TURKEY ABUSES MIGRANTS AND BLAMES IT ON GREECE

South Front

Turkey Abuses Migrants And Blames It On Greece

On June 19th, Turkey rescued 56 illegal migrants off Turkey’s Aegean coast, the state-run Anadolu agency reported.

Turkish teams rescued the migrants in a rubber boat near the Dikili district of Turkey’s western province of Izmir, the agency said.

Turkey accused Greece coast guard of pushing the back to Turkey.

In 2020 so far, a total of 11,076 migrants attempted to reach Greece via Turkey’s seas, slightly down from 11,710 over the same period in 2019, according to the latest figures released by the Turkish coast guard.

Alongside these accusations, Anadolu Agency also published alleged photographs showing asylum seekers stranded on the streets of Athens.

They were expelled from the Moria Camp on Lesbos Island in Greece after being granted asylum.

The group seeking shelter at Victoria Square, a public park in the capital, comprises of 66 people, including four pregnant women and children.

“They told us we have to leave Moria Camp. They said: ‘Go to Athens, finish your paper work and go wherever you want after that’,” a refugee said.

“I don’t get that. We are refugees. They officially left us here. Imagine that you came to Afghanistan and did not speak the language. And nobody guides you. How would you feel?” said another refugee who spent the night in the street.

A very emotion-filled video was also published of drone footage of migrants flocking the Turkey-Greece border.

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The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

The ominous Jihadis war; From Tripoli to Tripoli:

May 23, 2020

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

The ‘War on Syria’ is far from being over, and it will continue until all foreign forces illegally present on Syrian soil retreat; either willingly, or defeated.

And even though the American presence in Syria has no clear and realistic political purpose other than wreaking havoc. https://transnational.live/2020/05/19/america-exists-today-to-make-war-how-else-do-we-interpret/ and making it hard for Russia to help reach a decisive victory, in a twist of fate, the focus of the Russo-American conflict in the region may soon move away from Syria.

In reality, the outcome of the ‘War on Syria’ was never expected by the initial assembly of adversaries when they launched the attack. Furthermore, they had many deep differences and nothing in common other than a shared hatred for Syria, but the unexpected turn of events has intensified their internal conflict and seemingly catapulted the strife between those former allies much further afield to a new hub in Libya.

Whilst the world and its media are busy with COVID-19, a new huge struggle is brewing, and this time, it is drawing new lines and objectives that are in reality going to be fueled, financed and executed by the former once-united enemies of Syria; but this time, it will be against each other.

An array of regional and international issues lies behind the impending conflict; and to call it impending is an under-statement. It is already underway, but hasn’t reached its peak yet, let alone making any significant news coverage.

It is a real mess in Libya now, and the short version of a long story goes like this:

Soon after NATO hijacked the UNSC mandate to enforce a no-fly-zone decision over Libya and manipulated it in a manner that ‘legalised’ bombing Libya culminating in toppling and killing Gadhafi, the Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), based in the formal capital Tripoli on the Western side of the coast, was created.

But the ‘revolution’ against Gadhafi was launched in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi. After Gadhafi’s demise, another interim government was formed in Libya’s east under the name of National Transitional Council (NTC).

The NTC, whose flag is the flag of the ‘revolution’, did not recognize the GNA and regarded it as a Western lackey.

After a few years of squabbling, NTC strongman General Haftar decided to militarily disable the GNA.

With little concrete protection on the ground from the West, and under the guise of upholding UNSC mandates, Erdogan jumped into the existing void and the opportunity to grab Libya’s oil, and decided to send troops to support the GNA.  https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-51003034

In return, Haftar is getting support from other regional players. Recently, representatives from Egypt, the UAE, Greece, Cyprus and France had a meeting and denounced Turkey’s involvement in Libya. https://greekcitytimes.com/2020/05/12/greece-egypt-cyprus-france-uae-denounce-turkey-in-joint-statement/. Erdogan perhaps borrowed a term from his American part-ally-part-adversary and referred to the meeting and its decree as an ‘alliance of evil’. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/turkey-accuses-five-nations-of-forming-alliance-of-evil/2020/05/12/a3c5c63a-9438-11ea-87a3-22d324235636_story.html Fancy this, a NATO member accusing other NATO members of being in an alliance of evil.

It must be noted that even though Saudi Arabia did not attend the meeting, it was there in spirit, and represented by its proxy-partner the UAE.

The USA took a step further and accused Russia and Syria of working behind the scenes and planning to send fighters to Libya to support Haftar. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-security-usa-syria-idUSKBN22J301

But this article is not about the geopolitical hoo-ha. It is about shedding a light on what score-settling is expected to eventuate in Libya, and who is likely to end up doing the fighting against who.

Even though the Afghani Mujahedeen were purportedly the first Jihadi fighters to engage in battle in the 20th Century, their fight was against foreign USSR troops. In terms of an internal force that aimed for fundamentalist Muslim rule, there is little doubt that the first event of such insurgency in the Middle East was the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) revolt that took place in Syria in the early 1980’s and which was quashed by the then President, Hafez Assad. After their smashing defeat, the fundamentalists kept their heads low until they lit the flame again in the Palestinian refugee Naher Al-Bared Camp at the northern outskirts of Tripoli Lebanon in 2007.

There are, for those who are unaware, two cities bearing the name Tripoli on the Mediterranean coast; one is in Northern Lebanon, and it is Lebanon’s second largest city, and the other Tripoli is located on the Western side of the Libyan Coast. They are sometimes called Tripoli of the East and Tripoli of the West, respectively.

Shaker Al-Absi, leader of Fateh Al Islam, a Salafist terror organization, declared jihad and engaged in a bitter fight against the Lebanese Army. He was defeated, remained at large, but any look at Lebanon’s Tripoli after his demise displayed a clear evidence of a huge build-up of Salafist presence in the city.

When the ‘War on Syria’ started only four years later, Tripoli became a major hub for the transport of fighters and munitions from Lebanon into Syria. Nearly a decade later, and with a few Jihadi pockets left in the Idlib province now, their defeat in Syria is imminent.

But who exactly are those murderous head-chopping radical elements that we talking about; past and present?

When the coalition that started the attack on Syria took form, it was comprised virtually of all of Syria’s enemies. Most of them were religious fundamentalists. In an early article, I called them ‘The Anti-Syrian Cocktail’.  https://intibahwakeup.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-anti-syrian-cocktail-by-ghassan-kadi.html

Back then, ISIS, did not exist in the form that it became known as. Furthermore, I have always advocated that there was no difference at all between Al-Nusra and ISIS and/or any other Takfiri organizations. They are all terror-based and founded on violent readings of Islam.

In time however, and this didn’t take long, it became apparent that even though the ideologies were identical, there were two major financiers and facilitators to those many different terror organizations. One was primarily funded by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and the other by Qatar and facilitated by Turkey.

The former group is affiliated with what is known as Saudi Wahhabi Islam. They are also known as the Salafists. The latter group are the MB’s.

As the war was shifting in favour of Syria, their agendas diverged, the schism grew deeper and strong rivalries emerged; especially as the Wahhabis and their sponsors were sent home defeated. Part of this fallout was the ongoing Saudi-Qatari conflict.

But the rivalry that is least spoken about is personal. It is the one between Erdogan and Al-Saud.

They are both fighting over the leadership of fundamentalist Sunni Islam. But Erdogan also has his nationalist anti-Kurdish agenda, and of course, he is desperate to put his hands on oil supplies that he can call his own. He cannot find oil on Turkish soil or in Turkish waters, but he is prepared to act as a regional pirate and a thug and steal another nation’s oil. If no one is to stop him, he feels that he can and will.

Upon realizing that Turkey could not get in Syria either victory or oil, Erdogan is now turning his face west towards Libya. He finds in Libya a few scores that he hopes to settle after his failure in Syria. He wants a face-saving military victory, he wants to assert his position as THE Sunni leader who can reclaim glory, and he wants free oil. Last but not least, In Libya, he will find himself close to Egypt’s Sisi; the political/religious enemy who toppled his MB friend and ally, President Mursi.

On the other side, defeated but not totally out, Saudi Arabia wants blood; Erdogan’s blood.

The Saudis blame Erdogan (and Qatar) for their loss in Syria because he was more focused on his own agenda and spoils rather than the combined ones of the former alliance they had with him. They blame him for abandoning them and making deals with Russia. They hold him responsible for the breakup of the unity of Muslim fundamentalism. They fear his aspirations for gaining the hearts and minds of Muslims who regard him as a de-facto Caliph. As a matter of fact, it was Saudi Crown Prince MBS who used the borrowed word ‘evil’ first when he stated more than two years ago that Erdogan was a part of a ‘Triangle of Evil’. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-turkey-idUSKCN1GJ1WW. And how can we forget the Khashoggi debacle and the ensuing standoff between Turkey and Saudi Arabia?

We must stop and remember once again that not long ago at all, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were allies, who together, plotted how to invade Syria and bring her down to her knees. These are the heads of the two major countries that facilitated the war machine with Saudi money injecting fighters and munitions into Syria from the south, and open Turkish borders and Qatari money injecting them from the north.

Back to Libyan General Haftar. In his westerly advance along Libya’s terrain, he cleaned up the ISIS elements who stood in his way and hindered his progress.  https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/02/libya-foreign-powers-khalifa-haftar-emirates-russia-us But ironically, he is now fighting their religious rival; the Turks, the protectors of the MB’s.

The USA may accuse Syria of sending troops into Libya, but where is the proof and why should Syria do this after all? And even though the Saudis and the Emiratis are warming up relationships with Syria, the Syrian Army is still engaged in battle and is not prepared to go and fight in Libya. There is nothing for it to gain. Once the war is over, Syria will be concerned with rebuilding a war-torn nation. Syria has no interests in Libya; none what-so-ever.

The role of Russia is not very clear on the ground even though there are clear indications that Russia supports Haftar ideologically. The support began when Haftar demonstrated to the Russians that he was adamant about fighting ISIS and exterminating its presence in Libya. He lived up to this promise thus far and gained Russian respect.

How will the situation in Libya eventually pan out is anyone’s guess. That said, apart from sending regular Turkish Army units, Erdogan is not short on rounding up fighters; and he has attained much experience in this infamous field of expertise from his vicious attack on Syria. With Qatari money in his pocket, he can recruit as many fighters as Qatar can afford.

Erdogan realizes that the West is not interested in backing him up militarily in Libya. The best deal he can get from America is a tacit support. And with France, a NATO member taking part in the above-mentioned five-nation conference, he will definitely have to stand alone so-to-speak.

He has Qatar behind him, but how powerful is Qatar? A ‘nation’ of 200,000 citizens? How can such a small state play such a big role and why?

Qatar is not really a nation or even a state in the true sense. Qatar is an entity, a ‘corporation’ owned by a ruling dynasty that serves the interests of the USA and Israel. https://thesaker.is/qatar-unplugged/. This family will outlay any sum of money to guarantee its own protection and continuity.

And Erdogan, the friend-and-foe of both of America and Israel, knows the vulnerabilities and strengths of Qatar, and he is using his deceptive talents to provide the Qatari ruling family with the securities that the shortfalls that America and Israel do not provide. For example, it was he who sent troops to Qatar after the Saudi threats. And even though Erdogan will never take any serious actions against his NATO masters except in rhetoric, the weak and fearful Qataris will dance to the tune of any protector and will sell their souls to the devil should they need to.

On the other hand in Libya, if Haftar finds himself facing a huge Turkish army, he will need assistance on the ground. Where will he seek it from?  His next-door neighbour Egypt? If so, will it be in the form of regular army units or hired guns?

Sisi is neither a religious nor a fundamentalist zealot, but this is not meant to be a complementary statement. He has not taken any serious black-and-white steps in regional politics. This does not mean he is a man of principles. He is probably waiting for dollar signs, and if he sees financial benefits in supporting Saudi Arabia in a proxy war against Turkey in Libya, he may opt to agree; if the price it right.

Whether or not Saudi Arabia can afford a new war, especially with current crude prices, is another story, but as the war on Yemen winds down, the gung-ho MBS is irrational enough to be persuaded. His regional enemy is no longer Assad. His current enemy is Erdogan.

To be fair to MBS, despite his vile, criminal and megalomaniac attributes, he never claims to be a religious leader, but Erdogan does, and many Sunni Muslims see in Erdogan THE leader they have been waiting for. This alone constitutes a huge challenge for MBS because neither he, nor anyone else in the whole of Saudi Arabia for that matter, is regarded anywhere in the Muslim World as a potential leader of the Sunni Muslims.

In reality, as far as Muslim leadership is concerned, the Saudis can only bank on the location of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Apart from this, they only have wealth that enables them to buy supporters, but their oil wealth is becoming increasingly vulnerable.

In the uphill fight against Erdogan within the Muslim World, both of the Saudis and the Turks realize that the fight between them in Syria is over. Actually, the Saudis have no loyal ‘troops’ on Syrian soil left to fight anyone with. This begs the question of whether or not the Turks and Saudis are moving the battle ground and the score settling from Syria to Libya.

This time around, such a potential battle between the two lines of Jihadis may have to morph from a fight between terror organizations to a war between regular armies; the Turkish Army against the Egyptian Army. Such a battle will rage over Libyan soil, with the Turks financed by Qatar and Egypt by Saudi Arabia.

Such a war will not necessarily bring in Iran into the fight. If it eventuates, it will be a fundamentalist Sunni-Sunni war, sponsored by fundamentalist Sunni states, each fighting for and against different versions of radical Muslim fundamentalism, under the watchful eyes of the USA and to the glee of Israel.

The jihadi war that was first ignited in Tripoli Lebanon between a rogue terror organization and the Lebanese Army did not end. It kept moving theatres and objectives and changing players. Is the final score going to be settled in Tripoli Libya?

انقلاب تركيّ على نتائج الحرب العالميّة الثانية

د. وفيق إبراهيم

يضغط الاتراك عسكرياً وسياسياً لتحقيق المكانة المحورية بين المتصارعين للسيطرة على اعماق البحر الأبيض المتوسط وسواحل بلدانه مع بعض امتداداتها الداخلية في البر.

فما يجري أدرك مرحلة حرب ضروس بين قوى دولية من اوروبا وشرقي المتوسط وروسيا واميركا مع بعض النحيب المصريّ الشجيّ والرقص الإماراتي على حبال اميركية متينة.

مدى هذه الحرب واسع جداً لشمولها المياه الإقليمية والدولية للمتوسط في جهاته الشرقية والجنوبية فتشمل سواحل بلاد الشام في سورية ولبنان وفلسطين المحتلة ومصر الى السواحل الجنوبية في ليبيا وتونس والجزائر والمغرب وتضم أيضاً سواحل قبرص من كل جهاتها وصولاً الى اليونان.

