Yellow Vests ‘Season 2’ begins – are Season 1’s always better?

October 21, 2021

Yellow Vests ‘Season 2’ begins – are Season 1’s always better?

By Ramin Mazaheri posted with permission and cross-posted with PressTV

Last weekend, after more than one and half years away, the Yellow Vests hit the streets again for what they are calling “Season 2”.

You’re going to laugh and say, “But Season 2 of television programs are always worse!” Sure, for TV shows which turn out to be lousy. I find it hard to imagine that the Yellow Vests are going to sour into something unwatchable – in 2019 it was global can’t-miss politics.

The Yellow Vests poised to restart marching in Paris: The Bastille monument is in the background and a “Stop the genocide of the Gauls” sign is at the head of the demonstration. Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

French President Emmanuel Macron may appreciate the coronavirus because it provided the only time in his term, other than his first several months when the streets weren’t swarming with protesters. There are self-centered Americans who claim that the corona hysteria was amplified in the West to push Donald Trump into losing re-election – some egotistical French say the hysteria was manipulated to get the Yellow Vests off the streets. Neither egos are totally out of control here, if you ask me.

Most everyone in France I talked with about the Vesters had the same response about Season 2: “The Yellow Vests still exist?” That’s fair – it has been a while.

I hate sounding like the perpetually self-referential Chris Cuomo of CNN, but no journalist in French or English attended more Yellow Vest demonstrations than I did… and even I had to catch up on what happened in the different epoch of 2019!

All I can say after doing so is – wow… France’s state-sponsored repression in 2019 boggles the mind and stuns the pen. It should not be forgotten, and someone needs to get it right.

Which is why at the end of 2019 I thought it was necessary journalism to compile this, A News Chronology of France in 2019: The Year of Yellow Vest Rebellion. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know exactly what happened in 2019, in what order, how, and why. It is 11,000 words but reviewing how the Yellow Vest phenomenon arose and exploded, and the depths to which France descended to repress it, make for astounding reading even if Chris Cuomo would have penned it.

To condense it all into two lines from the introduction: “The metronomic sadism of certain, massive state violence was not at all a normal state of affairs, and yet Parisians were expending all their psychic energy to convince themselves that everything was indeed ‘normal’. … The question that France cannot quite answer is: are they still the coloniser, or are they now colonised?

Disgusting Eric Zemmour, who has risen to third in the April 2022 presidential polls, will say that France is the colonised – by Muslims. Nonsense: somehow the lowest socioeconomic class is the one pulling the strings which gutted France’s middle class? Yet he still gets all the airtime in the world. The Yellow Vests, however, get it right – France has been colonised by the European Union, which is indeed a neo-imperialist project that is openly and repeatedly anti-democratic. For this Vesters get no airtime.

But they do get plenty of tear gas (a more powerful type began getting used in March 2019), and rubber bullets (or “flash balls” shot from “defense ball launchers” per the MSM), from a new police chief who was hired because the Prime Minister said that “Inappropriate orders were given to reduce the use of LBD (rubber bullets)” by the previous police chief, while protesters were forbidden from covering their face (are corona masks ok now?).

You really can’t make this stuff up: remember the “anti-Yellow Vest law”, the lockdowns, the deployment of the army, the reactionary and short-lived “Red Scarves”, the fake turnout numbers, the fact that Macron didn’t even utter the words “Yellow Vests” until April 25, the banning of rural demonstrations, the tear-gassed tourists on Bastille Day, Lobstergate, etc.

So, yes, Mr. and Mrs. Jean Q. Frenchy stopped going to protests around mid-May 2019. You can say the Yellow Vests grew unpopular but you’d be wrong – they were consistently around a 60% approval rating, which is a staggeringly high number for a protest movement, and a great score for a political party.

But don’t forget the victories: they stopped Macron’s privatisation of the airports, they forced him to back down on yet another austerity budget (thus ending 9 years of austerity), they got €10 billion in concessions (which was credited to raising France’s 2019 Q3 growth rate of 0.3% (remember how many years of awful quarters they had when 0.3% quarterly growth would be trumped up as proof of austerity’s success!)), they must get credit for inspiring the 2019/20 General Strike (France’s longest labor movement in history) and also – they refused to give up.

These are low numbers, because how many hurt protesters (including tourists) didn’t report their injuries, but the 1-year tally in late November was 11,000 arrests, 2,000 convictions, 1,000 imprisoned, 5,000 seriously hurt and 1,000 critically injured.

Incredible… and yet France continued to claim to be a leader in human and political rights all the while. As if Danton and Robespierre wouldn’t have guillotined themselves rather than be associated with the French government of today….

But we all know what happened right after the French union-led, which is to say incompetently-led, General Strike failed: ”2 weeks to flatten the curve!”

Well, at least it gave France a reason to have a new type of state of emergency. Recall that those started under Francois Hollande – executive branch power-grabs are not something started by Macron.

Season 2 of the West’s most advanced political group

Oh, wait – aren’t they Islamophobic, per the repeated accusations of the MSM? Well, then why did the head of the Paris demonstration feature a Muslim woman wearing a hijab?

Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

In 2019 they marched against both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, by the way.

Nothing says, “The spirit of les Lumières (the Enlightenment)” like a machine gun at a peaceful, unarmed demonstration. Guess they don’t need to call out the army anymore?

Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

I counted about 1,000 at one of the Paris protests on the opening act of Season 2, and I estimated there were 300 planned demonstrations nationwide. The Yellow Vests have always been a rural-based movement, and because the MSM dismisses and denigrates rural areas they have consistently undercounted Vester demos by a third. Here’s a shot of the Paris demonstration to see for yourself. Notice the Palestinian flag, even though Vesters are surely racist, Islamophobic, pro-imperialist, etc.?

Photo Credit: Ramin Mazaheri

Here’s the TV report we at PressTV did on Act 1, Season 2 – you may not find any others. I surprisingly did see a lone major French media there, which was a huge increase from the usual French media presence of “none”. An RT colleague was there, as always, so it was quite the same as it was from mid-May 2019 onwards – mostly just the Russians and the Iranians covering the Yellow Vests.

So what’s going to happen this season?

Well, the resumption of regular weekend repression of protesters would surely hurt Macron’s re-election chances, but will the average Jean and Jeanne Frenchy join them? Believe it or not, many people don’t like being tear gassed in 2021 as much as they didn’t like it in 2019. The massive state repression, the criminalisation, the tear gas, the beatings, the fines, the intrusive searches, the portraying of political protesters as mere rioters – the whole point was to scare away the average Frenchman, and it definitely worked.

People here tell me that Macron will just buy voters off with some one-off payments before the election, but Americans told me the same thing about Trump – I note that he did not.

The world is not going to lock itself down to sway the French election, like many said it seemed to do for the US election; the Western 1% really doesn’t care what happens to French protesters, and 2019 proved that emphatically.

If you’re going to pin me down for an early prediction, and fairly ask this foreign correspondent what exactly is going on in France, then at this point I’d say: Macron wins re-election regardless of how much petrol increases, inflation rises, the Vesters march, etc. for a simple reason:

The West postures on 18th century political and social achievements, largely disavowing 20th-century advances in political thought and anti-imperialism. Thus, France is a far-right country with a host of recent massacres, violence and repression which are forgotten or covered up as soon as the smoke clears – look at the Yellow Vests of 2019. The Yellow Vests are emphatically not poseurs, but they were and likely will be incredibly suppressed ahead of the presidential election.

Apathy is always the forerunner of catastrophe – however, perhaps France will grasp that and not cede the political field to the economic and social far-right (Macron, Le Pen, Zemmour)?

The story of French political modernity is not over – Season 2 has only begun.


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 Socialisms 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.

Photos by Ramin Mazaheri

المسيحية المشرقية تتعرض لآخر كمين في بيروت الشرقية .. ولكن لكل سمير .. حبيب

نُشرت بتاريخ 2021/10/17 

بواسطة 

naram.serjoonn

يقال ان تاريخ الحياة على الارض هو تاريخ للموت .. فعملية الانقراض والتلاشي أصابت 90% من مخلوقات الارض .. وأخشى ان هذه النبوءة ستنطبق على الوجود المسيحي المشرقي .. الذي يتآكل ويتلاشى .. ويبدو أن طلقة الرحمة ستنطلق من أيد مسيحية .. ولكن في نفس الوقت لن ينقذ المسيحية المشرقية الا يد مسيحية ..
أكتب هذه الكلمات وقلمي يرتعش .. وقلبي يرتجف من البرد .. وهاأنذا اكتب نبوءة كأنها الرؤيا ورؤيا كأنها النبوءة .. ونبوءتي ورؤياي تنظران الى الشرق الذي تغير كثيرا فصار فيه اليهود أكثر من المسيحيين في أقل من خمسين عاما .. وتمكن المشروع الصهيوني من اقتلاع المسيحية من الشرق باقتلاع مساميرها التي كانت مغروزة كالأوتاد في كل الشرق .. أتلفت حولي فلاأرى الا نزفا ديموغرافيا للمسيحيين المشرقيين .. وهذا النزيف المشرقي للمسيحيين ليس صدفة .. وليس بريئا .. وكأن هناك من يريد ان يقول ان الشرق هو اسلام صرف وان الغرب هو مسيحية طاغية .. وان الصراع بين الشرق والغرب هو صراع بين المسيحية والاسلام .. واسرائيل هي التي ستمثل بقايا المسيحية من خلال العهد القديم .. وان علاقة الشرق بالمسيحية ستقتصر على اسرائيل اليهودية ..

في القرن العشرين كان أكبر الخاسرين من الاحتكاك مع الاستعمار الغربي الاوروبي هو المسيحية المشرقية .. فانطاكية وكنيستها الحقت بتركيا .. وصار مسيحيو انطاكية معزولين كأقلية ضعيفة في بحر اسلامي تركي .. وظل الوجود المسيحي المعزول عن المسيحية المنتشرة في بلاد الشام يتقلص ويتأكل حتى انقرض الوجود المسيحي في انطاكية تقريبا وهو نتيجة طبيعية لعزل جيب انطاكية المسيحي وفصله عن الجسم المسيحي الطبيعي الكبير في بلاد الشام ..


والمشروع الفرانكفوني خلق دويلة لبنان الكبير وخصصها لتكون دولة مسيحية بأكثرية مسيحية .. ولكن هذا الكيان المسمى لبنان المسيحي سلخ مسيحيي لبنان عن مسيحيي سورية وفلسطين والعراق والاردن .. والحق مسيحيي لبنان بالمسيحية الاوروبية لأن هذا الكيان المسيحي الفرنسي التصميم صار يحس انه مهدد بمحيطه الاسلامي وأن لاسبيل للحفاظ عليه الا الحماية الاوربية .. وهذا جعل العلاقة مع محيطه العربي والاسلامي متوترة تسببت بحروب اهلية دخل المسيحييون فيها جميعها .. وخسروا شبابهم في حروب عبثية دينية تسببت في هجرة كثيرين منهم وتحول لبنان المسيحي الى محمية اوروبية متناحرة مع محيطها وتتوجس منه دوما ..


وعندما قام الغرب باجتياح العراق وأطلق مشروع الربيع العربي في سورية واعتنى بنمو داعش وجبهة النصرة وسمى جيش الاسلام وجيش الجولاني وأحرار الشام والسلطان مراد بأنها جيوش للاحرار والحرية .. فانه كان يدرك ان اول من سيدفع الثمن هو الوجود المسيحي في الشرق .. ومع ذلك فانه كان يغض الطرف عن العنف الذي يدفع بالمسيحيين للهجرة والفرار .. كما فعل الصهاينة في يهود العراق عندما فجروا الكنس والاحياء اليهودية لارغام اليهود العراقيين للفرار الى فلسطين المحتلة .. وبالفعل تلاشى المسيحيون من سهل نينوى ومن الجزيرة السورية وتبخر المسيحيون من بقاع كانت مسيحية منذ الفي سنة .. وعلمت من شخصيات مسيحية سورية وازنة ومحترمة جدا ان مسيحيي سورية نالهم من الاتقراض نصيب وأن أعدادهم تناقصت وأن هناك من كان يعمل على تهجيرهم وتسهيل هجرتهم بحجة حمايتهم .. وكأن الحماية تكون في اقتلاعهم ونشرهم في اوروبة وليس بتمكينهم من البقاء في أرضهم .. فقد دمر الغرب الجيش العراقي الذي كان الغطاء لجميع العراقيين المسيحيين والمسلمين لكن المسيحيين استهدفوا بالعنف السري بشكل خاص لارغامهم على الهرب ..


وكذلك أخرج الغرب بدعمه لما يسمى الثورة السورية الجيش والسلطة السورية من الجزيرة السورية ومن المناطق المسيحية .. بل ان الغرب كان يرى ان داعش وجبهة النصرة كانتا تتمددان في لبنان انطلاقا من الحدود السورية .. ومع هذا فقد فعل المستحيل لايقاف الجيش السوري وحزب الله ومنعه من مواجهة داعش والنصرة في لبنان .. رغم ان القاصي والداني كان يعرف ان هذه الموجة الارهابية الاسلامية كانت ستجتث المسيحيين اما بارهابهم وترويعهم او باطلاق الوصاية الدينية عليهم لاكراههم على الرحيل .. وصعب جدا ان يقنعني أحد ان الغرب لم ير هذا المصير وهذا الاتجاه .. فالغرب ليس ساذجا ليصدق ان الاسلاميين سيتركون المسيحيين يعيشون بأمان ..
لاشك ان الموجة الاسلامية قد قضمت كثيرا من الديموغرافية المسيحية وأبعدتها عن المشهد والخارطة الديموغرافية .. ولكن بقي المشهد الاخير الباقي فيمن بقي من مسيحيي الشرق الذين يتم دفعهم الى محرقة جديدة هذه المرة على يد مسيحي مجنون ومتطرف .. هو سمير جعجع .. الذي يتباهى أن لديه آلاف المقاتلين المتمرسين للدفاع عن المسيحية وبيروت الشرقية .. رغم ان هؤلاء المسلحين وقفوا يتفرجون على تقدم داعش والنصرة في لبنان وانتشارهم ولم يحركوا ساكنا لحماية اي مسيحي بل كان جهد جعحع هو الدفاع عن جبهة النصرة ..


الغريب أن جعجع يدرك ان اي معركة مع اي طرف في لبنان ستنتهي بسحقه تماما .. ولن تتدخل الدول الغربية لحمايته لأنه لن يكون أغلى من مسيحيي القدس وفلسطين والعراق وشرق سورية الذين رآهم الغرب بأم عينه يتفرقون وينكمشون وينقرضون .. ولم يحرك ساكنا ..

