Is there a 6th column trying to subvert Russia?

THE SAKER • APRIL 30, 2020 

For those of us who followed the Russian Internet there is a highly visible phenomenon taking place which is quite startling: there are a lot of anti-Putin videos posted on YouTube or its Russian equivalents. Not only that, but a flurry of channels has recently appeared which seem to have made bashing Putin or Mishustin their full-time job. Of course, there have always been anti-Putin and anti-Medvedev videos in the past, but what makes this new wave so different from the old one is that they attack Putin and Mishustin not from pro-Western positions, but from putatively Russian patriotic positions. Even the supposed (not true) “personal advisor” to Putin and national-Bolshevik (true), Alexander Dugin has joined that movement (see here if you understand Russian).

This is a new, interesting and complex phenomenon, and I will try to unpack it here.

First, we have to remember that Putin was extremely successful at destroying the pro-Western opposition which, while shown on a daily basis on Russian TV, represents something in the 3-5% of the people at most. You might ask why they are so frequent on TV, and the reason is simple: the more they talk, the more they are hated.

So far from silencing the opposition, the Kremlin not only gives it air time, it even pays opposition figures top dollars to participate in the most popular talk shows. See here and here for more details

Truly, the reputation of the pro-Western “liberal” (in the Russian sense) opposition is now roadkill in Russia. Yes, there is a core of russophobic Russians who hate Russia with a passion (they refer to it as “Rashka”) and their hatred for everything Russian is so obvious that they are universally despised all over the country (the one big exception being Moscow where there is a much stronger “liberal” opposition which gets the support of all those who had a great time pillaging Russia in the 1990s and who now hate Putin for putting an end to their malfeasance).

As for the Duma opposition, it is an opposition only in name. They make noises, they bitch here and there, they condemn this or that, but at the end of the day, they will not represent a credible opposition at all.

Why?

Well, look at this screenshot I took from a Russian polling site:

The chart is in Russian, but it is also extremely simple to understand. On the Y axis, you see the percentage of people who “totally trust” and “mostly trust” the six politicians, in order: Putin, Mishustin, Zhirinovskii, Ziuganov, Mironov and Medvedev. The the X axis you see the time frame going from July 2019 to April 2020.

The only thing which really matters is this: 

in spite all the objective and subjective problems of Russia, in spite of a widely unpopular pension reform, in spite of all the western sanctions and in spite of the pandemic, Putin still sits alone in a rock-solid position: he has the overwhelming support of the Russian people. This single cause pretty much explains everything else I will be talking about today.

As most of you probably remember, there were already several waves of anti-Putin PSYOPS in the past, but they all failed for very simple reasons:

  1. Most Russians remember the horrors of the 1990s when the pro-Western “liberals” were in power.
  2. Second, the Russian people could observe how the West put bona fide rabidly russophobic Nazis in power in Kiev. The liberals expressed a great deal of sympathy for the Ukronazi regime. Few Russians doubt that if the pro-western “liberals” got to power, they would turn Russia into something very similar to today’s Ukraine.
  3. Next, the Russians could follow, day after day, how the Ukraine imploded, went through a bloody civil war, underwent a almost total de-industrialization and ended up with a real buffoon as President (Zelenskii just appointed, I kid you not, Saakashvili as Vice Prime Minister of the Ukraine, that is all you need to know to get the full measure of what kind of clueless imbecile Zelenskii is!). Not only do the liberals blame Russia for what happened to this poor country, they openly support Zelenskii.
  4. Most (all?) of the pro-western “NGO” (I put that in quotation marks, because these putatively non-governmental organization were entirely financed by western governments, mostly US and UK) were legally forced to reveal their sources of financing and most of them got listed as “foreign agents”. Others were simply kicked out of Russia. Thus, it became impossible for the AngloZionists to trigger what appeared to be “mass protests” under these condition.
  5. There is a solid “anti-Maidan” movement in Russia (including in Moscow!) which is ready to “pounce” (politically) in case of any Maidan-like movement in Russia. I strongly suspect that the FSB has a warm if unofficial collaboration with them.
  6. The Russian internal security services (FSB, FSO, National Guard, etc.) saw a major revival under Putin and they are now not only more powerful than in the past, but also much better organized to deal with subversion. As for the armed forces are solidly behind Putin and Shoigu. While in the 1990s Russia was basically defenseless, Russia today is a very tough nut to crack for western subversion/PSYOP operations.
  7. Last, but not least, the Russian liberals are so obviously from the class Alexander Solzhenitsyn referred to as “obrazovanshchina“, a word hard to translate but which roughly means “pretend educated”: these folks have always considered themselves very superior to the vast majority of the Russian people and they simply cannot hide their contempt for the “common man” (very similar to Hillary’s “deporables”). The common man fully realizes that and, quite logically, profoundly distrusts and even hates “liberals”.

There came a moment when the western curators of the Russian 5th column realized that calling Putin names in the western press, or publicly accusing him of being a “bloody despot” and a “KGB killer” might work with the gullible and brainwashed western audience, but it got absolutely no traction whatsoever in Russia.

And then, somebody, somewhere (I don’t know who, or where) came up with an truly brilliant idea: accusing Putin of not being a patriot and declare that he is a puppet in the hands of the AngloZionist Empire. This was nothing short of brilliant, I have to admit that.

First, they tried to sell the idea that Putin was about to “sell out” (or “trade”) Novorussia. One theory was that Russia would stand by and let the Ukronazis invade Novorussia. Another one was that the US and Russia would make a secret deal and “give” Syria to Putin, if he “gave” Novorussia to the Empire. Alternatively, there was the version that Russia would “give” Syria to Trump and he would “give” Novorussia to Putin. The actual narrative does not matter. What matters, A LOT, is that Putin was not presented as the “new Hitler” who would invade Poland and the Baltics, who would poison the Skripals, who would hack DNC servers and “put Trump into power”. These plain stupid fairy tales had not credibility in Russia. But Putin “selling out” Novorussia was much more credible, especially after it was clear that Russia did not allow the DNR/LNR forces to seize Mariupol.

I remain convinced that this was the correct decision. Why? Because had the DNR/LNR forces entered Mariupol their critical supply lines would have been cut off by an envelopment maneuver by the Ukrainian forces. Yes, the DNR/LNR forces did have the power needed to take Mariupol, but then they would end up surrounded by Ukronazi forces in a “cauldron/siege” kind of situation which would then have forced Russia to openly intervene to either support these forces. That was a no brainer in military terms, but in political terms this would have been a disaster for Russia and a dream come true to the AngloZionists who could (finally!) “prove” that Russia was involved all along. The folks in the Russian General Staff are clearly much smarter than the couch-generals which were accusing Russia of treason for now letting Mariupol be liberated.

Eventually, both the “sellout Syria” and the “sellout Novorussia” narratives lost their traction and the PSYOPS specialists in the West tried another good one: Putin became the obedient servant of Israel and, personally, Netanyahu. The arguments were very similar: Putin did not allow Syrians (or Russians) to shoot down Israeli aircraft over the Mediterranean or Lebanon, Putin did not use the famous S-400 to protect Syrian targets from Israeli strikes, and Putin did not land an airborne division in Syria to deal with the Takfiris. And nevermind here the fact that the officially declared Russian objectives in Syria were only to “stabilize the legitimate authority and create conditions for a political compromise” (see herefor details). The simple truth is that Putin never said that he would liberate each square meter of Syrian land from the Takfiris nor did he promise to defend Syria against Israel!

Still, for a while the Internet was inundated with articles claiming that Putin and Netanyahu were closely coordinating their every step and that Putin was Israel’s chum.

Eventually, this canard also lost a lot of credibility. After all, most folks are smart enough to realize that if Putin wanted to help Israel, all he had to do is… … well… … exactly *nothing*: the Takfiris would take Damascus and it would be “game over” for a civilized Syria and the Israelis would have a perfect pretext to intervene.

As I have already mentioned in a past article, these were the original Israeli goals for Syria:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan, but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Breakup Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and forces the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all center of Shia power in the Middle-East.

It is quite easy nowadays to prove the two following theses:

1) Israel dismally failed to achieve ANY of the above set goals and

2) the Russian intervention is the one single most important factor which prevented Israel from achieving these goals (the 2nd most important one was the heroic support given by Iran and Hezbollah who, quite literally, “saved the day”, especially during the early phases of the Russian intervention. Only an ignorant or dishonest person could seriously claim that Russia and Israel are working together when Russia, in reality, completely defeated Israel in Syria.