هناك اذاً صراع مفتوح على المتوسط يأخذ شكل حرب عسكرية شرسة في ليبيا بين دولتيها المتصارعتين الغربية للسراج الموالية لتركيا والشرقية الجنوبية لحفتر المدعومة من فرنسا وإيطاليا وروسيا وألمانيا وبريطانيا، والأميركيين المكتفين بالتأييد السياسي، انما مع مواصلة الحوار مع الأتراك ورجلهم الليبي الاخواني السراج.

كما يتجسّد هذا الصراع في ارتفاع حدة التوتر بين تركيا واليونان على غاز ونفط قبرص وأعماق البحر. وهذا الموضوع محكوم باعتقاد تركي ان الأميركيين خصوصاً والغربيين عموماً بحاجة اليهم، منذ زمن الاتحاد السوفياتي، لذلك ترك الغرب تركيا تحتل الجزء المسكون من أتراك قبارصة في الجزيرة المستقلة منذ 1974.

بالمقابل تعتبر اليونان أن قبرص هي جزء من تراثها الإغريقي بالاضافة الى انتمائها القومي الى اليونان، فتتصرف اليونان وكأنها صاحبة الحق المبرم في الجزيرة وثرواتها.

لكن هذا الصراع ليس إلا الجزء البسيط من صراع عثماني – يوناني تاريخي، نجح فيه الأتراك منذ قرون عدة بالسيطرة على جزء نهائي من تركيا.

هذه الصراعات في المتوسط وليبيا تدفع نحو صراعات عالمية الطابع ومياهه الوطنية والدولية. وهذا يشمل الخلاف اللبناني مع الكيان الإسرائيلي المحتل عند الحدود البحرية في الجنوب وخلاف كامن تركي سوري على إمكانات كبيرة من الغاز والنفط في أعماق حدوديهما البحرية.

ما هي الخطة التركية؟

تشرف تركيا على مسافة طويلة من سواحل المتوسط بدءاً من حدودها البحرية مع سورية وحتى بحار اليونان، وأضافت دوراً متوسطياً لها بالسيطرة على قبرص التركية وليبيا «السراج» وتطمح من خلال العلاقة مع حزب النهضة التونسي الذي يمسك رئيسه الغنوشي برئاسة مجلس نواب بلاده. تطمح الى ضم تونس الى نفوذها. فتستطيع بذلك ان تمسك بالحدود البحرية والإقليمية لقبرص الواقعة في منتصف البحر المتوسط. وتمتد الى ليبيا براً وبحراً مع مدياتها الاقليمية، هذا بالاضافة الى ان سواحل المتوسط التركية تبيح لها التنقيب في اعماق المتوسط بين اليونان وقبرص وحتى سواحلها المباشرة، وتعتبر تركيا أنها دولة متوسطية اساسية لها كامل الحق والاولوية في التنقيب في اعماق البحر المتوسط قبالة العالم العربي من المغرب وحتى حدودها الإقليمية مع اليونان وبلغاريا، اي ما يعادل خمساً وسبعين في المئة من سواحل البحر المتوسط وبالتالي أعماقه الدولية.

هذا ما يدفع الى السؤال التالي: أين العرب من كل ذلك وأين الغرب وروسيا؟

معظم العرب في الخليج مرتبطون بالمشروع الأميركي المتريث من جهة والمشترك من جهة أخرى في الحرب عبر التورط الاماراتي في حرب ليبيا بالإسناد وبالسلاح والتمويل لقوات حفتر.

اما اوروبا فمنزعجة من الاستيلاء التركي على دولة السراج الليبية فتدعم حفتر إنما من دون السماح له بالحسم النهائي، لان المفاوضات الدولية على اقتسام المغانم في كامل البحر المتوسط لم تصل بعد الى خواتيمها، ما يتطلب تسعيراً للمعارك بدأ يظهر بالسلاح الأوروبي والإماراتي المتدفق الى بنغازي والجنوب مع قوات روسية تابعة لشركات فاغنر الى جانب دعم مصري مباشر بالخبراء والمدربين وبعض الكتائب العسكرية، بالمقابل تقف قوات تركية مع جيش السراج ومجموعات من تنظيمات سورية إرهابية وأخرى من الاخوان المسلمين. اما العرب المجاورون لليبيا، فمصر تخشى من انتصار الاخوان المسلمين الليبيين ومعها تركيا، فينعكس على وضعها في الداخل المصري، حيث لا يزال الاخوان المسلمون فيها القوة الأساسية بعد الجيش المصري. لجهة السودان فلا يزال غارقاً في خلافاته الداخلية، وتطبيق سياسات منصاعة للأميركيين تجعله من مؤيدي حفتر حيناً وصامت في معظم الاحيان.

لكن تونس يتنازعها تياران، الاول من الاخوان المسلمين يؤيد السراج الليبي والآخر من أجنحة رئيسها قيس سعيّد الذي يدعو الى الحياد.

واذا كان باستطاعة قائد الاخوان في تونس رئيس مجلس النواب الغنوشي الذي يترأس ايضاً اخوان ليبيا بجهاديين متطوعين فإن قيس سعيّد عاجز عن دعم حفتر إلا بالدعاء.

على مستوى البلدان العربية غير المجاورة، فسورية منهمكة بالتصدّي لتركيا واخوانها مع احتلال عسكري اميركي الى جانب الإرهابيين، والمغرب لم يعد يأبه للصراعات العربية. وهذا حال كامل العالم العربي الذي تجتاحه تركيا اما بالوسائل المباشرة كحال العراق وسورية وليبيا وحزب الإصلاح في اليمن وبعض اجنحة الاخوان في السودان والجزائر وتونس، وإما بالسياسة. لذلك فإن المشروع التركي يبدو واضحاً بمحاولة الاستفادة من تراجع الدور الاميركي في الشرق الأوسط وتقهقر الدور السعودي في معظم العالمين الاسلامي والعربي لإعادة العثمانية الاردوغانية الجديدة بوسيلتين: السيطرة الاستراتيجية والايديولوجية والاستيلاء على الغاز والنفط.

ألا يشكل هذا الأمر انقلاباً تركياً على نتائج الحرب العالمية الثانية؟

يعتبر الأتراك ان الاميركيين سمحوا لهم باحتلال ثلث قبرص منذ 46 عاماً. وكان هناك عدو واحد لهم هو الاتحاد السوفياتي، اما اليوم فلديهم عدوان اثنان واكثر من منافس هما الصين وروسيا والمانيا واليابان والهند، لذلك تبقى تركيا حاجة اساسية للنفوذ الاميركي العالمي، واي تخلٍ عنها يذهب نحو تدمير كبير للجيوبوليتيك الاميركي. هذا هو صميم المراهنة التركية التي تجزم بأن الاميركيين لن يعترضوا على دور كبير لها في مياه البحر الابيض المتوسط وسواحل بلدانه، لا يفعل أكثر من صد النفوذ الروسي الصيني.

فهل هذا صحيح؟

لن تقبل دول اوروبا المتوسطية في فرنسا وايطاليا بهذه المعادلة. وقد تتمكن اليونان العضو في الاتحاد الاوروبي من جذب المانيا ومعظم دول الاتحاد الى مياه البحر المتوسط للاستفادة من ثرواته، كما ان الاميركيين لن يذهبوا الى حدود إثارة غضب الاوروبيين من اجل ارضاء اردوغان، وقد يذهبون كعادتهم نحو التوفيق بين تحالفاتهم انما على اساس الاولوية للمصالح الاميركية.

يتبقى العرب وعندما يستيقظون من سباتهم تكون المعركة على ثروات المتوسط اختتمت فصولها وانتقلت للسيطرة على بحار جديدة.

Why Xi won’t repeat Ming Dynasty mistakes

Why Xi won’t repeat Ming Dynasty mistakes

May 11, 2020

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

China has learned from its own rich history and is applying those lessons to re-emerge as a major 21st century power

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Jiayu Pass, a famed MIng Dynasty era part of the Great Wall in Jiayuguan City, during an inspection tour of northwest China’s Gansu Province, August 20, 2019. Photo: FacebookWith hybrid warfare 2.0 against China reaching fever pitch, the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, will continue to be demonized 24/7 as the proverbial evil communist plot for economic and geopolitical domination of the “free” world, boosted by a sinister disinformation campaign.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the Jiayu Pass,
a famed MIng Dynasty era part of the Great Wall in Jiayuguan City,
during an inspection tour of northwest China’s Gansu Province,
August 20, 2019. Photo: Facebook

It’s idle to discuss with simpletons. In the interest of an informed debate, what matters is to find the deeper roots of Beijing’s strategy – what the Chinese learned from their own rich history and how they are applying these lessons as a re-emerging major power in the young 21st century.

Let’s start with how East and West used to position themselves at the center of the world.

The first Chinese historic-geographic encyclopedia, the 2nd century B.C. Classic of the Mountains and the Seas, tells us the world was what was under the sun (tienhia). Composed of “mountains and seas” (shanhai), the world was laid out between “four seas” (shihai). There’s only one thing that does not change: the center. And its name is “Middle Kingdom” (Zhongguo), that is, China.

Of course, the Europeans, in the 16th century, discovering that the earth was round, turned Chinese centrality upside down. But actually not that much (see, for instance, this 21st century Sinocentric map published in 2013).

The principle of a huge continent surrounded by seas, the “exterior ocean,” seems to have derived from Buddhist cosmology, in which the world is described as a “four-petal lotus.” But the Sinocentric spirit was powerful enough to discard and prevail over every cosmogony that might have contradicted it, such as the Buddhist, which placed India at the center.

Now compare Ancient Greece. Its center, based on reconstituted maps by Hippocrates and Herodotus, is a composite in the Aegean Sea, featuring the Delphi-Delos-Ionia triad. The major split between East and West goes back to the Roman empire in the 3rd century. And it starts with Diocletian, who made it all about geopolitics.

Here’s the sequence: In 293, he installs a tetrarchy, with two Augustuses and two Caesars, and four prefectures. Maximian Augustus is charged to defend the West (Occidens), with the “prefecture of Italy” having Milan as capital. Diocletian charges himself to defend the East (Oriens), with the “prefecture of Orient” having Nicomedia as capital.

Political religion is added to this new politico-military complex. Diocletian starts the Christian dioceses (dioikesis, in Greek, after his name), twelve in total. There is already a diocese of the Orient – basically the Levant and northern Egypt.

There’s no diocese of the Occident. But there is a diocese of Asia: basically the Western part of Mediterranean Turkey nowadays, heir to the ancient Roman provinces in Asia. That’s quite interesting: the Orient is placed east of Asia.

The historical center, Rome, is just a symbol. There’s no more center; in fact, the center is slouching towards the Orient. Nicomedia, Diocletian’s capital, is quickly replaced by neighbor Byzantium under Constantine and rechristened as Constantinople: he wants to turn it into “the new Rome.”

When the Western Roman empire falls in 476, the empire of the Orient remains.

Officially, it will become the Byzantine empire only in the year 732, while the Holy Roman Empire – which, as we know, was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire – resurrects with Charlemagne in 800. From Charlemagne onwards, the Occident regards itself as “Europe,” and vice-versa: the historical center and the engine of this vast geographical space, which will eventually reach and incorporate the Americas.

Superstar admiral

We’re still immersed in a – literally – oceanic debate among historians about the myriad reasons and the context that led everyone and his neighbor to frenetically take to the seas starting in the late 15th century – from Columbus and Vasco da Gama to Magellan.

But the West usually forgets about the true pioneer: iconic Admiral Zheng He, original name Ma He, a eunuch and Muslim Hui from Yunnan province.

His father and grandfather had been pilgrims to Mecca. Zheng He grew up speaking Mandarin and Arabic and learning a lot about geography. When he was 13, he was placed in the house of a Ming prince, Zhu Di, member of the new dynasty that came to power in 1387.

Educated as a diplomat and warrior, Zheng He converted to Buddhism under his new name, although he always remained faithful to Islam. After all, as I saw for myself when I visited Hui communities in 1997 when branching out from the Silk Road, on my way to Labrang monastery in Xiahe, Hui Islam is a fascinating syncretism incorporating Buddhism, the Tao and Confucianism.

Zhu Di brought down the Emperor in 1402 and took the name Yong Le. A year later he had already commissioned Zheng He as admiral, and ordered him to supervise the construction of a large fleet to explore the seas around China. Or, to be more precise, the “Occidental ocean” (Xiyang): that is, the Indian Ocean.

Thus from 1405 to 1433, roughly three decades, Zheng He led seven expeditions across the seas all the way to Arabia and Eastern Africa, leaving from Nanjing in the Yangtze and benefiting from monsoon winds. They hit Champa, Borneo, Java, Malacca, Sumatra, Ceylon, Calicut, Hormuz, Aden, Jeddah/Mecca, Mogadiscio and the Eastern African coast south of the Equator.

Those were real armadas, sometimes with over 200 ships, including the 72 main ones, carrying as many as 30,000 men and vast amounts of precious merchandise for trade: silk, porcelain, silver, cotton, leather products, iron utensils. The leading vessel of the first expedition, with Zheng He as captain, was 140 meters long, 50 meters wide and carrying over 500 men.

This was the original Maritime Silk Road, now revived in the 21st century. And it was coupled with another extension of the overland Silk Road: after all the dreaded Mongols were in retreat, there were new allies all the way to Transoxiana, the Chinese managed to strike a peace deal with the successor of Tamerlane. So the Silk Roads were booming again. The Ming court sent diplomats all over Asia – Tibet, Nepal, Bengal, even Japan.

The main objective of pioneering Chinese seafaring has always puzzled Western historians. Essentially, it was a diplomatic, commercial and military mix. It was important to have Chinese suzerainty recognized – and materialized via the payment of a tribute. But most of all this was about trade; no wonder the ships had special cabins for merchants.

The armada was designated as the Treasury Fleet – but denoting more a prestige operation than a vehicle for capturing riches. Yong Le was strong on soft power and economics – as he took control of overseas trade by imposing an imperial monopoly over all transactions. So in the end this was a clever, comprehensive application of the Chinese tributary system – in the commercial, diplomatic and cultural spheres.

Yong Le was in fact following the instructions of his predecessor Hongwu, the founder of the Ming (“Lights”) dynasty. Legend rules that Hongwu ordered that one billion trees should be planted in the Nanjing region to supply the building of a navy.

Then there was the transfer of the capital from Nanjing to Beijing in 1421, and the construction of the Forbidden City. That cost a lot of money. As much as the naval expeditions were expensive, their profits, of course, were useful.

Yong Le wanted to establish Chinese – and pan-Asian – stability via a true Pax Sinica. That was not imposed by force but rather by diplomacy, coupled with a subtle demonstration of power. The Armada was the aircraft carrier of the time, with cannons on sight – but rarely used – and practicing “freedom of navigation”.

What the emperor wanted was allied local rulers, and for that he used intrigue and commerce rather than shock and awe via battles and massacres. For instance, Zheng He proclaimed Chinese suzerainty over Sumatra, Cochin and Ceylon. He privileged equitable commerce. So this was never a colonization process.

On the contrary: before each expedition, as its planning proceeded, emissaries from countries to be visited were invited to the Ming court and treated, well, royally.

