Saad Hariri and the collapse of Lebanon

The Syrian regime-change war and Lebanon’s economic collapse happened under Saad Hariri’s watch, but the Future Movement leader is seldom mentioned for the pivotal role he played in Lebanon’s unravelling

Photo Credit: The Cradle

September 12 2022

By William Van Wagenen

In 2005, US neoconservatives centered around then-Vice President Dick Cheney’s office began collaborating with Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, defected former Syrian Vice President Abd Al-Halim Khaddam, and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood to topple the Syrian government.

Washington did so as part of an effort to topple the governments of seven countries in five years, including Libya and Iran, using the so-called ‘War on Terror’ as a pretext.

However another crucial, though overlooked collaborator in the regime change effort was pro-Saudi Lebanese politician Saad Hariri. And his actions would soon see massive repercussions unfold in his own country.

The dynastic Hariris

In 2005, Saad’s father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri, was assassinated in a massive car bombing, which a highly-politicized UN-backed court pinned on two individuals affiliated with Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah. In the wake of Rafiq’s death, Saad came to head not only the Saudi-supported Future Movement – Lebanon’s leading Sunni political party – but also the multi-billion-dollar Hariri business conglomerate established by his father in Saudi Arabia.

Initially, the US, French, and Israeli governments quickly blamed Syria for Rafiq’s killing. Presumably, Saad was motivated to participate in the US-led regime change effort in Syria as a result.

But business interests also played a role as Saad wished to gain control over Syria’s telecommunication sector. This is something his father had previously tried, but failed to accomplish.

As French journalist Georges Malbrunot details in his book The Road to Damascus, Syria first launched its mobile phone industry in the early 2000’s, and Lebanon’s prime minister at the time, Rafiq Al-Hariri, wanted to invest in one of the two Syrian companies that had just been created for this purpose.

But Rami Makhlouf, cousin of Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad and the dominant investor in the sector, blocked Rafiq’s efforts. Malbrunot notes further that according to a lawyer close to the Syrian government, “there was an immediate veto from the intelligence services against Hariri.”

While the Baath Party may have considered the telecommunications sector to be of strategic importance – and therefore not open to outsiders – Assad would have also been concerned about Hariri’s direct role in bribing top Syrian officials, including then-Vice President Abdul Halim Khaddam, prior to his defection, among a broad slate of other grievances.

In the wake of Rafiq’s assassination, Saad was quick to pick up his father’s baton. At the time the Christian Science Monitor reported that:

“[Saad Hariri] may be a newcomer to Lebanese politics, but Hariri is no neophyte. He ran his father’s massive construction company, Saudi Oger, for over a decade and has extensive financial interests in telecommunications in the Middle East. He is ranked at 548 in Forbes Magazine’s annual list of billionaires with an estimated fortune of $1.2 billion. His father was ranked 108th with $4.3 billion. Hariri has adopted his father’s globe-trotting existence, holding talks with Jacques Chirac, the French president and a close family friend, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Middle East leaders.”

Saad’s support of Salafi-jihadists

In addition to running his deceased father’s business conglomerate, Saad was active in protecting Al-Qaeda affiliated militant groups in Lebanon.  Journalist Seymour Hersh notes that according to a 2005 International Crisis Group (ICG) report, Hariri had helped release four Salafist militants from prison who had previously trained in Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan and were arrested in Lebanon while trying to establish an Islamic state in the north of the country.

Hariri also used his influence in parliament to obtain amnesty for another 29 Salafist militants, including seven suspected of bombing foreign embassies in Beirut a year prior. Hersh notes that according to a senior official in the Lebanese government, “We have a liberal attitude that allows Al-Qaeda types to have a presence here.”

In the wake of the radical Fatah Al-Islam’s 2007 battle with the Lebanese army, which destroyed the Nahr Al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp, Charles Harb of the American University of Beirut (AUB) observed that Saad was giving “political cover” to “radical Sunni movements” that could be directed and employed against the Resistance Axis of Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah.

Harb also noted the involvement of Saudi intelligence in cultivating these groups. He explained that “Several reports have highlighted efforts by Saudi officials to strengthen Sunni groups, including radical ones, to face the Shia renaissance across the region. But building up radical Sunni groups to face the Shia challenge can easily backfire.”

Start of the ‘Syrian Revolution’

In early 2011, US planners exploited dissatisfaction among certain segments of Syrian society – not only pro-western liberals but also the country’s Salafi community – to spark initial ‘Arab Spring’ type protests in the country.

Saad Hariri’s interest in gaining control of the Syrian telecommunication network via any successful regime-change operation was hinted at during the first protest in Daraa, a predominantly Sunni governorate, on 18 March, 2011.

As Syrian sociologist Muhammad Jamal Barout revealed, protestors in Daraa chanted against Rami Makhlouf and demanded that his businesses be expelled from the province (recall that Makhlouf held the dominant position in Syria’s telecommunications sector).

Salafist militants, including from Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), quickly began attacking Syrian security forces under the cover of the early protests. US planners facilitated these attacks (with the help of Prince Bandar), in the hope of unleashing a sectarian civil war on the country comparable to that which had destroyed Iraq starting in 2003.

The Future Movement and Salafi terror

Prominent opposition and human rights activist Haitham Manna provided evidence that elements close to Saad Al-Hariri were among those funneling weapons to the Salafist militants in Syria, including in Daraa, in part to secure financial interests.

According to Muhammad Jamal Barout, Manna’ publicly disclosed in an interview on Al-Jazeera on 31 March, 2011, that “he had received offers to arm movements from Raqqa to Daraa three times by parties he did not identify in the interview.”

Barout additionally writes that, according to Manna, there were secret communications between some Syrian businessmen abroad who found themselves bent on revenge against the Assad government because their interests had been harmed by the network of the pro-government businessman Makhlouf.

Furthermore, these groups were willing to fund and arm opposition movements throughout the country. Barout notes that these businessmen apparently had relations with professional networks capable of delivering weapons to any location in Syria and that some members of the Future Movement in Lebanon were among those arranging these weapons shipments.

One name pops up more than others: Okab Sakr, the MP from Hariri’s Future movement made infamous in phone conversations leaked to Lebanese media outlet Al Akhbar, in which he directly discusses large weapons transfers to Syrian militants.

Writes The Guardian of Hariri’s close confidant: “Every time Okab is in town the weapons start to move across the border,” said a rebel colonel from the Jebel al-Zawiya region, who calls himself Abu Wael.

Sakr eventually fled the country to avoid repercussions for his illicit activities, and admitted to his role in arming the Syrian conflict, which dragged Lebanon into the messy and dangerous fray.

Within no time, Fatah Al-Islam and other militants previously under the protection of Hariri and Saudi intelligence in Lebanon were soon identified on the battlefield in Syria. Dr. Haytham Mouzahem, director of the Beirut Center for Middle East Studies explained that, “When the uprising in Syria began in 2011, many of the remaining Fatah al-Islam members crossed the border and joined groups in the Free Syrian Army [FSA].”

This provided one indication among many that the FSA – as it was known then – was not secular, democratic, or comprised primarily of army defectors, as is often claimed, but rather consisted primarily of Salafist militants, including many affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

The role of Al-Qaeda militants from Lebanon came further into focus in the summer of 2011, when Der Spiegel reported that a prominent Salafist cleric in Tripoli was sending fighters into Syria as early as summer 2011 because, in his view, “Assad is an infidel” and “There is a holy war in Syria and the young men there are conducting jihad. For blood, for honor, for freedom, for dignity.”

According to one of the fighters interviewed by the German magazine, around 60 percent of the Lebanese fighters crossing the border from Tripoli to Homs had previously fought in Iraq.

Syrian fallout: Refugees flood into Lebanon

As the months and years passed, more and more jihadists flooded into Syria. As they did, and as fighting with the Syrian army and its allies intensified and became more brutal and sectarian, more and more Syrian civilians flooded into Lebanon to flee the conflict back home.

With the onset of war in Syria in 2011 and subsequent US sanctions, the Syrian economy began to massively contract, which in turn caused the closely connected Lebanese economy to gradually slow as well.

Given that Lebanon is a small country facing its own disastrous economic crisis, it has been unable to provide decent living conditions for even its own 5.5 million residents, let alone for the 1.7 million Syrian refugees present in the country.

Because US planners, along with their many regional collaborators including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lebanon and others, launched a dirty war on Syria in 2011 causing millions of Syrians to flee their homes and seek refuge in bordering states, it is the US and its close allies that bear most of the responsibility for the current refugee crisis Lebanon now faces.

Accommodating such a large number of refugees would always be difficult, but this became near impossible after the October 2019 Lebanese banking crisis, which in turn caused what the World Bank described as a “brutal” economic contraction of a magnitude “usually associated with conflicts or wars.” Even relatively prosperous and middle-class Lebanese were plunged into poverty, losing most of their life savings, as the Lebanese lira quickly plunged.

A Hariri legacy: Lebanon’s economic collapse

The origins of the crisis can be traced to the creation of a banking infrastructure based on efforts to maintain a currency peg between the Lebanese lira and US dollar.

This system was established by Lebanese central banker Riad Salameh in the 1990’s in the wake of the Lebanese civil war, presumably to restore economic stability needed after the wild currency swings seen throughout the conflict.

Then-prime minister Rafiq Hariri had appointed Salameh – his personal money manager at US brokerage firm Merrill Lynch – as governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank.

To maintain the peg, Salameh effectively established a Ponzi scheme that enriched wealthy Lebanese as well as the bankers themselves. As the New York Times explained:

“Lebanon’s Central Bank promised that 1,507 Lebanese lira would be worth exactly $1 and that Lebanese banks would always exchange one for the other. That policy brought stability, but it also required Lebanon’s banks to hold a large store of U.S. dollars . . . so the banks could make good on the promise to exchange 1,507 lira for $1 at any point. Lebanese firms also needed dollars to pay for imported goods, a large part of the economy in a country that produces little of what it consumes. . . . To keep dollars flowing in, the head of Lebanon’s Central Bank developed a plan: Banks would offer very generous terms — including an annual interest of 15 percent or even 20 percent — to anybody who would deposit dollars. But the only way for banks to make good on these terms was by repaying the initial depositors with money from new depositors. Of course, there is a name for this practice: a Ponzi scheme.”

The receipt of such high interest rates on deposits allowed wealthy Lebanese both at home and abroad to slowly loot the country. Commercial bankers benefitted as well, by receiving a handsome spread on the interest rate paid by the central bank and forwarded to depositors. The Hariri family benefited directly from the system, both as owners of huge US dollar deposits as well as owners of their own commercial bank, Bankmed.

Riad Salameh personally benefitted from the system as well, setting up a brokerage firm with his brother, Forry Associates, that took some $330 million in fees for brokering the sale of government bonds between 2002 and 2015, $200 million of which were allegedly transferred to Salemeh’s personal accounts with various Lebanese banks, including with Hariri’s Bankmed. These transfers led to the ongoing investigation of Salemeh by European officials on charges of money laundering and embezzlement.

As the protracted Syrian war – aided by Hariri and his allies -across Lebanon’s only viable land border tore into Lebanon’s fragile economy, and the flow of new US dollars entering the Lebanese banking system also began to slow, Salameh’s Ponzi scheme became unsustainable, and finally began to collapse in October 2019.

Lebanese banks began to restrict US dollar withdrawals for small depositors to minor amounts, while secretly allowing wealthy and connected clients to pull out huge sums for transfer abroad. Soon, small depositors, who had themselves deposited dollars, were restricted to withdrawing an unreasonable equivalent in Lebanese liras instead.

The value of the lira quickly dropped by some 90 percent, wiping out the life savings of many and causing mass poverty as prices of everything, including essential goods, skyrocketed. According to banker and political commentator, Ehsani, the total losses for depositors amount to roughly $111 billion.

According to Syria’s President Assad, some $40 billion of those frozen deposits may be of Syrian origin, with huge negative ramifications for the country’s finances and reconstruction efforts.

The October 2019 economic collapse was accompanied by wide-spread protests expressing anger against Lebanon’s broader political class, pressuring Saad Hariri to step down as prime minister.

Despite the key role played by the Hariri-Salameh political clique in establishing, benefitting from, and finally collapsing the Lebanese banking system, and subsequently the entire economy, both Hariri and Salameh continue to enjoy diplomatic and political support from their backers in Washington.

In February 2020, amidst criticism of Salameh’s role in precipitating the crisis, US ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea suggested to Lebanese TV it was “a mistake to scapegoat any one person or institution for Lebanon’s economic collapse” and that Salameh, still “enjoys great confidence in the international financial community.”

The reason for this was provided, at least in part, in April 2019 when Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar published minutes of a meeting between the US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism Financing and Financial Crimes, Marshall Billingsley, and the (former) Lebanese Economy Minister, Mansour Bteish. The minutes cite a US official saying:

“We need a governor of the Banque du Liban [central bank] and a deputy governor who we can trust, and who is sensitive and with whom confidential information about terrorist financing and money laundering can be exchanged. The situation today is that we trust Governor Riad Salameh and (former) Deputy Governor Muhammad Baasiri.”

As US planners have not been fighting terrorism, but rather funding and arming al-Qaeda affiliated groups to use as proxies in their war against Syria between 2011 and 2017, this suggests Salameh continues to enjoy US protection to avoid details of terrorist financing, in particular Saad Hariri’s role in arming terrorist groups in Syria on behalf of US planners, from coming to light.

It is difficult to imagine that Lebanon can emerge from its current crisis, or deal with corruption and poor governance plaguing the country, while US influence over Lebanese affairs remains dominant and oppressive US sanctions against Syria remain in place.

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

The Coming Victory of Native Europeans in the UK and the EU

September 07, 2022

Source

By Batiushka

Introduction: A Spectre Is Haunting Europe

A spectre is haunting Europe – it is the spectre of poverty. The bets are now on as to which European country will collapse first. Among the front runners you will find Portugal, Latvia, Ireland, Romania, Italy, Moldova, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany, Bulgaria, France and Slovakia. But perhaps none of them is more likely to fall first than the UK. For it has a new Prime Minister, who, unthinkably, is an even greater clown than the last one and even threatens to press the nuclear button. Let me digress for a moment with a visit to the islands off the coast of North-Western Europe.

MissTrust Rules

My visit to the UK, after Wiesbaden in Germany, came at a time when the English peasants were revolting, but the governing elite did not yet know it.

In one last Marie-Antoinette farewell moment the unlate, unlamented Mr Johnson advised the revolting peasants of the UK to spend £20 buying a new and more economic kettle, so that after two years (if the Chinese-made kettle lasted that long) they could save £10 a year on their £2,500 + annual energy bills. ‘Let them eat cake’, he may as well have shouted to the breadless masses.

The effete and wealthy Tory Party never understood the people. Johnson’s unelected replacement, MissTrust, for whom we should beg the CIA (which has long funded Nobel Prizes) to fund a Nobel Prize for Geography (after all Mr Obama won a Nobel Prize for Peace), faces many challenges:

Firstly, there is the self-inflicted mess Mr Johnson made of Brexit, notably by separating Northern Ireland from Great Britain as regards imports and exports and failing to impose any laws for necessary immigration and against unnecessary immigration. It was the Tory Party that imposed on the British people the then Common Market (later becoming the EU) in 1973. The people never asked to join – they were never consulted.