Still, while the first PSYOP (Putin the new Hitler) failed, and while the second PSYOP (Putin the sellout) also failed, the PSYOP specialists in the West came up with a much more potentially dangerous and effective PSYOP operation.

But first, they did something truly brilliant: they realized that their best allies in Russia would not be the (frankly, clueless) “liberals” but that they would find a much more powerful “ally” in those nostalgic of the Soviet Union. This I have to explain in some detail.

First, there is one thing human psychology which I have observed all my life: we tend to remember the good and forget the bad. Today, most of what I remember from boot-camp (and even “survival week”) sounds like fun times. The truth is that while in boot camp I hated almost every day. In a similar way, a lot of Russian have developed a kind of nostalgia for the Soviet era. I can understand that. After all, during the 50s the USSR achieved a truly miraculous rebirth, then in the 60s and 70s there were a lot of true triumphs. Finally, even in the hated 80s the USSR did achieve absolutely spectacular things (in science, technology, etc.). This is all true. What is often forgotten is that at the same time, the Soviet society was oppressive, the corrupt and geriatric CPSU ran everything and was mostly hated, the Russian people were afraid of the KGB and could not enjoy the freedoms folks in the US or Europe had. In truth, it was a mixed bag, but it is easy to remember only the good stuff.

Furthermore, a lot of folks who had high positions during the Soviet era did lose it all. And now that Russia is objectively undergoing various difficult trials, these folks have “smelled blood” and they clearly hope that by some miracle Putin will be overthrown. He won’t, if only for the following very basic reasons:

  1. The kind of state apparatus which protects Putin today can easily deal with this new, pseudo (I will explain below why I say “pseudo”) patriotic opposition.
  2. In the ranks of this opposition there is absolutely no credible leader (remember the chart above!)
  3. This opposition mostly complains, but offers no real solutions.

The core of this opposition is formed of Communists and Communist sympathizers who absolutely hate Putin for his (quite outspoken) anti-Communism. Let’s call them “new Communists” or “Neo-Communists”. And here is what makes them much more dangerous than the “liberal” opposition: the Neo-Communists are often absolutely right.

The (in my opinion) sad reality is that, for all his immense qualities, Putin is indeed a liberal, at least an economic sense. This manifests itself in two very different ways:

  1. Putin has still not removed all of the 5th columnists (aka “Atlantic Integrationists” aka “Washington consensus” types) from power. Yes, he did ditch Medvedev, but others (Nabiulina, Siluanov, etc.) are still there.
  2. Putin inherited a very bad system where almost all they key actors were 5th columnists. Not just a few (in)famous individuals, but an entire CLASS (in a Marxist sense of the term) of people who hate anything “social” and who support “liberal” ideas just so they can fill their pockets.

Here is the paradox: the USSR died in 1991-1993, Putin is an anti-Communist, but there STILL is a (Soviet-style) Nomenklatura in Russia, except for now they are often referred to as “oligarchs” (which is incorrect because, say, the Ukrainian oligarch truly decide the fate of the nation whereas this new Russian Nomenklatura does not decide the fate of Russia as a whole, but they have a major influence in the financial sector, which is what they care mostly about).

So we have something of a, maybe not quite “perfect”, but still very dangerous storm looming over Russia. How? Consider this:

Under Putin the Russian foreign policy has been such a success that even the Russian liberals, very reluctantly, admit that he did a pretty good job. However, the internal, many financial, policies of Russia have been a disaster. Just one example, the fact that the major Russian banks are bloated with their immense revenues, did not prevent millions of Russians from living in poverty and many hundreds of thousands of Russian small/family businesses of going under due to the very high interest rates.

One key problem in Russia is that both the Central Bank and the major commercial banks only care about their profits. What Russia truly needs is a state-owed DEVELOPMENT bank whose goal would not be millions and billions for the few, but making it possible for the creativity of the Russian people to truly blossom. Today, we see the exact opposite in Russia.

So what is my beef with this social ( if not quite “Socialist”) opposition?

They are so focused on their narrow complaints that they completely miss the big picture. Let me explain.

First, Russia has been in a state of war against the US+EU+NATO since at least 2015. Yes, this war is 80% informational, 15% economic and only 5% kinetic. But it is a very real war nonetheless. The key characteristic of a real war is that victory is only achieved by one side, the other is fully defeated. Which means that the war between the AngloZionist Empire is an existential one: one party will win and survive, the other one will disappear and will be replaced with a qualitatively new polity/society. The Neo-Communist Russian opposition steadfastly pretends like there is no war, like all the losses (economic and human) are only the result of corruption and incompetence. They forget that during the last war between Russia and the “United West” German tanks were at the outskirts of Moscow.

Well, of course they know that. But they pretend not to. And this is why I think of them as the 6th column (as opposed to the 5th, openly “liberal” and pro-Western one).

Second, while this opposition is, in my opinion, absolutely correct in deploring Putin’s apparent belief that following the advice of what I would call “IMF types” is safer than following recommendations of what could be loosely called “opposition economists” (here I think of Glaziev, whose views I personally fully support), they fail to realize the risks involved in crushing the “IMF types”. The sad truth is that Russian banks are very powerful and that in many ways, the state cannot afford totally alienating them. Right now the banks support Putin only because he supports them. But if Putin decided to follow the advice of, say, Glaziev and his supporters, the Russian bankers would react with a “total war” against Putin.

If you study Russian history, you will soon realize that Russia did superbly with military enemies, did very averagely with diplomatic efforts (which often negated military victories) and did terribly with what we could call the “internal opposition”.

So let me repeat it here: I do not consider NATO or the US as credible military threats to Russia, unless they decide to use nuclear weapons, at which point both Russia and the West would suffer terribly. But even in this scenario, Russia would prevail (Russia has a 10-15 year advantage against the US in both civilian and military nuclear technologies and the Russian society is far more survivable one – if this topic is of interest to you, just read Dmitry Orlov’s books who explains it all better than I ever could). I have always, and still do, consider that the real danger for Putin and those who share his views is the internal, often “insider”, opposition in Russia. They were always the ones to present the biggest threat to any Russian ruler, from the Czars to Stalin.

This new Neo-Communist 6th column is, however, a much more dangerous threat to the future of Russia than the pro-western 5th columnists. Some of their tactics are extremely devious. For example, one of the things you hear most often from these folks is this: “unless Putin does X, Y or Z, there is a risk of a bloody revolution”. Having listened to many tens of their videos, I can tell you with total security that far from fearing a bloody revolution, these folks in reality dream of such a revolution.

”Too often in our history we have seen that instead of an opposition to the government we are confronted with an opposition to Russia herself. And we know how this ends: with the destruction of the state as such”.

”Too often in our history we have seen that instead of an opposition to the government we are confronted with an opposition to Russia herself. And we know how this ends: with the destruction of the state as such”.

Now, if you think as a true patriot of Russia, you have to realize that Russia suffered from not one, but two, truly horrible revolutions: in 1917 and 1991. In each case the consequences of these revolutions (irrespective of how justified they might have appeared at the time) were absolutely horrible: both in 1917 and in 1991 Russia almost completely vanished as a country, and millions suffered terribly. I now hold is as axiomatic that nothing would be worse for Russia than *any* revolution, no matter what ideology feeds it or how bad the “regime in power” might appear to be.

Putin is acutely aware of that (see image).

These Neo-Communists would very much disagree with me.

They “warn” about a revolution, while in reality trying to create the conditions for one.

Now let me be clear: I am absolutely convinced that NO revolution (Neo-Communist or other) is possible in Russia. More accurately, while I do believe that an attempt for a revolution could happen, I believe that any coup/revolution against Putin is bound to fail. Why? The graphic above.

Even if by some (horrible) miracle, it was possible to defeat/neutralize the combined power of the FSB+FSO+National Guard+Armed forces (which I find impossible), this “success” would be limited to Moscow or, at most, the Moscow Oblast. Beyond that it is all “Putin territory”. In terms of firepower, the Moscow Oblast has a lot of first-rate units, but it does not even come close to what the “rest of Russia” could engage (just the 58th Army in the south would be unstoppable). But even that is not truly crucial. The truly crucial thing following any coup/revolution would be the 70%+ of Russian people who, for the first time in centuries, truly believe that Putin stands for their interest and that he is “their man”. These people will never accept any illegal attempt to remove Putin from power. That is the key reason why no successful revolution is currently possible in Russia.