Plundering Europeans

Now compare that with the European colonization led a decade later by the Portuguese across these same lands and these same seas. Between (a little) carrot and (a lot of) stick, the Europeans drove commerce mostly via massacres and forced conversions. Trading posts were soon turned into forts and military installations, something that Zheng He’s expeditions never attempted.

In fact Zheng He left so many good memories that he was divinized under his Chinese name, San Bao, which means “Three Treasures,” in such places in Southeast Asia as Malacca and Siam’s Ayutthaya.

What can only be described as Judeo-Christian sadomasochism focused on imposing suffering as virtue, the only path to reach Paradise. Zheng He would never have considered that his sailors – and the populations he made contact with – had to pay this price.

So why did it all end, and so suddenly? Essentially Yong Le run out of money because of his grandiose imperial adventures. The Grand Canal – linking the Yellow River and the Yangtze basins – cost a fortune. Same for building the Forbidden City. The revenue from the expeditions was not enough.

And just as the Forbidden City was inaugurated, it caught fire in May 1421. Bad omen. According to tradition, this means disharmony between Heaven and the sovereign, a development outside of the astral norm. Confucians used it to blame the eunuch councilors, very close to the merchants and the cosmopolitan elites around the emperor. On top of it, the southern borders were restless and the Mongol threat never really went away.

The new Ming emperor, Zhu Gaozhi, laid down the law: “China’s territory produces all goods in abundance; so why should we buy abroad trinkets without any interest?”

His successor Zhu Zanji was even more radical. Up to 1452, a series of imperial edicts prohibited foreign trade and overseas travel. Every infraction was considered piracy punished by death. Worse, studying foreign languages was banished, as was the teaching of Chinese to foreigners.

Zheng He died (in early 1433? 1435?) in true character, in the middle of the sea, north of Java, as he was returning from the seventh, and last, expedition. The documents and the charts used for the expeditions were destroyed, as well as the ships.

So the Ming ditched naval power and re-embraced old agrarian Confucianism, which privileges agriculture over trade, the earth over the seas, and the center over foreign lands.

No more naval retreat

The takeaway is that the formidable naval tributary system put in place by Yong Le and Zheng He was a victim of excess – too much state spending, peasant turbulence – as well as its own success.

In less than a century, from the Zheng He expeditions to the Ming retreat, this turned out to be a massive game changer in history and geopolitics, prefiguring what would happen immediately afterwards in the long 16th century: the era when Europe started and eventually managed to rule the world.

One image is stark. While Zheng He’s lieutenants were sailing the eastern coast of Africa all the way to the south, in 1433, the Portuguese expeditions were just starting their adventures in the Atlantic, also sailing south, little by little, along the Western coast of Africa. The mythical Cape Bojador was conquered in 1434.

After the seven Ming expeditions crisscrossed Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean from 1403 for nearly three decades, only half a century later Bartolomeu Dias would conquer the Cape of Good Hope, in 1488, and Vasco da Gama would arrive in Goa in 1498.

Imagine a historical “what if?”: the Chinese and the Portuguese bumping into each other in Swahili land. After all, in 1417 it was the turn of Hong Bao, the Muslim eunuch who was Zheng He’s lieutenant; and in 1498 it was Vasco da Gama’s turn, guided by the “Lion of the Sea” Ibn Majid, his legendary Arab master navigator.

The Ming were not obsessed with gold and spices. For them, trade should be based on equitable exchange, under the framework of the tribute. As Joseph Needham conclusively proved in works such as Science and Civilization in China, the Europeans wanted Asian products way more than Orientals wanted European products, “and the only way to pay for them was gold.”

For the Portuguese, the “discovered” lands were all potential colonization territory. And for that the few colonizers needed slaves. For the Chinese, slavery amounted to domestic chores at best. For the Europeans, it was all about the massive exploitation of a workforce in the fields and in mines, especially concerning black populations in Africa.

In Asia, in contrast to Chinese diplomacy, the Europeans went for massacre. Via torture and mutilations, Vasco da Gama and other Portuguese colonizers deployed a real war of terror against civilian populations.

This absolutely major structural difference is at the root of the world- system and the geo-historical organization of our world, as analyzed by crack geographers such as Christian Grataloup and Paul Pelletier.  Asian nations did not have to manage – or to suffer – the painful repercussions of slavery.

So in the space of only a few decades the Chinese abdicated from closer relations with Southeast Asia, India and Eastern Africa. The Ming fleet was destroyed. China abandoned overseas trade and retreated unto itself to focus on agriculture.

Once again: the direct connection between the Chinese naval retreat and the European colonial expansion is capable of explaining the development process of the two “worlds” – the West and the Chinese center – since the 15th century.

At the end of the 15th century, there were no Chinese architects left capable of building large ships. Development of weaponry also had been abandoned. In just a few decades, crucially, the Sinified world lost its vast technological advance over the West. It got weaker. And later it would pay a huge price, symbolized in the Chinese unconsciousness by the “century of humiliation.”

All of the above explains quite a few things. How Xi Jinping and the current leadership did their homework. Why China won’t pull a Ming remix and retreat again. Why and how the overland Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road are being revived. How there won’t be any more humiliations. And most of all, why the West – especially the American empire – absolutely refuses to admit the new course of history.

Turkey fires back at 5 countries, ‘we ruined your

By News Desk -2020-05-12

BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:15 P.M.) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry considered the statement from the UAE, Egypt, France, Greece and Cyprus on Turkey’s activities in the Mediterranean as evidence of “double standards”.

Turkey responds to Egypt, France and other countries: “We have ruined your sabotage accounts to stabilize the region,” the Foreign Ministry said, ” Turkey is under severe attack from Egypt, the Emirates, Greece, Cyprus and France.”

“The statement of the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Greece, France, and Greek Cyprus on the Mediterranean basin is evidence of the double standards followed by these countries,” they continued.

“Instead of entering the ruling administration in Egypt in a dialogue with Turkey, they preferred to give up and not to defend the rights and interests of its people in the Mediterranean basin, in favor of external powers that allowed them to intervene. There is no reason other than hostility to Turkey as the Emirates has no relationship in the Mediterranean,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Turkey called on the signatories of the five-year statement to act “rationally” and in accordance with international law, and said: “Stabilization in the region will not be by forming coalitions of evil, but rather through transparent and real dialogue and cooperation.”

In a joint statement, Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, France and the United Arab Emirates strongly condemned what it described as “Turkey’s military intervention in Libya” and Turkey’s “illegal” movements in the Mediterranean.

ALSO READ  Egypt intends to return Syria to its ‘natural location in regional and international arenas’

Greece’s Renewed Relations with Syria Further Isolates Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, May 08, 2020

On Tuesday, the Greek Foreign Ministry finally announced a restoration of relations between Greece and Syria and assigned former ambassador to Syria and Russia, Tasia Athanassiou, as a Special Envoy of Greece’s Foreign Ministry for Syria. Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias confirmed this from his Twitter. The appointment of Athanassiou is extremely strategic as she was Greece’s ambassador to Damascus from 2009 to 2012, meaning she is already familiar with Syria and their authorities.

The Greek Foreign Ministry said that contacts will be made for the “international aspects of Syria and related humanitarian action, as well as coordination of actions in view of the ongoing efforts to rebuild Syria.”

Although the Foreign Ministry claims that the suspension of diplomatic relations “was dictated by the security conditions,” we know it was ordered by former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in December 2012 under orders from NATO and the European Union who were, and in some instances, still backing jihadists against the secular government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Greece became a country ruled by European banker, EU, and NATO puppets from 2010 onwards when on May 2 of that year, the so-called socialist government of George Papandreou signed the first of three bailout packages with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF. This caused a 25% contraction of the Greek economy, an unemployment rate of 27% and skyrocketed poverty. Any semblance of Greek independence in domestic and foreign policy was lost.

However, moving to 2020, the economic and geopolitical situation in Greece and its surrounding region has drastically changed. Diplomatic sources quoted by Kathemirini, one of Greece’s oldest and most respected newspaper, said that the decision to appoint a Special Envoy for Syria is part of Greece’s steady activity in the Eastern Mediterranean and the wider region. According to the sources, Greece’s increased desire in contributing to efforts in resolving the Syrian crisis was stated by Dendias in his meetings with the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Geir Otto Pedersen.Turkish Intervention in Libya: Another Erdogan Reckless Attempt to Revive Neo-Ottoman Empire

Therefore, a major reason for the reopening of relations with Syria is to further tilt the balance of power in the East Mediterranean in Greece’s favor against Turkey, especially at a time when Ankara does not have a single ally in the region, with the exception of the besieged Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya that is nearly collapsed because of the Libyan National Army’s assault.

The reopening of relations between Athens and Damascus comes at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is making a strong push for a “Blue Homeland” that aims to annex Greece’s Eastern Aegean islands and maritime space. Turkey for nine years attempted to oust Assad from power through various means, including an unsuccessful invasion attempt of Idlib province earlier this year, as well as its continued support for terrorist organisations. In addition, Erdoğan is propping up the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya by importing jihadists from Syria to the North African country.

Although Erdoğan has failed in all of these endeavours, Turkey still remains a major threat, even at a time when it is facing economic catastrophe with the Turkish lira at a near record low to the U.S. dollar and Turkey’s three largest banks, Garanti, Akbank and İşbank, on the verge of bankruptcy. Even with this looming economic disaster, Turkey still manages to find the funds to violate Greek airspace on a daily basis, send weapons to Libya and fund terrorist organizations in Syria.

As the Eastern Mediterranean becomes a potential major warzone because of Turkey’s aggression, Greece is now renewing relations with old friends. Hafez al-Assad, previous president of Syria and father to Bashar al-Assad, pledged that if Turkey was ever to go to war with Greece, Syria would automatically open a new front in southern Turkey in support of Greece.

Athens however is not completely independent from NATO and the EU. This suggests that although renewing relations with Syria is absolutely critical in protecting its sovereignty, perhaps Greece has gotten approval from the EU and/or NATO to do this.  Greece is perhaps the most important of the very few European countries that have maintained or reopened relations with Syria because of its history of friendly relations, as well as thousands of years of religious, cultural, financial and ethnic ties.

It can be suggested that as the war in Syria begins to end, continued only by Turkey’s refusal to stop backing terrorist organizations in Idlib, the EU wants to try and take advantage of lucrative reconstruction contracts that will be on offer and investment opportunities. It is unlikely that European companies will win reconstruction contracts, but the reality is that Assad has survived the near 10-year efforts to have him removed, and is not going anywhere. Greece could be used as an outlet for the EU to open dialogue and relations with Damascus again.

This is only speculative, but what is for certain is that by reopening relations with Syria, Greece is consolidating the emerging East Mediterranean order and opposes Turkish hegemony in the region. Greece will always have close relations with Cyprus, and has also entered a military alliance with Egypt, supports the Libyan National Army against Turkish-backed forces, and has strong military and energy ties with Israel. Relations with Syria has essentially finalized the strangulation of Turkey’s attempted hegemony of the Eastern Mediterranean and made it the most isolated country in the region – despite Athens’ insistence on improving ties with Ankara if it finally abandons its aggressive foreign policy.

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This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Paul Antonopoulos, Global Research, 2020

Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do

April 8, 2020

Using humble means, a refugee worker sterilizes the streets in Al-Shati refugee camp. (Photo: Fawzi Mahmoud, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Ramzy Baroud

While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

Worse, amid growing international solidarity, we are yet to see a pan-Arab initiative that aims to provide material support to countries and regions that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 disease.

The lack of collective Arab responsiveness is not unique as it mirrors Europe’s own systematic failure, exhibiting ‘solidarity’ when it is financially convenient, and turning its back, sometimes at its own brethren, when there are no economic incentives.

For example, when Greece defaulted on its debt to international donors in 2015, Germany, and other European Union countries, pounced on the opportunity to dismantle the country’s major financial institutions and to profit from Athens’ mounting miseries.

All the talk of European solidarity, fraternity and community floundered at the altar of greed and unhindered profits.

That was not the first – nor will it be the last – occasion when the opportunistic EU showed its true colors. In truth, Europe is united, not by common history or unbreakable social bonds, but rather by the shared belief that a united Europe is a stronger economic unit.

The same sordid scenario was recently repeated. As Italy began buckling down under the unbearable burdens of the deadly Coronavirus, it immediately, and naturally, sought the help of its European sister states. To no avail.

Despite its sizable debt, Italy is a major player in the economic arena of Europe and, in fact, the world. Indeed, Italy is the world’s 8th largest economy. But the country’s economy is now experiencing a rare freefall, especially in the poorer regions of the South, where people are literally going hungry.

The first country to come to Italy’s aid was neither France, nor, unsurprisingly, Germany, but China, followed by Russia, then Cuba, and others.

This palpable lack of solidarity among European countries has further empowered the ethnocentric view already prevailing in Europe, and championed by far-right movements like Italy’s League Party of Matteo Salvini. For years, the latter has advocated against European integration.

It will take months, if not years, for the political fallout of the Coronavirus to be fully assessed. But what is already clear is that international and regional economic hubs are actively hedging their bets to consolidate their geopolitical positions in the post-Coronavirus world.

Despite bashful American attempts to join the politically-motivated international solidarity, US President Donald Trump’s humble moves arrived too little, too late. In fact, a sign of the times is that Chinese and Russian aid is pouring in to help the United States, which now has the world’s largest number of COVID-19 cases.

A compelling question, however, is where are the Arabs in all of this?

Italy and Spain, in particular, share historical and cultural bonds, and broad political interests, with many Arab countries, interests that will remain long after the Coronavirus is eradicated. Failing to register on the radar of international solidarity with Italy and Spain will prove a strategic miscalculation.

Israel, on the other hand, is activating its aid agency, IsraAID, which has previously worked in Italy between 2016 and 2019, after a major earthquake killed nearly 300 people and left behind massive infrastructural damage.

Israel uses ‘humanitarian aid’ as a political and propaganda tool. Israeli missions are often under-funded and short-lasting, but their impact is greatly amplified by a powerful, official media machine that tries to project Israel as a ‘peace-maker’, not a war-monger.

The truth is, some Arab governments do, in fact, provide badly needed funds and aid to countries that are devastated by wars or natural disasters; alas, these efforts are often disorganized and self-centered – and frankly, not at all motivated by true solidarity.

That said, the absence of Arab initiatives in the field of international humanitarian solidarity dwarf in comparison to the lack of Arab solidarity within the Arab world itself.

According to United Nation estimates, there are “101.4 million (people) in the region who already live in poverty, according to official criteria, and around 52 million undernourished.”

A new policy brief issued on April 1 by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), projects that an additional 8.3 million people are set to join the poor and undernourished masses throughout the Arab world.

Aside from empty rhetoric and useless press releases, we are yet to witness a major collective Arab initiative, championed by, for example, the Arab League, to provide an Arab equivalent to the many economic stimulus plans that have been set into motion in many other countries and regions around the world.