سمير جعجع يريد شيئا واحدا وهو ان يستدرج حزب الله الى معركة معه وان كانت خاسرة .. وان خسر سمير جعجع المعركة فان هذا سيحدث تعاطفا طبيعيا وانحيازا مسيحيا نحوه ويميل جزء من مسيحيي التيار العوني اليه .. وهذا سيشق المسيحيين أكثر ويفتح صراعا مسيحيا مسيحيا .. وان ظهر انه ينتصر فانه سيكون عامل جذب لعناصر مسيحية في المعسكر الاخر العوني ايضا لأن للانتصار جاذبية … كما حدث مع الاسلاميين الذين انتصروا في بداية معارك الربيع العربي والحرب السورية مما شجع كثيرين للالتحاق بهم للتمتع بالنصر والتعلق بالمجد الجديد ..


المهم ان المسيحيين يتم استدراجهم اما لحرب مسيحية مسيحية او لحرب مسيحية اسلامية او مسيحية شيعية .. ومهما كانت النتائج فانها ستكون كارثية على مسيحيي الشرق .. وسينتهي وجودهم الباقي والكثيف في لبنان مهما كانت نتيجة الصراع … لأن الحرب لن ترحم أحدا وستكون الهجرة أكثر سهولة على الشباب المسيحي .. لأن هذا الانخراط العنيف في الصراعات الداخلية المجانية لن تكون له الا نتائج سيئة على المسيحيين لأنهم سيجدون انفسهم في خضم معركة اهلية طويلة ستنتنزف اموالهم وشبابهم .. وسيجد كثيرون منهم باب الهجرة مفتوحا ومرحبا بهم .. وهذه الهجرة الكثيفة ستكون طلقة الرحمة على الوجود المسيحي في لبنان ..


ربما لايدرك مسيحيو الشرق ولبنان تحديدا اي فخ وكمين يساقون اليه في تهور سمير جعجع الذي يضع مسيحيي لبنان رغما عنهم في مواجهة حزب الله ومحور المقاومة الذي تحدى اميريكا نفسها وتحدى الغرب ولن يسمح لجعجع بأن ينال من حزب الله .. وسيكون سمير جعجع في منتهى السذاجة ان ظن ان اسرائيل ستدخل حربا من أجله .. بل سيكون منتهى طموح اسرائيل هو ان تشق التحالف بين ميشيل عون وحزب الله وان يريحها جعجع من دفع دم المواجهة مع حزب الله .. كما فعلت مع الشباب الاسلاميين الذين دفعوا دمهم وتركتهم اسرائيل يموتون نيابة عنها .. ولكن هذه الحرب ان اندلعت فانها ستعزل المسيحيين المشرقيين وتحولهم الى كيان موتور خائف على وجوده سينتهي بالتقلص والانكماش الطبيعي .. وان انتهى الوجود المسيحي القوي في لبنان فان هذا سيعني رسالة الى من بقي من مسيحيي الشرق بأن الشرق لم يعد لهم وعليهم أن يشدوا الرحيل .. لأن اية تغير في الانظمة السياسية واتجاهاتها وصراعاتها سيكونون مرغمين على الدخول في تحالفات لايرغبون بها وسيكونون فيها أقلية ضعيفة تجرفها الاهواء السياسية ..


للأسف ان تمنع حزب الله عن معاقبة سمير جعجع لادراكه بحساسية الوضع واللعبة التي تستهدف المسيحيين حلفاءه الرئيسيين في لبنان .. ستشجع سمير جعجع على ارتكاب المزيد من الحماقات والرعونات .. وربما لن يكون هناك من معادلة بأقل الخسائر الا ان تعود معادلة مسيحية قالت سابقا (لكل عميل حبيب .. ولكل بشير حبيب) .. وهي المعادلة التي ارساها البطل حبيب الشرتوني المسيحي الوطني اللبناني ابن البطل الشهيد أنطون سعادة ..


مثل البطل جول جمال المسيحي السوري الذي نفذ حكم الاعدام بالمدمرة الفرنسية (المسيحية) جان بار في بورسعيد .. فان حبيب الشرتوني كان مسيحيا لبنانيا نفذ حكم الاعدام بمسيحي لبناني خائن دفاعا عن اسم المسيحية المشرقية الوطنية .. وكان هذا العمل البطولي سببا في ان تستيقظ القوى المسيحية الوطنية اللبنانية وتأخذ المبادرة من المتهورين والمغامرين المسيحيين وتعيد مسيحيي لبنان الى قلب المشهد الوطني الذي صنع سقوط 17 أيار .. والذي صنع ظاهرة حزب الله الذي كان مدعوما ظهره بالوطنية المسيحية .. ولولاهم لكان انجازه ليس سهلا في تحرير الجنوب والحاق الهزيمة باسرائيل عام 2005 ..


عمل حبيب الشرتوني كان رسالة فهمها الجميع .. وبطولة وفرت الكثير من دماء المسيحيين واللبنانيين .. فهل يفعلها شباب لبنان المسيحي .. ويخرج لنا بطلا يوفر علينا عناء معاقبة سمير جعجع .. ويطلق معادلة: (لكل سمير حبيب) .. وثقوا تماما ان هذه المعادلة ستوقظ المجانين في القوات اللبنانية من هذيانهم وأحلامهم .. وطيشهم .. وتعيد الكثيرين منهم الى صوابهم ورشدهم الذي تتلاعب به مكاتب الدعاية الاسرائيلية التي تنشر مشاهد عنف باسم القوات اللبنانية كمن يوجه دعوة للجهاد المسيحي المقدس ..

Allies’ Interests Matter? When Morals Fall, Money Comes First and Business Is Business!

9 October, 2021

Allies’ Interests Matter? When Morals Fall, Money Comes First and Business Is Business!

By Mohammed Sleem

Beirut – Amid the ongoing crisis over the Australian-French submarine deal, the United States and the United Kingdom coupled and betrayed France, stealing a 40 billion dollars’ worth deal in order to provide Canberra with nuclear armed submarines.

The action led to a serious diplomatic issue between France on one side and the US, UK and Australia on the other, prompting France to summon its ambassadors to Canberra and Washington. The submarine contract was signed in 2016 between Paris and Canberra and was ready to be approved between both countries.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian slammed the US and Australian governments over the deal, describing what happened as a “stab in the back”, adding that US President Joe Biden’s policy with his allies is the same as his predecessor Donald Trump.

As tension in France peaked, Le Drian considered the attitude of its NATO ally, the United State – which they regret – especially with regard to the common challenges and interests they have in the Indo-pacific area, were lacking coherency.

France expressed that Australia had committed a mistake regarding the partnership between the two sides, as trust was a key element in their relationship and it demanded an explanation over what has happened.

The alliance between the European country and the United States seems to be semi-broken, and the procedures for making amends to get things back on track might be hard, since accumulated incidents were heavy on Paris especially in the Trump era, who during presidency said that without America’s help during WWII, Parisians would be speaking German rather than French, in a reference to Macron’s call to form a European army for defending Europe against any potential threats.

The American-French trade dispute was basically triggered by an economic factor. Trump had imposed high tariffs on American exports to Paris in contrast to the low tariffs on French imports to the US – as with French wine. For their part, the French demanded fair import-export regulations.  

The real competition among major powers such as the US and France, mostly lies on the economic sectors and huge assets in countries where natural minerals are distributed among them without any disputes in an already agreed deal among all.

However, the paradox in this incident among these major powers is that one is willing to disregard alliances when ambitions are so bold and one is ready to take advantage of the situation for personal gains even if it may lead to a diplomatic issue and at sometimes to unwanted actions with ones allies. Ironically, what may seem illogical or may not happen is a betrayal as it is, and without any hesitation among allies when in fact they are supposed to have equal slices of the pie.

To sum up the unique occasion that took place, when ambitions are so bold and the competition reaches the seal, morals fall blatantly and money comes first and business is business, even with the allies of major powers.

أكذوبة التفرّغ للصين لتغطية الانكفاء الأميركي

 أكتوبر/ 5 تشرين الأول 2021

يتشارك منظرو التسويق لسياسات الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن، مع خصومهم داخل أميركا وخارجها، بالترويج لنظرية أولوية المواجهة مع الصين بالنسبة للإدارة الأميركية، واشتقاقاً منها نظرية أخرى تقول بأنّ الانسحابات والتراجعات الأميركية ليست إلا تموضعاً جديداً عنوانه التفرّغ لمواجهة الصين، ولأن في هذا السياق قدراً من الاعتراف بالضعف يمثله العجز عن الجمع بين مواجهة الصين وخوض المعارك المفتوحة في جبهات أخرى، والاعتراف بالصعود الصيني وتصويرها كخصم تحدٍ كافٍ يستحق التفرّغ له، يحقق أصحاب النظرية شروط الإغواء لخصومهم لمشاركتهم في تسويقها، لكن أي تدقيق بعناصر هذا الزعم سيوصلنا إلى اعتباره كذبة كبيرة.

التفرغ لمواجهة الصين، كعنوان يعني توفير شروط مواجهة أفضل والانصراف عن كل إلهاء عن هذه المواجهة، والتمسك بكل تموضع سياسي أو اقتصادي أو عسكري يحسن شروط هذه المواجهة، ولأن المواجهة مركبة على المستويات السياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية، فكل تقدم أميركي في هذه الميادين هو تسجيل نقاط تعزز فرص الفوز في المواجهة، وكل تراجع يعزز فرص الخسارة، خصوصاً عندما تكون الصين هي المرشح الأول للتموضع مكان الفراغ الأميركي، وإذا توقفنا أمام الخطوات الأميركية الأخيرة في ظل رئاسة بايدن، والتي تم تلطيف الطابع الانهزامي فيها والتخفيف من وطأته المعنوية بعبارة تجميلية اسمها التفرغ لمواجهة الصين، سنجد أمامنا ثلاثة نماذج، الأول هو الانسحاب من أفغانستان، والثاني هو السعي للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، والثالث هو الحلف الأميركي البحري البريطاني- الأسترالي في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ المسمى «أوكوس»، وقد تم ربط كل منها بجملة التفرغ للمواجهة مع الصين، سواء على قاعدة وقف الاستنزاف في حالة أفغانستان، أو منع ظهور قوة نووية تربك المشهد الدولي وتوازناته كمبرر للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، أو التقرب من خط المواجهة مع الصين كما يفترض بمهمة حلف أوكوس.

في حالة أفغانستان، يطرح السؤال عن صدقية الكلام حول كون الانسحاب العسكري، وتبعاته السياسية والاقتصادية يشكل عنصر تعزيز للوضعية الأميركية في المواجهة مع الصين، وأفغانستان كانت هدفاً أميركياً بالأساس لوقوفها جغرافياً على مثلث التقاطع بين روسيا والصين وإيران، وكانت الحرب التي مولتها ودعمتها الاستخبارات الأميركية منذ ثمانينيات القرن الماضي ضد الاتحاد السوفياتي في أفغانستان تتم تحت عنوان قطع الطريق على تنامي قوة روسيا والصين وإيران، كمصادر لتحديات للأمن القومي الأميركي، وعندما غزت القوات الأميركية أفغانستان عام 2001 كانت كل المواقف الأميركية في عهود جمهورية وديمقراطية تربط البقاء في أفغانستان باستراتيجيات المواجهة مع الثلاثي الآسيوي الصاعد، وما بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان، تبدو أفغانستان جائزة اقتصادية للصين، وجائزة عسكرية لروسيا، وجائزة سياسية لإيران، فكيف يكون الانسحاب منها مكسباً لمشروع التفرغ لمواجهة الصين، وعبرها تكون المواجهة من المسافة صفر، على الأقل لجهة فرص التنصت والحرب الاستخبارية والإلكترونية، إذا كانت الحرب العسكرية مستبعدة؟

في حالة إيران، يكفي التذكير بأن معاهدة التعاون الاستراتيجي بين الصين وإيران كانت سابقة لوصول بايدن إلى البيت الأبيض، والتذكير بأن إيران تمثل قلب آسيا الذي يشكل انضمامه إلى خطة الحزام والطريق التي تشكل عنوان المشروع الصيني الأول على الساحة الدولية، تمثل تحولاً نوعياً في ميزان القوى بين أميركا والصين، فعندما تصبح الصين في إيران فهي تلقائياً صارت على بوابة الخليج وبوابة قزوين وبوابة المتوسط وعلى تماس مباشر مع تقاطعات حدودية لعشرات الدول، وأي تفكير بإعادة الصين إلى ما وراء الحدود يبنى على منع الصين من التموضع في إيران، أو على الأقل بعدم تمكين إيران من تشكيل شريك فاعل للصين في توسيع نطاق نفوذها الدولي والإقليمي، وهذا ما كان أنصار الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب يبررون به ما يسمونه بالضغوط القصوى، وما جاء بايدن ليعلن فشله، مسلماً بأن إعاقة إيران عن التقدم أصيبت بالفشل، وأن مواصلة المواجهة تعني تكبد المزيد من الخسائر من دون جدوى، ولأن هذا صحيح، فالصحيح أيضاً أن التسليم بفوز إيران في جولة التحدي هو تسليم ضمني بأن الصين ستكون على ضفة الرابحين في كل إنجاز تحققه إيران.

في حلف أوكوس الذي قدمه أنصار بايدن كخطوة متقدمة للتقرب من البيئة الجغرافية المحيطة بالصين، بعض الخداع البصري، لأن السؤال هو هل هدف الحلف التقرب من الصين أم تأمين خط دفاعي عن الجغرافيا الأميركية من الميمنة البريطانية والميسرة الأسترالية كترجمة للانكفاء، أم خطة حشد نحو الصين، والجواب يكمن في ربط ولادة حلف أوكوس من رحم حلف الناتو، في وقت تلقى الناتو ضربة أولى بالانسحاب من أفغانستان وأصيب بتصدع لا تزال تردداته تتواصل، وجاء إعلان أوكوس بمثابة الضربة القاضية للناتو، بما أصاب فرنسا من خسارة وأذى بسببه، وبعدما أصابت شظايا صفقة الغواصات العلاقات الأميركية- الفرنسية، فهل يمكن الحديث عن التفرغ للمواجهة مع الصين من دون أولوية بناء حلف سياسي وعسكري متين تقوده واشنطن ويشاركها المواجهة، وهل أن تدمير الناتو يخدم المواجهة مع الصين، وقد كان الناتو مرشحاً أول لتشكيل خط المواجهة الدولية مثله مثل قمة السبعة، كركائز تتداعى من حول واشنطن، التي تعرف ما تفعل، لكنها تكذب بما تقول، فما تفعله واشنطن هو التخفف من أعباء سياسة الدولة الأولى في العالم للتفرغ لوضع داخلي على شفا كارثة، لا يملك ترف الدفاع عن موقع الزعامة في العالم وهو ينهار، ويشكل شعار التفرغ لمواجهة الصين ترجمة نموذجية للكذبة المطلوبة في تغطية هذا الانكفاء.