But while any revolution/coup would be bound to fail, it could very much result in a bloodbath way bigger than what happened in 1993 (where the military was mostly not engaged in the events).

Now lets add it all up.

There is a very vocal internal opposition to Putin in Russia which is most unlikely to ever get real popular support, but which could possibly unite enough of the nostalgics of the Soviet era to create a real crisis.

This internal opposition clearly and objectively weakens the authority/reputation of Putin, which has been main goal of the western “alphabet soup” ever since Putin came to power.

This internal opposition, being mostly nostalgics of the Soviet era, will get no official support from the West, but it will enjoy a maximal covert support from the western “alphabet soup”.

Finally, this Neo-Communist opposition will never seize power, but it might create a very real internal political crisis which will very much weaken Putin and the Eurasian Sovereignists.

So what is the solution?

Putin needs to preempt any civil unrest. Removing Medvedev and replacing him by Mishustin was the correct move, but it was also too little too late. Frankly, I believe that it is high time for Putin to finally openly break with the “Washington consensus types” and listen to Glaziev who, at least, is no Communist.

Russia has always been a collectivistic society, and she needs to stop apologizing (even just mentally) for this. Instead, she should openly and fully embrace her collectivistic culture and traditions and show the “Washington consensus” types to the door.

Yes, the Moscow elites will be furious, but it is also high time to tell these folks that they don’t own Russia, and that while they could make a killing prostituting themselves to the Empire, most Russian don’t want to do that.

The bottom line is this: Putin represents something very unique and very precious: he is a true Russian patriot, but he is not one nostalgic for the days of the Soviet Union. Right now, he is the only (or one of very few) Russian politician which can claim this quality. He needs to preempt the crisis which the Neo-Communists could trigger not by silencing them, but by realizing that on some issues the Russian people do, in fact, agree with them (even if they are not willing to call for a revolution).

Does that sound complicated or even convoluted? If it does, it is because it is. But for all the nuances we can discern a bottom line: it is not worth prevailing (or even failing) if that weakens/threatens Russia. Right now, the Neo-Communist opposition is, objectively, a threat to the stability and prosperity of Russia. That does NOT, however, mean that these folks are always wrong. They often are spot on, 100% correct.

Putin needs to prove them wrong by listening to them and do the right thing.

Difficult? Yes. Doable? Yes. Therefore he has to do it.

IRAQ FACING A GREAT US THREAT: CHINA, AL-HASHD AND IRAN OUT, OR ELSE! … (2/2)

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

No country could fail to be shaken by the kind of profound struggle between all its political groups that currently prevails in Iraq. The US does not need to make any great effort to sow discord between the parties because they are currently intrinsically fragmented. The removal of Major General Qassim Suleimani from the Iraqi scene– whose personal objective had been to bring the various political parties together – was a major event, but not a game-changer. It did not profoundly modify the Iraqi political scene because he had already failed, two months before his assassination by the US, to persuade the parties to agree on a single Prime Ministerial candidate, following the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. Iraqi politicians put their differences above all else in order to protect their political influences, unmoved by the patriotic duty for unity in the light of the serious challenges facing their country.

Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi was not mistaken when he once told me: “We do not know how to rule. We are good at opposing the ruler.” No ruler in Iraq will be able to get the country out of its current severe financial crisis, the political acrimony, and COVID-19 health crisis, because the financial means are lacking. The pressure from the street, where protestors were demanding improved living conditions, will return stronger than ever. The low price of crude oil is undermining Iraq’s yearly income. The state’s budget deficit is skyrocketing; its external debts are persistent and its need for help from the World Bank, which is under US control, is greater than ever. America will not provide financial assistance until its demands are fulfilled and Iranian influence is removed from Iraq.

America rejects Iraq’s balancing policy. Iraq considers its relationship with the US only as important as its relationship with neighbouring Iran. Washington wants Iraq for itself, adopting one principle: “after me, the great flood” (après moi le deluge) an expression said to be often used by Louis XV of France to indicate that he is the centre of attention, no other consideration matter but his own self-obsession and that any other considerations are irrelevant.

The US is supporting Iraqi Kurdistan by expanding its “Harir” military base and establishing another large military base on the border with Iran. The message to Baghdad seems blunt: US forces will remain in the face of resistance from those parts of Iraq more subject to Baghdad’s authority. In Kurdistan, the central government authority is not as effective as in other parts of the country. The US supports the Kurdish Peshmerga and arms them through its allies, the United Arab Emirates, who are providing the Kurdish armed men with weaponry: four cargos full of weapons landed recently in Erbil. 

It is not excluded, if Trump remains in power, that his administration will help the Kurdistan region detach itself from Iraq, as it may also support a Kurdish secession attempt in north-eastern Syria. In the part of Syria, the US is occupying with Kurdish help, US forces are stealing Syrian crude oil- even if its price is no longer sufficient to pay the expenses of the troops deployed around it- indicating that there is another reason for their presence, related to the US ally, Israel. 

Iraqi protestors refer to the United States as the “Joker,” a powerful force exerting influence on events in Iraq, often covertly. This influence was evident in last year’s demonstrations, but most conspicuously in the Kurdistan independence movement. Kurdish officials already rejected the binding constitutional decision of the Iraqi parliament – in a clear rebellion against the authority of Baghdad –which demanded the US withdrawal from Iraq.

Iraqi decision-makers in Baghdad believe that US President Donald Trump acts only in accordance with his own country’s interests. He thanked Adel Abdul-Mahdi for his protection of the US embassy because it was attacked in Baghdad. The US President sent a positive message to Iran through Abdul-Mahdi and then, a few days later, killed the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. The US administration is also working for Israel’s interests in Iraq – and not according to the “declared” interest of the US in building a strong and friendly Iraq-US relationship. 

Trump did not listen to his protests when Abdul-Mahdi called him personally and told him that US actions in attacking security forces were angering the Iraqis and that any unilateral action would have catastrophic consequences for everyone. Rather, Trump listened to his aides who consider the Middle East leaders as subordinates, not allies. This US condescension serves the interests of Iran, which knows how to benefit from American mistakes, said the sources.

There is no doubt that Iraq is facing a crisis, with severe domestic bickering adding to the difficult economic and sanitary situation affecting all countries. But the greatest danger to the country comes from the Trump administration, which can only imagine subduing states by force. The US will certainly end up “reaping the whirlwind” rather than gaining a robust alliance with Iraq.

There is no doubt that Iraq is experiencing difficult labour in the midst of severe domestic bickering, plus the difficult economic and sanitary situation affecting all countries. But even more dangerous is the fact that Iraq is in the eye of the storm, pulled off course by the winds of Trump, who can only imagine subduing states by force. The US will certainly end up “reaping the whirlwind” rather than gaining any kind of robust allies.

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B

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WHICH TARGET AFTER SYRIA?

Source

19 years of “war without end”

President George W. Bush decided to radically transform the Pentagon’s missions, as Colonel Ralph Peters explained in the Army magazine Parameters on September 13, 2001. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed Admiral Arthur Cebrowski to train future officers. Cebrowski spent three years touring military universities so that today all general officers have taken his courses. His thoughts were popularized for the general public by his deputy, Thomas Barnett.

The areas affected by the US war will be given over to “chaos”. This concept is to be understood in the sense of the English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, i.e. as the absence of political structures capable of protecting citizens from their own violence (“Man is a wolf to man”). And not in the biblical sense of making a clean slate before the creation of a new order.

This war is an adaptation of the US Armed Forces to the era of globalization, to the transition from productive capitalism to financial capitalism. “War is a Racket,” as Smedley Butler, America’s most decorated general, used to say before World War II [1]. From now on, friends and enemies will no longer count; war will allow for the simple management of natural resources.

This form of war involves many crimes against humanity (including ethnic cleansing) that the US Armed Forces cannot commit. Secretary Donald Rumsfeld therefore hired private armies (including Blackwater) and developed terrorist organizations while pretending to fight them.

The Bush and Obama administrations followed this strategy: to destroy the state structures of entire regions of the world. The US war is no longer about winning, but about lasting (the “war without end”). President Donald Trump and his first National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, have questioned this development without being able to change it. Today, the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski thinkers pursue their goals not so much through the Defence Secretariat as through NATO.