Late March, United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, issued a ‘global ceasefire appeal’, pleading to the world, especially to warring Middle Eastern nations, to cease fire and to unite all efforts in one single war against the Coronavirus.

Sadly, that call has so far gone unheeded. The war in Libya is escalating, not subsiding; Israeli killing of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues unabated; the flood of refugees out of Syria, Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries is yet to slow down.

Times of crisis, especially the kind that targets all of us regardless of race, religion, or geography, often constitute a wake-up call, present an opportunity for a new beginning, a new social contract so that we may resurrect from the ashes of our collective pain to build a better world.

Let COVID-19 be that opportunity that will allow all nations, especially in the Middle East, to take a stance against war, hunger and disease, to share their wealth and to extend the hand of solidarity to Africa and our historic allies throughout the world.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

Live Updates: Russia Confirms 954 New Coronavirus Cases in 24 Hours Bringing Total to 6,343

A worker packs surgical masks on the production line in a factory in Taoyuan

Spotnik

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, with over 1,270,000 confirmed cases across the world and at least 69,450 fatalities from the disease.
Nations affected by the coronavirus are introducing further measures to curb the spread and urging people to stay at home to be safe and also ease the pressure on healthcare systems amid the crisis.
The United States remains the country hardest hit by the pandemic with almost one-fourth of the world’s infected (at least 337,000), while Italy and Spain remain the main centre of the outbreak in Europe with the highest numbers of deaths (15,887 and 12,641 respectively).
Germany, in the meantime, is approaching 100,000 confirmed cases.
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    Russian military experts  prepare to carry out a complete sanitary disinfection treatment of the Martino Zanchi care home for the elderly in a suburb of Bergamo, Italy.

    Russian Military Doctors Begin Receiving, Treating COVID-19 Patients in Italy’s Bergamo


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  • 15:10

    France Faces Worst Recession Since 1945 Due to COVID-19 – Finance Minister

    France Faces Worst Recession Since 1945 Due to COVID-19 – Finance Minister


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  • 15:09

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    An US Air Force soldier patrol the perimetre around a F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet

    US Military in South Korea Tests Guests for Coronavirus With… Apple Vinegar


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  • 15:08

    Number of COVID-19 Cases in Indonesia Approaching 2,500 – Health Ministry

    The number of cases of the coronavirus in Indonesia has reached 2,491, with 218 of them being registered over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Monday.
    According to the ministry, 11 new fatalities have been registered in the country, bringing the total death toll to 209. Meanwhile, a total of 192 patients have fully recovered.
    In late March, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared a health emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. As a part of measures to curb the pandemic, the authorities have also temporarily banned entry and transit services for foreign nationals.
  • 15:05

    FIFA Set to Extend Coronavirus-Disrupted 2019/20 Football Season Indefinitely – Reports

    FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he walks on the stage before the start of the 69th FIFA congress in Paris, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

    FIFA Set to Extend Coronavirus-Disrupted 2019/20 Football Season Indefinitely – Reports


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The world football governing body FIFA is planning to extend the 2019/20 season indefinitely, which will allow domestic leagues to decide how to conclude their seasons, the majority of which were initially scheduled to end in April and May but were disrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Athletic sports news portal reported.
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  • 15:04

    Swiss Health Ministry Reports Record-Low Daily Increase of 522 COVID-19 Cases

    The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health on Monday has confirmed 522 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest day-on-day increase over the past three weeks, raising the overall number of those infected to 21,652.
    According to the health authorities, 584 patients have died from the disease, with 25 of the fatalities being recorded over the past 24 hours.
  • 14:10

    Streets of Moscow Amid Self-Isolation Regime as World Battles COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    Empty street in Moscow

    Streets of Moscow Amid Self-Isolation Regime as World Battles COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    In a move to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin earlier imposed tough restrictions on movement, prohibiting residents from leaving their homes except in cases of emergency, to seek medical help, or to do essential shopping.
    READ MORE
  • 14:09

    Ex-Special Branch Officer Becomes Oldest Briton to Recover From Coronavirus at 99

    Ex-Special Branch Officer Becomes Oldest Briton to Recover From Coronavirus at 99


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  • 14:07

    Danish Police Register Decline in Crime Across Country Amid COVID-19 Quarantine Measures

    Danish police (File)

    Danish Police Register Decline in Crime Across Country Amid COVID-19 Quarantine Measures


    STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) – A drop in crime has been observed across Denmark against the backdrop of the restrictive measures imposed by the government to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, the country’s police said.
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  • 14:04

    Outside of New York City Hospital as Doctors Join Efforts Against COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    A woman walks by the Javits Convention Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in New York, U.S., March 22, 2020

    Outside of New York City Hospital as Doctors Join Efforts Against COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    Last week, US President Donald Trump ordered to deploy 1,000 military personnel, consisting mostly of doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists to New York City amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
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  • 13:38

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    A logo is pictured on the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2017

    Russia to Allocate $1 Million to WHO in 2020 to Fight COVID-19


    Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko stated on Monday that most specialists believe that the coronavirus appeared naturally and not as a result of some experiment.
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  • 12:23

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    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears on a monitor for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) meeting in London, Britain March 28, 2020

    UK PM’s Spokesman Says Boris Johnson is Not on a Ventilator


    The prime minister was admitted to a hospital on 5 April after his COVID-19-related symptoms failed to disappear over a week after being diagnosed with the infection.
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  • 11:34

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    FILE- In this April 30, 2014 file photo, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi holds his party's symbol and looks into his phone after casting his vote in Ahmadabad, India

    Prime Minister Modi Urges ‘Digital Indians’ to Use Govt’s COVID-19 Detection App ‘Aarogya Setu’


    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, India’s federal government has launched a mobile application named Arogya Setu (literally Health Bridge) to enable people to self-assess the risk of catching the infection. The app also helps to find out whether the user has interacted with someone who could have tested positive for COVID-19.
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  • 10:52

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  • 10:38

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  • 10:08

    Indian MPs, PM Modi, President Kovind Cut Their Salary by 30% for a Year to Support COVID-19 Fight

    Black leather wallet with money

    Indian MPs, PM Modi, President Kovind Cut Their Salary by 30% for a Year to Support COVID-19 Fight


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  • 10:05

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  • 09:51

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  • 09:32

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  • 09:25

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  • 09:23

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  • 09:10

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    Passersby wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walk at Kabukicho entertainment and shopping district in Tokyo, Japan

    Japan’s Abe Proposes State of Emergency, Stimulus Package Worth $1 Trillion Due to COVID-19 Outbreak


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  • 08:56

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    Russian Company Registers 40-Minute Express Test for COVID-19


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  • 06:37

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    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service on 1 March 2020

    UK Prime Minister Johnson Will Undergo Tests in Hospital Today, Housing Secretary Says


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  • 06:35

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    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – The number of coronavirus-related deaths in India has reached 109, while 490 people have tested positive in the past 24 hours, bringing the total count to 4,067, the country’s Health Ministry said on Monday.
    The previous data indicated that there were 3,577 COVID-19 active cases across the country.
    According to the Health Ministry, 291 people have recovered from the disease, and 109 have died.
    The western state of Maharashtra is the most affected by the virus — the state has 690 cases. The capital territory, Delhi, has 503 cases, and Tamil Nadu has so far confirmed 571 cases.
  • 04:47

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped by 3,677 to 95,391, and the death toll has risen by 92 to 1,434 in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute said.
    According to the latest data, the majority of cases have been recorded in Bavaria (24,974), North Rhine-Westphalia (19,384), and Baden-Wurttemberg (19,395). Berlin has 3,670 cases.
    Germany remains the third most affected country in Europe after Spain and Italy in terms of the number of COVID-19 patients. There are over 620,000 cases throughout Europe.
  • 04:45

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    Japan’s Abe to Declare State of Emergency on 8 April Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Reports

    Tourists wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), visit Asakusa neighbourhood in Tokyo, Japan March 8, 2020

    Japan’s Abe to Declare State of Emergency on 8 April Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Reports


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If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

March 30, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Germany and their moral poses… a century of Europe cries, “Enough!”

It’s hard for those living outside of Europe to understand the resentment towards Germany; Germans themselves often seem totally oblivious – the “German professor” only ever sees bad, unruly students, after all.

When I first moved to Paris in 2009 I remarked how all the Germans I met were so very nice. I was told, “They have to be, after what they’ve done.”

Low blow?

Hardly. Ignoring history is not politeness or PC progress or evidence of forward-thinking: it’s denial, hysteria and illusory thinking.

To paraphrase Henny Youngman: Take my Mutti – please. Angela Merkel is my generation’s Margaret Thatcher. When Thatcher died there were street parties in the UK, which were brutally repressed by cops, but the billionaire-directed Western Mainstream Media ordered paeans to be penned instead.

For Merkel there has similarly never been anything but fawning coverage, as evidenced – aggravatingly – by this recent story from the Associated Press: Merkel shines in handling of Germany’s coronavirus crisis.

Why such love for an abusive mother? Because she certainly hasn’t abused the German 1%: under Merkel German corporations have re-colonised much of Central Europe, they have extracted as much wealth as possible from weaker Eurozone nations like Greece, and downward pressure on wages was maintained on the German post-Hartz Re(De)forms workforce via the importation of hundreds of thousands of skilled Syrians and detested “minijobs”.

On a pan-European level ever since 2008, and even in the heat of the 2012 European Sovereign Debt Crisis, we have Germany’s constant refusal for “more Europe”, which is the only possible way to save this (atrocious, anti-democratic, unaccountable, corrupt, American-penned, socialism-detesting) version of the pan-European project. Germany refuses to collateralise Eurozone debt, even though it is Germany who would collect as they are the debtors, because Germany doesn’t want mere dead gold but living debt slaves.

The Eurozone is simply so riddled with contradictions and stupidities it just defies journalistic explanation:

Germany just doesn’t get it – for every country with an export surplus, there simply has to be a country with a corresponding deficit. It was German (and French) banks who signed off on the bad loans to the “immoral” Greeks which precipitated the biggest Eurozone problems, and yet it is German banks who got bailed out, despite their errors; and yet it is German banks who got QE to loan; and yet it is German banks which didn’t loan a dime of QE, and certainly not to Greeks. Germany is the biggest recipient of the ECB bond-buying, even though they don’t need it, whereas Greece was excluded even though they need it?

Crazy, but let’s look at Germany’s explanation for all these selfish actions action: moral hazard. They simply cannot perpetuate immorality, and deficits (even if to pay for the elderly, the poor, health care, education, etc.) are immoral. Haven’t you read your Kant, and his OCD-morality? German absolutism is absolute; their personal conscience must be clean no matter how many murderers must be let in the door to commit murder.

So… explain your €822 billion bailout, Germany?

Wait – what? A bailout worth 22% of annual German GDP?

What happened to budget rigour and the moral imperative of balanced budgets? What happened to the total, facile nonsense that a national economy is simply a household writ large? What happened to Yanis Varoufakis recycling absurd stereotypes like “Teutonic discipline” (has he never seen an Oktoberfest?)?

Oh, I get it… Germany is in a crisis – EU deficit rules need to be relaxed.

However: Greece and others were in a crisis for years – why didn’t their crises matter?

(Millions starving in Yemen, millions dying of bad water globally, deaths from natural disasters – indeed, why does the Corona crisis matter so very, VERY much more than those crises? I just can’t comprehend the West’s crisis criterion.)

But it gets worse with Germany: Bailouts for Greece and other crisis-hit nations were contingent on forcing open their economies. German and Dutch companies gleefully bought up assets and market share, and forced in their products but now Germany Will Block Foreign Takeovers to Avoid Economy Sell-Out?

It’s disgusting, German hypocrisy.

But Europeans have been dealing with this for quite some time. In January I wrote this article to explain Europe’s perpetual stagnation and unrest: 1941, 1981, 2017 or today – it’s still Germany’s fault.

Need more? In 2017, foolishly assuming that QE would actually end, I wrote France’s historic effort for an anti-austerity Eurozone, which detailed the self-harming, wooing efforts from De Gaulle to Mitterrand to Hollande aimed at ending this historical trend: “France wanted to not be conquered by the US-German alliance, so they kept proposing a Franco-German (capitalist) alliance.”

Ramin, you seem rather anti-German. Are you a tribalist-racist?

No. What I am is a daily hard news journalist in the heart of Europe and I am fed up with reading lecture after lecture from Germany; hypocrisy after hypocrisy; duplicity upon duplicity.

Just tell me this: where is the “moral hazard” in the Corona crisis, Germany?

Shine a light on that for me, Mutti Merkel.

She cannot. There is none.

There are healthy companies – who have as much Teutonic economic discipline, intelligence and good DNA as a pure and spotless German – in places like Italy which are going to go under without something like Corona-bonds to provide financing wrought by the Marxist logic-defying Western shutdown.

Forget it – shot down already by Germany and their Dutch toadies. Same old story….

The corona overreaction defies Marxist logic and is economic suicide (socialist-inspired nations like China and Iran control their economies, so they can do things which the corporate-dominated West cannot) but yet another German refusal to help, to pool debt and risk, to show solidarity means Germany must leave the Eurozone.

Hell, we KNOW they have the money – while they have had their boots on the throats of people like the Greeks the Germans have also been assiduously picking their pockets. Germany can afford such a staggeringly huge bailout because of these incredibly immoral profits! Oh no Ramin, you’re wrong – they got those profits simply because German capitalists are so very moral. Sure, sure….

German bankers entrapped poorer Eurozone countries into debt slavery, and now that their slaves are sick Germany wants a quarantine?

You’ll never read such analyses in the West, that’s for sure, but what is absolutely, absolutely certain is that the average Eurozone citizen knows what I am talking about already. Anti-German sentiment is going to absolutely explode if Germany’s historical pattern – pro-US imperialism, anti-European project, self-interest above solidarity – continues.

Everybody in Europe (and the whole world) has seen how China, and not Germany, is the one sending supplies to corona-hit Italy. Yes, the Eurozone’s terrible structure means it is always fiddling while Rome burns, but I truly believe that German (capitalist-imperialist) leadership simply doesn’t care.

Of course there are good Germans who want Corona bonds, but the simplest solution to the Eurozone’s crisis has always been to expel Germany.

If Germany is unwilling to take the basic steps needed to improve the currency union, it should do the next best thing: Leave the eurozone.” That’s an assessment from Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Yes, I did write ‘The Euro’ by Stiglitz: Even fake leftists say ‘exit’, but the point is that only far-right neoliberals don’t see that a “Deutsch-parture” can painlessly end the Eurozone’s near-constant stagnation and dissension. The Netherlands can similarly be invited to leave as well.

Unless naked, would-be German emperors can finally get off their high horses and on board with morality and unity – via something like Corona bonds – a huge explosion of jingoism and neo-fascism in the Eurozone is around the corner.

Fine by me I guess – history shows that this is the last step before socialism because: how can fascism ever possibly succeed for the lower classes? It seems some Western nations need to go through this step (yet again) before accepting that the needs of workers, not bankers, and the poor must always be predominant in political policy.


