchestrated by the US.

      We have spoken to many Ukrainians who can prove otherwise. The US may have helped support the 2014 protests. But overall, reputable sources and eyewitness accounts suggest that the protests arose from within – through the will of the Ukrainian people.

      I wonder which Ukrainians you have spoken to? I can imagine that some claim that. On the other side of the coin a huge majority of Ukrainians in the Crimea and the Donbass have voted in referenda to rejoin The Russian Federation.

      In February, you were surprised that Putin attacked Ukraine. How can you be so sure that he will not go further? Your trust in Russia does not seem to have been shattered, despite the bloody Russian war of aggression.

      How can I be sure that the US will not risk starting a nuclear war with China? They are already provoking The Chinese by interfering in Taiwan. They would love to destroy Russia first. Anyone with an IQ above room temperature understands that, when they read the news, and the Americans admit it.

      You irritate a lot of people because it always sounds like you are defending Putin.

      Compared to Biden, I am. The US/NATO provocations before February 2022 were extreme and very damaging to the interests of all the ordinary people of Europe.

      You would not boycott Russia?

      I think it is counterproductive. You live in Europe: How much does the US charge for gas deliveries? Five times as much as its own citizens pay. In England, people are now saying “eat or heat” – because the poorer sections of the population can hardly afford to heat their homes. Western governments should realize that we are all brothers and sisters. In the Second World War they saw what happens when they try to wage war against Russia. They will unite and fight to the last ruble and the last square meter of ground to defend their motherland. Just like anyone would. I think if the US can convince its own citizens and you and many other people, that Russia is the real enemy, and that Putin is the new Hitler they will have an easier time stealing from the poor to give to the rich and also starting and promoting more wars, like this proxy war in Ukraine. Maybe that seems like an extreme political stance to you, but maybe the history I read and the news I garner is just different from you. You can’t believe everything you see on TV or read in the papers. All I am trying to achieve with my new recordings, my statements and performances is that our brothers and sisters in power stop the war – and that people understand that our brothers and sisters in Russia do not live under a repressive dictatorship, any more than you do in Germany or I do in the US. I mean would we choose to continue to slaughter young Ukrainians and Russians if we had the power to stop it?

      We can do this interview, in Russia this would not be so easy… But back to Ukraine: What would be your political counter-proposal for a meaningful Ukraine policy of the West?

      We need to get all our leaders around the table and force them to say: “No more war!”. That would be the point where dialogue can start.

      Could you imagine living in Russia?

      Yes, of course, why not? It would be the same as with my neighbours here in the south of England. We could go to the pub and talk openly – as long as they don’t go to war and kill Americans or Ukrainians. All right? As long as we can trade with each other, sell each other gas, make sure we’re warm in the winter, we’re fine. Russians are no different from you and me: there are good people and there are idiots – like everywhere else.

      Then why don’t you play shows in Russia?

      Not for ideological reasons. It is simply not possible at the moment. I’m not boycotting Russia, that would be ridiculous. I play 38 shows in the USA. If I were to boycott any country for political reasons, it would be the US. They are the main aggressor.

      If one looks at the conflict neutrally, one can see Putin as the aggressor. Do you think we are all brainwashed?

      Yes, I do indeed, definitely. Brainwashed, you said it.

      Because we consume western media?

      Exactly. What everyone in the West is being told is the “unprovoked invasion” narrative. Huh? Anyone with half a brain can see that the conflict in Ukraine was provoked beyond all measure. It is probably the most provoked invasion ever.

      When concerts in Poland were cancelled because of your statements on the war in Ukraine, did you just feel misunderstood?

      Yes. This is a big step backwards. It is an expression of Russophobia. People in Poland are obviously just as susceptible to Western propaganda. I would want to say to them: You are brothers and sisters, get your leaders to stop the war so that we can stop for a moment and think: “What is this war about?”. It is about making the rich in the Western countries even richer and the poor everywhere even poorer. The opposite of Robin Hood. Jeff Bezos has a fortune of around 200 billion dollars, while thousands of people in Washington D.C. alone live in cardboard boxes on the street.

      Ukrainians are standing up to defend their country. Most people in Germany see it that way, which is why your statements cause consternation, even anger. Your perspectives on Israel meet with similar criticism here. That is also why there is now a discussion about whether your concerts in Germany should be cancelled. How do you react to that?

      Oh, you know, it’s Israeli Lobby activists like Malca Goldstein-Wolf who demand that. That’s idiotic. They already tried to cancel my concert in Cologne in 2017 and even got the local radio stations to join in.

      Isn’t it a bit easy to label these people as idiots?