خصوم واشنطن الذين يكررون معادلة التفرغ الأميركي للمواجهة مع الصين مدعوون للمزيد من التدقيق بالعبارة قبل تردادها.

Imam Khamenei Urges Regional States to Prevent Foreign Intervention

 October 4, 2021

Imam Khamenei Urges Regional States to Prevent Foreign Intervention

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said the interference of foreign actors in the region is a source of discord and damage, calling on the regional states to follow the example of Iran for power and rationality.

Imam Khamenei praised Iran’s armed forces in a virtual address to a ceremony held for graduates of military academies in Tehran Sunday, calling them “a defensive shield in the true sense of the word against the hard threats of the external and internal enemies.”

His Eminence’s remarks came after Iran’s Army held military exercises on its northwestern border, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian stating that Tehran “does not tolerate the Zionist regime’s activity against its national security”, referring to the Zionist entity’s relations with neighboring Azerbaijan.

“The interference of foreigners in the region is a source of discord and damage. All issues and incidents must be resolved without foreign interference and the countries of the region should follow the example of Iran and the armed forces of the Islamic Republic for power and rationality,” His Eminence said.      

Imam Khamenei said regional armies can provide security in the region, adding that some states should not allow foreign armies to intervene or have a military presence in the region to protect their own interests.

“The events that are taking place in the northwest of Iran in some neighboring countries should be resolved with the same logic of avoiding giving permission to the presence of foreigners,” His Eminence noted.

“The armed forces of our dear country always act with power combined with rationality, and this rationality should be a model for other countries and a factor in solving the existing problems, and everyone should know that whoever digs a pit for his brothers shall fall therein first,” he added.

Imam Khamenei described security as the “basic infrastructure of all necessary activities” for Iran’s development, saying it is important to achieve security without relying on foreigners.

His Eminence noted that while security is something normal for the Iranian nation, many countries – even in Europe – have a problem to achieve it, citing a recent spat between France and an emerging Anglo alliance over building submarines after Australia cancelled apparently under US pressure a $56 billion contract with Paris and awarded it to American and British companies.

“Some Europeans called the US action a stab in the back and in a way said that Europe should ensure its security independently without relying on NATO and in fact on America,” he said, referring to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian’s remarks in an interview. 

“When European countries feel having a deficiency in achieving lasting security because of their reliance on the United States, which is not opposed to Europe, the comeuppance of other countries that have placed their armed forces under the control of the United States and other foreigners is clear,” His Eminence said.

To provide security by relying on foreign powers is just an “illusion”, Imam Khamenei said.

“Those who suffer from this illusion will soon get slapped because the direct or indirect interference of foreigners in the security, war and peace of any country is a catastrophic disaster.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Leader of the Islamic Revolution touched on the disgraceful withdrawal of well-armed US troops from Afghanistan in August, saying it was an example in pretension of power which proved hollow.

“Those Hollywood images of the US military and countries like it are just a show because their true nature is what was seen in Afghanistan,” Imam Khamenei said.

“The Americans launched a military campaign against Afghanistan 20 years ago to overthrow the Taliban and during this long occupation, they committed many massacres and atrocities and caused great damage, but after all the material and human costs, they handed over the government to the Taliban and withdraw – a fact that is a lesson for all countries.”

Imam Khamenei also touched on the hatred of the East Asian people for the US military, saying “the Americans are hated by nations wherever they intervene.”

Algeria Bans French Military Aircraft from Airspace

October 3, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen & Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

Visual search query image
Algeria banned French military aircraft 


Algeria banned French military aircraft from entering its airspace, the French army reported Sunday. This comes as another Algerian step in response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s disrespect to Algeria’s sovereignty and history, in addition to the dispute between Algiers and Paris over visas. Macron’s comments and the visa row resulted in a diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

France’s military planes regularly fly through Algeria’s airspace to reach the West African Sahel region, where they carry out military missions as part of France’s Barkhane operation.

Algeria’s decision “does not affect our operations or intelligence missions” carried out in the Sahel, a French army spokesman, Colonel Pascal Ianni, said.

This decision heightened tensions between the two nations, and it constitutes the latest step in this diplomatic crisis, which saw Algeria recalling Saturday its ambassador to France over “inadmissible interference” in its affairs. Algeria rejected France’s interference in its internal affairs hours after recalling its ambassador to Paris.

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Geopolitical Shifts – A New Future Dawns in the East

September 28, 2021

Geopolitical Shifts – A New Future Dawns in the East

by Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

A shift in the world’s power base, alliances and economic strength, will undoubtedly happen within the coming years. In fact, it’s already ongoing. But not necessarily according to Klaus Schwab’s (WEF) “The Great Reset”. “Not necessarily”, because We, The People, can stop it. Plus, there are nations and their allies, who do not agree and won’t accept the enslavement of much of the world through the self-anointed powers of an ultra-rich elite.

The Saker, in his blog “Big, huge changes, in the near future (a tentative list)” (26 September 2021)  https://thesaker.is/big-huge-changes-in-the-near-future-a-tentative-list-of-the-major-ones/ has covered most of the geopolitical transformations that are most likely taking place in the foreseeable future.

Consider the SCO – the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – has just integrated Iran as new member. This – in the west – little-talked-about organization, association of eastern countries, created by China and Russia on 15 June 2001, started out with 7 Central and East-Asian members, Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Since then, have joined, India, Pakistan and now Iran. Associated members are Malaysia and Mongolia. Which makes the SCO one of the most powerful, possibly THE most powerful, socioeconomic and defense strategy organizations in the world – with nearly half the world’s population and about one third of the world’s GDP. 

One could undoubtedly ask, what does India have to do in this club? – India is swinging from West to East to West, where ever the crumbs of fortune seem to be larger. Recent photographs of India’s PM Narendra Modi with President Biden, together smiling to the media – speaks for itself.

Well, for sure, there are macro-strategic reasons for keeping Modi’s India in the SCO-Association. The day will come when India will be India again – not just expressed by the will of the people, but also by her leaders.

As well illustrated in The Saker’s essay, the west is destined to break apart and eventually collapse. Its reminiscent of the picture of al falling airplane, where the passengers are arguing and thrashing out on each other, while the rapidly descending plane is breaking apart – and soon hitting the ground. And probably goes up in smoke. It’s most likely not going to be that dramatic – but perhaps close.

Indeed, Europe cannot decide whether they are belonging to the western AngloZion block that has also captured Australia and New Zealand – or to the much stabler, and much more peaceful and congenial mega-continent – Eurasia. Just a couple of figures to dwell about: 55,000,000 km2 (21,000,000 sq mi), and 5.4 billion population, as of October 2019 – about two thirds of the world population.

It’s actually a no-brainer. We will soon see whether Europe, the European Union, eventually will fall apart for not knowing where to belong, or make a last-minute right decision. It’s a pity, that the “system” insinuating ruling the World Order, does not see, or not want to see, that they are betting on a paper tiger – like NATO – to come to its rescue.

Let’s look at AUKUS. It stands for Australia, UK and US and aims at modernizing the primary beneficiary – Australia – over the coming decades to take up security challenges in the Indo-Pacific.

The plan is to give access to cutting edge military technology to Australia by its two partners, including futuristic capabilities like artificial intelligence and quantum technologies. This refers to the recent deal of US/UK built nuclear submarines, canceling the submarine contract Australia had with France.
See this https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/defence/aukus-programme-an-explainer/articleshow/86282058.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

This, AUKUS deal for unprepared France, annihilated a US$ 66 billion equivalent Australian contract with French majority state-owned Naval Group to provide 12 conventional diesel-electric submarines for Australia.

And imagine, this is just one of the first “deals” of the rather new AUKUS alliance. What may follow, are more such self-centered, immediate-profit-oriented deals that help further breaking apart the once-upon-a-time so powerful western alliance.

The new AUKUS deal will provide Australia with nuclear powered submarines. But the agreement is so new, neither cost nor time frame are so far public knowledge.

France withdrew its ambassadors to the United States and Australia after U.S. President Joe Biden revealed last week a new tripartite alliance including Australia and Britain that would allow Australia to amass a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines.

Russia Today (RT) sums it up: It is no surprise, then, that the newly forged Atlantic-Pacific triple alliance between the US, Great Britain, and Australia, known as AUKUS, has caught the eye of Russian leaders and defense chiefs. Announced on 15 September, the pact was presented as targeting China. However, it’s clear its geopolitical implications won’t be felt in Beijing alone.

The New AUKUS nuclear bloc won’t just battle China, it will take the West into confrontation with Russia too, Moscow’s security chief says.

Initially cautious, Moscow’s response has quickly become more critical. Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s National Security Council, has denounced AUKUS as the “prototype of an Asian NATO,” set to expand, and directed against both China and Russia.

The essence of AUKUS is not complicated. While it covers various areas, such as cyber and artificial intelligence, its core is the transfer of technology from the USA to Australia. And not just any technology, but that of nuclear-powered submarines, which, until now, have been in the possession of only six states: China, France, Great Britain, Russia, the USA, and – in a complicated manner dependent on Russia – India. And of course, never to be mentioned: Israel.

In conclusion – Moscow may, accordingly, expand its own nuclear submarine fleet in the Pacific. In such a world, the already existing strategic partnership between China and Russia would only get stronger.

In parallel to this AUKUS treason on France, Biden is hosting a Quad summit (Quad Alliance = Quadrilateral Security Dialogue is a strategic dialogue between the United States, India, Japan and Australia). While the topic is not official news yet, it’s not difficult to guess that the subject is how to “contain” – speak “aggress” Russia and China. And again, strangely, prominent SCO member India plays along.
—-

There is the economic impact such a deal may have, not only in figures of hard money, but also as a precedent. No rules are respected. This is the “free market” of the New Brave World, under which not even traditional allies are respected and secure.

It is difficult to predict how France under Macron will act in response. Macron is certainly no DeGaulle. President Macron – or his aids, have insinuated that in response to the abrogation of the Aussi-French nuclear submarine deal, France may exit NATO. We can easily speculate, that’s what DeGaulle would have done. That would be something to be proud of for France and, in the long run for Europe too. But it is unlikely to happen. Macron is “guided” by darker forces.
——
This socioeconomic and political break-up of the so-called western alliance, will certainly hurt a lot of people, but the world, Mother Earth, will survive, and most of those who have not betrayed their believes may too.

It is unfathomable what the onset of covid has destroyed in terms of socioeconomic wealth and simply, wellbeing. People in the Global South, about whom hardly any wester politician speaks, are dying, from hunger, despair, disease – and merely from desperation. According to the World Food Program, close to a billion people are already suffering from famine or are at the verge of seriously suffering from food scarcity.

The imminent break-up of the west will accelerate the shift of economic and political power to the east.

Europe has not much time to decide whether they belong to the Future – the east – or the defunct and decaying past, the west (self-destruction by egocentricity and self-imposed empire). It requires both, the (western) people to wake up and take back their governments, abducted by the dark invisible forces; and the human strength to survive on a level of no-revenge, non-aggression, despite enormous sacrifices that may have to be made to salvage our civilization.

Yes, it’s possible. We can do it.

Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is also is a non-resident Sr. Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

Big, huge changes, in the near future (a tentative list)

SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

by Andrei for the Saker blog

Note: I will be terminating the fund drive today, and I want to thank ALL those who donated, be it prayers, words of support or money.  You have made a huge difference to us in a difficult moment and I want to thank you all for this!  As for the blog, it is now doing better than ever and I have you all to thank for it.

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Truly, tectonic changes are happening before our eyes, and today I just want to list some of them but without going to deep into specific analyses, that I plan to do later in the coming weeks.  But just looking at this list is impressive enough, at least for me.  So, here we go:

The Anglos are circling the wagons:

The planned sale of US/UK SSNs to Australia is nothing short of a HUGE game changer.  It is also just the tip of a big iceberg:

  • The US seems to have de-facto given up on Europe, not only because the UK left or because the EU is crashing and unmanageable anyway, but because the political grip the US had on the continent is now clearly slipping: NATO is a paper tiger, the “new Europeans” have outlived their utility and Russia has basically successfully diffused the threat from the West by her titanic effort to develop capabilities which make an attack on Russia suicidal for any country, including the USA, whether nukes are involved or not.
  • By screwing over France, the US has jettisoned a pretty useless ally which had a short hysterical fit, but is already going back to its usual groveling and begging (BTW – those who think that de Gaulle was the last French patriot capable of telling Uncle Shmuel to “take a hike” are wrong, Mitterrand was the last one, but that is a topic for another day).
  • Of course, in political/PR terms, the US will continue to declare itself committed to NATO and the EU, but the “body language” (actions) of the US directly contradicts this notion.
  • For all its immense progress since the 80s and 90s, China still has two major technological weak points: aircraft engines and SSNs.  It just so happens that these are also two real US strong points.  By deploying 8 more SSNs near China, the US is very intelligently maximizing the use of its best assets and hurting China were it will hurt the most.  This does come with some very real risks, however, which I will discuss below.

The BRICS is close to becoming useless:

Brazil is currently run by the US and Israel.  South Africa is in a deep crisis.  As for India, it is doing what it has been doing for decades: trying to play all sides while trying to weaken China.  So it sure looks like the BRICS are becoming the “BRICS” which really leaves us with “only” the “RC” alliance which actually has a real name: the Chinese call it the “Strategic comprehensive partnership of coordination for the new era”.

Again, I don’t think that anybody will formally dissolve what was a rather informal alliance to begin with, but de-facto the BRICS seems to be loosing much of its former glamour and illusions.  As for Russia and China, they are not going to “save” the former BRICS members out of some sense of sympathy especially not against their own will: let them save themselves, or at least try.  Then, maybe.

Also, let’s be honest here, BRICS was an economic concept which was mostly an alliance of weak(er) countries against the big economic and military powers of the North and West.

As for the Russian-Chinese alliance (let’s call it that, even though formally that is not what this is), it is, by itself, already more powerful than BRICS and even more powerful that the united West (US+NATO+EU+etc.).

