Powerful explosion rocks ‘sensitive’ Israeli missile factory

Haaretz said officials may have underestimated the “collateral damage” of the test, which led to the explosion

Source

By Jim W. Dean, Managing Editor -April 21, 2021

..from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s note: This is a strange story, as we have the larger mushroom cloud in the back left side, and the front right side one with the cloud reflecting the fire burning below it, not a flash from an explosion, but a fire.

Israelis have put out a story about a failed rocket test, certainly a possibility, but if it was something they did not want you to know, they would put out a cover story, like an engine test blowing up. So we must look for clues to test for veracity.

The first thing I see, which is most odd, is just one video for an event like this, especially if a rocket test had blown up, the noise would have been heard a long distance and the usual tons of people would have shot video. So far, this single video is all that I have seen, a hint that others have been blocked, and this one appears to have had the explosion trimmed off the front.

Rocket tests put out huge amounts of smoke, which gets the locals’ attention. A test, if that is what this was, would have had notification put out to the surrounding community. That would have had lots of people videoing, but when I Google ‘Israeli rocket test blows up’, all that comes up is the screen grab from the one video found.

That set off the ‘something is fishy’ bells going off at VT. The fire screen grab I have in feature is from unheard of Boom News edited story from older video clips and stills. 

If it was a rocket test, the exciting part would have been to catch the roaring engine at the beginning, but that was trimmed off the video. So at this point what I see is a cover story, which begs the question why, and why now?

We take a look at what event has been in the news, where somebody might want to inflict some payback on Israel, like Iran from the attack on Natanz, where Israeli media even publicized that Israel did it.

We have the timing. Did Iran wait until the second stage of the JCPOA talks adjourned before it decided to send Bibi a message that Iran can reach out and touch someone, and in a way that produced no visible casualties, which would have risked further escalation?

In the real world, we would have seen dozens of videos up, and with sound up on Youtube, but all we have is one silent Twitter video. Tomer and Israel went to a lot of trouble to clean all of the neighbors’ videos off the Net. You can guess the rest… Jim W. Dean ]

Next, from a long time VT reader, we have a machine translation from a Hebrew story on the event…JD

Due to malfunction: Explosion at IMI plant in Ramat Hasharon, no casualties

Above the IMI plant, a lot of smoke is billowed, which is probably caused by mixing different materials. The factory stressed that there was no danger as a result of the explosion. Firefighters who were called to the scene gained control of the incident and prevented the fire from spreading

An explosion was heard today (Monday) in the Ramat Hasharon area, due to an explosion at an IMI plant located in the area. Following the explosion, a lot of smoke rose over the factory. Firefighters and rescuers who arrived at the scene gained control of the incident and no casualties were reported.

An initial inspection revealed that it was an explosion in a room where smoke grenades were stored. According to sources in the factory, there is no danger as a result of the explosion. Balbit, the factory owners, explained that the explosion took place in a smoke factory, after mixing several substances caused the explosion. It was further reported that the smoke generated does not pose a danger.

Moshe Fadlon, mayor of Herzliya, said in response that “the municipality is closely monitoring what is happening in the area together with the fire brigade and environmentalists.” The mayor added that this is “land in which shells, explosives, chemicals and combustibles have been buried for years, a storm that ignites without any warning. This is exactly the fear of such lands. Marked or green will take the matter to his attention. “

First published … April 21, 2021

A powerful explosion has rocked a sensitive Israeli missile factory during a test for advanced weapons, according to a report.

The explosion took place on Tuesday during a ‘routine test’ by the Tomer factory for advanced weapon, Israel’s Haaretz daily newspaper reported on Wednesday.

There have been no reports of casualties so far. The factory develops rocket engines and houses various types of missiles.

Locals said they heard an explosion and saw a mushroom cloud at the weapons manufacturing facility, which is located in the central city of Ramla and produces rocket and missile systems used by the Israeli military. Tomer’s offices are located in proximity to residential areas.

“This was a controlled test with no exceptional circumstances,” Tomer claimed in reaction to the blast. Meanwhile, Haaretz said officials may have underestimated the “collateral damage” of the test, which led to the explosion.

Investigations into the cause of the incident has been launched. Established in 2018, Tomer is affiliated to the Israeli ministry of military affairs and is the manufacturer of a new ballistic missile system, the Arrow-4.

Israel’s Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 missile systems are already operational to intercept incoming missiles in the atmosphere and space. Back in February, Israel announced that it was developing the Arrow-4 with the United States.

“The development of Arrow-4 together with our American partners will result in a technological and operational leap forward, preparing us for the future battlefield and evolving threats in the Middle East and beyond,” Israeli minister of military affairs Benny Gantz said in a statement at the time.

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YJim W. Dean, Managing Editor

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Jim W. Dean is Managing Editor of Veterans Today involved in operations, development, and writing, plus an active schedule of TV and radio interviews. 

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Related

Russian Navy To Guard Iranian Oil Supplies To Syria Under Strategic Agreement – Report

South Front

 17.04.2021 

A Russian Navy assault team from the Russian Federation ship Severromorsk land by helicopter on the deck of the Italian Ship San Marco, the NATO flag ship to Operation Ocean Shield, during a NATO-Russia counter piracy exercise in the Gulf of Aden.

Russia, Iran and Syria have established a joint operation room that would work to guarantee the security and stability of oil and wheat supplies to Syrian ports through the Mediterranean Sea, Sputnik reported on April 17.

According to the agency, a series of intensive meetings between Russian, Iranian and Syrian officials was held recently with the aim of breaking the siege imposed by the US and European Union on Syria.

“The room’s work is to provide multi-sided coordination to secure the arrival of oil supplies, in the first place, to Syrian ports,” Sputnik quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying.

Syria has been facing an unprecedented economic crisis as a result the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU. The country’s natural resources in the northeastern region are also under control of US proxies. Furthermore, ships heading to Syrian ports face sanctions as well as the threat of direct attacks on some occasions.

In the framework of the joint operations room, Russian Navy vessels will protect Iranian tankers heading to Syria until the end of this year.

Iranian tankers will gather in the Mediterranean and sail to Syria in one convoy escorted by the Russian Navy. Recently, this protocol was successfully used to guard four tankers heading to Syria.

According to Sputnik’s sources, other ships loaded with supplied, including food and chemicals for the pharmaceutical industry, will arrive in Syrian ports. Several wheat shipments from Russia will also be sent to Syria until next June.

“The recent tripartite coordination, which resulted in understandings that could be described as strategy, would secure most of the Syrian market’s needs for basic commodities and materials,” the sources said.

The operations room demonstrates honest commitment of Russia and Iran to Syria and the Syrian people. Meanwhile, the US and the EU continue to place political conditions to easy their collective sanctions on the country.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

بعد تدخل أردوغان في إنتخاباتها حركة حماس إلى أين فهَل تصبح نصفين؟

مجلة تحليلات العصر الدولية – إسماعيل النجار

2021-04-16

حركَة المقاومة الإسلامية حماس، واحدة من أكبر الحركات التحررية الإسلامية في فلسطين وخارجها، بَرَز إسمها على الساحة الفلسطينية في شهر ديسمبر ١٩٨٧ مع إنطلاق الإنتفاضة الفلسطينية الأولى، وكانت قدَ عَرٍَفَت عن نفسها كجناح من أجنحة الإخوان المسلمين في فلسطين ولكنها في الحقيقة أحد أشكال المقاومة التي قرر الفلسطينيون تبنيها ضمن مشوار العمل المقاوم التاريخي الطويل لهم.
**عَرَّفَت حماس عن هويتها الأيديولوجية وطرحها السياسي والفكري أنها حركة جهادية تستند إلى تعاليم الإسلام وتراثه الفقهي، وتؤمن بتوسيع دائرَة الصراع ضد المشروع الصهيوني ليشمل الإطارين العربي والإسلامي إيماناً منها بأن فلسطين هيَ قضية كل الشرفاء في العالم مسلمين ومسيحيين وأن القدس هي مهد الأديان الثلاث التي يحاول الصهاينة تحويلها إلى مدينة يهودية صهيونية فاقدة لحلاوة العيش المشترك بين أطراف الأديان السماوية الثلاث.

**تؤمن الحركة بأن الصراع مع العدو الصهيوني هو صراع حضاري مصيري ذات أبعاد عقائدية وجودية،

وحدَّدَت أهدافها الرئيسية والإستراتيجية أهمها تحرير كافة الأراضي الفلسطينية من البحر إلى النهر وإقامة دولة إسلامية على تراب فلسطين،
**لَم تؤمن حركة حماس بالعمل السياسي من داخل منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية رغم إحترامها الكبير لها، ورفضت الإنضمام إليها إلَّا بشَرط إذا وقعَت منظمة التحرير معها إتفاقاً تتعهد فيه بعدم التفريط بأي شبر من أرض فلسطين التاريخية ورفض الإعتراف بالكيان الصهيوني الأمر الذي رفضته قيادة منظمة التحرير التي تعهدت بالتفاوض مع الكيان الغاصب وتبني حَل الدولتين.

**إهتَمَّت الحركة بقوَة بعمقها الإسلامي والعربي وجاهدت للحفاظ على هويتها الإسلامية والعربية وأجرَت إتصالات مع دُوَل مجلس التعاون الخليجي الذي فَرَضَ عليها شروطاً قاسية مقابل تبنيها كحركة إسلامية تحررية وكان لا بُد للحركة من التنازل قليلاً لكي لا تتعرَّىَ من محيطها التي طالما أعتبرته ثوبها الدافئ ومظلتها الدولية الشرعية،

**تَبَنَّت الجمهورية الإسلامية الحركة ودعمتها بكُل ما أؤتيَت من قوَّة وقدمت لها كل أشكال الدعم المادي والسياسي والعسكري والإعلامي، من دون أي قَيد أو شرط،
[أيضاً تَلَقَّت حماس دعماً واسعاً من دمشق التي إحتَضَنت كبار قياداتها وفتحت لها أبواب سوريا على مصراعيها من دون أي قيد أو شرط، وبقيَت الأمور على حالها حتى عام ٢٠١١ وإنطلاق شرارة الخريف الصهيوني العربي وكانت دمشق واحدة من بين أهدافه الرئيسية حيث تساقطت الأنظمة العربية وهَوَت خلال ثلاثة شهور وأصبحَ قادتها الدكتاتوريين بين قتيلٍ وسجينٍ ولاجئ خارج البلاد.

إلَّا سوريا الأسد التي قررَ رئيسها الحفاظ على الدولة وأمن المواطنين وسلامة المؤسسات التي أستهدفها الإرهابيون وإندلعت المعارك في شوارع دمشق ومحيطها، فكان لحركة حماس موقفاً سلبياً من اللذين إحتضنوهم وأعطوهم الأمان فقرروا الوقوف مع المشروع القطري السعودي الأميركي وساهموا بقتال الجيش العربي السوري على الأرض السورية من خلال وجود المخيمات الفلسطينية داخل العاصمة وخارجها وكان مخيم اليرموك أحد ساحة القتال سيطرت حركة حماس على قسم كبير منه.
*تراجعَت درجة حرارة العلاقات بين طهران وحماس وبيروت وحماس من دون أن تنقطع الإتصالات كلياً بسبب تواصل الكثير من القيادات الحمساوية مع الطرفين الإيراني واللبناني رافضين إنخراط الحركة في الصراع السوري الداخلي ومواقف رئيس الحركة {خالد مشعل} المقيم في قطر، *بينما إنقطعت العلاقات كلياً مع دمشق وأصبَحَت الأمور معقدة جداً بين الطرفين.

**لَم تَكُن تتوقَّع حماس بعد مغادرتها دمشق وإحتضار العلاقة مع طهران وحزب الله أنها ستكون في موقفٍ صعب من خلال الضغوطات الخليجية التي مورِسَت على الحرَكَة بهدف تقديم تنازلات والقبول بحَل الدولتين الذي يعني بقاموسها إعتراف بإسرائيل، ثمَ تأكدَت بإن مشروع التطبيع قائم فحاولت أن تخرج من أزمتها من خلال التوازن بين المحورين العدوين تُبقي من خلاله حماس قدماً في طهران وأُخرَى في الرياض لكن الأخيرة كانت قاسية بما يكفي لإخراج الحركة من بلادها واعتقال مسؤوليها الأمر الذي تلقفته أنقرة بإستقبال قادتها وتبني دعمها سياسياً،
بدأت الأمور تتحسن تدريجياً مع طهران بعد عزل خالد مشعل وتعيين إسماعيل هنية، فتقبلت طهران وحزب الله الأمر لكن سورية بقيت على موقفها الرافض لعودة الحركة الى دمشق رغم وساطة السيد حسن نصرالله، فتُرِك الأمر للأيام ولتغيير الظروف السياسية والعسكرية في المنطقة.

 بعد الدخول التركي إلى قطر إثر الخلاف السعودي مع الدوحَة وإخراج الرياض من معادلة الحل في سوريا، ودخول اردوغان الساحة الليبية كلاعب رئيسي بقوة،
وبعد المصالحة السعودية القطرية (المسيارة) والتقارب السعودي المصري التركي، وإحتدام الصراع بين إسرائيل والجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية وإحتمال حصول مواجهة مباشرة شاملة بينهما، فوجئ الجميع بإنتخاب خالد مشعل مسؤولاً لحركة حماس خارج فلسطين بالكامل،
وتسربَت معلومات عن ضغوط تركية كبيرة لأجل ذلك الأمر الذي يشير إلى أن صراعاً سياسياً متحكماً بقيادة الحركة في الداخل والخارج بين طرفين بارزين يشكل محمود الزهار ويحي السنوار وصالح العاروري وغيرهما أحد صقور طهران الأقوياء داخل الحركة، الأمر الذي يشير إلى توجُه حماس نحو قرارين متناقضين خارجي وداخلي بعد إنتخاب مشعل مسؤولاً عن الحركة في الخارج،
فهل تذهب أنقرة من خلال مشروعها لشق صفوف حركة حماس وإضعافها؟

 الأمر يعود إلى شرفاء الحركة اللذين نضع بين أيديهم أمانة وحدة الحركة والفصائل كمواطنين مؤيدين للقضية الفلسطينية.

The Hawks Who Want War With Iran Are Working Overtime

Iran Israel JCPOA

April 15th, 2021

By Ariel Gold & Medea Benjamin

Source

Israeli leaders, Christian fundamentalists, and hawkish Washington neocons are doing everything in their power to block a peaceful US return to the JCPOA.

WASHINGTON (Jacobin) — Just as talks between the United States and Iran were taking place last week in Vienna, a cyberattack was carried out on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility. Reports are that the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, was behind the attack that blacked out the facility just one day after Tehran launched new advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges, and as US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in Israel speaking about the United States’ “enduring and ironclad” commitment to the Jewish state.

This is the latest in a series of Israeli attacks on Iran designed to scuttle negotiations. Last summer, a number of explosions attributed to Israel broke out across Iran, including a fire at the Natanz site. These took place while US elections were in full swing and Biden was promising that if elected, he would return the United States to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) that Trump withdrew from in 2018. In November 2020, Israeli operatives assassinated Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran’s top nuclear scientist in the city of Absard outside Tehran. Had Iran responded, the United States might have been dragged into an all-out war.

Israeli officials have also directly lobbied the US Congress to quash the deal. In 2015, Netanyahu traveled to Washington, DC in 2015 to address a joint session of Congress in an attempt to uncut Obama’s original negotiations. This time, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen will be traveling to Washington to meet with top White House and US intelligence officials, and he hopes with Biden directly, to convince the administration that Iran has been concealing details about its nuclear program and therefore can’t be trusted. This is indeed ironic coming from a country that, unlike Iran, actually has nuclear weapons and refuses to disclose any information about its program.

Like Israel, the powerful US lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is trying to convince Biden not to go back into the JCPOA. Last month, they organized bipartisan letters in the House and Senate, urging the Biden administration to insist on an expanded deal that included missiles, human rights, and Iran’s activities in the region. Since Tehran has been clear that an expanded or amended deal is a nonstarter, such “advice” was an attempt to quash talks.