      Of course, they are not all idiots. But they probably read the Bible and probably believe that anyone who speaks out against Israeli fascism in the Holy Land is an anti-Semite. That’s really not a smart position to take, because to do so you have to deny that people lived in Palestine before the Israelis settled there. You have to follow the legend that says, “A land without a people for a people without a land.” What nonsense. The history here is quite clear. To this day, the indigenous, Jewish population is a minority. The Jewish Israelis all immigrated from Eastern Europe or the United States.

      You once compared the state of Israel to Nazi Germany. Do you still stand by this comparison?

      Yes, of course. The Israelis are committing genocide. Just like Great Britain did during our colonial period, by the way. The British committed genocide against the indigenous people of North America, for example. So did the Dutch, the Spanish, the Portuguese even the Germans in their colonies. All were part of the injustice of the colonial era. And we, the British also murdered and pillaged in India, Southeast Asia, China…. We believed ourselves to be inherently superior to the indigenous people, just as the Israelis do in Palestine. Well, we weren’t and neither are the Israeli Jews.

      As an English man, you have a very different perspective on the history of the State of Israel than we Germans do. In Germany, criticism of Israel is handled with caution for good reasons; Germany has a historical debt that the country must live up to.

      I understand that very well and I have been trying to deal with it for 20 years. But for me, your debt, as you put it, your national sense of guilt for what the Nazis did between 1933 and 1945, shouldn’t require your whole society to walk around with blinkers on about Israel. Would it not be better if it rather spurred you to throw away all the blinkers and support equal human rights for all your brothers and sisters all over the world irrespective of ethnicity religion or nationality?

      Are you questioning Israel’s right to exist?

      In my opinion, Israel has a right to exist as long as it is a true democracy, as long as no group, religious or ethnic, enjoys more human rights than any other. But unfortunately that is exactly what is happening in Israel and Palestine. The government says that only Jewish people should enjoy certain rights. So it can’t be described as democratic. They are very open about it, it’s enshrined in Israeli law. There are now many people in Germany, and of course many Jewish people in Israel, who are open to a different narrative about Israel. Twenty years ago, we could not have had a conversation about the State of Israel in which the terms genocide and apartheid were mentioned. Now I would say you can’t have that conversation without using those terms, because they accurately describe the reality in the occupied territory. I see that more and more clearly since I’ve been part of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, ed.).

      Do you think they would agree with you here in England?

      I can’t say for sure because I’ve hardly lived here for the last 20 years. I would have to go down to the pub and talk to people. But I suspect more and more would agree with me every day. I have many Jewish friends – by the way – who whole heartedly agree with me, which is one reason why it’s so crazy to try to discredit me as a Jew-hater. I have one close friend in New York, who happens to be Jewish, who said to me the other day, “A few years ago, I thought you were crazy, I thought you had completely lost it. Now I see you were right in your position on the policies of the state of Israel – and we, the Jewish community in the US, were wrong.” My friend in NY was clearly distressed making this remark, he is a good man.

      BDS positions are sanctioned by the German Bundestag. A success of the BDS movement could ultimately mean an end to the state of Israel. Do you see it differently?

      Yes, Israel could change its laws. They could say: We have changed our mind, people are allowed to have rights even if they are not Jewish. That would be it, then we wouldn’t need BDS any more.

      Have you lost friends because you are active for BDS?

      It’s interesting that you ask that. I don’t know exactly, but I very much doubt it. A friendship is a powerful thing. I would say I’ve had about ten real friends in my life. I couldn’t lose a friend because of my political views, because friends love each other – and friendship begets talk, and talk begets understanding. If a friend were to say, “Roger, I saw you flew an inflatable pig with a Star of David on it during your Wall concerts!”, I explain to them the context and that there was nothing  anti-Semitic either intended or expressed.

      What is the context then?

      That was during the song “Goodbye Blue Sky” in “The Wall” show. And to explain the context, you see B-52 bombers, on a circular screen behind the band, but they don’t drop bombs, they drop symbols: Dollar signs, Crucifixes, Hammer and Sickles, Star and Crescents, the McDonalds sign – and Star of Davids. This is theatrical satire, an expression of my belief that unleashing these ideologies, or products onto the people on the ground, is an act of aggression, the opposite of humane, the opposite of creating love and peace among us brothers and sisters. I’m saying in the wrong hands all the ideologies these symbols represent can be evil.

      What is your ideology? Are you an anarchist – against any kind of power that people exercise over each other?

      I call myself a humanist, a citizen of the world. And my loyalty and respect belong to all people, regardless of their origin, nationality or religion.

      Would you still perform in Israel today if they let you?

      No, of course not. That would be crossing the picket line. I have for years written letters to colleagues in the music industry  to try to convince them not to perform in Israel. Sometimes they disagree, they say, “But this is a way to make peace, we should go there and try to convince them to make peace” Well we are all entitled to our opinion, but in 2005 the whole of Palestinian Civil Society asked me to observe a cultural boycott, and who am I to tell a whole society living under a brutal occupation that I know better than they.