Secondly, there is the self-inflicted covid chaos. Tory-imposed lockdowns bankrupted many and were hated by even more. The much-vaunted vaccines turned out to be useless after three months, and even extremely harmful to some. Today a million vaccinated Britons have covid week in, week out. The people never asked for lockdowns and false vaccines – they were never consulted.

Thirdly, there is the self-inflicted energy crisis and the spiralling energy and food prices, caused by illegal Tory government sanctions against the Russian decision to rescue Russians from Kiev’s genocide and persecution. The people never asked to be cold and hungry – they were never consulted.

Fourthly, there are the self-inflicted dramatic problems of always underfunded national infrastructure, whether that of the Health Service (people dying in their homes and in ambulances because the hospitals are so full that they have to wait for many, many hours before they can be admitted), the ‘privatised’ electricity, gas, water and telecom companies, airports and railways, which are all breaking down. The people never asked for public services which are appalling because they are private – they were never consulted.

Don’t worry. MissTrust has what she calls a ‘bold solution’. It is called another £150 billion of extra debt. But perhaps, after this digression to the islands, Continental Europe can provide a remedy for such idiocy through a long-ago victory over the Franco-German elite?

Inspiration for Freedom: Roncevaux III

The peoples of UK Europe will have to fight for their freedom. And so will the peoples of EU Europe. They might all find their inspiration in the long, long ago Native European defeat of the Franco-German elite, whose descendants now rule in Brussels. I speak of the victory of the Native Europeans – the original inhabitants of Europe long before the Greeks, Romans, Celts and Teutons – the Basques. Surviving as a group of some three million on the French-Spanish border, centred on the wild western Pyrenean mountains, they speak a unique, pre-Indo-European language, the original language of Europe. You have heard of Native Americans? Well, the Basques are Native Europeans. The rest are invaders. You have heard of General Custer? Well, you need to hear about his ancestor, General Roland. Sadly, the barbarian knight Custer was not defeated, but the barbarian knight Roland was.

With the rise of Charlemagne (747-814), the French name for the ‘Holy Roman Emperor’, ‘Karl der Grosse’, ‘Karl the Tall’, Frankish imperialism tried to invade and control ever more territory in Western and Central Europe in a feeble attempt to imitate the pagan Roman Empire. The attempt by these barbarians failed, but it was the forerunner of all future pagan Western Empires, haunted and formated by pagan Rome, from the Portuguese to the Spanish, from the Dutch to the French, from the British (Roman Britannia) to the American via the Fascist Italian and the Nazi German. (Why do you think the Washington White House has the form of a Roman temple and they talk of the myth of ‘Pax Americana’?)

In the 770s the future unHoly, unRoman and unEmperor, Charlemagne had his barbarian army encroach into the Duchy of Aquitaine in what is now south-west France. The Basques (Vascones or Gascons) in the territory south of the River Garonne, northern Gascony, remained largely free. However, from 778 on Charlemagne expanded the Frankish takeover of Aquitaine to present-day Gascony (the northern Basque Country), appointing Franks, Burgundians and Frankish ‘Church’ officials to the main posts.

Seeing an opportunity to expand by allying himself with Muslim dissidents, headed among others by the Arab traitor Husayn of Zaragoza (so much for Charlemagne’s much-vaunted ‘Christianity’), in 778 Charlemagne marched across the Pyrenees ‘at the head of all the forces he could muster’ to Spain. The Muslims under Abd ar-Rahman of Cordoba sent their best general to stop the Frankish invasion. However, the traitor Husayn managed to defeat and imprison him.

Then Husayn decided not to yield his new privileged status to the Franks and refused to surrender the city of Zaragoza to Charlemagne, claiming he had never promised him anything. Husayn tried to bribe Charlemagne by giving him the imprisoned general from Cordoba and a large tribute of gold, but Charlemagne was not satisfied. He laid siege to Zaragoza, but eventually he accepted the gold and the release of several prisoners from Husayn, in return for which he lifted his siege.

Before running away from Spain (Kabul), Charlemagne decided to terrorise the Basque country. Intending to eliminate opposition from the native Basques, he gave orders to destroy the walls of the Basque capital Pamplona (Mariupol) or even, according to some, destroy the city altogether, and he also razed many Basque towns. He placed forts and military outposts (Remember Custer) throughout their territory and his invading Franks treated the Basques harshly during his occupation (Remember the Native Americans).

After imagining that he had conquered the region (the Ukraine), Charlemagne (Obama) marched for the Pyrenees mountain pass of Roncevaux in order to return to France (Poland). Many of his lords, such as Roland, Anselm and Eggihard, were placed in the rearguard to protect the retreat and the baggage train. The Basques sent their soldiers after him in retaliation for the destruction of their towns and the Basques’ local knowledge helped them overtake the Franks.

On the evening of 15 August 778 Charlemagne’s rearguard was set upon by the Basques as they crossed the mountain pass. The Franks were caught unawares as they tried to escape. The Basques (Afghans) managed to cut off the Frankish rearguard and the baggage train from the rest of the retreating Army. As Charlemagne tried to rescue his Army, Roland and the others held out until the Basques finally massacred them, killing them to the last man. The Basques then plundered the baggage left behind and took advantage of the night to disappear, so that the Franks could not find them the next morning.

The Battle caused great losses among the Frankish (Ukrainian) troops, including several of the most important aristocrats (officers) and the sack of the baggage (military equipment), probably with all the gold given by the Muslims in Zaragoza. Charlemagne (NATO) lost huge quantities of treasure and men (mercenaries). Never again would Charlemagne take it upon himself to lead an army to battle in Spain (the Ukraine), having to rely instead on his generals (CIA/MI6) for future campaigns. The Franks had failed to capture Zaragoza and suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Basques (DNR/LNR).

Later, lands in the Pyrenees would be ruled by Charlemagne’s officials, and distributed among colonisers (Hunter Biden/Monsanto) and to the Frankish Church (Woke fanatics) allied to Charlemagne (Biden). However, the Basques would finally consolidate their independent Kingdom of Pamplona in 824 after new resistance to Frankish rule. In that year the Basque Army defeated another Frankish Army in the same mountain pass. The Second Battle of Roncevaux was almost identical to the first, with the Basques again taking advantage of the terrain, but against a much larger Frankish force. Unlike the first Battle in which most of Charlemagne’s Army managed to escape, the invaders, led by the Frankish vassal Aeblus, were trapped and routed, and a larger number of their men were slaughtered than in 778.

Thus, the Battle of Roncevaux (literally, ‘Brambly Valley’) in the Pyrenees in 778 saw the Basque freedom-fighters defeat Charlemagne after his invasion. The Basques celebrate this victory to this day (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmr3apxS87E). However, the death of Roland and his warriors gave the Western elite role models for their barbarous knights of the Western Middle Ages.  Over the years the Battle was hyped into a struggle between Catholics and Muslims, although the Basques of the period were mainly pagan and the Franks were allied to some of the Muslims.

The Native European victory at Roncevaux is retold with regret in the eleventh-century work of Frankish propaganda, ’The Song of Roland’. It is recalled in the Italian Orlando (= Roland) Furioso and inspired Western Establishment composers like Lully, Vivaldi and Handel. The Western elitists, who today fly Ukrainian flags from their Establishment buildings, government offices, town-halls, castles and Catholic and Protestant churches in Western Europe and name their children ‘Roland’ and ‘Orlando’, will tell you that ‘Roland’ is a Western hero, a Zelensky from the past.

Conclusion: Europequake

Western and Central Europe faces a turning-point. Its Native Peoples face defeat or victory. The first great Basque/Native European victory over the invading elite took place in 778, the second in 824. The 1200th anniversary of Roncevaux II is approaching fast. May the anniversary of this great victory of Native Europeans be inspirational to the peoples of Europe today. The Native Europeans defeated the Frankish elite then; so we can again today. The 1200th anniversary of Roncevaux II is coming in 2024. Let us make that Roncevaux III.

7 September 2022

Unicorns Are Real

September 02, 2022

Source

by Batiushka

Unicorns Are Real or It Must Be True, the Western Media Told Me So

An autumn chill is descending on every European country, though in each country in different ways.

Gas-dependent Germany and Italy are desperate for Russian gas. It is not just homes, but whole factories which face imminent closure in energy-intensive industries. The result of that will be mass unemployment. By ‘mass’, I mean 20% and more.

In France there is popular rejection of President Macron who has told his people that they (i.e. not him) must suffer so that the Ukraine can ‘win’. September is the first month of the annual strike-season in France. French people do not like being cold. Expect some headlines.

In Latvia the Russian minority are fearful for their future, but so is everyone else. Heating will not be an option this winter. With a pension of just over 100 euros a month, many pensioners are simply going to die of the cold.

From Slovakia we have received the following:

‘Thanks for your email. Just to give you some idea of the current manufacturing costs here in Slovakia and to be brutally honest throughout the upside down world, We paid last year 85,000 euros for electricity, this year it’s going to be around 500,000 euros. As of 1 Jan2023 it’s going to be 1.2 million euros at best.

So that’s just the electricity, never mind the gas, the increase in raw materials, salaries and all other manufacturing costs, This is a hard way of saying it’s impossible to reduce and every customer of ours has to accept it or not. Surprisingly we have never ever been as busy! You cutting margins down low is of course difficult, but at least you have margins. We simply do not have anything to reduce’.

In Moldova the crisis is profound. As in Latvia and Lithuania up to half the population have fled their countries after they were pillaged by the EU (even though officially Moldova does not even belong to the EU!). Previously medicine came from the Ukraine. Now that is unobtainable, they have to use medicine from Germany. Only that costs ten times more. Quite simply, if you are very ill and you don’t have the money, this year you will die.

In Romania, which has lost a quarter of its population to emigration after the great EU pillage, and where a salary of 600 euros per month is considered very good, food prices are the same as in Western Europe, where average salaries are four to five times more, and diesel costs even more than elsewhere.

In Ireland restaurants are closing because they cannot afford their energy bills, which have increased by 1,000% (yes, one thousand per cent).

In London, the capital of the Brutish (sic) Empire, the Gauleiter Johnson finally admitted that, ‘British households will have to endure soaring energy bills as part of efforts to defeat Vladimir Putin….economic sanctions imposed on Russia have contributed to soaring global gas prices which have driven up household bills’. Analysts expect the UK’s energy price cap per household to rise from an already extremely high £1,971 today to £3,554 a year this October and to a completely unaffordable £6,089 in April 2023. A bill boycott is gathering momentum. Expect rioting and the looting of supermarkets by the hungry.

Did British people choose to endure this? No. Did British people plead to suffer so that they can defeat Putin in a local quarrel about a country most of them had never heard of until last February? No. Did British people refuse to pay for the abundant and cheap Russian oil and gas in roubles? No. Were they consulted about choosing the new Prime Minister? No. So much for ‘the mother of parliaments’….

In the oligarch-controlled UK there are now calls for Thatcher’s privatised utility companies, with their huge profits, generous payouts of dividends to shareholders, hopeless infrastructure, lack of investment and absence of government regulation, to be renationalised. Some have even commented that perhaps ‘the free market’ really meant the law of the jungle and that ‘privatisation simply meant Thatcher selling off public assets to her capitalist cronies and supporters’. Well, forty years late, but some people have finally got the message.

Enough. That is not what I wanted to tell you about.

In the last week of August I left France and went to Wiesbaden. There I visited the magnificent Russian church, built in the century before last. Going round the cemetery with the graves of old aristocrats with their masonic symbols on their headstones (now you know why the Russian Revolution took place), I saw the relatively new grave that I had been looking for.

This was the grave of a lovely old couple, whom I had long known. I won’t reveal their names, just to say that their story would make a film, only so romantic that you would not believe it. However, if you are past the age of forty, you should have realised by now that real life is far, far stranger and far, far more incredible than any fiction. All I will say is that he was born in Saint Petersburg in 1916, was taken by his fleeing parents to Finland after the rest of the family had been shot, that in 1943 he had become a monk and a priest in Nazi Germany, and that in late 1946 the family had fled ruined Berlin for Peronist Argentina as Russian Orthodox refugees. And there, in 1948, he met a desperately poor Argentinian street girl who had been born in Italy. It was love at first sight. I don’t think I have ever met such a devoted and exemplary couple or ever will. They died in great old age within hours of each other.

Enough. That is not what I wanted to tell you about.

After I had gone down from the high wooded churchlands into the town of Wiesbaden, I saw a middle-aged woman wearing a T-shirt which said: ‘Unicorns are Real’. The words were not in German, but in English (even though, no doubt the T-shirt was Made in China). I began to wonder.

Was it just infantilism? The sort of escapism that funded the UFO industry, or Star Wars, or Harry Potter? The irresponsible and immature who are running away from reality?

And I thought to myself that I could not imagine any middle-aged Russian, Chinese, Indian, Iranian, African, Cuban, Colombian or Brazilian woman wearing such a T-shirt (unless of course they were so futile that they had married oligarchs). And then there came to me the words written by the British author G.K. Chesterton in his short story of 1925, The Oracle of the Dog: ‘The first effect of not believing…is that you lose your common sense’.

In other words, to wear such a T-shirt simply shows a lack of faith – in anything. And I thought how significant it was that the words had been written in English, the language of the Hegemon. And I thought, yes, this really is the end of the Western world. Because if you want to advertise your belief that unicorns are real, you have quite simply lost your mind and that from now on you will believe anything the Western world tells you. After all, it is only one step from ‘Unicorns are Real’ to:

‘The great and noble Zelensky is winning the war in the Ukraine because our Western cause is just’.

Israeli naval delegation deployed to Yemen’s Socotra Island: Report

Over the past year, Israel has been collaborating with the UAE to establish a military and intelligence presence on the Yemeni island

September 02 2022

A Soviet-era tank rusts on the coast of the Yemeni island of Socotra. (Photo credit: AFP)

ByNews Desk- 

Yemeni media reported on 2 September that a delegation of Israeli military experts has been deployed to the UAE-controlled Yemeni island of Socotra, located in the Gulf of Aden.

According to the report, the Israeli team has been on the island for the past few days, and is accompanied by several Emirati intelligence officers.

The report adds that the delegation, who belong to Tel Aviv’s navy, have been carrying out search operations and excavations across Socotra Island.

The island, inhabited by around 60,000 people, overlooks the Strait of Bab Al-Mandab, a major shipping corridor that links the Red Sea to both the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Over the past year, Israel has reportedly been working with its Gulf partner to establish a presence on Socotra.

According to a Yemeni media report from March, the UAE is involved in the development of a construction project to build facilities on the island for the purpose of hosting Israeli soldiers, officers, and other military experts and personnel.

This is allegedly part of a plan to turn the Yemeni island into a center for regional espionage, as well as to increase military control over maritime routes.

