Yes, What About Yemen?

By Jeremy Salt
Source

Yemen_Flag_2a6d4.jpg

After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, many are asking ‘But what about Yemen?’ Yes, indeed, what about Yemen, but what about Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Somalia? What about Egypt in 1956, what about Iran in 1953 and what about Palestine from 1917 to the present day?

There is a string of ‘what abouts?’ going all the way back to the French occupation of Algeria in 1830.  The ‘western’ presence in North Africa and the Middle East is an unbroken record of criminality, invasion, occupation, massacre, assassination and overthrow stretching back over two hundred years.

The ‘west’ is always killing someone somewhere, or helping someone else to kill them. Nothing has ever stopped it.  Not 9/11 and certainly not the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Even now Britain is ramping up its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, consolidating its position as a partner in the slaughter of Yemenis.

This is the template for what we now see around us.  In the Middle East, the ‘west’ has been a curse. But what is ‘the west’?

No more than a useful cover, basically for three countries, Britain, France, and the US.  Their outriders, Australia, Canada, other European states, in it for the money, or bullied and intimidated into joining the ‘coalition of the willing’ or whatever propaganda phase is cooked up to conceal the massacre of millions, are no more than useful bit players masquerading as independent countries.  To this list has to be added the Arab regimes prepared to sell out anything that can be defined as an Arab cause in return for ‘western’ approval, pre-eminently Palestine. Previously covert dealings with Israel by Gulf states are now right out in the open.

From 1798 when French warships arrived off the coast of Egypt until 1956 when Britain and France were humiliated at Suez, it these two countries that brought havoc to the Middle East, wave after wave and country after country.  If the Palestinians lost Palestine it was because the British gave it to the Zionists. If the Zionists have nuclear weapons it is because France gave them their nuclear reactor.

These two powers have an appalling record wherever you want to look. Their ‘peace conference’ after the end of the First World War was a ‘more war’ conference. Wars on the people of Palestine and Iraq, along with the wars already running, on the people of Egypt and Algeria, where the French butchered Algerians in the streets of Paris in the 1960s, having butchering them in their occupied home country. They massacred them and asphyxiated them with smoke in the caves where they were hiding. So much for la mission civilisatrice.

By the 1960s, finally, exhausted, militarily and financially, no longer able to hang on to their empires, the two governments had to let go and hand power over to the third pillar of the ‘western’ imperium, the US.

Having conspired to overthrow the Syrian government in 1949 and the Iranian government in 1953, the US was planning to overthrow the Syrian government again in 1956 at the very moment Britain France and British, Zionist colony in Palestine attacked Egypt.

Eisenhower knew nothing of the simultaneous plot to destroy the Egyptian government. Deceived by Britain and France, he was furious.

Threatening Britain with an end to financial aid, and seizing the opportunity to let France and Britain know who was boss in the Middle East from now on, he quickly brought the attack on Egypt to an end.

No longer able to start wars of their own, Britain and France now follow the US wherever it wants to go, into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, running in to grab whatever they can from the chaos.

The consequences for the people of the Middle East are deaths on a massive scale and refugees pouring out of their ruptured countries, drowning in the Aegean or the Mediterranean while the killing continues somewhere else.

No ‘western’ country takes any responsibility for any of this. When ‘migrants’ jump ashore from rubber boats or press against border fences, the collective ‘west’ is affronted as if this humanitarian crisis had nothing to do with it, as if these people were the cause of the problem rather than the symptom.

Morality, justice, law, human rights, civilization, democracy are all irrelevant, indeed an insult when coming from the mouths of the politicians responsible for this devastation. The clichés are uttered and the caravan of death moves on.

Witness Khashoggi. They want him forgotten as soon as possible so they can get on with business as usual, i.e. selling weapons so the Saudis can bomb more buses and wedding parties in Yemen and starve more children to death.

It surely has escaped no-one’s attention that all the countries or territories they or their colonial implant in the Middle East, Israel, invade, bomb or occupy, with the single exception of the Balkans in the 1990s, are almost wholly or predominantly Muslim?

Syrian, Yemeni, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Palestine recurrently over the past seven decades and just about everyone in the Muslim world at some point, going back to 1798.