      It is very provocative to say that you would play in Moscow but not in Israel.

      Interesting that you say that given that Moscow does not run an apartheid state based on the genocide of the indigenous inhabitants.

      In Russia, ethnic minorities are heavily discriminated against. Among other things, more ethnic non-Russians are sent to war than ethnic Russians.

      You seem to be asking me to see Russia from the current Russo phobic perspective. I choose to see it differently, though as I have said I don’t speak Russian or live in Russia so I’m on foreign ground.

      How do you like the fact that Pink Floyd have recorded a new piece for the first time in 30 years – with the Ukrainian musician Andrij Chlywnjuk?

      I have seen the video and I am not surprised, but I find it really, really sad. It’s so alien to me, this action is so lacking in humanity. It encourages the continuation of the war. Pink Floyd is a name I used to be associated with. That was a huge time in my life, a very big deal. To associate that name now with something like this… proxy war makes me sad. I mean, they haven’t made the point of demanding, “Stop the war, stop the slaughter, bring our leaders together to talk!” It’s just this content-less waving of the blue and yellow flag. I wrote in one of my letters to the Ukrainian teenager Alina: I will not raise a flag in this conflict, not a Ukrainian flag, not a Russian flag, not a US flag.

      After the fall of the Wall, you performed “The Wall” in reunified Berlin, certainly with optimistic expectations for the future. Did you think you could also contribute to this future with your own art, make a difference?

      Of course, I believe that to this day. If you have political principles and are an artist, then the two areas are inextricably intertwined. That’s one reason why I left Pink Floyd, by the way: I had those principles, the others either did not or had different ones.

      Do you now see yourself as equal parts musician and political activist?

      Yes, sometimes I lean towards one, sometimes the other.

      Will your current tour really be your last tour?

      (Chuckles) I have no idea. The tour is subtitled “The First Farewell Tour” and that’s an obvious joke because old rock stars routinely use Farewell Tour as a selling tool. Then they sometimes retire and sometimes go on another Final Farewell Tour, it’s all good.

      You want to keep sending something out to the world, make a difference?

      I love good music, I love good literature – especially English and Russian, also German. That’s why I like the idea of people noticing and understanding what I do.

      Then why don’t you hold back with political statements?

      Because I am who I am. If I wasn’t this person who has  strong political convictions, I wouldn’t have written “The Dark Side of the Moon”, “The Wall”, “Wish You Were Here”, “Amused to Death” and all the other stuff.

      Thank you very much for the interview.


      This is what Dave Gilmour, speaking through his wife (!), had to say:

      Needless to say, I now see Gilmour as a (very talented) sad piece of shit.

      Let’s talk about nuclear war

      February 07, 2023


      by Ruben Bauer Naveira

      The United States and Russia – the two greatest nuclear powers on the planet – have embarked on a wide-ranging “indirect war”. All that now remains is for them to engage in direct warfare, which will end up happening sooner or later. If later, it will be exactly because both powers are aware that any direct war between them will inevitably escalate into nuclear war, with a good chance of devastating them both.

      How we reached this point will not be examined in depth here. Very briefly, both parties regard this as a struggle for existence – Russia, in order to continue to exist as a nation (in Putin’s words, “there is no compromise, a country is either sovereign or a colony”), and the United States, to continue to exist as the nation with hegemony over the rest (the US economy has become so reliant on that hegemony that its end would entail the country’s collapse).

      Accordingly, both are willing to take the conflict to its ultimate consequences in order to prevail, and thus nuclear war becomes more inevitable with every passing day.

      Among those responsible for a nuclear war that will be the downfall of all Humankind, there can be no “good guy”. However, when one side is fighting to subsist with autonomy, while the other is fighting in order to dominate the rest, it is not difficult to discern which is most the “bad guy”. Also, if it is still possible, after the hecatomb, to bring the culprits to some kind of justice, it will make all the difference to distinguish who “pressed the button” first (that is, who deliberately chose for millions of people to die) from whoever operated their buttons in retaliation to the incoming attack.

      What developments will take place until we finally arrive at nuclear war is also not the purpose of this piece. Once again, to summarise, both are trying to “gain time”, hoping for their adversary to fall over their own feet before direct war ensues: the Russians are counting on an economic and social collapse in the West, while the US counts on a military defeat of the Russians by the Ukrainians, resulting in the fall of the Putin government. It has to be said, however, that thus far the Russians are getting the better of this “war of attrition”.