Last year, Israel signed an agreement with the UAE, allowing it to establish an intelligence center at the island’s Hadibu Airport.

Israel is also interested in the strategic Yemeni island because it serves as a potential flashpoint for a confrontation with Iran. In 2020, the Washington Institute published an analysis examining how Israeli submarines could potentially strike the Islamic Republic from positions near Yemen.

In January of this year, Socotra Island made headlines due to controversial photos of Israeli tourists who had visited the island under a UAE-issued visa.

In June of 2020, the UAE established control of the island by bribing its tribal authorities.

Former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi described the UAE’s takeover of the island as “a full-fledged coup,” however.

Since the start of the war on Yemen in 2015, the UAE has been an integral part of the Saudi-led coalition, backing mercenary groups across the country and taking part in indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

The Saudi-led coalition, which continues to violate the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement, receives logistical and military support from the US, the UK, France, and most notably Israel.

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Tucker Carlson: Things are falling apart every quickly

August 30, 2022

Macron Insulted Africans’ Intelligence by Claiming That Multipolar Powers Manipulate Them

Global Research, August 29, 2022

By Andrew Korybko

Region: Europesub-Saharan Africa

Theme: Intelligence

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The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser.

French President Macron claimed during his latest trip to Algeria that “Many of the (information) networks that are covertly pushed (in Africa) – … by Turkey… by Russia… by China – have an enemy: France.” This was a supreme insult to all Africans’ intelligence since it channeled the discredited racist trope that they’re supposedly so stupid as to be easily manipulated by multipolar powers. Instead of acknowledging the genuinely grassroots and politically legitimate reasons why many Africans are actively rebelling against French influence in its self-proclaimed “sphere of influence” in so-called “Françafrique” like Turkiye’s Foreign Ministry suggested that he do, Macron chose to once again spew unsubstantiated smears similar in spirit to those malicious ones that it earlier made against Mali.

The reality is that the global systemic transition to multipolarity that unprecedentedly accelerated since the latest US-provoked phase of the Ukrainian Conflict has served to inspire the entire BRICS-led Global South to push back against the US-led West’s Golden Billion at this pivotal moment in the New Cold War between those two polar opposite models of socio-economic and political development. Moreover, many Africans felt emboldened to further intensify their efforts after President Putin unveiled his global revolutionary manifesto in late July that was followed shortly thereafter by Foreign Minister Lavrov pledging that Russia will help Africa fully complete its decolonization processes ahead of his successful trip to the continent.

Video: Freedom Convoy Solidarity in Alberta. Agreement with RCMP

Africa’s Role In The New Cold War” is destined to be that of a major battleground between the Golden Billion and the Global South precisely because its people refuse to be subjugated any longer by the former after having ruthlessly been exploited by them for half a millennium. France, which is among the most powerful of the Golden Billion’s hegemons in Africa and even surpasses the US’ influence in some parts of the continent, isn’t even hiding its neo-colonial intentions anymore after Macron ripped off his mask and started insulting Africans’ intelligence in the extremely racist way that he just did. The so-called “battle for hearts and minds” has already been won by the Global South’s multipolar Great Powers like Russia and China, who are helping to liberate all African countries with no strings attached.

They’d never dare disrespect their partners, let alone in the crude way that Macron just did, especially because they themselves have been victimized by similar forms of verbal abuse. Africans are well aware not only of those two and others’ proud anti-colonial histories, but also of just how sincerely they respect all others in contrast to the behavior exemplified by Western leaders like the French one and his peers. Macron’s racist insult of all Africans’ intelligence isn’t just rude, but also suggests that the Golden Billion is done “playing nice” after having abandoned all pretenses of their faux “politeness” that they unconvincingly attempted to practice in the past. As Western “thought leaders” never tire of reminding everyone, “might makes right” in their eyes, hence why they’re now sowing chaos across Africa.

This isn’t speculation either but documented fact after Mali recently accused France of supporting those Al Qaeda-connected terrorists that declared war on its Russian partner in late June and then the joint US- and Egyptian-led but TPLF-driven Hybrid War of Terror on Ethiopia resumed shortly thereafter on the other side of the continent. In fact, that second-mentioned conflict that first went hot in November 2020 after years of multilateral planning can be seen in hindsight as the new template that the West and its regional vassals like Egypt are employing since it was hatched as punishment for Ethiopia’s principled neutrality in the New Cold War between the US-led West’s Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South. It therefore follows that similarly multipolar states like Mali and others will be punished too.

Macron made a major mistake though by letting his mask slip after spewing his racist innuendo about Africans supposedly lacking the intelligence to not be manipulated by foreign powers. The shameless ethno-nationalist supremacy associated with his hateful remark will result in Africans doubling down on their anti-imperialist and Pan-Africanism activism since no self-respecting person would ever capitulate in the face of such blatantly racist pressure and thus voluntarily submit themselves to being dominated by their abuser. Far from helping the Golden Billion’s hegemonic cause like his twisted mind imagined that his crude insult would supposedly do, the French leader’s public embrace of racist tropes against Africans will only serve to accelerate the decline of the US-led West’s hegemony over that continent.

*

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This article was originally published on OneWorld.

Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

He is a regular contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

The original source of this article is Global Research

Copyright © Andrew Korybko, Global Research, 2022


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Yemen: “We Are the Terrorists.”

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Phil Butler
We are the terrorists. Americans are the terrorists creating tremendous suffering and tragedy around the world. And no, I am not the only one admitting to this. Deep down, all of my fellow citizens know what we are up to. A recent incident in Yemen drives home the hegemony my country has created, having looted, and still looting the whole.

I watched talk show host Jimmy Dore a few moments ago, laying out how the US, France, and other nations are robbing other people of this world to prop up failed super-capitalism. Dore, who has an uncanny ability to drive at the heart of matters, was interviewing Ethiopian-American Journalist Hermela Aregawi in a story about the French Foreign Legion securing Yemeni natural gas for sale to the EU. The story begins something like this from The New Arab:

“France could be gearing up to help protect a gas facility in Yemen to allow for exports in a bid to cut Europe’s reliance on Russia, according to an ex-Yemeni foreign minister.”

Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, told reporters the other day that the French Foreign Legion has arrived in Yemen’s Shabwah province to secure control of the Balhaf gas facility. He said the French are making “preparations being made to export gas from the Balhaf facility.”

Hermela Aregawi commented with Dore about how current American policies are building up massive resentment toward the United States, even in countries that were once highly favorable towards us. I know from my experience here in Greece too. As recently as three years ago, criticizing the US in any way at all brought about a look of shock among the Greek population. Today, many Greeks question our role not only in Greece but in Ukraine and other lands where proxy wars over resources burn.

The larger Yemen story also reveals the meaning of a July Paris – Abu Dhabi LNG cooperation that depends on securing Yemen’s gas resources via the Balhaf facility, owned by French multinational oil and gas company Total.

Abdulaziz Saleh bin Habtoor, Yemen’s Prime Minister, has called the world’s attention to the recent looting by the Saudi-led coalition under the watch of the United States. He says Washington is bent on getting control of the resources through Gulf proxies.

Yemeni forces have been in deadly clashes with UAE-backed southern separatist forces in Shabwa province, where Balhaf is located. Looked at in the broader scope, the Yemen situation is just a facet of a much larger looting program underway. Syria, where U.S. forces have essentially taken over the eastern oil-producing region, and the Ukraine conflict reveal the larger canvas. Looking from outer space, the battle for Earth has been raging for decades. But now, the conflict and competition have reached a crisis stage. America and the Europeans are out of gas, literally. And no matter who has to suffer and die, the liberal order cannot let the big lie slip out. Worse, the people in the so-called west don’t want to know or admit our role in pirating the whole world.

Finally, On 22 August, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein al-Ezzi warned that the presence of foreign forces in the Gulf of Aden or any part of Yemeni waters is illegal. The minister was speaking in response to US Fifth Fleet Admiral Charles Bradford Cooper’s announcement that the US will deploy unmanned drones in the Gulf of Aden. However, the entire Yemen situation is easier to break down by revealing what all these nations want there. And, of course, the answer is precious oil and gas. I’ve discussed this before and the nature of so-called “peak oil.”

To fully cordon off Russia, Europe needs oil, gas, and plenty of it. The US cannot supply enough. It’s too far away, and America has her own needs. Yemen, however, is a relatively untapped source. Only two of the 12 significant basins on and offshore have been developed. The other ten are what’s known as “frontier basins,” according to readily available data. I believe, however, that Total and other significant players know full well another bonanza is offshore of Yemen. This GEOExPro report hints at this. The information puts current Yemen recoverable oil reserves at 4.731 Bbo, and proven gas reserves at 18.6 Tcfg. But this is 2010 estimates.

We do not need to establish the oil and gas reserves the Yemeni people are entitled to benefit from. The fact the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the EU have their militaries, bureaucrats, and energy corporations sinking their teeth in is proof enough that the blood of Yemen children will be spilled not for some high romantic future, but so that the same people bleeding Syria, Ukraine. So much of the rest of the world dry can thrive. The French Foreign Legion defending an oil depot in the middle of nowhere says it all. We, the collective “west,” are the real terrorists.

All the way to Odessa

August 27, 2022

by Pepe Escobar, posted with the author’s permission and widely cross-posted

Dmitry Medvedev, relishing his unplugged self, has laid down the law on the Special Military Operation (SMO). Bluntly, he affirmed there is a “one and a half” scenario: either to go all the way, or a military coup d’Etat in Ukraine followed by admitting the inevitable. No tertium applies.

That’s as stark as it gets: the leadership in Moscow is making it very clear, to internal and international audiences, the new deal consists in slow cooking the Kiev racket inside a massive cauldron while polishing its status of financial black hole for the collective West. Until we reach boiling point – which will be a revolution or a putsch.

In parallel, The Lords of (Proxy) War will continue with their own strategy, which is to pillage an enfeebled, fearful, Europe, then dressing it up as a perfumed colony to be ruthlessly exploited ad nauseam by the imperial oligarchy.

Europe is now a runaway TGV – minus the requisite Hollywood production values. Assuming it does not veer off track – a dicey proposition – it may eventually arrive at a railway station called Agenda 2030, The Great Narrative, or some other NATO/Davos denomination du jour.

As it stands, what’s remarkable is how the “marginal” Russian economy hardly broke a sweat to “end the abundance” of the wealthiest region on the planet.

Moscow does not even entertain the notion of negotiating with Brussels because there’s nothing to negotiate – considering puny Eurocrats will only be hurled away from their zombified state when the dire socio-economic consequences of “the end of abundance” will finally translate into peasants with pitchforks roaming the continent.

It may be eons away, but inevitably the average Italian, German or Frenchman will connect the dots and realize it is their own “leaders” – national nullities and mostly unelected Eurocrats – who are paving their road to poverty.

You will be poor. And you will like it. Because we are all supporting freedom for Ukrainian neo-nazis. That brings the concept of “multicultural Europe” to a whole new level.

The runaway train, of course, may veer off track and plunge into an Alpine abyss. In this case something might be saved from the wreckage – and “reconstruction” might be on the cards. But reconstruct what?

Europe could always reconstruct a new Reich (collapsed with a bang in 1945); a soft Reich (erected at the end of WWII); or break with its past failures, sing “I’m Free” – and connect with Eurasia. Don’t bet on it.

Get back those Taurian lands

The SMO may be about to radically change – something that will drive the already clueless denizens of US Think Tankland and their Euro vassals even more berserk.

President Putin and Defense Minister Shoigu have been giving serious hints the only way for the pain dial is up – considering the mounting evidence of terrorism inside Russian territory; the vile assassination of Darya Dugina; non-stop shelling of civilians in border regions; attacks on Crimea; the use of chemical weapons; and the shelling of Zaporizhzhya power plant raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

This past Tuesday, one day before the SMO completing six months, Crimea’s permanent representative to the Kremlin, Georgy Muradov, all but spelled it out.

He stressed the necessity to “reintegrate all the Taurian lands” – Crimea, the Northern Black Sea and the Azov Sea – into a single entity as soon as “in the next few months”. He defined this process as “objective and demanded by the population of these regions.”

Muradov added, “given not only the strikes on Crimea, but also the continuous shelling of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the dam of the Kakhovka reservoir, peaceful facilities on the territory of Russia, the DNR and LNR, there are all preconditions to qualify the actions of the Banderite regime as terrorist.”

The conclusion is inevitable: “the political issue of changing the format of the special military operation” enters the agenda. After all, Washington and Brussels “have already prepared new anti-Crimean provocations of the NATO-Bandera alliance”.

So when we examine what the “restoration of the Taurian lands” implies, we see not only the contours of Novorossiya but most of all that there won’t be any security for Crimea – and thus Russia – in the Black Sea without Odessa becoming Russian again. And that, on top of it, will solve the Transnistria dilemma.

Add to it Kharkov – the capital and top industrial center of Greater Donbass. And of course Dnipropetrovsk. They are all SMO objectives, the whole combo to be later protected by buffer zones in Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts.

Only then the “tasks” – as Shoigu calls them – of the SMO would be declared fulfilled. The timeline could be eight to ten months – after a lull under General Winter.

As the turbo-charged SMO rolls on, it’s a given the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will continue to prop up and weaponize the Kiev racket till Kingdom Come – and that will apply especially after the Return of Odessa. What’s unclear is who and what gang will be left in Kiev posing as the ruling party and doing specials for Vogue while duly fulfilling the mass of imperial diktats.

It’s also a given the CIA/MI6 combo will be refining non-stop the contours of a massive guerrilla war against Russia in multiple fronts – crammed with terror attacks and all sorts of provocations.

Yet in the Bigger Picture it’s the inevitable Russian military victory in Donbass and then “all the Taurian lands” that will hit the collective West like a lethal asteroid. The geopolitical humiliation will be unbearable; not to mention the geoeconomic humiliation for vassalized Europe.

As Eurasian integration will become an even stronger vector, Russian diplomacy will be solidifying the new normal. Never forget that Moscow had no trouble normalizing relations, for instance, with China, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. All these actors, in different ways, directly contributed to the fall of the USSR. Now – with one exception – they are all focused on The Dawn of the Eurasian Century.

Iranian FM visits Mali days after French withdrawal

Malian officials praised Iran for providing aid that ‘does not seek superiority, and seeks the interests of Africans’

August 24 2022

(Photo credit: Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

ByNews Desk- 

On 23 August, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian travelled to Mali to meet with interim President Colonel Assimi Goïta, one week after France withdrew the last of its troops from the African state.

Amir-Abdollahian expressed Tehran’s determination to develop cooperation with Bamako and praised the nation’s struggles against terror groups, highlighting Iran’s experience in the successful fight against ISIS in West Asia.

Western military troops have been operating in Mali – a former French colony – since 2013, allegedly to assist in defeating terrorism. But as terror acts steadily increased over the past decade, Malians have slammed the foreign military intervention and labelled the presence of French troops as an “occupation.”

In a previous letter to the UN Security Council president, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop accused France of supporting terrorists in his country.