The neoconservative think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), which worked inside the Trump administration during and after Trump pulled out of the JCPOA, has been relentlessly pushing for war with Iran. After the United States recklessly assassinated Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz gloatedtweeting that the death of Soleimani was “more consequential than the killing of [Osama] #BinLaden”; and on April 11, the same day as the Natanz blackout, former CIA officer and FDD fellow Reuel Marc Gerecht, speaking on CNN, voiced disappointment that Trump hadn’t taken the United States and Iran into an all-out war.

Another group against a deal with Iran is Christians United for Israel (CUFI), one of the most powerful pro-Israel voices in the United States. In March 2021, CUFI urged the Senate not to confirm Colin Kahl for a top policy position at the Pentagon, claiming, “Kahl is a serial Iran appeaser” who “helped advance the disastrous Iran nuclear accord.” In response to the blackout at Natanz, they cheered Netanyahu, tweeting “‘Battling Iran is a colossal mission,’ Netanyahu says following blackout at Iranian nuclear plant.”

The People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, which the United States had previously designated as a terrorist organization and is known for assassinations and bombings it has carried out, is virulently opposed to US-Iran diplomacy. In March 2021, a number of US Senators attended a virtual event organized by the MEK-aligned Organization of Iranian American Communities (OIAC) calling for continued US sanctions and “bringing down the regime.” Senator Bob Menendez, the powerful chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among several Democrats in attendance.

The opponents of the Iran deal are trying to keep in place the draconian wall of sanctions that the Trump administration imposed precisely to make it more difficult for a future US administration to rejoin the JCPOA. But these sanctions are causing immense suffering for ordinary Iranians, including runaway inflation and skyrocketing food and medicine prices. According to the UN, they contributed to the government’s “inadequate and opaque” response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit Iran particularly hard.

While “successful” in inflicting harm on the Iranian people, the sanctions have failed to broaden the terms of the talks, led the nation to increase its uranium enrichment, negatively impacted the human rights situation, and put the United States and Iran on the brink of an all-out war on multiple occasions.

That’s why so many people in Iran, and those who care about them, have been encouraged by this new round of diplomatic engagement. But Israel, AIPAC, CUFI, FDD, MEK, Menendez, and the like are probably instead hoping that Iran carries out the revenge that Iranian officials have called for in response to the Natanz blackout. But as the saboteurs of diplomacy hope for a violent escalation, let’s keep in mind — and hope Iran agrees — that the best revenge would be a revived JCPOA.

Iran & Russia set to sign comprehensive strategic agreement – Al Mayadeen TV report

April 16, 2021

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/iran-russia-set-to-sign-comprehensive-strategic-agreement-tv-report/

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1B6J1X8sjsk

Description: According to a recent Al Mayadeen TV report, the purpose behind Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent visit to Tehran was to pave the way for the signing of a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement between his country and Iran.This comes after Iran and China signed a 25-year comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement of their own late last month.

Source: Al Mayadeen TV (YouTube) : Date: April 13, 2021(Please help MEO keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a sustainable monthly amount https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Transcript :

Reporter:

Sergey Lavrov is in Tehran. Iranians see the visit of the Russian foreign minister as important both in timing and content. The two parties signed two MOUs in preparation for the signing of a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement similar to (Iran’s recent) agreement with China. This significant development in the relations between the two countries is accompanied by similar political stances in many areas.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iranian Foreign Minister: 

The United States must understand that (imposing) sanctions is not the (right) approach for dealing with Iran. In addition, the European Union has proven, in its submission to the extremists in the US and the Zionist entity, that it no longer has a place in the international community.

Reporter:

In the same manner, the Russian guest condemned the policies of the US and Europe as well.

Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister: 

We condemn any attempt to disrupt the nuclear negotiations, and we demand that Washington implements the nuclear agreement in full. We are surprised by the European Union’s decision to impose sanctions on some Iranian officials. We consider this a mistake worse than a crime, (a mistake) deliberately committed in the midst of the negotiations in Vienna.

Reporter:

The sudden European escalation that coincides with the Natanz incident may cast a shadow over the second round of the Vienna meetings, and cause tensions on multiple levels.

Iran realizes that it is difficult to cope with the accumulated crises, whether regarding its nuclear program and economic sanctions, or its (troubled) relations with the West and its conflict with Israel. However, (Iran) also realizes that its ties with Russia and China have become stronger than ever before and that this is sufficient to reduce American and European pressures placed upon it.

Ahmad Al-Bahrani – Tehran – Al-Mayadeen

To read transcript: http://middleeastobserver.net/iran-russia-set-to-sign-comprehensive-strategic-agreement-tv-report/

Related Posts:

مفاوضات فيينا وتعزيز أوراق القوة الإيرانية… واشنطن أمام الخيار الوحيد The Vienna negotiations and the strengthening of Iranian power cards … Washington faces the only option

** Please scroll down for the ADJUSTED English Machine translation **


مفاوضات فيينا وتعزيز أوراق القوة الإيرانية… واشنطن أمام الخيار الوحيد

حسن حردان

استؤنفت مفاوضات فيينا بين إيران ومجموعة 4+1 التي تتمحور حول شروط العودة إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي… في ظلّ تعزّز أوراق القوة الإيرانية التي زادت من قوة وموقف المفاوض الإيراني من جهة، وأضعفت القدرة الأميركية الأوروبية في التأثير على موقف طهران من جهة ثانية.. حتى أن المراقب للمشهد يلحظ بوضوح ان واشنطن وحلفائها لم يعد لديهم من خيار سوى التراجع أمام إيران وقبول الصيغة التي ترضى بها للعودة إلى الالتزام بالاتفاق النووي، إذا كانوا يريدون الحفاظ على الاتفاق والحيلولة دون انهياره سقوطه.

لماذا نخلص إلى هذا الاستنتاج؟

انّ أيّ مدقق في التطورات التي سبقت استئناف مفاوضات فيينا يتبيّن له أنّ هذه الجولة، قد سبقتها مواجهة حامية بين إيران وكيان الاحتلال الصهيوني ومن ورائه الولايات المتحدة والدول الأوروبية، في محاولة مستميتة لإضعاف الموقف الإيراني التفاوضي الذي تميّز بالثبات والصلابة في الجولة الأولى من المفاوضات في مواجهة محاولات واشنطن فرض شروطها على إيران للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي الذي انسحبت منه، وهي شروط ترفضها طهران التي تصرّ على قيام واشنطن أولاً برفع كلّ العقوبات دفعة واحدة دون ايّ تجزئة، والتأكد عملياً من رفع العقوبات، وتعويض إيران عن الأضرار التي ألحقتها العقوبات بالاقتصاد الإيراني.. عندها فقط تقرر إيران التخلي عن كلّ الخطوات التي اتخذتها بخفض التزاماتها بالاتفاق، وتعود إلى العمل به…

محاولة التأثير على الموقف الإيراني تمثلت في الاعتداءات التي قام بها العدو الصهيوني، بداية باغتيال الموساد للعالم النووي الإيراني فخري زادة، ومن ثم استهداف سفن تجارية إيرانية في المياه الدولية، وصولاً إلى عملية التخريب التي استهدفت أخيراً مفاعل «نطنز» في أصفهان، في محاولة لإلحاق أضرار جسيمة في البرنامج النووي، وبالتالي توجيه ضربة موجعة لجهود إيران في تطوير عمليات تخصيب اليورانيوم وزيادة نسبتها.. وقد جرى توقيت هذا الاعتداء على «نطنز» عشية استئناف مفاوضات فيينا لأجل إضعاف موقف إيران التفاوضي، وجعلها تبدي المرونة اتجاه الشروط الأميركية..

غير أنّ حساب الحقل الأميركي “الإسرائيلي” الغربي لم يتطابق مع حساب البيدر.. نتائج هذه الاعتداءات كانت مخيّبة تماماً لما أرادته عواصم العدوان، حيث جاء الردّ الإيراني قوياً على الرؤوس الصهيونية والأميركية الحامية، وأدّى إلى إصابتها بصدمة وصاعقة مدوية.. وتجلى هذا الردّ الإيراني في المستويات التالية:

مستوى أول، الردّ سريعاً بوضع أجهزة طرد مركزية جديدة أكثر تطوّراً من تلك التي تعرّضت لأضرار نتيجة الاعتداء الصهيوني على مفاعل “نطنز”، واتخاذ قرار برفع نسبة التخصيب إلى 60 بالمئة دفعة واحدة وهو ما عكس الجاهزية الإيرانية والتطوّر الذي أنجزته إيران على صعيد تطوير برنامجها النووي وانّ أيّ اعتداء يستهدفه لن ينجح في وقفه أو تعطيله أو تأخيره والتأثير على عجلة استمراره…

مستوى ثان، الردّ على الاعتداء على السفينة الإيرانية بضرب سفينة صهيونية قبالة ميناء الفجيرة.. وإعلان وكالة “تسنيم” الإيرانية المسؤولية عن الهجوم في رسالة نارية إيرانية قوية لكيان العدو بجاهزية طهران للردّ والمواجهة إلى أبعد الحدود…

مستوى ثالث، استهداف مركز معلومات وعمليات خاصة تابع للموساد “الإسرائيلي” في شمال العراق بالتزامن مع استهداف السفينة الصهيونية.. وذكرت قناة “العالم” نقلاً عن مصادر، أنّ الهجوم نتج عنه مقتل وإصابة عدد من عناصر القوات “الإسرائيلية”. ووصفت المصادر استهداف مركز المعلومات للموساد بأنه “ضربة جدية لإسرائيل”.

وذكر موقع “إنتل سكاي” المتخصص بمراقبة حركة الطيران والملفات العسكرية والمدنية، أنه تمّ توثيق عملية استهداف مركز المعلومات والعمليات الخاصة التابع للموساد، مشيراً إلى أنّ صور العملية ستنشر قريباً.

هذا الردّ الإيراني المتعدّد الأشكال، والصدمة التي أصابت المسؤولين الصهاينة والأميركيين والأوروبيين، خصوصاً إزاء إعلان إيران رفع نسبة التخصيب في “نطنز” إلى 60 في المئة، دفعهم إلى اتخاذ قرار بالتهدئة ووقف التصعيد والضغط على المسؤولين الإسرائيليين بعدم الردّ على استهداف السفينة “الإسرائيلية” ووقف التصعيد.. وهو ما أكدته صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” الأميركية نقلاً عن مسؤول “إسرائيلي”.

انطلاقاً من ذلك فإنّ إدارة بايدن باتت خياراتها محدودة جداً، أمام تزايد قوة الموقف الإيراني التفاوضي… فهي إما تقبل بشروط إيران للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، أو مواجهة انهيار وسقوط الاتفاق، لأنّ واشنطن فقدت ورقة القوة المتبقية لديها للضغط على إيران وهي ورقة الحصار الاقتصادي، وذلك بعد توقيع طهران وبكين اتفاقية التعاون الاستراتيجي ببن البلدين والتي شكلت ضربة قاصمة للحصار الأميركي من ناحية، وأطلقت رصاصة الرحمة على مشروع الهيمنة الأميركي المتداعي من ناحية ثانية…

هكذا فقد عزز الاتفاق الإيراني الصيني معطوفاً على العلاقات الاستراتيجية الإيرانية الروسية… موقف إيران في إحباط الضغوط الأميركية وجعل العقوبات غير ذات تأثير على إيران.. ولهذا باتت واشنطن في موقف ضعيف في مواجهة الموقف الإيراني الذي أصبح أكثر قوة.

انّ تحرّر إيران من ايّ ضغط اقتصادي، وعلاقات اقتصادية مع الغرب من خلال الاتفاقية الإستراتيجية مع الصين للتعاون الاقتصادي بين البلدين والعلاقات الاقتصادية والأمنية المتطورة مع روسيا، واستعداد إيران لتصبح عضواً كاملاً في منظمة شنغهاي.. وامتلاك إيران قدرة الردع والدفاع عن سيادتها واستقلالها، يضع واشنطن أمام خيار وحيد وهو النزول عن أعلى الشجرة والتخلي عن عنجهيتها وقبول شروط إيران للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي..

او أنّ إيران ستواصل خطوات خفض التزاماتها وتطوير برنامجها النووي ورفع نسب التخصيب إلى نسبة ال 90 بالمئة، وهي النسبة التي تمكنها من امتلاك كامل القدرة النووية للأغراض السلمية ودخول كلّ مجالات الصناعة النووية.. من دون أن تملك واشنطن ايّ قدرة في منع إيران من تحقيق ذلك أو التأثير على قرارها الذي بات محصّناً بكلّ عناصر القوة..

من هنا فإنّ إدارة بايدن ليس أمامها من خيارات، بعد أن صبح هامش المناورة لديها محدوداً جداً.. فالزمن لا يعمل لمصلحتها، وقدرتها في التأثير على الداخل الإيراني أصبحت ضعيفة جداً بعد نجاح إيران في إسقاط أهداف الحصار وإجهاضه.


فيديوات ذات صلة


فيديوات ذات صلة


The Vienna negotiations and the strengthening of Iranian power cards … Washington faces the only option

Hassan Hardan

Vienna negotiations between Iran and the 4+1 group, which revolve around the terms of a return to compliance with the nuclear agreement, have resumed… Iran’s strength sheets have strengthened the Iranian negotiator’s strength and position on the one hand, and weakened U.S.-European ability to influence Tehran’s position on the other. The observer of the scene even clearly notes that Washington and its allies have no choice but to back down against Iran and accept the formula it accepts to return to compliance with the nuclear agreement, if they want to maintain the agreement and prevent its collapse.

Why do we come to this conclusion?

Any scrutiny of the developments leading up to the resumption of the Vienna negotiations shows that this round was preceded by a fierce confrontation between Iran and the Zionist occupation entity, including the United States and European countries, in a desperate attempt to weaken Iran’s negotiating position, which was characterized by stability and solidity in the first round of The negotiations are in the face of Washington’s attempts to impose its conditions on Iran to return to the nuclear deal from which it withdrew, conditions rejected by Tehran, which insists that Washington first lift all sanctions at once without any fragmentation, make sure that sanctions are lifted, and compensate Iran for the damage done by the sanctions to the Iranian economy. Only then will Iran decide to abandon all the steps it has taken by reducing its commitments to the agreement, and return to its work…

The attempt to influence Iran’s position was the attacks carried out by the Zionist enemy, beginning with Mossad’s assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh, and then targeting Iranian merchant ships in international waters, and to the sabotage that finally targeted the Natanz reactor in Isfahan, to cause serious damage to the nuclear program, thereby severely damaging Iran’s efforts to develop and increase its proportion. The attack on Natanz was timed on the eve of the resumption of Vienna negotiations to weaken Iran’s negotiating position and make it show flexibility toward U.S. conditions.


However, the results of these attacks were completely disappointing for what the capitals wanted, as the Iranian response came strong against the Zionist and American hot heads, which led to their shock and a thunderbolt .. This Iranian response was manifested in the following levels:

First level, the rapid response to the development of new centrifuges more sophisticated than those damaged because of the Zionist attack on the Natanz reactor, and the decision to raise the enrichment rate to 60 percent at once, which reflected Iran’s readiness and the development achieved by Iran in the development of its nuclear program and that any attack targeting it will not succeed in stopping, disabling, or delaying it and affecting the wheel of its continuation…

The second level is the response to the attack on the Iranian ship by striking a Zionist ship off the port of Fujairah … and the Iranian “Tasnim” agency claiming responsibility for the attack in a strong Iranian fiery message to the enemy entity that Tehran is ready to respond and confront to the utmost limits …

A third level, targeting an Information and Special Operations Center of the “Israeli” Mossad in northern Iraq in conjunction with the targeting of the Zionist ship. Al-Alam tv, citing sources, reported that the attack resulted in the death and injury of several members of the “Israeli” forces. The sources described the targeting of Mossad information center as a “serious blow to Israel.”

According to intel sky website, which specializes in monitoring air traffic and military and civilian files, the targeting of Mossad’s Information and Special Operations Center has been documented, noting that images of the operation will be published soon.