They have killed millions of mostly innocent people. Those that did take up arms were resisting invasion and occupation. Did Fouad Zakaria really have to ask, after 9/11, ‘why do they hate us?’ If there is a ‘clash of civilizations,’ who does anyone think has created it and whose blood was really shed along ‘Islam’s bloody borders,’ as described by Samuel Huntington?

Have a look at a map of the Middle East and North Africa. At some point, virtually all of it has come under ‘western’ attack.  The exceptions happen to be those pandering rulers that give the ‘west’ what it wants and keep on giving.

Money and weaponry trump morality every time. What is the shocking murder of one man compared to the hundreds of billions to be made from arms sales and other deals with Saudi Arabia?

Amorality is the name of their game. They armed Saddam. They helped him use chemical weapons against his Iranian enemy. They looked the other way when he used them against the Kurds and when they had no more use for him they hanged him.

They bought Libya’s oil and brought Muammar al Qadhafi in from the cold until he began setting up financial structures to take Africa out of the hands of the IMF. Then they destroyed his country and killed him. Hillary Clinton guffawed when told of his murder.

Trump promised to end the wars but did not. That is not the reason he is hated by the pseudo-liberals, from the babbling talk show hosts to the editors of their house journals, the Washington Post and the New Yorker.

They couldn’t care less how many Syrians, Yemenis or Palestinians died last week. They hate Trump because he is not one of them. He offends them by his presence. He does not look like them and he does not talk like them. Neither do they have any affinity with the people he represents, including the soldiers from impoverished regions and decaying cities who fight the wars they support.

They just want this execrable creature gone, by whatever means it takes, removed permanently from their line of sight.

They like Hillary. She is a woman, after all, a feminist icon who crashed through the glass ceiling by being as bad as the men and worse than most.  This is what is called a victory for women everywhere.  She is a feminist who has never shown any compassion for the murdered women and children of Palestine, Syria, and Yemen. Her sympathies lie with those who kill, torture or imprison them.

Of course, Clinton’s only interest is herself.  However, the biological fact of gender apparently trumps everything and would have trumped Trump had not the scheming, diabolically cunning Vladimir Putin corrupted the elections from somewhere in the heart of the Kremlin. The man with the orange hair was his Manchurian candidate.

They have no evidence for any of this because there is none. It is fiction from start to finish. From the Washington Post to the New Yorker these pseudo-liberals cling to their fictive version of history because they cannot accept that Clinton lost because the American people had enough common sense to reject her.

Is Trump worse than Hillary would have been? Who knows? Who cares? Outside the serried rank of the pseudo-liberals baying for Trump’s blood, who gives a rat’s arse? Let the Americans fight their civil war. The more damage they do to each other the less the damage they might be able to do to other people.

 

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Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

Image result for end of World War I, Putin and Trump
November 14, 2018Decoding the hypersonic Putin on a day of remembrance

Sitting alongside French President Macron during the 100th anniversary to commemorate the end of World War I, Putin and Trump stole the show in Paris

by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with The Asia Times by special agreement with the author)

The Elysee Palace protocol was implacable. Nobody in Paris would be allowed to steal the spotlight away from the host, President Emmanuel Macron, during the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day marking the end of World War I.

After all, Macron was investing all his political capital as he visited multiple World War I battlefields while warning against the rise of nationalism and a surge in right-wing populism across the West. He was careful to always place the emphasis on praising “patriotism.”

A battle of ideas now rages across Europe, epitomized by the clash between the globalist Macron and populism icon Matteo Salvini, the Italian interior minister. Salvini abhors the Brussels system. Macron is stepping up his defense of a “sovereign Europe.”

And much to the horror of the US establishment, Macron proposes a real “European army” capable of autonomous self-defense side by side with a “real security dialogue with Russia.”

Yet all these “strategic autonomy” ideals collapse when you must share the stage, live, with the undisputed stars of the global show: President Donald  Trump and President Vladimir Putin.

So the optics in Paris were not exactly of a Yalta 2.0 conference. There were no holds barred to keep Trump and Putin apart. Seating arrangements featured, from left to right, Trump, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Macron, his wife Brigitte and Putin. Neither Trump nor Putin, for different reasons, took part in a “walking in the rain” stunt evoking peace.

And yet they connected. Sir Peter Cosgrove, the governor general of Australia, confirmed that Trump and Putin, at a working lunch, had a “lively and friendly” conversation for at least half an hour.