      The US also seeks to draw Russia into war against some other, NATO-member country, prodding Lithuania to blockade land access to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, Romania to provide Moldavia with the means to reincorporate the pro-Russian separatist region of Transnistria, and Poland to occupy the westernmost portion of the Ukraine, so as to force Russia to respond militarily. Under the fifth article of the treaty that set up NATO, an attack on any member state is to be taken as an attack on them all; in that way, the United States would drag all of Europe into a war against Russia. The Russians (as well as these European cannon-fodder candidates) have thus far managed to sidestep this trap.

      What is certain is that, militarily, both the United States and Russia are preparing for the eventuality of a nuclear war. The Russians have been doing so for longer. So much so that they have resumed the Soviet-era endeavour to build nuclear shelters on a major scale for their whole urban population: by 2016, new shelters were ready to house a further 12 million people. Conversely, the United States relies on the “first strike” doctrine of a devastating, surprise attack to decapitate the Russian leadership before they have time to react. For that reason, the possibility of their installing nuclear missiles on Ukrainian territory was, given its geographical proximity, a “red line” for the Russians and a fond aspiration for the United States (missile flight time to Moscow would be cut to about four minutes).

      In order to be in a position to unleash a first strike, the United States have taken the following measures: they have introduced what they call “super-fuze” technology to their warheads. This causes detonation to occur on arrival at an optimal altitude over the target, with deviation (trajectory imprecision) factored in, thus enabling less powerful warheads to guarantee destruction of strongly protected target (such as Russia’s missile launch silos). They have also converted some of their Ohio class, ballistic missile launching submarines (each carried 24 Trident missiles) to cruise missiles (each now carries 154 Tomahawk missiles, which are harder to detect and home in on their targets more accurately). Lastly, they are “miniaturising” the warheads (which can now be less powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima), on the (theoretical) basis that missiles that are more accurate, harder to detect and that detonate closer to their targets can be relied on to annihilate Russia’s retaliatory capability – even using less powerful warheads and thus minimising the resulting “nuclear winter” effects. The Russians, meanwhile, as deterrents to a US nuclear attack, have developed innovative weapons whose performance is a closely-guarded secret of State (the US will have to find out the hard way). These include the S-400, S-500, S-550 and A-235 Nudol anti-missile systems and the Peresvet space satellite “blinding” weapons.

      Paradoxically, these strategies both feed back into each other, driving a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. To date, the more the United States has relied on a first-strike capability, the more Russia has striven to prepare itself to deter one. From now on, the more the Russians develop the ability to seal off their airspace to enemy missiles, the smaller will be the chances of an effective first strike by the United States – “effective” in the sense of liquidating, in full or at least in large part, Russia’s ability to retaliate; even if only a few missiles do penetrate Russia’s defences, millions will die, making retaliation a certainty (see this article). Accordingly, the window of opportunity for a successful first strike by the US is gradually closing. Given the prospect of Russia’s becoming militarily hegemonic in the future, the United States finds itself racing against time and, with an ever-mounting sense of urgency, feeling compelled to take action before Russia’s shield is complete.

      Unhappily for Humankind, there does now exist the absurd prospect of a nuclear war actually happening and, accordingly, this article seeks an answer – any answer – to the fateful question, which should never ever have to be put into words: “If nuclear war does ultimately break out, how will it leave the world afterwards? How will it be possible for us to live our lives?”.

      Any answer to those questions requires first considering at least three boundary conditions:

      The first is technical: are there any objective grounds for such an answer? No, there are not. No-one in their right mind can foresee what the world will be like after a nuclear war – nor even know for sure whether there will be any life left on the planet. This will depend on the magnitude of the “nuclear winter” phenomenon, which is the abrupt drop in temperatures caused by dust rising from nuclear explosions, then remaining suspended in the atmosphere and blocking out the Sun’s rays. It has to be admitted, from the outset, that any answer to our question will be no more than pure speculation coloured by varying doses of wishful thinking.

      “Nuclear winter” is the phenomenon in which the Earth’s surface cools abruptly as millions of tons of carbon particles are borne skyward in smoke from the explosions and resulting fires and suspended in the upper atmosphere. In a matter of weeks, as that layer of soot covers the globe and blocks out sunlight, temperatures will fall and rain volumes decline as evaporation diminishes. This will cause animal and plant life to die out all around the world.

      Scientists have been unable to establish a threshold for the exact number of nuclear explosions it would take to extinguish life on the planet. So, speculating, if the total detonations number in the tens, the effects are unforeseeable, because there is no way of knowing to what extent the environment will be able to compensate. If they total hundreds, it is to be supposed that both sunlight and rainfall will be reduced by about a half – which will subject the surviving portion of Humankind to unimaginable suffering. If they come in their thousands, life on Earth will almost certainly become extinct (see this explanatory video).

      In that light, the prospects are gloomy: the United States and Russia each hold around 1,600 nuclear bombs ready for use, plus more than three time that number currently inactivated. Worse still, Earth’s environmental balance is already considerably shaky, undermining our planet’s ability to offset the effects of a nuclear winter.