The SCO is changing (thanks to Uncle Shmuel), fast

If Biden was a secret “Putin agent” (“KGB agent” is the preferred term in the US, at least by those who do not seem to realize that the KGB was disbanded thirty years ago) he could not have done “better” than what he did in Afghanistan.  Now, thanks to this galactic faceplant, the small(er) guys in the SCO (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan) are now getting seriously concerned about what will happen next.  Even better, the (very powerful) Iran will officially become a SCO member this month!  Again, neither Russia not China “need” the SCO for their defense, but it sure makes things easier for them.  Speaking of Afghanistan, Pakistan is already a SCO member, as is India.

It is important to note that the SCO will not become an “Asian NATO” or an “anti-NATO” or anything similar.  Again, why would Russia, China and other want to follow a failed model?  They have repeated ad nauseam that their alliances are of unions of (truly!) sovereign states and that this union will not impede on this sovereignty in any ways (besides, neither Russia not China need to limit the others SCO members sovereignty to begin with).

The EU is slowly committing economic and political suicide

Initially, France had a major hissy fit, but is probably not doing the only thing France should do after what happened: leave NATO and slam the door on it, very loudly.  De Gaulle or Mitterrand would have done so immediately, but Macron?  Being the ultimate spineless fake that he is, it would be miraculous if he did anything meaningful (other than brutally repressing all the riots in France).

At this time of writing the result of the elections in Germany are too close to call, but even if NS2 is allowed to function, the level of russophobic hysteria in Europe is so extreme that the following will almost certainly happen: the EU will continue with its rhetoric until the prices go even further up, at which point they will turn to the only country which the EU desperately need to survive: the much hated and feared Russia.  Don’t quote me on that, but last week I remember the following prices for 1000 cubic meters of gas in Europe (just under 1000 dollars), the Ukraine (1600 dollars) and Belarus (120 dollars).  I might have memorized this wrong (I was traveling), and this might have changed, but the bottom line is this: only Russia can’t give the EU the energy it needs, and she has exactly ZERO reasons to make those russophobic prostitutes any favors (other than symbolic).  And even if my memory played a trick on me, what is certain that the prices for energy are soaring, the EU reserves are very low, and the temperatures falling.  Welcome to the real world 🙂

I won’t even go into the “multiculturalism” “inclusivity” “positivity” and other Woke nonsense which most of the EU countries have accepted as dogmas (even Switzerland caved in).

The US is like an aircraft breaking apart in mid-air

As most of you know, I have decided to stay away from internal US politics (for many different reasons).  So I will just use a metaphor: the US is like an aircraft which, due to pilot incompetence and infighting, is breaking apart in mid-air with its passengers still arguing about who should be the next pilot as that could make any difference.  Some passengers will continue to argue until the hit the ground.  Others are engage in “mid-air fistfights” apparently believing that if they succeed in beating the crap out of the other guy, they will somehow prevent gravity from doing what it does.

The reality is much simpler: a system that is not viable AND which cannot reform itself (too busy with self-worshiping and blaming others for everything) can only do one thing: collapse and, probably, even break-apart.  Only after that can the US, or whatever the successor state(s) will be called, rebuilt itself into something totally different from the US which died chocking on its own arrogance this year (like all the other empires in history, by the way, the latest one being the Soviet one).

The Russian elections

The results are in and they are yet another galactic faceplant for the AngloZionist Empire.  The main Kremlin Party took a hit, the Communists did very well, Zhirinovski’s LDPR lost a lot and a new (moderately pro-Kremlin) party made it in for the first time.  Considering the many billions of dollars the West has spent on trying to create a Belarus-like crisis in Russia (Navalnyi, Petrov, Boshirov & Co.), this is yet another truly gigantic failure for the West.  If anything, the rise of the KPRF shows that a lot of people are fed up with two things: 1) what they see as a tepid, if not outright weak, Russian foreign policy towards the West and 2) with the liberal (economically speaking) policies of Putin and his entourage.  Absolutely NOBODY in Russia wants “better relations” or any kind of “dialog” with the rabidly russophobic West.  And to the extend that Russia and the USA simply *have* to talk to each other (being nuclear superpowers) they, of course, will.  But the EU as such is of zero interest to Russia.  And if Russia needs to get something done (like what anyway?), she will talk to the US, not its EU underlings.  For all its problems, the US still matters.  But the clowns of the EU?

[Sidebar: the word “Communist” usually elicits a knee-jerk reaction from brainwashed US Americans.  But for the rest of them, let me just say that while I don’t think the KPRF is what Russia needs and while I have nothing good to say about Ziuganov or most of the KPRF leadership, I will say that KPRF does not mean Gulags, hammers and sickles smashing Ukie babies, Russian tanks in downtown Warsaw or any such nonsense.  There are several “Communist” parties in Russia, and none of them are even remotely similar to the kind of party the bad old CPSU was.  So while US politicians feel very witty to speak of the CCP-virus and that kind of nonsense (Ted Cruz is officially my “favorite idiot” in Congress now), this is so far detached from any reality that I won’t even bother explaining it here.]

The COVID pandemic

Wow, just wow.  Where do I even begin???  Biden’s speech on this topic was hateful declaration of war on all those who don’t fully accept the “official” White House line.  The fact that many (most?) of those who do not accept the official party line DO accept an even dumber version of events does not make it right to force them into choosing between their beliefs and, say, their job, or their right to move around.  Again, after listening to Biden I kept wondering if he was a “Putin agent” as his actions are only accelerating the breakup of the “US aircraft” I mentioned above.  You can say many things about COVID-dissidents, but you can’t deny them two things: 1) a sincere belief in their ideas and 2) an equally sincere belief that their core freedoms, values and rights are trampled upon by pathological liars and crooks (aka politicians + BigPharma).

They will resist and, yes, violently if needed.  Because for them it is a both a matter of personal human dignity and even survival!

At least, and so far, the US still has a powerful Constitution which will make it very hard for the current nutcases in the White House to do what they apparently want to do (force 80M US Americans to obey “or else”).  Furthermore, Federal courts cannot be simply ignored.  Also, US states still have a lot of power.  Finally, most US Americans still hold dear the ideals of freedom, liberty, small government, privacy, etc. But EU countries have no such protections from governmental abuse: true, in the US these are all rights are weakened by the day if not the hour, but at least they have not been *officially* abrogated (yet?).

If you want to see how bad things can get without such rights, just look at the pandemic freak show in Canada, Australia or New Zealand!

Finally, and irrespective of its actual origin (I am still on the fence on that), the COVID pandemic wiped all the make-up and has showed the entire world the true face of the West and its rulers: weak, ignorant, arrogant, hypocritical cowards whose only true concern is to cover their butts and “grab whatever can be grabbed” before the inevitable and final explosion (nuclear, economic or social).

Now back the the Aussie SSNs

The sale/lease of these SSNs is not only a danger for China, but also one for Russia.  Simply put, Russia cannot and will not allow the Anglos to strangle China like they did with Japan before WWII.  The good news is this: the latest Russian SSNs/SSGNs are at least as good as the latest Seawolf/Virginia class, if not better.  Ditto for ASW capabilities.  What Russia does lack is the needed numbers (and Anglo submarine fleets are much lager, even “just” the USN alone) and funds, both of which China has (or can have).  From the Kremlin’s point of view, the Anglos are trying to create an “Asian NATO”, something which neither China nor Russia will allow.  The Chinese already informed the Aussies that they are now a legitimate target for nuclear strikes (apparently, Australia wants to become the “Poland of the Pacific”), while the Russians only made general comments of disapproval.  But take this to the bank: the Russian General Staff and the Chinese (who both probably saw this coming for a while) will jointly deploy the resources needed to counter this latest “brilliant idea” of the Anglos.  In purely military terms, there are many different options to deal with this threat, which ones China and Russia will chose will become apparent fairly soon because it is far better to do something prevent that delivery from actually happening than to deal with eight more advanced attack submarines.

By the way, the Russians are also semi-deploying/semi-testing an advanced SSK, the Lada-class, which has both very advanced capabilities and, apparently, still many problems.  SSKs are not capable of threatening SSNs in open (blue) waters, but in shallower (green/brown) waters such as straits or littorals, they can represent a very real threat, if only by “freeing up” the SNNs to go and hunt into the deep (blue) waters.  Also, the main threat for subs comes from the air, and here, again, China and Russia have some very attractive options.

Conclusion: interesting times for sure…

Like the Chinese curse says, we are living in very interesting times.  The quick collapse of the Empire and the US is, of course, inherently very dangerous for our planet.  But it is also a golden opportunity for Zone B nations to finally kick the Anglos out and regain their sovereignty.  True, the US still has a lot of momentum, just like a falling airliner would, but the fact  remains that 1) they ran from Afghanistan and 2) they are circling their Anglo wagons shows that somebody somewhere does “get it” and even understood that in spite of the huge political humiliation both of these development represent for narcissistic politicians and their followers, this was a price which absolutely HAD to be paid to (try) to survive.

In my article (infamous) analysis ” Will Afghanistan turn out to be US imperialism’s “Last Gleaming”?” (it triggered even more hysterics and insults than usual, at least on the Unz review comments section) I wrote this: “the British Empire had the means of its foreign policies. The US does not.

This is now changing.

Yes, what the Anglos (aka 5 eyes) are doing is a retreat.  But it is a *smart* one.  They are cutting off all the “useless imperial weights” and going for the “smaller but stronger” option.  We might not like it, I certainly don’t, but I have to admit that this is pretty smart and even probably the only option left for the AngloZionist Empire. At the very least, it is now clear that the Anglos have no allies, and never had them.  What they had where colonial coolies who imagined themselves as part of some “community of civilized, democratic and peace-loving, nations”.  These coolies are now left in limbo.

So, who will be the next one to show Uncle Shmuel to the door?  My guess is the Republic of Korea.  And, frankly, since the DPRK is not a country the Empire can take on, and since China will only increase its (already major) influence on both the DPRK and the ROK, the US might as well pack and leave (maybe for Australia or occupied Japan?).

Okay, end of this overview of developments.

Now it’s your time to chime in as I am pretty sure that I missed quite a few things while in a short trip.

Cheers

Andrei

Strategic Stupidity… Biden Torpedoes French & NATO Relations With Aussie Sub Deal to Target China

September 21, 2021

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Finian Cunningham

It’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark, Finian Cunningham writes.

The Gallic gall erupting between France and the United States, Britain and Australia has overshadowed the new military alliance that U.S. President Joe Biden announced last week for the Indo-Pacific region.

That alliance was supposed to signal a U.S.-led initiative to challenge China. But the strategic move is turning out rather stupid and shortsighted as it has backfired to slam a hole in Washington’s alliance with France and wider NATO partnerships.

French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered the recall of ambassadors from the U.S. and Australia in a sign of the intense anger in Paris over the newly unveiled alliance known as AUKUS – standing for Australia, United Kingdom and the United States. The return of French envoys from these allied nations has never happened before.

What’s at stake is a €56 billion contract to build a fleet of 12 submarines for Australia by France that was first signed in 2016. That deal has been scrapped and replaced by a contract with the U.S. and Britain to supply Australia with eight nuclear-powered submarines. The French subs that were on order were diesel-electric powered.

That’s a huge loss in financial revenue for France as well as a hammer blow to French naval jobs and ancillary industries. But what’s more damaging is the stealth and a palpable sense of betrayal. The French were evidently hoodwinked by the Americans, British and Australians over the whole backroom deal.

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian did not beat around the bush to express the rage being felt in Paris at the highest level. “I am outraged… this is a stab in the back,” he fumed to French media on news of the new Anglo-American military alliance in the Indo-Pacific and the consequent cancellation of the French sub contract.

“There has been duplicity, contempt and lies – you cannot play that way in an alliance,” he added referring to the NATO military organization of which France is a prominent member.

Apart from the recall of its ambassadors, France has also cancelled a scheduled summit in London this week between French and British defense ministers.

Sir Peter Ricketts, a former British national security advisor and past ambassador to France, said the growing row was “just the tip of the iceberg”. He said it was much worse than when France fell foul of the United States and Britain back in 2003 over the Iraq War.

Ricketts told the BBC as quoted by The Guardian: “This is far more than just a diplomatic spat… this puts a big rift down the middle of the NATO alliance.”

What is particularly galling for the French is that the new U.S. alliance with Britain and Australia was obviously under private discussion for several months to the exclusion of Paris and other NATO members. The French only found out about the pact when it was announced on September 15 in a joint virtual press conference between Biden and his British and Australian counterparts, Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison.

When Biden made his first overseas trip as president in June this year to attend the G7 summit in Cornwall, England, and later to meet other NATO leaders in Belgium, there was no mention of the AUKUS plan. Biden even held a bilateral and apparently cordial meeting with Macron in Cornwall without any hint of the new alliance under formation nor the impending impact on the French submarine contract. More bitterly in hindsight, Biden also held a closed meeting with Johnson and Morrison during the G7 summit even though Australia is not a member of the forum. They must have discussed AUKUS in secret. No wonder the French are aggrieved by the contempt shown.

But it’s not only France that is stunned by the Anglo-American skullduggery. The other European NATO allies were also left in the dark.

Last week, European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell presented a new EU strategic vision for the Indo-Pacific region the day after the AUKUS alliance was announced. Borrell had metaphorical egg dripping off his face when he answered media questions about the U.S., UK, Australia initiative. “We were not informed, we were not aware… we regret not having been informed.”

The brutal irony is that Biden came to the White House promising that he would repair transatlantic partnerships with Europe and NATO which had been ravaged by Donald Trump and his browbeating over alleged lack of military spending by allies. When Biden visited England and Belgium in June it was something of a love-in with European leaders who swooned over his vows of “America is back”.

After Biden’s unilateral withdrawal from Afghanistan last month when European NATO partners were not consulted and their apprehensions were brushed aside, now we see Biden poking France in the eye and kicking it in the coffers with €56 billion pain.

“Political trust has been shattered,” said Frederic Grare of the European Council for Foreign Affairs as quoted by the Euronews outlet.

But the whole sordid betrayal and bickering have more than money and loss of trust involved – far-reaching though that those issues are.

Washington’s willingness to supply nuclear-powered submarines to Australia with British collaboration shows that the United States is moving ahead with a more reckless offensive policy towards China. Biden is explicitly declaring a strategic move to confront China more openly and provocatively, ramping up the hostility of previous administrations under Trump and Obama.

Beijing condemned the new AUKUS alliance as a harbinger of more “Cold War”, saying that it would bring insecurity to the region and lead to a new arms race. That may be an understatement as the Anglo-American alliance spells move to a war footing.

China warned that despite Australia’s insipid assurances to the contrary, the nuclear-powered submarines could be armed with nuclear missiles in the future. Beijing said Australia would be targeted for a nuclear strike in the event of any future war with the United States.