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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 the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Ceasefire in Idlib to Hold, But Will it be Enough to Bridge Gaps Between Syria and Turkey?

GMT 11.03.2020

Sputnik

Elizabeth Blade

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said there have been no violations registered in Syria’s northern province of Idlib since Thursday, 5 March, when Ankara sealed a ceasefire deal with Moscow in an attempt to contain the conflict that displaced nearly a million people in three months in north-west of the country.

As the situation around Idlib, escalated, threatening to drag all the conflicting sides into a deeper crisis, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Moscow last week to meet with his Russian counterpart and establish new rules of the game.

The measures, which entered into force on 6 March, include an agreement to establish joint patrols of one of Idlib’s two key highways (the M4), along which a Russian-Turkish security corridor will be established.

Pinning Hopes for Better Future

And this time around, thinks Yusuf Erim, a Turkish affairs analyst for TRT World who is close to governmental circles, the chances that both sides will adhere to the agreement are high.

“First of all, [the Idlib agreement presupposed that] Turkey is leaving behind a sizable deployment of troops to secure its area of control and be able to retaliate if Syrian forces violate the agreement. And, secondly, the Syrian army has absorbed huge losses so they don’t have the capability to deal with Turkish troops. Assad understands the repercussions that would follow if he breached the deal”, he said referring to Ankara’s claims that it has “neutralised” hundreds of Syrian soldiers.

In the end of February, 34 Turkish soldiers were neutralised by Syrian troops resulting in Turkey’s decision to launch a full-scale offensive – operation Spring Shield – that claimed the lives of more than two thousand Syrian soldiers and dealt a severe blow to Syria’s military equipment, Turkish sources said.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar has justified the operation by saying that Ankara aimed at “putting an end to the carnage” it blamed on Damascus and prevent radicalisation and migration – an opinion shared by Erim, who suggests that Ankara’s involvement in Syria was dictated by purely “national security concerns”.

“Ankara’s first cross border operation into Syria in 2016 was to push back Daesh militants, while the operations in 2018 and 2019 targeted the YPG (Kurdish fighters considered terrorist by Ankara – ed.),” adding that Turkey took great care to avoid skirmishes with the Syrian armed forces. “However, allowing Idlib to collapse and watch a humanitarian disaster unfold on its borders was not an option.”

Is Turkey a True Partner?

But not everyone agreed with this depiction of events. Dr. Nidal Kabalan, Syria’s last ambassador to Turkey, who held this post for more than a year after the eruption of the Arab Spring in 2011, argues that Ankara has successfully disguised its “expansionist intentions” under the preface of fighting for human rights and democracy.

“They didn’t come to Syria to protect civilians,” Kabalan said, adding that the real intention of Ankara was to fight President Assad. In doing so, the former diplomat thinks, Turkey supported various kinds of militants in the war-stricken country, ranging from moderates to extremists.

Since the eruption of the war in Syria nine years ago, Damascus has repeatedly stated that it was fighting terrorists who had flocked to the war-torn country from abroad to wage jihad.

Many, according to Syria, came from Turkey. In 2014, for example, the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, a New York based think-tank, published research suggesting Ankara has not only turned a blind eye to its own citizens travelling to Syria to fight alongside the rebels linked to terrorist groups but has also helped foreign fighters to bypass the lax security on the Syrian border.

Ankara, for its part, denies these allegations: being one of the first countries that designated Daesh* and its branches as terrorist organisations, Turkey positions itself as a country that has eliminated over 6,000 Daesh-affiliated terrorists, more, it claims, than any other state.

In addition, Turkey has also collaborated with the international community to find political solutions to the ongoing  crisis, participating in various talks that aimed at protecting civilians and helping millions of Syrian refugees who had entered the country since the beginning of the war.

Refugees as Means of Extortion?

But in the case of the Syrian refugees, as in other cases, Ankara and Damascus agree to disagree.

Recently, Ankara, which is said to be hosting the largest refugee population in the world, including more than two million from Syria, decided to open its borders for hundreds of asylum-seekers who have amassed at the Turkish-Greek border in a bid to cross into Europe.

Turkey justified its decision by its inability to cope with the growing number of asylum seekers and accused the EU of violating a 2016 agreement, under which Ankara agreed to host thousands in exchange for financial support from Brussels – cash that was too little and came too late.

Reaction of the European bloc was quick to follow. It pointed a finger of blame at Turkey for using the issue as a “bargaining chip” in talks with Brussels and Syria’s former ambassador believes Brussels couldn’t have formulated it better.

“Refugees are only a tool in the hands of Erdogan to extort money from the EU,” the former top diplomat said, while referring to the Turkish president’s comments that his country needs some $40 billion to handle the crisis.

But for the Turkish analyst, Erdogan’s demands made perfect sense.

“Turkey has almost single-handedly been forced to shoulder the migrant crisis with very little outside support. Migration is not Turkey’s problem, its an international issue. The EU has had many opportunities to address the root cause of the crisis but it chose to stay silent. The situation has now reached a point where Turkey can no longer handle it by itself. If the EU will not support Turkey in its initiatives to create solutions inside Syria to curb the displacement of people – then it will have to face the consequences of its inaction,” he summed up.

The EU, for its part, rejects Turkey’s claims, saying the bloc has stuck to its 2016 agreement with Ankara, injecting billions of Euro to assist Turkey to finance schools, housing and medical centres for the refugees it hosts on its soil. 

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Turkish President Erdogan Urges Greece to ‘Open the Gates’ to Migrants

Migrants gather in Edirne, near the Turkish-Greek border on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Thousands of migrants headed for Turkey's land border with Greece after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government said last week that it would no longer prevent migrants and refugees from crossing over to European Union territory.
Turkey announced last month that it could no longer restrain the flow of refugees from Syria, and opened its borders. Following this decision, taken amid tensions in Syria’s Idlib province, thousands of migrants have been attempting to enter Greece through Turkey. Police and army units have been deployed to the border.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Greece to “open the gates” to migrants.

“Hey Greece! I appeal to you… open the gates as well and be free of this burden. Let them go to other European countries,” President Erdogan said during a televised speech in Istanbul.

He added that he will travel to Belgium on Monday for talks with the European Union.

“I hope I will return from Belgium with different outcomes,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish coast guard said on Saturday that Erdogan had ordered that they bar refugees from crossing the sea border with Greece due to a threat to their security.

Greek-Turkish border crisis

The situation with migrants at the Greek-Turkish border escalated in late February after Ankara announced it had opened its border with the European Union to migrants and refugees following the recent increase in tension in the Syrian province of Idlib. Soon after, tens of thousands of migrants rushed to Turkey’s border with Greece and Bulgaria to attempt to get into Europe.

Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border
© AP PHOTO / EMRAH GUREL
Turkish police stand by migrants camping in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border

According to Turkey, one of the reasons it has opened its borders to the EU was the lack of assistance from the bloc in dealing with the flow of migrants. Under the 2016 agreement between the two, Ankara promised to restrain the flow of migrants into the bloc, with Brussels pledging to provide funds to help Turkey care for the refugees.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed on a ceasefire in Idlib. Two parties also agreed to create a security corridor six kilometres (3.7 miles) north and south of the M4 highway in Syria, which connects the provinces of Latakia and Aleppo.

Empires of the steppes fuel Erdogan Khan’s dreams

Source

March 04, 2020

Refugees wait Saturday to cross the border between Turkey and Greece near the Pazarkule border post, in Turkey. Thousands of migrants and refugees, including Afghans, Syrians and Iraqis, have massed at Turkey’s border with Greece after Erdogan announced on February 28 that Turkey would no longer prevent them from leaving for the European Union. Photo: AFP / Burcu Okutan / Sputnik

By Pepe Escobar : posted with permission

As Putin meeting looms, no one in Moscow believes any word, promise or cajoling from Erdogan anymore

The latest installment of the interminable Syria tragedy could be interpreted as Greece barely blocking a European “invasion” by Syrian refugees. The invasion was threatened by President Erdogan even as he refused the EU’s puny “offer you can refuse” bribe of only one billion euros.
Well, it’s more complicated than that. What Erdogan is in fact weaponizing is mostly economic migrants – from Afghanistan to the Sahel – and not Syrian refugees.

Informed observers in Brussels know that interlocking mafias – Iraqi, Afghan, Egyptian, Tunisian, Moroccan – have been active for quite a long time smuggling everyone and his neighbor from the Sahel via Turkey, as the Greek route towards the EU Holy Grail is much safer than the Central Mediterranean.

The EU sending a last-minute emissary to Ankara will yield no new facts on the ground – even as some in Brussels, in bad faith, continue to carp that the one million “refugees” trying to leave Idlib could double and that, if Turkey does not open its borders with Syria, there will be a “massacre.”

Those in Brussels spinning the “Turkey as victim” scenario list three conditions for a possible solution. The first is a ceasefire – which in fact already exists, via the Sochi agreement, and was not respected by Ankara. The second is a “political process” – which, once again, does exist: the Astana process involving Russia, Turkey and Iran. And the third is “humanitarian aid” – a euphemism that means, in fact, a NATO intervention of the Libya “humanitarian imperialism” kind.

As it stands, two facts are inescapable. Number one: the Greek military don’t have what it takes to resist, in practice, Ankara’s weaponizing of the so-called “refugees.”

Number two is the kind of stuff that makes NATO fanatics recoil in horror: Since the Ottoman siege of Vienna, this is the first time in four centuries that a “Muslim invasion” of Europe is being prevented by, who else, Russia.

Fed up with sultan

This past Sunday, Ankara launched yet another Pentagon-style military adventure, baptized as Spring Shield. All decisions are centralized by a triumvirate: Erdogan, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and the head of MIT (Turkish intel) Hakan Fidan. John Helmer has memorably called them the SUV (Sultan and the Ugly Viziers).

Behlul Ozkan, from the University of Marmara, a respected Kemalist scholar, frames the whole tragedy as having been played since the 1980s, now back on the stage on a much larger scale since the start of the so-called Syrian chapter of the Arab Spring in 2011.

Ozkan charges Erdogan with creating “conquering troops out of five unlikely fundamentalist groups” and “naming the armed groups after Ottoman sultans,” claiming they are a sort of national salvation army. But this time, argues Ozkan, the results are much worse – from millions of refugees to the terrible destruction in Syria, and “the emergence of our political and military structures affecting national security in a dangerous way.”

To say that the Russian General Staff are absolutely fed up with the SUV’s shenanigans is the ultimate understatement. That’s the background for the meeting this Thursday in Moscow between Putin and Erdogan. Methodically, the Russians are disrupting Turk operations to an unsustainable level – ranging from renewed air cover to the Syrian Arab Army to electronic countermeasures totally smashing all Turkish drones.

Russian diplomatic sources confirm that no one in Moscow believes any word, promise or cajoling emanating from Erdogan anymore. So it’s useless to ask him to respect the Sochi agreement. Imagine a Sun Tzu-style meeting with the Russian side displaying the very picture of self-restraint while scrutinizing Erdogan on how much he is willing to suffer before desisting from his Idlib adventure.

Those non-nonsense proto-Mongols

What ghosts from the past evolve in Erdogan’s unconscious? Let history be our guide – and let’s go for a ride among the empires of the steppes.

In the 5th century, the Juan Juan people, proto-Mongols as much as their cousins the White Huns (who lived in today’s Afghanistan), were the first to give their princes the title of khan – afterwards used by the Turks as well as the Mongols.

A vast Eurasian Turco-Mongol linguistic spectrum – studied in detail by crack French experts such as J.P. Roux – evolved via conquering migrations, more or less ephemeral imperial states, and aggregating diverse ethnic groups around rival Turkish or Mongol dynasties. We can talk about an Eurasian Turk space from Central Asia to the Mediterranean for no less than a millennium and a half – but only, crucially, for 900 years in Asia Minor (today’s Anatolia).

These were highly hierarchical and militarized societies, unstable, but still capable, given the right conditions, such as the emergence of a charismatic personality, to engage in a strong collective project of building political constructions. So the charismatic Erdogan Khan mindset is not much different from what happened centuries ago.

The first form of this socio-cultural tradition appeared even before the conversion to Islam – which happened after the battle of Talas in 751, won by the Arabs against the Chinese.  But most of all it all crystallized around Central Asia from the 10th and 11th centuries onwards.

Unlike Greece in the Aegean, unlike India or Han China, there was never a central focus in terms of a cultural berth or supreme identity organizing this process. Today this role in Turkey is played by Anatolia – but that’s a 20th century phenomenon.

What history has shown is an east-west Eurasian axis across the steppes, from Central Asia to Anatolia, through which nomad tribes, Turk and Turkmen, then the Ottoman Turks, migrated and progressed, as conquerors, between the 7th and the 17th centuries: a whole millennium building an array of sultanates, emirates and empires. No wonder the Turkish president pictures himself as Erdogan Khan or Sultan Erdogan.

“Idlib is mine”

So there is a link between the turcophone tribes of Central Asia from the 5th and 6th centuries and the current Turkish nation. From the 6th to the 11th centuries they were set up as a confederation of big tribes. Then, going southwest, they founded states. Chinese sources document the first turkut (Turkish empires) as eastern Turks in Mongolia and western Turks in Turkestan.

They were followed by more or less ephemeral empires of the steppes such as the Uighurs in the 8th century (who, by the way, were originally Buddhists). It’s interesting that this original past of the Turks in Central Asia, before Islam, was somewhat elevated to mythic status by the Kemalists.

This universe was always enriched by outside elements – such as Arab-Persian Islam and its institutions inherited from the Sassanids,  as well as the Byzantine empire, whose structural elements were adapted by the Ottomans. The end of the Ottoman empire and multiple convulsions (the Balkan wars, WWI, the Greek-Turkish war) ended up with a Turkish nation-state whose sanctuary is Asia Minor (or Anatolia) and eastern Thrace, conformed into a national territory that’s exclusively Turk and denies every minority presence that is non-Sunni and non-turcophone.

Evidently that’s not enough for Erdogan Khan.

Even Hatay province, which joined Turkey in 1939, is not enough. Home to the historic Antioch and Alexandretta, Hatay was then re-baptized as Antakya and Iskenderun.

Under the Treaty of Lausanne, Hatay was included in the French mandate of Syria and Lebanon. The Turkish version is that Hatay declared its independence in 1938 – when Ataturk was still alive – and then decided to join Turkey. The Syrian version is that Hatay was acquired via a rigged referendum ordered by France to bypass the Treaty of Lausanne.

Erdogan Khan has proclaimed, “Idlib is mine.” Syria and Russia are responding, “No, it’s not.” Those were the days, when turcophone empires of the steppes could just advance and capture their prey.