      The second boundary condition is ethical: if there is one thing that can be said with any certainty about a post-nuclear-war world, it is that it will involve unspeakable human pain and suffering (see this article). The subject cannot be addressed without taking this into careful and sensitive consideration.

      The third boundary condition – the most important of the three – is practical: who would be interested in an answer (any answer) to the question: “If nuclear war does ultimately break out, how will it leave the world afterwards? How will it be possible for us to live our lives?”? It would probably not interest the vast majority – and there, we come up against the previous boundary condition, of the obligation to seek to respect others’ sensitivities.

      By and large, here we consider three groups:

      A first group of people, in the eventuality of a post-nuclear-war era, may simply not want to go on living. Who can judge them? Who can measure the pain of suddenly and unexpectedly losing all frames of reference built up over an entire lifetime? The only prospect of any interest to these people is one where nuclear war never ever occurs.

      A second group of people will want to live, but from survival instinct only. These people will act in highly individualistic manners. Once again: who can blame them for wanting to survive? For them to manage to shed their excessive individualism, they will have to be “won over” by some new “civilising process” (an allusion to the civilising process of the past three hundred years, which produced the Modern Age and has been described by thinkers from Descartes to Max Weber, by way of Kant, Voltaire, Hegel, Marx and many others. It is the process by which the mystical, superstitious Middle Ages gave way to a world of modern “subjects”, masters of their own rationality). The people of this group will not even want to hear mention of nuclear war, until such time as it happens.

      Lastly, there is a third group of people who see meaning in Humanity’s course through History – the “human adventure on Earth”. It is this group alone (certainly a minority, at least at first) that will be interested in answering the question “How will it be possible for us to live our lives?”.

      Given all these reservations, one (obviously not the only) answer to that question can be summarised in a single word: reconnect.

      – Reconnect with Nature: here, it means literally reconnecting with “Mother Earth”, that is, with the earth, the soil that ultimately provides our subsistence. If a nuclear war does break out, the worst situation to be in will be crammed together with thousands or millions of other people, all spiralling out of control at the same time. City life is proper to the Modern Age (capitalism, industrial revolution, Nation-State, secularisation, the primacy of the individual, urban life), while a nuclear war will cause us to revert to pre-modern conditions. So, try to sketch out an “escape” route to somewhere, preferably sparsely populated, away from the city (clearly, if your country is directly involved in a nuclear war, that escape route will have to take you abroad);

      – Reconnect with your own: it is easier to cope with the hardships of life in critical condition if you have solid emotional ties with those who are dearest to you. If, for whatever of life’s reasons, you have drifted out of touch with those you love, open up to them honestly and wholeheartedly and try to set things straight between you. The less you are alone, the better: reconcile yourself with them, because the time is now (among other things, because, if you or they pass away, you will not carry the burden of having torn yourself from them in life).

      – Reconnect with yourself: for each one of us, the meaning of life comes from what we do with the life we have – which obscures the fact that, ultimately and for everyone, the meaning of life is given simply by being alive. If a nuclear war does ensue, things like accumulation, ostentation, consumption or pleasure-seeking will suddenly become impracticable. Be open to the fact that you, due to your continuing alive, will be in a position to find new meanings for your life – for what you will come to do with the life that will continue to be yours. These new meanings may be more collective than individual (with the collective directed to the wellbeing of each constituent individual) – and why not? Of course, that kind of thing has yet to be developed, so then why should the meaning of each person’s life not be to contribute to building up the common good? Openness is the first and most important step.

      World peace (and averting a nuclear war) are certainly beyond your means, but you can make peace with Nature, with others and with yourself.

      Finally, I would like to apologise to readers for the discomfort that may have been caused by my broaching such an anguished subject.

      (Translated into English by Peter Lenny MCIL)

      Anglo-Zionism and the Confederation of Europe

      February 07, 2023


      By Batiushka

      Introduction: The Origins of Anglo-Zionism

      When I discovered the Saker in 2014, I at once discovered his term of genius ‘Anglo-Zionism’. That, after all, is exactly what it is. It is Anglo-Zionism that has poisoned the European well for over 300 years. The bankers who left Venice for Amsterdam and then moved to London, having financed their agent, the bloodthirsty Anglo Cromwell and so brought the monarchy in England under merchant-banker (‘parliamentary’) control, founding the Bank of England in 1694 and bribing the Scots to union in 1707, were Zionists.

      So began Anglo-Zionism. The Anglos were the traders of British Imperialism and the Zionists were the bankers of British Imperialism, of whatever nationality they might be. Of course, there was intermixing, as some Anglos became bankers and some Zionists became traders, for example even moving to the Caribbean for the slave-trade, from which the family of the former UK Prime Minister Cameron made its millions. And Mr Cameron’s great-great-grandfather was a German Jewish banker who became a British citizen in 1871. It is a small world.