Biden’s strategic move to engage with Britain and Australia in order to threaten China is proving to be a loose cannon in relations with France and other European NATO allies. That speaks of Washington’s desperation to confront China. 

عالم ينهار عالم ينهض ومركز ثقل العالم ينتقل إلى الشرق

 محمد صادق الحسيني

«‏العالم ليس سوى غابة… هذه مقولة كنا قد نسيناها

‏لكن الخنجر الذي طعنتنا به أميركا في الظهر

‏يعيد تذكيرنا بها اليوم مجدداً».

‏هذا الكلام لسفير فرنسا السابق في واشنطن ‏(في إشارة إلى إلغاء صفقة الغواصات الأسترالية لفرنسا بضغط من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية).‏

لا يزال العالم يعيش تحت صدمة فسخ صفقة الغواصات التي تعمل بالوقود التقليدي بين أستراليا وفرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى مع أميركا تعمل بالوقود النووي.

وهو ما اعتبره القادة الفرنسيون خيانة أميركية للشراكة الأطلسية وتواطؤاً بريطانياً ذميماً وانقياداً أسترالياً بغيضاً، سيرمي بظلاله على كل العمل المشترك في حلف الناتو.

وهو ما أثار بالفعل تساؤلات عميقة لدى المتابعين والخبراء والمراقبين على حدّ سواء.

ويعتقد مطلعون أنّ العاصفة الهوجاء من النقد اللاذع التي انطلقت مع هذه الواقعة لدى الفرنسيين لها ما يبرّرها بسبب سوابق أميركية تعود لأيام حكم ترامب.

فقد سبق للأميركيين أن وجهوا انتقادات لاذعة للفرنسيين كما للألمان، متهمين إياهم بأنهم لم يقوموا بواجباتهم كما ينبغي تجاه حلف الأطلسي فيما يدفع الأميركيون من خزانتهم لحماية أوروبا والدفاع عنها، وهو خلاصة الكلام الذي أسمعه ترامب للأوروبيين في اجتماعه الشهير بقادتهم في الأشهر الأخيرة من عهده على هامش اجتماع عالي المستوى في فرنسا.

ومن يومها تحسّس قادة أوروبا رؤوسهم وبدأوا يتحدثون عن ضرورة تشكيل قوة دفاعية خاصة بهم.

واليوم مع القرار المفاجئ لأستراليا بإلغاء ما عُرف بصفقة القرن (ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار) مع فرنسا واستبدالها بأخرى أميركية مع إعلان مفاجئ لجو بايدن عن تحالف ثلاثي يضمّ بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تكون الرواية الفرنسية عن الخيانة الأميركية تجاه باريس والطعن في الظهر قد اكتملت.

لعلّ من المفيد هنا الإشارة إلى أنّ حلف شمال الأطلسي وهو الحلف القائم بين أميركا وأوروبا إنما تشكل بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية من أجل حماية أوروبا من الاتحاد السوفياتي سابقاً.

الأوروبيون يشعرون بقوة منذ زمن ليس بالقليل بأن واشنطن تعيش موسم الهجرة إلى الصين، وأنها لم تعد ترى في موسكو عدوها الأساس بقدر ما ترى ذلك في الصين، خصوصاً بعد أن انتقل الصراع برأيهم من الميدان والحروب العسكرية إلى الاقتصاد، وهو المجال الذي سبقتهم فيه الصين مسافات طويلة.

بالتالي فإنّ ما بات مطلوباً بالنسبة لواشنطن إنما هو تحالفات جديدة تقوم على ضرورة الانتقال من ضفتي الأطلسي إلى ضفتي الهادئ وبحر الصين.

في هذه الأثناء فإنّ تحوّلاً مهماً آخر أيضاً قد طرأ في موازين القوى العسكرية أيضاً في النطاق الأوروبي.

حيث يجمع المتخصصون والعالمون بتقنيات القوة العسكرية الروسية الراهنة، وهو ما يعرفه جنرالات الناتو وكذلك جنرالات البنتاغون جيداً بأنّ قدرات العسكر الروسي المتطورة جداً باتت قادرة على سحق القوة العسكرية الغربية والسيطرة على الميدان فيها من لينينغراد إلى النورماندي (أقصى غرب فرنسا) خلال 24 ساعة.

وهذا التحول المهم في الموازين هو الذي دفع ألمانيا مبكراً للتوجه شرقاً باتجاه موسكو والتفاهم معها لإنجاز مشروع السيل الشمالي 2 للغاز، لتأمين ألمانيا من الطاقة، والتزام الحذر الشديد تجاه أيّ مخطط مقترح من واشنطن قبل أن يتطابق مع المصلحة القومية الألمانية العليا.‏

واليوم يأتي الدور على فرنسا للتفكير ملياً في ما إذا كان المطلوب منها التفكير جدياً بالتوجه شرقاً في إطار حماية أمنها القومي واستجرار الطاقة مثلاً من الروس أيضاً عبر ألمانيا.

تجدر الإشارة بالطبع هنا إلى أنّ باريس هي الأخرى قامت مع ذلك بترتيب أمورها مبكراً مع الجزائر (المحسوبة حليفاً قوياً لروسيا) لاستجرار خط الغاز من نيجيريا عبر ربط خطوطه بخطوط نقل الغاز الجزائري وهو المشروع الذي تعمل عليه الجزائر منذ مدة والذي يكلف نحو 13 مليار دولار.

في هذه الأثناء جاءت واقعة فرار الأميركيين من أفغانستان وهروبهم المذلّ والمستعجل منها، وكذلك واقعة استكمال تشكل تجمع الشرق الجديد الرباعي في إطار منظمة شانغهاي للتعاون الدولي في العاصمة الطاجيكية قبل أيام (روسيا والصين وإيران وشبه القارة الهندية) بعد الإعلان عن انضمام إيران إليه كعضو كامل الصلاحية، بمثابة القشة التي قد تقصم ظهر البعير الأوروبي الآيل إلى الترهّل والتراجع في الوزن الدولي.

وهو يعني في ما قد يعني تلخيصاً وفي المجمل أنّ العالم بعد التضحية الأميركية بأفغانستان وإلغاء صفقة الغواصات الفرنسية مع أستراليا لصالح واشنطن وتغيير أميركا لعقيدتها العسكرية، يتحوّل عملياً في الموازين العامة نحو آسيا.

‏ وبهذا تكون أميركا قد جمّدت عملياً دور أوروبا في استراتيجيتها العامة ‏مستبدلة الدور الأوروبي الناتوي ضدّ روسيا لصالح ناتو جديد في مواجهة الصين.

‏في هذه الأثناء فإنّ ما سيتعزز في المقابل هو تحالف شانغهاي الآسيوي الجديد وإن لم يكتمل بعد كحلف عسكري رسمياً.

إنها موازين القوى الدولية الجديدة التي تشي بأنّ مركز ثقل العالم ينتقل من الغرب إلى الشرق.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

بعد التضحية بأفغانستان… أميركا تلفظ أوروبا تأهّباً لمقارعة التنين الصيني

سبتمبر 17, 2021 

 محمد صادق الحسيني

بينما كان الاتحاد الأوروبي يناقش استراتيجيته الجديدة، في المحيطين الهندي والهادئ، كما أعلن مسؤول السياسة الخارجية في الاتحاد جوزيب بوريل، قام الرئيس الأميركي بالإعلان المفاحئ عن إقامة حلف آوكوس AUKUS  بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا من دون إعلام الاتحاد الأوروبي بأي شيءٍ.

وأكد بوريل للصحافيين بأنهم علموا بذلك (من وسائل الإعلام) لكنهم لم يستشاروا أبداً. كما أعرب عن أسفه أن لا يكون الاتحاد الأوروبي جزءاً من هذا التحالف.

صحيح أن أزمات الدول الغربية، وعلى رأسها الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، هي أزمات بنيوية تتعلق بالنظام الرأسمالي، المحكوم عليه بالزوال، لأسباب موضوعية ليس لها مكان في هذا المقام، ولكن الأزمة الحالية التي تعصف بالعلاقات الأوروبية الأميركية، بشكل عام وتلك الفرنسية الأميركية بشكل خاص، تأتي في هذا الظرف الدولي الحالي، في ظل موازين القوى الدولية، التي تختل بشكل واضح ومتسارع لصالح القوى المعادية للامبريالية والهيمنة الأميركية الأوروبية، على مقدرات شعوب العالم، بالتالي فهي تشكُل تعبيراً جلياً على أن الصراعات الحادة والتناقضات المتزايدة بين الدول الأوروبية والولايات المتحدة الأميركية، سببها التناقض الموضوعي لمصالح الطرفين، الاقتصادية والسياسية والعسكرية، على صعيد العالم.

وهذا يعني أن الصراع الدولي يزداد تصعيداً ويشي بتغيرات محتملة في التحالفات الدولية، لنقل الاصطفافات الدولية القائمة حالياً في العالم من جهة لجهة أخرى.

ونقول اصطفافات لأن الولايات المتحدة لا تتعامل مع أية دولة في العالم، بما في ذلك أعضاء حلف شمال الأطلسي وكبريات هذه الدول، مثل فرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا واليابان على أنها دول مستقلة، وإنما هي تتعامل معها كدول محتلة (منذ نهاية الحرب العالميه الثانية، كدول تابعة لواشنطن) وهي بالتالي لا ترقى إلى مستوى الحليف.

من هنا فإن واشنطن، وانطلاقاً من هذه القاعدة، تتعامل مع تلك الدول، إضافة إلى أذناب الولايات المتحدة الأميركية في “الشرق الأوسط”، بما فيها “إسرائيل”، على أنها أدوات لخدمة المصالح الأميركية، يجب أن تعمل طبقاً للأوامر التي يتلقونها من سيد البيت الأبيض لا أكثر.

أما مناسبة المقدمة هذه، فهي موجة الغضب الهستيري التي ظهرت على لسان وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، جان إيڤ لودريان، والهجوم الحاد الذي شنه، خلال مؤتمر صحافي عقده يوم 16/9/2021، على الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن وقوله عنه إن تصرفاته المفاجئة لا تختلف عن تصرفات سلفه، دونالد ترامب. وذلك في تعقيبات له على قيام أستراليا (جزء من التاج البريطاني وليست دولة كاملة الاستقلال كما كندا ونيوزيلاندا) بإلغاء صفقة الغواصات مع بلاده.

فما هي هذه الصفقة وما هو سبب حالة الهستيريا، التي يعيشها رأس الديبلوماسية الفرنسية هذه الأيام، وماذا يمكن لها أن تفرز من تداعيات؟

بدأت القضية بقيام لودريان نفسه، عندما كان وزيراً للدفاع في فرنسا عام 2016، كسمسار لشركات الصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، حيث نجح، آنذاك، بإقناع رئيس وزراء أستراليا في حينه، مالكولم تيرنبول، بشراء 12 غواصة فرنسية، تعمل بالوقود التقليدي (الديزل) تقوم بصناعتها شركة  “دي سي أن أس” الفرنسية للتعاقدات البحرية.

وقد اختارت الحكومة الأسترالية، في شهر نيسان عام 1916، هذه الشركة الفرنسية ووقعت معها عقوداً رسمية، للبدء في تصنيع الغواصات، حيث قام رئيس الوزراء الأسترالي لاحقاً بزيارة لمقر هذه الشركة الفرنسية، في ميناء شيربورغ الفرنسي، وافتتح مشروع صناعة الغواصات الاثنتي عشر، التي كان يفترض أن تنتهي الشركة من تسليمها، لأسطول شبه الدولية في أستراليا، عام 2030.

علماً أن القيمة الإجمالية لهذه الصفقة كانت تساوي 90 مليار دولار أسترالي، أي ما قيمته 56 مليار دولار أميركي، وهي بذلك من الصفقات العملاقة التي تعقد بين الدول، والتي لها تأثيرات مباشرة في الاقتصاد الفرنسي، سواءً من جهة تشغيل اليد العاملة أو من جهة قيمة الضرائب التي تحصل عليها الدولة الفرنسية، في صورة ضرائب دخل للعاملين في شركة التصنيع وشركات الدعم التي تمدها بالمواد نصف المصنعة أو غيرها من شركات التصميم والتزويد والإمداد.

كما أن لمثل هكذا صفقة كبيرة تأثيراً جديداً في السمعة الدولية للصناعات العسكرية الفرنسية، التي يعمل السياسيون الفرنسيون بشكل متواصل لتسويق منتجاتها. وعليه فإن ما حدث يعد ضربةً اقتصاديةً وماليةً وسياسيةً كبرى وجهتها. واشنطن لباريس.

يعزو المراقبون السبب وراء الهيجان، الذي يعاني منه وزير الخارجية الفرنسي، لودريان، والذي أدى به للإدلاء بهذه التصريحات النارية، ضد الرئيس الأميركي بايدن وضد الولايات المتحدة وأستراليا نفسها إلى قيام الرئيس الأميركي، يوم 15/9/2021، بعقد مؤتمر صحافي في البيت الأبيض، تناقلت وقائعه جميع وكالات الأنباء العالمية، ومن بينها وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

حيث أعلن الرئيس الأميركي، خلال المؤتمر الصحافي، عن قيام تحالف أمني واسع النطاق، بين بلاده وبريطانيا وأستراليا، تحصل أستراليا بموجبه على 12 غواصة حديثة تعمل بالوقود النووي (مقابل الغواصات الفرنسية التي كانت ستتسلمها من فرنسا تعمل بوقود الديزل التقليدي)، لمواجهة العداء المتزايد تجاه الصين، بحسب تعبير وكالة الأنباء الفرنسية.

وقد كانت النتيجة الأولى لهذا الإعلان هو فسخ أستراليا لعقد شراء الغواصات الفرنسية، الأمر الذي دفع وزير الخارجية الفرنسي ووزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية بإطلاق تلك التصريحات غير المعهودة تجاه واشنطن ورئيسها.