No one better than Putin himself to reveal, even indirectly, what they really talked about. Three themes are absolutely key.

On the Macron-proposed, non-NATO European army: “Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security.”

On the consequences of such an army: It would be “a positive process” that would “strengthen the multipolar world.” On top of it, Russia’s position “is aligned with that of France.”

On relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Washington: “It is not us who are going to withdraw from the INF Treaty. It is the Americans who plan to do that.” Putin added that Moscow has not scheduled military drills near NATO borders as an attempt to appease an already tense situation. Yet Russia has “no issue with” NATO drills and expects at least a measure of dialogue in the near future.

Enter the Avangard

Vast sectors of the US Deep State are in denial, but Putin may have been able to impress on Trump the necessity of serious dialogue due to an absolutely key vector: the Avangard.

The Avangard is a Russian hypersonic glide vehicle capable of flying over Mach 20 –  24,700km/h, or 4 miles per second – and one of the game-changing Russian weapons Putin announced at his ground-breaking March 1 speech.

The Avangard has been in the production assembly line since the summer of 2018, and is due to become operational in the southern Urals by the end of next year or early 2019.

In the near future, the Avangard may be launched by the formidable  Sarmat RS-28 intercontinental ballistic missile and reach Washington in a mere 15 minutes, flying in a cloud of plasma “like a meteorite” – even if the launch is from Russian territory. Serial production of Sarmat ICBMs starts in 2021.

The Avangard simply cannot be intercepted by any existing system on the planet – and the US knows it. Here is General John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command:  “We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us.”

Iran as the new Serbia?

I wish I had been in Paris – my home in Europe – to follow these concentric World War I–related plots live. But it was no less fascinating to follow them from Islamabad, where I am now, back from the northern part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The British Empire used 1.5 million to 2 million Indian colonial subjects to fight, and die, for empire in that war. Quite a few were Punjabis, from what is now Pakistan.

As for the future, Trump is certainly aware of Russia’s hypersonic breakthroughs. Trump and Putin also talked about Syria, and might have touched on Iran, although no one at the working lunch leaked anything about it.

Assuming the dialogue continues at the Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires at the end of November, Putin might be able to impress on Trump that just as Serbia catalyzed a chain of events that led great powers to sleepwalk into World War I, the same could happen with Iran leading to the terrifying prospect of World War III.

Team Trump’s obsession on strangling Iran into economic submission is a no-go, even for the Macron-Merkel-led European Union. On top of it, the Russia-China strategic partnership simply won’t allow any funny – reckless – games to be played against a crucial node of Eurasia integration.

Putin won’t even need to go hypersonic to make his case to Trump.

The Meaning of a Multipolar World

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker BlogThe Meaning of a Multipolar World

Right now, we live in a monopolar world. Here is how U.S. President Barack Obama proudly, even imperially, described it when delivering the Commencement address to America’s future generals, at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. [Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.] That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come. … America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. … Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us. [He was here telling these future U.S. military leaders that they are to fight for the U.S. aristocracy, to help them defeat any nation that resists.] … In Ukraine, Russia’s recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe. But this isn’t the Cold War. Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. [He was proud of the U.S. Government’s effectiveness at propaganda, just as Hitler was proud of the German Government’s propaganda-effectiveness under Joseph Goebbels.] Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine.

Actually, his — Obama’s — regime, had conquered Ukraine in February 2014 by a very bloody coup, and installed a racist-fascist anti-Russian Government there next door to Russia, a stooge-regime to this day, which instituted a racial-cleansing campaign to eliminate enough pro-Russia voters so as to be able to hold onto power there. It has destroyed Ukraine and so alienated the regions of Ukraine that had voted more than 75% for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom Obama overthrew, so that those pro-Russia regions quit Ukraine. What remains of Ukraine after the U.S. conquest is a nazi mess and a destroyed nation in hock to Western taxpayers and banks.