Iran’s multifaceted response, and the shock to Zionist, U.S., and European officials, particularly over Iran’s announcement to raise nutans’s enrichment rate to 60 percent, prompted them to take a decision to calm down, de-escalate and pressure Israeli officials not to respond to the targeting of the “Israeli” ship and de-escalation. This was confirmed by the New York Times, quoting an “Israeli” official.

Accordingly, the Biden administration has become very limited in the face of the growing strength of Iran’s negotiating position… It either accepts Iran’s terms to return to the nuclear deal, or faces the collapse and fall of the agreement, because Washington lost its remaining strength paper to put pressure on Iran, the economic blockade paper, after Tehran and Beijing signed the strategic cooperation agreement between the two countries, which was a severe blow to the U.S. blockade on the one hand, and fired a mercy bullet at the crumbling U.S. hegemony project on the other…

The Iran-China agreement has thus strengthened Iran-Russia strategic relations… Iran’s position in thwarting U.S. pressure and making sanctions have no impact on Iran. That’s why Washington is in a weak position in the face of Iran’s position, which has become stronger.

To free Iran from any economic pressure, economic relations with the West through the strategic agreement with China for economic cooperation between the two countries and advanced economic and security relations with Russia, and Iran’s readiness to become a full member of the Shanghai Organization. Iran’s deterrence and defense of its sovereignty and independence puts Washington at the sole choice of getting off the top of the tree, abandoning its arrogance and accepting Iran’s terms for a return to the nuclear deal.

Or Iran will continue to step down its commitments, develop its nuclear program and raise enrichment rates to 90 percent, which will enable it to have the full nuclear capability for peaceful purposes and enter all areas of the nuclear industry. Without Washington having any ability to prevent Iran from achieving this or influencing its decision, which has become immune to all elements of force.

The Biden administration therefore has no options, as its margin of maneuver has become very limited. Time is not working for its own good, and its ability to influence Iran’s interior has become very weak after Iran’s success in dropping and aborting the targets of the embargo.


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America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

America’s Neoliberal Financialization Policy vs. China’s Industrial Socialism

April 15, 2021

By Michael Hudson and posted with special permission

Nearly half a millennium ago Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince described three options for how a conquering power might treat states that it defeated in war but that “have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom: … the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you.”[1]

Machiavelli preferred the first option, citing Rome’s destruction of Carthage. That is what the United States did to Iraq and Libya after 2001. But in today’s New Cold War the mode of destruction is largely economic, via trade and financial sanctions such as the United States has imposed on China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela and other designated adversaries. The idea is to deny them key inputs, above all in essential technology and information processing, raw materials, and access to bank and financial connections, such as U.S. threats to expel Russia from the SWIFT bank-clearing system.

The second option is to occupy rivals. This is done only partially by the troops in America’s 800 military bases abroad. But the usual, more efficient occupation is by U.S. corporate takeovers of their basic infrastructure, owning their most lucrative assets and remitting their revenue back to the imperial core.

President Trump said that he wanted to seize Iraq’s and Syria’s oil as reparations for the cost of destroying their society. His successor, Joe Biden, sought in 2021 to appoint Hillary Clinton’s loyalist Neera Tanden to head the government’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She had urged that America should make Libya turn over its vast oil reserves as reparations for the cost of destroying its society. “We have a giant deficit. They have a lot of oil. Most Americans would choose not to engage in the world because of that deficit. If we want to continue to engage in the world, gestures like having oil rich countries partially pay us back doesn’t seem crazy to me.”[2]

U.S. strategists have preferred Machiavelli’s third option: To leave the defeated adversary nominally independent but to rule via client oligarchies. President Jimmy Carter’s national-security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski referred to them as “vassals,” in the classical medieval meaning of demanding loyalty to their American patrons, with a common interest in seeing the subject economy privatized, financialized, taxed and passed on to the United States for its patronage and support, based on a mutuality of interest against local democratic assertion of nationalistic self-reliance and keeping the economic surplus at home to promote domestic prosperity instead of being sent abroad.

That policy of privatization by a client oligarchy with its own source of wealth based on the U.S. orbit is what American neoliberal diplomacy accomplished in the former Soviet economies after 1991 to secure its Cold War victory over Soviet Communism. The way in which client oligarchies were created was a grabitization that utterly disrupted the economic interconnections integrating the economies. “To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires,” Brzezinski explained, “the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”[3]

After reducing Germany and Japan to vassalage after defeating them in World War II, U.S. diplomacy quickly reduced the Britain and its imperial sterling area to vassalage by 1946, followed in due course by the rest of Western Europe and its former colonies. The next step was to isolate Russia and China, while keeping “the barbarians from coming together.” If they were to join up, warned Mr. Brzezinski, “the United States may have to determine how to cope with regional coalitions that seek to push America out of Eurasia, thereby threatening America’s status as a global power.”[4]

By 2016, Brzezinski saw Pax Americana unravelling from its failure to achieve these aims. He acknowledged that the United States “is no longer the globally imperial power.”[5] That is what has motivated its increasing antagonism toward China and Russia, along with Iran and Venezuela.

TRANSITION: the problem was not Russia, whose Communist nomenklatura let their country be ruled by a Western-oriented kleptocracy, but China. The U.S.-China confrontation is not simply a national rivalry, but a conflict of economic and social systems. The reason why today’s world is being plunged into an economic and near-military Cold War 2.0 is to be found in the prospect of socialist control of what Western economies since classical antiquity have treated as privately owned rent-yielding assets: money and banking (along with the rules governing debt and foreclosure), land and natural resources, and infrastructure monopolies.

This contrast in whether money and credit, land and natural monopolies will be privatized and duly concentrated in the hands of a rentier oligarchy or used to promote general prosperity and growth has basically become one of finance capitalism and socialism. Yet in its broadest terms this conflict existed already 2500 years ago. in the contrast between Near Eastern kingship and the Greek and Roman oligarchies. These oligarchies, ostensibly democratic in superficial political form and sanctimonious ideology, fought against the concept of kingship. The source of that opposition was that royal power – or that of domestic “tyrants” – might sponsor what Greek and Roman democratic reformers were advocating: cancellation of debts to save populations from being reduced to debt bondage and dependency (and ultimately to serfdom), and redistribution of lands to prevent its ownership from becoming polarized and concentrated in the hands of creditors and-landlords.

From today’s U.S. vantage point, that polarization is the basic dynamic of today’s U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism. China and Russia are existential threats to the global expansion of financialized rentier wealth. Today’s Cold War 2.0 aims to deter China and potentially other counties from socializing their financial systems, land and natural resources, and keeping infrastructure utilities public to prevent their being monopolized in private hands to siphon off economic rents at the expense of productive investment in economic growth.

The United States hoped that China might be as gullible as the Soviet Union and adopt neoliberal policy permitting its wealth to be privatized and turned into rent-extracting privileges, to be sold off to Americans. “What the free world expected when it welcomed China into the free trade body [the World Trade Organization] in 2001,” explained Clyde V. Prestowitz Jr, trade advisor in the Reagan administration, was that, “from the time of Deng Xiaoping’s adoption of some market methods in 1979 and especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 … increased trade with and investment in China would inevitably lead to the marketization of its economy, the demise of its state-owned enterprises.”[6]

But instead of adopting market-based neoliberalism, Mr. Prestowitz complained, China’s government supported industrial investment and kept money and debt control in its own hands. This government control was “at odds with the liberal, rules-based global system” along the neoliberal lines that had been imposed on the former Soviet economies after 1991. “More fundamentally,” Prestowitz summed up:

China’s economy is incompatible with the main premises of the global economic system embodied today in the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and a long list of other free trade agreements. These pacts assume economies that are primarily market based with the role of the state circumscribed and micro-economic decisions largely left to private interests operating under a rule of law. This system never anticipated an economy like China’s in which state-owned enterprises account for one-third of production; the fusion of the civilian economy with the strategic-military economy is a government necessity; five year economic plans guide investment to targeted sectors; an eternally dominant political party names the CEOs of a third or more of major corporations and has established party cells in every significant company; the value of the currency is managed, corporate and personal data are minutely collected by the government to be used for economic and political control; and international trade is subject to being weaponized at any moment for strategic ends.

This is jaw-dropping hypocrisy – as if the U.S. civilian economy is not fused with its own military-industrial complex, and does not manage its currency or weaponize its international trade as a means of achieving strategic ends. It is a case of the pot calling the kettle black, a fantasy depicting American industry as being independent of government. In fact, Prestowitz urged that “Biden should invoke the Defense Production Act to direct increased U.S.-based production of critical goods such as medicines, semiconductors, and solar panels.”

While U.S. trade strategists juxtapose American “democracy” and the Free World to Chinese autocracy, the major conflict between the United States and China has been the role of government support for industry. American industry grew strong in the 19th century by government support, just as China is now providing. That was the doctrine of industrial capitalism, after all. But as the U.S. economy has become financialized, it has de-industrialized. China has shown itself to be aware of the risks in financialization, and has taken measures to attempt to contain it. That has helped it achieve what used to be the U.S. ideal of providing low-priced basic infrastructure services.

Here is the U.S. policy dilemma: Its government is supporting industrial rivalry with China, but also supports financialization and privatization of the domestic economy – the very policy that it has used to control “vassal” countries and extract their economic surplus by rent-seeking.

Why U.S. finance capitalism treats China’s socialist economy as an existential treat

Financialized industrial capital wants a strong state to serve itself, but not to serve labor, consumers, the environment or long-term social progress at the cost of eroding profits and rents.

U.S. attempts to globalize this neoliberal policy are driving China to resist Western financialization. Its success provides other countries with an object lesson of why to avoid financialization and rent-seeking that adds to the economy’s overhead and hence its cost of living and doing business.

China also is providing an object lesson in how to protect its economy and that of its allies from foreign sanctions and related destabilization. Its most basic response has been to prevent an independent domestic or foreign-backed oligarchy from emerging. That has been one first and foremost by maintaining government control of finance and credit, property and land tenure policy in government hands with a long-term plan in mind.

Looking back over the course of history, this retention is how Bronze Age Near Eastern rulers prevented an oligarchy from emerging to threaten Near Eastern palatial economies. It is a tradition that persisted down through Byzantine times, taxing large aggregations of wealth to prevent a rivalry with the palace and its protection of a broad prosperity and distribution of self-support land.

China also is protecting its economy from U.S.-backed trade and financial sanctions and economic disruption by aiming at self-sufficiency in essentials. That involves technological independence and ability to provide enough food and energy resources to support an economy that can function in isolation from the unipolar U.S. bloc. It also involves decoupling from the U.S. dollar and from banking systems linked to it, and hence from U.S. ability to impose financial sanctions. Associated with this aim is creation of a domestic computerized alternative to the SWIFT bank-clearing system.

The dollar still accounts for 80 percent of all global transactions, but less than half of today’s Sino-Russian trade, and the proportion is declining, especially as Russian firms avoid dollarized payments or accounts from being seized by U.S. sanctions.

These protective moves limit the U.S. threat to Machiavelli’s first option: destroy the world if it does not submit to U.S.-sponsored financialized rent extraction. But as Vladimir Putin has framed matters: “Who would want to live in a world without Russia?”

Kin Chi: My quick comment: The USA surely would want to destroy its rival, taking the first option. But it knows it is impossible to succeed, even in the case of Russia, and not to mention China. Thus it hopes for the rival to disintegrate from within, or for substantial interest blocs from within to be complicit with US interests. Hence we need to assess how Russia and China are reacting to this challenge, given that there are multiple contesting forces within each country. And that is also why we have been very concerned with pro-US neo-liberal political economists and policy-makers in these two countries.

I agree with you that China has put much investment into infrastructure and industry. However, we have been concerned with China’s financialization moves. Hence your statement that “China has avoided financialization” may not be the actual case, as various moves have been taken in financialization, but we can say that China seems to be aware of the risks in financialization, and has taken measures to attempt to contain it, causing discontent from US financial interests which would want to see China going further down the road.

It is interesting that yesterday, the White House expressed concern over the China-Iraq use of digital RMB to settle oil accounts as this would be beyond US monitoring of transactions.

  1. Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince (1532), Chapter 5: “Concerning the way to govern cities or principalities which lived under their own laws before they were annexed.” 
  2. Neera Tanden, “Should Libya pay us back?” memo to Faiz Shakir, Peter Juul, Benjamin Armbruster and NSIP Core, October 21, 2011. Mr. Shakir, to his credit, wrote back: “If we think we can make money off an incursion, we’ll do it? That’s a serious policy/messaging/moral problem for our foreign policy I think.” As president of the Center for American Progress, Tanden backed a 2010 proposal to cut Social Security benefits, reflecting the long-term Obama-Clinton objective of fiscal austerity at home as well as abroad. 
  3. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives (New York: 1997), p. 40. See the discussion by Pepe Escobar, “For Leviathan, It’s So Cold in Alaska,” Unz.com, March 18, 2021. 
  4. Brzezinski, ibid., p. 55. 
  5. Brzezinski, “Towards a Global Realignment,” The American Interest (April 17, 2016) For a discussion see Mike Whitney, “The Broken Checkboard: Brzezinski Gives Up on Empire,” Counterpunch, August 25, 2016. 
  6. Clyde Prestowitz, “Blow Up the Global Trading System, Washington Monthly, March 24, 2021.. 

Israel’s Mossad in Iraq attacked, a number of Israelis killed, wounded: Sources

Source

By VT Editors -April 13, 2021

Press TV: Israel’s Mossad spy agency in Iraq has come under a deadly attack, security sources say.

Israel’s Mossad spy agency has come under attack in Iraq, security sources say, with a number of Israeli forces killed or wounded in what was described as a “heavy blow” on the Zionist regime.

Iraq’s Sabereen News, citing security sources, reported late on Tuesday that a facility affiliated with Israel’s Mossad spy agency had been attacked by “unknown resistance forces” in the north of the country.

The Iraqi media said the attack resulted in the death and injury of a “number of Israeli forces,” dealing a “heavy blow” to the regime and its spy agency.

The sources fell short of providing details on the location of the attack and the extent of damage, however, Sabereen said, “Tomorrow, we’ll share some pictures of the operation.”

Reacting to the incident, a high-ranking Iraqi military commander said in an interview with Russian TV network RT that they had not so far received any news about the attack.

Media outlets in northern Iraq have yet to comment on the attack.

The incident came hours after an Israeli ship was attacked in the Emirati port of Fujairah, causing damage but no casualties.

Israeli ship comes under attack off UAE coast: Media reports

Israeli ship comes under attack off UAE coast: Media reports

Media reports say an Israeli ship called the Hyperion affiliated with the regime’s PCC company has come under attack off the Emirati coast.

Israel’s Channel 12 quoted unnamed regime officials as blaming Iran for the ship attack.

The vessel, called the Hyperion and sailing under the Bahamas flag, was associated with the Israeli Ray Shipping company, the same company that owns a vessel hit by an explosion in the Sea of Oman in February.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastily accused at the time Iran of attacking the ship, with Iran categorically rejecting the charge.

Israeli media said the Tuesday’s attack on Hyperion was likely carried out with either a missile or a drone.

The attack followed an act of sabotage that targeted the electricity distribution network of Iran’s Shahid Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility in Natanz, which is a uranium enrichment center located in the city of the same name in Iran’s central province of Isfahan.

Natanz incident bold act of nuclear terrorism on Iranian soil’

'Natanz incident bold act of nuclear terrorism on Iranian soil'

Iran says the Sunday incident in Natanz which saw a nuclear facility lose electricity was “a bold act of nuclear terrorism on the Iranian soil”.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters on Monday that, “The appalling incident that took place in Natanz was the work of the Zionist regime (Israel), given what it was repeatedly saying before and what is still being heard from various sources these days.”

Iran said earlier this month that one of its merchant vessels has been targeted by an explosion of unknown origin in the strategic Red Sea, in the second such incident in less than a month.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman told reporters the Saviz ship was struck by the blast on April 5 near the coast of Djibouti, and sustained minor damage.