After President Bush launched the “never-ending war” in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003), there was strong contestation among Washington’s political elites about the arguments that had justified the invasion of Iraq and the disorder there. This was the Baker-Hamilton Commission (2006). The war never stopped in Afghanistan or Iraq, but it took five years for President Obama to open new theatres of operation: Libya (2011), Syria (2012) and Yemen (2015).

Two external actors interfered with this plan.
 In 2010-11, the United Kingdom launched the “Arab Spring”, an operation modeled on the “Arab Revolt” of 1915, which allowed Lawrence of Arabia to put the Wahhabi in power on the Arabian Peninsula. This time it was a question of placing the Muslim Brotherhood in power with the help not of the Pentagon, but of the US State Department and NATO.
 In 2014, Russia intervened in Syria, whose state had not collapsed and which it helped to resist. Since then, the British – who had tried to change the regime there during the “Arab Spring” (2011-early 2012) – and then the Americans – who were seeking to overthrow not the regime, but the state (mid-2012 to the present) – have had to withdraw. Russia, pursuing the dream of Tsarina Catherine, is today fighting against chaos, for stability – that is to say, for the defence of state structures and respect for borders.

Colonel Ralph Peters, who in 2001 revealed the Pentagon’s new strategy, published Admiral Cebrowski’s map of objectives in 2006. It showed that only Israel and Jordan would not be affected. All other countries in the “Broader Middle East” (i.e., from Morocco to Pakistan) would gradually be stateless and all major countries (including Saudi Arabia and Turkey) would disappear.

Noting that its best ally, the United States, was planning to cut its territory in two in order to create a “free Kurdistan”, Turkey unsuccessfully tried to get closer to China, and then adopted the theory of Professor Ahmet Davutoğlu: “Zero problems with its neighbours”. It distanced itself from Israel and began to negotiate peace with Cyprus, Greece, Armenia, Iraq etc. It also distanced itself from Israel. Despite the territorial dispute over Hatay, it created a common market with Syria. However, in 2011, when Libya was already isolated, France convinced Turkey that it could escape partition if it joined NATO’s ambitions. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a political Islamist of the Millî Görüş, joined the Muslim Brotherhood, of which he was not a member, hoping to recoup the fruits of the ’Arab Spring’ for his own benefit. Turkey turned against one of its main clients, Libya, and then against one of its main partners, Syria.

In 2013, the Pentagon adapted the “endless war” to the realities on the ground. Robin Wright published two corrective maps in the New York Times. The first dealt with the division of Libya, the second with the creation of a “Kurdistan” affecting only Syria and Iraq and sparing the eastern half of Turkey and Iran. It also announced the creation of a “Sunnistan” straddling Iraq and Syria, dividing Saudi Arabia into five and Yemen into two. This last operation began in 2015.

The Turkish General Staff was very happy with this correction and prepared for the events. It concluded agreements with Qatar (2017), Kuwait (2018) and Sudan (2017) to set up military bases and surround the Saudi kingdom. In 2019 it financed an international press campaign against the “Sultan” and a coup d’état in Sudan. At the same time, Turkey supported the new project of “Kurdistan” sparing its territory and participated in the creation of “Sunnistan” by Daesh under the name of “Caliphate”. However, the Russian intervention in Syria and the Iranian intervention in Iraq brought this project to a halt.

In 2017, regional president Massoud Barzani organised a referendum for independence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Immediately, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran understood that the Pentagon, returning to its original plan, was preparing to create a “free Kurdistan” by cutting up their respective territories. They coalesced to defeat it. In 2019, the PKK/PYG announced that it was preparing for the independence of the Syrian ’Rojava’. Without waiting, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran once again joined forces. Turkey invaded the “Rojava”, chasing the PKK/YPG, without much reaction from the Syrian and Russian armies.

In 2019, the Turkish General Staff became convinced that the Pentagon, having temporarily renounced destroying Syria because of the Russian presence, was now preparing to destroy the Turkish state. In order to postpone the deadline, it tried to reactivate the “endless war” in Libya, then to threaten the members of NATO with the worst calamities: the European Union with migratory subversion and the United States with a war with Russia. To do this, it opened its border with Greece to migrants and attacked the Russian and Syrian armies in Idleb where they bombed the Al Qaeda and Daesh jihadists who had taken refuge there. This is the episode we are living through today.

Robin Wright’s "Reshaping the Broader Middle East" map, published by Robin Wright.
Robin Wright’s “Reshaping the Broader Middle East” map, published by Robin Wright.

The Moscow Additional Protocol

The Turkish army caused Russian and Syrian casualties in February 2020, while President Erdoğan made numerous phone calls to his Russian counterpart, Putin, to lower the tension he was causing with one hand.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged to curb the Pentagon’s appetites if Turkey helped the Pentagon restart the “endless war” in Libya. This country is divided into a thousand tribes that clash around two main leaders, both CIA agents, the president of the Presidential Council, Fayez el-Sarraj, and the commander of the National Army, Khalifa Haftar.

Last week, the UN Secretary General’s special envoy to Libya, Professor Ghassan Salame, was asked to resign for “health reasons”. He complied, not without expressing his bad mood at a press conference. An axis has been set up to support al-Sarraj by the Muslim Brotherhood around Qatar and Turkey. A second coalition was born around Haftar with Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but also Saudi Arabia and Syria.

It is the great return of the latter on the international scene. Syria is the culmination of nine years of victorious resistance to the Brotherhood and the United States. Two Libyan and Syrian embassies were opened with great pomp and circumstance on 4 March, in Damascus and Benghazi.

Moreover, the European Union, after having solemnly condemned the “Turkish blackmail of refugees”, sent the President of the Commission to observe the flow of refugees at the Greek-Turkish border and the President of the Council to survey President Erdoğan in Ankara. The latter confirmed that an arrangement was possible if the Union undertook to defend the ’territorial integrity’ of Turkey.

With keen pleasure, the Kremlin has staged the surrender of Turkey: the Turkish delegation is standing, contrary to the habit where chairs are provided for guests; behind it, a statue of Empress Catherine the Great recalls that Russia was already present in Syria in the 18th century. Finally, Presidents Erdoğan and Putin are seated in front of a pendulum commemorating the Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire.
With keen pleasure, the Kremlin has staged the surrender of Turkey: the Turkish delegation is standing, contrary to the habit where chairs are provided for guests; behind it, a statue of Empress Catherine the Great recalls that Russia was already present in Syria in the 18th century. Finally, Presidents Erdoğan and Putin are seated in front of a pendulum commemorating the Russian victory over the Ottoman Empire.

It was thus on this basis that President Vladimir Putin received President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Kremlin on March 5. A first, restricted, three-hour meeting was devoted to relations with the United States. Russia would have committed itself to protect Turkey from a possible partition on the condition that it signs and applies an Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-Escalation Area [2]. A second meeting, also of three hours duration but open to ministers and advisers, was devoted to the drafting of this text. It provides for the creation of a 12-kilometre-wide security corridor around the M4 motorway, jointly monitored by the two parties. To put it plainly: Turkey is backing away north of the reopened motorway and losing the town of Jisr-el-Chogour, a stronghold of the jihadists. Above all, it must at last apply the Sochi memorandum, which provides for support only for the Syrian armed opposition, which is supposed to be democratic and not Islamist, and for combating the jihadists. However, this “democratic armed opposition” is nothing more than a chimera imagined by British propaganda. In fact, Turkey will either have to kill the jihadists itself, or continue and complete their transfer from Idleb (Syria) to Djerba (Tunisia) and then Tripoli (Libya) as it began to do in January.

In addition, on March 7, President Putin contacted former President Nazerbayev to explore with him the possibility of deploying Kazakh “blue chapkas” in Syria under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). This option had already been considered in 2012. Kazakh soldiers have the advantage of being Muslims and not orthodox.

The option of attacking Saudi Arabia rather than Turkey from now on has been activated by the Pentagon, it is believed to be known in Riyadh, although President Trump is imposing delirious arms orders on it in exchange for its protection. The dissection of Saudi Arabia had been envisaged by the Pentagon as early as 2002 [3].

Missiles were fired this week against the royal palace in Riyadh. Prince Mohamed ben Salmane (known as “MBS”, 34 years old) had his uncle, Prince Ahmed (70 years old), and his former competitor and ex-heir prince, Prince Mohamed ben Nayef (60 years old), as well as various other princes and generals arrested. The Shia province of Qatif, where several cities have already been razed to the ground, has been isolated. Official explanations of succession disputes and coronavirus are not enough [4].