“These flagrant violations of Malian airspace were used by France to collect information for terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them,” the letter charged.

In the meeting to boost bilateral relations between Iran and Mali, Goïta emphasized his nation’s readiness to host Iranian industrialists and entrepreneurs.

Earlier in the day, Iran’s top diplomat took part in the first Iran-Mali joint economic commission with his Malian counterpart, Diop.

After unveiling special plans to promote economic cooperation with the West African nation, Amir-Abdollahian took aim at the “failure” of western sanctions imposed on sovereign nations.

“The west’s nonsensical sanctions policy has failed, and nations will move forward with perseverance, stability, and self-confidence,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

He also called on Malian authorities to take advantage of Tehran’s accumulated experience in the field of countering western sanctions.

“Iran attaches great importance to the development of relations with the important and beautiful African continent. The new Iranian government of President [Ebrahim] Raisi places special emphasis on prioritizing the relationship with Africa, especially with a historical and civilized country like the Republic of Mali,” the Iranian foreign minister affirmed.

For his part, the Malian foreign minister praised Raisi’s commitment to Africa.

“Many countries are interested in Africa for their own interests, but Iran’s choice is different. Iran’s choice is not for political purposes and does not seek superiority, and seeks the interests of Africans,” Diop said.

At the conclusion of their meeting, Amir-Abdollahian announced that the Islamic Republic would donate one million doses of its homemade COVID-19 vaccine to Mali.

Leading a high-ranking economic delegation on a tour of Africa, Amir-Abdollahian is next set to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Putin To Macron: Ukraine’s Shelling Near Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant Poses Danger of Large-scale Disaster

August 21, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have had their first phone call in almost three months to discuss the Ukraine conflict and nuclear security in the area of Zaporozhye, the Kremlin announced on Friday.

The call was initiated by the French side and saw the two leaders discuss “various aspects of the situation around Ukraine,” according to the Kremlin’s readout.

Putin emphasized that “the systematic shelling of the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant by the Ukrainian military poses a danger of a large-scale disaster that could lead to radiation spillover onto a large territory,” Moscow said.

The two leaders agreed that a mission under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] should be dispatched to the NPP “as soon as possible” in order to assess the situation on site.

“The Russian side confirmed it’s ready to provide the Agency’s inspectors with all the necessary assistance,” the Kremlin said.

According to the Elysee Palace, Putin agreed that the IAEA mission to Zaporozhye NPP would be dispatched on the terms already arranged by Ukraine and the United Nations. This would mean that the IAEA delegation might travel via the territory currently controlled by Kiev’s forces. Previously, Moscow insisted that such a mission could arrive only via Russian-controlled territory.

The two sides will address this issue again in the coming days, after technical teams discuss the matter in detail, the Elysee said.

According to the Kremlin, Putin once again invited international experts to visit a detention facility in Yelenovka, in the Donetsk People’s Republic. An artillery attack on the prison, which Moscow says was carried out by Kiev’s forces, killed 50 Ukrainian POWs and injured dozens more last month.

Putin also informed Macron on the implementation of the deal for Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea. This agreement, which was brokered by the UN and Turkey, is also supposed to allow Russia to deliver fertilizers and food products to the global markets. However, the Kremlin noted, “obstacles for the Russian grain [export] persist,” which continues to have an adverse effect on global food security.

The most recent call between the two leaders took place on May 28 and also involved German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. During that conversation, Putin blamed Ukraine for the stalled peace talks, assuring his counterparts that Moscow remained ready to negotiate an end to the ongoing conflict and condemning the West for supplying Kiev with weapons.

مؤرخ أمريكي نعوم شومسكي يكشف عن الهدف الحقيقي لواشنطن في أوكرانيا

2022-08-20

وقال شومسكي إن واشنطن تريد أن تمنع موسكو من إمكانية تسوية الأزمة الأوكرانية بطريقة دبلوماسية، الأمر الذي يمكن أن يزيد حدة التوتر في العالم إلى أقصى حد ممكن، مذكرا أن هذا القرار اتخذه الناتو أثناء قمته في قاعدة رامشتاين الجوية في ألمانيا.

وأوضح: “في تلك القمة وافق الحلف، بما في ذلك أوروبا، على الموقف الرسمي للولايات المتحدة الذي ينص على أنه من الضروري تحقيق إضعاف روسيا لأكبر حد ممكن، لكي لا يكون بإمكانها القيام بالمزيد من الأعمال الواسعة النطاق. وإذا فكرنا في ذلك بشكل جيد فيعني ذلك أنه من الضروري إضعاف روسيا بشكل أكثر مما عملته اتفاقية فيرسال لعام 1919 بألمانيا. إنها تحتاج إلى تقويض قوة روسيا إلى حد لن يسمح لها بإجراء مفاوضات والقيام بعمل دبلوماسي”.

كما عبر الباحث عن خيبة أمله من استعداد الدول الأوروبية للخضوع لقرارات البيت الأبيض لتجنب وصفها بـ “الخائن” للقيم الغربية. وأضاف: “تدعم أوروبا وجهة النظر هذه. كان الأمريكيون دائما يتمسكون بهذه السياسة، غير أن ألمانيا وفرنسا كانتا تجريان العملية الدبلوماسية البديلة، لكن في هذه القمة وافقتا على الموقف الأمريكي”.

وعبر شومسكي عن اعتقاده بأن الموقف الأوروبي من الأزمة الأوكرانية ليس عادلا، مذكرا بأسالوب أمريكا لفرض نظامها في العراق وسوريا وليبيا، وكيفية عرض ما يحدث في أوكرانيا في وسائل الإعلام الدولية. وتابع: “أهتم جدا بمتابعة ما تكتبه وسائل الإعلام الأمريكية التي تصف التطورات الأوكرانية بأنها نزاع “غير مبرر”. وهذا هو الوضع الوحيد الذي من الممكن فيه استخدام هذا المصطلح… وهو يشير إلى وجود فهم أن ما يحدث تمت إثارته بالفعل. لذلك بالذات يجب تكرار هذه العبارة دائما. ولا يستخدمها أحد عندما يدور الحديث عن النزاعات الأخرى”.

هذا ووصف شومسكي رغبة واشنطن القديمة لجذب أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو رغم احتجاجات موسكو المستمرة والتحذيرات من جانب الساسة الأمريكيين ذوي الخبرة، وصفها بأنها استفزاز.

وتابع: “كانت روسيا قد أفهمت منذ 30 عاما، أي قبل سنوات طويلة قبل بوتين، بأن ضم أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو، وهو حلف عسكري عدائي، سيعني عبورا للخط، وأن أي زعيم روسي لن يوافق على ذلك، لا غورباتشوف ولا يلتسين ولا بوتين. وفهم عدد من الساسة الأمريكيين الكبار ذلك، وبينهم جورج كينان وهنري كيسنجر وجيك ميدلوك ورئيس وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأمريكية ويليام بيرنز. وفهم ذلك موجود منذ وقت بعيد. ومنذ التسعينيات من القرن الماضي يحاولون تحذير المسوؤلين الأمريكيين من أن محاولات ضم أوكرانيا إلى حلف الناتو ستكون تهورا واستفزازا”.

المصدر: نوفوستي

وساطات مع حزب الله لمنع الانفجار وتقدّم ينتظر الحسم خلال أيام | «قانا مقابل كاريش» و«كل الحقول مقابل كل الحقول»

الأربعاء 17 آب 2022

(أ ف ب )

 ابراهيم الأمين 

دعوا الجماعات اللبنانية التابعة لأميركا والسعودية تدير الأمور على طريقة الزواريب. عندما يكون النقاش متعلقاً بملف له بعده الإقليمي والدولي، لا يبقى لهؤلاء أي دور سوى الانتظار والتفرّج. صحيح أن وليد جنبلاط، مثلاً، يكثر من دورانه، لكنه يتصرف بواقعية شديدة إزاء ملفات حساسة كملف ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع العدو. فهو، بمعزل عن قناعاته الفعلية، ليس من أنصار المكابرة، ويجد طريقة للتعبير عن الأمر بما يجعله يبدو مسكيناً عبر القول: سنعرف من حزب الله ما الذي يحصل؟

استعارة موقف جنبلاط ليست انتقاصاً من أحد من بقية القوى اللبنانية، الرسمية منها أو السياسية أو «ما بين بين». لكنها ضرورية حتى لا يُفاجأ أحد إذا ما استفقنا يوماً على مشروع اتفاق أو مشروع حرب مع العدو. أما الأطراف المعنية بالملف فيمكن تحديدها، وفق الأهمية، كالآتي:
في لبنان، هناك موقف المقاومة وموقف الدولة اللبنانية ممثلة بالرؤساء الثلاثة. وفي الخارج، هناك موقف الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل، وموقف العواصم المعنية بملف الغاز في شرق المتوسط، بما فيها تلك التي تنتظر استخراج الغاز من حقول السواحل الشرقية للمتوسط.
في هذه الحال، يمكن التقدير بأنه إلى جانب المفاوضات العلنية عبر الموفد الأميركي عاموس هوكشتين، سيكون هناك كثير من القنوات الخلفية التي يستخدمها كل المفاوضين في العالم، وتشمل سياسيين وديبلوماسيين وخبراء وإعلاميين وغيرهم. وهو ما يمكن تصوّر أنه يحدث في حالة لبنان اليوم، خصوصاً أن العدو الإسرائيلي ينطلق من قاعدة جديدة في التفاوض بعدما دخل حزب الله على الخط بإعلان استعداده لشن حرب واسعة إن لزم الأمر.
حتى لحظة الإعلان الرسمي على لسان الأمين العام للحزب السيد حسن نصرالله، كان الجميع خارج لبنان يتعامل مع هذا الملف بخفّة. واصلت إسرائيل خطواتها التحضيرية للاستخراج من دون اعتبار لرأي أحد، وحوّل الوسيط الأميركي وساطته إلى «كزدورة» بين العواصم وصولاً إلى الشركات المعنية بالعمل. لكن، بعد إعلان نصرالله موقفه، ثم عملية المسيّرات، انقلب المشهد تماماً.
بادر الإسرائيليون من تلقاء أنفسهم، وسريعاً، بإبلاغ كل من يهمه الأمر، في المنطقة والعالم، أن تجربتهم مع حزب الله تجعلهم يتصرفون على أساس أنهم أمام تهديد جدي وفعلي وكبير. وسارعت الجهات المعنية في كيان العدو إلى درس المخاطر من النواحي الأمنية والعسكرية والمادية، حيث يدور الحديث عن خسائر لا تقل عن ثلاثين مليار دولار قبل احتساب خسائر عدم الاستخراج. والعدو كان أول من أبلغ الأميركيين بضرورة التصرف بحذر وجدية. وهذا كلام قيل مرات عدة لهوكشتين الذي كان يعتقد أنه يدير الملف على طريقة إدارة السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت للقوى الحليفة لها والجمعيات والمنظمات غير الحكومية التابعة لها، متسلحاً بعناصر الضغط التي يملكها الأميركيون على أركان السلطة بما يمنعهم من إغضابها. لكن السفارة الأميركية في بيروت، كما الأجهزة والجهات المعنية في الولايات المتحدة، تعرف أن الأمر يصبح مختلفاً عندما يتعلق بحزب الله.
عملياً، أدرك الجميع أن الوضع بات مختلفاً، وصار البحث ينطلق من القاعدة الرئيسية التي حدّدتها المقاومة: لديكم مهلة شهر، تنتهي قرابة منتصف أيلول، فإما أن تسلموا للبنان بحقوقه كاملة ويسمح للشركات بالعمل، وإما لن يكون هناك تنقيب ولا استخراج ولا حتى منشآت في الجهة المقابلة.

إسرائيل تتعهّد القبول بحقوق لبنان وتأجيل الاستخراج في كاريش مقابل سحب التهديد بالحرب


وبعد جولات عدة لمبعوثين، معلنين وغير معلنين، إلى بيروت وتل أبيب، تطور الموقف في الأسابيع الماضية إلى أن تشكلت صورة جديدة كالآتي:
أولاً، سحب من التداول العرض الإسرائيلي بالمقايضة بين حقل قانا والبلوك 8، كما سُحبت كل الأفكار الأخرى، الإسرائيلية والأميركية والخليجية (الإماراتية)، بإقامة إطار تعاون غير مباشر من خلال اعتماد مبدأ «الحقول المشتركة» أو الشركات التي تعمل في حقول البلدين، أو صندوق العائدات المشترك.
ثانياً، أقر العدو بالخط 23 بعدما انتزعت من لبنان ورقة التفاوض الخاصة بالخط 29، وانتقل البحث في طلب لبنان السيطرة على كامل حقل قانا، وتم رفض الخط المتعرج الذي قدمه هوكشتين، فعاد الإسرائيليون وعرضوا الإقرار بحق لبنان في ملكية كل ما يحويه حقل قانا، لكن مع طلب تأجيل البت بالسيادة على هذه المنطقة. وهناك نقاش مستمر في كيان العدو حول ما إذا كان لهم الحق في جزء من حقل قانا. وهذا النقاش إن استمر، سيضطر أي حكومة في إسرائيل إلى طرح استفتاء عام قبل التنازل عن «الحق السيادي».
ثالثاً، بادر الأميركيون بالعمل على احتواء أي خلافات داخل إسرائيل حول ملف الترسيم، سواء بإبلاغ حكومة يائير لابيد بأن لا حجة لديها لوقف التفاوض. أو من خلال التفاهم مع زعيم المعارضة بنيامين نتنياهو على إبقاء هذا الملف خارج الاستثمار في الانتخابات النيابية، مع وضعه في أجواء المفاوضات ليلتزم بها في حال تمكّن من الفوز بالانتخابات وعدم الانقلاب عليها.
رابعاً، ثبت لدى المستوى الأمني والعسكري في كيان العدو بأن حزب الله قادر على تدمير كل المنشآت قبالة ساحل فلسطين المحتلة، وأن هناك صعوبات حقيقية في منعه من ذلك، وأن أي رد على عمل يبادر به الحزب قد لا ينتهي بأيام قتالية، بل قد يقود إلى حرب شاملة لا يبدو أن إسرائيل مستعدة لها الآن. وقد لعبت توصية المستويات الأمنية والعسكرية دوراً حاسماً في قرار حكومة لابيد الانخراط في التفاوض بشكل مختلف.

لنمنع الحرب
عند هذا الحد، صار هاجس الجانبين الأميركي والإسرائيلي ضمان عدم مبادرة حزب الله إلى عمل عسكري يقود إلى حرب شاملة. وهنا، يبدو أن وساطات انطلقت من قبل جهات أو شخصيات تملك قدرة على التواصل غير المباشر مع الجانبين، وتوصل الوسطاء إلى نتيجة أساسية مفادها أن حزب الله لا يريد الحرب للحرب، لكنه مستعد للدخول فيها في حال تجاهل العدو مطالب لبنان. مع تأكيد الحزب أنه ليس معنياً بأي تفاوض حول الملف نفسه، وأن الرؤساء الثلاثة هم المرجعية الرسمية اللبنانية الصالحة للبت في أي اتفاق. وفي الوقت نفسه، التشديد على أن المقاومة لن توافق على ما قد ينتقص من حقوق وسيادة لبنان. وهذا بند جرى حسمه أصلاً بين الرؤساء الثلاثة وحزب الله قبل الشروع في الجولات الأخيرة من المفاوضات.