In a similar incident last month, an Iranian cargo ship was damaged after it was targeted by a terrorist attack en route to Europe in the Mediterranean Sea.

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المنطقة على حافة الهاوية 
فوق الصفيح الساخن The area on the edge of the cliff above the hot tin

**Please scroll down for the English Machine translation**

المنطقة على حافة الهاوية فوق الصفيح الساخن

بالتزامن مع انطلاق مفاوضات فيينا التي فرضت خلالها إيران شروطها لجهة استبعاد المشاركة الأميركية في قاعة الاجتماعات ونزع العلم الأميركي من القاعة، طالما لم تعُد واشنطن للاتفاق النووي من بوابة رفعها للعقوبات على إيران، بدأت جولة استهداف إسرائيلية استفزازية مكثفة لإيران، تضمنت خلال عشرة أيام عملية استهداف لإحدى السفن الإيرانية في البحر الأحمر، وغارات على مواقع إيرانيّة في سورية، وعملية تخريب في منشأة نطنز النووية داخل إيران.

الإنجاز الدبلوماسي الضخم الذي حققته طهران تجسّد، بقبول واشنطن أن عليها التقدم بالخطوة الأولى للعودة المتبادلة إلى الالتزامات المنصوص عليها في الاتفاق النووي، وقبول واشنطن بالتخلي عن أطروحات من نوع تعديل الاتفاق بالبنود النووية ومداها الزمني وتوسيع نطاقه ليطال الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية والملفات الإقليمية، وقبول عنوان العودة الحصرية للاتفاق كما تم توقيعه في عام 2015، وصولاً لإعلان أميركي واضح بالاستعداد لرفع عقوبات لا تتسق مع الاتفاق النوويّ لضمان عودة إيران الى الاتفاق وموجباته، خشية أن تبلغ إيران مرحلة امتلاك مقدرات إنتاج سلاح نووي بينما المفاوضات تراوح وتستهلك الوقت.

السعي لتخريب فرص التوصل للعودة للاتفاق معلن في كيان الاحتلال، وطرق التخريب لم تعد متاحة من خلال إقناع الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة بفرملة الاندفاع نحو العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، والتباين واضح في مقاربة موقع الاتفاق النووي من السياسات في كل من واشنطن وتل أبيب، لذلك لجأت قيادة كيان الإحتلال الى بديل عملياتي هو الضغط الميداني الاستفزازي القائم على توسيع نطاق الأذى بإيران أملاً ببلوغ حافة الحرب معها، على قاعدة ان هناك معاهدة تعاون استراتيجي ملزمة للأميركيين بدخول اي حرب يمكن لكيان الاحتلال التعرّض لها او التورط بها.

الواضح أن إيران وقوى محور المقاومة قد قرّروا عدم الأخذ بالحسابات التي تراهن عليها قيادة كيان الاحتلال، وعنوانها دفع إيران وقوى المقاومة للانكفاء رغم التعرّض للأذى وجرح الكرامة، أملاً بخلق مناخ يضغط على المفاوضات، ويقنع الأميركيين بالقدرة على إضعاف إيران، والتمهل قبل الموافقة على ما لا تريد قيادة الكيان أن يحدث، فالواضح أن قرار الردّ قد بدأ، وهو متواصل وسيستمر، وعلى الأميركيين أن يتحمّلوا تبعات معاهدتهم الاستراتيجية مع كيان الاحتلال، مقابل سعيهم للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، وإذا كانوا عاجزين عن ضبط أداء قيادة الكيان تحت سقف يتيح مواصلة هادئة للمفاوضات، فعليهم أن يختاروا بين الاتفاق والمعاهدة، وتلك مشكلتهم وليست مشكلة إيران ولا مشكلة قوى المقاومة.

الرد الإيرانيّ، كما تقول قيادة الكيان، بدأ بصاروخ بعيد المدى على سفينة عائدة للكيان مقابل ميناء الجميرة في الإمارات، وإيران تقول إنها ستردّ على استهداف منشأة نطنز سيكون في عمق الكيان، وتقول إن تصعيد تخصيب اليورانيوم الى 60% هو أحد الردود على الاستهداف طالما أن أحداً لا يملك لا القدرة ولا الشجاعة لفعل ما يلزم للجم كيان الاحتلال.

واشنطن وعواصم الغرب معاً أمام مفصل نوعيّ سيقرّر الكثير، والكرة في ملعبهم جميعاً، كما تقول إيران.


فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة


The area on the edge of the cliff above the hot tin

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In conjunction with the start of the Vienna negotiations, during which Iran imposed its conditions in terms of excluding the American participation in the conference room and removing the American flag from the hall, as long as Washington did not return to the nuclear agreement from the gateway to lifting sanctions on Iran, Israel began an intense provocative campaign against Iran, which included, within ten days, the targeting of one of the Iranian ships. in the Red Sea, raids on Iranian sites in Syria, and sabotage at the Natanz nuclear facility inside Iran.

The huge diplomatic achievement achieved by Tehran was embodied by Washington’s acceptance that it must take the first step for a reciprocal return to the obligations stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and Washington’s acceptance to abandon the amendment of the terms of the nuclear agreement and its timeframe and expand its scope to Iranian ballistic missiles and regional files, and return to the agreement as was signed in In 2015, leading to an American announcement of its readiness to lift sanctions not related to the nuclear agreement to ensure Iran’s return to the agreement and its obligations, fearing that Iran would reach the stage of acquiring the capabilities to produce a nuclear weapon while negotiations hover around and consume time.

The Zionist entity’s endeavor to sabotage the chances of reaching a return to the agreement is declared, and the methods of sabotage are no longer available by persuading the new American administration to brake the return to the nuclear agreement with Iran, and the contrast is clear in Washington and Tel Aviv. Therefore, the occupation entity resorted to an operational alternative, which is provocative field pressure, hoping to reach the edge of war with Iran, on the basis that there is a strategic cooperation treaty that binds the Americans to enter any war that the occupation entity can be subjected to or become involved in.

It is clear that Iran and the forces of the resistance axis have decided not to accept the calculations of the leadership of the occupation entity, whose title is pushing Iran and the resistance forces to retreat, convincing the Americans of the ability to weaken Iran, and slowing down before agreeing to what the entity’s leadership does not want to happen. It is clear that the response decision has begun, and it is continuing. And it will continue, and the Americans must bear the consequences of their strategic treaty with the occupation entity, in exchange for their endeavor to return to the nuclear agreement, and if they are unable to control the the entity’s leadership under a roof that allows for a quiet continuation of negotiations, then they must choose between the agreement and the treaty, and that is their problem and not the problem of Iran nor the problem of powers Resistance.

The Iranian response, as the entity’s leadership says, began with a long-range missile on a ship belonging to the entity opposite the port of Jumeirah in UAE, and Iran says it will respond to the targeting of the Natanz facility, which will be in the depth of the entity, and says that the escalation of uranium enrichment to 60% is one of the responses to targeting as long as No one has the ability or the courage to do what is necessary to restrain the occupation entity.

Washington and the capitals of the West together in front of a specific joint that will determine a lot, and the ball is in their court all, as Iran says.


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SAUDI ARABIA SUFFERS FROM HOUTHI ATTACKS. IS THERE A NEW JOB FOR TURKEY’S MERCENARIES?

South Front

12.04.2021 

Yemen’s Ansar Allah give the impression that it has an endless supply of drones.

The Houthis (as Ansar Allah is also known) appear to be adept at using them, if their own claims are to be entirely trusted.

On April 11th, two Qasef-2K drones were used to separately target the Jizan Airport and the King Khalid Airbase.

The Jizan Airport is a new target that has recently come up in reports of Houthi attacks.

The location includes hangars containing Saudi warplanes.

The King Khalid Airbase in ‘Asir suffers from the Houthi drone attacks more frequently, and has been subject of attacks at least 4 times in separate incidents since April 1st.

On April 9th, the Jizan Airport was targeted for the first time, and so was the Abha International Airport.

The Houthis are using their drones to disturb the aerial operations of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Riyadh generally either denies these reports of attacks or says they were ineffective, while Ansar Allah claims they successfully fulfilled their mission.

Clashes on the ground continue in Yemen, with the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis fighting in the Madghal district, and in the southern Kadhah district.

Saudi Arabia attempts to dig out every reason why its war in Yemen is failing, and on April 10th announced the execution of three of its soldiers for “high treason”.

They were allegedly collabarating with an enemy against Riyadh’s military interests.

They could have been in contact with the Houthis or with Iran.

This is practically the same, as Tehran supports Ansar Allah.

This means that Riyadh can’t fully trust its own armed forces, and it could require some help, in the form of mercenaries.

The militants in Syria that Turkey deploys and uses in small-scale conflicts such as Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh could be potential candidates for this.

Turkey, under Egyptian pressure, is expected to withdraw the mercenaries from Libya.

According to reports, it will do so within the next 5 months.

Separately, a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian mercenaries complaining for not getting paid after fighting for Azerbaijan went viral.

Immediately after it gained popularity, these same militants released a video saying that the news was fabricated, and that they never fought in Nagorno-Karabakh to begin with.

According to unnamed Yemeni intelligence sources, terrorists from Syria were expected to join the Saudi-led coalition in early April.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was reportedly waiting for new militants to arrive in Yemen’s southern province of Abyan to latter send them to Marib.

Today, many Turkish-backed mercenaries are sitting idly, unemployed.

This could mean either bad news for Syria, which will have to deal with them, or Ankara might decide to send them to Riyadh, if it “asks” for assistance.

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Incentives: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin possible moves – Donbass crisis.

Incentives: Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin possible moves – Donbass crisis.

April 11, 2021

By David Sant for the Saker Blog

Several analysts have written articles about how Russia is likely to respond in the theater to an offensive by Ukraine to restart the Donbass War. My purpose in this article is to look at the psychology and incentives of Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin and the possible moves that each of them may make in response to the Donbass crisis.

The Nature of the Dispute

It is fairly well established that two primary motives seem to be driving the Atlanticist pressure on Russia and continuing eastward expansion of NATO. The larger issue is that Russia, Iran, and China seem to be increasingly resistant to the rule of the Atlanticist monopolar hegemony enforced by the US Military and NATO. As someone recently said, the American empire is a currency empire sustained by forcing all energy transactions to be priced in US Dollars, and controlling energy transit points. By moving away from using USD for oil and gas transactions, Russia, China, and Iran pose a mortal threat to the empire.

The secondary issue, the one driving the timing, is control of oil and gas pipelines. In short the USA wants Europe to use American-controlled gas and oil, which means Saudi and Qatari oil, and American LNG. They want to create pipelines and delivery routes for American-controlled energy, and close or prevent delivery routes for Russian energy. The three current flashpoints are Syria, Ukraine, and the route of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, all three of which are current or potential pipeline routes.

Several years ago the US successfully pressured Bulgaria into cancelling the South Stream Pipeline through the Black Sea. However, US sanctions have been unable to deter Germany from allowing the Russians to complete the Nord Stream 2.

With the completion of the project only a few months away, the US seems determined to stop it at any cost. This appears to be the motive behind instigating the Ukrainian government to invade Donbass. If Russia defends Donbass, she will be demonized in the Western press, and this will be used to pressure Germany to cancel Nord Stream 2. From the American perspective, getting the Ukrainians to fight the Russians weakens both at no political cost to the US.

It is my opinion that the Biden Administration is making a major miscalculation by continuing this approach. For the past seven years, Russia has absorbed round after round of sanctions and provocations by the US government in Ukraine and Syria. The Biden regime seems to assume that if they instigate a war in Donbass now, that Russia will continue as they have before, to absorb the blow without striking back. I suggest that this time it will be different.

The History and Psychology of Biden and Putin

Vladimir Putin was handpicked by the Western handlers to replace Boris Yeltsin in 1999, largely because he was known to be reliable. However, Putin surprised those who appointed him by turning against the oligarchs and reigning in the chaos that was dismembering Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin enforced the law and cracked down on corruption, including corruption by the Western interests that put him in power.

Displeased by this turn of events, the West, led by Bill Browder, has spent the past fifteen years demonizing Putin. For example, when Russia granted asylum to Edward Snowden in 2013, multiple US politicians used scripted talking points calling Mr. Putin “a schoolyard bully.” That analogy was rather inept, as Russia did not invite Snowden, but rather got stuck with him, as his passport was cancelled while in transit, making it impossible for him to board his flight out of Russia. Putin actually said that as a former intelligence officer himself, he did not view Snowden’s leak of classified information in a positive light.

The problem with demonizing one’s opponent is that it can lead to strategic errors if you make the mistake of believing your own propaganda. If we look at Mr. Putin’s past behavior we see four consistent characteristics.

First, he follows the rules. Whether it is the START treaty, the chemical weapons accord, or the Minsk Agreements, the Putin regime has consistently tried to keep the old treaties alive and to follow agreed upon UN procedures for conflict resolution.

Second, when Mr. Putin has taken steps to oppose the Atlanticist agenda, he has done so in a way that allowed his opponents to save face. When the US was preparing to invade Syria in 2013, Putin persuaded Assad to agree to eliminate his chemical weapon stockpile. This pulled the rug out from under the US invasion, but it did not make the US look bad.

When Russia entered Syria to fight ISIS, they did not publicly expose the fact that the US and Israel were the primary backers of ISIS. Putin went along with the ruse and said, if America is fighting ISIS we will fight ISIS too, and did so legally at the invitation of Syria. Russia’s work allowed Trump to take credit for defeating ISIS, even though it completely ruined eight years of CIA efforts to train and arm those terrorists.

Third, Mr. Putin keeps his word. When he draws a red line, he enforces it. He speaks quietly but it is wise to listen carefully to what he says. We have seen this in the way that Russia dealt with terrorist groups that agreed to deconfliction versus those that did not, as well as the ones that agreed and then went against it.

And, lastly, when all else has failed and the other party crosses the red line anyway, Putin punches fast, hard, and unexpectedly, and often in a different theater than where the provocation has occurred. We saw this when Russia destroyed the oil smuggling network that the US and Turkey had set up in Northeastern Syria. We saw it again when Russia saved Mr. Erdogan from a US-backed coup only thirty minutes before he probably would have been captured.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden loved to tell the story on the campaign trail about his interaction with a black gangster named “Corn Pop” when he was a lifeguard in college. They almost had a fight but Biden brought a chain with him, and they later became friends. The fact that he even tells this tale signals that Biden has no real experience against a serious enemy. Men with street credibility don’t need to tell stories. They are known and respected.

The reality of Biden’s career is that he has played second fiddle to stronger leaders and only appears to have gotten the presidential nomination because it was his turn and he was deemed to be controllable by his handlers. Biden obtained the presidency through a fraud seen so openly that he has one of the lowest presidential approval ratings in history.

Biden and Putin met for the first time alone in 2011 for talks in Russia. According to Mike McCormick, who was Biden’s stenographer, Biden was halfway through his talk when suddenly the microphone, cameras, and lights were turned off and Putin and all of the media walked out leaving Biden humiliated. Something similar happened to Biden in China a few months later.

This is probably what Biden was referring to when he recently said that Putin was “a killer” with “no soul.” That interaction tells us exactly what Putin thinks of Biden. He considers him to be a weakling with no substance.

Biden’s team is stacked with Russophobes who are motivated by the desire to finish what they began in Ukraine under Obama. They believe they can successfully use information war and dirty tricks to isolate Russia from Europe and control all the energy conduits. Whether due to hubris or ignorance, they do not believe Russia would dare to strike back at the real instigator of the war in Ukraine.

Biden’s response to a Russian strike would probably be a plaintive high pitched, “c’mon man!” However, if Kamala Harris is making the decisions the risk of escalating to a nuclear response is much higher. The problem is that both Biden and Harris were picked and installed by a “power behind the throne,” so it is unclear exactly who would be making the decision of how to respond.

The Imminent Danger of the Current Imbroglio

There is no doubt that the US intends to create a war in Ukraine before the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline can be finished. This will happen within months if not weeks. It is also clear that Zelensky is being placed under tremendous pressure to force Russia into defending Donbass.