      Anglo-Zionism in Europe

      From all this was born the Anglo political system. Generally speaking, the right-wing party (the Tories) were the Anglos, the left-wing party (today called Labour) were the Zionists, though again there were exceptions, for example, the Jewish Prime Minister Disraeli, was in the right-wing party. This system has continued in the UK to this day, where, unsurprisingly, they talk about their ‘Judeo-Christian’ civilisation. Thus, the supposedly Labour Blair regime ministers were almost all Scots, homosexuals and Jews.

      When the ultra-Tory Blair, ‘son of Thatcher’, was despatched after doing his appointed duty, a man called Jeremy Corbyn eventually became the leader of the Labour Party. Unlike Blair, he actually was left-wing, a true-believing Socialist. As a result, he was naturally pro-Palestinian and so was immediately branded by the Anglo-Zionist British Press as an ‘Anti-Semite’. They got rid of him through intrigues, including inducing him to be anti-Brexit (two-thirds of his supporters, his working-class backbone, were pro-Brexit and so, unnaturally, but with no other choice, voted pro-Brexit Tory). Corbyn was replaced with an Establishment millionaire called Starmer, who looks like a cardboard cut-out of a Tory. How did he get the job? Simply because he is married to a Jew and his children are therefore Jews.

      However, the same system was exported all over Europe. In the Soviet Union the ideologue of the Third International was Bronstein (Trotsky) who wanted World Revolution. In Romania, the man who replaced Ceausescu in 1989 was a Jew. The present Romanian leader is a German. The situation in the Ukraine is well-known from the billionaire arms-dealer Poroshenko (real name Walzman) to the millionaire actor Zelensky (his name probably a translation of Gruen). In France the Zionist lobby has been strong from the 19th century on. Although the current French President Macron is French, he is a Rothschild banker. Franco-Zionism. There are dozens of other examples throughout Europe over the last 300 years, especially since Napoleon.

      Anglo-Zionism in the US

      However, the main bastion of Anglo-Zionism is undoubtedly the USA, which the bankers from London seriously colonised during the First World War. specifically during the 1916 turning-point, when it became apparent to the Round Table organisation there would only be one winner, neither Germany, nor Great Britain, but the USA. As soon as Russia had been taken out of the equation through US bankers via their British agents and Russian traitors in Petrograd in early 1917, the first US troops appeared in France less than one month later. All had been pre-planned.

      Today in the US, the Republican Party represents the Anglos and the Democratic Party the Zionists. The billionaire Trump, like Bush, is a typical White Anglo nationalist WASP: America first. On the other hand, Biden is a typical Zionist, just like Obama and Clinton before him, though quite unlike Kennedy. An electoral accident, he of course had to be eliminated. And he was.

      For 250 years the Anglos and the Zionists have worked together in the US, they have had the same self-interested interests – money and power. However, there are now discussions between them regarding the Ukraine. Already half of the Anglo Republicans want out of the Ukraine (1). It is too costly and they want to save the US (and their own fortunes) from its multiple self-inflicted wounds just in case it goes under. But the Zionists are thinking along the same lines. There is only one solution.

      The Ukraine

      The Anglos wanted the Ukraine in order to defeat their traditional rival, Russia. However, for the Zionists the Ukraine had another purpose, it was to destroy White Europe, the same purpose they had in fomenting the First and Second World Wars, so ensuring Zionist domination of the world – ‘Globalism’. Not all neocons are Wolfowitzes, Kagans and Nulands. Many are Anglos. Today, we are already seeing that the Republicans are increasingly beginning to support Zaluzhny, the Kiev military commander, whereas the Democrats still stand behind the Jewish Zelensky, but are now wavering.

      The Republicans originally wanted to weaken Russia. The Republicans are nationalists, so are the Russians. It is now just dawning on them that Russia does not want to recreate the Soviet Empire or any other sort of Empire, all they want is to protect Russians, not to invade other countries. In any case, they are not going to weaken Russia any more through the Ukraine. All that they have done so far is to strengthen Russia. The Ukraine has not served its purpose. As for the Zionists, they are happy to kill as many White Europeans, especially Russian and Ukrainians, as possible, but above all they want world power.

      The interests of Anglos and Zionists coincide. For if the Russians do not want world power after all, then the real rival is China, which has real mercantile power. Therefore, the pivot to China, where there is real money. Once the US has lost in the Ukraine, and Kadyrov confidently predicts that it will be over by the end of 2023 (2), the US will turn its attention to China. But it is already happening. That is what the balloon show was all about. China is a much more interesting option for the money-grubbers, whether Anglos or Zionists. But where does that leave benighted Europe?