لكن كيف يمكن تجنب الحرب؟
السؤال الذي طرحه من يمكن وصفهم بالوسطاء كان جوابه بسيطاً للغاية. وهو أنه يجب المضي سريعاً في التفاوض لتكريس الحقوق اللبنانية من خلال اتفاق غير مباشر برعاية الأمم المتحدة. وفي حال حصل ذلك ضمن مهلة زمنية معقولة، فإن الحرب تصبح غير ذات معنى. لكن يبدو من بعض المعطيات أن العدو ليس جاهزاً تماماً لإنجاز الاتفاق الآن، وثمة تساؤلات كثيرة حول ما إذا كانت حكومة لابيد تفضل تأجيل الملف إلى ما بعد الانتخابات. لكنها إن قررت ذلك، ستكون مسؤولة عن أي تدهور أمني أو عسكري يحصل، وفي الحالتين عليها ابتداع المقترحات المقنعة لعدم اندلاع الحرب.
ضمن هذا الإطار، قال الأميركيون والإسرائيليون إنهم مستعدون للمضي في التفاوض. وفي انتظار الوصول إلى اتفاق كامل، فإن ذلك قد يستغرق وقتاً يتجاوز أيلول المقبل. بالتالي، فإن إسرائيل مستعدة لوقف كل الأعمال في حقل «كاريش» حتى حصول الاتفاق، وإنها مستعدة حتى لإزالة المنشآت القائمة حالياً، إضافة إلى موافقتها على منح حقل «قانا» للبنان بما يلبّي الشرط الأساسي الذي اسمه «قانا مقابل كاريش». ويبدو، في هذا السياق، أن المشرفين على شركة «إنيرجيان» اليونانية يدرسون مع حكومة بلادهم السير بخطوات تجعل السفينة بعيدة من الحقل أو خارج المنطقة المتنازع عليها بمسافة واضحة في سياق طمأنة لبنان إلى أنه لن يكون هناك استخراج في مرحلة التفاوض.

مباشرة الشركات العالمية عملها في بقية حقول لبنان شرط لازم لعمل الشركات في الحقول قبالة فلسطين


لكن الجانبين الأميركي والإسرائيلي يعرفان أنه يمكن للعدو أن يوقف العمل في «كاريش» فيما يواصل العمل في الحقول الأخرى، وهو ما لفت إليه الجانب اللبناني مطالباً بضمان السماح للشركات العالمية ببدء العمل في التنقيب أو الاستخراج في الحقول اللبنانية الأخرى، إلى أن يتم حسم ملف الترسيم والذي يخص «كاريش» و«قانا».
عند هذه النقطة، حاول الجانب الإسرائيلي المماطلة لكسب الوقت للقيام بعمليات استخراج لكميات كبيرة من الغاز في الحقول الجنوبية لتلبية حاجات أسواقه الداخلية أو بيع كميات إلى الخارج. لكن الجواب اللبناني جاء أكثر وضوحاً، وتضمّن الآتي:
– إن منع الحرب يقتضي أولاً وقف العمل في حقل «كاريش» بعد الإقرار بحقوق لبنان في حقل «قانا» والخط 23، وأن يصار إلى تنظيم اتفاق كامل في أسرع وقت ممكن.
– إن مباشرة الشركات العالمية العمل في الحقول اللبنانية الأخرى صار شرطاً لازماً لمنح العدو الإذن بالعمل في الحقول الأخرى.
عملياً، صرنا أمام معادلتين لمنع الحرب: «كاريش مقابل قانا» و«العمل في كل الحقول مقابل العمل في كل الحقول».

فرنسا: «توتال» تنتظركم
في هذه الأثناء، كانت الجهات الأوروبية والشركات العالمية تتابع المحادثات عن كثب. وبادرت الحكومة الفرنسية باستطلاع المواقف من جميع الأطراف. وعندما زار هوكشتين بيروت التقى طاقم السفارة الفرنسية بعيداً من الإعلام، وتواصلت السفيرة الفرنسية آن غريو مباشرة مع حزب الله، كما تولت السفيرة الأميركية في بيروت دوروثي شيا إطلاع سفراء أوروبيين آخرين على نتائج الاتصالات. ومع تقدم البحث، والانتقال إلى النقطة التي تخص عمل الشركات العالمية في حقول لبنان، بادر الفرنسيون بالحديث السياسي لأول مرة، بعدما كانوا يكررون لازمة أن «توتال» شركة خاصة تدرس خياراتها من تلقاء نفسها، ولا سلطة للحكومة الفرنسية عليها. واضطر الفرنسيون الذين يظهرون قصوراً كبيراً في التفاوض ولعب الأدوار الجيدة إلى «التواضع» قليلاً وأن يحملوا أجوبة واقعية تظهر الآتي:
أولاً، إن الحكومة الفرنسية ستقف إلى جانب الاتفاق، وستضمن لـ«توتال» التوجه إلى العمل مباشرة في الأراضي اللبنانية.

توتال: مستعدون للعودة مباشرة إلى لبنان إذا حصل اتفاق ومقابل ضمانة أميركية بعدم شمولنا بأي عقوبات


ثانياً، إن هذا الإذن مرهون بأن تتبلغ فرنسا من الولايات المتحدة وإسرائيل والحكومة اللبنانية وحزب الله ضمانات بأنه ليس هناك حرب أو مواجهات عسكرية أو أمنية تهدد مصالح الشركة ومنشآتها والعاملين فيها.
ثالثاً، إنه فور تبلغ الاتفاق ستكون «توتال» مستعدة للعمل في أي حقل تقرره الحكومة اللبنانية وليس فقط في البلوكات الحدودية مع فلسطين المحتلة.
رابعاً، إن الشركة الفرنسية مضطرة لتبلغ إعفاء أميركي واضح من أي عقوبات مفروضة على من يعمل مع لبنان خلافاً للقوانين الأميركية. وتبين أن السبب يعود إلى أن صناديق الائتمان الاجتماعي الأميركي تستثمر أكثر من 30 في المئة من أسهم «توتال»، وهذا يعني أن الشركة تخضع كلياً للقوانين الأميركية (أي شركة يملك فيها أميركيون أكثر من عشرة في المئة وتسجل حصصهم في أميركا تجعل الشركة خاضعة للقوانين الأميركية)، بالتالي فإن الشركة تحتاج إلى إذن رسمي واضح ومكتوب من الولايات المتحدة للمباشرة في أي عمل في لبنان.
في انتظار هوكشتين!
عند هذه النقطة، ينتظر الجميع الجولة الجديدة من المفاوضات التي تقودها الولايات المتحدة مستعينة بجهات دولية وعربية. ومع أن الجانب الإسرائيلي يظهر استعداداً للتنازل. إلا أن التجارب التاريخية تمنع المقاومة من تصديق هذه الأقوال، ولذلك فقد أبلغت من يهمه الأمر تثبيتها لمبدأ التسوية مع الحكومة اللبنانية على أن يصار إلى ترجمته وضمانته أميركياً وأوروبياً خلال وقت سريع، وإلا فإن خيار الحرب سيظل مطروحاً على الطاولة.
بناء على ما تقدم، بادر هوكشتين إلى اتصالات مع جهات لبنانية خلال الأيام القليلة الماضية لإبلاغها بأن «كل الأجواء السلبية إنما تصدر من قبل جهات عندكم، ولا علاقة لنا أو للإسرائيليين بها، بل نرى أن هناك تقدماً يتيح التوصل إلى اتفاق». وأضاف: «عندما زرت لبنان أخيراً انتقلت ليلاً عبر الناقورة إلى تل أبيب، لكن كان المسؤولون في إسرائيل منشغلين بالحرب على غزة ولم يتطرق الاجتماع الوزاري المصغر إلى مسألة ترسيم الحدود، وقابلت رئيس الحكومة واتفقنا على الإطار الإيجابي». وختم: «أنا بانتظار موعد مرتقب لي في إسرائيل خلال أيام قليلة وسوف يبنى على أساسه الكثير من الخطوات».
الجميع في الانتظار!

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Macron Hosts MBS Regardless of Outrage over Khashoggi Murder

JULY 28, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] for talks in Paris on Thursday, regardless of criticism that the invitation is deeply inappropriate barely four years after the murder by Saudi agents of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The meeting is seen as the latest step in the readmission of the de-facto ruler of the kingdom into the international fold, after US President Joe Biden met him earlier this month.

The topics set to loom over the meeting include energy supply as concern grows over possible power shortages in wake of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, as well as reining in the nuclear program of Riyadh’s top regional foe Iran.

“I feel profoundly troubled by the visit, because of what it means for our world and what is means for Jamal [Khashoggi] and people like him,” Amnesty International secretary general Agnes Callamard told AFP, describing MBS as a man who “does not tolerate any dissent.”

The visits mark MBS’ first trip to the EU since the murder of Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018, a crime that a UN probe described as an “extrajudicial killing for which Saudi Arabia is responsible.”

It also said there was “credible evidence” warranting further investigation of the individual liability of high-level Saudi officials, including MBS.

US intelligence agencies determined that MBS had “approved” the operation that led to Khashoggi’s death, though Riyadh denies this, blaming rogue operatives.

The killing drew outrage not just over the elimination of a prominent critic of the Saudi regime, but also for the manner in which it was carried out. Khashoggi was lured into the Saudi consulate on October 2, 2018, strangled and dismembered, reportedly with a bonesaw.

His reception by world leaders is “all the more shocking given many of them at the time expressed disgust [over the killing] and a commitment not to bring MBS back into the international community,” Callamard added, denouncing the “double standard.”

But despite the concern over Saudi Arabia’s rights record, the kingdom is seen by many in the West as an essential partner due to its energy resources, purchases of weaponry and staunch opposition to Iran.

Western countries resume their relationship with Riyadh after the isolation imposed on Ibn Salma

Hold Your Breath. Europe Is at the Tipping Point, As the Abyss is Closer Than We Think

July 28, 2022

Source

By Martin Jay

It’s Italy which will fire the starter’s gun on a turnaround on the EU’s policy on Russia and the Ukraine war.

It might well be Italy which marks the starting point of a demise of sorts of the EU, as the coalition government collapses. Mario Draghi, who might be remembering interest rate hikes like the ECB’s this week, which only happened previously when he was the boss overseeing the eurozone crisis, is out.

By resigning his post as PM, he must be that he sees the writing on the wall and that we are heading towards another eurozone crisis.

Right now, the euro has already slumped to parity with the dollar and Eurozone inflation averages about 8.6 per cent (although it’s now 10 per cent in Spain, 12 per cent in Greece and a thundering 20 per cent in Estonia). Have a heart for Croatia which is planning on joining the eurozone soon.

But it’s Italy which will fire the starter’s gun on a turnaround on the EU’s policy on Russia and the Ukraine war. In September a snap election is almost certain to put in power as a coalition two of Italy’s far-right groups, whose leaders both have an admiration for Putin.

Once this happens, others in the EU will see how ludicrous it is to continue the so-called punishment of Putin, which in reality destroys economies and ruins lives across the EU 27-member bloc. Other EU countries will see that Italy’s desperate situation of having debt at 150 % of its GDP and double-digit inflation can only be rescued by a radical political change. Elites in other EU countries will be scared that populist uprisings which throw out incumbent mainstream parties are heading their way once they see the Italian economy go from boiling to a gentle simmer. And once the Italian coalition is in place, dialogue — something which we haven’t seen yet from the EU — will begin with Putin.

Putin is laughing all the way to the bank in Ukraine with this present crisis that Europe has created for itself. There is no urgency on his side to really do anything. The EU is lowering itself into an acid bath all by itself and all he needs to do is watch it like watching a comedy on TV.

The Italian change in politics will be a huge blow to the EU as well, which is really spiralling out of control. Who could have imagined that a political has-been like Ursula von der Leyen would be quite as useless as she has turned out to be. By definition — and tradition — European Commission presidents are supposed to be pretty inept and servile to their masters France and Germany. But few could have guessed how Ursula would have messed up so badly on Brexit, Covid, Russia and soon the eurozone itself.

The EU is only as strong as the three giants of Europe — Germany, France and Italy — which it is supposed to protect. Yet for the first time in 30 years, Germany has a trade deficit and it talking about energy rationing with many factories in the country expected to close down or run on half production soon.

All the pressure will be in the ECB as another eurozone crisis looms when Italy is forced to pay back higher rates to its debtors due to the ECB slowing down printing of new currency. This is extremely dangerous for Italy and could bring about a total collapse of its economy like Greece. The difference is that Italy is a founding EU country and it is too big to collapse, which means that France and Germany will have to keep it on a life support machine. It is hard to imagine this scenario without a change of heart from Macron and Scholz with regards to the war in Ukraine and the EU’s view in general towards Putin. Germany has just recently started to show signs of wanting to take a different tact on Putin. Recently, it was revealed that an aid package of 9 bn euros, destined for Ukraine, was held up by Berlin, coupled with the Germans failing to resupply countries supporting Ukraine with tanks which it earlier promised. These are not ‘cracks’ appearing. These signs are more prolific than this and we are more likely to see squabbles soon between Scholz and von der Leyen in Brussels, with Macron intervening to look for a new dialogue with Putin.

The once golden relationship between the U.S. and the EU is also grinding to a halt. The EU will soon be more divided than ever about the war in Ukraine and Biden’s almost certain self-destruction at the midterms in November will see to a great reduction in the U.S. role of supplying arms to Zelensky. There will be a blame game which will be crafted carefully for weeks in the media beforehand which points to endemic corruption in the Ukrainian elite and the illegal sales of much of the U.S. hardware to Syrian jihadists. This has already started in fact, but has not yet shifted into top gear, which should be expected over the summer period before the Italian elections. The West needs to get out of the war in Ukraine and it needs a gilt-edged reason for the U-turn. Zelensky, as ever, will provide them with the perfect excuses, as he never fails in his primary role of useful idiot — that is of course if he survives assassination attempts from his own cabal who want a larger slice of the cake. The Left’s preposterous notion of fighting a full-on war in Ukraine with NATO forces will be nipped at the bud by fascists in Italy who believe in the power of feeding people and giving them public services rather than the folly of geopolitical chest-beating and the foibles which accompany such nonsense. Who would have thought that the descendants of Mussolini would direct the EU away from the abyss which it is hell bent on throwing itself over?