أردوغان تحت أقدام الجيش السوريّ

د. محمد سيد أحمد

قبل بدء الحرب الكونية على سورية في مطلع العام 2011 كانت العلاقات السورية – التركية قد وصلت إلى أفضل حالاتها، فمن المعروف أنّ العلاقات السورية – التركية ومنذ حصول سورية على استقلالها عام 1946 لم تكن في حالة جيدة حتى تمّ توقيع اتفاقية أضنة عام 1998 فخلال هذه الفترة التي تجاوزت نصف قرن كانت العلاقات متأزّمة وعدائية بسبب استيلاء تركيا على أراضٍ سورية بمؤازرة الانتداب الفرنسيّ، أهمّها لواء إسكندرون عام 1938، ثم اختلاف الخيارات والتحالفات الاستراتيجية لكلا البلدين، حيث انحازت سورية إلى التوجهات الاشتراكية، مقابل توجه تركيا نحو السياسات الرأسمالية الغربية.

وخلال العقود الخمسة الممتدة من منتصف القرن العشرين وحتى نهايته سادت حالة من النزاع بين البلدين كادت تتحوّل إلى حروب مدمّرة، وخلال هذه المرحلة قام الأتراك بتعزيز وجودهم العسكري على الحدود وقاموا بزراعة الألغام حتى لا يتمكّن أحد من العبور، ولمزيد من التوتر قامت تركيا في تسعينيات القرن العشرين بإنشاء مجموعة من السدود الكبرى على نهر الفرات، فحجزت القسم الأكبر من مياهه، وحجزت مياه نهر الخابور بأكملها حتى جفّ وتوقف جريانه في الأراضي السورية، أما الأزمة الكبرى في العلاقات السورية – التركية فكانت مع تنامي التعاون العسكري والسياسي والأمني بين تركيا والعدو الصهيوني سعياً لوضع سورية بين فكي كماشة بما يهدّد الأمن الاستراتيجي القومي في مختلف المجالات.

في المقابل كانت تركيا دائماً تتهم سورية بدعم عناصر حزب العمال الكردستاني، وأنها تستخدم الورقة الكرديّة لزعزعة أمنها، هذا إلى جانب تخوّفها من العلاقات السياسية والتعاون السوري – اليوناني والعلاقات مع الشطر اليوناني من قبرص، وبلغ النزاع أوجه عام 1998 حين هدّدت تركيا باجتياح الأراضي السورية بحجة وقف هجمات حزب العمال الكردستاني واشتعلت نيران الأزمة وتدخلت بعض الدول الإقليمية، وانتهت الأزمة بتوقيع اتفاقية أضنة وخروج عبد الله أوجلان ومقاتلي حزب العمال الكردستاني من شمال سورية.

ومن هنا بدأت العلاقات تتطوّر نحو الأفضل فبدأ التوافق والتعاون في الجانب الأمني ثم انتقل إلى الجانب الاقتصادي والسياسي وجرى توقيع اتفاقيات عدة في جميع المجالات بين البلدين، نفذ معظمها في أوانه، وتطورت العلاقات نحو الأفضل بزيارة الرئيس التركي أحمد نجدت سيزر لسورية في عام 2000، ثم زيارة الرئيس بشار الأسد لتركيا عام 2004 عززت أكثر من العلاقات، ومع صعود حزب العدالة والتنمية في تركيا أحدث تحوّلات كبرى في العلاقة بين البلدين حيث تحوّلت العلاقات بين البلدين إلى تفاهم وتعاون فوقعت اتفاقية إزالة الألغام من على الحدود لإقامة مشاريع إنمائية مشتركة، ورفضت تركيا المشاركة في سياسة العزل والحصار التي حاول الرئيس الأميركي جورج دبليو بوش فرضها على سورية، وتمّ توقيع اتفاق التجارة الحرة بين البلدين والذي سمح بتدفق البضائع في الاتجاهين وإقامة مشاريع مشتركة، وأخيراً جاء اتفاق إلغاء التأشيرات الذي يسمح بدخول السوريين والأتراك دون الحاجة إلى إجراءات قنصلية والذي شكل قمة الانفتاح والتعاون الاقتصادي بين البلدين.

هذه كانت حقيقة العلاقات السورية – التركية في مطلع العام 2011 لذلك حين بدأت المؤامرة الكونية على سورية لم يكن متوقعاً أن تتورّط فيها تركيا بهذا الشكل، لكن الواقع قد أفرز ومنذ اللحظة الأولى تحوّلاً كبيراً في الموقف التركي، حيث شكلت تركيا خنجراً طعنت به سورية فأسال دماءها بغزارة. فالعدو الأميركيّ والصهيوني حين خطط لمشروع «الشرق الأوسط الكبير» كان قد اتفق مع تركيا بزعامة عضو التنظيم الدولي لجماعة الإخوان المسلمين الإرهابية رجب طيب أردوغان أنه سوف يُمنح مكتسبات تمكنه من عودة دولة الخلافة على أن ينفذ كلّ التعليمات وبدقة.

وبما أن المشروع الأميركي – الصهيوني يقوم على تفجير المجتمعات من الداخل عبر تجنيد بعض العناصر الإرهابية فقد تمّ التواصل مع العناصر الكامنة من تنظيم الإخوان المسلمين في الداخل السوري لتكون شرارة البدء، بعدها قام أردوغان بفتح الحدود لتعبر الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية التي تمّ تجميعها من كلّ أصقاع الأرض كي تخوض الحرب مع الجيش العربي السوري على كامل الجغرافيا السورية، وخلال السنوات الأولى تمكن الإرهابيون من الاستيلاء على مساحات واسعة من الجغرافيا السورية وكانت غرف العمليات التي تدار منها المعارك أهمّها في تركيا، وعبر الأراضي التركية عبرت الآليات العسكرية والأسلحة بكافة أشكالها لدعم الإرهابيين وكلّ يوم كان يعتقد أردوغان أنّ حلم الخلافة قد أصبح قريباً.

لكن هيهات! فقد بدأ الجيش السوري في معارك التحرير بعد التنسيق السياسي والعسكري مع الحلفاء خاصة الروسي والإيراني. وبالفعل تمكن الجيش العربي السوري من تحرير المساحة الأكبر من الجغرافيا السورية عبر معارك كبرى في حلب ودير الزور والغوطة الشرقية ودرعا… وكان دائماً يتمّ الاتفاق بعد الانتصار إلى السماح للإرهابيين بالتوجه إلى إدلب في الشمال بالقرب من الحدود التركية والتي أصبحت آخر معاقل الجماعات التكفيرية الإرهابية على الأرض السورية وأصبحت أيضاً الأمل الوحيد لأردوغان ليحفظ ماء وجهه أمام شعبه وليحافظ على مقعده في سدة الحكم بعد أن تبدّد وللأبد حلم الخلافة.

وبعد أن فشل الحلّ السياسي لخروج الإرهابيّين من إدلب قرّر الجيش السوري تحريرها عسكرياً وهنا جنّ جنون أردوغان وبدأ في التهديد والوعيد بعملية عسكرية موسّعة إنْ لم يتراجع الجيش العربي السوري، وطلب العون من الأميركي الذي كعادته دائماً يتخلى عن عملائه في حالة هزيمة مشروعه. فلجأ إلى الاتحاد الأوروبي وحلف الناتو للمشاركة فلم يجد مَن يعينه، فقرّر أن يتوجّه منفرداً فوجد جنوده يسقطون صرعى تحت أقدام بواسل الجيش السوري، وهو ما يزيد من اشتعال النيران من حوله في الداخل التركي، لذلك ورغم شراسة المعركة فإنّ الجيش السوري قد تلقى تعليمات قائده الرئيس بشار الأسد باستكمال مسيرة تحرير إدلب دون الالتفات إلى الفقاعات الصوتية الأردوغانية. وهو ما يجعلنا على ثقة بأنّ أردوغان سيسقط تحت أقدام الجيش العربي السوري. اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

Erdogan Launches anti-Greece Propaganda; Seeks More Support for War Crimes in Syria

March 3, 2020 Miri Wood

Erdogan has launched an anti-Greece propaganda campaign while simultaneously seeking more support for his war crimes against Syria. Days after the caliph-wannabe gave free bus rides to thousands of alleged refugees to the Greek border, Turkey released refugee porn videos meant to make Greece hated by the Mockingbird west.

Last week, after the Syrian Arab Army put out the lights of 37 Turkish regime military invaders who had come to help al Qaeda in Idlib, madman Erdogan got the NATO klan at the UN to hold back-to-back meetings in support of his war crimes and in support of al Qaeda.
Article 4: When NATO tribesmen gather to cluck over an aggrieved member, in this case, Turkey who was enraged that Syria defended itself from criminal invaders. Article 5 is when the tribesmen bond via joint bombing (basically, a bullying operation).
Erdogan called for, and received an Article 4 meeting of NATO tribesmen, with the goal of moving it into a bellicose Article 5 meeting. Greece wanted some guarantees regarding Turkey’s dumping of refugees at Greece’s border. France, the US, UK, and Germany refused, followed by Greece tossing in the proverbial monkey wrench.
Erdogan claims to have dumped 18,000 alleged refugees at Greece’s doorstep; some photos suggest about 10,000 have arrived. Coincidentally, they are all men, and men of a particular age.
Men, however, simply do not cut the mustard when it comes to the needs of the refugee porn junkies, who self-titillate with self-righteous tears for women and baby refugees, and who will devour any amount of snake oil propaganda for such a fix.
Therefore, a video was produced, allegedly at the Greek border, of a screaming woman, allegedly a mother, and two screaming babies, who were intentionally manhandled to make them scream.
The backstory was that mean Greece had showered them with tear gas, though no gas was visible. Somehow, the video was supposed to make Greece look bad, and Turkey look good, even though it was Turkey who sent these alleged refugees packing.
What was ”heart wrenching” was the abuse of toddlers, & the psycho banshee fake mom.
Masih Alinjad is an alleged feminist/Iranian dissident who lives in NYC, who has worked for the CIA’s Voice of America, ‘Persian Service,’ and who does photo ops with Mike ‘Lied, Cheated, Stole’ Pompeo, and Madeline ‘Five Hundred Thousand Dead Iraqi Babies Was Worth It’ Albright.
To some extent, it is ”heart-wrenching” to see the disgusting White Helmets fake rescue scenes recycled to the alleged border of Greece. This 23 second video clip is the same grizzly script, without the white helmets and without the Hollywood make-up.
It is ”heart-wrenching” that anyone would tolerate this criminal propaganda and not condemn the standard terrifying of babies to make them scream, the ‘hand-off’ repetition of passing crying babies from aggressive men who shake them, yank their clothing up so that they will be chilled, and then run off with them into the netherworld.
Every bit of this obscenity is made worse by the addition of the fake mother who allows her babies to be rough-handled by strange men — shirt pulled up in chilly weather; pummeled on back; practically held upside down — while she screams like a psychotic banshee and flails about like she suffers from asterixis and disappears into nothingness as strange men go for the Olympic medals in the 500 meter sprint.
The Child Abuse at the Border has been an ongoing refugee porn motif, particularly when barbed wired is involved, moms are missing, and men touch babies and children inappropriately and/or in hazardous positions.
Generally the children are done in stills, and nobody questions the abuse.
In interesting coordination by NATO stenographer journalism, and NATO-supported NGOs, the ugly video provided by the friend of Pompeo and Albright, who works for one of the CIA cut-outs, was used prelude to the second deification of Turkey and demonization of Greece, on Monday.
Along came — surprise! — The Syria Campaign to confirm the fraudulent ‘tear gas’ video which shows no tear gas, merely the torment of babies, before sharing another Erdogan’s Turkey scam video, as reported by the WaPo Berlin desk director.
How convenient that Turkey released an edited video of a ridiculous dinghy.
The viralized, edited, video showed cuts of Greece’s Coast Guard: Pushing the dinghy away with a pole; appearing to make waves near the dinghy; firing shots into the water near to the dinghy.
Somehow, the NATO stenographers did not marvel at how overstuffed with humanity was the dinghy; even a decent motor would die out from the weight if it tried to travel any distance. Somehow, the NATO propaganda pimps did not consider that the distance from even the closest part of Turkey and Greece would still be impossible to reach.
UK’s Daily Mail pretends it’s naive enough to believe Turkey just happened to be nearby, just happened to take the [edited] video, just happened to rescue the immigrants Erdogan bragged about turning loose on Greece.
Though Greece has previously, sporadically, been demonized by the media, the stenographers have chosen the side of NATO Turkey over NATO Greece’s right to defend its borders. It has begun to snowball. The more Greece is demonized, the bigger the halo painted on Turkey’s madman, Erdogan.
Greece
Over 16 million results.
Bloomberg first diminishes Greece, then spreads Erdogan propaganda against it.
Men sent to Greece’s border by Erdogan start fires at the checkpoint. What other intimidation tactics will they use?
It is of note that uncorroborated reports claim that Turkish police have escorted criminals to the Greek border, when one considers this video that shows Turkish police firing tear gas:
Τούρκοι αστυνομικοί ρίχνουν δακρυγόνα στην Ελληνική πλευρά.
Η χώρα δέχεται εισβολή. Το βίντεο τα λέει όλα!!
130 people are talking about this
It has been suggested that Greece repatriate Syrians, who can then be offered reconciliation. As of Monday, however, of 98 persons arrested by the Greek Border Patrol, none was identified as Syrian.
Monday’s media attacks against Greece, at the behest of Turkey which admits to supplying one of the two videos, also pours a foundation for whatever new criminal hoax is being cooked up in Istanbul, with the visit of Kelly Craft, US Ambassador to the UN, and James Jeffrey, fake ambassador of the invisible embassy that does not exist in Damascus (though his paycheck, courtesy of the American taxpayer, is quite real). The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab joins them, today.
Surprisingly, France appears not to be joining this conspiratorial meeting, this breach of International Law, of the UN Charter. These unindicted criminals plot a way to better support Erdogan’s illegal military operations in Syria, plot a way to circumvent UNSCR 2504, the ugly compromise which slightly decreased the affront to Syria’s sovereignty that they could have vetoed.
American taxpayers will be thrilled to know that while their cities crumble, they scramble to keep a roof over their heads, CrowdFund to pay medical bills, and are now told they may not be covered for the Coronavirus, that President Donald J. Trump has found another $108 million to add to the $10 billion already provided, allegedly for humanitarian aid, though every time the SAA frees an area from al Qaeda terrorists, millions of dollars in abandoned NATO weapons are found.
If the US stood with “the people of Syria,” it would not arm and fund al Qaeda in the SAR. It would also not support the crazed president of Turkey.
The world knows that Trump is fiercely protective of US territorial integrity. He breaches Syria’s borders with impunity. He supports Turkey’s illegal incursions into Syria.
In supporting Turkey, he shows his contempt also for Greece, also a NATO ally.
— Miri Wood

Turkish drone strikes kill over two dozen Syrian soldiers in Idlib: Monitor

Sunday, 01 March 2020 2:51 AM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 01 March 2012 2:57 AM ]

A picture taken during a guided tour organised by the Syrian army shows government orces in the area of al-Lirmoun, north of Aleppo, on February 17, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish drone strikes have reportedly killed 26 Syrian soldiers in northwestern Syria, in an apparent response to the deaths of 33 Turkish soldiers who were killed on Thursday during a Syrian army offensive against terrorists in Idlib.