Russia has drawn a red line around Donbass. Ukraine had agreed to a peaceful resolution through the Minsk Accords. But with US encouragement, Kiev violated everything they agreed to, making it now politically impossible to re-integrate Donbass into Ukraine.

If Zelensky invades Donbass, then not just Ukraine, but the USA and NATO will be viewed by Russia as having crossed an inviolable red line. Yes, Russia will be forced to defend Donbass, because Putin will not allow Russians to be subjected to genocide. Russia does not want to fight Ukrainians, whom despite the jokes, they view as their Russian brothers. They are frustrated and angry that the USA has forced them into this position.

For this reason, I believe that Mr. Putin will do something that the Biden regime is not expecting with similar psychological impact to the sudden turning off of the lights and cameras. He will find a way to inflict debilitating pain on the decision makers who have forced Russia into intervening in Ukraine.

In addition to defending Donbass, Russia may strike the USA in a different theater. But they will do so in a way that cannot be confused with a nuclear attack. Unlike the previous chess moves that allowed the US leadership to save face, this one will neutralize and publicly humiliate the USA and the Biden regime as a paper tiger.

The Narrow Window of Technological Supremacy

While the US was busy invading third world countries as part of the War on Terror, Russia was quietly developing their defense technologies. They have now achieved technological supremacy over the USA in three areas: air and missile defenses, hypersonic missiles, and electronic countermeasures (ECM).

In the area of air defenses the Russian S-400 is an extremely capable platform which the West has very little experience fighting against. Russia has the capability to impose a no fly zone within about 500 kilometers of its S-400 batteries, of which there are several from Crimea to Kaliningrad. Israel’s use of the F-35 to bomb Syria has given the Russians live data on NATO’s most advanced stealth fighter.

The S-500 space defense system is scheduled to enter service in 2021. Since the S-500 can defend against ICBMs it may affect the balance of power of mutual assured destruction (MAD).

The Zircon and Khinzal hypersonic missiles are currently in service and are the most effective anti-ship weapons in the Russian arsenal that we know of. Their standoff range enables strikes on enemy ships from 500 to 2,000 kilometers. This means that Russia has the ability to strike ships in the Mediteranean and North Sea using assets based on Russian soil, not even counting the assets based in Latakia, Syria. NATO forces currently have no defense against hypersonic missiles.

Russian ECM capabilities have been somewhat exaggerated by news stories about the 2014 encounter with the USS Donald Cook. The Donald Cook was allegedly shut down by ECM attack while an SU-24 overflew the vessel. However, more accurate sources noted that any ECM attack, if there even was one, would have been executed using ground-based equipment, not the Su-24 fighter. If this attack really happened, the US Navy has presumably hardened its vessels against ECM in the seven years since.

We do know that Russian ECM systems in Syria were able to disable the vast majority of Tomahawk Missiles fired at Syria in April 2017. Other than aircraft carriers, the primary American method of projecting power is Arleigh-Burke class destroyers such as the USS Donald Cook which carry about 50 Tomahawk missiles each. The 2017 exercise in Syria probably indicates that Russia is able to jam volleys of Tomahawk missiles with better than 90% success. The remaining 10% of the subsonic Tomahawks can be easily shot down by anti-aircraft batteries.

The question is whether the US Navy has found a way to harden the Tomahawk missiles against Russian ECM since 2017. If not, then given the much smaller size and number of missiles that can be carried by Navy attack aircraft, the US Navy’s primary weapon for ground attack has no teeth against Russian targets. Of course in any conflict, the first target of NATO’s “wild weasel” aircraft will be SAM radars and ECM equipment.

Conclusion – Biden has Created Strong Incentives for Russia to Strike First

The US is spending billions to catch up technologically, and the window of Russian supremacy may only last for two or three years at most. Russia can be expected to reach the peak technological advantage over NATO in late 2021 after the S-500 system has been fully deployed. However, the Donbass crisis may force Russia to act sooner than they are comfortable.

If Russia were to use the window of supremacy to attempt a debilitating strike on the US military the US Navy is the most likely target. Ships are the most exposed, are not located inside another country’s borders, and are also the primary means of projecting US power. However, I would not rule out a non-missile attack on DC. For example, there are many ways that the US power grid could be turned off without using missiles. The ensuing domestic chaos might prevent the US from responding.

This is a very dangerous situation for the world because it could easily escalate to World War III or nuclear war, depending on the Biden Administration’s reaction. Part of the problem is that it is not clear who is really in charge of the Whitehouse. A nuclear response to a devastating conventional weapons defeat would be a disaster for both sides.

Russia will only strike the USA if they believe they have no other choice. What they have learned from seven years of sanctions, attempted coups, fake poisonings, and other provocations is that the US will continue this behavior for as long as Russia continues to accept it, or until Russia is broken and conquered. In short, Biden’s team may have finally convinced Russia that they have no other choice.

President Biden has handed Putin the justification for a first strike by openly stating his intention to conduct a cyber attack on Russia “soon.” That is a public declaration of war. The fact that the Russian ambassador was recalled from Washington and has not been sent back should be a wakeup call to America that DC itself is on the potential target list.

For these reasons I believe that there is a high probability that Russia will strike first before NATO can fully put in place the forces for planned exercises for this Summer. The strike will probably be non-nuclear, focused against US forces only, and its purpose will be to delegitimize the US power in the eyes of the junior members of NATO, and to weaken or cripple the US ability to project power.

If China and Iran see Russia strike the US military, it would not be surprising if they also pile on using their own hypersonic missiles to destroy US Navy assets in the Persian Gulf and South China Sea.

The Biden regime’s underestimation of Russia and failure to heed Putin’s warnings have created conditions which make possible a sudden and humiliating defeat of the US Navy, which could effectively end the US ability to project power overseas.

However, wars are rarely short, and victories rarely decisive. For this reason it would be better for all parties to de-escalate the conflict immediately. Unfortunately, the Biden regime is the only one in a position to do that, and they have shown no intention of doing so.

Hezbollah Deputy SG Terms US Return To JCPOA Great Victory for Iran

12/4/2021

Hezbollah Deputy SG Terms US Return To JCPOA Great Victory for Iran

By Staff, Agencies

Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General His Eminence Sheikh Naim Qassem described the US return to Iran nuclear deal as a great victory for the Islamic Republic.

Sheikh Qassem said if Iran could make the US return to Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], it has achieved a great victory.

Iran’s victory will be considered as a victory for the Resistance Movement to ‘Israeli’ occupation of the Palestinian territories, he added.

Earlier, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said on Friday that the removal of sanctions by the US must be the first step to revive the JCPOA, adding that Iran would reverse all the remedial steps as soon as it verifies that sanction are gone.

There is no need to negotiate US’ rejoining the JCPOA, as US path is completely clear in this regard, Araqchi noted.

“As the US withdrew the deal and resumed illegal sanctions against Iran, it can rejoin the deal in the same way and reverse the sanctions it imposed in total disregard of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231,” he added.

Analyzing Saudi Arabia’s Changing Attitude Towards Former Allies & Enemies

By Denis Korkodinov

Source

Analyzing Saudi Arabia

There is a huge possibility that the kingdom will nevertheless reconsider some of the directions of its foreign policy, given that the new US President Joe Biden and the head of the American State Department Antony Blinken began to exert tremendous pressure on Riyadh, demanding, in particular, to complete the war in Yemen.

A key feature of the development of the Middle East, from the mid-1970s to the present, is its direct dependence on the global hydrocarbon market. Nevertheless, based on the new geopolitical reality and the existing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MENA states are forced to significantly reduce their costs and abandon projects related to ensuring regional interests. Saudi Arabia, which for a long time positioned itself as the leading donor for the overwhelming majority of states, is also forced to experience economic difficulties. Such a picture can negatively affect the kingdom’s ability to ensure the realization of its own regional interests and forces it to reconsider its relations with former enemies and allies. First of all, this concerns Iran and Syria.

The main stumbling block between the countries is the draft political settlement of the Syrian crisis. Official power in Damascus, are loyal to the Iranian Ayatollah regime. Riyadh, especially since the beginning of the period of the so-called “Arab Spring”, has been pursuing the goal of reducing Tehran’s influence in the region, but it no longer regards Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as an ideological adversary. Differences in views with Iran are the main source of existing problems on the path to normalizing Syrian-Saudi relations. However, there is a huge possibility that the kingdom will nevertheless reconsider some of the directions of its foreign policy, given that the new US President Joe Biden and the head of the American State Department Antony Blinken began to exert tremendous pressure on Riyadh, demanding, in particular, to complete the war in Yemen. It is quite clear that such a requirement is deliberately impracticable, primarily for political reasons. Thus, the withdrawal of Saudi troops from Yemen may cause another escalation of the conflict, which, in principle, is already clearly visible in the situation in the province of Marib. Of course, this development of events does not meet the interests of the Saudi monarchy, which is especially sensitive to attacks carried out by the Ansar Allah movement both inside and outside Yemen. It should also be noted that the withdrawal from Yemen risks undermining the position of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. In addition, Washington is seeking to re-establish a nuclear deal with Iran, thereby placing the kingdom at a real threat. In such conditions, Riyadh needs to urgently transform its foreign policy, including towards Syria.

On March 1, 2021, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov became the first “extra-regional” high-ranking diplomat to make an official visit to Riyadh and meet in person with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the United States announced a series of anti-Saudi sanctions. Moscow is highly counting on the kingdom’s assistance in recognizing the new Libyan government and resolving the Syrian crisis. According to Russia, this would serve as an international guarantee that the region can soon return to a peaceful life and forget about the time of the protracted Arab Spring. In turn, Riyadh is interested in using Moscow as a mediator in negotiations with Damascus. In addition, the kingdom pursues the goal of determining the direction of its further path in the international arena and finding a “spare ally” in the person of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Initially taking an irreconcilable position in relation to official Damascus, Saudi Arabia is gradually beginning to change its mind and is ready for a dialogue with Bashar al-Assad, including within the framework of the League of Arab States, from which Syria was excluded in 2011. Now Riyadh is considering the possibility of resuming Damascus’s membership in the “Arab family”, but the timeframe for the implementation of this plan is still unclear. So, according to a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kuwait, retired Colonel Abdullah Mohsen Lafi al-Shammari, this may not happen before the presidential elections in Syria to be held in December 2021. In addition, the question of whether Damascus will want to return to the Arab League raises great doubts. In any case, now Russia and Iran are almost completely compensating Syria for all the costs that could be borne by the member countries of the international Arab organization.

One can, of course, consider that the starting point of such a sharp turn in Saudi diplomacy is the “destructive” policy of US President Joe Biden, who, having attacked Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with harsh criticism, called this approach a “recalibration.” However, a former member of the General Staff of the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad al-Harbi, said there is an understanding in the Saudi court that the American “condemnation strategy” is part of a larger geopolitical game. Kuwaiti expert Abdul Mohsen al-Shammari is of the same opinion. At least no one in Riyadh views the murder of Jamal Khashoggi as a serious reason for breaking off relations with Washington. Based on the principle of “real politics,” the Saudi court will not revise the format of cooperation with the White House in the next 30-50 years, even if force majeure circumstances arise in the form of a global conflict.

By putting pressure on Mohammad bin Salman, Washington, apparently, hopes for his categoricality, primarily in issues related to Iran and Russia. Joe Biden dislikes that Riyadh has questioned the US plan to reopen the nuclear deal with Tehran. In addition, the royal family’s interest in developing a constructive dialogue with Moscow also raises concerns in the White House administration. At the same time, Washington’s anti-Saudi rhetoric can be viewed as a kind of manifestation of jealousy.

Recently, US President Joe Biden sanctioned strikes against Iranian targets in Syria. This was a kind of signal for Saudi Arabia, which the US administration thus asked to join its military campaign. And, apparently, in Riyadh they are in no hurry to welcome this “invitation”, preferring to renew good relations with Damascus, but at the same time not to offend Washington. This opinion was confirmed by the Saudi expert Mohammed al-Harbi and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdul Mohsen al-Shammari.

It is also worth noting that Russia and Saudi Arabia are trying to put pressure on the United States to ease sanctions on Syria in accordance with the “Caesar’s Law.” Our countries agree that Caesar’s Law is generally toxic to regional security and stability. In particular, due to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Syria, the parties to the conflict may attempt another escalation and shift the field of armed struggle to other states. Recent negotiations between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, touched upon, among other things, this problem.

Saudi Arabia is ready to reconsider its relations not only with Syria, but also with Turkey, the political tension with which has become especially aggravated after the events of October 2018. Ankara and Riyadh actually took diametrically opposed positions in the international arena. In just two years, more than 20 Turkish schools have been closed in Mecca and Medina, and imports of Turkish goods into the kingdom in December 2020 reached an all-time low of $13.5 million, about 9 percent of imports in the same period in 2019. However, the situation began to change. Paradoxically, the reason for this was the results of the Second Karabakh war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At least Riyadh positively assessed the use of Turkish drones during the conflict as a tool for enforcing peace and in March 2021 expressed its intention to purchase 8 Bayraktar TB2 complexes from Ankara, which was officially confirmed by Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Saudi expert Mohammad al-Harbi, speaking about the transformation of foreign policy approaches in the Middle East, noted that Riyadh is ready to forget about grievances and start building friendly relations with many regional and non-regional players. According to the Saudi general, under the influence of the global economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, the kingdom’s foreign policy has undergone dramatic changes. Ideological differences with many states are a thing of the past. There is a huge need for the development of a regional anti-crisis communication system. As a first step on this path, Riyadh is pursuing the goal of normalizing relations with Syria, as well as trying to neutralize the “sharp corners” in the dialogue with Turkey with the obligatory mediation of Russia.

The increased Saudi interest in the peace process in Syria certainly plays a defining role in bilateral contacts. Riyadh intends to contribute to the achievement of peace in the Syrian Arab Republic and agrees to a leading position in the country of Bashar al-Assad. Nevertheless, according to Muhammad al-Harbi, the process of revising the Saudi policy towards official Damascus is still at a starting level, and therefore, it is not yet clear what such a policy can lead to. Nevertheless, Riyadh intends to clearly and consistently implement the Syrian-Saudi “warming” project. It is noteworthy that the regime of Bashar al-Assad quite adequately responds to the good aspirations of the kingdom. At the very least, Damascus is showing international sympathy for the Saudis to become guarantors of security in the MENA region, while maintaining Moscow’s mediating role. However, now the main obstacle is the pro-Iranian and pro-Turkish armed formations that have occupied a significant part of Syrian territory. These “unwanted forces” act as a trigger in regional politics and significantly complicate the implementation of the peacekeeping project under the auspices of Saudi Arabia.

It is possible that following the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Riyadh, direct talks may be organized between the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad already directly in Moscow. In any case, the Saudi court feels a great need for such a negotiation process to take place. The Russian Kremlin, apparently, is working out the details of this plan, hoping, thereby, to strengthen its own positions in the region. After all, if Bashar al-Assad and Mohammed bin Salman really meet directly and can shake hands, then this will generate a global resonance, and this act in terms of its geopolitical impact can be comparable to the conclusion of the Versailles Peace Treaty. At the very least, Riyadh and Damascus, through the resumption of bilateral relations, will be able to end the protracted armed conflict that has led to the deaths of more than 2 million ordinary Syrians.

IRAN REJECTS IRAQI-US “COSMETIC SURGERY,” BUT US-IRAN COOPERATION IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE 1/6

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier:

Following the assassination of Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Brigade, the Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei vowed before the world, but above all for his allies, that the US would pay the price by leaving West Asia. What Sayyed Khamenei said reflects his opinion and wishes as a Supreme Leader. These wishes do not always coincide with the State of Iran’s behaviour, which must build a relationship with other states according to Iran’s national interests. There is always a flexible line between what the Leader of the Revolution says and how he would like the Iranian government to act. 

However, when Sayyed Khamenei noted that no direct meetings would be accepted unless the US withdraw the harsh sanctions, he drew an unbreakable line the government will have to stick to, without necessarily including all sanctions but certainly the most important ones. Hence, Vienna’s indirect dialogue between the Iranians and those who signed the JCPOA (nuclear deal) but did not withdraw unilaterally as former President Donald Trump did.