On the Future of Europe: A Proposition from 1 January 2023

July 24, 2022

By Batiushka for the Saker Blog

Almost one thousand years of Western Imperialism are coming to a shameful and self-inflicted death, one way or another

As schoolchildren will tell you, the names of the continents begin and end with the same letter, A: Asia, Africa, America, Australia, Antarctica. There is one exception: Europe, which though still beginning and ending with the same letter, the letter is not A, but E. Why the difference? Is it perhaps because Europe is not really a Continent? After all, it is not a vast landmass surrounded by an ocean (if it were a small one, it would be called an island). Its borders are arbitrary, having frequently changed, were only relatively recently pushed to the Urals, and are still much disputed. In reality, surely Europe is the artificially isolated north-western peninsula of Asia? It is not a geographical Continent at all, it is an ideological construct. That is why the slogan of so many EU-fanatics, like the former French President Chirac, was: ‘Faisons l’Europe’ – ‘Let’s Create Europe’.

We ask the above question because in this winter of 2022-2023 the old EU and Non-EU Europe has had to face a new reality following the war that the US/NATO lost in the ‘Ukraine’, as it used to be called. Europe-wide, indeed worldwide, food riots with looting of supermarkets and ‘bill boycotts’ (the wave of civil disobedience with the refusal/inability to pay soaring fuel bills) made this clear. Obviously, a worldwide reconfiguration is coming. Already the new world is becoming multipolar, with several main centres within the old BRICS, Russia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and now more to come, perhaps Iran, Türkiye, Argentina, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Mexico, Lebanon and Indonesia. In general, all Asia, Africa and Latin America now at last have their own future.

Not only are the old, thoroughly corrupted international organisations like the UN, WTO, WEF or IMF rightly disappearing into the sewers of history along with their discredited puppet-master, the US elite, but so too are pro-US regional groupings, like its European political and economic arm the EU and its European military arm, NATO. And here precisely, we ask where does the US/NATO defeat in the Ukraine leave the European peninsula, both the EU part of it and the rest of it, outside the EU? After World War I Europe had to be reconfigured, and again after World War II. Now, after whatever you call the 2022 Western rout in the Ukraine (World War III, or World War I, Part III), what is its destiny?

Surely the greatest revelation of the US proxy war in the Ukraine is Europe’s dependence on Russia. Without Russia, it simply cannot survive – though Russia can survive without it. The fact is that for the last few centuries, the largest European country has been Russia for surface area and, over the last century and a half, for population. The most common European language in Europe is Russian, the second German, the third French, the fourth English, the fifth Italian. As regards natural resources, whether agricultural or mineral, and as regards military power, the most important country, once again, is Russia.

Having said that, it must be admitted that part of Russia’s might, on which Europe depends, comes from Asia, which forms the majority of Russia’s territory. Thus, Russia is also Asia, specifically the northernmost third of the Asian landmass, whereas Europe is just the tiny north-western tip of that same landmass. As for Europe’s peoples, they too came from Asia, and mostly speak ‘Indo-European’, that is, Northern Indian, languages. As for Europe’s traditional religion, it too is Asian, for Christ, who appeared on earth as a coffee-coloured man who certainly never wore trousers, lived in Asia, specifically in the Middle East. It seems obvious to anyone with even the most basic geographical and historical knowledge that the destiny of Europe, now divorced from its former landgrab colonies in Africa, America and Australia, is with Russia, which is its link to Asia.

The territory of the four largely East Slav Union States, the Russian Federation, Belarus, Malorossiya and Carpatho-Russia (the last two formed from the old, ill-fated US vassal, the ‘Ukraine’), dwarves the rest of Europe. Similarly, with a population of 200 million, the Four Union States are far larger than any of the European Regions in population. The future European Regions are still independent, if integral, parts of Eurasia, within the Russian resource and security umbrella, on which they depend. Non-Russian Europe has its own personality and culture, which varies amongst its members. Geographically, historically and linguistically, the 450 million people of the old EU and non-EU Europe can be divided into eight European Regions. What are they, in order of population?

1. Germania (122 million):

Germany, Austria, the South Tyrol, the Netherlands, Flanders (Northern ‘Belgium’), German-speaking East ‘Belgium’, Luxembourg, German-speaking Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These countries, with about twice as many people as most of the other European Regions, have all been influenced by the same culture of Germanic organisation, order and productivity. This could provide direction to the way out of their present black hole.

2. Francia (74 million):

France, Wallonia and Brussels, French-speaking Switzerland and Monaco. All share in the same Catholic and post-Catholic French-speaking culture. A return to ancient roots and historic cultural heritage could give direction to this Region in the future.

3. The Anglo-Celtic Confederation (73 million):

England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Though geographically clearly one, these thousand islands and their four nations have in history been much perturbed by the centralising, unionist spirit imposed by force from alien ‘British’ London. (Between the Imperialist Romans and equally Imperialist Normans, the English Capital had been Winchester). If some equitable, confederal settlement can be reached between all four by the rejection of everything Britain and British, there is a future here. Could the acronym, IONA (Isles of the North Atlantic) provide clues to that future?

4. The Visegrad Group (66 million):

Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, the Czech Lands, Slovakia. Lithuania is not usually included in the ‘Visegrad Group’, but it has so much in common with Poland and national Catholicism, that it must belong to this group. All share in a common West Slav/Central and Eastern European, largely Catholic nationalist, culture.

5. South Eastern Europe (65 million):

Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece and Cyprus. Although very varied in culture, mainly Orthodox, but also Catholic and Muslim, and spreading as far as the Romanian Carpathians as well as the Greek Islands and the island of Cyprus, the centre of this group is a common, though often so far tragic, South-East European history.

6. Italia (62 million):

Italy, San Marino, Ticino and Malta. All have a common Italian culture, which can provide the strength for political, economic, cultural and social renewal.

7. Iberia (57 million):

Spain, the Canaries, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Gibraltar, Andorra, Portugal, the Azores, Madeira. All share in a common Iberian culture. With decentralisation, they could work together to find a way out of the present crisis.

8. Nordica (30 million):

Iceland, Norway, Denmark, the Faeroes, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Latvia. With a largely Lutheran and post-Lutheran common cultural heritage, these countries, with only about half the population of most of the other European regional groups, could work together to provide a direction away from the suicide to which they have come so perilously close in recent decades.

Many are at present profoundly pessimistic about the future of the European Peninsula. The EU is collapsing and has for some time been collapsing for all to see. However, we see no long-term reason for such pessimism. Once ‘Europe’ has reconnected with its geographical and historical roots in Asia, it will have a future again. In time, we are convinced that history will come to see Europe’s previous thousand years as in many ways a deviation from and a distortion of its historic destiny, which is as an integral, if idiosyncatic, part of the Asian landmass.

The Western Infowar On Mali Rebrands Terrorists As Simply Being “Extremist/Jihadi Rebels”

July 23, 2022 

Source

By Andrew Korybko

The stage seems set for a French-Russian proxy war in Mali in the event that the Associated Press’ rebranding of genuine terrorists there as simply being so-called “extremist/jihadi rebels” is indeed intended to precondition the public for a Syrian redux in West Africa as was argued in this analysis.

The Associated Press, one of the leading US-led Western Mainstream Media (MSM) outlets in the world, is leading the way in that bloc’s ongoing infowar on Mali. Its military junta has become an African pioneer by showing that it’s indeed possible for the same forces tasked with enforcing the West’s neo-colonial regimes to Africa to secretly be anti-imperialist freedom fighters plotting to liberating their lands from foreign yoke once the chance presents itself, hence why that West African country’s being targeted. It’s also located in the same part of the continent that’s expected to become a major proxy war battlefield in the New Cold War between the US-led Golden Billion and the BRICS-led Global South.

In their article about the unprecedented attack against the country’s largest military base near the capital of Bamako by a group that the Associated Press itself even acknowledges is linked to Al Qaeda and ISIS, the outlet conspicuously avoids describing the culprits as terrorists, instead referring to them simply as “extremist/jihadi rebels”. This is a far cry from when the MSM rightly referred to such organizations as terrorists when France was still leading its self-proclaimed but immensely unsuccessfully anti-terrorist operation there that many locals suspected was driven by ulterior motives such as corralling such groups in the direction of shared interests instead of exterminating them.

The Malian junta’s decision in early May to break their country’s defense agreements with France in response to Paris exploiting such pacts to erode its host’s national sovereignty can be seen in hindsight as marking the moment when the MSM began to rebrand genuine terrorists there as “extremist/jihadi rebels”. The purpose in doing so is to grant a degree of tacit “legitimacy” to their cause due to what the term “rebel” supposedly implies in the popular imagination. It’s part of a larger infowar campaign aimed at preconditioning the public to accept what appears to be inevitable foreign patronage of these same terrorist groups along the lines of the Syrian model from the past decade.

Back then, the West openly supported terrorists on the supposed grounds that they were so-called “moderate rebels”, with the “moderate” qualifier being in comparison to the most backwards and barbaric terrorist groups in history even though these same “rebels” were literally indistinguishable from them and oftentimes literally members of Al Qaeda and/or ISIS. The same pattern is now being applied against Mali because employing terrorists is a Machiavellian means towards the end of regime change, which aims to remove its patriotic junta from power before it can influence those of its West African peers who still do the West’s bidding to carry out their own patriotic coups to save their states.

The Hybrid War of Terror on Syria was largely orchestrated out of that targeted country’s Turkish neighbor, while the Hybrid War of Terror on Mali will likely be orchestrated out of its Nigerien one, which will host those French forces that are being expelled by Bamako and has consistently been Paris’ bastion of regional influence alongside Chad over the decades. Just like that beleaguered Arab Republic counted on its Russian strategic partner for assistance during its darkest days, so too can the beleaguered West African republic as well, albeit probably not in any conventional form such as anti-terrorist airstrikes owing to obvious logistical reasons.

This isn’t groundless speculation either but is very strongly suggested by Foreign Minister Lavrov’s declaration on Friday that Russia will help Africa complete its decolonization process, to which end he intriguingly referenced Moscow’s historical support of building up its partners’ defense capabilities across the continent, among other means. It’s unclear exactly what military form this could take in the Malian context, but nobody should doubt Russia’s commitment to its West African partner, which has proven itself to be an African pioneer as was earlier explained and is thus of immensely strategic value for Moscow with respect to helping liberate the rest of the continent from Western neo-imperialism.

The stage therefore seems set for a French-Russian proxy war in Mali in the event that the Associated Press’ rebranding of genuine terrorists there as simply being so-called “extremist/jihadi rebels” is indeed intended to precondition the public for a Syrian redux in West Africa as was argued in this analysis. That certainly seems to be the case since there’s no other reason why that influential MSM outlet would change the way in which it describes the same groups that it used to rightly condemn as terrorists, especially considering that this coincides with the departure of French troops from the country. It’ll be regrettable if such a conflict occurs, but if it does, then Mali will fight to the end to defend its freedom.

«المقاومة تمسك باللحظة التاريخية لإنقاذ لبنان» | نصر الله: لا حرب إذا خضعت إسرائيل

  الأربعاء 20 تموز 2022

الأخبار

أكّد الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله، أمس، أن المقاومة في لبنان «تمسك باللحظة التاريخية لإنقاذ لبنان»، مكرراً التشديد على معادلة: «لا استخراج للنفط في كل الكيان الإسرائيلي إذا لم يأخذ لبنان حقه». وشدّد على أن الحرب ليست حتمية، «ولسنا متأكدين أننا ذاهبون إلى حرب. قد نشهد استهدافاً موضعياً ورداً يناسبه، والأمر مرتبط بردّ الإسرائيلي الذي قد يدحرج الأمور للحرب. لكن، في المقابل، قد يخضع الإسرائيلي حتى من دون حرب». وأضاف: «يمكن رايحين على حرب ويمكن لا. ليست رغبتنا أن نفتح جبهة. نريد حقوقنا فقط. ونحن نعلّي السقف لكي يخضع الأميركي والإسرائيلي، لأن مسار الانهيار في لبنان مستمر. إذا كان الحل بالنسبة إلى البعض هو الاستسلام، فهذا ما لا نقبل به على الإطلاق. وإذا لم يضغط لبنان اليوم لن تقوم له قائمة». ولفت إلى أنه «حتى الآن لم يأت الوسيط الأميركي في مفاوضات ترسيم الحدود بجواب واضح مع أن لبنان قدم تنازلات كبيرة، وما يريده لبنان بالحد الأدنى لم يحصل عليه». وقال: «نتمنى أن لا نطلق رصاصة أو صاروخاً وأن يتراجع العدو. وننتظر التطورات وجاهزون لكل شيء».

وشدّد نصرالله في «اللقاء العاشورائي السنوي» مع الخطباء وقرٌاء العزاء، أمس، على أنه «منذ 1982 المطلوب هو رأس المقاومة لأنها شكّلت تهديداً لإسرائيل. المقاومة اليوم ليست تهديداً لإسرائيل فقط، وإنما لكل المشروع الأميركي في المنطقة». لذلك، «تعرّضنا لحروب ولتشويه السمعة في السنوات الماضية وصمدنا. وبعد عدوان 2006، اكتشف العدو بأن خيار الحرب هو تهديد للكيان فبدأ مساراً جديداً قائماً على العقوبات والحصار لإسقاط خيار المقاومة. لكننا، في المقابل، وصلنا إلى درجة من التطور والإمكانات بما يتيح لنا تهديد الكيان بالحرب وبأن تكون لدينا الجرأة على ذلك». وأكّد أن «العدو اليوم يشعر بالضعف ولا يريد الحرب ويعرف أن الحرب ليست مع حزب الله فقط، وإنما قد تتطور مع كل المحور بما يطيح به. الذهاب إلى الحرب، بالنسبة لإسرائيل، خيار مخاطره كبيرة ومكلفة». وأكّد أنه «يمكن نحصّل حقوقنا بحرب أو من دون حرب، والإسرائيلي قد يخضع من دون أي عمل من المقاومة، وقد يرد وتتدحرج الأمور إلى حرب. لكننا معنيون بأن نخاطر ونتخذ موقفاً صعباً». أما من ينتقدون المقاومة فـ«شو ما قالوا لن يقدم أو يؤخّر. لا نتوقع منهم غير ذلك، من الطبيعي أن يرفضوا ما نقول. هؤلاء لديهم عداوة تاريخية معنا، ولن يقفوا بجانبنا أبداً». ولفت إلى أن خطابه الأخير «أدى إلى تأكيد المفاوضات وليس تعطيلها. هناك إشارات إيجابية وما زلنا ننتظر. لكن لا ردّ من العدو حتى اليوم»، مشدداً على أن لبنان أمام «فرصة تاريخية وذهبية للخروج من أزمته، وإذا لم نستغلها فقد لا نستخرج النفط لـ 100 سنة مقبلة. لا نفتش عن إنجاز معنوي من خلال منع الاستخراج من حقل كاريش. بل نريد أن نستخرج نفطنا، لذلك، لا استخراج للنفط وللغاز في كل الكيان إذا لم يأخذ لبنان حقه. ولو أطلقنا تهديداتنا قبل 7 أشهر لما كان لها الوقع نفسه. أهمية المعادلة اليوم أنها تأتي في ظل حاجة أوروبا للنفط والغاز وإلا ستحل بهم كارثة حقيقية وسيخضعون لروسيا».