إذ قال وزير الخارجية الفرنسية إنّ هذا القرار، الذي أعلن عنه بايدن، يُعتبر طعنة في الظهر (لفرنسا) وأن بايدن اتخذ قراراً مفاجئاً كما كان يفعل ترامب (و. ص. ف.)، بينما قالت وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، فلورانس بارلي، أن فسخ العقد (من قبل أستراليا) أمر خطير من الناحية الجيوسياسية وعلى صعيد السياسة الدولية (إشارة الى إمكانية تغيّر التحالفات او الاصطفافات الدولية الحاليّة – توجه دول أوروبية باتجاه الصين وروسيا). يضاف إلى ذلك ما قالته وزيرة الجيوش الفرنسية، عن احتمال مطالبة فرنسا بتعويضات عن فسخ عقود رسمية، في الوقت الذي لم تفصح فيه ما إذا كانت المقصودة هي الحكومة الأسترالية فقط وإنما بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة أيضاً، وهما اللتان تسببتا في فسخ تلك العقود، بعد إعلان الرئيس الأميركي، عن تشكيل التحالف الدولي الجديد، بين الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا و”شبه الدولة الأسترالية”، والذي أطلق عليه اسم “آوكوس / AUKUS /، وهو اختصار ودمج لأسماء أستراليا والمملكة المتحدة والولايات المتحدة الأميركية باللغة الإنكليزية …. Australia / United Kingdom / USA ….، والهادف إلى مواجهة الصين في آسيا والمحيط الهادئ، كما أعلن الرئيس بايدن نفسه، بحسب ما أوردته هيئة الإذاعة البريطانية.

وفي خطوة، من قبل الرئيس الأميركي، اعتبرها المحللون الاستراتيجيون محاولة من قبله لمراضاة فرنسا، قال الرئيس بايدن: “نتطلع للعمل بشكل وثيق مع فرنسا وشركاء رئيسيين آخرين في هذه المنطقه الاستراتيجية… وأضاف أن باريس شريك وحليف أساسي” (لواشنطن)، بحسب ما نقلت وكالة الصحافة الفرنسية.

ومن نافل القول أيضاً إن العديد من المسؤولين الصينيين قد اعلنوا إدانتهم لهذا الحلف الأمني العسكري الجديد، الذي يعكس استمرار تحكم عقلية الحرب الباردة بسياسات الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا (التي لم تعد عظمى)، وتؤجج الصراع في بحار الصين والبحار والمحيطات القريبة من الصين وروسيا معاً وتزيد سباق التسلح بشكل كبير جداً، كما صرح الناطق باسم وزارة الخارجية الصينية، شاو لي جيان، الذي قال: “إنّ هذا (الحلف) يقوّض بشكل جدي السلام والاستقرار الاقليميين (يعني في منطقة بحار الصين وآسيا) ويزيد من حدة سباق التسلح”.

إذن فها هي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتعامل مع الدولة النووية العظمى، فرنسا، والعضو في حلف شمال الأطلسي منذ تأسيسه، تتعامل معها وكأنها أقلّ من جمهورية موز. لا بل على أنها ليست موجودة، إذ يقوم الرئيس الأميركي بإعلان تحالف أمني عسكري، بين بلاده ودولتين أطلسيتين أخريين، من دون أن يقوم حتى بإعلام الحكومة الفرنسية أو الرئيس الفرنسي بذلك…!

وهنا يجب أن يطرح السؤال الجدي على إمارات نفط الجزيرة العربية، من صغيرهم إلى كبيرهم، كيف سيتعامل معكم الرئيس الأميركي في كل شؤون المنطقة؟ وكيف سيتعامل مع آمر الحاجز الطيار “الإسرائيلي” في فلسطين المحتلة وغيره في المنطقة؟ هل تعتقدون أنه سيعاملكم معاملة أفضل من معاملته لفرنسا، الدولة النووية؟ وهل ما زلتم تعتقدون أن الحاجز الإسرائيلي الطيار في فلسطين المحتلة قادر على حمايتكم، بعد رفع الغطاء الأميركي عنكم جميعاً، بمن فيكم عناصر الحاجز الطيار؟

إن الجهة الوحيدة القادرة على حمايتكم، هي عودتكم إلى رشدكم والتخلي عن عباءات المحتلين الصهاينة والإميركان وغيرهم، وفتح آفاق التعاون الواسعة، مع دول ومنظمات حلف المقاومة المنتصر، الذي ها هو يرغم سادة البيت الأبيض على كسر الحصار الاقتصادي والمالي على كل من إيران وسورية ولبنان، وجعل ما يطلق عليه قانون قيصر الأميركي لخنق سورية، فعلَ ماضٍ ناقص…!

استخلصوا العبر قبل أن تستخلص شعوبكم حقوقها منكم بطريقة مختلفة جداً هذه المرة وتخلصوا من هذا السيد المنافق إلى الأبد وافتحوا آفاق التعاون الإقليمي مع جيرانكم من الدول الشقيقة ومع بقية دول الجوار العربي ودول العالم المختلفة، سعياً وراء التطور والتنمية وتأمين الحياة الكريمة والمستقبل الزاهر لشعوب عربية عانت من التبعية للأجنبي منذ أكثر من مئة عام منذ نهاية الحرب العالمية الأولى وتقسيم العالم العربي إلى إمارات وكيانات ضعيفة ممزقة.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

شكراً حسان دياب… شكراً حمد حسن

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المصدر

من الظلم والإجحاف حصر أسباب عدم تمكن حكومة الرئيس حسان دياب من النهوض بأعباء الأزمة بتحميله المسؤولية، والكلّ يعلم أنّ الحصار الخارجي والداخلي قطع على الحكومة أغلب الطرق التي يجب اعتمادها، وان الدفع لتصعيد الأزمة حتى بلوغ الإنهيار كان أكبر من طاقة ايّ حكومة في ظلّ حجم الاستنفار الخارجي والداخلي لأخذ لبنان إلى القعر أملاً بخروج اللبنانيين على المقاومة يحمّلونها مسؤولية الانهيار، وليس خافياً انّ هذا الاستنفار شكّل سبب منع قيام حكومة لأكثر من سنة، ولولا التبدّل الناجم عن قواعد الإشتباك الجديدة التي فرضتها سفن الحرية التي أطلقتها المقاومة لنقل المحروقات من إيران لما تبدّل الموقف وفتح طريق ولادة الحكومة.

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الشكر للرئيس حسان دياب لأنه تجرّأ على قبول تحمّل المسؤولية عندما كان هناك قرار خارجي وداخلي بالحصار وفرض الفراغ، والشكر لأنّ أحداً لا يستطيع وسم مرحلته بأيّ تورّط بتهم الفساد، وأنّ الجريمة التي يلاحقونه بها هي تمرّده على الإملاءات الأميركية والتشوّف الفرنسي وانتفاضته لوطنيته اللبنانية، وانّ الذين يتفلسفون اليوم بنظريات إقتصادية ومالية عن الخطة التي طرحتها حكومته، مجرد أدوات حماية للمصارف التي نهبت الودائع وأساءت الأمانة، ومجرد سماسرة للبنوك الخارجية التي صدمها قرار التوقف عن سداد سندات اليوروبوند.

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الشكر واجب أيضاً للوزير حمد حسن، وقد قدّم مثالاً نموذجياً في الأداء القائم على نخوة البذل والتضحية، وتحلى بالمنهجية العلمية والجدية والحرفية في مواجهة جائحة فشلت أمامها وزارات الصحة في دول عظمى تتمتع بإمكانات هائلة ولا  تواجه أزمات انهيار كالتي يواجهها لبنان، خصوصاً في فترة تصريف الأعمال عندما بقي شبه وحيد يتحمّل المسؤولية في وزارته مع عدد محدود من الوزراء لا يتجاوزن عدد أصابع اليد الواحدة، وكل ما يمكن ان يؤخذ عليه ويسجل من ملاحظات يتصل بعفويته في التعبير، عن أداء يتسم بالجرأة والتواضع والصدقية.

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French Court Sentences Rifaat Al-Assad to 4 Years in Prison

September 9, 2021

Source: Al Mayadeen

By Al Mayadeen

A French court sentenced Rifaat Al-Assad, Syria’s former Vice President, to four years in prison for “misappropriating public funds in Syria, laundering the spoils, and building a vast property portfolio in France with ill-gotten gains.”

Former Syrian Vice President, Rifaat Al-Assad, is sentenced to prison. 

The Court of Appeals of Paris sentenced Thursday 84-year-old former Syrian Vice President, Rifaat Al-Assad, to four years in prison for “misappropriating public funds in Syria, laundering the spoils, and building a vast property portfolio in France with ill-gotten gains” worth an estimated 90 million euros.

Al-Assad, who has been in exile since 1984, had a guilty verdict upheld against him by a French court for the abovementioned crimes, which he committed between 1996 and 2016. However, the verdict was announced in absentia, for the former Vice President did not attend the hearing.

The defense announced they would file an appeal before the Court of Cassation.

During the two trials, the defense asserted that the money was “completely legal,” noting that it was “massive aid” from Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and later Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, between 1980 and his death in 2015.

His French fortune includes two townhouses in chic Parisian neighborhoods, a stud farm, about 40 apartments, and a chateau. The French judiciary will confiscate all his immovable property.

These properties were owned by Rifaat al-Assad and his relatives through companies in Panama, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg.

Al-Assad was also convicted of aggravated tax fraud, in addition to secretly employing domestic workers.

On the other hand, Al-Assad was acquitted of the crimes committed between 1984 and 1996 on legal grounds.

Documents Expose Lafarge’s Funding of ISIS in Syria

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

According to documents obtained by Anadolu Agency, French company Lafarge funded ISIS and other terrorist organizations – and the French intelligence services enabled and benefited from it.

Documents revealed by Anadolu Agency expose French company Lafarge’s connection to ISIS and French intelligence. 

Lafarge, a French cement company that has stretched its tentacles in war-ridden areas like Syria and Iraq, has been reported to have funded ISIS with 13 million euros.

The backstory is that ISIS terrorists allowed Lafarge to carry out manufacturing in the facility they seized in northern Syria in exchange for 13 million euros.

Newly discovered documents, revealed by Anadolu Agency, reveal that Lafarge not only briefed French intelligence about its support and financing of ISIS and other terror organizations, but it also provided the French government with news and information about northern Syria. The French government, with said information, enabled coordination with ISIS. 

The French company faces a series of lawsuits involving violations of the embargo on Syria, threatening the lives of their employees, and financing ISIS. The French Supreme court said Tuesday that the company should face an investigation on a charge of complicity in crimes in Syria. 

A discussion on the relationship between Lafarge and ISIS was carried out in 2018 – an intelligence officer, code-named AM 02, appeared in court and gave a statement. According to the court transcript, the intelligence officer admitted that Lafarge was his source of information in Syria and that the French secret services took advantage of the cement factory in Syria. He also admitted that Lafarge provided cement to armed groups in Syria between 2012 and 2014, including ISIS and the Nusra Front.

However, despite all this, the French intelligence did not warn the company that this was a criminal act – there has been no sign of condemnation for the sponsor of terrorism. 

Over 30 meetings were carried out between Lafarge and the French domestic, foreign, and military intelligence services between 2013 and 2014 alone.

According to a report by US consultant Baker McKenzie, some $500,000 was paid out to ISIS; the rest of the $5.6 million was distributed among other militants between 2012 and 2014. Conducted in a form of bribery, the money was paid so that factory production would continue uninterrupted.

With the cement provided to ISIS, the terrorist group built shelters and tunnels; on the other side, Lafarge used false contracts to buy fuel from them.

Lafarge was investigated on charges of “complicity in crimes against humanity.” However, it denied said charges. Nonetheless, eight company executives were charged with financing terrorism and cooperating in crimes against humanity.

Charges regarding “complicity in crimes against humanity,” pressed in June 2018, were dropped in November 2019.

قمة بغداد مشروع ماذا؟

ناصر قنديل

ربما يكون أسهل الأوصاف لقمة بغداد تشبيهها بحلف بغداد الذي أقامه الأميركيون في مرحلة صعودهم السياسي والعسكري على مسرح المنطقة لمواجهة المدّ الوطني الذي أطلقه الرئيس الراحل جمال عبد الناصر، طالما انّ منظميها والمشاركين فيها باستثناء إيران توافقوا على استبعاد سورية عن الحضور، لكن هذا التوصيف لا يستقيم مع ثلاثة عناصر رافقت القمة، الأول هو دعوة إيران، والتي بدون دعوتها ربما فقدت القمة بريقها وجاذبية المشاركة فيها بالنسبة للكثيرين من الذين لبّوا الدعوة، والثاني غياب مشروع أميركي صاعد قادر على بلورة مهمة محددة بجدول أعمال واضح لهذا الحلف، في زمن تعيش عبره المنطقة تداعيات الهروب الأميركي من أفغانستان، وتعجز واشنطن عن استعادة الوحدة بين حلفائها الذين جمعتهم خلال السنوات الأولى للحرب على سورية، يوم كان لديها مشروع وجدول أعمال، والثالث فشل القمة في بحث أي ملف جدي والخروج بأيّ موقف مشترك له قيمة وحصر جدول أعمالها بالكلمات الافتتاحية الإنشائية للمشاركين، وفتح بعض القنوات الثنائية للحوارات بين بعض من المتخاصمين، الذين ينتمي أغلبهم إلى منظومة العلاقات بواشنطن.

الأكيد أنّ غياب سورية أفقد القمة فرصة ان تتحوّل الى قمة منتجة، فالملفات التي تستدعي الشراكة والتعاون، وهذا هو شعار القمة، هي ملفات الحرب مع تنظيم داعش، ومصير القوات الأميركية في مناطق التوتر بعد الانسحاب من أفغانستان، ومستقبل التعاون في قطاع الطاقة عبر شبكات الربط الكهربائي وأنابيب النفط والغاز، وفتح صفحة مصالحات تاريخية بين قادة ودول المنطقة، وهي ملفات لا يمكن مناقشتها بجدية دون مشاركة سورية كطرف رئيسي حاسم في كل من هذه الملفات، والأكيد أنّ مشاركة إيران لم تتجاوز العنوان البروتوكولي، بغياب سورية، لإدراكها أن تغييب سورية مكابرة وإنكار للحقائق، ومحاولة تجاهل وتجاوز لمكانتها الرئيسية والحاسمة تلبية لطلبات إقليمية ودولية لا تزال عاجزة عن تحمّل تبعات الإعتراف بفشلها في الحرب على سورية، ويستهدف بالتالي حرمان إيران من حضور حليفها الرئيسي في القمة لإضعاف قوة النهج المشترك الذي تلتقي عليه الدولتان، ولذلك لم يكن ممكناً للقمة ان تتحوّل إلى قمة حوار عربي تركي إيراني، بغياب سورية، لأنّ إيران لن تنفتح على الملفات الحقيقية لهذا الحوار دون سورية، وأغلب الملفات في هذا الخلاف سورية، وتجب مناقشتها بحضور سوري فاعل.