Furthermore, Obama insisted upon (to use Bush’s term about Saddam Hussein) “regime-change” in Syria. Twice in one day the Secretary General of the U.N. asserted that only the Syrian people have any right to do that, no outside nation has any right to impose it. Obama ignored him and kept on trying. Obama actually protected Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate against bombing by Syria’s Government and by Syria’s ally Russia, while the U.S. bombed Syria’s army, which was trying to prevent those jihadists from overthrowing the Government. Obama bombed Libya in order to “regime-change” Muammar Gaddafi, and he bombed Syria in order to “regime-change” Bashar al-Assad; and, so, while the “U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This Is Insane.” And Obama’s successor Trump continues Obama’s policies in this regard. And, of course, the U.S. and its ally UK invaded Iraq in 2003, likewise on the basis of lies to the effect that Iraq was the aggressor. (Even Germany called Poland the aggressor when invading Poland in 1939.)

No other nation regularly invades other nations that never had invaded it. This is international aggression. It is the international crime of “War of Aggression”; and the only nations which do it nowadays are America and its allies, such as the Sauds, Israel, France, and UK, which often join in America’s aggressions (or, in the case of the Sauds’ invasion of Yemen, the ally initiates an invasion, which the U.S. then joins). America’s generals are taught this aggression, and not only by Obama. Ever since at least George W. Bush, it has been solid U.S. policy. (Bush even kicked out the U.N.’s weapons-inspectors, so as to bomb Iraq in 2003.)

In other words: a mono-polar world is a world in which one nation stands above international law, and that nation’s participation in an invasion immunizes also each of its allies who join in the invasion, protecting it too from prosecution, so that a mono-polar world is one in which the United Nations can’t even possibly impose international law impartially, but can impose it only against nations that aren’t allied with the mono-polar power, which in this case is the United States. Furthermore, because the U.S. regime reigns supreme over the entire world, as it does, any nations — such as Russia, China, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Ecuador — that the U.S. regime (which has itself been scientifically proven to be a dictatorship) chooses to treat as an enemy, is especially disadvantaged internationally. Russia and China, however, are among the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and therefore possess a degree of international protection that America’s other chosen enemies do not. And the people who choose which nations to identify as America’s ‘enemies’ are America’s super-rich and not the entire American population, because the U.S. Government is controlled by the super-rich and not by the public.

So, that’s the existing mono-polar world: it is a world that’s controlled by one nation, and this one nation is, in turn, controlled by its aristocracy, its super-rich.

If one of the five permanent members of the Security Council would table at the U.N. a proposal to eliminate the immunity that the U.S. regime has, from investigation and prosecution for any future War of Aggression that it might perpetrate, then, of course, the U.S. and any of its allies on the Security Council would veto that, but if the proposing nation would then constantly call to the international public’s attention that the U.S. and its allies had blocked passage of such a crucially needed “procedure to amend the UN charter”, and that this fact means that the U.S. and its allies constitute fascist regimes as was understood and applied against Germany’s fascist regime, at the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1945, then possibly some members of the U.S.-led gang (the NATO portion of it, at least) would quit that gang, and the U.S. global dictatorship might end, so that there would then become a multi-polar world, in which democracy could actually thrive.

Democracy can only shrivel in a mono-polar world, because all other nations then are simply vassal nations, which accept Obama’s often-repeated dictum that all other nations are “dispensable” and that only the U.S. is not. Even the UK would actually gain in freedom, and in democracy, by breaking away from the U.S., because it would no longer be under the U.S. thumb — the thumb of the global aggressor-nation.

Only one global poll has ever been taken of the question “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?” and it found that, overwhelmingly, by a three-to-one ratio above the second-most-often named country, the United States was identified as being precisely that, the top threat to world-peace. But then, a few years later, another (though less-comprehensive) poll was taken on a similar question, and it produced similar results. Apparently, despite the effectiveness of America’s propagandists, people in other lands recognize quite well that today’s America is a more successful and longer-reigning version of Hitler’s Germany. Although modern America’s propaganda-operation is far more sophisticated than Nazi Germany’s was, it’s not entirely successful. America’s invasions are now too common, all based on lies, just like Hitler’s were.

On November 9th, Russian Television headlined “‘Very insulting’: Trump bashes Macron’s idea of European army for protection from Russia, China & US” and reported that “US President Donald Trump has unloaded on his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, calling the French president’s idea of a ‘real European army,’ independent from Washington, an insult.” On the one hand, Trump constantly criticizes France and other European nations for allegedly not paying enough for America’s NATO military alliance, but he now is denigrating France for proposing to other NATO members a decreasing reliance upon NATO, and increasing reliance, instead, upon the Permanent Structured Cooperation (or PESCO) European military alliance, which was begun on 11 December 2017, and which currently has “25 EU Member States participating: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.” Those are the European nations that are now on the path to eventually quitting NATO.