      Europe’s Demons

      A spectre has long been haunting Europe, or rather two spectres, or rather two Legions of Demons: Unionist Demons and Nationalist Demons, Centripetal and Centrifugal forces, who have both been issued with strict instructions never to allow Unity in Diversity.

      The Unionists are represented by all the big, supranational, unaccountable and so violent, corrupt and bullying institutions, whose blood-soaked hands have tormented Europe for over 2,000 years: the pagan Roman Empire, the Frankish barbarian ‘Holy Roman Empire’, the ‘Reformed’ centralist Papacy with its ‘Crusades’ and tyrannical medieval ‘unity’, Napoleon, Hitler and the EU. These torments all come out of exactly the same Unionist cauldron, boiling with love of power, greed and hatred for the Nation-State and the little people. The demons dance around the cauldron, hellishly gloating at the immense suffering and bloodshed they have caused to the innocent for two millennia.

      Always the same victims.

      The Nationalists are represented by wars and massacres between the Germans and the Wends, the English and the Welsh and the Scots, the medieval Italian city-states, the principalities of medieval Rus, by the Anglo-French Hundred Years War, the Central European Wars of ‘Religion’, the Normans and the English, the Turks and the Greeks, the English and the Irish, the Russians, both before and after 1917, and the Poles, Finns, Latvians, Georgians and Ukrainians, the Swedes and the Finns, the Germans and the French, the French and the Bretons and Corsicans, the Danes and the Norwegians, the Greeks and the Bulgarians and Macedonians, the Austrians and the Serbs, the Serbs and the Bulgarians and Croats, the Spanish and the Basques and Catalans, the Czechs and the Slovaks, the Hungarians and the Romanians, the Ukrainians and the Carpatho-Russians, the EU and Brexit, Grexit, Nexit, Frexit etc, and by all those many other interminable bullying conflicts between big neighbours and little neighbours, between capitals and provinces. One such conflict is going on at this very moment in the Ukraine, with hundreds of thousands of dead already. These torments too all come out of exactly the same Nationalist cauldron, boiling with love of blood and hatred for Unity. The demons dance around the cauldron, hellishly gloating at the immense suffering and bloodshed they have caused to the innocent for two millennia.

      Always the same victims.

      Overcoming the Demons

      The most dangerous thing in European history is not the suicidal stupidity of Europeans, but when outsiders make it even worse by interfering. For example, to some extent, to what extent exactly is still being debated, the British elite in their island were responsible for meddling in Continental Europe and so creating both the First and the Second World Wars. However, modern Europe is the invention of the US. Itself a Union, built on the blood of over 600,000 of its own, it wanted to create a similar Union in Europe. The result is the EU with its ring of captive stars: ‘One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them. One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them; In the Land of Mordor where the shadows lie’.

      More clearly, the latest conflict in the Ukraine has come about completely through the meddling of the world bully, which styles itself ‘the world’s policeman’, the US. As the US is now losing in this conflict, and losing very badly, what will happen once the US world bully is gone from the scene, not only from the Ukraine, but from Europe in general? After all, the US departure from Europe seems to be inevitable in the coming generation, maybe by the centenary of the US Occupation of Europe in 2045, if not well before that.

      Will the present Unionist US-devised United States of Europe, the EU, which is about to collapse with its Demons of Unionism, fall back into petty nationalisms and intertribal massacres as before? Will Europeans once more have to obey the Demons of Nationalism? Could Europeans not at last learn to live in peace after two thousand years of interfering in the lives of other Europeans and, far worse, after a thousand years of interfering in the lives of Non-Europeans? What could replace Unionism and Nationalism?


      There can be no peace in Europe, until the East and the West of Europe accept one another on an equal footing. And the only axis which can unite Europe is the Moscow-Berlin-Paris axis, the one which was disrupted before 1914. This axis is the only one that could also bring in Budapest, Bucharest, Belgrade, Athens, Warsaw, Stockholm, Rome, Madrid and even London, even if the latter has first to overturn its brutal Establishment by violence, even though the US will have dropped it. And we include Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn in this. The Balts may not like Russians because of the Soviet Occupation, but that was a long time ago and the Balts, unlike their puppet-elites, do not like the American Occupation that replaced it and being forced to exile themselves abroad just to live.

      To ensure peace in Europe and to avoid both Unionism and Nationalism, there needs to be a Confederation of Europe from Moscow to Berlin to Paris to London. The rest will gather round them. If such a Confederation can be designed with care, it could achieve that long-elusive balance of Unity in Diversity which Europe needs. For far too long Europe has been on the wrong side of history, through its suicidal impulses of inviting its enemies in. It is time to stop sitting on the US fence and climb it. Co-operation with Moscow, rather than conflict, is to open the gateway to resources and all Eurasia and to cease that foolish isolationism, which for a thousand years has made Europe into a seat of ethnocentric pride and aggressive violence.