كانت القمة فرصة بعد الانسحاب الأميركي من أفغانستان وما يطرحه من تحديات على المنطقة وحكوماتها، للتحوّل الى نواة تأسيسية لنظام إقليمي جديد يدير الفراغ الناشئ عن التراجع الأميركي الإستراتيجي في المنطقة والعالم، لو تمّ التخلي عن العنجهية التي تحكم مواقف بعض الأطراف الدولية والإقليمية التي ربطت بغداد نجاح القمة بحضورها، والدعوات لحضور القمة بشروطها، لذلك لا يمكن توصيف القمة بغياب حضور أميركي فاعل، الا بالون إختبار استعملت بغداد وباريس لإطلاقه، مقابل توظيف القمة إعلامياً كإنجاز لرئيس الحكومة العراقي قبيل نهاية ولايته مع الانتخابات النيابية بعد شهر ونصف الشهر، وتقديمها كمنصة في الحملة الإنتخابية للرئيس الفرنسي الذي يحصد فشلاً تلو الفشل في السياسات الدولية، بعد خيبات أفغانستان ومالي ولبنان، وبالون الإختبار يهدف لاستكشاف حدود دنيا لبدء التفاوض الإقليمي بين حلفاء واشنطن من جهة وإيران من جهة مقابلة، بالتوازي مع التحضير لاستئناف مفاوضات فيينا، وقد جاء الجواب على هذا الحدّ الأدنى المعروض واضحاً وحازماً عبر كلمة وزير الخارجية الإيراني حسين أمير عبد اللهيان، بإطلاق عناوين واضحة، لا استقرار دون الخروج الأميركي من المنطقة ووقف الرهانات على التدخلات الأميركية في رسم سياسات حكومات دول المنطقة، ودون الاعتراف بنصر سورية ومكانتها وحضورها الوازن في أيّ معادلة إقليمية، ودون العودة لمعادلة فلسطين القضية المركزية لشعوب المنطقة ودولها، ودون التعاون الجدي في الحرب على الإرهاب وثقافة الإرهاب والتطرف والتعصب، ودون حلّ الملفات الخلافية بالحوار والتعاون والمصالحات بعيداً عن التدخلات الأجنبية.

ستلي القمة محاولات مشابهة حتى يصل الأميركي للتسليم باستحالة تفادي مصير مشابه لما جرى في أفغانستان، دون التسليم بالخروج من المنطقة دون أي مقابل خصوصاً الطلبات الأميركية لضمانات لأمن كيان الاحتلال، والتسليم بأنّ معادلة جديدة في المنطقة رسمها محور المقاومة وفي طليعته مكانة سورية المتجددة، كعنوان للدولة الوطنية المستقلة، وأنّ الدول التي شاركت في الحروب الأميركية لا تستطيع أن تطلب أكثر من ضمانات لعدم تدفيعها فواتير مشاركتها في هذه الحروب، ما يعني تسليم هذه الدول بوقف تورّطها في حرب اليمن وحرب سورية ومحاولات التدخل في شؤون العراق، دون أن تطلب أثماناً وتعويضات مقابل الانسحاب مما تورّطت به، لأنّ عليها الاكتفاء بعدم محاسبتها عما تسبّبت به من خراب، وليس أكيداً ان يصل الأميركي وجماعاته إلى التسليم بالشروط الموضوعية اللازمة لتشكيل نظام إقليمي جديد، قبل الانهيار الكبير الأشدّ قسوة من انهيار أفغانستان، لكن الأكيد أنّ الانتخابات العراقية المقبلة ستشكل الإختبار الرئيسي الذي سيبني التوازن السياسي الجديد بين المحورين المتقابلين في المنطقة، والواقفين على ضفاف الاستحقاق الانتخابي.

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Analysis of Euro-Paralysis: Uncle Sam’s Last Afghan Stand

 August 30, 2021

By Mohammad Al-Jaber

The United States dragged Europe into the Graveyard of Empires and used it as a shield in the face of its own burial.

Europe, under the guise of providing the conditions for ‘long-term’ security and stability in Afghanistan, entered the country, and the rest is history. Havoc, destruction, death, and misery infested the Southern Asian country, placing it among the world’s poorest.

A New Age Crusade

Following the September 11 attacks, the United States developed an interest in “combatting terrorism,” prompting the country known for “exporting democracy” to the rest of the world to launch what was called the “War on Terror”—an international military campaign whose goal was to eradicate terrorism abroad,

not for the safety of the populace, but rather for that of US soil.

The US, a NATO ally and core member state, did what any benevolent ally would do and dragged NATO into a multi-generational war in Afghanistan—the organization’s first commitment outside European territories.

The whole debacle started a week after 9/11, when President George W. Bush signed a resolution authorizing the use of force against those behind the attacks, followed by an October 7 announcement that the US and the UK started launching airstrikes in Afghanistan against Al-Qaeda and Taliban sites when demands for the extradition of Osama bin Laden went unanswered.

After the US ‘retaliation’ act, the Taliban announced they are ready for “Jihad”; alas, it was a short-lived dream.

The “Jihad” lasted barely over two months, as the group was defeated and its rule in the country was declared over after heavy air bombardment from the US and UK, with ground support from its allies, which included the Northern Alliance and other anti-Taliban militias and groups.

Now, the US did not get the man they came after; bin Laden fled the country. However, they did accomplish what they are always after—influence and power. Afghanistan became ruled by the US-backed Hamid Karzai, whom the western power saw as best-fitting to rebuild the war-torn country.

So, the United States had everything laid out the way it wanted it to be:

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

A Mandated European Venture

Now back to Europe; how and why did the old continent join the war in Afghanistan?

In 2001, the UNSC-mandated International Security Assistance Force, which had the mission of re-instating a central authority in the country that was ruled by militias and the Taliban at the time, in addition to working on enhancing the capabilities of the Afghan National Security Forces, was deployed in Afghanistan. 

The mission was not led by a certain country, as its leadership was rotational between its nations—the most prominent of which were the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, and France.

On August 11, 2003, NATO assumed the ISAF’s leadership. The mission’s goals were still the same; however, when seeing the current state of Afghanistan, it’s safe to say the mission failed miserably.

The ISAF’s European nations accounted for more than half the soldiers in Afghanistan. The countries that had little to nothing to do with the conflict led the invasion of a country that never did any harm to them; the US convinced them to partake in the conflict by raising national security concerns. If anything, failure in Afghanistan would have had way more political and financial repercussions for Europe than the United States, for refugees and terrorists could reach Europe a lot easier than they could North America.

Europe: The United States’ Hadrian’s Wall

Europe has been the main bearer of consequences whenever there had been a US-related flop anywhere in the Eastern hemisphere. Take the Syrian refugee crisis, for example. A US-sparked war on a Middle Eastern country resulted in hundreds of thousands of refugees flocking toward Europe. And, of course, extremists were among those who got into the continent, leading to an increase in terror attacks and national security threats.

This, alongside many other crises, is a fine testament to the US strategy that uses Europe as a shield. In the ongoing crisis and anticipation of the incoming influx of Afghan refugees, Greece took to reinforcing the European borders by building a wall. What this means is that the Syrian scenario will be replayed, as hundreds of dead children will wash up on shore in a failed attempt to flee their country.

The Europeans had little to say regarding invading Afghanistan, for the continent’s nations lacked coordination and had many domestic political issues. Had they been united in the European Union, Europe would have been able to properly alter the coalition and advocate for a much better international approach to the situation in Afghanistan—that would’ve been the best-case scenario for Europe. Obviously, on the ground, it was completely different.

Even the majority of Europeans disagree with using military force to defend a NATO ally from a hypothetical attack by Russia, according to a Pew Research Center report

All that Europe gained from Afghanistan was more refugees, more dead soldiers, and wasted taxpayer money. Altogether, Europe lost nearly a thousand soldiers, gained hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, and spent tens of billions of dollars. The UK and Germany, the second-largest troop-contributors, spent an estimated $30 billion and $19 billion respectively, over the course of the two-decade-long war—a portion of what Europe in its entirety paid to keep the war’s flame ablaze.

At the peak of the invasion of Afghanistan in 2011, the year the US had finally achieved its dream of killing bin Laden, there were 90,000 US troops in the country and 41,300 troops from NATO and its allies. The US and its allies did not equally bear the responsibility, for, as we must not forget, this wasn’t a European issue per se. It only became one after the US forced its hand to invade Afghanistan, yet Europe was bearing nearly half the burden.

The situation was incredibly frustrating for Europe, it was stuck in a self (mostly US)-made pit. The choice was between pulling out from Afghanistan and putting the US-European relations at risk, as well as its security and economy following the influx of Afghan refugees from Afghanistan to Europe, (which was not an option altogether), or staying in Afghanistan and putting up with the financial losses and human casualties.

How Europe was the Stalin to the Munich Agreement

To add insult to injury, the United States decided to withdraw from Afghanistan in February of 2020. This was the then-President Donald Trump signed the 2020 Doha Agreement to “end the war in Afghanistan” without consulting European allies—it came as a shock to them. Europeans objected to the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in such a short period of time but to no avail; there was no reversing the decision.

Furthermore, when the Biden Administration took the decision to completely withdraw from Afghanistan ahead of the agreed-upon date—which had been previously postponed from May 1st as set by the Trump administration—his decision received criticism from all US allies. NATO officials, from Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy, slammed Biden over this decision that was taken without any consultation.

Leaders all across Europe were in disbelief following the decision, even those who long-supported Biden saw it as a mistake and a miscalculation. There wasn’t any direct criticism, for it is known that would harm diplomatic relations; instead, leaders voiced their criticism behind the scenes. However, the storm is yet to come, as no NATO summits have taken place following the failure, which will most definitely redefine the future of US-EU relations.

How will European leaders react to this whole ordeal? Will they be silent in the face of the US abuse? There could be a change in the way Europe manages its external affairs, moving away from the United States and aiming for autonomy; but nothing is certain. One thing that is though, is the fact that even the Israelis do not trust the Americans due to their abandonment of Afghanistan and their allies there, meaning the US is prone to abandoning Europe and other allies in such ‘dire’ circumstances, rendering it unreliable. After all, the US got its troops out of Kabul right around its fall while leaving Europe and the rest of its allies stuck in the mud.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, went as far as calling for an independent army for the European Union in light of the growing panic amongst the Europeans out of fear of not being able to complete their evacuations before the United States does.

Even prior to this whole fiasco, Europe was considering forming an autonomous army. In 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron had warned that Europeans could not be protected without a “true, European army,” (before declaring that NATO was experiencing “brain death“) – an idea backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the person who could be Germany’s next Chancellor, Armin Laschet. The idea of a European army did not seem too appealing for the UK, for it could be something that equates to NATO. Instead, they prefer a joint force to defend Europe in a case relying on the US was out of the window.

During the Trump administration, the rift between the US and Europe was at its vastest since the establishment of diplomatic ties and alliances between the two powers, but it seems that the Biden administration will be the straw that broke the camel’s back in the US-EU relations.

Afghanistan reminds us why it’s called the Graveyard of Empires, as the future of diplomacy between the two behemoths could crumble over its invasion.

Wither Germany?

Wither Germany?

August 21, 2021

Germany has been the keystone of the failing EU. Does it intend to remain so, or is it time to pursue its own interests?

by Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

Germany has been and still is the most important economy in Europe, the export-driven colossus and if not yet the most important imperial power; that designation belongs to France with its Force de Frappe (Nuclear Strike Force), and additionally the UK which is also a member of the nuclear club but has since left the EU remains as a loyal – and oh so loyal! – member of NATO. (1) However, Germany is without question the most dominant country in Europe and still the main creditor and funder of euro states. Looking back to the rise of (West) Germany was a key presence in the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1951. These various states pooled the coal and steel resources of six European countries: France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg which became known by the acronym – BENELUX. These states would be collectively known as “the Six”. It was argued that the pooling of coal and steel resources greatly reduced the threat of war between France and (West) Germany.

It was perhaps entirely predictable that Germany with its system of Bismarckian style guided capitalism would emerge to poll position in this imperial club. At the time France had other, imperial and pressing commitments in Algeria and Indo-China, the British had commitments more or less everywhere East of Suez, and even little Belgium had problems in the Congo (Zaire). Germany had no such incumbrances on its economic development and was thus free to power ahead with its version of guided, bank-funded capitalism, and avoid the pitfalls of Anglo-American financialised capitalism. Under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Economics Minister Ludwig Erhard Germany’s rebirth was dubbed the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle). A far-reaching contract between business and labour unions allowed the rapid rebuilding of industry and strong growth, creating the foundations of an economic powerhouse.

THE GERMAN MODEL

The centrality of Germany and German economic policy in this shifting economic montage requires attention to the gradual increasing dominance of what is the de facto European economic dynamo. It was perhaps inevitable that Germany would – in economic terms at least – become the regional hegemon in this continental configuration. After all,

‘’ … it had a globally competitive industrial base, pivoting on automobiles, chemicals and machine tools. Its exports enabled it to command vast surpluses on current account thus providing the wherewithal to lend globally.’’(2)

The peculiarities of the Anglo-American financialised system has not been replicated in Germany. To be sure Germany has a large and growing service sector similar to the financialised Atlanticist models this much is true; but Germany has also systematically defended its industrial sector, not least by manipulating the exchange rate to protect its exports of which many go to the other member states of the EU. The German manufacturing sector enjoys high levels of productivity, is export-based with relatively strong labour unions in wage negotiations compared to the rest of the private sector. But this did give rise to a two-tier labour market. The ‘good’ jobs were to be found in the export industries and the not so good jobs tended to be located in the internal domestic service sector.

‘’What happened from 2003 onwards to enable German capitalism to exploit its workers more intensely than before? In 2003-2005 the Social-Democratic Party (SPD) government implemented a number of wide-ranging labour-market reforms, the so-called Hartz Reforms, after one Herr Peter Hartz. The first three parts of the reform package, Hartz I-iii, were mainly concerned with, (i) mainly creating new types of employment opportunities (ii) introducing additional wage subsidies, (iii) instructing the Federal Employment Agency. The final parts of Hartz (iv) was implemented in 2005 and resulted in a significant cut in the unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Between 2005 and 2008 the unemployment rate fell from almost 11% to 7.5%, barely increased during the Great Recession of 2008 and continued its downward trend reaching 5.5% at the end of 2012, although it is still higher than was the case during the global period of expansion in the 1960s.’’ (3)

GERMAN BANKING – FUNDS INDUSTRY AND DEVELOPMENT AT ALL LEVELS.

Perhaps what was more important has been the banking system in Germany and its relationship to German industry.