Once NATO is ended, the U.S. regime will find far more difficult any invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, Yemen 2016-, and maybe even such as America’s bloody coup that overthrew the democratically elected Government of Ukraine and installed a racist-fascist or nazi anti-Russian regime there in 2014. All of these U.S. invasions (and coup) brought to Europe millions of refugees and enormously increased burdens upon European taxpayers. Plus, America’s economic sanctions against both Russia and Iran have hurt European companies (and the U.S. does almost no business with either country, so is immune to that, also). Consequently, today’s America is clearly Europe’s actual main enemy. The continuation of NATO is actually toxic to the peoples of Europe. Communism and the Soviet Union and its NATO-mirroring Warsaw Pact military alliance, all ended peacefully in 1991, but the U.S. regime has secretly continued the Cold War, now against Russia, and is increasingly focusing its “regime-change” propaganda against Russia’s popular democratic leader, Vladimir Putin, even though this U.S. aggression against Russia could mean a world-annihilating nuclear war.

On November 11th, RT bannered “‘Good for multipolar world’: Putin positive on Macron’s ‘European army’ plan bashed by Trump (VIDEO)”, and opened:

Europe’s desire to create its own army and stop relying on Washington for defense is not only understandable, but would be “positive” for the multipolar world, Vladimir Putin said days after Donald Trump ripped into it.

Europe is … a powerful economic union and it is only natural that they want to be independent and … sovereign in the field of defense and security,” Putin told RT in Paris where world leader gathered to mark the centenary of the end of WWI.

He also described the potential creation of a European army “a positive process,” adding that it would “strengthen the multipolar world.” The Russian leader even expressed his support to French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently championed this idea by saying that Russia’s stance on the issue “is aligned with that of France” to some extent.

Macron recently revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force by saying that it is essential for the security of Europe. He also said that the EU must become independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic, provoking an angry reaction from Washington.

Once NATO has shrunk to include only the pro-aggression and outright nazi European nations, such as Ukraine(after the U.S. gang accepts Ukraine into NATO, as it almost certainly then would do), the EU will have a degree of freedom and of democracy that it can only dream of today, and there will then be a multi-polar world, in which the leaders of the U.S. will no longer enjoy the type of immunity from investigation and possible prosecution, for their invasions, that they do today. The result of this will, however, be catastrophic for the top 100 U.S. ‘defense’ contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, because then all of those firms’ foreign sales except to the Sauds, Israel and a few other feudal and fascist regimes, will greatly decline. Donald Trump is doing everything he can to keep the Sauds to the agreements he reached with them back in 2017 to buy $404 billion of U.S. weaonry over the following 10 years.  If, in addition, those firms lose some of their European sales, then the U.S. economic boom thus far in Trump’s Presidency will be seriously endangered. So, the U.S. regime, which is run by the owners of its ‘defense’-contractors, will do all it can to prevent this from happening.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

 

‘Issue of Sovereignty’: Macron Wants EU to Be Less Dependent on Dollar

Emmanuel Macron

‘Issue of Sovereignty’: Macron Wants EU to Be Less Dependent on Dollar

November 12, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron admitted on Sunday that the European nations have so far failed to provide a viable alternative to the US dollar, and are excessively dependent on the American currency.

In an interview with CNN, the French president said currently Europe didn’t have ‘a clear alternative’ to the dollar because “de-facto there is an international extraterritoriality of the dollar due to its strength”.

“Until now, we fail to make the euro as strong as the dollar. We made a great job during the past years but it’s not yet sufficient,” he said, when asked whether the EU will come up with a response to the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in terms of currency.

Macron suggested that European corporations and entities were deeply dependent on the US dollar.

“This is an issue of sovereignty for me. So that’s why I want us to work very closely with our financial institutions, at the European levels and with all the partners, in order to build a capacity to be less dependent from the dollar,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

Macron meanwhile, elaborated that such an alternative was not intended to rival the dollar, but was necessary for “the stability of the global order”:

“It doesn’t mean to be opponents – but I think for the stability of the global order, you’ll need a strong currency like [the] dollar, but you need some alternatives. Euro has to be one of these alternatives, which means we have to better enhance our financial structures and the financing of our players at the euro-zone level.”