“Twenty-six members of the Syrian army were killed when Turkish drones targeted positions of the Syrian government forces in the Idlib and Aleppo countryside,” the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Saturday.

The apparent retaliation came after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by Syrian forces on Thursday. A 34th soldier later died from his injuries.

Earlier on Saturday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened reprisals for the killing of dozens of Turkish troops in Syria on Thursday.

With diplomacy sponsored by Ankara and Moscow to ease tensions in tatters, Turkey has come closer than ever to confrontation with Russia on the battlefield in Syria.

Ankara urges Moscow to step aside

The Turkish president says he has asked President Vladimir Putin for Russia to stand aside in Syria and let Turkey fight Syrian forces alone.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said he had told Putin in a phone call to stand aside and let Turkey “do what is necessary” with the Syrian government. He said Turkey did not intend to leave Syria right now.Russia cites Syria agreement but Erdogan sounds belligerentRussia says it has agreed with Turkey to ease tensions in Syria

Meanwhile, the Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air power, have kept up air strikes in Idlib, attacking the strategic city of Saraqeb which sits on an important road connecting Damascus and Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory war monitor reported.

The Syrian army’s air strikes are part of a major offensive to cleanse the province, part of the last remaining territory held by Turkey-backed terrorists.

Macron calls for ceasefire, urges Turkey to stop flow of migrants

French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Russian and Turkish counterparts on Saturday to halt hostilities in Syria and agree to a lasting ceasefire, his office said.

Macron told the Russian and Turkish leaders in separate phone calls that he was “deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe” caused by the Syrian offensive in the province of Idlib.

“The President of the Republic stressed that an immediate cease to hostilities was needed and called on Russia and Turkey to establish a durable and verifiable ceasefire as they committed to France and Germany at the four-way summit in Istanbul in the autumn 2018,” his office said in a statement.

Macron also expressed solidarity with Turkey over the recent deaths of its soldiers in Syria, and urged Turkey to cooperate with the European Union on migrant flows.

The remarks came after Erdogan threatened to let thousands of refugees cross into Europe.

Around 13,000 migrants have gathered along the Turkish-Greek border, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said as several thousand migrants were in skirmishes with Greek police firing tear gas across the frontier.

“What did we do yesterday? We opened the doors,” Erdogan said in Istanbul.

“We will not close those doors…. Why? Because the European Union should keep its promises.”

He was referring to a 2016 deal with the European Union to stop refugee flows in exchange for billions of euros in aid. Turkey already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees.


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استشهاد عدد من عناصر الجيش السوري وحزب الله في غارات تركية على ريفيْ حلب وإدلب

الميادين نت

استشهاد عدد من جنود الجيش السوري وحزب الله بغارات تركية ليل السبت على مواقعهما في منطقة الزربة بريف حلب، بالتزامن مع ارتفاع عدد قتلى القوات التركية إلى 36 في قصف للجيش السوري على إدلب.

المقاتلات التركية نفذت عدة غارات على مواقع الجيش السوري وحلفائه في منطقة الزربة بريف حلب (أرشيف)

أدّت غارات تركية على ريفي حلب وإدلب ليل أمس السبت إلى استشهاد عدد من جنود الجيش السوري، وحزب الله.

مراسل الميادين أفاد بأن المقاتلات التركية نفذّت عدة غارات على مواقع الجيش السوري وحلفائه في منطقة الزربة بريف حلب، بالتزامن مع قصف مدفعي.

وأضاف أن المجموعات المسلحة تحاول أن تستغل القصف التركي لإعادة تجميع قواتها لمهاجمة المناطق المحررة في ريف حلب.

إلى ذلك، ارتفع عدد قتلى الجيش التركي في الساعات الماضية إلى 36. 

وبالتزامن، أعلنت وزارة الدفاع التركية في بيان مقتل أحد جنودها، وإصابة إثنين آخرين في قصف مدفعي للجيش السوري في محافظة إدلب.

وقالت الوزارة إن القصف المدفعي للجيش السوري استهدف عناصر الجيش التركي، الموجودين في إدلب لتحقيق وقف إطلاق النار، وفق البيان التركي.

في غضون ذلك، أعلنت الخارجية الروسية أن المباحثات الروسية التركية في أنقرة انتهت بالاتفاق على خفض التوتر على الأرض ومواصلة الحرب على الإرهاب.

وأعلنت الخارجية في بيان أنه “جرى التركيز من الجانبين على الحد من التصعيد على الأرض مع مواصلة مكافحة الإرهابيين المعترف بهم كذلك، من مجلس الأمن الدولي في الأمم المتحدة”.

في المقابل، أعلن الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان إنه طلب من الرئيس الروسي السماح للجيش التركي بالتعامل مع سوريا من دون تدخل موسكو.

وورأى إردوغان أنه “في حال لم تنجح قواته في سوريا فإن كل الجماعات الإرهابية هناك ستتوجه لاحقاً إلى تركيا”، وفق تعبيره.

واتهم الرئيس التركي أميركا وروسيا “لأنهما لم تفيا بوعودهما في الاتفاقيات الموقعة مع بلاده”. وقال:”قلت لبوتين ماذا تفعلون هناك؟ إذا كنتم تريدون إنشاء قاعدة، فهيا إفعلوا ذلك، لكن ابتعدوا من طريقنا.. إتركونا لوحدنا مع النظام السوري”.

وفي السياق، أعلن إردوغان فتح أبواب الهجرة من بلاده إلى أوروبا أمام اللاجئين خلال الفترة المقبلة.  وقال: “قلنا إننا سنفتح الأبواب أمام اللاجئين، لم يصدقونا، فتحنا الأبواب والآن يوجد 18 ألف لاجئ عند الحدود”، متوقعاً أن يرتفع العدد إلى 25 ألفاً”.

إردوغان أضاف، “لن نغلق الحدود أمام طالبي الهجرة عبر تركيا.. فنحن نستضيف نحو أربعة ملايين سوري في بلادنا ولا طاقة لنا لاستيعاب موجة هجرة جديدة.. كذلك هناك أكثر من مليون ونصف مليون لاجئ سوري هربوا من الهجمات في إدلب باتجاه حدودنا”.

السلطات اليونانية منعت أربعة ألاف لاجئ من الدخول إلى أراضيها، واستخدمت الشرطة الغاز المسيل للدموع، فيما رمى بعضهم الحجارة باتجاه قوات الأمن اليونانية.  وأعلنت الحكومة اليونانية تعزيز قواتها عند الحدود البرية والبحرية مع تركيا.

وردّاً على إردوغان، قال نائب وزير الخارجية اليوناني إن “ابتزاز إردوغان لن ينجح”. 

Syrian Refugees in Turkey Ready to Cross Border Into Greece – Video

Sputnik

29.02.2020

Migrants continue to arrive to the Greek islands, although authorities remain reluctant to relocate them to the mainland, despite promises to do so.

Live from the Turkish city of Edirne west of Istanbul on the border between Turkey and Greece, as refugees travel towards Greece amid a reported change in Turkish border control policy.

On Friday, Omer Celik, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AKP party, said that Ankara was no longer able to contain the flow of refugees from Syria toward the country’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria.

By doing so, Turkey renounces its agreement with the EU, which suggested the closure of the Syrian-Turkish border in exchange for billions of dollars in aid for refugees staying in Turkey. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly accused the EU of not doing enough and is apparently now seeking to draw European and other Western powers into the standoff over Idlib.

Follow Sputnik feed to find out more.        

Greek Fans Burn «Israeli» Flag, Display Hezbollah & Palestinian Flags at Basketball Championship

Greece’s AEK club won the game to celebrate a 91-78 victory!

By Staff

As Arab normalization with the “Israeli” apartheid entity gets bolder by the day, a southeastern European country refuses to yield, at least its basketball fans didn’t!

On Wednesday, the Greek AEK basketball team played against the “Israeli” entity’s Hapoel Jerusalem in Athens.

In the stadium, fans can be seen burning an “Israeli” flag, as the flags of Hezbollah – the Lebanese Resistance movement – and Palestine are clearly displayed in the sports arena.

Related

غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟

حسني محلي

حسني محلي

باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

لولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذّافي للثُنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح اليوم طرفاً أساسياً في كل معادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع، وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

  • غاز الأبيض المتوسّط.. هل يُشِعل المنطقة؟ (أ ف ب).

وقَّعت تركيا أواخر الشهر الماضي على اتفاقياتٍ هامةٍ مع دولتين في المنطقة، إحداهما الحليف العقائدي قطر، والأخرى تشكّل العُمق الاستراتيجي لأنقرة في شمال إفريقيا وهي ليبيا التي تشهد حرباً طاحِنة بين فريقين، أحدهما مدعوم من أنقرة والدوحة، والآخر من القاهرة والرياض وأبو ظبي.

إذا تجاهلنا الجوانب العقائدية والأمنية والعسكرية والمالية للعلاقة بين أنقرة وكل من طرابلس والدوحة، فالغاز الطبيعي هو القاسَم المُشترك لعلاقات إردوغان مع الدولتين الغنيّتين نفطًياً.

قطر هي الدولة الثالثة في العالم من حيث احتياطيات الغاز بعد إيران وروسيا، فيما تُعدّ ليبيا الدولة الثامِنة غازياً وفق الاحتياطيات المُعلَنة عالمياً والتي تُقدَّر بنحو 200 تريليون متر مكعب، تقع نحو 80 تريليون منها في منطقة الشرق الأوسط.

ويُقدِّر العديد من الدراسات الأميركية والأوروبية احتياطي الغاز في شرق المتوسّط أي مصر وفلسطين (غزَّة) و”إسرائيل” ولبنان  وسوريا وقبرص بحوالى 50 تريليون متر مكعب. كان هذا الغاز وما زال سبباً لصراعاتٍ صعبةٍ ومُعقَّدةٍ مع استمرار الخلافات السياسية والعسكرية والاستراتيجية بين كل الأطراف مع انضمام تركيا إليها.

أنقرة أعلنت أكثر من مرة أنها لا تعترف بالاتفاقيات التي وقَّعت عليها قبرص مع مصر و”إسرائيل” ولبنان في ما يتعلَّق بترسيم الحدود البحرية وتقاسُم المناطق الاقتصادية بينها، كما هدَّدت وتوعدَّت الشركات التي وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُتعدِّدة مع الدول المذكورة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه وتسويقه.

وجاء اتفاق أنقرة مع حكومة الوفاق الليبية (تسيطر على حوالى 8% فقط من مساحة ليبيا) في ما يتعلّق برسم الحدود البحرية بين تركيا وليبيا في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط ليُثير نقاشاً جديداً في المنطقة، بعد أن اتّهمت تركيا سابقاً القبارصة اليونانيين واليونان بالسيطرة على مساحاتٍ واسعةٍ في البحر على حساب مصر ولبنان و”إسرائيل” وسوريا. فبعد أن ناشد الجنرال خليفة حفتر مجلس الأمن للتدخّل ضدّ تركيا تحدَّث وزير خارجيّته عبدالهادي حويج للإعلام الإسرائيلي وعبَّر عن استعداد بلاده للتعاون ضدّ تركيا، فيما اعتبرت أثينا الاتفاق مُخالِفاً للقانون الدولي وعملاً استفزازياً كون المنطقة التي اعتبرتها تركيا ضمن حدودها البحرية، شملت جزءاً من المياه الإقليمية والجرف القاري للجزر اليونانية وأهمّها كريت التي كان من المُقرَّر أن يصلها الأنبوب الذي سينقل غاز قبرص إلى اليونان ومنها إلى إيطاليا.

وكانت أنقرة قد أعلنت قبل ذلك من جانبٍ واحدٍ عن خارطةٍ تُبيِّن حدودها البحرية في البحر الأبيض المتوسّط، ليزيد ذلك في الطين بلّة في ما يتعلّق بالتوتّر الموجود أساساً والمُستَنِد إلى عددٍ من الأسباب السياسية والتاريخية.

ففي تموز/يونيو 1974 تدخّلت تركيا في قبرص بحجَّة الانقلاب الذي وقع آنذاك ضدّ الرئيس مكاريوس وقالت عنه إنه يُهدِّد القبارصة الأتراك في الجزيرة التي سيطر الجيش التركي آنذاك على ثلث مساحتها. وترفض أنقرة أيّ اتفاق يوقّعه القبارصة اليونانيون باعتبارهم لا يمثّلون الجزيرة بأكملها، فأرسلت أربعاً من سفنها المحمية بالبوارج والطائرات إلى محيط الجزيرة للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه.

وأعلنت واشنطن، التي تشهد علاقاتها توتّراً جدِّياً مع أنقرة على خلفيّة صفقة صواريخ  أس 400، رفضها للموقف التركي ووصفته بأنه استفزازي فيما فرض الاتحاد الأوروبي عدداً من العقوبات الاقتصادية والمالية والسياسية ضد تركيا باعتبار أن قبرص التي يمثّلها القبارصة اليونانيون عضو في الاتحاد.

وشكّل التعاون القبرصي مع “إسرائيل” واليونان من جهة، ومع مصر واليونان من جهةٍ أخرى، سبباً آخر في ردّ فعل أنقرة على هذه التحرّكات ذات الطابع السياسي والعسكري والأمني ووصفته بأنه يستهدف أمن تركيا القومي.

ويُفسّر ذلك ردّ فعل الدول المذكورة على اتفاق أنقرة مع طرابلس باعتبار أن الوضع الحالي في ليبيا لا يسمح لها بالتوقيع على مثل هذه الاتفاقيات، لاسيما وأن تركيا لم توقّع على معاهدة الأمم المتحدة الخاصة بترسيم حدود البحار المفتوحة بين الدول المُتشاطِئة. لذلك فهي على خلافٍ دائمٍ مع اليونان في ما يتعلّق بتقاسُم الجرف القاري ورسم حدود المياه الإقليمية في بحر إيجة الذي يحتضن عشرات الجزر اليونانية القريبة من الشواطئ التركية والتي ترى فيها أنقرة خطراً على أمنها الاستراتيجي.

دفع ذلك إردوغان أكثر من مرة إلى الحديث عن ضرورة إعادة النظر في اتفاقية لوزان لعام 1923 التي اعترفت باستقلال تركيا، فالاتفاقية اعترفت لليونان بمساحاتٍ أوسع من مياه بحر إيجة أي 43.5% لليونان و 7.5% لتركيا والباقي مياه دولية.

ويزعج ذلك أنقرة كما يزعجها الوضع في قبرص التي تحوّلت إلى قاعدةٍ مشتركةٍ لتحالفاتٍ إقليميةٍ ودوليةٍ مُعاديةٍ لها بالإضافة إلى صراعاتها الاقتصادية بعد اكتشاف الغاز فيها. فقد قامت نيقوسيا بترسيم حدودها البحرية مع مصر عام 2004 ومع لبنان عام 2007  ومع “إسرائيل” عام 2010، كما وقَّعت العديد من الاتفاقيات مع الشركات الأوروبية والأميركية والروسية وحتى القطرية، للتنقيب عن الغاز واستخراجه ونقله إلى أوروبا.