1.1 Savings banks (Sparkassen and Landesbanken)

German savings banks are usually owned by the cities and villages. Formerly, each city had its own savings bank. Over the past 20 years, many savings banks have merged due to the competitive situation. As opposed to the big private Banks – Deutsche Bank, Commerz Bank whose main interests are in housing and stock market investment – the small and medium banks operate with a local focus.

Although the savings banks have been losing customers for a number of years, they are still among the best-known. Often, the accounts are open, because the savings bank is “on the spot”. Later, when one has to deal with more finances, then there is often a change to another bank that is more cost-effective or offers better services. These banks provide funds to industry at good rates of interest, and this particularly applies to small start-up firms.

1.2 Volksbanken / Raiffeisen Banken (cooperative banks)

This is the next best-known bank organization in Germany. VR-banks – their abbreviation – are cooperative banks (Genossenschaftsbanken). They are organized similar to associations and are owned by their members. Members may only purchase very few shares of the bank so that no single person is enabled to have too much influence on the business of the bank.

Just like the savings banks, the Volksbanken have to deal with a loss of customers. Although they have many branch offices, they can often not keep up with the price and service of the modern direct banks. In Germany, there are several hundred different VR-banks. They belong to the cooperative banks. Another successful innovation and feature of German development was the technical education of the German labour force.

GERMAN TECHNICAL EDUCATION – SMEs AND THE MITTELSTAND

The success of the German economy is driven by its small and medium Enterprises ( SMEs), a group to which more than 99 per cent of all firms in Germany belong. These companies account for more than half of Germany’s economic output and almost 60 per cent of jobs. Approximately 82 per cent of apprentices in Germany do their vocational training in an SME.

These small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), also known as the ‘Mittelstand’, (4) are the country’s strongest driver of innovation and technology and are renowned across the world. Companies that want to keep their competitive edge must be at the forefront of new developments. A study on SMEs commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy shows that innovative SMEs will continue to drive the success behind the ‘Made in Germany’ trademark. Provided that they embrace new trends, particularly digitisation, and that they find ways of recruiting the skilled labour they need, even in times of a skills shortage, SMEs have every opportunity to remain successful in their chosen specialised niche markets.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy wants Germany’s SMEs to embrace new challenges and remain vibrant, strong, and innovative. This is why the ministry is working on many levels to strengthen the Mittelstand’s competitiveness, its capacity to innovate, and its ability to create jobs.

SMALL, DIVERSE, DYNAMIC, PIONEERING

Germany’s small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) play a defining role in the country’s economy. Germany’s economic model derives its strength not from a small number of dominant players, industries, or industrial regions, but from the fact that Germany has a wide range of companies – small, medium-sized and large – that are based in locations all across Germany, specialise in all sorts of different sectors, and often form close networks with one another.

Germany’s Mittelstand, is extremely diverse. Family-owned companies that were established generations ago, trendy start-ups, traditional crafts firms, self-employed people and service providers, retailers and freelancers, pioneering high-tech companies, regional suppliers and global players. The size of these  SMEs ranges from one person to several hundred employed across the globe. The Mittelstand has many well-established brands, but also newcomers and lesser-known brands that still deliver the same standard of quality, precision and innovation. It is this high level of diversity that makes it so strong.

The Mittelstand also acts as a strong partner for large corporations, across the entire value chain. Mittelstand companies are often highly specialised and produce the type of up and downstream products that enable large corporations to create innovative and complex products, services and systems solutions

Moreover, the Mittelstand is global in its reach. Some 44 per cent of German companies export their capital goods or intermediate goods to other markets, thereby contributing to the success of the German economy. At least one in two German firms that turn over 2 million euros or more per year are exporting companies. Even small companies benefit from venturing on foreign markets. This is attested by the fact that even very small firms generate an average of over 20 per cent of their turnover from exports.

THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY AND THE DOUBLE WHAMMY

The German Economic model which had performed so well compared to its competitors – during the period from the Wirtshaftwunder until the 21st century – outmatched both European and North American rivals. But of course this golden age was to stutter in the late 1990s – the dot com bubble – and collapse completely during the 2008 and the property price debacle. For all its efficiency the German economy was, like the rest of the world, engulfed in the double whammy of the EU/euro crisis and the 2008 blow-out. Figures for growth make interesting reading.

(These are World Bank figures for declining growth rates in both the developed and developing economies for the period of 1960s through 2009.

1960s = 4.9%

1970s = 3.93%

1980s = 2.95%

1990s =2.7%

2000/09 = 2.58%

It should be by now common knowledge that the global economy has been on a downward path for decades as can be seen from the above figures. Moreover, with the possible exception of China and some other East Asian dynamos, these figures did not improve in the post-2008 era, quite the contrary.

Suffice it to say that the 2007/2008 explosion of the speculative bubble was avoided with massive injections (hmmm, sounds familiar) of ‘liquidity’ basically the extension of credit to the banking sector. Starting in 2008 the European Central Bank (ECB) lent the European banks money at an interest rate of 1%. (As did the Fed on the other side of the pond.) Predictably these same banks used that liquidity for speculation rather than lending to the productive sectors. In passing, we may say the Anglo-American financialised model – at least for Europe – didn’t work and given the objective situation shows no signs of working. In addition, the euro was stillborn with different rates of growth and trade between sometimes diverse member states. The euro was extended to other euro states, and particularly those in the southern bloc, which were far from enjoying the levels of productivity of the northern bloc. Europe’s weaker and less productive countries and thus of international competitiveness could not live with Germany’s productivity levels and low costs. The southern bloc could not devalue the euro – the centre-piece of the euro economy – and they ran up trade deficits with the German-dominated northern bloc which consistently ran up trade surpluses. Most commentators knew this apart from the brain-dead euro-elites who seemed impervious to the situation.

Given these fundamental geopolitical and economic changes Germany would be wise to now examine its options.

At the present time, another deeper and all-encompassing economic and financial crisis has occurred. The EU has, for better or worse, already had to swallow the departure of the UK from the EU; and it is not too difficult to imagine that this is only the beginning of a process of dissolution, particularly in light of the present and future possible political/economic developments. Moreover, the whole brouhaha which has already been instanced by the Nordstream-2 episode represented a win for one particular German faction – in this instance the business class – which now appears to be reorientating to a longer-term strategy of a pivot to Eurasia. It would appear to have won against the political class – including those lovely Greens who seem hot for a war against Russia. The German political and ideological class would appear to inhabit a different time-warp, circa 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall and moreover being hopelessly fixated with NATO, liberalism, globalism and everything American, including woke ideology.

The same German business elite, however, seeks parallel factions together with other similar groupings in other financially strong and reliable countries, who wish to seek the expansion of Germany toward China and Russia. There are obvious reasons for this move. Both these countries have immense reserves of raw materials. Secondly, the level of Chinese economic growth and the size of its market is way above those of the EU. Thirdly, Germany’s relative technological superiority is an ideal for the inter-trade appropriation of Chinese surplus value. Fourthly, if bilateral trading relations continue at the current pace, Beijing will become Germany’s main trading partner by early 2023 at the earliest. Fifthly, for China, Germany, is the optimal country for the best investment opportunities.

So this is the current situation with the Nordstream-2 instalment concentrating the minds of those who have read the runes of Germany’s future development with newer and dynamic trading partners east of the Oder-Neisse line. We shall wait and we shall see for such developments.

NOTES

(1) In this respect the French and British nuclear deterrents should be seen as little more than geo-political phallic symbols by two second-rate declining powers.

(2) Costas Lapavitsas – The Left’s case against the EU – pp, 33, 35)

(3) The Long Depression – Michael Roberts – The Hartz Reforms – The Failing Euro Project – pp.153-155.

(4) Mittelstand – commonly refers to small and medium-sized enterprises in the German-speaking world, particularly in Germany, Austria and parts of Switzerland,

NEW HORRIFYING FOOTAGE EMERGES AS EVACUATION FROM KABUL RESUMES (VIDEOS, 18+)

 17.08.2021

New Horrifying Footage Emerges As Evacuation From Kabul Resumes (Videos, 18+)
This photo taken on May 8, 2018, shows people arriving at the domestic terminal of the Hamid Karzai International Airport of Kabul. (Photo by Dominique FAGET / AFP) (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP via Getty Images)

The evacuation of foreign and local civilians continues in Afghanistan that came under the Taliban’s control on August 15th. Flights from the Kabul Airport were resumed day after they were suspended due to the crowd of people invading the airport.

According to a White House representative, Kabul airport has resumed receiving and sending flights, including civilian ones.

At least 3 aircraft of U.S. Air Force returned from Kabul on August 17:

  • USAF Boeing C-17A Globemaster III MOOSE52/04-4134 
  • USAF Lockheed Martin AC-130J Ghostrider RCH1028/04-4134
  • USMC Lockheed Martin KC-130J Hercules CREEP57/168072
New Horrifying Footage Emerges As Evacuation From Kabul Resumes (Videos, 18+)

Last night, specialists of the Special Air Service of the French Armed Forces arrived to Kabul on board of Airbus A400M.

New Horrifying Footage Emerges As Evacuation From Kabul Resumes (Videos, 18+)

New Horrifying Footage Emerges As Evacuation From Kabul Resumes (Videos, 18+)

Germany also sent its military to Kabul. However, the first German military aircraft that landed in Kabul last night has evacuated only seven people due to chaos at the airport.

Germany has the second-largest military contingent in Afghanistan. According to the recent claims by Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany must urgently evacuate up to 10,000 people, including thousands of German-Afghan dual nationals as well as rights activists, lawyers and locals who worked with foreign bodies.

The A400M transport aircraft landed in Kabul on August 16th, bringing German soldiers to secure the evacuation. When leaving, it took only seven people who were lucky to be on-site.

“We have a very chaotic, dangerous and complex situation at the airport,” Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told. “We had very little time, so we only took on board people who were on-site.”

German citizens could not get into the airport without protection from German soldiers, a foreign ministry spokesperson claimed.

Germany is currently waiting for US permission to fly its second aircraft to Kabul. It is expected to take off from Uzbekistan soon.

At the same time, footage allegedly showing the evacuation of Chinese citizens was shared online. Beijing reportedly evacuated its citizens in July.

The evacuation was recently resumed despite the ongoing chaos at the airport. According to the available footage, the Taliban control the passage into the airport, as people continue to arrive, some of them climbing the wall, trying to enter the territory of the airport.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry said that Azerbaijani peacekeepers stationed in Afghanistan continued to serve at the Kabul International Airport, together with Turkish forces. They are performing tasks to ensure security in the sector assigned to them.

“The peacekeeping unit of the Azerbaijani army consisting of 120 people, together with the Turkish forces, continues to fulfill its duties to ensure the security of the airport,” the message reads.

However, even once people enter the territory, they are not secured. They are wounded in crowds. The U.S. forces are making warning shots on a regular basis.

Locals have fun riding military aircraft during the take off:

Unfortunately, this led to bad consequences.At least two people fell from the aircraft on August 16. The following video shows a man who tied himself to the fuselage of an aircraft. Highly likely he did not reach the destination.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Lebanese Bank Governor’s Reckless Step: A Move towards the Total Collapse

August 14 2021

Lebanese Bank Governor’s Reckless Step: A Move towards the Total Collapse

By Mohammad Yousef

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh’s decision to lift subsidies off fuel imports pushed the whole country further into a very dangerous position.

The decision represents an illegal, reckless and irresponsible step as the people suffers from host of shortages in basics with skyrocketing prices and devaluation of the Lebanese currency.

The fuel is probably the most important vital commodity. It affects people’s life greatly as it covers many vital areas of every day’s life like hospitals, bakeries, universities, schools, water and electricity supplies and many others.

This brought the whole country into a total paralysis and will bring it closer to the verge of collapse unless the concerned parties take the necessary measures to stop this or alleviate its impact on people’s life.

Lay people and officials know that subsidies will not continue forever especially under the deteriorating situation in all levels, but such a decision cannot be taken the way Salameh did. He removed the government support onetime and without considering that the necessary precautionary measures have been put into implementation. Many parties have suggested that every poor family receives a certain limited amount of supported fuel, for example, 80 liters per month. Moreover, the long awaited for financial support card has not been yet put into effect.

Such necessary measures would have eased the exacerbating crisis and rendered the step possible to swallow by people. However, the governor has chosen to lift the fuel subsidies abruptly and without any prior notice. This has all happened at a time when vice Prime Minister Zeina Akar announced that this was not going to take place.

The governor’s decision says a lot and gives very alarming indications about the way the country is run at this stage.

First, the step reflects the total detachment of the ruling class from the people and their sufferings.

Second, it gives an alarm that the ruling oligarchy decided that the correction of the current crisis is being put on the burden of the doomed and most impoverished people.

Third, it assures that the governor acts at his utmost liberty without waiting for any legal or political coverage.

What does all this tell?

It simply announces that we are hastily heading towards the great crash or the collapse of the state. Many scenes of the Venezuelan scenario are already here.

People are endlessly queuing for many vital daily needs like gasoline, cooking gas, medications, and recently children milk and bread. The whole country is in total chaos and the people are disoriented about what happened and about what to do, or where to go to find a solution or at least an alleviation of their suffering.

The international community and the powerful countries like the US , France, Britain and their allies in the Arab world are watching but not taking concrete tangible steps to help though they know it is within their reach, why?  Because they are investing in our misery, and this is not a conspiracy theory that aims at directing the blame on Washington and its allies. We know that country’s corruption is the number one culprit, but they knew it and accepted it and continued to deal normally with it and now they want to strip Lebanon from its last point of strength represented by its triumphant resistance to dictate their conditions in politics and economy and to gain with their mounting blockade and economic pressure what they failed to do with their military campaigns. They need to know they are pining hopes over illusion. This cannot and will not be.

Now, as the endeavors and efforts to form a government have reached a very advanced stage, probably in the near coming days, hopes are rising that this mandatory step would usher in a significant effort to start a robust and wise rescue planned effort and represents the first step in the one thousand mile trip to put things back on track.

Thieves Storm Qatari Emir’s Palace near Cannes

August 14 2021

Thieves storm the palace of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, near the French resort of Cannes, and a local source explains that “valuable pieces” were stolen.

Local source: No violence was used in the theft

Thieves broke into the palace of the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, near the French resort of Cannes, and seized watches and other valuables, according to a source close to the scene. 

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad was not present when four people stormed his house in Mouan-Sartou, but several of his family members were, RTL radio reported. 

It added that the robbery was carried out without violence, as the thieves did not threaten the residents of the palace, who surrendered upon spotting a weapon.

Moreover, several law enforcement agencies in the cities of Grasse, Nice, and Marseille have opened an investigation into the incident. 

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