 

SourceSputnik

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Millions in Yemen are starving and UK, US & France are ‘behind this’ – Oxfam representative

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People search for survivors under the rubble of houses in the old city of Yemeni capital Sana’a, following a Saudi airstrike, June 12, 2015. Click to enlarge

People search for survivors under the rubble of houses in the old city of Yemeni capital Sana’a, following a Saudi airstrike, June 12, 2015. Click to enlarge

The US, UK, and French governments are behind millions of people starving in Yemen because they are “supporting this war,” an Oxfam representative told RT, urging London to stop beefing up Saudi Arabia’s military.

“We have 14 million people starving,” Richard Stanforth, Oxfam UK’s regional policy officer for the Middle East, said.

Stanforth blamed the British government in particular, saying that London should stop its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is accused of targeting food supplies and even no-strike locations in Yemen.

“We’ve seen attacks on water infrastructure, on hospitals, warehouses of food. This pattern is continuing. Certainly, it’s the airstrikes that are killing most civilians,” he said.

Stanforth says Riyadh’s bombing is not sparing humanitarian sites either… including that of Oxfam. Saudi Arabia is “aware of many of these locations” and along with the UAE, it is still hitting them, he added.

Western states have been widely criticized by rights groups for their continued arms sales to Riyadh. However, turning the tide on multibillion-dollar deals may not be so easy.

Following the killing of exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, US President Donald Trump issued strong words to Riyadh. He was not prepared, however, to cancel a $400 billion arms deal, saying there are other ways to punish America’s Middle East ally.

Trump’s position was echoed by the attitude of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, who said it is “very difficult” (or… costly, to be precise) to get out of the arms deals with Saudi Arabia

Source

The Non-Existent Sea of Azov Crisis

Via The Saker

The Non-Existent Sea of Azov Crisis

November 02, 2018

By Rostislav Ishchenko
Translated by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard

cross posted with http://www.stalkerzone.org/rostislav-ishchenko-the-non-existent-sea-of-azov-crisis/
source: https://ukraina.ru/opinion/20181101/1021618870.html

After the resolution of the European parliament that, contrary to international law and common sense, condemned the actions of Russia in the Sea of Azov, Ukraine cheered up and achieved the bringing of the question concerning elections in the DPR/LPR to the consideration of the UN Security Council.

Russia couldn’t block the introduction of this issue into the agenda both for moral and long-term political reasons.

The fact is that Moscow in 2015 also tried to obtain, and actually did obtain, the approval of the Minsk Agreements via the decision of the UN Security Council. This allowed to put Ukraine on the hook of international legitimacy. Kiev, which desired to jump away from the topic, couldn’t state any more that it doesn’t consider itself to be bound to any agreement with “terrorist-separatists” and that it isn’t obligated to them at all. The decision of the Security Council also enshrined that Russia isn’t a party to the conflict. Kiev after this shouted a lot, caused a fuss, sabotaged the implementation of all without exception points of the Minsk Agreements, but didn’t at all dare to officially withdraw from them.

But every coin has two sides, it is possible to find something bad in any good situation, and in any bad situation – something good. The same thing applies here: cementing its position via the decision of the Security Council, Russia couldn’t, without suffering serious reputation losses, deny the Security Council its right to consider the implementation of the decisions approved by its resolution.

Of course, the Security Council couldn’t adopt an anti-Russian or anti-Donbass resolution in connection with the existence of Russia’s veto. But the 5 member countries of the Security Council (France, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Great Britain) made a statement of non-recognition of the elections being prepared in Donbass and urged Russia to cancel them. The statement was supported by Germany, Italy, and Belgium. It is strange that there was no America among the declarants. However, this allows to present the statement as the collective position of the European Union, while Washington receives the opportunity to later express itself in support of its allies, but in the meantime to make one more attempt to carry out behind-closed-doors bargaining with Moscow.