Although Sayyed Ali Khamenei announced no time frame for the withdrawal of all US troops from West Asia, there is no doubt that Iran is ready to sit at the same table as its enemy if the outcome could help ease the economic situation in Iran. To Iran, the US administration, regardless of whether who sits at the top of its pyramid is republican or democrat, is not trustworthy. It can revoke international agreements, blatantly disregarding international law. However, in many circumstances, Iran’s supreme Leaders Ayatollah Khomeini and Sayyed Ali Khamenei have allowed the state to meet the Americans so as to favour Iran’s interests even if, from Iran’s perspective, the shadow of war with the US will always hover over the country as long as American forces are in the area. 

The Iranian officials are aware that the Biden administration faces many domestic and foreign challenges, with Russia and China as urgencies. However, for Tehran, its well-being represents the first urgency, and it is unwilling to understand the range of Biden’s priorities. This is why Tehran will not allow the US to rest in Iraq and why it continues to support its own allies in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. 

In Iraq, officials are promoting some “cosmetic surgery” to apply to the US forces’ presence, as a compromise between what Iran wants and where Iraqis believe their interests lie. Suggesting replacing the US troops with a “European NATO” is a way to tell Biden’s administration that withdrawal is not really on the Iraqi agenda. With or without a nuclear deal, the US can only dream of a peaceful Mesopotamia for its forces in the months to come if the withdrawal is not reached or replaced by a “European NATO”. 

However, total compliance and return to the nuclear agreement will undoubtedly slow down the Iraqi resistance’s aggression against the US forces, which, more than ever, will not abandon Mesopotamia to China, Russia and Iran…

The Yankees Are Coming Home: The Taliban Won. Get Over It

American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family.

By Philip Giraldi

Global Research, April 09, 2021

Strategic Culture Foundation 8 April 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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It hardly made the evening news, but the New York Times reported last week that after twenty years of fighting the Taliban are confident that they will fully control Afghanistan before too long whether or not the United States decides to leave some kind of residual force in the country after May 1st. The narrative is suggestive of The Mouse that Roared, lacking only Peter Sellers to put the finishing touches on what has to be considered a great humiliation for the U.S., which has a “defense” budget that is larger than the combined military spending of the next seven countries in order of magnitude. Those numbers include both Russia and China. The Taliban, on the other hand, have no military budget to speak of. That enormous disparity, un-reflected in who has won and lost, has to nurture concerns that it is the world’s only superpower, admittedly self-proclaimed, which is incapable of actually winning a war against anyone.

In fact, some recent wargaming has suggested that the United States would lose in a non-nuclear conflict with China alone based on the obsolescence of expensive and vulnerable weapons systems that the Pentagon relies upon, such as carrier groups. Nations like China, Iran and Russia that have invested in sophisticated and much cheaper missile systems to offset U.S. advantages have reportedly spent their money wisely. If the Biden foreign policy and military experts, largely embroiled in diversifying the country, choose to take on China, there may be no one left around to pick up the pieces.

Those who are warning of the apparent ineffectiveness of the U.S. armed forces in spite of their global presence in more than one thousand bases point most commonly to the historical record to make their case. Korea, fought under United Nations auspices, was a stalemate, with the peninsula divided to this day and a substantial American military force continuing to be a presence along the DMZ to enforce the armistice that not quite ended the war. Vietnam was a defeat, resulting in more than 58,000 Americans dead as well as an estimated 3 million Vietnamese, most of whom were civilians. The real lesson learned from Vietnam was that fighting on someone else’s turf where you have no real interests or stake in the outcome is a fool’s game, but the Pentagon instead worked to fix the mechanics in weapons and training at great cost without addressing why people fight wars in the first place. The other lesson was that the United States’ military was perfectly willing to lie to the country’s civilian leadership to expand the war and keep it going, a performance that was repeated in 2001 with the “Iraq is supporting terrorists and will have nuclear weapons” lies and also with the current crop of false analogies used to keep thousands of Americans in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

As a veteran of the Vietnam War army, I can recall sitting around with fellow enlisted men reading “Stars & Stripes,” the exclusive in-house-for-the-military newspaper that was covering the war. The paper quoted a senior officer who opined that the Soviets (as they were at that time) were really envious of the combat experience that the United States Army was obtaining in Vietnam. We all laughed. That same officer probably had a staff position away from the fighting but we draftees knew well that the war was a very bloody mistake while he may have tested his valor post-retirement working for Lockheed-Martin. The “Soviets” in any event demonstrated just how much they envied the experience of combat when they fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s, eventually withdrawing with their tails between their legs just as the U.S. had done in Vietnam after they lost 15,000 men. The “Grave of Empires,” indeed.History: Reversing the Vietnam Verdict

Since Vietnam there have been a number of small wars in places like Panama and Grenada, but the global war on terror has been a total disaster for American arms. Afghanistan, as it was for the Russians, is the ulcer that keeps on bleeding until it ends as a major defeat for the United States with the Taliban fully in control, as they are now predicting. Likewise, the destruction of a secular Iraq, regime change in Libya, and a continuing war against a non-threatening Syria have all failed to make Americans either safer or more prosperous. Iran is next, apparently, if the Joe Biden Administration has its way, and relations with major adversaries Russia and China have sunk even lower than they were during Donald Trump’s time as president. The White House has recently sent a shipload of offensive weapons to Kiev and the Ukrainian government has repeated its intention to retake Crimea from Russia, a formula for a new military disaster that could easily escalate into a major war. What is particularly regrettable is the fact that the United States has no compelling national interest in encouraging open warfare between Moscow and Kiev, a conflict that it will be unable to avoid as its is supplying Ukraine with weaponry.

There was almost no discussion of America’s wars during the recent election. One should take note, however, of a recent article by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb that appeared on National Review which seeks to provide an explanation for “The Real Reason the U.S. Can’t Win Wars Anymore” in spite of the fact that it is “the most powerful country in the history of the world.” To be sure, Kolb largely blames the policymakers for the defeat in Vietnam, aided and abetted by a culture of silence in the military where many officers knew that the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which escalated the conflict, was a fraud but chose to say or do nothing. He also observes that the war itself was unwinnable for various reasons, including the observation by many working and middle class Americans that they were little more than cannon fodder while the country’s elites either dodged the draft or exploited their status to obtain national guard or reserve commissions that were known to be mechanism to avoid Vietnam. Kolb notes that “…the four most recent presidents who could have served in Vietnam avoided that war and the draft by dubious means. Bill Clinton pretended to join the Army ROTC; George W. Bush used political connections to get into the Air National Guard, when President Johnson made it clear that the reserve component would not be activated to fight the war; Donald Trump, of course, had his family physician claim he had bone spurs, (Trump himself cannot remember which foot); and Joe Biden claimed that the asthma he had in high school prevented him from serving even though he brags about his athletic exploits while in high school.”

Kolb also reveals how America’s presumed prowess on the battlefield has distorted its “democracy building” endeavors to such an extent that genuine national interests have been ignored. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, success in overthrowing the Taliban was derived from critical assistance from Iran, which correctly regarded the extremist Sunni group as an enemy. But the Bush White House, far from showing gratitude, soon thereafter added Iran to its “axis of evil” list. A golden opportunity was wasted to repair a relationship which has poisoned America’s presence in the Middle East ever since.

One might add something else to Kolb’s assessment of failure at war. Most American soldiers have been and are proud of their service and consider it an honor to defend their country but the key word is “defend.” There was no defending going on in Vietnam nor in Afghanistan, which did not attack the U.S. and was willing to turn over Osama Bin Laden if the White House could provide evidence that he was involved in 9/11. Nor was there anything defensive about Obama’s destruction of Libya and the decades long “secret” wars to overthrow the Syrian and Iranian governments. Soldiers are trained to fight and obey orders but that does not mean that they can no longer observe and think. Twenty years of “Reconstruction” duty in Afghanistan is not defending the United States and the morale of American soldiers in the combined Democratic and Republican Parties’ plan to reconstruct the world is not a sufficient motivator if one is being asked to put one’s life on the line. Sure, American soldiers can still win wars, but it has to be a real war where there is something genuine at stake, like protecting one’s home and family. That is what the people who run Washington, very few of whom are veterans and most of whom first ask “But what’s in it for me?” fail to understand.

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Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.orgaddress is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org

He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Raging Twenties Book Review – Pepe Escobar – the philosopher, the court jester, the mystic, the historian.

Raging Twenties Book Review – Pepe Escobar – the philosopher, the court jester, the mystic, the historian.

April 08, 2021

By Larchmonter445 for the Saker Blog

Early on in the introduction to “Raging Twenties”, Pepe Escobar points to the change, the disruption that confronts the Established Elites who for 30 years ruled the globe with a free hand: “The Empire we have been taught to accept as a fact of life is irretrievably losing its leadership position—and will have to deal with much pain implicit in the acceptance of an increasingly multipolar world.”

Escobar’s concept from “Raging Twenties” that impressed is: “We are all being carried forward through the tides by a harpooned whale, with no idea how, where, or when our journey ends. Like Melville’s Ishmael, we’ve got to stay cool as we relentlessly fight the winds of fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that the expiring system manipulates non-stop.”

This is the vision of Pepe’s book “Raging Twenties”, a volume of works dedicated to the Covid-19 pandemic’s impact on people, governments and world affairs, especially the macro world economy.

Escobar is a man of many journeys, an adventurer, explorer, mapper and story-teller. For decades he has traveled the capitals of the globe and trekked the backroads of the third and fourth worlds more than any writer in our lifetime.

His professional vocation is understanding the human condition and transmitting via his writings that understanding of facts, people, events and situations. He has a unique quality to absorb information he personally gathers, demonstrating his grasp of geopolitical, philosophical and historical context, from ancient to modern.

Focusing on this decade, the “Raging Twenties”, a collection of Pepe’s definitive prose, is a “voice-over” that narrates the change in our world from a single-polar hegemon to a multi-polar world order in the time of a pandemic. He teases apart the complexities that often are unknown, misunderstood or misconstrued. His “voice” is pleasing though authoritative, yet instantly familiar. Writing that talks, as if it were an audio track, is his style.

“For the first time in two millennia, China is able to combine the dynamism of political and economic expansion both on the continental and maritime realms, something that the civilization-state did not experience since the short expeditionary stretch led by Admiral Zheng He in the Indian Ocean in the early 15th century. Eurasia, in the recent past, was under Western and Soviet colonization. Now it’s going all-out multipolar—a series of complex, evolving permutations led by Russia-China-Iran-Turkey-India-Pakistan-Kazakhstan.”

Escobar is a man comfortable in any of the five civilizations on Earth. He moves easily in the West, China, Russia, India or Iran, and most parts neighboring these giant cultures. He presents his narratives, tales of his travels and meetings in differing performances. Escobar has mastered four story-telling voices–philosopher, court jester, mystic, historian. He moves through these presenters seamlessly, embellishing his writing with intellectual depth and artful illumination.

In Chapter 8, “How the Riddler may teach us to fight a disease”, we perceive the Philosopher investigating the nature of our universe through the eyes of Heraclitus, the Riddler. “In his heart of hearts a contemptuous aristocrat, this master of paradox despised all so-called wise men and the mobs that adored them. Heraclitus was the definitive precursor of social distancing.”

“Heraclitus was a Taoist and a Buddhist. If opposites are ultimately the same, this implies the unity of all things. Heraclitus even foresaw the reaction we should have towards COVID-19: ‘It is disease that makes health sweet and good, hunger satiety, weariness rest.’ The Tao would approve it. In the Heraclitus framework of serial cosmic recycling, disease gives health its full significance.”

The Court Jester authors Chapter 5, entitled “We are all Stoics now”. Imagine a Court Jester flowing with Stoicism as pop culture in Ancient Greece. Pepe brings it to you. Escobar marks the first punk in History, Diogenes the Cynic. “It’s enlightening to know that the upper classes of the Roman empire, their 1%, regarded Zeno’s insights as quite solid, while—predictably—deriding the first punk in History, Diogenes the Cynic, who masturbated in the public square and carried a lantern trying to find a real man.”

He follows the transition from Greece to Rome as the ideas of the Stoics migrate over the centuries and better suit the Roman minds of Seneca, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, the trio we view as role models of Stoicism.

“The Stoics were very big on ataraxia (freedom of disturbance) as the ideal state of our mind. The wise man cannot possibly be troubled because the key to wisdom is knowing what not to care about.”

Have you ever read such a ‘take’ on Stoics, Cynics, Epicureans, Humanists, and Skeptics? Pepe ties it into the impact of the pandemic.

“Perhaps the ultimate Stoic secret is the distinction by Epictetus between things that are under our control—our thoughts and desires—and what is not: our bodies, our families, our property, our lot in life, all elements that the expansion of COVID-19 now put in check.”

“What the postmodern world retains from the Stoics is the notion of resigned acceptance—which makes total sense if the world really works according to their insights. If Fate—once again, Zeus, not the Christian God—rules the world, and practically everything that happens is out of our hands, then realpolitik means to accept “everything to happen as it actually does happen”, in the immortal words of Epictetus. Thus, it’s pointless to get excited about stuff we cannot change. And it’s pointless to be attached to things that we will eventually lose. But try selling this notion to the Masters of the Universe of financial capitalism.” You can hear Pepe’s laughter.

“So, The Way—according to the Stoics—is to own only the essentials, and to travel light. Lao Tzu would approve it. After all, anything we may lose is more or less gone already—thus we are already protected from the worst blows in life.”

As with each of the personas of Pepe we perceive in his collected work, he changes from one to another in mid-flight. The Court Jester can be seen and felt throughout “Raging Twenties”. Just take a tour of the Chapter Headings and the section sub-headings. Pepe does floor gymnastics, handstands and backflips, cartwheels and tumblesaults with terminology and labels. That big Escobar smile and hearty chest laugh abound: “Remember Pax Mongolica”, “The Sirens and La Dolce Vita”, “The Westlessness Myth”, “East is East, West is More”, “Barbarism With A Human Face”, “Enter The Triad”, “The City In A Time of Plague”, “Show Me Your Fragility”, “Barbarism Begins At Home”, “Flying Dragon, Crashing Eagle”, “Blake Meet Burroughs”.

The modern Mystic is with us in Chapter 10, “How Confucious, Buddha and The Tao Are Winning This War”, as well as the anchor chapter, “Eurasia, The Hegemon and the Three Sovereigns”. The Mystic appears most definitely in Chapter 25, a retrospective column Pepe chose to explore the digital ether that has wrapped around our brains. “Kim No-Vax Does Darpa” is a trip back into the early days of AI,3 research financed by Darpa, the teat that nearly all US computer scientists sought to suck. Reading this nostalgia spotlights the many dead-ends of US technology that generated the perverse present High-Tech Silicon Valley feudalism.

Travel with the Mystic to Venice, Chapter 3, “The Sirens and La Dolce Vita”. Pepe floats in Venice waterways to retrace selected steps with Ezra Pound. In “The Cantos”, we find The Sirens, sculptures that represent to Pound the beautiful culture, a time and place of the best which preceded a time (the present) of tawdry cheapness. The Mystic smoothly elides into “La Dolce Vita”, the Fellini film, that epitomizes the glitzy ugliness oncoming in the sixties. A period of trash culture that now envelopes the globe, foretold by Pound, embossed by Fellini and absorbed by us.

Pepe the Historian appears nearly everywhere in the pages of “Raging Twenties”. In a most clever Chapter 13, “Siren Call of A ‘System Leader’”, Pepe wends through the Mongol age of Genghis Khan, to the death of Kublai Khan and the end of that Empire right into the 21st Century where the USA Empire, like the last great Khan, faces China. However, China is a part of Eurasia, the vast resource of the multi-polar sovereigns China, Russia, Iran, India, their neighbors and friends, arrayed ready to construct a new world based on four civilizations, not an ideology like the failed Empire of the USA.