عُرضت علينا سابقاً ولا تزال تُعرض علينا حتى اليوم تسويات نرى فيها استسلاماً


وقال: «من يتهموننا بالتبعية لإيران لديهم رعاة وحماة إقليميون ودوليون. نحن نوظّف علاقاتنا مع الخارج، مع سوريا وإيران وغيرهما. نحن أسياد في علاقاتنا الخارجية وقادرون على توظيفها في خدمة المشروع الوطني، فهل أنتم قادرون على توظيف علاقاتكم مع حماتكم، الأميركي والفرنسي وغيرهما، لخدمة هذا المشروع؟». وأكّد أنه «عُرض علينا سابقاً ولا تزال تُعرض علينا حتى اليوم تسويات نرى فيها استسلاماً. أميركا تريد منا الاستسلام وأن نكون أذلاء وتريد تسليم السلاح والاعتراف بإسرائيل وتوطين السوريين والفلسطينيين ونهب الثروات، وترى في المقاومة وحلفائها العقبة الوحيدة أمام تحقيق ذلك». لهذا، «ركّزوا منذ 3 سنوات على عزل المقاومة عن بقية الطوائف وعن بيئتها المباشرة وبذلوا كل جهد ممكن في سبيل ذلك. ما حصل منذ 2019 لم يكن عفوياً ولدينا معلومات عن غرف عمليات كانت تدفع إلى التصعيد. دفعوا أموالاً للتلفزيونات وللـ Ngos لافتعال ثورة اجتماعية كبيرة لتحميل الحزب مسؤولية الوضع الاقتصادي والمعيشي. لكنهم خسروا بالرهان على ناسنا وأصيبوا بالإحباط. في الانتخابات خابت آمال الأميركيين، ورغم كل التشويه والاتهامات والحصار، لم يتمكنوا من اختراق المقاومة بمقعد واحد». وشدّد على «أننا اليوم في وضع مختلف تماماً عن الماضي، ولا يمكن لأحد على الإطلاق أن يضرب المقاومة».

بتركعوا أو بتجوعوا / استخراج متزامن أو لا غاز

من ملف : «المقاومة تمسك باللحظة التاريخية لإنقاذ لبنان» | نصر الله: لا حرب إذا خضعت إسرائيل

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s article «Staged incidents as the Western approach to doing politics»

July 18, 2022

https://mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1822333/

Published in Izvestia newspaper

Today, the Russian Armed Forces, together with the self-defence units of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, are delivering on the objectives of the special military operation with great resolve to put an end to the outrageous discrimination and genocide of the Russian people and eliminate direct threats to the security of the Russian Federation that the United States and its satellites have been creating on Ukrainian territory for years. While losing on the battlefield, the Ukrainian regime and its Western patrons have descended to staging bloody incidents to demonise our country in the eyes of the international community. We have already seen Bucha, Mariupol, Kramatorsk, and Kremenchug. The Russian Defence Ministry has been regularly issuing warnings, with facts in hand, about upcoming staged incidents and fakes.

There is a distinctive pattern that betrays the provocations staged by the West and its henchmen. In fact, they started long before the Ukrainian events.

Take 1999 – the village of Račak in Serbia’s Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. A group of OSCE inspectors arrived at the site where several dozen corpses dressed in civilian clothes were discovered. Without any investigation, the mission head declared the incident an act of genocide, even though making a conclusion of this kind was not part of the mandate issued to this international official. NATO immediately launched a military aggression against Yugoslavia, during which it intentionally destroyed a television centre, bridges, passenger trains and other civilian targets. Later, it was proved with conclusive evidence that the dead bodies were not civilians, but militants of the Kosovo Liberation Army, an illegal armed group, dressed in civilian clothes. But by that time the staged incident has already taken its toll, offering a pretext for the first illegal use of force against an OSCE member state since the signing of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. It is telling that the statement that triggered the bombings came from William Walker, a US citizen who headed the OSCE’s Kosovo Verification Mission. Separating Kosovo from Serbia by force and setting up Camp Bondsteel, the largest US military base in the Balkans, were the main outcomes of the aggression.

In 2003, there was the infamous performance by US Secretary of State Colin Powell in the UN Security Council with a vial containing white powder of some sort, which he said contained anthrax spores, alleging that it was produced in Iraq. Once again, the fake worked: the Anglo-Saxons and those who followed their lead went on to bomb Iraq, which has been struggling to fully recover its statehood ever since. Moreover, it did not take long before the fake was exposed with everyone admitting that Iraq did not have any biological weapons or any other kinds of WMDs. Later, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was one of the masterminds of the aggression, recognised that the whole affair was a fraud, saying that they “may have been wrong” or something like that. As for Colin Powell, he later tried to justify himself by claiming that he was misled by the underlying intelligence. Either way, this was yet another provocation that offered a pretext for delivering on the plan to destroy a sovereign nation.

There was also Libya in 2011. The drama had specifics of its own. The situation did not go as far as direct lies, like in Kosovo or Iraq, but NATO grossly distorted the UN Security Council resolution, which provided for a no-fly zone over Libya in order to “ground” Muammar Gaddafi’s air force. It did not fly to begin with. However, NATO started bombing the Libyan army units who were fighting terrorists. Muammar Gaddafi died a savage death, and nothing remains of the Libyan statehood. Efforts to put the country back together have yet to succeed, with a US representative once again in charge of the process, appointed by the UN Secretary General without any consultation with the UN Security Council. As part of this process, our Western colleagues have facilitated several intra-Libyan agreements on holding elections but none of them materialised. Illegal armed groups still reign supreme on Libyan territory, with most of them working closely with the West.

February 2014, Ukraine – the West, represented by the German, French, and Polish foreign ministers, de facto forced President Viktor Yanukovich into signing an agreement with the opposition to end the confrontation and promote a peaceful resolution of the intra-Ukrainian crisis by establishing a transitional national unity government and calling a snap election, to be held within a few months. This too turned out to be a fraud: the next morning, the opposition staged a coup guided as it was by anti-Russia, racist slogans. However, the Western guarantors did not even try to bring the opposition back to its senses. Furthermore, they switched immediately to encouraging the coup perpetrators in their policies against Russia and everything Russian, unleashing the war against their own people and bombing entire cities in the Donbass region just because people there refused to recognise the unconstitutional coup. For that, they labelled the people in Donbass terrorists, and once again the West was there to encourage them.

At this point, it is worth noting that, as it was soon revealed, the killing of protestors on the Maidan was also a staged incident, which the West blamed either on the Ukrainian security forces loyal to Viktor Yanukovich, or on the Russian special services. However, the radical members of the opposition were the ones who were behind this provocation, while working closely with the Western intelligence services. Once again, exposing these facts did not take long, but by that time they already did their job.

Efforts by Russia, Germany, and France paved the way to stopping the war between Kiev, Donetsk and Lugansk in February 2015 with the signing of the Minsk Agreements. Berlin and Paris played a proactive role here as well, proudly calling themselves as the guarantor countries. However, during the seven long years that followed, they did absolutely nothing to force Kiev to launch a direct dialogue with Donbass representatives for agreeing on matters including the special status, amnesty, restoring economic ties, and holding elections, as required by the Minsk Agreements which were approved unanimously by the UN Security Council. The Western leaders remained silent when Kiev took steps which directly violated the Minsk Agreements under both Petr Poroshenko and Vladimir Zelensky. Moreover, the German and the French leaders kept saying that Kiev cannot enter direct dialogue with the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, and blamed everything on Russia, although Russia is not mentioned in the Minsk agreements even once, while remaining basically the only country that kept pushing for the agreements to be implemented.

If anyone doubted that the Minsk Package was anything but yet another fake, Petr Poroshenko dispelled this myth by saying on June 17, 2022: “The Minsk Agreements did not mean anything to us, and we had no intention to carry them out… our goal was to remove the threat we faced… and win time in order to restore economic growth and rebuild the armed forces. We achieved this goal. Mission accomplished for the Minsk Agreements.” The people of Ukraine are still paying the price of this fake. For many years now, the West has been forcing them to accept an anti-Russian neo-Nazi regime. What a waste of energy for Olaf Scholz with his calls to force Russia to agree to an agreement guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. There already had been an agreement to this effect, the Minsk Package, and Berlin with Paris were the ones who derailed it by shielding Kiev in its refusal to abide by the document. The fake has been exposed – finita la commedia.

By the way, Vladimir Zelensky has been a worthy successor to Petr Poroshenko. During a campaign rally in early 2019, he was ready to kneel before him for the sake of stopping the war.

In December 2019, Zelensky got a chance to carry out the Minsk Agreements following the Normandy format summit in Paris. In the outcome document adopted at the highest level, the Ukrainian President undertook to resolve matters related to the special status of Donbass. Of course, he did not do anything, while Berlin and Paris once again covered up for him. The document and all the publicity accompanying its adoption turned out to be no more than a fake narrative promoted by Ukraine and the West to win some time for supplying more weapons to the Kiev regime, which follows Petr Poroshenko’s logic to the letter.

There was also Syria, with the 2013 agreement on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles in a stage-by-stage process verified by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), for which it received the Nobel Peace Prize. After that, however, there were outrageous provocations in 2017 and 2018 staging the use of chemical weapons in Khan Shaykhun and Duma, a Damascus suburb. There was a video showing people calling themselves the White Helmets (a would-be humanitarian organisation which never showed up on territories controlled by the Syrian government) helping alleged poisoning victims, although no one had any protective clothing or gear. All attempts to force the OPCW Technical Secretariat to perform its duties in good faith and ensure a transparent investigation into these incidents, as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), failed. This, however, did not come as a surprise. The Western countries have long privatised the Technical Secretariat by having their representatives appointed to the key positions within this structure. They contributed to staging these incidents and used them as a pretext for US, British, and French airstrikes against Syria. Incidentally, they carried out these bombings just a day before a group of OPCW inspectors arrived there to investigate the incidents at Russia’s insistence, while the West did everything to prevent this deployment.

The West and the OPCW Technical Secretariat it controls demonstrated their ability to stage fake incidents with the would-be poisonings of the Skripals and Alexey Navalny. In both cases, Russia sent multiple requests to The Hague, London, Berlin, Paris, and Stockholm, all left without a reply, even though they fully conformed with the CWC provisions and required a response.

Other pending questions have to do with the Pentagon’s covert activities in Ukraine carried out through its Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The traces that the forces engaged in the special military operation have discovered in military-biological laboratories in the liberated territories of Donbass and adjacent areas clearly indicate direct violations of the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons (BTWC). We have presented the documents to Washington and to the UN Security Council. The procedure has been initiated under BTWC to demand explanations. Contrary to the facts, the US administration is trying to justify its actions by saying that all biological research in Ukraine was exclusively peaceful and civilian in nature – with no evidence of any of this.

In fact, the Pentagon’s military-biological activities around the world, especially in the post-Soviet countries, require the closest attention in light of the multiplying evidence of criminal experiments with the most dangerous pathogens in order to create biological weapons conducted under the guise of peaceful research.

I have already mentioned the staged “crimes” of the Donbass militia and participants in the Russian special military operation. There is one simple fact that clearly shows how much these accusations mean: having shown the “Bucha tragedy” to the world in early April 2022 (we have suspicions that the Anglo-Saxons had a hand in setting the stage for the show), the West and Kiev have not yet answered the very basic questions about whether the names of the dead were established and what post-mortem examinations showed. Just as in the above-described Skripals and Navalny cases, the propaganda production has premiered in the Western media, and now it’s time to sweep it all under the rug, brazen it out, because they have nothing to say.

This is the essence of the well-worn Western political algorithm – to concoct a fake story and ratchet up the hype as if it’s a universal catastrophe for a couple of days while blocking people’s access to alternative information or assessments, and when any facts do break through, they are simply ignored – at best mentioned on last pages of the news in small print. It is important to understand that this is not a harmless game in the media war – such productions are used as pretexts for very material actions such as punishing the “guilty” countries with sanctions, unleashing barbaric aggressions against them with hundreds of thousands of civilian casualties, as it happened, in particular, in Iraq and Libya. Or – as in the case of Ukraine – for using the country as expendable material in the Western proxy war against Russia. Moreover, NATO instructors and MLRS aimers are, apparently, already directing the actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and nationalist battalions on the ground.

I hope there are responsible politicians in Europe who are aware of the consequences. In this regard, it is noteworthy that no one in NATO or the EU tried to reprimand the German Air Force Commander, a general named Ingo Gerhartz, who got carried away higher than his rank and said NATO must be ready to use nuclear weapons. “Putin, do not try to compete with us,” he added. Europe’s silence suggests that it is complacently oblivious of Germany’s role in its history.

If we look at today’s events through a historical prism, the entire Ukrainian crisis appears as a “grand chess game” that follows a scenario earlier promoted by Zbigniew Brzezinski. All the good relations talk, the West’s proclaimed readiness to take into account the rights and interests of Russians who ended up in independent Ukraine or other post-Soviet countries after the collapse of the USSR turned out to be mere pretence. Even in the early 2000s, Washington and the European Union began to openly pressure Kiev to decide which side Ukraine was on, the West or Russia.

Ever since 2014, the West has been controlling, hands-on, the Russophobic regime it brought to power through a coup d’état. Putting Vladimir Zelensky in front of any international forum of any significance is also part of this travesty. He makes passionate speeches, but when he suddenly offers something reasonable, he gets a slap on the wrist, as it happened after the Istanbul round of Russian-Ukrainian talks. At the end of March, it seemed that light glimmered at the end of the tunnel, but Kiev was forced to back off, using, among other things, a frankly staged episode in Bucha. Washington, London and Brussels demanded that Kiev stopped negotiating with Russia until Ukraine achieved full military advantage (former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tried especially hard, and many other Western politicians did too, still incumbent, although they have already proved just as inept).

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell’s statement about this war having to be “won on the battlefield” by Ukraine suggests that even diplomacy has lost its value as a tool in the European Union’s staged performance.

In a broader sense, it is curious to see how Europe, lined up by Washington on the anti-Russian front, has been hardest hit by the thoughtless sanctions, emptying its arsenals to supply weapons to Kiev (without even asking for a report on who will control them or where they go), and freeing up its market only to subsequently buy US military products and expensive American LNG instead of available Russian gas. Such trends, coupled with the de facto merger between the EU and NATO, make the continued talk about Europe’s “strategic autonomy” nothing more than a show. Everyone has already understood that the collective West’s foreign policy is a “one-man theatre.” Moreover, it is consistently seeking ever new theaters of military operations.

One element of the geopolitical gambit against Russia is granting the status of an eternal EU candidate country to Ukraine and Moldova, which, it seems, will also face an unenviable fate. Meanwhile, a PR campaign has been initiated by President of France Emmanuel Macron to promote the “European political community,” which offers no financial or economic benefits, but demands full compliance with the EU’s anti-Russia actions. The principle behind it is not either/or but “who is not with us is against us.” Emmanuel Macron explained the gist of the “community”: the EU will invite all European countries – “from Iceland to Ukraine” – to join it, but not Russia. I would like to stress that we are not eager to join, but the statement itself showcases the essence of this obviously confrontational and divisive new undertaking.