Notes:

[1] “I had 33 years and 4 months of active service, and during that time I spent most of my time as a big shot for business, for Wall Street, and for bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster in the service of capitalism. I helped secure Mexico, especially the city of Tampico, for the American oil companies in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a suitable place for the men of the National City Bank to make a profit. I helped rape half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the American bank Brown Brothers from 1902 to 1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the benefit of American sugar companies in 1916. I delivered Honduras to American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927, I helped the Standard Oil company do business in peace.” Smedley Butler in War Is a Racket, Feral House (1935)

[2] “Additional Protocol to the Memorandum on Stabilization of the Situation in the Idlib De-Escalation Area”, Voltaire Network, 5 March 2020.

[3] “Taking Saudi out of Arabia“, Powerpoint by Laurent Murawiec for a meeting of the Defence Policy Board (July 10, 2002).

[4] “Two Saudi Royal Princes Held, Accused of Plotting a Coup”, Bradley Hope, Wall Street Journal; “Detaining Relatives, Saudi Prince Clamps Down”, David Kirkpatrick & Ben Hubbard, The New Yok Times, March 7, 2020.


By Thierry Meyssan
Source: Voltaire Network

العراق ميدان الحروب المقبلة!

د. وفيق إبراهيم

تتلاحق القرارات الأميركية بخصوص وضع قواتهم العسكرية في العراق، بشكل لا يخشون فيه من أي اتهام لهم باحتلاله.

فهم بالفعل محتلّون يُصدرون قرارات حاسمة معتمدين بتفتيته الى وجود مكوّنات ثلاثة متصارعة وشبه منقسمة بأبعاد عرقية وطائفية وجغرافية.

وهذا ينسحب على الرئاسات العراقية الثلاث الجمهورية «الكردية» والحكومية «الشيعية» والنواب «السنية» التي توالي سياسات مذاهبها، وبالتالي مناطقها بما ينتج ضياعاً للقرار الوطني الموحّد والتصاقاً بالسياسات الدولية والإقليمية.

هذه هي الوضعية التي يستفيد منها الأميركيون منذ احتلالهم للعراق في 2003، مرغمين سلطاته الدستورية في مراحل لاحقة بالاعتراف بهم في معاهدات الجديدة بأنهم قوى مساندة للدولة العراقية من أجل مكافحة الارهاب من جهة، ولتدريب القوات العراقية من جهة ثانية.

لكن هذه المهام لم تنته وكان يتوجب على الأميركيين الرحيل في 2013، ولم يفعلوا، بذريعة ان الارهاب لا يزال منتشراً حتى أنهم زادوا من قواتهم وقواعدهم في العراق وخصوصاً تلك المنتشرة على حدوده مع سورية.

بأي حال ليس هناك انتشار عسكري أميركي في بلاد غريبة من دون وظائف سياسية. وهذا يسري على العراق ايضاً.

بما يفرض الربط بين الحركتين الأميركيتين العسكرية والسياسية في بلاد الرافدين والجوار السوري.

فهل يمكن تجاهل زيارة الرئيس الأميركي ترامب لقاعدة أميركية في العراق من دون التقائه بالرؤساء العراقيين؟ صحيح أن هذا السلوك استخفافيّ بأصحاب الارض، لكن هناك ما هو أخطر ولم يكترث له السياسيون والعراقيون ولم يتجرأوا على انتقاده وهو تصريح لترامب اثناء «تسلله» الى العراق، يقول فيه إن بلاده باقية في العراق لادارة شؤون المنطقة وتبعه وزيرا الخارجية والدفاع الأميركيان بزيارات مماثلة أكملت ممارسة السياسة الاستخفافية الأميركية بالحكومات العراقية.

أما الخطوة الثالثة فترجمها الأميركيون على شكل تحصين عالي المستوى والمناعة لمقارهم الدبلوماسية في بغداد وكردستان وتزويد قواعدهم بأسلحة نوعية مع عديد ملائم.

وواكبوها بتعطيل متعمد وواضح لتشكيل أي حكومة عراقية جديدة إلا بمعادلة «مدبرة» تستطيع تعطيل أي مشروع لإخراج القوات الأميركية من العراق.

هناك أيضاً ما هو اخطر… وهو الاعلان الأميركي الصريح عن المباشرة بتزويد قواعدهم العسكرية بشبكة صواريخ متنوعة شديدة التطور للدفاع الجوي والقصف البري، هذا الى جانب إحداث ربط شديد ومحكم بين قواعدهم عند الحدود العراقية مع مناطق شرق الفرات السورية عبر دير الزور الى الحسكة والقامشلي والحدود السورية العراقية لناحية الشرق.

وتشير معلومات دولية أكيدة ان هذا الخط الأميركي له اهداف جيوبوليتيكية وسياسية واقتصادية.

لجهة الجيوبوليتيك فإن الاستمرار باحتلال هذه البقعة السورية العراقية تجعل الأميركيين على تماس مباشر مع تركيا والدولة السورية والعراق الرسمي في بغداد والجنوب، والسعودية لناحية الإنبار العراقية، وفي مواجهة إيران في كل مكان تقريباً وحيث توجد قواعدها في كردستان العراقية الى الكويت والبحرين والإمارات وعمان والسعودية وقطر، بما يمنع انهيار النفوذ الأميركي من منطقة الشرق الأوسط بكامله مع مواصلة خنق إيران ومنع روسيا من التمدد «السوفياتي الطابع». والحد من التوغل الصيني، يكفي ان هذا المشروع يجهض سياسياً تأسيس دولة عراقية قوية ذات دور إقليمي ويمنع استكمال الدولة السورية لسيادتها على كامل أراضيها، اي مشروع للتمديد للازمتين العراقية والسورية والاستيلاء على مساحات واسعة جداً هي الأكثر استراتيجية للمشروع الأميركي الجديد.

اقتصادياً يسيطر الأميركيون عبر هذه المساحة العراقية – السورية التي يمسكون بها على آبار النفط الاساسية في كردستان وشرق سورية وشمالها.

أليس هذا ما استشعره الرئيس التركي اردوغان، فحاول إشراك بلده في اللعبة الاستعمارية الأميركية، عبر تحاصص ثلاثي بين القوى الأكثر فاعلية في تلك المنطقة وهي الأميركية والروسية والتركية؟

يكفي هنا عرضه للأسباب التي دفعته الى هذا الاقتراع، وهي على حد زعمه ضرورة بناء مساكن للنازحين السوريين في الشمال والشرق بما يكشف عن استيعابه للمخطط الأميركي مع محاولة بناء منطقة حاجزة داخل الحدود السورية بعمق ثلاثين كيلومتراً يوطن فيها نازحين من جنسيات مختلفة، في مسعى لتغيير ديموغرافي بإبعاد الأكراد السوريين الى الداخل، فتصبح لأردوغان اهداف عدة: تفتيت سورية وطرد الأكراد والهيمنة على النفط مقابل طموح أميركي للسيطرة الجيوبوليتيكية بالاحتلال والسطو على النفط وتركيب أنظمة ومحاولة منع التراجع الأميركي.

بأي حال هذا ما يريده الأميركيون والأتراك.

فما هو الرد العراقي – السوري وبالطبع الإيراني. ومن خلفهم الردود الروسية – الصينية؟

إن كل هذه القوى المعنية تدرك ان الأميركيين يقطعون التواصل السياسي والاقتصادي بين العراق وسورية وإيران وروسيا بشكل مقصود.

لكنها تعي أيضاً ان معركة ادلب هي واحدة من الوسائل السورية – الروسية لمنع تحقيق المشروع الأميركي التركي في الشرق.

بما يوضح أسباب الإصرار الأميركي على منع استكمال عملية تحرير إدلب، مفسراً دواعي هذا الصراخ التركي المستمر.

لكن ما يتسبب بقلق فعلي، هو الوضع العراقي المطلوب منه مؤازرة السوريين إنما داخل العراق وليس خارجه، وذلك لأن الضغط على الأميركيين على طول المساحة المصرين على الإمساك بها يؤدي الى خسارتهم لمشروعهم، وتخفيف وقع عقوباتهم على إيران، بما يمنح الروس ظروفاً مناسبة للدخول في مجابهة فعلية في سورية وغيرها.