The Historian gathers from Thucydides and others regarding plagues. Pertinently, Escobar delivers the connection of the fall of empires and plagues as cause. “Predictably eyeing the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, a serious academic debate is raging around the working hypothesis of historian Kyle Harper, according to whom viruses and pandemics—especially the Justinian plague in the 6th century—led to the end of the Roman Empire.”

Escobar’s journalistic roots remain in real politic while consistently pointing out the gap between the twisted souls that feel the need to lie, cheat and murder to achieve their ends. With acerbic ink, he writes: “Those were the days when NATO, with full impunity, could bomb Serbia, miserably lose a war on Afghanistan, turn Libya into a militia hell and plot myriad interventions across the Global South. And of course, none of that had any connection whatsoever with the bombed and the invaded forced into becoming refugees in Europe.”

Pepe’s economic interest in Belt and Road and the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era opens our eyes to the real geo-political shifts. The pandemic has fractured world trade. “Soon we will be facing three major, interlocking debates: the management of the crisis, in many cases appalling; the search for future models; and the reconfiguration of the world-system.”

Peering over our Covid masks, we read Chapter 12, “How To Think Post-Planet Lockdown”. Pepe’s main insight remains valid: the state of exception has been completely normalized. And it gets worse: “A new despotism, which in terms of pervasive controls and cessation of every political activity, will be worse that the totalitarianisms we have known so far.”

“As dystopia and mass paranoia seem to be the law of the (bewildered) land, Michel Foucault’s analyses of biopolitics have never been so timely, as states across the world take over biopower—the control of people’s life and bodies.”

Pepe gives us, among many, Giorgio Agamben, who redoubles his analyses of science as the religion of our time: “The analogy with religion is taken literally; theologians declared that they could not clearly define what is God, but in his name they dictated rules of conduct to men and did not hesitate to burn heretics. Virologists admit they don’t know exactly what is a virus, but in its name they pretend to decide how human beings shall live.”

In the section, “Enter the triad”, Chapter 10, Pepe postulates: “I offer as a working hypothesis that the Asia triad of Confucius, Buddha and Lao Tzu has been absolutely essential in shaping the perception and serene response of hundreds of millions of people across various Asian nations to COVID-19—compared to the being is the greatest joy.” It also helps to know that “life is a series of natural and spontaneous choices. Don’t resist them—that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Buddhism runs in parallel to the Tao: “All conditioned things are impermanent—when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.” And to keep our vicissitudes in perspective, it helps to know that, “better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.”

Quo Vadis. Where are you marching?

Pepe shows us the way, the paths we are on. He offers, too, a pantheon of “travelers” who opine from the high clouds of history, from books on dusty shelves of libraries, from blogs and videos on digital platforms, all snatched by his rapier mind to weave affirmation into his ideas and analysis. In sum, a feast awaits the reader, taken as a banquet or a serial read chapter by chapter. Enjoy.

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Where you can buy RAGING TWENTIES by Pepe Escobar

Nuclear Deal Committee Concludes Meeting, Iran Reiterates Call for Lifting US Ban

April 9, 2021

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Nuclear Agreement Joint Committee ended the second round of its 18th regular meeting Friday in the Austrian capital Vienna. After the meeting, the delegations of Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany, the European Commission and the International Atomic Energy Agency agreed to hold the next meeting next Wednesday at the level of assistants to foreign ministers of member states.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for political affairs Abbas Araqchi says Tehran will not stop any of its nuclear-related activities until Washington lifts the whole sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Emphasizing on Iran’s principle stance on lifting of sanctions, Araqchi said that Tehran will not halt or even reduce the pace of its nuclear activities in particular in uranium enrichment sector.

The 20 percent enrichment of uranium is going forward even with the faster pace than the speed that the Iranian parliament envisaged in its law, he said, adding that 20 percent enriched uranium are being produced now.

The trend will go on until an accord will be reached, which will oblige the US to lift all of its sanctions, he stated, stressing that the whole sanctions should be lifted in one stage.

He further pointed to the negotiations with Europeans, Russia and China, noting that the claim that Iran is discussing with Europeans and they are holding talks with the Americans is not true, because the Iranian delegation in Vienna are negotiating with a set of current member states of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including the UK, France, Germany as well as Russia and China; then, they put forward the issue with the US in a way they know themselves.

Araqchi went on to say that there are signs that the Americans are reviewing their own stance and move forward to lift all sanctions, but the Iranian side is not still in a position to make a judgement, because the negotiations have not been finalized.

According to the Iranian diplomat, a long way is still ahead; although, the pace of negotiation is moving forward and the atmosphere of the talks are constructive.

Source: Al-Manar English Website and IRNA

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لماذا لا تملك واشنطن خياراً غير العودة للاتفاق النوويّ؟ Why does Washington have no choice but to return to the nuclear deal?

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

مفاوضات فيينا تنتهي بنجاح.. واتفاق على استكمال المباحثات

لماذا لا تملك واشنطن خياراً غير العودة للاتفاق النوويّ؟

ناصر قنديل

يتزامن في 22 أيار المقبل الموعد المعلن من إيران للانتقال الى مرحلة تخصيب لليورانيوم على درجة 40%، مع مرور ثلاثة شهور على دخول الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، والزمن القياسي بالنسبة لمهمة بحجم الملف النووي الإيراني، من موقع إدارة أميركية تدخل للتوّ الى موقع القرار وتمسك بعشرات الملفات الدولية والداخلية الضاغطة والملحّة، وهذا يعني أن انعقاد اجتماع فيينا الذي يجري تحت عنوان وضع خريطة طريق لعودة واشنطن وطهران الى التزاماتهما بموجب الاتفاق النووي، تعبير عن سرعة استثنائية بمفهوم العلاقات الدولية، مع التزام مبدئي من الطرفين الأميركي والإيراني بالاستعداد للعودة الى التزاماتهما، وخلافهما حول كيفية هذه العودة، كما قال المبعوث الأميركي الخاص للملف النووي، روبرت مالي، مع اعترافه بأن مناقشة القضايا الخلافية من خارج الاتفاق كقضية الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية والنزاعات الإقليمية، يجب أن تنتظر لما بعد العودة الى الاتفاق الأصلي. وهذا الاعتراف الأميركي يزيل أول عقبة من طريق العودة للاتفاق.

الواضح أن النقاش الدائر في فيينا لا يتصل بمبدأ العودة الأميركية عن العقوبات، ولا بمبدأ العودة الإيرانية عن تخفيض الالتزامات بموجبات الاتفاق، فمن الزاوية القانونية المبدئية يشكل الاتفاق مقايضة بين التزامين، أميركي برفع العقوبات، وإيراني بقبول ضوابط للملف النووي، ونحن اليوم أمام إعلان متبادل لترجمة هذا الاستعداد، تراجعت لأجله واشنطن عن دعوات سابقة للرئيس بايدن وفريقه تشترط للعودة إلى الاتفاق ورفع العقوبات باتفاق آخر، يضمن مزيداً من الضوابط التقنية، ويمتد لزمن أطول، ويطال تفاهمات أشمل نحو ملف الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية وملفات النزاع الإقليمي، وهذا أكبر تحول يفتح الباب للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، لأن ما تبقى يقوم على قاعدة سياسية تتصل برغبة وقدرة الفريقين الأميركي والإيراني بتسهيل المهمة على الشريك الآخر في الاتفاق. فواشنطن تطلب من طهران، كما قال مالي، مساعدتها على تسويق العودة للاتفاق أمام الداخل الأميركي، بينما تتمسك طهران بمعادلة قانونيّة قوامها، أن طهران خفضت التزاماتها رداً على الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق، ولم تنسحب من الاتفاق، بل أبقت بنداً من بنوده يجيز هذا التخفيض مقابل إخلال الأطراف الأخرى بموجباتها، ولذلك تتشدد طهران باعتبار العودة الأميركية إلى الاتفاق، وترجمتها بإلغاء كل العقوبات التي صدرت بناء على الانسحاب الأميركي، لتتم مطالبة إيران من قلب الاتفاق ووفقاً لبنوده بالعودة الى موجباتها.

في فيينا تشكلت لجان من المشاركين الدوليين مع كل من الفريقين الأميركي والإيراني نسختان من لجنتين، واحدة للالتزامات الإيرانية وواحدة للالتزامات الأميركية، لإنتاج تصوّر تفاوضيّ مع الوفد الإيراني في ملفي العودة للالتزامات والتراجع عن العقوبات، ومثله تصور تفاوضي مع الوفد الأميركي المقيم خارج قاعة الاجتماعات لملفي العودة عن العقوبات والعودة للالتزامات، والبدء بمحاولة تقريب التصورين سعياً لمنطقة وسط، والمقصود بالمنطقة الوسط هو تحديداً، ما هو حجم العقوبات الذي يمكن التفاهم مع واشنطن على رفعها قبل العودة الإيرانية إلى التزاماتها، مقابل ضمانة المشاركين الدوليين بأن إيران ستعود، وتقبله إيران للبدء بالخطوة الأولى في العودة إلى التزاماتها، وما هي المدة التي تطلبها واشنطن وتقبلها إيران لاستكمال إنهاء العقوبات، قبل أن تُقدم إيران على الخطوة الأخيرة في العودة إلى التزاماتها.

الطريق الذي فتح في فيينا محكوم أميركياً باللاعودة، وباب النهاية الوحيد له هو العودة إلى الاتفاق بأقل المخاطر والخسائر الممكنة، وفقاً لمعادلة قالها كل من وزير الخارجية الأميركية توني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي جايك سوليفان، ومضمونها السباق مع الزمن للعودة إلى الاتفاق قبل أن تمتلك إيران المقدرات اللازمة لإنتاج أول سلاح نوويّ، طالما هي خارج الاتفاق، والموعد الأميركيّ المرتقب لذلك هو نهاية شهر أيار.

فيديوات متعلقة


Why does Washington have no choice but to return to the nuclear deal?

Nasser Kandil

– Next May 22 coincides with the announced date of Iran to move to a stage of uranium enrichment at a level of 40%, with the passage of three months after the entry of US President Joe Biden to the White House, to hold dozens of international and internal files that are pressing and urgent, and this means that the Vienna meeting that is taking place under The title of laying out a road map for the return of Washington and Tehran to their obligations under the nuclear agreement is an expression of exceptional speed in the international relations, with an initial commitment on the American and Iranian parties to prepare for a return to their commitments, and their disagreement over how to do this return, as said by the US special envoy for the nuclear file, Robert Malley, admitting that outside the agreement such as Iran’s ballistic missile issue and regional conflicts, discussing issues outside the agreement, such as the Iranian ballistic missile issue and regional disputes, must wait until after the return to the original agreement. This American admission removes the first obstacle to returning to the agreement.

– It is clear that the debate in Vienna is not related to the principle of U.S. return from sanctions, nor to the principle of Iran’s return from reducing obligations under the agreement, from the initial legal point of view the agreement constitutes a trade-off between two commitments, the U.S. lifting of sanctions, and Iran accepting controls on the nuclear file, and today we are facing a mutual declaration to translate this readiness, for which Washington has retracted earlier calls for President  Biden and his team to return to the agreement and the lifting of sanctions with another agreement, guaranteeing more technical controls, extending longer, and extending broader understandings toward the Iranian ballistic missile file and regional conflict files, the biggest shift opens the door to a return to the nuclear agreement, because what remains is based on a political base related to the desire and ability of the U.S. and Iranian teams to facilitate the task over the other partner in the agreement. Washington is asking Tehran, Mali said, to help it market the return to the agreement in front of the U.S. interior, while Tehran adheres to a legal equation, that Tehran has reduced its obligations in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, and has not withdrawn from the agreement, but has kept one of its provisions authorizing this reduction in exchange for other parties violating its terms.  Tehran therefore tightens its consideration of the U.S. return to the agreement, translated into the abolition of all sanctions issued based on the U.S. withdrawal, so that Iran is asked to reverse the agreement and in accordance with its terms to return to its obligations.

– In Vienna, committees of international participants were formed with both the U.S. and Iranian teams, two versions of two committees, one for Iranian commitments and one for U.S. commitments, to produce a negotiated vision with the Iranian delegation in the return of commitments and the lifting of sanctions, as well as a negotiated vision with the U.S. delegation residing outside the meeting room to lift sanctions and return to commitments, and to begin trying to bring the two scenarios closer together in an effort to find a settlement. What is meant by the settlement is specifically, what is the size of the sanctions that can be agreed upon with Washington to lift them before Iran returns to its commitments, in exchange for the international participants ’guarantee that Iran will return, and Iran accepts it to start the first step in returning to its commitments, and what is the period that Washington demands and Iran accepts to complete End the sanctions, before Iran takes the final step in returning to its commitments

– The road opened in Vienna is doomed to  return, and the only end door to it is to return to the agreement with the least possible risks and losses, according to an equation said by U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Adviser  Jake Sullivan, and its content is the race against time to return to the agreement before Iran has the capabilities to produce the first nuclear weapon, as long as it is outside the agreement, and the expected U.S. date is the end of May.

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China’s Iran Deal Is Just the Beginning ” الاتفاقية مع إيران استراتيجية صينية أشمل لتنمية نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط

الاتفاقية مع إيران استراتيجية صينية أشمل لتنمية نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط

الكاتب: إيرييل ديفيدسون وآري سيكوريل
المصدر: ذا ناشونال إنترست
اليوم 7/4/2021

ينما تسعى بكين إلى تحقيق توازن للقوى في المنطقة لمنافسة الدول الغربية، فإن العبء يقع على عاتق إدارة بايدن لتحدي مكائد الصين في الشرق الأوسط.

وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف ونظيره الصيني وانغ يي.
وزير الخارجية الإيراني محمد جواد ظريف ونظيره الصيني وانغ يي يتبادلان وثائق الاتفاقية

كتبت إيرييل ديفيدسون بالاشتراك مع زميلها آري سيكوريل، وهما محللان وباحثان في مركز بحثي صهيوني أميركي مرتبط بـ”إسرائيل”، مقالة مشتركة في مجلة “ذا ناشونال انترست” الأميركية، يحرضان فيها واشنطن على الاتفاقية الصينية الإيرانية، إذ دعيا الولايات المتحدة إلى منع الصين من دعم خصوم الولايات المتحدة أو اكتساب نفوذ شديد على شركاء الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة.

وفي ما يلي ترجمة بتصرف للمقالة:

أعلنت الصين وإيران أخيراً عن “شراكة استراتيجية شاملة” لمدة خمسة وعشرين عاماً، تسعى إلى زيادة التعاون العسكري والدفاعي والأمني ​​بين إيران والصين، مما أثار فزع خصوم البلدين.

لا يشير الاتفاق إلى تجسيد تحالف إيران والصين، ولكنه يشير بدلاً من ذلك إلى استراتيجية صينية أوسع لتنمية نفوذها في الشرق الأوسط. ومن المفارقات أن هذا يأتي في وقت ظهر فيه إجماع من الحزبين في واشنطن على أن الولايات المتحدة يجب أن تقلل من مشاركتها في الشرق الأوسط لمواجهة التحدي الذي تشكّله الصين الصاعدة.

يُظهر الاتفاق الإيراني الصيني أن الشرق الأوسط ساحة مهمة لمنافسة القوى العظمى الناشئة مع الصين. تحتاج الولايات المتحدة الآن إلى منع الصين من تعزيز خصوم الولايات المتحدة واكتساب نفوذ شديد على شركاء الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة.

بالنسبة للإيرانيين، لا يمكن أن يكون توقيت الاتفاق أكثر ملاءمة. إن طهران بحاجة ماسة إلى السيولة بعد أن شلت العقوبات الأميركية اقتصاد البلاد وتأمل أن يخفف الاتفاق مع الصين من سطوة العقوبات الأميركية. مع كون الصين مشترياً مفترضاً لصادرات النفط الإيرانية لعقود مقبلة عدة، فإن جهود إدارة الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن لجر طهران إلى طاولة المفاوضات ستثبت أنها أكثر صعوبة.

وفي الوقت نفسه، ستكسب الصين إمدادات النفط من إيران لتغذية اقتصادها سريع النمو، وشريكاً إقليمياً يشاركها مصلحتها في كبح الامتداد العالمي لقوة الولايات المتحدة.