Both parties are formally right. Ukraine and its Euro-American intercessors specify that elections in Donbass, according to the Minsk Agreements, have to take place under Ukrainian laws, but Minsk will be violated if they take place now. The People’s Republics, whose position Russia supports, state that this may of course be true, but Ukraine long ago had to adopt a whole complex of acts and carry out other measures, including disengaging troops and ceasing shelling before the turn of the People’s Republics to observe the Ukrainian electoral laws comes.

Judging by separate passages of the speech of the Russian envoy in the UN Security Council, Moscow suggests to consider these elections as the simple legitimation of the heads of the republics, who, unlike their predecessors, weren’t elected by anybody. The West is proposed to look at these elections as the solution to a purely technical problem. Moscow has a trump card on its side  – the fact that the head of the DPR Zakharchenko was killed and charges of organising murder were brought to official Kiev structures.

Europe, however, didn’t want to accept the arguments of Russia, which is demonstrated by the statement of 8 EU states. This, of course, can be the usual diplomatic demarche without consequences — occupying an advantageous position for bargaining in the great global game. But there can also be more serious undertakings that as a result will lead to the realisation of Kiev’s dream of disavowing Minsk, but for reasons that are not at all joyful for Ukraine.

We remember that Germany and France weren’t at all afflicted when Russia froze meetings in the Normandy Format until Ukraine took a more constructive position. They sighed freely, because Kiev bothered them worse than a bitter radish, and sat down in the first row of the parterre to see how Volker will get out of the situation. But they remain guarantors of the Minsk Agreements. It is clear to all that Minsk will never be fulfilled. Kiev doesn’t hide from the West that it is afraid of a domino effect if Donbass is given special status. But Paris and Berlin can’t just say “we changed our mind, Minsk doesn’t work any more”. It is for this same reason that Russia can’t deny the UN Security Council its right to periodically consider the question of implementing the Minsk Agreements. France and Germany themselves insisted on these agreements, they participated in their development, they declared that this is their big victory. The political losses that both countries and their leaders will incur if they change their position will be too great.

France and Germany need to have a pretext to free themselves from the obligation of solving the Ukrainian crisis. If it is impossible to withdraw from the agreements at their own will, and if it is impossible to allow it to be disrupted by a Kiev supported by the West, then it is necessary to shift the blame onto Russia and the People’s Republics.

The West perfectly understands that the refusal under obvious pressure to hold elections in the People’s Republics will cause essential damage to Russia’s international authority. That’s why it acts maximally publicly, up to the level of collective statements following the results of the UN Security Council meeting, closing for Moscow the option of changing its mind and once again “postponing” elections. After the elections have taken place, the West can refuse to recognise Pushilin and Pasechnik as negotiators in connection with the non-recognition of the elections that they were elected in. Also the powers of other delegates signed by them during negotiations can also not be recognised. This is enough to bury the Minsk process under an absolutely plausible excuse.

But if indeed the West does this, then it won’t be done to start a new round of negotiations and reach compromises that are more acceptable for Kiev. If there was the desire to save Ukraine, then it would be enough for Germany to stop the construction of “Nord Stream-2” and not prevent Poland from paralysing the work of “Nord Stream-1”. The geopolitical situation surrounding Kiev would immediately significantly change, and the chances – albeit tiny – of lasting at least 5 years while Russia searches for new markets and delivery routes for its gas would sharply grow for the regime. But Germany initially didn’t plan to opt for such sacrifices, which indeed granted us [Russians – ed] the right to affirm that the destiny of Ukraine, in principle, has been decided, therefore it is better for the Kiev regime to immediately die because long agony only increases the torture.

The West in general, and Europe in particular, needs to jump away from the toxic topic, because it is already clear that Russia will soon raise the question of who will pay for the restoration of Ukraine, like how it already raised such a question concerning Syria. By the time that such a question will be asked by Moscow, it is necessary not to have any formal connections with the Ukrainian crisis. The destruction of the Minsk and Normandy Formats — formally not due to their own fault — allows France and Germany to distance themselves from the problem, while at the same time keeping their finger on the pulse. After all, Poland, Hungary, and Romania won’t be able to avoid border problems connected with their minorities in the West of Ukraine. This means that the EU will anyway be involved in a settlement. But Germany and France will be free from obligations and will be able to dictate to their younger partners in the EU the conditions of support for their position, threatening to leave them alone with their problem in the event of obstinacy.