هذا إذا وثقوا بوجود وحدة وطنية عراقية تمهّد الشرعية السياسية لدورهم في العراق.

العراق إذاً هو النقطة الاستراتيجية التي يريد منها الأميركيون رعاية الخليج وخنق إيران وتفتيت سورية ومراقبة تركيا، والبدء بمشروع تأسيس دويلات كردية من إيران والعراق وسورية وربما تركيا.

لذلك فإن الميدان العراقي مرشح لصراعات قوية عراقية وإيرانية وأميركية وكردية وتركية وروسية، وربما اشتركت فيها قوى أوروبية.

فيبقى أن وحدة العراقيين هي وحدها الكفيلة بلجم هذه الحروب أو الانتصار عليها. وهذا يتطلّب الخروج من العرقية والطائفية والإيمان بأن الأميركيين لا يعملون الا في خدمة مصالحهم ويستعملون الآخرين حطباً لإضرامها.

Syrian President calls on Kurdish groups to stop cooperating with US: video

By News Desk -2020-03-06

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called on the Kurdish groups cooperating with the US troops in Syria to stand against the occupation, in an interview with ‘Russia 24 TV,’ in Damascus, Thursday.

The Syrian president said that the government is maintaining “contact with the Kurdish political groups” in northern Syria, and considered the issue to be “small groups acting with the Americans.”

“You cannot stand with the police and the thief at the same time, this is impossible. So, we cannot reach results in any dialogue with them, even if we were to meet thousands of times, unless they take a clear position, a patriotic position, to be against the Americans, against occupation, and against the Turks because they are occupiers too,” stressed Assad.

Talking about Turkish military activity in Idlib area, Assad said that “[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan [is] using all his power, of course with an order from the United States, no doubt, because the liberation of Idlib means the liberation of the northeastern area, as I have said previously, Idlib is considered [by the Turkish state], militarily speaking, a police station.”

“Of course it is possible to repair the relations with Turkey, however, we cannot achieve this unless Erdogan stops supporting terrorists, once he stops supporting them, the relationship will be restored, because there is no animosity between the two nations, the animosity started due to political issues connected to personal interests,” concluded the Syrian leader.

Syrian MP to Al-Ahed: Erdogan Is Not Reliable

By Ali Hassan

Damascus – The Syrian army has once again retaken the city of Saraqeb from the grasp of terrorists. But the scene on the battlefield remains complicated amid ongoing air and ground battles that the Syrian army is waging against the Turkish military and its terrorist factions.

Two days remain until the meeting between Russia’s Presidents Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the meantime, rival parties are seeking to improve their negotiating position through gains on the battlefield. But some say that the disengagement between Syria and Turkey will not come from Moscow but from Tehran.

Muhannad Al-Haj Ali, member of the Syrian People’s Assembly, tells Al-Ahed news that developments in recent days in Idlib are “a direct Turkish interference alongside the terrorist groups.” 

“Despite that, the Syrian army was able to recover Saraqeb because what it basically did was an evacuation and relocation operation to withdraw terrorists and place them in a designated targeting area,” Al-Haj Ali said.  

“Following all these battlefield developments, Erdogan needs to get down from the tree he climbed or for someone to give him a ladder to descend because of his statements that were for internal consumption. He is unable to enter into a direct war with Syria and its allies, which will be at the regional level. For Russia is Syria’s strategic partner. Turkey and the latter have no commercial relationship at all. It has no relations with Damascus, especially since the Turks are part of NATO – both have lied and manipulated the agreements they signed with Russia regarding Idlib,” the Syrian official adds.

“The US is pushing Erdogan to penetrate deeper into Syria because it wants to extend the life of the war in all respects. But that will be countered by the Syrian state’s strategic decision to liberate all the Syrian soil. All the while, the Turkish army does not have the effectiveness that the Syrian army gained from the experiences of years of war,” he explained. “There is an Iranian role that will soon serve as a lifeline for Erdogan, who is still lying, and will stop him from entering a regional war. Of course, his interests in the region will be within Syria’s range of fire if that war takes place.”

Al-Haj Ali points out that “Erdogan’s greatest argument for interfering in Syria and occupying its lands is the Syrian Kurds, but the situation in Idlib is different. And there are no Kurds there. All of Turkey’s colonial ambitions become clear here.” 

“Syria will not allow it to occupy a single part of the country. The solution is to return to the Adana Agreement but with its development and modernization as there are thirty thousand foreign terrorists on the Turkish borders threatening Syria’s national security. Syria does not trust Erdogan, and Russia has also reached a stage of lacking confidence in him,” Al-Haj Ali said.  

He reveals that discussions on March 5 will focus “on the battlefield and logistical matters.” 

“Political matters are not expected to be touched upon in any way that would help with the pacification of terrorist groups in Idlib. Syria previously agreed to 17 ceasefires in Idlib, all of which were violated by the terrorist groups supported by Erdogan. So, this man has become unreliable and no political progress is expected to be made with him.”

Al-Haj Ali concludes his interview with Al-Ahed by predicting that the solution will come from Iran because members of the anti-terror alliance exchange political roles. “We notice that Russia is escalating, while a calm Iran is working to achieve the basic goal of resolving the thorny issue. Through its dealings with Turkey, Iran is proposing some initiatives to resolve the clashes in Idlib.”

Nasrallah: Iran’s strike is the first step towards the expulsion of all US forces from the Middle East

February 11, 2020

Source

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on January 12, 2020, commemorating the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Translation: resistancenews.org

Transcript:

[…] My third point concerns the response (to the assassination of Soleimani), or the just retribution (which must be inflicted on the United States), which I mentioned last Sunday after His Eminence the Leader (Khamenei), (political and military) Iranian and Iraqi officials, and Resistance movements throughout the region. All aspects of this issue need to be highlighted.

It can be formulated in one sentence: the response to the American crime that caused the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as the brothers who accompanied them, is not a simple operation. It is a path, a long journey that we have initiated, and that must lead to the expulsion of the American military presence from our region, from the whole Middle East, or, as His Eminence the Leader (Khamenei) names it, the region of Western Asia. This will be the response. The response is not a single operation. What happened at the American base of Ain al-Assad is just a slap, and it is not the answer to the martyrdom of Qassem Soleimani. And anyone who views the attack on Ain al-Assad as the Iranian response is completely mistaken. It is only a slap, as defined by His Eminence the Leader, inflicted on American forces and bases, a slap that is part of this long process. It’s just a thunderous start, a thunderous military start. It is a powerful first step that has shaken (American imperialism), on the long road of the retaliation to this crime, which is one of the greatest crimes committed by the United States in our region. And as I said, this must lead to the expulsion of American troops and the end of the American military presence in our region.

I want to talk a little bit about this slap. Then, I will talk about this path (which should lead to the end of the US military occupation of the Middle East).

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First, this slap… When the Aerospace forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps targeted, a few days ago, in the middle of the night… Of course, the main target was the Ain al-Assad base. In Erbil, they only fired one or two missiles, and the message was merely psychological. But the real military target was the Ain al-Assad base. Several missiles traveled hundreds of kilometers and struck the heart of the base, as recognized by the United States’ Defense Secretary, and hit their targets. This event was enormous and constituted a veritable earthquake. It placed the whole region… We followed the events overnight, and during all the following day, and the whole region was on the brink of war.

I want to talk a bit about the impact of this slap, this strike. Of course, since the early hours, some US media, and also the media in the Gulf and the Arab world, who are more American than the Americans themselves, have started to prepare the ground for the American reaction. From that moment, I understood that Trump was going to swallow the insult and would do nothing, I understood that he was going to pipe down. When they started to insist emphatically on the fact that there were no dead or injured soldiers, to diminish the importance of the slap and to disparage it (they are accustomed to do that), I understood that Trump would not do anything.

But if we want to be objective and consider somewhat the real importance of this slap, we must establish the following points.

First, this slap, this major military strike, demonstrates unparalleled courage on the part of the Iranian leaders and the Iranian people, who supports his leaders. This courage is indescribable. Who are we talking about? They fired missiles at an American base, at American forces. As all (serious) experts and analysts have pointed out in the past few days, such a thing has not happened since the end of the Second World War. We are talking about a State, not an organization, a group, a Resistance movement. Because it has already happened that a non-State group strikes the Americans, like the attack (that killed 241 American officers and soldiers) against the headquarters of the Marines in Beirut in 1983 (attributed to Hezbollah). But it is very different when we speak (not of a clandestine organization but) of a State, which has institutions, leaders, an army, (Revolution) Guards, refineries, factories, airports, ports… A State has a lot to lose, as they say. This act and this decision express an incommensurable and unprecedented courage and audacity. Who dares to do such a thing all over the face of the Earth? In the whole world, who dares to attack the Americans directly and brazenly? Since the Second World War, no one has dared to stand up to the Americans and strike them openly, firing missiles at one of their bases. Who dares to do such a thing?