وبالتالي، قد يكون التأثير الفوري للاتفاق هو قيام الصين عن غير قصد بتسهيل المزيد من التخصيب النووي الإيراني. لكن من غير المرجح أن تنتهي آثاره المزعزعة للاستقرار عند هذا الحد، لأن مصلحة الصين تمتد عبر المنطقة.

بالإضافة إلى إبرام الاتفاقية، تضمنت رحلة وزير الخارجية الصيني وانغ لي إلى الشرق الأوسط كذلك تشكيل خطة أمنية إقليمية مع المملكة العربية السعودية، ولقاء في اسطنبول مع نظيره التركي، وإعلان أن الإمارات ستنتج جرعات لقاح سينوفارم الصيني بقيمة مائتي مليون دولار. وفي الوقت نفسه، تعمل الشركات الصينية المملوكة للدولة على توسيع استثماراتها في “إسرائيل” والسعودية والإمارات العربية المتحدة كجزء من “مبادرة الحزام والطريق”.

يأتي هذا النمط المتزايد من المشاركة الإقليمية الصينية، إلى جانب الوعود السخية، وإن لم تكن واقعية تماماً، بالاستثمار الأجنبي في وقت تقوم فيه الولايات المتحدة بتقليص وجودها في الشرق الأوسط وإعادة تموضعها بشكل متوازن. قد يبدأ شركاء الولايات المتحدة التقليديون، برؤية إيران تستفيد من السخاء الصيني وعلاقاتهم الخاصة بواشنطن، في النظر إلى الصين على أنها بديل جذاب بشكل متزايد.

تمثل أنشطة الصين في الشرق الأوسط خطراً على الولايات المتحدة لأن الصين تلعب في الميدان بطريقة سياسية واقعية بالكامل – فقد تدعم أعداء أميركا (على غرار إيران) أو قد تحاول استمالة حلفاء الولايات المتحدة (على غرار “إسرائيل”). بكين ليس لديها ولاءات. إنها تسعى لتقوية خصوم الولايات المتحدة أو سرقة شركائها التقليديين.

إن واشنطن ليست عاجزة عندما يتعلق الأمر باحتواء النفوذ الصيني في المنطقة. تحتاج الولايات المتحدة إلى استراتيجية مدروسة للتخفيف من سعي الصين لتحقيق نفوذ أكبر في الشرق الأوسط، استراتيجية تسعى إلى الحد من النفوذ الصيني بين شركاء الولايات المتحدة وإحباط الجهود الصينية لتقوية خصوم الولايات المتحدة. 

ويوصي الكاتبان أن تقوم هذه الاستراتيجية على:

أولاً، يجب أن تعمل واشنطن مع شركائها للحد من وصول بكين إلى البنية التحتية الحيوية والملكية الفكرية والتقنيات بين شركاء الولايات المتحدة. ونظراً لأن منظمتنا، المعهد اليهودي للأمن القومي الأميركي، قدمت أخيراً توصيات “لإسرائيل”، يجب أن يشمل ذلك تمكين الشركاء لتطوير أنظمة رقابة قوية على الاستثمار الأجنبي المباشر والصادرات، وتقديم مصادر تمويل تنافسية لشركات الشرق الأوسط المتعطشة للاستثمار.

في الوقت نفسه، يجب على الولايات المتحدة أن تدرك أنها لا تستطيع منع جميع الأنشطة الاقتصادية الإقليمية الصينية. وبدلاً من ذلك، يجب أن تشجع أميركا الصين على الاستثمار في بناء البنية التحتية غير الحيوية في المنطقة وفي الشركات التي تتعامل مع التحديات المشتركة، مثل الاحتباس الحراري.

وفي التعامل مع المحاولات الصينية لبناء علاقات مع خصوم الولايات المتحدة، قد تحد العديد من التكتيكات “الناعمة” كذلك من قدرة الصين على تكوين علاقات مستقرة مع الأنظمة. على سبيل المثال، فيما يتعلق بطهران، يمكن للولايات المتحدة إطلاق مجموعة من العمليات السيبرانية والمعلوماتية والنفسية التي تركز على الكشف عن التوترات الداخلية الخاصة بين الحكومتين الصينية والإيرانية، والتي قد تشمل الإشارة إلى الإبادة الجماعية المروعة التي ارتكبتها الصين ضد السكان المسلمين الإيغور. (في شينجيانغ) ونفاق الأنظمة الإسلامية التي تتسامح مع ذلك، بحسب توصية الكاتبين.

وفي الجانب الإعلامي، انتقد عدد كبير من الأصوات الغموض والطبيعة السرية لعملية التفاوض بين الصين وإيران، ويجب على الولايات المتحدة تضخيم هذه الأصوات عبر مختلف المنافذ الدولية. ومن شأن حملة منسقة من هذا النوع أن تساعد على تقويض صدق الاتفاقية، وبالتالي تقويض قدرة كل طرف على الاعتماد على بعضه البعض على المدى الطويل.

وختم الكاتبان بالقول: بينما تسعى بكين عن عمد إلى تحقيق توازن القوى في المنطقة لمنافسة الدول الغربية ، فإن العبء يقع على عاتق إدارة بايدن لتحدي مكائد الصين في الشرق الأوسط، والتي تتراوح من التدخل مع شركاء أميركا التقليديين إلى تشجيع خصوم الولايات المتحدة. وأضاف أن الاتفاقية الأخيرة بين الصين وإيران ليست سوى غيض من فيض.

*إيريل ديفيدسون وآري سيكوريل هما محللان سياسيان بارزان في المعهد اليهودي للأمن القومي الأميركي في مركز جيمندر للدفاع والاستراتيجية.

نقله إلى العربية بتصرف: الميادين نت

China’s Iran Deal Is Just the Beginning “

Source

April 6, 2021 

As Beijing deliberately pursues a balance of power in the region to rival Western countries, the onus will fall on the Biden administration to challenge China’s Middle Eastern machinations, which range from intervening with America’s traditional partners to emboldening its adversaries.

by Erielle Davidson Ari Cicurel

China and Iran recently announced a twenty-five-year “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” which seeks to increase military, defense, and security cooperation between Iran and China, to the consternation of both countries’ adversaries. 

The pact does not signal the materialization of an Iran-China alliance but instead points to a broader Chinese strategy to grow its influence in the Middle East. Ironically, this comes at a time when a bipartisan consensus has emerged in Washington that the United States should reduce its engagement in the Middle East to address the challenge posed by a rising China.  

The Iran-China deal evinces that the Middle East is an important arena for the emerging great-power competition with China. The United States now needs to prevent China from strengthening U.S. adversaries and gaining predatory influence over U.S. partners in the region. 

For the Iranians, the timing of the deal could not be more apropos. Tehran is desperate for cash after U.S. sanctions have crippled the country’s economy and hopes the pact with China will cushion the blow from U.S. sanctions. With China as a supposed purchaser of Iranian oil exports for several decades to come, the Biden administration’s efforts to drag Tehran to the negotiating table will prove much harder. 

Meanwhile, China is to gain both oil to fuel its rapidly growing economy and a regional partner that shares its interest in curbing the global reach of U.S. power. 

The immediate impact of the deal, thus, might be China unintentionally facilitating further Iranian nuclear enrichment. But its destabilizing effects are unlikely to end there, for China’s interest extends across the region. 

In addition to concluding the pact, Chinese foreign minister Wang Li’s trip to the Middle East also included the formation of a regional security plan with Saudi Arabia, a meeting in Istanbul with his Turkish counterpart, and an announcement that the UAE will produce two hundred million doses of China’s Sinopharm vaccine. Meanwhile, Chinese state-owned companies are expanding investments in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates as part of the Belt and Road initiative.

This increasing pattern of Chinese regional engagement, coupled with generous, if not entirely realistic, promises of foreign investment comes at a time when the United States is reducing and “rebalancing” its presence in the Middle East. Traditional U.S. partners, seeing Iran benefit from Chinese largesse and their own ties to Washington cool, might begin to view China as an increasingly attractive alternative. 

China’s activities in the Middle East present a risk to the United States because China plays the field in a wholly realpolitik fashion—it may support America’s enemies (see Iran) or it may court or attempt to court U.S. allies (see Israel). Beijing has no allegiances. It seeks both to strengthen U.S. adversaries or steal its traditional partners.

Firstly, Washington should work with its partners to limit Beijing’s access to critical infrastructure, intellectual property, and technologies among U.S. partners. As our organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, recently recommended for Israel, this should include both empowering partners to develop robust oversight regimes for foreign direct investment and exports and offering competitive sources of financing for investment-hungry Middle Eastern firms.

Simultaneously, the United States should recognize it cannot block all Chinese regional economic activity and instead, should encourage China to invest in building the region’s non-critical infrastructure and in firms tackling shared challenges, like global warming. 

In dealing with Chinese attempts to build ties with U.S. adversaries, several “soft” tactics also might limit China’s ability to form stable ties with regimes. For example, vis-à-vis Tehran, the United States could launch a combination of cyber, information, and psychological operations centered on revealing privately held internal tensions between the Chinese and Iranian governments, which might include pointing out China’s horrific genocide of its Uighur population and the hypocrisy of the Muslim regimes that tolerate it. 

On the information side, a plethora of voices have criticized the ambiguity and secretive nature of the negotiating process, and the United States should amplify those voices across various international outlets. A coordinated campaign of this nature would help to undermine the sincerity of the pact and, in turn, the ability of each party to rely on each other in the long term. 

As Beijing deliberately pursues a balance of power in the region to rival Western countries, the onus will fall on the Biden administration to challenge China’s Middle Eastern machinations, which range from intervening with America’s traditional partners to emboldening U.S. adversaries. The China-Iran deal is just the tip of the iceberg. 

Erielle Davidson (@politicalelle) and Ari Cicurel (@aricicurel) are senior policy analysts at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America’s Gemunder Center for Defense and Strategy. 

Nasrallah: US’ top priority is preventing a China-Russia-Iran alliance

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Nasrallah: US’ top priority is preventing a China-Russia-Iran alliance

April 05, 2021

Description:

In a recent televised speech, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah claimed that the Biden administration’s top priority today was to prevent the formation of a major alliance or axis between China, Russia, and Iran.

Nasrallah also claimed that the United States and Israel were today in a state of decline, while the Iran-led ‘Axis of Resistance’ was on an upward trajectory.

The ‘Axis of Resistance’ broadly refers to a strategic anti-Israel/anti-US imperialist alliance composed of, but not limited to, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi, Yemen’s Ansarullah, and various Palestinian armed factions.

Source: Spot Shot (YouTube)

Date: 4 April, 2021

(Important Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations for you by contributing as little as $1/month here )

Transcript:

Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah:

Of course, the Israelis too – (staying on) the Israeli file – the Israelis these days, I mean in the past few weeks and months, almost every day, despite the (many military/security) manoeuvres, they (nevertheless) express very publicly their concerns and worries over the fact that the Axis of Resistance is developing, that it is developing its capabilities. On the other hand, yes indeed, the Resistance (Axis) is working on the development and accumulation of its capabilities. This means that their worry has (real) foundations, (the Israelis) are not making up (this sense) of worry and concern.

Today, the Axis of Resistance is not silent, it is not an axis experiencing stagnation. On the contrary (my) honourable brothers, the Axis of Resistance has (successfully) passed – in these past 10 years – through the worst, most dangerous phase of its life and history. This is evident in what happened in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq (these past 10 years), as well as (what happened in) the entire region, and in the severe embargo and maximum sanctions (campaign) on Iran and so on.

Indeed, this axis is facing these threats with increased work, hard work, diligent work, away from any type of showing-off (i.e. fruitless muscle-flexing). (The goal of all this work) is to accumulate the capabilities and power (of the Resistance Axis), (capabilities) that will decisively decide the future.

I would like to conclude with the following words; I wish to depict the international and regional scene, and share some advice too, advice to (some in) Lebanon and to the region as a whole, not only to the Lebanese. Today, there is definitely a (particular) scene in the world, and I will be brief here, as I have already taken a lot of time and I have only got a few more minutes according to the brothers. They gave me limited time, otherwise, these days I’m taking much time – I’m delivering long speeches.

There are significant international developments (occurring today), and it is clear that the top priority of the US administration is China and Russia. China as an economic force that can become the top economic force in the world, which Biden says will not happen (as long as) he is around. Russia, of course, is not an economic threat. They rather view it more from the military, political and security angles, in addition to competition (with it) on the global (level).

There are ongoing American efforts to prevent the formation of a coalition, front, axis, or something of this nature, whereby Iran stands besides China and Russia. For this reason, they are seeking to address the nuclear file issue with Iran, with an emphasis on diplomacy. Of course, the emphasis on diplomacy here is not an American act of kindness; it is a testament to the power of Iran. By the way, Iran’s position on this issue is powerful and firm. What (Iran) did not give to Trump under the maximum sanctions (campaign) and daily war threats, it will not give (Biden) today while it stands on the verge of (successfully) overcoming the embargo and sanctions phase.

So, these are the priorities of the Americans, they are trying to work out how to deal with the files of the (Middle East) region in one way or another; let’s go to Yemen and see how we can extinguish the Yemen war, or let’s go to Afghanistan and see how we can clean up the situation in Afghanistan. (This is what is on their mind), but their approach is not clear yet, because they have not taken final decisions (on these high-level matters), according to the information (we currently have).

Regardless of what some analysts say, concerning Syria and Lebanon, it is obvious that the (the American side) is distracted from Palestine. What I want to say – through this quick analysis – to the friends of America in our region, and to whoever is betting on the American administration in our region, I say to them that (America’s) priorities – or in other words, there are new developments that they need to take into consideration.

The first development is that the new American priorities are not (related to) our region, except for what relates to Israel. Their priorities now are Russia, China, and how to resolve the issue with Iran. Thus, if you want to resolve your crises, end your wars, solve your problems, improve your situation and achieve compromises, if you are waiting for the Americans to achieve all of this, then the wait will be very long.

Secondly, America is no longer the America that you know. There is a new term that his eminence Imam Khamenei presented last year, and he had placed a lot of emphasis on it. I hereby call for reflection on (this term) so that we don’t take it as a mere headline or form of political rhetoric: “The decline of America”. America is in decline. In the words of some literature, it can be described as (on a) “descending arc”. America is now in a state of fall; in a state of descent.

America’s upcoming challenges today, most of them are related to internal problems, regarding the Corona Virus; the economic situation and its consequences; the white race (and race-related issues), fanaticism, infighting and associated dangers. America has never experienced internal dangers the likes of which it is facing today. This requires a prolonged discussion, but there is a (certain) outlook (on this issue which I will share later).

Of course, when we talk strategically, we are not talking about one year, or two, three, four or five – we are talking about a trajectory. The trajectory of the US is a trajectory of decline, descent, and downfall. Whereas the trajectory of the Axis of Resistance in the region, (with its) states, movements, and peoples, is an upward trajectory.

Priorities will (thus) be different. Therefore, I hereby call on you all, as states, peoples, regimes, movements, peoples, sects, groups, and whatever else: let us not wait for America, let us not wait for the (rest of the) world. Let us not wait for international developments. Let us hold dialogue on the regional and national (levels). Let us hold dialogue among all the states of the region, and dialogue among the peoples of the region, in order to resolve our problems and crises.

Let us not put off until tomorrow what we can do today, as the present day is better for you than tomorrow. I believe that all those who belong to the Axis of Resistance, as a result of the honesty, sincerity, and concern (they have) for their homelands, they are ready to reach certain resolutions, solutions, and compromises that would allow us to overcome all these difficult phases. This is the horizon that we see before us.

Of course, in light of this international and regional shift, Israel, just like its master, is on a path of decline. It is on “the descending arc”. The earnest wish of his eminence, (the late) Sheikh Ahmad Zein, that which the brothers spoke about before me, this wish is strong and vibrant. God willing, some of us – at the very least – will enter (the city of) al-Quds and pray in al-Quds, God willing. This is the horizon which we can see.


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