      7 February 2023




      How are sanctions, blockade affecting humanitarian effort in Syria?

      7 Feb 2023

      Source: Al Mayadeen Net

      By Sara Salloum 

      With thousands dead and thousands of others injured in Syria due to the earthquake, numerous international cargo companies refuse to land in Syria out of fear of US and EU sanctions.

      How are sanctions, blockade affecting humanitarian effort in Syria?

      A massive earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 Richter ripped through Syria on early Monday, leading to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries, with the latest tallies showing that more than 1,602 people have been killed in the catastrophe-stricken country, with thousands more injured. 

      The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called on the United Nations and competent UN organizations, as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), among many other humanitarian organizations to provide help for the country in the face of the devastating disaster Syria has been hit with.

      Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad held a meeting with UN representatives and various NGOs in a bid to explain the impact of the unilateral sanctions that are drastically affecting the situation in the country and the humanitarian response to it.

      Local sources told Al Mayadeen that numerous international shipping firms have refused to land in Syria out of fear of US and EU sanctions after several countries have asked Syrian airline companies to transport tonnes of aid aboard their civilian airliners, which are not properly equipped for transporting such large amounts of aid.

      “The unjust sanctions on Syria directly contributed to an increase in the number of victims as a result of the earthquake because of the inability to secure modern machinery and equipment used in such instances,” the head of the fire department in Latakia, Lieutenant Colonel Mohannad Jaafar, told Al Mayadeen.

      “We have fulfilled our duty as per the capabilities available to us. Our entire regiment, with all its firemen, is on high alert. Rescue operations are still ongoing, but we are sadly taking more time because we do not have the proper equipment or a sufficient number of vehicles. Were we to have had these capabilities, we would have been able to save more lives,” Lt. Col. Jaafar added.

      Social media users have been sharing a screenshot from live flight trackers showing how Turkey’s airspace is full of air traffic while neighboring Syria to the south does not have any air traffic whatsoever, signaling how the whole world was quick to send aid to Turkey in stark contrast with the situation in Syria.

      Some sources have revealed that so far, some 62 aid teams from 50 countries have made it into Turkey while barely any have made it to Syria.

      Mohammad, a 40-year-old local from Latakia, told Al Mayadeen how they waited for hours for search and rescue teams to make it to the site. During this time, locals resorted to manually removing any debris they could in a bid to save their families and neighbors.

      Mohammad expressed his sadness over the situation in Syria, recalling the vast capabilities that his country had before the war and how it was sending aid and equipment to other disaster-stricken countries around the world when they were hit with such catastrophes, such as India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Iran.

      Aleppo has been classified as the most damaged, with more than 46 homes destroyed thus far. The Aleppo municipality said they were facing extreme difficulty when it came to providing proper equipment and manpower due to the amount of damage dealt to the governorate.

      “The fierce military battles that took place in Aleppo have directly contributed to the collapse of the buildings after the foundation of these buildings were damaged, and the reconstruction efforts were delayed due to the sanctions on Syria,” the deputy chief of the Aleppo City Council, Ahmed Rahmani, told Al Mayadeen.

      Since the early hours of the morning, the Aleppo governorate has called on the people, private sector companies, and contractors, who have vehicles, to support and help remove the rubble, especially in the densely populated neighborhoods. The Engineers Syndicate also called on all of its members to stay in the Syndicate building in order to carry out their national duty and help people in need.

      The crisis resulting from the terrorist war on Syria prompted civilians to seek refuge in damaged or somewhat destroyed buildings lacking basic infrastructure and services.

      The Secretary-General of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Khaled Arsoussi, made a distress call to international organizations, saying that “Syria urgently needs assistance from international organizations at home and abroad.”

      Arsoussi explained that there was a great shortage of equipment for rescue operations, especially when it comes to removing the rubble, with an alarming shortage of medicines and fuel, both of which are required to operate hospitals.

      The Syrian Ministry of Health estimated the losses of the health sector in Syria during the decade-long war on the country to have been billions of Syrian pounds, especially in light of the destruction caused by terrorist groups and foreign mercenaries. 

      The years of war on Syria have seen the complete destruction of 38 hospitals at the hands of terrorists, as well as the that of 450 vehicles and the killing of more than 700 Syrian doctors.

      The Syrian Trust for Development called on those wishing to participate in the national campaign in support of those affected by the disaster to donate cash directly to the following accounts at Byblos Bank:

      – Hama Governorate account; account name: Syrian Trust for Development; account number: 2050262888028

      – Aleppo Governorate account; account name: Syrian Trust for Development; account number: 2050262888007

      – Latakia Governorate account; account name: Syrian Trust for Development; account number: 2050262888008

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