Especially that during the previous days, the American officials threatened (of violent reprisals in the event of Iranian response). And you remember Trump’s Tweet: if you hit us or do anything, I will immediately respond, violently and firmly, by destroying 52 Iranian strategic sites, including cultural ones. But he swallowed everything he said. These threats were clearly present on the minds of Iranian leaders when they made this decision.

Therefore, the first element established by this slap and this strike is the unequaled courage and boldness of the Iranians manifested by this act, which marks a rupture and confirms a whole new stage (in History). The message to the United States and its allies in the region is that it faces officials, a regime and a people of tremendous courage. If Washington imagined that the Iranians were afraid, weakened, had backed away, had become cowardly,and felt defeated, they received a scathing denial. This was perhaps Iran’s strongest decision since the death of Imam Khomeini, may God have mercy on him (not to say since the triumph of the Islamic Revolution in 1979). But in all truth, one can consider this grandiose act only as a summit of courage. We know very well (in Hezbollah) what it means to make a decision of this nature, which can lead to dangerous reactions, even war, to (regional or perhaps global) war.

The second point is that this strike or slap revealed the power of Iran’s military capabilities. Because there were always people who denigrated this capacity. There are, in truth, people who are pathetic non-entities and who take pleasure in their state, and belittle themselves, having no self-esteem, but they do not accept to see strong, dignified, powerful and capable people in this (Arab-Muslim) Nation, people who actually do what they say and achieve everything they promise. They don’t accept it because they’re just the opposite of that. This strike exposed the truth of Iran’s military capability. The missiles are 100% Iranian made. They were not bought from US arms manufacturers and paid hundreds of millions of dollars stolen from the pockets of the Iranian people (unlike Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, especially in their war against Yemen). These missiles are Iranian-made, and the experts are Iranian, with no need for any foreign experts. The targets were determined by the Iranians, as was the entire technical process. The launches were carried out by Iranian officers and soldiers, and not by mercenaries hired in the United States or other countries (United Kingdom, France, Israel…) as do other States (in the region). The decision was Iranian, as are the weapons and the execution of the operation.

And the missiles hit their targets precisely. All the missiles hit the base successfully. Some talk about 13 missiles, the US Secretary of State for Defense talks about 11 missiles that struck inside the base, fired from hundreds of kilometers away. What does this mean for the United States? All American bases in the region are within range of Iranian missiles, and can be struck with great precision. And it should be known that the Islamic Republic of Iran has missiles even more precise than those which it used for this operation, but it did not resort to them, because it keeps them in reserve (for later).

And despite their high alert, maximum alert, and the fact that they expected an imminent response from Iran, the Americans failed to intercept any of these missiles. And this all their bases are in the same situation. This is a message to all those who are plotting with the United States against Iran. And this is a very strong message to the Zionist entity, which still believed it could play with Iran. It is a message to Netanyhau, who has always dreamed of sending his air force to bomb the Iranian nuclear installations. But the military and security officials within the Zionist entity always opposed him. He wanted to achieve a feat, but this imbecile does not know his limits and does not know to which abyss he is leading his entity. The message of this strike is a very strong message to the Zionists. When they hear threats from His Eminence the Leader, may God preserve him, or from Iranian officials against the Israeli entity, they must take these threats very seriously. This has been understood and stated by Israeli analysts and experts over the past few days. The missile strike hit the Ain al-Assad base in Iraq, but the mourning was in the Zionist entity, because they understood that this is what awaits them if they dare to attack Iran, plot against Iran or threaten Iran. Because Iran has this capacity and this power.

This is why, my brothers and sisters, this strike is huge and of paramount importance. Whether US soldiers got killed & wounded or not, this will be revealed in the coming days. The CNN reporter yesterday saw the scene and showed a spectacle of desolation, saying it was caused by a single missile. We could see a huge destruction in this base. Even if most of the soldiers had gone to take refuge in the shelters, weren’t there guards, soldiers at the observation and defense posts? We’ll see (if there are victims). However, the scale of the military damage is colossal. We are talking about (the destruction of) extremely sophisticated radars, equipment, planes, installations… Anyway, whether or not there are victims, this strike alone, in itself, the way in which it was carried out has all the importance that I have just emphasized.

One of its effects is to have broken America’s prestige. The prestige of the United States was shattered by the strike against the base of al-Assad, whether in the eyes of their friends or in the eyes of their enemies. Yes, the Americans kept a low profile, they lowered their heads and piped down! During the last days, yes, the American soldiers stood on a foot and a half (ready to run away), and we are talking about the United States, o people (reference to earlier words of Nasrallah following the assassination by Israel of two Hezbollah fighters in Syria, mocking the fear of Israeli soldiers while awaiting the inevitable response)! This is what Iran has achieved in the past few days. And that’s why in Israel, one of the mourning topics that gets a lot of attention is that according to some rumours, Trump prepares to withdraw from Iraq and the region, and leave Israel alone (against their enemies). Today, within the Zionist entity, all the talk is about this nightmarily prospect. The prestige of the United States has been shattered.

And what has been the response of the United States? They swallowed the insult. Under what pretext? ‘Be happy o Americans, no one got killed (proclaims Trump).’ But who are you? You are the United States! It’s an American base! Thousands of American soldiers hid, dispersed, ran all over the place, rushed to the shelters, moped in fear and terror for hours! Missiles hit your base, and a State claimed responsibility for these strikes! Your equipment, your radars, your planes have been destroyed! And after all that, you stay quiet? Trump swallowed the insult.

Just see the pictures. We in Lebanon have a long experience in this area. Go and see the footage from Trump’s press conference on January 8 in the morning. The Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary and the commanders of the United States armed forces were standing, and Trump arrived. What did their faces express? Did they express a victorious America? A powerful America? America in a position of strength and arrogance? An America that has just defeated its enemies? Or was it, on the contrary, a scene of mourning in the White House? Just look at their faces! Review the images, and observe their faces (carefully)!

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And when Trump talked about the situation, he immediately went in another direction. ‘As long as I am President, Iran will not have nuclear weapons. They will never get nuclear weapons.’ What a joke! Iran has no desire for nuclear weapons! Who is he kidding? He talked about something else, and he swallowed the insult. He made it clear that the United States would not use a military response but economic sanctions.

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Why? Why is that? Simply put, o my brothers and sisters, because Iran is powerful. Because Iran is brave. Because Iran is capable. What prevented Trump (from retaliating) ? I’m sure that when they met that night, the military said to him: if you decide to strike Iran, you must know that they have already pointed their missiles at all our bases and that all of them will be struck (immediately, which will cause thousands of victims among our troops). And the Iranians have let the Americans know, via intermediaries, and have also publicly announced that if the United States retaliates, they will immediately strike all American bases in the region as well as Israel. And the US military told Trump that they are unable to defend their bases, as the example of Ain al-Assad has shown, and that things would certainly escalate to war. And who claims that Trump is willing to head for war? (Nobody!)

I add to that the extraordinarily massive funeral (of Soleimani) in Iran. Its importance should not be underestimated. This is part of the message of colossal power sent (by Iran to its enemies). The decision to retaliate is not only that of the Leader or of political and military decision-makers, it is a decision of the entire Iranian people! This is what the Iranian people have longed for. The Iranian people was ready for war to defend his honor, and to avenge the blood of his eminent and grand martyr, Hajj Qassem Soleimani.

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And that’s why, in all simplicity, Trump piped down, he swallowed his pride and backed away. And he made a speech devoid of any threat. And of course, he repeated his lies: ‘I call on Iran to negotiate (with the United States). I call on Iran to cooperate…’ And who expressed himself in these terms? The one who the previous night received 11 huge missiles on his forces at the base of Ain al-Assad. ‘I call on Iran to cooperate on our common interests such as the fight against ISIS.’ You hypocrite, you pretend to want to fight ISIS when you have just murdered the two biggest commanders in the region who have fought and inflicted countless defeats on ISIS? While ISIS celebrated their death so gleefully?