The Azov crisis should be considered from the same point of view. The West didn’t notice this problem during a year, and then suddenly the European Parliament started to care about it, while even Ukraine recognises that although the economic losses from Russia’s actions in the Sea of Azov and big, Moscow acts in full accordance with international standards – no violations of protocols by Russian customs groups were documented.

There is nothing extraordinary about Russia’s actions. The US examined the vessels going to Cuba not only in the days of the Caribbean Crisis. Israel examined the vessels going to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, which even caused a diplomatic incident and the cooling of earlier excellent relations with Turkey. It is possible to give a plethora of examples: a warship’s right to examine a trade vessel in the high sea is the ABC of international law.

Nevertheless, the European Parliament started talking about a possible aggravation in the Sea of Azov and began to threaten with sanctions.

Who will aggravate? Russia has no need to do this, Ukraine can’t, and there isn’t anyone else there. Sofa “experts” already started talking about the entrance of the “NATO fleet” in the Sea of Azov. Those who are cleverer speak about its entrance in the Black Sea, understanding that a warship can only pass in the Sea of Azov with the permission of Russia, and a breakthrough – moreover, by a whole “NATO fleet” – equals war. In addition, large ships anyway can’t breakthrough there, but small cutter boats and dinghies can be brought to the Sea of Azov by Ukraine via land routes without any NATO. But this won’t change anything since Russia can sink everything that floats on this sea. This water area is completely exposed to barrelled artillery fire from the coast, not to mention missile systems. If someone wants to launch a war against Russia, then they will find a more convenient place than the Sea of Azov.

NATO ships, for the purpose of flying the flag, entered, enter, and will continue to enter the Black Sea. The Sea Breeze exercises are staged there annually, but, having an unsinkable “aircraft carrier” named Crimea, Moscow reliably dominates in its water area so much so that a hypothetical attack of Russia using the forces of a really large squadron or shock aircraft carrier grouping is possible no closer than from the region of the Aegean Sea. In the Black Sea a fleet hostile to Russia becomes too vulnerable. Because of Crimea it has nowhere to manoeuvre, and it can’t quickly leave in case of danger – a large grouping of ships can’t overcome the Turkish straits overnight.

So all of this is a fairy tale in favour of idle chatter. The non-existent Azov crisis is invented, on the one hand, for the purpose of mobilising Russophobic voters in the EU for the European Parliament elections in May, 2019, and on the other hand — this noise masks the real actions of the West, and allows it to drift away from Ukraine, imitating its comprehensive support.

Otherwise it is difficult to explain why the West didn’t see the danger of the situation being aggravated during a whole year (when it really existed), but saw it precisely now when the problem was solved. The fishermen of “Nord” were exchanged for the Ukrainian poachers lassoed by Russia. It is only left to exchange captains, then vessels, and then the crisis will fizzle out. Especially if Kiev doesn’t forget to return “Mekhanik Pogodin” after “Nord”.

By the way, apparently Kiev started to suspect that something was amiss, because the comments of Ukrainian officials concerning the Azov crisis were wonderfully weighted, especially against the background of the West’s hysterics. The Kiev regime doesn’t even want to denounce the agreement on the status of the Sea of Azov, contrary to its habit of disrupting all agreements with Russia. However, the regime is now concentrated on destroying the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate and creating a pocket “local church”. It is too busy for the Sea of Azov.

French MP Asks Macron: How Many People Should Die to Stop Saudi Criminality?

November 2, 2018

French MP Bastian La Chaux lashed out at President Emanuel Macron’s foreign policy regarding supporting the Saudi regime in its (43-month) war on Yemen and the various crimes it commits elsewhere.

“How many people should die to stop those crimes?” La Chaux asked Macron.

La Chaux considered that Macron’s policy stigmatizes France which prefers the Saudi billions of dollars to its own honor, stressing that Saudi has committed hundreds of war crimes in Yemen.

The French MP also stressed that Saudi has spread the dark thought across the various countries, condemning Macron’s invitation to the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to visit Paris on November 11 and considering that the latter purchases France’s silence via the weaponry deals.

La Chaux also disapprovingly stressed that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered (October 2 in Saudi consulate in Istanbul) by a group of criminals sent by the Saudi regime which is supported by France.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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