Ukraine, Moldova and other countries being courted by the EU today are destined to be extras in the games of the West. The United States, as the main producer, calls the tune and devises the storyline based on which Europe writes the anti-Russia screenplay. The actors are ready and possess the skills acquired during their tenure at the Kvartal 95 Studio: they will provide a voice-over for dramatic texts no worse than the now forgotten Greta Thunberg and play musical instruments, if needed. The actors are good: remember how convincing Vladimir Zelensky was in his role as a democrat in the Servant of the People: fighter against corruption and discrimination against Russians and for all the right things in general. Remember and compare it with his immediate transformation in his role as president. It is perfect Stanislavsky Method acting: banning the Russian language, education, media and culture. “If you feel like Russians, then go to Russia for the sake of your children and grandchildren.” Good advice. He called Donbass residents “species” rather than people. And this is what he said about the Nazi Azov battalion: “They are what they are. There is plenty of such people around here.” Even CNN was ashamed to leave this phrase in the interview.

This prompts a question: what will be the outcome of all these storylines? Staged incidents based on blood and agony are by no means fun but a display of a cynical policy in creating a new reality where all principles of the UN Charter and all norms of international law are attempted to be replaced with their “rules-based order” in an aspiration to perpetuate their dwindling domination in global affairs.

The games undertaken by the West in the OSCE after from end of the Cold War, where it considered itself a winner, had the most devastating consequences for the modern international relations. Having quickly broken their promises to the Soviet and Russian leadership on the non-expansion of NATO to the east, the United States and its allies nevertheless declared their commitment to building a unified space of security and cooperation in the Euro-Atlantic region. They formalised it at the top level with all OSCE members in 1999 and 2010 within the framework of a political obligation to ensure equal and inseparable security where no country will strengthen its security at the expense of others and no organisation will claim a dominating role in Europe. It soon became evident that NATO members do no keep their word and that their goal is the supremacy of the North-Atlantic Alliance. Even then we continued our diplomatic efforts, proposing to formalise the principle of equal and inseparable security in a legally binding agreement. We proposed this a number of times, the last one in December 2021, but received a flat denial in response. They told us directly: there will be no legal guarantees outside NATO. Which means that the support of the political documents approved at the OSCE summits turned out to be a cheap fake. And now NATO, driven by the United States, has gone even further: they want to dominate over the entire Asia-Pacific region in addition to the Euro-Atlantic. NATO members make no effort to conceal the target of their threats, and China’s leadership has already publicly declared its position regarding such neo-colonial ambitions. Beijing has already responded by citing the principle of indivisible security, declaring its support for applying it on a global scale to prevent any country from claiming its exclusivity. This approach fully coincides with Russia’s position. We will make consistent efforts to defend it together with our allies, strategic partners and many other like-minded countries.

The collective West should come back to Earth from the world of illusions. The staged incidents, no matter how long they go on, will not work. It is time for fair play based on the international law rather than cheating. The sooner everyone realises that there are no alternatives to objective historical processes where a multipolar world is formed based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality of states, fundamental for the UN Charter and the entire world order, the better.

If members of the western alliance are unable to live according to this principle, are not ready to build a truly universal architecture of equal security and cooperation, they should leave everyone alone, stop using threats and blackmail to recruit those who want to live on their own wits and acknowledge the right to freedom of choice by independent self-respecting countries. This is what democracy is all about, the real democracy, not one played out on a shabbily built political stage.

Russia’s Shoigu Orders Prioritizing Striking Ukrainian Long-range Weapons

July 17, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told military commanders to make Kiev’s long-range weapons their primary target, as he inspected troops of the ‘East’ grouping in Ukraine.

Shoigu gave orders to prioritize striking Ukrainian missile and artillery capabilities, due to their use by Kiev in targeting residential areas in Donbass and setting wheat fields and grain warehouses on fire, the Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Ukraine’s long-range arms, which beside Soviet-designed systems include US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers, French CAESAR self-propelled howitzers and other foreign hardware, should be hit with high-precision weapons, according to the minister.

On Monday, the People’s Republics of Donetsk said its territory had been shelled 53 times from the Ukrainian side over the past 24 hours, with more than 660 projectiles being fired.

During their meeting, the commander of the ‘East’ grouping, Lieutenant General Rustam Muradov, informed Shoigu “about the current situation and the progress achieved in fulfilling the assigned combat tasks of destroying the opposing forces,” the ministry said.

Shoigu’s unannounced tour of the Russian forces in Donbass was first revealed by the Defense Ministry on Sunday, when it said that the minister had inspected the ‘South’ and ‘Center’ groupings, meeting with their commanders, Army General Sergey Surovikin and Colonel General Alexander Lapin.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.

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Postscript: Looking back and looking forward with the Yellow Vests

July 12, 2022

Source

by Ramin Mazaheri

(Now available! This book has just been published in paperback and E-book form, and in French too!)

Western culture has been so prevalent for two centuries that I think much of the world assumes that they already intimately know a major European country like France. Many outside of the West may be saying, “We know the West, but the West doesn’t know us!”

It’s just not that simple.

(This is the nineteenth and final chapter in a new book, Frances Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the Wests Best ValuesPlease click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)

A contemporary progressive demand correctly says that local histories must be prioritised and no longer imposed from the outside – stereotypes must be broken. The end of feudalism finally allowed the average person to say the truth in public – there is a class struggle – and using this most high-powered lens we realise: the people of France deserve this right as much as any other people because the history of their working poor masses, too, has been repressed, ignored and slandered.

That didn’t all start with the Yellow Vests.

Yellow Vest: “It’s not only in Paris, or in France – discontent is international. The poor, the young, the old – so many sectors of society are doing poorly because of a lack of humanity in our social and economic policies. The beauty of the Yellow Vests is that we gather together every weekend to communicate with each other – otherwise, people are just home alone with their misery.”

By far the best part of this book, in my opinion, is their words. I hope you have been as delighted as I have been to read their analyses right alongside the deeds of Napoleon, the revolutionaries of 1848, Communards, true Trotskyists, etc. Not only do their words tie this humble book together, but they tie together over 200 years of French history. France has this tremendously exciting history of political resistance, but it gets buried, distorted and untaught by the Liberalist elite – the Yellow Vests exhumed it and brought it back to living reality.

After more than a dozen years living in France I must admit that I, too, didn’t know France and Europe anywhere as well as I assumed I did before I moved here. What an enormous mistake I made – assuming that I “knew” France even though I knew hardly any French people!

One doesn’t have to be on the world’s bottom socioeconomic rung to have their culture and history falsely portrayed – every nation without a Socialist-inspired revolution to protect them has their own bottom rung which is silenced, crippled, massacred, etc. This book has been an effort to view modern French history from their ground up and not in the Liberalist fashion – their top down.

Yellow Vest: “Macron has ended so much social assistance to poor people. He tells lies about the poor, and also about his own policies. We are sick of his policies! We must finish the Macron era! We demand more aid for poor people, such as myself!”

Ah, still more progressive Yellow Vest thoughts! Yes, more, because this book is not my book but theirs. This book is not an attempt to give my version of French history, but the version from the average French person.

The average French person has much to learn from this book, I humbly insist, because the history of their working-poor has been so suppressed domestically, and also because the truth of the new pan-European project has been so suppressed.

Admit the truth: the euro has totally failed in its promise to bring about prosperity and economic security. The European Union has totally failed to act in a democratic manner. The pan-European project has not waged bilateral war (perhaps “yet”) but it has waged social war on its own citizens across the continent. Many permanently disfigured Yellow Vests would say I am even being too lenient here.

Yellow Vest: “By denying that there was any police brutality the government legitimised it. How we can have confidence in a government which cripples its own citizens, or in institutions which do not intervene to stop that? It is truly barbaric violence, which mutilated people because they believe in a better future.” 

The immediate, perpetual and ongoing failure of Liberalism; the notion that Western political culture has actually been excised of the influence of immoral, arrogant and unjust monarchism – a misconception which rather turns Iranians apoplectic; the clear goal of modern politics to move from absolutism towards citizen involvement and empowerment; the obvious historical trajectory of Western political structures from absolute monarchy, to aristocratic oligarchy, to a bankocracy which inflicts neo-imperialism on anyone it can reach – I hope this book has clarified these realities. Admit the truth.

I am convinced that what Europeans definitely agree on is that they all want an end to the wars which have gutted their lower classes for so long, to easily move around within Europe and the basic advances of mere Social Democracy. The working classes want peace, ease of movement and a decent social safety net. The pan-European project has manipulated these desires – the 1% has teased with the carrot but just given the stick. The only real success of the pan-European project has been the flexibility of the EU passport – Europeans are quite relieved to be able to move around the continent without the previous hassles.

Europeans, in my experience and according to polls, mostly want a united Europe – it’s unfortunate that they are misled into believing that there is no alternative to this thus-far woefully unsuccessful version of it.

Yellow Vest: “I can’t tell people how to vote, but I certainly advise them to not vote for Macron. He hasn’t done anything for the French people, but has instead worked for the rich bankers, corporations and Brussels.”

Even though his autocratic repression of the Yellow Vests should have disqualified him from ever holding public office again, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected, incredibly. The false branding of the Yellow Vests as mere “hooligans” has largely stuck in France, stunningly. There is a dysfunction, a Marxist “barrenness”, an autocratic schizophrenia which Western Liberal Democracy is forcing the average Frenchman to endure – this book shows how long this sickness has been imposed on the French poor, working poor and working classes.

Without the courage to call things by their rightful names – Western Liberal Democracy means failure for the 99%; Socialist Democracy justly puts the 99% at the forefront of government policy – France as a whole will never heal. How very few political analysts say this!

This postscript was finished the day after France’s 2nd-round legislative elections. Macron has not been handed another absolute majority by a slim margin – it’s another Yellow Vest victory, but not one which was resounding enough. It’s certain that Macron was never a “centrist” but a mainstream conservative, merely with a new logo and of his younger generation. Thus, his coalition will continue to unite with the mainstream conservative les Républicains party (and also many fake-leftist Socialists and Greens) for an absolute majority on all issues involving far-right economics, the re-imposition of Liberalism and the pan-European project. French parliament will now be less stable and more combative, but in appearances only – in reality French parliament remains only for appearances on the major questions of economic and political power distribution. It’s certain that the reason an absolute democratic majority of France (54%) didn’t even bother to vote is because they implicitly know that modern autocracy – rule by the 49-3 executive decree and the overruling of national sovereignty by Brussels – rules, thus rendering Europe’s national parliaments a waste of time, their breath and our attention. I would conclude that Liberalism in France is on the verge of becoming so preposterously dysfunctional that it’s surely about to be consigned to the dustbin of history but, alas, I recall that Marx and Trotsky wrote the same thing.

It’s certain that these analyses will not be popular among my journalist colleagues.

What is so unfortunate is that as early as the summer of 2019 people kept asking me: “You’re going to report on a Yellow Vest demonstration? But I thought they had stopped marching?” The media blackout on the group extends beyond the common excuse of the corporate domination of Western media: it doesn’t explain the refusal of France’s state-owned media to cover the group. French taxpayers deserve better. Capitalism is an issue, but the larger issue is obviously political and cultural – it’s elite-driven Liberalism.

Yellow Vest: “We marched as Yellow Vests for two years, and we are still Yellow Vests today, but we all saw that nothing changed! The cost of living is too expensive – we can’t pay our bills at the end of the month! We don’t want this government – and their violence – any more.”

The fact that the Yellow Vests have marched every Saturday for over three and half years (not including the coronavirus pause) is actually more important than how they have been wilfully ignored:

As the West comes out of the coronavirus era, during which they actually employed some Social Democratic-inspired economic measures, they are immediately reverting to extremist Liberalist economic solutions: forced recession, in order to perpetuate the elite’s dominance over the working poor. The first half of 2022 was supposed to be a time when France’s elections were going to garner great interest, at least in France, but the vote was overshadowed everywhere by total economic disaster – much of it self-inflicted in the West. Betting on a period of economic disaster – always a constant in Liberalist capitalism – seems like a gamble that will pay off quite big, and quite soon, in the world’s weakest and least-sovereign macroeconomic bloc.

Yellow Vest: “Things really could explode because prices keep going up but wages do not. If Emmanuel Macron somehow wins re-election then social unrest will go sky-high. The Yellow Vests will really take to the streets then, and it will be much worse than in 2019.”

For those who marvel at the insight of these Yellow Vest quotations – they truly are just that politically intelligent and aware! Give them all the credit. The idea that they are just rioting berserkers is… well, this book has already disproven that completely.

The perspective of the daily hard-news reporter is, I think, a unique and useful one. There is an urgency to this particular area of journalism caused by the reality that (after starting from the ideal of objectivity) serious conclusions must be drawn immediately and presented – they cannot be drawn-out, postponed, frittered away by mealy-mouthed relativism. Additionally, I interview and learn the opinion on the day’s most vital events from everyone, from hedge fund mangers to think-tank analysts to pensioners to protesters to Yellow Vests and to – most often – the everyday Frenchman and Frenchwoman on the street. That’s not something which can be easily replicated. Personally, my favorite chapters may be Chapters 9 through 11 – covering 2009-2022 – which condensed over 1,500 2-3 minute television hard news reports for PressTV (which equates to more than 3,000 soundbites from French people) and hundreds of columns. That can’t be easily replicated, either, nor can my honest claim to have reported on more Yellow Vest demonstrations than any other journalist in any language.

At the next Liberalist-provoked disaster the Yellow Vests will be there – they have never left. That should give France great hope. This book has aimed to share their fundamental message of hope and civic-mindedness.

Yellow Vest: “What voters should do is to not be scared, and to rejoin the Yellow Vests. We have lost our purchasing power, our social services, our individual freedoms – stop crying about these two candidates from behind your television or computer and come join us!”

The ideas of the Yellow Vests are not new – this book examined many different modern French eras to show precisely that. There is obviously a human unity across spaces, and there is also a political unity across time. The interspersed quotes of the Yellow Vests should have given you the clear understanding of: it’s been the same political and economic struggle for the past 233 years. It’s not complicated: just examine how and why they repressed the Yellow Vests so brutally, and why that failed to stop them.

Yellow Vest: “The government doesn’t know what to do because they see that the movement continues despite so much repression. We will not stop until we get the right to citizen-initiated referendums, the end to corporate tax evasion and a rule of social justice so that people can live decently.”

That’s perhaps the most simple encapsulation of the primary demands of the Yellow Vests. Mine might be a bit different, but I was honoured to be alongside the Yellow Vests to insist on our right to live decently.

The West’s best values are not imperialism, elitist Liberalism, oligarchical parliamentarianism, free market chaos, suppressive austerity and a rat race to “become bourgeois”. Look at the Yellow Vests for the West’s true virtues, and then join them wherever you can.

Ramin Mazaheri

Paris

June 20, 2022

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Now available for purchase: English paperback and e-book – French paperback and e-book.

Complete chapter list of France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.

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