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Trump again declares to the Iranian people: ‘I only wish prosperity for you.’ But what a shameless liar! Are you pretending to want prosperity for the Iranian people when you impose on him sanctions and a state of siege, the most severe siege in the history of Iran? And he said again, not during this press conference, but in meetings and interviews later, he repeated his lies to the Americans. Because he has to put forward a good reason (for what he did). The Americans asked him where he led the country, what situation he put them in, and he had to justify his assassination of Soleimani & Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis with a pretext. Anyway, because my state of clergyman does not allow me to show you or describe the images, I invite you to watch the cartoons published by the Washington Post. These cartoons are a commentary on the Iranian missiles launched against the Al-Assad base and Trump’s stance. Look at them.

In order to put forward an (admissible) pretext, he claims that he ordered the murder of Soleimani because he was about to blow up American embassies in the region. Liar! He lies to his people! And it is well known that he is the greatest liar in the history of the United States of America. All American Presidents were liars, but the biggest liar in their history is unquestionably Trump. In no case did Hajj Qassem Soleimani plan to attack American embassies. Never in his life, never ever. It was not part of his plans, or even of his ideas. It never crossed his mind (because embassies are civilian and therefore illegitimate targets). These are Trump’s lies that seek to cover up the real reasons for the crime he perpetrated.

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Anyway, this silence of the United States after this (humiliating) slap from Iran is also a lesson addressed to all (the other countries) so that they be courageous, have confidence in their capacities and their power and have faith, and realize that as great and tyrannical the power of the United States can be, there are safeguards, limits, circumstances to which even American decision-makers must submit. It is therefore a mere slap in the path that we have just taken, and which should lead to the expulsion of all the American forces from our region.

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I will now very quickly address the last point of my speech, namely the next steps that should lead us to this lofty goal. And I’m going to talk about two things in particular, very briefly.

The first point is related to Iraq. Why Iraq? Because it is the battlefield in which the crime was committed. After Iran, the first place that should be concerned with the response against the United States is Iraq. Here are the reasons in order of priority:

1 / because the crime was perpetrated on Iraqi territory, in the shadow of Iraqi sovereignty (which has been flouted), on the road to Baghdad airport;

2 / because the crime also targeted a very high ranking Iraqi commander, an official leader, the deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Units (Hashd al-Cha’bi); he is a commander of the official Hashd al-Cha’bi force (integrated into the Iraqi national army);

3 / because the crime targeted Hajj Qassem Soleimani and his Iranian brothers who defended Iraq and sacrificed themselves for the Iraqi people.

Iraq is therefore the first country, after Iran, which has the duty to respond to this crime. The first response took place during the (mass) funeral of the martyrs, and in the position expressed by religious leaders, scholars, politicians, religious education establishments and the Iraqi people.

The second response was the stance of the head of the Council of Ministers and the Iraqi Parliament, who demanded the departure of the American forces.

And by the way, I hope that Mas’oud Barzani (Kurdish separatist leader) will be grateful for the benefits brought by Hajj Qassem Soleimani, which he acknowledged many years ago. Today, you need to (publicly) acknowledge these benefits. When ISIS was on the verge of reaching Erbil (in Iraqi Kurdistan), when all of Kurdistan was on the verge of falling into the hands of ISIS, and you contacted all your friends to help you, but they forsake you, you then contacted the Iranians, who from the second day, as you acknowledged, sent you Hajj Qassem Soleimani with his brothers. And I add that he was accompanied by Hezbollah brothers, who went with him to Erbil. And they all told me that Mas’oud Barzani was trembling, his two hands were literally trembling with fear and terror. But it was the rapid presence of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and the Islamic Republic of Iran at your side that repelled this danger which threatened you all, and which has never been seen in the history of Kurdistan.

Today, you have a duty to acknowledge these benefits and to participate in the response alongside other leaders in the Iraqi government, the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi forces.

Be that as it may, the authentic response, one of the most important elements of the authentic response, is to expel American forces from Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament has already taken a step in this direction, and we are grateful for that, because it is a grandiose, capital, courageous, bold and important decision. The head of the Council of Ministers, Sayed Abd al-Mahdi, who follows the implementation of this decision with courage and sincerity, and publicly asked Pompeo to send a delegation to negotiate the stages of the withdrawal of the US forces, all this is closely followed by the leaders, officials and people of Iraq. And if this is followed up seriously, the departure of American troops will be an inevitable certainty, and the best response to this infamous crime. This is what Hajj Qassem and Abu Mahdi aspired to: they wanted to see Iraq liberated from the occupation, cleansed of all the terrorist forces which are protected by the officers of the occupying US forces and their helicopters, that move the leaders and ISIS commanders from one province to another (to save them). It was their highest hope. And this responsibility falls on the Iraqi people. And if the Americans do not go out voluntarily, the Iraqi people will know how to force them out, as will the factions of the Resistance.

Of course, we must know that the American administration will do everything possible to delay the implementation of this historic decision by the Iraqis, by playing on internal dissension, reviving sedition, threatening sanctions and confiscation of Iraq’s property and deposits that are in the United States. The United States puts the Iraqi people before two choices: ‘Either you force me out and I will punish you by confiscating your money, or I will continue to occupy you and plunder your oil and your choices.’ So choose, o Iraqis. This is what Trump wants for Iraq. He wants your oil, he wants your sovereignty, he wants to take over your country. It will be up to the Iraqis to choose.

The second and final point of my speech is the steadfastness of the Resistance Axis on its path. After the slap of Ain al-Assad, and, with the Grace of God, and the developments under way in Iraq, I consider that the Resistance Axis must start to act. We must start to act. What we all said a few days ago (we vowed to expell the US forces from the region) is not an empty promise. It was not a vain statement meant to boast, to absorb the blow that was dealt to the Resistance Axis or to cheer up people. Never. The Axis of Resistance is serious, sincere and pragmatic in achieving the grandiose goal it has set for itself. And the days, weeks and months to come will demonstrate this unequivocally. I said it was a long way. It is a difficult road. The Americans must withdraw from their bases; their soldiers, their officers and their warships must leave our region. They must leave (voluntarily). The alternative… I’m going to speak the opposite of what I said last Sunday. I said that they came to our region in a vertical position (and would leave in a horizontal position, in coffins).

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Now, I tell them this: either you get out voluntarily on your two legs, in a vertical position, or you will leave in a horizontal position (in coffins). This is the alternative available to you. And this is a final and irrevocable decision of the Resistance Axis. It’s just a matter of time. There will be no hindsight on this issue. Anyone who imagines that this grandiose event, this grandiose martyrdom, this pure blood which has been unjustly shed, will be forgotten after a few months or a few years, is greatly mistaken. Never. We are talking about the start of a new phase, a new stage, a new era in the region. And the days to come will let you see it with your own eyes (our first actions to kick US forces out will be visible to all). I don’t need to dwell on this any further.

This is the responsibility of the (Arab-Muslim) Nation, of the whole Nation. I know with certainty that today, our peoples have the height of soul, spirit and aspiration required, they have a high forehead, courage and are daring without limits, they have a disposition to sacrifice and a lucid conscience. It is the case everywhere in our Arab-Muslim world. The current dangers are well understood by all, (as is the need to uproot them definitively by expelling the American occupier, who is the main cause of most if not all of our problems).

The American administration and the American murderers will pay the price for this crime and all the other crimes they have committed and continue to commit in our region and in our countries. They will pay dearly for it, and they will find out that they were wrong in their calculations.

After the martyrdom of Hajj Qassem Soleimani and Hajj Abu Mahdi, I listened to statements by Trump, Vice President Pence, the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary, the National Security Advisor and of the United States Congress who all claimed that the world is a safer place after the assassination of Soleimani. You are deluding yourself! You are grossly mistaken! And you will soon realize it. You will realize it by the blood (of your soldiers & officials). You will soon find out. Which world is safer? The world of those whose territory is occupied? The world of the oppressed? The world of peoples? The Palestinian, Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani, Yemeni, Bahraini people, the peoples of the region? Are you talking about these people? Certainly not. You talk about the world of the Zionists, the world of the occupiers, the world of the despots and the tyrants. The days to come will reveal to you that after the martyrdom of Soleimani, the world will be very different (from what it was): there will be no more security for the tyrants, murderers, criminals and despots.

I will stop here for today. […]

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

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