ومن هذه الشركات شركة “أيني” الإيطالية و”توتال” الفرنسية و”نوبل إنيرجي” و”أكسون موبيل” الأميركية و”وود سايد” الأسترالية و”بي بي” البريطانية و”روسنفت” الروسية.

وقد وقَّعت “روسنفت” على اتفاقٍ هامٍ مع مصر ولبنان وسوريا كما سبق لها أن وقَّعت على اتفاقيات مُماثلة مع العراق وإيران وكردستان العراق.

ويرى كثيرون في التواجُد الروسي في سوريا ذات الاحتياطي الكبير جداً (أكثر من قطر) سبباً هاماً في الحسابات الروسية الخاصة بالغاز، لأن موسكو لا تريد لغاز الأبيض المتوسّط أن يُنافِس غازها في أوروبا وبشكلٍ خاص في ألمانيا وإيطاليا التي يصلها الغاز الروسي عبر أنابيب يمرّ بعضها عبر  الأراضي التركية التي يصلها الغاز الإيراني والأذربيجاني والتركمنستاتي، فيما تغطّي تركيا 60% من استهلاكها للغاز من روسيا.

ويُفسّر ذلك مع عناصر أخرى العلاقة الاستراتيجية بين موسكو وأنقرة بانعكاسات ذلك سلباً كان أو إيجاباً على الوضع السوري.

وكانت أنقرة قبل تدهور علاقاتها مع تل أبيب قد بذلت مساعي مُكثّفة لإقناع الأخيرة بمدّ أنابيب تنقل الغاز الإسرائيلي والقبرصي إلى تركيا، مقابل أنابيب للمياه التركية تصل قبرص ومنها إلى “إسرائيل”.

فشل هذا المشروع بسبب تدهور العلاقات التركية- الإسرائيلية كما فشلت مباحثات توحيد شطريّ الجزيرة القبرصية وهو المشروع الذي لو تحقّق لكان ساعد أنقرة على تحقيق أهدافها الاستراتيجية عبر قبرص طالما أنها دولة ضامِنة لاستقلال الجزيرة وفق اتفاقية 1960، حالها حال اليونان وبريطانيا التي تمتلك قاعدتين هامّتين في قبرص.

وكان لـ”إسرائيل” ومن قبلها اليهود منذ بدايات العهد العثماني أطماع مُثيرة في الجزيرة باعتبارها بوابة الانفتاح البحرية الوحيدة لنجاة اليهود من الطوق البري العربي في حال تفعيله.

وجاءت التطوّرات اللاحِقة في المنطقة لتضع أنقرة أمام تحدّيات جديدة بعد خلافها العقائدي أي الإخواني مع مصر، الدولة الأهمّ في حسابات الغاز بسبب تقارُبها مع قبرص واليونان ومجاورتها لقطاع غزَّة الذي يذخر أيضاً باحتياطي هام من الغاز.

وتُبيّن كل هذه المُعطيات مدى صعوبة الحسابات الوطنية والإقليمية والدولية لكل الأطراف بخصوص الغاز الذي يبدو أنه سيحرق شرق الأبيض المتوسّط حاله حال البترول الذي كان ومازال سبباً لكل مشاكل المنطقة العربية منذ استقلالها وحتى اليوم.

ومع استمرار الحرب في سوريا وانعكاساتها الإقليمية والدولية، لاسيما في ما يتعلّق بالتواجُد الروسي والدور التركي هناك وهو ما يؤجِّل حسم ملف الغاز السوري بحرياً، فقد وقَّعت بيروت على اتفاقيّتين مع شركات “توتال” الفرنسية و”إيني” الإيطالية و”نوفاتك” الروسية للتنقيب عن البترول والغاز واستخراجهما في منطقتين يقع جزء من إحداهما في المياه المُتنازَع عليها مع تل أبيب.

ومع استمرار مساعي الوساطة الأميركية التي بدأها ديفيد ساترفيلد وهو الآن سفير أميركا في أنقرة، فقد قدَّرت الدراسات حصَّة لبنان من الغاز الطبيعي في  المتوسّط بنحو 11 تريليون متر مكعب وهي كافية لإنهاء جميع مشاكل لبنان.

وكان الأمين العام لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصرالله قد تحدَّث في 16 شباط/فبراير من العام الماضي عن معركة الغاز في المنطقة وقال “إننا نستطيع تعطيل العمل بمحطّات الغاز الإسرائيلية في البحر المتوسّط في حال اتّخذ مجلس الدفاع اللبناني الأعلى قراراً بذلك”. بالمقابل أعلنت تل أبيب أنها طوَّرت درعاً صاروخية أسمتها “مقلاع داوود” الصاروخي لصدّ أيّ هجوم من حزب الله يستهدف منصّات الغاز.

ويعكس ذلك بكل وضوح الوضع المُعقَّد والصعب والخطير في قضية الغاز وانعكاساتها على حسابات الدول المعنية مباشرة أولاً. وثانياً الدول ذات العلاقة ومنها أوروبا وأميركا وروسيا وبالطبع تركيا التي يريد لها إردوغان أن يكون لها باع وذراع طويلة في جميع أنحاء العالم لأنه يريد لتركيا أن تعود إلى أمجاد الدولة العثمانية التي حكمت العالم فانتهى بها المطاف بحدودها الحالية فخسرت جميع مناطق الغاز والبترول في المنطقة التي كانت تحت حُكم الدولة  العثمانية. ويؤمِن إردوغان أنه وريث هذه الدولة بعقيدتها وقوميّتها، وهو ما يُفسِّر ما قام ويقوم به في سوريا وليبيا والمنطقة عموماً منذ ما يُسمَّى بالربيع العربي.

فقد اعترض إردوغان على التدخّل الأميركي والأوروبي في ليبيا في 28 شباط/فبراير 2011 إلا أنه عاد وأعلن تأييده لذلك في 21 آذار/مارس، أي بعد عام من القمّة العربية في سرت التي حضرها بدعوةٍ من معمّر القذافي. ولولا الدعم الذي قدَّمه القذافي للثنائي أجاويد وأربكان لما استطاعت تركيا ربما من السيطرة على قبرص عام 1974 لتصبح الآن طرفاً أساسياً في كل مُعادلات المتوسّط بغازه الذي قد يحرق الجميع وهذه المرة “إسرائيل” أيضاً.

Balkan Report: The Macedonian Powder Keg Set To Go Off

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by Stephen Karganovic for The Saker Blog

The way things are shaping up down south (viewed from Belgrade) the tiny, helpless, beleaguered new Balkan state of Macedonia could be the trigger for a wider regional conflict. It is well to remember the adage of veteran politician Franklin Delano Roosevelt, especially in the present context: If it turned out a certain way, it is probably because that is the way it was planned.

If the stage is indeed being set for a new Balkan conflagration, many signs suggest that Macedonia has been assigned a key role in the process leading up to it. Slightly under two years ago, Guaido’s Balkan precursor, Zoran Zaev, was promoted by non-Macedonian interests to unconstitutionally replace the less compliant but democratically elected long-time stooge Nikola Gruevski as prime minister. Procedural niceties were brutally cast aside when Macedonia’s Western masters concluded that Gruevski was getting too many independent policy ideas and that letting him remain in office was therefore risky. In a ruthless, Kiev 2014-style coup, coordinated from the embassies of all the usual suspects, Gruevski was unceremoniously ousted. (By a remarkable coincidence, ambassador Jeffrey Pyatt, of Kiev fame, is now accredited to the neighboring Greek government and undoubtedly supervises these affairs from his Athens command post.) Usurper Zaev was promptly installed, though lacking the required parliamentary majority and in disregard of president Djordje Ivanov’s strong initial refusal to officially appoint him. But that did not matter in Armenia, why should it now in Macedonia?

The masters’ game plan was soon revealed. One objective was to make sure that the Russian pipeline’s passage through strategically located Macedonia would be permanently blocked with the cooperation of a reliable lackey. The other items on the agenda consisted of (1) rearranging the internal political balance of power to overtly favor the aggressive and Western-supported Albanian minority, laying the foundations for Macedonia’s violent Yugoslav-style, ethnically driven breakup at some point, and (2) getting Macedonia into NATO and shoring up NATO’s southern front by “settling” the name dispute with Greece, also to be accomplished to Macedonia’s disadvantage.

Zaev’s first order of business was to implement the so-called “Tirana platform,” an agreement he reached with Macedonia’s Albanian minority while still a private citizen. (He is obviously lucky that Macedonia does not have anything like the Logan Act.) Significantly, the agreement involving the de facto federalization of the tiny country and the granting of extensive privileges to a foreign-backed minority within it, was negotiated by Zaev in the Albanian capital of Tirana. No one seems to be quite sure how many ethnic Albanians there exactly are in Macedonia, any more than it is known for certain how many of them reside in neighboring Kosovo. They are alleged to constitute a respectable 25 to 30 % of Macedonia’s population. But questioning that allegation or subjecting it to empirical verification is actively discouraged. As a result, the western, most densely Albanian- populated portion of Macedonia contiguous with Albania itself has now been turned into a state-within-a-state where native Macedonians enjoy a status similar to that of Indians in the US. The Albanian language has been made official alongside Macedonian and one may assume that smart and farsighted people in Skopje, who get their cues from the embassies that are running the country, are now busy taking Albanian lessons.

Zaev’s second major “achievement” was to negotiate an end to the Macedonian name dispute with his Greek colleague, equally contemptuous of popular sentiment, the perfidious phony socialist Alexis Tsipras. Since Macedonia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1992, Greece has strongly objected to the country’s name, asserting that “Macedonia” is a Greek copy-righted geographical and historical concept, that Alexander the Great was Greek not Skopje-Macedonian, and all the rest of it, typical Balkan stuff that most readers would probably find utterly boring. The name dispute, however, got hundreds of thousands of people quite excited and demonstrating vociferously on both sides of the border.

It was important therefore to settle, or to at least paper over this issue to make NATO’s southern flank reasonably united in anticipation of the impending big war in the East. The analogy with the geopolitical situation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1941, when its politicians were cajoled into signing off on the Axis pact, and Macedonia’s today, with its accession to NATO, is striking. And yes, Macedonia was “rewarded” for changing its name not just by being generously accepted into NATO, but also with the privilege of being targeted by Russian missiles should hostilities break out in the future.

NATO flag already adorns government offices of “North Macedonia”

Should anyone be wondering why until just a few days ago Macedonia was known by the clumsy and ridiculous acronym FYROM (Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) it was because of Greece’s refusal to countenance any other label. The need to form a united front against Russia’s “malign influence” in the Balkans now clearly superseds such puerile nonsense. Orders were issued to both puppets from on high to kiss and make up, which they dutifully did, of course.

Incidentally, Macedonia’s new official name of North Macedonia, which Wikipedia has already hastened to duly acknowledge, is rather underwhelming from the standpoint of idiomatic English. “Northern” would have sounded better, a detail that was not lost on the linguistically savvier Turkish partners when they were setting up their own satellite entity, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, on the part of the island that they occupy.

So, the stage now seems to be set to plunge North Macedonia in a conflict its people clearly do not want, and to demolish it either by igniting ethnic warfare or making it disappear in a nuclear conflagration, whatever happens to suit global decisionmakers the best. I consulted my trusted Macedonian (I will not insult him by adding “North” to his sufficiently humiliated country’s cherished name) friend and local contact, journalist Milenko Nedelkovski, for his assessment of his country’s current situation.

First things first, I asked him about the current status of his widely watched, influential, notoriously patriotic, and therefore obviously politically misaligned television talk show and whether he was getting any heat from the new “democratic and Western-values” oriented authorities.

His response could not have been more dispiriting:

“Both the present-day authorities and the opposition which until two years ago ruled the country are under the command of the US Embassy in Skopje and ambassador Jess Baily. This is our 14th season. Three years ago, the American embassy ordered my show to be taken off the air by all television broadcasters. It was cancelled twice by TV Channel 5 and three times by Channel Alpha. Both broadcasters have a nation-wide frequency. We are being harassed by absolutely everyone. That is why I am posting my program on Facebook and YouTube. There, for the moment, we are not facing any restrictions and the viewing audience now exceeds anything we ever had in the traditional media.”

Considering that in the period preceding the degrading Zaev – Tsipras name change agreement mass demonstrations opposing it were being held throughout Macedonia, I asked Milenko why people seem suddenly to have given up in the face of the quisling fait accompli.

“The people have not suddenly gone quiet. Repression is such that the ordinary citizen is afraid. He is now articulating his anger through the social media and by boycotting presidential elections. At the moment in Macedonia, civil disobedience is the principal tool of resistance. And if by ‘going quiet’ is meant that the people are no longer out in the streets, that is because the opposition VMRO party is also collaborating with the American-Brussels occupiers, so they are not calling on the people to protest.”

Given the dismal conditions Milenko described, I asked him what the chances are for kicking the rascals out in the next elections.

His answer was: “Non-existent. In April we are due to have presidential elections the honesty of which is very dubious. Ballot boxes will be stuffed, there will be coercion… But under no circumstances will there be anything resembling an honest vote. And the result, of course, will be endorsed by the ‘international community’ as a great victory for democracy.”

My Macedonian informant’s answer to the question of what future he sees for Macedonia if the appeasement of the Albanian factor continues was most unsettling. These are his dark visions:

“Not just the future of Macedonia as a unified country, but the future of all of former Yugoslavia will be uncertain. The Albanians will press relentlessly their Greater Albania project. In practice that means the disintegration of Macedonia as we know it, but also the reduction of Serbia to the territory of the Belgrade district (пашалук) during the period of Ottoman rule. Kosovo and the southern areas of Serbia will be detached, and other parts of the country, around Novi Pazar for instance, might also be snatched away from Serbia. Bosnia will not remain in its present shape and within the present borders. Montenegro will also be required to sacrifice territories to the Greater Albania project. Some littoral and even inland areas will no longer form part of Milo Djukanovic’s little kingdom. The redrawing of borders in the Balkans at the expense of the Orthodox nations, including some Greek lands to which the Albanians aspire, is certain to occur. The only hope for us Orthodox is a large-scale international conflict, which might be sparked off by something that happens in Venezuela, the Kerch Strait, Eastern Ukraine, Syria, Kaliningrad, or North Korea, the consequences of which would be so grave as to cause the US to lose interest in interfering in other nations’ affairs. Things will get better for us when they stop supporting unconditionally the Albanian factor in the Balkans and the Albanian mafia world-wide.”

It could, of course, be said that Milenko’s remedy is worse than the disease. But this compelling cri de coeur, by a well informed and intelligent observer from the heart of the Balkan darkness that proud NATO (and who knows, perhaps soon even EU) candidate “North Macedonia” has been turned into, certainly ought not to be ignored.

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